Sunday, June 17, 2018

Book Blitz: Reclaimed by Author @marcella_swann Featuring an #excerpt and #giveaway


Contemporary Romance
Date Published: May 30, 2018

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Beyond all else, Samira Foster wanted one thing: Elliot Dowling. He was her passion, her need. They were just kids but she knew it was real. The way he kissed her; the way he held her. Yet he’s the one thing that was denied her. The scion of a powerful and wealthy family, she’s now the head of Foster Acquisitions. But she doesn’t have it all. The pressure, the demands, the wolves. And she’s all alone. She needs someone. She needs him. And she’ll have him … even if it destroys her.



 Excerpt


Elliot slowly began to realize that, despite the adrenaline flooding his system, nothing had truly changed since he had walked away years ago. He had to fight not to reminisce of the days they spent together, whether it was at the park, the lake or hiking the trails while the world waited back in the city. She was still the perfect girl, and now woman, that every man dreamed of, and he knew that she had no business slumming it with the likes of him. Samira’s eyes started to glow in the same way they used to when she looked at him. She could see deep into his soul, all of his feelings, and right now he wondered if she knew the truth.

“I almost gave up hope trying to find you,” she said. “It’s been years since you disappeared. I was beginning to think I would never see you again. Then the name Dowling Holdings came across my desk and I heard you’d returned. Why didn’t you reach out to me?”

“I thought about it, but there’s things…”

“I know.” Samira nodded. Her smile faded slightly, but she suppressed the frustration that Elliot knew she must’ve been feeling. “I had my investigators do a complete work up on Dowling Holdings. The only thing they can’t tell me is why you left. Was it because of what your father did?”

Elliot shook his head, he was certain there were things no one could know, and truthfully said, “My father’s actions might have held something over me at one point, but that doesn’t shadow my decisions anymore.”

Samira looked confused, then sad for a split second. “Was it me? Did you not reach out because of something that I did?”

Elliot once again shook his head. “God no, Sam, you’re amazing!”

He watched something click in her head, and even though he had never told her what happened that night, she figured it out.

“It was my dad then,” she said. “He never approved of us; even if he never told me, I knew that he hated the thought of us together. Did he threaten you? Forbid you from seeing me?”

Elliot could not look at her. Samira’s face flushed with anger as she continued, “Two and a half billion dollars in profit last year from a holding company that you built yourself. If you can’t see how impressive that is, I would be shocked! That was your hard work and determination! If my dad was even alive, he would not have a leg to stand on to keep us apart.”

“Sam, I wanted everything to be just right, or at least, cleaned up…”

Samira stood up. “No, Elliot. I don’t believe you. Everything you’ve gone through, everything you’ve built, doesn’t matter. You’ve let him stand between us for all these years. He was my father, and no matter what he said, I was never afraid of him or let him run my life. You could have everything you want now, but instead you just keep trying to prove yourself to a dead man.”

Samira got up, clearly upset, and headed for the door.

Every part of him wanted to run after her, and take her into his arms again, but where would they go from here? He saw now how crazy it was to bring her back into his dark world again.




About the Author

Marcella Swann has been putting words on paper for as long as she can remember. After working for years in the hard-edged world of journalism, she now devotes her time to writing contemporary romance stories of strong-willed women who win the men of their desires.

As passionate about love as the beauty of a story well told, Marcella is a complete romantic and believes everyone desires their happily ever after.

A small-town girl from Louisiana, Marcella now lives in New York City and starts each day walking her Yorkie in the park. She also swings a mean kettle bell at the gym and loves Karaoke nights with her friends.


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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Book Blitz: Snafu Fubar: Nothing Heroic from Author @authorbobdixon featuring a #excerpt and #giveaway


Adult Humor
Date Published: Oct 2016

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*****WARNING*****
If you are easily offended, then this is NOT the book for you. Please put it down and back away slowly. However, if you have a warped sense of humor, please read on.

In the town of Lost Hope, Florida reside two heroes unlike any others. These champions of justice go by the names of Snafu Fubar and General Nuisance. Nightly they patrol their fine city to protect it from evil's grasp. And by 'patrol' we mean they sit on a porch, appropriately nicknamed 'The Fucking Nuisance Cave', drinking beers, smoking cigars, and talking about sex.


Excerpt


   Meanwhile, across the street from the trailer park, in a convenience store that General Nuisance and Snafu Fubar frequented, a robber had just entered, brandishing a pistol.  He pointed it at the clerk behind the counter, a young boy who had not yet reached legal drinking age and who still had a zit party in full swing on his chubby face. “Put your hands in the air and give me the money!” The clerk looked confused for a moment and then shrugged.

    “I can’t do both.”

    “Huh...what?”

   The clerk rolled his eyes. “I can’t put my hands in the air and give you the money.”

    “Fine. Put one hand in the air and hand me the money with the other one.” The robber gestured with the gun.

   “OK, which hand?”

    “Right…no, wait a minute. Left.”

    “Left hand up or left hand get the money?”

     The robber banged his head against the counter three times and glared at the clerk. “Left hand get the money.”

    Ding Ding.

      The robber and clerk both looked toward the store's door, through which a female customer had just entered. She was blond, with a great body and nice rack, but her face was ugly as sin. “Can I get twenty on pump five?”

    The robber stepped towards her, motioning with the gun. “Lie down on the floor now!”

   “What? Really? Have you seen this floor? I’d probably have a higher chance of survival if you just shoot me. I think I’ll take my chances!”

    The robber glanced down at the floor. “OK. Point taken. Just sit on the floor.”

    “Really wish I hadn’t picked today to wear stilettos and this damn mini skirt with no panties,” griped the customer. “I mean, if I’m going to catch an STD, I really wanted to do it the fun way.” She looked about as graceful as a giraffe on roller skates as she tried several maneuvers to get down on the floor without giving the clerk and the robber their own private peep show.



    General Nuisance met Snafu in the parking lot of the convenience store. They did the handshake, the fist bump, the high five, the gang sign, the chest bump and the butt slap — to which they both said in unison, “NO GO HOMO!” This, of course, made it perfectly acceptable for two grown men to slap each other on the ass.

    “Do you see what I see?” General Nuisance pointed into the convenience store that held his beloved beer.

    “Yeah, some idiot sitting on a disease ridden floor.  Hope she knows there are more enjoyable ways to catch an STD.”

    “I agree, but I wasn’t talking about her. Look again…a robber!”

     “Cool! You wanna hand out some Bronze Age justice?”

       General Nuisance poked his friend in the arm. “I got one better...Iron Age justice, huh, huh?”

    “Oh, that’s just stupid! What did the Iron Age have that the Bronze Age didn’t?”

    “Really? Asia was smelting tin and brass by then…you can’t top that. What was your Bronze Age doing? Cave men were still circle jerking on dinosaurs' corpses.”

     “That’s the Stone Age, you idiot.” Snafu shook his head. “You can be so dumb at times.”

      While Snafu Fubar and General Nuisance debated over the kind of justice they were going to hand out, things inside the store took a bizarre turn.

     “Man, my drawer is gonna be off. I’m gonna have to overcharge all my customers tonight,” the clerk whined as he looked down at his till.

     “Shut up! Just get the money,” screamed the robber.

   “I don’t feel so well,” said the female customer, whose face was now a sickly shade of green. She burped once then farted. A moment later, she puked all over the floor and shit herself.

     “Crap! Now I’m going to have to mop the floor and man, I was really hoping to leave that for the morning shift. I mean I could kind of push everything under the candy counter. There’s a good chance no one would notice and I could just place a wet floor sign where she is at. Yeah…the more I think about it, I’m pretty sure that would work.”

      “Oh my God! Why are you taking so long?” The robber pointed the gun at the clerk again.

     The store's door swung open. Loud rock music blared as Snafu and General Nuisance entered the store. “I’m here to kick some ass and hand out –“, Snafu sighed, “Industrial Revolution era justice!”

     “See?!? Was that so hard?” General Nuisance asked with a smile.

      The robber grabbed the clerk by his shirt collar. “This is why you should have moved faster. Both of you get down on the ground now…or the clerk dies.”

       General Nuisance and Snafu both looked down at the female customer who was now shaking and in the midst of some kind of convulsion. “Yeah, that’s just not going to happen,” Snafu said.

    “Son, put the gun down.” General Nuisance spoke as calmly as a man being threatened with sitting on a disease-ridden floor could speak.

    “How about I shoot you?!” screamed the frustrated robber as he pointed the gun first at General Nuisance then at Snafu.

     “Yeah, shoot those costumed freaks!” chimed in the clerk.

      “You stay out of this!” the robber yelled at the clerk.

     “Why are you rooting for the robber?” asked Snafu.

     “I don’t know…just seemed like we were connecting…I don’t get a lot of social interaction here.”

     The robber looked back and forth between the costumed vigilantes and the clerk. “Shit! I don’t know who to shoot first!”

     “Please God, let it be me! Bleck!” said the customer on the floor as she puked again.

     “Well, while you decide that, I’m going to grab a Slushee,” Snafu said as he strolled toward the back of the store.

     “Yeah. Me too. Let’s grab the beer and some beef jerky while we’re at it,” General Nuisance said as he patted the robber on the shoulder and walked past him.

     The robber snatched the money from the clerk's hand and ran out of the store. “Ya’ll are fuckin’ crazy!”

     The clerk, looking as though he'd just lost his best friend or a beloved pet, leaned over the edge of the counter.

     “Call me...I mean if you want to hang out or something,” the clerk yelled as the robber made his escape. When he didn’t get a response, the clerk slumped back against his stool.

     “They never call.”



About the Author


Bob Dixon is a two-time Guinness World Record holder for the World's Longest Cartoon Strip. He is the author and creator of a number of comic book titles for Pocket Change Comics, including Assassinette: The Mind Stalker, Psyco Duck, Jester's Dead, The Holy Knight, Riplash, Shadow Slasher, and Warzone 3719. Bob has written two children books, Rooty the Tree Troll and Holiday Bunny; two young adult books, Mouch and Company: The Dream Psychic and Rags and Ruins; An adult humor book Snafu Fubar : Nothing Heroic; and is the co-author of Will Jones' biography A Tough Call. Bob is also the Writer/Director of the movie Dr. Prozak's Office. Additionally, he is a certified special education teacher who works with children who have autism and intellectual delays.


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Twitter: @authorbobdixon



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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Virtual Book Tour: Boy in the Mirror from author @robertduperre featuring an #interview and #giveaway



Young Adult Urban Fantasy/Horror
Date Published: December 31, 2016
Publisher: TRO Publishing

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Fifteen-year-old Jacqueline Talbot’s boyfriend Mal lives in the mirror of her makeup case. There’s never been anything normal about Jacqueline; not during her time in foster care, and certainly not in her new hometown of Mercy Hills.

With rumors of actual monsters in the woods, the popular kids taking an unhealthy interest in her, and the revealing of her own dark past, all Jacqueline wants to do is run away forever with Mal. Too bad he’s trapped in the mirror.

But when she learns the ancient forces of the town want to destroy everything she loves, the race is on to free the boy in the mirror, because he just might be the only one who knows how to stop them.



Interview

Q: What is the hardest part of writing your books?

A: The literal act of writing is possibly the easiest thing I do on a given day. My books are well plotted out ahead of time, and I almost never want for ideas or direction. HOWEVER, one of my greatest difficulties is making the time, and having the energy, to write at all. I work a day job that is labor-intensive, so the act of getting home and sliding into my writing chair can at times be a futile practice rife with exhaustion. And even when I do carve out an hour for myself, there are occasions when my brain is far too muddled for coherent thought. In other words, it’s sometimes difficult to get cranking. But once I do, it flows. Which is one of the best feelings in the world.


Q: What songs are most played on your Ipod?

A: I listen to most music, save country, and enjoy it all. However, the one album that plays on constant repeat is Tori Amos’s “Little Earthquakes.” Every song is an absolute gem, and even though it’s twenty-five years old, it plays like it could’ve been recorded right now. Love it.


Q: Do you have critique partners or beta readers?

A: I do. I swap novels with author J.L. Bryan constantly, and David Dalglish has been a consistent sounding board throughout the years. Otherwise, I have a grouping of five betas who’ve never steered me wrong, who love my work yet aren’t afraid to let me know if something isn’t working for them. These types of folks are the lifeblood of any author, because criticism is the only way to grow. Steady pats on the head can lead to stagnancy in the craft, which is a career killer.

Q: What book are you reading now?

A: A book that isn’t released yet—Blaze, by my friend and fellow author Monique Martin. It’s the first book in a new series, a wonderful tale of a young girl fighting demons in 19th century London. It’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer blended with Wuthering Heights, and possibly my new favorite thing.

Q: How did you start your writing career?

A: I’ve been writing since I was a teenager, oh so long ago, and always dreamed of becoming an author, but it was only after meeting my wife Jessica that I began to think I might have a shot at making this career work. I began writing seriously in 2003, a four-book post-apocalyptic zombie series called The Rift, which would take me ten years to complete. In 2010, after a batch of rejection letters, I discovered Kindle Direct Publishing, and decided to put the first book up for sale myself in this newfangled e-reader format. That journey into self-publishing directly led to co-writing a fantasy series called The Breaking World with the aforementioned David Dalglish, a set of books that were picked up by 47North publishing. One of my proudest accomplishments, that’s for sure.



A: Queen of the Dead, the fourth book in my current dark urban fantasy-science fiction series, The Infinity Trials, will be released late this month. It’s the penultimate volume of the series, wherein our young heroines face a horror greater than anything they have faced before—the cracks that can appear in even the strongest friendships. It is perhaps the darkest book in this series, and the stakes get both smaller and bigger at the same time. It was a blast to write.

About the Author


Robert J. Duperre is an author from Connecticut, the land of insurance, tobacco, and unfulfilled dreams. Over his mildly interesting life, Robert has released seven novels that skirt the line between horror, science fiction, and fantasy, as well as edited and contributed to a pair of short story collections. His novel “Soultaker” was released in 2017 by Ragnarok Publications. He also co-wrote "The Breaking World" series with David Dalglish, which was picked up and published by 47North, a subsidiary of Amazon Publishing. And all this was accomplished while living happily ever after with his wife, the artist Jessica Torrant.

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Book Blitz: The Busy Moms Guide to Writing from authors Angela Castillo and Jamie Foley featuring an #excerpt and #giveaway


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Self-Help
Publisher: Fayette Press
Date Published: 03/30/2018

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Are you a busy mom who loves to write, but doesn't know where to start? This easy-to-read guide by two bestselling, award-winning authors will help you make your writing dreams a reality.

From finding time to write, to showing you how to get your kids involved, Jamie Foley and Angela Castillo (who happen to be busy moms themselves) will give you the resources--and the encouragement--you need.

This book will:
- Help you plan out your writing goals, time management, and financial budget
- Encourage you to enlist aid from the right people--critique partners, editors, cover designers, and more
- Guide you to making the best decision for you regarding independent and traditional publishing
- Give you questions to ask yourself at the end of each chapter to help you move closer to your writing dreams
- Steer you away from common mistakes


Excerpt

Supper should have been started half an hour ago, and a pile of laundry waits for you on the couch (well, it used to--now the kids have flung the clothes across the room in a free-for-all sock fight). Your baby is crying, and your oldest kid is yelling something about a science fair project being due tomorrow.

But what are you thinking about? A roving mercenary princess in your own made up land--the land of Flynn. You’ve dreamed about this land, pretended to live in it yourself. And more than anything, you want to write about it.

Your little girl grabs hold of your leg with sticky fingers. “Mommy, when are we going to have supper? I’m hungry, Mommy!”

If you’re feeling tempted to check your home for a hidden camera, the reason we know these things is because we are there. We have nights like this on a continual basis. Yet between both of us, we have fifteen published books (and three collections). These books help to generate an income to help with grocery money and even, sometimes, the mortgage payment. Writing and Momming can happen! At the same time!



What this book will do:

·         Help you plan out your writing goals and time management

·         Give you tools to do your personal best when it comes to writing

·         Steer you away from mistakes we’ve made

·         Encourage you to enlist aid from the right people--critique partners, editors, cover designers, and more

·         Help you create a time budget, as well as a financial budget, so you don’t go overboard

·         Guide you to making the best decision for you regarding independent and traditional publishing

·         Give you questions to ask yourself (and hopefully answer!) at the end of each chapter to help you move closer to your writing dreams



What this book won’t do:

·         Teach you how to write a New York Times bestseller (if you find a book that can do this, let us know)

·         Tell you to neglect your family in order to write

·         Expect you to have a ten-thousand-dollar budget for your first book

·         Tell you how to come up with writing ideas. There are countless other writing prompt books available out there. We figure if you picked up this book, you probably have ideas buzzing around in your head already and are looking for a way to let them out.

·         Give you a magic formula to make millions of dollars with your books (we don’t believe such a thing exists, but maybe. Of course, unicorns might exist too…)



About the Authors

Angela Castillo

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Angela Castillo loves living in the small town of Bastrop Texas, and draws much of her writing inspiration from life there. She loves to walk in the woods and shop in the local stores. Castillo studied Practical Theology and Music at Christ for the Nations in Dallas, Texas. She was home-schooled all through high school and is the oldest of 7 kids. Castillo's greatest joys are her little girl and two boys. Castillo has been published in The First Line, Aardvark's Ark, Heartwarmers, Thema, and several other publications, and also has works available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle format.


Jamie Foley

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Jamie Foley loves strategy games, home-grown berries, and Texas winters. She's terrified of plot holes and red wasps.

Her husband is her manly cowboy astronaut muse. They live between Austin, TX and their family cattle ranch, where their hyperactive spawnling and wolfpack can run free.





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Giveaway

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Anyone who signs up for our newsletter HERE

will get a copy of “50 Websites Every Author Should Know”

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Book Blitz: Jane's Baby from author @cgbauer featuring a #giveaway


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Thriller
Date Published: June 1, 2018
Publisher: Intrigue Publishing

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Whatever happened to Jane Roe's baby? Norma McCorvey, of Caddo-Comanche heritage, did not terminate the pregnancy that led her to become the anonymous plaintiff of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court women's rights case Roe v Wade because in 1971, when the motion was first argued, abortion in the U.S. was illegal. The Jane Roe real-life child would now be a woman in her late forties, the potential of her polarizing celebrity unknown to her. A religious rights splinter group has blackmailed its way into learning the identity of the Roe baby, the product of a closed adoption. To what end, only a new Supreme Court case will reveal. Tourette's-afflicted K9 bounty hunter Judge Drury, a Marine, stands in the way of the splinter group's attempt at stacking the Supreme Court via blackmail, murder, arson, sleight of hand, and secret identities.



About the Author

“The thing I write will be the thing I write.” Chris wouldn’t trade his northeast Philadelphia upbringing of street sports played on blacktop and concrete, fistfights, brick and stone row houses, and twelve years of well-intentioned Catholic school discipline for a Philadelphia minute (think New York minute but more fickle and less forgiving). He’s had lengthy stops as an adult in Michigan and Connecticut, thinks Pittsburgh is a great city even though some of his fictional characters don’t, and now lives in Doylestown, PA. He’s married, the father of two, is a grandfather, still does all his own stunts, and he once passed for Chip Douglas of My Three Sons TV fame on a Wildwood, NJ boardwalk. As C.G. Bauer he’s also the author of SCARS ON THE FACE OF GOD, an EPIC Awards runner-up for best in 2010 eBook horror, and the editor of the CRAPPY SHORTS short story collections.



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Sunday, June 10, 2018

Book Blitz: The Gathering


The Gathering
Bernadette Giacomazzo
(The Uprising, #1)
Publication date: March 31st 2018
Genres: Adult, Dystopian
The Uprising Series tells the story of three freedom fighters and their friends in high — and low — places that come together to overthrow a vainglorious Emperor and his militaristic Cabal to restore the city, and the way of life, they once knew and loved.
In The Gathering, Jamie Ryan has defected from the Cabal and has joined his former brothers-in-arms — Basile Perrinault and Kanoa Shinomura — to form a collective known as The Uprising. When an explosion leads to him crossing paths with Evanora Cunningham — a product of Jamie’s past — he discovers that The Uprising is bigger, and more important, than he thought.
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EXCERPT:
Jamie
I saw Emperor – looking like a hot air balloon, sounding as ridiculous as ever – blathering on about his personal Reichstag fire, and laying the blame of the explosion squarely at the feet of myself and my brothers-in-arms.
“…and it’s these traitors of the state – the threat to the security of my Empire of the United States of America – the defectors of the Cabal who go by Jamie Ryanand Basile Perrinault and, my greatest betrayal, Supreme Allied Commander Kanoa Shinomura…” he hollered into the microphone, which seemed to reverberate throughout the city.
At the sound of Kanoa’s name, the Cabal members below the balcony slammed the butts of their guns on the floor in rhythm. I knew that rhythm all too well – it was meant to be a war cry for those of us in the rank-and-file of the Cabal – but, to the untrained ear, it sounded like a machine gun going off…which was exactly the point.
But I couldn’t help but sneer at the accusation that the blast that nearly killed Evanora and Tommy was somehow our fault. He’d spent decades trying to catch us and failing miserably, yet in the same breath, believed we were inept enough to set off a blast that took no lives and could be cleaned up during a balmy New York evening. And he managed to sell this ridiculous belief to the crowd, no less.
“Let’s make something clear, asshole,” I muttered, “if it had been me and the boys that lit your shit up, you wouldn’t be standing here today.”
Despite the absurdity of the accusation – and despite the obvious absurdity of the accusation – the victims of psi just grunted along, agreeing with everything and anything that came out of Emperor’s mouth, in part because they didn’t know any better (they were psi victims, after all), and in part because any disagreement with what Emperor had to say was met with a fierce, painful punishment.
“His Word, Before All and Above All,” I muttered. “With liberty and justice for no one, so kiss my peasant Old New York ass and take a breath mint afterward, unless you like that funky aftertaste…”
My voice trailed off as my eyes focused on a strange woman on the balcony.
At first, I couldn’t discern who she was – she looked like someone I’d seen before, yet someone I’d never seen before.
Her hair was a garish white-blonde, stringy and lifeless, and pinned tightly behind her head with a set of black ceramic chopsticks. Her makeup was almost cartoonish – cat-like black eyeliner and matte black lipstick sat atop a ghostly white foundation. Even her outfit was a hideously hilarious cultural appropriation – a black silk kimono paired with a set of black stiletto heels. I’d seen Old New York 42nd Street prostitutes, with terrible heroin problems, sell the “Asian coquette” look better than what I’d seen before me now.
“Who the actual…” I began, hesitantly, unable to process who I was seeing before me.
And then it hit me, all at once, who she was.
For the first time in a long time, I was literally speechless.
When I could finally find my voice again, it barely came out in a whisper. “Rosie,” I squeaked.
I walked into the Ludlow Street apartment I shared with Angelique and was instantly greeted with the smell of a meat dish that, I would later learn, was calledcarne asada.
“Angelique!” I called out over the loud sizzling of steak as I kicked off my black Frye boots and set my matching acoustic guitar down. “Where are you, my love?”
“In here!” she called, out of sight, from the kitchen, where more clanging and banging sounds echoed over her voice.
I began walking through the apartment, shedding layers as I went along until I reached the kitchen wearing nothing but my black leather pants and a mischievous smile. I was hoping to have a little appetizer of crème d’Angelique before dinner, but when I reached the kitchen, I realized – much to my chagrin – that we weren’t alone.
Angelique, her hair tied back into a messy ponytail, was wearing a tight, white, see-through shorts jumper and a matching white apron. She was standing next to an unfamiliar-looking woman with a matching messy ponytail, but whose thick chocolate brown hair stood in sharp contrast to Angelique’s thin flaxen locks. The rest of her, too, was in stark contrast to Angelique, but not in a bad way – she was olive-skinned, in contrast to Angelique’s pale white skin; she was curvy, in contrast to Angelique’s ectomorphic figure; she was fiery, in contrast to Angelique’s ethereal nature.
They were standing side by side, working on something that smelled simply delicious. Angelique was mixing flour, sugar, and garlic powder, and her friend was adding melted butter and salted water to the resultant powder, then kneading it until it formed a dough.
“Am I interrupting something?” I asked as I walked behind Angelique, wrapped my arms around her waist, and kissed her neck, breathing in her scent of lilacs as I did so.
She smiled, then took her index finger and bopped the tip of my nose with the flour mixture. “Hey handsome,” she said, beatifically. “We’re making something special for you for dinner. We’ve got carne asada in the pan over there – we’ve got some arroz con gandules in the rice cooker – and we’re making…wait, girl, what’s this called?”
Arepas,” her friend said, smiling as she continued to knead the dough between her hands, her silver thumb ring glistening in the light of the dusk as she did so.
“Right, arepas,” Angelique repeated. “Ramira here is teaching me all her magic ways – she says this is the exact dinner I need to make if I want my man to marry me.” She giggled, then elbowed Ramira, who giggled along with Angelique.
I couldn’t help but giggle, as well, as I unentwined myself from Angelique and walked over to Ramira to properly introduce myself. “I’m going to be stuffed fordays with all this delicious food, so it’s only right that we become friends,” I began, extending my hand. “Hi there. I’m James Randall Ryan IV, I somehow lucked out enough to convince this lovely lady Angelique to be my girlfriend, and it’s a pleasure to meet you. You can call me Jamie.”
Ramira smiled, then shook my hand with two of her fingers, taking care not to smear the wet dough across my palm. “Well, my name is Ramira Diaz, Angelique is my best friend, and it’s a pleasure to meet you too. You can call me Rosie, though. Everyone else does.”
I sat under a wilting star magnolia tree and stared, intently, through the open window of a room that had to be Rosie’s dressing room. She peeled her black silk kimono off and turned her back to the frameless window, exposing her prominent ribs and shoulder blades as she did so. The sight of her suddenly-bare, emaciated frame shocked me, especially given how pronounced her curves were in our younger years, and tears welled up in my eyes yet again.
In the decades since Angelique and my son had died, I could count the number of times I’d cried on one hand. In the past 72 hours, though – as I realized that my best friend’s kid, and my best friend’s girlfriend, were alive and well, and that the Uprising was bigger than I’d ever imagined – the tears came quickly and flowed easily, and I couldn’t decide if this was a sign of strength or weakness on my part.
Rosie slipped a shimmering white camisole over her emaciated frame, which she then tucked into a pair of white linen slacks. I couldn’t get over how thin she’d gotten, then wondered if this was by her own design, or if she was under orders from that evil husband of hers. No way would Jordan be cool with this, I thought to myself. On his fucking grave would this go on. On his fucking grave. And wouldn’t you know it – here we are, on his fucking grave.
I saw Rosie leave the room and begin to head down a flight of stairs, and I took that as an opportunity to get her alone, away from the rabid Cabal and out of sight of the vainglorious Emperor. She’d taken a few steps away from her building, and into Emperor’s Park, before passing by the wilting star magnolia tree that I was hiding behind. It was only when I saw the back of her slicked back, perfect ponytail – what a difference from the one she was wearing when we first met, I thought – that I saw the opportunity to get her alone and began walking behind her.
“You’ve come a long way from making arepas on Ludlow Street,” I said, tapping her on the shoulder when I finally caught up with her.
She spun around, her face scrunched up in fear, and for a split second, I thought she was going to hit me. But just as quickly, she relaxed as her eyes registered who owned the disembodied voice. “Jamie,” she whispered tearfully. “You’re here. You’re alive. I didn’t realize…”
“How the hell did you not?” I asked, furrowing my eyebrows and side-eyeing her. “Your damned husband has been hunting me for decades.”
“I knew that,” she said, taking ragged breaths. “But just the fact that he was never able to take you alive led me to believe that you were…you know…” Her voice trailed off.
I wasn’t convinced, and I continued to stare at her intently as I scratched my left cheek, which was now beginning to show the first signs of salt-and-pepper beard stubble. “First of all, why the hell are you talking like you’re Queen Elizabeth? Second, let me just state it for the record: you give your asshole husbandway too much credit if you think he can take me down.”
Rosie bit her lower lip, then shifted her eyes down. I put my hand under her chin and tipped her face up, forcing her eyes to meet mine as I tried, desperately, to search for a sign of the Rosie I once knew. “Rosie,” I whispered intently. “It’s me. You don’t have to hide from me.”
Her face was a blank slate. “My name is Rose. Rose Cunningham,” she said with flat affect.
“Oh, bullshit,” I whispered, even more intently. “Whatever happened to ‘call me Rosie, everyone else does’? What happened to that woman who was makingarepas in the kitchen with my Angelique?”
That got her attention, and her deep brown eyes flashed with fire as she balled up her fists and began swinging at me. “You shit! You bastard! You did it! You almost killed my baby!”
I ducked, bobbed and weaved, avoiding each blow as I carefully tried to talk her down from the ledge. “Rosie! What the hell are you talking about? I didn’t do that shit! I swear!”
She continued to swing at me. “Yes! Yes, you did!” she squealed tearfully, repeating the same “yes, yes” with each swing, her voice getting louder each time.
“Do you want to knock it off before the fuckin’ Cabal finds us, Rosie? The fuck is wrong with you? Jesus Christ!” I was shouting despite myself and began scanning the landscape frantically for Cabal soldiers that would have undoubtedly heard us, all while bobbing and weaving like a prizefighter to avoid getting punched in the face.
She swung even harder and squealed even louder. “You tried to kill my baby! Just like you killed yours!”
That line finally got me to react, and I had to steady my breathing to stop from clocking her in the mouth. Even in the throes of the worst of my Faustian behavior, I never hit a woman, and neither did any of my bandmates – the thought of violence against a woman, let alone a woman we’d loved, didn’t even cross our drug-addled minds.
Instead, I grabbed her wrists and forced them down to her sides, holding them in place at hip level as she struggled, trying to hit me, until she finally began whimpering in defeat.
“Now you listen to me, Ramira Diaz, and you listen well,” I began, angrily. “You may have forgotten everything you were and are, but I sure as fuck haven’t forgotten a goddamn thing, and let me rest assure you, I never fuckin’ will.”
Her lower lip was trembling, her eyes were watering, and it became evident that she was on the verge of tears. Still, I continued. “So, let me get a few things out of the way now, so we’re not confused. Number one: that blast? It wasn’t me. It wasn’t anyone tied to me. It wasn’t anyone whose name I can even spell. Because let me assure you, again, that if it were me, or anyone tied to me, we’d have burned down the entire fuckin’ city, even if it meant killing ourselves in the process, and wouldn’t have left a survivor anywhere on this God-forsaken island.
“Number two: you know goddamn well I didn’t kill Angelique or our baby. Now I wear their death on my heart every. Fucking. Day. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in twenty fucking years, from the day they were killed, because I can’t get their murders out of my mind. There are times I wish I was dead, just so that I don’t have to live with the guilt of their murders, but no, here I am, and ain’t that a fuckin’ bitch from Hell. I’d give all the money in the world to have my Angelique back. I’d trade my life for Jordan’s any day of the week. And my son – my only legacy – never had a chance at life, and you think that’s all fair?
“Number three – and this is the most important part, Rosie, goddamnit, you’d better fuckin’ listen to this if you listen to nothing else: remember that promise I made to you in the hospital room? All those years ago? Because I fuckin’ do. And that’s why when Evanora and Tommy came down the Bowery after the blast, and I realized who she was, I made sure she was safe and clean and warm…”
Rosie looked shocked. “Wait. She came to you?”
I searched her face, trying to see if I could register where her loyalties lie before I continued to answer the question. For some reason, however, I couldn’t make it out. I even tried to read Rosie’s mind using a gentle form of psi, but I still couldn’t read her mind at all. It was like trying to probe a brick wall. So, to protect Evanora – and the rest of us – I chose to cover my tracks. “Yeah,” I said airily, “she mentioned something about listening to Uprising Radio.”
The name of Uprising Radio registered some type of recognition with Rosie, and her eyes lit up slightly. “My baby has heard Uprising Radio?”
“I don’t know for sure,” I continued, still adopting an airy affect, “but I’m pretty sure that’s what she said.” Using my Cabal training, I put a mental wall between my thoughts and Rosie, mostly because I didn’t know how much training she’d had in the psi arts, and I wasn’t sure if she, too, could read my mind. And if, God forbid, her loyalties lied with that pathetic excuse of her husband, I could at least protect, if not myself, then the whole Uprising movement.
I made sure the wall was firmly in place before I continued. “I think I’ve heard Uprising Radio a few times, but I don’t know much about it, who does it, or anything of the sort.”
“Yeah,” Rosie said, hesitantly, behind a mental brick wall of her own, “I have no idea, either.”
We were calmer, now – our breath was steady, our thoughts were collected, and Rosie’s fists were limp. I finally felt confident that she wasn’t going to try to hit me again, so I loosened my grip on her wrists.
But I suddenly found myself unable to let her go, so I slid my hands from her wrists to her hands and grabbed her fingers lightly. I was overcome with emotion.
“What is it, Jamie?” Her voice was cracking.
I exhaled loudly, then drew in a ragged breath. “Do you think about him, Rosie? Do you think about Jordan at all?”
She closed her eyes and allowed the tears to fall as she exhaled shakily. “Every day of my life,” she said softly. “There’s not a day that goes by that Jordan doesn’t cross my mind. Every time I look at Evanora – every time I hear her laugh – he comes to my mind. Sometimes, she gives me this look – you remember, Jamie? You remember when Jordan would hear something that was just too stupid for words, and he would get this look on his face, like, ‘were you dropped on your head as a child?’” – and to this, I gave a half-smile and a nod – “and now, she gets that look. And that one eyebrow” – she took her finger and drew on her left eyebrow – “it would just go up like…like…”
She dropped her hand as her voice trailed off, her eyes filling with tears.
I nodded my head, closed my eyes, and sighed. “Fuckin’ guy,” I said, opening my eyes and looking at Rosie. “So. You didn’t see me, right?”
Rosie smiled and winked at me. “Ivan Sapphire? Please. Get over yourself, rock star.” She squeezed my hands one last time for good measure. “I’m going to leave now. I’m not going to look back because I don’t want to see where you’re going. This way, if someone with bad intentions against you asks me if I know where you are, I can answer honestly when I say I don’t know. But just because I don’t look back, doesn’t mean I want to see you go. I need you to understand that, Jamie Ryan. I don’t need you to over-analyze things that don’t need over-analyzing. I need you to let me go, Jamie Ryan, and I need you to know that I love you, and I thank you, from the bottom of my heart.”
She finally let go of my hands, gave me a slight nod, then turned and walked back to her home. I watched her, silently, keeping the promise I made so long ago to Jordan Barker and didn’t leave what was once known as Central Park until I saw, for sure, that she was safe inside.


Author Bio:
With an impressive list of credentials earned over the course of two decades, Bernadette R. Giacomazzo is a multi-hyphenate in the truest sense of the word: an editor, writer, photographer, publicist, and digital marketing specialist who has demonstrated an uncanny ability to thrive in each industry with equal aplomb. Her work has been featured in Teen Vogue, People, Us Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, and many, many more. She served as the news editor of Go! NYC Magazine for nearly a decade, the executive editor of LatinTRENDS Magazine for five years, the eye candy editor of XXL Magazine for two years, and the editor-at-large at iOne/Zona de Sabor for two years. As a publicist, she has worked with the likes of Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and his G-Unit record label, rapper Kool G. Rap, and various photographers, artists, and models. As a digital marketing specialist, Bernadette is Google Adwords certified, has an advanced knowledge of SEO, PPC, link-building, and other digital marketing techniques, and has worked for a variety of clients in the legal, medical, and real estate industries.
Based in New York City, Bernadette is the co-author of Swimming with Sharks: A Real World, How-To Guide to Success (and Failure) in the Business of Music (for the 21st Century), and the author of the forthcoming dystopian fiction series, The Uprising. She also contributed a story to the upcoming Beyonce Knowles tribute anthology, The King Bey Bible, which will be available in bookstores nationwide in the summer of 2018.

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