Jack Canon's American Destiny

Broken Pieces

Friday, May 31, 2013

Orangeberry Free Alert - HORSES AND HEROIN by Bev Pettersen

Horses and Heroin - Bev Pettersen

Amazon Kindle US

Amazon Kindle UK

Genre - Romantic Suspense

Rating - PG

4.6 (153 reviews)

Free until 4th June 2013

A talented rider disappears without a trace.
His frantic sister poses as a student.
A private investigator's plans for quiet recuperation are shattered.

Megan is determined to find her missing brother even though no one else at the illustrious California Jockey School seems to care. Her only ally is a recuperating PI who unfortunately is the owner's best friend. Soon she is caught between a blossoming romance and a far-reaching conspiracy...where misplaced trust can be deadly.

Kim Cano – Why Social Networks Are the Keys to Good Networking

Why Social Networks are the Keys to Good Networking

by Kim Cano

*At first I was reluctant to get involved with any form of social networking, being reclusive and all, but as a new author thought I’d better do it. Twitter was the easiest to figure out, and they have a nice little tutorial that shows you what to do. Facebook was confusing because you have your personal page and author fan page, but just like anything else, the more time you spend on it, the easier it gets to use.

Once I took the social media plunge, I discovered there were so many benefits. I met an author friend and her and I chat and exchange marketing ideas all the time. Much better than bending your poor family and friend’s ears on a topic that’s of no interest to them. I’ve connected with readers on Twitter, and I have to say it feels amazing to have someone write you and say they liked your book. One woman told me she got it for her birthday and loved it. I’ve also met fellow animal activists from around the globe and made a variety of new friends.

I also met my writing mentor through an author group I belong to, and reading his books and following his advice has been really helpful.

After meeting a lady on twitter, and chatting with her, she invited me to be a guest on her blog. A reviewer I met gave me a wonderful review for my first book and posted it on her website. I could go on and on with examples like that. There are so many reasons to use social media, whether you’re traditionally published or Indie. Just jump in and do it. You’ll be glad you got started.

And speaking of getting started. Don’t wait until your first book comes out, like I did. Sign up and begin networking now, that way you’ll know more people and potential readers when your book launches.

On a cold Valentine’s Day in Chicago, Amy White, a young widow who lost her husband to cancer, visits the cemetery and makes an unsettling discovery: a bouquet of fresh daffodils lying in front of her husband’s grave.

Curiosity grows into obsession as Amy searches for the stranger who left the flowers, while keeping her activities a secret from her live-in mother and seven-year-old son. The search leads to an unusual friendship that transforms her world and redefines her life.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Women’s Fiction

Rating – PG

More details about the author

Connect with Kim Cano on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.kimcano.com/

Orangeberry Book of the Day – Trouble in Paradise by Deborah Brown

A Brand-New Madison Westin Novel, with More Craziness in Tarpon Cove…

Remember Madison? What she had to go through… inheriting her aunt’s cottages was peanuts compared to what awaits her in TROUBLE IN PARADISE, the latest addition to the Paradise Series.

What is big news in small town Tarpon Cove? An accidental drowning or maybe even a ruthless murder? When a dead fisherman rolls up on the shore of Tarpon Cove, Madison cannot resist but to jump into her new role as Private Investigator, with only one goal in mind: to solve this intriguing mystery of the dead guy. But things do not go as Madison wants as she discovers that people in small towns are usually tight lipped, and that is certainly the case for the residents of Tarpon Cove. Although a hot bed for gossip, in a town where everyone knows everyone’s business, what is safer than keeping your mouth shut?

But that is not all…

With Madison’s tenant assessment skills not shaping up, her cottages are still full of riffraff, and it has become Tarpon Cove’s hotbed for illegal affairs. Madison teams up with her best friend and Glock-carrying Fabiana… Together they take on cases no other investigators would ever dare to touch in Tarpon Cove or anywhere else. Sometimes a girl needs a bubble bath and a fun book. So draw your bath and dive into Madison’s adventures!

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Mystery

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

Connect with Deborah Brown on Facebook & Twitter

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Orangeberry Book of the Day – Killer Work from Home Jobs: 460 Jobs SUPER BOOK by Lee Evans


What’s in This Book?

Killer Work from Home Jobs: 460 Jobs SUPER BOOK, has 160 NEW jobs, 200 jobs from Killer Work from Home Jobs 1, and 100 jobs from Killer Work from Home Jobs 2. There’s no story. No lessons. Just jobs! Economical too – it’s three books in one. SUPER BOOK identifies Fortune 500 & Legitimate Work at Home Jobs from global, national, mid-sized and start-ups with wings.

Why You Need This Book!

Killer Work from Home Jobs: 460 Jobs SUPER BOOK will help you accomplish your dream.

  • Is it finally time to find a job so that you can work from home?
  • Do you really want to trudge hours to work every day?
  • Are you looking for an honest work from home opportunity?

The idea for the Killer Work from Home Jobs Series came from the fact that I trudged to my job, as manager of someone else’s business, wondering why I wasn’t happy. I was good at what I did, achieved the company’s goals, made good money, received accolades, but something wasn’t right, there was no sense of fulfillment.

I can’t convey the melancholy I felt, I worked hard to achieve success, earned every academic credential, had a resume to swoon over. But I wasn’t a happy camper. Was this all there was?

Once I decided to work at home, it was amazing, I jumped in the air and clicked my feet! Killer Work from Home Jobs: 460 Jobs SUPER BOOK is dedicated to all those who just can’t go back to work. In addition to the “I can’t take it any mores” of the world, this book will help many who have other compelling reasons, as well. The need to work from home runs deep. Taking the first step to working at home will make you jump for joy.

How is This Book Different?

How is Killer Work from Home Jobs: 460 Jobs SUPER BOOK different from other work from home books? It is the largest compilation of home-based jobs available on Amazon today.

  • Is the company financially healthy?
  • Has the company been around for awhile?
  • Does the company have a global footprint?
  • Does the company have “money in the bank?”

My months of research answered these questions, to provide you with key company data.

My Promise to You

I verified all links in Killer Work from Home Jobs: 460 Jobs SUPER BOOK at publication. Since companies change web pages, and job needs, if any of the links don’t work, simply contact me at Free-Job-Search-Websites.com, I’ll provide you with revised link info & you can get notice of new books, too.

You’re not just buying a book, you’re buying my promise that I’ll tirelessly provide you with the most up to date info at my disposal. I want to help you make your dream come true!

Learn how to find Killer Work from Home Jobs

Genre – NonFiction / Business / Job Hunting

Buy Now @ Amazon

Rating – G

More details about the author

Connect with Lee Evans on her

Website http://www.free-job-search-websites.com/

Orangeberry Free Alert - Still Fine at Forty - Dakota Madison

Still Fine at Forty - Dakota Madison

Amazon Kindle US

Amazon Kindle UK

Genre - Contemporary Romance

Rating - R

4.6 (7 reviews)

Free until 1st June 2013

It all started with a Girl's Getaway Weekend in Sedona, Arizona...
It's been a year since Jennifer Ellis's ex-husband left her for a much younger woman and Jennifer still hasn't dated. Now turning 40, Jennifer wonders if she'll ever find love again. So Jennifer's best-friend, Melanie Malone, books them on a Girl's Getaway in picturesque Sedona, Arizona in hopes of inspiring Jennifer to have a vacation fling.
Jennifer gets more than she bargained for when she meets the ruggedly handsome 29-year old tour Jeep guide, Cody Miller, and the two begin a passionate romance. What Jennifer doesn't know is that Cody has a secret past that not only threatens to destroy their new love but also expose a tragic event from Jennifer's past that she has tried desperately to forget.

Orangeberry Book Tours – Stow Away by Christopher Wager

Benjamin Holt is an average thirteen-year-old streetwise kid living in Lower Manhattan during the 1930′s. His world is turned upside down, when a simple case of mistaken identity by the cops has him accidently taking refuge in the belly of the tramp steamer U.S.S. Alexandria bound for the wilds of Africa. Along the way, Benjamin must face the challenges of living at sea, a captain’s dream of treasure, and a first mate who would just as soon feed him to the sharks.

Ben’s troubles are only beginning when he is taken hostage by an evil German colonel. He survives a daring escape, only to find himself on a volcanic island battling bloodthirsty natives. Things go from bad to worse as this explosive adventure unfolds around him. Ben must find it in himself to become the most unlikely hero before it is over if he is to make it home again.

Buy Now @ Barnes & Noble

Genre – Contemporary Fiction

Rating – PG13

Connect with Chris Wager on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://briggscomp.wix.com/stow-away-page

Maggie Harryman – Why I Published my Novel

Why I’m still happy—six months later—I self published my debut novel, Here Among Us.

by Maggie Harryman

When I think back to how I felt when I finished writing Here Among Us, one word comes to mind— and it isn’t elated, gratified or proud.  It’s depressed.

Let me explain.

I’d spent years writing the book, had it professionally edited… twice (and there were still typos!). Had it read by two of my most respected writer friends (one a well-published poet, the other a published and award-winning novelist), let it sit for six months and then went through it again. I believed in it deeply. When I asked myself if I was sure I’d written the best possible book I could write and the answer was yes, I knew I was ready.  I began looking for an agent.

I set about compiling lists of agents, reading every “how to find an agent” website I could and generally trying to determine what to say in my query. I felt reasonably confident about writing the query. I’m a working copywriter, so writing sales copy—essentially what a query is—was pretty much second nature.

So why was I depressed?

It took me a while of feeling down to figure out that after more than four years of writing and refining this novel, I was deeply unhappy that the second leg of the journey involved completely giving up control of my work. It wasn’t that I felt I deserved an easier path than other writers before me, and I certainly didn’t resent the idea of jumping through hoops until I signed with an agent.  My depression had to do with time; the entire process could take anywhere from several months to a full year or more and even then, there was no guarantee that my agent would find a publisher.

I was chastened by stories like a gifted writer friend lived through. A few years back, after months of sending out queries, she’d found a well-known New York agent who was excited about her beautifully written memoir chronicling her years in the circus. After a valiant, twelve-month effort to place the book, and despite serious interest on the part of several publishers, not to mention significant praise for the writing style and story, the agent came up short.

When I thought about the possibility of investing that much time for zero results, I felt depressed.

Do I want to compete with Snooki?

I asked myself to be realistic about the likelihood of an agent placing my book. I was an unknown who had written a literary novel (not easy to sell under the best of circumstances).  I had no platform and no track record of previous sales (anyway, even if I had been published, without adequate sales, I could still be passed over).

Depending on the month, the NY Times bestseller list brimmed with books by celebrities like Snooki and Kris Kardashian. Looking at the list of bestsellers, I got even more depressed, because let’s face it, if the big publishers were looking for ROI, they weren’t going to publish me. It looked to me like traditional publishers were only interested in reality tv stars, sports figures and the Dan Browns and Stephen Kings of the world.  In short, high powered public figures with well-established platforms (and in the cases of King and Brown, well deserved) that would justify a serious marketing effort. And of course, all but guarantee a healthy return on their investment.

Sure outliers slipped through.  But again, I could be looking at years of trying to find an agent and publisher. And even if by some miracle a publisher decided to take a chance on me, I’d be giving up complete control over the novel, including—but not limited to—all the rights to the work.  In the stories I’d heard from published friends, this always seemed to be their biggest regret.  When the book didn’t sell and the bookstore returned their books to the publisher (generally a short six weeks after they arrived on shelves), they couldn’t turn around and sell the leftovers on Amazon because they didn’t own the rights to their own books.

So I decided to go the self-publishing route, understanding that I, not some deep-pocket publisher, would be the one footing the bill for the cover design and lay out. In the process I’ve learned a few things about the pros and cons of self-publishing literary fiction.

Let’s start with a pretty big con. I gave up the prestige of the big publishing house.  Prestige, the admiration of ones peers means a lot to most people and authors who write literary fiction are certainly not immune.  Let’s face it, we’re obviously not doing it for the money (other genres like sci-fi, romance or suspense/thriller are far more likely to pull in the big bucks).  We’re doing it purely for the love of attempting to create a multi-layered, beautifully written story that attempts to tackle the big questions. Whether we succeed is quite another matter.

And the pro?

Having said that, I was surprised at how little my readers seemed to care who published my novel.  In fact, I’ve only had a few people ask me who the publisher was and when I tell them “Straight On True Publications,” they just sort of nod fake sagely and crinkle up their eyes like they’ve heard the name but can’t think where (typical human nature; people don’t like it when they don’t know something and especially don’t like to admit they don’t know).

It seems that the only thing my readers care about is whether or not I’ve delivered on my promise (unspoken but still, it’s there in the cover design, in the product description, in the first pages available for reading before they buy) to write the best book I could write.  In my case that’s meant a lot of 4 and 5 star reviews on Amazon and a whole lot of other readers who have sent me emails saying how the book impacted them.  Most ask when I’m planning on publishing the next.

So while I may have given up some prestige by self-publishing my novel, I gained control.  If I hadn’t done it, I’d be checking my email everyday, wondering why some faceless, voiceless, overworked mid-level publishing person in New York didn’t think I was quite good enough. Instead, when I’m not working on my next novel, I’m reading positive reviews on Amazon of Here Among Us, putting checks in the bank, scheduling public and book club readings, developing a solid fan base and most importantly, writing, writing, writing. If I hadn’t done it, I’d still be floating in limbo.

I’d still be depressed.

Instead I’m happy.

And grateful.  Very, very grateful.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Literary Fiction

Rating – R (Strong language, adult themes)

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Maggie Harryman on Facebook

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Orangeberry Free Alert - How I Wrote 2 eBooks in 21 Days by Glen Stanford


How I Wrote 2 eBooks in 21 Days - Glen Stanford

Amazon Kindle US

Amazon Kindle UK

Genre - Non Fiction

Rating - PG

4.6 (55 reviews)

Free until 2 June 2013

Ride a hilarious roller coaster with Glen Stanford as he follows Steve
Scott's plan in "How to Write a Nonfiction e-Book in 21 Days!"
Not one to let the writing process cramp his style, this ukulele-playing,
bluegrass-singing YouTube sensation (32 views and counting) juggles his
new-found fame with astonishing persistence to produce not one, but two
works of genius. This is the true story.
FIVE CRITICAL Reasons you MUST read this book
1. America's Funniest Recipes want you to read this book
The (secret) recipe for success:
Writer's buzz - 1 oz
Sleepless nights - 2 oz
Tenacity (and beer) - 7 (units left deliberately vague)
Irreverence and political incorrectness - to taste
Espresso - administered intravenously - 55 gal
Pizza (1/2 pepperoni, 1/2 mushroom) - 37 slices
Humility - a whole bunch
Blend and enjoy.
2. Chuck Noris wants you to read this book
You gonna argue with Chuck? I'm not! He is a huge believer in the power of
laughter because it leads to the lowering of stress hormones. This is
the carrot AND the stick - lower your stress by laughing and you won't
have to worry about Chuck getting angry with you at the same time.
Chuck Noris is from Dubuque, Iowa and is in no way related to Chuck
Norris, the consummate actor karate-guy who would probably kick my ass
if I used his name without permission.
3. The Bible wants you to read this book
The Good Book says "A joyful heart is good medicine" (Proverbs 17:22).
Then again, it also says "Judas hanged himself" (Matthew 27:5) and "Go
and do likewise" (Luke 10:37) so you gotta be kind of selective when you
pick your quotes from this 1700-year-old classic.
4. It's flipping funny and Rated PG, too
While I might dance around some edgy subjects, I never want my readers to squirm. I leave that to the Ben Stilers of the world.
Ben Stiler is in no way related to the incredibly funny Ben Stiller,
whose masturbatory comedic genius (when he's not meeting some Fokker)
always leaves you with a chuckle.
All of my books are swear-word-free. I tire of today's "comics" who resort to f-bombing
their material as if dirty words are the main ingredient instead of an
occasional spice.
The worst word you'll ever hear from me is "crap." Feel free to substitute something stinkier if it makes you feel
better, but honest humor shouldn't have to rely on shock jock laziness.
Then again, Howard Stearn made $100 million with his lesbian obsession and I
sell my books for the price of a cup of coffee, so what do I know?
When you see the word "flipping," you are also free to substitute something
racier, like "freaking." It's your theater of the mind, and you are the
only one taking the tickets.
That is, unless you object to me using the word "Damn" in the subtitle. That's just too funny to pass up,
and I'm #%$#&! using it.
P.S. Howard Stearn is in no way related to the radio professional Howard Stern, for whom I have only the
greatest respect. Baba Booey. Oh, and "lesbian" isn't a dirty word
anyway, nana.
5. For Writers only
You will uncover nuggets of resources that will be incredibly helpful on your journey to write
and publish your own book. You'll just have to suffer through the fun
stuff to uncover them. Think of it as a treasure hunt.
Chuck, America's Funniest Recipes and the movie Rating Board all want
you to read this book (and probably Ben and Howard, too). I wouldn't
mess with any of them. So it's no coffee for you today -  you have a
hormone level to lower.

Living Backwards by Tracy Sweeney (Excerpt)

CHAPTER 5 - Jillian

My head was still spinning as I walked back through the front doors of the school. I had tried unsuccessfully to calm my nerves and regroup before heading to see Danielle. The arrival of an obviously premenstrual Luke Chambers did nothing to ease the tension I was feeling. Luke was nothing at all like I had expected and I’d admit that I was more than a little disappointed. Just seeing him leaning against the brick wall with that ridiculous mess of hair, the worn motorcycle jacket and requisite bad boy cigarette caused my mouth to start watering. His attitude, however, left a lot to be desired. But despite his obvious annoyance, in the end he offered up an invitation to crash his hiding place again if I felt like it. Technically, I didn’t need his invitation, but the sentiment was there. He was trying not to act like a jerk. I just didn’t have the time or the energy to deal with him, so I decided I’d definitely stay away from his spot behind the gym from now on. I needed to focus on the task at hand. And my task was in Room 312 for World Lit.

Danielle could never get over the fact that we sat just a few seats away from each other in World Lit but never spoke. I didn’t find it as hard to believe since I didn’t speak to anyone in any of my classes. She was also bitter because she felt she would have done a lot better in the class with my help. I remembered Danielle being pretty chatty in class and getting detention fairly often so I wasn’t sure my study guides would have really helped. Fortunately for me, all of Danielle’s complaining made it easy for me to retain some memory of this class—that along with my love for the works that we covered. Finding my seat two desks in front of Danielle wouldn’t be a problem. The problem was that my run-in with Luke didn’t leave me much time to think up a good excuse to plan a study date with her.

It wasn’t until I walked into the room and looked at the blackboard that everything fell into place. If things with Luke had gone smoother, I might have been fully convinced this was heaven. On the board was a quote: ‘O, I am fortune’s fool!’

We were reviewing Romeo and Juliet for the final exam. And we were obviously focusing on the scene after Tybalt’s death where Romeo sees himself as a victim of fate instead of taking responsibility for his role in the deaths of both Mercutio and Tybalt. I knew the exchange from Act III very well having studied it in depth for a class on Shakespearian Literature in college. But even if I hadn’t had the scenes from the play burned into my brain from the grueling papers I needed to write, I would know this scene by heart because of Danielle. I had watched Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in Romeo + Juliet probably two-hundred times. Danielle had a really, really unhealthy obsession with Leo. I didn’t complain. It was common ground for us. I loved Shakespeare even if it was butchered. She loved Leo reciting…well, anything. She made such a spectacle of herself watching his movies. With Romeo + Juliet, she’d whisper Juliet’s lines along with Claire Danes while gazing longingly at the television. The first time I saw her doing it, I couldn’t help but make fun of her. I mean, she was swooning and sighing like a schoolgirl. But after she threatened to steal Joan and hide her from me, I decided that I would just need to get used to hearing both Claire and Danielle recite the lines together. Now I was finally beginning to see the payoff for all of the times that she yelled “Jillian, thou art a villain!” at me for not playing along.

Time seemed to move very slowly as I waited to speak to Danielle. At the end of class, Mr. Gilbert passed out a sheet of possible essay questions for the final. I hung back, pretending to study the sheet as I watched Danielle pack up her tote. As she passed my desk, I stood up quickly, bumping into her and causing her books to spill all over the floor.

“Oh my goodness!” I cried. “I’m so sorry!” I added, bending over to help clean up the mess. “I was just so distracted by how hard those essays look.”

“Oh, no worries,” Danielle replied in her usual airy tone. “And if you’re worried about the final, I might as well call it quits!”

“Don’t be silly,” I said shaking my head. “I’m sure you’ll be fine. I definitely need a refresher so I’m renting Romeo + Juliet tonight.” I watched her eyes grow wide. “If you’re going to study, you might as well have a little DiCaprio eye candy to keep you sane.”

“Leo?” Danielle groaned. “Best movie ever, Jillian. If Leo starred in all of the Shakespeare adaptations, I swear I’d get an A in this class.”

“Well,” I began trying to sound unsure of myself, “You’re welcome to drop by. I know it’s a Friday night, but I figured I’d curl up with some popcorn and watch the movie.” And now for the pièce de résistance. “Maybe make some Pad Thai.”

“Pad Thai? You know how to make Pad Thai?” Thanks to my Food Network buddy, Alton Brown, yes I do. “I love Pad Thai,” she added dazed and wide-eyed.

“Then it’s settled,” I replied. “Leo and Pad Thai at my place tonight.”

“Oh no,” she whined. “I have plans with Megan tonight, and I try very hard not to cancel on Megan. You do not want to see what she’s like when you cancel on her.”

I’d been there many times and completely agreed. Like the time I tried to cancel plans to go to the Giants game because Mark Jensen asked me to a study group he was hosting at his apartment. I assumed she’d understand. I mean, Mark Jensen…in his apartment…discussing The Philosophy of the Marquis de Sade. I thought it was a no-brainer. Megan disagreed, spending an entire evening schooling me on the fact that we choose “bros before hoes”. Needless to say, I didn’t attend the study session and went to the Giants game with my bro instead. However, this was an easy problem to fix.

“You could invite her along. Does she like Pad Thai?” I knew the answer already. She liked when I added in the peanuts.

“Are you sure?” she asked hesitantly. “I hate to impose, but I’ll be honest, if you make Pad Thai and Megan finds out I didn’t invite her, she’ll never forgive me. You have to go to Tacoma to get even a subpar dish.”

“It’s really not a problem,” I replied. “I need to run and pick up a few things after school. So why don’t we say five?”

“Perfect! I love Girl’s Night!” She responded bouncing on the balls of her feet. “I can bring the movie. I own it.” With a small wave she turned and left, practically skipping out of class.

I was close to skipping myself. I had another hurdle to clear first, though. I knew Danielle and I would fall into an easy banter. That’s how we were. Megan was going to be tougher. It had taken her some time to open up when we were at NYU. I didn’t know what to expect since Danielle always said that Megan was a little grumpy in high school. I guess that’s what happens when the guy you like decides he’d rather date a football.

I managed my way through last period gym by feigning an injury so that I didn’t need to relive the horror of volleyball. I didn’t feel the slightest ounce of guilt. Volleyball should be outlawed under the Geneva Convention. In what other sport do poor unsuspecting players get torturously and repeatedly beaned off the head with large balls? Gym was God’s way of sticking it to the uncoordinated.

I made my way back to my car pleased that the day went so well. As I climbed into my car and started the ignition, I heard a large sputtering sound and looked across the parking lot to see Luke Chambers riding an old vintage motorcycle around the rear of the building near the auto shop. My mouth began watering again. Luke Chambers on a motorcycle. God, I wished he had never spoken. His attitude was such a major buzzkill, but he was still damn pretty to watch. I forced myself to stop ogling and headed to the supermarket. I knew my parents wouldn’t have tofu, shrimp or some of the other ingredients I needed for Pad Thai. I had a lot of ground to cover and not a lot of time to do it in.

Pulling into the parking lot, I planned to run in quickly, grab a few ingredients and get home as soon as possible. I wanted to pilfer some beverages from the liquor cabinet, and I didn’t want to get busted if my mom and dad were due home. Timing was everything.

Sprinting through the aisles, I was easily able to find the shrimp and the noodles that I needed. It was when I went to grab a package of tofu that I realized my problem. Normally, I marinated the tofu a day in advance, but since I had no time, I needed to tweak the recipe. But it had been so long since I had cooked it without the marinated tofu that I forgot which type I was supposed to get instead. Maybe it was finally the shock of everything around me, but I found myself frozen in the organic foods aisle staring at the packages in front of me in a full panic. I took a step back trying to search for a name brand that rang a bell when I stumbled over something—or actually, someone.

“Oh sorry,” the tall man I nearly plowed over said. As I looked up, I noticed his sharp and distinguished features. He was wearing a tweed blazer with elbow patches. I wondered if they even manufactured blazers like that anymore.

“Oh no, I should apologize. I’m just having a minor meltdown,” I replied with a half smile.

“Well, tofu can do that to you,” he laughed.

“I’m not as insane as I look. I’m just planning on making Pad Thai for dinner and because I need to switch up the recipe, I can’t remember if I need the dry tofu or the tofu in water and….” I stopped and realized I was babbling to a complete stranger. “Maybe I am as insane as I look.”

“Well, if it’s any consolation, my wife is an amazing cook and she uses the dry tofu,” he added smiling.

“You’re a life saver,” I replied breathing a sigh of relief.

“Not a problem at all. My wife’s writing a cookbook. I eat, sleep and breathe recipe ingredients. Tonight is osso bucco night.” He seemed very excited and I was a little jealous. My mom wasn’t the best cook around. She tried, but her flavoring was always pretty bland.

“Well, enjoy your osso bucco and thank you again,” I replied with a small wave.

“Good luck with the Pad Thai.”

I brought all of the items to the checkout and headed home. I needed to remember that although my situation was ridiculous, I need to refrain from assaulting people in the grocery story.

Back at Casa Cross, there were no cars in the driveway. I had yet to see my mom since she was already at the hospital when I got up this morning. I assumed she’d be home but no one was around. It was the perfect opportunity to raid the liquor cabinet that in my adolescence I never even imagined opening. In the den, I opened the bottom door to my mother’s hutch and inhaled the intoxicating scent of commingled alcohols. Come to mama. But as I perused the selection, it became apparent that the bottles inhabiting the liquor cabinet must have been gifts from people who clearly did not like my parents: Seagram’s VO, Midori, a couple random bottles of wine and my nemesis, Captain Morgan. I was desperate. Captain, I’m willing to call a truce if you are. I grabbed the brown bottle and headed to the kitchen as the phone rang.

“Hey, honey,” my dad greeted.

“Dad, why aren’t you home? And where’s mom?” I asked, clutching the bottle to my chest.

“That’s why I’m calling,” he began. “She got stuck at the hospital because one of those yahoos called out sick. I’m gonna pick her up after my shift and head over to Capanelli’s for dinner. You want to come along?”

I did a little dance in place. Capanelli’s was in Tacoma. They’d be gone for hours.

“Oh Dad, I wish I could,” I replied, sounding as disappointed as I could. “But I asked Danielle Powers and Megan Dunn to come by and study for our World Lit final.”

“Don, who?” He snapped into the phone.

“Relax, Dad. Megan Dunn. Megan’s a girl.”

“Oh. Okay. Well, we’ll miss you, but we’ll try not to be late.”

“No worries, Dad. You’ll just be coming home to a bunch of giggling, obnoxious teenage girls. Take your time.”

“In that case, we should probably go to a movie too!” he laughed.

It didn’t surprise me that he wasn’t concerned leaving me alone. I had never given him any reason to believe that I wasn’t one-hundred-percent trustworthy. I felt a twinge of remorse as I realized this would be the first time I broke any of their rules. But it was only a twinge.

“Have fun, Dad. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”

“Have a nice night, honey.”

Hanging up, I looked at the clock to see that it was almost five. I grabbed a large pan from the kitchen cabinet because I knew they wouldn’t have a wok and began my preparations. Fortunately, part of my prep was to sample the rum to make sure it was suitable for my guests. I was a thorough hostess.

At five, the doorbell rang.

“Jillian!” Danielle beamed, embracing me in the doorway. “You know Megan.” Meg walked through the door and gave me a half smile, her eyes narrow. I knew that look well. It was the look she gave Val every time we’d run into her. My best friend just gave me the Val Smile. This was not good.

“Hi Megan,” I said, pretending I didn’t know she was obviously unhappy to be there. “Come on in. I was just having a beverage.” I raised the bottle of rum, and I thought I saw something spark in her eye, but it was probably her body’s automatic response to its proximity to alcohol. She was partially to blame for my corruption in college, after all.

Handing them each a rum and coke, I began cooking.

“So Megan, you like Pad Thai?” I asked goading her into a discussion.

“It’s all right,” she shrugged. “There’s a good place in Tacoma we go to.”

“Please, Meg,” Danielle interrupted rolling her eyes. “Spice and Rice is the worst. There’s almost no taste to it! Jillian, I can’t wait to see how you make it!” she added enthusiastically.

It didn’t take long to pull all the ingredients together and serve up the noodles. Unfortunately, Megan’s foul attitude was making me feel very uncomfortable. I needed to break the ice, but my idea was risky. Megan and I had bonded over a common enjoyable pastime: making fun of Danielle. It sounded mean, but Meg and I were a little dark and cynical. Danielle, on the other hand, was like an adult version of Pollyanna. How can you not make fun of a real live Disney character? But I needed to tread lightly.

“My parents are in Tacoma for the evening,” I explained. “I think my dad wanted to avoid a house full of giggling teenage girls. But I’ll level with you. I’m not braiding anyone’s hair or playing Truth or Dare. In fact, I think we need to keep giggling to a minimum.”

“I had no intention of braiding your hair,” Danielle replied defensively. “But I brought my make-up case. You should totally be wearing darker colors. You’re a winter.”

“Sorry,” I added. “Let me restate the ground rules. No giggling, braiding, truth or daring and no makeovers. Other than that, let’s enjoy our girl’s night!” I looked over to Meg and noticed that her scowl had morphed into a small, tight-lipped smile. I was making progress.

After finishing our dinner and wowing the girls with my culinary prowess, I suggested we bring our drinks upstairs and watch the movie in my room just in case my parents decided to come home early. It was mostly for my benefit. Since I had now reconciled with Captain Morgan, I felt that we should spend some quality time together. Danielle pounced on my bed, flopping against the pillows like a ragdoll.

“So, I booked a limo for the prom last night,” she began with a dreamy look in her eyes. “I just can’t wait. It’s going to be the best night of our lives.” It was amazing how we truly believed those things in high school. “And you, Megan, need to decide who you’re going with,” she added, shooting Megan a pointed look.

“It’s just the prom, Danielle,” Megan replied unimpressed.

“It’s not just the prom, Danielle,” she imitated. “It’s The Prom, with capital letters. Right, Jillian?”

“Well, prom really isn’t my thing,” I replied cautiously. No use pretending. I was well aware that no one was going to ask me, and I was psyched that I’d get to relive that humiliation again. Really I was.

Danielle gave me a strange look. “You’re the second person to say that. Wait!” she shouted.

“What?” I replied nervously.

“Do you see what I see, Meg?”

“See what?”

“Jillian.” She motioned to me like I was the prize in some game show.

“Yes, I see Jillian. Are you already drunk?”

“Of course not. This is perfect!” She wasn’t making any sense, even for a possibly drunk person.

“I agree. I’m pretty awesome,” I replied confused. “But perfect? No.”

“I meant for Luke Chambers!”

“Luke?” I replied incredulously.

“Yes, he said those exact words to me yesterday.”

“He told you he was awesome?”

“No, silly. He doesn’t think prom is his thing either. You should go together and be all anti-disestablishment together.”

“That’s not a real word, Danielle,” Megan added.

“Yes, it is,” she countered.

Irregardless,” I interrupted rolling my eyes. “I think we’d kill each other if we were forced to go to the prom together.”

“Speaking of killing each other,” Megan interrupted with a look that screamed she had a good story to tell. I was just grateful for the diversion. “Major girl fight in the cafeteria today. Did you hear that Mike Wakefield asked both Karen Larson and that freshman Jen to the prom? Instead of kicking his ass like they should have, they started scratching and pulling at each other’s hair. Karen’s extensions came out. It was amazing!”

I snorted. “I don’t understand the lure of Wakefield. He’s a mouth breather.”

“A what?” Danielle asked.

“You know…someone who doesn’t breathe through their nose so they always sound like an obscene phone caller when you talk to them.” I was startled by the belly laugh that escaped from Megan.

“She’s right! He sounds like he’s run a marathon every time he talks to me,” she mused. “And sometimes he gets this gross spittle in the corner of his mouth.”

“I know!” I squealed. “I was paired up with him for a project once and I spent the whole time trying not to look at him because the spittle on his lips made me gag.” While it didn’t last long, I got a small smile out of her, and it wasn’t the one that looked like she smelled something bad. Fess up, Meg. You like me. I rock.

“Getting back to Jillian,” Danielle began. “I think you and Luke would look so good together. He’s a winter, too.” I needed a new diversion.

“Danielle, what did you mean when you said that Meg needed to decide who she was going with? Is there a waiting list?”

“She’s had five different offers,” Danielle explained. “Three of which are pretty decent, but she has yet to answer any of them.”

I was fairly certain that I knew why Megan hadn’t accepted any of the offers. I just needed her to confirm it. I couldn’t let the opportunity to ask about Nate pass by.

“Is it because you’re waiting on someone else?”

“No, no,” Danielle answered for her. “She’s just stubborn and likes to torture me. So, you need to pick one, Meg. I say you should go with Grant. He’s always been very sweet and he’ll look great in a tux.”

Meg was either extremely uncomfortable or found the laces on her Reeboks fascinating. I think my buddy Captain was working his magic on her, as well. Tell the truth.

“I’m right, aren’t I?” I added. “Who is it?” Danielle’s head shot up and she furrowed her brows.

“Megan Dunn, are you seriously holding out on me?” Danielle chimed in.

“It’s nothing,” she replied, picking at the soles of her sneakers.

“It’s not nothing, Megan, if that’s the reason you clam up every time I mention the freaking prom.”

Megan took a deep breath before looking up, clearly not wanting to discuss this with us.

“Who?” Danielle asked softly. “Why can’t you tell me?”

“Because it’s embarrassing, all right? He doesn’t even acknowledge my existence! I’ve tried everything and he doesn’t even glance my way. I feel so stupid.”

“Maybe you’re just going about it wrong,” I offered letting the alcohol do the talking.

“Jillian, I don’t need any advice on how to land a date,” she snapped. I had to remind myself to tread lightly.

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Genre – Chick Lit

Rating – PG13

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Website http://www.tracysweeney.net/

Orangeberry Book of the Day – Surrender by Melody Anne


Raffaello (Rafe) Palazzo takes what he wants with no regrets. Arianna (Ari) Lynn Harlow has led a charmed life until tragedy strikes her family. He’s looking for a no-emotions attached mistress, she’s looking for redemption.

They are not a pair that should ever work, but undeniable attraction and devastating tragedies bring them together in the city by the bay where he fights to keep their relationship nothing more than an enjoyable way to meet his needs, and she battles to not lose herself in him. Spending time with Ari starts cracking the hard shell that Rafe has built around his heart, but he denies the affect she has on him until it’s too late to stop the inevitable conclusion that their relationship is headed for.

Rafe once believed in happily ever after, coming from a large Italian family. He’s got the Midas touch, since every endeavor he tries turns to gold. That all ends when his wife walks out the door and leaves him blindsided. His devastation quickly turns to steel when he decides no woman will fool him again. From that point on he treats relationships as nothing more than business transactions where both party’s come out mutually benefited.

Just when Ari has sunk to the lowest she’s ever been she finds an ad in the paper announcing a job that’s too good to be true. It turns out she’s right. She makes it through the intense rounds of interviews only to find out the job is for a mistress to the powerful Rafe Palazzo, owner of Palazzo Enterprises. Rafe gives her a day to think about whether she wants the position or not, and she’s sent on her way, only to find out her mother’s near-terminal position has taken a turn for the worse. Her mom’s only in the hospital because Ari messed up, and her mother’s the one who paid the price. Is Rafe her savior, or will he take her with him straight to the depths of hell?

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Genre – Contemporary Romance

Rating – 18+

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Website http://www.melodyanne.com/

Orangeberry Book of the Day - Too Many Secrets (Cleo Sims Mysteries) by Lynn Osterkamp

Chapter 1

December 11

Waves of nausea overwhelmed me as I rushed into Turley’s Restaurant at noon that icy December day. A blast of hot air smelling of fish, burgers, onions and such sent me careening to the ladies room to avoid puking on the dining room floor. Amazingly, once I was inside the safety of the stall, I managed to avert the worst, containing my sickness to dry heaves. I hurried out to the sinks to make myself presentable for my lunch meeting with Bruce, the local dot-com millionaire who funds an experimental project that is a major part of my grief-therapy practice. I was a wreck. I'd had a miserable morning, I was late to a meeting with Bruce who prizes promptness, and my shaky queasiness exacerbated my anxiety about why Bruce had summoned me.

As I calmed my breathing and dabbed at my face with a wet paper towel, the ladies room door flew open, letting in a tall blond woman wearing designer jeans and a red ribbed turtleneck, topped with a necklace of multicolored glass beads. My best friend Elisa, looking stunning as always. We both jumped in surprise, then she darted over and enveloped me in a welcome hug. “Cleo? Honey, you look under the weather. Is the morning sickness getting worse?”

“Shhh,” I said. “Let’s not spread the news all over Boulder.” I wasn't ready to tell the world about my pregnancy, since I was only three months along, and Pablo and I aren’t married. So far Elisa and Pablo are the only ones who know.

Elisa pulled back, looking up and down the room. “Sorry for the blabbing, but you know me. Sometimes my mouth works faster than my brain. The good news is it looks like we’re alone in here. Now let’s fix you up a little,” she said, straightening my sweater. She grabbed a comb out of her bag and worked some magic on my hair.

I felt better right away. Elisa is like a big sister to me. The kind of sister who knows how to do stuff you don't, but never makes fun of you. She just helps.

“You’re a lifesaver,” I said, “but I have to run. I’m already late for my lunch meeting with Bruce.” I headed for the door.

Elisa waved me on. “Oh—you’re meeting Bruce! Well hang in there, honey, and call me later with the scoop.”

Back in the dining area, I scanned the room a couple of times. Didn’t see Bruce. Deep breath. Maybe I’m not as late as I thought? But no, there he is sitting with a petite dark-haired woman in a booth next to a brick wall. Unexpected. Bruce is a brilliant guy who works all the time. Divorced. No social life. Who is this woman and why did he bring her?

I hustled over to their table and slid into the booth across from them, my mind on autopilot running through possible menu choices that my gut would be willing to tolerate. “Sorry to be late,” I muttered, hoping my winning smile would distract from my tardiness. “Good to see you, Bruce.”

“Hi, Cleo, I thought you forgot. This is my sister, Gayle. She needs your help.”

Whew! A relief on that score. Good to know he hadn’t summoned me to talk about problems with the funding for my Contact Project.

Gayle gave Bruce a poke. “Whoa, Bruce. This isn’t a computer-programming job. It’s personal. Let’s take a few minutes before we dive in.”

“Okay, let’s order first, then talk,” he said, burying his face in the menu.

As we perused our menus, Gayle’s cell phone rang. She answered, and jumped up. “No,” she said sharply into the phone. “That’s not acceptable.” She turned to us. “I have to take this,” she said. “Be right back.” She dashed toward the door, talking intently into the phone with her hand over her other ear to block the restaurant noise.

“Gayle’s a real estate agent,” Bruce explained. “Her phone is her life.”

We sat quietly looking at our menus. Bruce isn’t much of a talker. He’s a techie. Brainy, but basically shy. Even though he’s forty-five and a self-made multi-millionaire, his social skills aren’t well developed. He’s one of those guys who goes around looking at the floor or off into the distance so he doesn’t have to make eye contact. Small talk is definitely not his forte.

Gayle darted back across the room to our booth. “Sorry,” she said. “I’m ready to order if you two are.”

I took a last look at the menu. Turley’s trademark is its healthy food, and in addition to more traditional lunch and dinner entrees, they serve breakfast all day. Knowing I needed protein for the baby, I decided on a garden omelet with mushrooms, spinach, and tomato with toast on the side. Hoped I could get it down with the help of a ginger ale. Bruce ordered a buffalo burger with a side of fresh fruit, and Gayle ordered the sesame spinach salad with the dressing on the side.

“So like I was saying,” Bruce began as the waitress left to turn our orders in, “Gayle needs some help from you.”

I turned to her. “Would you like to tell me about it?”

She took a deep breath and launched in to her story. “You’ve probably heard about the woman who went missing from the Rainbow Lakes Campground in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area a few weeks ago.”

“I did,” I said. “Do you know her?”

Gayle looked down at the table silently for a couple of minutes, her shoulders slumped as if the weight of her problem was a burden too heavy to lift. When she finally looked up, tears streamed down her face. “She’s my best friend, Sabrina—or maybe I should say she was my best friend. She’s probably dead. But they can’t find her and we don’t know what happened to her and that’s even worse.” She wiped her face with a tissue, but her tears continued to flow.

Bruce put his arm around Gayle’s shoulders and hugged her. More empathy than I would have expected from him, but then again until today I didn’t even know he had a sister. All I know about Bruce is what he told me in his grief therapy sessions after his eighteen-year-old daughter died from a drug overdose. He’s such a private person, he would have never come for grief counseling except that his business partner—who saw how paralyzed Bruce was after his daughter’s death—insisted. Bruce’s relationship with his daughter had been stormy for several years before she died, and his deep regrets that they hadn’t made peace had intensified his grief.

Gayle continued wiping her face as she struggled to regain her composure. But I could see grief winning out. "Take your time," I said gently. "I know it's hard to talk about."

Her face crumpled. “I’ve cried so much in the past few weeks that I’ve made myself sick,” she sobbed. “I’m totally devastated about Sabrina.”

She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and collected herself. “Okay. I’m ready to tell you the story,” she said quietly. “I was part of the group at the campground—there were six of us who’ve been friends for years. We each went off separately on our personal journeys and Sabrina never came back. We searched, the rescue groups searched, the dogs searched, the helicopter searched. But no one has found her. And now they’re calling off the search.” She closed her eyes and leaned back in her seat.

The waitress showed up with our lunch. I took a quick bite, which actually tasted good. Bruce spread mustard on his burger and bit in.

Gayle picked at her salad. “I was blown away when Bruce told me about your Contact Project—that he actually talked to his daughter Charlene after she died and how he resolved things with her,” she said, her voice perking up a little. “At first I didn’t believe him when he said you put him in your apparition chamber. It’s so unlike Bruce to have anything to do with the paranormal. He debunks everything. When he told me he reached Charlene, and they forgave each other and said goodbye, I knew it was real for him.”

Bruce put his burger down. “I don’t debunk everything,” he said.

“Ha!” Gayle said. “Remember when I played the DVD of that movie, What the Bleep Do We Know? for you last year? You went on and on about how it misrepresented science, that it was pseudoscience, and quantum mysticism. You weren’t open to it at all, even though so many people liked it that it’s made over $16 million.”

Bruce scowled. “Gayle, the science was unsupported and incorrect. New Age hogwash. One of their so-called experts turned out to be a 35,000 year-old spirit from Atlantis.” Bruce gave her a self-satisfied grin as he speared a chunk of pineapple with his fork and returned to eating.

She laughed and gave him another poke. “Bruce, I’ve told you before, you totally missed the point. The movie is supposed to blow your mind, not engage it in an analysis. It’s about learning to become the creative force in your own life, instead of being a victim of circumstances. My friends and I have watched it over and over. We know group consciousness can change reality. If you looked up from your computer now and then, you’d see.”

They were off the track here, but I hesitated to break into habitual brother-sister banter. Also, I figured Gayle needed a few minutes to relax before we talked more about her missing friend. I focused on my lunch, thankful I could eat without gagging.

Bruce ignored Gayle’s jeers and turned to me. “Here’s the thing, Cleo,” he said. “Gayle needs to go into your apparition chamber and try to contact Sabrina to find out if she’s dead or alive. She needs to know and the sooner the better.”

Uh oh. As soon as Gayle said they didn't know whether or not Sabrina was dead, I should have guessed this was what Bruce wanted. But my apparition chamber is for grief-therapy clients who want to reach a loved one to resolve an issue, not for solving missing-person cases. I didn't want to refuse Bruce's request, but I had concerns about Gayle. “I understand that it’s hard not knowing what happened to your friend,” I said. “But the contact process may not make you feel any better.”

Gayle looked straight into my eyes. “It’s not about how I feel,” she said intensely. “It’s about how Sabrina’s sister Brandi has taken over Sabrina’s house and her son Ian. Sabrina would be furious. She expressly didn’t want that to ever happen. If she’s dead, everything is in trust for Ian, and I’m Ian’s guardian. But Brandi jumped in as soon as Sabrina went missing, and right now she has control. So I need to know if Sabrina is dead or alive.”

“I’m not sure the contact process can answer that question,” I said. “You could try to reach her, but if you do, it wouldn't constitute legal proof of her death, and if you don’t, that doesn’t mean she’s alive.”

Bruce broke in. “Actually I’d already thought of that,” he said. “I want you to do a thorough job. If Gayle can’t reach Sabrina, then the other women who were up there should try. In fact, why not start by meeting with all of them and telling them about the process. Get some of that group consciousness going. I’ll pay for your time—whatever it takes.”

Before I had a chance to think about how else to voice my reservations, Bruce slid out of the booth, stood up, and picked up his coat. “I have to go. You two can go on from here. Gayle can keep me updated.” He nodded at us and headed for the door.

“Oof!” Gayle said. “That’s my brother. Makes his point, and ducks out before the discussion gets complicated. But I suppose you’re used to his tactics.”

I shrugged. I'd have to go along, at least for a while. Not only had Bruce been very generous in funding my Contact Project, all he’d asked of me was that I operate professionally and that he remain anonymous as a funder. So even though the timing wasn’t ideal for me to get involved in a situation that smelled like trouble, I didn’t see any other options. “No problem,” I said. “Here’s my card. Call me and we can set up a time to talk more.”

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Genre - Mystery

Rating – PG

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Orangeberry Blast Off – Sam’s Top Secret Journal: We Spy (Book 1)


Sam’s Top Secret Journal – Book 1: Sam Spies by Sean Adelman. Join Sam as she embarks on her first big adventure in this middle-grade mystery full of fun, suspense…and just the right amount of spying! Sam is a middle school girl living a normal life-except when she is occasionally bullied for the differences kids perceive in her. Sam has Down syndrome. See how she and her brother John work together to find some stolen money, help a new friend and escape real danger in this exciting adventure!

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Genre – Middle Grade Mystery

Rating – G

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Website http://www.raiseexpectations.com/

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Orangeberry Free Alert - Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy: The Templar Chronicles: Book 2 by Jeff Gunhus

Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy: The Templar chronicles: Book 2 - Jeff Gunhus

Amazon Kindle US

Amazon Kindle UK

Genre - YA, Fantasy

Rating - PG

4.6 (14 reviews)

Free until 30 May 2013

After barely surviving the onslaught of monsters that tried to kill him the day before his fourteenth birthday, Jack Templar leaves his hometown on a quest to rescue his father and discover the truth about his past. Joined by his friends Will and T-Rex, and led by Eva, the mysterious one-handed monster hunter, Jack sets out for the Monster Hunter Academy where he hopes to find answers to his questions. Little does he suspect that the Academy is filled with dangers of its own, many of them more terrifying than anything he’s faced so far.

Orangeberry Book of the Day - Intoxicated by Alicia Renee Kline (Excerpt)


“So you are really going ahead with the roommate thing?”  Matthew’s voice crackled over the telephone.

Blake wasn’t sure if her brother’s words were garbled due to her faulty cell reception or if they were laced with emotion.  She had, of course, announced with a flourish approximately six months ago that it had been the appropriate time in her life to purchase her own place.  Up until then, they had been roommates themselves.  But her wildly independent streak as well as a buyer’s market had persuaded her to take the leap into homeownership.  That and the fact that Matthew was still best friends with her ex.

She just never expected to feel so alone.

“Yes, I guess I am,” she replied as she paced her floor.

“And you’re sure about this?” he pressed.

Blake sighed.  No, not really.  But posting a room for rent online and actually having someone sign a lease for it were two entirely different things.  So what if someone was coming to look at the place tomorrow morning?  If things didn’t feel right, she could always lie and say that she had been fielding a lot of calls and that, unfortunately, she had chosen someone else.

“You’re not having money problems, are you?” he continued.

“No,” she responded quickly.  Now that had upset her a little bit.

“Just be careful.” Matthew warned.

Despite herself, Blake chuckled.  If anyone should be giving that advice, it should be the other way around.  Matthew’s indiscretions had been the whole reason that they themselves had been roommates.  Although it had been a terrible, uncomfortable time in both their lives, it had been the beginning of their beautiful friendship.  There was no one else that she trusted as wholly and completely as her brother.  Their past had forced them to lean on each other in a way she never would have imagined when she was younger, and they had ended up on the other side as better people for it.

Matthew either chose to ignore the giggle or he found the irony in the situation.  There was silence on the other end of the line until Blake whispered her response.

“Always am.”


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Genre – Romance / Chick Lit

Rating – PG13

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Website http://aliciareneekline.com/

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Orangeberry Book of the Day – Killer Abs: A Body (Pump) Horror Comedy by DR O’Brien

Twenty-something accountant Matt Warner enrols at an exclusive weight loss resort with his career on the line should he fail to shed the pounds from his paunchy frame.

Before long the accountant realises that his girth is the least of his problems as there is something deeply wrong with the Phoenix Resort where it’s no gain and all pain.

It’s a serving of full fat fear for the guests who must fight for their lives to survive the week.

Matt Warner is going to lose weight, or die trying.

Killer Abs is an 11,403 word short body (pump) horror comedy, with content for mature audiences.

Previous praise for the Author’s work:

“I think that you will enjoy the way Mr. O’Brien ties everything together and pits some of, if not the most famous characters in literature against each other. The story is fast paced with lots of action and adventure: a very enjoyable read and I wholeheartedly recommend it”

“Luckily for is it seems that D R O’Brien is tainted with just enough craziness to pull this task off. O’Brien has breathed new life into these well known and well loved characters. Thrilling, horrific, and funny at the same time which is no mean feat… O’Brien is a talented writer.”

“Shakespeare’s characters duking it out with Lovecraft’s creatures? Sign us up immediately!

“All very inventive, clever and ghoulishly entertaining… Bizarre, baroque and amusing…”

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Genre – Horror

Rating – 18+

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Orangeberry Book of the Day - For the Future Generations (For a Generation) by Anastasia Faith (Excerpt)

For the Future Generations

[Book 1 of the "For a Generation" series]

Alamogordo, New Mexico

The sun set over Alamogordo, New Mexico and night fell in the desert. Thick black clouds shifted over the horizon, contrasting the orange sky above, and casting shadows on the barren landscape.

In one mound of sand and rock sat an underground house with a tan roof protruding from the top of the hill. The residents had built a door in the side of the roof. This remained locked during daylight hours. Inside this house, the Channing family had just finished their evening meal. The women in the family cleaned the last of the dishes, the father worked in his office, and a ten-year-old boy grew restless. The boy had a head of strawberry curls, a round face, and deep blue eyes.

He scampered down the hall and pounded on his father’s office chamber door. His father, Kelvin Channing, a college professor, would be grading the day’s homework or preparing assignments for the next school day.

“It’s Declan,” he called.

“Yes, Declan?” Kelvin answered through the door. “What do you want?”

“Laken, Chaslyn, and I want to go outside.” Declan said. “Is it safe?”

“It’s 8:00,” Kelvin said. “I don’t see why not. Remember to wear your coat.”

Declan glanced at the clock on his touch screen music device. He and his two sisters had to stay indoors until after dark because his sisters, being conjoined twins, were frowned upon in the eyes of the culture.

In Declan’s day, “handicapped” individuals were those who could not contribute financially. They required government assistance and were considered a burden to society. These handicaps could be something as simple as inseparable conjoined twins, or as severe as major cerebral palsy or quadriplegia. Benevolent medical professionals would simply deny them healthcare, while the majority would euthanize them, with or without a caretaker’s permission. At their doctor’s warning seven years before, Kelvin and Ayla Channing had relocated with their three-year-old triplets—Declan, Laken, and Chaslyn—from Kansas City, Missouri to a desert in New Mexico, hoping it would be safer. Several families who were close friends with the Channings had also come to ease the adjustment. They had scheduled their days so the triplets would be able to spend time with their friends at night.

Removing his coat from a hook near the front door, Declan slipped into it. His sisters came into the living room after they had finished cleaning the kitchen. They too were becoming restless, and the Alamogordo evening beckoned them.

“Did Dad give us permission?” Chaslyn asked.

Declan nodded and assisted Laken and Chaslyn into a special joining coat tailored for them, since they joined at one of their forearms. They piled into an elevator that led to the roof. The elevator opened, and Declan unlocked the door. They stepped out onto the sand and raced down the side of the hill to their “fort”, a crude structure constructed of logs stacked so they overlapped each other. As the evening progressed, the children’s friends arrived and joined in the imagination games.

Over their playing and laughter, Declan could hear a transporter door slam shut and then footsteps approaching. As they grew louder and came closer, Declan became increasingly concerned. All of their friends were with them, and others rarely visited the deserted area.

“Wait here,” he cautioned his sisters. “I’m going to see where that noise is coming from. Guys, keep your guard over them for just a minute.”

Fearing the worst, he left them in the fort and stole away to track the source of the footsteps. He scampered a few feet down the path behind their house. He saw a silhouette several feet in front of him, standing in the glow of a transporter’s headlights. As it came closer, he perceived a middle-aged man holding a flat nylon case.

“Who are you?” Declan demanded. “Don’t come any closer.”

“Declan, I can’t tell you much,” the man replied hurriedly, as if in a rush. “You need to trust me. My name is Mr. Wilcox; I’m a time traveler.”

Mr. Wilcox handed Declan the case. He unzipped it and found an electronic notepad. Opening a side compartment, he pulled out an automatically recharging payment card or ARPC for short. Declan searched his face for an explanation, both of the contents and of the fact this stranger knew his name.

“Keep this book a secret.” Wilcox instructed. “When the time comes, you’ll know who it’s for.”

“What about the ARPC?” He questioned. “Dad opened an account for my sisters and me, but only because he has a job; they’re linked to his. This card’s number isn’t the one on mine.”

“It will be in about thirteen years.” Mr. Wilcox said, “Remember, I’m a time traveler.”

Declan powered up the book so he could read the content, only to find it blank. He flipped it over in his hands and toyed with it, trying to discern why it would not grant him access. He pressed the bottom of the device. It squawked and a negating red light flashed.

“What happened?” He asked the man.

“I set the privacy so only the future recipient can open it. Underneath the electronic device is a fingerprint reader. It’s programmed for only my fingerprints and the person who will receive it.” Mr. Wilcox explained. “There’s an unlocked note at the beginning that I addressed to you.”

With these words, Mr. Wilcox vanished into the night and Declan focused his attention on the unlocked message.

“Declan Channing,” it instructed, “return to the place where you met me at 7 in the morning on May 1st, 2130, when you are twenty-seven. Bring this book with you. On June 30th of 2130, leave the ARPC I gave you—and your FBI badge—at the Indianapolis, Indiana branch of the bank where your account is.”


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Genre - Christian YA Fiction

Rating – PG

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Orangeberry Book of the Day – Betty’s Child by Donald Dempsey


“Heartrending and humorous.” Kirkus Reviews

“Highly recommended.” Dr. Alan Gettis, Ph.D., author of The Happiness Solution

“An unforgettable memoir.” San Francisco Book Review

In the tradition of Frank McCourt and Angela’s Ashes, Don Dempsey uses Betty’s Child to tell the story of life with his cruel and neglectful mother, his mother’s abusive boyfriends, and hypocritical church leaders who want to save twelve-year-old Donny’s soul but ignore threats to his physical well-being. Meanwhile, Donny’s best friend is trying to recruit Donny to do petty theft and deal drugs for a dangerous local thug.

Young Donny is a real-life cross between Huckleberry Finn and Holden Caulfield as he tells his story, with only his street smarts and sense of humor to guide him. Donny does everything he can to take care of himself and his younger brothers, but with each new development, the present becomes more fraught with peril–and the future more uncertain.

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Genre – Memoir

Rating – PG13

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Orangeberry Free Alert - Artful Dodger (Maggie Kean Mis-Adventures) by Nageeba Davis

Artful Dodger - Nageeba Davis

Amazon Kindle US

Amazon Kindle UK

Genre - Romantic Suspense

Rating - PG13

5 (4 reviews)

Free until 26 May 2013

Take one funny, wise-cracking artist, one gorgeous, sexy detective, throw in a grizzly murder, a little amateur sleuthing, and you have the makings of a wild, romantic, mis-adventure.
Art teacher and sculptor Maggie Kean thought she was having a rotten day, burning her toast, stubbing her toe, and all before eight in the morning. Things just couldn't get any worse. At least, until the dead body clogs up her toilet. To make matters worse, Maggie becomes the prime suspect. Now all she has to do is evade the police, clear her name, trap a killer...and deal with one mouth-watering, hunky detective who drives her crazy while making her hormones do the happy dance.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Orangeberry Free Alert - American Ghoul by Walt Morton

American Ghoul - Walt Morton

Amazon Kindle US

Amazon Kindle UK

Genre - Horror

Rating - PG13

5 (12 reviews)

Free until 24 May 2013

AMERICAN GHOUL tells the story of seventeen-year-old Howard Pickman, a boy with odd problems. He just got dumped into the worst high school in the state of New Jersey, but that's nothing compared to his secret family history of digging up corpses for dinner. This is a novel filled with the creepy funkiness of the 1970s, a bygone age of punk rock, bad disco and muscle cars roaring through hot summer nights. AMERICAN GHOUL explores the good times of teenage friendships and the darkness at the heart of American youth. It's a fun, scary, and zany look at a time when being a teenager was so dangerous you just might have to be a monster in order to survive.

AMERICAN GHOUL is recommended for readers from age 13+ on up. If you lived through the 1970s, a few flashbacks are guaranteed, both pleasant and shocking.

Orangeberry Book Tours – Style, Chic, Trendy, Cheap by Elle Campbell

A past graduate of Parsons School of Design, Elle Campbell held internships with companies such as BCBG Max Azria and MTV and had worked in merchandising and buying for contemporary fashion companies like True Religion and Juicy Couture. Now a fashion and lifestyle writer, Elle Campbell really knows what she is talking about when she is using her years of expertise to inform readers how to have an expensive looking wardrobe, luminous skin, red carpet worthy make-up and more and it is all on a budget. Now women with any kind of paycheck can spend less and save more while looking more fashionable that ever.

*A step-by-step guide on what looks chic and what looks cheap.
*Dressing for your body type- The Do’s and Don’ts.
*All the essential makeup, skin care, shoes, accessories and clothing that will never go out of style.
*Hairstyles that are affordable, easy-to-do and will best compliment your face shape.
*Easy-to-do (organic and non organic) ways to pamper your face.
*Outfit ideas for various occasions and much much more!
*A list of affordable yet stylish online beauty and fashion stores to check out.

Now with ‘Style, Chic, Trendy, Cheap’ every woman of every age can afford to look like a million bucks, making her feel both confident and drop dead gorgeous.

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Genre – NonFiction / Beauty & Fashion

Rating – PG

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Website http://truefashiontrends.com/

Orangeberry Book of the Day - The Hunter’s Son by BE Jewell

Chapter 2

“You know who I am and you know what he is, so you better start talking. I saw him come in here earlier.” The stocky man slams his hand down on the table. He keeps his eyes locked forward and squeezes his hand, making the veins in his forearm pop.

This elicits the desired response, and James has to fight back a smile. The owner of the grungy little shop nearly jumped out of his skin at the sound of the hand slamming on the dirty laminate counter top. It’s the typical type of place a sympathizer might own. Funneling black market goods might pay the bills, but this guy certainly isn’t getting rich off this line of work.

“Look man, I don’t know what you’re talking about. So you better buy something or…” James’s hand shoots out and grabs the shop owner’s neck. A slight squeeze cuts off his voice with a gargle.

“Don’t you lie to me. The smell in here is enough to make me puke. One warlock doesn’t smell up a joint like this,” James says through gritted teeth. “I saw him leave here earlier and have been chasing him since. I lost him when he jumped off the fifth floor of the parking garage over on Beaubien Street and took off toward the river. Tell me where he stays and maybe I’ll let you live.”

He squeezes just a bit tighter and the shop owner’s eyes bulge just slightly from his now-purple face. A noise squeaks from his collapsing throat that sounds enough like agreement to allow James to release his grip. The shop owner rubs the red area where the incredibly strong hand was affixed and clears his throat loudly.

“He’s gonna kill me. Ya know it’s true, hunter,” the shop owner says in his new, gravelly voice.

“Either him or me.” James opens his jacket and taps the gun sticking out of his waist band. Surprisingly, this doesn’t get a rise out of the man behind the counter.

“That supposed to scare me? You know what that warlock can do. He’s not normal. The things he will do to me will hurt far worse than getting shot. Maybe I should just let you shoot me and get it over with.”

James looks at the mousey man and puts his hand on the butt of his gun. The man might be afraid of the warlock but he is clearly more afraid of dying. He can barely stop the words from spewing from his mouth.

“Alright, alright. Ya better get him though, or we’ll both be dead. He hangs out in Milliken Park down on the river. It’s off Atwater Street. Not that I care if you live, but you better be careful, hunter. Like I said, this warlock is different. Got some powers I haven’t seen in a long time.”

“Oh, dontcha worry about me. Believe it or not I know what I’m doing.” James walks to the door. “And if he isn’t there, I’ll be back. No need to worry.”

The air outside the shop is cool, even for September in Michigan. James regrets not dressing warmer. His body shivers, partly from the cold but mostly from frustration. He does not usually have this much trouble and rarely has to run like he has today. The air burns his lungs like he is breathing boiling coffee. The money he was paid isn’t worth all the trouble this warlock has given him and the thing doesn’t look much older than JC. Should have asked for hazard pay, he thinks to himself.

James heads down the street toward the area he believes is the park. His mind is preoccupied with thoughts of JC and his first day at yet another high school. He bumps into an older couple walking with bags of groceries. Cans and boxes scatter all over the sidewalk. He scrambles to help the folks clean up their food and moves on quickly. He can’t let anyone get a good look at him. If things get ugly with the warlock, he can’t have the local news putting his description on TV.

He generally prides himself on staying anonymous. No one will mistake him for a body builder, but James is sure that most people would not want to run into him hiding in an alley unless they have some sort of power. Despite his stocky frame, there is nothing particularly striking about James. Most would say he looks fairly ordinary. Not strikingly handsome but not ugly either. He could be an accountant when he isn’t wearing army cargos and a black hooded sweatshirt. Hopefully the old couple was so startled they forget everything about him.

It’s nearly dark when James reaches the park. The acidic stench of the warlock hangs on the air and almost ruins the beautiful park set inside the city. The park is completely out of place. Trails lead in every direction and trees line numerous lush green clearings. It would be easy to forget about being in the city altogether.

James heads toward a raised walkway at the edge of the river, letting his nose show him the way. This would be the perfect place for a warlock to hide out. Plenty of space to watch potential victims. It would be easy to snatch someone, drag them into the woods and perform a spell without anyone seeing. Wouldn’t matter how elaborate the ritual, the trees would provide ample cover. One day having a nice picnic in the park, the next kidnapped and waking up to a nightmare–a warlock having stolen their identity or, worse, having made them do terrible things all while they were completely unaware.

This sentiment makes James shudder. He shakes his head and moves further up the river walk. The cold has driven most people out of the park. Only a few people stroll down the walkway, fighting the strengthening breeze. About fifty yards ahead, James sees someone that sparks his interest.

Sitting alone on a bench is a young-looking man wearing an oversized coat. James stops and breathes deeply, but the wind at his back makes it hard to tell if the warlock is close. He takes a step forward and the man bolts off the bench. James rips the gun from his waist and levels it at the young man.

He begins to squeeze the trigger but feels a rumble under his feet. Before he knows it, his shoes are no longer touching the ground. The river walk crumbles into the water below. He hits the water with arms and legs still trying to find steady ground. He surfaces as quickly as possible, gasping for air.

Thankfully, the water is still warm from the summer. James looks up and sees a huge hole in the walkway twenty feet above him. He looks around, sees a ladder 100 yards down the river and lets the slight current drag him toward it.

The wind bites at him as he reaches the top rung and pulls himself onto the walkway. He strips off his soaked hooded sweatshirt and scans the area. He sees movement in the distance between some trees and reaches instinctually toward his waist for his gun but comes up empty. He stares into the river knowing his favorite piece is long gone.

He turns and walks away from the tree line, back toward the city. He doesn’t know what to do without his gun. Hunting has evolved in the last 200 years or so to the point that he has become reliant on shooting as an answer to his problems. It’s no longer necessary to burn a witch, and using a pail of water always had its problems, anyway. Fire does a fine job just like it would with any animal, but a bullet does the trick a lot easier. It takes a hunter a long time to realize they do not need to stock up on garlic and wolfsbane to ward off evil spirits. Silver bullets do work a bit better than the junk from the sporting goods store and nothing beats a wooden stake up close, but who really wants to get that close? Plus, there isn’t always time to drive a stake in the ground or spread a salt ring to protect yourself.

The problem is everyone thinks witches and warlocks are busy running around a castle in England fighting bad wizards with wands, but that just isn’t true. If people knew how heartless these creatures are, they wouldn’t let their kids dress up like them on Halloween or stand in line to see movies glorifying them.

James moves quickly away from the park, putting as much distance between himself and the warlock as possible. After ten blocks, he sees an alley and ducks in to rest and get his bearings. This wasn’t supposed to be so difficult. It’s just a young warlock, he thinks to himself as he crouches next to a dumpster.

A few smaller trashcans help hide his position but are too small to hide his broad shoulders. He sits down on the dirty ground and takes in his surroundings. He could not have picked a worse place. This is the kind of alley even a bum wouldn’t sleep in. Whoever is dumping trash here doesn’t care if it ends up in a dumpster or not. At least the smell of rotten fish is a welcome change from the warlock.

Something crashes off to his left and James shakes his head to clear the cobwebs. He glances down the alley but nothing appears out of the ordinary. Just a bunch of kids horsing around out on the street. A boy picks his grimy body up off the ground and starts after his friend. James’s heart beats way too fast and he takes a deep breath. It rolls out of his mouth like smoke and he pats the area where his gun should be again.

“Getting way too old for this. I guess this will have to do,” he whispers as he slowly pulls the six inch blade from his boot.

Suddenly, his nostrils fill with a depressingly familiar smell. Even the rotting fish in the dumpster can’t cover it up. He looks around but sees no one in the alley. His body tenses at the eerie lack of movement out on the street. People should be moving about at this time night, especially in a busy town like this. Maybe they are all down the street a bit. Daylight is gone now and he cannot see much beyond the edge of the buildings. That smell is strong. It seems to come from all around him. He inches slowly around the trashcan and into the alley. He turns toward the main street at the end of the buildings and takes one step forward, quickly glancing over his shoulder.

A blinding pain shoots through James’s throat as a thin, but incredibly strong, forearm slides around it. He lets out a terrified yelp for the first time in years as he loses the grip on his knife. It clanks on the concrete like a church bell ringing. James struggles to get out of the warlock’s grasp. He can feel its hot breath on the back of his head and the smell begins to burn his nostrils. If he could breathe, he would puke. James’s head whips back and he can see an old, broken fire escape above him. He did not notice it before. Such an obvious hiding spot, he can’t help but think.

“What do you want with me, hunter?” The warlock hisses in his ear.

Rancid breath fills his nose, and he can feel heat radiating off of the warlock’s body. He does not understand why the warlock would have a conversation at this point. He has been shooting at it all day. He did not hesitate to try to kill, why would this creature give him this type of courtesy? If he could get to his knife he would stab straight through the thing’s heart. Instead of killing him, the warlock is more concerned with James’s job description. Compassion is not their strong suit. No negotiating with a hunter or with a monster. The rules of war are being broken. The forearm begins to release a little pressure in anticipation of his answer and he gasps for air. His lungs are really on fire now.

“It’s nothing personal. Just a job,” he chokes before the blinding pressure returns to his throat.

James sees the witch’s mark on the creature’s forearm move as the muscles strain to block air from his lungs. Curious things, those marks. Often they look like any ordinary tattoo, with criss-crossing in varying patterns depending on the clan. This particular one is in the shape of the letter “Y” with two lines running through the curved stem. It is the only way to be certain that you have a witch or warlock on your hands and not just an extraordinarily smelly person. Every one of these creatures is born with the little symbol. It really would be fitting if this mark is the last thing he ever sees.

“JUST A JOB,” the warlock snarls. “IT’S NOT A JOB, THIS IS MY LIFE! You hunters seem to think you are the only things on the planet with a life. I did nothing to no one. Understand that? You need to learn that things bigger than you are going on all the time. Maybe in the future you won’t be so quick to shoot at someone who isn’t bothering you or your family. Next time the consequences might be far worse than today. Next time I will rip your heart from your chest. Believe me, I better not see you ever again.”

Everything goes black as something thuds against James’s head.


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Genre – YA Supernatural Thriller

Rating – PG13

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Website http://www.jewellbe.com/

Blog http://jewellbe.blogspot.com/