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Friday, September 17, 2021

Grenade Bouquets Runaway Train Book Two by Lee Matthew Goldberg

 


Grenade Bouquets
Runaway Train
Book Two 
Lee Matthew Goldberg

Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Wise Wolf Books
Date of Publication: August 5, 2021
ISBN: 978-1953944078
ASIN: B093G4T9PL
Number of pages: 286
Word Count: 70,000

Tagline: “I’m a time bomb, a cannonball, I destroy everything around me.”

Book Description:

I had stars in my eyes and I couldn't see around them...

The year is 1995 and my parents have finally allowed me to take the summer to tour in a VW van across the country with my boyfriend Evan and our band. Yes, my dream to be a singer became reality. Even with Clarissa, Evan's jealous ex-girlfriend, as the lead singer, it's my presence on stage that led us to a major record deal. There are moments you'll always remember in life, but I can't imagine anything more cool than hearing your song on the radio for the first time.

But being a Rockstar isn't as easy as it sounds. Using alcohol and drugs as coping mechanisms, nothing but tension surrounded me, hurting my still blossoming relationship, and continued grieving over my sister's death.

A love letter to the nineties and a journey of a girl becoming a woman, Grenade Bouquets charts the rollercoaster ride of a band primed to explode on the scene, as long as they keep from actually exploding.



Excerpt:


I’m barefoot on a roof deck, maybe it’s my own, I dunno. Life has been a series of tour buses and motels recently, but I think this is that place the band rented down on the Lower East Side. Everyone hates me and I’m left alone in a huge railroad apartment with a fire escape that twists up to a roof and barely any railing to keep me safe. I have a joint in one hand that’s surprisingly still lit in the rain and a trusty bottle of Absolut Citron in the other. I’m wearing a baby doll pale blue dress, the one I rocked during the Grenade Bouquets set when the A&R manager said he was gonna make us stars. I once heard that when you’re looking at stars in the sky, you’re already looking at the past and they’re already dead. I’m seventeen and I can completely relate.

I’m over myself and have been looking into the past so much, I might as well be dead.

I chug from the bottle, the excess liquid spilling down my cheeks like hot tears. What lands in my throat, burns and my eye twitches...I’m so bombed. My makeup has run all over my face and made me into a clown. I pity whoever will find my ghastly remains. I bring the joint to my lips and suck as the cherry flares, the smoke streaming through my nostrils. I’m a dragon in pursuit. Three stories down below, a sea of umbrellas await. I think of Kristen.

Her spirit no longer visits and I understand. She has better things to do than deal with the living. My sister has been gone now for over a year, and sometimes I forget the sound of her voice. I wake up in the middle of the night frantic that I’ve lost it, and then a glimmer reappears—a whisper in her high pitch calling me back to sleep, aware of how my insomnia can plague me. She would be so proud of my success as a singer and for me to live my dream, not realizing that it was killing me as well. I don’t remember the last time I went to bed sober. I feel distant from everyone I used to care about. Evan can’t even look at me anymore. I’m Nico the Beast, a whirlwind intent to destroy.

If you heard me on the radio, you’d be jealous. I’m that girl you wish you could be. My song like a spit in the face, a baby Courtney Love with scabbed knees, dark red lipstick, hair
dyed so much it’s fried, a scowl for a smile. And then in the next song, I’m scrubbed clean, my dress full of flowers rather than ripped, my bruises bandaged, my makeup a light touch rather than an onslaught, singing about love and hope and everything that grunge is not. Because grunge is dying. Kurt Cobain solidified its end and the record companies can smell it. A future of sugary happy pop awaits. What will they do with me, with any of us? We’re already that dying star. Might as well help give them a push.

The rain has risen in tempo, a drumbeat on my skull. The joint has gone out and I toss it into the crowd. It disappears into the ether, like I will soon. I picture my obituary, the phrase ‘One Hit Wonder’ highlighted. All I’ll ever be. But I don’t have any more songs in me. My quill is broken, my heart has followed—I’m sick of myself.

I raise my arms like Brandon Lee in The Crow. Evan and I saw that at the Angelika, an artsy movie theater down on Houston St., which I mispronounced like it was the city Houston. We toured Manhattan that day, the first time either of us had been: hand in hand through The Met and wandering down paths in Central Park, sneaking through the Plaza and pretending I was Eloise, hot chocolates at a place called Serendipity, his blue eyes never letting me out of his sight. I never imagined I could be so in love. Only a short time ago but might as well be a lifetime, those blues will never look at me in the same way again. I’m tarnished, I’m filth. I heard a song called “Only Happy When It Rains,” and it couldn’t be truer. Miserable people feed off misery and that’s all I have to give.

I wonder what my mom and dad will say when they have to identify my body. They’ve both found new lives with new loves that will be a shoulder for them. Maybe they’ll be relieved.

Back home, my friend Winter has her own shit to deal with and brought Jeremy into her drama, so they’ll mourn but are preoccupied enough to only think of me in passing. I know that’s what they do now. They are still in high school and I’ve dropped out, promising my folks I’d get my GED, but I never did. And high school seems so pointless and far away. I’ve lived in the real world. I’ve skipped down New York City streets with crack vials crunching under my feet. Out of spite I’ve let a man inside of me whose name I didn’t even know. I’ve crowd surfed over a hundred bodies chanting my name. I thought I was in love and never want the pain of it ending ever again. I’d rather be numb. I’d rather be gone.

My feet are cold against the tar of the roof, the toenail polish chipped and starting to fade. I give another swig until the bottle is empty. I aim to launch it into the sky, not caring who I’d hit down below. I climb onto the edge, wobbling, teeth chattering, knees knocking, singing a Matthew Sweet song to the world, to this dark city where I never belonged, so far from a home. “But I’m sick of myself when I look at you, something is beautiful and true. World that’s ugly and a lie, it’s hard to even want to try.”

My vocal chords are raw from the vodka and pot, my tears make everything blurry. I go to pitch the bottle and my foot slips from a slick of water. I lose my heart as it leaps out of my throat and I think I’ve gone over the edge, plummeting headfirst to my death. But I fall backwards, smacking my head on the tar. The grey clouds above go in and out of focus until they disappear entirely. My eyes have shut but I can see the night sky, and one little star, so dead but so bright, guiding me not to slip into unconsciousness, praying for my survival. Like a diamond it glows brighter, and I think that maybe it’s Kristen’s eye, somewhere up in heaven, winking at me to stay on Earth for a little longer because I haven’t finished all I intended to do, as the rain washes me pure, its drumbeat now playing Letters to Cleo’s beautiful, simmering song, “Here and Now,” while I travel back to what led me to become these twisted remains once called a girl. 

About the Author: 

Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of seven novels including THE ANCESTOR and THE MENTOR, currently in development as a film off his original script, and the YA series RUNAWAY TRAIN. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the Prix du Polar. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in The Millions, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, LitReactor, Monkeybicycle, Fiction Writers Review, Cagibi, Necessary Fiction, Hypertext, the anthology Dirty Boulevard, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Underwood Press and others. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City. 

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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

This Morbid Life No Rest for the Morbid Book One by Loren Rhoads

 



This Morbid Life
No Rest for the Morbid 
Book One
Loren Rhoads

Genre: Non-Fiction/Memoir/Horror
Publisher: Automatism Press
Date of Publication: August 22, 2021
ISBN:  978-1-7351876-2-4 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-7351876-3-1 (ebook) 
ASIN: B09C11J43W
Number of pages: 200
Word Count: 58 K
Cover Artist: Lynne Hansen

Tagline: What others have called an obsession with death is really a desperate romance with life.

Book Description:

What others have called an obsession with death is really a desperate romance with life. Guided by curiosity, compassion, and a truly strange sense of humor, this particular morbid life is detailed through a death-positive collection of 45 confessional essays. Along the way, author Loren Rhoads takes prom pictures in a cemetery, spends a couple of days in a cadaver lab, eats bugs, survives the AIDS epidemic, chases ghosts, and publishes a little magazine called Morbid Curiosity.

Originally written for zines from Cyber-Psychos AOD to Zine World and online magazines from Gothic.Net to Scoutie Girl, these emotionally charged essays showcase the morbid curiosity and dark humor that transformed Rhoads into a leading voice of the curious and creepy.



Excerpt from "Anatomy Lesson":

I had a lot of preconceptions when it came to handling corpses. I’d imagined myself standing before a wall of stainless-steel freezer drawers like at the Mortuary College in San Francisco. In my imagination, the cadavers were draped with crisp white sheets. The bodies would be antiseptic. I expected them to be frozen. I thought everything would be as clean and neat as a television morgue.

The cadavers would be male, of course. I thought I could depersonalize a dead man more easily; I might empathize too much with a woman as the scalpel in my hand sliced her flesh.

Tom quickly rearranged my expectations. “Three of the four cadavers here are female,” he said. “I usually start people out with the women, since they’re the most taken apart. That’s a little easier for people to deal with.”

The bodies weren’t kept in refrigeration units. Instead, they were already waiting in the front of the classroom, lying in long stainless-steel bins with wheeled legs and a hinged two-piece top. When Tom folded the top open, clear fluid spilled onto the floor.

“Condensation?” I hoped.

“And some preservative,” he answered. When the worst of the runoff had stopped, he let the top hang down and opened the other side.

I was amazed we’d been in the room with the bodies all along. One of my memories still clear from ninth grade dissection was the horrible, headache-inducing smell of formaldehyde. I was glad preservative technology had improved.

A length of muslin floated atop the brownish red liquid. Blood, I thought immediately, and recoiled. Too thin for blood, it looked more like beef broth. Pools of oil slicked the surface.

“See that handle there? You can help me by turning it.” Tom moved to the far end of the tank.

There should have been scary music playing as we cranked the cadavers out of the fluid. As the bodies slowly rose, the muslin took on their outlines. Through the shroud, I saw bared teeth and the flensed musculature of jaw. Two corpses lay head to feet. The skin had clearly been flayed from their muscles.

If Tom had made them twitch, I would have leapt out of my own skin.

He pulled on some heavy turquoise rubber gloves and folded the muslin so it shrouded both faces and one entire body. The other lay revealed. Her skin had been stripped away. She had no breasts. The muscle fibers of her chest were very directional and clear, the raw color of a New York strip steak. Some of the muscles on her arms had been removed to show the bones and tendons beneath. Her fingertips still had nails and skin. The skin was the color of dried blood.


About the Author:

Loren Rhoads is the author of 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die, Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel, a space opera trilogy, and a duet about a succubus and her angel. She is also the editor of Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues: Tales of the Unsavory, Unwise, Unorthodox, and Unusual and Tales for the Camp Fire: An Anthology Benefiting Wildfire Relief. This Morbid Life, her 15th book, is the first in the No Rest for the Morbid Series. Book 2, Jet Lag and Other Blessings, will be out in 2022.




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Monday, September 13, 2021

Beyond the Song by Carol Selick

 


Beyond the Song
Carol Selick

Genre: Autobiographical Fiction
Publisher: BookBaby
Date of Publication: July 13, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-09838-369-5    
eBook:  978-1-09838-370-1
ASIN: B099GNT5F2
Number of pages: 284
Word Count: 74,000

Tagline: A classic tale of a girl-gone-wrong-gone right.

Book Description: 

Beyond the Song is an autobiographical novel based on the author's coming of age in the 'sixties and early 'seventies. A singer-songwriter like her alter-ego Carol Marks, Carol Selick begins each chapter with lyrics she wrote and still performs today. Taken together, the songs introduce the themes of her story and trace the development of her character as she rebels against her strict suburban upbringing to join the counter-culture in hopes of fulfilling her dream of making it in the music business

The narrator relates her tale in a warm, vulnerable, and irrepressibly zany voice as Carol goes to school in Washington DC, drops out to take a pilgrimage to Berkeley, and eventually winds up living in New York in pursuit of making it in the music business. Torn between romance and career, she continually wavers. Her quest for freedom lands her in a series of dangerous situations and narrow escapes: she hitchhikes in California at the time of the Manson murders, attends anti-war demonstrations that turn violent, and is nearly arrested when her boyfriend is nabbed in a drug raid. 

Along the way, the narrator also meets two important guides who help her sort her priorities, take herself seriously, and develop her considerable talents: Rose, a pioneering black woman songwriter based on hall-of-famer Rose Marie McCoy, Carol's real-life mentor; and Bruce Pasternak, a fictionalized psychoanalyst who helps her establish the self-assurance to stand on her own two feet at a time when female singer-songwriters had few role models. All inform the heroine's lyrics and narrative voice as she gradually learns to believe in herself, discipline her talent, and turn her heartbreak into song.

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Excerpt


CHAPTER ONE
NEW YORK CITY, 1971
 
When I was just a little girl, my Daddy said to me,

“A man’s gonna come and love you some,
That’s your Daddy’s prophecy.”
But it keeps on a-worryin’ me,
Oh Lord, it keeps on a-worryin’ me.

I stood on the corner of 72nd and Columbus Avenue feeling like a human want ad. I had a copy of the Village Voice in one hand and an unlit cigarette in the other. I was out of matches. And then I heard a voice behind me. “Looking for an apartment?”

I turned around. He was older than me and definitely not my type with his professional, straight look and short brown hair. But he had a sweet smile and his round, wire-rimmed glasses revealed soft blue eyes.

“How did you know?”

“I saw the paper. Do you need a place to make some calls? I live right up the street.”

“Why not?”

It wasn’t the first time I’d gone with a stranger to his place, and the July heat of the city was getting to me.

We exchanged names on the way to his apartment. Marvin Silverman—lawyer, liberal, almost thirty and climbing. Linda Marks—hippie, singer, twenty-two and drifting.

“Far out, you have a nice place!” It was on the third floor of a classic brownstone very close to Central Park.

“Thanks. It’s small, but I like the neighborhood.”

I walked toward the bay windows in the living room where a telescope was mounted on a tripod. There were no curtains or blinds. I wondered what that was about, but didn’t want to ask.

“What’s that building across the street?”

“That’s the Dakota. A lot of famous people live there like John and Yoko.

“I love New York! I can’t wait to move here!”

“Where do you live? On the Island?”

“No way! I live in Jersey with my parents, but that’s only temporary.”

I fumbled in my bag for a cigarette and started to feel nervous.

He was pretending to be hipper than he really was. He probably got stoned on the weekend and came to work on Monday wearing a three-piece suit. It’s as if he climbed to thirty and didn’t know whether to lead those behind him or follow those in front. I was glad that I didn’t have an identity problem. I did have an apartment problem, though, and couldn’t get side-tracked by this weekend hippie.

Ten calls and five lewd propositions later, I was still without a place. I thanked Marvin for the use of his phone.

“Next time you’re in the city, give me a call. Maybe we can do something.”

“Sounds good, Marvin.” I knew what “do something” meant. I threw his business card in my bag, the purple woven one I’d bought from a street vendor in Berkeley the day I’d left California, and ran down the stairs to meet my friend. I hoped she’d had better luck than me finding a place.

I rushed to catch the Broadway uptown bus, and by the time I got off at 86th Street, Marvin Silverman had completely left my mind.

I was meeting Nina at Professors, a typical uptown neighborhood bar. People dressed down and the prices climbed up. Its inhabitants were considered native New Yorkers. That meant they’d lived in the city for at least one year, but not necessarily in the same apartment.

“Any luck?” I asked Nina. I knew what her answer would be by her tired look and the pile of cigarette butts in the ashtray. Even her curly red hair looked droopy.

We’d been friends since eighth grade and had managed to stay in touch throughout college.

We’d rebelled in different ways. Nina was very serious when it came to politics. She sometimes asked her friends, “Are you political?” If someone answered, “a little,” she would ask, “Can you be a little pregnant?”

Nina also had a fun side and we laughed a lot. Like the time we were hanging out in my bedroom at my parents’ house and my father knocked on the door. He walked in wearing my mother’s blue and green paisley tent dress. It was 1968, and bell bottoms were all the rage. “Do you see how silly you girls look wearing bell bottoms?” Dad asked with a straight face. “Just as silly as I look wearing a dress.” Nina and I were hysterical. In a couple of years Dad would change his mind about bell bottoms and the Vietnam War.

Three rounds of sodas and one heaping ashtray later, Nina and I headed out of the bar to Port Authority. Sitting on the downtown bus, I remembered meeting Marvin.

“I met a really nice guy today,” I informed Nina.

“Oh yeah?” she kidded me.

No really, he let me use his apartment to make phone calls.”

“I bet that’s not all you made.”

“You have a dirty mind! Look! He gave me his card and asked me to call him the next time I was in the city.” I started digging around in my bag. “I can’t find it!” I exclaimed hopelessly, looking up at Nina sitting by the window, skeptically arching her eyebrow at me. “Hey, wait! This is his street! Let’s get off the bus—let me run up and say hi.”

I recognized the brownstone and ran up the steps leaving Nina waiting on the sidewalk. Why was I even bothering? Was I flattered that an older man had shown interest in me?

When I rang the doorbell Marvin opened the door wearing a half-buttoned shirt and a confused look on his face.

“Gee Marv, I didn’t mean to bother you. It’s just that I lost your card and I was passing by and—”

“Yeah kid, that’s okay. I just can’t talk to you now. Give me your number. I’ll call you up sometime.”

I scribbled my number on the back of a matchbook and caught up with Nina who was already halfway down the block.

“I’ll probably never hear from him again. He wasn’t my type anyway, too straight,” I told her but I secretly wanted him to call.

It seemed like Nina and I were spending most of our time in Port Authority. It was the dirtiest gate to the city, a haven for every degenerate and vagabond. I took a deep breath and boarded the Suburban Transit bus back to the ’burbs.

I was twenty-two, had dropped out of college, moved to California, run out of money, and moved back home. I hated riding on any kind of public transportation. It was sort of a phobia. I had a lot of fears, like being stuck in an elevator—or worse, a subway. Sometimes I had trouble eating in restaurants. But nothing was going to stop me from living in the city. My one goal was to make it in the music business and New York was the place to be. I was taking my music seriously, practicing my songs every day on the French Provincial piano at my parents’ house that I’d unfortunately branded with a cigarette burn. Carole King, Laura Nyro and Carly Simon were my idols and I was determined to follow in their footsteps.

My mother, a junior high social studies teacher, described my life as “the Perils of Pauline.” My father, a self-made business man, just thought I was lazy. Both were relieved I hadn’t found an apartment in the city. They were waiting for the day when I would wake up and come to my senses. They told the relatives that I was finding myself and wondered when they had lost me.

They’d told me many times that I was a follower and that my friends were the reason I’d dropped out of college, wore bell bottoms, smoked cigarettes, and wanted to live in the city with no cross-ventilation in the middle of July.

“Linda, telephone!” I heard my mother shout the next evening. She put her hand over the receiver and whispered, “It’s a boy.”

“Linda, this is Marvin. You know, we met on the corner of 72nd Street?”

“You really did call! I thought you were just giving me the brush.”

“I wouldn’t do that—I’m a lawyer, remember? We always keep our word. What are you doing Friday night? You want to go to dinner and a movie?”

“Are you asking me on a date?”

“No. I don’t go on them anymore. I’m being spontaneous.”

“Far out, Marvin! I’ll be there.”

He was my first older man and I was ready for him! I’d always been drawn to stories like My Fair Lady, Pygmalion and Gigi, where older, more worldly men influenced younger, naïve women and then they fell in love.

Getting ready to go to Marvin’s, I looked in the mirror and ran my fingers through my hair. Nearly black, contrasting sharply with my light, freckled skin, it was long and wavy in winter, but frizzy in summer. I’d given up trying to straighten it and just let it go à la Janis Joplin. I’d read that she ironed her hair on an ironing board. Since I rarely ironed my clothes, I decided that wasn’t an option.

It was liberating not to worry about my hair, and so was not wearing a bra. Liberated women everywhere were giving them up and burning them. Besides, I was thin enough to get away with it. The Indian print tops I wore with my jeans looked fine without one. I felt perky, sexy and hip.
I checked myself out in the mirror. My lips were small and I never bothered with lipstick. I picked up my eyeliner, the one makeup I always used, and underlined my hazel-green eyes with black pencil on the lower lids. One of my college boyfriends had described my eyes as sideways exclamation points. Of course, he was stoned at the time.

“This is the first apartment in New York that hasn’t given me claustrophobia,” I announced, sitting on the couch at Marvin’s. The kitchen was small, but the living room was large with high ceilings and two bay windows. I hadn’t seen the bedroom yet. The telescope was still pointed towards the undraped windows. I had to ask.

“What’s with the telescope, Marv? Are you into astronomy?”

“You might say I’m into sociology. I like to check out the people in the apartments across the street. Everyone does it in New York.”

“Oh. So you let them study you, too? There’s no drapes on your windows.”

“Sometimes. It doesn’t matter. No one knows who I am.”

I tried to hide my nervousness. I was in a strange man’s apartment in the middle of a strange city. I reminded myself it was nothing compared to all the hitchhiking I’d done in California a couple of years ago, back when the Manson murderers were still on the loose.
“I really should be a good boy tonight, Linda.”

“What do you mean, Marv? I thought you were a man.”

“I should take you out to dinner and to a movie.” And then he kissed me.

What happened next was every girl’s fantasy from the first time she practices kissing her favorite movie star’s face in her pillow. The faces change and the movie stars become rock stars and radicals. But the plot is the same and every Gothic novel describes the hero and heroine’s all-consuming passion.

The speed of our attraction felt like two magnets rushing without question to be one. Of course, in Gothic novels, it always took at least half an hour to get your clothes off, thanks to laced corsets and rows and rows of buttons. But it was 1971 and women went braless, men wore no jockey shorts under their jeans, and clothes were meant to be thrown on the floor.

“Oh, Marvin!” I screamed and Marvin exploded in a fit of laughter. We were positioned like two trapeze artists getting ready for the final jump. The bed was not very high but the risk of falling was tremendous.

“Why did you start laughing? I was almost there!” I couldn’t decide if I was hurt or angry.

“That voice! It was so loud it startled me.”

“I told you I was a singer. And I always bring my voice to bed with me.”

“Sorry, Linda.”

But this was no time for talking. We both remounted our imaginary trapezes, took a few low rides, and started pumping.

I could hardly wait to tell my friends all about it. “Nina, it was the best! And he couldn’t believe I’d been celibate for four whole months! I think it did something to his male ego. He’s definitely not my type, but he’s got money and he wants to show me around the city—if we ever get out of bed!”

We were hanging out at our friend Stevie’s college apartment in New Brunswick. Stevie wasn’t her real name, Marilyn was. I never asked her why she picked Stevie for a nickname instead of Mary, but there were a lot of things I didn’t understand about her. Like why she called her latest painting “Early Morning Blues Sculpture.” I never could figure out why she had stopped seeing her cute astrologer boyfriend, the one who told me that I had divine discontent, to be with a married, forty-something professor. Maybe she liked the challenge, or maybe she’d just listened to too much Janis Joplin. With her platinum blonde Marilyn Monroe haircut and blue-violet eyes, she certainly didn’t have any problem attracting men.

I stopped to take a gulp of coffee. This wasn’t the first time I’d sat at Stevie’s old Formica kitchen table swapping stories about the night before. Instead of housewives trading recipes, we were independent women sharing our sex lives. Women our age all over the country were holding their own roundtable discussions. The men we slept with would have blushed if they knew how thoroughly we scrutinized their sex techniques, no pubic hair left unturned.

After a couple of months, our “morning after” coffee klatches started to influence the “night before.” Nina confessed that the last time she’d had sex with her boyfriend she thought she’d heard the sound of coffee percolating. At first, she thought Louie, an ex-acid rock guitarist who had found peace by playing country music, had the hiccups. Then she realized her mind had started editing, rewriting a blow-by-blow account of the evening’s events. She vividly reenacted how he’d screamed her name at the crucial moment, then afterwards denied it, blaming his questionable utterance on a sore throat from smoking too much pot. He said two people had to be very serious before they called out to each other in bed and he was positive that married people stopped using each other’s names after the first year of marriage. By then they were too busy fantasizing.

“He was just getting scared,” I told Nina. I secretly envied her ability to hold on to men for longer than six months. My record was three months, but who was counting?
Marvin and I were meeting spontaneously on a regular basis. We went to the movies and tried going out to dinner, but I was having trouble eating in restaurants again. Most of the time, we ordered Chinese take-out.

Sex was still exciting and he had gotten used to the sound of my orgasm voice. Sometimes we would stand nude together in front of the living room windows and give the neighbors a show. Then one night we were sitting on the couch and he popped the question.

“I’m thinking of taking a few months off and going to California. Do you want to sublet my apartment?”

“Making the pilgrimage to paradise? If I’d found a job there, I would still be in Berkeley.”

“So, do you want the apartment or not?”

“Yes!”

Nina and I still hadn’t found a place and this was the answer to our prayers. I couldn’t wait to tell her the good news.

“Oh, and Linda—you know your eating thing? I have a friend who could help you with that.” Marvin offered. “He’s the best shrink in the city. Here’s his number. When I get back from California, I’m taking you out to dinner.”

“Thanks Marv. Maybe I’ll give him a call.”

My father packed up his station wagon with Nina’s and my things and reluctantly drove us into the city. It was a sweltering hot Sunday in July and no one felt like talking. I knew my father wasn’t happy about the move, but I was twenty-two and desperately seeking my independence. I’d saved enough money working temp jobs to pay my share of the rent for the next few months.

By then, I hoped to have a job in the city. Even if I had to work a day job in an office
We miraculously found a parking spot right in front of the apartment. Everything was going smoothly until I handed my father the key to the front door of the building.

“Are you sure this is the right key, Linda? It won’t open.” Before I could answer, he yelled, “It’s stuck! I think I broke the key!”

I didn’t need a shrink to figure out the symbolism of my father breaking the key that opened the door to my freedom.

I went down to the corner phone booth and called Marvin. He was staying with his mother in Jersey until he left for California the next day. He said he could get to us in under an hour.
When he arrived, Marvin was a perfect gentleman. He managed to get the old key out of the lock and used his spare to unlock the door. He even helped bring some of our things up to the apartment. Before he left, he told my father in his most serious lawyer voice, “I want you to know, Mr. Marks, that I was never ‘romantically involved’ with your daughter” (code for “I never slept with her”). “We just went out a few times.”

My father grabbed his hand and thanked him.

Just before my father left, he handed me an envelope. Inside was a hundred dollars in cash and a handwritten note:

Linda,
Boys must play and grow
Before they fall in love and know
The beauty and the longing theme
Of a girl’s aching heart and dream.
So, my dear Linda, until then,
Until boys learn to be men,
Please accept a father’s love
That’s as old as you and a true love.



About the Author:


Singer-songwriter Carol Selick performs a repertoire of jazz, rhythm and blues, pop, and her own work, and appears as a vocalist with her husband, jazz trumpeter and vocalist Gordon James. A gifted lyricist, she partnered with Hall-of-Famer Rose Marie McCoy, a songwriter for Nat King Cole, Louis Jordan, Maxine Brown, Ike and Tina Turner, and Elvis Presley.  

Carol co-founded and directed The New Jersey Garden State Opry and New Jersey Children’s Opry, where she wrote and performed original songs. She holds a degree in Early Childhood Education and Music from Rutgers, and taught piano and voice for many years.

Her recordings, Life is Believing in You and Just Gonna Think About Today, feature a mix of standards and originals, and she performs the bluesy vocals on James’s 2019 release, Come on Down, praised in Blues Blast as “piping-hot New Orleans fare, satisfying and spicy with just the right amount of sweet dessert!”






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Friday, September 3, 2021

The Accidental Psychic Annie Prior Series Book One by Carol-Anne Mason

 




The Accidental Psychic
Annie Prior Series 
Book One
Carol-Anne Mason

Genre: Paranormal Murder Mystery
Date of Publication: 20th August 2021
ISBN: 978-1-8384305-0-4
Number of pages: 424
Word Count: 89,560
Cover Artist: Miblart

Book Description:

A horrific train crash turns Annie Prior’s life upside down, by triggering an extraordinary psychic ability that had lain dormant since her childhood.

After being rescued in more ways than one by a dark haired stranger from the train, two fatalities from the accident return to haunt her; and as Annie’s new Clairvoyant and Mediumship abilities grow, she is immersed into a realm of both needy and malevolent souls.

Despite an ongoing battle with her narcissistic family, and a boss with a dark past which continues to plague her, she comes to realise her strange new powers are also there for reasons beyond the present.

She embarks on a life journey helping both the living and the spirit world to gain closure.

But, not all are happy with Annie’s new vocation.



Excerpt

Prologue Southampton

A cold morning in early spring 2017

Unbeknownst to Annie, a mundane commute to London on a train — will change her life forever. A fatigue crack in one of the front wheels of the train’s control car had started to open up, and further up the frozen track, a set of points were waiting for the fail...

Chapter 2 The Crash

The previous babble of voices had now risen to a headache-inducing hullabaloo, prompting Annie to put her earphones in to listen to her favourite track ‘Human,’ from the new Rag’n’Bone Man album. She closed her eyes to concentrate on the haunting words.

Suddenly, the train shuddered, then jerked violently. Annie sat bolt upright and yanked her earphones out. The carriage had fallen silent, everyone froze; all eyes widened just before fear kicked in. Then, an unprecedented sound as loud as an overhead thunderclap exploded through the carriage. The screeching of brakes set the students screaming and running for the exits, tumbling over each other like waves. Some commuters stood still, straddling the aisles, and holding onto anything that was bolted down.

Annie could only watch in terror and disbelief; none of it seemed real.

Then, the impact came. A jolt so violent it sent bodies crunching onto the floor of the carriage. Annie was forced backwards with a massive thud into her seat, knocking the wind out of her. If she had she been facing forwards, she would have been horribly smashed.

The screaming in the carriage had become unbearably loud, with commuters slamming into solid objects. The train rocked on its tracks and tilted violently over to her side; and just—kept— tilting.

Annie grabbed a pole on the aisle side of the seat and instinctively lifted her legs from the footwell below the table, tucking them under her. There was a combined screeching and scraping, whilst brakes and metal sparked and twisted, before the train succumbed to gravity.




About the Author:

Carol-Anne Mason is an artist, writer and at the age of 64, author of the new award winning novel The Accidental Psychic.

She has lead a busy and full life with many professions under her belt including: dancing, writing songs and performing. Hair salons, tutoring at college, running a night club and antique shop. Although, has continued throughout the years with her painting and writing.

Her strong belief in spiritualism has grown since her early teens, after realising her premonitions and intuitiveness was a family trait going back many generations. And after immersing herself into the paranormal world and researching all aspects of spiritualism, she felt herself well equipped to write on the subject. Also her love for reading horror stories from the likes of Stephen King and James Herbert has also influenced her writing.

Carol-Anne works from her home in the rural Hampshire countryside of The New Forest UK. Where she lives with her eccentric husband and Maltese terriers, and spends much of her time with her two grown children and new grandson. Also, res- cuing any animal in need—large or small—often to the annoyance of her patient husband.











Spotlight HTML 2


The Accidental Psychic
Annie Prior Series 
Book One
Carol-Anne Mason

Genre: Paranormal Murder Mystery
Date of Publication: 20th August 2021
ISBN: 978-1-8384305-0-4
Number of pages: 424
Word Count: 89,560
Cover Artist: Miblart

Book Description:

A horrific train crash turns Annie Prior’s life upside down, by triggering an extraordinary psychic ability that had lain dormant since her childhood.

After being rescued in more ways than one by a dark haired stranger from the train, two fatalities from the accident return to haunt her; and as Annie’s new Clairvoyant and Mediumship abilities grow, she is immersed into a realm of both needy and malevolent souls.

Despite an ongoing battle with her narcissistic family, and a boss with a dark past which continues to plague her, she comes to realise her strange new powers are also there for reasons beyond the present.

She embarks on a life journey helping both the living and the spirit world to gain closure.

But, not all are happy with Annie’s new vocation.




Excerpt from chapter 19 The Open Platform

‘Would it be okay for me to continue with this message, Sam? I think I know who’s here for her.’ Sam was clearly relieved. ‘Oh, yes … thank you, my dear.’

Everyone in the hall was relieved too. Annie took the reins, and without faltering continued with the message.

‘I believe your husband is here for you; in fact, he’s standing behind you with his hands on your shoulders. He seems to be steering you in the right direction.’

The lady touched her shoulder, as if to feel her husband’s unseen hand.

Annie smiled whilst she listened to the spirit convey his message. ‘Okay, so this is slightly awkward, your husband has just told me something which I believe is personal to you. Are you okay for me to continue?’

The woman simply nodded, she had never received a message of any consequence before. ‘Well, according to your husband you’re wanting to get married again, but you’re feeling
terribly guilty about it as it’s only been two years since his passing.’

The woman's mouth dropped open. ‘Oh my God, you’re right. How on earth …?’

‘I think you mean he’s right,’ Annie said with a broad smile. The congregation laughed quietly. ‘Actually, he’s giving you his blessing, and really likes your future husband. Was he one of your husband’s friends?’

The lady nodded again in affirmation and put her hands over her face—her emotions erupted. It seemed that everyone in the congregation sighed and teared up too, including most of the men.

Annie began to feel an overwhelming surge of spirits pushing their way in, they had been patiently waiting for years to get their messages across and now finally had someone who truly understood them.




About the Author:

Carol-Anne Mason is an artist, writer and at the age of 64, author of the new award winning novel The Accidental Psychic.

She has lead a busy and full life with many professions under her belt including: dancing, writing songs and performing. Hair salons, tutoring at college, running a night club and antique shop. Although, has continued throughout the years with her painting and writing.

Her strong belief in spiritualism has grown since her early teens, after realising her premonitions and intuitiveness was a family trait going back many generations. And after immersing herself into the paranormal world and researching all aspects of spiritualism, she felt herself well equipped to write on the subject. Also her love for reading horror stories from the likes of Stephen King and James Herbert has also influenced her writing.

Carol-Anne works from her home in the rural Hampshire countryside of The New Forest UK. Where she lives with her eccentric husband and Maltese terriers, and spends much of her time with her two grown children and new grandson. Also, res- cuing any animal in need—large or small—often to the annoyance of her patient husband.











Illusions: Ravens of Darkness Ravens of Darkness Book One by Elle Preston

 


Illusions: Ravens of Darkness 
Ravens of Darkness 
Book One
Elle Preston 

Genre: Young Adult; Paranormal Romance 
Publisher: Lark Publishing Crew 
Date of Publication: November 14, 2020 
ISBN: 978-0578661230 
ASIN: B08NGC23MS 
Number of pages: 269 
Word Count: 84,000 
Cover Artist: Lark Publishing Crew 

Tagline: Nothing is what it seems. Not even love. 

Book Description: 

An ancient cult. A supernatural addiction. A forbidden love. Sixteen year old Evie Willow is terrified of drowning but she's even more afraid of her own feelings. 

When the charismatic and telepathic lifeguard, Talon Renwyck, suddenly turns his affections toward her, Evie’s ability to rein in her feelings is threatened. Talon knows a secret which plunges Evie into the deep waters of her hidden emotions. As she drifts away from the life she knows into Talon’s beckoning arms, Evie learns that Talon is much more than just the handsome guy she’s falling in love with. Caught in a dark and supernatural addiction and tied to a secret cult, Talon is crying out for help. Can Evie save him from himself? 

Is their love the real deal or is it an illusion? 

Nothing is what it seems.

Illusions is the first book in the Ravens of Darkness Series. 

If you like character driven, paranormal romance sagas with supernatural elements, darkly dynamic love relationships, and a hint of magic and mystery, then you'll love the Ravens of Darkness Series. 

Book Two, Reflections, to be released November 2021 

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/EpJdxBUs4Ac  


Amazon      Apple     Kobo     BN


Excerpt

It's freezing here at the top of the sand dune in the dark with the wind off the lake. Alex pulls a hoodie out of his backpack and tosses it to me. I put it on and get a sudden shiver through my body. I tighten my arms around my knees to keep warm. He leans closer to me,

"What are you thinking?" Alex says for the second time tonight. I laugh at that.

“You’re a telepath.  Don't you know what I’m thinking all the time?”

"You wonder why Talon chose you?” he says.

“Maybe.”

“My guess is he’s hung up on you because you’re wound so tight."

"Are you insulting me?"

"No. Just making an observation. Your repressed feelings; not crying for ten years. That’s a lot of tension. You’re a whole bunch of canned heat. You’re probably an amazing rush."

That sounds vaguely obscene like something scratched into the wall of the men’s room at the Cosmic Bowl. For a good rush call, Evie. I shudder to think. “Rush. Why do you call it that?"

"It’s the feeling you get as the energy sweeps through you. There’s nothing like it." Alex looks me in the eyes. I was addicted. I was a morphi, He thinks to me.

Was. Alex said he was an addict, but doesn't that mean he’ll always be one? I ask him how it works. How does a person take another person’s energy? What are the mechanics of it?

What’s the procedure? He says that the human body has energy vortices just like the Earth does. There are seven of them, basically starting in the pelvis and going up the spine to the crown. Morphi (energy addicts) access energy through the vortex at the neck. The throat is the easiest portal to access.

That sounds a lot like vampires to me.

"You girls and your vampire fetish,” he rolls his eyes. “I think it’s where vampire mythology started,” Alex says. “Morphi are the real vampires. Psi vamps. Cultures evolved the myth over time into bloodsuckers, but it all started with energy.”

“Describe it. What happens?"

He tells me to imagine what it’s like to be gasping for air and just when you think you can’t hang on anymore someone gives you oxygen. "It’s insanely satisfying, but hard to explain." He rubs his hands together.

"C’mon, I want to know," I pester him.

He takes my hand and rolls back the sleeve of his sweatshirt I’m wearing. He gently turns my palm face up. “Here.” He rubs his thumb in a circular motion on my inner wrist. "You put your pulse point on the base of the throat near the thyroid gland. It’s one of seven energy pools on your body." He touches his own throat, guides my wrist toward it, holds it against his skin for a moment. His skin is soft against the inside of my wrist.

"After a few seconds your wrist gets warm, your pulse quickens, your nerve endings start to tingle, your blood feels hot." He stretches my arm across his lap and squeezes my wrist. His grasp is strong. "The tingling feeling starts to move, slowly at first, all the way up, getting stronger and faster as it travels."

He slides his finger up my arm, holding me with his eyes and rests his hand on my shoulder. "It overwhelms you as it shoots through your heart and lungs. You gasp for breath and for a moment it feels like drowning. Scary, blurry, helpless. Then you stop gasping and you breathe deep."

Alex closes his eyes and I notice the corners of his mouth turn up as he remembers. "Electric energy floods your body from the top of your head to the bottom of your spine. It rushes through your mind, stimulates the pleasure center of your brain and suddenly you have unbounded energy to do whatever it is you will: manipulate water, control fire, levitate." His hand is still palm to palm with mine and he looks at me with those strange grey eyes. "When it’s over, you can’t think of anything else except how much you want it. Do you know what it’s like to want something so bad?” “Oh...um...I don't know," I lie.

I slide my hand away and wrap my arms back around my knees, but I’m no longer cold.



About the Author:

Elle Preston is the author of the Ravens of Darkness series, a young adult, paranormal romance saga. Illusions, Book One, is her debut novel. Book Two, Reflections, is set to be released November 2021. She is currently working on the third book in the series. Elle lives with her husband, five kids and several fur babies near the shores of Lake Michigan and the Indiana Dunes where she sets her novels.




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