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Book Blitz: Anya Chases Down the End by Jeffrey Yamaguchi @jeffyamaguchi @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #YABooks

We are so happy to share this book with you today! Check out Anya Chases Down the End by Jeffrey Yamaguchi! Read on for details and a chance to win a digital edition of the book!

Anya Chases Down the End by Jeffrey Yamaguchi
Young Adult, Contemporary, Novella

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A missing book is about to write the story of her life — before she even gets one.

Recent high school grad Anya doesn’t just want to write the great American novel — She wants to publish it, too. So she has faked her way into a summer internship at a major New York City publishing house thousands of miles from home in order to pursue her dream career at an accelerated pace. But her shaky, clandestine plan — which includes camping out in the office and surviving on leftovers from the pantry refrigerator — is completely upended when she loses track of a coveted manuscript by one of the biggest authors in the world. Off she has to race into the late night streets of New York City to track down the manuscript — to save her internship and preserve her cover story, not to mention her best-laid career plan — before the sun rises and her boss is back in the office.

Come along on the madcap quest in this standalone YA novella filled with secret door venues, abandoned subway stations, concealed backrooms and crash pads, mysterious missed connections on old school rotary phones, electric alleyway kisses, and revelatory poetry hiding in plain sight. 

I wasn’t usually invited to the toasts. And technically, I wasn’t invited to this one, but because I was pulled into the last second effort to put it together, at the very least I’d get to mill about in the group of people raising glasses, as opposed to the usual: being huddled over in my cube, my work-a-day motions provided with the soundtrack of everyone else in the office having a good time.

“Anya, what are you still doing here?”

The big boss — Francine — was looking at me like I had failed to rush to the vet a deathly sick puppy that was lying at my feet.

“I was just about to leave, Francine.”

“You do know how important this is, right?”

As a matter of fact, I did know. Because literally one minute earlier, when she was tasking me with picking up the champagne for the toast, had told me just that, in tones usually reserved for someone who was being given the responsibility of delivering a package that contains the formula for an antidote to the virus that is in the process of wiping out the entire human race.

I had spent the first 30 seconds excited that I would get to be a part of the toast — so excited that you would have thought that I was going to be personally thanked. Not going to happen. Still, it felt like a little bit of publishing history was happening, and I was going to be there to witness it — maybe even showing up in some photographs that many years from now, would end up in the biography about my long and storied career as a writer AND publisher who transformed the literary landscape. Or, more realistically, maybe they’d just end up on the publishing house’s Instagram page, and I could share the photo so all my friends would see me making it big in the big city. Not now, of course — I didn’t want to social expose myself and ruin everything in the real right now (more on that later), but at some point in the future, when I’ll probably need to show photographic evidence to case close on everyone that I really did spend six whole weeks of the summer in New York City working at a publishing house.

The inside-my-own head revelry of both the toast and the future brag did not last long, however, because it hit me like a seven layer chocolate cake in the face — while I’m wearing my favorite summery cocktail dress, no less — that I had no way to actually purchase the champagne.

This was double-drag bad — like, not only is the party off, but the house where the party was supposed to be is engulfed in flames. For one thing, Francine expected that champagne to be ice cold and ready to pop in far less time than it was going to take me to get to and from the liquor store that is located just around the corner from the office.

But the bigger issue is that I had no way to actually buy the champagne for the very simple reason that I am not 21 years old, and I don’t have a fake ID.

Yes, it sucks. It sucks to not be able to buy alcohol. Old enough to vote, but not be able to go to bars. Or get into shows, or clubs. But that’s nothing compared to the suckage that is about to swallow up my situation into a deeper and much darker hole. And the situation is this: I am 18 years old and I just graduated from high school, but nobody here knows this. They think I am 21 and about to start my senior year of college, because that is what I told them. At the time that I applied for the internship, it was an impossible lark, and I didn’t really think about any of the consequences of getting exposed as a fabulist because I simply didn’t think it was ever going to happen.

But such an exposure will trigger a cascade of questions and open up the floodgates to a number of deceptions that I’ve had to vocalize, sign-on-the-dotted-line, and sustain in order to pull off what I am literally just one day from totally and completely getting away with.

I know it sounds like I’m a lying, no-good cheat, but to my mind, I applied for an internship in a field I am desperate to break into, got it, and have worked hard during my six weeks here at Teasdale House. While it’s true that I lied about my age, and that I was close to finishing up college, not to mention telling my parents that this was all part of a University program for pre-college students — I wasn’t trying to be deceptive. The false information propping it all together didn’t seem like a big deal at the time. But now, it’s clear to me that there’s quite a few people — and institutions — unknowingly tangled up in the web of deception that I’ve weaved to pull all of this off. If it all falls apart… Well, frankly, I can’t think about that right now.

I dash into the elevator bank, see a set of doors that are in the midst of closing, and jump my way in, like I’m narrowly escaping a mine shaft about to be rocked by a massive explosion.

It wasn’t until after I screeched “Fuck!” that I realized someone was in the elevator with me.

“Good thing you made it! This is the last transport off the literary industrial complex prison module known as the Teasdale House of Strikethroughs and Last-Minute Changes.”

***

Of course it would be Max, or Hot Max as I referred to him in my waking workaday fantasies. I also call him “The dude,” because he’s always the one dude in meetings full of women. He’s one of those forever interns, meaning he’s operating outside the usual seasonal cycle, and people think of him as a staffer, but ultimately, he’s still just an intern. Likely, when he graduates from college, he will get a job at the publishing house. The word is that he’s been promised exactly that. But I have no idea. What I do know is that he’s quite the dapper dresser despite always looking like he was out a little too late the night before. I would occasionally relay messages to him from Francine. This is how our interactions would go:

“Francine would like to see the front cover selections for the Spring list’s lead titles.”

“Okay, I will bring them by in a few minutes, just need to print out the latest versions.”

“Great, thanks,” I’d say, already turned around with my head down.

Pathetic, I know. I made myself feel a little bit better by acknowledging the fact that he probably wasn’t paying close enough attention to me to notice the ridiculously insecure way in which I was functioning, seeing me more as a sentient being transporting messages and documents from one person to another, nothing more, nothing less.

But there was no time for this kind of thinking. In fact, there was no time for thinking at all. The elevator in this shiny and slick new building might as well have been a hyperspace chamber, zapping you instantaneously to whatever floor you needed to get to by the push of a button.

So I just blurted out: “Hey, I just realized I forgot my ID at home. Do you think you could help me get something done for Francine?”

This not thinking thing was really working for me. Not only did I lay the groundwork of the forgotten ID, but I threw in a Francine name bomb. Even if Max was going to try and squirm his way out of helping me out — a fellow intern who never said more than two words to him, if he even remembered anything about me at all — the inclusion of the Francine factor was going to force his hand.

Max swung around and looked me square in the eyes, his smile further lighting up his light green eyes, as well as a no sleep swell to the perfect skin above his everyday, all the time, 5 o’clock shadow. He was holding the elevator door open for me.

“No problem,” he said, with not a hint of annoyance, “Whaddya need?”

***

Fifteen minutes later, the champagne was set up in the conference room, which had an expansive view of the NYC skyline, but most directly looked out upon a residential building that seemed to have some kind of dance studio on one of the floors about midway up the old brick structure. You couldn’t help but catch the movement flowing from that floor, especially after the sun went down. It’s always lit up, and there is always a blur of activity: whirling, gorgeous, flowing bodies moving from one side of the floor to the other.

That’s what I love about the city. It doesn’t make sense that there’s a dance studio in an otherwise residential building, but there it is, and there are people in their dancing, and your eyes can’t help but fall on one particular dancer, who is moving this way and that way, seemingly never touching the ground. As I held in my breath, I realized this dancer’s movement might possibly be the most beautiful thing that is happening on the entire planet at that particular, fleeting moment in time. I’m too far away to actually make out her face. It always strikes me as odd — sad, even — that If I saw this dancer on the street, I would have no idea that this was the person I had been watching flow through the most beautiful of moves, elegantly sweeping her way across the floor in a blur, or balancing herself in a graceful, otherworldly stillness.

***

What I had thought would be a very good thing — standing there with everyone, holding a plastic cup, listening intently to the toast — in reality felt painfully forced and extremely awkward, like I had been invited up on stage to share in the acceptance of an award that I didn’t deserve.

Francine wasn’t a particularly eloquent speaker, but she knew how to command a room. “This is one of many toasts to come,” she began. “There will be many more milestones and even more successes.”

And then, with just the right amount of volume uptick, she proclaimed even more forcefully, “This new book, which Chester just finished, insures all of this and more. This is just the beginning. And oh what a glorious beginning it is. Cheers to you, Chester!”

On cue, people put their hands together and clapped. Chester Fred Morrissey had the look of a man who was used to applause, and no matter how muted it might be, I got the feeling he felt it roll into his ears with pounding thunder. He had a monster hit a few years ago, and that’s a ticket that he, along with everyone else standing in this conference room, plus many others, has been riding ever since.

“I just finished going over the edits with Francine — there weren’t hardly any at all,” he said, a little too heavy on the self-assuredness.

Was that a joke? I wasn’t sure, and I don’t think anyone else was either, because no one laughed.

“I hand it over to you, and I have absolute faith that you will all do your best to share it with the whole world — They’ve been waiting for it, of course, so by all means, carry on with your hard work, full speed ahead!”

Another joke? No one was laughing at all, and though Francine was still smiling, there was the ominous hint of confusion — or was it concern — in that steely, never-let-them-see-you sweat veneer of hers.

“So to the hard work that is complete, and onto the hard work yet to be done!”

People were barely clapping, and perhaps that’s why it quickly became apparent that someone was clapping a little too loudly and far too slowly. All of the sudden, all eyes were staring down on the perpetrator of the obnoxious clapping, which meant all eyes were zeroing in on me as well, because wouldn’t you know it, I had the terrible luck of standing right next to this…. insane person.

I had no idea who this guy was — a disheveled, full-bearded, middle-aged white guy, dressing like an old man wearing the opposite of a custom fit grey suit and, of course, dirty white sneakers. I think I had seen him around before, but I couldn’t quite place him. He definitely didn’t work on this floor.

Before I knew it, Francine was on top of him, smile ablaze but moving too swiftly and with too much purpose to seem like a natural, so good to see you here approach.

Nobody was drinking their champagne. The eyes in the back of Francine’s head must have made her aware of this because she quickly turned around, raised up her glass, and announced, “Cheers indeed!”

She then took a hard swallow from her glass, drinking not in celebration, but to be done with it. With the murmuring reaching its peak, Francine put her arm around the gentleman, whispered into his ear, and ushered him away back towards her office.

I scanned the room and saw that I was not alone in wondering what the fuck was going on — everyone was unified in a look of discomfiting confusion. Everyone, that is, except for Max — he was radiating a bemused grin. I don’t think he knew what was going on, and that was fine with him — he was just enjoying the disarray. He raised up his glass in my direction, kept his eyes locked on mine, and then drank his glass down in one swallow.

***

Just as I’m sinking into Max’s eyes and working to decipher exactly what that was all about — hedging toward the fantasy that Max is actually interested in me — I am immediately struck with an urgent and impossible thought: What if he comes over at this very moment and starts talking to me? Yes, this is what I want, but because I’m a total idiot, I also realize I’d just like to disappear.

It turns out that the disappear option would have been the right choice, because without warning, Francine stomps into my space, grabs a hold of my shoulder, and pulls me in the direction of her office.

Once inside, she shuts the door, and then takes a seat behind her desk. It still feels like her hand is on my shoulder.

Before Francine even has a chance to say anything, and that means I spoke up pretty quickly, I asked, “Who was that guy?”

Whoa. Clearly I was buzzing off the two sips of champagne I had drunk… that, and the buzz I was feeling from the look Max may or may not have been throwing in my direction.

Francine didn’t want to spare the second to compute that I had perhaps spoken out of turn. “He’s not important, never mind him, Anya.”

Then, she got even more cult-leader like.

“What is important is Chester, and the manuscript completion we are celebrating. He arrived today with the last pages — the ending we’ve been waiting so long for. It’s all been reviewed and the pages have been marked-up, including on the stunning new pages that close the novel. The edits just need to be implemented.”

Francine then lets out a sigh of accomplishment, and pauses for effect, before carrying on: “Now I’ve got to go out to dinner with Chester. What I need you to do is go through the marked-up manuscript and the notes, implement all the changes and fixes, and lock down a final draft. Pay special attention to everything, but especially the end. These are the newest pages and they’ve had very few eyes on them — Just Chester’s and mine.”

She was looking at me, and pointing at the manuscript, which was drenched in so much red pen it looked like someone had left it in a room full of school children armed with nothing but red crayons. Clearly, she wanted to see my reaction.

“This has to be done… before the start of the work day tomorrow,” she says sternly. 

“By tomorrow morning…?”

“That’s not a question, right, Anya? That’s your affirmation to me that you understand how critically important this is, and how you will have it done by tomorrow morning.”

She didn’t wait for an answer. She got up, put on her jacket, and opened her office door.

“I know you’re going to have to stay here pretty late to get this done,” she said, in a softer voice than usual. For a moment, it seemed like she was about to show some concern, or possibly, some gratitude, but the next thing I knew, she had raised up her arm and she was pointing a finger in the direction of my chest but seemingly aimed at my very soul.

“Under no circumstances should you remove the manuscript from this office — not even a page or two while you go to get a cup of coffee. And no one — I mean NO ONE — is allowed to step foot in here.”

And with that, she turned and left to go out to her fabulous dinner with the fabulous author in a fabulous restaurant in a fabulous part of the city.

Of course I’m stuck at the office with a pile of work that is sure to keep me here all night. I know what you might be thinking. How horrible! An all-nighter in a deserted, darkened office tower, the creepy clinking and clanking of air vents and cheap metal file cabinets settling deeper into the industrial carpet. But for me, this wasn’t unusual at all. Not because I was always being left to do all the work while everyone else goes out for the fancy dinners, or at least some slices and a few after-work drinks.

Staying not just late, but through the entire night, is absolutely normal for me, because I’ve been sleeping at the office since this internship began.

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At the age of 26, Jeffrey Yamaguchi quit his job, threw himself a retirement party, and believed that he could make a living publishing zines. It didn’t work out, but he continues to dream the dream. Jeffrey’s books include 52 Projects, Working for the Man, Anya Chases Down the End, and Body of Water. His stories, poems, photography, and short films have been published in many literary journals, including Okay Donkey, Kissing Dynamite, Back Patio Press, X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, Honey & Lime, Spork Press, Vamp Cat Magazine, Nightingale & Sparrow, Black Bough Poetry, and the Atticus Review.

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Book Blitz: Awakening of Artemis by John Calia @johncalia @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTour #ScifiBooks

There’s a new book coming out soon, and if you enjoy science or speculative fiction, you’re going to love it! Check out The Awakening of Artemis by John Calia, coming this fall!

Awakening of Artemis by John Calia
Science Fiction/ Speculative Fiction

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Orphaned by war and disillusioned about her life, Diana Gutierrez-Adams is on a routine military assignment when she and her team are kidnapped by a domestic militia.  She learns from her captors that her cryogenically-frozen grandfather is at the center of a high-stakes plan to steal technology that will change the world for greed and great fortune.  

Challenged by the conspiracy and pulled by emotions she doesn’t fully understand, Diana’s rescue mission will change her life.  What happens to her is unexpected, perhaps miraculous – an adventure that embraces all her hopes for finding her true self and her place in a world dominated by powerful elites and even more powerful artificial intelligence.  

Diana knew that everyone who lived in the pods as well as anyone officially connected to the government had an embedded chip that enabled monitoring technology to identify where every individual was at any time.  The chips also measured the secretion of enzymes and hormones.  Algorithms had been developed to predict everyone’s wants and needs based upon those secretions.  Over time, the algorithms learned from human response and adjusted their predictions accordingly – without human intervention.

A Brooklyn-born, second generation American and the eldest of three boys, writing is his third career and the one about which he is most passionate.  Following graduation from the US Naval Academy and active duty in the Navy, he embarked on a career in business.  He began writing his blog “Who Will Lead?” in 2010 attracting over 115,000 readers.  It inspired him to write his first book, an Amazon five-star rated business fable titled “The Reluctant CEO.”  Currently he makes his home in Fairport, NY, a village on the Erie Canal.

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Blog Tour: Inventing the Future by Albert Cory @BobPurvy1 @RRBookTours1 #RRBooks

Welcome to the blog tour for the fascinating new release by Albert Cory, Inventing the Future! Read on for more info and a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card!

“Inventing the Future is Based on the True Story of the Xerox Star, the Computer that Changed Everything”

Inventing the Future by Albert Cory
Based on a True Story/ Historical Fiction/ Technologies

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Imagine a time before everyone stared at a screen, before fonts, icons, mice, and laser printers, before Apple and Microsoft… But behind the scenes, Xerox engineers were dreaming and inventing the modern personal computer.

Who were these people who changed the world, and why did corporate management just want to sell copiers and printers?

Albert Cory* was one of the engineers, charged with making that dream a reality and unknowingly starting a revolution. Inventing the Future is based on the true story of the Xerox Star, the computer that changed everything.

It was finally happening. After almost five years of labor by 250-plus people, the Office of the Future was here. Despite the prayers for them, 64K memory chips had not appeared. Michael had gotten corporate approval to increase the manufacturing cost with an extra 64K words of memory. Star now had 256K words, or 512K bytes of main memory. The performance was still poor, but at least it was tolerable now.

Star had been announced and demoed in New York already, and this week was the National Computer Conference in Chicago, starting Monday, May 4, 1981 and lasting until Thursday. Dan had volunteered to man the Xerox booth for all four days. He flew out to Chicago on the Sunday morning before it started, but with the time change, it was past dinner when he finally arrived at McCormick Place.

Dan read the Sunday Chicago Tribune. 

In Business, Compushop was offering an Apple II starter system for $1,595. But then buried deep inside the section, Dan found what he was looking for, a story about the Star. It began:

Xerox terminal has symbols, not codes

Managers and professional workers haven’t been the best customers for automated office equipment like computer terminals.

Maybe it’s because they are more accustomed to pointing and selecting material rather than typing out explicit commands.

Maybe it’s because they can’t type.

The article quoted a Xerox marketing executive, who explained that the Star was aimed at “managers or professionals who produce documents, reports, or charts.” It explained how the mouse worked. The executive went on to explain that the Star system cost $15,595, but “technological advances will allow price reductions in the future.” Star would be demonstrated at the National Computer Conference at McCormick Place this week.

Dan, Janet, Martin, Henry, and the rest of the Xeroids were continuously busy, explaining the Star to curious attendees. Visitors could try a mouse, and lots of them did—almost no one had ever used a mouse before. A technical staffer had brought a box full of spare mice and swapped in a new one every hour since the accumulated dirt and finger oil from all the guests made the rubber balls in the mice sticky.

As each hour approached, people began gathering around the monitors to see the demos. By noon, they were waiting 10 minutes before the hour. Michael stationed himself near the left side monitor, where he kept busy talking to reporters, executives, and random attendees. Michael watched the crowd closely, and he noticed that Steve Jobs, one of the Apple founders, came every hour, surrounded by other guys Michael didn’t know. He knew that Jobs had visited PARC the year before last for a demo of the Alto and Smalltalk, but he hadn’t seen Star before. He had supposedly asked, “Why isn’t Xerox doing anything with this?” Now, he found out they were.

Inventing the Future ebook on Sale!

On Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021 the Kindle edition of Inventing the Future became available to readers. About 140 have already requested Advance Review Copies and 10 people have reviewed it on GoodReads or Amazon.

Inventing the Future fills a void that the excellent histories, like Dealers of Lightning, cannot: it puts you into the experience and lets you imagine what it would be like to take part in something you just know is going to change the world, even if you don’t know how yet.

It also tells some little-known facts about the legend of the Apple / Steve Jobs visit to Xerox PARC. People think “XeroxPARC” is one word. It’s actually two words, and PARC was not the organization that made the Xerox Star. Jobs did not see Star during his visit for the simple reason that it didn’t exist yet; his visit was in December 1979, and Star was introduced at the National Computer Conference in May 1981. Jobs saw the breakthrough technology that we were trying to commercialize.

Inventing the Future features a foreword by David Canfield Smith, the inventor of icons and one of the designers of the Star. and pictures his son Jeffrey on the cover, “playing” MazeWar, a massively multiplayer game from before such things existed. The title comes from a quote by Alan Kay, the brilliant computer scientist:

The best way to predict the future is to invent it.

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*Albert Cory is a pen name for Bob Purvy, a retired software engineer who worked on the Xerox Star. In his career he also worked at Burroughs, 3Com, Oracle, Packeteer, and Google. All characters are fictional and are composites of the scientists, engineers, and executives who lived the story, with the exception of the auto-biographical character, Dan Markunas. The other two main characters, Janet Saunders and Grant Avery, are completely fictional, and are not in any way representative of the real people who had their jobs (note: the author makes clear which events are real and which are composites in the Endnotes).

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Book Release Blitz: She’s the One Who Thinks too Much by S.R. Cronin @cinnabar01 @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours

Happy publication day to S.R. Cronin! Check out the latest installment in The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters! Read on for details and a chance to win a $20 amazon gift card and an Amazon gift copy of the first book in the collection, “She’s the One Who Thinks too Much”!

She’s the One Who Thinks too Much by S.R. Cronin
The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters
Historical Fantasy

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Do you know what your problem is?

Olivine knows hers. This quiet thirteen century artist has been hiding a secret as she travels to K’ba to meet her friends. Others assume she’s fallen in love with another artist, and it’s not a match Mother would consider suitable. But it’s much worse than that. For on the way to K’ba is the dirt poor nichna of Scrud, a place scorned by other Ilarians. And in Scrud is the one man who understands her.

However, Bohdan recognizes the dangers posed by an impending Mongol invasion. When he learns of Olivine’s unusual visual powers, he convinces her to pick up her bow and start practicing.

She does, though she’s more concerned with producing enough art to run away from home and live in K’ba, where she can paint all day and see Bohdan as often as she wants. If only her sister hadn’t learned of what she can do and decided Olivine and her fellow long-eyes hold one of the keys to defending the realm.

Then, as if life wasn’t complicated enough, Olivine learns the artist community she yearns to be part of has developed a different take on the invasion. They’re certain the only way to survive is to capitulate completely to the Mongol’s demands. Artists who feel otherwise are no longer welcome.

Where does her future lie? The supposed invasion is coming soon and Olivine doesn’t have much time to decide.

The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters consists of seven short companion novels. Each tells the personal story and perspective of one of seven radically different sisters in the 1200s as they prepare for an invasion of their realm. While these historical fantasy/alternate history books can be enjoyed as stand-alone novels, together they tell the full story of how Ilari survived.

Which sister do you think saved the realm? That will depend on whose story you read.

We lay together afterwards, talking as people do. I shared my ideas of living on my own in K’ba and he shared what he’d worked on recently. I’d already seen a set of beautiful bowls he’d carved with the knife I’d bought him. Now, he turned to a bin near his mat and pulled out a handful of small shivs, sized to fit in a skirt pocket.

“Our leaders in Scrud worry about these Mongols, too,” he said. “They worry the army won’t bother to defend the likes of us. But I’ve been thinking about the women in Ilari. We’ve heard what happens to females in an invasion. The idea of … my mother, my aunts, my sisters. It just makes me sick.”

“Women face added risks,” I said. “When conquered, we endure things men generally don’t.”

 “I know. I thought I could make these, and give them to women to carry. Here, hold this.” He put one of the shivs in my hand. “What do you think? Could you defend yourself if you had this?”

I held the tiny weapon tight. Perhaps I imagined it, but the wood felt poised to defend me if I needed it to.

 “I could do some damage, if it was up close and personal, which I guess it would be. And a surprise. Then maybe once they discovered how dangerous Ilari women are, they’d think twice before assaulting us.”

He nodded. “That’s what I’d hope for. I’m going to start making as many of these as I can. Give one to every woman I meet.”

I looked around at his meager belongings. There were no comforts to speak of. None. “Bohdan, don’t you think you should sell them? At least for a little something?”

“How could I do that? Come on, Olivine. No woman should have to pay me to keep herself safe.”

Then he looked at me and his eyes softened. He reached out and took a piece of my long bronze hair between his fingers and looked into my eyes. He’d already told me how much he loved their intense green color. I expected him to compliment them again, but instead he said “I wish you were more of a fighter.”

I raised an eyebrow. “I rather thought you liked me the way I was.”

He looked down, embarrassed. “Oh, I do. I mean I wish you had more ways to look out for yourself. You’re just not that physical, and I think force is all these monsters will understand.”

“I have physical skills.”

“Yes, so you’ve demonstrated. I don’t mean those, you’re great in that area.”

“I don’t mean in that area. They made me learn stuff in school, told me I had to develop my body to be well rounded.”

Right away I regretted saying it. The Royals of each nichna prided themselves on sponsoring basic education for children, everywhere but Scrud. If Scrud even had Royals, which I wasn’t sure they did. I’d already learned Bohdan was embarrassed he’d never been to school, although an older sister had taught him to read and write some.

“So what did they make you learn?” he asked.

“How to shoot with a bow and arrow.”

“Seriously? Are you any good?”

“I used to be. Surprised everyone, most of all me.” I paused. I hesitated to talk too much about the many things I’d gotten to do over the years, because Bohdan had been offered so few opportunities.

“I do this thing, it’s hard to explain, but if I focus on something small that’s far away, like a flower or a bee or a leaf, it comes into clear focus while everything else goes blurry.”

“Sounds useful for an artist.”

“Oh, it is. I used to think everyone could do it. I mean, who talks about how their eyes work, right? But when I was in Pilk I found out it’s called being a long-eye and it’s uncommon. Some artists have it but most don’t. Anyway, it helped me with archery, too. I got a kick out of shooting arrows and being good at something like that.”

He’d gone back to worrying. “If I asked you to pick up a bow again and practice, would you? For me?”

“Of course, but why? You know I’m trying to make as much art as I can so I can move to K’ba. There are only so many hours of light in a day.”

“True. But it could be a way to defend your home. I think Ilari will need all the fighters it can get, and all the kinds of fighters it can get.”

He just wasn’t going to stop fretting about the Mongols. I rolled my eyes.

“Okay. A little archery every day, I promise. The sunshine will do me good.”

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Sherrie Cronin is the author of a collection of six speculative fiction novels known as 46. Ascending and is now in the process of publishing a historical fantasy series called The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters. A quick look at the synopses of her books makes it obvious she is fascinated by people achieving the astonishing by developing abilities they barely knew they had.

She’s made a lot of stops along the way to writing these novels.  She’s lived in seven cities, visited forty-six countries, and worked as a waitress, technical writer, and geophysicist. Now she answers a hot-line. Along the way, she’s lost several cats but acquired a husband who still loves her and three kids who’ve grown up just fine, both despite how eccentric she is.

All her life she has wanted to either tell these kinds of stories or be Chief Science Officer on the Starship Enterprise. She now lives and writes in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where she admits to occasionally checking her phone for a message from Captain Picard, just in case.

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Blog Tour: No Names to Be Given by Julia Brewer Daily @JBDailyAuthor @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours

Congratulations to author Julia Brewer Daily on the release of her debut novel, No Names to Be Given!

Read on for more info and a chance to win a $100 Amazon e-gift card!!!!

No Names to Be Given by Julia Brewer Daily
Historical Fiction/ Women’s Fiction

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Today’s young women will not understand how our families made us feel shame so intensely; we surrendered our first-born children to strangers. Faith Reynolds, No Names to Be Given 

The widely anticipated debut novel by Julia Brewer Daily is a glimpse into the lives of women forced by society to gift their newborns to strangers. Although this novel is a fictional account, it mirrors many of the adoption stories of its era. 

When three young unwed women meet at a maternity home hospital in New Orleans in 1965, they are expected to relinquish their babies and return home as if nothing transpired. Twenty-five years later, they are brought back together by blackmail and their secrets threatened with exposure—all the way to the White House.

Told from the three women’s perspectives in alternating chapters, we are mesmerized by the societal pressures on women in the 1960s who found themselves pregnant without marriage. How that inconceivable act changed them forever is the story of No Names To Be Given, a novel with southern voices, love exploited, heartbreak and blackmail.  

M A G N O L I A  H O M E  H O S P I T A L
N E W  O R L E A N S , 1 9 6 6

Men loved Sandy’s body. She didn’t have the option of leading with her wit or intellect. Her looks arrived first. It was both a blessing and a curse.

Now, Sandy placed her hand on her formerly taut stomach. It felt bloated and mushy. How long would it be before she was back in her sparkly dance costumes and performing for audiences? The provocative bustiers and garter belts would not fit her now. She slid up in her hospital bed and peered through a crack in the curtain. They were all in the same recovery room, separated by thin blue fabric. She heard the other two moaning as they awakened. A nurse worked among the three of them and whispered, as if the others were out of earshot, “What a coincidence ya’ll went into labor on the same day. We were inducing you next week.”

An acidic smell of disinfectant and the rusty odor of blood invaded Sandy’s nostrils. She swallowed and found her throat parched and lips chapped. Her head throbbed with a dull drumbeat, and she tasted a metallic tang. What have I done? Why did I think this was the better choice?

Sandy’s thoughts jumbled, like a bad movie looping in her head. She squeezed her eyes shut as she remembered how her heart once pounded whenever she heard Glen’s voice. The curtains separating the roommates’ beds reminded Sandy of those in her home in Illinois, and her mind projected Glen’s image into the hospital room.

“You see what happens to trashy girls?”

She imagined him sitting at the end of the bed, sneering at her. Sandy’s teeth chattered, and her body quaked in small jerks. Her chest rose and fell so rapidly; she became faint. Sandy imagined dying in the hospital. Women died from childbirth all the time. Would her mother ever find out? Probably not. Sandy covered her tracks pretty well. Glen would think she got what she deserved.

“Becca?”

Sandy leaned forward and yanked back the cloth separating them. Becca twisted from side to side. Sandy hated seeing her roommate in such distress. Becca might have been a princess-like creature in her former life, but Sandy admired her rebellious streak. How many other white girls had the guts to fall in love with a Negro? Becca broke the silence. “I cannot believe our babies are in the nursery down the hall, and they won’t let us see them,” she whispered. “Maybe we can sneak down there.”

“Don’t. It may make things worse.” Sandy wanted to avoid all maternal feelings and didn’t want to see a child who might look like her or Carlos.

“I can barely walk to the bathroom.” Faith’s voice trembled. Her pixie haircut, unwashed and dishwater blond, was in spikes and her eyes seemed too large for their sockets.

“Hey, Nurse Carter. If you let me go to the nursery, I won’t bother you anymore.”

“You know that’s not allowed.” The nurse frowned at Becca.

“I promise to stand behind the window. I just want to see my baby. One time. I promise.” The nurse’s response was to leave the room.

Becca whispered to Sandy. “I just want to see the skin color. I want to see if the adoptive parents will know it’s a mixed-race baby.”

Most of all, Sandy knew she longed to hold her child. Becca still declared love for her baby’s father. Sandy was still in love with her child’s father, too, but he would be no help to her from behind prison bars.

“I’ll go on a hunger strike. Do you want me to barricade myself in the nursery?” Becca made her announcements in a loud voice.

“Hush. You’re disturbing the entire home.” Nurse Carter poked her head back in the doorway and spoke harshly.

Perspiration beaded in the hollows of Becca’s cheeks, and Sandy watched as she swiped it away with her palm. Her beauty dulled only slightly with her auburn hair in a messy knot on the top of her head and her freckles dominant on her ivory skin. Becca’s startling blue eyes were now the color of a very stormy sea—gunmetal and glinting.

“Everything’s gonna be alright,” Sandy cooed. She feared Becca would spring from the bed and run toward the nursery. Sandy watched Faith with her hands clasped as if in prayer.

“Faith, are you okay?” She always spoke to Faith as if she were a child. They were all about the same age, eighteen, but Faith’s innocence made her seem so much younger.

“I’m miserable,” Faith said.

“Me, too. I feel like a medieval torture device stretched my limbs,” Sandy said.

Faith chanted prayers for her baby. “Please, Lord. Please let my baby have the very best parents. I know you’ll take care of him—or her.” She hummed the lyrics of “Jesus Loves the Little Children.” “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight.”

“How are we expected to walk away and pretend nothing happened? They knocked us out before we had our babies and won’t let us see them? We don’t even know if we had a boy or a girl.” Becca blurted out.

Sandy did not turn to Becca. Instead, she watched Faith twist her hands. Faith’s frame disappeared from view under the sheet. Sandy was afraid her tiny limbs, awkward and knobby, would vanish altogether without the bed to contain her. Every time Sandy looked at Faith, she remembered Faith’s description of her assault.

Now, a living reminder of it existed. Faith had said she didn’t want this baby carrying the blame for its conception. Suddenly, Faith began gulping breaths like drinking water with a cupped hand from a bucket. Sandy tried not to look at her reflection in the mirror. Her hair, not dyed since entering the home, showed roots black and wide like the stripe of paint against a hot asphalt roadway, only in reverse—her platinum locks clung to the dark center. Towering above Faith, she saw how sallow her skin was and how lackluster. She needed her eyebrows plucked and her nails painted—no time to worry about all that. Sandy required all her strength for her own recovery and assisting her friends.

She tucked Faith and Becca’s blankets around them, raised their hospital bed rails, and crawled back into her bed.

Tomorrow, they had plans to make.

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Julia Brewer Daily is a Texan with a southern accent. She holds a B.S. in English and a M.S. degree in Education from the University of Southern Mississippi.

She has been a Communications adjunct professor at Belhaven University, Jackson, Mississippi, and Public Relations Director of the Mississippi Department of Education and Millsaps College, a liberal arts college in Jackson, Mississippi. 

She was the founding director of the Greater Belhaven Market, a producers’ only market in a historic neighborhood in Jackson, and even shadowed Martha Stewart.

As the executive director of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi (three hundred artisans from nineteen states) which operates the Mississippi Craft Center, she wrote their stories to introduce them to the public.

Daily is an adopted child from a maternity home hospital in New Orleans. She searched and found her birth mother and through a DNA test, her birth father’s family, as well.  A lifelong southerner, she now resides on a ranch in Fredericksburg, Texas, with her husband Emmerson and Labrador Retrievers, Memphis Belle and Texas Star.

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Blog Tour: The Girl in the Triangle by Joyana Peters @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #TheGirlintheTriangle #HistoricalFiction

Welcome to the tour for The Girl in the Triangle by Joyana Peters! Read on for details and a chance to win a signed copy of the book!

The Girl in the Triangle by Joyana Peters
Historical Fiction

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When your dreams finally seem to be coming true, it’s hard to trust them.

It’s been four years since seventeen-year-old Ruth set eyes on her fiance. After surviving near-starvation, revolution and a long trip across the stormy ocean, she can’t help but wonder: Will Abraham still love her? Or has America changed him?

Nowhere’s as full of change as 1909 New York. From moving pictures to daring clothes to the ultra-modern Triangle Shirtwaist Factory where she gets a job, everything exhilarates Ruth. When the New World even seems to rejuvenate her bond with Abraham, she is filled with hope for their prospects and the future of their war-torn families.

But when she makes friends and joins the labor movement—fighting for rights of the mostly female workers against the powerful factory owners—something happens she never expected. She realizes she might be the one America is changing. And she just might be leaving Abraham behind.

The Girl in the Triangle is an immigration story that will appeal to fans of Brooklyn by Colm Toibin and The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani. It questions what it means to be an American, and what is the true meaning of strength.

He stood outside the dressing room with his arms crossed. “I was starting to fear I’d need to send in a search party.”

“I’m sorry,” Ruth said. “I met the sister of one of your friends.”

“Chayele,” Abraham chuckled. “That explains it. That girl could talk the hind legs off a donkey.”

He steered her to the line for the stairs and gestured for her to open her bag to be examined. “They fear people stealing scraps for sewing at home.”

Ruth held her bag open wide as the guard poked through. Eventually he nodded, and they exited through the door to the stairs.

“Chayele seemed really nice. She introduced me to her friends as well. She said you were good friends with her brother?”

“Yankel,” Abraham nodded. “He’s good folk. He took me under his wing when I got here. Makes me get out and have some fun from time to time.”

Ruth pondered that for a moment and considered Chayele’s painted face. “She’s not a—what do you call it? Floopsy, is she?”

Abraham laughed. “No, Chayele’s not a floozy, though she might be the center of any party. She’s just been here awhile and has embraced America.”

“America encourages painted faces?”

Abraham tilted his head and thought before answering. “America encourages fun, at least in your free time. Not like in Russia where you just go to work and come home.”

“How do you spend your free time?”

Abraham turned to face her with a twinkle in his eye. “All kinds of ways. Seeing performers singing in shows, going to the circus, heading out to Luna Park.”

“What’s Luna Park?”

“An amusement park in West Brighton Beach. You can ride a roller coaster and see recreations of villages from all over the world—it’s amazing. I’ll take you one weekend.”

Ruth mulled over this new word, weekend. She had no clue what a roller coaster was, but it sounded exciting. Everything Abraham mentioned was foreign and strange. They’d sung as a family around the piano or even in the street with neighbors on holidays. But shows? Performers? These were novel ideas.

Abraham glanced over at her with a mischievous smile. “Still love running?”

Ruth smiled.

“Race you home!” he shouted and took off ahead.

“You gonif! You still cheat!” she shouted and took off after him.

His laughter floated back to her as she ran. The cityscape flew by as she weaved in and out of people on the sidewalk, some shouting insults in response. They rolled right off Ruth. Her exhaustion evaporated, the caress of cool air on her face sweeping away her lethargy. She dug deep to run faster, her competitive instincts kicking in. She’d never felt so happy and free.

International Giveaway: Signed copy of the book.

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Growing up in New York, she always loved exploring the city, particularly the Lower East Side. This led to her discovery of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and the stories it holds.

She currently lives in Northern Virginia where she takes in the sights of DC with her two kids and husband.

August 2nd
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Cover Reveal: The Littlest Dinosaur Finds a Home by Bryce Raffle and Steven Kothlow @bryceraffle @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #Books

Wow! If you thought the first book was adorable, check out the cover of The Littlest Dinosaur Finds a Home!

The Littlest Dinosaur Finds a Home
by Bryce Raffle and Steven Kothlow
Illustrator: Tessa Verplancke
Kids/ Children’s Books
Expected Publication Date: September 1, 2021

The Littlest Dinosaur is off on a new adventure. It’s time for bed, and the newborn dino has nowhere to lay down his sleepy head. Luckily, he’s got Ty The Tyrannosaur to show him the meaning of family and help him find a place to call home.

Coming Soon!

Previous Books

The Littlest Dinosaur
by Bryce Raffle and Steven Kothlow
Illustrator: Tessa Verplancke
Genre: Children’s Literature

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Ty, The Tyrannosaur just wants to make a new friend.

Sadly, the other dinosaurs are all afraid of his sharp teeth! So Ty must go on an adventure to find a dinosaur brave enough to be friends with a Tyrannosaur.

Bryce Raffle was the lead writer for the video game studio Ironclad Games. He also writes stories for young adults and designs book covers.

Steven Kothlow is making his debut as a children’s book writer. He hopes to tell many more stories that help spread a message of diversity and inclusion especially in children’s literature.

Tessa Verplancke is a sound designer by day and an illustrator by night. She lives to tell stories through as many mediums as possible.

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