Monday, January 30, 2017
The Character Depot: Love Bites - Jeanne Bannon #VPK2: Cupid worked overtime to bring you the Valentine Pets & Kisses 2 boxed set, which will be released on January 31, 2017. In the meanti...
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
In the first of this three-part series, a child named Carnikko is born into dire poverty and raised by an over-zealous religious mother and an alcoholic non-believing father. Life is hard in the backwoods, especially when there's little to eat and no coal for the stove. Carnikko is taught to believe in the power of prayer, and when that doesn't seem to be enough to help her with the trials and tribulations she faces, she turns to an invisible companion called Purple Angel.
Her young life is incredibly difficult as she constantly deals with hunger, inadequate clothing, ridicule at school, and the constant fear that each time her father leaves for an extended period of time, he might not come back. As bad as things are for the young child, things can always get worse, and unfortunately for her, they do.
A tragedy of epic proportions comes crashing down into the center of her life, changing everything, and setting her on a completely different path into the future. The nature of her challenges and difficulties are new and different than those she had become accustomed to, and now a new battle for survival is waged in this incredibly gripping, and at times, heart-wrenching tale that has made readers laugh and cry along with little Nikko.
After retiring from her career as a phlebotomist, Joy, decided to pursue her passion for writing. She lives in Kentucky. She's the mother of three and the grandmother of seven.
Sunday, May 1, 2016
Campanelli: Siege of the Nighthunter
Hello, everyone! March 29th, 2016 saw the release of the third installment of the exciting dystopian crime thriller series, "Campanelli", by author Frederick H. Crook.
June, 2110. A serial killer strikes the populace of the City of Chicago. The first victim is a wanted man by Detective Frank Campanelli’s Sentinel Division. His body had been mutilated and, from the evidence uncovered by forensic genius, H. Lincoln Rothgery, it has been partially consumed. The unknown invader leaves a trail of corpses behind in short order, including that of a homicide detective.
To add to the mystery, the DNA evidence retrieved from a stolen vehicle indicates that the killer is former military, but special encoding prevents the murderer from being identified. Frank’s partner, Marcus Williams, seems to know more about what’s going on than he lets on, until the former Navy SEAL calls in a friend from the FBI to help.
“The Nighthunter”, as the media has labeled him, instills terror and virtually shuts down Chicago. Together, Campanelli, Williams, and the agent must work to capture the enigmatic and frighteningly efficient cannibal.
Excerpt from, “Campanelli: Siege of the Nighthunter
Lincoln caught Frank’s gaze. “We found two different types of blood, two sets of DNA in the car.”
“Go on,” McLain prompted.
“Herman Werner’s and the killer’s. No ID’s been matched to his,” Rothgery stated and stood from his chair. He stepped between the two detectives and stepped casually toward the sedan. “The killer’s DNA has been engineered, as has the blood, but there’s no identification to be found in the cells. He is a he and appears to be of military origin, but it goes beyond anything I’ve ever seen.”
“So, you’re telling me that the killer is a soldier. American?” Frank asked as he stopped next to Lincoln and stared at the driver’s seat of the ruined car.
“I can’t even determine that without a serial number, Frank.”
“Soldier or not, Mister Rothgery…how the hell did he get outta that?” McLain asked from Lincoln’s other side. The big man waved his hand over the wreckage as he spoke. “That should’ve been fatal…engineered genes or not.”
“I agree.” Rothgery slid his glasses from his Roman nose and rubbed his eyes with his free hand. “Gherling is still researching the DNA and the blood while Teri is carrying out more tests.”
“You said Werner’s blood was in the car,” Frank stated.
“Yeah,” Lincoln said then nodded. “Not much of it, though. A lot of the DNA we found in it was from hairs in the carpets and seats. My opinion is that he used the car for some time. Months, perhaps close to a year.”
“So, Werner was cut out of the seatbelt…then thrown through the air.” Kirby stepped up to the side of the car and studied the sliced seatbelt. In the bright light, the precision cut was much more impressive.
“Definitely,” H. Lincoln affirmed as he replaced his eyeglasses. “And…before I forget…there are teeth marks on the body.”
“We saw those,” Frank said. He leaned back on the workbench behind him and crossed his arms. “The bites on the shoulder.”
“I’m not talking about those, Frank.”
This took Kirby’s attention from the wreck to the forensic genius. “What are you trying to say, Mister Rothgery?”
“I’m saying he had a little nibble on some muscle tissue while he cut out the heart and liver. It’s also confirmed that the heart and liver were eaten.” Lincoln met the eyes of McLain then looked to Campanelli.
“God,” Kirby uttered and stepped away from the sedan as if it exuded heat.
“How do you come to that, Lincoln?” Frank asked.
“Pieces of both organs were left behind in the car. Nothing more than shreds, really. Seems he had to pick them out of his teeth as he drove.”
Frank lifted his right hand to his chin and rested it, keeping the left arm tucked. “You’re telling me that we have a soldier of unknown origin turned cannibal, running around the streets of Chicago.”
“From everything we’ve gathered so far, Frank, that’s about the size of it.”
Buy it here on Amazon!
Frederick was born in Chicago in 1970 and now lives in Villa Park with his wife, Rae and their three dachshunds. He began by writing fictional works all through high school, but didn’t take himself seriously until 2009, when Frederick began writing his first novel, The Dregs of Exodus, which was self-published in late 2010. This was followed up with another novel, The Pirates of Exodus in 2012.
Throughout that year and 2013, he continued writing and published four short stories in eBook form for Kindle. Runt Pulse, The Fortress of Albion, Lunar Troll, and Campanelli: The Ping Tom Affair.
His third novel, Campanelli: Sentinel, was picked up by Solstice Publishing in late 2014. The novella, Minuteman Merlin, was released for the Kindle by Solstice Publishing in March of 2015 and followed up by his fourth novel, Of Knight & Devil in September. His fifth novel, Campanelli: Siege of the Nighthunter was released by Solstice in March, 2016.
He is currently an editor for Solstice Publishing and working on novel number six, a paranormal historical fiction.
Saturday, March 19, 2016
I'm honored to host author, Michael Thal, on my blog today. Today marks the release of his latest novel, Koolura and the Mayans (Koolura series Book 3) which is available on Amazon.
I want to wish Michael the very best of luck with his new endeavor.
Koolura is no ordinary girl. Neither is her best friend Leila. While visiting Mexico, the girls discover a device which hurtles them back in time to an early Mayan civilization. The Mayans have troubles of their own—the alien Aquari people have all but enslaved them. They need a goddess to set them free. Could Koolura be the one?
Twelve-year-old Koolura Akopyan stood in the middle of her bedroom, staring at the open suitcase on her bed. She looked at what she had already packed. “Okay, I think I have everything. Laptop and books are in the backpack. Clothes and bridesmaid’s dress in the suitcase.” She paused and flopped onto the bed. “Gosh, I can’t believe Daddy and Terri are finally getting married.”
Koolura took a deep breath and stared out her window. Palm tree fronds swayed in a gentle Southern California breeze under a cloudless sky. Her room was decorated in a seaside motif with navy blue pillows pressed against the headboard and resting on a turquoise comforter. The ceiling was dotted with billowy white clouds she had painted during a boring winter vacation.
“Enough daydreaming, time to go.” After all, there was a wedding to attend in beautiful Oaxaca, Mexico. It would be followed by a parade with a mariachi band and Mayan dancers and then a big wedding reception and party.
She stood up and latched shut her suitcase. Then she slung her backpack over one shoulder and picked up her suitcase with her other hand. She thought of the weekend trip she and her dad took to visit her best friend forever (BFF) Leila and her parents a few months ago. The drive to Marin County had been seven hours of boredom.
This will be a lot quicker.
Then, focusing on the memory of Leila’s bedroom, Koolura evaporated into a burst of white light reappearing instantly at a doorway on the second floor home across the bay from San Francisco.
“I did it!” She grinned just as Leila poked her head out of the bathroom and jumped.
“Oh! You frightened me.”
“Sorry. Didn’t mean to,” Koolura signed in American Sign Language (ASL). “The good news is that I’m hitting the bullseye more often now when teleporting.”
Leila giggled. “The last time we teleported together you missed the boat and we had to swim 100 yards.” She wrapped her arms around her friend and gave Koolura a warm hug.
Koolura hugged back and then stepped into Leila’s room. “Huge improvement,” she signed, wide-eyed. Lavender drapes covered the windows looking out at the Golden Gate Bridge in the distant background. Wallpaper on one wall showed large black and gold circles floating into each other.
Koolura plopped onto the loveseat, taking it all in. “Sure beats my marina bedroom by a nautical mile.”
Leila’s freckled cheeks swelled into a grin. “Thanks. So fill me in. What’s the plan with this trip?”
“Simple. My dad bought us tickets to Oaxaca, Mexico, where he’ll meet us at the airport.”
“Oh, so we’re flying?”
“Not exactly.” Koolura’s eyes twinkled with mischief. “I’ve cashed in our tickets to Oaxaca for pocket money. We’ll fly back to California with Dad and Terri, so we’ll keep those. I’ll teleport us straight to the hotel in Oaxaca. I’ll tell Dad we arrived early and grabbed a shuttle from the airport to save him time.”
Leila shook her head, but was grinning. “Don’t you mind lying to your dad?”
“I hate it,” Koolura signed. “But Dad doesn’t know I can teleport, fly, and heal the sick. All he knows is that I have the power of telekinesis.”
“Moving objects with your mind?” Leila signed.
“Yeah. That scares him enough. I don’t want to freak him out any more than I have to.”
Leila nodded knowingly. When Koolura first revealed her powers to Leila at Camp Saddleback, she had thought Koolura was an alien from a faraway star.
The Legend of Koolura was Michael’s debut novel. This was shortly followed by Goodbye Tchaikovsky. Two years later, Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback was published. What began as an impromptu story for his daughter blossomed into the Koolura Series. Koolura and the Mayans is the third installment in the series.
Michael has a masters’ degrees in Education from Washington University, St. Louis and California State University, Northridge. Previously a middle school teacher, after suffering from a severe hearing loss leaving him near deaf, Michael redefined himself to become an award winning writer.
Koolura and the Mayans (Koolura series Book 3) is now available on Amazon
Friday, March 4, 2016
Lola’s not pretty. Lola’s not popular. Lola wishes she could disappear … and then one day she does just that...
For seventeen-year-old Lola Savullo, life is a struggle. Born to funky parents who are more in than she could ever be, Lola’s dream of becoming a writer makes her an outsider even in her own home. Bullied and despised, Lola still has the support of her best pal Charlie and Grandma Rose.
Not only is she freakishly tall, Lola’s a big girl and when forced to wear a bathing suit at her summer job as a camp counselor, Lola’s only escape from deep embarrassment seems to be to literally vanish. Soon after, she discovers the roots of her new “ability”.
Slowly, with Charlie’s help, Lola learns to control the new super power. The possibilities are endless. Yet power can be abused, too…
When tragedy strikes, Lola must summon her inner strength, both at home and at school. She has to stand up for herself, despite the temptations and possibilities of her newfound super power.
A coming-of-age story that will warm the heart.
For a limited time, the ebook will be available for just 99 cents (FREE for KU)
“Lola, get your suit on and help supervise the pool. The more eyes the better,” Justine, the athletic, sun-kissed, twenty-one-year-old camp director ordered once we wrangled our none-too-obedient charges off the bus. The gaggle of four to eight year olds ran around in a loud, unruly horde as soon as their sneakered feet hit the parking lot pavement. Counselors soon managed some semblance of organization. Calls for straight lines and, “Hey, get back here,” reached my ears.
Luckily, my group was well behaved, perhaps because I had the fewest kids—only six of them and most, thank God, were girls.
“Lola?” Justine was beside me, glaring. “Didn’t you hear me?”
Without looking at her, I shook my head no. But I had heard her, loud and clear, except I wanted desperately to push her words away, hoping she’d recant and it would be business as usual.
“Get. Your. Suit. On,” she said again and this time, my heart took off in a sprint.
“What? Why?” I tried to hide the wobble in my voice. It was my job to watch the kids who weren’t swimming—the ones who’d left their suits at home or didn’t feel well.
Curious, expectant gazes turned to my way as fellow counselors waited with evil half-grins, for my reaction. Although no one, except my best friend Charlie, knew how I felt about wearing a bathing suit, I realized my co-workers had to be aware of my private horror, because it was the horror of every fat girl.
Justine sighed as she flipped through the sheets on her clipboard, running a finger down the column of names. “No campers are sitting out today, Lola, so you have to help supervise the pool.”
The impossible had just happened. In my three summers as a counselor, there had always been at least one measly kid who didn’t swim on pool day.
For one long, awkward moment, I stood frozen in place. How could I get out of this? A sudden migraine? My period? I tried to speak, but nothing came out except a tiny, almost inaudible, moan.
Justine rolled her eyes and walked away, taking my chance for escape with her. I searched through my bag for my black one-piece, barely able to see a thing through my tear-blurred eyes. Somehow, I managed to stuff away the panic and gather the nerve to march past my co-workers, who I’d never thought of as friends, despite working with them summer after summer.
Finally, in the dank change room, I entered an empty stall and locked the door with shaky fingers. I was sweating from both the heat and anxiety. The stench of my panic filled my nostrils as I felt around in my bag for a stick of deodorant, though I knew full well, I wouldn’t find one. With a sigh, I stretched my suit over sweat-slicked skin, wriggling and struggling to pull it up past wide hips and a bulging belly.
A moan escaped me. Not only was I fat, I was freakishly tall. God only knew why, since Mom was petite and Dad was on the short side. My older sister, Eva, was the spitting image of Mom, fair and fine boned. Apparently, I took after Dad’s side—bulky, dark, and thick. I must have gotten some of Uncle Sammy’s genes, the giant of the family, who topped out at six foot five.
I peered down at the coarse dark hair creeping up my calves to just past my knees, where it gradually petered out. My insides dropped as if I’d placed a foot on a step that wasn’t there. I ran a hand across the tops of my thighs. The triple bulge of my belly prevented a good look at what my hand told me was a sorely neglected bikini area. There had never been a reason to shave. Even in the blazing August heat, I wore baggy cotton Capri pants, never exposing more than an ankle.
My throat pulsed with an ache to cry and my eyes misted again. I swallowed my distress and pinched away tears. It would be torturous enough to step out of the change room looking like this, but I wouldn’t give the other counselors the satisfaction of watching me have a meltdown. I lifted my chin in resolve and opened the door. As I peeked out, I spied a line of girls jumping with excitement and a few harried counselors corralling them to the exit.
A whistle blew, signaling the beginning of the session. Screams of delight filled the air, as the kids ran to the pool and jumped in, finding relief from the ninety-degree heat.
I fastened a towel around my waist as best I could. Towels never seemed large enough to wrap completely and comfortably around the bulge of my belly. To the pool I went, treading silently so as not to draw attention.
“Where’s Lola?” Sonia, a counselor, asked loudly to no one in particular.
She had to be joking. I was no more than a foot from her as I trudged to the edge of the pool, where I yanked off my towel and splashed clumsily into the cool water.
“Yeah. Where is that hippo?” Jerod replied, looking around, a wide smile on his face. He was a year younger than me, but looked older with his muscular build and chiseled jaw.
“I hope she doesn’t show,” he continued, “who wants to see that thing in a bathing suit anyway?”
Sonia made her way over to Jerod, laughing a little too hard. She put a hand on his shoulder and sat beside him; both dangled long slender legs in the water. “Maybe she ran away. Can’t really blame her. I’d never wear a bathing suit if I was that fat,” Sonia said.
Puzzlement and anger competed within me. I was standing in the pool right in front of them! Jerod lifted a leg and kicked at the water; splashes hit my face, making me turn away. I was used to rude comments and knew what everyone thought of me, but this was beyond mean. I couldn’t stop the tears from spilling down my cheeks. An urge to tell them off surged through me. Instead, I slipped under the water, hoping to wash away the evidence of my pain.
Kids bounced all around me, laughing and playing. Justine stood like a sentinel, a Baywatch babe in her red suit, one hand gripping an emergency flotation device. Her steel blue eyes were focused on the pool.
Jerod jumped in, nearly landing on me, but I managed to get out of the way just in time. Blood rushed to my temples and pounded there, giving me an instant headache. I hurled myself at him, elbows aimed at his chest. I hit nothing but air and flew into the rough concrete wall of the pool, scraping a hole in my one-piece and rubbing raw a patch of skin. Blood pin-pricked to the surface.
“Hey,” I screamed, bewildered. How the hell did he get out of the way so fast?
Jerod slipped under the water looking like a god, all six-packed lean muscle, and emerged at the other end of the pool in one long, slick glide.
I pulled myself out of the water, slipping one chubby leg over the lip then landing on my side like a beached whale. After struggling to my feet and gathering up what was left of my dignity, I marched over to Justine.
“Did you see what that asshole just did?” I hollered. She was my boss and could probably can my ass for the way I’d just spoken to her but I couldn’t help it. Frustration and anger had hijacked my brain.
Justine brought the whistle hanging from her neck to her lips and blew two sharp blasts, making my ears ring. “Stop horsing around,” she called to a group of boys, who immediately offered up sheepish grins and stopped their horseplay.
What the hell? I moved directly in front of her so she could no longer ignore me. “Justine?”
She stared past me, eyes still glued to the action in the pool. I reached to touch her shoulder but impossibly, my hand fell through her.
“Justine?” I called again, this time louder, my voice panic-laced. With both hands, I grabbed her, or tried to. Again, it was as if she wasn’t there. My mind was swept along in a current of anxiety. What was happening?
Then it hit me... it was me who wasn’t there.
I've worked as a professional editor for one of the world's largest publisher for over twenty-five years and have written two novels and two novellas. Invisible is the closest to my heart.
When not writing, I enjoy spending time with my husband, Dave and our daughters, Nina and Sara as well as our fur babies, Spencer (a badly behaved Tabby) and Lila, a sweet Boston Terrier.
You can find me on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter
Friday, February 19, 2016
I thank Jeanne for giving in to my begging her to be on her site. One year in the making and the book has made it to market. Here I share a few things, including an excerpt not shared anywhere else yet. It's not one of those exciting ones, but a nice moment in time where the main character isn't the main character of the scene. It involves one of my favorite characters I created, a man named Gimby, the helmsman for Captain Gabriel Wallace. Stay tuned following the synopsis.
Jeanne's reply - Ronovan is much too humble. He did not beg. He didn't even ask to be on my blog. Over the years, Ronovan has given so much of himself, his talents and his time to other writers, it's only fair that he now take center stage. So, please, welcome Mr. Ronovan Hester and his wonderful debut novel, Amber Wake, to Beyond Words.
The autumn of 1705 brings Royal Navy Captain Gabriel Wallace to face off against an enemy within the ranks of the Admiralty itself that threatens his career, his reputation, his family, and something even more far-reaching in its plot.
Court-martialed and with Admiral Chambers, the mastermind fearfully known as the Chambers of Hell, out for his destruction, Wallace finds he has allies willing to face the might of the mightiest power on earth, with some allies in the most unlikely of places. The crew of his former command, the Majesty’s Venture, mutinies from the Royal Navy. With capture by his enemies close behind, Wallace agrees to become captain once again.
With a ship at his command, Captain Gabriel Wallace sets out to fulfill his mission, the completeness of which only he knows.
Now a pirate by situation, Wallace sets out for the Colonies and the Caribbean. Will his crew remain loyal as they leave the rule of the Royal Navy behind? Will his lifelong friend, Miles Jacobs, follow Wallace blindly without knowing the whole story? Finally, will the young Lieutenant Maddox Carbonale stay under the command of Wallace or have plans to lead instead?
With these questions in his thoughts, Gabriel Wallace wages war on Chambers and goes after the largest haul in the history of the Spanish Main. Whom does Wallace meet along the way? To whom are his loyalties to: vengeance or something more powerful?
If you love tales of adventure, of the sea, of the struggles of men, and nods to history, this is your book. Read Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling and you’ll have a new appreciation for all of The Razor’s Adventures Pirate Tales.
I paused beside Gimby and held on, taking a brief rest from my many circuits of the ship. “Beggin’ your pardon, Cap’n but if you don’t stop your pacin’, the crew’s goin’ to be jumpin’ out of their skin and into the sea!” he shouted to me over the crashing waves and hammering rain.
“It’s a storm, Mister Gimby. They’ll survive it as they’ve done many times before.”
“It’s Adam, sir. They know you’re concerned and so are they! They know you’re diggin’ your insides out for lettin’ him go ashore.”
“Cap’n, if anyone’s ta blame it’s me. I knew a storm was coming but it was moving faster than I expected.”
I stared for several moments at the sober expression of the soaking wet sailor, who had more experience than any two men aboard ship put together. He showed no signs of concern over Carbonale and Adam, yet blamed himself in what I imagined to be an effort to absolve me of my own guilt.
“I worry for your sanity at times, Mister Gimby,” I remarked as I clung to the lines for support and continued my walk.
“Aye, Captain. That’s why I was assigned to your ship!” He grinned.
I paused and looked back at him. There might have been amusement in his eyes but there was also truth. If his sanity was in question, the answer was that he’d seen to the safety of the Majesty’s Venture on more voyages into danger than most of the other ships of the Royal Navy. I knew he’d do the same for the Assurance; perhaps even more.
I dedicate this book to my son for giving me purpose to wake up each day and move forward with my dreams instead of giving up when life threw me for a loop.
Ronovan Hester is a writer living near Athens, Ga, home of his alma mater, The University of Georgia, where he received a B.S.Ed. in History Education. Ronovan puts his love of history and his over 20 years of writing experience to use in his debut Historical Adventure set in 1705 England, American Colonies, and Caribbean co-authored with P.S. Bartlett.
Ronovan’s devotion to history and writing sometimes competes with his love of tacos and fresh fruit. At times, all his favorite things work hand in hand in mouth during long binge writing sessions that have been known to last nonstop for over 24 hours. Rather than see a sleep disorder as a hindrance, he uses the time for creative purposes, or watching old TV shows on online.
Ronovan enjoys putting elements of history, if only as nods to the past, in all of his book projects. He currently instills that love of history and learning in his son daily as he helps him through his college prep courses, meaning hours of homework every night, even while not yet a teenager—his son, not Ronovan. Now if he could find a very good mute for that trumpet his son just began learning.
Thank you one more time to Jeanne and to anyone that's bought Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling so far, thank you. From Melissa in Ireland to Florence in Australia, we're covering the map.
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