Two Friends, Too Old by Robert Scott is on Kindle Countdown! @robbiehscottjr #FIGAuthors

Author Robert Scott is offering his novel Two Friends, Too Old on Kindle Countdown for just .99 beginning July 4 and running until July 6. It goes up to $1.99 after! Grab your copy before it’s too late!

Two Friends, Too Old

What would you do if you saw your best friend for 60 years slipping over the edge into mental oblivion? You would do anything to help him, right? Frank and Clay have been friends since the first day of first grade. Now both in their mid-sixties and retired, Frank is looking forward to spending a lot of quality time hanging out with his lifelong friend. But all that is threatened when Frank sees Clay going around the bend.

Clay denies he has a problem and rejects Frank’s initial suggestions for help. But when Frank stumbles upon a drug that might help, he renews his efforts to help his buddy and he talks Clay into taking the drug. That works great, for a while. But Frank couldn’t quite bring himself to tell Clay the entire truth about the drug, and that deception has tragic consequences, not only for Clay but also for Frank.

My Review

Rating: ★★★★★

Frank is a man in the golden years of his life. But just when he thinks it’s time to settle into an easy routine of family and old friends, life throws a haymaker that sends the retired man to the canvas. It begins with finding friend Clay beating his own dog. This is only the beginning of unprovoked outbursts of violence that are so out of character for this old friend. Dementia has crept in and taken Clay away, replacing him with someone who just can’t be trusted around Frank, Frank’s wife Lucille, and others who had come to know the once gentle man.

A farmer named Will is coping with tragedy of his own, nursing his terminally-ill wife when he crosses paths with Clay in the midst of another dementia-induced outburst. This is a look at the dark side of aging, the side most people choose not to examine. But this is reality. We all grow old and eventually die. Sometimes it’s the physical self that fails, leaving a once healthy person bound to others for help. That’s what we do, we take care of those we love. But what happens when it’s the mental decline that strikes a person down with age? Violence is sometimes a symptom. And the loss of memories only twists the knife deeper. This book is for anybody who loves a well-written story. But it’s especially for those going through their own journey with a loved one caught by aging. I highly recommend this story.

Get your copy today!

Until Death Do Us Unite: Short Story by @FizaPathan – A Review

Review

Rating: ★★★★★

I have become a fan of author Fiza Pathan’s work over the past year or so. This is a writer skilled in the art of telling a great story. Whether it be her autobiographical essays, or one of her many short stories, Miss Pathan knows how to hold the readers attention.  She accomplishes this with her recent short story entitled Until Death Do Us Unite.

This quick read pulls the reader into the tale of ancient Indian customs, India under British rule, and true love finding its place in the world. After the death of the revered Thakur Ram Singh, both of the man’s living wives are sentenced to die atop his burning funeral pyre—even though both women are still very much alive. While the older of the two wives views this as an honor, the horror of death by immolation doesn’t sit well with the younger wife, who is just sixteen years old.

As the flames begin to claim its victims, the younger wife struggles to break free of this death sentence. The events play out in front of a small group of British men, one of whom is in training to become a Catholic priest. It is this man, Jack White, who does what is unthinkable in ancient Indian culture—he breaks rank with his group and seeks to save this poor soul from a painful end.

I won’t tell you whether or not he is successful. You’ll have to read the story for yourself. What I will say is, grab a copy of this story today. Pathan is a talented as any writer in the market today.

Blurb

In a village somewhere in the Thar desert, in mid-nineteenth century India, the revered Thakur Ram Singh has just died. He will be laid to rest according to traditional Hindu rites. But will he be the only one who will be cremated on the funeral pyre that day?

Meanwhile, a Church dignitary and a band of British soldiers from the nearby cantonment casually observe the proceedings as they unfold—until they are joined by a young, spirited seminarian. His name is Brother Jack and he has chosen to interfere. His spontaneous action will result in certain death, a revolt against the Crown, or a major change in the course of his life.

About Author

Fiza Pathan has a bachelor’s degree in arts from the University of Mumbai, where she majored in history and sociology with a first class. She also has a bachelor’s degree in education, again with a first class, her special subjects being English and history.

Fiza has written eleven award-winning books and a short story, “Flesh of Flesh,” which reflect her interest in furthering the cause of education and in championing social issues. In over seventy literary competitions, she has placed either as winner or finalist, chief among them being: 2018 DBW Awards; Killer Nashville 2018 Silver Falchion Award; 2018 IAN Book of the Year Awards; 2018 BookViral Millennium Book Awards; Readers’ Favorite Book Awards; Reader Views Literary Awards; Eric Hoffer Book Award; Foreword Reviews Indie Fab Book Awards; Mom’s Choice Awards; Literary Classics Book Awards; and Dan Poynter’s Global Ebook Awards. She lives with her maternal family, and writes novels and short stories in most genres. You may follow her on Twitter @FizaPathan and visit her blog HERE.

Daisy, Bold & Beautiful – A Review!

Review

Rating: ★★★★★

Daisy, Bold & Beautiful is the debut novel from young author Ellie Collins. A natural-born storyteller, Collins penned her Greek Mythology tale at the age of eleven.

The story follows middle school newbie D. J. as she and her father move to a new city and a whole new life. D. J. enjoys gardening, and it’s here, in an enchanted dream garden, that she meets Persephone, Goddess of Spring. It is through the guidance of this new friend that D. J. gains the confidence needed to navigate her new surroundings.

The author weaves together many fascinating scenes filled with a cast of memorable characters, stoking a plot that suggests this young lady was indeed born to write. Though it’s geared toward younger readers, teens and adults alike will also enjoy this book.

Blurb

D.J. and her dad moved far from the small town and only home she ever knew. Now she’s starting middle school in the city with kids she’s never met. She tries to make friends, but they all appear to be slaves to screen time. D.J. just likes to garden, nurturing plants, watching them grow and thrive. It seems she’ll never find a way to fit in, but then she awakens in a gorgeous garden where she meets Persephone, Goddess of Spring. She must be dreaming; her new friend can’t possibly be real—and what could she know about getting along with gamers? D.J. really needs some ideas, or she might never find her own place in a complicated world.

 

About Author

Ellie Collins wrote her debut novel, Daisy, Bold & Beautiful when she was turning eleven and just beginning sixth grade. She finished writing Mylee In The Mirror, the second in her multi-award-winning middle-grade Greek mythology fantasy series before heading back to school for seventh grade and turning twelve and Mad Max & Sweet Sarah before eighth grade and becoming a teen. She writes amid a very busy extracurricular schedule, including a spot on both a gymnastics team and a trampoline and tumbling team, as well as taking weekly piano lessons. She’s an avid gamer who loves hanging out with friends. Her love of Greek mythology inspires her writing.

The Adventures of Ollie Orangutan by Larry Landgraf is Now Available for Pre-Order!

In the beginning, all animals were born wild and free. Ollie, however, was born in a cage and has spent his entire life in a zoo. Everything he knew, he learned from his mother and through the bars of his confinement. His life was totally dependent upon humans. He always had plenty to eat and it was fun watching the humans who visited daily, especially the little ones. Life was comfortable and Ollie grew up soft.

But as fate would have it, that is all going to change. Ollie is thrown into a completely new environment of which he knows nothing. Ollie will have to learn new things in order to survive without the help of humans. He will make new friends, but the real world is wild. He will also find those who would hurt him. Can he toughen up and make a new life for himself?

 

 

 

Pre-Order your copy on Amazon today!

 

Dying for a Kiss (A Short Story)

Dying for a Kiss

 

It’s like one of those stories you’d read about in Ripley’s Believe It or Not. I mean, who ever heard of anybody dying from a kiss? Seriously! But that’s what happened to me—well, except for the dying part. Two weeks in the hospital—that’s the souvenir I brought back from my spring break.

Okay, let me back up to the beginning.

My parents’ hushed words pierce the wall that separates their bedroom from mine. This particular conversation doesn’t warrant status as an argument, though. And believe me, I know what their arguments sound like—lots of yelling, and maybe an ashtray or a bowling trophy gets thrown by Mom. I guess I’d classify this one as just another log of disappointment tossed on the bonfire that engulfs our family—our collective lives.

Dad is a dreamer. The problem is, dreamers make promises they’ll eventually have to break. He’s also the sort of man who’ll spend his last five dollars on scratch-off lottery tickets instead of household necessities, like food, or gas—or our long-planned excursion to Disney World during spring break.

Dad’s the one who sets it in stone over breakfast in our kitchen—Dad, because Mom refuses to play the bad parent anymore.

“Sorry, kids,” he tells me and my sister, Amanda. “We just can’t afford Disney at this time.”

Amanda, being nearly two years older than me, carries a heavier burden of disappointment than I do. She’s had more time to gather her own collection of tales regarding broken promises, cancelled plans, and the jettisoned idea of ever being a normal, well-adjusted family.

“I figured as much,” Amanda mumbles, dismissing herself from the table.

Dad tries to be sincere in his attempt to save spring break. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t go somewhere that’s almost as fun and exciting.”

When Dad speaks of somewhere, it’s usually a state-park campground in some far-flung forest up north.

Amanda hollers from the living room, “Just so you know, Daddy, I hate camping.”

I don’t hate camping—though it doesn’t exactly make my top-ten list of fun things to do.

*      *      *

A little backstory.

My parents met at a Beatles concert back in 1964. Mom claims love at first sight.

Dad, well, he’s been known to dispute her recollections on the subject. He’s fond of saying, “She had the hots for John Lennon, is all. I’m just the booby prize.”

Hippies, they were—and still are, even though it’s 1979 now. They only just recently (as in one year ago) got married—despite the fact that Amanda is almost fourteen and I’m already twelve. And though they’d both been college students when they met, neither has ever collected the degree they once intended to earn.

Mom works at the IGA as a cashier—minimum wage, with practically zero opportunity to advance into a higher tax bracket.

Dad? He’s dabbled in various occupations—sales, electronic repairs (TV’s mostly, maybe a few stereos), welding, landscaping, auto repair. Nothing ever really sticks for him, though. My grandfather (Mom’s dad) refers to my father as professionally unemployable. Granddad still blames him for making a mess of Mom’s life. They don’t speak, Dad and Grandpa.

Dad’s a good guy, though. He means well. He’s just not one for responsibilities.

So, anyway, the folded map of Michigan comes out, spread across the kitchen table. Mom eyes the places circled in red—those previous vacation spots. We’ve been all over the state: Silver Lake Sand Dunes, Traverse City during the cherry festival, Holland for Tulip Time. We even spent a few days on Mackinac Island three summers ago—though we didn’t stay at the Grand Hotel.

“It’s Andrew’s turn to choose,” Mom says, dropping the big decision in my hands.

Hiawatha National Forest had been my first choice the last time my turn came up. But Dad broke his foot, which cancelled our vacation that spring.

“The Upper Peninsula, it is,” Dad says.

Amanda despises me in this moment. “I told you I hate camping.”

*      *      *

Radio songs fill the van once we hit US 27 going north. The Bee Gees squawk about a tragedy twice before we’re even on the road for forty minutes.

“I hate that song,” Amanda complains.

Dad says, “Well, I like it.”

Mom tries to lighten the mood. “I spy with my little eye—”

“Please don’t!” Amanda begs. Without warning, she socks my shoulder, yells, “Slug bug red!”

“Ouch!” And just like that, it’s on. We’ll both of us be battered and bruised by the time we spy the top of the Mackinac Bridge.

“Slug bug green!” Thwack!

“Slug bug blue!” Thwack!

“Slug bug—oh, never mind. That’s not a VW.” Thwack!

“Hey! No fair!”

Blondie sings about her heart of glass and Amanda momentarily abandons our game—just long enough to sing the few lines she actually knows.

Many hours later, I’m the one who spots the top of the Mighty Mack! “I see the bridge,” I say, hoping it’ll irritate Amanda.

But in truth, she doesn’t mind losing this game. It’s not a thing to her anymore. She’ll leave us the day she turns eighteen—or even sooner, if she has her way. Grandpa promised to pay for her college, knowing my parents will never be able to afford it.

Evening spikes the sky with an orange-pink sunset by the time we find a campground inside Hiawatha. Dozens of tents and RV’s occupy the prime camping spots.

“Andrew and I will set up the tent,” Dad says, parking our van on the last vacant lot within sight. “You girls can get dinner ready.”

Kids—loud and rowdy, as Grandpa would say—run from lot to lot, chasing after somebody’s collie, darting across the road without so much as a glance in either direction.

“Too stupid to last long in this world,” Amanda says.

Mom gives her the eye. “They’re just kids, for crying out loud, Mandy.”

*      *      *

“Andy and Mandy,” the girl teases, laughing at our introductions. “That’s cute. Are you two twins or something?”

“Or something,” Amanda says.

Her name is Nora, this girl with short brown hair. Already fourteen—unlike Amanda, who still has another month. The tents across the street are her family’s—it’s their collie running wild.

“Five kids,” Nora says, answering my mother. “I’m the oldest. Three younger brothers and a baby sister.”

“Sounds kind of crowded, that many people in just two small tents,” I observe.

She looks right at me when I speak—like I’m really truly here, standing in front of her.

“You don’t know the half of it,” says Nora. “I asked if I could just stay home, sit out this vacation. That’s not happening anytime soon.”

*      *      *

Blue jean shorts and a red bikini top—that’s what Nora wears the following morning. And a pocket full of salt water taffy—which she gladly shares.

Mom’s not impressed. “Leaves little to the imagination,” she says, regarding Nora’s top.

“But you and Daddy used to skinny dip,” Amanda reminds her. “So how is that better?”

Mom’s hard gaze issues silent threats. Her words aren’t quite as harsh. “Aren’t you kids going boating?”

It’s not really a boat, this thing we rent; it’s more like a canoe—but only plastic. I sit in the rear, my paddle steering us toward the middle of the lake. Amanda has the other paddle, though she’s not really doing anything with it.

Nora sits in the middle—facing me!

I think Amanda is intimidated, not being the oldest for a change.

Nora talks—a lot. But I don’t mind. She tells us all about life back home in Detroit—well, the suburbs, really, a place called Royal Oak. She used to have a boyfriend, but he cheated on her. Her parents separated last year, intending to divorce, but her mom ended up pregnant.

“Amazing how an unborn baby can save a marriage,” Amanda says.

It’s after we bring the canoe in that Nora says, “Wanna go for a walk?”

Only, she’s not talking to Amanda. Amanda is already halfway back to our tent.

We end up in a picnic area near the lake, just me and Nora. She tells me more about herself, her family, what she intends for her future.

“You’re cute,” she says, sitting right beside me on a park bench.

My cheeks get hot, probably bright pink.

And she’s two years older than me, I think, as her lips press against mine.

My first kiss—well, first real kiss.

On her tongue I taste salt water taffy and excitement and all things possible.

What I don’t taste is the meningitis in her saliva.

Amanda intrudes, tells me lunch is being served at our tent.

*      *      *

It strikes without warning, leaving me confused, nauseated. Words tumble from my mouth, though I have no idea what I’m saying.

Mom’s hand finds my forehead. “He’s burning up,” she says. “We need to get this boy to a hospital.”

Only, I don’t hear it that way. What I hear is, “We need to get this boy a pretzel.”

“But I don’t like pretzels,” I mumble.

*      *      *

Two weeks later, I’m back home. It’s a blur, but my parents say I nearly died.

From a kiss!

Is that a Ripley’s story or what?

And what a kiss—totally worth dying for!

Well, almost dying.

© 2019 Beem Weeks

Operation Counterpunch by Marc Marlow is Available for Pre-Order Now!

North Korea will be the biggest challenge to your presidency, warned the outgoing commander-in-chief; but to imprisoned journalist Geon Jae-sun, surviving each day in the prison camp proves the greatest challenge of his life. Protecting beautiful young prisoner Ji-su has grown increasingly difficult, too, for this slight man, otherwise powerless but for his prowess at deceiving their captors.

Navy SEAL Andrew Gunnar Jackson is tasked by the president himself with gathering intel from the hermit kingdom. It’s a dangerous gamble where capture means summary execution—if he’s lucky—or death the slow way in a North Korean prison re-education camp. Information is the least of his concerns, though, as the president agrees he can leverage this mission to satisfy a few goals of his own.

How far will each man go to fend off the cruel machinations of a ruthless dictator? And will that be enough for either to survive?

 

My Review of Comes this Time to Float by @StephenGeez

Rating: ★★★★★

Author Stephen Geez possesses a talent for crafting tales that draw readers into the unique and vivid worlds he creates. This collection of 19 short stories offers a smorgasbord of genres, characters, lives, and situations with which everyday people can and will identify. From the very first story to the last, Geez has a way of keeping the reader enthralled and entertained.

“Halfway House” tells a sad tale of loss and the search for redemption. “Vapor Girl” is trippy and far out, and one that will surely remain with you. “Family Treed” sprinkles the weird and humorous on this wonderful word salad. “Tailwind” is a thoughtful piece about a pair of aging friends in the latter stages of life. “The Age Eater” carries a note of science fiction and a hint of creepy. But my favorite is a story entitled “Holler Song”. This story harkens to the Ozark Mountains of Daniel Woodrell’s modern classic Winter’s Bone, where poor people caught up in impossible circumstances will do whatever it takes just to survive the lives handed to them.

There isn’t a bad story in the entire collect. Stephen Geez has been a favorite of mine since I first read his novel What Sara Saw many years ago. If you’re a reader with a keen eye for the literary, this is one you’ll want on your bookshelf.

The Daedalus Files: SEALS Winged Insertion Command (SWIC) by Robert G. Williscroft! @RGWilliscroft

The Daedalus Files: SEALS Winged Insertion Command (SWIC) by Robert G. Williscroft is now available for PRE-ORDER! Reserve your copy today!

In Daedalus, Navy SEAL Derek “Tiger” Baily, irreverent member of the SEALS Winged Insertion Command (SWIC), makes a harrowing first base jump in the experimental Gryphon-7 hardshell wingsuit from the edge of Space. He test-flies the armor-plated Gryphon-10 in Daedalus LEO, catapulting into space by Slingshot and dropping from a record-obliterating 160 klicks. Testing the enhanced Gryphon-10 MK 4 in Daedalus Squad, Baily’s 6-man team believes it is fully prepared for hurtling around the world and staging critical re-entry, but challenged to innovate life-or-death solutions with only seconds to spare, it might not survive intact. Then the presidential front-runner is seized by pirates for ransom in Daedalus Combat, and the SWIC team is called to action where it must literally improvise on the fly with everything to lose. Join Tiger Baily through all four adventures in sci-fi master Robert G. Williscroft’s Daedalus series, now collected for the first time as The Daedalus Files: SEALS Winged Insertion Command (SWIC).

PRE-ORDER TODAY!

 

My Review of SCENES OF A RECLUSIVE WRITER & READER OF MUMBAI

Rating: ★★★★★

“I am a recluse and I love books more than I love people.” – It’s a line from the author herself. And she means it, too. In Scenes of a Reclusive Writer & Reader of Mumbai, author Fiza Pathan opens the door and allows readers just a glimpse inside of her life. These essays introduce us to her world, her family, her many loves. Her loves being books and characters, of course.

I won’t say Pathan has had a difficult life, though it couldn’t have been easy, either. Her father rejected her based solely on the fact that he didn’t want a daughter. But it is through this rejection that the author is shaped into the person she is today. See, while the father may have been absent, her mother, grandmother, and uncles were very much present. As were those who worked in the libraries of Mumbai. These are the rich cast of lives that aided Pathan during her childhood and beyond. One can fully appreciate her family simply by reading these essays. Her words come from her heart–which is what makes this collection so wonderful.

Pathan’s love for the written word, for storytelling, began with Archie and Jughead, and carries on through Dracula, Bollywood, and the classics. Social issues rank high on her list of priorities, often showing up within her writing, whether it’s essays, short stories, or novels.

As a writer, Fiza Pathan skillfully weaves her words into beautiful tapestries that tell tales in vivid colors and textures. Though her culture is different from my own, I am easily transported into her world, able to feel what she wants readers to feel. This is one trip I truly enjoyed taking.

Country Music Hall of Fame Drummer Offers Autographed Hardcover Book

Former Alabama drummer Mark Herndon is now offering autographed hardcover copies of his memoir The High Road exclusively at MarkHerndon.com

What drives a man to spend 26 years performing night after night? To persevere through a stifling tour bus, bad food, strange women, flared tempers, a plane nearly blown from the sky? Just how did that troubled military brat with a dream claw his way from dirt-floor dive-bar shows to the world’s biggest stages? Aviator, author, and Country Music Hall of Fame drummer Mark Herndon lived that dream with one of the most popular and celebrated bands of all time.  He learned some hard lessons about people and life, the music industry, the accolades and awards, how easy it is to lose it all . . . and how hard it is to survive, to embrace sobriety, to live even one more day. Herndon’s poignant memoir offers a tale at once cautionary and inspirational, delightful and heartbreaking, funny yet deeply personal. From innocence to rebellion to acceptance, can a man still flourish when the spotlight dims? Are true forgiveness, redemption, and serenity even possible when the powerful say everything you achieved somehow doesn’t even count? That you’re not who you and everyone who matters thought you were? Mark Herndon refuses to slow down. So look back, look ahead, and join him on the trip. He’s taking The High Road.

 

Legendary Country Music Hall of Fame drummer Mark Herndon yearned to fly jets as a military brat, then discovered the dream of playing drums, vowing to come back one day and perform at the very place where he once had to stand outside just to hear. Along the way, he loved and lost and made plenty of mistakes, persevering to achieve all that he imagined before having so much taken away. After decades with one of the most celebrated bands of all time, he still lives his dreams, playing, producing, flying, and now writing with keen observations about life and living in the spotlight.