Still Breathing @rabtbooktours @gammera

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Women’s Fiction
Date Published:  November 17, 2018
Designer: Damonza
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
 
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Newly widowed and on the threshold of seventy, Lizzie Warton questions the value of her remaining years. Uncharacteristically, she decides for the first time in her life to do what she wants, instead of what everyone expects.
Against the wishes of family and friends, she sets out for Africa to work at a Ugandan middle school. When she lands at night in the Entebbe airport, her hosts are not there to meet her. Near panic, she hires a local taxi. The driver drugs her, steals everything, and dumps her limp body in a slum. Waking in the dark, she feels someone tugging off her shoes.
Without money, a passport, clothes, or medications, Lizzie is forced to start over and find a way to survive. Soon she learns that nothing in Africa is as it appears. The grind of daily life in the third-world is beyond anything Lizzie imagined. Nevertheless, encouraged by budding friendships in surprising places, and against every sensible instinct she’s ever developed, Lizzie’s own personal search for meaning becomes the grand adventure of a lifetime.
Excerpt
      “Hey, muzungu! Over here!”
“Lady, best prices in Owino!”
 “I have jeans. You want jeans? New styles from America!”
“Hey! Pretty white lady! Over here!”
 “Best quality! Best prices! Today, only for you, muzungu!”
“I have a new shipment! Come and see!”
“Muzungu! Lady, what you need?”
Lizzie was sick of the accented voices shouting at her. She had yet to see another white woman in the claustrophobic market. Warned in advance, she had ignored the hands on her arms, the fingers trailing across her fingers, even the nudges to move her toward their shops, but she was fed up with the vendors’ constant calls aimed at her. Still, she doggedly maintained her wooden smile, even though she was gritting her teeth behind it.
At one point, a vendor called out a question in Luganda and someone else answered it. Lizzie was sure it had something to do with her. Laughter broke out and other voices chimed in with more quips. Grinning faces nodded at her as she walked away.
Lizzie shot a questioning look at Mrs. Birungi, who rolled her eyes, even though a smile tugged at her mouth. “It is nothing – just vendor talk. Ignore it. We need to go over that way.” Birungi pointed to a split in the congested path ahead, and steered them to the right.
Afiya pulled abreast of Lizzie a little later as they bobbed through a brief open place in the moving crowd. “They said they not sure if you are white or Ugandan.”
“What?”
“It was joke. Our people always make jokes.”
“How was it a joke?”
“Somebody said you half Ugandan.” The girl suppressed a grin.
“I don’t get it.”
“They said you have white top but Ugandan bottom.” Afiya smiled broadly as she said the line.
Lizzie looked back at her, puzzled.
“This kind bottom.” Afiya patted her own rump. “Word means both things. They admired your…bottom.” Afiya couldn’t help but giggle as she repeated the word.
Lizzie understood and sighed. “Well, I guess that’s not the worst thing I’ve ever heard.” In her mind, a little appreciative thought blossomed at still being noticed in that way, at all. She hastily chided herself and kept walking, but her hips now swayed a tiny bit more, nevertheless.
About the Author

 photo GeneF_5X7_08042016_1_zpssmrgi6sb.jpgOriginally from South Minneapolis, Gene Fournier earned a BA in Philosophy & Literature from St. Louis University followed by a Masters in Film from USC. Gene is a member of the Writers Guild of America west (WGA) and worked as a screenwriter and editor in Hollywood, but sadly, he never got that big break. Seeking a return to his roots after twelve years in California, he accepted a Director of Media position with a multinational company headquartered in the Midwest. For thirty years he wrote, directed, edited and distributed corporate video programs around the world, managed live presentations, and orchestrated the creative elements for national and international meetings. Retired now, with his seven children grown, and a dozen grandchildren to distract him, Gene is finally able to write down the stories he’s been carrying in his head all these years.

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Hostile Takeover @rabtbooktours @Cristelle

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Vale Investigation (book #1)
Urban Fantasy
Date Published: August 1, 2018
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When a mysterious beast savagely mauls random residents of Cold City, the police assume that these are the killings of a rogue wolf. But experienced private investigator, Bellamy Vale, is unconvinced.
Ordered by Death herself to investigate, Vale has no choice but to obey for his boss is not someone to disappoint—if he wants to keep breathing, that is.
With friend and computer hacker Zian, interfering journalist Candice Kennedy, and homicide sergeant Melanie Ramirez by his side, Vale has no choice but to end the killings or face the wrath of the demon who literally holds his life in her hands.
Hostile Takeover is a fast-paced, edge-of-your seat paranormal mystery that will leave your heart racing, and have you looking over your shoulder.
About the Author

 photo 003_zpsown8ixh9.jpgCristelle Comby was born and raised in the French-speaking area of Switzerland, in Greater Geneva, where she still resides. She attributes to her origins her ever-peaceful nature and her undying love for chocolate. She has a passion for art, which also includes an interest in drawing and acting. She is the author of the Neve & Egan Cases series, which features an unlikely duo of private detectives in London: Ashford Egan, a blind History professor, and Alexandra Neve, one of his students. Currently, she is hard at work on her Urban Fantasy series Vale Investigation which chronicles the exploits of Death’s only envoy on Earth, PI Bellamy Vale, in the fictitious town of Cold City, USA.

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EXCERPT

01
I was having a bad day.
The ugly thug facing me readied himself for the next swing. “What did you say, bastard?” His red-splattered knuckles were ready for the next round; my body wasn’t.
“I’m haffin a fah fay,” I managed to repeat through a mouthful of saliva and blood.
That made Julian Ragazzo, former welterweight boxing champ and top bodyguard to the city’s prime Italian Mafia family, smile. His wet beard glistened with sweat beads around stained teeth. Glad one of us was happy.
I took stock of the damage Ragazzo had already done. Broken nose, check. Split lip, check. Swollen eye, check. Broken rib, double check, and the list went on and on. It could have been worse. The injuries, though painful, weren’t enough to put me in the hospital. Sure, I’d hurt for a week or four, but I’d live to tell the tale outside of a body cast. I knew that, and Ragazzo did, too. This was a game we’d both played before … not that I’d gotten any better at it.
I caught a reflection of myself in the glossy surface of a cabinet door. My messy mop of brown locks was matted with blood on one side and the five o’clock shadow had a hard time concealing a fast-bruising chin. One eye was swollen shut and the other had a pale blue, haunted orb dancing amidst a sea of red veins. I was a mess, and not a hot one.
I closed my good eye and waited for the next blow. The bodyguard didn’t disappoint. A second later, he delivered a power punch and I saw stars. It didn’t help that I was tied to a chair and my already sore shoulders screamed in protest at the added strain. In a noise that only I could hear, my body cried out, ‘How in all the hells was this part of the plan?’ Fair question—it wasn’t.
In truth, there may have been a few glitches here and there. Like those two extra guards at the office building’s back entrance, plus that wrong turn I took on the fourteenth floor. Yeah, okay … the plan was just as screwed as I was.
Ragazzo followed up his haymaker with another kick in the guts. It would have ripped a scream out of me if I’d had any breath left for it. Instead, my lungs just took in short, choppy gasps I couldn’t control.
“Well, well, well … look what the cat dragged in,” taunted an Italian-lilted voice.
I recognized the lazy drawl and opened my good eye to confirm my suspicions. Sure enough, Alonzo Vitorini, Cold City’s resident wannabe kingpin, stood near the entrance in a dark-green pinstriped suit. Shit, looking at his ugly get-up hurt worse than any of Ragazzo’s blows.
Vitorini sauntered into the room, smiling as he noticed my stare. “Like the suit?” he asked, doing a little pirouette to show off this walking insult to fashion.
I wasn’t going to reply, but the second my eye caught sight of the finishing touch, a pair of black-and-white spectator shoes, my mouth kicked into gear on its own.
“Al Capone called,” I wheezed out. “He wants his brogues back.”
Vitorini laughed, the corners of his muddy-green eyes wrinkling. Not sure if he was laughing at the crack or the fact that he was going to kill me for it in another minute or two.

Miracle Man by William R. Leibowitz – Review

26571367Miracle Man by William R. Leibowitz – The victim of an unspeakable crime, an infant rises to become a new type of superhero. Unlike any that have come before him, he is not a fanciful creation of animators, he is real. So begins the saga of Robert James Austin, the greatest genius in human history. But where did his extraordinary intelligence come from? As agents of corporate greed vie with rabid anti-Western radicals to destroy him, an obsessive government leader launches a bizarre covert mission to exploit his intellect. Yet Austin’s greatest fear is not of this world. Aided by two exceptional women, one of whom will become his unlikely lover, Austin struggles against abandonment and betrayal. But the forces that oppose him are more powerful than even he can understand. Robert James Austin is REVERED by many and REVILED by some. But none can doubt that he is REMARKABLE.

Goodreads   –   Amazon   –   www.miraclemanbook.com

About the author: William R. Leibowitz has been practicing entertainment law in New York City for a number of years.  He has represented numerous renown recording artists, songwriters, producers and many of the leading record companies, talent managers, merchandisers and other notable entertainment businesses.  At one point, he was the Chief Operating Officer/General Counsel for the Sanctuary Group of Companies, a U.K. public company that was the largest ‘indie’ music company in the world (prior to its acquisition by the Universal Music Group).  William has a Bachelor of Science Degree from New York University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and a law degree from Columbia University.  He lives in the village of Quogue, New York with his wife, Alexandria, and dog, George.

William wrote Miracle Man because of its humanistic and spiritual messages and because he feels that in our current times– when meritless celebrity has eclipsed accomplishment and the only heroes are those based on comic books, the world needs a real hero—and that, of course, is Robert James Austin.

Goodreads   –   Amazon   –   www.miraclemanbook.com

My thoughts: Miracle Man is an addictive psychological thriller that is sure to get into your head and play mind games. A story that is intensely intriguing with characters that are well developed and engaging. The very beginning grabs you with a baby being found in a dumpster, and raised by foster parents. As the story unfolds the suspense builds making this a truly captivating read. Leibowitz has a uniquely creative way of creating interesting characters that are vividly realistic and relatable. Miracle Man is the perfect read for anyone who loves a suspenseful thriller.  ** I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.**

Come Back @rabtbooktours @SallyCrosiar

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Contemporary/Upmarket/Women’s Fiction
Date Published: September 2017
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Vi Masters wonders…can you come home again? More, she wonders why anyone would want to. She fled upright, backwater Freedom, Iowa at seventeen and hoped never to return. But this time, she can’t stand up against the pleas of the aunt who raised her. It’s one weekend. How bad can three days be?
Three measly days in a wonderful eighteen-year marriage – that’s what Vi’s stepmother hopes. But what if Ben discovers what Tammy knew about why his daughter ran away – something he seems determined to finally find out? She can’t be sure Ben would forgive her, and that’s got Tammy scared to her bones.
One day in and Vi has to face how Aunt Sadie is failing, Caregiving will surely wreak havoc on Vi’s hard-won career, but how can she not? At least she might be able to turn the party Sadie’s planned into a night even Alzheimer’s won’t let Sadie forget.
But that’s before Vi finds out Nate Barlow has moved back to town. Now after all she’s already survived, Vi must dig deep for courage. Nate will never be able to accept Vi’s past. Will he? Who knew hope would be so scary?
About the Author

 photo fullsizeoutput_254e_zpseijbmigw.jpegSally Crosiar lives in the Finger Lakes of New York State where she reads incessantly, enjoys time in and on the water, savors dark chocolate with red wine at every opportunity, and teaches about health and play for Empire State College. She is the author of Find the Love of Your Life, based on her own true story, My Uncle Dave, a children’s book with an adult message, and co-author with Dr. Sidney B. Simon of Love Builders: Tools to Build Every Relationship. Come Back is her debut novel.

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EXCERPT:
Chapter 13
Vi
Hair by Lindy, where Sadie’s gone since time began, is just a few blocks from the Pinewood. Across Grove, up Maple, past the Elementary School and Library, right on Main. Funny how I still knew the route. Maybe our feet hold memories our brains don’t have room to keep.
My feet were on their own as I left the Pinewood. My head was too full. Seeing all those folks from my girlhood felt like a bushel of Nerf balls hurled at me. Soft greetings and wishes shouldn’t hurt. But so many bombarding me at once? I felt a little bruised.
Add a few sharp and pointy missiles mixed in with the Nerfs, and I hurt plenty. Connie aimed her arrow straight at my center. Direct hit.
She thought I had it coming. And maybe I did. Poor Nate.
But what he might face was the last thing on my mind when I left. Away – that was the only thing. Away. Away from that house, away from Freedom, away from what happened. And then I didn’t think again – couldn’t – till Opal took me in. One foot in front of the other was all I could do.
Even now I couldn’t think, or it all came back – the horror and pain. Can’t let it in. Not if I want to survive. For too long, I asked if survival was what I wanted. Alive didn’t look so good back then. And thinking? Way too risky.
But now, I couldn’t escape the thinking – and what came with it. Blinding. Sharp. Full-strength pain. Waves on waves of it. My feet carried me onto the school playground. I sank onto a swing and gave in to sobs. I hadn’t cried so hard since I was seventeen. Why should it hurt so much now? Why?
But I knew why. It wasn’t the horror of that last night that slapped at me. I’d dealt with that – more or less. But the sweetness before the horror? There was a missile aimed sure and true.
Nate. Oh God. Nate.
What a shock to see him! Why did Sadie never say he moved back home? Oh God. Nate.
What a shock to feel that same warm gladness roll through me just to see his face. Until the ice of Connie’s anger – and Nate’s apparent indifference – launched grenades.
I rocked on the swing and gasped great gulps of air. Can’t breathe. Forgot how. I wasn’t quick to catch on again.
Get hold of yourself Vi! Think!
No! Hurts to think! Can’t think about all I missed – all that was stolen – with Nate!
There it was. My feet braced and my body bent over double. Nate was the black hole I never let myself think about all these years.
That old commercial came in my head. I ought to conk my forehead, say, “I could have had a V-8.” Duh. All these years, all that therapy, I focused on the wrong guy. I should have talked about Nate.
I slumped back and let myself swing back and forth. Sobs subsided into staccato bursts. My head filled – not the last dreadful hours – but the honeyed scenes that stabbed to my core.
I was so young, I thought. So young and so in love. And it seemed like maybe – just maybe – I wasn’t alone in love. Oh that kiss. That sweet, sweet kiss.
Rage came in hot, fresh spurts. Damn JT! Damn him. He had no right. Old news. Now I saw mine was maybe not the only life he stole. Damn him. He had no right to plunder such bright and hopeful sweetness.
Some sane calm voice – not mine, surely not mine – sounded in my head. “Why this fresh fury, Vi?”
I didn’t know! I didn’t see what he took from me!
“Didn’t you? I wonder why?”
Not Ruby. Ruby would grab and hold on. Opal? No doubt. Opal never offered sympathy. She relied on damned calm sanity. Slow down and let your own sanity kick in.
I breathed deep. All right. Why does this pain and rage pierce so deep? Why now?
The scene of the crime, I thought. Of course I feel it more here.
“Justifiable.” The Opal in my head nodded. So much for sanity. “Atta girl,” she said. “When you start to laugh – even a little – sanity’s not far behind. But you know that’s not the whole story.”
Oh dammit, Opal. I don’t know.
“Sure you do.”
Okay! I never let myself think about Nate. That night. Before.
“No. You never did. Because…”
Because it hurt too much! It hurts too much now!
“I know it hurts. But not too much. Not more than you can handle now.”
Handle? Christ, I can’t handle this.
“Sure you can girl. And you will. Starting now.”
Heavy footsteps on the playground gravel replaced the voice in my head. I turned away, dashed hot tears from my face, until a big hand grabbed at the swing’s chains just above my head.
Oh shit. Just what I need right now. Ben.

The Deadliest Fever @rabtbooktours

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A Miriam Bat Isaac Mystery in Ancient Alexandria
Historical Mystery
Date Published: April 2018
Publisher: Black Opal Books
 
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Miriam bat Isaac, a budding alchemist and amateur sleuth in first-century CE Alexandria, is concerned when she learns that the threads of gold in the Great Synagogue’s Torah mantle have been damaged. She takes the mantle to Judah, a renowned jeweler and the unrequited love of her life. He repairs the threads and assures her that the stones in the mantle are still genuine. Like Miriam, he is astonished that someone would damage the threads but leave the gems behind.
Shortly before, the Jewish community of Alexandria welcomed their visiting sage and his family, who had just arrived from Ephesus on the Thalia. Also on the ship were the perpetrators of an audacious jewelry heist. And shortly after, the captain of the Thalia is found dead in a sleazy waterfront inn.
Can Miriam discover the connections among the jewel heist, the death of the sea captain, and the desecration of the Torah mantle before the deadliest fever claims its victim? Not without help from the bite of a rabid bat.
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Other Books in the Miriam bat Isaac Mysteries in Ancient Alexandria Mystery Series:
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The Deadliest Lie
A Miriam bat Isaac Mysteries in Ancient Alexandria, Book One
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Published: October 2013
She’s a brilliant alchemist-with a talent for solving mysteries.
Miriam bat Isaac is a budding scholar in first-century CE Alexandria, though her dreams seem doomed. Who in her household or among her father’s Shabbat guests stole the scrolls containing the Alchemical League’s valuable formulas? Perhaps the thief was even her frantic father, on the cusp of financial ruin, eager for Miriam to end her dalliance with a handsome jeweler and marry into an honorable and wealthy family. Or her rebellious brother, intent on raising money to travel to Capua so he can enroll in the Roman Empire’s most renowned gladiator school. Or her faint-hearted fiancé, who begrudges her preoccupation with alchemy and yearns for their forthcoming marriage?
And how did the thief manage to steal them? Miriam is not only faced with a baffling puzzle, but, to recover the scrolls, she must stalk the culprit through the sinister alleys of Alexandria’s claustrophobic underbelly. The Romans who keep a harsh watch over her Jewish community are trouble enough.
Miriam is based on the true personage of Maria Hebrea, the legendary founder of Western alchemy, who developed the concepts and apparatus alchemists and chemists would use for 1500 years.
June Trop (Zuckerman) has had over forty years of experience as an award-winning teacher and educator. Now associate professor emerita at the State University of New York at New Paltz, she spends her time breathlessly following her intrepid protagonist, Miriam bat Isaac, who is back in the underbelly of Alexandria, once again searching for a murderer in The Deadliest Sport while worrying about her brother.
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The Deadliest Hate
A Miriam bat Isaac Mysteries in Ancient Alexandria, Book Two
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Published: October 2015
The Roman Empire may be the least of her enemies.
A secret alchemical recipe to transmute copper into gold surfaces in first-century CE Caesarea. As soon as Miriam sets out to trace the leak, Judean terrorists target her for assassination. Eluding the assassins while protecting a secret of her own, she discovers that she, herself, is responsible for the leak. Moreover she is powerless to stop its spread throughout the Empire and beyond.
But who is really trying to kill Miriam? Is it a case of mistaken identity, or is her late-fiancé’s ex-scribe, now an assistant to the Procurator of Judea, seeking to avenge an old grudge? Or is her heartthrob’s half-brother, a Judean patriot who inherited his mother’s mania, afraid Miriam knows too much?
And how did the recipe find its way from Alexandria to Caesarea anyway?
June Trop (Zuckerman) has had over forty years of experience as an award-winning teacher and educator. Now associate professor emerita at the State University of New York at New Paltz, she spends her time breathlessly following her intrepid protagonist, Miriam bat Isaac, who is back in the underbelly of Alexandria, once again searching for a murderer in The Deadliest Sport while worrying about her brother.
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The Deadliest Sport
A Miriam bat Isaac Mysteries in Ancient Alexandria, Book Three
Publisher: Black Opal Books
Published: October 2017
Miriam bat Isaac, a budding alchemist in first-century CE Alexandria, welcomes her twin brother Binyamin home to fight his last gladiatorial bout in Alexandria. But when he demands his share of the family money so he can build a school for gladiators in Alexandria, Miriam explains that he forsook his share when he took the gladiatorial oath. When she refuses to loan him the money for what she feels is a shady, and dangerous, enterprise, Binyamin becomes furious. Soon after, the will of Amram, Miriam’s elderly charge, turns up missing, Amram becomes seriously ill, and the clerk of the public records house is murdered. Could Binyamin really be behind this monstrous scheme? If not he, who could be responsible? And is Miriam slated to be the next victim?
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 Excerpt
May 1, Thursday, Almost Midnight:
He waited, listening to the darkness flow into the sanctuary. With the thick drapes blocking the flare of torches lining the Canopic Way, the only light scratching the air was the meager glow of the eternal flame, the ner tamid of Alexandria’s Great Synagogue.
The coolness of the night had already begun to assert itself. Just a little longer, he told himself as his fist closed around the open edges of his long black robe. A few minutes later, as his other hand pulled back the hood over his head, he emerged from his hiding place, his body taut, his legs tingling from having stood in place for so long.
Stretching his cramped muscles, he approached the front of the Torah Ark. His fingers trembled with excitement, his eyes shining with greed as he drew open the parokhet, the curtain that screened the Ark.
“Like a bride’s veil,” he said to himself, amused by the analogy.
With a self-congratulatory nod and a tight satisfied smile, he pulled open the ornate bronze doors and carried the Torah to the Reader’s Table. For a few moments, he gazed at the coveted prize adorning the Torah mantle, three peerless jewels, each set into the bowl of one of the three vessels embroidered in gold on the mantle.
He didn’t need much light. His eyes were already accustomed to the darkness, and his hands had performed this procedure many times before. Taking a few deep breaths to calm the twitch at the corner of his mouth, he removed a slim wooden box from the goatskin pouch attached to his belt, took out his tools, and lined them up on the table: his silver pick, plyers, tweezers, snips, and a double-handled vial of olive oil. Then he undressed the Torah and positioned the mantle so the jewels caught the narrow strip of light from the ner tamid.
Oh, Lord! Even in the thinnest light, they spew out their fire!
Half-frightened, worried that he’d uttered the words aloud, he released only a feather of breath.
But hearing no echo, his jaw softened.
He was safe.
Then, hunching over the table, balancing his forearms against the edge, he took hold of the pick and laid his hands on the mantle.
He tried to loosen the center stone, the emerald. The setting was tight. Very tight. He tried again, this time after placing a droplet of oil on each prong.
This is going to take a while.
He shifted his weight and continued.
The silence was absolute save for the occasional sputter of the ner tamid and the distant rumble of hooves on the Canopic Way’s granite pavement.
Until he heard loudening footfalls ringing out against the tessellated floor, waking the echoes in the corridor’s coffered ceiling.
A crease of light swept under the sanctuary’s ceiling-high, bejeweled double doors.
He froze and held his breath, as fear prickled down his spine, until the clicking heels receded into the silence. He blinked slowly and released an unbidden sigh. Just the watchman on his rounds. He won’t come in here. He locked the doors to the sanctuary and all the outside doors to the Synagogue hours ago and won’t open them again until dawn.
His fingers worked through the night. Despite the chill, rivulets of sweat trickled down his back and collected under his belt. He straightened up now and then, rolled his shoulders back, and cocked his head as he admired his work.
His mouth curved into a triumphant smile.
Beads of saliva clung to his lips.
By now a pearly grayness was seeping under the doors. He could see the darkness dissolving. Objects in the sanctuary were reclaiming their color and shape.
He mentally ticked off the remaining tasks: Dress the Torah. Put it back in the Ark. Tuck my prize and the tools into the box. Slide it back into my pouch. Slip out as soon as the watchman unlocks the doors but before what’s-his-name…Gershon, that’s it, Gershon ben Israel…comes in to check the sacred—
Oh, Lord, what on Earth is that squeaking sound? Surely not a bird.
A sharp-toothed, leathery-winged bat shot out of nowhere, swooped across the sanctuary, and, wheeling around the bemah, took a dive, and nipped the crown of the man’s head before disappearing with a shrill screech behind the Ark.
His thin howl—part gasp, scream, and strangled sob—tore through the sanctuary.
Then he heard a pair of boots smacking the tiles.
I gotta get out of here! Where’s the—
Dressing it quickly, he shoved the Torah into the Ark, throwing everything else into his pouch.
Except the vial.
The vial. Oops!
Oil everywhere.
Oh, Lord! Not now.
A hasty wipe with the sleeve of his robe.
The rising volume of hammering footsteps.
Now two sets—one close, the other farther away but catching up. Their volume swelled as they turned a corner.
Must be Gershon trailing the watchman.
The jangle of keys. The ping of the latch as the watchman unlocked the doors.
No place to hide. And, Lord, all this blood gushing from my head.
“No, Daniel, no!” Gershon shouted. “The other way. Hurry! The scream came from the library.”
About the Author

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June Trop and her twin sister Gail wrote their first story, “The Steam Shavel [sic],” when they were six years old growing up in rural New Jersey. They sold it to their brother Everett for two cents.
“I don’t remember how I spent my share,” June says. “You could buy a fistful of candy for a penny in those days, but ever since then, I wanted to be a writer.”
As an award-winning middle school science teacher, June used storytelling to capture her students’ imagination and interest in scientific concepts. Years later as a professor of teacher education, she focused her research on the practical knowledge teachers construct and communicate through storytelling. Her first book, From Lesson Plans to Power Struggles (Corwin Press, 2009), is based on the stories new teachers told about their first classroom experiences.
Now associate professor emerita at the State University of New York at New Paltz, she devotes her time to writing The Miriam bat Isaac Mystery Series. Her heroine is based on the personage of Maria Hebrea, the legendary founder of Western alchemy, who developed the concepts and apparatus alchemists and chemists would use for 1500 years.
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thedeadgirlinthevacantlot @rabtbooktours

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Fiction – Mystery
Date Published: May 16, 2018
Publisher: Spotlight Publishing
 
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         Phoenix investigative reporter Joya Bonner is like most Americans—she knows nothing about the world of sex trafficking; thinks it’s a problem reserved for somewhere far off. Thailand. Russia.
         But the reality that this is an American problem slaps her in the face when  her 15 year-old honorary niece disappears in Phoenix.  And a 13 year-old from her hometown in North Dakota goes missing.  And there’s that pitiful dead girl in the vacant lot. As the evidence piles up that these are all part of the sex-slave underworld, Joy’s awakening chills her to the bone.
         She’s sickened even more when she realizes the website that pimps use to sell these girls was created in Phoenix at the weekly newspaper New Times—by guys she knew; by journalists she admired; by men she’d defended in the pages of her own newspaper when they were attacked by Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
         Joya’s frantic search to find the missing girls—and identify the dead child—brings readers into the real world of sex trafficking. It includes the true history of Backpage.com, that’s been called an “online brothel,” and its founders, Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin, currently awaiting trial on charges of facilitating sex trafficking.
         This book combines a riveting fictional story with the reality that is ripped from today’s headlines. The book ends with an extensive “end notes” section that details the facts and personalities of this world—both from those exploiting youngsters for prostitution, and those who have long fought to stop it.
About the Author


 photo Jana-Bommersbach-_1718317789_zpsuaafzyjd.jpg Jana Bommersbach is one of Arizona’s most acclaimed journalists and authors. She’s already been honored with two lifetime achievement awards as “an inspiration to the state’s media community.”  She’s been inducted into the Arizona Arts and Entertainment Hall of Fame, and honored by the ACLU as a “journalist and activist who speaks truth to power.”  She’s won a regional Emmy for her television work and was named the nation’s best columnist in a city magazine for her work at Phoenix magazine. She twice won the Don Bolles Award in Investigative Reporting for her work at Phoenix New Times.
         Jana is known as a tenacious researcher and lyrical writer. Her debut non-fiction book, “The Trunk Murderess: Winnie Ruth Judd” was nominated for the prestigious Edgar Allan Poe Award as one of the nation’s best mysteries in 1992.  Her children’s book, “A Squirrel’s Story, a True Tale” won numerous awards here and abroad. Her first historical novel, “Cattle Kate,” was named one of the best books of 2014 by Publisher’s Weekly. With “thedeadgirlinthevacantlot,” Jana continues exploring the world of fiction with her character, Phoenix investigative reporter Joya Bonner.
          To satisfy her journalistic soul, Jana combines a fictional story with real-life incidents she’s covered in the past. In her first Joya Bonner book, “Funeral Hotdish,” it was the problem of Sammy “the Bull” Gravano and his Arizona ecstasy ring and how it affected Joya’s safe, secure hometown in North Dakota that buried one of its children from a drug overdose.  In this new book, Joya takes on the world of sex-trafficking.  As the book was going to press, federal officials shut down the “online brothel” known as Backpage.com and its founders—Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin—were arrested and are awaiting trial on multiple counts of facilitating sex-trafficking.
         This is a particularly poignant story for Jana to write, for a dozen years before Backpage was created, she was partners with Mike and Jim in owning Phoenix New Times. She left and sold her interest to pursue other journalistic options. As she says in the Epilogue, “I write this book with a broken heart.”
 
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What do Terry Goddard, Mary Jo West, Winnie Ruth Judd and Sheriff Joe Arpaio have in common? They’re all in Jana Bommersbach’s explosive new murder mystery set in Phoenix, “thedeadgirlinthevacantlot.” Coming soon.

What do the Burton Barr Library, Lolo’s Chicken and Waffles, Durant’s and Golden Rule Tattoo have in common? They’re all in Jana Bommersbach’s exciting new murder mystery set in Phoenix, “thedeeadgirlinthevacantlot.” Coming soon.

What do Barry Goldwater, Cindy McCain, Don Bolles, and Silvana’s Barrio Cafe have in common? They’re all in Jana Bommersbach’s thrilling new murder mystery set in Phoenix, “thedeadgirlinthevacantlot.” Coming soon.

If you thought Joya Bonner was a kickass investigative reporter when she went after Sammy “the Bull” Gravano in the novel FUNERAL HOTDISH, imagine what she’s like when she goes after sex trafficking of her honorary niece. Coming soon in Jana Bommersbach’s new mystery, THEDEADGIRLINTHEVACANTLOT.

In a world…of sex trafficking, Phoenix Arizona holds an ugly trophy. Jana Bommersbach takes us inside this world in her new mystery novel, “thedeadgirlinthevacantlot.” Coming soon.

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Investigative reporter Joya Bonner finds herself at the intersection of Central and McDowell in Phoenix Arizona, lost in thought until the wail of police sirens bring her back to reality.
Jana Bommersbach’s new novel, “thedeadgirlinthevacantlot” reads:

What the hell could be happening in Phoenix, Arizona at 4 a.m. on a January morning to bring out that much firepower? Before that entire sentence raced through her mind, Joya turned left to follow the caravan. She didn’t have the luxury of a free pass for speeding or racing through red lights, but fortunately, traffic was very light and she hit all greens or yellows.
She arrived at a vacant lot at McDowell and 41st Avenue minutes after the squad cars jumped the curb and circled a spot under a dying mesquite tree.
She parked on the far side of the lot and jumped out of her car.
She saw six officers at first, all crowded around something under the tree, something that inspired at least one to utter, “Oh, dear Lord.”
By the time she saw the two officers rushing forward to push her back, she was close enough to get a glimpse of what the dear Lord already knew. She had to see more. She jogged to the right, away from the approaching officers who were yelling at her to “Stay Back,” in their I’m-God-and-You’re-Not voice. But she didn’t stay back and she didn’t turn away and the horror kept growing.
There were times in her life when she misread a scene. When she had to look, really look, to understand what was going on. Like studying a painting to comprehend its story.
This wasn’t like that. This was like searing grill marks into a steak on a Weber. This was permanent. This image would never go away. She would be an old lady ready to die—thankfully she didn’t know she’d be 92, still sleeping in her Phoenix home in the same bed—and she’d see this image with the same clarity she had right now.

Splotch @rabtbooktours @kenhicksnyc

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Middle Reader Fantasy
Publisher: MuseItYA a division of MuseItUp Publishing.
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Alice’s parents refuse to let her have a dog, so when Alice sees a paint stain on the sidewalk that looks like a dog, she decides that she will make him a virtual pet. She calls him Splotch and downloads a picture of him to her computer. To her surprise, he escapes from the computer and begins to act as Alice’s self-appointed protector. Unfortunately, he sees most people as potential enemies of Alice, including her teacher and the school principal, and he is not shy about giving those various enemies a bite. When Splotch starts to attack Alice’s best friend, Alice knows there is a big problem. But how will she get Splotch to stop being a guard dog and go back into the computer?
About the Authors

 photo Anne and Ken Egypt 2_zpsjwom2cls.jpgAnne Rothman-Hicks is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College where, in 1969, at a college dance, she met a student from Haverford named Kenneth Hicks. They have been together pretty much ever since, getting married, having children, writing books, making art, and generally conspiring to live lives that are happy, creative, and good. Anne and Ken’s most recent novels and stories are set in New York City, where they have lived for most of their married lives.  Their middle reader series, Alice and Friends, features Alice, a 10-year-old girl with a vivid imagination that gets her into and out of trouble. The titles are, STONE FACES, BROWNSTONE FACES, and SPLOTCH. In Ken and Anne’s tween book, THINGS ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM, Jennifer and James find a pigeon in Central Park whose foot was caught in a bit of string attached to a fence. Only this pigeon was actually a man before he was turned into a pigeon over a hundred years earlier. Now he needs some help to be turned back into a man before a certain hawk captures and eats him instead.  A sequel, REMEMBERING THOMAS, has been published by MuseItUp Publishing in March of 2018.

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