Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Excerpt & Giveaway: Smoke City by Keith Rosson


Smoke City
Keith Rosson
Published by: Meerkat Press
Publication date: January 23rd 2018
Genres: Adult, Magical Realism
Marvin Deitz has some serious problems. His mob-connected landlord is strong-arming him out of his storefront. His therapist has concerns about his stability. He’s compelled to volunteer at the local Children’s Hospital even though it breaks his heart every week.
Oh, and he’s also the guilt-ridden reincarnation of Geoffroy Thérage, the French executioner who lit Joan of Arc’s pyre in 1431. He’s just seen a woman on a Los Angeles talk show claiming to be Joan, and absolution seems closer than it’s ever been . . . but how will he find her?
When Marvin heads to Los Angeles to locate the woman who may or may not be Joan, he’s picked up hitchhiking by Mike Vale, a self-destructive alcoholic painter traveling to his ex-wife’s funeral. As they move through a California landscape populated with “smokes” (ghostly apparitions that’ve inexplicably begun appearing throughout the southwestern US), each seeks absolution in his own way.


EXCERPT:
From the journals of Marvin Deitz:

There’s a grace inherent here. In writing things down. Like a confession signed, maybe. An admission. Nothing so lofty as a salve of the spirit, but at the very least it makes one feel a little better.
My earliest memory is of being in the marketplace in Rouen with my parents. I was probably three or four years old. I was walking with my parents amongst the stalls as fast as I could manage, amazed not at the flood of people, but at how the mass of them, the tide of them, parted for us. Because I’d thought at the time that it was me, right? My mother holding my hand, I thought it was me that made the people part ways for us.
I thought I was magic.
I did not notice at the time (but can imagine now, all too well) my mother’s downcast gaze, the way we stepped hurriedly through the leering crowd. How we did not stop to look at the untold riches of food, the bolts of fabric, the tools for sale. Things we never saw in our own village. I didn’t notice how my father gripped my mother’s arm, nearly dragging her along, her belly huge and rounded as she was pregnant with my sister at the time.
Three, four years old. I noticed the people parting for us, I remember that, but not the revulsion in their eyes, the contempt.
I would realize later, of course, just what it was the townspeople had shied away from, had leered at: my father’s coat, and the stitched image of the sword on the back.
The executioner’s mark.
And as for Joan, those decades later?
She was not loved unequivocally. She just wasn’t. At least not out loud. To do so was dangerous. But her victories, it was true, allowed some of us a rekindling of faith, a brief respite against death’s constant stutter of war and plague and occupation. The hope that God was watching over us all. The idea of it, that He believed in France’s sovereignty. That He might lift His face toward us again.
And thusly the order of her execution may as well have been passed down from the very day of her capture. The moment she was seized there outside the walls of Compiègne, it should have been clear to all that she would be put to death.
When Bishop Cauchon, toady of the English, bought her from the Burgundians after her capture, I knew the trial itself would be a hoax. A mockery. Yet I heard murmurings from serfs and landowners alike—from my darkened corner of the barroom, or on my way down the road to extract another bloody, weeping confession—and some of them hoped, prayed, that such a girl, who had served so obviously as the arm of God in the name of France, would not be allowed to die such a death. That God in His mercy would surely not allow such a thing. They prayed that Charles, their blessed King—after all Joan had done for him—would surely involve himself in the matter. That Burgundy would suddenly bend its allegiance like an arrow in the wind.
But I knew, there in the dim hallways of the heart, that men simply do what they want to do. Men do their darkness and misdeeds and later claim guidance under the banner of God’s will.
Shouldn’t I know that more than anyone? Didn’t I traffic in such matters?
She would die and they would call it divinity, because that’s what people do.
The trial was orchestrated by dozens of assessors and friars and clergymen, an ever-evolving assembly of men. The lot of them little more than castrated politicians hiding behind the guise of theology. English stormtroopers practically leaning over the benches with swords drawn throughout the entire sorry thing.
And Cauchon, ah, you should have seen him. Christ, that man. So puffed up with wine and his own righteousness and the quaking fear of an English blade suddenly tickling his balls in bed some night. Terrified, but paid well for his work, too. He would later die inexplicably in his barber’s chair, and the vengeful part of me still hopes the barber was paid to bleed him. And that it hurt terribly.
I dream of Cauchon nearly as often as I dream of Joan.
But Joan. Every avenue circles back. Everything returns to the mysterious and martyred Joan of Orléans. The young peasant girl who for a brief heartbeat of time was believed to have felt God’s lips pressed to her ear.
What of Joan of Arc?
For all of my grief and heartache and guilt, the truth is I only met her once, and that was the day I burned her alive.



Author Bio:
Keith Rosson is the author of the novels The Mercy of the Tide (2017, Meerkat Press) and Smoke City (2018, Meerkat Press). His short fiction has appeared in Cream City Review, PANK, Redivider, December, and more. An advocate of both public libraries and non-ironic adulation of the cassette tape, he can be found at keithrosson.com.




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Monday, January 22, 2018

Excerpt & Giveaway: Temptation Trials Part II by B. Truly


Temptation Trials Part II
B. Truly
(Temptation Trials #2)
Publication date: September 26th 2017
Genres: Adult, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Romance
The Bachelorettes Meet The Devil’s Advocate
Lust, one of the seven deadly sins, is sweeping the nation into its seductive web. In this dystopian society, Cali and Stefani have to comply by the Regime’s strict rule of arranged marriage. But Eminence, the world dictator, doesn’t play fair.
Against all odds, they both decide to put their relationships through the ultimate test on The Temptation Trials—a reality TV show where every temptation of the flesh is set before them.
As participants on the show, they soon learn that losing may cost them more than the men they love. Cali’s torn, unsure of what her future holds with Cade. Stefani worries whether her relationship with Tobias can be salvaged.
Love can be blind. The betrayal they face from the Trials burden them. Will love be their redemption, or will it destroy them?
A million questions torment their minds.
Can you love two people at once? If a person is chosen for you, can those feelings be real?
Cali and Stefani must overcome heartbreak and pull together with their loved ones before it’s too late. The abominable truth is unveiled, which sends them on a journey that will jeopardize their lives.
The will of the weak is his for the taking. Can love save their souls?
Rated Mature 18 +
Adult, Dystopian, Romance and Urban Fantasy with sexual content. This riveting conclusion is not a stand-alone. Temptation Trials Part I must be read first.

EXCERPT:
Chapter 1
 * * * Stefani * * *


Glazed, cryptic eyes pierced through me, reminding me of a strung-out junky. His face seemed vaguely familiar, right down to his golden curls. Just couldn’t put my finger on where I’d seen him before. An eerie thrill rippled my spine. The way he was staring creeped me out. I quickly skirted past him, only to have Blondie clasp my arm. Okay, now I was officially freaked. “Let go of me!” I seethed. “The time has come,” he blurted. “What are you talking about?” “The decision is made … binding.” This dude was clearly psycho. He spoke in riddles, none of which I understood. “You’ve got me confused with someone else.” “No, you’re the one.” My purse, where I normally kept my Taser, was nowhere to be found. He’d better be glad or I’d light his ass up. This whole scene was turning more bizarre by the second. I couldn’t figure out where I was. My surroundings were dim and heat began to consume me. Blondie leaned closer to me. Being nearer, I got a better look at his dilated eyes. His pupils were diamond-shaped, not the usual round. His grip tightened. “Asshole. Take your hands off me!” “You’re chosen, and you’re coming with me.” Though I struggled against him, it didn’t do any damn good. Bright light blazed up ahead, mixed with smoldering heat. I soon realized the light and scalding warmth was coming from giant flames. Doubling my efforts, I fought harder, to no avail. Blondie’s face became a blur, and darkness encompassed me—the scalding heat grew stronger. Time seemed to stand still—my mind swirled in a haze. The only thought that became clear, which seemed to chisel into my mind, was that I had to make the right choice.



Author Bio:
B Truly has wanted to be an author since she was fifteen years old and is grateful to have accomplished this dream. She has very vivid dreams and a wild imagination. She likes to read, watch tons of TV shows, and movies. She’s addicted to romance and gets a thrill out of action and suspense. She writes New Adult and Adult Romance, Fantasy, Sci-fi, and Paranormal.
B Truly has three wonderful children and a husband who defines the person she today. She works full-time as an Ultrasound technologist in Sugarland, Texas.

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

Excerpt & Giveaway: Promise Me by Kelly Walker


Promise Me
Kelly Walker
Publication date: January 21st 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Self-professed Harry Potter addict and math genius River Jacobsen can count on one hand the people who matter in her life. Really, it’s just Dean, the boy who loves her despite her odd habit of counting everything around her when she needs to quiet her mind. When Dean promised her forever she never imagined it would be a lie.
After Marine hacker Ian Maclean is mistakenly declared dead by the US government, he’s happy to correct them the moment he escapes captivity. He wants nothing more than to get home to the wife he left behind. Discovering she’s been cheating on him since the moment he deployed wasn’t in the plan. Devastated, he walks away from everything, even his name.
With the futures they were counting on destroyed, Ian and River find themselves starting over. Ian reminds River of things she’d much rather forget, but pushing him away is harder than she expected. Ian wants a second chance at happily ever after, but the more he gets to know River, the more he worries she isn’t trying to figure out how to live again, but how to die.
EXCERPT:
“Please.” I meet his eyes, so he knows how serious I am. “It’s just easier this way.”
He sinks back into his couch, putting his feet up on the coffee table, staring at me. “You know she’s going to figure it out, right? I can put the money into her account. That’s no problem. But not even I can fake it to make it look like it came from the DOD.”
Widows of dead soldiers get death benefits, but that goes out the window when you turn out not to be dead. “It’ll buy me time. And she’s not exactly Warren Buffet when it comes to money. As long as the balance is about what she expects, God only knows when she’ll look at a statement and see the source.”
“I’m just going to say this one more time: it’s not the end of the world if she learns the truth. And even if she does figure it out, that doesn’t mean she can find you. We buried your trail. And she’s not looking for an Ian.”
I close my eyes. I don’t want her looking for me. Because as good as I am at seeing what others want to hide, when it comes to Olivia Reisner, I’m blind. (pg. 39)


Author Bio:
Kelly Walker is a YA and NA author of several romantic titles, including the Souls of the Stones Fantasy Romance series. She has an unhealthy appreciation for chocolate, and a soft spot for rescued animals. Her best lessons on writing came from a lifetime of reading. She loves the fantastical, and the magical, and believes a captivating romance can be the most realistic magic of all. Kelly, her husband and her two children share their Virginia home with three dogs who walk her, and two cats who permit her to occasionally share their couch.

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