Thursday, November 28, 2013

Interview with Raquel Whiting Gilmer, author of 'Crumbs Aren't Enough' - Win a $200 Amazon Gift Card!


With $80,000 in student debt, an alter ego named Crazy Charlie, and more than her fair share of hang-ups, Charlie Bennett is on a mission: a mission to feel better about herself. By all accounts this shouldn't be too difficult. After all, Charlie has graduated from the best universities, has good friends to keep her sane, and an impressive resume to boot. But her poor choices in men (and therapists) have left Charlie feeling fat, fretful, and fed up. She knows something has to change--she's just not sure what. When the elevator doors open and Jack Hudson appears with his perfect smile and perfect teeth, Charlie thinks she's found her answer. A Taye Diggs lookalike who sees through Charlie's imperfections, Jack could be The One--and not just because he can make strawberry shortcake from scratch. But as their relationship develops without any sign of a commitment, Charlie is left grabbing for crumbs yet again.

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What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
I am most proud of two accomplishments in my life: Crumbs Aren’t Enough and the Baltimore Bee.
First, I am, of course, very proud of writing and publishing my first novel. It was an extremely long and difficult process and I am so thankful to have completed it. If you want to learn more, visit and check out my Behind the Pages series where I talk about all that it took to put this novel out.
Second, I am most proud of the Baltimore Bee, which is the Baltimore regional spelling bee. I moved back to Baltimore in August 2005 and realized that Baltimore did not have a citywide spelling bee. While most of the other counties and regions in Maryland had a bee, Baltimore did not and I wanted to change that. So, my friend Daniel Wilcox, who played with the Baltimore Ravens, and I started the Baltimore Bee. Since we started in 2006, we’ve held eight bees featuring more than 400 spellers from 30 schools throughout Baltimore City and Baltimore County. Each year our annual winner represents the region at the Scripps National Bee.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
I grew up in Baltimore with my mom. She is a great mom who worked really hard to give me an opportunity to succeed. She worked two jobs and sacrificed to send me to excellent schools. Even though times were tough a lot, my mom taught me from a young age that no matter how little we had, we always had something to give. So she instilled in me a commitment to service from a young age. I volunteered in tutoring programs, served as a candy striper in the emergency room of an inner city hospital, and worked at a homeless shelter for women. From this service mentality that my mom ingrained in me, I knew from a young age that I wanted to have purpose and meaning in my life and I write with this in mind.
Even though I am writing novels that are funny and entertaining, I want them to also share messages and have meaning. For example, as I wrote Crumbs Aren’t Enough, I thought about all of the women struggling in bad relationships – and while I would never purport to be a relationships “expert,” I have been in that struggle. Through the novel, I wanted to share the lessons I’d learned. I plan to write two more books following Charlie Bennett through her relationship development. While all of my novels may not focus on personal relationship challenges, the common thread will be sharing messages through entertaining storytelling.
When and why did you begin writing?
I actually didn’t get hit with the writing bug until I decided to write a novel. What made me write a novel? Let me tell you, during this close to six-year journey, I have asked myself this question many times. It all started in the summer of 2007. I had on my heart to start a website,, to encourage people (mostly women and girls) to love themselves despite what others might consider flaws and imperfections. I got the website up by the end of August and started blogging. While writing content for the site, I started to think about my own journey to self-acceptance. And I started to feel the pull to write a book to share that journey. My first title was My Journey to Perfectly Me. But, despite the title, I didn’t want it to be a memoir or self-help book. I wanted it to be fiction based on my life. I wanted to be able to change the names and embellish or play down events in order to drive home certain points. If you want to really get a sense of my original thought, check out the Crumbs Aren’t Enough prologue, which I wrote from my perspective – not the perspective of the main character, Charlie.
I started writing right after Thanksgiving that year. It seemed so easy. I finished a chapter every couple of weeks. I couldn’t believe people made such a big deal about writing a novel, I was killing it. I finished the first draft in early May 2008 and I thought I was done. I decided to change the name to Perfectly Me? At the time, my story was so personally infused in the novel that I wanted to carry on the Perfectly Me brand. My friend, Allyson Jones, graciously offered to read it and provide editorial comments for me. (Thank God she did. She started me on my way to the novel I just released.) I happily accepted. I thought it would be great to have another set of eyes on my masterpiece.
Remember, I thought I was finished. So I expected mere grammatical changes nothing more. I just knew that my story line, character development, and plot development were perfect. You know what they say, pride goeth before the fall. When she returned the edits to me, I fell hard. There was so much blue ink. I am sure Allyson, an acupuncturist and professor at Tai Sophia, used blue ink to make it look less aggressive than red ink, but I felt sick. A lot of her changes were developmental and I was not prepared for that at all. She shockingly wanted more dialogue where all I had done was narrate a scene. She wanted more development around the characters’ personalities. The reason I said “shockingly” was because I realized after getting her feedback that I hadn’t even read a novel in years so I was probably the least suited person to write one. Lucky for me, I had just quit my job so I had some time to do all of the work required.
Ok, so I had just quit my job and I wasn’t starting my new job until three months later. I figured this was perfect. I would have three months to wrap up this final draft. I knew it would be hard but I was committed to knocking it out. I treated the novel like it was my job. I woke up every morning showered and headed to the coffee shop. I usually worked at the Firehouse in the Canton Square. I would work for eight hours and then go home and have dinner. I finished what I again believed was the final draft within that time period. I felt confident this time. I had developed the characters more, expanded the dialogue, and set the scenes appropriately. I was so happy and I celebrated by hanging out with a friend at Grand Cru and then visiting my friend Traci at Pazo. I started my new job and I excitedly waited for Allyson’s feedback on my masterpiece. Two months later, Allyson returned that draft with almost just as much red ink. I was again devastated. I couldn’t believe that after all of my dedicated hard work, I was again back to the drawing board with significant work to do. The difference this time was I had a new job that was very demanding. So now I basically had a second job. I had to excel at my day job which was almost like having a job and a half and work on revising my novel in the evenings and on weekends. It took me another year to complete the third draft. Allyson and I worked together on the fourth draft, editing it together. It felt complete finally. It had been four years and I was ready to share my “baby” with the world. But it wasn’t time yet.
I didn’t finally “give birth” until two years and two drafts later. I am very proud of the end product but it was a long process as you can see.
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
I am most comfortable writing Chicklit. I love that that novels in this genre focus on female heroines who are usually flawed like Charlie Bennett, the main character of Crumbs Aren’t Enough. And in the end you get to cheer on this flawed heroine as she battles personal and professional challenges. A friend recently asked me, “Have you always loved Chicklit?” As I thought about my answer, I remembered when I was first introduced to the genre and felt guilty. I had a confession to make. I nervously shared with her, “This is going to sound terrible from a Chicklit author but it’s the truth and it’s important for me to be open and honest. Please don’t judge me. So prior to 2005, I actually didn’t read Chicklit novels or any novels to be exact. I was more of a political or business book kind of girl. I remember going to the Bahamas with my friend Rebecca and she was reading a romance novel and I was reading David Gergen’s Eyewitness to Power. She turned to me on the beach and said, “Are you seriously reading that book on the beach?” I honestly didn’t think anything was wrong with my reading choice. See I always had an interest in politics and history and those are the kinds of books I enjoyed reading and I never really saw reading as an escape. And then a friend shared Something Borrowed with me and my eyes were opened to this smart, funny genre of Chicklit.” She laughed at my pseudo confession. I can be melodramatic at times to say the least. Anyway, I was hooked on Chicklit after reading Emily Giffin’s books.
For those of you, who are not familiar with Emily Giffin – she is awesome. Something Borrowed, her first novel, focuses on the friendship/competition between Rachel and Darcy. I think we’ve all had a bestie who we love but with whom feel like we are in some sort of unspoken/undeclared competition. Well, Darcy and Rachel are no different except Darcy always seems to win except when it comes to Dex. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot in case you haven’t read it yet. But, it was a great read and so began my love affair with Chicklit. I was so intrigued with this genre that I had been missing out on that I went back and read some of the classics – Bridget Jones’s Diary and The Devil Wears Prada. I love female heroines who are flawed and loveable. Aren’t we all in some way? Well I definitely am and so is Charlie Bennett, my Chicklit heroine. As far as some of my recent favorites, I thoroughly enjoyed On Dublin Street by Samantha Young. Jocelyn, the main character, has had some truly awful things happen in her life and has experienced tremendous loss. She moves to Edinburgh to start fresh and meets the mysterious, super good-looking Braden Carmichael. It is a little Fifty Shade-ish and does not disappoint. Ok, full disclosure, it has some steamy sex scenes, which are racier than my taste but it is mild compared to Fifty Shades of Grey. On Dublin Street is a great read – engaging with great character development. I’m currently reading Thirty Two Going on Spinster by Becky Monson. Julia, the main character, is in a rut – going nowhere professionally and living in her parents’ basement. She is very amusing and gets into some quirky situations like Charlie from Crumbs Aren’t Enough. I am only a third of the way through the book but I know it is going to be one of my faves. Next on my “to read” list, in all of my spare time, is Dangerous Curves Ahead – A Perfect Fit Novel by Sugar Jamison.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I was inspired to write my first book because of my own personal relationship challenges. Like Charlie, the main character, I accepted a lot of crumbs from men I dated. I had lots of crappy relationships and I couldn’t figure out why. This went on for years. I wanted to have a great relationship, I wanted to get married, but I couldn’t seem to attract the right guys or develop positive romantic experiences. Then, I found an amazing therapist who helped me change my life. Throughout the therapy process, I learned that a big part of my problem was that I didn’t think “I was good enough.” Not even good enough for the crappy men I was dating. This feeling was the direct result of my low self-esteem.
My self-esteem was low for a lot of reasons and if you are interested in hearing more please contact me at But, needless to say I didn’t feel good about myself and that needed to change. I had to build myself up before I could even think about getting involved with anyone romantically. When I finally got to that place of feeling good about myself and knowing that I was “good enough,” I could start attracting the right relationships.
I don’t think I was alone in this struggle. In fact, I’ve watched some of my friends go through the same battle. So I wanted to share with women some of the lessons I learned during my journey to self-love and acceptance. I want others who are in crappy relationships to know that there is a different way. They can have better relationships and they should demand them. I’ve had people ask me why I didn’t write a self-help book or a memoir instead of a novel. My answer is always the same – while I am passionate about helping women feel better about themselves and hence attract the right relationships, I am not an expert and I don’t ever want to give people the impression that I have all the answers. But, I believe I am a great storyteller and I hope the story that is weaved in Crumbs Aren’t Enough will help other women get to the place where they are seeking out the best relationships. I hope women can relate with Charlie and learn from her clear mistakes. She is such a fun woman and she is easy to love – and when you love her, you want the best for her.
Who or what influenced your writing once you began?
As I shared earlier, I read Something Borrowed, absolutely loved it, and fell in love with the Chicklit genre. Emily Giffin not only entertained me but she inspired me to start writing. I first read her novels around the same time that I started building my perfectly me self-esteem programs. As I thought about how to share the message with more women, I had on my heart to write a Chicklit novel that was funny and engaging but also dealt with this important issue with which so many women struggle. I love Emily Giffin’s style and it definitely influenced my writing. I remember staying up all night to find out what was going to happen between Dex and Rachel. I wanted people to feel the same way reading Crumbs Aren’t Enough. One of the best compliments I’ve received was when one of my readers said that my style was similar to Emily’s. I was over the moon because I had hoped to draw readers in to my characters the same way that I was drawn in to Rachel and Darcy’s worlds in Something Borrowed and Something Blue. Emily Giffin also inspired me because she’s a former lawyer, who figured out how to turn her passion into a full-time career, which is my aspiration.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
The most challenging part for me is basically not being able to write full time. My typical day usually includes about 9-10 hours at work. I am an executive at a K-12 education company and it’s a pretty demanding job. I have to work hard to fit in time for writing. I spoke to another writer recently and she told me how she writes during her lunch break. I felt so jealous because I am usually on conference calls or in meetings during lunch so I don’t get that daytime writing. When I get home, I have dinner and get to work on my passion, writing. I wish I could write all day. Charlie has more to tell and I want to make sure I get it out quickly.
Do you intend to make writing a career?
Yes, I plan on making writing a full-time career. I don’t know when that will happen but it’s my goal. Until then, I will keep plugging away late at night and early in the morning.
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
My favorite quality is that I am determined – I am always determined to finish anything I start. This novel is a perfect example. Once I started, I had to finish it no matter what. I’ve been like this since I was very young. The word quit is not in my vocabulary.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
My least favorite quality is how hard I am on myself. I don’t ever give myself a break – if I don’t do it right the first time or if I don’t do things “perfectly” I tend to come down hard on myself. I am working toward recognizing and appreciating my own humanity and understanding that everything I do is not going to be perfect and it’s ok if I fail or make a mistake.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
My favorite quote is, “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be” by Lao Tzu. I love this quote because I believe that letting go of all of the ideas we hold about who we should be and who we were in the past allows us to enjoy our lives and ultimately become who we are supposed to be. Letting go of that past opens up space for all the possibilities of the future. I know this probably sounds cliché but it’s like a caterpillar that has to let go of being a caterpillar in order to become a butterfly. This quote challenges me to let go of my past-self daily to open up possibilities for my future.


Hi, my name is Raquel Whiting Gilmer and I am a wife, daughter, aspiring mother (I don’t have any kids yet but I want them.), sister, friend, small group leader, lawyer, entrepreneur, confidant, advisor, blogger, twitter attempter, soon to be published author, and accepter of crumbs. Well, a recovering crumbs accepter. What’s a crumb accepter? Is it as bad as it sounds? It’s bad, but it’s preventable and curable. defines a crumb as a small fragment, scrap, or portion. And it defines accepter as one who accepts. So a crumbs accepter is one who accepts small scraps. No bueno, right? How did I get like this? Well, I think my low self-esteem was the root cause of it. And I’ve learned that when your self-esteem is bad then you will accept anything including crumbs in all areas of your life. BTW, my biggest crumbs area was definitely my relationships with men. Things are different now and I have committed myself to Live Crumbs Free. Live crumbs free? Yes, I am committed to not accepting crumbs in any area of my life. But to get to this point, I had to do some work. I first had to work on my self-esteem. And after lots of therapy I got to a place where not only did I have high self-esteem but I started a website,, and a girls’ program, Perfectly Me Girls to encourage other women and girls to embrace and love who they are and not judge themselves by the world’s standards. Our motto is I’m not perfect, I’m just Perfectly Me. Once my self-esteem was on the rise, I could start to look at the crumbs in my life. And I knew I had to deal with my personal crumbs and I’m happy to report that after many failed relationships and mounds of crumbs, I met the love of my life and married him. Yay!!! I have the full meal and then some now and it has changed my life. I want everyone to have that full meal and I know how bad the crumbs are so I’ve written my first novel about a woman struggling with relationships who finally figures out that Crumbs Aren’t Enough. I hope you will read my blog at, check out my novel, and follow me on twitter, @perfectlyraquel, as I dole out advice and wisdom (my limited wisdom) on keeping your self-esteem high and getting rid of the crumbs.  



Pump Up Your Book and Raquel Whiting Gilmer are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $200 Amazon Gift Card!

Here's how it works:

Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. If your blog isn't set up to accept the form, we offer another way for you to participate by having people comment on your blog then directing them to where they can fill out the form to gain more entries. This promotion will run from September 2 - November 29. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on November 30, 2013. Each blogger who participates in the Crumbs Aren't Enough virtual book tour is eligible to enter and win. Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour. If you would like to participate, email Tracee at tgleichner(at)  What a great way to not only win this fabulous prize, but to gain followers and comments too! Good luck everyone!


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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

First Chapter Reveal: External Forces by Deborah Rix

Title: External Forces
Author: Deborah Rix
Publisher: Dime Store Books
Pages: 268
Language: English
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Format: eBook

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Treason, betrayal, and heartbreak.

A lot can happen to a girl between her first kiss and her first kill. 

It’s 100 years since the Genetic Integrity Act was passed and America closed its borders to prevent genetic contamination. Now only the enemy, dysgenic Deviants, remain beyond the heavily guarded border. The Department of Evolution carefully guides the creation of each generation and deviations from the divine plan are not permitted.

When 16-year-old Jess begins to show signs of deviance she enlists in the Special Forces, with her best friend Jay, in a desperate bid to evade detection by the Devotees. Jess is good with data, not so good with a knife. So when the handsome and secretive Sergeant Matt Anderson selects her for his Black Ops squad, Jess is determined to figure out why.

As her deviance continues to change her, Jess is forced to decide who to trust with her deadly secret. Jess needs to know what’s really out there, in the Deviant wasteland over the border, if she has any hope of making it to her 17th birthday. Because if the enemy doesn’t kill her first, the Department of Evolution probably will.


I haven't slept in forty-eight hours.

It's part of the Special Operations Assessment and Selection course, twenty-eight days of grueling work. The two days of no sleep are meant to disorient us, part of discarding our former selves. There are three hundred of us trying to figure out how to do what we're told, when we're told to, and how to do it correctly. Jay and I weren't assigned to the same platoon, which was unexpected. I’m in the “civilian” platoon; we’re the ones with skills that don’t generally require brute force. I think Jay is in some kind of elite group because I haven’t seen him, I’ve only seen the G-men platoon. They are all about brute force; they’re the ones that opted for genetic enhancement at age thirteen without the supervision of the Devotees. But Special Forces is, well, special, so they have to prove they’ve got more than muscle and I’ve gotta prove I’ve got more than a quick mind.

If I don't make it to Special Forces, my life expectancy in the regular army could be pretty short. And if I’m a complete washout, I’ll have to go to my assessment with the Devotees and they’ll find out about me, making my life expectancy even shorter. I seriously need to pass.

Zero dark thirty is when I have to haul myself out of bed in the so-called morning. My drill sergeant has been yelling at me for most of the past two days. The word “why” has been surgically removed from everyone's vocabulary. Any individual hesitation in following orders means at least one private is getting smoked, if not the whole platoon, which usually means push-ups. We've done a lot of push-ups. I stare straight ahead as the drill sergeant walks by me and continues down the row of privates. I made the mistake of “eyeballing” him yesterday.

Never. Eyeball. A drill sergeant.

First Chapter:
Three weeks earlier – May, 2125

My mother thinks I'm a Deviant.

It’s the kind of thing that can really throw a girl for a loop.

The Devotees missed it when I was born, she said, but one day they would come for me. That was a few years ago, she didn't know I was home when I overheard her; I got out of there lickety-split. 

And it's not as if I haven't noticed the way my mother looks at me sometimes. If they had taken me when they had the chance, maybe her other baby would still be with her. I'm pretty sure that's what goes through her head when she looks at me. 

So the early assessment notice wasn't entirely unexpected. It doesn't necessarily mean anything. Lots of kids are called for early assessments and nothing happens; they show up at school the next day. Some of them are all excited because they got called to become a Devotee. 

But some of them, well, they don't come back. 

I'm in the parking lot of my high school, West Liberty. It’s prom night, and I came with my best friend, Jay. He’s still inside; he likes this sort of thing. I haven't told him the early assessment notice came this afternoon. I didn't want to ruin tonight for him. The humidity has made my dress even more uncomfortable than it was inside. Jay owes me. At least he won't mind if I go home; it's not that kind of date. 

A car door slams shut. There aren't a lot of kids who can afford the fuel to drive their own car to the prom.

Uh-oh. Blake.

I take a step back. Blake is a popular kid, with the right look, the right home, the right pedigree.

Despite my attempts to blend in and stay in the background, Blake noticed me this year. When I didn't respond like all the other girls do, I became his target.

His car keys jangle as he drops them in his jacket pocket. I stand still; maybe he hasn't seen me.
“Hey, freak,” he calls as he comes around the blue pickup I was hoping would shield me. “Not leaving, are you?” 

I smell alcohol as Blake backs me up against the truck.

His slicked-back hair smells slightly astringent, and his tongue slides over his upper lip as he looks me over from top to bottom. A shiver of revulsion goes through me. I can’t imagine what girls like about him. I can hear some voices, but they're at the other end of the parking lot. It's just me and Blake.

“I've got an early graduation present for you,” he says quietly. His face is close to mine, and I can see beads of perspiration on his forehead. Slick from the humidity, his hand glides down my bare shoulder, as if he's entitled to touch me. 

I don't think I want a present from Blake.

I'm surprised when my hand moves. There is a wet sound as Blake's head snaps back.

Blood spurts, and it seems as if time has gone into slow motion. The blood sprays toward me. I move my head to the side to avoid it, and watch it slowly drift by, suspended in the air.

I turn back to Blake and a thrill zips through me. Thick, glossy blood creeps down his chin from his mashed nose. His mouth is open in shock; blood colors his teeth and gums. He moves sluggishly, and each blink seems to take effort. 

Drip by slow drip, the blood falls from his chin onto his shirt. Fascinated, I watch each droplet burst on his crisp white collar. 

A wet plonk hits my forehead as a sudden coldness envelops me. The grin I’m shocked to find on my face sags. Fat droplets of rain release the pressure in the air and mix with the blood on Blake's shiny shoes. 

Hands to his face, he doubles over as time suddenly speeds up again. The rain pelts down now. I take two steps to the side and run. I hear a sob and realize it's me.

What just happened?

It’s the morning after prom, and Jay saunters along beside me as we walk back to my house. I met him half way, as per my usual. His t-shirt is a bit wrinkled, but that's on purpose, to go with jeans that are a little baggy in back. He's over six feet and gets asked if he's a model, which he laughs at, but I know he's pleased. He could be quite popular if he wanted, but he hangs out with me instead.

Jay and me are Fifth Generation. We’re the ones born between 2100 and 2120. We found each other in the seventh grade. We were the last two kids left when we all paired up for gym class. He asked me why I wasn't moving when we were supposed to be heading out to the field. I explained that I was trying to activate my special powers so that I could use them to transport me far away. Usually that kind of talk would send kids running, and they’d whisper that I must be a Deviant. But not Jay. He blinked at me, then asked if I would take him with me, should my special powers ever actually work. We've been best friends since, and tell each other pretty much everything.

“So, can you come to the thing?”

Uh oh.

I think I’m supposed to know what he’s talking about.

“Uh, when is it again?” I stall for time. What thing?

I push my hair behind my ears to help me think. It doesn’t always work. I have shoulder-length brown hair, parted on the side. My no-nonsense look is how I think of it. I still don’t know what the thing is.

“Wait. Jess. You’re joking, right?” Jay says with a laugh that’s on the edge of anger.

“I’m sorry.” I do my best pleading cringe. “I’m a little distracted.”

The early assessment and whatever that was with Blake last night are the distractions. I can’t quite believe I punched him, broke his nose by the look of it. He’s probably going to have two black eyes. But more than that punch, as surprising as it was, is the way time seemed to slow down around me. I want to say it was shock, or some kind of temporary fugue state, but that’s not what it was.

 Something happened.

“My mother’s thing, remember?” Jay practically yells at me.

“Oh, that,” I say with relief. Jay’s mother is hosting a party to celebrate his seventeenth birthday. That’s what the thing is. It’s going to be awful.

“We met up, what? Five minutes ago? And you’re already trying to drive me crazy?” He pinches my butt. Hard. He’s pretty worked up about this party.

I yelp and dance around. “No way. You are not blaming your crazy on me.” I give him a solid punch in the gut. “You had years of exposure to your mother before we even met.”

I go rock climbing, so my arms are strong. I've never needed to go to the gym to work out and “stay in shape” like some of the other girls do. I’m five feet ten and a half inches and the coach at school said I have an athletic body; he tried to get me to go out for track and field. I don't like the idea of people watching me like that. 

But hitting Jay is like hitting concrete. He doesn’t even notice my punch.

“And of course I’m coming, I already told you. That’s why I didn’t know what thing you were talking about. I thought you meant some other thing.”

“You didn’t actually confirm with my mother,” he complains, “and I know how you feel about people, in general.”

“I don’t have a problem with people, in general. Just the idiots,” I say. “And your mother.”

It’s kind of a toss-up, I suppose. A mother like mine, who actively avoids you and has already decided you’re not worth the effort, or one who pays too much attention and has too many expectations.

Jay nudges me as an unfamiliar dark-haired boy, a bit younger than we are, walks toward us. He doesn't look right at us, but he flashes us two crossed fingers with his right hand.

I look up ahead and see them coming our way. Three Devotees. Jay and I mumble the greeting in unison, “Blood of our blood, flesh of our flesh, soul of our soul,” and we look down as they brush past us in their crisp white lab coats. It's best not to be noticed. 

The Devotees work for the Department of Evolution —everyone just calls it Devo— and they do the work of Creation in partnership with God. The Department of Evolution is under the direction of Secretary Galton. Basically, she’s God's voice here on Earth. In the midst of the genetic revolution a hundred years ago, when the Genetic Integrity Act closed America’s borders, strict protocols for border biosecurity were instituted to stop genetic contamination. But we were still in danger of being overrun by the Deviants on the other side. Galton took control, ordered the fortification of our borders and gave the military the authority to do what they needed to do. Most people agree; she did what was necessary for our survival by relinquishing certain powers to the military to ensure our protection. Including the ability to create proprietary, genetically enhanced soldiers. The G-men. Since then, Galton has been leading us through the current stage of evolution, Regenesis, removing unwanted traits and improving and enhancing our best traits with the guidance of God.

In Social Biology class, Devotee Theresa taught us that we must all work for the common good, whether we like it or not. The less intelligent are more fertile and must be discouraged from breeding. Only those with desirable traits are allowed to produce the next generation.

There's this section, practically a whole semester of tenth grade, where we studied pedigree charts, and DNA, RNA, proteins, and ribosomes. DNA is a double helix that carries the genetic information for all life. If only one part of one gene is wrong, it can create a whole generation of imbeciles, and that is not in God's plan. Or in Devo's plan. All Devotees have that DNA double helix tattooed on their forearm, as a constant reminder of their purpose in life. 

That's what the crossed fingers warning represents, the double helix tattoo.

We come up to the old Palace Theater. It's been shut down for a long time, and the large sign that hangs out front lost its first A, so it says PLACE. Someone found a way in down the side alley, and now kids hang out there. They say, “Meet me at the place.” If they're overheard or an adult sees a message, it only says “the place.” So far it's stayed secret. I've heard they have illegal sim-seats in there, ones that can scramble the biometrics and mask what you’re doing.

“Jess,” Jay says as he slows right down, “something’s wrong.” 

“It's time to wake up!” a skinny boy with curly red hair yells. He's standing on a wooden crate, and people are hesitantly milling about. “People are dying! Out there, children are starving, and you send them poison. People are sick, and you send them plagues. The blood of our blood is on your hands!”
There are gasps at his blasphemy, but a few people cautiously move toward him in morbid fascination. His eyes are wild, there’s spittle on his lips. Jay grabs my arm to tug me backward.

When the bullet enters the boy’s left temple, it's as if he doesn't know it’s there for a moment. 

He's about to yell, his mouth opens, his lips form a word he will never say. Then he topples backward, and I hear the terrible thud as his head hits the ground. The people closest to him quickly step back. No one screams, no one looks up to see the Guardian with the rifle on the roof across the street. Everyone wants to blend in.

Another Guardian comes toward the Palace. The Guardians work for Devo and protect us from Deviants. The stiff collar somehow makes his slightly rumpled, brown uniform shirt look crisp. The yellow double helix is on the front of his cap, and above his left shirt pocket. 

“Move along,” he says. “It was just a Deviant.”

We all know that the plain fact of his yelling out crazy stuff in the street like that is proof of his deviance. It’s what happens sometimes, but it’s most prevalent during adolescence. The deviance manifests and people become dangerous, psychotic Deviants, intent on our destruction. 

The Guardian rests his hand on the butt of the holstered pistol hanging from his belt and waits for the brown panel truck with the whooping siren we can hear approaching.

Jay swears at him under his breath and keeps hold of my arm. We hurry off with the rest of the crowd, wanting to move as far away as possible. I look back in time to see somebody dart in behind the Guardian, dip a hand in the boy's blood, and leave an angry red handprint on the front of the Palace Theater. A red hand. I’ve heard the whispers but never thought it was true. As I stare at it, I bumble into Mrs. Yamoto, one of my neighbors. She walks fast, gripping her daughter’s hand tightly. Last year, I saw the brown truck with the double helix on the side parked in front of her house. The Guardians had come to take her son.


That was his name.
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Book Blast: Not My Mother's Son by R.K. Avery & Win $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Title: Not My Mother’s Son
Genre: Psychological Thriller/Mystery
Author: R.K. Avery
Publisher: Brighton Publishing
Pages: 215
Language: English
ISBN – 978-1-62183-009-2

Devious.  Conniving.  Deceitful.  Insidious.  David Miller thought he knew his mother.  He thought kidnapping three children was the most appalling and horrendous thing any human being could do and she couldn’t possibly do anything more monstrous.  He thought there was nothing else she could do or say that would astound him.  How wrong he was.

After Beatrice Miller, David’s serial kidnapping mother, is sentenced to thirty years, David moves to Phoenix, Arizona; and with the help of a trust fund and an old friend, he starts the Never Give Up foundation, an organization dedicated to finding and returning exploited and missing children safely to their families.  With all the wicked things his mother had done, David feels it is his unspoken duty to do something worthwhile.

Hesitant at first but after reading his mother’s journal, David is determined to mend their dysfunctional relationship.  Every time David visits Bea in prison, she seems deranged insisting that people are trying to kill her.  She ends each brief encounter with a chilling statement, “Remember David, things aren’t always what they seem.”

As word about the foundation spreads, the services of Never Give Up are requested time-and-time-again to help where other agencies have failed.  That is, until the police come knocking on David’s door and arrest him, taking him back to Bunting Valley, North Dakota, for the murder of a newborn baby boy.

Forced to shut down Never Give Up, David is amazed at how quickly the entire world turns their backs on him.  The trial begins and his mother’s testimony is the only thing that can save him.  Telling the truth is as foreign to Beatrice Miller as giving up drugs is to an addict.  As everyone in the courtroom holds their breath, you will too.  Remember, things aren’t always what they seem.

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As a recent graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature, R. K. Avery has written numerous, unpublished, children’s picture books, but her true passion is writing adult fiction.

“Having the ability to make people laugh or cry, just by using the written language, is a gift so powerful and I hope, one day, my name will be among those who possess it” ~ R.K. Avery

After Be Careful What You Wish For achieved near-instant eBook best-seller success even before its print release, Avery had re-signed with Brighton Publishing LLC for her second novel, Not My Mother's Son. Sure to send chills down readers’ spines, Avery’s brilliant new thriller is now available for sale in both e-Book and paperback wherever fine books are sold.
R. K. Avery lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband, two kids, and four dogs.  She often jokes instead of sign that says, “Don’t let the dogs out” she has a sign that says “Don’t let any more dogs in”.

Visit her website at

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Pump Up Your Book and R.K. Avery are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate and an autographed paperback copy of Not My Mother's Son
  • This giveaway begins November 25 and ends December 20.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, December 23, 2013.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


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Monday, November 25, 2013

Book Blast! Take Charge of Your Life by William Glasser, MD - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Title: Take Charge of Your Life
Genre: Self help/Personal Transformation
Author: William Glasser, MD
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 255
Language: English 

“A game changer for anyone ready to become the captain of their own ship.” —Dr. Phil McGraw, host of the nationally syndicated series Dr. Phil

 “Take Charge of Your Life urges readers to stop blaming and start accepting responsibility for choices.” —Jeannine Chartier Hanscom, ForeWord Reviews

 Are you seeking a happier and more satisfying life? In Take Charge of Your Life, author Dr. William Glasser explains choice theory—a science of human behavior and principles for regaining and maintaining a life you control—and how it can help you find personal freedom from relationship-destroying external control.

 Take Charge of Your Life, a revision of his 1984 book Control Theory, explains choice theory using personalized examples and illustrative stories that allow you to learn how to improve your relationships and take charge of your actions. Topics include marital and relationship problems, parenthood, addictions, pain management, and psychosomatic disorders. For each situation, Dr. Glasser ties behavior to the pictures people create in their minds of what they want. He explains how the pictures got there and how people can choose new behaviors to get what they really want. In Take Charge of Your Life, Glasser offers a real model of empowerment. He shows how you can become a part of the equation that adds happiness and connection to the world in which you live now and to the world of future generations.

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William Glasser, a world-renowned psychiatrist who employs a nontraditional approach, has written more than twenty books, including Choice Theory and Eight Lessons for a Happier Marriage. Glasser is president of the William Glasser Institute and lives with his wife, Carleen, in Los Angeles, California. Visit him online at

Pump Up Your Book and William Glasser are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Two winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins November 11 and ends November 29.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, December 2, 2013.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


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Friday, November 22, 2013

Obsession by Selina Elliot Book Blast - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


Title: Obsession
Genre: Literary Fiction
Author: Selina Elliot
Publisher: Authorhouse
Pages: 586
Language: English

Tessa knew that she deserved the fate that had befallen her. The decision to run away from a father who hated her and a marriage she wanted no part of was entirely hers. Certainly the outcome was her responsibility. So why did she keep trying to escape her life? Had she not learned that her master's control was absolute? Escape would never be possible. And yet, when a trip across the ocean presented an unlikely opportunity, she didn't hesitate. But was Tessa reaching too far? Was redemption impossible? Even as a child Trey understood that there was no law to protect a slave against the whims of a white man. So there would be no justice for his family unless he took matters into his own hands. As an adult Trey swore that there would be nothing that would keep Baron Henley safe from his revenge. But even well laid plans could go awry. Particularly when his attention was diverted to the bewildering, raven-haired beauty he impulsively abducted.

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Being raised in the prairies may not sound adventurous, but Selina Elliot believes it to be an environment that nurtures the imagination. "I grew up befriending dragons and flying on eagle's wings," she tells. Today she grabs at every opportunity to experience life. "The key to a great story", she claims, "is when we relate to the characters. Every experience I have, I know someone else has had. I give my characters those same experiences. Though for the story I usually amplify the situations." Writing is a passion for Selina. Every day she finds time whether it's jotting down a few notes, or staying up all night. She draws motivation from the words of Abraham Lincoln; "Whatever you are, be a good one"

Pump Up Your Book and Selina are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Two winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins November 11 and ends November 22.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, November 25, 2013.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


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