Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Pre-Order Your Copy of Little Girls Sleeping by Jennifer Chase


LITTLE GIRLS SLEEPING  by Jennifer Chase, Crime Thriller, 377 pp.


Title: Little Girls Sleeping: An Absolutely Gripping Crime Thriller (Detective Katie Scott Book 1)
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 377
Genre: Thriller/Crime



He looked down at the little girl, sleeping peacefully, her arms wrapped around a teddy bear. He knew he was the only one who could save her. He could let her sleep forever.

An eight-year-old girl, Chelsea Compton, is missing in Pine Valley, California and for Detective Katie Scott it’s a cruel reminder of the friend who disappeared from summer camp twenty years ago. Unable to shake the memories, Katie vows she won’t rest until she discovers what happened to Chelsea.

But as Katie starts to investigate, the case reveals itself to be much bigger and more shocking than she feared. Hidden deep in the forest she unearths a makeshift cemetery: a row of graves, each with a brightly coloured teddy bear.

Katie links the graves to a stack of missing-persons cases involving young girls—finding a pattern no one else has managed to see. Someone in Pine Valley has been taking the town’s daughters for years, and Katie is the only one who can stop them.

And then another little girl goes missing, snatched from the park near her home.

Katie’s still haunted by the friend she failed to protect, and she’ll do anything to stop the killer striking again—but can she find the little girl before it’s too late?

Compulsive and gripping crime fiction for fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh. Katie Scott’s first case will have you on the edge of your seat and gasping with shock.

Readers love Jennifer Chase!


WHAT A FANTASTIC READ! OMG! I just finished reading this book! It was an absolute thrilling, edge-of-your-seat read!… I couldn't believe who the serial killer was; I thought I knew but was surprised! I could not put it down… BRAVO JENNIFER!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

GREAT!!! Thoroughly enjoyed!!! Jennifer Chase has become one of my favorite crime thriller authors. She totally captures you from beginning to end!!!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Fantastic read! The author kept me hooked from the first page till the last. I truly thought I knew the serial killer… Boy was I wrong. This is a fantastic read, it kept me on the edge of my seat for the entire time. Well done!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Wow!… Such a gripping tale… I couldn't stop reading and found myself daydreaming about it while I was supposed to be working… A gripping thriller with multiple twists and turns. A must read!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Great book. I really liked it! Would like reading more of her books! This book keeps you involved and unable to put it down!! Great!!!!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Action-packed… An adrenaline-packed book from start to finish. ’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Wow… This book will take you for a ride. Have you soaked right in till the end! Absolutely loved it and can't wait to read another from this author!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘This is one of the best books I have read in a while.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘From beginning to end this is a non-stop thriller.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Real page turner. I read this book in two hours. I could not put it down. I never guessed who the killer was until he was revealed. Mind blowing.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Captivating from beginning to the last page. A "who did it" crime mystery that keeps you guessing, and then changing your mind!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘I loved this book and cannot wait for the next one. I could not put this book down. A real page turner full of suspense!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

ORDER YOUR COPY:

______________________





Prologue
The oversized tires obliterated the rural roadway before the large truck came to an abrupt stop. The driver stalled the engine. Dust rose in a curious flowering cloud, swirling in front of the vehicle’s hood and creeping toward the back of the camper shell. When the surrounding vicinity finally cleared, a dense forest landscape emerged.
The truck overlooked the sheer cliff and rugged scenery that had become a permanent roadblock. The usual silence of the deserted region was interrupted by the incessant and rhythmic sound of a cooling engine.
Tick… Tick… Tick…
The vehicle remained parked. No one moved inside the cab or got out. The truck stayed immobile as if an unlikely statue in the vast wilderness—a distinct contrast between nature and manufactured steel.
The truck sat at the ideal vantage spot, which was both mesmerizing and terrifying for any spectator; but still the occupant chose to wait. The intense high beams pierced ahead into the picturesque hills, leaving a hazy view of the area above the massed trees.
When the driver’s door finally opened, a man stepped out, his steel-toed leather work boots hitting the dirt. They were well-worn, reflecting the many miles he had walked and the many hours he had labored. Swiftly the door shut as the man, medium build and wearing only a plain dark T-shirt, walked to the back of the truck and, with a loud bang, released the lift gate. He moved with purpose and with a calm assertiveness, as if he had performed this particular task many times before. His weathered hands, calloused from years of working with heavy tools and machinery without the protection of leather gloves, had a certain agility and speed.
He grasped two well-used shovels, a large arching pick, and a bulky utility garbage bag. As he tossed the bag onto the ground, the top burst open and several medium-sized teddy bears spilled out. Their smiling faces accentuated the brightly colored ribbons tied around their necks, contrasting with the muted shades of their surroundings.
The man pushed the floppy bag aside with the toe of his boot. He worked in quiet solitude, no humming, no whistling, and no talk.
He flipped on the flashlight fixed to his baseball cap. Straight ahead and slightly arced, the large beam illuminated his path while he strode steadily toward a particular wooded area.
The surrounding thickets and trees remained still without any wind to rustle the leaves. The only audible sound was the man’s quick footsteps—never with any hesitation. He walked with the gait of a young man, despite his stature of someone older.
He hesitated as if he had forgotten something, standing motionless with his arms down at his sides and his head hung forward as he shone the bright light at the ground and the tops of his boots. He still held firmly to the tools. He mumbled a few inaudible sentences of a memorized prayer, which sounded more like a warning than a passage from the Bible, then he raised his head and continued to walk into the dense forest.
Dropping his tools, he carefully pushed a pine branch aside and secured it with a worn piece of rope that had been left for the purpose. An opening was exposed—a tunnel barely large enough for a man to enter.
He grabbed his digging tools once again and proceeded. The flashlight on the front of his cap brightened the passageway as it veered to the right. He followed, only ducking his head twice before the path opened to an area with several boulders sticking out of the cliff. Clusters of unusual rock shapes, some sharp, some rounded, made the terrain appear more like a movie set or backdrop.
A narrow dirt path of crude, sloping man-made steps dropped fifteen feet to a landing jutting out from the rock formation. A small yellow flag was stuck into the earth, marking a spot. A slight evening breeze picked up, causing the flag to flutter.
The man balanced the shovels and pick against the hillside and pulled a hunting knife from a sheath attached to his belt. Pressing the bone handle tight against his palm, he drew the blade through the packed dirt to mark a rectangular pattern on the ground.
He stared intently at the soil, then retrieved the pick, gripping it tight, and swung it hard against the dry, heavily compacted earth. It dented the surface, spewing chips of dirt in every direction. A few small rocks buried in the soil since the beginning of time hampered his progress, but after several more arced swings, the ground began to crumble, exposing the fresh earth.
The heavy pick was exchanged for one of the shovels. Soon there was a small pile of California soil, comprised of sand, silt, clay, and small rock. The repeated movements of dig, scoop, and deposit continued for more than forty-five minutes at a brisk pace. The hard work of manual labor didn’t deter him. It only made him more determined to create a work of genius—his ultimate masterpiece.
At last he stepped back and admired his handiwork, perspiring heavily through his shirt from the effort. Exhilaration filled his body, keeping his muscles flexed and his heart pumping hard. He leaned against the shovel, a smile forming on his lips as he waited for his pulse to return to normal, and marveled at the unmistakable outline of a freshly dug grave.







 







Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.
Her latest book is the thriller, Little Girls Sleeping: An Absolutely Gripping Crime Thriller (Detective Katie Scott Book 1).

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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 Author Blog: https://authorjenniferchase.com/

Book & Crime Talk:  http://blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase

Books: Compulsion   Dead Game   Dark Mind   Dead Burn   Dark Pursuit

Dead Cold  Scene of the Crime
Silent Partner   Body of the Crime   Screenwriting 





http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

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Monday, May 20, 2019

Talking Books with Carol Es, Author of Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley




Self-taught artist, writer and musician, Carol Es is known primarily for creating personal narratives within a wide spectrum of media. A native Los Angelina, she often uses past experience as fuel for her subject matter.  Writing on art, her articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Whitehot Magazine, and Coagula Art Journal; her prose published with small presses — Bottle of Smoke Press, Islands Fold, and Chance Press among them. Additionally, she makes handmade Artist’s books which have been acquired for such collections as the Getty and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
Carol is a two-time recipient of the ARC Grant from the Durfee Foundation, the Pollock-Krasner, and a Wynn Newhouse Award for her art. She’s also earned grants from Asylum Arts and the National Arts and Disability Center/California Arts Council for writing. In 2019, she won the Bruce Geller Memorial Prize (WORD Grant) from the American Jewish University.






Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley is a guided tour through a Tilt-A-Whirl life that takes so many turns that you may find yourself looking up from the pages and wondering how the hell one person
managed to fit them all into 40-odd years. And many of them are odd years indeed. From a rootless, abusive childhood and mental illness through serious and successful careers in music and art, much of which were achieved while being involved in a notoriously destructive mind-control cult. Carol Es presents her story straight up. No padding, no parachute, no dancing around the hard stuff. Through the darkness, she somehow finds a glimmer of light by looking the big bad wolf straight in the eye, and it is liberating. When you dare to deal with truth, you are free. Free to find the humor that is just underneath everything and the joy that comes with taking the bumpy ride.

Illustrated with original sketches throughout, Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley is not just another survivor's tale, it’s a creative perspective through moments of vulnerability where the most raw and intimate revelations are laid bare. As an artist and a woman finding self-worth, it’s truly a courageous, relatable story that will keep you engaged to the very end.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble



Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

Thanks for the opportunity! I am very glad to have your interest. When I’m not writing, I am making art: esart.com

When did you start writing?

When I was very young. I wrote (what I thought) were poems. I started writing short stories by the time I was 14 or 15.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

When I was working with real professionals (editors and such) and later receiving various types of rejection, I began to crumble. It didn’t matter if the rejection had nothing to do with my writing. I also got what seemed like 1000 outside opinions from “experts.” But only a fraction of their advice was actually useful. I had to fall to the absolute bottom of self-doubt before I had no other choice than to trust my own instincts. I seemed to rise from the gutter then and start listening to the writing voice I’d heard inside me all along. It got easier.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

Preferably somewhere in the High Deserts of California, like Joshua Tree. I’ve always had the most success writing out there because I love the climate and the deafening silence. All you can hear are the birds and the wind. I write and nap and definitely leave all the worries from home behind. It feels like home for my soul or something like that.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

Lay down with my dog and tell her jokes until we fell asleep.

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

New York or Italy.

Back to your present book, Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley, how did you publish it?

After making a valiant attempt at trying to find a fancy NY agent and getting nowhere, I finally decided to create my own independent press. I already operate one for my own Artist’s book (Careless Press), which consist of handmade editions—and though this endeavor is not the same, I felt if I studied up on publishing commercial books enough, maybe I could pull it together. So it’s a hybrid publication because I’m in a partnership with an independent press and use IngramSpark distribution.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

I did, but those parts of my story did not end up in the finial version of my book. I went to Chicago to help my backstory regarding my mom. Earlier versions had many chapters dedicated to my parents’ stories growing up, and even their families before them. All that got edited out.

Why was writing Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley so important to you?

That’s an interesting question with a multi-prong answer, but I’ll try to keep it simple. While I wasn’t always sure I was going to publish this book, writing it was important for me as a form of catharticism. I needed to know what happened in my life if only as facts. Once I got the information down, I needed to evaluate my true connection to the scenes. That was perhaps the hardest part of the process—facing the ugliest moment of my part. And in order to make the book look interesting and not just a confession, I felt the need to share my present perspective and what I learned from it (if anything). Either way, I wanted to be honest and hoped someone out there would be able to relate. I knew I was putting out a vulnerable book, but I knew I’d feel free in the end to speak out for people like me.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

I get my ideas from real life. Even my fiction comes from real life. There’s nothing more absurd.

Any final words?

Keep going if you’re able. Even if you’re not, go through the motions anyway. Keep pushing and pushing along as a robot would until your great epiphany comes. Who knows? Maybe along the way, the pushy robot produces something brilliant while you weren’t even looking.


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First Chapter Reveal: The Desire Card by Lee Matthew Goldberg


Title: THE DESIRE CARD
Author: Lee Matthew Goldberg
Publisher: Fahrenheit Press
Pages: TBA
Genre: Crime/Suspense

BOOK BLURB:
Any wish fulfilled for the right price. That's the promise the Desire Card gives to its elite clients. But if the Card doesn’t feel like they’ve been justly compensated, the “price” will be more menacing than the clients could ever imagine.   

Harrison Stockton learns this lesson all too well. Harrison has lived an adult life of privilege and excess: a high-powered job on Wall Street along with a fondness for alcohol and pills, and a family he adores, yet has no time for. All of this comes crashing to a halt when he loses his executive job and discovers he has liver cirrhosis with mere months left to live.

After finding himself far down on the donor list, Harrison takes matters into his own hands. This decision sparks a gritty and gripping quest that takes him to the slums of Mumbai in search of a black market organ and forces him under the Desire Card’s thumb. When his moral descent threatens his wife and children, Harrison must decide whether to save himself at any cost, or do what’s right and put a stop to the Card.

THE DESIRE CARD is a taut international thriller that explores what a man will do to survive when money isn’t always enough to get everything he desires. It’s the first book in a series followed by PREY NO MORE that focuses on other people indebted to this sinister organization, where the actual price is the cost of one’s soul.

PRAISE:

"Careful what you wish for, especially from a nefarious shadow organization, in this gripping start to Lee Matthew Goldberg's fast-paced, highly compelling, buzz worthy new series. If you love characters morally compromised, richly drawn, and constantly surprising, you'll love THE DESIRE CARD. I burned through the first book and can't wait to get my hands on PREY NO MORE to see where this endlessly exciting story takes me next! Loved it!” - Daniel Palmer, critically acclaimed suspense author

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon



Chapter 1

HARRISON SAT OUTSIDE THE OFFICE OF THE MANAGING DIRECTOR AWAITING HIS FATE. The end of the month meant slash and burn time, but he had successfully avoided the axe for twelve months now. Something told him this wasn’t going to be lucky number thirteen. After almost twenty years of dedication, he swore he wouldn’t beg, wouldn’t give that fucker Thom Bartlett any satisfaction in letting him go. Thom, with his faux British accent even though he lived in the U.S. since he was two, his nose up the CEO’s ass at every chance, his chastising of Harrison’s “extracurricular activities,” even though Thom was just as guilty of similar vices. Harrison stared at this fucker’s door, as if by monitoring he could will it to stay closed and ensure that he’d forever remain a part of Sanford & Co.’s Mergers and Acquisitions team.
A sharp pain in his abdomen caused him to pitch forward. His stomach churned as a flood of bile crept up his throat. Thom’s door now appeared so out of focus that for a second Harrison forgot where he was.
            “Bad lunch?” his buddy Whit whispered, from a nearby seat.
Thom’s ancient secretary glanced up at them from her fury of typing and went back to punishing the keys.
Harrison clutched his stomach and let out a stifled belch. The air now smelled like he’d been dining on garbage. His chronic halitosis had only been getting worse. He could barely recall the last time he’d kissed Helene like when they were young with an appetite to devour. At most he received a peck while she held her breath. It’s not like her body hadn’t also changed, and yet he still found her a knockout: whip-smart and sophisticated, alluring whenever she was in deep thought and chewed on the earpiece of her reading glasses. Only once had he participated in a particular “extracurricular activity” outside of their marriage. It was something he instantly regretted—but she had been treating him like a pariah in the bedroom for almost a year, and he found himself in the arms of another. So now he let her give those little digs about his hygiene, one of the small pleasures she seemed to have during the scant few hours a day when he was home.
Whit seemed to inch his chair away from Harrison’s death burp and occupied himself with the new Breitling hanging from his wrist. Here the two were about to be sliced up and gutted and Whit had spent last weekend dropping $10K on a watch. Sure Harrison indulged in more luxuries than most and hated his old Tag enough to go splurging, but unlike Whit, he had two kids in uptown private schools to worry about.
“Drinks at Mobeley’s later tonight?” Whit asked, placing his hand on Harrison’s shoulder. “Whatever the outcome of this summons might be?”
Harrison nodded with tired eyes.
“You’re a VP here, Harry. Higher up on the rung than me. You’ve got a better chance of surviving.”
Whit’s hand still massaged Harrison’s shoulder, but his encouragement was not convincing. He had probably expected a similar consoling reply, except the room was spinning too much for Harrison to care.
“You’re not looking well,” Whit said. Thom’s secretary seemed to glance up from her typing again to nod in agreement. The two of them caught each other’s eye, as if they were conspiring against him. Well, we couldn’t all look like Whit. Just a few years younger but still with a full head of thick black hair only slightly graying at the temples, something that made him appear even more distinguished. Pecs and abs that he never shut up about. A terror on the racquetball courts who slaughtered Harrison every time. The son of a well-known surgeon at N.Y.U Medical with a hot Japanese wife barely out of her twenties whose goal in life was to be at his beck and call. Whit had been made an Associate two years earlier than Harrison and was able to maintain a rapport with the higher ups that Harrison could never manage: calling the CEO Dougie to his face instead of Mr. Sanford and still having a job the next day.
The secretary picked up the phone on her desk while still typing away.
“Certainly, Mr. Bartlett,” she chirped into the receiver, and then turned her disapproving gaze to Harrison. “Mr. Bartlett will see you now, Mr. Stockton.”
Harrison gathered up his briefcase and overcoat. He had to hold onto the seat as he stood, his feet pivoting and almost sending him to the ground.
“Gotta watch those martini lunches,” Whit said, slapping Harrison on the back and pushing him toward his doom.
Harrison put one foot in front of the other slowly, avoiding Thom’s inevitable decision for as long as possible.
Even if he wound up getting let go today, an outsider looking in might assume that his life was still going well: two decades of marriage, healthy kids, and a fantastic New York apartment; but he felt like he’d just been going through the motions for too long. A major chunk had been missing, a spark of excitement, adventure, and meaning. He couldn’t put his finger on what it was, just that he desperately longed for it to exist.
As he put his hand on the doorknob and turned, he tried to think of what would make him happy, something he wanted more than anything that would cause him to shoot out of bed every morning with a smile.
He squeezed his eyes shut, willing this desired vision to appear, but all he saw was darkness.

[]

  Who in their right mind didn’t covet Thom Bartlett’s office? High floor with downtown skyline views, fluffy clouds outside of the windows, a wet bar that Harrison eyed. Some good Scotch had already been opened. Harrison had forced himself to keep sober during a gobbled lunch of an Italian sub without his trusty flask to chase it down. Now his hands trembled at the thought of that Scotch burning his throat.
“Can I offer you something?” Thom asked, indicating the bar with a grand sweep of his arm, as if to say, yes, I have a bar in my office, which you, dear sir, never had here and regrettably never will.
“I might as well,” Harrison coughed, scooting over and pouring two shots worth into a glass. He sat across from Thom and put the comforting drink to his lips.
Thom fiddled with a stack of papers in a folder on his desk. He looked up at Harrison through the thick frames he kept low on his sloping nose, almost touching his top lip.
“So Sanford & Co. has become swollen lately. We’re too big for our own good right now and need to restructure–”
“Just spit it out,” Harrison said, knocking back half the glass of Scotch.
“I’m sorry, Harrison. We’re going to have to let you go, effective today.”
Thom delivered this news while fixing his Windsor knot, which Harrison figured had taken him numerous tries that morning to perfect. Harrison wanted to grab him by that knot and choke his tiny little bird head until it popped off.
“I’ve given practically twenty years to this firm,” he said, running his hands through his thinning hair. “I sleep here, I eat here. I barely exist at home anymore.”
“It’s the same for all of us, mate.”
“I’m not your fucking mate,” Harrison said, finishing the rest of the Scotch and starting to sway.
“Old boy, I am not the villain here. Every firm on the Street has been feeling this strain since the economy collapsed. Now we are offering you a solid severance package, which I think is more than generous. I’ll also save you the spectacle of having security escort you out.”
“What was Sanford’s reason?” Harrison asked quietly, not wanting to hear the answer but knowing that he’d be unable to leave without one.
Thom had already started pushing the folder across the desk, shutting Harrison up, getting this over with. His face looked exhausted from delivering executions.
“We’ve heard from some clients,” he said, taking off his glasses and pinching the bridge of his nose.
“Heard what…?”
“Have you looked at yourself in the mirror lately, huh, Harry?” he asked, his voice rising to the level of an uncomfortable squeal. “Your skin, mate…sorry, but you’re looking rather yellow, and your eyes, well there’s this permanent creaminess to them… I’m just using the client’s words–”
“Which client?”
“Which one hasn’t mentioned this is more like it.”
Harrison went to respond but now Thom was on a roll.
“As a VP, this is a face-to-face business. I go for manicures, mate, you think I like it–it’s a requirement. Maybe if you cut back on the drink….”
“I’ve advised some huge mergers here over the years.” Harrison pointed at Thom with his empty glass. “I didn’t realize this was only a pretty boys game.”
“You’ve let some messy pitchbooks slide through recently, as well.”
“Shouldn’t the analysts be blamed for creating them?”
“Don’t think they haven’t been dealt with, too.”
“So maybe I’ve gotten lax with a couple of pitchbooks for smaller clients, but never any of the big ones.”
“When…was the last time you’ve been to a doctor, Harry?”
“Doctors,” Harrison said, brushing them all away with a flick of his wrist. He had always believed that no matter what, doctors tried to find something wrong with you so you’d give them more business. And yeah, his skin had developed a yellowish hue as of late and sometimes his gut felt like it was rotting. Varicose veins had multiplied along his thighs and there were moments when he’d lose balance and have to go and dry heave in an empty stall once no one else was around, but he was a professional drinker just like his dad had been, and that son-of-a-bitch had put back a liter of gin and a pack of smokes a day up until the ripe old age of eighty-eight. Hell, who needed to live longer than that anyway? Life could be brutal, and if some booze, some smokes and some pills provided a relief from the banality of it all, then screw any doctor who’d tell him otherwise.
Thom tapped on the folder to indicate that it was time to wrap this up.
“I have to make sure that you understand what’s in the package,” he said, pushing it closer to Harrison until it practically fell off the desk.
Harrison opened it up and flipped through: six months pay, benefits as well, blah, blah, blah. He closed it shut and went to throw it in his briefcase.
“Tut tut,” Thom said, wagging his finger. “There’s something you missed that Mr. Sanford wanted to make sure you saw.”
Harrison re-opened the folder and spied a card clipped to the first page.
 []
 “What the hell is a Desire Card?”
Thom reached over and un-clipped the card.
“You have been a valued employee here. Mr. Sanford wanted to make sure you understood that we’re not parting on bad terms. This is what’s best for everyone.”
Thom handed him the card. Harrison turned it over and over with his stubby fingers.
“It’s like…a phone or something too?”
“Of sorts, just to keep their network as secure and exclusive as possible. We didn’t include this in everyone’s package, so you know. This is an organization that Mr. Sanford has a long history with, very hush-hush obviously, very elite. If you want something…anything…they have the power to make it happen.”
“Can they get me my job back?”
“Cute, Harrison, don’t ever lose that charm.”
Thom reached over to take the empty glass away.
“So tonight, Harry, instead of drowning your sorrows in a bottle, give the Card a try and have them ring you up a girl I guarantee you’ll enjoy. Or whatever else you wish. We promise we’ll give a glowing report to any future job prospects so consider this the start of a paid vacation.”
Thom stuck out his hand to shake, the nails manicured, no rogue cuticles to speak of; but the hand was delicate and unassuming, not someone with the power to hold Harrison’s life in his palm, just a meager messenger. Harrison slipped the Desire Card in his pocket and shook Thom’s hand, squeezing hard as Thom grimaced.
“And see a doctor,” Thom replied, giddy now that this ordeal was over.
“Watch out, you’ll be gutted next,” Harrison said, rising and feeling his legs give out. He collapsed back into the chair as Thom let out a spurt of a laugh.
“You all right there, mate?”
“Piss on England.”
Harrison gave standing up another try. He gripped Thom’s desk for support. Thom looked worried that Harrison might take the whole desk down with him, but Harrison was doing his best to maintain even though it felt like he was viewing Thom through the wrong end of a telescope.
“You can go ahead and send Mr. Carmichael in,” Thom said, fixing his Windsor knot again that had become slightly askew. “Best to Helene and the children.”
Harrison slung his coat over his arm and gripped his briefcase as he headed for the door. After a few steps, his vision became cloudier and he could feel the creamy tears falling from his eyes. They stung his cheeks as he grappled with the doorknob and lurched into the hallway.
In the front office, Whit was leaning over the secretary’s desk; the two engaged in hushed words that stopped once Harrison emerged. Harrison ran his finger from one side of his neck to the other. Whit gave him a solemn nod back, but Harrison couldn’t hold it in any longer and puked up the barely digested Scotch.
“Oh my!” he heard the secretary say.
He stared at his sickness bubbling on the floor, a mix of half-chewed capicola and salami in an amber soup with specks of dark red blood throughout, the clots of blood so dark they looked like tar. He wiped his mouth and trudged past all the onlookers toward the elevators outside, glad that a part of him would remain embedded in Sanford & Co.’s carpet.
As the elevator arrived and he stepped inside, he wished for the undoing of everyone involved in his termination, knowing that only their collective downfall could get him to shoot out of bed with a smile.

About the Author

Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of SLOW DOWN and THE MENTOR (St. Martin’s Press), which was acquired by Macmillan Entertainment with the film in development. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the 2018 Prix du Polar. The first two books in a thriller series, THE DESIRE CARD and PREY NO MORE, are forthcoming from Fahrenheit Press in winter 2019. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in the anthology DIRTY BOULEVARD, The Millions, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, Essays & Fictions, The New Plains Review, and others. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series (guerrillalit.wordpress.com). He lives in New York City. Follow him at leematthewgoldberg.com and @LeeMatthewG.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Dreams That Never Were Pre-Release Book Blast!





Title: DREAMS THAT NEVER WERE
Author: Greg Messel
Publisher: Sunbreaks Publishing
Pages: 296
Genre: Historical Fiction



On June 5, 1968 Senator Robert F. Kennedy, then a candidate for President, is mortally wounded by assassin Sirhan Sirhan in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Among the innocent bystanders who were also shot that night is a young idealistic reporter from San Francisco, Alex Hurley.

The tragic incident changes his life as he’s swept up in the turbulent events of 1968.  Alex is conflicted about the Vietnam War after spending several months there as a reporter. The war costs him his first marriage and threatens to tear his family apart. However, he meets a woman who’s love restores his hope and together they forge a new life set against the backdrop of the war, the civil rights struggle and political upheaval in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Alex Hurley’s story is part political thriller and partly a romance in “Dreams That Never Were,” the latest historical fiction novel by award winning author Greg Messel.

The title comes from a famous quote of Robert F. Kennedy’s “Some men see things as they are and say, ‘Why?’ I dream of things that never were and say, ‘Why not?’”
______________________







I heard unfamiliar voices talking.
“He’s starting to open his eyes,” someone said.
“That’s a great sign,” commented another.
I detected a pain in my side, just below my rib cage. I tried to open my eyes, but they seemed to be glued shut. The voices resumed—talking about me as if I wasn’t there. Finally, I blinked my eyes, trying to focus, and soon realized  I was in a hospital bed. Standing by me, with concerned looks etched on their faces, was an odd collection of people from my life. 
Through my bleary eyes, I saw my ex-wife Brenda; John Greer, my photographer pal from San Francisco; and Darlene Harvey, the reporter from the Los Angeles Times, I’d been admiring from afar since I had arrived in Southern California. 
Brenda moved forward and tenderly gripped my hand in a way that she had not done for a long time. 
“How are you, Alex?” she asked softly. 
I gave a weak shake of my head. “I dunno. What happened?” 
“Don’t you remember, mate?” John jumped in. 
“Remember what?” I mumbled blankly, as my weak voice tailed off into nothing.
“He’s still coming out of the drugs. Give him a minute,” Brenda pleaded. “They’ve been keeping him kind of doped up since the surgery. This is the first time I’ve been able to talk to him.”
“Surgery?” I asked. 
Brenda shushed me and gently ran her long, slender fingers through my hair. “Take it easy. Don't try to talk right now. Take your time. Then we’ll help you understand what happened.”
I groggily attempted to get my bearings. “We were at the hotel. Everyone was celebrating Bobby’s victory. I was following him out of the ballroom, and there was like a riot. I was suddenly on the floor and couldn’t get up. It was strange. All of these people kept stepping on me—on my arm and on my legs.” 
I glanced at my right hand which was heavily bandaged. “I got knocked down. I’m sorry. Everything is a little hazy. I’m having trouble getting my brain to work.”
The three people hovering over me could not have been more different—two beautiful women and John, with his long black hair pulled back in a ponytail and a scruffy beard covering his face. The trio exchanged concerned glances, whispered, and nodded at one another. I started to shift in my bed and was met with a jolts of pain in my side and my leg. 
Brenda attempted to lighten the mood. “I was afraid you’d wake up in your hospital bed, see your ex-wife standing over you, and think you’d died and gone to hell.”
I gave her a weak smile, while the others chuckled to break the tension. 
Brenda was trying to make sure my re-entry was a slow descent, but that strategy was quickly dashed when John started blurting out all the details of the last 14 hours. “Take it easy, Alexander. You’ve had surgery. You were shot, man. They removed the bullet. The doc says you’re going to be fine. Some people from San Francisco are on their way down here, including our boss. Everyone’s been worried about you after they saw the news.”
“The news? I was shot?”
Brenda glared at John. “Way to go slow, John. Senator Kennedy was shot. You and some other people were also wounded by the assassin.”
“No, no, no!” I yelled. “Bobby was shot? No, not this time! This wasn’t supposed to happen! Assassin? Is Senator Kennedy going to be all right?” 
John moved closer. “Bobby’s just down the hall. He’s still alive, but he’s not doing very well.”
“Not doing very well?” I snapped with rapidly accelerating alarm.
John blundered ahead. “This place is like a fortress. It was hard to get in here especially onto this floor. Cops are everywhere.”
“Maybe we should go,” Darlene said shooting a glance at John. “We’ll come back later, Alex. We just had to see you. We were so worried.” 
“No, no, don’t leave right now,” I pleaded. I repeated what I had been told to try to take in the enormity of the news. “Senator Kennedy was shot. How could… how did it happen?”
Brenda nodded to John and Darlene. “I’ll stay with him. I know you must be very busy.”
Darlene leaned over and kissed me on the cheek. She was dabbing tears from her eyes. “It’s been a long night. We’re all living in a nightmare. I’m so sorry, Alexander. It’s good to see you awake.”
Darlene grabbed John by the elbow and pushed him towards the door. John flashed a peace sign. “Peace, my brother. I’ll see you a little later. Take it easy and get better. I’ve got to call San Francisco. Everyone’s anxious to hear about you.”
After they departed, I tried to shift to get a better look at Brenda. She looked great. Her long black hair cascaded onto her shoulders. It was longer than I had ever seen her wear it. She wore a lime green mini dress with white trim and white boots. 
“Where am I, and what time is it?” I quizzed Brenda. “Actually… what day is it?”
“It’s Wednesday,” she checked her wrist watch. “It’s about a quarter to two.”
“At night? What happened to Tuesday?!”
“You had surgery earlier today, and I just got to town. I came straight to the hospital. I flew down as soon as I heard about the assassination attempt. Your name was on the television as one of those wounded with Bobby. I caught the next plane to LA to see you.”
“Uh… wow… that’s… I mean, I’m overwhelmed. That’s a lot of money. Is that all right with Tom?”
“I was very upset, and Tom immediately offered to fly me down here to see you.”
“That’s very nice… of you… and your husband.”
“Alex, I don’t think you’ve grasped what’s going on outside this room. It’s a national crisis. I wish you could look out the window at the street below. There are barriers up, and hundreds, if not thousands, of people are lining the street in the front of this hospital. News about the shooting is on TV constantly.”
“Where’s Senator Kennedy now?” I groggily asked.
“Here. Eric Sevareid and Walter Cronkite have been on CBS saying something has happened to the fabric of our nation. There are signs everywhere that say ‘Pray for Bobby.’ The raw footage of the shooting has been shown over and over again on NBC. You’re right. After the shots were fired, it was like a riot. When I turned on my television, not only did I see Bobby bleeding on the floor in the pantry, but I saw you on the ground with a pool of blood under you. You were wearing a blue blazer, lying on the floor on your side against the wall.”







 







Greg Messel grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and lives on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, with his wife, Jean DeFond. Dreams That Never Were is his 11th novel and is a historical fiction account of a young reporter caught up in the events surrounding the assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. Greg has also written a series of mystery novels set in San Francisco in the 1950s. He has lived in Oregon, Washington, California, Wyoming and Utah and has always loved writing, including stints as a reporter, columnist and news editor for a daily newspaper. Greg won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a colunist and has contributed articles to various magazines.

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