Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Flight of the Tarantula Hawk by Michael Allan Scott Excerpt, Trailer, Review & Giveaway

Flight of the Tarantula Hawk

by Michael Allan Scott

on Tour at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours in September 2014

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery / Thriller with a Paranormal Twist
Published by: Telemachus Press
Publication Date: 02/10/2014
Number of Pages: ~350
ISBN: 978-1-940745-00-8 / 978-1-940745-01-5
Series:2nd Lance Underphal Mystery, Can Be Read As a Stand Alone Novel
Purchase Links:
Warning: This book is not for everyone! It includes Excessive strong language, Graphic violence, & Explicit sexual scenes.


Realtor Carla Simon has her first showing in nearly eighteen months. Recovering from a nervous breakdown, she arrives at the bank-owned foreclosure well ahead of her prospect. When her buyer pins her against the wall, it turns out to be the last house she’ll ever show.
Working on rebuilding his life, Lance Underphal attempts to bury his psychic curse alongside his troubled past. But when cryptic nightmares begin to plague him, he comes to know his struggles with the supernatural are far from over.
Lacking evidence, Homicide Detective Frank Salmon drags the reluctant psychic into the investigation. Underphal clues him in—this psycho is just getting started. Salmon assembles his crew and digs in.
Jack Jacobs, a PI and a shipmate of Salmon’s, fields a call from his girlfriend’s frantic daughter. She recruits him to locate her missing husband. Finding the husband’s Accord parked outside a long-vacant house, Jack senses he’s out of his league and calls Salmon.
Salmon’s manhunt ratchets up as Underphal’s predictions come to pass. Salmon, Jacobs and Underphal soon join forces, driven to stop the killings—a monumental task. And it’s not long before they disagree, each tracking their own suspect. All are led astray. A wild ride full of twists and turns, from a Goth-fest gone wrong to a shiny new morgue, they grapple with demons real and imagined.
As Lance’s dead wife Sonja whispers words of warning, he comes face to face with the murderer fresh from a kill. It’s only then he discovers it’s the murderer who’s stalking him. Lance wrestles with grim choices: Give up the chase and abandon his friends, or immerse himself in the killer’s dark past and risk annihilation. Lance’s only shot at redemption—face the horror and reveal its source.

Read an excerpt:

The Showing

Midday, and a crisp scent of fall fills the balmy air of late October. Sun-baked terrain has cooled, well below oven operating temperatures for several days in a row—the first time in nearly six months. Phoenix’s last Indian summer is finally laid to rest. Snowbirds and other migratory fowl flock to town, clogging the freeways and surface streets, swelling the resort hotels, RV parks, and the wallets of local merchants. A veritable desert paradise . . . almost, except for that fleshy, white underbelly that never sees the sun.
Crouched in the upscale suburb of Paradise Valley, a four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath contemporary ranch style sits vacant—its foyer littered with MLS flyers and Realtors’ business cards while dust bunnies breed in its corners. At the street, the “For Sale” sign declares it’s “Bank Owned”—a sign of hard times, blighting nearly fifty thousand homes in the Phoenix area alone.
Carla Simon fumbles with the lockbox’s key to open the empty house. Her hollow cheeks match the hunted look in her soft brown eyes. Nervously waiting in the foyer for her two o’clock showing, she smooths the front of her skirt with sweaty palms. It’s been a long time since she’s shown property—too long.
Carla waves vigorously, her greeting overly effusive as her prospect trudges up the walk. “Any trouble finding it?” she asks.
Her prospect seems distracted, answering, “No . . . no problem.”
Carla starts in, leading the way. “You’ll notice the hardwood flooring throughout the main living areas.”
They cross through the foyer.
As they enter the living room, her prospect suddenly grabs Carla from behind and pushes her face-first into the wall.
“OhMyGod! What are you doing!?!” Stunned, Carla struggles to make sense of it. This can’t be happening!
Her prospect spins Carla around, pinning her to the wall with a forearm. She stares at her attacker’s placid features in disbelief, frozen with terror. Her attacker’s wide eyes bore through her like red-hot lasers. Confusion scrambles her thoughts as she watches a hand rise over her head. Too late, Carla sees the gleam of a large hypodermic needle as it thrusts deep into her neck, penetrating the carotid artery. Carla’s eyes roll with panic as the stab of the big-bore needle pierces her throat, burning fluid swelling her neck.
Racing to the brain like a predator possessed, the poison’s fiery tendrils sizzle neurons, frying and then extinguishing cranial, optic and facial nerves. Burning numbness spreads, robbing Carla of all muscular control. Her eyelids droop as facial muscles go slack. Vision doubling, then blurring, then dark, the last image burned into the back of her fading retinas is her attacker’s retreat. Carla’s shrieks echo in empty rooms, soon to be stillborn in her useless larynx as paralysis sets in.
How is it possible? The ultimate betrayal. Her life had just started to turn around after all the hard work and struggle to regain her family, her career, her sanity. She needs to ask why, but deadened lips refuse to move. Her dry mouth hangs open uselessly as her last breaths flutter from paralyzed lungs. Maybe she wasn’t meant to be happy. But why now? And why like this? Bladder and bowels let loose as her arms and legs go limp. She slides down the wall to slump into a spreading puddle of her own urine. Slowly tilting over, her torso topples to the floor. Her head, bouncing off the solid wood floor like a ripe melon.
No, No, NO!!!
Fully conscious while trapped in a cooling carcass, Carla screams hysterically to no avail; only silence and darkness ensue.
Pale moonlight floods vacant rooms, streaming through bare windows. The consciousness that was Carla Simon watches cold blue-white light creep across the hardwood floor to climb bare walls, exposing a swollen flyblown corpse. She’s lost all track of time. How many nights has it been? She tries to remember . . . where she is, how she got there. Hollow spots, holes, nothing there when she’s sure there must be. If only she could remember. Dr. Manson said there would be some confusion and short-term memory loss, common side effects of electroconvulsive therapy. Melancholy haunts her as thoughts flit from question to question, too many loose ends. Did I lock the car? Did Howard make the house payment? Did Jimmy get his dinner?
A fine layer of dust coats the smooth planking, absorbing the lumber’s lustrous sheen. Dust motes gleam like tiny stars in the glowing blanket of moonlight that hugs the floor. Fragments whirl in Carla’s thoughts, fluttering like wounded birds. A to-do list half done, the white sheen of a prom dress, a plastic wristband from the hospital—shards of a shattered past, nothing left but scraps.
It’s so still she can almost hear the thrum of the cosmos, its pulse trembling at the edge of perception. The quiet house seems on the verge of telling her something, some deep revelation, a most intimate secret.
Something’s not quite right, but she dare not think about it. She’s certain that somehow it will miraculously all come to her and she’ll be okay.
Moonlight sifts through dust-streaked glass, exposing a void, an emptiness, as Carla absently reflects on her condition. But she’s been done with all her treatment for months now. Dr. Manson promised her it would be okay.
Cold light cuts through dead air with scalpel-like precision, illuminating tiny imperfections floating aimlessly in space. Yes, it will all be okay. Like gasping awake from a nightmare or coming to from a deep coma or a near-death experience—a grand mal seizure, like after an ECT treatment. Yet it has to be okay. How else could she still be seeing, hearing . . . thinking? It’s all just a bad dream, Carla’s sure she’ll wake up soon. Still, something’s not right. If only Dr. Manson had explained it to her, maybe then she’d understand. And she really needs to understand.
Wake-Up Call

Sixty miles northwest of Phoenix, just outside Wickenburg, it’s an unusually bright night for early November, the blood moon waxing full above a rugged mesa. A stiff breeze whips up into a gusty blow, kicking up dust and rolling tumbleweeds across the open desert to pile against long stretches of rusted barbwire fencing. As a lone coyote’s howl dies off, the cold wind moans, a bone-chilling song, echoing through the dry creosote and down the rocky ravines.
Gritty gusts vibrate the metal sheeting of an aging doublewide. Anchored against the elements, the weather-beaten trailer clings to a five-acre plot of raw desert. A ten-year-old Jeep Grand Cherokee is haphazardly parked nearby. The darkened trailer and old Jeep lie at the end of a narrow dirt track, the only evidence of civilization for miles.
And that’s fine with me. Just the way I like it. I’m snoring away in my new La-Z-Boy recliner, a half-empty longneck Bud sweating on the side table. A new fifty-two-inch flatscreen flashes digital images—my new surround-sound system, whispering the satellite TV’s endless monologue.
Dreaming, I catch my breath as a new reality unfolds:
A bright summer day, clear and hot. A large jet-black wasp appears overhead before I hear the hum of its Halloween-orange wings. A tarantula hawk headed straight for me. Flashes of raw panic. She’s enormous, big enough to carry me away. She lands in front of me, extending her hooked claws, wings flicking in anticipation. I rear back on hairy hind legs, baring my fangs and poking segmented forelegs at her in a valiant attempt to ward her off. She lunges, grappling with wicked claws, pulling me off balance and turning me over in one lightning-quick move. I flail wildly, arching my back, legs in the air, abdomen exposed and vulnerable. Holding fast, she thrusts her long black stinger deep into my belly, releasing her paralyzing venom. The shock-inducing sting slowly numbs me to the core as I silently scream from within its high-voltage spell. Her vile excretion robs me of all muscular control, leaving me to crackle in a hellish limbo. I can’t quite feel her dragging me away, but I fear the worst is yet to come.
A ringing in my head distracts me, growing louder, more insistent as the nightmare fades.
My cell phone’s obnoxious chirp drags me to semiconsciousness. I flail in my recliner, disoriented, trying to get my bearings. Grabbing my cell, I squint at the caller ID but can’t focus, my head spinning, drowning in dizziness.
The loud chirping stops and suddenly, it’s quiet. All that’s left is the ringing in my ears. As the ringing dies down, the dizziness fades. I decompress as the wind’s inhuman wail seeps through cracks in old weather stripping, competing with the TV’s mindless drone.
Thinking it through, it turns out the nightmare was more than just another bad dream. I know, having had more than my share. And “the worst is yet to come,” rings prophetic.

Flight of the Tarantula Hawk - Book Trailer:

Author Bio:

Born and raised at the edge of the high desert in Kingman, Arizona, Michael Allan Scott resides in Scottsdale with his wife, Cynthia and their hundred-pound Doberman, Otto. In addition to writing mysteries and speculative fiction, his interests include music, photography, art, scuba diving and auto racing.

Tour Participants:

To Sign up email me at gina@partnersincrimetours.net.
My Review:
This was a great book that had action, mystery, murder, and show girls! I was hooked after the first chapter, and I needed to know if they died, who the shooter (s?) were and how Lance was going to find out these answers. I also wondered how it would affect him, because he was on the phone when it happened. I kept wondering how the shooter(s) got in the building as well. Just when I thought that I was starting to figure things out the author threw in a murdered wife, and physic abilities. I enjoyed reading the visions and then the legwork of Lance (the detective). It was engaging to read both sides. There is a lot of adult content in this book, and it i down to make the characters more lifelike. Every body swears, and this book is about murder, so of course there is violence. There was also sex in this book, and even though it might not be necessary to the plot, it is needed to know more about the characters. This book is also based on some facts, and I would love to read more about the verity in this story. I am giving this book a 4/5. I was given a copy to review, however all opinions are  my own.
Flight of The Tarantula Hawk was just as good and had as much mystery. This is definitely a series that I will read whenever I get the chance. I am giving both books a 4/5. I was given copies to review, however all opinions are  my own.


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How the Water Falls by K.P. Kollenborn Interview & Giveaway

About the Book

On the fringes of a civil war arise a kaleidoscope of stories of abuse, power, betrayal, sex, love, and absolution, all united by the failings of a dying government. Set in the backdrop during the last years of South Africa's apartheid, How the Water Falls is a psychological thriller that unfolds the truth and deception of the system’s victims, perpetrators, and unlikely heroes.

The two main characters, one white, Joanne– a reporter, the other black, Lena– a banned activist, have their lives continuously overlap through the people they know during a thirteen-year period and eventually become friends as a result of their interviews together. Joanne personifies the need to question and investigate apartheid’s corruption from a white person’s perspective. Although her intentions begin with idealism, no matter how naïve, as the years pass while the system is failing, she crosses the threshold of what it means to be caught up inside the belly of the beast, especially after crossing paths with the Borghost brothers. Lena, who is inspired by her predecessors, such as Steve Biko and Nelson Mandela, is among the minority of black women to peacefully battle for equality, even if her struggle is indicative of sacrificing her health and safety. Hans Borghost is Johannesburg’s commissioner of police who, like all those before, had a military background before pursuing a law enforcement career. Violent, manipulative, and controlling, he incarnates the image of South Africa’s perpetrators. Jared Borghost is the younger brother of Hans and, like his brother, has a military background, but unlike Hans, he internally combats between his sense of duty and morality. His inconsistency indicates a conscience that leaves one to ponder whether Jared is either a perpetrator, victim, or both. As his surname suggests, Bor-GHOST represents the “ghosts” that haunt the family’s past. Many other characters play the roles of spies, freedom fighters, lovers, adversaries, and supporters.

This novel is as complex as apartheid was itself, unlacing fabrics of each character’s life to merge into a catalyst downfall. The question of who will survive this downfall will suffice in the courts of truth and reconciliation and whether love is strong enough to preserve peace.

Where to purchase How the Water Falls

The Author

K.P.'s Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

Although I've been writing since childhood, I have a BA in history. I love studying history as much as wanting to evoke stories. I like to believe that after decades worth of introspection we have learned to value our lessons, and the best way to recite our lessons are through storytelling. That's why I love history: To learn. To question. To redeem our humanity. Submitting to a moment in time allows us to remember, or to muse even, our society's past. Although writing can educate as well as entertain, yet what makes art incredibly amazing, to that of paintings, photographs, and music, it transposes emotion into another form of humanity, and therefore, it is our humanity which keeps all of us striving for an improved future.

I am fortunate to have been trained by one the top ten writing teachers in the US, the late Leonard Bishop, and author of 'Dare to be a Great Writer.' I owe my love of writing to him. In addition to writing, I draw, paint, create graphic design, and am an amateur photographer.

Where are you from?
Even though I am from Kansas, I enjoy venturing into other worlds from around the globe which is why my writing focuses on diversity. With fluid accessibility to modern media and traveling opportunities, my Midwestern world can expand and explore beyond my own backyard.

Tell us your latest news?
I just recently published my second novel, How the Water Falls.  Set in the backdrop during the last years of South Africa's apartheid, it’s a psychological thriller that unfolds the truth and deception of the system’s victims, perpetrators, and unlikely heroes. This novel is as complex as apartheid was itself, unlacing fabrics of each character’s life to merge into a catalyst downfall. The question of who will survive this downfall will suffice in the courts of truth and reconciliation and whether love is strong enough to preserve peace. Here’s the website: http://howthewaterfalls.com

When and why did you begin writing?
It was a gradual evolution.  Initially I wanted to be an artist- mainly focusing on drawing and painting, and I do have a graphics art degree.  Because I’m dyslexic, reading and writing came to me slowly as a child, and I somehow compensated by memorizing the structure of words.  I used to tell stories to my sisters as children, but later in school, when I felt forced to write stories as part of our English and grammar training, teachers would compliment my storylines. I began to have awareness that not only I could create something in which people liked. And I kinda liked it, too.  The biggest influence in school was my 8th grade English teacher who read four of my stories out loud to the class. That was the same year I wanted to write about the Japanese-American experiences. Up until I was a teenager, I didn’t believe I had any other talent.  After college, I was very lucky in finding a mentor, Leonard Bishop, who had taught writing at Columbia and Berkeley. (I should be thankful he married a Kansas gal which was the reason he would even live in Kansas!) It has taken me some time to find courage to pursue a writer’s career.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In high school when I began to write a series of short stories and poems. It was at this point I began to write with historical themes, whether about the Japanese American internment, the American Civil War, the Sante Fe Trail, the relationship between Native Americans and the military,or early Twenty Century Ozarks. I meshed history with the art of storytelling.

What inspired you to write your first book?
My first novel, Eyes Behind Belligerence at http://eyesbehindbelligerence.com is a historical drama about two Japanese American families surviving war, racism, and the harsh environment of internment camps. At the age of fourteen I came across book, Kim/Kimi, about a young girl searching for her real father, who was Japanese-American, only to discover he had been imprisoned in an American internment camp during WWII. I had never heard of these camps up to that point in my life. In Europe, yes, but not here. Not in America. That was it. I wanted to understand a hell of a lot more!

Do you have a specific writing style?
I like mixing realism with symbolism.  I love stories that deal with struggle for freedom, searching for identity and purpose, and have some sort of message that forces you to contemplate.

How did you come up with the title?
I wish to have a symbolic connection with the titles to the meaning of my stories. For instance, Eyes Behind Belligerence is meant to witnessing a hostile world during WWII. How the Water Falls is meant to represent the ideology of power and corruption through the structure of waterfalls, and how a system can fall by the pressure of united power.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I have several messages for How the Water Falls, revolving around empowerment of common people, endurance, and forgiveness, but the main one is hope.  Despite the brutal and depressing circumstances of apartheid, hope is the destination for change. I have this philosophy: Although writing can educate as well as entertain, yet what makes art incredibly amazing, to that of paintings, photographs, and music, it transposes emotion into another form of humanity, and therefore, it is our humanity which keeps all of us striving for an improved future.

How much of the book is realistic?
I aspire to preserve realism as much as possible to uphold the integrity of history.  Many of the characters are inspired by a mesh of real people of that time period as well as using several historical events as part of the plot. I’ve put together a short video explaining my inspiration for my novel: http://ow.ly/ApDiP

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The experiences I draw from, despite the historical and cultural differences, are the personal relationships from people in my life.  The bonding factor of my stories begin from the friendships I’ve had or continue to preserve, or from some of the discrimination I’ve encountered for being female, or from people who consider me odd. I know everyone on this planet has experienced hurt, rejection, and discrimination at some point in one’s life, so it’s not all that difficult to make that connection, that bond, really.

What books have most influenced your life most?
John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men are still inside my head. He mixes literary prose and realism with such grit and fortitude that I'm charmed by his depressing and enriching style.  I love how F. Scott Fitzgerald used The Great Gatsby used cultural references of that time period to preserve the essence of the Roaring Twenties. I've also been inspired by G.J Ballard's Empire of the Sun, William Golding's Lord of the Flies, and J. M. Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians when dealing with war, prejudices, and violent interactions between people under stressful circumstances.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Leonard Bishop. I'm honored to say I knew a great writer. And a teacher of writing. As he inscribed in one of his prefaces: "I believe that if a writer can return to the world more than what the world has given him, then he has earned his keep, not only as a writer, but also as a human being. I also believe that whatever saves my life must be good. I have lived a God-blessed life, and I want to pass it on." I wrote a blog post about him: http://kpkollenborn.blogspot.com/2009/04/dollar-in-jar-tribute-to-leonard-bishop.html

What book are you reading now?
Chinese Girl in the Ghetto by Ying Ma, an indie author.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Kinda new.  I've enjoyed how integrating the art of storytelling with historical research have succeeded beyond a marginalized audience such as Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex, Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants, and Kathryn Stockett's The Help.

What are your current projects?
I have two.  One, as I’ve already mentioned, How the Water Falls, which is available on Amazon now, http://ow.ly/ApCCE, and another beginning in September of 2014, Two Dairy Goats' Journey, will be published as a Pictorial Ballad with the topics of spirituality and the desire to search for the meaning of life. Here’s the link to this one: http://kpkollenborn.blogspot.com/p/pictorial-ballad.html

What would you like my readers to know?
I chose the names for my characters based on both the way it sounds and what it represents. Because my novels tend to be researched inspired, I often abstract names from books I’ve read to uphold authenticity. For my South African novel, I have a link of my characters here with descriptions of their purpose to the story and photos of how I think they should look like: http://howthewaterfalls.com/characters.htm

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The Beautiful American by Jeanne Mackin EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT & Giveaway

The Beautiful American
by Jeanne Mackin



As recovery from World War II begins, expat American Nora Tours travels from her home in southern France to London in search of her missing sixteen-year-old daughter. There, she unexpectedly meets up with an old acquaintance, famous model-turned-photographer Lee Miller.  Neither has emerged from the war unscathed.
Nora and Lee knew each other in the heady days of late 1920's Paris, when Nora was giddy with love for her childhood sweetheart, Lee became the celebrated mistress of the artist Man Ray, and Lee's magnetic beauty drew them all into the glamorous lives of famous artists and their wealthy patrons.  But Lee fails to realize that her friendship with Nora is even older, that it goes back to their days as children in Poughkeepsie, New York, when a devastating trauma marked Lee forever. Will their reunion give them a chance to forgive past betrayals...and break years of silence to forge a meaningful connection as women who have shared the best and the worst that life can offer?



I moved through the doorway, overwhelmed by the synthetic florals and citruses of the post-war perfumes. They enter the nose aggressively, fighting for attention like unruly school children. What I most remembered about my own child was how the long braid she wore down her back smelled of lavender, a single note of innocence. My lost child.
Sixteen years ago, I ran away.  And now, my daughter had, too, or at least I hoped she had, for the other possibilities were unthinkable.  But after months of searching, I hadn't found Dahlia in any of those places where a young girl might find shelter: not in the homes of friends in southern France;  not in Paris in the narrow streets of Montparnasse, the cafés and gardens and boulevards of those years with Jamie;  not in the orphanages that sheltered children whose parents had not survived.  She had left no trace.
So I had come, finally,  to London, to the almost-beginning. Beginnings are like endings, never completely finished, simply receding like the horizon.   Here, in the doorway of Harrods, one rainy morning almost two decades ago, Jamie and I had agreed that we would leave England and go to Paris, and that if all went well, we would marry and begin our family.  I had told Dahlia that story,  how I had dreamed of her years before she was born.      
I had already been in London for three days, walking the streets, asking hotel clerks and checking registers at shelters, looking for her, fighting down panic and dread.  The boarding house where Jamie and I had stayed had been bombed and so had the little pub where we had had our noon fish and chips and pint. There was destruction everywhere.  St. Paul's Cathedral had been bombed, St. James Palace, Houses of Parliament. Half the population of London had been made homeless.   This was no place for a young girl on her own, even one with papers and a little cash, for her papers and her savings had disappeared with her.
Dahlia is sixteen, I kept reminding myself.  She was tall and strong and sensible.  She spoke French and English fluently and could get by in Italian and German.  She had good common sense.  She had what she needed to survive, if her luck held.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Jeanne Mackin is the author of several novels:  The Sweet By and By (St. Martin’s Press), Dreams of Empire (Kensington Books), The Queen’s War (St. Martin’s Press), and The Frenchwoman (St. Martin’s Press).   She has published short fiction and creative nonfiction in several journals and periodicals including  American Letters and Commentary and SNReview. She is also the author of the Cornell Book of Herbs and Edible Flowers (Cornell University publications)  and co-editor of  The Norton Book of Love (W.W. Norton),  and wrote art columns for newspapers as well as feature articles for several arts magazines.  She was the recipient of a creative writing fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society and her journalism has won awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, in Washington, D.C.  She teaches creative writing at Goddard College in Vermont, has taught or conducted workshops in Pennsylvania, Hawaii and New York and has traveled extensively in Europe.  She lives with her husband, Steve Poleskie,  in upstate New York.

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Their Rigid Rules by Christina Thompson Interview & Giveaway

Contemporary / New Adult
Date Published: July 11, 2014

Their Rigid Rules, the 3rd book and prequel in The Chemical Attraction Series, can be read first or last in the series.

Taylor Valentine, a senior at Western Michigan University, has had her life planned out since kindergarten. After her parents died while she was still in high school, she had perfected it to make them proud. Now with the help of her best friends, Joe and Eva, she focuses on graduation and a career with romance in the far distant future. However, when the visiting professor enters the lecture hall to a four-weekend Civil War seminar, her perfect plan hits a snag.
As a handsome history professor and former marine, Dr. Stuart Morgan has his own set of strict rules especially with infatuated students. He enjoys his boring yet pleasant life until he starts receiving death threats. With his unwanted bodyguard in tow, Stuart is unnerved by his reaction to Taylor. Their rigid rules discourage all but a flirtation.

As the death threats become evident, the FBI believes Taylor’s the culprit, hindering their budding romance. When Taylor inadvertently becomes the target, Joe and Stuart whisk her away to protect her. Meanwhile, Joe struggles with his feelings for Taylor. He’s loved her since grade school. He won’t let her go and stands in Stuart’s way. The men push her to choose between the lifelong love of her best friend and the true love of her new boyfriend.

With the threats from family and foe pulling them apart, Stuart wonders if they can sustain the stress. Trusting their love, he must somehow convince Taylor to break her rules and embrace a new plan.

Christina Thompson

After retiring from acupuncture and massage therapy, Christina found a new passion. She enjoys writing about the emotional workings of our mind and heart and the spiritual energy that taps into our passions. Her background in Traditional Chinese Medicine taught her that the mind and spirit affect the body in powerful ways. The healing power of LOVE is incredibly profound.

Thank you for hosting me today. I’m happy to be here. ~Christina

What inspired you to write your first book?
I wrote Their Rigid Rules years ago as a short story then recently developed it. My husband, Kraig, inspired the novel. I dedicated it to him.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Like the main character Taylor, I had my life mapped out since grade school; and like Taylor’s plan, mine also fell apart when I met my one and only.

Do you have a specific writing style?
I like when emotions and actions feed off each other creating the suspense. Taylor’s and Stuart’s actions reflect their emotions intensifying the choices they make, which aren’t always the best decisions.

How did you come up with the title?
Taylor and Stuart have strict rules for their lives. They’ve never thought of deviating from those rules until they meet. It’s their Head-vs-Heart battle: Should they give up their rules and take a chance on love?

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Life is about taking chances and stepping outside that comfortable box.

How much of the book is realistic?
The stress of change and the unknown result is a part of life.

What books have most influenced your life?
Ted Kaptchuk’s The Web That Has No Weaver expanded my narrow view of the Universe. Stephen King’s On Writing encouraged me to write with my heart not my head.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? 
Stephen King

What book are you reading now? 
Eclipse Lake by Mae Clair

What would you like my readers to know?
Although Their Rigid Rules is the third book in The Chemical Attraction Series, it’s also the prequel and can be read first or last.

Where can readers find you and your work?
Publisher website: https://www.48fourteen.com
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/16U7Y0S

Goodreads Author Page: http://bit.ly/GMgINA

GIVEAWAY - $20 Amazon GC

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The Magic of Maxwell and His Tail by Maureen Stolar Kanefield Q&A



CHICAGO – One mouse brings magic to the pages of a new children’s book from longtime educator Maureen Stolar Kanefield to be released this September titled The Magic of Maxwell and His Tail.
Maureen attributes her inspiration for writing the first Maxwell book of a planned series to her personal philosophy. Maureen believes that children should be surrounded with opportunities of all kinds at all levels, and that they should seek and find what interests them. But what is just as important, is having the confidence to rise above anything that impedes their dreams.

In The Magic of Maxwell and His Tail, Maxwell is that character. He overcomes the difficulty of having a tail too long and discovers he is stronger and better because of it, not in spite of it.

“The book is a metaphor to every child’s life,” Maureen explains. “A child will always have to overcome one or more obstacles in their young years. It is finding the strength or ‘magic within’ through positive direction and self-realization that enables a child to move forward. From there, children will open their minds to erudition at the highest level.”

Through Maureen’s words and Carlos Aõn’s illustrations, you will embrace the story and empathize with Maxwell as he struggles with a tail that is much too long. Eventually, he is able to ignore his classmates’ jeers and snickers by searching for the magic within, and discovering endless ways to use his tail.

Maureen is already at work to expand Maxwell’s world. She is creating a series that will take a spin in all academic directions while fulfilling her young readers’ social, emotional, and educational needs. Maureen will continue to have readers engage themselves in the fictional works of Maxwell as he wears many hats – literally –as a chef, artist, athlete, musician and others.

“Children should revel in what they’re reading. But there needs to be those teachable moments in the story that intertwine fiction with nonfiction,” she said.

Maureen will provide resources on her website that align the books to the Common Core Standards for educators and parents to download. During her more than 30-year career as an educator in the suburban Chicago area, Maureen helped to develop an integrated curriculum for her grade level. She held several building roles, such as, Team Leader, Mentor, and PTSA Representative. Some of her district committees were in Language Arts and Social Studies, Special Education, District Negotiating, and Scheduling. Maureen was decorated with Years of Service awards.

As an active volunteer in children’s nonprofits, Maureen is donating a portion of her book’s proceeds to the Special Kids Network and other children’s charities.

Author Biography of Maureen Stolar Kanefield
Maureen Stolar Kanefield has enjoyed over thirty years as an educator, passionately dedicated to teaching children of all ability levels, from special needs to gifted. An insatiable learner herself, she has sought ways, inside and outside the box including integrated curriculum instruction (language arts and social studies) and Gardner’s eight intelligences, for awakening children’s natural curiosity and guiding them to learning successes. The underlying purpose of her children’s books is to encourage young readers to recognize and celebrate their unique gifts.

“The Magic of Maxwell and His Tail” (September 2014, Magic Tale Press) is the first book in Maureen’s planned series of inspiring children’s picture books. Maureen is a member of the National Organization of Professional Women, Chicago Women in Publishing and the Society of Children’s Authors and Publishers.

Maureen lives in Chicago, her base for advocating on behalf of children for enhanced educational experiences.

Book Details for "The Magic of Maxwell and His Tail”

Hardcover: $16.99 (ebooks also available)
ISBN: 978-0-9903484-0-5
Children, 29 pages
Magic Tale Press, September 2014
*A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Special Kids Network and other children’s charities*

Everyone has magic but sometimes you have to search to find out what it is. That’s what Maxwell Mouse had to do. And he discovered that what he thought was something very bad was actually something very good, indeed.

The Magic of Maxwell and His Tail is more than just a charming, wonderfully illustrated story. With
childlike innocence, it presents an inspiring motivational model for youngsters—especially gifted kids
and those with special needs—to take another look at themselves and recognize their unique gifts. It
shows them how to see beyond what appear to be limitations and appreciate them as positive attributes
that will help them to soar.

Written by an educator with over 30 years in the trenches and based on sound educational principles
acknowledging the various ways children learn (multiple intelligences), The Magic of Maxwell and His Tail is a micro-guide to life. It will delight children as they celebrate Maxwell’s triumphs, and warm the hearts of parents as they watch their kids discover how perfectly special they are.

The Magic of Maxwell and His Tail is the first in a series of books to entertain, educate, and encourage
children to be their better selves.

Q&A with Maureen Stolar Kanefield

You had a long, gratifying career as an educator at schools in the suburban Chicago area. How did that experience help you write “The Magic of Maxwell and His Tail?”

My career as an educator fashioned a perfect avenue for writing the book. I saw children’s vulnerabilities. School expectations and peer pressure creates an anxious period in children’s lives. I
chose to let my students know that we all have differences that we might equate as weaknesses. We
need to rise above those differences by finding inner strength, as did Maxwell. From there they have a
worth of opportunity to find what makes them happy and fulfilled. That is the meaning in Maxwell and
the message I want all children to hear.

Your main goal with the series is to tap into a child’s educational, social and emotional needs. Can you talk a little about the importance of those three things?

We need to create a safe and supportive atmosphere where children look forward to coming to school. I exposed my students to a variety of learning strategies. Children experience a lot of academic and social pressure in school, which in turn, affects their emotional steadiness. It is crucial that as educators and we find what works for each individual child. The better I was able to make students feel about themselves and their abilities, the better able they were to perform.

The Maxwell stories are perfect for kids around 4 to 8 years old. Why did you want to write books for that age group?

I wanted to write for students around that age group because these are the first full days of school for most children. Children are extremely worried about making friends and pleasing their teachers. Exposing them to Maxwell’s story gives them a bit of self-assuredness and comfort in knowing Maxwell had to overcome a tough time in his young life, but he made it, and they can, too.

With your experienced background in education, you must have also written “The Magic of Maxwell and His Tail” with parents and teachers in mind?

Absolutely. As parents, we attempt to build strong character in each of our children. However, we all see times in their young lives when school and peer pressure disturbs the steadiness in their lives. We need to bring back that reassuring message about finding your own personal strength to overcome adversity. As teachers, we have to be watchful. Notice changes in your students. Sudden shifts are indicative of personal struggles. I always said that my classroom was a classroom of one, because each student was his or her own person and should be regarded as such.

What do you think makes Maxwell such a relatable character for kids?

Kids will easily relate to Maxwell. They will be able to connect to the struggles that Maxwell is experiencing. His classmates are making fun of him. He even has a best friend that is losing patience
with his pal.

What other life lessons do you envision Maxwell – and your readers – learning as the series develops?

My intention is to blend a fictional plot with nonfiction components. Children will be exposed to stories that tap into all areas of learning with a theme running through each story. The themes of
acceptance and self-determination will reappear in other stories along with friendship, honesty, sharing, change, and many others as part of a lessoned series.