Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Book Blast: Malayan Enigma by Nicholas Snow - Win a $25 Gift Card





Title: Malayan Enigma: An Andrew Bond WWII Adventure
Author: Nicholas Snow
Publisher: AuthorHouse UK
Genre: Military/History
Format: Ebook


Malaya, 1941 – a fool’s haven from the devastating war raging elsewhere in the world Sent to Singapore towards the end of 1941 to evaluate the intentions of the Japanese Empire, Lieutenant Andrew Bond finds himself embroiled in a series of events accelerating towards all-out war in the region. The city, a heady, exotic blend of cultures teeming with intrigue, is oblivious to what lies ahead. Facing betrayal, incompetence, Japanese spies, and the Yakuza underworld, Bond manages to gather a band of trustworthy companions, including the striking beauty Liu-Yang. In a desperate race against time, he must force his way through enemy-infested jungles and seas to bring home a device that will help change the course of the war – the Malayan Enigma!



Nicholas Snow is the pen name of Nicholas C. Kyriazis, who holds a diploma and Ph.D. in economics from the University of Bonn, Germany. He has acted as visiting professor at Harvard and at the University of Trier. He has worked as a consultant to the Directorate General of Research of the European Parliament, to the National Bank of Greece, and to the Ministries of National Economy and of Defence, and has served as secretary general of Public Administration. Professor of economics at the University of Thessaly, he is a member of the board of Alpha Trust Investment Fund (listed on the Athens Stock Exchange), vice president of Ergoman Telecommunications, and vice president of the Kostas Kyriazis Foundation. He has contributed more than sixty papers to academic journals and has published eight books on economics, history, and strategy as well as a volume of poetry. Poems of his have been translated into English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Maltese. As a novelist, he has published eighteen books in Greece, several of which have been translated and published in English, including Themistocles (Kosbil Publications, 2004), The Shield (AuthorHouse, 2005), Assassins (AuthorHouse, 2007), and, in collaboration with Guy Féaux de la Croix, Last Love (Plato’s Last Love) (AuthorHouse, 2014).

GIVEAWAY

Nicholas IS GIVING AWAY A $25 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 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins February 19 and ends on March 2.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on March 3.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone! 

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Book Feature: Mistress Suffragette by Diana Forbes @dianaforbes18

MISTRESS SUFFRAGETTE by Diana Forbes, Historical Fiction, 392 pp., $6.50 (Kindle edition) $20.48 (paperback)



Title: MISTRESS SUFFRAGETTE
Author: Diana Forbes
Publisher: Penmore Press
Pages: 392
Genre: Romance/Historical Fiction/Victorian/Political/NY Gilded Age Fiction

A young woman without prospects at a ball in Gilded Age Newport, Rhode nIsland is a target for a certain kind of “suitor.” At the Memorial Day Ball during the Panic of 1893, impoverished but feisty Penelope Stanton quickly draws the unwanted advances of a villainous millionaire banker who preys on distressed women—the incorrigible Mr. Daggers. Better known as the philandering husband of the stunning socialite, Evelyn Daggers, Edgar stalks Penelope.

Skilled in the art of flirtation, Edgar is not without his charms, and Penelope is attracted to him against her better judgment. Meanwhile a special talent of Penelope’s makes her the ideal candidate for a paying job in the Suffrage Movement.

In a Movement whose leaders are supposed to lead spotless lives, Penelope’s torrid affair with Mr. Daggers is a distraction and early suffragist Amy Adams Buchanan Van Buren, herself the victim of a faithless spouse, urges Penelope to put an end to it. But can she?

Searching for sanctuary in three cities, Penelope will need to discover her hidden reserves of courage and tenacity. During a glittering age where a woman’s reputation is her most valuable possession, Penelope must decide whether to compromise her principles for love.

Order Your Copy!

https://www.amazon.com/Mistress-Suffragette-Diana-Forbes-ebook/dp/B06XG3G2TF

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mistress-suffragette-diana-forbes/1125897662

 




Tuesday, June 6, 1893, Boston, Massachusetts

As luck would have it, the speaker at Tremont House that afternoon was a woman. I use the term loosely. Her name was Verdana Jones, and her topic, “The Dangers of Irrational Dress.” I had never considered the complex maze of corsets, petticoats, and bustles “Irrational,” but apparently others of my gender did and the sentiment had blossomed into a full-fledged Movement. Some of these undergarments were encumbrances, but they were all perfectly logical. Moreover, every woman in the world wore them.
            Like me, Verdana had red hair, but she wore it cropped in a mannish fashion that was most unbecoming to her otherwise fine features. She had a square chin and large, childlike eyes, and in a Boston fog I’d be willing to bet that she was often confused with a young boy. Her outfit contributed to this confusion. It was outlandish by modern standards and excessively unladylike. She sported a loose white tunic worn over ankle-length trousers, known as “bloomers,” and big, chunky boots instead of shoes.
            A small rectangular wooden platform rimmed the front of the spare lecture hall. Twenty hard-bitten women and three scraggly men dotted the aisles. The women, many sporting bonnets, looked dour and preoccupied as if they were gearing up for a contest of who could show the least expression on their faces. Verdana clomped up to a wooden lectern to deliver her tirade. I couldn’t help feeling that, by her dress anyway, she was a poor advertisement for her cause.
            “Those who would keep women down argue that ‘ladylike dress’ symbolizes discipline, thrift, respectability, and beauty,” Verdana bellowed in her giant bloomers. Her voice sounded throaty from too many cigarettes. “But any dress that requires corsets and tight-lacing is degrading and dangerous to a woman’s health,” she boomed. “Corsets and tight-lacing are designed to make our waists look tiny and our bosoms look large. Our undergarments are crafted to make us resemble ornaments. We women, outfitted like hourglasses, are ornaments in our own homes. And we spend all day inside our homes trying to struggle into our corsets, laced petticoats, complicated boned lining, and bustles, all so that we may decorate them on the outside with frills, ribbons, and lace. We are so pampered—or are we?”
            Her voice, thick with meaning, rose a horsey octave. “Instead of fretting over whether we have twenty-inch waists, we would be better served worrying about why we must depend on men to dress us up in these outrageous, unhealthy outfits. Why can’t we earn our own keep and decide for ourselves what we should wear?”
            One or two women applauded. Others silently knitted: some knitted clothing; others knitted their brows. All in all it was a sullen group. Mother was right about this Movement. It was filled with hardened, bitter women. I didn’t want any part of it.
            After Verdana’s harangue I rose to leave, in dire need of fresh air. I had never heard so much drivel about the evils of ladylike dress and the positive attributes of horrible bloomers. But Lucinda looked up at me like a sorrowful, brown-haired puppy dog that could not be wrested from her spot anytime soon. Her dark face wrinkled into an accordion fan of disappointment. I hesitated, not wanting to let down my friend.
            “Hallo there. The lady in the bustle!” Verdana cheerily called toward my buttressed behind. Recognizing that I was one of the few women in the hall outfitted in the very clothes she’d just lambasted, I intuited that she must be talking to me.
            “Excuse me?” I asked, turning around to face her. I felt twenty pairs of women’s eyes and three pairs of men’s riveted upon my rear.
            “Yes, you,” she called out from where she still stood on the stage. “Tell us. What do you think about Rational Dress?”
            “I-I-I’m not certain you want to hear.” Where oh where was the exit?
            “Obviously she prefers Irrational dress,” Lucinda playfully called out from her seat. She cupped her hands to her mouth like a speaking trumpet. “Just look at what she’s wearing.”
            I heard laughter from the crowd directed at me, even though Lucinda’s dress was not markedly different than my own.
            “This isn’t supposed to be a lecture,” Verdana announced. “It’s supposed to be a conversation. So, instead of leaving the fold before we’ve been properly introduced, why don’t you join me up here on the dais and defend what you’re wearing to the group.”
            Everyone in the room laughed.
            “Because I hate speaking in public,” I said, to even more laughter.
            What was it that my little sister had once said in the heat of an argument? You’re quite good at boring your class to death.
            “Then, don’t think of it as public speaking,” Verdana shouted. “Just come up here, and tell me how you feel.”
            I sighed. How did I feel? I felt betrayed. I felt that my parents should not have asked me to support them. They should have protected me instead of trying to send me to New York. I missed my home and my horse. I even missed Lydia a tiny bit. I was nowhere near old enough to be living on my own in a strange city. Verdana wanted my opinion? Then very well, she would get it. I liked corsets and petticoats and bustles. They offered some support in a world that was mostly unsupportive.
            I stared at Verdana. Did I want to dress like her? Not in a lifetime of Sundays. How would I feel if corsets were forbidden? As if the last domain over which I exerted any control had been taken away from me. They could take away my home. They could take away my fiancé. But I’d be damned if I’d let them take away my corsets.
            I silently prayed to God that I wouldn’t make a fool of myself. Then I took a deep breath and strode up to the small wooden platform. I opened my mouth to speak. But if I had a thought, it flew out of my head.
            My mouth hung open. No words came out. I was speechless.
            “Just speak from the heart,” Verdana urged quietly. “It’s always best. You’ll see. So, I take it you like corsets?” she asked me in a normal speaking voice.
            “Uh—yes,” I said to her.
            Verdana nodded. Under her breath she said, “Good. Now, just explain why. Pretend there’s no audience and that you’re just talking to me.”
            “Fine,” I answered, frustrated at how small my voice sounded.
            She smiled. “Believe me, it’s a knack that develops with time. Just breathe.” She continued to slowly nod her head, silently willing the reluctant words from my mouth.
            I took another deep breath and felt my lungs expand. “Hello, my name is Penelope.” I exhaled. Phew. That was hard.
            “Your last name?” she asked.
            “Huh?”
            “What is your last name, dear?” she coaxed.
            “Uh—Stanton.” I felt my face get hot. Little wisps of hair stuck to my face.
            “Any relation to Elizabeth Cady Stanton?”
            “No.” I felt like I had to think about each word, almost like a foreigner struggling to speak English.
            “Good,” she said, continuing to nod her head. “You see? It’s not so very difficult. Keep going.”
            I pushed the wet hair up off my face and turned to the crowd. “I enjoy the prevailing fashions, as you can see.” Thank God. A whole sentence.
            “I can,” she said, with a broad wink at the audience. “Tell us more.”
            I pointed to my light pink gown. I twirled around to model it for the group. Some tepid applause followed, which surprised me. Two women set aside their knitting.
            Emboldened, I continued. “But I came to Boston to escape from the advances of a particular man, not all men, and do hope that what I’m wearing today won’t prevent me from socializing with the men, or more importantly, the women of Boston.”
            A few women clapped. I thrust back my shoulders, lifted my chin, and met Lucinda’s eyes. “To me, it matters not if a woman’s waist is twenty inches, twenty-one inches, or even twenty-six inches—as long as it doesn’t prevent her from keeping her mind open.”
            A burst of light applause followed, and I only wished that my sister had been there to witness it.
            “Corsets and petticoats offer some structure,” I pressed, “in a world that unravels as I speak.” My voice was strong, and the words were coming readily. “Every day, another bank fails. Our institutions falter. As women, we can fall to pieces or we can stay strong.” I pointed to my torso and looked about the audience, meeting one woman’s eyes and then another. “Structure, shape, support. I will wear my corset proudly, as I face another day.”
            Verdana bowed her boyish head at me and stretched out her arms diagonally, one below her hip, the other high above her head. “And that, ladies and gents, is the other side of the argument,” Verdana boomed to heartfelt applause.
            “Sorry I didn’t let you finish,” she whispered, as the audience applauded. “For a novice, you were brilliant.” Verdana clapped her arm around my shoulder. “But speaking in public is also a matter of knowing when to stop. You always want to leave your audience wanting more.”
            “And do you think the audience did?”
            She squeezed my shoulder. “Of course they did. They clapped, didn’t they? Boston audiences are difficult to rouse, believe me. But you did, and now they want more.”
            I nodded. Perhaps that had been the problem with my French classes. No student had ever wanted more.
            “And how does it feel?” she pressed. “To leave them wanting more.”
            Here on stage I’d felt almost like a different person. Brave, gutsy, and confident. I wouldn’t mind feeling that way every day. What was it about this stage that had caused me to throw caution aside and just express my feelings?
            Her eyes widened as we both waited for me to put words to my emotions.
            “Liberating,” I said.
           
(C) 2017 Excerpt from copyrighted Mistress Suffragette by Diana Forbes (Penmore Press, 2017)

Watch the Trailer!





Diana Forbes is a 9th generation American, with ancestors on both sides of the Civil War. Diana Forbes lives and writes in Manhattan. When she is not cribbing chapters, Diana Forbes loves to explore the buildings where her 19th Century American ancestors lived, loved, survived and thrived. Prior to publication, Diana Forbes’s debut won 1st place in the Missouri Romance Writers of America (RWA) Gateway to the Best Contest for Women’s Fiction. A selection from the novel was a finalist in the Wisconsin RWA “Fab Five” Contest for Women’s Fiction. Mistress Suffragette won 1st place in the Chanticleer Chatelaine Award’s Romance and Sensual category, and was shortlisted for the Somerset Award in Literary Fiction. Mistress Suffragette won Silver in the North American Book Awards and was a Winner of the Book Excellence Awards for Romance. Mistress Suffragette was also a Kirkus Best Indies Book of 2017. The author is passionate about vintage clothing, antique furniture, ancestry, and vows to master the quadrille in her lifetime. Diana Forbes is the author of New York Gilded Age historical fiction.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:







 


Book Feature: The Long Lost by Tom Nixon


THE LONG LOST by Tom Nixon, Suspense, 418 pp., $9.99 (Kindle edition) $14.95 (paperback)


Title: THE LONG LOST
Author: Tom Nixon
Publisher: CreateSpace
Pages: 418
Genre: Suspense

The sudden and strange disappearance of Joel Thomas brings together his ex-wife and best friend in a search for answers. As Mary and Jason seek out the truth, their quest consistently turns up more questions than clues. In another time, the story of a long-time group of college friends plays out across 30 years of history, revealing the highs and lows of a group that vowed to maintain their friendship until death. Is the answer to Joel’s mysterious departure found in a simple note sent to Mary, or is it locked somewhere back in time? Told in alternating voices and timelines, Nixon’s The Long Lost tells a story of both intrigue and suspense — along with sentimentality and introspection — as he examines the painful discoveries realized when childhood friends grow up…and grow apart.

Order Your Copy!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


EVERYBODY knows someone like Joel Thomas.
I once heard someone describe him as the man who was friendly with everyone...but friends with no one. Which isn’t exactly true. It’s not that he was particularly at odds with any one person, or even that he was standoffish. It’s just that, when it came to having meaningful, deep friendships or relationships, there was nobody you could point to and say, “Those two are very close.”
But yet, there he was. Joel was at every party...every night out...every group outing. He seemed to like sports, the arts, movies, TV, pop culture. He knew a little bit about everything, so he always seemed to fit in, no matter what the occasion. But you were hard-pressed to say why, if asked.
Joel was married for a little more than 16 years to Mary, a woman he met in college during his study abroad program. They never had kids, but they did acquire the obligatory dog and 2,500-square-foot ranch in the suburbs. It was a normal life, if unspectacular. But that was Joel. Normal, sure. But unspectacular. A man that was seemingly liked by all...but loved by nobody in particular.
It would be a shock, then, when Joel suddenly disappeared.
I got the call around 7:30 that night. Mary seemed put off, but not frantic. I can’t tell you why I remember her demeanor in that way, only that it seemed significant at the time. Was I expecting the reaction an actress might have on a bad primetime cop show? I don’t know. Then again, Mary was Joel’s mirror image in some ways, so a subdued (though, certainly distraught) state of mind wasn’t entirely out of character. Still, it just seemed...different. Different than what I’d suspect, but I wasn’t sure if it was meaningfully different, or just different.
And I can’t claim to have been in the proper state of mind to be a judge of such things. Not that night. It’s a strange thing when you get “the call.” Or, in the movies, it’s the knock on the door. If you’ve never been so unfortunate, you’ll know when it happens. I’ll never forget watching my dad get the call when grandpa died. I’d never seen my old man cry before. It was jarring. It was a shock, to be sure...but grandpa was 84, and with a history of heart problems.
There’s a part of you that expects it...one that has been waiting for such a call. There’s another part of you in paralyzing shock. And there’s this weird part of you that starts immediately and reflexively having the sort of reaction others might expect you to have. Like you’re the one on the TV show. Call it, macabre exhilaration? This is happening. It’s horrible. But it’s excitement, in a sick sort of way. All of those parts of you begin an instant quarrel inside of you for supremacy, and it’s not until several hours, days or weeks later that reality sets in, and you hate yourself for feeling anything other than grief.
“Jason? Hi, it’s Mary. Sorry for calling so late.” A long, pregnant pause. “It’s Joel.”
Shit. Those words rang out like a shotgun in the open prairie air. It’s Joel. Whatever came next, I knew it wasn’t good. I immediately hunched down into a chair at the kitchen table. I’m not sure if I said anything, let out a self-defeated groan, or just waited in stunned silence for Mary to continue.
“It’s Joel. He’s not answering.”
“Not answering what?” I asked, now grasping to a lifeline of hope. Maybe I got ahead of myself with needless worry.
“Anything,” Mary responded, immediately sucking the wind out of my hopeful sails. “The phone, texts, the door. Normally I wouldn’t worry. We sometimes go weeks — maybe months — without talking. In fact, we usually do.”
“So what’s the worry?”
Mary paused. I could tell there was a “next part” that she didn’t want to get to. But she gave in. “It’s not normal.”
“What’s not?” I pressed.
“To get something in the mail.”
“What something? Something in the mail? From who? What was it?”
Another long pause.
“From Joel.”
“Mary, what are you saying? What the hell happened? Spit it out.”
Mary started slowly and softly, building both pace and volume as she continued. “I’ve been trying to get ahold of Joel for a few days. We got a strange tax thing in the mail, and it didn’t seem to make any sense, so I scanned it over to Joel last week. Followed up with a phone call. No answer. Then the texts. Nothing.”
“Yeah…” I needed her to get to the point.
“So I stopped by a couple days ago. No answer at his place. His car was there, though. I kinda poked around a bit, peeked in some windows...nothing. So I called the office. They said he’s on vacation. So I started to calm down...didn’t think much of it.”
“There ya go,” I reassured her. “He’s probably just out of the country or something. No cell service, ignoring emails and stuff.”
“That’s what I thought,” she continued. “Then I got this in the mail.”
“What?”
“A note. In a box. Like a cardboard shipping box. It looked more like a parcel at first, with no return address. But it was light...like a letter, you know? I opened the box, and there was just this note in there.”
“Yeah?”
“Jason. It was Joel’s handwriting.”
“So? What did it say?”
And now, the longest, most silent, pause.
“Mary, what did the letter say? Read it to me.”
“Read it to you?”
“Yes! Read it to me!”
“No need to read it...I have it memorized...it was only two words.”
“Mary, what the hell did the letter say?”
A shorter pause. A softer voice. A slower pace. Finally, Mary got to the point.
“Tell Jason.”





Tom Nixon is an author and entrepreneur with writing credits to his name that span artistic genres. He has written multiple novels, two screenplays, several short stories, a children’s story, and has five music albums in his catalogue, for which he wrote both music and lyrics. He discovered his passion for writing and reading at an early age, going on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Michigan. He resides in Michigan with his wife and children, along with a couple of the canine variety.

His latest book is the suspense novel, The Long Lost.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK




 


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Book Feature: Up All Night by Rhonda Shear @rhondashear



UP ALL NIGHT by Rhonda Shear, Memoir/Self-Help, 419 pp., $6.99 (Kindle edition) $14.22 (paperback)


Title: UP ALL NIGHT
Author: Rhonda Shear
Publisher:Mascot Books
Pages: 419
Genre:Memoir/Self-Help


Up All Night combines memoir and self-help to follow Rhonda Shear’s incredible journey from modest New Orleans girl to bold, brassy, beautiful entrepreneur and owner of a $100 million Florida lingerie company.

Along the way, Rhonda has been a beauty queen, a groundbreaking candidate for office, a Playboy model, a working actress, a late-night TV star and sex symbol, a headlining standup comedian, an award-winning “bimbopreneur” and a philanthropist who uses her success to help women of all ages be their best and appreciate their true beauty.

Up All Night is also a love story. Rhonda reconnected with her first love, Van Fagan, after 25 years apart, and after a whirlwind romance in The Big Easy, they married in 2001. Now they share a fantasy life of luxury—but it hasn't come easily. In this book, Rhonda shares the lessons she’s learned along the way: never let anyone else define you or tell you what you can’t do, make your own luck, and do what you love.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble



New Orleans is the greatest show on Earth. Just ask anyone who has awakened on Bourbon Street covered in beads and with no idea how the hell they got there. Like the taste of chicory coffee, the flavor and spirit of New Orleans—the city where I was born, came of age, and met the love of my life—will never leave me. Why would I want it to? It’s part of my soul.

My family was not your typical American clan. We were yats, a term derived from the saying, “Where ya at?”, part of the patois and culture that define New Orleans. Our childhood drives around the Big Easy, for example, would have given most parents a heart attack. We would cruise down Rue du Bourbon in my father’s big Oldsmobile and past the French Quarter strip clubs. The doors and windows would be wide open, displaying the girls’ wares for everyone to see. Daddy would laugh and shout, “Look at the dancing girls!”

My brothers, Mel and Fred, and my sister, Nona, and I, we absolutely loved it. Go cups (the enlightened practice of giving bar patrons disposable cups to take their drinks into the street), lagniappe (pronounced “LAN-yap,” an indigenous/Creole word meaning “a little something extra”), Mardi Gras—it was all part of our normal. The New England Puritanism that shaped so much of the rest of the country never made it down the Mississippi to the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. Instead, you have a city that’s equal parts bawdy and genteel, American and


Creole, Southern conservative and surprisingly moral. N’awlins is a unique blend of sweet and spicy. Take off her Mardi Gras mask and you’ll find endless contradictions.
It was a marvelous, festive, magical place to grow up. The city has its own unique accent: a little Bronx, a little Boston, a little bayou. It has its signature food, gumbo, which describes the infusion of French, Acadian, Creole, African, and Native American cultures as much as the blend of onions, bell peppers, celery (often called the “holy trinity”), seafood, spices, and a good dark roux. It has its own soul: all-night bars and barkers in the French Quarter, voodoo, above-ground graveyards with moss-covered mausoleums, and jazz.
You can keep your safe, sanitized suburbs and the quiet life. New Orleans taught me and my siblings how to live.


Jennie and Wilbur

I guess it’s not surprising that I came from such a place. What might be surprising is that despite being born into such a sensual environment, I grew up terrified of sex. I was a shy, protected girl, and my mother, Jennie Weaker Shear, was determined to keep me that way. A first-generation New Orleanian, my mom was a great beauty with a drop-dead figure who adored Betty Grable and owned a swimsuit similar to the one Grable wore in her famous “over the shoulder” pinup shot.
(Later in life, I found out that Mom had posed for a series of gorgeous semi-nude boudoir photos for my amateur photographer father. Coincidentally—or not—some of the most successful pieces in my Rhonda Shear Intimates line are a Pin-Up Panty and bra that look a lot like what my mom wore in her pinup photos.)


Mom was raised by my widowed grandmother, the forgotten baby in a crowded household. She escaped the pressure of four overbearing older brothers by losing herself at the movies. Iconic beauties like Betty Grable, Esther Williams, and Rhonda Flemming (who I was named after) were her companions and inspiration, as one day, they would become mine. Mom ended up marrying at nineteen, in part because she dearly loved my dad, but also because she wanted to escape her brothers’ constant oppression.
Mom was a lot tougher than her beauty suggested; years later, I was shocked to find out that twice she’d had to fend off rape attempts. From Grandma Fanny to Mom, the Weaker women excelled both in their looks and in the brains department.
From the time she was a young girl, beauty was everything to my mother. She would wear red lipstick like the pinup girls she admired, reapplying it even after her brothers would wipe it off. Beauty was her way of escaping the austerity of her family life. Later, when she was about fifteen, she entered a local beauty contest. She didn’t even walk across the stage, but her beauty caught the eye of the judges and she won, and a lifelong lover of beauty pageants was born. But it really drove her brothers off the deep end when she eloped with a Reform Jew named Wilbur Shear.
Their meeting was like something from classic television. They were on a double date: she with my dad’s cousin Carl, he with a girl no one remembers. But from the moment Wilbur saw my mother he was smitten. He was driving, and he made sure to drop her off at home last. He got her number, wooed her, sang to her, and six months later they were married.
My father was also a New Orleans native, part of a barely-visible subculture of New Orleans Jews. After he married my mother, Dad worked for the government, the weather bureau, and eventually for her family’s auto parts business. But when he was fifty, he missed one week


of work to have surgery, and his brother-in-law fired him. Imagine being a fifty-year-old man with four kids to feed, a middle-class lifestyle to maintain, and no job. My parents wanted all their kids to graduate from college, but that takes money.
However, I get my dogged persistence from my father. He borrowed $10,000 from a family friend and started his own truck supply company, Fleet Parts and Equipment. It thrived, and with the money from that business, Dad put all of us through college; my two brothers even ran the business alongside him for many years. Unfortunately, while my father saw some of my successes, he died of a heart attack in 1984 at the age of 69. His untimely death—and my absence when he passed—still haunts me. But while I adored my father, I was and am my mother’s daughter.


Beauty Was My Religion

I was born Rhonda Honey Shear on November 12, 1954, when my mother was thirty-seven—at the time, late in life to be giving birth. I may have been born into a Jewish family, but beauty was my religion, and my mother’s love of all things beautiful and feminine made her my high priestess. I was a love child, a mistake, but my mother and father couldn’t have been more delighted to have a baby to dress up and pamper. And was I ever pampered, protected, and babied!
From the beginning Mom dressed me like a doll with long, corkscrew curls and later sent me to dancing and modeling classes. I began lessons at the Ann Maucele School of Dance at the age of two. Ballet, tap, jazz, and acrobatics filled my days with twirls and my nights with dreams of footlights. With all this, from the time I got out of diapers, I was a Southern belle. Mel and


Fred tried to make me a tomboy, even teaching me to throw a mean spiral with a football, but I threw it in heels and a mini-dress.
(Years later, when I auditioned to be a cheerleader in a Budweiser TV commercial, what impressed the director—and probably got me the job—was that I could throw that tight spiral.)

But my mother was really grooming me to marry a prince. For real. She wanted me to marry royalty. In the late ‘90s we both went on the Maury Povich Show for a special Mother’s Day show, and she told Maury, “I want my daughter to marry Prince Charles.” Maury replied, “But he’s married.” To the audience’s delight, Mom snapped, “Eh, small detail.” The crowd roared.
Mom badly wanted me to be a wealthy socialite in New York or California, someone who would only have the finest things. She never wanted me to suffer or go through what she did as a teen. Parents usually want their kids to do better in life than they did, but I wasn’t comfortable with that sort of lifestyle. I’ve dated some incredibly wealthy men in my life, including several billionaires, but I always found that I had more in common with their security guards or domestic help than I did with them.


Shear Honesty: It might seem like hypocrisy to live in a waterfront mansion (which I do), drive a Bentley (which I do, sometimes) and talk about relating better to working-class folks. But it’s really not. There’s a big difference between enjoying fine, expensive things and feeling like you’re entitled to them. I love my lifestyle; it’s the payoff for years of endless work and sacrifice. But none of it matters more than being a good person, being around other good people, helping


others, or just sitting around drinking wine with dear friends. That’s wealth.

Don’t lose sight of what’s important: health, family, friends, laughter.





Actress. Comedian. Award-winning entrepreneur. Builder of a $100 million apparel brand. Television star. Former Miss Louisiana. Candidate for elected office. Philanthropist. And now, author. There aren’t many hats that Rhonda Shear hasn’t tried on, and she’s worn them all with style, moxie, southern charm, and a persistent will to be the best.

A New Orleans native, Rhonda started her journey to the spotlight by dominating local, state, and national beauty pageants from the time she was sixteen—including three turns as Miss Louisiana. In 1976, in the wake of a Playboy modeling scandal that cost her a coveted crown, she became the youngest person ever to run for office in Louisiana, losing her fight for a New Orleans post by only 135 votes.

After that, Hollywood called, and she quickly moved from Bob Hope specials to guest appearances on hundreds of television shows, from Happy Days and Married With Children to appearing on classic Chuck Barris camp-fests like The Gong Show and the $1.98 Beauty Show. Rhonda’s big break came in 1991 when she became the sultry-smart hostess of late-night movie show USA: Up All Night, a gig that lasted until 1999 and made her nationally famous.

After Up All Night ended, Rhonda pursued her love of comedy and quickly became a headliner in Las Vegas and at top comedy clubs like The Laugh Factory and the Improv. At the same time, she reconnected with her childhood sweetheart, Van Fagan, who she hadn’t seen in twenty-five years. After a whirlwind, storybook courtship, they married in 2001.

Rhonda’s latest chapter began when she appeared on the Home Shopping Network to sell women’s intimates. Her appearance was a sensation, and she and Van quickly started a company, Shear Enterprises, LLC, to design, manufacture and sell Rhonda’s own line of women’s intimate wear. Today, that company has grown to more than $100 million in annual sales, and Rhonda has won numerous entrepreneurship awards—though she still refers to herself as a “bimbopreneur.”

Today, Rhonda and Van live in a magnificent house in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she engages in many philanthropic projects, supports numerous charities for women, and works on new books.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | YOUTUBE CHANNEL






 


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Guest Post from Annelies George, author of Quest to the Unknown





Title: Quest to the Unknown
Author: Annelies George
Publisher: Hybrid Global Publishing
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Format: Paperback/Ebook
On Tour: January 22 - February 16


Quest to the Unknown revolves around up-and-coming Dutch reporter Jessie Golden, ready for her first holiday with business mogul and playboy Carlos Gomez, with whom she is engaged in a budding romance. Her journey begins when she finds a folder full of information on a mysterious woman named Nancy and her son Paul, leading her to an unexpected quest. Soon thereafter Jessie is confronted with a series of unexplainable supernatural occurrences. She realizes there is no such thing as coincidence, although she can’t unravel the true meaning of her quest nor her link to Nancy and her son. At the same time Jessie believes Carlos’ father has ties with some questionable characters. Startled by a series of unexpected events she reaches out to Ed Turner, Carlos’ right-hand man. In order to protect the one she truly loves, Jessie starts an investigation that points to the murky world of the mob. When a stranger is constantly following her, Jessie’s life is in serious danger. Can the ones she implicitly confides in, still be trusted? The first part of the Jessie Golden 21st Century Earth Series, introduces the main characters of the saga in an intriguing story of exceptional mother love, the far reaching consequences of choices in life, genuine feelings, blind faith and brutal deception, set in a multitude of countries in today’s fast moving business world.

PURCHASE HERE


It’s always very interesting to look back and discover how things emerged. When I reflect on how I arrived to write the Jessie Golden Series, with part one Quest to the Unknown recently published, I can only conclude it’s there because another book isn’t! After years of hard work on my very first project - a novel based on my encounters with men in the dynamic business world -, I dropped it overnight due to some unforeseen circumstances that requested a complete rewrite of the story. Now was it coincidence or faith that led me into a different direction…..?!

Disappointed, I set the book aside, enjoying my summer holidays, totally not expecting at all that I would be back to writing again so soon. What did happen? Shortly after my return, I was overwhelmed by the remarkable life of a psychic. Inspired by these shocking facts a fiction tale popped up in my head and the Jessie Golden Series was born. At the same time I decided that the series had to reflect something relevant, two subjects that always have been top of mind, i.e., why is the world a cesspool of corruption, violence and terror and could there be a link with the increasing number of natural disasters?

Since I knew from the beginning the main lines of the series, I started my research into the world of the paranormal. I encountered some peculiar things, like the fact that a number of physics I interviewed stated independently of each other that a big natural disaster will occur in the future, leading to a complete clean up of this planet. It made me wonder. Ever since I was a little child, I dreamed over and over again about a series of different disasters leading to something frightening which was never revealed in that dream. Now I never paid attention to these recurring dreams. However, in combination with the interesting Theory of Quantum Physics, I began to reflect on the matter. It even led to the Loveable Light initiative and the awareness I would like to draw on the subject.

As any other author I automatically included other autobiographical elements in the plot, among other characters noticeable in the protagonist of the series, Jessie Golden, which didn’t go unnoticed. In her pre-Alzheimer’s time my mother was so engaged in the story that she exclaimed at some point: “Why did you never introduce me to Carlos?” I had a big laugh out on that one and explained to her the character Jessie is pure fiction, despite some similarities.

At present three books are finished, with two still to be completed in the series. In fact, I just started with part four, Living in destruction. To be continued!




Annelies George was born on 4 August, 1964 in Bussum, After the gymnasium, she followed a one-year course as an international secretary in Amsterdam. Immediately afterward she started to work for a law firm, studying finance, management and law during the evening hours with the goal of becoming a lawyer herself. A move to a different town brought her into the fast IT world, where she was employed by GE Capital, marking the start of a successful career in the international IT Finance world. Due to the intensity of the job and long working hours, she abandoned her plans for a law degree. At the age of 30, she was appointed to Benelux managing director of a US based lease company, a rare phenomenon at the time, since few women were holding similar positions in the specific branch in the Netherlands. Thereafter she accepted a variety of EMEA and regional management and sales roles with Cisco, Microsoft, and Hewlett Packard. Annelies still lives in Bussum and is taking care of her 83-year-old mother. She loves, among other activities, to paint and design necklaces when she is not writing. On occasion she likes to travel to discover new places and understand the different ways of living around the globe.

You can visit her at: https://www.anneliesgeorge.com 








Monday, January 22
Guest blogging at A Title Wave

Wednesday, January 24
Guest blogging at Confessions of an Eccentric Bookaholic

Thursday, January 25
Guest blogging at The Writer's Life

Tuesday, January 30
Book reviewed at A Book Lover

Wednesday, January 31
Guest blogging at I'm Shelf-ish

Thursday, February 1
Interviewed at Literal Exposure

Friday, February 2
Guest blogging at As the Pages Turn

Monday, February 5
Book reviewed at Voodoo Princess

Tuesday, February 6
Interviewed at Straight From the Authors Mouth

Wednesday, February 7
Guest blogging at Write and Take Flight

Thursday, February 8
Interviewed at Review From Here

Friday, February 9
Guest blogging at Queen of All She Reads

Monday, February 12
Book reviewed at Turning Another Page

Tuesday, February 13
Interviewed at The Literary Nook

Wednesday, February 14
Guest blogging at The Dark Phantom

Friday, February 16
Guest blogging at My Bookish Pleasure

Friday, January 26, 2018

Book Feature: Fragments of Life by Anita R Gibbons - Win a $25 Gift Card





Title: Fragments of Life
Author: Anita R. Gibbons
Publisher: XlibrisAU
Genre: Fiction
Format: Ebook


This story is in a sense a complex tale that commences at the end. It relates the tale of a developing “rocky” love affair between its two major characters as they each discover their capacity to fall in love with another woman, the charting of which is seen through the eyes of the survivor.

Maggie Cameron is a thirty-something single mother who has already established a moderately successful publishing business in Vancouver, Canada. She is also struggling to cope with the strain of a failing marriage and the needs of her growing daughter. Then into her life enters Carla Green as her young personal assistant.

Carla quickly becomes an invaluable player in Maggie’s business and family life. Then everything moves smoothly for a number of years until the confluence of two major events brings their developing relationship to a climax.

Carla is forced to confront the reemergence of her childhood demons on two fronts when a previous illness brings her mortality into question again. Maggie undertakes to publish a lesbian-focused story by a well-respected novelist under an assumed name. Maggie is deeply worried about the latter, even after Carla offers to play a role in addressing her major concerns. However, it is of even greater concern to both Maggie and her daughter, Stephanie, now in her teens, that Carla’s shattering prognosis will have severe repercussions on their developing comfortable family relationship.

By way of devising a coping strategy, Maggie and Stephanie begin plotting a way to make Carla’s impending death as happy as possible for all concerned. However, Carla seems to be rejecting all their efforts until an opportunity emerges for Stephanie to spend part of her upcoming school holiday in France. After considerable persuasion, Carla finally agrees to accompany them on their planned grand tour of Europe. Hence, although the story is set primarily in Vancouver, Canada, it also incorporates their travels across Europe.

As they all set about arranging for and planning their holiday itinerary, Carla is also trying to address her long-held concerns about her own sexuality. She eventually discloses her fears to Maggie, whose initial reaction is less than positive, particularly as Carla also soon expresses her deep feelings for her boss.

This unexpected development causes Maggie to also attempt an analysis her own deepening feelings for Carla, but before she is able to draw any conclusions, an event immediately preceding their departure seemingly dooms whatever future their relationship might hold.

The saga then proceeds as a mini travelogue covering their adventures in France. Indeed, it is only when Maggie and Carla, having deposited Stephanie with her troublesome father, set off on their own adventure to Italy that they begin to address the changing nature of their relationship.

It is only when they reach the idyllic setting of the small coastal village of Positano that Maggie finally gives in to the perceived pressure from Carla and finally admits to herself that she has irrevocably fallen totally ‘in love’ with Carla. However, more problems emerge as they grapple with the issue of Maggie’s willingness to share her newfound knowledge with Stephanie and the outside world in general.




After she was born in the United Kingdom, Anitaís family moved to Australia when she was still quite young. She studied her BA (sociology/politics) and MA (womenís studies) at Victoriaís Monash University. She met her life partner at age twenty, and they spent thirty-seven years together in their small home in the inner suburbs of Melbourne. They both enjoyed traveling, sailing, and sharing their time with an array of pet cats. Her writing has consisted of short stories, poetry, and articles for professional journals. Following her partnerís death in 2007, this novel finally burst out of its shackles. Her other major pastimes include presenting a weekly program for Melbourne community radio and still traveling whenever possible.

GIVEAWAY

Anita IS GIVING AWAY A $25 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 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins January 22 and ends on February 2.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on February 3.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone! 

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway






Monday, January 22
She Writes
A Taste of My Mind

Tuesday, January 23
Books Are Love
Review From Here

Wednesday, January 24
A Title Wave
The Book Czar

Thursday, January 25
A Book Lover
The Literary Nook

Friday, January 26
Voodoo Princess
Write and Take Flight

Monday, January 29
My Bookish Pleasures
All Inclusive Retort

Tuesday, January 30
Confessions of an Eccentric Bookaholic
From Paperback to Leatherbound

Wednesday, January 31
Lover of Literature
Bent Over Bookwords

Thursday, February 1
PUYB Virtual Book Club
Fiction to Fruition

Friday, February 2
The Hype and the Hoopla
Inkslingers Opus