Friday, March 24, 2017

Book Blast! The Shadow Crucible: The Blind God by T.M. Lakomy


________________________________________________________________________________

We invite you to Tamara Lakomy's THE SHADOW CRUCIBLE: THE BLIND GOD Book Blast! Please leave a comment to let Tamara know you stopped by or share this page through your social networks!
 ______________________________________________________________________________




Title: THE SHADOW CRUCIBLE: THE BLIND GOD
Author: T.M. Lakomy
Publisher: Select Books
Pages: 400
Genre: Dark Fantasy

In a world where angels, demons, and gods fight over the possession of mortal souls, two conflicted pawns are ensnared in a cruel game. The enigmatic seer Estella finds herself thrown together with Count Mikhail, a dogmatic Templar dedicated to subjugating her kind. But when a corrupted cardinal and puppet king begin a systematic genocide of her people, the two become unlikely allies.
Taking humanity back to their primordial beliefs and fears, Estella confronts Mikhail’s faith by revealing the true horror of the lucrative trade in human souls. All organized religions are shops orchestrated to consume mankind. Every deity, religion, and spiritual guide has been corrupted, and each claims to have the monopoly on truth and salvation.

In a perilous game where the truth is distorted and meddling ancient deities converge to partake of the unseen battle, Estella unwittingly finds herself hunted by Lucifer. Traversing the edge of hell’s precipice, Estella and Mikhail are reduced to mere instruments. Their only means to overcome is through courting the Threefold Death, the ancient ritual of apotheosis—of man becoming God.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble



Book Excerpt:

He seethed with indignation as he confronted his reflection. Rasping with rage and flexing his fingers impotently, he took in his bruised and broken face. This mirror was the only vanity he was allowed, and now it only offered him the stark knowledge of his ugliness and weakness. Livid, he smote the mirror with his fist. It shattered as he let out an incensed cry, the fragments flying across the floor, glittering sharply in the dimming lights. He looked down at the collage of broken glass and paused, numb with anger.

The shards of the mirror glittered and vibrated, reflecting numerous eyes. Then they slowly began to levitate, all the tiny fragments splintered across the room gathering together and reforming. Swiftly they became whole again, and the mirror floated in the air eerily toward the cardinal. Within the reflection he no longer saw himself, but another being gazing back at him. Lost for breath, he gaped in bewilderment, unable to form words. The being had the fairest of all faces. Beautiful, with an aura of inexorable grace, it had resplendent, shimmering wings—pair upon pair of them in varied iridescent hues. The countenance observed him with a soft smile, measuring him with his intoxicating, lucent blue eyes. “Do you know who I am, old man?” the mirror asked him blithely. The cardinal was immediately enraptured, but could feel the cross burning on his neck. “Take it off and it will not sear your skin,” the angel remarked mildly, his limpid blue eyes gazing lovingly upon the cardinal. The cardinal, like a man too deeply drunken to think, brought his hand to his neck and ripped the cross thoughtlessly off and cast it away. “That is better now, isn’t it? Always bearing the cross. Well, he carried his cross and now he wants the whole world to carry it with him . . . how truly selfish.” The voice, though laced with reproach, was heartrendingly sweet and full of understanding and promise. It rang like silver bells. The cardinal’s mouth hung open indecorously, and he found himself nodding his head in agreement with the angel’s words as his fear began to dissipate. “I do not want you to carry this cross, this heavy burden of debt,” the angel continued. “This false salvation you were peddled is a lie. I, on the contrary, want you to be free, liberated from your thralldom. The earth is your inheritance to rule over as a god, like you were promised. And yet they have deprived you of your freedom. My heart grieves for you,” the angel sympathized, his voice laden with unquenchable sorrow. As the angel spoke, the mirror began to ripple like molten silver, and he emerged from it, as though pushing through a translucent shroud. Robed in white flowing garments, he grasped a long spear in his left hand pointing it downwards, the bitter tip glistening coldly. Standing before the cardinal revealed in his full glory, he smiled fully—but the warmth never reached his detached, frosted gaze. “I want to liberate you from your thralldom,” he said. “I have watched over you all, my tender flock. I am Lucifer, the morning star, the first to greet you with my love into this life, and the last to claim you on my dark stallion of death. I have come to free you.” His persuasive voice was soothing and nurturing, like a gentle river rippling mildly over soft bedrock. The cardinal found himself in a daze of awe, and within him woke his longing for power and lust for dominion. “Come to me, let me free you, and we shall destroy the Twilit world that has robbed you of the gifts that you so deserved.” The fatherly voice of the angel was indignant yet gentle, and he beamed at the cardinal who nodded back eagerly. “Let me into your heart, then. Lead me into your house, in this false edifice erected in the name of God, and let us together find the lost sheep in the house of God. I am his true son, after all, prince of the world.” He glided towards the cardinal, his numerous nacre wings extending into the chamber. They shed their own pearly light, and it seemed he floated like a silver vision. The angel knelt beside the cardinal, gazing into his watery eyes. “Let me into his house.” The voice was slightly more pressing now. The cardinal, dazed, nodded in agreement. With a satisfied smile, the angel touched the cardinal’s chest with a slender finger, right at his heart, and breathed over him. The cardinal groaned, falling instantly asleep. The angel then shifted like a blurring image, colors melting and running, twisting like molten glass into a murky mess of shadow and dirt-colored fumes. The gleaming wings fell to the ground, losing their feathers and rotting instantly. Now instead of the radiant angel, there stood a hooded and cloaked figure, emanating death. Like a black hole, it sucked in all the light around him, exerting a fearsome pull. The light from the candles swirled and were drawn into him, as though he were a gasping sinkhole.

The lights that weren’t drowned out flared in his presence, then guttered as he walked towards the discarded cross lying dully on the ground. With his foot he trampled it into the ground. Then the lights went out and laughter resounded. It echoed through the abbey walls, shaking it to its foundations until all the lights within went out, and all the icons fell to the ground, dashed down by something far more sinister than the raging gale outside.

About the Author


Tamara Lakomy is British born but grew up in North Africa during troubled times. She resides in London.

She studied archaeology and became enamoured with the shamanistic practices of indigenous people.

She is an author and poet who seeks to challenge our notions of reality, and see life with a different perspective.

She works in East Africa with indigenous tribes studying the origins of mankind and the salient golden thread in the tapestry of humanity's beliefs.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Book Feature: The Lord of the Infield Flies by Steve Reilly



Title: THE LORD OF THE INFIELD FLIES
Author:Steve Reilly
Publisher: Strong Books
Pages: 126
Genre: Sports Memoir

The Lord of the Infield Flies will thrill readers with Coach Steve Reilly’s harrowing, challenging, and adventuresome baseball team’s trek from Connecticut to play in Maine. As a prequel to his award winning memoir, The Fat Lady Never Sings, Reilly, a high school baseball coach, narrates the true story from the beginning of his coaching career at the age of 20. In summer 1977, Reilly plans to take his high-school-age team on a weekend trip to the baseball mecca on Cape Cod to play a Massachusetts all-star team. When plans go awry, he jumps at an offer to take the players instead to the serene surroundings of southern Maine to play that state’s all-star team. Most of the team’s starters decline; their hearts had been set on “The Cape.” Determined to go through with his commitment, Reilly gathers ten players to make the four-hour trip in a cabin truck and his car on a Friday night. Will the team arrive in time to battle Maine’s best the following morning?

After his legal alcohol-age players convince him to stop at a package store on the way to buy just a “few beers” for the idyllic cabin they will be staying at in the resort area of Old Orchard Beach, they exit the package store with hand trucks filled with cases of beer. Chaos reigns. The cabin truck with its inebriated players gets separated from Reilly’s vehicle, losing half the team traveling in the opposite direction in Massachusetts! Will the team ever get to Maine? Will the team play Maine’s all-stars? And, will the players make it back to Connecticut?  

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon


Book Excerpt:

March 25, 2005

T
HE PEARL WHITE DOOR opened before me. A gaunt man wearing a gray pin-striped suit and goatee held the door open with his left hand and gestured with his right hand for me to enter. As I passed through the door, nervousness came over me. The strong scent of roses reminded me where I was. A pedestal sign directed me to go left. After an elderly couple crossed my path with their heads down, another pedestal sign directed me to the right down a narrow hallway. To my surprise, the hallway was empty. At the end of the hallway stood a wooden pedestal with a gold banker’s lamp lit above an open book. I grasped the pen from the slot carved in the pedestal and signed the book like a schoolboy as I made sure my penmanship was within the lines. I picked up a small card from a slot in back of the pedestal and put it in the pocket of my dress shirt; there would be plenty of time to read the poem later. With no one in front of me, I stood alongside the doorway as if waiting for permission to enter, but none was needed. As I stood in the doorway about to enter the quiet room, I thought about the summer of 1977 and my Senior Babe Ruth baseball team’s trip to Maine the last weekend of July.


About the Author

Since 1976, Steve Reilly, a practicing attorney, has coached high school baseball in Connecticut’s Lower Naugatuck Valley. He has spent the last thirty years assisting other high school coaches and is currently in his seventeenth season at Seymour High. Reilly and his wife, Suzanne, live in Seymour, Connecticut.

His latest book is the sports memoir, The Lord of the Infield Flies.     

Website & Social Links:

Wooing the Wedding Planner by Amber Leigh Williams & Win $50 B&N Gift Card


 ______________________________________________________________________________


We invite you to Amber Leigh Williams' WOOING THE WEDDING PLANNER Blog Tour! Please leave a comment to let Amber know you stopped by!
 ______________________________________________________________________________


Title: WOOING THE WEDDING PLANNER
Author: Amber Leigh Williams
Publisher: Harlequin (Superromance)
Pages: 380
Genre: Series Romance/Contemporary Romance/Superromance
No more wedding marches for her! 

Wedding planner Roxie Honeycutt can make happy-ever-after come true for anyone except herself. Freshly divorced and done with love, she's okay with watching clients walk down the aisle. What's not okay? Sharing a charming Victorian house with accountant Byron Strong. He's frustratingly sexy and determined to keep her confused. 

Roxie thought Byron's expertise was numbers, yet somehow he sees her for who she really is. Somehow he understands the hurt she hides behind a trademark smile. Suddenly romance is tempting again, even if it means risking another heartbreak.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon


Book Excerpt:


What was wrong with the old Roxie?”

His words stuck with her. And his kiss.

It was difficult to forget a kiss like that, especially coming from someone…well, someone like Byron. Roxie had spent more time than she’d like to admit trying not to think about the kiss – about how sweet it was. She’d forgotten kisses could be so sweet. She’d tried extra hard to forget how his lips had lingered. And how in lingering he’d awakened starbursts inside her. Starbursts of eternity.

She frowned deeply. Being touched…it had been so long since she had really been touched. The hollowness in her had turned into a resounding ache, and for a few moments she’d thought about bringing Byron’s mouth back down to hers. For a few moments, she’d craved more than his companionship. She’d craved the contact. The promise of heat that came with it.

But had she wanted it – had she wanted him – for the single reason that heat could erode loneliness? There was trust there. There was affection. For those small starbursts of eternity, there had been longing and the promise of flame. It had been too long since she’d felt the sheer, electrical pulse of new chemistry.

Why had Byron’s kiss made it seem like so long since she’d felt the flame? The passion?




  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive a $50 B&N Gift Card.
  • This giveaway ends midnight April 28.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!


a Rafflecopter giveaway



About the Author

Amber Leigh Williams is a Harlequin romance writer who lives on the US Gulf Coast. She lives for beach days, the smell of real books, and spending time with her husband and their two young children. When she’s not keeping up with rambunctious little ones (and two large dogs), she can usually be found reading a good book or indulging her inner foodie. Amber is represented by the D4EO Literary Agency.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

 

Brought to you by:

http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Book Feature: Beloved Beast by Karyn Gerrard




Inside the Book:


Title: Beloved Beast
Author: Karyn Gerrard
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: 20th Century Historical
Format: Ecopy

If a man can live forever . . .

A lifetime ago, the debauched Viscount Ravenswood lost his life, only to be revived as as new man with a new name…and a new desire for love. Now, scarred and monstrous of visage, Luke Madden has outlived his beloved wife. Crushed by loss and despair, he swears to never feel such a love again. For such a perfect mingling of souls could never happen twice in one lifetime. Especially for a beast such as Luke believes himself to be . . . . . . how can he love forever?

Gillian Browning is a bold woman of action. But her spy activities in pre-war Germany have made her a target. Now in London, she is being hunted by ruthless Nazi operatives. Luckily, a fellow spy knows someone who can protect her—Luke. Taking Gillian to his former home in the country, he reluctantly finds himself caring for her more than he thought possible, and to his surprise she reciprocates. But when a threat from Luke’s own past increases their peril, he must decide if he has the true strength to love—and trust—again . . .

PURCHASE HERE: AMAZON|B&N

Meet the Author

Karyn lives in a small town in the western corner of Ontario, Canada. She whiles away her spare time writing and reading romance and drinking copious amounts of Earl Grey tea. Karyn loves to write historicals, particularly in the Victorian era. She also writes contemporaries. Tortured heroes are a must.

As long as she can avoid being hit by a runaway moose in her wilderness paradise she assumes everything is golden.

Karyn's been happily married for a long time to her own hero. His encouragement keeps her moving forward.

CONNECT WITH KARYN: WEBSITE|FACEBOOK|TWITTER|PINTEREST


Tour Schedule

Tuesday, February 28
Book featured at Books, Dreams, Life
Book featured at Mello and June

Wednesday, March 1
Book reviewed at Warrior Woman Winmill

Thursday, March 2
Book featured at Turning Another Page

Friday, March 3
Book reviewed at My Book Addiction and More

Monday, March 6
Guest blogging at Mythical Books

Tuesday, March 7
Book featured at Nicole's Book Musings

Wednesday, March 8
Book featured at E-Romance News

Thursday, March 9
Book featured at I'm Shelf-ish

Friday, March 10
Book featured at A Book Lover

Monday, March 13
Book featured at The Hype and the Hoopla

Tuesday, March 14
Guest blogging at Write and Take Flight

Wednesday, March 15
Book featured at Harmonious Publicity

Thursday, March 16
Book featured at The Dark Phantom

Friday, March 17
Guest blogging at Rainy Day Reviews

Monday, March 20
Book featured at A Title Wave

Tuesday, March 21
Book featured at Lover of Literature

Wednesday, March 22
Book featured at Voodoo Princess

Thursday, March 23
Book featured at From Paperback to Leatherbound

Friday, March 24
Book featured at Cafinated Reads


The Ashes by Vincent Zandri & Win Books!


Title: THE ASHES
Author: Vincent Zandri
Publisher: Bear Media
Pages: 277
Genre: Thriller/Horror/Romantic Suspense

HORROR IN THE DARK WOODS
It’s been eight years since artist and single mom, Rebecca Underhill, was abducted and left to die in an old broken down house located in the middle of the dark woods. But even if her abductor, Joseph William Whalen, has since been killed, another, more insidious evil is once more out to get her in the form of the Skinner. The son of an abusive butcher, Skinner intends on finishing the job Whalen started but failed at.

How is he going to get to Rebecca?

He’s going to do it through her children, by luring them into the cornfield behind the old farmhouse they live in.

HORROR IN THE DEPTHS
Now, armed with the knowledge that the Skinner has escaped incarceration at a downstate facility for the criminally insane, Rebecca must face the most horrifying challenge of her adult life: Rescuing the children not from a house in the woods, but from the abandoned tunnels that run underneath her property.

But the Skinner is watching Rebecca’s every move.

Horrifying question is, will she live long enough to save the children?

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon


Book Excerpt:


Albany Police Department
South Pearl Street Precinct

The old homicide detective sits behind his metal desk surrounded by the cold quiet of the early morning, staring forlornly into the radiant screen on his department-issued laptop. He’s been using the laptop, which is integrated with the department’s web server, for years and years now, but he still fondly recalls the days when his desktop supported only a telephone connected to an old fashioned landline and beside that, an IMB Selectric typewriter. And how could he ever forget the old two tiered Inbox/Outbox?
He glances at his inbox and the two dozen or so new emails that have come his way since he last checked it the previous evening. He scans the emails for their importance, relegating most of them to routine, until he comes to one marked, “URGENT: Serial Murderer Hanover Escapes Custody.”
The detective, whose name is Nick Miller, is a tall, wiry, white-haired man. He has been on the force for more years than a man should be. Or so he’s been told countless times by his peers inside the department. But he’s a widower who can’t seem to get over the fact that his wife is gone, even years after her untimely death on an operating table after suffering a burst aneurism. It also explains why he’s sitting behind his desk, suffering from the pangs of a whiskey hangover, on a quiet Sunday morning.
He opens the email.
“To Whom It May Concern,” reads the department wide message. “The former cellmate of New York State registered sex offender and convicted murderer, Joseph William Whalen, has escaped from the Mid-Hudson Psychiatric Center in New Hampton, New York while en route to a routine medical review at an upstate facility. Lawrence Frederick Hanover, 69, Caucasian, was convicted on several counts of murder in the first degree and is considered extremely dangerous. Both guards who were assisting with the transfer were killed during an apparent violent exchange with Hanover, aka Skinner, or The Skinner. His present whereabouts is unknown.”
 Miller exhales, sits back in his swivel chair.
The email originates not from the FBI but from the state police, most notably, the Rensselaer County Division. He recalls Whalen as the maximum security inmate who, not long after his release, attempted to abduct and kill the same woman, Rebecca Underhill, whom he’d abducted back when she was a little girl in 1977. Her twin sister, Molly, was also the target of his attacks. Although Molly has since died, Rebecca, still lives in the area with her son.
The email comes with several pictures of Hanover, including his most recent mugshots and psychiatric facility photo records. The small, bald, scraggily faced little man doesn’t seem like he could hurt a fly much less another human being. But Miller wasn’t born yesterday and he knows that even a little man can kill as efficiently and quickly as a big, monster of a man. Perhaps even more quickly and efficiently.
Sitting back up, he scans the rest of the email.
“While state police have issued state-wide APBs and launched a task force to hunt for Hanover’s whereabouts, we are asking that police cooperate in every way possible to ensure the quick, efficient, and otherwise discreet apprehension of the serial murderer. All communications should be delivered directly to this office via the email/phone number listed.”
Once more Miller sits back.
“The quick, efficient, and otherwise discreet apprehension of the serial murderer,” he whispers. “Somebody fucked up and that somebody doesn’t want the press to get ahold of this story.”  
Sitting there, alone in the quiet office, Miller feels a distinct and very unpleasant chill run up and down his backbone.
“What would a schooled Statie or FBI pathologist have to say about this rather delicate situation?” he whispers quietly to himself. “That a killer as skilled and hungry as Hanover is gonna slip up and be found sleeping in some crappy hotel somewhere? That they can then slip him back inside his rubber room at Mid-Hudson Psychiatric, like he’s some two-bit bank robber?” The detective laughs aloud. “I’ll tell you something right now. If the Skinner doesn’t want to be found, then no way in hell he’s gonna be found. Simple as that. He didn’t escape to be free. He escaped to kill, to butcher, and that’s all.”
His bloodshot eyes once more focused on the laptop screen, the old detective shifts the curser so that it clicks on the Action Taken box beside the open email. He clicks on Saved Mail.
Closing the laptop lid, he finds that his hands are shaking. He opens the bottom desk drawer, pulls out the bottle of Jack Daniels stored inside it. Pouring a generous shot into his empty ceramic coffee cup, he drinks it down.
“Skinner,” he whispers. “Who will you flay next? Whose flesh will you feast on?”     


Meet the Author

Winner of the 2015 PWA Shamus Award and the 2015 ITW Thriller Award for Best Original Paperback Novel, Vincent Zandri is the NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, and AMAZON KINDLE No.1 bestselling author of more than 25 novels including THE REMAINS, MOONLIGHT WEEPS, EVERYTHING BURNS, and ORCHARD GROVE. He is also the author of numerous Amazon bestselling digital shorts, PATHOLOGICAL, TRUE STORIES and MOONLIGHT MAFIA among them. Harlan Coben has described THE INNOCENT (formerly As Catch Can) as "...gritty, fast-paced, lyrical and haunting," while the New York Post called it "Sensational...Masterful...Brilliant!" Zandri's list of domestic publishers include Delacorte, Dell, Down & Out Books, Thomas & Mercer and Polis Books, while his foreign publisher is Meme Publishers of Milan and Paris. An MFA in Writing graduate of Vermont College, Zandri's work is translated in the Dutch, Russian, French, Italian, and Japanese. Recently, Zandri was the subject of a major feature by the New York Times. He has also made appearances on Bloomberg TV and FOX news. In December 2014, Suspense Magazine named Zandri's, THE SHROUD KEY, as one of the "Best Books of 2014." Recently, Suspense Magazine selected WHEN SHADOWS COME as one of the "Best Books of 2016". A freelance photo-journalist and the author of the popular "lit blog," The Vincent Zandri Vox, Zandri has written for Living Ready Magazine, RT, New York Newsday, Hudson Valley Magazine, The Times Union (Albany), Game & Fish Magazine, and many more. He lives in New York and Florence, Italy.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Giveaway Details:

Vincent is giving away ten Kindle e-copies of THE ASHES!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Ten winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway ends midnight May 31.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!




 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Book Feature: The Heatstroke Line by Edward L. Rubin


Hot off the presses! THE HEATSTROKE LINE by Edward L. Rubin is available now! 


Title: THE HEATSTROKE LINE
Author: Edward L. Rubin
Publisher: Sunbury Press
Pages: 223
Genre: Scifi/Cli-Fi (Climate Change Science Fiction)

Nothing has been done to prevent climate change, and the United States has spun into decline.   Storm surges have made coastal cities uninhabitable, blistering heat waves afflict the interior and, in the South (below the Heatstroke Line), life is barely possible.  Under the stress of these events and an ensuing civil war, the nation has broken up into three smaller successor states and tens of tiny principalities.  When the flesh-eating bugs that inhabit the South show up in one of the successor states, Daniel Danten is assigned to venture below the Heatstroke Line and investigate the source of the invasion.  The bizarre and brutal people he encounters, and the disasters that they trigger, reveal the real horror climate change has inflicted on America.  

BUYING INFORMATION:

Amazon | Sunbury Press  | Walmart | B&N


Book Excerpt:
(Excerpted from Chapter 8)

They were in some sort of garage, with several other vehicles and various pieces of equipment scattered around.  The two men who stood beside them, watching, were the ones who had taken him out of the auto-car, one white, one black, both very big.  Three people approached from a doorway to Dan’s right.  In front was an attractive woman with blond hair, wearing an elegant leopard print dress and the long, pointed shoes that were the latest fashion.  Behind her stood a man and a woman, both much bigger, and dressed in work clothes like the two men who were guarding them.
            The woman in the leopard dress looked at her wristlink, then at Dan and Stuart, and smiled at them in self-satisfied manner.  She motioned to the woman beside her and then to one of the two guards, and they led Stuart, still complaining about his arm, through the doorway they had come from.  Then she turned toward Dan and motioned to the man beside her and the other guard, who grabbed Dan’s arms and started to lead him toward the same doorway.
            “Who the hell are you?” he said, trying to turn toward the woman.  “Are you aware that we’re part of a diplomatic mission from Mountain America to Jacksonia authorized by President Peter Simonson?  I don’t know what you’re trying to do, but if you - - - “
            One of the men let go of Dan’s arm, grabbed his cheeks to force his mouth open, and plunged a plastic gag into it.  Dan felt himself choke and struggled for breath.  The gag had a slightly sour, greasy taste.  Then both men grabbed his arms again and led him through the doorway.  Dan suddenly felt an overwhelming sense of dread, stronger even than he had felt when the men first pulled him out of the car.
            Beyond the doorway was a narrow corridor with dirty green walls covered with beads of water.  Clearly, they were underground.  The men lead Dan through the first opening along the corridor and into a small, dimly-lit room with three chairs facing a transparent plastic window.  Through the window was another room, painted grey and brightly lit.   Dan was forced into the chair at the back of the room, his handcuffs were removed and his arms were strapped to the armrests, and then, to his increasing dread, some sort of metal device was placed over his head and tightened so that he was forced to look straight ahead into the room beyond the window.  He felt saliva dripping down his chin.  The woman in the leopard dress came in, sat down in the chair placed to his left and closer to the window, looked at him up and down, then crossed her legs and turned to the window. 
            A moment later, Stuart was led into the brightly lit grey room by his two guards.  All his clothes except his undershorts had been stripped off.  He had always been slender, but now he looked emaciated and pathetic.  He was obviously in pain. Dan felt tears coming to his eyes despite his own discomfort.  The woman turned to him, smiled, and then turned back to the window.   By now, one of Stuart’s handcuffs had been removed and re-attached to a metal loop that was built into the wall.  The two guards left and Stuart was alone in the room, one arm fastened to the wall, the other hanging limply at his side. 
            With a sense of horror, but not, for some reason, of surprise, Dan saw a dark shape fly through the air and attach itself to Stuart’s thigh.  It was a biter bug, shiny black and nearly three inches long.  Stuart jumped and writhed, turning one way and the other, but Dan didn’t need to see clearly to know what was happening.  The bug’s six legs had plunged immediately into Stuart’s skin; now its two sharp mandibles, each half an inch in length, were folded under its body, tearing his flesh.  Blood welled up from under the bug, and as it moved down his leg, it left a trail of raw, bleeding flesh behind.  Stuart clawed weakly at the bug with his other arm, which was obviously disabled.  That didn’t matter because Dan knew that tearing a biter bug off your body was virtually impossible.  As soon as you started, its legs dug deeper, and you would wind up tearing out a chunk of your own flesh, which was just as painful, and somehow more awful, than letting the bug continue for the half minute or so until it was satisfied and flew away.     
            Dan wanted to yell.  He heard the words “Why are you doing this” form in his throat, but he couldn’t speak.  He tried to lift the chair to get out of the room, to smash the window, to kill the woman sitting calmly next to him, but the chair was bolted to the floor.  He couldn’t move -- he couldn’t even look away.  The first bug was gone, leaving an oozing wound behind, but two more bugs had been released and attached themselves to Stuart’s body, one to his chest and one to his arm.  Helpless and in agony, he was trying to pull away from the wall and he was screaming.  No sound came through the window and the silence, compounded by Dan’s own inability to speak, made the scene somehow more horrible. 
            Dan closed his eyes.  If there was nothing else that he could do, he could at least deny this woman the satisfaction of making him watch his friend be tortured.  Beneath his sorrow, fury and horror, he sensed another feeling, some indefinable nausea that lay deep inside him.   After a few minutes, he felt compelled to look again.  Stuart had collapsed and was lying against the wall.  There were four or five bugs on his body now, and one was on his cheek, moving toward his eye.  He was still writhing, but had also begun to shake compulsively.  Blood was oozing from bug tracks on his arms, legs and stomach, covering his body and dripping onto the floor.  He was going into shock; they were killing him.  Dan had never felt so angry or so powerless.  It was hard to believe that this was real, that Stuart was really dying, that in a few more minutes he would cease to exist.  The bugs flew away, one leaving a pool of blood in his eye socket, and then three more, five more, came flying in.  Dan closed his eyes again.  They were wet with tears; he felt himself sobbing and gasping for breath through the greasy gag. 
            Suddenly, there were people around him, three or four.  They released his head, unstrapped his arms, stood him up, handcuffed his arms behind him again, turned him around and dragged him out into the corridor.  In the process, he caught a glimpse of Stuart’s prostrate, motionless body through the window, covered in blood, with bugs still crawling over it.   Once in the corridor, he was dragged a short distance, through an opening, and into an even narrower corridor.  One of his captors opened a door and he was pushed into a brightly lit grey room.  The steady sense of dread that Dan was feeling congealed into panic.  They were going to set the bugs on him the way they did to Stuart. They were going to kill him.  He was going to die.
            His gag was removed, his handcuffs were opened, and then one arm, still cuffed, was attached to a metal loop in the wall, just the way that they had done to Stuart.  Then all the guards left the room and closed the door behind him.  He was alone.   In front of him was a large plastic window, dark and blank.  The woman was sitting behind it, he was certain, and she was going to watch as the biter bugs killed him.
            How could this be happening?  He felt a roaring in his head, he couldn’t think.  There was something he had to figure out, something he had to make sense out of, but he didn’t know what it was.  Would he really die, would he really stop existing?  What about his children and Garenika?  “If I die now, I’ll never see them again” he realized. “No, there will be no ‘I’ not to see them.  The world will come to an end.  It can’t be, it can’t be.”
            He heard the unmistakable, high pitched buzz of a biter bug flying toward him through the air.  Instinctively, he knew what to do—he had been trained in Mark Granowski’s department before he went to central Texas for a research project.  The bugs flew in straight lines when they were attacking.  He waited until it almost reached him, then slapped it with his free hand.  It fell to the ground with a sickeningly solid thud, but right side up.   Black and huge, it crawled a few inches, its long mandibles opening and closing.  Even though he had his shoes on – he realized that they hadn’t taken off his clothes – he knew there was no point trying to crush the bug; its carapace was much too hard.  After a few moments, the bug’s wings started vibrating, it rose up in the air, and flew toward him once more.   Again, he slapped it and it fell down right side up.   The hideous thing crawled a few inches and rose up again.  Once again he slapped it and it thudded to the ground, right side up again.  Its wings vibrated, it rose up and flew toward him, he slapped it hard and it fell down again, this time on its back.  Immediately, he stamped his foot on it and felt the satisfying crunch as its body cracked beneath his shoe.
            But what was the point, he asked himself a moment later.  They could release another bug, five more, fifty more.  The pain would become worse and worse and he would die, just like Stuart.    No, not just die -- the world would end, there would be nothing.  The roaring in his head returned, the sense of dread and disbelief.  It couldn’t be.   He heard himself bellowing “No, No, No, No.”   There was a high pitched buzz behind him, and as he spun around, the biter bug slammed into his upper arm.  He felt its feet dig in, and then the burning, searing pain as its huge mandibles, now tucked under its carapace, began to tear his flesh.  He could only stare at it in horror.  Blood rose up under it and turned his light blue shirt sleeve sickly purple.  The bug moved slowly down his arm, leaving a track of bloody, torn up flesh, visible inside the inch-wide tear in his shirtsleeve.  The pain was unbearable. He couldn’t believe that the twenty five or thirty seconds that they bug was on him seemed so long, and he felt a moment of relief when it finally flew away, dripping blood behind it. 
            He had to organize his thoughts, there was something that he had to do, but what was it?  How could he stop existing?  Would he live somehow, because of his research?  Would he live in the memories of Josh, Senly, Michael and Garenika?  But he wouldn’t be here, there would be no world for him.  An image, a memory, suddenly came into his mind.  He was walking across the University of Utah campus with Garenika.  They had just met, he had said something to her and she laughed, in a soft, silvery tone, and he wondered if they would end up having children together.  Now he saw his home in Arches Park City.  His father was reading to him, his mother came into the room with the poster of the Milky Way, the one he had wanted and that hung in his room when he was growing up.
            After a few minutes, he realized that no more bugs had come.  A sudden surge of hope passed through him.  He was afraid to even form the thought, afraid that it would somehow preclude the actuality.  But the door opened, one of the guards came into the room with a suppressed smile on his face, removed the handcuff from his wrist, removed the other part from the loop on the wall and walked out with it.  The lights in the room suddenly dimmed.  Dan sank down onto the floor.  He took the bottom of his shirt and pressed it against the wound on his arm, as much to relieve the burning pain as to staunch the flow of blood.  He became aware that he was sobbing, but whether it was with relief or anguish was impossible for him to say.
            Several hours later, the door opened, and before Dan could react, a tray with clothing, a plate of food and an inflatable mattress was pushed into the room.  The door closed again.   The clothing was an ordinary, open collar white shirt, a pair of dark brown trousers and dark green undershorts.  Dan became aware that the front of his own pants was wet and realized he had pissed himself when the bug attacked him.  Next to the clothes was a large blue, disinfectant bandage.  Slowly and deliberately, Dan stripped off his clothes, wrapped the bandage around his arm, which immediately felt a bit better, and put on the clothes he’d been given.  Looking around, he saw an open hole in the opposite corner of the room, walked over and peed down the hole. 
            He went back to the tray, took a bite of one roll.  All at once, he felt nauseated, ran to the hole and vomited.  He couldn’t stop; he vomited repeatedly and convulsively, long after there was anything left in his stomach.  The roaring in his head returned, he felt intensely chilled and his body began shaking uncontrollably.   After what seemed like a long time, the shakes and chills subsided, but they were followed by a slowly intensifying fear.  Suppose they turned off the lights and began to fill the room with water.  He could feel himself being forced to the top of the room, feel his head pressed against the ceiling when only a few inches of air remained, feel the water filling his nose and mouth as he gasped helplessly for breath.  Suppose the walls of the room began to close from both directions, pressing against his body until he was trapped tiny, pitch black space.  Suppose they raised the temperature until searing air burned his lungs with every breath as he began to suffocate.
            Dan tried to calm himself.   He wondered if he should use Jiangtan –why hadn’t he thought of it when he was watching Stuart die -- but somehow didn’t think that it would help.  Had the bread been poisoned?  That wouldn’t make any sense.  Clearly, they meant to keep him alive.  Were they holding him for ransom or as a hostage for some political purpose?   In any case, once the Mountain American government found out about it, they would arrange for his return, he reassured himself.  He decided he should try to sleep; he was obviously exhausted.  He inflated the mattress, lay down, and closed his eyes. The biter bug wound on his arm was still throbbing and his head ached.  He tried to think his college days, of his evenings with friends, of nineteenth century novels, of Garenika, but it all seemed thin and pointless.   Finally, his thoughts returned to his early fascination with astronomy, and he pictured himself touring the moons and planets of the solar system and then venturing out among the undiscovered worlds that orbited the distant stars. 
             


About the Author


Edward Rubin is University Professor of Law and Political Science at Vanderbilt University.  He specializes in administrative law, constitutional law and legal theory. He is the author of Soul, Self and Society:  The New Morality and the Modern State (Oxford, 2015); Beyond Camelot:  Rethinking Politics and Law for the Modern State (Princeton, 2005) and two books with Malcolm Feeley, Federalism:  Political Identity and Tragic Compromise (Michigan, 2011) and Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State:  How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons (Cambridge, 1998).  In addition, he is the author of two casebooks, The Regulatory State (with Lisa Bressman and Kevin Stack) (2nd ed., 2013); The Payments System (with Robert Cooter) (West, 1990), three edited volumes (one forthcoming) and The Heatstroke Line (Sunbury, 2015) a science fiction novel about the fate of the United States if climate change is not brought under control. Professor Rubin joined Vanderbilt Law School as Dean and the first John Wade–Kent Syverud Professor of Law in July 2005, serving a four-year term that ended in June 2009. Previously, he taught at the University of Pennsylvania Law School from 1998 to 2005, and at the Berkeley School of Law from 1982 to 1998, where he served as an associate dean. Professor Rubin has been chair of the Association of American Law Schools' sections on Administrative Law and Socioeconomics and of its Committee on the Curriculum. He has served as a consultant to the People's Republic of China on administrative law and to the Russian Federation on payments law. He received his undergraduate degree from Princeton and his law degree from Yale.
.
He has published four books, three edited volumes, two casebooks, and more than one hundred articles about various aspects of law and political theory. The Heatstroke Line is his first novel.

Website & Social Links:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK






Friday, March 10, 2017

Book Feature: The Dilution of America by Louis C. Gilde & Lawrence C. Gambone



Inside the Book:


Title: The Dilution of America
Author: Louis C. Gilde with Lawrence C. Gambone
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Genre: Biography
Format: Ebook

The Dilution of America

America, American society and American industry have all become diluted. What this means is that the country’s political-social-economic situation no longer reflects the design and purpose our founding fathers intended. Many factors play into this problem; and Lou Gilde and Larry Gambone have successfully teamed up in an attempt to cite most of them:

The failure of the “Greatest Generation” to prevent the insidious creep  of socialism;

 The paradigm change from business/government cooperation to  anti-business sentiment;

 The failure of our inner-city programs, to include industry incentives  and schools;

 The curtailing of religious expression and moral behavior;

 The eroding of true representative governance by a bloated, unwieldy,  and unaccountable bureaucracy;

 The demise of a true free enterprise system resulting from over  regulation; and

 The movement from capitalism to socialism by ever-increasing  entitlement (socialistic) programs.

We have reached an important turning point with the economy, the environment, and with the many socio-political issues facing our great nation. Unless the average voter realizes that government is handcuffing our economy, we will suffer economic malaise and worse. Our present approach to governance must be reversed if we are to remain an economic powerhouse in the 21st century.

To do this, we need an educated electorate who will vote wisely in the coming elections in order to resolve the many Governmental problems that have occurred in the past. Until the American voters recognize the fact that Government is its own worst enemy -- and is unintentionally becoming an enemy of the people, the environment, and the economy -- we will continue down the path to ruin. Walt Kelly, in the comic strip, Pogo, said it best: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

About the Author

Mr. Gilde's life experiences provide an interesting perspective challenging the concept of America's "Greatest Generation." He volunteered for World War II service in November of 1942 and spent twenty months overseas in the European Theater.

His entire professional career was spent as an industrial environmentalist with unique involvement in cooperative efforts with federal researchers prior to the creation of USEPA. This activity based on innovative waste water treatment resulted in over twenty presentations in the U.S. and overseas.

Because of the early research work, he collaborated with USEPA as an advisor in the preparation of its field manual on "Overland Flow Treatment of Waste Waters" and was awarded in 1979 by Region II EPA Certificate of Appreciation. During the 1970's he testified before Congress concerning rule makings in the environmental area that created unnecessary costs for business resulting in increased costs for citizens. Mr. Gilde also obtained two patents in the environmental field.

During retirement Mr. Gilde did volunteer work for the World Environment Center, a non-profit spinoff from the United Nations assisting U.S. Aide from the State Department on environmental projects incorporate in U.S. Aide programs. He consulted in over a half dozen projects for different countries and was sent to Egypt and Romania to conduct studies.

Mr. Gilde witnessed environmental matters from an unusual perspective in relation to business, government and the economy including the location of numerous new plant sites vs. older plants in distressed areas. He sets forth recommendations for a less confrontational future to foster a more dynamic economy where most of the federal bureaucracy is eliminated and the states are free to soar even higher than Texas and other pro-economy states. A section of the book is devoted to the revitalization of the City of Camden, NJ as a national demonstration for urban America.

Giveaway

Louis 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 27 and ends on March 10.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on March 11.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway