Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Series Spotlight/Giveaway: Jungle Beauty Goddesses


Discover a new series to enjoy in CG Sturges' Jungle Beauty Goddesses series. Don't forget to enter the tour wide giveaway at the end of the post as you could win a $50 Amazon/BN GC from the author. The tour is sponsored by Goddess Fish Promotions and you can find all the stops HERE


Jungle Beauty Goddesses Series: Pretty Blue, Aquatic Ball, Dirty Ball
by C. G. Sturges

GENRE: Fantasy, Erotica




Jungle Beauty Goddesses “Pretty Blue” Book 1

If you were given planet Earth as a gift to develop its life forms—would the world be a better place than it is today? What would your primary expectation and goal be for each human? Would you give them free will or plan their destiny? Would you demand that your humans worship you as their creator? Would you be available to assuage their every desire; and acquiesce to their demands, prayers, and wishes? Would you grow to resent them for living the life you imagined?

The Jungle Beauty Goddesses were free-spirited goddesses who enjoyed their freedom as the youngest children—and the last deities born to their parents—creators of the universe. Per the family tradition of being awarded a planet, the septuplets were given planet Earth as a gift for their birthday. Their siblings, also gods and goddesses of the universe since the beginning of time, warn them about the challenges of selflessness, power, worship, and divine duty.

The seven sisters struggle to maintain their own freedom as limitless beings, while sibling rivalry makes it difficult to accept their collective duty to fulfill the family obligation to the deity-hood as creators for planets.

The entire universe threatens to collapse due to their negligence and disobedience. They question the boundaries of their divine powers as they ponder whether it is possible to mold a being to be superior to its creator.







Jungle Beauty Goddesses “Aquatic Ball” Book 2

Sometimes your worst nightmare is having everything you ever wanted. Upon visiting planet Earth, the Jungle Beauty Goddesses discover that the life forms they created are in danger of extinction, and an unforeseen dominant species has positioned itself to take dominion.

Unprepared and disillusioned about how to access their highest vibrational frequency; the Jungle Beauty Goddesses face their own demise.

The only way they can save themselves, their planet, and ultimately the universe is by managing to align with their deity powers and the wisdom of their highest selves in the face of their worst fears, disappointments, and betrayals.




Jungle Beauty Goddesses “Dirty Ball” Book 3

If you had the power to make anyone in the world fall in love with you—would you? Jungle Beauty Goddess Afar revokes her deity vows and takes her destiny into her own hands by participating in the life she was born to create for others.

Afar embraces the deepest, darkest nuances of her shadow self with brutality, dignity, and integrity. She brazenly unleashes the murkiest qualities of the human condition and leaves the chaos for her unsuspecting sisters to clean up or suffer the consequences of losing the planet given to them by their parents--creators of the universe.

Jungle Beauty Goddess Afar’s actions give a new meaning to the saying, “Hell has no fury like a woman scorned.”



Excerpt Three:

Nebula lifted the soup spoon out of the pot, so swiftly and ferociously, that she shoved Namib and Sinai to the side. Nebula charged Dematter with the spoon in her hand. She frantically beat him in the chest with the spoon, as she yelled, “You have destroyed this family. I hate you. You animal! You beast! You are not a creator—you are a destroyer. You are evil. I hate you. You are the devil! You took my babies from me and I will never forgive you for that. You monster!”

Nebula alternated beating Dematter in the chest with the spoon with kicking him. Dematter’s massive chest withstood every punch. While Nebula was beating Dematter, he thought to himself, that he would rather feel Nebula beat him --than not have her touch him at all. He would rather hear her angry words curse him-- than not hear her voice at all. He would rather know that she hate him-- than to have never known that she had once loved him. And he would rather feel her pain-- than feel nothing at all.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Cassandra George Sturges is the author of "A Woman's Soul on Paper," "Success & Beauty is an Attitude," "The Illusion of Beauty: Why Women Hate Themselves & Envy Other Women," and "Why Racism is a Mental Illness." For many years, she was an advice columnist for Today's Black Woman Magazine and is currently a full-time psychology and sociology professor at a college in the mid-west. She is a high school dropout who graduated with her General Education Diploma and eventually earned five college degrees including two masters and a doctorate degree. In her late forties, she began making life-size fabric sculpture, cloth dolls that turned out to be the main characters in her Jungle Beauty Goddesses coming of age, modern creation Nubian Mythology fantasy fiction, sensuous, romantic series. She is the mother of two adult children, a grandmother, and for over 20-years has shared her life with her twin flame.


Cassandra George Sturges Social Media Links


https://www.facebook.com/Authentikbeauty

https://www.authentikbeautymagazine.com/c-g-sturges-bio

https://twitter.com/georgesturges

https://www.instagram.com/cassandrasturges/

http://junglebeautygoddess.blogspot.com/


https://www.youtube.com/user/AuthentikBeautyBlogs


https://www.amazon.com/Cassandra-George-Sturges/e/B00AAPRMBK?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_5&qid=1573637943&sr=1-5



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Book Spotlight/GIVEAWAY: Love, Lies and Bad Guys


Discover the world of author Bill Blodgett in Love, Lies and Bad Guys. Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a $20 Amazon/BN GC from the author. Tour is sponsored by Goddess Fish Promotions and you can find all the tour stops HERE.

Talking with author Bill Blodgett about Love, Lies and Bad Guys

Thanks for stopping by to talk a little about your writing! Let's jump right in. When did you begin writing and why?
I tried to write a book once in high school, but I didn’t get too far with it. Later, while taking an English Literature course in college we began to dissect some of the works of history’s famous authors including Shakespeare. I was amazed when I learned that beneath the main storyline of the play or novel there was something more. I was so intrigued by it my professor tried to steal me away from the math and sciences by suggesting I change my major, but I was an adult learner and needed the math and science degree to further my career and pay for the necessities of family life. I keep in touch with that professor from time to time and share my books with her.

Do you have a favorite genre? Is it the same genre you prefer to write? 
I like Sci-Fi, but I don’t write it. It’s captured my imagination since I was in grade school in the 1960’s, probably because of the emphasis on landing a man on the moon. While in grade school we stopped everything and the teacher would roll out the TV so we could all watch the blast off. It was new, novel and exciting. I’ve tried to write Sci-Fi, but it just doesn’t work for me. Even though my background is in the sciences I tend to be drawn to writing about contemporary issues that everyone can relate too.

Do certain themes and ideas tend to capture your writer’s imagination and fascinate you? 
Human issues tend to direct my writing even though I don’t look for issues to write about. They seem to come naturally. For instance, when doing research for Love, Lies, and Bad Guys I became aware of the Downwinders issue that I wrote about earlier. That part of human interest kept the book moving and really made the characters come to life for me. I expanded the Downwinder issue to share a common cause to the heroine, KC. With this common ground I think the characters are more lifelike and not two dimensional.

How do you balance long-term thinking vs. being nimble in today's market? 
Sorry, I don’t try to balance those two goals. To be honest, I don’t have long term goals attached to my writing. I don’t want the writing to become a chore. I want it to be an enjoyable experience so I try not to daydream about being a bestselling author. That’s not why I write. I write only because something presents itself to me.  I don’t go looking for a  story. Even my Vampire books were based on an occurrence in my real life. I think if I were to pound out story after story they would become flat and probably meaningless to me and my goal of writing from the heart.

How do you find readers in today's market? 
I try to get my books out there on various blogs or review sites like this one and hope someone notices. I contract with a site like Long and Short Reviews to help get me in touch with readers. PR work is the hardest thing for me. It always feels like bragging and I’ve never been one to brag or focus on my own accomplishments. It seems too self-centered. I understand it really isn’t a bad thing to do, and many authors find their own way to do advertising. I don’t Facebook much about my books because my friends don’t want to hear about that every day. I do let them know that I have a new book out and have a contest just for them, but after that I don’t continue to barrage them with countless posts about my new book. In my mind the right thing to do is to attract people with a sincere interest in reading.

Do you come up with the hook first, or do you create characters first and then dig through until you find a hook? 
I first come up with the event... a bombing, a car crash, the need of a family to understand their gay family member, a magical sword or whatever comes to my mind that seems like it could fit my needs to become a book. Then I outline the general storyline from beginning to midpoint, black moment and the conclusion. Lastly, I begin to create the characters. I don’t feel I can create characters unless I know what they will have to go through. With all of that known I begin to write the book.

How do you create your characters?
Many times my characters are an extension of myself. No, not the action packed stuff, but the interior emotions they are dealing with  because of the conflicts they are going through. If I can feel the emotion then I think I will be able to write it so it will ring true with the readers.

What's on the top of your TBR pile right now?
Two of my friends, Emma Cane,  and M.J. Compton, are coming out with new books soon so they are on my TBR list.

Tell me a little about the characters in Love, Lies and Bad Guys. 
Jay is a US Marshal and is the son of a Downwinder. His father died due to a cancer caused by the radioactive fallout that blanketed their Shoshone reservation during the test of the atomic bombs in the 1940’s and the 1950’s. Jay is driven by his father’s death and his tribal beliefs that protecting his Mother Earth is his personal responsibility. KC is a NYPD detective and her parents died from an accidental exposure to radiation at their place of work, the Indian Point nuclear energy plant just outside NYC. She is driven in her cause to inform the world of this clear and present danger.

Where’s the story set? How much influence did the setting have on the atmosphere/characters/development of the story?
 
The story is set in both Waldorf, MD and Astoria, NY. Hence the title Love, Lies and Bad Guys – The Waldorf Astoria Connection. The down home and laid back setting in Astoria makes it possible for Jay and KC to let their investigation differences fade away which, in turn, allows them to develop the love they share for each other.

If you had to write your memoir in five words, what would you write?

Believer in Live, Laugh, Love.

How often does your muse distract you from day to day minutiae?
Most of the time my muse  leaves me alone when not writing except while I’m driving or when I go to bed for the evening. It’s during those times that I am susceptible to her influences and I allow her to direct my thoughts about the book.

What do readers have to look forward to in the future from you?
Hopefully, the sequel will be my next book published unless something else presents itself and it really calls to me. Now with the coronavirus orchestrating our public life I may have more guilt free time to write. As it so often happens I guilt myself into doing something that should be done rather than what I want to do. But then don’t we all?



GENRE:   Romantic Suspense
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

When US Marshal Jay Stonewalker sees a possible terrorist comment in a chatroom frequented by anti-government radicals suggesting a nuclear threat to New York City, specifically the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, he can’t get it out of his mind. Against his boss’s orders he heads off to NYC to investigate on his own time. While there he follows a suspicious character into a secluded recess of the New York Subway system and foils what he believes is the terrorist event.  In a shoot-out with his suspect he’s wounded and calls the NYC PD for backup.  When he sees NYPD Detective KC Daviau and other uniformed officers slipping into the darkness from the subway platform he’s relieved, but to his surprise he’s met with resistance and disrespect by Detective Daviau. Against his objections, KC takes custody of the evidence and leaves the scene. When Jay asks an officer if she is always that way he’s told that, “Since her parents died, she’s been… let’s say… a little cold.”   When they are assigned to work the case together,  KC’s icy exterior soon begins to melt away as they begin to fall for each other, but KC has to hold back. She has a dark secret and knows he can’t ever know her truths because if he did he would hate her just as she hates herself for what she’s about to do.

Excerpt Two:

Because the Waldorf Astoria in New York is their flagship and it’s the symbol of everything that is America. They tried to bring the towers and the World Trade Center down in an unsuccessful attempt in nineteen ninety-three, but managed on September eleventh, two thousand one. What makes you think they won’t try something again? Their hate runs deep.”

 “Jay, let it go. Maybe it’s just a disgruntled guest that had a bad experience after spending oodles of money there. Please let it go for your own sanity.” She pleaded and hated herself at the same time. How can I make such beautiful love with this man yet still lie to him? There must be something drastically wrong with me, but it’s too late to turn back now. She knew it wasn’t a terrorist’s threat. It was just her and her merry band of anti-nuclear activists making the world safe. She began to lather up his chest with a loofa body puff and watched as he closed his eyes.

“Just let it go, Jay,” she repeated. 

He opened his eyes slowly. “I can’t just let it go. Maybe Gary wasn’t involved with the original chatter I found, but maybe he was. Maybe it’s a whole other source of crazies wanting to take a shot at the Big Apple. Maybe it’s the Russians….” Her heart skipped a beat while she tried to rationalize that Sergei and what Jay was alluding to was just a coincidence. Sergei was fighting the good fight. She was sure of that.

GIVEAWAY

Bill Blodgett will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

I still live in the community where I met and married my lovely wife, Janice. Actually, she lived around the corner from me and we both ignored each other until our teen years when the hormone thing kicked in and we suddenly realized that the cute little girl skipping rope and that goofy boy riding a bike had both grown up.
We are the proud parents of April and Lindsay; both of whom are now married. April married Darren and they have two beautiful boys, Brian and Owen. Lindsay married Tim and they have two beautiful children: Kailyn and Evan.
 I enjoy hiking, kayaking, camping with my family, golfing, making candles, and restoring my antique European sports car, a 1972 MGB.
They say to write from what you know, so I do. I write of love, life and relationships. In addition to the romantic plot we all expect from a Romance novel all of my books deal with a real-world issue as a sub-plot  that we all have had to deal in some manner in life, but not in a preachy way.  I find that including this sort of theme helps me identify with my characters on a personal level. My hope is that the reader will also feel that connection with my characters.
I have four other published novels. Dead Or A Lie and Saint’s Sword are vampire Romances. Unrequited is a contemporary novel with romantic elements and received 4 stars from Romantic Times Book Review magazine. The Last Prejudice is a family saga that deals with the issues a family must address when a family member comes out.
I have been a member of the RWA and the Central New York Romance Writers since 2004 and have held various posts in my local group. By day I am a construction inspector for an engineering company.
Please visit my website: www.billblodgett.com   or email me at  bill@billblodgett.com You can also find me on Facebook at @authorbillblodgett and Twitter @bill_blodgett

Monday, March 30, 2020

Discover the next BDB Book in JR Ward's The Sinner

Get ready as the Dhestroyer's Prophecy comes to head in JR Ward's exciting new Black Dagger Brotherhood book, The Sinner. 


THE SINNER
The Black Dagger Brotherhood series
by J. R. Ward
On Sale: March 24, 2020

Purchase Link:

ABOUT THE BOOK:
A sinner’s only hope is true love in this passionate new novel in J.R. Ward’s #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

Syn has kept his side hustle as a mercenary a secret from the Black Dagger Brotherhood. When he takes another hit job, he not only crosses the path of the vampire race’s new enemy, but also that of a half-breed in danger of dying during her transition. Jo Early has no idea what her true nature is, and when a mysterious man appears out of the darkness, she is torn between their erotic connection and the sense that something is very wrong.

Fate anointed Butch O’Neal as the Dhestroyer, the fulfiller of the prophecy that foresees the end of the Omega. As the war with the Lessening Society comes to a head, Butch gets an unexpected ally in Syn. But can he trust the male—or is the warrior with the bad past a deadly complication?

With time running out, Jo gets swept up in the fighting and must join with Syn and the Brotherhood against true evil. In the end, will love true prevail...or was the prophecy wrong all along?


Sneak Peek at THE SUNNER:

Route 149
Caldwell, New York

                Behind the wheel of her ten-year-old car, Jo Early bit into the Slim Jim and chewed like it was her last meal. She hated the fake-smoke taste and the boat-rope texture, and when she swallowed the last piece, she got another one out of her bag. Ripping the wrapper with her teeth, she peeled the taxidermied tube free and littered into the wheel well of her passenger side. There were so many spent casings like it down there, you couldn’t see the floor mat.
                Up ahead, her anemic headlights swung around a curve, illuminating pine trees that had been limbed up three-quarters of the way, the puff y tops making toothpicks out of the trunks. She hit a pothole and bad-swallowed, and she was coughing as she reached her destination.
                The abandoned Adirondack Outlets was yet another commentary on the pervasiveness of Amazon Prime. The one-story strip mall was a horseshoe without a hoof, the storefronts along the two long sides bearing the remnants of their brands, faded laminations and off -kilter signs with names like Van Heusen/Izod, and Nike, and Dansk the ghosts of commerce past. Behind dusty glass, there was no merchandise available for purchase anymore, and no one had been on the property with a charge card for at least a year, only hardscrabble weeds in the cracks of the promenade and barn swallows in the eaves inhabiting the site. Likewise, the food court that united the eastern and western arms was no longer offering soft serve or Starbucks or lunch.
                As a hot flash cranked her internal temperature up, she cracked the window. And then put the thing all the way down. March in Caldwell, New York, was like winter in a lot of places still considered northerly in latitude, and thank God for it. Breathing in the cold, damp air, she told herself this was not a bad idea.
                Nah, not at all. Here she was, alone at midnight, chasing down the lead on a story she wasn’t writing for her employer, the Caldwell Courier Journal. Without anyone at her new apartment waiting up for her. Without anyone on the planet who would claim her mangled corpse when it was found from the smell in a ditch a week from now.
                Letting the car roll to a stop, she killed the headlights and stayed where she was. No moon out tonight so she’d dressed right. All black. But without any illumination from the heavens, her eyes strained at the darkness, and not because she was greedy to see the details on the decaying structure.
                Nope. At the moment, she was worried she was about to provide fodder for True Crime Garage. As unease tickled her nape, like someone was trying to get her attention by running the point of a carving knife over her skin—
                Her stomach let out a howl and she jumped. Without any debate, she went diving into her purse again. Passing by the three Slim Jims she had left, she went straight-up Hershey this time, and the efficiency with which she stripped that mass-produced chocolate of its clothing was a sad commentary on her diet. When she was finished, she was still hungry and not because there wasn’t food in her belly. As always, the only two things she could eat failed to satisfy her gnawing craving, to say nothing of her nutritional needs.
                Putting up her window, she took her backpack and got out. The crackling sound of the treads of her running shoes on the shoulder of the road seemed loud as a concert, and she wished she wasn’t getting over a cold. Like her sense of smell could be helpful, though? And when was the last time she’d considered that possibility outside of a milk carton check.
                She really needed to give these wild-goose chases up.
Two-strapping her backpack, she locked the car and pulled the hood of her windbreaker up over her red hair. No heel toeing. She leftright-left’d it, keeping the soles of her Brooks flat to quiet her footfalls. As her eyes adjusted, all she saw were the shadows around her, the hidey-holes in corners and nooks formed by the mall’s doorways and the benches pockets of gotcha with which mashers could play a grown‑up’s game of keep away until they were ready to attack.
                When she got to a heavy chain that was strung across the entry to the promenade, she looked around. There was nobody in the parking lots that ran down the outside of the flanks. No one in the center area formed by the open-ended rectangle. Not a soul on the road that she had taken up to this rise above Rt. 149.
                Jo told herself that this was good. It meant no one was going to jump her.
Her adrenal glands, on the other hand, informed her that this actually meant no one was around to hear her scream for help.
Refocusing on the chain, she had some thought that if she swung her leg over it and proceeded on the other side, she would not come back the same.
“Stop it,” she said, kicking her foot up.
                She chose the right side of the stores, and as rain started to fall, she was glad the architect had thought to cover the walkways overhead. What had been not so smart was anyone thinking a shopping center with no interior corridors could survive in a zip code this close to Canada. Saving ten bucks on a pair of candlesticks or a bathing suit was not going to keep anybody warm enough to shop outside October to April, and that was true even before you factored in the current era of free next-day shipping.
                Down at the far end, she stopped at what had to have been the ice cream place because there was a faded stencil of a cow holding a triple decker cone by its hoof on the window. She got out her phone.
                Her call was answered on the first ring.
“Are you okay?” Bill said.
“Where am I going?” she whispered. “I don’t see anything.”
“It’s in the back. I told you that you have to go around back, remember?”
“Damn it.” Maybe the nitrates had fried her brain. “Hold on, I think I found a staircase.”
“I should come out there.”
Jo started walking again and shook her head even though he couldn’t see her. “I’m fine—yup, I’ve got the cut through to the rear. I’ll call you if I need you—”
“You shouldn’t be doing this alone!”
                Ending the connection, she jogged down the concrete steps, her pack bouncing like it was doing push-ups on her back. As she bottomed out on the lower level, she scanned the empty parking lot—
                The stench that stabbed into her nose was the kind of thing that triggered her gag reflex. Roadkill . . . and baby powder?
                She looked to the source. The maintenance building by the tree line had a corrugated metal roof and metal walls that would not survive long in tornado alley. Half the size of a football field, with garage doors locked to the ground, she imagined it could have housed paving equipment as well as blowers, mowers, and snowplows.
                The sole person-sized door was loose, and as a stiff gust from the rainstorm caught it, the creak was straight out of a George Romero movie—and then the panel immediately slammed shut with a clap, as if Mother Nature didn’t like the stink any more than Jo did.
                Taking out her phone, she texted Bill: This smell is nasty.
Aware that her heart rate just tripled, she walked across the asphalt, the rain hitting the hood of her windbreaker in a disorganized staccato. Ducking her hand under the loose nylon of the jacket, she felt for her holstered gun and kept her hand on the butt.
                The door creaked open and slammed shut again, another puff of that smell releasing out of the pitch-black interior. Swallowing through throat spasms, she had to fight to keep going and not because there was wind in her face.
                When she stopped in front of the door, the opening and closing ceased, as if now that she was on the verge of entering, it didn’t need to catch her attention and draw her in.
                So help her God, if Pennywise was on the other side . . .
Glancing around to check there were no red balloons lolling in the area, she reached out for the door.
I just have to know, she thought as she opened the way in. I need to . . . know.
Leaning around the jamb, she saw absolutely nothing, and yet was frozen by all that she confronted. Pure evil, the kind of thing that abducted and murdered children, that slaughtered the innocent, that enjoyed the suffering of the just and merciful, pushed at her body and then penetrated it, radiation that was toxic passing through to her bones.
                Coughing, she stepped back and covered her mouth and nose with the crook of her elbow. After a couple of deep breaths into her sleeve, she fumbled with her phone.
                Before Bill could say anything over the whirring in his background, she bit out, “You need to come—”
“I’m already halfway to you.”
“Good.”
“What’s going on—”
                Jo ended the call again and got out her flashlight, triggering the beam. Stepping forward again, she shouldered the door open and trained the spear of illumination into the space.
                The light was consumed.
Sure as if she were shining it into a bolt of thick fabric, the fragile glowing shaft was no match for what she was about to enter.
The threshold she stepped over was nothing more than weather stripping, but the inch-high lip was a barrier that felt like an obstacle course she could barely surmount—and then there was the stickiness on the floor. Pointing the flashlight to the ground, she picked up one of her feet. Something like old motor oil dripped off her running shoe, the sound of it finding home echoing in the empty space.
                As Jo walked forward, she found the first of the buckets on the left. Home Depot. With an orange-and-white logo smudged by a rusty, translucent substance that turned her stomach.
                The beam wobbled as she looked into the cylinder, her hand shaking. Inside there was a gallon of glossy, gleaming . . . red . . . liquid. And in the back of her throat, she tasted copper—
                Jo wheeled around with the flashlight.
Through the doorway, the two men who had come up behind her without a sound loomed as if they had risen out of the pavement itself, wraiths conjured from her nightmares, fed by the cold spring rain, clothed in the night. One of them had a goatee and tattoos at one of his temples, a cigarette between his lips and a downright nasty expression on his hard face. The other wore a Boston Red Sox hat and a long camel-colored coat, the tails of which blew in slow motion even though the wind was choppy. Both had long black blades holstered handles down on their chest, and she knew there were more weapons where she couldn’t see them.
                They had come to kill her. Tracked her as she’d moved away from her car. Seen her as she had not seen them.
                Jo stumbled back and tried to get out her gun, but her sweaty palms had her dropping her phone and struggling to keep the flashlight—
And then she couldn’t move.
                Even as her brain ordered her feet to run, her legs to run, her body to run, nothing obeyed the panic-commands, her muscles twitching under the lockdown of some invisible force of will, her bones aching, her breath turning into a pant. Pain firework’d her brain, a headache sizzling through her mind.
                Opening her mouth, she screamed—

               
 ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


J.R. Ward is the author of more than thirty novels, including those in her #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series. There are more than fifteen million copies of her novels in print worldwide, and they have been published in twenty-six different countries around the world. She lives in the South with her family.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Discover Rick R. Reed's Blue Umbrella Sky today


Title: Blue Umbrella Sky
Author: Rick R. Reed
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: March 23, 2020
Heat Level: 2 - Fade to Black Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 63200
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, MM romance, grief, Alzheimer’s Disease, alcoholism recovery, over 40, age gap, Southern California, second chances

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Synopsis


Milt Grabaur has left his life, home, and teaching career in Ohio to start anew. The Summer Winds trailer park in Palm Springs, butted up against the San Jacinto mountain range, seems the perfect place to forget the pain of nursing his beloved husband through Alzheimer’s and seeing him off on his final passage.

Billy Blue is a sexy California surfer type who once dreamed of being a singer but now works at Trader Joe’s and lives in his own trailer at Summer Winds. He’s focused on recovery from the alcoholism that put his dreams on hold.

When his new neighbor moves in, Billy falls for the gray-eyed man. His sadness and loneliness awaken something Billy’s never felt before—real love.

When a summer storm and flash flood jeopardize Milt’s home, Billy comes to the rescue, hoping the two men might get better acquainted…and maybe begin a new romance.

But Milt’s devotion to his late husband is strong, and he worries that acting on his attraction will be a betrayal.

Excerpt


Blue Umbrella Sky
Rick R. Reed © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Milt Grabaur stared out the window of his trailer, wondering how much worse it could get.

The deluge poured down, gray, almost obscuring his neighbors’ homes and the barren desert landscape beyond. The rain hammered on his metal roof, sounding like automatic gunfire. Milt shivered a little, thinking of that old song, “It Never Rains in Southern California.”

He leaned closer to the picture window, pressing his hand against the glass and whispering to himself, “But it pours.”

That window had given him his daily view for the last six months, ever since he’d packed up a life’s worth of belongings and made his way south and west to Palm Springs and the Summer Winds Mobile Home Community. This same picture window, almost every single day, had shown him only endless blue skies and sunshine. An errant cloud or a jet contrail would occasionally break up the field of electric blue, but other than that, it was azure perfection. Milt reveled in it. He’d begun to think these expanses of blue, lit up by golden illumination, would never cease.

Until today.

At about three o’clock, that blue sky, for the first time, was overcome with gray, a foreboding mass of bruised clouds. Milt wondered, because of his experience in the desert so far, if the clouds would be only that—foreboding. The magical gods of the Coachella Valley would, of course, sweep away those frowning and depressing masses of imminent precipitation with a wave of their enchanted hands.

Surely.

But the sky continued to darken, seemingly unaware of Milt’s fanciful imagining and yearnings. At last the once-blue dome above him became almost like night in midafternoon and the first heavy drops—fat beads of water—began to fall, first a slow sprinkle, where Milt could count the seconds between drops, then faster and faster, until the raindrops combined into one single and, Milt had to admit, terrifying roar.

And then an unfamiliar sound—the drumroll and cymbal crash of thunder. The sky, moments after, lit up with brilliant white light.

The rain fell in earnest. Torrents of the stuff.

The other trailers, his neighbors, nearly vanished in the relentless gray downpour. The wind howled, sending the rain capriciously sideways every few seconds. The palm trees in his front yard swayed and bent with the ruthless gusts, testimony to their strength, despite their appearance of being stalklike and weak. The wind tore dry husks of bark from them.

At first Milt was unconcerned, thinking the rain could only do good. It would bless the parched succulents, cacti, and palms that dotted the rocky, sandy landscape of the park, maybe even bring them to colorful life, forcing a brilliant desert flower, here and there, to bloom. His decade-old Honda Civic, parked next to the trailer, would get a wash, the thick layer of sand and dust chased away, almost pressure-cleaned.

For the half a year he’d been here, Milt had been amazed at how clean everything could look when, in actuality, anything outdoors was quickly covered in a veneer of fine sand, almost like gritty dust. Milt was forever wiping off his patio furniture, cleaning the glass surfaces of his car. But this minor inconvenience was more than outweighed by the stunning and almost surreal appearance of the Coachella Valley and the desert, a wild beauty which far surpassed anything even an optimistic Milt had dreamed of when he had made up his mind, somewhat suddenly, to shed his old life in Ohio and move out to Southern California.

He stared out at the gusts of wind, the flashes of lightning, and the almost-blinding downpour and realized he had no idea it could be like this. The trailer park was smack up against the San Jacinto mountain range, and Milt realized with horror that not only would the little park suffer from the copious water falling from the sky, but it would also be the beneficiary, like it or not, of runoff as it came hurtling down the mountain face.

As if to confirm his notion, Milt gasped as he noticed the street in front of his trailer.

It was no longer a street.

Not really.

No, now it was a creek. A creek notable for its rushing rapids. Water was speeding by at an unprecedented pace. Milt sucked in some air as he saw a lawn chair go by, buoyed up by the current. Then a plastic end table. An inflatable pool toy—a swan—that Milt supposed was in the right place at the right time. But the damp throw pillows whizzing by, like soggy oyster crackers in soup, were not.

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Meet the Author

Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction. He is a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Entertainment Weekly has described his work as “heartrending and sensitive.” Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” Find him at www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA, with his husband, Bruce, and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix, Kodi.

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