Thursday, January 31, 2013

New #Horror Release: DARKBOUND by Michaelbrent Collings

Book Description:

The New York subway system has:
656 miles of track... 468 stations... 31 thousand turnstiles...
1.64 BILLION fares yearly.

For six of those fares, the trip is going to be one they will never forget.

Six strangers will board a subway. But this subway is unlike the others.

This subway doesn't take you where you want or where you need. It takes you where you fear.


Buy links:

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Spotlight: STANDING GUARD by VH Folland

Book Blurb:
Flying home from their display seems a perfect time for Jim to train his wife on radio procedures. An SOS on a non-aviation channel was the last thing he expected to hear. The laws of sea and air are clear: the person who receives a distress call is bound to assist.

Even if they are in a very old aircraft, over a very large ocean, looking for a very small boat.

Standing Guard is an aviation short story.

Buy links:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

THERE ONCE WAS A Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

Renowned Russian writer Ludmilla Petrushevskaya is back with a new collection of macabre love stores: THERE ONCE LIVED A GIRL WHO SEDUCED HER SISTER’S HUSBAND, AND HE HANGED HIMSELF—translated with an introduction by Anna Summers, decked out with fantastic cover art, and just in time for Valentine’s Day

Petrushevskaya’s previous collection of scary fairy tales, There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby, was a the New York Times bestseller, winner of a World Fantasy Award, one of New York magazine’s Ten Best Books of the Year and one of NPR’s Five Best Works of Foreign Fiction.

In this new release, Petrushevskaya demonstrates how much can be said about human connection with so few words. These realist tales of women looking for love are the stories that she is best known for in Russia . Stories from this collection have been published in Harper’s, Playboy, The Paris Review and Zoetrope and the early reviews are fantastic: Elle calls it “on par with the work of such horror maestros as Edgar Allen Poe,” and Kirkus raves, “Think Chekhov writing from a female perspective.”

THERE ONCE LIVED A GIRL... is made up of seventeen fables of marriage, courtship, sex, and love: the office one-night stand that creates a baby; the awkward tryst in a communal apartment; the responsible father chased away from his family by an insane and jealous wife; and the unremarkable and predictable souls who find they have drifted inevitably into union. Romance, violence, infidelity, tenderness—Petrushevskaya has compiled all of those great narrative traditions into an elegant and macabre collection of stories that show just why she is Russia ’s preeminent contemporary fiction writer.
A Murky Fate Excerpt:

This is what happened. An unmarried woman in her thirties implored her mother to leave their one-room apartment for one night so she could bring home a lover.

This so-called lover bounced between two households, his mother’s and his wife’s, and he had an overripe daughter of fourteen to consider as well. About his work at the laboratory he constantly fretted. He would brag to anyone who listened about the imminent promotion that never materialized. The insatiable appetite he displayed at office parties, where he stuffed himself, was the result of an undiagnosed diabetes that enslaved him to thirst and hunger and lacquered him with pasty skin, thick glasses, and dandruff. A fat, balding man-child of forty-two with a dead-end job and ruined health—this was the treasure our unmarried thirtysomething brought to her apartment for a night of love.

He approached the upcoming tryst matter-of-factly, almost like a business meeting, while she approached it from the black desperation of loneliness. She gave it the appearance of love or at least infatuation: reproaches and tears, pleadings to tell her that he loved her, to which he replied, “Yes, yes, I quite agree.” But despite her illusions she knew there was no romance in how they moved from the office to her apartment, picking up cake and wine at his request; how her hands shook when she was unlocking the door, terrified that her mother might have decided to stay.

The woman put water on for tea, poured wine, and cut cake. Her lover, stuffed with cake, flopped himself across the armchair. He checked the time, then unfastened his watch and placed it on a chair. His underwear was white and clean. He sat down on the edge of the sofa, wiped his feet with his socks, and lay down on the fresh sheets. Afterward they chatted; he asked again what she thought of his chances for a promotion. He got up to leave. At the door, he turned back toward the cake and cut himself another large piece. He asked her to change a three-ruble bill but, receiving no reply, pecked her on the forehead and slammed the door behind him. She didn’t get up. Of course the affair was over for him. He wasn’t coming back—in his childishness he hadn’t understood even that much, skipping off happily, unaware of the catastrophe, taking his three rubles and his overstuffed belly.

The next day she didn’t go to the cafeteria but ate lunch at her desk. She thought about the coming evening, when she’d have to face her mother and resume her old life. Suddenly she blurted out to her officemate: “Well, have you found a man yet?” The woman blushed miserably: “No, not yet.” Her husband had left her, and she’d been living alone with her shame and humiliation, never inviting any of her friends to her empty apartment. “How about you?” she asked. “Yes, I’m seeing someone,” the woman replied. Tears of joy welled up in her eyes.

But she knew she was lost. From now on, she understood, she’d be chained to the pay phone, ringing her beloved at his mother’s, or his wife’s. To them she’d be known as that woman—the last in a series of female voices who had called the same numbers, looking for the same thing. She supposed he must have been loved by many women, all of whom he must have asked about his chances for promotion, then dumped. Her beloved was insensitive and crude—everything was clear in his case. There was nothing but pain in store for her, yet she cried with happiness and couldn’t stop.

Reprinted by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister’s Husband, and He Hanged Himself by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, selected and translated by Anna Summers. Copyright © 2013 by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya. Translation and introduction copyright © 2013 by Anna Summers.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Book Tour:THE HOMICIDE CHRONICLE by Ralph Shamas

The Homicide Chronicle

Defending the Citizen Accused

by Ralph Shamas

Blog Tour Hosted by
The Masquerade Crew

Friday, January 25, 2013

Interview with Sandra Bornstein

Why did you decide to write your memoir?
During my first trip to India, I started a private travel blog. I wanted to share my unusual experiences with a select group of friends and relatives. The positive feedback they provided made me wonder whether I should take my writing a step further. I contemplated a memoir, but knew that my story had to be more than a travelogue.

Shortly after returning to the US, I abruptly stopped writing my blog. I was deeply moved by my husband’s horrific accident and overwhelmed by the choices that I needed to make. I lost the desire to write.  After returning to India, I was tempted to write again.  I was confident that a blog about my international classroom would generate an audience, but I was reluctant to invade my students’ privacy.

After I returned to the US, I could not put the brakes on my writing anymore. The lessons that I had learned from my adventure needed to be shared. A memoir that chronicled my choice to live outside my comfort zone and my incredible teaching and traveling experiences needed to be written. I wanted to provide useful information to fellow teachers who are considering working abroad and teachers who work with diverse learners. It is my sincere hope that my words will resonate with people facing unusual challenges and others who need encouragement to take a special journey.

What message are you sharing with your readers?
There are multiple messages that I am sharing with my readers. The most prevalent lesson pertains to individual choices. People tend to be most comfortable living within their established comfort zone and rarely make daring decisions. Stepping outside a self-imposed boundary oftentimes creates unnecessary anxiety and irrational fear. When I decided to plunge into the pool of uncertainty, I let my emotions take control and felt unbalanced. Eventually, I overcame my fears and learned that stepping outside of my comfort zone can be an invigorating experience that enhances life.

After teaching at a highly regarded international school in Bangalore, India, what was your most memorable experience?
I will always remember the fifth grade jungle trip to Kabini River Lodge, a former hunting lodge for the maharaja of Mysore. In the U.S., 5th or 6th grade students usually attend an outdoor education program at a nearby rustic facility. My students took motor coaches without a restroom to this well-regarded accommodation. Seeing the jungle through the eyes of 5th graders was a unique experience. I also had the opportunity to interact with my students in a social setting.

Throughout your book you mention songs. What role did music play in your journey?
Music was my constant companion. I heard songs even when my Ipod and computer were not turned on. The lyrics from my youth prevailed. They added a level of comfort that helped me cope with my overwhelming feelings of loneliness. Being separated from my family for an extended period of time was challenging. I could always rely on my music to bring a smile to my face.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
I decided to go the self-publishing route because I wanted to maintain more control over my content, the book’s interior style, the book cover, and the price of the book. I knew that this would require a budget of upfront costs since I would need to hire experts to assist me. With the help of professional editors, I created the content and the pervasive threads, located my voice, and decided on my message. Additionally, I hired a design team and formatters to assist me. By being responsible for all of the decisions, I took complete ownership of my book.

I also wanted to publish my book in a timely manner so that I could move on to the next project. Had I not put myself into the driver’s seat, I might still be waiting for a literary agent to respond. I’d rather be moving forward than stuck in a holding pattern.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
I worked with several editors. The first editor was a developmental editor. After reading the book, he suggested that I begin at a more dramatic point of my journey and end with the lessons that I learned. With his assistance, I enhanced my writing style by taking a closer look at my voice and how I used dialogue to engage the reader.

I also hired a copyeditor to review my manuscript for word usage, consistencies in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and fact checking. Prior to publishing, a final professional edit was done.

Did you hire a graphic artist for your book cover? Were you actively involved in the creation of the cover?
Many people follow the adage “you can tell a book by its cover.” I knew that a cover design was important and realized that I did not have the required skills to design an appropriate cover.

Last spring when I launched my website, I hired a graphic artist. I accepted the book cover design and started to use it on my website. I started to have doubts about the design and also realized that the graphic artist should have included a spine and back cover design. If I used that design, I would either have to format the spine and back cover myself or hire another person.

As part of my contract negotiations with CreateSpace, I opted for a new cover design. CreateSpace provided two design options.  After making a few adjustments to the CreateSpace design that I liked more, I had a new cover that illustrated the gist of my story better than the original option.

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
I learned to be patient. Everything took longer than I anticipated. I rarely completed a task within the anticipated timeframe. I realized that the quality of my book was more important than publishing the book quickly.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, Facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
Social media has become part of my daily routine. I have a multiple page website that includes information about my book, my background, a photo gallery, a press kit, events, and a blog. I post blogs on a regular basis.  I also take advantage of opportunities to be a guest blogger. I have accounts with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Goodreads. My video book trailer is posted on several sites. Even though it is a time consuming endeavor, I try to maintain an active presence on all levels of social media. I recently started my first virtual book tour.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Before starting the ball rolling for self-publishing I suggest the following:  Do not procrastinate. Accept the challenge and move forward. Create a proposed timeline and start finding ways to accomplish your goals.

I recommend thinking about the following things:
Has the manuscript been professionally edited? Are you hiring a professional editor? Is the editing being done by the self-publishing company?

Research your different publishing options. Connect with self-published authors and get their feedback about different companies. Decide which company meets your specific requirements. Read all of the fine print and make sure you understand all sections of the contract. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Make sure you check and recheck everything that needs to be approved. When in doubt ask a friend or family member to look over your work. Typos and extra spaces can mysteriously reappear without warning. A new set of eyes will usually find these lurking pests.

For years, I put my passion for writing on hold. As each year passed, I became more disappointed and angry with myself. I had one excuse after another.

Now, when holding my published book in my hand, I ask, “Why did I wait so long?”

Being able to publish, MAY THIS BE THE BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE was an amazing accomplishment.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review: DUCHESS WAR by Courtney Milan

3.5 stars of 5 stars

Ms. Wilhelmina "Minnie" Pursling is hiding a scandalous secret. One that she will do everything she can from ever coming out, but a chance meeting with Duke Robert Blaisdell threatens to expose her. The more she retreats as a wall flower, the more intrigued he becomes. He pursues her relentlessly and surprises her with a marriage proposal, but Robert has his own secret. He's the author of handbills that incite the poor working in the factories to strike. When an innocent man is accused of writing the handbills, Robert must decide how far he'll go to save him from a life in prison. Will he be willing to do the honorable thing? Will he be willing to expose another's secret in the process?

This historical romance was quite enjoyable, especially the dialogue between Minnie and Robert and Minnie and the Duchess. It was smart and witty, but there were a few things that didn't quite add up for me. The build up of Minnie's secret was intriguing, but when it was finally revealed, it was anticlimactic for me. I found it hard to believe that a 12-year girl would be held responsible for an adult's action especially someone who was a known liar and cheat. I am willing to suspend belief for most things, but Robert's secret was even harder to swallow. Why wouldn't he use his power and considerable means to help make the factory workers' lives more bearable instead of inciting them to strike especially since it was a crime to do so. Finally, I wanted to learn what became of Minnie's friend, Lydia. The one sentence in the epilogue didn't seem to do the character justice especially since she was so important to Minnie.

Despite these criticisms, THE DUCHESS WAR, kept my interest until the very end. Fans of historical romance will enjoy this book.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Interview with Olivia Hardin

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
Shifty Business is the third book in my Bend-Bite-Shift Trilogy.  We briefly met Gerry and Nicky during book one of the series.  In Shifty we get to find out what was happening to the pair while we were following the other characters at the start of the trilogy.  It turns out Gerry and Nicky are married, but that is just the beginning of the secrets that get revealed during the book.

Do you have a favorite character?
My absolute favorite is Langston.  The giant is the dependable, wise and solid cornerstone of their team.  He even helps me when I’m writing because just putting him in a scene gives me clarity and helps me get my writing on track.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I try to get a bit of writing in each evening as the story is coming along.  When it gets close to the end, I usually buckle in and give myself longer periods to focus.  I do like to listen to music while writing, but almost entirely instrumentals.  I don’t like the lyrics from songs to interrupt the words in my head.  I do use music to help me plan out scenes, usually when I’m on my thirty minute drive to and from work.  I “see” what’s going to happen and replay it over and over to its own soundtrack before I write it later.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I’ve tried to outline but it just doesn’t seem to work for me… I feel stifled by it.  Instead I tend to follow the characters on their journey.  I sometimes don’t have any idea how a book might end and in fact, part of the reason I chose to turn my first book into a trilogy was that I wanted to know what happened to some of the characters I was introducing.  The only way to learn their stories was to follow along as I told them.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Yes and in fact with my last book I hired two separate editors to complete three different editing processes.  I’ve learned so much since my first book, but there are so many levels of review necessary to create a good finished product.

Did you hire a graphic artist for your book cover? Were you actively involved in the creation?
For the Bend-Bite-Shift Trilogy and my MAUCs Series I’ve been doing my own book covers.  I enjoy doing them and it’s fun for me to experiment with stock photos to get just the right look.  However, I’m very excited that I was able to hire Stephanie Nelson with Once Upon a Time Book Covers to make the three covers for my next series, For Love of Fae Trilogy.  She did a beautiful job!

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
I’m on Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Createspace (paperbacks) and All Romance Ebooks. 

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Sometimes it’s very difficult, but the marketing side can be fun.  I love doing interviews like this and also interacting with fans on facebook and twitter.  I think it’s important to balance both.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
It’s important to have people to support your work when you’re trying to successfully self-publish, so I’ve found my most important tool to be my circle of supporters.  These are folks who are in the business and a few who are not.  They prop me up when I’m down and give me a swift kick in the pants when I need to buck up and most importantly they cheer me on along the way.

What’s next for you?
Ooo!  I love this part.  I have so many irons in the fire and I’m so excited about all of them.  Right now I’m finishing up a contemporary romance called All for Hope through Hayson Publishing.  Right after that I’m going to get back to Tangled Up in Trouble, the second in my MAUCs Series.  And then later this year I’ll start the For Love of Fae Trilogy which will continue the story began in the Bend-Bite-Shift Trilogy!  Lots of exciting stuff going on!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

GRAMMAR GIRL: Proper usage of "Because" "Due to" "As"

Wordy Ways to Say “Because”
First, let’s disparage all the wordy ways to express the meaning “because.” There are quite a few: “due to the fact that,” “owing to the fact that,” “on account of,” and “on the grounds that,” for example. If you use “because” instead of those beasts, you can save up to four words.
You should also avoid “the reason is because.” For example, a redundant but romantic windbag might say, “The reason I love you is because of your kindness.” Why not be concise and romantic instead? Just say, “I love you because you’re kind.” Some might prefer “the reason is that,” but that is also wordy.
“Due to” or “Because”?
Now let’s discuss “due to” and “because.” As happens so often these days, there’s a traditional way and a rebel way. The traditional view is that you should use “due to” only as an adjective, usually following the verb “to be”. For example, if you say, “The cancellation was due to rain,” the words “due to” modify “cancellation.” That sentence is a bit formal, but it fits the traditionalist rule.
If you want to be more casual, you’ll say, “It was cancelled because of rain.” According to purists, you’re not allowed to say, “It was cancelled due to rain” because “due to” doesn’t have anything to modify. Purists argue that “due to” is an adjective; it shouldn’t be a compound preposition.
Very few of us are thinking about adjectives and compound prepositions when we speak, so it may be difficult to know when you’re using “due to” as an adjective. Strunk & White suggest using “due to” when you can replace it with “attributable to,” whereas in her book Woe is I Patricia O'Connor proposes substituting “caused by” or “resulting from.” She explains that if a sentence begins with “due to,” as in “Due to inclement weather, school was canceled,” the sentence is “probably wrong.”
So if you find yourself agreeing with traditionalists—or if your writing will be judged by one—use “due to” if you can substitute “attributable to,” “caused by,” or “resulting from.” And don’t use it at the beginning of a sentence.
Now let’s be rebellious. Fowler's Modern English Usage points out that the objection to “due to” as a compound preposition is “an entirely 20c phenomenon, but it begins to look as if this use of ‘due to’ will form part of the natural language of the 21c”. The American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style agrees, stating that “The tide has turned toward accepting ‘due to’ as a full-fledged preposition.”
If you’re a purist, go ahead and avoid “due to” as a compound preposition, but understand that the majority may soon be against you.

After reviewing the evidence, we say if you’re a purist, go ahead and avoid “due to” as a compound preposition, but understand that the majority may soon be against you. Whichever way you feel about “due to,” remember that our easy-to-use friend “because” is often standing at attention thinking, "You could use me. Pick me!"
Other Times to Use “Due to”
You don’t have to ban “due to” completely. This phrase can mean “payable to” or “supposed to”. For example, you could say, “I ask that you pay what is due to me.” Here, you are asking for money that someone owes you. You could also say, “The plane is due to arrive at noon,” meaning the plane should arrive at 12.
“Since” or “Because”?
Strict grammarians may not like it, but “since” and “because” can be synonyms. My dictionary confirms it. “Since I love you, let’s get married” means the same thing as “Because I love you, let’s get married.” (Yes, you can use “because” at the beginning of a sentence.)
Fussy grammarians might be a teensy bit right in some cases, though. The word “since” often refers to how much time has passed, as in “Since yesterday, all I’ve thought about is you.” Sometimes, a sentence with “since” can be interpreted in two ways, and that is when you should avoid using “since” to mean “because.” Take this ambiguous sentence:
“Since they spoke, she’s had second thoughts.” (“Since” could mean “from the time that” or “because.”)

A similar problem arises with the word “as,” which can also mean “because,” so keep those little grammarians perched on your shoulder to make sure you don’t write an ambiguous sentence. Granted, it is hard to know when you’re being unintentionally ambiguous. Spend some time away from your writing and then look at it again with fresh eyes, or you could always rope in a friend.
To sum up, English offers many ways to express “because.” Some are wordy and should be avoided due to the fact that they are wordy. (Did you get that? We just made a joke!) Others, like “since” and “as,” need to be used carefully, since you never know if you’ll confuse your readers.

Monday, January 21, 2013


Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. King, both a Baptist minister and civil-rights activist, had a seismic impact on race relations in the United States, beginning in the mid-1950s. Among many efforts, King headed the SCLC. Through his activism, he played a pivotal role in ending the legal segregation of African-American citizens in the South and other areas of the nation, as well as the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, among several other honors. King was assassinated in April 1968, and continues to be remembered as one of the most lauded African-American leaders in history, often referenced by his 1963 speech, "I Have a Dream."

"I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land."
– Martin Luther King Jr.

Full text of "I Have A Dream" Speech, August 28, 1963:

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.
But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.
In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

Friday, January 18, 2013

Sneak Peek: THE MARRIAGE CAPER by award-winning author SANDRA EDWARDS

I’m so pleased to welcome best-selling romance author, Sandra Edwards, back to the blog. She’s happy to give my readers a sneak peek of her forth-coming novel, THE MARRIAGE CAPER, sequel to THE MARRIAGE BARGAIN. Be sure to look for this book in Spring 2013.

Andre de Laurent hated these small, intimate dinner parties at the house. He was always expected to attend, even on nights like this when it was just the family and one of his sister Lecie’s friends.
The pre-dinner cocktails had barely started. He didn’t have to look at his watch to know dinner would be served in approximately thirty-five minutes. Enough time—as Tasha had once said—for everyone to get a good buzz going.
Tasha. He wished she was here. He missed her, never having the good fortune of seeing her often enough.
“Andre...” His brother’s voice broke into his thoughts. Funny, he hadn’t noticed when Julian had moved to his side in front of the majestic fireplace made of natural stone. In the winter, the heat permeated a calming effect along with the warmth. Too bad it was the dead of summer. Andre could use a little calming.
He looked up into Julian’s mirror-like eyes. Both were a Pacific-blue, but Andre’s were a shade lighter than Julian’s. The same with their hair. Julian’s was darker and curlier. Big brother was taller too. Even though Andre had heard more than one woman say that he, Andre, was the better looking brother, that hadn’t stopped women from throwing him over for Julian. Being the heir to the de Laurent fortune had its own appeal.
And then there was Lecie, Andre and Julian’s younger half sister. She was her mother’s daughter. Blonde hair and blue eyes, just like Claudette.
Andre had to admit that after Claudette married his father, she’d stepped in and been a wonderful mother to both him and Julian. All things considered, they were a close family, though Papa was prone to meddling in their lives.
Now that Papa could no longer interfere in Julian’s love life—thanks to Julian’s solid marriage with Camille—that could mean only one thing. Andre was next. But Andre wasn’t interested in marrying. Not in the least.
Andre leaned toward Julian, and whispered, “How long do you suppose it will be before we can make an escape?”
“Papa’s got his eye on you, little brother,” Julian said, almost laughing.
“Whatever for?”
“I suppose you’ll be his new pet project.”
Andre groaned. “Tell me you’re joking.” He cast a quick, stealth-like glance around the grand salon where Papa liked to impress his guests. The main parlor was directly in the middle of Pacifique de Lumière, Andre’s family home—that Julian would one day inherit—and it had been impressing people for more than four hundred years.
“Papa has been up to something.” Julian paused to knock back his cocktail. “Mysterious trips up to Avignon. More than once in the last month.”
Avignon? That’s where Andre and Julian’s late mother was from. Why was Papa going up there? Andre shook his head. It mattered little. Nothing Papa threw at him could persuade Andre to become the subject of his experimentations.
Deidra, Lecie’s friend, sidled up to Andre’s side. She’d had a crush on Andre for years, he knew that, but he’d never wanted to hurt the mousy little girl’s feelings, and he wasn’t about to start now.
“Deidra, we haven’t seen much of you lately.” He gave her a friendly smile because he doubted she attained many of those. “I hope all is well with your parents.”
“They’re fine.” She glanced away as her cheeks turned red. “I’ve been spending some time in the States with my grandmother.”
Andre grinned. “I’ve been spending some time in the States myself. California.”
“I’ve heard. Florida here.” Deidra’s tone remained cheerful, but her face showed her remorse over his reason for the trips to the US.
“Who knows...maybe you’ll find your own reason for visiting Florida.” Andre gave her a wink. “Other than your grandmother.”
From the corner of his eye, Andre didn’t miss Parker, Pacifique de Lumière’s butler, whispering in Papa’s ear. Seconds later, both men scrambled out of the parlor.
* * *
Maurice de Laurent hurried down the hallway and slipped inside his study, closing the door behind him. Traversing the dimly-lit room proved no problem for him. His feet knew where every obstacle lay and instinctively avoided them.
He settled himself behind his desk and pulled the receiver off the telephone’s base, laying it against his ear. “Maurice de Laurent.” After the simple greeting, he listened intently, showing little emotion. Once the message had been relayed, he said, “thank you for calling,” and hung up the phone.
It was over. His late wife’s uncle, Edouard Renault had died. 

Author bio:
Sandra is an award-winning author of romance. She has eclectic tastes, penning tales in a variety of genres such as paranormal (mostly time travel and reincarnation), contemporary and suspense. She lives in the U.S. (west coast) with her husband, two kids, four dogs and one very temperamental feline. Sandra's books often push the envelope and step outside the boundaries of conventional romance. For more info on Sandra's books, visit her website at