Tour Stop & Excerpt #2: You Can't Force Love by Marie Drake

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Title: YOU CAN’T FORCE LOVE
Author: Marie Drake  
Publisher: RedBird Books
Pages: 286  
Genre: Realistic Fiction

“A battered butterfly, he’d build Kimberly up, nurture her strength and watch her return to flight. He repressed the visions dancing in the back of his mind; her naked body brandished red flags and spurred him to stampede. Bulls and butterflies did not mix.”

Jordan Fry’s obsession is born in “You Can’t Force Love” by Marie Drake, Book I in the Locked Hearts Series.

From different towns and social backgrounds, Jordan Fry and Kimberly Orvine experience life-altering abuse, lose a parent and land in the same foster home. Angry, and self-deprecating, fiery redheaded Kimberly is deadset on lousy behavior and suffering the consequences, punishing herself for former sins. Scared by his inner darkness, pyromaniac Jordan has vowed to change for the better. He focuses on Kimberly as the key to his success, but she intends to make him break his promises. Unaware of Jordan’s atrocious actions in the past, she’s dangerously close to unleashing the evil he struggles to contain during their epic battle of wills. Can they both survive?

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Book Excerpt #2 -


“Strawberry, my favorite.” She tugged the lollipop from its wrapper and slipped it into her mouth. Her eyes crinkled in the sun. She dragged the candy over her lips with a final sucking motion, lifted her hand and let the sunshine filter through the gem-shaped sugar. “Pretty,” she said.

Pain struck Jordan again, stronger. It radiated through his lower body. Lily held his hand and walked along the road’s edge. She stopped at a red and white toolshed at the corner of her backyard. Jordan peeked into her driveway, no car.

“Just one time, right?” Lily asked. She closed her eyes.

Jordan smothered her with his mouth; she panicked and struggled, but he closed in and restrained her. His mind emptied, his eyes went blank; a blinding drive took over, and he pressed her to the ground. Tear-filled eyes didn’t dissuade him.

A horn honked, and a door slammed near the house; he froze. Lily’s dad carried grocery bags. Jordan rolled. She ran toward home; he traced her body’s imprint in the grass and discovered a shimmering deep-blue earring.

A vice clamped his arm, and with a yank, he met angry eyes; he cowered inches below Lily’s father’s face.




 



Follow rest of tour here!


Award-winning author, Marie Drake lives in a small town near Lake Ontario with her husband, four sons, and three rescue pups. With many years of experience in the Foster Care community and advocating for other victims and survivors, she specializes in realistic and psychological fiction depicting the lives of abuse sufferers; their obstacles, their triumphs, and their downfalls.


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BLOG TOUR & BOOK FEATURE: Where Wishes Grow...by Chris Sarracini

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WHERE WISHES GROW by Chris Sarracini, Children, 56 pp., $18.99 (paperback)



Title: WHERE WISHES GROW
Author: Chris Sarracini
Publisher: Brownridge Publishing
Pages: 56
Genre: Children’s Picture Book



Where Wishes Grow… is the story of eight-year-old Maggie, a pensive and courageous dreamer, whose big heart starts to break when her grandmother becomes bedridden and sick with no recovery in sight. Fortunately Maggie has some wishes in mind to breathe life into Nana and is about to learn the secret for making them come true.

Watching Nana’s health fail has been difficult for Maggie and so now much of her time is spent dreaming up wishes for ways she can help her. Maggie conjures up three wishes for Nana she desperately wants to come true: for Nana to see again to enjoy her favorite beautiful things, for her to walk again to visit her favorite places, and for her to speak again so that she and Maggie can sing their favorite songs. The problem is, with wishes this important, Maggie wants to be sure she can realize them; wishing upon stars that may be long dead or relying on birthday candle hoopla just won’t cut it. Thankfully, Maggie’s mother knows the secret for turning wishes into reality…you’ve got to write each wish down and then go plant each one in just the right place. And, as Maggie discovers, retelling the story of how each wish was planted turns out to be the most magical part.

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Amazon





Chris Sarracini has been working in the comic book and film industries for over 15 years. In addition to writing for a number of successful comic book favorites including TRANSFORMERS, STREET FIGHTER and DARK MINDS, his own creations include FATE OF THE BLADE and CASA NOSTRA. As a screenwriter, he has worked with Universal Pictures, Disney and Nasser Entertainment. His most recent publication is the children’s picture book WHERE WISHES GROW…

Chris lives with his family in Toronto where he continues to create and write.

Website Address: www.chrissarracini.com
Twitter Address: www.twitter.com/chris_sarracini



http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

Aren't the Emperor's New Clothes Grand by Philip M. Fishman

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AREN'T THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES GRAND by Philip M. Fishman, Satirical Critique, 112 pp., $12.95 (paperback)

If you love Trump, sorry, this book is not for you.  If, on the other hand, you are horrified at what this man is doing,  I think you will enjoy it.   I read a very interesting book recently that discussed despots and their common characteristics. What, then, are the characteristics of a despot? They attack free speech and the press. They threaten political opponents with prison. They scapegoat certain minorities to rally their base and divert attention from other problems. They engage in nepotism and use their office for personal and family enrichment. They attack and vilify the judiciary, legitimate law enforcement, and essentially anyone in government who is not considered absolutely loyal.  And, through a type of mass hysteria, they create a cult following.

Does any of this sound familiar? No, our President is not a despot..yet; but individuals do not become despots spontaneously- they evolve. My  book, AREN’T THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES GRAND, is a satirical critique.   As a satire, the book is humorous; but the subject is dead serious. Without hyperbole, I truly believe Trump is a threat to our Constitution and Republic; and I think if you read my book objectively, you will probably come to the same conclusion.

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Chapter 4
Inferiority Complex

          Mirror, mirror on the wall; who is the fairest one of  all?” 
          Donald has certainly started out the new year (2018) with a bang.  Here are his latest quotes, apparently triggered by Wolfe's just published book, Fire and Fury, questioning his fitness for the Presidency.  I am a very stable genius” 1 and “Actually throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being like, really smart.” 2  One needn't be a psychiatrist or have a PhD in psychology to recognize that Donald may have an ego problem.  And to a great many, that assertion is a gross understatement. 
        “...I will tell you this in a non-braggadocios way... there has never been a 10-month president that has accomplished what we have accomplished. That I can tell you. That I can tell you...And the numbers going up are going to do much better than anybody anticipates. In fact, they're going to say that Trump is the opposite of an exaggerator -- the exact opposite...They're going to start saying .. that he <Trump> ought to be a little bit more optimistic because his predictions were low, can you believe it? You know, a year and a half ago they were saying, oh he can't do that. Now they're saying, hmm, that was quick...And remember, I was the one when I was here the last time, I said, we're going to have Christmas again; I was the one that said you go to the department stores and you see Happy New Year and you see red and you see snow and you see all these things. You don't see Merry Christmas anymore...With Trump as your president, we are going to be celebrating Merry Christmas again, and it's going to be done with a big beautiful tax cut. Thank you everybody. God bless you. Thank you. Thank you everybody. Thank you very much.” 3
       In case you haven't noticed, Donald seems to rely on certain words an awful lot.  He apparently likes the words great, greatest, best, and very.  His most repeated phrase, “Make America Great Again” is continually  echoed by his supporters.  But what's that got to do with the title of this chapter?  It is simply that an individual that obsesses about himself and is always defensive to criticism is a very insecure person.  He needs that continual assurance that he is important.  It has been reported that Donald watches TV at least four hours a day, switching channels when he is not the main news.
           If bragging was the only problem with an insecure person; it wouldn't be so bad.  One could always turn him off;  but a person with an inferiority complex has to prove it. He needs to prove it to himself as well as others.  He does that by bullying. 
         Bullies like to intimidate and take advantage of people they perceive to be weaker than they, which serves to enhance their own self-worth.  They want to feel superior; and they want other people to feel that they (bullies) are superior.  
             Trump's alleged sexual harassment of women fits the pattern.  He, of course, has strenuously denied the allegations; but, interestingly for someone not unacquainted with lawsuits, has never bothered to sue for libel.  At the time of this writing there are nineteen women who have alleged sexual harassment or worse. 
          And, as would be expected, he has not confined his bullying to sexual aggression.  Donald habitually denigrates women that refuse to kowtow to him or those he considers unattractive.  During the first debate of the primaries, Megyn Kelly, one of the moderators, asked him about his put down of women.  She followed up, referring to his comment to a contestant on The Celebrity Apprentice show, that... “it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees.  Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?”
          He evaded the question but later in a tweet attacked Kelly as unprofessional and “not very good.”  He obviously was not very happy with Kelly's questions and later referred to her as a “bimbo” and “highly overrated.”
         In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine after the debate Donald denigrated Carly Fiorina, one of the seventeen Republican candidates.  Look at that face.  Would anyone vote for that?  Can you imagine that, the face of our next President?” 4
          And then there was one woman, Jessica Leeds, who accused Trump of groping her on a plane.  His comment, “Look at her. She would not be my first choice.”5
          During the campaign, he viciously mocked a disabled reporter. And then there are the small contractors and employees mentioned in the previous chapter.  As mentioned, there have been numerous lawsuits, but the independent contractor generally finds himself out-gunned by Trump's lawyers, who are on retainer.
          There's another thing about bullies.  They are generally cowards.  That is the reason they prey on those they presume are weaker.  Their inferiority complex shows up very clearly when the person being bullied stands up to the bully.  Typically, the bully fades away because he is really a coward.   Was the bone spur really the reason for Donald's avoiding military service or was there possibly another reason?
           Furthermore, Donald's alleged history of aggressive behavior toward women not only fits the pattern of an individual suffering from an inferiority complex; but that of a coward as well.   One can only imagine what the outcome would be if a woman he ever accosts has training in martial arts.  Of course, since he focuses on attractive females; women of his own size need have no fear. 
        In January 2016, one week before the Iowa caucusses and two days before the second Republican primary debate, Trump announced that he would be boycotting the Fox News sponsored event.   A few days earlier, he had hinted that he just might do that after it was announced that Megyn Kelly would again be a co-moderator.  Trump tweeted that Kelly was biased and should not be a moderator.  Senator Ted Cruz chastised Trump and asked if he couldn't stand up to Kelly, how could voters anticipate that he would stand up to Putin and the Ayatolla.  Following a public backlash against his decision, Trump announced that he would be hosting an event to benefit Wounded Warriors on the same night as the debate.  Cruz responded by challenging Trump to a one- on- one debate “any time any place” prior to the Iowa caucusses.  Trump's campaign manager replied that Mr. Trump would be happy to have a one-on- one debate with Cruz if and when he was the last man standing.  As it would turn out, Cruz challenged Trump twice more, once prior to the Wisconsin primary; and then again, just prior to the Indiana primary.  At that point in time, the race had come down to essentially two men, Trump and Cruz; so, the condition of “last man standing” had been met.  Nevertheless, there was no debate.   
          Finally, a coward doesn't have the courage to own up to his  shame and frequently covers his cowardice by resorting to fanciful depictions of heroism.  After the horrific school shooting of February 2018 in Parkland Florida where a sheriff's deputy failed to enter the school and confront the shooter; Trump said he would have run in unarmed and tackled the assailant.6  What a hero!  We can only wish that he had been there.











At 79, Philip M. Fishman has a dual role since his wife’s stroke ten years ago.  The main one is as a caregiver; but when he is not busy with her, he is a writer.

He loves to blog on Face Book; but he has also self-published four books.  The first was a memoir of a brief teaching career after retirement, titled, Teacher’s Gotta Dance.  The second was a rebuttal to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.  His title is A Really Inconvenient Truth- The Case Against the Theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming.  For that book, he relied on his scientific background as well as a lot of research.  His third was a near future political novel, titled, Secession- A Republic Reborn.  Several sub-plots include the subject of his previous book as well as some innovative approaches to dealing with Islamic terrorism, our drug problem, immigration, and tax reform.  His latest is his most controversial of all, titled, Aren’t the Emperor’s New Clothes Grand.  It’s a    
satirical critique of our President and is a take-off of Hans Cristian Andersen’s fable, The Emperor’s New Clothes.  The reference is to Trump’s cult-like following, which seemingly ignores all his lies and broken promises.  Fishman gives an iron-clad guarantee that if you like Trump; you will hate his book.

SOCIAL LINKS:

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#WednesdayGuest: 'Going for Broke' Shannon Medisky @shannonmedisky

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Going for Broke: How to Suffer Well, Christian/Devotional/Nonfiction, 110 pp., $8.99 (paperback) $4.99 (kindle)


Title: GOING FOR BROKE: HOW TO SUFFER WELL
Author: Shannon Medisky
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 61
Genre: Christian Nonfiction/Devotional

Hardship hurts and suffering sucks.
But there’s very important work—and rewards—we need to be occupied with in the middle of it all.
Suffering has a way of stretching us beyond ourselves. It prompts us to stretch outside of our current comfort zones. But no matter how we feel, we don’t have to be buried by our challenges and circumstances. Instead, we can recognize that God has planted us right where we are for a reason: It’s time to get growing.
Here’s how.

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Amazon / B&N




INTRODUCTION
 
Einstein once said, "God doesn't play dice." He also made it very clear that he didn't believe in a personal God, but rather he trusted that there were underlying laws of nature that made perfect sense of some of the science (mainly quantum mechanics) that even he couldn't wrap his brilliant mind around.
Einstein was an incredible man of science, but he also appreciated that he couldn't make sense of everything. Yet, even in the midst of this, Einstein professed that there still had to be a rhyme and reason to it all. Even if he or current science couldn't make sense of it, Einstein held the belief that there was still a structure, an order behind it all.
I believe the same is true for suffering. I believe this because I've seen evidence of it firsthand.
To put it bluntly, I watch my son die a slow, painful death daily. He suffers terribly, and my heart suffers, too. My heart breaks each time he cries out to me for comfort and relief, and there's nothing I can do.
My head is weary of keeping tabs of his daily intake of protein. Too little and he becomes catabolic, metabolizing his own muscle tissue. Too much, and ammonia levels rise in his blood stream causing debilitating headaches and irreversible cognitive loss. There's no cure, and that's just the tip of the medical and genetic iceberg.
There's also the GRIN2B genetic mutation that causes my son debilitating joint pain, short and long-term memory loss and yet more metabolic issues. His specific mutation causes his body to convert the amino acid called arginine to histidine. This poor kid can't seem to eat enough food to ever really feel full because he can't eat more than about 15 grams of protein per day.
Think about that for a moment.
Imagine being underweight with low muscle tone, experiencing constant headaches and joint pain and then never feeling fully satiated…and that's when he actually feels up to eating at all.
It's hard enough to watch Mark suffer, to walk through all of this with him. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to be him.
Mark’s physical suffering alone is staggering to imagine. Prior to joining our family through adoption, Mark was subject to severe abuse and neglect. Deprived of basic nutrition, physical touch and comfort as an infant, it's not surprising that he suffered cognitively, developmentally and behaviorally as a result.
I share all of this because I've heard it said that one should write about what one knows. The last ten years have taught me quite a bit about suffering: how it feels, the toll it takes, and just how unsettling it is when looking ahead holds no promise of relief or respite. I know how it feels to not be able to quite catch your breath, to feel completely and utterly helpless, to vacillate between wondering if you're (really) strong enough to keep going or when exactly you're going to fall apart.
It's from this place that I write about suffering, an open, raw place of complete transparency, because frankly I don't think there's enough out there about it. Everyone experiences hardship at some point. Christ even told us to expect it (John 16:33). Yet most every blog post, podcast and article I’ve come across covers how to get out of it, how to avoid it or—even worse—does a tremendous disservice by quickly trying to sugarcoat it. Suffering is rarely if ever a choice. It’s a natural part of the human experience. So, why isn’t there more help out there on how to do it well?
I believe in the power of prayer. I know God can—and still does—move mountains. I also know that God allows suffering, too. Suffering is a part of His plan. If it weren't, Noah would've never been stuck on that big boat after watching everything he’d ever known be engulfed in water. Joseph never would've been thrown into a pit, sold into slavery and imprisoned. Jesus Himself would never have been ridiculed, tortured and crucified.
During my prayers for Mark's relief and the easing of my own emotional burden, none of this escapes me.
We don't have to relish suffering. We don't have to run after it. It's completely natural to want to avoid it. Even Christ prayed to the Father and asked that suffering be taken from Him if it was within God's will (Mark 14:36). But sometimes suffering is a part of the plan, a piece of the story that God is weaving together in our lives. If we know this is true, that sometimes suffering is a part of the Lord’s greater plan, then doesn't it make sense to prepare for it as best we can?
It has been said that misery loves company, so I took the hint. I dove into Scripture and surrounded myself with what felt like old friends, but I visited with them in different ways. While their stories were nothing new, I connected with what their emotional experiences must have been in brand new and very personal ways. I noted what they did and how God responded to their thoughts, words and actions. I found patterns and parallels. In my searching, I discovered evidence time and time again that God truly does meet us in our mess.
Jesus said, "What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops" (Matthew 10:27 ESV).
Jesus will tell us things in the dark when we're unsure and insecure. It is in this darkness where He whispers to us, sharing things that are only accessible when we're willing, able and waiting to hear.
Suffering is often the place of this darkness.
During suffering we're broken enough to stop listening to ourselves, and instead tune in more carefully to His whispers. Ironically enough, it's usually in the middle of hardship where our relationship with Jesus can truly grow the most. Whether we like it or not, hardship often pushes us out of our comfort zones. Suffering enables us to grow through what we go through.
From this perspective, what a tremendous opportunity suffering can be!
Yes, hardship hurts.
Yes, suffering sucks.
But there's very important work—and rewards—we need to be occupied with in the middle of it all. That's exactly how this book is different. In the pages that follow, you won't discover how to pray your way out of challenges and pain. Quite the opposite, actually. You'll be encouraged to go for broke, to face suffering head on in anticipation of meeting God personally in brand new ways. Suffering has a way of stretching us beyond ourselves. It prompts us to reach outside of our current comfort zones.
This book has been designed to help you take full advantage of this, to essentially help you not waste your pain. If God allows us to suffer, then we can rest assured that it isn't and won't be for not (Romans 8:28).
Suffering isn't just an experience or state we're in. It's a skill, too.
We can squander our experiences and energy trying to spin our wheels to get out of suffering as soon as we can (and sometimes futilely so) or we can choose to suffer well. We can be intentional about how we respond to suffering. We can work on ourselves, actively seeking to grow into all that God wants us to be. We can work on our listening skills, discovering how to quiet ourselves and the chaos around us. We can practice and grow in patience as we wait on God, His will, and His timing. In short, we can recognize with our choices and our actions that, yes, suffering is in God's plan for us, too.
If you're suffering now, I hope this book serves as a tool to help you feel less helpless. I hope that it helps you discover new opportunities to grow closer to and experience God in ways you've never known before. I hope that it helps you realize that you are not buried by your current circumstance or hardship even if that's exactly how you feel, but rather God has planted you right where you are for a reason: It's just time to get growing.











 








“Shannon’s writing is infused with an abiding passion, a marked sensitivity to the needs of her readers and a tangible wisdom gleaned from real life experience,” Danielle D.
Shannon Medisky is a leading expert in struggling with stress, screwing up and seeking God in the midst of it all. Sometimes funny but always real, Shannon’s writing is infused with practical ideas designed to help others create positive, real change in their daily lives. In short, Shannon writes about how to intentional move from simply “going on” to growing on—by God’s grace.
Shannon’s articles, insights and ideas have been featured in Exceptional Parents, Adoptive Families, Hybrid Mom, Mothering and Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family. For the past nine years, Shannon’s also worked as contributing writer and curriculum designer for OneHope, a global nonprofit ministry devoted to sharing the life-changing message of the Gospel with youth and children worldwide. To learn more, visit GraceToGrowOn.com.

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#TuesdayGuest: Taking Control: Rick's Story by Morgan Malone

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Taking Control: Rick's Story by Morgan Malone, Contemporary Romance, 170 pp., $10.99 (paperback) $2.99 (Kindle)


Title: TAKING CONTROL: RICK’S STORY
Author: Morgan Malone
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 170
Genre: Contemporary Romance



Summer on the Jersey Shore and all Rick Sheridan wants is some solitude at his beach house. Then he spots a lean, leggy blonde coming out of the surf and his plans are shot to hell. And the dangerous looking knife strapped to her arm tells him this is no damsel in distress. As a not-so retired Marine, at 51, Rick’s learned that nothing is for certain, plans can spin out of control and shit happens.

Wounded and weary from one too many wars, Britt Capshaw thought a summer at the Shore, hanging out in her family’s beach cottage, would help her heal. And figure out what to do with the rest of her life. Out of the military, disillusioned and distrustful of any two-legged male, Britt’s one love is Alex, the yellow Labrador retriever she rescued from Afghanistan.

Rick and Britt are immediately attracted to one another, but after years in combat, they are wary of letting down their guard, of giving up control. The summer heats up and fireworks are flying between them even after the Fourth of July. But, ghosts from their pasts haunt them and finally bring them face to face with some dark secrets that may destroy the fragile trust they’ve built.

Can Britt trust Rick with her dangerous past? Will Rick be able to let go of the rigid control he needs to keep Britt and himself safe from more heartbreak? These two brave souls fight against surrendering their hearts and finally finding love. Who will win?

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Amazon




He stood before the French doors to the deck, with a large mug of steaming black brew cradled in his hands, letting its warmth take away some of the chill that had surrounded him for the last several months. I’m freezing. And it’s not the air-conditioning. It’s my damn frozen heart. Rick pushed the doors open, letting the heat of the sun and the smell of the ocean sweep into his house. He stepped outside, breathing deep, relaxing just a little. Yeah. This is what I need. A summer at the Shore, a few projects, and plenty of quiet—then I’ll be back to my old self. Chuckling as he mentally reminded himself of just how “old” his self was, Rick raised the cup to take a long sip of coffee.

He saw the figure emerging from the waves almost directly in front of his cottage at the same moment he heard the loud barking of a nearby dog.

What the hell?

She was a modern-day Botticelli’s Venus, with the waves foaming around her legs. Long, long legs, lean and tan, disappeared into a bright blue bikini bottom, just visible under the blue and white swim T-shirt that covered a long, muscular torso. Her arms were raised, her hands brushed back sodden strands of platinum blond hair. A swim mask dangled from her left elbow, dropping down into her hand as she lowered her arms. When she stepped from the surf, the woman gave an all-over body shake, drops of ocean water flying off her, glistening for an instant like diamonds in the early morning sun. Then she dropped to her knees so suddenly that Rick lurched forward, splashing coffee as he looked down for a place to leave the heavy mug before he rushed to her aid.

He needn’t have bothered. From the deck of the cottage to his left, a huge yellow dog was bounding down the wooden stairs two at a time in a mad dash to the woman. She stretched out her arms to the animal just before the happy hound collided into her, rolling her into the sand. The woman’s laugh floated on the ocean breeze. Rick straightened, still grasping his cup of coffee and stepped back into the shadows cast over his deck by the second-floor balcony. From his vantage point, he watched the woman ruffle the dog’s fur, the animal prancing and shaking in spasms of pure pleasure. When had he ever experienced such unfettered joy? Rick couldn’t remember. A long, long time ago…maybe.

Who was she? The owners of the cottage next door were an older couple who spent half the year in Florida and half the year on the Shore. Could she be a granddaughter or niece? Or had the couple decided to rent this year? Rick made a mental note to contact his property manager who handled many of the shore homes and make inquiries. He had not planned on having to deal with a stranger; he just wanted some peace and quiet.

The woman and dog were walking up from the water’s edge. Rick eased toward the open doors of his living room, thinking to disappear into the shadows. He just didn’t feel like an early morning encounter with anyone, certainly not the mermaid with those incredible legs who was ambling slowly in his general direction. He stopped suddenly when something caught the corner of his eye. A glint of sunlight on metal. He reached for his pistol, but his waistband was empty. Damn. What is that woman doing with a diving knife strapped to her right bicep? Who the hell is she?




 









Morgan Malone is the pen name of a retired lawyer who turned in her judicial robes to write romantic memoir and sexy contemporary romance, which always features silver foxes and the independent women who tame them.

Morgan fell in love with romantic heroes after reading her mother’s first edition of “Gone with the Wind” when she was 12 years old. Rhett Butler became the standard by which she measured all men. Some have met the mark, most have failed to even come close and one or two surpassed even Rhett’s dark and dangerous allure.

Morgan lives near Saratoga Springs, NY with her beloved chocolate Lab. She can be found on occasion drinking margaritas and dancing at local hostelries, but look for her most often in independent book stores and the library, searching for her next great love in tales of romance, history, adventure and lust. When she can’t find the perfect man, she retreats to her upstairs office and creates him, body and soul, for her pleasure and for yours. Remember: love, like wine, gets better with age.

Her recent novel is the contemporary romance, Taking Control: Rick’s Story.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK


 

#TuesdayGuest: Daniel & Maureen Kenner, Authors of Room for Grace #memoir

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ROOM FOR GRACE by Daniel & Maureen Kenner, Memoir, 179 pp., $16.00 (paperback) $2.99 (Kindle)


Title: ROOM FOR GRACE
Author: Daniel Kenner & Maureen Kenner
Publisher: Silver Boot Imprints
Pages: 179
Genre: Memoir & Biography

Stage 4 cancer for her and a debilitating disease for her husband: life crashed down in an instant. Maureen Kenner found resilience, however, in the lessons she learned from her Special Ed students in Providence, RI. Her students lived with their hearts opened despite struggles of the highest magnitude. Through these students, Maureen gains courage, humor, and the strength of spirit to face her devastating realities, head on. Maureen’s oral history was captured by her son Daniel who tenderly wrought this book out of their recorded conversations. Through anecdotes and hard-earned lessons, Maureen tackles challenge after challenge and reframes daily struggles with a positive outlook allowing her to transcend and conquer mortal fears with dignity and room for grace.

PRAISE:

“Maureen Kenner was one of those people who brightened every room she entered. Thanks to Room for Grace, that light is not extinguished. Although her story shares great sadness, Room for Grace is a book of hope and a celebration of life that sheds Maureen’s light on us all.”
—Ann Hood, Author of The Obituary Writer and The Red Thread

“In these pages, you will find a story like no other. Maureen’s story is one of courage and love, a story that will move you to your core.”
—David Flink, Chief Empowerment Officer, Eye to Eye

“The piercing light of Maureen’s compassion, love and intelligence, will leave every reader wanting to reach out in the spirit of service and live life to the fullest.”
—Annie Lanzillotto, Author of Hard Candy: Caregiving, Mourning, and Stagelight

“Buddy Kenner was a big-hearted teacher, universally beloved by all, a warrior for the arts and their importance in the curriculum. Amazing and unique guy. Read this book.”
—Tom Chandler, Rhode Island Poet Laureate Emeritus

Room for Grace is available at Amazon.


STAGE 4

Mary Poppins was my nurse on Day 6. “Pretend you’re at summer camp,” she joked, encouraging every step I made toward healing and recovery. “We’ve got a whole bunch of activities for you to choose from.”
“But instead of Newcomb and color wars and collecting orange salamanders or dancing to Tommy James and the Shondells,” I said, “today’s activities at the hospital include pain med management, ice chip crunching, and Dammit! Doll whacking…”
“Don’t forget IV pole walking,” she teased. “I always know when you’re coming because your IV pole is the squeakiest.” She tenderly guided me back into bed.
“But instead of early morning skinny dipping,” I said, “someone signed me up for the johnny gown flash mob.”
That really made her laugh. “I wish all my patients worked like you.”
“Well, you help make it easy,” I admitted. “I loved sleepaway camp. I’d pack my trunk with stamped stationary and Razzles, pick-up sticks and jacks. And my Magic 8-Ball. My bunkmates and I thought we could predict the future. Go figure. I could never have predicted this.” She wrapped a warm blanket around my feet. “One year,” I continued, “I was the last camper to be picked up and, on the way home, my sisters teased me that my parents wanted to leave me there.”
“That’s one of the reasons I love my job here,” she smiled. “The staff is a family. We’re planning a barbecue together this weekend.”
It was August 2013. 
Dr. David Sanfred, our family practitioner, walked into my room at 6:45 a.m. and stood at the end of my hospital bed. “Maureen, we’re getting ready to send you home soon,” he said. And then, “It’s time to talk.”
It was time to face what I’d avoided all week.
“I’m sorry to tell you, but it’s very serious.” Though by our family’s side for many difficult situations, I’d never heard Dr. Sanfred’s tone this methodical. “We thought it was Stage 1 but the cancer metastasized from the colon to your umbilicus and has advanced to Stage 4.”
The hospital symphony went silent. I turned my head and watched the early morning sunlight peek through the window. “Is it curable?”
He gave my hand a soft pat. “No, it is not curable.”
I heard myself gasp.
I was in a panorama shot. I saw Mary Poppins outside the thin curtain share morning notes with the nurse coming on. They whispered, glanced sympathetically in my direction. I struggled for breath and gripped the Dammit! Doll.
“Will I be able to go back to my classroom?” 
“No,” he cautioned, “you will not be able to teach right now. But soon. We hope.”
The tears kept coming. Mary Poppins came back into the room. She reached out and hugged me gently, with so much affection I could feel her heart break.










Daniel Kenner rocked out to Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” while other infants sang “Mary Had A Little Lamb.” A proud member of Actor’s Equity, SAG-AFTRA, and National Players Tour 60, Daniel was a Presidential Arts Scholar at George Washington University and Scholarship recipient at The British American Drama Academy. Directed the Washington D.C. premier of Sarah Kane’s Crave. Author of the manuscript, Roux. Winner of the Rhode Island Playwriting Festival for his World War II letters home drama, Fields of Sacrifice. Adapted Les Misérables for high school stages.

Maureen Kenner’s heart was in the classroom. For thirty-five years she was a Special Education teacher in the Providence Public Schools. Born and raised in Dobbs Ferry, New York, Maureen graduated from Rhode Island College with a degree in education and later earned a Master’s Degree from Providence College. Maureen was a vital influence at the Vartan Gregorian Elementary School at Fox Point, working tirelessly as a mentor for the betterment of all children and their families. Honored with many accolades throughout her career, Maureen was awarded Providence Teacher of the Year in 2003. Living with cancer, as a model patient, Maureen exemplified integrity, courage, grace, and hope. For thirty-one years, through sickness and health, Maureen was the beloved soul mate to the late Jacob “Buddy” Kenner, her intense love recognized in 2016 as a Rhode Island Caregiver of the Year.

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