22 October, 2019

#SpecialFeature :: #Interview with Jatin Kuberkar, #Author of The Treasure Syndicate


*** Special Feature - October 2019 ***


About the Book:
It happened at the dawn of Kaliyug when demon Kali resolved to enter Aryavarta and encountered the last Pandav king. A curse, followed by a blissful enlightenment gave the world its first ‘Nidhi-Palak’ or The Guardian of Treasure Troves in the form of Lord Kuber’s mortal son, Suta. In time, the Guardian blood line is scattered all over the world.
The Treasure Syndicate is always a team of five;
Acharya Neelkanth Agnihotri is a committed Guardian. In the garb of an astrologer, he searches for hidden treasures. Dr. Mahesh secretly finances missions for Acharya, Kumar is favored by unfathomable luck, Jabbar is a legendary digger, and Srikanth is just a common man.
Bound by the elaborate framework of coincidence, destiny and fate, the Mission of the Syndicate is not a cake walk. The dangers are real, and the conditions are never favorable.
A haunting past awaits, as the mission turns upside down, mysteriously.


Get the book from Amazon!


An Interview with the Author

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
It was at a family party. It happened when I was entrusted the duty of looking after some pesky kids while their mothers were busy in arrangements. To engage them, I tried cooking up a story about a ‘magical pot’ which, to my surprise, became a hit with the lot. In fact, I was surprised with my own ability of cooking up a story so fast. After that, I started to write short stories for kids. I really don’t remember when it transformed into a passion and here I am…

What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your books?
Oh! I realized that I am not the person I see in the mirror. With each book I have written so far, I’ve realized, or rather discovered that there is still so much to explore about myself. Writing has been a reason of self-discovery to me.

How has your experience been different this time around from Cabbing All the Way?
The Treasure Syndicate is completely a different genre. It is a tale that offers a very curious mix of mythology, history, reality and fiction.
Cabbing all the way was easy to write because of its lightweight content and casual tone narration. But, Treasure Syndicate is a well thought, meticulously planned, and carefully executed work of reality-fiction. From the first draft until the book got published, it has undergone about 8 rewrites. It took me 4 long years to complete it.
Well, to be honest, ‘The Treasure Syndicate’ also is a gift from the Cab because, it was conceptualized over a 20-minute conversation with the cab driver.

Please share three interesting facts about the characters in your book.
The first draft of The Treasure Syndicate was 20 pages long, and believe me when I say it, 15 pages of it was just the character outline.

Acharya is like the central character in the book. This was a character I didn’t have any reference to. Moreover, I did not want to depict a stereotype astrologer…while I was waiting for an inspiration, a scene from one of the Amitabh bacchan’s movie rolled on the TV. That is when I got a reference for describing the character of Acharya Neelkanth Agnihotri!

Kumar is an adaption of the Cab driver who narrated me the story. The only thing that changes there is, the original guy cursed his ‘luck’ for being trapped in this treasure tale, whereas, the one in the book is actually an angel of Luck, without whom the Syndicate is not complete.

What kind of research goes into your book?
As I stated already, the story has its roots in a conversation with a cab driver. During our talk, he went through a lot of keywords that needed research.
Some of the keywords he had for me were, ‘Snakes’ and their connection to treasures, particularly the Red Sand Boa!
‘Unyielding treasures’ – he spoke about them and said that a cursed treasure could spell doom. When I research about this topic, I found many stories that connect treasures and curses.
‘Black magic and Vashikaran’ was another topic that I didn’t know about. One can always disregard them as blind faith but is that the final answer we’ve got? Well, that is where I see an intriguing tangle!

Treasure hunting in itself is a vast topic, but I am proud to say that it has not been explored or experienced with the perspective that I have presented/projected in my book.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Yes! there are secrets and there are undercurrents. The beauty of open-ended story telling is it is open for and (un)limited to readers imagination. It gives room for the reader to create a side story, or assume a background about some place or somebody, or the best one, keeps him wondering till the end!
In fact, I am going to announce a contest with regards to this. I want the readers to find 3 hidden secrets… the lucky one will get an Amazon Gift card worth 500! 😊

What did you do with your first check from your books?
I clicked a photo and posted it on social media! - This is not a joke…I did it. That is when many of my friends/relatives/coworkers and even some of my family members took me as a serious writer! And on that note – I am so here to stay…

Have you ever been on a literary pilgrimage? Do you plan to?
No. But one day I want to. I want to spend a month in Auroville (Pondicherry) writing a novella about self-discovery. I want to write a non-fiction on this topic and I don’t see any other place more inviting than Auroville…

If you were to turn into a literary character for 1 day, who would it be and why?
HARRY POTTER…I get to do whatever I want with the Wand and I can go where ever I want on the Broom!

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
Trust yourself… don’t be in a hurry to get published.
Creative stuff needs time! Give your inspiration a good amount of time to mature and keep working on it until your inner god tell you that you are done!

What are you currently working on?
I am working on a collection of short stories and a non-fiction. Both of these are still in very early stages.
Apart from this, I am also working on a story that seems to be a potential candidate for the next Treasure Syndicate’s mission!



About the Author:



Jatin Kuberkar is a software Architect and a hard-core Hyderabadi. When not tangled in software codes, Jatin lives his dream as an author, a musician, a toy maker, a philosopher and the list goes on. “The Treasure Syndicate” is Jatin’s latest book. It is an intriguing tale of a real-time treasure hunt.
He has authored two other books. “While I Was Waiting”, a collection of short stories, and “Cabbing all the Way”, a novel based on his real-life experience of travelling to work in a shared cab.
Jatin lives in Hyderabad with his mother, wife and son.





Social Links:
Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Goodreads

Giveaway:
3 paperback copies of ‘The Treasure Syndicate’ for Indian residents


a Rafflecopter giveaway

21 October, 2019

#CoverReveal :: Haskell Himself by Gary Seigel


Haskell Himself
Gary Seigel
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: January 19th 2020
Genres: Historical, LGBTQ+, Young Adult
Meet Haskell Hodge. At sixteen he’s already garnered some fame as a former child actor and star of a popular cereal commercial. But that doesn’t do much for him when he’s dumped at his aunt’s house in the suburbs of Los Angeles to face an assortment of neighborhood bullies.
He thinks he might be gay. In fact, he could be the only gay person in the valley, maybe on the entire planet. Even if he does manage to find a boyfriend, their relationship would have to be secret and invisible.
After all it’s 1966. And though Time Magazine claims the sexual revolution is in full swing, the freedoms straight people are enjoying don’t seem to apply to everyone. And as much as Haskell attempts to hide his true self, carefully navigating the tricky and risky terrain of being queer, he’s still taunted and teased relentlessly.
Rather than give in to the irrationality of this hate, Haskell fights back, eventually finding an unlikely outlet to vent his frustration and angst—playing a bully in a screen test for a major motion picture. If he plays his cards right, it could catapult him into Hollywood stardom.
Of course, like most things in life, it comes with a heavy price Haskell’s not certain he’s willing to pay.


Author Bio:
Gary Seigel was raised in Encino, California where his debut novel, Haskell Himself, takes place. After completing a PhD in English at Rutgers University, Gary taught at several colleges and universities, but his most memorable experience was a brief 12 week stint at the same high school he (and Haskell) graduated from, teaching side by side with some of the same teachers he once endured. Currently, Gary gives grammar and proofreading classes to business professionals eager to write error-free emails. He also has spent the past two decades helping employees control their inner jerk when texting or holding conversations with an impossible boss. His book The Mouth Trap: Strategies, Tips and Secrets for Keeping Your Feet out of Your Mouth, published in 2008, has been translated into over a dozen languages. He is the father of three sons and currently lives in South Pasadena.

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15 October, 2019

#SpecialFeature :: #GuestPost - The Treasure Syndicate Experiences by Jatin Kuberkar


*** Special Feature - October 2019 ***


About the Book:
It happened at the dawn of Kaliyug when demon Kali resolved to enter Aryavarta and encountered the last Pandav king. A curse, followed by a blissful enlightenment gave the world its first ‘Nidhi-Palak’ or The Guardian of Treasure Troves in the form of Lord Kuber’s mortal son, Suta. In time, the Guardian blood line is scattered all over the world.
The Treasure Syndicate is always a team of five;
Acharya Neelkanth Agnihotri is a committed Guardian. In the garb of an astrologer, he searches for hidden treasures. Dr. Mahesh secretly finances missions for Acharya, Kumar is favored by unfathomable luck, Jabbar is a legendary digger, and Srikanth is just a common man.
Bound by the elaborate framework of coincidence, destiny and fate, the Mission of the Syndicate is not a cake walk. The dangers are real, and the conditions are never favorable.
A haunting past awaits, as the mission turns upside down, mysteriously.


Book available on Pre Order NOW!


The Treasure Syndicate Experiences

Actually, I planned to write something else for this guest post but then, these incidents happened so many times in the past week, that I decided to compile them here. When I introduced the story of Treasure Syndicate to people, I had to hear a return story that they had for me; in a way, they were trying to ‘convince’ me that my story is very much close to something that they had witnessed, experienced or heard of. Here are the top 3 stories I’ve heard recently.

I had visited an old uncle a few days ago and told him about my book, The Treasure Syndicate. I narrated him the overall plot. We chatted about the syndicate’s guiding principles and a little about treasure hunting in general. After a patient listening (only for a while) he started in a typical I-know-more-than-you fervor in his voice…

“Ye to Kuch bhi nai hai!” – meaning, he too had an interesting story to tell. I was all ears. He started like revealing a secret.

“In our ancestral house, there was a spot in the pooja room. My father never allowed us to go near it. It was a small area on the floor, which was always covered by yellow satin cloth. Every morning, my father performed pooja and cleaned the place too. One day, my elder brother could not control the suspense anymore. He dared to venture into the pooja room and tried to check out the spot. He undid the satin cloth, to find a large granite lid that covered a small ditch. All our curious eyes were hungry to take a peep into the ditch. At last, he moved the granite and we saw it. It had an indolium box that could easily be mistaken to be a lunch box! That’s all…

My father entered the scene and the day ended in punishment and tears.

But, our curiosity paid back. We came to know that the box contained the Gupt Dhan of our family. It had the most revered, ‘Barkat Ka Paisa’ meaning, the ‘ever-yielding money’. The treasure in it was found by our ancestors when they started constructing the house. It is said that two snakes guarded the treasure and left the place only when my grandfather promised to never spend the money but worship it forever. Hence, it is very auspicious and revered to be the Lakshmi of our house.”

Uncle’s story about family treasure enchanted me along with everyone who was listening.

Then, one of my friends had a very chilling account about a rare kind of Chintamani that could turn anything into gold. His story is nothing less than a horror tale.

“My father was a forest officer. When he was posted in eastern ghats range, close to Odisha-Andhra border, he came across a legend about the Chintamani. Chintamani is a gem…very close to the philosopher’s stone. It is said that this one-of-a-kind stone is hidden in an eternal banyan tree. Only the Konda tribe knows its whereabouts but are bound to keep it a secret until a specific time during the Kali-Yug, when god Kalki would manifest and reclaim the mani. During the late 18th century, a british researcher planted a mole in the tribe to gather its whereabouts. He found out that the Chintamani was hidden in the complex cluster of the banyan prop-roots. It was supposedly a single banyan that formed a grove that was miles deep. When he went looking for the gem, he suddenly vanished. Days later he was found dead amidst the roots of the banyan. His body shrunk like a dried nut; as if the tree has sucked the life out of him.

Now, being a person of modern thought, my father did not believe in the legend. One day, he ventured out in search of the hallowed banyan tree. At a point in his trail, he felt like the roots were converging on him. They were trying to trap him and pull him in… scared to death with this experience, he ran for life. But even then, it took him days to come back to a safe point. That too he was saved by the Konda tribe, as only they know the way out of the complex prop-root maze.”
I am sure, you guys want the story to continue…is it not?

The last one is equally thrilling and chilling. It is about a treasure that destroyed a family. As I narrated the premise of the Treasure Syndicate to my son’s friend’s father, he got completely connected to it and started with an account that had happened to his friend.

“My friend believed in a prediction that he would one day find a treasure trove. His family staunchly believed the prediction. One fine day, he brought a piece of land in partnership with another relative. In a few days, our guy supposedly had a strange dream about the land ‘calling him’ to excavate the treasure.

The very next day, they started with the excavation and found nothing. BUT… the partner thought that the treasure was already excavated without his knowledge. It went on to be a gory affair that ultimately lead to the murder of the person and utter destruction of both the families. The twist in the tale is… the disputed land was sold to a third person, who supposedly found the trove.
It was unyielding … to my friend!”

The most common thing I found in these tales is their connection to the story I am telling in my book The Treasure Syndicate. Every time I hear to a treasure story, I find a link to the conversation I had with the driver.

Yes… while you are reading this, there might be active syndicates operating under your nose, finding their ways to riches…or to their own doom!!??  who knows? 😊

Do you know any such stories? Have you heard of any such mission? Feel free to share them.


About the Author:



Jatin Kuberkar is a software Architect and a hard-core Hyderabadi. When not tangled in software codes, Jatin lives his dream as an author, a musician, a toy maker, a philosopher and the list goes on. “The Treasure Syndicate” is Jatin’s latest book. It is an intriguing tale of a real-time treasure hunt.
He has authored two other books. “While I Was Waiting”, a collection of short stories, and “Cabbing all the Way”, a novel based on his real-life experience of travelling to work in a shared cab.
Jatin lives in Hyderabad with his mother, wife and son.





Social Links:
Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Goodreads

Giveaway:
3 paperback copies of ‘The Treasure Syndicate’ for Indian residents


a Rafflecopter giveaway

12 October, 2019

#BlogTour : A Pocketful of Lodestones by Elizabeth Crowens

A Pocketful Of Lodestones by Elizabeth Crowens

 

The Time Traveler Professor, Book Two:

A Pocketful of Lodestones

by Elizabeth Crowens

on Tour October 1-31, 2019

Synopsis:

The Time Traveler Professor, Book Two: A Pocketful of Lodestones by Elizabeth Crowens
In 1914, the war to end all wars turns the worlds of John Patrick Scott, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Rebecca West and Harry Houdini upside down. Doyle goes back to ancient China in his hunt for that “red book” to help him write his Sherlock Holmes stories. Scott is hell-bent on finding out why his platoon sergeant has it out for him, and they both discover that during the time of Shakespeare every day is a witch-hunt in London. Is the ability to travel through time the ultimate escape from the horrific present, or do ghosts from the past come back to haunt those who dare to spin the Wheel of Karma?

The Time Traveler Professor, Book Two: A POCKETFUL OF LODESTONES, sequel to SILENT MERIDIAN, combines the surrealism of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five with the supernatural allure of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell set during WWI on the Western Front.


The Time Traveler Professor, Book Two: A POCKETFUL OF LODESTONES was the First Prize winner of the Chanticleer Review’s Paranormal Fiction Awards.



Book Details:

Genre: Alternate History, Mystery, Fantasy Noir
Published by: Atomic Alchemist Productions LLC
Publication Date: August 1st 2019
Number of Pages: 334
ISBN: 9781950384051
Series: The Time Traveler Professor #2
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One: Kitchener’s Call to Arms

August 1914

“Have you ever killed a man before?”
I had, but close to three hundred years ago. So, I lied and just shook my head.
“Your name, son?” the recruitment officer asked.
“John Patrick Scott,” I said, with pride.
The officer handed me a card to fill out. “Write your date of birth, where you live and don’t skip any questions. When finished, bring this over to Line B.”
Born during the reign of Queen Victoria, somehow or other I managed to travel to the 23rd century, feudal Japan, and ancient China long before the Great War started. The army wanted to know all the places I had traveled, but it was doubtful that much information was required.
Since the war to end all wars commenced, recruiting centers sprang up like wildflowers. This one took over an Edinburgh public library. If unaware as to why the enthusiastic furor, one would’ve guessed the government gave away free land tracts with titles.
“Let’s see how clever you blokes are. Tell me the four duties of a soldier,” another enlistment administrator called out.
An overeager Glaswegian shouted, “Obedience, cleanliness, honesty and sobriety, sir!”
The chap next to him elbowed his side. “Takes no brains to read a bloody sign.”
Propaganda posters wallpapered the room with solicitous attempts at boosting morale. Kitchener wanted us and looked straight into our eyes. Proof of our manhood or perhaps stupidity. Queues of enthusiasm wound around the block. Impatient ones jumped the lines. We swore our allegiance to the King over a bible. As long as the war lasted, our lives were no longer our own.
Voices from men I’d never see again called out from the crowd.
“It’ll be over in six weeks.”
“Are you so sure?”
“Check out those men. All from the same cricket team. Play and die together. Medals of Valor in a blink. Local heroes with celebrations.”
“I’ll drink to that.”
A crusty old career soldier yelled out to the volunteers, “Does anyone speak Flemish?”
Suddenly the place got quiet. Then he looked at me. “Soldier, do you know anything besides the King’s English? French?”
“Fluent German,” I said. “That should be helpful.”
“Since when were you with the Bosches?”
“Fourteen years, sir. Before the war.”
“And what were you doing in enemy territory?”
“Worked as a teacher. A music professor and a concert pianist when I could get the engagements and sometimes as an amateur photographer. They weren’t our enemies then, sir.”
“Have you ever shot a rifle, son?”
“Actually, I have…”
“Find a pair of boots that fits you, lad. Hustle now. Time’s a wasting.”
The Allied and German armies were in a Race to the Sea. If the Germans got there first, then England was in danger of invasion. Basic training opened its arms to the common man, and it felt strange to be bedding alongside Leith dockworkers and farmers, many underage, versus the university colleagues from my recent past. Because of the overwhelming need for new recruits, training facilities ran out of room. The army took over church halls, local schools and warehouses in haste. Select recruits were billeted in private homes, but we weren't so fortunate.
Except for acquired muscles, I slimmed down and resembled the young man that I was in my university days except with a tad more gray hair, cut very short and shaved even closer on the sides. No more rich German pastries from former students as part of my diet. At least keeping a clean-shaven face wasn’t a challenge since I never could grow a beard. Wearing my new uniform took getting used to. Other recruits laughed, as I’d reach to straighten my tie or waistcoat out of habit despite the obvious fact that I was no longer wearing them.
While still in Scotland during basic training, I started to have a series of the most peculiar dreams. My boots had not yet been muddied with the soil of real battlefields. New recruits such as I, had difficult adjustments transitioning from civilian life. Because of my past history of lucid dreaming, trips in time travel and years of psychical experimentation I conducted both on my own and with my enthusiastic and well-studied mentor, Arthur Conan Doyle, my nightmares appeared more real than others. My concerns were that these dreams were either actual excursions into the Secret Library where the circumstances had already occurred or premonitions of developments to come.
The most notable of these episodes occurred toward the end of August in 1914. In this dream, I had joined another British platoon other than my own in Belgium on the Western Front. We were outnumbered at least three to one, and the aggressive Huns surrounded us on three sides.
Whistles blew. “Retreat!” yelled our commanding officer, a privileged Cambridge boy, barely a man and younger than I, who looked like he had never seen the likes of hardship.
We retreated to our trenches to assess what to plan next, but instead of moving toward our destination everyone froze in their tracks. Time was like a strip of film that slowed down, spooled off track, and jammed inside a projector. Then the oddest thing happened to our enemy. For no apparent reason, their bodies jerked and convulsed as if fired upon by invisible bullets over the course of an hour.
When the morning fog lifted, the other Tommies and I broke free from our preternatural standstill and charged over the top of the trenches with new combat instructions. Half of our platoon dropped their rifles in shock. Dead Huns, by the thousands, littered No man’s land long before we had even fired our first retaliatory shot!
I woke up agitated, disoriented and in a cold sweat. Even more disturbing was finding several brass shell casings under my pillow — souvenirs or proof that I had traveled off somewhere and not imagined it. I roused the sleeping guy in the next bed and couldn’t wait to share this incredible story.
“Shush!” he warned me. “You’ll wake the others.”
Meanwhile, he rummaged inside his belongings and pulled out a rumpled and grease-stained newspaper clipping that looked and smelled like it had originally been used to wrap up fish and chips.
He handed it to me with excitement. “My folks sent this me from back home.”
The headlines: “Angels sited at the Battle of Mons”
Almost as notable was the article’s byline written by my best friend from the University of Edinburgh, Wendell Mackenzie, whom I had lost track of since the war started.
He begged me to read on.
“Hundreds of witnesses claimed similarities in their experiences. There were rumors aplenty about ghostly bowmen from the Battle of Agincourt where the Brits fought against the French back in 1415. Inexplicable apparitions appeared out of nowhere and vanquished German enemy troops at the recent Battle of Mons.”
“This looks like a scene from out of a storybook.” I pointed to an artist’s rendition and continued.
“Word spread that arrow wounds were discovered on corpses of the enemy nearby, and it wasn't a hoax. Others reported seeing a Madonna in the trenches or visions of St. Michael, another saint symbolizing victory.”
“Now, I don’t feel so singled out,” I said and handed the newspaper articles back to my comrade.
For weeks, I feared talking to anyone else about it and insisted my mate keep silent. Even in wartime, I swore that I’d stay in touch with my closest acquaintances, Wendell Mackenzie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It was easier to keep abreast of Arthur's exploits, because of his public celebrity. On the other hand, Wendell, being a journalist, could be anywhere in the world on assignment.
* * *
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Mackenzie,
I regret having missed Wendell when he never made it over to visit Scotland, and you wonder if someone up above watches over us when we make decisions where to go and when. In my case it was when I decided to take a summer vacation and travel to Edinburgh before the war. Those without passports or proper documentation endured countless detours and delays getting back to their respective homelands. One of Mrs. Campbell’s lodgers had been detained in France.
With nothing to return to back in Germany, I joined the Royal Scots. Military training commenced in Edinburgh, and at least they had us wearing uniforms of pants tucked into gaiters as opposed to the Highland troops who wore kilts. Although I was born and bred in Scotland, as a Lowlander that’s one outfit you’d have to force me into with much duress.
Our tasks would be in the Scots Territorial units deployed on our coastline in case of an enemy invasion. Potential threats could come from spies or submarines, but most say that the worst enemy has been the frigid wind blowing off the North Sea.
As there is always talk about combining forces and transfers, my aunt can always forward letters. It would mean more than the world to hear from Wendell saying that not only is he all right, but also in good spirits.
Yours most devoted,
Private John Patrick Scott
* * *
Dear Arthur,
In our last correspondence, I conveyed that I was unable to return to my teaching post in Stuttgart. With your tour in the Boer War as my inspiration, I joined the military. We learned the basics: how to follow commands, first aid, march discipline and training in all matters of physical fitness. My feet have been in a constant state of rebellion, since my previous profession as a pianist was a sedentary occupation.
Deployment was supposed to be along the coast of Scotland, but the army reassigned me despite first promises because of too many staggering losses on the Western Front. I requested to be part of the air corps and a pioneer in new battle technology, but my recruiting officers had other plans. Our regiment left for Ypres in Belgium. None of the Tommies could pronounce the name of this place, so everyone called it Wipers. You’re no stranger to war, but everyone has been surprised that it lasted longer than anticipated.
Yours Most Devoted,
Private John Patrick Scott
* * *
Troops from all over under the wing of the British Expeditionary Forces piled on to ships to sail out to the continent. The locals from Edinburgh didn’t expect to leave bonnie ole Scotland. They told us we’d defend our shores from foreign invasions. I’d crossed the North Sea before, but then it was a sea of hope and a new life full of opportunity when I got my scholarship to continue my musical studies in Germany, now the enemy.
I turned to the nearest stranger, hoping that a random conversation would break the monotonous and never-ending wait until we set anchor in Belgium. “How was your basic training?”
“Three months at an abandoned amusement park,” the soldier replied. “We trained for the longest time in our street clothes and were told they ran out of uniforms. Probably sent recycled ones after the first troops died. Used wooden dummy rifles until the real ones arrived. What about you?”
“We used an abandoned dance hall. Never could get used to waking at 5:30 a.m.”
“Word got around that in Aldershot soldiers had luxury facilities with a billiards room, a library, private baths and a buffet. I suspect that was for the regulars, the old-timers, not new recruits like us.”
“I should’ve enlisted elsewhere,” I grumbled, not that it would’ve made much of a difference if we’d all die in the end.
He pointed to my face and examined my flawless hands. “You don’t look like much of an outdoorsman. Pale, hairless complexion. No scars.”
“I’m a concert pianist.”
“Not much use on the Front.”
“Probably not. Excuse me, I need some air.” I bundled up in my great coat, wrapping my muffler a wee bit tighter.
Wasn’t sure which were worse — the soldiers with their asphyxiating cigarettes or numbing sleet turning into ice pellets. Hadn’t gotten my sea legs, yet. Stormy swells churned my stomach. Sweet Scotland. Lush green grass and the sky the color of blue moonstone. Never thought I’d be so sentimental. Continued staring until brilliant hues of the shoreline merged into dismal grays of a foggy horizon. In the transition from civilian to soldier, I stepped through a door of no return unless I desired to come back home in a coffin.

Chapter Two: The Other Lost World

Ypres, Belgium Late fall, 1914

A sea of strange men, but all comrades-in-arms, all recent transplants marched to their assignments and followed orders without question to who-knows-where on the way to the battlefield sites. We sallied forth, anonymous troops with a distorted sense of time and distance through the streets of has-been cities, once thriving communities. Poetry in ruination.
As we marched through the Grote Markt (Grand Market) heading out toward the Menenpoort (or Menen Gate) I didn’t expect to get an education. The soldier to my left kept talking out loud and compared notes of local tourist attractions. He was probably unaware that anyone else had overheard his comments.
“That long, distinctive building with the church hiding behind it must be the Hallen… or their Cloth Hall. There were impressive paintings on the interior walls of the Pauwels Room depicting the history of this town and its prosperous textile trade.”
“How do you know this?” I asked, trying not to attract too much attention.
“I’m a historian. Used to teach at a priory school in Morpeth.”
Perhaps I was naïve, but I asked, “Why would the armed forces recruit someone with a background in history?”
“That didn’t influence my enlistment although I’m sure it’ll come in handy somewhere. Before the war, I traveled all over Europe when time permitted. I brought original postcards with me as to what this town used to look like. It’s frightening to see the difference.”
“Your name?” I asked.
“Private Watson. What about you?”
“Not John Watson, by any chance?”
“No, Roger Watson, why?”
I shook my head thinking about Arthur and bit my lip to hide a slight smile. “Oh nothing… My name is Private Scott, John Patrick Scott.”
“What brings you to this dismal corner of the earth?”
“Ich war ein Musiklehrer. Pardon me, sometimes I break into German. I’m from Edinburgh but was living in Germany as a music teacher. Can’t be doing that sort of thing now.”
“I suppose not.”
“Roger, sorry to have eavesdropped, but it sounded so interesting. Then you are familiar with the area we just marched through?”
“That was the central merchant and trading hub of Ypres and has been since the mid-fifteenth century. On the north side over there is St. Martin’s Cathedral. You can already see the damage from German attacks.”
There was no escaping the needless destruction by aggressive enemy bombing. We continued marching forward in formation. A little way beyond the city gate, we passed by the remains of a park and children’s playground. The soldiers took a rest break and snacked on portable rations.
Many of them took off their boots and massaged their feet. Not too far away, I found a shattered brick in the rubble of what had been a schoolhouse and brought it back to where everyone was having his makeshift picnic.
Watson noticed that I kept twirling the small fragment in my hand while intermittently closing my eyes. “Scott, what are you doing?”
“Pictures form in my mind similar to movies. It’s the art of psychometry,” I replied.
“Psycho — what?” Another soldier overheard us talking.
“Sounds like something from Sigmund Freud,” one called out.
“Not at all, it’s like a psychical gift or talent. It has nothing to do with psychoanalysis.”
“What’s the point?” the first one asked.
I felt under pressure to put my thoughts into words. “I can understand what building this brick was part of when it was intact and what was here before it was destroyed.”
“That’s incredible!” Watson exclaimed. “If you are able to uncover bygone times by psychical means, I am all ears.”
When everyone else discounted my talent, Watson gave it full praise. Others became impatient and weren’t interested in our sidebar history lesson.
“Can you use those skills beyond inanimate objects?” one soldier asked.
“Find me an object, someone’s former possession,” I said.
Another soldier found a broken pocket watch not far from a trampled garden. He tossed it over, and I caught it with both hands. When I closed my eyes, the images materialized in my mind’s eye.
“A loving grandfather was reading to his grandchildren from an illustrated story book. He was balding. Wore spectacles. Had a trimmed white beard.
“‘Time for bed,’ he said, looking at his watch. Tick tock, tick tock. It was a gift from his father.
“He kissed each grandchild on the forehead as they scampered off. Two girls, one boy, all in their nightgowns. The tallest girl was a redhead with… pink ribbons in her long, curly hair. Then the bombs dropped. Fire. The roof collapsed. All was lost. Then… then… Oh my God!”
“Scotty, what’s wrong?” Watson asked.
I looked at the blank faces around me. “You don’t see him?”
Watson was baffled. “See who?”
“That grandfather,” I said, horrified and clutching onto that timepiece. His ghost was standing right in front of me!
Then I realized that no one else was capable of seeing him. Inside, I panicked until my frozen fingers let go of the watch, and it tumbled into the dirt. That’s when his phantasmal form vanished, but there were still indelible memories impressed upon the ether that refused to fade with the passage of time.
Warning bells tolled from a nearby church. “Quick, run for cover!” our commanding officer shouted.
Double-time over to shelter. Incoming bombs whistled and boomed in the distance. Civilians followed, carrying their most precious possessions, also fleeing for their lives.
The sanctuary already suffered from shell damage that left large gaping holes in its roof. Birds nested above the pulpit. Cherished religious statuary had been knocked over and broken. Several nuns rushed up and motioned the way for us to take refuge in the basement. We joined the crowd of scared families, members of the local community.
“Isn’t Britain giving them haven?” I asked Watson. “I thought most of the civilians evacuated by now.”
“There are still the ones who want to hold out,” he explained. “Wouldn’t you if your entire life and livelihood were here for multiple generations? That’s why they’re counting on us, but the Germans are relentless. Ypres is right on the path of strategic routes to take over France.”
When several farmers brought over their pigs and chickens, our retreat began to resemble a biblical nativity scene. From inside the cellar, we could hear the rumble of the outside walls collapsing.
“We’ll be trapped!” People yelled out in panic.
A group of sisters prayed in the corner. Our trench diggers readied themselves to shovel us out if it came to that. One terror-stricken woman handed me a screaming baby.
“I found him abandoned.” At least that’s what I thought she said in Flemish, but none of us could understand her. Confused and without thinking, I almost spoke in Japanese, but that would’ve been for the wrong place and an entirely different century during a different lifetime.
“What will I do with him?” I said to her in German, but she didn’t comprehend me either. I couldn’t just place him down in a corner. We’d be marching out in a matter of minutes.
I approached a man with his wife and three other children. First I tried English, then German, random words of French, and then I tried Greek and Latin from my school days. Finally I resorted to awkward gestures to see if he’d take the child. But he shook his head, gathered his brood and backed off.
Troops cleared a path out of the cellar. We needed to report to our stations before nightfall.
“Sister, please?” I begged one nun, interrupting her rosary. To my relief, she took the infant.
“Oh Mon Dieu!” I cried out in the little French that I knew. “Danke, thank you, merci boucoup.” Then I ran off to join the others.
Watson slapped me on the back. “Looked like you were going to be a father, mate.”
“Not yet. Got a war to fight,” I replied.
***
Excerpt from The Time Traveler Professor, Book Two: A Pocketful of Lodestones by Elizabeth Crowens. Copyright © 2019 by Elizabeth Crowens. Reproduced with permission from Elizabeth Crowens. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:

Elizabeth Crowens
Crowens has worked in the film and television for over twenty years and as a journalist and a photographer. She’s a regular contributor of author interviews to an award-winning online speculative fiction magazine, Black Gate. Short stories of hers have been published in the Bram Stoker Awards nominated anthology, A New York State of Fright and Hell’s Heart. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America, The Horror Writers Association, the Authors Guild, Broad Universe, Sisters in Crime and a member of several Sherlockian societies. She is also writing a Hollywood suspense series.

Catch Up With Our Author On:
elizabethcrowens.com, Goodreads, Bookbub, Twitter, & Facebook!




Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!






Giveaway!!!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Elizabeth Crowens. There will be 8 winners. One (1) winner will receive an Amazon.com Gift Card. Seven (7) winners will each receive A Pocketful Of Lodestones by Elizabeth Crowens (eBook). The giveaway begins on October 1, 2019 and runs through November 2, 2019. Void where prohibited.
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08 October, 2019

#SpecialFeature :: #GuestPost - Inspiration behind the Story! by Jatin Kuberkar


*** Special Feature - October 2019 ***


About the Book:
It happened at the dawn of Kaliyug when demon Kali resolved to enter Aryavarta and encountered the last Pandav king. A curse, followed by a blissful enlightenment gave the world its first ‘Nidhi-Palak’ or The Guardian of Treasure Troves in the form of Lord Kuber’s mortal son, Suta. In time, the Guardian blood line is scattered all over the world.
The Treasure Syndicate is always a team of five;
Acharya Neelkanth Agnihotri is a committed Guardian. In the garb of an astrologer, he searches for hidden treasures. Dr. Mahesh secretly finances missions for Acharya, Kumar is favored by unfathomable luck, Jabbar is a legendary digger, and Srikanth is just a common man.
Bound by the elaborate framework of coincidence, destiny and fate, the Mission of the Syndicate is not a cake walk. The dangers are real, and the conditions are never favorable.
A haunting past awaits, as the mission turns upside down, mysteriously.


Book available on Pre Order NOW!


Inspiration behind the Story!

When you are just waiting at some point, for someone and you end up getting inspired by an incident, an overheard conversation or rather, someone narrates a story and it goes on to become a book?

To be honest, it happens to me all the time.

Don’t believe me? OK. Let me list the books I’ve authored so far.

First one was While I Was Waiting. It had short stories from my waiting experiences at different locations and strange situations.

Next, it is Cabbing all the Way. A book that catalogues my real time experience of travelling to work in a shared cab. 

Now, this one... titled The Treasure Syndicate. Will you believe that this story was actually narrated to me by a cab driver while we were waiting for other members to arrive? Believe it! Here is what happened that day, as I remember it very clearly.

It was late 2012 when everyone was scared that the world would come to an end. Unfortunately, 2012 movie boomed at the box office, and the world continues to be a hell of a place.

Anyway, it was a cold evening of November 2012 when I arrived at the cab and waited for it to start. The driver was a regular one. He was away for a few days. Out of courtesy, I thought of asking him.
Let me try to re-create the scene for you here.

“Kya Ramu, all fine?” I asked.

“Yes sir… all fine. Was out on personal work” he answered and kept quiet.

But, these drivers! You know. They are so eager to share their adventures. They want to show the world that their life is interesting too; more than the flashy-flaunty social life that the working class brags to hide its shallowness.

Without any persuasion, Ramu came closer and whispered in my ear.

“Sir actually… we were in search of a Gupt-Nidhi!”

I could not connect to it immediately, but in a moment, my mind translated the Hindi word “Gupt-Nidhi” into English as ‘Treasure Trove’.

“What!” I jumped. Ramu nodded with a smile that aroused an intruding urge with in me to know what he was talking about. I composed myself to ask questions but started with the most basic, most obvious one... (most stupid one too)

“Did you find anything then?” 

“No, nothing sir...” confirmed Ramu with a hung face. I probably knew the answer, but then, Ramu proved to me that I have judged him too quickly. I asked him one more question.

“How do you do it? I mean... you have a map or something that you have found... or some folk-tale etc?”

“This is not a Hollywood movie sir... this is real...” he almost yelled at me. “The danger is real, risks are real and the treasure is also real!”

“But then, how do you know there is a buried treasure there?” I asked to bring in a proper perspective. Ramu began answering it like a pro.

“See, we have an owner. He is a treasure seeker. He has a strange gift. Where there is a buried treasure, he has a ‘fit’ there. This is the signal. This is when we know there is a treasure buried somewhere.”

I was wonderstruck. The keywords here were ‘owner’, ‘gift’ and the strange signal. I was almost lost in the story.

“So, once he has the signal, he calls us and we collectively hunt for the treasure. We are five people including the owner.” He elaborated.

“But how can you just go anywhere are start digging? I mean... how will the owner of the land allow you?” I asked almost spontaneously. He had an answer for that too.

“Yes, correct. That is why we mostly buy the property and then do the digging.” Ramu said, but he knew I wouldn’t understand it completely. He explained it fully.

“Our owner will do black magic on the owners of the property and kick them away. He will create situations such that they will sell him the property. He is a dangerous guy…I am struck with him for past 3 years. At times, I feel he has cast spells on me too so that I get pulled towards him whenever he calls me. My BAD LUCK!!”

As I was listening to this interesting narration. The author in me had already started building a plot. The keywords here were, ‘a team of five’, ‘ownership’, ‘magic’ and ‘luck’. I no longer prompted Ramu anything. He continued narrating at his own pace.

“But sir, it is very dangerous with a very little chance of success.” He gulped as he continued.
“Only 3 things can happen. Either we get rich, or we lose all the investment OR... death.”

“Death!??” I exclaimed.

“Yes sir. Some treasures are cursed. Some are unyielding, some are just illusive… if our owner finds any inauspicious signs during the process, we just leave the trail and come back empty handed. I am like a bonded labor, a toy in the hands of the owner... I don’t get paid for this...”

“Did you ever find anything?” I asked as we were getting ready to begin our journey.

“No sir. But, the owner and his family certainly have. He tells us mesmerizing stories of riches that his family had unearthed in the past.”

Ramu at this point knew he had gone too far with his explanation. He had revealed too much. Our journey began and Ramu got engaged in driving attentively on the traffic infested Hyderabad roads.
The story stayed with me. I squeezed the essence of it, built a concept, carved out the characters, gave them a convincing background and tried to narrate this 20 odd minute conversation in my book “The Treasure Syndicate


About the Author:



Jatin Kuberkar is a software Architect and a hard-core Hyderabadi. When not tangled in software codes, Jatin lives his dream as an author, a musician, a toy maker, a philosopher and the list goes on. “The Treasure Syndicate” is Jatin’s latest book. It is an intriguing tale of a real-time treasure hunt.
He has authored two other books. “While I Was Waiting”, a collection of short stories, and “Cabbing all the Way”, a novel based on his real-life experience of travelling to work in a shared cab.
Jatin lives in Hyderabad with his mother, wife and son.





Social Links:
Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Goodreads

Giveaway:
3 paperback copies of ‘The Treasure Syndicate’ for Indian residents


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05 October, 2019

#BlogTour :: Speak No Evil by Liana Gardner

Speak No Evil by Liana Gardner

 

Speak No Evil

by Liana Gardner

on Tour October 1 - November 30, 2019

Synopsis:

Speak No Evil by Liana Gardner
What if every time you told the truth, evil followed?

My name is Melody Fisher. My daddy was a snake handler in Appalachia until Mama died. Though years have passed, I can still hear the rattle before the strike that took her from me.

And it’s all my fault.

Since then, I’ve been passed around from foster home to foster home. I didn’t think anything could be as bad as losing Mama.

I was wrong.

But I will not speak of things people have done to me. Every time I do, worse evil follows. Now, the only thing I trust is what saved me years ago.

Back when I would sing the snakes calm …

Book Details:

Genre: YA Mystery
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication Date: October 1st 2019
Number of Pages: 285
ISBN: 1944109366 (ISBN13: 9781944109363)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Uncle Harlan slammed my bedroom door open. “You’re going to learn to show the Lord respect, girl.” He grabbed my neck and forced me to walk in front of him.
My neck hurt where he dug his fingers in.
He took me outside and shoved me toward the shed. He slipped the key in the lock and removed it from the hasp. The door creaked as it opened and then he thrust me through.
“I’m not going to allow you to follow your mother’s footsteps. You’ll learn to make peace with snakes and not show them any fear. Or else.”
He grabbed a snake case from the shelf, put it on the ground, and opened it. He stepped backward out of the shed and swung the door shut. The latch clicked. Uncle Harlan on one side of the door, and the snake and me locked inside.
“I’ll come get you in time for school in the morning.”
His footsteps receded.
Light filtered through the cracks in the shed slats. In the dim light, the snake coiled in the corner, its tongue flicking out periodically. I slowly lowered to the ground and hugged Raksha Waya tight.
The inside of the shed was slightly warmer than outside. Staying warm might be a bigger problem than keeping the snake calm. It ignored me and remained coiled, but the cold seeped into my bones. I scanned the shelves. There had to be something in here I could use to help keep warm.
A tarp sat on a shelf on the opposite side of the shed from the snake. But I might not be tall enough to pull it down. Standing on tiptoes, I grabbed a corner and tugged. My fingers slipped. I set Rakkie on a lower shelf, then reached with both hands and tugged.
The weight of the tarp almost knocked me over as I caught it.
Making sure to keep my movements small so I didn’t threaten the snake, I unfolded the tarp and spread it out. Then I grabbed Rakkie and carefully crawled under a corner. Once settled with Rakkie on my lap, I pulled it over us and tucked it under my chin.
The hours passed as the light changed and moved through the shed. My tailbone ached and my back hurt from sitting still for so long. Twilight came. Surely Uncle Harlan didn’t really mean to leave me here with the snake all night.
When the darkness was complete and I could no longer see my hand in front of my face, I faced the hard truth—Uncle Harlan meant it. I’d spend the night locked in a small space with a pit viper.
While my toes still felt frozen, the rest of me was warmer with the tarp. My eyes drooped and closed. Then I heard it.
Hiss. Rattle. The whisper of something dragging across the floorboards.
The snake was on the move. The slight rattle as it slithered through the shed made my heart pound. I froze.
***
Excerpt from Speak No Evil by Liana Gardner. Copyright © 2019 by Liana Gardner. Reproduced with permission from Liana Gardner. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:

Liana Gardner
Liana Gardner is the multi-award-winning author of 7th Grade Revolution (most recently the recipient of a 2018 Nautilus Book Award) and The Journal of Angela Ashby. The daughter of a rocket scientist and an artist, Liana combines the traits of both into a quirky yet pragmatic writer and in everything sees the story lurking beneath the surface.
Liana volunteers with high school students through EXP (expfuture.org). EXP unites business people and educators to prepare students for a meaningful place in the world of tomorrow. Working in partnership with industry and educators, EXP helps young people EXPerience, EXPand, and EXPlore.
Engaged in a battle against leukemia and lymphoma, Liana spends much of her time at home, but her imagination takes her wherever she wants to go.
Liana is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.


Catch Up With Liana Gardner On:

lianagardner.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook!


Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!






Enter To Win!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Vesuvian Books and Liana Gardner. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card and 2 winners of a signed print copy of Speak No Evil by Liana Gardner. The giveaway begins on October 1, 2019 and runs through December 2, 2019. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.
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03 October, 2019

#BlogTour :: Birth Right by Julian Iragorri and Lou Aronica

Birth Right

by Julian Iragorri and Lou Aronica

on Tour October 1 - November 30, 2019
 

Synopsis:

Birth Right by Julian Iragorri and Lou Aronica


In the mid-sixties, a young woman and a young man meet and begin the romance that will define their lives throughout the decades. In the early nineties, two young men meet and forge a friendship that will propel both into newfound worlds. Today, those same two men face a reality that could change the course of the world . . . and a fantasy that both have only dared to imagine. How these three stories come together is the driving pulse of BIRTH RIGHT, a novel about despots and rulers, spouses and lovers, friendship and brotherhood. Playing out at once on the most global and the most intimate of stages, it is a story about the power one is born into and the power one earns and, at its very heart, the power of love.



 

Book Details

Genre: Literary Fiction 
Published by: The Story Plant 
Publication Date: September 7th 2019 
Number of Pages: 224 
ISBN: 1611882664 (ISBN13: 9781611882667) 
Purchase Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads
 

Read an excerpt:

Alex had been to exactly one inaugural ceremony before. His parents had taken him to see President Marcador take the oath of office back when he was thirteen. That president had turned out to be ineffectual, serving only one term and, even at his young age, Alex had the sense that Marcador was going to be a footnote in Legado history. The man projected so little presence, almost as though he didn’t have enough internal energy to put a persona out there. What Alex subsequently learned was that Marcador was a compromise candidate during a period of transition for his country. The story would be decidedly different sixteen years later, when a wildly charismatic candidate – one who happened to be Alex’s cousin – would take the nation by storm and win the election in a landslide. Alex could hardly believe the ceremony he was watching today had the same function as the one he’d witnessed as a boy. This one had so much pomp, so much music, so much color. Javier Benigno was easily the most popular political figure to rise from Legado since the late, ever-beloved Viviana Emisario, and perhaps the first to inspire the passion from the people that seemed to have been extinguished when Viviana’s helicopter had crashed during a diplomatic mission. Viviana’s death had snuffed the joy from a nation. It had done more than that to Alex, but that was a story he would forever keep to himself. “Legado was always our most vibrant colony,” said a voice to his right. “This ceremony has more hues than a Joya de la Costa garden.” Alex turned to look at the speaker. The man seemed to be about his age and height, though he was a bit heftier all around. Maybe this is what I’d look like if I didn’t spend as much time in the gym, Alex thought. “I assume you’re aware that Legado hasn’t been a colony since your great-great grandfather was a twinkle in his mother’s eye.” The man flashed a heavy-wattage smile. “Oh, well, of course. But one never stops thinking of their children as children, do they?” “Well, we’re all grown up. And we’ve been a democracy continuously for more than a century. I don’t believe our ‘father’ can say the same thing.” “I don’t know what you mean,” the man said, laughing boisterously. “The public elected El General to each of his nine terms. By an overwhelming majority, in fact. Usually more than ninety percent.” A huge cheer went up at that moment. Looking down from the grandstand, Alex could see that the new president’s motorcade had entered the staging area. “Yes, ninety percent,” Alex said to his companion. “My cousin should find that humbling, as he only received fifty-nine percent of the vote.” “Cousin? I assume that makes you a Benigno.” “Soberano, actually. Javier is a cousin on my mother’s side.” Alex put out his hand. “Alejandro Soberano. My friends call me Alex.” The man shook. “Fernando Alfonso Trastámara. My friends call me Fernando.” Alex should have recognized the man. He’d certainly seen the heir to the Léon throne in enough tabloids. “They don’t call you ‘Your Majesty.’” “God, no. They will hopefully never call me that.” “I assume that means you’re wishing for a very long life for your father and not that you’re expecting El General to come back from the dead.” The man beamed again. It was easy to see why women found him so irresistible. Between the smile, the future crown, and the massive fortune, what was there to resist? “No, El General is gone forever. Just to make sure, my father sends an envoy every day to dance on his grave.” Alex nodded approvingly. The people of Legado did indeed consider Léon to be close family, and the last thing that Alex would have ever wanted was a return to the days when El General dominated Léon so absolutely. Alex was barely in elementary school when the dictator had suddenly stepped down, allowing Fernando’s father, Juan Alfonso Trastámara, to take his rightful place on the throne and to allow for a duly elected prime minister to operate the government, but he could remember his mother spitting invective at the television every time she saw El General speak. And while Alex didn’t truly understand the cause of celebration on the streets of his hometown when El General resigned (and the only slightly-less-raucous celebration that happened when the dictator died eight months later), he would never forget the taste of the pastel con tres leches his mother made that night to mark the occasion. “Very wise of your father,” Alex said. “Is he here?” “He wishes he could be. He thinks highly of your cousin. But there’s a gathering of several European heads of state that Léon is hosting, so he of course needed to attend that. He sent me to represent the crown in his stead. He’s accurately deduced that my one statecraft talent is waving and smiling broadly, so I’m the perfect man for this assignment.” Fernando did some smiling and waving at that point and excused himself. At the inaugural ball that evening, though, Fernando came up to Alex with two glasses of Champagne and offered him one. “I noticed you didn’t have a drink,” he said. Alex took the glass and tipped it in Fernando’s direction before taking a sip. “I was pacing myself.” “I don’t have the remotest idea why anyone would do that.” Alex grinned at Fernando’s acknowledgment of his excesses. “Lots of family around. And I wouldn’t want to do anything that might embarrass my cousin.” “Hmm. Interesting perspective.” “It was nearly time for another drink, though, so I appreciate the Champagne.” “Happy to be of service. So, I hear you’ve been conscripted to accompany me to Anhelo tomorrow for the hospital ribbon-cutting ceremony.” Just a few hours earlier, Alex had learned that his cousin, the president, had requested that Alex be part of the prince’s travel party for the opening of a new hospital that Léon had funded. The request had surprised Alex, because he’d never performed any sort of official government function before, and there were surely dozens of people on the presidential staff who could have filled this role. Had someone seen Alex and the prince speaking at the inauguration and decided that Alex would be a good companion? He did notice his mother looking at them a lot during the inauguration and then he saw her talking to the president later. Maybe she wanted him to become friends with the prince? But he doubted she would have such influence on the new president, even though he was her younger cousin. Did President Benigno think this might help groom Alex for some future place in his administration – something Alex had never considered and wouldn’t particularly desire, especially now that his career was kicking into its next gear? Regardless, he wasn’t going to turn down the new leader of his native land, and some pomp and circumstance at the side of the prince of Léon could be entertaining. “Yes,” Alex said. “It appears they needed to tap the absolute best available talent for this engagement.” “I’m flattered. I was afraid I was going to get a member of Benigno’s rotund retinue. Is it just me or is everyone in the president’s inner circle at least forty kilos overweight?” Alex chose not to respond beyond a polite smile. “No matter,” the prince said. “Tell me: is the Colina after-hours club scene as ribald as its reputation?” “I wouldn’t really know. I’m down from New York, and I grew up in Anhelo. I’ve never taken much advantage of the clubs when I’ve been to Colina in the past.” Fernando nodded thoughtfully for several long moments. Then his face brightened. “Care to join me on a bit of a research expedition after this event is over? Purely for cultural reasons, of course.” Alex lifted an eyebrow. “I believe our plane is scheduled to leave at eight tomorrow morning.” Fernando shrugged. “We’ll make it an early night, then. In bed no later than four.” Alex had heard that Fernando could be a bit dangerous when out on the prowl, and Alex not only had his own reputation but the reputation of Legado’s new president to uphold. Still, it was difficult to avoid getting caught up in Fernando’s enthusiasm. “I’ve heard of a few places that might be ideal for your ‘research.’ And I’m sure they would love a visit from the future king of Léon.” “Excellent. One condition, though: you really need to stop calling me the future king of Léon. I already get all of the reminders I need about that from my father.” --- Excerpt from Birth Right by Julian Iragorri and Lou Aronica. Copyright © 2019 by Julian Iragorri and Lou Aronica. Reproduced with permission from Lou Aronica. All rights reserved.
 

About Our Authors:

Julian Iragorri:

Julian Iragorri lives in Manhattan. He has worked on Wall Street since the early nineties.

Lou Aronica:

Lou Aronica

Lou Aronica is the author of the USA Today bestseller The Forever Year and the national bestseller Blue. He also collaborated on the New York Times nonfiction bestsellers The Element and Finding Your Element (with Ken Robinson) and the national bestsellers The Culture Code (with Clotaire Rapaille) and The Greatest You (with Trent Shelton). Aronica is a long- term book publishing veteran. He is President and Publisher of the independent publishing house The Story Plant.


Find Lou Online:

LouAronica.com | Goodreads | BookBub | Twitter | Facebook
 

Tour Host Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!    

GIVEAWAY:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Providence Book Promotions for The Story Plant, Julian Iragorri, and Lou Aronica. There will be 5 winners of one (1) copy of The Edge Of The World by Julian Iragorri and Lou Aronica (eBook). The giveaway begins on October 1, 2019 and runs through December 1, 2019. Void where prohibited.
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Thank you for your interest in this tour!
 

Find Your Next Great Read at Providence Book Promotions!

01 October, 2019

#SpecialFeature :: Introducing Jatin Kuberkar, #Author of The Treasure Syndicate

Under "Special Feature" every month I feature a Special Author. 
During this month I put up 5 posts about the Author/Book, including Interview / Review / Excerpt / Guest Post / Author Bio / Fun Facts or whatever else we can come up with. Also on the first day of the month we will  launch the Giveaway contest along with the first post and will announce the winner on the last day of the month.
So be sure to check out my blog every 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th of every month for something new :)

*** Special Feature - October 2019 ***

About the Author:



Jatin Kuberkar is a software Architect and a hard-core Hyderabadi. When not tangled in software codes, Jatin lives his dream as an author, a musician, a toy maker, a philosopher and the list goes on. “The Treasure Syndicate” is Jatin’s latest book. It is an intriguing tale of a real-time treasure hunt.
He has authored two other books. “While I Was Waiting”, a collection of short stories, and “Cabbing all the Way”, a novel based on his real-life experience of travelling to work in a shared cab.
Jatin lives in Hyderabad with his mother, wife and son.





Social Links:
Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Goodreads


Fun Facts about the Author:
1. My latest book, ‘The Treasure Syndicate’ is based upon a real conversation with a cab driver. We spoke for about 20 minutes, way back in 2012 and the story he had narrated to me, left a strong impression and inspired me to write this book.
2. Movie buff could be my second name! I take movie plots very seriously and hate it when a wonderful story is polluted with unnecessary commercial content. I do not like uncalled-for HEROISM – only Amitabh Bachchan is allowed here.
3. I read R.K Narayan like I am reading The Gita. He is my idol in the writer’s world. Apart from him, I also adore Ruskin Bond. As a kid, I used to binge-read ‘Indian’ comics like Chacha Chowdari, Tinkle and Amar Chitra Katha. I love comics so much that I create comic strips along with my son and post it in my blog.
4. My stories, most of the time, are inspired from real-life incidents/conversations/accounts. I do not judge/categorize my characters into good or bad, protagonist or otherwise. They are all the part of the story and gel into situations.
5. Toy Making is my budding passion. Someday, I’d like to do this fulltime and provide children something worthwhile to play with.
6. Apart from writing and toy making, I sing, compose music and poetry. I am a water conservation activist in my own right.
7. I do everything in my capacity to inculcate reading habit in people, especially children.


Book Trailer:


About the Book:
It happened at the dawn of Kaliyug when demon Kali resolved to enter Aryavarta and encountered the last Pandav king. A curse, followed by a blissful enlightenment gave the world its first ‘Nidhi-Palak’ or The Guardian of Treasure Troves in the form of Lord Kuber’s mortal son, Suta. In time, the Guardian blood line is scattered all over the world.
The Treasure Syndicate is always a team of five;
Acharya Neelkanth Agnihotri is a committed Guardian. In the garb of an astrologer, he searches for hidden treasures. Dr. Mahesh secretly finances missions for Acharya, Kumar is favored by unfathomable luck, Jabbar is a legendary digger, and Srikanth is just a common man.
Bound by the elaborate framework of coincidence, destiny and fate, the Mission of the Syndicate is not a cake walk. The dangers are real, and the conditions are never favorable.
A haunting past awaits, as the mission turns upside down, mysteriously.


COMING SOON!

Giveaway:
3 paperback copies of ‘The Treasure Syndicate’ for Indian residents


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#BookBlitz :: The Mercenary’s Daughter by Jessica Therrien & Joe Gazzam


The Mercenary’s Daughter
Jessica Therrien & Joe Gazzam
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: March 31st 2020
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult
When Special Ops recruit, Tara Kafee is dishonorably discharged, there’s only one place to go—Home.
But there’s more waiting for her there than she’s ready for.
It’s been four years since she’s been back and ten since her mother walked out on the family never to be heard of again.
She’s determined to rekindle things with her father and keep him close. That is, until he goes missing.
Soon after stumbling upon a safe room full of weapons, fake passports, and a mission’s dossier marking a target in Cuba, she reluctantly accepts the help of her angsty teenage brother. He’s the only one she can trust, so together, the two set out for Havana.
Tara is determined to get her father back, whatever it takes, but things are never easy when you’re the mercenary’s daughter.





Author Bio:
Jessica Therrien is the author of the young adult series Children of the Gods. Book one in the series, Oppression, became a Barnes & Noble best-seller shortly after its release. Her trilogy has been translated and sold through major publishers around the world, such as Editions AdA (Canada), EditionsMilan (France), and SharpPoint Press (China).
Aside from her Children of the Gods series, Jessica is the author of a kid's picture book called, The Loneliest Whale. Her award-winning stories can also be found in a published anthology of flash fiction.
Jessica spent most of her life in the small town of Chilcoot, California, high up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In this town of nearly 100 residents, with no streetlights or grocery stores, there was little to do but find ways to be creative. Her mother, the local English teacher, inspired her to do all things artistic, and ultimately instilled in her a love for language.
In 2003, Jessica attended California State University Long Beach where her passion for language found her studying Chinese, and in 2005 she moved to Taiwan to study abroad. From 2005 to 2006 Jessica was fully immersed in the Chinese language as she attended National Taiwan University, and in 2008 she graduated from San Diego State University magna cum laude.
Jessica currently lives in Irvine with her husband and two young sons. She is working on a new YA thriller/suspense series and a middle grade fantasy series.

Author links:
Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram


Screenwriter/Novelist Joe Gazzam has been a working screenwriter for 8 years working on such films as:
Shadow Run
Cliffhanger
21 Jump Street
Barbarella
Step Up: Revolution
Disney's Hawaiian Adventure
It Takes a Thief
Anubis Tapestry
(and many more)
His debut novel, UNCAGED, out now!


Author links:
Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram

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