SEXUALITY AND ITS IMPACT ON HISTORY by Hunter S. Jones GENRE: History/UK/Women & Gender/Sexuality

SEXUALITY AND ITS IMPACT ON HISTORY

Screams You Hear

 

Horror
Date Published: January 22, 2018
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Murder and madness infect a small town
For sixteen-year-old Ruthie Stroud, life on tiny Hemlock Island in the Pacific Northwest is an endless sea of boring green, in a place where everybody knows everybody’s business and nothing ever happens. Then her world is ripped apart when her parents divorce and a new man enters her mother’s life. But worse is yet to come.
When she drifts ashore on the mainland, hideously burned, Ruthie has a harrowing tale to tell. It begins with the murder of a family. It ends with her being the sole survivor of a cataclysm that sweeps her little island. As a detective attempts to unravel Ruthie’s story of murder and madness, only one horrifying conclusion can be drawn: whatever was isolated on remote Hemlock Island may now have come to the mainland. Is Ruthie safe? Is anyone?
Excerpt
Chapter One
I wake to pain, pain beyond comprehension, my skin on fire, only to find myself in a hospital bed, my arms bandaged, and wires snaking into machines. The burns are covered in white gauze and every motion, no matter how small, sends my nerves screaming. The air is heavy against my skin. And that smell. I can still smell the bitterness of my singed hair. I feel my head, expecting strands of hair, thick and wavy, but it’s gone. There are only splotches of emptiness, a topography of touch that alarms me. I wonder if it will ever grow back.
Tendrils of anxiety course through me, pulsing steadily. I need to wake up from whatever this is.
In spite of the pain, I caress my face and I have no eyebrows. Only stubble. No matter where I touch, my skin isn’t soft; it’s leather, a mask that rests too tightly against my skull. It’s like my skin is both expanding and contracting, pushing and pulling.
In the cyclone of terror, I remember. I remember everything.
I wish I didn’t. I wish it all away.
Around the room, there are no mirrors, and I know it’s no accident. It’s small comfort. I don’t want to see myself. I may never look in a mirror again. It’s only me and a bed, and colorful murals of elephants and giraffes on the wall, their cartoon smiles mocking me. I must be in the children’s wing, even though I’m sixteen. Next to me, an IV recedes into my vein. To my left is a button. It could be to call for assistance. Or to adjust the bed. But I think it’s something else. I think it’s for pain.
I could press it and disappear into numbness.
I could press it and just drift.
But there is something about pain. It’s the price of being alive.
The button is my litmus test.
I am stronger than my pain. I need to focus on something—anything. I need to distract myself.
I am not my pain.
I am Ruthie Stroud. I live at— wait—not anymore. I have a brother—no, not anymore.
I shut my eyes. I can’t shut them hard enough. Through the darkness, I still see fire. My world engulfed with flickering orange and reds. And the all-encompassing heat, heat beyond boiling, bordering on oblivion. Melting.
My last memory is coming ashore on the mainland, alone and fiercely tired. I didn’t walk, didn’t run. I moved, floating, held aloft by the most invisible of strings, my eyes on the horizon, people on the edges of my vision. Adults. I felt their gaze. The air was cool and moist and my skin so hot. Moving and moving; people staring. I hear them, words like police and 911 and oh my God. They surround me, a horde. They’re feral creatures, circling, their faces distorted. They are coming for me. I have no escape.
I scream and my world goes dark.
“Ruthie?”
I open my eyes. A woman stands in the hospital room doorway. Her skin is the color of teak, her black hair pulled into a tight ponytail, and without a uniform, she’s clearly no nurse. I look down her button-down shirt and a badge is attached to her belt, a gun holstered at her side.
She says, not unkindly, “I’m Detective Perez from the Washington State Police.”
I knew the cops would get involved, even though they’re late. Far too late.
She waits for me to invite her in. “May I?”
I nod and my skin crinkles and cracks. She enters, pulling a chair beside my bed and sits down. Her brown eyes rest on me and then dart away. She can’t bear to look. I must seem a monster. She asks, “How are you feeling?”
I don’t know how to answer that question.
“I’m sorry,” she says.
Down the hall, I hear a child scream. From surgery or fear, I don’t know. I think fight the pain, fight the pain.
She speaks to me in soothing tones. “I need to ask you a few questions. About what happened. Can you talk?”
My mouth is dry, my throat sore, my vocal chords thrashed. I’d forgotten how much I screamed. I feel my skin wrinkle into deep crevices as I move my jaw, and it’s an effort to form words. Even my tongue feels burned; this strange muscle in my mouth. “Is my dad coming?”
“He’s on his way.” We share a bit of silence and I stare at the woman she is, the beautiful woman I will never be, and she says, “I’d like to start at the beginning. And if there’s ever a point where you need to stop, just let me know, okay?”
“There’s just one thing,” and I clear my throat. I force her to find my eyes. To see. To look. To understand.
“What’s that?”
“Don’t judge me,” I tell her. “I did what I had to.”
About the Author

James Morris is a former television writer who now works in digital media. He is the author of the Kindle Scout selectees What Lies Within and Melophobia, as well as the young adult suspense Feel Me Fall and trio of short stories Abraham Lincoln Must Die. Catch him at jamesmorriswriter.com.
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Ever wondered about the personalities behind your favorite books? #bestseller @JayCrownover #podcast #interview

Ever wondered about the personalities behind your favorite books? Victoria Danann‘s new podcast with Riley J. Ford has an incredible lineup of authors booked through the spring. No question is out of bounds. Check it out!
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Jay Crownover is the international and multiple New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men Series, The Saints of Denver Series, The Point Series, Breaking Point Series, and the Getaway Series. Her books can be found translated in many different languages all around the world. She is a tattooed, crazy haired Colorado native who lives at the base of the Rockies with her awesome dogs. This is where she can frequently be found enjoying a cold beer and Taco Tuesdays. Jay is a self-declared music snob and outspoken book lover who is always looking for her next adventure, between the pages and on the road.

 

THE THREE SOULS by BILL THOMAS

The Three Souls Blitz

Contemporary Fiction/Fantasy
Publisher: BookBaby
Published: June 2017
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Johnny Chambers is jailed in Texas in the early 1960’s. He is falsely convicted of a crime and is sentenced to five years in prison. While is prison he meets two other inmates Vinny Le Pugh and David Madejas.
Both inmates have had near death experiences and yet both have shown new found talents in music and art. Johnny decides to talk to the warden about their ability in a way to help them find their freedom. The warden goes along with it for a while but then decides to pull the plug on the craft room. Johnny, fearing for his life, decides to plan an escape with the two inmates and their art.
About the Author

Bill Thomas grew up in Austin, Texas. Bill started playing drums at an early age and played in many local bands including The Rock Hounds and Primitive Moderns. Bill moved to guitar and released two original CD’s on CD Baby. He performs with a stage name of Bill James. Bill has also written two full length screenplays.
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Searching for Gertrude by D.E. Haggerty

Searching for Gertrude Blitz

 

Historical Fiction, Historical Romance
Date Published: January 22, 2018
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While growing up in Germany in the 1930s, Rudolf falls in love with the girl next door, Gertrude. He doesn’t care what religion Gertrude practices but the Nazis do. When the first antisemitic laws are enacted by the Nazi government, Gertrude’s father loses his job at the local university. Unable to find employment in Germany, he accepts a position at Istanbul University and moves the family to Turkey. Rudolf, desperate to follow Gertrude, takes a position working at the consulate in Istanbul with the very government which caused her exile. With Rudolf finally living in the same city as Gertrude, their reunion should be inevitable, but he can’t find her. During his search for Gertrude, he stumbles upon Rosalyn, an American Jew working as a nanny in the city. Upon hearing his heartbreaking story, she immediately agrees to help him search for his lost love. Willing to do anything in their search for Gertrude, they agree to work for a British intelligence officer who promises his assistance, but his demands endanger Rudolf and Rosalyn. As the danger increases and the search for Gertrude stretches on, Rudolf and Rosalyn grow close, but Rudolf gave his heart away long ago. 
How far would you go to find the woman you love?
Excerpt
As usual, the clerk rushed out of the room as soon as it was lunchtime the next day. Rudolf waited until the other administrative workers had left, and then he waited an additional five minutes to make sure no one was coming back. He didn’t sneak over to the clerk’s desk. He strolled over as if he had business to which he needed to attend even as his palms sweated and his heart beat erratically. He tugged on the drawer to ensure it was locked before pulling the letter opener out of his pocket. He looked around to ensure he was still alone before kneeling in front of the drawer and sticking the letter opener in the tiny lock. With only a bit of jiggling, the lock clicked open. As quietly as he could, Rudolf pulled the drawer open and peeked in. Sure enough, the cabinet keys were sitting in the tray on the top of the drawer. He slid the drawer closed and went to stand. That’s when he realized his mistake. The drawer had to be locked when the clerk arrived. Otherwise, he would immediately assume something was wrong.
Rudolf kneeled in front of the closed drawer and once again stuck his letter opener in the lock. If the letter opener could unlock the drawer, it stood to reason it could also lock it. It took quite a bit of fiddling made worse by his shaky hands before he felt a click. He heard the clacking of boots on tile and jumped to his feet while thrusting the letter opener in his pocket. The sound came closer. He didn’t have time to check the lock was engaged. He rushed in the opposite direction of the approaching person, entering the hallway on the far side of the office. He walked to the toilet and waited until he was locked in a stall before he dared to take a breath. He leaned against the stall door and took deep breaths while his heart slowly went back to its regular rhythm.
After he managed to gain some semblance of calm, he splashed cold water on his face before returning to his desk where he waited for the clerk to arrive. Was the desk drawer locked? Would the clerk know someone had tampered with the drawer even if it was locked? It took all of Rudolf’s willpower to not constantly glance at the clerk’s empty desk. When the clerk finally arrived, Rudolf tilted his chair in the clerk’s direction and waited with bated breath. But nothing happened other than the clerk unlocking his desk after sitting down. Rudolf waited for the man to notice things were amiss. It took several hours before he realized the clerk was not going to notice anything, and he could relax. He could breathe for the first time since lunch and got back to work.
About the Author

I grew-up reading everything I could get my grubby hands on, from my mom’s Harlequin romances, to Nancy Drew, to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before following the husband to Istanbul where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go. But ten years was too many to stay away from my adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.
Searching for Gertrude is my twelfth book.
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~~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~~ Breath ~~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~~

* I usually avoid Kickstarter projects.  This however is one I strongly believe in, not only because I am a huge fan of Victoria’s writing but also because her stories are such, so high quality that they stay with you.

BREATH by
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Victoria Dougherty is the author of
THE BONE CHURCH, THE HUNGARIAN, WELCOME TO THE HOTEL YALTA and COLD.
 

 


A writer and consultant with Dougherty
Dialectic since 2001, she has ghost-written articles, speeches and testimony
for Fortune 500 executives, and taught multiple seminars on writing. Her
journalism and essays have been published in the Chicago Tribune, the Prague
Post, and the Sunday edition of the New York Times. Victoria has also written,
translated, and produced television news segments and video scripts.
Earlier in her career, while living in
Prague, she co-founded Black Box Theater, translating, producing, and acting in
to sold-out audiences in several Czech plays – from Vaclav Havel’s “Protest” to
the unintentionally hilarious communist propaganda play “Karhan’s Men.” Black
Box Theater was profiled in feature articles in USA Today and numerous European
publications.
Her blog – COLD* (www.victoriadougherty.wordpress.com) – features her short essays on faith,
family, love, and writing. WordPress, the blogging platform that hosts over 70
million blogs worldwide, has singled out COLD as one of their top Recommended
Blogs by writers or about writing.