Friday, June 30, 2017

Friday's Film Adaption: George Washington Slept Here by Moss Hart & George S Kaufman


Summary:
The story chronicles the trials and tribulations of Newton Fuller who craves and gets "a little place in the country to call his own." Newton and his wife, Annabell, and their daughter, Madge, are hypnotized into taking over one of those windowless, waterless, almost roofless houses that dot the countryside. The ensuing troubles may be summed up by a search for water, a quarrel with a neighbor who owns not only the brook but the very road that leads from the highway to the house, the attempted elopement of the daughter with a summer-theatre actor, and the usual invasion of the weekend guests, including a prodigal uncle who is assumed to be rich but turns out to be just another bankrupt. It is discovered that the neighbor really doesn't own Newton's roadway, and that Newton's wife, who began by showing disgust over her husband's idiocy in wanting to live in the country, decides that he was right all along.

Film
A pair of New Yorkers face culture shock when they buy a dilapidated country house.

Release Date: November 28, 1942
Release Time: 93 minutes

Cast:
Jack Benny as Bill Fuller
Ann Sheridan as Connie Fuller
Charles Coburn as Uncle Stanley J. Menninger
Percy Kilbride as Mr. Kimber
Hattie McDaniel as Hester
William Tracy as Steve Eldridge
Joyce Reynolds as Madge
Lee Patrick as Rena Leslie
Charles Dingle as Mr. Prescott
John Emery as Clayton Evans
Douglas Croft as Raymond
Harvey Stephens as Jeff Douglas

Awards:
1942 Academy Awards
Best Black and White Art Direction -
Max Parker, Mark-Lee Kirk, Casey Roberts - Nominated


Trailer

Clips




Author Bios:
Moss Hart
Moss Hart was an American playwright and director of plays and musical theater. Hart recalled his youth, early career and rise to fame in his autobiography, Act One, adapted to film in 1963, with George Hamilton portraying Hart.

Hart grew up at 74 East 105th Street in Manhattan, "a neighborhood not of carriages and hansom cabs, but of dray wagons, pushcarts, and immigrants" (Bach 1). Early on he had a strong relationship with his Aunt Kate, whom he later lost contact with because of a falling out between her and his parents, and her weakening mental state. She got him interested in the theater and took him to see performances often. Hart even went so far as to create an "alternate ending" to her life in his book Act One. He writes that she died while he was working on out-of-town tryouts for The Beloved Bandit. Later, Kate became quite eccentric, vandalizing Hart's home, writing threatening letters and setting fires backstage during rehearsals for Jubilee. But his relationship with Kate was life-forming. He understood that the theater made possible "the art of being somebody else… not a scrawny boy with bad teeth, a funny name… and a mother who was a distant drudge." (Bach 13).

After working several years as a director of amateur theatrical groups and an entertainment director at summer resorts, he scored his first Broadway hit with Once In A Lifetime (1930), a farce about the arrival of the sound era in Hollywood. The play was written in collaboration with Broadway veteran George S. Kaufman, who regularly wrote with others, notably Marc Connelly and Edna Ferber. (Kaufman also performed in the play's original Broadway cast in the role of a frustrated playwright hired by Hollywood.) During the next decade, Kaufman and Hart teamed on a string of successes, including You Can't Take It With You (1936) and The Man Who Came to Dinner (1939). Though Kaufman had hits with others, Hart is generally conceded to be his most important collaborator.

George S Kaufman
George Simon Kaufman was an American playwright, theatre director and producer, humorist, and drama critic.

Kaufman was known as "The Great Collaborator" because he wrote very few plays alone.


Moss Hart
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Devils Marker by Victoria Danann

Title: Devils Marker
Author: Victoria Danann
Series: Sons of Sanctuary MC #4
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 30, 2017
Summary:
  • The Waco, Texas Marauders MC is on the verge of war.
  • New arrivals, Stars and Bars MC, are engaged in activities too nefarious for even the notorious Marauders.
  • New SSMC member, Win Garrett, is planted inside to get information and fill a marker owed by the club.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Victoria Danann, adds a bit of grit and reality to the runaway hit series Sons of Sanctuary. Devils Marker is a tale of romance and suspense loosely based on actual events.

CAN BE READ AS A STAND ALONE.

A biker who walked away from a SoCal outlaw club came to the SSMC seeking a quiet life that might become a long life. Little did he know he was jumping out of the frying pan into the fire when the club president asked him to fill a marker owed to a Texas Ranger.

Win Garrett chose the fast track option to respect and a full patch with the club, but things changed when the daughter of the Marauders' prez caught his eye. Now all he wants is to get out alive with the little blonde bombshell who has his heart clenched in a vice grip with passion pink fingernails.

"Suspense, loyalty, brotherhood, compassion, humor and romance...Sons of Sanctuary has something for everyone."


“I could be marked. Clubs have a way of figurin’ things out.”

“That’s why it’s gotta be up to you. Full patch comes with full backing. Of course.” Win looked out the window, seemingly working through all the pros and cons. “You left your old club in good standing. Right?”

“Yeah.”

“So they’d speak for you if asked.”

“I suppose. The leadership had become kind of… unpredictable.”

“That happens. If you were asked, just explain it like that.”

“You sound like you think I’m sayin’ yes.”

“Got a feelin’ you’re leanin’ that way. Am I wrong?”

Win shook his head. “No. You’re not wrong. Kinda wish you were. I was just gettin’ the accounts set up and…”

“When you get back you’ll have that plus a lot more. You do this for us, you got our trust with our backs and our money.” Brant took a sip of coffee and then said, “But not our women.”

Realizing that his anxiety and indecision was creating tension in the room, Win consciously decided to lighten the mood. He grinned. “Your wife is…”

Brant said, “Stop right there, prospect. You got no call to say a word about the mother of my sons. No matter how beautiful and smart and polished and rich she is.” Brant grinned, but in a way that was more menacing than teasing. “You need some time to think about it?”

Win shook his head. “Thinkin’ about it’s not gonna change a thing. So no point. I guess I’m in. But for the record, I’d like to have it known that I’m not into reckless or suicidal. Got your word that my loyalty won’t be questioned? I mean if I survive?”

“I got a strong feelin’ you’re gonna be back as a full patch member. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t have even brought this up. But I’ve been doin’ this long enough to say that when my gut speaks, I listen up.”

Win gave a nod that was both slight and unconvincing, more an acknowledgement than an agreement. “And I have your word that my loyalty won’t be questioned again. Ever.”

Brant stilled and looked the younger man squarely in the face so that he could absorb the seriousness and sincerity of the answer. “Yes. You do. I’m gonna call the Ranger right now, with you sittin’ there. So stay put.” Brant punctuated that order by pointing to the chair underneath Win’s firmly muscled behind.

“Call me back,” Brant said into the phone. “While we’re waitin’, why don’t you tell me if there’s somethin’ I need to look after regardin’ the accounts you’ve been messin’ with.”

Win took exception to the term ‘messin’ with’, but chose not to challenge the club president about his word choice. He opened his mouth to reply, but Brant’s phone rang. Brant looked at the face of the phone and accepted the call.

“He’ll do it. But if anythin’ goes wrong, you’re gonna answer to me personally.” Win could hear the muted sound of a vocal response, but couldn’t make out the words. “Stipulation. He’ll have full immunity. No. Matter. What. And he will not testify to anything later. He’ll give you a one on one confidential debriefing. In secret. Just the two of you. This is a deal breaker. Take it or leave it.” Brant paused to let the other man respond. “Just to reiterate. We’re talkin’ about a month maximum. And, if anything, I mean anything, goes south before that, I don’t care if it’s an hour after arrival, he’s outta there.”

As Win sat and listened to the one sided conversation his respect for Brant blossomed. The prez negotiated like a lawyer and seemed to really give a damn about Win’s future.

Brant hung up and looked at Win. “Gotta protect our golden goose.” Brant opened a drawer and pulled out a new burner phone.


Two Princes #1
Summary:
Two brothers unknown to each other on a crash course with fate and two broken hearts.

Brigid was a graduate student at the University of Texas. It wasn't hard getting her thesis approved, but finding a Hill Country motorcycle club willing to give her access to their lifestyle was starting to look impossible. Then she got a lead. A friend of a friend had a cousin with family ties to The Sons of Sanctuary. Perfect. Or so she thought.

Brash was standing in line at the H.E.B. Market when his world tipped on its axis. While waiting his turn to check out, his gaze had wandered to the magazine display and settled on the new issue of "NOW". The image on the cover, although GQ'd up in an insanely urbane way, was... him.

After reading the article, he threw some stuff in a duffle and caught a plane to New York, on a mission to find a mysterious asshole walking around with his face.

The Biker's Brother #2
Summary:
Brandon St. Germaine was at the top of the billionaire playboy heap when he learned about a side of the family that had been kept secret. He left New York, moved to Austin, and took most of the corporate empire with him.

His dad, president of the club his grandfather founded, spent three decades converting the club's income sources to legitimate business dealings. One of the biggest earners was the security service. When a ridiculously wealthy, but justifiably frightened father hires the SSMC to protect his daughter from the psycho she's divorcing, Brand gets the job.

Nomad #3
Excerpt:
Cannon Johns was a man who'd once had the world in his hands and lost everything. When he rode his Harley underneath the motel office overhang just after midnight, he was soaking wet and looking for the only comfort life still had to offer. The escape of sleep.

After being told there was no food available at that time of night, he pulled his ride into the room he'd just rented and went looking for dinner in the vending machines. When he was eight feet away, he saw movement by the Mountain Dew column. In addition to being bone weary, world weary, and out of options, he was out of sorts with no patience for shenanigans.

"Come on out of there and state your business." He had to raise his voice to a near-shout to be heard over the pounding rain.

After a slight hesitation, a small figure emerged in a yellow plastic poncho, the kind you can get at the grocery store for a couple of bucks. As soon as she reached up to pull the hood back from her head he knew it was a woman by the delicate size of her hands and the way she moved.

The light was dim, but he saw her clearly as if it was noon on a bright sunny day. His late wife had once told him that he had to change out the light fixture in the kitchen because "nobody looks good in fluorescent light". The girl standing in front of him was proof it just ain't so.

Her eyes were violet blue. And wide. He wasn't sure if that was because of fear or misery. Like him, she soaking wet. Unlike him, she was shivering. Whether that was from fear or cold he couldn't guess.

"What the hell you doing out here, girl?" He looked around. "Something got you spooked?"

She licked her bottom lip. "No, ah, I'm just a little down on luck is all. I don't want any trouble."

"Don't want no trouble, huh?"

It wasn't a question. He said it as if it was a provable fact. She shook her head to both punctuate his assessment and agree with it.

"Yeah. Me, neither. At least not tonight."

Author Bio:
New York Times bestselling author of thirteen romances. Victoria's Knights of Black Swan series won BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE SERIES for the past THREE YEARS IN A ROW. Reviewers Choice Awards, The Paranormal Romance Guild.

Her paranormal romances come with uniquely fresh perspectives on "imaginary" creatures, characters, and themes. She adds a dash of scifi, a flourish of fantasy, enough humor to make you laugh out loud, and, occasionally, enough steam to make you squirm in your chair. Her heroines are independent femmes with flaws and minds of their own whether they are aliens, witches, demonologists, werewolves, hybrids, psychics, or past life therapists. Her heroes are hot and hunky, but they also have brains, character, and good manners... usually.

The rich characterizations come from being a lifelong student of behavior, casually, and a serious student of behavior academically. She also studied comparative religion, myths, and Dark Ages history.

Victoria lives in The Woodlands, Texas with her husband and a very smart, mostly black German Shepherd dog.

Victoria is co-host of the popular ROMANCE BETWEEN THE PAGES podcast. 


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Devils Marker #4

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It Happened at the Park by Ryan Jo Summers

Title: It Happened at the Park
Author: Ryan Jo Summers
Genre: Romantic Comedy Novella
Release Date: June 20, 2017
Summary:
Practical city planner, Cassidy Grant, just inherited her sister's beloved dogs. Except she's a career girl more into heels and matching accessories. She's not a dog mom. Worse, she is required to take the furry darlings to the dog park.

Jilted at the alter, Ethan Sheppard finally got a dog. And he loves their bonding trips to the dog park. He's also the secret cartoonist whose drawings poke fun at the city leadership and might hurt the mayor's chances at reelection.

After Cassidy and Ethan meet, she asks for his help to manage the pups, and along the way, he learns she will be fired if she can't identify the cartoonist to her boss. But telling her will cost his job.


Jake pulled eagerly at his leash, his long tail whipping in the air as they neared the park entrance. Swinging the gate open just enough to allow them through, Ethan unhooked the leash, releasing Jake. With a bark, he was gone, racing to join his canine pals.

Looping the leash through his belt, Ethan stuffed his hands in the pockets of his jeans and studied the attendees. He offered a friendly wave to some of the doggie moms and dads that he knew. A few of the dogs came up, wagging around, begging a pat, before racing off again.

“Jake’s looking good.”

Ethan spun around at the feminine purr behind him, feeling himself go tense. “Yep, he loves these morning runs,” he replied to the brunette standing almost eye to eye with him. He’d figured out pretty quick Gwen was hot into him weeks ago. The fact that she came to this park, when there were others closer to her, was a good indicator. She never brought a dog, so he surmised she just came to prowl around, sniffing for available males. And it seemed he was pretty high up on her list of desirable ones. So far, he’d been unsuccessful in convincing her he didn’t return the favor. He wasn’t into needy lionesses on the hunt. She had a way to make him feel like a chunk of raw meat.
She inched closer, enough for him to breathe in her almost overpowering perfume. Some floral stuff mixed with more flowers. Sort of like walking into a funeral parlor full of sympathy bouquets. Her ample bosom brushed his sleeve and he inched further back.

“And what about you, Ethan? What do you love in the morning?”

He could imagine what she wanted to hear, and he wasn’t about to encourage her. He rocked back another step. “Coffee,” he replied instead. “Bacon and eggs. Pancakes.”

Her hopeful smile slowly faded. Whatever she might have said back was lost when he heard a cry of frustration and a gleeful bark. Whirling, he looked for the source of the sounds.

“Remi! Stop that!”

He recognized the little brown and white ticked dog racing freely now that his leash was dropped. Or pulled from the hand of the woman in bright red heels. Heels? At a dog park? Her black business suit and red hat looked equally out of place. And didn’t she know you were supposed to take their leashes off inside the fence? Apparently not, because the other little dog was still attached to her leash as well, wrapped around the woman’s wrist. Now that her partner was free, the little blond and white dog spun in circles, mad to join him. In her hand the hapless women clutched a cell phone, wedged up near her ear.

Rocking back on his heels, he took in the show, smothering a smile. Remi, full of freedom, darted just far enough to stay out of reach but close enough to keep the woman in pursuit. The woman, a pretty, petite blond with a serious up do topped by a rolled brim chenille hat, stumbled along in her heels and all but dragging the scruffy Chi/terrier along. She alternated between hissing at Remi through clenched teeth and then pushing the phone back to her ear to talk rapidly to someone.

Seeing she wasn’t making much ground, Ethan settled himself on a bench to watch, arms spread out comfortably. Gwen faded away like a ghostly specter. He remembered Remi, a Parsons Russell terrier and Australian Shepherd mixture, as being a handful on the best of days. The smaller one, a terrier/ Chihuahua and question mark, always struck him as a cute, well behaved pooch. Except, he’d never seen the pair here with the blond. He’d definitely remember her.

“Remi!” She whispered fiercely to the little dog, who was having a delightful time, barking over his shoulder at her. She pressed the phone back up. “No, Adam, I agree we have to stay on schedule with this project. Any delay now could be disastrous. Tessa, come on! Yes, I have a meeting tomorrow with Mr. King and I should have some solid answers then.” She lowered the phone, eyes cutting into the dog. “Remi!” She slapped the phone back to her ear. “What? No, everything’s just fine, why do you ask? Where am I? Oh, out enjoying one of the offerings of our fine community. It’s such a pleasant morning, I thought why not, right?” She offered a strained chuckle.

It was all Ethan could do to hold back his laughter. Clearly, she was trying to hold a meeting of some sort. Didn’t she know a park, full of barking dogs and yelling people was the last place for that?

Finally, she hung up the call, tripping over Tessa’s leash. Checking on Jake, Ethan climbed to his feet. He’d have to save these dogs from this woman or this woman from herself, he wasn’t sure which.

Author Bio:
Ryan Jo Summers is a North Carolina writer who pens romances with a twist. They may contain any number of elements: Christian, humor, mystery, paranormal, sweet, shape-shifting, or time travel. Her dad is a songwriter and his aunt wrote poetry so writing must be in the family genes.

She makes her home in a century-old mountain cottage, with a menagerie of adopted pets. In her spare time, she likes to gather with family and friends, paint ceramics or canvas, potter in the yard, bird-watching, or read, play chess, Mahjongg or work word-find puzzles. She might take her dog and head deep into the forests and rivers near her home to plot the next big scene or story. Like her dad's aunt, she writes poetry as a means to cope with life's pains.

She collects lighthouses, shells, driftwood, and anything to remind her of the shore.


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Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Masterpiece by Bonnie Dee

Summary:
Built from the bottom up: one perfect gentleman.

Man about town Arthur Lawton spends his days pursuing entertainment while shoeshine Joe Sprat labors to better his family’s lives. When an argument about nature versus nurture sparks a wager, Arthur swears to a friend he can turn this working man into a gentleman who will pass at a society function.

Joe is happy to participate in the experiment for a fee but receives more than he bargained for after moving into Lawton’s house. Arthur is determined Joe won’t merely wear a veneer of sophistication but educates him in every way. As he creates his new and improved man, Arthur grows more deeply infatuated with him, while Joe falls equally hard for his charismatic mentor.

Underneath a growing friendship, desire simmers and one day explodes. After their relationship escalates, the pair exists in a dream bubble until the threat of exposure sharply reminds them they belong in different worlds. When the ball is over, each must resume his own life, changed by their encounter but destined for different courses.

Find out if love is strong enough to bridge the gap between peer and pauper in this twist on the tale of My Fair Lady. 


If you have ever seen the film My Fair Lady then you have an idea of what the story behind The Masterpiece is all about.  Arthur and his best mate Granville make a bet to turn a lower class citizen into a gentleman in just a few short weeks.  Joe Sprat just happens to be that lower class citizen who just wants to support his family.  What could happen?

As a history buff I always enjoy a well planned historical where the author shows their appreciation of the past by staying true to the times and in my experience Bonnie Dee is one of the best writers to do just that.  Of course there are always a few minor liberties taken but as a whole the stories she creates paint a very accurate portrayal of the times and Masterpiece is no different.

Arthur may be out to win his bet with his friend but Joe soon gets under his skin and Joe might just be doing it to help his family and become closer to his dream of owning his own shoe store but Arthur soon becomes more than a tutor.  The Masterpiece is a tale of friendship and love filled with just the right amount of angst and drama to get the blood pumping.  Whether or not you are a fan of My Fair Lady or historicals won't matter because as long as you are a lover of great storytelling that mixes drama, heart, and a little humor than Masterpiece is definitely one for your TBR list.

RATING: 


The butler pointed out a chair for him to sit in—not one of the upholstered armchairs but a wooden one with no fabric for him to dirty. He told Joe the master would be in presently then left the room.

Joe sat still for all of a minute but he wanted to see that fancy radiator up close. He pulled aside the screen and studied it then put the screen back and wandered around the room admiring other marvels. There was a fully-rigged sailing ship in a glass bottle on the mantle. Above that, a large portrait of a uniformed man with enormous mutton chop whiskers glared down at the intruder in the house.

“My grandfather, Admiral Cornelius Bingley Lawton. When I was a boy, he would bring me treasures from his trips to all corners of the globe.”

The voice from behind Joe nearly made him jump out of his shoes. He turned to face Mr. Lawton, who had the same striking features and piercing eyes as the man in the painting.

“Please, sit down,” Lawton indicated one of two armchairs facing the fireplace.

“Sorry, sir. I should’ve stayed where I was put, but this room…Cor, I ain’t seen nothin’ like it in me life. ‘Tis a marvel.” He went where Lawton directed and perched on the edge of the chair.

Lawton leaned back in his seat and gracefully crossed his long legs. “You may as well begin to learn proper etiquette. It’s all right to be curious, but one doesn’t generally poke about someone’s house when paying a call.”

The reprimand was not harshly spoken but it embarrassed Joe to be considered so ignorant. “I know, sir. It ain’t considered polite among my sort either. I won’t do it again.”

Lawton studied him with those shining brown eyes. “You understand the terms of my wager with Lord Granville? In six weeks you will attend Lady Granville’s spring gala as my guest. The social elite will be there, peers and politicians, perhaps even royalty. You must be as polished and well-spoken as any man there. If you convince them you’re one of them, the proof will be in invitations to other social gatherings.”

“Yes, sir. I understand.” But he didn’t really. It was an odd measure for winning a bet, especially when that Lord Muckety Granville seemed to be in charge of deciding whether Joe had passed muster or not.

Lawton continued in that smooth voice that stroked like velvet against Joe’s ears, making the hair on his neck and arms pleasantly prickle. “As we proceed with your education, if I should correct you on any matter, it is without malice or intent to demean you. I don’t know how much you know about the social graces I’ll be attempting to impart.”

“Yes, sir,” Joe repeated, as it seemed the safest answer to give to all those high flown, fancy words. He didn’t want to ruin this opportunity to earn twenty quid within his first minutes here. Lawton might choose some other bloke to train up and Joe would be booted out of the miracle he’d lucked into.

“This is about much more than a different way of speaking. There are rules governing even the most mundane behaviors in society, all of which must become second nature to you.”

Lawton leaned forward now, his arms resting on his thighs and his gaze even more powerful. Joe felt it pressing against his chest like a hand. “But beyond that, there is a certain way you must carry yourself, with poise, confidence and dignity. I know quite a few pedigreed men, especially young bucks, who lack that air of quality. I want you to outmatch those of the highest breeding, to show what you are capable of through sheer willpower. Can you do that?”

Joe began nodding even before Lawton finished speaking. He hadn’t felt the force of someone’s words this way since his mum used to drag him to church where the minister’s sermons on hellfire seemed directed at him. While that had scared the bejeezus out of him, Mr. Lawton’s words lit him on fire. I will become that man, the one with poise and confidence.

“Yes! I’ll do my very best for you, Mr. Lawton.”

Lawton slapped Joe’s knee. “Good man.” He leaned back, but Joe still felt that warm touch.

“We’ll start from the skin outward.” The gentleman lightened his tone. “A bath and a fresh set of clothing. My tailor will come tomorrow to take your measurements for new clothing. For this evening, you may wear some of my clothes.”

Joe noted his host’s linen shirt, soft woolen trousers, jacket, and silk waistcoat, and had the silly thought of joining Lawton inside those clothes. He ducked his face to hide his smile at the absurd thought.

Lawton rose and went to the wall to press a button. “This is how you must summon a servant should you need one. A bell rings in the kitchen, letting the staff know in which room service is required. I’m fairly certainly Merton is hovering out in the hall just now, waiting to show you to the guest bedroom, and then to the washroom where a bath will be drawn.” He frowned. “You are familiar with indoor plumbing? You’ve had a full bath before, not just washed up in a basin?”

What sort of conditions did he think Joe lived in? “Yes, sir. I’ve had tub baths. Not so large as yours, I imagine.” In a shared washroom for everyone on that floor and with lukewarm water only a few inches deep. “I believe I can manage.”

Lawton smiled and acknowledged his tone. “Sarcasm is a gentleman’s rapier with which he fences daily. Point to you.”

Merton came to collect Joe, and Joe lost track of time as one new experience after another rushed at him. He barely had time to take in the beautiful bed and lovely furnishings in the guest room before he was shown to the wash room.

There, he stood thunderstruck, staring from a huge claw-foot tub on a raised platform, with spigots for both cold and hot water, to the plush towels hung on a rack for the bather’s convenience, to a large sink with an oval mirror in a curved frame above it.

His reflection gaped back at him, as grubby as a ragpicker or a homeless beggar. No wonder Lawton took him for an ignorant bum rather than a workingman who made a more or less adequate living.

“Do you require aide with your bath, Mr. Sprat,” Merton interrupted his thoughts. “I could send Mr. Lawton’s valet, Jackson, or one of the footmen.”

“I can wash meself, thanks much.” Joe cleared his throat and mimicked Lawton’s plummy drawl, “You may leave now, my good man.”

With the door closed behind Merton, Joe stripped off his clothes and tested the steaming water. He’d never in his life had so much water to splash around in except for an occasional swim in the filthy Thames on a hot summer day. He put in a toe, then a foot, then submerged his whole body right up to the chin in that glorious warmth. With a sigh, Joe closed his eyes and fell back, dousing his head. For a few moments, he floated underwater, allowing the heat to seep into his very bones and the water to soak the grime of the streets off him. Heavenly bliss!

At last he reached for the flannel and the fragrant bar of soap and began to scrub. He would step out of this bath a new man, ready to take on the world—or at least the better half of it. He would make Mr. Lawton proud with how easily he learned grammar and good manners. And he would make his mum even prouder when he opened a shop of his own at last.

Author Bio:
I began telling stories as a child. Whenever there was a sleepover, I was the designated ghost tale teller. I still have a story printed on yellow legal paper in second grade about a ghost, a witch and a talking cat.

Writing childish stories for my own pleasure led to majoring in English at college. Like most English majors, I dreamed of writing a novel, but at that time in my life didn't have the necessary focus and follow through. Then life happened. A husband and children occupied the next twenty years and it was only in 2000 that I began writing again.

I enjoy dabbling in many genres. Each gives me a different way to express myself. I've developed a habit of writing every day that's almost an addiction. I don't think I could stop now if I tried.


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Monsters Among Us by Amanda Strong

Title: Monsters Among Us
Author: Amanda Strong
Series: Monsters Among Us #3
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Release Date: June 26, 2017
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Summary:
What if the fate of the world lies with the monster—not the hero?

The world is shifting, and Sammy has complete control. But as hidden truths surface, she starts to doubt everyone who is close to her. The Ancients and Kory have been harboring dark secrets, and it could mean war between the Dragon Fae and the Irukas. With the Defenders as her devoted soldiers, Sam must make some difficult decisions. Should she save the world… or save herself?

Blake won’t give up on Sam. He knows he can’t trust Tonbo anymore, or the web of lies he’s been thrown into. If he hopes to save Sam, he must find the real reason Kory created the bug army. Turns out there could be something far worse than bloodthirsty bugs buriedon the islands, and Blake will have to fight his own inner demons if he wants to save those he loves—including Sam.

In a world filled with mistrust and lies, Blake and Sam must unearth the truth and face their own fears and weaknesses. If they don’t, their lives—and the fate of all humanity—will hang in the balance.


I stared in disbelief. The Irukas surrounding the island had obviously summoned the waters in an effort to stop the oncoming soldiers. However, once on shore, the hordes of bugs jumped to their feet and then to the skies. The new ones looked more like Jaxon, liked they’d been formed from dragon fae, missing the brown skin and black hair my Defenders had. And they all wore black markings on their chests, like some kind of tattoo.

“Impossible!” I gasped. “Where did these bugs come from?” I couldn’t wrap my mind around what I was seeing.

Luckily for me, Jaxon and Kalepe went into battle mode, calling out commands and rushing to grab stashed weapons. In the distance, I heard several seashells blown, echoing along the shoreline and alerting everyone we were under siege.

Jaxon pulled me aside. “Fly from here and warn Kory. He’s in the underground bunker.”

“I don’t know where that is,” I answered, feeling completely off step.

“I’ll take her,” a Defender near us called.

“Thank you, Tomas,” Kalepe called back. “Warn Kory to stay put. Don’t leave their secure place. We’ll come get you when it’s clear.”

He nodded, and we flew away from the oncoming fight… but not fast enough. A bug slammed into me, smashing me to the ground, sending my face skidding across the ground and filling my nostrils with sand.

I gasped and pushed back, trying to free myself from the claws pinning me down. Then, I heard a sound like something slicing through a cow’s hide, followed by a thud to my left. I turned and stared at the bloody head of my captor. His eyes rolled to the side as his tongue went slack in his mouth.

I shot up in the air, shaking and nauseated.

“Fly!” Tomas roared, obviously the one to save my life.

I didn’t need to be told twice and raced after him, both of us switching to camo and diving deeper into the jungle.



What made you pursue writing? How old were you when you starting writing?
I’ve loved writing my entire life!  I wrote my first complete novel at sixteen, which sits happily in a box, never to see the light of day.  It’s just plain awful!  I took a big break from pursuing my dream of being published as college, marriage, kids, and life happened.  In 2011, thanks to a friend, the writing bug bit me again, and I’ve been obsessed since!

Who were your inspirations as a writer? Favorite authors?
There are so many incredible authors who have inspired me over the years!  If I had to pick a few I’d go with John Bellairs, Mary Higgins Clark, Orson Scott Card, Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, Cassandra Clare, Stephenie Meyers, J.K. Rowling, Gaston Leroux (Phantom of the Opera).  There are many more!

How long does it usually take you to write a book?
I wish I could say three months, but alas, it’s more like six months to a year by the time I start to the time it’s polished and ready to be published.  I need to get faster!  Something I’m working on now ;)

Do you have an interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know if it’s a quirk, but I have to use a mouse!  I can’t stand using my laptop’s touchpad.  When I write, I prefer to sit at my desk, with a big glass of water and/or cup of herbal tea, a few snacks (sometimes just chocolate).  The other thing about me is, when I’m writing, I get so cold.  It doesn’t matter the temperature in my house, or what season it is.  I end up freezing!  So after a minute or two of typing, I usually end up throwing on a hoodie, wrapping up in a blanket, and cranking up the pellet stove fire behind me.  I have a pair of awesome fuzzy slippers that are more like booties (they go up to my knees).  One day, while cleaning out the closet, my husband was like, “What are these? Can we throw these away?”  I’m like, “No way!  They keep my toes so warm while I write books!”



Author Bio:
Born in Dekalb, Illinois, Amanda Strong has called Utah, Arizona, Hawaii, Virginia, and now New Mexico home. She has loved to spin tales since childhood. It was not uncommon to find her hiding in some random corner, scribbling away in her spiral-bound notebook, with her bright pink glasses. You could say some things have not changed.

Amanda signed with Clean Teen Publishing in the fall of 2013. She is the author of two paranormal, YA series: The Watchers of Men and Monsters Among Us.

The first novel in The Watchers of Men series, The Awakener, debuted in October of 2013. It has been an Amazon number one best seller in three Young Adult categories. Book two, The Holy and The Fallen, released May 12th of 2015. She is currently working on book three, The Watcher’s Mark, releasing spring of 2016.

Hidden Monster released November 4th of 2014, and it finished as a Finalist in the 2014 USA Best Book Award: Young Adult Category. It is book one of a brand-new young adult, sci-fi thriller series called Monsters Among Us.

When Amanda isn't writing, you can find her chasing her three rambunctious children around the house and spending time with her wonderful and supportive husband. On some occasions, you can still find Amanda with her not-so-pink glasses, hiding in a corner reading her favorite young adult fantasy novels or working out only to blow her diet by eating ice cream.


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Monsters Among Us #3
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