“Old Friends Are Hard to Kill” by Gary Towner

Spy Versus Spy in a New Psychological Thriller

Old Friends are Hard to Kill by Gary Towner on AmazonThe fourth novel in the Johnny Walker Series by Gary Towner.

When an American CIA agent is ordered to terminate a fellow agent who has gone rogue, he is devastated to learn that the fellow agent he must kill his mark is his best friend. Though conflicted, the agent decides he must follow orders and kills the rogue agent. The aftermath of that decision, however, leaves him emotionally conflicted and looking for solace and emotional relief in alcohol.

But what if he hasn’t actually killed his old friend? News reaches him that the man he thought he had killed may, in fact, still be alive. There are reports of a ruthless rebel leader in Guatemala who leaves a bloody trail behind him and operates just like the supposedly dead agent. When they finally reunite, it’s a fight to the death.

A taut, exciting and absorbing psychological thriller that exposes the inner working of the CIA and the inner working of one agent’s conscience. Fans of spy fiction will be electrified by this study of inner torment, spies and a final battle to the death between two veteran secret agents.

 

 About the Author

Gary TownerGary Towner started his writing career with a creative writing class at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and has since published a number of adventure novels.  He  studied under mentors John Tigges, Carolyn Banks, and many others. His greatest influence as a writer is the Allan Quartermain series by Henry Rider Haggard.

Other Novels by Gary Towner

The Dead Still Walk The Frozen Detaunt The Mbuji Juju The Pestilence The Three Legged Camel see on amazon

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“Mysterious Depths: An African Adventure” by Mimizz Efemena Agwarota

Mysterious Depths Buy on AmazonAn Enchanting Fable in an Ancient African Setting

A fascinating story, based on African myths and spirituality, with the feel of a fairytale for adults.  Mamuke is sent on an arduous journey to get some salt for her pregnant sister, who is experiencing a craving for it. On the way, Mamuke stops to rest and accidentally falls asleep. She enters into a dark nightmare and wakes to find that much of what she has dreamed about is actually happening. Surrounded by apparitions and faceless shadows, her experience becomes more and more surreal, and she runs away. But Mamuke has angered the gods, and soon finds that getting away is not so easy.

Beautifully written, with haunting, almost poetic prose, this novel has the feel of a fable.  It is reminiscent of a Grimm’s fairytale or of the Arabian Nights. Mysterious, sometimes dark and truly captivating, the pleasure of reading this story comes both from the author’s talent at narrative and from the twists and turns of the story itself.  It is a mystery, a love story and a fantastic journey into another time and place. With charming descriptions of the African landscape and well-written characters, particularly Mamuke, Shumatu, Zakuna, and Sinofu, who form the heart and soul of the tale, it is impossible not to be entranced by this fabulous and spellbinding African tale.

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About the Author

Mimizz Efemena Agwarota, a British-born Nigerian based in the UK is a married mother and an avid reader of fictional stories. Having worked exclusively in the city as a Business Analyst with multi-national investment banks, she decided to pursue her love for writing while on maternity leave.

Mysterious Depths is her first novel and she shares her life with her husband, children, and a few hundred books.

finalist-shiny-web Mysterious Depths was chosen as a finalist in 3 categories in the 2014 Readers Favorite Book Awards.

 

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“Medical Cannabis: A Balanced, Evidence Based Look Beyond The Propaganda” by Meredith K. Converse

A Balanced Overview of a Controversial Issue

Medical CanWith medical marijuana so much in the news recently, this book takes a balanced look at the use of cannabis for medical purposes, from a scientific, evidence-based perspective as well as from a historical and sociological one. It examines both the scientific evidence that medical cannabis can alleviate the symptoms of various syndromes and also examines the history of marijuana, the myths surrounding it, how it has impacted society, and what its detractors say about it.

The author explains what cannabis is, how it is used medically as well as recreationally, the history of its use in other cultures and in the United States, and the history of the banning of marijuana.  Much of the book, however, is devoted to the medical uses of cannabis, including the use of synthetic alternatives and issues like addiction and the concept of marijuana as a gateway drug.  The use of medical cannabis for glaucoma, pain, nausea, seizures, multiple sclerosis and a variety of other symptoms and illnesses is covered, as is the likely future of medical cannabis, whether it will be taken over by big pharma, and what impact it might have on mainstream medicine in general.

It is rare to find a balanced and fair look at a controversial issue, but “Medical Cannabis” does just that. For anyone interested in the arguments both for and against the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes, this book provide a comprehensive overview and guide.  It adeptly presents both sides of the argument, making it easier to understand this complex issue.

About the Author

Meredith K. Converse was born to an American mother and an English father in Hong Kong. Since then she has lived in many countries around the world, both for work and for study.

As both a historian and anthropologist, Meredith is fascinated with rituals around the world. She currently lives in South East Asia. Meredith is looking forward to writing for a wider audience. Her motto is “you gotta make your own fun!”

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“Leaving Montana” by Thomas Whaley

Buy Leaving Montana on AmazonConfronting Family Secrets on a Journey to Wholeness

The story of Ben Quinn, a man with suppressed rage and a lifetime of resentment against his parents, who returns to his childhood home in Billings, Montana to confront his traumatic and chaotic childhood  and the family secrets he only just learned about.  As he boards the plane that will take him to Billings, he knows he must face the rage and confusion that have colored his life and his other relationships. He knows that the traumas of his childhood must, somehow, give up their power over him if he is to ever be able to move forward. And he also knows that exposing his childhood secrets will change the lives of everyone he loves.

This work of literary fiction is told partially in flashbacks, and partially in present day, allowing the reader to see the immediacy of how Ben’s past impacts his life in the present time.  The main character is not always easy to love. and at first can seem arrogant and closed. But as the book progresses it becomes clear that these character defects are really defense mechanisms and are not reflective of the true nature of the man.  Ben has learned to wear many masks in order to deal with his past and with the emotional aftermath of that past, and any reader with insight will be able to relate to wearing masks to hide pain, even if the details are different.  Indeed, this is both a gripping story, almost a mystery, and a meditation on how our past colors our entire lives.  And in that way, its message is universal.  Ben, who is gay and struggles with general family issues, becomes a sort of hero and role model for his willingness to walk through the pain in order to get past it.  It’s a formula that most of us could benefit from but that very few of us have the bravery to undertake.

Beautifully written, with plot twists and more than a few surprises and revelatory moments, this is also a meditation on wholeness and letting go of pain. A work of family fiction that is funny and moving at the same time and that stays with you put it down.

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About the Author

About the story of his novel, Whaley says ““It is a fictional novel, but I drew upon my personal experiences, so, although there are a lot of parts where the storyline is true”

Thomas Whaley was born in 1972 and has lived on Long Island his entire life. Since early childhood, he  enjoyed writing poems, short stories or funny scripts for his friends to act out. Most importantly, Thomas loved to entertain those around him, especially children. This eventually led him to change his career path and become an elementary school teacher at the age of 27. Since becoming a teacher in 1999, Thomas has taken his childhood pastime to the next level, authoring several children’s books and sharing them with his students and his own children.

Thomas has always enjoyed reading books, but particularly those that make him casually self-reflect or hysterically laugh at the idiosyncrasies of daily life. This is what inspired him to finally sit down and write Leaving Montana. Thomas currently lives in Shoreham, New York with his husband Carl, their two sons Andrew and Luke, and their loyal dog Jake.

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“Forty-five Is the New Twenty-five: Live Like Your Best Years Are Still Ahead” by Steven Sharp, M.Ed.

45 is the new 25 by Steven SharpA Funny, Inspirational Memoir and Guide to Creating the Life You Want

This is an unusual hybrid of a book: part intimate memoir and part how-to/inspirational guide. The combination, in the hands of a writer with less talent or less capacity for self-reflection and self-deprecation, could have been superficial or even dismissive of others’ struggles. Steven Sharp’s book is just the opposite.

It tracks Sharp’s realization that, in middle age, he was not the person he wanted to be. He was not healthy, had not accomplished his long held dream of writing a book, and experienced very little joy.  Many of us, whatever our age, have had similar realizations.  And we either pushed the thought away or let it take us into a depression.  Steven Sharp found the courage to change it.  All of it.  From improving his body to changing his relationships to writing a book. And “Forty-Five is the New Twenty-Five” is his chronicle of the process.

Sharp uses the recurring theme of slavery when referring to himself before he took charge of his own life.  He references Phyllis Wheatley, a slave who was also the first African-American woman to become a published poet. He uses her as a kind of beacon and symbol of what is possible and what can be accomplished, no matter how adverse the circumstances.

From small things like referring to himself as a New York Times bestselling author before he had even published a book, to larger things like connecting with others and creating a support system,  this is a story about facing reality and finding the courage to change it.  It is about confronting the perfectionism that keeps you from trying and about not allowing yourself to give up, give in or stop dreaming. There are useful hints about motivation and keeping yourself going, but the overall message about creating your own life is the most cogent.  And the most moving.  As Sharp says, “You can’t lie in bed ignoring the silent, inaudible reminders to behave differently that travel into your consciousness from a probable you that exists only in your dreams.”

The memoir is extremely affecting, even though it is not at all maudlin or “inspirational” in the traditional sense.  It is funny, insightful, engaging and touching.  And it fosters hope for anyone’s ability to create his or her own future, no matter how bad things have gotten and no matter what the odds against realizing a long-deferred dream are.  This is not just a book for 40-somethings: it is a book for anyone who has ever been paralyzed by a fear of failure, anyone with a goal that was never realized or anyone who has felt “stuck.” And that is all of us.

From the Book

“I have to figure out how to be the hero of my own story. I have to get control of the food I eat, my weight, how often I exercise; I have to learn what I am doing writing this book.
The ghetto is in your mind, Steven. The ghetto is in your mind, Steven thinks to himself as the image of Phillis Wheatley fills his head.  Steven re-reads Section 1 of his book for the umpteenth time. My book is getting so good.
I wish I had someone to send this text to.”

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About the Author

Steven2 WebFor most of his adult life, Steven Sharp has been obsessed with discovering the meaning of life.  In his late twenties, this quest led him to a Master’s Degree in Community Counseling Psychology and to devour a plethora of self-help books as he sought to figure out the meaning of his life. Although he has never practiced in the field of Psychology, he has always known on some level he would return to the helping profession later in life.

Steven’s first book, 45 is the New 25, is a work of narrative nonfiction that chronicles the journey of a forty-five-year-old “every man” as he figures out how to get back in shape, realize his lifelong dream of becoming a published author, and return to the place in his life when he believed the best years of his life lie still before him.  He hopes his journey inspires his readers to make the changes they desire in their own lives and return to the emotional, affective state where they look forward to the years that lie ahead.

Steven enjoys circuit/interval fitness classes, staying in shape, and team tennis. He currently resides in the Poncey-Highlands section of Atlanta.

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“Lightening Girl: Book 1 of the Superconnected Series” by 27

Battle Between Heaven and Hell in a Young Adult Supernatural Fantasy

coverWhen teenager Stephanie reveals her special power, the ability to control static electricity and lightening, to the world, she is not prepared for the consequences. The young man Stephanie is in love with, Kyan, has special powers too. Stephanie’s hope that her coming out with her powers would help her connect with others who have supernatural abilities puts her and Kyan in the middle of a group of teens in a battle against the forces of hell. At stake is the very survival of the world.

Written for young adults, this is a book that will appeal to a variety of readers. Told in the first person and partially in flashbacks, it presents the character of Stephanie as an extremely sympathetic and complicated young girl. Her difficult life as a teen runaway and her troubled family history have not dimmed her optimism or belief in other human beings or her capacity for faith. She is surrounded by various characters, many of whom have hidden agendas and secrets, and by a group of teens who are given the responsibility for saving the world. All of the teen characters are well crafted and compelling, but it is the main character that is the heart of this supernatural thriller and it is Stephanie that young adult readers and fans of supernatural fiction will identify with. “Lightening Girl” is the first novel in a series of young adult supernatural thrillers, and it is easy to imagine this heroine developing a cult following among readers of all ages.

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From “Lightening Girl”

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About the Author

“Lightning Girl” is the first book in an epic fantasy series by first-time author 27.  27 enjoys fight scenes, superpowers and dragons and hopes to write them all into the upcoming Superconnected sequels.

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“Tomorrow Never Comes” by Pamela Jones

Tomorrow Never Comes by Pamela JonesComplex Family Dynamics in the Story of a Sister’s Love

A novella that centers on Bernice Albright, a successful author who has all the trappings of wealth and luxury. Since her mother’s death, she has been the matriarch of her family, raising her younger brother and sister, who are now adults.  As the story unfolds, we see that taking care of them will be harder than Bernice realized, as they are each embroiled in their own problems that cannot be solved as easily as when when they were younger. Through it all, however, Bernice keeps in mind her promise to her mother to care for her siblings and remembers her mother’s motto: Tomorrow Will Be A Better Day.

This is a sensitive portrayal of family dynamics in an unorthodox family.  It touches on themes of loyalty, love, addiction, domestic violence, and letting go versus being a caretaker. The centerpiece is Bernice herself, who struggles with how best to rescue her siblings and with whether rescuing them at all is the right course of action.  She is a strong, multi-layered character dealing with very real problems and with the question of how to take care of the ones you love when the ones you love are adults.  The story of Bernice and her siblings has a surprising ending that touches on themes that many American families face. Many readers will recognize themselves, their family, and the intricate dynamics of all families in this story of tragedy, faith and love.

About The Author

Pamela JonesPamela Jones wrote her first short story, “Jealousy Will Kill,” at age 14 as a homework assignment, and has been writing ever since, focusing primarily on women’s contemporary fiction. After graduating from Clark Atlanta University in 1995, she began penning contemporary love stories for African American magazines like Jive, Black Confessions, True Black Experience and Black Romance.

Prior to becoming a full time fiction writer, Jones wrote web content for private clients and web content creation websites.

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“Last of the Po’Ricans y Otros Afro-artifacts” Poems by NOT4PROPHET

cover buyLAST OF THE PO’RICANS Y OTROS AFRO-ARTIFACTS IS THE DEBUT COLLECTION OF POETRY  from NOT4PROPHET, musician (Ricanstruction, X-Vandals), actor (Machetero), teacher, political activist and poet. The poems, many of which were originally performance pieces,  reflects the cultural landscapes of of Puerto Rico and New York City, seen through a Nuyorican lens and through the eyes of a Puerto Rican born in Ponce, living in El Barrio, Brooklyn and the Bronx. As Not4Prophet elaborates this “otherness,” which includes the hassles of poverty, racial pride and racial discord, he pays homage to the old school  Nuyorican and Black Arts movements.

Written in free verse and layered with cultural and historical references, LAST OF THE PO’RICANS breaks boundaries and challenges us with iconic imagery and word play that dares to speak of the unspeakable.

From the 2008 film "Machetero"

From the 2008 film “Machetero”

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About the Author

NOT4PROPHET, photo by Samuel LahozNOT4PROPHET was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and raised in El Barrio/East Harlem and the South Bronx in New York City. He is a dirt roots community activist, underground-Hip Hop MC, political Punk Rock shouter, graffiti writer, off-peak-hours actor and last but not4prophet photo by slny samuel lahoz photographynever least, a poor (mans) poet and/or barrio bard.

When not4Prophet read Piri Thomas’ Down These Mean Streets at ten years old, he was encouraged and inspired to read other old school writers from the Nuyorican Poets Movement. In time, he began scratching out his own “puerto-poems” on napkins, toilet paper, and whatever else was handy and wasn’t a wall or anyone’s particular private property.

Not4Prophet has released several indie music CDs, two self-published poetry chapbooks, and his writing has been featured in various books and magazines. He currently teaches “resistance writing” to those identified as “the homeless” at the Homeless Organizing Academy, located in the South Bronx section of New York City and continues to diligently organize in the “hood”.

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“On Message: How a Compelling Narrative Will Make Your Organization Succeed” by Zach Friend

On Message on AmazonFormer Obama Spokesperson Teaches Communication for Business

Zach Friend’s “On Message: How a Compelling Narrative Will Make Your Organization Succeed” is a comprehensive and systematic guide to communicating that provides both an overview of why a cohesive narrative is the best way to get your point across and a blueprint for how to craft your own message, regardless of your industry or setting.
Friend explains that humans respond best to stories or chronicles, and provides a series of narratives that illustrate the importance of eliciting emotion and of narrative-based marketing messages. “On Message” provides copious examples that explain  just how messages from business, advertising and politics were crafted and why each resonates emotionally with its target audience. Comparisons of messages from Apple, the Obama campaign, Southwest Airlines and others are used to illustrate and break down the elements of messages that work and those that do not.
Friend starts with chapters on narrative and messaging, which discuss the connection between story and message, why a linear story line works better than hard facts alone, and includes techniques and exercises to help you craft your own message. He then shows how to integrate non-verbal communication into the overall message, how to create a compelling brand image for marketing, and how to use visual imagery to support the message. With specific examples throughout, including comparisons of actual messages like “death tax” instead of “inheritance tax,” illustrating why emotional words work. The final chapter explains how to use the technique of a marketing narrative to craft shorter messages for use in social media, and explains how a story-based message works in a 140 character format.
“On Message” provides more than a theory. It provides Message Boxes that give real, concrete examples and directions for adapting the theories.on message ss 5

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The author was a top communications director in several political campaigns, including President Obama’s, and uses examples drawn from the arena of politics (where very complex ideas have to be boiled down into 30 second, easy to grasp soundbytes) to show how any idea or marketing message can be clarified and put into an overall narrative that supports a branding strategy. He also uses examples drawn from the world of advertising and business, and explains why each works or  doesn’t. The guide provides readers with the elements of narrative-based messaging, examples of how to craft a narrative and blueprint for using effective communication to create an overall branding strategy. “On Message: How a Compelling Narrative Will Make Your Organization Succeed” is a valuable resource for anyone who has to communicate in the business world, anyone involved in selling or marketing or branding, or anyone who wants to learn to better focus and target communications.

About the Author

Zach FriendZach Friend is a policy, public affairs and communications expert who has worked for Barack Obama and John Kerry’s presidential campaigns, the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the U.S. Senate, Congressman Sam Farr and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

With Obama for America ’08, Zach was a press secretary and spokesman in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, handling planning, writing and media relations in the Greater Philadelphia market. For appearances and interviews, he staffed and briefed Barack Obama, Joe Biden and other campaign principals and surrogates. As Deputy National Director of Special Projects for the DNC, Zach helped lead the field staff for John Kerry’s campaign. Additionally, he designed message and campaign strategy for Native American outreach in battleground states. Before the Kerry campaign, Zach served with Senator Tom Daschle, Congressman Farr and the Council of Economic Advisers as a staffer, researcher and writer. He has been quoted by MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, ABC, CBS, National Public Radio, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, Politico, the Huffington Post and others.

In June of 2012, Zach was elected to the Santa Cruz County, California Board of Supervisors. Previously, he was the Press Information Officer and a Crime Analyst for the Santa Cruz Police Department. Zach has a Masters degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University and a BA with Honors in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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D-Nine: Protectors of the Crown, by Magus Tor

cover buyTrading Bodies in a Young Adult Fantasy

When Dr. James, a physician in Singapore, begins to experience blinding migraine headaches, he has no idea just how serious the condition is.  He blacks out during one episode and wakes up to find himself in a magical kingdom, in the body of a young princess. The princess/doctor’s life is under threat and there are assassins trying to eliminate her to take her throne. Dr. James must figure out who is behind the plot and then try to foil it in order to save the princess/his life, while trying to navigate his sudden transformation and adjust to life in the body of a teenaged girl. As the doctor travels back and forth between the two worlds, he is consumed with saving the princess while trying to understand the source of his headaches and the cause of his new ability to live in two worlds in two very different bodies.

This is an imaginative and charming story about learning what it feels like to “walk in someone else’s shoes” quite literally.  Young adult readers will find the scenes in which the adult male doctor is learning to live as an adolescent girl funny, while adults will recognize the difficulties of being an adolescent from their own teenage years.  The storyline, involving solving a mystery, a race against the clock to stop an assassination, and the adventure of fending off the killers, is absorbing and well written. The fact that the doctor must live in two different worlds makes the adventure that much more exciting, as the reader never knows when the doctor will be catapulted from one world to another.  Both young and older fans of fantasy and fish out of water stories will enjoy this creative and inventive adventure.

 

 MTAbout the Author

Born and raised in Singapore, Magus Tor is a freelance medical doctor by day, and a prolific writer and game designer by night. He began writing when he realized he needed an outlet for images and ideas.

After a writing hiatus during which he worked on game development, Magus returned to writing with ‘D-Nine: Protectors of the Crown’, which was inspired by his work on a card game called Dragon Nine Playing Cards.

 

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