Friday, May 31, 2024

Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway: Mia (Jack Bertolino, #6) by John Lansing

MIA by John Lansing Banner


by John Lansing

May 20 - June 14, 2024 Virtual Book Tour


MIA by John Lansing

Mia, is the origin story of retired inspector Jack Bertolino as a young undercover, NYPD narco-busting detective and his relationship with Mia, his confidential informant.

Mia, a former Miss Colombia, has the kind of beauty that can make a grown man contemplate leaving his wife, his job, and his kids. She’s a complex character, with a painful backstory, who signs on with Jack to help him infiltrate, and take down, a heavy hitter in the Colombian drug trade. Mia has ice water in her veins and is already responsible for delivering large amounts of cocaine, and millions of the cartels cash into the government’s coffers.

This is Jack and Mia’s story. How Mia became a confidential informant, her evolving relationship with Jack, and how the life and death case they break wide open becomes the prequel to The Devil’s Necktie.

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Thriller
Published by: White Street Press/ Karen Hunter Publishing
Publication Date: June 4th, 2024
Number of Pages: 252
ISBN: 979-8-89456-000-7 (Print) | 979-8-89456-899-7 (Digital)
Series: The Jack Bertolino Series, Prequel
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Jack Bertolino’s early morning shower gave up the ghost long before he swiped his long-term pass to gain entry to the Staten Island Ferry. Once he landed in the City, he headed for Tango 23’s base of operations. There he picked up his NYPD plain-wrap sedan. The ninety-degree temperature, wetted by ninety-five degree humidity, made a mockery of the air conditioner in the Ford Crown Vic as it crawled through commuter traffic headed for LaGuardia. The air was thick, the stench of exhaust on the Grand Central Parkway overwhelmed as Jack dodged a pothole, rattled into the airport parking lot and came to an engine-clicking stop next to DEA agent Kenny Ortega’s government issue.

The joint narcotics task force case was in its sixth month. Jack had agreed to meet a few old friends and a new confidential informant who had arrived from Miami via Colombia. This CI claimed to be able to provide entry into the inner workings of Manuel Alvarez’s illicit drug operation.

Alvarez, a notorious Colombian trafficker, had been on Jack’s radar for more than a year. Alvarez was responsible for importing a thousand keys of cocaine into Miami on a monthly basis, and the poison

was dripping into New York City. Jack wanted Alvarez’s head on a pike.

At thirty-eight, Jack was already a lieutenant, the boss of the narco-rangers called Tango 23. His crew had great success shutting down drug and money-laundering cells in the five boroughs, piling millions of dollars of the cartel’s money into the city’s coffers.

Jack was a handsome, unpretentious man with thick dark hair he wore brushed back. Creases on his striking face were a roadmap of years exposed to the elements doing undercover narcotics work on the streets of New York City.

As he stepped out of the car, a hot gust of wind blew grit into Jack’s eyes and mouth. It also blasted the long hair of a young woman exiting the passenger side of Ortega’s vehicle, obscuring her face. The deafening sound of a wide-body jet thundered overhead as Jack spit and wiped his stinging eyes.

The woman hand-combed strands of blonde away from her face. When Jack’s vision cleared, he was momentarily stopped in his tracks. The woman was drop-dead gorgeous.

He nodded to Sal Traina, a member of the Tango group, and shook the hand of Mia Ferrero as Ortega made the introductions. Mia, an ex-Miss Colombia, was the confidential informant. Kenny Ortega, the Miami-based DEA agent, was Jack’s partner on the drug task force.

Nick Aprea, a detective from the LAPD narcotics division, had flown in from Los Angeles, where a large quantity of the illicit drugs ended up. He ducked low as he slid out of the back seat, wearing a black leather jacket in the New York heat, and led with a wolfish grin as he proffered a hand the size of a baseball glove. “Jack, good to be back in business.” Aprea was tall, hard, and took life as it came. He had arrived with serious skin in the game. A few years back, his partner had been gut-shot in an Alvarez–Delgado operation. Nick had put fifteen hundred keys of coke on the table, and his partner had been put in an early grave. When Jack invited him to the party, Nick jumped at the chance to deliver some retribution.

Mia signed on to the joint operation between the NYPD, Miami DEA, and LAPD to infiltrate Manuel Alvarez’s operation and help put away a

heavy hitter for the Colombian cartel. She was a proven commodity, already wealthy from delivering large quantities of cocaine and cash to the United States government’s coffers in their ongoing war on drugs. The Feds had a formula in place for paying informants. The bigger the bust, the larger the payoff. A nice way to fatten your wallet, an easy way to die.

Mia started playing Jack—who had a reputation of being a straight arrow—from the moment she touched down at LaGuardia Airport. She’d been summoned for a meeting downtown, organized to get a feel for the principals, define the case, and plan a strategy.

It was time to roll. Sal was sitting in the passenger seat of Jack’s car when Mia rapped on the window. Sal slid out, and Mia stepped in seconds before Jack pulled out of the lot.

“I hope you don’t mind. It was so crowded in the other car,” she said.

Jack wasn’t thrilled. “It’s okay,” he said, always careful when spending time with a CI. First of all, rules and parameters of the relationship had to be set in place, until the informant was proven trustworthy. Too many things could go wrong. Jack was career building and didn’t need any bullshit slowing him down. He had a line in the sand when dealing with informants, and although he always treated them with respect, sharing his personal life was a nonstarter.

Mia started talking rapid fire. Her English was lightly accented but flawless, and Jack chalked her excited banter to nerves.

“I wasn’t supposed to fly first class, but I used my frequent-flyer miles, and thank God because the plane was full, and I was in the air for so many hours. Should I call you Jack or Mr. Bertolino?”

“Lieutenant works.”

“Oh, very formal. It’s so hot in here,” Mia play-whined, and undid the second button on her blouse as she turned to face Jack. “Are you a by-the-numbers kind of guy?”

“Something like that.”

“I know a lot of Italians in Medellín. Not a formal one in the mix. Very sexy though, Italians in general, don’t you think?”


Jack kept his eyes trained on the traffic. “Never given it much thought.”

“Oh, I have. Very much so.”

Jack wasn’t going there. He hoped Mia would lose herself in the approaching view of the New York skyline and stop talking. Instead, she seemed content to stare at Jack who was growing increasingly uncomfortable, but didn’t want to get off on the wrong foot with a woman who could break his case wide open.

“And the police in general, what do they call it? Mucho testosterone. You can’t hide it, Jack—I mean, Lieutenant.” Mia’s smile was sly, and Jack kept his eyes on the road, not wanting the conversation to get out of hand.

“Your nose,” she said knowingly, “that must have hurt.”

Jack had a bump on his otherwise straight Roman nose. It was a gift from a crack dealer named Trey, who he traded punches with outside the Red Hook projects in Brooklyn. Trey went to jail, and Jack had a reminder every morning when he shaved to keep his right fist higher and jab with his left.

“Do you like sex on the beach?” Jack hoped she was talking about the cocktail and didn’t respond. “What about sex in the car?” Mia said and ran a manicured nail down his thigh. “I love giving blow jobs, I mean, giving oral sex.”

Jack shot a look in the rearview mirror, tried to remain stoic, but he was getting hot under the collar. He was doing sixty and Kenny Ortega’s car was tight on his bumper. Jack glanced in the rearview again, and saw the men in the trailing car laughing.

He’d had enough. He signaled and pulled the wheel hard to the right, sending Mia sliding against the passenger door. As horns around him started blaring, he skidded to a tire-screeching stop on the shoulder of the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway. He was followed by Ortega, Nick, and a few other smirking detectives in the second car.

Jack knew he’d been set up. He picked up the radio and raised Ortega. “Get this woman out of my car.”

Mia feigned being hurt. “Is it something I said?” Over the intercom, Ortega and his crew were howling. Mia jumped out of Jack’s car, her

face split into a sultry grin, and she winked. “Just having some fun, Lieutenant.”

Jack was the only one on the crew not laughing. He pulled back into traffic, riding solo, and dialed his home number.

Jeanine answered on the second ring. “Are you all right, Jack?”


“An afternoon call. It’s usually bad news.”

“Oh, no, not today. Just wanted to hear your voice.”

“Hmmm, okay... Good.” Jeannine could read Jack’s mood and wasn’t buying it.

Jack started to relax, the earth rotating back on its axis. “Actually, I just made a pickup at LaGuardia, had a moment.”

“Okay. Are you going to make it home for dinner?”

“Don’t wait on me. We have a TAC meeting, breaking in a new informant. You know how that goes.”

Jeannine knew all too well what that meant. And Jack was hit with the familiar chill on the other end of the line. “Okay, Jack. Your son’s asking what happened to his father.”

“Tell him I miss him.”

“Tell him yourself, Jack,” Jeannine said quietly before hanging up the phone.

Jack stifled his growing anger, fully aware that he was an absentee father. From his point of view, he was building a secure life for his family, and they all had to make sacrifices. It was a team effort. He knew he was being defensive, but he also knew what it took to rise through the ranks of the NYPD.

Jack snapped out of it when Kenny beeped his horn and rocketed past in the fast lane. He rolled his eyes, slightly amused as Mia, sitting in the back seat, nailed him with a look that was purely X-rated.


Excerpt from MIA by John Lansing. Copyright 2024 by John Lansing. Reproduced with permission from John Lansing. All rights reserved.




5 stars!

Riveting, from its frighteningly intense opener to the very last page. 

The sixth book in the author's Jack Bertolino series, Mia by John Lansing, takes a step back in time and is, chronologically, a prequel. It is the origin story of retired inspector Jack Bertolino and Mia, his confidential informer. 

The story begins when Jack is a young, up-and-coming NYPD lieutenant leading a special multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency task force whose mission is to stem the flow of cocaine flooding the country from Columbia. Mia, a former Miss Columbia, is an undercover operative, a confidential informer with the personality and all the warmth of a shark that's scented blood: perfect for the job ahead, especially considering the book's opening. 

The plot of their first case together is focused on a Columbian cartel with connections in Miami and a major distribution hub in NYC. The task force, Tango 23, having scored some major busts against this organization, has drawn the head man's attention and ire. The opening sequence is frighteningly intense, and I was hooked, completely engaged by the drama and the need to see where this story would lead. The characters and pace are always go-go-go, and the tension is unrelenting as Jack's operation goes on the attack and his home life tragically suffers from his inability to find a balance between the adrenaline rush of his work and his family. While the younger Jack is driven, he's still an engaging, sympathetic character. I didn't take to Mia at first. Her constant, over-the-top sexual innuendos weren't to my taste. However, I warmed up as the story gloriously unfolds and her history is revealed. The author's delivery is easy and compelling, and the plot twists made me forget about putting this book down until I'd read it all. 

I recommend MIA to Jack Bertolino series fans and mystery and thriller readers looking for excellent crime fiction.

Author Bio:

John Lansing

John Lansing is the author of six thrillers featuring Jack Bertolino—The Devil’s Necktie, Blond Cargo, Dead Is Dead, The Fourth Gunman, 25 to Life, and MIA—as well as the true-crime non-fiction book Good Cop Bad Money, written with former NYPD Inspector Glen Morisano. He has been a writer and supervising producer on Walker, Texas Ranger, the co-executive producer of the ABC series Scoundrels, and co-wrote two MOWs for CBS. The Devil’s Necktie is in development at Andria Litto’s Amuse Entertainment, with Barbara DeFina attached as a producer.

A native of Long Island, John now resides in Los Angeles.

Find out more on:
BookBub - @JohnLansing
Instagram - @johnlansingauthor
Twitter - @jelansing
Facebook - @devilsnecktie



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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Cover Reveal: The Ocean Hugs Hard by Eric Avedissian



Date Published: 06-24-2024

Publisher: Shadow Spark Publishing


Surfside City, New Jersey. 1966. Cub reporter Harman Bass is cutting his teeth in the fast world of local journalism and getting out-scooped by the competition. Facetious, cocky, and always quoting Nietzsche, Harman isn’t making any friends both in and out of the newsroom.

All that changes when the daughter of a prominent family is found dead on the beach, handing Harman the juiciest news story of the year. But she wasn’t any old beauty pageant queen; she was his high school girlfriend. Harman’s dogged reporting into the young woman’s death reveals pushback from the authorities and pulls the newshound into the resort’s darkest corners.

After one of his sources is murdered, the routine story becomes dangerous and personal. Something watches Harman from the shadows, something ancient and hungry, worshipped by powerful men who kill to keep their secrets. Harman’s job and life are soon threatened, and the once brash reporter must battle his boss, rival journalists, and his own sanity before filing what could be his last story.

THE OCEAN HUGS HARD is a mystery with the salty whiff of the ocean, a tinge of nostalgia, and a dollop of mind-shattering eldritch horror.

About the Author

ERIC AVEDISSIAN is an adjunct professor and speculative fiction author. His published work includes the novels Accursed Son, Mr. Penny-Farthing, Midnight at Bat Hollow, and the role-playing game Ravaged Earth. His short stories appear in various anthologies, including Across the Universe, Great Wars, and Rituals & Grimoires. Avedissian received a 2024 Fellowship in Prose from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and a ridiculous number of books. Find him online at if you dare.


Contact Links


Twitter: @angryreporter

Instagram: @ericavedissian

RABT Book Tours & PR

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Preorder Blitz: Kit-Kat (Maw of Mayhem MC, #3) by A.K. Nevermore

A Maw of Mayhem MC Novel
A.K. Nevermore

Paranormal, Motorcycle Club Romance

Date Published: May 31, 2024

Grimdarke James’ problems have gone from bad to worse. Ousted from his MC and on the run, all he wants is to keep Kit safe while he sets things right. But calling in a favor drops more than trouble into his lap.

As he tries to salvage what’s left of the Maw of Mayhem, forces close in on them and tensions rise. New allies are found and old loyalties are put to the test. So is Grim’s relationship with Kit when someone from his past tries to come between them.

Kit doesn’t share and the threat to her position as Grim’s mate raises her hackles. With her heat triggered, she’s running on instinct and battle lines are drawn. Can Grim win back his MC, and prove he’s the man for her, or will he lose it all?



Grim stalked out of the break room, riffling his hair. How the fuck had everything gone to shit so fast? He blew the messy locks from his face and frowned, glancing around the garage --

And did a double take at the trio of bikes by the bay door. Brick and Wrench’s hogs, and Grim’s Bobber. How had that made it out of the city? Holy -- He stumbled over to them, not quite believing his bike was really there. One of the crew must’ve ridden it out of the garage before the club blew, which meant Stitch had left his down there.

Christ, he’d abandoned his own bike to snag the Bobber? A lump gummed up Grim’s throat. You only did that kind of shit for your alpha.

He swallowed, gritting his teeth and hating himself. How much of this clusterfuck could he have avoided if he’d just sucked it the fuck up and owned the position after Clay’s murder?

Guess he’d never know.

Grim blinked, his eyes hot. Fingers trailing down the leather seat. Listening to the click and ping of the engine cooling. Avoiding the rest of the crew packing up. He frowned, guilt eating at him, his stomach a fucking mess. Staring at the bathroom door, willing it to open.

For Kit to come out on two legs.

Come on, baby… Hands down, she was his priority, but Jesus fuck, the rest of the crew depended on him, too, and they all needed to get gone. Clay’s refusal to take a mate abruptly made more sense than Grim wanted it to. Some part of that equation was gonna get fucked, and he’d be damned if it was gonna be Kit unless she was squarely on his dick.

Kat say anything else to you? he asked his cat.

-- no. fighting with Kit --

Grim grunted, the angst of having to choose between his mate and his club landing a gut punch of shame. Christ, he knew what that was like. Being at odds with your beast. The terror of feeling trapped inside yourself, of sinking down so fucking deep you didn’t know if you could come back.


-- different --

Same, Grim snapped. Shit was close enough, less the cuffs. He rubbed at the scars on his wrists, the lines of ink blurred and broken. The memory of the snick of silver setting his teeth on edge. That creeping, seeping burn infecting his veins with its poison.

He wiped the sweat from his brow. Yeah, he knew how it felt, and granted, he wasn’t keeping her there, but he’d sent Kit on that downward spiral by pushing her to change. Jesus, he was a piece of shit. A sad laugh slid from his lips.

But fuck, that’s what everyone thought anyway, wasn’t it? The media, the rest of Mayhem… Mama Roe sure as hell did, and he was about to go kiss her fucking --

Grim’s breath caught as the bathroom door swung open and Kit strode out, looking classy as fuck and like the last person he should be with. Triss dropped the crap she was packing into the cage’s trunk and ran over to hug her.

Christ, he wanted to do the same… but, damn. Grim wet his lips. Kit wasn’t… Damn. She was wearing that soft sweater he’d snagged from the vamp queen’s trophy closet. Shit was fucking sinful the way it hung off her shoulders and clung to her tits. The jeans she’d been so crazy about did the same to her hips, a sliver of her flat stomach flashing as she raised her arms to hug the girl back. And when Triss skipped away, and Kit turned toward the cages?

Woman was a fucking goddess.

Grim bit back a groan at the way her long black hair dusted her ass as she bent to put her bag in the trunk. She looked like a million fucking bucks, which was easily nine hundred ninety-nine thousand and change above his pay grade.

-- ours --

The pang in Grim’s chest echoed the truth of that statement. Maybe he didn’t deserve her now, but he’d fucking bust his ass until he did. If she still wants us. His throat bobbed at the possibility she wouldn’t after what he’d done to her.

-- asked to shift --

Yeah, but the idea of being a shifter versus the reality of it were two very different things, and Grim’d only known Kit for a hot fucking minute. When they’d met, she’d been so damned adamant she didn’t want to change.

-- Reaper decided for her --

Grim’s knuckles whitened. And he’s gonna die for it. Darke chuffed in agreement.

A growl welled up in Grim’s throat, his eyes narrowing.

Asorav had ended his call and wrapped his hand around Kit’s arm, pulling her off to the side. He spoke to her adamantly in hushed tones in the next bay.

-- listen? --

Yeah. Grim stepped back into the shadows, his hearing sharpening.

Kit was smiling up at the vamp like he’d caught her at something. She was trying to play it off as he was talking. “…understand the temptation to eavesdrop on one’s elders, but strongly suggest you resist the urge.” Asorav looped her arm through his, and a muscle in Grim’s jaw twitched at the asshole’s familiarity with her.

-- known her longer --

Don’t remind me, Grim muttered. He still couldn’t believe Kit had been the Darkling’s dog walker.

“There are those that do not take kindly to such invasions of privacy,” the vamp scolded.

Kit’s eyes widened, her pupils waffling --

Grim did a double take. Shit, did I really see that? Aside from the mirror, he’d never seen anyone else’s flip between theirs and their beast’s.

-- did. Kat’s scared. Won’t talk --

He bit back a growl. Was that fucking right?

“Which is why you’re only getting a warning.” The vamp patted her hand like some kind of benevolent fucking uncle. Grim’s lip curled, knowing that grift all too well. He was gonna beat the shit outta --

“Vampires really can read minds?” Kit squeaked. “I thought --”

Wait, what? Grim froze.

“Yes and no,” Asorav said. “Your compatriots’ thoughts are closed to me, but it seems you and I share an affinity.” The asshole chuckled. “Yes, it surprised me as well. However, after Cecelia --”

“I want to know what you meant when you said she was elsewhere.”

Asorav sighed, and Grim had to smirk at Kit’s indignation over the MIA Pomeranian. “I don’t totally understand it,” the vamp said, “but I believe she’s trapped somewhere between. It’s… the place one goes to get from here to there. I’m afraid I can’t explain it any better than that. She wasn’t strong enough to anchor my form at this end, and when I pulled, she was sucked in.”

Well, that sounded like total bullshit, but Grim supposed the prick couldn’t admit to killing the thing. In either case, Kit sounded like she bought it.

“Because she was your heart. Aryanna told me you were a day-walker.”

“Did she now.”

Grim scratched his stubble, wondering how much of an issue that was gonna be. Vampires were enough of a pain in the ass at night. One lurking around 24/7 didn’t exactly give him the warm fuzzies, but then again, this conversation didn’t either.

“… mentioned you couldn’t be, um, de-animated, without your heart.” Kit said, rubbing her arms like she was cold. “Don’t worry, she’s not around anymore to note it in the queen’s memoir.”

Asorav laughed, and Grim wanted to smash his fist through the vamp’s fangs. “How delightful. I never could understand how Aryanna abided that vitriolic shrew. I’m only sorry I wasn’t there to see it, but suppose that’s neither here nor there, and you, my dear, most certainly are. She told you, then, of my Maker’s triumph?”

Kit nodded like she was humoring him. Grim rolled his eyes. Fucking vamps had sticks shoved up their asses almost as far as the witches. Christ, they were pretentious fucks.

“It’s a metaphor, you know,” Asorav said. “She wasn’t my heart; she had my heart. The spell transformed the physical organ and created a bridge, tying our life forces to those we held dearest. It was genius, really. Love is such a fickle thing, and given a vampire’s lifespan, in most cases, transfers quite organically before the object of our affection dies… or is lost, in this case.”

He pulled a wide, platinum bracelet from his pocket, studded with what Grim was positive were diamonds, and closed Kit’s fingers around it. The fuck? “And it seems once again, my heart has been captured by another. I assure you, I am aware this is most inconvenient, but, as I said, the heart wants what the heart wants, now, doesn’t it?”

Grim bared his teeth, knuckles white as he clenched his fists. Had that motherfucker just given Kit a fucking king’s ransom in jewelry and told her he loved her?

-- no, his heart --

I don’t give a fuck, she’s MINE.


About the Author

AK Nevermore enjoys operating heavy machinery, freebases coffee, and gives up sarcasm for Lent every year. A Jane-of-all-trades, she’s a certified chef, restores antiques, and dabbles in beekeeping when she’s not reading voraciously or running down the dream in her beat-up camo Chucks. Unable to ignore the voices in her head, and unwilling to become medicated, she writes Science Fiction and Fantasy full time. AK pays the bills writing a copious amount of copy, along with a column on SFF. She belongs to the Authors Guild, is an RWA chapter board member, volunteers for far too many committees, teaches creative writing, and on the rare occasion, sleeps.

Contact Links

Author’s website

Author on Facebook

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Author on TikTok

Follow AK Nevermore on Amazon


Publisher on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok: @changelingpress

Pre-Order Today

RABT Book Tours & PR

Monday, May 27, 2024

Review Tour & Giveaway: The Dark Court (Songs of the Sage, #2) by Vyvyan Evans

The Dark Court
Songs of the Sage, Book Two
Vyvyan Evans

Science Fiction
Publisher: Nephilim Publishing
Publication Date: May 7, 2024
Page count: 392 pages



A genre-blending dystopian, sci-fi mystery-thriller that will make you think about communication in a whole new way.

Five years after the Great Language Outage, lang-laws have been repealed, but world affairs have only gotten worse. The new automation agenda has resulted in a social caste system based on IQ. Manual employment is a thing of the past, and the lowest soc-ed class, the Unskills, are forced into permanent unemployment.

In a world on the brink of civil war, a deadly insomnia pandemic threatens to kill billions. Lilith King, Interpol’s most celebrated detective, is assigned to the case.

Together with a sleep specialist, Dr. Kace Westwood, Lilith must figure out who or what is behind this new threat. Could the pandemic be the result of the upskilling vagus chips being offered to the lowest soc-ed class? Or are language chips being hacked? And what of the viral conspiracy theories by the mysterious Dark Court, sweeping the globe? Lilith must work every possible angle, and quickly: she is running out of time!

While attempting to stop a vast conspiracy on an intergalactic scale, Lilith also faces shocking revelations about her origin, coming to terms with her own destiny.



But just then, twenty meters in front of me, a small group of Dark Court cultists emerged, out from a side corridor. I grimaced—this only meant trouble. There were four of them, this time with cappa hoods covering their heads, obscuring their faces from sec-cam and LS orb identification by NYPD droids. They were no doubt trying to imitate their beloved, so-called adjudicators, the self-appointed, anonymous leaders of this vile cult of violence and misinformation. The cultists were dressed in black from head to toe, including leather pants and tunics. They even wore black, tactical Kevlar gloves. 

The cultists spotted me. “Let’s get her, boys,” said one voice. Then I heard raucous laughter. 

They moved toward me, cutting off my route to the UN employee East River entrance. And as they approached, they pulled out neural shock sticks, sheathed in cases worn around their belts. Of course, just my luck. The long, thin devices were illegal, and for good reason. If applied for more than a few seconds, they could result in permanent brain damage or even death. I steeled myself—this was the only way through. 

As I neared, the group appeared surprised I was still heading toward them—not the response they expected. I would never run away again, not since that night in the Black Forest, twenty years ago. Sure, I had been through Interpol’s basic combat training, back in the day. For what that was worth. But since the Black Forest, I had taken self-defense training to insane levels, obsessive as always. You could say I had elevated it to the status of a dark art.

5 stars!

An immersive mix of sci-fi, mystery, and thriller. 

The Dark Court is the second book in author Vyvyan Evans’s science fiction plus series, Songs of the Sage, and is an excellent followup to its debut novel, The Babel Apocalypse. With its engaging characters and imaginative rendering of a dystopian, near-future Earth society, where brain power literally determines your fate, this book is one of my favorites of 2024. 

Lilith King is a determined, bulldog of a sleuth, and a main character I was immediately behind and rooting for. I liked her complex yet unclear background, giving her depths for the author to build and draw on later. 

As with the series’ starter, the plot hits the ground running and the never slows, leaving plenty of questions along the way. The author’s storytelling is compelling, and I had difficulty finding a stopping point when I needed one. Plot twists kept me too invested to step away. The unique mix of science fiction, mystery, and thriller makes this entire series a must read. 

I recommend THE DARK COURT to fans of the previous book and readers who enjoy dystopian tales and speculative fiction.


Dr. Vyvyan Evans is a native of Chester, England. He holds a PhD in linguistics from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., and is a Professor of Linguistics. He has published numerous acclaimed popular science and technical books on language and linguistics. His popular science essays and articles have appeared in numerous venues including 'The Guardian', 'Psychology Today', 'New York Post', 'New Scientist', 'Newsweek' and 'The New Republic.' His award-winning writing focuses, in one way or another, on the nature of language and mind, the impact of technology on language, and the future of communication. His science fiction work explores the status of language and digital communication technology as potential weapons of mass destruction.


Vyvyan Evans will award a randomly drawn winner
paperback copies of
both Book 1 and Book 2 of the
Songs of the Sage series.

Book Blitz: Doctor Misery's City of Music (Doctor Misery, #2) by Nick Cascino

Doctor Misery's
City of Music
Doctor Misery, Book Two
Nick Cascino

Science Fiction / Fantasy
Publication Date: December 14, 2023
Page count: 268 pages


Can laughter save the mortal soul? Perhaps it can as a beauty-obsessed mad scientist becomes the cultural and political leader of a nation. Deceived by his pupil Doctor Praterius, Doctor and Mizzieri and Gelsomina are driven again to creating new realities facilitated by transformative music. Great innovations are on display; AI created propaganda such as the Mexican Robin Hood La Carambada, musically induced blockchains and introducing Crotox, a cryptocurrency based on the value of skin rejuvenators.

Musicians develop personal leitmotifs as they navigate between mundane and extraordinary worlds, from the forested hills of New York to the Italian mountaintop city of Ravello, to a neighborhood in Venice where the feeble-minded are barred from technologies created after 1980, and finally on a river journey through a South American rain forest, a world that becomes entirely transformed into music. Will music enable higher consciousness or bring about submission through mesmerization? Will it strengthen the conscience or assist Praterius in fulfilling her corrupt ambitions? Engaged in battles with dissonant harmonies and immoral regimes, these musicians will attempt to reconcile the paradoxes of human nature, proving music can indeed save the mortal soul.




Nick Cascino is a media theorist, part-time musician and aspiring astrophysicist attempting to integrate knowledge across the realms of Quantum Physics, the creation myths of ancient cultures, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, and the superintelligence embedded in progressive jazz, musicals and operas. He wrestles with the great paradoxes of human nature, how the fundamental building blocks of the soul create infinite blends of morality and depravity, and how we can reconcile these by revealing the unconscious through music. While he pursues an elusive apprenticeship with the great Neil deGrasse Tyson that would greatly improve his prospects, it's most likely that he will attain his astrophysicist credentials no earlier than 2039, in time for the Centennials of the 1939 World's Fair and the Wizard of Oz. He has however, developed a cutting-edge concept called QUANTUM AROUSAL THEORY, central to the work of his main protagonist, Doctor Bruno Mizzieri. It's an artistic concept based on science, mythology, history and complex math equations. It's long-term objective is enabling the perception of simultaneous realities, but at a minimum it will make you the life of parties.


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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Book Tour: The Caretaker by Regina Wixon

The Caretaker
Haunted Historical Mystery Series, Book 3
Regina Wixon

Paranormal Thriller
Publication Date: February 25, 2024
Page count: 169 pages


A blizzard rips through the Black Hills of South Dakota, as journalist Rachael embarks on a journey to Hawthorne House, a remote inn located deep in the frigid wilderness. As the storm rages on, Rachael finds herself caught in a gripping tale of mystery and intrigue, unsure of what lies ahead in the enigmatic world of the treacherous snow-covered landscape and the sinister forces that lurk within Hawthorn House. The icy snowstorm blurs the lines between reality and imagination as Rachael uncovers secrets and revelations that challenge her perception of the caretaker and the true nature of Hawthorn House.


4 stars!

A historic Victorian B&B offers more than shelter during a sudden blizzard. 

The Caretaker by Regina Wixon is the third novel in her Haunted Historical Mystery series that takes readers on a journey around the country in search of chills and ghostly thrills. The author strikes gold with this horror-filled tale of the Hawthorne House and the history of its former gold-mining owner. 

The main character, Rachael Wentworth, is a writer who arrives for her stay at the historic old house at the height of a massive blizzard. Her original purpose is to interview the long-time caretaker and watch for any of the paranormal activity the house is rumored to host, but after almost succumbing to the cold and snow while traveling there, her stay becomes one of recovery and survival. Rachael is a self-reliant character and an experienced features writer, and she came fully prepared to give this magazine puff piece assignment her best effort. I liked that she was a skeptic of supernatural phenomena, in general, but was open to being present for any odd occurrences that might change her mind. She gamely tries to make the best of the unfortunate circumstances surrounding her arrival (i.e., the blizzard, no cell service, no electricity, and the loss of her purse, suitcase, and laptop bag under the drifts of snow in the front yard of the inn.) 

The plot is mesmerizing as things go from the mundane to worse to bizarre. While the situation at the Hawthorne House initially appears pretty average for an old home, readers are slowly clued into how wrong first impressions can be. The tension mounts from the moment Rachael is helped into the house’s front parlor and never backs off. The present-day story unfolds from Rachael’s first-person perspective, sometimes with a little too much detail in the telling. However, the backstory of the house and its original owner is revealed by the caretaker, Gabriel, and the narrative goes back to the mid-1800s and the era of the gold rush. The events that provide the foundation for the following horror story are plausible and tragic, and the twists in the plot are creepy surprises. 

I recommend THE CARETAKER to readers who enjoy mysteries with ghosts and horror stories.


Regina Wixon endeavors to take her readers on a journey around the United States to be fascinated by our country's history in a series of chilling books she hopes you will love. She blends a captivating blend of mystery, historical intrigue, and paranormal elements, her gripping novels, weaving together tales of secrets and revelations that span centuries. Her stories often delved into the hidden depths of history, uncovering long-forgotten mysteries and unsolved crimes that haunted the past. It was the paranormal twists that set Regina's work apart, adding an extra layer of intrigue and suspense that kept readers eagerly turning the pages until the very end. She continues to explore the darker corners of the human experience through her captivating storytelling.

Thank you for reading and please leave a review. Her next book will be coming out in the summer of 2024, The Haunting of York Hall. Any questions or comments? Please visit her website at or follow her on Facebook where she will keep you updated on upcoming books. Questions? Please email her at – She'll be happy to hear from you!


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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway: Bold: Rein in Your Mind, Reign in Your Career by Audrey D. Lloyd

Bold: Rein in Your Mind, Reign in Your Career by Audrey D. Lloyd Banner


Rein in Your Mind, Reign in Your Career

by Audrey D. Lloyd


May 20 - June 14, 2024 Virtual Book Tour


Bold: Rein in Your Mind, Reign in Your Career by Audrey D. Lloyd

Bold: Rein in Your Mind, Reign in Your Career is a book about mindset, finding your authentic self, and stepping into your personal power. Leading with your true and authentic self, you significantly increase your chances of success. The search for personal understanding is timeless. Author Audrey D. Lloyd advances a compelling, strategic approach illuminating how to identify, value, honor, and capitalize on your special and unique gifts, talents, and capabilities. In Bold, Audrey D. Lloyd seeks to show that there is no single, defining event that will allow you to succeed. Instead, it is an accumulation of talents, choices, experiences, and actions that drive the true path to success that is unique to you.

In this book Audrey D. Lloyd shows you how to:

  • Tap into your true and authentic self
  • Understand vision (a mental image of what you desire), values (embodiment of your character), value (valuation and impact of your utility, experience, and talent), and how to be valued (to be recognized, compensated etc.)
  • Attain more engagement, power, joy, and success at work by shifting your mindset and taking the strategic path to self-actualization — to realize your full potential.

Bold is the quintessential blueprint for overcoming uncertainty, gaining confidence and clarity in your life and career.

If you are interested in self-discovery and living up to your full potential, Audrey D. Lloyd will show you how to unlock your bold.


Praise for Bold: Rein in Your Mind, Reign in Your Career:

"Audrey’s book — indeed her philosophy — is a game changer, inspiring a fresh shift in how we conduct business and everyday interactions. This is a book that will continue to contribute to our ever-changing world through its timely and timeless content."
~ Liz S., Retired HR Executive

"The Concepts in BOLD are tied directly to the Leadership Concepts of my program. I invited Audrey in to focus us on a few of the concepts. She WOWed over 70 students in two sessions! And they want more. I recommend everyone, no matter what you are doing, think you want to do get this book."
~ Kathleen B. Cashman-Walter, President - ICF New Jersey


Book Details:

Genre: Non-Fiction
Published by: New Degree Press
Publication Date: February 26, 2022
Number of Pages: 300
ISBN: 9781637307427 (ISBN10: 163730742X)
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | | Goodreads | BookBub


Read an excerpt:


I did not start out bold, but I was always strong. I have experienced great heights and understand the pain of searching to find a way out of the valley to escape being lost.

No single defining event motivated me to search for bold. An accumulation of feelings and prior experiences drove me to the realization that I was not living the life I really wanted. I was not where I wanted to be in my career.

Most of the companies where I’ve worked were good, some were great, and a few were exceptional. I learned fast and was never afraid of a challenge or hard work. Finding opportunities came easily to me. Yet, I did not use this to my full advantage. I was still allowing companies to select me versus playing a more active role in the selection process. At times, I accepted positions that were below my full ability. Looking back, I was passive, too compliant, overly nice, and willing to sacrifice my time, energy, and sleep. I knew all of this but did not do anything to change the outcome.

That all changed after I had a chance to review my notes from a reference check for a new position. I personally knew the references who provided input from over the last seven to fifteen years of my work history. Each reference was asked to provide short answers to specific questions about their prior experience working with me, my general character, and professional impact. I cannot recall exactly how the specific question was worded, but essentially it asked about my experience and expertise. I remember everything slowing down as my eyes met the line that one of my references provided anonymously, which read:

“Audrey is so talented, amazing, and passionate. I only wish she could find the opportunity that is right for her and deserving of her skills.”

Those words washed over me like Niagara Falls. The assessment provoked me.

While I have now achieved success beyond what I believed was possible, it took longer for me to get there. Looking back, I made all the right moves but often made them without fully understanding my own strengths. I had the right cards in my hands, I just didn’t always play them to my benefit.

I was the common denominator in this dilemma. I do not attribute any of my painful lessons or missteps to any person or company other than me. I take accountability for not prioritizing myself and seeking the right culture and environment for me. I am ultimately accountable for my success.

I read those words again, and that was when it hit me. When we hold ourselves accountable, we take back control.


To Be True

Some people are not aware of the importance of searching for and discovering their proper and true role in life.
—Chin-Ning Chu (Chu, 1994)

Choosing to leave the ranks of a full-time employee (FTE) to independently pursue organizational change management (OCM) consulting and executive coaching required careful consideration and considerable courage. I remember thinking, Before I make the final decision to leave a full-time job with benefits, I’d better speak with someone who can help me weigh my options. The representative from EAP (Employee Assistant Program) was laid back, casual, and unassuming.

“So, what’s going on?” she asked. Then she listened without making a sound as I spoke. I was listening as well. Then she calmly and empathetically said, “Maybe you just don’t want to do it.” She was so neutral in her response that I could not tell if her reply was a question or a comment. Either way, she was right. I did not want to do “it.” I did not want to play it safe anymore.

The lessons of the past taught me many valuable lessons about myself, the importance of company culture, making brave choices, and finding the proverbial “right room.” The decision to take my power back and become more aware of what I want and what is right for me was a significant turning point in my life. Like a baptism, I decided to give up the old to embrace the new. I changed the way I value myself, the way I have selectively designed my career, and the choices that define my world.

The good that came out of the experience is a clear understanding of who I am, what I value, and how critical engagement is for living and for work. What came out of this experience was the motivation for unlocking my “bold.” Self-appreciation and understanding underscores the belief that when you show up as your true and authentic self, you will almost guarantee your success.

Further on in the book, we will discuss the Bold Value Equation (BVE), a “needs analysis” that compares what you are willing to give and what you expect from an employer in exchange for your expertise, time, and value. These needs reflected the “season of my life,” which represented more mature goals and aspirations than my younger, less-confident self. I was no longer willing to sacrifice my time, health, and autonomy. Reaping financial rewards without making a meaningful contribution to the company was no longer enough, nor was it worth it if my skills, experience, and knowledge were not fully needed, leveraged, and appreciated. After all, we all have financial, emotional, social, and environmental needs that must be recognized and satisfied in the workplace—and we have the authority to make choices that are required in order for us to move ahead in life.


Moving Ahead

Life continues even after making big decisions. Taking accountability and making peace with our decisions frees us from the burden of thinking there must be a right or wrong. On the path to becoming bold, moments like these test our resolve, define our character, and show us who we really are in the moment of choice. We emerge stronger by recognizing and honoring our truth.

Insights like these—along with the teaching of my parents, hands-on experience in OCM, and executive coaching—led me to write this book. I have dedicated my career to helping individuals and organizations change and transform.

This book is written with you in mind. All throughout, I will make the case for why intentionally identifying and leveraging your bold creates a powerful competitive advantage, not by telling you what you need to be or do but by telling you how to do less of what you are currently doing.

As a certified International Coaching Federation (ICF) coach and global consultant with over twenty-five years working with some of the world’s best companies, I under- stand the issues and the significance of company culture as well as what is required for individuals to transform their lives. I have designed transformation strategies for some of the world’s largest companies and trained leaders globally on communication effectiveness and issues management, in addition to having the honor of spending hundreds of hours deeply listening to and coaching individuals around the world.

In these pages, I will share true stories along with lessons and insights I learned working in corporate America. I want to recognize that at times I am vague and do not offer the tantalizing details of conversations that occurred at many of the companies where I worked. I do this to honor the value of confidentiality and to illustrate the bold move of taking the high road and moving away from the drama, as rehashing, reliving, and rumination do not offer a path forward. In fact, reliving such negative and often toxic events steals our joy and weakens our power.

Many of the structured processes and frameworks that I have included are inspired by my work in OCM and coaching. I am giving you the best of both worlds, as I have sat in many of the same places where you may find yourself today. I am now able to look at things objectively through the lens of both the employee and the expert, and this duality allows me to be empathetic and honest.

As an executive coach, I spent hundreds of hours listening to the stories, aspirations, hurts, and triumphs of my clients. I heard joy, pain, pressure, and disappointment in their voices. I saw dreams and spirits on the brink of breaking. I witnessed breakthroughs, setbacks, and personal victories. In coaching I follow, encourage, and challenge each one of them to achieve the goals they have established.

You know yourself best. Understanding this is essential to understanding the difference between leading and being led. While the information and thinking shared in this book have resulted in positive change and success for many of my clients, I will always take the position that you are the leader in your life, and this book is most valuable when you use it as inspiration in customizing a strategy that best suits you. If you find the models and processes helpful, you can use them as is or as a guide. Ultimately, remember that your talent, passion, mindset, and actions are the most important ingredients for catalyzing your success.

I wrote this book for the following reasons:

  • I hope and trust that it will motivate you to explore and unlock your true potential.
  • I truly believe “bold” is a powerful concept that anyone can access and use to improve their career and life.
  • I wish this book existed earlier in my career.
  • The timing of the book and the topics covered coincide with the current needs of many individuals who are at a crossroads in their lives and in their careers. This book is a resource and tool for reflection and planning.

    Several factors are driving the need for a bold mindset:

  • In the face of an increasingly complex, turbulent, and uncertain future, there is a need to cement your focus, power, and the resolve that is required to succeed.
  • Given the accelerated and changing nature of work, you need to become more autonomous, independent, and confident in who you are and in the value you provide.
  • Understanding yourself at your core will enable you to learn, adapt, and evolve. This is the secret to sustaining “your bold.”

    We will discuss:

  • Why tapping into your true and authentic self is essential to your career and living your best life.
  • The importance of understanding your vision (a mental image of what you desire), values (embodiment of your character), value (valuation and impact of your utility, experience, and talent), and how you want to be valued (being recognized, compensated, etc.).
  • How you can use your bold to serve others.

    I kept the following four profiles in mind when writing this book:

  • Individuals who are tenured and who have mastered technical success but are in search of balance and greater fulfillment.
  • High performers on the cusp of unlocking their brilliance and attaining the next level of success, but their goal is often elusive, as “something” is standing in the way.
  • Middle managers who serve on the frontline of leadership but are often overlooked due to a lack of a personal strategy for promotion and success.
  • Individuals who are successful in getting a job but struggle to find the right lasting opportunity.

    I hope this book will help you:

  • See and appreciate your value and the bold in others.
  • Increase your confidence.
  • Own your choices and your career.

    Your Call to Adventure

    Nothing in life occurs by chance. I am guessing you may have found this book because you are searching for clarity, change, or direction. You sense from the cover that this is not your “typical” career book outlining exactly what you need to say or do. Perhaps you already own a few of those books, yet you are in search of more introspection. You are nuanced, after all, and the world is much too complex for rote advice.

    You are at a place in your life that requires individual and purposeful consideration and planning. The time has come for you to do the deep introspection that only you can lead.

    This book is simply a tool to inspire, illuminate, and affirm your personal strategy to live boldly.

    I hope you will accept my invitation to stay open and curious about learning about yourself. Come along with me to explore what is possible when you realize your bold. Everything in this book is simple to apply but not always easy to achieve.

    The difference between living boldly and ordinarily is like night and day. With a heightened level of awareness and commitment, you will start to see yourself and the world around you differently. Others will sense and see it too, but most importantly, you will experience it for yourself.


    Introduction to Bold Reflections

    Each chapter is carefully selected and arranged to help you grow and transform at your own pace. Use chapter takeaways and powerful questions to gather insight to develop your strategies and action plans.

    As you take on the challenge to bring forward the best version of yourself, reserve the time and find a quiet space to reflect. I recommend you keep a pen and notebook or voice-record app close by to record your thoughts and reflections at the end of each chapter.

    What do you hope to learn about yourself by reading this book?



    What intrigues you the most about your reaction to the introduction of bold? Why?



    Are you ready?




    Excerpt from Bold: Rein in Your Mind, Reign in Your Career by Audrey D. Lloyd. Copyright 2022 by Audrey D. Lloyd. Reproduced with permission from Audrey D. Lloyd. All rights reserved.



    Author Bio:

    Audrey D. Lloyd

    Audrey D. Lloyd, PCC, is a gifted ICF-credentialed executive coach, organizational change management and business transformation expert, speaker, inventor, futurist, and universal citizen. Drawing upon her extensive coaching and global experience, she presents compelling reasons to believe in oneself and how to take a strategic approach to unlocking our true brilliance, personal power, and joy.

    Catch Up With Audrey:
    Instagram - @bold_practitioner
    Twitter - @adlloyd



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