Denise R. Stephenson, author of ‘Isolation’: on Tour

Publisher: Mill City Press (April 15, 2014)
Category: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic, Political Thriller, Medical Thriller
ISBN: 13: 978-1-62652-760-7
Tour Dates: June 15-July 30, 2014
Available in: Print and ebook, 383 Pages

Isolation depicts a bleak but recognizable future in which the fear of contagion reaches a fever pitch as a bacterial epidemic catapults the US into an apocalyptic crisis.

Touch is outlawed. Mothers like Maggie bind their infants’ hands, terrified they might slip fingers into mouths. Gary, a Sterilizer, uses robots to scour the infected, avoiding all contact with human flesh. Trevor, the Chief Enforcer, watches, eager to report any and all infractions.

One inadvertent touch will change all of their lives.

Read or Listen to An Excerpt

Praise for Isolation:

“I was fortunate enough to read a preview copy of Isolation and I have to say it is a timely and thought provoking, if not haunting, look into the future.  I can’t imagine simple day-to-day tasks like getting food at the market being either impossible or dangerous. Written from a variety of perspectives and far-reaching communities, it kept the reader wondering, “Could this really happen to me?  Could this be part of my world?”  This book made me look into the foods I eat, the lifestyle I live and the value of my friends and family. To what extent would I go to keep those I love safe? Looking for answers kept me turning the pages.”- Michelle Keeton

“Denise Stephenson’s novel Isolation is situated in a not-too-distant future, one we can all imagine, in which bacterial diseases decimate human populations world-wide. Though other novelists and filmmakers have relied on viruses to frighten us with tales of pandemic diseases, Stephenson makes bacteria seem much, much more dangerous—in part, because the vast majority of bacteria we come in contact with are necessary for our survival. For one thing, we can’t digest food without the help of bacteria in our stomachs.

In Isolation, government agencies struggle with the question of how to isolate the dangerous bacteria from the life-saving sort. Eventually, hospitals are turned into Anti-Bacterial Centers, robots are used to cleanse individuals who are exposed, touching one’s face is banned, then touching others is banned, and finally everyone is quarantined inside their own homes in a final, desperate attempt to stop the spread of the lethal bacteria. It’s a frightening vision, but each step, each decision, makes perfect sense in light of the threat of contagion.

It’s a gripping tale, at once outrageous and yet plausible. Through news articles, a scientific report and a press release inserted throughout the novel, Stephenson reveals how woefully unprepared American society is for this sort of calamity.

In spite of the doomsday vision the book presents, it remains hopeful and optimistic by focusing on the lives of individuals. In the direst of circumstances, their humanity, their compassion, and their hope shines through.”- Bob Mayberry

“Isolation” paints a bleak picture. In order to keep humankind safe, the government imposes increasingly stricter bans on touching. From Do-not-touch one’s own nose and eyes to, in the end, the Total-Touch-Ban. People live in ever more isolation; at times, confined to their homes like prisoners.

While the prospect of living in, or even reading, about such a world may not sound appealing to everyone, Stephenson’s lovingly created characters, who accompany the reader from the present to a future two to three generations away, confirm that our species can adapt and survive.

Stephenson’s care to give each of her main characters a distinctive voice makes, in turn, the reader care about them; and that is what makes “Isolation” a pleasure to read.”- Irene Gerold

“Isolation gripped me. It’s a mesmerizing dystopia about the quiet and deadly menaces in our lives. These dangers may be hidden in the jargon of the latest government health report, lurking under the frilly curl of a romaine lettuce leaf, or triggered by a minor cut to a finger while using an ordinary kitchen knife. The characters in Isolation are people I know. It was easy to imagine myself as a sister, friend, or neighbor to any of them – or most of them.

I was in the story wondering, “What would I crave? What would I do for my family and my friends? Isolated, what could I do to fight back?” These questions linger.

The story is well paced, well written, and scary. Stephenson’s research is excellent. It provides a persuasive foundation for explaining why the home-bound isolation of the population becomes the awful solution for stopping the spread of disease. The story compelled me to mull my complacency about the safety of our food, drugs, and government promises to always protect our freedom.“- Karen Baum

About Denise R. Stephenson:

DENISE R. STEPHENSON resides in Oceanside, CA, but she has lived in all the isolated locales of this novel at one time or another. Her publishing history is primarily academic, though as a member of Attention Deficit Drama, she has written and produced monologs and short plays. This is her first novel.

Website: http://denisestephenson.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeniseStephensonIsolation

 

 

 

Dawn Greenfield Ireland, Author of Bitter Chocolate: On Tour

Publisher: Artistic Origins Inc (June, 2014)
Category: Cozy Mystery
Series: Hot Chocolate Series- Book 2
Tour Date: June, 2014
Available in: ebook, 400 Pages, With Recipes

The characters you loved in Hot Chocolate are back with more escapades of life in Houston’s wealthy River Oaks.

Lila Mae is in a tizzy over the Chocolate Ball – a huge event that she and her sisters, Dorothea and Madge, host every year. But due to unusual circumstances, Dorothea and Madge dump everything in Lila Mae’s lap. If it weren’t for Julian Gillespie of Event Is King, the Chocolate Ball would have melted.

Bernie, the Alcott sisters’ 92-year-old father, decides he wants his Bentley back. The sisters and Bambi are horrified. They hire Joseph’s cousin Chewie as Bernie’s new chauffeur.

Wolfram, Lila Mae’s new astrologer, gives clues of things to come. This leaves Lila Mae and her sidekick Amelia with brows furrowed.

On her day off, Amelia decides to bake a chocolate blueberry pie. She discovers she needs to make a grocery run. When she returns home, she discovers her kitchen door is slightly ajar. Arms loaded with groceries, she toes the door open.

Three things catch her attention: a vase of flowers on the kitchen island that was not there when she left the house, her marble rolling pin covered with blood… and a dead body on her kitchen floor.

Amelia’s eyes drift toward the dining room and beyond – is the house empty, or is there a murderer inside? She backs up, turns and hurries outside. After setting the bags on the ground, she slips back into the kitchen and snaps a picture of the dead guy. Then she calls Detective Chance Walker, Lila Mae and finally… 9-1-1.

Praise for Hot Chocolate:

“This cozy mystery is a raucous romp.  A light, quick read, it is laugh-out-loud funny all the way through except maybe for the scene when the murder victim is discovered and the scene when the murderer declares themselves tho even those two scenes have elements of slapstick visuals incorporated into them.

The plot is quite masterfully constructed and kept me guessing right up to the moment the culprit was revealed and that is not easy to do as I’ve read or watched so many mystery stories I often figure it out well before the halfway point.

Where the story truly shines though is through the characters of which there are many yet each one is fully rounded and uniquely eccentric.

Food itself is nearly a character in the story and several of the recipes featured in scenes are included in full at the end of the novel.”-Joy Renee Davis, Joystory

Hot Chocolate is a captivating tale with vivid and fun characters. I could almost visualize myself socializing with them, and I definitely enjoyed their interactions with one another. They felt like real sisters, albeit high-society ones.

All the players are in place, and we think we have them figured out. So when something unexpected happens one night at the bowling alley, the Alcotts, Bambi, and countless others are caught up in a mystery that had me turning pages rapidly. Who or what could be responsible for the shocking events? What will Bambi discover when she starts searching through her husband’s dresser drawers and files? And what other surprises await the Alcotts?

Through all the excitement and intrigue, we are gifted with wonderfully descriptive moments in the lives of the characters, including the delicious food they enjoy. The dishes are presented so realistically that I could almost taste them. As a final pleasing treat, there are several wonderful recipes at the end of the book. A five star read.”-Laurel Rain Snow, Chocolate and Mimosas

“Hot Chocolate is a light-hearted Southern comedy. The Alcott sisters are the epitome of Southern culture. They are each other’s fiercest enemy and closest companion.

One of my all-time favorite shows is Designing Women. The Alcott sisters, Dorothea, Lila Mae, and Madge could be the Sugarbaker women. Picture Suzanne Sugarbaker every time you read something about Dorothea and you’ll be rolling on the floor laughing every time she hollers and faints. It doesn’t get better than this.

The plot is well written and from the very first page there is no doubt these women live chocolate as much as the company they own makes chocolate. From the cocoa colored Bentleys to the hot chocolate they start their day with, this book is full of chocolate – what could be better than that?! The characters were dazzling creatures and full of spunk making the book an enjoyable read. I found no grammatical errors and the book ended with a surprise you won’t see coming, a definite plus in book world.” – Donna McBroom-Theriot, My Life, One Story At a Time

“I never read anything by Dawn Greenfield Ireland before, but she definitely knows how to write mysteries the way I like them. The story is filled with twists, turns and eccentric characters that are essential in writing a cozy mystery. It’s fast-paced and keeps the readers on their toes. There are also some giggles and a dash of romance thrown into the mix. At the end, she includes some yummy recipes that are featured in the book. Suddenly I’m in desperate need of a hot chocolate with some marshmallow fluff.

This book is delicious!”- Yvonne, Socrates Book Review

“I love reading a good cozy mystery and when it’s paired with good old fashioned southern charm and whit well I’m sold! “Hot Chocolate” by Dawn Greenland Ireland    gave me that plus a plenty of offbeat characters,along with a fast moving plot with a murder mystery woven in,  sprinkled together with a liberal amount of humor in to make this a book that I just couldn’t read fast enough!

As I read this story I couldn’t help but think that it would make an awesome movie. Set in the south with more than a few quirky characters that had me laughing out loud on several occasions.As I read the story I found the characters getting stuck in my head and could just imagine their southern twang.

If you enjoy reading a fast paced mystery that has more twists than a winding country road, along with vivid descriptions of people, food and places that will grab your imagination and hold on tight until the final page your certainly going to enjoy “Hot Chocolate.” I loved this author’s storytelling ability and look forward to reading more of her work.”-Brenda Casto, VW Stitcher

About Dawn Greenfield Ireland:

Dawn Ireland is the CEO of Artistic Origins Inc, a 100% woman-owned publishing and technical writing service company that has been doing business since 1995. She’s an award winning independent publisher and author of The Puppy Baby Book , Mastering Your Money, and Amazon Best Seller Hot Chocolate (the first in the series, and her fifth novel). The Hot Chocolate audio book was awarded the AudioFile Earphones Award on Valentine’s Day 2014.

Her family feature film screenplay A Girl and Her Dog was awarded a Kids First! Endorsement by the Coalition for Quality Children’s Media in October 2012 and optioned by Shadow Cave Productions in February 2013.

Originally from Feeding Hills, MA, Dawn migrated to San Antonio in 1968, then when her first son was one years old, her family moved to Houston where work was more plentiful. After 40+ years of heat and humidity, she has her sights on the Pacific NW.

Dawn is the co-author of the animated screenplay Memoirs of a Dog which won the Spirit Award of the Moondance Film Festival (children’s category) September 2011. Her dark comedy Plan B was a finalist in the Table Read My Screenplay script competition in 2010 and years before that, Standing Dead won the Women in Film and Television (Houston Chapter) screenplay award.

Stay tuned for The Last Dog (futuristic/sci-fi 2015), and Spicy Chocolate (2016).

www.dawnireland-writer.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dawnireland
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dawn.ireland.18/friends
Google+:  https://plus.google.com/114089201888216130985/posts

NLB Horton, Author of When Camels Fly: On Tour

Publisher: NLBHorton, via Amazon’s White Glove (May 15, 2014)
Agent:  Mary Keeley at Books & Such Literary Management
Category: Contemporary suspense, thread of Romance
Tour Date: May/June, 2014
Available in: Print & ebook, 370 Pages

A mother’s fatal shot. A daughter’s deadly choice.

In Israel, archaeologist Grace Madison shoots her daughter’s abductor. Seconds later, a handsome shepherd drops from the sky to kill a second assassin. Their world changes in two blinks of an eye.

Unbeknownst to them, a fiercely ambitious evil is destroying everything in its path—the unconventional path Grace and Maggie take. They struggle to right a wrong as old as time, and discover time is running out in the race for their lives. Family and friends are swept into their vortex, extinguishing old flames while igniting new loves.

While the scale tips dangerously toward disaster, millions of lives hang in the balance. And the mother-and-daughter team soon realizes nothing is as it seems. Even each other.

Because choosing what’s right is all that’s left.

Norma on Camel

Norma on Camel

Advance Praise for When Camels Fly:

“When Camels Fly brings an interesting twist to the typical suspense novels that I read. Usually, some man is the main character, who swoops in to rescue the girl, solve the mystery, and set all things right. Not so with this novel. The main character is a delightful woman named Grace, who is a brilliant archaeologist, but definitely no Indiana Jones. More comfortable digging and researching than getting involved in international “incidents,” Grace is lured (or dragged, she’d admit) into intrigue and danger when she discovers her daughter, Maggie, has been kidnapped. Like a mama grizzly, Grace heads out to find and rescue her daughter, get the bad guys, and make her daughter comply with her demands (essentially, go home and stay out of trouble). But Maggie has uncovered a disastrous plot that could affect the entire Middle East. And only Maggie (and now Grace) can do something to stop the mayhem and evil.

When Camels Fly, of course, has intrigue and suspense, action-packed scenes, some fun humor, and vivid descriptions of Israel and the Middle East that will make you think you’re there in the middle of the action. But its strength really lies in its characters, in particular the mother-daughter relationship with its friendship and tension, which will have you rooting for the dynamic duo. These women are intelligent and strong. No swooning here, readers. And for those readers who still love a bit of romance, this novel provides twists and hints at love blooming. There’s married love (the reader watches a “real” marriage between Grace and her husband and how they process the struggles of staying in love after decades), love lost but possibly found (Grace’s son and “the one” he let get away, to his great distress, or did he?), and love begun (Maggie meets a potential “one” or two suitors).

The first in a series, you won’t want to miss When Camels Fly. It’s a fun read—maybe even something you could read with your mom!”Ginger Kolbaba, author of Desperate Pastors Wives and A Matter of Wife and Death

“NLB Horton’s debut novel, When Camels Fly, incorporates features I have never before encountered in one novel: suspense, science, family, religion, and Middle Eastern intrigue. Middle-aged archaeologist Grace Madison, Ph.D., binds these elements as heroine, and my inner feminist cheered her, and the cast of characters, from the first page through the last.

The Madison women — Grace and daughter Maggie, a hydrologist — are very human and very smart. Their relationship is complex, but loving and insightful, and laced with humor. They wrestle with moral questions in intelligent and intuitive ways, and are unafraid to do the right thing to protect family and produce the greater good. Mark and Jeff Madison, Grace’s husband and son, respectively, provide backup while working through a complicated relationship of their own, and attempt to rescue women who are completely capable of rescuing themselves. The characterizations of this mature family are worth the price of the book.

One charming surprise — and there are many in this novel — is Grace’s octogenarian seminary professors, former spies for Mossad who converge in Israel and Jordan to assist the family they hold dear. Their espionage skills, masked by the perceived harmlessness of the elderly, allow them to move about undetected, and assist the Madison family in creative and unexpected ways.

Another unique aspect of When Camels Fly is the incorporation of science and history as backdrops for the storyline. Horton’s enjoyable and interesting depiction of hydrology and geology are well researched, and give legitimacy not only to herself, but also to her characters. The technical knowledge isn’t overwhelming, but provides a solid foundation that increases the story’s tension.

From drugged kidnappings and shootings at the Western Wall to a minor-key version of The Commodores’ Brick House in Jericho, When Camels Fly empowers women and family in an entertaining adventure. Unstoppable women, well-placed humor, and critical contemporary issues make this book my top read so far in 2014, and I’m watching for news of Horton’s second manuscript, scheduled to release later this year.”- Leigh Bennett, Reader

“I picked up When Camels Fly, and I couldn’t put it down because the dramatic opening hooked me.

Right off the bat, the relationship between Grace Madison and her grown daughter, Maggie, was committed, funny, and endearing — ideal, actually. They’re smart, adventurous women stranded in Israel, running for their lives, initially unaware that Grace’s husband Mark and son Jeff are in hot pursuit.

Author NLB Horton’s vigorous dialogue moved the story along, and portrayed each character as uniquely intriguing. Her descriptions of Israel and Jordan were an enjoyable way to learn more about that part of the world, and it’s obvious she’s “been there, done that.” I felt as if I were in the markets and atop the camels, participating in the story. One of the most interesting aspects of When Camels Fly is that it’s contemporary suspense from a woman’s viewpoint, set in a part of the world normally filtered through a male lens. And it presents the region in a realistic, approachable way.

I particularly appreciated Horton’s strong portrayal of the squadron of elderly intelligence agents. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a novel in which senior citizens (and I am one) were crafted with such lively respect.

The Madison family is a refreshing, healthy model in the world of contemporary literature, where dysfunctional or overly simplistic family portrayals reign. When I discovered the end of the novel alluded to the story continuing in the next book in the series, I was delighted. I look forward to continuing the adventure begun in When Camels Fly.”- Lillian Bohannon, Reader

About NLB Horton:

After an award-winning detour through journalism and marketing and a graduate degree from Dallas Theological Seminary, NLBHorton returned to writing fiction. She has surveyed Israeli archaeological digs accompanied by artillery rounds from Syria and machine gun fire from Lebanon. Explored Machu Picchu after training with an Incan shaman. And consumed afternoon tea across five continents.

When Camels Fly is her first novel. Her second, The Brothers’ Keepers, will be available November 2014.

Website: http://www.nlbhorton.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/NLB-Horton/289059931145461
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NLBHorton
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/nlbhorton/

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Follow the Cover Reveal:

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Apr 07
Books and Bindings Apr 10 (postponed)
Miki’s Hope Apr 14
Romance that’s ‘Out Of This World’ Apr 17
Cassandra M’s Place Apr 18
Back Porchervations Apr 21
Little Black Marks Apr 22
Inspire to Read Apr 23
Two Children and a Migraine Apr 25
CelticLady’s Reviews Apr 29
Little Whimsy Books Apr 30

Shelly Lowenkopf, Author of “Love Will Make You Drink And Gamble, Stay Out Late At Night”: On Tour

Publisher: White Whisker Books (June 6, 2014)
Category: Short Stories, Literary Fiction
ISBN: 978-0-9836329-8-6
Tour Date: May/June, 2014
Available in: Print and ebook, 186 Pages

Love Will Make You Drink and Gamble, Stay Out Late at Night brings a number of Shelly Lowenkopf’s previously published short stories together in a single volume. All the stories revolve around life in Santa Barbara, the oceanside city north of Los Angeles, where people go after they’ve burned out in San Francisco and L.A. Yet there’s no safe haven anywhere. Interwoven into Santa Barbara’s picturesque setting, the people in these twelve stories reveal what their hearts and souls encounter in relationships. Their misreadings, mistakes, and misadventures bare what happens to people who love another.

Shelly Lowenkopf’s short stories breathe gusts of fresh air into the often stuffy literary atmosphere,” says poet Charles Harper Webb (Liver). “Witty, urbane, sharply observed, insightful, mordant yet poignant and absolutely entertaining, these stories touch the funny bone as well as the heart. Readers have had to wait too long for this collection. Grab it now.”

Shelly Lowenkopf is a gifted, humane story-teller,” adds author Aram Saroyan (Rancho Mirage). “Love Will Make You Drink and Gamble, Stay Out Late at Night is a delight.”

Other Praise for the Book:

Shelly Lowenkopf’s collection of short stories, Love Will Make You Drink and Gamble, Stay Out Late at Night, is a celebration of the strength, the vulnerability and the absurdity of the human heart. In their need to connect, Lowenkopf’s characters are driven to the extreme: a man falls in love with his best friend’s dog; a waitress tries to understand a hook-up with a pianist by listening to music she doesn’t understand; a professor’s thwarted but hilarious attempt to make sure he won’t die alone. Lowenkopf’s delightful stories will leave the reader nodding and smiling in recognition.”—author Melodie Johnson Howe (City of Mirrors)

 “Lowenkopf unveils Santa Barbara’s passions with clever tales about men and women (and cats and dogs) that surprise and delight. Subtle humor mixes with the loneliness and desire, but we laugh with the characters, not at them, because we see ourselves in these people. In the stories of Shelly Lowenkopf, we remember that love is life—long live love.”—author Manuel Ramos (Desperado)

“Shelly Lowenkopf is a master of the art of stealth in fiction. His writing draws you in and then, ka-pow! Here comes the sucker punch that flattens you.” —author David Gillham (City of Women)

About Shelly LowenKopf:

Shelly Lowenkopf taught in the University of Southern California’s
Master of Professional Writing Program for 34 years, has taught at the annual Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference since 1980, and has been guest lecturer in many schools and conferences.

He is currently Visiting Professor at the College of Creative Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, with classes in noir fiction, the modern short story, genre fiction, and developing a literary voice. Mr. Lowenkopf has served as editorial director for literary, general trade, mass market, and scholarly book publishers, seeing over 500 books through the editorial and production process. His own short fiction has appeared widely in the literary press. He is author of the popular The Fiction Writer’s Handbook.

Website: http://www.lowenkopf.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lowenkopf 
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shelly.lowenkopf