Amanda Thrasher, Article, author, Book Marketing, books, Cereal Authors, Children's story, childrens stories, educators, Fantasy, Literary, Musings, parents, publishing, tweens, Uncategorized, writer's life, Writing Process

Need An Answer, Ask A Kid

If you’re a parent, grandparent, teacher or around kids for any length of time, then you already know kids have their opinion about most things. They’re often brutally honest, which I find quite refreshing; if you want the truth, ask a child.

One of the neatest things about being a co-owner of a publishing company is the freedom we have regarding our work, design, production, marketing, and pricing.

Freedom of such things do not come without cost, and we often learn lessons along the way, some we’d rather not. Many would argue that those are the best kind of experiences to learn from and I agree with that, and I’m sure we’ll continue to discover new and exciting processes throughout this publishing journey as this turbulent industry continues to change.

The request to conduct a workshop happened to come in at the same time as a new series cover reveal; perfect timing, test the covers out on the target market (niche group of kids). The kids I addressed were intense, listening to every word that I’d said, excellent feeling knowing you have such talented writers amongst the children your spending time with and showing them the steps of production. The staff stayed behind and asked questions themselves, also talking about wanting to become authors, and then I had the opportunity to ask for the kids’ opinions regarding the new covers. 

I had six works on display that day and a mock-up of a fourth; all from The Mischief Patch Series. Two different artists, styles, and visions, were presented. One by one, both girls and boys passed on their honest opinions of what I thought about the beautiful new covers and the existing older ones. “Do you like the colors in this one?” I asked. “What don’t you like about this one?” They kept pointing to one or the other and I kept tallies of each. I finally asked, knowing the time, energy and dollars that had been spent on each cover. “Why do you like this one and not the other?” I waited patiently for their responses. The answers surprised me. “Because there’s Boris” or “I like Jack,” and of course my favorite, “I love the one with Lilly.” They were on the other covers as well, but for some reason, they related better to these versions… precisely what I needed to know. Needless to say, Lilly, Boris, and Jack are my escape books. I love to write them and will continue to work on them as soon as my existing projects are wrapped up. A fourth is already mapped out. They’re fun for me to write, fantasy is such a great escape. The characters, Lilly, Boris, and Jack, are sweet and kind, but most of all they hold a special place in my heart. Needless to say, the kids that day helped pick the covers. Kids – Need an honest answer, just ask. BTW – Spider Web Scramble is a Mom’s Choice Awards® (MCA) evaluates products and services created for children, families, and educators. The program is globally recognized for establishing the benchmark of excellence in family-friendly media, products, and services. The organization is based in the United States and has reviewed thousands of items from more than 55 countries.

© 2018 Amanda M. Thrasher

Amanda M. Thrasher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Article, author, Book Marketing, books, Cereal Authors, JD Holiday, Truth, As Strange As Fiction

Truth, As Strange As Fiction: Bothered, Part 2

girls and flags2 WARNING: violence.

Truth, As Strange As Fiction: Bothered, Part 2 

by JD Holiday

©May 2018         

Shortly after that, I joined a drum and bugle corps. It was a teen group for thirteen to seventeen year olds. My friend this time with Kathy Donahue. Her older brother, Mike was a drummer. Kathy was thirteen too, so she and I are joining together. Girls were in the Honor and Color guards. We would be in the newbies. That was where girls learn to carry the flag and twirl them in nice patterns to go with the instrumental music the boys made with the drums and brass horns. The girls in the newbies would join the Honor and Color Guard the following year when the older girls turned eighteen and would be leaving the corps. practice2

              So Kathy and I and about another ten to twelve other girls would spend that spring in training, and the summer would be our first time marching in parades starting on Memorial Day right behind the Color Guard and in from of the brass horns and drum sections.   In good weather, the corp would practice on the community ball field across from the club house, a VFW post. At eight AM this one Saturday morning, the newbies gathered in the baseball area of the field. The Honor and Color Guards were already turning their flags in the outfield. The band played on the basketball court loudly performing their signature instrumental, Sentimental Journey in the shadow of Garrettmountain field 2 Mountain. The brass horns and beating drums were hammering the song home across the field and ricocheting off the mountain and back again throughout the South Paterson neighborhood.

 

         Our group leaders shouted our instructions over the music were we stood by the bleachers since it would be impossible for us to hear them out in the field. When we were told to line up and march to third base where we would be going over our drills I saw that my sneaker was untied. The others had run out into the field while I sat to tie my sneaker.

              I saw the older black guy who had left the corps now that he was eighteen sitting on his bike not far away. I remembered I finished and was getting up when I was grabbed from behind and pushed down onto the bleacher again. I felt my blood pounding in my face as I struggled to push him away but the guy came around and over my body to sit straddle my legs. It was the guy with the small bike. He started saying, “I’ll show them. I’ll show them,” over and over again while pushing me down with a hand on my collarbone.

              I fought hard and I turned looking for help. I glance toward third base but my bleachersgroup had their backs to me. No one else was near. I kept fighting to get him off pushing at his chest as the music continued and even sounding louder as it vibrated. With his other hand he began pulling at the snap of my jeans trying to open them. He was much bigger and I was powerless to get him off me.

              Then the blaring music ended. And silence. Or I thought it was, until I heard screaming echoed through the air. I was screaming.

              We continued wrestling until there was movement around us. Then the weight was lifted from me. Pete, who I knew was one of the drummers was there, and then the two of them were a blur as they fell to the ground and seemed to scrambled away from me. Some older girls came to me and dragged me off the bleacher toward the batting cage. Breathing seems hard. But I was already feeling some relief that it was over but I couldn’t focus on what was being said to me.

       batting cage       Many adults came from nowhere it appeared to me. Faces around me were frowning with concern. I glanced in the direction I came from to see my attacker up against the chain link fence surrounded by male group members and adults.

The woman who ran the drum corps came and wrapped her arms around me. She pretty much dragged me off the field. I heard her saying the guy was troubled.

Someone else walking with us across the street to the clubhouse added how he had behaved about having to leave the corps because he had reached the age limit and his fight with the group managers over it.

              Inside the clubhouse I sat while they all talked. Some stared at me and I have to look away having so much attention paid to me. Things began to sink in as they asked questions and I nodded a lot. They asked what happened, what did he say, what did he do. And I started murmuring that I was alright a few times and had to turn away from them wishing that were true. I didn’t want to be here anymore.

              My attention sharpened when I heard them mention talking to my parents. While I was glad to be going home, I didn’t want to have to tell them about this. And at the same time, just wanted it to be me who told my mom and dad. But the adults had to tell my parents, to explain the situation to them.

              At home, my father was the one who opened the front door. Somehow they all went inside, while someone ask me to stay on the porch. What was said I suddenly didn’t porchcare. I wasn’t in the middle of all the attention anymore. I sat on one of the adirondack chairs. What thoughts I had I couldn’t tell you, though relief was setting in. Home, I would find, was were I would always come to be out of the storm from here on.

              Once the club members left, most of the women giving me a hug before going, my mother and father came to the door. They had a short talk before my father stepped out onto the porch where I still sat by myself.

              “Are you all right?” he asked in the doorway.

              I glanced his way before turning back to watching the afternoon traffic on Madison Avenue. My father looked thoughtful.

              “Yeah,” I said, not wanting to talk about it.

              Looking back, I’d say he knew me better than I did when I was thirteen years old, for he said, “You don’t want to be bothered, I take it.”

              “No,” was all I said as I realized my breathing was normal now and I wasn’t hurt. I was all right, at least for the moment.

              He nodded, then he went back in with my mother leaving the door open a little.

              It never dawned on me at that time if the kissing incident being brought up at school had anything to do with the boys being black and the girls being white. I did find out weeks after from Leslie that the two boys involved were in a bit of trouble that night but for Leslie and me being their alibis.

              So you know, my parents never said anything about the kiss incident. And my parents never talked about race to us. Knowing them as I did, they thought there was no need to. Black people came to our house to have their taxes done all the time. And, over the years I’ve thought about that guy on the bleachers wondering if anyone had ever bothered enough to care about him.

Read Part 1 at: https://cerealauthors.wordpress.com/2018/05/17/truth-as-strange-as-fiction-bothered-part-1/

JD’s Site:   http://jdholiday.blogspot.com/

 JD’s Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/J.D.-Holiday/e/B002G1GOKQ/

Book Trailers and Teasers, books, paranormal, Podcast, Uncategorized

Book Trailer for Religion of Trees by Lisa L Borm

A wonderfully written novella of the connections between the birthday trees and the residents of Harding Street. Ms. Borm’s novella tells of the growth, love, loss, tragedies, connections, and reconciliations that happen to the children who are given the birthday trees and their connection to them.

It is spiritual, magical, thought-provoking, and worth the read.

books, Crime, Rachel Rueben, Romance

Fedelta 2: Making The Next Move

Fedelta Book 2 Making The Next Move

As Amato and Jimmy made their plans, Cassandra was making hers.  Desperate for cash, she knew she had to start liquidating her assets if she wanted to escape.  Doing her best to stay one step ahead of the cops, she grabbed her spare phone, and started looking up the number to her local bank branch manager.  With her fingers crossed, she called and explained that she needed to withdraw all of her money.  “In cash?” the manager asked rather surprised.

“No, in puka shells,” she retorted, “Of course in cash!”

“Well Ms. Fenetti, we’ll need at least 24 hours.”

“Why?”

“We’re low in cash,” the manager explained.

“You’re a bank, how is that even possible?”

“Just bear with us Ms. Fenetti. We’ll have all of the funds tomorrow.”

“Urgh!  Okay, I’ll be there at opening.”

“Alright, see you then.” He said in a sickening sweet tone.

Hanging up the phone the manager place a call to his supervisor, the Vice president of the branch, “Steve, it’s Marty, sorry to bother you but Fenetti called.  She’s coming by tomorrow morning at opening.”

“Thanks Marty, I handle this one myself.” He said.

He wasn’t quite sure why the President of the bank would want to personally handle the closing of an account, but Marty, simply agreed to have his admin send the files to his boss’s computer.  That was one less account he had to deal with, and since it was the end of the day, he grabbed his jacket along with his brief case and left for home.

In the meantime, Cassandra had to figure out where she was going once she had the cash.  Placing a call to her favorite airline, she chartered a plane to the Cayman Islands.  Once she got off the phone with them, she booked a hotel room at the Hilton.  Nonetheless she still wasn’t done, Cassandra had to make sure no one would be able to track her, not the cops, and certainly not the killers.  She already knew that the cops were checking phone records and looking at security footage.  As if that weren’t enough, Cassandra would have to change her appearance as well as get a new identity.  Placing a few calls to some of the best forgers in New York, she put in an order for a new driver’s license as well as a passport.  The ones she had were old, and looked outdated.  Sending him a recent photo of herself, she got the okay from the forger and they worked out a deal.  She regretted not staying on top of these things, she knew better, being the daughter of a mobster and the fiancé of another.  This life was unpredictable and deadly, Inpatient she mumbled to herself, “When will you ever learn?”.

This was only phase one of her plan, she still had to keep herself alive and evade police for the next 16 hours.  Cassandra had to lay low, if she was going to survive the night.  Starting the engine, she made a journey to her old hideout, a safe house of sorts.  Making her way through Little Italy, she made it to an old pizzeria.  Parking down the street, she took out a key and went to the back and climbed a set of rickety stairs to a tiny apartment.  Cassandra figured she would be safe here since she and Stephano rented it under the table.  There was no paper trail and they were careful to not tell anyone about it.  Despite all that, she was still paranoid and took out her glock.  Quietly she went from room to room to be absolutely sure she was alone.  When she was able to let her guard down, Cassandra put the gun away and went straight to the closet to find the clothes she had purchased for a time like this.  There was an array of outfits, some of them were shabby chic, while the others were high end luxury brands.  There was no way she could dress as she always had.  Too many people knew her style, and if her instincts were right, the cops were already creating a profile of her, if they hadn’t already.  It was a hot day and she still wasn’t feeling well, so Cassandra decided to take a shower and call it a day.

Collapsing on the bed, she made herself comfortable and clutched a pillow.  Fighting the urge to cry, she refused to think about what happened and focused instead on what needed to be done.  Going over the plan in her head, she went over  every possible scenario again and again like a mantra of sorts.  After all, Cassandra needed something to believe in and her plan was that thing.  She would succeed, she would pull herself out of this mess.  Confident, she slowly drifted to sleep, safe for now.

author, books, Excerpts, Karen Vaughan, Laura & Gerry series, Uncategorized

DEAD TO WRITES IS HERE. YAY !!!

DTWBLURB1.jpg

Natalie Fisher committed suicide after an author stole her work and published it as her own.

Two years later, her best friend Terri is found dead in her hotel room.

Are the two deaths connected?

Laura Fitz and Detective Gibbons are on the case to trap a ruthless author trying to get away with murder!

DTWDEATHSCENE.jpg

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Vaughan Karen Vaughan lives in Peterborough Ontario with her husband Jim and a cat named JJ. She is the mom of a 27-year-old daughter and four grown stepchildren, a toddler granddaughter and a 7-year-old grandson named Izak who could very well be smarter than a fifth grader. DEAD COMIC STANDING is her second novel. Her first novel DEAD ON ARRIVAL garnered praise from friends, family, and online gamers. She also enjoys doing crafts and other hobbies. Her third book and sequel to DEAD ON ARRIVAL called OVER HER DEAD BODY. DAYTONA DEAD is the third in that series and was released in May 2013. Other than writing Karen loves to read, do crafts and play online games. Currently, she hosts an internet radio show called WRITERS ROUNDTABLE since January the 14th, 2014. She has a quirky sense of humor and shows this in her mysteries and her side hobby of stand-up comedy. DEAD MEN DON’T SWING AND JAMAICA DEAD WERE PUBLISHED in January 2015. LEFT FOR DEAD AND HOLMES IN AMERICA WERE PUBLISHED IN 2016. Karen is currently working on her 8th book in the Laura and Gerry series DEAD AIR. Karen is also a frequent participant of NaNoWriMo each year.

Amanda Thrasher, Article, author, Book Marketing, Book Trailers and Teasers, books, Cereal Authors, educators, Fiction, Life, Literary, publishing, Sharing, Social media, Uncategorized

A Shocking Diagnosis Produces One of the Author’s Most Memorable Novels to Date

50 HOURS by Loree Lough

If ever a book was predestined to be written by an individual, it was 50 HOURS by best-selling author Loree Lough. You will indeed find a piece of the author in between each page. Loree, healthy at the time she was commissioned to write the novel, was diagnosed with a similar terminal illness as her main character! The shocking diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma allowed her to write one of her most memorable novels to date. It is not by any means a depressing story that smacks of defeat or worse self-pity, but of all things, is a story of redemption, peace, second chances, friendship, forgiveness and of course, LOVE!

The famous novelist Catherine Lanigan of Romancing the Stone, Jewel of the Nile, and a multitude of other works, wrote, “This is the kind of book that wins Pulitzer prizes,” the highest compliment for any literary fiction novel.

Loree, admittedly, found it challenging at times to write 50 HOURS and early on confessed to Kevin James O’Neill, the screenplay writer the novel is based upon and a movie producer, that she wasn’t sure if she could handle the story or workload. However, for over a year and a half, through twice-daily chemo, plus a stem cell transplant, Loree could not get the characters out of her head and had the overwhelming desire to finish the novel. Wanting more than ever to show readers whose lives had been touched by this dreaded disease, cancer, that, “There’s always plenty of reason to hope and have something to be thankful for,” Loree forged ahead.

The realization that millions of others were facing the same prognosis as her self and her main character, Loree decided to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. For her, it was cathartic, and she hoped it would be for her readers—not just cancer patients and their families—too. Loree has always believed she was fairly tough; living by the “Never let ’em see ya sweat” and “Never let ’em see ya cry” codes, and continued to think that way as she poured her heart and soul into her novel through her characters Aubrey, Franco, and Dusty.

Aubrey is living with the constant knowledge that her life is slowly ebbing to an end, but she’s determined to squeeze as much joy from every precious moment she has left. Still, she’s lonely, exhausted, and no matter how hard she tries to hide it, terrified! Meeting Franco gives Aubrey a thread of hope to grasp onto, as she realizes that her long-held dream of painting autumn, in of all places Savannah, has come true with his help. Franco, burdened by the belief that he’s partially responsible for the car wreck that killed his wife, turned him into a man who eked out his existence by merely putting one foot in front of the other because he doesn’t know what else to do. After meeting Aubrey, whose zest for life is infectious, his 50 hours of community service tick by, as he finds himself drawn to her strength.

Loree found herself putting words into Aubrey’s mouth, that she’d only ever said in the privacy of her own mind. Talking with her fellow patients proved she wasn’t alone: A lot of cancer patients keep things to themselves. They do it to spare their loved ones, already worried and afraid of an uncertain future, who aren’t entirely sure or know how to comfort their loved ones. Through Aubrey, Loree was able to tell them that she expected nothing, quite literally, except to be with them (her family and friends). It isn’t easy watching someone you care about suffering the side effects of drugs and treatments. Loree, through Aubrey, showed friends and family that she appreciated their steadfastness. Aubrey’s relationship with Franco and her mother helped her make that point.

Her research and interviews proved there are far too many “loved ones” like Aubrey’s ex-husband; Michael who put on a good show of being the dutiful spouse…until the condition, like Aubrey’s, deteriorated, taking the spotlight off him and putting it back on her. It’s an ugly fact, but a fact nonetheless: The occasional loved one will leave. Through Aubrey, Loree hoped to show cancer patients and family members alike that they can survive even that!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Once upon a time, best-selling author Loree Lough (literally) sang for her supper, performing before packed audiences throughout the U.S. Now and then, she blows the dust from her 6-string to croon a tune or two for her grandchildren but mostly, she just writes full time. Over the years, her stories have earned nearly 100 industry and “Readers’ Choice” awards, 7 movie options, and over eighty 4- and 5-star reviews. There are NEARLY seven million copies of Loree’s books in circulation, and by year-end of 2018, she’ll have 119 books (fiction and non-fiction for kids and adults) 72 short stories, 2,500+ articles in print. Loree shares her [i]learned-the-hard-way[/i] lessons about the craft and the industry, and her comedic approach makes her a favorite (and frequent) guest of writers’ organizations, book clubs, private and government institutions, college and high school writing programs both here and abroad. A writer who believes in “giving back,” Loree dedicates a portion of her income to Soldiers’ Angels, Special Operations Warrior Foundation, and other worthwhile organizations. She splits her time between her home in the Baltimore suburbs and a cabin in the Allegheny Mountains, and shares both with her real-life hero Larry, who rarely complains, even when she adds yet another item to her vast collection of lighthouses, wind chimes, and “wolf stuff.”

Spreading the word about this book increases the opportunity for Kevin James O’Neill to take make it a feature film as intended. Royalties from 50 HOURS go toward Cancer Research. Specifically, the Multiple Myeloma ResearchFoundation.

50 HOURS is available wherever books are sold including Amazon

Barnes and Noble 
Publisher Progressive Rising Phoenix Press
For media, author interview, and review copy requests contact the publisher: contact@progressiverisingphoenix.com

BOOK TRAILER FOR 50 HOURS

Article Copyright © 2018 by Amanda M. Thrasher 

 

author, books, Cereal Authors, JD Holiday, Truth, As Strange As Fiction, writer's life

Truth, As Strange As Fiction: Bothered, Part 1

Truth, As Strange As Fiction: Bothered, Part 1

by JD Holiday

©May 2018

         staircase   When I was thirteen I was called out of my class by the principal, Mr. Carrolio. The principal led the way ahead of me into the main stairwell. We were probably going down to his office. I thought, isn’t that where you ended up if you’ve done something wrong, and where the principal can yell at you, you hope, without others hearing it. This was embarrassing.

              But this was even worse for me. Mr. Carrolio was not only the principal but was a friend of my aunt and uncle’s. This was not a good thing to be happening, especially since I didn’t know what I had done. I was mortified.

              As far as I knew no one had ever been pulled out of my class by the principal before. But it happened to me.

              He was ahead of me in the stairwell, and half way down he stopped and turned to look at me.

              “Where you out with Leslie last night?” He said, though he used Leslie’s last name too.

              I was glad we weren’t moving down the stairs because I was sure I would have stumbled and falled down them just then. And I didn’t know if I gasped out loud at the question though I thought my mouth opened and some sound came out. How did he know I was with Leslie last night? My knees quivered in fear and my nose began to run. I had to wipe it with my hand.

              I was always willing to do whatever a friend wants to do for the most part. I wasn’t looking to get in trouble. I never liked it when my parents were disappointed but when Leslie said we were going to kiss boys that was exciting to me. I had never kissed a boy before. I needed the experience.

               I didn’t think we did anything wrong. Yet Mr. Carrolio asking about it seem to imply it was. How did he learn about it, I wondered while not being able to turn away from his stare. After all, he was an adult. I was taught to respect them.

              I shakingly said, “yes,” to his question was I with Leslie last night.

              “Did the boys kiss you?” he asked watching my face. The boys he was referring to were two black boys from the eighth grade. Now, my brain screamed; maybe my parents wouldn’t want me kissing boys. Though I didn’t know for sure. I never talked to them about that kind of thing. Then I thought, if he tells my parents, or worse, tell my aunt, she would make a bigger deal of it, I would have to have that conversation with them. Even more humiliating.

              Last night after dinner I met Leslie, but the excitement vanished with a kiss. We TSP 1960 Chathammet the two boys under the the overpass along Route 80. It was a deserted place with the only sounds were of the vehicles above racing along on the highway. It turned out to be a crude experience. First there were some weak hellos with the boys on one side and Leslie and me facing them. Then, with some shuffling back and forth by all, the boys just leaned forward to kiss the girl opposite. The one kissing me crushed his lips to mine for maybe ten seconds, and that was it. I hadn’t yet formed an opinion of kissing when that boy declared, “She doesn’t know how to kiss.”

              Leslie gave out a short giggle. And the boys turned and walked away. From excitement to dismal now, I just wanted to go home. Leslie said nothing about it and I was thankful.

              From five years old, until the Beatles came to the USA, I was in love with Johnny Mathis. We owned one album each from Johnny Mathis, The Ink Spots, The Platters, Frank Sinatra, and after November 1963, one album of speeches by John F. Kennedy. I would put Johnny’s on the record player playing it over again until my mother said to stop. She never told me Johnny was black.

              I stammered, “yes,” to his question about the boys kissing us feeling sick.

              “Were you petting?” he asked.

              “What’s that?” I was frowning.

              “Did they touch your body?” he inserted.

              “No,” I said, why should they was my next thought. And anyway, it was early fall and though not so cold I was wearing my heavy winter coat because my mother said it was going to get colder. It was a hand-me-down red duffle coatm a give a way from one of my father’s more wealthy tax clients who thought his five children needed more clothes than we could afford. My father was an accountant. He charged every one seven dollars no matter who they were. Companies paid fifteen dollars. But, anyhow, touching would have been hard to do with that old coat over my slight build.

              Mr. Carrolio just stared at me for what must have been a minute, I think, before he said, “You can go back to class.”

              I bolted back up the stairs. My classroom was the first room on the left at top of the landing. As I entered the classroom I felt on display. Every one of my classmates turned to stare at me like they knew all about it. Mr. Tamorino paused a second then went on talking as I slipped back into my seat, my face hot.

 

NEXT time on Truth, As Strange As Fiction:

Bothered, Part 2:  More Teenage angst, WARNING: violence.

JD’s Site:   http://jdholiday.blogspot.com/

 JD’s Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/J.D.-Holiday/e/B002G1GOKQ/

books, Crime, Fiction, Rachel Rueben

Fedelta: Authority Issues

Fedelta Book 2: Authority Issues

Warning: Language

On the other side of town, Amato was winding down the day and getting himself ready for dinner.  Since his divorce he had to learn to live like a bachelor and it really didn’t appeal to him.  He had a service that prepared his meals for him after nearly burning down his kitchen when trying to fry an egg.  He also had a cleaning service come in and clean his apartment after breaking his thumb while trying to scrap the ash from the stove after the the egg debacle.  It was getting expensive being alone, not to mention humiliating.  Amato always prided himself on being independent but he wasn’t cut out for this life.  He was missing companionship of the female kind.  Online dating didn’t suit him because he knew from his work that you’re just one serial killer away from making the nightly news.  Besides, he was sick of disappointment and dating was the express lane to Regretsville.  He would either be disappointed by finding out his date lived with 100 cats or she would be disappointed by his unhealthy obsession with his work.  Amato had to face reality, he was no catch.  He was approaching his 40’s and the grey streaks were already starting to appear in his dark brown hair.  His left knee now cracked every time he bent it and he was even prescribed a pair of reading glasses.  It was safe to say he was getting a little long in the tooth.

As he began heating up his vegan eggplant parmesan, there was a knock at the door.  Knowing exactly who it was, he made no attempt at hurrying to answer.  Setting the oven’s thermostat to 350°, he gently put the eggplant dish in the oven.  After closing the oven door, he heard  a second knock.  Hearing the frustration of his guest as they began pounding on the door, Amato smiled.  Taking his time to the door, he threw a kitchen towel over his shoulder and yelled, “Hang on!”

When he opened the door, it was none other than Special Agent Cohen, looking worn out and angry.  “Oh hi, Agent Cohen, what brings you to this part of town?” Amato inquired.  Glaring up at him, Cohen growled, “When I call, you answer the fucking phone.  Got that, you piece of shit!”

“Whoooa!  Wait a minute here, you didn’t come all this way to insult me, did you?”

“Fuck you Amato!” he said with his finger pointed in his face.  “I ain’t got time for your stupid games.”

Laying down the law Amato warned, “Apparently you’re under the impression that we’re at work.  If you want to bark orders and berate your fellow piss ants you might want to return to the office.  But if you wanna stay for some eggplant parmesan, you’re welcome.”  Pretending as if he didn’t understand the severity of the situation, Amato smiled then added, “It’s vegan.”

“You’re a disgrace.” Cohen bellowed.

Admitting to defeat Amato threw his hands up in the air, “Well, I tried to make nice,” he declared as he began closing the door on Special Agent Cohen.

“The fellas were right, that Fenetti chick got you all pussy whipped.”

Not falling for it, Amato kept his temper and closed the door.  Walking away, he refused to deal with Cohen in this state, even if it meant losing his job.  So he went back to preparing dinner while Cohen began making his plan to end Amato’s career.  Cohen was going to be damn sure he got whatever he needed for his investigation even if he had to pull it out of Amato’s gullet.  As he retreated to the elevator, Cohen began making phone calls.

On the outside it seemed like Amato just poked a bear with a small stick when in fact, he was politicking.  Not content to be a solider in Cohen’s army, he would not play second fiddle to anyone on the force anymore.  He nearly lost his life the last time.  One might say he had control issues now when it came to his work.  Turning on the Mets game in the living room, he listened from the kitchen as he got the veggies out crisper.  Carefully, Amato began chopping up his salad while he waited for Cohen to make the next move.

By the time Cohen made it back to headquarters, he made a b-line to Agent Nicholson’s office.  Storming in without so much as knocking, Cohen demanded, “I want his file.”  Confused, Nicholson asked, “What the hell ya talking about?”

“Amato, I want John Amato’s personnel file,” he said nearly out of breath.

“What the hell for?”

“Just send me his God damn file,” Cohen said through gritted teeth.

“You know that you gotta send a request through the proper channels.”
“Not you too?” Cohen said bewildered.

“We have rules Cohen, I can’t just go showing personnel files to any ol’ body.” Nicholson said rather annoyed by his request.

“Damn it, I got a job to do!” Cohen yelled.

“So do we.” Nicholson retorted, “Fill out the paperwork and send it my way.”

Disgusted, Cohen barged out of the office.  Knowing this was serious, Nicholson made a phone call to a mutual acquaintance of both he and Amato’s in order to warn him about what was going down.  He didn’t want to get directly in the middle of this, Amato just wasn’t worth it.  At least not to him, he had no skin in this game.  However Nicholson knew that Cohen was vindictive and had ruined several careers,  and he thought it would be shame if Cohen struck again.  He knew that snake wouldn’t rest until he had Amato’s head hanging on his office wall.  Unfortunately, Nicholson couldn’t take him down by himself, but he could send a message indirectly, and whatever happened, was up to fate.  If Amato was as good as people said, he would be able to handle Cohen if not, there would be a new opening in the office.

Amanda Thrasher, Article, author, Book Marketing, books, Cereal Authors, chapter books,, Children's story, educators, Fiction, Life, Literary, parents, publishing, Sharing, Social media, Teens, tweens, writer's life, YA

TLA 18 – What’s this all about?

Signing copies of Bitter Betrayal in the featured author area at TLA 18.

Sooooooo the coolest thing that I believe as an author, Amanda M. Thrasher, and organization, Progressive Rising Phoenix Press, that we are a part of on an annual basis is the TLA (Texas Library Association) Conference. I have attended this conference for years, signed as a featured author for at least five years, and we have committed as a publisher, for now, four years.

Being an author first, and a co-owner and CEO of an independent press founded by authors, we continually try to locate and find ways that bring the most ‘bang for our buck’ for our authors. What exactly does that mean when it comes to TLA? In case you are not familiar with TLA, it is a professional organization promoting librarianship and library services in Texas. Through legislative advocacy, continuing education events, and networking channels. The conference usually has between 5000 to 6500 attendees, if not more, and often consist of librarians (academic, public, and private), educators, consumers, category buyers, publishers, vendors, to name a few. 

Being that it takes place during the week, most attendees go on their companies time and dime. This is good for us, (publishers and authors) because the visitors are pre-registered and literally plan up to a year in advance to attend the conference which brings a different type of ‘crowd’ versus people just look for something entertaining to do. So what do all of those people do?

Signing ‘The Greenlee Project’ at TLA 18

Everyone attends sessions as they listen and learn about new techniques, equipment, products, and don’t forget they all get to network and socialize as well. Meeting the authors is always a big draw, especially the featured authors, and so many fantastic publishers are represented such as Penguin Random House, Scholastic, McMillan, Disney, Chronicle Books, Capstone, Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster, Little, Brown, Book Co., to name a few…. Oh yeah, and us 🙂 as well, Progressive Rising Phoenix Press.

I am not big on the author to author events (me personally), that become book swaps. However, I will always tell our authors, or any other that ask, that I believe in this particular trade conference. This one is worth saving your $’s for and vesting in the trip. It moves yearly, location, but is always in Texas. We network; share our work with the librarians, teachers, and readers. Sign books, and pick up book orders. I have attended and signed at ALA, BEA, and TLA. For us, PRPP, I still believe we receive the most value for our vested dollars in this event. If you have ever considered going, as a company, but you are not sure if it is worth it or if you are an author and you do not know if you should spend the dollars here are my top reasons for doing so:

1) It is a professional trade show; attendees are pre-registered, and that means a guaranteed X amount of participation.

2) Attendees are there with a purpose to do the following: Place book orders for their locations, receive free books for review, and to share new talent or books with their districts. If you have a new title or an old title with limited exposure, it is the perfect place to share your work with the experts or potential real buyers.

3) It is expensive, yes, but with a joint effort it can be done and is worth the $’s spent due to the added benefit of buyers, readers, vendors, librarians, educators, all under one roof at the same time.

4) Networking with different schools, librarians, teachers, readers, is priceless, especially when they are all book lovers and want to be there with you.

5) We have placed multiple bulk orders through this conference, introduced new titles and authors, and re-launched older titles.

6) Negotiated contracts for services authors cannot receive on their own, such as Lexile scoring, contact made through TLA.

7) Received great submissions & we do not solicit authors.

8) Met librarians, teachers, educators, and others that we have stayed in touch with and shared our catalog, and new titles over the year. They have come back, and picked our latest work, sharing it with their districts.

9) Featured author area: the authors are reviewed and scheduled to sign. The advertising is great, and visiting with people as you sign your work is fantastic, but having them come back year after year, remembering you from the year before as they look for your new work….is…..priceless.

10) Often it seems as if we accomplish more at this one trade show than at ten regular author events. Those often seem time-consuming, turn into author swaps, and end up with minimal unit sales.

TLA

Copyright © Amanda M. Thrasher 

Amanda M.Thrasher

Progressive Rising Phoenix Press

books, Rachel Rueben, Romance, Thriller

Fedelta 2: Hustling

Fedelta Excerpt 3
Image via Pixabay

*Warning Language*

Meanwhile, just a few blocks away in front of a laundromat, Cassandra was hunting for new clothes.  In most people’s eyes, she was loaded but in reality, she was asset rich and cash poor.  She couldn’t just walk into a store and pay with her jewelry, no matter how nice and expensive it was.  So in essence she was broke, so Casssandra did what she always did when she was broke, she stole.  First, she cased the joint for security guards but only found surveillance cameras on the outside of the building as well at the register.  The rest of the place was free of interference.  Relieved, she began looking for women who were about her size and observed their alertness.  The last thing she needed was someone putting up a fight.  However as she scanned the place, Cassandra noticed only one woman who fit the bill and she seemed to be a young woman with three small children.  It didn’t feel right, so Cassandra decided to make it right.  Sitting in one of the plastic neon orange chairs near her target, she began taking off her diamond earrings.  She figured they were worth around $10,000, way more than anything this woman owned and slipped them into the woman’s purse. With the flick of the wrist, Cassandra slid the goods into the woman’s bag and began her scheme.

Appearing to be busy on her phone, Cassandra patiently waited for the woman to be distracted and it didn’t take long when her kids began fighting.  Completely overwhelmed, the woman snatched one of the boys by the arm and began yelling.  As she did, the baby next to her started crying.  The woman sighed and commanded, “Come on!” as she headed off to the lady’s restroom.  It was the diaper change sent from the gods, and without arousing any suspicion, Cassandra went over to the dryer and plucked out a damp t-shirt with a pair of jeans from the load.  Then without saying a word, she left the laundromat before the woman could return.  When she got to her car, she began putting on the lavender peasant top and cropped blue jeans.  Now the look was complete, no one would ever think of looking for her driving a dirty SUV while dressed in Boxmart style clothes.  Even though she wasn’t dressed like her normal attire, it was still way better than the sweaty and dirty evening gown that she was nearly murdered in.  When Cassandra got to the nearest Mc Restaurant, she threw the gown in the dumpster.  Smelling the food inside her stomach growled.   It had been over 6 hours since she last ate and though it would kill her family to know that she was eating food cooked under a heat lamp, it was cheap and convenient.

None of that mattered because she still had no money, and the only thing Cassandra had left to give away was her engagement ring.  There was no way she would ever part with that.  So she had to find another way.  Looking through her purse, she desperately looked for anything but all she had was makeup, tissues and gum.  Then her phone vibrated.  Looking at the screen, Cassandra noticed the call had a local area code with an unfamiliar number.  She knew better than to answer.  In fact, she knew what to do next, she had to pawn the phone.  But before she did that, Cassandra deleted all the contact info as well as all the apps.  She had another phone in her suitcase, she wasn’t going to miss this one.  Before Cassandra left the restaurant, she looked around for a fencer.  Usually, they hustled on corners or in parking lots.  She knew there would be interest in her phone because it was brand new and had a brand named.  Scouring the block for her new buyer, she noticed a man in front of a gas station.  Checking him out, she noticed he was dressed in a newish football jersey and jeans so he wasn’t homeless.  Cautiously, she scanned the block to make sure he wasn’t a cop.  Cassandra couldn’t see any unusual cars parked on the street and decided to take the risk.  Casually, she walked over to him and smiled then, asked for the time.  Returning the smile he said, “Baby, I got all the time in the world.”  It was the corniest thing she had ever heard, and couldn’t help but roll her eyes.  Seeing the ice had been broken, she straight up asked him, “Hey, I’m looking to unload a phone, is there a pawn shop ‘round here?”

“Naw, baby girl, but lemme look.”

From a distance she held up the phone and his eyes bulged, “That’s the new Andromeda 10!”  Hearing the excitement in his voice, Cassandra asked, “Yeah, you interested?”  And before you knew it, she had closed the deal and scored an extra $40 in her pocket.  It wasn’t a lot but enough for food and little bit of gas for her ride.  With this Cassandra ordered her McSlop which she ate in the car because she was too embarrassed to eat inside.  As she inhaled her food, Cassandra wondered about her next move.  It was the first time in nearly 8 hours she had time to sit down and think.  She could flee the country but she had to do it quickly before she was named a suspect or a person of interest by law enforcement.  And since she stuck a gun in a cop’s face, they were more likely to just book her on that.  Then there was Stephano’s killers, she would have to deal with them sooner or later.  She needed to get her hands on Danny Marchesi, the man who ruined her life and took Stephano’s.  Angry, all Cassandra could do was fantasize about what she would do with him and his crew once she got a hold of them.  But for now, she was just some chick in a fast food parking lot and wasn’t riding with any crew.  In fact, she had to assume that everyone had turned on her.  It was the safest thing to do.

Feeling all alone, the tears streamed down her face but Cassandra decided to shut that part of her brain down in order to survive.  She needed to survive this attack on her life, Casssandra needed to survive the police and their bullshit, and more importantly, she needed to survive for Stephano.  She was the only one who could deliver justice for him now.  With her mind already made up, she threw what was left of her lunch out of the window and started the car.  It was reckoning time.

 

Thank you for following along with the Fedelta series, if you need to get caught up here are the first two posts: