Category: Spotlight

Spotlight on Peter Barbour

March 27, 2021 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Spotlight tagged as , , ,

Peter Barbour has been writing for over thirty years. He published “Loose Ends,” a memoir, in 1987, followed by a series of short stories from 1992 to 1995.  “The Fate of Dicky Paponovitch” won Raconteur of the Month, May 1994, Raconteur Magazine, Susan Carrol Publishing. Since 2015, he has published more than twenty-five short stories which have appeared in shortbreadstories.co.ukstorystar.com, and shortstory.me, The Piker Press, Rue Scribe, Star Light Path, and ArtPost Magazine. His short story, “Why Bats Live in Caves,” can be found in Fur, Feathers, and Scales: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Animal Tales, an anthology from the Bethlehem Writers Group. Barbour wrote and illustrated three children’s books, “Gus at Work,”  “Oscar and Gus,” and “Tanya and the Baby Elephant.” He is a member of the Bethlehem Writers Group.

         Barbour enjoys deconstructing stories to see how they are put together. He grew up loving the Wizard of Oz series, and dutifully read each book in the series to his children. The hero goes on a journey is one of his favorite themes.

He loves the outdoors, and especially the Pacific Northwest, which serves as the setting for many of his stories. He is married, and likes to travel, which affords him the opportunity to absorb new experiences from which to write. Barbour attended the University of Pennsylvania as an undergraduate and Temple University School of Medicine where he earned his M.D. He completed his residency training in Neurology, at Stanford University School of Medicine and practiced medicine in the Lehigh Valley until 2015 when he retired.

 He believes that what comes from the heart goes to the heart. 

Barbour’s newest book, Tanya and the Baby Elephant was released in February. Tanya and the Baby Elephant is an illustrated children’s book for 3 to 6 year-olds.

Tanya lives in Africa and is confined to home, bored and lonely because she can’t be with friends due to the new virus. She discovers a baby elephant wandering behind her house and brings her into her backyard to play. She names her Ellie. What fun to have a pet baby elephant. Tanya observes that Ellie is sad and realizes that she misses her mother. Tanya decides to help Ellie find her.

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Links to his stories and illustrations can be found at www.PeteBarbour.com 

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Spotlight on Gunnysack Hell by Nancy Brashear

March 25, 2021 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Spotlight tagged as , , , ,

Spotlight on Gunnysack Hell

“There’s more to fear in the desert than scorpions and rattlesnakes.”

It’s the summer of 1962, middle of the Cold War, and the O’Brien family has moved off-grid to the Mojave Desert in Southern California. After all, the desert has to be a safer place to raise a family than the crime-ridden city, and there they can build a new future. But evil also stalks dusty desert roads, and eight-year-old Nonni finds herself harboring a terrible secret: Only she can identify the predator who has been terrorizing the community.

And he knows where she lives.

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Excerpt

Gunnysack Hell

Nancy Brashear

I read this morning that Donald Fricker was granted parole after serving twenty years in prison. Once I saw his name in print, the decades disappeared in the flick of a newspaper page. My childhood flooded back to eight-year-old me, too scared to identify him and save my family.

It was May of 1962. My family had recently moved to our new home, our grandparents’ one-room homestead cabin in the California high desert with tarpaper and chicken-wire lining the walls. It never occurred to me to ask my father why we had moved from our three-bedroom suburban home by the beach to “off the grid.”

All I knew was that we used kerosene lanterns, the chemical outhouse under the tall water tank, a wood- burning stove, and an old-fashioned ice-box that our father replenished daily with a big block of ice from Jolly’s Corner.

Tessa, my six-year-old sister, and I walked home alone, every school day, from the bus stop, a mile and a half down an isolated dirt road.

That’s when it happened, the thing that changed our family. I’ll never forget that day. I protected Tessa even though I broke all of my promises to Mama I’d made just the night before. To walk directly home from the bus stop, not to talk to strangers, and to stay away from open wells.

That afternoon, when the bus’s hissing air brakes signaled our stop, we leapt from the bottom step onto the dirt shoulder of the road.

I picked the perfect stone from the side of the road. It had to be small and round, with no sharp edges, and light enough to kick all the way home.

Tessa followed on my heels, talking my ear off, and stepping on the heel of one of my tennies. “Gave you a flat!”

“Back off!” I glared at her. Mama said those shoes were like gold, and we were to protect them. I gave the rock a punt and forged ahead.

Oblivious to things going on out there in the desert, we were lulled into a sense of safety and routine. Like Eve, we didn’t feel the danger around us until it was too late to escape. Instead, I should have been paying attention to the truck following us slowly.

Down the deserted road.

Yes, this is our story.

My story.

Endorsement:

“I can’t recall the last time I was so impressed with someone’s writing style. It’s pure genius! Gunnysack Hell, told through the various family members’ point of view, takes the readers down a tunnel filled with mystery, thrills, and excitement. This masterpiece is not to be missed.”

~L. C. Hayden, Award-winning and best-selling author, http://www.lchayden.com/
(The Harry Bronson Thriller Series, When Memory Fails as seen on NBC and ABC, and others)

Nancy Brashear lives in Orange County, California, with her husband, Patrick, and their rescue dog, Goldie, where her grown children and seven grandgirls have supported her writing adventures. A professor emeritus in English, she has published short stories, poems, academic articles, textbook chapters as well as website content and writing projects with educational publishers. Gunnysack Hell is her debut fiction novel and was inspired by a true-crime event. And, yes, she did live off-grid with her family in a homestead cabin in the Mojave Desert when she was a child.

Read Jann Ryan’s interview of Nancy.

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Read The Ultimate Betrayal by Kat Martin

January 4, 2021 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Spotlight tagged as , , ,

Excerpt

The Ultimate Betrayal

Kat Martin

She yawned as she closed the door, more exhausted than she had expected. She fell asleep quickly and slept far better than she had the night before, then rose at the first gray light of dawn.  She went in to shower and get ready for the day, dressed in a conservative dark brown skirt suit and heeled pumps, then quietly cracked open the door to the living room.

Bran was already up, standing with his back to her, one hand on his hip, the other pressing his cell phone against his ear.  A pair of white cotton briefs that hugged his round behind was all he had on. 

Jessie’s mouth went dry.  His suntanned back was smooth, except for a jagged scar on one side, and ridged with solid muscle.  Bands of muscle defined his shoulders and arms, and long sinewy legs tapered down to narrow feet. 

She told herself to close the door before Bran caught her staring at him like a juicy piece of meat, but instead she just stood there, her heart pounding, her breathing a little ragged. 

She was just pulling herself under control when he turned, the phone still pressed to his ear.  Jessie froze.  Her gaze shot to the heavy bulge at the front of his briefs and she felt a rush of heat so hot it made her dizzy.  Muscular pecs and six-pack abs.  A lean, hard-muscled chest and amazing biceps.  Desire hit her so hard she swayed on her feet.

She didn’t move till Bran jerked the blanket off his make-shift bed and wrapped it around his waist, knocking her out of her self-imposed trance and flushing her face with embarrassment.

“Sorry,” she managed to breathlessly whisper, stepped back and slammed the door.  Ohmygod, ohmygod.  She hadn’t felt the least attraction to a man for so long she’d forgotten what it was like.  Correction, she had never felt the jolt of desire she had felt looking at Brandon Garrett.  Ohmygod.

She told herself he was probably used to that kind of reaction from a woman, or at least the women who had seen him nearly naked.  Jessie sank down on the bed.  What could she possibly say to him?  How could she explain? 

But no words of explanation popped into her head. 

Since she couldn’t hide in the bedroom all day, and because Bran undoubtedly wanted to take a shower, she inhaled a deep breath, opened the door, and walked out into the living room.

“Sorry about that,” she said. 

He had pulled on his jeans but the rest of him was still gloriously bare.  “No problem.  I should have grabbed one of those terrycloth robes in the bathroom.”

She just nodded.  “Yeah.”  Her fingers curled into the palms of her hands as she walked past him toward the counter where he had brewed a pot of coffee.

“Mind if I use the shower?” he asked.

“Of course not.  You’re paying for the room.”  When he opened his mouth, she held up a hand.  “Sorry, no more talk about money.” 

“Exactly.”

She took a mug down from the cabinet above the sink and filled it with coffee, her hands still a bit unsteady.

“Why don’t you order us something to eat?” Bran suggested as he crossed the room toward the bedroom.  “I won’t be too long.”

“Bacon and eggs?” she asked.

“Sounds great.”  As he disappeared through the door and closed it behind him, Jessie sank down on one of the chairs at the dining table, coffee mug gripped tightly in her hands.  At least now she knew the abduction hadn’t completely destroyed her desire for the opposite sex.

Or at least one member of the opposite sex.  She grimaced.  She just wished the man who had rekindled her long-dead fire wasn’t Brandon Garrett.

Bran turned on the shower, set the nozzle to cold, and climbed in beneath the icy spray.  He clenched his jaw, fighting to block a memory of the look on Jessie’s pretty face when he had spotted her in the bedroom doorway.  Trying to block the erection he got every time the image reappeared in his head. 

Bran knew women.  He knew when a woman wanted him.  He swore softly, cursing the fate that had brought the two of them together, putting them both in a situation that could only get worse. 

So far he had managed to suppress the desire he’d felt from the moment Jessie had walked into his office.  With her fire-touched blond hair and fine features, she was beautiful.  He liked her body and admired her brain.  In a softly feminine way, she was sexy as hell, and he wanted her–no doubt about it. 

But aside from the erotic dream he’d had about her last night, he’d been doing an admirable job of controlling his lust.

Until this morning.  When the flush in her cheeks and the heat in her eyes had made it clear that the desire he felt was returned.  She wanted him.  Which meant he had to be the strong one because no way could he have her and just walk away. 

Jessie wasn’t the type he usually slept with, women who didn’t require exclusivity and didn’t expect to give it in return. 

He was fairly sure Jessie hadn’t been with a man since she was abducted.  He sure as hell didn’t want to be the first, didn’t want to deal with whatever trauma she had experienced, maybe make it worse.


Bestselling author Kat Martin, a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, currently resides in Missoula, Montana with Western-author husband, L. J. Martin.  More than seventeen million copies of Kat’s books are in print, and she has been published in twenty foreign countries.  Fifteen of her recent novels have taken top-ten spots on the New York Times Bestseller List, and her novel, BEYOND REASON, was recently optioned for a feature film.  Kat’s latest novel, THE ULTIMATE  BETRAYAL, a Romantic Thriller, was released in paperback December 29th.


The Ultimate Betrayal

THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL
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New Romantic Thriller, Overland by Ramcy Diek

November 24, 2020 by in category Rabt Book Tours, Spotlight

 

 

Dramatic Thriller, Romantic Thriller

 

Date Published: November 10, 2020

 

Publisher: Acorn Publishing

 

 

 

 

Skyla Overland is proud to work for Overland Insurance, the company founded by her grandfather. She enjoys sharing an apartment with her best friend, Pauline, and is in love with Edmond. Besides one nerve-wracking insurance fraud case in the past, her sheltered life is uneventful and just the way she likes it.

 

Until one day, everything changes…

 

Skyla and Troy, the manager at Overland Insurance, are the last ones to leave the office. In the empty parking lot, Troy takes her in his arms. Why would he ruin their easy-going friendship by kissing her, especially since he knows she’s dating Edmond?

 

Left alone, Skyla hurries to her car, puts on her seatbelt, and glances in her rearview mirror.

 

The face of a stranger grins at her from the backseat. “How nice to see you again,” he hisses close to her ear.

 

Regaining consciousness, Skyla finds herself on the backseat of her own car, with her hands tied behind her back. Is she getting kidnapped? Who is he? And where is he taking her?

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

 

 

Ramcy Diek fell in love with the United States during her travels with her husband. The Pacific Northwest became their new home, where they built up their RV Park and raised their two sons.

 

During this time, Ramcy also made a slow transition from reader to multi-genre writer. Her debut novel “Storm at Keizer Manor” received multiple awards. This inspired her to spend more time doing what she loves most: writing stories.

 

Eagles in Flight, a romantic suspense novel, is her second book. Her third novel “Overland”, a dramatic thriller, followed in November 2020.

 

Follow her on Social Media to stay informed about the release of her next novels. She loves to hear from you.

 

 

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Void of Power by Andrew C. Raiford

November 18, 2020 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Rabt Book Tours, Spotlight tagged as , , , ,

 

 

 

New Generation

 

Science Fiction, Fantasy

Published: April 2020

Publisher: Indies United Publishing House

 

 

The Void belongs to everyone and belongs to no one. Because of the Cultural War Treaty, the federal government or any agent under their control cannot enter the Void. Ruled for nearly sixty by gangs and drug cartels, the “settlers” of the Void must live by their wits and their skill at arms.

 

Raised by scientists who had been sequestered in an underground complex in the Texas panhandle, the Walsh family employs their genius and talents to forever change the quality of life for the citizens of the Void using technologies far beyond the imagination of ordinary people.

 

When government forces enter the Void on a capture-or-kill mission which has targeted two extraordinarily gifted children, they run headlong into this family of geniuses and Texas Rangers who dedicate themselves to protect the children. The feds soon realize that they are mice attempting to capture one very mean, intelligent cat. The stakes must be raised. Lives are lost. War ensues.

 

 

 

 

About the Author

 

Born in Houston, Texas, Andrew was raised in a family of seven brothers. Most of the action and adventure that dominated his young life was that which sprang from the imaginations of the brothers Raiford. Since there was no limit to the stories they could create through their play-acting, it was not uncommon to have Daniel Boone not only be attacked by bears or red-coats, but also Nazis and/or extraterrestrial conquerors. Imaginative eight-year-olds care nothing for history.

During his young adult years, Andrew took on some very odd jobs to keep his young family fed. For two years he was a real cowboy who rode and roped and pushed cattle on a large ranch nestled in the snow-capped mountains of northern California. After moving back to his home state of Texas he worked in the printing business as a journeyman pressman, and later in gun sales and corporate security.

 

Andrew even worked in church ministry for ten years during the period that he and his wife raised five talented children. They would later become the inspiration for Andrew’s first novel, Void of Power – New Generation, which surprisingly contains no Nazis or extraterrestrial invaders.

 

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