Saturday, August 31, 2019

The Dung Beetles of Liberia by Daniel V. Meier Jr. Genre: Adventure, Historical Fiction

'Dash' In Liberia

Historically, we, as Americans, have always had trouble with the idea of bribes; of slipping a bill under the table. as it were. to ‘grease the wheels’ of government…or of any establishment or business for that matter. And we generally don’t like to bargain for goods at stores.

In Liberia, however, bribery is the way of life. In the 60’s, when the story of “The Dung Beetles of Liberia” takes place, the first words a visitor would hear is “dash” or “my Saturday.” At the airport the immigration officials require “dash” to get you beyond their desk. The customs officials need their “Saturday” if you want to retain all of your bags and their contents.These are not tips. If you don’t pay the dash, you don’t get the service.If you want to park your car while you go to see a movie, a boy, a “yana boy”, will come up to you and say, “Haloo ya, I watch yo car an you help me small, oh. Jus fie cen.” Translation: I’ll watch your car while you’re gone. Just five cents. Now, you could refuse to pay him, but would you want to risk it?Motorists are routinely stopped for insignificant or invisible infractions: a crooked license plate or a dirty windshield. The motorist not only had to pay a fine, but then be asked, “I say, my fren, a small saturday before you go, oh”The Ducor Palace Hotel was known as one of the most luxurious and classiest hotels in Africa, but dash was necessary if you wanted a towel or toilet paper.

Why is this so prevalent? Well, it’s obvious that the street boy doesn’t have a job and he needs the money, but the policemen many times need supplements to their income because they would rarely get paid on time. If there was lower unemployment and steady paying jobs, would the dash persist. Hard to say, but probably. 
But all that is only the most superficial corruption.
The deeply entrenched, widespread government corruption that was sapping  the country of its economic strength was mind-boggling. 
In blogs to come I will be showing that the guiltiest Liberians were the Americo-Liberians, descendants of the original freed slaved that sailed from America and settled in Africa in the 1800’s.  They had replicated a society not unlike the Ante-bellum South; yet in Liberia, they were the rich, living in mansions, and the native Liberians were the 2nd class citizens.

Based on the remarkable true account of a young American who landed in Liberia in 1961.

Ken Verrier is not happy, nor at peace. He is experiencing the turbulence of Ishmael and the guilt of his brother's death. His sudden decision to drop out of college and deal with his demons shocks his family, his friends, and especially his girlfriend, soon to have been his fiancee. His destination: Liberia - The richest country in Africa both in monetary wealth and in natural resources.

Nothing could have prepared Ken for the experiences he was about to live through. He quickly realizes that he has arrived in a place where he understands very little of what is considered normal, where the dignity of life has little meaning, and where he can trust no one.

Flying into the interior bush as a transport pilot, Ken learns quickly. He witnesses first-hand the disparate lives of the Liberian "Country People" and the "Congo People" also known as Americo-Liberians. These descendants of President Monroe's American Colonization Policy that sent freed slaves back to Africa in the 1800's have set up a strict hierarchical society not unlike the antebellum South.

Author Dan Meier describes Ken's many escapades, spanning from horrifying to whimsical, with engaging and fast-moving narrative that ultimately describe a society upon which the wealthy are feeding and in which the poor are being buried.

It's a novel that will stay will you long after the last word has been read.

A retired Aviation Safety Inspector for the FAA, Daniel V. Meier, Jr. has always had a passion for writing. During his college years, he studied History at The University of North Carolina Wilmington and American Literature at The University of Maryland Graduate School. In 1980 he was published by Leisure Books under the pen name of Vice Daniels. He also worked briefly for the Washington Business Journal as a journalist and has been a contributing writer/editor for several aviation magazines.
Dan and his wife live in Owings, Maryland, about twenty miles south of Annapolis and when he's not writing, they spend their summers sailing on the Chesapeake Bay.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

Friday, August 16, 2019

GUEST POST: Dare to Believe in Legends by Carolyn Arnold author of the MATTHEW CONNOR ADVENTURE SERIES

City of Gold
Matthew Connor Adventure Series, Book 1
by Carolyn Arnold
Genre: Action, Adventure 
Dare to Believe in Legends
by Carolyn Arnold

“This book has everything: a kidnapping, murder, a police investigation, and the hunt for lost treasure. A real page-turner full of thrills and emotion with excellent descriptive writing and characters that jump out of the pages and come to life.”
Beck Valley Books

Many people have died trying to find the Incas’ lost City of Gold. For a long time, it was believed to be a real city that was filled with treasure beyond imagining. It’s fabled to even have streets made of gold. But over the centuries, it has been relegated to nothing more than fantasy and myth.

When the seed was planted in my mind that I wanted to try my hand at an action adventure, the possibility that something like the City of Gold truly existed toyed with my imagination and got me writing about it. The research I conducted was intensive, and the more I learned, the more intrigued I was. There are so many different takes on the legend, and just like the telephone game most of us played as kids, the stories about the City of Gold changed slightly each time it was told.

But the varying stories presented a challenge, as did my background in mostly writing mysteries. After all, they are grounded in the real world and governed by police procedure and science—the complete opposite of myths and legends. So when it came to writing about the Incas’ lost City of Gold, I felt like I needed to find it and make it real in order to write about it! In fact, I had said numerous times that if I had the money to fund an expedition, I’d set out in search of the City of Gold myself!

After completing my research, I developed a theory of where the city might be. And with so many people throughout history talking about it, surely there had to be some truth to their words. Then again, the treasure could have long since been found and taken and distributed elsewhere. Who can know for sure?

Ah, but therein lies the fun. The prospect that the Inca’s City of Gold may be out there waiting to be discovered has endless possibilities! And whether it is or not, writing this book reminded me of a valuable lesson: there is nothing wrong with believing. In fact, I dare you to believe. I dare you to sink into the world of possibilities…

Finding the Incas' lost City of Gold would be the discovery of a lifetime. But failing could mean her death…
Archaeologist Matthew Connor and his friends Cal and Robyn are finally home after a dangerous retrieval expedition in India. While they succeeded in obtaining the priceless Pandu artifact they sought, it almost cost them their lives. Still, Matthew is ready for the next adventure. Yet when new intel surfaces indicating the possible location of the legendary City of Gold, Matthew is hesitant to embark on the quest.
Not only is the evidence questionable but it means looking for the lost city of Paititi far away from where other explorers have concentrated their efforts. As appealing as making the discovery would be, it’s just too risky. But when Cal’s girlfriend, Sophie, is abducted by Matthew’s old nemesis who is dead-set on acquiring the Pandu statue, Matthew may be forced into action. Saving Sophie’s life means either breaking into the Royal Ontario Museum to steal the relic or offering up something no one in his or her right mind would refuse—the City of Gold.
Now Matthew and his two closest friends have to find a city and a treasure that have been lost for centuries. And they only have seven days to do it. As they race against the clock, they quickly discover that the streets they seek aren’t actually paved with gold, but with blood.

What to expect from the Matthew Connor Adventure series:

Action-adventure books for the mystery lover. Does treasure hunting excite you? What about the thought of traveling the globe and exploring remote regions to uncover legends that the world has all but forgotten? If so, strap yourself in for an adventure with modern-day archaeologist Matthew Connor and his two closest friends. Indiana Jones meets the twenty-first century.

This is the perfect book series for fans of Indiana JonesLara CroftNational Treasure, and The Relic Hunter.

Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning.

The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh
Matthew Connor Adventure Series, Book 2

In Egypt’s Western Desert lies the tomb of an unnamed pharaoh that hides a secret so powerful, it could destroy the world as we know it.Archaeologist and adventurer Matthew Connor has made a career of finding legends the world has all but forgotten. Though there’s one in particular that has fascinated him for years—the Emerald Tablets. Myth says that they possess the knowledge of the universe, allowing humankind to traverse Heaven and Earth, and have the power to bestow wealth and wisdom upon whoever possesses them. But if they fall into evil hands, it could cause a global disaster.

So when a former colleague stumbles across an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic map that promises to lead to a pharaoh’s tomb
and the Emerald Tablets, there’s no way he’s turning down her invitation to join the dig. He only has one stipulation: his best friends Robyn Garcia and Cal Myers come with him.

The road ahead isn’t going to be an easy one, and their shared dream of recovering the Emerald Tablets is being crushed at every turn. And just when they think it’s all over, they learn there are a few clues they have overlooked. But they’re no longer the only ones searching for the Tablets. Now, the fate of the world hangs in the balance, and soon they’ll find out that when it comes to hunting legends, they can’t trust anyone.

CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives in London, Ontario with her husband and beagles and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Friday, August 2, 2019

Behind the Mask by Marianne Petit Genre: Historical Romance

Author Marianne Petit mixes true life experiences with fiction to create a suspenseful tale of intrigue and romance set in the early days of war-torn France. 

In 1940's Paris, both rich and poor are thrust together, a mixed society struggling to survive. American born Yvette Matikunas, one of the privileged few, goes underground with a deathbed promise to her grandfather that has her roaming the streets of France with a dangerous message. She quickly learns that no one is who they seem to be and trust is a thing of the past.

Injured in battle while trying to save the life of one of his men, Colonial André Rinaldo is disillusioned by a shell-shocked country and a weak government. Persuaded to go underground and unite his fellow compatriots by forming resistance groups, he meets a beautiful blonde, whose determination to free France from foreign dictatorship is as strong as his.

In the middle of espionage and clandestine rendezvous, they form a partnership that deepens under the ever-present threat of arrest. But with America’s interest in the war building in the background all Americans are ordered to leave.

Will Yvette return to the States, or will André persuade her to stay and fight for love?

Marianne Petit is a past President of the Long Island Chapter of the Romance Writers Of America. Her love of writing stems back to high school. She spent hours reading Nancy Drew, Alfred Hitchcock and poetry. At the age of fifteen she wrote a short story for children, as well as numerous works of poetry. Her love of history stems from her father, Roger, a Frenchman, whose love of American history greatly influenced her writing interests .

She is a past President of the Melville Lions club, a service organization that raises money for the less fortunate - especially the sight and hearing impaired. 

Newsday and several local newspapers have written articles on Ms. Petit and she was recently interviewed on TV for her time travel.

Marianne loves to ski, white water raft, horseback ride, and enjoys the theater. She lives on Long Island is happily married for over 30 years.

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Thursday, August 1, 2019

Lizzie Borden by Elizabeth Engstrom Genre: Historical Mystery, Thriller

How did this book come about?
My editor at Tor Books called me one day and said they were interested in publishing a book about Lizzie Borden, and wanted to know if I knew about the case. Of course I knew. Everybody knew. It remains one of America’s great unsolved mysteries. She said, “Who do you think did it?” I told her my theory, and she said, Wow, I’ve never heard that one before.” And we struck a deal.

Then I had to write a factually-correct book that ended the way I speculated. Not an easy task. I combed through old newspaper articles, trial transcripts, speculative articles published in psychological books and magazines—everything I could find about her and the case. There are certain undisputed facts, but there was hardly anything known about the personalities of the Bordens. So within that realm, I was able to design the characters who could accomplish the denouement of that Fall River tragedy.

Fun fact about this book
The editors at Tor, the original publisher of Lizzie Borden, went through this book with a fine-toothed comb, and made certain that every word in it was in use during 1892. Many of the words we use in American society were coined during by journalists during WWI and WWII, and they are so much a part of our lexicon, that we tend to think they were always in use. Not so.

Did she do it?

A hundred years ago, it was the Trial of the Century. A young woman stood accused of brutally murdering her father and stepmother in a crime so heinous that it became a benchmark in human tragedy.

A hundred years later, the Lizzie Borden case still resounds in the imagination. There are those who staunchly defend Lizzie’s innocence while others vehemently declare that she did it, and that the murder was justified.

In Elizabeth Engstrom’s brilliant novel, the dark psychology of the Borden household is laid bare. Lizzie, her sister Emma and their parents Andrew and Abby Borden, are sharply illuminated—as are the paranoia and concealed hatred that secretly ruled the family. Domestic violence and dysfunctional families are not inventions of modern times.

Every door in the Borden house is metaphorically locked, and each room holds the terrible secrets of its occupant…Engstrom skillfully and subtly builds a psychological plot, moving the reader inexorably toward the anticipated savage denouement.” —Publishers Weekly

Elizabeth (Liz) Engstrom grew up in Park Ridge, Illinois (a Chicago suburb where she lived with her father) and Kaysville, Utah (north of Salt Lake City, where she lived with her mother). After graduating from high school in Illinois, she ventured west in a serious search for acceptable weather, eventually settling in Honolulu. She attended college and worked as an advertising copywriter. 

After eight years on Oahu, she moved to Maui, found a business partner and opened an advertising agency. One husband, two children and five years later, she sold the agency to her partner and had enough seed money to try her hand at full time fiction writing, her lifelong dream. With the help of her mentor, science fiction great Theodore Sturgeon, When Darkness Loves Us was published. 

Engstrom moved to Eugene, Oregon in 1986, where she lives with her husband Al Cratty, the legendary muskie fisherman, and their Duck Tolling Retriever, Jook. Liz holds a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing and a Master of Arts in Applied Theology, both from Marylhurst University. A recluse at heart, she still emerges into public occasionally to speak at a writers conference, or to teach a class on various aspects of writing the novel, essay, article or short story. An avid knitter and gardener, she is on faculty at the University of Phoenix and is always working on the next book.

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