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POWERBALLS

Powerballs Be careful what you wish for by Jimmy Clifton is a story about a middle-aged couple who unexpectedly wins the lottery and find themselves in a very different world, offering them a life vastly different from their challenging careers and financial struggles. Henry Ball, an accountant in a progressive firm, fantasizes about living a more exciting life, fantasies about his younger female coworkers and greater recognition at work. Likewise, Henry’s wife, Rose Ball, dreams of a luxury lifestyle that she sees her friend enjoy.

As the couple dreams about their ultimate life, they suddenly realize their most fantastic fantasy, winning the Powerball lottery. Quickly though, they learn how this transformation will create a new set of challenges for each of them. Things are not what they seem as they dive into this extravagant world. This growing tension and realization of their newfound financial freedom becomes a journey that leads them on separate paths. The couple’s new adventures lead to many exciting and humorous encounters that give them a changed perspective on life, but not without a few shocking lessons and opportunities.

Readers will enjoy this light and funny read that details the struggles of a couple’s journey from mediocracy to luxury and how they trade one set of tension and challenges for another, with higher risks and experiences. The author narrates a well-paced, lively tale that creates a sense of hope and adventure for a couple struggling with mid-life identity and goals while transitioning into the extravagant world of billionaires and how they transform into this world of privilege.

Powerballs Be careful what you wish for is a riveting, enjoyable read that’s quickly absorbed. It’s a fun page-turner that readers will find entertaining and witty, with brilliant character development, lots of action, and a well-structured story filled with drama. Readers looking for travel fiction or contemporary American fiction will enjoy this humorous, fast-paced read.

Pages: 250 | ASIN : B094DTBRPX

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I Like Interesting Stories

Glenn Reschke
Glenn Reschke Author Interview

Something Went Cold is a collection of thought-provoking short stories on a variety of topics. What inspires you to stop what you’re doing and write?

I suppose I’m like a lot of writers in that I felt I had some very intriguing stories to tell or share and that motivated me to write the stories in Something Went Cold. I also felt I had some talent, and talent wants to be expressed. I’ve never had any shortage of ideas. What has stopped me is the work involved. Good, cogent writing requires hard work, patience, and discipline. Stephen King was right: “Writing is re-writing.” And good writing requires nothing less.

Another thing that motivates me is that I like interesting stories as much as anyone. I like stories that intrigue, are thought-provoking, and entertain. I personally enjoy reading stories that are impactful with a quick payoff of enjoyment. If one thinks about all the movies, TV shows, plays, and books that we are bombarded with, there is one fundamental element: someone wants to tell a story that they think mandates attention or interest. (We truly are a culture of storytelling.) Fundamentally, I think I can identify a good story, and tell a good story. So, that is what compels me to write, and what compelled me to write Something Went Cold.

The characters in your stories are varied but equally interesting. Who was your favorite character to write for?

I enjoyed writing all the characters in Something Went Cold (I know that sounds like a cop out!). However, if there is only one that I’d have to choose that was fun to write, (as much as it was disturbing), I’d have to say the Adolf Hitler character. I had to learn a lot about him in writing the story and he was most definitely a loathsome character, to say the least. I had a very specific plot line in mind for that story and I never deviated from it. Lastly, I suppose I enjoyed writing about his fictional story in I that I enjoyed making sure he got the justice he so richly deserved meted out to him so thoroughly in my little universe.

Now deceased actor Spencer Tracy once said that he put himself into every character he portrayed. I think a writer can’t help but put a little bit of themselves into their stories. So, second place for me would be the girl from the #MeToo story. It’s a completely fabricated story and character but almost everyone in some form is bullied in life in some way, and almost everyone wants to see people who hurt them get their comeuppance. So, that was an interesting character and story for me to write, too.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this collection?

To be honest, I never wrote any of the five short stories contained within Something Went Cold with the express intention of focusing upon a specific theme. I was more concerned with writing stories that were intriguing, interesting, unique, enjoyable, and readable. In my opinion, if a writer focuses upon a theme too heavily, it can harm the story. Every story has an arc and while I certainly sought to hit the guideposts of format, which helps to make a story linear, I think that the events and problems that characters need to solve or deal with in a story are what create suspense, intrigue, and a “what’s-gonna-happen-next” type of feel. One of the best compliments I received from a former work colleague who bought my book was when he messaged me on LinkedIn saying, “I didn’t want to put it down.” When I read that, I felt within myself that I had made the story intriguing enough to merit such a response. And that pleased me.

To me, a story’s universe of problems, characters, and scenes must contribute to the reader experience, and to me, reader experience is everything. It’s more important than theme, in my opinion.

Lastly, I’ve always been a fan of the now 60-year-old-plus television show The Twilight Zone. Each story had its unique characters, storyline, theme, etc. Almost all of the stories gave a “jolt” to the reader – and I liked that. That’s how I view the short stories in my book, Something Went Cold. They are somewhat like The Twilight Zone stories in that they are unique stories that end unconventionally while subtly exploring dark themes of survival, life, revenge and so forth. The thematic elements were again not deliberate but inevitable, I suppose, given the stories’ construction.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I just completed a book tentatively titled “The Success Secrets of Arnold Schwarzenegger.” It’s about the Austrian movie star’s goal-setting, success, and visualization strategies using neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) principles and postulates to decode and isolate his processes. I don’t know when it will be available. I’m looking at the different options available to me with its publishing, marketing, etc. I’ve also started work on a novel. That’s what I’m involved with now. I actually have no shortage of novel and short story ideas. Obviously, I’m hoping to find a marriage of commerciality and story. That would be the best of both worlds.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook

One thing connects all cultures and people-we all want great stories that entertain.

In Something Went Cold, you’ll read five such stories. Short stories that will seduce and entertain while taking you on a jolting journey of surprise and enchantment. In “#MeToo,” you’ll relish how an abused young woman gets her revenge. When you read “On the Serengeti, Nothing is Wasted,” your heart will beat faster as you accompany our heroes in a survival tale unlike any other. In “The Afterlife of Adolf Hitler,” you’ll find death is just the beginning for Der Fuhrer.

In Glenn Reschke’s Something Went Cold, you’ll read stories that will transport you to another world where you will be changed. And moved.

Taking Very Unethical Actions

Bob Zeidman
Bob Zeidman Author Interview

Animal Lab follows a group of rats that can suddenly think and act for themselves as they try to build a society in a world that no longer includes humans. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I’ve loved George Orwell’s Animal Farm since I read it as a teenager. It was such an easy read yet conveyed important concepts about society both intellectually and emotionally. I’m concerned about the directions our society is going and always thought back to the warnings of Animal Farm, but these days the issues are somewhat different. I’d been thinking about writing an updated version for a few years, but wasn’t sure I could pull it off. During the COVID pandemic, I had more time to think, so I started outlining a book, then filling in the details, and found myself falling in love with it. I don’t know if I can make a difference in the way that Orwell did, but I figured I needed to try.

As the rats grow in intelligence and start building their society, there are some major shifts in their personalities. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I believe that with a few exceptions, most leaders and influential people believe that what they do is for the common good. Or at least they rationalize it that way. It’s too easy in a novel to have an obvious good guy and obvious bad guy. It’s more interesting to see how people evolve and how good people can come to believe that they must achieve their goals by any means necessary, which can include taking very unethical actions.

I wanted all the animals to start out sympathetic. When a baby is born, without any preconceived notions, it is innocent and lovable. In the same way, the animals in the lab were born on a single day and started out innocent. I wanted the reader to see their growth and the decisions they made. This also acts as a warning that good people can do bad things, so we must judge people by their actions, not by their talk and certainly not by their charm.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

As in my previous novel Good Intentions, I want to show that bad results can come from good people who think they are doing good things. I want to provoke the majority of Americans—moderates of all political, social, and religious beliefs—to not blindly follow extremist leaders and extremist ideologies simply because they appear “fair” and “just.” I want people to recognize that “wokeness” suppresses free speech, that “social justice” attempts to right wrongs by forcing other wrongs, “equity” tries to counter prejudices with different prejudices, and that “even-handedness” is often a way to elevate bad ideologies while demoting good ones. These simplistic concepts are easy to endorse because they don’t require discriminating thought. Doing the right thing actually is hard work, but is absolutely necessary for society to survive and be righteous.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m working on a nonfiction book about creating and running a successful business. I’ve started about a dozen businesses, several of which have been very successful. I’ve learned some important lessons and want to share them with others.

​Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

One day, the animals at a research lab wake up with the abilities of rational thought and communication. And the humans are gone. They realize they must organize into a society with rules, rights, and responsibilities. They heard about a farm in England where the animals created a socialist society that eventually failed. They are determined to succeed, so they create a democratic republic. But can they keep it?
Animal Lab is an allegorical novel by Bob Zeidman. It is a warning about the possible coming collapse of American society and along with it, American principles, values, and freedoms—torches that have lit the path for the advancement of the human condition for over two centuries and that must not be allowed to be extinguished.

Tales of the Elder Statesman

Tales of the Elder Statesman by Edward Faith is a series of short stories involving the Elder Statesman character, although not necessarily from his point of view. All the tales are set in the fictional town of Rough Edge, Alabama. They feature an interesting cast of characters, including the Elder Statesman’s wife, Lillian, and a host of their friends, acquaintances, and co-workers. The highly original short stories are all no more than two or three pages each. The tales are concise and typically do not follow the format of having a beginning, middle, and end. Rather than stories, they are brief snapshots of life in rural Alabama.

The structure makes more sense when reading about Faith’s intention with this book to record the funny stories he collected from several old gentlemen of his youth. The tales are amusing, and readers will especially find the story of Mrs. Swaf to be the most entertaining. It is about a woman called Nancy who frequented a fabric shop in a nearby town. The shop had many features to recommend, including a warm and helpful shop owner, Mrs. Swaf, whose name was above the door. However, after many visits over the years, Nancy is finally informed that the owner’s name is not Swaf; in fact, the SWAF at the front of the shop is an acronym for ‘Southwest Alabama Fabrics.’ This story is hilarious in the telling, and the author portrays his sense of humor in his writing. However, the author does have an amusing turn of phrase from time to time, such as “a managerial group severely infected with inflamed bottom line mesmerism.”

Tales of the Elder Stateman are entertaining and a quick read. This fictional collection of humorous short stories will delight readers of all kinds looking for humor in their life.

Pages: 161 | ASIN : B08ZRYK7PH

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Animal Lab

On day one, the humans are gone.

A testing lab full of animals is left to fend for themselves when their humans suddenly vanish. The animals develop a new self-awareness; they start to think and act for themselves, and together they form a society in the absence of human oppression.

Rizzo, Cagney and Billie, three rats, bring together the animals of the lab to form a new nation, a constitutional democratic republic. Representatives are elected, and the government starts to form laws upon which to build their nation. Progress is forming and animals take on a new, wholesome way of life. Though peace cannot last forever, politics clash, murders run rampant, and crime is a new concept our characters are forced to face.

In Animal Lab author Bob Zeidman creates a world dominated by animals that represent the struggles we see in society today. This novel will engage readers in a philosophical discussion about American politics and how society can be viewed as a whole. Readers will find this book to be riveting and educational. The gradual development of the characters’ personalities as they form their nation and become more independent and free-thinking is captivating.

Billie and Cagney, two of the main characters in the story, are great examples. The two rats have been in an on-and-off-again relationship, but as they develop their rational thinking, through reading philosophical books, they quickly become inseparable. One of Zeidman’s characters remarks that they have practically become one person/animal. Though, as we get to the end of the book, we see Billie is no longer the shy little rat she once was; she turns into a domineering leader who controls and manipulates not only her partner but also the nation of animals in the lab. Cagney’s personality is mellow compared to Billie’s. But we can see how committed he is to Billie and would do anything for her, which leads him down an uncomfortable, immoral road.

Animal Lab is a quick read that packs an amazing amount of action and drama into the pages. Fans of political fiction and satirical fiction will enjoy this poignant novel. There are a few sensitive topics like the animals’ murders that could be upsetting to sensitive readers, but the overall theme of societal downfall and rebuilding will keep readers engaged. It has an uncanny resemblance to George Orwell’s Animal Farm so readers that enjoyed that novel will find this one a worthy read as well.

Pages: 149 | ASIN : B09HHMW3BB

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CAPE HENRY HOUSE 

CAPE HENRY HOUSE by [Jolly Walker Bittick]

Nostalgia is an entertaining source of literary inspiration – even when it’s getting nostalgic about the debauchery of your early adult years. This rings true in Jolly Walker Bittick’s novel, Cape Henry House. Based on a true story, this is a coming-of-age tale told by former Petty Officer Third Class Bosner. When his friends move into the titular house off-base, they originally see it as a place where they could relax and drink their livers to oblivion. Little do they know that the house will later become a focal point for the friend group as they navigate the real world. 

While it is true that one could consider Cape Henry House a coming-of-age story, you should have flexible expectations coming in. Because this novel is coming-of-age the same way the American Pie film series is. That is not a knock on either Cape Henry House or American Pie (I’m a huge fan of both) – all I’m saying is, do not expect to see quirky teenagers stick their heads out of the sunroof and talk about how they’re infinite (whatever that means). Instead, you will get to read about house parties, keggers, “pass-out rooms,” greasy hangover cures, and all the other rough trimmings of youth. 

Throughout this engaging novel, Bittick takes his time to paint the scene. Every character is described in vivid details, making each one stand out. The narration is told through Bosner, making the reading experience feel like you are kicking back with an old friend. Just like making new friends in real life, it is a bit difficult to get familiar with all the names being introduced as you flip through the pages. But once you get to a certain point, seeing characters make an appearance almost feels like going through an old photo album. 

Cape Henry House is an entertaining bro novel. There is fighting, there is copious amounts of drinking, and women are often described by their numeric levels of hotness. “I hope she’s a five…” or “She’s somewhere between a five and a seven.” This novel is overtly masculine in a way that reminds me of Ernest Hemingway. If you can handle Bosner’s vulgarity, then Cape Henry House is a book that will be entertaining. Do not hesitate to pick up this lively book: the doors of Cape Henry House are wide open.

Pages: 339 | ASIN: B093VPBL5L

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Treasury of Feel-Good Stories

Karina McRoberts
Karina McRoberts Author Interview

Dargo: Eco Hero follows a lonely young man as he rises from despair in his going-nowhere-fast job to his new position as hero for the environment. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

This came from many sources. Part from a dream (the character’s first name and the bone thing). Part from my childhood adoration of my older brother. Part from a recent visit to Northern California, where I was shocked by mile after mile of freeway with memorials to fallen highway patrol officers, many with Hispanic names (hence Fernandez). Part from my own experience of being bullied in the workplace. Part from my ongoing love affair with music. Part from my life-long love of nature. Part by the First Nations American elder who saved his people from annihilation due to his translatory skills and eloquence of speech. Part from the ordinary cold-war Russian soldier who did NOT hit the red button to signal incoming nuclear attack (otherwise, we would not be having this conversation, I suspect). All this reminded me of what just one person can do, even though they may feel at the end of their tether.

Dargo is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

There are plenty of people who don’t fit into everyday society. So many have suffered as a result, and of course still do. I wanted to say that no matter how hard things get, be exactly who you are.

And please BE. Don’t give up. Things will turn around. Hang in there. There may be 7.5 billion people and counting in this world, and the pressure to conform to the idealised ‘thing’ is greater than ever, but we need YOU! As Samara Jones learns in The Girl with Ten Diamonds, my companion novella to Dargo, “You can’t clone a soul”.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

This disconnect between humanity and nature, and how that problem might be addressed. Because it absolutely must be! You can’t save it if you don’t love it, and you can’t love it if you don’t know it.

Also, personal redemption. So very, very important in this increasingly crowded and competitive world. I wonder how many fell through the cracks-of-no-return just today…

So, as Dargo discovers, he begins by lifting spirits, and that includes his own.

I really hope this book lifts readers’ spirits in these very tough times we find ourselves in. Especially important for those trying to save the Earth. It’s a tough gig, and I hope Dargo can provide a little solidarity and joy.

Find nature and you will find yourself — worked for me!

Thanks for reading.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Kahnilla the Dragon. She will be the 6th instalment in this Treasury of Feel-Good Stories. This series follows the style of Dargo – examination of serious, topical issues through humorous story-telling.

The series has stories for all ages. Kahnilla is another adult fairy-tale. It deals with hate and its cost, and how young people and others learn to hate by following wrong information. The story focusses on the importance of true listening, thinking for oneself, and getting one’s facts from reliable sources. We really need to, more than ever!

Kahnilla is in production now, and will hopefully be out early next year.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

HILARIOUS, HEART-WARMING, DIFFERENT and DELIGHTFUL!
A lonely young man suffers a massive defeat. When all is lost, he meets a fiery fortune-teller who pleads with him to save her.
Can he re-invent himself as a hero?
A light-hearted but poignant little story, Dargo is humorous and heart-warming; a fairy-tale for adults.
You can also read this to your children who care about Earth. And, if they don’t, Dargo will help them to do so!
An enjoyable timely tale that will appeal to the magic in all of us.
Illustrations

Hot House

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Marissa Ellwyn, or Mari E. as she prefers to be called, has her hands full. She holds down two full time jobs even though her family’s wealth would seem to dictate that she doesn’t need either of them. Art gallery owner and private investigator are almost two hats too many for this determined woman who is on the verge of being in over her head. When Mari is followed by a mysterious van and soon after the victim of breaking and entering, she begins to examine any and all connections to her current case. Throw a new partner and former LAPD detective, Derek Abernathy, into the mix and you have quite the thrill ride of intrigue, suspense, and humor.

Hot House, by Lisa Towles, is the story of Mari E.’s adventure as a private investigator. Against her family’s wishes, she has continued to pursue a life on the edge and really wouldn’t have it any other way. Her current case involves the blackmail of a high profile member of the court system. In addition to solving his case, Mari is battling her own demons as she fights to find her own father who disappeared over a year ago.

I love this book! Mari is a firecracker of a character and delivers one highly-relatable quip after another. I felt her struggle in my soul–every frustration with those around her who just “don’t get it,” and each time she muttered under her breath with exasperation. As main characters go, Mari has it all. She wraps readers around her little finger, and she has a past. Don’t we all love some interesting baggage when it comes to our main characters? Mari has it in spades. 

Towles has produced a knockout novel with Hot House. There is virtually nothing missing from her writing. Towles’s plot is as twisted and unpredictable as you would ever want a thriller to be. If I am not kept guessing, I lose interest quickly. Towles kept me holding on for dear life as I continued to try to stay one step ahead of Mari and Derek and failed miserably. It’s this kind of action that will keep readers engaged in this suspenseful crime novel.

Nowhere will thriller fans find a more engaging keep-you-on-your-toes read. If you are looking to try out a new author, I cannot recommend a better investment than Lisa Towles’s E & A Investigations series.

Pages: 287 | ISBN: 978-1-64456-421-9

Coming Soon

LisaTowles.com | Indie United Publishing House

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