Love at Absolute Zero, Christopher Meeks {$0.99}

LOVE AT ABSOLUTE ZERO is a comic romance about Gunnar Gunderson, a 32-year-old star physicist at the University of Wisconsin who’s determined to meet his soul mate within three days using the Scientific Method. As he channels his inner salmon (for speed dating), he accidentally steps on the toes of a visiting Danish schoolteacher–and his life turns upside down.

“A deeply resonant read that manages to be funny without sacrificing its gravity. Highly recommended!” -Heather Figearo, Raging Bibliomania

“Thermodynamics are nothing; it’s that love thing that is so frustratingly hard to figure out. ‘Love at Absolute Zero’ is an excellent read that is very much worth considering, highly recommended!” -Midwest Book Review

What readers are saying:

Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Finalist

“Highly recommended!” – Midwest Book Review

“The book is a hilarious read! – BookGeeks (UK)

“Laugh-out-loud funny!” -NY Times bestselling author Darcie Chan

The average Amazon reader review is currently 4.2 stars {43 reviews}.

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: PX Me (How I Became a Published Author, Got Micro-Famous, and Married a Millionaire) (Volume One), Abbe Diaz {$0.99}

Sponsored Post

Abbe Diaz‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of PX Me (How I Became a Published Author, Got Micro-Famous, and Married a Millionaire) (Volume One):

When Abbe Diaz published her journal, PX This – Diary of the “Maître d’ to the Stars” [née Diary of the Potted Plant] in 2004, she’d had no idea what she was in for. Sure, she expected the process would be difficult and she might never work in the fine dining restaurant industry ever again, but she never imagined the truth could be so controversial— in a book that’s essentially about HAVING DINNER.

Despite PX This being lauded by most of her colleagues (and some of the most illustrious names in the business) as “the bible of the [NYC] industry,” Diaz soon learned the politics of Food and/or “Culture” Media & PR is a game that’s dirtier than last night’s dishes. Finding herself under unjustified fire from various vastly popular and influential periodicals, news blogs, food press, online foodie communities, and other professional and aspiring writers, Diaz (a textbook Scorpio/Monkey) quickly realized [again] there were two things in her life she would never be willing to do: 1) Take unmerited bullshit, and 2) Kiss spiteful pretentious ass.

As you can probably imagine, that went over reeeally well. Mistruths, mudslinging, manipulation, misappropriation, corruption, censorship, and the tarnishing of her character— as well as the livelihoods of her friends and loved ones— are just some of the things she subsequently endured.

This is that diary.

PX Me. (How I Became a Published Author, Got Micro-Famous, and Married a Millionaire) is a ten volume eSeries released this summer.

 

Accolades:

“The New York service industry’s Norma Rae, Abbe Diaz… the Service Industry’s Nikke Finke…” – BlackBook Magazine

“”The Devil wears Prada” meets “Kitchen Confidential”

“… one of the funniest books I have read in a very long time… really draws back the curtain on some of the hottest restaurants ever!”

“… a truly engaging restaurant tell-all told with humor, candor, and razor-sharp wit…. what a great book…” 

 

An excerpt from PX Me (How I Became a Published Author, Got Micro-Famous, and Married a Millionaire) (Volume One):

THURSDAY, MARCH 11, 2004. 11:16AM
My friends at 66 still give me all the gossip. Will Smith was there recently for a big dinner and tipped a hundred percent, the bill was $500 so he left another $500. And another night Courtney
Love locked herself in one of the bathrooms and insisted they serve her dumplings in there. Oh and Joaquin Phoenix showed up the other night too, out of nowhere he started break dancing in the middle of the dining room.

Sigh. Sometimes I miss it. But not that much.

TUESDAY, MARCH 16, 2004. 9:41AM
I broke up with Marc Bagutta again this weekend, he is driving me out of my mind. How many times is that now, thirty-five, thirty-six? I am beginning to lose count.

Whatever. Last night was dinner with friends at Megu and I got to meet Koji Imai. Megu is really amazing, the place is colossal and beautiful and the food and drinks are spectacular. We ended up staying very late until they were practically closing, so we dragged Koji Imai out with us. He thanked each and every employee on his way out, he even hugged his dishwashers goodbye. We took him up the street to Grace Bar and the other half of his nightly staff happened to be there unwinding. They applauded as soon as he walked in. Can you imagine, applauding for your boss.

It was like falling through a cosmic rip into a bizarro world.

SATURDAY, MARCH 20, 2004. 10:12AM
Marc Bagutta is trying hard to get me back. Again. Yesterday I agreed to meet him for a drink at the Mercer, and I ended up yelling at him for an hour straight. David Blaine was sitting with
Leonardo DiCaprio directly across from us and I didn’t even notice until they got up to leave, that’s how livid I was. He swears he is going to “make it up” to me. Again.

TUESDAY, MARCH 23, 2004. 3:16PM
Marc managed to score a reservation for tonight at Spice Market, this is part of his strategy to earn my forgiveness. Apparently he spoke directly to Medusa again, but this time she didn’t bother asking him with whom he would be dining. The last time he tried to make a reservation for us, she refused him and told him he was “welcome anytime, as long as it’s not with” me. I would love to hear her try to verbalize her rationality on that one. “Abbe is not welcome at any Jean-Georges establishments everrr because she had the unmitigated gall to quit after I
sodomized her with my psychoses for months on end.” Except that is way too many syllables for you-know-who.

What ever, Miss Thing. Hah, wait until she gets a load of my book. I like to think I’m just doing her a favor, she will finally have a good reason to be so vicious with everybody. And I know the only reason she even granted Marc the reservation is because she didn’t want him calling Jean-Georges directly like he did the last time when she refused him. Oh I am not stupid, I can foresee exactly how this will go down. She will just tell the maiterdee save two tables, one will be a good PX one and the other will be a crappy POS one and she will make him seat Marc Bagutta at the crappy table if he shows up with an Asian chick (me).

 

PX Me (How I Became a Published Author, Got Micro-Famous, and Married a Millionaire) (Volume One) is available for purchase at:

 Amazon Kindle for $0.99

 

Connect with Abbe Diaz:

Author Website: http://abbe-diaz.com/books/

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PXthis

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pxthis

Humorous Lines and Clever Interjections for Contemporary Flirting, Matt Upward {$2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime}

 

After so many years of social interaction you have common sayings you gravitate to quite often. You have your “can’t argue with that” line. Your “you need to get out more” line. Your “I call it like I see it” line. You find no reason in brushing up on your humor when “that’s what she said” interjections win over social circles just fine. Performing a stand-up routine is not something on your list of things to try this year and you are kind of past the “I’m going to be overly outgoing” shtick, yet the charming nature of being quick-witted is something you and the rest of us still find appealing.

In comes a collection of a couple hundred phrases and words that is not exactly a how-to book. In fact it was never meant to be a book at all. Years ago, a very good looking young gentleman, going by the pseudonym Upward, started noting remarks he found inherently playful and somewhat common in conversation for only his personal use, until recently when he decided to pack them up, add examples, and share them with the self-improving public. They are phrases to laugh at. Most of them you will recognize. Now you will have the lines in your metaphorical back pocket to nonchalantly pull out when needed. In essence, a manual to ease your l’esprit de l’escalier. Socially potent fire, if you will.

What readers are saying:

“Upward made a useful and hilarious book for every dilemma you may run into.”

“A very convenient and modern day social interaction guide for people like me who could use a little punch in the sentence.”

“Whether you are in the office or at a party….no line will ever escape you!”

The average Amazon reader review rating is currently 3.9 stars, with 9 reviews.

Click here to read more about and purchase Humorous Lines and Clever Interjections for Contemporary Flirting for $2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime at Amazon 

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Crazy in Paradise, Deborah Brown {$2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!}

Sponsored Post

Deborah Brown‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of Crazy in Paradise:

Dying in the middle of the summer in the Florida Keys is sweaty business.Welcome to Tarpon Cove. Madison Westin has inherited her aunt’s beachfront motel in the Florida Keys. Trouble is she’s also inherited a slew of colorful tenant’s – drunks, ex-cons, and fugitives.

Only one problem: First, she has to wrestle control from a conniving lawyer and shady motel manager. With the help of her new best friend, whose motto is never leave home without your Glock, they dive into a world of blackmail, murder, and drugs.

 

Accolades:

“Zany, amusing, entertaining, interesting, – great characters and a fun read.”

“Well thought out plot…kept my interest right through to the end.”

“Great storyline…hooked to the very end. Action, Romance, and Intrigue.”

“Crazy is as crazy does.”

“Suspense, Mystery, Comedy makes for a fast and enjoyable read.”


Amazon Reader Reviews:

Crazy in Paradise currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 4.5 stars, with 229 reviews! Read the reviews here!

 

Crazy in Paradise is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!

 

Excerpt from Crazy in Paradise:

Chapter 1

There should be a law in South Florida that a person can’t die during the summer. The death of a loved one was hard enough without the added humiliation of sweat. I felt it rolling down my back, like a stream trapped by the belt of my dress with nowhere to go.

My name is Madison Elizabeth Westin, and I’m seated at the funeral of my favorite aunt, people watching, of all things. Most of the mourners looked ready for a pool party, some of them in shorts and bathing suit cover-ups. I was the only one dressed in black; even my brother wore khaki shorts.

The minister began, “We are gathered here today to give thanks for the life of Elizabeth Ruth Hart, who shared herself with us. It is in her memory we come together and, for all she meant to us, we are thankful.”

My mother had named me after her older sister. Elizabeth was like a second mother to my brother Brad and me. We spent summers with her in Florida, running and playing on the beach, building sandcastles, and she was a regular visitor to our home in South Carolina.

After five years of not seeing her, I had packed for a several-month stay and planned to spend the summer with her. That’s when I got a phone call from her lawyer telling me she had died. I still found it difficult to believe it had happened so suddenly.

When I walked into the funeral home earlier, the heat had smothered me; this main room was suffocating. The air conditioning wasn’t working and it felt as though it was more than one hundred degrees. The director, Dickie Vanderbilt, had apologized for that, telling me that the central unit had gone out earlier in the day. He informed me he had all of the ceiling fans on high, which, in my opinion, were only circulating hot air.

Dickie Vanderbilt gave me the creeps. He had a slight build, pasty white skin, and long skinny fingers. When he reached out to touch my arm, I tried hard not to squirm.

I’m not a big fan of shaking hands. I find people only want to shake your hand when they can see you’re not interested. A friend suggested I perfect the dog paw shake for those who insist. I extend my hand like a paw and let it hang loose. Often times, they jerk their hand away and give me an odd stare, which makes me want to laugh every time.

The minister rambled on. I found him to be uninteresting, his speech dry. He talked about Elizabeth as though she were a stranger to him and everyone here. Apparently, Elizabeth’s jerk attorney, Tucker Davis, hadn’t given the minister any information about her. I didn’t understand why my aunt left all of the details of her funeral to Tucker. Why would she exclude the people who loved her and knew her best from having input? I wished I had one more day to walk along the beach to laugh, talk, and collect shells with her.

On Sunday, Tucker called to inform me that Elizabeth had died in her sleep from a heart attack. “The funeral is Wednesday, 1:00 p.m. at Tropical Slumber Funeral Home on Highway 1 in Tarpon Cove,” he told me.

“I want to help plan the funeral.”

“All of the arrangements have been made.” He sounded impatient, emphasizing his words. “If you want to, you can call anyone else you think should be informed.”

“My aunt would’ve wanted her family to be involved in the decision-making for her funeral. After all, my mother, brother, and I are the only family she had.”

“Elizabeth appointed me executor. She left me written instructions for everything she wanted done after her death, including her funeral.”

I didn’t believe him. Elizabeth loved us. She never would’ve excluded her family in this way, knowing how important it would be to us.

“I oversaw all of the arrangements myself. I’m sure you’ll be satisfied. If you have any other questions you can call my assistant, Ann.” He hung up the phone.

My aunt never once mentioned Tucker Davis to me or anyone else in the family. Here he was, a stranger, handling her estate.

The next day, I called the lawyer back to tell him that Elizabeth’s sister Madeline, her nephew Brad, and I, would attend. He refused to take my phone call, and I was frustrated.

“This is Madison Westin. May I speak with Tucker Davis?”

“I’m Ann, Mr. Davis’s assistant. He’s not accepting calls at this time. Can I help you with something?”

“I wanted to ask again if there was anything I could do in preparation for Elizabeth Hart’s funeral? Surely, you can understand how her family would want to be involved in any final decisions.”

“Mrs. Hart wanted Mr. Davis to make those arrangements, and he has. She didn’t indicate that she wanted anyone else involved in the planning. I can assure you he’s seen to all of the details. He worked directly with Mr. Vanderbilt at the funeral home.”

“I’ll be arriving later today. Would you tell Mr. Davis I’m available to help with anything that needs to be done? He can reach me at Elizabeth’s house.”

“Does Mr. Davis know you plan to stay in Mrs. Hart’s house?”

“I don’t need Mr. Davis’ permission. I’ve never stayed anywhere but the Cove Road house, and this trip won’t be any different. If Mr. Davis has a problem with my staying there, he can call me,” I said.

“Any more messages?” Ann sniffed and, without waiting for a response, hung up on me.

* * *

Tarpon Cove is an unsophisticated beach town situated at the top of the Keys off the Overseas Highway, which begins just north of Key Largo and ends in Key West. Tropical Slumber Funeral Home is located on the main street that runs through town. In a previous life, the building had obviously been a drive-thru fast food restaurant, the kind where you drove through the center of the building to place your order for a hot dog and fries. The new owners hadn’t even bothered to take down the concrete picnic tables that were on the side of the building. But they had replaced the old metal umbrellas with tropical thatched-style ones. A red carpet ran from the parking lot to the front door and continued to the door of the hearse parked behind the building.

We’d taken our seats on the rock-hard old church pews. I turned to look at my mother. “People are going to hear you laughing,” I whispered. “What’s wrong with you?”

My mother, Madeline Westin, had aged well; she looked younger than her sixty years, her short blonde hair framing her face. She wore a colorful sundress that showed off her long tanned legs.
She put her head on my shoulder. “I think Elizabeth is staring at me,” she whispered back.

Mother was right about one thing: it did appear as though Elizabeth was staring at everyone. They’d propped her up in the casket, and positioned her to sit straight up. She was dressed in a tent-style dress that was bright yellow and flowery, with a wilted corsage pinned to the front; a dress she never would’ve chosen for herself. Yellow was her least favorite color, and here she was surrounded by all white and yellow daisies and carnations, when she loved bold color and exotic blooms.

I tried to speak to Dickie about the arrangements when I first arrived in town. He told me firmly that he only took instructions from Tucker Davis and he wasn’t allowed to discuss any of the final details. I wondered why the secrecy, but he was so nervous I didn’t ask any more questions. He told me not to worry; he had worked hard to make everything memorable.
I appealed to him, “Don’t family members usually participate in the planning?”

But he was very clear; Tucker Davis’ approval was the most important thing to him.

I took a deep breath. Later, our family would create a lasting tribute to Elizabeth showing how much we had loved and respected her, and how we would deeply miss her. But for now, this would have to do, I guess.

I glanced up and saw a man who looked to be in his 60’s walking to the podium. He was well-worn, beer-gutted with dirty looking grey hair, and dressed in jean shorts and a tropical shirt that looked as though he’d worn them for several days.

“Hey, everyone,” he said into the microphone. “My name is…” he paused, “well, all my friends call me Quattro.” He held up both of his hands in a two-handed friendly wave.

He was missing his middle finger on his right hand and his thumb on his left hand. Brad and I glanced at one another and laughed. I mouthed “Quattro” at him and waved four fingers. He turned away, biting his lip.

“I told Dickie I’d speak first because he worried no one would come up and say anything and it wouldn’t look right. I told him don’t worry so much.” Quattro slowly scanned the crowd. “I reassured him there were a few people here who could think of something nice to say.” He ran his fingers through his hair and scratched his scalp.

“Elizabeth was a great old broad. Too damn bad, she died so young. She seemed young to me. Hell, I’m only a few years younger. You know she checked out in her sleep, and in her own bed. How much better does it get than that?”

I looked around. A few people were nodding their heads in agreement.

“Now that she’s kicked the bucket…” He paused. “Well, everyone knows there’s no bucket involved.” He laughed at his own humor. “Have you ever wondered what the reward is?” He waited as though he expected an answer. “Hmm, I’ve no idea either. Damn, it’s hot in here. You’d think a funeral place would turn on the air conditioning.”

“Yeah, I’ve got sweat in my shorts,” I heard someone say. A few others voiced their agreement.

“Keeps the smell down and all,” Quattro continued. “I know when it was a drive-thru the air worked good and sometimes the place was downright freezing.”

I saw a few people sniffing at the air. Were they sad? Or were they disappointed they couldn’t smell hotdogs and fries?

Dickie Vanderbilt stood off to the side, staring at his shoes, and picking at his rather large tie tack in the shape of a flamingo.

“But back to Elizabeth. I called her Betty once and, boy, she got mad.”

Mother sobbed loudly, which I knew was actually laughter. People turned to stare. I wrapped my arm around her shoulder and pulled her close. “Mother, please. This funeral is bad enough.”

Her body shook with laughter. I gripped her tightly. “Oww,” she whispered.

“Behave yourself, or I’ll keep squeezing.” I shifted again on the bench, having a hard time sitting still when my legs kept sticking to the wood.

“Elizabeth was good to a lot of people,” Quattro continued. “Too bad she won’t be around to do any of us any more favors.” He looked around and rubbed the end of his nose.

I stared wide-eyed at him wondering if he was about to pick his nose.

“The truth is, I’ve run out of stuff to say. I know she wouldn’t have wanted to die so soon, but the problem is we all think we’re going to live forever, and we don’t. So, ‘God Bless’.” He waved and walked away from the podium.

 

Crazy in Paradise is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!

 

Connect with Deborah Brown:

Author Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/deborahbrownbooks

Author Twitter Page: @debbrownbooks

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Crazy in Paradise, Deborah Brown {$2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!}

Sponsored Post

Deborah Brown‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of Crazy in Paradise:

Dying in the middle of the summer in the Florida Keys is sweaty business.Welcome to Tarpon Cove. Madison Westin has inherited her aunt’s beachfront motel in the Florida Keys. Trouble is she’s also inherited a slew of colorful tenant’s – drunks, ex-cons, and fugitives.

Only one problem: First, she has to wrestle control from a conniving lawyer and shady motel manager. With the help of her new best friend, whose motto is never leave home without your Glock, they dive into a world of blackmail, murder, and drugs.

 

Accolades:

“Zany, amusing, entertaining, interesting, – great characters and a fun read.” 

“Well thought out plot…kept my interest right through to the end.”

“Great storyline…hooked to the very end. Action, Romance, and Intrigue.”

“Crazy is as crazy does.”

“Suspense, Mystery, Comedy makes for a fast and enjoyable read.”


Amazon Reader Reviews:

Crazy in Paradise currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 4.5 stars, with 229 reviews! Read the reviews here!

 

Crazy in Paradise is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!

 

Excerpt from Crazy in Paradise:

Chapter 1

There should be a law in South Florida that a person can’t die during the summer. The death of a loved one was hard enough without the added humiliation of sweat. I felt it rolling down my back, like a stream trapped by the belt of my dress with nowhere to go.

My name is Madison Elizabeth Westin, and I’m seated at the funeral of my favorite aunt, people watching, of all things. Most of the mourners looked ready for a pool party, some of them in shorts and bathing suit cover-ups. I was the only one dressed in black; even my brother wore khaki shorts.

The minister began, “We are gathered here today to give thanks for the life of Elizabeth Ruth Hart, who shared herself with us. It is in her memory we come together and, for all she meant to us, we are thankful.”

My mother had named me after her older sister. Elizabeth was like a second mother to my brother Brad and me. We spent summers with her in Florida, running and playing on the beach, building sandcastles, and she was a regular visitor to our home in South Carolina.

After five years of not seeing her, I had packed for a several-month stay and planned to spend the summer with her. That’s when I got a phone call from her lawyer telling me she had died. I still found it difficult to believe it had happened so suddenly.

When I walked into the funeral home earlier, the heat had smothered me; this main room was suffocating. The air conditioning wasn’t working and it felt as though it was more than one hundred degrees. The director, Dickie Vanderbilt, had apologized for that, telling me that the central unit had gone out earlier in the day. He informed me he had all of the ceiling fans on high, which, in my opinion, were only circulating hot air.

Dickie Vanderbilt gave me the creeps. He had a slight build, pasty white skin, and long skinny fingers. When he reached out to touch my arm, I tried hard not to squirm.

I’m not a big fan of shaking hands. I find people only want to shake your hand when they can see you’re not interested. A friend suggested I perfect the dog paw shake for those who insist. I extend my hand like a paw and let it hang loose. Often times, they jerk their hand away and give me an odd stare, which makes me want to laugh every time.

The minister rambled on. I found him to be uninteresting, his speech dry. He talked about Elizabeth as though she were a stranger to him and everyone here. Apparently, Elizabeth’s jerk attorney, Tucker Davis, hadn’t given the minister any information about her. I didn’t understand why my aunt left all of the details of her funeral to Tucker. Why would she exclude the people who loved her and knew her best from having input? I wished I had one more day to walk along the beach to laugh, talk, and collect shells with her.

On Sunday, Tucker called to inform me that Elizabeth had died in her sleep from a heart attack. “The funeral is Wednesday, 1:00 p.m. at Tropical Slumber Funeral Home on Highway 1 in Tarpon Cove,” he told me.

“I want to help plan the funeral.”

“All of the arrangements have been made.” He sounded impatient, emphasizing his words. “If you want to, you can call anyone else you think should be informed.”

“My aunt would’ve wanted her family to be involved in the decision-making for her funeral. After all, my mother, brother, and I are the only family she had.”

“Elizabeth appointed me executor. She left me written instructions for everything she wanted done after her death, including her funeral.”

I didn’t believe him. Elizabeth loved us. She never would’ve excluded her family in this way, knowing how important it would be to us.

“I oversaw all of the arrangements myself. I’m sure you’ll be satisfied. If you have any other questions you can call my assistant, Ann.” He hung up the phone.

My aunt never once mentioned Tucker Davis to me or anyone else in the family. Here he was, a stranger, handling her estate.

The next day, I called the lawyer back to tell him that Elizabeth’s sister Madeline, her nephew Brad, and I, would attend. He refused to take my phone call, and I was frustrated.

“This is Madison Westin. May I speak with Tucker Davis?”

“I’m Ann, Mr. Davis’s assistant. He’s not accepting calls at this time. Can I help you with something?”

“I wanted to ask again if there was anything I could do in preparation for Elizabeth Hart’s funeral? Surely, you can understand how her family would want to be involved in any final decisions.”

“Mrs. Hart wanted Mr. Davis to make those arrangements, and he has. She didn’t indicate that she wanted anyone else involved in the planning. I can assure you he’s seen to all of the details. He worked directly with Mr. Vanderbilt at the funeral home.”

“I’ll be arriving later today. Would you tell Mr. Davis I’m available to help with anything that needs to be done? He can reach me at Elizabeth’s house.”

“Does Mr. Davis know you plan to stay in Mrs. Hart’s house?”

“I don’t need Mr. Davis’ permission. I’ve never stayed anywhere but the Cove Road house, and this trip won’t be any different. If Mr. Davis has a problem with my staying there, he can call me,” I said.

“Any more messages?” Ann sniffed and, without waiting for a response, hung up on me.

* * *

Tarpon Cove is an unsophisticated beach town situated at the top of the Keys off the Overseas Highway, which begins just north of Key Largo and ends in Key West. Tropical Slumber Funeral Home is located on the main street that runs through town. In a previous life, the building had obviously been a drive-thru fast food restaurant, the kind where you drove through the center of the building to place your order for a hot dog and fries. The new owners hadn’t even bothered to take down the concrete picnic tables that were on the side of the building. But they had replaced the old metal umbrellas with tropical thatched-style ones. A red carpet ran from the parking lot to the front door and continued to the door of the hearse parked behind the building.

We’d taken our seats on the rock-hard old church pews. I turned to look at my mother. “People are going to hear you laughing,” I whispered. “What’s wrong with you?”

My mother, Madeline Westin, had aged well; she looked younger than her sixty years, her short blonde hair framing her face. She wore a colorful sundress that showed off her long tanned legs.
She put her head on my shoulder. “I think Elizabeth is staring at me,” she whispered back.

Mother was right about one thing: it did appear as though Elizabeth was staring at everyone. They’d propped her up in the casket, and positioned her to sit straight up. She was dressed in a tent-style dress that was bright yellow and flowery, with a wilted corsage pinned to the front; a dress she never would’ve chosen for herself. Yellow was her least favorite color, and here she was surrounded by all white and yellow daisies and carnations, when she loved bold color and exotic blooms.

I tried to speak to Dickie about the arrangements when I first arrived in town. He told me firmly that he only took instructions from Tucker Davis and he wasn’t allowed to discuss any of the final details. I wondered why the secrecy, but he was so nervous I didn’t ask any more questions. He told me not to worry; he had worked hard to make everything memorable.
I appealed to him, “Don’t family members usually participate in the planning?”

But he was very clear; Tucker Davis’ approval was the most important thing to him.

I took a deep breath. Later, our family would create a lasting tribute to Elizabeth showing how much we had loved and respected her, and how we would deeply miss her. But for now, this would have to do, I guess.

I glanced up and saw a man who looked to be in his 60’s walking to the podium. He was well-worn, beer-gutted with dirty looking grey hair, and dressed in jean shorts and a tropical shirt that looked as though he’d worn them for several days.

“Hey, everyone,” he said into the microphone. “My name is…” he paused, “well, all my friends call me Quattro.” He held up both of his hands in a two-handed friendly wave.

He was missing his middle finger on his right hand and his thumb on his left hand. Brad and I glanced at one another and laughed. I mouthed “Quattro” at him and waved four fingers. He turned away, biting his lip.

“I told Dickie I’d speak first because he worried no one would come up and say anything and it wouldn’t look right. I told him don’t worry so much.” Quattro slowly scanned the crowd. “I reassured him there were a few people here who could think of something nice to say.” He ran his fingers through his hair and scratched his scalp.

“Elizabeth was a great old broad. Too damn bad, she died so young. She seemed young to me. Hell, I’m only a few years younger. You know she checked out in her sleep, and in her own bed. How much better does it get than that?”

I looked around. A few people were nodding their heads in agreement.

“Now that she’s kicked the bucket…” He paused. “Well, everyone knows there’s no bucket involved.” He laughed at his own humor. “Have you ever wondered what the reward is?” He waited as though he expected an answer. “Hmm, I’ve no idea either. Damn, it’s hot in here. You’d think a funeral place would turn on the air conditioning.”

“Yeah, I’ve got sweat in my shorts,” I heard someone say. A few others voiced their agreement.

“Keeps the smell down and all,” Quattro continued. “I know when it was a drive-thru the air worked good and sometimes the place was downright freezing.”

I saw a few people sniffing at the air. Were they sad? Or were they disappointed they couldn’t smell hotdogs and fries?

Dickie Vanderbilt stood off to the side, staring at his shoes, and picking at his rather large tie tack in the shape of a flamingo.

“But back to Elizabeth. I called her Betty once and, boy, she got mad.”

Mother sobbed loudly, which I knew was actually laughter. People turned to stare. I wrapped my arm around her shoulder and pulled her close. “Mother, please. This funeral is bad enough.”

Her body shook with laughter. I gripped her tightly. “Oww,” she whispered.

“Behave yourself, or I’ll keep squeezing.” I shifted again on the bench, having a hard time sitting still when my legs kept sticking to the wood.

“Elizabeth was good to a lot of people,” Quattro continued. “Too bad she won’t be around to do any of us any more favors.” He looked around and rubbed the end of his nose.

I stared wide-eyed at him wondering if he was about to pick his nose.

“The truth is, I’ve run out of stuff to say. I know she wouldn’t have wanted to die so soon, but the problem is we all think we’re going to live forever, and we don’t. So, ‘God Bless’.” He waved and walked away from the podium.

 

Crazy in Paradise is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!

 

Connect with Deborah Brown:

Author Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/deborahbrownbooks

Author Twitter Page: @debbrownbooks

Tall Tales and Wedding Veils, Jane Graves {$3.99}

Accountant Heather Montgomery is a planner. So never in her wildest dreams did she think she’d run into sexy charmer Tony McCaffrey in Vegas, play lady luck, and celebrate his jackpot with a champagne-soaked night. And she certainly never expected to wake up the next morning married! How could this good girl pick a man whose fridge is empty and whose apartment is a disaster zone, yet still drives her so crazy with lust she can’t see straight?

Quickly hitched and happily ditched, Tony can’t wait to get back to his playboy ways. But when Heather’s family is thrilled that their no-nonsense daughter is finally in love, he proposes a plan: stay married for a month to repay his good luck charm, even though she sterilizes his toothbrush and forbids anything between the sheets. But Heather is more than he bargained for–a sharp-witted, passionate woman who just might turn his near miss into wedded bliss!

What readers are saying:

“I can’t recommend Tall Tales and Wedding Veils highly enough. I’ve been looking for a book like this one – funny, and touching with wonderful characters and great love scenes. This is the best feel-good book I’ve read in a long time and I know I will read it again, and again.” –All About Romance

“A breath of pure romance, this book is a charmer. If you like Jennifer Crusie, you will go for this one. I sure did.” –RT Bookclub

“Opposites attract in this fast-paced, diverting romantic comedy with more than its share of lively fun.” –Library Journal

The average Amazon Reader Review is currently 4.5 stars {26 reviews}.

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: GRANDPA HATES THE BIRD: Six Short Stories of Exciting, Hilarious and Possibly Deadly Adventure, Eve Yohalem {$2.99}

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Eve Yohalem‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:

 

Description of GRANDPA HATES THE BIRD:

“Alas, it is true. Grandpa hates me. He has always hated me, even before I used his ear as a swing toy (his lobes are so long and flappy!). I can’t imagine why. I assume Grandpa hates me simply because I am the bird—and he is not.”

Everybody loves Bird. Joseph and Maya, Mother and Father, Humphrey the dog, Slick the snake. Everyone except Grandpa, who will stop at nothing to set Bird free. Forever.

• How does the battle begin when Bird and Grandpa are alone together for a whole week?
• See classroom chaos in Bring Your Pet to School Day!
• Exactly what are they hunting at the Aw Shoot archery range?

Fasten your feathers and warm up your wings—here are six collected short stories in the GRANDPA HATES THE BIRD series!

 

Accolade:

By Jill Arent, “All Things Jill Elizabeth”

http://blog.jill-elizabeth.com/2012/01/30/book-review-2/

Without further ado, I bring you a fabulous book in today’s review. Grandpa Hates the Bird, by Eve Yohalem, is a collection of short stories about the adventures of the eponymous Bird and the misadventures of the eponymous Grandpa. My review copy was graciously provided free of charge by the author. AND she has also graciously agreed to provide a giveaway copy, so you can have your very own!

I admit that I’m a bit obsessed with unified short story collections/interwoven stories lately, as evidenced by last week’s post. But do not, for one second, think that is why I am giving this collection such a rave review. Heck, no. This one is entirely owing to Yohalem’s sense of fun, of humor, and of giggle-inducing irony. Let me say right up front: I don’t normally review actual children’s books. When she contacted me about reviewing her book, and told me it was aimed at readers aged 6-10, I almost sent her the standard “sorry, your book sounds lovely, but I just don’t review…” email. Then I read further. Once I saw how she described her book I couldn’t help but review it. Here is what she said: (I hope you don’t mind my using this Eve, but it’s so great that I couldn’t not!)

“GRANDPA HATES THE BIRD is a collection of comic short stories for readers 6-10. There are very few short story collections available for young readers and one advantage to reading them as ebooks is that a parent in a crowded waiting room or stuck in traffic can hand their cranky child their smartphone with a funny story instead of Angry Birds.”

Now don’t get me wrong. I love the Angry Birds (or the Where’s My Water or the Rush Hour or Running Man or whatever game of the day the kids can teach me how to play). I also love the ability to provide entertainment to the kids on the go that things like Angry Birds provides. But I LOVE that someone is out there putting together alternatives to games as a means of doing this. And I LOVE LOVE the manner in which Yohalem accomplished this alternative.

The stories are, in a word, delightful. They are fun, engaging, hilarious, revenge-filled without ever being vengeful. They are cute and heart-warming and contain hidden life-lessons about being a good friend, being honest and trustworthy, and being loving. And they are written in a very easy-going and altogether compelling style that appeals to me as a reader, a step-parent, and someone who is more than occasionally worried that the future of our world is in the hands of kids whose main introductions to reading are video game manuals.

I strongly encourage you to pick this one up and throw it on your phone, ipad, whatever… You – and the kids in your life – will be exceedingly glad you did!


Reviews:

GRANDPA HATES THE BIRD currently has a customer review rating of 4.5 stars with 12 reviews! Read the reviews here.


GRANDPA HATES THE BIRD is available to purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99

 

An excerpt from GRANDPA HATES THE BIRD:

Excerpt from the story Bring Your Pet to School Day from GRANDPA HATES THE BIRD: Six Short Stories of Exciting, Hilarious and Possibly Deadly Adventure by Eve Yohalem

It was my favorite day of the year: Bring Your Pet to School Day. Most schools do not observe this particular holiday, which I personally believe should be made into a national event like the Fourth of July or Super Bowl Sunday or even National Forest Products Week. But Joseph and Maya go to one of those progressive schools where they believe in hands-on learning. Thus, Bring Your Pet to School Day is an opportunity to learn about biology, animal care, and even geology and puppetry since the pitiful children who are unfortunate enough to live without real pets are allowed to bring in rocks and dolls instead.

The day was warm and I traveled to school via my preferred method of transportation: on top of Joseph’s head, his hair being the closest thing I have to a nest. Bird care books will tell you never to allow a bird to perch higher than yourself because it gives the bird the idea that he is superior to you. Bird care books are right.

There was just one dim spot in my rainbow of happiness, and it was walking next to us. Joseph’s teacher had asked for a grown-up to help with the animal presentations, and Grandma had made Grandpa volunteer. Something about “behavior modification” and how spending time with children and animals might help him “build tolerance” and improve his “attitude.”

Grandpa was dressed from head to toe in full military camouflage. That’s right: a green flack jacket, cargo pants, and black combat boots. It was the same outfit he had worn every day for the last month, ever since he had applied to be a contestant on Killigan’s Island, a new reality TV show where twelve humans struggle to survive on a tropical island with no running water or electricity. Something millions of birds have been doing with ease since the beginning of time, I might add.

I was determined not to let Grandpa ruin my good mood. In fact, I even hoped that Grandma was right and once Grandpa saw what Joseph and I had prepared for the class, he would be so impressed, so charmed and enchanted by my performance, that he would finally appreciate me properly and we would become friends.

Anything is possible, right?

There is only one fifth grade class at Walden Pond School, with nineteen children, most of whom I recognized from past Bring Your Pet to School days. Larissa spends most of every day writing poetry about kneecaps. Harrison is the boy who attended all of pre-kindergarten in a lion costume. I’m not sure anyone noticed. Then there’s Jake. Poor Jake is the class oddball: he likes soccer. He’s good at it, too.

Jake was seated alone at a table for two near the front of the room, holding a plastic animal carrier on his lap. Inside was Beckham, Jake’s ferret. Grandpa went to introduce himself to Mandy the teacher, and Joseph and I took the seat next to Jake. I hopped from Joseph’s shoulder onto the table, and Beckham hissed at me through the wire screen on the end of his carrier. So that’s how it’s going to be, is it? Very slowly, I stretched out my wings to their full green, blue, and red glory. Then I turned my back on the little beast, bent over, and presented him with a full view of what lay underneath my tail.

“Hola, chiquitas y chiquitos!” sang Mandy, a tiny young woman with curly red hair the color of a house finch. Mandy liked to greet the children in a different language every day. Most of the time the children had no idea what she was saying, but they had all been studying Spanish at school since first grade. At this point in their Spanish language studies, every child in the room was able to say, “the air is not toxic,” but not one of them could ask for directions to a bathroom.

“Hola, Señora Mandy!” answered the children.

“Is everyone totally psyched for BRING YOUR PET TO SCHOOL DAY?” Mandy asked, sounding totally psyched herself.

“Yeah!” “You bet!” “Wahoo!” the children shouted back.

“Right on!” Mandy said, pumping a small fist in the air. “First I’d like to introduce you to Joseph’s grandfather. He’s going to help us with our presentations today.”

Grandpa stepped forward. If this were opposite day I would describe the expression on his face as warm and friendly.

“Hi, Grandpa!” the children greeted him.

“Uh, hi,” Grandpa muttered.

There was a long awkward silence that Mandy finally interrupted.

“Thanks, Grandpa! Now how about we hear from some of the students!”

 

GRANDPA HATES THE BIRD is available to purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99

 

Connect with Eve Yohalem:

Website: http://www.eveyohalem.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Eve-Yohalem/164138753644557?ref=ts

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: The Brightest Moon of the Century, Christopher Meeks {$4.99 or Borrow FREE with Prime!}

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Christopher Meeks‘ Frugal Find Under Nine:

 

Description of The Brightest Moon of the Century:

In The Brightest Moon of the Century, Edward, a young Minnesotan, is blessed with an abundance of “experience”–first when his mother dies and next when his father, an encyclopedia salesman, shoehorns Edward into a private boys school where he’s tortured and groomed. Edward needs a place in the universe, but he also wants an understanding of women. He stumbles into romance in high school, careens through dorm life in college, whirls into a tornado of love problems as a mini-mart owner in a trailer park in Alabama, and aims for a film career in Los Angeles.

 

Accolade:

The following review is by Grady Harp, Top-Ten Amazon Reviewer

Christopher Meeks has produced up to now two of the finest, most intelligent, entertaining, and socially sensitive collections of short stories (THE MIDDLE-AGED MAN AND THE SEA and MONTHS AND SEASONS). For those of us who have become Meeks devotees based on these short stories, the anticipation of a full-length novel has been both exciting and a bit dubious. It is an entirely different challenge to carry a character and a few ideas, well developed as they are in Meeks’ hands, along a path that justifies a complete novel. But with THE BRIGHTEST MOON OF THE CENTURY Christopher Meeks has crossed that bridge so successfully that his stance in the echelon of new important American writers seems solidly secure.

Meeks deals well with the everyday persons that populate this novel. His characters are all flawed and not afraid to share those flaws. And that is one reason this story of a young lad’s journey from Minnesota through the South and to California spanning the years of his life from age 14 to age 45 reaches out to the reader in a way that offers an honest invitation to relive our own growing years.

Meeks does not discard his unique gift of crafting short stories: each chapter in this novel is framed by a time span and a special growing adventure in a way that at times the reader may wonder if each chapter could stand alone. But that is where Meeks so deftly shows his craft. He sorts through his bag of ideas, dropping a few here and there only to be picked up and transformed later in the book like old memories that come to blossom or gain meaning as life goes on.

Edward Meopian manages to cope with the loss of his mother, survives the changes that his encyclopedia salesman father imposes on him, an manages to leave home for private boys school where he gains some wisdom, some tolerance for the actions of his peers, some knowledge about his inappropriate preparation for puberty and love, fights his way through college discovering he has no talent for the `preferred discipline’ of science, that he loves films, and discovers passion in a relationship that pushes the button to accelerate his maturity.

Things happen and things don’t happen (Meeks has a way of adjusting his characters dreams and expectations with a sense of acknowledging personal flaws and humble talents). And as Edward’s father re-marries, Edward gains possession of a mini-mart and trailer park in Alabama which he rules with his longtime pot smoking friend Sagebrush, all the while finding the idiosyncrasies of several women’s wiles (avoiding the advances of under aged oversexed girls and the vitriol of a matronly trailer park manager). Shaky `failures’ at marriage and screenwriting/directing dreams lead Edward through life changes that eventually result in his finding a touch of peace as a teacher in an arts school. Characters from his past weave through his present and the final touches of his life feel whole – sort of…

For lovers of Meeks’ short stories there are chapters that retain his polish in this format. The chapter called ‘One Hour’ is brief and relates Edward’s moment in time when the fertility question is raised. In this hilarious but tender chapter Edward visits a Sperm Bank to have his sperm washed, apparently making him a better potential for fatherhood. This is one chapter that could stand alone as short story, it is that well conceived and written.

Along the way in Edward’s journey the author takes time to pause and offer some poignant philosophy. As he approaches his Alabama experience Edward muses “By being open, he’d come to understand the way real people worked — versus the pretend, made-up people of Hollywood movies — and that, in turn, would give him a clearer sense of what he should do in this life.” Or in an encounter with a cop “‘Failure seems to follow me around,’ said Edward. ‘You’re no failure, son,’ said the officer, and Edward turned to face him. ‘This is God,’ said the man. ‘Or the disorder of life, if you like. This is what we all have to live with.’”

And as Edward leaves his Alabama trailer park/mini-mart fiasco, Meeks describes his view: “This world could be heaven on earth if only people let it, Edward realized. Every sunset could show you. Take it.”

At book’s beginning the title is explained: during the last month of the century into which Edward was born would occur the brightest full moon “in terms of size and luminosity” of the century. And when Meeks brings us to the closing pages of his novel, Edward, transformed or at least tattered and worn by his life to that time, realizes that the year is 1999 and somewhere behind the clouds he sees that shining light of that promised moon. Meeks leaves us with a passel of memories of a common if extraordinarily interesting guy who just happens to mirror each of our flaws — and strengths. This is a fine novel, an engrossing story, and a group of indelible characters who linger in the mind long after novel’s end. Meeks has done it again! –Grady Harp


Reviews:

The Brightest Moon of the Century currently has a customer review rating of 4.5 stars with 13 reviews! Read the reviews here.


The Brightest Moon of the Century is available to purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $4.99 or Borrow FREE with Prime!


An excerpt from The Brightest Moon of the Century:

The Hand

(1968-69)


Near mid-century when Edward was born, the full moon was years from being the brightest. That would happen—in terms of luminosity and size—in the last month of the century. As a child growing up, however, Edward found much splendor and mystery in the moon. It kept changing and following him around, a rock with its own rhythms, much like girls, and he knew he was years away from understanding girls.

Now in eighth grade with his mother gone, Edward felt he’d finally done something right. His father, Stanley, stood at the kitchen sink reading one of Edward’s English papers. Edward smiled, waiting for his father to see the letter grade of “A” at the end.

“What’s this quote?” asked his father, who then read the quoted line aloud. “‘The moon on the river looked like a dented hubcap floating on a cesspool. I hated rivers, and my grandfather, Elihu Twain, hated them, too.’ You say this is from Mark Twain. Where’d you find this quote?” The man frowned.

“I don’t know,” Edward said. He had to pause his breakfast spoon in mid-flight, knowing his cornflakes, bathing in the bowl’s milk, were about to turn into corn mush. “The encyclopedia?”

“Don’t you know that there were no hubcaps in those days? And Mark Twain’s real name was Samuel Clemens, so his grandfather would be named Clemens, for crissakes, not Twain. And Mark Twain, for your information, had been a steamboat pilot, and he loved rivers—compared them to pearls and opals! Where did you get this quote?”

“I was running out of time, so I had to— I mean—”

“You made it up, didn’t you?”

“It was due,” Edward said. “And I still got an ‘A’.”

“I didn’t raise you to be a cheater.”

“She mostly just wanted to see that we can write an essay, and—”

“It’s not even that great of an essay,” said his father.

“You’re always harping on grades so—”

“Don’t you blame this on me.”

“It’s a good grade. What’re we arguing about?” Edward stood, turning to the sink with his bowl.

“And what kind of English teacher couldn’t catch such a thing?”

“I don’t know.”

“Education is the asphalt for the road of life.”

“What? Asphalt?”

“The point is next fall you’re not going to that waste dump of a school.”

“Because of one lousy high-graded paper? Come on!” Edward dumped his now-soggy cereal down the garbage disposal.

His father shook his head. “I’ve been thinking about this awhile. I want you to have more opportunity than I had. You don’t want to be an encyclopedia salesman, do you? I want you to go to McCory.”

“But I love where I’m at! It’s good asphalt.”

The fact was Edward did not love his school, but no one bothered him there. At Eastbrook Junior High School, Edward Meopian was not a wallflower but more like a hearty, imperceptible weed. The girls looked through him, the guys he passed in the hallway nodded once in a while, and the teachers didn’t find him distracted or daydreaming so did not pounce on him. He was not someone who was teased, for he wasn’t nerdy or outwardly vulnerable. Rather, he came across to most people, certainly to himself, as something of an ottoman or sofa: existing and acceptable. His grades were just above average—not good enough for the jocks to ask him if it was okay to copy his homework. If he were to become a mass murderer down the road, no one would know him well enough to tell the blond TV interviewer, “Yeah, I knew him in junior high, and he was so friendly. Who knew he could turn people’s pelvis bones into ash trays?”

Rather, he was “Edward Who?”

On Saturday morning two weeks later, his father drove Edward to the McCory School to take the entrance exam. The high-class private school for boys was in a bleak brick structure above the train yards of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

His father said while dropping Edward off, “Do well on the test or else.” Or else what? Would his father force him to go to the public high school where Edward wanted to go anyway? Or would his father allow no friends over for a month? Edward had no friends. What do you take away when you have nothing?

Edward nodded and exited the car. Inside the school in the dim hallway, a thin man with a nicotine face led him to a small paneled room where a test waited for him on a wooden desk. Edward sighed, flipped the test open, and did as well as he could on the entrance exam, math and English, because he did not want to be thought of as stupid. At the end of the test was the question, “Why do you want to attend McCory School?” He wrote, “I don’t want to. My dad wants me to go.” To the question, “What appeals to you about McCory?” he penned, “Nothing. I want to go to a school with girls. There are no girls here.”

A week later at breakfast, his father said, “I got a call yesterday.”

What was that supposed to mean? His father looked serious.

“From Aunt Barbara?” he tried.

“McCory.” He broke out in a grin. “You made it in.”

“But I don’t want to go to McCory. How can you afford McCory?”

“That’s my problem.”

“I promise to do better at Eastbrook.”

“It’s McCory. We’ll go shopping for suits soon.”

“Suits?”

“You have to wear coats and ties there.”

Edward gasped.

“Don’t give me that look,” said his father. “You’re going to be a businessman someday, so you may as well get used to coats and ties now.”

“What if I want to be a welder?”

“Then you’ll be a gentleman welder. Oh, and one other thing. Because of what you wrote at the end of your test about not wanting to go—they felt you had a maturity issue. You’ll be starting in the eighth grade.”

“But I passed the eighth grade!” said Edward.

“You shouldn’t have written what you did.” His father finished his coffee and put his cup in the sink. He beamed at Edward. “You’re going to be a McCory boy. Someday you’ll thank me.”

 

#

 

As the summer ended, his father took him to the Foursome, a men’s store across the bay in Wayzata. With stern looks that demanded silence from Edward, Dad bought him one blue blazer and one pin-stripped double-breasted suit, as if Edward were a thin, gawky banker. His father had never spent such money on him before. His father asked him one question: “Do you know how to tie a tie?” Edward shook his head, wondering how his father expected such a thing. They never went anyplace that demanded a tie, so how was he supposed to have learned? By the same method he had learned about girls: from boys talking in line at gym?

“I know just the trick for you,” said his father, and stepped away. Edward would have followed, but he noticed a college-age woman, very pretty in a flowered dress, adjusting the tie of her smiling, husky boyfriend in what must be a new blue suit. There was something about her touch, sure and casual, that made Edward stare. As she gazed at her man up and down, the way his mother had once looked at him and his father, Edward wondered if he would ever share such a moment with someone again. Would he ever get a girlfriend?

“Here you go,” said his father, carrying two pre-tied ties. “These are called clip-ons. You’re slow enough in the morning as it is, so this should help you.” His father clipped it on just under Edward’s throat as easily as a horse was attached to a tether.

Weeks later, walking stiffly in his blue blazer and clip-on, Edward walked the half-mile to the corner where the McCory bus would pick him up. The bus was orange like other school buses, but when he stepped on, only boys in coats and ties stared at him, looking like miniature accountants.

“Who are you?” said the first kid, about fourth grade with eyes resembling a gerbil’s.

“Edward.”

“Oh,” said the kid. “Got gum?”

“No.”

A half-hour later, the bus pulled into a long tree-shrouded drive that took them up the hill to the school. The three-story building called the Upper School technically had no grade levels, but rather “forms,” as in English schools. Seniors were Form Six, Juniors, Form Five, etc. Edward was in Form Two, the youngest in the Upper School. The Lower School, a smaller, one-story building a long block away, held grades three through six as well as Form One. The athletic fields lay between. The three wings of the Upper School formed a U, which backed its open end against a berm, giving the central, grassy area in back the feel of a prison yard.

The rooms inside, most of them built for fifteen or fewer students, were small with chipped blackboards and wood floors that had nearly seventy years of yellowed varnish, the color of dead men’s fingernails. The rooms echoed the confinement that Edward soon felt. Between classes, the olive green cement stairs that led to each floor flowed with students, the only time that Edward experienced, in his first days, any sense of positive energy, mainly because each step was that much closer to the final bell. The school motto, “Far from noise and smoke,” which was perhaps meant to suggest healthy isolation and the flowering of minds in a quiet, smogless atmosphere, did not take into consideration the horn blasts and diesel exhaust from passing trains below. As Edward would learn, the world was an ironic place.

Within the first week, one of Edward’s new classmates, John De Bernieres, a husky kid from his English class who walked as if he had a cigar up his butt, beelined right up to him. “What’s your dad do?”

“Why?” said Edward.

“My dad runs a big law firm,” said De Bernieres, “Maybe he knows your dad.”

“Mine’s in publishing.” That was a stretch. His father sold encyclopedias.

“Oh.” De Bernieres yanked Edward’s tie, and when it pulled off, he shouted to no one visible, “Hey, you’re right. The new kid has a clip-on!” Word spread quickly. In the olive drab hallways of McCory, his tie was being yanked off dozens of times daily by an equal number of classmates, including Lee Boatswain, son of the president of Northwest Banks, Robert B. Dalton, whose parents later named a large bookstore chain after him, and Reese Freely, son of the CEO of Dairy Queen.

On Sunday night after his first week of McCory, in bed early, Edward wondered what to do about the ties. His stomach felt as if it were a washrag wrung and twisted so hard, soon there would be no more liquid. Maybe his whole body would dry up and disappear.

Staring up into the darkness beyond the deepest moonless night, Edward realized maybe his father wasn’t the best person to get him through things. His father no longer understood what it was to be a kid. Edward was simply a responsibility. Edward then thought of the time their Sunday dinners had had three placemats, not two. He remembered how he could be with his mother alone, and with a quick hug and a laugh at something Edward said, the world was made right. Maybe she was a ghost, and he could find her. He really wanted to find her. But even if she came to him now, could she help him with a tie? No. The sense of aloneness overwhelmed him. Edward would have to learn how to tie a tie on his own. But how?

 

The Brightest Moon of the Century is available to purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $4.99 or Borrow FREE with Prime!


Connect with Christopher Meeks:

Website: http://www.chrismeeks.com

Blog: http://www.redroom.com/author/christopher-meeks

Publisher site: http://WhiteWhiskerBooks.com

Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Christopher-Meeks/212382392140974

KINDLE DAILY DEAL: Stuck With You from Trish Jensen is $1.99 Today Only!

Two feuding divorce lawyers. One infectious “love bug” virus. The symptoms are hard to resist . . .

Paige Hart is blessed and cursed with a large, loving and. . .colorful Southern family. As the only lawyer in the clan, she can’t say no when her cousin needs her help in a messy, no-holds-barred divorce. Tax attorney Paige squares off with Ross “the Snake” Bennett – one of the slickest divorce lawyers in the county. The case is going as well as an acrimonious, zinger-filled, wrangle of epic proportions can go until exposure to an infectious bug with an unusual side effect lands both lawyers in quarantine together.

What readers are saying:

“Trish Jensen is a one-woman laugh riot.” -Sandra Hill, NY Times Bestselling Author

“Trish Jensen is the undisputed queen of comedic romance.” -Kathy Boswell, The Best Reviews

The average Amazon Reader Review rating is currently 4 Stars {49 Reviews}.

Click here to read more about and purchase Stuck With You for $1.99* from Amazon

*Price goes back up to $7.69 tomorrow!

 

The Brightest Moon of the Century, Christopher Meeks {$4.99 or Borrow FREE with Prime!}

A young Minnesotan, Edward Meopian is blessed with an abundance of “experience”–first when his mother dies and next when his father, an encyclopedia salesman, shoehorns Edward into a private boys school where he’s tortured and groomed. He needs a place in the universe, but he wants an understanding of women.
Edward stumbles into romance in high school, careens through dorm life in college, whirls into a tornado of love problems as a mini-mart owner in a trailer park in Alabama, and aims for a film career in Los Angeles.

In nine chapters, the reader experiences Edward’s life from ages 14 to 45. This is the first novel from Christopher Meeks, which follows his highly acclaimed collections of short stories, “The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea” and “Months and Seasons.”

Carmela Ciuraru wrote in the Los Angeles Times Book Review of Meeks’s first book, “This idea resonates throughout the collection: Meeks’s characters seek happiness in the small things because they have no choice … [The stories] are poignant and wise, sympathetic to the everyday struggles these characters face.”

Author and humorist Sandra Tsing Loh has said, “Christopher Meeks’s quirky stories are lyrical and wonderfully human. Enjoy.”

What readers are saying:

“Christopher Meeks captures life’s unpredictability while retaining a message of the hope that inspires us all.” -Meghan Burton, Medieval Bookworm

“In his debut novel, The Brightest Moon of the Century, Christopher Meeks chronicles one man’s path to middle age and, in doing so, illustrates how choices and circumstances — even those that seem arbitrary at the time — have a way of irrevocably cementing a person’s future.” -Cherie Parker, Minnneapolis Star Tribune

“Charming and endlessly entertaining, The Brightest Moon of the Century is a fine read that is an excellent addition to literary fiction collections.” -Midwest Book Review

“Edward is endearingly real, and readers will be rooting for him in every situation. The Brightest Moon of the Century will appeal to readers across genders and generations.” -Dawn Rennert, She Is Too Fond of Books

“Christopher Meeks’ work is joyful, funny and sensitive. The Brightest Moon of the Century is a satisfying read and one which made me hope that Meeks will continue to write novels.” -Wendy Robards, Piker Press

The average Amazon reader review is currently 4.5 stars {13 reviews}.

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