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Monday, January 11, 2021

Love and Other Moods Book Blast

 



Love and Other Moods follows complexities of adulting, of parenting, of the urban quest for love and finding one's place in the world…

Love and Other Moods

By Crystal Z. Lee

Love and Other Moods is a coming-of-age story set in contemporary China, about falling in love, learning to adult, finding strength, and discovering one’s place in the world.

Naomi Kita-Fan uproots her life from New York to China when her fiancĂ©’s company transfers him to Shanghai. After a disastrous turn of events, Naomi finds herself with no job, no boyfriend, and nowhere to live in a foreign country.

Amidst the backdrop of Shanghai welcoming millions of workers and visitors to the 2010 World Expo, we meet a tapestry of characters through Naomi: Joss Kong, a Shanghai socialite who leads an enviable life, but must harbor the secrets of her husband, Tay Kai Tang. Logan Hayden, a womanizing restaurateur looking for love in all the wrong places. Pan Jinsung and Ouyang Zhangjie, a silver-aged couple struggling with adapting to the ever-changing faces of their city. Dante Ouyang, who had just returned to China after spending years overseas, must choose between being filial and being in love. All their dreams and aspirations interweave within the sprawling web of Shanghai.

This multilayered novel explores a kaleidoscope of shifting relationships—familial friction, amorous entanglements, volatile friendships—in one of the most dynamic metropolises of the twenty-first century.



“This heartfelt, transporting story sparkles with a constellation of characters who call this city home while pursuing their China dream. As multifaceted as Shanghai itself, this novel follows overlapping narratives about the complexities of adulting, of parenting, of the urban quest for love and finding one’s place in the world.”

— EMILY TING, film director of Go Back to China and Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong

“Awash with cosmopolitan expats and jet-setting locals, Love and Other Moods shimmers like the diamonds adorning China’s glitterati, while exposing haunting personal histories and intergenerational strife. With dazzling twirls around Shanghai’s World Expo, glitzy fashion shows, art deco architecture, jazz clubs, gourmet restaurants, and disappearing food stalls, this novel compellingly pulls the reader into the pleasures and pains of becoming an adult in a city soaring to global status.”

— JENNY LIN, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Critical Studies at the University of Southern California and author of Above sea: Contemporary art, urban culture, and the fashioning of global Shanghai


Amazon → https://amzn.to/2Vqx5IN

Barnes & Noble → https://bit.ly/36iVsON

Book Depository → https://bit.ly/2VgLd6Y

IndieBound → https://bit.ly/3fIWlTE



Naomi had packed four suitcases from New York, and right now they were stacked unevenly on top of one another in the hallway, forcing the front door to open only halfway, just tight enough for her to slide in sideways. She couldn’t remember the last time she had lived by herself. The lonely apartment was mildly depressing.

She felt like walking aimlessly. She passed by wrinkled men playing a game of Chinese chess, teenage girls in designer sunglasses taking photographs of each other, a woman gesticulating wildly as she yelled into her cell phone, tourists examining a guide book, a cloud of second-hand smoke drifting from outside a cafe, Uighur men selling kebabs, well-heeled shoppers clinging to their purchases, two men in yarmulkes talking heatedly, shrieking children competing with the racket from honking vehicles, and the sea of commuters gushing out of the Huangpi Nan Lu metro stop. Naomi let herself be swept up into the human river, bodies crushing against each other, arms brushing and shoving, no apologies no offense taken. Being in this city meant your senses were constantly accosted.

A man approached her with a flier featuring images of iPhones, Rolexes, LV handbags, and said that their shop was just ahead in an alley. She declined and quickened her pace. She spotted an empty bench by a bus stop and flopped down. Barely noticing as the traffic whizzed by, the racy selfie on Seth’s phone resurfaced in her head. A steady stream of downpour coaxed pedestrians to open a colorful array of umbrellas, or duck into convenience stores, boutique shops, malls entrances. Naomi felt wholly unequipped and unprepared, again, by this city.

Her hair was stuck to her face and her forehead was damp. She was relieved that the inclement weather matched her mood, for tears had started forming and slithering beneath her eyes, blending with the droplets of rain running down her face. She wiped it away with her sleeve. She just wanted to throw up all the fury and regrets that were lodged in her stomach, she wished it could all be flushed out of her head.

It was starting to hit her, the reality of having no boyfriend, no job, and nowhere to live.

She wondered if the sprawling metropolis of Shanghai was too small to co-exist with her ex-fiancé















Crystal Z. Lee is a Taiwanese American bilingual writer. She has called many places home, including Taipei, New York, Shanghai, and the San Francisco Bay Area. She was formerly a public relations executive who had worked with brands in the fashion, beauty, technology, and automotive industries. Love and Other Moods is her debut novel. She’s already hard at work on her next novel and a children’s book.

Follow the author on Instagram @ Crystal.Z.Lee












Friday, December 11, 2020

Book Blast: By the Shoreline by Little Stickman - Win a Gift Card and Ebook!

 

 







Title: By the Shoreline
Author: Little Stickman
Publisher: Partridge Singapore
Genre: Poetry
Format: Ebook
Spiritually poised in a realm of sanity comes with a mind that continuously travels extensively throughout time. As the heart accompanies, companionship becomes something so precious that words turn speechless. The heartfelt poems written throughout experiences, observations, stories and heartbreaks are the main cause of survival this soul has been.


PURCHASE HERE
She writes what she feels. She writes what she hears and experiences as she goes through relapses, challenges and sweet moments that inspire her, she immediately typed them down in poems. Thus, her poems are just pure genuineness


Little IS GIVING AWAY A $25 GIFT CARD!

  
Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins December 7 and ends on December 18.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on December 19.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone! 

ENTER TO WIN!a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, December 7, 2020

Hellalyle and Hildebrand Book Blast



HELLALYLE AND HILDEBRAND
Tagai Tarutin
Silverwood Books
Medieval Romance

Hellalyle and Hildebrand, were drawn into a relationship engineered by those same unseen forces who had selected her bodyguard; their purpose, to thwart the devil, incarnate in Prinz Paulus, in its attempts to kill the princess.

A downs-syndrome girl of mysterious origins, named Ethla, emerges out of the wildwood. She is taken care of by Princess Hellalyle. and plays a crucial part in the narrative.

The king, while away, learns of the developing relationship between his daughter and the leader of her bodyguard, and feels betrayed by the English knight, and so dispatches his champions – his seven sons, and Paulus – to arrest, and execute Hildebrand, and confine Hellalyle until the king`s return.

The eleven, remaining protectors of the princess, leave the kingdom, believing their contract has been nullified by Thorstiens edict, leaving Hildebrand alone to face Hellalyle`s brothers and step-brother. The Englishman takes the fight to his adversaries, and slaughters all the unfortunate siblings of the princess, except Paulus, who after surrendering to Hildebrand, turns about and treacherously kills him, and then brutally, incarcerates his step-sister.

As these occurrences were unfolding, in another part of the continent, one of her bodyguards, the Teutonic knight, Karl von Altenburg, now living in a monastic order, experiences a vision, informing him of Hellalyle`s plight, and sets out to for Castle Preben.

Meanwhile, in her prison, Hellalyle gives birth to Hildebrand`s son, now sole heir, whom she names Hagen. On a fateful day, Ethla, at the princess’s urging, flees into the wilderness, taking to safety, the infant crown prince, to save him from Prinz Paulus, who, feeling outwitted mortally wounds the princess in revenge.



“A beautiful love story of a medieval knight and a noble princess written by Tagai Tarutin. The book allows us to go back in history and hear more about the exploits of the legendary Hildebrand and his beloved Hellalyle. The book is full of picturesque scenes of the events in Medieval Europe and it gives us the opportunity to immerse in the spirit of those times. It will be a good read for those interested in history, literature and romance…” – Alexandra Suyazova, Teaching Fellow of English, Saint Petersburg, Russia

“A fabulous story that could be easily transformed into a screen version, about a truly romantic relationship beyond any prejudice, driven by pure intentions at the times when the chivalry and nobleness made the difference in survival of a human life.” – Anatoly Leonidovich Rasputin, graduate in English from the University of Linguistics, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.



Amazon → https://amzn.to/3mcbyi3

B&N → https://bit.ly/2TgAJnj






CHAPTER 26

In the great hall, Hellalyle, on hearing the news that her brothers were coming to arrest Hildebrand, pleaded with him to leave. “Hildebrand, you must leave – my father has dispatched my brothers to seize you. Our relationship has set in motion a fait accompli, and now your life is in great danger.”

However, Hildebrand, staring into the fire, was in no mood to listen to her pleading, saying, “Whatever the other knights decide to do, I cannot in all consciousness allow myself to abandon you to an uncertain fate, as I feel responsible for this dire situation.”

Hellalyle, in desperation, pleaded, “Will you, please, be sensible! You cannot defeat eight armed men! Remember, these are my brothers, and at the end of the fight you will lie dead, and so will most of my brethren, and for what end? My family destroyed, and

Prince Hildebrand ignominiously buried in a foreign field, which will be a tragedy for the English nation, and it will not end there, as I feel further calamity awaits those remaining at this fortress.”

“Fate must run its course!” exclaimed the defiant knight, raising his voice. “If you think I will deliver you into the hands of Paulus, you gravely underestimate me. No greater evil walks the land, and he will surely die on the blade of my sword! As for my remains lying beneath the woodland floor, that holds no fear for me, as you have introduced this knight to the beauty of nature, and honour awaits if wild creatures should walk across my grave!”

The soldier’s expose of his inner self prompted Hellalyle to gently grasp his forearm, in a gesture of empathy to his plight, with a pained expression etched on her face. The other bodyguards met to decide on what action to take considering the king’s command, knowing that they must not obstruct. All – save one – agreed that they should depart, convinced their contract with the monarch was severed by these unfortunate events. Von Altenburg, at first, declined to abandon his friend. He was fearful for the safety of the princess, but he eventually conceded, opting to join his comrades in arms.

News of their impending departure reached Hellalyle, who decided to visit them. In a fractured voice, she addressed the company.

“Honoured knights, whom I might almost regard as my brothers and such gallant men, warriors of the Christian church…my heart is about to break. I stand here now imploring you to persuade Hildebrand to leave at once with his fraternal fighters, for if he were to stay, I fear that some tragedy may befall him and my family.”

Her impassioned speech prompted the knight von Streitz to say, “He appears to be deaf to our pleading, Your Highness! What more can we do to sway him?”

Hellalyle, almost in despair, raised her hands to her face and burst into tears. All eleven knights, embarrassed, kept their eyes fixed on the ground before stealing past her prostrate figure, anxious to avoid an uncomfortable situation.

As they rode from the castle, von Altenburg lingered to pay one last visit to Hellalyle and Hildebrand. Entering a chamber, he observed them by the window, Hildebrand pacing up and down, stabbing the floor with his sword, in apparent frustration, the princess standing in sombre contemplation of the densely wooded prospect below. They were all alone as she had sent her staff to the safety of the kitchens. As they turned to face him, von Altenburg became struck by their dramatically altered demeanour. The once-resolute Prince of England now despondent and downcast; and Hellalyle, her face once so radiant now shut down, her eyes that brightly sparkled now eclipsed. She appeared almost lifeless.

 













‘Hellalyle and Hildebrand’ is Tagai Tarutin’s first completed novel.

There are two others of a completely different genre, that lie unfinished, awaiting inspiration.

He has worked most of his life in sales but has always had an interest in Arts and Humanities. Things that are beautiful and appealing play an essential part in his imagination.

Besides travelling in West Europe, he has journeyed to the far South Atlantic, and European Russia, anxious to see parts of the world that are for many mystical destinations on a historical map.

You can visit his website at www.hellalyleandhildebrand.com.




http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The Color of Together Virtual Book Tour

 

A book written with honesty and empathy about things common to us all…

THE COLOR OF TOGETHER:
MIXED METAPHORS OF CONNECTEDNESS

By Milton Brasher-Cunningham




Title: The Color of Together: Mixed Metaphors of Connectedness
Author: Milton Brasher Cunningham
Publisher: Light Messages Publishing
Pages: 160
Genre: Christian Nonfiction

The Color of Together begins with the primary colors of life–grief, grace, and gratitude–and enlarges the palette to talk about the work of art that is our life together in these days. The idea for the book began with understanding that grief is not something we get over or work through, but something we learn to move around in–something that colors our lives. Grace is the other given. Gratitude is the response to both that offers the possibility of both healing and hope.



“Locating ourselves in the adventure of life requires reliable tools for exploration. Milton Brasher-Cunningham gives us finely-tuned metaphorical gyroscopes to navigate our way with God, others and even ourselves. The Color of Together will help us find our place again and again along the way.”  ~ Rev. Dr. George A. Mason, President, Faith Commons, Dallas, Texas.

“In his beautiful new book, Milton Brasher-Cunningham shares arresting thoughts on grief, grace, and gratitude. He claims that we are all shaped by our sorrows and generously tells his own stories of loss. All the while, he leads us toward hope. The Color of Together is both poetic and instructive, relatable and deeply philosophical. It awakened my heart to read this book; I hope it will do the same for you.” –Jennifer Grant, author of A Little Blue Bottle

Amazon → https://amzn.to/30Urxsj

 Barnes & Noble → https://bit.ly/3jZ8OD6




Chapter 1

Sometime after we moved to Boston, Ginger, my wife, signed me up for a watercolor class at the Boston Center for Adult Education. Our first task was to make a color wheel. We set the three primary colors—red, blue, and yellow—equidistant from each other around a circle we had drawn on the paper, and then began mixing them to show the shades it took to move from one to the other. The purples, greens, and oranges that filled in the circle illustrated the relationships between the primaries, which stood in such contrast to one another on their own. Wherever we started on the wheel, there was a connection, a way to get to the other colors.

Color is more than pigment. It is figment as well. For us to see color requires an act of imagination and an understanding of relationship.

One Christmas after the watercolors, Ginger enrolled me in an iconography class at Andover Newton Theological School. I spent over a year learning the spiritual practice from a wonderful man named Christopher Gosey. Before we ever picked up a brush, we learned the vocabulary connected to what we were doing. We were not going to paint the icons, Chris said, we were going to write them.

As one who has learned to play with words more easily than with paint, the verb choice caught me. Good writing is descriptive and evocative. The challenge is to show, not tell; to reveal. Good writing tells a story, takes us on a journey, connects us to something larger.

The “cartoons”—the outlines of the figures we would write—had been passed down for centuries, much like basic plot structures in literature, or the elements of grammar and style.

The point of our work was to be faithful to those who had gone before and to what they had handed down, rather than to try and be original. Our offering was to trace the lines others had made and then color them with pigments we had mixed not so we could worship the icon, but so we could open a “window to heaven” to create a “thin place” for connection to God.

The phrase thin place entered our vocabulary through the earthy spirituality of Celtic Christianity. It describes the places where the border between what is seen and what is unseen becomes permeable. Liminal. Thin. Translucent. Transcendent.

It is a sacred space of disquietude; a turbulent silence where things are still and vibrant in the same moment.

As I sat in the sun-drenched room of the aging building, listening to recordings of Russian church bells, and learning how to write my brush across the blank parchment-covered block etched with the image of Mary, I came to understand more of what Jesus meant when he said, “Lose your life to find it.”

Our paint was almost translucent, by design. We mixed our colors by adding natural pigments to acrylic medium. In ancient days, the pigments were blended with egg yolks. The practice of iconography is more about prayer than painting; the necessary repetition was meditative and focusing. As we laid down the colors, we moved from heavier shades to lighter ones, choreography that held intentional theological significance. The first strokes of the lighter colors on the deep background didn’t seem to have much effect, yet, over time, and with intentional repetition, the colors took hold. The deeper tones became the background—the foundation—for the illuminating presence.

Without the contrast, the light would have had little significance. The base substances from which the pigments came were earthy and natural. The black was made from ashes. Some of the browns were made of dirt or powdered stone. At every level, the experience rubbed heaven and earth against each other like sticks to start a fire.

The work of icon writing is deliberate. To get a color to show up on the icon meant going over each line twenty to forty times. The spiritual practice was to turn the repetition into ritual—a sort of physical prayer. The move from heavier tones to lighter ones felt counterintuitive until I began to see the colors dawn on the icon. We traced images that had been handed down across centuries, much like we repeat rituals in worship. Everything about it was fraught with a sense of connectedness, a new way of seeing who we were in the context of who had come before and who would follow. The whole enterprise was steeped in metaphor.

In his letter to the Ephesian church, Paul wrote, “We are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus for the good works which God has already designated to make up our way of life.”

In a sermon on that verse, Ginger said, “We are dust, which becomes pigment in God’s artwork.” The pigments we used to write icons were made from earthy substances, just as we are.

The Greek word translated as work of art is poiema, which even my spell check knows is the root word of poem. Paul said, “We are God’s work of art.” Not works. Work. Not I. We. Together we become the artwork, handmade pigments illuminated by God’s presence, as it has been from the dawn of creation.

Riding the color metaphor train took me to the field of the philosophy of color, which is as esoteric as it sounds, and perhaps, not a journey everyone wants to make. But I took a trip, nonetheless, as I wondered about grief as a primary color.

Philosophers look at the way humans see color, or whether we actually see color at all. One of the ways of seeing is called color adverbialism, which is to say, we do not see red, as much as we see red-ly. What that means is there is a relationship between the object, the perceiver, and the context—another relational trinity.

The philosopher articulating the theory was not being intentionally metaphorical when she said, “Color vision is as a way of seeing things—flowers, tables, ladybirds—not, in the first instance, a way of seeing the colors.” What I heard her say was the colors we see have to be connected to something or someone for them to be significant.

In 2020, our sense of what it means to be together has been heavily shaded by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have lived in quarantine, without the ability to gather, to hug those we love, to share a meal, to go to a baseball game, or to share a pew at church. I have watched people gather on the Guilford Green
in groups of four or five, separating their lawn chairs to an appropriate distance just to be together. As Zoom has begun to feel like a necessary appliance in our lives, we have found ways to change backgrounds so we are surrounded by palm trees and superheroes in our little square on the screen. We are colored by our losses in ways our world has not known so pervasively for over a century.

Life, however, is a litany of losses in any age: failures, injuries, disappointments, betrayals, missed moments, things done and left undone, deaths, falls, illnesses, fears, lowered expectations. Life is also a compendium of blessings, of things for which we can be thankful: families, ball games, good food, starry nights, first kisses and last ones, friends, sunshine, spring rains, puppies, and pie. And life is an abundance of grace, of those things we stumble into, that find us, that surprise us and ambush us with the reminder of a relentless love that will not let us go. All three are true all the time.

Though we often feel them singularly because of our limitations, one is not there without the others. They are the primary colors we see in the context of relationships, with something or someone, in any moment. When we see grief-ly, grateful-ly, and grace-ly, we can see the color of together.














Milton Brasher-Cunningham was born in Texas, grew up in Africa, and has spent the last thirty years in New England and North Carolina. He is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, and has worked as a high school English teacher, a professional chef, a trainer for Apple, and is now an editor. He is the author of three books, Keeping the Feast: Metaphors for the MealThis Must Be the Place: Reflections on Home, and his latest, The Color of Together.

He loves the Boston Red Sox, his mini schnauzers, handmade music, and feeding people. He lives in Guilford, Connecticut, with Ginger, his wife, and their three Schnauzers. He writes regularly at donteatalone.com.







http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

Monday, November 16, 2020

The Waltz of Devil's Creek Book Blast




THE WALTZ OF DEVIL'S CREEK

Justine Carver
Historical Fiction

Judith Campbell is dying, and she cannot take the painful truth about where her son came from to the grave with her. While on her deathbed in Atlanta, Georgia in 1994, Judith tells him the tragic story of his conception, and which of two men his birth father could be: the young man who professed his love to her, or the pastor who assaulted her.

Set in the Deep South in 1947, The Waltz of Devil's Creek digs into the dark crevices of racism and women's rights during a heated political climate in an era of segregation. Combined with Judith's lack of social stature, and at a time when reporting sexual assault was unheard of, every injustice is stacked against her from the very beginning.

But there is a light in Judith's young life: her best friend, Joseph Bird, who has loved her since childhood. Joseph stands up for Judith when no one else will and proves that even in the darkest of times, a light is always burning.

 


Amazon:

https://amzn.to/3d1J3Ax

Link to book on B&N:

https://bit.ly/2I5rVhX

Link to book on Kobo:

https://bit.ly/3lhAIvb

 



“But Mrs. Bird,” I said, looking over at her, “God don’t want people like Pastor Allman.”

She just looked at me for a moment, and then a smile slowly lit up her eyes again.

“YOU COME ON OUT HERE BIRD!”

The voice snapped Mrs. Bird and me from our moment, our heads simultaneously jerking toward the living room.

When we heard Joseph’s feet stomping against the floor as he ran down the hallway, Mrs. Bird and I dropped the dishtowel and the plate and hurried out of the kitchen.

“YOU GET YER DUMB ASS OUT HERE!” a second voice shouted, “OR WE’RE COMIN’ IN TO GET YOU!”

“That’s the Woodson brothers,” I told Joseph’s momma.

“Don’t you go out there,” she warned him as he thrust his big feet into his shoes. “I mean it, Joseph, don’t you go out that door!”

He flung the front door open anyway, and before he could step outside, the Woodson brothers jumped on him in the doorway.

“Joseph!” I screamed.

“Get out of my house!” his momma shrieked.

The whole house shook as the three fought; a small table underneath the window beside the door fell over, shattering the flower vase atop it; fists swung and legs kicked, and cuss words flew.

“You little piece of shit, you burned up my truck!” said the blonde-haired brother.

“I’m gonna kick your nuts right up yer throat!” said the brown-haired one. “What tha hell were you thinkin’ boy?!” Thwap! When his fist pulled back, his knuckles glistened with Joseph’s blood.

“Let go of him! Let go! Let gooo!” I dug all ten of my fingernails into the blonde’s arm, trying to stop him from pulling Joseph out of the house.

His momma was on the other side, screaming as she worked, unsuccessfully, to beat them off with a broom. The blonde shoved me away, and I fell onto my butt on the porch as they dragged Joseph down the steps and into the front yard.

“Don’t you touch my son!” Mrs. Bird roared, and the broom came down hard on the brown-haired one’s back.

He whirled around, seemingly unfazed by the blow, and yanked the broom from her hands and tossed it.

They nearly beat Joseph unconscious.

Mrs. Bird ran next door and called Sheriff Woodson, but he never showed; he’d stayed out of all the incidents between Joseph and his sons. But Joseph wouldn’t have had it any other way.

 






 
 



Justine Carver was born and raised in the Southern United States on a heavy dose of creek-wading, lightning-bug-catching, and Saturday morning cartoons. She is a full-time writer, all-the-time reader, and every now and then, she pulls her head out of the clouds long enough to remember how much better it is up there.

 


Website: https://justinecarver.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/author_justine_carver/




 
 
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