My Books!

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The Democratization of the Private Market


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Carine Schneider will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Facebook, Uber, Robinhood: all were private companies at some point. Historically, there has been no way for investors to easily buy and sell shares in private companies. With the introduction of blockchain technology, digital securities, and decentralized financial solutions, the ability to grow the private market is on the horizon. Regulators around the world are rushing to catch up and understand how to protect investors who want to participate in this market. This book reviews the regulatory, technical, and societal challenges to open this asset class to more investors in the future.

Read an Excerpt

In order to understand more about the market place to sell shares, I spoke with Brian Smith, formerly a wealth management adviser with Morgan Stanley who is presently the CEO of RedCrow and The MainStage. He says: When asked, “Shouldn’t everyone be given a chance to invest?” I believe financial advisers certainly need to be educated and aware of these opportunities in order to support and help their clients. Like any traditional asset allocation and portfolio management, depending on your time horizon as an investor, and your risk tolerance, there are percentages within a portfolio that makes sense for different types of investors to be investing in the private equity world. One thing that makes it a little bit more exciting is that there’s so much to invest in, in all different fields. So, if you’re a doctor and you like healthcare innovation, then maybe you could have the ability to invest in companies like those found on the RedCrow platform. If you’re somebody who made a lot of your wealth and money from real estate, and you understand that world, then maybe there’s a real estate platform where you can get involved with some early investments in some different properties. Everybody has to be accredited to be able to invest in the companies that are on RedCrow. However, we just recently started adding Reg CF deals. So, what we’re doing now is helping to co-promote these investment opportunities, where the non-accredited investors within the Red Crow ecosystem can come to RedCrow, see the tile on these Reg CF deals, and when they click the tile, it’ll bring them directly to either Republic or WeFunder where they can go and invest as far as the deals we oversee. Private company liquidity is super important. I don’t want to see bad companies out there trading on a secondary market, and they’re just people trying to flip out of their stock because they realize it’s not going anywhere. So, I think that’s going to take some more regulations. I’m starting to see some organizations out there that are trying to be like a Morningstar for private companies and give them a rating. And I think those can only help in the curation of what a good deal is.”

About the Author:
Carine Schneider, FGE (Fellow of Global Equity) is an experienced and well-connected leader in the private market and global compensation industry with deep experience working in consulting, technology, and financial services. She is the President of AST Private Company Solutions (AST PCS). She was named one of the 100 Influential Women in Silicon Valley by the Silicon Valley Business Journal and one of 17 “Women to Watch” in 2017 by Brown Brothers Harriman Center on Women and Wealth. Carine was formerly the President, Nasdaq Private Market and has been the founder and CEO of Global Shares, CEO of Certent, and Partner at PwC. She has also held senior level positions at Morgan Stanley and Willis Towers Watson. She was the founding Executive Director of the National Association of Stock Plan Professionals (NASPP) and founded the nonprofit Global Equity Organization (GEO) where she is now Chair Emeritus, after serving as Chair for eighteen years. She 103 started her career as Manager of Shareholder Relations at Oracle Corporation where she assisted in the IPO. Ms. Schneider was born in The Netherlands and received her degree in psychology and sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is a frequent speaker at conferences around the world, including at President Obama’s 2016 Global Entrepreneurial Summit, and has authored various articles and chapters in industry publications. She currently serves as a member of the Board of Professional Business Women of California (PBWC). In 2019, she received the UK ProShare Award for Service to Employee Share Ownership.

Amazon Author Page


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thorn of Secrets

Thorn of Secrets

(My Darkest Secret Book 2)

by B. Truly


GENRE: YA, Romance (urban)



In love with the same face that haunts me….

The falling leaves of autumn are like the deceit in my family lineage. Closing the door on the infinite cold—winter blossoms into the spring of new beginnings. In the next season of my life, I’m mending the pieces back together. Opening myself up, I even begin to date, which is a big step for me.

After graduating from high school, a shocking development causes me to be on alert. When nothing comes of it, I move forward, wanting desperately to put the past behind me.

About to start college, I bump into someone from my complicated past, and my heart is torn. The dilemma I struggle with: Do I let other people’s opinion define who I am? I must decide if I’ll push through the ridicule and pave my own path. Could the face that’s scorned me be the key to my resolve? I’ll never know if I take the easy way out.

I’ve unlocked my darkest secret only to have it return to torment me. As the thorns of his obsession encompass me, I discover I’m part of a twisted ploy. If I don’t figure a way out of this predicament, then the life I’ve known may cease to exist.

Don’t miss the riveting sequel to Madison’s story that will have you dangling on the edge of your seat.



Whirlwind Cyclone

A thunderous rumble jolts me awake. I blink in the darkness, wondering what the awful noise is outside. Another blaring sound pierces the air, causing the hair on the back of my neck to rise.

Is that an ambulance?

I cover my ears, hoping to dampen the onslaught of sound. As I gather my bearings, I remember we’re in the middle of a hurricane. On the dirty side, to be exact, and the roaring is not a good sign. Justin slept in the game room with me. The ear-splitting howl snaps him awake.

“What are those sounds?” I ask, my voice elevating.

Justin’s eyes widen as he scurries from the sofa over to the window. I doubt he can see much with the blackout. The only light in the room is from the kerosene lamp.

“I can hardly make out anything.” Justin confirms what I thought. “But something seems to be coming towards us quickly. I … think it’s a tornado.”

“What?” I hop off the sofa, quick, fast, and in a hurry. “Please tell me you’re joking?” From the look on his face, he’s not. The wind is whipping so hard, I fear the windows will break at any second. The booming roar sounds like a freight train about to run straight through the house. That’s the best way to describe the hideous noise.

Jackson races down the hall with Tanya on his heels. “What the hell is that?” he asks.

“More than likely a tornado and the blaring noise is probably the warning alarms. We need to get to the half-bath downstairs!” Justin shouts.

It’s becoming difficult to hear anything but the roar as it moves closer.

“You don’t have to tell me twice.” Jackson takes the stairs two at a time.

Tanya is right behind him. Justin pulls my arm to follow. He is going so fast it’s hard to keep up. Halfway down, my toe smacks a step wrong, and I trip, colliding into him. The force of me bumping into Justin causes him to lose his balance. We tumble the rest of the way down the stairs, landing with a thud.

Tanya halts on the end of the staircase. “You’re such a klutz.”

I’m too dazed for a comeback. Justin’s weight is crushing me.

He scrambles off. “You okay?”

“I’ll be fine.”

The power of the wind beating against the windows becomes too much—two of them shatter. Glass explodes everywhere. Justin uses his body as a shield, keeping the invading glass from hitting me. Tanya screams bloody murder.

Jackson shouts from down the hall. “Move your asses, people!”

Justin ushers me in that direction quickly. As I move, I notice putting weight on my right foot is painful. It gives out against my will, then I’m hobbling.

Tanya rushes into the half-bath. Justin stops and scoops me up, carrying me the rest of the way, making me feel like a helpless child. It’s more than humiliating. We huddle in the half-bath. The room doesn’t have windows, thank goodness. Since the house doesn’t have a basement, this makes the half-bath the safest spot.

A flashlight propped up on the counter is our only source of light. Jackson’s forehead is wrinkled. Tanya is sitting on the toilet with the lid closed with her arms wrapped around herself. Justin is near me as I crouch in the corner, shivering uncontrollably. The house feels like an earthquake has gotten a hold of it—shaking under the wrath of the cyclone.

My heart is slamming against my ribcage. The sound blends in with the rumbling of the foundation. With the expressions on the others’ faces, I’m not imagining it. The tornado is right on top of us, and I’m certain the house is inside of it. For a couple of seconds, all sound seems to cease. The vroom of the monster is muted.

“Is it gone?” Tanya wonders.

My senses are waving red flags. The cyclone is nowhere near done. It’s only getting started. My intuition is confirmed when the roaring picks up again and, to my disbelief, is even louder. The theory about the eye is wrong. The center of the storm is not peaceful, only a momentary calm before the beast unleashes its full wrath. The wind is so ferocious, it takes everything in me not to cry.

Tanya lets out her fear. “Why is the house shaking? Why is it so loud?”

A moment later, it becomes clear why the house is trembling. It has been defeated and can no longer stay rooted. The roof cracks open. The cracks spread quickly, like worker ants determined to snag a meal, and then the roof rips off completely.

“Ah, hell!” Jackson yells.

Tanya is screaming at the top of her lungs. I move closer to Justin, and he hugs me tightly. Did I think the wind was strong before? It was nothing compared to how mighty it is with the roof gone. All I can do is stare into the blackness of the torrent above us. I assume it’s similar to glimpsing into a black hole. The darkness whirls rapidly with specks of dark gray within its mass. The horrific rumbling emerging from the cyclone lets us know that it wants us to be terrified of its presence. It’s hard not to submit to the terror that’s threatening to consume me. The force of the wind causes us to lose our footing. My eyes grow large. This monster is going to suck us up whole.

“Grab onto something!” Justin shouts.

Jackson has the counter in a death grip, and Tanya is holding the toilet for dear life. Justin and I grab onto the towel rack—the only other bolted thing in the room. It’s nowhere near as sturdy as the counter or toilet, proving this by tearing from the wall. Both of us begin to lift from the ground.

This can’t be happening!

Using his strength, Justin pushes me toward Jackson. I can’t figure out his intentions until Jackson is holding me against him and Justin continues to lift in the air. Jackson is able to keep us grounded by clutching the counter. Poor Justin must suffer the consequences.

Reaching out, I grab hold of Justin’s arms. His body is literally dangling in the air—feet first. “Don’t let go!” I shout.

The strength of the wind yanks me and Jackson forward. I’m gripping Justin’s arms and Jackson is holding onto me. My grasp on Justin is slipping, and he grunts.

“Hang on, bro!” Jackson yells.

There’s not much Jackson can do. He’s holding onto the counter with one hand—me with the other. I wish Tanya would help us. Her entire body is curled over the toilet with her eyes squeezed shut. If she would only grab his other hand, we might have a chance.

“Tanya, take Justin’s hand!” I urge.

She refuses to move or even acknowledge us—totally useless. The pressure from the fierce wind seems to be sucking the life from us. My hair is whipping all around my face. The toilet paper dispenser is ripped from the wall, then up, up, up, and away it goes. The doors to the cabinet come unhinged. All the items inside follow the same path—sucked up by the cyclone.

My grip on Justin falters. Panic sets in when I think of his fate. “I’m losing him!”

“Madison, it’s no use. Let me go before you’re taken with me.” Justin somehow manages to sound calm.

“I’m not letting you go. You’re too important to me. Don’t give up!”

Jackson manages to give me some leeway and I get a better grip of his hand. The beast howls—almost as if it is playing with us. What happens next is straight out of a horror flick. An eldritch black hand, appearing to be made of smoke, reaches down from the spinning mass above. It assails Justin, wrapping around his waist. At first, I think I’m hallucinating, and then the others validate what I’m seeing. Justin’s eyes dilate, staring at the black cloud that has him in its grasp.

“What the hell is that thing?” Jackson’s voice raises an octave.

I haven’t the slightest clue. This shouldn’t be possible. Tornadoes are known for sucking up things even as big as an eighteen-wheeler. But they can’t actually reach down like a person and capture their victim. Yet, that’s exactly what’s occurring. We have a tug of war for a moment, then it’s evident the monster was only toying with us before. With a strength ten times as strong, the eldritch hand yanks Justin away so forcefully, we never stood a chance.

“Justin!” I scream. “Oh, God, it took him!”

I want to close my eyes because the image is too horrifying to watch—Justin being swept into the dark vortex above. An unknown force is keeping my eyes pried open. Justin’s body gets smaller and smaller until his figure perishes completely. My chest contracts. Unable to stomach the reality that Justin was taken away from me, I close my eyes. When I do, I jounce awake.

It takes me a moment to realize I had a horrible nightmare. My heart is pounding. Taking deep breaths, I try to calm my erratic heartbeat. This night terror is different from the ones I’d endured over the summer. Once I’d let my darkest secret come to light, they had eased up. Looks like my truce with night horrors is up, transitioning into another form of terror. I don’t know which one is worse. I understand where this nightmare stemmed from—it’s a representation of my emotions. Experiencing Hurricane Harvey had been traumatic enough. I’m not surprised my brain used the experience, turning it much worse by preying on the new torment that haunts me.

Saying goodbye to Justin a month before had been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. The dream is a reminder of the pain I feel. Inside my heart is a dull ache—one which I’m not sure will go away. Sighing, I attempt to take comfort in the fact that Justin will still be in my life. Our parents planning to get married assures we will. Unfortunately, their marriage only complicates the situation. Justin will be my stepbrother, and I shouldn’t feel this way about a stepsibling.

Even if we weren’t going to be stepsiblings, the other dilemma is that Justin wears his face. The source from which my problems arise. When I look into Justin’s eyes, I see two people—the boy I love and the one I despise. Talk about a dung-show. It doesn’t get more complicated than this.

If I could only get over Justin. My heart wants a break from the constant struggle of lost love. I sound like a sad song. It’s time I write my own lyrics. Only, I have no clue of how to make these feelings disappear. Some people’s advice would be to date someone else. Isn’t the saying, the second will make you forget the first? It’s just my luck that dating someone else presents another dilemma I’m dealing with.

What happened to me that night has messed up my mind. The thought of being intimate makes me cringe. Maybe if it were with someone who didn’t wear the same face as my tormenter, I could make progress.

My cell buzzing stirs me from my reverie. Glancing at the time I see it’s 9 am. The screen reads, Ms. Jamilah Driver, the lawyer who has helped me unlock the door to my darkest secret.

“Good morning, Ms. Driver.”

“Morning, Madison. Sorry to wake you.”

“It’s okay. I was having a bad dream anyway.”

“I’m your legal advisor, but I’m also the church counselor. I talk to people your age all the time about whatever problems they have. I’d be more than happy to lend you an ear.”

“You think discussing it will help my nightmares?”

“I do. I assume your bad dreams revolve around the predicament you’ve been in. I believe talking helps to work through the issues. The end goal is to get to a peaceful place.”

“My grandma has advised for me to speak with a professional.”

“Sounds like great advice. I’m hear if you want to unload.”

Ms. Driver has helped me so much. Maybe going more in depth will stop my night terrors. There must be other underlining issues if my dreams have festered from harassment to Justin being torn away from me. One torment into another—something has to give. I don’t want to burden her with my dilemma now, though. She must have called this early for a reason.

Ms. Driver reads my mind. “Just think about it, but I called to tell you that your DNA tests have come back. We now have proof of who the father of your child is.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

B. Truly has wanted to be an author since she was fifteen years old. She is grateful to have accomplished this dream. B. Truly has very vivid dreams and a wild imagination. She likes to read, watch tons of TV shows, and movies. She’s addicted to romance and gets a thrill out of suspense and sci-fi. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult romance, sci-fi, dystopian, and paranormal genres.


B. Truly likes to explore conflicted plots of romance with thrilling twists. She also loves creating impossible situations for her characters to grow from and try to overcome.


B. Truly has three wonderful children, and a husband who defines the person that she is today. She works full-time as an Ultrasound technologist in Houston, Texas.

Contact Links:




B. Truly will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 24, 2022

The Case of the Missing Botticelli


The Case of the Missing Botticelli

by Marilyn Baron




GENRE:   Cozy Mystery/Contemporary/Suspense






In this cozy mystery, American art history major Hadley Evans joins an art detective agency in Florence, Italy, working for Massimo Domingo, once a major player, now the Inspector Clouseau of the art world.

Determined to save the flailing agency and prove her worth, Hadley and her sexy carabiniere boyfriend, Luca Ferrari, take on a mysterious client behind her boss's back. While hot on the trail of a missing masterpiece, they discover a hidden cache of stolen Nazi art in a Venetian villa and encounter a dangerous enemy with a link to an evil past.






Hadley wrote down the phone number, and her jaw went slack when she heard and inscribed the rest of the message. 


“Tell him it’s about a missing Botticelli. It’s urgent.” A shot of adrenalin coursed through Hadley’s veins. Sandro Botticelli. Her favorite artist in the whole world. Creator of the Italian masterpiece, Nascita di Venere, The Birth of Venus, the ancient Goddess of Love, dated circa 1484. She wasn’t aware a Botticelli painting was missing. “Is there any additional information you can give me? The name of the painting? The provenance? Capito. I understand the need for utmost secrecy. We can set up a meeting, and I’ll make sure Signore Domingo will be there.” She jotted down some more notes. “Piazzale Michelangelo? At sunset?” 


Hadley tilted her head and chewed on her bottom lip. That was a strange destination for a business meeting. Although it offered the most scenic view of the city, perched atop a hillside overlooking Florence, meeting at a park after dark was reminiscent of a murder scene in a film noir. Where the heroine, Hadley, would later be found, dead, her virtue compromised and her throat slit. She would have to get Luca to drive her up on his motorcycle and stay out of sight while she conducted her business. Was the female caller from a museum? A high-end gallery? An auction house? Was she an art or antiquities dealer, or a wealthy private individual, or was she representing a government agency? And, if so, which government? Enemy or ally? She would soon find out.

My Review:

I enjoyed reading this story. Hadley, the heroine, is determined and resourceful, but she did have the good sense to call in help when she needed it. Her boyfriend who is a policeman seemed devoted to her even though I did question some of his actions. 

I liked the connection to World War II and the way that the past and present were so intertwined. I also liked that at least one of the characters wasn't exactly who he/she seemed.  Hadley showed great resourcefulness in tracking down a missing masterpiece and proved herself to everyone, especially her boss. 

The book was very well written with no obvious mistakes to mar the story. It was a cozy mystery, but the book had elements of suspense as well. All in all it was a nice way to spend a few hours. 






AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Marilyn Baron writes in a variety of genres from women’s fiction to historical romantic thrillers and romantic suspense to paranormal/fantasy. She’s received writing awards in Single Title, Suspense Romance, Novel with Strong Romantic Elements and Paranormal/Fantasy Romance. She was also The Finalist in the 2017 Georgia Author of the Year Awards (GAYA) in the Romance Category for her novel, Stumble Stones, and The Finalist for the 2018 GAYA Awards in the Romance category for her novel, The Alibi. Her latest novel, The Case of the Missing Botticelli: A Massimo Domingo Mystery, released January 24, 2022, is her 28th work of fiction. A public relations consultant in Atlanta, Marilyn is past chair of Roswell Reads and serves on the Atlanta Authors Series Committee. To find out more about what Marilyn writes, visit her website at:


Marilyn Baron Social Media Links:



Personal Facebook Page: Author Facebook Page:

Amazon Author Page:



Instagram: Marilyn Baron (@marilyn.baron.5) 

Pinterest: (1230) Pinterest






Marilyn Baron will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.



a Rafflecopter giveaway