My Books!

Monday, January 31, 2022

Undoing Time


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Rachel Dacus will be awarding a $20 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.

Liv Pomeroy’s high hopes and lavish lifestyle come horribly undone when her fiancĂ© runs off with her maid of honor. Swearing off love forever, she goes on a summer escape to Florence, Italy. Agreeing to help her cousin May raise funds for an art restoration project, Liv is astonished to find they share a genetic gift for undoing time. Soon she’s joining a team of time travelers who rescue history from those who would change it. And fighting her attraction to a sexy time traveling colleague, who just might turn out to be working for the wrong side in the American Revolution. A thrilling tale of time travel, romance, and espionage.

Read an Excerpt

The announcement of another flight jolted her back into the present. It wasn’t her flight. She relaxed again into her seat and put her feet up on her carry-on.

In her pocket, her phone buzzed and Liv pulled it out. Seeing the name, she hesitated, but with a sigh swiped it open. The familiar voice that was synonymous with nagging trilled in her ear.

Her mom’s insistent soprano told her, “You don’t have to do this, Olivia.“

“But I do, Mother. You know Dad agrees with my going to Italy. He even set it up.”

“Flying off to another country isn’t going to bring Joel back to you.“

She tried not to shout at her phone. “Why would I want that asshole back!”

“Language, Olivia.”

But Liv was beyond parsing words. “If Joel comes back, they’ll arrest me for murder. Because I’ll kill him.”

“It’s a good thing you work in an art museum, around all those temperamental artists, where no one will notice your emotionalism.”

“I’m emotional because my almost-husband treated me like a piece of furniture. And my best friend helped him.”

“Olivia, you’re being impulsive.”

Liv realized she was again in danger of murder. Double or triple murder. First Joel, then her mother. Maybe Rita too. Good thing they were on the phone.

“Mom, I need to do something that matters.”

“Your life matters to us.”

It was Liv’s turn to pause. Because it echoed what Joel had said after she threw the ring. “You’ll never have the guts to make your life matter, Liv.”

She was done. “OK, Mom. They’re boarding. Gotta go.“ They weren’t, but this conversation had to end.

“Just remember Liv. Family is everything.”

Liv pretended to have already hung up before hearing that. She sank back into her chair and closed her eyes, letting the airport noise wash over her.

A few minutes later, an amplified voice rose over the hubbub. ”Flight 564 for Florence, Italy, boarding in fifteen minutes through Gate 17.”

Liv had just enough time to pop into the future and see this flight land safely. Florence Airport, 2:30 pm, she whispered. A familiar feeling tingled in her cells as time’s curtains parted. Heat rose from the concrete as Liv stood on the runway watching the plane—the plane she would soon board—as it bounced down and skidded to a stop, then taxied to its gate in the Florence airport.

Reassured, she jumped back, ready to board. Liv called her little trick undoing time.

About the Author:
RACHEL DACUS writes about history, love, romance, and art – usually with a touch of the supernatural. If time travel were possible, she’d hop over to Renaissance Rome, and then check out how the American Revolutionary War is going, and maybe visit an 18th century London artist’s studio. A poet and novelist, Dacus has published four novels and four poetry collections. When not writing, she listens to music, new and old, from indie and progressive rock to classical and jazz. Once a dancer, she’s now an avid walker, often twice a day -- once for the Muse and once for the world’s liveliest Silky Terrier. She blogs about the writing life and has collected a wealth of writing and publishing resources.



Saturday, January 29, 2022

Saturday Sample and Weekend Writing Warriors

Saturday Sample and Weekend Writing Warriors

 Today I'm continuing with my current WIP. There's nothing much to tell you about the book yet because you've already heard most of what I have written so far. On Sunday when you finish here, you can go to www.wewriwa.blogspot to find more excerpts from a talented group of authors.

Last week:

She froze and looked so stiff he feared she’d shatter if he touched her. “The woman died of cancer three weeks ago. Her parents are too old to keep the boy, so they called me to see if I wanted him.” 

Horror washed over her face. She knew what he was going to say. 

He drew a deep breath and said it. “I can’t let my son be adopted by strangers. I’m going back to Washington on Thursday to pick him up. “

Nodding, she tripped over her own feet in her hurry to get away from him. “Wait,” he begged. He wasn’t a man who begged, but he’d do it now and be happy for the chance. “I’m sorry. So sorry. I’ve never done a thing like that before or since, and if there was any way to undo it I would. I love you more than my own life, and I betrayed you. That hurts me almost as much as it’s hurt you. You’re my whole world, and I’ve torn your heart out.” His hands fisted. “But even for you I can’t give him up.”

This week's excerpt:

“I never thought you would.”

He reached for her hand and was surprised when she let him take it. “Everything will be fine if you’ll just give it a chance,” he pleaded. “I love you and the boys. Nothing’s changed, and Eric will need a mother as well as a father. Even if you’re mad at me can you find it in your heart to be nice to him? He’s only five years old. He doesn’t understand any of this.”

“Of course.”

She wasn’t listening to him, not now. The vacant expression in her eyes gave her away. Tentatively, he slipped his arms around her, but it was like hugging a beautiful, cold statue. The animation and warmth he’d always felt from her had vanished as if it had never been. It was stupid, but he had to feel her arms around him. “Hold me,” he muttered. When she made no move to hug him, he placed her arms around his waist. She left them there, but she didn’t hold him.

Friday, January 28, 2022



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Darcy Burke will be awarding an ebook copy of book 1 of the Phoenix Club series, IMPROPER, to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

If Bennet St. James, the Viscount Glastonbury, doesn’t find a bride with a sizeable dowry, he’ll be in the poorhouse along with his interminable number of female relatives—all of whom he loves but are a drain on the negative fortune his father left when he died of a broken pocketbook. Desperate, he hatches a scheme to snare an heiress only to be foiled by a most vexing and alluring—and unfortunately equally destitute—paid companion.

Lady’s companion Prudence Lancaster is single-minded about finding her mother and filling in the missing pieces of her life. But a villainous viscount interrupts her plans, and his surprising charm and understanding tempts her in the most indecent ways. Soon, she’s dreaming of the future instead of wallowing in the past.

But when Bennet shares a dark secret, her hopes are dashed. For he won’t break the promise he made to his family, even if it means losing the greatest love he’s ever known.

Read an Excerpt

“What will you do after you return me to London? Do you plan to stay for the rest of the Season?”

“If you’re wondering whether I’ll slink back to Somerset with my tail between my legs, the answer is no. I do need to go home to check on things, but hopefully, I’ll find an heiress first.” He lifted a shoulder. “Someone will want to marry a viscount. At least I have a title to sell.”

She frowned gently, her lush lips pulling down. Lush? He ought not characterize her in such a way. She was not for him to lust after. Still, it was difficult to ignore her beauty.

“You can’t marry for love, then,” she said matter-of-factly.

He gave a humorless laugh. “I haven’t the luxury of that, I’m afraid. I will hope to marry someone I like and admire.”

“I can understand. Love is a luxury, isn’t it?”

“Why do you say that?” He found her to be rather enigmatic. She was very stiff, save her bouts of pique, which he’d thoroughly earned.

“Love brings obligations and…messiness,” she said offhandedly. “I’m alone now, and it’s far more convenient—financially, emotionally, in all ways, really.”

He couldn’t argue that love was untidy. He had only to think of his family. They loved one another dearly, even his father, but there were plenty of other messy, complicated emotions and situations. “You’ve no desire to fall in love? To marry?”


About the Author:
Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy, emotional historical and contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily ever after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations.

A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, artist daughter, and imaginative son who will almost certainly out-write her one day (that may be tomorrow).

They’re a crazy cat family with two Bengal cats, a small, fame-seeking cat named after a fruit, an older rescue Maine Coon with attitude to spare, and a collection of neighbor cats who hang out on the deck and occasionally venture inside. You can find Darcy at a winery, in her comfy writing chair, or binge-watching TV with the family.

Her happy places are Disneyland, Labor Day weekend at the Gorge, Denmark, and anywhere in the UK—so long as her family is there too.

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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Going, Going, Dead

                                                          Going, Going, Dead

by Kirsten Weiss




GENRE: Cozy mystery






At an auction, competition can be deadly...


When Maddie attends an estate auction of artifacts from America’s spiritualist era, it’s just another day in the life of a paranormal museum owner…. Until she discovers the body of the murdered auctioneer.


Her mother is convinced the murderer is after a mysterious statuette that once belonged to the town’s Ladies Aid Society. With the holidays approaching, Maddie and friends dive into the mad world of obsessive collectors to find the missing statuette… and a killer.


Maddie tracks her suspects through a secluded gothic estate, in the wineries of Central California, and along the streets of small-town San Benedetto. But this clever criminal is determined to win at all costs. Will the killer use Maddie’s friends as the ultimate weapon against her?


If you love laugh-out-loud mysteries, witty heroines, quirky cats, and a touch of the paranormal, you’ll love Going, Going, Dead, book 6 in the Paranormal Museum mystery series. Read this twisty cozy mystery today!







If the mansion had been open to the public, my museum would have gone bust. 


I turned, gawping at the colorful spirit boards covering its dining room walls. A glass cabinet displayed planchettes and other tools of the medium’s trade. The gothic home was amazing and unnerving and had loads more artifacts than my paranormal museum.


But the late owner’s hermit-like nature had been my museum’s gain. Few knew or had seen the mysteries within his creeptastic mansion. Bwahaha…


“I cannot believe you could be so ungrateful.” My paranormal collector, Herb, glared up at me. Light from the dusty chandelier glinted off his coke-bottle glasses. His narrow chin quivered.


“I’m not ungrateful,” I said. “I just wanted to come to the auction.” Sheesh. I raked my hands through my brown hair, then tied it into a loose knot. “I mean, it’s so close to San Benedetto.”


The older man’s eyes narrowed. “What are you really here for, Madelyn?” He said my name like my mother might on a bad day—a bad day for me.


“The catalog says they’re selling a vintage Zoltan fortune telling machine. It’s not cursed or anything,” I said. “So, I didn’t think you’d—”


“I knew it would come to this.” A chill draft stirred his wispy hair and raised goosebumps on my skin. “You’re trying to chisel me out of my commission.”


“No.” Okay, yes. “You specialize in paranormal objects. The Zoltan isn’t paranormal. It’s just cool.” 


It wasn’t as big or impressive as the Zoltar machine from the movie Big. But that was a feature, not a bug. My museum was getting cramped, and it needed new exhibits to bring people in.






AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Kirsten Weiss writes laugh-out-loud, page-turning mysteries. Her heroines aren’t perfect, but they’re smart, they struggle, and they succeed. Kirsten writes in a house high on a hill in the Colorado woods and occasionally ventures out for wine and chocolate. Or for a visit to the local pie shop. Kirsten is best known for her Wits’ End, Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum, and Tea & Tarot cozy mystery books. So if you like funny, action-packed mysteries with complicated heroines, just turn the page…


Buy Links:




Apple Books:


Barnes & Noble: 


Google Play:





Other links:



Instagram: @KirstenWeissAuthor


Twitter: @kirstenweiss







Kirsten Weiss will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.



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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Oy Vey, Maria!


Oy Vey, Maria!

by Mark Reutlinger




GENRE: Cozy Mystery






Rose Kaplan and her sidekick Ida are at it again. It’s the holiday of Purim, and almost everyone at the Julius and Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors is in costume for the Purim play. All except one, who will instead have to be fitted for a shroud. Once again, “Mrs. K” and Ida are called upon to solve the puzzle of a mysterious death at the Home. Described by Chanticleer Book Reviews as “at times more Lucy and Ethel than Holmes and Watson, with a soupcon of Miss Jane Marple,” these geriatric amateur sleuths will keep you laughing, guessing, and maybe even learning a bissel Yiddish!





I picked up one of the nickels from the tray and put it in the slot and pulled the handle again. 


Nothing happened, of course, and just as I was about to do the same with the next nickel, I turned around and saw Mrs. K and Sara staring at me. I felt as if I’d been caught with my hand in the cookie jar. And at my age!


Suddenly Sara burst out laughing. “Auntie Ida, I didn’t know you were a gambler. Maybe I shouldn’t have brought you here. I hate to interrupt you when you’re winning,” she said looking at the tray with the nickels in it, “but we have to go.”


I started to explain that I wasn’t gambling and had just sat down for a rest, but neither Sara nor Mrs. K looked like they believed me. 


“You know,” Mrs. K said to Sara, “I think this gambling habit is contagious. Already Ida has caught it. We should leave before we’re all standing in front of those machines losing our money.”


Mrs. K took me by the arm and helped me up.


“But don’t forget your winnings, Ida,” she said, scooping out the remaining nickels from the tray. “Gambling may be a bad habit, but a nickel is still a nickel.”


And so did my gambling career both begin and end in a five-minute period. 


From now on, I decided, a game of dreidel with my grandchildren at Chanukah will be my only vice.

My Review:

Oy Vey, Maria! is a cozy mystery set in an retirement home for Jewish people. Almost immediately I realized that our main characters were like Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Mrs, Kaplan had helped the police solve murders more than once, and her exploits were recorded by Ida, her good friend from whose point of view the story is told. It pleased me for our main characters to be older ladies. In our culture, older people often don't get the respect they deserve. 

It would be hard not to like Mrs. K. and Ida. They're funny, smart, and determined, and they know almost everything that goes on in the home. They also throw around some Jewish words that Ida translates for the reader. 

They are recruited to help prove the innocence of the man accused of murder, the man the police think is guilty. There is a lot of evidence against him, but Mrs. K. and Ida won't rest until they learn the real truth. It was interesting to see how they went about gathering evidence. They aren't policemen so they do some things the police probably couldn't do. It made the story interesting.

I enjoyed the book very much. It's well written with no obvious errors to mar the story. If you're a fan of cozy mysteries I think you'd like this one.





AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Mark Reutlinger, professor of law emeritus at Seattle University, is the author of the “Mrs. Kaplan” cozy mystery series (of which Oy Vey, Maria! is the third installment) and the caper mystery Murder with Strings Attached, as well as the political thrillers Made in China and Sister-in-Law: Violation, Seduction, and the President of the United States. Mark and his wife, Analee, live in University Place, Washington.


Buy Links for Oy Vey, Maria!



Twitter: @markreutlinger






Mark Reutlinger will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


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 Intentional: How to Live, Love, Work and Play Meaningfully

by David Amerland




GENRE: Non-fiction/smart book






Live your life the way you want to. Manage stress better. Be more resilient and enjoy meaningful relationships and better health. We all want that. Such life leads to better choices, better jobs, loving romantic partners, more rewarding careers and decisions that are fully aligned with our aims.


What stops us from getting all that is the complexity of our brain and the complicated way in which the external world comes together. The misalignment between the internal states we experience and the external circumstances we encounter often leads to confusion, a lack of clarity in our thinking and actions that are not consistent with our professed values.


Intentional is a gameplan. It helps us connect the pieces of our mind to the pieces of our life. It shows us how to map what we feel to what has caused those feelings, understand what affects us and what effects it has on us and determine what we want, why we want it and what we need to do to get it.


When we know what to do, we know how to behave. When we know how to behave we know how to act. When we know how to act, we know how to live. Our actions, each day, become our lives. Drawn from the latest research from the fields of neuroscience, behavioral and social psychology and evolutionary anthropology, Intentional shows you how to add meaning to your actions and lead a meaningful, happier, more fulfilling life on your terms.






Whether we realize it or not, we all feel the need for this kind of guidance that gives us a deep sense of purpose. Because we are born physically helpless we have evolved to latch onto and work hard to understand our immediate environment and the people around us. This makes us, as we grow older, intensely pro-social. At the same time it provides us with a ready-made set of expectations, rules and guidelines to guide our behavior that arise from the collective behavior of those around us.


That behavior is the culture we experience and the traditions we abide by. The problem with this is that rather than defining for ourselves what is important to us we accept that which is given to us. That which is given to us is rarely what we want, but it can very easily become what we settle for.


Settling is an evolutionary-programmed trait. Let me explain: Life is hard. It really is. Even if we happen to have the extraordinary luck to be born into a very rich family whose legacy gives us everything we need to live comfortably for the rest of our life, maintaining that fortune and navigating through life is going to be fraught with risks, traps and constant upheavals.


We need other people. Other people need us. That is a truth. But the reasons for this mutual need are usually contradictory or, at the very least, sufficiently at odds with each other to make trust an issue and turn cooperation into a risk-assessment exercise.

A Word With the Author:

 1.Did you always want to be an author?


As far back as I can remember reading (and by direct association, writing) have been part of my experience of the world. I was fortunate enough to grow up surrounded by books and surrounded by adults who took the time to read to me and then, a little later, when I started reading for myself to help me read better. I was also lucky enough to be surrounded by adults who were too busy to supervise what I read. Working on the safe assumption that a book is not something that can harm a young child they let me loose on a home library that did not contain a single children’s book. 


As a result I learnt from very young to think in terms of narrative and adult themes (romance, murder, ambition, revolutions and wars). I think because of that writing has always been the way I best express myself. I have always wanted to be a writer as a result. Because writing was not considered to be a respectable career in my household I also studied Chemical Engineering and graduated with an MSc in quantum mechanical perturbations in laminar flow processes.  

2.Tell us about the publication of your first book.


My first non-fiction book came out in 2010 and it was called SEO Help: 20 Steps to Get your Website to Google’s First Page. In keeping with all of my books it takes a complex subject and demystifies it completely. At the time I was working as an SEO consultant for a boutique web design agency and the book was the direct result of a Texas-based client’s SEO needs. Through my advice he made $1 million that first year and the idea for the book was born as a result.

3.Besides yourself, who is your favorite author in the genre you write in?


I read both fiction and non-fiction and my tastes are fairly universal so there is no thing for me as a ‘favorite’ author. Authors I do admire are James Gleick and Sebastian Junger on the non-fiction front. Both have the capacity to draw you into their non-fiction world in a way that makes you feel smarter. In fiction, I currently like Brandon Sanderson, his capacity to come up with captivating ideas that work well on the page is amazing, plus I find the stories hugely entertaining. 

4.What's the best part of being an author? The worst?


The best part of being an author are the travel, the jets and the parties, obviously. I am really just kidding. There are no jets, travel or parties and being an author is a fairly unglamorous business. I love the fact that I start with an idea, something that doesn’t exist until I dream it up and I then work to put flesh and bones on it and it becomes something very real that has real value in the world. There is a real reason why authoritarian regimes everywhere have problems with books, writers and the dissemination of ideas. This ability to plant thoughts directly into the brain of a reader is a superpower that writers have which I find amazing and humbling at the same time. That, is also the worst part of being a writer. The moment you realize just how much power resides in what you do you also feel the responsibility of it and, at times, it can be crushing. 

5.What are you working on now?


Like every experienced writer I work, these days, on more than one idea at a time. I am busy doing the preliminary research, I test some aspects of it to see if the idea appeals, I am checking out to see what other books may be out there on the subject and how they fared. Then, once I have a decent idea of all this I will float it to my agent who will give me her feedback. As a result there is little sense in saying exactly what it is I am working on next because I don’t exactly know. It depends on which of the two-three ideas I am exploring actually takes off, but I can give a hint that regardless which of them gets picked my next book will be epic. 





AUTHOR Bio and Links:


David Amerland is a Chemical Engineer with an MSc. in quantum dynamics in laminar flow processes. He converted his knowledge of science and understanding of mathematics into a business writing career that's helped him demystify, for his readers, the complexity of subjects such as search engine optimization (SEO), search marketing, social media, decision-making, communication and personal development. The diversity of the subjects is held together by the underlying fundamental of human behavior and the way this is expressed online and offline. Intentional: How to Live, Love, Work and Play Meaningfully is the latest addition to a thread that explores what to do in order to thrive. A lifelong martial arts practitioner, David Amerland is found punching and kicking sparring dummies and punch bags when he's not behind his keyboard. 


Email & Social Media Accounts

Reach David via email: 






Represented by The Knight Agency



For Goodreads Reviews and where to buy the book follow this link:





David Amerland will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Beyond the Book: Where Would You Go?

“If you could live anywhere in the world with no expenses to consider, where would you live? Why?”

As a teacher of geography for thirty five years I’ve thought a lot about this question. Each time we started to study a new region of the world I’d focus on the map and evaluate what it might be to live there. And for the record, I still adore looking at maps. I bought a huge wall mural (wallpaper), intending to put it on my wall in a blank hallway. I never put it up, though, because it didn’t show political divisions. 

So what did I learn about where I’d like to live? 

Okay, first I think you’d have to be aware of the type of government you’d be dealing with. After growing up in a democracy, I don’t want anything to do with dictators. 

Second, I’m not much good at languages so I’d want the main language to be English. 

Third, I like modern technology. I don’t want to live without my computer, microwave, etc. 

Fourth, I have some health issues so I need to be close to modern medical care.

Okay, what else would influence my decision? My family is the very top of the list. I like living near them. Just yesterday my son stopped by, and we spent a couple of hours talking and laughing. I love them all very much, and I have no desire to live without them. I have some very good friends that I’d hate to leave too. My life is fuller because they’re in it.

I don’t think I want to live any place where the weather is extreme. It snowed here over the weekend, and its almost gone, but I still can’t get out to walk, and I hate that.

I’ve always lived in smaller towns so for a short while I’d probably like a big city, but for the long run I doubt it. I’m the kind of person who needs some quiet time for herself. I don’t know if you could find that as well in a large city.

I love the ocean, but there’s nothing like a beautiful mountain top. It would be hard to choose between them.

So, where’s my favorite place to live? Right here in upstate South Carolina. I was born here, and even though I have lived in other places, there’s really no place like home. Everything I ever wanted is here or close by. The only drawback I can see is the humidity in the summer, but we have great air conditioners so no problem. I feel very lucky to live in a place that fulfills my wish list and makes my heart happy. 

If I did have to move somewhere else, I’m sure I could make a life there too, but I hope I never have to try.

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


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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.

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