Sunday, July 14, 2024

Teaser: Hatter by Harley Wylde #comingsoon #preorder #motorcycleclubromance #romance #rabtbooktours @changelingpress

Underland MC, Book One


Motorcycle Club Romance

Date Published: July 19, 2024

Publisher: Changeling Press LLC


Jo: I’d thought Eddie was sweet and charming, until I learned the hard way his smile disguised the devil inside him. He speaks with his fists, and there have been many times I wanted to die. When I finally manage to escape, I vow to do whatever it takes to keep away from Eddie. But stepping out in front of the Underland MC and begging for their help hadn’t been part of my plan. Now that I’m with the Underland MC, I’m not sure if I should trust them, even if their club president does make me feel a bit weak in the knees. Will this be the best decision I ever made, or end up being the one thing that finally kills me?

Hatter: Becoming a civilian after nearly two decades of military service made me feel like I’d fallen down the proverbial rabbit hole, so my brothers and I made the Underland MC. We didn’t have any grand plan. Then Jo came into my life. The more I find out about her ex, the more I realize things are rotten in the town of Warren, TN. This place is my home now, and I not only want to protect Jo, but the townspeople as well. If that means we’re going to war, then so be it. I’ve never backed down from a challenge, and I won’t start now.


WARNING: Hatter is a contemporary suspense romance that is intended for readers 18+. It contains bad language, adult situations, and violence. If you’re looking for a light, fluffy romance, this isn’t it.







“Cheshire, I said no strippers.” I glared at him, my eyes narrowing into slits as I emphasized each word.

“Come on, Hatter. It’s just a bit of fun,” Cheshire retorted, his trademark grin never faltering. He leaned back against the worn chair across from my desk, seemingly unfazed by the intensity of our discussion.

“Cheshire, this event isn’t about fun. We’re raising funds for the local kids’ hospital. A bunch of naked girls shaking their asses doesn’t fit in that picture.” My voice was hard and unyielding, leaving no room for compromise.

“Fine, fine.” Cheshire held up his hands in mock surrender. “No strippers. But we need some kind of entertainment. How about a live band?”

“Band’s fine,” I conceded, rubbing my temples as I felt the beginnings of a headache forming. These club events always gave me migraines, but it was my job to make sure they went smoothly. While we mostly kept to ourselves, at least twice a year we tried to do something for the community.

“All right then.” Cheshire stood and leaned over the desk, bracing his hands on top. “I’ll organize the band and take care of all the other arrangements.”

“Make sure you do.” I stared at him, ensuring my message sank in. “We can’t afford any screwups with this one.”

“Trust me, boss.” Cheshire winked. “Everything will be perfect.”

“See to it.” My tone brooked no argument. As the president of the Underland MC, it was my responsibility to make sure my club stayed out of trouble and maintained a good image in Warren. The town had been good to us, and it was important to give back. All right, so it hadn’t been all sunshine and roses. Not at first. When we’d built this place and moved in, everyone had thought we were criminals and treated us accordingly. We’d worked hard to prove we were trustworthy and wouldn’t destroy Warren.

When we’d first decided to start this club, it had taken weeks to narrow down where we might want to live. It just so happened, the small town of Warren, Tennessee, had the perfect plot of land for sale. Far enough from big cities, we still felt like we were relaxing in the country, but close enough to anything we’d need, like a grocery store or pharmacy.

Absolem had used his inheritance to buy the land, put up a fence, and build a clubhouse. With the exception of times we wanted to make sure we didn’t have people popping up, we’d leave the gates open. It wasn’t like we had anything to hide. Each of us had a room here, and a few more to spare. In addition to the men who’d created this place with me, we’d gathered a few other lost souls along the way, each one floundering after being discharged from the military, just like us. Tweedle had been the first. He’d come home so badly broken I hadn’t known if he’d make it. More than once, I’d worried he might decide to put a bullet in his brain. Thankfully, being around the club had helped him heal, even if he still had a long way to go. Knave and Mock had been next, joining almost at the same time. And Carpenter had been the last.

“All right.” Cheshire clapped his hands together, finally taking things seriously. “Let’s get this show on the road.”

“Damn right.” I nodded. “And let’s remember why we’re doing this. It’s not just a party. It’s for those kids.”

“Understood.” Cheshire saluted me, his grin returned to his face as he turned to leave. “I won’t let you down.”

“See that you don’t,” I warned, watching him stride out of the room. “Or you’ll be scrubbing toilets with a toothbrush for a month.”

“Promises, promises.” Cheshire laughed from the doorway. “I’ll get on it, Hatter. You can count on me.”

“Good,” I called after him, “because if this event goes south, it isn’t just the club that’ll suffer. The whole damn town will feel it too.”

The event might be adults only, but we’d charge a fee to enter the compound for the night. Everyone would kick back with drinks, food, and music. By the time we closed it down, I hoped we’d have a decent chunk of change to help those kids.

“Understood.” Cheshire nodded once more before disappearing into the hallway. I could only hope he’d take my words to heart.

“All right.” I sighed, rubbing the back of my neck. “Let’s get this done.”

The door slammed open, and in walked March, his eyes blazing with urgency. He was all muscle and grit, an imposing figure who had seen more than his fair share of shit. For that matter, we all had.

“Boss,” he said, getting straight to the point. “We’ve got trouble.”

“Spit it out,” I demanded, my pulse racing as worry gnawed at me. This was the last thing the club needed right now. We kept our noses clean, paid taxes, and did our best to not draw attention to ourselves. So what the hell could have happened?

“Rumblings from North Carolina.” March’s voice was low, serious. “A rival MC’s been sniffing around our territory. Looks like they’re planning something. And these assholes aren’t like us. They’re into some nasty shit. If they get their hooks in Warren, this place won’t be the same.”

“Fuck,” I muttered, my mind racing. “How close are they?”

“Too damn close.” March growled. “They’ve been spotted just outside town, and it isn’t a coincidence they picked here.”

“All right,” I said, my brain shifting into high gear. “We need a plan. We can’t let them jeopardize what we got going on here, especially not now.”

“Agreed.” March nodded. “I’ve already put our boys on alert, but we need to be ready for anything.”

“Good,” I said, my thoughts swirling like a tornado. “I want you to gather intel, find out everything you can about their movements, intentions, whatever. The more we know, the better prepared we’ll be.”

“Roger that.” March saluted, his face set like stone. Some old habits were harder to get rid of than others. “I won’t let them get the drop on us.”

“See that you don’t,” I warned. “We’ve worked too hard to let some wannabe tough guys tear us down.”

“Understood.” March gave a mock salute and turned to leave. “I’ll report back as soon as I have something solid.”

“Good,” I called after him. “And keep Cheshire in the loop too. We need to stay united on this one.”

“Will do,” March replied, his steps echoing in the hall as he left.

“Shit,” I muttered under my breath. “Just when things were starting to look up.”

I knew we had our work cut out for us. Our enemies were relentless, and any sign of weakness would be like blood in the water. The club was my family, and there was no way in hell I’d let anyone threaten what we’d built together.



About the Author


Harley Wylde is an accomplished author known for her captivating MC Romances. With an unwavering commitment to sensual storytelling, Wylde immerses her readers in an exciting world of fierce men and irresistible women. Her works exude passion, danger, and gritty realism, while still managing to end on a satisfying note each time.

When not crafting her tales, Wylde spends her time brainstorming new plotlines, indulging in a hot cup of Starbucks, or delving into a good book. She has a particular affinity for supernatural horror literature and movies. Visit Wylde's website to learn more about her works and upcoming events, and don't forget to sign up for her newsletter to receive exclusive discounts and other exciting perks.


Author on Facebook, Instagram, Patreon, & TikTok: @harleywylde


Publisher on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok: @changelingpress

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Book Blitz: The 7 Pillars of Successful Caregiving by Dr. Eboni Ivory Green #nonfiction #selfhelp #nonfiction #health #rabtbooktours @DrEboni


Things No One Tells You

Family Health, Self-Help, Health, Fitness & Dieting

Date Published: May 2024



The 7 Pillars of Successful Caregiving is a deeply authentic handbook that seeks to provide practical guidance and emotional support to frontline and family caregivers. With a mix of actionable exercises, checklists, insights, and self-care strategies for avoiding stress and burnout.

Inside, seasoned health care professional and founder of Caregiver Support Services Dr. Eboni Green provides an essential overview of the7pillars behind successful caregiving.

Exploring how caregivers can work through their emotional challenges, readers will learn how they can help their loved one or client work through anxiety, anger, depression, and loneliness. Tips for coping with guilt and grief are also shared. Other highlights include guided meditation sessions and journaling exercises that empower caregivers to maintain their emotional and mental wellbeing. As a must-read for frontline healthcare workers and families caring for a loved one, The 7 Pillars of Successful Caregiving explores the important things about caregiving that no one tells you.


About the Author

Dr. Eboni Green is an inspirational author, Registered Nurse, and passionate advocate for caregivers whose insightful books have become essential resources for those navigating the complex journey of caregiving. With a career spanning over 30 years in the healthcare field, Dr. Green's work has been instrumental in illuminating the challenges and triumphs faced by caregivers in a society that often overlooks their crucial role.

Her journey began as a nursing assistant, where she worked closely with top professionals and immersed herself in the intricacies of care systems. It was through these experiences that Dr. Green witnessed firsthand the pivotal role of caregiving and the profound challenges faced by caregivers and families alike. Recognizing a glaring gap in resources and education for both parties, she found her true calling: to champion the needs of not only those in need of care but also those who care for them.

Driven by a desire to make a difference, Dr. Green has authored several transformative books, including her latest work, "Journey Beyond the Yellow Brick Road: Finding Your Emotional Home as a Caregiver." This book provides a new outlook on managing life's hurdles, offering strategies to tackle complex emotions and situations effectively. Her other notable works, such as "Caregiving: Things You Need to Know," "Reflections from the Soul," and "The 7 Pillars of Successful Caregiving," serve as valuable tools, guiding caregivers through their journey with wisdom and empathy.

Beyond her writing, Dr. Green co-founded Caregiver Support Services with her husband to offer training to caregivers and support their mental health. Her impact extends to academia, where she shares her knowledge and passion as a college professor, further influencing the next generation of healthcare professionals. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and gardening.

Through her comprehensive efforts, Dr. Eboni Green remains a beacon of hope and a pillar of support for caregivers worldwide, advocating tirelessly for their recognition and well-being.

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Friday, July 12, 2024

Release Blitz: The Storm Breaks by Valerie Storm #promo #releaseday #newbooks #youngadult #yafantasy #fantasy #rabtbooktours @Valerie_Storm

 Demon Storm, Book 6

Young Adult Fantasy

Date Published: 07-13-2024

Publisher: Shadow Spark Publishing


Wolf and demon born…

…under storm the land is torn.

Tendrils of darkness reach from the depths of her mind and shadows flicker around every corner. Still reeling from Raven’s horrific display of power, Kari suffers in silence.

When Guine finally returns with stories of a mirror that could help him with his problems, Kari finds herself hoping that maybe, just maybe, it could help with hers as well.

With the promise of a relatively straightforward outing, Kari, Ari, and Guine set forth to find the mirror.

But what they find beyond the looking-glass threatens not only Kari and her sanity, but also the world she loves.

About the Author

Valerie Storm was raised in Tucson, Arizona. Growing up, she fell in love with everything fantasy. When she wasn’t playing video games, she was writing. By age ten, she began to write her own stories as a way to escape reality. When these stories became a full-length series, she considered the path to sharing with other children & children-at/heart looking for a place to call home.


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Release Week Blitz: Hooking Captain Teeth by Marilyn Barr #promo #monsterromance #romance #newbooks #excerpt #rabtbooktours @author_barr

Monster Brides (series of multiauthor standalones)

Monster Romance

Date Published: 07-15-2024



Captain Teeth

Orders—giving them, writing them, signing for them, and taking them—fill a Captain’s life. I miss the days when I climbed under skirts while on land and climbed the ratlines after we weighed anchor. The black spot on my pirate heart is due to my failure to find my lady love despite scouring the Caribbean for years. I’ve watched me hearties fall in love and drop from the sweet trade like flies, but this voyage to drop off my Quartermaster with his new bride in Mexico may break me…



Why shouldn’t I partake in the fancies of the human world when I sprout legs once a month? Swilling rum, dancing on tables, singing bawdy songs, and sampling every scallywag who catches my eye is harmless fun. I tell myself my behavior is entertainment…not to forget my soulmate who abandoned me five years ago at Maude’s Tavern. After a night of passion, he flipped a doubloon onto the sheets and sailed away. I can’t believe the scourge of the seven seas mistook his lady love for a common strumpet! My kind mates for life so if I ever see him again, I’ll sink him and his ship.


Nobody humiliates a Kraken.




A flirty remark dies on my tongue as the handsome pirate adjusts himself through the crotch of his leather pants. Nope. Too much. Too uncouth, too vulgar, too smarmy, too much for a part-time human like me. He’s as shameless as me but with twice the firepower. Not gracing him with another second of my attention, I twirl and dance along the table to the opposite end of the tavern. I’ll find a safer man to bed tonight.

I kick and tap to the beat with my skirts swishing above my knees for mediocre sailors, stealing furtive glances at the handsome blond pirate and his table of rowdy friends. I don’t dare approach the pirates of Patricia’s Wish. I do have some sense of self-preservation. The night flies by as shots are taken from my cleavage and poured down my throat by random drunks.

All the while, the pirate watches me from his corner.

The heat in his stare burns away my inhibitions and I find myself performing for him, using the attention from men closer to me as my props. Coins jingle in my pockets and shoes as I earn my night’s lodgings under the pirate’s lustful gaze. It isn’t long before I’m singing louder than the brothel’s girls on stage.

My peg-legged companion from earlier in the night leaves with his head shaking in warning. He can’t buss my cheeks. He’s not my father. My father’s at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean with the other mated Kraken. I thumb my nose at the swinging doors as the sourpus exits the bar.

Time to secure a room from Jamal the Barkeep. Looks like I’ll be sleeping alone tonight, but some nights are slow. I’ve taken two or three men to my room in succession before selecting the one I will sleep beside. Nights like tonight balance the scales. I hope the working girls are luckier and wake up next to stacks of gold.

“Here’s one, two, five gold coins,” I count as I drop doubloons onto the bar top. Maude’s rate is three coins for rooms not occupied by her girls, so the two extra coins will go to Jamal’s savings. I hope he opens the beachside cantina of his dreams someday. “I’d like a room—the one at the far end of the hallway if it’s open.”

“Are you sure? Miss Opal has the room next to that one. Maybe take the first room,” Jamal says, swiping my coins into his hand. He trades them for a large, iron key. Being a ‘screamer’ is Miss Opal’s specialty. I’ll wake up with a banging headache if I’m in the room next to hers.

“Thanks for always looking out for me,” I reply, swiping the key off the bar top.

“Which room is ours?” I don’t need to turn around to know it’s the handsome, blond pirate behind me. My body ignites with the command in his question.

“I’m in room one,” I say, verifying the key is labeled with the number one. He steps toward me with a palm outstretched for the key. “You are bunking in the bilge of some ship with the rest of the sea sludge.”

He takes a predatory step forward. My back hits the bar. I clutch the key to my chest. It vibrates with the pounding of my heart or maybe that’s the shaking of my fingers. Blond hair tickles my nose as he leans over me, one arm resting on the bar to either side of my waist. His scent invades my nose. Blue eyes bore into me with an intensity that curls my toes in my boots.

“Tell me you don’t want me in your bed to pleasure you from head to toe and make your every fantasy come true, and I’ll disappear,” he whispers against my ear.


About the Author

Marilyn Barr lives in the wilds of Kentucky with her husband, son, and rescue cats. When engaging in the real world, you can find her with the Kentuckiana Romance Writers, volunteering with her son’s Special Olympics teams, or dancing around her kitchen. She is a sucker (haha) for cheesy horror movies, Italian food, punk music, black cats, bad puns, and all things witchy.


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Thursday, July 11, 2024

Book Blitz: Let Milo Open the Door by Tom Endyke #promo #newadult #fiction #rabtbooktours @tomendyke

New Adult Fiction / General Fiction



It’s 1989, and the doors Milo thought would open after college are all closed. Dumped by his girlfriend and deserted by his father, he washes up on the shores of Nantucket, where his transformation begins.

Milo outsmarts a preachy painter to earn the contract at the Our Island Home, a rest home where those at death’s door teach him how to knock on others. He also earns the affection of Julia, the home’s laundress, who has her own challenges, including a distant husband, a fortieth birthday, and an illness she can’t fight alone.

Through a series of misadventures, Milo matures with the summer, averting rival painters, proud nudists, serious crunchers, and death-by-crucifix. At summer’s end, he is faced with a decision that will complete his transformation and point the way to new beginnings.

About the Author

Tom Endyke is a Novelist and Music Journalist for Guitar & Pen Magazine. Tom infuses rock music's power and promise into his stories. His protagonists are outcasts, marginalized by society, who work their way through dark, edgy, and absurd scenarios.

​​Tom earned a degree in creative writing from MCLA. He lives with his wife and two kids in West Newbury, Massachusetts.


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Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Cover Reveal: To Find a Killer by Leah Brewer #comingsoon #murdermystery #mystery #bookcover #coverreveal #rabtbooktours @leahlbrewerr


A Natural State Murder Mystery, Book 1


Murder Mystery

Date to be Published: 10-04-2024



When Atlanta Detective, Tammy Sharp's past collides with her present, it's a wild ride of bullets, broken hearts, and chilling mysteries.

In her hometown of Pocahontas, Arkansas, she faces not just her ex, Jace Eubanks, but also a dangerous killer on the prowl.

With murders old and new intertwining, Tammy faces a choice: team up with her ex or let justice slip away.

As the clock ticks down to a sinister ultimatum, will Tammy outsmart the sociopath or fall prey to a deadly game of cat and mouse?



About the Author

Leah Brewer writes all kinds of things.

Sometimes, she writes Christian Fiction (Seeds of Faith Series). Other times it’s Historical Fiction (Petunia 1949). Right now, it’s all about murder. The first novel in her Natural State Murder Mystery series, To Find a Killer, is set to release this October.

In 2019, after an Ovarian Cancer diagnosis, Leah decided to pursue her passion for writing. Being cancer-free, she now revels in her life as an author.

With an extensive 28-year career that encompasses diverse leadership roles in a Fortune 500 company, Leah brings an authentic perspective to her storytelling.


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Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Teaser: Prendarian Chronicles Duet by Gemma Woods #promo #excerpt #teaser #comingsoon #scifiromance #rabtbooktours @changelingpress

A Sci-Fi Futuristic Women’s Fiction

Date Published: July 12, 2024

Publisher: Changeling Press LLC


Two worlds hang in the balance. Two love affairs will change both societies. Forever.

For the Love of Rigah -- Rigah, the most powerful woman on the world of Prendara, has purchased a handsome Earther slave to serve as her consort. Jason vows to resist and refuses to accept his role as Rigah’s personal whore. But he can’t fight the passion she demands from him… or the need to demand much more than passion from her. More than she may be willing to give.

For the Heart of Daria -- A human who’s lived under alien domination for her entire life, Daria vows to rid Earth of the evil invaders no matter what the cost -- even if it means seducing a powerful alien sympathizer. But Gray isn’t the monster she wants him to be. Yet despite the passion he forces her to feel, nothing will ever convince her to trust him.

About the Author

Gemma Woods has no spouse, no children, and no pets. Her family is imaginary -- she writes them. Outside her imaginary world, she enjoys the typical author hobbies of reading, traveling, and fretting over her dying houseplants.


Publisher on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok: @changelingpress


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Monday, July 8, 2024

Release Blitz: Shaloha Gems by Terry Chodosh #releaseday #promo #giveaway #humor #jewish #fiction #historical #rabtbooktours

Humorous Fiction/Romantic Comedy/Historical Fiction/Jewish Fiction

Date Published: July 9th, 2024

Publisher: Acorn Publishing


Abe Goldstein’s life is speeding downhill faster than a Coney Island roller coaster. 

His Manhattan diamond company is on life support. Crime is so bad that muggers are mugging other muggers. And his overbearing mother has gone behind his back and posted his profile on a Jewish dating site. Now, Abe’s phone is blowing up with messages from women who want to marry him. 

At the advice of his accountant, Abe flees to Honolulu and cuts a deal with an Okinawan family to buy their diamond ring business. The owner’s beautiful daughter Kiyoko stays on as a consultant, and Abe finds himself falling hard for her.

But there’s trouble in paradise. Abe’s meddlesome mother hires an unscrupulous matchmaker to break the pair up and find a nice Jewish girl for him instead. To make matters worse, a rival diamond firm connected to Japanese organized crime is bent on destroying Abe’s fledgling business, Shaloha Gems.

As Abe navigates the twists and turns of his unconventional island life, everything he values is in jeopardy. He may be willing to damage his relationship with his mother to preserve his romantic relationship. But will he crumble under the pressure if he loses his reputation and his budding diamond empire too? Or will a discovery that leads back to the darkest days of World War II open an unexpected door to a brighter future?



About the Author

Born and raised in New Jersey, Terry Chodosh earned his MS in criminology from Florida State University. Terry began his twenty-eight-year career with the United States Secret Service (USSS) in NYC and fulfilled assignments in the San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Honolulu field offices as well as in the Gerald Ford protective detail.

While assigned to the Honolulu office, Terry traveled extensively in Asia, conducting complex financial crime investigations and providing executive protection for US government officials, including the president and vice president of the United States. After retirement, Terry wanted to tap into his humorous and creative side, which was often restrained throughout his career, so he began writing his novel Shaloha Gems.

Terry lives with his wife and son in Honolulu, Hawaii. He enjoys distance swimming in the ocean and outrigger canoe paddling, and he strives to stay one step ahead of skin cancer and tiger sharks.

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Teaser Tuesday: The Maker of Worlds by David Litwack #promo #giveaway #excerpt #fantasy #Rabtbooktours @DavidLitwack


Date Published: 05-22-2024

Publisher: Evolved Publishing


If you had the chance to remake the world, what kind of world would you choose?

When tragedy strikes Lucas Mack's young life, he desperately yearns to escape its sorrow, and takes an improbable leap through the mythical maelstrom. Rather than splashing down on the far side like his neighbors, he's transported to a magical realm where he has the power to redefine not only who he is, but the world in which he resides.

As he stumbles about trying to find his way, he meets Mia, an equally troubled fellow pilgrim. With the help of a mystical guide and an aging wizard, they navigate the enchanted land while learning to control their newfound powers. Yet this realm is more complex than they expected, with seasoned sorcerers who've been corrupted by the sinister side of magic.

Limited by natural law and seduced by magic's power, they are tested as never before. Will the gift of magic bring renewed hope or drive them to the edge of the void? 


Chapter 1 - The Departure

All stories begin with a question, and this is mine: if you had the chance to remake the world, what kind of world would you choose? Let me start from the beginning. 

 The day before my leap, spring had peeked above the horizon. A bolder sun had inspired buds to sprout on the branches, so tiny they stood out only when moistened by the morning dew. A smattering of flowers had bloomed as well, daffodils and the tips of tulips that showed more as promise. Forsythias bulged yellow, lilacs blossomed and spread their fragrance, and the air tasted fresher too, as if purified by the increased sunlight. A time for hope. 

But not for me. The arrival of spring did nothing to remove the cloud that had shadowed my days and darkened my dreams these past six months. 

Addy had always chided me for living only part time in the real world, the rest of my time filled with flights of fantasy. 

I disagreed. My approach had always been a conscious choice, a matter of perspective. After all, what was so wonderful about reality? 

Her answer: only in the real world would I find her. 

I discovered too late how harsh my life would be without her. 

I’d slept poorly that night, my sleep disturbed by dreams, but when I awoke well before dawn, my resolve remained. Though I’d sleepwalked through my coming of age five years earlier, my circumstance had now changed, replaced by a lingering sadness, a malaise that would not heal. I’d become inclined to imagine another life elsewhere, desperate to try out an alternate path. On this day, I intended to test the maelstrom. 

The maelstrom appeared as a swirling circle of water for only three days each year, starting at the equinox—an unusual anomaly that behaved in a manner different from a proper whirlpool. This vortex hovered a foot above the lake’s surface and, more bizarrely, stood vertical. 

Townsfolk debated its purpose. The more rational claimed a perturbation of light, like a prism, caused by sprays of seasonal runoff and the angle of the sun. Others believed it to be magic, though none existed in our world. 

Of course, what we called magic might be nothing more than a label for things beyond the boundaries of reason. Natural phenomenon might still be magic. The sun’s rays lifted our spirits, and the advent of spring lightened our hearts. 

Each year, as the equinox approached, young boys who’d reached their eighteenth year would boast about their intent to challenge the maelstrom. In practice, few did. By eighteen, most had narrowed their path through life, following the example of their elders, or rebelled and chosen a contrarian course. With age, the lust for adventure diminished to bluster, tall tales told to impress their younger peers. 

Those who took the leap landed with a splash on the far side to the derision of their mates, but rumors alleged one had vanished years ago as villagers gaped, never to return. Philosophers speculated the swirling water might be a gateway to the gods, but only for those with sufficient faith. 

At eighteen, I would never have abandoned Addy, but once she was gone, my desire for change stirred. While I lacked the required faith, this was caused by the cruelty of the world, and did not reflect my belief in magic. My desperation grew until, in the spring of my twenty-third year, I determined to go. 

I’d leave before sunup, guaranteeing solitude on the shore. Should I stumble through the maelstrom to no effect, no one would witness my folly. Still in a daze, I stowed provisions in my backpack: a day’s worth of salted mutton, a loaf of hard bread, two dried apples, a full waterskin, a knife, a flint, and a rain slicker to ward off the morning chill. 

At the doorway of my Queen’s Hill cottage, I hesitated. This morning’s excursion would likely be a fool’s errand, but what if it turned out to be something more, a journey to who-knows-where? As I gazed down to the lake, a sense of foreboding crept over me. No matter. Foolhardy or not, I was committed.

 I slipped across the threshold and navigated the switchbacks in the dark. 

 The maelstrom hovered over the shallows a dozen paces offshore, in the dim light showing as nothing more than a disturbance in the air. I yanked off my boots, knotted the laces and slung them around my neck. As I rolled my trousers above the knee, I cast a lingering glance up the hill to catch a last glimpse of my cottage. 

I waited until the eastern horizon reddened and waded into the lake. 

An arm’s length from the gateway, I reached out, keeping as far away as possible while my fingertips brushed its surface. It felt like... nothing, likely no more than an illusion. In half an hour, I’d be back in my bed, no closer to comprehending the universe. Yet I’d yearned for a portal to another world, one that might allow me to deviate from accepted norms. I longed to float off to a fresher fate. 

Once, I too would have followed the safe path, with no risk of surprise, but then life did surprise me with a cosmic slap across the face that left me shattered—the taking of Addy. At twenty-two, misfortune had cleared the slate, leaving me alone and adrift. 

I drew in a breath and plunged through. 

In the light of pre-dawn, and in my half-awake state, no difference struck me at first, other than the chill waters deeper than expected, soaking the rolls of my trousers. Out of the mist on either side, giant evergreens loomed graceful as usual, rising until their tops blurred. The view so distracted me that several heartbeats passed before I realized the change. 

Perhaps I was still sleeping in my bed, for where the channel to the west lake should have been, a broad flood plain spread. The water had washed over the banks and crept inland for a hundred paces, leaving the trees the only witness to what once had been dry land. 

Beyond the trees, nothing. 

Nowhere a dock or a mooring, not so much as a hint of early morning smoke rising from a chimney. Nowhere the cottages of Queen’s Hill. Nowhere houses at all. As I gaped, the edges of branches shimmered as if undecided whether to remain intangible or become real. In a panic, I realized the folly of this quest. Better to return to a safer, albeit gloomier life, to go back through the portal at once. 

Behind me, the maelstrom still swirled, a fleeting comfort as it had started to recede. While I stared at the last link to my old world, the orb diminished, shrunk to a size I could cover with my hand, and then to that of the tip of my thumb. Before I sloshed more than two steps closer, it winked out. 

Now, to the north and the south, nothing showed but water. I stumbled to shore, my movements causing the slightest wake in the surface, which lay so still I could make out my astonished features in the reflection. 

I’d spent much of my young life with Addy, like a mate sailing across a forever lake. She’d been with me through calm and storm. I’d yearned to find renewed hope on this side of the gateway and return home to a new life, yet now the gateway, like Addy, had vanished.  


About the Author

The urge to write first struck at age sixteen when working on a newsletter at a youth encampment in the woods of northern Maine. It may have been the wild night when lightning flashed at sunset followed by the northern lights rippling after dark. Or maybe it was the newsletter's editor, a girl with eyes the color of the ocean. But he was inspired to write about the blurry line between reality and the fantastic.

Using two fingers and lots of white-out, he religiously typed five pages a day throughout college and well into his twenties. Then life intervened. He paused to raise two sons and pursue a career, in the process -- and without prior plan -- becoming a well-known entrepreneur in the software industry, founding several successful companies. When he found time again to daydream, the urge to write returned.

David now lives in the Great Northwest. He no longer limits himself to five pages a day and is thankful every keystroke for the invention of the word processor.


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Twitter: @DavidLitwack




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Tour Kick Off: Wrinkled Rebels by Laura Katz Olson #blogtour #nowontour #historical #fiction #giveaway #rabtbooktours @lauralee111


Literary Novel / Historical Fiction

Date Published: 07-23-2024

Publisher: Vine Leaves Press


Now 80 years old, retirement and advanced age have dissipated the spirit of six college radicals of the 1960s, who jointly had participated in civil rights campaigns and anti-war protests. Having engaged in only periodic communication over the decades, they suddenly receive an invitation to reunite for an extended weekend. Struggling with whether to go, each of them has divergent qualms and expectations for the proposed gathering.

During their three days together, they confront their inner demons, each other, and their future. Does Rebecca, the prime mover of the event, find solace after losing her wife and career? Can Malaika regain her sense of self after stepping down from her successful law practice? Mourning the loss of her youthful athletic prowess and attractiveness, what happens when Deanna faces her old friends?

Struggling with two divorces and a failing marriage, can Russell attain peace of mind? How will Max, an expat living in Canada, manage with his incipient dementia? Will the demoralized Keith recover his idealism?

Wrinkled Rebels is a story of how six people achieve meaningful lives through the struggle for social justice. It is also a tale of love, the bonds of friendship, and growing old positively.


About the Author

Laura Katz Olson, AGF Distinguished Professor of Political Science, has taught at Lehigh University since 1974. To date, she has published nine nonfiction books, focusing on aging and healthcare. Her latest, Ethically Challenged: Private Equity Storms U.S. Health Care has been awarded several gold medals, including from the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and the Benjamin Franklin Awards. Elder Care Journey: A View from the Front Lines, which relates her personal experiences as a caregiver for her mother, won a Gold Medal in the Ninth Annual Living Now Book Awards. Wrinkled Rebels is her second novel.


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Twitter @lauralee111




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