Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Ghost Hampton by Ken McGorry

Author: Ken McGorry
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 450
Genre: Paranormal Thriller

Lyle Hall is a new man since his car accident and spinal injury. The notoriously insensitive Bridgehampton lawyer is now afflicted with an odd sensitivity to other people's pain. Especially that of a mysterious young girl he encounters outside a long-abandoned Victorian house late one October night. “Jewel” looks about 12. But Lyle knows she’s been dead a hundred years. Jewel wants his help, but it’s unclear how. As if in return, she shows him an appalling vision—his own daughter's tombstone. If it’s to be believed, Georgie’s last day is four days away. Despite Lyle’s strained relations with his police detective daughter, he’s shocked out of complacent convalescence and back into action in the real world.

But the world now seems surreal to the formerly Scrooge-like real estate lawyer. Lyle’s motion in court enjoining the Town of Southampton from demolishing the old house goes viral because he leaked that it might be haunted. This unleashes a horde of ghost-loving demonstrators and triggers a national media frenzy. Through it all strides Lyle’s new nemesis in high heels: a beautiful, scheming TV reporter known as Silk.

Georgie Hall’s own troubles mount as a campaign of stationhouse pranks takes a disturbing sexual turn. Her very first case is underway and her main suspect is a wannabe drug lord. Meanwhile, Lyle must choose: Repair his relationship with Georgie or succumb to the devious Silk and her exclusive media contract. He tells himself seeing Georgie’s epitaph was just a hallucination. But a few miles away the would-be drug lord is loading his assault rifle. Berto needs to prove himself.

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First Chapter



1.  Rush Hour

It was the roadwork on Montauk Highway that made Lyle Hall get the electric chair.
            Since last winter, he’d made do with the self-propelled kind—his daughter Georgie called it the “Mr. Potter model.” To Lyle, it said temporary. A new electric wheelchair with high-end options would say permanent.
            At 55, Lyle was not ready to say that. He’d made good progress over the spring and summer, strength-training his upper body. A perky female physical therapist came to his house in Bridgehampton twice a week; a tattooed trainer guy beat him up on Fridays. Lyle had the stretchy resistance bands and a rack of light dumbbells in embarrassing lavender in the living room. Dangling in the dining room doorway was the “Torquemada”—a sling-like contraption he used to hoist himself up and perform certain torturous routines.
            Any strain or discomfort he felt was north of his L4 vertebra. Lyle had no feeling from the lower back down, since killing Elsie Cronk with his stupid Hummer last October. Almost a year now.
Each week he journeyed to Southampton to the spinal-injury clinic where they worked miracles. Lyle fully expected them to make him their next miracle and the team there was so positive and effusive that they kept the dream alive. As professionals, they didn’t hold Elsie Cronk against him, but they knew. Everybody knew. Even though Lyle and Elsie and an old duffer walking his dog were the only witnesses, they knew.   
            With his SUV piled up on the War Memorial at Bridgehampton’s main intersection, windshield spider-webbed and red, the first-responders, busy trying to free the elderly lady from her big old Ford, initially pronounced him dead. Lyle had a bona fide near-death experience and was comatose for two weeks. But few really cared. Elsie was the tragedy. Elsie had been on her way to her son’s 50th birthday party. Lyle Hall lived.
            Lyle’s weekly visits to Southampton included sessions with Dr. Susan Wayne, a therapist specializing in post-traumatic stress disorder. Her job was to stave off depression, incrementally step down his benzodiazepine dosage, and provide mechanisms to mitigate survivor guilt. Which Lyle had, though he didn’t admit to it.
            It wasn’t his fault that Elsie blundered into his path, 85 years of age and blinded by the setting sun, cautiously making her overly wide right turn onto Montauk Highway— who can’t execute a simple right-on-red?—in her late husband’s aircraft-carrier-size Ford Futura. And everyone guns it a little, not just Lyle, when Bridgehampton’s last traffic light turns yellow. Another damning detail was his destination—a bar in Montauk. Practically everyone believed Lyle was drunk when he collided with Elsie. Incredible how easy it is to believe the worst about somebody. Yeah, he drank. But he wasn’t drunk when he hit the sweet old lady with the fresh-baked birthday cake on the seat beside her. He was on his way to get drunk. Huge difference.
            Since last year, Lyle’s had scant contact with people other than medical professionals and service providers. He spends the most quality time with Fred, the MediCab driver who’s been getting him to his appointments since March.
Georgie’s also a professional. Just 30, she’s a newly promoted Southampton police detective. What she’d always wanted. Trouble is, now that she’s thrown herself into her new job, she has this albatross of a dad distracting her. He bluffs that he can do for himself, but that makes things worse. Her solution is surgical strikes—like dropping off prepared meals that Lyle can microwave. And she makes sure to nag him over the phone. Take your meds. Keep up your hygiene. Drink plenty of water. Do your exercises. Shave off that unbecoming beard. Get a damn electric wheelchair, for God’s sake.
            Lyle has no one else. Certainly not Dar, his Floridian ex. Her role—play trophy wife to Lyle and wicked stepmother to Georgie during the crucial teenage years following her mom’s death—ended acrimoniously years ago.
            So Lyle is Georgie’s cross to bear. And it was Lyle, before the accident, back when he was an important lawyer, who twisted a powerful arm to get her promoted to detective. She is abundantly qualified—a master’s in forensic psychology and all—but she was still considered a girl entering a man’s world. Now she’s in a position where the man who made her challenging job possible is also a big, daily pain in the ass.
Georgie’s nagging inspired Lyle’s spiteful solo excursion. To prove his mettle that day of the roadwork, he took the Long Island Railroad from Bridgehampton to Southampton. Fred merely dropped him at the station. Later, when Lyle returned on the “rush hour” train, one of a half dozen travelers disembarking at Bridgehampton, he was visibly exhausted from the day’s effort. Fred saw Lyle wheel out of the train car and quickly joined him on the platform to help negotiate the handicap-ramp switchbacks leading to the parking area.
            The whole point had been to show Georgie that he could “do stuff” on his own, like propelling himself to his appointments in Southampton. The challenge proved otherwise, but Lyle would craftily use his physical meltdown as a cover for making his sudden about-face on the electric chair question. He could withhold the true reason for the new chair.
He’d be unable to withhold what was to follow. The detour took traffic slowly past the abandoned house.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Corporate Citizen, by Gabriel Valjan

: Corporate Citizen: Roma Series Book Five
Genre: Mystery-Suspense/Thriller
Author: Gabriel Valjan
Publisher: Winter Goose Publishing
Purchase link:http://amzn.to/2b9E2qE
About the Book:
A call for help from an old friend lands Bianca and the crew back in Boston. On a timeout with Dante, due to revelations in the aftermath of the showdown in Naples, Bianca is drawn to a mysterious new ally who understands the traumas of her past, and has some very real trauma of his own. Murder, designer drugs, and a hacker named Magician challenge our team, and Bianca learns that leaving Rendition behind might be much harder than she thinks. 

Excerpt from Corporate Citizen (Roma Series Book 5)
    “Is this Mr. DiBello?” said a woman’s voice through the long-distance connection.
“This is he,” Gennaro answered.
Bianca raised her eyes at hearing him speaking in English. She had just come into the room with their afternoon drinks. She was even more concerned that the call had come to Gennaro’s cell phone and not the house phone. They were apartment sitting for their friend Claudio Ferrero,La Stampa’s top investigative journalist, who was on assignment. This call also threatened their afternoon ritual of talks out on the balcony where they enjoyed the sights below of San Salvario, the neighborhood near Turin’s city center. Gennaro was motioning for her to come over and eavesdrop.
“What can I do for you?” he asked the caller.
“Not for me, Mr. DiBello. I’m calling on behalf of your friend, Diego Clemente. He asked me to dial your number for him. It’s not easy dialing Italy from a hospital phone.”
“Hospital?” Gennaro said, alarmed. His eyes flashed his concern to Bianca.
“I’m a nurse at MGH and he’s my patient. MGH is Mass General–”
“Hospital in Boston,” Gennaro stammered. “I know that. Scusi – I mean I’m sorry for interrupting you, but is Diego alright?”
“He took a fall at home and broke his hip,” the woman seemed to sigh, “slip rugs are dangerous, you know. He can tell you the rest himself. There isn’t much time.”
“Wait, please. Much time?” Gennaro asked, confused. “I don’t understand.”
“He’s due for surgery and I’ve started his IV. I’d say that you have about ten minutes before happy hour.”
Gennaro said, not understanding to Bianca. “IV…and ‘happy hour.’”
Bianca bared her forearm and explained in Italian: “Medication; probably anesthesia.”
The voice on the phone said, “I’ll hand over the phone to him so you two can talk.”
“Thank you, Nurse.”
“You’re welcome.” Gennaro heard the phone shuffle and heavy breathing. The connection improved. Gennaro and Bianca heard the pull of the curtain. “Diego?”
Another moment passed, and more ruffling sounds. Gennaro and Bianca huddled closer around the phone as Clemente spoke, “Slip rug, col cazzo.” Clemente had learned some Italian, but only the choice words. “That’s some hell of a story, from Mason Street to MGH and now a hip-replacement. Jesus, I can feel the drug working its way up my arm already.”
“You’re making no sense, Diego.”
“Gennaro, please listen to me, since I don’t know how fast Nurse Ratched’s cocktail will work.”
“Less than ten minutes. I’m listening.”
“Thanks. My head feels light. Damn.”
“Wait — where’s your wife? You shouldn’t be alone in a hospital.”
“My wife passed away. Look, Virgil showed me the apartment, the dead girl, and it’s a real mess, a real setup, and my life is going to hell. To hell, you understand, Gennaro, in a boat, hole in the bottom, and toothpicks for oars.” The voice was Diego irritated, in hyper mode.
“Slow down, Diego. I’m sorry about your wife. Why didn’t you tell me?”
A deep, relaxed sigh. “I didn’t want to trouble you. What could you’ve done? Send me a Mass card? You’ve been through it yourself.”
Gennaro’e eyes turned downward. He remembered Lucia. “But still, Diego. I’m your friend. Friends do something, and I don’t mean send you the latest self-help manual on grief.”
Bianca swatted his arm, “No time for sarcasm,” she said.
“I couldn’t help myself, he told her in Italian.
“Hello? Help me then.” Diego
“First, I need to understand what you’re telling me,” Gennaro said. “Who is Virgil?”
“I wish I knew, Gennaro. I wish I knew. I think Virgil is one of Farese’s people.”
“Farese?” The name, as it came out of Gennaro’s mouth, made Bianca’s eyes widen.
U.S. Attorney Michael Farese was a chameleon of a character, changing colors when he worked for the Department of Justice, when he handled diplomatic requests for the State Department, and when he worked for the CIA, as they thought he might have been after their last run-in with him during their investigation of the Camorra in Naples.
“Diego? Concentrate. Why do you think Farese?”
“That doesn’t matter. She’s dead and he’s dead.”
“Who? Who is she? Who is he?” Gennaro asked. His voice almost cracked.
“Norma Jean. She had such nice lingerie, too, and that son of a bitch was in such a nice bed.” Clemente’s voice was almost singing as he was speaking. The wonders of pharmacology.
Gennaro rubbed his eyebrows. He was frustrated. “Diego, stay with me. Who is Norma Jean? Who was in the bed?”
“Marilyn Monroe was a sad girl.” Diego giggled.
“He’s giggling,” Gennaro said to Bianca.
“Oh, it’s a party line!” Diego almost shouted. “Who else is there?”
“Bianca,” Gennaro announced. “She is staying with me.”
“You naughty boy,” Diego said. “Put her on, please.”
“Here,” Gennaro handed his cell phone to Bianca. “Talk to him. I think the medication has gotten into his brain.”
Bianca seized the phone. “Clemente, this is Bianca,” she said, hoping that using the man’s last name would snap some momentary sense into the man’s head. “Forget about Marilyn Monroe. Who is dead?”
“Marilyn, of course. Somebody murdered her,” Diego answered.
“That’s right, but who is in the bed?”
“James Guild, former special agent, FBI, scourge of my loins.”
Bianca put her hand over the receiver and repeated, “Guild is dead.”
Porca puttana.” Gennaro stepped in closer to the receiver. “What happened, Diego?”
“Hell if I know. Virgil gave me the tour of hell. I got nice slippers, though. He had a needle in his arm.”
“Virgil had a needle in his arm?” Bianca asked.
Clemente became belligerent. “I just told you Guild had a needle in his arm. He was in that expensive bed. I saw it. No gun, too. Norma was out in the living room. He was in her bedroom. Nice bed, and what a nice view, and did I tell you what a beautiful kitchen she had?”
Gennaro asked, “I couldn’t hear that last part. What did he say?”
“Nice kitchen,” she said in English “He’s getting delirious.”
“I’m not delirious,” Clemente yelled. “I’m serious! Oh, that rhymes.”
“Please focus, Clemente,” Bianca said.
“I saw it. I saw the computer. My life, your life…it all goes to shit.”
Bianca, trying a soothing voice, said, “You saw a computer. What did you see, Clemente?”
“Black, black background,” Diego’s voice was now sputtering.
In a coaxing tone and hoping for more details, Bianca asked, “What else did you see?”
“Big, big.” More sputtering. Bianca closed her eyes.
“Big red R!” Diego said triumphantly.
Bianca and Gennaro understood what they had heard: black background and red R.
She said softly, “Fuck me.”
“Lingerie?” Clemente asked. Bianca handed the phone back to Gennaro. She put her hands to her temples, rubbed them. She thought of Boston, the Sargent case, Nasonia Pharmaceutical, and the body count.
“Diego, this is Gennaro again. We’re coming to Boston.”
“That would be nice. Somebody should feed the floor people. I feel sleepy now,” Clemente said, mewing. Gennaro stared at his phone before he put it to his ear again.
“Get some sleep, Diego. We’ll be there as soon as we can.” Gennaro heard more purring and then the cacophonous drop of the receiver on the floor on the other end. He ended the call on his cell phone.
“Did he say anything else?” Bianca asked.
“He said someone should feed floor people. I think he has cats.”
“How do you know he has cats?” she asked.
“Blame it on hanging around Silvio.” Bianca didn’t question the logic. Silvio was a translator, Farese’s interpreter, their friend, member of the team, and lately, animal whisperer.
“We should go to Boston,” Gennaro said.
“He saw the red R.”
“I know. You should call Dante.”
“Do I really have to?” she asked.
“Yes, and you have to tell him.”
“Which part? Clemente and Guild, or that Clemente saw the red R.”
“Doesn’t matter. Tell him everything,” Gennaro said. “It adds up to the same.”
Red R meant Rendition.

Excerpt published with permission from Winter Goose Publishing

Friday, October 14, 2016

Chapter reveal: Climatized, by Sally Fernandez

Genre: Thriller
Author: Sally Fernandez
Publisher: Dunham Books
Purchase on Amazon
About the Book:
She’s been an analyst, a spy, an investigator, and the deputy director of the States Intelligence Agency. After resigning her post at the SIA, Max Ford formally declares her independence when she bursts onto the Washington DC scene as a private investigator. While her new incarnation as PI indulges her penchant for sleuthing, her style remains unchanged. Seems Max is still brash, tenacious, tough—and unwilling to bow down to anyone, including elite and powerful politicians. Right out of the starting gate, Max finds herself embroiled in an unseemly web of mystery, murder andintrigue. When Senator Sherman Spark, a prominent Republican from Florida, is found dead in Lincoln Park, the police quickly rule the death a suicide. But Isabelle Spark, the late Senator’s wife, isn’t buying it and hires Max to prove there is something more sinister at work. Max quickly finds suspicious circumstances surrounding the Senator: two world-renowned scientists died days before they were scheduled to testify before the late Senator’s investigative committee on climate change initiatives. But when she realizes the connection to global warming, big money, deceit, and treachery, Max’s investigation accelerates in a most dangerous way.  No sooner than Max starts to unravel the mystery, a third scientist dies under questionable circumstances. Then a fourth scientist goes missing—and this missing scientist could be the key to unearthing the motives behind the deaths. Against the backdrop of a ticking clock, Max and her partner, Jackson Monroe, launch a pulse-quickening quest to find the missing scientist, and find the truth. This twisty, circuitous path leads them to the powerful organization behind the killings.  But Max Ford might find herself on the wrong side of a lot of powerful people, because what she discovers could have devastating, worldwide implications. And when that evidence is presented to the president, he will be forced to make a crucial decision:  cover up a diabolical plot, or bring down a multi-trillion-dollar worldwide economy…
Suspenseful, spellbinding and sensational, Climatized delivers red-hot action, a sizzling storyline, and a scorcher of a plot.   Briskly paced, steeped in facts, and resplendent with political intrigue,Climatized is an extraordinary—and extraordinarily provocative—thriller.  Sally Fernandez turns upthe heat in Climatized, a tale that will leave readers breathless.
About the Author:
Sally Fernandez is a world traveler and political junkie with a vivid imagination. She and her husband divide their time between their homes in Florida and in Florence, Italy.
Chapter 1
Claus was pleased to see Ernst standing outside the hotel at
eight a.m. sharp. Now they could beat the weekend traffic
and arrive in Saint Léger within the hour. It was an easy drive
from Claus’ home in Avignon, but the weather forecast for the
weekend called for conditions that were unseasonably sunny
with cloudless skies, abnormal conditions for an April day
without rain. He suspected the roads would be cluttered with
families opting to enjoy the various outdoor activities available in
the mountainous region. Most important, the weather was ideal
for rock climbing, one of Claus’ obsessions. He often remarked
that the desire to climb coursed through his veins since receiving
his first Whiz Kid harness and carabiners at the age of five.
What choice did he have? Both his grandfather and father were
avid climbers. Oh yes, with the warm sun and the crisp air, it
promised to be a strenuous but invigorating climb, exactly what
Claus preferred.
Up ahead was the sign for Saint Léger du Ventoux.
They were about to pass through the quaint village in the
Toulourenc Valley at the base of the Mont Ventoux. The
immense mountain, towering six thousand feet into the air,
was well known for casting a permanent shadow on the tiny
hamlet. In another half-mile east and a quarter-mile north
they would reach their destination. Finally, Claus steered
into the sparsely filled parking lot, pleased to see only a few
visitors had arrived.
“How magnificent,” Ernst said, as he viewed the majestic
Saint Léger hovering above.
“She’s got some of the finest crags and some the hardest
routes,” Claus said. Eager to get going, he hopped out of the car
and headed for the trunk. “Help me with the gear?”
As Ernst followed behind he spotted myriad overhangs off in
the distance. “It looks challenging.”
“The route we’re going to take is a single pitch and only
a hundred and thirty feet high up the cliff. But don’t let her fool
you; she’s a tough old crag.”
“So what do we need—just ropes and belay devices?”
“That will do it.” Claus looked at Ernst’s feet and noticed
that they were two shoe sizes larger than his. “Good thing you
brought your own climbing shoes,” he joked.
“I never leave home without them. But thanks for letting me
borrow your other gear.”
“No problem. Let’s get going. It’s a twenty-minute walk from
here to the base.”
As they walked along the narrow path lined with Austrian pines,
Claus explained that the route was one of the most difficult, as well
as one of the least ventured. “There are permanent bolts strategically
placed up the rock face. They’re positioned anywhere from fifteen
to thirty feet apart, so we’ll be able to descend without rappelling.”
They both understood that with or without the bolts that
provided protection, the descent was the most dangerous part of
rock climbing—the part they both enjoyed.
“Hey, Ernst, you never told me what you do for a living or
why you were even at the conference?” Claus was a little curious,
but he was primarily killing time.

“I guess our climbing tales did dominate our discussions. No
big secret. I’m a freelance consultant for biotech companies.”
“So why the interest in a climate-change seminar?”
“I was bored.” Ernst grinned. “You gonna let me start the
“I know the route. You don’t, so I’ll take the first pitch.”
Ernst didn’t push. He knew there would be plenty of
opportunities to switch roles back and forth between the lead
climber and the belayer.
“Here we are!” Claus announced as they came around the last
bend. Standing before them was a massive rock towering up in
the air.
Ernst inspected the crag. He noted that the first bolt was
secured approximately twenty feet up the rock face.
Claus noted his expression. “I assume you approve?”
Claus expertly tied off one end of the rope to his carabiner
with a figure-eight knot and then attached the carabiner to his
harness. “I mentioned that this is one of my preferred routes.
It’s a rugged day’s climb that calls for endurance and physical
strength, but it’s not Dangerville.”
“I’m ready to rock and roll!” Ernst said. His eagerness was
Claus also deemed it time to get the show on the road or,
rather, up the rock. After double-checking his equipment, he
took the lead and began the ascent. Taking special care, he
inched his way up the rock face as Ernst ran the rope through
the belay device and then clipped the device to his harness.
It provided the necessary protection in case the leader was to
slip and fall before attaching himself to a pre-placed bolt with
a carabiner. The belay device created friction, placing bends in
the rope allowing the belayer to tighten and secure the rope
quickly, preventing the leader from falling beyond the last piece
of protection.
Having maneuvered the rock face without incident and
satisfied with the pace, Claus attached himself to the next bolt.
Then, he took over the belay device and functioned as the belayer.
He watched attentively as Ernst climbed to join him. At that
point they had been ascending for well over an hour, covering
half the distance, with Claus always in the lead.
“Now can I take the lead?” Ernst asked, satisfied he had
proven his athletic prowess.
Claus gave the go-ahead.
Ernst moved upward toward the next bolt as Claus adjusted
the belay. Thus far, the ascent had moved along with a rhythmic
cadence. Then after passing a few more bolts, Claus was once
again in the lead.
“I’m ready!” he shouted down to Ernst but there was no
response. “C’mon, let’s move it!”
“Give me a sec! I’m adjusting my gear!” Ernst shouted back.
Moments later, he resumed the climb.
Finally, they had reached the top of the cliff. They each
detached the rope, removing the tether from their harnesses,
and then stood back to admire the three-hundred-and-sixtydegree
“Breathtaking!” Ernst remarked. “Well worth the climb.”
“Ready for lunch? I’m starved.” From Ernst’s expression, Claus
needed no verbal response. Immediately he opened his backpack
and pulled out an assortment of sausages and cheeses, along with
a crusty baguette.
Ernst grabbed two energy drinks and two protein bars from
his backpack.
They noshed leisurely on their snacks and carried on with
simple conversation while enjoying the refreshing cool air. But
as the hour passed by they agreed to pack up and get off the
mountain before losing the benefit of daylight. Within the next
two hours, the sun’s glow would cast itself on the back side of
the mountain, leaving them hanging off a dimly lit crag. After
a few more moments to stretch their legs, they gathered their
belongings and organized for the descent. As agreed, they would
not rappel, but would climb down together, sharing the roles of
leader and belayer as they had before.
Ernst walked over to the permanent bolt fastened to the rock
face at the edge of the cliff and clipped on a carabiner. He ensured
the knotting on the rope was secure. Simultaneously, Claus tied
the other end of the rope to his harness and descended to the
first bolt twenty feet below. Ernst released the rope at a slow,
even pace through the belay, using the device as a descender this
time. As Claus increased his distance, Ernst kept the rope taut.
“Watch your footing down here!” Claus shouted, paying particular
attention to the patch of scree they encountered on the way up. He
continued to edge his way along the rock face using great caution,
until he arrived at the next bolt. “I’m clipped on!” He attached his
carabiner and waited for Ernst to climb down and take the lead.
“Whoa!” Ernst landed his left foot smack in the center of the
scree, but soon regained his balance as the loose gravel scarcely
missed Claus’ head.
Either Ernst did not hear him or he was not paying attention,
but for whatever reason it gave Claus pause. “Let’s take it slow! We
have plenty of time. Remember—you don’t know this crag—I do!”
“Got it!” After a few deep breaths, Ernst continued.
They regained their cadence, taking special care as they
maneuvered past each other and descended the mountain.
All of a sudden, Claus heard a foreboding snap. “ERNST!” he
screamed as he slid down the rock face, scraping his head along
the way.
With no time to spare, Ernst tied off his rope to stop Claus’
acceleration. Had he not, they both would have plunged over
seventy-five feet to the ground.
Dangling helplessly on the rope thirty feet below, Claus took
a lungful and then exhaled. His ears rang with the sound of
his body scraping against the rocks. It reminded him of a train
coming to a screeching halt on unoiled tracks. A horrible sound,
he thought as he shuddered.
“Find a foothold—and don’t move!” Seconds later Ernst had
him tied off, and the rope was secure. “I need to rappel down
and take your weight.”
For Claus, it seemed like hours, but it only took minutes for
Ernst to reach him.
“What the hell happened?”
Claus tried to regain his breath, but all he managed to utter
was, “The bolt let go.”
“How could the bolt simply pull out of the rock?”
“I don’t know!”
“It was fine on the way up. We both clipped on to it!”
“Let’s just get off this mountain.” Claus was clearly ill at ease.
Given the circumstance, Ernst took charge. “Take a deep
breath; we’ve got only about thirty feet more to go.”
Back on solid ground, Ernst inspected Claus’ head. Fortunately,
he had only a few superficial scrapes on his forehead, not worth
a bandage. Then, after a bit of haggling, Claus insisted he was
perfectly capable of driving Ernst back to his hotel. They wasted no
time in gathering their gear and headed for the car. Once underway,
Claus gradually returned to his former self, and their conversation
took on a lighter tone. They chatted about their good fortune until
Ernst proceeded to recount horror stories from his earlier climbs.
All Claus heard was his grandfather’s voice echoing in his
ear. “You’ll never be able to read the mind of Mother Nature,
so you’d better be able to read the minds of those helping you
to challenge her.” They were words he did not heed on that day.
Claus was rarely rattled, but he had never climbed with a stranger
before, only with close friends. But he had to admit that it was
Ernst’s quick action that saved them both.
Ernst was still rattling on about a fall he took until Claus
interrupted. “I’d prefer you to keep those stories to yourself, at
least until after our climb tomorrow.”
“Point taken. So we’re still on?”
Claus nodded, but continued to keep his eyes on the road.
The rest of the drive was relatively silent as they sped along the
winding alpine highway. Finally, Claus spotted a neon sign on top
of a building that flashed the name “Novotel,” and he breathed
a sigh of relief.
Antoinette checked her watch and then checked the wall
clock; they both read 9:38 p.m. “Il a promis.” She soon decided
moaning was useless and thought the Beaujolais wine might
produce a better effect. After pouring herself a glass, she
sauntered into the living room and waited for her husband.
Unfortunately, her favorite Gamay grape from Burgundy was
not doing its magic. She prayed that her worrying would prove
Antoinette recognized that Claus was an excellent climber.
He had tackled the Matterhorn frequently with his hiking
buddies. But the day hikes by himself or with only one other
person concerned her, especially if she was not acquainted
with that person. All she knew was that Claus had befriended
another attendee during a weeklong conference. His name
was Ernst from Lucerne, who was also an avid climber. They
had made plans to climb Saint Léger on Saturday. She had
approved on one condition—they would be off the mountain
by sunset. That was two hours ago. Once again she checked her
watch with growing concern. The time was 10:15. Suddenly,
she heard a car pull into the driveway and she let out a huge
sigh of relief.
Je sais que je suis en retard!” Claus called out from the kitchen,
apologizing for being late. When he walked into the living room,
he found his wife standing in the center of the room with her
arms folded across her chest. Not a good sign, he thought, and he
moved in to embrace her with a hug, whispering “Je t’aime” in an
effort to stifle any anger.
Antoinette surrendered to his ploy, but when she pulled away,
she saw the bruise on his forehead.
Claus assured his lovely wife that it was nothing and then
rotated his cupped hand as though he were holding an empty
wine glass.
Tu veux un verre de vin?” she asked without a trace of anger,
thankful that he had arrived home safely.
Absolument!” he replied, amazed by her easy acquiescence
and more than ready for the glass of wine she was in the midst
of pouring. Then, he prepared for the inevitable question.
As expected, the moment they sat down next to each other
on the sofa, Antoinette asked, “So how was the climb?”
Claus filled her in on the day’s events, careful to leave out
a few details. It all ended well; what’s the point? he mused. Then,
switching the topic slightly, he began to wax on about how Ernst
was such a great climber, hoping to butter her up for his next
request. “Ernst leaves on Monday and asked if I’d climb the Lou
Passo with him tomorrow. I agreed.”
Antoinette knew that Lou Passo was located in the same
region they had just climbed, but it was a rarely visited crag and
considerably easier than Saint Léger. “Clau—”
Arrêtez,” he said as he held up his hand, stopping her
response. “Je l’ai déjà dit oui.”
So, you’ve already said yes. Then what’s left for me to
say?” she asked with mild annoyance, annoyance that was
rooted in her doubts about Ernst. He was not one of Claus’
close friends.

Journey To The Cross by Shane Cloonan


Inside the Book:

Title: Journey to the Cross
Author: Shane Cloonan
Publisher: State Street Publishing
Publication Date: September 11, 2015
Pages: 35
Genre: Children's Christian Fiction

This is the story of the Jesus donkey, a fictional tale that takes readers on a journey from our Lord's birth to his ultimate crucifixion. Though written and illustrated for young readers, this book is perfect for people of all ages who want a fresh, youthful perspective on the life of Jesus. The book's message is imbued in the strength and simplicity of hearts that are linked to other hearts by Jesus. Journey to the Cross follows the light of hope that first appeared on that special night in Bethlehem.

Journey to the Cross helps answer questions that young people ask about the life of Jesus.

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Journey to the Cross is available at AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

Meet the Author

Shane Cloonan began writing Journey to the Cross as a sixth-grader at a Chicago-area Catholic school.

While his own journey to the publication of this book took three years, it was a complete labor of love. Shane is an avid outdoorsman. He also is an accomplished woodcarver. Shane took third place in his age group and category two years ago at the Ward World Championships Wildfowl Carving Competition in Maryland, then followed that up with a first-place finish in the International Woodcarvers Congress competition in Iowa.

Animals and pets of almost every shape and size have always been a big part of his life. It’s one of the reasons why he used a donkey as his lead character—a donkey that tells the most profound story in human history.

You can visit Shane’s website at www.shanecloonan.com

For More Information:
Author Website

The October Testament by Ruth Magnusson Davis

Inside the Book

Title: The October Testament
Author: Ruth Magnusson Davis
Publisher: Baruch House Publishing
Pages: 434
Genre: Christian / Bible / Religion & Spirituality


The primary author of the October Testament is the English martyr William Tyndale. This is his final New Testament translation of 1535. Two years later, his friend John Rogers first published these scriptures in a little-known but very important Reformation Bible called the Matthew Bible, which became the first authorized English Bible under King Henry VIII. A second edition was published in 1549, from which this update is made. Rogers was martyred in 1555, burned at the stake in Smithfield, England. The wine-colored cover, therefore, is symbolic of the blood with which this bible was bought. Ruth Magnusson Davis is founder and editor of the New Matthew Bible Project. Her work is to update the Matthew Bible: not to make a modern bible, but to keep the language of the original as much as possible, which she calls the real language of the faith. Because the KJV New Testament was largely taken from Tyndale, readers will find much that is familiar here, and beautiful, but will find it easier to understand than the KJV. Ruth, a retired lawyer, is a scholar of early modern English, the writings of William Tyndale, and the Matthew Bible. In 2009 she retired from professional practice in order to undertake this work full-time. In October 2015, she completed the New Testament, "The October Testament." Then she began work on the interior layout and attending to all the details of publishing. In March 2016 the October Testament finally became available for sale, and was immediately well received. Ruth's fine editorial hand is almost unnoticeable. Tyndale continues to shine through. Rogers' style in his annotations is distinctly his. Readers comment repeatedly on both the flow and the clarity of the New Matthew Bible scriptures, and also on the beauty of the original style, which Ruth, with her delicate touch, has masterfully retained.

Book Excerpt:

Chapter 3

The baptism, preaching, and office of John the Baptist, and how Christ was baptized by him in the Jordan.

In those days John the Baptist came and preached in the wilderness of Judea, 2saying, Repent: the kingdom of heaven is at hand! 3This is he of whom it is spoken by the prophet Isaiah, who says, The voice of a crier in wilderness: Prepare the Lord’s way, and make his paths straight.   4This John had his garment of camel’s hair, and a girdle of skin about his loins. His food was locusts and wild honey.a 5At that time Jerusalem and all Judea, and all the region round about the Jordan, went out to him, 6and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.  7When he saw many of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees come to his baptism, he said to them, O offspring of vipers, who has taught you to flee from the vengeance to come? 8Bring forth therefore the fruits belonging to repentance. 9And see that you ones do not think to say in yourselves, We have Abraham as our father. For I say to you that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. 10Even now is the axe put to the root of the trees, so that every tree which does not bring forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. 11I baptize you in water in token of repentance, but he who comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12He has also his fan in his hand, and will purge his floor, and gather the wheat into his garner, and will burn the chaff with unquenchable fire.b  13Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan, to John, to be baptized by him. 14But John stopped him, saying, I ought to be baptized by you, and do you come to me? 15Jesus answered and said to him, Let it be so           
Isa 40:3 
Mk 1:1-17 Lu 3:1-22 Joh 1:15-34; 3:22-36.                           
Now, for thus it behoves us, to fulfil all righteousness. Then John let him. 16And Jesus, as soon as he was baptized, came straight out of the water. And lo, heaven was open over him, and John saw the Spirit of God descend like a dove and light upon him. 17And lo, there came a voice from heaven, saying, This is he: my beloved Son, in whom is my delight.   
Mk 1:11 Lu 3:22 Joh 1:32 2Pe 1:16-18   
Locusts  (3:4)    
Wheat and chaff (3:12)
The Notes

a) According to Pliny [Roman savant and author of Natural History in the first century], locusts are certain creatures that people of Parthia and Ethiopia used to eat. But some say the tops or buds of trees or fruits are meant. [Tyndale>John the Baptist came not to impress with his diet and strait living, which outward things pertain only to the taming of the flesh, but he came to preach, as the voice of a crier.] b) By the wheat and the chaff are understood the good and the evil. 
Luke 3:17. 

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Meet The Author 

Ruth Magnusson Davis is a retired lawyer with an undergraduate degree in languages, and a conservative Christian. She holds to the fullness of Reformation doctrine, with one foot in the camp of evangelical traditional Anglicans and another with the Lutherans. She presently resides in Canada.

In 2005 Ruth formed her little company, Baruch House Publishing, to publish her first book, 'True to His Ways: Purity & Safety in Christian Spiritual Practice,' released that year.
In 2009 Ruth retired from law and founded the New Matthew Bible Project, dedicated to gently updating the Matthew Bible, a little-known Reformation Bible. The Matthew Bible was the joint work of 3 men early in the Reformation: William Tyndale, Miles Coverdale, and John Rogers. Few people realize that the Matthew Bible formed the basis of the King James Version. Ruth's goal is to maintain the historic language of the faith while making these old scriptures plain for today's reader. The updated version will be called the New Matthew Bible, or NMB for short.

Ruth completed her work on the NMB New Testament, and it was published in April 2016 as 'The October Testament.'

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