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Monday, October 19, 2020

Book Review: A Warrior’s Kiss (The Cupid Dating Agency) by Celia Breslin + giveaway

A Warrior’s Kiss (The Cupid Dating Agency)
by Celia Breslin
August 4, 2020
Genre: Paranormal Romance
ISBN: 9781393477938
ASIN: B08FFCWNF2
Number of pages: 116
Word Count: 28K
Cover Artist: Brantwijn Serrah
She’s chasing her dream. He’s after her heart.

French teacher turned entrepreneur, Nicolette Durand has one goal in mind when she leaves the big city for a quaint town in the California wine country, and it has nothing to do with men. Intent on converting the antique store she inherited from her aunt into a booming new business with her bestie, Nicky doesn’t care how many dating edicts the cupids send her, she’s simply too busy. Then a hunk of surly angel crashes into her life. Literally.

Ezekiel is less than delighted when the Almighty assigns him and his elite team of warriors to Earth with instructions to help the cupids. Now Heaven’s top soldiers are running two businesses, including a gastropub where speed dating events are a part of their mission. But Zeke may have to rethink his surly position on this earthbound gig after he meets the kind, considerate and curvy biz owner next door.

Nicky is sure she has no time for a relationship, not even with the gorgeous hunk of heaven who rocks her world, but Zeke is determined to convince her otherwise. Too bad a supernatural disaster and thousands of Hell’s minions intent on destruction and mayhem might stand in their way… 

A Warrior's Kiss 
is a fast, fun and sexy as hell (or Heaven) read. What a great way to kick off a new series! I would have LOVED more of the meat, these quick reads are a tasty appetizer but bring on the damn entree already! Feed me more. Lots more of this colorful PNR goodness, but sadly this will have to do. For now...

The banter between our leading couple was funny and you could feel the potential this author is sitting right at the cusp of. Could she add more snark in the next story, well I sure as hell (or Heaven) hope so! Sexy romance, check! Gimme more, gimme more. 

If you're looking for a fast and sexy read with a ton of future potential, I suggest you pick this one up. Good stuff and I can't wait to have seconds!


4 and 1/2 Sheep






KD 

Excerpt: 
“Think he’s dead?” The whispered question quieted his internal whining.

Nice voice. Soft and smooth, like velvet. Feminine. Clearly, he wasn’t alone.

“He sure looks dead.” A second woman replied, louder and with a chuckle.

He suppressed a scowl and kept his eyes closed. She thinks this is funny?

Bodies shifted behind whatever his head had cracked into, edging closer to either side of him.

“There’s no blood, though,” she of the velvet voice murmured. “Shouldn’t there be blood? […].”

Ah, their business neighbor. She came to a halt near his head, her body heat and peaches-and-honey scent saturating his senses. He should open his peepers and say something, see if the female looked as good as she sounded and smelled.

Shit. Where had that reaction come from? He had no room in his life for a woman, especially not a mortal woman.

“Maybe we should check for a pulse,” the one Peaches had called Maya suggested.

“I’m not touching his body.”

Fast reply from Peaches. Jesus, did he look so horrible? And double Jesus, why did her opinion matter? He must have hit his head harder than he imagined.

“C’mon, girlfriend. It’s a big, beautiful body. How can you not want to get your hands on it?”

Listen to your girlfriend, Peaches. No. Wait. Belay that order.

“Really, M? One-track mind much?”

He tensed to haul his ass upward, but a soft, gentle hand landed on his shoulder, feather light, then slid down his bare arm, kicking up a riot of electric sensation along his skin. He should move, but damn if he didn’t want to see what she would do next. Or touch next.

Warm fingers palpated his inner wrist, right over his madly beating pulse. Racing for her? A human female he hadn’t even laid eyes on? Shit. […]

Eyes shooting wide, he sat up.

About the Author
Website-FB-Twitter
Blog-Goodreads 
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Newsletter
Celia lives in California with her husband, daughter, and two feisty cats. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and has a particular fondness for werewolves, vampires, and the Fae. Her stories are action-packed and typically include one of the many varieties of romantic entanglements: fated mates, second chance, rescue romance, opposites attract, friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, and more.

When not writing, you’ll find Celia exercising, reading a good book, hanging with her family, or indulging her addiction to Joss Whedon’s TV shows and movies, as well as everything in the Marvel Universe franchise. Of course!


Spooktacular Giveaway 
1 $20 USD, Amazon.com US e-gift card

Book Review: Night of the Vampire (Deathless Night-Into the Dark, #1) by L.E. Wilson + giveaway

Night of the Vampire 
(Deathless Night-Into the Dark, #1)
by L.E. Wilson
October 15th 2020
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Killian walked into my new voodoo shop late one night with an urgent request – he needed me to heal his friend. Only I know absolutely nothing about voodoo, or healing. I’m just trying to start a new life with what little family I have left after my dream of becoming a star on Broadway went up in flames.

Literally.

At first glance, he was an average looking guy with a European flair. Nothing outside the ordinary in the city of New Orleans. But despite his nerdy-boy attire, Killian was most definitely all man. And as his black eyes made their way up my body to my face, the look reflected within them wasn’t the least bit tame.

More like predatory…

I expected her to cast me down the moment I walked through her door. But I had no choice. One of my own was dying from a witch’s curse, and only another witch could undo the spell. However, Lizzy was not what I’d expected to find. Stunned by her beauty and overwhelmed by her scent, I burned with thirst until the blood raced through my veins and my body tightened with need.

But with one taste, she calmed the beast within me as the truth flooded my wicked soul. The witch is MINE. She is the pulse that feeds my immortal life and the bearer of my death. Taking Lizzy as my mate will bring about the end of my coven’s uneasy truce with the witches.

Leaving her will mean my demise…

My name is Killian Rice, and I am a vampire. Come Into The Dark with this new series by L.E. Wilson, and enter her Deathless Night. A world of immortals with only one weakness: The witches who can destroy us…


Night of the Vampire was a fun and entertaining read that had lots of funny moments. We had a lot of the PNR pieces that I enjoy reading in a vampy tale, sure it wasn't that dark but overall the story takes you on an enjoyable ride. I loved the fact that our leading lady Lizzy was in her 30's and had a more mature outlook on her life. The setting of NOLA always adds that extra special something when it comes to these kinds of adventures. I've had such fond memories in that city with my friend Sharon and that helps me paint the picture of the town, the smells, and sounds.

Killian is a hot and sexy vampire male, I wanted to eat him up! His dynamic with Lizzy was off the charts at times, I would have loved more banter between them but maybe characters coming down the pipe will have those elements. This one is a little on the softer PNR side and yes a few typos that should have been caught in the edit but overall I liked the series.

Getting 4 Sheep

KD



Excerpt: 
A man stood just inside the door, looking around my store with an amused expression on his face. At first glance, he wasn't anything special to look at. About five foot eleven if the ruler on the door frame was correct, of average build, with pale skin, short, sandy brown hair and a classically handsome face that hadn't seen a razor in a day or so. As I ran my eyes over his suspiciously dry clothes, I noticed he had what I would consider a bit of a European look to him. His dark jeans were fitted to his lean, muscular legs, and he wore a hip-length black sweater with a big collar open over a nondescript, dark green shirt. All he needed was a pair of glasses with thick frames to complete the look he seemed to be going for. 

However, despite his nerdy-boy attire, the man standing in my shop was most definitely not a boy. And the look in his black eyes, once they made their way back up to my face, was not in the least bit nerdy. 

More like predatory. 

My lungs began to ache from lack of air, and I sucked in a quick breath through my nose. 

Oh, my God. What was that? 

The best cologne I'd ever smelled invaded my sinuses, overriding even the spiciness of the incense, and for a brief moment I closed my eyes as desire wound its way through my body, the sudden ache in my womb sharp and heavy. 

A discreet cough brought me crashing back to where I was. Heat crept up my chest to fan out across my neck and face as I remembered myself, and I was self-consciously aware I must look as red as the curtain behind me. 

The man smiled a secret smile, as though he knew exactly what was going on inside my body. Could see the carnal images running through my head. 

Setting the bag on the counter, I pulled myself together and forced a professional tone to my voice. I think I may have even succeeded once I was finally able to get past the first few words. "I'm sorry, but the shop is closed for the night. However, we open tomorrow at ten." I smiled as nonchalantly as I could manage. "I hope you'll be able make it back then." 

Really, I secretly hoped he was just one of the many tourists and would be heading back out of town tomorrow. There was something about this guy that was making me distinctly uncomfortable. Potential customer or not. 

Then he spoke for the first time, the musical cadence of his voice sliding over me like the soft notes of some cool Jazz. "Are you the owner of this..." He glanced around. "Shop? Did you call it?" 

There was a slight lilt to his speech. Irish, maybe? His "are" sounded more like "a-our". "Did you" more like "didja." Yet he spoke so low, his deep voice so soothing, almost like a purr—or maybe a growl—that it was hard to catch if you weren't paying attention. 

"Yes. Is there something I can help you with?" Maybe he wasn't a normal customer. Maybe he was here to try to sell me something, and that's why I was getting such a weird vibe. That, and the fact that he'd somehow gotten in through a locked door. 

Reading my mind again, he smiled and gestured toward the door. "Forgive me for coming in after hours. The door was unlocked." 

I flicked my eyes over to the door and then back to him. Like hell it was. 

He cocked his head to the side. "Are you a new here? I haven't seen you around before." 

"New Orleans is a crowded city." 

"That it is, but mostly full of tourists. Us locals usually stick together." 

Did they? "I'm the new owner. My name is Lizzy Smith. How can I help you?" I repeated. 

"Smith?" He appeared put off by my name. 

I dropped all pretenses of being pleasant and frowned instead. "Yes. Smith. It was the best I could do on short notice." I didn't know what made that bit of truth come out. "Is there something I can help you with?" I repeated. 

The lines of concern on his forehead disappeared as he strolled a few steps further inside the store, and closer to me. "Actually, I was looking for someone, but that's not the correct name. Is there a better one you can think of, by chance?" 

He was smirking at me. The bastard. 

As casually as I could, I stepped back until I was standing at the end of the counter, nearer the pepper spray I always kept within easy reach, because I couldn't afford the gun I wanted yet. "And you are?" 

Gone. 

I'd blinked, and he was suddenly standing directly in front of me, one hand wrapped around my upper arm. He'd moved so fast, it had taken my brain a few seconds to catch up with what my eyes had just seen. Or not seen, as it were. My heart thumped hard, once, and then it began to race, making me lightheaded. He stood so close, his make-me-want-to-rip-off-my-panties scent teasing my nose, it took another moment for me to be able to form a coherent thought. Unlike a normal cologne, whatever he was wearing didn't get stronger with his near proximity, but mellowed to a mere tease of the scent. It drew me in to him without my realizing it, and I had the sudden urge to bury my face in his chest. 

Gradually, I realized my hands were pressed flat against said chest. But whether to push him away or draw him closer, I couldn't have said. 

"Lizzy." 

Drawn by the soothing allure of his voice, I lifted my chin until my eyes met his. Like his scent, his average good looks became devastating up close and personal. Beneath my hands, his chest was warm. So very, very warm. My head swam and my heart continued its erratic beat as I drowned in the dark pools of his eyes. 

My entire body ached to be closer to him. 

The material of my jeans was all at once rough and irritating against my thighs as my blood raced to the surface, sensitizing my skin. My soft shirt prickly as hell. I had the sudden urge to offer myself to him. Anything he needed. Anything he wanted. If he would just get me out of these irritating clothes. 

Black eyes bored into mine, and I’d swear they could see every dirty stain on my soul. 

"I need your help." 

I struggled against the urge to obey his every wish. "But you just said I had the wrong name." Though I felt my lips and tongue form the words, they came to my own ears as though through a vast void. 

"The name doesn't matter. You're the person I'm looking for. You have to be. Because I don't have any other options." 

Warning bells clanged loudly in my head, but I couldn't piece anything together enough so that it made sense. "What's your name?" I asked him through a fog. 

He touched my cheek with the fingertips of his free hand, his dark eyes roaming across my features as they followed the trail they made. "My name is Killian. And you are not what I expected."

About the Author
:
L.E. Wilson writes Paranormal Romance starring intense alpha males and the women who are fearless enough to tame them -- for the most part anyway. ;) In her novels you'll find smoking hot scenes, a touch of suspense, some humor, a bit of gore, and multifaceted characters, all working together to combine her lifelong obsession with the paranormal and her love of romance.

Her writing career came about the usual way: on a dare from her loving husband. Little did she know just one casual suggestion would open a box of worms (or words as the case may be) that would forever change her life.

Lattes and music are a necessary part of her writing process, and sometimes you'll find her typing away at her favorite Starbucks. She walks two miles to get there, to make up for all of those coffees.

GIVEAWAY
Blitz-wide giveaway (INT)
$25 Amazon gift card



Sunday, October 18, 2020

Soul’s Day Boxset: Horror and Paranormal Halloween Theme + giveaway

Soul’s Day Boxset: Horror and Paranormal Halloween Theme
October 20th 2020
Published by: Fire Quill Publishing
Genres: Adult, Horror, Paranormal
Old Hallows Eve, when things go bump in the night,
Children come to play, and the witches provide the fright.
For 19 authors, USA Today and international bestselling,
The Halloween tales become more than this foretelling.
In the Soul’s Day Boxset, a mansion feeds on souls,
A gargoyle captures them, and a demon dungeon master makes the calls,
Campers gets picked off one by one,
The Karnaval’s corn dogs are less than fun,
Ghosts lurking around every bend,
‘I do’ at the wedding is the very end.
A boxset of chills and thrills to keep you up at night,
One-click pre-order to snap your copy filled with fright.
On old Hallow’s eve when creatures come to play,
With this spine chilling pages, it’s where you’ll want to stay.

AUTHOR LINE UP: 
Erin Lee – USA TODAY BESTSELLING
Kristin Ping w/a Judith Holstrom – USA TODAY BESTSELLING
Amber Garr – AWARD AND INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING
Ashlee Sinn – AWARD AND INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING
L.L. Hunter – AWARD AND INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING
Monique Singleton – INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING
Majanka Verstraete – INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING
Aubrey Wynne – INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING
Stephanie Ayers – INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING
DM Wolfenden – INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING
Maggie Tideswell – INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING
Sian B. Claven – AWARD WINNING AUTHOR
Kayla Krantz
Yvette Bostic
Brandy Nacole
Jennifer Fish-Ferguson
Lea Cherry
Scarlet Le Clair
Azaaa Davis

GIVEAWAY
Blitz-wide giveaway (US only)
$10 Amazon gift card and a set of Tarot cards

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Dainty Damsels: Fairy Collection by J.N. Sheats + giveaway

Dainty Damsels: Fairy Collection
by J.N. Sheats
August 28, 2020
Genre: Fantasy Coloring Book
It's Finally Here! The medium book of Fairy Damsels, 30 brand new pages by illustrator J.N. Sheats. Complete with plenty of big eyed Damsel cuties, fury playful friends, and tons of dynamic scenes ready for your coloring talents. Grab your pens, pencils, or crayons and relax with this enchanting collection.







About the Author

Website-FB-Twitter
J.N. Sheats is an artist turned author. Living in Maryland with six wild cats, and her husband, J.N. spends her days designing book covers and teasers for other authors. At night she is at the mercy of her demanding characters, and their wild fantasies.

Dark Paranormal Fantasy is her preferred genre of writing, but anything is game. Maybe even a lovely romance novel or two in the near future.

When not writing, designing, or drawing, J.N. spends her time doing a host of other activities. Including: gardening, jewelry making, cooking, and watching far too much television.

Giveaway 
Dainty Damsel swag: colored print of a Damsel & A Fantasy tree, 
$10 Amazon giftcard 
– 1 winner each 

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway! 

Friday, October 16, 2020

Interview: Fantasy Author Jeff Pollak (First Second Coming) + giveaway

What drew you to write in the supernatural/romantic suspense genres?
Nothing. When I first started writing First Second Coming, I thought it would be a magical realism story. Somewhere around the third or fourth draft, I realized it wasn’t MR, but didn’t know what genre it was. So I began to research genres to see what fit. That led me to conclude the novel could be either urban fantasy or romantic suspense, or both. That remained my conclusion through the next five drafts. My publisher convinced me that instead of urban fantasy, the book should be considered supernatural suspense. So I’ve inadvertently wandered into two genres I had no idea I’d publish my first book in. The fantasy is still there, by the way, we’re just not marketing it that way.

What was the hardest thing about writing your supernatural/romantic suspense book?
Finding the time to write while working full-time, sometimes much more than full-time, as a trial lawyer working for myself. I started the book in 2014 and worked on it evenings and weekends except when I was in trial or had family or other commitments. When I retired in 2018, I was on my seventh draft and deemed the book ready for a professional editor, so writing FSC took five years of primarily part-timing the work to get the story finished.

How much research do you do?
Plenty. Regardless of the genre, I thought I was writing in, I wanted as much realism in First Second Coming as I could get. This was especially challenging regarding the religions that make appearances in the book since my familiarity with most of them wasn’t enough. I bought and read books on them and on many different perceptions of God, while writing.
I did a lot of internet research on these subjects and even attended the World Parliament of Religions in Toronto in 2017 to speak to as many religious followers as I could find to get impressions of how my book would be received or to discuss points of their religions that I needed to know about. Over the course of the seven-day parliament, I must have spoken to five hundred people, and I still found time to peruse the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The professional editor I hired mentioned to me in her editorial report that I’d convinced her I’m an expert in religions. That comment was very gratifying.

Do you work to an outline or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
A mix of both. For FSC, I prepared an initial bullet-point outline. For each chapter, I’d have two to four bullet points to remind me of the things that chapter had to cover to advance the story. I free-styled the dialogue and narrative, at least until my female MC, Brendali Santamaria, began to tell me what was really happening in the chapter.

Once I began to hear her telling me what the story actually was, I gave her a semi-free will. I became more of a transcriber than a writer at that point, taking down whatever Bren passed along to me. By the time I reached the end of the first draft, I had a novel rather different, but better, than my outline.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing vs. traditional publishing?
I think the question derives from a false premise – that every writer has the same desires regarding publication. Some people write as an avocation, not for publishing. Others want to publish. Still others are somewhere between these two poles. Business acumen or time constraints play a role, too, in that some people don’t want to take on the burden of marketing in addition to writing, so they want traditional publishing or nothing.

Age also matters, in that the big traditional publishers take forever – well, up to five years – to publish a book. The question also omits the fact that traditional publishers include not only the big ones but small or regional presses, hybrid publishers, and (don’t go here, anyone) vanity presses. With all that said, my own perspectives on advantages and disadvantages have very little value, since they are unique to me and not a generalization. Each writer contemplating publishing should research the many options that exist these days, determine which one(s) fit them best, and then go in that direction.

Great advice! Do you have a good or bad story regarding publishing?
Here’s my good one. The writer’s conference I attend yearly – Southern California Writers Conference, which I highly recommend to anyone – has a feature called the Advanced Submissions, which is a fee-based thing. You pay $50 for a fifteen-minute get-together with your chosen agent, editor, fellow writer, or publisher.

The chosen individual gets the first ten pages of your story in advance of the conference, marks it up, and gives you feedback. If you’ve selected an agent and you’re very lucky, you might get a request for the full manuscript if there is one, or a request that you send it to him or her when the MS is ready.
In my case, I requested one agent in 2018 who I never got to meet because her flight was grounded by bad weather. In 2019 I paid for two conferences, one with an agent, the other with a publisher. The agent lost her father and didn’t show up, but she contacted me to ask for the full manuscript. I did meet the co-founder of a publisher I’d been angling toward over the prior months, who told me she wanted to publish the story based on what she’d read and what I’d done to get to know her company.

So, after about six months of querying, I had a publishing offer and my first agent’s request for a full manuscript, just like that. It took me two months to decide which way to go, but I took the publication offer and I’m very happy I did.

What do you think of “trailers” for books, and will you create one for your work?
I’ve seen some very impressive trailers for books, but haven’t investigated the cost. I also haven’t seen anything quantifiable that can assure me that a trailer is worth the cost. So I’m very on the fence on this one. I’m doing something slightly different because I’m fortunate to have a niece who is a professional animator. She’s going to prepare a brief animation for my author’s page that will (hopefully) be ready by First Second Coming’s publication date, August 1st. It’s not a trailer so much as a treat for those of my future readers who enjoy animation.

What a great idea! So, what do your fans mean to you?
As this is my first book I don’t yet have any fans. When I do they’ll be treated like the clients I worked for. By contract and law I was required to do my absolute best from start to finish – a zealous advocate. Converting that to publishing means, to me, that I must write the best story I can, recognize that the reader has chosen to devote a certain amount of time to my characters and story, show my appreciation for that and make the reader happy he or she spent that time with my tale rather than with the story in the next office (or shelf).

I like how you think. If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be and why?
Although I would love to have dinner with my three favorite deceased authors – James Clavell, Frank Herbert, and Tom Clancy – I chose living ones so that the ghosts of those authors of yesteryear aren’t jealous of the meal I assume they can no longer eat.

The living authors I would select are Daniel Silva for his ability to integrate current events into his page-turner suspense stories, as I am doing in mine; David Mitchell for his stunningly brilliant writing and the equally off the charts plots and characters, and Iain Pears for the depth and details he builds into his novels and his ability to write in multiple genres. I’d invite Neil Gaiman and Haruki Murakami to the dinner, too, but the table only accommodates four people.

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I’d pick pizza. Aside from the nutrition I’d gain from the basic ingredients (cheese, starch, sauce), there’s a great deal of variety in the items that can be added. So I could have a Hawaiian pizza – my favorite style – one day; a classic pepperoni pie the next; a barbeque pizza after that, etc. I thrive on variation so this choice would give me a different meal for every lunch and dinner every day for a month. I’d skip breakfast to keep the calories down.


First Second Coming (The New God Series Book 1) 
by Jeff Pollak
August 1, 2020
Genre: Supernatural Romantic Suspense
In 2027 the deity known as NTG – short for New Testament God – retires after more than two thousand years of minding the store for his employer, Milky Way Galaxy, Inc. The new god, a planetary turnaround specialist, must decide whether Earth’s dominant species should or should not be included in his plan to bring the planet back into full compliance with Milky Way Galaxy, Inc.’s planetary operation standards.

Earth’s new God introduces himself to humanity by unexpectedly appearing on the Ram Forrester Hour talk show. Ram, an atheist, and co-host Brendali Santamaria, a devout Catholic, are stunned. God's interview, beamed worldwide, shocks and infuriates viewers. They learn that a sixty-day conference will take place in Los Angeles to determine whether humans are capable of helping him implement his planetary turnaround plan. To earn a coveted spot in this God’s good graces all mankind must do is eliminate religious violence forever, without his heavenly help, within sixty days. Failure means extinction.

God designates Ram and Bren as the conference’s only authorized media reporters. This assignment, fraught with peril, ignites their romance. Not only must the harried couple attend the conference meetings by day and do their show at night, they must also outwit a fanatical religious group bent on killing them. When rising conflicts within the conference intensify, it’s up to Ram and Bren to do whatever it takes to protect their budding romance and mankind’s very survival.
Reviews:
“Jeff Pollak’s debut novel, First Second Coming, combines suspense, romance, and theology in an imaginative, unique adventure!”
—Mark Moses, Actor (best known as Paul Young on Desperate Housewives and Herman “Duck” Phillips on Mad Men.)

“Wow! What an outstanding debut novel! Jeff mixes a wide genre to create this intriguing novel. Plenty of romance, action and some theology to keep things lively! Not a mix I’ve seen before but in the ratio he writes=perfect! A fab read. Looking forward to the next book!”
-- Becca Thompson, The Book Club

“An absolutely fascinating concept mixed with the perfect blend of action, romance and theology. Will humans choose to set aside their petty arguments and live peacefully, working to solve the world's problems side by side, or will the planetary turnaround specialist assigned to Earth as the New God have to take the ultimate action to ensure the planet's survival, even if that means human extinction? This book will grab you and keep you reading to the very last page. Can't wait to see what comes next!”
- Kristine Pfeffer Fox, Author

**Get the ebook free in exchange for an honest review HERE!**

First Excerpt from Chapter 1, Stranger In A Strange Land: 
Thirteen hours late, my cross-galaxy voyage to the All-Souls Transit Center ends in a puff of soft lunar dirt on Mare Tranquillitatis. I expect to meet the legendary God of planet Earth in his office, but as I deplane he’s shuffling down the concourse toward his departure gate. He’s easy to spot—inside this small, sparse four-gate terminal we are the only life forms in sight. 

With his stooped posture and unkempt shoulder-length gray hair, God reminds me of the mythical Atlas. His tremors underscore the physical and emotional toll he has had to bear. Did his mental state also degrade? He spent two millennia managing a planet populated by quarrel­some headstrong terrestrials. Over that much time any deity posted to such a world would succumb to the effects of prolonged stress. 

I quicken my pace, catch up to him and extend a hand. “Good day, Lord.” 

“This is how you address your superiors?” The decibel level of his gruff voice implies impaired hearing. “Where are your manners? A bow is in order.” 

Though I have not yet fully adapted to the musculature of this adult male body I inhabit, my flawless execution of a deep obeisance brings a quick smile to my face. 

God gives me a brusque signal to rise. “You’re my replacement, are you?” 

“Correct, Lord. I am humbled and honored to take your place.” I bow again, less fully. 

“Call me NTG if you wish. I prefer answering to that nickname.” 

So the rumor is true. That he calls himself the New Testament God instead of his given name means he has indeed gone native. This explains a lot. 

We sink into a ‘maximum comfort’ couch—or so the attached tag boasts—stuffed full of condensed nimbostratus cloud threads imported from Earth. An ugly green tarp spread over the cushions prevents our clothes from getting soaked by residual moisture. 

God adjusts his overcoat and leans toward me. “I trust you had an enjoyable flight?” 

“I would like to say yes, but what a hellacious trip.” That’s an understatement. “We flew through several cosmic storms, circum­vented an unmapped black hole and limped here on back-up power after the anti-matter fuel engine failed. I will never fly by chartered spaceship again.” 

“Now that you’ve arrived, what makes you think you can take on a tough job like this?” 

“This is my fourth assignment, though the first for Milky Way Galaxy, Inc.” I place my carry-on bag on the tan moon-rock table and open a side pocket. “I have a résumé, if you want to peruse it. In each previous posting, the planets I shepherded returned to optimal status. Whilst this assignment is more complex, I assure you my record shall remain unsullied.” 

“Humph.” He spits into the thin puddle created by the leaky couch and waves off my résumé. “I thought those spineless MWGI decision-makers would send a rank amateur. After only three postings, you expect to fix this mess? You’re still wet around the ears, sonny. Have you even hung your precious university degrees on a wall yet?” He points at the nearby picture window. “On Earth they say you learn more through failure than success.” 

“Elder, I did not travel here to fail. MWGI reached out because of my extensive training as a planetary turnaround specialist. They are confident I am the best available deity for this job.” 

“And you agree with that assessment, do you?” He fidgets, as though trying to stand and walk away, but can’t get off the couch. 

“I would not otherwise have taken the job, Lord. Once I did, I undertook considerable research. The travel delays afforded me extra preparation time. I have learned everything a new deity should know about Earth and its inhabitants. I am ready to take the reins.” 

“Your extensive reading helped you form opinions regarding the humans, did it?” 

I disregard the sarcasm implicit in the question. If I ever reach his wizened old age, young deities will receive better treatment from me than this. His attitude is understandable, though. Forced retire­ment is a difficult pill for anyone to swallow, supreme beings included. 

“Lord, these sentient beings do have many laudable qualities. However, whilst I prefer not to focus on the negative, on the whole humans strike me as a rather unpredictable species.” 

NTG spits again and rummages through the pockets of his black overcoat, pants and vest. “Where’s the damn thing? Did I forget it? Ah, here. Since you’re not dead, you’ll need this to get into heaven.” 

He hands me a Holyday Inn card key with “NTG” stenciled on the back side. I stare at the card whilst mulling over my research, which characterized heaven as an imaginary afterlife sanctuary. With a shrug, I deposit the card in the pocket of my blue denim shirt. 

“Many humans call it heaven, but I consider it home.” God’s melancholic smile comes and goes in seconds. “Souls get over the false advertising once they adjust to their newly deceased status. Follow the overhead signs to the tram that’ll take you to the complex. My office is by the main gate so I can greet arrivals on St. Peter’s days off. Ask for Angie, my chief of staff. She’s a real angel in every sense of the word.”

About the Author 
Website -FB-TwitterJeff Pollak, the author of First Second Coming and sequels to come, was raised in the Riverdale section of the Bronx by a single mom and two grandparents who lived eight floors up. After graduating from college in Buffalo, Jeff headed west to Los Angeles for law school and spent his entire legal career in and around civil litigation. Now retired, writing fiction is Jeff's new passion.

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