Tuesday, April 30, 2013

**Cover Reveal ~ Unbreak Me ~ Lexi Ryan**

I'm happy to bring you the cover for Lexi Ryan's upcoming novel, Unbreak Me. It's pretty steamy, yeah? I really like the black and white image. And the intimate moment it captured. 

The cover was designed by Okay Creations. This cover reveal is presented by Xpresso Book Tours.





Unbreak Me by Lexi Ryan

Publication date:  May 27th, 2013
Genre: New Adult Romance

Here's the full cover



Synopsis:
“If you’re broken, I’ll fix you…”

I’m only twenty-one and already damaged goods. A slut. A failure. A disappointment to my picture-perfect family as long as I can remember. I called off my wedding to William Bailey, the only man who thought I was worth fixing. A year later, he’s marrying my sister. Unless I ask him not to…

“If you shatter, I’ll find you…”

But now there’s Asher Logan, a broken man who sees the fractures in my fa├žade and doesn’t want to fix me at all. Asher wants me to stop hiding, to stop pretending. Asher wants to break down my walls. But that means letting him see my ugly secrets and forgiving him for his.

With my past weighing down on me, do I want the man who holds me together or the man who gives me permission to break?


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ABOUT LEXI 
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Ryan writes romances with humor, heat, and heart. Her books are described as fun, flirty, and wickedly sexy. A lover of learning, Lexi has been in the classroom all her life and currently holds the title of assistant professor of English at her local community college. Lexi is a proud member of Romance Writers of America. She lives in rural Indiana with her husband and two children.

Lexi's links:

Xpresso Book Tours is organizing a release day book blitz for Unbreak Me, on May 27th. Follow this link to sign up! 
http://www.xpressobooktours.com/2013/04/release-day-blitz-sign-up-unbreak-me-by.html





Friday, April 26, 2013

**Blog Tour & Giveaway ~ Forty Days ~ Stephanie Parent**


I really, really wanted to read this book when I participated in the cover reveal for it. It was so very intriguing to me. As much as I loved the cover, I adored the actual novel. And this was only the first part. What I'm getting at is I'm giddy over being a stop on the blog tour for Stephanie Parent's Forty DaysMy stop includes everything you need to know about Forty Days, my review, and a giveaway. This tour is presented by YA Bound. For the complete list of participating blogs, click here


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Forty Days (Neima's Ark #1)
by Stephanie Parent
Release Date: 02/10/13
125 pages

Summary from Goodreads:
The entire village knows Neima’s grandfather is a madman. For years the old man has prophesied that a great flood is coming, a flood disastrous enough to blot out the entire earth. He’s even built an enormous ark that he claims will allow his family to survive the deluge. But no one believes the ravings of a lunatic…

…until the rain starts. And doesn’t stop. Soon sixteen-year-old Neima finds her entire world transformed, her life and those of the people she loves in peril. Trapped on the ark with her grandfather Noah, the rest of her family, and a noisy, filthy, and hungry assortment of wild animals, will Neima find a way to survive?

With lions, tigers, and bears oh my, elephants and flamingos too, along with rivalries and betrayals, a mysterious stowaway, and perhaps even an unexpected romance, FORTY DAYS is not your grandfather’s Noah’s Ark story.

FORTY DAYS is approximately 45000 words, the length of a shorter novel, and is the first installment in a two-part epic story. It does contain a cliffhanger ending.

Readers looking for a traditional, religiously oriented version of the Noah’s Ark story should be warned that FORTY DAYS may not appeal to them. The novel will, however, appeal to lovers of apocalyptic fiction, historical fiction, and romance, as well as anyone who’s ever dreamed of having a baby elephant as a pet.




Forty Days is on sale this week only for only $.99!  Go get your copy!



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My Review

Wow! Completely, totally, utterly fascinating! 

I'm so very impressed with Forty DaysTo take a well known story and not just re-tell it...to help me live through it along with someone who's living through it...someone so close to Noah...brilliant! What better story to build upon than Noah's Ark? Stephanie Parent has woven a unique and fascinating tale. Noah's Ark from a different perspective - that of his teenage granddaughter.

Noah's Ark is a story we all know. And I must admit to questioning the wisdom of Noah building the ark solely because a voice claiming to be the one God told him to. Forty Days tells the story of Noah and his ark from Neima's point of view. It discusses the gossip and shunning Noah's family endures because of Noah's "madness'. It also details the building of the ark, the work entailed, the sounds and smells. Parent's ability to describe these events allowed me to feel as though I was witnessing them...quite an accomplishment. I could even feel the heat and humidity.

Neima is a little different - and not just because she's Noah's granddaughter. She's taller then most girls and she has an unusual hobby. She carves objects out of wood - something her mother wants kept secret to protect her marriageability. 

There are two boys interested in Neima. Kenaan, her cousin, and Jorin, a neighbor whose father opening shuns Noah's family. While preparing for the ensuing flood, Neima's village becomes more and more opposed to Noah's plan. They've dealt with the noise, the view and the smell of the construction of the ark. Now Noah is bringing dangerous animals into the village and it's too much.

Then the rain begins. We know the story but actually being on the ark is something to experience. The stomach churning movement of the ark and the caring for the animals...feeding them and removing the dung from their cages. Oh, the smell! And hearing Neima's inner thoughts on the events that put her on the ark -- whether there is only one God? Why would He destroy his creation? Why was Noah's family spared and others not? -- all valid and intriguing questions. It felt as though this was a journey of self-awareness and Neima experienced several existential moments. And then Neima discovers that not only her family escaped. What does it all mean?

I could gush on and on about how much I love Forty Days. It is masterfully written with great historical detail and asks age old questions. I will anxiously await Neima getting her answers. 

Favorite Passages:
"...I make out the tiger's telltale growl amid the din, it somehow draws me closer. That feral sound seems to encapsulate everything I've just witnessed up above: a world turned dark and dangerous, savage and incomprehensible."

"My mind, even my body is too full of wanting to hold anything else. Wanting things to be simple, clear, the way they used to be, when I knew who was good and who was bad, whom to hate and whom to love. Wanting the world to be whole once again."





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Giveaway


(1) e-book of Forty Days and $10 gift card to Amazon (INT)
(3) e-book copies of Forty Days (INT)


a Rafflecopter giveaway



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About the Author
Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major. She moved to Los Angeles because of Francesca Lia Block's WEETZIE BAT books, which might give you some idea of how much books mean to her. She also loves dogs, books about dogs, and sugary coffee drinks both hot and cold.


**Cover Reveal ~ Unspoken ~ Camille Dixon**

I'm very pleased to be part of the cover reveal for Camille Dixon's upcoming novel, Unspoken. I think the cover is lovely! It gives me that angsty vibe. What do y'all think?

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Unspoken by Camille Dixon
Publication date:  May 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:
Jaxon Michaels is every father's worst nightmare for his teenage daughter, but Clarice Gibson knows him better than anyone. Best friends since the sixth grade, Clare and Jax have walked the fine line of friendship for six years.

But when Clarice's friend Jessica starts dating Jax, Clare finds herself starting to notice him in a different way, one she's not entirely prepared to face. As their senior year approaches and her true feelings are unburied, Clare begins asking herself the one question she vowed never to think about: What if she's in love with her best friend? Their friendship is further strained when the captain of the football team - and Jessica's twin brother - sets his eyes on Clare. As loyalties and friendships are tested, Clare and Jax find it harder to keep themselves firmly planted on the friends side of the relationship line.

A line they are getting dangerously close to crossing.


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AUTHOR BIO
I'm a Southern girl who's spent the last few years freezing my toosh off up north. Except for the snow, things are pretty good. I love sunshine, sweet tea, and romances that touch my heart. A lifelong romantic, I found my own prince charming at an online dating site. Six months later, he asked me to marry him. Picture Perfect is my debut novel.

Author links:



Thursday, April 25, 2013

**Book Blitz & Giveaway ~ Flight ~ Lindsay Leggett**



Flight is a book I'm rather excited to read! I love the premise - and it kinda seems like mythology and dystopia blended together. Plus, I LOVE the cover. There's just something about it that intrigues me. ;) I have all the important details for Flight below. I also have an excerpt. YAY! And I have a giveaway for y'all. The giveaway is for ONE Kindle edition of Flight. To enter, leave a comment telling me what you think of the excerpt. This contest is open internationally and ends on May 2nd. The winner will be chosen randomly.


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Flight by Lindsay Leggett

Publication date:   April 1st 2013
Genre: YA Science Fiction

Synopsis:
The first rule of survival in the Underground: When you’re outside, keep your eyes on the skies. Ace Harpy Hunter Piper Madden is used to danger, but the death of her brother slams the brakes on her high-torque lifestyle and leaves her broken and confused.

On the run from the dictating Elder Corporation, she’s eventually found in the quiet undergound city of Ichton and asked to work for the Corp on contract to quell a new and frightening Harpy threat.

Enter the discovery of horrifying Corporation secrets, Harpy attacks, and a new friendship with the strange Asher, and Piper’s days become anything but boring.

Then, a chance encounter leaves Piper privy to a dangerous secret, ad as she and Asher team up in an effort to unravel the truth, the secrets they uncover beneath the ancient walls of the dead city will spark their world into a grand-scale war.


Purchase:

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Excerpt


When I enter the apartment a loud buzzing pervades the air. I feel around in my coat until I find a tiny, vibrating cell phone. Just like the Corp to plant a tracker on me while I was unconscious. I flip the phone open and bring it to my ear.

“Hello?” I say. I cradle the phone between my head and shoulder as I un-suit myself and kick my boots into the closet.

“Good afternoon, Piper,” a voice sounds. I recognize the gravelly tone instantly.

“Rupert,” I reply. I hear him exhale the thick smoke of his cigar, and it’s almost as if the pungent stink is permeating the phone and into my house.

“It’s good to hear your voice again,” he says dryly. I resist the urge to roll my eyes, picturing him at his desk, cigar in hand, feet raised up as he leans back in his chair.

“Well, I had a pretty good vacation,” I reply. He chuckles slightly.

“Listen, Piper. You took off after David died without even telling anybody. Half of Central thought you were dead. I’m just glad to find you alive and well. Now, tell me about your current situation. How are they treating you?”

“Fine. We’re debriefing tomorrow and running some VR modules. No weapons yet. Actually, I haven’t seen weapons on any of the other Hunters,” I muse. It’s one thing I miss about being a part of the team. My crossbow and daggers used to be like a second skin,
sometimes my only companions.

“Too sentimental. What have I always told you?”

“A weapon is only a piece of metal to a sentimental warrior,” I repeat in monotone.

“Good. At least you still remember something. Just try to relax, and call me immediately if you see something that looks suspicious,” he mutters, then hangs up the phone. That’s Rupert’s trademark, deciding when any conversation is over. He took over Elder Corp a
few years before I started training heavily, leaving his older brother Raul to a comfortable retirement in the clean beaches of Southern France. He’s one of the only Elder Corp presidents who actually did some time in the field, making him a valuable boss and ally, and sometimes an infuriating slave driver. I click the phone shut and toss it back in my bag, unable to shake his last words from my mind. Suspicious. What exactly is going on around here?

I let myself slide onto my couch, deciding that all of the big questions can wait until tomorrow, especially when I see a note taped onto the coffee table that reads Don’t forget about tonight. Dress cute—Shelley.

****

The venue is at a bar called Trash. It’s a tiny hole in the wall, and one of my regular dives. I try on a few outfits in my room, even debating on raiding Shelley’s closet for something cute before I give up and slip into my favorite jeans, ripped and splattered with paint, and a simple t-shirt. At the last moment before I leave, I let my hair out and shake it so it drapes over my shoulders and dab on a bit of lip-gloss. I guess there’s no harm in trying.

With the Holo-sky glowing the frail purple of twilight, the  underground comes alive with bright lights from every shop and restaurant, and as I walk along the sidewalk every door I pass carries a different scent. The food might be genetically altered, but the smell and taste is almost—almost—real. I content myself with watching the people around me; the shopkeepers haggling to sell their wares, the younger kids traveling in groups, their world centered around them for now, and the odd couple holding hands. Sometimes I think there isn’t so much wrong with this underground world. How different would it be on the surface? Eventually the wealthiest will move up to the fresh-air district, but instead of being stuck down here in filth, I wonder if the remaining population will still thrive.

“Hi there!” a light voice sounds from beside me. I whirl around to see the little girl with pigtails, the one I saw in the elevator the other day. Her eyes are bright and she carries a stuffed teddy bear in her hands. I smile at her and look around for her parents, but every adult around seems to be preoccupied with other things. I turn back to her to ask her where they are when she skips off down the street.

“Hey, wait!” I call. I pick up my pace to a fast walk, trying to keep up with her without drawing too much attention to the fact that I’m chasing a child. The way she jogs is so carefree, and she weaves through opposing travelers as if they aren’t even there. My lungs burn slightly as she finally turns off into an alleyway right beside Trash. I slow my pace before following, my mind telling me that something’s off. I look around before continuing, and everything seems normal, from the loud lineup to the bar to the slow, pounding beat coming from within.

I take a deep breath and enter the dark alleyway, but instead of finding the little girl, I find the guy from the other day, the one who stole from me. He leans against the brick wall, his raven hair messy against his pale skin, and his eyes are closed. I stand stock-still, just watching him breathe in and out, like he’s trying to focus deeply or push something away. His face is pained, but from here I can see the light brush of freckles across his nose, and the almost graceful way his lean body curves into the wall. I clear my throat finally to announce my presence. His eyes shoot open, but when he sees me, his lips turn upward into the slightest of smiles.

“I knew you’d find me again, Red,” he drawls. I cross my arms in front of me and raise my eyebrows. What is it with this guy?

“Because you just happened to lift hundreds of dollars of merchandise from me?” I reply. He chuckles lightly and runs a hand through his hair.

“That, and other things,” he says. I exhale, letting go of the tension in my chest.

“I take it you’ve squared it with Darcy?” I ask. His eyes flicker to me at the mention of her name.

“How do you know Darcy?” he asks. I lean against the wall beside him, facing him, not too close, but close enough that he can’t just take off on me.

“She’s my runner. Said you were her client, among other things,” I reply. To this he laughs loudly, and I don’t want to admit it, but his smile is infectious. Shelley’s words run through my head: Don’t get involved with another user.

“Darcy, as it happens, is my sister, so don’t worry, things are square. I didn’t know that you were her seller, though,” he says. I raise an eyebrow, almost like a challenge.

“Well, you don’t really know me, do you?” I reply.

“Not yet, anyway,” he says. I want to call him an arrogant bastard and go into the bar to meet Shells, but a part of me is actually enjoying his pompous banter. I never said I had good taste in men.

“So what happens now, then?” I say. He moves closer to me until he’s right beside me, his body so close to me I can feel his breath on my neck and smell the rich musk of his cologne. He leans in toward my ear.

“Now, Red, I’ve got to go into that bar and play a few sets,” he whispers, sending shivers down my spine.

“You’re in the band?” I ask. He grins wickedly before walking past me and knocking on the side door.

“Baby, I am the band,” he says. The bouncer opens the door and lets him in, and all the while I stand in the alley, still trying to catch my breath.



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About Lindsay
Nearly every writer struggles to put together information about themselves, perhaps because we’re so used to detailing the lives and ways of others. For the most part I am a writer, editor, photographer, and all-around artist living in the wilds north of Toronto, Ontario. I thrive on the juxtaposition of beauty and grit, enjoy urban crawls, indie everything, and time well-spent in the woods.

Lindsay's Links:

**Cover Reveal ~ Breaking the Reins ~ Juliana Haygert**

I'm thrilled to bring y'all the cover reveal for Juliana Haygert's novel, Breaking the Reins. The cover was designed by Okay Creations. I love it! What do y'all think? Oh, I also have a little teaser to share...love that too! :)





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Breaking the Reins by Juliana Haygert
Publication date: August 2013
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:
Horses, mansions, tea parties, and lies are twenty-year-old Hannah Taylor’s life. To others, her family and her relationship with Eric is perfect. But she knows the truth. She lives it.

After a fire takes her grandma’s life and kills her horse, Hannah’s immaculate life spirals out of control. Her father disapproves of her decision to run her grandma’s ranch instead of focusing solely on learning the family business; Animal Control brings her Argus, a mistreated horse that she can’t turn away even though she’s not ready for another horse; and her boyfriend, Eric Bennett, a world famous polo player, becomes possessive and authoritarian. Despite her best efforts to disguise it, Hannah grows wary of him.

Then, Leonardo Fernandes struts onto the polo scene. A cocky rookie with a messy life of his own, he’s drawn to Hannah and isn’t afraid of showing it, even when Eric makes it clear she is his and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep it that way. Hannah suffers for Eric’s jealousy. The abuse only gets worse when Leo steals the title of best polo player in the world from Eric.

But the title isn’t enough for Leo. He wants Hannah too, and she can’t deny her attraction to him either. Somehow, she must find a way to break free from abusive Eric before he breaks every bone in her body.


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Teaser




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AUTHOR BIO 
While Juliana Haygert dreams of being Wonder Woman, Buffy, or a blood elf shadow priest, she settles for the less exciting—but equally gratifying—life of a wife, mother, and author. Thousands of miles away from her former home in Brazil, she now resides in Connecticut and spends her days writing about kick-ass heroines and the heroes who drive them crazy.

Author links:

**Cover Reveal ~ Love Square ~ Jessica Ingro**

It's my absolute pleasure to be a part of the cover reveal for debut novelist, Jessica Ingro. Her forthcoming novel, Love Square, is due out in July and I'm thinking it's going to be a nice way to wind down my summer. ;) I even get to share an exclusive sexy excerpt with y'all! Let me know what you think. :)

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Title: Love Square
Author: Jessica Ingro
Tentative Release Date: July 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Designer: Cover It! Designs

Love Square Goodreads link:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17662870-love-square?ac=1


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Synopsis:
A love triangle gone bad...

He was the one guy I couldn't get enough of. One look from him would make me melt. He was the one I always wanted to love me, but always seemed so far away. Now he stands before me and he's turning my world upside down.

At one time I would have done anything to be close to him. But will that anything include betraying the man I pledged myself to and that loves me faithfully?

Samantha Monroe had it all. Or at least everyone thought she did. A career on the rise, a gorgeous husband, great friends and a beautiful home. So why does she feel so alone and empty? When she reconnects with an old flame, lines are tested and compromises made in a quest for happiness.

Jacob Matthews always wondered what happened to Sam Monroe. When fate brings them together after all these years, he can't help but wonder if it’s meant to be. But when he meets his perfect woman, there is no doubt in his mind she's his soul mate.

Will the search for happiness cost them everything or will their love square show them what really matters?


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Exclusive Excerpt:


**Disclaimer: This content is unedited and subject to change**

I awake and slowly blink the sleep out of my eyes. The sun is fading, casting dark shadows in the room. I turn my head to see I’m alone in the bed. Lying on my stomach, staring non-seeing into the room, I remember how exquisitely f#cked I was just a few hours ago.

The feel of his hard body over me and his cock moving in and out of me, the sweat dripping off him as we both came. I feel myself get turned on all over again, and he isn’t even here touching me. Then I
remember his muted words spoken right before I fell asleep.

“I want you to know I would have waited another sixteen years to be able to feel that with you again.”

I’m finding it hard to believe that Jacob could rescue me from the prison I’ve put myself in over the years, living the life of someone other than whom I feel I should be. Even if that is my true wish, wishes don’t always come true.

The hotel room door opens and Jacob walks in carrying a couple bottles of water from a vending machine, setting them on a side table. He looks yummy as he walks to the bed with a wide smile on his face. Sitting next to me on the edge of the bed, he bends down and kisses my shoulder and down my naked spine, stopping where the sheet lies just above my ass.

“Hey, sleepyhead.” He murmurs in between those drugging kisses. My legs start to stir beneath the sheet and I’m tempted to take another ride before I have to leave.

“Hi. If you keep doing that, you’re not going to be able to stop me from having my wicked way with you again and I need to leave soon.” I sigh with frustration.

“Maybe that’s exactly what I want.” Running a finger up and down my spine, he stretches out next to me.

“I’m sure it is, but I have stuff to get done before I’m back on the road in a few days. I warned you I didn’t have much time but I would do my best to make this work.”

“It feels like I just got you back, and now you have to go away again. I’d much rather see your beautiful face, instead of dreaming of it. Will you have time to sneak away again before you fly out?”

“I’m not sure. We’ll have to play it by ear. I don’t know how much I have to give you, Jacob. And I’m not just talking about my time either. I’ve been going down this lonely path for a while now and I’m not sure where it’s left me. Regardless of what we did today, I am still a married woman with commitments and responsibilities.” I hate bringing up this fact, but I need the reminder out there that this isn’t a fairytale. Its real life, and its messy.

He leans over and thoroughly kisses me before murmuring, “I know. And I’ll take whatever I can get with you. It’s better than having none of you.”

With that parting blow, he kisses me one last time, grabs his keys and heads out.

“Text me later, baby. I’ll be waiting.”

I sure hope I know what I’m doing, because it feels as though things are going to get extremely complicated.


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About Jessica:
Jessica grew up in Central New York. She spends her days as a Security Analyst at an IT consulting company. She spends her free time reading books and developing ideas for her own stories. Writing is her secret passion that she’s been fostering since elementary school, when she wrote her first book about a puppy. Writing has always been one of her secret dreams and she can't wait to share her stories with the world.

She currently lives in New York with her husband and three dogs.

Find Jessica here:
Web – http://jessicaingro.blogspot.com/
Email – jessicaingrobooks@gmail.com
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/JessicaIngroBooks
Twitter – http://twitter.com/uvrays1997
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8719144-jessica-ingro

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

**Blog Tour ~ Guest Post ~ Defiant Heart ~ Marty Steere**


Happy Wednesday, everyone! Welcome to my second and final stop on the blog tour for Defiant Heart by Marty Steere. My stop today is a guest post from Marty where he tells us about a little about his research for his novel and shares a deleted scene. Enjoy!

This blog tour is presented by Virtual Author Book Tours.


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Defiant Heart opens a few months before the United States is drawn into World War II, at a time when there was a robust debate about whether the U.S. should become involved in a “European” war. In the first chapter, Tom Anderson and Dick Mayfield are debating that very issue when we meet them.

We subsequently learn that one of the principal characters, Mary’s father Jim Dahlgren, the mayor and owner of the hardware store where Jon works for a time, is planning a run for Congress with the backing of the America First Committee, one of the most prominent anti-war groups in the country. The AFC’s most recognizable spokesman was Charles Lindbergh, who had gained fame in 1927 when he became the first man to fly an airplane across the Atlantic.

To this day, historians debate whether and to what extent Lindbergh was an anti-Semite. I’ll leave it at this: It’s hard to read some of the things he wrote and said and conclude that he was anything but. However, one thing is certain. The AFC consistently accused Jewish groups of seeking to push the U.S. into the war.

One of the major points of tension in Defiant Heart is Dahlgren’s firm belief that, if he is to be successful in his campaign, he must distance himself from all Jews, and that means keeping his daughter away from Jon, who happens to be the only Jew in town. It causes Dahlgren to do some fairly deplorable things.

Early on, I wrote a scene that was intended to convey some of this tension and some of the general anti-Semitic prejudices at the time. I subsequently cut it from the novel because it wasn’t essential. Pretty much everything we learn in that scene we pick up elsewhere in the narrative. I did always like the scene, though, particularly because it helps humanize Reverend Mayfield. But Mayfield never became an important character, and it wasn’t too hard to lose it.

I thought, though, for my guest post, I’d share it with Brandee’s readers. If it were still in the book, it would appear just after the scene in which Jon is forced to hold the medicine ball over his head during gym class, and just before the scene in which Mary questions her dad about who’s working the store these days.

#

The rain had begun in the late afternoon. Heavy clouds had rolled in, darkening the sky prematurely, and sunset had come an hour early.

Dick Mayfield stepped quickly off the stoop, allowing the screen door to close behind him with a bang, and hurried across the short walkway that ran between the rectory and the church, shoulders hunched against the pelting downpour. He entered by the back door, took an immediate right turn, and began descending the steps to the basement. He wondered how much the rain would affect the turnout. When he reached the bottom of the steps, however, he realized that, while it may have gotten some people wet, it had not dampened the enthusiasm of the group. There were several dozen people in the large community room. As he stepped through the door, Jim Dahlgren was just calling the meeting to order.

“I’d like to thank all of you for braving the storm and coming out tonight. And, of course,” Dahlgren said, gesturing toward the back of the room, “our thanks to the Reverend Mayfield for making this room available to us on fairly short notice.”

Mayfield, who was just taking a seat in the last row, gave a small wave of acknowledgement as a few heads turned in his direction.

“Let me start with some good news. According to the national organizing group in Chicago, as of today, membership in the AFC is more than 800,000.”

That drew a smattering of applause.

“With these kinds of numbers, if we speak as a single voice, we can, and will, stop those who are pushing this country into a war that none of us believes is in our best interests.”

More applause.

“Now, let’s talk about the challenges we face.” Dahlgren stepped out from behind the lectern and began pacing. “Even though we’re growing in number, we’re still having difficulty getting our message out. Why is that?”

“I can answer that,” said a man near the front of the room. Although Mayfield could not see him, he recognized the voice as belonging to Mort Fletcher, the president of the Farmer’s Bank and one of the town’s most prominent residents.

“It’s pretty simple, really,” continued Fletcher. “We’re getting shut out by the media. Radio, magazines, newspapers. They all pretend like we don’t exist.”

Dahlgren nodded in agreement. “But why?” he asked.

“I’ll be damned if I know,” replied Fletcher. “It’s almost like the people who own ‘em are itching to get us into the war.”

A chorus of murmured agreement filtered through the crowd.

Still nodding, Dahlgren returned to the podium and picked up a sheet of paper.

“Last week,” he said, holding out the sheet, “Charles Lindbergh gave a speech in Des Moines. Has anybody here read anything about that? Or heard anything about it?”

Nobody said anything, and Mayfield could see a number of heads being shaken.

“Let me read you something from that speech,” Dahlgren said, pulling a pair of reading glasses from his pocket.

“‘National polls showed,’” he began, “‘that when England and France declared war on Germany, in 1939, less than 10 percent of our population favored a similar course for America. But there were various groups of people, here and abroad, whose interests and beliefs necessitated the involvement of the United States in the war. I shall point out some of these groups tonight, and outline their methods of procedure. In doing this, I must speak with the utmost frankness, for in order to counteract their efforts, we must know exactly who they are.’”

“‘The three most important groups who have been pressing this country toward war,’” he said, continuing to read, and then paused, looking over the top of his spectacles and making eye contact with several in the audience, “‘are the British, the Jewish and the Roosevelt administration.’”

Mayfield sat up straighter and leaned forward.

Dahlgren lowered the sheet from which he had been reading. “We all understand why the Brits want us. Same reason as the last time. Every drop of American blood is one less drop of British blood.”

More murmured acknowledgements.

“But, on their own, the British can’t drag us into their war. They need help here in this country. And they’re getting it. And Mr. Lindbergh has had the courage to point it out.”

He raised the sheet of paper again.

“‘Instead of agitating for war,’” he read, “‘the Jewish groups in this country should be opposing it in every possible way, for they will be among the first to feel its consequences. Tolerance is a virtue that depends upon peace and strength. History shows that it cannot survive war and devastations. A few far-sighted Jewish people realize this and stand opposed to intervention. But the majority still do not.’”

Dahlgren paused for effect, then finished with emphasis. “‘Their greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government.’”

Dahlgren looked up. “In short, we’re not getting the word out, because it’s being prevented by the Jews.”

“No,” said Mayfield, in alarm, but his voice was drowned out by dozens of other voices, as everyone started speaking at the same time.

Dahlgren allowed the crowd to talk over itself for about a minute. Then he raised both hands, palms down and made a tamping motion. Slowly, the talk died down. Dahlgren waited patiently until everyone had stopped speaking and he held the attention of the entire room. Despite his agitation, Mayfield could not help but notice that, as a politician, Jim Dahlgren, who had always been somewhat gifted, was really coming into his own. It did nothing to ease Mayfield’s concern.

“What we need to do,” Dahlgren said, in his calm, authoritative voice, “is channel our emotions and apply them in an organized and effective way. We need to show those who are trying to prevent our message from getting out that it’s not in their interests to be manipulated by a minority group with an agenda.”

Mayfield let out a small snort at the irony of that statement. No one around him heard, or, if they did, they chose to ignore it.

“We should organize a boycott of any business run by Jews,” said a woman a couple rows away. Mayfield was not sure who had spoken, and he was loathe to offend, so he bit back the retort that
had jumped to the tip of his tongue: Good luck finding one of those in Jackson.

“I know for a fact that the board of the Merchant’s Bank in Ridley is controlled by Jews,” said Mort Fletcher.

Oh, great, thought Mayfield. Let’s channel our xenophobia into some increased business. He was about to laugh when the next speaker caught him up short.

“Let’s kill ’em.”

The speaker was Lucius King, a farmer with whom Mayfield had never actually spoken. King did not attend Mayfield’s church and had not been active in town gatherings until the last couple of years, when his son had emerged as a star on the local basketball team. King had always struck Mayfield as an oaf and an opportunist. These were uncharitable thoughts, and Mayfield had not only internalized them, but had chided himself for thinking that way. Not now, however.

“Stop that!” He was on his feet, though he had no recollection of standing. “Stop that,” he repeated. “This is a place of worship, and that kind of ugliness has no business here.”

Mayfield was breathing hard, and he realized that the hands at his sides were clenching and unclenching.

“Yes, yes,” Dahlgren was saying from the front of the room. “The reverend is absolutely correct. That’s not what we're here for. No one is, or, at least,” he looked meaningfully at King, “no one should be, advocating anything like that.”

“Yeah,” said King flatly, “sorry Reverend.”

#

The meeting lasted for another forty five minutes or so. Several suggestions were put forth in an attempt to find a way to get the AFC’s message of non-intervention out. The boycott idea fell to the wayside, Mayfield was glad to see. More importantly, there were no more suggestions of violence, though the undercurrent of hostility never completely went away.

In the end, the decision was made to approach the editor of the Winamac Record, the county newspaper, and place an opinion piece. Jim Dahlgren was unanimously selected to be the author. Mayfield suspected that this had, all along, been what Dahlgren had intended to be the outcome of the meeting, in which case, Mayfield decided, Dahlgren had wasted a lot of people’s time in an exercise of political theater that did nothing other than to further cement Dahlgren’s role as the leader of the local AFC. And, of course, in the process, rile up a lot of emotions.

Mayfield waited as the attendees slowly filed out, and he and Dahlgren were the only two remaining.

“This is very dangerous territory you’ve staked out, Jim,” Mayfield said when they were alone. “I implore you to reign it in before it gets out of hand.”

Dahlgren gave a dismissive wave of his hand. “I think you're overreacting Dick. Sure, a couple of people got a little carried away. But cooler heads prevailed.”

He clapped Mayfield on the back. “Thanks again, Dick.”

At the bottom of the stairs, Dahlgren turned and looked at Mayfield. “Really, you don't need to worry. I don’t see a problem.” He turned and ascended the stairs.

Mayfield shook his head sadly. Maybe you don’t, he said to himself. I do.

**************************************

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About the Author
The son of a career Air Force officer, Marty Steere grew up on or near military installations across the country and overseas before settling in Southern California, where, when he's not writing, he practices law. Sea of Crises is his first novel. His second, Defiant Heart, was released on April 14, 2013.

Visit Marty at his website:
http://www.martysteere.com