By George McLaird

eBook formatting and cover design by Shelley Glasow at goodlifeguide.com

By Claire Youmans

When Azuki, the girl who turns into a Toki, and her brother, the Sparrow-Boy Shota, finally reach their home village to claim their human identities, they find chaos and war, as the brother of the man who killed their parents and still wants to capture Azuki is fighting the appointment of the new lord of the domain. A traveling monk shelters them from battle, hiding Azuki in plain sight as a boy acolyte and Shota as her pet sparrow. In the midst of the fight, Azuki discovers an asset even more valuable than her brilliant feathers. This, she realizes, is the asset the foreigners seek, and this is what the rightful lord – the one who doesn’t want to kill her – can use to cement his claim!
Yuta, the monk, agrees to take them to the capitol and get them in to see the properly appointed Lord Eitaro, but they must outrun the battle first. Karasu Tengu, nasty bird-humanoids that follow battles and harass monks, spot them and realize Azuki is no ordinary acolyte – or ordinary girl. Yuta drives them off, but Shota thinks of his friend, Renko, the Dragon Princess, while touching the Wishing Rock she gave him, and the Tengu realize that he knows a Dragon, the old enemy of the evil Tengu. They vow they will be back with their DaiTengu master, to steal Azuki and challenge the Dragon.
Taking shelter in a outcast’s village where the old and sick live outside the law, they make arrangements to travel with deep-woods colliers as far as the nearest town, and thence to the city where Lord Eitaro might be found. Bandits attack their little group, and Shota flies off for reinforcements. Blackie, Shota’s horse friend, stolen by the bandits, offers his help and that of Red Wind, a roan mare who claims she is fastest of them all.
As they get close to the city, both Azuki and Shota realize how precarious their situation is. They hadn’t thought beyond getting home, not completely realizing that as children, they were completely under the power of adults who could do pretty much anything with them. That would be hard for any children, much less children who can and must turn into birds. Shota tells the Dragon Princess that the Tengu know about her. She will help them, she says, and will be keeping watch. Azuki encounters a Tanuki in the wood who has a surprising message for them both.
Once they reach the city, Azuki spots a new style of loom, one of the many stunning technologies the foreigners have brought. She loves to weave, she’s good at it, and she wants that loom, so while Yuta goes to visit the Abbot at the big Temple and arrange an audience with their lord, Azuki sneaks out – and she’s caught. Has she forfeited her opportunity to see and work the marvelous loom forever?
The Abbot arranges for them to meet with Lady Satsuki, Lord Eitaro’s wife, and their daughter, Anko. There, they can impart their news of the coal discovery, which will ensure Eitaro’s position. There, too, the children’s fate will be decided. How can they be themselves and follow their dreams when the world that has so much power over them doesn’t have a place for bird-children?
Then there’s the DaiTengu, the humanoid form of the monster, that wants Azuki’s feathers for its wind-making fans even if she isn’t a female Tengu.
Can Azuki escape once more? Will the Dragon Princess defeat the DaiTengu? How can Shota and Azuki survive in a human world when they aren’t entirely human? Can they find a way to live as themselves among humans who will accept them as they are? Will they find a way to chase their dreams and make them whole?

You can purchase the book online from Smashwords and/or Amazon at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/554066.

eBook formatting and cover design by Shelley Glasow at goodlifeguide.com

Sep 20

The Point

By Aline Strong

DECEMBER 22 4 AM

The ingredients for the last breakfast are ready. I spread the melted butter, toasted pecans, and extra large chocolate chips on the puff pastry. I cut it, creating small swirls of tan and brown dough, and sprinkle toasted coconut. I nestle each bun into my mother’s dark, old muffin tin, seasoned with years of baking, which accounts for my present figure. When I’m finished, I wipe my hands on my apron for the last time.
A crackle on the baby monitor startles me. It’s in Sally’s room because at three, she occasionally suffers from nightmares. She says something comes to hurt her and no one’s there to protect her. She has no Daddy at the moment.
A woman’s voice leaks out of the monitor: “It’s your turn.”
“Oooh, babe,” a man groans.
The woman’s voice snaps, “Get out of bed and feed that baby!” There’s a loud thump, like a body being pushed onto the floor.
Picking up signals in the ether is unnerving. The first time I experienced it, I heard a cops and robbers TV show. At least, I hope it was a TV show, what with the gunshots. Another time it was a romantic interlude that a stranger—that’d be me—should not have heard.
Unfortunately, my model is out-of-date. I should buy a better one, and I will if the B&B ever makes a profit, and if Dale ever pays child support. Meaning, it’ll be a while.
I slip the tray of buns into the hot oven, and within seconds the smells of warm yeast, melting chocolate, caramelizing sugar and cinnamon fill the air. I’ll wait to eat one. I will wait at least until my guests have two each, no, at least one each.
These may be the last guests I ever have at Riverwood B&B.We are located off the beaten track in the Village of Forest River, an hour north of Toronto. “A little North, a little Nicer,” that’s the Village slogan.
I’ll miss the smiling faces at the breakfast table. They’re a vast improvement over the morose faces I lived with as a kid with my mother and father, or the angry face of Dale, my husband, who is presently in an affair with another woman.
I’ll also miss the naïve questions my American guests ask. They think Canada is England.
“Where’s the best fish and chip restaurant?” There are none. “Do you have any pubs in town?” Yes, but they’re terrible. “Do you serve spotted dick at breakfast?” Not only do I not serve that, but the question alone makes me blush.
The better-informed European tourists ask after poutine, which is French Canadian, so wrong province. Fiddleheads come from New Brunswick, sorry, and crab cakes are best in Newfoundland.
But one and all know to talk about hockey. Unfortunately, no, I can’t get them tickets to the game tonight. I explain they’re sold out for every game in spite of the fact the Leafs haven’t won a Stanley cup since 1967.
I tell them I don’t root for the Leafs; I root for the Los Angeles Kings, who actually win games. This goes over very well with the Americans who like to win at everything.
The baby monitor crackles again. There’s a gasping noise then an ear-splitting scream. I freeze. An hysterical woman’s voice cuts the air.
“What you do? You suffocate him? You bad! I tell.”
There are thudding noises, like people running. What on earth’s going on?
Then a different woman’s voice snarls, “If you don’t shut up, you’re next. Come back here!”
“No, stops push me!”
“You deserve this!”
Then I hear a strangled cry, a door slam, silence.
I press my hand to my heart.
Suddenly, a man’s voice rings out. “What did you do?”
The woman’s voice is inaudible. She’s too far from the monitor now. “You killed them? You maniac!”
Kill? They killed someone? I slump onto a kitchen bar stool.
He roars, “Keep this a secret? To keep my secret? I’ll kill you!”
There are running footsteps. Then all is quiet.

You can purchase the book online from Smashwords and/or Amazon at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/730134.

eBook formatting and cover design by Shelley Glasow at goodlifeguide.com

By Mary Lockey

Emily Jane Putnam, aka Putty, an orphan, lives a peaceful life in a group home in the small village of Garland’s Ford in the southern mountains of North Carolina. Though she has intellectual and emotional challenges, Putty possesses a keen eye and open heart when it comes to life and love.
Just ask Maggie Stephens, the new rector at St. Francis Episcopal Church. Maggie accepts her first call to a church after being honest with the search committee about her sexuality. While she finds a welcoming parish, she also finds love, thanks to Putty. Though Maggie is the cleric, Putty’s purity of heart and her simple understanding of God’s love teach Maggie as much as anything she studied in seminary.
Or ask Anne Calvert, Putty’s elegant neighbor and benefactor. Anne has been widowed for over twenty years. Is her heart ready to love again? Putty says yes! Putty helps revive Anne’s activist spirit with the town council of Garland’s Ford threaten to close the group home.
Ask Sophie, Anne’s spitfire of a sister, about Putty’s ability to understand life and love. In an effort to help keep the group home open for Putty Sophie lands herself in a bit of hot water when she sells ads to go in the church bulletin. It is Sophie who meets Putty after each monthly fire drill in the group home – holding Putty and comforting her through the terror and torment that the fire drill causes. But even Sophie cannot unlock the secret to Putty’s extreme reaction.
Finally, ask ER, Maggie’s Golden Retriever. Lovable ER (short for Eleanor Roosevelt) becomes Putty’s best friend and is with Putty on the day Maggie is brutally attacked. ER is also with Putty at the fire drill when Putty remembers the “fire night” and the threat to “tell no other person” what happened. So Putty tells ER.
Once you meet Putty and her friends, you will want to move to Garland’s Ford. And you will be welcome and made to feel right at home!

You can purchase the book online from Smashwords and/or Amazon at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/555219.

eBook formatting and cover design by Shelley Glasow at goodlifeguide.com

By Christopher Hogan, ChFC, CLU

eBook formatting and cover design by Shelley Glasow at goodlifeguide.com

By Jon Krampner

A crisp, concise (9000 words) account of Plamegate, the sequence of events set in motion when Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV published “What I Didn’t Find in Africa,” his 2003 New York Times op-ed challenging Bush/Cheney lies about the rationale for the Iraq War.

You can purchase the book online from Smashwords and/or Amazon at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/539367.

eBook formatting and cover design by Shelley Glasow at goodlifeguide.com

By Claire Youmans

Coming Soon!

eBook formatting and cover design by Shelley Glasow at goodlifeguide.com

 

Sep 20

2211 Umbra

By Grigor Fedan

2211 Umbra is a look at the future based on the ancient wisdom of Eastern Philosophy. Regent Louis Sagan is planning to die along with his wife who has incurable cancer. He’s one of the 2,000-plus regents who rule a peaceful and prosperous world. String theory has led to teleportation and revolutionized medicine. There are no prisons. Antisocial types who in the past caused all the crime, wars, economic, and ecological disasters, are classified as atavistic, and controlled with biochips; except in Texas, a haven for outcasts where the super-rich fled after most nations adopted a moneyless and politics-free system. An atavist army in Texas called “The Patriots” start a terrorist offensive to restore the old world order of well-defined countries, governments, and money. Louis is in charge of space exploration, and an astrophysicist insists that he look at his proposal that involves working with the energies that make up the fabric of the universe. Without knowing it, Louis Sagan is about to alter humanity’s course.

You can purchase the book online from Smashwords and/or Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/2211-UMBRA-Grigor-Fedan/dp/0578159406.

eBook formatting and cover design by Shelley Glasow at goodlifeguide.com

by Keith Stubblefield

Brad is an NCAA champion swimmer at an east coast college. Brad is also blind and an orphan. Over Thanksgiving break, ditching his girlfriend and trashing her plans, Brad takes a chance, based on information from a private investigator he has hired, and heads unannounced to the North Slope of Alaska to try to connect with his biological father, an oil field foreman, before he heads to a new oil field, to get answers to many questions.
The aging but experienced bush pilot Brad hires to fly him from Anchorage to “the Slope” takes advantage of Brad’s blindness and flies far off the normal route to deliver some contraband and make some quick cash before he retires from flying due to a bad heart. The plane crashes where no one would think to look for it and becomes hidden by snow from a snow bank. Brad, in very bad shape from the plane crash, is rescued by an elderly reclusive homesteader and trapper. After his injuries just start to heal, the homesteader dies leaving Brad alone and unprepared in his tiny cabin. Brad, still healing and in bizarre surroundings, barely overcomes this challenge and many others. Because of his injuries he no longer knows who he is or how he got to the cabin.
Later, Brad rescues an injured Canadian Mounty who unexpectedly shows up at the cabin, injured and very close to frozen, after being surprised and trampled by a moose. The Mounty accidentally shoots Brad while trying to protect him. They agree that Brad could not survive the rest of the winter in the cabin by himself due to his extreme lack of wilderness skills. The Mounty agrees to help Brad make it back to civilization and to help him figure out who he is.
Will the experienced Mounty and novice Brad make it safely back to civilization? Will Brad be arrested for the death of the elderly homesteader if he makes it back to civilization? Will Brad ever figure out who he is and how he ended up in the wilderness? Will Brad ever connect with his father and learn why he was left in an orphanage?

You can purchase the book online from Smashwords and/or Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Blind-Luck-Yukon-Keith-Stubblefield-ebook/dp/B01091EATG.

eBook formatting and cover design by Shelley Glasow at goodlifeguide.com

By Stuart D Hogg

eBook formatting and cover design by Shelley Glasow at goodlifeguide.com