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Monday, December 31, 2012

The Silver Sphere by Michael Dadich: Book Blast

The Silver Sphere
Michael Dadich

Shelby Pardow never imagined she could kill someone. All she wants to do is hide from her troubled father… when she is teleported to awaiting soldiers on the planet Azimuth. Here she is not a child, but Kin to one of the six Aulic Assembly members whom Malefic Cacoethes has drugged and imprisoned. He seeks to become dictator of this world (and then Earth by proxy).

His father, Biskara, is an evil celestial entity, tracked by the Assembly with an armillary device, The Silver Sphere. With the Assembly now deposed, Biskara directs Malefic and the Nightlanders to their strategic targets. Unless….

Can Shelby find the other Kin, and develop courage and combat skills? Can the Kin reassemble in time to release or replace the Assembly, overthrowing Malefic and restraining Biskara?


I’ve been writing since first setting pencil to steno pad at age 8. A year later, I began developing the world of my current series-in-progress, and even created its title, The Silver Sphere. Now, with the support of years of experience, those early maps and back stories have progressed into what I hope is a fresh and entertaining take on the classic young adult fantasy adventure.

Despite my frequent escapes into parallel worlds, I root myself firmly in my very real family and community. When not pacing the yard maniacally after every few pages of writing, I spend as much time as possible hanging out with my studly 9-year-old son, and my inspirational wife Jenna. I also coach several local youth sports teams in Beverly Hills, and alternate between yelling at my two crazy Corgis and hiking with my trained German Shepherd.

For more, join me in my favorite fantasy worlds, from Lord of the Rings to the creations of C.S. Lewis, Anne McCaffrey and Terry Brooks. Even more importantly, stop by and say hello on my Facebook page at AuthorMichaelDadich, tweet me at @MichaelDadich, and stalk my website at

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Margay Leah Justice: The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler: A Rev...

Margay Leah Justice: The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler: A Rev...: When all signs point to heartbreak, can love still be a rule of the road? A poignant and romantic novel from the author of  Bittersweet...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Book Blast: Winter's Magic by Cynthia Gail

Winter’s Magic
By Cynthia Gail



Beth Sergeant and Nick Chester come from opposite ends of the social food chain. While he sees a rare beautiful woman without an agenda, she sees a wealthy playboy. Can he convince her to let go of her insecurities and take a chance on love, when challenges from his past force her to reveal her most guarded secret?

Owner of La Bella Vita, a five-star day spa nestled in the affluent suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee, Beth Sergeant knows her elite clientele first hand. She attended their private schools. She was even engaged, although briefly, to one of their most recognized bachelors. But she never fit in to their social-elite world.

After losing his parents to a car accident at a young age, Nick Chester was raised by his grandfather, the wealthiest man in Nashville. When he chooses to socialize, he has a never-ending list of exclusive events and beautiful women vying for his attention. Yet he never lets himself forget that everyone has an agenda.

Beth can’t resist Nick’s charm and accepts an invitation to dinner, despite her deep-seated insecurities. She proves she’s nothing like other women Nick's dated and learns to trust him in return. But just as the last of their resistance crumbles and true love is within reach, challenges from Nick's past threaten to destroy everything and force Beth to reveal her most guarded secret.



Beth made her way over to the tree to get a closer view. Several handmade pieces intermingled with the sparkling crystal ornaments and gold strands of glass beads. She fingered the row of cotton balls that ran along the edge of a red felt Santa hat. On the top, in glitter writing, it said 1982. “Who made these?”

Nick laughed, but when she turned her head, she caught a hint of sadness in his eyes. “I made them with my mother when I was in grade school. Every year, on the first day of holiday break, we would go to the craft store and buy materials to make a dozen ornaments.”

“A dozen?” She wondered how a person ever got over losing a parent, much less losing both. Or if you even could. And his poor grandfather, losing a child ... Her chest tightened at the thought.

“One for our tree at home, one for Grandfather’s, several neighbors, and the mailman. And I’ll never forget Mrs. Sawyer at the bakery. She used to give me a free cinnamon roll when I came in with my grandfather.”

“We weren’t very crafty at my house. But Mom and I would bake like a storm. Candy, cookies, fudge. We always took packages to our neighbors on Christmas Eve, right before we went to church for Midnight Mass.”

“Do you still go?” The reflection of the tree lights sparkled in his eyes as he spoke. At this very moment, he didn’t look, or act, like the city’s most eligible bachelor. She could feel her resolve slipping. She needed Jenny.

“I haven’t been in years. In fact, I don’t think I’ve been since I graduated high school.”

“I haven’t, either. You can imagine my surprise when Grandfather asked me to take him this year.” He glanced back at the tree. “Would you like to come with us?”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Home is where you hang your hat. A native Missourian, my family relocated twice during my teenage years, taking me from a high school freshman class of over 1,200 students to living in a small town in Kentucky with a total population of less than 1,000.

Home is where your heart is. Despite the culture shock and challenges of those shy, teenage years, I met my true love in that tiny town and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to experience a community where everyone waves, calls you by name, and treats you like family.

My husband and I live in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee with our eighteen-year-old son and three dogs. When I’m not working or writing, I can be found with family and friends. I love to bake in the winter, grill in the summer, and on occasion, I sneak away from everyone and curl up with a good book.

I hope you enjoy my stories. Each one touches on modern day issues, fears, and challenges that women face every day. And each one illustrates that love is within reach if you let down those walls and allow your heart to open. Our lives and experiences are so much more meaningful when we have someone to share them with.



Barnes & Noble

Soul Mate Publishing




Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: Captain by Thomas Block

Description: thomasblock2ABOUT THOMAS BLOCK
Thomas Block has written a number of aviation-oriented novels, many which have gone on to acquire best-seller status in numerous countries. His novel writing began with the publication of “Mayday” in 1979. That novel was rewritten with novelist Nelson DeMille in 1998 and remains on DeMille’s extensive backlist. “Mayday” became a CBS Movie of the Week in October, 2005.
Several of the other novels by Block include “Orbit” (a top bestseller in Germany, among other nations), “Airship Nine”, “Forced Landing” (also done as a radio serialization drama in Japan), “Skyfall”, “Open Skies” and his latest novel, “Captain”. Thomas Block is still writing both fiction and non-fiction, and has edited and updated his earlier novels into ebooks in all the major formats and also into handsome full-sized (6″ by 9″ Trade Paperback) printed versions.
Block’s magazine writing began in 1968 and over the next five decades his work has appeared in numerous publications. He worked 20 years at FLYING Magazine as Contributing Editor, and as Contributing Editor to Plane & Pilot Magazine for 11 years. Block became Editor-at-Large for Piper Flyer Magazine and Cessna Flyer Magazine in 2001. During his long career as an aviation writer he has written on a wide array of subjects that range from involvement with government officials to evaluation reports on most everything that flies.
An airline pilot for US Airways for over 36 years before his retirement in April, 2000, Captain Thomas Block has been a pilot since 1959. Since 2002, he has lived on a ranch in Florida with his wife Sharon where they board, compete and train horses.
His latest book is the suspense/thriller novel, Captain.
Visit his website at
Description: CaptainABOUT CAPTAIN
Thomas Block has created ‘Captain’ – his most ambitious, intricate and action-packed aviation tale yet . It is a chilling and all-too-real story about a routine Trans-Atlantic airline flight that suddenly turns absolutely insane. In the doomed airliner’s cockpit, inside the passenger cabin and on the ground, a complex array of characters have been propelled at jet speed into a sudden and frantic race for survival.
‘Captain’ is about the individual and collective struggles of each of these men and women as they attempt to deal with and ultimately fight against the odds and circumstances that are stacked against them. ‘Captain’is a novel that pits man against man while also pitting man against machine. It is a story about the need for human judgments, hard-learned experiences, gut feelings and unbridled perseverance in an effort to rise up against a world where the strict adherence to written rules, regulations and procedures have been accepted as the norm.
‘Captain’ is about the way real airline pilots think, feel and react, especially after those giant airliners that they’ve strapped themselves to have suddenly turned vicious and unpredictable.

Watch the Trailer!

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

In the Moonlight with J. W. Nicklaus, Author of The Apocalypse of Hagren Roose



J.W. Nicklaus                                   

Is this another winter of discontent for us? That is, globally, as a species. Has the doomsday train left the station and begun its whistle-stop tour of humanity? People the world over may think so, and assuredly so might some within our own national boundaries, and yet it is within each of us, almost an innate feature of American childbirth, the spirit we warmly refer to as Christmas. A time of year in which scales of preparation perhaps exceed all others, the call heeded to give and receive, in whatever manner.

Sure, our economy still has a rancid stench about it but the Greeks and French tread far more dire straits than we do; Spain and Italy are struggling mightily not to join the ranks of severe austerity. It is a unique function of the human mind to be both adaptive and susceptible to our external environments, and as such, when you scarcely know where the next meal is coming from it's ludicrous to consider things such as gifts . . . yet it is hard to escape the lofty spirit of the season.

Take a few moments, every now and again, to part the veil of harsh reality and look around you, watch complete strangers interact, listen to your neighbors and co-workers stories about their lives. If you can keep the wolf at bay you will easily discover an energy waiting to be tapped. Don't reach for it, it will come to you.

You'll find someone at the cash register who comes up short some change, or maybe a dollar or two short and the next person in line will smile and make up the difference; you will discover that neighbors you rarely meet will wave at you when you encounter one another; perhaps you will get a whiff of the true power of good, of giving, over self-indulgence. While Congress can't seem to do it we as individuals have it within our power to make up for their willful ineptitude.

When you hear the word "gift" this or any holiday season most likely you envision it as a noun, as in "present," a wrapped package. But the word attains a wholeness, a satisfactory completeness when taken as a verb or adjective, even if indirectly. Take as an example the story of one Monty Roberts.

Monty, a teen, was the son of a thoroughbred horse trainer and his dream was to run a facility of his own one day. When given an assignment to write a paper entitled "My Goals In Life" he seized upon his dream and wrote out a detailed plan to achieve it.

His teacher, Mr. Fowler, returned the paper with a failing grade. "It's a wild, unattainable dream he told his student. "I know your family and background; it would not be possible." Fowler then insisted Monty rewrite the paper but Monty was not so easily swayed.

Monty and his mother discussed the paper and his interaction with Mr. Fowler that evening, and the next day the teen returned the original paper to his teacher with a note stating that he believed in his plan and the teacher shouldn't squelch or limit his  aspirations. Mr. Fowler didn't respond at the time, but Monty received an A in the course.

As it would happen, Monty did, in fact, attain his dream through hard work and sheer determination. Many years later he received a call from Mr. Fowler requesting arrangement of a tour of Monty's stables for his church group.

After the tour Fowler related to the group the story of the term paper and the note Monty had written. "There was a time when I told Monty that this was unattainable," he said. "Now we've all had a good look around and seen how he proved me wrong." His student, he said, taught him "the most valuable lesson I ever learned."

That, in short, is a gift in action verb, not a noun. And it wasn't just a present for the moment, rather one to impact a whole life. Talk about impressive.

By any definition the fact that we're here at all, forget the advent of civilization with its development of writing and language, agriculture, and social and environmental engineering's a miracle, a gift in itself. Think about that when you're hustling about, warming up your credit cards, and getting ready for "Christmas." Perhaps there is some other gift which may be readily given with precious little monetary cost but unquantifiable personal gain.

Merry Christmas to all, and a healthy, prosperous New Year.

About the Author:

J.W. Nicklaus attests to living somewhere between the city closest to the Sun and upon the precipice of Hell—but the winters are mild in Arizona. An avid reader and peerless amateur philosopher, he is “DNA and energy. I am cellular and soulful. I am shadow and light. I am carbon and water . . . and I am stardust. As are we all.” His singular ambition is simple: to leave the world a slightly better place than when he came into it.
J.W. latest book is the fiction drama novella, The Apocalypse of Hagren Roose.
You can find out more about J.W. at
Visit him on Facebook at

About the Book:

Once a small-town success and happy family man, Hagren Roose finds his slide backwards at once abrupt and wrenching. His small-town mentality sets him on a journey of his own making, of which he has no control—and only he can atone for. 

The Apocalypse of Hagren Roose Tour Page:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

In Leah's Wake by Terri Guiliano Long

About the Book:

The Tylers have a perfect life--beautiful home, established careers, two sweet and talented daughters. Their eldest daughter, Leah, an exceptional soccer player, is on track for a prestigious scholarship. Their youngest, Justine, more responsible than seems possible for her 12 years, just wants her sister's approval. With Leah nearing the end of high school and Justine a seemingly together kid, the parents are set to enjoy a peaceful life...until Leah meets Todd, a high school dropout and former roadie for a rock band.

As Leah's parents fight to save their daughter from a world of drugs, sex, and wild parties, their divided approach drives their daughter out of their home and a wedge into their marriage. Meanwhile, twelve-year-old Justine observes her sister's rebellion from the shadows of their fragmented family-leaving her to question whether anyone loves her and if God even knows she exists. Can this family survive in Leah's wake? What happens when love just isn't enough?


My Thoughts:

Sometimes, reviewing a book can be hard, especially when you really want to like the book...and it just doesn't happen. I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn't get lost in it enough for the magic to happen. And for me, that is essential, that is how I decide whether or not a book is a winner. I need to be totally lost in it, begrudge the time I can't spend reading it, and groan at the time that I have to devote to other things - like eating or sleeping. I want to think about the book when I'm not reading it, and long after it's done. That is the sign of a great book to me.

Although this book was written in a concise, readable style (I've read many lately that weren't, so I have a broad base for comparison), I found myself struggling to get into it. Whenever reading feels like a chore to me, I know it's not the book for me. Nothing against the author, nothing against the book itself. It just didn't speak to me as a reader. But I am certain that it will for many others. In fact, if Oprah was still doing her book club, this would be a perfect candidate for her selection. So try it for yourself and you decide.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

In the Moonlight with Author Fumi Hancock

The Author Guest Blog

Building African Kingdoms, One Community at a Time with The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest Author, Fumi Hancock, her American Friends and her colorful characters in Africa.


Come, let me take you to a Land;
                       A Land of Deep Rich Forest;
                                   A Land where Knowledge is our Clothing and
                                                Unconditional Love Our Way of Life;
                                   There is a river which flows in the Heart of this Land;
                       Come drink from the river of wisdom,

                       Our destination is Africa…..
 (Fumi Hancock, 1996)

As the holiday season kicks up in full gear all over the world and as I journey on with the virtual publicity tour for my newly released Young Adult Fantasy Book, The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest; I can’t help but reminisce over my experiences celebrating holidays in Africa.  This great adventure called The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell beautifully brought back to my memory the wonderful times I’d shared with friends and family members, growing up in Africa. Armed with the desire to share this piece of me with my readers, I garnered up the courage, the enthusiasm and the commitment needed to tell the world how Africa can also be a beautiful place, even in its throes of poverty and difficulties.

As I share my humble and sincere heart with my readers, I continue to envision a world free of challenges, drama as we would often call them and desire a peaceful place where everyone can live in peace and harmony. I yearn for a place where children can move freely, live freely, eat freely and of course, never go hungry. It is my hope and desire that as I share my experiences with you; you will be moved to be a difference maker… reach out and touch someone in the most unusual and / or unexpected way.

To this effect, let me quickly share with you where my passion for this Young Adult Fantasy & Romance fiction emanated from…



My name is Fumi “Stephanie” Hancock.  I was born in Africa but have lived in the United States of America for over 30 years. A little over six years ago, my father, Prince T.A Ogunleye called me up and told me it was time to return home. I’d literally grown up in the US and this was now home to me. My father felt it was time to give back to Africa.


This was an important trip for me as I’d not been back to my community in over 23 years!  The trip was equally important because one of my cousins, His Royal Majesty, King Emmanuel Adebayo, reigning King of Emure Ekiti Kingdom, a place tugged away in the Western region of Africa was being crowned and my father felt it was a great opportunity to reconnect with my roots.

               (Picture of His Royal Majesty King Emmanuel Adebayo & Queen)

The journey was exhilarating yet filled with anxiety as I did not know what I was going to encounter.  I trusted my father, packed my bags and went back to West Africa with my family. It was the most incredible journey of my life… to witness a King’s coronation… no words could describe the feelings.

What was more important was the surprise which awaited me when I arrived in the community with my Tennessean friends! The community people rallied around me and reminded me of who I was… their princess who had been gone for long and was now back! I took the time to revisit my childhood boarding school and low and behold, all of my experiences at the school came rushing back.

Description: Description: C:\Users\Acer\Desktop\Old Folder-Laptop\Steph Stuff\Stuff from Old Laptop-12-10-11\Adassa Foundation\2011 Africa Trip\Pictures from Trip\Joel Buckner\DSC01011.JPG    Description: Description: C:\Users\Acer\Desktop\Old Folder-Laptop\Steph Stuff\Stuff from Old Laptop-12-10-11\Adassa Foundation\2011 Africa Trip\Pictures from Trip\Joel Buckner\DSC01024.JPG

Description: Description: C:\Users\Acer\Desktop\Old Folder-Laptop\Steph Stuff\Stuff from Old Laptop-12-10-11\Adassa Foundation\For Web\mr paek.jpg    Description: Description: C:\Users\Acer\Desktop\Old Folder-Laptop\Steph Stuff\Stuff from Old Laptop-12-10-11\Adassa Foundation\For Web\yolanda-lindsay-lisa.jpg

Description: Description: C:\Users\Acer\Desktop\Old Folder-Laptop\Steph Stuff\Stuff from Old Laptop-12-10-11\Adassa Foundation\For Web\lindsay.jpg  Description: Description: C:\Users\Acer\Desktop\Old Folder-Laptop\Steph Stuff\Stuff from Old Laptop-12-10-11\Adassa Foundation\For Web\adassa15.jpg

With all of this jubilation came social responsibility… to come back to the United States, let the world know of this region in Africa and help to make a difference in whatever little way I could.

 Description: Description: C:\Users\Acer\Desktop\Old Folder-Laptop\Steph Stuff\Stuff from Old Laptop-12-10-11\Adassa Foundation\For Web\adassafoundation5.jpg  Description: Description: C:\Users\Acer\Desktop\Old Folder-Laptop\Steph Stuff\Stuff from Old Laptop-12-10-11\Adassa Foundation\dsc_0220.jpg
   (pictures of a classroom/ school with no electricity and broke down furniture)

           Description: Description: C:\Users\Acer\Desktop\Old Folder-Laptop\Steph Stuff\Stuff from Old Laptop-12-10-11\Adassa Foundation\AnAfricanClinic.jpg
(Premature babies born in rural clinics with no incubators and no medical equipment)

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                            (a child street hawking to raise money for food)

                                                Description: Description: C:\Users\Acer\Desktop\Old Folder-Laptop\Steph Stuff\Stuff from Old Laptop-12-10-11\Adassa Foundation\2011 Africa Trip\Pictures from Trip\child2.jpg
                                      (an hungry child found on a street)

The King and his cabinet had a huge task on their hands and they knew it would require reaching out to all for assistance. It is amazing how when we reach out to give someone something that we may be lacking ourselves, how it turns around and blesses us back a thousand fold.  Because of my children in Africa, my life and that of my volunteers have forever changed.

We came back home, reached out to whoever would listen to our stories and began plugging away at the needs in Africa.  We hosted the King and some of his 63 cabinet members to a gala in Tennessee:

                    Description: Description: C:\Users\Acer\Desktop\Old Folder-Laptop\Steph Stuff\Stuff from Old Laptop-12-10-11\Adassa Foundation\Gala Night-2009\dsc_0680.jpg  Description: Description: C:\Users\Acer\Desktop\Old Folder-Laptop\Steph Stuff\Stuff from Old Laptop-12-10-11\Adassa Foundation\Gala Night-2009\dsc_0658.jpg
(Mayor Mike Dinwiddle, current Mayor of Spring Hill TN awarded an honorary chieftaincy title by his Royal Majesty, King Adebayo at a gala held in Franklin TN and Spring Hill declared sister city to Emure Kingdom)
To date, we currently sponsor 40 children who would ordinarily not have been able to attend school. We opened the very first state of the art library in that region ever…

Description: Description: C:\Users\Acer\Desktop\Old Folder-Laptop\Steph Stuff\Stuff from Old Laptop-12-10-11\Adassa Foundation\lindsay3.jpg  Description: Description: C:\Users\Acer\Desktop\Old Folder-Laptop\Steph Stuff\Stuff from Old Laptop-12-10-11\Adassa Foundation\2011 Africa Trip\Pictures from Trip\Library\Library after renovation.jpg

Description: Description: C:\Users\Acer\Desktop\Old Folder-Laptop\Steph Stuff\Stuff from Old Laptop-12-10-11\Adassa Foundation\2011 Africa Trip\Pictures from Trip\Library\Opening of Community Library June 2011 6.jpg

With the help of some Song writers & artists in Tennessee, Friend to an Angel a song honoring our African children was debuted and used in raising funds for our programs in Africa.  (Available at:

Today, I celebrate all of my 
African angels with the characters my readers will encounter in the Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest. These vibrant and most times feisty characters are a culmination of my childhood friends as well as “those conjured in my head.” These characters as well as my African babies have consistently plagued my dream and haunted my mind into bringing them alive.

Every year I would return to Africa (with my American Friends) serving the children in these communities through my non-profit organization the 
Adassa Foundation, I am reminded of the colorful ambiance and the need to share this part of the world with book lovers.

There is more work that to be done. I am constantly in need of assistance to help move our programs forward.  Our next vision for this region is to build a Youth Center for Excellence where children can converge and learn rather than be in the streets roaming aimlessly. As we celebrate our holidays here in the US and all over the world, I urge you to consider joining me in putting a smile on yet another African angel’s face at or support by picking up the song: Friend to an Angel.

“I enjoyed the story of Jewel, it was fresh and in a setting that was new to me. The descriptions made me feel as if I was there. I experienced the place right along with our Jewel.  Every page was beautifully written and I was engrossed from start to finish
.” Review by Sara Bree High,

Well, mission accomplished Sara. I wanted my readers to be transported to a place where they’d never been before. I wanted them to see how other people live in other parts of the world… I wanted them to also see how people like them, who have travelled to live in Africa… how they adjust to the culture and setting.  The characters though reside in Africa come from various parts of the world especially Europe. Enjoy the Behind-the-scenes pictures: (!behindrhescenes/ckg3)
A little about The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest book?unique & thrilling African ambiance not familiar to many!

Lying gracefully between the Vaal River in the north and the Orange River in the south, the rolling grassland and fields of crops rising to a lovely sandstone mountain, is Milner Court, Bloemfontein, a suburb nestled in the middle of Free State, South Africa.
The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest magically transports its readers from the rolling hills of Bloemfontein to the beautiful farmlands of Bela-bela South Africa. It is a fantasy-based coming of age story of a rebellious 17 year old teenager who (through no fault of her own) is thrust into an environment ridden with unfamiliar and unsavory demonic activities when admitted into a prep school in South Africa.

As Jewel Cardwell is relentlessly being trailed by an unapologetic family curse, she races against time to find answers before the curse wipes out all of her loved ones. 

In the midst of this demonic war, she becomes entangled in a love triangle between a young rugged-looking Darwin Morton who she grew up with on Milner Court and the very wealthy and popular high school soccer team leader with the silver spoon in his mouth, Eric Broder. TRAILER:

Portions of the proceeds made this holiday season will be funding scholarships and the Proposed Youth Center.

Discovery Quizzes:
1) What is the Mission, the Vision and the Goal of Adassa Adumori Foundation?
Clue: (a statement written in purple color)
2) Can you mention two ways you can help to create awareness and be a difference maker with the foundation?
Clues: “
Friend to an Angel”, The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell, and


Description: Description: 16054376

Purchase  & Review at:
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Book Spotlight: Twelve Months by Steven Manchester

Brief Synopsis: 

Don DiMarco has a very good life – a family he loves, a comfortable lifestyle, passions and interests that keep him amused. He also thought he had time, but that turned out not to be the case. Faced with news that might have immediately felled most, Don now wonders if he has time enough. Time enough to show his wife the romance he didn’t always lavish on her. Time enough to live out his most ambitious fantasies. Time enough to close the circle on some of his most aching unresolved relationships. Summoning an inner strength he barely realized he possessed, Don sets off to prove that twelve months is time enough to live a life in full. A glorious celebration of each and every moment that we’re given here on Earth, as well as the eternal bonds that we all share, Twelve Months is a stirring testament to the power of the human spirit. 

Twelve Months excerpt

Though there were empty tables up front, Vic escorted Bella and me to a darkened back room where no one else was seated. The table sat in the center of the room and was very nicely decorated. I could tell by Bella's face that it seemed peculiar to her. As we took our seats, Vic lit a candle. “I’ll be right back,” he said.

Bella started to question it, but I shrugged it off. “There must have been reservations for the other tables up front?” I suggested.

She nodded, and then noticed a man seated on a stool a few tables over. He was holding a guitar and squinting at some sheet music.

He looked over and smiled. “I hope you guys don’t mind, but I’m trying out tonight for a weekend gig at this place.”

“Oh, that’s great,” Bella said, with no idea Gary had already landed the job.

“Not a problem,” I added, acting as though I’d never spoken to the man. And through an acoustic set of love ballads, Gary was just as convincing.

Bella had no idea but the order had already been carefully spelled out – drinks first, Pinot Grigio for her; beer for me, and the itinerary would begin. Vic approached with both drinks on a small round tray. “Appetizers tonight?” he asked.

I smiled. “Why don’t we start with an order of little necks in garlic and oil?”

Vic nodded once and headed for the kitchen, while Gary swooned, “You say it best when you say nothing at all…”

Bella leaned into my ear and whispered, “How did he know I wanted white wine?”

I was into my second shrug when Vic returned to the table with a gorgeous arrangement of long stem red roses. Without a word, he placed them in front of Bella and rotated the vase until the card faced her. “Your appetizer should be out in a few minutes,” he said and strutted away again.

Gary was already on his second number when Bella plucked the card from the arrangement. It read: “Bella, I love you, forever – Don.” She looked up to find the entire restaurant staring at us.

“And always will,” I whispered when she leaned over and kissed me.

After the steaming appetizer and another round of drinks, Vic placed a silver platter before my glowing wife. It held a scrolled sheet of parchment secured by red ribbon. She looked up at him, but he never let on. She glanced over at me. “What…”

“Open it,” I said, while Gary strummed away in the background.

She did. It was the one thing she'd always wanted from me, but had never gotten – until now.

Moments of Destiny

From the moment I met you,

I knew there was a fire between us

that even hard, driving rain could never put out.

From the moment we spoke,

I knew I’d spent my entire life

in search of your deep and passionate love.

From the moment we kissed,

I knew my heart was no longer mine

and I’d finally found my future.

From the moment we laughed,

I knew there would never be enough time

to share all the things I needed to share with you.

From the moment we danced,

I knew, at last, what the phrase ‘better half’ meant

and surrendered to your gentle touch.

From the moment we walked hand-in-hand,

I knew I’d discovered my partner

and that my dreams were suddenly within reach.

From the moment we lay together,

I knew I’d made it to heaven

and thanked God for blessing me with you.

From the moment you agreed to be my wife,

I knew my journey was now worth taking,

through days of sunshine –

or nights of hard, driving rain.

As her watering eyes read the final verse, the musician stopped playing, the restaurant went silent and I went down to one knee. I opened the ring box. “Isabella,” I said, “I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you be my wife…again?”

She never hesitated and dove into my arms. For a while, we just hugged.

“I love you so much,” she cried into my shoulder.

“I know,” I said. “But…”

She pushed away from me and looked into my eyes. “But what?”

“But I need your answer?” I said, grinning.

“Yes…the answer is YES!” she gasped and jumped back into my arms.

The crowd shared a collective sigh, and everyone was clapping when Bella and I returned to reality. It took a few moments before each table returned to its own conversation and half-eaten meals.

Chuckling, I introduced my beautiful wife to Gary, the musician. As they shook hands, Gary admitted, “I was so nervous.”

I bought the man a beer when Vic delivered two previously ordered dinners to our table. Though Bella couldn’t touch hers, I ate and listened to Gary fill the room with a soothing melody. By the time the chocolate covered strawberries arrived for dessert, Bella was emotionally spent. She grabbed me once more for a kiss. “This has been the perfect night,” she whispered.

“And for all these years…you’ve been the perfect wife, my dear.”

As we left the restaurant, another round of applause carried us to the front door. I opened it for my new fiancĂ© – only to discover a white stretch limousine idling at the curb. She quickly turned to me. “It’s not over?”

I shook my head. “It’ll never be over for us.” As we made our way to the limo, waves of nausea threatened to drown me. This is Bella’s perfect night, I told myself, our perfect night. Whatever you do…do not throw up now!

Author Bio:  

Steven Manchester is the published author of Pressed Pennies, The Unexpected Storm: The Gulf War Legacy and Jacob Evans, as well as several books under the pseudonym, Steven Herberts. His work has appeared on NBC's Today Show, CBS's The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning and BET’sNightly News. Recently, three of his short stories were selected "101 Best" for Chicken Soup for the Soulseries. 

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