#BookBlitz “Betsy Blossom Brown” by Kathleen M. Jacobs

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Young Adult
Date Published: June 5, 2019
Publisher: Jan-Carol Publishing, Inc.
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Betsy Blossom Brown is a coming-of-age story about a young girl who journeys from being an observer of life to a participant. Her seemingly idyllic life with her privileged South Carolina family is turned upside down, revealing truths and disarming pretensions. She’s independent, opinionated, and brave. Uncertainty enters her life when she and her mother move to the Appalachian region until, through a series of unsettling events; she sheds her uncertainty and learns to embrace life. The graphite illustrations help to understand the depth of Betsy Blossom Brown, as she sketches her way through life recognizing her mild Asperger syndrome, without letting it curb her appetite for life.
Excerpt
Chapter 1
Charleston, SC:  2007
Fourteen-year-old Betsy Blossom Brown sat on the saffron-colored, vinyl kitchen chair across from her mother, Lily. Lily’s opened palms buried her face, and Betsy’s elbows rested on the vintage, enameled, red and white kitchen table, the palms of her hands holding up each side of her chin. Betsy and her mother loved this vintage kitchen set. They loved anything vintage. But they loved this set in particular, because it was found on top of a heap of discarded furniture outside a dilapidated beach house on Sullivan’s Island. Betsy’s chestnut curls concealed her olive green eyes so that her mother would not be able to see every tear that fell from them. Betsy watched in a near hypnotic state as each teardrop seemed to disperse on the shiny, enameled tabletop. She secretly longed to go wherever they were headed—to a place where what she had just been told hadn’t yet arrived.
“But I don’t understand,” Betsy winced.
“I know, Sugar, it’s difficult. I don’t even understand it, but it is the truth. And ever since the day you entered my life, I made a promise to always tell you the truth, no matter what. Your father thought different. He believed a lie was okay if it meant that you avoided hurting someone. And while that may have a bit of merit, especially with the truth I just shared with you, it’s just not the way I see it. And in this moment, I would certainly love to be able to keep this truth under lock and key forever, but sooner or later, you would find out. And then you’d wonder why I hadn’t been the one to tell you what happened to your father.”
“But why? Why did he do it? I need to know why. I need to know the reason. It’s a quirk I’ve had ever since I was born, Mom. You know that. I always need to know why.” Betsy continued to snap at the placket of her front, periwinkle-colored, linen shirt. She loved this shirt most because it had been her mother’s when she was in college. It was a bit oversized, so Betsy sometimes belted it with her wide, brown, leather belt. Finding plackets and seams on pockets and collars was something Betsy had done since she was a small child. She seemed to look for them without even thinking, and yet, she was thinking of nothing else.
“I don’t know why, Betsy. He didn’t have a reason. All he said when I saw him was, ‘Lily, dear Lily, I’m sorry. Please tell Betsy that I’m sorry.’”
I turned each side of my hair behind my ears, wiped at my eyes, and looked to Mr. Peabody and Steve as they raced furiously around their cage, stopping briefly to hop on the plastic, multi-colored toy ferris wheel, and tumbled to the tiny pieces of torn comic strips from the newspaper and fleece bedding that lined the floor of their cage. I had begged my mother for pet rats for months before she surprised me with a trip to MacGruder’s Pets on Sullivan’s Island. My father was out of town at a business meeting (or so, at the time, we thought), and that always presented a prime opportunity for us to charge ahead with plans that he might not have approved. He pretty well knew that whenever he went out of town, my mother and I would retaliate by doing or buying something that hadn’t been mutually agreed upon. We thought it was funny; he didn’t.
Betsy Blossom Brown walked over to her mother, wrapped both arms around her neck, and picked up the morning paper that her mother had brought for her to read. The front page made her dizzy, like the time she rode the “Round Up” at the carnival. She took the newspaper with her to her room and chose the rigidity of her desk chair to read what she already knew.
LOCAL BUSINESSMAN WILLIAM BROWN

CHARGED WITH EMBEZZLEMENT OF

CLIENT FUNDS
William D. Brown of Charleston was charged on Friday with embezzlement of client funds from his management firm, Brown & Associates. According to a report released from the FBI and in conjunction with an SEC investigation, which had been conducting their own investigation into mismanagement of funds at the firm and client allegations of fraud from a number of Brown’s clients, evidence shows that Brown had been embezzling vast amounts of money from his individual client accounts since he joined the firm in 1994. Brown allegedly skimmed in excess of three million dollars over the past five years. The majority of Brown’s clients are retired, live out of state, and have trusted him since he joined his father, the late Joseph Brown, at the firm in 1994, the same year the elder Brown died from a fall while vacationing in the Caribbean after tripping on a sidewalk as he returned to the vacation home he and his wife owned, hitting his head on the concrete pavement and suffering massive bleeding before going into a coma. The senior Brown opened the respected firm in 1969. At the time of his death, the managed assets of Brown & Associates were listed by the SEC at over one billion dollars.
The South Carolina State Police worked with FBI agents and SEC officials in locating Brown on Friday morning after his wife, Lily Park Brown, the only daughter of the late Senator Tommy Park, reported her husband missing. After numerous reports of Brown’s physical location, the authorities were led to the lighthouse on Sullivan’s Island, where Brown was sitting in a gray flannel suit, starched white shirt, and a perfectly-knotted silk tie, surrounded by an incoming tide that saturated the pillowcases filled with bundled money that encircled him. One FBI official noticed a revolver in Brown’s hand, and as he raised it and pointed it to his temple, the trained police German shepherd leapt through the air and seized the weapon, and Brown fell forward.
Attempts to contact Brown’s wife or any of the officials involved with the incident and apprehension have been futile.
Betsy reached inside her desk drawer and pulled out a pair of scissors. She cut out the newspaper article about her father, opened the finches’ birdcage, and slid the newspaper at the bottom, and then she waited until “Scout” and “Jem” and “Boo” and “Atticus” crapped all over the newsprint. The birds broke into their sweet singsong, and Betsy was overcome with anger. She wasn’t sure, though, whether she was angry with her father, with herself for carpeting the finches’ birdcage with the morning news, or with the finches for sounding so happy, when she felt anything but, as they flew with seeming madness from perch to perch.
About the Author
Kathleen M. Jacobs is the author of books for young readers. Her first YA-novel, Honeysuckle Holiday, has received critical acclaim. And her children’s book, Please Close It! has won numerous awards. She divides her time between New York City and the Appalachian region. She lives with her husband, John, and far too many books. Visit her website at http://www.kathleenmjacobs.com and on Instagram @kathleenm.jacobs.
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RABT Book Tours & PR

#Excerpt “Cold Fire: Shakespeare’s Moon, Act II” by James Hartley

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Set in the magical boarding school of St Francis’, Cold Fire centres around a group of teenagersCold Fire cover who become involved in the tale of Romeo and Juliet in this contemporary re-telling of the classic story. Meanwhile, four hundred years earlier, a young teacher from Stratford Upon Avon arrives at the school. His name is Will… From the author of The Invisible Hand comes the second book in the spellbinding Shakespeare´s Moon series.

EXCERPT

Angela is a student at St Francis´ School. The last time she was out running she thinks she saw the ghost or a vision of William Shakespeare. Now she is confused, about that, her life and emotions. And she is about to see something else…

 

Angela ran out along her normal route and felt the usual tension in her calves and thighs as her cold body strained to wake up. Her mind was fully awake. Like Kizzie, she´d hardly slept.

She looked down at the hard, dry pebbles on the path. Sometimes there were puddles here, sometimes even puddles filled with tadpoles. Now everything was rather dull, like the sky, although at least it wasn´t raining.

She ran past the ponies in their field, swishing tails and ears against the flies, and wondered, as usual, if she would prefer to change places with them. Did they know they were stuck in a field? Probably. Did they know that if they leapt the low wooden fence and the two strings of electrified wire, they would be free? Probably.

But then she always remembered a day at home, years ago, when she was seven or eight, and a friend of hers had told her to let the canary they had out of the cage and they´d opened the small door and beckoned the creature out, to fly away, to escape (even if it would have only been around the living room). The small, yellow bundle had remained cowering at the back of its perch, in the farthest corner of its cage, shaking with fear.

Angela came out over the gravestones and soft mossy grass of the churchyard and looked up at the hills. Today she could see them in brilliant detail, all the different hues of the leaves and the dark, gnarled shapes of the branches and trunks. She breathed in the greenness and thought: everything is going to be all right today. Perhaps it was only the night? When you woke up in the night everything you´d been thinking of in the dead of night, alone, seemed exaggerated, didn´t it? Your mind made connections that seemed silly when illuminated by daylight.

But what about the man? Go on, Angela – say it: What about William Shakespeare?

Well, of course it wasn´t Shakespeare. It was just some man wandering about the hills, lost. Perhaps the bloke had some kind of mental illness? Perhaps he was someone who dressed like Shakespeare, or people of that time? An actor, like Priya had said. Or maybe those sort of clothes were back in fashion for some people? Whatever it was, he was not someone who had lived and died over four hundred years ago because that sort of thing just didn´t happen. It was impossible.

But, she thought, heading up the steep, winding, woody path towards The Gallops, maybe she would still try to talk to Leana again. It wasn´t just the Shakespeare thing – it was everything. Angela had been feeling strange recently. A lot of things she´d thought she´d liked were now odd to her, childish, even. Her body was changing: her face the most obvious thing to the outside world, but that was just one of her worries. Too many other, odd things. Strange new thoughts. She had started noticing the look in people´s eyes; people looking at her in a different way, with different intentions.

And she trusted Leana. Leana was one of those people who seemed to understand everything. She´d heard the stories about her but instead of scaring her, they only made Leana seem more real to her. Angela didn´t really feel that with anyone else, not anyone older than herself. Miss Bainbridge hardly noticed her, and when she did, she spoke to her like a child. In class she never met the teacher´s eye, for different reasons, face down in a book or face burning with potential shame at having to talk out loud. Her new greatest fear was that she would have to stand up in class and speak and that everyone would stare at her. Whenever she spoke to more than one person these days Angela went to pieces.

She ran along The Gallops and looked down at the bypass and, beyond, the lovely sunlit expanse of the playing fields and the school. It really was a gorgeous spot on mornings like this and Angela was happy she was there. She would have been like this anywhere, she knew, confused and strange. Here she was allowed out to run and people left her alone. At the moment she could control her thoughts, and no-one really knew what she was thinking and that´s how she liked it.

But now, beginning to head downhill, she couldn’t help but think of the man. Say it! Of William Shakespeare.

But she didn´t see him.

She expected him to pop out from behind the tree trunks or be standing in front of her on the narrow, winding dirt path but he never was and she got down to the bypass thinking: That´s it, it´s over. Whatever it was, it was all in my head and that’s it. Finished.

But then she noticed that the cars passing her by were largely silent. There was only the faint hum of wind and some sort of motor, a faint buzzing, like a bulb, as each vehicle passed by.

Closer inspection revealed that each car – they were sleek, creamy, silvery designs, all of them, like small jets – had no drivers. Most of the windows were tinted and opaque but sometimes she caught sight of a person in the backseat and strange lights flickered from their eyes.

A child – a girl – looked out at her, a metal-looking, claw-like hand pressed to the window, and it was only when she´d gone that Angela realised the girl had been completely bald.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK     |       Amazon US  

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James HartleyAuthor Bio – James was born on the Wirral, England, in 1973 on a rainy Thursday. He shares his birthday with Bono, Sid Vicious and two even nastier pieces of work, John Wilkes Booth and Mark David Chapman.

His mother was a hairdresser with her own business and his father worked in a local refinery which pours filth into the sky over the Mersey to this day. They married young and James was their first child. He has two younger brothers and a still-expanding family in the area. As an Everton fan he suffered years of Liverpool success throughout the seventies and was thrilled when his father took a job in Singapore and the family moved lock, stock and two smoking barrels to Asia.

He spent five fine years growing up in the city state before returning to the rain, storms, comprehensive schools and desolate beauty of the Scottish east coast. Later years took he and his family to baking hot Muscat, in Oman, and a Syria that has since been bombed off the surface of the planet.

James lives in Madrid, Spain, with his wife and two children.

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Giveaway

5 winners will receive a signed copy of Cold Fire: Shakespeare’s Moon, Act II with a special tactile pen

(OPEN INTERNATIONALLY)

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E N T E R

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organizer and used only for fulfillment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

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“Watching Glass Shatter” by James J. Cudney

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Watching Glass Shatter

by James J. Cudney

Genre: Teen & YA/Literature & Fiction/Values & Virtues

FREE at time of posting! Kindle Unlimited!

After 40 years of marriage, Olivia Glass thought she could handle the unexpected death of her husband. But when Ben’s will reveals a life-altering secret, she suffers a blow no widow should ever experience.

Olivia learns that she gave birth to a baby who later died in the nursery. Instead of telling his wife what happened, Ben switched the child with another. And as if that’s not enough, Ben’s will doesn’t reveal which of their five sons is truly not hers.

While an attorney searches for answers, Olivia visits each of her sons to share a final connection before facing the truth that will change their family, and discovers that each of them has been harboring a painful secret, just like their father.

Olivia challenges herself to re-assemble and save their relationships. But will the secrets destroy their family beyond repair?

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“The Power and the Fury (Eden Chronicles Book 1)” by James Erith

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The Power and the Fury (Eden Chronicles Book 1)

by James Erith

Genre: Teen & YA/Christian

FREE at time of posting!

To save our future, they must seek out the conflicts of the past.

When Archie, Daisy, and Isabella stumble upon an extraordinary quest, little do they realize that they must unearth the hidden source of life in the fabled Garden of Eden.

But they are not alone.

A mythical being stands in their way and seeks its vengeance on the human race.

As clouds darken, the reality of the turmoil they have entered begins to unravel.

And the power and the fury of nature is about to smash directly into them.

Set in the evocative heart of England amongst the ancient villages of the Yorkshire countryside; lose yourself in a remarkable new adventure series that is delighting adults and children alike.

Pick up your copy of The Power and the Fury and enjoy a roller-coaster ride of young-adult adventure with a flicker of fantasy, a hint of history and twists and thrills in equal measure.

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“Children of Blood and Bone” Sneak Peek!

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Children of Blood and Bone Sneak Peek!

by Tomi Adeyemi

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy/Teen & YA/Social and Family Issues/Racism & Prejudice

FREE at time of posting!

Download a FREE sneak peek of CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE!

Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut.

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for an enemy.

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“First Date with Destiny: Teen Angel Romance Series” by Kellie McAllen

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First Date with Destiny: Teen Angel Romance Series (Date with Destiny Collection Book 1)

by Kellie McAllen

Genre: Teen/YA/Science Fiction/Inspirational/Dystopian

FREE at time of posting!

To fulfill his destiny, he’ll have to uncover hers.

Zeph is half angel, half human, and a total disappointment. Because of his unique lineage, everyone expected his supernatural gift to be extraordinary, but instead he didn’t have one at all.

After 17 years of insignificance, Zeph has given up on ever fulfilling his destiny, but when he meets Eve, she sees something in him that no else has. Suddenly, Zeph’s quirks start to seem more like rare supernatural gifts, instead.

Besides being brilliant, beautiful, and way out of Zeph’s league, Eve is an intriguing mystery that Zeph can’t resist trying to unravel. He’s convinced that Eve is a Celestia Divisa, but she doesn’t even know they exist.

When Zeph shares his theories with his friends and family, it’s no surprise that everyone thinks he’s crazy. But is he willing to risk losing Eve to uncover the truth?

First Date with Destiny is the first book in the Date with Destiny Collection, a series of clean, paranormal angel romance novels that can be read in order or as stand-alones.

If you like sweet, heartwarming romance novels with charming characters and happily ever after endings, you’ll love First Date with Destiny!

SPECIAL FREE OFFER INSIDE

 

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Evolution of a Cover | “Happily” by Chauncey Rogers

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No Fairy Godmother. No Magic Pumpkin. Just One Grumpy Girl… And a Glass Slipper.Happily cover

If the shoe fits, wear it.
If it doesn’t, make it.

Laure is a teenage street urchin just trying to get away. Where the rest of the world sees an enchanting love story, Laure sees royal incompetence and an opportunity to exploit it. She’ll have wealth and a way out of a life she detests, if she can only manage to hoodwink the royal family and survive to tell the tale.

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU

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~ About the Author ~

Chauncey RogersChauncey Rogers was born in Arizona, and since then has hopped back and forth between the mid-western and western United States. He married in 2012 while attending school in Utah. His favorite movie since he was three is Jurassic Park, and he wishes very badly that Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster were real, though he doesn’t believe in them as much as he used to.

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Day 10 of 13 of Happily’s Release Blog Tour. See the full schedule here.

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