Book Blitz & Excerpt: Why Liv? + Giveaway

Why Liv?
Jon Sebastian Shifrin

Young Adult (fiction)
Date Published: October, 2019

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As a twenty-something corporate employee with a doctor-in-training girlfriend, Livingstone Modicai Ackerman—Liv, to his friends—personifies success. Yet all is not as it seems. His job is tedious and soul-gutting, his girlfriend is a vacuous, image-conscious snob, and, meanwhile, his pathologically narcissistic parents are constant irritants. Add to this the febrile political climate dominated by a reactionary group, the Patriot Posse, led by a mendacious radio personality with outlandish hair and catchy campaign slogan to “Make America Great Again,” is a presidential candidate—and he’s winning!

Overwhelmed and struggling to maintain a sense of dignity and worth, Liv quits his job, breaks up with his girlfriend, and leaves for Spain to explore the existential question: Why live?

Told with humorous charm and wit, Why Liv? examines why modern work is so devoid of purpose and why reactionary politics is so alluring in America. Most of all, it humbly attempts to offer a reason to persevere during difficult times.


The Comitans, huddled together like penguins in the Arctic cold, waved posters at passing cars, cheering heartily when one honked in approval. “Guns not Butter,” one sign read. Another, “When Liberals Lead, Freedom Bleeds.” And, predict- ably, “I’m John Galt.” I nearly ran headlong into them.

Goddammit, I thought. Why now?

The Comitans were a menacing omen. Others existed, of course, like the rain. New York was in the midst of a record, nonstop deluge. Some claimed it was global warming, but most climate models predicted the East Coast would see less rainfall, not more. It had something to do with shifting currents in the Atlantic. Convection, I believe.

Then there was the economic crisis. Nobody could have seen it coming, right? A speculative bubble, evident only after the fact. That’s finance. Good years, bad years—the price of prosperity, supposedly. Not really. It was perfectly predictable. The signs were clear.

However, the Comitans were altogether different. After all, you could adjust to the lousy weather, but did it even matter if you went to work? Sunny weather only drove home the cruelty of cubicle captivity. As for the Wall Street-induced economic crisis, sure, it was ruinous, but mostly for those at a comfortable remove. For the wealthy, it was just momentary turbulence in the first-class cabin, a mere hiccup. The rich never paid for their misdeeds; the poor always did, even if blameless.

The Comitans were genuinely frightening and completely impossible to ignore. No sooner had you forgotten about the noisy irritants than a new crop arrived, spewing hate like crazed soccer hooligans and accosting you as you left the grocery store.

At first, I doubted they would ever converge on the city. It was a reasonable expectation given that, initially, they mostly stuck to their southern strongholds, holding rallies in places like Biloxi, Mississippi, and Decatur, Georgia. But then they began to spread, like a toxic contagion.

Although they kept getting closer, it still seemed unlikely they would actually breach the city limits. New York—cosmopolitan, progressive, diverse—personified the evil they detested. Why come at all?

But they did. It was a modern-day sacking of Rome. Thousands converged on Manhattan on chartered buses that discharged them into Midtown, from where they strategically fanned out across the city, heckling and jeering and picking fights like rabid dogs along the way.

I first spotted them in my neighborhood a few weeks ago. After that, my encounters were mostly from a distance, though each time less so. I should have expected the inevitable. After nearly colliding with a dozen or so of the rabble-rousers after turning the corner of Fifty-Second Street, I did what any New Yorker would do when crossing paths with the deranged and possibly dangerous: I stared ahead blankly. Streetwise. That’s what Gotham’s concrete canyons required.

In my peripheral vision, I caught sight of a seemingly dis- embodied hand from the huddled mass, finger pointing at me accusingly, and a swarm of sneering faces. Over the music playing on my earbuds, a “fuck you” registered, along with some other choice insults. I did not linger. The rain was getting heavy, and I was late for work.

Looks like you’ve seen better days, Liv,” Jay said as I staggered into the office, soaked to the bone. On a positive note, I was relieved to have survived my first direct contact with the Comitans unscathed.

Every day is better than Monday,” I sulked.


About the Author

Jon Sebastian Shifrin is a writer plying his trade in Washington, DC. His work has appeared in The Baltimore Sun, The Hill, Reunion: The Dallas Review, The Missing Slate, The Indian Review, and Futures Trading. Jon also is the founder of the popular current events website, The Daily Dissident ( His non-literary career in politics has taken him from the White House to Capitol Hill to think tanks in Washington and Europe. To learn more about Why Liv?, visit

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Book Blitz & Excerpt: When the River Rises + Giveaway

When the Rivers Rise
Joey Jones
Publication date: November 10th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense

High school sweethearts, Niles and Eden shared a once-in-a-lifetime kind of love until an accident—and Eden’s subsequent addiction to pain medication—tore them apart. Now divorced, their son Riley is Niles’s whole world, and he’ll do anything to keep him safe.

In constant pain, chronically tired, and resentful of Riley’s relationship with his dad, Eden is a shadow of the woman she once was. When she meets Kirk, a charismatic drummer who makes her feel alive again, she’s torn between evacuating with Riley before a hurricane hits and the exciting new life that beckons.

Reese has never quite gotten over the death of her father, a cop who was shot in the line of duty. Now a detective herself, and the only special operations officer on the East Ridge, Tennessee, police force without children, she volunteers for an assignment in Eastern North Carolina to help as Hurricane Florence closes in on the area.

As a potential category five hurricane spins straight toward the North Carolina coast, their lives begin to intersect in ways they never imagined as each is forced to confront issues from the past that will decide the future…their own, each other’s, and Riley’s.

Emotions swell like the rivers in the approaching storm in this poignant story of guilt, second chances, and the lengths we’ll go to protect the ones we love.

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Scene: Niles and Mickey receive advice from an older gentleman
Location: Chapter 4 (Manuscript Page 46)

When the guys finished mowing, the older gentleman shook their hands just like every other time, told them the story about working in the factory and wearing earmuffs, and ultimately handed over a check written in what looked like chicken scratch.

“Thanks,” Mickey said. “I bet you were quite the ladies’ man.”

The man snickered, and Niles wondered if he was recalling days past as he spoke, maybe seeing the face of a woman at the factory whom he had eyes for back then. Niles himself thought about women from time to time, even wondered if he’d eventually start dating. The weird thing was he never really dated. Eden had been his high school sweetheart, and he went to every school dance with her. He kissed a couple of other girls in middle school, but it was more like practicing than enjoying the game. The only woman he’d ever made love to was the one everyone knew he would end up marrying.

“This body has seen better days,” the man admitted, grinning through his dentures.

As Niles’s mind wandered, he let Mickey do the talking—a task for which he was always well prepared. After the divorce, Mickey told Niles that he was a lucky man because he had received a get out of jail free card. Said he needed to have sex with as many women as possible to catch up on all the missed opportunities he could have had in college if he hadn’t married so early in life, which was a weird way to put it because neither he nor Mickey ever really considered filling out a college application.

“You’re in good shape, Mr. Nelson,” Mickey pointed out. “Still walking up and down this driveway with a cane. Not many men your age can or would do that.” Pondering that thought, Mickey paused. “I bet you were chiseled in your day.”

Niles nearly snorted—not because he couldn’t imagine the old guy with a ripped chest and six-pack abs like the ones beneath his own sweaty shirt but because Mickey seemed so excited about this man’s romantic encounters. On another note, Niles was always impressed by how Mickey seemed to remember everyone’s name, even people he’d only met a time or two.

“Give us single guys some pointers,” Mickey requested before the guy could entertain the previous thought Mickey had shoveled out.

Mr. Nelson squinted his eyes. “One day, you’re going to meet a woman who will cause you to realize that every other woman on this earth exists for someone else. You’ll figure out that she’s the only one you’ll ever need.”

Pretty deep, Niles thought as his thumb traced the bottom part of his ring finger. Eden. That’s how he’d always felt about Eden. But then—
“I don’t know about all that,” Mickey chuckled. “If I meet her, I hope I meet a lot of other women first. I’m in no hurry to settle down, if you know what I mean, Mr. Nelson,” he announced, smacking the guy’s bony arm with the back of his hand as if a mosquito had landed on it.

“I remember those days, young fellow.”

“Niles here, he tied the knot before he realized there were other shoes out there to wear, but now that he’s divorced, I’m trying to talk him into trying on some other pairs.”

Once again, Niles nearly snorted. Mickey had a way with words, but as the ones his friend had just spoken traveled around in his mind, he wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. Mickey also had a tendency to say things around people that most others didn’t even think. He had no filter, which was both a good and a bad trait, depending on the situation.

“Women aren’t like shoes, my friend; they’re like a heart—you only need one,” the man said.

“Some men need a heart transplant,” Mickey uttered without skipping a beat.

This time, Niles did snort, but the frail man didn’t react one way or the other. His face was as straight as a pencil. “If you lose your heart like I did a long time ago, you’re right, you might need a new one. But, you only need one at a time,” he said.

Niles wasn’t sure if the gentleman was talking about his actual heart or comparing a woman to a heart again. There was a word for that, which he should have remembered from English class, but he had to admit that he had no clue. There were so many terms: irony, symbolism, analogy, metaphor . . . maybe it was one of those. He would ask Mickey later in the truck, but Mickey’s grades in school had been worse than his. Eden would know, he thought, without meaning to think about her.


Author Bio:

The writing style of Joey Jones has been described as a mixture of Nicholas Sparks, Richard Paul Evans, and James Patterson. USA Today Bestselling Author Jeff Gunhus compared Jones’ work to Debbie Macomber, Nicholas Evans, and Sparks. National Bestselling Author Kristy Woodson Harvey described Joey Jones’ writing as “lyrical” and proclaims “he effortlessly pulls readers into the souls of his characters.”

The ratings and reviews of Jones’ novels A BRIDGE APART (2015), LOSING LONDON (2016), A FIELD OF FIREFLIES (2018), and THE DATE NIGHT JAR (2019) reflect the comparison to the aforementioned New York Times bestselling authors.

Joey Jones fell in love with creative writing at a young age and decided in his early twenties that he wanted to write a book. His debut novel A BRIDGE APART is a suspenseful love story that was years in the making as he tinkered with the story off and on while working full-time in the marketing field. In February 2016, Jones became a full-time novelist and published his second novel LOSING LONDON later that year. Three of Jones’ novels have earned 4.8 out of 5.0 Amazon stars.

In his spare time, Joey enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, working out, reading, and writing inspirational quotes. His favorite meal is a New York Style Pizza with sweet tea. He won the 8th-grade spelling bee at his school, but if you ask him how many students participated, he might say, “Such minor details are not important!” He currently lives in North Carolina with his family.

Joey Jones earned a B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Maryland University College where he graduated with honors (2006). He was the owner of a full-service advertising agency and taught business and marketing courses as an adjunct college instructor.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram


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Spotlight & Excerpt: Sacrifices + Giveaway

by Kim Knight
Genre: Historical Romantic Suspense


Sacrifices is a riveting romantic story with historical and suspenseful elements set in the 1960s Jazz scene and the present day.

Jane O’Sullivan, a sultry twenty-seven-year-old singer, starts a torrid, forbidden affair during the 1960s jazz scene in London. Working hard, she makes a name for herself. She’s a woman with dreams, hopes, and a burning desire to leave Europe behind and travel to New Orleans with her lover, Louis.

Louis Simpson, a charming twenty-nine-year-old musician from Jackson, Mississippi, is on tour with his band in London. Back home, the height of the civil rights movement plays out in the USA. Driven by ambition, a forbidden love, and a desire to turn his life around, he pushes forward, living his dream.

Once their paths cross, a twist of fate crushes Jane’s world, forcing her to make a life-changing decision that impacts both her and Louis. This historical love story spans across the Atlantic and roams through Europe with love, loss, and broken promises.

Twenty-five years later, when Jane and Louis’ paths cross on a Greek island, will the helping hand of fate bring them together, or rip them apart, once more?

**Only .99 cents!!**


Oxford Street, Central London, 1960
Lifting the hem of her elegant black dress, Jane steps down from the stage.
The crowd cheer, clap, and beg for more sultry tunes.
Wow. I need a break, she muses to herself. My voice won’t last the week at this rate.
She just gave them all she had, singing a heartfelt version of Smokey Robinson’s Who’s Loving You?
Moving confidently through the crowd, heads turn in her direction, and smiles come her way. Through the smoke-filled room she heads to the bar, then takes a seat.
“You did great up there, Jane.” Jenelle pats the seat next to her. “You sounded amazin’.”
“Thanks, that means so much coming from you.”
Jenelle playfully laughs, then places an arm around Jane’s shoulders. “I mean it, don’t sell ya self short. You should seriously think ‘bout comin’ back with us to New Orleans. We could do with a blued, soulful sister on board.”
A bartender slides a dry martini between Jane and Jenelle.
Wow, this treatment, she chuckles to herself. I could get used to it.
Jane takes a sip from the glass. Pondering Jenelle’s proposal, she extracts a thin smoke, then places it in the holder.
Jenelle fires a match. “Need a light?”
“Thanks.” Drawing the smoke deep into her lungs, Jane leans back, then looks around.
The jazz room is dimly lit with soft lighting. Dark oak tables, with red fabric-lined chairs and sofas face the stage, and a combination of chairs, stools, and benches line the walls around the room.
Whisky and cigars fill the air.
The bar Jane is sitting at, has a high, glossy polish, thanks to Jenelle’s watchful eye. She wipes every drip of liquor and flick of ash customers drop.
On the stage, a black piano, a microphone stand, and a set of drums rest, ready for each act.
Maurice’s Place feels like home now, after seven years.
At sixteen, she had left school with good qualifications, then bummed around for four years between Dublin, Ireland, and London deciding what to do with her life.
At twenty, she scored her first on-stage role at Maurice’s Place, working behind the bar three nights a week and singing the other two. Now twenty-seven years old, the atmosphere of Maurice’s Place, and the variety of customers have kept her here. The chilled out, low-key bar attracts the clientele she enjoys performing for.
Jane inhales her smoke, then glances around. The jazz scene in London is picking up, but New Orleans would be like a dream come true.
The lights in the room lower, and the spotlight moves to the stage, hushing the crowd. Men and women relax in the comfy sofas and chairs around the tables. All eyes move to the centre of the room.
Three men set themselves on the stage: a lead singer, a saxophone player, and a piano player. The smooth vocals of the male lead, floats through the air.
Wow. Who is that?
She studies the saxophone player. His skilful fingers move over his instrument.
“So, what do-ya say Jane?”
The corner of Jenelle’s lips turn up slowly at Jane, who remains under the spell of the musicians on stage.
Jane’s eyes stay trained on the saxophone player. Her smoke has long reached the end, yet it is posed between her fingers.
Laughing to herself, Jenelle waves a hand in front of Jane, as if to snap her out of a daze.
“Earth to Jane. Earth to Jane. Anyone home?”
“Gosh, I’m sorry. I didn’t catch what you said?”
“Look at you. All caught up in the music, or is it Mr. Sax player?”
Jane moves her gaze away from the stage and joins in the girly laughter with her friend.
Dropping her burned out smoke in the ashtray, she reaches for another one, then turns to Jenelle “Wow, he is handsome, don’t you think?”
“More than handsome. He sure can play, too.”
“Hmm, I’ve never seen this band before, have you?”
“Not here, no. But they’ve played over at Ronnie’s a few times. I was over there just last week. They brought the house down.”
Jane meets Jenelle’s eye and raises a thin-pencilled eyebrow in her direction. “Really, you were there? And you never told me? I imagine they sounded great, though.”
“You never answered my question, what about New Orleans? I’m serious, Jane.”
“Yeah, of course?”
“You think I could make it over there? Would I be welcome in your community?”
Throwing both her hands up, Jenelle shakes her head. “Don’t worry ‘bout skin colour, it’s not ‘bout that, it’s ‘bout the music, the voice, the stage presence. All of which ya have honey. Don’t let the racial segregation shit get to ya.”
Jane frowns, and Jenelle’s delicate features mould into frustration.
Biting her lip, she admires her girlfriend’s milk chocolate skin. The woman’s jet-black hair, tied up in a red scarf with matching lipstick and red nails, accents her knockout looks.
“Hmm. I guess so. You’re right, Jenelle.”
“I am. Plus, Dr. Martin Luther King, he’s doing all he can to help everyone move forward.”
“Yeah, I guess so. Okay, let me give it some thought.” Jane smiles, and her friend returns the gesture.
“You do that.” Jenelle raises her martini. “I’d love ya to come over.” She clings her glass against Jane’s as if to affirm a secret pact and vow of friendship.
Jane’s attention drifts to the three men on stage, then lingers on the saxophonist playing an impromptu solo.
An hour later at the bar, alone and reflecting on her and Jenelle’s plans to take over New Orleans together, Jane sips her drink slowly. She reminisces over the vivid dream of how the two of them would make a legacy together, as jazz and soul singers. In theory, every record label in the United States would offer sweet recording deals.
On a high over all the excitement, Jenelle took off with her date to Soho for a movie and a slice of pizza.
Staring into her martini glass, absent-minded, Jane detaches from the smokey atmosphere of Maurice’s Place.
I can sing, that’s about it, she muses, that’s all I know. Secretary, factory worker, seamstress . . . arrgh. These jobs are not for me.
The lights dim slightly, ready for the next act to take the stage.
Looking across the room, Jane locks eyes with the handsome stranger playing the saxophone.
He smiles, and with the nod of his head, he tips his hat in her direction.
She shyly returns the gesture. A slight blush moves through her. Lowering her lashes, she empties the glass.
Oh, wow. That man.
The room stands still. It’s as if everything flows in slow motion. Even long after the song ends, the melody, burned to memory, continues to sweep her way.
Raising her gaze in the band’s direction, her eyes widen.
Where is he? She scans the room and finds who she’s looking for.
Confidently, he strolls over to her with a smooth, easy glide to his gait.
She drinks him all in. He’s easy on the eyes.
His pristine white shirt, black slim tie, milk chocolate skin, and beard, highlight his groomed-to-perfection look. He gives her another warm smile, then leans on the bar by her side.
“Evenin’ Miss.” Looking down at her sitting on a bar stool, he fixes Jane with a seductive gaze.
“Good evening. You were great up there.”
“Thank ya, ma’am. Can I get ya another drink?”
“Sure, I’ll take a martini, thanks. I never got your name?”
Holding out a hand to Jane, she puts her small palm in his.
“Louis.” He places a kiss on the back of her knuckles. “Louis Simpson.”
“Nice to meet you. I’m Jane O’Sullivan.”
“You weren’t too bad up there on stage ya’self. Ya really put a lot of heart into that last song.”
“Thanks, I feel so at home on stage.”
“Yeah, it shows.”
“So, where are ya from? Not that I know a lot-a places in London. I just arrived a week ago.”
“I’m from Shoreditch.”
“Oh, yeah, the ‘East-end’, right? That’s what you guys call it?”
“Sure is.”
“I’ve not been over that way yet. I’m stayin’ aroun’ here just off Tottenham Court Road.”
“Oh, nice, not a bad part of London at all, right in the centre.”
“I heard a lot about the East-end though, some characters over there.”
Jane pulls out another slim smoke and slides it into her long black holder.
“Allow me.” Louis offers her a light, then takes out a smoke for himself from his pocket.
“Oh, you mean the Kray twins. They’re crazy, all right. Just stay out of their way, that’s all.”
She laughs, fully aware of the reputation Ronnie and Reggie Kray have around London.
Two of the most formidable men in the East-end. The twins, loved by few but feared by many, create their fair share of trouble.
The bartender slides a martini glass, with a tumbler of whisky in front of her and Louis.
He pulls out a note from his wallet to pay, and Jane scrutinises him. His style, accent, smoothness, and confident body language speak to her in a way other men fail to achieve.
“So, where are you from Louis? I know you’re American, but what state?”
“Jackson, Mississippi.”
“Wow, a true southerner.”
“That’s right, ma’am.”
“So, how long have you been in the band?”
Louis glances over at his mates, Clive and Ray, at the other end of the bar where he left them, smoking and playing dominos.
“Ah, the boys, we’ve been together a lil’ while now. ‘Bout five years or so. We go way back. Grew up in Jackson, they’re my buddies.”
“Well, you guys are great together.”
“Why, thank you, ma’am. So, this place is your gig? Ya sing here every week?”
“Sure do, two nights on stage and three serving cocktails.”
Louis nods his head. “Nice place, welcoming. Over here, me an’ the boys ain’t outsiders so much, if ya know what I mean?”
“Why’s that?”
“Back in Jackson, ya don’t see so much people mixin’ together. The segregation is still there an’ strong.”
“Gosh, it’s terrible. London’s not perfect, but slowly things are changing with all the new people arriving from all over. Personally, I think it’s wonderful.”
“Let’s toast to that, Miss.”
Jane smiles warmly, then raises her glass to Louis.
“Talkin’ ‘bout mixing, do ya wanna dance?”
Jane beams back at Louis. “Yeah, I’d love to.”
He guides her from the bar, over to the dance floor.
The sensation of eyes crawling over her—some in shock, some in admiration—makes a warmth spread across her cheeks and neck.
With his hand on the small of Jane’s back, he glides her around the open space.
“Thank you, Louis.”
“What for? I’ve not done anythin’ to thank me for, yet.”
Jane looks into Louis’ handsome face. A wide grin stretches across his face from ear to ear.
His gentleman-like manners, southern accent, and handsome face force the corners of her lips to curl.
“You have. Dancing is just what I needed to have a little fun and relax a bit. I love singing on stage, but it can overwhelm a person.”
“Yeah, I understand that, ma’am. I know the feelin’. You go on an’ relax now, don’t worry ‘bout the stage, you’re with me.”
He pulls Jane in closer and sways to the music.
All these people, all the stares. Mmm, I just met him, she thinks to herself. Maybe this is wrong but . . .
Something shifts internally for Jane, dousing the negative words floating in her head.
Why shouldn’t I be happy? The thought makes her smile. And why should I care what others think?
Right now, his company equates to happiness. And she has every intention of getting to know this handsome southerner better.


Kim was born in 1983 and from London in the UK. She’s a mother to a beautiful little boy, and a proud award-winning author (awarded Best Romance 2017 for A Stranger in France), and #1 Best-Selling Author (365 Days of Writing Prompts for Romance Writers). She’s also a contribution writer at Aspiring Authors Magazine LLC. Kim started her journey as a traditionally published author and later dived into self-publishing also.

As a reader she’s head over heels in love with romance, historical fiction, crime fiction, African- American, suspense and thriller genre books. As a writer, Kim enjoys creating stories with a diverse and multi-cultural line up, within the romance, romantic suspense and general thriller and crime genres. When she’s not reading, or writing stories of her own her other passions include practising her French, astrology, fashion, make-up artistry, drawing, spending time at her sewing machine dressmaking, watching make -up and beauty tutorials on YouTube, letter writing and being a mum.

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