Spotlight & Excerpt: American Bourbon + Giveaway

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American Bourbon
by Jennifer Jenkins
Genre: Fiction, Drama, Suspense

 

Jennifer Jenkins’s AMERICAN BOURBON is a compelling and potent family saga filled with evocative characters as strong and flinty as the Appalachia hills from whence they come, set against a smooth plot that goes down with an easy, supple, clean finish.” –Tony Ray Morris, author of DEEP RIVER BLUES

Peopled with a cast of characters and a setting out of an early Cormac McCarthy novel, American Bourbon . . . starts out with a burn, working its way through you, then settling into your bones, where memories of the journey linger.” – Jeff Talarigo, Author of THE PEARL DIVER

A day of reckoning, as thick as the fog in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, looms over the McKinsey clan in this spirited tale of fury, whiskey and grief. And while Jenkins’ rendering of Caleb, the abusive and hard-driving patriarch who parlays an illegal moonshining operation into a multi-million dollar company, is harsh, there is grace to be found among his three grown children as they find their way back to one another. Illuminating, nuanced and heartfelt.” – Laurie Loewenstein, Author of DEATH OF A RAINMAKER

When an illegal moonshine still explodes deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the McKinsey family’s world-famous (and legal) whiskey, Bourbon Sweet Tea, is threatened. Government agents swarm the area, eager to implicate Sweet Tea founder Caleb McKinsey, who was a notorious bootlegger before going legit. Finding out he is dying, McKinsey’s ready to hand on his legacy. But none of his children are on speaking terms. His daughter Brigit is determined to remake the company against her father’s will, while his sons want nothing to do with their abusive father. When Caleb dangles a lucrative inheritance if all his children return, Brigit and her older brother Mack grudgingly call a truce to find missing brother Kieran. They journey to New York City, where Kieran fled after his girlfriend disappeared. As crimes from Caleb’s past promise to destroy Bourbon Sweet Tea, the only way to save their company is for Brigit to convince her brothers to embrace the family legends, and live as outlaws once again.

americanbourbon - excerpt
Brigit McKinsey charged into her last illegal hangover with eyes wide open. She burst out from under a mess of tangled blankets, dirty clothes, an empty cellophane sleeve of cracker crumbs, and a scrawny gray cat that did not belong to her. At a little after noon, she banged at the insistent alarm clock that had been ringing and knocked it off the stand, when it finally shut up. She glanced at an indecipherable phone number scribbled on her left hand. Swinging her legs slowly to the floor, she sat up to assess the condition of her head. Not clear, but not terrible either. Time to shake off the cocktail cobwebs of the night before.
Stumbling to the kitchen, she twisted up long, wavy masses of wild auburn hair and fastened them in a potato chip clip. A half-filled bottle of her family’s famous product, Bourbon Sweet Tea, perched precariously near the sink before she tucked it safely back into the cabinet. She searched the refrigerator for a Coke and grabbed two lonely Saltines off the counter. She prided herself on her ability to get up and go, no matter how much she’d drunk. That was why she was a Master of the Party, a title she relished. None of her friends in Touraine had come to the party innocent; drinking was a hazard of small-town living in western Virginia. Either the Baptist God was going to save you, or the Devil had already taken hold of your soul. Brigit didn’t think she needed her soul.
“Happy-almost-birthday!” Annamae Hamilton cried as she flung open her best friend’s front door, bringing in the bright August sunshine. Her cornsilk hair flowed around her tiny shoulders like a waterfall, the coveted treasure of all the Southern belles in her family. With Annamae barely five foot one, Brigit towered six inches over her. They were polar opposites in looks and temperament, with Brigit forgiving Annamae’s addled innocence and Annamae putting up with Brigit’s sharp cynicism.
Brigit, with a mouthful of crackers, raised a hand to wave.
“I think I know where your birthday party’s going to be,” Annamae said. 
 “Where?” Brigit mumbled.
“You’re not going to believe this, but I saw your brother making plans.”
“Mack?” Brigit said, spraying crumbs down the front of her shirt.
“He was going into the library with a very intense look on his face.”
“Wait, what?”
“Mack, your sexy brother,” Annamae purred.
“Ew, shut up, you pig.”
“So I think the party’s at the library.”
“Maybe he was just getting a book.”
“Brigit …”
“What? He knows how to read.”
Brigit absently placed the crackers on the counter. She snagged a pair of blue jean shorts from a pile of discarded clothing on the floor and pulled them on. She grabbed a wadded-up T-shirt too before Annamae shook her head and snatched it away, handing her a cleaner shirt with fewer wrinkles and no stains.
“No, but seriously. Remember the bluegrass party last fall at the library? Remember how much fun it was, with the bar and band and everything? And they stayed open all night, because it was a private party,” Annamae said.
“But why? Why is Mack doing this?”
“He’s your brother.”
“Look, Annamae, I know it’s supposed to be a surprise and all, but you gotta come clean. Tell me what you know.” Making demands of Annamae wasn’t really fair. She was too honest and too convinced the world was a good place.
“Well, I don’t know anything. Yet. But Mack’s got a lot to make up for, in the party department.”
“Did you talk to him? What did he tell you?” Brigit was now digging through the clothing pile for a pair of shoes that matched.
“No one in your family talks to me until the very last minute.” Annamae said. It was true. Annamae couldn’t keep her mouth shut any better than a big dog at a barbeque.
“Well, it’s insane, even for you.”
“What if he is, though? What if he and your dad are doing it together? Wouldn’t that be a great twenty-first birthday present?”
 Brigit watched her friend’s face as she floated into the childhood fairy tale of one big happy McKinsey family.
“No. There’s no way my brother’s throwing me a party. Or my father, either. It’s been three years since the Graduation Disaster, Annamae. Mack and Caleb have learned to leave me alone.”
“Brigit,” Annamae said, “You have to forgive them sometime.”
“No, I don’t.”
“But …”
“I thought you had an interview at Fardowner’s Cafe today,” Brigit said.
“I forgot!” Annamae jumped up. “I gotta go. I’ll figure it all out and call you later.” She sprinted out the door, leaving it open.
“You won’t figure anything out, you never do,” Brigit yelled after her from the doorway. She and Annamae had been friends since they could sit up in a sandbox, but my God, she was blonde.
The acrid scent of smoke assaulted her nose, the slightly sweet warning of alcohol going up in flames. She hurried outside to see two thin plumes of black, dancing and twirling around each other as they rose from Bucks Elbow Mountain. It was not Bourbon Sweet Tea that was burning, she noted with relief. She’d know if that was going up. She was connected to the distillery in her heart. It was where she belonged. On her twenty-first birthday, she’d finally be old enough to vote on her stock. It was the day she’d been waiting for her whole life. She’d have her big twenty-first birthday bash, and then cut back on the drinking and get serious. She was no longer the little girl, the little sister, and they could no longer pretend she didn’t exist.
She was going to take over Bourbon Sweet Tea.

 

Jennifer Jenkins has written for Hippocampus Magazine, NonBinary Review, Up North Lit, Canopy Review, Parentheses Journal, and others. She earned two Glimmer Train Fiction Award honorable mentions and a nomination for a PEN America Short Story Award. She has also worked in the theater, with Manhattan Theatre Club, Sondheim’s Young Playwrights, and the PBS series Great Performances.

 

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Spotlight & Excerpt: The Truth About Unspeakable Things + Giveaway

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On Tour with Prism Book Tours

The Truth About Unspeakable Things
By Emily A. Myers
Women’s Fiction
Paperback & ebook, 284 Pages
April 2, 2021

“He did more than break your heart, didn’t he?”

Emma Marshall is haunted by memories of a horrific attack she can’t bury deep enough. Most of all, Emma is haunted by fear — fear that she will never be free of her abusive ex’s control, fear she will never be able to trust another man again.

No one knows the unspeakable truth of what happened between Emma and her ex-fiancé Beaux. It’s a secret Emma plans to carry to the grave, until Julian Cole, a music executive with a dark past of his own, moves in next door and opens Emma’s mind and heart to the possibility of love after a violent betrayal. As the reporter and music executive grow closer in the historic French Quarter of New Orleans, Emma realizes she must face her past in order to heal and move forward with Julian. But Emma soon learns Beaux will do anything to keep his sins a secret.

Emma must risk everything to protect her newfound happiness and Julian from Beaux’s threats. Putting her investigative skills to good use, Emma embarks on a dangerous journey to gather evidence and bring Beaux to justice. But the deeper Emma gets into Beaux’s wicked world, the more complicated things become. How far will Beaux go to keep his secrets? How far will Emma go to protect the ones she loves? Find out in this women’s empowerment thriller about life and love after abuse.

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Excerpt:

The salty New Orleans air fills my lungs as I stumble over uneven concrete walkways. Each time I return home, I believe something will be different—a new storefront, a new neighbor, a new aroma that doesn’t include the special ingredient of sewer. Instead, I find everything as I left it. History, culture, modern conveniences, and unshakable emotion meshed together in a not-so-perfect, colorful medley. On most days, I wouldn’t trade this city for the world, but tonight is different. Tonight is the night I have to see him. Tonight is the night I end my engagement.

My suitcase drags behind me as if it shares in my reluctance to return home. The sound of the French Quarter trumpet players lets me know I’m close and the conversation I’ve been avoiding for a month is all too near. I will hurt him. No, I will hurt his pride. To hurt him requires him to have loved me more than his own selfish desire for carnal pleasure.


About the Author

Emily A. Myers is a Women’s Fiction author based in Louisiana. Her debut novel, The Truth About Unspeakable Things, sets the tone for Emily’s future works as it follows a young woman’s journey through the dangerous pitfalls of adult relationships and the complexities of growing up. In addition to writing fiction, Emily also dedicates time to her blog, which helps other aspiring authors turn their passion into their profession, and her Facebook community for women in which she posts exclusive interviews with inspiring women from all areas of life. Learn more about Emily at emilyamyers.com Follow her on Facebook and Instagram @emilymyersauthor for real-time updates.


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Spotlight & Excerpt: The Romanov Legacy + Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Marilyn Baron will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

The Romanov Legacy
by Marilyn Baron
Genre: Suspense/Thriller Historical Romantic Fiction

Two women, centuries apart, and the secrets that bind them

Melody, a young single mother, discovers she’s descended from the last Tsar, Nicholas II. She becomes the best hope of a secret global society, Guardians of the Romanov Legacy, dedicated to restoring a Romanov to the throne of a New Russia. A diary and an heirloom necklace inherited from her murdered grandmother hold the key to her identity and to the location of the Tsar’s lost shipment of gold.

She must accept the sacrifices her birth demands and trust the machinations of the estranged father of her child. To refuse means turning her back on her heritage, her daughter’s legacy, and the long line of her family’s women who were keepers of the secret. Will her longing for true love have world-changing consequences?

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A tiny tear slipped down her cheek. But that was as far as she would display her emotions. She held her head up regally. After all, she was an Empress. She was determined to die with dignity. She wondered if Marie Antoinette had held her head high before it was unceremoniously severed and dropped into a basket.

“There won’t be a last-minute reprieve if that’s what you’re thinking,” warned Miss Cormier.

Would they actually go through with it? Would they really execute her in cold blood like they did the Tsar and his family? She was terrified they would. She could hear the sound of her heartbeat amplified. She was having a full-blown panic attack. She couldn’t breathe. She feared she would die of fright before they had the chance to cut her down in a hail of bullets.

Miss Cormier lifted her hand to give the command. Hatred flared in her eyes. What had she done to deserve the woman’s anger? Fallen in love? Then the guards raised their rifles in unison to open fire. She closed her eyes tightly so they couldn’t see the hope fade from her face. She couldn’t bear to confront her own mortality. She held her breath.

Then she heard the bullets ping. Where was she hit? How long would it take to die? She hoped it would be over soon. She sagged in her chair, mercifully blacking out.


About the Author:

Marilyn decided to become a writer when she read Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her first short story was The Gold Lace Dress. She wrote her first book, East West Island, in grade school. It featured all of the children in her third-grade class and her teacher read it to the students in installments during class every day. She wrote and directed her first play at age 13, starring her brother and sisters and some of the neighborhood kids. The show raised money for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Marilyn is a public relations consultant in Atlanta, a PAN member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and Georgia Romance Writers (GRW) and winner of the GRW 2009 Chapter Service Award. She is also a member of Atlanta Writers Club. Marilyn was past chair of the Roswell Reads steering committee and serves on the Atlanta Authors committee. She writes in a variety of genres from humorous women’s fiction, historical romantic thrillers, romantic suspense and paranormal/fantasy. She loves to travel and often sets books in places she’s visited.

She was born in Miami, Florida, and graduated from The University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism (Public Relations) and a Minor in English (Creative Writing). Go Gators! She lives in Roswell, Georgia, with her husband, and she spends a lot of time hovering over her two wonderful daughters.

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