Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Spotlight: The Avocadonine and Spring Stone by Patrick Barnes


Inside the Book:





Title: The Avocadonine and Spring Stone
Author: Patrick Barnes
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: January 26, 2015
Pages: 334
Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Book Description:

Praised by many as one of the best YA fiction books you’ll ever read.
Rey Naresh, a likeable kid worth rooting for, is going into the ninth grade at Pemota High.  He’s not sure what to expect being fresh off a visit with a gypsy who may or may not have been psychic, but he’s hoping in ninth grade he’ll get to meet his crush, the pretty green eyed, Christy Lane.  He’s wanted her to notice him since sixth grade and keeps a letter to her in his backpack.  The school bully, Huxley Core, and his friends, who call themselves Nadine’s Puppies, threaten to publish something about Rey in their libelous newsletter.  As Rey looks up at the stars one night he realizes he will have to confront Huxley and be man enough to make Christy fall for him.
One day, on the bus, fellow ninth grader, Ryan O’toole, says to Rey that there’s something wrong with something the students are drinking and that electronics are making a humming sound when he’s near them.  It sounds to Rey like looney toons, but are other students having a similar problem?  Rey and Christy unite and embark on a quest that seems to have to do with mind control by an evil administration and provides a quandary for philosophical thought.  A mystery seems to have taken hold of Pemota High, one that may stretch back generations to a malicious woman and a story of her relationship with a student named Spring Stone.


Book Excerpt:

Christy didn’t feel like changing the channel, largely because she was exhausted from the afternoon’s events.  Her purple phone rang, two short rings and then a long one, and she picked it up.  When she heard Annette’s voice she smiled.
“Hey Christy.  You sure get around,” Annette said with mock disapproval.  This always made Christy laugh.
“Annette, who told you?”  She said.
“Freddie Prinze Junior and Orlando Bloom.”
“They’re always talking about me.  It’s so not cool.”
Annette laughed. “Speaking of sluts, is the bitch back yet?”  She imitated a movie advertiser’s voice.  “This fall, from Leander, ‘the bitch is back.’”
“No, she’ll be home at four-thirty.”  Christy laboriously got up and put her feet on the floor letting out an expression of exasperation.
“I just got back from volleyball practice.  We kicked major butt.  Did you do your math homework yet?”  Annette had transferred out of standard math because she thought it was too easy.  Ms. Aster, however, was not one to be a pushover, and Annette had to call Christy nearly every night for help with math homework because she had missed so much material from the beginning of the school year.
“No.  I haven’t been home.”
“Where have you been?” Annette asked.
Christy blew her bangs off her forehead.  “Running from Huxley.”
“Get out.”
“You sure you want to hear this?”
“Yes, darlin’.  Spare no detail.”
Christy told her all about the trials of the afternoon.  She told her how Rey had offered to walk with her, about confronting Huxley, Der, and Joe, and running through the woods.  She even told her about the deserted home, the turret, and the basement like door.  Annette interjected every once in awhile with a question or a quiet, “Oh my God.”  Christy finished by explaining that she was able to walk home in peace, that they weren’t waiting for her.
“Christy do you think they might really hurt you?”
“No.  They just wanted to scare me.  I hope.”  Then after a long silence on the line: “I have no idea.”
“Saying that to Huxley must have been such a rush.”
Christy looked at an 8-ball on her desk, as a meaningless message rose to the surface.  As she had walked down Daphne St., she had put her feelings about the afternoon’s events into words.  Christy and Annette had been friends for almost two years.  They met in seventh grade swim class when Annette had told Christy she really needed to cut her toe-nails and this had started a discussion filled with laughter.  To this day, Christy rarely went a few days without checking to see they hadn’t grown too long.
Christy sighed.  There was a silence on the line.  “All the time, no matter where I am, I feel this feeling.  Like a weight.  Like a storm cloud.  That was the first time I didn’t feel it.  Running from Huxley.”
“What do you think causes it?”
“Brianna.  And being second.”
“Christy, you can’t spend your whole life competing with your sister.  Who cares what Brianna thinks?  And especially, who cares what Huxley thinks.  The only reason Huxley said all that stuff is because he thinks your sis is hot.”
“It really hurt my feelings.”
“Well, hopefully you really hurt his.”  Annette was suddenly struck by a notion.  “Christy, maybe you should go out with him.”
Christy put the eight ball down and stood up.  “With who?”
“With Rey Naresh you little bimbo.  Who else?”
Rey was all right looking she supposed, but Christy had never had a boyfriend before, and would never have expected to start a relationship running from Huxley and friends.  “I don’t know.”
“You so should.  Do you know Mike Elsetta kissed Gabrielle Reese?”
“Yeah.  You told me.”  Christy hit the power button on the remote and turned off Skywarriors.
“Have you met Mike Elsetta’s foreign exchange student?”
The ninth grade French class was doing a foreign exchange program and the Americans had spent the summer with their student in France. “No.”
“Her name is Blanche Dupont and she thinks she’s the prettiest girl ever.  Last Friday, Mike wanted me to hang out with him and Blanche at the reservoir in the middle of the night.  And...”
“What’s at the reservoir in the middle of the night?”
“The towns water supply.  And drinking Bud Light.”
“Oh.”  Why hadn’t Annette invited her?  Maybe Annette thought she’d never go for it.
“Blanche was there and all she did the entire time was talk about her face, all the flaws on it, which there are none of course.  And every time Mike said something about her looks she would blush.  That’s the last time I’m hanging out with Blanche Dupont.”
“All the guys think she’s hot.”
“Yeah, well, guys will think any French foreign exchange student is hot.”
“Huxley likes her.”  Christy only realized that now because she had noticed him talking to a pretty girl she hadn’t seen before in the hallway.  That must have been Blanche.
“Huxley can blow horses for all I care.  Today he pinched Viola Speck’s butt and offered to sell her to Jason Masago for three dollars.”
“That’s so messed up.”
“Viola is such a sweet girl Christy.  I mean she can’t help that she’s fat.  Besides, she played volleyball like all the time to try to lose the weight.  She stopped playing volleyball this year though and no one knows why.  She was the best setter and everyone loved her.  There’s some rumor going around about her and Mike said that it’s too horrible to repeat.  I’ve got to know what it is.”
Christy fell down on her bed; a short silence.  “I don’t know Annette.  It is horrible.”
Annette was chewing on a Nutri-grain bar now and Christy could hear her munching as she said, “Tell me.”
Christy felt her eyes tearing up.  She wiped them with her hands.  “Her father beats her.”
“Oh no.  Who did you hear that from?”
Christy heard noises downstairs.  She listened for a moment and heard Brianna coddling Ruffenstein.  Christy rolled her eyes when she heard Brianna say to the dog, “Hey Ruffenstein.  My warrior prince.”
“Brianna’s home.”  She adjusted her weight on the bed.   “I heard it from Blair Carlyle in science class.  I think everyone in the ninth grade is talking about it.”
“Christy we have to do something.”
“Have you ever met her father?”
“Yeah.  Lots of times.  His name’s Jack.  He’s very macho.  But I mean so is Dwayne Johnson.  Yet, I did see him at The Pub every time we went this summer.”  Annette sounded disappointed in herself, like she should have stopped the abuse before it started.
“Why did you go to The Pub?”
“Lois, my brother’s girlfriend, would drive us.  We would go there and order cheese fries.  When we had the munchies.”  Annette sounded a little too happy to just be talking about cheese fries.
“You were smoking?”
“Only a couple times.”
Christy knew she would never smoke marijuana even if they legalized it.  She felt a distance growing between her and Annette.  Annette was acting loose-tongued.  Perhaps Annette was trying to measure up to Christy’s interesting story about Huxley with stories of her own.
 “Christy, come downstairs,” Radelle called. “And say hello to your sister for God’s sake.”
“Jeez,” Christy said.
“Christy, don’t worry,” Annette said.  “I’m not going to smoke at all during the school year.  It was just a couple times.  Because Lois does it.”
“No.  That wasn’t what I was saying jeez to.  My sisters downstairs.  I have to go.”
“All right.  Call me later.  I need your help on section 3.2.  And we’ll talk about Viola.”
“Okay.  Bye Annette.”
She hung up the phone.  The patterns on the ceiling seemed to be calling her attention like clouds in the sky that took certain fortuitous shapes.  She stared for a short while before going to face her family.



For More Information:
The Avocadonine and Spring Stone is available at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Goodreads

Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads


Meet the Author




Patrick Barnes lives in Charleston, South Carolina.  The Avocadonine and Spring Stone is his second book.  It has been awarded a five star review from Readers Favorite, and a four and a half star average among critics on Amazon.com.  He has a Bachelors Degree in Film and Writing from the University of Massachusetts and a Masters in Library Science from the University of South Carolina.  He has won first place in Arts and Entertainment Writing at the Yankee Penn Journalism Conference, and has worked as a Librarian at the Folly Beach Public Library.  When he’s not writing, he likes to walk on the beach with his dog, and watch movies.

For More Information:

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Friday, March 11, 2016

Character Interview with Chauncey Miller from Risen by author Thomas Barr Jr

We’re thrilled to be talking to Chauncey Miller AKA El Sufi from Thomas Barr Jr’s, Risen: The accession and devolution of Yahweh Ben Yahweh: Miami’s Urban Chronicles Volume I . It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Pimp That Character! 


Thank you for your interview, Chauncey. Can you tell us your story? 

Well thank you for this opportunity to reach out to the public. My story is the search for faith and in that search I encounter temptations. In any career or endeavor power can be enticing. In my walk bad decisions ultimately cause me my freedom. 


Can you tell us about one of your most distinguishable features? 

I am particular about the way I dress. I wear all white from my turban down to my flowing silk robes.  

What would I love the most about you? 

The thing you would love about me is my communication skills. I’m a great communicator with vast knowledge on various subjects. 


What would I hate the most about you? 

Nothing at all, I’m a very interesting character. 


What is your most treasured possession? 

My most treasured item is my gold staff. I use it when I’m on long walks with new initiates to the faith. 


What is your greatest fear? 

My greatest fear is going to prison. 


What is the trait you most not like about yourself? 

I must say I like everything about me. 


Do you think the author portrayed you accurately? 

I think the author did the best that he could. I personally would have presented a more engaging tale. I’m opening up your cabinet. 


What foods do I see? 

You would see lentil beans, rice and tofu. 


What’s your idea of a perfect meal? 

My perfect meal would be pig’s feet, tomatoes & Okra over rice.





Inside the Book:




Title: Risen
Author: Thomas Barr Jr.
Publisher: Printhouse Books
Publication Date: January 15, 2016
Pages: 188
ISBN: 978-0997001624
Genre: Urban Fiction


Book Description:

The growth of "Mega churches" has risen considerably in the 21st century as compared to the past. Miami Urban Chronicles Volume I: Risen, seeks to set forth a fictional biopic of the rise of spiritual leader Yahweh Ben Yahweh of the Liberty City based movement the Nation of Yahweh, "Ben Yahweh's."

Chauncey Miller, the main character in the story is determined to be a success. He uses his natural skills of cultivating relationships and influence to draw his followers. Despite his meager rural southern background he dreams big and takes risks head-on in realization of his goals. It is significant in modern 21st century times that individuals take control of their life's path. The urban youth particularly need to realize by making deliberate decisions concerning their life they can live their dreams.

Chauncey meets a mentor whom cultivates his ideology and sharpens his mediation skills in working with people. He harnesses his skills by working with the youth ministry of a local church. As he attends college he learns the basics of economics and administration in his courses. He understands education is just one tool that can help him along his path. Individuals must utilize opportunities as they present themselves along life's path. The main character seizes upon this truth and follows it down the rabbit hole in a manner of speaking.

In most communities the Church is a place of worship, fellowship, family, communal meetings and refuge. Individuals seek comfort in its walls and the main character leverages this in amassing followers. Modern successful pastors have PhD's and fancy seminary school training. The main character can be viewed as the progenitor to the modern "Mega church" system. He is of the conviction that god must call a person to preach which is a spiritual mission.

The main character takes this mission on as any other profession and is determined to be a success as a spiritual leader, messenger of god, as well as a successful business entrepreneur. The main character goes from city to city while growing his followership and refining his professional talents. In addition his studies have led to him evolving his religious convictions.

The story enthralls with the turmoil of power, beliefs, sex, control, and all the human pitfalls that too often affect successful professionals. In desiring success and wealth upon any career path it is important to maintain composure. Chauncey, although a spiritual leader, is in realization of this truth.
In paralleling the lifestyles of the larger community many individuals become disillusioned and pigeonhole themselves. Only in selflessness can individuals walk a blemish-less path. Particularly urban youth must learn the lesson in traversing modern life goal paths in reaching their dreams.

This chronicle wraps with Chauncey answering to the communal guidelines of this prescribed society. All must answer to the allegations of their fellow community members and none is an exception to this rule. In acquisition of success and goal setting humility can be a lifesaver.


Book Excerpt:

Chauncey Miller was a Carolina native that grew up in the south and knew the hard work of the tobacco fields.  Raised in a Christian household he was fascinated with the bible and studied religion with a fervor.  Little did his contemporaries know that he would rise to the level of a spiritual leader commanding a multi-million dollar enterprise.  They surely wouldn’t realize that he was a megalomaniac capable of manipulating a band of killers.
It’s a sunny afternoon in 1976 and Chauncey was on the corner of 125th Peachtree Street in Atlanta, Georgia.  He had a stack of paper leaflets, as he is approached by pedestrians he offered a flyer to a man dressed in a black suit.  The man took the flyer and read it, mouthed the words soundlessly.        
“Do you believe in god,” asked the man in black.
“Surely I do,” responded Chauncey sternly. 
The man continued to look at the flyer; he wore iron rimmed glasses and had shiny black shoes. 
“I’m a history professor at the local community college and would like to have you join one of my focus group,” he asked. 
The man stood and looked Chauncey in the face awaiting an answer to his inquiry.  Chauncey had not expected such an immediate attention to himself and paused in response noting the man’s patient nature.
“I’m not sure what focus groups do but if you give me the address I’ll check it out,” said Chauncey.
The man pulled a business card from his blazer and handed it to Chauncey as pedestrians ushered pass them on the street.  No one seemed to notice the exchange between the two men and was oblivious of them obstructing the walk way as they chatted. 
“Don’t worry you’ll find out when you show,” the man replied. 
He placed the flyer Chauncey had been passing to people on the street in his coat and continued on his way.  Chauncey looked down at the flyers he had been passing out for the street team company. He had been working for the company weekends and at afterhours bar locations.  Exhausted he read it. It said, let me tell you why the white man is the devil.  Come hear CL Cayman speak truth to power at White Hall located on Jackie Robinson Avenue.   
Chauncey never took notice of the leaflets he passed along to pedestrians and this one had a very inquisitive message.  He wondered about the thoughts of the gentleman in which he had just met, had the message affected him so profoundly?  He took the business card from his pocket looked at the address and contemplated the location.  He had seen the address before on something he read at home and could not recall it do to his momentary failing memory.    
The stack of leaflets sat on the sidewalk near a lamp post.  A gust of wind arose that blew some of the top flyers into the street.  The sudden barrage of papers broke his thoughts and he scrambled to grab them as people continued to bustle past.
“Get out the street,” yelled a disgruntled driver.
            He blew his horn as he drove past and Chauncey continued to pick up the flyers ignoring the outburst.  Chauncey had hardened his feelings to ridicule and he believed with his ability to project an icy persona could ward off potential personal threats.  He had developed this ability while in grade school and used it throughout his young adult life as he entered his college years.  As a youth he had dealt with bullies and experienced being singled out for jokes among friends in the neighborhood.
            He decided he would attend the focus group the following day after his last class on campus and find out more about the strange gentleman that intrigued him on their meet.
***
Claude Donors was a tall wiry light skinned complexioned man with green eyes in his sixties and did social research on religions in historical contexts.  He was an eccentric man with a direct nature.  Chauncey’s curiosity of the gentleman had led him to the campus upon the issued invitation.  Chauncey entered his office at the university and was immediately stopped at the door by Donor’s secretary. 
“I’m sorry sir do you have an appointment?”  She inquired. 
The young woman was very pretty and Chauncey noticed that she had a curvy figure.  He could see that she was highly educated by the way she addressed him.  She was smartly dressed in a business suit.  She smelled of light perfume and mints.  Her hair was penned up into a bun and she sat positioned at her office desk.  He quickly handed over the business card given him and she looked at the back of the card for a moment.
“Have a seat Dr. Donors will be with you in a minute,” said the young lady. 
Chauncey took back the card he had given the girl and looked on the back of it as she did, his curiosity peeked.  Let this man pass, it said written in a very legible hand written signature.  He had not noticed it the entire time he had possession of the card and was surprised at himself for not realizing that fact.                
    As he sat awaiting Dr. Donors he noticed the office was cozy and decorated with plaques along the light blue colored walls.  The carpet smelled as if it was freshly vacuumed and it being in the late evening not much pedestrian traffic came in or out.  He noticed the young lady pick up the phone a number of times and she talked for just a few minutes on each instance.  He assumed it was Donors and thought if he made the right decision in coming.  Just as the thought popped in his head Donors brushed by him.
“Let’s go young man, we’re late.” He said. 
Chauncey was out of his chair and behind Donors as he strode down the hallway taking giant steps to quickly reach his desired location. 
“My focus group is designed to record the assumptions, thoughts and impressions of religion on the average working class individual,” he said as they walked. 
“By the way what’s your name?” he asked turning to look at Chauncey. 
“Chauncey Miller,” Chauncey replied.
“Well Mr. Miller you should find this to be very interesting,” he said as they entered a room with about seven people sitting around a circular table.  Upon introduction by the four males and three females it was noted two were teachers, one was a factory worker, two were students, one was a paramedic and one was a shop keeper.  The questions posed to the group were designed to elicit discussion and all responses were recorded by the professor.
The first question posed was do you believe in god followed up with what do you think about religion.  All the participants believed in god but it was interesting to see their apparent ambiguity in the actual practice of religion.  As the professor guided the group’s discussion a light bulb went off in Chauncey’s head.  He had wondered throughout his life what his purpose was in this world.  He had attended college and taken on various odd jobs to support himself in the city.  He’d bounced around in search of a career interest to no avail.  He was articulate and well regarded for his ability to persuade others.  In observing the professor’s research he saw a need and an opportunity that could possibly be exploited.  He decided from that instance he wanted to know more about the professor and the purpose for his work. 
The session ended after about an hour of discussion and all the participants departed leaving Chauncey along with the professor in the room.  As the professor put the finishing touches on the session notes Chauncey broke the silence which permeated the room after the last departed guest.


For More Information:
Risen is available at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Goodreads
Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads


Meet the Author



Born in Lake City, South Carolina home of the 2nd African American astronaut, killed on the Challenger space mission, Dr. Ronald E. McNair.  I was the grandson of a share cropper whom taught me about hard work and education.  At age 17 I began college at Bethune-Cookman University and graduated Cum Laude with honors.  While in college I was inspired to write when I read the novel, Black Boy by Richard Wright.  I began writing short stories for campus publications and won a $500 dollar publication contest in a local campus circular.  I Entered the Air Force after college and spent two tours of duty in the gulf during the Persian Gulf War.  Upon leaving the Military I went back to school and completed graduate school at the University of Akron in Ohio earning a master of public administration.  I began a career in government as an Intern with the Ohio legislature and later became employed with the Florida Senate as a legislative assistant.   I currently work for the City of Miami as a civil servant in administration.
See website http://www.thomasbarrjr.com/ for more details.

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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Interview with Britt Sullivan of Jennifer Allis Provost's CHANGING TEAMS





We’re thrilled to be talking to Britt Sullivan from Jennifer Allis Provost’s, Changing Teams.  It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Pimp That Character!

Thank you for your interview, Britt.  How old are you and what do you do for a living?

Thanks for having me! I’m twenty two, and while I make most of my money modeling I’m really an artist. My dream is to draw comics.

Can you tell us about one of your most distinguishable
features?

My most distinguishable feature is my hair. It’s wavy, and the color is medium brown. It’s pretty long, too—if I’m not careful I end up sitting on it!

What is your greatest fear?

That I’ll never make it as an artist, and have to move in with my mom and stepfather. I really don’t like that guy.

What is your idea of a perfect day?

My version of the perfect day is having a nice late brunch, and then heading over to Central Park to spend the afternoon sketching.

I’m opening up your cabinet.  What foods do I see?

Hm, on a good day I have oatmeal, granola bars, canned peaches and a few bananas. There’s also a bottle of Chardonnay gathering dust in the back; I don’t like white wine, so it’s going to be there until I re-gift it.

Who is your best friend?

My best friend is Astrid Janvier. She’s a much more successful model than I am. If it wasn’t for her connections I’d never get well-paying gigs.

Do you have children?

No! Not gonna lie, the fact that my mother had a seven year old at my age is absolutely terrifying.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An artist, which is something I’m still trying to be.

Do you like to cook?  If so, what is your favorite thing to cook?

I love cooking! My specialties are big, extravagant breakfasts featuring omelets and platters full of bacon.

If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do today?

Kiss Sam as many times as I could.

About the Author

Jennifer Allis Provost writes books about faeries, orcs and elves. Zombies too. She grew up in the wilds of Western Massachusetts and had read every book in the local library by age twelve. (It was a small library). An early love of mythology and folklore led to her epic fantasy series, The Chronicles of Parthalan, and her day job as a cubicle monkey helped shape her urban fantasy, Copper Girl. Changing Teams, the first in a new contemporary series, was released November 10, 2015 from Limitless Publishing. The second book, Changing Scenes, made its debut onJanuary 5, 2015.
For More Information
About the Book:


Britt Sullivan, part time model and full time aspiring artist, is sick of living alone in the city… 

Taking lame jobs just to make ends meet is leading Britt nowhere, and she knows something has to change. She needs some excitement, and when she meets blue-eyed Midwesterner Sam MacKellar at
a photo shoot, she realizes he’s perfect for her in every way—well, except for the fact that he’s gay. 

A devastating childhood trauma turned Sam’s whole life into a lie… 

Sam came to New York City to escape an existence that had become unbearable, and when his job as a photographer’s assistant leads him to Britt, he realizes he’s finally met someone who sees him as he really is. But plagued by nightmares and trapped by his own deception, he doesn’t know how she can truly be part of his life. 

Friendship leads to a passionate encounter and hidden dangers… 

Britt comforts Sam though his nightmares, and they begin to explore their mutual attraction, but the tables are turned when Britt faces unwelcome attention from a manipulative art instructor and Sam must come to her defense. 

Sam is terrified to reveal the source of his nightmares, sure the truth would shatter his complicated relationship with Britt, but when she suffers an unspeakable trauma of her own, only Sam can help her pick up the pieces. 

When Britt learns the magnitude of Sam’s lies, will his reasons and the depth of their feelings be enough to allow her to forgive him? Does she have a future with Sam, or does his deception also include the reality of changing teams?

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