Urban Comedy/Drama – Screw the Devil’s Daiquiri

Screw the Devil's DaiquiriScrew the Devil’s Daiquiri
By Rayme Michaels
Publisher: Melange Books
Published: November 2014
ISBN: 978-1612359311
Pages: 224
Genre: Urban Comedy, Drama

When womanizer, and possible schizophrenic, John Hazel, is suddenly offered a serious job promotion by the CEO of his company, David Wall, under the condition that John help him kill his wife, John finds himself between a rock and a hard place when Mr. Wall’s wife, Victoria Wall, asks John to do the same for her.

John, an office temp, photographer and university teaching assistant of philosophy, has more than enough on his post-traumatic, hyperactive mind, without something as absurd as this weighing down on him, not to mention that he is haunted—well, annoyed more than anything—by either the spirits or imaginary spirits of Giovanni Boccaccio, Francois Rabelais and a she-devil named Sabrina. Influences such as these do not help with John’s very prurient but fascinating mind, which his psychologist tries as best as she knows how to get to the bottom of.

His life-long existential crisis, having two hit men on his back, a bad-to-the-bone best friend named Alex, and a manic, sex-crazed, power-hungry, confrontational co-worker named Jackie, who happens to be Mr. Wall’s mistress, certainly do not help matters either. Life does not seem to want to let up on John. Will he make it through this very bizarre time of tribulation, or will he end up behind bars, stone-cold dead, or simply cracking under the weight of it all?

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About the Author:
Screw the Devil's Daiquiri AuthorAfter high school, Rayme Michaels studied Theater Arts Performance and Radio Broadcasting in college, and then, in his undergrad, majored in Philosophy with a minor in Psychology. He then went on to get a Master’s Degree in Comparative Philosophy while working as a teaching assistant. Screw the Devil’s Daiquiri is his first full-length novel, but it is his third book, his other two being novellas released in 2012. His first book was a quirky relationship/sex comedy entitled Incorrigibility. His second one is a dark, gory, romantic vampire thriller called Red Love, which won Honorable Mention right at the top of the list for General Fiction in the 2014 London Book Festival.

He became a bookworm at the age of eight and has been influenced by, and continues to enjoy, a wide variety of writers that range from the solemn to the satirical, the serious to the jovial, both in fiction and non-fiction, contemporary and old. This invariably comes out in his writing, since his literary interests are very broad.

As an existential thinker, he is fascinated by the human mind and the human predicament, yet, as a Rabelaisian human being, laughter and joy are the reasons he gets up in the morning. Well…that and sex, of course. Oh, and his first name is pronounced with two syllables, by the way. The “e” is not silent.

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Contemporary Fiction – A Tale of Two Hotels

A Tale of Two HotelsA Tale of Two Hotels
By Elizabeth Cooke
Publisher: AbbottPress
Published: March 2015
ISBN: 978-1458218766 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-1458218780 (hardcover)
Pages: 117
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Urban Fiction

An exciting finale to Elizabeth Cooke’s small hotel series about the Hotel Marcel in Paris is presented in this, the fourth book, “A Tale of Two Hotels.” Following “There’s a Small Hotel,” Secrets of a Small Hotel,” and “The Hotel Next Door,”

“A Tale of Two Hotels” involves a duel between two hostelries, one simple and diminutive, the other, large and grandiose, side by side on a Parisian avenue. Trouble is compounded when a sheikh’s beautiful daughter sheds her burka.  All manner of mischief ensues. Other passions, adultery, a wedding, even attempted arson,  take place in the City of Light in the month of May, much to the fascination of the narrator, an American widow in her 60s.

Other Books in the Small Hotel Series by Elizabeth Cooke:

A Tale of Two Hotels5The Small Hotel series books shown in the window of Hotel Eber-Mars in Paris, the hotel the books are named after.

A Tale of Two Hotels2There’s a Small Hotel
Publisher: Abbott Press
Published: July 2014
ISBN: 978-1458216809 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-1458216823 (hardcover)

There’s a Small Hotel is a novel set in the Hotel Marcel in Paris near the Eiffel Tower. The narrator, an attractive American woman in her 60s, can see over the treetops from her balcony, a row of apartments, that when lighted from within at night, reveal vignettes of French domesticity, involving love affairs, violent dinner parties, fisticuffs, and the police. She becomes involved with the personalities within the hotel and across the street, and thrills to an unusual and exciting Paris sojourn.

A Tale of Two Hotels3Secrets of a Small Hotel
Publisher: Abbott Press
Published: November 2014
ISBN: 978-1458218223 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-1458218247 (hardcover)

Secrets of a Small Hotel is the on-going story of adventures taking place in the Hotel Marcel in Paris near the Eiffel Tower, a sequel to the original There’s a Small Hotel, published in 2014.

The narrator, an attractive American widow in her 60s, returns to find much has changed, not only in the lives of apartment residents across the street, but within the Hotel Marcel itself. She encounters a deceptive English woman involved in art fraud; a young African-American in search of his father; even a violent murder, partially seen by the narrator from her balcony. She also finds an unexpected and exciting romantic liaison, and witnesses the opening of a grand, new hotel next door, named The Majestic.

Secrets of a Small Hotel takes place in the month of May in Paris. The narrator determines to come back again to the Hotel Marcel at Christmas, her adventures to be continued in a new book titled, The Hotel Next Door.

A Tale of Two Hotels4The Hotel Next Door
Publisher: Abbott Press
Published: January 2015
ISBN: 978-1458218506 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-1458218513 (hardcover)

Compelling intrigue and characters join Elizabeth, a New York City widow in her 60s, in “”There’s a Small Hotel,”” and its sequel, “”Secrets of a Small Hotel.”” She returns to the small Hotel Marcel, in this, the third of the series. A new, five-star hotel, The Majestic, has been built directly next to the two-star Hotel Marcel, and an intense rivalry between the two explodes.

A Qatari sheikh, member of the conglomerate that owns The Majestic, arrives with entourage, including his beautiful daughter who is determined to shed her burka. She does so, much to the outrage of her father, who blames the small hotel next door for harboring her. More drama occurs with new love in the life of the narrator; an extremely merry widow resident of apartment 1 across the avenue; Christmas and New Year’s in Paris; and the continuing duel between Hotel Marcel and The Majestic.

A Tale of Two Hotels AuthorAbout the Author:
Elizabeth Cooke, a New Yorker, in addition to the hotel series, “There’s a Small Hotel” Secrets of a Small Hotel” and “The Hotel Next Door” is also author of a memoir, “Life Savors” “Eye of the Beholder” a book celebrating the muses of six artists, and “A Shadow Romance” a love story of an older couple. She currently resides in Georgia.



Urban Family Saga – Behind Closed Doors

behind Close Doors 2Behind Closed Doors 2
Dana’s Story
By A.L. Smith
Publisher: Breaking the Line Books
Published: January 2016
ISBN: 978-0692610787
Genre: Urban Family Saga

“The love of money is the root to all evil, but poverty and wealth are its greatest companions…” ~ A.L. Smith

Human trafficking is often considered an international phenomenon and women from third world countries are the first images that come to mind. However, “familial human trafficking” is a more intimate crime due to the dynamics of the underlying relationships. Human trafficking is one of the largest criminal entities in the country today, second only to drug trafficking…200,000 cases reported each year. Abject poverty, visible obscurity and other socioeconomic disparities are contributing factors.

Behind Closed Doors 2 is the riveting tale of one little girl’s struggle to overcome circumstances beyond her control. Born and raised on the ruthless streets of East St Louis, Dana Toussaint was accustomed to a life of privilege, thanks to her father, a Haitian-born immigrant and notorious drug lord. Dana’s mother, a materialistic southern belle from South Louisiana, is consumed by the good life, as memories of her upbringing in an East New Orleans housing project become a distant memory.

In spite of the similarities between the Haitian and Louisiana Creole cultures, the marriage unravels and the unthinkable occurs when Dana’s father abruptly abandons the family. At the age of 12, Dana becomes the ultimate sacrifice and her mother brokers the deal.

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Behind Closed DoorsBehind Closed Doors
By A.L. Smith
Publisher: Breaking the Line Books
Published: September 2015
ISBN: 9780692534694
Genre: Urban Family Saga

For Sierra, Alex and Latrice, the innocence of childhood was lost at an early age. Choosing significantly different paths, they struggle to deal with the psychological effects of abuse. The three are eventually driven apart and they transition into womanhood carrying a secret that would influence their lives and threaten to destroy their family. Through a series of unlikely circumstances, the three are reunited. The meeting would ultimately set the stage for atonement.

Recent Praise for Behind Closed Doors:
“This book is the perfect example of a page turner…”Onlinebookclub.org
The author writes in a matter-of-fact way without resorting to explicit sex scenes. The use of dialogue is superb. There is just the right blend of description and dialogue so that the reader gets a clear picture of the ways that sexual abuse is subtly tolerated by the family.

The characters are well developed. As you can imagine, the choices they make are often far from ideal, but their actions fit perfectly within the storyline. The chapters alternate between each girl’s points of view. I can see why the author chose this plot device, as the reader is able to see the women’s parallel progression through the years. This book deserves nothing less than 4 out of 4 stars The author should be commended for shining a light on a sensitive topic by crafting an interesting, believable tale. I would recommend this book to anyone who appreciates good writing, particularly about a subject that is too often swept under the rug.

“Behind Closed Doors is one of those you have to read novels…” African American On The Move Book Club (AAMBC)
A novel that contains the stories of three different women who have suffered in ways their friends and family never knew about. Each woman’s story is realistic, sad, painful, but shows how one can overcome what has happened to her. I found these words inspiring. A.L. Smith has beautifully woven together a novel that will touch the hearts of many and inspires women everywhere. I highly recommend Behind Closed Doors to readers worldwide. It’s a novel readers can’t miss. Overall, I rate it a five out of five stars for its powerfully written message to all.

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Behind Closed Doors AuthorAbout the Author:
Dr. A.L. Smith read her first full-length novel (The Boxcar Children, by Gertrude Chandler Warner) in the third grade and it spawned her passion for reading. According to Dr. Smith, the hallmark of a great story is the resounding presence of a character that transcends the final pages of the book.

Dr. Smith is a native of Frierson, La. She attended Grambling State University on a basketball scholarship and later joined the school’s Army ROTC program. Upon graduation in 1996, she became the university’s first Army ROTC cadet to receive a commission in the Army Nurse Corps. She’s a practicing Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist with a Doctorate of Nurse Anesthesia Practice degree from Texas Wesleyan University. Her research study (“Evidence-Based Selection of Sedation Agents for Patients Undergoing Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography”) was selected for publication in the 2016 edition of the Journal of Gastroenterology Nursing issue 39 volume 2.In 2010, she participated in humanitarian relief efforts during the devastating earthquake in Haiti and provided anesthesia services to a countless number of victims, many of whom were children. This experience would have a profound impact on her views concerning socioeconomic disparities here in the U.S. and countries abroad. She’s a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and takes seriously the organization’s motto “Service to all mankind”.

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