Friday, February 22, 2019

JUSTICE GONE by N.LOMBARDI Jr.


About the Book:
When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down. A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran's counselor, is caught up in the chase. Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa's patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers get there first, leading to Darfield's dramatic capture. Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge? Justice Gone is the first in a series of psychological thrillers involving Dr Tessa Thorpe, wrapped in the divisive issues of modern American society including police brutality and disenfranchised returning war veterans.

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon

The US justice system -  does it work?

Some facts about the US justice system are often overlooked, such as the fact that more than 90% of criminal cases never go to trial, and trial by jury is the exception rather than the norm. But when they do, does the trial process work?

In the novel, Justice Gone, two steps of a criminal trial are examined. The first is the Grand Jury proceedings. Many of us don't realize the extent of the state's influence in these hearings. The District Attorney decides what evidence can be admitted, selectively issues subpoenas, and basically runs the show, while the defense plays little or no part. Commonly, overzealous prosecutors will make a case for an indictment that might not be warranted, generating criminal trials for those who may very well be innocent of the charges.

On the other hand, if an indictment is sought against law enforcement officers, the shoe may very well be on the other foot. Law enforcement is on the same side of the fence as the DA, and consequently a conflict of interests is difficult to avoid. That is why indictments against police for using excessive force are rare.

The second step of the trial process is trial by jury, which decides whether to convict or not. And this is where the public and the media can play an unwelcome part.

The trial of O.J. Simpson lasted over eight months and was watched by over 100 million television viewers (comparable to the Super Bowl), and was a sign that even in 1995, the people of the United States had yet to bridge the divide over race, as well as raising doubts over the behavior of law enforcement. But most of all, it provided an intimate glimpse into the US justice system, from jury selection to the jury's verdict.

Although we had a celebrity athlete on trial and the finest criminal defense lawyers in the US - the "Dream Team," the real centerpiece was the jury. Although the trial took eleven months of testimony, it took the jury only four hours to acquit.

So, the question is: Was the verdict of 'not guilty' responsible, impartial and correct?

A poll gave the obvious result that most African-Americans felt that Simpson was innocent, while most Caucasians felt the opposite. Was the fact that 80% of the jurors were African-Americans influence the outcome, i.e. did they acquit Simpson solely due to he being the same race as they?

In my view, race didn't matter for this particular case, because the defense succeeded in raising reasonable doubt. Even if the jury believed Simpson murdered those people, according to the principles of American justice, he should not have been convicted.

The strongest piece of evidence the prosecution had was the DNA forensics, but chain of custody became a big issue. In fact, the handling of all the evidence by the police came under scrutiny, and rightly so. Later during the trial, with the jury absent, Mark Furhman, the detective who found the bloody glove and socks, invoked the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination when asked "did you plant or manufacture any evidence in this case?"

Then there was the bloody glove found at the crime scene, which the prosecution challenged Simpson to try on. Simpson could not get his hand in.

In post-trial interviews, a few of the jurors said that they believed Simpson probably did commit the murders, but that the prosecution had failed to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Three jurors together wrote and published a book called Madam Foreman, in which they described how their perception of police errors, not race, led to their verdict.

Even more controversial was the Casey Anthony case. Equal to the Simpson trial in terms of attention grabbing, the trial of Casey Anthony, who was accused of murdering her two-year-old daughter, was quite different. The big difference was that while the country was divided over Simpson's guilt, the public and the media overwhelmingly assumed Anthony was guilty, which in turn fueled the outcry over the not guilty verdict. One charge, that of first degree murder, was problematic, in that forensics experts could not determine the cause of the little girl's death, but in general the questions of how, why where and when were never answered satisfactorily. According to many legal experts, the not guilty verdict for Casey Anthony can be seen as a victory for the U.S. justice system, despite strong public opinion opposing it, mainly because it upheld the concept of reasonable doubt.

In an ABC News interview, juror Jennifer Ford said that she and the other jurors cried and were "sick to our stomachs" after voting to acquit Casey Anthony of charges that she killed her daughter. "I did not say she was innocent," said Ford,. "I just said there was not enough evidence. If you cannot prove what the crime was, you cannot determine what the punishment should be."

So is the flaw in the system reasonable doubt itself. How can legal experts exclaim victory, even if a guilty person is allowed to be released back into society?

It's because the opposite case, convictions of innocent people are not only possible, but probably occur at a rate that would alarm you.

Let us look inside John Grisham's true crime study, An Innocent Man, a revealing and well documented account of three separate trials, and the wrongful conviction of five men (perhaps the title should have been The Innocent Men). In one case, the police and prosecutor used forced "dream" confessions, unreliable witnesses, and flimsy evidence to convict Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz of murder and rape. After suffering through a conviction and eleven years on death row, Williamson and Fritz were exonerated by DNA evidence and released on April 15, 1999.  Similar narratives apply to the trials of Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot, and the trial of Greg Wilhoit, namely horror stories of persecution, harassment, fraud, lying snitches, and fabricated evidence. If reasonable doubt had been applied, those men would have never been incarcerated on death row (this was in Oklahoma, where the death penalty still exists). Fortunately, these men were exonerated before they could be put to death.

One could surmise that so much of a trial outcome depends on the jury. That is why I dedicated a whole chapter in Justice Gone on the jury deliberations in the trial of Donald Darfield.


Whether it's a blessing or a curse, for court cases in the US, justice is in the hands of ordinary citizens.

About the Author:
N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese, and Khmer (Cambodian).

In 1997, while visiting Lao People's Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.

Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc.

His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.

His latest novel, Justice Gone was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.
Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Follow the Author:
Website * Goodreads * Amazon



Thursday, February 21, 2019

FAE'S CAPTIVE by Lily Archer




I am so excited that FAE'S CAPTIVE by Lily Archer is available now and that I get to share the news!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Lily Archer, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a $10 Amazon GC courtesy of Lily and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

Title: FAE'S CAPTIVE
Author: Lily Archer
Pub. Date: February 19, 2019
Publisher: Lily Archer
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 215
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon

My college roommate was the worst. Cecile would steal my food, bring guys over at all hours, and party instead of studying. But those quirks paled in comparison to what she did next. She drugged me, and I woke up imprisoned in an alternate universe full of terrifying creatures. Now, the biggest and scariest creature of all—a fae king—believes I’m his mate. He’s freed me from the dungeon, but keeps me close. So close, in fact, that I’m beginning to like his wintery gaze and ice-chiseled body. But secrets and villains lurk throughout this new world, and I don’t know if I’ll survive long enough to figure out how to get back home.





Book 2 is also available! Grab it now!

Title: ROAD TO WINTER (FAE'S CAPTIVE #2)
Author: Lily Archer
Pub. Date: February 19, 2019
Publisher: Lily Archer
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 215
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon

The fae king is growing on me. Every touch, look, and night spent in his arms is slowly melting my resistance. When his feral side takes over, something inside me wants to let go and give him everything. With each passing day, the pull is getting harder to deny. But the road to the winter realm is full of danger, and I need to concentrate on finding my way home, not on the promises of pleasure Leander whispers in my ear at night. Even so, how long can I resist the intoxicating kiss of winter?

Author's Note: This is book 2 of the Fae's Captive Series. Be sure to read book 1 first or risk being lost in the woods with a growly fae king.




Exclusive Excerpt!

A smile quirks up one side of his lips, and the goosebumps spread down my back. He’s handsome in a brutish, alien sort of way. But definitely more scary than anything else. Those dark eyes hide traps and barbs, I’m certain of it.

He edges closer and rests the tray next to me.

My stomach growls again, and I can’t take my eyes off the food. But should I eat it?

With a nudge, he pushes the tray even closer. I can smell the sweetness of the fruit and the doughy bread. Food is food, right? But what if it’s poisoned?

He says something, one word. Maybe it’s ‘eat’, since he gestures toward the tray with one of his bear paws.

My stomach makes the decision for me as it complains loudly and a hunger pang shoots through me. I reach for the bread and take a small piece, then put it in my mouth, testing it. Sweeter than the breads I’m used to, it melts on my tongue.

He nods, his dark eyes glinting, and he says the word again. It sounds like “brantath” to me. I form the word as best I can and repeat it back to him. His face lightens, and he tears another piece of bread from the round loaf and gives it to me.

I take it, swallowing it just as fast as the first. “So brantath means eat.” My stomach seems to rumble even more. “Or maybe it means bread?”

When he sits on the bed, I yank the fur up and pull my knees to my chest. The entire mattress shifts under his weight as he leans over and butters a bigger piece of bread and offers it to me.

“Brantath.” He leans closer. The scent from the fur and the shirt I’m wearing is the same one that wafts from him. It’s the promise of a cold winter’s night spent next to a roaring fire.

I take the bread, my fingers gently brushing against his. A low growl in his throat has me pulling back. It stops, but he gives me a predatory look, one that frightens me and sends heat blasting through me at the same time. Something’s wrong with me, but I’m too happy about the food to care.

I devour the bread, the butter creamy and delicious. He rises, the bed groaning with relief as he grabs a pitcher and pours water into a crystal cup, then hands it to me. I sniff it. No smell. But it’s not like I’m an expert poison sniffer or anything. I drink, mainly because I’m parched and don’t know when I’ll get my next chance at food or water.

He watches me swallow it down, then holds his hand out for the empty glass. When I reach out to give it to him, he stills, his eyes narrowing. Ferocious. That’s the only word for the look on his face. I clutch the fur and scoot away from him.

With fluid fury he reaches to the table behind him and draws an enormous silver sword.

A choked sound catches in my throat as he raises it. I’m going to die.

“Please, don’t.” It’s the only words I can get out as he lunges toward me.


About Lily:
Lily Archer believes in fairies, mermaids, and fierce fae warriors. Armed with nothing more than her imagination and a well-worn MacBook, she intends to slay the darkest beasts of the fantasy worlds and create true love where none seemed possible.


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Giveaway Details: 
1 winner will receive an 10 Amazon Gift Card, International.

Ends on February 28th at Midnight EST!


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Nicola Markus Edits: The Philosophy of Editing

Nicola Markus Edits: The Philosophy of Editing: Today, as we start a new year, I would like to discuss what I think of as the philosophy of editing. Often authors approach editing with a s...

CLOUDED BY ENVY by Candace Robinson



I am so excited that CLOUDED BY ENVY by Candace Robinson is available now and that I get to share the news!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Candace Robinson, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a $10 Amazon GC courtesy of Candace, The Parliament House Press, and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

Title: CLOUDED BY ENVY
Author: Candace Robinson
Pub. Date: February 19, 2019
Publisher: The Parliament House
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 215
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooks

Brenik has always been envious of his twin sister, Bray. Growing up as fairy-like creatures, known as bats, everything came easier to Bray. While Brenik spent his time in her shadows, never feeling he was enough. After escaping their world of Laith, and living on Earth for ten years, Brenik attempts to strike a deal with the Stone of Desire to become human. Though true humanity is not an option, he will accept the curse that will alter him to get as close as he can.

Living in a tree trunk for the past year hasn’t been easy for Bray, more so after her brother disappears again. When a human boy and his brother, Wes, find her, a new friendship is struck. Through Wes, Bray learns there can be more to life than waiting within a tree. But worrying over where Brenik has vanished to always remains in the back of her mind.

When Bray reunites with Brenik, she realizes she must help him break the curse after she discovers the need for blood is beginning to overpower him. The curse not only damages those who get close to Brenik, but it could also destroy whatever is blooming between Bray and Wes.


Book Trailer:



Exclusive Excerpt!
                Bray wasn’t sure how long she had drifted off for, but there was a puddle of wetness against her cheek when she woke up—okay, so it was only drool from herself. Lifting a hand up toward her cheek, she swiped the saliva away and rubbed it on to the hammock. Classy, she thought, but there was already some gathered there anyway.
                Remembering the events from earlier, Bray headed straight to the hole and peeked out. She shifted her head from left to right. Nothing. Bray looked up and down—she could see a few bushes had already been planted in the dirt.
                Then she saw it: a circular stone bowl filled with water sitting on top of a long thick stem, attached to a circular bottom. A birdbath! Almost giddily, Bray stepped on the ledge of the hole and leaped off, flapping her wings hurriedly to the nearest pink and yellow peach. Opening her jaw wide, she bit into the thin skin. A juicy one. The fruit filled her mouth with delicious pleasure, and she took one more long bite before diving down to the birdbath.
                The top of her newfound treasure was a perfect circle with tiny mounds around it resembling hills. Bray landed on the ceramic and bent down to take a seat, before placing her bare feet into the warm water that had been perfectly heated from the shining sun.
                Peering down at the clear water, Bray saw no sign of intrusion from other creatures yet. She rotated her head in every direction, as if she would be caught just by thinking about slipping into the water—still no sign of life.
                Flicking her braid over her shoulder, Bray pursed her lips together to hide the smile aching to shine against her face and jumped into the water. The splash echoed. Her bare feet scraped the rough bottom, while her dress inflated and then clung to her body as she shot to the surface. She let out a small giggle to herself. It was sad that the only highlight of the past year was hopping into a shallow pool of water with no one around except for her.
                She leaned back into the liquid, letting herself float and moving her arms slowly up and down, while swimming in figure-eight circles.
                Bray closed her eyes and let the water cover her ears, so it felt like nothing in the world existed, except for the muffled vibrations from the liquid.
                A loud booming sounded from above, and her eyelids thrust open, meeting dark brown eyes, light brown skin, and that black bowl hair. Tiny human. Luca.
                Freeze, Bray thought to herself, not even blinking her eyes. She held them wide open, thinking he wouldn’t notice her, or maybe he would just assume she was a bird. Even though he was staring at her and had spoken something she didn’t hear clearly.
                Nope. That isn’t going to work. He hovered closer, his eyes scrunched halfway closed to examine her more thoroughly. Unable to hold her eyes open any longer, Bray blinked several times.
                “What are you?” he asked, genuine amazement creeping into his words, lips slightly parted.
                “A bat!” Bray yelled, and she jumped up from the warmth of the water, darting straight for the tree hole.
                Breathing heavily, Bray landed inside and collided with the floor. She rolled to her back, running both hands down her face. “Why did I come out without paying attention? I know not to!” Ruth had always told her this.
                A quake trembled through the tree, causing shivers to run up and down her spine. What is the little beast doing? Oh no, what if he is trying to chop down the tree? My home—the peaches! Bray didn’t know why she was thinking about stupid peaches when there was another fruit tree directly next door.
                Despite the thunderous rumbling, Bray grabbed the needle from underneath her hammock and dodged toward the window. If the little beast thought he could take her down, then he had another thing coming. She would prick his eye—actually, she would poke both of his eyes to protect her and Brenik’s home.
                When Bray reached the edge of the window, the sound stopped. She peeped her head out of the hole, right as a face met hers, his black hair falling forward over a hazel eye—an eye she was going to poke. Startled, she jumped back instead of toward him.
                A broad smile crossed the little beast’s face. “Hello.”
                Freezing once again, until she remembered that the staying-still-as-a-statue strategy didn’t work in the birdbath, she meekly said, “Hi.”
                Bray brought the needle up toward his smiling face, just in case.
                “Are you planning on sewing something?” He tilted his head at the needle.
                “Yeah, your eyeball.” She gave him a hard glare.
                “What?” he asked while laughing hysterically.
                He was laughing? Not scared? Bray brought the needle closer. “Yeah, you need to leave and never come back. This is my home.”
                “No. Technically, it’s my brother’s home,” he said, still smiling.
                “What brother? You mean your dad out there who was planting this morning?”
                Luca shook his head, and she didn’t miss the wince before he spoke. “No, that’s my brother, Wes. I don’t have a mom or dad.”
                Crestfallen, Bray lowered the needle. “Oh. Me neither. I only have a brother, but he will be gone for a while.” She paused and glanced at the note Brenik had left behind, her chest tightening. Then she shrugged it off and shifted her gaze back to the boy. “By the way, my name is Brayora, but you can call me Bray.” For some reason, she wasn’t worried anymore about the human.
                “I’m Luca Duran.” He plopped his thin fingers on the edge of the hole.
                “Yeah, I heard your name this morning, little beast. I mean, Luca.” She thought little beast suited him better than Luca.




About Candace:

My name is Candace Robinson. I’m just your average hemiplegic migraine sufferer. My days are spent writing, book reviewing and traveling through books for my blog, Literary Dust. I live just outside of Houston, Texas, where it feels like the hottest place on Earth with the crazy weather. No, seriously, one day it’s 30 degrees and the next it’s 70 degrees! I live with my husband and awesome daughter!

You can also follow me on my review blog Literary Dust





Giveaway Details: All International
1 winner will receive an 10 Amazon Gift Card, International.

Ends on February 28th at Midnight EST!



NARCOSIS ROOM by Louise Cypress


Goodreads

Amazon

B&N

TBD


Total Recall meets Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies.

Sleep for three months and make your problems go away.

Ellie Savage is used to promises. Her dermatologist dad and her psychiatrist mom run the Narcosis Clinic, a medical facility famous for ultimate makeovers, where disturbing issues are resolved while patients are beautified. Clients like pop star Dean Mathews are grateful to narcosis for healing their deepest wounds. Ellie is her parents’ most ardent supporter until her dreams become a nightmare. Ellie discovers that her true self has been shredded to bits by the scalpel and the only way for Ellie to remember is to forget everything she thinks she knows.

"The relationship between Cole and Ellie is absorbing (it's indisputably a mutual affection) while the twins' dynamic--they're supportive but playfully combative--is likewise effective. The plot eventually spins into thriller territory but shrewdly incorporates themes of parenting and self-confidence. Cypress' prose throughout is colorful: a crowd getting into 'a ginormous frenzy' and Ellie walking 'in a fog of convoluted memories and migraine medicine.' Well-defined characters in a zigzagging medical tale rife with surprises." --Kirkus

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Wicked Origins is on sale and Wicked Gambit just released!


Wicked Origins

I have no idea what’s happening to me. When a tornado dropped my car in a land of short, wild people, I was shocked. With no way to get home, no idea where I was and no clue how to communicate with the muchkins, I was completely out of luck. Then I found out that my car had landed on someone and killed them. Supposedly she was the Wicked Witch of the East. If that wasn’t bad enough, now her ruby slippers magically appear on my feet, and slowly, I’m becoming her. Now I need to get to Emerald City and see the Wizard if I want to stop the transformation and return home. But the yellow brick road is no cake-walk, and I don’t know what I’ll find at the end of this journey. Luckily, I have three brothers I meet along the way to help me on my journey. Each of them is vying for my affection, as if it doesn’t matter that my skin is turning green. Wicked Origins is a modern YA Fantasy Retelling of L. Frank Baum’s original Oz tales. Buy on Amazon (Available in Kindle 


Wicked Gambit (Wicked Origins Book 2)

The Witch of the West is a necromancer. And she doesn't take kindly to strangers on her land, not when she’s been preparing to make war against the Wizard. And now Dorothy and the three shifter brothers are unknowingly caught in the middle of the dispute. They will face more dangers than they anticipate, but Dorothy discovers a new magic power she has with the shoes. Will this newfound power help her destroy the witch and gain the brothers their pardon? Or will the cost of using that new magic be too great?




Buy on Amazon (Available in Kindle Unlimited)   Enter to win a $25 Amazon GC. Must be 18+ Available wherever you can receive an Amazon GC.