Pages

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Release Blitz: Reprogram Yourself for Unstoppable Self-Confidence


Self-Help / Motivational
Date Published: May 23, 2017

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

Squash Self-Doubt and Worry

Self-doubt can hold you prisoner and leave you wondering if anyone can set you free. In reality, the only person who can unlock your self-doubt cell is you.

Of course this doesn’t mean you must go through the process alone. With Kristi Patrice Carter as your guide in her newest book, Reprogram Yourself for UNSTOPPABLE Self-Confidence, you can learn how to squash self-doubt and worry to become a more self-confident version of you.






Goodreads Book Giveaway

Reprogram Yourself for Unstoppable Self-Confidence by Kristi Patrice Carter
Enter Giveaway


About the Author


Kristi Patrice Carter’s mission is to help people live their best lives—one self-help book at a time. She is driven by her passion for sharing her knowledge and a hope for inspiring and empowering people around the world to achieve their life goals.

A force to be reckoned with, Kristi Patrice Carter has a BA in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a Juris Doctorate from Chicago-Kent College of Law, and over eighteen years of writing and marketing experience. She’s also a wife, mother, author, and serial entrepreneur.



Contact Link

Purchase Link


Reading Addiction Blog Tours

Monday, May 22, 2017

Blog Tour: Radio Programming and Branding by Gary Begin #nonfiction #marketing


Public Relations & Marketing
Date Published: 03/10/2015
Publisher: Library Tales Publishing

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

Radio Programming and Branding: The Ultimate Podcasting and Radio Branding Guide is designed to offer techniques for broadcasters, radio bloggers, radio entrepreneurs and students who wish to start and run their own radio show or station. This book will help you improve your craft and effectively develop a winning brand that attracts attention, followership, and, ultimately, advertisers.




About the Author

Gary Begin, the founder and president of Sound Advantage Media, a radio programming consulting firm, possesses over thirty years of radio programming experience. Begin's programming and on-air experiences have included diverse markets such as Tampa and Sarasota, FL, Providence, RI, Saginaw, MI, Hagerstown, MD, Columbus, GA, Portland and Waterville, ME.  Begin attended Dean College in Franklin, MA and has continued to enhance his skills with regular attendance at many programming seminars. In addition to Sound Advantage Media, Begin also owns Gary Begin Voice Talent, providing voice talent services for clients all across the United States. 

Contact Link


Purchase Link

            
Reading Addiction Blog Tours

PROMO: When the Sky Falls

Thriller / Espionage / Conspiracy / Historical
Date Published: March 24, 2017

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

“What makes you believe a lie? I’m not asking how you know someone is lying. What makes you believe? Because if you don’t understand how that works, then you won’t know when you’re being manipulated.”

In 1938 the War of the Worlds hoax panicked millions of Americans, then in 1988 another fictional media broadcast convinced nearly half of Portugal that sea monsters had risen from the ocean to destroy their cities. A team of CIA agents was sent to study the aftermath of this 6th Skyfall Event in the hope that they could turn it into a weapon of war. When the team consultant turns up dead, everyone scrambles to be the last man standing: the one who will decide if or when the sky falls.





Excerpt

 “What makes you believe a lie? I’m not asking how you know someone is lying. What makes you believe? Because if you don’t understand how that works, then you won’t know when you’re being manipulated.”

William Stephenson, The Nature of Sky Fall Events


Porto, Portugal. October 30, 1988. 8:13 p.m.

            The lights flickered and went dark, that’s when it started. Luis reached up and adjusted the bulb with his fingers. The hot glass burned his skin. He gritted his teeth as the sensation grew stronger. He doubted the bulb was the problem. The TV, fan and even the street light outside the apartment all died in the same moment. “Is this normal for an earthquake?”

            Car headlights flashed through the windows reflecting off Renata’s long, dark hair. “It’s not an earthquake. They already said that.”

            Luis let go of the bulb. Only a moment ago, the emergency broadcast system had come on the air. It’s strobing red light, and high pitched siren blared through every apartment. It was followed by men in lab coats being interviewed. They warned everyone that something was coming, and before they could finish the power cut out, the one thing they had said was, “it’s not an earthquake.”

            The street outside the window was still lightless, and Luis went to check the fuse box. It wouldn’t do much good. If the entire neighborhood lost power, it clearly wasn’t a fuse, but at least it was something to do.

            Renata took his hand. Her fingers trembled. “It’s not the fuses; it’s not our lights. Let it go.” Behind her, the old cement walls were spidered with cracks. They had been like that when they moved in.

“I don’t know what else to do.” He pressed his lips together and looked out the window. Outside, a family loaded into a car; the trunk overflowed as the father kicked at it until the latch held. They piled in, each with a pack on their lap. The mother sat in the passenger seat. In her hands, she held a pistol. Her husband got in, and the car roared to life. A few people emerged onto the street carrying packs, or bags. They all headed east, away from the coast. That’s where the scientist said it would start, on the coast.

“The phone lines,” Renata’s voice wavered, “They use a different power source than the electrical grid, right?” She wiped at beads of sweat forming on her forehead. “For emergencies, right?” She swallowed hard. “I’ll try and call my mom,” She picked up the receiver and held it to her ear. The lines in her face deepened the longer she held the phone. She frowned and jabbed at the disconnect lever several times. “The phones are dead.” Her skin paled. “The phones,” she licked her dry lips, “are dead.”

Luis was still for a long time. Strange muscles deep in his stomach twisted. Something terrible was happening, and he couldn’t do anything to stop it. He didn’t even know what it was. There was a worry in her soft brown eyes; he wanted to protect her, keep her from feeling this way. He walked over and put his hand on Renata’s cheek then kissed her. “We’re leaving.”

She nodded towards the bags they’d started to prepare midway through the broadcast. “Do you think this will be enough?” She rested her head on his chest.

The electricity surged back, lights blazing to life. The TV flashed it’s red warning again. After a moment, it changed to a camera feed from inside a helicopter. A reporter bobbed in and out of the frame. “We’re flying over the city of Vila de Conde, only a few kilometers from Porto.” He pointed to something off camera. “While it seems a much weaker force is headed this way, it will strike here first. That should give us some idea of what to prepare for.” The wind whipped his hair wildly and drowned his voice out. The camera focused in over the ocean. White edges of curling waves shifted as they crashed against the shore. City lights reflected on the water; then the whole city blinked out. “What the hell?” The camera jerked up over the blackened city. A loud guttural cry screeched through the TV speakers, and the reporter's voice shouted, “What in God’s nam—” The image on the TV shook and rotated like someone dropped the camera, then the screen cut to static.

Every beat of Luis’ heart pounded in his chest, teeth, and fingers. He waited for the static to end, for someone to come back, to tell them what happened.

Renata grabbed his hand; her pulse was rapid; throbbing in the vein on her neck. When she spoke, the words sounded strange like her mouth was dry after hanging open for too long. “What’s happening?”

Through the window, they saw a car slam into the small market across the street. Glass shards toppled down and shattered on the hood. Two men got out and kicked at the remaining jagged edges. With sacks in their hands, they hustled inside and filled the bags with food and supplies. They tossed them into the backseat and doubled back for more. A box of spaghetti fell out of the passenger side and burst open. Noodles splayed out on the pavement, breaking under the boots of the men as they hurried back and forth.

“I need to get something.” Luis rushed to the bedroom and pulled a pistol from under the bed. He loaded it and placed several ammo boxes in a bag before returning to his pack in the living room.

The static on the screen finally ended. A news anchor sat at a desk; sweat dripped down his face. He wiped at his brow. “It’s clear now, from this footage.” A small image on the side of the screen grew larger. It was a distant shot of the city of Vila de Conde. The entire coastal edge was gone. The hotels, resorts, beach houses. All gone. Some bits of rubble smoldered in the darkness. “This has been some sort of attack.” He stopped, and his face became stern. He sprayed saliva as he shouted at someone, “I can’t … God damn it … I can’t say that on TV. No one will believe it!” He shoved the desk over and stood; then turned and walked a few steps towards the back of the set.

A husky male voice came from off screen. “Do you believe it?” There was a pause, but the anchor kept walking. The husky voice spoke again, pleading this time, “Someone has to tell them. They have to know.” He yelled with urgency in his voice, “We saw them!”

The newscaster stopped and looked over his shoulder at the camera. “Tell them to run.” He disappeared off camera, and the screen went to static.

The lights flickered a second time, then went dark. Luis held his hand over his mouth. He stopped breathing for a moment and counted his heartbeats. He waited, but the lights didn’t come back.

With heavy packs strapped to their backs, Luis and Renata staggered into the street towards their car. A traffic jam built up behind the vehicle that had crashed into the market. People dashed inside, stealing food. The narrow European street swelled with a growing mob as they disembarked their cars to investigate the problem.

A man got into the obstructing car and attempted to reverse out. The center of the frame teetered on the curb, and the wheels spun over the slick cobblestones.

A massive man with a thick beard exited his truck. “What’s wrong with you?” He thrust crude gestures with his hands, then stopped and summoned the other stalled drivers to the stranded car. He pantomimed his intention.

Seven men gathered around the small European car and tipped it onto its side, but the vehicle still blocked the road. They shoved and kicked, but the road wouldn’t clear. Thick-beard threw up his hands, gathered his gear from his car and started walking.

Luis’s eyes widened. “I don’t understand it.”

“Do you need to?” Renata gripped his shoulder, the tips of her nails bit into his skin. “They told us to run.”

Abandoning their car, Luis and Renata joined the panicked herd. They ran, shoved and bumped into each other as they maneuvered around the empty cars. The weight of the pack made Luis unstable as people jostled against him. As each person collided into him or reached out to stabilize themselves, his balance wavered. The straps dug deep into his shoulders. The heavy load labored his run. People were constantly pressing past. He made Renata go first so he could keep an eye on her.      

A tall man with wide shoulders shoved Luis into the side of a car. He stumbled and grabbed the mirror to keep from falling. Renata screamed. He turned as she plummeted to the ground a few feet away, disappearing into the mad swarm of human bodies.

Luis surged forward ramming people until he found her. He tried to help her stand, but the mob kept pressing forward, and Luis fell on top of her. A foot crunched down on his hand; then a knee jabbed into his ribs. Droves of people crashed against his body. His hair got caught on something, and it ripped a patch from his skull. A trickle of blood dripped from his scalp onto Renata’s face.

Luis pressed his lips to her ear. “The gun is in my pack. Fire the gun.” He didn’t feel her searching the bag, too many hands, knees, and elbows jabbed and thrust into him, but he heard the gunshot, next to his ear. It thundered, and his whole body tensed. The thundering didn’t end. His ear rang, and it felt like someone was trying to hammer a nail into his brain. He saw Renata’s face, she was shouting, but he couldn’t hear her anymore, couldn’t hear the crowd, the waves of pounding feet on stone, just a high-pitched pierce in his ears.

The crowd stopped pressing down on him. They’d backed away. He got to his feet. Renata still lay on the ground. Luis dragged her into the bed of a truck. She cried and kept trying to say something, but he couldn’t hear it. Her face flexed in pain. He scanned her body and saw the ankle. Human bodies, human feet don’t bend like that. The tibia seemed to be jabbing down through the foot, forming a large bulb at the bottom, and the ankle swelled thicker than her leg.

The crowd swarmed back. Luis slumped down beside her. His eyes lingered on her face, her eyes. She couldn’t walk, not on her own. Whatever was coming would catch them. How will you take care of her? Luis took the gun from her hands. He studied the pistol for a long time, its dark oily finish, the weight of it in his hand, a weapon. If he couldn’t run, then he would fight. He crawled out of the truck bed to the car just behind. He rested the pistol on the hood and stared out into the darkness. Luis saw the white curling waves. Whatever it was, came from the ocean, he knew that. He waited a moment, watching the water, trying to see it. Nothing, just darkness. He pulled the trigger then looked at Renata. Broken. Helpless. His eyes welled up with tears. Fight. Even if you can’t see it. Fight. He fired again, fired until the gun was empty.


------


            Pedro stood on a grassy hill overlooking the city of Porto. His eyes were bloodshot and puffy. Flashlights bobbed in the dark like swiveling dots, spreading away from the coast and into the countryside. He wiped the back of his hand across his forehead. It came away with a mixture of dirt, sweat, and mud. He’d marched his family through the dust cloud of the exodus. He and his wife, Beatriz, had fought with sticks to protect their young children as they ran through the streets. The blood streaks on Pedro's knuckles were only partly his. He reached for the canteen around his neck and poured out a small handful of water to wash his hands.

            Beatriz slipped her fingers through Pedro’s gray-streaked hair. “Can I have a drink?” In her arms their two-year-old slumbered, dirt crusted snot clung to his nose. One arm hung loosely away from his body.

            Pedro lifted the canteen to his wife. “Anything new on radio?”

            She finished her drink. “Still just static.” She kissed her son on his forehead, and her wet lips came away powdered with dust. “I turned it off an hour ago. We should check again.”

            “Yeah.” Pedro nodded and headed towards the tents and campfire. His two older children were sprawled out next to the flames. On a tree stump sat a battery powered radio, its antenna tilted toward the city. He could make out the larger buildings by moonlight, but nothing electrical brightened the horizon. He flipped the radio on. Static buzzed through the speakers.

            “You have to help it.” Beatriz approached and placed her hand on the antenna. The static cleared, and a voice filled the camp.

            Pedro’s entire body stiffened at the familiar voice. The reporter who had refused to say what he had seen, the news anchor that had walked off the camera. The man who told everyone to run. His voice was heavy with emotion. He admitted he was an actor, and the entire scare had been a hoax. He took a deep breath and repeated the message.

            “Holy mother of God.” Pedro dropped his head into his hands. “It wasn’t real. None of it was real.” His voice trembled. “We left everything.”

            Beatriz stumbled and then lowered herself to the ground. Her eyes welled up. “We’re safe.” She kissed her son repeatedly. “We’re safe.”

            Pedro jerked up. “Safe?” He raised his voice, the tone sharp, “Safe?” He thrust his arm towards the city and pointed. “They lied to us.” He picked up a rock and lunged to his feet, running towards the distant city. He hurled the stone into the open plain below. “Why!”

            After a long moment, Beatriz pulled him close. “The power is still out. That was real. Something happened.”

            Pedro stared down at the city. The flashlight dots had changed direction, but the city remained dark. His body numb, he slumped down, never taking his eyes from the city. The message on the radio continued to repeat. It had been a hoax, a lie. The radio cut to static and a single light sparked in the city. It grew into a massive flame taller than any building. The fire burned brighter throughout the night but never spread. Something had happened, not the lie they told, but something.


------


The Old CIA Building, Langley Virginia. 10:09p.m.

Silas Cooper sat behind his desk reviewing surveillance reports. His black hair slicked with a heavy gel that reflected the light. He ran his hand through it and some collected along the edge of his finger. He rubbed it aggressively into his skin until only a sheen remained. Someone knocked at the door but opened it before Silas could respond.

Costly, in a vested suit, entered holding a stack of Portuguese Escudo bills bound with a rubber band. He swaggered over to Cooper’s desk and tossed the money down. “Guess what?”

“I don’t have time for your bullshit. What do you want?” Silas’ lips curled downward, and his chin tightened.

Costly flashed a crooked, toothy grin. “There’s been a Sky Fall Event in Portugal.”

The room went still and Silas chuckled. “Finally.” He let out a contented sigh. “How big?”

“Half the coast. Multiple cities.”

“Jesus.” Silas’ smile faded. “Where’s Stephenson?”

 “Shit, you’re not going to like it.” Costly hung his head. “As far as we know he’s in London —“

Silas cocked his head to one side, then back to the other. He pointed at his colleague with the file in his hand. “Now, I know you're full of shit. I ought to break your teeth for this.”

Costly held up his hand apologetically. “No jokes. It happened, and he is that close, but,” he directed Silas to wait with an index finger. “He doesn’t have his plane with him. He’ll have to take the trains, and that should buy you some time.”

“Not enough.” Silas pocketed the money. “Get me Stephenson’s list. Cross out anyone not fluent in Portuguese or Spanish.”

“Already done.” Costly pulled a file from his briefcase. There were two columns of names; all but one were crossed out.

“Jay Nichols,” Silas read. “What’s his experience?”

“Two weeks here in Langley.”

“Are you God damn kidding me? You want to feed a puppy to the lion?”






Goodreads Book Giveaway

When the Sky Falls by Joseph Bendoski

When the Sky Falls

by Joseph Bendoski

Giveaway ends May 31, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

About the Author

Joe Bendoski study psychology in college and was fascinated by all the insights it provided into human behavior, only to realize most the information never reach people, and when it did, rarely was it in a form that allowed for practical application. He started writing non-fiction, but soon came to understand how few people read that genre and began the difficult transition into fiction writing. His non-fiction works include; the Chemistry of Attraction and the Language of Emotion. 
He worked as the head writer for the television show ‘Saved by Grace.’ After being frustrated with comments like "make this scene cheaper," "What's my motivation?", and "Do we need this scene?" he deiced to go in to literature.


Contact Links

Twitter: @JBendoski

Purchase Link





Reading Addiction Blog Tours

Romance Rock Stars Giveaway






RomanceRockStars.com is hosting this giveaway. Winners must be 18 or older. United States and Canada only to ship the Kindle Fire. Otherwise, we can send the money for the kindle fire by amazon giftcard anywhere in the world. We will not sell or distribute your email address or any other information to any other company. Your information is for our blog only, to notify winners, and send prizes.





Grand Prize is a Fire Tablet with Alexa, 7" Display, 16 GB + 3 ebooks  and a second winner will receive a $10 Amazon Giftcard.


Backhand by Elise Faber


For A Little While by Mary J. Williams


Freeze Frame by Freya Barker



Contact Links

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Blog Tour: Elfin Nights



Fantasy Erotic Romance

Chronicles of the Four Courts, Book 2
Date Published: May 1st, 2017
Publisher: Champagne Book Club

A fae Knight’s life belongs to the monarchies, but for Finn of the Morrigan, his life comes second to his heart. And his heart belongs to his ladies.
The changeling princesses of the Springtime elves share a unique bond with their Knight—a bond that must remain perfectly secret. When the Queen of the Elves discovers their passionate love, she curses and exiles Finn from the elfin lands forever. With their guardian sent away to a lifeless wasteland, the royal changelings have no defense when the unseen enemies of the Four Courts attack, and the House of Elves falls.
To save his loves, Finn will need to break out of prison, undertake a perilous journey across the lands of Thairy, face wicked creatures, rogue Knights, and one of the most dangerous monsters in the fae world.
The enemy will soon learn what it means to provoke a true Son of War.

Review

Beautiful Cover and wonderful storytelling from Brantwijn. I loved the world that she has brought us in. Her use of descriptive storytelling really helped me feel like I was there. 

These characters read like real people. There are things about each of them that I really related too and sometimes I was completely frustrated. 

The relationships were believable and there were many steamy moments, but not enough to make it feel bogged down by sex. These are the fae, so you need plenty of it to get their baser needs under control. :)

I find myself really invested in the world and I can't wait to read more in this series. 





When she isn't visiting the worlds of immortals, demons, dragons and goblins, Brantwijn fills her time with artistic endeavors: sketching, painting, customizing My Little Ponies and sewing plushies for friends. She can't handle coffee unless there's enough cream and sugar to make it a milkshake, but try and sweeten her tea and she will never forgive you. She moonlights as a futon for four lazy cats, loves tabletop role-play games, and can spend hours pencilling naughty, sexy illustrations in her secret notebooks.
Brantwijn has two romance series currently in-progress with Champagne Books. She's also had short stories published in several small press anthologies. She has author pages on GoodReads and Amazon, and loves to see reader comments on her work. Her short stories and audio readings occasionally pop up her website, www.brantwijn.com.

 Contact Information



Purchase Links



Saturday, May 13, 2017

PROMO Blitz: 7 Days With You


YA Romance
Date Published: 11/04/2017
 Publisher: Leap of Faith Publishing

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

Sean Johnson's life as a small-town farmhand has been nothing but predictable, but when he meets Sophia Hillingdon at the local animal sanctuary, she gets him out of an eighteen-year rut, away from the mundane existence on the farm, and a grieving, drunken father.

Sophia is the first person who understands him and makes him believe that he might get out of their small town, who tells him, he has the potential to be whoever he wants to be and do whatever he wants to do.

But as their relationship unfolds, it is the most devastating of news that will change both of them forever.


Excerpt

Her face was nearer than it had ever been. Her skin felt smooth and warm. All I could do was lean further into her, losing myself in the moment. And then there were her piercing blue eyes-even more extraordinary up close. Before I knew it, I’d brought my hands to her chest as our parting lips collided. We kissed for hours, inhabiting each other with such force as our bodies rolled across the cooled grass. She was the change I had been searching for. It was the first time I realized; I could be anywhere in the world, but nowhere without her.




About the Author


Hugo Driscoll is a 25-year-old British author and content writer for an online publication in London.
When he's not working, you can usually find him writing in the basements of cafes or looking serious in black and white photos.
You can also find Hugo on Twitter, Facebook, and his personal blog, which he updates regularly.
Seven Days with You is his first novel.

Contact Links



Purchase Links





Reading Addiction Blog Tours

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Blog Tour: The Orphan of Mecca



Literary Fiction
Date Published: 9/17/2014
Publisher: America Star Books

America Star Books Presents The Orphan of Mecca, Book One by Harvey Havel

Frederick, MD October 16, 2014 – America Star Books is proud to present The Orphan of Mecca, Book One by Harvey Havel from Albany, NY.

A brief synopsis of the book: "Amina prepares for college on what is expected to be an exciting first day of higher learning. When she steps onto the university campus for the first time, however, she bumps into Raja Gupta, a young, persuasive, and hot-headed university intellectual who lures her into joining a student group whose cause is the liberation of East Pakistan from West Pakistan. What follows is a stormy and passionate romance detailing the lives of both Raja Gupta and Amina Mitra as they both attempt to survive from one of the worst genocides of historical record—a genocide that ultimately leads to the birth of the poor and crippled nation known today as Bangladesh. This novel is written with historical accuracy and is Book One of a trilogy that charts the rise and fall of these two characters, as well as the son that is orphaned after Amina Mitra is forced to abandon him in the Great Mosque of Mecca."
Visit us online at www.americastarbooks.comFacebook and Twitter.

Book 2

In Book Two of The Orphan of Mecca trilogy, Amina Mitra has no choice but to abandon her newborn child to the Great Mosque of Mecca, Islam's holiest place. The child is then taken to an orphanage by the religious police (mutawaffs) and stays there until he is of good enough age to live on his own. The orphan, Ekaja, finds work in a Meccan tourist bazaar that is well known for its wealthy international travelers and global corporate visitors. There, he meets an American who wants Ekaja to work for him. But this is not ordinary work. The American wants to turn him into a spy for the Central Intelligence agency. Ekaja then must choose between loyalty to the CIA and loyalty to his own people regardless of how perverted their view of Islam has become.


Book 3

After being accused of raping the Commanders daughter, Ekaja is thrown out of the house and is forced to leave. He goes to New York where he discovers a Jewish painter who needs his help. Together, they make an important contribution to the New York artists' scene for those who have mental disabilities.



Excerpt

The Orphan of Mecca, Book One Excerpt
Chapter One
If a man would be so bold as to remove the stubborn mask hiding the face of humanity, what would he see?  Would the truth of humankind be beautiful, or would such a truth be frightening?  Would it be elusive?  Or would it be so blinding that when he tries to pull away from it, he can only stare at it helplessly?  Humanity, however, cannot hide behind that mask for too long, nor can a man avoid what he sees beneath it, as the image slowly becomes that of a young girl whose face is as chiseled as a balsam carving, her legs bird-like in their fragility, the trunk of her body as thin as the root of a banyan tree, her skin as richly dark as the intense burn of the sun gazing wildly upon an otherwise forgotten part of the world.
Her dark black hair shines when the sunlight hits it, the kind of hair that is so clean, a man can only hope to capture its brilliance and test the fragrant oils she has added to it by rubbing them into his fingertips.  And what of her eyes – those dark, opaque disks that blend both pupil and iris, concealing her secrets, the eyes that seem to smile so mysteriously, as though she knows something about a man that he himself does not know?  Such is the face we are dealing with in this part of the world, in East Pakistan, January 1969, as it is the face of a young woman named Amina Mitra.
In her small village in Murapara, just east of Dhaka, the capital of Bengal, she washes her hair under a stream of cold-running water that a tank made of rusted tin has stored.  From the tank’s lid, a web-like exoskeleton of metal plumbing crawled up the wall of her shower stall, the aluminum pipes leaking at their joints. Dealing with the shower before such a long day ahead of her gave her enough reason to complain to her father about it.  She thought that the plumbing needed a complete overhaul if only to get her to the university on time.
She soaped her dark body under cold water, making sure not to miss a single space of skin.  She sometimes hated how skinny she was, as there were other family members in the village who often teased her about how a good man always wanted a little more girth on a woman before he married her.  But Amina was far from interested in marriage at this point.  She had her mind set on making it out of the village, as she wanted to be an administrator who traveled in and out of the overpopulated city to the west, which was Dhaka.  For now, though, she planned to study government at the University, a place her father insisted she go.  Because she wanted to please him and was somewhat interested in civic affairs, she complied. She was the younger of two very beautiful daughters in the family who wanted as much attention as they could get from a father who believed his main purpose in life was to see them married and living with prosperous men.
She rinsed her body under cold water, and when she finished, she fumbled with rusty faucets that sprayed and leaked until only the shrills of wildlife and the wandering currents of the Sithalakya river could be heard through the stiff reeds that surrounded her bari.  While wrapping a towel around her, she grabbed the top of the door to the stall and made sure it was firmly closed.  There were several children playing in front of her thatched hut.  Her hut was attached to several others, forming a rough square of sorts, the sum of all the interconnecting huts known as the Mitra ghar.  The huts, in fact, were hovels standing roughly six feet from the ground and made of packed mud.  The roofs were thatched, however, and were sturdy and waterproofed enough to withstand the rains that came during the Monsoon season at winter’s end.
The intense sunlight warmed her body, and with a towel wrapped around her she checked to make sure none of the children peeked at her nudity from the front yard.  She scurried into her hut without being noticed, and once inside, she spread her towel down on the dirt floor so as not to muddy her feet after indulging in such a long shower.  Her clothes were kept in a bamboo chest of drawers, and the small opening in the wall provided enough sunlight for her to select the clothes she’d wear to the university that day.  There was also a small mirror on the wall by a straw mattress that served as her bed, and before stepping into a light-blue satin salwar-kamiz, she looked herself over in the mirror and noticed how the two small mounds at her chest were now plump and firm as her sister had said they would get, and yes, she felt more like a woman every day, what she yearned for ever since she first tried on her mother’s old clothes several months earlier.
And from those very humble days of doing most of the chores around the bari for her parents, who then went off to work at the nearby jute factory, she suddenly saw herself as all-grown-up, as though the child within her finally witnessed the more mature woman standing in front of the mirror and holding the salwar-kamiz close to her body.  
Her older sister, Chandra, had always been treated like a grown-up, and Amina always as the young child.  She hoped her father would finally treat her like an adult as he did her sister.  Such was her ambition. She hoped that one day her father would no longer see her as “his little sweetheart.”  But no matter how hard she tried, whether it was cleaning the pots and pans, sweeping the dirt floors of the huts, or hanging clothes out to dry, her father had yet to acknowledge that she could indeed stand on her own two feet without his aid, and frustratingly so, this was something that she just couldn’t earn or prove to him.  Because she wanted her parents to outgrow this view of her, she believed attending the university and studying what her father wanted her to study would do the trick.  She could only hope.
She put on her underclothes and fixed them to her body by securing a thin rope around her waist.  Over her head went the salwar-kamiz.  She couldn’t hide her smile when she looked herself over, only that her smile, along with her dark face, made her look even more childlike, and so she quickly straightened the curves at the ends of her lips and hid her brightly shining teeth in an effort to look more solemn and perhaps a bit mysterious.  
On this first day of university she decided she was going to be a new person, and perhaps if she smiled less, her family would take her more seriously.  But she couldn’t help but smile again as butterflies gathered in her stomach while thinking about traveling into the heart of Dhaka all by herself.  Some things took time, she reasoned, and after looking as smart and as intellectual as possible, she left her hut to join the rest of her family in the much larger hut directly across from hers, as her hut stood about thirty yards from where her family had gathered for breakfast. The children now played kabbaddi on the closely-cropped grass.  A few of the kids played with a soccer ball off to the side too, pretending to be the soccer stars from the big city, all of this under the intense blare of the sun.  Amina circumvented their cherubic brown faces on the lawn.  The children laughed and giggled as they played, their bodies covered by single sheets of brown cloth wrapped loosely around their torsos.  Amina, suddenly determined to be very solemn and serious, gazed at them with a mindful curiosity, much like a scientist studying her specimens.  She avoided the motherly affection she usually showered upon them.  The shirtless children, running and chasing each other, stumbling on their own awkward steps and captured by youthful mindlessness, were beings far removed from Amina herself, who, as a young girl, had played with her sister and the cousins who had visited from the next bari.  They all played together, she remembered.  But there wasn’t time anymore for that sort of playfulness.  
She had convinced herself that one must analyze each and every facet of life, and this, in combination with her own insatiable curiosity about the nature of things and the psychology of people, would permit her to do well at the university.  The children, then, were no longer the same children who used to give her girlish joy.  They became objects of the more mature and sophisticated activity of analysis.  So in order to discover more about herself, she simply had to observe their behavior and make sense of them, as was often the norm for most Bengali intellectuals.  
Analyzing people had always been an elaborate affair of sweet emotion and stubborn rationalization involving a short trip to the heavens and manifesting itself as a sudden and complete pause of consciousness on the dirt footpath that wrapped around the square, accompanied next by a blank stare at the children as though she was struck by some great vision.  The second part of the analysis involved finding some strange and other-worldly significance in the children’s being there.  They ran amok and tagged each other, circling around and around on the lawn, as though they were part of a miniature circus.
The connection between herself and the children confirmed her theory that her soul, at that place in time, was immutable in relation to the souls of the children in the square.  She supposed she hadn’t changed all that much since childhood, given that such a strong connection to their laughing and giggling, the scampering of their feet across the green-yellow lawn, and their chanting ‘kabbaddi-kabbaddi-kabbaddi’ touched a nerve within her that had never developed fully or had never grown at all.  Not often had Amina started the day off with an epiphany, but she wouldn’t be from Bengal if she didn’t want these strange and significant connections to people happen more often.
By the time she entered her family’s hut, they were half-way through their breakfast.  There were two large windows in her parent’s hut, compared to only one in her own.  These openings let in a jagged ochre light.  Such light was typical of the early morning sunshine in their hut.  At night they lit lanterns and pitched torches around the square, but in the day time, the generous sunlight sufficed.  Outside the hut, she could faintly see the slow, meandering waters of the river through the glare, as her family’s village had been built along its banks, its back towards it.  She heard the melody of the sinewy currents washing over ancient rocks that were stuck deep into the river’s clay base.  It reminded her of the short vacations she took with her family down to the Sundarbans - the lush, verdant forests that were like emeralds cupped by palms of sky-blue water.
East Pakistan, after all, was a land of islands, tributaries, streams, and rivers, all on flat, grassy plains that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle – from the great Ganges that flowed in from Eastern India, to the weighty Brahmaputra that hooked into the province from Northern Assam and followed a straight line south. Like veins, these rivers cut across, bisected, and trisected the flat littoral plains.  They fed into other rivers and streams, culminating in the Southern marshes  in a fragmentation of the land where shallow deltas formed micro-islands.  The shallow deltas were a network of jade-green channels reaching as far south as the Bay of Bengal itself.  
On their trips to the south one could not travel very far without hitting a river, stream, lake, or littoral forest, as though the water commanded the land and broke it up into hundreds of divisions.  Its natives could only helplessly watch these waters steadily rise over their lives and suck whatever villages existed along the borders of the forests into the bay.  From the mangrove swamps of the Sundarbans, where the Bengal tigers roamed, to the more fashionable resort areas of Cox Bazaar and Inami Beach off of Burma’s western coast, it was no surprise to her that water would one day overtake them.  The water, it seemed, had more power over them than the parcels of water-soaked land upon which the first Bengali squatters planted their flags.
The sounds of each river played the songs of a people’s history, and unsurprisingly, Amina remembered a time when a more terrestrial flood of West Bengali émigrés moved into East Pakistan from the north and west.  She compared these movements to the currents of these rivers.  Hindu landowners had forfeited their properties and moved east in the opposite direction towards India proper, a double exodus of dark Muslims and disenfranchised Hindus heading this way and that.  The sheer magnitude of it had swirled into violent clashes that took many years to calm.  Her family, in fact, had moved from a small town on the outskirts of Calcutta. India’s eastern flank had been cut suddenly and became the eastern wing of Pakistan.  The Mitra family settled in Murapara, Rupganj province, next to where her cousins already lived.  Her vacations with family were often futile attempts to break free of the heat and the lingering thought that such a maelstrom would recur.

After the family had finally emigrated from Calcutta in 1955, building the bari in Murapara took some time, but fairly soon the Mitra family had its own established ghar and were lucky enough to be surrounded by a host of other family members who found work in the nearby jute factory.  She didn’t know much about the history of her family beyond that, only that her parents had journeyed through the clogged streets of Calcutta only to discover the same clogged streets of Dhaka, but this time they lived with their own kind instead of Hindus.  It was safer that way, she reasoned, and she faintly remembered her father loading her mother, her sister, and herself into an antique bus, packed to the hilt with brown, skinny Muslims.  They headed across India’s eastern border into the new frontier where long, thick processions of shawl-covered women and hump-backed men approached the new land that was promised to them.  That was a long time ago-  when India split apart and the unheard of land known as Pakistan came into being.  Pakistan was a country so unique that it was separated by over 1500 kilometers of Indian territory.  They arrived in Murapara with but a few rupees left to build an entirely new life.




Harvey Havel is a short-story writer and novelist. His first novel, Noble McCloud, A Novel, was published in November of 1999. His second novel, The Imam, A Novel, was published in 2000. 

In 2006, Havel published his third novel, Freedom of Association.  He has published his eighth novel, Charlie Zero’s Last-Ditch Attempt, and his ninth, The Orphan of MeccaBook One, which was released last year.  His new novel, The Thruway Killers is his latest work.  The Orphan of Mecca, Books Two and Three, will be released next year as well as a book, An Adjunct Down, which he just completed.  His work in progress is called In the Trenches, about a Black American football player.
He is formerly a writing instructor at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey.  He also taught writing and literature at the College of St. Rose in Albany as well as SUNY Albany.
Copies of his books and short stories, both new and used, may be purchased at www.barnesandnoble.comwww.amazon.com, and by special order at other fine bookstores. 


Purchase Links