Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Page 69 Test: *ORANGE CITY* by Lee Matthew Goldberg #page69


They say if you want to really find a good book, go to page 69 (the middle and meat of the book) and you like it, it's definitely worth reading. For today's feature, I'm zooming in on page 69 of Lee Matthew Goldberg's new scifi / dystopian novel, ORANGE CITY


Imagine a secret, hidden City that gives a second chance at life for those selected to come: felons, deformed outcasts, those on the fringe of the Outside World. Everyone gets a job, a place to live; but you are bound to the City forever. You can never leave.

Its citizens are ruled by a monstrous figure called the “Man” who resembles a giant demented spider from the lifelike robotic limbs attached to his body. Everyone follows the Man blindly, working hard to make their Promised Land stronger, too scared to defy him and be discarded to the Empty Zones.

After ten years as an advertising executive, Graham Weatherend receives an order to test a new client, Pow Sodas. After one sip of the orange flavor, he becomes addicted, the sodas causing wild mood swings that finally wake him up to the prison he calls reality.

A dynamic mash-up of 1984 meets LOST, Orange City is a lurid, dystopian first book in a series that will continue with the explosive sequel Lemonworld.

Legalized gambling in joints that resembled speakeasies. Strips for drag racing marked by burned tires and the occasional lost limb. Men and women prostitutes in darkened, life-sized glass tubes with computerized menus of everything they’d allow. Ear-splitting electronic music halls loud enough to literally stop you from thinking until you were consumed by the throbbing beats. Laughing Gas Lounges for those unable to laugh on their own anymore. Millions of different ways for everyone to spend all of their Stipends and release whatever had been pent up inside.

 Graham zoomed there in a cab that cost him over a hundred Stipends, since he lived on the other side of The City. After passing through Empty Zones, the Downtown’s colored glass structures glinted in the night like a prism. Its energy made him tingle and he rolled down his windows to let it all pour in. The colored glass buildings were twinkling and delightful, candy for his eyes. Translucent screens of commercials hovered in the air above, schilling products. A digital forty-foot geisha hawking her Cream of the Orient lotion, her face powder white with a come-hither wink in her giant eye. Near her, an ad with two life-sized bees, post-coital, puffing on Smoke ‘Em cigarettes in bed and buzzing that Smoke ‘Ems were the bees’ knees. Graham’s creative team spent weeks on that one, and he was in awe that when the people of the Downtown looked up into the night, they were influenced by something he’d sacrificed many days to bring to life. 

The cab sped until it hit Excess Street and the heart of the Downtown. A woman lay in a giant martini glass on the roof of a bar, beckoning for him to come inside. Nearby, a line of people in masks waited to get into Anonymous, a club that required you leave your identity 

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

🏰 Interview Featuring *THE TORMENTING BEAUTY OF EMPATHY* by Richard Robbins #interview


Empathy. I just love that word. I have the perfect literary/spiritual fiction book for you to read. THE TORMENTING BEAUTY OF EMPATHY by Richard Robbins. Read all about it along with the most interesting interview with Richard. First, find out more about the author and his book...

Richard Robbins’ novels explore the complexities of family dynamics to address important moral questions, while imparting a strong sense of location. His first novel, Love, Loss, and Lagniappe takes to the streets of New Orleans and New York City to explore the journey of self-discovery after heartbreaking loss, while revealing the scientific basis for the meaning of life. His second novel, Panicles, covers the lives of two intertwined families in and around Washington DC, while addressing the price of fame and fortune.

His new release, The Tormenting Beauty of Empathy, follows Hana, a young Guatemalan immigrant mute from childhood tragedy, as her quiet life is upended by the birth of a daughter who turns out to be different. And special. The kind of special that soon draws worldwide attention, for the better, and worse…

Richard was named Louisiana Independent Author of the Year for 2020, and his works have won numerous awards, including the Feathered Quill Book Awards and the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. He lives in New Orleans and New York City with his wife Lisa, near their beloved grown children.




As a book bloggin’ and book luvin’ Princess, I’m always curious to find out how authors got the ideas for their books.  Can you tell us how you got the idea to write your book?

Like many others, I have been troubled by the anger and tribalism in today’s culture, and the inability of some to empathize with the plight of other human beings. I have also felt that some of those who claim to be the most righteous or religious are actually the least kind and tolerant, behaving directly counter to the teachings of the major religions. I have tried to address those issues in this work. Hopefully it will cause at least one person to reevaluate their motivations and actions, and perhaps open themselves emotionally and spiritually to the needs of others.

Can you tell us a little about the main characters of your book?

The book is broken up into two main parts, following the two main characters, mother and daughter. The mother is Hana, who we first see as a child growing up in civil war torn Guatemala. She witnesses a horrible tragedy and becomes mute from the trauma. She eventually makes her way to America, and has a daughter, Josefa, who is different and special. The second half of the book follows Josefa from birth to her eventual destiny as she changes the world.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would that be?

I loved to write as a child but put it aside to pursue a more traditional career, before coming back to it later in life. I would tell my younger self to be patient, keep writing, and that eventually you will find an outlet for your creativity.

What would you say is one of your interesting writing quirks?

My works tend to span a generation or more. I like to follow people over the course of their lives, to see the impacts of major events and decisions on their outlooks and world views. People can change and evolve, and those changes fascinate me. I also like to tackle important moral and philosophical issues, and am not afraid to take a side and justify that stance.

Do you hear from your readers?  What do they say?

I love, love to hear back from readers. Their advice and criticism make me a better writer, and their praise, well, everybody likes praise. I particularly enjoy when a reader feels passionate about one of my character’s decisions, even if they disagree with that decision. That happened in my first book, when the lead character makes a life changing decision which many readers disagreed with. The readers will sometimes express it to me as if it were a weakness in the book, but to me, it is a strength. The fact that they feel so strongly means the character feels real to them, and the decision reached them on an emotional level. When I get that reaction, I feel like I have succeeded.

What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

I had one negative review that said the book was boring. Boring? My books may not be the next great American novel, but boring they are not.

What has been your best accomplishment?

In life, my marriage and raising my three children. In writing, the ability to have my work express what it was meant to express. I write for me, and when I’m done, the standard by which I judge the work is whether it came out the way I intended. I have received a number of honors and awards, including being named Louisiana Independent Author of the Year, and they are all nice and greatly appreciated, but for me, as long as the work comes the way I wanted, I’m happy.

Do you Google yourself?

No, I know who I am. I prefer to be outward looking, rather than inward. I prefer the physical over the virtual, and am more interested in friends and family than myself.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I work on one book at a time. I prefer to stay focused, and this helps. I will start the next book right after the prior one has gone through the editing process, but before its publication. I have already finished the first draft of my next work, which will be my first historical fiction, based on the founding of the American Mafia in New Orleans.

Fun question – if you were princess or prince, what’s one thing you would do to make your kingdom a better place?

I’d eliminate one sided, partisan media networks. I believe people are rational and considerate by nature, and when presented with a range of viewpoints can come to reasonable conclusions, even if those conclusions differ. However, when people are only presented one side of an issue, whichever side that may be, their eventual conclusions are so divergent that they cannot understand the other person’s viewpoint, which leads to division, and ultimately violence.

That, and free college and health care for all…

Do you have anything specific that you would like to say to your readers?

Thank you for considering my work. I hope it brings you happiness, and allows you to consider some moral and ethical issues in a new light, with love and empathy.

Author: Fiona Ingram
Publisher: Bublish Inc.
Pages: 318
Genre: Juvenile (preteen) / Action / Adventure


A plane crash! Lost in the jungle! Hunted by their old enemy, will Adam, Justin, and Kim survive long enough to find the Third Stone of Power? With only a young boy, Tukum, as their guide, the kids make their way through the dense and dangerous jungle to find the lost city of stone gods, where the Stone of Power might be located. River rafting on a crocodile-infested river and evading predators are just part of this hazardous task. Of course, their old adversary Dr. Khalid is close behind as the kids press on. But he is not the worst of their problems. This time Adam will clash with a terrible enemy who adopts the persona of an evil Aztec god, Tezcatlipoca, and is keen to revive the ancient tradition of human sacrifice. Adam, Justin, and Tukum must play a dreadful ball game of life and death and maybe survive. Will they emerge alive from the jungle? Will Dr. Khalid find the third Stone of Power before they do?


“Action, danger, and excitement are the key words for the riveting adventure novel, The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper … Its spellbinding storyline explores the history of the Aztec and Maya gods and their cities with exceptional accuracy; this is one of those books you can’t put down. With authentic historical facts expertly woven into this spectacular action-packed fiction series, no one of any age can resist its magnetism. This is a fascinating and exciting fiction story created with expertise and finesse, which educates while entertaining the reader.”

— Susan Williams, for Readers Favorite

USA Book Awards:

  • Winner Pre-teen Readers’ Favorite Book Awards 2017
  • Winner Book Excellence Awards 2018
  • NYC Big Book Awards Distinguished Favorite 2018

Read the first chapter and receive a free download of The Young Explorer’s Companion Guide, a nonfiction guide to the journey and cover history, geography, mythology and subject kids will love to learn more about. In this guide, your child will discover the story behind The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper and experience the history of the Maya and Aztecs as well as who was the ancient priest-king Topiltzin and why he is important.

Click here to read the first chapter and download your free copy of The Young Explorer’s Companion Guide!


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Monday, April 5, 2021

🏰 ADULT SUPERVISION REQUIRED by Sarah Peis Available for Preorder!


She wants a better life for her kids. He wants the money her ex owns his club. When their worlds collide, this broody hot boy might just realize how well the single mom fits into his life…

By Sarah Peis

Author: Sarah Peis
Publisher: Hexatorial
Genre: Romantic Comedy


“We don’t lick people.”

“Don’t we?”

Nora Lindberg doesn’t let life get her down. Disowned by her family and left by the man who was supposed to love her for the rest of their lives, she packs up her kids and goes in search of a second chance.

The small town she lands in was supposed to be her fresh start, her chance at a better life. But instead, she’s a broke single mom who spends her nights looking for the chocolate she hid from her kids.

When her ex lands on the local Motorcycle Club’s most wanted list and leads them straight to her door, her life is once again turned upside down.

But maybe a broody hot guy on a motorcycle is just the thing she never asked for but got anyway.

Now the only question is: Will he be her saviour or her downfall?

This is a standalone romantic comedy. It releases on May 6.

“Why are you looking under the table? Your kids are still fast asleep upstairs,” Talon asked, watching me stick my head under the table.

“Just checking,” I muttered, my face feeling numb.

I’d had too much to drink. Five shots were too much for me. I hated tequila. But the guys looked so hopeful when I came back down. And then they offered me alcohol, and it felt rude to say no.

“Checking for what?” he asked, looking under the table as well.

“The orgies?” I said and slapped a hand over my mouth. That thought was supposed to stay in my head.

“Orgies? We don’t have orgies in the main room. And definitely not under the table. Not enough space,” Talon said and then broke out into roaring laughter.

I pushed him, his tall frame not moving an inch. “That’s not… I meant… it was just…”

“I think you’ve got bad reception. You’re cutting out,” Talon said, watching me with a twinkle in his eyes.

“You really thought we’d just all get down to business right here?” Gears asked, amusement evident on his face.

“I read books,” I said, blinking to clear my vision.

“Books of what? Orgies?”


Talon shook his head, his eyes still beaming with mirth. “You might see someone’s naked ass by the end of the night, but we keep the rest in our rooms. Sorry to disappoint.”

I’d come to realize that everyone was really easygoing. They all seemed to care about each other, liked to joke around, and welcomed me like I was their long-lost sister.

Being part of something meant a lot to me. Being part of a family, even if it wasn’t by blood, meant even more, especially since my own had discarded me so easily.

“I love you guys,” I declared, throwing my arms around Talon’s shoulders and my body into his arms, orgies forgotten.

He caught me, squeezing me around my middle. “How are you this drunk already?”

After hugging the other guys in the group that consisted of Gears, Grim, and a man they called Smoke, I settled back in my seat. I had a permanent smile attached to my face, my cheeks aching.

“I’m not drunk, you are,” I said, crossing my arms over my chest.

“You’ve had five shots over three hours and you can’t even figure out how to cross your arms. That’s the definition of a lightweight,” Gears said, taking a drink of his beer.

I looked down and noticed I hadn’t crossed my arms but instead was holding my own hand over my chest. Huh, I really thought I’d crossed them.

I squinted at the monitor sitting on the table. The image was grainy, but when I saw Luca and Lena still fast asleep, I relaxed back into the couch.

“So how did you meet Ace?” Gears asked. “You don’t seem like his type.”

“You mean he doesn’t like a woman with a brain? Or is it the kids? The half-Asian thing? You gotta be more specific here, dude.”

Grim smacked Gears over the head and murmured something to him, causing his face to blanch.

“Sorry, Nora, that’s not what I meant. Forget I said anything,” Gears said, his eyes shifting from me to Grim and back.

I waved him off, too drunk and happy to be offended by the comment. “Don’t worry about it. I know I’m not exactly a catch.”

Grim heaved himself up and squeezed in next to me. “Girl, if I was twenty years younger, I’d ask you to marry me today. You are the full package. You can cook, you’re gorgeous, you’re funny and smart, and did I mention you’re gorgeous?”

I leaned my head on his shoulder. “Thanks, Grim. That’s a really nice thing to say.”

“Don’t let Ace hear you,” Talon said from Grim’s other side. “He’ll make you disappear faster than you can say ‘wedding.’”

Grim grunted in agreement and patted my hand that was holding on to his bicep. “I don’t fear many things, but that man’s wrath is one of them. Sorry, girly, no marriage for us.”

“Shame. I was looking forward to it. I’ve never been married before.”

There was silence on the table and I sat up, brushing my hair out of my eyes. “What? I bet none of you have been either.”

“You didn’t marry the kids’ father?” Talon asked.

“Nope. We were together eight years, had two kids, and he always said it wasn’t the right time. Should have known something was up. But I guess I like to learn my life lessons the hard way. Anyway, it all worked out for the best, because there’s no way I could afford an attorney to get a divorce.”

“That deserves another drink,” Grim announced and got up.


Supporter of all things written, defender of the e-book revolution and master of the take out order – Sarah Peis is not afraid to admit she can’t cook, go a week without breaking something, read labels correctly or park cars in a straight line.

She loves the written word in all forms and shapes and if she’s not glued to a book, she’s attempting to write one. Sarah is a frequent blonde moment sufferer and still trying to figure out how to adult. She lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her two little humans, the holder of her heart and two furry demons. She loves to hear from readers so feel free to get in touch.



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