Jul 032018
 

The Body In The Ballroom by R.J. Koreto Banner

The Body in the Ballroom

by R.J. Koreto

on Tour July 1-31, 2018

Synopsis:

The Body in the Ballroom by R.J. Koreto

President Teddy Roosevelt’s daring daughter, Alice, leaps into action to exonerate a friend accused of poisoning a man just about everyone hated.

Alice Roosevelt, the brilliant, danger-loving daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt, has already risked an assassin’s bullet to solve one murder. She never expected to have to sleuth another, but she’d never pass up the opportunity, either. Anything to stave off boredom.

And such an opportunity presents itself when Alice is invited to a lavish ball. The high-society guests are in high spirits as they imbibe the finest wines. But one man, detested by nearly all the partygoers, quaffs a decidedly deadlier cocktail. An African-American mechanic, who also happens to be a good friend of former Rough Rider-turned-Secret Service Agent Joseph St. Clair, is suspected of the murder-by-poison, but Alice is sure he’s innocent and is back on the scene to clear his name.

From downtown betting parlors to uptown mansions, Alice and Agent St. Clair uncover forbidden romances and a financial deal that just might change the world. But neither Alice nor her would-be protector may survive the case at hand in The Body in the Ballroom, R. J. Koreto’s gripping second Alice Roosevelt mystery.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Mystery
Published by: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: June 12th 2018
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 1683315774 (ISBN13: 9781683315773)
Series: Alice Roosevelt Mystery #2
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Author Bio:

R.J. Koreto

R.J. Koreto has been fascinated by turn-of-the-century New York ever since listening to his grandfather’s stories as a boy.

In his day job, he works as a business and financial journalist. Over the years, he’s been a magazine writer and editor, website manager, PR consultant, book author, and seaman in the U.S. Merchant Marine. He’s a graduate of Vassar College, and like Alice Roosevelt, he was born and raised in New York.

He is the author of the Lady Frances Ffolkes and Alice Roosevelt mysteries. He has been published in both Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. He also published a book on practice management for financial professionals.

With his wife and daughters, he divides his time between Rockland County, N.Y., and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

 

Q&A with R.J. Koreto

Welcome!
Writing and Reading:

Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?

Both! This book uses real-life characters in fictional situations and even some fictional characters are based on actual historical figures. Immigration and race—very much in the news today—was also a huge issue 100 years ago. I hoped to bring some perspective to the discussions by showing Irish, Jewish and African-American New Yorkers trying to find their place in a changing America at the turn of the century.

But it’s not all serious! I have the 18-year-old Alice Roosevelt throwing some jealous hissy fits when her bodyguard, ex-Rough Rider Joseph St. Clair, starts showing an interest in a woman journalist. Alice would never admit to an attraction for the handsome cowboy, who just sees her as a little sister anyway, but that doesn’t mean she wants another woman to have him. I have a friend who had a very jealous girlfriend many years ago, so those scenes practically wrote themselves.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?

I start with the basics of “whodunit” from the beginning. I know who committed the murder even as I write the first paragraph. It’s like erecting a scaffold, and then putting in the bricks one by one. If you don’t have a plan, you find yourself going in directions that take you nowhere.

The tricky part is adding all the people who could have done it, to keep the reader puzzled.

But I try to remain flexible, too. Sometimes when they’re down on paper, plotlines are less interesting than they were in my head, while other possibilities present themselves.

Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?

I’ve long been a journalist, and the character of society reporter Felicia Meadows was based on some journalists I’ve known over the years. The newspaper business has long been male-dominated, even many years after my book takes place, and women were often pushed into what were considered appropriate topics for women, like society gossip and fashion. So I had a lot of fun creating Miss Meadows, imaging how tough and bright she’d have to be to make it in those times as she tries to get herself a frontpage story.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?

I usually write evening and weekends, and I don’t like it if it’s too quiet. Music or TV in the background is necessary. And soda, with lots of ice. I drink way too much diet Coke.

Tell us why we should read this book.

It really comes down to relationships. This may be too much of a blanket statement, but I think it’s largely true that although readers like a clever plot and a relatable theme, they really want engaging characters who play off his each other well. I have the 30-year-old Wyoming-native Joseph St. Clair, whose formal schooling ended at 14, and who has been a cowboy, deputy sheriff, Rough Rider, and now Secret Service agent guarding Alice Roosevelt. She, meanwhile, is only 18, born to great wealth and privilege in New York City. One reviewer commented that the two of them are continually fascinated with each other, as they try to understand each other’s way of looking at the world, and that’s the relationship that keeps the reader interested.

My model was Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe and his assistant Archie Goodwin. They are utterly different and struggle to understand each other, but you can’t imagine them without each other. They can hardly function without each other.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Such a wide range. I used to read a lot of science fiction, especially Isaac Asimov, who was capable of such breathtaking visions.

Among classic mystery stories, I like Rex Stout for his witty dialog and rich characterization; Agatha Christie for her brilliant plotting skills; and Georges Simenon, who could set a scene like nobody else.

What are you reading now?

I just finished “City of Lies,” by Victoria Thompson, an author who excels at portraying strong, independent women in historical periods. I’ve been a fan of her older “Gaslight Mystery” series and this new series is off to a terrific start. She has long been an inspiration to me.

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?

I’m very excited about my next project, which is the most ambitious book I’ve tried writing. In Victorian England, young police constable Alan Heath, in a rural village, comes across the brutally murdered body of the Earl’s daughter, a young woman he’s known his whole life. On and off for over 30 years Heath tries to solve the murder in a career that takes him to London and India and the battlefields of World War I. Only on the eve of his retirement, as a high-ranking detective at Scotland Yard in the 1920s, does Heath finally pull it all together. Over the years, we see him change, England change, and the Earl’s family decline in the war’s aftermath, as if the unsolved murder has cursed them.

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?

That’s always a tough one! Emma Watson, who played Hermione in the Harry Potter movies, might make a good Alice. She doesn’t really resemble Alice but I think she could do a great job with Alice’s imperious tone.

For Agent St. Clair, a young Paul Newman would’ve been great. St. Clair provides a lot of humor in the book, and Newman could do comedy very well.

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
In addition to writing, my wife and I like taking our Yellow Labrador Retriever, Rose, for long walks.

Favorite meal?
My wife makes a winter dish of pan-fried porkchops with apples. With a cold beer on the side, there’s nothing better.

Thank you for stopping by CMash Reads and spending time with us.

 

Catch Up With R.J. Koreto On:
Website 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

 

Read an excerpt:

President Roosevelt and I were just finishing out talk when A moment later, the office door opened, and Mr. Wilkie, the Secret Service director, walked in. I stood to greet him.

“St. Clair. Glad to see you’re back. Very pleased with the way it went in St. Louis.” He turned to the president. “Have you spoken to him yet, sir?”

“Yes, and he’s agreed.” Wilkie looked relieved, too.

“Very good then. If you’re done, sir, I’ll take St. Clair to her. My understanding is that arrangements have been made for Miss Roosevelt to leave tomorrow afternoon.”

“Exactly. We’re all done then. St. Clair, thanks again. And I’ll be up in the near future, so I expect to see you again soon.” We shook hands, and I followed Mr. Wilkie out the door.

“Is she smoking on the roof again, sir?” I asked. That’s what happened the first time I met Alice in the White House.

He grimaced. “No. My understanding is that she is in the basement indulging a new hobby of hers. But you’ll see.” He led me downstairs, and that’s when I heard the unmistakable sounds of gunfire. Mr. Wilkie didn’t seem worried, however. “Miss Roosevelt somehow got hold of a pistol and has set up her own private firing range in a storage room. We launched an investigation to figure out how Miss Roosevelt obtained such a weapon but were unable to reach a formal conclusion, I’m sorry to say.”

No wonder they wanted me back.

And just as when Mr. Wilkie had sent me to get Alice off the roof, he once again cleaned his glasses on his handkerchief, shook my hand, wished me luck, and departed.

I heard one more shot, and that was it. She was probably reloading. The sound came from behind a double door at the end of the hallway. I carefully opened it, and she didn’t notice at first.

I watched her concentrating on the pistol, her tongue firmly between her teeth as she carefully focused on reloading. It was an old Smith & Wesson single-action, and she was damn lucky she hadn’t blown her own foot off. She was shooting at a mattress propped against the far wall, and from the wide scattering of holes, it was clear her marksmanship needed a lot of practice.

“A little more patience, Miss Alice. You’re jerking the trigger; that’s why you keep shooting wild. And that gun’s too big for you.”

It was a pleasure to see the look of shock and joy on her face. She just dropped the gun onto a box and practically skipped to me, giving me a girlish hug. “Mr. St. Clair, I have missed you.” She looked up. “And I know you have missed me. They say you’re back on duty with me. We’re heading to New York tomorrow, and we’ll have breakfast together like we used to and walk to the East Side through Central Park and visit your sister Mariah.”

I couldn’t do anything but laugh. “We’ll do all that, Miss Alice. But I’m on probation from your aunt, so we have to behave ourselves. You have to behave yourself.”

“I always behave.” She waved her hand to show that the discussion had ended. “Now there must be a trick to loading revolvers because it takes me forever.”

“I’ll teach you. Someday.” I made sure the revolver was unloaded and stuck it in my belt. Then I scooped up the cartridges and dumped them in my pocket.

“Hey, that’s my revolver,” said Alice. “It took me a lot of work to get it.”

“You’re not bringing it to New York, that’s for sure, Miss Alice.”

She pouted. “I thought you’d relax a little after being in St. Louis.”

“And I thought you’d grow up a little being in Washington. You want to walk into the Caledonia like a Wild West showgirl? Anyway, don’t you have some parties to go to up there?”

“Oh, very well. But promise me you’ll take me to a proper shooting range in New York and teach me how to load and fire your New Service revolver.”

“We’ll see. Meanwhile, if you don’t upset your family or Mr. Wilkie between now and our departure tomorrow, I’ll buy you a beer on the train.” That made her happy.

We walked upstairs as she filled me in on White House gossip.

“Oh, and I heard you were in a fast draw in St. Louis and gunned down four men.” She looked up at me curiously.

“A little exaggeration,” I said. I hadn’t killed anyone in St. Louis, hadn’t even fired my revolver, except for target practice.

“You didn’t kill anyone?” she asked, a little disappointed.

“No. No one.”

But then her face lit up. “Because your reputation proceeded you, and they knew there was no chance of outdrawing you.”

“That must be it,” I said.

“But look on the bright side,” she said, still full of cheer. “New York is a much bigger city. Maybe you’ll get a chance to shoot someone there.”

***

Excerpt from The Body in the Ballroom by R.J. Koreto. Copyright © 2018 by R.J. Koreto. Reproduced with permission from R.J. Koreto. All rights reserved.

 

Tour Participants:

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Jul 022018
 

Three Shoeboxes

by Steven Manchester

July 1-August 31, 2018 Tour

 

Three Shoeboxes by Steven Manchester

Synopsis:

Mac Anderson holds life in the palm of his hand. He has a beautiful wife, three loving children, a comfortable home, and a successful career. Everything is perfect—or so it seems. Tragically, Mac is destined to learn that any sense of security can quickly prove false. Because an invisible enemy called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has invaded Mac’s fragile mind and it is about to drop him to his knees. He does all he can to conceal his inner chaos, but to no avail. Left to contend with ignorance, an insensitive justice system, and the struggles of an invisible disease, he loses everything—most importantly his family.

One shoebox might store an old pair of sneakers. Two shoeboxes might contain a lifetime of photographs. But in Three Shoeboxes, a father’s undying love may be just enough to make things right again.

 

Details

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Published by: The Story Plant

Publication Date: June 12th 2018

Number of Pages: 285

ISBN: 1611882605 (ISBN13: 9781611882605)

Purchase Links:   AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, & Goodreads

 

Check out my review HERE and enter the giveaway!

 

Author Bio:

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div class=”download”>Steven Manchester

Steven Manchester is the author of the #1 bestsellers Twelve Months, The Rockin’ Chair, Pressed Pennies, and Gooseberry Island, the national bestseller Ashes, and the novels Goodnight, Brian and The Changing Season. His work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning, and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of Manchester’s short stories were selected “101 Best” for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

 

Q&A with Steven Manchester

Welcome!
Thanks so much for having me. I really appreciate it!

Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?

The vast majority of the time, the ideas for my books come from real-life. My books are normally about relationships and the challenges that we all must overcome. The underlying theme for each is that “none of us is ever alone.”

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?

I begin with a storyboard, starting at the beginning. Once the plot is fleshed out (mostly), I begin with character development and this is where I spend a lot of time and effort. Once the characters are well-developed, it’s a much easier journey to take—as I now know how they’ll act, recat, speak, etc.. There have been times when the characters will surprise me. Usually, I know exactly where we’re going to end and how (thanks to the storyboard).

Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?

I draw from real-life, co my characters are a mix of real people. I change names, identities and mix characteristics of different people in a blender until I have exactly what I’m looking for. In the end, these fictional characters are as real to me as anyone else…because they started that way.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?

The greatest challenge for me has been time. First and foremost, I am a dad and my children come first. After that, there are other responsibilities that need my attention. Yet, my passion to write has constantly gnawed at my soul. To overcome the obstacle of time, I made writing a priority over watching TV and sometimes even sleeping. Once my family is taken care of and the world closes its eyes, I’m up for a few more hours each day—chasing my dreams on paper.

Funny is it may sound, I usually write in the dining room because it’s at the end of the house and there are little to no distractions there. We only walk through the dining room to take the dog out to do her business. And—I’m usually the guy letting her out.

Tell us why we should read this book.

I am known as an author who pens “feel good tear-jerkers that celebrate the strength of the human spirit.” I honestly can’t tell you how much Three Shoeboxes—and the depth of its message—means to me.

Synopsis: Mac Anderson holds life in the palm of his hand. He has a beautiful wife, three loving children, a comfortable home and successful career. Everything is perfect—or so it seems. Tragically, Mac is destined to learn that any sense of security can quickly prove false. After a horrific auto accident, an invisible enemy called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D.) invades Mac’s fragile mind and drops him to his knees. He does all he can to conceal his inner-chaos, but to no avail. Left to contend with ignorance, an insensitive justice system and the struggles of an invisible disease, his family is taken from him.

One shoebox might store an old pair of sneakers. Two shoeboxes could contain a lifetime of photographs. But in Three Shoeboxes, a father’s undying love may be just enough to make things right again.

I suffered from PTSD for five solid years after my service in the first Gulf War. I’m also a dad who loves his children more than anything else in the world. When you put them together, you get a story that’s sure to emotionally move you.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

There are too many to list. Stephen King, Mitch Albom, most of the classics (from Harper Lee to John Steinbeck). Lou Aronica and the work published by The Story Plant. Each one has been a teacher of mine.

What are you reading now?

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs (again).

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?

I’ve been at full speed ahead for 10 solid years, releasing one novel after the next. The sponge has been wrung out pretty good. I plan to take the summer to allow that sponge to absorb more ideas and energy. I’ll be back at it in the fall (I could never stay away too long).

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?

David Morse as the father; Michelle Williams as the mother. And for the three kids—whoever Disney sends our way. 

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?

Reading, exercising, fine dining—and most importantly, spending time with my family.

Favorite meal?

Pasta with clams in a white wine sauce.

Thank you for stopping by CMash Reads and spending time with us.

THANK YOU!!!

Connect with Steven at: stevenmanchester.com | Twitter – @AuthorSteveM | Facebook – @AuthorStevenManchester

Jul 012018
 

Three Shoeboxes

by Steven Manchester

July 1-August 31, 2018 Tour

 

Three Shoeboxes by Steven Manchester

Synopsis:

Mac Anderson holds life in the palm of his hand. He has a beautiful wife, three loving children, a comfortable home, and a successful career. Everything is perfect—or so it seems. Tragically, Mac is destined to learn that any sense of security can quickly prove false. Because an invisible enemy called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has invaded Mac’s fragile mind and it is about to drop him to his knees. He does all he can to conceal his inner chaos, but to no avail. Left to contend with ignorance, an insensitive justice system, and the struggles of an invisible disease, he loses everything—most importantly his family.

One shoebox might store an old pair of sneakers. Two shoeboxes might contain a lifetime of photographs. But in Three Shoeboxes, a father’s undying love may be just enough to make things right again.

 

Details

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Published by: The Story Plant

Publication Date: June 12th 2018

Number of Pages: 285

ISBN: 1611882605 (ISBN13: 9781611882605)

Purchase Links:   AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, & Goodreads

 

MY THOUGHTS/REVIEW

I wanted to share my review again because I feel it has such an important message

5 stars

He has done it again! Steven Manchester, as I have said in the past, is the master storyteller in matters of the heart. But this time, he raised the bar even higher.

THREE SHOEBOXES is a raw and emotional read, of a family that is dealing with P.T.S.D, depression, anxiety and severe panic attacks, and how it not only affects the person afflicted but those that love and care for him. A realistic look at the struggle and the power to overcome.

Mac Anderson, husband and father of 3, starts having intense episodes of anxiety but not sure why. These episodes begin to increase not only in severity but also in frequency until they are totally consuming him. As he turns inward, he starts to self-medicate, which results in angry outbursts, alienating his wife and children and jeopardizing his job. And to the lowest point of being arrested for domestic assault.

A story that will have you so frustrated with Mac one minute and rooting for him the next. A somber realism of the effects of mental illness that still holds a stigma today.

What’s in those THREE SHOEBOXES? You will have to read this exceptional novel to find out. But a warning, have the tissues close by.

An intense and compelling read of a serious disease and the triumph of faith, will, determination and love.

Having read many of Steven Manchester’s books, I truly believe his writing is like a fine wine. It only gets better with age.

Steven Manchester brings home the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for THREE SHOEBOXES.

I can’t stress enough what an extraordinary and powerful book this is!!!!!! Highly recommend!!!!

Check out my reviews on his previous books:
TWELVE MONTHS, GOODNIGHT, BRIAN, THE ROCKIN’ CHAIR, PRESSED PENNIES, ASHES, and THE THURSDAY NIGHT CLUB

Stop by tomorrow for my interview with Steven Manchester

 

Pre-publication endorsements:

“Compelling and emotional, Three Shoeboxes takes readers on a heart-wrenching journey through some of life’s toughest challenges, always with the ever-present sense of the transforming power of love and hope. Three Shoeboxes is Steven Manchester at his finest.” – Carla Neggers, NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author, Harbor Island and Echo Lake

Raw, moving and brutally honest—Steven Manchester takes you on an emotional rollercoaster. Grab your tissues for this heart-wrenching story—better yet, grab a box full!” – Tanya Anne Crosby, NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author, The Girl Who Stayed "

Three Shoeboxes is a compassionate, accessible portrait of a vitally important topic, PTSD, how it affects the sufferer and the family—and how to find hope and healing." – Jenna Blum, NYT & International Bestselling Author, Those Who Save Us and Storm Chasers

Three Shoeboxes is terrific writing. Manchester’s protagonist’s life becomes nightmarish, his rage palpable, and his ultimate redemption breathtaking. It was enough to bring this reader to tears.” – John Lansing, #1 Bestselling Author, The Devil’s Necktie

 

Read an excerpt:

Mac jumped up, panting like an obese dog suffering in a heat wave. His heart drummed out of his chest. Startled from a sound sleep, he didn’t know what was wrong. He leapt out of bed and stumbled toward the bathroom. He couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t think. There’s something wrong, he finally thought, I…I need help. He searched frantically for an enemy. There was none. As he stared at the frightened man in the mirror, he considered calling out to his sleeping wife. She has enough to worry about with the kids, he thought, but was already hurrying toward her. “Jen,” he said in a strained whisper.

She stirred but didn’t open her eyes.

The constricted chest, sweaty face and shaking hands made Mac wonder whether he was standing at death’s door, cardiac arrest being his ticket in. I have to do something now, he thought, or I’m a goner. “Jen,” he said louder, shaking her shoulder.

One eye opened. She looked up at him.

“It’s happening again,” he said in a voice that could have belonged to a frightened little boy.

Jen shot up in bed. “What is it?”

“I…I can’t breathe. My heart keeps fluttering and I feel…”

“I’m calling an ambulance,” she said, fumbling for her cell phone.

“No,” he said instinctively, “it’ll scare the kids.”

She looked up at him like he was crazy.

“I’ll go to the emergency room right now!” Grabbing for a pair of pants, he started to slide into them.

Jen sprang out of the bed. “I’ll call my mom and have her come over to watch the kids. In the meantime, Jillian can…”

Mac shook his foggy head, halting her. “No, I’m okay to drive,” he said, trying to breathe normally.

“But babe,” she began to protest, fear glassing over her eyes.

“I’ll text you as soon as I get there,” he promised, “and then call you just as soon as they tell me what the hell’s going on.”

Jen’s eyes filled. “Oh Mac…”

He shot her a smile, at least he tried to, before rushing out of the house and hyperventilating all the way to the hospital.

I’m here, Mac texted Jen before shutting off the ringer on his phone.

The scowling intake nurse brought him right in at the mention of “chest pains.” Within minutes, the E.R. staff went to work like a well-choreographed NASCAR pit crew, simultaneously drawing blood while wiring his torso to a portable EKG machine.

As quickly as the team had responded, they filed out of the curtained room. A young nurse, yanking the sticky discs from Mac’s chest, feigned a smile. “Try to relax, Mr. Anderson. It may take a little bit before the doctor receives all of your test results.”

For what seemed like forever, Mac sat motionless on the hospital gurney, a white curtain drawn around him. I hope it isn’t my heart, he thought, the kids are still so young and they need…

“Who do we have in number four?” a female voice asked just outside of Mac’s alcove.

Mac froze to listen in.

“Some guy who came in complaining of chest pains,” another voice answered at a strained whisper. “Test results show nothing. Just another anxiety attack.”

No way, Mac thought, not knowing whether he should feel insulted or relieved.

“Like we have time to deal with that crap,” the first voice said. “Can you imagine if men had to give birth?”

Both ladies laughed.

No friggin’ way, Mac thought before picturing his wife’s frightened face. She must be worried sick. But I can’t call her without talking to the doctor. She’d…

The curtain snapped open, revealing a young man in a white lab coat with a stethoscope hanging around his neck.

This kid can’t be a doctor, Mac thought, the world suddenly feeling like it had been turned upside down.

“Your heart is fine, Mr. Anderson,” the doctor quickly reported, his eyes on his clipboard. “I’m fairly certain you suffered a panic attack.” He looked up and grinned, but even his smile was rushed. “Sometimes the symptoms can mirror serious physical ailments.”

Mac was confused, almost disappointed. So, what I experienced wasn’t serious? he asked in his head.

The young man scribbled something onto a small square pad, tore off the top sheet and handed it to Mac. “This’ll make you feel better,” he said, prescribing a sedative that promised to render Mac more useless than the alleged attack.

“Ummm…okay,” Mac said, his face burning red.

The doctor nodded. “Stress is the number one cause of these symptoms,” he concluded. “Do you have someone you can talk to?”

Mac returned the nod, thinking, I need to get the hell out of here. Although he appreciated the concern, he was mired in a state of disbelief. I’m a master of the corporate rat race, he thought, unable to accept the medicine man’s spiel. If anyone knows how to survive stress, it’s me.

“That’s great,” the doctor said, vanishing as quickly as he’d appeared.

My problem is physical, Mac confirmed in his head, it has to be. He finished tying his shoes.

Pulling back the curtain, he was met by the stare of several female nurses. He quickly applied his false mask of strength and smiled. A panic attack, he repeated to himself. When put into words, the possibility was chilling.

The nurses smiled back, each one of them wearing the same judgmental smirk.

With his jacket tucked under his arm, Mac started down the hallway. Sure, he thought, I have plenty of people I can talk to. He pulled open the door that led back into the crowded waiting room. That is, if I actually thought it was anxiety.

Mac sat in the parking lot for a few long minutes, attempting to process the strange events of the last several days. Although he felt physically tired, there weren’t any symptoms or residual effects of the awful episodes he’d experienced—not a trace of the paralyzing terror I felt. And they just came out of the blue. He shook his head. How can it not be physical? He thought about the current state of his life. Work is work, it’s always going to come with a level of stress, but that’s nothing out of the ordinary. He shook his head again. I just don’t get it. He grabbed his cell phone and called Jen. “Hi, it’s me.”

“Are you okay?” she asked, the worry in her voice making him feel worse.

“I’m fine, babe.”

“Fine?” she said, confused. “What did the doctor say?”

“He said it’s not my heart.”

“Oh, thank God.”

Her reaction—although completely understandable—struck him funny, making him feel like the boy who cried wolf.

“So what is it then?” she asked.

He hesitated, feeling oddly embarrassed to share the unbelievable diagnosis.

“Mac?”

“The doctor thinks it was a…a panic attack.”

This time, she paused. “A panic attack?” she repeated, clearly searching for more words. Then, as a born problem solver, she initiated her usual barrage of questions. “Did they give you something for it? Is there any follow up?”

“Yes, and maybe.”

“What does that mean?”

“He gave me pills that I’d rather not take if I don’t need to. And he suggested I go talk to someone.”

“Talk to someone? You mean like a therapist?”

“I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant.”

“Oh,” she said, obviously taken aback. “Then that’s exactly what you should do.”

“I don’t know…”

“Is there something bothering you I don’t know about, Mac,” she asked, “because you can talk to me, too, you know.”

“I know, babe. But there’s nothing bothering me, honest.” He took a deep breath. “For what it’s worth, I don’t buy the anxiety attack diagnosis.”

“Well, whatever you were feeling this morning was real enough, right? I could see it in your face. It wouldn’t hurt anything for you to go talk to someone.” She still sounded scared and he hated it.

“Maybe not,” he replied, appeasing her. In the back of his head, though, he was already contemplating how much he should continue to share with her—or protect her from. “I need to get to work,” he said.

“Why don’t you just take the day off and relax?” she suggested.

Here we go, he thought. “I wish I could, babe,” he said, “but we have way too much going on at the office right now.”

“And maybe that’s part of your problem,” she said.

“I’ll be fine, Jen,” he promised. “We’ll talk when I get home, okay?”

“Okay.”

“Love you,” he said.

“And I love you,” she said in a tone intended for him to remember it.

***

Excerpt from Three Shoeboxes by Steven Manchester. Copyright © 2018 by Steven Manchester. Reproduced with permission from The Story Plant. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

Steven Manchester

Steven Manchester is the author of the #1 bestsellers Twelve Months, The Rockin’ Chair, Pressed Pennies, and Gooseberry Island, the national bestseller Ashes, and the novels Goodnight, Brian and The Changing Season. His work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning, and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of Manchester’s short stories were selected “101 Best” for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

Connect with Steven at: stevenmanchester.com | Twitter – @AuthorSteveM | Facebook – @AuthorStevenManchester

 

Tour Host Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

 

ENTER TO WIN:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Steven Manchester. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card and 3 winners of one (1) print copy of Steven Manchester’s ASHES. The giveaway begins on July 1, 2018 and runs through September 1, 2018. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Find Your Next Great Read at Providence Book Promotions!

Jun 302018
 

I am taking part in the 2018 Book Blog Discussion Challenge hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight!

The last Saturday of the month, I will be recapping the books I have read for the month, what I thought and the links to my reviews, and what I hope to read the following month.

June Books Read

SELECTED by J. Allen Wolfrum
Comments: This book was so engrossing that I finished it in one sitting. Review scheduled to post July 17th.

THE MARRIAGE LIE by Kimberly Belle
Comments: WOW! What a read! Click on the title to see my review. Looking forward to her next book!

THE SUPER LADIES by Susan Petrone Comments: Another book I read in one sitting. Review to be posted Aug. 18th

A MOTHER’S LIE by Jo Crow
Comments: This one had so many twists and turns. Loved it! Click on the title to see my review.

The Last Weekend Of The Summer by Peter Murphy
Comments: I really enjoyed this one!. I will be posting this review in September when it is scheduled to tour with Providence Book Promotions

Current Read

THREE DAYS MISSING by Kimberly Belle
Comments: I won this book from the author during a giveaway she sponsored. After reading THE MARRIAGE LIE, I entered. Can’t wait to start turning the pages.

Upcoming July TBRs

Comments: To be honest, I have SO many books on my shelves and Kindle, I’m not sure which one will be next. I guess it will depend on my mood. But if you have recently read a book that you couldn’t put down, let me know, it could end up being one of my July reads!

Your Turn

  • What did you finish reading this month
  • What book(s) should I add to my TBR list