Spotlight of Karma’s Dilemma by Karma

~ Book Blitz ~
Karma’s Dilemma
by Karma

 

About the Book:

Karma, a young man, knows very well who his soulmate is. Or so he thinks.

But, really, who is the one?

The posh Angela who he worships. Or is it Sana, the wild racer, who drives him crazy. Or is it Simi, the sensible psychologist, who puts him back together.

Or maybe there is no one for him because of Karma’s deeds in his all-consuming quest as he scours the world has broken so many rules that, one day, karma, the immortal and unrelenting collector of soul-debt, comes calling for Karma, the mortal, himself.

The novel demonstrates the lengths one is willing to go to, the rules one is willing to break and the soul-debt one is willing to accumulate in the quest for a soulmate. Truly, everything is fair in love, even if not in war.

Will Karma the mortal outwit karma the immortal? Or will karma wipe Karma away…

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon

 

Read some Snippets from Karma’s Dilemma

~ Snippet 1 ~

Bengaluru, the city of gardens. The city with lovely weather. The city of the fashionable and the hep. The Silicon Valley of India.

No, that wasn’t my Bengaluru. My birthplace became a part of Bengaluru only when an estate agent wanted to sell you a house.

To understand why I wished for her, you also need to understand the background in which the wish was made. That established, the name of the small town where I was born was Hulimavu, which translated into English as sour mango. I haven’t been able to figure out exactly why someone would choose that name for a place, but I have a good guess; pregnant women loved sour mangoes and my town had a high birth rate. My town was fifteen kilometers from “proper” Bengaluru and its nearest claim to fame was being close to the Bannerghatta National Park, a forest reserve, where tigers lived in blissful ignorance of their nemesis, the army of sour mango eating women, whose children would probably take over tiger territory one day.

 

~ Snippet 2 ~

It was my mother who named me Karma. It so happened that my chosen name was Kumar, but I am told that the outspoken nurse, who looked after my mother at the hospital during childbirth, said: “Tell your husband that your undernourished body is not meant to be used as a child producing factory. You have already given him two sons, what more does he want? This child is not Kumar. He is karma, the karma of your husband’s lust, who almost took your life.”

“But he didn’t take my life. So, if he is anyone’s karma, he is mine. My good karma,” Mother replied and named me Karma.

 

Download a copy on 2nd May!



About the Author:

Dear Readers,

Before I tell you more about myself, I want to answer a question that might arise in your mind. Given there are already so many writers (some might think too many), the question is: Why should I write at all?

Simply, I write because I was not allowed to write. Or read any book which had the word love in it. In my family, it was believed that reading about love lead to rebellion. I myself picked up the pen when my only child was six-months-old. At that time, I was without a job. I wrote because there was a lot that I wanted to tell my child, even if one day in the future, to make sense of this world. Writing also helped me keep hope alive, one page at a time, as I went from one fruitless interview to another.

As my child took the first steps, I reached a milestone of my own. I completed my first book; the story of a young man’s quest to find answers to life’s questions. A boutique publisher in Paris loved it and translated my work into French. I even found a job soon after.

I am choosing to write under a pen-name because I am at a stage in my life where I prefer and love anonymity. Once my child is older, I intend to write under my own name.

Many thanks for reading my post and I hope you enjoy reading my novels.

Happy Reading!

Karma

 

 

Walking on the Path of Indie Publishing by Rubina Ramesh

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rubina vol 2

Walking on the Path of Indie Publishing by Rubina Ramesh is the second book in the series of The Writer’s Toolkit. The cover is simple as it is just a manual for publishing a book. The author has sectioned this book which explains the basic steps of publishing.

Besides writing a book there are many more steps which an author has to go through. This has been delineated by Rubina wonderfully. I especially loved the way the author has sited examples from her books and others.

Besides being a great writer, Rubina is a multi-talented person who is a pro at editing, beta reading, marketing and now kindle publishing.

Through her book, Rubina has given wings to the other authors who are struggling to find the right set of people for their book.

I am in awe with the Toolkit series. It is a must buy book and you can finish it in minutes. The contents of this book are more for implementing.

You can contact the author at : rubinaramesh1973@gmail.com to grab your copy.

 

Book Blitz of The Immortality Trigger by Douglas Misquita

~ The Immortality Trigger by Douglas Misquita ~
a Luc Fortesque adventure thriller
 
 
1945 
Allied paratroopers raid a secret Nazi research facility. The operation is reported as a success. But, the lone survivor, Benjamin Ezra, knows otherwise. 
 
2014 
A drug lord, El Fantasma threatens to plunge Colombia into an era of bloody drug wars. DEA Country Attaché, Zachary Mason is in charge of a covert operation to remove El Fantasma, with the help of a vigilante, El Angel, and a retired undercover agent, Raymond Garrett. 


In Naples, INTERPOL agent, Sabina Wytchoff, is investigating the death of her parents, when the Wytchoff family’s association with an ancient cabal comes under investigation. 
 
After the events of The Apocalypse Trigger, Luc Fortesque, is scouring the world for the man who tested experimental drugs on him. 


Wei Ling works for a shadow Transhumanist faction within China’s State Council, developing drugs that will enhance human longevity. 
 
Their paths will converge… violently… and conclude the mission that began in 1945.
 
The Immortality
Trigger is also available at all leading eBook retailers


Reviews for The Immortality Trigger:
 
“…with a
storyteller of Misquita’s caliber, you just may need Dramamine before the first
chapter is done.”
Bestthrillers.com
“For fans of the
fast-paced and modern tale with global reach that dabbles in history, this is a
perfect storm.”
Lydia Peever

 

 

“The Immortality Trigger cemented in my mind why
Douglas Misquita is my favourite Indian thriller author.”
Newton Lewis
 
 
Other books in the series:
         
 
 
 
Douglas Misquita is an action-adventure thriller writer from Mumbai, India. He hammered out his first novel on the keyboard of a laptop with half-a-working-screen, and has been churning out literary entertainment to the tune of a book-a-year. His books have been praised for their pace, locales, intertwined plots, research and visuals – it’s almost like watching a movie… only, this one unfolds across the pages of a book! 
 
 
Giveaway:

One Paperback Copy of The Immortality Trigger by Douglas Misquita

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Spotlight of Lean In To Relationships by Rishabh Jhol

Blog Tour by The Book Club of LEAN IN TO RELATIONSHIPS by Rishabh Jhol

 

 
LEAN IN TO RELATIONSHIPS
by
Rishabh Jhol
 
Blog Tour by The Book Club of LEAN IN TO RELATIONSHIPS by Rishabh Jhol
 
Blurb
 
Doubt has pivoted many a relationship across the centuries. Whether it is Othello suspicious of Desdemona or through the rise of paranoia as a trope in twentieth century writings. While paranoia naturally suggests the vulnerability of individual mind to social rhetoric, it is also the space for deep interrogation of the individual that renders him/her to paranoia. This novel presents that doubt has the potential to be a space of liberation.
 
Madeeha works in Jordan to rehabilitate Syrian refugees. Zehen, a political analyst from India, meets her in the US during their social impact program. He is intrigued and charmed by her, and falls deeply in love. But the world political climate, with its accompanying cultural narratives about terror and pain, infects Zehen’s mind. Zehen begins to suspect Madeeha as a possible mujahid. Will he find his truth? Fear doesn’t devastate; it stirs the inner pot. 
 
The novel uses Sufi philosophical terms to mark the journey to self-love and explores the tensions between Ishq-e- Mazizi (worldly love) and Ishq-e- Haqiqi (love for Divine). The novel uses the backdrops of various cities around the world to build its narratives – Cusco and Lima in Peru, Petra/Aqaba/Amman/Jerash in Jordan, New York/Philadelphia/DC/Chicago/Seattle/San Francisco. The cultures within each of these cities inform and influence the story so that each city becomes a character themselves participating in empowerment and liberation of the main protagonist.
 
It is a tender love story that triumphs heartbreaks and sets the foundation of deep lasting future relationships – a delightful emancipation from social intrigues and cultural constraints.
 
Grab your copy @
 
 
Read an excerpt here:
 
Zehen was experiencing sweet joy in his heart. Memories bustled in the head. When did he first see her? Zehen searched his head madly. Orientation session? Corridor to the classroom? However, he tried, he couldn’t pinpoint the moment. A whirr of images, of moments, yet-to- be collaged. And a heart that already had a narrative, waiting to be inset.
 
We imagine that all romantic stories will have a sigh-worthy romantic beginning. But beginnings are when the heart awakens, when the soul remembers. A presence stills and emerges from the shadows of time.
 
His first memory was when she introduced herself in the class. They had gathered at Presidium University for a one-year course on Social Impact Leadership. Outside, the white fringe tree was laden with its grape-like fruits. The pine, oak and spruce waited for winter to tell the world how unchangeable they were. And the old Redwood stood proud like the institution itself. Inside, in the warm classroom, students from various cultures across the world had gathered. Icebreaker session was on and the usual round of introductions.
 
Introduction is a ritual. A cumbersome ritual. How does one reduce the tapestry of one’s entire existence, the colors, and the many weaves into a single palatable thread?
 

 

About the author

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was born into poverty. At the time of my birth, my parents shared a one -room hut with six other family members in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Delhi.

 

 

 

It was a hot day in the month of March 1995. I was in standard 4th and had an examination the following day. As was regular in that locality, we didn’t have electricity that day. I couldn’t study or sleep properly. One of the watershed moments happened when I came back from school the next day. We had an inverter installed at home. I knew we couldn’t afford an inverter. But my dad was always convinced that the way out of poverty for our family is through education.

 

 

 

Despite an interest in creative writing, I chose to study a subject that society values more – Finance. Later, I got into one of the top colleges for finance in the country. My first salary out of college (in 2007, when I was 20 years old) was higher than that of my dad’s salary at the time.

 

 

 

When I was 24 years old, I had everything that makes one happy – loving parents, great partner, close-knit group of friends, and career path that exceeded every goal. Yet, I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t sad either; but it never felt like my life. I had carefully and meticulously built that life though. Contextually, it was the safe thing to do.

 

 

 

Following year though, I had to deal with the loss of my 7¬year old relationship and of my 5¬year old job. My identity was crushed. My biggest lesson was that you can fail at what you don’t want, and what you consider safe; you might as well take a chance at what you truly want.

 

 

 

Next year, I got my ‘ideal’ job but walked away from it. Failure had taught me to be more ambitious and audacious. I had reached a point in my life where I wanted my work to have more meaning; and to stand for something more important than myself.

 

 

 

I started a political consulting company to maneuver social ascendance of marginalized communities by equalizing access to political capital. I primarily did topical research for MPs for their debates in the parliament and on TV shows. Partial project list includes:

 

 

 

• Providing 108 rape survivors with medical, legal, financial, and social support over six months through one of my client’s NGO

 

• Getting amendments passed in the communal violence bill that tackle systemic bias towards Muslims

 

• Helping three social entrepreneurs raise a combined total of INR 43 lakhs from their MP for community initiatives

 

 

 

Along with running my own company, I focused on my passion for writing and traveling as well. I solo travelled to all seven wonders of the world, and did two-cross country trips by train in India and in the US. I have also written and published three fiction novels.

 

 

 

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Spotlight of Valley of the Kings by Terrance Coffey

VALLEY OF THE KINGS: THE 18TH DYNASTY by Terrance Coffey

 

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VALLEY OF THE KINGS: THE 18TH DYNASTY 

by 
Terrance Coffey
 
VALLEY OF THE KINGS: THE 18TH DYNASTY by Terrance Coffey
Blurb
In the year 1355 BCE, the land of Egypt was the superpower of the known world. King Tut’s father, Akenaten, the so-called ‘heretic pharaoh,’ and his wife, Queen Nefertiti, are on the verge of catapulting Egypt into a revolution that will forever divide its people and rip the most powerful empire on the earth from its foundation.
Inspired by the actual Hittite and Amarna letters of 14th century BCE, ‘Valley of the Kings: The 18th Dynasty’ is an epic novel of intrigue, passion, and betrayal, resurrecting the thrilling story of a singular leader whose beliefs were both visionary and disastrous.
 
Grab your copy @
 

 

About the author

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terrance Coffey is a bestselling author, screenwriter, songwriter and composer with a predilection for Egyptian history. He has written numerous short stories, screenplays, television pilots, and even Coca-Cola music jingles. His debut novel “VALLEY OF THE KINGS: The 18th Dynasty” is the first of a trilogy and a #1 Amazon bestseller.

 

 

Awards & Accolades 

 

 

 

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller!

 

2017 National Indie Excellence Awards FINALIST

 

2017 International Book Awards FINALIST

 

 

2016 International Pacific Book Award WINNER Best Historical Fiction  

 

 

 

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Book Review of The Untold Story by Ridhi Drolia

The Untold Story by Ridhi Drolia is a sweet romantic fiction which is beautifully narrated using third person narrative. The book allures the readers with its amazing descriptions and the flow.

Ridhi Drolia

Cover: The cover of the book is appealing and the way with which the color scheme is used makes it great. The couple seems so much in love and the blush of the guy shows their bond.

Title: The title ‘The Untold Story’ is the main highlight of the book. The whole book revolves around it and the author has beautifully maintained this intact. Plus, the sub title, ‘ A tale of True Love and Beyond’ gives us a hint about the main theme but never explains clearly.

BlurbLove comes in different forms. But in all its forms, it comes with various challenges. Only those who can combat those challenges are true lovers. 

The Untold Story is the tale of Vihaan and Riaa. Vihaan falls for Riaa’s charms at first sight and brings to her life crazy adventures and madness. They soon emerge as two hearts with one soul and their intimate fantasies begin to unravel in exotic places. 

Their bond experience more downs than ups. These unexpected twists and turns bring Vihaan and Riaa closer and their romantic tale turn into one of lifetime bonding. 

The story takes a drastic turn after the lovely couple is blessed with a baby boy. It should be a joyous moment, but instead, haunting memories of Vihaan’s own childhood break out as a fresh wound in his mind. 

Read the novel to know what could make a father unhappy in the happiest moment of his life and how he combats his fear.

Theme: The story rotates around three themes. One theme is love which we notice between Ria and Vihaan. The way they handle their stuations is mind blowing. Even a real life should take some notes from this fictional couple. The other theme is never ending friendship between Tanya and Vihaan. Tanya is the narrator of the story and she cannot hear bad about her friend so she starts telling about him. The third theme is of a social issue for which you need to read the book.

Style: Ridhi follows really simple and clear style of writing where she has expressed her thoughts without using any fancy words. This shows that she doesn’t want to complicate her thoughts or glitter them behind fancy words. She has used third person narrative style and further a story within a story technique. The descriptions are eye catching and keeps us hooked till the end.

Although we have so many good things about this book but still I feel the story could have been better. The plotline was not that strong. The characters of Ria and Tanya were not fully developed. I felt the ending could have been different. It didn’t make much sense to me. The grammatical errors could have been rectified with another round of editing. Overall, it was one time read.

Grab your copies from Amazon.com; Amazon.in; Amazon.co.uk

Book Blitz of The Diamond Heist by Sai Daksh


THE DIAMOND HEIST: A SEVEN AGENT ADVENTURE 

by 
Sai Daksh
 
 
Blurb
 
Life was all fun and play, with a few small adventures and mishaps, for Daksh, Arsh, Garv, Om, Swarit, Aditi and Simran till… 
 
They are recruited by the Indian Detective Agency. 
 
They are summoned to the headquarters and given a mission – to recover a lost diamond. 
 
With all the plans and props in place, they set forth to hunt down the diamond. 
 
By chance, they stumble upon a conspiracy that is connected to the theft. 
 
Do they succeed in foiling the conspiracy? What happened to the lost diamond?
 
Grab your copy @
 
 
About the author
 
Sai Daksh Shetty, at the age of eleven, completed the book 7 Agents: The Diamond Heist. At the age of six, he had started writing short stories. At the age of eight, he used to draw comic strips and share it with his friends. Although this is his first book, he plans to write a whole series on the 7 Agents. Since early childhood, he has had a very creative mind and uses his imagination in all his activities. He is very interested in all forms of creative arts. He is very open-minded. The main characters of the book have been inspired by his real life friends. Om, Garv, Arsh and Swarit are his best friends and are in the book, while Aditi and Simran are fictional.     

 

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Spotlight of Doppleganger by Prateeek Yadav

 

THE DOPPELGANGER
by
Prateek Yadav
 
 
BLURB
 
The perfect plan for the perfect heist-a team of con-men, foolproof disguise and a painting worth millions, nothing could have gone wrong. But something did… A man fnds himself on a bus to Manali with nothing but some cash and severe memory loss . Embarking on a frantic hunt for his identity, he begins to discover that his presence in Manali isn’t an accident. The closer he gets to the truth, the more elusive it becomes. Ghosts from his past haunt him as he finds himself trapped between his doppelganger, the police, a sadistic gangster and his own dwindling sanity. The journey of the search for his identity ends up being a race for survival.
 
Grab  your copy @
 
Amazon India | Flipkart


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About the author

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prateek Yadav was born and raised in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. He graduated in economics at IIT Kanpur, and is currently working at Cognizant, Bangalore. He is an avid fiction reader with a keen inclination towards mystery and thrillers. Besides writing he also enjoys sketching and painting. The Doppelganger is his first published novel. 

 

 

 

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Spotlight of 1857 Dust of Ages by Vandana Shanker

 

 
1857 DUST OF AGES VOL 1:
A FORGOTTEN TALE
by
Vandana Shanker
 
Blurb
 
1857. The rebellion erupts in India. Despite its attempts to stay aloof, NAVGARH, a small town near Delhi, is drawn into the conflagration. And at its heart are Princess Meera and Captain Richard Smith, with their strange alliance made for the throne of Navgarh.
 
2016, Shiv Sahai, a young Indian art historian and Ruth Aiken, a British scholar discover an excerpt from the journal of an anonymous British soldier, searching for his wife in the chaos of 1857 Delhi. As they begin investigating the scandal, they become aware of the vague rumours that are told in the bylanes of Navgarh – about a princess who married a British soldier to save her kingdom.
 
Check out the tour in +Pinterest 

 

 

 

Read an excerpt from the book…

 

 

 

Prologue
Camp, Delhi Cantonment, 16 August, 1857.
Things have changed forever. A day spent in the company of my old friend Knox made it clear. These distances can never be bridged.
The pole of his tent snapped in the storm yesterday; and for the sake of old friendship, I offered Knox my humble abode. But his rancour was jarring. His determination to teach the enemy a lesson, the unshaken belief in the rightness of our mission– such bitterness asks too much of friendship and duty.
Earlier we went over the battlefield. One of our regiments was destroying the village near the bridge to prevent the enemy from getting cover in it. Elephants were pulling down the walls. The villagers stood by as their houses turned into mud while the monsoon clouds gathered on the horizon. Unfortunately, they were the Jats, who, for the most part, are our friends. We decided that the destruction of their homes and fields was necessary. Twenty-three men – their countrymen – were lying together in the ditch at the back of the village; we weren’t sure if they were the rebels. A party of Rifles killed then en masse, just to be sure.
We left the village with our bags swollen like raisins in water. And who can blame our light-fingered gentry? Armies are said to travel on their stomach.
At some distance from our camp, I can see the sun setting over the fort of Delhi. It isn’t much different from the first sunset I witnessed here years ago. How things have changed! We came with a mission – to know this exotic land, to bring the light of knowledge and civilization to its darkness. Now the memory leaves me embarrassed. These massive red walls made me uneasy even then. Today they mock our camp again. Whatever be the outcome of this devil’s wind, it has revealed the banality of our mission.
Knox’s bitterness is an expression of the anger in the camp. When the cannons are quiet, the silence resounds with confusion, with terror, with rage, but most of all with the question ‘Why?’ As we sit around a small fire every night, the question rages in every mind. ‘Why the mutiny? Haven’t we brought the glory of civilization to this land of superstition?’ These thoughts simmer as we deal with hunger, heat and rain.
But soon these questions will be forgotten. The winners will annihilate the other side. Already I see the madness in the eyes as rumours reach us from other places – Cawnpur, Jhansi, Lucknow. Madness will soon be let loose.
I often feel that the answers that elude me today were within my grasp a short while ago. They are somewhere near, yet unreachable, like the time gone by.
I promise to look for them once I have found her again. For she, I feel, holds a part of it.
So every evening, I try to escape this madness by thinking about her, Princess Meera of Navgarh, a rebel soldier and my wife. It is the third year of our marriage. Three years of tenuous links and fragile understanding. It was only a matter of time before an explosion happened. And it happened that eventful week when Navgarh too burnt in the fire raging all across India. The news that the sepoys in Meerut had rebelled spurred both of us. Did I expect Meera to be a dutiful wife when all her beliefs, her convictions pulled her in the opposite direction? Was I surprised on knowing that she was in Delhi, amongst the rebels? Would she be surprised on knowing that I have followed her as an enemy… a British officer? And as I follow her, I stand here once again, after five years, outside the walls of the Red Fort in Delhi.

 

 

 

       Grab your copy @

Amazon.com | Amazon.in | Amazon.co.uk 

About the author


Delhi-born Vandana Shanker is the author of the series 1857 Dust of Ages, a historical fiction set in the year of the great uprising in India. A PhD from IIT Delhi, Vandana is passionate about history, storytelling and art. Apart from writing, she teaches literature and creative writing in Malaysia. She has also taught in Universities in India and Vietnam. She currently lives in Kuala Lumpur with her family and wants to travel the world. 

 

 

 

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Book Blitz of All That Glitters by Liza Trevino

~ All That Glitters by Liza Treviño ~
Book Tour – 1st to 10th March
 





Book Details:



Title: All That Glitters – A
Tale of Sex, Drugs and Hollywood Dreams

Author: Liza Treviño

Genre: Women’s Contemporary Fiction

Publisher: Koehler Books 

Published Date: March 1, 2017

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1633933083

ISBN-13: 978-1633933088




Book Links:






Synopsis:

Alexandria Moreno—clever, sexy, ambitious and, at times, self-destructive. She blazes a path from Texas to Los Angeles at the dawn of the 1980s to make her dreams of becoming an A-list Hollywood film director come true. She and her best friend arrive in Los Angeles with little more than hope and the determination to make it big. Alex, a beauty as dark and mysterious as her scarred heart, stands at the bottom of the Hollywood mountain looking up, fighting for her chance to climb to the top. Will her quest to live fast and take no prisoners on her way to success destroy her in the end?



All That Glitters is a women’s fiction Jackie Collins-type saga that introduces a strong, driven Latina heroine at the center of a rags-to-riches story spanning a decade of action. Along the way, Alexandria walks the fine line separating ambition and self-destruction, and discovers that some sacrifices will cost her everything.



What early readers are saying:



“Treviño tells her story with wit, intelligence, and an undercurrent of sadness at the plight women face to make a name for themselves as human beings instead of strictly as women. Treviño may have cloaked her ideas in entertaining vignettes and snappy dialogue, but underneath is a bite that stays with you.”

— Jonathan Marcantoni, author and publisher of La Casita Grande Press.

“Liza has a way of taking you with her as she tells this very compelling story. She draws readers in with her as she describes scenes and characters with colorful detail and vivid imagination. This story is a testament to it’s title: it really glitters!”

—Reesha Goral, author, The Servant Boy

“With distant echoes of Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls in the background, Alexandria Moreno, the protagonist of All that Glitters, chases after the allure of Hollywood, all the time substituting pills, booze and sex for genuine happiness. It is only after she reaches success that she has an awakening leading her to realize the emptiness of her aspiration, and finally accepting true love. Kudos to Liza Treviño for giving us this unique image of the New Latina! I urge reading All that Glitters. You won’t regret it.”

—Graciela Limón, author



Read an Excerpt:



Los Angeles

Oscar Night, 1990
When did things start going wrong?

Alexandria Moreno gulped another swig of champagne from the bottle. She picked at its broken gold foil. It was the same stuff she used to buy back in the days when spending more than ten dollars on bubbly was an extravagance. Now she sat in the best limo money could buy, inching along the craggy hillside road waiting for her turn to put in an appearance at the first of many scheduled post-Oscar parties. She was obligated to dole out heartfelt hugs and kisses to any of the beautiful people who might want one. Tonight, everyone was going to want a piece of her. She was the girl of the hour.

Until recently, Moreno had been an unknown writer-producer. She rocked Hollywood, winning Academy Awards for Best Director and Original Screenplay for the lushly violent, low-budget film, Win or Lose. Moreno, widely considered a dark horse contestant in the Oscar race, was the first Hispanic woman to be nominated, and win.

Two golden statues for writing and directing lay on the limo’s floor and the vehicle glided to the top of Hollywood’s heights. Beyond the winding canyon road, the Los Angeles electrified grid shimmered like Moreno’s own personal cauldron of gold. She understood that more than just a movie had won tonight.

She had won.

So why doesn’t it feel better?

Why don’t I feel better?

Despite everything she’d done to reach this moment of glory, Alex understood that none of it mattered. Not one bit. No matter what happened to her, she was still alone and drinking the same convenience-store champagne.

“Want some of this blow, babe?” Nick sniffed and dropped his head back with a slight shake, giving the chemicals a little jumpstart in the brain he liked to say.

“No thanks,” she said, “I don’t want to mix tonight.” Alex turned her attention from the scrubby hillside to handsome Nick Sirianni sitting across from her, casually relaxed in his Armani tuxedo. Though he favored stiff Wall Street suits, Nick was always casually relaxed due to the fact that he was worth millions from a Hollywood Midas touch.

Alex heard Leonard Cohen’s gravel-rubbed, breathless voice floating faintly through the air, crooning his patented melancholy love proclamations, and she couldn’t help but let her eyes wander along Nick’s impeccably tailored suit. Her hands absently grazed the familiar bluish-purple marks on her wrists currently hidden under make-up.

Nick’s thin lips curled into a slow, understanding grin. “Fine, but I have some X for later, and I don’t care what you’ve taken already,” he said in a tone Alex had learned not to question. “I’ve got plans for you, babe.”

“I guess it’s gonna be a long night.”

“The longest ever.”

Alex could tell he had taken off. She absently twirled a lock of her black, shoulder-length hair.

“Hey,” Nick nudged her leg with his polished leather dress shoe, “let me see.”

“Not right now.”

“I’m not asking, Alley Cat. Let me see. And do it right.”

Alex locked eyes with him, but she relented.

She found the fold of her straight wraparound skirt of crepe and beading that draped to the floor. She peeled it back and uncrossed her legs beneath the gown, giving Nick a peek-a-boo of her

narrow ankle and high-heeled foot. She loosened her knees, proving to Nick she’d followed his instructions.

Nick looked her over and loosened his collar.

“Good girl,” Nick said and shifted toward her, the leather seat creaking beneath him. He knelt between her legs and softly traced the length of her pale grey stocking from her shoe, along her leg, up to the matching garter, and over her supple brown thigh exposed between the garter and its straps. Nick kissed her just above where the stockings ended. He breathed in deeply and peered up to her.

“I gotta have a taste, baby,” he said and dipped his handsome face between her thighs.

Alex sighed and sank back into her seat.

How did things get so out of control? Isn’t tonight supposed to be everything I’ve worked for? Everything I’ve sacrificed for? Or, what I’ve sacrificed everyone for?

Alex knew she had purposely cut off anyone who had the misfortune of ever giving a damn about her. And there were such people.

It certainly wasn’t Nick. She’d made her deal with this particular devil nearly a year ago. Things between them were comfortably tawdry. Nick owned her. She knew it. He knew it. They had an understanding.

A flicker nudged her: so many things that could have been. She took another swig of champagne, letting the alcohol’s fizz and burn push everything back into the darkness.

Alex registered Nick’s velvet tongue expertly stroking her crevices, and she couldn’t help but give him all the access he wanted. She felt him smile when she dropped her head back and settled deeper into the limo’s bench. The car halted forward and the lazy, swaying sax turned up the tension in Cohen’s sonic plea for love.

Alex peered beyond the cracked sunroof, searching the starless LA sky for some answers. A corner of the tinted sunroof caught her faint reflection and she saw a vacant-eyed, thirty two-year-old wasted stranger. She’d never known herself less than at this moment. Her passion for work was burned out and, even tonight, she couldn’t muster excitement. Now, everything was just a game requiring too much effort.

She shut her eyes tight and sucked in air sharply, breathing in the car’s mixture of broken-in leather and artificial lemon scents. She clasped at Nick’s broad shoulder, wringing the expensive jacket sleeve as if it were nothing more than a cheap cocktail napkin. After a moment, she relaxed.

Nick brushed a sweet kiss on her inner thigh before he returned the thin black crepe material of her skirt to its full length. He slid back to his seat across from her and smoothed his hair back.

“Damn, you taste good, honey.” He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

“We’re next in line, ma’am,” the chauffeur’s voice crackled through the intercom. The limo moved into place with a definite stop.

Nick grinned. “It’s show time, Alley Cat.”

The cool night air took Alex by surprise as she waded into the sea of people and flashing cameras. She staggered, unsure she could move.

“One foot in front of the other,” Nick said in his soft voice through her hair. “I’ll get you a drink once we get inside.”

Alex smiled serenely and nodded. She focused on the live band somewhere in the distance belting out a Sinatra standard. Her eyes found the majestic Griffith Observatory looming in the distance, hovering above the white party tents.

Inside, the camera flashes kept coming.

“And here we are,” Nick offered as he swiped a couple of champagne flutes from a roving waiter’s tray. “This should get ya right, babe.”

Alex took the glass automatically. Another bulb flashed near her and she saw blue sprinkles. She regained focus quickly, but then her stomach dropped. Across the room was the last person she wanted to see.

◊◊◊

Jamie Douglas stood out in any crowd. Angular looks punctuated by oceanic blue eyes, a naturally lean athleticism, and down-to-earth boyishness had made him a reigning movie star around the world for almost twenty years. And right now, Alex saw Jamie’s eyes find hers through the crowd. When they caught each other, a flash sparked between them like one of those popping camera bulbs. Jamie’s surprised look gave way to a lopsided grin; it was a look so familiar to her.

Alex registered Nick snake his arm around her thin waist and she broke her gaze from Jamie.

“Okay, Alley Cat, time for our victory lap.”

“Perfect timing,” she said.

Timing—everything always came down to timing. It seemed to her that her timing had always been off. Not crazy off, just that extra millisecond that pushed everything either too early or too late. And now, she understood that it was too late.

Suddenly, she couldn’t bear to go through with the whole charade of tonight. Maybe, she couldn’t even bear to go through with the whole charade of her life any longer. Just leave, a soft voice whispered inside her head. There’s nothing written you have to stick around. It’s practically programmed into your DNA that you’ll be checking out of this world early.

All at once, Alex understood that simple fact. She, Alex Moreno, would leave Los Angeles tonight as anonymously as she had arrived nearly a decade earlier. She knew that wasn’t an entirely accurate account of how she’d started.

Now I’m alone, and that’s just how I knew things would always turn out.
Author Bio:

Liza Treviño hails from Texas, spending many of her formative years on the I-35 corridor of San Antonio, Austin and Dallas.  In pursuit of adventure and a Ph.D., Liza moved to Los Angeles where she compiled a collection of short-term, low-level Hollywood jobs like script girl, producer assistant and production assistant.  Her time as a Hollywood Jane-of-all-trades gave her an insider’s view to a world most only see from the outside, providing the inspiration for creating a new breed of Latina heroine.






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