Spotlight: My Father's Gift: How One Man's Purpose Became a Journey of Hope and Healing by Sixtus Z. Atabong


My Father's Gift
by Sixtus Z. Atabong
Genre: Memoir


Sixtus’s father had only one request of Sixtus—‘give back.’ And give back he did.” Edward C. Benzel, MD, emeritus chairman of Neurosurgery, Cleveland Clinic

Born into a poor West African family in the disease-stricken town of Fontem, John N. Atabong embarked into the unknown in search of hope. He was eleven, but he triumphed against all odds to give his children the best care and education available. Eventually, he sacrificed his most valuable possession, his son Sixtus, sending him to study in the United States with nothing more than lessons learned from his days working the farms and his father’s basic biblical teachings. Sixtus Atabong's journey of temptations and challenges in the US gives rise to a mission: to give back. He uses his gift to extend God’s healing hands and unfailing love to the far corners of the earth through sustainable health care infrastructures. Fulfilling his father’s dream, Sixtus hopes that he too can leave the world a better place than he found it.





Sixtus Z. Atabong, PA-C, President and Founder of Purpose Medical Mission (PMM) is a neurosurgery Physician Assistant. PMM is a nonprofit organization focusing on developing sustainable healthcare infrastructure and services in developing countries. It has helped build clinics and hospitals in Cameroon, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. Sixtus believes in empowering communities with the knowledge and tools to address the global threat of health disparity and lack of basic education.
Sixtus is the recipient of numerous local and national awards for his leadership and humanitarian work, including the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Hall of Fame Award and the American Red Cross Humanitarian of Year Award. In 2013, he was awarded the PA Service to the Underserved Award by the American Academy of Physician Assistants.
Sixtus was born and raised in a small farming village in Muyuka Sub-division, Cameroon, West Africa. He migrated to the United States in 1995 where he faced many challenges, but eventually obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Clinical Laboratory Sciences and a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies. He uses his life experiences and voice to motivate individuals on attaining their God-given purpose. He speaks on issues such as, living a purposeful life, realizing your American dream, financial independence, and racial relations.
Sixtus' goals in life have been achieved through faith and self-determination. He enjoys traveling the world with his family and learning about different cultures. He lives in Lubbock, Texas, with his wife, Kyu Mee, and their two sons.




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Spotlight: Just One Kiss by Dayna Quince

Today we are celebrating the release of JUST ONE KISS by Dayna Quince. It is the third book in the Desperate and Daring series! There are 10 titles in this series and one will release per week till November 6th! The series is being published by Jack's House Publishing.

Check out the buy links for the book below, and links to an excerpt for each upcoming title.

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JUST ONE KISS (Desperate and Daring, #3)

Available Now - Check out the buy links and an excerpt from the book!

PURCHASE YOUR COPY NOW:

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Synopsis:

Love at first sight may not survive a second glance… Love at first sight is a silly myth in the opinion of Lady Hazel Darling. Yet when she meets Garrett, Earl of Bainbridge, he’s so unlike any other gentleman she’s ever known, she can’t deny her curiosity. There is more to him than his reserved exterior, and she wants to be the one to discover what lies beneath his cool facade. Garrett enjoys Society from a distance, but when introduced to Lady Hazel, he develops a taste for conversation and dancing. As long as he’s dancing only with her. An orphan raised by his only aunt, Garrett struggles to relate to his peers. Hazel is the first woman he’s felt a connection to deeper than mere attraction. His lonely heart calls for her like no other. Against his aunt’s wishes, he proposes to Hazel. But once Hazel arrives at Bainbridge Estate, trouble begins. Despite his enormous responsibilities around the estate, Garrett shirks his duties to spend more time with her. But the closer she and Garrett become, the more his aunt seeks to sabotage them. Their marriage seems doomed before it even truly begins. Hazel and Garrett must fight to turn their spark of attraction into an inferno of love…or else abandon the fantasy of happiness they once both shared.

Add JUST ONE KISS to Goodreads

Check out the rest of the series (each book releases 1 week apart!)

DESPERATE FOR A DUKE (Desperate & Daring, #1) - available now!

Check out an excerpt from the book!

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Purchase in print Amazon | B&N | Books-a-Million | Chapters Indigo | IndieBound | Booktopia

BELLE OF THE BALL (Desperate and Daring, #2) - available now!

Check out an excerpt from the book!

PURCHASE YOUR COPY NOW:

Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo | GooglePlay

Purchase in print Amazon | B&N | Books-a-Million | Chapters Indigo | IndieBound | Booktopia

   

ANYTHING BUT INNOCENT (Desperate and Daring, #4)

Coming September 25 - Check out the buy links and an excerpt from the book!

AN UNCONVENTIONAL INNOCENT (Desperate and Daring, #5)

Coming October 2 - Check out the buy links and an excerpt from the book!

MAD ABOUT YOU (Desperate and Daring, #6)

Coming October 9 - Check out the buy links and an excerpt from the book!

A ROGUE OF HER OWN (Desperate and Daring, #7)

Coming October 16 - Check out the buy links and an excerpt from the book!

HERO OF HER HEART (Desperate and Daring, #8)

Coming October 23 - Check out the buy links and an excerpt from the book!

AN UNDESIRABLE DUKE (Desperate and Daring, #9)

Coming October 30 - Check out the buy links and an excerpt from the book!

DARE TO LOVE A SCOT (Desperate and Daring, #10)

Coming November 6 - Check out the buy links and an excerpt from the book!

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AUTHOR INFORMATION:

 

Dayna Quince was only fourteen when she developed a serious addiction to romance novels. What began as an innocent desire to read became an all-out obsession with the romance genre. She gave book reports on romance novels, got in trouble for reading during lectures, and would rather spend her time reading than attending high school parties. After all, high school boys could not compete with the likes of Stephanie Laurens Devil Cynster. After getting her first job, her addiction only got worse. She now had her own money to spend and a car to get to Barnes and Noble as frequently as she wanted. She managed to maintain a somewhat normal life, marrying her high school boyfriend who was aware he was competing with fictional men for her attention. Dayna soon began writing her own romance novels, inspired by her love for all things romance. Dayna and her husband live in Southern California with their two children and three fur babies. Dayna is happiest at home where she can be with her family and write to her heart’s content. For more information about Dayna, please visit her website, “like” Dayna on Facebook and follow her on Twitter or Instagram. Sign up for Dayna’s newsletter to be notified about upcoming releases. She loves hearing from her readers. Email her directly at daynaquince@gmail.com. Look for Dayna’s Jack’s House releases from the Desperate and Daring Series.

CONTACT LINKS:

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Spotlight: Mistletoe In Texas by Kari Lynn Dell

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He's always been the black sheep: the troublemaker.

But this Christmas, the prodigal cowboy returns.

Rodeo bullfighter Hank Brookman was headed straight for the top. But after a single misstep resulted in a devastating injury, he disappeared under a mountain of regrets. Now he’s back, ready to face the loved ones he left behind—starting with the one girl his heart could never forget.

When Hank stormed out of Texas, he left Grace McKenna picking up the pieces…and struggling with a secret that changed everything. He may be back looking for redemption, but after everything they’ve been through, how can she admit what he really walked away from all those years ago?

Hank always knew persuading Grace to trust him again would be a tall order. Convincing her they deserve a happily ever after? That may take a Texas-sized Christmas miracle.

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Excerpt

Hank flipped his reins over Ranger’s head and stepped aboard, then kicked his foot out of the left stirrup and held a hand out to Grace. “Get on.”

“What?”

Hank gave his hand an impatient shake. “Get on behind me.”

“I…don’t know how.”

“You’ve never ridden double?”

“Hey! Not all of us grew up on horseback.” Grace scowled at Ranger. Why did he have to be so tall? And climbing the horse would require her to practically climb Hank too, since she didn’t see anything else to grab on to. “You ride on the back. I’ll drive.”

“Fine.” Hank kept hold of the reins, but hitched himself back to sit behind the cantle.

Okay. Good. But Grace still had to contend with the unfamiliar bulk of the chaps and bones that wanted to collapse into a shuddering pile. And she couldn’t see any way to swing her leg over the saddle without waving her butt under Hank’s nose. Again.

Ranger, bless his heart, stood stock-still as she grabbed the saddle horn, got her foot hoisted up and into the stirrup, and took a deep breath. So much for fantasies. Not one of her juvenile daydreams about Hank and this ranch had included getting dumped off her horse because of a damn pig.

***

He could have gotten her killed.

The tiny part of Hank’s brain still capable of logic argued that there was no way he could have known about the feral hog—when had those bastards moved this far north, and why hadn’t Cole told him?—but it was drowned by the echoes of that unearthly shriek. When Hank had seen Grace trying to drag herself up that bank…God, his heart had just disintegrated.

Distracted, he didn’t lean out of the way when Grace heaved herself into Ranger’s saddle, and the leg she’d intended to swing over the horse landed a roundhouse kick square to his rib cage.

“Shit!” He clamped his heels to keep from being knocked clean off, digging them into Ranger’s flanks. Startled, the bay gave a single, high kick that threw Grace up onto his neck. Hank caught a fistful of her coat with one hand and the reins with the other before Ranger could bolt. The gelding danced in a circle as they teetered, a tangle of arms, legs, and curses.

“I…can’t…breathe,” Grace gasped.

No wonder. The saddle horn was digging into her belly, and Hank had her pinned in place. He started to slide off, but Grace squeaked when she was dragged with him.

Hank stopped. Damn. The toe of her boot was hooked in the pocket of his coat. He hitched his hips back to the center of Ranger’s rump and took stock. He had a fingernail grip on the reins, his cheek was mashed up against Grace’s butt, and even Ranger wasn’t going to tolerate this much longer.

She had a double-fisted, white-knuckled grip on Ranger’s mane, so Hank let go of her coat and reached down to grab her ankle, prying it out of his pocket and letting it drop so she had a leg on either side of the horse. Better. Now if he could just get himself straightened out…

“’Scuse me,” he said as he planted his palm on her left butt cheek and pushed himself upright. She stiffened but didn’t try to kick him. “Scoot back,” he said.

She wiggled. Grunted. Wiggled some more. Hank got hold of the back strap of her chaps and pulled. She didn’t budge.

Her words came in short puffs. “I’m…stuck. Front of my…chaps. Over…the horn.”

Oh. Shit. That was not good. Hung up like that, if Ranger did bolt, her head would end up between his front feet. Hank slid off the side, thankfully keeping his feet under him. Ranger shied a step, his eyes rolling toward the woman who was draped over his neck, clinging like a monkey. Her coat was rucked up to her armpits, and the brim of her hat had been shoved around so the earflap covered her eyes and tufts of curly hair stuck out every which way.

A wild bubble of laughter swelled in Hank’s throat. He swallowed hard. There was no time for hysterics. He eased the rein over the horse’s head and unclipped one end, then put a calming hand on Ranger’s shoulder while he tried to figure out how to get Grace loose.

Damn. No matter what angle he studied it from, there appeared to be only one option. “I have to lift you up and over the horn, then catch you before you hit the ground.”

“Okay.”

“I’m going to have to grab you by the crotch.”

“Oh.” Her hips twitched, as if in protest, but she said, “Well, uh, male cheerleaders do that all the time, right? No big deal.”

Yeah. That sounded convincing. He shucked his gloves, wrapped the end of the rein around his hand, and stepped so close that her face was buried in the curve of his neck. “Hang on to my shoulders.”

She untangled her fingers from Ranger’s mane and latched on to Hank. Her breath was hot against his skin, and he both felt and heard her soft eek! as he slid his hand, palm up, between her thigh and the saddle.

“Ready?” he asked.

Her chin dug into his shoulder as she nodded. Before either of them had time to think about exactly what he was grabbing, he slid his hand to the center, hoisted her hips up, and then pulled forward.

She dropped like a rock, her weight slamming into his chest. He went down hard on his butt, then his back, Grace sprawled on top of him. Ranger shied, but Hank kept his grip on the rein. The horse stopped, snorting and wide-eyed as he stared down at them.

Hank let his head flop back and his arms splay, spread-eagled in the dirt, limp with relief. He’d done it. She was safe.

Then Grace started to shake, tremors that rocked her body as she made a choked, hiccupping sound. Oh shit. She was crying. Was she hurt? Scared half to death? Fixing to slam a knee into the same part of his anatomy as he’d just—

Her laughter burst out, ringing in his ears and echoing off the sides of the ravine. “Oh…my…God!” she gasped. “That was so ridiculous. If anyone had seen—”

She broke off, quaking against him, and the vibration broke something loose.

This wasn’t funny, dammit. Except it was, especially when he lifted his head to see her blindfolded by her cock-eyed hat, hair sticking out every which way and giggling her fool head off.

A deep, uncontrollable belly laugh rocked him. And the harder he laughed, the harder Grace laughed, and then Mabel started jumping and yipping around them, eager to join the fun, and they laughed even harder, helpless to fend her off when her tongue swiped at their faces.

Meanwhile, the horse continued to stare down at them as if they’d lost their ever-loving minds.

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Spotlight: Blood Crescent by S.M. McCoy

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Genre: YA Fantasy Paranormal
Release Date: September 21st 2018

While investigating her mother’s disappearance Crystal’s bloodline leads a supernatural council to hunt her down for her latent magic. Love, lies, and long buried secrets change her life forever.

Sixteen-year-old Crystal Dylan has been marked by the waning crescent due to her latent diviner heritage. The magic from her is a beacon to any nearby supernatural beings, especially energy serpents, vampires sent by the Divine Council to capture her. She never believed in the strange, the superstitious, or magical until she started looking for her long-thought-dead mother. Too many attacks on her aura have left her drained, dying, and vulnerable leaving Victor no choice but to try anything to help her, even the serpent’s kiss.

The Divine Council was looking for the lost heir, and Damien, a drawn class serpent, was their retrieval system with an agenda of his own. Crystal’s memories are being manipulated, and she struggles to find the truth about who she loves, what happened to her mother, who she is, and how to stay alive long enough to figure it all out.

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About the Author

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Stevie Marie is the author of young adult paranormal fantasy and the Divine Series. Born within the apex of another universe, where magic flows like leaky faucets, and forged from the fires of the Underrealm she dug her way to Earth and reluctantly participates in human society, secretly returning to her home world to relay the stories of her monsters, and the troubled love of her people. When she isn’t writing she’s crafting clothing in her sewing room, cuddling her significant-other creature, or pretending to adult by managing a portfolio of properties for an accounting business in the rainy city of Seattle, Washington.

Connect: Website | Goodreads | Twitter: @authormarie | Facebook

Spotlight: Through the Layers by R.H. Tucker

Through the Layers
R.H. Tucker
(Rumor Has It, #4)
Publication date: September 17th 2018
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Second chances are for suckers.

Micah’s heard that expression before. With his first year of college in the books, catching his girlfriend cheating on him—again—he learns that lesson firsthand. The girl he thought could’ve been his high school sweetheart, turns out to be nothing more than a liar, completely destroying his trust.

No one has ever called Veronica fat. Thick? Okay. Curvy? Sure. However, they’ve never come right out and told her she’s overweight. Not unless you count the kids in third grade who called her roly-poly. Grade school or freshman year of college, it doesn’t matter. Guys usually go for the tall, thin girls. Girls like Micah’s ex.

Despite their hang-ups, and their pasts, Micah and Veronica find something in each other that quells their concerns. But when old faces return, and unsettling truths are revealed, will either of them be able to work through the layers and find one another again?

Through the Layers is a standalone YA/NA romance in the Rumor Has It series.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

I knock again and pull out my phone. Maybe I should call him.

The door swings open and Micah stands there, dripping wet, holding a towel around his waist. “Hey, you’re early.”

“I … I …” I’m trying to form words, but my brain has gone to pudding. I can feel it, all squishy, sloshing around inside of my skull. He opens the door wider to let me in, but I just stand there, admiring—gawking—at the water dripping down his chest. The beads of water trail over his muscles, down his stomach, to somewhere underneath the towel.

“You gonna stay out there all night?”

My eyes shoot back up, and he’s smiling. “Would you like to come inside or did you want to get to business out there?” My mouth drops, and he laughs.

Finally realizing he’s teasing me, I find some kind of strength to not stare at him, and go inside.

“Just give me a second to dry off.”

I stop and stand behind the sofa. Usually, I’d feel comfortable enough to go to the kitchen and grab something to drink, or just lounge around on their couch, or even head straight into his bedroom and turn on the TV and start to watch something. Now, I’m stuck.

What should I do? Does he expect me to do something or say something? Should we have something to drink first? I know they usually have some alcohol in the apartment, maybe he wants to relax first. Should I change already? Why is it they make it look so much easier in the movies and on TV when it comes to this sort of stuff?

“What are you doing?” Micah asks, coming back out of the bathroom. He’s got on a pair of shorts and a shirt that fits him snuggly, but I can’t erase—nor do I want to—the mental image of him opening the door in nothing but a towel.

“Um …” I look around, unsure how to answer.

He gives me a hug and kisses the top of my head, before walking to the kitchen. “Happy birthday. I ordered a pizza. I would’ve gone all out, but you said you just wanted a chill night. Is that okay?”

“Mm-hm.” I nod.

Turning around, he stares at me still standing there. “Are you okay?”

Get it together, V. This was your idea!


Author Bio:

RH Tucker lives in Southern California and writes character-driven stories with people who have real heart. At least, he tries to. He also consumes too much caffeine, eats too much pizza, and firmly believes Rocky Road is the best flavor of ice cream.

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Spotlight: Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

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Most men can’t handle Hazel. With the energy of a toddler and the mouth of a sailor, they’re often too timid to recognize her heart of gold. New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Roomies, Beautiful Bastard) tells the story of two people who are definitely not dating, no matter how often they end up in bed together.

Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them...right?

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About the Author

Christina Lauren is the combined penname of longtime writing partners/best friends Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, the New York Times, USA TODAY, and #1 International bestselling authors of The Beautiful and Wild Seasons series, Dating You/Hating You, Roomies, Love and Other Words, Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating, and the critically acclaimed Autoboyography. You can find them online at ChristinaLaurenBooks.com, Facebook.com/ChristinaLaurenBooks, or @ChristinaLauren on Twitter.

Spotlight: Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven

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A woman with power over fire and illusion and an enslaved son of a chieftain battle a corrupt empire in this powerful and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.

Every year, each village is required to send a young woman to the Empire’s capital–her fate to be burned alive for the entertainment of the masses. For the last five years, one small village’s tithe has been the same woman. Gilene’s sacrifice protects all the other young women of her village, and her secret to staying alive lies with the magic only she possesses.

But this year is different.

Azarion, the Empire’s most famous gladiator, has somehow seen through her illusion–and is set on blackmailing Gilene into using her abilities to help him escape his life of slavery. Unknown to Gilene, he also wants to reclaim the birthright of his clan.

To protect her family and village, she will abandon everything to return to the Empire–and burn once more.

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About the Author

Grace Draven is a Louisiana native living in Texas with her husband, kids and a big, doofus dog. She is the winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice for Best Fantasy Romance of 2016 and a USA Today Bestselling author.

Spotlight: Blood Communion: A Tale of Prince Lestat by Anne Rice

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The Vampire Chronicles continue with a riveting, rich saga–part adventure, part suspense–of Prince Lestat and the story of the Blood Communion as he tells the tale of his coming to rule the vampire world and the eternal struggle to find belonging, a place in the universe for the undead, and how, against his will, he must battle the menacing, seemingly unstoppable force determined to thwart his vision and destroy the entire vampire netherworld.

In this spellbinding novel, Lestat, rebel outlaw, addresses the tribe of vampires, directly, intimately, passionately, and tells the mesmerizing story of the formation of the Blood Communion and how he became Prince of the vampire world, the true ruler of this vast realm, and how his vision for all the Children of the Universe to thrive as one, came to be.

The tale spills from Lestat’s heart, as he speaks first of his new existence as reigning monarch–and then of his fierce battle of wits and words with the mysterious Rhoshamandes, proud Child of the Millennia, reviled outcast for his senseless slaughter of the legendary ancient vampire Maharet, avowed enemy of Queen Akasha; Rhoshamandes, a demon spirit who refuses to live in harmony at the Court of Prince Lestat and threatens all that Lestat has dreamt of.

As the tale unfolds, Lestat takes us from the towers and battlements of his ancestral castle in the snow-covered mountains of France to the verdant wilds of lush Louisiana with its lingering fragrances of magnolias and night jasmine; from the far reaches of the Pacific’s untouched islands to the 18th-century city of St. Petersburg and the court of the Empress Catherine . . .

Excerpt

Chapter 1

I’m the vampire Lestat. I’m six feet tall, have blue-gray eyes that sometimes appear violet, and a lean athletic build. My hair is blond and thick and hangs to my shoulders, and over the years it has become lighter so that at times it seems pure white. I’ve been alive on this earth for more than two hundred fifty years and I am truly immortal, having survived any number of assaults on my person, and my own suicidal recklessness, only becoming stronger as the result.

My face is square, my mouth full and sensual, my nose insignificant, and I am perhaps one of the most conventional looking of the Undead you’ll ever see. Almost all vampires are beautiful. They are picked for their beauty. But I have the boring appeal of a matinee idol rescued by a fierce and engaging expression, and I speak a brand of easy rapid English that’s contemporary—after two centuries of accepting English as the universal language of the Undead.

Why am I telling you all this, you might ask—you, the members of the Blood Communion, who know me now as the Prince. Am I not the Lestat so vividly described in Louis’s florid memoir? Am I not the same Lestat who became a super rock star for a brief time in the 1980s, publicizing the secrets of our tribe in film and song?

Yes, I am that person, most certainly, perhaps the only vampire known to just about every blood drinker on the planet by name and by sight. Yes, I made those rock videos that revealed our ancient parents, Akasha and Enkil, and how we might all perish if one or both of them were destroyed. Yes, I wrote other books after my autobiography; and yes, I am indeed the Prince now ruling from my Château in the remote mountains of France.

But it’s been many a year since I addressed you directly, and some of you weren’t born when I penned my autobiography. Some of you weren’t Born to Darkness until very recently, and some of you might not believe in the story of the Vampire Lestat as it’s been related to you—or the history of how Lestat became the host to the Sacred Core of all the tribe, and then finally, released from that burden, survived as the ruler upon whom order and survival now depend.

Make no mistake, the books Prince Lestat and Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis were penned by me, and all that they related has indeed happened, and those many blood drinkers described in the two books are accurately portrayed.

But the time has come for me once again to address you intimately and to shape this narrative in my own inimitable and informal fashion as I seek to relate to you all that I think you should know.

And the first thing which I must tell you is that I write now for you—for my fellow blood drinkers, the members of the Blood Communion—and no one else.

Of course this book will fall into mortal hands. But it will be perceived as fiction, no matter how obvious it may be that it is not. All the books of the Vampire Chronicles have been received as fiction the world over, and always have been. The few mortals who interact with me in the vicinity of my ancestral home believe me to be an eccentric human who enjoys impersonating a vampire, the leader of a strange cult of like-minded vampire impersonators who gather under my roof to engage in romantic retreats from the busy modern world. This remains our greatest protection, this cynical dismissal of us as real, true monsters, in an era that just might be more dangerous to us than any other through which we’ve lived.

But I will not dwell on the matter in this narrative. The story I’m going to tell has little or nothing to do with the modern world. It’s a tale as old as tale telling itself, about the struggle of individuals to find and defend their place in a timeless universe, alongside all the other children of the earth and the sun and the moon and the stars.

But it is important for me to say—as this story begins—that I was as resentful and confused by my human nature as I’d ever been.

If you do go back to my autobiography, you’ll likely see how much I wanted humans to believe in us, how boldly I shaped my narrative as a challenge: Come, fight us, wipe us out! There ran in my Frenchman’s blood only one acceptable version of glory: making history among mortal women and men. And as I prepared for my one and only rock concert in San Francisco in the year 1984, I did dream of an immense battle, an apocalyptic confrontation to which elder blood drinkers would be awakened and drawn irresistibly, and young ones incited with fury, and the mortal world committed to stamping out our evil once and for all.

Well, nothing came of that ambition. Nothing at all. The few brave scientists who insisted they had seen living proof of our existence met with personal ruin, with only a precious few being invited to join our ranks, at which point they passed into the same invisibility which protects us all.

Over the years, being the rebel and the brat that I am, I created another great sensation, described in my memoir, Memnoch the Devil, and that too did invite mortal scrutiny, a scrutiny which might have seduced yet more hapless individuals to destroy their lives arguing that we were real. But that brief damage to the fabric of the reasonable world was corrected immediately by clever blood drinkers who removed all forensic evidence of us from laboratories in New York City, and within a month all the excitement stirred up by me and my Blessed Veil of Saint Veronica was over, with the relic itself gone to the crypts of the Vatican in Rome. The Talamasca, an ancient Order of Scholars, managed to obtain it after that, and subsequent to their acquiring it, the veil was destroyed. There’s a story to all that, a small one anyway, but you won’t find it here.

The point is—for all the fuss and bother—we remained as safe in the shadows as we’d ever been.

This story—to be precise—is about how we vampires of the world came together to form what I now call the Blood Communion, and how I came not only to be Prince, but to be the true ruler of the tribe.

One can assume a title without really accepting it. One can be anointed a prince without reaching for the scepter. One can agree to lead without really believing in the power of oneself to do it. We all know these things to be true.

And so it was with me. I became Prince because the elders of our tribe wanted me to do it. I possessed something of a charismatic ease with the idea, which others did not share. But I did not really examine what I was doing when I accepted the title, or commit to it. Instead, I clung to a selfish passivity in the matter, assuming that at any moment I might tire of the entire enterprise and walk away. After all, I was still invisible and insignificant, an outcast, a monster, a predatory demon, Cain the slayer of his brothers and sisters, a phantom pilgrim on a spiritual journey so narrowly defined by my vampire existence that whatever I discovered would never be of relevance to anybody, except as poetry, as metaphor, as fiction, and I should take comfort in that fact.

Oh, I enjoy being the Prince, don’t get me wrong. I loved the rapid and totally egregious restoration of my ancestral Château and the little village which lay below it on the narrow mountain road that led to nowhere—and it was an undoubted pleasure to see the great hall filled each evening with preternatural musicians and dancers, flashing exquisite white skin, shimmering hair, costumes of extraordinary richness, and countless jewels. One and all of the Undead were and are now most welcome under my roof. The house has innumerable salons through which you can wander, rooms in which you might settle to watch films on giant flat screens, and libraries in which you might meditate in silence or read. Beneath it are crypts that have been expanded to hold perhaps the entire tribe in darkness and safety, even were the Château itself attacked in the daylight hours and burnt over our heads.

I like all this. I like welcoming everyone. I like taking the young fledglings in hand and welcoming them to our closets from which they can take any clothing they need or desire. I like watching them shed their rags and burn them in one of the many fireplaces. I like hearing everywhere around me the soft uneven rumble of preternatural voices in conversation, even argument, and also the low, vibrant rhythm of preternatural thoughts.

But who am I to rule others? I was anointed the Brat Prince by Marius before I ever set foot on that rock music stage decades ago, and a brat I most surely was. Marius had come up with that little label for me when he realized I was revealing to the Vampire World all the secrets he’d bound me under penalty of destruction to keep. And a legion of others have picked up the title, and they use it as easily now as the simple appellation Prince.

It’s no secret to the elders far and wide that I’ve never bent the knee to any authority ever, that I smashed up the coven of the Children of Satan when I was taken prisoner by it in the 1700s, and that I broke even the most informal rules with my rock music adventure, and deserved a good deal of the condemnation for recklessness that I received.

I didn’t bow to Memnoch either.

And I didn’t bow to God Incarnate, who appeared to me in the airy spiritual realm into which Memnoch dragged me, all the way back to the narrow dusty road to Calvary in the city of ancient Jerusalem. And having given short shrift to every being who had ever tried to control me, I seemed a most unlikely person to undertake the monarchy of the Undead.

But as this story begins, I had accepted it. I had accepted it truly and completely and for one simple reason. I wanted us—we, the vampires of this world—to survive. And I didn’t want us clinging to the margins of life, a miserable remnant of bloodsucking vagabonds, battling each other in the wee hours of the night for crowded urban territories, burning out the shelters and refuges of this or that enemy, seeking to destroy one another for the most petty of human or vampiric concerns.

And that is what we had become before I accepted the throne. That is exactly what we were—a parentless tribe, as Benji Mahmoud put it, the little vampire genius who called to the elders of all ages to come forth and take care of their descendants, to bring to us order, and law, and principles for the good of all.

The good of all.

It is extremely difficult to do what is good for all when you believe that “all” are evil, loathsome by their very nature, with no right to breathe the same air as human beings. It is almost impossible to conceive of the welfare of “all” if one is so consumed with guilt and confusion that life seems little more than an agony except for those overwhelmingly ecstatic moments when one is drinking blood. And that is what most vampires believe.

Of course I’d never bought into the idea that we were evil or loathsome. I’d never accepted that we were bad. Yes, I drank blood and I took life, and I caused suffering. But I wrestled continuously with the obvious conditions of my existence, and the bloodlust of my nature, and my great will to survive. I knew full well the evil inherent in humans and I had a simple explanation for it. Evil comes quite simply from what we must do to survive. The entire history of evil in this world is related to what human beings do to one another in order to survive.

But believing that doesn’t mean living it every minute. Conscience is an unreliable entity, at times a stranger to us, then ruling the present moment in torment and pain.

And wrestling with uneasy conscience, I wrestled as well with my passion for life, my lust for pleasure, for music, and beauty, and comfort and sensuality, and the inexplicable joys of art—and the baffling majesty of loving another so much that all the world, it seemed, depended on that love.

No, I didn’t believe we were evil.

But I’d taken on the argot of self-loathing. I’d joked about traveling the Devil’s Road, and striking like the hand of God. I’d used our contempt for ourselves to ease my conscience when I destroyed other blood drinkers; I’d used it when I chose cruelty for convenience when other paths had been open to me. I’d demeaned and insulted those who didn’t know how to be happy. Yes, I was determined to be happy. And I fought furiously for ways to be happy.

And I had settled—without admitting it—for the old sacrosanct idea that we were inherently evil and had no place in the world, no right to exist.

After all, it was Marius himself, the ancient Roman, who had told me we were evil, and that the rational world had no place for evil, that evil could never be effectively integrated into a world which had come to believe in the true value of being good. And who was I to question the great Marius, or realize how lonely his existence was, and how dependent he was on keeping charge of the Core of vampiric life for those whom he so easily branded as evil?

Whatever my confusion on it, I played no role in a social revolution for blood drinkers. No. It was someone else who questioned the old assumptions about us with a childlike simplicity that changed our world.

Benji Mahmoud, Born to Darkness at the age of twelve, a Bedouin by birth, was the blood drinker who transformed us all.

Made by the powerful two-thousand-year-old Marius, Benji had no use for ideas of inherent guilt, mandatory self-hatred, and inevitable mental torment. Philosophy meant nothing to him. Survival was all. And he had another vision—that the blood drinkers of the world could be a strong and enduring tribe of immortals, hunters of the night who respected one another and demanded respect in return. And from that simple conviction in Benji’s audacious appeal, my monarchy was eventually born.

And it is only in an informal and carefree style that I can tell you how I eventually came to terms with being the monarch.

Excerpted from Blood Communion by Anne Rice. Copyright © 2018 by Anne Rice. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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About the Author

ANNE RICE is the author of thirty-six books, including the fifteen books in the Vampire Chronicles series. She lives in La Quinta, California.

Spotlight: 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

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How do computers and robots change the meaning of being human? How do we deal with the epidemic of fake news? Are nations and religions still relevant? What should we teach our children?

Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a probing and visionary investigation into today’s most urgent issues as we move into the uncharted territory of the future. As technology advances faster than our understanding of it, hacking becomes a tactic of war, and the world feels more polarized than ever, Harari addresses the challenge of navigating life in the face of constant and disorienting change and raises the important questions we need to ask ourselves in order to survive.

In twenty-one accessible chapters that are both provocative and profound, Harari builds on the ideas explored in his previous books, untangling political, technological, social, and existential issues and offering advice on how to prepare for a very different future from the world we now live in: How can we retain freedom of choice when Big Data is watching us? What will the future workforce look like, and how should we ready ourselves for it? How should we deal with the threat of terrorism? Why is liberal democracy in crisis?

Harari’s unique ability to make sense of where we have come from and where we are going has captured the imaginations of millions of readers. Here he invites us to consider values, meaning, and personal engagement in a world full of noise and uncertainty. When we are deluged with irrelevant information, clarity is power. Presenting complex contemporary challenges clearly and accessibly, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is essential reading.

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About the Author

Yuval Noah Harari has a Ph.D. in history from the University of Oxford, and now lectures at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, specializing in world history. His two books, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, have become global best­sellers, with more than twelve million copies sold and translations in more than forty-five languages.

Cover Reveal: Subzero by Cambria Hebert

Subzero
Cambria Hebert
(BearPaw Resort, #4)
Publication date: October 19th 2018
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense, Thriller

My best friend, Liam Mattison, was born with snow in his veins.

Me? Ice.

Maybe that’s why my eyes are this color. Maybe it’s because I was born in Caribou, where there’s more snow than sun.

I always knew I had a chill within me, but after my time with the army, that chill froze over. I saw and did things most people couldn’t fathom. I made contacts with people who were more beast than man.

I came home altered, and there was no going back.

Except I did. It had to be done, and I didn’t regret it.

But now I’m thrust back into a world where people had forgotten my name. Back into a past I walked away from.

Memories of all the things I’ve done, of the people I’ve left behind, are floating to the surface.

The late-night summons wasn’t really unexpected.

The request was.

Saying no is impossible when you’re the only man equipped for the job. Saying no is difficult when what you really want to say is yes.

So here I am, past and present colliding with a woman I intentionally left behind. A woman who needs me to keep her alive.

I made a promise, and I will keep it.

Even if I die doing it. Even if it means the ice inside me goes subzero.

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Author Bio:

Cambria Hebert is an award winning, bestselling novelist of more than twenty books. She went to college for a bachelor’s degree, couldn’t pick a major, and ended up with a degree in cosmetology. So rest assured her characters will always have good hair.

Besides writing, Cambria loves a caramel latte, staying up late, sleeping in, and watching movies. She considers math human torture and has an irrational fear of chickens (yes, chickens). You can often find her running on the treadmill (she’d rather be eating a donut), painting her toenails (because she bites her fingernails), or walking her chorkie (the real boss of the house).

Cambria has written within the young adult and new adult genres, penning many paranormal and contemporary titles. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense. A few of her most recognized titles are: The Hashtag Series, Text, Torch, and Tattoo.

Cambria Hebert owns and operates Cambria Hebert Books, LLC.

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