A Native’s Tongue by Michael D. Dennis

a native's tongue book coverMichael D. Dennis recently published his debut novel A Native’s Tongue. It is available for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
“A Native’s Tongue is about a young man trying to find his way in the world. He struggles to keep the woman he loves while entangled in the sex, drugs, and tragedy of Los Angeles,” says Dennis.
Love and tragedy collide in Dennis’s poignant new novel, A Native’s Tongue.

 

Synopsis:
Charlie Winters has never been an overachiever. He is used to just getting by while living with his single mother and working a dead-end job at a cheesesteak stand. Meanwhile, he’s constantly grappling with the voice of his sister, who died in a tragic car accident years earlier, echoing in his head.
So when Violet, an older woman, sets her sights on Charlie and refuses to let go, he follows along. He soon finds himself immersed in a destructive relationship that still fails to fill the void within him.
But then he meets Jennifer, a mystical young woman whose energy and life convinces Charlie to pursue her, even through the darkest corners of Los Angeles, and sets their lives upon a path that can’t be stopped.
Escaping to the California coast, Charlie and Jennifer finally find what they’ve always needed. But a sudden illness quickly pulls them both back to LA. It is there, amid the sex, drugs, and split-second decisions that pulse through the city, that tragedy strikes—threatening to tear Charlie and Jennifer apart forever.

 

Excerpt from A Native’s Tongue:
CHAPTER 1
Jennifer Bannister’s footsteps echoed down the hall. The uniforms of the inmates dampened the sound. Her ears tried to follow the faint sound, if only to affirm that she was still moving forward. There wasn’t anyone to hold her hand. She just trusted that each sign would guide her in the right direction.
I’ll get there at some point, Jennifer thought, trying to convince herself that she was doing the right thing. You can’t get lost in here; they don’t let you go off course. Her words slipped away. She felt the cold air settle over her skin. She glanced at a placard marked Visitors Only.
In the cool air, her skin tightened. Jennifer shivered and wished she were somewhere warmer. Seeing Violet for the first time was going to be hard enough. She was going to look the woman she hated most in the world in the eye. She didn’t want to be shaking from the cold and covered in goose bumps.
Jennifer peered through the bulletproof glass at Violet. There were markings embedded in the glass, swirls that made it harder to look directly into Violet’s eyes. Jennifer picked up the phone and listened. Violet grabbed it and began to speak, “It was never you that he loved. You know that right?” Violet’s voice was raspy.
Her expressions and mannerisms changed from static to fully engaged. She stood up and waved her hands maniacally at Jennifer, and then she slammed her fist against the glass.
Jennifer hung up the phone. Her blonde hair got caught in between her hand and the receiver as she placed it back on the black hook. Turning, she slid out of the red plastic chair and down the corridor, guided by the exit sign’s green light. In the stale air of the prison, she searched for a pack of cigarettes, unsheathed a Parliament, lit it, and smoked nervously.
Two overweight guards carrying guns in nylon hip holsters directed her to the parking lot, where they offered her matching robotic waves good-bye. The midnight blue 2005 Jaguar xk8, which her parents loaned her for this visit, was the only vehicle in the parking lot row. Her parents thought she would feel safer in their car rather than her own bright red Honda.
In either case, she seemed to fit this car, or the car fit her a lot more. Her lean physique matched the lines on the Jag, and it made her feel more mature. She was constantly trying to act older than she was. Jennifer went around to the passenger side of the car and opened the rear door. She set her oversized black leather purse on the back seat and took out a translucent orange bottle filled with tiny white pills. She slung her head back, popped two, shut the door and walked around to the driver’s seat.
The heat had melted the surface of the Jaguar’s leather seats, reducing the fabric to a buttery texture. Jennifer’s blonde hair clung to the sides of her shoulders, heavy with sweat. She retrieved her car key from the passenger seat, pressed the key into the slot, and burst into tears, suddenly unable to move.
Jennifer hadn’t eaten all day. The heavy dose of Xanax caused her to feel excessively nauseous. She blacked out and fell forward, hitting her forehead on the steering wheel. The car increased in temperature with the late afternoon heat. Her powder-white skin grew red.
“Miss. Are you alright? Miss?” A young guard, Bill Marsh, had spotted the car, and decided to go in for a closer look.
When Jennifer didn’t move, he took out his club and smashed the window. She woke up from her temporary coma and lashed out.
“You Fuck!” Her voice was barely audible, even with the window smashed. Her energy was gone.
“Miss–I, I’m sorry you didn’t look okay.”
“I am! What business do you have involving yourself in my business? Do you know what you did? You just fucked up my car, you moron.”
“Look, I just saw you from my station.”
To Bill, her face looked familiar, though he couldn’t place where he had seen her before.
“You have no idea. Sitting in your stupid box, behind that intercom.
“I’m sorry, I know we’ll pay for the window. Hell, if the prison won’t, I personally will.” Bill said.

 

author michael d. dennisAbout the Author:
Michael D. Dennis is an author and playwright who earned a degree in English literature from Loyola Marymount University. Winner of a LMU Playwriting Award for his play Death of a Watchdog, Michael also had his play, Hen in the Field, produced at the Whitefire Theatre in 2012. His highly anticipated debut novel, A Native’s Tongue, will be released in June 2014. Michael currently lives in Santa Monica, California with his girlfriend and two dogs, Jack and Aurora. To learn more, go to MichaelDDennis.com, or connect with Michael on Facebook and Twitter.
To schedule an interview with Michael or request a review copy of A Native’s Tongue, please contact Book Publicity Services at info@bookpublicityservices.com.

 

Forget Me Not: A Love Story of the East by G.X. Chen

Forget Me Not: A Love Story of the EastForget Me Not: A Love Story of the East, by G.X. Chen, was published May 15, 2014 and is available for sale on Amazon.
Synopsis:
A tender love story between two childhood friends, Lily Zhang and Li Ling, who were thrown together and then torn apart by the evil force of the Cultural Revolution, the most horrifying 10-year terror in the modern history of China. When the Cultural Revolution ended, they ran into each other again at university. Even though their love rekindled and intensified, fate continued to tear them apart until Lily was forced to transfer, and Li Ling left for the United States. Twenty years later, Li Ling receives a letter from his former love, one that will certainly turn his life upside down.
Reviews:
“An emotionally resonant coming-of-age story set during China’s Cultural Revolution. Chen offers a somewhat meandering story, but the sedate pacing allows for a deeper exploration of the effects of the Cultural Revolution on individual lives. Dialogue is generally natural and authentic, though some sections are unrealistically didactic. The flashback device is necessary for a surprise conclusion that, though only mildly surprising, is nonetheless satisfying. An inconsistent but appealing novel about life and love within the strictures of a repressive regime.” – KIRKUS REVIEW
“Forget Me Not: A Love Story of the East” was an amazing book. The horrific details about the revolution were mind-boggling. Chen does a phenomenal job relating the history of the Cultural Revolution and entwining the fear and dismay with a heart- twisting love story. The characters were distinct, in-depth and loveable. I felt their pain even though in some instances I could not see how they even survived, let alone triumphed and even prospered against all odds. The ending was fabulous and bittersweet. You must read this book – I totally loved it!” – by Sheri Bebee
“The story is, at its heart, a love story, and the relationship between Li Ling and Lily is beautiful, tender, and heartbreaking. Heavily influenced by the events around them, their story is a tiny microcosm of the country, perfectly expressing the suffering caused by the regime as well as the endurance of the heart.” – San Francisco Book Review
About the Author:
G.X. Chen is a freelancer who lives in Boston ( both of her mystery novels are based in Boston); permanently moved from China to the US after Tiananmen Massacre in 1989. Previously published books include The Mystery of Revenge and The Mystery of Moutai and several other novels in Chinese. To learn more, go to her TwitterWebsite, and Goodreads.

 

Self-Editing: The Key to Better Writing

Typing on a laptopDo you struggle self-editing? You are not alone. Many authors waste time and effort trying to improve their writing. This article provides methods you can use to edit your work more efficiently, improving its quality and reducing your publishing time.
Editing can transform an ordinary piece of writing into a great one. Yet many authors struggle to recognize and correct their own mistakes, resulting in finished work that is far below their own expectations. Fortunately, anyone can learn to become a better editor by following a few simple tips.
Use editing sites.
Many writers are unaware, or skeptical, of editing sites and applications. Not only are they designed to point out spelling errors, but they can also catch complex expressions, redundant phrases, and passive voice. While they are still limited to eliminating simple mistakes, they are a great tool for authors of all experience levels. Take care, however, to always double-check your work, as even the best editing sites won’t catch every mistake.
Get a second opinion.
Writers typically commit the same unique errors over and over, and this repetition can make recognizing and correcting these mistakes difficult. This is why many authors get a second opinion of their work, whether it is by a friend, family member, professional editor, or another author. In fact, many online writing communities are eager to look over the work of their members, although this does pose a risk of plagiarism. A second opinion should always be taken with a grain of salt, however, as not every suggestion will help improve your work.
Find the techniques that work best for you.
Writers use many techniques to recognize the mistakes in their work, from reading out loud or backwards, to focusing on a single word at a time. But finding the techniques that work best for you can be awkward and difficult, especially if you don’t know where to begin. Start by trying one technique at a time on short pieces of writing, keeping track of their overall improvement. This way, you can quickly find the methods that help you improve your writing the most.
Wait to edit your work.
Many authors make the mistake of editing their work too soon after it is written. Since their own writing is still fresh in their minds, they can fail to see typos, incoherent sentences, and other mistakes. Even waiting a single day before fixing your work can help, but you should wait at least a week for the best results.
Editing is a necessary part of writing well. Although some authors may find it intimidating, it requires only dedication and the willingness to learn.

 

 

The Minimum Wage Millionaire by Bill Edgar

The Minimum Wage Millionaire: How a Part Time After School Job Can Change Your Financial LifeThe Minimum Wage Millionaire: How a Part Time After School Job Can Change Your Financial Life, by Bill Edgar, was published April 2014 and is available for sale on Amazon.

 

Synopsis:
The Minimum Wage Millionaire is a must read for teenagers and parents of teenagers who want to learn about how money works. The book presents a practical approach to accumulating wealth for teenagers who are just starting to earn income with a part time job. Using simple analogies to unravel complex financial concepts allows the young mind to grasp why it is important to invest early and how to start with their first paycheck. Following a simple plan for only six years, they will have a small nest egg that will grow into about one million tax free dollars by the age of 65.

 

Excerpt from The Minimum Wage Millionaire:
Chapter One – Why Write a Book on Money for Teenagers?
When it comes to building wealth, the most powerful force you have on your side is time. As the days and years pass, the opportunity to build wealth by leveraging time slowly dwindles. The idea for this book came from the realization that often times kids start working their first job at sixteen, likely just a minimum wage, or near-minimum wage, job, but they haven’t been taught how to accumulate wealth. I wasn’t.
In high school, I had some basic accounting, and I learned how to balance a checkbook. We did some stock market games to learn a little about investing, but no class I took ever laid out a plan for success in a capitalist society. No class I took talked about the “Rule of 72,” or compounding return on investment over time, or tax advantaged investment accounts.
But all of those things I just mentioned are critical to understand in a free market capitalist society. They are critical to understand from the moment that you earn your first dollar. It doesn’t matter how wealthy or poor your parents are, it doesn’t matter what background you have, all teenagers in the United States, after reading this book, can set themselves on a path to build a staggering amount of tax-free cash. With just a little bit of knowledge about how money works, and the discipline to follow through, you can be in control of your financial destiny.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I have not taken advantage of the time I’ve had to accumulate wealth. Worse than that, I realize that as the years have passed and other financial obligations of adulthood have grown, setting aside extra money becomes more and more elusive. I have to acknowledge some hard facts about my own bad money habits—bad habits that stopped me from building wealth. I have to reflect on wasted opportunities and bad decisions. Finally, I have to draw some tough conclusions about the consequences of not saving and investing.
But it doesn’t have to be that way for you. After reading this book, you will have both knowledge and youth on your side. You will have an action plan on how to start accumulating wealth now. And the possibilities before you will be endless. But let’s talk about where bad money habits start.
Why?
Because I’ve sucked at money. I mean, if blowing a paycheck were a sport, I’d be Muhammad Ali—the greatest of all time. As a kid, I didn’t know any better, but it starts a pattern.
When I got my first job as a paperboy at 12 years old, I immediately took the money from my first paycheck down to the Ben Franklin, a few blocks from my house, and bought a bottle of Coke and tons of baseball cards. On the way home, I stopped at Mickey’s for a Chicago-style hot dog with all the fixings and some fries. By the end of the week, all the money I’d made was gone. Back then, it wasn’t much, but today—if I’d just invested part of that somehow—I’d have enough to buy a small island in the Bahamas. I was too young to know it, but that was my first big missed opportunity.
If that’s not painful enough to look back on, I’m sad to say it didn’t stop there. When I started my first real job in high school (bagging groceries), after work, the arcade ate quarter after quarter. And then there were movies (I thought everyone went to see Raiders of the Lost Ark 20 times!), gas for the car, games for Atari, and the occasional burger, french fries, and Coke. It all added up.
Paycheck after paycheck was burning a hole in my pocket. I wasn’t saving or investing anything, but at least I had to stop when there was no money left. Credit cards would later solve that problem. After college, I moved to California, bought a new car, new furniture, new wardrobe, and lots of new grown-up toys. I started getting my hair cut at a trendy salon with a French name, moved into an apartment in the “hip” part of town with a pool table and a pop-a-shot.
You know what’s truly sad? It took me a LONG time to learn from my mistakes. As I got older, people warned me to start saving. I can remember my dad getting near retirement age and shaking his finger in my face at the dinner table on Thanksgiving, saying “You’d better invest your money for retirement, or you’re gonna end up working until you die!” but I ignored him. The years rushed by, and then, with my net worth still bobbing near zero, my wife and I got pregnant with our first baby.
As I sat in the hospital in Chicago—never again. I must change. I must be a good example. I can’t let them suffer the same mistakes I made. I started saving like crazy in my company retirement plan. And that lasted for a few years, but the economy changed, and I was not prepared. I was unemployed for a while—longer than I ever imagined. The mortgage, the bills, it consumed far more than the unemployment check.
I began working a part-time job for minimum wage at the local big box store, but unlike my teenage years, the meager paychecks didn’t help much with all the bills. As the Great Recession continued, I eventually cashed out the retirement money, penalties and all, so I could keep paying the mortgage. It still wasn’t enough. In the end, I lost it all, the house, the savings, and Best Buy even stopped by to get their TV back. I was sick to my stomach.
Listen. I honestly wasted all my opportunities to build wealth and have the choices, the options, to retire rich, so that I don’t have to work until I die, so that I can spend my time with my family. Now, knowing how easy it is to get there if you start early and seeing the principles in this book work for so many people, I’m ashamed of my past actions. But you don’t have to have my same regrets.
So how does a guy who lost everything know so much about creating wealth? That’s a valid question, and I’m glad you asked. Learn from your mistakes. As you grow up, you’ll likely hear that over and over from your parents, teachers, and coaches. It’s what I’ve had to do myself. Learn from my mistakes. So the rest of this book is about what I’ve learned.
In life, there are no do-overs. I can’t go back and make things better for me. But for every teenager out there, hope springs eternal. If this book can make an impact on just one kid (besides my three beautiful daughters), I’ve accomplished more than I could possibly imagine. I’ve created this book is to help you understand what an amazing opportunity you have right now. Time is on your side, and every day that goes by, you lose a little bit of your opportunity. Don’t make that mistake. Don’t make my mistake. In the following chapters, I will lay out for you exactly what you need to do to build wealth.
I warn you, it won’t come quickly, and it won’t be easy all the time. In fact, there will be moments in your life when you question whether or not what I’ve told you is true. You’ll want to go back to your old ways and you’ll have pressure from friends to spend, spend, spend!
When in doubt, just remember, the tools you’re using are the same principles that thousands of people have used time after time to become the wealthiest people in the world. You’re in good company.
My great hope is that you’ll realize just how incredible an impact a little bit of savings and planning will have on your life. If you can just avoid my mistakes and save smart, you can really, truly become a minimum-wage millionaire.

 

author Bill EdgarAbout the Author:
Bill Edgar is the author of The Minimum Wage Millionaire: How a Part Time After School Job Can Change Your Financial Life. He is passionate about helping youth understand how to become wealthy. He lives in Elburn, Illinois, with his three nearly teenage daughters (who will all be required to read his book). Connect with Bill on Goodreads and Twitter.
To schedule an interview with Bill Edgar or request a review copy of The Minimum Wage Millionaire, please contact Book Publicity Services at info@bookpublicityservices.com.