The Code

Today it is my pleasure to welcome authors Jacqueline Ruby and Marcellus Moses and their novel, The Code.

Author’s description

The story of the two entangled stars is well known.

Albert Collins, entomology professor, becomes a social media sensation; the sensation becomes a giant celebrity; the celebrity becomes the “Manliest Man” alive.

The small time gangster, Memphis Smith, becomes a prisoner; the prisoner becomes the new Tupac Shakur; the new Tupac takes the world by storm.

Their parallel rise to fame and their fateful meeting on the Tonight show all played out in real time before their legions of fans and detractors.

Now, for the first time, their inside story, their secret story, is told by those who were closest to them.

Jacqueline (Jack) Ruby, super agent, reveals the methods that allowed Albert Collins to become the most desired man in the world. She takes us behind the scenes to the bankers, film producers and heiresses that made Albert into the very definition of manhood in the 21st. century.

Marcellus Moses does the same for Memphis Smith. He shows us the arrests and prison fights, the raw racism and brilliant talent that made Memphis Number One With A Bullet.

Jacqueline and Marcellus tell their insider accounts to the award winning novelist, Susan Brown, who weaves it altogether in the thunderous adventure of The Code.

My Review

The Code is based on the slick premise that two fictitious characters are allegedly telling the “true story” of how each of them created a celebrity.

Although I struggled with the initial concept of an unknown professor appearing sexy for no particular reason when seen on film, I squelched my inner cynic and read on. I’m glad I did as there is much I appreciated about this novel. Compelling writing. Exquisite details about of the world of celebrities and those who make them. And most impressive of all, an excellent if unforgiving look at our culture.

One of many great quotes:

“Why do your powerful, rich friends want to know me? They already have everything.”

“They have everything but they never have enough. They’re addicted to novelty and the fulfillment of new dreams. You’re the new flavor.”

I also particularly liked Jessica, Albert’s pretension-adverse wife. She plays a fine foil to his growing immersion in his new life and her drab academic research into André Breton’s novel Nadja makes for an almost eerie comparison to Albert’s growing status as a star. 

There were things I liked less, however. I hoped the story would really be told through the eyes of the agents, at least mostly, but it isn’t even close. Although Albert’s agent Jack is involved from the beginning of his tale, most of the telling is done from Albert’s point of view, often involving his thoughts or scenes Jack knows nothing about.  Memphis, on the other hand, doesn’t even meet his agent Marcellus Moses till the second half of the book, making the premise even more flimsy with him. I suppose the reader is supposed to believe these two agents somehow know everything, including their creation’s inner monologues, but my ability to suspend disbelief wouldn’t stretch that far.

I found the brutality of the prison scenes difficult to read. I didn’t expect them and might have passed on the book altogether if I’d known. While I agree some of it was necessary to the story, I think even those with more of a stomach for such things would probably have appreciated it if the author had dialed it back a bit.

Like other novels with fascinating premises, the story is difficult to conclude and the only real option is for it to end as a tragedy. The author finds an interesting and unexpected way to do this, though, and it is one that ties everything together and states her thesis one more time. It works.

About the Authors

JACQUELINE (JACK) RUBY is the founder and CEO of Jack Ruby and Associates, New York’s premiere talent agency. She is the co-author of The Code, a book based on real life events involving celebrity, greed, adultery, vanity, and violence. From the nation’s mansions and universities to TV shows and Instagram accounts, The Code reveals the inner workings of celebrity culture and moral decay permeating it.

MARCELLUS MOSES is the head of Bad Man Records. Among others, he has built and managed the career of Creep-E and Fat Marcus.

Jacqueline and Marcellus tell their insider accounts to the award winning novelist, Susan Brown, who weaves it altogether in the thunderous adventure of The Code.

Find the Author

CONNECT with JACQUELINE (JACK) RUBY at

Website: https://jackrubyauthor.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jackrubyauthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20241319.Jacqueline_Ruby

Buy the Book

Amazon.com https://amazon.com/dp/0228821444
Amazon.ca https://amazon.ca/dp/0228821444
Kindle https://amazon.com/dp/B087N3753X
Indigo  https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-code/9780228831952-item.html
Barnes & Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-code-jacqueline-ruby/1136925493
Bookshop https://bookshop.org/books/the-code-9780228821458/9780228821441
Book Depository https://www.bookdepository.com/The-Code-Jacqueline-Ruby-Marcellus-Moses/9780228821441
Kobo https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/the-code-30

Yes, there is a giveaway

The authors will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

Jack walked behind Albert and put her hands on his shoulders. She started to massage him, kneading the muscles along the top of his back and along the base of his neck.

“Professor,” she said, continuing to work on his shoulders, “Edward has taken all these tweets and YouTube views and Facebook posts and Google searches and analyzed them. Edward, tell us what we know so far.”

Edward tapped the keys on his computer and a large graph appeared.

“Here is the answer to the question ‘who is this man?’ Here’s what people say unprompted. They say simply—just like miraclehoneyful and raviebabe—he’s a man, a real man. He is the man. The remarkable thing about the answer is that it seems to be consistent everywhere. You see all the different segments of the graph: men, women, black, white, gay, straight, Jewish, Christian, atheist. All the same. They agree. Even Democrats and Republicans. The man in the video is the man.” Edward paused.

“But I still have no idea what it means. It’s so vague.”

“What it means is that they read into that figure in the video certain traits and qualities that make up the aspiration of modern manhood,” Jack said.

“And what is modern manhood?”

“Who knows? But they see it in you. They may not know precisely what it is, but they feel you embody it.”

“But I’m not the man. I’m just me, an underachieving, over-mortgaged middle-aged professor, specializing in insects.”

“Ah, but nerds are very sexy right now. Have you ever seen the world’s sexiest math teacher?”

“No. What does that have to do with me?”

Jack looked hard at Albert. Maybe there was a hot nerd angle to be mined. Or maybe not. She would let the great river of social media decide. It was a decision for later.

“Nothing for the moment. But you need to understand that you are much, much more than you think you are,” Jack said, flattering him as she did all her clients.

Thank you!

Thanks for sharing The Code with this blog.

The Entitled

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Nancy Boyarsky and her mystery novel, The Entitled.

Author’s description

A deceptively complicated retrieval throws Nicole into London’s criminal underworld

 

Travel to London and retrieve Abigail Fletcher, a 17-year-old in a study abroad program at the prestigious King’s College in London. The assignment sounds simple enough.

 

But Abigail’s return is put on indefinite hold when she’s charged with the murder of her boyfriend, a former student at King’s. Nicole believes Abigail has been framed, but the victim’s tight- knit circle of friends and relatives are most unwilling to talk to an American detective. Further complicating the case, is Abigail’s defiant and uncooperative demeanor.

 

As evidence stacks up against Abigail, Nicole discovers that she herself has become the next target. Nicole’s first solo case abroad as a private detective has just turned a lot deadlier than she ever anticipated.

About the Author

Nancy Boyarsky is the bestselling author of the award-winning Nicole Graves Mysteries.

Reviews compared The Swap to the mysteries of Mary Higgins Clark and praised Nancy for contributing to the “women-driven mystery field with panache” (Foreword Reviews) as well as for their “hold-onto-the-bar roller coaster” plots (RT Book Reviews). Kirkus had special praise for The Bequest, concluding, “Boyarsky’s weightless complications expertly combine menace with bling, making the heroine’s adventures both nightmarish and dreamy.” Her most recent mystery, The Entitled, fifth in the series, received praise from Foreword Reviews for “vibrant street scenes, swift pacing, and Nicole’s steely nerve.” It was chosen by Apple Books as one of the most anticipated books of the fall.

Before turning to mysteries, Nancy coauthored Backroom Politics, a New York Times notable book, with her husband, Bill Boyarsky. She has written several textbooks on the justice system as well as articles for publications including the Los Angeles Times, Forbes, and McCall’s. She also contributed to political anthologies, including In the Running, about women’s political campaigns. In addition to her writing career, she was communications director for political affairs for ARCO.

The first book in the series, The Swap, won a gold medal Erik Hoffer Book Award. In response to the controversial and incendiary themes explored in the third Nicole Graves mystery, Liar Liar, Nancy Boyarsky was invited to present at the American Library Association Annual Conference in 2018 on “Women-Driven Mysteries in a Post #MeToo World.”

Each book of the Nicole Graves mystery series can be read as a stand alone.

Find the Author

Readers are invited to connect with Nancy through her website at nancyboyarsky.com.

Buy the Book

Amazon — https://www.amazon.com/Entitled-Nicole-Graves-Mystery-Mysteries/dp/1611533244

B&N — https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-entitled-nancy-boyarsky/1136434135

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

The Abigail who emerged looked different from the cool, self-confident young woman who’d walked into the pub the night before. Her left eye was swollen shut and beginning to turn purple. Even more horrifying, dull red stains were splattered down the front of her white coat, unmistakably half-dried blood. Her face was dirty and streaked with tears. Her hair stuck out on one side and was flat on the other. No wonder the desk clerk hesitated to send her up.

“Oh, my God,” Nicole said. “What happened? Who did this to you?”

Abigail gulped and tried to speak, but no words came out. Instead she put her hands over her face and began to sob.

Thank you!

Nancy Boyarsky — we appreciate your sharing your book The Entitled with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

Rise and Fall of My Beloved

Today it is my pleasure to welcome poet Utanu Maa and her book Rise and Fall of My Beloved.

 

Author’s description

Rise and Fall of My Beloved is a collection of poetry and prose about resilience—about the experience of stigma and rejection, disease and suffering, love and care, loss and grief—and also a testimony of gratitude, forgiveness and togetherness. Each of its three parts is a journey through life’s struggles, pain and loss, all of which require an inner force to overcome, build, rebuild, succeed and heal: resilience. It expresses an undercurrent to an imposed destiny or stigma.

 

Based on the life experience of my late brother, Rise and Fall of My Beloved is a tribute to mankind’s resilience to overcome adversities. The book takes readers from his vulnerable childhood as a neglected orphan set to die, through a childhood in which he was bullied, to his rise as an accomplished engineer, and sadly to his fall as a dying patient of HIV/AIDS. Each poem depicts the essence of unconditional love and care, the dignity of dying of AIDS, forgiveness, and family bond. This book is a manifesto of my brother’s exceptional resilience, the best memory of him that will live forever. It is an invitation, an inspiration, a reflection that, when mankind encounters struggles, disease, pain, death, loss, grief, we have to grieve and heal, and rebuild.

About the Author

I am Utanu MAA. I live in Toronto and work as a public servant within the Ontario Court of Justice. Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa, where I studied French Literature and Law before migrating to Canada in 1991, and thereafter studied Fashion Marketing, Paralegal and Law (1year) programs. In 2004, I was a recipient of a prize for the Poetry contest organized by Canada Heritage during the celebration of the Francophonie. “Couleur d’une langue” (The Color of a language), my unpublished poem about the diversity and different accents that give rhythm and power to a language to become an umbrella of one identity. “Rise and Fall of My Beloved” is also my own journey into unconditional love and care, and the resilience to deal with pain, loss, grief, to grieve, heal and continue with life after my brother’s death.

Find the Author

Connect with Utanu Maa at her website or on Facebook.

Buy the Book

AMAZON.COM https://amazon.com/dp/0228836506
AMAZON.CA https://amazon.ca/dp/0228836506
KINDLE https://amazon.com/dp/B08M2DNJHP
BOOKSHOP https://bookshop.org/books/rise-and-fall-of-my-beloved/9780228836506
INDIGO CHAPTERS https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/rise-and-fall-of-my/9780228836513-item.html
BARNES & NOBLE https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rise-and-fall-of-my-beloved-utanu-maa/1138021915
BOOK DEPOSITORY https://www.bookdepository.com/Rise-and-Fall-of-My-Beloved-Utanu-Maa/9780228836506
RAKUTEN KOBO https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/rise-and-fall-of-my-beloved
SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1051884
APPLE BOOKS https://books.apple.com/us/book/rise-and-fall-of-my-beloved/id1538242460

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

An Excerpt Just for Readers of This Blog

The Speech

He lacked the speech and was teased, mocked.

People regularly targeted, labelled, and bullied him.

They did not believe in his ability to learn and succeed,

They repeatedly told him loudly, in his face

And ears with intent to persuade him about himself.

They predestined him for failure because he was unable to speak.

He remained silent for a long time, listening carefully.

He observed motions on their lips; he absorbed words and sounds.

Then, one early morning, still in bed,

While everyone was in their last dream or nightmare,

And when time had healed and ended his grieving,

The miracle happened: he spoke!

Words and sounds gusted out of his mouth

Like a volcano erupting after a century of long sleep,

He spoke, he spoke, and he spoke volumes!

He talked firmly to himself or maybe to an invisible entity or spirit,

Repeating verbatim words that he had been absorbing:

The same terms used to tease, label, and mock him,

To bully and denigrate him, to silence him and cast him out.

From the bed where I slept, after we were allowed,

I saw him walking outside like a soldier going to war,

Brave and determined to defend his persona with words!

The struggle was out there, and he went to fight it

With his only but most potent weapon: words!

Words used in a common way: verbally, loudly, and firmly.

He knew the power of words, used for any purpose.

Now equally equipped to face the struggle in his early life,

He spoke correctly just as he had observed words on lips,

Using the same words to tease, mock, or intimidate.

To the big disbelief of all, though I had prayed and pleaded

To my ancestors and God that one day he would speak,

Zola had proven at last his ability to pronounce words.

Soon he would go to school to learn words in books,

To write words on a blackboard or in a notebook,

On a wall or on the ground, carving on a tree or on leaves.

Words pronounced in speech to make a statement,

Words spoken with confidence in a native or foreign language,

Words used to argue, defend opinions, convince, and lead,

Words that would further educate and engineer his brain,

Words as a tool to beat all odds and rise exceptionally like a star,

Indeed, words were clearly spoken by his mouth from this point on.

What liberation, relief, blessing, and privilege!

Thank you!

Utanu Maa — we appreciate your sharing one of your poems with us! Best of luck with sales of Rise and Fall of My Beloved, and with all of your future writing.