Monday, 3 June 2019

Book Spotlight and Exclusive Excerpt: Forms of Things Unknown by Elizabeth Ireland

Forms of Things Unknown by Elizabeth Ireland

Hamlet, Lillian Nolan is awakened in the dead of night by a strange voice. She is shocked to learn that well known and admired actress, Louise Hawthorne, has fallen to her death from the sixth floor of the Tremont House. Was it an accident? Did she jump or was she pushed? Louise’s former lover, and the main suspect, pleads with Lillian to uncover the truth and clear his name.
Recently returned to Chicago after a successful tour of
In the process of learning to trust her intuitive abilities, Lillian attempts to find balance between relying upon her gift and uncovering the truth in her own way. But the menace of death pursues her and soon her own life is at risk. When she finds herself in a trap from which she cannot escape, her only hope of survival is to call upon the metaphysical world.
Forms of Things Unknown is based on an actual event which occurred in June of 1876 in Chicago. It is the third standalone book in the Backstage Mystery Series.
Tagline: Life upon the wicked stage can be deadly.
Set against the backdrop of the Gilded Age, the Backstage Mystery Series stars Lillian Nolan, an unconventional member of Chicago’s upper class who dreams of a career of fortune and fame in the theater. Talented and ambitious, she possesses a hidden skill which she is extremely reluctant to use—the ability to communicate with those who have died and now live in the world of “The Beyond.”
The series chronicles her adventures in which she continually becomes enmeshed in solving mysteries which often require her accessing the realm of the paranormal. Filled with an incredible cast of characters—factual, fictional, and sometimes non-physical—who either help or hinder her quest for the truth, the stories take place during a period considered to be the golden age of both acting and spiritualism in America.

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Excerpt for:

Ellesea Loves Reading

In the summer of 1876, Lillian Nolan, actress and sleuth, discovers the body of George Morton, the husband of actress Louise Hawthorne. Had he killed himself because he was responsible for his wife’s death?

Then I heard footsteps running down the hallway past my door. It echoed in my memory and I recalled that very same sound, same rhythm to the steps as on the night that Louise had died.
I went to my door, opened it, and peeked out. There was no one there. I shrugged it off, but when I glanced to my left down the hallway, I noticed that the door to Louise’s room was slightly ajar; this time only a crack of light appeared in the hallway.
Once again I felt that compulsion to investigate. It was so strong that it almost forced me to physically take a step forward. Logic told me to mind my own business. I was learning that while logic is understandable, intuition was ruling my life more and more, and if I did not follow it, it was to my own misfortune. I grabbed my wrapper and put my arms through it and tied it around my waist.
I took a step out of my room and softly closed the door behind me. I looked both ways down the hall. No one. It was about three in the morning at this point and I supposed any guests on this level were fast asleep in their beds.
I walked softly down the corridor and stood in front of the door. It was unlatched and light shone around the frame.
Again, I cautiously looked around me.
Mr. Morton?” I whispered softly.
No answer.
I slowly opened the door.
The room was in disarray. Clothes on the floor, bed rumpled. I wondered if a maid had been in here since Mr. Morton took over the room. Then I noticed Mr. Morton sitting at the table facing the window. His head was on the desk turned away from me. But his body was at an odd angle, and his right arm was hanging down along the side of his body.
Drunk again? Had he passed out at the desk? Or had he just fallen asleep?
Mr. Morton?” I whispered again. “It’s Lillian Nolan.”
I noticed a bottle of whiskey on top of the desk to his right which was almost completely empty. He must assuredly have passed out from drink. I took a tentative step forward and approached carefully. The smell of alcohol was pervasive and overwhelming. I put my hand out to touch his shoulder.
That’s when I noticed the blood running down the front of his shirt and vest. There was a rather large red stain in the middle of his chest. I caught myself before I touched him and a scream caught in my throat. I immediately took a step back.
My first instinct was to run from the room but a voice in my head said, stay, observe.
I drew in a deep cleansing breath. I took my handkerchief out of my wrapper pocket and put it across my nose and mouth and slowly moved around to the left side of Mr. Morton. There, next to his hand which lay palm up on the desk, was the pistol I had seen the night Louise died. He had used to it to kill himself. Why? I wondered this so strongly that I felt that one word reverberate in my head. I looked to see if he had left anything and there was a note under his hand. It had been torn from another piece of paper.
I can’t live with myself and without her.
That was all it said.
Did he just admit to killing Louise? Was he truly guilty or just feeling that way? Had he been in this room the night Louise died? Did he indeed know about the affair between James O’Neill and his wife, and if so, would he have succumbed to anger and killed her—accidently, perhaps—or on purpose.

Elizabeth Ireland discovered her passion for theater early. After receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in Theater, she accepted a teaching position in a vibrant performing arts department at a college in northern Illinois. For ten years, she taught, directed and ran front-of-house operations. American Theater History—particularly that of the 19th century—has always been of particular interest to her.
She has been a quarter-finalist and a semi-finalist for the Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowship in screenwriting sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Two of her screenplays have been optioned, but remain unproduced. Her nonfiction work, Women of Vision: Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives, was published in 2008. Her work has also been published in a collection of paranormal short stories, Paramourtal: Tales of Undying Love and Loving the Undead. She lives in metro Atlanta with her ever-patient husband, and two quirky dachshunds.

Book Bitz, Excerpt & Author Interview: MBA by Douglas Board

MBA by Douglas Board
Why is so much of the world managed by arseholes? When workaholic business school hot shot Ben Stillman is fired, he has the chance to find out. Not a guy to sit still, Ben jumps head first into turning his former business school into a world-class madrassa of capitalism.
Ben has ten days to rescue the launch of its spectacular glass tower, and his own career – ten days during which he will have to confront terrorist plots, undercover police, the extravagant demands of the super-rich, and the only woman who can save him from this madness.
A satirical thriller, a love story, and a wry look at modern management ideology all rolled into one – MBA is a piercing yet hopeful enquiry into the meaning of success.
30% off with discount code BLOGTOURMBA
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MBA” by Douglas Board

Why is so much of the world managed by arseholes? ‘MBA’ – the abbreviation for a master’s degree in business administration – is a farce set at an English business school run by globe-trotting American professor William C Gyro. When Ben, a high-flying graduate of the college, is suddenly fired for no reason, Gyro asks him to rescue the very imminent, star-studded opening of a spectacular all-glass tower.

Ben’s last boss, Alex Bakhtin, believed flying first class was a scandalous waste of money, so Ben’s never done it before. But Gyro swept him off to Heathrow in a flash. Here they are in a Boeing 747 heading for Hong Kong, Gyro spouting leadership bullshit while Ben realises that he has a problem with his underpants.
They both ordered bloody Marys as they picked at duck terrine. So this was why Gyro was building the tower. From being a well-paid consultant, Gyro was returning to the land of high academic ideas with a five storey idea of his own. ‘Every important concept of contemporary leadership is reflected in the tower’s design. The auditorium is all glass. You look up? Everywhere you see the sky. What will students at the college learn? The sky’s the limit. It’s all glass. So you look down – straight down, between your feet. You see the ground. Look, the supporting column is the diameter of a London tube train, so nearly everywhere in the auditorium you see the ground. What do you learn?’
Don’t be a leader if you get sick easily, thought Ben.
However high you go as a leader, make sure you can see the ground. Then, the walls are all glass. A perfect circle. Which means – ?’ Gyro looked at Ben expectantly.
Scan the horizon?’ said Ben tentatively.
Gyro’s eyes were glowing, and Ben was getting infected. The concept of the tower was uncanny, even mind-bending.
Normally the acoustics of a glass circle would be terrible,’ Gyro continued. ‘All boom and echo, no clarity - just like leadership in most organisations. But using nanotechnology to modify the glass panels, we will have the perfect acoustic for the human voice and the human ear. Speaking in a natural way, without amplification; and hearing the contribution of everyone in the organisation, wherever they are sitting. That’s another fundamental aspect of leadership. That’s how leadership should be all the time. And we will teach it right here.’
Gyro put on a pair of eyeshades, took a sleeping pill and tucked himself in for the night.
Ben got it, for a few minutes at least. In ten days he would help open the Sistine chapel of leadership. However the relentless, fragranced, air-conditioned cleanliness around him led him to realise something else. His suit would travel a large fraction of the planet’s circumference crumpled but serviceable. His shirt and socks, borrowed from Frank, had been clean this morning. But it had felt presumptuous to ask for the loan of underpants, and he had never made it out of the lounge to the shops at Heathrow.
He was wearing navy boxers with the word ‘Tangiers’ stitched down one side. These pants had already clocked up eighteen hours on Monday. Another thirty-six hours were now in view, since Ben would turn round in Hong Kong without leaving airside or touching Chinese soil. He could do without trying to think about Sistine chapels while feeling dirty down below.
A thought came to him. A cornucopia of complimentary items for personal comfort had already come his way. Eric the steward had insisted that Ben ask for anything which might make his flight more comfortable. Arguably Eric’s ingratiating tone was over the top, but at six thousand pounds a seat one can do over the top and then some. What if, contra Bakhtin, the airlines had got first class travel right? Six thousand pounds which removed a top man’s trifling discomfort was nothing at all, if the greater greatness of the thoughts consequently thought - for example beating malaria by giving away mosquito nets for free in Africa - could save millions from deadly peril. But how good was this first class service, really? He should experiment.

Douglas Board is the author of the campus satire MBA (Lightning Books, 2015), which asked why so much of the business world is Managed By Arseholes. Time of Lies, his second novel, is a timely exploration of the collapse of democracy.
Born in Hong Kong, he has degrees from Cambridge and Harvard and worked for the UK Treasury and then as a headhunter. He has also had a distinguished career in public life, serving as treasurer of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and chairing the British Refugee Council.
As well as writing fiction, he is the author of two applied research books on leadership, which was the subject of his doctorate. He is currently a senior visiting fellow at the Cass Business School in London. He and his wife Tricia Sibbons live in London and Johannesburg.

Twitter: @BoardWryter