Wednesday, July 20, 2016

C. Michael Bennis - Ralph's Place is featured in the HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

The Showcase is a special feature of the Author's Spotlight. It is designed to highlight Spotlight author's NEW releases and their soon to be released novels.

The HBS Author's Spotlight SHOWCASES C. Michael Bennis's New Book: Ralph's Place. 

Paranormal Romance and Suspense Author C. Michael Bennis is the author of Dangerous and Desirable, Signs of Destiny and Rules of Engagement.

Ralph's Place

A Magical Experience

Author: C. Michael Bennis

Barnes and Noble

Ridiculed in school because of her intelligence, Melissa takes comfort only inher ailing parents, who she cares for daily. As they approach death,they introduce her to a land full of mysterious creatures andexperiences that children can only enter through their dreams.

Melissa grows to become a professor at the Massachusetts Institute ofTechnology, where she teaches mathematics. Despite her success, shecan't forget her childhood and continues to seek the physical locationof Ralph's Place. Eventually, a magician with the ability to teleportpeople decides to help Melissa with her search. And together, they areable to turn Ralph's Place into an enchanted experience for a familywith an only child.

Ralph Creston, a fourteen-year-old boy, moves with his parents outside of the city after his dad accepts a new job.Ralph is heartbroken as the only life he has ever known disappears inthe rearview mirror. He and his family are off to a remote Victorianmansion, where his father has taken a new job.

There he meetsanother boy named Ralph, who has an unusual request: tell thethree-legged dog-named Sam that he will be missed. And with that, Ralphis propelled into a series of adventures as he moves into a mansion full of possibility and promise.

Soon, Ralph will befriend apie-thieving beaver, a fugitive vampire, and other mysterious creaturesin a wondrous fantasy world--all thanks to a determined collegeprofessor who also explored Ralph's Place as a child.

Excerpt from Ralph's Place: A Magical Experience

You won’t find Ralph’s Place on a map, and the US mail is not delivered there. There is no telephone or cell phone reception and no television. Yet Ralph’s Place is as real as the nose on your face. Surprisingly, you may have once visited Ralph’s Place while you were dreaming. Later you awakened with a big smile and a bright happy face. The memory lingers for a long time. But you are helpless to return if you cannot remember the dreamlike state of mind that took you there.

Throughout history, there have been many legends about a magical place in the North Woods where it is always summer. Most often, Ralph’s Place is first found by accident, and the experience is so wonderful that visitors forget how to return.

Melissa Zorach was a five-foot-four, slender brunette who would soon discover Ralph’s Place. Melissa was a very busy young woman. She looked after her ailing mother and father, and she ran home every day after school to administer her mother’s medications and to check her father’s blood pressure. In addition, Melissa had to clean the house and do all the shopping because her parents were housebound due to illness. The satisfaction from Melissa’s busy day came when her mother shared stories about her father’s brilliant intelligence. Not once did her mother talk about her own equally impressive mind.

Melissa attended eighth grade at Valley Central School, which was a relic two-story brick building that had educated three generations of Valley students. The building was a brick fortress with a pungent odor of overripe cheese. The lavatories were old and out of date with a wretched plumbing system that had swallowed too many cherry bombs.

Melissa’s family moved to the Valley from somewhere no one could recall. Soon after their arrival, Melissa’s parents suffered debilitating illnesses, and overnight young Melissa became their caregiver. No one ever learned why the family moved to the Valley or exactly what was wrong with the parents. In short time, Melissa and her reclusive parents became foreigners in the Valley where everyone knew one another.

Melissa was the invisible student. She was shy, avoided the other students, and was quickly on her way home after the last class bell. Melissa’s teachers had given up trying to schedule afterschool meetings with the elusive but brilliant young woman who never submitted a wrong answer.

Melissa managed with uncanny success to remain invisible until Tuesday, the twenty-second of May, when she forgot to do her math homework.

The fateful event occurred amid a monumental cloudburst, when the sky hung above the treetops as if it were made of huge black boulders with sharp flashing streaks of lightning. Melissa looked out through the class window and cringed to think of her mom and dad at home alone. She was looking out the window and not paying attention as the students in her eighth-grade math class turned in their homework assignment.

The math students sat at desks in vertical rows, beginning with the express train next to the window and extending to the freight train in the far corner. Students competitively moved from train to train according to their correct or incorrect answers. The students vied and rivaled one another for advantage. Failing to hand in their homework would occasion their sudden relocation to the last seat on the freight train: the shameful caboose.

Today the weather had turned threatening, and the students looked out the window at what would soon be cascading rain, thunder, and lightning. It was on this calamitous, storming spring day that everyone in Adele’s class handed in their most difficult homework assignment of the school year. Most of the students had been up all night trying to do Adele’s impossible homework. Adele was always pushing her students more deeply into math, which according to Adele was the secret to success in any endeavor.

Adele was a powerful woman. No one recalled her last name. Her contemporaries and her students revered Adele. She weighed as much as a small hippopotamus—not really, but maybe. She was not tall, she had huge flat feet, her ankles were always swollen, and she frequently emitted an unpleasant smell that would cause her to sniff and sniff and then disappear out of the classroom, headed down the hall to the restroom. A few minutes later, Adele would return to the classroom engulfed in a floral fragrance that was more repugnant than the mysterious malady.

The students shamefully handed in their frustrating attempts to resolve the nearly impossible math assignment. No one submitted more than varied rabbit tracks bouncing here and there but leading nowhere. Soon all the students had handed in their homework, except for Melissa, who had completely forgotten the assignment and was now looking fearfully out the window and worrying about her parents.

“Melissa, where is your homework?” Adele asked.

No reply. Melissa’s face turned scarlet.

“Did you solve the problem?”

“I didn’t look at it.”

“Go sit in the last seat of the classroom, the caboose of the freight train!”

Melissa did as she was told and began sobbing and choking, much to the delight of the other students. “Hey, Melissa, now you know how it feels!” one boy shouted.

Their dislike of Melissa was a response to her disinterest in social interaction and never being available after school. As a result, Melissa’s resentful classmates had grown critical and often ridiculed her ordinary clothing, her bobbed hair, and her frayed sweaters. They often carried their opinions home where more than a few moms were quick to point out that Melissa was special. They should be compassionate about her responsibility to care for her ailing parents. Sadly, the students never listened because they enjoyed ridiculing Melissa.

The class was now taunting Melissa with hurtful remarks until the teacher blew her gym whistle. This caused an immediate halt to the ridicule and taunting. Adele lived by the rules of her classroom, although she now regretted the impact of her discipline, as she watched her finest student burying her face and her sobs in her hands.

Someone snidely said, “Hey, Melissa, go home to your mom and dad.” Melissa stood at once, gathering her books and started toward the door.

Tears streamed down her face while her classmates jeered and sneered.

Melissa was looking down in shame, and she did not see Adele blocking her path to exit the classroom. “Why didn’t you turn in your homework?”

“My mom had a bad spell and I sat beside her bed all night.” Her face was wet with tears, but also scarlet with anger. She couldn’t move forward with the teacher blocking her way.

Melissa looked into her teacher’s eyes, then she dried her eyes on her sleeve and wiped the snot from her runny nose on the back of her hand.

Adele produced a tissue.

Accepting this small generosity, Melissa asked, “May I see the homework? Truthfully, I never looked at it.”

Adele waddled slowly to her desk, retrieved the homework assignment, and handed it to Melissa, who read the problem without emotion. Then she placed her books on the empty front-row seat of the express train and walked to the blackboard. At once, Melissa began writing numbers and symbols, then hesitated and erased all she had written.

The classroom roared with laughter.

Melissa was now writing beautifully handwritten numbers and symbols on the large classroom blackboard. Only the front-row students could see the big smile on Melissa’s face as she continued writing with momentary pauses to look at the wall clock.

The bells rang that ended classes for the day, but no one moved as Melissa began to write faster. Her tongue protruded from the side of her mouth as she worked, and her fellow students looked on in awe at the strange equations, symbols, and letters appearing on the board.

The teacher finally spoke. “I submitted this homework assignment to illustrate the advanced forms of mathematics you would encounter if you were to pursue math as a major in college. You’re seeing advanced algebra, geometric word patterns, trigonometry, and calculus.” The teacher had to stop. Tears were now flowing from the teacher’s eyes.

“You’re seeing a prodigy, a genius. This is brilliance far beyond words.”

Melissa finished and softly asked, “Could I have my place again at the head of the express train?”

The teacher could only nod her head in approval, and Melissa grabbed her books and fled the classroom to return to her parents.

The reaction from her classmates was what you might imagine. Melissa became known as the Creep, the Alien, the Witch, and the Weirdo. The nasty names accompanied Melissa through high school. The highlights of her life were the times she spent with her parents doing math games, playing Scrabble, and completing countless crossword puzzles.

Melissa was coping, but coping was all she was doing until her father gave her a cherished gift two weeks before he died. Melissa was in her pajamas reading when her father came into the room and said, “I’m feeling anxious, would you sleep with your mother and me?”

Melissa did not hesitate to join her parents in their bed. This was the same bed where Melissa had spent many fearful childhood nights. Her father was afraid, and she felt privileged to hold her father with her arms wrapped around his chest. They settled down for the night. It was very quiet when her mother unexplainably said “bon voyage” and turned off the light. Melissa slept soundly until she awakened from a deep sleep and discovered she was sitting on the shore of a beautiful lake in a forest of pine trees. Her father and mother each held one of her hands. “This is the most beautiful gift we could give you,” said her father. It’s a magical place that nurtures happiness and well-being. We will work with you until you can come here whenever you desire.” It was a promise her parents just barely accomplished before her father died.

Author Genre: Romance, Paranormal, Suspense

Website: C. Michael Bennis
Author's Blog: C. Michael Bennis
Twitter: @CMBennis
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Amazon Author Profile

Author Description: C. Michael Bennis is bilingual and lives in Tucson, Arizona as a former advertising and toy industry executive. He is the author of three best selling novels: Dangerous and Desirable (Oct.19, 2013), Signs of Destiny (2012) and Rules of Engagement (2009), and he is currently editing his fourth novel between speaking engagements.

The glistening razor like actions of this narrative cut across unexpected consequences. Julio's exploits are legendary. It is almost as if this former champion boxer can draw and fire his weapon before an adversary's brain registers the movement. He has one weakness: he cannot refuse helping vulnerable, innocuous victims. It is a carry over from when his survivor Jewish parents were killed in a train accident and he left the orphanage to live on the streets of Buenos Aires, an eight-year old with a dog for his only friend. Ironically, his combat skills draw the attention of an ambitious female war correspondent that seeks to discover his true identity. The hunter becomes the hunted when her article is published in a revealing expose. She believes Julio Navarro's true identity will win her international recognition, but in fact it might only make her dead as Julio Navarro goes on the lam and Ziv fears the worst for this incredible man. Suspense Romance. Setting: New York City, Madrid, Culiacán, and Mazatlán, Mexico.

Author's Book List
Dangerous and Desirable
Julio Navarro is the world's foremost assassin for hire.

(Romantic Suspense) To know his identity is terminal with extreme prejudice. Only three international espionage directors know of his existence. Ziv Yadin is Mossad's foremost assassin. Her last assignment went awry and political motives suggest the Knesset may have directed Mossad to sanction Yadin. Navarro first accepts the hit, then refuses after meeting Yadin. Now Mossad's double-sanction has Navarro guarding the very person he was hired to kill. Julio saves Ziv's life but reveals talents she never expected from the perceived wealthy businessman who now suddenly rushes to Madrid, while leaving Ziv in a safe house fortress. Ziv follows to discover who this incredible man really is, and finds the ashes of his past when the mother and ten-year old sister he was living with six-years ago vanished without a note. A kidnapping, a champion boxer's past and a warrior's agenda mark this non-stop action-suspense thriller as Julio, the merciless killer, puts his life in extreme danger to save a little girl he never admitted to loving.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Signs of Destiny
Have you ever feared going to a Fortune Teller?

(Paranormal Romance) Alison's worst fears begin when the palmist refuses to reveal her fortune. Alison is seventeen-years old when she steps into Destiny's doorway. This unique story grips the reader's attention as Alison lives with her horrifying prophecy that unravels with exactitude, including the incredible love she was always destined to have. Alison must deal with the vortex of fate and find a way to save her life.

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Rules of Engagement
Unrestrained passions and exotic locales are key elements of Rules of Engagement, a savvy debut by C. Michael Bennis. With a pitch perfect prose and unforgettably naughty characters, new romance author Bennis offers a winning combination that tells of the underbelly of the advertising world and the softest sides of true love. In the summer of 1964, two college graduates meet in a London club. While their attraction is palpable, Nicole is engaged to the premier’s son and is Parisian aristocracy; dutiful to a fault she can’t help but fall headfirst for Alec, a Colorado native who is a little rough around the edges. As they decide the course of their affair, Nicole comes up with the Rules of Engagement. Over the next nine days they agree not to fall in love and not to reveal their identities. Reunited by chance over two decades later, the magic is still there. One is married, one is not—both will begin to understand that love and passion endures despite time, circumstance, and reason.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
eBook Author’s Corner
Mystery Reader’s Circle

Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

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