Flat by Neal Rabin

FlatRiveting, HIGH SPEED, CINEMATIC ADVENTURE. This ain’t your history teacher’s 16th century.”
–Hummus Aficionado – One vat is never enough

A wise man once said, “The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.” If this is true, then it stands to reason that Captain Lanning Delaford is about to have the most meaningful day of his life.

In Neal Rabin’s newest, action-packed novel, FLAT (Ponderosa Publishing, Spring 2024, ISBN: 978-0-997046830), Lanning Delaford is torn from his typical routine in 16th Century Spain by a series of comically unfortunate events. Thrown into a swashbuckling adventure he had no intention of taking, Delaford becomes a reluctant explorer.

Set at the tail end of the Spanish Inquisition, when seafaring exploration and discovery were THE thing, FLAT follows the intrepid tales of Delaford and his makeshift crew as they embark on a journey teeming with betrayal, romance, murder, sea battles, and a healthy dose of satirical Renaissance humor. 

A part-time tennis instructor for the prince of Spain, part-time merchant seaman, Lanning lives a comfortable but financially precarious life in Andalusia. In the course of a single day, the fiscal scales tip out of his favor following a narrowly-escaped assassination attempt, a double mugging, and the loss of his loaner boat and its cargo to pirates. Now deep in the red, he has no choice but to rent another boat and make for the nearby trade port of Tangier to recover some of his losses. 

As luck would have it, passage on Lanning’s ship is in high demand, so the captain and his eclectic crew soon set sail. Accompanied by an engaging and diverse cast of characters including Ignatius Loyola, Ferdinand Magellan, (mostly) evil pirates, a mediocre Portuguese butcher, an alluring, bad-ass courtesan, and a peregrine falcon named Doug, Lanning finds that his short trip to Tangier is about to become a life-changing, epic voyage into the unknown Great Sea. 

Fraught with ruthless pirates, brutal storms, and worries about falling off the edge of the Earth, FLAT is a clever, cinematic odyssey. Neal Rabin has crafted a fast-paced piece of historical fiction that is at times both poignant and laugh-out-loud funny with a wit that readers of Douglas Adams or Christopher Moore will enjoy. 

Faced with your own personal precipice, would fear stop you at the edge, or would you dare to venture beyond it?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Neal Rabin is a UCLA graduate who worked for Club Med as a tennis and surf instructor on Reunion Island off the coast of Madagascar. He stocked refrigerators, xeroxed scripts, and served as a ‘fetch’ for Time Life Films. Neal cofounded and spent fifteen years as CEO of the Santa Barbara based global software company, Miramar Systems. He continues to live in Santa Barbara with his wife, two daughters, two dogs, multiple guitars, his piano, and a flock of chickens. Neal is an instrument pilot and has an active lifestyle that includes surfing, volleyball, yoga, and tennis.

A Family, Maybe by Lane Igoudin

A Family, Maybe“An inspiring portrait of steadfast love under pressure.”
–Janet Fitch, White Oleander, an Oprah’s Book Club selection

Public adoption is a long and uncertain process with some of society’s most vulnerable people at the heart of it. Every adult and child involved in the system has a unique story to tell. In his candid and poignant memoir, A Family, Maybe (Ooligan Press, February 13, 2024, ISBN: 9781947845459), Lane Igoudin details his and his husband Jonathan’s fraught path through the Los Angeles County’s foster-to-adopt process. A Family, Maybe offers an unprecedented look into the adoption process as it affects the lives of everyone involved, from the children taken into the system, to the suffering birth parents, to the couples hoping desperately to start a family of their own.

In the fall of 2005, after years of preparation, planning, and waiting for a chance to raise a family, Jon and Lane were given the opportunity to foster an infant named Marianna. Lane and Jon fell in love with the child and decided they would give her the best life they could. Marianna’s mother, a teenager in foster care herself, had voluntarily placed her in foster care before going AWOL. With her birth mother absent and father unknown, Marianna seemed to be on the fast-track to becoming adoptable.

The couple could not have predicted the return of the child’s mother, still in foster care, and the news that she was expecting a second child. With the second child also came the sudden appearance of the baby’s birth father, a man 10 years older than the mother, which would complicate the kids’ cases and begin to pull Lane and Jon’s family apart.

A Family, Maybe documents the ensuing spiral, rife with legal challenges, emotional blows, and no less important, political strife. In the early 2000s, with gay marriage and adoption still illegal in most U.S. states, Lane and Jon’s family would join the first wave of out LGBTQ+ families fighting for respect and equality.

A Family, Maybe is a story of hope and heartbreak; of relatable first-time parenting highs and lows, but also with the pressure of knowing the family you’ve built could be ripped from you at any moment.

“Helps to guide and comfort future parents through the challenging foster and adoption processes . . . a story of hope and perseverance.”
—U.S. Congressman Alan Lowenthal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lane Igoudin, Ph.D., is a writer, blogger, and professor of English and linguistics at Los Angeles City College. He has written extensively on foster adoption, parenting, LGBTQ families, and spiritual growth for publications such as Adoption.com, FamilyEquality.org, The Forward, and Lambda Literary Review. He recently served as an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow with the Humanities Division of UCLA.

The Daedalus Protocol by Jeff Sheckter

“Throughout the ages, humanity has fought a losing battle. Death is inescapable. All cultures have prepared their loved ones for the afterlife in one way or another. However, there are many stories of mystical healing waters with the power to give life itself…

Would this genesis-like elixir be a portent for eternal life, or the greatest weapon the world has ever known?”

As a lethal pathogen decimates livestock and destroys crops, a catastrophic famine looms large over the world. In a race against time, a shadowy figure named Daedalus gathers a group of extraordinary soldiers and brilliant scientists. Under the leadership of Gryphon Oake, a distinguished SEAL commander, they embark on a perilous journey that takes them from ancient tombs to the inner sanctum of the Catholic Church. 

Their quest: To unearth a long-forgotten treasure, the key to averting impending doom. Delve into The Daedalus Protocol (Wolf Willow Publishers, 978-1-738936106, August 2023), a heart-pounding thriller where the team unravels ancient enigmas, uncovers the true essence of immortality, and races for humanity’s salvation.

Special Forces and Top Ranked Scientists

The Daedalus Protocol is Jeff Sheckter’s debut novel that follows an elite team as they work against the clock to save humanity from a plague that has been unleashed upon the world. The pathogen they’re up against is like nothing else mankind has ever seen, able to survive under even the most inhospitable of conditions and seemingly impervious to harm. This elite force must discover who the crazed zealot behind the pathogen is and secure the antidote – An elixir of life and healing, long thought to be the stuff of legends.

The search for the Fountain of Youth takes commander Oake and his colleagues on an odyssey across the globe chasing biblical riddles while trying to stay one step ahead of the group that wants to kill them. They must decipher cryptic clues from ancient texts and follow a secret trail to locate a long-lost treasure from our past that may be the only thing that can guarantee humanity’s future. With the threat of starvation imminent, will commander Oake and his team be able to find this long-lost antidote before it’s too late, or will humanity succumb to the coming apocalypse?

Action Packed Adventure

“An action-packed adventure, it takes you on an archeological journey full of centuries-old puzzles that keep you guessing. The twists and turns are dizzying, and you’ll be on the edge of your seat… The characters are diverse, well-developed, and likable.”

— Anne-Marie Reynolds, Reader’s Favorite 5-star review

Jeff Sheckter’s first novel, The Daedalus Protocol, is a thriller that brings readers along for a heart-pounding adventure. Filled with archeological mysteries and intriguing conspiracy theories, Jeff Sheckter’s excellently crafted suspense will leave readers unable to put the book down. The Daedalus Protocol is an exciting novel that will appeal to anyone looking for a new, gripping adventure told with great pacing and an entertaining cast of characters.