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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Hunting by Kerry Peresta (Author Guest Post / Book Spotlight)

In association with Pump Up Your Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Hunting by Author Kerry Peresta!

Author Guest Post

The Original Posers

I have always thought “pose” a nice word - firm, artistic, even stately. For instance, one poses for a photograph. One poses to model clothing, or for an artist’s brush. 

A few years ago, my kids started using the word “poser.” Being the inquisitive and sharp-witted person that I am, I quickly picked up on the sarcastic nuance. Further scrutiny revealed that “poser” meant one who pretends to be something he is not. 

So I kind of got used to that. 

But last Thursday changed everything. I stumbled over the true meaning of the word when I accidentally took a yoga class. 

I went to the gym anticipating an interval-cardio class, but I’d looked at the wrong schedule. The class about to begin was “Bodyflow” which is actually yoga with a few other things thrown in that I cannot pronounce. It included mats and bare feet. 

I had already invested significant workout-preparation time and did not want to have to do it all over again the next day, so I untied my shoes and pulled them off along with cute, matching Nike socks and threw them in a heap against the wall. If I wanted to work out in the time frame allotted I had no choice but to do it barefoot. Such is life. 

I lectured myself about holding plans loosely and letting go of expectations, trying to ignore the fact that the guy behind me looked like an emaciated prune and most of the granola-esque women seemed quite comfortable in bare feet. 

The lights dimmed. 

I was thinking, why are the lights dimming? The music began. Very new age-y with slight hints of Chinese water lilies. Or maybe Japanese water lilies. My exercise routine goes back as far as Jane Fonda and Jazzercise, which are two very different workout streams, but the point is I am comfortable with lots of upbeat music; yelled, chirpy encouragement, and pounding dance moves. I had no clue what massage music had to do with working out, but I was game. 

The music wafted eerily through the darkened room. The instructor, eyes half-closed, arched both arms upward, hands tilted in prayer and drawn down in front of the chest. We repeated this in different variations for approximately twenty minutes. Then we were told to perform the Tree Pose. 

Tree Pose? 

The instructor drew a foot up the side of one leg and held it firmly against her knee. I wobbled a little, but managed to imitate a respectable tree. Then the instructor told us to perform the “Downward-Facing Dog Pose,” his voice soft as velvet. Who comes up with these names? I had never seen a dog pose this way. I had actually never seen anything pose this way, except maybe in the game “Twister.” 

I obligingly threw my head upside down, planted my hands on the floor and thrust my hindquarters high. I wondered what the wizened prune-guy behind me thought, but he wheezed so hard he probably didn’t pay attention to anything but his own Downward-Facing Dog. Lung-Impaired version. 

With a seductive whisper, the instructor told us to whoosh one leg forward and plant a foot under our chins, thereby accomplishing a lunge, which I do not think constitutes a pose, but I am not sure. From the lunge position we were supposed to smoothly transition into the Warrior Pose, roughly resembling a mother with outstretched arms between two young children desperately trying to keep them from scratching each other’s eyes out. 

At one point we all wobbled mightily on one leg while attempting to stretch the other straight out in front of us and cross it over the knee on the other side. I made a pitiful attempt. Each participant struggled to hold the poses indefinitely, red faces, muffled grunting and heavy breathing all around. 

People actually enjoy this? 

I quickly mastered the “Happy Baby Pose.” I almost sucked my thumb. The “Lotus Pose” was totally a breeze, too - basically we sat, Indian-style and wondered about lotuses. Loti. Whatever. The yoga experience included lots of time to wonder about stuff. 

Names of the poses are too delicious. For instance: Half-Moon Pose (The pose for men who have, developed a huge paunch. It is performed standing, hands on top of said paunch with woeful gaze downward at their own personal half-moon); Half-Frog Pose (Are these frogs cut in half? Are they standing on one leg? And more importantly, is this where frog legs come from?); Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Lord of the Fishes? Seriously? Is a Lord of the Fishes a whale? If not, what is a Lord of the Fishes and why is there only half of one?); Corpse Pose (I thought exercise was geared to prevent the premature occurrence of this pose, but what do I know?); Cow Face Pose (the pose for really, really ugly people); Reclining Big Toe Pose (I did not know that big toes actually…um…reclined, but I would certainly like to see this phenomenon); Firefly Pose (the pose for the young at heart and accompanied by a quart jar with holes punched in the lid)…I could go on. The list of poses is lengthy, but I am seriously over-posed at this point, and suspicious of an entire discipline dedicated to posing. 

Maybe I have become jaded. 

The wizened prune guy approached me after class and demonstrated how to properly perform a Warrior Pose. Then he told me I should buy a yoga mat, as I cannot be a tree and other assorted landscape items or creatures without it. I smiled, thanked him, and ran for the door. Like Yoda with yoga wisdom, he tracked me, sniffing a potential convert. I made it to my car, wiping sweat off my brow, glancing over my shoulder. I ignored his disappointed expression and zoomed off before he decided to demonstrate the Cow Face Pose at my window. 

I found out later that yoga has its roots in Buddhism, a religion that seeks to unite individual consciousness with universal consciousness. I am not sure what a universal consciousness is, but I am pretty sure it has something to do with frogs and fireflies and trees and dogs and lotus. Loti. Whatever. 

I’ll stick to cardio and strength training, and let the Yoda people get up close and personal with yoga. 

Besides, I do not think I have much in common with people who actively pursue a Corpse Pose.

About The Author

Kerry Peresta’s publishing credits include a popular newspaper and e-zine humor column, The Lighter Side, and short stories in the published anthology, That One Left Shoe, and her debut novel, The Hunting, contemporary women’s fiction, released by Pen-L Publishing. She spent twenty-five years in advertising as an account manager, creative director, and copywriter before deciding to devote more of her time to writing. She is currently working on her second novel, participating in writing conferences, and serving on the leadership team of the Maryland Writers’ Association. Kerry was a single mother for many years to four great kids, all grown and successfully carving out their own unique paths. She and her husband live in the Baltimore metro area.

Her novel, The Hunting, is available in Kindle and paperback on, Barnes & Noble (, and her website.

Visit Kerry at


Book Spotlight

The Hunting by Kerry Peresta
Publisher: Pen-L Publishing
Publication Date: November 24, 2013
Format: Paperback - 247 pages 
            Kindle - 1206 KB
ISBN: 978-1940222066
ASIN: B00H25O958
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: The Hunting

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

Book Description:

Isabelle Lewis, top advertising salesperson at the Chatbrook Springs Sentinel newspaper, has a habit of falling in and out of marriage. After her last divorce, she shoved the emotional pain into a compartment in her brain to deal with later. With three teenagers to raise, bills to pay, and sales quotas to meet, introspection was a luxury she couldn't afford. Her mind needed a happy place.

When Isabelle (Izzy) discovered online dating, it immediately became her favorite stress reliever and best friend. Often, she'd steal into the night after her kids were asleep to meet someone new. One fateful evening, the hunt for the perfect guy took a sinister turn when the mystery man she met turned out to be her worst nightmare! Reluctantly pulled into a web of lies, Izzy is forced to confront her demons.

Snarky, suspense-filled, and real, The Hunting is an exquisite entwining of the crippling emotional fallout of divorce with the quest for a healthy, fulfilling relationship. This inspirational story rivets!

Book Excerpt:

Excerpt from THE HUNTING By Kerry Peresta

I sit in my car a minute, adjusting to the darkness of the garage. My eyes land on the kids' car tucked in already, and I know they are inside the house, either asleep or going that direction, because I'd talked to them on the way home. I shake off the feeling that something is wrong, get out of the car, start up the stairs to the kitchen, reconsider and click on the overhead light in the garage to sniff around.

Brightness illuminates the area. Rakes, loppers, an air pump, and various gadgetry cling to a pegboard nailed to one wall; an aging lawnmower sits in a far corner with its best friend, the gas trimmer. Metal shelving climbs the back wall, loaded with fairly common family paraphernalia. My eyes scan the cement floor and the kids' car, searching for signs of inappropriate activity. I smell old grass, a little oil that has leaked from one of the cars, gas, paint thinner.

My heels striking the cement garage floor in the middle of the night remind me of old Law and Order episodes, where Eames and Goren discover a body in the garage, draped halfway out of a car, drenched in blood. I should stop watching those shows. Then I see it. Not tonight, my mind screams. Tonight? After this horribly long day? My stomach clenches in fear.

A tightly folded, small, white square mocks me from the windshield of my kids' car. What time is it, anyway, I mutter to myself as I cautiously approach the car, lift the windshield wiper, and hold the small square gingerly between thumb and forefinger. I grab my phone from my purse with my free hand and click the screen on. Almost midnight. Self-pity, despair, and several other emotions I have no energy to identify zip through me at warp speed. I turn off the garage light and climb the three stairs into the kitchen, firmly locking the door behind me. The note sails through the air and lands on the kitchen table.

I scroll quickly through my contacts to find Detective Faraday. His phone rings several times, a groggy voice answers. “Yeah?” Cough. “What?”

“Detective Faraday?” I whisper.

“You got him. What’s up?” I picture him wiping his eyes and focusing on a clock by his bed. Maybe a lovely wife by his side, sleeping. I feel awful for interrupting him at home.

“I got another note,” my voice is hushed, and has begun to warble. I am whispering because I don’t want to alarm the kids, but the stress has rushed to every extremity and overtaken my vocal cords. I cannot stop shaking. Detective Faraday is instantly alert.

“Okay. This is Izzy, right?”

I shake my head, realize someone on the other end of a phone call cannot see a head shake, and murmur “Yes.”

“All right, I'm going to call and get a patrol car out there immediately. What does the note say? By the way, we have analyzed fingerprints on the note, and it is definitely the man you indicated, so he is not using an alias. That’s good news, because it means he’s not trying to hide, and it’s probably not pre-meditated. Probably just a reaction to a personal crisis. Which, unfortunately, you seem to be triggering.”

“So what should I do?” I whisper.

“Read me the note, Izzy,” he says, calmly.

“It was on my kids' car.” I feel tears forming. One trails slowly down my cheek. I slap it away.

“Oh, man,” Detective Faraday whooshes out a long sigh. “You weren’t home, then? But your kids were?”

“Yeah, and I'm pretty sure the garage was locked. They know they are supposed to shut the garage door when they get home, no matter what.”

“Izzy, is there a window in your garage?” I think a minute. Yes! There is one in the small storage room at the back of the garage, one we never use.

“Well, yes, there is one in a storage room, but – ”

“Is it locked?” he barks. I start to cry.

“I don’t know! Why is this happening?”

“Go check, Izzy, right now. Keep me on the phone while you do it. Take a flashlight or a bat or something with you. I'll wait.”

The implication hits me that he wants me to find a weapon before I check the window. Seriously? I quietly enter my sons' room and pluck up the bat that is leaning against their bookshelf. They stir, but do not wake.

“Okay,” I whisper. “Got a bat. Heading for the garage.”

“I'm with you, Izzy. Be careful.”

His voice is reassuring and I am thinking how grateful I am for our police force. Funny. I am grateful now, but just let me get a speeding ticket. I enter the garage, and tiptoe toward the closed storage room door, my heart beating violently. I hold the bat in my right hand and turn the knob slowly with my left. The darkened room emerges bit by bit as the door creaks open. Light from the garage spills into the room, illuminating old cans of paint, a broken lamp, basketballs, a football, boxes. I push the door open further, and see the window, which is located high on the wall, shards of cobwebs hanging from the edges.

I lift the bat in pre-strike position as I push the door all the way open. I hear Detective Faraday’s breathing on the phone.

“What’s happening, Izzy?” he says, causing me to nearly jump out of my skin.

I locate the string that turns on the lone light bulb in the room, and pull. The forty-watt bulb creates an eerie glow. To my utter and profound relief, the room appears empty.

“I am in the storage room. It’s empty.”

I lean the bat against one of the boxes and look around.

“How often are you in that room, Izzy?”

“Rarely. It’s for stuff we don’t have room for. Kind of forget sometimes, that it’s here.”

“Okay,” he says, “go to the window and check the lock.”

My nose wrinkles in disgust. “Okay,” I say and move aside two squashed storage boxes. Looking around, I locate something to stand on, and reach up to check the latch. Push up on the window, which holds. Try again, and it reluctantly slides open. “It’s not locked,” I say, miserably.

“Lock it,” Detective Faraday says. “Don’t worry, Izzy, we'll get him."

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

Sunday, June 15
Book Featured at Virginia Beach Publishing Examiner

Monday, June 16
Guest Blogging at Pink Fluffy Hearts

Tuesday, June 17
Book Featured at Moonlight Lace & Mayhem
Book Featured at Sapphyria’s Book Reviews

Wednesday, June 18
Book Featured at Biblio Junkies

Tuesday, June 24
Guest Blogging at Jersey Girl Book Reviews

Thursday, June 26
Book Featured at I Heart Reading

Friday, June 27
Interview at The Writer’s Life

Monday, July 7
Book Review at Mary’s Cup of Tea

Tuesday, July 8
Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Wednesday, July 9
Book Featured at Maureen’s Musings

Thursday, July 10
Book Featured at Written Love

Friday, July 15
Book Featured at CBY Book Club

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