May 5, 2015

The Marlboro Man by Anna Alexander blog tour!

The Marlboro Man
by Anna Alexander



For years Mark Webber was in love with his best friend’s girl, and it had become well past time for him to move on for greener pastures. Not long after he left, Mark realized the Sprawling A was his home, so now he’s back, ready to leave the past in the dust. While he was gone, there had been some changes at the A, including a new ranch hand who comes with a sister that stirs Mark’s passions in ways he never felt.

Gabriella Montoya has come to the ranch seeking shelter after a failed marriage. Not only is she welcomed with open arms, but she gains six big brothers. But one man doesn’t look at her like he would a sister. Oh, no. Mark gazes at her with a heat and promise in his eyes, and damn if he doesn’t deliver on every one. But Gabriella’s not certain she’s ready to embark on another relationship so soon with a man who has made no bones about wanting forever, especially when both of their pasts rise from the ashes and threaten everything they have.

Exclusive Excerpt

She tugged hard on his fingers, bringing his attention to his crushing grip. “I’m sorry.” He dropped her hand like a hot branding iron. Red colored his vision for a moment before he shook his head to clear it. “You’re so tiny. I didn’t mean to hurt you. Are you all right?” He searched her face for any sign of discomfort.

“I’m fine.” Her expression was passive, with no indication that she was anything other than all right.

“Let’s get you to where it’s warmer.” He gestured for her to go ahead. He tamped down the overwhelming urge to sweep her up in his arms for protection. As she passed him, his palm brushed the silk

on her lower back to escort her, before he remembered his place and snatched it away.

He had no right touching her or guiding her that way. She didn’t belong to him. She wasn’t his to care for or avenge. Where was this caveman tendency coming from? She was a stranger. How could this little slip of a woman affect him so quickly? Make his blood boil with a few soft-spoken words?

He exhaled through his noise with a harsh breath and chomped down on his gum with more force than necessary. Jesus, he really needed to stop wanting his friends’ women. Ignoring the throbbing below his belt, he kept his focus on the dirt road in front of him and not on the sway of her hips. He’d never thought he would find a tweed skirt so sexy.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Anna Alexander's literary world changed at age thirteen when a friend gave her a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss's "A Rose in Winter." With her mind thoroughly blown, she decided that one day she too would be a romance writer. With Hugh Jackman's abs and Christopher Reeve's blue eyes as inspiration, she loves spinning tales about superheroes finding love.

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Anna will be awarding $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner, and a swag pack (international) to another randomly drawn winner, both via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host.

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ARCHANGEL by Jamie Salisbury BLOG TOUR!

by Jamie Salisbury


Archangel. A musical angel hiding in the dusty, smoke-filled London clubs, she performs with reckless abandon. Few know the woman behind the mask she adorns.

Mary Tudor, twin sister to Amadeus Tudor - a well-known rock star- has all but given up her up and coming photography business to become the personal photographer, and fiancé to Daniel Kennedy. Daniel, a world renowned violinist, is one of the few who knows Mary's secret. Together they scheme to devise a way for her to fulfill a secret dream.

Postponing their wedding until after Daniel's much anticipated European tour, Mary juggles many jobs. One however alludes her every month. Motherhood.

Making unannounced, surprise appearances during Daniel's tour, the mysterious Archangel rules the concert stage. Suddenly everyone wants to know who this masked woman is. Fans clamor for more, the press want to know every detail about her, and a few others are sure Daniel Kennedy is quite aware at who this phenomenon is. And if that weren't enough drama, a sinister enigma from her brother's past threatens both her future and her life.

Will Archangel's identity be revealed as planned, or will the chaos of Amadeus' past catch up to them?


Proudly I stood at the back of the hall, and watched as the show continued. By the look on his face I could tell he was in absolute heaven. Daniel was a perfectionist, and tonight it was evident by the audience's reactions.

But tonight...tonight there was going to be a huge surprise for the crowd that had come to see this phenomenon known as Daniel Kennedy. Tonight Archangel's going to make a special appearance...though her entrance would be nothing like Danny and I planned.

In retrospect I probably should have made my entrance according to plan. Tucked up on stage and appearing through a cloud of smoke. To be honest? That made it look pre-arranged and not spur of the moment like my walking through the audience did. This was Archangel's debut, and it was going to be in typical Archangel fashion. Unscripted.

At just the exact moment, I began heading towards the stage. Down the aisle between the people. It was an old trick the late Italian composer, Niccolo Paganini, one of Danny's classical idols had used in his day. Daniel himself used it, and now I was. It worked. It got the audience's attention.

By now Danny and his stage people had picked up on my change of plans and had a spot directed on me as I strutted towards him. He was now watching me as he played. I detected a smirk on his face. He knew me well enough to know when it came to Archangel that I was in charge.

As I reached the front of the stage, I turned towards one of the two sets of stairs located at either side. Staying focused on the stairs, I pranced past him. I knew not to look at him, fearing I'd trip and ruin everything. The man affected me in just that way. Made me crazy, but then I was crazy in love with him.

We'd picked a lively pop tune which had been one of the favorites on Danny's previous tour and CD. Keeping everything upbeat, a Paganini favorite was the second choice for the evening.

Walking across the stage toward him, I sucked in a breath as I seductively smiled at him. As we ended the first piece, Danny took my free hand to introduce me to the audience. He squeezed my hand and leaned toward me.

"Having fun? You're doing awesome, sweet. And by the way, you look ravishing."
AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Writing romance stories with passion and sass, Jamie Salisbury has seen several of her books soar to #1 on Amazon. Her novella, Tudor Rubato was a finalist in the 2012 RONE (Reward of Novel Excellence) awards. The cover won for Best Contemporary Cover. Now in 2014, her novel, Life and Lies was nominated for a RONE in the Erotica category. Her books are both self- published and now include several published through Secret Cravings Publishing.

Music, traveling and history are among her passions when not writing. Her previous career in public relations in and around the entertainment field has afforded her with a treasure trove of endless story ideas.

Jamie will be giving a $20 Amazon/BN gift card to one randomly drawn commenter.
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May 4, 2015

The Drama Queen Series by Kevin Klehr VIRTUAL TOUR

The Drama Queen Series
By Kevin Klehr

Genre: LGBT Fiction
Close friends Allan and Warwick are dead. They're not crazy about the idea so to help them deal with this dilemma are Samantha, a blond bombshell from the 1950s, and Guy, an insecure angel.

They are soon drawn into the world of theatre - Afterlife style, with all the bitchiness, back-stabbing and ego usually associated with the mortal world.

Allan also has a secret. He has a romantic crush on his friend, Warwick, but shortly after confiding in his new angel pal, his love interest falls for the cock-sure playwright, Pedro.

Not only does Allan have to win the heart of his companion, he also has to grapple with the faded memory of how he actually died.
Excerpt from Drama Queens with Love Scenes (Book One):

Guy was still dragging me along the streets of the Limelight Quarter. The crisp night air was reviving my spirits, albeit through my drunken stupor. Many colorful folk whisked past, some briefly staring at us as they made their way.

"You realize Pedro will be there," I said.

"That's why we're going to call Warwick to come downstairs. You need to talk privately."

We arrived outside of their balcony. I rubbed my arms to keep warm as Guy placed his hand on my shoulder.

"Warwick!" I yelled. "Are you there?"

There was no answer. A couple adorned in bohemian black, stopped in their tracks the moment I shouted to my ex-lover.

"Broken heart," whispered Guy to the interested onlookers.

"I understand," replied the woman. She looked up to her man. "Poor thing."

"Go on, Allan, call out again."

"Warwick! Warwick! I love you." My voice echoed from the building as I looked to my angel friend. He nodded and caressed my shoulder. The couple nodded as well. "Warwick, are you home? I need to talk to you. Will you come down, please?"

"Keep going, Allan."

"I really need to talk to you. I have so much more to say to you. I should never have let you walk out of my door the other night. I've wanted to talk to you so many times during the last few days, but there's nowhere private at the theater. Plus I'd probably break down, which is not a good look when you're wearing white grease paint."

A few onlookers came out from their balconies. I glanced at Guy who was joined by a small audience. Some parents had let their kids stay up well after bedtime, and their freckled little girl was giggling at me. Her mother shushed her so she sat on the ground, sulking.

"Don't worry about it, Allan. Just go on."

"Yes, we're right behind you," said an elderly lady with bad teeth. "You make him listen."

"Warwick, I love you, and I know you love me. You told me so. You said you've been waiting all year for me to make a move, and as you know, I've been waiting for you to make that move too."

"You tell him, love!" interrupted the old woman.

My support team began to chant Warwick's name. I was empowered. I encouraged them to clap their hands in time. They did. There was about ten of them now, and their support gave me a warm glow in that frosty breeze. However, Guy looked worried.

"Allan, shouldn't you wait until he comes downstairs?"

"My dear friend, Warwick is a coward. I know he's up there, but he's too scared to come down because he doesn't want to hurt that imbecile's feelings. The very imbecile who tried to hurt me physically during his dumb-arsed play!"


"No one should ever break your heart," alleged a handsome older gent behind me.

"Thank you." I turned back to address my ex-lover. "Now listen here, Warwick! You told me that you'd been waiting for me to make a move. I did. We made love over and over under that so-called playwright's nose. And what happens when the going gets good? You freak out. What the hell for? Was the sex that bad that you preferred old teensy-dick instead? Was it all getting too intense for you? Is that the reason?" The crowd became quiet as I felt the bitter cold again. "Were you too scared of being in love? Too much intimacy for your murky heart to deal with? Too much real emotion for your juvenile soul to cope with? Too much effort to be in love with someone who's madly, deeply in love with you? Too much…" I shuddered. "Too much…"

Guy grabbed me from behind as I felt my legs give way. He eased me to the footpath and shielded me with his wings. I howled, before tears streamed down my face.

"It's okay, Allan," said the angel. "This is a big step for you."

"He doesn't love me, Guy. He doesn't love me the way I love him."

"I don't think that's true."

I began whimpering like a child being punished.

Adam’s about to discover how much drama a mid-life crisis can be. He’s obsessed with Mannix, the nude model in his art class. But Adam has been married to Wade for nearly two decades, and they don’t have an open relationship.

Little do they know that Fabien, a warlock from the Afterlife, has secretly cast a spell of lust on Adam and his potential toy-boy.

As things begin to heat up, Adam’s guardian angel, Guy, steps in. But what’s the best way to save the relationship? Should Guy subdue Adam’s wandering passions or instigate a steamy threesome?
Excerpt from Drama Queens and Adult Themes (Book Two):

He had the perfect vee-shaped torso. The kind that would turn on a dozen potential lovers if he wandered into a gay bar. And while his faultless crew cut was artificially red, his other natural features were as intense as James Dean's. I could go riding in his sports car, feeling the breeze as we headed to Lover's Lane. He'd admire me with his penetrating eyes before undressing me for a lovemaking session so powerful, not even a night with a handpicked selection of porn stars would compare.

But unlike anyone I'd ever met, he was blessed with soft charcoal-colored wings. This was Guy's boyfriend, Joshua. I was back at that thespian drinking haven, the Pedestal, at some stage between going to bed and waking up the next morning.

I tried not to drool at this bad boy, while picturing myself taking off his well-fitted leather jacket, slowly. I wanted to let out an orgasmic moan, before any foreplay had begun.

"I think you need to sleep with Mannix," he said.

He sipped on a Bloody Mary.

"Joshua!" his loving partner reprimanded.

"Joshua, we tried," I said.

"And what happened, sweetheart?"

"He freaked out. He gives us all the signals and then runs off in terror."

"Tsk, tsk. Now why would he do that? You're not exactly on the ugly scale."

"Thanks," I replied. "I think."

"Joshua, that's not the issue here," Guy said. "I've been watching over them, and they're getting obsessed with Mannix. And just as odd, Mannix is obsessed with them. It doesn't make sense."

"What's there to make sense of, Petal? They're grown men looking for a bit of spice. This Mannix dude is the spice. Supply and demand. No problem."

"But Guy has a point," I said. "This is doing my head in. One minute, Wade and I are respectable grown men, the next we're one step away from toupees and face-lifts."

"And is this causing you two to argue? Fight? Split up?"

"Strangely, no."

I picked up my cocktail, resting the top of the glass on my lower lip before sipping slowly.

"Joshua, it's still causing drama," continued Guy. "Adam and Wade have their heads in no-man's land, and Mannix is just as bemused."

"Oh my darlings, they're men. Adult men. Every one of them. That which doesn't kill them, will make them stronger. Or separated but I can't see any hint of that. Can you, Adam?" I nodded tensely. "There, you see, Guy? It might be causing a bit of grief, but in the end, they're men. Once they stop questioning it with their emotions, they'll solve it physically and wonder why they didn't get down and dirty sooner."

I sat with the two angels, none-the-wiser. That dark-skinned woman was back on stage. Sultry jazz was her genre of choice today, and her small ensemble cruised into mellow tones that could set you adrift on a small boat. As she crooned the first lines of "Someone To Watch Over Me", Guy sang the words with her under his breath.

Around me, the mismatched furniture complemented the mismatched cast. A lone African woman, wearing more colors than a peacock's tail, stood transfixed as if the singer was secretly robbing her soul. Her fingers tapped on an imaginary piano, and her wide-eyed stare gave me goose bumps.

An old lady, dressed in clothes her own granddaughter would wear, clutched her wine glass like it was a precious jewel. At the same time, she gazed into the eyes of a mature athletic man who looked like he once had a passion for ballet dancing. Their loving gaze reminded me of the way Wade sometimes looked at me.

"So, Joshua, you think we're making too much of a big deal about this?"

He rubbed the tip of his sculptured jawline as Guy casually leaned toward him.

"Adam, darling, there are men who put themselves through hell and back trying to do the right thing. They won't act until they work out all the final consequences. And let's face it, as much pontificating as humanly possible is not ever going to let you know the final outcome, really! And there are men who are a lot more spirited and take life as a challenge. Go forth and take the risk and see where it leads you."

"Joshua, Adam understands that," Guy said. "But there's Wade to consider. What if their marriage falls apart?"

"Darling, seriously. From what you've told me, they're not going to fall apart. It's all just a bit of fun. Mannix is a new appliance, like a fridge or a vibrator. Something that has a use. And think, Adam. Think of the uses you can come up with, with your new appliance."

Many reviewers have fallen in love with my insecure angel, Guy. This came as a surprise to me as he is one of the co-stars, but not the main character. Yet bloggers have called him the ‘emotional anchor’ of the first book, Drama Queens with Love Scenes, while one critic was disappointed with his love interest in the second, Drama Queens and Adult Themes, believing Guy’s boyfriend wasn’t good enough for him. So I had to sit down with my most loved character and ask him what he thought of his fans.

Q: Why do you think people warm to you?

I’m not sure if they warm to me. Maybe they’re just fascinated with the fact I’m an angel. Humans seem to make too much of a deal about it, and I never understand why.

Q: You’re playing your popularity down. One blogger wrote that she put in a request to the Afterlife for her own personal Guy as her guardian angel.
That’s sweet. I’m touched by that, honestly. Most of my life people haven’t really warmed to me. No, that’s not true. They’ve tried to, but somehow I haven’t really connected. Well, not before I met Allan, anyway.

Q: I’ll ask about Allan later. Why don’t you think you’ve connected with the friendships that were open to you in the past?

Shyness, I guess. Everyone around me seemed to have their heads screwed on, even though it was my job to help them work through their issues. And that’s where I succeed. No one’s ever confronted by my humble personality. But when it comes to them extending that friendship past my help, I freeze.

Q: Why?

I don’t know if I can answer that?

Q: Why not?

Not because I don’t want to, because I’m not sure why. Maybe deep down I never thought I was good enough. Maybe because I didn’t know my parents, somehow it affected me on a deeper level.

Q: So how did Allan break down your friendship walls?

I’m almost too embarrassed to say this. It’s because he’s just as screwed up as I am. I mean, he showed up here in the Afterlife, pining over his best friend. He had years to tell Warwick how he felt, but he kept it to himself.

Plus he took time out to help me grow. He tried to help me pick up a one night stand on the dance floor. He got me drunk, time and time again. We talked endlessly about our feelings. For the first time I met someone who I felt equal with. Is that bad? Am I really that insecure?

Q: As an angel, what’s the most important thing you’d like to tell mortals like us?

You only regret the things you’ve never done. It’s true. I get so many souls here in the Afterlife with unfinished business, and I try to get them to continue what they’ve started, or at least take the first step in the direction they should have when they were alive.

Again, take Allan for example. He was in love with Warwick. They were soulmates. But Allan never got around to telling his friend how he felt. So Maudi and I were stuck sorting out their overdue romance.

Q: You’ve brought Allan up for a second time. Why is that?

Have I?


Oh. Okay, he’s a bit of a favourite of mine. With all the years I’ve been doing this job, he was the first one to care about my problems. But I’m repeating myself.

Q: There’s no other reason?

None that I’m aware of.

Q: The importance of a true friend, I guess. You said you help lost souls all day. Can you elaborate?

It’s my job. Here in the Afterlife I welcome the new arrivals and sort out their issues so they have a pleasant stay. That’s why we go to the trouble of giving them accommodation full of belongings that are a carbon copy of what they had on earth.

Sounds a bit like the old television show Fantasy Island.

I guess. Ha ha. The only difference is we bring them to a certain time here in the Afterlife. A time where the right individuals from any era in history are there to help them move forward. It’s better than therapy. And cheaper!

Well I look forward to my stay in the Afterlife. Thanks so much for talking with us today, Guy.

My pleasure. Just don’t arrive with too much baggage. See you when you get here.


Kevin lives with his long-term partner in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia’s own ‘Emerald City,’ Sydney.

From an early age Kevin had a passion for writing, jotting down stories and plays until it came time to confront puberty. After dealing with pimple creams and facial hair, Kevin didn’t pick up a pen again until he was in his thirties. His handwritten manuscript was being committed to paper when his social circumstances changed, giving him no time to write. Concerned, his partner, Warren, snuck the notebook out to a friend who in turn came back and demanded Kevin finish his novel. It wasn’t long before Kevin’s active imagination was let loose again.

Kevin’s first novel, Drama Queens with Love Scenes, has been relaunched via Wilde City Press along with the sequel, Drama Queens with Adult Themes.

Kevin is currently working on the third in the series, Drama Queens and Devilish Schemes, and a romance novella, Nathan and the New Yorker.  
Author website –

Currently Available at:

One evening a friend asked me about my writing. I talked about my surprise at how my gay angel character, Guy, seemed to win many readers’ hearts. And as the night flowed with much conversation and wine, I had an epiphany.

You see, back in the mid-80s when I moved to Sydney, I met a man who was an aspiring artist. He sold his soul to his paintbrush, determined to be as successful as the many avant-garde creatives he admired. He quickly became one of my closest friends.

He had an awkward personality, and although he was liked by those who I introduced him to, his social graces were underdeveloped. This had more to do with the fact that he was self-conscious of what he said and how he acted, and this combination brought out the parent in those he met.

He was unique. He was a guy who balanced part-time work, socialising, and art, making sure there was plenty of time for the latter, as this was his dream. So many hours were spent alone at the easel.

He shared several exhibitions with other artists, but there was one upcoming event he was really excited about – his own individual showcase in Perth. He never made this important event. He died of an asthma attack over the Easter weekend of 1990, one week before his important show.

In my novels, Guy the angel is awkward. He is self-conscious. He brings out the parent in his friends. Yet this character is loosely based on a completely different individual. When I talked about Guy after many wines the other night to a friend, I started wondering if he was really my old buddy.
My artist pal was twenty-eight when he passed away. Guy is about the same age. Both are tall. And in the second paragraph of Drama Queens with Love Scenes, my angel is described as having “a vanilla hint of gayness”. My artist friend denied it, but if he had lived…

The last time I saw him was a week before he died.

He actually said “good-bye”. It sounded so final. This was strange as whenever we parted he’d always make the point of reminding me of our next engagement, which on this occasion, was three weeks away.

I hugged him and something inside told me not to leave. That little voice was encouraging me to stay the night and get drunk with him. But it was Sunday evening and I was catching up with someone else. I always regret not listening to my gut feeling.

The character of Guy developed into his own, but I wonder whether I really just channelled my old friend. Was there a possibility that my subconscious had bled onto my keyboard? And as writers, are we simply doing this all the time without even realising it?


Inventors & Impostors

By  Daniel Diehl & Mark P. Donnelly

Genre: Historical Non-Fiction/Inventions
Length: 236 pages
Release Date: May 1st, 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1511463348

What if everything you learned in school about the heroes of science, technology and invention was a lie?

What if Tom Edison didn’t invent the lightbulb? What if the Wright brothers weren’t the first men to fly? What if Marconi didn’t invent the radio, or Watt the steam engine, or Bell the telephone, or Henry ford the production line? What if Columbus didn’t really discover America, or Darwin the concept of evolution, or Watson and Crick the existence of DNA?

Well, brace yourself, because none of these people did what the history books credit them with having done. Were they all thieves and liars? Was it all a huge mistake? Was it some gigantic conspiracy? How did all these people become famous for things they didn’t do?

In fourteen gripping, true stories Daniel Diehl and Mark P. Donnelly dig deep into the past and lay bare the facts about who really invented what and why somebody else got the glory.

This is historical fact that reads like the best fiction – easy to read and impossible to put down.

Available Here


Daniel Diehl has been an author, writer and investigative historian for thirty-five years. For nearly twenty years Diehl has been involved in writing for publication and documentary television production. Mr. Diehl’s work has won awards from the Houston (Texas) Film Festival, the National Trust for Historic Preservation (US) and the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Arts Foundation. Working alone and as a part of the multi-award winning team of Daniel Diehl and Mark Donnelly, Diehl has produced work in two main categories; trade publication and television documentary scripts. His canon of work includes twenty non-fiction books (which have been translated into ten foreign languages), one previous work of fiction and scripts for more than one hundred and seventy hours of documentary television primarily for A&E Network, The History Channel, History International, Biography Channel and Discovery Network.

Mark P. Donnelly is an historian, author, screenwriter, duelist, bon vivant, and constant gentleman. He has authored, co-authored or ghost written over 20 titles in several countries and has scripted and/or produced nearly 200 hours of historical television programming. He can frequently be found traveling throughout the north-eastern US giving lectures and presentations at themed events as well as teaching historical swordsmanship and western martial arts. He currently resides in central Pennsylvania where he enjoys life with his wife and family.

Guest Post

What if everything you learned in school about the heroes of science, technology and invention was a lie?

What if Tom Edison didn’t invent the lightbulb? What if the Wright brothers weren’t the first men to fly? What if Marconi didn’t invent the radio, or Watt the steam engine, or Bell the telephone, or Henry ford the production line? What if Columbus didn’t really discover America, or Darwin the concept of evolution, or Watson and Crick the existence of DNA?

Well, brace yourself, because none of these people did what the history books credit them with having done. Were they all thieves and liars? Was it all a huge mistake? Was it some gigantic conspiracy? How did all these people become famous for things they didn’t do?

In ‘Inventors & Impostors: A Sordid History of Invention and Imitation’ Daniel Diehl and Mark Donnelly dig deep into the past to recount fourteen gripping, true stories that lay bare the truth about who really invented what and why somebody else got the glory.

This is historical fact that reads like the best fiction – easy to read and impossible to put down.
There is an oft quoted truism that non-fiction writers, like teachers, collect more information than they can possibly pass on to their audience. Never was that more the case than when we started to write our latest release ‘Inventors & Impostors: A Sordid History of Invention and Imitation’.

When we decided to write a book about the largely unknown inventors whose names have been overshadowed by those who followed in their footsteps, we thought it was a grand, fun idea. We also thought that as historians with some little experience in the field, the project would be amazingly easy; a real breeze. Just goes to show how wrong you can be. Every piece of research led to another, and that one to yet another, and so on. We simply had no idea how many commonplace things that we not only take for granted, but assume we know something about the development of, are actually the result of years, decades and sometimes centuries of one 'inventor' after another building on, and sometimes blatantly co-opting, the ideas of other people. Many of the items that we assumed were either eighteenth or nineteenth century in origin turned out to stretch back many centuries, in some cases more than two thousand years. Even more astounding was the geographic scope of these improbable chains of invention; things which may have originally been discovered or invented in one nation, only to be lost and forgotten, would later be rediscovered thousands of miles away in a different nation and under entirely different circumstances. Just as often, credit for inventions were simply stolen from their originator by an unscrupulous – and far less qualified – individual who then claimed credit for another person’s work.

Much of what you will read in Inventors & Impostors may strike you as astounding, if not outright unbelievable. Some of the people we have all been raised to believe were clever, if not brilliant, heroes of science, invention and discovery were, in fact, little better than self-promoting pirates. Certainly this is not true in every instance, but it is often enough the case to undermine our confidence in much of what we have been taught over the course of our time in public school.

Consequently, the information contained in these pages will probably never make it into textbooks or popular history books, but the same can be said for so much of life. The truth is often just too embarrassing to become common knowledge. Still, as newspaper reporters say when defending their intrusive way of poking their noses into people's private lives: “the public has a right to know”.

This book may cause some controversy, it may raise some readers' ire; and that is not always a bad thing, at least if it occurs as the result of an honest search for the truth. But most of all, we hope you enjoy reading it and, with a little luck, come away with a better understanding of the way in which many of the modern wonders which we all take for granted really came into existence.

We thought the best way to explain to our readers exactly what our new book ‘Inventors & Impostors: A Sordid History of Invention and Imitation’ was all about was to let them read one of the 14 absolutely true, but nearly unbelievable, stories from the book. Here then is the REAL story of Alexander Graham Bell and the invention of the telephone.

“Watson, come here, I want you!” Anyone with a passing knowledge of the history of the telephone recognizes these words as having been spoken by Alexander Graham Bell to his assistant, Thomas Watson, on March 10, 1876, thus inadvertently proving that his experimental telephone actually worked. While the story and the quotation are probably true, the question facing us is whether or not A. G. Bell actually invented the telephone.

In 1831 the great English scientist Michael Faraday had already discovered that electrical impulses, sent through a copper wire, would produce sound vibrations if one end of the wire was placed against a metallic disk. This alone made Faraday the world's then leading expert in sound transference. In 1855 Faraday received a letter from a German schoolmaster and mathematics teacher named Philipp Reis who asked the simple question, “How could a single instrument reproduce at once the total actions of all the organs operated in human speech?” To Faraday this may have posed an interesting puzzle; to Reis it was a consuming question that had been worrying him for years.

Born three years after Faraday's first experiment with electrical sound transference, Reis was interested in the wonders of electricity from childhood. At sixteen he was already an elementary school teacher and his restless mind consumed every scrap of scientific information he could lay his hands on. In 1851 he joined the Frankfurt Physical Society, a group dedicated to inquiring into the latest advances in science around the world. Among the group's honorary members was no less than Michael Faraday, also the head of London's august Royal Society, and many of his learned papers and articles were read aloud at meetings of the Frankfort Physical Society. It was in response to one of these papers that Reis wrote to Faraday asking about the possibility of a machine capable of transferring human speech along an electric wire.

Reis had already been contemplating such a possibility and his letter to Faraday was simply another step in trying to unravel the puzzle. Within two years of this correspondence Reis decided to construct a mechanical model of the human ear. Working in a shed in his back garden Reis assembled an unlikely array of odds and ends. There were coils of wire, a knitting needle, the body of an old violin, a pile of corks and a length of pig-gut sausage casing. To reproduce the ear-drum Reis stretched a piece of sausage skin across a hollowed-out cork, much like a small drum head. Imperceptibly close to this 'ear-drum' Reis placed the end of a length of platinum wire. The proximity of the wire to the sausage skin was essential. It had to be close enough that even the slightest vibration in the skin would produce contact with the wire, but not so close that contact was constant. He hoped that as the improvised 'ear drum' vibrated it would create a series of short, intermittent contacts with the platinum wire, making and breaking an electrical circuit. The opposite end of the wire was wound around a knitting needle which had been mounted vertically onto the violin body. Reis believed that when electrical impulses reached the wire coil it would cause the violin to vibrate and reproduce whatever sound had been transferred along the wire.

It took two years of false-starts to perfect the crude device, but in 1860 he ran 320 feet (100 meters) of wire from the sausage casing microphone in his shed to the violin speaker located in the nearby Garnier Institute where he was now teaching. While one of his students stood near the violin, Reis placed his mouth close to the artificial eardrum and spoke the words, “The horse eats no cucumber salad.” It may not have been as dramatic as 'Watson, come here I want you”, but the student understood every word. According to Reis' analysis of the experiment, “The consonants are for the most part tolerably distinctly reproduced, but the vowels not yet in an equal degree.”

Calling his device Das Telephon, Reis worked for another year to improve sound reproduction before broadcasting news of his invention to anyone who cared to listen. On October 26, 1861 he demonstrated the device – with the violin having been replaced by a sound box - to the Frankfort Physical Society. Anxious to prove the viability of his phone, Reis disseminated construction plans to several recognized experts in the field of electrical transmission, including Wilhelm von Legat, Chief Inspector of the Royal Prussian Telegraph System.

Despite having proven his device before his peers and government officials Reis could not find a scientific journal willing to publish his work. Frustrated but not discouraged, in 1862 and '63 he arranged for demonstrations across Europe and in Great Britain. Among those who saw, or acquired, Das Telephon were the London Science Museum, the British Association for the Advancement of Science, the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary and King Maximilian of Bavaria. By 1864 Reis had won-over even the most hard-core sceptics but, for reasons which remain obscure, fascination with the curious talking box quickly faded. But before the chimera of fame fled, Das Telephon had been demonstrated in New York where it was unquestionably seen by Thomas Edison and, in all likelihood, by William Orton, president of Western Union Telegraph Company and Alexander Graham Bell. Documentary evidence exists that a critical analysis of Reis' device, which appeared in the German publication Polytechnisches Journal, was translated into English for Mr Orton and he passed it on to Edison who was a friend and associate of Alexander Bell.

Reis' involvement in the invention of the telephone ends here, because in 1874 he died of tuberculosis at age forty. The story, however, continued to twist and turn for years before Bell became directly involved.

While Reis had been working on his version of the telephone, so had an Italian theatrical tech-director named Antonio Meucci. Born in Florence in 1808, Meucci emigrated to Cuba in 1835 when offered the job of technical director of Havana's Tacon Theater. Although a technician by trade, Meucci was a dedicated inventor at heart. In his first ten years in Cuba he completely re-vamped Havana's waterworks, vastly improving the filtration system; established the first electro-plating factory in the Western Hemisphere and invented an improved system of electrotherapy, then an accepted form of medical treatment for a vast variety of ailments. In 1849, while administering an electrotherapy treatment to a patient, Meucci distinctly heard the sound of his patient's voice being transmitted over a copper wire attached to the therapeutic machinery. Realizing the possibilities in such a discovery – nearly a decade before Reis' experiments reached the same point - Meucci resigned his job and moved his family to Staten Island, New York where he believed the commercial possibilities of such an invention could be best exploited.

While trying to establish himself in his new country Meucci encountered several major problems. First was creating a cash-flow and second was his seeming inability to cope with the English language. In Cuba, due to the similarities between Spanish and Italian, he had been able to gloss over his linguistic limitations but now he became reliant on friends to serve as translator. Socially isolated, Meucci forged ahead with his work, spending more time than he would have liked developing non-related ideas in order to keep his family housed and fed. Over a period of ten years he invented the first effective paraffin candles (previously made from smelly tallow extract); set up a candle manufacturing plant; patented a smoke-free kerosene lamp; discovered how to manufacture paper from wood pulp rather than rags; established the first paper mill to utilize recycled paper and invented carbonated drinks. In each case he was forced to entrust the running of his various companies to people who were fluent in both Italian and English. Through it all, Meucci dedicated every free minute to his telephone.

By 1856, only five years after arriving in America, Meucci made significant advancement on his telephone. Meucci's phone differed from Reis' in that it employed an electromagnet to improve the flow of electrical impulses, and the diaphragm (or ear-drum) was stiffened with dichromate of potash and had a small iron button glued to the center which helped control the vibrations, making the sound clearer.

In 1860 - the year prior to Reis' first public demonstration of Das Telephon - Meucci sent a model of his phone to Italy with a friend who was instructed to obtain financial backing for development and commercialization. Knowing that every idea must be published if it is to gain acceptance in the scientific community, Meucci described his device in New York City's Italian language newspaper, L'Eco d'Italia. Working through a translator, he held public displays of his device in New York. Here, with typically Italian artistic flair, he placed a singer in one room while her audience listened to her recital, telephonically, several rooms away. Although the demonstrations in the US and Italy were greeted with enthusiasm and wonder, they failed to provide the hoped-for funding. Even when he took in two business partners all Meucci could generate was a measly $20.00. If his finances were already strained, they were about to become a whole lot worse.

In 1861 several of Meucci's business managers joined forces with his unscrupulous lawyer and seized control of virtually all of his business ventures. Forced to take whatever work he could find, Meucci had to abandon plans for exploiting his telephone. His experiments, however, continued. To test new innovations Meucci wired his house and workshop with phones. In August of 1870 he managed to transmit a clear telephone message over a distance of one mile – a major accomplishment considering the technology of the time. Now confident that he could find monetary backing, Meucci began making periodic trips from Staten Island into Manhattan to rekindle interest in his device. While returning home on the Ferry Westerfield one day in July 1871, the ship's boiler exploded killing many passengers and crew and severely injuring Meucci.

Now unable to work and faced with a mountain of hospital bills, the Meucci family descended into perilous financial straits. In an attempt to generate even the smallest amount of money, Mrs Meucci sold her jewelry, then the household furniture and paintings, and finally the working models of virtually all of her husband's inventions – including every telephone in the house - to a second-hand dealer for the grand sum of six dollars.

When Meucci was released from the hospital several months later he tracked down the junk dealer but was told the telephones had been sold. As to the identity of the young man who bought them, the second-hand dealer had not asked and did not care. Frantic to recreate his invention, the still-recovering Meucci worked constantly to rebuild the telephone and redraw all the plans necessary to prove how it was built. He was also desperate to obtain a patent on his device before someone else did; someone like the unknown young man who had purchased his models. Unable to raise the $250 required for a patent application, Meucci managed to scrape together $20 to file a 'Patent Caveat'; essentially a letter explaining the applicant's invention and his or her intent to file for a full patent at some future date. Under the terms of the Caveat, should anyone apply to patent a similar invention the holder of the Caveat would be notified and given three months to file a full patent application. Only if they failed to do so would the subsequent application be taken under consideration. The Caveat could be renewed indefinitely for an annual fee of $10.

With this safety cushion behind him, Meucci tried again to garner sufficient financial backing to make his device commercially viable. Among those he approached in 1862 was Edward B. Grant, vice-president of the American District Telegraph Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Western Union. Certain the device would work at a far greater distance than the one mile he had already achieved, Meucci requested permission to attach the telephone to Western Union's endless miles of telegraph lines. To encourage the curiously reluctant Grant, Meucci even left a model of his device with American District's offices. For two years, on an almost weekly basis, he contacted Grant's office and always received the same reply: Mr Grant was too busy to arrange the test. Maybe next time. Finally, in frustration, Meucci demanded that Grant return his models but, as in the case of the second-hand dealer, the telephone was gone and nobody seemed to know where it went. Virtually destitute and emotionally crushed, by 1874 Meucci found himself unable to come up with the $10 necessary to renew the Patent Caveat and consequently he let it lapse. Did this leave the field open for Bell? It would have, except for the existence of Elisha Gray, a partner in Gray & Barton Co., yet another subsidiary of Western Union Telegraph Company.

Born of Quaker parents on a small farm in Ohio in 1835, Gray was, like the other 'inventors' of the telephone, an inveterate tinkerer. At the age of ten he built a working model of Morse's telegraph and went on to take a two-year science degree at Oberlin College. At the age of thirty Gray invented a 'self-adjusting' telegraph relay that compensated for fluctuating signal strength. Four years later he went into partnership with Enos Barton, a budding entrepreneur who funded their enterprise by convincing his mother to mortgage the family farm. Together, Gray and Barton quickly won a contract for supplying equipment to Western Union, which bought one-third of Gray & Barton, moved the company to Chicago, Illinois and changed the name of the satellite company to Western Electric.

Although Gray soon retired from Western Electric to take up a teaching position with his alma mater, Oberlin College in Ohio, he remained the company's chief inventor. Precisely when Gray began developing his telephone remains obscure, but his first display of a sound transmitting device took place at the Presbyterian Church of Highland Park, Illinois, on December 29, 1874. This mechanism, which he called an 'Electric Telegraph for Transmitting Musical Tones', was effectively the first electronic synthesizer. From there it was only a short step to similarly reproducing the human voice. Considering Gray's familiarity with electronics it is almost inconceivable that he was unaware of Reis' telephone before embarking on the creation of his own. However it came about, on February 14, 1876, Gray's lawyer, William Baldwin, submitted a Patent Caveat, similar to the one filed by Meucci five years previously but which had expired at the end of 1873. Had Meucci's Caveat still been in effect, he would have been notified of Gray's submission and given the chance to file a full application.

So convinced was Gray that he was the only contestant in the field, he opened his Caveat with the statement: “Be it known that I, Elisha Gray...have invented a new art of transmitting vocal sounds telegraphically...” Unique to Gray's version of the phone was a liquid-filled microphone, but beyond that single detail it was very similar to those of both Reis and Meucci; not so much that fraud or theft is implied, but enough to make it clear that Gray had re-invented the wheel – probably after having seen one roll past.

The sequence of events at the US Patent Office that morning has become the stuff of legend. Supposedly, only two hours earlier an almost identical application had been submitted by one Alexander G. Bell and it was by those one-hundred and twenty minutes that Gray lost one of the most lucrative inventions in history. The legend, however, is wrong. The fact is, Gray's attorney reached the patent office slightly more than two hours BEFORE Bell's lawyers but, as so often happens in vast bureaucracies, the patent clerk took the Caveat and Gray's money, laid them with a pile of other submissions and went about his work, leaving the bookkeeping until later. When Bell's lawyers, Anthony Pollok and Marcellus Bailey, arrived at the Patent Office they demanded that their client's application be processed immediately. In consequence, although Gray's Caveat arrived earlier than Bell's it was not entered into the ledger until several hours later. The question that arises is obvious: why were Pollok and Bailey in such a hurry? Before answering this question we need to look at the story behind Bell's telephone.

Born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland, Bell came from a family where sound was of supreme importance. His father, Alexander Melville Bell, was a teacher to the deaf who had developed 'visible speech', a system of teaching speech to those who could not hear. His mother, Elisa Symonds Bell, was an accomplished portrait painter but was, herself, deaf. After attending the University of Edinburgh, Bell transferred to University College, London where his father conducted his special education classes. After graduation Bell remained at University College to assist his father. In his spare time he researched sound and acoustics in an effort to help the deaf communicate with the world around them.

When the elder Bells emigrated to Canada in 1870 - nearly a decade after both Reis and Meucci had produced working telephones - young Alexander, now aged twenty-two, moved with them. Only one year later he moved again, this time to Boston, Massachusetts, where he set up practice as a teacher to the deaf, and continued his research into artificial means of transferring sound. In 1875 he teamed up with Thomas Watson, a mechanical electrician, and stepped-up his drive to produce a means of reproducing the human voice electrically. If there had been impetus before, it was now urgent. Bell had recently courted and married one of his deaf students and any means he could find to communicate with his wife and mother would be no less than a God-send. At least some parts of Bell’s investigations are well recorded. On March 1, 1875 he met with Joseph Henry, then head of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. During this meeting Henry showed Bell the working model of Philipp Reis' Das Telephon and explained how the mechanism worked. Bell was fascinated by the device which, Henry undoubtedly explained, had never been patented by Reis, who had died fifteen months earlier. Racing back to his lab, Bell and Watson began to reproduce Reis' invention as closely as Bell could remember it.

The twenty-nine year old Bell submitted his Patent Application, via his lawyers Pollok and Bailey, ten months later, on February 14, 1876. It is important to note that Bell's application does not state that this is a new invention; but is entitled “Improvements in Electric Telephony and Telephonic Apparatus”. Certainly in examining his patent application one is struck by just how vague the description of the telephone is; hardly specific enough, in fact, to have allowed a patent issuance. At that point in time, Bell recognized that Reis, had gone before him and he openly referred to Reis as the original inventor of the telephone in a paper entitled ‘Researches in Electric Telephony’, which he presented publicly in May 1876 and again in November 1877.

Curiously, the incident where Bell said “Watson, come here I want you”, did not occur until March 10, 1876, nearly a month after he applied for the patent and three days after it had been granted. How could he have 'discovered' that his phone worked after he had already submitted the patent application and drawings? This question is not posed to imply that Bell was a complete fraud. Indeed, he went on to invent a string of useful and innovative things including improvements in telephone technology, improvements on Edison's phonograph, creating the selenium cell battery and laying the groundwork for the development of fiber optics. In all, he patented 18 inventions, 12 of which he shared with other inventors. He was instrumental in founding the National Geographic Society and was the recipient of numerous international awards. But for all these honors we are left with the nagging question: how could he not have developed a working telephone until after the patent award. Certainly the editors of the highly respected scientific journal Scientific American saw nothing new in Bell's accomplishment. In their issue dated February 10, 1877, in an article entitled 'The Speaking Electric Telegraph' they state: “The articulating telephone of Mr Graham Bell, like those of Reis and Gray, consists of two parts, a transmitting instrument and a receiver.” Obviously, the same point occurred to Meucci and Gray.

Furious at Bell's arrogance, and in spite of the contrary advice of his lawyer, William Baldwin, to bow to Bell's supposed two hour lead on submitting his patent application, Gray now filed for a full patent application on his own telephone. Taking a more direct course, Meucci simply filed suit against Bell, claiming prior rights to any and all profits from the sales of the device. To garner as much publicity as possible Meucci also fired off a series of letters to every newspaper that would print them. These two actions were only the opening salvos in what was to become one of the longest legal battles ever to drag its blood-soaked carcass through the U S legal system.

To comprehend fully the scale of the fracas the reader must understand that Bell was now head of the Bell Telephone Company and had considerable resources of his own. Gray was still employed as a consultant by Western Electric and had not only that organization to back him up, but also the nearly bottomless pockets of his firm's parent company, Western Union Telegraph Company and its owners, financier J. P. Morgan and the Vanderbilt family. By September 1878 all sides had filed their suits and were deploying platoons of well-armed lawyers onto the field of battle.

Among the most damaging pieces of evidence to come out of the trial, although hearsay in nature, was the claim that US Patent Examiner, Zenas Wilber, had allowed Bell's attorneys to see Gray's Caveat Application and make notations on Bell's Application that would have vastly improved the working of his telephone. Certainly the phone on which Bell supposedly said “Watson, come here, I want you” did not have the same construction or design as the one which he had so vaguely described in his application only a few weeks earlier. In point of fact, the device described in Bell's patent application would hardly have reproduced any sound at all. It would also seem that there were dubious connections between a number of employees of the US Patent Office and the Bell Telephone Company. The crime of patent fraud was not attributed to Bell himself, but to his lawyers, but the mud quickly rubbed off on Bell. Additionally, it came out that Gray's lawyer was fully cognizant of the fact that his client had a legitimate, prior claim on the patent but had allowed himself to be bought-off by Bell's lawyers and may even have leaked technical information on Gray's superior device directly to Pollok and Bailey. Without question, Bell's first working phone utilized the liquid transmitter that Gray had invented and which was not included in Bell's design.

If the evidence against him were not damning enough, Bell attempted to save his reputation by offering Western Union a twenty percent share of all profits from his telephone for a period of seventeen years if they would drop their case against him. While out-of-court settlements are perfectly legal, it did nothing to enhance Bell's image.

While Gray and Western Electric gnawed away at Bell, so did Antonio Meucci. In three separate law suits, one filed by Meucci; one by the Globe Telephone Company (now using Meucci's phones) and one by the US Government on Meucci's behalf, Bell and his claim to having invented the telephone were slowly taken apart. Meucci's case collapsed when Meucci died in October 1889 at the age of 81, but by that time most of the battles had already shifted from private law suits to government sponsored ones. On January 14, 1886, Lucius Lamar, the United States Secretary of the Interior, drafted a letter to John Goode, U S Attorney General, recommending that the government sue both the Bell Telephone Company and Alexander Graham Bell. Attached to the letter were no less than sixty documents which had been used as exhibits during one or more of the private law suits against Bell. Slowly, tortuously, the suits wound their way through the system; the government's case finding its way all the way to the US Supreme Court. When the Supreme Court handed down its decision on March 19th, 1888, Alexander Graham Bell was exonerated of patent fraud by a single vote. Bell or his company would eventually be sued no less than 600 times, the last case limping to its conclusion twenty-three years after the fiasco began.

Near the close of the proceedings, William Orton, president of Western Union Telegraph Company, who had seen Reis' telephone demonstrated in New York in 1864, quipped: “I find it amusing that Bell is perceived as the man who spent his whole fortune defending his patent on the phone, when in fact, what he did was spend his whole fortune patenting Philipp Reis' work.” How curious then that most of us still remember Bell with admiration if not down-right awe.

Long after the participants in this grizzly little epic had passed on to their final reward, or punishment, as the case may be, their cause still manages to raise occasional ire in public circles. What little recognition remained for Philipp Reis by the opening of the twentieth century was expunged not once, but twice. When the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1932 the Ministry of Propaganda ordered Reis' name stricken from every textbook and scientific treatise in the Reich. Why? Because Philipp Reis happened to be Jewish. But Nazis routinely swept aside disagreeable truths. Surely the rest of us wouldn't be so petty. In 1947 engineers from the British firm Standard Telephones and Cables examined Reis' 1863 telephone that had been in the collection of the London Science Museum since its construction. The results of their tests concluded that the mechanism could “reproduce speech of good quality but of low efficiency”. On the order of Sir Frank Gill, then head of Standard Telephones and Cables, the results of these tests were suppressed. Why? Because Standard Telephones was then in negotiations with AT&T (inheritors of the Bell Telephone Company) and Gill feared that admitting what Bell himself had acknowledged three-quarters of a century earlier - that Reis' phone worked - might damage relations between the two. The results of the 1947 tests were not released until late in 2003.

Eventually, Antonio Meucci was granted recognition for his work. In September 2001 the US Senate passed a resolution stating that Antonio Meucci, an Italian by birth and a naturalized American citizen, had invented the telephone. Ten months later the US House of Representatives passed a similar resolution. Elisha Gray still remains the man who submitted his Patent Caveat two hours late, even though he actually put it in two hours prior to Bell.


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