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June 12, 2016

A Novel by Charles M. THE JUNGLE WITHIN


The Jungle Within banner 2
Charles M. 
 will be touring 
June 6 – August 31
 with his drama/suspense


The Jungle Within


(from PUYB)

When Evan and Katie said “I do”, they expected to navigate life together side-by-side. But when a car accident and a tawdry affair disrupt life as they know it, Evan and Katie are forced to venture on alternate paths, alone. In the darkest depths of an unforgiving coma, Evan fights to survive the treacherous jungle of his mind. He embarks on a spiritual journey to understand the meaning of life and the beauty of death…forcing him to face his deepest fear. Meanwhile, Katie ventures through her own guilt. On a strenuous moral journey, she juggles the consequences of infidelity and the strain of caring for her unresponsive husband. But are their paths truly separate? Or are they simply on parallel journeys that are destined to converge?
  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (March 20, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1522718745
  • ISBN-13: 978-1522718741

For More Information

  • The Jungle Within is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Book Excerpt:

As Evan coasted along Highway 50, the hills rolled alongside him. Fall oak brush set the canvas on a cold, winter afternoon. The old wooden-post fence along the road looked as though a strong breeze might blow it over. The overgrown grass reached the bottom wire of the fence and was a hybrid mix of greens and yellows. Not much else was alive in the patches of open grass among the crowded trees. In an hour there would be dew frozen to the grass, and the cold westerly wind would chill everything to a frozen standstill.

Evan cruised at a steady sixty-five miles per hour as he jammed out to Bob Seger’s “Still the Same.” It was his song in college and no matter how many times he listened to it, he never tired of it. Evan’s thumbs thumped on the steering wheel to the rhythm of the song as his head bobbed back and forth. He sang along in falsetto, which would have warranted many jeers from those unfortunate enough to be within earshot. His clunky car was a bit older than most, but it was his, bought and paid for, and he made good time in it. It cut through the winter air as the sun was starting to set. Long, dark shadows nearly covered the car, but a few streaks of light managed to break through the sky, reflecting the now-red sun.

Forty miles away a doe was bedded down in the deep scrub oak, getting ready to make her rounds in an all-night grazing-fest. She licked her front legs and cleaned her nose with her tongue. She took her time, as though there were no natural predators of which to be concerned. In this neck of the woods, the only thing she had to fear was man. Man and his gun and his automobiles. She rose slowly, stretched her back legs long, and shook her ears rather violently. If only humans could sleep so well and wake so gracefully. As she breathed out and perked up her big ears to locate danger, her hot exhale mixed with the cold air outside, producing a visible sign of her presence. The setting sun was dropping at a brisk pace, causing its rays to lose their power.

Evan had graduated from college and landed an entry-level position at a marketing firm. Within a few years his outgoing personality moved him higher up the food chain. Everything appeared to be great in his life except for one thing…he was unhappy. He didn’t seem to fit into the normal molds that most people did. He dared to be different. He had the feeling, deep inside him, that he was meant for greater things; he was meant to have an impact. Without knowing his purpose, he felt lost. The thing that motivated him the most was his search for that elusive answer. That, and his deepest, darkest fear. Evan blocked out those thoughts and recalled pondering life’s questions about where he belonged and what his destiny was when he met Katie. The woman who would be the love of his life.

Evan could picture that meeting like it was yesterday. He was staring at her from across the coffee shop. Katie had the most beautiful face, with big, round, brown eyes and fair skin. Her dirty-blonde hair had been lightened by the summer sun. She was bubbly, enchanting, and when she smiled at him, he knew. She bravely made the trek between the tables to ask him out. She was bold that day, and he was glad she was. Evan might not have made the moves on his own.

Evan was handsome. He was about six feet tall with marble-like blue eyes and light brown hair. He had a slender, but athletic figure. He looked like the all-American boy. He exuded confidence and always appeared in-command, but on the inside, he was shaking.

Theirs was a typical marriage that began with a nice beach wedding in Florida. Both families got along well enough, and Evan and Katie looked like the happy couple in the picture that comes with the frame. Meadows with white flowers, smiles as wide as the sky, and hands locked together as if welded. Not a blade of grass or hair out of place.

Shortly after graduating and getting married, Katie began her career as a government welfare officer for a program that provided less-fortunate families with housing and food. This may have been the main reason that they didn’t have any kids yet. It nearly broke her heart every time she saw those poor children with runny noses and stains all over their clothes. They looked at her and made her feel guilty for all that she had. She would look them in the eye briefly, and then drop her head, knowing it was a staring contest she could never win. The children’s eyes were hard and unwavering. Those cold little eyes struck something deep within her, and drove Katie to help others because she wanted to help herself. She wanted to fix other people’s problems because she wanted to fix her own.

Like all married couples, they’d changed in many ways those first few years. While Evan had maintained his all-American boy-next-door appearance, he’d begun to notice those early tell-tale signs he wasn’t a college kid anymore. Katie claimed to be ten pounds heavier than she wanted to be, but he could never tell. In a world where every eye judges like they’re God, Katie never seemed to feel like she measured up. Lack of self-confidence was her downfall. Evan never cared about any of her perceived shortcomings. He thought she was beautiful, as did most everyone else. He told her constantly that she was perfect and all that he ever wanted, but it never quite filled her need for attention from others. This was the reason that while Evan drove down the road, happy-go-lucky and high on life, Katie was in the corner of a dimly-lit bar having a drink and flirting with Dylan.

The sun was nearly setting while the deer moved east. Evan was headed due north. A car zoomed past Evan, the first one he’d seen in a while. He’d moved on from reminiscing and was in the middle of a daydream, hoping that one day he and Katie could have children. They were financially stable and the timing was right, but they never seemed to be able to get it done. Still, when he was alone in times like this, he often thought of what it would be like to throw a baseball with his son or take his daughter to ballet class, making it to every game and every recital without fail. Katie worked hard and often long hours, but Evan was the one practicing for the days of family suppers and game night.

While Evan drifted deeper into la-la land, the deer was fifty yards from the road to his left. She quickly lifted her head from grazing; something caught her attention. She sensed danger and her fight-or-flight response kicked in as she trotted off with graceful legs carrying her quickly. She jumped the old wooden fence with ease. A vibrating phone made a distinct rattling sound in Evan’s cupholder. He looked down to see a text from Katie. Dinner with the program directors tonight. Be home around 10. Love you. Just as Evan looked up, the deer was in the middle of the road, not more than twenty-five feet in front of him.

It seemed like everything happened in slow-motion. Evan slammed his head into the back of the headrest, his hands in a white-knuckle death-grip on the steering wheel. The deer stood frozen in the middle of the road. Evan’s immediate response was to turn the steering wheel hard to the right. As the car tires led the car to the right, obeying Evan’s command, the driver’s side mirror ever-so-gently brushed against the hair on the ear of the frozen female deer. The car whizzed by her and off into the ditch. She twitched her right ear as if only a fly had landed on it and gave the same look of disapproval that an old lady gives a kid who flies past her on his bike.

Evan was ejected from the car but managed to escape from it rolling on him. He was propped up against a pile of oak brush. His labored breathing resonated in the cold air around him. Blood from a cut on his eyebrow trickled down his face, running into his mouth. The twisting of metal and flinging of dirt was enough to scare the deer off. A squeak from a wobbly hubcap rubbing against a branch kept on and on as if the friction that should slow it down was miles away. The left headlight shined as bright as ever, illuminating the dust settling in the beam like sediments in a vintage wine. That same beam shone right on Evan, his warm breath clearly visible in the cold, dark night. It all happened so perfectly. It was surely meant to be, as if fate wouldn’t have it any other way.


Despite growing up in a small town, I always knew I was destined for bigger things. At age eighteen, I enlisted in the US Navy, a move that allowed me to see the world and explore my passion for life. After 6 years and an honorable discharge, I settled into civilian life, earning my Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and an MBA in Technology Management.

Charles M.Always eager to challenge myself with new and different roles, I took on the role of "Author," writing my debut novel among the roles of full-time engineer, local business owner, and family man. But, I have no plans to stop there!

I am an avid outdoorsman, enjoy camping, hiking, snowboarding, shooting, and fishing, making the Land of Enchantment an ideal place to call home.

I look forward to sharing my novel and experiences with all of you!

Charles’ latest book is the drama/suspense, The Jungle Within.

For More Information

Be prepared:  It wasn't what I had expected by the title.   After reading the back cover I realized this was a book that comes from what could be reality and it has so much emotions in it.  The author captures you the minute you start reading. This being the author's debut novel isn't what you'd expect in a first novel.  It's as though the author has been writing novels for a long time.  The pace is just right.  It's not too fast, where you can't keep up nor too slow where you get bored.   Mr. M. didn't over describe the characters and scenes.  They were realistic descriptions. As you turn the pages you keep asking yourself, What can happen next?  What would you do if your spouse was lying in the hospital, possibly dying, and you have just finished a "one nighter" with a man you didn't love.  You loved your husband.  What led Katie to sacrifice her marriage and her husband for a few moments of pleasure?  Would Katie be able to handle the guilt that was beginning to press in on her?  She really didn't have time to stop and think this out, her husband needed her. The author gives you a wide variety of characters so every reader would find someone he or she could relate to.  This or something similar may have even happened to someone you know or could it be YOU?  The author gives you a lot to think on.  Who's side are you on, Katie's or Evan's?  Just about the time you think you know what's going to happen next, the author sends you spinning off track.  A web of love, infidelity, and guilt spins you around. Life leads us into uncertainty every day. Is there hope for Evan and Katie, that is if Evan survives and Katie makes the right decision about her guilt. The book leaves you wanting more and as a good book does that, the reader can't wait for the second book.

I received this book from the author, Charles M. and PUYB in exchange for my unbiased view.

I would give this book 5 STARS.


Tour Schedule

Monday, June 6 – First Chapter Reveal at Pump Up Your Book
Tuesday, June 7 – Book Featured at The Writer’s Life
Wednesday, June 8 – Book Review at Books, Reviews, ETC.
Thursday, June 9 – Book Featured at Bound 2 Escape
Monday, June 13 – Guest Blogging at Book Cover Junkie
Tuesday, June 14 – Book Featured at The Recipe Fairy
Wednesday, June 15 – First Chapter Reveal at Beyond the Books
Thursday, June 16 – Book Review at Deco My Heart
Monday, June 20 – Interview at PUYB Virtual Book Club
Tuesday, June 21 – Book Featured at My Bookish Pleasures
Wednesday, June 22 – Guest Blogging at The Story Behind the Book
Thursday, June 23 – Book Featured at A Title Wave
Tuesday, June 28 – Interview at Confessions of an Eccentric Bookaholic
Wednesday, June 29 – Book Featured at Write and Take Flight
Thursday, June 30 – Interview at As the Page Turns
Monday, July 5 – Interview at The Writer’s Life
Tuesday, July 6 – First Chapter Reveal at The Dark Phantom
Wednesday, July 7 – Guest Blogging at Book Cover Junkie
Monday, July 11 – First Chapter Reveal at As the Pages Turn
Tuesday, July 12 – Book Featured at The Bookworm Lodge
Wednesday, July 13 – Interview at The Dark Phantom
Thursday, July 14 – First Chapter Reveal at The Review From Here
Monday, July 18 – First Chapter Reveal at Literarily Speaking
Tuesday, July 19 – Interview at Literarily Speaking
Wednesday, July 20 – Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner
Thursday, July 21 – First Chapter Reveal at The Book Rack
Monday, July 25 – Interview at Examiner
Tuesday, July 26 – Book Featured at The Literary Nook
Wednesday, July 27 – Character Interview at Pimp That Character
Thursday, July 28 – Book Featured at Stormy Vixen’s Book Reviews
Thursday, July 28 – Book Featured at Mello & June It’s a Book Thang!
Friday, July 29 – Book Featured at Booklover Sue
Monday, August 1 – Interview at The Review From Here
Tuesday, August 2 – First Chapter Reveal at Read My First Chapter
Wednesday, August 3 – Book Featured at Authors & Readers Book Corner
Thursday, August 4 – Book Review at Cheryl’s Book Nook
Friday, August 5 – Book Featured at StoreyBook Reviews
Monday, August 8 – Book Featured at A Taste of My Mind
Tuesday, August 9 – Interview at Straight From the Author’s Mouth
Wednesday, August 10 – Interview at I’m Shelf-ish
Thursday, August 11 – Interview at Book Marketing Buzz
Tuesday, August 16 – Book Review at Bookjunkie’s Book Blog
Thursday, August 18 – Book Review at Deal Sharing Aunt
Monday, August 22 – Book Featured at Hooked From Page One
Tuesday, August 23 – Book Featured at SheWrites
Monday, August 29 – Interview at The Book Rack
Tuesday, August 30 – Interview at The Literary Nook
Wednesday, August 31 – Guest Blogging at Literal Exposure

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