OH MY GOD, YOU GUYS! Next month, starting the weekend after my book comes out, I’m having a week-long book blitz. There’ll be a giveaway (a $50 Amazon gift card!) and excerpts or an interview or I-don’t-know-what-because-I-haven’t written-it-yet!
If you have a blog and are interested in taking part, please sign up here!
And now, I will express my giddiness with gifs!
Welcome to Peaceville, population 2067 and rising…from the grave…
Luke Chester has had enough. He’s the school geek, the girls laugh at him, he’s lost his dead-end job at the pizza place, and in the midst of the world’s messiest divorce his parents don’t even know he exists. An overdose of his mom’s tranquilizers and a stomach full of whiskey should solve all his problems…
But they don’t. Instead, Luke finds himself booted out of the afterlife for not dying a natural death, with nowhere to go but back to his recently vacated corpse and reality. How the hell is he going to pass for one of the living without someone trying to blow his brains out for being one of the undead?
And it just gets worse. He’s got to fight his own desperate craving to consume the living, evade the weird supernatural hunter who’s having a field day with the new undeads rising, and there’s this creepy black shadow following him around. Add to that the distraction of female fellow undead Annabelle burning to avenge her own murder, and clearly there’s no rest for the wicked. Jeez, all he wanted to do was R.I.P.
Enter to win a zombie heart necklace and a $5 gift gard to Breathless Press/Lycaon Press
(open 1st September to 1st October, open internationally)!
I suppose I should count myself lucky they hadn’t started carving me up, and that I’d gone for an overdose rather than throwing myself in front of a truck or out of a window. I’m in damn good condition…for a corpse. Still in one piece as far as I can ascertain, and that ain’t easy to determine, let me tell you. You know how an arm or a leg goes after you’ve sat on it for a while, cutting off the circulation? But before the blood flow starts again and you get pins and needles? That numb heaviness? My whole body is like that. Like every part of me is full of lead.
Also, the not breathing is weird. I take a couple of breaths out of habit, for the familiar feeling of air moving in and out of my chest. After that I don’t bother. It takes too much concentration and there are other things I need to focus on. Like, what do I do next, for instance?
So, what, I’m just gonna lie here?
It’s an option, but I’d probably give the next person who opens up my drawer a heart attack. I don’t want another death on my conscience. Not when I already have my own.
I put my hands up against the metal above me, and leave dents in it. Whoa. Gonna have to watch that. Clearly, I don’t need a lot of muscle or effort as a zombie, which is good because I never had the first and never gave the second. I try again, but more hesitantly, and push myself outward. The drawer slams open so fast, wheels screeching, that it reaches its full extent hard enough to slam my skull into the drawer front, and then rebounds until it’s almost closed again. That should’ve hurt, but it didn’t. I touch my skull, half expecting it to be cracked in two, but there’s nothing. Not even a dent…or a lump for that matter. But when I twist my head to look, the drawer front looks like it got beat by a baseball bat. That’s gonna be one hell of a giveaway.
I reach up and use just one finger to push the drawer wider. This time I roll out until my upper half is free of the drawer. That should do. Careful not to squeeze too tight, I grip the sides of the slab I’m lying on. I’m not sure about sitting up, because clearly I don’t know my own strength any more, and the weird all-over numbness means I can’t sense what I’m doing, or how much pressure I’m using. There’s no pain to tell me when I might be damaging myself, if that’s possible.
Okay, this is it. I push myself upright easily enough, but can’t stop myself slumping forward. Everything feels heavy. My head too heavy for my neck, my shoulders too heavy for my torso. Still holding the sides, I drag one leg up until my knee touches my chin, and then the other. I shuffle ’round until both feet drop to the floor, pulling my legs with them. I have plenty of strength but pretty damn poor coordination. It’s kind of hard to synchronize your moves when it’s like someone has attached weights to every bit of you. Won’t this be fun?
So I’ve got my feet on the ground. I stare at them and wiggle my toes. Back in the afterlife, they moved easily and in sequence. Now they just jerk. There are bruises and needle marks in both my arms, probably from them trying to pump a ton of drugs into me to bring me back. My skin is pale, only one shade away from stark white, with a bluish tint. Oxygen deprivation, I’d guess. I thought I’d be gray. Maybe that happens later. For now, I can probably pass for just being sick, if I can get my coordination together and get out of here.
With that objective in mind, I lurch to my feet and fall flat on my face, luckily with one arm preventing my nose from getting smashed. Not that it hurts, but I really don’t need to make myself look any worse. I push back onto my hands and knees, grab the edge of the table beside me, and then pull myself up slow and easy. At least I’m standing, even if I am swaying like I’m still getting hit by the alcohol. For the first time, I get a good look of where I’m at.
The morgue. I’ve seen enough cop shows to recognize it. Never expected to be in one, least not and be aware I was. The table I’m hanging onto is one of those where they lay a body, clean it, and slice it up to figure out who or what killed you. I guess I should be grateful they hadn’t got to that stage with me. Trying to stitch myself up with zombie fingers and with all my innards falling out would have been tricky.
After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 21 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.
Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, blogging at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. Her works include a YA science fiction novel—Gethyon—published through BURST (Champagne Books), two self-published short stories (Terms & Conditions Apply and The Bones of the Sea), and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade. She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place).
Sign up to Pippa’s no-spam newsletter HERE to get early sneak peeks at covers, and news of the latest releases, giveaways and contest.
Before I launch into the festivities, I just wanted to add a little note to this post. I’ve read both the first book in the series, Elsker, and the novella prequel, Tur (which, by the way, you can get for free if you want to try ST’s style before you buy — there are links at the bottom of this post!). I’m planning to put a review of Tur up in the next few days, and Endre is on my TBR list. The series is a sweet romance with hot Norse gods in it. If that sounds like your thing, these are the books for you! — Cass
Endre (Elsker Saga #2) by S.T. Bende
Upper YA/NA Paranormal Romance
Sometimes, finding your destiny means doing the exact opposite of what The Fates have planned.
Winning the heart of an immortal assassin was a dream come true for Kristia Tostenson. Now she’s knee deep in wedding plans, goddess lessons, and stolen kisses. But her decision to become immortal could end in heartbreak — not only for Kristia, but for the god who loves her. Because while Ull would do anything to protect his bride, even the God of Winter is powerless against the Norse apocalypse. Ragnarok is coming.
And the gods aren’t even close to ready.
The Amazon bestselling Upper YA Paranormal Romance series inspired by Norse mythology and featured in USA Today.
What reviewers are saying about The Elsker Saga:
“The characters will leave an imprint on your heart and mind for a long time to come.” — Lisa (Bound by Books)
“Bende takes classic bits of Norse mythology and throws in original elements to create her own tasty Nordic blend… I’ll definitely be checking out the sequel!” — Bookalicious Reviews
“One of my favorite books of the year.” — White Zin Bookends
“Action packed with a heart pounding romance!” — Curse of the Bibliophile
“This book was nearly impossible to put down and I’m dying for the sequel!” — Brittany and Bianca Blab Books (now BiblioBelles)
When I came to, my chest heaved with sobs. Cold sweat cloaked my body from my forehead to the backs of my knees. My hair was damp, my pulse was racing, and my fingers gripped the sheets so tightly my knuckles ached. I was in my room at Ýdalir, the one place I had always felt safe. Only now I was absolutely terrified.
I ripped the covers off and wrapped my arms around my legs. My nose twitched at an unfamiliar smell. I pulled the cord on the bedside lamp, and looked around to see what might be burning. There was no smoke in the room; all of the furniture seemed to be intact. But when I glanced down, I saw the hems of my pajamas. They were black, singed from the fire I’d desperately hoped had been part of a dream.
This time things had gone too far. If my smoldering pant legs were any indication, being injured in a vision could have far-reaching worldly consequences. And if Elfie had come that close to killing me . . .
Ull had his rules, but I no longer cared. I jumped out of bed and raced down the hallway. When I reached his door I pounded on the distressed wood. Tears streamed down my face but I didn’t bother to wipe them away. The downpour was too intense; it wouldn’t have done any good anyway.
The door flew open and Ull stood on the other side. He wore a loose pair of grey sweatpants and nothing else. Oh hot bejeebus. There was no way this guy was for real. It just wasn’t humanly possible to look that good.
Oh, right. Ull wasn’t human.
Despite the agony coursing through my awakening consciousness, this was a moment of glory I’d remember forever—the first time I saw Ull’s naked torso. His sweats hung low on his hips, affording me a view of the cut just above the bone.
“Kristia?” Ull rubbed the sleep from his eyes. He took in my matted hair, tear-streaked face, and shaking hands. “Great Odin. What happened?”
He pulled me to him, crushing my face against the muscles of his chest. The knot in my stomach loosened infinitesimally. Just being near Ull gave me peace, but being this near Ull was like taking a sedative. Breathing in his woodsy smell made my panic subside. And when he pressed his hands against me—one to my hair, the other against the small of my back—my gut knew I was safe. Nothing bad could happen to me so long as I was in Ull’s arms. I inhaled again, letting his familiar scent fill me from the inside until my shaking stilled. Then I pressed my lips against his skin. Hard.
“Sweetheart?” he asked again.
“I had another vision and it freaked me out. Can I stay with you?” I didn’t take my lips off his chest as I spoke. I couldn’t. He tasted divine—like spruce and soap and home. There was a very real possibility my mouth might be permanently adhered to his flesh, like a kid who’d tried to lick a frozen railing.
Only this was far less unpleasant.
Enter to win an ebook copy of Endre HERE!
Tur: An Elsker Saga Novella (Prequel)
Inga Andersson is the envy of every girl in Asgard. On the surface she has it all — great friends, a job as Odin’s personal fight choreographer, and a happy ever after with her realm’s hottest assassin. But when evil invades Asgard, her perfect world comes crashing down. Someone is planning to kill off the gods, and Inga’s best friend Ull is first on their list. With the Norse apocalypse a nanosecond away, Inga has to decide how she’ll spend her final moments of freedom. Because from the moment this battle begins, Inga’s happily ever after will be nothing more than a memory.
Some things are worth fighting for.
Elsker: The Elsker Saga Book One
You don’t win the heart of an immortal assassin without making a few enemies along the way. Kristia Tostenson prefers Earl Grey to Grey Goose and book clubs to nightclubs, but when she transfers from her one-stoplight town to Cardiff University in Wales she falls in love with Ull Myhr. Her new boyfriend isn’t exactly what she was expecting. He’s an honest to goodness Norse God – an immortal assassin fated to die at Ragnarok, the battle destined to destroy Asgard and Earth. Kristia’s crazy visions are the only thing that can save their realms.
Her orderly life just got very messy.
About the Author
Before finding domestic bliss in suburbia, ST Bende lived in Manhattan Beach (became overly fond of Peet’s Coffee) and Europe… where she became overly fond of McVities cookies. Her love of Scandinavian culture and a very patient Norwegian teacher inspired the books of The Elsker Saga. She hopes her characters make you smile and that one day, pastries will be considered a health food.
by Christine Fonseca
Release Date: 7 July 2014
Christine Fonseca’s latest action-packed, heart-pounding thriller COLLIDE, explores the world of psychic warfare with a new twist!
The most dangerous secrets are the ones that kill.
When a surprising mental breakdown draws too much attention from a secret government group call the Order, 17-year-old Dakota discovers that her so-called boring life isn’t so boring after all. Between the lies, secrets and assassins out to kill her family, Dakota discovers there’s more to paranormal activity than ghosts and cheap mind tricks. Now she must uncover the truth before a new breed of terrorism takes everything away – including her life.
Project Stargate 2.0
The Solomon Experiments
Dr. LeMercier’s Personal Journal
June 29, 2002
The children are assembled, selected from a pool of more than a thousand recruits. It’s exciting to have so many of the former participants’ offspring in this group. I expect Jennings and Harrison to provide strong recruits. We agreed it best if I didn’t know their identities to avoid tainting the experiments in any way. Avoid favoritism. I expect them to pass the weeding, especially with their genetics.
Training begins in the morning. Dr. Tate and I have redesigned the protocols. They are more grueling than the previous tests, designed to push not only the candidates’ physical and mental stamina but also their emotional development. The new program measures every aspect of their supernatural potential, from telekinesis to telepathy and more.
We anticipate better results this time. These children are younger, stronger than their predecessors. Their abilities, unmatched. But will it be enough? I can measure their ethics, but I can’t guarantee their willingness to do everything their country requires.
We’ve run out of time. Global terrorism has reached unfathomable heights. The attacks have increased since 9/11. It’s worse than before, worse than during the Cold War. I fear another Hitler. We should’ve acted swifter when we first discovered Hitler and Stalin’s early research into the supernatural. Instead, we let our fear supersede our responsibilities to keep our nation safe.
There will be no safety until we find a better way to train our special forces. Our country will not be free from the terrorism that threatens us until we resume our goal of new, advanced weaponry. These experiments are the key. We cannot fail this time as we have before.
The younger recruits offer something we haven’t had in the past, a way to shape and train their morality. We will be able to push the experiments beyond the confines of humanity. We will bypass ethical concerns and find the recruits we can train to use their gifts in new ways.
We will teach them to kill.
To enter, click HERE!
About the Author
Critically acclaimed nonfiction and YA author Christine Fonseca is dedicated to helping children of all ages find their voice in the world. In fiction, she explores the darker aspects of humanity and delivers gothic thrillers that take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions.
In addition to writing, Ms. Fonseca is a frequent presenter and trainer on subjects ranging from writing to behavior and understanding the unique needs of gifted children. She blogs regularly on many sites and participates in events throughout the country. See the News/Events page on her website for upcoming events.
When Christine isn’t crafting her next book and working with kids, she can be found sipping too many skinny vanilla lattes at her favorite coffee house or exploring the world with her family.
Forrest and Braydon Miller moved to the small town of Papina to follow their dreams and start a family. Braydon loves her new life in the quiet town, kept alive by the prestigious boarding school overlooking the valley. She is so proud of her husband’s work, helping the teens on the reservation.
Until one day, Forrest doesn’t come home.
Scandal spreads when one of the teenagers is found missing, too. But Braydon refuses to believe her husband would leave her. When the teen is found, she isn’t talking—literally.
While Braydon’s heart is breaking, she needs to hold her crumbling life together, raise her son, and find a way to love the teenager enough to find the truth of what happened to her husband.
Born and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of day dreaming in the “bush”, and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing. After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and their dog.She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing. She is currently at school studying English and Creative Writing.
Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports and be a good wife and mother. She now works as a Clerk with a lien company in Arizona to help support her family and her schooling. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.
by CJ Burright
A dreamcaster with the ability to channel creatures from her nightmares, headstrong and cynical Kalila Montgomery longs for a peaceful, picket-fence life…until the man literally of her dreams kidnaps her. Survival quickly becomes her number one goal, yet a growing attraction to the man in her nightmares is impossible to ignore. While she fears he will kill her, other, more terrifying enemies surround her, and Kalila succumbs to his scheme to escape. She may be his one hope for freedom…A deadly combination of power, cunning, and cold-hearted charm, Lydon v’al Endrian fears nothing. Feels nothing.
Chained to a brotherhood of men with the supernatural ability to invade dreams, he hunts dreamcasters to be harvested for their dreams and killed. His target: Kalila Montgomery. But Kalila awakens an undeniable dark desire and a longing for a freedom long-lost. To gain everything he craves, Lydon must seduce Kalila before his plot is discovered…a hopeless challenge which, if failed, will earn him a death-sentence. Caught up in a dangerous world of secrets and obsession, doubt and betrayal, Kalila and Lydon face the nightmare of their lives, where love will either deliver them—or destroy them both.
Enter to win here!
“I took great effort to see you.” His tone hinted the act made him deserving. “You sleep; I’ll keep watch. And my vow of yesterday stands. I won’t molest you.”
To her annoyance, her pulse danced a country jig. Whatever efforts he took on her behalf were of questionable nature, not romantic. She made a rude noise in case he held any such illusions.
“Keep watch for what? No one besides you could reach my window and my door’s bolted.”
Lydon laced his hands behind his head, his lips twitching as though fighting a smile. “Then I’ll watch you. Like before.”
Horror prickled over her in a rushing tide. She leapt up. “You watched me sleep? Not skulked around in my bedroom to attack me?” She groaned, imagining him watching her drool, snore, or grind her teeth.
He laughed, low and warm. “You’re so lovely when you dream, Lils. An angel.” He patted the empty spot beside him.
Her traitorous body, defenseless against him, obeyed. The red, silken comforter hissed beneath her knees while she climbed onto the opposite side of the giant bed. The lone lamp by the bed cast a mystical glow over Lydon, catching golden highlights in his light hair, the silver shards in his eyes. “Watching people sleep is creepy.”
He shrugged. “Not people, just you. Besides, I am creepy.”
Definitely not creepy. Kalila settled into a cross-legged position and fixed him with a no-nonsense look. “Since it seems you have nothing better to do than lie there like a sloth, be useful and fess up. Why am I being treated as some freaking porcelain doll in a glass case? How can my nightmares benefit the V’alkara? Can the V’alkara really take my dreams away? None of you seem sick—and no, mental doesn’t count—so what’s wrong? And when will you take us home?”
Lydon jiggled one black boot. What she thought might be disapproval flickered in his eyes. “I won’t waste our alone time answering inquiries. I have other plans.”
She swallowed hard. Maybe she’d misjudged him. Maybe he was so confident in his assassin abilities—and her helplessness—he felt sneakiness was unnecessary.
He sat up in a blink of an eye, moving with inhuman speed. One large hand was planted next to her knee. His breath fanned her chin. The scent of the outdoors and a tinge of smoke drifted from his clothes. His voice whispered spider-soft.
“Do you care to know what other less attractive names some call me?” The world seemed to shrink to Lydon and the force of his gaze. “Angel of Ruin. Living Nightmare. Scourge.” His eyes gleamed, darkened. “As you might guess from such monikers, peace in my life is rare. I’ll relish any fragments of it I happen to stumble across for as long as possible.”
His fingers trailed her cheek to cup her chin. In the span of a heartbeat, his face changed. From beautiful man to skeletal beast then back to beautiful man. A chill coiled around her soul, deep and cold as a winter storm. Who—what—was this guy?
“Do you feel it too?”
Kalila’s heartbeat rumbled in her ears, kicked at her throat. Her fingers jerked with a fierce need to touch him. Instead, she fisted the blanket. Admit nothing to the enemy. Yet the urge to nestle her cheek into his palm and purr grappled with reason. She had to take control before she did something stupid.
About the Author
CJ blames her love for reading and all things Medieval on her father, who plied her often with fantasy novels ranging from Sir Lloyd Alexander to Piers Anthony. Her love for romance, however, lies completely at the feet of her best friend Michelle, who dared to give her a romance novel for her birthday. She smiled, politely said thank you, and tossed it in the corner, where it gathered dust. In a moment of desperation, when only the revolting romance remained in her almost-always toppling stack of awaiting books, she sucked it up and read the romance. Doomed.
She started writing fantasy and paranormal romance for the cathartic experience, decided she liked it, and after two overlong, horribly written novels joined RWA and the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal special interest chapter. Best classes and critique groups ever. Double doomed. Now, writing is a necessity, not just a hobby.
In her spare time, when she’s not writing or reading or actually working, CJ might be found in the dojang (4th Dan Black Belt, baby), rooting on the Mariners (who will some day win the World Series), working out (P90X, anyone?), gardening (a little dirt never hurt anyone), or playing Music of the Night on the piano (without mask or cape). She lives in Oregon with her fabulous husband and daughter. Not to mention her minions, a herd of cats.
WONDERFULLY WICKED is CJ’s Burright’s first novel.
Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi/Dystopian (ages 12 and up)
Number of pages: 203 pages
Word Count: 55,966
Cover Artist: Cora Graphics
Can Miranda save the human race?
An elegant, sophisticated alien species on the verge of extinction has invaded Earth and confined an entire generation of young women, after negotiating a treaty with the world’s governments. Eager to help the aliens reproduce, but frightened by her imprisonment at Nidus, the Eslite medical compound, sixteen-year-old Miranda Mays endures callous scientific experiments in the Eslite’s quest for survival.
When Miranda discovers the ultimate consequences of her egg donations, she organizes a rebellion, enlisting fellow donors in her cause. But soon she realizes the mysterious headmaster, Dimas, knows of her plot. And there’s something about him that bothers Miranda, though she can’t describe it. The fate of humanity hangs in the balance, so she can’t back down. But will Dimas expose her defiance?
Kindle Countdown deal
Enter the giveaway HERE!
(Trigger warning: mention of rape.)
“Yes, thank you. It’s nice to be out of the scrubs.” For whatever reason, I grinned when our eyes met. I’d never paid much attention to Dimas’ features, but the more I stared at him, I noticed how young he looked. If not for the slight five o’clock shadow, I’d have to say he wasn’t older than twenty. I wasn’t sure, though, because all the Eslites had flawless skin.
“You are quite beautiful.” He arched a brow and sipped his water.
“Thanks.” No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t tear my gaze from his. It was as though he had me in a trance. I noticed everything about him. From his debonair smile, to his square jaw, and his perfectly sculpted body that belonged in a Calvin Klein underwear ad. The guy was hot. What the heck was wrong with me?
That freakin’ alien might rape me.
I had to be losing it. He was pure evil. Wasn’t he?
I dug my fingernails into my palm, and the pain broke our connection.
“Consider them an early birthday gift.”
What? How did he know my birthdate? Oh, wait, they’d poked and prodded every hole in my body, of course he would know my birthday. But why would he observe an earthly custom? For half a minute I didn’t say anything, just kept staring at the shaggy, black rug beneath my feet. Hoping and praying he would let me leave as soon as possible, virginity intact.
I managed to squeak out another, “Thank you.”
“I also have another gift for you. I thought it would be better if I told you in person.”
I immediately glanced at him but didn’t meet his gaze, directly.
Please don’t rape me.
Please don’t rape me.
“What’s that?” I asked, feigning courage, even though my entire body shivered. I tapped my feet repeatedly, and I leaned forward, ready to make a run for it. Every muscle in my gut clenched, my thighs tensed, and I pressed my knees shut.
“No matter what you do to me, I’m not going to copulate with you,” I blurted. “At least, not willingly.”
For several seconds, Dimas said nothing. Then, he did something I hadn’t expected. He laughed. “Well, that’s fine, because I didn’t invite you here to have sex with me.”
“Oh.” I felt the color drain from my face as I almost died of embarrassment.
“I’m allowing you to go home for a few weeks, unless you would rather stay here and have sex with me.” His playful tone was disarming and unnerving, at once.
“What?” Excited and relieved, I did the unthinkable. I started to consider his offer.
With a chuckle, he glanced at the glass in his hand. Slowly, in small movements, he swirled the water, the way my dad did a fine wine, and for some strange reason I focused on it. The urge to flee subsided, and I relaxed, as the tension in my shoulders seemed to evaporate. Gradually, my heart rate slowed, my ears no longer rang, and my mouth was no longer dry. I imagined brushing my fingers through his soft, sandy blonde hair. Allowing the warmth of his breath to tickle the curve of my neck as he pressed his full lips to my skin. Feel his strong arms wrapped around me as my body melted into his. When Dimas set the glass on a nearby table, I snapped to attention.
What the heck just happened?
How did I let my mind go there? I couldn’t possibly have the hot’s for the guy. Yet, I was crushing on him, I knew it, and I hated myself for it.
“You are scheduled to depart Nidas on Sunday afternoon.” He smiled, and my stomach flip-flopped. “I’m sure your family will be happy to see you. Besides, I think you need a little break.”
Through some invisible haze his words came to me, and I blinked a few times to make sure I was still in his living room. Then my mind processed what he had said, and though I should have panicked, I remained eerily calm. Was the warden really offering me a prison break?
Crap. Did he know about my plans for escape?
Was it some sort of trap? Were there conditions tied to his surprise?
“That’s—um, great. Thanks. When can I leave?” I tried my best to act cool. I started to stand, but he stayed me with an upraised hand, so I sat on the couch, clutching the edge.
“You will return to your quarters in a few minutes, but I want to set a few ground rules,” he said, as he rose from his chair.
Although I tried not to study him, I couldn’t stop admiring the ripples of muscles beneath his tight fitting shirt, not to mention the spandex-type pants that outlined every curve from the waist down. And I mean every curve. When he paused before an unlit fireplace, I glanced at my glass of water and noticed silver speckles floating on the surface.
Had he given me something?
Had I been drugged?
Because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t fight an uncontrollable desire to watch him. The lights dimmed and the fire ignited behind him, bathing the room in a fiery orange glow, but the air remained bitterly cold. A frightening chill shivered over my arms and legs.
Was I hallucinating?
“Okay, sure.” I set the glass on the coffee table and rested my arms on my knees. Clasping my hands, I prayed for strength.
About the Author
CM Doporto lives in the great state of Texas with her husband and son enjoying life with their extensive family along with their Chihuahua, Mexican Redhead Parrot and several fish.
She writes Young Adult and New Adult Sci-Fi/Urban Fantasy stories about ordinary women who do extraordinary things, become a heroine, and find love along the way.
So, continuing with the Forget Me Not love — yay, book launch! The book was supposed to launch on 17 February, but it has just gone live RIGHT NOW. I’m assuming this has to do with a chain of events involving a stolen USB, a car chase and a gun fight involving Amazon blackops and a chimpanzee disguised as a mailman. Is that just me?
Also, I feel kinda weird launching a book today that I reviewed already. But weird in a smug sort of way, you understand. 😉 Anyway, here it is. With an excerpt to get you hooked like I was hooked.
Title: Forget Me Not (Book I in the Collective series)
Author: Stacey Nash
February 17, 2014 February 21, 2014
Publisher: Entranced Publishing, Rush
Genre: YA speculative fiction
Since her mother vanished nine years ago, Anamae and her father have shared a quiet life. But when Anamae discovers a brooch identical to her mother’s favorite pendant, she unknowingly invites a slew of trouble into their world. When the brooch and the pendant are worn together they’re no longer pretty pieces of jewelry — they’re part of a highly developed technology capable of cloaking the human form. Triggering the jewelry’s power attracts the attention of a secret society determined to confiscate the device — and silence everyone who is aware of its existence. Anamae knows too much, and now she’s Enemy Number One.
She’s forced to leave her father behind when she’s taken in by a group determined to keep her safe. Here Anamae searches for answers about this hidden world. With her father kidnapped and her own life on the line, Anamae must decide if saving her dad is worth risking her new friends’ lives. No matter what she does, somebody is going to get hurt.
Add Forget Me Not on Goodreads!
Enter the book launch giveaway!
“I certainly won’t be forgetting Nash’s debut, FORGET ME NOT! A vividly fast-paced tale with adventure, secrets, and kissing!” — Kimberly P. Chase, Author of THE APOLLO ACADEMY.
“I highly recommend “Forget Me Not” for people who love story-driven YA. Five stars!” — Me 🙂
Easing the door closed, I climb out of the attic and head to the bathroom to clean my dust-covered hands. Water rushes from the spout and splashes against the sides as the basin fills. A reflection of me stares back from the mirror, my dirty hand clutching my aching chest. Today everything feels so raw, open, and fresh, like it only just happened. Why isn’t she still here?
Rubbing my hands clean, I delve into my pocket for the jewelry. Bringing it to my collar, I pin it into my blouse and the hard edges of the brooch prick my skin. My thumb brushes over the smooth, round sides of the pendant and when I pull it over my head, the chain catches on my hair. After I twist it through the tangle so it finally falls cool against my skin, it nestles in the hollow of my throat. I pick it up between my fingers and with reverent slow strokes, rub my thumb over the shiny yellow center—the pendant Mom never took off.
A shiver shoots up my spine and out through my limbs like an electric current, zapping every cell, every fiber, every part of my being. Walking on graves, that’s what Mom would have said. Maybe it’s an omen about her.
I plant my palms on either side of the full basin and peer into the still water taking a moment to collect my thoughts. The water reflects only the cream ceiling. That can’t be right. I do a double take and look again.
My chest tightens. I hold my hand up, but I can’t see it—not my arm, not my chewed fingernails, not my leather watch on my wrist. Where am I? Mouth gaping, I look into the mirror again, but I see nothing.
Not even my face.
I dip my finger into the warm, reflection-free water. Circles ripple in ever growing rings, but there’s no image. My gaze flits to the mirror, but I see only the open door. I have no reflection.
Stacey grew up in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales. It is an area nestled between mountains and vineyards. Full of history and culture, it provides wonderful writing inspiration. After dabbling with poetry during her teen years, Stacey stopped writing until after university when she was married with young children. Now she loves nothing more than spending her days with her children and writing when inspiration strikes.
Where anything is possible.
Enter at your own risk.
The night before her fifteenth birthday, Rosaline Clayton uncovers a deep family secret. She receives an amulet from her deranged father, and he tells her she must find the book in order to save him. Rosaline is used to her dad not making any sense, so she dismisses their conversation as another of his crazy rants.
When Rosaline’s brother, Elliot, drags her to their nana’s attic to explore, they find the old leather-bound book tucked away in a chest. It sucks them into its pages, transporting them to a magical world. Along the way, Rosaline and Elliot are separated, and the only thing she wants is to find her brother and go home.
The creatures of Immagica have other ideas. After years of war, their land lies in ruin. Using the amulet’s power, they want Rosaline to defeat the dragon and restore Immagica to its former glory. But Rosaline is bound to Immagica in ways she doesn’t understand, and when she discovers the truth about her family, she must follow her heart to save them all.
You can win some signed Immagica swag here!
And to win an eBook of Immagica, leave a comment telling me which fantasy creature you’d most like to meet.
The machine was close enough for me to reach out and touch. It wasn’t actually hanging like I’d first thought; it was supported by a pole that went down the centre of the Eye. In the distance, at the very bottom, there was something red—a light, pulsing softly in the darkness.
All the parts of the machine were shiny, and it was well looked after. I reached out a hesitant hand to touch one of the cogs.
“Please, don’t do that,” a nervous voice said from the other side. “You shouldn’t touch the pupil, it’s very fragile.”
Through the gaps in the mass of parts, I caught a glimpse of a boy. “Pupil?” I asked.
“Yes.” He moved to where I could see him, and scratched his head. “Fragile. It’s fragile.”
The boy looked around seventeen. His white-blond hair fell across his forehead. Behind his thick-rimmed glasses were the most unusual eyes. They looked hazel, but a second later they were green, or hazel with green flecks. As quickly as I decided what colour they were, they changed again. He was tall and lanky, and wore a faded red T-shirt, jeans and rubber thongs. I thought he was cute, in a geeky kind of way.
“Who are you?” I asked, tentatively.
“Shouldn’t I be asking you that?” the boy said, eyeing me sceptically. “How did you get in?”
I held up the amulet. “Key?” I said.
His eyes widened. “Oh. Oh!”
“Hi, Lex.” Brynn gave a small wave.
“Brynn. Um … hi,” Lex said. He turned back to me. “You’re—”
“Here to save you. Yes, I know.” I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. “So, your name is Lex?”
“Um … yes. I’m keeper and protector of the Eye. I get to oil the cogs and stuff.” He waved his hand towards the machine.
“What does it do?”
“What does it do …?” He scratched his head again, clearly flustered. He reminded me of my dad when he got excited. Lex darted back behind the big contraption and stared at me through the gaps. “What does it do?” he repeated. “It’s the pupil, the life of the Eye, the heart of Immagica. It counts time, and records memories.” His arms flapped, and he stepped back to where I could see him. “If the rose dies, the pendulum stops and … what did you say your name was?”
“I didn’t. I’m Rosaline.” I tried to smile, but this guy was seriously weird. Cute, I reminded myself, but weird.
About the author:
K. A. Last was born in Subiaco, Western Australia, and moved to Sydney with her parents and older brother when she was eight. Artistic and creative by nature, she studied Graphic Design and graduated with an Advanced Diploma. After marrying her high school sweetheart, she concentrated on her career before settling into family life. Blessed with a vivid imagination, she began writing to let off creative steam, and fell in love with it. She now resides in a peaceful, leafy suburb north of Sydney with her husband, their two children, and a rabbit named Twitch.
Today I’m interviewing fellow Turquoise Morning Press author and Australian, Ingrid Alexandra, about her debut novel, paranormal young adult GIFTED.
Gifted came out on 27 December. Did you squee more that day, or on Christmas morning when you saw Santa had been?
That question made me giggle. Of course I ‘squee-ed’ more on December 27th! It felt like all my Christmases had come at once, if you’ll pardon the cliché! But I was pretty stoked seeing Santa had been, too. 😉
How would Lucy, your main character, describe her greatest strength and her greatest weakness? And would you agree with her?
That’s an interesting question. Strangely enough, Lucy’s greatest weakness was what eventually became her greatest strength. Lucy lacked self-belief and allowed herself to be governed by fear. It was overcoming that fear and believing in herself that became her greatest strength. Sorry, you asked what Lucy would say. Well, I think that’s what she’d say – and I’d agree with her. 😉
And what about Heath Stone? (What a great name, by the way.)
Thank you! Heath’s weakness, by his own admission, was Lucy. But that’s secondary to the real issue. On a deeper level, Heath was afraid to pursue something he believed would be too complicated and potentially dangerous. But he grew to understand that the greatest things in life often require the greatest risks and so, similarly to Lucy I suppose, the characteristics that could be construed as weaknesses were, in the end, transformed to strengths. Both characters had the courage to overcome adversity, to challenge their innermost fears and take a flying leap of faith in to the unknown!
Tell us about Duruga. Did you create it for your story?
I’m so glad you asked! Duruga is a place close to my heart. Although I won’t reveal the ‘real’ location, I will say that the descriptions in the novel are based on a real place where I am privileged to spend much of my leisure time. It really is a little piece of paradise!
Music seems to have played a strong role in your life. Do you think that has affected the story you wrote?
You’ve done your homework! 😉 (I didn’t get a cyberstalking award during PitchWars for nothing!) I had to think about that question quite a bit, actually. I suppose, indirectly, my love of music influences the way I express myself in my own art. All creative art forms share a common link in that they are based on the creation and expression of a concept, story or feeling, but I don’t think that in this case there is a direct link between music and how GIFTED was created. A great question, though. Food for thought. 🙂
What has been the most surprising thing about your publication journey so far?
Wow, to pick only one…?! 😉 Hmm. Aside from all the incredible people I’ve met along the way and the support network I’m privileged to have attained, I suppose I’d have to say I was most surprised by my own resilience. I didn’t think I had very thick skin (I’m a sensitive soul!), but it turns out thick skin can be grown. 😉 I faced countless rejections in various forms in my journey towards publication, but I truly surprised myself that I was able to pick myself up, dust myself off and try again. It’s been said so many times, but believing in yourself is vital. I recall, even at my weakest moments when I doubted myself and my ability, I never stopped believing that I could do this and that my dream would be realised. It wasn’t easy. But courage is being afraid, being uncertain of something, and doing it anyway.
In dark times that belief is what drove me, what got me out of bed in the morning, what gave me something to live for. Dreams are essential. Don’t let anyone tell you they’re wrong, or just a fantasy or that you could be doing something better with your life. I believe it is unfailing passion, dedication and self-belief that will win you your dreams in the end, whatever they be. 🙂 But self-belief is the single most irreplaceable ingredient. Without it, you set yourself up for failure.
Cassandra, I’d just like to thank you for this opportunity to discuss my story and my characters with you and for your insightful, thoughtful questions. 🙂 (Aww. Thanks for dropping by!)
Lucy Jones possesses an unusual—and extraordinary—gift. Her ability to sense the emotions of others is both a blessing and a curse, eventually driving her to seek refuge from its consequences by fleeing her hometown of Sydney.
The coastal town of Duruga is everything she imagined it would be: sleepy, isolated and void of the emotional chaos that plagued her in the city. But when the mysterious Heath Stone enters her life, Lucy is overwhelmed by startling sensations in his presence. Frightened and intrigued by this uncommon reaction to a person, Lucy is uncontrollably drawn to Heath. Despite her efforts, and the sinister warnings from the townsfolk, she cannot fight the force of her attraction.
When strange events begin to occur and the truth about Duruga’s sordid history is unveiled, Lucy suspects that there may be more to the quiet town, and to Heath, than she had first imagined.
As Lucy and Heath’s fates become irrevocably entwined, the answers Lucy has been seeking all her life may be closer than she ever wanted to believe.
Gripping the steering wheel, my eyes slammed shut and I sat for several seconds with my heart pounding in my ears. My breath came out in gasps, my lungs constricting in anxiety. Images, dotted with light beneath my eyelids, teased me with things I wasn’t sure I’d seen. The vision of a ghostly, young man’s face, so alarmingly handsome and with eyes of such intense green I wondered if they could be real. I dug the heels of my hands into my eyes, trying to see clearly, though the headlights provided a limited view of the shadowy world outside the car.
The road was deserted.
I shook my head, blinking to make sure I was seeing right. What the hell just happened? Was I hallucinating? If someone had been there, where was he now?
And, my conscience taunted, what might have happened if he hadn’t been there to stop you?
A tingle ran down my spine and I tensed, on alert. Someone was out there. I knew because I could sense him. Nearby. He had to be there for me to feel the strange, weaving warmth, the rapid pulse in my veins. And sadness, so deep and powerful I clutched my chest against a sob.
Ingrid Alexandra has been writing since she could put pen to paper. Growing up, she took pleasure in learning musical instruments, visual arts, dance, acting, singing and, of course, she spent a great deal of time reading and writing. Having so many interests meant her career aspirations had a habit of changing, but her profession eventually chose her.
She dabbled in writing short stories and novellas as a child and teen, and began writing full-length novels in recent years. Being a child at heart, it was a natural progression for her to move in to writing fiction for children and young adults. Her love of teaching and interest in human emotion and psychology play a large role in the creation of her novels.