Posted in Blog tour, excerpt, fiction, Historical on February 6, 2015
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Synopsis

On Patrick Griffin’s deathbed, he asks his daughter Brigid to do the unthinkable–leave the Township of Melbourne with a dangerous convict. If she grants his request and risks trekking into the desert with a stranger, she could lose everything she’s come to know. Ultimately, she could end up alone, with nothing but her father’s memory.After being thrown into jail, Nathaniel O’Connor comes out of the experience bitter and ready to leave the gold rush life well and truly behind him. He is determined to take for himself what he feels Patrick Griffin has stolen from him. The only thing standing between him and his goal is Patrick’s headstrong daughter, Brigid.

Forced to work together, Brigid and Nathaniel embark on the journey of a lifetime. Traveling across the vast, unexplored countryside, they face not only the elements but also a ruthless man driven by shocking greed. Their challenges draw them together, and their experiences could not only change their outlook on life forever but turn their hearts to one another as well.
Sometimes, though, what the heart needs and what the heart wants are two different things. Each has a choice to make, which may result in a loss neither wants, that of a Treasured Land.
Dream Cast



Excerpts from Treasured Land

1.

Brigid wanted to hold her breath in anticipation, silently praying they could make it past all the tents and men, without a scene. Harmonicas sounded out here and there through the night, played by the men who were winding down from a long day in the sun. The air was crisp and clear, with only the lingering scent of fires from supper floating on the light breeze. Stars littered the dark sky, lighting their way yet concealing them in the shadow of night. It was almost enough to put her to sleep. She was tired, and again they were on the run, but this time toward Melbourne. Life certainly hadn’t been the same for her since meeting Nathaniel, and she had a feeling it wasn’t ever going to be, either.
2.
Coming over the top to stand near the trees, Brigid wanted to scream. She dropped to the ground as quickly as she could to lie on her stomach, afraid she might have been spotted already. Brigid could see the outline of a man with his arms held above his head. He hung from a rope tied up to a tree branch. Two white trees like the ones she laid between, these two were also standing on their own with nothing else around them. It was Nathaniel hanging there. It had to be, and he wasn’t alone. Someone sat at the base of the other tree, keeping guard. She didn’t know if they were alone or if anyone else was around. She would have to wait it out for a while to see. She wasn’t equipped with anything she could use to help Nathaniel, so she needed to think on what to do. Brigid was both so scared and overjoyed at actually finding Nathaniel that she couldn’t do more than simply lay there anyway, her mind racing in too many directions.
3.
An old man with long white hair and white beard stood and came over to stand near the fire. He looked to them, nodding.

“Welcome to the land, our home. Be welcome to pass by here,” Sam said, his voice coming in just after the old man spoke to them. They continued that way, the old man talking with Sam interpreting what was said. “The welcome dance also awakens the spirits of our ancestors. They welcome you, too. We want to tell you a story, a story that has changed the lives of this people.”

Nathaniel turned to look at Brigid at the same time she turned to him. They both had no idea where this was going to lead, but the old man had their attention, and all they could do was listen.
4.
He looked up to Brigid and smiled. “Badalya mean food. Tucker tonight, and now he dead.”

Nathaniel had to move swiftly to catch Brigid across his arms when she promptly fainted. He looked over the dead body of their supposed supper and frowned at Sam.

“Hey, boss, give her this.”

Nathaniel watched Sam pull a bunch of leaves of some sort out from the back pocket of his pants. He held it to his lips before shoving it in Nathaniel’s shirt pocket. “For dyinmang belly.”

Nathaniel just stared at Sam, not knowing what to say just then as he continued to hold a limp Brigid in his arms. Sam stood and began to drag the kangaroo away. Nathaniel was simply speechless to all that just had taken place, and he sighed as he looked back down to Brigid.
5.
Brigid locked her gaze with his. He couldn’t look away even if he wanted to. She was too mesmerizing at that moment, sitting in the shade, soft pink cheeks, and…nostalgic. She took his breath away.

“I would not have let you live the way we had and would have been angry at Patrick if he brought you out there. I am angry at him because it had come close to that.”

She did smile at him this time. Her pink lips parted, revealing her lovely straight teeth, and his chest swelled, honoured to have been the recipient of it. “Why do you smile, Brigid?”

“Because, Nathaniel, it did nae make a difference anyway. Ye are mad at him now, and I am living somewhat the way he did.”




Playlist

Lana Del Rey, Video Games
Lana Del Rey, Summertime Sadness
Lana Del Rey, Once Upon a dream
The Madden Brothers, Brother
Thirty seconds to Mars, City of angels
Sleeping at Last, Accidental light, Earth, Venus
Emeli, Full Album.
Paloma Faith, Only Love Can Hurt Like This



About  the Author


Melanie Corona was born in Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia, and raised in Alice Springs (the very centre of the country). She has always loved reading and telling “tall tales” and wrote poetry all the time. Her greatest influence was her grandpa Majid who kept all the grandchildren entertained, constantly, with his stories, music and passion for writing. 

Melanie didn’t tell anyone she wrote when she started because she was too shy, and now, has no idea why she was like that. She has stories to tell and wants to share them with whoever will read them. “I am not, and never will profess to be an awesome writer, but I will try to entertain, while bringing to life the history of my country, one page at a time.”


Network With Melanie Corona
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Posted in Blog tour, excerpt, Giveaway, Interview, paranormal, Young Adult on February 5, 2015

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Gray Island by J.C. Aster

Evernight Teen/69k
Teen Romance/Paranormal/Shifters

 

Synopsis

Sage Murdock has always felt different from the other students at his high school in Boston, and being bullied and ostracized has become a way of life he accepts…but at the same time, he worries that the whispers are true and that he is, in fact, mentally abnormal.

After a bullying incident at school provokes Sage to violence, his mother and stepfather tell him he is being sent to live with his biological father on Gray Island, a small weather-beaten island off the coast of Maine. There, Sage encounters many strange people who all seem to be hiding something.

A single bright spot is Cadi, a free-spirited girl about his own age. Unfortunately, Cadi is a member of a strange cult-like group that lives on the opposite side of Gray Island. Before long, Sage learns that his relationship with Cadi must end or the consequences will be catastrophic.

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Excerpt

“I was out walking,” she answered, to his relief. She shook her head, sending a cascade of glistening raindrops from her honey-brown hair. The droplets seemed to descend in slow motion, twinkling like stardust.

“In the rain?”

“It isn’t raining anymore. Besides, I don’t mind. Rain is part of nature. We’re part of nature. It all fits, right?”

“I guess. I prefer to stay dry.”

“Oh? I can’t help but notice you’re out here, same as I am.”

“I…uh, yeah. I couldn’t sleep. And then I spotted you from my window.” He paused, fumbling for his next few words. “I…um…I saw Ivar tonight.”

Her rosy lips thinned. “I heard. I’m sorry he tormented you.”

Sage shrugged self-consciously. “It’s a public place. I guess he had a right to be there, same as I did.”

“Stuff like that happens because we have only one restaurant on the island. I know he goes there with his friends once in a while.”

“Do you ever go with him?” Sage asked hopefully.

“No. My parents won’t let me go anywhere that serves alcohol… besides, that place is a little noisy for my tastes.”

“I know what you mean.”

They fell into step together as they trudged through the sodden forest. The water dripping on her skin didn’t seem to bother her at all, nor did the chilly air. She was used to it, Sage supposed. Maybe he’d get used to it one day, too. But, no—he had no idea of staying that long.

Cadi did make it tempting to stick around a while, though.

“What’s the deal with you and Ivar, anyway?” he finally asked, unable to keep a note of strain from his voice. “You said once he wasn’t your boyfriend. But is he…I mean, are you and he…?”

She didn’t wait for him to finish. “I don’t like labels, personally. Do you?”

“I don’t know. It’s kind of hard to tell what’s inside the can without one.”

She laughed, a genuine and easy sort of laugh that banished the cold from his body. He smiled too. They walked on, side by side, not touching but enjoying the moment. At least, he was. And she seemed happy enough to stay beside him.

“I’m glad you have a sense of humor,” Cadi said. “Not many people around here do.”

“The weather makes them that way, maybe. No sun. I’ve been feeling kind of strange myself.”

“Not because of the weather. Haven’t you figured that out yet?” She stopped and looked at him intently.

“No. What do you mean? Figured what out?”

“Sage…you don’t know your father very well, do you? Or much about his life here?”

“Nah. Why would I? My parents split up and he took off when I was less than a year old. I haven’t had much contact with him since. Then, all of a sudden, my mother got this bright idea to send me out here to live with him.”

“She didn’t tell you why?” Cadi seemed genuinely concerned.

“Not in so many words. I figure she couldn’t handle me anymore. You know, hormones, bad temper, the usual teenage stuff.”

“No, Sage. It wasn’t the normal teenaged stuff. Trust me.”

“What do you mean?” He scowled and started walking again. “Are you trying to tell me my father is a serial killer or something?”

“No! No, Jeremy’s all right. I admit, my parents aren’t crazy about him, but they live on the other side of the island, so that’s to be expected.”

Sage scowled. “Don’t you come over to this side for school?”

“No. We have private lessons in the compound. Ivar’s father, Laurent—he’s sort of like our governor—appoints teachers for us. Sometimes he lectures to us, too. We can study at our own pace. I kind of like it that way. I don’t think I’d do well in your kind of school.”

“You’re kidding. That sounds like something from another century!”

“No, it’s modern enough. We have electricity and everything.” Her sardonic laugh ended in a sigh. “There’s a lot about this place you don’t understand, Sage.”

“I’ll be the first to admit that.”

She took his hand. He squeezed back. “You’ll find out a lot, soon enough. Too soon, and I hate thinking about it. I want to remember you like this: just a normal guy from Boston, taking an innocent walk with me through the forest. I wish it could stay like that.”

“What are you talking about? What do you mean? I’m lost.” He looked around at the dark trees that hemmed them in on all sides. Nothing looked familiar. “In more ways than one.”

“Don’t worry. You won’t be for long. Don’t try to answer these questions too soon. Let some things be a mystery. Once you look for answers, everything gets complicated.”

“I guess so. But I’d still like to know the truth.”

“And I like mystery. Maybe we’re not so compatible after all.”

“Don’t say that.”

“Then let some things stay unsaid. Don’t ask me things. Let’s just spend time together and enjoy it.”

“Okay. If that’s what you want.”

“I do, and I want things between us to be special. Like magic.” She grasped his hand, pulling him to a stop. Then she leaned up and kissed him on the mouth. Startled, Sage responded awkwardly at first. Despite what he’d seen in movies and TV shows, he wasn’t quite sure which way to tilt his lips, and at one point his front teeth knocked against hers. When she didn’t move away, though, he decided to let instinct guide him. That worked out better, as their mouths began to slide together in a balanced and highly enjoyable rhythm.

Magic was an understatement.

 

Character Interview: Sage Murdock

What word best describes true love? Elusive

© Finish this sentence: Then I think of love, I think of ___.

Pain…though hopefully that will change now that I have met Cadi.

© What’s your ideal romantic evening?

Gray Island is surrounded by deep, choppy water, but that gives it a certain idyllic quality once you get past the mist and the overall creepiness. Watching the sun set over the water or escaping the cold by hanging out in front of the fireplace, just the two of us, sounds perfect to me.

© What’s the perfect Valentine’s Day gift?

You know, I’ve never celebrated Valentine’s Day, but I think for my first one I am going to write Cadi a letter telling her how happy I am that we’ve found each other. She saved my life…literally.

© What are the ideal traits you’re looking for in a forever love? I think I’m too much of a realist to trust in any kind of abstract “ideal”…but if there’s one thing I desperately need, it’s to be accepted for who I am. As I recently discovered after arriving on Gray Island, I have some pretty unique issues. Luckily, Cadi understands all that. Heck, she helped explain what was wrong with me! If not for her I might still not know the whole truth. That kind of honesty counts for a lot as far as I’m concerned.

© What song title best describes your relationship track record: “Nothing but a Good Time,” “Turn Me Loose,” “Shot Through the Heart (You Give Love a Bad Name)”, “Money Talks/Material Girl”, “Looking for Love in All The Wrong Places”?

I’d have to say “All By Myself” by Eric Carmen, and I suspect that was Cadi’s theme song too! Hopefully, though, things are about to change for both of us.

© What first attracted you to each other?

The first time I saw Cadi, I had just arrived on Gray Island and met my dad more or less for the first time—after all, I hadn’t seen him since I was a baby. As we were leaving the ferry boat, which is the only way to get to the island, I spotted her walking with a guy I later found out was her sort-of boyfriend, Ivar. I’m not sure why, but even then I was jealous. And to make matters worse, my dad warned me to stay away from both of them.

I’m sure I don’t have to explain why that made me more determined than ever to meet her. I later found out she felt the same way when she saw me. So I guess there was just something in the air that night.

© What’s the best thing about the two of you together?

Now that we’re officially going out (not that there are very many places to go on Gray Island—there’s only a coffee shop and a diner, though we’ll have to make the best of that), I feel like we can really open up to each other and ask one another the hard questions, both about this place and its effect on our lives and about how we plan to face the difficult times ahead. Because I just know there are going to be some.

© What are you most looking forward to as a couple?

Just supporting each other and trying to fill some of the blanks about our pasts. We’ve both heard some pretty shocking news recently, namely that neither of us is exactly who we’d grown up believing ourselves to be. We’ve got a lot to work through, but I’m confident we can do it.

© What could stand in your way?

Without going into too much detail, or revealing anything too personal, the fact is that neither Cadi nor I are like other teenagers—psychologically, physically, and certainly not genetically. Whether we can use those differences to our advantage, or whether they’ll ultimately destroy us both is anyone’s guess.

 

About the Author

J.C. Aster is a teacher and freelance writer who is a huge fan of young adult fiction, especially stories with a paranormal twist (they sure didn’t have cool books like that when she was a kid or she might have had a more exciting childhood!).  GRAY ISLAND started as a National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) project and quickly took on a life of its own.  She is currently at work on new projects and hopes to visit the magical shores of Gray Island again soon.

 

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Posted in excerpt, romance, Spotlight on February 4, 2015

The Echoes of Love pb

 

Synopsis

Set against the breathtaking beauty of Italy, The Echoes of Love is a passionate, heart-breaking romance to ignite the senses and rekindle your belief in the power of love.

Seduction, passion and secrets… Venetia Aston-Montagu has escaped to Venice to work in her godmother’s architectural practice, putting a lost love behind her. For the past ten years she has built a fortress around her heart, only to find the walls tumbling down one night of the carnival when she is rescued from masked assailants by an enigmatic stranger, Paolo Barone. Drawn to the powerfully seductive Paolo, despite warnings of his Don Juan reputation and rumours that he keeps a mistress, Venetia can’t help being caught up in the smouldering passion that ignites between them. When she finds herself assigned to a project at his magnificent home deep in the Tuscan countryside, Venetia not only faces a beautiful young rival but also a sinister count and dark forces in the shadows, determined to come between them. Can Venetia trust that love will triumph, even over her own demons? Or will Paolo’s carefully guarded, devastating secret tear them apart forever?

Message from the author

I first visited Venice as a young child. Then, as now, I was wide-eyed and enchanted by the beauty of the city. I distinctly remember standing in the main square, the Piazza St Marco, gazing up at the stunning architecture of Saint Mark’s Basilica, and feeling I had somehow entered another world – a fairytale world. Then I looked down, at the square itself, which was overrun by hordes of pigeons. There was nothing beautiful about those birds. They were quite spoiling the place. And it struck me then that Venice is a city of two faces: that which the tourists flock to admire, that makes the city the capital of romance, that breathes new life into the imagination and leaves a permanent, inspirational impression. And the other side, the darker side, that which is concealed in what Erica Jong called ‘the city of mirrors, the city of mirages’.

When I returned to the city as an adult, I became quite fascinated by the concept of Venice – what it means to be Venetian; what the city really is beneath the layers of history and grandeur and legend.  Frida Giannini wrote ‘Venice never quite seems real, but rather an ornate film set suspended on the water.’ I understand this quote – there is something fairytale about the place, and with that comes some reluctance, perhaps, to see the realism beyond.

Venice so captured my imagination that I knew some day I would write a romance novel set in this most elegant and fascinating of cities. But it had to be the right story to fit the place. For me, that meant a story that reflected the two faces of Venice – the mask she wears, and the true form beneath.

I very much hope that readers will enjoy my new novel, and will fall in love with its romantic Italian setting, as I did.

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Excerpt

The clock struck midnight just as Venetia went past the grand eighteenth-century mirror hanging over the mantelpiece in the hall. Instinctively she looked into it and her heart skipped a beat. In the firelight she noticed that he was there again, an almost illusory figure, leaning against the wall at the far end of the shadowy room, steady eyes intense, watching her from behind his black mask. An illusory figure indeed, because when Venetia turned around he was gone.

Venetia shivered. Nanny Horren’s voice resounded through her head, reminding her of the strange Celtic superstitions that the Scottish governess used to tell her. One in particular came to mind. ‘Turn off the light and look into the mirror by firelight at midnight on Shrove Tuesday,’ the old woman would whisper to the impressionable and imaginative teenage Venetia, ‘and if you see a face reflected behind your own, it’ll be the face of the love of your life, the man you will marry someday.’

Was this what had just happened to Venetia? Was this stranger the love of her life?

Rubbish, she remonstrated, laughing uneasily into her own eyes, you’re mad! Haven’t you learnt your lesson? Venetia had indulged in such fantasies several years ago and had only managed to get hurt. Now, she knew better. Still, she did not move away. Venetia leant closer to the mirror that reflected her pale, startled face in the flickering light, as tremors of the warm feelings of yester love suddenly flooded her being. For a few moments she seemed to lose all sense of where she was and felt as though she stood inside a globe, watching the wheel of time turning back ten years.

Gareth Jordan Carter. ‘Judd’. It was a diminutive of Jordan, chosen by Venetia who hated the name Gareth and didn’t care much for the name Jordan either. Judd had been her first love, and as far as Venetia was concerned, her last. She had been young and innocent then; only eighteen. Today, at twenty-eight, she liked to think she was a woman of the world, who would not allow herself to be trapped by the treacherous illusions of passion, however appealing they might seem. She had paid a high price for her naivety and impetuosity.

Venetia tried to shake herself clear of those haunting phantasms and her thoughts ambled back to the masked stranger – well, almost a stranger.

Their brief encounter had occurred the evening of the first night of Il Carnevale di Venezia, ten days before Shrove Tuesday …

What the reviewers are saying

‘The book makes the reader want to visit Italy, as the descriptions of the sights and sounds evoked such beautiful images.’ – Associated Press

‘A very well written, and different kind of romance… an exceptionally riveting romance… I would certainly recommend this to fans of the intelligent and suspenseful romance.’ – Amazon review

‘Classic romance fiction… with all the right “s” ingredients – seduction, shall-we/shan’t-we, secrets, steaminess.’ – Amazon review

‘A haunting, poignant romance… immerses you in a truly heartwarming and stirring tale of deep passion, love, forgiveness, and healing.’ – Book Bag Lady

‘A beautifully crafted book, the echoes of which will remain with you for a long time.’ – Amazon review

‘I absolutely adored the depth of the love story… It reads like a film, indeed I can totally imagine it as a Baz Luhrman epic with glorious costumes and elaborate settings.’ – Books with Bunny

About the Author

Hannah Fielding is a novelist, a dreamer, a traveller, a mother, a wife and an incurable romantic. The seeds for her writing career were sown in early childhood, spent in Egypt, when she came to an agreement with her governess Zula: for each fairy story Zula told, Hannah would invent and relate one of her own. Years later – following a degree in French literature, several years of travelling in Europe, falling in love with an Englishman, the arrival of two beautiful children and a career in property development – Hannah decided after so many years of yearning to write that the time was now. Today, she lives the dream: she writes full time, splitting her time between her homes in Kent, England, and the South of France, where she dreams up romances overlooking breathtaking views of the Mediterranean.

Her first novel, Burning Embers, is a vivid, evocative love story set against the backdrop of tempestuous and wild Kenya of the 1970s, reviewed by one newspaper as ‘romance like Hollywood used to make’. Her new novel, The Echoes of Love, is a story of passion, betrayal and intrigue set in the romantic and mysterious city of Venice and the beautiful landscape of Tuscany.

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Posted in Blog tour, Cozy, excerpt, mystery, Review on February 3, 2015

Wedding Cake (1)

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Wedding CakeWedding Cake by Josi Kilpack

After years of mysteries, murder, and mayhem, the big day has arrived, and Sadie wants nothing more than for her wedding to Pete to be completely uneventful. When she receives a threatening, anonymous text message just days before the ceremony, she’s determined not to let it interfere with the celebration she has carefully planned for months. But as the threat escalates from a distant fear to a frightening reality, Sadie realizes just how much she’s underestimated the situation. Desperate to put an end to the games, lies, and manipulation that has shadowed her life, Sadie, her fiance, Pete, and her children pull out all the stops. What they don’t know, however, is just how far Sadie’s nemesis is willing to go to make good on the thread she made to Sadie three years ago.

Will the wedding go off without a hitch, or will “’til death do us part” come far too soon? There’s no turning back for anyone in the riveting conclusion to this twelve-volume culinary mystery series.

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Josi culinary

The Culinary Mystery Series

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Excerpt

Everyone was silent for a moment, then Malloy pulled himself up a bit straighter in his chair. “This is an investigation that is all about keeping your mother safe. To return home when we have expressly asked that she stay out of the way and allow us to do our job compromises her safety and—”

“Look,” Shawn said with a forced kind of calmness, zeroing his attention on Malloy. “We both appreciate what you’re doing but I think you’re forgetting that my mom isn’t some Sunday school teacher who doesn’t understand what’s what. In the last four years my mother has put over a dozen people in jail, found missing persons, discovered frauds, uncovered conspiracies, solved several murders, saved lives, and managed to break a few noses in the process. To not consider any of those things is . . . dumb, and with this threat being directly targeting her, I think she has the right to be heard in regard to how she would like to handle things. That she’s talking to you about this at all is merely because, at her core, my mother is a well-mannered woman. She doesn’t need your help—heck, she’s not even asking for your help—she’s simply asking that you support her instincts which have proven to be right time and time again.”

Sadie blinked back tears of pride and gratitude as the room reverberated in the silence left behind her son’s words. She had no idea he felt this way about the things she’d done these last years, especially since it was only six weeks ago that her skills were put to use poking around in his business, which he hadn’t liked very much. That he was proud of her and saw her as strong and capable was an enormous boost of confidence.

When no one spoke in the moments following Shawn’s monologue, he turned to her. “Are you coming with me, then?”

Review

This is the last book in this series and to really get a handle on the characters you should probably start with book 1. Heck, the author even tells you to go back and read the other books because characters will reappear from some early books and it will probably give you a better insight into the situation. That being said, I have only read the last 3 or so in this series and while I didn’t know the back story on the stalker, it wasn’t really hard to keep up with the happenings in this book.

The book is action packed pretty much from the first page. I felt sorry for Sadie and what she had to deal with just days before her wedding. The book also wraps up everything very nicely and I thought the ending was quite interesting with what Sadie planned to do with the next phase of her life…..can’t tell you, you will just have to read the book and find out!

We give this 4 paws up and have enjoyed the last few books in this series.  Perhaps one day I’ll go back and find the first few books (sadly my library doesn’t carry them).

pawprintpawprintpawprintpawprint

 

JosiAbout the Author

Josi S. Kilpack hated to read until her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond when she was 13. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and accredits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then. She began writing her first novel in 1998 and never stopped. Her novel, Sheep’s Clothing won the Whitney Award 2007 for Mystery/Suspense. Lemon Tart, the first book in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series was a finalist in 2009. Josi currently lives in Willard Utah with her husband, children and super-cute cat.

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Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 2/10/15

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Posted in excerpt, Spotlight, Young Adult on February 2, 2015

SONS OF THE SPHINX

Sons of the Sphinx by Cheryl Carpinello

2014 Literary Classics Silver Award for PreTeen/YA

2014 Literary Classics Seal of Approval

 

Synopsis

Two souls

Separated by three millennium

One with a gift that is more like a curse

One on an almost impossible quest

Destinies entwined; one seeks to find herself while the other seeks his lost queen. To succeed, the pair must right the injustices 3,000 years in the past.

Only together can they fulfill The Prophecy, but in the process they must defeat the Pharaoh Horemheb.

Dishonor and death are the fate of the defeated.

Armed with what she considers her grandmother’s curse, 15-year-old Rosa agrees to help the ghost of King Tut find his lost queen Hesena. Though Hesena’s ba inhabits part of Rosa, finding the whole spirit of Hesena so that she and Tut can be together for the first time in over 3300 years proves to be a harder task than Rosa first thinks. Thrust back into Ancient Egypt with Tut, Rosa discovers that finding Hesena is not all she must do. She must keep out of the reach of the living Horemheb—who crosses mortal boundaries using Seth’s evil magic—if she is to stay alive to make it back home.

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Excerpt

In front of me is desert, sand, open sky, and heat for as far as I can see. Already sweat is starting to run down my face and neck. I thought gym class was bad. I’m not even moving here, and it’s as if a river is coursing through me. I sweat more standing still in this country than I ever did playing basketball.

Turning around, I stare at the sight in front of me. The Pyramids. I’ve seen millions of pictures of them, but this is different. I’m standing here on the same ground, in the presence of these mathematical wonders. Perfectly shaped pyramids, over four thousand years old in my world. In this world, well over a thousand years old. And all around is desert. I twirl around. Nothing but desert in all directions. This can’t be real.

“Tut, is that really the great pyramid of Khufu?” I ask, needing confirmation of where I am.

“I’m not sure it’s great, but yes, that is Khufu’s pyramid. And those of his son, Khafre, and his grandson, Menkaure.”

Only momentarily does Khufu’s monument dwarf the others. The sun’s glare draws my attention to Khafre’s burial pyramid revealing the one shining difference between our times. Here Khafre’s tomb is covered in polished limestone; in today’s world, only the crown remains covered. The rest has been stolen and re-used over the centuries. What I wouldn’t give to touch those building blocks. To put my hands where ancient laborers laid theirs.

“Can we go closer? Can we climb up Khufu’s?”

“Of course we cannot. That is forbidden. These are the resting homes of Pharaohs, Egypt’s gods. We do not climb, but we may go closer,” he adds. “Come, let us see the stela at the Sphinx, and then we’ll go.”

“Where is the Sphinx? I thought it was right here with the pyramids?”

“It is. Right there.” He points to a huge mound of sand.

“No way. Where is it really?”

“This is it, Roosa. We are just around the back. Come, I will show you.”

I follow him with difficulty. I don’t know how he walks in all this sand without it getting into his sandals. My feet feel like they’re standing on a million peas, you know like that story ‘The Princess and the Pea’? I stop to dump the sand out.

“Come, Roosa. You must hurry. We haven’t much time. Another day has passed.”

“I’m coming. Just emptying the desert out of my shoes.” I hustle to catch up with him and realize the peas are already back. “How do you walk in this without all the sand getting in your sandals?”

“I’ve had thousands of years to learn to walk the sands of my Egypt. You will learn.”

“Not me,” I mutter. “I’m not staying around for thousands of years. On the other hand, if we don’t hurry, I might find the desert more welcoming than my parents.”

About the Author

I love the Ancient and Medieval Worlds! As a retired English teacher, I hope to inspire young readers to read more through my Quest Books. Please follow me on this adventure.

Also please visit my other sites: Carpinello’s Writing Pages where I interview childrens/MG/Tween/YA authors; my home website Beyond Today Educator, and The Quest Books where I’ve teamed up with Fiona Ingram from South Africa and Wendy Leighton-Porter of England/France/Abu Dhabi to enable readers to find all of our Ancient and Medieval quest books in one place.

Blog * Facebook * Twitter * GoodReads * Amazon Author Page * Google

Other Books by Cheryl Carpinello

Guinevere: On the Eve of LegendAmazon

Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom – MuseItUp Publishing book page

Tutankhamen SpeaksAmazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in excerpt, Historical, mystery, Spotlight, Thriller on January 30, 2015

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The Blood of the Fifth Knight

Title: The Blood of the Fifth Knight
Author: E.M. Powell
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Pages: 355
Genre: Historical Mystery/Thriller
Format: Paperback/Kindle/Audiobook

Synopsis

England, 1176. King Henry II has imprisoned his rebellious Queen for her failed attempt to overthrow him. But with her conspirators still at large and a failed assassination attempt on his beautiful mistress, Rosamund Clifford, the King must take action to preserve his reign.

Desperate, Henry turns to the only man he trusts: a man whose skills have saved him once before. Sir Benedict Palmer answers the call, mistakenly believing that his family will remain safe while he attends to his King.

As Palmer races to secure his King’s throne, neither man senses the hand of a brilliant schemer, a mystery figure loyal to Henry’s traitorous Queen who will stop at nothing to see the King defeated.

The Blood of the Fifth Knight is an intricate medieval murder mystery and worthy sequel to E.M. Powell’s acclaimed historical thriller The Fifth Knight.

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AMAZON U.S./AMAZON U.K.

Excerpt

Palmer ran across the deserted courtyard, headed for the silent bell that hung high in its centre. The sharp smell of smoke cut the damp night air.

‘Fire! Awake!’ His shouts echoed into the silence as he undid the neatly coiled stout rope and twisted this way, that, looking for any sign that folk in the many buildings had heard. He pulled down hard, and the big bell swung above him in the first peal. ‘Fire!’ He shouted again, tugged hard on the rope to make as much and as loud a clamour as he could.

Lights flickered at windows—one, two, then several at once. People were stirring, throwing shutters open.

Palmer pulled hard and fast on the rope, his shouts drowned out by the bell’s loud call.

He tipped his head back to check the tower. The glow had brightened in the windows. A lick of flame shot from one and dropped back. The fire was gaining in strength. He dropped his gaze to the main door of the tower. Firmly closed. No sign of Rosamund, no sign of anyone fleeing from within.

Over the clangs of the bell, he heard faint shouts from the main part of the palace. But still no stir from the tower. He flung the rope from his hand, the bell’s work done in waking folk up.

Palmer ran to the tower’s door and turned the large metal handle. Unlocked. Good for him to get in. But bad that no one had come out. Rosamund was up there, and Geoffrey had said he’d posted guards. Nothing could be holding anyone back except the flames. He wrenched the door open. Inside, smoke hazed the air. A wooden spiral staircase led upwards from the narrow vestibule.

Cupping his hands to his mouth, he shouted upwards. ‘Wake up! Wake up! The tower’s afire!’

Nothing from above.

He filled his lungs for another shout and drew in smoke. He coughed it out and shouted again. ‘Awake!’

Still nothing.

Palmer looked back out to the courtyard. The bell hung silent now. Should he ring it more, push the urgency?

A few sparks drifted down in the darkness, the start of a lethal blizzard.

Faith, Rosamund was only a girl. She could be cowering where she thought she was safe, not realizing that smoke brought death as sure as the flames. He had to go up.

Palmer climbed the curving wooden staircase, two, three steps at a time.

‘Guards, stir yourselves!’ The smoke thickened, stung his eyes and nose as well as his throat. And still no response.

He climbed on, breath fast and deep with his exertion as his lungs pulled in dirty air. His spittle thickened, along with water streaming from his eyes. He knuckled at them, trying to clear them. Each step up became harder, his legs weighing more as he raised them again and again.

Finally: a landing. Though he could scarce see through the hot, stinging fug, he could make out a smaller staircase at the other end. He must be close now. Stumbling the few steps across it, his foot caught on a large object. He bent low and his fingers found the metal of chainmail. One of the guards, face down on the floor.

‘Stir yourself!’ A storm of coughing broke with the effort of his words. He shook the man hard but there came no reply, no movement.

Palmer peered around.

Another form lay close by. Surely not? He moved to it, keeping low, heartsick at what he might find. A large body. More chainmail. Another guard, this man as unmoving as the other.

The smoke must have felled them suddenly. Too suddenly. But even if they yet lived, he couldn’t save them. They were too far gone. His own chest tightened worse than ever. And he still hadn’t found Rosamund.

Searching the nearby floor with careful quick hands, his fingers closed on what he sought. The handle of a sword.

As he went to carry on, he heard a shrill scream from above.

‘Rosamund!’ He shot to his feet into thick smoke and bad air. Doubling over, he retched his stomach empty of sour bile. ‘Rosamund!’ He ran low and swift to the next staircase and looked up.

A worse challenge than the smoke. Fuelled by air from narrow windows, flames ate at it, the heat pulsing at his face and head.

‘Help me! For the love of God!’

Rosamund. Her screams held pure terror.

Palmer ducked, his forearm across his face. He charged up the burning stairs, fire stinging his flesh and singeing his hair in a hissing stench. He stumbled from the top step onto a small corridor, a closed door facing him. He flung himself at the handle, sleeve pulled over his hand to grasp the hot metal. It wouldn’t budge.

‘It’s me, Benedict!’ His voice came hoarse. ‘Open the door!’

‘I can’t, I can’t! It’s locked!’

Palmer swore. The guards must have the keys. But he couldn’t waste time fighting his way back down. ‘Stand back from the door, Rosamund. Stand well back’. He raised the sword high and hit it against the door.

The wood gave.

Coughing hard, he swung again. This time, he broke through. Raising a boot, he kicked three, four times. Then he was in.

‘Benedict’. Rosamund cowered beneath the window, wearing only her shift, her eyes streaming from terror and smoke. ‘You came for me’. She choked into rasping coughs and sobs.

Palmer strode into the room and grabbed her by the arm. ‘We need to get out of here. We have little time’.

‘Back through there?’ Her eyes widened in horror as she stared past him at the burning staircase.

‘Yes’. He yanked a small, heavy wool tapestry from the wall. ‘Cover your head with this. Hair catches the worst’.

She followed his order but still didn’t move. ‘I don’t think I can’.

‘You can’. He flung an arm across her shoulders and hauled her from the room towards the top of the stairs.

The flames leapt fiercer, higher then when he’d ran through just minutes before. He hesitated for a moment.

The burning wood gave a loud creak, followed by sharp, loud cracks. Then the staircase collapsed in a cascade of burning wood, throwing out sparks and a wave of intense, new heat.

There was no way out now.

 

About the Author

E.M. PowellE.M. Powell is the author of medieval thriller The Fifth Knight, which was a #1 Amazon Bestseller. Born and raised in the Republic of Ireland into the family of Michael Collins (the legendary revolutionary and founder of the Irish Free State), she now lives in the northwest of England with her husband and daughter and a Facebook-friendly dog. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society (HNS), International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America, as well as a reviewer of fiction and nonfiction for the HNS.

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THE SEVENTH

S.D. Wasley

YA Paranormal Romance. Suspense
Released Jan. 23rd / Evernight Teen / 69.5k

~Editor’s Pick~

Synopsis

Sixteen year old Mimi Alston has company. No less than three ghosts follow her around, and only she can see them. At her last school, she was known as the girl with imaginary friends. Now Mimi’s starting fresh in a new town, where she’s determined to make some real friends and fit in for once. She’s ready for a normal life…except Mimi never counted on her fascination with troubled goth-boy, Drew.

When she’s invited to join the elite Gifted Program, Mimi discovers she’s not the only one at the school with an unusual talent. Maybe being normal isn’t even an option anymore.

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Evernight Teen     Amazon     Smashwords     ARe

Excerpt

My final class was English. Drew was there. He looked terrible, like something had broken him. I couldn’t help but stare and he looked back into my face with those green eyes. I thought about my face smiling and sparkling in the mirror and realised I was actually conscious of how I looked when it came to Drew. That wasn’t like me. Did he have some kind of compulsion towards me, like Gabe had said? Maybe I just had a compulsion towards him.

There was only one seat left, possibly because I had been examining myself in the mirror for too long at break. It was next to Drew. I took the seat with a mixture of delight and dread. He stared at his notebook when he saw me coming his way. Our lesson was on characterisation, and the teacher was explaining archetypes, protagonists and antagonists. I found it hard to concentrate but then suddenly it was time for partner discussions. We were supposed to decide which roles the different types of characters fulfilled in our assigned novel.

I looked at Drew. He was staring down at his file and drawing another of his black ink vortexes on a blank sheet of paper.

“So, err, are we going talk about protagonists?” I asked.

“Are you serious?” he replied without looking up.

I was relieved. “Cool. I didn’t really want to either. But it would look weird to Mr Cambridge if we didn’t talk at all.”

Drew scribbled more furiously. I waited. Eventually the pen stopped and he looked into my face. My heart just about stopped. My mouth went dry.

“What is with you?” he hissed angrily.

I shrank away. So much for a compulsion, Gabe, I thought bitterly, turning my face away as tears threatened to flood my eyes. More like revulsion. I flicked through my textbook blindly, hoping the teacher would figure I was trying to work out his characterisation problem.

But after a few more moments Drew spoke again, his voice devoid of anger and bitterness.

“Sorry, Mimi,” he said. “Just … sorry.”

Ugh, the tear spilled onto my cheek. Lame. I pretended to brush my hair back and swiped past my cheek, removing all evidence.

“What’s your problem?” I said coolly, still flicking through my book.

“You shouldn’t let yourself get sucked in by them,” he said, his voice low and so desperate that I turned back to look into his eyes again, forgetting the fear of showing my tears. “It’s bullshit … all bullshit. None of this gift crap is real. She’s encouraging our delusions.”

Now I got angry. “Screw you,” I said, my voice shaking with the effort to stay quiet. “Do you know how long I’ve believed I am insane? I just found out I’m not and you know what? I’m glad. It’s not fun to think you’re nuts. You can wallow in it all you like, but I just got released from the psycho ward and I can’t wait to get my life back.”

Drew dropped all pretence of being tough, or cool or whatever. He stared at me with his mouth open. I glared for a few moments and then looked away. It was hard to keep gazing angrily at his face without being distracted by the extraordinary beauty there. Even the thick white makeup and black painted lips couldn’t hide it.

“You don’t know anything about it,” he said in my ear after a pause. “You just wait.”

It sounded like a threat. I raised my hand and excused myself. I went straight to my dorm room after making a brief appearance in the nurse’s office to claim a migraine. She took my temperature and peered at me for a moment, but seemed to believe me and told me to go lie down.

I lay on my bed, my mind buzzing. I tried not to think about Drew because I felt bad whenever my mind went there. I had been completely honest with him––I wasn’t crazy, and I was celebrating. I could hardly wait until the next time I could sit in that roomful of gifted kids and find out more. I was okay. I had a gift. These three ghosts who silently joined me as I lay on my bed, one on my swivel chair and two sitting on my floor, were ghosts … not figments of a psychotic imagination. For me, no matter what Drew thought, that could only be good news.

Character Interview

Drew … before Mimi arrived

Drew Ellery has lived in Etherall Valley all his life. He has an older sister who attends college interstate and he lives with his mother and stepfather. Drew attended a private Catholic school for his elementary and middle school years but won a County-wide essay writing contest at fourteen and was invited to attend the elite private high school, Etherall Valley Prep, on part scholarship. His parents were delighted and jumped at the opportunity.

He has dark brown hair and green eyes. He has always loved swimming and, although he rejected formal lessons and training squad as he got older, he still swims laps every afternoon in the family’s backyard pool. As a result, he is tanned, fit and healthy. However, soon after he started at Etherall Valley prep, Drew adopted the Goth look. He now covers his face with white makeup, paints his lips black and uses thick black liner around his eyes. His hair is a gelled into wet-look blackness and styled into spikes on his head. He wears heavy studded collars and long-sleeved, black deathmetal band t-shirts with dark jeans.

Dismayed with the change in him, but understanding this was just what teens did (they could still remember their daughter’s hippy phase), his parents reluctantly accepted Drew’s new look. The school’s focus on individuality and fostering unique talents mean that Drew’s Goth look is quite okay at this new school, where he has been placed in the gifted program.

Although Drew hasn’t been openly rejected by the other kids at EVP, he avoids most of them and shies away from forming close friendships. When one or two other kids experimented with Goth looks and tried to connect with Drew over the years, he refused to be drawn in. His only friendship seems to be with the gentle, quiet Patience Rose, who hails from the conservative Dale’s Run farming community. This odd friendship is as confusing for Drew’s teachers as it is for their schoolmates.

Although his grades are good and his English marks are excellent, Drew’s attitude is typically sullen and taciturn. His one joy is books, and his hobby is scouring secondhand book stores to add to his old editions collection.

Mimi’s about to enter Drew’s world and blow his prickly exterior wide open…

 

About the Author

SDWasley3smS.D. Wasley was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia.

She has been composing literary works since before she could write – at five years of age she announced her first poem in the kitchen, improv-style. Today, she lives in the Swan Valley wine region with her two daughters, surrounded by dogs, cats and chickens.

The Seventh is S.D. Wasley’s debut novel.

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Giveaway

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Posted in excerpt, Historical, nonfiction, Spotlight on January 27, 2015

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Synopsis

“Dark Sun, Bright Moon describes people isolated in the Andes, without the least notion of outsiders. They evolve an understanding of the universe that is complementary to our own but a great deal wider. The book explores events of a thousand years ago, events which fit with what we know of the region’s history,” says Sparrow.

In the Andes of a thousand years ago, the Huari empire is sick. Its communities are being eaten from within by a plague, a contagion that is not of the body but of something far deeper, a plague that has taken their collective spirit. Rooting out this parasite is a task that is laid upon Q’ilyasisa, a young woman from an obscure little village on the forgotten borders of the Huari empire.

This impossible mission is imposed on her by a vast mind, a sentience that has ambitions to shape all human life. Her response to this entails confrontations on sacrificial pyramids, long journeys through the Amazonian jungle and the establishment of not just one but two new empires. Her legacy shapes future Andean civilization for the next four hundred years, until the arrival of the Spanish.

Dark Sun, Bright Moon takes the reader on a fascinating adventure that includes human sacrifice, communities eaten from within, a vast mind blazing under the mud of Lake Titicaca, and the rise and fall of empires cruel and kind.

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Dark Sun, Bright Moon, by Oliver Sparrow, was published in July 2014 and is available for sale on Amazon in both paperback and ebook.

Excerpt

Chapter 1: A Small Sacrifice at Pachacamac

A priest knelt before her, a feather from his head-dress tickling her face. His musky odour of old incense and stale blood was rank, even here on the windy summit of the pyramid. Four other priests held her body tipped slightly forwards, and the pressure that this put on her tired old joints hurt far more than the fine, cold bite of the knife at her neck. Quick blood ran thick down her chin and splashed into the waiting bowl. Then the flow weakened, the strength went out of her and she died, content.

Seven elderly pilgrims had set out for Pachacamac, following their familiar river down to the coast and then trudging North through the desert sands. Two of the very oldest of them needed to be carried in litters, but most were able to walk with no more than a stick to help them in the sand. Lesser members of the community had been delegated to carry what was necessary. These would return home. The elderly would not.

The better-regarded families of the town were expected to die as was proper, sacrificed at the Pachacamac shrine for the betterment of the community. Such was to be their last contribution of ayni, of the reciprocity that assured communal harmony and health. It was also their guarantee of a smooth return to the community’s soul, to the deep, impersonal structure from which they had sprung at birth.

The Pachacamac complex appeared to them quite suddenly from amongst the coastal dunes. They paused to marvel at its mountain range of pyramids, its teeming myriad of ancient and holy shrines.

Over the millennia, one particular pyramid had come to process all of the pilgrims who came from their valley. They were duly welcomed, and guards resplendent in bronze and shining leather took them safely to its precinct.

They had been expected. The priests were kind, welcoming them with food and drink, helping the infirm, leading them all by easy stages up to the second-but-last tier in their great, ancient pyramid. The full extent of the meandering ancient shrine unveiled itself like a revelation as they climbed. Then, as whatever had been mixed with their meal took its effect, they were wrapped up snug in blankets and set to doze in the late evening sun, propped together against the warm, rough walls of the mud-brick pyramid. Their dreams were vivid, extraordinary, full of weight and meaning.

The group was woken before dawn, all of them muzzily happy, shriven of all their past cares, benignly numb. Reassuring priests helped them gently up the stairs to the very top tier. In the predawn light, the stepped pyramids of Pachacamac stood sacred and aloof in an ocean of mist.

Each pilgrim approached their death with confidence. A quick little discomfort would take them back to the very heart of the community from which they had been born. They had been separated from it by the act of birth, each sudden individual scattered about like little seed potatoes. Now, ripe and fruitful, they were about to return home, safely gathered back into the community store. It was to be a completion, a circle fully joined. Hundreds of conch horns brayed out across Pachacamac as the dawn sun glittered over the distant mountains. Seven elderly lives drained silently away as the mist below turned pink.

 

About the Author

Oliver SparrowOliver Sparrow was born in the Bahamas, raised in Africa and educated at Oxford to post-doctorate level, as a biologist with a strong line in computer science. He spent the majority of his working life with Shell, the oil company, which took him into the Peruvian jungle for the first time. He was a director at the Royal Institute for International Affairs, Chatham House for five years. He has started numerous companies, one of them in Peru, which mines for gold. This organisation funded a program of photographing the more accessible parts of Peru, and the results can be seen at http://www.all-peru.info. Oliver knows modern Peru very well, and has visited all of the physical sites that are described in his book Dark Sun, Bright Moon.

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Posted in Book Blast, excerpt, Giveaway, romance, Spotlight, women on January 27, 2015

Rough Edges

Rough Edges by Kimberly Krey

Divorced mother, Allie Emerson, never imagined she’d be raising two teenage girls on her own. Between parenting and paying the bills, she hasn’t even thought about meeting a man. That changes once she hears local carpenter, Braden Fox, is in need of a secretary. Back in high school, Allie had done all she could to deny the sparks burning between her and Braden; perhaps now they could explore the possibilities.

Braden has heard all about what Terrance did to Allie and the girls, has been planning to stop by and see how she’s getting along, but Allie beats him to it by showing up at his shop in search of a job. Her single visit reignites the old flame Braden used to torch for her; trouble is, old feelings of resentment return as well. Allie did choose Terrance over him, after all. And as much as Braden wants Allie in his life, he’s not sure he can open his heart again.

With this second chance at romance, will the bumps in their relationship be too much to get over, or will this carpenter learn to smooth out the past?

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Praise for Rough Edges

“Kimberly Krey never fails to truly amaze and captivate my heart … She has done it yet again with this heart stopping journey of a second chance at a once in a lifetime love.” ~Amber @ Wonderings of One Person

“An utterly charming romance!” ~Jamie Brook Thompson

Excerpt

Their eyes met once more, and a shot of heat flooded his chest like a liquid bolt of lightening, forcing his pulse to rush. “I’ve missed you,” he blurted.
Her eyes widened in response, and Braden wondered if he’d been too bold. He’d hardly meant to speak it. It’d been more of a thought. A longing, really.
At last she nodded. “Yeah,” she said, her voice soft and low. “I … I’ve been wondering about you too. How you’ve been over the years. I kept asking Terrance who you were dating. If you were close to marrying anyone…” Her words drifted off for a breath, but then she spoke up again. “You admitted that you’d turned down our offers to come to dinner and catch up.” She studied him for a moment, a challenge presented in her gaze. “All those years. Why didn’t you just come?”
“You know why.” He’d nearly spoken over her, but he couldn’t help it.
“No, Braden, I don’t.”
He nodded adamantly, taking a step back and folding his arms. “Think about it, Allie.” …
“I have thought about it –”
“Not nearly enough, apparently,” he snapped.
“I’ve thought about it all these years. It hurt my feelings. I thought we were friends.”
… Braden bit back his words and broke into a pace.
“Braden,” she said, “I wanted you to stay a part of our lives. You were the best influence Terrance had and you just stopped being his friend? Why would you do that?”
Braden froze in place. “I was a better friend to him than you’ll ever know.” Or possibly the worst, he realized. He strode back, his gaze set on her. “And I didn’t want to be your friend, Allie. I wanted more than that and you know it.”
Her face fell flat. Her lips parted. But no words came. She cleared her throat, casting her eyes to the floor.
“Yeah,” he said. “Don’t pretend that you don’t know. I made it clear. And as soon as I did you started setting me up with every friend you had. Including Kayla.”
“That’s not…” Her face flushed red. Her lips tightened. “That’s not how it went, Braden.” The silence that followed was painful. The tension wedged in each passing second pressed at Braden’s last nerve.
“Well,” he said, “this has been a nice trip down memory lane, but if you don’t mind I’ve got to get back to work. Come on out when you’re ready.” He turned away from her in one quick jerk and walked out of the kitchen, one long stride after the next.

 

Kimberly Krey

About the Author

Writing Romance That’s Clean Without Losing the Steam!
I’m a reader of good, clean romance, a lover of family time and Diet Coke, and the ultimate hater of laundry.
I’m not patient enough to enjoy yoga, or tall enough to be great at basketball, but I do love to run – anywhere but on a treadmill. I love the sound of a rainstorm when I have no place to go, the feel of Soft Lips chap Stick on my lips, and the first peek of blue water as we round the mountains toward our favorite getaway in Bear Lake.

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$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 2/18/15

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, paranormal, Young Adult on January 26, 2015

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52 LIKES

by Medeia Sharif

YA Paranormal/Evernight Teen/@ 47K
*Editor’s Pick*

Synopsis

After a brutal rape and near-murder, Valerie wants to get past feelings of victimhood from both the assault and her history of being bullied. Not knowing the identity of her masked rapist and dealing with the nasty rumors about that night are two things that plague her daily. 

Valerie will have to follow ghostly entities, past victims of the rapist-murderer, contacting her through a social media site. Why do all of their eerie photos have 52 likes under them? Their messages are leading her to the mystery man, although he’ll put up a fight to remain hidden.

14+ due to adult situations

Evernight Teen / Amazon / Omni Lit / BookStrand

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Excerpt

With the girls closest to me, I see their Picomatic profile page, which is a reminder that I have a direct message on there. “Did you DM me on Picomatic?” I whisper to Cookie.

She shakes her head, briefly looking up from her notebook. I should be writing too, but can’t concentrate on the five questions Ms. Garland wrote on the board. She’s seated behind her desk as a student approaches her to ask a question. The student is blocking her face, so she can’t see me at all. During times like these, when teachers are busy, I whip out my phone.

I slide my phone out of my pocket and into my lap. It used to be a wonderful distraction that entertained me during boring lectures and educational videos. Seeing others on Picomatic, I’m now dying to know what the DM is about. Even if it’s an inappropriate or harassing one, I need to see it. If it upsets me, I’ll report it as spam. If it’s extremely bad, pertaining to that night, I have to tell someone, even though last year the school didn’t do much in the way of protecting me from the trio, which was the quartet back then since Hector would play their vicious games.

I open my Picomatic page. Selfies abound, some from a few seconds ago. Most pictures are from P.E. or some other class where teachers don’t supervise as much. Some people are taking pictures of work that has been graded, bragging about A’s or criticizing teachers who gave them F’s. I tap the corner, where the direct messages are. If it’s a graphic with THOT or some other message on it, I need to know that’s not who I am. I never was. Be brave, I urge myself.

There’s a DM from someone named 2beautiful. I can’t recall any friends who use that handle. Where the profile pic should be, there’s a close-up of an eye. The eye is lined, with heavy mascara and purple and blue eye shadow. It’s an attractive picture, although eye pics can be deceiving. Sometimes the rest of the person isn’t as pretty. I don’t recognize this eye, although anyone’s eye can be transformed like this with the right makeup.

I scroll down to see the picture message she sent me. I frown, unsure of what this is, who this is. It’s almost pornographic, but not really since it’s just a sliver of skin, although there’s a hint of the girl’s V between her legs.

The picture is of a slender, yet curvaceous naked hip. The bone protrudes slightly and I can tell the girl is pear-shaped. I’m also pear-shaped, which is especially noticeable around Christmas time when I gain five pounds from eating too much during winter break.

This photo of a girl’s hip has 52 likes. I gasp. Is it a photo of me? Did someone take a picture of me at home or in the shower? Then I think back to the rape, of the flashes of light…I thought it was lightning, but I could be wrong. He had pulled me down to the floor and knocked me around. The room was dark. Maybe I didn’t notice every single thing he had done to me. Had the rapist photographed me?

 

About the Author

I’m a Kurdish-American author who was born in New York City, and I presently call Miami my home. I received my master’s degree in psychology from Florida Atlantic University. After becoming a voracious reader in high school and a relentless writer dabbling in many genres in college, I found my niche writing for young people. Today I’m a MG and YA writer published through various presses. In addition to being a writer, I’m a middle school English teacher. My memberships include MensaALAN, and SCBWI.

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