Clean Teen Publishing Giveaway: The Viking’s Chosen by Quinn Loftis

 

Clean Teen Publishing is giving away 3 print advance reader copies of THE VIKING’S CHOSEN by Quinn Loftis!

His orders are clear: launch a raid against England and bring home the spoils of war. But the prophecy is also clear: General Torben will take a foreign bride—one who is a seer and healer just like his mother. The eldest princess of England is said to be just that…a beautiful, charming, and headstrong woman. But he’s a Viking army general and she’s an English princess—and one who is already promised to the king of Tara.

Two worlds collide in this epic historical fiction centered on an undeniable chemistry that smolders against the odds. Richly written and injected with moments of humor, this action-packed romantic tale will leave you breathless.

Quinn Loftis is the author of twenty novels, including the USA Today Bestseller Fate and Fury.

Enter via Rafflecopter.

Advertisements

Hope by Grier Cooper (Giveaway)

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00002]

Indigo is living the life she’s always imagined at the famed New York School of Ballet. Or is she? Although she hopes she’ll be chosen for the company, her ballet teachers aren’t talking and their silence is confusing.

When Indigo is singled out for a coveted solo she feels her dreams are finally within reach, until she finds out she’s dancing with Felipe Gonzalez, the school’s smolderingly hot rising star. In the days that follow, Indigo questions everything she thought was true and finds herself making surprising choices.

After a fateful piece of paper reveals the truth, Indigo must ask herself the hardest question of all: can she take control of her own future to create the life she wants?

Excerpt:

Someone grabs my elbow firmly and I turn to find the new guy leading me to get a spot in line. I scowl at him and then at my elbow. “Um…hi? That’s my elbow.”

“You do not wish to dance?” he says, eyes wide. His accent is silvery, melodic. Also hot.

“Um, no–I mean yes–I mean, you’re grabbing my elbow a little too tightly.”

He drops it like he’s been scalded, holding up both palms in defense. A stray lock of brown hair curls along his temple. “My apologies. Sometimes I forget myself.”

I look at him as I try to appraise whether or not he’s making fun of me, but his face is unreadable. Also I can’t look at it for long or I might get hypnotized. “Riiight,” I say.

We wait in silence, watching the other dancers ahead of us. When we reach the front of the line I see our two reflections–dark and light–in the mirrors that run along the entire front wall of the studio and decide they are complementary. At least it’s nice to have a tall partner for a change; my opportunity to dance with someone my size is limited because I dwarf several of the other boys in the room.

I start to move and feel his hands firmly on my hips. His breath warms the back of my neck and I feel myself flush. Normally I’d take a glimpse in the mirror to make sure my alignment is perfect, but I don’t dare. For reasons I don’t want to admit to myself, I feel nervous and jittery. We face each other and he offers his hand as I come into arabesque. He starts the slow promenade and I chance a quick glimpse at his face. He smiles and I catch my breath. I switch my gaze over to his shoulder and notice that my palm is slick with sweat. I’m so embarrassed I feel heat in the tips of my ears. I pray my face isn’t bright red.

He slides a hand around my waist for the dip and I close my eyes. “Relax,” he says into my ear. “I’ve got you.”

Guest post: You Never Forget Your First Love by Grier Cooper

New York City has long been associated with glamour and all of the perks that come with a big city lifestyle; it’s also one of the most major hubs in the world for the arts, which means anyone who’s serious about a dance career knows they need to be there. I came to New York City when I was fourteen, leaving my home, my family and my friends behind after I received an invitation to become a full-time student at the School of American Ballet. I’d already spent the past two summers commuting into the city everyday to attend the Summer Intensive at the School of American Ballet, but it was thrilling to take the next step with my ballet career and move to New York. For the next four years, I lived and breathed ballet in the Big City, with all of its perks and challenges.

I had a lot to figure out at first, like how the city was laid out (did Madison come after Park Avenue, or was it the other way around?) and which bus went where. I had to find a way to squeeze school into my busy ballet schedule (I spent a lot of time running back and forth multiple times per day across the half-mile between school and ballet) and finding a place to live that was both convenient and affordable was even more challenging (think lots and lots of roommates). But eventually I fine-tuned all the details and my life existed in a one-mile radius on the Upper West Side, with Lincoln Center and the School of American Ballet at the heart of it all.

Those years in New York were an incredible time of growth for me, both as a dancer and as a human being, a pivotal period that shaped so much of who I am today. There were fun discoveries, like finding the best breakfast spots (especially the delicious super-sized muffins at the deli two blocks from my apartment), trying coffee for the first time (hated it), and exploring the city with friends during rare free moments. Mostly, there was a lot of work, both in ballet class and the rest of my waking hours (school, Pilates strengthening classes, homework, sewing pointe shoes…). Most of all, it was a glorious inspiration to walk past Lincoln Center most days and dream about dancing with New York City Ballet some day. Occasionally I got to attend performances of New York City Ballet when I worked at the gala events. Those evenings, everything in life felt magical. Wealthy patrons shimmered in exquisite gowns, the top dancers of New York City glittered like the stars they were, and the Lincoln Center fountain sprayed liquid diamonds all night long.

When I started writing the Indigo Ballet Series, I knew these were things I wanted to share with readers. Even though it’s been many years since I experienced that part of my life, most of it lives on in my memory in crystal-clear detail. There were a few things I needed to clarify, however, so while I was in New York City a few years ago I took the time to revisit the Upper West Side and see the places where I spent my teens. I walked the halls of the School of American Ballet (now in a completely different building than it was in my day), photographed my old apartment buildings and other landmarks I remembered and walked around Lincoln Center. The area is a little glitzier than it used to be, but a lot of it remains the same.

They say you never forget your first love. I suppose that’s why New York lives on in my heart.

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00LPUJWSK

Barnes and Noble: www.barnesandnoble.com/c/grier-cooper

Grier began ballet lessons at age five and left home at fourteen to study at the School of American Ballet in New York. She has performed on three out of sevenHope Author IndigoDreams continents with companies such as San Francisco Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, totaling more than thirty years of experience as a dancer, teacher and performer.

She writes and blogs about dance in the San Francisco Bay Area and has interviewed and photographed a diverse collection dancers and performers including Clive Owen, Nicole Kidman, Glen Allen Sims and Jessica Sutta. She is the author of the Indigo Dreams ballet fiction series for young adults and The Daily Book of Photography.

website: http://www.griercooper.com

 

Twitter: http://twitter.com/griercooper

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/griercooper

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/grier-cooper/1a/63/357/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/griercooper/

Grier Cooper will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn host.

Enter to win a $20 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

HopeIndigoDreams_Banner

Cursed by Christina Bauer (Giveaway)

Cursed (1)Most days, Elea couldn’t care less about having Necromancer magick. Who needs to conjure skeletons and sprits when you’re a farm girl? Elea only uses her powers to speed up chores and scare off suitors.

Everything changes when the evil Necromancer Tsar curses Elea. Now, she only has five years left before she burns as a ghost, tortured for all eternity. They say there’s nothing she can do, but Elea disagrees. She decides to embrace her Necromancer powers, train as a magickal assassin, and kill the Tsar… All before his curse kills her. Impossible as it may sound, Elea thinks she has it in the bag, but then everything goes horribly wrong.

That’s when a handsome mage named Rowan steps up to help. Elea wants an ally, but she doesn’t need all the mixed-up feelings that come along with Rowan’s crooked smile.

An assassination mission is no time to fall in love, but Elea’s heart may have other ideas…

 

Excerpt:

Once I curled into my tiny bed, I expected my dreams to be about Tristan. After all, I’d said his name before I fell asleep. Normally, he and I would meet in my old farmhouse. Instead, I dreamt that I sprouted wings and flew into the starry sky. Wind flowed over my body, and I hummed with pleasure as the cool air caressed me. A vast and empty desert rolled below, a vista of golden sand that was patterned in delicate ripples.

All of which was very strange.

Usually, if my dreams didn’t take me to Tristan, then they’d send me wandering aimlessly through the Zelle, worrying myself sick over some nonsense question like ‘why did I show up nude to breakfast?’ But tonight, I might as well have a rope about me, the pull across the desert was so strong. There would be no meandering this time, and my nonsense worries were gone as well. I only had a real concern for my friend.

Why wasn’t I with Tristan right now? Was our bond broken?

My wings kept driving me toward a lone figure crouched before a fire. As I flew in closer, I saw that it was a man dressed in Caster leathers. He was well over six feet tall with brown hair and broad shoulders. I wanted to touch the ropes of muscle that wound down his arms.

Wait a minute. Where did that thought come from?

Only Necromancers who’d renounced the cloth had the desire for a mate and children. Grand Mistresses weren’t supposed to be attracted to the opposite sex at all. I certainly never had been before, even before I joined the Zelle.

This man was dangerous. I wanted to fly away from him, but my wings only brought me nearer. Firelight cast deep shadows over the man’s rugged face, highlighting his square jawline, light beard, and bright green eyes. He stared into the fire, repeating the words of an incantation.

“I call upon you,” he said. The rest of his spell was lost on the wind. A haze of red mist swirled about the ground, the unmistakable sign of a Creation Caster spell. One word carried above the noise. “Viktor.”

I gasped. What would this Caster want with our Tsar? The man glanced up, his green eyes looking straight at me.

No, through me.

The man spoke the last words of his incantation—“so mote it be”—and lowered his head once more. The red mist of his spell disappeared.

 

The book is available NOW for pre-order!

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Cursed-Beholder-Book-Christina-Bauer-ebook/dp/B013CKZBPS/

B&N:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cursed-christina-bauer/1122457783 

Kobo:

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/cursed-76

Also available on iBooksCursed author

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. An avowed girl geek, Christina loves creating immersive fantasy worlds with action, adventure, romance, and kick-ass female protagonists. As part of her work in Ink Monster, Christina has co-developed the ‘Heroine’s Journey,’ a blueprint for telling female myths inspired by the work of Joseph Campbell. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and golden retriever Ruby.

LINKS:

Author Blog : http://inkmonster.net/blog/category/christina

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/authorBauer

Twitter : https://twitter.com/CB_Bauer or @CB_Bauer

Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/christina_cb_bauer/  or

Screen name : christina_cb_bauer

Goodreads : http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/546812.Christina_Bauer

Publishing Website : http://inkmonster.net

Publishing Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/inkmonster.net

Publishing Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/inkmonsterbooks/

Or screen name : inkmonsterbooks

Christina’s Amazon Pagehttp://www.amazon.com/Christina-Bauer/e/B002BMCI28/

 

Christina Bauer will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

 

Enter to win a $10 Amazon GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Cursed_Banner copy

My Favorite Christmas Children’s Books (Giveaway)

Little Shepherd

Obed is in the hills outside Bethlehem when the angels appear to announce the Savior’s birth. Can he trust that the miracle of the first Christmas will keep his flock safe while he visits the newborn King?

Purchase your copy from:

Guardian Angel Publishing
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Indiebound.org

Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rA2KStzoCPo

Cheryl’s Favorite Christmas Children’s Books

In case you didn’t realize it, I’m a big kid at Christmas. I honestly think I’m a bigger kid than my girls. I decorate almost every room in the house. I bake for the neighbors. I’m hoping to go Christmas caroling next month.  Oh, Christmas carols are an all year thing around this house. If it weren’t for the cats, I’m pretty sure I would leave the Christmas trees up all year round, too.

Seasonal books are another great way to get into the holiday spirit–not that mine is lacking, but it’s a good excuse to buy books. 🙂 Here are some of my favorite Christmas children’s books.

best_christmas_pageant_ever

When my son was a kid  (and that’s many years ago), he had to read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. It is the story of the Herdmans, who are not exactly the kind of kids you want yours emulating. They lie, cheat, and steal. There had never heard of Christmas before, but they end up getting involved in the Christmas pageant at church with some hilarious results.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss is a holiday staple. In the years it has been on TV, I’ve not missed it–the original animated version, not the movie version. If Dr. How_the_Grinch_Stole_Christmas_coverSeuss didn’t think readers needed to know the Grinch’s history of how he became so sour, then Ron Howard and his writers didn’t need to create one. I love the story of the green, miserly Grinch with the heart two sizes too small.

My son and I read this one together for years, then it was my girls’ turn. As a child, even more than A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, this book revealed to me there is evil in this world, or at least grumpy people who for one reason or another cut themselves off from the joy of Christmas. Perhaps that’s why the Grinch’s transformation is so thrilling to me. Just like Ebeneezer Scrooge, Christmas works its magic on the Grinch and he’s pulled into all the joy it can bring.

twasI sometimes wonder if Clement Clarke Moore had any idea that his poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas” would entertain generations of families for centuries. More commonly know-at least around here–as “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,’ this poem shares the story of a father who witnesses the jolly old elf visiting his house on Christmas Eve. It has been used to create magical story books featuring humans and animals alike as the characters of this story, in addition to several television movies.

One of my favorite written versions is the one Tiger Tales released in 2011 with Santa Mouse visiting the Mouse family, giving new meaning to “Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.”

The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder has long been a favorite of mine. Most of the books have at least one Christmas featured in them–if not all of them.

A LH Christmas

The publishers pulled out the Christmas stories from the set and featured them in two large hardcovers.

From Christmas in the Big Woods of Wisconsin to the day Mr. Edwards delivered presents so that Santa didn’t have to cross the creek, to the chapters of Christmas on Plum Creek where Laura received red mittens, the white china box, and the fur cape and muff off the tree at church, each story is just as special as when you first read it in the Little House books.

A LH Christmas Volume IIThe illustrations by Garth Williams have been colorized to make this book an extra special treat for Little House fans, and also includes the words and music to Merry, Merry Christmas! by Mrs. T.J. Cook.

While A Little House Christmas shares the Christmas stories of Laura’s early days, A Little House Christmas, Volume II travels east to Malone, New York to share the story of Christmas at the Wilder farm when Almanzo was a boy and the aunts and uncles and cousins were coming to dinner.  Then the book travels to the shores of Silver Lake, where Laura and her family are living in the surveyor’s house, and on to Christmas in De Smet, SD, where the blizzards seem like they will never end and the trains won’t run again until spring. And finally, we get to read the story of Almanzo’s surprise return visit on Christmas Eve in These Happy Golden Years.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the short return to my childhood. I hope you’ll share some of your Christmas favorites, too.

Cheryl Malandrinos

Cheryl Malandrinos is a children’s author and freelance editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd, released by Guardian Angel Publishing, and A Christmas Kindness, released by 4RV Publishing, under her pen name, C.C. Gevry. A digital version of A Christmas Kindness will be released in 2013.

Since 2007, Cheryl has been an online book publicist specializing in virtual book tours. She is a member of the SCBWI, a book reviewer, and blogger.

Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two children. She also has a son who is married. Visit her online at http://ccmalandrinos.com/ or http://ccgevry.com/.

Pump Up Your Book and Cheryl Malandrinos are giving you the chance to win a set of 2 Little Shepherd mugs.

Use the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to enter. Bloggers participating in this tour are eligible to enter and win.

Terms and Conditions:

  • Giveaway runs from 12:00 AM EST on 11/4/13 and concludes at 12:00 AM EST on 11/30/2013.
  • By entering you certify you are 18 years of age or older and reside in the United States or Canada.
  • Winner will be notified by email on 12/2/2013 and have 72 hours to respond with mailing address.
  • Prize will be shipped directly from the author to the winner via USPS.
  • Blogs participating in this book tour are not responsible for items lost or damaged in shipment.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also visit the Little Shepherd tour page to enter at http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2013/08/01/little-shepherd-virtual-book-tour-november-and-december-2011/

Little Shepherd Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Nov 4

Book spotlight at The Story of a Writer

Book review at Margo Dill’s Read These Books and Use Them!

Nov 5

Book review and interview at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Book trailer reveal at 4 the Love of Books

Nov 6

Guest post at I’m A Reader, Not A Writer

Nov 7

Guest post at This Little Book of Mine

Guest post and book review at Topsy Turvy Land

Nov 8

Interview at Between the Covers

Nov 11

Guest post at Marilyn’s Musings

Guest post at Authors and Appetizers

Nov 12

Book review at Janet Ann Collins On Words

Guest post at Bookingly Yours

Book review and giveaway at Mom Loves 2 Read

Nov 13

Book review at Maureen’s Musings

Nov 14

Guest post at The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection

Nov 15

Guest post at Paperback Writer

Book trailer reveal at Broken Teepee

Nov 18

Book review at Blooming with Books

Nov 19

Book review at Nancy Stewart Books

Radio interview at Stories from Unknown Authors at 1 PM.

Nov 20

Guest post at 4 the Love of Books

Book trailer reveal at Thoughts in Progress

Nov 21

Guest post at Literarily Speaking

Nov 22

Book review at Cheryl’s Book Nook

Nov 23

Book review at Freda’s Voice

Nov 26

Book trailer reveal at CelticLady’s Reviews

Nov 27

Book review at ASC Book Reviews (ASC Photos and Designs)

Guest post Tribute Books Reviews and Giveaways

Nov 29

Book spotlight at Cheryl’s Book Nook

Book spotlight at Rose & Beps Blog

Book spotlight at Frugal Canadian Coupon Mom

First Chapter Reveal: External Forces by Deborah Rix (Giveaway)

External Forces 7Treason, betrayal, and heartbreak.

A lot can happen to a girl between her first kiss and her first kill.

It’s 100 years since the Genetic Integrity Act was passed and America closed its borders to prevent genetic contamination. Now only the enemy, dysgenic Deviants, remain beyond the heavily guarded border. The Department of Evolution carefully guides the creation of each generation and deviations from the divine plan are not permitted.

When 16-year-old Jess begins to show signs of deviance she enlists in the Special Forces, with her best friend Jay, in a desperate bid to evade detection by the Devotees. Jess is good with data, not so good with a knife. So when the handsome and secretive Sergeant Matt Anderson selects her for his Black Ops squad, Jess is determined to figure out why.

As her deviance continues to change her, Jess is forced to decide who to trust with her deadly secret. Jess needs to know what’s really out there, in the Deviant wasteland over the border, if she has any hope of making it to her 17th birthday. Because if the enemy doesn’t kill her first, the Department of Evolution probably will.

Prologue:I haven’t slept in forty-eight hours.

It’s part of the Special Operations Assessment and Selection course, twenty-eight days of grueling work. The two days of no sleep are meant to disorient us, part of discarding our former selves. There are three hundred of us trying to figure out how to do what we’re told, when we’re told to, and how to do it correctly. Jay and I weren’t assigned to the same platoon, which was unexpected. I’m in the “civilian” platoon; we’re the ones with skills that don’t generally require brute force. I think Jay is in some kind of elite group because I haven’t seen him, I’ve only seen the G-men platoon. They are all about brute force; they’re the ones that opted for genetic enhancement at age thirteen without the supervision of the Devotees. But Special Forces is, well, special, so they have to prove they’ve got more than muscle and I’ve gotta prove I’ve got more than a quick mind.

If I don’t make it to Special Forces, my life expectancy in the regular army could be pretty short. And if I’m a complete washout, I’ll have to go to my assessment with the Devotees and they’ll find out about me, making my life expectancy even shorter. I seriously need to pass.

Zero dark thirty is when I have to haul myself out of bed in the so-called morning. My drill sergeant has been yelling at me for most of the past two days. The word “why” has been surgically removed from everyone’s vocabulary. Any individual hesitation in following orders means at least one private is getting smoked, if not the whole platoon, which usually means push-ups. We’ve done a lot of push-ups. I stare straight ahead as the drill sergeant walks by me and continues down the row of privates. I made the mistake of “eyeballing” him yesterday.

Never. Eyeball. A drill sergeant.

First Chapter:

Three weeks earlier – May, 2125

My mother thinks I’m a Deviant.

It’s the kind of thing that can really throw a girl for a loop.

The Devotees missed it when I was born, she said, but one day they would come for me. That was a few years ago, she didn’t know I was home when I overheard her; I got out of there lickety-split.

And it’s not as if I haven’t noticed the way my mother looks at me sometimes. If they had taken me when they had the chance, maybe her other baby would still be with her. I’m pretty sure that’s what goes through her head when she looks at me.

So the early assessment notice wasn’t entirely unexpected. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Lots of kids are called for early assessments and nothing happens; they show up at school the next day. Some of them are all excited because they got called to become a Devotee.

But some of them, well, they don’t come back.

I’m in the parking lot of my high school, West Liberty. It’s prom night, and I came with my best friend, Jay. He’s still inside; he likes this sort of thing. I haven’t told him the early assessment notice came this afternoon. I didn’t want to ruin tonight for him. The humidity has made my dress even more uncomfortable than it was inside. Jay owes me. At least he won’t mind if I go home; it’s not that kind of date.

A car door slams shut. There aren’t a lot of kids who can afford the fuel to drive their own car to the prom.

Uh-oh. Blake.

I take a step back. Blake is a popular kid, with the right look, the right home, the right pedigree.

Right.

Despite my attempts to blend in and stay in the background, Blake noticed me this year. When I didn’t respond like all the other girls do, I became his target.

His car keys jangle as he drops them in his jacket pocket. I stand still; maybe he hasn’t seen me.

“Hey, freak,” he calls as he comes around the blue pickup I was hoping would shield me. “Not leaving, are you?”

I smell alcohol as Blake backs me up against the truck.

His slicked-back hair smells slightly astringent, and his tongue slides over his upper lip as he looks me over from top to bottom. A shiver of revulsion goes through me. I can’t imagine what girls like about him. I can hear some voices, but they’re at the other end of the parking lot. It’s just me and Blake.

“I’ve got an early graduation present for you,” he says quietly. His face is close to mine, and I can see beads of perspiration on his forehead. Slick from the humidity, his hand glides down my bare shoulder, as if he’s entitled to touch me.

I don’t think I want a present from Blake.

I’m surprised when my hand moves. There is a wet sound as Blake’s head snaps back.

Blood spurts, and it seems as if time has gone into slow motion. The blood sprays toward me. I move my head to the side to avoid it, and watch it slowly drift by, suspended in the air.

I turn back to Blake and a thrill zips through me. Thick, glossy blood creeps down his chin from his mashed nose. His mouth is open in shock; blood colors his teeth and gums. He moves sluggishly, and each blink seems to take effort.

Drip by slow drip, the blood falls from his chin onto his shirt. Fascinated, I watch each droplet burst on his crisp white collar.

A wet plonk hits my forehead as a sudden coldness envelops me. The grin I’m shocked to find on my face sags. Fat droplets of rain release the pressure in the air and mix with the blood on Blake’s shiny shoes.

Hands to his face, he doubles over as time suddenly speeds up again. The rain pelts down now. I take two steps to the side and run. I hear a sob and realize it’s me.

What just happened?

It’s the morning after prom, and Jay saunters along beside me as we walk back to my house. I met him half way, as per my usual. His t-shirt is a bit wrinkled, but that’s on purpose, to go with jeans that are a little baggy in back. He’s over six feet and gets asked if he’s a model, which he laughs at, but I know he’s pleased. He could be quite popular if he wanted, but he hangs out with me instead.

Jay and me are Fifth Generation. We’re the ones born between 2100 and 2120. We found each other in the seventh grade. We were the last two kids left when we all paired up for gym class. He asked me why I wasn’t moving when we were supposed to be heading out to the field. I explained that I was trying to activate my special powers so that I could use them to transport me far away. Usually that kind of talk would send kids running, and they’d whisper that I must be a Deviant. But not Jay. He blinked at me, then asked if I would take him with me, should my special powers ever actually work. We’ve been best friends since, and tell each other pretty much everything.

“So, can you come to the thing?”

Uh oh.

I think I’m supposed to know what he’s talking about.

“Uh, when is it again?” I stall for time. What thing?

I push my hair behind my ears to help me think. It doesn’t always work. I have shoulder-length brown hair, parted on the side. My no-nonsense look is how I think of it. I still don’t know what the thing is.

“Wait. Jess. You’re joking, right?” Jay says with a laugh that’s on the edge of anger.

“I’m sorry.” I do my best pleading cringe. “I’m a little distracted.”

The early assessment and whatever that was with Blake last night are the distractions. I can’t quite believe I punched him, broke his nose by the look of it. He’s probably going to have two black eyes. But more than that punch, as surprising as it was, is the way time seemed to slow down around me. I want to say it was shock, or some kind of temporary fugue state, but that’s not what it was. Something happened.

“My mother’s thing, remember?” Jay practically yells at me.

“Oh, that,” I say with relief. Jay’s mother is hosting a party to celebrate his seventeenth birthday. That’s what the thing is. It’s going to be awful.

“We met up, what? Five minutes ago? And you’re already trying to drive me crazy?” He pinches my butt. Hard. He’s pretty worked up about this party.

I yelp and dance around. “No way. You are not blaming your crazy on me.” I give him a solid punch in the gut. “You had years of exposure to your mother before we even met.”

I go rock climbing, so my arms are strong. I’ve never needed to go to the gym to work out and “stay in shape” like some of the other girls do. I’m five feet ten and a half inches and the coach at school said I have an athletic body; he tried to get me to go out for track and field. I don’t like the idea of people watching me like that.

But hitting Jay is like hitting concrete. He doesn’t even notice my punch.

“And of course I’m coming, I already told you. That’s why I didn’t know what thing you were talking about. I thought you meant some other thing.”

“You didn’t actually confirm with my mother,” he complains, “and I know how you feel about people, in general.”

“I don’t have a problem with people, in general. Just the idiots,” I say. “And your mother.”

It’s kind of a toss-up, I suppose. A mother like mine, who actively avoids you and has already decided you’re not worth the effort, or one who pays too much attention and has too many expectations.

Jay nudges me as an unfamiliar dark-haired boy, a bit younger than we are, walks toward us. He doesn’t look right at us, but he flashes us two crossed fingers with his right hand.

I look up ahead and see them coming our way. Three Devotees. Jay and I mumble the greeting in unison, “Blood of our blood, flesh of our flesh, soul of our soul,” and we look down as they brush past us in their crisp white lab coats. It’s best not to be noticed.

The Devotees work for the Department of Evolution —everyone just calls it Devo— and they do the work of Creation in partnership with God. The Department of Evolution is under the direction of Secretary Galton. Basically, she’s God’s voice here on Earth. In the midst of the genetic revolution a hundred years ago, when the Genetic Integrity Act closed America’s borders, strict protocols for border biosecurity were instituted to stop genetic contamination. But we were still in danger of being overrun by the Deviants on the other side. Galton took control, ordered the fortification of our borders and gave the military the authority to do what they needed to do. Most people agree; she did what was necessary for our survival by relinquishing certain powers to the military to ensure our protection. Including the ability to create proprietary, genetically enhanced soldiers. The G-men. Since then, Galton has been leading us through the current stage of evolution, Regenesis, removing unwanted traits and improving and enhancing our best traits with the guidance of God.

In Social Biology class, Devotee Theresa taught us that we must all work for the common good, whether we like it or not. The less intelligent are more fertile and must be discouraged from breeding. Only those with desirable traits are allowed to produce the next generation.

There’s this section, practically a whole semester of tenth grade, where we studied pedigree charts, and DNA, RNA, proteins, and ribosomes. DNA is a double helix that carries the genetic information for all life. If only one part of one gene is wrong, it can create a whole generation of imbeciles, and that is not in God’s plan. Or in Devo’s plan. All Devotees have that DNA double helix tattooed on their forearm, as a constant reminder of their purpose in life.

That’s what the crossed fingers warning represents, the double helix tattoo.

We come up to the old Palace Theater. It’s been shut down for a long time, and the large sign that hangs out front lost its first A, so it says PLACE. Someone found a way in down the side alley, and now kids hang out there. They say, “Meet me at the place.” If they’re overheard or an adult sees a message, it only says “the place.” So far it’s stayed secret. I’ve heard they have illegal sim-seats in there, ones that can scramble the biometrics and mask what you’re doing.

“Jess,” Jay says as he slows right down, “something’s wrong.”

“It’s time to wake up!” a skinny boy with curly red hair yells. He’s standing on a wooden crate, and people are hesitantly milling about. “People are dying! Out there, children are starving, and you send them poison. People are sick, and you send them plagues. The blood of our blood is on your hands!”

There are gasps at his blasphemy, but a few people cautiously move toward him in morbid fascination. His eyes are wild, there’s spittle on his lips. Jay grabs my arm to tug me backward.

When the bullet enters the boy’s left temple, it’s as if he doesn’t know it’s there for a moment.

He’s about to yell, his mouth opens, his lips form a word he will never say. Then he topples backward, and I hear the terrible thud as his head hits the ground. The people closest to him quickly step back. No one screams, no one looks up to see the Guardian with the rifle on the roof across the street. Everyone wants to blend in.

Another Guardian comes toward the Palace. The Guardians work for Devo and protect us from Deviants. The stiff collar somehow makes his slightly rumpled, brown uniform shirt look crisp. The yellow double helix is on the front of his cap, and above his left shirt pocket.

“Move along,” he says. “It was just a Deviant.”

We all know that the plain fact of his yelling out crazy stuff in the street like that is proof of his deviance. It’s what happens sometimes, but it’s most prevalent during adolescence. The deviance manifests and people become dangerous, psychotic Deviants, intent on our destruction.

The Guardian rests his hand on the butt of the holstered pistol hanging from his belt and waits for the brown panel truck with the whooping siren we can hear approaching.

Jay swears at him under his breath and keeps hold of my arm. We hurry off with the rest of the crowd, wanting to move as far away as possible. I look back in time to see somebody dart in behind the Guardian, dip a hand in the boy’s blood, and leave an angry red handprint on the front of the Palace Theater. A red hand. I’ve heard the whispers but never thought it was true. As I stare at it, I bumble into Mrs. Yamoto, one of my neighbors. She walks fast, gripping her daughter’s hand tightly. Last year, I saw the brown truck with the double helix on the side parked in front of her house. The Guardians had come to take her son.

Wes.

That was his name.

Title: External Forces
Author: Deborah Rix
Publisher: Dime Store Books
Pages: 268
Language: English
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Format: eBook

Purchase at AMAZONDeborah Rix 7

Deborah Rix’s favourite position for reading a book is head almost hanging off the couch and feet up in the air with legs against the back of the couch. She’s been reading too much from Scientific American for research and ideas and needs to get back to some fiction. She has a long standing love of science fiction, some of her favourite authors include William Gibson, Philip K Dick, Kurt Vonnegut Jr, Douglas Adams, Iain M Banks. A bit old school.

Deborah enjoyed a successful career in entertainment publicity, live music promotion and event management. Which means she slogged through muddy fields for music festivals, was crammed into concert halls with too many sweaty teenage boys and got to go to Tuktoyaktuk (that’s in the Arctic Circle) for a Metallica concert. She lives with her family in Toronto, Canada, where she is the proprietor of The Lucky Penny, a neighborhood joint in Trinity-Bellwoods.

Visit her website at www.DeborahRix.com

ACCELERATE YOUR POWER GRAND PRIZE

GRAND PRIZE: Winner will have a minor character named after them in Acceleration, the second book in The Laws of Motion Trilogy by Deborah Rix. PLUS: 1 (One) WakaWaka Power – a solar powered charger and light, 1 (one) Limited Edition EXTERNAL FORCES Black Ops Beanie, and 1 (one) signed copy of External Forces.

The fine print: Grand Prize winner will have a minor character named after them in the forthcoming book, Acceleration. The winner can choose a name other their own as long as it is mutually agreeable with the Author, Deborah Rix. That means nothing obscene, stupid or ridiculous, as decided at the sole discretion of the author. Winner agrees that the gender, race, physical description, sexual orientation or any other characteristics of the character are at the sole discretion of the author. Winner agrees that the character may suffer some sort of gruesome downfall or may be a heroic figure in the story, it is at the sole discretion of the author what the role of the character will be and to what extent the character will be part of the story. The author assures the winner that it will be a real character in the story and part of a sub-plot or major plot.

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive the Accelerate Your Power Grand Prize.
  • This giveaway begins November 4 and ends January 31.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, February 3, 2013.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit the External Forces Tour Page at http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2013/10/20/virtual-book-tour-pump-up-your-book-presents-external-forces-virtual-book-tour/

Trail of Bones Book Blast and Giveaway with Chris Salisbury

trail of bones

Trail of Bones
Ready for a new adventure? Are you a fan of fantasy, young adult, science fiction and action stories?
“No mercy, No rules – Welcome to the Trail of Bones!”
Run with Purpose – battle cry of the Shade Wolves

Magnus, the runt of a litter of Shade Wolves, wants nothing more than to be a loyal, strong member of the pack. But when an ancient enemy threatens his friends and family, he faces a choice that could tear him from all he’s known and loved.

Born in captivity, the giant panther Kelor knows nothing but suffering and loss. He struggles to find his place in this world of terror, and he battles to protect his family without succumbing to the darkness lurking inside him.

Falling captive to the evil Warden, the two are forced to fight in the battle of the beasts known as ‘The Trail of Bones’. How will Kelor and Magnus learn to work together? How will they escape a fate of despair and death? How will their choices affect their comrades? Their enemies? And the forgotten magic that could doom all life of their world?

Let the adventures begin!

A fun, exciting, clean read for teens, young adults, adults and readers of all ages. Pick up your copy of this fantasy adventure today!
Are you a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Robert Jordan, Orson Scott Card, Jim Butcher and other fantasy and science fiction authors? You’ll feel right at home with Trail of Bones. This fantasy story offers a strong moral message, suspense, action, and mystery, in a world full of magic, unlikely heroes, and devious villains.
Book Trailer

Editorial Reviews

Salisbury is a rising star in genre fiction. This book makes a unique and exciting contribution in the fantasy realm. The first of great things to come. –Jake Black, “The Authorized Ender Companion” “Smallville” “Ender’s Game: Recruiting Valentine”

Amazon Reviews

Conclusion:
A fantasy adventure that features lots of action and intrigue that is geared to a YA audience.
There are moments in this tale that are especially well done… story telling at a level that I’d be interested to see what this author would do with an adult orientated fantasy work.
As a dedicated YA work… 5 Stars.
~ Ray Nicholson

The beginning of a great adventure!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first book of the Trail of Bones series. It is an unpredictable adventure, with heartwrenching acts of love and friendship. The story ended before I was prepared to put my Kindle down, and now I will wait anxiously for the second book to be published. In the meantime, I think I’ll read it again with my eleven-year-old son; I’m sure he’ll love it as much as I do. Give it a read!
~ HRL

Enthralling story line that really pulls you in
…The characters were some that I will not easily forget because he explains their background in a way that makes the reader really connect and believe they are real. He creates a world that I long to see. I really grew to both love and hate different characters. I think that is a sign of a really great author when they can make us feel so much emotion towards a character.
~ Janason

About Chris Salisbury
Chris Salisbury has been writing fantasy, science fiction, suspense, and action thrillers for years in independent films. Now he’s expanded his love of good movies, such as Gladiator, Counte of Monte Cristo, Saving Private Ryan, Braveheart, Star Trek, to the world of books. Trail of Bones is the first book in a planned four part fantasy, young adult series targeted at readers of all ages.
The father of four enjoys a wide range of interests from scuba diving to softball, coaching basketball to playing Battlefield 3 on his Xbox 360 or NCAA Football with his sons. He is also a big advocate for literacy and reading for young boys. There seem to be few titles that appeal to young boys and young men to hold their attention, trigger their imaginations and create a love of reading. Chris is out to change that.
In addition to the Trail of Bones series, he also has a number of other titles in development including historical fiction, action, suspense thrillers, and several science fiction properties. There’s a lot more on the horizon, so enjoy Trail of Bones but be sure to look for more captivating titles from Chris Salisbury in the near future.
trail of bones tour
Book Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 5/24/13

Enter at a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interview with Jon Thomason, author of Max Xylander and the Island of Zumuruud (Giveaway)

jon

Jon Thomason lives with his family in San Diego, after many years in the beautiful Seattle area. He has a successful career in high tech where he’s been fortunate enough to participate in many big-name industry releases.

Storytelling permeates everything he does. In the moments when Jon is not helping build the story of the tech world, he can almost always be found working on a project: writing, photography, videography, graphics design, or 3D art.

And he’s always careful to conceal his jinni magic abilities, though perhaps might slip one day and be discovered…

You can join the conversation with him at http://facebook.com/MaxXylander or on Twitter at @jonthomason.

Thank you for joining us today, Jon. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

I’m thrilled to be able to call myself a writer. People would ask, and I had a hard time saying it until the novel was real. Finished. And now it is!

I have a successful career in the high tech industry, where I’ve been able to use my creative side more than you’d stereotypically think. But books have always been a passion for me, as is storytelling. I’ve written a number of stories over the years, but this is my first attempt at novel-length fiction.

I’ve never shaken the feeling of being a kid. I’ve always asked myself, “when exactly do I grow up?” 

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I don’t remember exactly, but it was very young. My mother taught me to read at an exceptionally young age, and I have always read anything and everything I could get my hands on. Perhaps it’s ego, but I would say to myself, “I could do this.” So, I’d write my own stories. But it wasn’t until I took some extended time off work that I got serious and tackled something novel-length. 

Why did you decide to write stories for this market?

Like I mentioned, I have never been able to escape the feeling of being a kid. So, writing where I could pretend to still be one is the most natural thing ever. 

What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?

My favorite part of writing for middle grade is that you can add in some goofy things that would make a kid laugh. The book doesn’t have to be so terribly serious and uptight. The biggest challenge for me is restricting vocabulary and making sure the concepts don’t go over the head of the middle grade reader. What I try to do is make sure that the story elements are layered. The lower-end of the middle grade readers see one level, but the upper end (and adults) see something deeper. That’s what I strive to do across the board to span the range of readers. 

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

Shhh! I shouldn’t tell you this, Max Xylander and the Island of Zumuruud is not fiction. They got to it and spun everything I wrote to sound like a novel, but it’s not. It’s all true. I’ve been there. To Zumuruud, that is. I can’t tell you much about it here, but it blows your mind.

I’ve met Max. She’s good-hearted, but don’t get on her bad side! I saw Philip once on his skatecarpet getting chased by some men in long black coats, but I bolted. I want nothing to do with that action.

In real life, people think of me as your average, boring, high-tech engineer. Little do they know of my secrets.

I’m just afraid one day I’ll slip and my jinni powers will be discovered…and I’ll be taken and experimented on by the guys in white coats and long syringes. Gulp.

Just read the book. It will explain everything. And remember: shhh!  

What inspired you to write it? max

I am a vivid daydreamer. I have loved to read from quite a young age and always imagined what it would be like to be able to do magic–really do the magic. What would it feel like to make something across the room move? Or what would it be like to play a trick on an unsuspecting classmate? While I love creatively constructed worlds, I’m generally more interested in things happening just next door. The idea of intrigue and conspiracy and hidden things fascinate me. Might there be a shadowy group pulling the strings somewhere? Powerful people behind the scenes? And then one of our children had a form of leukemia as a child, and the powerlessness of this gave way to the idea of good from evil, and of being transformed. I’m also well acquainted with anger management issues of the teen female, and contrite, bland dialogue, just doesn’t work. Throw in some cynical sarcasm from our villain, and the story just poured out. 

Where can readers purchase a copy?

Max Xylander and the Island of Zumuruud is available on Amazon.com both as a paperback and as an Amazon Kindle e-book. An easy way to find it is to go to Amazon.com/author/jonthomason.

 What is up next for you?

I’m already working on the sequel to Max. I can’t share the title yet, but suffice it to say that while the story wound down at the end of the first book, there are many more adventures remaining for Max, Aaron, and Brynn. And don’t think Philip is out of the picture yet, even though he might seem to be… 

Do you have anything else to add?

It’s so energizing hearing all the positive feedback! The reason I like to write is to be able to share stories with other people, and to hear that people actually like the story and are begging for the sequel makes me feel great and propels the work on the remainder of the trilogy. 

Thank you for spending time with us today, Jon. We wish you much success.

And thank you for listening and for the opportunity to share my book with your readers!

 

GIVEAWAY! Visit the book’s tour page at http://www.bookblasttours.com/2013/01/max-xylander-and-island-of-zumuruud.html for details on how you can enter to win great prizes!

 

max tour