Monday, September 30, 2013

WIn and Read: Little Red Writing by Joan Holub

  Little Red Reading Little Red Writing by Joan Holub Acclaimed writer Joan Holub and Caldecott Honoree Melissa Sweet team up in this hilarious and exuberant retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, in which a brave, little red pencil finds her way through the many perils of writing a story, faces a ravenous pencil sharpener (the Wolf 3000)... and saves the day. Joan Holub has hundreds of pencils. Some are red. Others are glittery, sporty, or full of holiday cheer. They are all super sharp and good at writing books. They’ve helped Joan write more than 130 books, including Zero the Hero and Knuckleheads. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. Melissa Sweet has illustrated nearly 100 children’s books, including the Caldecott Honor–winning River of Words and the Sibert Medal–winning Balloons Over Broadway. When not in her studio, Melissa loves to ride her bicycle and hike with her two dogs, Rufus and Nellie. She lives in Rockport, Maine.  
  Praise "A very funny picture book that, I guarantee you, lots of savvy teachers will be eagerly sharing with students as part of the process of teaching creative writing." -- Richie Partington MLIS, Richie's Picks "What a CLEVER, CLEVER story!" -- I Love to Read and Write Reviews "This clever adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood has so many levels of creativity and learning... Every elementary teacher should have this book to begin their writing units." -- Play on Words "Style, humor, and solid writing advice." --Publishers Weekly, starred review "So rich in words and wry humor-written and visual-that one reading just isn't enough." --School Library Journal, starred review "Every writers' group should start with this story." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review "Every elementary teacher should have this book to begin their writing units." -- Play on Words "An easy, winning prompt for beginning writers to abandon their fears and take up pencils of their own." --Booklist    
Author Joan Holub I graduated from college in Texas with a fine arts degree, and then freelanced as an art director at a graphic design firm for eight years. I dreamed of working in children’s books, so I moved to New York City and became associate art director in Scholastic trade books, where I designed books for children and worked with editors and illustrators. It was a great job. I illustrated my first published children’s book in 1992 and soon began illustrating full time. I began completing manuscripts and mailing them out to publishers in the early 1990s. In 1996, I sold my first two manuscripts — Boo Who? A Spooky Lift-the-Flap Book (Scholastic) and Pen Pals (Grosset & Dunlap). Yippee! Now I write full time and have written and/or illustrated over 130 children’s books. Creating books that entertain, inform, and interest children (and me) is a fabulous job that I truly love.  
 
  BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 10/15/13   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, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kindle Fire HD 7" Giveaway

fall kindle fire  
This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT! Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HD 7". 

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HD (US Only)
  Or $199 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)
  Or $199 in Paypal Cash (International)
    Fall Sponsoring Authors & Bloggers
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  2. Feed Your Reader
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  58. Author Marcia Lynn McClure
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  60. Ripple Effect Romance Series
  Sign up to Sponsor the NOVEMBER Giveaway
http://www.iamareader.com/2013/09/november-kindle-fire-giveaway-sign-ups.html
 Giveaway Details
 1 winner will receive their choice of a Kindle Fire 7" HD (US Only), $199 Amazon Gift Card or $199 in Paypal Cash (International). There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire.
Ends 10/31/13 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, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cover Unveiled + Giveaway: THE SECRET DIAMOND SISTERS by Michelle Madow

THE SECRET DIAMOND SISTERS COVER REVEAL

Savannah. Courtney. Peyton.

The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite. Suddenly the Strip's most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past.

  • The release date: February 25, 2014.

Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway: Stranded (Alaskan Courage #3) by Dani Pettrey

stranded
   
strandedStranded (Alaskan Courage #3)
 When her friend vanishes from a cruise ship, reporter Darcy St. James isn't satisfied with their explanation that she simply left her job of her own accord. Something isn't lining up, and Darcy believes the only way to find the truth is to put herself in Abby's position. Within days, Darcy learns her friend wasn't the only person to disappear mysteriously. Last summer, a woman vanished under almost identical circumstances. Gage McKenna has taken a summer-long stint leading adventure excursions for the passengers of various cruise lines that dock for a few days of sightseeing. He's surprised to find Darcy working aboard one of the ships, investigating a troubling report. Something sinister is going on and the deeper they dig the more Gage fears they've only discovered the tip of the iceberg.




Excerpt #1
Abby’s head swam, her vision narrowing as she stumbled into her cabin. What had they slipped her and when? Nausea rum- bled in her stomach, magnified by the surging waves created by the brewing storm. How could she have been so foolish?
They must have figured out who she was and that she was close to exposing them. They were trying to silence her— though if it came down to it, she preferred death to the alternative.
She lifted the receiver and dialed Darcy’s cabin.
Please be there. Darcy had said she’d wait in her room, but the phone kept ringing until it rolled over into voice mail. This wasn’t a message for voice mail. Not if they knew who she was. Not if it could lead them to Darcy. She had to find a better way, a safer way to leave a message only Darcy would understand.
She scribbled a quick note. Now . . . where to put it? She grabbed the Gideon Bible from the nightstand, slipped the message inside, set the Bible on her bed, and headed for the door. Only Darcy would know Abby would have no reason to have a Bible on her bed. Turning, she spotted her purse next to the nightstand, grabbed it, and placed it atop the Bible. Never hurt to have a little added protection. Darcy would still recognize the significance.
As she walked around her bed, the ship heaved and she stumbled. She needed help. Wobbling with each step, she managed to grasp the doorknob, the metal cool inside her clammy palm. Her breath quickened. Cracking the door, she peered into the corridor, thankful to find it empty. Stepping into the hall, she moved toward the elevator.
Shadows arched around the bend halfway down the hall, where another corridor intersected it. She halted. Her breath hitched.
A man spoke, his words angry and heated. A second man responded. Her heart seized in her chest. It was them. They were coming.



daniAuthor Dani Pettrey
Dani Pettrey is a wife, homeschooling mom and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of one’s faith and plenty of romance. She’s a huge fan of dark chocolate, is always in search of the best iced mocha and her dream is to one day own a little cottage on a remote stretch of beach. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters.
   
Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 10/10/13
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, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
 a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Spotlight + Excerpt:BRINK OF DISTINCTION SERIES

BRINK OF DISTINCTION SERIES

by Jon Messenger

 
We are excited about todays release of Jon Messenger's Brink of Distinction Series published through Crimson Tree Publishing. (The adult imprint of Clean Teen Publishing.) 




Burden of Sisyphus

Between the alien Alliance and the Terran Empire, a neutral zone stretches between the galaxies, a demilitarized zone that was established 150 years previous, following the Great War. 
The peace accord granted a semblance of peace to the universe. The peace, however, is a facade, and it is the responsibility of Michael Vance and his covert operations team to maintain that illusion.

Recently, the Alliance lost contact with one of their outposts near the neutral zone. Surveillance scans show an abandoned city and no signs of life. The Alliance does what it always does: send in the best. But an unexpected betrayal leaves Vance and his team stranded. Worse, the city that was supposed to be dead is quite alive. And the monsters that now roam its streets are slaughtering his team, one at a time.







Fall of Icarus

The Terran Empire has broken the Taisa Accord and invaded Alliance space in this exciting second novel in the Brink of Distinction series.  Survivors of the Empire's first assault, Yen Xiao and Adam Decker swore vengeance against the Terrans.  Joining forces with the enigmatic Keryn Riddell, the three warriors must find a way to destroy the Terran fleet.  But the Terrans have a secret weapon: a biological agent sold to them by an renegade smuggler.  Now it's a race against the clock to capture the smuggler before the Terrans decimate the Alliance homeworlds.

When everything they do proves to be not enough to stop the Empire's violent invasion, the Alliance takes the fight directly to the Empire by invading Earth!  But Earth may not be the biggest threat to the safety of the Alliance.  The biggest danger may be one of their own.



The final confrontation between the Alien Alliance and the Terran Empire begins in this exciting conclusion to the Brink of Distinction trilogy.

One-by-one, the brilliant suns of Alliance space are disappearing, left cold and lifeless after exposure to the Terran biological epidemic.  Trapped on one of the sunless worlds, Keryn Riddell, the ruthless Wyndgaart warrior, fights against both a frozen landscape and her Terran captors.

As Keryn fights for her life, the psychic Yen Xiao leads the Alliance fleet in pursuit of the Terran Destroyers threatening the Alliance homeworlds.  Yearning for leadership of the fleet, Yen begins to wonder just how far he’ll go for the power he craves.


Excerpt from Burden of Sisyphus

Private Hicks’ body screamed in protest as he tried to stand.   His muscles ached and his lungs burned in the planet’s thin, dust-filled air.   Under his dark armor sweat soaked through his uniform.   Raising his head, he saw the looming plateau.   Nuzzled within the wedge of the plateau’s fa├žade there was the Terran’s dark, stone, defensive wall.   Relief flooded through him.   Being able to see the bristling antiaircraft weapon platforms mounted atop the wall meant his destination was finally within reach.
Scrambling to his feet, despite resistant muscles, he ran the rest of the way to the wall.   He didn’t dare hope to make it that far without being spotted by his enemies but the reprieve gave him time to close the final twenty meters to the outpost.   Legs cramping, he limped the rest of the way to the wall.   Ignoring the large, arched vehicle entrance, whose heavy doors led straight to the courtyard between the wall and the building set into the plateau, he staggered to the reinforced personnel entrance to one side.   Shuffling past a set of thick windows he watched Terran soldiers within the wall move toward the door.
Sliding in the red sand he stopped in front of the door and pounded it with his open hand.   “Open the door!” he yelled, his voice raspy and dry.
When nothing happened he banged again, glancing over his shoulder in fear and frustration.
“Open the damn door!” he screamed, as much as his raw throat allowed, hitting the door repeatedly.
Finally, hesitantly, it opened.
A blast of cool air struck him as he was pulled into the comforting darkness.   The room was cast in deep shadows and he was momentarily blinded in the dim lighting.   He shivered as someone helped him to the far side of the narrow room, the cool air a stark contrast to the scorching heat outside.   Sliding down against the wall, he exhaled a loud, raspy breath.
“Hicks,” the closest soldier said.
His head swam with exhaustion.
“What happened out there?”
He peered through the gloom, barely able to make out the man’s rank and name.   “Alliance mercenaries.   They hit us while we were on patrol.”
A third soldier pushed past the others and bent over Hicks, who saw the officer epaulettes on his shoulder.   “Where’s the rest of your team, Private?”
He shook his head.   “They’re all dead, Sir.”
“All of them?” the lieutenant asked in disbelief.   “How did one group of Alliance mercenaries take out an entire patrol?”
A soft sound echoed through the room before Hicks could reply.   The thumping reverberated softly as he clambered to his feet.   Slowly, the others heard it and the room fell to hushed silence.   It was a series of soft thumps as if something struck the compound’s outer wall repeatedly.
“What the hell is that noise?” Lieutenant Hill asked, looking toward the thick, outer walls.
The sound continued unabated.
“Sir, I’ve got a visual,” a private said, watching from the window.
The lieutenant rushed to the window, pulling free the binoculars on his hip.   In the distance, a single massive form stood at the crest of the hill.   Thick, dark fur covered its body which ended in an elongated snout.   Sharp horns jutted from its temples, curving wickedly forward.
Lowering his binoculars, the lieutenant turned toward the rest of the soldiers.   “It looks like the Alliance found our outpost!   Let’s move, people!”   As he walked back to the middle of the room the soldiers exploded into action.
“On your feet, soldiers!” Lieutenant Hill yelled over the din of muttered conversation.   “Grab some ammo and find a wall to stand behind.”   Turning back toward the sturdy window he glared across the red field.   “If they want to bring their fight here, they won’t even know what hit them.”
“How true,” Hicks rasped, as a barbed tail erupted from under the back of his shirt.   Lashing out, the tail struck the base of Lieutenant Hill’s neck and erupted from his throat, nearly decapitating the officer.
Hicks extended his left hand, the fingers elongated into razor-sharp points, which he drove into a nearby soldier’s abdomen.   The soldier stared in disbelief, as the skin on Hicks’ face melted like wax, first running down toward his chin before being absorbed into his oily-black skin.   The face disappeared, leaving behind a featureless black oval.   Slowly, the rest of his skin melted away until all that remained was thick, black hide.
The creature that impersonated Hicks swished its spiked tail back and forth and turned toward the three remaining soldiers in the room.   Eyes wide with fright, one swung his rifle toward the creature and squeezed the trigger.
The window exploded inward as the first round tore through the thick glass and struck the soldier’s temple.   His scalp peeled away on the far side of his head as the high-velocity round passed through and struck the far wall, spraying the back of the room with blood.

About Jon Messenger


Jon Messenger (Born 1979 in London, England) serves as an United States Army Major in the Medical Service Corps. Since graduating from the University of Southern California in 2002, writing Science Fiction has remained his passion, a passion that has continued through two deployments to Iraq, a humanitarian relief mission to Haiti, and an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. Jon wrote the "Brink of Distinction" trilogy, of which "Burden of Sisyphus" is the first book, while serving a 16-month deployment in Baghdad, Iraq.

Jon's books include Wind Warrior which was published through Clean Teen Publishing and quickly hit the best selling lists of Amazon. Jon Messenger has won a readers choice award as well as the Clean Teen Publishing writing contest for his Novella of Wind Warrior, which is also featured in Wonderstruck. Messenger's sci-fi series, Brink of Distinction, was picked up by Clean Teen Publishing's adult imprint: Crimson Tree Publishing in the Fall of 2013. 

Facebook / Author Website / Website / Goodreads 
Twitter: @JonMessenger

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Spotlight + Giveaway: Reluctant Guardian by Melissa J. Cunningham

by Melissa J. Cunningham

Release Date: September 27, 2013 



Guarding Brecken Shaefer—a dark and dangerous rebel—is harder than it looks. 

Death was nothing like sixteen-year-old Alisa Callahan thought it would be. Resting on pink, fluffy clouds for eternity with her gram and best friend sounded like a dream come true. After all, enduring one torturous experience after another in her short life deserved some kind of reward, right? Unfortunately, eternal rewards aren't given out so freely when you take your own life.

Required to pay the debt for committing suicide, Alisa must become a guardian. It sounds easy enough, but not when the boy she is forced to protect has a dangerous secret and wants absolutely nothing to do with her.

Brecken Shaefer isn't any normal teenager. He has special gifts that are sure to make Alisa's afterlife miserable. When feelings develop between them, everything spins out of control. Not only must Alisa face her own demons— but to protect Brecken, she must face an evil so heinous that it threatens to destroy their souls completely.

Alisa is tired of hiding from her past. When the easiest thing to do is run, can Brecken give her the strength to stay? 

Excerpt From Reluctant Guardian:

I should have realized that suicide was not my best option. But like most teenage girls, I hadn't planned ahead. I never pictured my parents and brothers picking up the pieces of my broken life, or the empty hole I would leave in my wake.
I honestly didn't think anyone cared that much.
The medication I'd been taking hadn't helped matters either. My doctor prescribed it after the death of my beloved grandmother who'd lived with us since I was a baby. Three months later, my best friend Natasha, died from a brain tumor. Nothing could have shattered me more. Not just because Natty and I were closer than Siamese twins, but because we shared a dark, horrifying secret.
Something I'd never told anyone. Not even my parents. Once she was gone I didn't know how to shoulder that weight on my own. I was drowning in sorrow. I'd fallen into a dark pit and had every right to take that antidepressant. My parents thought it would help too.
I should have been more open about my feelings. I should have confided in my mom and dad. Explained that the medication wasn't working. That in reality I felt worse. But I didn't. I didn't realize the drug was affecting me adversely . . . until it was too late.
The only thing I wanted that night was to  not  feel anymore, to not have my heart ripping in two, and to not cry so hard that my whole body ached.
Would it be painful if I rammed my car into the tall pine at the curve of the road? Would it do the trick or just turn me into a vegetable for the rest of my life?
I gambled. I took a chance and got what I wanted. Death.

About Melissa J. Cunningham

 
Melissa's first novel: Reluctant Guardian, was accepted for publication through Clean Teen Publishing in August 2013.  When Melissa is not writing you can find her spending time with her husband of eighteen years and her five children. Melissa studied music in college and loves to read all things fiction. Melissa lives in Northern Utah with her family, her horses, cats, dogs and chickens. 



Melissa's first novel: Reluctant Guardian, was accepted for publication through Clean Teen Publishing in August 2013.  When Melissa is not writing you can find her spending time with her husband of eighteen years and her five children. Melissa studied music in college and loves to read all things fiction. Melissa lives in Northern Utah with her family, her horses, cats, dogs and chickens. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

New Release + Excerpt:The Bionics Series by Alicia Michaels

New Release The Bionics Series by Alicia Michaels
We are so excited to share the official covers of the first two books in The Bionics Series by 
Alicia Michaels! Both books released through Crimson Tree Publishing (The Adult Imprint of Clean teen Publishing) on September 13, 2013.

The Bionics (Book 1) 
$.99
(New Adult or YA Mature) 


The year is 4010.
Nuclear war and the wasteful nature of humans have all but destroyed the United States. A new government regime rules the day with strict laws, rationed food, and careful control. When those injured in the nuclear blasts that rocked many of the nations largest cities are offered another chance by the Restoration Project, how could they refuse?

Little do they know that the robotic additions to their body will paint targets on their backs once the government decides that they are dangerous. At the forefront of the resistance is a girl with a bionic eye, Blythe Sol, who wants nothing more than to be a normal girl. Blythe has yet to realize that normal will never exist again for her, or anyone else.

The Revolution has begun...



All I ever wanted was to be a normal girl. I had dreams of joining the ranks of the Military Police and making my family proud. But the nuclear war that laid waste to our country destroyed any hope I had of being normal ever again. They took everything away from me, including my humanity. I am now half-human, half-machine, part of the never-ending freak show that is the Restoration Project.

They hate what they created and they fear us for being powerful.


And so they hunt us, destroying our lives so that they can bury what they built. What they don’t know is this: there is a Resistance out there and The Bionics aren’t going down without a fight.

Titanium (Book 2) 
$2.99
(New Adult or YA Mature) 
We stand on the brink of a double rescue mission, a plan so foolhardy that even our bravest men are quaking inside with fear. Storm the capitol, free the prisoners, don’t get killed. It seems like a suicide mission, but not a single one of us has anything to lose.

In my past life, I was a scoundrel; a drug peddling street thug who cared nothing for anyone because I had no one to care for me. The nuclear blasts of 4006 reminded me of the value of life, and a girl with the saddest eyes I’ve ever gazed into gave me someone to care for. Now, as we embark on our most dangerous enterprise, I can only hope that we make it out alive and that those we have lost can be recovered.

Foolishness … fear … hope … These are the elements that threw our revolution into motion. As the momentum of the Resistance continues to build, we can only pray that hope continues grow larger than our fear.


Excerpt from The Bionics:

“I wish that I had died that day,” I admit, unable to look away from his gaze no matter how much my mind tells me that I need to. “I wish that all the time.”
He inches closer to me on the bed. “Is it really so bad? Professor Hinkley gave you and the others a second chance at life. It’s not fair that the government has decided you and others like you pose a threat.”

I think about a news broadcast I saw a couple of weeks ago, showing a surveillance video of a man with an arm identical to mine smashing in the window of someone’s car and beating them to a bloody pulp for no reason, before pulling a limp body from the driver’s seat and driving off in the stolen vehicle. Of course the thief was found and immediately executed; no trail, no jury, no questions asked.
“Some of us are dangerous,” I answer, and of course, it’s the truth.
“Some  people  are dangerous,” he insists. “Bionics are still people….just modified.”
“Right now your blood pressure is 124/90, your heart rate is an elevated 70 beats per minute; not bad, but still high for a healthy male that I assume is athletic. You have a tattoo on your left arm of an eagle, and a fractured rib.”
“That is amazing.”
I shrug. “It’s my eye. It is capable of reading a person’s body heat signature as well as their vital statistics. It allows me to pull away individual layers, such as clothing, skin, and muscle to expose what’s underneath. It’s how I knew about the rib.”
I reach out with my bionic arm and poke the rib for emphasis, raising my eyebrows as he winces in pain. “Still think I’m human?”
Gage reaches for my arm—my robotic arm—and grabs it by the hand. I can’t feel it, or his hand circling the wrist above it. His eyebrows wrinkle as he turns my arm over, inside facing up. He traces the inside of my arm, his fingers sliding over the cool metal and, for the first time since I woke up with that hunk of machinery on the other end of my elbow, I am wishing that I could feel the damn thing.
“Cold,” he murmurs as he draws circles on the metal. His fingers stop on the inside of my elbow, on the line where the titanium ends and I begin. I hear his breath catch in his throat and another noisy swallow as the pad of his index finger slides over my skin. I gasp as he trails it up the inside of my arm, flesh now on flesh. The human contact that I’ve denied myself for years has left me sensitive to every touch, and I feel as if I’m being caressed for the first time.
Of course Dax has held my hand from time to time; he’s even held me against him some nights when the nightmares get particularly bad until I fall back asleep. But he’s never touched me like this, and while I’m no virgin I certainly feel like one right now. A thousand emotions are exploding in me at one time and just as many sensations are following the path his finger traces up to my shoulder, pausing at the strap of my tank top.
“Warm,” he says with a smile. “Only about….what…ten percent of you is metal. When I got past your elbow, I felt skin, blood flowing through veins, muscle, and…goose bumps?”
He says that last bit with a smile, forcing me to look away in embarrassment. He holds his arm out toward me, pulling up the sleeve of his shirt and revealing a tanned arm sprinkled with light blond hair, which is standing on end. He leaves the sleeve above his elbow and holds his arm out in front of me.
“See?” he says gently, his head way too close to mine, his breath brushing my cheek. “I have them too.”
I reach out with my human hand and touch his arm. His opposite hand comes up to cover mine.
“If anything,” he says, his fingers gripping mine tightly, “the additions to your body give you character. They tell a story about where you’ve been.”
He pauses, leaning in so close that locks of his hair brush my forehead. “Where  have  you been, Blythe?”
I know he’s referring to the screams and my nightmare. I wonder if I can put him off like I do the others, but quickly realize by the glint in his eyes that he’s not letting me off that easy. I clear my throat and open my mouth, but no sound comes out. Gage leans forward and presses his lips to mine, taking advantage of my open mouth to nibble on my lower lip.
With a soft sigh, he closes the distance between us and cups my face in his hands, taking my breath away with the simple act of molding his mouth to mine. My hands resting on his thick thighs, I come up on my knees on the bed, leaning into him, trembling both inwardly and outwardly, unsure of what I’m doing or why I’m doing it, but know that I can’t stop. Kissing Gage feels like walking down the street used to be before the government labeled Bionics as dangerous. It feels like freedom.
“Hey Blythe, I couldn’t sleep and I was thinking…”
Dax’s voice trails off as the door to the bathroom we share knocks against the wall, pushed open by my bone-headed best friend who never knocks because he knows I’m never doing anything he can’t see me doing.
Except this time.
This time, guilt propels me away from Gage and back against the headboard, my lowered eyelids shielding me from Dax’s dark glare.
“Sorry,” he says, sounding anything but. “Didn’t realize you’d have a visitor at three o’clock in the goddamn morning.”
Part of me wants to rip Dax a new asshole for being such a jerk. What right does he have being mad at me when I know he’s screwed Olivia on several occasions, and who knows what other groupies he’s got salivating over him in both Mosley and Hexley Halls? Another part of me feels like I just got caught doing something unforgiveable, although I’m not sure if it was that I kissed someone, or if it’s just the fact that the someone I kissed happens to be Gage.

About Alicia Michaels:

Ever since she first read books like Chronicles of Narnia or Goosebumps, Alicia has been a lover of mind-bending fiction. Wherever imagination takes her, she is more than happy to call that place her home. The mother of two and wife to an Army sergeant loves chocolate, coffee, and of course good books. When not writing, you can usually find her with her nose in a book, shopping for shoes and fabulous jewelry, or spending time with her loving family.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Release Day + Excerpt: Angus MacBain and the Island of Sleeping Kings by Angela J. Townsend

Angus MacBain and the Island of Sleeping Kings
by Angela J. Townsend

Release Date: September 27, 2013


Angus MacBain is unaware that his ancestral roots hail from an ancient sect of Scottish kings. When his dying grandfather gives him a dragon pendant, thirteen-year-old Angus learns of a legacy that will take him across an ocean to the island of Iona and thrust him into a heritage he did not know he had. He soon discovers that his mother, whom he had believed dead, is really a seal fairy, in hiding from a dangerous enemy. To save her, Angus must undergo a perilous journey of destiny and power to battle an evil Dacian knight and those who serve him. With only his family shield and the advice of a wizened vampire hunter to protect him, Angus must navigate dangerous terrain and dark enemies, in a land where the past and the present mingle, and sleeping kings wake.

READ AN EXCERPT

THE COMPANY OF KINGS
New York City, 2013

 
Gloomy shadows crept across the tired oak floor, stealing what little light peered in through a set of stained glass windows.   A dying fire crackled in the corner, its golden embers fading as quickly as the old man who lay near it.
Angus MacBain stood at the foot of his grandfather’s four-poster bed, his hope slipping away with every rattling exhale from the old man’s lungs.   Cocooned in a series of heavy plaid blankets bearing the family tartan, Duncan MacBain struggled to free a withered hand.   He motioned for his grandson to come closer.   Angus took a few stumbling steps, sank to his knees and grasped the thin hand in his.              
Duncan raised his head from the pillow.   His eyes seemed to glow in the dimness of the bedroom.   Gnarled fingers pressed something hard and bulky into Angus’ palm, then closed his hand around it and squeezed.   The object cut into the boy’s flesh, but he didn’t try to pull away. 
“You’re thirteen now, almost a man.  You’ve got to be brave.  Remember, you’re a MacBain.”  The old man inhaled another ragged breath.  “The arrangements have already been made.  There will be no funeral.  I’m sending you to Scotland—to Iona.  You must leave now.”  His grandfather’s steely eyes pinned Angus to the floor.  “Strange things will happen—things that—just be careful, lad.”


“No, I won’t go.   Not without you.”   He buried his head in his grandfather’s chest. Angus’ throat constricted like a drawstring jerked tight. Tears sprang to his eyes.  
“Don’t cry for me, laddie.   I’ll be in the company of kings.” 
With that, Duncan MacBain heaved his final breath.
Angus squeezed his eyes shut.   After a weary moment, he opened them to gaze at his grandfather’s motionless body.   With the tension removed from the old Scotsman’s features, he looked relaxed, at peace.   Even so, a bitter rush of sadness swept through Angus and the hole in his heart his grandfather had filled when his parents died, now returned.   Angus’ chest tightened.   Every breath seemed to take more effort than it was worth.
The palm of his hand throbbed.   He unclenched his fist and examined an amulet attached to a heavy chain.   It looked old, perhaps even ancient, with a silver long-tailed dragon clutching a purple thistle in its talons.   Words scribed in a foreign language glistened on its wings.    
His father had worn a dragon amulet.   Angus frowned trying to remember what it looked like.   Did it also have a thistle? Could it be the same one?   He’d been so young when his father died, he couldn’t remember.   He slipped it around his neck, the amulet warm against his chest. 
 “I’ll take care of it,” Angus whispered.   “I promise.” 
Angus made his way down the narrow hallway to Grandfather’s study.   An antique clock ticked solemnly on the mantel.   Without grandfather, the room seemed so different. Barren. Unfriendly. Cold.   He fell into a cushy gray recliner that always reminded him of elephant skin and let it swallow him. Maybe if he just closed his eyes for a few moments, he’d wake up and it would have all been some kind of terrible dream. But no matter how he tried he couldn’t keep his eyes shut.     
His gaze traveled over the towering bookcases lining the walls, filled with ancient volumes bound by his grandfather’s hands.   Silent rows of books stared back at him, like leather corpses resting in their tombs.   On a nearby workbench, marbled scraps of leather, paste, and a rounding hammer gathered around a dusty press. 
Angus’ throat burned.  He’d never be his grandfather’s apprentice again, never help him repair old books about castles, dragons and other tales.
Now he had no one, except Grandfather’s nurse, Vera. Even though she was very nice, he barely knew her.
Angus shuffled down the hallway to his lonely room and packed his things.   He made sure he had his games and the favorite collection of vampire tales his grandfather had bound for him.   He flopped onto his twin bed and glanced at his watch.   Angus’ heart twisted.   Very soon, Nurse Vera would take him to the airport and he’d fly to a strange place he’d only heard stories about. 
Angus scanned his bedroom for the last time, memorizing every detail so he’d never forget.   Bare spots on the wall stared back at him, places where his Dracula posters once hung.   In a fit of misery, he’d torn them down and ripped them to shreds. 
There was no such thing as vampires and other magical creatures. Life wasn’t about fairy tales, only heartache, despair and death.
Angus narrowed his eyes. If only death were a living thing—he’d destroy it. Make it suffer for ripping away all the people in his life that had loved him. Rage and frustration twisted inside of him.   
Angus grabbed an antique sword hanging on his bedroom wall and stabbed it into the center of his mattress. Sparks flew from the bed. Celtic swirls carved into the handle of the sword started to spin. A banging sound hammered into his head like being trapped in a giant bell. He fell to his knees covering his ears. The noise died down and a voice broke into his head.
“Are you all right, Dear?”
Angus uncovered his ears and peered up at Nurse Vera. She never called him by name just, “Dear.” Nurse Vera glanced at her watch. “I’ll help you pack your things then it’s off to the airport with you.” Nurse Vera placed a hand on Angus’ forehead.   “You look so tired and it’s such a long flight. Promise me you’ll try to get some rest on the plane, Dear.”    
Angus nodded. He waited for Nurse Vera to see the sword and scold him for messing with something so dangerous, but she just stood there, her eyes filled with concern. Angus glanced at the bed to look at the sword—but the sword was gone.

About Angela J. Townsend

 
Angela Townsend was born in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Missoula, Montana. As a child, Angela grew up listening to stories told by her grandparents, ancient tales and legends of faraway places. Influenced by her Irish and Scottish heritage, Angela became an avid research historian, specializing in Celtic mythology. Her gift for storytelling finally led her to a full time career in historical research and writing. A writer in local community circulations, Angela is also a published genealogical and historical resource writer who has taught numerous research seminars. Currently, Angela divides her time between writing, playing Celtic music on her fiddle, and Irish dancing. 

Angela's first novel, Amarok, was published through Spencer Hill Press in 2012. Her newest novel, Angus MacBain and The Island of Sleeping Kings, was signed for publication with Clean Teen Publishing in 2013. 

Angela resides on a ranch, in rural Northwestern Montana, with her two children Levi and Grant. 

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