Saturday, July 15, 2017

Shadow Fire Alternate Ending #1

When I first started writing Shadow Fire it was a Choose Your Fate book. Similar to the Choose Your Own Adventure books I read as a child, but a more grownup version. As it turned out, publishers weren't interested in this type of book for young adults, and I scrapped the idea. But the alternate endings still exist on my hard drive. Most were rather gruesome, some bittersweet. This is the bad ending for the first choice the reader made in Shadow Fire. Because it was never published, it never went through an editing stage, so this is from my final draft:



There’s nothing I can do right now. The bandit’s blade digs into my neck, and I can feel the trickles of blood oozing from the wounds. I know I’ll never reach the dagger sheathed on my thigh without alerting him. Perhaps I’ll have a chance to escape later if I bide my time now. He drags me back quickly, to the back of the merchant caravan. Though I dig my heels into the ground it does little to slow our backwards progress. Zane, Lukas, and Daren are busy fighting off the remaining bandits. When the brigand holding me reaches the corral where the merchants’ horses are tied, he releases me for a quick second to slice through the reins of the nearest horse. I wasn’t expecting him to let go, and I fall hard on my backside before trying to scramble to my feet. A sharp pain sears through my head and everything goes black.
The first thing I notice when I begin to wake is that my head throbs in time with my heartbeat. As my mind becomes more aware, an awful stench assaults my nose. I’ve never smelled anything so repulsive in all my life. When I try to move my hand to cover my nose, I realize my wrists are shackled together in iron manacles. My eyes fly open, and as I take in my surroundings, my heart plummets like a stone falling over a cliff. I’m lying on my side staring at the bars of my prison cell. Not only are my hands shackled but my ankles are as well. The stone floor is damp and covered in what I can only assume is human refuse. My eyes water from the horrendous stench. I blink, swallow hard, trying to remain composed. Panic will not help. A rat skitters across the floor in my field of vision, and it takes everything in my power to swallow the scream that rises to my throat. Carefully I sit up to get a better look around. My cell is only one of many, the others also filled with women. I must be in the bandits’ stronghold.
“Where are we?” I call out softly to the woman in the cell beside mine. The only acknowledgment I receive is her dead, blank stare.
“Well, my pretty, little slave, I see you’re finally awake.” A voice booms from the hall in front of my cell. The women in the surrounding cells shudder and cringe at the voice. Shakily, I try to rise to face the man leaning against the bars of my prison. My legs give out, and I fall back to the floor in a heap before finally pushing myself to my feet. “You definitely have spirit,” he says as I stand and glare at him.
He opens the cell door and grabs me by the hair, forcing me back to my knees. As he holds my hair up another bandit enters and places a leather collar around my neck before quickly departing. My captor pulls me back to my feet, this time by the thick metal chain attached to the collar at my neck.
“Come, slave. I already have a buyer interested in you. He came for the head of a bounty I killed, but became interested in you when I told him the man was trying to rescue you.” As he drags me down the hall, my mind screams in protest. A man tried to rescue me. It could only be Zane. Then that would mean…
Tears streak down my face as I realize that Zane is dead, killed in an attempt to rescue me from these filthy bandits. I stumble and fall to my knees, but my captor refuses to slow. Unable to stand again, I’m forced to crawl quickly behind the horrible man as he yanks on the collar choking me. We arrive at a large wooden door, and the bandit hauls me to my feet before opening it.
“Come, little one. You should be honored that such a powerful man is interested in you,” he says as he leads me into the brightly lit room. “Here’s the girl that the bounty was trying to rescue.” As my eyes adjust to the brightness of the room, I notice a man sitting at a table near the wall.
“Leave us,” the new man orders in a brusque tone. My captor immediately steps outside and closes the door behind him. For some reason his quick acquiescence makes me fear the man before me even more. “Come, sit.” He motions to the chair beside him.
Never taking my eyes from the man, I approach the table, the short chain between the shackles on my ankles making walking difficult. I ease my battered body onto the hard, wooden chair. Biting the inside of my lip, I raise my eyes to my new captor. The man is handsome, with long, flowing, brown hair pooling around his waist. His eyes are an intense shade of dark red…just like Zane’s.
“So, you’re the one my foolish son thought dear enough to take on an entire bandit stronghold. I’m sorry to say that it didn’t work out for him, my dear.” Fresh tears form and run down my face, warming my chilled cheeks. “Oh don’t cry, precious. I’ll take good care of you in my son’s place.” He reaches out and lightly caresses my hair, and I cringe away in revulsion. “You will come to respect me soon enough, my little slave. There will come a time when you will beg your master to touch you.”
He rises and moves behind me. It takes everything in my power to allow him to leave my line of sight. When his hands touch my shoulders, I steel my nerves to keep from flinching since he seems to enjoy my distress.
“Such a strong will you have,” he purrs the words in my ear. “I will thoroughly enjoy breaking it.” His maniacal laughter echoes throughout the room as he crosses back to his chair. “I have a gift for you. We will hang it on the wall in your room to commemorate your new life with me.” He pushes a burlap sack across the table until it’s in front of me. “Come, my dear, open your present.”
With trembling fingers, I untie the string holding the sack closed. Once the string is released, the sack falls open. Bile rushes from my stomach to my throat. Leaning over, I vomit on the floor at my side. Horrible tremors wrack my body. My stomach continues retching uncontrollably. I shut my eyes to block out the hideous sight before me, but the image is seared into my brain and there is no escape. My new master cackles gleefully at my reaction to his ‘gift’. I open my eyes again and find myself staring in horror at the bundle on the table. Zane’s garnet eyes stare back sightlessly from his decapitated head. Something in my mind breaks, and I fall into blissful unconsciousness, my master’s laughter echoing in my ears.

The End
Return to page 37

Thursday, July 13, 2017

New Release: Enigma by Tonya Kuper + Giveaway



Enigma
(Schrodinger’s Consortium #2)

by Tonya Kuper

Publication Date:  July 3, 2017
Publisher:  Entangled Teen 

Worst. Road Trip. Ever.

Escaping with Reid Wentworth should have been fun, but how can I enjoy it when I just (accidentally) killed someone, my mom and brother are in danger, and the Consortium is trying to enslave humanity? (Yeah, they aren’t fooling around.) So feeling something for Reid Wentworth was not part of the plan. Trying to help unite the Resistance against the Consortium means I can’t be distracted by hot boys.

The Resistance secret hideout isn’t exactly the rebel base of my dreams. A traitor there wants me dead, but we have no idea who it is. And with both the Resistance and the Consortium trying to control me, the only one I can trust is Reid. If we’re going to have any chance of protecting my family, controlling my unstable powers, and surviving the clash between the Oculi factions, I’m going to have to catch this traitor. By using myself as bait.

Link to Goodreads:

Purchase Links: 


Other Books in the Series



About the Author


Tonya Kuper is the author of ANOMALY, the first in the Schrodinger's Consortium Series, a young adult science fiction trilogy, released November 4, 2014 by Entangled Teen. She fell for Young Adult lit while earning her Masters degree in Reading Education. She's a mom to two awesome boys, an alt music junkie, a Star Wars nerd, and in love with Sherlock.



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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Dating the It Guy by Krysten Lindsay Hager + $50 Giveaway



Dating the It Guy
by Krysten Lindsay Hager


Emme is a sophomore in high school who starts dating, Brendon Agretti, the popular senior who happens to be a senator's son and well-known for his good looks. Emme feels out of her comfort zone in Brendon's world and it doesn't help that his picture perfect ex, Lauren seems determined to get back into his life along with every other girl who wants to be the future Mrs. Agretti.

Emme is already conflicted due to the fact her last boyfriend cheated on her and her whole world is off kilter with her family issues. Life suddenly seems easier keeping Brendon away and relying on her crystals and horoscopes to guide her. Emme soon starts to realize she needs to focus less on the stars and more on her senses.

Can Emme get over her insecurities and make her relationship work? Life sure is complicated when you're dating the it guy.

 

Excerpt

The next day, I went to the newspaper office to drop off my story. I hoped I wouldn’t run into Lauren, Brendon’s perfect ex, but she was there with her feet up on her desk, talking on the phone. She put up her finger to signal me to wait. There was no place to sit so I stared at the posters on the wall. Lauren was wearing a blue zip-up sweatshirt and sweatpants. Her shiny hair was pulled back in a ponytail (a bouncy one of course), which showed off her diamond earrings. She had some pearly lavender lipstick on, the kind that makes most people look like a corpse, but on her it showed off her flawless complexion and rosy cheeks. Plus, she didn’t need any other makeup with those gray eyes.

I had spent forty-five minutes on my hair and makeup and wore a pair of designer jeans I got on sale and a cute fitted sweater I borrowed from Margaux, yet Lauren was hotter in her sweats and ponytail with hardly any makeup on.

“Sorry, talking to the assistant editor at the Post,” she said. Stupid namedropper—wait the Post? Where I had gotten the internship—the same one taken away from me? “I’m interning there,” she said.

“That’s nice.” Get me out of here. She got my position?

“This is my second time there. I started in the summer, but they wanted me to stay on for the fall. So what can I do for you?” she asked as I tried to keep myself from howling over the unfairness of the universe.

“Here’s the Halloween party story. I e-mailed it to the submission address, but Brendon said you also needed a hard copy.”

“Oh, I thought Brendon was going to write this,” she said.

“He asked me to…is it okay?”

“I guess.” She dropped it in a box and began typing furiously on her laptop.

“You’re welcome.” I hated her. I can’t believe she got my internship at the Post and moved in on my ex-boyfriend. I could just imagine her and Brendon’s life together—it would be like a glossy, preppy perfume ad. Their house would be in a magazine where they’d praise her for her good taste. Then their two perfect children Brendon Jr. and Lily (or whatever rich people name their daughters) would be dressed in perfect little outfits that matched the furniture. Meanwhile, I’d still be trying to work at the Post and wearing designer clothes from the final markdown sale rack at some bargain-basement store.

 

  Praise for Dating the It Guy: “Dating the It Guy is an entertaining story that is as absorbing as it is hilarious.” Reviewed by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers' Favorite

“A satisfying YA romance that is really about growing up and learning how to deal with life.” Writing Pearls book review blog

“There is so much to love about this book. Krysten Lindsay Hager knows how teens think and speak, and she understands why Emme would feel overwhelmed by everything about Brendon - his looks, his popularity, his feelings for her, his exes, his family.” Vox libris: the voice of books book review blog





Author Krysten Lyndsay Hager

Besides mining her teen years and humiliating moments for her novels, Krysten is also a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. Krysten writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends...Forever?, Next Door to a Star, Landry in Like, Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2), and Dating the It Guy. Her debut novel, True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book and the Dayton Book Expo Best Sellers award. Krysten's work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Grand Blanc View, the Bellbrook Times and on Living Dayton.



amazon or paypal$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway Ends 7/23/17 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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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Moonborn by Terry Maggert



Moonborn (Heartborn #2)

by Terry Maggert

Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: June 22nd 2017

Summary from Goodreads:

Livvy Foster has a new heart, home, and a place in the powerful halls of House Windhook. The fall of Sliver was only the beginning of a civil war that sees angels from across the sky challenge each other to lead a world in which the past and the future are connected by a storm crafted from time, ambition, and power.

When House Selinus attempts to bend the light of days in order to become the supreme power in an apocalyptic future, they confront a goddess who is older than time itself-- and she'll stop at nothing to get the one soul who escaped her deadly grasp: Livvy.

With deceit, war and love swirling in the clouds above a shattered world that was once Livvy's home, she'll be asked to do something a girl with a broken heart never thought possible.

Fight for Windhook. Fight for her world.

Take wing with Livvy, one heartbeat at a time.




Buy Moonborn on Amazon! (Free on Kindle Unlimited)


Book One:
Heartborn
Release Date: September 1st 2016

Summary from Goodreads:

Her guardian angel was pushed. Keiron was never meant to be anything other than a hero. Born high above in a place of war and deception, he is Heartborn, a being of purity and goodness in a place where violence and deceit are just around every corner.

His disappearance will spark a war he cannot see, for Keiron has pierced the light of days to save a girl he has never met, for reasons he cannot understand. Livvy Foster is seventeen, brave, and broken. With half a heart, she bears the scars of a lifetime of pain and little hope of survival.

Until Keiron arrives.In the middle of a brewing war and Livvy’s failing heart, Keiron will risk everything for Livvy, because a Heartborn’s life can only end in one way: Sacrifice.

Fall with Livvy and Keiron as they seek the truth about her heart, and his power, and what it means to love someone who will give their very life to save you.





Buy Heartborn on Amazon! (FREE on Kindle Unlimited)


Excerpt

Green. That was the first sign that Keiron was somewhere and somewhen else. The drab grays of home were gone, replaced by a vibrant, lush promise of springtime. Everything in his vision was on the cusp of exploding into action as the days grew longer, warmer, and alive. With exaggerated delicacy, he moved his head slowly, like it was full of water because the fall had been long and his push backward into the light of days left him sore and muzzy. Whatever he’d expected, it hadn’t been a body filled with dull aches and the promise of bruises to come.
            “Maybe I’ll just sit here until my head is clear.” The wind freshened with a promise of rain, squelching the idea of inactivity. In stages, he dragged himself painfully upright, wondering for the first time why he hadn’t merely glided all the way to his landing. As he rose, his arms began to pinwheel in a wild gyration, ending only when he pitched face forward into the moist grass with an inelegant thud.
            The only time he’d ever fallen in his entire life had been when he was a child, before he learned how to open—
            His wings were gone. A searing jolt of fear raged through him, spiking into every corner of his body and ending in the most delicate place it could.
            His mind.
            He shook, breath coming in ragged gasps while reaching desperately over each shoulder to find nothing but empty air. He was stripped, defenseless, and maimed.
            He was broken. He was ordinary.
            And ordinary was not good enough to save her.
            Only twice in his life had stories of the wingless come to him; in each case, the piteous creature had been a criminal who the council banished for a shadowy reason so heinous it was kept from the children. But this—his hands waved in a weak rhythm as if they too could not believe his condition. He was, what, exactly? Wingless? No, that could not be, as he’d committed no crime. Garrick, his brother and apparent rival, had pushed him from House Windhook. Keiron’s thoughts and intentions were far from criminal, and could be no reason for banishment, let alone stealing his wings.
            Still, he sat, pained with the understanding that this was truly a one-way trip. His cause had gone from noble to permanent, and he knew that the vistas of House Windhook were now little more than a memory.
            He would save her or die. It was simple as that. 


About the Author
Left-handed. Father of an apparent nudist. Husband to a half-Norwegian. Herder of cats and dogs. Lover of pie. I write books. I've had an unhealthy fascination with dragons since the age of-- well, for a while. Native Floridian. Current Tennessean. Location subject to change based on insurrection, upheaval, or availability of coffee. Nine books and counting, with no end in sight. You've been warned.

Author Links:
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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Intrinsic by Cortney Pearson



Intrinsic (The Forbidden Doors #2)

by Cortney Pearson

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Release Date: June 12th 2017

Summary:

Some boys are better left unkissed. Some books shouldn’t be read. And some doors should remain closed.The bookstore where I work harkens back to another time—one of flapper dresses and cloche hats, of walking canes and tailored suits, and of boys with impeccable manners and ice-blue eyes. Boys like my coworker, Nikolay.

But the store also holds secrets—a formidable door missing its knob, a mystery bound in magic books, and the haunted look in Nikolay’s eyes. And there are crows that follow me home. Crows only I can see.

I can’t tell whether the crows are a threat or a warning. But one thing is certain, I’m in too deep to walk away. There is something behind that door in the bookstore. And it’s the key to getting the crows to stop, before they turn into something far more sinister.

Intrinsic is a mystical venture through ink and time, deliciously eerie, with enough angst, enigmas, and romantic charge to make your nails bite into your palms. Don't miss this captivating, standalone companion to Cortney Pearson's Phobic.




Buy on Amazon

The previous book in the companion series (click on image for Goodreads link):



About the Author
Cortney Pearson is a mother, a musician, and a lover of all things pink and sparkly. She is the author of Phobic, about doors that shouldn't be opened, and the Stolen Tears series, about an enchanted vial of tears and the girl chosen to wield them. 

Cortney lives with her husband and three sons in a small Idaho farm town. She loves chocolate, romantic books, and classical music and believes anything can be made better with a book tucked away for those just-in-case times.
Author Links:
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GIVEAWAY:

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Cover Reveal! The Dark Lands by Christina Bauer


The Dark Lands 

Christina Bauer

(Angelbound Origins #5)

Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: September 25th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Nineteen-year-old Myla Lewis is loving life—she’s now a wife, mother, and Queen of the Thrax. Oh yeah, and being a super-powerful demigoddess who moves souls into Heaven or Hell doesn’t suck, either. In fact, everything is pretty much awesome.
Until something craptastic happens.
Her honorary older brother Walker enters the Dark Lands, home to the rule-loving ghouls, and vanishes without a trace.
Now it’s up to Myla to solve the mystery of Walker’s disappearance. Of course, Myla likes interacting with ghouls about as much as elective dental surgery. To make matters harder, everyone thinks that Walker is simply taking a well-deserved vacation. But Myla and her Angelbound love, Lincoln, both suspect that the ghoul Oligarchy took Walker in order to somehow release Lucifer, the ex-King of the Angels and an all around nut job who really needs to stay locked up.
Long story short, Myla and Lincoln have just two days to rescue their good friend and stop Lucifer from taking over the after-realms. Even for them, this may be a too-tall order, especially when Myla’s own father allows his past friendship with Lucifer to threaten Walker’s future.

Previous books in the series:


Author Bio:
Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers.
Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.
Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.
Be the first to know about new releases from Christina by signing up for her newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/CBupdates 

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Live Like You Mean It

I'm editing a manuscript right now that really puts life in perspective. We never know from breath to breath if it will be our last. When we go to sleep at night, will we wake up in the morning? Of course that brings back past trauma of that awful childhood prayer my mother had me recite-- "...If I should die before I wake..." Seriously? What five-year-old should be reciting that. But I digress...

For a while YOLO was my favorite acronym because I do like to live in the moment, to draw joy from even the simple things in life. Until a friend of mine pointed out that YOLO should instill the desire to take things slow and carefully, lest you lose this one life. There's always a buzz-kill somewhere lurking out there. I tried to explain my version of YOLO, that life is too short for regrets and grudges, that we should try to LIVE every day of our lives yet still plan for the future. Yeah, she didn't get it. So YOLO kinda died that day.

Perhaps carpe diem is a better motto. Seize the day. Forgive someone. Help a person in need. Stop and smell the flowers or gasoline or barbeque or cheap cologne-- whatever your neighborhood smells like. Hug your grandma or grandpa. Tell your parents you love them. Let your SO and kids know how special they are. Pet a dog-- pet every dog you see. Kiss a cat. Whatever makes you feel good. Seizing the day doesn't have to mean excitement and travel, dinners out or expensive shopping. It's enjoying the little things in life that truly make life worth living.