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Oscar Wilde

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Some history doesn’t stay buried. - Rogue Alliance by Michelle Bellon

Description:

While still a child in Redding, California, Shyla Ericson killed her father to end years of abuse. She’d left town shortly thereafter, changed her name, and started a new life, eventually becoming a highly decorated DEA agent. 

But some history doesn’t stay buried. 

When Shyla goes undercover to bring down drug kingpin Victor Champlain, the case takes her back to a town that hasn't forgotten her, and to a past she thought she’d left behind. 

Then, she meets Brennan Miles, a genetically altered kidnap victim, who has been turned into a weaponized super-human. Victor helped Brennan escape from a hidden genetics research facility known only as The Institute, where he'd been held and experimented on for years. In return for his freedom, Brennan now works for Victor as his bodyguard. 

Shyla is drawn to Brennan's strength, and to his humanity. Even after she discovers his secret — he must have human blood to survive. 

Shyla knows she can’t take down Champlain by going through Brennan — he’s too strong — and he’s loyal to Victor.

AUTHOR's INTERVIEW

In one sentence, what is your book about?
On opposite sides of the law, Shyla and Brennan learn each other’s secrets…that changes everything.

When did it come out? Who is the Publisher? Any notable awards or praise for it?
Rogue Alliance came out last December, published by Pandamoon Publishing. It won a literary award from the Wise Bear Book Awards in the suspense category.

What inspired you to write this book?
The idea for this book came to me while I was driving. I tend to think a lot while in the car (I’m a good driver, I swear!) I was thinking over the vampire phenomenon and then suddenly this scene came to me. In that one scene I got a strong sense of the two main characters and what their struggles were, both with themselves and with one another. It was a very intense scene and I desperately wanted to write a story around it but at first I was very hesitant because I wasn’t inclined to write another vampire book. It’s been done. But, as most writers understand, the story was itching to be told so I asked myself how I could write a vampire type of story in a way that has never been done before. 

I feel like I achieved that with this book. To quote my last review, “Bellon reinvents the idea of the modern vampire…fantastic novel worth every minute.”

How did you get your first break as an author?
In 2009 I began writing my first novel. I shocked myself when I actually finished it six months later. Little did I know, that my work had barely begun. That book went through about five rewrites and multiple edits, but still, I was proud to have made it that far. As I started querying agents and receiving rejections I also started writing another book. During that emotional and draining process, I also submitted my book to a few small presses. Two offered to publish it and so I made the decision to sign with a small press in London, of all places. It was a great experience. 

What has been the biggest surprise or learning experience you’ve seen through the process of seeing your book(s) get published?
The biggest surprise was learning that I have these stories inside of me and the ability to get them all out onto paper. The biggest learning experience has been to learn to take the good with the bad. Being a writer has got to be one of the hardest jobs for the ego that someone can choose. It takes you on a roller coaster of emotions, ups and downs, so that you question your every move, even your sanity. One moment you can feel amazing when you achieve a new goal or receive an incredible review then the next day or even the next hour, you feel lower than low as the self-doubt creeps in when you realize how far you still have to go to make a name for yourself in the industry. Don’t get me started on statistics for success in this business. 

Tell me about a fun moment or proud experience you’ve had with your book and readers since the book got published.
Since this book has come out I’ve been floored by the overwhelming response from readers. The book has not had a ton of marketing so has not had high exposure but even so, every single review I’ve had has been so incredible. The feedback has been everything that I’d hoped it would be and more. Readers love Brennan and Shyla and are waiting for book 2. 

What are you doing to reach out to readers and book enthusiasts?
I do everything that I possibly can. One thing I’ve learned is that what may work for one author may not work for another, especially from one genre to the next. I work as a registered nurse for my day job so I don’t have as much time to dedicate to marketing as I’d like but I grasp any opportunity that I can and I’m always looking for new venues. I do a lot of interviews, guest posts, and blogtalkradio, as well as participating in giveaways.

I’ve also recently launched my latest book, JADED, so I intend to spend time promoting that as well. It’s a contemporary romance novel.

What is the one thing that you hope readers take away after reading your book?
I want readers to walk away from this book feeling as if they truly just read something completely new and gripping. I want them to think about the characters long after they’ve laid the book down. 

If someone were to tell you one thing before you started writing, what do you wish it had been?
I wish I had known more about the marketing aspect. I’ve had to learn the hard way what it takes to get your book in the hands of readers and I always advise aspiring authors to do their homework on what it will take to market their work. Writing the book is one thing. Marketing it is a whole other beast.

What is your overall impression of the writing industry? Any advice you would like to give to the aspiring authors?
Write what you want. Never. Give. Up.

What are the ten things people don’t know about you?
Please, see here
About the author:
Michelle Bellon lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their four children. She drinks ungodly amounts of coffee and has an addiction to chapstick. She works at a surgery center as a registered nurse and in her spare time writes novels. She writes in the genres of romance suspense, young adult, women’s fiction, and literary fiction. She has won three literary awards. 


Never before has the risk of failure been so high. - Oden (The Invasion Trilogy #3) by Jessica Frances

Published: October 18th, 2014

Description:

Mattie:
A war is coming.
It will not be an Earth bound battle yet humans will have to fight for their survival.
This is no longer about fighting to take our planet back, this is a fight for our society, our way of life.
However I will not be fighting in this war, I have another I must battle against, to stop him and keep myself, Marduke and our child safe and out of his clutches. I will do anything to protect my family from this evil maniac.
Jeprow doesn't know of human’s strengths. He doesn't know how resourceful we are. How brave and cunning and smart we can be.
He thinks he’s already won and the battle between us is over, but he has no idea who he’s messing with.


Marduke:
Oden is under attack and suddenly there is more at risk than just my own life. Mattie and our baby now rely on me and I can’t let them down
My new family is trapped in a warzone and I must protect them. 
But I must still protect my people, my family’s legacy and the leadership that holds it all together.
If we lose this war, then the humans lose as well. 
We are in this fight together and the losses on both sides will be many.
Never before have I been under such pressure, never before has the risk of failure been so high.

What happens when they end up sacrificing more than they ever intended, if they lose who they are and what they are fighting for?
Can they move on from all they have lost, forgive each other for what they have been forced to do?
Most importantly, can they ever learn to forgive themselves?
Who will win the war and who loses everything?

EXCERPT




“I really can’t do this right now.” Her voice breaks, which in turn, breaks my heart. “Please, can you just leave?”

“I’m sorry,” I say sadly, moving to stand in front of her and crouching down, taking her hands that are resting on her lap and overlapping them with mine. “I never meant to hurt you. I will do whatever it takes to make this right between us.”

“What if there isn’t anything that can make this right? What if, when I look at you now, all I see is pain and suffering that humans are about to go through and have already been through?”

“I’m hoping that, perhaps, you’ll be able to look at me and see the man you once saw before.”

“I’m not sure if he even existed now. Did you always know you’d use humans this way? That we wouldn’t have any rights on Oden? Did you know that we were as good as dead when you invaded us?”

“I couldn’t have predicted Jeprow and the Claws. This wasn’t planned, and right now, this is our last resort. If we don’t have a distraction, then there is no chance of us slowing down the Claws. More people will die, and that will include humans. They’ve already taken over most of Oden. We’re losing this fight. Our hinemas are being destroyed. If we don’t act now, within days, Oden will be lost.”

She sighs, her eyes looking sad, and her shoulders sag. “I’m tired, Marduke. I don’t hate you, but I hate the choice that you have made. It forces me to make my own choice, one that neither of us likes. I guess, we are doomed to always be unhappy now.”

“I want that family I envisioned. I want our baby—our son—to have that happy family. He is ours and you are mine.”

“I can’t be with someone who thinks my race is expendable. Riley is part human, too, you know? When you sentence my people to death, you’re sentencing his, too.”



About the author:

Born and raised in South Australia, Jessica spends her days working in a bakery, afternoons catching up on lost sleep, and nights reading and writing. After having the Taken Trilogy taking up space in her head for years, she was relieved to have a break and her mind clear. But apparently the free rent was announced to the world and Mattie and her friends heard, because now she is hearing their new voices and a whole new story. The Invasion Trilogy was then born.


Author's Guveaway
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The victims will wish for death, but will not find it - Sanctuary by Pauline Creeden

Published: September 13th, 2014

Description:

In a heart-racing thriller described as Falling Skies meets The Walking Dead, Jennie struggles to find a safe place for what’s left of her family. But it seems as though there is no place sacred, no place secure. First the aliens attacked the sun, making it dimmer, weaker, and half what it used to be. Then they attacked the water supply, killing one-third of Earth’s population with a bitter contaminate. And when they unleash a new terror on humankind, the victims will wish for death, but will not find it…When the world shatters to pieces around her, will Jennie find the strength she needs to keep going?

It’s an epic, stunning adventure with some Christian elements involved, and a definite sci-fi twist with aliens and zombies abounding. A great chilling read! - Goodreads

Sanctuary defies placement in one genre. It is post-apocalyptic, horror, suspense, thriller, science fiction rolled into one. And add Christian to that. - Goodreads

I really enjoyed the plot. It unfolded quickly and kept me on my toes. It was easy to follow and I loved the ending. I cannot wait to read more. I pray for a sequel! - Goodreads

EXCERPT



Jennie filled the glass and set it on the counter. She needed an ibuprofen.

As she reached up to the top shelf in the pantry, a vibration started in her chest. Holding the white bottle in her hand, she turned around confused.

Like a jet when it flew too low, the rumble increased in intensity as it approached. Jennie watched the glass tremble on the counter top for a moment before fear clenched her stomach. “MOM!?”

She rushed to the sink and looked out the window, but her mother wasn’t in the garden any more. Jennie barreled through the kitchen, the vibrations in her chest like bass on a stereo. “MOM?”

When Jennie reached the back door, she saw them. Four large dog-like creatures with pinched faces like bulldogs and lion-like manes. They snarled, and one of them leapt at the window on the top half of the door when it saw her. Jennie jumped back and fell hard on the cold tile floor. The bottle of painkiller bounced across the kitchen tiles. The creature slammed against the window a second time, cracking it. She blinked hard. Her heart sunk, and the hairs on her arms stood on end. A horrendous gargling howl rent the air, causing a shiver down her spine. She held her breath and waited for the creature to slam into the door again.

“What on earth?” she whispered to herself.

When the third attempt never came, she scrambled toward the door. Blinking hard, she used the door knob to help herself stand. Out the cracked window, her mother was still out of sight, but the last of the dogs headed across the field behind her backyard.

“MOM?” Jennie called out.

The rumbling faded, and the vibrations in her chest receded with the dogs. She pulled open the door and rushed onto their back deck. “Mom, where are you?”

When she reached the banister, she looked over the side. Her mom lay sprawled with one hand on the lattice. Blood gushed from Mom’s leg and her opposite arm. Jennie’s ears rang and flooded with every beat of her heart.

Jennie didn’t know how she got to the second floor of her house, but she found herself shaking her sleeping father. How had he slept through the rumbling? “Outside, it’s Mom…”

Her father leapt from the bed. Mickey, her little brother, lay asleep and undisturbed. Dad ran down the stairs and outside in his flannel pajama bottoms and white t-shirt. He scooped Mom up to his chest and carried her inside. Blood stained his shirt in crimson.

“Jennie, call 911!” Her father had said it at least three times before it finally registered in her brain.

She pulled the cell phone from her pocket, but it refused to connect. With a groan, she grabbed the cordless from the wall receiver, glad her heart stopped pounding in her head so she could hear.

“All operators are busy at this time,” a mechanical voice deadpanned, “Please stay on the line, and the next available operator will take your call.”

“They have me on hold, Dad. Should I hang up and try again?” She held the phone in both hands away from her face.

“No, just stay on the line.” Her father lifted the shredded jeans from Mom’s leg. “It looks like a shark bite. What on earth happened?”

Jennie took in the damage through tear-filled eyes. A huge chunk was taken from her mother’s calf, exposing the fibrous tendons that covered the bone in her leg. A bloodstain grew on the beige couch. Was she going to die? Panic rose up.

“What happened, Jennie?”

“I...I...They looked like lions, or dogs, or something. The rumbling shook the whole house…I tried to go outside to get Mom, but—” A sob blocked her throat.

Her father grabbed a throw pillow and held it against the leg. Mom’s exposed forearm laid across her chest in much the same condition as her calf.

“Grab me the duct tape.”

Jennie suddenly remembered the phone, put it back to her ear, and headed to the hall closet. She reached for the shelf above the jackets and grabbed the junk basket next to the toolbox.

“Please stay on the line. An operator will be with you shortly.”

She shoved the phone in the crook of her neck and fished through the box. Half the contents dropped around her feet. Who cares? When her fingers wrapped around the silver duct tape, a short-lived relief sent prickles down her arms. But the urgency gripped her chest in less than a heart beat, and she threw the junk basket on the ground with the rest of the items.

“Hurry, Jennie!” her father called from the living room. “And turn on the TV. Maybe they’ll have something about what’s going on.”

She handed her father the tape and turned toward the TV. The mechanical voice on the phone came through again, followed by more easy listening.

When she clicked on the TV, the shouting and wailing began before the picture warmed up on the screen. A sideways picture of New York City broke through, with the shaky voice of the newscaster voicing over.

“What we are watching now – I can’t believe it – is live footage of Times Square,” the newscaster’s voice paused for a deep breath. “We’ve lost our man on the scene and his camera man to what appears to be some kind of new alien creature. Just a short half-hour ago, the doors to the ship that hovered above Central Park opened and these dog-like creatures flooded out.”

Jennie couldn’t pull her eyes from the screen. She straightened and dropped the phone on the hardwood. The battery popped out and skidded across the floor.



About the author:

Pauline Creeden is a horse trainer from Virginia, but writing is her therapy.

In her fiction, she creates worlds that are both familiar and strange, often pulling the veil between dimensions. She becomes the main character in each of her stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long.


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The lines between fake and real are blurred - Unstrung by Kendra C. Highley

Publication Date: October 17th, 2014

Description:

Lexa Pate, seventeen-year-old thief extraordinaire, has burned a bridge or two in her life. You don’t make a career out of stealing other people’s property without making enemies. 

When a risky job goes from bad to worse, Lexa and her adopted family find themselves on Precipice Corporation’s hit list because they’ve accidentally stolen the wrong thing—plans for a new model of genetically-engineered super humans. Now every bounty hunter, cop on the take, and snitch in the city is after them.

Lexa’s world crumbles around her as she fights to keep her family safe even as someone strolls out of her forgotten past. Quinn says he knows who Lexa really is, but can she trust a stranger she met while robbing his boss? 

More importantly, does she really want to know what Quinn has to tell her?

Based on the fairy tale Pinocchio, UNSTRUNG takes you into a near future world where the lines between fake and real are blurred, all that’s pristine isn’t always innocent, and being a criminal isn’t always wrong.

GUEST POST
Do the Mash, The Genre Mash

When I first started blogging about UNSTRUNG, a reader asked, “How many genres are you trying to hit?”

It's a fair question.
See, Unstrung isn't just a dystopian. In fact, I'd call it dystopian light, as most of the citizens are happy and well fed, despite a restrictive society. Many people are allowed to marry as they choose, have good jobs, and nice places to live. There is unrest between the upper/middle class and the lower class (and the outcasts, but that's for book 2). But the biggest class disparity is that engineered humans (artificials to the polite, Bolts to the less polite) are utilized for manual labor to keep "real" humans from having to work too hard. They are a marginalized, slave class, not considered to have thoughts, feelings or opinions of their own. They live where the corporation tells them, they work where the corporation tells them and their freewill is curtailed.

So...wait, is this dystopian? Or is it SciFi?
Yes.
Why both? Because this book belongs to a branch of SciFi called Cyberpunk. If you click the link and read the description, you'll see why could could call it both a SciFi and a dystopian.

In more concise terms:
"Classic cyberpunk characters were marginalized, alienated loners who lived on the edge of society in generally dystopic futures where daily life was impacted by rapid technological change..." – Lawrence Person

My heroine, Lexa, is a thief specializing in the acquisition of high-tech information. Her best friend is a hacker and her boss is a former security chief from the governing corporation in town. She's an orphan who has no past and her "family" is a band of thieves and malcontents. In the book, we have a class struggle, we have a struggle between low life and high tech, and we have the struggle between corporate control and private citizens. So...Cyberpunk.

Famous cyberpunks include Blade Runner and The Matrix. While Unstrung isn't as dark as Blade Runner, it has things in common with it, as well as with Ron Moore's Battlestar Gallatica, The Matrix, and Sneakers—my all-time favorite hacker/caper/heist movie. If you like dystopians like The Hunger Games or Divergent, you might find Lexa your kind of character. If you like SciFi/Fairytale mash-ups like The Lunar Chronicles, you might see parallels between UNSTRUNG and Pinocchio. 

It might be a different kind of story, but I had a blast writing it.

About the author:
Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to two self-important and high-powered cats. This, according to the cats, is her most important job. She believes chocolate is a basic human right, running a 10k is harder than it sounds, and that everyone should learn to drive a stick-shift. She loves monsters, vacations, baking and listening to bad electronica.

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What is the connection - The Luthier's Apprentice by Mayra Calvani

Description: 

Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840), one of the greatest violinists who ever lived and rumored to have made a pact with the devil, has somehow transferred unique powers to another… 

When violinists around the world mysteriously vanish, 16-year-old Emma Braun takes notice. But when her beloved violin teacher disappears… Emma takes charge. With Sherlock Holmes fanatic, not to mention gorgeous Corey Fletcher, Emma discovers a parallel world ruled by an ex-violinist turned evil sorceress who wants to rule the music world on her own terms.

But why are only men violinists captured and not women? What is the connection between Emma's family, the sorceress, and the infamous Niccolò Paganini? 

Emma must unravel the mystery in order to save her teacher from the fatal destiny that awaits him. And undo the curse that torments her family—before evil wins and she becomes the next luthier's apprentice…

MB's INTERVIEW
Thank you, Mrs. Mayra Calvani
What do you think young readers look for in books and what do you do to meet their expectations? 
Young readers wish to be entertained. If only for a few hours, they want to escape from reality and, though the characters, live exciting or unusual or romantic or scary situations they wouldn’t be able to live otherwise. To meet their expectations I try to keep a sense of adventure and write the best book I can possibly create. I try to keep a sense of wonder and discovery as I work on a story. I figure if I’m surprised, chances are readers will be, too. 

Even though The Luthier’s Apprentice is a fantasy story, connections with a certain period of time and a musician are declared from the first line. How accurate should historical facts be kept in such a story? Why? 
I did a lot of research on Paganini. Obviously, I had to keep names and dates accurate. All the stuff in my book about his charisma, his mysterious persona, and his addiction to gambling are true. Rumors about his pact with the devil are also true. Of course, for the sake of plot, they’re more than just rumors in my story. Historical facts must be accurate for the story to ring true, even though you may put that historical character in fictional situations. 

What inspired you to write about (or incorporate) Niccolo Paganini, the Devil’s Fiddler, into your mythology? 
My daughter, now 16, has been playing the violin for over 10 years. I also studied it for 5, so violin music has always played an important part on our lives. From the first time I discovered Paganini, I was enthralled by all the myth surrounding him. He was tall and lanky and wore dark clothes, he had an incredible charisma, he played with such skill that people thought he’d made a pact with the devil. Because of his rumored association with the devil, he was denied a Christian burial. Should I say more? You can read more about Paganini here.

Sad but true, the majority of readers are women (of any ages). What could you do to gain male readers and where The Luthier’s Apprentice stands from this point of view
Actually, though my protagonist is female, her co-star is a boy. Here’s a little about him: Corey Fletcher, 17, of American and Russian descendance, happens to be Emma’s toughest opponent at the upcoming violin competition. And whereas Emma is a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, Corey is a mad fanatic of the detective, often quoting him word by word. He joins Emma in her pursuit of solving the mystery of the kidnapped violinists. Unbeknown to Emma, however, he has his own hidden agenda.

EXCERPT

Chapter One

Brussels, Belgium
Present day

Sixteen-year old Emma Braun got off the school bus and strode down Stockel Square toward her home. She glanced up at the October sky and wrapped her wool scarf tighter around her neck. Heavy dark clouds threatened a downpour. 

As she passed a newspaper stand, the headlines on The Brussels Gazette caught her attention: 

ANOTHER VIOLINIST VANISHES!

Emma stopped. For a moment she could only stare. She dug into her jacket pocket for coins and bought a copy.

The newspaper article left her stunned. Not only because three well-known violinists had gone missing in the last several months, but because the latest one was her teacher, Monsieur Dupriez.

The news story seemed so hard to believe, she stopped at the next street corner to read it one more time. 

It was the last week of October, and the shops and homes were lightly adorned with Halloween decorations. Pumpkins and Jack-o-lanterns sat on doorsteps. Witches, broomsticks, and black cats hunkered down in windows and shops. Just last evening, Emma had sauntered along this street with her best friend Annika, unconcerned and looking forward to Halloween. Now, everything had turned dark and ominous. 

The strange incidents she had experienced for the past two weeks added to her stress. 

At first she had thought they were a string of coincidences, but not anymore. While scowling at obnoxious Billie Lynam during school recess, for instance, she wished he would fall flat on his face… and half a minute later, her wish was granted. On various occasions she guessed people’s thoughts before they spoke. And yesterday, on her way home from school, she accurately guessed the meal her mom had left on the table for her. 

Was she some kind of a psychic? If so, why now? People didn’t develop powers like these overnight. Did they? 

She hadn’t told her mom about her new abilities yet; only Annika knew. Maybe she would tell her mom today, after she shared the news about Monsieur Dupriez. 

As Emma approached her home, she quickened her step. By the time she reached the door she was almost running. She raced into the hallway and dropped her book bag on the floor.

“Mom!” she called, looking in the kitchen, then in the living room. The house was silent. “Mom!” she called again, racing up the stairs to the bedrooms. Entering her mother’s room, Emma found her sitting very still on the bed with a crumpled letter in her hand. 

When her mom saw her, she hastily put the crumpled piece of paper into her pocket and rose from the bed. Her arched brows were furrowed with anxiety. 

Emma momentarily forgot the newspaper article. “Are you okay, Mom?”

“I’ve just received some unsettling news,” her mom said. “I must make a trip to see your Aunt Lili. She’s ill. She…I don’t know how long I’ll be gone.”

Aunt Lili? Emma frowned. More surprises. Emma had never met her mom’s eccentric only sister, who lived alone in the Hungarian mountains secluded in an old chateau surrounded by dark woods—or so her mom said. Though again, her mom hardly ever mentioned her. 

“What’s wrong with Aunt Lili?” Emma asked. “Can’t I come with you?” She had always been intrigued by her mysterious aunt. 

“No. You’ll stay with Grandpa. You enjoy working with him, don’t you?” Her brown eyes met Emma’s before turning away, and though her voice sounded matter-of-fact, Emma detected a trace of ambivalence. 

Emma sighed. She loved violin making with a passion, but Grandpa was a bitter taskmaster. No matter how much she tried to please him, she never could. Maybe that’s why her mom often seemed so reluctant about her apprenticeship. 

“I’d rather go with you,” Emma said. “Plus, next week is holiday.” All Saints holiday week—or Toussaint, as they called it here—almost always coincided with Halloween. 

“That’s out of the question. I don’t know how long I’ll be gone. Besides, you can’t miss your violin lessons, not with the Christmas competition at the academy coming up soon.”

“I’m not so sure about that,” Emma said gravely, extending the newspaper.

Her mom took it. “What’s this?”

“This is why I came running up the stairs.”

Her mom read the headlines. She gasped and looked at Emma. When she finished reading, she sat on the edge of the mattress and stared into space. “Oh, my God...” she whispered. 

Emma sat next to her mom. “It says Monsieur Dupriez disappeared in his study. The doors and windows were locked from the inside. The police don’t have any explanation. How can this happen? It’s not logical. It’s not humanly possible.” 

“No, not humanly possible…” 

“Just like the other three—that German violinist, the French one, the American. Nobody has explained their disappearances. Who would want to kidnap violinists?” When her mom didn’t answer, she began to gnaw at her fingernail.

As if by reflex, her mom pulled Emma’s hand away from her mouth.

“Sorry,” Emma mumbled. “I’m just worried about him.”

“Poor Madame Dupriez. We must visit her. She must be in quite a state.”

“Can you call her now?”

Her mom sighed. “I will. In a moment.” She looked at Emma, her features softening. Gently, she smoothed Emma’s glossy chestnut locks and side fringe away from her face. “Don’t worry, everything will be fine. You mustn’t be afraid.”

“Afraid? Why would I be afraid?”

“I mean, about Monsieur Dupriez.” Her mom appeared flustered.

“I’m not afraid. I’m worried, and angry. I want to find out what happened to him. Without him, I don’t even want to take part in the competition.” 

Monsieur Dupriez had been Emma’s teacher since she was four years old. But more than teacher, he was her mentor.

“You will do your best at the competition—with or without Monsieur Dupriez. Do you hear me?” her mom said. Then her voice softened. “Listen, darling, I know how close you are to Monsieur Dupriez, but you cannot allow his disappearance to destroy your chances at the competition. I’m not asking you to win, only to do your best. You have great talent, a gift, and your duty is to use it to the best of your ability. Never forget this. Monsieur Dupriez would never want you to forget this.” 

“You still haven’t told me what’s wrong with Aunt Lili,” Emma said, changing the conversation. “Why must you go to her now, after all these years?”

Looking into Emma’s face, her mom hesitated, as if unable to decide what—or how much—to say. “You know she’s always been ill, a recluse. She…” She rose from the bed and walked to the window, then opened the curtain. It had started raining, the drops pelted against the glass. “This time it’s serious. She may die.”

Emma couldn’t help feeling a twinge of suspicion. She hated distrusting her mom, whom she loved more than anything in the world, but this time her mom was lying. Emma trusted that feeling, another of her freaky new abilities. She felt an overwhelming urge to chew her fingernails, but tried to control herself. For her mom, a violinist’s hands were a work of art.

“But what’s wrong with her? What kind of disease does she have?” Emma insisted. 

“Her heart is very weak.” Her mom turned away from the window to face Emma. Her voice was laced with impatience. 

And again Emma thought: She’s lying.

“Please don’t worry about it,” her mom went on in a lighter tone. “I’ll try to come back soon.”

“How soon?”

“As soon as I can manage.”

“Grandpa is always in such a nasty mood,” Emma complained.

“Well, that isn’t news, is it?” Her mom stared down at the floor, as if absorbed by her own thoughts. After a pause, she added, “He’s old and his back always hurts. You know that.” 

“I love Grandpa, but he’s so freaking…” She tried to come up with the right word. Bizarre. Instead she said, “Mysterious. You know, with his violins.”

Her mom looked at Emma and frowned, as if waiting for her to say more.

“You know what I mean, Mom. With that room at the top of the stairs. The one that’s always locked.”

Her mom’s features hardened. “He keeps his most valuable pieces in there. You must never disobey him. He would be very disappointed.”

“Who said I would go in there?” Emma asked, trying to sound innocent. If there was something she intended to do, it was going inside that room. Once she’d almost been successful. For some crazy reason, Grandpa had forgotten to lock it one day. But the instant she touched the doorknob, he had called her from the bottom of the stairs, his wrinkled features twisted into a mask that had left her frozen. He had appeared enraged and afraid at the same time.

“When are you leaving?” Emma asked, shaking off the past to focus on the present issue.

“As soon as possible. Tomorrow, probably. I’ll get the plane tickets today.”

“Mom...”

“Emma, please. If you’re going to complain or say anything negative, I don’t want to hear it.”

Fine. Obviously, this wasn’t the best time to bring up her new psychic powers. She headed to the door.

“Where are you going?” her mom asked.

“To my room.”

“I’ll call Madame Dupriez to see if we may visit her after dinner. In the meantime, I want you to pack. You’re moving to Grandpa’s tomorrow.” 

In her room, Emma dragged her suitcase from the top shelf in the closet and set it on the floor. 

“Hi, Sweetie,” she said to Blackie, her rabbit. “Want to get some exercise?” She opened the cage door so Blackie could hop out and roam about her room. Blackie was housebroken, and smart as a cat—or close to it. 

She stared at the elegant taffeta gown hanging from her wardrobe door, a strapless design a la Anne Sophie Mutter she’d already bought for the upcoming violin competition. 

She sighed.

Slumped on the bed, Emma wondered for the umpteenth time about Monsieur Dupriez’s strange disappearance. 

Where could he be? 



About the author:
Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has penned over ten books for children and adults in genres ranging from picture books to nonfiction to paranormal fantasy novels. She’s had over 300 articles, short stories, interviews and reviews published in magazines such as The Writer, Writer's Journal and Bloomsbury Review, among others. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, she now resides in Brussels, Belgium.


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Face to face with that reality - The Fighter (Foundation #2) by Kira Adams

Published: October 18th, 2014

Description:

Junior year was supposed to be some of the best times of his life. Instead, Jace Austin lost not only his mother, but also his identical twin brother. After time to heal and grieve, Jace was able to confront his inner demons, and open himself up to love.

Senior year is shaping up to be more of the same; another day, another roller coaster. His father believes Jace is to blame for the deaths in their family; drinking himself numb. He can’t play the hero all the time, and one day soon Jace is going to come face to face with that reality—and let’s face it, it won’t be pretty.

Overall I thought that it was a fabulous read! I am anxious to read more and I hope that you wont stop after this book because you have a real talent for creating relatable and engrossing stories! - Goodreads

This is defiantly worth a read, it kept me interested from the off, but you have to read book one first r you will have no clue as to what’s going on at times. Kira is an exceptional writer who not only writes a great story but also includes some lovely lyrics, which is a treat in itself. I would definitely recommend her work having read all of her books and I am never disappointed. - Goodreads

EXCERPT



I took the few last remaining steps toward Peyton, closing the distance between us. “There isn’t any other person I would want to experience all of this with than you.” I reached my hand up to her face, first tucking some stray hairs behind her ear, and then cupping her cheek.

She leaned into my hand with her face, closing her eyes, enjoying the caress. I couldn’t remember the last time we had been able to enjoy the closeness of one another without a care in the world. “God, you have no idea how much I have missed you.”

She opened her eyes quickly, staring intently into mine. “Jace, I’m standing right in front of you.”

I dropped my hand from her face and then turned away from her slowly. “I know, but I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff these past two years to keep us apart. None of it was intentional, believe me…but I wish I could get that time back every day.”

“You know I forgive you for all of that,” Peyton replied softly, putting herself yet again within my eyesight.

“I know…but it doesn’t excuse my actions. It took me so long to come to terms with my feelings with you originally, all the time I have wasted since then really messes with my head.” I shook my head, guilt spilling off me.

“Well, let’s make up for some of that time here and now—on this trip,” she exclaimed lightly, taking my hand and leading me out to the balcony and the breathtaking view of the city.

“What are we doing?” I asked from behind her, staring out at the city.

“We are taking advantage of every moment we have together—as if it’s our last.”
******

“Should I be jealous that you are spending so much time with him?” I asked, only halfway serious.

“Get real.” She cracked a smile.

“Good. Now come here,” I ordered as I pulled her into me and lowered my lips to hers.

“What do you want to get into now?” I asked her, my eyebrows wiggling. “You hungry?”

She looked back at me. “I’m starving!”

“I was hoping you’d say that.” I put my arm around her, leading her out to my car.

We ended up at one of our favorite authentic Mexican restaurants, Ole Ole and it was just our luck that our usual booth was vacant.

After our server brought chips, salsa, and beans to our table, and we began chowing down on them, I threw my arm around Peyton and pulled her closer into me.

Although we had the entire booth to ourselves and could sit across from one another, it had become routine for us to sit next to each other. We had been doing it since the first time we tried out the restaurant, and I liked the feeling of closeness.

I kissed her head lightly, breathing her in.

“You okay?” she asked.

I sighed. “Yeah, it’s just been a long day.”

“You want to talk about it?” She raised her chocolate eyes up to meet mine.

“Not really.” I shrugged it off, hoping she would change the subject. It didn’t take her long to catch on.

“So, I started writing a new song…”

“Oh yeah?” I raised my eyebrows. “What is it about?”

“About this guy I know.”

“Really?” I bit into another chip. “Anyone I might know?”

“Maybe…” She was being coy and mysterious and I liked it.

“Tell me about this guy.”

She dipped another chip into the beans and then shoveled it into her mouth before answering. “He’s funny and charismatic, handsome and charming.”

“Go on,” I urged her to continue.

“He’s unlike anyone I’ve ever met before. One of a kind. Most of the time, I think I don’t deserve him.”

I loved everything she was saying until the last line. I hated when she began to doubt herself. “Look at me.” I tipped her chin gently toward me. “You deserve everything you have and more and don’t you forget it.”


About the author:

Krista Pakseresht has always been a dreamer. From the first time she opened her eyes. Creating worlds through words is one thing she is truly talented at. She specializes in Young adult/New adult romance, horror, action, fantasy, and non-fiction under the pen name Kira Adams. 

She is the author of the Infinite Love series, the Foundation series, the Darkness Falls series, and the Looking Glass series.


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A secret world of hunters that could turn into a mass funeral - Midnight Masque (The Josie Hawk Chronicles) by Elle J. Rossi

Published: October 21st, 2014

Description:

Nashville is the newest breeding ground for the darkest creatures of the occult. Huntress Josie Hawk will protect her streets—whatever it takes.

Bar owner and paranormal ass-kicker, Josie Hawk, is dealing with the stress of how to introduce her vampire-lover, Keller, to her vampire-hunting father. Meanwhile, the streets are buzzing with excitement over the announcement of a masquerade themed celebration with the up-and-coming stars of country music.

Josie and Keller are forced to abandon their trip into the secret world of hunters when a mysterious crew of cloaked beings emerge from the shadows and threaten to crash the biggest party of the year.

With the supernatural activity escalating to code red, Josie must find a way to stop the insidious evil hidden behind the array of masks. If she doesn’t, the masquerade party could turn into a mass funeral.
About the author:
Elle J Rossi grew up in rural Indiana surrounded by great people, a huge family and more animals than she could count. Sadly, there were no vampires or shape shifters lurking about in the woods behind her house. What's a girl to do? Seek them out, that's what! The sights and sounds of the world beckoned, so she left her small town to escape into a creative world full of music - and hopefully rendezvous with a vampire or two. As a full time singer she was able to lose herself in a thousand different songs in a hundred different places, all the while scanning the crowds for those ever-elusive beings of the occult.

After meeting the love of her life and settling down, she yearned to find a new and fulfilling creative outlet. Overly fond of the happily ever after, she wondered what it would be like to have her own characters lead her down dark and twisted paths. The very first word on the very first page sealed her fate. She'd found a new love. She'd found her escape.

Now along with weaving haunting tales about the journey to love, she's creating cover art for authors around the world and loving every second of it. For fun, she cranks country music to take her back to her roots, and sings karaoke anytime she gets a chance. Her husband, two children, and three cats that rule the roost keep her company along the way and guarantee she doesn't get lost in the enchanted forest. She wouldn't have it any other way. And, yes, she is still on the lookout for real-life vampires.

Read our reviews: 

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A boundary pushing that you you're going to love it - Dead Girl by Pavarti K. Tyler

Happy Release! 

Description:

VAMPIRE EROTICA LIKE YOU'VE NEVER READ BEFORE

When two boys find a body in their childhood hang out, they decide to have some fun, but get more than they bargained for.

Brought to you by Hot Ink Press, DEAD GIRL is boundary pushing, it's sexy, it's violent, it's of questionable taste, and I think you're going to love it. 

Dead Girl isn't at all like anything I've read before. It is erotica, and it is about a vampire. But it's so much more than that. Dead Girl explores an issue (no spoilers) that will have most people cringing, but Pavarti handles it expertly. I've no doubt she's going to take some heat with this one, but I'd proudly stand beside her. The writing is solid, the structure is sound, the characters are fully fleshed out, the dynamic is believable, and the conflict is subtle but strong, its resolution satisfying and, honestly, pretty freaking hot. 
I recommend this book for women and men who don't blush at the first hint of controversy. Dead Girl isn't for the faint of heart, but very rewarding for the bold, open-minded reader. - Goodreads

I don’t quite know how she packs heat, tension, action and solid points of view into this short story, but Tyler continues to reaffirm for me her status as a must read author. 
I received an eArc copy of the title from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. - Goodreads

About the author:

Award-winning author of multi-cultural and transgressive literature, Pavarti K. Tyler can be found with Doc Martens strapped on over fishnets, but a girlish giggle as easily and likely as a throaty guffaw. Keep in touch with Pav on her website or various social media sites. 

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The Donor (The Full Novella) by Nikki Rae

Happy Release Day!

Description:

Casey Williams and her family are poor. Her parents work non-stop and so does she, just so they can keep the trailer roof from leaking.

They’re getting by fine enough when the headaches start. Then there’s the nosebleeds. And the inevitable doctor’s bills.

Fortunately for Casey, there’s MyTrueMatch.com: an exclusive, quick, and almost easy way to pay it all back before her parents even have to know.

All she has to do is give a man she’s never met whatever he wants from her body.

Rae shredded me with the ending of the story. I was completely immersed throughout, not so much as looking up from the book once. Rae’s immaculate writing shines through her tough and hard hitting storyline to draw you in and keep you hooked. - Goodreads

About the author:
Nikki Rae is an independent author who lives in New Jersey. She explores human nature through fiction, concentrating on making the imaginary as real as possible. Her genres of choice are mainly dark, scary, romantic tales, but she’ll try anything once. When she is not writing, reading, or thinking, you can find her spending time with animals, drawing in a quiet corner, or studying people. Closely. 

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