Tuesday, November 7, 2017

YA Urban Fantsay - Posse: Legends (Posse, #1) by T. Hammond

Posse: Legends
Posse, #1
by T. Hammond
Publication date: October 26th 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

BLURB
It should have been an easy job.

Track the jackal. Locate the girl. Rescue said girl. Return bad puppy to the Council for questioning.

As leader of the Posse, a paranormal alliance, shapeshifter Lexa O’Clare thought she’d seen everything over the past millennia. Neither she, nor her vampire partner, Etienne, expected this case to be different.

A fugitive werejackal leads them to a secret lab where supernaturals are unwilling subjects in genetic experimentation. The Posse uncovers a conspiracy implicating high-ranking members of the Inter-species Council.

Can anyone’s motives be trusted?

Lexa: a shapeshifter sheriff who also proxies for humans killed before their destinies are fulfilled.

Etienne: a Knight Templar, turned master vampire.

Yasmin: a dragon who walked among the gods.

Jade: an historian & Fox-familiar to a cranky dragon.

Sentinel: a gargoyle who mourns the fall of Atlantis.

Richard: a witch with a target on his back.

Tris: a rare polyshifter with an eye for a sexy male.

Rhys: four months ago he was human…
Buy Link: Amazon
EXCERPT:
I rocked forward on my arms so I could lean closer and hear more clearly. My attic bedroom was directly above the coven leader’s desk, and from this angle, I had a clear line-of-sight to the witches gathered below. It’s surprising how, after all this time, they still hadn’t caught on to the fact I was spying. I could see and hear everything they discussed. Note to self: when creating a sound-dampening spell, it’s not sufficient to muffle the walls, windows, and door—the floor and ceiling should also be considered.
The peephole had been a fortuitous mishap. I’d been practicing my air-moving skills when I accidentally created a small tornado. Hey now, it was a little one, only a couple feet tall—it’s not like I created a whirlwind of epic proportions. Did you know, if you got air spinning fast enough over a single focal point, it’s possible to drill a hole in a wood floor? It was easy enough to make a plug to conceal the damage, and my room’s simple privacy spell was always active, so there were no worries of discovery. Even if they’d looked up—and they never looked up—my magic was flawless enough they’d see an unblemished ceiling. Cocky witches.
Each coven contained a main circle of twelve witches, plus a priestess. The strongest groups consist of extended families who could pick and choose the most promising amongst themselves, but most covens are formed from a collection of individuals with varying degrees of power and skill. Mother Nan’s coven was moderately talented, with a core group of six sycophants, err…I mean, mature practitioners, all of which were crowded around her desk—standing, of course. The seventh witch was Lea, a semi-strong practitioner who still lacked emotional control over her mouth and her magic, but was her mother’s favorite daughter.
“He’s an abomination.” Mara spat the words as if they left a foul residue in her mouth.
“Too true,” Betti agreed, as was her nature.
“It’s a miracle we haven’t been killed in our beds,” Ella said, lips pursed in sour disapproval.
“Oh, definitely, in our beds.” Betti nodded in quick little jerks, like a bobble-head doll.
Coral sniffed. “It was touch-and-go while he went through his let’s-set-everything-on-fire phase.”
Oh, come on now, I’d been sick, running a high fever. I was seven! You’d think, after all this time, they could let it go.
Buy Link: Amazon
 

Author Info
T, a paranormal romance and urban fantasy author, feels writing is not a calling so much as it is a compulsion. No one is more surprised than she is when characters take over the plot and dialog, (re)directing stories in directions she had not (consciously) intended. Although T starts out each novel with a basic outline, she finds one or two chapters into the novels, not only have the characters shredded her outline into tiny unidentifiable pieces, they use the resulting confetti in a nose-thumbing parade.
T is fully convinced the writer is the tool a story uses to tell its tale.
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YA Contemporary Romance - Pen & Xander by Laekan Zea Kemp

Pen & Xander
by Laekan Zea Kemp
Publication date: October 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

BLURB
Pen Prado has a passion for cooking. Specifically, cooking her father’s food in her father’s restaurant. It’s the heart of their immigrant neighborhood, a place where everyone belongs, and second chances are always on the menu. Except for Pen. Despite the fact that there’s something almost magic about her food, her father can’t imagine anything worse than her following in his footsteps. And when Pen confesses to keeping a secret from her family, he fires her, ensuring she never will.

Xander Amaro is undocumented but that doesn’t stop Ignacio Prado from offering him a job at his restaurant. For Xander, it’s a chance to make amends and to sever his toxic relationship with the druglord, El Cantil–a man whose been like a father to him since his own disappeared. Soon after, his mother abandoned him too, leaving behind a void that not even his abuelo can fill. Until he meets Pen.

Both seeking a place where they feel like they truly belong, they end up finding each other, and in the face of tremendous fear and self-doubt, they end up finding themselves.
Buy Link: Amazon
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EXCERPT:
The parking lot hasn’t changed; the science building looks the same as that first day of school five months ago. But as I sit in my car, watching girls I met during orientation skip up the steps, hugging their bags, excited to play nurse, I try to convince myself that something inside me has. That today I’ll actually be able to go inside. That today I will stop lying and be the person they want me to be.
Class starts in approximately seven minutes—the class I should have taken and passed last semester, moving me one step closer to a degree in nursing.
Six minutes.
I sit in the parking lot, watching the clock tick down. The car is in park but I can’t bring myself to turn off the engine.
Walk inside.
I turn off the car, reminding myself how much I’ve already wasted on tuition and books.
You can do this. You can.
I reach for my bag.
Get. Out. Of. The. Car.
And then I can’t breathe.
My mother’s shoes.
All I can think about are my mother’s shoes.
How they’ve sat in the same spot by the door for almost twenty years. Scuffed and cracked, the shadow of her foot pressed to the leather even when the laces are loose. I imagine every hallway they’ve ever walked down, every door they’ve propped open, every mess they’ve ever stepped in, every second they’ve held her up when all she wanted was to collapse. Because one of her patients couldn’t remember her face or their daughter’s name or how to speak.
When she lost one I’d wake to the knock of the rolling pin and the smell of dough warming on the hot plate. Sometimes I’d try to take the pin from her but there was something about the force, about the rhythm that reminded her how to breathe. We’d work in silence and three-dozen tortillas later she’d wrap them in foil and drive them to the family. The family that only visited once a month. That would accept my mother’s food without acknowledging that she was more family to the deceased than they were.
And then the next day she would go back to work.
For almost twenty years. She went back.
And if I step out of this car, if I walk up those steps, if I sit at that desk and pretend…how long will I be sitting there before I realize I’m trapped?
I take a deep breath, the scent of a thousand shifts at the restaurant tucked into the fabric of the front seat. Mango and cilantro and epazotetomatillos and roasted pepitas and tortillas. I can’t sleep without those smells tangled in my hair, without those flavors still on my tongue.
So I have to decide what’s scarier: living a life that doesn’t belong to me or losing the one I love. If the truth breaks my father’s heart, I know he’ll take it from me. But if it doesn’t, if he understands, if I can make him understand, I can be free.
I weigh each option, simmering in the anxiety they provoke, in the hope. Because I have to do what scares me. It’s the only way to ward off the helplessness. To stay in control. I always have to be in control.
Which means that today is not the day I go inside.
My stomach drops, my hand reaching to put the car in drive again.
Today is the day I tell them the truth.
Buy Link: Amazon
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Request a copy of Pen & Xander here!
 
Author Info
Laekan is a writer and explorer extraordinaire who grew up in the flatlands of West Texas. She graduated from Texas Tech with a BA in Creative Writing and is the author of the multi-cultural New Adult novels The Things They Didn't Bury, Orphans of Paradise, Breathing Ghosts, and the Young Adult Paranormal series The Girl In Between. Her upcoming contemporary romance is slated for release during the summer of 2017!
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BOOK BLITZ - YA PARANORMAL - Winter’s Siren by Krystal Jane Ruin

Winter’s Siren 
by Krystal Jane Ruin
Publication date: November 1st 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
BLURB
For the last five years, Fawn has been the star soprano of a secluded opera house, forced to sing for her kidnapper.

His daughter, Devi, waits patiently in the shadows, hiding a face so horrible that no one who’s seen it will look at it again.

As Fawn plots her escape, whispers spread through the shaded corridors of dark sorcery, warning her that she must flee by the next opening night.

But when Fawn draws close to the exit, it’s Devi who’s standing in her way, leading Fawn to suspect that Devi has something to gain if she fails.
(a dark reimagining of Swan Lake)
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EXCERPT:
Frosty air nips at my nose. I stand almost knee deep in fresh fallen snow, letting the diffused sunlight hit my face. There is no sound. Peace settles over me. In this moment, I truly feel like I’m in the middle of nowhere.
Something cold and wet explodes on the back of my neck. For a moment, I fear the worst. A boil. Pus. My father’s description of my mother’s face plays out in my mind.
But then I hear Andrew laughing behind me. I touch the rough skin on my neck and bring a shaky and damp glove to my face. Snow. It’s just snow.
It’s the middle of the day, and my face is uncovered. To make everything worse, it’s bright outside. Freezing and overcast, but bright.
My hands fly to my face automatically.
“Are you going to let me get away with that?” Andrew laughs again.
I twist around and peek at him through my fingers.
He stands before me, his arms spread wide. A thick coat covers his arms, and in his gloved hands, he holds another snowball. “You have two seconds to stop me!”
I flip my hood over my head and drop down to gather snow in my hands.
Another snowball bursts against my head. The wetness plasters my hair to my face. I hurl my deformed ball in his direction. It misses him completely.
Another wad of snow lands on my neck while I gather a larger, rounder ball of snow. “Cheating!” I throw my handful at him. It lands weakly by his knees.
“Here, let me help you.” He climbs towards me and gathers a nice, solid ball in his fist. He hands this to me, and then stands back and spreads his arms wide again. “Try again.”
I throw it square at his nose.
“Ow!” He covers his face and cries out dramatically. “It’s in my eyes!”
“Stop it! Are you serious?” I navigate closer to him, and he falls back into the snow. I run to his side and hear laughter bubbling out from behind his hands. “Jerk!” I shovel snow over his body, and he laughs all the while.
Then he goes still. I stop.
“Andrew?” I lean in close. “Andrew?”
He lunges out of his shallow grave and tackles me to the ground.
A panicked scream leaves my body as he lands on top of me, heavy and warm. Then a strange sound comes out of my mouth. Something that’s never come out of it before. Laughter.
His braid hangs down, inches from my sunken cheek. Suddenly aware of how close his head is to mine, the laughter dies in my throat, and I slap my gloves to my cheeks.
“You have such beautiful eyes,” he says.
My breath is trapped in my chest. It hurts. I don’t know how much he can see of my face—my hood is pulled low and my hair and hands cover everything else—but I fear it’s too much.
“Andrew . . .”
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Author Info
Krystal is the author of supernatural and paranormal fiction, living in the Tennessee Valley with a collection of swords and daggers. When she's not hoarding stuffed pandas, hourglasses, and Hello Kitty replicas, she can be found in YouTube hole or blogging about books, writing, and random things at KrystalSquared.net.
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Monday, October 30, 2017

Haunted Halloween Spooktacular w/GIVEAWAY - YA Horror - Flesh by Laura Bickle

Flesh
by Laura Bickle
Date of Publication: September 19th 2017
Cover Artist: Danielle Fine
Genre: YA Horror

BLURB
The dead are easy to talk to. Live people, not so much.

Charlie Sulliven thinks she knows all the secrets of the dead. Raised in a funeral home, she’s the reluctant “Ghoul Girl,” her reputation tied to a disastrous Halloween party. But navigating her life as a high school sophomore is an anxiety-inducing puzzle to her. She haunts the funeral home with her parents, emo older brother, Garth, their pistol-packing Gramma, and the glass-eyeball-devouring dachshund, Lothar.

Chewed human bodies are appearing in her parents’ morgue…and disappearing in the middle of the night. The bodies seem tied to a local legend, Catfish Bob, who has resurfaced in the muddy Milburn river near Charlie’s small town. When one of Charlie’s classmates, Amanda, awakens in the cooler as a flesh-eating ghoul, Charlie must protect her newfound friend and step up to unravel the mystery…and try to avoid becoming lunch meat for the dead.
Buy Links:
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Excerpt
“Amanda, I…Oh.”
            I don’t know what else to say. My brain just shuts down.
            She is wearing the sheet, wound around her like a toga. It trails behind her bare feet, sort of like a painting about Greek goddesses I’ve seen in art books. She’s leaning over another body stored in the cooler unit on a cart. Her back is to me, and I can only see her pale skin and her burgundy-black hair shuddering.
            “Amanda.”
            She turns at the sound of my voice, seeming only to hear me for the first time. Her face is covered in dark blood. In her hand, she’s holding a big chunk of purple flesh. Her eyes are half-closed. The autopsy incision on the elderly body below her has been ripped open, and I’m pretty sure that what she’s holding is a lung.
            “So hungry…” she murmurs.
            I retreat until my back presses against the cold door. A whimper escapes my lips, and I drop the laundry basket with a sharp crack of plastic on the tile floor. This has to be a dream. A screwed-up anxiety dream that I’ll wake up from any moment now…
            Amanda’s black eyes snap open. She stares at the chunk of flesh in her hand. “I…Agh…What’s going on?”
            Lothar waddles over to her and begins to beg. Bile rises in my throat. “That’s Mrs. Canner,” I manage to answer. “She’s seventy-two and died of surgery complications for varicose veins. Deep vein thrombosis, I think. I don’t remember.” I’m babbling, trying to keep the bile down.
            Amanda drops the lung with a wet splat. The dog scrambles to it and begins scarfing it down. Her hands are trembling. She presses them to her temples. “I don’t understand. I don’t understand.”
            I nudge the laundry basket closer to her with my foot. “I brought you some clothes. And, um. Food. You should get dressed.”
            I think I should be afraid. I think I really ought to be. But Amanda seems genuinely confused. She reaches for the clothes I’ve brought her. To be polite, I know that I should really look away. But I can’t move. I am not turning my back on her. My heart pounds, and I struggle to take deep, uneven breaths.
            Amanda unwinds the sheet and slips into my clothes. Though I avert my eyes, I see that her shoulder and side are still torn open. But my mother hasn’t begun the autopsy yet, so there is no Y-incision across her chest and abdomen.
            “Do you remember what happened to you?” I manage to ask. I congratulate myself for having a rational thought. Woot.
            Her voice is halting, and her brow wrinkles as she struggles to button my jeans. “I remember…something was chasing me. Jesus, it hurt…” Her hand comes up to her neck, and she seems to remember, fingering the edges of the wound. “Am I in a hospital?” she asks again.
            I suck in a breath. “No. You’re at my house.” It’s not a lie. Not really.
            She scans the room, as if registering the sight of the cadavers. “You’re the girl whose parents run the funeral home. The Ghoul Girl.”
            “It’s gonna be okay,” I tell her.
            “Why am I here?” Her breath makes ghosts in the cold air.
            “The Sheriff found you, alongside the road.” That’s true also, even if not the whole truth. “I think we should get you upstairs, so you can talk to my parents…”
            She shakes her head, and her dark hair slaps across her face. “No. I…Oh my god. I’m here because…somebody thought I was dead?”
            I swallow hard. “Yeah.”
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Author Info
Laura Bickle grew up in rural Ohio, reading entirely too many comic books out loud to her favorite Wonder Woman doll. After graduating with an MA in Sociology – Criminology from Ohio State University and an MLIS in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she patrolled the stacks at the public library and worked with data systems in criminal justice. She now dreams up stories about the monsters under the stairs, also writing contemporary fantasy novels under the name Alayna Williams.

The latest details on her work are available at:
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RECENT RELEASE - Marked by Fate: A Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction Collection

Marked by Fate:
A Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction Collection
Publication date: October 24th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Marked by Fate is now enhanced with Augmented Reality! Read, Watch, Listen. The new ultimate reading experience!
 
Step into adventure with Marked By Fate; the ultimate reading experience. Be immersed in twenty-six fantasy & science fiction worlds with state of the art Augmented Reality technology. Read, listen, and watch bonus content inside to bring the characters and story to life around you.

Enjoy the added features of this special edition, which allow you to enjoy bonus content right from your reading device. See character artwork. Listen to your story’s soundtrack. Watch book trailers and bonus videos. Experience behind the scenes like never before, thanks to Augmented Reality technology. Immersive Fantasy™; bringing fantasy worlds to life.

25 COMPLETE SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY NOVELS BY 26 BESTSELLING AUTHORS. PLUS, A SPECIAL BONUS NOVELLA.

Embark on fantastic journeys through magical realms, dystopian lands, and faraway galaxies in this exciting collection of fantasy & science fiction novels brought to you by some of today’s hottest authors. Encounter werewolves, robots, angels, time travelers, shifters, and more in this action-packed box set that will leave you breathless.

Authors:
Kristin D. Van Risseghem
Rhonda Sermon
Kelly St. Clare
Raye Wagner
Ednah Walters
Erin Hayes
Siobhan Davis
Jamie Thornton
Debra Kristi
Sarah K. L. Wilson
Hilary Thompson
Ingrid Seymour
Jeanne Bannon
Melle Amade
Lena Mae Hill
C.J. Anaya
Jackson Dean Chase
D. L. Armillei
Emily Martha Sorensen
Amalie Jahn
Dionne Lister
J.L. Weil
Alisha Klapheke
Angela Fristoe
Meg Cowley
Brandon Barr
Buy Links:
99¢ for a limited time only!
Welcome to Marked By Fate:
An interactive Immersive Fantasy™reading experience!
The authors of Marked By Fate are thrilled to share this ground-breaking novel with you!
Think Harry Potter and Kindle in Motion. Moving, singing books,and all the excitement of a truly enriched reading experience.
We call it Immersive Fantasy™, because that’s what it does. It draws you into our stories and brings our worlds to life!
The titles in Marked By Fate use this revolutionary technology to bring you the best reading experience of your life.

How does Immersive Fantasy™ work?
Immersive Fantasy™ utilizes what’s known as Augmented Reality (AR). Using a smart phone/device, you can scan secret cues in the stories, and extra AR content will pop up on your device, streamed direct from the cloud (internet connection required).
See amazing, exclusive character artwork. Watch video content.Listen to the soundtrack whilst you read. Discover behind the scenes with the authors in bonus content.

Would you like to try it?
Then keep reading! You have already downloaded the Immersive Fantasy edition of Marked By Fate, and you just need to bring the magic to life.
The simple instructions overleaf will help you easily access this astonishing new world of fantasy that will delight your every sense.
Start your Immersive Fantasy™ adventure today!

Immersive Fantasy™ Instructions
Getting set up
These three steps are crucial to ensure you can access the AR content.
1.On your smart phone or tablet, download the Aurasma app from your app store.
2.Login to the app, and register your account.
3.Search for the user ‘MarkedByFate’, and click follow.

Accessing the Immersive Fantasy™ Augmented Reality content
Follow these steps carefully to access the AR content. Additional help can be found on the Aurasma help desk.
1.Read and enjoy the story, and watch for clues to the AR content. These will appear in the form of images with a symbol next to them, denoting the type of AR content. Content viewable includes images (camera icon), videos (movie clip icon), or music (music icon).
2.You will need one device/format to read on, and a smart device to access the AR content.
3.When you spot an Immersive Fantasy™ clue, open the Aurasma app on your smart device.(Navigate to the viewfinder screen if the app does not automatically do this.)
4.Centre your viewfinder on the trigger image. Make sure to include all of the trigger image in the screen. You can view the content vertically/in portrait or horizontally/in landscape.
5.The app will display the AR content in the form of an image overlay, video overlay,or music overlay, as denoted by the symbol next to the image.
6.Enjoy!You can zoom in and out and tilt your camera to fully explore each piece of content. Make sure you have your sound turned on so you can listen to the video and audio content! You will have to continue focusing on the content to keep listening to music/watching videos/viewing images.
7.It might take a little practice – don’t worry if you struggle on your first try.

Troubleshooting
What to try if it won’t work.
1.No AR content is popping up: have you registered an Aurasma account,and followed ‘MarkedByFate’? You must do this to access the content.
2.No AR content is popping up: have you made sure all of the trigger image is in your viewfinder?
3.No AR content is popping up on my kindle/e-ink device: please adjust your device screen brightness. If the screen is too bright or too dim, the image cannot be recognised by the app.
4.I can’t hear any sound: check the icon. Only video/music AR content has sound.
5.I can’t hear any sound, and it should be playing some: please ensure your volume is not muted,and turned up.
6.The content keeps disappearing: ensure you keep the viewfinder focused on the trigger image so that the AR content will remain overlaid on your screen.If you move too far away from the trigger image, the AR content will disappear.Activate it again by re-scanning the trigger image.
7.Can I access the eBook and the AR content on the same device? No. Aurasma uses your device camera, so you will have to read the book on a difference device to the device you are using Aurasma with.
8.It’s just not working – I’ve tried everything: Please refer to the Aurasma help files,and contact their help desk if you are still having issues. Whilst extensive testing has been performed to ensure maximum device compatibility, regrettably not all devices may be compatible. Best compatibility will be found on pixel based screens with good brightness levels.
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Friday, October 27, 2017

Haunted Halloween Spooktacular w/GIVEAWAY - YA Paranormal Fantasy - Xandria Drake: Ancient Rising (Xandria Drake, #1) by Laura C. Cantu

Xandria Drake: Ancient Rising
Xandria Drake, #1
by Laura C. Cantu
Date of Publication: November 13th 2013
Publisher: Serendipity Digital Media KC
Cover Artist: Laura C. Cantu
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy
Tagline: When you learn your life is a lie, who do you trust?
 
BLURB
“When an unusual carnival pulls into town, Xandria Drake has no clue this mystical fairground will thrust her into a thrilling world of mystery, deception, and danger. Her predictable existence will soon be transformed into a turbulent reality where magic reigns, and creatures of fantasy are just as tangible as her ballroom dancing trophies. New revelations will send Xandria on a quest in which she is forced to question everything and everyone, including the man of her dreams, Viktor.

When Viktor confesses his interest in Xandria, she couldn’t be happier. Her joy quickly fades, however, when Viktor reveals he is a vampire. Xandria is soon forced to face shadowy and obscure dangers she never knew existed, and on the coattails of the impending darkness rides Viktor’s greatest rival andXandria’s ultimate temptation, Sebastian Vespera.

Will Xandria’s love for Viktor be enough? Or will Sebastian’s seductions ensnare Xandria in a fierce and powerful romance? How will Xandria cope with the forbidden knowledge she gains? Mysterious, magical, and compelling, Xandria Drake: Ancient Rising is witty when you want it to be and serious when it needs to be. This paranormal fantasy novel will capture you from the beginning and won’t let you go until long after the story is finished.”
Buy Link: Amazon

Meeting a Monster -A True Story

When I was younger, a group of newly acquired friends and I tried to think of something eerie to do on Halloween night. Little did we know, that we would see something truly terrifying that would change our lives forever.
Like many teenagers, we decided that visiting a cemetery was just about the perfect way to give ourselves a good scare. I had just moved to town, and my new friends insisted that there was a glowing tombstone in an old, run down graveyard off a gravel road about thirty miles outside of town. So, we piled in a small, two-door car and drove, excited about the prospects of having some good ghost stories to tell on the way.
The road we were driving on was a narrow, two-lane service road with lots of potholes, hills, and curves. The locals had spread rumors that “devil-worshipers” often held ceremonies along that road, and one of the girls, who was sitting in the back seat, seemed to be enjoying herself as she recounted the spooky stories. She spoke of how the Satanists skinned animals alive, and how there were strange sightings in the area. Her last story was about the glowing gravestone; she claimed it was cursed.
We drove farther and farther from town, well over thirty miles, and I fidgeted in my seat. I was beginning to have second thoughts about going so far out into the night, especially since I hadn’t let my mother know where I was going. Back then, we didn’t have mobile phones. If something unexpected or dreadful happened, there would’ve been no one around to help, and my mother wouldn’t have even known where to look.
I shook my head, trying to shake off my growing apprehension as silence suddenly fell over the car like a soft, suffocating blanket. I cleared my throat to speak up but thought better of it. I didn’t want to be the one who chickened out and insist on turning back.
The car’s headlights pierced the darkness of the night and bugs thumped into the windshield as we continued to drive along. That’s when it happened.
The car came to a screeching halt.
There, in the middle of the road, sat a coyote. The driver of the car, a sixteen-year-old girl with short curly hair named Angie (her name has been changed to protect her identity), honked at the coyote. To our amazement, it didn’t move. Instead, it lazily looked in our direction as if it had nothing better to do than sit in the middle of the road, blocking our way.
She honked again.
The coyote blinked. The lights of the car reflected on its retina, causing its eyes to glow a dull shade of red.
When it did not budge this time, Angie yelled and honked again, but this time she held her hand down so that the horn blared into the night air.
It was then that the coyote stood on its two hind legs and turned toward us, a tall looming monster with sharp teeth and penetrating eyes.
Angie’s hand slid from the steering wheel as we all sat in amazement at this towering beast. It seemed to be looking us over, mulling over what it would do next.  Was he contemplating eating us?
I couldn’t find my voice. All I could do was sit there, slack-jawed and bewildered.
Just when I thought we were going to have to flee for our lives, the creature turned and ran away, its movements akin to that of a running human.
Everyone in the car finally found their voices to scream! Angie whipped a U-turn, and we hightailed it back to town.

Even today, over twenty years later, the vision of that creature is still clearly etched upon my memory. That was the day that I began questioning how magical and mysterious our world truly is.  -Laura C. Cantu

Author Info
Laura C. Cantu is a multitalented artist, visionary, and humanitarian. Throughout her life, she has felt an overwhelming desire explore the mysteries of the unknown and to expand her awareness and experiences. By allowing her perspective to shift and change, Laura has learned to unleash her imagination and use it to guide her through creative processes. She passionately follows her dreams and has achieved high levels of success in her various careers. As a professional dancer, Laura won six national titles and placed fourth in the Professional Argentine Tango World Championships. She also stretched her creative muscles as a visual artist with drawings that toured across the globe. Adding to her diverse accomplishments, Laura earned her master’s degree in Oriental Medicine in 2012, which has afforded her opportunities to assist many along their journeys to realizing wellness.

Despite her already jeweled career, there is another passion Laura delights in—the art of storytelling. Her first young adult fantasy novel, Xandria Drake: Ancient Rising, earned rave reviews and a Goodreads' book of the month award. Currently working on The Vathylite Realms, Laura is harnessing and focusing her energies to craft engaging stories that are meant to bring joy, inspiration, and awareness to all who read them.

Laura is on a mission to live a life of inspiration, truth, and empowerment. With future books pending release, she continues to dance as a hobby, study energetics and wellness, and explore her imagination. Laura also enjoys drawing and creating 3D art and animations, hiking, meditation, playing guitar, and spending time with her family, friends, and pets.
Author Links:
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Friday, October 20, 2017

BOOK BLITZ w/EXCERPT - YA HISTORICAL ROMANCE - The Canary Club by Sherry D. Ficklin


The Canary Club 
by Sherry D. Ficklin
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: October 16th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult
 
BLURB
“Bad Luck” Benny is a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. Recently released from jail, he has vowed to keep his head down and stay out of trouble. But he also needs to care for his ailing sister and the rest of his struggling family, and he’ll do anything to make that happen—even if it means taking a position with a notorious crime boss. He soon finds himself in over his head—and worse still—falling for the one dame on earth he should be staying away from.

Masie is the daughter of a wealthy gangster with the voice of an angel and gun smoke in her veins. Strong-willed but trapped in a life she never wanted, she dreams of flying free from the politics and manipulation of her father. A pawn in her family’s fight for control of the city, and with a killer hot on her heels, she turns to the one person who just might be able to spring her from her gilded cage. But Masie is no angel, and her own dark secrets may come back to burn them both.

Two worlds collide in this compelling story of star-crossed lovers in gritty prohibition-era New York.

Perfect for fans of Beatriz Williams’ A CERTAIN AGE or Libba Bray’s THE DIVINERS, THE CANARY CLUB by Sherry D. Ficklin will entice Historical Romance fans of all ages. This Gatsby-era tale filled with dazzling speakeasies, vicious shoot-outs, gritty gangsters, and iridescent ingenues has also been compared to the television series Z: THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING and BOARDWALK EMPIRE.
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Glitter and Gold (A Canary Club Prequel) is currently FREE!Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo
EXCERPT:
Lepke.
I roll the name around in my head like a curse.
Glancing back over my shoulder toward my room, toward June, I know what I have to do.
For the most part, it suits me just fine to let people think I’m just some silly girl, some empty-headed dame. Because what it means is that they never see me coming, never suspect me of being capable of doing terrible things.
But I am my father’s daughter.
I was born to violence like a fish is born to water. It’s part of me, part of who I am. All my life I’ve watched the people around me suffer—the women most of all. It’s a fact of this life that more often than not, shots are fired, grievances aired, and warnings sent through the women around the powerful men. They are soft targets. Disposable, but cared for enough to make a point.
In this business, women are nothing more than weaknesses to be guarded and fodder to be thrown when needed. Pawns in a game we aren’t even allowed to play. It’s one of the reasons I was so glad when Mother had sent me off to private school upstate. For a few months, I’d felt normal. Safe.
Being called back to the life after losing her was like suddenly having an axe hanging over my head again. For one dark, dark moment I’d considered running away—and I might have too. But soon enough I realized that this is where I belong, even if I might wish otherwise. I have to do what I can to protect my family, what family I have left. I know my part and I can play it as well as any Hollywood starlet. I know I should be appalled, bereaved that things like this come so easily to me now. But I let that grief, and the dreams of being anything other than what I am, go a long time ago. And so I stay. Cursed to walk the fine line between hero and villain, between vengeance and redemption.
But Lepke isn’t going to get away with this. Not this time.
I drag my hand through the water, mixing in the salts, cementing my plan in my head.
As soon as I deposit June in the tub I steal away to the den to make a call.
“Hello?” Vincent Coll’s groggy answer reverberates through the receiver.
My heart stutters at the sound of his voice. “It’s Masie. I need a favor.”
“What’s up, doll?”
I hesitate, biting my bottom lip. It’s then that I notice the smear of blood on my dress.
“I have blood on me, Vinny,” I say, more to myself than him, but his tone heightens.
“Are you alright?” He’s awake now, alert and sharp.
“It’s not my blood,” I clarify. “It’s the blood of someone I care about, though.”
He calms again, “What do you need?”
“Lepke Brewer,” I spit the name, unable to quite put into words how I want him to suffer. How much I want him to hurt.
On the other end of the line there’s a deep sigh, followed by the sound of a lighter flicking and Vinny taking a long drag. Despite being someone I once cared about greatly, Vinny is a dangerously unstable man on a good day. I know he’ll do what I’m about to ask without breathing a word of it to anyone—not out of loyalty to me or sympathy for June and what had happened to her, but for the sheer opportunity to level some brutality on a rival. Most people call him Mad Dog, thanks to his reputation for being about as well tempered as a rabid animal. But to me, he’s just Vinny, the young boy who’d come to stay with us after being expelled from the Catholic Reform School his mother had abandoned him to. We’d spent our formative years together, thick as thieves and practically family, until he took up the roll as Daddy’s enforcer and hit man. He’d changed after that.
Hell, we’d both changed. And neither of us for the better.
I roll the memory of him around in my head, biting the inside of my cheek as I decide what to say next. We haven’t been close in a very long time, and that’s the way it has to be. It might have been something more once, or maybe I just wanted there to be something there that never was. He’d kissed me exactly once, and it had been enough to sear itself into my memory, only to be buried beneath piles of disappointment and choices neither of us can take back. He has to be hard to do what he does, with no weaknesses for our enemies to exploit. And if I’m being honest, it’s the darkness in him that terrifies me. Not because I don’t understand it, but because I do. I know exactly how easy it would be to allow myself to be consumed by the violence of this life—and how good I would be at it.
But that’s not the person I want to be.
Even so, here I am, about to ask him to do the dirty work for me, just so I can keep my hands just a little bit clean.
“You want him taken care of?” he asks finally.
I suck in a breath before answering. Yes, I want him dead. I want him wiped from the face of the earth so he can’t ever hurt anyone ever again. I imagine myself saying yes. I imagine myself throwing a fistful of dirt onto Lepke’s coffin as it’s lowered into the ground. And then I imagine trying to look myself in the mirror every day after that.
“I want him to hurt,” I say after a moment. “I want him to be broken to the core of him. But leave him breathing.”
Leave it to Vinny to echo my own fears back to me. “You sure about this, Mas?” he asks, taking another drag and exhaling it slowly. “It’s not going to keep you up at night?”
It’s a barb from an accusation I’d leveled at him the last time we spoke, when I’d asked how he slept at night, after all he’d done. His answer had been crude and aimed to hurt me. Mine would be much kinder.
“I suppose I will have to find a way to live with myself,” I answer, keeping my tone indifferent.
He hangs up without even saying goodbye.
I hold the receiver in my hand for a few heartbeats before returning it to its cradle. JD is being groomed to take over the family business and –despite daddy’s constant berating that he’s too soft-hearted or slow-witted or whatever insult he feels like hurling in the moment for the job—I’ve never stepped in and asked for a place in the business. I’m just the girl, after all, to be coddled and protected and mollified. I’d been surprised that he let me worm my way into the club as it’s headline singer rather than being shipped off to wherever. Now, I can’t help but wonder, if Daddy had seen me tonight, if he might rethink the line of ascension.
And I can’t help but wonder what life would be like for me if he did
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Author Info
Sherry is the author of over a dozen novels for teens and young adults including the best selling Stolen Empire series. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she's on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.

Sherry also writes contemporary romance under the pen name SJ Noble. You can find her at her official website, www.sherryficklin.com, or stalk her on her Facebook page www.facebook.com/sherry.ficklin.
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