Friday, September 25, 2015

Under a Mating Moon Book Blast: Giveaway for a $10 Amazon Gift Card

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Title:   Under A Mating Moon
Author:  Celia Breslin
Published:  September 18, 2015
Publisher:  Decadent Publishing
Genre:  Paranormal Romance
Content Warning:  Graphic violence and adult sexual content
Recommended Age:  18+

Synopsis:  British Alpha wolf Jake Marsden spends his days among humans, pursuing a lucrative music career and avoiding his pack’s politics. When his current DJ tour takes him to the US, he stops in Los Lobos to visit family, and runs into the one Wolf he never wants to see again—the mate who rejected his claim.

While visiting her brother in Los Lobos, free-spirited Lexi Luparell is shocked to encounter the Wolf she’d denied when they were teens. Now she must face her guilt for the cruel way she spurned him all those years ago, make amends, and admit the truth. Jake was right all along—they’re meant to mate.

Lexi would love to explore the mate concept and her overwhelming attraction to virile, Alpha Wolf Jake, but he wants nothing to do with her. How can she break down his defenses when she’s the reason he built them in the first place?

Jake dates only human women now. Lexi had her shot at being his mate, and she threw it away. But when her life is threatened, he may have to rethink his position and do whatever it takes to claim his one true mate.

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Excerpt from Under a Mating Moon by Celia Breslin:

A billion butterflies battered Lexi's stomach. She shifted her attention from Ross to the piano. Sure enough, the music had stopped, and Jake faced her from his seat on the bench. Man oh man, the heavy stare from those sky blue eyes sent shivers skittering down her spine. His gaze held the same intensity she remembered from him as a kid, as if he saw into the heart of people, exposing their deepest secrets. It drove her crazy back then, and she'd spent much time teasing him, pulling his hair, trying to distract him from being so serious all of the damn time. They were teenagers—partying was supposed to be their sole focus.

With his ice blue stare locked on her, Jake rose to his feet, all taut muscle and predatory power. His energy swept over her like a tsunami, forcing all of the moisture to abandon her mouth while parts much lower wept with want. Her inner Wolf howled, answering the call of this Alpha, the first Dominant male ever to make her sit up and take notice. Holy crap. Her muscles shook with the need to bound over to him, jump in his arms, wrap her legs around his torso and writhe against his hard, hot, tattooed body.

Jake said something to his uncle then stalked straight at her, cutting a path right through the middle of the tables and the many, too-curious patrons.

A whimper escaped her throat.

Surprise sparked in her brother’s brown eyes. "You're kidding me. Him?" He burst out laughing. "Wow, sis, that's some major, big time irony right there."

Darci’s expression conveyed her bewilderment. "Now what are you two talking about?"

Her annoying brother grinned. "See that angry Alpha headed our way?  My sister here rejected him when they were teens and he's apparently her—"

Lexi socked her brother in the ribs. "Shut it, Ross."

"Ouch." Ross rubbed his side and chuckled at her plight. The jerk.

"Come on, Lexi, you have to admit the hilarity of the situation."

No, she did not. Nor did she have to admit that J-Bird was right all those years ago. He was her mate. O to the M to the G... They were mates.

Even so, he didn't look happy to see her at all. In fact, he looked positively enraged. Shit, shit and triple shit. What a mess she'd made eight years ago. Well, she was woman enough to pull on her big girl panties and fix it. She straightened her spine and lifted her chin in challenge, meeting Jake's stormy stare. He halted before her.

I can do this. "Hey J-Bird. Nice to see you." Lovely. Her voice sounded like she'd eaten the gravel from the lot in front of Gee's bar. Embarrassment heated her cheeks.

One breath, two breaths, three... J-Bird glared. Tension coiled between them in the silence. Lexi bit the inside of her cheek to avoid babbling at him. She'd said hello. It was his turn. Damn it, J-Bird, say something. He wasn't making this easy.

"Alexina." His arctic tone dismissed her and slapped her in the face at the same time, leaving her disappointed and confused. No one called her by her full name. No one except her parents when she'd done something wrong as a kid. He might as well have said, "screw you," while slamming a door in her face.

His focus shifted to her brother. "Hello, Ross. Been a while." His hand shot out to grasp her brother's in a cordial shake.

"Good to see you, Jake. Join us for lunch? My treat. We can catch up on old times."

"No, thank you. I'm done. Nice to see you again, Ross." Jake nodded at Darci. "Miss." He brushed past them and out the door.

"What. Just. Happened?" The, “I'm done,” he uttered in his delicious British accent seemed aimed more at her than at her brother's offer. And the fact he hadn't even looked at her before stalking out all sexy in his gloom and doom? Yeah, that hurt.

"I think you know, sis." The amusement left her brother's face and sympathy glimmered in his gaze. "Question is, what are you going to do about it?"

She'd never run from a fight in her life. She wouldn't start now. "Grab a table. I'll be back in a second. Or not." She ignored her brother's knowing grin and hurried out the door.

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About the Author:
Celia lives in California with her family and two feisty cats. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and has a particular fondness for werewolves, vampires, and the Fae. Her award-winning vampire series, The Tranquilli
Bloodline, is available from Champagne Books. Under A Mating Moon is her second werewolf story for Decadent Publishing’s, multi-author, Black Hills Wolves shifter line.


When not writing, you’ll find Celia exercising, reading a good book, hanging with her family, or indulging her addiction to Joss Whedon’s TV shows and movies.



Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • A $10 Amazon gift card.

Giveaway is international. Enter through the Rafflecopter form below.

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Disclaimer: Susan Heim on Writing is not responsible for Rafflecopter content or prize fulfillment.

M9B Friday Reveal: Author Spotlight – Vanessa Barger with Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals

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Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!
This week, we are spotlighting
Vanessa Barger
author of
Super Freak
a Middle Grade title from Tantrum Books, coming October 2015!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
Twitter or Facebook?
Can I say both? I like Twitter for instant gratification, but I like Facebook for posting fun things, too!

Favorite Superhero?
This is hard. I'm not a huge superhero person. But if I had to pick? Wonder Woman. I dressed up as Wonder Woman one year when I was little. Somewhere, I still have my golden lasso of truth!

Favorite TV Show?
Okay, most TV shows I actually like get cancelled, but I have three. I love the first 3-4 seasons of Supernatural, I LOVE The Vicar of Dibley and Two Fat Ladies. If I'm having a stressful day, I pop in Two Fat Ladies to relax. I'm weird, I know.

Sweet or Salty?
Sweet. But not too sweet. :)

Coke or Pepsi?
Root Beer (but definitely Coke, Pepsi is ICK)

Any Phobias?
I don't care for spiders, and anything to do with Jack the Ripper seriously freaks me out. Like, I won't watch a TV show about it, read about it, or even read fiction about it!

Song You Can’t Get Enough of Right Now?
There isn't just one, but let’s go with "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten. The others on my playlist are a lot more... weird? Lots of instrumental music and oddball things.

Who Is Your Ultimate Book Boyfriend?
Oh, man, just one?! That's not even fair.

What Are You Reading Right Now or What's on Your TBR?
I have several books in the TBR pile, but the top three are Nameless by Lili St. Crow, The City of Ember and Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff. Oh, and I'm dying to read The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

Fall Movie You’re Most Looking Forward To?
Goosebumps! I can't wait to see that one. Jack Black as RL Stine? YES, please!

About-the-Author

Vanessa Barger was born in West Virginia, and through several moves ended up spending the majority of her life in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is a graduate of George Mason University and Old Dominion University, and has degrees in Graphic Design, a minor in Medieval and Renaissance Literature, and a Master's in Technology Education. She has had articles published in Altered Arts Magazine, has had some artwork displayed in galleries in Ohio and online, and currently teaches engineering, practical physics, drafting and other technological things to high-school students in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), the Virginia Writer’s Club, and the Hampton Roads Writers. When not writing or teaching, she’s a bookaholic, movie fanatic, and loves to travel. She is married to a fabulous man and has one cat, who believes Vanessa lives only to open cat-food cans, and can often be found baking when she should be editing.
Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest |YouTube

Super-Freak-Cover

Thirteen-year-old Caroline is a freak. Her parents have uprooted her to a town full of Supernaturals. You’d think she’d be thrilled, but for someone without a magical bone in her body, this daughter of tree sprites feels like even more of an outcast than she has ever before. 
To make matters worse, her new home is cursed. But when Caroline takes to investigating the mysterious and strange happenings of Harridan House, her BFF goes missing. Seems someone doesn’t want Caroline sticking her non-magical nose where it most certainly does not belong. Determined to prove herself, Caroline uncovers a plot to destroy her new hometown. 
Undeterred, Caroline can’t give up. But what’s a human without magical powers to do? Caroline better figure it out fast, before she loses everything she has ever loved and the whispers she’s heard all her life prove true: Caroline is a useless superfreak.
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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Book Review: "A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn," by Shelley Shepard Gray (GIVEAWAY)

About the book:
In the third book of New York Times-bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray's Amish Brides of Pinecraft series, a wedding brings together two young widowed parents ... and gives them a second chance at love

Emma Keim was heartbroken when her husband, Sanford, passed away, leaving her to raise three young daughters alone. Though several years have passed, her relatives have made it no secret that they expect Emma to remain a widow, mourning Sanford indefinitely. But when she meets Jay Hilty -- a handsome widower with three young sons of his own -- Emma is delighted to have a new friend who understands her struggles. Still, she is dismayed that her family is so opposed to their friendship -- and the idea of it ever becoming anything more. She honors her husband's memory every day, but is she destined to be alone forever?

Emma's gentleness with Jay's boys stirs something in his heart that's been quiet for far too long. But when his oldest son becomes engaged to a local woman, suddenly Jay, Emma, and their children are swept up in wedding preparations. Witnessing his son's joy, Jay wonders if it's time for him to move forward, too, and find happiness again.

Once again, love has come to Pinecraft. But can these two parties of four become a happy, healthy family of eight?

My thoughts:
I’ve read all three books in the Amish Brides of Pinecraft series, so it was fun to catch up on some of the same characters as the series continues. However, these books can easily be read as stand-alones. In A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn, love is in full bloom for many of the Amish people who populate Pinecraft, Florida. The main story revolves around the romance of Emma Keim and Jay Hilty, both widowed and raising three kids. This part of the story reads much like the Brady Bunch television series, complete with three boys for Dad, three girls for Mom, and a very naughty dog. (The only thing missing is a housekeeper!) It was a nice, breezy read that made me smile. Another storyline involves Jay’s oldest son, Ben, who is experiencing his own romance with an Amish girl who fled some difficulties at home in Ohio to take refuge with her Aunt Beverly, who runs the Orange Blossom Inn. As these two courtships are wrapped up, we continue to watch the slow-burning romance between Beverly and the owner of the inn, Eric. I’m happy to see that Eric and Beverly’s relationship will finally take center stage in the upcoming final book in the Amish Brides of Pinecraft series, A Christmas Bride in Pinecraft!



Meet the author:
Shelley Shepard Gray is a two-time New York Times bestseller, a two-time USA Today bestseller, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Holt Medallion winner. She lives in Southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.

Find Shelley online: website, Facebook, Twitter





GIVEAWAY
Wedding Orange Blossom Inn Shelley Shepard Gray

Join the Flock! Litfuse Publicity Group blogger

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Litfuse to facilitate my honest review. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

M9B Two for Thursday Book Blitz: Dead Jed series by Scott Craven with Giveaway #T4T

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Welcome to this week’s Two for Thursday Book Blitz #T4T
presented by Month9books/Tantrum Books!
Today, we will be showcasing two titles that may tickle your fancy,
and we’ll share what readers have to say about these titles.
You just might find your next read!
This week, #T4T presents to you the
Dead Jed series by Scott Craven!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

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Dead Jed is Shaun of the Dead meets Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Jed's not your typical junior-high geek. He is, to use the politically correct term, cardiovascularly challenged. And while his parents have attempted to shield him from the implications of being "different" for as long as they could (Jed was 8 and at a friend's sister's birthday party when he blew his lips off onto the cake in front of everyone, finally prompting the “Big Talk” from his parents and an emergency SuperGlue repair by his dad), 7th grade at Pine Hollow Middle School as a target of Robbie the supreme school bully and his pack of moronic toadies is rapidly becoming unbearable. 
From being stuffed in a filled trash can as “dead meat” and into a trophy case as the bully's “prize,” to literally having his hand pulled off in the boys' room (Jed's always losing body parts. Luckily, a good stapler and some duct tape and he's back in the action) and a cigarette put in it and try to frame him for the recent reports of smoking in the school, Jed's had enough and is ready to plan his revenge. Besides, it's awesome what you can do when you're already dead!
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WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:

DEAD JED is amazing. It takes true talent to write a book that's witty and has such clever humor. That's exactly what DEAD JED has.” – Courtney, Author

I’m entirely convinced this series is going to be as big and popular as the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, if not more. It might be aimed at middle grade readers, but I will highly and happily recommend it to readers aged 9 to 99!”Angie, Books4Tomorrow

“Middle Grade humor at its finest.” – S.A. Larsen, Author

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The first part of seventh grade was rough on Jed, but things are looking up now that Christmas is almost here. As with past Christmases, Jed asks for the one thing he’s always wanted -- a dog -- and again, his parents tell him they’re not ready. But fate has a different plan when Jed sees a dog get run over by a car. Then, it happens. Jed suddenly has a pet, Tread, a zombie dog bearing his namesake -- a tire tread down his back. Jed may have gained a dog, but he loses his best friend Luke, who fears the way Jed created his undead pet. 
When Jed returns to school, he finds a mysterious group called the No Zombies Now Network spreading rumors of the dangers the undead pose to normal people. Forced to disprove Hollywood stereotypes, Jed has his work cut out for him as stories of a zombie dog begin to circulate. Jed could be expelled if he can’t expose the NZN Network as a fraud. Jed needs help from his kind of girlfriend Anna, especially after he discovers Luke has joined the shadowy group. 
Once again navigating the treacherous waters of middle school, Jed does his best to stay in one piece. Only this time he’ll need even more duct tape and staples than usual.
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WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:

“Like its predecessor Dead Jed, Dead Jed 2: Dawn of the Jed is an incredibly cute and fun read!”Angie, Books4Tomorrow

“This is a fun story, which was written very well for the age group. I can imagine the series being a huge hit, especially with zombies being so popular at the moment.”Bri, Natural Bri - Pursuits of Life

“…just read it, you will love it and it sooooo funny” – Michelle, Because Reading

about-the-author

Scott-Craven

A proud graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Scott Craven has one son and is a features writer for The Arizona Republic.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter

Giveaway
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Disclaimer: Susan Heim on Writing is not responsible for Rafflecopter content or prize fulfillment.

See You Soon Broadway Book Tour: Read an Excerpt!

See You Soon Broadway ebook coverMaris Forrester has a wonderful life with an amazing boyfriend and a fulfilling job. She’s happy and content ... or so she thinks. Maris has always had huge dreams of being on Broadway. Ever since her very first performance as a child, she has envisioned herself on the stage under the shining lights. Now she has to decide whether she should to give up her wonderful life to chase those dreams.

When her parents announce they are moving, she comes across a long-lost family treasure. She doesn’t realize that this treasure may hold the key to her future and to all her dreams coming true.

And if that wasn’t sign enough, a mysterious stranger throws another wrench in the mix at a dazzling rooftop party benefiting the Arts. These could be signs of things to come.

But will she remain content in her perfect world, or will she step into the unknown world she has always dreamed of?

Buy on Amazon | B&N | Kobo


An Excerpt from See You Soon Broadway

I must still be daydreaming as I quickly turn around and run smack into a man spilling his drink all over his obviously very expensive suit.

“Oh crap! I’m so sorry,” I yell. I start brushing my hand along his suit coat. Crap, what am I doing touching this man? I finally glance up at his face and wow -- tall, dark hair, and very … um … masculine. I must be staring because I don’t even realize that I’m still brushing the front of his coat and now his pants. I’m beyond humiliated now.

“Please don’t worry. It’s fine.” He smiles, holding up his hands. “I mean, it’s only a brand new suit, but hey that’s what dry cleaners are for, right?”

“Um, right.” I hesitate. “Sorry for, um, brushing, um.” Really, Maris, shut up, I think to myself.

He holds out his hand. “Trevor Ericson.”

“Hi, I’m Maris Forrester.” I shake his hand and smile thankfully. I really appreciate him changing the subject from my invading his personal space.

“Maris? That a nickname?” he asks curiously.

“No, a family name actually; I’m named after my grandmother.” He has managed to find a few cocktail napkins lying around and he wipes off his coat.

“That’s a cool name. So, how do you know the Phillips?”

Phillips? What’s he talking about?

“The Phillips?” I ask, trying not to cringe that I was rubbing the front of his suit for what seemed like five minutes.

“Yes, Tom and Liv, our hosts for this event?” He seems shocked that I have no idea who Tom and Liv are. I guess I should know that but too late now. Suddenly, I feel guilty like I just crashed a wedding or something.

“Oh right, I don’t actually -- we were invited by a mutual friend. It’s a great party though,” I say as I glance around.

“Yes, they do this every year to benefit the arts. It’s such a shame so many schools are removing them from their schedules. Liv, of course, has such a passion for this cause being that she’s also a musician. She’s performed all over the world.”

“She was a performer?” I ask excitedly. “That’s fantastic. I’m a singer, too, or at least I was. Now I’m a vocal instructor.”

“Really? That’s interesting, why don’t you sing anymore?”

Should I be having this conversation with a perfect stranger? He just keeps asking me questions. I probably shouldn’t be rude considering I just spilled alcohol over his Armani suit. Okay, so I don’t know for sure that it’s Armani, maybe Versace? I’m not exactly up-to-date on what designers men are wearing being that Kyle is more of a Gap kind of guy.

“You know how it is, life I guess. Anyway, where did Liv perform?”

“With some orchestra. She’s an amazing violin player. I went to college with Tom; we were fraternity brothers.”

I roll my eyes. Figures that Trevor was a frat boy. He’s totally charming and outgoing. He was probably the president, too.

“Did you just give me an eye roll?” he asks playfully. I guess that was pretty obvious.

I laugh. “Yes. I was just thinking that I could totally see you being a frat boy.”

He cracks a smile. “I take offense to that, but I guess the choir girls don’t really like frat boys, do they? I may have to send you my dry cleaning bill after all.” I start to feel uncomfortable. My amazing boyfriend is somewhere around here waiting for me and I’m chatting (not flirting) with some random frat boy.

About the author:
Melissa Baldwin 2
Melissa graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and has always had a love for writing. An avid journal keeper, she took her creativity to the next level by fulfilling her dream with her debut novel, An Event to Remember ... or Forget. Since then she has written and published two more novels, Wedding Haters and See You Soon Broadway within 14 months.

Melissa resides in Orlando, Florida, with her husband and young daughter. When she isn't writing, this multi-tasking master organizer is busy being a mother, wife, chauffeur, PTA President, and Fitness Trainer.

When she has free time, she enjoys traveling, running, fitness, fashion, and taking a Disney Cruise every now and then.

Follow the author:
Facebook | Website  | Twitter  | Instagram | Pinterest | Literary Addicts

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Spark Collection Book Blast: Giveaway for a $100 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash

Spark
Spark: Seven Fantastic First-in-Series Novels
A collection of seven fabulous first-in-series novels from the Seven Sparks author collective. Dive into these adventurous, fantastical, romantic stories with strong heroines and plenty of action. Seven Sparks books are all compelling reads without explicit descriptions or swearing, making these books perfect for YA readers or anyone in the mood for a marvelous adventure! This multi-author bundle contains more than 2,200 pages of great reading.

Combined, these books have over 800 *5-star reviews* on Amazon, with an average ranking of 4.4 stars.

ABOUT THE BOOKS IN THE BUNDLE:

RUNESUSA Today bestselling author Ednah Walters (Norse Mythology/Paranormal Romance/Angels & Demons/Clean Romance)
Seventeen-year-old Raine Cooper has enough on her plate dealing with her father’s disappearance, her mother’s erratic behavior and the possibility of her boyfriend relocating. The last thing she needs is Torin St. James—a mysterious new neighbor with a wicked smile and uncanny way of reading her.

FEYLAND: THE DARK REALM USA Today bestselling author Anthea Sharp (Urban Fantasy/Science Fiction/YA Romance/Fae Adventure/Fairytales)
What if a high-tech computer game was actually a gateway to the Realm of Faerie? Jennet Carter soon finds herself battling the Dark Queen, falling for the perfect hero, and trying to save her own world from unspeakable danger!

STARSTRUCKUSA Today bestselling author Brenda Hiatt (Science Fiction/Sweet Romance/Coming of Age)
The middle of nowhere gets a lot more interesting for an orphaned astronomy geek when the hot new quarterback inexplicably befriends her and strange things start to happen: her acne clears up, her eyesight improves, and when they touch, sparks fly—literally! The incredible truth will change her mundane life forever—if she survives!

THE GATEKEEPER’S SONS – Bestselling author Eva Pohler (Greek Myths & Legends/Teen Fantasy/Paranormal Romance)
Fifteen-year-old Therese Mills is heading home in the car with her parents when someone begins shooting at them, sending their car into a lake. She finds the strength to escape, and winds up in the coma that introduces her to the twin sons of Hades … and plunges her into the center of a war brewing between the Gods on Mount Olympus.

SWORN TO RAISENew York Times bestselling author Terah Edun (High Fantasy/Sword & Sorcery/Coming of Age/Action Adventure)
When peasant girl Ciardis is chosen for a position at court, she travels across the empire to begin a new life. To survive, she’ll need to master intrigue, befriend a crown prince, and learn to control magical abilities she never knew existed.

ATLANTIS RIPTIDE – Bestselling author Allie Burton (Mermaids/Clean Romance/Sci-Fi Fantasy/Genetic Engineering)
Pearl ran away from the circus, tired of her adoptive parents’ abuse of her special skills. Unbeknownst to her, a battle rages under the ocean, and each side wants to use her powers for their cause. As Pearl discovers her talents, she must choose her destiny—ignore the churning seas or swim into battle.

SAVING MARS – Bestselling author Cidney Swanson (Science Fiction/Teen Romance/Action Adventure)
Jessamyn pilots a ship to Earth to steal food for the Mars Colony at a time when Earth-Mars relations couldn’t be worse. Breaking rules of no contact, Jess falls for Pavel, nephew to Earth’s Chancellor, but when Jess’s brother is captured, she must choose: rescue her brother or her planet?

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Book Blast Giveaway
Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash
Ends 10/16/15

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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. Susan Heim on Writing is not responsible for Rafflecopter content or prize fulfillment. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Friday, September 18, 2015

M9B Friday Reveal: Chapter Reveal - "Super Freak" by Vanessa Barger with Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals

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Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!
This week, we are revealing CHAPTER ONE of
Super Freak by Vanessa Barger
an MG title presented by Tantrum Books!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Super Freak

Thirteen-year-old Caroline is a freak. Her parents have uprooted her to a town full of Supernaturals. You'd think she'd be thrilled, but with someone without a magical bone in her body, this daughter of tree sprites feels like even more of an outcast than she has ever before. 
To make matters worse, her new home is cursed. But when Caroline takes to investigating the mysterious and strange happenings of Harridan House, her BFF goes missing. Seems someone doesn't want Caroline sticking her non-magical nose where it most certainly does not belong. Determined to prove herself, Caroline uncovers a plot to destroy her new hometown. 
Undeterred, Caroline can't give up. But what's a human without magical powers to do? Caroline better figure it out fast, before she loses everything she has ever loved and the whispers she's heard all her life prove true: Caroline is a useless superfreak.
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Super Freak by Vanessa Barger
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Publisher: Tantrum Books
Genre: MG, Fantasy

excerpt



Chapter One

Twenty-five feet into town. That’s as far as we got before the first disaster happened. Dad turned onto Main Street, and just as we pulled up next to Greywolfe’s Spells and Supplies, a huge puff of smoke and flame burst from the front doors. Shattered glass and a large, hairy man shot into the path of our over-packed SUV.
Dad slammed his foot down on the brakes and jerked the wheel to the left, throwing us around the inside of the car. In the back, I covered my head, expecting the piles of wedged boxes to topple over, burying me in an avalanche of dishes and teddy bears.
“Caroline! Are you all right?” Mom reached into the back seat, her horn-rimmed glasses dangling from one ear.
“I’m good. Did we hit him?” I craned my neck, looking to see out the front window. Dad unbuckled and leapt from the car to help the man who had flown in the road to his feet.
“I think he’s fine. You’d think he’d at least have the decency to let out a warning before coming out like that. He could have been killed! We could have been hurt! Dishes might have fallen on you and broken!”
I rolled my eyes. The dishes would be a high priority.
Mom shook her head, letting loose a shower of tiny green leaves. It always happened when she was stressed. Dryads weren’t really known for their calm temperaments. You’d think, being tree spirits, they’d have that stoic thing going for them. Maybe it was because Mom was a weeping willow, but calm wasn’t really part of her vocabulary. Dad on the other hand, was solid as an oak.
Because he was an oak. After unhooking my seatbelt, I slid from the car. Mom followed suit. Her lips compressed into a tight line and she shed another couple handfuls of leaves, but for the moment, she contained herself.
Dad stood, tall and wiry, one arm hooked around a large, barrel-chested man with more facial hair than I’d seen in my life. Had to be a werewolf. He pulled away from my dad and brushed at the gravel and purple residue covering his gray suit.
“Thank you, Mr. …” The stranger held out one hand to my dad.
“George Bennings,” Dad said, shaking the stranger’s hand. “And this is my wife, Grace, and our daughter, Caroline. We just moved here from Lost Creek.”
“My name is William Grouseman. I’m thrilled you’ve come to town, but glad you didn’t pull in a few moments sooner.”
I wanted to warn him that sarcasm was lost on my parents, but he seemed to get the message when they didn’t share in his chuckle. They exchanged a confused glance and smiled blankly at him.
He offered his hand to me and I shook it. “Nice to meet you, sir.”
He frowned, looking between my parents and then back at me.
Mom’s arm curved around my shoulder, nudging me forward. She sniffed. “She’s just a late bloomer. We’ve got great hopes for her future.”
I sighed. She meant well, but it never failed. Supernatural people could sense the paranormal on each other. But when they got to me there was nothing. A void. A great, empty space where everyone expected some sort of natural magic.
The supernatural had been the normal since 1978 when an explorer by the name of Albert Merriweather stumbled into a cave in Greece and found Pandora’s Box, and then opened it. Apparently the myths about the box were off a little. Instead of holding all the evils of the world, it held all the magic that had been pulled out of it. Releasing magic out into the world, well, now every person was a little bit paranormal. It didn’t mean everyone could cast a spell or levitate. But everyone had something. Kids were tested in elementary school.
The ones with lots of magic were usually the popular crowd. The rest of the population lived with it, picking up what they could, where they could. You could ask to be retested anytime. Sometimes people really did make progress.
Except me. I hadn’t just tested low, I’d flunked. So badly they brought in national analysts to make sure there wasn’t someone tampering with the tests. It was a relief really. I mean, my parents were powerful. Who wants to try and beat that?
My lack of powers drove my parents batty. Most people figured I was adopted. Two dryads–tree spirits who could change shape, manipulate the natural world, and talk to trees–produced a normal child? Impossible.
My parents were convinced I would show signs as I matured. I didn’t have the heart to tell them differently, but I really didn’t think it would ever happen. And that was fine by me. Magic was great–when it worked.
Maybe when I turned forty my parents would figure it out. Until then, I’d smile and nod when they gave me their speech about reaching my potential and discovering hidden talents.
I met Mr. Grouseman’s chocolate eyes and gave him a weak smile before he turned to my parents.
“Ah, well, it happens sometimes. If anyone can draw out her gift, it’s our teaching staff at the school. I’m the principal at Stein Middle School.” His eyes moved from them to me. I wished I were small and hidden under a rock. “You look like you’re about middle-school age. What grade will you be in?”
I swallowed. This was not how I planned to meet the school principal. “I’m supposed to start eighth this year.”
“I thought so. You’ll love the school. Excellent courses and teachers, and the students are some of the best.”
Just like every other school I’d been to. They always said that. It must be in a rulebook principals get when they start their jobs. Luckily, that was the end of his conversation with me. He told my parents where the school was, and what the summer office hours were, then waved at us as he headed back into the shop.
Mom raised a tentative finger and cleared her throat. “Are you certain it’s safe to go back in?”
Mr. Grouseman loosed a deep peal of laughter. “Of course! My nephew runs the store. What you saw was an accident when a new display tipped over. Have a great day!”
I didn’t buy his story, and I didn’t think Mom and Dad did either. But clearly he wasn’t going to share family quarrels with the new people in town. With a shrug, I climbed back into the car, put my cryptogram book away, and watched the town unfold outside my windows. The buildings wound around a central park with huge old-growth trees and the county buildings were the same as they’d been when the town was founded in the seventeenth century. My Dad gave me tidbits about the history of Hecate Bay for the last two weeks, trying to pump up my anticipation. History was one passion Dad and I shared.
Spell suppliers, voodoo parlors, psychic readers, and magical bookstores rubbed elbows with Food Lion, florists, and churches. The human and the paranormal had merged and become just like the country–an inseparable mix.
We headed for our new house. As we turned away from town, the library caught my attention. A huge stone building that, based on the size, I knew held thousands of books. I started to drool at the prospect. As I watched the people wandering down the street, and we passed another spell shop and magical supply store, my excitement began to fade. I thought about what I’d seen so far, the encounter with my new principal, and the new school year approaching, and my stomach churned with dread. I knew that no matter what, Hecate Bay wasn’t the restful small town my parents told me about. I’d hoped for one of those rare towns populated with only a few magical creatures and big magical talents. This place, well, I could practically taste the magic in the air.
I was doomed.


About-the-Author

Vanessa Barger was born in West Virginia, and through several moves ended up spending the majority of her life in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is a graduate of George Mason University and Old Dominion University, and has degrees in Graphic Design, a minor in Medieval and Renaissance Literature, and a Masters in Technology Education. She has had articles published in Altered Arts Magazine, has had some artwork displayed in galleries in Ohio and online, and currently teaches engineering, practical physics, drafting and other technological things to high school students in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), the Virginia Writer's Club, and the Hampton Roads Writers. When not writing or teaching, she’s a bookaholic, movie fanatic, and loves to travel. She is married to a fabulous man, and has one cat, who believes Vanessa lives only to open cat food cans, and can often be found baking when she should be editing.
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