Friday, January 29, 2016

Chapter 1 Reveal + Giveaway of ASHES IN THE SKY by Jennifer M. Eaton


Today, Jennifer M. Eaton and Month9Books are revealing the first chapter for ASHES IN THE SKY, which releases March 15, 2016! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers to receive an eGalley!!

A quick note from the author:

Hello alien fans!

I have to admit that Fire in the Woods was meant to be a stand-alone. When approached to write a second novel, I really had to scratch my head. I mean, the story was over, right?

Well, apparently I “left them screaming for more” as everyone always says.
I really didn’t want to deal with the direct aftermath of book one, so I decided to fast forward a few months to a time when things should be settling down for poor, exhausted Jess. All she wants to do is get her life back to normal again, and to do that, she needs to get back to school.

Unfortunately for Jess (and maybe fortunately for us), it will be a little while before our girl has anything close to a normal life again. So enjoy Jess’s first day back at school after saving the world. Here is chapter one of Ashes in the Sky: book two of Fire in the Woods.


Alien Kisses!

Jennifer M. Eaton


Title: ASHES IN THE SKY
Author: Jennifer M. Eaton
Pub. Date: March 15, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback & eBook
Find it:
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

After inadvertently saving the world, eighteen-year-old Jessica Martinez is ready to put adventure behind her and settle back into the familiar routine of high school.

Though when she's offered an opportunity to photograph the inside of an alien spaceship, Jess jumps at the chance. After all, she'd be crazy to turn something like that down, right?

Spending time with David on the ship has definite advantages, and the two seem to pick up right where they left off. But when Jess discovers a plot to sabotage David's efforts to establish a new home for his people on another planet, neither David's advanced tech nor Jess's smarts will be able to save them.

ASHES IN THE SKY is an action-packed, romantic, sci-fi adventure that will leave readers screaming for more.

Exclusive Excerpt


1


Dad’s brow creased. “You don’t have to do this, Jess. We can turn around now and go home.”


His fingers rapped on the limousine’s armrest as we pulled up to the entrance of my normally quiet school. Outside, police officers and several uniformed security guards held advancing reporters and camera crews on the sidewalks.


“Relax, Major,” Elaine said, across from me. She pulled out a compact and touched up her lipstick. “Two months after single-handedly saving the world from an alien invasion, Earth’s teenage savior returns to finish high school.” She snapped the case shut. “This is the public interest story of the year.”


Dad’s nose flared. “Yes, she’s supposed to be going to school, but you’ve made it a media circus. Why’d you have to schedule a press conference in the auditorium?”


She slipped her lipstick back into her designer purse. “They would have been here anyway. The best way to calm a stalking fox is to invite him in for tea.”


“Tea? I’ll give you tea.”


I held up my hand. “Dad … ” I didn’t have to finish. I never did. Their arguments were always the same. Father protects daughter, while the publicist pushes media exposure as far as she can legally get away with—and me stuck in between.


Elaine wasn’t all that bad, as far as publicists went. Not that I’d known any other publicists, but she’d been by my side since my very first press conference, and the hundred or so more over the past two months. She could be pushy, but she understood the power of a pint of Death By Chocolate ice cream at the end of a long day, which totally earned her brownie points in my book.


Dad’s gaze returned to me. “We just got back. Do you really need to do another press conference?” The deep lines around his eyes added to the weight of my own exhaustion.


I shifted in my seat, my hands clammy against the leather interior. “If we go home, they’ll just show up here again tomorrow. Let’s get this over with. Maybe then things can get back to normal.” I grabbed his hand. “I can do this.”


Dad pressed his lips together. Of course, he knew I could do it. But knowing and wanting me to answer another set of invasive questions were two different things, and I loved every stubborn inch of him for it.


Elaine fluffed my hair and adjusted the collar of my shirt. “Show time.” She knocked twice on the window, and the Secret Service agent outside opened the door for her. She glided through the crowd with a practiced grace.


Camera-palooza erupted outside. Dang, there weren’t this many photographers when I met the president.


Dad stepped out before me, an imposing figure in his combat uniform. Having an over-protective father did have its advantages. No one was getting by this bodyguard. No one.


I closed my eyes and clutched the charm on my necklace. My mother’s strength seeped into me, giving me courage. You’ll be fine, I heard her whisper. You’re my strong little girl. Always have been.


“I’ll try, Mom.” I opened my eyes and shuddered. You would think I’d be used to the feeding frenzy by now. This was the longest fifteen minutes of fame ever.


Steadying myself on the limo door, I stood.


“Jess, look over here.” Flash.


“Miss Martinez, how does it feel to be back at school?” Flash.


“Jessica, to your right.” Flash. Flash.


The faces and camera lenses blurred. My mind filled with the phantom sounds of alien weapons. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply to ward off memories of blinding lights and screaming voices.


It was over. The aliens had left, and I was alive. We were all still alive.


The Secret Service closed in around us as Dad placed his hand on my back, guiding me to the front entrance. With a well-rehearsed smile, I made my way forward, hoping to avoid a repeat of tabloid-gate when the worst-of-the-worst photos of me turned up on the cover of the National Daily.


Dad moved beside me as we stepped over the threshold. I slipped my fingers into his hand and squeezed. One more press conference. Just one more. I could do this.


We made our way through a throng of reporters, students, parents, and teachers to the auditorium. Hundreds of voices jumbled into one chaotic roar rebounding off the lockers.


A microphone appeared in front of my face. “Ms. Martinez, how did you—”


Dad pulled me to his chest as two Secret Service agents pounced on the guy. The reporter and the agents sunk back into the crowd, disappearing like a stone thrown into water.


“There will be question and answer time after the presentation,” Elaine called as we passed through the auditorium’s stage door.


I exhaled, rubbing my arms. That had to be the worst crowd ever.


Dad circled the area behind the curtains and checked the cracks and crevices backstage. The Secret Service agents had long since given up on trying to convince him that the government pre-secured all of my speaking engagements. I used to joke about their paranoia, until someone actually found a bomb. Those guys in ugly suits quickly became my best friends.


“Did you practice your speech?” Elaine asked.


I raised an eyebrow. “No.” You’d think she’d stop asking me that. I hadn’t memorized one yet. Why would I start now?


I pulled aside the curtain and scoped out the auditorium. A sea of smiling, wide-eyed faces filled the room. Camera crews and reporters intermingled with the student body.


Going back to high school was supposed to help me get my life back.


This fiasco was not getting my life back. But maybe if I answered everyone’s questions now, they wouldn’t keep asking later.


Hey, a girl could dream.


Elaine patted my shoulder before heading out past the curtains. Her heels clopped across the wooden stage as she passed a huge poster of National Geographic’s “The Night the World Stood Still: Special Edition.”


Steven Callup’s cover photo was one of those shots every aspiring photographer dreamed of catching: perfect lighting, engaging subject, active backdrop, and undeniable emotional tone. I wasn’t drooling over this masterpiece, though; because the photograph featured me.


The flames over my shoulder were in crisp focus and flawlessly mirrored in my dark hair. The mottled hues of a fresh sunrise blended perfectly with the devastation in the background. And my God, the expression on Dad’s face as we embraced … the love in his eyes.


That night would haunt me forever. Something incredible had happened, and it had nothing to do with an alien invasion. That cover immortalized the moment for the world to see: a year after my mother’s death, my father finally opened up and started to feel again.


I released the curtain, ready to face my peers, knowing that no one gave a rat’s ass about me or my dad.


They only wanted to know more about David.


I mean, I totally got it. An alien guy crash lands on Earth and has to escape before his people wipe out humanity. Heck, I’d be interested, too. But the clincher was that David changed his people’s minds because of me. I was the heroine in the story of the millennia, whether I liked it or not.


I cringed, thinking of how many people had contacted me for the movie rights. Ashes in the Sky, they wanted to call it. What kind of idiotic title was that? Ridiculous, all of it. The world almost ended right in front of me. I didn’t need to see it again on a big screen.


As Elaine announced my name, and the audience applauded, I wondered if anything would ever be as it was before David’s people arrived.


I took my place behind the microphone and squinted into the harsh auditorium lighting. I’d been in that audience dozens of times, but never on stage. The faces looking back at me were familiar, but distant. Awestruck.


This place was my school. My safe haven. Having the media here was wrong.


I gritted my teeth and gripped the sides of the lectern. This assembly would be the absolute last time I talked about what happened to me in public. Ever.


A mop of perky, blond curls caught my attention from the third row. My BFF Maggie beamed as she gave me a thumbs-up. Part of me relaxed, knowing I had a friend near.


Maggs was the only other person who’d known about David before the Army started chasing us. She even risked her own rear-end helping us escape. She’d talked her way out of a grounding from her father, the general, thank goodness. Damn, he must have been ticked when he found out what she’d done.


Taking one last breath to steady myself, I edged closer to the mic. “You’d have to be dead not to know what happened two months ago. So I’m just going to open it up to questions.”


Hundreds of hands shot into the air.


One of the moderators handed a microphone to a bubbly girl with a blond ponytail. “Is it true that the alien looked just like Jared Linden?”


And, it starts.


“Yes. David mimicked an advertisement and looked just like Jared Linden’s character in that movie Fire in the Woods.”


Okay, that was only half of it. The truth was far too embarrassing. David pulled Jared Linden’s features from my mind. He didn’t look exactly like Jared. Just the hotter parts. The rest was an amalgamation of other cute guys he’d yanked out of my brain. There was no way I would admit to that, though.


A tall kid in a black band tee stood. “So what really happened out there? They were going to annihilate us. How’d you get them to change their minds?”


I cleared my throat. A flash of David’s smile and the warmth of his touch sent a shiver down my spine. “Luck was totally in our favor. If David’s plane hadn’t crashed, we never would have met. It didn’t take long before he realized the human race was worth saving.”


A teacher handed a microphone to a girl wearing glasses. “How long will it take them to terraform Mars?”


Ugh. I tried to think of David’s new home like Seattle or Los Angeles, but it wasn’t. It was Mars. As in: not Earth. Talk about your long distance romance.


“I have no idea how long it will take them to make Mars livable. I do know that they are running short on supplies, so I’m hoping it will happen pretty quickly.”


A girl in a cheerleader uniform flagged down the lady with the microphone. “Everyone says you and the alien were doing it. Inquiring minds want to know. Was he any good?”


Camera flashes singed my eyes as a teacher tried to pull the mic away from the girl.


“No,” a reporter shouted. “Let’s hear the answer.”


The audience murmured, shifting like hyenas waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting foal. Beside the stage, Dad’s face became an unnatural shade of crimson.


Crap.


“Well?” the cheerleader asked.


I wiped the sweat from my palms, remembering the shockwave that raged through me when David’s lips covered mine. The tabloids had reduced our relationship to supermarket trash, and Rah-Rah Girl probably wouldn’t know a real emotional connection if it bit her.


David and I shared something so deeply intimate it transcended everything. No one could possibly understand. I wasn’t even sure I understood. All I knew was that I was in love, and I’d probably never see him again.


I blinked, realizing the room had gone quiet, awaiting my answer about doing it.


My hands fisted, but I forced a smile and rustled up the rote response Elaine had prepared for me. “I heard that rumor, too, but David and I were only friends.” A sickly gash sliced through my heart. The thought of living the rest of my life with him on another planet was akin to living in the desert without water.


Was he out there somewhere, longing for me as much as I yearned for him?


My stomach fluttered. I hated how people’s stupid questions dredged up feelings I’d worked hard to suppress. I had to get off that podium.


A kid in the back stood. “How does it feel to know that six million people died while you were out there hugging dear old dad?” He pointed over my shoulder to the huge magazine cover behind me. “How does it feel to know the death count is still rising?”


It was? “Umm—”


“When did you know they were hostile?” someone else shouted.


My heart thumped against my ribcage. “I, uh—”


A reporter snatched the microphone. “Do you honestly believe they won’t come back and finish us off?”


The rumble of voices intensified. Cameras flashed as dozens of voices drowned one another out. So much for school being my safe haven.


Elaine gripped my shoulder and pulled me from the dais. “Thank you,” she said. “That’s all the questions we have time for today.”


She scooted me past the curtains, Dad following close behind. The volume in the auditorium escalated.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “We should’ve been ready for that. Next time—”


“There’s not going to be a next time.” I thrust my chin in the air. “That was my last public appearance. I’m already behind in school, and I need to graduate this year. I just want to get back to my classes and put this all behind me.”


She grinned in that syrupy way adults do when they are about to condescend your butt. “We’ll talk about this later, honey.”


Dad’s gaze seared through her before he offered me a nod of approval.


No, Elaine. We would definitely not be talking about this later.




Corporate Team Leader by day and Ranting Writer by night, Jennifer M. Eaton calls the East Coast of the USA home, where she lives with her husband, three energetic boys, and a pepped-up poodle.

Jennifer hosts an informational blog, “A Reference of Writing Rants for Writers (or Learn from My Mistakes),” aimed at helping all writers be the best they can be.

Beyond writing and motivating others, she also enjoys teaching her dog to jump through hoops -- literally.

Jennifer's perfect day includes long hikes in the woods, bicycling, swimming, snorkeling, and snuggling up by the fire with a great book. However, her greatest joy is using her overactive imagination constructively by creating new worlds for everyone to enjoy.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:
One winner will receive an eGalley of ASHES IN THE SKY. Open internationally. Enter through the Rafflecopter form below.

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: "The Fall of Lord Drayson," by Rachael Anderson ~ Enter to Win a $25 Amazon Gift Code or PayPal Cash!

Coming soon from USA Today Bestselling Author Rachael Anderson

The Fall of Lord Drayson


Who is he really? A high and mighty Lord, or a lowly servant?

When Colin Cavendish, the new earl of Drayson, informs Lucy Beresford that she and her mother have two months to vacate the house they've called home for the past two years, Lucy is fit to be tied.They have no money, no relations they can turn to for help, and nowhere to go. How dare the earl break the promise his father had made to the Beresfords without so much as a twinge of conscience?

Mere hours later, Lucy discovers the earl unconscious and injured in the middle of the road. Grudgingly, she takes him into her home to tend to his wounds, but when he awakens with no recollection of who he is, Lucy seizes the opportunity to teach a much-needed lesson in humility. Pushing her own twinge of conscience aside, she informs the earl of Drayson that he is nothing more than a mere servant. Her servant, in fact.

And thus begins the charming tale of a pompous lord and an impetuous young woman, caught together in a web so tangled that it begs the question: Will they ever get out?

The Fall of Lord Drayson
Coming late-summer 2016
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Rachael
Author Rachael Anderson

A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.



Cover Reveal Giveaway
Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Code or PayPal Cash
Ends 2/17/16
Enter through the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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.

#T4T ~ "Nobody's Goddess" and "Crown of Ice," Plus a Giveaway


Welcome to this week’s Two for Thursday! #T4T
presented by Month9books/Tantrum Books!
Today, we will be showcasing two titles that will tickle your fancy,
and we’ll share what readers have to say about these titles!
You just might find your next read!


Title: NOBODY'S GODDESS
Author: Amy McNulty
Pub. Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Pages: 274
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | TBD

In a village of masked men, magic compels each man to love only one woman and to follow the commands of his “goddess” without question. A woman may reject the only man who will love her if she pleases, but she will be alone forever. And a man must stay masked until his goddess returns his love -- and if she can’t or won’t, he remains masked forever.

Seventeen-year-old Noll isn't in the mood to celebrate. Her childhood friends have paired off and her closest companion, Jurij, found his goddess in Noll’s own sister. Desperate to find a way to break this ancient spell, Noll instead discovers why no man has ever chosen her.

Thus begins a dangerous game between the choice of woman versus the magic of man. And the stakes are no less than freedom and happiness, life and death -- and neither is willing to lose.

Praise for NOBODY’S GODDESS:
“There are many terrestrial qualities to this 16th-century village, such as mountains, meadows, forests, and lakes. But there are also hints of magic throughout ... the story is fun and engaging, featuring a female protagonist who will resonate with young teens.” ~School Library Journal

"Wow. I appreciate this fantasy for what it is: detailed, unique, and just all round amazing. It's the kind of novel that keeps you guessing, and just when you think you've got the twist, something happens to throw you off course." ~Melanie McFarlane author of the upcoming THERE ONCE WERE STARS & SUMMONER RISING

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:
"It was something so unique and different that I found myself really enthralled with the story. To the point that I almost had to blink myself out of a daze when I finished." ~Jamie, Blogger @ Queen of The Bookshelves

"I would definitely recommend Nobody's Goddess to anybody looking for a great fantasy book with a plot that's unlike anything I've read before. The characters and the world are all done incredibly well, and Amy's talent with making words jump right off the page to tell the story is just fantastic." ~Ashley, Blogger @ The AP Book Club

"This book is different from any fantasy book I've read before in its concept. It treads the path less traveled, and manages to make a great story that readers can enjoy and love." ~Bri, Blogger @ Books And Ashes





Amy McNulty is a freelance writer and editor from Wisconsin with an honors degree in English. She was first published in a national scholarly journal (The Concord Review) while in high school and currently spends her days alternatively writing on business and marketing topics and primarily crafting stories with dastardly villains and antiheroes set in fantastical medieval settings.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads





Title: CROWN OF ICE
Publication date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Vicki L. Weavil
ISBN: 978-1939765390
Find it: GoodreadsAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo |TBD | iBooks

Thyra Winther’s seventeen, the Snow Queen, and immortal, but if she can’t reassemble a shattered enchanted mirror by her eighteenth birthday she’s doomed to spend eternity as a wraith.

Armed with magic granted by a ruthless wizard, Thyra schemes to survive with her mind and body intact. Unencumbered by kindness, she kidnaps local boy Kai Thorsen, whose mathematical skills rival her own. Two logical minds, Thyra calculates, are better than one. With time rapidly melting away she needs all the help she can steal.

A cruel lie ensnares Kai in her plan, but three missing mirror shards and Kai’s childhood friend, Gerda, present more formidable obstacles. Thyra’s willing to do anything -- venture into uncharted lands, outwit sorcerers, or battle enchanted beasts -- to reconstruct the mirror, yet her most dangerous adversary lies within her breast. Touched by the warmth of a wolf pup’s devotion and the fire of a young man’s desire, the thawing of Thyra’s frozen heart could be her ultimate undoing.

CROWN OF ICE is a YA Fantasy that reinvents Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen from the perspective of a young woman who discovers that the greatest threat to her survival may be her own humanity.

Praise for CROWN OF ICE:
“A re-imagining of The Snow Queen, moving and well written.” ~Sandra Waugh, Author of The Guardians of Tarnec Series

“I admire the depiction of a young woman staying true to herself and not letting the pressures of love or expectations effect her choice. Thyra becomes an example that would do any woman proud.” ~Michelle Hauck, Author of Grudging.

“Weavil conducts a careful balancing act between loyalty to the original story and exploring new frontiers; I think she succeeds in this task, and fans of fairytale re-tellings will enjoy this one.” ~The Australia Times

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:
"CROWN OF ICE offers so much more than just the tale of The Snow Queen with a change of perspective. A solid YA adventure with teenagers who learn so much about themselves, and each other. Even the expected happily ever after offers believable surprises that underscore the maturity and independence they each have gained." ~Julia, Blogger @ All Things Urban Fantasy

“I was enchanted by this book from the opening paragraphs. The story is told from Thyra's point of view, making it very personal and conversational in tone. By using this method, the reader gets to know Thyra on a deeper level than normal.” ~Stephanie, Blogger @ A Dream Within A Dream

“CROWN OF ICE is such a fascinating fantasy, with love adventure and enjoyable characters. I recommend for all fans of fantasy!!” ~Tonyalee, Blogger @ LilyBloomBooks

“This book was fantastic, and so different from anything that I have ever read. I loved every single page of this book, and I very much look forward to whatever comes next from this amazing author!.” ~Jaime, Blogger @ The Best Books Ever




Vicki Lemp Weavil was raised in a farming community in Virginia, where her life was shaped by a wonderful family, the culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and an obsession with reading. Since obtaining her undergraduate degree in Theatre from the University of Virginia, she’s gone on to acquire two masters degrees, living in places as diverse as New York City and rural North Carolina. She’s currently the library director for a performing and visual arts university.  Vicki loves good writing in any genre, and has been known to read seven books in as many days. She enjoys travel, gardening, and the arts. Vicki lives in North Carolina with her husband, son, and some very spoiled cats.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr

   

Complete the Rafflecopter form below for a chance to win! Three winners will receive an eBook of Nobody's Goddess and Crown of Ice. Open internationally.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Release Week Blitz: "Shearwater," Part One (an Ocean Depths Mermaid Romance) by Derek Murphy with Giveaway

ShearwaterRDB

Hello readers! Welcome to the Release Week Blitz for
Shearwater, Part One
(an Ocean Depths Mermaid Romance)

by Derek Murphy!
Do you love mermaids? Then this is the book for you!
And don't get me started on the awesome giveaway found below.
Happy Book Birthday, Derek!
Make some noise and celebrate!! Whoo hooooo!

Shearwater Cover

"I watched the colored lights and sparkles coming off of Sebastian in the dark water, as the ocean began the process of rebuilding his tail. I longed to join him in the water, to wrap my arms around him and let him carry me under the sea, but I wasn’t ready. For him, the ocean was a home; for me it was death. Without being able to transform, the ocean depths would suffocate me, the pressure collapse my bones and flesh." 
After her parents' accident, Clara is shipped off to live with a grandfather she never knew, in a town she can't pronounce. In Ireland, she soon discovers that her mother's secret past is filled with tragedy. Trying to track down the truth, she begins going through changes of her own, until she's not sure just who -- or what -- she is anymore. 
Then she meets the mysterious Sebastian, who won't leave her alone, and Ethan, who apparently can't stand to be near her. Both of them seem to have supernatural powers, and she's not quite sure whether they want to kill her or kiss her. Just when things are getting interesting, someone attacks her, and she gets a revelation that destroys everything she thought she knew about the world, humanity, and herself. 
>>>Explore the magical coast of Northern Ireland, and an new interpretation of the Tuatha de Danann, the Fomorians, and mermaid mythology. 
>>>An innovative paranormal romance with a brand-new magical system, and a version of mermaid biology that actually makes sense. 
This is PART ONE of the first book (Shearwater), of the Ocean Depths Series.
add to goodreads
Shearwater, Part One (an Ocean Depths Mermaid Romance)
by Derek Murphy
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Publisher: Urban Epics
Available for Purchase:
Amazon

About-the-Author2
Derek Murphy

Derek Murphy is a philosophy major turned book designer finishing a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature. He recently decided to stop studying and designing books, and start writing his own.
giveaway2
Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win these mermaid bookends!

Bookends

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

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Cover Reveal: "Love Me, Love Me Not" by Alyxandra Harvey Presented by Entangled Teen Crave

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YA fantasy / fairytale retelling of The Swan Maiden with a blood feud twist like Romeo & Juliet? Say whaaaat?
Welcome to the cover reveal for
Love Me, Love Me Not by Alyxandra Harvey
presented by Entangled Teen Crave!
Who else is excited for this book???

LoveMeLoveMeNot_1600

Dating isn’t easy when you’re in the middle of a blood feud. 
Anastasia Vila’s family can turn into swans, but just once she’d like them to turn into responsible adults. 
After hundreds of years, they still cling to the blood feud with the Renard family. No one remembers how it started in the first place—but foxes and swans just don’t get along. 
Vilas can only transform into their swan shape after they have fallen in love for the first time, but between balancing schoolwork, family obligations, and the escalating blood feud, Ana’s got no time for love. The only thing keeping her sane is her best friend, Pierce Kent. 
But when Pierce kisses Ana, everything changes. 
Is what Pierce feels for her real, or a byproduct of her magic? Can she risk everything for her best friend? And when the family feud spirals out of control, Ana must stop the fight before it takes away everything she loves. 
Including, maybe...Pierce. 
This Entangled Teen Crave book contains language, violence, and lots of kissing. Warning: it might induce strong feelings of undeniable attraction for your best friend.
add to goodreads
Love Me, Love Me Not by Alyxandra Harvey
Publication Date: February 22, 2016
Publisher: Entangled Teen Crave
About-the-Author2
alyxandra-harvey
Alyxandra Harvey lives in a stone Victorian house in Ontario, Canada with a few resident ghosts who are allowed to stay as long as they keep company manners. She loves medieval dresses, used to be able to recite all of The Lady of Shalott by Tennyson, and has been accused, more than once, of being born in the wrong century. She believes this to be mostly true except for the fact that she really likes running water, women’s rights, and ice cream. Aside from the ghosts, she also lives with her husband and their dogs. She likes cinnamon lattes, tattoos and books.
Connect with the author: Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads

LoveMeLoveMeNotTour

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Cover Reveal, First Chapter and Giveaway: "Genesis Girl," by Jennifer Bardsley


Today Jennifer Bardsley and Month9Books are revealing the cover and first chapter for GENESIS GIRL, which releases September 27, 2016! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers to receive a eGalley!!

A quick note from the author:
“The first time I saw the cover to Genesis Girl I got chills. Genesis Girl is a psychological, sci-fi thriller, and the blood-red cover conveys that perfectly.”--Jennifer Bardsley
Fifty years ago, cell phones unleashed a Brain Cancer Epidemic. 
Terrified by technology, worried parents entrusted their children to a charismatic leader.
Barbelo promised to keep his Vestals safe from the Internet, hidden behind lead-lined walls.
Now, digital purity is valuable, and a Vestal named Blanca is auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Blanca is the most obedient eighteen-year-old her purchasers have ever met.
She is a blank slate for the genesis of anything they want.
But too bad for Blanca.
Their new beginning could be her end.
On to the reveal!


Title: GENESIS GIRL
Author: Jennifer Bardsley
Pub. Date: September 27, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, &eBook
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Eighteen-year-old Blanca has lived a sheltered life. Her entire childhood has been spent at Tabula Rasa School where she’s been protected from the Internet. 

Blanca has never been online and doesn’t even know how to text. Her lack of a virtual footprint makes her extremely valuable, and upon graduation, Blanca and those like her are sold to the highest bidders.

Blanca is purchased by Cal McNeal, who uses her to achieve personal gain. But the McNeals are soon horrified by just how obedient and non-defiant Blanca is. All those mind-numbing years locked away from society have made her mind almost impenetrable. 

By the time Blanca is ready to think for herself, she is trapped. Her only chance of escape is to go online. 

Exclusive Excerpt


Chapter One


My boot hits him in the nuts at the same time as the flash goes off, but it’s too late. The Virus has already taken my picture. He was aiming for Fatima, but I pushed her away just in time. I sideswipe his legs and topple the Virus over while he moans in agony from my kick to his groin.


“Nobody takes my picture, you freak!” I stare at his tattooed face. There’s something familiar about the snake inked around his eyebrow, but I can’t quite place it. We’re in the underground parking garage at school, and the fluorescent lights shade everything ugly. I crouch down and flip the Virus onto his stomach, bashing his nose against the pavement.


Ever since I was little, teachers have warned me about Viruses. They’re paparazzi scumbags whose sole purpose in life is to destroy privacy and expose secrets. I’ve never seen one in person until today.


“Hand me your belt,” I tell Fatima. I hold the Virus in place by grinding my knee into his back while Fatima slips off the cinch from her black spandex uniform. I wrestle the man’s arms behind me with both hands. Surprise, surprise—security doesn’t show up until I’m already hog-tying the bastard.


“You’re not so special now, Vestal!” the Virus says as they haul him off.


He’s right.


Until about two minutes ago, I was a Vestal postulant. A blank slate. An Internet virgin. There were no images of my moniker floating around cyberspace. My parents had never blogged about my every poop. It had been planned that way from the beginning. They had castrated my virtual identity for the promise of a better life.


In one week I’m graduating from Tabula Rasa. Today was my chance to shine while I’m interviewed by companies. Only nobody will want me now.


With one flash of his thumb camera, that jerk destroyed my life.


“Don’t worry,” Fatima says, helping me to my feet. “You’ve still got a face that can sell soap. I knew it the first time I saw you. Your skin’s your best feature, and that hasn’t changed.”


The sound of the security gate opening drowns Fatima out. We watch as a white car enters the Tabula Rasa garage. A flash of sunlight taunts me before the gate closes. All my life I’ve lived in this twenty-story fortress of protection. Today was going to be my first day in sunshine, being interviewed by bidders.


But that Virus ruined it all. How the hell he snuck in, I’ll never know.


“You’re the girl next door,” Fatima says, a bit louder. “Couture might not want you, but the average American will.”


I nod because I’ve heard it all before. Not everyone can be the seductress. I’ll never be like Fatima, I don’t begrudge her that. A clear face, green eyes, and brown hair are what I have to work with, and that’s fine. But there’s no fixing a picture of me on the Internet.


“It’ll be okay, Blanca,” Fatima says again.


But we both know that isn’t true.


For a Vestal, a clear Internet history is the most important thing. Without that I’m nothing. Our elusive privacy is what makes us valuable.


I’ve watched our class shrink from two hundred eager postulants to a graduating group of ten. The infractions were usually unavoidable: their memory was spotty, their temperament was bad, or worst of all, they turned out ugly. But once in a while, somebody was thrown out because of an online transgression.


Everyone left is bankable. Ten perfect human specimens who could sell you anything.


Even Ethan, with his poufy hair and scrawny build, is a sure thing. He wears glasses now despite his perfect vision, and goes around in bow ties and suspenders. “Nerdy but in a good way,” the teachers say. “This one’s going high-tech.”


Beau can write his own ticket too. He’s six feet tall and can out bench-press every other guy in the group. America will drool.


And then there’s Fatima standing next to me. With her dark eyes and svelte figure, she’ll have her choice of any fashion house.


I had been hoping to sell cosmetics. That’s prestigious too, and I really had a chance. But nobody will bid on me now. The auction is a week away, and I’m ruined!


“Blanca?” A woman approaches us right as a dark black limousine pulls through the gate. “That car isn’t for you. Good luck with your interviews, Fatima.”


Fatima waves at me sadly and slides into the vehicle.


“Let’s get this disaster under control,” says the woman as the limo drives away. Her billowing skirt makes her look ethereal in the shadows of the parking garage. I have never seen her before. But she’s wearing white like our teachers and has a platinum cuff, so of course, I follow her.


She takes me to a room on the twentieth floor of Tabula Rasa that boasts a wall of windows. “Darkened for privacy,” says the woman when she sees my apprehension.


I approach them hesitantly, unaccustomed to the glass. I see a tiny patch of sky surrounded by glowing billboards. On every rooftop is an advertisement featuring a face I already know. Vestals stare down at me from all vantage point, hawking perfumes, cars, and weight-loss supplements.


“You’ll be up there too, Blanca. There’s still hope.” The woman stands at my elbow.
I peek and study her this time. She’s fortyish with blue eyes and a heart-shaped face. I know she’s a Vestal because of her white outfit, but I don’t recognize her.


Weird. I know all the Vestals. Everyone does.


The hydraulic doors hiss open, and we both turn to look. The Tabula Rasa headmaster enters in a swirl of white cloak.


“Blanca,” he says, “you have a problem.”


“Yes, Headmaster Russell. I’m sorry, Headmaster Russell.”


“I don’t know how you let this happen.” He strides to the enormous windows, holding a manila file folder. None of the Tabula Rasa faculty are permitted computers, including Headmaster Russell.


“You mean you don’t know how you let this happen, Russell.”


I brace for impact. Nobody talks to Headmaster Russell that way and gets away with it. I know that better than anyone. He grits his teeth. “Security is being questioned as we speak. Sit down, Ms. Lydia. Please.”


“I will not sit down.” Ms. Lydia’s stare could cut glass. “Not until you apologize to Blanca. She deserves better, and you know it.”


There is audible silence. Headmaster Russell rubs the golden cuff on his wrist. “Blanca, I’m sorry that this happened to you.” His eyes don’t meet mine.


Ms. Lydia snaps her fingers.


Headmaster Russell clears his throat and tries again, this time meeting my gaze. “I’m sorry that I let this happen to you. I should have protected you better. I will do everything in my power to make sure you are still harvested at the auction.” Then he turns to Ms. Lydia who stands resolute and icy. “Are you satisfied?”


“Perhaps.” She shrugs. “Let’s see what’s in the folder.”


A few moments later we are seated at the table in the center of the room. Headmaster Russell shows us the picture of me that is now plastered all over cyberspace. I fight back tears.


first look at newest vestal, the caption reads. Then there’s me executing a roundhouse kick, my hair flying back, and my face a perfect mask of rage.


“This is what we are dealing with,” says Headmaster Russell.


“It could be worse.” Ms. Lydia presses her lips together. Right then an old-fashioned phone hanging on the wall rings. “Well, Russ? Aren’t you going to answer that?”


Headmaster Russell jumps to answer the phone. I can hear him say “Blanca” and “photograph,” but that’s it. My future is muffled as he whispers into the receiver.


Ms. Lydia extends her hand to me. Her touch is very cold, but her shake is firm. “My name is Lydia. I’m the elected agent of all Vestal graduates. I lead the Tabula Rasa board of directors.”


“What was your company?” I ask. I still don’t recognize her. But I notice her platinum cuff. That means she was top pick.


“I didn’t have a company. I went Geisha.”


I try to keep my face blank. Really, I do. But what she said is so shocking that my eyes widen for an instant. Ms. Lydia notices.


“It’s not as bad as you think,” she says. “Maybe it’s better. There are many ways to be a Vestal, and they all have honor.”


“Of course,” I answer. “It says so right in the Vestal Code of Ethics.”


Most Vestals leave Tabula Rasa with major corporations, but on rare occasions they enter contracts with private individuals as Geishas.


Nobody wants to go Geisha. Giving up privacy for another person’s pleasure is creepy. Selling out to a company is so much better.


Headmaster Russell hangs up the phone with a loud click. He smoothes his cloak over his barrel chest. “Blanca has five bidders,” he says. “That picture has whipped up a frenzy."


“Good,” says Ms. Lydia. “You’re redeemed.”


I’m not sure who she’s talking to, but I brave a smile anyway.


***


Barbelo Nemo founded the Vestals fifty years ago after the Brain Cancer Epidemic rotted humankind via cell phones. Bluetooth scanned sensitive neurons. Wi-Fi washed over weakened gray matter. Before the medical community realized what was happening, millions of people were dead.


Scientists promised finger-chips were the solution, but Barbelo forged a different path. Why risk another tech-induced health crisis? Barbelo set Vestals apart and kept us safe. Eighteen years of schooling at Tabula Rasa behind lead-lined walls, and then twenty-five years of service to the Brethren. We have a sacred duty to remain digitally pure.


If it weren’t for Tabula Rasa, I’d be tech-addicted like everyone else. I’d expose my private thoughts to total strangers. I’d be too engrossed in my finger-chips to pay attention to my friends. I’d judge people by scanning their profile before I met them in person. I wouldn’t buy anything or go anywhere unless the Internet told me it was a good idea. I would let my finger-chips rob me of forming real relationships with the actual people who matter in my life. What’s worse, I wouldn’t know I was ruined. I’d willingly give up my humanity one byte at a time.


But as a Vestal postulant, I’m sheltered from that. Chaos swirls around us, but Vestals are constant. We are loyal. We keep secrets. We remind the world there is a better way to live. Because we are so trustworthy, the public buys anything we sell.


No wonder corporations lust for us.


It’s been seven days since the Virus stole my picture, and I’ve made it to the auction after all. I’m sitting on stage with the other Tabula Rasa graduates, safe inside the lead-lined walls of school. The Harvest is minutes away. We’re about to auction our purity to the highest bidder. In front of us are Silicon Valley elite. Many of them are flexing their palms, frustrated that their finger-chip connections won’t work.


Fatima’s hand is on my thigh, and my hand covers hers. Sweat trickles down my back, tracing the curve of my spine as I arch my shoulders in perfect posture. I curl my toes inside their black leather boots, trying to release the pressure.


My whole education, my entire existence, has led up to now.


This morning I woke up in the metal bunk bed of my cloister. In a few days I’ll move to my new home, the Vestal quarters of my business sponsor. I’ll represent a company, a product, and a lifestyle. The world will follow my life through carefully released images. Whatever my company chooses to share will become my new identity.


Where I eat, who I date, what I do. It will all be for one purpose— to sell my company’s products.


I’ll never beg my friends to like my pictures. Total strangers will hang on my every word. I’ll be a Vestal, and millions of people will care about who I am.


Even better, I’ll have a family. Older Vestals will be my mentors. I’ll join their manufactured family in print, media, and billboard campaigns across America.


If I’m lucky, the company will have at least one Vestal in their roster close to me in age. Hopefully a guy. Preferably one who looks more like Beau and less like Ethan. I’ve been waiting eighteen years for a boyfriend, and he had better be good.


“Fatima,” the announcer says. My best friend squeezes my hand and winks at me. Then she walks to the stage. She’s gorgeous, like always. Ever since we were little, I always knew Fatima would be the top pick. Fatima has a body that can sell anything. She’s smart too. It will say that in her portfolio.


But when Fatima stands up there at the podium next to Headmaster Russell, there is only a shuffle of papers in the audience. Heads are bent over still placards. Fatima glances back at me with panic.


No one is bidding.


A woman wearing a white suit scrambles on stage and grabs Headmaster Russell’s arm, whispering into his ear. It’s Ms. Corina, from charm and deportment. She doesn’t appear so polished now.


Ms. Corina points to me, and Headmaster Russell looks too. Then he cringes.


“There has been a change of plans,” he announces to the audience. “Bidding on Miss Fatima will wait. Bidding on Miss Blanca will begin.”


Fatima gazes at me from across the stage. I know what she’s thinking without her saying one word. Fatima’s the seductress, and I’m the girl-next-door. She’s the one people drool for, not me.


I try to smile placidly, like Charming Corina taught us. But watching the audience freaks me out. I’m used to the black uniforms of students and the white robes of teachers. Now all I see is the ambiguity of color.


I try to focus as Headmaster Russell says something about my education.


“Poetry, literature, music,” he says. “Blanca is the perfect package. She’s well versed in the seven liberal arts and entirely ignorant about science and technology. A Vestal Virgin for the modern age.”


Headmaster Russell regards me with dark eyes. Then he turns back to the sea of faces. “Blanca’s the perfect image for your company. Born and bred in Nevada and groomed right here at Tabula Rasa. Let’s start the bidding at five million dollars.”


A deep breath. I fight to be calm when I see arms shoot up and numbers wave. But I don’t think about the auction or my impending future. I think about my past.


Until now, I had no idea I came from Nevada.


Were my parents still in Nevada? Were they scanning the news feed on their palms at this very second? Were they trying to guess which name was mine, eagerly anticipating their cut from my sale? My parents were going to make a lot of money off me.


But my so-called parents aren’t important. All that matters is right now: the bidding war. So many people shout that Headmaster Russell appears stressed. He uses the sleeve of his cloak to wipe sweat off his forehead.


“Thirty million? Do I hear thirty-one?” he asks. That’s when I feel the skin on my arms prickle. Companies won’t pay that much for a Vestal. But private individuals do.


“Thirty-one-and-a-half?” Headmaster Russell asks loudly. Another arm goes up. Then another. “Thirty-two? Thirty-two going once? Going twice? Sold,” says Headmaster Russell, banging the gavel. “Sold for the highest price ever paid in Vestal history. Sold to Mr. Calum McNeal for thirty-two million dollars.”


And just like that I’ve gone Geisha.


A middle-aged man stands. His hair is brown but graying and longish around the ears. He’s smiling so hard, it looks like he’s going to burst.


***


I’m finally wearing white, but I don’t feel like I deserve it. Instead I feel dirty inside as I stand with my fellow graduates around the Pool of Purity. My unlit candle weighs heavy in my hand, and I nervously finger its waxy edge. Everyone has been sold to a company but me. Fatima won’t make eye contact.


“On this the most private of nights,” Headmaster Russell says, “we celebrate the blessing of one more class of Tabula Rasa graduates. The brothers and sisters who came before you surround you with their guidance and welcome you to our ranks.”


I feel their presence before I see them. Older, experienced Vestals step from the shadows and flank us in a larger ring. Together we form two concentric circles, our billowing white robes hovering over the pavement, reflected in the water.


“The candle please.” Headmaster Russell turns to look at Ms. Lydia, who stands nearby.


She is beautiful in the moonlight, her heart-shaped face a mask of serenity. When she reaches out her candle to touch his, the sleeve of her gown slips down below her elbow, exposing her platinum cuff against creamy skin. “The beacon of light,” she says. “We are a sacred fire that will not burn out. Those who came before you welcome you into our Brethren.”


Soon the flame is passed from candle to candle. The dark circle of Tabula Rasa graduates illuminates in a warm glow. When Fatima tips her candle to mine, she struggles to smile. She hasn’t spoken one word to me since the auction. My harvest price was double hers. But I know that’s not the real problem between us. It’s because I’ve gone Geisha.


Headmaster Russell’s voice is solemn. “Vestals are a beacon in a dark world. We alone stand together. We are living sacrifices for all that is pure and all that is sacred.”


An older Vestal steps forward with a silver tray. Nine golden cuffs sparkle in the candlelight. The single platinum cuff beckons to me. I am the top pick.


Ms. Lydia selects a golden cuff. “It is time for the vows. Master Ethan, do you solemnly swear to uphold the Vestal order?”


“I do,” says Ethan, stepping forward.


“Will you consecrate your body? Will you promise to never be marked by ink, stain, piercing, or technology? Will you give your highest self to our cause?”


“I promise,” says Ethan, holding out his arm.


Ms. Lydia snaps the golden cuff on his wrist.


“And now, for the sealing,” says Headmaster Russell, who approaches with a small blue flame. There is total and utter silence for this, the most sacred part of the ceremony. Headmaster Russell singes the metal, searing it shut. Ethan’s golden cuff now marks him for life. The whole world will forever know he is a Vestal.


The sealing happens eight more times until finally, I am the only graduate who remains.


Ms. Lydia picks up the platinum cuff and holds it to the light. “There are many paths a Vestal can take, but one thing is constant. The world relies on us. We are the last guardians of private living. When we sell our reputation, it is with purpose and thought. We do not give it away freely like the masses of humanity. To be purchased privately is a holy act within itself.”


My tears start when she says this. They roll down my cheeks, washing away the shame. It’s like a window has opened in my heart, releasing all the pressure. I feel joy again. Joy and pride for being a Vestal, no matter what.


This is my time. This is what I have lived for. When Ms. Lydia snaps the platinum cuff on my wrist, it is the happiest moment of my life.



Jennifer Bardsley writes the parenting column “I Brake for Moms” for the Sunday edition of The Everett Daily HeraldShe also blogs at Teaching My Baby to Read with the mission of sparking a national debate on the important role parents play in education. Jennifer is a graduate of Stanford University and a member of SCBWI. She lives with her husband and two children in Edmonds, WA.
GENESIS GIRL will release in 2016 and the sequel will come out in 2017. Jennifer is represented by Liza Fleissig of the Liza Royce Literary Agency LLC.
Follow the Jennifer on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Goodreads.

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