Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cover Reveal! 'Just One Cup' by Cassandra Giovanni

Book Info-
Title- Just One Cup
By-Cassandra Giovanni
Genre-New Adult
Publication Date-June 20, 2013


Emma Walker was a writer who'd lost herself to someone else's anger--who had given up on ever feeling like herself again.

Evan Levesque was a rock-god--the one all the woman wanted, but he'd never gotten used to the loneliness between the stage and real life.

With just one cup of coffee they'll begin a journey of self-discovery at each others sides, but can Emma handle Evan's fame while dealing with her own demons? Emma's checkered personal past, a bad relationship that haunts the edges of her memories, threatens to make everything implode on them when Evan takes matters into his own hands.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words...they'll destroy my soul--Can Emma handle being put back together and facing who she's become because of it?

About the Author-

Cassandra doesn't remember a time when she wasn't writing. In fact, the first time she was published was when she was seven years old and won a contest to be published in an American Girl Doll novel. Since than Cassandra has written more novels than she can count and put just as many in the circular bin. Her personal goal with her writing is to show the reader the character's stories through their dialogue and actions instead of just telling the reader what is happening. In 2012 she became a published Young Adult author, releasing In Between Seasons (The Fall, #1) and Walking in the Shadows. In 2013 she branched out by using her artistic illustrating talents to publish her first Children's novel, The Adventures of Skippy Von Flippy: Tales of Friendship (Skippy Tales, #1). Cassandra will also release her first New Adult novel, Just One Cup, in the Spring of 2013.

Cassandra is a freelance professional photographer known for her automotive, nature and architectural shots. She is the owner of Gio Design Studios, a photography and publication marketing company that designs covers and marketing materials for authors utilizing the company's photography. She is currently studying to receive her associates degree in Marketing. Cassandra is happily married to the man of her dreams and they live in the rolling hills of New England with the other loves of her life their dogs, Bubski and Kanga.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

'The Monsterjunkies: An American Family Odyssey' by Erik Daniel Shein & L.M. Reker

Hey all you Win-sisters and Twilight and Chronicle fans - A modern day Addams Family!!!!!

The Monsterjunkies an American family odyssey, prepares your child to deal  with bullying!

Teen angst, monsters, bullying, strange animals, stranger house!

Tucked away in a remote cul-de-sac is a place where the strange is normal, and the bizarre, is everyday. This is a place, where, if you do not have an open mind, you will loose your mind in its reality and truths. This is the home of The Monsterjunkies, An American Family Odyssey. "A modern day Addams family."

Residing at this place, is Crow and his sister, Indigo , along with their friends, go down a reality curve to arrive at the harsh truth of the indelible hurt bullying, emotional abuse and prejudice can foster. The family faces ignorance combined with aggression at every step as they try to build a life for themselves in the home of their ancestors.

We are all MonsterJunkies and wear masks during our daily lives, in school, during work, hanging out with friends, imitating, being people who we look up to and admire, or those we want to be. It is those people who take off their masks and show the real person inside who are the ones that truly find the meaning of their lives.

The Monsterjunkies an American Family Odyssey, defines growing up through a cast of quirky yet engaging characters who also experience the same anxieties as any other family, enduring the issues that portend 'coming of age.' Not all angst and agony, it marks a clear path to the ultimate form of acceptance, the approbation of self.

~~Kindle sale for just 99 cents through May 10th!~~

Erik Daniel Shein was born Erik Daniel Stoops, november 18th 1966 He is an American writer, and film producer, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, entertainer, and philanthropist, Pet enthusiast and animal health advocate . He is the author and co authored of over 30 nonfiction and fiction books whose writings include six scientific articles in the field of herpetology. His children’s book, “The Forgotten Ornament” is a Christmas classic, and was endorsed by Hollywood legends Mickey and Jan Rooney.

One of his passions is classic Animation, including his CGI and 2D original story, “The Legend of the Secret Pass” which was made into an independent theatrical animated motion picture with several A list celebrities. He was instrumental in raising productions funds and working with his team to make the project come to fruition. With Legend of Secret Pass Mr. Shein used his zoology studies, and his love for Fortean Zoology and American Indian mythology to weave a story that may become a classic fable. Mr. Shein also created the TV show Reptile Chronicles where he hosted each adventure as the character Professor E with his animated side kick, Doupy the Gila monster. The show received three media industry awards.

Mr. Shein has consulted over the years with such organizations as the Arizona Fish and Game Department and USFWS in assisting them to protect endangered wildlife. He has lectured in over 400 elementary schools, on many conservation and animal-related topics.

Mr. Shein’s media, ecological and educational goals are to protect and preserve the world’s flora and fauna. One of his dreams is to find a host city and create the Earth Genomic Institute and wildlife sanctuary. He currently resides in Arizona.

Friday, April 26, 2013

'Hillary Hermes: Vampires vs. Witches' by Y.L. Parker

This novel is set in San Juan County, Washington. Hillary Hermes was once the most feared alchemist of her time. She awakens in this time as Hillary Somers, her memory is gone, and all of her inherited powers are trapped inside the body of a frail, timid, teenager who’s filled with doubt. Time has transported her through the line of the Somers Witches.Lovers are caught in the war between vampires and witches.

Read the first chapter:
The Vampire, the Witch, and the What?
A summer of madness

I’m awake after one thousand and ninety five days. I am powerless, but it’s worse than before I slept. I see him coming. What force can awaken me now? It can only be supernatural. Dr. Dante Ferreti is driving home on a cool night at the end of July. He zips along a winding road in San Juan County, Washington. He’s enjoying the sound of the waves crashing against the island and the smell of the ocean. I’m crawling to my knees in the street. My brain is foggy. There’s my car on the other side. He parks quickly and leaves his car, but carefully. He knows his brother’s scent. Dante leaps just in time to pry his brother off me. He swings the beast across the lawn. He thinks I’m dead.
My neck stings; it’s sore. In fact, the vampire doesn’t even break my skin. “How can this be? I saw him slash your throat,” he whispers. I am struggling to breathe when he brings me to my feet and carries me to his car. “Why were you out alone?” he asks. He offers to drive me home. Then I hear Hillary Somers speak with my voice. “I don’t usually have a problem. The island is so small; in fact I didn’t know anyone else lived here,” I reply. I’m struggling to speak as Hillary Somers. “Well…my family and I recently returned from…” he says, making excuses for his brother.
I‘m in and out of consciousness in the car, but I remember waking briefly and seeing the windshield wipers move furiously through an even more furious rainstorm.
I’m not Wiccan, like the rest of my family. It’s been awkward ever since I woke in this body. This world is strange to me. I feel out of place as if I’m not a part of this world. I’m not, but Hillary Somers was born here. I look like a teen, yet like a young woman. I know and don’t know everyone and everything here. I look into the mirror while he drives. I’m Hillary Hermes, Hillary Somers alternate personality! It’s my body, my face, inside of me or Hillary Somers.
I am too stiff to move or talk. He has shoulder length hair, brown eyes and a Goatee. He is very European. His face is young, but mature at the same time, as if it is worn through the ages. He is much like an eighteen or twenty-year old. He is in a business vest with slacks and a light-colored shirt. He waits for me to move. I see him. I hear him.

“I’ve seen this before, when my kind wakes from the dead, but she isn’t a vampire. What was she?” He whispers to himself. Then I wake her.
Hillary Somers wakes up, gasping for air. It’s as if this is the first time this has happened to me, but he knows it isn’t.
“Who are you?” he asks.
“I’m Hillary Somers,” I say, blinking again. I listen to his mind as he thinks about me.
I look to the mirror to see brown hair that settles into a bang on my forehead. I have big blue eyes, with shoulder-length cascading hair, and *huge* red lips.
He searches my eyes although he wants to avoid me. Hillary Somers is terrified; she knows what he is. I whisper to her.
“Don’t be afraid. We can’t feed off humans - only other vampires. I’m Dr. Dante Ferreti. Are you a Somers witch?” he ventures cautiously. I am shocked he knows of my family.
“My family, yes. And you work at the university?” I ask.
“Yes,” he replies.
I try to calm Hillary Somers but it takes all my strength. I’m inside her. I can barely remember my name.
I’ve been here for three years, maybe more, trapped inside her. I touch him accidentally and with one touch I can see his whole mind, every action, see what he sees. I must conserve my energy, what little I have, but I’m curious.
He looks at me; I can tell he is hungry. I’m in a car with a hungry vampire, what must I be thinking? This is the first time he has been hungry in decades, but it is my beauty that disturbs him so. Humans usually don’t bother him, but my beauty intimidates him. “I live on the other side of the island,” I say. He takes me home, not speaking.

“Interesting ring, it looks centuries old,” he says to me. I can access my memories now.
“Oh…It’s my great grandmother’s,” I say. I usually boat to school.
“Is it your first semester at Prodigus University?” he asks.
“Yes. I live on Henderson St.” He speeds up to the front door of Somers manor. He knows where I live and I don’t. He seems indifferent, which is fine with me. Dante is beautiful but strange and gives answers that don’t make sense. I slide out of the car. “Thank you for everything,” I say.
“You’re welcome.” He zooms out of the drive way. I have to keep an eye on him for our sake. I venture inside his mind.
He races to work at Peace Island Medical Center. He is working on autopsies. He is infatuated with surgery. Many like him can’t do it because of the blood but he has trained himself. Silently, over centuries. It’s complicated. It’s the best of all worlds. He can slice and dice to his heart’s content, stash blood, as much as he wants, and none would be the wiser. It satisfies his thirst, his compulsion to kill, but he can’t kill them. They are already dead. The curse that plagues his family doesn’t prohibit feeding on the dead, or from blood banks, but he has never tested it. He can drain the bodies if he wants, but his diet consists of something else: other vampires.
He fills his backpack with blood from the blood bank and sits in his office. He can’t stop thinking about it. He has never been in the presence of a human woman who affected him.
That night at home I meander to my bathroom and splash water in my face. I look closer into the mirror. It’s the same face, my face. I nestle in the bed to sleep. Somers Manor is so large that you can be there for days and no one will notice. Madeline and Tom aren’t there.
I am bothered by the encounter with the vampire. It is as if I have met a vampire before. But have I? I contemplate as I settle in my bed and drift asleep.
That night I have a disturbing dream. I am entrenched in a death match with a woman dressed in brown from head to toe. I know her but I can’t remember her name. There are streaks of lightening everywhere. A boy is caught in the crossfire, and he screams. I’m sitting up in the bed now. No, it is just a dream. I hear a scream, he isn’t breathing. Hillary Somers is keeping me from remembering.
I get dressed fast as I can and boat to school. I am not interested in seeing him anytime soon.
Then there he is, Dr. Dante Ferreti standing next to his car. Dante tries to avoid me any chance he can. But he can’t. I see everything through his eyes and through Hillary Somers’ eyes. Why now has this happened? He awakens me. There are other super naturals here. Most of the land here dates back to the Somers. I’m here to protect Hillary from him, and there must be more of these vampires. Dante walks directly to his office. He is a professor at Prodigus University with an office not far from his brother Dino. He glances quickly into Dino’s office and notices he is not there, much to Dante’s pleasure. He quickly ducks inside. He sits, relaxes, and inserts his CD into the player. He opens the Internet, then dashes to the bookshelf and retrieves an ancient book. He sits back down and whisks through it. There it is: the ring, the philosopher’s stone.
“Could it be? It looks just like the ring on her finger, but could this be it? This could explain why Hillary didn’t die when Dino attacked her,” he says. Then he flips the page and there I am. It is a woman, a shadow sliding up the stairs of a building in France. “The year was 1656, but could it be her?” he questions. He leans back in his chair and wonders if he should tell anyone, but Dino is bound to find out, maybe he already knows. “What is your name?” he asks.

He grabs his coat and hurries home. I see him, through his mind. I turn it on and off not to upset Hillary Somers. I hide this in another part of her psyche. I watch them like a movie, the vampires. I feel what they feel. I know what they know. They are in the great hall of their large estate. He stands in a suit leaning against the fireplace. He is very old world in an elegant sort of way. Dante confronts his twin brother Dino. Dante always tries to control himself, but Dino and Dirk are very cunning and always up to something. “What happened with the older sister Hillary Somers?” Dino asks.
“You know what happened, you tried to kill her,” says Dante.
“After all these centuries, you still care,” Dino says, mocking, petting Dante like a puppy. Then he moves to the edge of the room and slides into his favorite leather chair as if he is contemplating. “We’re looking for Madeline Somers,” he says.
“Last of the Somers line. You were going to turn her?” asks Dante.
“Relax. It wasn’t me, it was Dirk,” says Dino.
“Dirk is here? So you sent Dirk to do your bidding?” he asks.
“She is supernatural, so I wouldn’t have died anyway. I told Dirk about the Somers,” Dino says.
“The witches will be ready for us now. You were lucky tonight. If you keep making mistakes this will interfere with our plans for them,” says Dante as he moves to leave.
“Relax. Hillary Somers was not in our research. We need Madeline for the ritual,” says Dino.
“You need her…Have you ever turned anyone? Do you even know how?” says Dante.
“Mother is coming,” he says abruptly. Dante quiets instantly. That’s all he needs now, his mother.
“Mother will draw every vampire in the world here,” says Dante slowly.
”You should be happy. You’ll like that. It won’t be so difficult for you to eat. Is she another Somers witch or a protector? She must be supernatural,” says Dino.
“You don’t know, do you?” Dante says as he storms off. But he hears something, Dino falters, he runs to his side. Dino feels a pain in his chest as if he’s having a heart attack. He opens his shirt and doesn’t see anything in the mirror but a red spot on hi skin where his heart should be. Dante sees him staggering to the mirror.
“What’s wrong?” says Dante.
“I felt pain in my chest,” says Dino.
“Was it a heart attack?” he says, putting Dino in the leather chair not far from the fire place. Dino closes his shirt and coat and looks at Dante as if he is joking.
“How can it be,” says Dino.
“I don’t know,” says Dante.
“Well, you are a doctor,” Dino says.
“Well, if you put it that way, all my patients are dead,” says Dante.
Dino looks at him and turns to the mirror again. “I have felt this before,” says Dino.
“A few days ago,” Dante says as he picks up his wine glass and begins to drink.
“Do you think it’s because we are twins?” Dante says.
“I don’t know but be careful,” Dino says as he continues on. “In eastern Europe there is one heart and one soul for each vampire,” he recites slowly, staring across the room.
“You don’t believe this, do you?” says Dante.
“Dante, we are Dhampirs. How does that affect us?” asks Dino.
“Dino, all I know is you are having chest pains, and I am having chest pains. Why Eastern Europe? It’s our birth place. Mother was essentially dead when we were born,” Dante says.
“So we are like the rest of them?” says Dino, coming to some startling revelation.
“Perhaps, we were revived when we were born,” says Dante.
“Yes, along with mother. But we are immortal, Dino,” Dante says.
“What else does it say? While one set lives, we won’t die. If both die, we will die,” Dino says, reciting in his usual slow manner.
“I don’t see how this matters. We have often thought we would have some kind of death. But Dino, why do we feel like this now?” Dante asks.
“Our family needs us. Which is why we have to get to these witches? Don’t go soft on me,” he says, looking at Dante. He rises again, and staggers to the hallway and up the mahogany steps to his room.
Dino invites Madeline to his bar and she walks out with a job. Madeline doesn’t quite know who he is, but she wonders. She senses darkness. It is Dante who Madeline fancies. That’s why she needs me. I can’t see any ill will in his mind when he is with her. I whisper to Hillary Somers that her sister is fine, and I still watch his mind. This small witch is heir to the whole Somers dynasty. I have to keep her safe. He often stumbles into his brother’s bar needing a drink after a long day at the hospital. Madeline believes Dante is irresistible. She is glad he is not one of her professors.
Dino is a professor of Neurology and psychiatry. He owns the only bar in town that is remotely trendy, as well as a chain of bars all over the states. In the coming days, the locals flock there, and it is packed every night. He is always behind the bar, wiping it down, looking and listening to every conversation he can find. With advancements in medicine, Dino can pass his age off as anywhere between twenty and forty. Dino meets Madeline much by accident, or is it. There is a part of their brains they are hiding from me, but they don’t know I am there. I’m much too clever, but they are killers. It takes an immortal to catch an immortal.
Dante often makes excuses to go to his brother’s bar. He finds it daunting to keep up his tasks. She bothers him. His conscience wavers for the first time in centuries. He watches her for several weeks and now there she is, standing. Madeline always wears skinny jeans. She loves to wear high-heeled sequined colored shoes, to contrast with her average frame. Her shirts are frequently buttoned in front, with cropped sleeves, and brilliant colors. She has wavy brown hair that flips over her green eyes. It is shoulder length. We look like sisters from the 40s or 50s.
Madeline seems very kind and naïve but then again he doesn’t spend much time with humans. She is so nice it makes his task that much harder. What task? Dante finds himself watching her closely as she walks to her car after her shift. They are supposed to be alone here, but a seventeen year-old can’t be too careful.
Then there is that night when she goes to her car and screams. He is out the door and on the man in a few seconds, throwing him across the parking lot. “What are you doing?” she says. She thinks she sees his brown eyes flicker like fluorescents. Then Dante stoops forward and stretches out his hand. She is hurt and he slits his hand. Dante is always in vampire hunting mode. With his mother coming, paranoid behavior has gotten the best of him. He doesn’t know what the small witch can do, but he can’t risk someone turning her before she can lift their curse. Wait a minute -- lift their curse? But how?
Madeline wakes and doesn’t remember a thing. She is in his car, is it the part where he calls her darling, or her professor, or something else, that makes her head swim. She groans and tilts her head against the window. “Sit back, dear,” Dante commands.
“What happened?” she asks.
“I had to take care of a disorderly drunk, that’s all.”
But there’s something else, something outside. “I’m hearing something, a vampire and Natasha. I hear them. She can stop the conversion process. She is a powerful chemist. That is why you are here,” she says.
“What do the Ferretis want with them?” he says.
“That I cannot tell you,” she says.
“I see them. There you are. You are not what I expected,” he says. She morphs from a woman in a wheel chair to one in her fifties. “I‘m saving my energy when I’m in that form - I‘ll need it for her,” she says simply. Then there is nothing.
When Madeline arrives home I am waiting, like a careful protector. I hear Madeline screaming. Dante hurls something against the door. Both are gone. I bolt to her room. I know what it is as she sobs to describe it.
“Madeline, quick! A spell to protect the house,” I’m yelling.
“I’m not strong enough,” she sobs.
“Yes, you are,” I say in a scream.
“Insidious, creatures of the night, with wind in its place,” she says, and it’s sealed.
I see what happens. I hide it from Hillary Somers; it will just upset her. We walk inside and Hillary Somers starts talking. Dante speeds away in his Mercedes McLaren. Madeline eagerly waves goodbye, only partly listening to me.
Every time he sees me on campus, he flees as if I am the plague. Madeline and I walk inside. I’m very upset that he brought my sister home. It is interesting to say the least.
“He acts like an eighteen-year old. Yesterday I saw him rushing to his office trying to avoid me,” I claim.
“What’s wrong?” asks Madeline.
“There is something odd about those brothers. I thought we were alone here on this island and then they appear out of nowhere,” I say.
“Dino just opened up the bar,” Madeline announces.
I pause.
“I love you, Madeline,” I say.
“I love you, too,” says Madeline.
“I’m tired. I’m going upstairs. Where’s dad?”
I glance around for our father the Magician.
“I haven’t seen him in days. He must be at another Magician’s conference,” says Madeline.
My dream that night is more of the same. I am in front of her. I can’t make her face out. Suddenly blood comes gushing from her mouth; she is stabbed from behind. He pulls the dagger from her body, and then he flings her to the floor easily. It is a vampire. I wake up in a hot sweat. Was this the body of an eighteen-year old or a woman in her mid-thirties? It must be that nightmare. I shower. I have to pull myself together and get to school.
If my day isn’t creepy enough, at the university I run into Dante Ferreti again. He can’t avoid me, and I follow him as quick as I can. He ducks into the library and looks around. He can use his super speed here. He sits down at the nearest table.
“I want answers,” I drawl as I plop down in the nearest seat next to him.
“What are you doing?” he asks.
I turn around to sit. This room is like none of the others in the library. It is totally inlaid with glass stained windows, just enough that the sun beams through when sitting on a leather chaise, reading along the long bench in front of the nearest hometown masterpiece painting. The furniture is modern and comfortable.
“I need some information,” I say.
“What do you mean?” Dante asks.
“You tell me.”
“It depends,” Dante says.
“What happened the night you brought me home? Your brother tried to kill me?” I ask.
“It was my brother, Dirk. He succeeded, but then I brought you back. I gave you rescue breath, and you resurrected yourself,” says Dante. I am trying to make sense of it all. He searches for something in my eyes, but there is nothing.
“You’ve been avoiding me?” I ask.
“Yes,” he says.
“Why?” I ask.
“I think it is better this way. Besides, I’m faculty here,” he says.
“I wish you would tell your brother the same thing. Well, stay away from me and Madeline. You and your brothers,” I say.
“My brother is extremely hard to control,” he says and laughs. Then I become angry and repeat what I just said. When he sees I am serious, he shouts, “I can’t control Dirk!”
“Well, try. Or I’ll tell everybody about you and your brother!”
“Threats haven’t worked on us in hundreds of years,” he says, thundering.
“They haven’t worked in centuries on me either,” I reveal, suddenly empowered. I storm away. I stand behind, clinging to the wall just beyond the library. I have to take it easy; something is keeping me from full power, and in fact I feel worse. Hillary Somers will soon figure it out. He sighs and is relieved that I am gone. He stirs and returns home.

Sixteen hours later
Dante confuses Madeline. He tries to win back her trust. She admits to herself that she has a crush on him but she tells herself nothing can come of it. He not only looks older than her, he is centuries older, and she is a teenage witch. They should be mortal enemies. Even as they argued in the hallway they stuck out. It has to be just fate or a cruel accident that he teaches her Biology class. In fact, he gives up on her until one day when he sees her talking to a man in his brother’s bar. Dante and Madeline are in the bar. Dante begins arguing with her, as always. She stands and gathers her books to leave. Dante blocks her way. “I need you to do something for me,” says.
“Nothing,” she answers.
“Is he bothering you?”
“Yes,” Madeline says, pointing to Dante. By this time everyone in the bar is looking at them so all he can do is move out of her way. The vampire’s creed is never draw attention to yourself. Something the Aristedes have no respect for.
She ignores him and begins to walk away. He hears her scream. Dante runs to her, right when Johan turns.
“Run!” he yells.
She runs to a clearing. She hides behind a nearby bush. She hears rustling. Then Dante pops in at the last moment. She runs to him instinctively, and then backs away. “Please come,” he pleads. She agrees. He walks her to his car and puts her in the other side.
“He didn’t look like the others,” she says, ashamed. “Beauty lies within the beast. Vampires are different from each other,” he mocks. Then he explains that some of them evolved.
“See you tomorrow,” she says, and walks into the house and leans on the door, sighing. Every time I watch her like this I feel helpless.
“I heard about Madeline,” Dino says to Dante, walking into the house.
“Well, you didn’t try to turn her.”
”No, it’s more complicated. She can stop me with her mind.”
“That is your plan, not mine. I don’t think we can turn her. I’ve told you before,” Dante says, dropping his saddlebag on the couch and running upstairs.
“Are you falling for her?” Dino yells after him.
“It’s not a problem,” replies Dante at the top of the steps.
“Tell me about this Hillary.” Dino says.
“She‘s beautiful. And infuriating,” says Dante, disappearing.
Dino stands and buttons his coat and starts out the door.
“Where are you going?” Dante says.
“It’s about time I met this Hillary Somers, don’t you think?” says Dino.
“Well, I can’t wait to formally meet you either, Dr. Dino Ferreti,” I say.

~~Buy it on Amazon~~

About the author:
YL Parker as born and resides in North Carolina. She has been a teacher for over 18 years. 

She has always loved stories ever since she was a young girl. 

She wrote screenplays for ten years and now has brought her storytelling to books.

She has BA in English and a MA in Teaching and Learning with Technology.

Visit her Website to find out more about her upcoming projects, including more in this series!

Friday, April 19, 2013

'Mexizona: An American Dream' by Alan A. Larson

This is a paid promotional post via Fiverr. All opinions are my own.

Book blurb:

MEXIZONA: AN AMERICAN DREAM is an action-packed, suspense, thriller set amidst the current Arizona – Mexico border crisis. It begins with a perilous journey to seek a better life and a spark that builds to an unquenchable flame for two star-crossed lovers torn apart by the values and prejudices of their family and friends.

“An incredibly impressive debut novel.” ~Oxford-Educated Editor

“Very powerful.” ( FIVE STARS.) ~Novel Contest Judge

“Filled with twists and turns.” (FIVE STARS.) ~Novel Contest Judge


Read an excerpt:

Arlen Foster went out shooting in the Arizona desert often, but had never before hunted humans. If he could only convince Tim, the two seventeen-year-olds might go tonight.
Inside his second floor bedroom of the family’s Tucson home, Arlen caressed his Remington 700. He nudged back the curtain and slid the window open a crack, poking the rifle barrel outside. He aimed at a Mexican pruning the neighbor’s blood red roses and said, “Bang.”
For years now, Mexicans had trampled Arlen’s grandpa’s Cross T Ranch. Broken water lines. Dropped greasy plastic tortilla bags that stuck in cows’ stomachs and killed them. Mexicans cost the ranch hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Arlen hated everything about them; their music, their cars, their language. Mostly, he hated that they were everywhere, speaking Spanish. Always speaking Spanish. Sometimes he thought they talked trash about him. If he ever learned for sure, he’d make them pay.
Stepping back, he closed the green curtain, darkening the room. He slid back the smooth steel bolt and placed the rifle on a newspaper for cleaning.
Wetness formed under his nose. Something about touching a gun affected his body, turning him into a snot factory. He wiped his nose with a Kleenex and let it drop to the floor. Their housekeeper, Rosa, could pick it up tomorrow.
Three knocks rapped on his bedroom door. “Arlen? Arlen? You ready?”
“Go away, Britt.”
The door handle rattled. “Come on, Arlen. You promised Hannah you’d play soccer with us this afternoon.”
Promising to help his older sister and cousin get on a pick-up team had seemed like it might be fun. Big for his age, he liked to throw his weight around at soccer games. And Hannah was a hottie. Didn’t matter that she was his cousin. If he ever got the chance, he’d tap that.
Four harsh thumps. “Hurry up, Arlen.”
“Go away. I’m not playing.”
“You promised.”
“I need a nap so I can go hunting tonight.”
“Hunting? Chaaa. That’s lame.”
“You’re lame.” A heavy dose of Britt’s fruity perfume seeped in from the hall. He wrinkled his nose. “Geez. You douche in perfume?”
“You’re the douche-bag.”
“Go away.” He slipped iPod buds into his ears and blocked out his whiny sister. Korn’s ‘Dead Bodies Everywhere’ blasted. One of these days he planned to do something special. Something the whole country would take notice of. Something that would make him a legend. He would become even more famous than his uncle, the Pima County Sheriff. He yearned for it.
Turning up the volume, he sang along with Korn at the top of his lungs.
Stepping off the sweltering bus, Diego gazed at the Mexican side of the Nogales border wall and for the first time believed he could die on this journey. Sullen gray, five meters high, solid steel and concrete. White wooden crosses blanketed the wall. Remembrance crosses. Burial crosses. Hundreds. A thousand. More. More than he could count.
Behind him someone gasped. Hitching his backpack up, he turned.
Maria’s thin face contorted. “Dead all. In desert.”
The wall of crosses made him glad that he had paid for the forged documents. Even now, in late October, he’d been told that temperatures in the Arizona desert could boil. More than 40 degrees Celsius. Hot enough to scorch your hand if you touched a metal fence post.
Dehydration would be an agonizing way to die. But the promise of a high paying job on the other side of this wall made it worth the risk. He’d do anything for the chance to work in the United States. He could make three, maybe even four dollars an hour there.
His mother back in Nicaragua had contracted tuberculosis two months ago. She needed to start taking four drugs daily or she would die. Two hundred and forty-two U.S. dollars to start. Much more over the next six months. There were no jobs back home. No hope of jobs. No hope at all. Her only chance was for Diego to earn American wages.
Diego Cruz and Maria Mendez Morales stared silently at the wall for several minutes. He knew someone who had died in this desert. Josseline. Only fourteen. The cousin of a boy on his fútbol team. Diego had only met Maria two days ago in Altar, but he guessed that she knew someone who had died in the Arizona desert too.
The bus roared away. Thick black diesel fumes washed over them, fogging the wall that separated them from America. So close. So far.
The oldest of five boys, Diego had been helping in the family kitchen from the age of four. At first just the washing and cleaning, but before long, cooking, too. Cooking came naturally to him. He could tell every ingredient in a dish with one taste. Soon he had discovered that if he crushed dried spices like oregano or basil before adding them to foods, the flavors intensified. He hoped to find work in a restaurant in New York City. He’d scrub floors or wash dishes. Whatever it took to get a job. Then he’d get on the prep-line and they’d see his talent. Someday, he’d have his own restaurant – Casa Nicu. Everyone loved his cooking, especially his Empanadas de Plátanos, little fried plantain dumplings filled with cheese. He added secret spices.
Maria tugged on his arm. “Come. Go.” She pulled him toward a line of a couple hundred people waiting for a chance to walk into Arizona at the official Nogales pedestrian border crossing. Joining the back of the line, Diego and Maria stood in the blazing Sunday afternoon sun. Most of the people in line wore work clothes. Likely documented workers walking over to work in American factories. A few white people here and there. One black couple in shorts and sneakers. Tourists, he guessed.
Gas fumes hung thick in the air. Maria trembled.
He noticed fear in her eyes and touched her arm. “Don’t worry. We’ll be fine.” He took their forged passports out of his pocket and examined their portraits. Both thin with light skin, dark hair and brown eyes. They looked like brother and sister instead of man and wife. Donald Rizzo, 19. Mary Rizzo, 18. From someplace called Lincoln, Nebraska. The forger had added a year to both of their ages so the U.S. Border Patrol would more readily believe they were married. Matching bright red T-shirts with bold white letters that shouted – GO BIG RED – completed their disguises. Sweat formed under Diego’s arms. Clasping his shaky hands together he realized he should’ve asked the forger more questions. He didn’t know what a Big Red was.
He peeked at passports held by the people nearby. Dark blue with gold lettering. He rose up on his tiptoes, straining to see the details. Light blue pages, a color photo on the left side, dark black lettering. His forgery looked like the real U.S. passport held by Paul Ander-something, the lanky white man in front of him. They’d be fine. He hoped. Paul glanced back, scowling.
Diego dropped down from his tiptoes and lowered his head. A fat fly looped about his face. He swatted at it. Up ahead, beyond the snaking line of pedestrians, two lanes of cars zoomed south from America into Mexico. Beyond that, five other lanes full of cars idled, waiting to be inspected before they could drive north across the border into America.
A pair of men wearing pale blue uniforms, Mexican border guards, carried machine guns as they walked past, staring at the people in line. Diego forced himself to remain calm.
Maria rubbed her tummy. “Quiero que mi bebé nazca en América. Pero no en la cárcel.
Baby? Diego cringed. He didn’t know anything about a baby.

About the author:
Alan began writing in the sixth grade, authoring a Christmas play that was produced by his tiny Iowa country church. He took a hiatus from writing, become a C.P.A., and went on to hold top operational or finance positions for five high-tech startups, currently serving as a C.F.O. Delving back into writing he completed his first bad thriller in the late 90s that thankfully no one will ever be allowed to read again. In the past five years his thrillers have been contest finalists six times, twice earning the highest score in the preliminary round. Alan holds a B.S. from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and a M.B.A. from Stanford University.

His first two thrillers: THE LAST GYPSY PRINCESS will be available summer 2013.

MEXIZONA – AN AMERICAN DREAM is available now exclusively on Amazon.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Read an excerpt from 'Demon' by Laura DeLuca


When Justyn and Rebecca set off for the New York School of Performing Arts, they think their dreams are about to come true. To their dismay, they aren’t in high school anymore, and the competition is steep. Rebecca must compete against accomplished singers for a role in the production of Demon Barber, including a stunning Gothic diva with her sights set on Justyn.

It doesn't help that things keep disappearing from their apartment or that Rebecca's father refuses to accept that Justyn is an essential part of her life. Yet, all this seems minimal in comparison to the serial rapist terrorizing the campus.

Consumed by fear and obsessed with revenge, Rebecca and Justyn start living the story of Sweeney Todd—both on and off the stage.

Read an exclusive excerpt:
Rebecca unwound the silver ribbon. When she lifted the lid, she found two matching pendants, each laced to a long hemp chain. They were shaped sort of like seashells, with an endless spiral pattern that looped out from the center as the chambers grew larger. They were dark brown in color with a few hints of tan along the edges. The stones had been polished and smoothed on both sides, but when she lifted them, she could see that the two pieces fit together perfectly. She swore the halves fought to snap together, like magnets in her hand. There was an energy pulsing and vibrating within the stones that even a novice witch like Rebecca could feel.

“They’re beautiful,” Rebecca whispered as she ran her hand along the intricate grooves.

“It’s an ammonite.” Justyn lifted one of the pendants, brushed her hair to the side, and hooked the clasp around her neck. His breath tickled her skin as his hands moved with graceful dexterity, giving her goose bumps despite the humid August night. “They’re actually fossils that are millions of years old, named after Ammon, an ancient Egyptian deity. When they’re divided in half, they’re perfect mirrors of one another. Some cultures believe that if the two halves are given to lovers, it will bind them together forever. When made into necklaces, they’re often called soul mate pendants.”

“Wo-wow,” Rebecca stuttered. As usual, the sentiment behind Justyn’s gift was even more beautiful than the gift itself. It left her a little flustered. “That’s amazing. How do you know all this stuff?”

“You don’t spend eighteen years living with Darlene without learning a thing or two.”

Rebecca laughed. Justyn’s mother Darlene was definitely something special. EMT, exotic belly dancer, and Wiccan High Priestess were only a few of the titles she claimed. Rebecca knew she was a fountain of earth-based knowledge after years of studying the Craft. As Darlene’s new apprentice, Rebecca greedily dipped into that knowledge herself as often as possible.

“It’s beautiful,” Rebecca repeated, too overcome with emotion to think of anything more eloquent to say. “You certainly know how to make things interesting.”

“Like I told you on our first date, I try not to be boring.” He winked at her. “So … are you going to put mine on for me?”

“Oh yeah … sorry.”

Rebecca giggled as she lifted the hemp chain. She wasn’t nearly as graceful as Justyn. She almost dropped the necklace in the sand three times before she managed to get the clasp locked. When she finally had it secured, he placed his hand over her heart, where the ammonite lay. He did the same with her hands, lifting them to his chest. His dark eyes had lost all glimmer of humor. He met her gaze with a stare filled with genuine emotion. Beneath her fingers, she could feel the gentle, steady rhythm of his heart beating in perfect tune with her own.

“Our love will span both space and time. In this life and the next, you shall be mine. All eternity I will be by your side. For a love so strong cannot be denied. Spirit and flesh merged into one. So mote it be, for all days to come.”

When he was done with the recitation, he kissed her. Not just a gentle brush, but a deep, passionate embrace that left her throat tight and her heart pounding with a familiar yearning.

“I’ve never heard that poem before,” she said once she’d caught her breath. “Who are you quoting?”

Even in the moonlight, she could see him blush. “I guess I was quoting myself. It was really more of an incantation than a poem though. These necklaces are meant to be a symbol of our love, and it seemed a little spell work could only add to the power of the stones. There is power in words, Becca. Just like there is power in nature.”

“You mean, you wrote that?”

He nodded, but his eyes twinkled, and the playfulness was back in his voice. “Well, actually, I just made it up as I went along.”

“Wow. Actor, singer, and now an improv poet slash chant writer. Is there anything you can’t do, Lord Justyn?”

He smiled and tilted her chin so he could look into her eyes. “I can’t stop loving you.”

Read another exclusive excerpt at Janictaz 3

Laura DeLucaAbout Author Laura DeLuca

Laura “Luna” DeLuca lives at the beautiful Jersey shore with her husband and four children. She loves writing in the young adult genre because it keeps her young at heart. In addition to writing fiction, Laura is also the sole author of a popular review blog called New Age Mama. She is an active member of her local pagan community, and has been studying Wicca for close to eight years. Her current works include Destiny, Destiny Unveiled, Phantom, Morrigan, Player, and Demon.



Follow Laura DeLuca: Website | Facebook | Twitter |GoodReads


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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

'The Gatekeeper's Daughter' by Eva Pohler

The Gatekeeper's DaughterThe Gatekeeper's Daughter

In The Gatekeeper's Sons, Therese and Thanatos, the god of Death, met and fell in love. In The Gatekeeper's Challenge, they did everything they could to be together, even break an oath on the River Styx. But the Olympians don't tolerate oath-breakers. In this final book in the trilogy, The Gatekeeper's Daughter, Therese may have finally succeeded in becoming a goddess, but if she wants to remain one, she'll not only have to discover her unique purpose, but also make some allies among the gods. Artemis sends her on a seemingly impossible quest across the world, while Than searches for a way to appease Ares. To make matters worse, her aunt's baby's life hangs in the balance.

About Author Eva Pohler

Eva Pohler writes fiction for teens and adults and teaches writing and literature at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where she lives with her husband, three kids, two dogs, and two rats.

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Meet author Tawdra Kandle and her King Series

Today, get to know author Tawdra Kandle and her world of King, as she celebrates the release of the fourth book in the series.

What was the inspiration behind the King series?
I am a character-driven writer. It is very unusual for me to launch a story from a situation rather than a character. So when Tasmyn came to me--inspired by the what-if question of "What if you were a parent raising a child who had an extraordinary ability like mind hearing?"--I began to ask what her story might look like. At the time, I was fairly new to Florida, and a local town influenced the creation of King. Frankly, at that point, the story began telling itself.
In a time when trilogies are all the rage, why did you make this a four-book series?
The short answer is that it took four books to tell Tasmyn and Michael's story! I guess I could say that since much of Tasmyn's magik is elemental and there are four elements, we needed four books. . .but really, we needed to see Tasmyn's growth. FEARLESS introduced her to King, to Michael and to Nell and Marica. BREATHLESS was about Tas learning to deal with her new life even when Michael wasn't physically present. RESTLESS was the story of Tasmyn dabbling in the dark side, succumbing to the temptation of using her powers. And ENDLESS wrapped up the story in many ways, though of course, no story ever really ties all the loose ends.
How much of yourself or your family members are in Tasmyn and the other characters?
Tasmyn does have a lot of me in her, though I didn't intentionally write her that way. And apparently Michael is very like my late father in some ways. Again, that wasn't something I set out to do. I think some of my kids have snuck into different characters. But probably there are more situations from our lives than specific character traits. I moved around a lot growing up, so that was part of FEARLESS. My husband and I experienced a good deal of separation when we were dating because he was at West Point, so some of that snuck into BREATHLESS. I think it's almost impossible to write a book without at least some of your own characteristics sneaking in a bit.
How did you create some of the more unique names in the books, such as Tasmyn and Marica?
I knew I wanted an unusual name for the main character. Names are big for me, to the point that when I am first planning a book, once I name a character, if I forget it, it drives me crazy. Names are important. In the earliest parts of FEARLESS, I toyed with the name Taryn, but it wasn't sitting right. And then one day I realized her name was Tasmyn. Later, half way through writing BREATHLESS, I learned that 'Tasmyn' is the feminine of Thomas. . .which means twin. I thought that was pretty cool, given the story line. Marica is a Romanian name, and I knew I was looking for that. I just liked it when I found it. It actually means 'nymph'.
If you had the ability to listen in on other people's minds, would you want to?
Absolutely not. I have enough trouble with the things people tell me. . .I couldn't deal with more people in my head!
Are there any such gifts that you would want?
I would love to slow down time. . .and maybe time travel. Getting more done in day would be wonderful.
Now that the series is over, are there any spinoff ideas floating around in your mind, or any other new project ideas?
Always. My next book will be THE POSSE, a contemporary romance. I'm really excited about it. Nell and Rafe will each get their own book this summer in a set of books called The Serendipity Duet. Cathryn will be the main character in a short story that will be part of the anthology ETERNAL SUMMER to be released in June. I also have the first book of an adult paranormal series coming out this year. And eventually, I hope to release an anthology of short stories about different characters from King. I'm not finished with them yet!
You work hard to promote the works of other authors, just as hard as, if not more than, your own works. Why do you do this? How can others do the same?
I strongly believe in paying it forward and paying it back. I was extremely fortunate to have wonderful authors giving me good advice and helping me promote my books. I love to be able to do the same. As writers, we're not really in competition with each other; as someone said to me the other day, it's not like a reader will ONLY read one book or even one author. To me, anything that gets a reader to Amazon or BN or the corner bookstore helps all of us. How can others do the same? Easy! As a reader, the best thing you can do is read. . .and then review. Posting reviews on Amazon, BN, Smashwords and Goodreads is so helpful. And then when you find an author you enjoy, pass the word. Post on your Facebook page, tweet, blog. . .word of mouth is tremendous. Authors can and should do all of the above, and we can also be cheerleaders on our author pages and websites. I like to share bits of other books at the end of my own books, too. Supporting authors is so easy, fun and positive. . .why wouldn't you do it?
Tell us more about your newly launched publishing company.
Oh, we are so excited about Hayson! Mandie, my partner at Promotional Book Tours and I decided last year that we wanted to start our own publishing company. We have the built-in benefit of experience in promotions, which really does make all the difference these days. And of course we also have the most talented cover artists and formatters in the business. We are giddy about the books we're releasing this year, and we'll be re-opening submissions pretty soon. Our authors are awesome. . .we are very picky!
Why the purple hair?
Why not? About five years ago, my daughter was having hot pink put into her hair. I have the absolute best hairdresser in the world, and when I asked her half-kiddingly about putting a color in MY hair, she told me that many women added pink to their hair in support of breast cancer awareness. I lost both my parents to blood cancers, and I have worked as a volunteer with the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. Their signature color is purple, so I decided to go with that. It has opened many doors to conversation, and as an author, now it's part of my branding.
Anything else you would like to add?
Just a huge thank you to you and all the bloggers who have supported The King Series and this tour in particular. You all rock, and I couldn't do this without you.
Thank you so much for your time!
Thank you for having me!

Tawdra KandleAbout Author Tawdra Kandle

Tawdra Kandle is the author of THE KING SERIES, a young adult urban fantasy quartet. Born in South Jersey, Tawdra published her first short story at the age of 13 in Child's Life magazine. During the early years of her marriage and motherhood, she wrote articles and columns on parenting and homeschooling, as well as some homeschooling curriculum. THE KING SERIES is her first published full-length fiction. Tawdra currently lives in central Florida with her husband, and children, both skin and fur types. And yes, she has purple hair.

Follow Tawdra Kandle:
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After the tumult of her high school senior year, all is right in Tasmyn Vaughan’s world. She’s attending college with her boyfriend, and she’s learning to control her powers. Everything is finally perfect, until it isn’t.

When her new part-time job leads to more than she bargained for, Tasmyn is thrown into a deadly fight against forces of evil that she didn’t even know existed. Mastering her extraordinary gifts—along with the strength of an endless love—may be the only weapon that can guarantee her a happily ever after.

Check out the entire King Series:

Book 1: Fearless

Book 2: Breathless

Book 3: Restless

Book 4: Endless