Thursday, October 30, 2014

Black Cats and Ballet Shoes

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to one randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Gemma Mayfield feels like middle school is a lot to bite off and chew. School, ballet classes, and planning on how to get Trevor Davis to ask her to the Halloween Dance are a tough balancing act. On top of that, Gemma is convinced that her science teacher, Ms. Pruett, is a witch.

When things start getting fishy at school, Gemma knows that Ms. Pruett is behind it all! Students are getting spells placed on them and start to go missing. Gemma and her best friend, Izzie, vow to stop Ms. Pruett from doing any more damage. Will they be able to save Middleton Middle School from witchcraft?

Enjoy an excerpt:

One of my favorite moves in ballet is called the grand battement. It’s where you kick up your leg high into the air. Because I’m the tallest person in dance class (with the longest legs, too), Madame Lisette always gets excited and claps her hands together. “Very good, very good! Don’t forget to point those toes!” Now, I always get excited when I do them, too, because I get to pretend like I’m kicking off Madame Lisette’s prim glasses from the tip of her pointy nose. It’s a win-win situation for both of us. This is one of the reasons why I love ballet.

At the end of class today, Madame Lisette passed out an info sheet about where the recital was going to take place. Izzie started rummaging in her purse and took out the sheet for the witch coven meeting. “Look!” she said, pretty much smacking me with the sheet and almost giving me a paper cut. “Our performance and the coven meeting are both going to be on Sunday night, and they’re only a few blocks away from each other!”
,br> “So if we sneak away right when we get off stage…” I didn’t even have to answer that sentence before Izzie grabbed my hands and started jumping up and down.

“Eeeeeeeeee! We’re totally going!”

“Izzie, keep your voice down!” Geez, it was a coven meeting, not a party! But I couldn’t help but jump up and down with her a bit. I must admit, it was sort of exciting having the bejeezus scared out of you.

About the Author:
Iva Valentino lives in Arizona with her husband and their dog, Lupo. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master’s degree in Education. She loves living year-round in the warm desert.

Iva spent many years as a middle school teacher, where she enjoyed doing fun science experiments with her students. She currently works as a science editor at an educational publishing company. She loves travel, yoga, and photography. There is nothing that brings her more happiness than a good dance class!

Blog: Facebook:

Buy the book at MuseItUp Publishing, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble. (on sale for $1.35 at publisher and Amazon)

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Lycaon Monday: Arrows

Greetings fellow YA readers! Welcome back to another Lycaon Monday! Today we have with us the amazing Lara Hues who is dishing on all things writing and secret cookie love. Take it away Lara!

1.  I write because…
I have to get characters and stories out of my brain. If I don’t write, I don’t sleep.
2. If I were your favorite cookie, what would I be?
My favorite cookie is white chocolate chip macadamia nut.
3. Plotter or pantster?
Depends on the book. ARROWS mostly wrote itself from events in my own life.
4. What is your favorite type of character to write about and why?
Probably young adults, usually women, who experience a paradigm shift and start acting rather than being acted upon.
5. Hamburgers or sushi?
Hamburgers. But I’m more prone to order a chicken sandwich than a burger.
6. Name three things on your desk.
Desk? What desk? I type on my laptop on the couch or in bed. Three things on my living room floor: diaper bag, wooden beaded bracelet, Risk.
7. What books have influenced your writing style?
Along with most of the literate world, I loved reading Harry Potter and getting lost in the world that J.K. Rowling created. When an author creates a world and story, you can forget your own stresses and fears and worries and focus on the story. I dream of the day I can write with such detail and emotion as she does.
8. Tell us a little about your book.
I got the idea for Arrows while I was attending college in Hawaii and facing the challenges inherent in dating life. In Arrows, Emalie struggles to find real, sincere love because all the men who ever see her eyes fall in love with her. I think most people, girls and women especially, struggle with the similar dilemma of wondering how much of their romantic relationships are based on physical traits or emotional ones. 
9. What advice do you have for new and aspiring authors?
Your first book will probably not be that great. My first two were terrible and after years of writing and re-writing and editing, I finally decided to let them be and move on. Then I wrote a new book and realized that my writing was way better. If you are a new and/or aspiring writer, just write. Read and write and if something isn’t great, move on. If I’d been persistently stuck on my first book, I may have eventually found someone to publish it, but I’m glad I didn’t because now that I’m a much better writer, I’d be embarrassed by it.
10. What is next on your writerly horizon?
I’m editing a shape-shifer story, proofing a YA science fiction, waiting to hear back from an agent on an adult thriller, and about 10K words from finishing my first historical fiction.
Top five favorite books/series: Harry Potter series, His Dark Materials trilogy, Wind on Fire trilogy, Sabriel, and The Two Princesses of Bamarre.

Much like a Greek siren with the curse of broken-hearted suitors scattered throughout her past, Emalie goes away to college hoping to leave her old habits behind and find real love.  To her immense displeasure, her habitual wearing of sunglasses as a means to protect potential ‘prey’ of her powers proves to be ineffective.   Almost immediately, a boy named Quincy sees her blue, beautiful eyes, and as though they are Cupid’s arrows, he is struck with love.  His reaction is much less overbearing than previous ‘victims’ of her eyes and this makes her genuinely like him. 
Only a few hours later however, an older college boy (Tony) kidnaps her for a game with some friends and she must use her eyes to escape the dangerous encounter. The downside to the escape: Tony falls in love with her. Struggling against her feelings of vulnerability and the belief that she is a victim of circumstance unable to influence the plot of her life, she must make a choice. She can either continue a life of captive, possessive love with Tony or take a leap, risk her secrets, and pursue her goal of finding love unsolicited by her cursed eyes.

Buy Link

"Take me back now!" I shouted. There was no one in the restaurant to see the scene that was happening. The pocketknife was still within my reach. My fingers were sweaty as I flipped open the blade only to find that there was no blade. It was another trick. My hands were slippery and shaky as I dropped the useless knife on the ground. Anthony watched the whole thing, rolling his eyes and snickering.
"I'll take you back when I want to," Anthony said and suddenly his face was not so jovial. "Now sit down. No one leaves till I say they do. I'm in charge; not you."
The waitress brought the food over and began passing it out, no change from her previous behavior. It seemed she had seen physical disagreements in this restaurant before.
"If you don't take me back right now I will call the police." I pulled out my phone.
Their laughter and chatter hit my ears loudly and my breathing got heavy.
"Lucas," Anthony said, gesturing to my phone. Quickly and roughly, Lucas tore the phone from my hand right in front of the waitress and shoved it into his deep pockets. He grabbed my face and kissed my cheek aggressively.
"Don't!" I protested.
"No," Lucas said, breathing hot spicy breath into my face. "You don't."
"Anthony," I said, making my voice sweet. "Tony." I was taking a big risk. There was no way of knowing what Anthony's reaction would be. Things were getting bad fast and I would do anything to get out of there.
"What?" His voice was heavy with irritation as he wheeled around to face me.
I took off my sunglasses in one swift motion.
Anthony dropped to his knees at my feet and began to cry. "Em, my sweet Em. I have upset you. How could I have done this?"
I put the glasses back on. It was that simple. It was always that simple. That's what made real love—real, unsolicited love—so impossible for me to find.

Author bio:

To state the glaringly obvious, Lara Hues like to write, however, she doesn’t like writing about herself. Maybe that's because it's strictly non-fiction, which isn't so much her cup of tea. That being said, a cup of tea isn't really her cup of tea. She prefer hot chocolate or lemonade. Sure, aspects of her character and details from her own life find their way into the pages of her stories, but that's only natural since she’s the author.
Her first young adult book CERKEL was a semi-finalist in the Amazon breakthrough novel contest when she was eighteen. Since then, she’s tackled a handful of other projects ranging from adult thrillers about kidnappers to middle grade stories of mermaids.  ARROWS is her first published work of what she hopes to be many.
Lara was born in Utah, moved to Massachusetts for middle and high school, and attended college in Hawaii where she graduated with a degree in Cultural Anthropology and received a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate. She can’t for the life of her figure out why she didn’t just study creative writing since she’s been doing it since she was fourteen and it’s a passion that’s stuck with her through the years.
Her character flaws, which double as her greatest strengths, are audacious honesty and child-like optimism. Lara owns a small jewelry business named Zaria’s Box, where she is the designer and creator. She enjoys learning languages and knows at least one phrase in over sixty languages. She is deeply religious and doesn’t believe in being bored.
 The month after Lara’s college graduation she married a devilishly handsome West Point Graduate and officer in the US Army.  She is the mother of two breathtakingly gorgeous little girls and the four of them travel the world together. She’s lived in Arizona, Kentucky, Utah, Idaho, Massachusetts, and Hawaii.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Project Firebird

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Nick will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Don’t ask Leo Lloyd-Jones. Ask him how to steal a car, or why he got excluded from every school in Salford, but don’t come to him for help. This whole thing must be a daft mistake – and if anyone finds out, he’s done for.

Earth is on a deadly collision course that nothing can prevent. The only real hope is Project Firebird, deep inside a blast-proof bunker that shelters the brightest and bravest young people. Leo has got mixed up with the likes of Rhys Carnarvon, the celebrated teenage polar explorer, and other child prodigies chosen to keep the flame of civilisation.

Among them is the streetwise Paige Harris, a girl Leo likes a lot (but not in that way). Paige is desperate to rescue her little sister from London before the catastrophe strikes. But no-one is crazy enough to try that. Almost no-one.

Enjoy an excerpt:

‘That which you have there, is a frog.’

Lenka stood in the doorway, smiling. Dressed in a casual blouse and vaguely military trousers, she looked wide awake and not surprised to see them. Leo managed to get his head to stop swimming. Puking on her boots would not be attractive.

‘What is going on here?’ she asked. ‘The midnight feast?’

Rhys wrung the hem of his t-shirt awkwardly. ‘I’m sorry, Doctor Mironov. We couldn’t sleep.’

‘A North American wood frog.’ Lenka nodded at the frozen thing. ‘Rana Sylvatica. A very special animal.’

‘Why –’ Leo coughed. ‘Why have you got dead frogs in your ice box? You’re not French.’

Lenka giggled like a schoolgirl. ‘No, Leo. I’m from St Petersburg.’ She took the lolly in her hand. ‘And this frog, he’s not dead. He’s sleeping.’

‘It’s frozen solid,’ Paige protested.

‘That’s how wood frogs hibernate,’ said Lenka. ‘They’ve evolved to stay alive inside a solid block of ice.’

Rhys made an odd strangled noise. Now he was the one who looked green in the face.

‘We keep these specimens for demonstration purposes,’ said Lenka.

‘Demonstration?’ Rhys spluttered. He seemed unable to take his eyes off the frog. ‘Demonstrating what?’

Lenka tapped her capped teeth with one perfect fingernail.

‘You weren’t supposed to be told this yet. But since you ask, let’s strike while the ironing’s hot. Come. I’ll show you.’

About the Author: Nick Green lives in the UK. He is the author of seven fiction books to date, including the middle-grade CAT KIN trilogy published by Strident. His other books include THE STORM BOTTLE, a fantasy adventure about the dolphins of Bermuda, and most recently the FIREBIRD trilogy, a YA science fiction epic.

Buy the book at Amazon.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Lycaon Monday: Dark of the Moon

Welcome once more to Lycaon Monday! Today we have the lovely Samantha Allard sharing her writing tips and secret quirks...

1. I write because… I can’t picture doing anything else with my life. Well, I wouldn’t mind being a baker but writing will always be my first love. The thing I enjoy doing the most.
2. If I were your favorite cookie, what would I be? Rich tea. I know that they can be rather plain but sweet and I do love a good cup of tea.
3. Plotter or pantster? It depends on the situation and the story. A short story I usually put in the hands of the characters. A longer story needs more planning, especially to keep the story on track.
4. What is your favorite type of character to write about and why? I’ve always enjoyed writing witty female leads. A girl or woman thrown into an impossible situation. When I was growing up I enjoyed watching Buffy, Alias and She Wolf in London (a very short-lived werewolf series) and I like writing characters like that.
5. Hamburgers or sushi? Hamburger, preferably with cheese.
6. Name three things on your desk. I don’t have a desk but I usually have a coffee, my phone and a writing pad close by,
7. What books have influenced your writing style? Christopher Pike’s ‘The Last Vampire’ series. Rachel Caine’s ‘Weather Warden’ series and Jim Butcher’s ‘Harry Dresden’ series.
8. Tell us a little about your book. The Dark of the Moon was originally published under the name Ella Grey as an eshort series ‘A Difficult Decision’. This edition has been heavily revised and reedited making it a much stronger story. It tells the story of Rachel Valentine, who isn’t your typical sixteen year old. Her older brother is missing, presumed dead. Her father works for the government and Rachel has a few tricks up her sleeves. Lessons she learnt from her father. Thrown into a battle between warring werewolves. Rachel has secrets that she doesn’t even know she possesses.
9. What advice do you have for new and aspiring authors? Read and write every day.
10. What is next on your writerly horizon? A sequel to The Dark of the Moon. I really want to tie up some plot ideas that I introduced in this story. This will probably be my NANO project. I also plan on writing a sequel for Runaways, my telekinetic assassin story.

Top 5 favorite (pick one) desserts, movies, things to eat, ice cream flavors, books.
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas
The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Rachel Valentine isn't your average girl.
Three years ago her brother disappeared, and Rachel went off the rails quite spectacularly. Now she is trapped in a nunnery because she accidently blew up half the science department at her old school. One night she sees her long-lost brother in the crowd behind a reporter on television. There's no mistaking who he is, but getting her parents to believe her is a different matter. It leaves her one option: break out of the nunnery and travel to London to track him down.
She's about to find out that things are never that simple and there are some secrets that are impossible to believe.
I drop the box at my feet, then rummage through it. The book I need is wedged in deep.
Thank God the nuns hadn't searched through any of the books I brought. I specifically chose the Stephen King, figuring it was the safest one. It took me ages to hollow it out. There's enough money in here that no one would notice the slight difference in weight. I flick through the wad of money, stopping when I catch sight of the fake ID, which adds a few years to my age. I use the blue rucksack stuffed into the box. I add the things I need inside. First the book, the money and ID still hidden away. A few items of clothes follow them, a skirt, a dress, T-shirts, and jeans. I'm looking forward to getting out of this stupid uniform. Hell, I'd burn it if I had time.
Just leaving the cupboard, I notice a name on one of the boxes. Susan Towers. What had she told me about herself? Pausing at the door, I think.
Come on, Rachel, think. She said something about makeup. She's a makeup student. There might be something I can use in her box.
I slide the box down. One quick search through it and then I'll go. I nearly jump when I brush my hand against something soft and brown.
What the hell is that?
A smile unfolds on my face when I realize what it is, hair. A wig. I fight against the urge to break out in a dance.
This is perfect. I can definitely use this.

About the author:

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far away, passed the farthest star in the sky and where the horizon meets for its kiss with the land, Samantha battled evil drones. The drones were six feet tall, had three sets of hands, and it was best If you didn't mention the third eye. (They don't like it when you bring it up.) She wields words like a sword in her hand and cuts down her foes with the skill of a ballerina wearing flip-flops and juggling chainsaws. (She knows how to multitask.)
Take a trip into her worlds (yep, plural) as she writes young adult with a touch of wolves and anything else that takes her fancy.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Lycaon Monday: Awakening

What would you do if you learned everything you knew about the world was wrong? Microbiology student Elena Michaels is about to find out. After a few chance encounters with Alexavier Edmunds, a strange but intriguing student on campus, Elena is on the run from an ancient organization of angel-like beings. Strange things are awakening within her, and there is only one with the answers—the Elder. But can she make it to him in time?

Buy link:


Elena's face felt cold as the blood drained from it. She had not seen the woman's mouth move while she spoke. She sobered almost instantly, the hackles on her neck rising as she stared at the woman's cold smile. She recognized the voice in a moment of lucidity as the one she had heard at the airport, their tail, their stalker—one of the Opposition.
My mistress was right, the woman's voice continued. She told me it would be a matter of time before one of you two slipped up. The amazing thing is you both slipped up at the same time. The woman turned to Elena.
The woman stood nearly a whole foot shorter than Elena and appeared much more fragile. Elena tried to gauge whether or not she would be able to handle this woman on her own. She knew from experience Daimon men were quite powerful, but never expected such strength from females.
Let me clue you in on some secrets. First, Daimon men cannot handle their liquor. In fact, all Daimones are very quickly undone by alcohol. The woman eyed Elena up and down before saying, Second, you could never take me on. To illustrate her point, the small woman gripped the countertop and crushed a small section of it into powder.
"What do you want from me?" Elena asked.
The choice is simple, the woman replied mentally. Either come with me to see my mistress. Or...
"Or?" Elena asked, realizing she would regret this decision.
Or you and your companion die, the woman replied. A placid and sickly happy smile spread across her face as she said it.
The woman's evident pleasure at making such a dire threat sent a chill down Elena's spine. She conjured up the most severe feeling of pain she could imagine and directed it right at the Daimon woman as she had done to the other Daimon in Canada. However, instead of the anticipated effect of crippling pain she had seen in the Daimon man, the woman's eyes flashed, and then she laughed.
Silly girl, the woman said to her mentally. I am no mere weakling. Your foolish mind games have no effect on me.
Alec...I need your help! Elena cried out, hoping beyond hope he would hear and come to her aid.
The woman started laughing even louder. A terrifying grin crossed her face. He can't hear you. Alcohol impairs Daimon abilities. And Alec has had a few too many. I guess I shouldn't have bought him so many rounds!
Elena didn't wait for the woman to move. Filled with blind rage over being trapped by this woman, she pressed her attack. If her death was on the menu, then she would take this woman with her as dessert.
Elena bowled into the small Daimon woman, throwing all of her weight into the attack. To her surprise, the woman fell backward with her arm clutching at the sink.
She didn't stay down for long, though and responded by pushing back at Elena with startling speed, shoving her back a few paces.
Elena responded as fast. She threw her hands up in anticipation of the Daimon woman's attack. However, she couldn't fathom what kind of attack to expect coming at her.
The small woman was lithe. She maneuvered herself underneath Elena's arms and thrust upward with both arms like lofting a volleyball lifting Elena off of her feet and throwing her into the far wall. Elena managed to turn herself sideways in order to absorb her impact with the wall and push herself off into a counterattack.
Elena rushed across the room. The woman crouched at her approach. Instead of missing her target, however, Elena lowered her center of gravity and leapt, flying over the woman's back. While sailing over her opponent's body, Elena stretched out and grasped the woman around the waist.
Elena's momentum carried her forward, and she tucked her head and rolled, pulling the Daimon woman off her feet and flipping her onto her head with startling force. The Daimon's legs flailed and slammed into the large wall mirror, shattering it.
But she did not stay down for long. Before Elena could right herself, the woman leapt up and moved back across the room. Elena stood and whirled to face the woman but was caught off guard as a fist struck her across the face. Surprisingly, it did not carry much force. Elena brushed the blow off and delivered her own to the woman's chest, forcing the woman back several feet.
The Daimon crumpled, winded by the force of Elena's attack. When the Daimon stood again, she clutched a large shard of the broken mirror, which she wielded like a knife.

Thanks Scott for joining me at the Bookpile! 

1. I write because…
This is going to sound cheesy and cliché, but I write because it is part of my soul. I have written fiction my whole life, but didn't decide to transition into it full time until only a few years ago. Since then, I have been writing my heart out. And to tell the truth, there is nothing more I would want to do for my vocation.

2. If I were your favorite cookie, what would I be?
My favorite cookie has always been a coconut macaroon. There's just something about the flavor and texture that completely appeals to me.

3. Plotter or pantster?
I am a little bit of both, actually. I like to have a general idea of where I need the car to go, but let the details of the journey evolve by themselves. I feel this approach leaves me open for plot shifts when the story calls for them, but also allows me to stay focused on the endgame.

4. What is your favorite type of character to write about and why?
My favorite type of character to write about would be the "others" from a first-person perspective—anyone not the main character. My background is in anthropology, history, and archaeology and I like to be an observer of people. While watching, I like to think up a person's back story based on their appearance and interactions. Writing about the "other" characters outside my main first-person character allows me to do the same thing.

5. Hamburgers or sushi?
I would have to go with a bacon double burger with mushrooms.

6. Name three things on your desk.
My laptop, a drinking glass, and candles (I usually set myself up on the dining room table).

7. What books have influenced your writing style?
I am an avid reader and all of them influence me one way or another. My strongest influences, I feel are HP Lovecraft, ER Burroughs, and Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child.

8. Tell us a little about your book.
Awakening is the tale of a Elena Michaels, a college student wanting to study genetics, and whose whole world is torn apart. After meeting a mysterious stranger on campus, Elena learns the world is not what she ever thought it was. She finds herself thrown in the middle of a long civil war between two warring factions of angels—one seeks to dominate humanity, the other seeks to enslave it. Accompanied by Alexavier Edmunds, she begins to experience a strange new world as she struggles to find the Elder—perhaps the only one who can help her survive.

9. What advice do you have for new and aspiring authors?
My advice for new and aspiring authors is to keep at it. Keep working, keep refining, and keep a positive attitude. There will be many disappointments along this journey, but they are not barriers—only tests of your conviction.

10. What is next on your writerly horizon?
Currently I am working on several new projects. I have a standalone horror story, a spaghetti western gunslinger series set in a post-apocalyptic society, and of course, the sequel to Awakening. Some interesting stories will be coming up in the future. Keep your eyes peeled and be sure to follow me on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter for updates.

Top 5 favorite (pick one) desserts, movies, things to eat, ice cream flavors, books.
Top 5 Favorite Movies:
The Goonies
Harry Potter (whole series)
Chronicles of Riddick (whole series)
Transformers (whole series)
Count of Monte Christo

Scott Wieczorek is a professional archaeologist working in the American Middle-Atlantic region. He has written numerous short stories and several full-length novels ranging from science fiction to paranormal mystery to horror. In addition, he writes reviews of books by Independent authors. Samples of his work are available on his blog at