Calling the Reaper
by Jason Pere
GENRE: Dark Fantasy
The time of the Unity has ended. Now, the realm of man is stranded between Paradise and Purgatory. The Valkyrie and Reaper battle over the fate of all who pass from the land of the living and into the afterlife.
Eight mortal spirits from vastly different worlds tread the same, inevitable path toward their last, crucial decision. Within them all exists the defining conflict every man must face—to look upon the end of their life with glory and honor, or to give credence to their baser longings, calling the Reaper to their own demise.
In this rich, harrowing tale of pride, deceit, honor, vengeance, and redemption, each individual must battle their inner turmoil, facing the sacrifices they have made before their unavoidable end in the land of the living.
But their last day in life is also their first day of death amidst the terrors of the underworld. Lord Master Death wants them all…and the real battle has only just begun.
“In the beginning. In the time before. When the Unity sat atop the throne in Paradise and reigned over the world of man below, all was good and fruitful. There was life without end for every spirit drawing breath within the embrace of the Unity. Things were as such for a time longer than memory itself. But such things end. The day of the Shattering came upon us all. Paradise above and the realm of man below were forever changed. The Unity became no more, and from it was born both Life and Death. On that day, it was decreed that all who lived must one day die. And we the Valkyrie, the children of Paradise, became its warriors. Our robes were replaced with armor, and hands once empty now grasp sword and shield. Our charge is to watch over those who dwell below in the realm of man. We are tasked with the guardianship of every spirit that yet holds life. We shall protect them until that life is at an end. Then it must leave the realm of man. For each spirit that meets its end with virtue and courage, we the Valkyrie shall fly to them and bid them welcome into the warmth of Paradise. For each spirit that meets its end with fear and wickedness, they shall call the Reaper, and I shall mourn them as they are cast into the cold realm filled with weeping and the gnashing of teeth.” —Laurel, ArchValkyrie of the Thorn Crown
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Jason Pere is a born-and-raised New Englander. He always had a passion for the arts and creative storytelling. At the age of thirteen, Jason took up the craft of acting for film and theater. He pursued that interest for over a decade until refocusing his medium of expression into writing.
At first, Jason took a causal interest in writing, starting with poetry and journaling. Over time, he honed his direction and finally began writing larger works. In November of 2012, Jason self-published his first book, Modern Knighthood: Diary of a Warrior Poet.
Since then, Jason has continued writing on his own, mostly short stories and poetry. Calling the Reaper was his first experience committing to a full-length Fiction title.
In early 2015, Jason became affiliated with Collaborative Writing Challenge (CWC). Since then, he has joined many other writers on numerous collaborative projects. Jason is a regular contributor to CWC and is scheduled to have multiple pieces of his work appear in their publications throughout 2016.
You can find out more about Jason Pere’s involvement and publications in collaborative fiction at: http://www.collaborativewritingchallenge.com
To connect with Jason, check him out at: www.facebook.com/jason.pere.7
Jason also writes fanfiction for Team Covenant on their Blog of the Pheonixborn, dedicated to the new game by Plaid Hat Games, ‘Ashes’. Go to http://teamcovenant.com/ashesonline/ to read Jason’s flash fiction work.
Jason will be awarding 1 print copy of Calling the Reaper,(international winner) or 2 ebooks (one of Calling the Reaper and the second winner’s choice) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:
by Kevin Laymon
Set in a science fiction setting with elements of twisted horror, Future Winds is a strange yet wondrous tale of species self preservation and the all out moral cost of survival. Forced to leave earth, humanity discovers a planet capable of supporting life and hatches an audacious plan that will warp them across the universe to settle and begin anew. There is a darkness that resides below the planet’s surface, but with no option to turn back, humanity must find a way forward.
Chapter 4 excerpt
Here we have two brothers who are being transported to their new home. They are nervous and afraid.
Ness wasn’t sure of the correct answer, so he lied. Way he saw it, he had a fifty/fifty shot of getting it right anyway. “Na, we aren’t slaves Lucas. You think Ma would have let us get on this ship if that were the case?”
The younger boy began to quietly weep. “I miss Mom,” he reminded his older brother, just as he had the day before and the day before that.
“Yea me too buddy, but we will see her soon.” Ness lied once more.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
My name is Kevin Laymon. My passions are space exploration, music, sailing, snowboarding, wildlife, and of course writing. I have been writing for some time but the focus has been primarily on short stories and dark poems strictly for personal use. Future Winds is the first of a handful of novels I am working on for publication. I grew up in upstate New York and have lived up and down the east coast. New York is a location that holds a very special place in my heart. After working a wide range of jobs that I hated for far too long, Sara my significant other, and I decided earlier in 2015 to make some dramatic changes and travel. We scraped together some cash, I quit my job, and we moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico where we live a libertarian life as vegetarians. We share our desertscape living quarters with an aquatic turtle named Taz and a rabbit named BunBear. On October 9th 2015 Sara & I got married in Las Vegas, Nevada. The sunshine in New Mexico has helped immensely in illuminating a greater perspective as to who I am and what I was placed on this planet to do; that is to teach and inspire. I have a hunger to awaken humanity so that we may break away from our programed way of thinking. Our minds are powerful and I encourage everyone to open them up, exercise them, and tap into the potential I know every living man woman and child has. Though my stories at times can be very dark there is a reason for everything I do. Perspective, perception, and relativity are everything in the world of literature.
Kevin will be awarding a $20 gift card to Thinkgeek.com (international) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
by Laurence Moroney
GENRE: YA Sci-Fi
After conflicts in Korea, Pakistan and the Middle East turned nuclear, the world stood on the eve of destruction. Realizing that we only have this one precious planet containing all of humanity, the United Nations pulled us back from the brink, and started a new, multinational effort to conquer space. Many years later, the peak of achievement for any young person is to be admitted to the Space Academy. Previously available only to a precious few, it has recently opened enrollment to anybody who can meet their strenuous entry criteria. Space Cadets is the story of the first African-American girl, Aisha Parks, to enter into the academy, where she learns that the more some things change, the more they stay the same, and despite the honorable intentions of the academy, there are some dark secrets being kept – secrets that could be the end of us all.
It never failed to give her a thrill when she saw the moonscape rush by underneath her ship, and the blue curve of Earth rise above it. Aisha smiled at its beauty.
Down there, girls her age were wondering about homecoming dances, and what dress they’d wear, or which boy would ask them out. She was much happier here, piloting her ship, zipping at breakneck speeds across the Moon, and getting ready to break into deep space.
“I think I see them,” said David, her navigator and co-pilot, sitting in one of the wing pods to her right. “Two-seven-zero karem one-nine-eight.”
“Confirmed,” came the clipped voice of Soo-Kyung, her gunner. Aisha glanced to the pod on her left and her eyes met Soo-Kyung’s. The Korean girl smiled and nodded.
Aisha always wanted a visual confirmation. Comm lines could be hacked and voices faked. Soo-Kyung knew this instinctively. That’s what made them a great team.
“Okay,” said Aisha. “Weapons hot. Let’s check them out.”
She punched in the coordinates, and the ship turned towards their target.
“Visual range in five seconds,” said David.
“I see them,” Aisha replied. Her heads up display started to light up with targets. Squares projected on her canopy, wrapping tiny dots that could easily be mistaken for stars to the naked eye.
“That’s a lot of ships,” she said, awe sneaking into her voice.
“That’s a bloody awful lot of ships,” said David.
Soo-Kyung was business as always. “Orders?”
“Can you confirm ship type?”
“They are mostly type-three fighters. About eighty of them.”
“A single mothership. That’s the target.”
“No other fighters?”
“A couple of type-ones, but hard to tell with all the movement.”
The fighters were moving around the mothership, following what looked like random patterns, making it hard to get a radar lock.
“Are they moving to intercept?”
“David, probe the edge of their defense shield.”
His gentle voice sounded in her earpiece. “Yes, Sir.”
David took the ship forward slowly, while Soo-Kyung watched the behavior of the enemy fighters. They knew from experience that these ships could turn from defense to offense in the blink of an eye. If they didn’t react, they could find themselves surrounded and destroyed in seconds.
“We are at the edge of previous attack ranges,” said Soo-Kyung. “Recommend that we hold at this position.”
The ship halted, and they floated in space, watching the enemy.
“Any update on ship types, David?”
“The best I got is maybe two or three type-ones, the rest are definitely type-three.”
She wished she had read the spec books more closely, but was glad David was there. “Turning radius of type-threes?”
“Two hundred degrees,” he answered, almost in reflex.
“Distance of fighters from the mothership?”
“Average about three hundred clicks.”
Soo-Kyung raised an eyebrow. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
“Yes,” said Aisha. “Full frontal assault, all shields on front.”
“If we leave our back exposed–”
“Hopefully they won’t get a chance. Maximum throttle, straight at the mothership, direct all energy to front shields.”
“Including lasers. We’re on bullets and torpedoes. Can you do it?”
She heard the smile in Soo-Kyung’s voice. “Done.”
“Good. And fire at will.”
“David. Punch course in.”
“Manual control to me.”
“Here goes nothing!”
Aisha punched the program, and she felt the craft lurch as they accelerated forward. She continued its burn, getting faster and faster as they approached the enemy ships.
“Ships turning to intercept.”
She saw the enemy ships swarming to intercept. Suddenly their random patterns stopped, and they turned, almost as one, bearing down on her. They opened fire, but the forward shields held.
“Intercept in five seconds,” said Soo-Kyung. Aisha marveled at her ability to stay calm, and it seemed the more stressful the situation, the calmer she was.
And just like that they flew through the squadrons of enemy fighters, on a course straight for the mothership.
“They’re turning to intercept.”
Time seemed to slow down in her mind. The mothership approached weapons range at a painful crawl. The enemy fighters, now behind her, were slowly turning to follow them, with a clear shot at Aisha’s tail. She’d turned off their lasers, directing their energy to the shields, so they’d need to be close for ballistic weapons to be effective.
It was going to be tight. Once the enemy fighters had turned around, the back of Aisha’s fighter was exposed. The lead ones had almost turned, and were ready to open fire.
But then Soo-Kyung had her target locked and opened up with everything she had on the mothership. Direct hits, but the ship stayed intact.
A hit on their right wing made the ship lurch.
“Now would be a good time, Soo-Kyung.”
Aisha looked to her left, seeing her friends’ face deep in concentration. Another torpedo launched, hitting a module to the rear of the mothership’s bridge. A small explosion was followed by several large ones, but before the ship was destroyed, Aisha’s ship was hit again. This time right in the engines.
Aisha felt her ship lurch. Red lights all over her console. The reactor had taken a direct hit. It was about to go critical. Her heart was beating hard. She reached for the eject buttons, hesitating long enough to see the mothership go up in a ball of flame.
The moment’s hesitation was enough.She felt the ship lurch as the reactor gave out. Her mind slowed as the white flash enveloped them. She had enough time to realize, with resignation, that she was dead. Both co-pilots too.
The simulator door opened, and Captain Simms’ craggy face looked in at her.
“You’re dead. All of you. Again,” he said. Disapproval in his voice. “I thought you guys were better than that.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Laurence Moroney is the author of more books than he’s prepared to admit. After several best selling programming books, his first Young Adult novel “The Fourth World” became a #1 book on Amazon Kindle, spawned two sequels “The Million Year Journey” and “The Legend of the Locust”, and is currently being shopped around studios for a potential movie. “Space Cadets” is his latest, a cutting edge science fiction novel, based on real science that starts a new series charting out humanity’s course to the stars. He’s presently working on the sequel “The Quiet World”, which he hopes to finish in 2015. For his day job, Laurence works as a Developer Advocate for Google, where he is constantly counting his blessings for being part of the best workplace in the world…
Find him here:
Space Cadets Blog: http://join-the-cadets.blogspot.com/
Space Cadets Website: http://www.join-the-cadets.com/
Laurence will be awarding a signed copy of Space Cadets to a randomly drawn winner (US ONLY) via rafflecopter during the tour.
Title: Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things
Author: Martina McAtee
Publisher: Martina McAtee
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
17 year old Ember Denning has made an art of isolating herself. She prefers the dead. She spends her days skipping school in old cemeteries and her nights hiding from her alcoholic father at the funeral home where she works. When her own father dies, Ember learns her whole life is a lie. Standing in the cemetery that’s been her sanctuary, she’s threatened by the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and rescued by two people who claim to be her family. They say she’s special, that she has a supernatural gift like them…they just don’t know exactly what it is.
They take her to a small Florida town, where Ember’s life takes a turn for the weird. She’s living with her reaper cousins, an orphaned werewolf pack, a faery and a human genius. Ember’s powers are growing stronger, morphing into something bigger than anything anybody anticipated. Ember has questions but nobody has answers. Nobody knows what she is. They only know her mysterious magical gift is trying to kill them and that beautiful dangerous boy from the cemetery may be the only thing standing between her and death.
As Ember’s talents are revealed so are the secrets her father hid and those in power who would seek to destroy her. What’s worse, saving Ember has put her cousins in danger and turned her friend’s lives upside down. Ember must learn to embrace her magic or risk losing the family she’s pieced together.
For More Information
- Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things is available at Amazon.
Martina will be giving away a sugar skull coffee mug with Day of the Dead tea and sugar skull shaped sugar cubes! Enter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
She went lightheaded as the enormity of her words hit her, “Oh, God. This is like the part in the movie where you try to kill me, right? You are going to try to kill me and I feel too crappy to even try to run.”
She was talking more to herself now. She leaned back against the rusted mausoleum gates behind her, enjoying the cool metal against her skin. Her head was swimming, the stars above blurring in the sky. No, not now, she thought. It was happening again. Whatever had happened earlier in the cemetery was happening again. She could feel it rising up in her, that weird feeling like her insides were melting and liquefying while she could do nothing to stop it. Was this a panic attack? Could a panic attack cause what happened in the cemetery earlier? Maybe this was some kind of fight or flight adrenaline response.
She felt caged, trapped by her own body. It was all in her head. The ground wasn’t vibrating at her feet. There was no way she was really burning up in forty-degree weather. Even in her haze she could see him watching her. Maybe if she just held still, he would be quick about it.
Her head lulled on her shoulders. She was going to pass out. It would serve him right. Then he was just there, in her space, fingers cupping her face. She moaned at the feel of his cold hands against her overheated flesh. “And if it is, Luv? If this is the part where I try to kill you? What then? Are you going to pass out and take all the fun out of it? Or will you fight back?”
There was no mistaking the threat of his words, but he was close enough to whisper them against her skin like a promise. She couldn’t think straight. Her head filled with a sound like angry bees. She pitched forward, dropping her forehead to his shoulder, eyes drifting closed.
He was so cold; even through the layers of his clothes; his body seemed to emit this pleasant icy radiance that soothed her feverish skin. She wrapped herself around him, locking her arms. She buried her face against his throat, nose rubbing against his skin.
She felt his body go rigid in her arms. She didn’t blame him, on some level she understood sane girls didn’t try to cuddle their killers. But nobody ever accused her of being sane. She was the girl who played in cemeteries and talked to the dead. She was the girl with three therapists before she was twelve. She was the girl in flames and he was ice water; if she was going to die, she was going to have this first.
They stood there, bound together by her forced embrace. Those strange vibrations increased, building inside her like a living thing, a burning energy trying to melt her from the inside out. She could hear his ragged breath panting against her ear, could feel him writhing in her grasp, but she refused to let go. Could he feel it too?
She clung to him, knowing if she let go this peculiar energy would overwhelm her. She breathed him in, letting him anchor her as it kept building and burning, growing until it thrust from her with the force of a sledgehammer. He groaned like he’d received the physical blow, he may have fallen had she not been holding him to her. Finally, the world seemed to right itself. Her blood ceased to boil and the vibrations stopped. When her mind quieted, she became very aware of what she was doing.
She let go, shoving him back. Despite his size, he stumbled, blinking hard. They stared at each other, his confusion mirroring her own.
“What are you?” she whispered. “What are you doing to me?”
He rushed her, shoving her against the concrete hard enough to knock her teeth together, “What did I do to you? What game are you playing? What are you? What was that? What did you do?”
She whimpered, feet scrambling for purchase as she realized he’d lifted her from the ground. Her heart thundered in her chest. He was fit but not big enough to haul her off her feet like that. She shoved at him uselessly. “Put me down.”
Her descent was abrupt, her heart lodging in her throat. His eyes narrowed, his hands tangling in her messy hair, tilting her head to the side. “Come on, Luv, you can tell me. I’m sure it’s eating at you, keeping this secret.”
He was insane. She opened her mouth to say so but her brain short-circuited as his nose traced along the column of her throat. “I promise, things will be so much easier if you just tell me,” he purred, his lips pressing the words into her skin. She moved closer to him. In her defense, she’d never been this close to a boy before; especially not one who looked like he did.
“We can do this one of two ways,” He inhaled her scent, pressing his mouth to the shell of her ear as he said, “I promise one is infinitely more pleasurable than the other,”
Ew. Oh, God. What was she doing? What was he doing? Seducing her for information? Threatening her? It really bothered her that she didn’t know the difference.
She needed to get it together. Her breath hitched in her chest. This was not how she saw herself dying. She’d had a plan. She’d written it down obituary style for a morbid ninth grade English assignment. She was supposed to die of obscenely old age in her enormous but tastefully decorated plantation home surrounded by her beautiful and ungrateful grandchildren.
He huffed out a laugh and she realized she’d said all that aloud. She was too scared to be embarrassed. Instead, she slapped at his hands ineffectively.
He stepped away so abruptly she staggered, pacing before her, “You’re seriously not going to tell me? You’re only hurting yourself on this one.”
“I don’t know what you are talking about,” she told him, “You’re crazy.”
He sighed heavily, his tone shifting as if speaking to a rather stupid child, “I’ll figure it out eventually.” He told her, pointing at her, “You don’t smell like a witch. You certainly aren’t a shifter.” Then he was back before her, gripping her chin, turning her head side to side, like he was examining livestock, “But you most definitely aren’t human.” Tiny hairs rose along her skin at his touch, “You’re trying my patience. What the hell are you?”
She pushed away from him, head throbbing with his words. “Stop with the grabby hands,”
She needed to think. He was clearly unhinged. She had very few options. She could run but she doubted she could outrun him. Her gaze raked across broad shoulders and a flat stomach, he looked like he did a lot of cardio. She could scream but there wasn’t anybody to hear her. Instead, she did what she always did when she was nervous…she babbled.
She’d watched a million documentaries on serial killers and the mentally ill. She could figure this out. Netflix was her friend. She wracked her brain, if he was a killer she had to make him see her as a person, tell him about her life, say her name a lot, make him believe people cared if she died, even if it was a lie.
But what if he was schizophrenic? He thought she wasn’t human. What was she supposed to do? Orient him to reality? Play along with his fantasy? She should have paid more attention.
“What’s your name?” she heard herself say, voice breathless.
He arched his brow, tsking softly, expression bored. “I’m asking the questions here,”
“Just tell me your name,” she demanded, panic creeping back in.
“Mace,” the answer tumbled from his lips unbidden. He looked mystified, like his own mouth had betrayed him. He absently rubbed a spot on his chest.
“Mace,” she repeated, with a nod. Okay, it was a start. “So um, here’s the thing, Mace. I’m only seventeen and I don’t want to die.”
He gave her a look and a ‘fair enough’ shrug and gestured for her to continue, clearly amused by this turn of events.
She frowned, but soldiered on, “You can’t be much older than me so let’s just think about this for a minute, okay?” She raked a hand through her damp hair, “I’m not really sure why you want to kill me but my life has pretty much sucked up until now. Like so much suckage. I can’t even explain the level of suck, but I feel like, statistically speaking, that’s gotta change. I’m not trying to sound like a motivational poster but it’s supposed to get better. I’d very much like to have a pulse when it does,”
He narrowed his eyes at her, brow furrowed. He stepped forward.
“Stop,” she held up her hand, palm out, “Just listen,”
He stopped, looking at his feet then at her again.
“I’m a nice girl,” she told him, before frowning, “but maybe you don’t care about that. I mean, if you’re, like, a murderous psychopath, you probably aren’t super interested in my feelings, but what about yourself?” She reasoned, gesturing spastically to all of his…self, “You seem like the kind of guy who thinks a lot of himself.”
He cocked an eyebrow but said nothing. She was in turbo babble mode now, “If you kill me your life is over. You will definitely go to jail. I mean, look at me.” She gestured to her face, “I look like an ad for facial cleanser and girls who eat yogurt. Juries eat that stuff up. You’d probably get the chair.”
He looked a little dazed. “You make a passionate yet confusing plea, Luv,”
Her heart sank as he took a tentative step towards her, then another. He grinned as he advanced.
“Come on. I’m sure you don’t want to go to prison.” She whined, “You are way too pretty for prison. You’d make a lot of the wrong kind of friends in prison.” Stop saying prison, Ember, she begged herself. “Do you want those kind of friends? Of course, you don’t. We could be friends?” she finished lamely, face flushing with shame. Maybe he should just kill her. It would be less embarrassing.
He blinked at her, cheek twitching, “Aw, are you asking me to be your friend? One might question your judgment.”
Her hands fell to her hips, swaying on her feet. “Wow, not to put too fine a point on it, but I’ve only seen you twice and both times you were here,” she gestured to their surroundings. “You hang out in cemeteries because you have so many friends? Is this were your book club meets?”
“I can see why you have no friends,” he told her drolly.
She squinted as something glinted in the air above his head.
“I-” was all he managed before the object made contact with his head, sounding like a hammer hitting an overripe melon. He hit his knees with a groan, whatever he was going to say dying on his lips.
She looked at his crumpled form, unreasonably disappointed.
She’d really wanted to know what he was going to say.
About The Author
Martina McAtee lives in Jupiter, Florida with her teenage daughter, her best friend, two attack Chihuahua’s and two shady looking cats. By day she is a registered nurse but by night she writes young adult books about reapers, zombies, werewolves and other supernatural creatures. When she isn’t working, teaching or writing she’s reading or watching shows that involve reapers, zombies, werewolves and other supernatural creatures. Her debut novel Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things is set to release on August 31st, 2015. She is currently working on the second book in the series, Your Soul to Take, due to release in 2016.
For More Information
- Visit Martina McAtee’s website.
- Connect with Martina on Facebook and Twitter.
- Find out more about Martina at Goodreads.
- Visit Martina’s blog.
Please share with our readers something about you
I am a writer and I have recently released my first young adult paranormal romance novel Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things. I’m also a registered nurse, the mother to a beautiful seventeen year old daughter and the pseudo mom to many of her friends. I teach in the evenings and spend too much time online. I live in Jupiter, Florida with my best friend, a couple of teenagers and too many animals to name.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My alarm clock? Sorry, bad joke. Really, my curiosity inspires me to get out of bed every day. I always want to know what will happen next. I have a pretty great life. I work for one of the most internationally respected healthcare centers in the world, I have a wonderful family and I just published a book. I love getting out of bed every day, even though my bed is really comfortable.
If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
This is such a hard question. There are so many people I would give anything to meet but if I have to choose just one person I’m going to go with Chris Colfer and the reasons why are probably too enormous to fit here but I’ll try to explain anyway. The kid has accomplished more at 25 years old then most people will achieve in a lifetime. He’s won an Emmy, wrote and starred in the only movie to ever make me bawl like a baby, wrote several international bestselling children’s books and is a huge inspiration to the LGBT community. But the real reason I’d like to meet him is because, when my mom was dying from cancer, I sort of developed this strange attachment to the show Glee. It was a great way to break away from the stress of her getting sicker. No matter how ridiculous the show itself was it got me through a really low point in my life so it would be nice to get to meet him face to face. Besides, maybe some of his success would rub off on me.
What’s the story behind your latest book?
This book started because of a really strange dream I had five or so years ago. I had a dream of an orange haired girl walking along in the snow with her friends but she was talking to a boy nobody could see but her. That dream went on to be the basis for book two in this series but I realized while I was trying to write book two I needed to go back further, needed to explain how this girl has the powers she does and how they came to be in this situation in the first place and that’s how the first book, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things came about.
Tell us your writing process
My writing process is chaotic. It’s a lot of mainlining caffeine and spacing out during conversations with others when my characters hijack my brain. I will often pull out my phone in the middle of lunch or a meeting and pull up Evernote to write down a conversation or snippet of an idea. I am not a planner. This is probably why I have so many mental breakdowns in the course of a writing project but I just can’t do it. I’ve tried. I’ve tried writing programs and note cards and a million books on outlining but when all is said and done, I start out with my ending and then rely entirely on my characters to tell me how to get there. This is not the way I would tell others to write but it works for me.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I never really wanted to be a writer, I just always was. I think I wrote my first story when I was four. I remember sitting on the steps of my Nana’s apartment when I was eight writing out plays with my friend, Sara in spiral bound notebooks and colored pencils. I just always had these voices in my head, these pictures and conversations and I finally decided to write them down. I was always too shy as a kid to share anything I wrote and wrote under a pen-name for years. This is the first book I’m sharing with the public with my actual name on it.
Tell us about your main character:
Ember is a 17 year old girl who is has become an expert at avoiding spending time in the real world. She is bullied in school and has a terrible home life because her father is a barely functioning alcoholic. She hides in cemeteries and the funeral home where she works because it’s easier to deal with people who can’t disappoint you. When her father dies, she learns her entire life was a lie. The supernatural is real, she has a family she never knew and her father has been hiding the truth from her for years. She has an easier time believing in the supernatural than she does believing she herself is supernatural.
What are you working on next?
I’m hard at work on book two which, as I said before, was actually the original premise for the story but given all the events that took place in book one, I’ve had to re-evaluate all the things I thought I knew going into writing this book. I hope to have book two out by spring of next year.
Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
I don’t know if I would call them special? I read 800 words per minute with an accuracy of 70 percent. I think that’s only impressive to nerds like me. I have a near savant like ability to Google things and get the information people are looking for and I have a near eidetic memory which in no way helps with my day to day life but makes me a huge asset when playing trivia.
Who are your favorite authors?
How much time do you have? As a kid I read Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine. I love Dean Koontz and Stephen King when I am looking for horror and suspense. I go to Eloisa James and Lisa Kleypas when I am desperate for a good romance. With young adult it runs the gambit from J.K. Rowling and Chris Colfer to Jennifer Armentrout or Lauren Kate. I love books.
What do you like to do with your free time?
I am a full time registered nurse and I also teach in the evenings so I don’t have a lot of free time. What time I do have is usually dedicated to spending time with my family or writing. Family activities usually revolve around Netflix or kickboxing. That being said, when I want to truly decompress, I open my laptop and give up my soul to the time suck that is Tumblr. I’ve lost entire days scrolling through Tumblr re-blogging everything from feminism and pro-LGBT posts to Glee and Supernatural fanfiction. I am truly a fangirl at heart and love to spend time online with people who love the same things I do and don’t shame me for my fanfiction addiction.
Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.
I’m currently working on book two in the Dead Things series and I’m hoping to have it out in early spring of 2016. I think there will be four books in the series total but I’m planning a couple of stand-alone novellas for Isa and Wren and will be periodically putting out bonus chapters, deleted scenes and other content to keep people occupied between books. I also have a couple ideas for some possible spin-off series I’m considering.
Where can people find you on the web?
The easiest place to find me is my website. www.martinamcatee.com from there you can email me directly or connect with me on my social media. I love to talk to readers. Really, I love to talk to anybody but if you are a fan of the book it’s a bonus. Come find me.
Any final thoughts?
So many. But really, I would like to say thank you for the opportunity to come hang out on you blog and I really hope people enjoy the book.
The Blue Dragon
by Yiola Damianou-Papadopoulou
GENRE: YA/ Middle Grade Fiction
The Blue Dragon describes the terror of the catastrophic tsunami that hit Sri Lanka in December 2004. The novel focuses on a group of children—Hanseni, and her siblings Awade and Manori, and their friend Nishian—their individual experiences, and how they managed to pull through this horrendous event. Overcoming their fears the children struggle against the forces of nature, fighting against the odds to save themselves and their friends. Their stories portray courage and hope, and demonstrate the inner strength and determination that exists in the human spirit when faced with an unforgiving natural disaster. This emotive and heartfelt story shows how even, in the most terrifying of circumstances, the will to live triumphs.
Chapter 1: “Mangona Village, Southern Sri Lanka
“I’ll go there too someday,” Hanseni murmured to herself, as she played with the pure white pebbles at the sea’s edge. She always picked this spot to play as she could look across to the other side. The house with the red windows high up on the hill occupied her thoughts. Schools in Sri Lanka were closed for the Christmas holidays, but the tutorial center never closed. The house on the hill was a school for foreign languages. Earlier that day she had seen the children making their way uphill. If only she could go too. In her mind, foreign languages were a passport: she could fly away, travel, see the world… Her eyes plunged into the azure sea and set sail for unknown lands.
Yiola Damianou-Papadopoulou was born in Nicosia and spent her childhood in the Congo and Nigeria. She studied Journalism in Athens and has worked with a number of radio stations, magazines and newspapers in Cyprus. She has published short stories for adults as well as novels. She has also written children’s and young adult fiction.
Publisher Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WattlePublishing?sk=app_190322544333196
Publisher website: www.wattlepublishing.com
Yiola will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Enter to win a $10 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway
by Michael O’Hara
Dos Angeles, the first in a franchise of mysteries featuring Paco Moran, puts the multicultural thirty-something ex-LAPD homicide detective turned reluctant private eye on the trail of a beautiful young Latina on the run with ten million dollars in cash. Half Anglo and half Mexican, Moran is a transitional character equally at home working in Beverly Hills or blue collar Boyle Heights, the tough East Los Angeles neighborhood where he was raised by a single mom. In his debut case Paco quickly learns he will be the fall guy if he doesn’t track down the young immigrant who allegedly stole a small fortune from a sleazy Hollywood producer secretly laundering money for a notorious drug cartel. Paco’s frantic search takes him on a roller-coaster ride through a shadowy place he calls Dos Angeles a city within the city and a virtual country unto itself.
Dante Pirelli thought the timing could not have been better to get out of town and spend a week in Maui at the oceanfront condo he owned on Kaanapali Beach. For days all the local media could talk about was the potentially record-breaking heat about to hit Southern California. Temperatures in downtown Los Angeles were expected to soar above a hundred, and out on the western edge of the San Fernando Valley where Pirelli lived it would probably be ten to fifteen degrees hotter.
An added benefit was that Vyna, his beautiful young trophy wife, was excited about getting away, too. That meant there could be lots of sex on the holiday agenda. Vyna had been suffering with a bad case of the blues lately, but when she was in a good mood she could be a real tiger in bed.
Just as the stretch limousine arrived that would take him and his family to the airport, Pirelli gave a final briefing to Maria Rojas, the young woman he was leaving behind in charge of his sprawling, Tuscan-style estate.
“Remember, always keep ice in the dog’s bowl. And make sure you’re here for the gardeners and pool man. Any problems with anything you got the numbers to call.”
“Yes, sir,” Maria nodded with a nervous smile. Although confident, she could handle everything expected of her she was anxious about being left alone in such a big, fancy house. Still, she was going to be paid double her normal salary and Mr. Pirelli had said she could use any of the home’s resort-like amenities, including an amazing circular pool with a cascading waterfall and thirty-foot water slide.
Six days into her stay Maria’s only real challenge had been coping with the boredom. Outside of taking care of Mrs. Pirelli’s needy French Pug and dealing with the regularly scheduled service people, there had been very little to do. As predicted, the scorching weather the Spanish press was calling Los Días de Infierno had arrived with a vengeance. It was so hot during the day she rarely went outside, and she soon got tired of watching non-stop telenovelas. All the idle time made her realize how much she missed her regular routine at Mr. Pirelli’s film company. She liked how busy it always was and how the hours just seemed to fly by. Work—like prayer—kept her from worrying about her recent troubles.
Emmy nominee Michael O’Hara– who has written and produced some of the highest-rated television movies and miniseries in recent memory – is adding author to his resume with the August, 2015 the publication of his first novel, Dos Angeles.
The book, featuring a bilingual and bicultural private eye named Paco Moran, centers around Moran’s desperate search for a beautiful young Latina immigrant who stole ten million dollars from the mob. In a pre-publication review American Book Award winner Peter Quinn said: Paco Moran’s debut in Michael O’Hara’s Dos Angeles is fast-paced, finely crafted, and full of surprises. It’s noir fiction for the 21st century, a helluva ride from the first page to last. Here’s hoping O’Hara brings Paco back very soon. I can’t wait!
A former award-winning journalist and NBC Vice President of Media Relations, O’Hara made an auspicious debut as a writer/producer with “Those She Left Behind,” a critically acclaimed family drama that continues to be the highest-rated TV movie (25.1/38 share) on any network in over twenty years. It starred Gary Cole and Colleen Dewhurst (who won an Emmy Award for her performance). That success was followed by the widely praised NBC movie “She Said No” which won an American Women in Radio & Television Award for Best Television Dramatic Special.
O’Hara next wrote and executive produced “Switched at Birth,” the blockbuster NBC miniseries that earned an Emmy nomination as Best Dramatic Special and remains the highest rated (22 rating/33 share) miniseries on network television since its initial telecast over two decades ago. He was also the writer and executive producer of “Murder in the Heartland,” a celebrated ABC miniseries which garnered a Casting Society of America Award and two Emmy nominations. Right after that he created and executive produced the first of 22 “Moment of Truth” movies for NBC, establishing one of the most successful film franchises in TV history.
O’Hara also wrote “She Woke Up Pregnant,” the pilot for ABC’s ‘Crimes of Passion’ franchise. It scored an impressive 13.4 rating and 21 share, making it the highest-rated ABC movie of the year. He went on to write “One Hot Summer Night,” another ‘Crimes of Passion’ thriller that was ABC’s highest-rated Thursday night movie of the season. Other producing credits include two CBS projects: “Twilight Zone – Rod Serling’s Lost Classics” and “A Child’s Wish,” which was filmed in the Oval Office and featured a cameo appearance by then President Bill Clinton. In addition he wrote and executive produced NBC’s “In His Life: The John Lennon Story” and “1st to Die,” a two-part NBC miniseries based on the best-selling novel by James Patterson.
Overall O’Hara has produced four miniseries and 33 Movies of the Week. Besides his Emmy nomination, other honors include: a Christopher Award (“A Child’s Wish”); a Prism Award (“The Accident”); a Humanitas Award nomination (“Heart of a Child”); a National Easter Seal Society Award (“To Walk Again”); an International Health & Medical Film Award (“Heart of a Child”); and the Media Award from The National Council on Problem Gambling (“Playing to Win.”)
A Fistful of Clones
by Seaton Kay-Smith
Henry Madison is an apathetic young man with little to no ambition. When he loses his job and his girlfriend in one day, he is destitute and signs up for paid medical testing. The doctor creates clones of Henry and when these clones escape and start causing havoc in Henry’s life, he is hired in secret by the strange doctor and trained to hunt the clones down one by one and kill them. Henry soon finds out, however, that personality isn’t genetic but made of the experiences you have, and as time progresses, his clones become less carbon copied than he was lead to believe, growing their own identities and challenging Henry’s perception of what it means to be Henry Madison and of what it is right and what is wrong.
As the sun rose over Duelham, a pair of brown leather boots stepped off the curb and onto the road. Cut from a long-dead cow, turned inside out, cleaned and stitched onto a foot, they walked down the grey-gold street and through the gates to Mingum’s Mill: a seemingly abandoned mill which towered over the rest of the town and imposed a certain enormity on the suburb. Previously home to rats, drunks, youths, and young drunk rats, Mingum’s Mill had recently opened its doors to a new venture. Though the youths, rats and the drunkards hadn’t been entirely evicted, “Medicine” was open for business and Henry, the owner of the boots, had the telegraph-pole advertisement to prove it.
Entering the abandoned mill’s front office, Henry passed the security guard fiddling with his phone and approached the receptionist, a young woman in a smart white blouse and navy-blue skirt. She looked up at Henry, who stared into her amber eyes with a steely look of determination.
Henry’s hand moved slowly but steadily to his breast pocket, his eyes never leaving the receptionist’s. Her heart beat faster. Henry could hear it. His hand disappeared into his jacket and promptly returned, not with a gun, but with a piece of paper: an advertisement, yellowed and weather-bleached.
Henry slammed it on the table in front of her. “I’d like to do it,” he said. Then remembering his manners, “Please.”
The receptionist looked across her desk to the paper she was presented with. She picked it up and studied it once more before returning her gaze to Henry. “Do you understand all the risks?”
“There’s understanding and there’s accepting,” Henry said with a gritty resolve, “and I see no reason to need both.”
The pair remained locked in their stranglehold gazes, neither willing to be the first to look away, to give in, to show weakness. The security guard watched on, his hand resting on his taser, ready for action but unsure of what action to take.
Finally, the increasingly tense silence was broken as the receptionist offered Henry a standard ballpoint pen. “Sign here.”
Henry cocked his head and smiled briefly. “The name’s Henry,” he said as he signed the document with that very name. Then, raising the pen to his mouth as if he was blowing smoke from a recently fired pistol, Henry pursed his lips and blew.
“What are you doing?” asked the receptionist, confused by his inappropriate and disease-spreading behaviour. That was her pen; she had to use that pen.
Henry’s gritty resolve dropped; his awkward self-awareness returned. It was as though he had suddenly sobered up at a party and realised he wasn’t actually having fun. An overwhelming sense of average took over his entire body and his mind went blank. Gone were his delusions of grandeur. He felt like a child in a world of adults. “I was just …” He stammered, unsure of what to say. “I was just blowing the pen.”
The receptionist leaned forwards in her chair. “Don’t.” She snatched the pen back from him.
Henry, shaken, feeling small, his voice almost a whisper, replied, “Sorry, I’ll take a—”
“Take a seat,” she said.
He was no cowboy, no western hero. He was just a man with a signature, a name, and little else. Henry took a seat and, fighting off a blush, picked up a magazine. It was a celebrity gossip magazine. Sometimes, it seemed, Henry couldn’t win anything.
Seaton has written for The Roast on ABC2, Lost Pilots on FBi Radio, and is a regular performer of stand up comedy. Currently he is Head Writer at Paper Moose, a film and design collective based in Sydney.
You can get in touch with Seaton on Twitter. @seatonks
Seaton will be awarding an eCopy of A Fistful of Clones to 3 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour, and choice of 5 digital books from the Impulse line to a randomly drawn host.
by Mia Marshall
Aidan Brook has spent months living with the horror of what happened when she lost control of her magic. Now she is searching for a way to manage her immense power, but she only hits one dead end after another.
On the run from a council intent on her death, Aidan, the bear shifter Mac, and the rest of her friends find themselves on a desperate chase across deserts and oceans in search of answers. Along the way, they encounter a living myth and a dual magic with secrets of his own—and they learn that the cure may be more deadly than the disease.
To save her own life, Aidan will need to confront the most dangerous foe she’s ever faced…herself.
The magic hissed in fear and anger. For a moment it considered attacking, but there wasn’t enough water left to drown her.
Also, it was Sera. I didn’t hurt Sera.
I stumbled backwards as reason slammed into me. I wrenched the threads of magic toward me. They twisted in my core, displeased, but at least I controlled them. It had so nearly been the other way around.
Sera’s movements were hesitant, as if she approached a wild beast, but her eyes were as determined as ever.
“I’m back,” I said. My face was red and my heart pounded like I’d just sprinted a mile, but I’d come back. This time, at least, I’d come back.
Sera studied my face for a long, silent moment. She returned the syringe to the black case and tucked that into one of the kitchenette’s drawers.
Carmichael and Vivian watched me as they would a stranger. A stranger who might try to eat their liver with fava beans and a nice Chianti.
“Really, it’s me. So long as I’m not using the magic, I’m still Aidan. I didn’t slide any further down the sanity slope.”
They looked unconvinced.
“We can’t just use the drug every time.” I attempted logic. “It knocks me out for days, and we can’t afford that.”
“I’m all for knocking you out, but we don’t have enough left to do it whenever you’re an idiot.” That might have been Sera agreeing with me.
I gave her a shaky smile. She slapped my face.
“Hey!” It only stung a little, but allowing her to slap me whenever she thought I was stupid wasn’t a precedent I wanted to set.
Mia Marshall is the award-winning author of the Elements urban fantasy series. Before she started writing about imaginary worlds, she worked as a high school teacher, script supervisor, story editor, legal secretary, and day care worker. She has lived all along the US west coast and throughout the UK, where she collected an unnecessary number of degrees in literature, education, and film.
These days, she lives in a small house in the Sierra Nevadas, where she is surrounded by a small but deadly feline army.
NOTE: The first book of the series, BROKEN ELEMENTS, is now FREE!!!
Mia Marshall will award a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter.