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Book Blast – ONCE UPON A LIE

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Once Upon A Lie
by Michael French


GENRE: Fiction / Murder Mystery



Once Upon a Lie  is about a smart, ambitious sixteen year old, Alexandra, who chooses to keep silent when she learns terrible secrets about both her father and her mother, whom she grew up adoring. The price of keeping her “perfect” family together soon unravels her well-planned future, and puts in jeopardy the life of a young stranger whom she befriends and ultimately falls in love with.  We learn how your life can end at any time, and it can end more than once.  And then it can be saved.




Jaleel began to wonder if running away was the smartest thing. Detective Patterson might have forensic evidence, but he couldn’t have any real proof that Jaleel had killed his father. But what Texas jury would believe the story of a twelve-year-old black kid?

Come on, focus, Jaleel thought as he studied a map from the glove box. His plan was to travel northwest, cross into New Mexico, and ditch the Chevy. He would take a bus to Arizona or California. He would find a place to live, get a job, and go to school. He just hadn’t figured out the details. Maybe he’d have to lie about his age to get work. How expensive were apartments? He had never been completely on his own. He hoped that inside him was a gyroscope, the kind he had read about, with an interior spinning wheel to keep him steady.



AUTHOR Bio and Links

Michael R. French graduated from Stanford University where he was an English major, focusing on creative writing, and studied under Wallace Stegner. He received a Master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. He later served in the United States Army before marrying Patricia Goodkind, an educator and entrepreneur, and starting a family. In addition to publishing over twenty titles, including award-winning young adult fiction, adult fiction, biographies ad self-help books, he has written or co-written a half-dozen screenplays, including Intersection, which has won awards in over twenty film festivals. He has also had a long business career in real estate, living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His passions include travel, collecting rare books, and hanging with friends and family. He describes his worst traits as impatience and saying “no” too quickly; his best are curiosity, taking risks, and learning from failure.


Once Upon A Lie Amazon Buy/Pre-Order:

Michael French Website:

Michael French Facebook Page:

Michael French Twitter:



Michael 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


Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

VBT – Apocalypse Wow by Ben Mariner

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Apocalypse Wow
by Ben Mariner


GENRE: Science Fiction/Humor



Jack Winters is in a bit of a pickle. Things started out just fine. He had a decent job and a few friends. Then he met the woman of his dreams. They go out on a date and things go really well. That’s when things go south. The morning after turns out to be a week later and the world went ahead and ended itself while Jack was far away in dreamland. Now he’s awake in a post-apocalyptic world with no family, no job, and worst of all, no girlfriend. Along with his friends and some other random tag-alongs, Jack will journey cross country to find the woman of his dreams against zombies, heavy metal horsemen, pirates, and a power so immense and evil it will put his very soul to the test.



7:51 a.m.

My alarm went off at the same time it always did. It prattled out its god awful incessant whine like it’s prone to doing as if I actually cared about its existence. I reached a hand out from under the blanket and slapped the snooze button with a little more gusto than I probably should have. Maybe it’s just me, but putting a little extra mustard on that snooze button in the morning gives me a feeling of satisfaction, like it’ll think twice about bothering me again if I just smack it hard enough.

I rolled over and went back to sleep.

8:00 a.m.

The alarm blared back into life. Who decided nine minutes was the standard amount of time for the snooze feature on an alarm clock? Was there some kind of study done at some point that found that people only needed nine minutes of extra sleep at a time? Personally I would think fifteen or twenty minutes would be more appropriate. Again, maybe it’s just me. I pushed the blanket back and lurched onto my feet. The room was spinning ever so slightly. That had to do a little with standing up too fast, and a lot to do with being hung over. I clicked the snooze button on the alarm with the big toe on my right foot. Everything in my room was on the floor. I didn’t own a traditional bed. It was just a futon mattress lying on the floor, so everything had to be at ground level so I could easily reach it. I was trying to adopt a Japanese style of living.

All right, fine. I just couldn’t afford real furniture. Are you happy now that you got me to admit that?



AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Ben Mariner is the author of Apocalypse Wow as well as The Many Lives of Zane Montgomery, which definitely sold some copies to some people. He currently lives in Denver with his wife and animals. He enjoys mozzarella sticks, dunk tanks at carnivals, and solving crime with his psychic powers and best friend/sidekick.

Amazon listing:







Ben Mariner will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn host.

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: 


Interview With….

Ben, thanks for being here today. Tell us about you.
I prefer Oingo to Boingo. I love puzzles both crossword and jigsaw. I was raised on Seinfeld and Friends. I strongly believe in the use of proper punctuation and not shortening words for no reason. If I could be any animal in the world, I would choose a kangaroo.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
I would probably say Adam Brody. He just seems like a pretty chill guy that would be super fun to just grab a drink with and debate the everyday minutiae with. Plus, Seth Cohen from The OC is one of my favorite characters of all time.

What’s the story behind your latest book?
That story is over a decade long and kind of hard to sum up quickly. The idea has been bouncing around my head since high school and I kept coming back to it, trying to write it down, but it never really took hold. I never really got past the first chapter until a few years ago. Once I broke that barrier, it was easy to finally bring this book to fruition.

What is your writing process? 
I’ve got to start every writing session off with Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen. With Apocalypse Wow I tried to listen to as much 90’s music as possible to help me get in the 90’s frame of mind.

Tell us about your main character:
Jack Winters is just kind of a loser. He works in a record store with his friends and lives in a crumby apartment. He has an almost unhealthy fixation on 90’s pop culture and a deep rooted love for retro video games. He’s just kind of drifting along, going with the flow and using sarcasm as a way of dealing with the everyday doldrums.

If your book was to be turned into a movie, who would play the lead role and why.
Unfortunately, since Johnathan Brandis is no longer with us (RIP), I’d want to see Alex Solowitz as Jack. He was absolutely hilarious as Mickey Parke in the 2gether movie back in the early turn of the millennium and I’d like to see him in more of a leading role.

What are you working on next?
Next up is Apocalypse Wow 2: Apocalypse Wower. It’s set a year after the events of the first book. Jack is missing and everyone in the world seems to be out to find him.

What advice do you have for other writers who want to get the word out about their book?
Keep plugging away. Times will come when you think no one cares or wants to read it. We all have to go through those things. Just keep pushing your work out there and know that there will always be people who want to read it.

What is your favorite book on your shelf right now?
I just finished reading The Call By Eli Freysson. It’s a fantastic YA fantasy book that just really captivated me. It was dark and gritty. Really good stuff. I highly recommend that to anyone looking for a good adventure.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
I don’t know if it’s a talent necessarily, but I’m a bottomless pit of useless information, especially when it comes to pop culture. I remember things most people never even noticed in the first place. That information, however, almost never comes in handy.

You are given the choice of one super power. What super power would you have and why?
Such a touch question. There’s so many amazing powers. I think I’d go with healing power like Wolverine’s. Mostly because I hate being sick or injured. It’s annoying. So eliminating that would be pretty sweet.

List 5 things on your bucket list:

  1. Get Mickey Mouse to throw the first punch
  2. Wrestle a space troll
  3. Literally eat my weight in pizza rolls
  4. Be an extra in a movie who garners as much attention as the guy double fisting margaritas in Jurassic World
  5. Start an internet company that sells nothing but secondhand Zubaz pants

Any final thoughts?

I just hope everyone who decides to read Apocalypse Wow enjoys it and wants to recommend it to a friend. It’s just out there to entertain, and I hope it does that.

Book Tour – A Beginner’s Guide to Invading Earth

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A Beginner’s Guide to Invading Earth

by Gerhard Gehrke


GENRE: Science Fiction



What would you do if you found a dead alien on a lonely highway?

Was it an accident, sabotage, or murder? And why is everyone blaming Jeff?

The extraterrestrials aren’t waiting for answers. They want revenge. And Jeff isn’t ready for company.

His only hope is an outcast mechanic from another world and a woman who might do anything to get off planet, including selling out her own kind. Jeff has to get to the bottom of why there are so many alien bodies piling up and who is really responsible.

A science fiction adventure novel, A Beginner’s Guide to Invading Earth tells the story of a reclusive ex-computer programmer who is the unwitting central figure of a plot to keep humanity from ever making first contact.





First contact with the humans wasn’t going as planned, as was obvious by the rank smells that choked the air of the alien visitorsʹ craft. But no one called them aliens where they came from.

Seven little Greys, short bipeds with large heads and big eyes and delicate limbs, sat in the flight seats of their ship’s crew compartments and listened as the Mission Commander lectured them from the Command Module. The harangue lingered in the air, not as words or even sounds but as a smell, a ripe one replete with pheromones and scent packets that the Greys used to speak with one another. A new string of curses from the Commander’s glands smelled of licorice. The Mission Commander composed itself. It wiped sticky sweat from its hairless frontal lobe.

The lights and displays in front of the seven crewmembers blinked and flashed. No one would so much as touch a button until the Commander was finished addressing the crew.

“I’ll hear no more of it,” the Commander said. “We’re on the human world. We go forward. Probability calculations for success show at 100%. The computer will be trusted.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Gerhard Gehrke studied film at San Francisco State University. He wrote and produced several shows for community television. His Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror short stories have appeared in several publications, including an Editor’s Choice-winning short story at A Beginner’s Guide to Invading Earth is his first novel.

You can connect with him at





Barnes and Noble:

Also available on iBooks

YouTube Trailer:



Gerhard Gehrke will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $10 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway



What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Hunger and other base needs keep me from sleeping in. Writing comes into the picture as early morning is the only consistent time I have to write, so I want to get up early and I have been in the habit of doing so for quite some time.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
I would love to hang out with Charles Shultz, the creator of the Peanuts characters. Wouldn’t it be great to hear how he managed to portray a hopeful, positive view of the world through his characters while they focused on the mundane frustrations of childhood? His comic strips could be at once simple, funny, and profound and Mr. Schultz never wavered in a consistent output that lasted for decades.

What’s the story behind your latest book?
A Beginner’s Guide to Invading Earth began in my work truck’s notebook with the line “No one likes them very much.” That line was to be the conclusion reached by aliens intent on first contact who landed the USA and decided to try other parts of the planet after some unfortunate experiences. This developed into the aliens wanting nothing to do with the entire planet and them hanging a virtual “Do Not Disturb Occupants” sign on our doorknob. As I fleshed this out over a few months I decided a smaller story that focused on one man’s experience as a scapegoat for an alien conspiracy that was trying to make first contact fail just felt better. By then I had a rough idea on where I wanted the project to go, and the aliens would have to be part of it.

Tell us your writing process
When I can’t shake an idea, it goes into a notebook. When the notes in the notebook has enough friends I see what happens when I put them on a page. If they play well together and get my figurative juices flowing, I keep on it. I work with loose outlines, more of a connect-the-dots approach informing me where I want a story to go. My notebooks have lists of out-of-order scenes, words, and phrases that I later add. Plenty gets left behind and never used. Most of my writing gets done early in the morning because my brain turns to mush by 9am when the coffee wears off and I turn into a pumpkin once the sun sets.

Do you have any promo tips you can share with other writers?
I’m very new at promotion too as this is my first novel to see the light of day. From running a business I know that you have to advertise and you never know what will take. Social media is an essential component. The message can’t be “Buy my book” or you’ll fall in with thousands of others sending out the same message and be ignored. Engage with people. Try to be interesting or funny. Give them a reason to listen to you, whether its a blog, podcast, or cheeky tweets.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
There’s never been a singular moment. In grade school I made Pac-Man comic books. I wrote regularly in a notebook and started putting down stories soon after. Getting involved in local community television introduced me to actually finding an audience for things put down on paper, even though most of what we worked on was non-narrative in structure. Writing fiction evolved from that.

Tell us about your main character:
Jeff Abel is a paranoid recluse whose mental condition has cost him his marriage and his job as a computer programmer. Unbeknownst to Jeff, he actually is being watched, and the aliens are coming for him. But it’s his skills with technology that may prove to be his and the aliens’ salvation, as they have a traitor in their midst and only Jeff is in a position to stop him, er, it.

What are you working on next?
I have a follow-up to A Beginner’s Guide to Invading Earth that is now going through editing. Also I have a post-decline of civilization novel I’m writing where a young girl escapes from a secret sanctuary only to discover that the world outside is a much more complicated place than she had ever imagined.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
I have memory tricks for people’s names that irritates my brother-in-law whenever it actually works. I’m good at mixing drinks even though I don’t drink the things I make. I never use an alarm clock. And I can make the grumpiest baby smile for me.

Who are your favorite authors?
Margaret Atwood for her world building and defying my expectations for where her stories are going. Octavia Butler for creating aliens that are, well, alien. Andy Weir for making the memorable character Mark Watney. And Allan Cole and Chris Bunch for writing the most re-readable military sci-fi adventures out there.

What do you like to do with your free time?
Hiking, cooking, reading, and watching movies, all of which I do with my lovely wife Abby.

Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.
Besides the two projects listed above, a far-ranging project that I try not to think about too much as it would become distracting is a story that follows a group of ordinary children of some super villains.


Book Tour – Travel Bites by The Hungry Traveller


Travel Bites
by The Hungry Traveller


GENRE: Non-fiction travel literature



Travel Bites is a collection of anecdotal travel stories that crisscross the globe. It is the first work by The Hungry Traveller who has combined his two great life passions: travelling and eating! The Hungry Traveller has been travelling for the last fifteen years and, along the way, has experienced many different sights, tastes, and cultures. Central to his travel experiences has been the role of food. Through his unique and very personal style of storytelling, you too can share in the highs and the lows of his stories from around the world. At the end of each story is a recipe for a dish inspired by his adventure. Travel Bites will capture your imagination and curiosity; and will leave you yearning to plan your next holiday, adventure or escape!



Book Excerpt:

My Most Memorable Burger Experience
Location: Meknes, Morocco

I consider myself somewhat of a burger connoisseur. I believe that my teenage years spent flipping burgers is as good a grounding as any to this claim. And to be clear, the basic definition of a hamburger is a broiled ground beef patty IN A BUN.



The Hungry Traveller is a travelling enthusiast who loves to eat! When travelling, he enjoys meeting new people and engaging with locals to learn about their culture, history and the food that they eat.


Twitter: @Travel_Bites



Please link to Publisher Twitter: @wattlepub

Publisher Facebook:

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Buy Links:

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Paperback Edition:






The Hungry Traveller will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Book Tour – The Torment of Rachel Ames


About the Book
Title: The Torment of Rachel Ames
Author: Jeff Gunhus
Genre: Thriller / Horror

Suffering from writer’s block, novelist Rachel Ames escapes to a lake cabin to calm her mind and regain a sense of herself. The location is perfect. Isolated. Beautiful. Inspiring. It even comes with a good-looking landlord who shows an interest in her. But she can’t shake the sense that something terrible has followed her to the lake, something just beyond her consciousness, something out on the edge where the sounds of a raging fire and sirens linger whenever she slows down to listen. Determined to make the cabin work, she tries to settle in and give her new life a chance. But when strange things begin to happen around her, she wonders if she’s made a terrible mistake. As the darkness that’s followed her manifests itself in inexplicable ways, her concept of reality is stretched thin and she realizes nothing at the lake is what it seems. As she fights to survive with her sanity intact, she understands too late that the location she’s chosen for herself is far from perfect.


Author Bio


Jeff Gunhus is the author of thriller and horror novels for adults and the middle grade/YA series, The Jack Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His books for adults have reached the Top 100 on Amazon and have been Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Finalists and Gold Medal Winners.

After his experience with his son, he is passionate about helping parents reach young reluctant readers and is active in child literacy issues. As a father of five, he leads an active lifestyle in Maryland with his wife Nicole by trying to constantly keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel.

Author Site:
Twitter: @jeffgunhus

Book Excerpt

Rachel Ames knows she’s making a terrible mistake, but that’s never stopped her before. Even as she speeds down the empty highway, she’s certain nothing good will come of this trip. She can’t say why she has this belief, only that it’s deeply rooted, part of a visceral animal instinct clawing away at her insides. Call it intuition. Or call it common sense, doesn’t matter. Can’t change the fact that it’s the truth.
She refuses to change her destination, even if the rising sense of dread causes her heart to beat right out of her chest. She’s committed, this much is a fact, so she pushes aside all thought of turning around and focuses on the road ahead.
She checks the map on her phone, taking comfort in the little blue dot on the screen that symbolizes the exact spot in the world occupied by her aging Honda Accord with faded red paint, bad muffler and squeaking brakes. The dot sails along a straight white line surrounded by an ocean of green. She appreciates the simplicity of the image, the perfection of it. An object moving at a steady rate along a direct path toward a specific destination. No hurdles. No obstacles to navigate. Not even an intersection or a fork in the road. There are only two decisions to make. To continue forward or stop the car and go back.
And there’s no chance in hell she’s going back.
Her two gentlemen passengers are the perfect companions. Silent, good-looking and only there to cater to her whims and needs. They sit together in the seat next to her, sharing the seatbelt. That might have been overdoing it, but strapping them in together makes her laugh, so she forgives herself the indulgence. This is her journey, her time, so acting odd is her prerogative.
Besides, the two of them are the perfect complements. Daniels and Underwood. Booze and typewriter. Soul mates bound by common history and mutual reliance.
The Underwood typewriter was a great find her sophomore year in college, given to her by Professor McNeely’s widow soon after his very public death from a massive aneurism. It’d happened right in the middle of her creative writing class, just as the old bastard was finally saying something nice about her novel-in-progress. Mid-sentence, he’d slapped a hand to his head, made a small grunt and rolled his eyes back in their sockets. At first, she’d thought he was mocking her work, but then his back arched and he collapsed to the floor. After that came the convulsions, followed by the shit and urine filling his pants as her classmates screamed. Then, as the good book says, the lights went out and Elvis left the building.
But unlike Elvis, the man wasn’t much loved. A taskmaster who hated any writer beside himself, he used critiques as an assault rifle to mow down any young soul with the temerity to attempt the art that, in his mind, belonged only to him and a handful of his peers. Sure there were the appropriate candlelight vigils and the church service to honor the brave soul who died fighting the good fight in his ivory tower, but right under the surface, the humor rolled dark and furious.
I heard that the last pages he read really blew his mind.
You know that saying, would it kill you to say something nice?
Rachel guessed it had.

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Book Blast Tour – The Diamond Grenade

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The Diamond Grenade
by Daniel Juliane


GENRE: Literary Fiction



The Diamond Grenade is the story of a family line and a revolution told in five novellas – a complex tale told simply.



Book I: A Father’s Fate

At one point, on the banks of a confluence where two rivers ran together like closing thighs, there was a certain boatman. This boatman, name of Gur, had a fine long pole (not too bendy, not too strong) with which to move his long wide boat upon the water. Gur slept with his pole, lest it go missing. Then one evening while he was ferrying a few paying passengers from one put-in to the next, Gur’s pole got stuck in thick river-bottom mud and muck and he lost his grip and the pole sank out of sight. Cursing, Gur leapt into the water and dove for the pole. Long minutes passed and Gur’s nubile daughter Guri, at the prow of the boat, began to wail. Gur did not come back up. They found him later downstream. This is how the girl Guri became a very young boatman with a shoddy pole.

The thing about Guri is that she knew everybody. All the fares on her boat. They didn’t necessarily know each other all too often, but everybody knew Guri. And somehow she knew everybody back. She just had a mind for it. Who went with whom and how the families fell out. Names. All the names Guri knew. But only one name made her sing: Tuc. Tuc drank and threw dice, but early in their acquaintance he’d made bold to say that Guri would make a good mother. This observation of Tuc’s about Guri had won her over, so she sang his name in the dark. One syllable songs are short, but carry on the water.

Guri’s favorite disgruntlement was that there was no word for girl boatman. It was poling-upriver hard to get more than a grunt out of half her older passengers, because they didn’t see clear to it being right for her to be doing a man’s job. Tuc suggested ‘boatwoman’, but Guri allowed as how that was more the busty mascot off the bow of a ship than a person who poled for a living. Tuc took to riding with Guri quite frequently. Then one night, he brought her a new pole, and it was a good pole.

Not long after the new pole, Tuc convinced Guri to elope with him a ways downriver to a town where he had prospects. When they got there, they traded the boat and pole for two goats. Guri was better with people than with animals, so Tuc tended the herd while she met and memorized every person she could find. Soon she had so much work taken in to do for folks that what with going to the big, clean houses to perform services inbetweentimes, and attending in good turn to the day’s worth of all the waiting piecemeal work filling their modest house, Guri was too busy to make a baby.

Guri got fed up with being too busy to make a baby and made a baby. Tuc split. Guri’s popularity made her fatherless child the ward of the town. Everybody parented him. That’s why he grew up angry. His name was Gur, after his grandfather. Boy did he have a chip on his shoulder about being told what to do. Everybody told him when and where to jump. Only Guri could make him ask how high. Usually his answer would be jump why? The thing about having a whole village full of parents is that they are going to contradict each other and some of them are bound to be weird people.



As in medical school, praxis then practicum: I saw one, did one, taught one… now I do one after the other. One novella after another I mean. And they’re good. I saw novellas while acquiring my Bachelor’s Degree in English Language and Literature/Letters with a minor in Psych at Indiana University in the mid-nineties, I taught and did novellas a few years later while pursuing a Master’s of Arts in Lit. at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and I have done a fancy set of five well here now (as I pursue an AAS in Accounting at a community college, btw). For more about me, check out

Try not to evict me from my little party of self-congratulations about this piece.

A set of five good serial novellas. Hope you find the time to enjoy them.

Please help spread the word.

Find texts through:

The book is free and can be downloaded here:



Daniel will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to five randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Book Tour – Developing Minds


Book Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Laughing Fire Press
Release Date: September 14, 2015
Buy Link(s): Amazon:
Barnes and Description:-“Raw and edgy. . . Entertaining and authentic look at the troubled American education system. . .” —Kirkus Reviews, Recommended Review

“Should be required reading for anyone who is considering or has ever considered teaching as a career. . . most highly recommended.” —Readers’ Favorite, 5-Star Review-“A scathing comic novel . . . sort of a M*A*S*H for Miami schoolteachers.” —Patrick Murtha, Book ’em, Danno-“Incredibly artistic . . . raw and endearing.” –San Francisco Book Review

-“A multi-faceted exploration of growth, maturity, and eventual transformation. . .” —D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
-Finalist in 2015 Stargazer Literary Prizes for best Visionary and Metaphysical FictionDEVELOPING MINDS: AN AMERICAN GHOST STORY follows a group of recent college graduates who struggle with feelings of alienation and their addictions as they try to survive a year of teaching at two dysfunctional Miami public schools.A poetic and insightful coming-of-age novel, DEVELOPING MINDS is centered on 24-year-old Luke Entelechy, an aspiring writer who sees his creative output suffer when he begins teaching at one of Miami’s most challenging middle schools. As the year progresses, however, Luke begins to relate to the neglect and abuse his students suffer, and is faced with a haunting decision: continue to let his dark past destroy him, or rise above the struggle to realize his potential as an artist and a real human being.Equal parts disturbing and humorous, DEVELOPING MINDS offers a brutally honest look at the American public school system and the extreme measures many teachers take to cope with working in it.


Author Bio:Jonathan LaPoma is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, songwriter, and poet from Buffalo, NY. In 2005, he received a BA in history and a secondary education credential from the State University of New York at Geneseo, and he traveled extensively throughout the United States and Mexico after graduating. These experiences have become the inspiration for much of his writing, which often explores themes of alienation and misery as human constructions that can be overcome through self-understanding and the acceptance of suffering. His five feature-length screenplays have won over 40 awards/honors at various international screenwriting competitions, and his novel DEVELOPING MINDS: AN AMERICAN GHOST STORY is a finalist in the 2015 Stargazer Literary Prizes for best Visionary and Metaphysical Fiction. He lives in San Diego and teaches at a public secondary school.

Author Links – 








Book Tour – Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things


Title: Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things
Author: Martina McAtee
Publisher: Martina McAtee
Pages: 450
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!

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Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things teaser 1

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



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. 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.