Category Archives: Blog Hops and Giveaways

Heck yes I want to win the All-new Fire HD 8 Tablet and $50 Amazon AND 24 eBooks! #YA

We love our readers!

 

And because we do, Waiting on Books (a group of very cool authors) is offering a fabulous rafflecopter contest

where you can win a “hot as fire” prize bundle!

 

JUNE 15TH-JULY 1
WAITING ON BOOKS ~ NEW KINDLE FIRE GIVEAWAY
PLUS A $50.00 AMAZON GIFT CARD! (Sorry US only)

Enter here: 

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/47d81ced14/?

 

Good luck everybody!! 

 

Participating Authors:

Vicki L. Weavil
Pintip Dunn

Julie Reece
Suzanne van Rooyen
Pat Esden
Jessica Gunn

Cameron Grey
Amy McNulty
Shaila Patel
Erin Beaty
S. A. Larsen
Jennifer Welker

Lucy D. Briand
Erin M Fitch
Katie Hanna
Sarah Ahiers
Dorothy Dreyer

Books:

BREAKING CHARACTER and SAY NO TO THE BRO by Gena/Finn
CROWN OF ICE & SCEPTER OF FIRE by Vicki L. Weavil
FORGET TOMORROW by Pintip Dunn
OBSCURA BURNING
REACH FOR YOU
Atlas Link Series (Gyre, Driftwood, Landlocked), and Hunter Circles (Hunter and Hunted)
Ballad of the Beanstalk, Fall Far from the Tree and Nobody’s Goddess by Amy McNulty

THE TRAITOR’S KISS by Erin Beaty
MOTLEY EDUCATION (a MG fantasy-adventure) by S.A. Larsen
THE WISHING HEART by Jennifer Welker
ONE SUMMER WITH AUTUMN by Julie Reece
MAGNETIC SHIFT (Paperback )

SOULMATED by Shaila Patel
OF THE TREES by E.M. Fitch
CHAMELEON (The Domino Project #1) by K.T. Hanna
THIEF’S CUNNING  by Sarah Ahiers
ENTANGLED SOULS by Dorothy Dreyer

 

 

 

 


Get hunting, ya’ll. YA Scavenger Hunt 2017 Spring edition is on! #YASH #giveaway

Welcome to the Spring 2017 YA Scavenger Hunt!

This contest is over.

Thanks to all who entered. Winners announced soon! 

Hey! I am Julie Reece

 

your hostess for this leg of the hunt.

About Me

I love vintage muscle cars

My favorite month is Summer

And I’m currently writing a new YA book

I adore my cat Hemingway

You are currently hunting on TEAM BLUE.

Looking for my exclusive bonus content? You’ll have to keep searching …

Somewhere on this blog, I’ve hidden three things; bonus content from the author that I’m hosting, the secret number you’ll need for the scavenger hunt highlighted in blue, and a personal prize contest—in addition to the main scavenger hunt prizes. Before you go looking for them, check out the amazing author I’m hosting.

But, first, a few rules.

SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE RULES

DIRECTIONS: Somewhere below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on TEAM BLUE, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!)

REMEMBER: THE SECRET NUMBER IS HIGHLIGHTED IN BLUE!

ENTRY FORM: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

RULES: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, April 9th at noon Pacific time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.The 

On this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each participating YA author, you also get a secret number. Add up the numbers, and enter it for a chance to win a major prize–one lucky winner will receive at least one book from each author on my team in the hunt! But play fast. This contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online until Sunday, April 9th at noon Pacific time.

There are FIVE contests going on simultaneously as well as a bonus contest and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the BLUE TEAM but there is also a RED, PINK, PURPLE, and GOLD TEAM — each with 20 authors! Check out each team for a chance to win different prizes!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

Now that all the technical stuff is out of the way, I’ll introduce the author I am hosting on this hunt.

 

I am super excited to be hosting … JULIA EMBER!

About the Author :

Originally from Chicago, Julia Ember now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. She spends her days working in the book trade and her nights writing teen fantasy novels. Julia began her writing career at the age of nine, when her short story about two princesses and their horses won a contest in Touch magazine. In 2016, she published her first novel, Unicorn Tracks, which also focused on two girls and their equines, albeit those with horns.

Her second novel, The Seafarer’s Kiss will release with Interlude Press May 2017. Her hobbies include riding horses, starting far too many craft projects, PokemonGo and looking after her city-based menagerie of pets with names from Harry Potter. Luna Lovegood and Sirius Black the cats currently run her life.

 Find out more about Julia here …  

Website: http://www.julia-ember.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jules_chronicle

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/juliaemberya

Julia is showcasing her upcoming book The Seafarer’s Kiss! 

In case you’re as curious about the story as I am, you’re in luck!

ABOUT THE BOOK 

Having long-wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the mermen’s glacier. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from Loki. But such deals are never as one expects, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.

“A romantic, atmospheric and richly detailed take on The Little Mermaid. I loved it.” — Samantha Shannon, bestselling author of The Bone Season

“A beautiful Norse retelling of The Little Mermaid, featuring a young mermaid desperate to break free and a shieldmaiden bent on revenge — dark and romantic, and definitely recommended.” — Laura Lam, author of False Hearts and Pantomime. 

Dive deep into the dark and brutal waters of the northern sea in this lush, original retelling of The Little Mermaid. The Seafarer’s Kiss took my breath away.” — Heidi Heilig, author of The Girl from Everywhere.

Pre-order Links:

Publisher: https://store.interludepress.com/collections/the-seafarers-kiss-by-julia-ember

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Seafarers-Kiss-Julia-Ember/dp/1945053208/

Barnes and Nobles: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-seafarers-kiss-julia-ember/1125707903?ean=9781945053207

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/The-Seafarers-Kiss-Juli-Ember/9781945053207

 

It’s Julie, your hostess again: I counted all the fish in Julia’s aquarium and, if I’m right, there are

 

TOP SECRET BONUS MATERIAL STRAIGHT AHEAD!

Hi! I’m Julia Ember. For my bonus content, I’ve made a fancast! A lot of readers have been asking me how I imagine Ersel and Ragna to look. While I couldn’t find perfect celebrity matches, I got pretty close.

 

KATANA FATALE as ERSEL – Ersel is the main character in The Seafarer’s Kiss and the narrator. She’s a 19 y/o  bisexual mermaid who wants to leave the ice fortress she’s grown up in and seek her fortune elsewhere under the sea.

In the book, Ersel is described as fair-skinned and fat, with long topaz hair and dark blue scales. As the plus-sized rep in the book, her look is something very important to me, and I wanted to pick a plus-sized model to represent the character.

 

 

CHLOE GRACE MORETZ as RAGNA – Ragna is a Viking shield maiden who was abducted by pirates who wanted to use her magical navigating abilities. When their ship sinks, she becomes stranded on the Northern ice-shelf. She meets Ersel and entreats the mermaid for supplies so she can survive.

In the book, Ragna is described as blonde, brown-eyed and very athletic.

 

ERIKA LINDER as LOKI — Loki is the book’s main antagonist; a Norse god who enjoys manipulating mortals. Loki first enters the narrative as an ally to Ersel, promising her legs in exchange for another’s mermaid’s voice.

Loki was a difficult pick for casting. Like the true Norse mythical representation, Loki is a shapeshifter, and never appears in quite the same form twice. However, in one passage, Ersel sees their true form – androgynous, slim and with lips sealed with painful magical thread. I chose Erika Linder because she is gender fluid and, like Loki in the book, often changes between masculine and feminine self-presentations.

 

VITO BASSO as HAVAMAL – Havamal is Ersel’s extremely gorgeous childhood friend.  Although he’s in love with Ersel and once agreed to leave the ice fortress with her, Havamal has recently taken a job in the King’s Guard. He loves his family and his home and doesn’t want to leave.

In the book, Havamal is described as muscular with silver eyes, silver scales, and a very slight gap between his front teeth.

 

Hi! It’s your host Julie again with some great news on how you can add The Seafarer’s Kiss to your TBR list on Goodreads!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32890474-the-seafarer-s-kiss?ac=1&from_search=true

And if you want to know more about this book, here’s how you can get your hands on it!

The Seafarer's Kiss by Julia Ember

 

Guys, don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by me and many more! Just check out all these unforgettable books on

TEAM BLUE

To enter, you need to write down my favorite number (hidden in the post above in blue), find all the other numbers on TEAM BLUE, add them up, and you’ll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

Thank you so much for visiting my website! While you’re here don’t forget to enter the bonus contest I am running exclusively during the YA Scavenger Hunt. One lucky winner will receive both the first and second paperback book in my YA Southern Gothic, fairy tale retelling—THE ARTISANS series.

Just leave a comment about your favorite fairy tale below for a chance to win.

Good luck everyone!

 

“THE ARTISANS is a quick and enjoyable read for fans of Marissa Meyer, with an unpretentious narrator and quirky characters.” —Teenreads

The Artisans is a unique modern day retelling of Beauty and the Beast filled with mystery, romance and wonderful characters.”  —Dark Faerie Tales

The Artisans has all the elements I love — spooky intrigue, strong friendships, and a romantic tension to be savored.”  —Wendy Higgins, NYT bestselling author of the Sweet Evil series.

Ready to move on to the next link in the hunt?

Then head on over to visit author CLARA KENSIE’s page here:

http://writegame.blogspot.com/

 

 


Happy Book Birthday: EMBERS IN THE SEA by @JenniferMEaton @Month9Books #ReleaseDay #EmbersInTheSea #Month9Squad #Month9Books #scifi #aliens


I am so excited that EMBERS IN THE SEA by Jennifer M. Eaton releases today
and that I get to share the news! If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book,
be sure to check out all the details below.

 

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a Perfectly Posh, Posh To Meet You Set ($20 value),
and an Alien Charm Necklace US Only courtesy of Jennifer & Month9Books
.
So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
 
Title: EMBERS IN THE SEA (Fire in The Woods #3)
Author: Jennifer M. Eaton
Pub. Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 300
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD
Alien scientist David has dealt with disappointment his entire life, but
failing to breathe life into the planet Mars is his greatest regret. Out of
options and in need of a new home for their people, the alien Caretakers
rekindle their plan to inhabit Earth. First they will have to eliminate the
human race, including Jess, the only human David holds dear.
Humanity has one final chance at survival. David needs to emulate Earth’s
precipitation on Mars. But the catalyst to make it rain lies in the fathomless
depths of Earth’s ocean.
The clock is ticking down to humanity’s last hours as Jess and David face
a world more alien than either of them can imagine. The sea hides secrets, but
some secrets don’t want to be found.
 
Excerpt:
 
We rattled, cascading and spinning. My sight blurred. My breakfast
threatened a reappearance. I closed my eyes and prayed David and Edgar could
bring us under control. The tiles rumbled beneath my cheek before we collided
to a stop.
 
My body left the floor before slamming back down once again.
 
Oww.
 
I blinked until I could focus. David lay across the side of his seat, his
head dangling near the floor.
“David!” I dragged myself from the unforgiving tiles and sat him back in
his chair. His head lolled back, his mouth slightly open. “Oh, God. David,
please wake up!”
 
Pressing my fingers against the side of his neck and his wrists, I sought
a pulse. I couldn’t find one, but relief flooded me as his chest rose and fell
in a shallow breath. I glanced over each shoulder, and toward the back of the
ship, looking for what, I didn’t know.
 
Why hadn’t the seats come to life and protected us?
 
I grabbed the edge of David’s chair, pulling him from the seat and into
my arms. “David?” I kissed him and ran my fingers along the side of his face.
“David, please … ”
 
I would have felt less empty if part of my chest had broken off and
floated away into the abyss. I didn’t care that we’d crash-landed again. I
didn’t care that the marine floor was probably more alien than the green planet
we’d been marooned on. I didn’t care that the pressure of an entire ocean
weighed down on us. And I didn’t care that he left me alone for two years.
 
He was here. Now. And hurt. I fisted my hands and pushed with my mind. If
he needed strength, maybe I could send it to him.
 
His lashes fluttered. His eyes opened, but didn’t seem to focus. “Jess?”
 
I gulped back a sob. “Yeah. I’m here.”
 
He tried to sit up, but frowned and relaxed back into my arms. “Are we okay?”
“I don’t know.”
 
 
About Jennifer: 
Jennifer M. Eaton hails from the eastern shore
of the North American Continent on planet Earth. Yes, regrettably, she is
human, but please don’t hold that against her. While not traipsing through the
galaxy looking for specimens for her space moth collection, she lives with her
wonderfully supportive husband and three energetic offspring. (And a poodle who
runs the spaceport when she’s not around.)
During infrequent excursions to her home
planet of Earth, Jennifer enjoys long hikes in the woods, bicycling, swimming,
snorkeling, and snuggling up by the fire with a great book; but great
adventures are always a short shuttle ride away.
 
Who knows where we’ll end up next?
Giveaway Details:
(1) winner will receive a Perfectly Posh, Posh To Meet You Set ($20
value), US Only.
(1) winner will receive an Alien Charm Necklace, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js


It’s the THIS ELF WANTS BOOK MONEY December giveaway! #win #yalit #giveaway

Welcome!

All ye who love to read YA, get excited!!

15320418_10211745126443060_227818331_n

Thanks for the pretty picture @JennBardsley 

Does your elf love books? Well, guess what! Some of my favorite author-friends have banded together to giveaway a

$175 e-gift card to Barnes & Noble.
Click on a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter.
Would you like to find out more about the awesome authors behind this giveaway?

Jingle on over to their websites …

Jennifer Bardsley

Jennifer DiGiovani

Dorothy Dreyer

Shaila Patel

Melanie McFarlane

Julie Reece

Suzanne VanRooyen

Stephanie Scott

Liza Wiemer

Nicole Conway

Jennifer Anne Davis

Jennifer M. Eaton

bn

 

***Click on a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter!***

Fine Print and stuff:
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE DOES NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
1. Promotion Description: The ‘$175 Barnes & Noble Giftcard’ (“Sweepstakes”) begins on 11/28/2016 at 07:00 AM (Pacific Time (US & Canada)) and ends on 12/13/2016 at 08:00 AM (Pacific Time (US & Canada)) (the “Promotion Period”). By participating in the Sweepstakes, each entrant unconditionally accepts and agrees to comply with and abide by these Official Rules and the decisions of Jennifer Bardsley (“Sponsor”), which shall be final and binding in all respects. Sponsor is responsible for the collection, submission or processing of Entries and the overall administration of the giveaway. Entrants should look solely to Sponsor with any questions, comments or problems related to the Sweepstakes.
2. Eligibility: Open to legal residents of who are or older. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Sponsor and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, distributors, retailers, sales representatives, advertising and promotion agencies and each of their respective officers, directors and employees (collectively, the “Promotion Entities”), and members of their immediate families and/or persons living in the same household as such persons, are ineligible to enter the Sweepstakes or win a prize.
3. Winner Selection: The winner of the Sweepstakes will be selected in a random drawing from among all eligible Entries received throughout the Promotion Period. The random drawing will be conducted by 48 hours by Sponsor or its designated representatives, whose decisions are final. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible Entries received. Winner will be notified by email at the email address provided in the Entry Information on or about 48 hours after the random drawing. Potential winner must accept a prize by email as directed by Sponsor within 48 hours of notification. Any winner notification not responded to or returned as undeliverable may result in prize forfeiture. The potential prize winner may be required to sign and return an affidavit of eligibility and release of liability, and a Publicity Release (collectively “the Prize Claim Documents”). No substitution or transfer of a prize is permitted except by Sponsor.
4. Prizes:
– 1 (#) winner(s) will receive [(1) $175 Barnes & Noble e Gift Card ] (approximate retail value or “ARV”: $175 USD)
Only one prize per person and per household will be awarded. Gift cards and gift certificates are subject to the terms and conditions of the issuer. Prizes cannot be transferred, redeemed for cash or substituted by winner. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole and absolute discretion to award a substitute prize of equal or greater value if a prize described in these Official Rules is unavailable or cannot be awarded, in whole or in part, for any reason. The ARV of the prize represents Sponsor’s good faith determination. That determination is final and binding and cannot be appealed. If the actual value of the prize turns out to be less than the stated ARV, the difference will not be awarded in cash. Sponsor makes no representation or warranty concerning the appearance, safety or performance of any prize awarded. Restrictions, conditions, and limitations may apply. Sponsor will not replace any lost or stolen prize items.

 


Month9Books Friday Reveal: Cover and Chapter 1 for SOULMATED by @shaila_writes #yalit

Today Shaila Patel and Month9Books are revealing the cover and first chapter for SOULMATED, which releases January 24, 2017! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers to receive a eGalley!!
 
A quick note from the author:
 
When people find out that I’ve written a book, invariably the first question is, “Where did you get the idea for the story?” If I had a quick and easy answer like, “I checked http://www.BookIdeas.com,” my phone calls with the family would be so much shorter! Anyway, the truth is a bit more complicated—much like my family’s recipe for the perfect cup of chai.
 
After years of writing literary short stories, I thought I’d try my hand at a paranormal romance. Perfectly normal leap of logic, right? (I have Twilight to thank for that!) For whatever reason, I’d been thinking of how emotionally perceptive my mom was and that if there were such a thing as an EQ test (where the E stands for emotional intelligence), my mom would score through the roof. She just always had this uncanny ability to read my feelings. I’d never seen a story about empaths—people who could read emotions like psychics could read thoughts—but the idea grabbed on and wouldn’t let go. And that, my friends, was the beginning. Soulmated is finally ready to be released, and I hope you all enjoy it as much as I had fun writing it!

On to the reveal! 

Isn’t it pretty? ♥

Title: SOULMATED (Joining of Souls #1)
Author: Shaila Patel
Pub. Date: January 24, 2017
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Pages: 300
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD
Two souls. One Fate.
Eighteen-year-old Liam Whelan, an Irish royal empath, has been searching for his elusive soulmate. The rare union will cement his family’s standing in empath politics and afford the couple legendary powers, while also making them targets of those seeking to oust them.
Laxshmi Kapadia, an Indian-American high school student from a traditional family, faces her mother’s ultimatum: Graduate early and go to medical school, or commit to an arranged marriage.
When Liam moves next door to Laxshmi, he’s immediately and inexplicably drawn to her. In Liam, Laxshmi envisions a future with the freedom to follow her heart.
Liam’s father isn’t convinced Laxshmi is “The One” and Laxshmi’s mother won’t even let her talk to their handsome new neighbor. Will Liam and Laxshmi defy expectations and embrace a shared destiny? Or is the risk of choosing one’s own fate too great a price for the soulmated?
Excerpt

CHAPTER 1 – LIAMThey’re calling this a test?

Not even a ping grazed my mind as the five Elders tried to slip past my mental blocks and into my emotions. A sheen of sweat over William’s lip proved he wasn’t faring as well. Of all the cousins now come of age, William and I were the last to be sitting before the Elders. I’d have felt guilty for his not doing so well had he ever shown an interest in leading the family. But, we all knew he’d rather have his head in a library. Now his heart was with his wife Colleen. He at least seemed to have a choice about his fate.

I sighed. Not so for me.

“Are we boring you, Prince Liam?”

I snapped my eyes up to Elder Adebayo. He wore his trademark bow tie with a traditional fila atop his head. In the fraction of a second it took me to untangle the meaning from his heavy Nigerian accent, I’d blanked my expression and sat upright. The Elders sat along one side of an antique conference table, facing William and myself. The manor staff had rearranged the study to hold both the testing and signing-over ceremonies. Gone were the leather club chairs and stained glass lamps normally dotting the large space, giving it the air of a posh library. Now it seemed more an election-night headquarters, like the sort you saw on the telly, with bright lights and a gathering of family strewn about, waiting for the results. A photographer hung out in one corner, camera in hand. Not far from him stood a team of solicitors guarding rolling briefcases that were no doubt stuffed with legal documents for the victor to sign.

My throat-clearing echoed in the now silent room, and my cheeks warmed. “No, sir, not at all. Although, uh … I’d like to know when it is you’ll begin with me.” I pasted on an oh-so-innocent smirk and watched William shake his head and smother a grin. I shrugged at him, hoping to lighten the mood.

Four of the Elders cocked an eyebrow—all except for Elder Claire Brennan, our lone Irish representative. She leaned ever so slightly forward from where she sat at the center of the group.

So much for having a bit of craic.

The familiar knocking on my brain—like the distant sound of drums—told me someone had got past my first line of defenses with their probe. The rest of my mental blocks held up though. The corner of Brennan’s lip stretched upward. Toying with me, was she? I leaned back with a matching smile and loosened my tie. Mum and I were the only ones in the family who’d mastered the skill of probing and manipulation. A handy skill that, especially when the burden of the entire clan’s financial success might well be resting on my shoulders.

As if sensing the end of the ritual, Mum whispered to the house staff and pointed toward the main doors, directing them to begin preparations, most likely. She turned and nearly ran into a Mediterranean-looking man with a grotesque mole on his left cheek. He wasn’t a relation or a solicitor, so I assumed he was a council minister. Their stances were stiff, and despite being too far for me to hear, I sensed Mum’s replies seemed short and clipped. He moved around her, and on his way out, his eyes met mine. He lifted his lips in a smirk.

Arse.

My attention darted to Mum. She was smoothing out the front of her dress, and her shoulders heaved a time or two before she turned back to face the room. I mentally sent her my curiosity, but she ignored me with a smile. She did at least send me her love before she weaved herself into the crowd.

Within a few minutes, Elder Brennan squared her shoulders and opened the portfolio in front of her. The rest of the Elders relaxed back in their seats and passed her folded slips of paper.

Jaysus Christ. Thank you. This bleedin’ muck-up was about done.

After tallying the results, she stood with the help of a finely carved cane. Rumors about her age had always been entertaining—the last one I’d heard was that Claire Brennan was well over 140 years old. Apparently, documents as to her history had disappeared. Her regal manner and piercing blue eyes—the sort that’d make a gutless gobshite piss his pants—set her apart from the rest of the Elders. She now set those sights on me.

“Prince Liam, please stand. It is our unanimous decision that the Royal Empath House of O’Connor will now be led by you, Prince Liam Joseph O’Connor-Whelan, on this day, the

sixth of June, in the year 2015.” Flashes from the camera punctuated every other word, and spots began to form in front of my eyes. “You have proven your worth to lead your clan by exhibiting the strength of your empath skills to the satisfaction of the presiding group and by extension, the Council of Ministers.”

Brennan rattled on about allegiances and legal mandates, all of which bore down on me like the weight of history, dry and inescapable, yet … a bit liberating. Now we could stop our search and stay in Ireland—better of two evils and all that. I could make that happen now.

An explosion of clapping hands, and thumps on my back from a relieved-looking William, forced me to plaster a smile on my face.

Mum hurried over with open arms. “Darling! We’re so happy for you.” Da and my older brother Ciarán, a non-empath, followed, both decked out in a suit and tie. After her hug and kiss and Da’s pat on my back, they congratulated William on his effort and made room for the Elders to come around with their well-wishing. Ciarán smirked and punched my shoulder. The strobe-light effect of the flashes had me squinting.

Elder Santiago from Spain shook my hand. He sported a thick mustache and proudly wore his Catalonian flag pin on his lapel. He’d been wooing our clan for support in Catalonia’s bid for secession from Spain. Ciarán had thought it a good cause to be getting behind—especially if we beat another royal clan from doing so first. We had several holdings in Barcelona, after all. Now that it was my call to be making, a hasty decision didn’t seem wise. Santiago always had the look about him of a tapas dish drowning in olive oil.

He sidled closer. “Your strength is most impressive. And at the age of eighteen too. It is not hard to believe you will be the next soulmated empath, in truth. Some have doubts though, eh?”

He wants to discuss this now?

Da pointed to his own temple, stabbing at an unruly black curl. “No need for doubts. If I’ve seen it, it’s as good as true.”

I resisted rolling my eyes. Admitting I had my own doubts about Da’s visions wouldn’t be wise. “Time will tell, yeah?” No point kissing Elder arse.

The other Elders came one by one, congratulating me and posing for photos. Brennan was last. The crowd dispersed enough to give us a bubble of privacy. She tipped her head back and studied my face.

Without being able to read her blocked emotions, her body language was all I had to go on. A smile like before tugged at her lips.

I leaned in. “So were you toying with me earlier?” My bold question would either be living up to the liberties given to the heads of the four remaining Irish royal houses, or it’d be taken as the yipping of a whelp learning to growl. I hoped for the former and straightened up just in case.

“The test need only be as strong as the weakest candidate.” She curved her gloved hand around the crook of my elbow and turned me to face the patio. “Come now. Walk me outside.”

Leading an Elder outside for a private conversation wasn’t as nerve-racking as I’d thought. With her hand resting on my arm, she exuded an unexpected grandmotherly warmth. The stone patio ran the length of the building on this side of our manor home. It overlooked the meadows of our property—now mine—and with the cloudless days we’d had of late, the scent of heated earth surrounded us. I inhaled deeply. Definitely better here than returning to the States.

The few who lingered outside turned and meandered back to the study once they spotted us. Elder Brennan patted my arm, then released it, flattening her palms upon the balustrade, her ever-present white gloves in sharp contrast to the weathered stone.

Her gaze floated over the view. “It seems you are to have a very interesting future ahead of you.”

“Possibly.”

Her features relaxed with another one of her enigmatic smiles. “When will you be returning to America?”

“I’m thinking to stay here,” I said.

A disapproving frown appeared, and she tapped a sole finger on the stone.

How the hell was this any of her bloody business? I forced my expression to remain neutral and unclenched the hands I’d not realized I’d fisted. If only Da had kept his mouth shut over the years.

“Choices are a funny thing, Prince Liam. We often treat them as black and white, but rarely are they.”

I pocketed my hands. What was I meant to say? Yes, Zen Master Brennan.

A breeze picked up and coaxed a few strands of her silver hair across her cheek. She tilted her face into the wind and closed her eyes. “You should return to your search.” She turned and pinned me with a stare.

“What? Why? Are you trying to boot me from Ireland? Away from the estate? Is something happening you’re hiding from me?”

She held up her hand. “The demesne will be in capable hands. Go now. Enjoy your celebration. Congratulations and happy eighteenth birthday.” With a nod, she summoned two of her gendarmes, who came to her side and escorted her down the patio.

Mum must have been watching because she rushed outside. “What did she want?” Her concerned gaze scanned my face as if to get a read on my emotions, but as usual, I had them blocked.

I rolled my shoulders and took a breath. “She wants us to go back to the States.”

Her mouth opened and closed.

I knew that look. “Just say it, Mum.”

“Your father had another vision during the night.”

I snorted. “Where now? Alaska?”

“Liam, you used to believe—”

“Do you think we’ll be seeing some actual igloos? We could even go to the North Pole and watch the ice cap melt—”

“What harm could one more year—?”

“Have you tried whale blubber, Mum? I hear it’s a right treat.”

An elderly couple came out onto the patio. With a huff, Mum crossed her arms and broadcast her emotions as clearly as any mother’s scowl would convey. Waves of her irritation registered in my mind like seaweed washing in and wrapping around my toes. I moved a few steps away and leaned over the balustrade, resting my forearms on the sunbaked stone. A good fifty yards out, a hare popped up to scan its surroundings and then chased a second one into the shrubbery.

After a few moments, Mum joined me. “We know this isn’t easy, Liam, but we’re doing it for you. We’ve sacrificed so much. Please understand.”

I ground my back teeth and straightened. So much for making it happen my way. “Fine. One more year.”

I stormed back into the study so the signing could begin, passing by several girls in long glittering dresses, tittering behind their fingers. No doubt my pain-in-the-arse brother had arranged for them to be here.

If the Elders knew about our search, so did the rest of the empath community. Speculation would be flowing like whiskey tonight, but it didn’t change the fact we’d not be finding our target in Ireland.

Want to read more? Shaila has chapter 2 on her website

 

As an unabashed lover of all things
happily-ever- after, Shaila’s younger self would finish reading Cinderella and
fling her copy across the room because it didn’t mention what happened next.
Now she writes from her home in the Carolinas and dreams up all sorts of
stories with epilogues. A member of the Romance Writers of America, she’s a
pharmacist by training, a medical office manager by day, and a writer by night.
She enjoys traveling, craft beer, and teas, and loves reading books—especially
in cozy window seats. You might find her sneaking in a few paragraphs at a red
light or connecting with other readers online at: http://www.shailapatelauthor.com
 
Find Shaila:

 

Giveaway Details:
3 winners will receive an eGalley of SOULMATED. International.

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IN THE BEGINNING : DARK RETELLINGS OF BIBLICAL TALES BLOG TOUR Guest Post @SharonLHughson @chapterxchapter @month9books

 

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 Tour Schedule:

http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/blog-tour-schedule-in-the-beginning-dark-retellings-of-biblical-tales-anthology/        

In the Beginning: Dark Retellings of Biblical Tales

 

In the Beginning: Dark Retellings of Biblical Tales

Publication Date: October 25, 2016

Publisher:  Month9Books

In the Beginning (Oct. 25, 2016) –Eight authors come together to build a powerful collection of dark young adult short stories inspired by the mysteries, faith, and darkness found within the Bible. Old Testament and New Testament, iconic and obscure figures alike are illuminated, explored, and re-envisioned throughout this charity anthology from Month9Books.

 Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25946627-in-the-beginning

 

Today, we are lucky enough to have two of the spectacular authors from this new anthology with us! 

First, amazing Elle O’Neill

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Goodreads

Elle O’Neill loves reading and writing—from her first all-nighter as a seven-year old with autographed copies of David Adler’s Cam Jansen books to her high school and college English and creative writing classes. She believes that you can fall into the world of a book and find yourself. While she sometimes has a hard time separating fiction from reality (or is it that she prefers not to?), she likes to think that’s a whimsical asset. She enjoys reading just about anything, but treasures underdogs and bluestockings—their trials and successes feel close to home.

And 

the always lovely Sharon Hughson

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Website |  Goodreads |  Twitter | Facebook

Nurtured through a troubled teenhood by Aslan in Narnia, Sharon Hughson has long appreciated the power of the written word. She has published romance and women’s fiction, but her dream is to write young adult fantasy, a genre she credits for keeping her alive during her parents’ turbulent divorce and the chaotic readjustments that followed. Sharon fuels her imagination with recollections from years of motherhood and a lifetime of experience working with young people, at church and in public school. She resides in Oregon with her husband, sons and three cats, where she spends her non-writing hours substitute teaching, reading, playing piano, enjoying the outdoors and scrapbooking her family’s memories.

Yay!! These two talented authors have graciously agreed to an interview. Welcome ladies!

Our Question: What’s the one topic you were hoping a blog host would ask you that they haven’t yet? Tell us what you’ve been dying to discuss. Here’s your chance! : )

Answer, Elle O’Neill:

Hi Julie and Readers!

Since this is my first published story and my first ever guest post for a blog, there are lots of questions I’m open to being asked and to answering! I didn’t want to scare you all away from my story by writing too much, or too much about things you might not be interested in, so I asked a good friend (thanks, Jay!) what he might want to ask the writer of a short story – what would his burning question be? Jay’s great at questions and he’s really reflective, so of course his question was, quite simply: WHY? Why this character, why this story, why this way? I’m going to do my best to talk about those questions.

My story is that of Barabbas. That may not be a name that comes readily to mind unless you’re thinking about Easter. It was actually right around Easter that I decided Barabbas would be the focus of my story. In the Bible, Pontius Pilate offers the crowd the opportunity to free one of two men. Jesus is one. Barabbas is the other.

Imagine. Even outside of Biblical stories: you are one of two people and one of you is going to die. And people – nameless, faceless, unknown-to-you people – get to decide which one of you lives.

How terrifying.

Beyond how viscerally upsetting most of us would find those circumstances, there was another element that was important to me when thinking about a Biblical “character” to focus on – Barabbas really has no backstory. We know he’s imprisoned. We know the crowd selects him to live. There were two things I really enjoyed about this. First, it gives me a lot of latitude for constructing who he is and how he gets into this situation. Secondly, we need to remember that the society that allows (in fact encourages) a crowd to spontaneously decide who lives and dies is the same society that also imprisoned both of these individuals to begin with. That’s not to say the society had no reasons, but it is to say that we have reason to question them – and that it’s okay to question them.

So I suppose I’ve tackled why this character? and why this story? but not why this way? My story begins with Barabbas being swept away into an intense reality show environment – he doesn’t quite understand where he is, why he’s there, what will be asked of him (questions we all ask ourselves at one point or another). His “crowd” is known as The Masses; they serve in the role of the crowd making the decision in the Bible, but they are also all of us. When we watch reality TV at home and decide who contestants are, what they’re about, what they deserve…we are The Masses, aren’t we? The stakes may be different but, really, who’s to say that—someday—the stakes couldn’t be exactly the same. Just the same, Barabbas is also all of us—he waivers, he spooks; he has frustration, but also resolution; he has desires, even if he doesn’t understand them; and he tries to make good decisions without hurting others, even though that isn’t always possible.

The role of Jesus is a quiet one in the story. He’s the ultimate—he’s an aspirational character for so many of us, and yet human in figure. He exists as us, and so he can be treated as an equal in the story, and yet he serves as a kind of flawless human—Who will The Masses root for? Who would you root for?

In many ways, I think I was aiming for dark satire—thinking of stories like “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson—and an exploration of what if, like Stockton’s “The Lady and the Tiger.” And those are scary stories, even though they may not have gore, ghosts, or even sinister characters. Perhaps it’s the relatability of these scenarios—places we’ve never been, situations we have never met—that creates the terrifying nature of them. There’s just enough reality to enable you to see yourself there—and to consider the possibility that maybe, just maybe, this could be real, somewhere, someday.

I hope everyone takes the opportunity to explore In the Beginning – it has a lot to offer readers. The stories come from lots of angles, cover a lot of territory that YAs face, and tackle that territory in some surprising ways. It’s a valuable collection and I’m lucky to be among these writers, lucky to have my story alongside theirs. Thanks so much for inviting me to write this post.

Happy reading!

 

Answer, Sharon Hughson:

Why demon possession? I mean seriously, of all the hundreds of cool and awesome stories in the Bible, why would anyone want to imagine being possessed by a demon?

To answer that: IN THE BEGINNING was specified as dark Biblical retellings. I had several fun ideas when I first decided to write a story for the anthology. One of them was about Naaman’s wife’s Hebrew handmaid. And it had a COOL twist at the end that was dark, dark, dark. *rubs hands together while smiling maniacally*

But when I considered all the ideas, I realized the story about a boy possessed by a demon was most compelling because it RELATES TO US. Not that I think a bunch of people are walking around possessed by demons. But on a metaphorical level we ALL have our demons. And most of the time we need help to get them exorcised. That’s what my story “The Demon was Me” is all about: finding help to get back in control of our lives when our demons take over.

Also, I knew this would be a difficult story to pull off. I’m not much for writing in first person because it limits how much information I can give a reader. But in order for this story to work, it had to be written with Scisco as the narrator. Otherwise, the reader wouldn’t experience the conflict of having a foreign entity taking control of their body. Because much of the conflict takes place INSIDE Scisco’s head. Just like most of our issues are internalized.

So this story was a challenge to my ability as a writer as well as to the idea that we are in control of our lives and destinies. And why didn’t another interviewer ask about that? Because none of them are the AMAZING Julie Reece. Thanks for having me, Julie.

 

Ha! Terrific answers, both of you! I love hearing about the creative process and getting a peek inside the imaginative mind of authors. Your stories sound amazing. I can’t wait to read them. Thanks so much  for being here today, guys. XOXO

 

Giveaway!!!

Link to enter:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c08c9e8e606/?

Contest ends November 11, 2016

One (1) winner will receive a scrabble tile book cover charm (US ONLY)

Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of In the Beginning: Dark Retellings of Biblical Stories (INT)

Good luck, everyone!

 

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Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks
Other authors and stories from the anthology …

Daniel and the Dragon by Stephen Clements
A troubled orphan named Habakkuk dutifully follows his master, the prophet Daniel, into temples of blood-thirsty demon-gods, battles with unspeakable horrors, and bears witnesses to mind-breaking evil until his master’s zealous defiance of the king’s law seals their fate.

Babylon by Nicole Crucial
Far above the earth, in Second Eden, where moments and eternities all blur together, young Babylon befriends Sefer, the Book of Life. As Babylon awaits the moment she’ll fulfill her destiny, she and Sefer try to understand the world in which they live.

Last Will and Testament by Mike Hays
A homeless young boy, Baz, bears the weight of humanity on his shoulders and upon his body. When dark forces test a new-found friendship, Baz’s willingness to bear the ugliness of their world will be shaken.

The Demon Was Me by Sharon Hughson
Based on the story of the demon-possessed boy healed by Jesus, this tale provides a glimpse into a post-apocalyptic world where a teenage boy seeks to journey to a better land and yearns to discover the kind of man he’s meant to be, only to be hijacked by an evil spirit intent upon chipping away at the hope, faith, and resilience of its host.

The Deluge by Marti Johnson
A non-believer shares the story of Noah’s ark-building and the deadly downpour that follows. Fear, faithlessness, and the fallibility of mankind collide in a community where second chances aren’t unlimited and a better-late-than-never attitude just might be your doom.

Condemned by Elle O’Neill
Just sixteen-years-old, Barabbas finds himself pulled out of Routlege Academy and into a reality show competition—against Jesus himself—where the reward for the winner is life.

First Wife by Lora Palmer
In a first-person retelling of the saga of Jacob, Rachel and Leah, themes of family, deception, guilt, and heartache emerge amidst the first days of Leah’s marriage to Jacob—a marriage mired in trickery a mere week before Jacob was to marry Leah’s sister Rachel.

Emmaculate by Christina Raus
Based on the story of Mary’s Immaculate Conception, we enter the troubled mind of Emma, who finds herself torn between her religious upbringing and the purity ring that binds her to her boyfriend and the pregnancy that results from her relationship with another boy.

 

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Blog Tours

 


Yippee! Release Day and Giveaway Celebration: Life in the Danger Zone by Patricia B. Tighe @chapterxchapter @patriciabtighe @SwoonRomance

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Hello Readers! Welcome to the Release Day Celebration for

Life in the Danger Zone by Patricia B. Tighe

presented by Swoon Romance!

Don’t miss out on this new release,
and be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

 

Happy Book Birthday, Patricia!

 

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Sixteen-year- old Rose Mulligan’s plan for the summer cruise with her grandparents is simple—read mysteries in the sunshine and see historical sites. It doesn’t include joining a young people’s tour group or crushing on a boy whose flirting runs hot and cold. And it definitely doesn’t include being accused of theft.

Sam Briggs also has a plan for the trip—hang out with his uncle and cousins, and avoid thinking about his stupid parents. But when family members pair-up with strangers, Sam is left wanting to hit something. The only bright spot is shy, constantly blushing Rose, a girl he really needs to avoid. She’s too nice for a meaningless hookup. Then why can’t he stop thinking about her?

Determined to clear her name, Rose decides to find out who the real thief is. It quickly becomes clear that everyone has secrets. Dangerous secrets. But by the time Sam starts helping with the investigation, Rose is wishing she could forget the whole thing and just focus on his intense gaze and lopsided smile. There are only a few days left on the trip after all, and they’ll never see each other again once it’s over. Right?

But it’s too late. Danger has a way of finding you, whether it’s disguised as a cunning thief or a swoony boy.

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Life in the Danger Zone
by Patricia B. Tighe
Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Publisher: Swoon Romance

Available for Purchase:
Amazon

 

About-the-Author2

Patricia B. Tighe

The mother of two grown sons, Patricia B. Tighe lives in West Texas with her husband and dog. She eats way too much pizza, drinks way too much coffee, and watches way too much NFL football. On the bright side, she also reads and writes teen fiction. She promises to include as much romance, angst, and adventure as possible in her books.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Instagram | Goodreads

 

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Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!

 

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