Tag Archives: horror

Excited! Blog Tour: OF THE TREES by @ErinMFitch #YAlit @Month9Books

 

of-the-trees

 

Welcome in! I’m so excited to be a part of this blog tour for the amazing E.M. Fitch and her new book! I’ve got more tour stop dates, an excerpt and special giveaway here, so don’t forget to scroll down and enter the contest near the bottom of the post!

 

Now to get on with it. Have you seen this cool and freaky cover yet?

I love the vibe!

of-the-trees-cover

Title: OF THE TREES

Author: E.M. Fitch

Pub. Date: February 28, 2017

Publisher: Month9Books

Format: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 345

Where to get it:

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play Books | Indiebound

 

Watch the author’s  video about her book here:

Blurb:

Cassie and Laney fancy themselves amateur ghost hunters. When a carnival comes to town, Cassie embraces the chance to try something new.

Carnival workers watch the girls with a collective gaze that ignites in Laney a dark and dangerous fascination, leaving Cassie unnerved.

It’s not just their age or the unsettling way they stare. There is something in the shifting of their skin and the way their features seem to change in the shadows.

Cassie can’s shake this sickening feeling that there’s more to the carnival than meets the eye.

When townspeople suddenly start dying and bloody warnings appear around town, Cassie is lured into a nightmare where trees whisper and strange, shape-shifting men haunt the backwoods she once hunted for ghosts with her best friend.

Then Laney goes missing, and only Cassie can get her back. But the creatures of the trees aren’t simply going to hand Laney over to Cassie without getting something in return.

 

Here’s more about the author … 

erin-fitch

E.M. Fitch is an author who loves scary stories, chocolate, and tall trees. When not dreaming up new ways to torture characters, she is usually corralling her four children or thinking of ways to tire them out so she can get an hour of peace at night. She lives in Connecticut, surrounded by chaos, which she manages (somewhat successfully) with her husband, Marc.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Giveaway!

1 winner will receive a $25 Fandango Gift Card, US Only.

Rafflecopter:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/ZTIzODliYTI4ZTEzMGVjODBhNzA2MmFmMTU3YWM3OjU1MQ==/?

Excerpt:

Cassie’s boots crunched on the gravel, the grating noise cutting through the faint undertone of laughter and squeals that were just up ahead. Her imagination always went into overdrive during these isolated, dark moments. She knew it, and sometimes the little movements everyone saw out of the corner of their eyes took on a life of their own. So she ignored it, not wanting to give life to the fear.

Laney was different. She’d run into the shadows and flush out the monsters, which would, of course, invariably turn out to be a rabbit, or bird, or the errant flash of light cast from someone’s wristwatch. It was always explainable. Even knowing that, Cassie wasn’t one to tempt fate. She preferred to let sleeping monsters lie.

“Have a light?”

Cassie jumped, not really expecting a voice from the dark. From between two cars, a shadow solidified. A boy stepped forward, his jeans smeared with grease and his dark hood up over his head and hanging down past his brow. She could just make out the sandy hair that hovered over the piercing, blue eyes. He stared at her as he stepped closer, his gaze sharp in the darkness.

Or was it a man? Now that he drew nearer, the lines of boyhood seemed to melt. His face was older, drawn. There were creases in the folds of his skin that she hadn’t noticed at first. Somehow, it seemed like he was wearing a cheap Halloween mask, something rubber made to emulate human skin, and suddenly she was terrified, a feeling of danger rising up from her core.

“No, sorry,” she stammered, stepping back.

He stepped with her.

She jumped again when a car horn blared and turned to see her father still parked there, his outline peering at her through the dark. A chuckle echoed from the shadows, and Cassie shivered, even in the unseasonable warmth.

“Got to go, sorry,” she said. The man stared, his head tilting slightly as he regarded her. He didn’t speak, and yet Cassie got the strange impression he was trying to communicate with her anyway.

Wings black

Creepy right? The sort of creepy that’s right up my YA thriller/horror alley. I can’t wait to start reading this one, ya’ll.

Hope you enjoy and thanks so much for stopping by! 

 

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By the way … if you want to follow more of the tour, all the dates are listed below!

Week One:

2/27/2017- Lisa’s Loves(Books of Course)– Interview

2/27/2017- Never Too Many To Read– Review

2/27/2017- Julie Reece– Excerpt

 

2/28/2017- Tales of the Ravenous Reader– Guest Post

2/28/2017- Book Review Becca– Review

 

3/1/2017- Two Chicks on Books– Interview

3/1/2017- Omg Books and More Books– Review

 

3/2/2017- Always & Forever Fangirling– Excerpt

3/2/2017- Bookaholic Banter– Review

 

3/3/2017- Rockin’ Book Reviews– Guest Post

3/3/2017- Quantum– Review

 

Week Two:

3/6/2017- LILbooKlovers– Interview

3/6/2017- Don’t Judge, Read– Review

 

3/7/2017- The Book Adventures of Annelise Lestrange– Excerpt

3/7/2017- Book Lovers Life– Review

 

3/8/2017- Hidden Worlds Books– Guest Post

3/8/2017- Book-Keeping– Review

 

3/9/2017- Bibliobibuli YA– Interview

3/9/2017- StephanieCassidyBlog– Review

 

3/10/2017- So Few Books– Interview

3/10/2017- I am not a bookworm!– Review

 

 

 


Halloween Trick or Treat blog hop! #giveaway #YAlit #win #wobooks

octbookhunt

Welcome to our Trick or Treat Blog Hunt

Hi guys! I’m Julie Reece, your host for this leg of the hunt.

one-summer-with-autumn14dcba-theartisans-ebookd9feb-thepaladins-ebook09526-julie_reece_image_2

Tricks can be fun, be TREATS are way better. And this contest gives you a chance to win a ton of treats in the form of signed books, ebooks, candy, book swag and more from 13 authors!! We know…it’s kind of SPOOK-TACULAR!

 

tumblr_lze7aaxq3j1qlknxjo1_r2_500

So how do you snag the loot? It’s simple, and you don’t even have to dress up and walk in the cold door to door to get the goodies.

Rules:

Visit each of the THIRTEEN participating author websites. You will find the name of the candy/treat they are giving away, as well as what BOOK they are offering as part of the PRIZE PACK!  Be sure to write down the name of my treat, you’ll need it later.

When you have collected the names of all 13 author “TREATS”, head on over to complete the Trick or Treat Hunt Page Google Forms doc and enter the correct treat next to the corresponding author name.   

LINK TO GOOGLE FORM: http://bit.ly/2eg4uyo 

 

cubnq0

So WHAT WILL YOU WIN??

A creepy-awesome black canvas tote bag with a cool skull filled with each of the books noted below as well as bookmarks and other great book swag. You will also win all of the treats that the author’s list on their pages PLUS a bunch of other candy treats all in a black plastic cauldron. You’ll even get the cute little plastic skulls shown in the prize photo.

 

halloween-blog-hop-2016

Have fun reading all about the books each author is giving away in the prize pack, plus any other tricks and treats the authors may have in store for you.

LIST OF PARTICIPATING AUTHORS and their AWESOME BOOKS!

Amy McNulty – NOBODY’S GODDESS (advanced paperback)
Kiran Oliver – DAYBREAK RISING (ebook)
Dorothy Dreyer – SCARE ME TO SLEEP (Kindle ebook)
Jodie Andrefski – THE SOCIETY (signed paperback)
Julia Ember – UNICORN TRACKS (paperback)
Julie Reece – THE ARTISANS (signed paperback)
Nina Rossing – FJORD BLUE (signed paperback)
Pat Edsen – BEYOND YOUR TOUCH
Pintip Dunn – FORGET TOMORROW (signed paperback)
S.A.Larsen – MOTLEY EDUCATION (signed paperback)
Suzanne van Rooyen – OBSCURA BURNING (Releases 11/10 ebook)
Vanessa Barneveld – THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE (Kindle ebook)
Vicki Weavil – FACSIMILE (signed paperback)
Vector raven or crow in grunge style

You can enter for BONUS chances to win via the Rafflecopter found on each author’s website, by doing things like following them on Twitter or following their Goodreads page, or tweeting about the Hunt!

RAFFLECOPTER:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/44c0b6ce8/

 

For my part of the hunt, I am giving away a signed copy of THE ARTISANS
 
 4dcba-theartisans-ebook  as well as a matching post and rack card. I’m also throwing in a box of my favorite Andes Chocolate Mints because, well … they color coordinate with my book, ha ha.
Image result for andes mints candy

Keep hunting people! Muahahaha …

 

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To continue on the hunt, be sure to head on over to S.A. Larsen’s blog:  www.salarsenbooks.com
 motleyedhighres

 Learn more about this awesome writer and her middle grade fantasy adventure that shares magical creatures and Norse Mythology with steampunk elements, and the value of family, as two best friends learn to conquer their fears and believe in something bigger than themselves.

keepcalm

But before you head out, don’t forget to write down the name of my treat, and enter to win via the rafflecopter link above in this post. Feel free to leave a comment telling me YOUR favorite Halloween treat. Remember, you can tweet daily about the contest for another chance to win.
Happy hunting, and good luck! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

The contest runs from Friday October 28th, 2016 through Midnight, October 31st, 2016 (EST)

Winner will be announced November 1st.

Contest is US only. Thank you for your understanding.

joker-golf-clap

Good luck to everyone who enters, and have a spooky good time playing!

 

 


Love to read? Enter our joint author WIN SOME BOOK MONEY $220 Amazon e-card giveaway!

220

Click on a Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win $220 to spend on books!

We love our readers!

I LOVE you guys!!

SO…

Fourteen YA authors, including myself, are sponsoring this giveaway for your chance to win a $220 Amazon e-gift card to restock your bookshelves this fall.

Participating authors include:

Melanie McFarlane

Suzanne VanRooyen

Dorothy Dreyer

J. Keller Ford

Joshua David Bellin

Jullie Reece

Nicole Conway

Stephanie Scott

Amy McNulty

Tobie Easton

Elisa Dane

Jennifer Anne Davis

Jennifer M. Eaton

Jennifer Bardsley

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

 

Pick up some fun!!

 

cat-is-all-like-hug-me-please

 

Pick up some of these great titles! Perfect for fall reading …



Fine Print:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE DOES NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Time Period: Begins on 09/08/2016 at 12:00 AM (Eastern Time (US & Canada)) and ends on 09/22/2016 at 12:00 AM (Eastern Time (US & Canada)). Eligibility: Open to legal residents of USA and Canada who are Must be 13 years old to enter or older. Winner Selection: The winner of the giveaway 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.

 

Good Luck!!!


Eep! THE PALADINS (ARTISANS 2) is out! @Month9Books @chapterxchapter http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CC3C3PM #YAlit

Hey! It’s a great day in the neighborhood because, well, because it is, but also because it’s my book birthday!

I’ve been saying all day that if Alice in Wonderland had a book baby with Labyrinth, and that baby grew up to marry The Walking Dead, you would get something like …

d9feb-thepaladins-ebook

 View the Tour Schedule HERE!

add to goodreads

 

 

The Paladins (The Artisans #2) by Julie Reece
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

– See more at: http://www.theyaclub.com/?p=2888#sthash.Yd3c60JY.wyAkUuex.dpuf

 

Blurb:

The Artisan curse is broken. Souls trapped in a mysterious otherworld called The Void are finally released. Now, Raven Weathersby, Gideon Maddox, and Cole Wynter can finally move on with their lives…or so they thought. If the ancient magic is truly dead, then why are mystical fires plaguing Gideon at every turn? What accounts for Raven’s frightening visions of her dead mother? And who is the beautiful, tortured girl haunting Cole’s dreams?

Last year, a group of lonely teens sacrificed secrets, battled the supernatural, and faced their own demons to set one another free. Yet six months later, the heart of evil still beats within The Void. And the trio is forced to face the horrific truth: that their only way out is to go back in.

The Paladins completes this eerie YA Southern Gothic where loyalties are tested, love is challenged, and evil seeks them on the ultimate battlegrounds—in their minds, their souls, and their hearts.

 

THE ARTISANS was born last May. You can catch up on this story for only .99 cents and the jump into THE PALADINS!!! 

4dcba-theartisans-ebook

Here’s the link … http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UQYA06E

 

Here are  things some really nice people said about the first book … 

“This novel makes the most of gothic elements to create a compulsive read for avid fans of gothic romance.” –School Library Journal

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

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

“The Artisans was a unique modern day retelling of Beauty and the Beast filled with mystery, romance and wonderful characters.” –Bridget, blogger, Dark Faerie Tales

 

And if you plan to be in Chicago around May 14th, I’d love it if you’d come over and say hello!

BEAJulie

Hope you enjoy the stories. Thanks so much for stopping by … XOXO

imagesCAKUM40E


Want to read THE ARTISANS before the sequel releases? Many @Month9Books titles on sale for just .99!

Hiya! I have some exciting news.

There’s an awesome sale going on right now for many Month9Books titles so if you want to stock up on some awesome stories this spring at a great price, check this out …

You can catch up up on my first novel THE ARTISANS for a mere 99 pennies. ♥

Just in time for the next book due out May 3rd!

4dcba-theartisans-ebook

http://www.amazon.com/Artisans-Julie-Reece-ebook/dp/B00UQYA06E/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

Pre-order your copy of book 2 …

d9feb-thepaladins-ebook

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Paladins-Artisans-Julie-Reece-ebook/dp/B01CC3C3PM/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1459690150&sr=1-1

 

Goodreads TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25757247-the-paladins

 

Here are some other awesome YA titles for 99 pennies. Load that e-reader, baby!!

The entire Angel Sight series.

A Shimmer of Angels (Angel Sight, #1)

http://www.amazon.com/Lisa-M.-Basso/e/B00EIL8BDA/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1459550410&sr=1-2-ent

 

The Looking Glass (Book 1)

The Looking Glass (The Looking Glass, #1)

http://www.amazon.com/Looking-Glass-Jessica-Arnold-ebook/dp/B00HXZN0TS/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1459690625&sr=1-4&keywords=month9books

 

Fledgling (Book 1)

Fledgling (Dragonrider Chronicles, #1)

Book 1: http://www.amazon.com/Fledgling-Dragonrider-Chronicles-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00JID62YI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1459690625&sr=1-1&keywords=month9books

Book 2: http://www.amazon.com/Avian-Dragonrider-Chronicles-Book-2-ebook/dp/B00LDYD4E6/ref=sr_1_16?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1459691035&sr=1-16&keywords=month9books

Nobody’s Goddess (Book 1)

Nobody's Goddess (Never Veil #1)

http://www.amazon.com/Nobodys-Goddess-Never-Veil-McNulty-ebook/dp/B00U58R0KK/

 

Minotaur

Minotaur

http://www.amazon.com/Minotaur-Phillip-W-Simpson-ebook/dp/B00W0LPEYE/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1459691209&sr=1-23

 

Pretty Dark Sacrifice (Book 2)

Pretty Dark Sacrifice (Pretty Dark Nothing, #2)

http://www.amazon.com/Pretty-Dark-Sacrifice-Nothing-Book-ebook/dp/B01053ZW9A/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

Check out @Month9Books for other amazing YA Books!

 

 


Spring 2016 #YASH is a go! Woot for hunting on Team GOLD!

The Spring 2016 YA Scavenger Hunt is Over!

Thanks to everyone who participated, both authors and hunters!

Winners will be announced on April 5th.

The next hunt comes this Fall.

 

YA_ScavengerHunt_WebBanner
 Open from March 29th at noon pacific time to April 3rd at noon pacific time.
Hi! *waves* I’m Julie Reece, your host for this part of the hunt!
 09526-julie_reece_image_2
This bi-annual event was first organized by wonderfully cool author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors … and a chance to win some awesome prizes!
At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team!
 Play fast people — this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!
You’re currently hunting on … 

Computer generated image with clipping path - Team.

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are  contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the GOLD TEAM which is well, golden. But there’s also a rainbow of other color teams (9 total!) for a chance to win a whole different set of signed books! How awesome is that?

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.

SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
 
Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the GOLD TEAM and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
 
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 April 3rd, 2016 at noon Pacific Time. You must enter to win before then. Good luck and happy hunting! Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
I’m super excited to be hosting the lovely Sarvenaz Tash
 on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt!
 
 Bio:
Sarvenaz Tash was born in Tehran, Iran and grew up on Long Island, NY. She received her BFA in Film and Television from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. This means she got to spend most of college running around and making movies (it was a lot of fun). She has dabbled in all sorts of writing including screenwriting, copywriting, and professional tweeting. Sarvenaz currently lives in Brooklyn, NY, and I’ve heard she can watch 22 movies in a row, but of course, it’s just a rumor.
Find out more information by checking out the author website http://www.sarvenaztash.com/
or find more about the author’s book here!
And now on to the the EXCLUSIVE CONTENT … (yay!)
 

Behind the Cover of The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love

It’s always equal parts thrilling and scary to see the cover of your book for the first time. On the one hand, you get to see the professionally produced artwork that’s going to signify your story on bookshelves and e-readers and websites, etc. On the other, you’re relying on someone else’s interpretation of that story.

Spoiler alert: with the cover of The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love, I needn’t have worried.  My editor told me in advance that art director Lucy Ruth Cummins would be designing the cover. I knew Lucy’s work, you see (she’s designed the covers of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Since You’ve Been Gone, and The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer to name just a few) and I was already a huge fan. Then my editor asked me if I had any ideas for the cover myself. I gave her a couple (among them: a peek at main character Graham’s nerdy bookshelves and a stylized comic book idea), but a few weeks later, she came back with a preliminary sketch from Lucy. It looked like this:

Sketch

Obviously, it’s a very rough sketch, but again, I just assumed it would look amazing because: Lucy.

 

Then a little while later, they sent me the portfolios of a few of the models they were considering for the cover. Lucy and I both agreed: wonderful, redheaded Tim Sundholm was the one.

 

Tim

And then a few weeks after that, Lucy, Tim, and photographer Dolly Faibyshev went to the Javits Center (where the book takes place!) and a shoot took place.

Lucy has been kind enough to share some of these behind-scenes-photos that she took.

 

Photo1

Apparently the Mylar balloons are from Duane Reade.

 

Photo2

I think by the end of the shoot, Tim had possibly eaten an entire box of chocolates (clearly he suffers for his art. J)

 

Photo3

An alternate idea with Graham plucking daisy petals.

 

Photo4

From l-r: Hair and make-up artist Agata Smentek, photographer Dolly Faibyshev, and model Tim Sundholm. (Yes, it’s SUPER cool that there was a make-up artist working to get someone to look like my main character!)

 

And a few weeks later, I got this in my inbox:

3P JKT Geeks_Guide.indd

 

And I just about died. Because it’s perfect. I know you guys don’t know Graham yet but this photo…this is Graham. And the font. And the colors. AND THERE’S FOIL.

In short, I don’t care if my love for this cover is unrequited or not. To me, it is perfect.


 Blurb:

Graham met his best friend, Roxana, when he moved into her neighborhood eight years ago, and she asked him which Hogwarts house he’d be sorted into. Graham has been in love with her ever since.

But now they’re sixteen, still neighbors, still best friends. And Graham and Roxy share more than ever—moving on from their Harry Potter obsession to a serious love of comic books.

When Graham learns that the creator of their favorite comic, The Chronicles of Althena, is making a rare appearance at this year’s New York Comic Con, he knows he must score tickets. And the event inspires Graham to come up with the perfect plan to tell Roxy how he really feels about her. He’s got three days to woo his best friend at the coolest, kookiest con full of superheroes and supervillains. But no one at a comic book convention is who they appear to be…even Roxy. And Graham is starting to realize fictional love stories are way less complicated than real-life ones.

Hi! Julie here again. Wasn’t that awesome? I love to get a look at anything behind the scenes.

Don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by me, Julie Reece and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 22 Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the GOLD TEAM and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

CONTINUE THE HUNT
 
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next super-amazing, talented author, Amalie Howard! http://amaliehoward.com/

Spread the word!

 

Additional Giveaway!!!

 Leave your name and email address in the comments for a chance to win an ebook copy of my dulology! (sequel given away after release in May)

THE ARTISANS                              THE PALADINS

Goodreads:
 

Eep! M9B Friday Reveal: THE PALADINS (THE ARTISANS 2) Cover and Chapter One @Month9Books

Hey everybody!
Today is my reveal day for the cover and first chapter of THE PALADINS,
book 2 in THE ARTISANS Series which releases May 3, 2016!
Be sure to enter the the contest at the bottom of this post to be one of
the first readers to receive an eGalley and an eBook of THE ARTISANS!!


When Month9Books asked me how I liked my cover,
I cheered and said a lot of things like Yeeesssss, and Whoo-hoo, and  then I got it together
and said the following …

 

My respect for cover artists has grown exponentially after entering the world of publishing.

I learned the challenge of a good cover artist is to hint at the story beneath
using a single image. They must create a picture that suggests to perspective
readers what lies within those hundreds of pages—using nothing more than
specific font and a few square inches of graphic design. It seems impossible, yet most of us agree that art evokes emotion. And when I saw my cover, I was overwhelmed.

The Paladins is dark. And this cover is dark.
The story is a Gothic tale, mysterious and eerie. And while parts of this world
are beautiful, beauty is often deceptive. You’re never quite sure if something
lurks in the shadows, where the path you tread is leading, or even if what you
see is real … until it’s too late.

On to the reveal!!!

 
 
Title: THE PALADINS (The Artisans #2)
Author: Julie Reece (That’s me!)
Pub. Date: May 3, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback and  eBook
Find it: Amazon | B&N | TBD | BAM | Kobo |
 
BLURB:
 The Artisan curse is broken. Souls trapped in a mysterious otherworld called The Void are finally released. Now, Raven Weathersby, Gideon Maddox, and Cole Wynter can finally move on with their lives…or so they thought. If the ancient magic is truly dead, then why are mystical fires plaguing Gideon at every turn? What accounts for Raven’s frightening visions of her dead mother? And who is the beautiful, tortured girl haunting Cole’s dreams?

Last year, a group of lonely teens sacrificed secrets, battled the supernatural, and faced their own demons to set one another free. Yet six months later, the heart of evil still beats within The Void. And the trio is forced to face the horrific truth: that their only way out is to go back in.

The Paladins completes this eerie YA Southern Gothic where loyalties are tested, love is challenged, and evil seeks them on the ultimate battlegrounds—in their minds, their souls, and their hearts.

 
In case you missed it, here’s the redesigned cover for THE ARTISANS!
 
 
Title: THE ARTISANS
Author: Julie Reece (Yup, me again.)
Pub. Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books
Pages: 300
Find it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Goodreads
 
BLURB:
They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Raven Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.

To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.

Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad’s drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.

But Raven’s stepdad’s drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she’s ever known out of jail, or worse.

Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries’ clothing line, signing over her creative rights.

Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can’t imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.
But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?
Excerpt

Prologue The Before

Cole

It’s been four years since I planted the fireworks in Gideon Maddox’s locker that burned a third of his face.

Four years since his father took revenge, trapping me with a spell that kept me prisoner in The Void.

Three months since the magic found me again.

Two months since my parents put me in therapy.

One day since my parents left for Paris on a month long business tour.

This morning, a mysterious girl no one else can see beckoned again from The Void.

Tonight, I’m standing on the balcony of my parent’s palatial home, buying an airline ticket back to the states—back to Maddox mansion—the heart of my nightmares.

People say the more things change the more they stay the same. I hate them for being right. I lived with the monsters in my prison until I thought I might go mad. Repentant of my past, I made peace with my fate, my eternity. Until the day I was freed, because a stranger had the courage to help.

This time someone needs me.

How can I doom a girl to a fate I barely escaped?

There’s only one answer.

I can’t.

Chapter One

Cole

A bottle-green fly hums, rubbing his tiny legs together as though he’s plotting something. The insect seems a dirty ornament on the shiny desk nameplate he sits upon. Gold on gold, the engraved letters read Navin Cahvan M.D. This is the third psychiatrist I’ve met in as many weeks. Part of my mother’s plan to fix me. Jumpy nerves, insomnia, nightmares about demons when I finally do fall sleep—these are her justifications. Everyone tries to shrink me like a cheap T-shirt in the dryer.

The tawny-skinned man across the desk folds his knotted fingers over his belly and stares. Dark eyes track my movements beneath two bushy white eyebrows. “Mr. Wynter?”

Right. He asked a question. The fly hums again, wings fluttering against his hairy back. My head pounds, my clothes scratch, eyes burn, and my ears are raw with the smallest sounds echoing deep inside.

When Dr. Cahvan shifts, the leather seat groans in protest. “I can help you. But you must tell me the truth.”

All I hear is Jack Nicholson screaming the line from A Few Good Men: “You can’t handle the truth!”

“Trust me, Cole. Tell me your secret thoughts.”

Trust you? Sure. I tell you what happened and you lock me away forever on meds that keep me drooling, while I play dominoes with people who see giant, pink rabbits. No thanks.

He leans forward. His fingers thread together as his hands rest on the desktop. He taps his thumbs together. “I assure you this is a safe place. I call it … the circle of trust.”

Give me a break. You want me to tell you how I was a mean, dangerous kid. Confess that because I tormented a crippled boy, his father used a magic camera to trap me in an alternate universe as punishment. Explain how I lived a half-life in the Maddox mansion for four years until Raven Weathersby rescued me. About how much I miss her and think about going back someday … Maybe I am insane.
“Let’s discuss something else.”

I find his suggestion amusing since I’ve barely said ten words in the past hour, and our time is almost up.
The good doctor shifts again. “Instead of talking about the past, why not speak of the present. How are you adjusting to life at home? I understand your parents had a welcome home party when you first arrived. How did that go?”

How do you think? “Swell.” I would have preferred stuffing my hand in a high-speed blender. A hundred people that I hadn’t seen since I was fifteen—and couldn’t care less to see again—showed up to shake my hand and recite all they’d ever read about amnesia, the lie Gideon made up to cover my absence. “I really just need some space.”

“And you got your wish, did you not? I understand your parents left town yesterday. How does being alone again so soon make you feel?”

Incredibly pissed. “They’ve always been busy people. I’m used to them traveling.” But I wasn’t. I thought with all the time apart, my parents might want to stick around a while. Be a family. Nope. Since appearances mean everything, they threw a party right away to show their friends and colleagues how fine I was. The powerful and highly regarded Mr. and Mrs. Wynter pulled out all the stops to prove their love for their long lost son: fine wine, catered dinner, china, crystal, even a string quartet. Yet, my father couldn’t keep the disappointment from his face any more than my mother could drown her misery in vodka.

Perhaps to appease their consciences, my folks hooked me up with doctors and provided for my physical needs before bailing. But a new car and an obscenely padded bank account wasn’t what I needed. So easily brushed aside again, I couldn’t help but wonder if parts of them were relieved when I’d disappeared four years ago.

Dr. Cahvan’s eyes narrow. “So, you remember your life up until your trip to the States?”

“Yes.” I’m lying about my amnesia. I know it. He knows it. So do my parents, but it’s too late to come up with a better story … like being the victim of a cult brainwashing or joining a psychedelic commune. I drank a different brand of Kool-Aid in Sales Hollow, South Carolina, and I can never tell a soul.

The fly zings to the window. I flinch as the buzzing is magnified ten times in my head. It takes all my will not to jump up and smash the bug against the glass. The doctor watches me with sharp eyes trained to interpret body language. I hold his gaze, though my skin breaks out in a sweat. A sudden wind rattles the panes, and I startle.

Cahvan’s mouth crimps at the corners. “Rather breezy today,” he says, glancing out the window at the quiet, blue sky.

Who cares about the weather? I have to give the old guy something before I start whining about magic spells, heightened senses, or worse: how my daddy never loved me.

I blow out a breath. “Look, some things seem familiar, others are confusing. I don’t need a doctor. I need time.” I only meant to throw him a bone so he’d have something to report when my parents call, but my body heats as I talk. Anger, resentment, and fear all claw their way up my throat and charge out of my mouth before I can stop them. “Time I can’t get back where I finish school, date hot girls, and grow up like normal kids do. I’m trying. Doing the best I can, but what I don’t need is to sit in rooms with smug strangers who are paid to dissect my brain over things I can’t explain, and neither of us will ever understand!” I drag my fingers through my shaggy hair. “That time is gone. I’m pissed off, and I guess I’ll be pissed off until I’m not anymore.”

Dr. Cahvan rubs his jaw. “That’s very interesting, Cole.”

My laugh is harsh. Not that any of this is funny. “Is it?”

“Yes. Thank you for your honesty today.” His bushy eyebrows push together. “Thank you for entering the circle of trust and allowing me to help you. Please see my secretary on your way out and make another appointment for next week.”

Seriously? I stand and head for the door. Oh, I’ll see your secretary, all right. I’ll nod as I walk right past her. He didn’t help me. No one can. There are a lot of things I need. But touchy-feely therapy with Doctor Eyebrows isn’t one of them.

***

After the awkward “circle of trust” episode, I can’t decide what to do with myself. I don’t want to be around people, but I don’t want to go home to an empty house either, so I wind up in the rambling cemetery a couple miles from our house.

I like it here and come pretty often just to think. Crumbling grave markers bear witness to France’s rich history, even with the chiseled dates worn and fading with time. Moss, ivy, and ancient trees lend beauty and peace to a place that soothes my soul. I’m not trying to be morbid. I never kept company with the dead. We were the undead, in a non-sparkly kind of way.

I’m not stupid enough to think I’ll discover the meaning of life. I’m just trying to find meaning in mine.

After surviving a half-death, I’ve been given a second chance. Trouble is, I don’t know what to do with it.
The sun is too hot on my back. No sooner does the thought cross my mind, when a friendly breeze tousles my hair like an old friend. I pull my cell from my pocket and stare at Raven’s number. She said to call her anytime, and I do. Gideon said to call her if I wanted my arse kicked. Typical. He’s still that insecure kid deep down. Still trying to prove himself, as he tries to control everyone and everything within his reach, just like his old man taught him.

Should have known something was wrong when I first got the invitation to visit Gideon in America all those years ago. My parents were so happy Maddox Senior wasn’t pressing charges; they actually thought the gesture was an attempt at friendship. Of course, Mum and Dad sent me packing complete with an olive branch in my mouth. That gesture of goodwill got my picture taken and a trip to The Void with a bunch of vengeful old guys from the early nineteen hundreds and a hot blond with twisted taste in men. We spent our days trying to escape that hell. The labyrinth’s ghouls, the surreal existence of consciousness without a physical body, and the constant pain of regret all earmarked a life that wasn’t.

Until her.

My fingers comb the grass at my sides. I close my eyes and feel the day’s warmth on my face, the wind threading through my thin tee. I may look like a freak, but I can’t stop touching everything around me. While I was gone, I missed the sensation of air in my lungs, the taste of coffee, the sweet sensation of a kiss …

My thumb starts dialing Rae’s number.

Cole …

Shite. Here we go again.

Come to me, Cole …

I wonder if I sounded this creepy to Raven when I begged for her help.

Veins at my temples pulse. Leaves shake and laugh in the breeze, the echo reverberating in my head. “Who are you? What do you want with me?” I want to stand, but my limbs weigh a hundred pounds each. My lungs deflate under the crushing pressure, and I struggle to breathe.

The scenery of oaks and elms surrounding the cemetery blur into a muddy gray-green wall, and I know what’s happening. Gravestones push up from the ground like gnashing teeth and recede again until the ground transforms into a smooth, stone floor. The world of pedestrians, car horns, and singing birds around the graveyard fade to a quiet worse than death. My body rejects the idea of gravity. The weightlessness of being sucked back into The Void again invades my person like a virus, spreading into my muscles and bones, my very essence.

I will the door of my mind closed to shut out the transformation. I place a mental shield before the magic so it won’t consume me, but magic has a will of its own. It snakes under the imaginary door I’ve erected in my head, enveloping me. I thrash, but it’s useless. My soundless screaming and mind-withering despair only seems to feed The Void’s strength.

When I open my eyes, the cemetery is gone. I shift on a cold, damp floor, taking in my new surroundings. I’ve seen this place before, several times. The space is a circular stone room with two tall, skinny windows allowing diffused light inside. A bed sits across from me. Downy quilts worn and faded with use cover the straw mattress. On the wall, a huge, gilt-framed mirror reflects the room where a pretty blond sits in a hardback chair. Watching me.

I’m familiar with strange, but not with sad, soul-eating eyes like hers.

When she rises, I feel like I should thank her, because light from the window shows her curves through an ultra-thin nightdress. The sight chokes my airflow for a whole different reason.

ThinkofRaventhinkofRaventhinkofRaven.

I’m so not thinking of Raven. For all my faults, I’m not the cheating type, but I am a guy, and this girl is seriously fit! I want to touch her in the worst way, but I swallow instead. Attempting to be a gentleman, I lift my gaze and focus on the far wall, yet somehow—because I’m still a guy—I end up watching the way her hair hangs in white blond waves to her thighs. Her rosebud mouth opens slightly. Pleading eyes, more silver than blue, threaten to pull me under and drown me. None of this helps curb my impulse to reach for her.

Then I think about how she brought me here against my will, and that helps tamp down the hormones.

Cole.

What do you want?

Can’t you guess?

I can. I pleaded with Raven for the same help not too long ago. Inside The Void, I thought I’d met everyone. The ones that Maddox had imprisoned, and the indigenous inhabitants of the labyrinth. I hadn’t known there were any others.

The drip-drop of a leaky faucet is the only sound as I gather my thoughts. “Who are you? Where are you? I don’t understand what’s happening. Where is this place? Did Gideon put you here?” I rattle off my questions not pausing for a response.

She doesn’t answer. Maybe she can’t.

Wind picks up, whooshing through the hollow room, though the windows are shut. The sound grows, as though someone dropped a microphone in a washing machine. I grit my teeth against the noise. My mind squeezes in the pressurized vacuum.

Cole … She extends a thin, white hand.

I remember Raven. How she fell to her knees on the floor of the mill house when we first met. Pain rips into my psyche, claws at my sanity. The same way I’m sure it did hers.

“I’m sorry. Forgive me, Raven. I didn’t know.”

… My name is Rosamond …

Stone walls smear and fade, the beautiful girl along with them. I can’t breathe. Then, the faint outline of tree tops bleed back into view.

… Rosamond Bryer …

My panting rivals an overheated Saint Bernard. Grass pokes my palms. Rough bark scrapes my spine through my T-shirt. Any trace of the castle turret is erased as the same decrepit cemetery I know solidifies, and the garden is as it was before.

Almost …

I’m leaning against an old tree, yet my cell and sunglasses still lie next to the rose bushes where I was sitting, almost twenty feet away. I have no memory of moving. How did I get way over here?

Both hands plow through my hair with my exhale. What the bloody hell just happened? Am I imagining this? A nightmare left over from the reality of my imprisonment. Or is the girl real? Trapped like I was and waiting for someone with the courage to free her.

Is that someone me? I’ve been a lot of things, but brave isn’t one of them. To help her means going back to the mansion.

No. I definitely do not need this shite. I’m starting over, leaving that life behind. Yet, the haunted expression on the girl’s face tugs at me. Something about her seems familiar. I’m gutted over how she reached for me. Raven doubted, too, but not for long. If the blond is real, then she’s really in trouble. And if she’s really in trouble, what, if anything, are you prepared to do about it, Cole Wynter?

 

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