Tag Archives: Month9Books

M9B Two for Thursday Book Blitz: Call Me Grim by Elizabeth Holloway and Predator by Janice Gable Bashman with Giveaway #T4T @chapterxchapter @Month9Books @tantrumbooks

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Welcome to this week’s Two for Thursday Book Blitz #T4T
presented by Month9books/Tantrum Books!

Today, we will be showcasing two titles that may tickle your fancy,
and we’ll share what readers have to say about these titles!

You just might find your next read!

This week, #T4T presents to you:

Call Me Grim by Elizabeth Holloway and
Predator by Janice Gable Bashman

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

 

Call Me Grim

The truck should have turned Libbi Piper into a Libbi Pancake—and it would have, too, if Aaron hadn’t shown up and saved her life. The problem? Aaron’s the local Grim Reaper . . . and he only saved Libbi’s life because he needs someone to take over his job. Now, Libbi has two days to choose between dying like she was supposed to, or living a lonely life as Death Incarnate. Talk about a rock and a hard place. And the choice goes from hard to sucktastic when her best friend shows up marked: condemned as a future murderer. Libbi could have an extra week to stop the murder and fix the mark . . . but only if she accepts Aaron’s job as Reaper, trapping herself in her crappy town forever, invisible and inaudible to everyone except the newly dead. But, if she refuses? Her best friend is headed straight for Hell.

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Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | TBD | iBooks | Google Play | BAM | Indiebound

 

WHAT READER’S ARE SAYING:

 

Call Me Grim is humor, brilliance and a success altogether.” – Paula, Her Book Thoughts

 

“Okay, just the story line over all was GENIUS. I have NEVER EVER read a book like this before. It was just so original and plain awesome. MEGA props to the author. I’m still grinning from what I’ve read.”Rachelann, Goodreads Reviewer

 

“Call Me Grim is one of those books that you do not want to put down. At the same time there is something about it that makes you just want to savor it – you want to know what is going to happen next but at the same time you do not want it to end.” – Mike, Goodreads Reviewer

 

about-the-author

Elizabeth Holloway

Elizabeth Holloway is a writer of young adult fiction living in Southern Pennsylvania with her two teen children and their growing number of pets.

In addition to writing, she is a registered nurse, an avid reader, an out-of-practice artist, a karaoke singer, and music lover. She is still trying to decide what she wants to be when she grows up.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

JBashman_M9B_Predator_REV2_900x1350

The hunt is on! Sixteen-year-old Bree Sunderland must inject herself with an untested version of her father’s gene therapy to become a werewolf in order to stop a corrupt group of mercenaries from creating a team of unstoppable lycanthrope soldiers.

When Bree went with her scientist father to Ireland, she thought it would be a vacation to study bog bodies. She never expected to fall in love with a mysterious young Irishman and certainly never expected to become the kind of monster her father said only existed in nightmares. Dr. Sunderland discovers that lycanthropy was not a supernatural curse but rather a genetic mutation. When they return home, her dad continues his research, but the military wants to turn that research into a bio weapons program and rogue soldiers want to steal the research to turn themselves into unstoppable killing machines.

Bree’s boyfriend Liam surprises her with a visit to the United States, but there are darker surprises in store for both of them. As evil forces hunt those she loves, Bree must become an even more dangerous hunter to save them all.

Bree will become the thing she hates, to protect those she loves!

‘Predator’ gives the werewolf legend a couple of new spins by introducing the Benandanti (an actual folkloric belief that certain families of Italy and Livonia were werewolves who fought against evil), as well as a modern scientific approach to mutation and the science of transgenics.

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WHAT READER’S ARE SAYING:

 

“Predator is a fast-paced, creepy page-turner! Bashman had me at the opening sentence and she’s still got me. I want more!”Nancy Holder, New York Times Bestselling Author, The Rules

 

“Every twist and fascinating revelation fell into place smoothly, with an ending that will leave readers wanting more. With this kind of originality on the page, it is exciting to speculate at the surprises Bashman will unveil next.”Suspense Magazine

 

“Predator” by Janice Gable Bashman is clean-teen fiction at it’s best. It’s smart, scary and suspenseful. The main character Bree is a super positive role model for teen girls–no mater what shape she takes” Jennifer, Author

 

about-the-author

Janice Gable Bashman

Janice Gable Bashman is the Bram Stoker nominated author of Wanted Undead or Alive and Predator. She is managing editor of the The Big Thrill (International Thriller Writers’ ezine). Janice lives with her family in the Philadelphia area, where she at work on her next novel. Visit her at janicegablebashman.com.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

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M9B Two for Thursday Book Blitz: Red Magic series by Jen McConnel with Giveaway #T4T @chapterxchapter @Month9Books @tantrumbooks

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Welcome to this week’s Two for Thursday Book Blitz #T4T
presented by Month9books/Tantrum Books!

Today, we will be showcasing two titles that may tickle your fancy,
and we’ll share what readers have to say about these titles!

You just might find your next read!

This week, #T4T presents to you:

The Red Magic series by Jen McConnel!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

 

JMcConnel_DaughterofChaos_eCover_900x1350

Witches must choose the path they will follow, and Darlena Agara is no exception. She’s been putting it off long enough, and in her case, ignoring it has not made it go away. In a moment of frustration, Darlena chooses to follow Red Magic, figuring she had outsmarted the powers that be, since there’s no such thing as Red Magic. But alas, Darlena’s wrong (again) and she becomes a newly declared Red Witch.

Her friends are shocked and her parents horrified by the choice Darlena has made. As a Red Witch, she now governs one third of the world’s chaos. She is the walking personification of pandemonium, turmoil, and bedlam, just as the patrons of Red Magic would have it to be.

But Darlena believes there must be more to Red Magic than chaos and destruction, and she sets out on a journey to achieve balance. Only doing so puts her at odds with the dark goddess Hecate, who simply will not allow Darlena to quit. She encourages Darlena to embrace who and what she is and to leave good magic to the good witches. If only Darlena could, life would be simple, and she would not be the Daughter of Chaos.

DAUGHTER OF CHAOS is the first in a YA paranormal trilogy.

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WHAT READER’S ARE SAYING:

 

At the beginning, this novel is reminiscent of other popular fantasy novels like the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling and the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, but it quickly takes on a life of its own that will appeal to science fiction, fantasy, and young adult fans alike. Darlena’s struggles mirror issues that many teens face, making her a relate-able and likable main character. This is a title with wide appeal that will fly off the shelves.” – Voya Magazine

 

“Daughter of Chaos by Jen McConnel is a refreshing twist to the YA paranormal genre!”Dianne, Tome Tender

 

“Witches and Greek gods! This seriously couldn’t get any better.” – Kelly Hashway, Author

 

Gods of Chaos

The gods of chaos cannot be trusted.

Since battling her best friend, Darlena’s grip on Red Magic has been shaky. She heads to Scotland after the Winter Solstice in search of another Red Witch.

On a sightseeing excursion with girls from her hostel, Darlena arrives at The Vaults, a mysterious underground city beneath Edinburgh. But there is something there that make Darlena’s instincts go haywire, as she lets loose a defensive burst of Red Magic, putting everyone around her in danger.

If there was ever a time when Darlena needed the help of another Red witch, it was now. But beware the witch who wields Red Magic.

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WHAT READER’S ARE SAYING:

 

“I think I’m in love. This book had a totally different ending than what i thought it was. I was honestly surprised.”Goodreads Reviewer

 

“’Gods of Chaos’ is the phenomenal second installment in a young adult paranormal series.”Stephanie, A Dream Within A Dream

 

“There are many twists and turns in this book. The ending was totally unexpected and completely epic.” Intellectual Vixens

 

about-the-author

 

Jen McConnel

Jen McConnel now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. When she isn’t crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches writing composition at a community college. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

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Super Middle Grade Mondays Blitz: Author Spotlight @SteveBryant52 with Giveaway #SuperMGMondays

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Welcome to this week’s Super Middle Grade Mondays Book Blitz
presented by Tantrum Books/Month9books!

Today, we get up close and personal with

Steve Bryant

author of Lucas Mackenzie and the London Midnight Ghost Show
from Tantrum Books.

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

 

Steve Bryant

Steve Bryant is a new novelist, but a veteran author of books of card tricks. He founded a 40+ page monthly internet magazine for magicians containing news, reviews, magic tricks, humor, and fiction; and he frequently contributes biographical cover articles to the country’s two leading magic journals (his most recent article was about the séance at Hollywood’s Magic Castle).

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Middle School Thoughts

 

What is your favorite memory from school?

My favorite memory from middle school days was spending time at Verble’s Café, a hangout run by a classmate’s mom. It had snacks and a juke box, and we learned to slow dance with the girls we had grown up with, to songs by Johnny Mathis and Jimmy Clanton.

What is something you know now that you wish you knew in middle school?

I know to have paid attention to everyone, especially the shy or quiet kids who often turned out to be special adults. The most important was that girl with the blond ponytail, a seventh grader when I was an eighth. I eventually married her, but I hate it that we wasted what might have been an amazing school year.

Tell us your favorite book when you were in middle school.

I loved all the so-called Robert A. Heinlein juveniles, such as Time for the Stars and Tunnel in the Sky. If you had asked me then, I would have said I liked them because I liked science fiction. Years later I realized that I liked them because Heinlein always pitted boys and girls together against formidable odds, and romance ensued. I have always remembered to make romance a key part of any stories I write.

What was your favorite subject in school?

I equally liked math, because I was good at it, and English, because I loved it. All those books and poems were written for our entertainment. My eighth-grade English teacher lived to be 103, and to the end she would admonish us for spelling or grammar errors.

Any advice for kids heading back to school?

Enjoy every day. Middle school was my favorite time ever. Keep a diary or journal, and write down each night what you appreciated about that day. Even better, use your iPhone and take lots of photos and videos. How I would love to have those from my school days!

 

Lucas-Cover

Lucas Mackenzie has got the best job of any 10 year old boy. He travels from city-to-city as part of the London Midnight Ghost Show, scaring unsuspecting show-goers year round. Performing comes naturally to Lucas and the rest of the troupe, who’ve been doing it for as long as Lucas can remember.

But there’s something Lucas doesn’t know.

Like the rest of Luca’s friends, he’s dead. And for some reason, Lucas can’t remember his former life, his parents or friends. Did he go to school? Have a dog? Brothers and sisters?

If only he could recall his former life, maybe even reach out to his parents, haunt them.

When a ghost hunter determines to shut the show down, Lucas realizes the life he has might soon be over. And without a connection to his family, he will have nothing. There’s little time and Lucas has much to do. Can he win the love of Columbine, the show’s enchanting fifteen-year-old mystic? Can he outwit the forces of life and death that thwart his efforts to find his family?

Keep the lights on! Lucas Mackenzie’s coming to town.

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M9B Friday Reveal: Cover Reveal – Return of the Jed (DEAD JED 3) by @Scott_Craven2 with Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals

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Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!

This week, we are revealing the cover for

Return of the Jed (DEAD JED 3) by Scott Craven

presented by Month9Books!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

 

Dead Jed 3.Ebook

With seventh grade behind him, Jed jumps at the opportunity to spend the summer in Mexico with his dad. But there’s just one catch: Luke and Tread get to tag along.

In Mexico, fitting in might be easier than Jed imagined, with holidays such as Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Here, a rising 8th grade zombie boy and his zombie dog won’t draw that much attention.

But then Tread unwittingly sets off Mexico’s Chupacabra Defense Network and Jed accidentally collides with a bus. So much for blending in. The unusual pair catch the eye of a professional wrestler, who challenges Jed to a fight!

Their antics manage to capture the attention of a doctor whose knowledge of the undead causes Jed to question his very existence. Is this the answer Jed’s been hoping for since his parents sat him down for the “you’re a zombie” talk? Jed may have finally found a way to be normal, but at what cost?

Dead Jed: Return of the Jed is book 3 in Scott Craven’s humorous and heartwarming series about surviving middle school, fitting in, and embracing one’s differences – even if you are a zombie.

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Return of the Jed (Dead Jed 3) by Scott Craven
Publication Date: December 15, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books

Chapters | Kobo | TBD

 

About-the-Author

 

Scott-Craven

Proud graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, have one son who will turn 18 in March 2013, now a features writer for The Arizona Republic.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter

 

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M9B Two for Thursday Book Blitz: My Sister’s Reaper and My Tethered Soul by @DorothyDreyer with Giveaway #T4T @chapterxchapter @Month9Books @tantrumbooks

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Welcome to this week’s Two for Thursday Book Blitz #T4T
presented by Month9books/Tantrum Books!

Today, we will be showcasing two titles that may tickle your fancy,
and we’ll share what readers have to say about these titles!

You just might find your next read!

This week, #T4T presents to you:

The Reaper’s Rite series by Dorothy Dreyer!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

 

My Sister's Reaper

Sixteen-year-old Zadie’s first mistake was telling the boy she liked she could bring her dead sister back to life. Her second mistake was actually doing it.

When Zadie accidentally messes with the Reaper’s Rite that should have claimed her sister Mara, things go horribly wrong. Mara isn’t the same anymore—Zadie isn’t even sure she’s completely human, and to top it off, a Reaper is determined to collect Mara’s soul no matter what. Now Zadie must figure out how to defeat her sister’s Reaper, or let Mara die … this time for good.

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WHAT READER’S ARE SAYING:

 

I felt that the author did a great job with her character developement. She was very vivid in her details and I felt like they were people I would meet on the street.” – Michelle, Goodreads Reviewer

 

“My Sister’s Reaper was a great paranormal, YA novel. Dreyer did an awesome job at creating Zadie’s linage and having it make complete sense.”Tyler, Jolley Chronicles

 

“Okay, reapers, zombies, and death? Yeah, I was definitely reading this one.” – Kelly Hashway, Author

 

My Tethered Soul

Months have passed since Zadie faced her sister’s Reaper, during which time she’s been under her mentor’s magical protection. But now that she’s turning 17, that protection is about to run out. When dark forces lure Zadie to wander at night, she’s manipulated into committing unspeakable acts. With her friends and family at risk, Zadie must try to use her powers to break free from the Reaper’s grasp, or surrender to the Reaper’s Rite, which can only lead to death.

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WHAT READER’S ARE SAYING:

 

“The series is magnificent and should be on the best sellers list!!”Holly, Author

 

“Dorothy Dreyer continues the fast-paced, heart pounding journey she started in My Sister’s Reaper, delivering a YA paranormal romance filled with believable characters battling unbelievable odds.”Katie, Author

 

“Ms. Dreyer has upped the ante in terms of characterization, suspense, some down-right spooky scenes, and a playful sense of humor, particularly in the dialogue between her teen protagonists.” Stuart, Author

 

about-the-author

 

Dorothy Dreyer

Dorothy Dreyer has always believed in magic. Born in Angeles City, Philippines, to a Filipino mother and American Father, Dorothy grew up a military brat, living in Massachusetts, South Dakota, Guam, New Jersey, and New York. She now lives in Frankfurt, Germany, with her husband, two teens, and two Siberian huskies. Dorothy not only writes books with some element of magic in them, but has a fondness for reading those kinds of books as well. She also enjoys movies, chocolate, take-out, and spending time with family and friends. She’s known to make a pretty sweet cupcake when she has the time. She also tends to sing sometimes, so keep her away from your Karaoke bars.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

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Middle Grade Mondays Blitz: Author Spotlight – Vanessa Barger with Giveaway #MGMondays

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Welcome to the first Official Middle Grade Mondays Book Blitz #MGMondays
presented by Tantrum Books/Month9books!

Today, we get up close and personal in a “Would You Rather” Q & A with

Vanessa Barger

author of the upcoming book, Super Freak, from Tantrum Books.

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Vanessa Barger was born in West Virginia, and through several moves ended up spending the majority of her life in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is a graduate of George Mason University and Old Dominion University, and has degrees in Graphic Design, a minor in Medieval and Renaissance Literature, and a Masters in Technology Education. She has had articles published in Altered Arts Magazine, has had some artwork displayed in galleries in Ohio and online, and currently teaches engineering, practical physics, drafting and other technological things to high school students in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She is a member of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), the Virginia Writer’s Club, and the Hampton Roads Writers. When not writing or teaching, she’s a bookaholic, movie fanatic, and loves to travel. She is married to a fabulous man, and has one cat, who believes Vanessa lives only to open cat food cans, and can often be found baking when she should be editing.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest |YouTube

 

Would You Rather…

Would you rather never be able to speak again or always have to say everything that is on your mind?
Oh, probably never be able to speak again. I could learn sign language, but people REALLY don’t want me to say whatever I’m thinking all the time. That would get me in so, so much trouble.

Would you rather be able to read or be able to read minds (but be illiterate)?
Definitely would rather be able to read. Reading minds is cool and everything, but never be able to read a book? No way!

Would you rather be able to speak fluently every language in the world or be the best in the world at something of your choosing?
This one is tough. I think I’d rather be able to speak fluently in every language. I mean, think of what kind of traveling you could do! You’d never need to worry about what you’re eating, or how to ask for directions, or anything like that. It would be pretty fantastic!

Would you rather read only one book over and over for the rest of your life or read as many as you want but never remember what they’re about?
Hmmmmm… I think I’m going with as many as I want. I suppose if I never remember what they’re about it might be sad, but I wouldn’t know that, because it would be a new book every time! One book would get really boring, I think.

Would you rather only the first page of a book or the last page?
The first page. There are so many more possibilities you can come up with if you’re given the question. When you’re given the answer, you’re limited, because you already know where you’re going.

Would you rather read 5 pages per day or 5 books per week?
5 books per week. No question. Then maybe I’d FINALLY get through my “to-read” list!

Would you rather read only one genre forever or never read the same genre more than once?
Ooooo…. Another hard one. I think I’d rather read one genre forever. There are lots of books in each genre, but if I could only read one from each genre ever, I’d quickly run out of genres and books.

Would you rather be invisible or be able to read minds?
Read minds. Hands down. Know what you’re thinking? That has such possibilities…..

Would you rather never use the internet again or never watch TV again?
Never watch TV. But this is a cop out, lol. You can watch many things on the internet, and I don’t watch much TV as it is!

Would you rather have one wish granted today or three granted in 10 years?
Three in 10 years. My wish today might not be a good one. But the other way, I’d have some space in between to think about things and try to make a good one.

Would you rather know it all or have it all?
Knowing things is fabulous. But being rich has its perks…… I can learn things, so what the heck, let’s go with have it all. After all, people don’t like a know it all. 😉

Super-Freak-Cover

Thirteen-year-old Caroline is a freak. Her parents have uprooted her to a town full of Supernaturals. You’d think she’d be thrilled. But, with someone without a magical bone in her body, this daughter of tree sprites feels like even more of an outcast than she has ever before.

To make matters worse, her new home is cursed. But when Caroline takes to investigating the mysterious and strange happenings of Harridan House, her BFF goes missing. Seems someone doesn’t want Caroline sticking her non-magical nose where it most certainly does not belong. Determined to prove herself, Caroline uncovers a plot to destroy her new hometown.

Undeterred, Caroline can’t give up. But what’s a human without magical powers to do? Caroline better figure it out fast, before she loses everything she has ever loved and the whispers she’s heard all her life prove true: Caroline is a useless superfreak.

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Super Freak by Vanessa Barger
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Publisher: Tantrum Books
Genre: MG, Fantasy

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M9B Friday Reveal: Chapter Reveal – Super Freak by Vanessa Barger with Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals

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Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!

This week, we are revealing CHAPTER ONE of

Super Freak by Vanessa Barger

an MG title presented by Tantrum Books!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

 

Super Freak

 

Thirteen-year-old Caroline is a freak. Her parents have uprooted her to a town full of Supernaturals. You’d think she’d be thrilled. But, with someone without a magical bone in her body, this daughter of tree sprites feels like even more of an outcast than she has ever before.

To make matters worse, her new home is cursed. But when Caroline takes to investigating the mysterious and strange happenings of Harridan House, her BFF goes missing. Seems someone doesn’t want Caroline sticking her non-magical nose where it most certainly does not belong. Determined to prove herself, Caroline uncovers a plot to destroy her new hometown.

Undeterred, Caroline can’t give up. But what’s a human without magical powers to do? Caroline better figure it out fast, before she loses everything she has ever loved and the whispers she’s heard all her life prove true: Caroline is a useless superfreak.

add to goodreads

Super Freak by Vanessa Barger
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Publisher: Tantrum Books
Genre: MG, Fantasy

BAM | Chapters | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

 

excerpt

 

Chapter One

Twenty-five feet into town. That’s as far as we got before the first disaster happened. Dad turned onto Main Street, and just as we pulled up next to Greywolfe’s Spells and Supplies, a huge puff of smoke and flame burst from the front doors. Shattered glass and a large, hairy man shot into the path of our over-packed SUV.
Dad slammed his foot down on the brakes and jerked the wheel to the left, throwing us around the inside of the car. In the back, I covered my head, expecting the piles of wedged boxes to topple over, burying me in an avalanche of dishes and teddy bears.
“Caroline! Are you all right?” Mom reached into the back seat, her horn-rimmed glasses dangling from one ear.
“I’m good. Did we hit him?” I craned my neck, looking to see out the front window. Dad unbuckled and leapt from the car to help the man who had flown in the road to his feet.
“I think he’s fine. You’d think he’d at least have the decency to let out a warning before coming out like that. He could have been killed! We could have been hurt! Dishes might have fallen on you and broken!”
I rolled my eyes. The dishes would be a high priority.
Mom shook her head, letting loose a shower of tiny green leaves. It always happened when she was stressed. Dryads weren’t really known for their calm temperaments. You’d think, being tree spirits, they’d have that stoic thing going for them. Maybe it was because Mom was a weeping willow, but calm wasn’t really part of her vocabulary. Dad on the other hand, was solid as an oak.
Because he was an oak. After unhooking my seatbelt, I slid from the car. Mom followed suit. Her lips compressed into a tight line and she shed another couple handfuls of leaves, but for the moment, she contained herself.
Dad stood, tall and wiry, one arm hooked around a large, barrel-chested man with more facial hair than I’d seen in my life. Had to be a werewolf. He pulled away from my dad and brushed at the gravel and purple residue covering his gray suit.
“Thank you, Mr. …” The stranger held out one hand to my dad.
“George Bennings,” Dad said, shaking the stranger’s hand. “And this is my wife, Grace, and our daughter, Caroline. We just moved here from Lost Creek.”
“My name is William Grouseman. I’m thrilled you’ve come to town, but glad you didn’t pull in a few moments sooner.”
I wanted to warn him that sarcasm was lost on my parents, but he seemed to get the message when they didn’t share in his chuckle. They exchanged a confused glance and smiled blankly at him.
He offered his hand to me and I shook it. “Nice to meet you, sir.”
He frowned, looking between my parents and then back at me.
Mom’s arm curved around my shoulder, nudging me forward. She sniffed. “She’s just a late bloomer. We’ve got great hopes for her future.”
I sighed. She meant well, but it never failed. Supernatural people could sense the paranormal on each other. But when they got to me there was nothing. A void. A great, empty space where everyone expected some sort of natural magic.
The supernatural had been the normal since 1978 when an explorer by the name of Albert Merriweather stumbled into a cave in Greece and found Pandora’s Box, and then opened it. Apparently the myths about the box were off a little. Instead of holding all the evils of the world, it held all the magic that had been pulled out of it. Releasing magic out into the world, well, now every person was a little bit paranormal. It didn’t mean everyone could cast a spell or levitate. But everyone had something. Kids were tested in elementary school.
The ones with lots of magic were usually the popular crowd. The rest of the population lived with it, picking up what they could, where they could. You could ask to be retested anytime. Sometimes people really did make progress.
Except me. I hadn’t just tested low, I’d flunked. So badly they brought in national analysts to make sure there wasn’t someone tampering with the tests. It was a relief really. I mean, my parents were powerful. Who wants to try and beat that?
My lack of powers drove my parents batty. Most people figured I was adopted. Two dryads–tree spirits who could change shape, manipulate the natural world, and talk to trees–produced a normal child? Impossible.
My parents were convinced I would show signs as I matured. I didn’t have the heart to tell them differently, but I really didn’t think it would ever happen. And that was fine by me. Magic was great–when it worked.
Maybe when I turned forty my parents would figure it out. Until then, I’d smile and nod when they gave me their speech about reaching my potential and discovering hidden talents.
I met Mr. Grouseman’s chocolate eyes and gave him a weak smile before he turned to my parents.
“Ah, well, it happens sometimes. If anyone can draw out her gift, it’s our teaching staff at the school. I’m the principal at Stein Middle School.” His eyes moved from them to me. I wished I were small and hidden under a rock. “You look like you’re about middle-school age. What grade will you be in?”
I swallowed. This was not how I planned to meet the school principal. “I’m supposed to start eighth this year.”
“I thought so. You’ll love the school. Excellent courses and teachers, and the students are some of the best.”
Just like every other school I’d been to. They always said that. It must be in a rulebook principals get when they start their jobs. Luckily, that was the end of his conversation with me. He told my parents where the school was, and what the summer office hours were, then waved at us as he headed back into the shop.
Mom raised a tentative finger and cleared her throat. “Are you certain it’s safe to go back in?”
Mr. Grouseman loosed a deep peal of laughter. “Of course! My nephew runs the store. What you saw was an accident when a new display tipped over. Have a great day!”
I didn’t buy his story, and I didn’t think Mom and Dad did either. But clearly he wasn’t going to share family quarrels with the new people in town. With a shrug, I climbed back into the car, put my cryptogram book away, and watched the town unfold outside my windows. The buildings wound around a central park with huge old-growth trees and the county buildings were the same as they’d been when the town was founded in the seventeenth century. My Dad gave me tidbits about the history of Hecate Bay for the last two weeks, trying to pump up my anticipation. History was one passion Dad and I shared.
Spell suppliers, voodoo parlors, psychic readers, and magical bookstores rubbed elbows with Food Lion, florists, and churches. The human and the paranormal had merged and become just like the country–an inseparable mix.
We headed for our new house. As we turned away from town, the library caught my attention. A huge stone building that, based on the size, I knew held thousands of books. I started to drool at the prospect. As I watched the people wandering down the street, and we passed another spell shop and magical supply store, my excitement began to fade. I thought about what I’d seen so far, the encounter with my new principal, and the new school year approaching, and my stomach churned with dread. I knew that no matter what, Hecate Bay wasn’t the restful small town my parents told me about. I’d hoped for one of those rare towns populated with only a few magical creatures and big magical talents. This place, well, I could practically taste the magic in the air.
I was doomed.

 

About-the-Author

Vanessa Barger was born in West Virginia, and through several moves ended up spending the majority of her life in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is a graduate of George Mason University and Old Dominion University, and has degrees in Graphic Design, a minor in Medieval and Renaissance Literature, and a Masters in Technology Education. She has had articles published in Altered Arts Magazine, has had some artwork displayed in galleries in Ohio and online, and currently teaches engineering, practical physics, drafting and other technological things to high school students in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She is a member of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), the Virginia Writer’s Club, and the Hampton Roads Writers. When not writing or teaching, she’s a bookaholic, movie fanatic, and loves to travel. She is married to a fabulous man, and has one cat, who believes Vanessa lives only to open cat food cans, and can often be found baking when she should be editing.

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