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M9B Two for Thursday Book Blitz: The Night House by Rachel Tafoya and The Emissary by Kristal Shaff with Giveaway #T4T

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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 Night House by Rachel Tafoya and
The Emissary by Kristal Shaff!

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

 

The Night House_Final

Bianca St. Germain works at a Night House, a place where vampires like the aristocratic Jeremiah Archer, pay to feed on humans, and she doesn’t much care what others think of her. The money is good, and at least there, she’s safe. Bianca also doesn’t care that the Night House is killing her. All she cares about is: nauth, the highly addictive poison in vampire bites that brings a euphoria like no drug ever could.

But when Bianca meets James, a reclusive empath who feels everything she does, for the first time, she considers a life outside of the Night House and a someone worth living for. But Jeremiah has decided to keep Bianca for himself; he won’t allow her to walk away.

As she allows her feelings for James to grow, she struggles to contain nauth’s strong hold on her life. If they are to have a future, James must make her see what she’s worth, what she means to him, before Jeremiah and nauth claim her for good.

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WHAT READER’S ARE SAYING:

 

“This is not your usual vampire book. The inceptions and the mystery messed with my head and I loved every moment of it. ”Paula, Her Book Thoughts

 

“Rachel Tafoya brought vampires back to life for me, made them mysterious and intriguing again.”Jaime, The Best Books Ever

 

“I found Rachel Tafoya’s debut to be an entertaining read with a unique plot, super interesting world, and great character development! I found myself thoroughly immersed in the world of The Night House.” – Jessica, Jessabella Reads

about-the-author

Rachel Tafoya studied creative writing while at Solebury School and was published in their student run literary magazine, SLAM. She attended a writing program for teens at both Susquehanna University and Denison University, and the Experimental Writing for Teens class and Novels for Young Writers program, both run by NY Times bestselling author, Jonathan Maberry. Rachel is the daughter crime author Dennis Tafoya.

Connect with the Author: Tumbler | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

The Emissary

For hundreds of years, dark clouds covered the skies of Adamah, and an ageless king ruled. Those who emerged with one of six extraordinary Shay powers were forced into the king’s army, an unmatched force with inhuman Strength, Speed, Accuracy, Perception, Empathy, and Healing. With the army at his side, the king—a man who wields all six abilities—was invincible and unquestioned in his rule. To most, serving the king was an honor. And for some, it was a fate worse than death.

When seventeen-year-old Nolan Trividar witnesses the transformation of his brother from kind to cruel after entering the king’s army, he vows never to follow the same path. So when his own power—the Shay of Accuracy—comes upon him at the Tournament of Awakening, Nolan conceals his emergence instead of joining the king’s ranks. For years, he traitorously hides his power, pretending to be a gifted scribe. But when Nolan comes face-to-face with a deserter, the man discovers his secret. To evade detection and a death sentence, Nolan escapes with the deserter and flees into a night filled with dark creatures who steal both powers and souls.

Nolan joins a resistance, a village hidden deep in the forest, filled with others who secretly wield a Shay. But his peace is short lived when they discover that the dark clouds, the undead creatures, their own decreasing powers, and even the king, are all connected.

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WHAT READER’S ARE SAYING:

 

If you like super powers/magic, character development, and reading on the edge of your seat then I highly recommend this book to you!” – Aisazia, Originique Quanimity

 

“It’s a great YA fantasy book with all the things that make for a memorable high fantasy.”Ashley, The A P Book Club

 

“Between the magical elements, the rebellion against a psychotically evil king, the group of rebels who band together to become a family of sorts who fight and sacrifice for each other, amazing fighting scenes, truly creepy zombie-like creatures who add even more danger to the game, and even a bit of romance, this definitely goes on my “must read” list – I highly recommend!” – Michelle McLean, Author

 

about-the-author

 

Kristal Shaff

 

Kristal Shaff grew up with books (and used to drive her mom crazy when she wouldn’t leave the library); her first job was even shelving books at the library. She loves anything creative, and you can often find her exploring strange and fantastical worlds in her choices of movies and fantasy fiction. Kristal resides in Iowa with her farmer husband, numerous pets, and 3 awesome kids (plus one more on the way though the journey of adoption). When she isn’t writing, she is a professional face painter who enjoys making children smile.

Author Links: 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.

add to goodreads

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

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Middle Grade Mondays: Strange Country Day by Charles Curtis #MGMondays

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Welcome to Middle Grade Mondays!

This week, we are doing a featured spotlight on

Strange Country Day by Charles Curtis

an MG title presented by Tantrum Books!

 

SCD-Quote-#5

 

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

 

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Strange-Country-Day-Cover

 

Alexander Graham Ptuiac, the son of an inventor, wants to play for the school’s football team. During tryouts, and under the watchful eye of the team’s coach, he suddenly manifests mysterious superhuman powers. Alexander makes the team, but not before the some ill-intended adults take notice, putting his life in danger.

Alex struggles to suppress and control his strange new abilities, worried about exposing his secret and being kicked off the football team. Then he befriends Dex, a diminutive classmate who can somehow jump as high as ten feet in the air. Seems Alex isn’t the only one at school with a secret.

As the school year unfolds, Alex will find himself the target of bullies, holding hands with his first crush and discovering the shocking truth about himself and his parents.

add to goodreads

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

 

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About-the-Author2

 

Charles Curtis

 

Charles Curtis is a writer and journalist based in New York City. He has reported and written for publications including NJ.com (where he is currently the site’s sports buzz reporter), The Daily, ESPN.com, ESPN the Magazine, Bleacher Report, TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly. Charles has covered the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, golf, tennis and NASCAR. He has also written about television, film and pop culture.

In addition, Curtis has also written, produced and was featured in videos for ESPN.com and The Daily. He has made radio appearances on stations including 92.9 The Ticket in Bangor, Maine, WLIE 540 AM in Long Island and on morning shows across Canada via the CBC.
He can be reached on Twitter: @charlescurtis82.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

 

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M9B Friday Reveal: Cover 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 the cover for

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

 

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.

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

 

Giveaway

 

Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!

Titles not yet released will be upon its publication.

 

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M9B Friday Reveal: Tantrum Books – 2015 Releases with Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals

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Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!

This week, we are revealing

Tantrum Books – 2015 Releases

presented by Tantrum Books/Month9Books!

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

TTT-Cover

Three brothers born to a powerful fallen king were abandoned at birth and cast out as orphans. By order of the false king, three of the most lethal assassins have been sent to kill the children before they come of age and plot to avenge their father’s throne. No one knows where the children are, and the children have no knowledge of one another. But that all changes when Benjamin, Tommy, and Sebastian join together to face adversity, an unspeakable evil, and the temptations of magical powers. This is the first installment of an exciting children’s fantasy series about the power of family.

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

About-the-Author

Michael-Gibney-194x300

Born in Belfast, Ireland, in 1982, Michael Gibney is a writer whose interests in world politics, literature and the love of film encouraged him to do his studies at the early age of sixteen within the media and journalism field. Through his studies at college and the BBC, he developed an instant passion for creative writing that exceeded his love for media, art and music. Taking his influences from Irish writers like W. B. Yeats, and Belfast Born writers such as author C.S. Lewis and lyricist and poet Van Morrison, Gibney’s somewhat emotionally-charged storytelling is derived from his personal heroes and experiences in his own childhood having grown up in Belfast during the country’s dark history. Combining these influences with recent testing times of the world we live in today has helped create the world of Abasin that is introduced in The Three Thorns, his debut novel and first story in the epic The Brotherhood and the Shield Series. In addition to having a strong way with words and using descriptive text to captivate readers, (both young and old), Gibney combines fantasy with horror and pure escapism to strive to make his story as original and unique as possible.

He spends most of his time writing and painting within the United States and the United Kingdom. He is currently working on books 4, 5 and 6 of The Brotherhood and the Shield Series.

Connect with the Author: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Joshua-Cover

Stay away from the window, don’t go outside when it’s storming and whatever you do, do not touch the orb.

Twelve-year-old Joshua Cooper’s grandpa has always warned him about the dangers of lightning. But Joshua never put much stock in his grandpa’s rumblings as anything more than the ravings of an old man with a vast imagination. Then one night, when Joshua and his best friend are home alone during a frightful storm, Joshua learns his grandpa was right. A bolt of lightning strikes his house and whisks away his best friend—possibly forever.

To get him back, Joshua must travel the Lightning Road to a dark place that steals children for energy. But getting back home and saving his friend won’t be easy, as Joshua must face the terrifying Child Collector and fend off ferocious and unnatural beasts intent on destroying him.

In this world, Joshua possesses powers he never knew he had, and soon, Joshua’s mission becomes more than a search for his friend. He means to send all the stolen children home—and doing so becomes the battle of his life.

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About-the-Author

Donna Galanti

Donna is the author of the Joshua and The Lightning Road series and the Element Trilogy. She is a contributing editor to International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill magazine and blogs at www.project-middle-grade-mayhem.blogs…, a cooperative of published middle grade authors. Visit her at www.donnagalanti.com andwww.ElementTrilogy.com. Donna wanted to be a writer ever since she wrote a murder mystery screenplay at seven and acted it out with the neighborhood kids. She attended an English school housed in a magical castle, where her wild imagination was held back only by her itchy uniform (bowler hat and tie included!). There she fell in love with the worlds of C.S. Lewis and Roald Dahl, and wrote her first fantasy about Dodo birds, wizards, and a flying ship (and has been writing fantasy ever since). She’s lived in other exotic locations, including her family-owned campground in New Hampshire and in Hawaii where she served as a U.S. Navy photographer. She now lives with her family and two crazy cats in an old farmhouse and dreams of returning one day to a castle.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram | YouTube

Strange-Country-Day-Cover

Alexander Graham Ptuiac, the son of an inventor, wants to play for the school’s football team. During tryouts, and under the watchful eye of the team’s coach, he suddenly manifests mysterious superhuman powers. Alexander makes the team, but not before the some ill-intended adults take notice, putting his life in danger.

Alex struggles to suppress and control his strange new abilities, worried about exposing his secret and being kicked off the football team. Then he befriends Dex, a diminutive classmate who can somehow jump as high as ten feet in the air. Seems Alex isn’t the only one at school with a secret.

As the school year unfolds, Alex will find himself the target of bullies, holding hands with his first crush and discovering the shocking truth about himself and his parents.

add to goodreads

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

About-the-Author

Charles Curtis

Charles Curtis is a writer and journalist based in New York City. He has reported and written for publications including NJ.com (where he is currently the site’s sports buzz reporter), The Daily, ESPN.com, ESPN the Magazine, Bleacher Report, TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly. Charles has covered the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, golf, tennis and NASCAR. He has also written about television, film and pop culture.

In addition, Curtis has also written, produced and was featured in videos for ESPN.com and The Daily. He has made radio appearances on stations including 92.9 The Ticket in Bangor, Maine, WLIE 540 AM in Long Island and on morning shows across Canada via the CBC.
He can be reached on Twitter: @charlescurtis82.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


Super Freak by Vanessa Barger

TBComingSoonCover

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 goodreadsComing October 2015

TBD

About-the-Author

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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) and the Virginia Writer’s Club. When not writing or teaching, she’s a bookaholic, movie fanatic, and loves to travel. She 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

Giveaway


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M9B Friday Reveal: Chapter One of Strange Country Day by Charles Curtis with Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals

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Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!

This week, we are revealing THE FIRST CHAPTER of

Strange Country Day by Charles Curtis

presented by Tantrum Books!

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

Strange-Country-Day-Cover

Alexander Graham Ptuiac, the son of an inventor, wants to play for the school’s football team. During tryouts, and under the watchful eye of the team’s coach, he suddenly manifests mysterious superhuman powers. Alexander makes the team, but not before the some ill-intended adults take notice, putting his life in danger.

Alex struggles to suppress and control his strange new abilities, worried about exposing his secret and being kicked off the football team. Then he befriends Dex, a diminutive classmate who can somehow jump as high as ten feet in the air. Seems Alex isn’t the only one at school with a secret.

As the school year unfolds, Alex will find himself the target of bullies, holding hands with his first crush and discovering the shocking truth about himself and his parents.

add to goodreads

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

CHAPTER ONE

You always hope your first day of school is uneventful. You lay low, you blend into the background, and you make it through without doing something that’ll get you tormented for an entire year.
That didn’t happen in my first few hours at Strange Country Day.
Here’s what did happen: just as I was about to be demolished by an elephant-sized bully named Flab, some superhuman power possessed me and I bloodied his nose. Another new kid named Dex escaped an ancient initiation ceremony by clambering up a bookcase like a mountain goat. That night, I played catch with a football-hurling robot.
That was Day One. A week later, I started crushing on the prettiest girl I’d ever seen.
Wait. I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start from the beginning:
I stood at the front gates to Vance M. Strange Country Day School, staring up at the name of my new school, the letters set high above a set of iron bars that looked as if they had been there for centuries. The curlicues and script looked just as ancient.
It was Orientation Day, so I wouldn’t have to sit through any classes until tomorrow. After a tour given by an upperclassman, my new prep school brought the seventh graders to our state-of-the-art auditorium, where we listened to the headmaster lecture all 110 of us about Strange Country Day’s policies. It’s exactly what you’d expect—no gum in class, no graffiti, no lateness. But there were also some weird ones, like the ten-page booklet on “uniform violations.”
Oh, the uniforms. I couldn’t believe my parents made me go to a school with a strict dress code. I looked down at what I was wearing and winced: a button-down white shirt with a yellow tie—not a clipon, so we had to learn to tie a Double Windsor knot, whatever that was—that felt like it was choking me. I also sported tight khakis and brown, shiny loafers. The whole thing wouldn’t be complete without the navy blazer with the school emblem, a griffin—the mythological lion with wings—and words displayed below “Vance M. Strange Country Day School, est. 1904” above the front gate: In Via Incipit Hic.
I used my phone to look up the meaning: “The Road Starts Here” in Latin. My new school was some rich kids’ academy past presidents had attended, where future Wall Street barons first learned the quadratic equation and where I’d now start myself on the supposed road to greatness.
That road was real—it weaved through the gigantic campus. The school consisted of a dozen ivy-covered buildings spread out over a campus that spanned what looked like miles. Walking from the art building to where I was supposed to take history would take at least ten minutes, or so our tour guide warned us. I could see different trees planted everywhere with plaques describing them and what seemed like acres of neatly trimmed grass. My old school back home had been one small, cramped brick building with a slab of concrete out back that we played on during recess.
With the half-day orientation over, we headed for the front gate, where the buses would pick us up. I looked at the other kids in their uniforms and saw them joking around and greeting each other with complex handshakes, as if they were a basketball team after a playoff win. I heard nearly everyone entering seventh grade had graduated from Strange Lower School, so they all knew each other already. I wanted to introduce myself to someone, just so I wouldn’t feel awkward, but they passed me as if I were invisible. I turned back around to confront those iron gates, realizing that they were a jail from which I couldn’t escape.
I felt a heavy hand on my shoulder. I turned around to look up at a big kid wearing a maroon and yellow jacket with a giant version of the griffin on it. I could see a jersey with the number 77 underneath.
“Come with me—with them,” he said, pointing at a group of seventh grade boys.
We were led down a walkway, ushered inside one of the buildings and into a classroom. When the big guy opened the creaky windowless door, I saw most of my other male classmates. They all had the same fear written on their faces. We were surrounded by bigger guys—ninth graders, probably. Some of them were football players. A few more kids were squeezed in, and the “guards” shut the door. In front of the room, standing over us, was another player in a maroon and yellow jacket. He was the biggest guy in the room, hefty, but you could see it wasn’t all fat.
“Welcome to Fresh Meet Friday!” the enormous kid announced. The other ninth graders whooped and hollered. “Boys, since you’re about to join the Strange brotherhood, you can call me what everyone calls me: Flab.” That’s the worst name I’ve ever heard for someone that size.
“This is all about tradition, boys. Strange Country Day is filled with tradition. For starters, you are standing in the oldest building on campus, built in 1904. Three years later, this tradition began right here in the Roger Basil Thayer Room.” Strange alumni donated heaps of cash to have a room, a library desk, a water fountain, anything, named after them.
“Here’s how this works: you will stand in front of the room and pledge allegiance to Strange Country Day. Only then will we tell you the next step.” Flab paused for dramatic effect, and his classmates asked, almost in unison, “And what’s that?”
“ … You’ll find out soon enough,” he said, with a big grin.
We seventh graders exchanged looks but stayed silent. Flab explained the rules of the mysterious tradition: in exchange for our participation, they would agree to stay out of our way the rest of the year. Violations of this pact would result in punishment to the violator(s) and random acts against other classmates throughout the school year. We were not allowed to breathe a word of this to our parents, teachers, advisors, bus drivers, or otherwise at school. “We went through the same thing you’re about to go through, and not one of us retaliated,” he said as the mob nodded approval. One of the other ninth-graders interjected and pointed out that he’d heard of a kid decades ago who rebelled.
“And he had to transfer two months later.”
“Fight back and you’re fighting against Strange’s hundred years of tradition,” Flab finished with a grin. He picked up a book from the nearby desk and opened it. “Let’s start with … ” he trailed his chubby fingers over the pages. My heart nearly leapt through my crisp white shirt. “ … Dex Harrison.”
No one reacted. Flab looked up. “Dex. Get up here. Now,” he said.
The seventh-grader sea parted, and a kid emerged who looked to be about five feet tall. His skin was pale, an almost grayish color, and his pointy ears appeared to be higher up on the sides of his head than usual. His eyes were like slits. I never saw anyone who looked like that. There were some snickers among my classmates as he walked slowly to the front of the room. He stood there, surrounded by four ninth graders.
“Dex, do you swear to uphold the traditions, honor, and virtue that those before you have also sworn to defend?” Flab recited.
A barely audible, high-pitched “Yes” came out of Dex’s mouth. He scrunched up his eyes. “You have now joined the brotherhood of Strange Country Day,” Flab said, as he leaned back to watch the action.
As the quartet of ninth-graders began to move toward him, Dex jumped away. They tried stepping closer, but Dex kept backing away. The entire room, seventh and ninth graders alike, gasped. Some of us started laughing.
“Shut up!” Flab yelled. He slammed his fist down on the desk and marched over to Dex. “Don’t make this harder on yourself. You took the vow; you have to fulfill it.”
Flab and the others reached out to grab him, but Dex somehow eluded their grasps. He backed away as some of the seventh graders began to root him on. The others yelled for Dex to stop, knowing we would all suffer if he messed up the tradition. The noise in the classroom got louder. Dex backed into a bookcase filled with dusty volumes; he looked like he was about to be trapped. Just as Flab was ready to pounce on him, Dex darted up the bookcase with lightning speed. The roar was huge.
Dex had a weird way of celebrating his victory—he bared a set of sharp teeth and hissed at his pursuers, who grabbed books off the shelves and threw them at him. With incredible dexterity, he dodged every one of them, repeatedly displaying his spiky teeth at the ninth graders. That brought the room to a fever pitch.
The older kids began to shove some of us to stop the cheering. It was the beginning of a riot … and I was stuck in the middle of it. I tried to push my way back to the door.
There was no way that was happening—I felt shoves from behind. Sweat began pouring down my face as I saw Flab turn his attention away from Dex, who looked down at the action with a mix of horror and fascination. “Everyone stop!” Flab shouted. The seventh graders didn’t listen, pushing every kid in a football jersey they could see. I was shoved into Flab’s expansive back and stumbled back. As he turned to look at me, something, well, strange happened at Strange. Something that had never happened to me before today.
My vision got blurry, and my head began to pound. I smelled toasted marshmallows. Then it was like someone poured water through my veins, and it rushed through my arms, down to my feet and into my head, which stopped pounding. I couldn’t hear any of the noise of the chaos around me. Instead, a highpitched whistle took its place.
Squeeeeeeeee
Then it disappeared—the marshmallows, the water in my veins, the blurry vision … everything.
I watched as if detached from my body as my fist flew toward the behemoth standing before me and connected with his nose.
The entire room stopped moving. Silence. Shock. I looked down at my fist and back up at Flab, who stumbled and touched his bleeding nose. He couldn’t believe what I had done and neither could I.
“What the heck is going on in here?” The entire room turned its attention to the door, where a young man wearing a tie and a white shirt stood.
The man glared at us. “Anyone want to take a trip to visit Headmaster Hoyer?” It sounded like he was a teacher.
More than a hundred Strange students shook their heads in unison.
“Good. Then I’ll wait here while you clean up the mess you made, and maybe I’ll forget I saw anything.”
Silently, everyone started picking up books, papers, and uniform jackets. When we finished, the ninth-graders filed out, followed by my classmates.
“Thanks.”
I looked down at Dex. I was surprised to hear him talk. His voice was squeaky, like he’d swallowed a balloon full of helium.
“For what?”
“If you hadn’t hit him, they would have gotten me,”
“Now, it’s your turn to save me when they come to beat me up,” I said. I wasn’t kidding, either.
“Anytime,” he said with an odd grin. Up close, his teeth were even weirder, as if they were a little too big for his mouth.
“You did a pretty good job in there,” I replied. “Alex.” I offered my hand, and he shook it vigorously. His palm felt clammy.
“Dex.”
We figured out that we lived near each other, and that he was new, like me. But there was something else I was itching to know.
“How did you get up the bookcase so quickly? That was amazing!” Dex didn’t answer. Instead, his eyes got wide as he peered around me. I turned around to see Flab and a few other yellow and maroon jerseys headed our way.
Flab looked around to see if anyone was watching and then got close to me. I could see some dried blood near his nose.
With every word out of his mouth, he poked me in the chest. Hard. “You.” POKE. “Got.” POKE. “Lucky.” HARD POKE. He glanced down at his notebook.
“Alexander Ptuiac,” he growled, pronouncing what was supposed to be a silent “P” as he pushed his way past me, as did his fellow football teammates. I turned around to see what they would do to Dex as they brushed by him.
But Dex was gone.

 

About-the-Author

Charles Curtis

Charles Curtis is a writer and journalist based in New York City. He has reported and written for publications including NJ.com (where he is currently the site’s sports buzz reporter), The Daily, ESPN.com, ESPN the Magazine, Bleacher Report, TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly. Charles has covered the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, golf, tennis and NASCAR. He has also written about television, film and pop culture.
In addition, Curtis has also written, produced and was featured in videos for ESPN.com and The Daily. He has made radio appearances on stations including 92.9 The Ticket in Bangor, Maine, WLIE 540 AM in Long Island and on morning shows across Canada via the CBC.
He can be reached on Twitter: @charlescurtis82.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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M9B Friday Reveal: Author Spotlight – Charles Curtis with Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals

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Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!

This week, we are spotlighting

Charles Curtis

author of

Strange Country Days

a Middle Grade title from Tantrum Books, coming August 2015!

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

Charles Curtis

Twitter or Facebook?
I use both, but I’m plugged into Twitter every day for eight hours (I swear, it’s for my job as a sportswriter! – http://connect.nj.com/staff/CharlesCurtis/posts.html).


Favorite Superhero?

I was hooked on Wolverine as a kid. Who doesn’t love a sarcastic hero with a murky origin tale, claws and all the best one-liners?


Favorite TV show?

Current: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. All-Time: Seinfeld. Guilty Pleasure: Food Network Star


Sweet or Salty?

I will eat something sweet like a peanut butter cup and follow it up with a salty snack. It’s a yin/yang thing I started doing as a teenager.


Coke or Pepsi?

Coke and it’s not even close.


Any Phobias?

Three words: Big hairy spiders.


Song you can’t get enough of right now?

I just discovered an artist named Jacob Collier who does these incredible, mostly a cappella arrangements of songs and I’m hooked on his take on the jazz standard “Fascinating Rhythm.” Amazing! [link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K28H04Y2IdE%5D


What are you reading right now or what’s on your TBR?

I just started “The Maze Runner” and plan on reading Andy Weir’s “The Martian” next.


Fall Movie you’re most looking forward to?

I’ve watched the Star Wars trailers about 80 times each and geek out. Every. Single. Time.

Charles Curtis is a writer and journalist based in New York City. He has reported and written for publications including NJ.com (where he is currently the site’s sports buzz reporter), The Daily, ESPN.com, ESPN the Magazine, Bleacher Report, TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly. Charles has covered the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, golf, tennis and NASCAR. He has also written about television, film and pop culture.
In addition, Curtis has also written, produced and was featured in videos for ESPN.com and The Daily. He has made radio appearances on stations including 92.9 The Ticket in Bangor, Maine, WLIE 540 AM in Long Island and on morning shows across Canada via the CBC.
He can be reached on Twitter: @charlescurtis82.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Strange-Country-Day-Cover

Alexander Graham Ptuiac, the son of an inventor, wants to play for the school’s football team. During tryouts, and under the watchful eye of the team’s coach, he suddenly manifests mysterious superhuman powers. Alexander makes the team, but not before the some ill-intended adults take notice, putting his life in danger.

Alex struggles to suppress and control his strange new abilities, worried about exposing his secret and being kicked off the football team. Then he befriends Dex, a diminutive classmate who can somehow jump as high as ten feet in the air. Seems Alex isn’t the only one at school with a secret.

As the school year unfolds, Alex will find himself the target of bullies, holding hands with his first crush and discovering the shocking truth about himself and his parents.

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