Thursday, July 18, 2019

Book Blast: The Sin Soldiers by Tracy Auerbach @TracyAuerbach


The Sin Soldiers
Tracy Auerbach
(Fragments, #1)
Publication date: July 23rd 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Red compound makes them angry. Yellow exhausts them. Blue drives them into a state of ravenous addiction. The thief Kai knows about the chemically controlled soldiers of the Eastern forces and their savage, deadly nature. When a robbery attempt at Club Seven goes wrong, Kai is captured by a handler and his bestial soldier-boy. She wakes up inside the military base with no idea what happened to her twin brother, Dex.
Things go from bad to worse when Kai is started on a drug and training regimen, and forced to take injections of blue compound. The scientists in charge plan to make her into a working soldier who will mine the mysterious power crystals beneath the desert. Kai becomes a victim of the bully Finn, a handsome but nasty soldier whose years on red compound seem to have erased his humanity. Still, she begins to pity the Seven Soldiers, including the monstrous boy who tried to rip her to shreds at the club. They appear to be nothing more than genetically enhanced, drug-controlled teenagers.
On the outside, Dex and his tech-savvy boyfriend try to crack the soldiers’ chemical code to find a weakness that will break the system. But Kai has already been drawn deep into her new world. Strong feelings for the soldiers she’s come to know have started to cloud her judgment. Can she escape and find Dex without becoming a monster herself?
EXCERPT:
The strobe lights and blaring music made Kai’s pulse beat along to their frantic rhythms. She and Dex had worked for Leo before, but never on a hit this big. To steal the night’s earnings from Club Seven took more than the kind of finesse that she and her brother were famous for; it took balls. She looked over at Dex, who squatted in a small patch of shadow by the three steps leading up to the club’s first marble floor. Only he could make squatting look graceful. She strained to see him clearly while the blue-white lights flashed like a detonated bomb with a pause button. The strobes were replaced by a dim red glow, and she held up two fingers to signal the all-clear.
Dex responded instantly, their timing down to an art form. He hoisted himself onto the cold marble and did a quick military crawl to where she was lying flat on her stomach beside the liquor bar, propped on her elbows. His long, spiky hair brushed against her. He smelled like hair gel, but his closeness brought her comfort. No matter what sort of situation Kai found herself in, Dex made her feel safe. He looked up and smiled broadly, showing off teeth so bleached, they nearly glowed in the dark. She narrowed her eyes in warning, and he quickly closed his mouth. He could always tell what she was thinking. Twin power or something like that.
It was important to stay out of sight until they had scoped out the whole scene and gotten a lay of the land. The small service entrance they had used to access the club was situated directly across from the longer of two bars, which ran the length of the club on one side. This bar wrapped neatly along the perimeter, hugging the large entryway’s shiny black walls. It slunk down two steps and kept going all the way across the dance floor. With its white, rounded stone finish and polished glass casings to hold bottles upon bottles of alcohol, it looked pristine. But where Kai was lying at floor level, its façade was shattered by thick patches of dust and some unpleasant-looking stains.
The crystals that powered the club, bringing it to life in all its pulsing, deafening glory, were housed in a nest of wires under the polished stone. They glowed through a transparent square in the bar’s surface with a soft, pale light that somehow stood out even in the midst of the chaotic strobes. Those crystals were the reason this club existed. The ongoing campaign for power over those precious fragments had made Seven Soldiers necessary. Sevens were the front line of the Eastern Forces; the heavy hand that held the public in place and kept all opposition at bay. At Club Seven they were paraded around as spectacles for citizens to gawk at. Kai glanced up toward the enormous body of a soldier walking by the bar, held tightly by his handler as they shoved through the raucous crowd of inebriated revelers. He was so large, he obscured the light from reaching down to where she lay in wait.
Kai shoved herself closer to the bar as a group of giggling women approached the protruding marble above her hiding spot. They surrounded the soldier and his handler, and she squinted up to see them running their hands all over the Seven’s body before leaning close to the bartender to shout for drinks. Kai pulled her hands out of the way of their high heels as they swayed and stepped in rhythm to the hypnotic movement, gyrating against the zombie-like Seven.
Dex reached a hand into his pocket and brought out the tiny camera he treasured. The crystal shard within it was no larger than a pebble, but it had worked for years. He edged his body along the floor away from the people around them and waited for the strobes to give way to red darkness again. When they did, he launched himself from the ground to his feet, fired off a round of pictures, and sunk back down. His movements were so quick, and so well-timed with the lights, that unless one of the clubgoers or bartenders who stood mere feet away were staring straight at him, they would miss his presence completely. Kai knew that from his vantage point, the arc of his leap gave him a clear shot of the club’s raised central stage. On the dance floor, a mass of writhing bodies clamored for a better view of the soldiers above them.
Kai glanced around to make sure nobody had noticed. In the clear, she gave him a thumbs-up to take another round, this time to the left of the club stage where a smaller bar wrapped around a mirrored pole. Lastly, he took some quick shots of the right side’s wooden buffet tables and then crawled back to the shadows of the entryway steps. Kai joined him, and they opened the heavy stone door just a crack before slipping back out into the night.
“I think you got some good ones,” Kai whispered when they were safely outside the club and leaning against the exterior wall. She could feel the vibrations of the music through the stone, and her hearing seemed to have taken a beating as her ears throbbed. But her pulse relaxed as the cool night air and sky of the desert took the place of the stifling sights and smells of the club’s interior.
“Let me have a look first.”
She studied the open plains before them while she waited for him to check out the shots he had taken. The halo of light that surrounded the throbbing stone edifice grew dimmer and dimmer until it faded into total darkness. The silhouettes of desert plants near the light’s border looked like shadowy sentries guarding the empty expanse of sand. Huge saguaros and short, thickly clumped agave cast a parade of midnight black shadows onto the scarcely-lit areas of sand beyond. Further in the distance, Kai could just make out the dimly twinkling lights of Eastern Pless. It was a few miles away, and night lights were a luxury that most couldn’t afford, but being the only other light for miles gave it the illusion of closeness. Above them, millions of stars blinked in and out of existence; only the small red moon and large orange moon remained constant. She shivered—a mixture of the cold air drying the sweat on her skin, and the thought of what could be lurking in all that darkness.
“Hold on a second,” said Dex, keeping the camera out of her reach as she tried to take it. Only a few inches taller, he was still skilled at taunting her by holding things just out of grabbing distance. He continued casually going through the pictures, one by one.
“I’m serious,” she said with a frown. “Give it to me.”
“Not yet,” he snapped. “I’m in man-candy heaven.”
She rolled her eyes.
“You disapprove, sister?”
“They’re Seven Soldiers, Dex. Barely even human.”
“That doesn’t mean they’re not fun to look at,” he protested. “I’m not going to date one. Just having a nice, long stare.”
She tried to glare disapprovingly at him, but he gave her the innocent grin that had always managed to keep him out of trouble. His big, dark eyes seemed to glow in the reflection of the moonlight, and the spikes of his hair cast a funny-looking shadow over his brow. Although they both bore the darker coloring of Northerners, their hair and eyes were so close to true black that their skin paled in comparison. Dex finally relinquished the camera, and she peeked. He wasn’t joking that the soldiers were hot. He nudged her, seeing her expression, and wiggled his eyebrows. She laughed. The two of them very rarely had the same taste in men, thank the Lord, but this was one of those times that it was hard to argue.
“Yeah, well I think the really attractive part of the scene is all the money being thrown at said man-candy,” she retorted. “It looks like the timing will work out in about five minutes. The collection crew should come through to get most of the crystal money out of the way of the dance floor. Clear enough path, right? And dark, so we should be able to blend.”
“Sure,” he agreed.
It was ladies’ night, and the whole thing was super creepy. Kai had known about the club scene forever, but she preferred to stay away. Not that poor-looking thieves like her were allowed in by the bouncers anyway, but it would’ve been easy to pass as a wealthy citizen and have a night out. Dex had done it often, and offered to give her a ‘Club Seven makeover,’ but the whole concept gave her the shivers. Her experience tonight served to confirm her instincts. There was a disturbing aspect to the pictures that sent chills up her spine. She couldn’t decide if it was the predatory, animalistic glare on the faces of the soldiers themselves, or the indifferent smirks of their handlers that unnerved her more.
“Let’s just get this over with,” she sighed. “I don’t like it here.”
“Alright,” agreed Dex, getting serious. He was a great thief because, in the end, he easily shed his usual air of arrogance and got down to business. “Just like we planned with Leo. I’ll go around the side of the smaller liquor bar, and you sneak around to the other wall by the food. That’s likely where a lot of the swept crystals will accumulate since the collection crew hovers around there.”
“Got it,” she said as they slid back through the side door and into the awaiting sensory overload.
This time, Dex walked casually across the stone floor and down the two steps to the dance area. Upon reaching the back of the dance floor, he waited for the strobe lights to give way to dim redness, and ducked into a crouch. He skittered across the last few feet of polished wood, situating himself between the club’s back wall and the smaller, circular bar. Kai watched him disappear behind the smooth rock before she ducked and ran along the nearest wall, cutting close to the guarded front entryway on the right. She slithered through the undulating crowd of eager ladies, and toward the stage.
She paused for a second to look at the young men being held there like circus animals. She had never seen actual Seven Soldiers this close before, and her curiosity got the best of her. Yes, they were attractive; perfectly built and handsome as hell. But they were dauntingly huge, and their eyes were empty; unseeing and unfeeling. Each one had a thick collar around his neck, buzzing with pale blue electrical energy. They were powered by a different sort of crystal, she assumed. Those collars were supposedly the only thing that could keep them docile. She shivered again.
Their handlers, who ranged in appearance from mildly attractive to downright ugly, had a wider range of facial expressions; some attentive and at-the-ready while others were apathetic and bored. The huge throng of screaming women threw small, flat crystals at the performing soldiers on stage, doling out more money than Kai had ever seen just for the chance to interact with a monster. The money they spent allowed them to climb up and pour a glass of liquor down a soldier’s throat or feed him food from the long table to the right of the stage. They could also have a dance with a chained, brain-dampened soldier, or do even less savory things in private rooms upstairs.
Supposedly the young men couldn’t resist the offerings. They were Seven Soldiers, which meant they were sinners, and this was a place to witness their unleashed gluttony. They opened their mouths each time, indifferent but accepting of the food and drink that gorged them through the course of the evening. Their rage, too dangerous to be put on display, was kept in check by the handlers, so supposedly they were as complacent as puppies in this state only. No sex, though. That was too much of a liability. That was the club’s cover story at least, but Kai knew that handlers could be paid off. She had even heard of women scoring tickets for backstage passes to the Eastern Fortress where the soldiers were kept.
She shimmied along the perimeter of the club beside the stage, shaking her hips to the music’s frantic beat, trying to blend in. She darted under the long, beautifully decorated food table once the strobe lights started up again. With quick, fluid movements, she settled herself centrally under the table, where a hanging silvery cloth obscured her from view. She saw Dex across the way, sweeping up handfuls of the crystals that had fallen to the floor, putting them into his cloth sack. Perfect timing was critical, because there had to be enough money to be worth Leo’s while, but not so much that the club collectors noticed something wrong when they came through to bag it up. She pulled out her own sack and started brushing in money that had fallen or been swept under the table by the collectors. Simple.
As she was shoveling the crystals into her take-away bag, the smell of the food on the table above hit her nostrils and her mouth began to water. The soldiers really did get the good stuff. What a waste. There was fresh fruit, cakes and chocolates, and platters of meat and cheese. She couldn’t remember the last time she had eaten something besides dry bread, and even that had been scarce lately. She continued to absentmindedly shovel money into the sack, but now her eyes were focused on a spot where the tablecloth had accidentally gotten tucked up in the corner, affording her a crooked view of the tabletop. There sat a huge piece of cake that hung precariously over the side, shaking as dancing women jostled by. Her breath caught in her throat as it slid off and landed on the floor about a foot to her left.
As her hand seemed to instinctively reach out and grab for the fallen treasure, she saw Dex shaking his head frantically out of the corner of her eye. She felt a boot-clad foot slam down hard on her hand seconds later, and a wave of pain shot through her body. Her head hit the underside of the table and food spilled all around her. Terror gripped her insides like a live wire, and she froze. Quickly, she shook herself out of it and tried to reclaim her hand, but it was too late. The black boot held tight, and she saw a hand reach under the tablecloth, getting ready to lift it and expose her completely. She had to think fast.
Kai shoved herself sideways, toward whoever was standing on her left hand, and bit into the person’s calf, right above where the boot ended. Her teeth sunk easily through the thin cotton uniform into skin and flesh. She didn’t hear any scream over the blasting music, but the booted foot slid sideways just enough as a hand clasped it defensively. That was all she needed. She saw the face of the person who had caught her for only a second. He was young and gaunt, with pasty skin and pointy features. A handler. He must’ve been in the process of escorting his soldier past the front of the stage when he had spotted her fool attempt to grab the damn cake. She could beat herself up later. Now, she had to run.
She darted past the table and away from the stage, choosing the back door across the dance floor as an exit point. She shoved around several club-goers, knocking a few to the floor as she fled through the crowd. She didn’t dare to glance at Dex as she practically jumped over him on her way out. The last thing she needed was the guilt of getting him busted, too. They could reunite back at the rendezvous point. She slammed into the door in her panic, frantically felt around, grabbed the exit bar and pushed, then bolted out into the night.
She was at least twenty yards from the building, sand rising to resist in slow, messy heaps with each crunch of her shoes, when she stole a glance behind herself. Her heart jumped into her throat. Not only was the handler chasing her; he had brought his soldier, too. The man-beast couldn’t have been more than seventeen or eighteen years old, but he was huge. He had to be at least seven feet tall and almost as wide, with muscles popping out everywhere as he bounded soundlessly after her. Taut muscles rippled over his entire body, highlighting the contrast of his distended stomach, and making him appear even more savage as he darted across the sand in his bare feet. He was clothed only in the gold loincloth that was his club outfit, but the blankness in his eyes had given way to something far more primal, his snarling face letting her know that the party was definitely over. Whatever the mental switch was that kept him calm—it had been flipped.
“Get back here, you biting little bitch!” yelled the handler.
She froze for a second, hoping his limping from her bite would slow both him and his monstrous soldier-boy down, but to her horror, the glowing chain slipped out of his hand. He cursed and made a grab for it as Kai screamed. She picked up speed as she headed across the desert sand in the direction of the outer wall of the city. Eastern Pless would hide her in its cesspool of overcrowded streets. She could go back to Leo’s place. The soldier might get his hands on a citizen or two, but he would be stopped. They were always taken down if they got loose inside the city’s walls.
Kai still had her heart and eyes set on the safety of the city’s distant lights when the snarling soldier dove and grabbed her around the legs. She screamed as she fell, and tried to claw at his arms, but he didn’t seem to notice. His fingernails ripped her skin as he flipped her over and dragged her toward his waiting mouth.
He’s going to eat me alive.
His face was very close to her now, and even in this dim light, she could see that he had the pale skin of a southerner, and ear-length blond hair. She was surprised again by how very young he looked. Then she saw his eyes. There was no humanity in the heavily dilated pupils; only death. His open-mouthed roar exposed a straight line of teeth, with four unnaturally sharp, piercing incisors. Now face to face, she saw that the tiny rings of iris around his pupils were light brown, but the pupils themselves weren’t black the way they were supposed to be. The spot in the middle of the brown glowed with an odd blue tinge that lit his face.
Flinching, she prepared to be ripped apart. Instead, a huge jolt that rattled through her body, from the base of her spine to the top of her head, making her teeth clamp down on a shriek. Her eyes flew open, and she saw that the handler had regained control. He grabbed the chain leash around his charge’s neck and pressed a button. Waves of electricity rocked the giant, sending his body into spasms. Kai breathed a sigh of relief, even as she felt the power surge pass through him and into her own body. The last thing she thought before she lost consciousness was that it was far better to be electrocuted than to be torn to shreds by that monster.



Author Bio:
Tracy Auerbach is an author of science fiction and fantasy for teens and adults. As an avid reader with a vivid imagination, she chose to study film, English, and education, and went on to teach and write STEM curriculum for the New York Department of Education. This helped to polish her writing skills and ignite her passion for science fiction and fantasy.
Her first scholarly article, published in Language Magazine, was about the value of active, creative learning in science.
On the fiction side, Tracy’s work has been featured in the online literary journal Micro-horror, The Writing Disorder fiction anthology, and the “(Dis)ability” short story anthology, in addition to her novels.
When she is not teaching or writing, Tracy is usually reading or spending time with her family. She lives in New York with her husband and sons.

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Monday, July 15, 2019

Book Blast: Summer Bucket List by T.K. Rapp @TKAM78


Summer Bucket List
T.K. Rapp
Publication date: July 15th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Recently graduated from high school, Holland Monroe had no expectations for her last summer before heading off to college to be anything but ordinary.
Until she got a job as a waitress at the local country club to make extra money for school.
Milo Davis was smart, cute, and absolutely not interested in Holland. At least that was what she believed. But the day she started working at the restaurant, everything changed.
Finally together, they were left with only three months to spend time together before she moved away.
Good thing they decided to make their time as memorable as possible.
But will they remain friends? Or will checking off items on their summer bucket list lead them to something they didn’t expect — Falling in love.
EXCERPT:
He took a tentative step toward me and I remained fixed in place. Curiosity would not let me walk away, though that was exactly what I wanted to do. He stood across from me, the annoyance and disgust erased from his face. Milo shoved his hands into his pockets and when he looked up at me, he looked—uncertain.
“I didn’t know how to talk to you,” he finally said.
“You don’t seem to have a problem now,” I snapped. “In fact, I sort of wish you’d go back to ignoring me.”
“If that’s what you want…”
“No, Milo, that’s not what I want. I want to understand.”
“You’re not really that naïve, are you?”
“Forget it,” I said, turning around to walk back to my car.
“I never talked to you because I didn’t know how to,” he said, but I kept walking. “Because I liked you.”
That was the thing he said that got me to stop moving. In fact, I was pretty sure that I heard him wrong, so I slowly turned around to give him my attention. I didn’t know what to say.
“I didn’t know how to talk to you without sounding like a moron, so I just…didn’t…talk. You really didn’t know?”
“You said it yourself: you didn’t talk to me. So your silence spoke volumes for you.”
“I wasn’t trying to be a jerk the other night. I just didn’t know what to say to you.”
“I didn’t know what to say to you either. Every time I’ve tried to talk to you, it’s like talking to a brick wall. No matter how hard I try or how nice I am to you, you just ignore me.”
“That was never my intention,” he said apologetically. “I really just didn’t know what to say.”
We stood in silence, each really hearing the other. His confession began to ring in my ears, and I was thankful for the darkness so he would not see my flushed cheeks.
“Did you mean what you said?”
“Which part?”
“That you liked me?”
He shifted his stance before facing me again. “Yeah. I did…I do.”
“Really?”
“Really.”
Milo was completely opposite of Blake, or anyone else I had dated. He was not the center of attention, and he was not cocky. He was shy and unassuming, and for so long I had wanted to get him to open up and let me be his friend. I never expected him to open up so much that he would reveal that he had feelings for me.
“If you aren’t busy, do you want to go get something to eat? Maybe we could actually talk or something?”
“Are you asking me out on a date?” I asked.
He looked away for a moment, and when his gaze connected with mine, his smile grew. “Yeah. I guess I am.”
I felt nervous and excited at the same time, and then complete disappointment.
“I can’t. Not tonight,” I said.
“No. It’s fine. Short notice and all. Hell, you might be dating someone anyway.”
“I’m not,” I said a little more eagerly than I realized.
“Maybe another time,” he said, taking a few steps backward. “Have a good night, Holland.”
As he turned around, I slowly did the same, but then my feet stopped moving.
“Do you want to come with me?” I asked hopefully. “To Meg’s?”


Author Bio:
T.K. Rapp is a Texas girl born and raised. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from Texas A&M and it was there that she met the love of her life. He had a contract with the U.S. Navy that would take them across both coasts, and ultimately land them back home in Texas.
Upon finally settling in Texas, T.K. worked as a graphic designer and photographer for the family business that her mom started years earlier. She was able to infuse her creativity and passion, into something she enjoyed, but something was still missing. There was a voice in the back of her head that told her to write, so write, she did. And, somewhere on an external hard drive, are several stories she started and never finished.
Now at home, raising her two daughters, T.K. has more time to do the things she loves, which includes photography and writing. When she's not doing one of those, she can be found with her family, which keeps her busy, hanging with family and friends, and mostly relaxing. She is a lover of raunchy humor, gossip blogs and a good books.

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Monday, July 8, 2019

Cover Reveal: Thorn by Intisar Khanani @BooksByIntisar


Thorn
Intisar Khanani
Published by: HarperTeen
Publication date: March 24th 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
A princess with two futures. A destiny all her own.
Between her cruel family and the contempt she faces at court, Princess Alyrra has always longed to escape the confines of her royal life. But when she’s betrothed to the powerful prince Kestrin, Alyrra embarks on a journey to his land with little hope for a better future.
When a mysterious and terrifying sorceress robs Alyrra of both her identity and her role as princess, Alyrra seizes the opportunity to start a new life for herself as a goose girl.
But Alyrra soon finds that Kestrin is not what she expected. The more Alyrra learns of this new kingdom, the pain and suffering its people endure, as well as the danger facing Kestrin from the sorceress herself, the more she knows she can’t remain the goose girl forever.
With the fate of the kingdom at stake, Alyrra is caught between two worlds and ultimately must decide who she is, and what she stands for.
EXCERPT:
I lead the king down to the back entrance to the gardens, and we walk along between plots of dill, thyme, and chives. I wait, knowing he will speak when he is ready.
“How much does your mother confide in you?” he asks as we near the middle of the gardens.
I slide a look at him from the corner of my eye. “Enough. My lord.”
His lips quirk, the first true smile I have seen from him. “Is that honest?”
I pause beside a bed of borage. “How much do I need to know, my lord? You are here seeking a wife for your son.”
“I am,” he agrees. “How often do you participate in the discussions between your mother and the council?”
“I don’t, my lord. You should know I am not . . .” I hesitate, aware that I have no place telling this king what he should or should not know. Or jeopardizing such an alliance for my land.
“Not what?”
I struggle to find an appropriate way to finish. “Not—it is not thought my place to attend such meetings.”
“You would never inherit the throne?”
I could inherit, it is true, but I doubt the council would allow it given my history—and certainly not now that I might marry into another royal family, one that would be happy to add our lands to their own. Either way, should my brother die, the council would certainly pass over me in favor of our nearest cousin. “It is unlikely,” I say finally.
“I doubt that,” the king says. “It has been my experience that even young men die. What you mean to say is your council would not accept you should your brother die without issue and you were yet unwed. Why?”
If he knows all the answers, why is he asking? I look him in the eye and quip, “Perhaps I am too honest, my lord.”
He laughs. “And too straightforward. You will have to learn to play with your words more.” He reaches out, his fingertips brushing my arm where my brother held me. I flinch back reflexively, as if the bruises have already darkened—as if he could see them through my sleeve. He watches me, his eyes glinting in the sunlight. “Once you are Menaiya’s,” he says, “your brother will never hurt you again.”


Author Bio:
Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. She has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy. She is the author of The Sunbolt Chronicles and Thorn (HarperTeen 2020).

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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Cover Reveal: Quasi Redux by Christina Bauer@CB_Bauer


QUASI REDUX
Christina Bauer
(Angelbound Origins, #8)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: Fall 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Myla Lewis has her life back. Wife. Mother. Queen. Great Scala. Queen of the Thrax. Yay! Then one day, Myla runs across a supernatural waterfall that makes her igni screech like crazy. Our heroine speaks the fateful words: some days, I wish I weren’t the Great Scala.
The waterfall grants her wish.
A moment later, Myla is back at Purgatory High. No husband. No child. No powers beyond her old quasi days. And without Myla around as the Great Scala, all quasis now live under Armageddon’s rule. That sucks. Hard. So Myla sneaks into Antrum—she simply must find Lincoln and figure this out. Once she arrives, two problems arise.
First, her husband doesn’t know her. At all.
Second, Lincoln is married to someone else.
Fuuuuuuu…
Angelbound Origins
About a quasi (part demon and part human) girl who loves kicking butt in Purgatory’s Arena
1. Angelbound
2. Scala
3. Acca
4. Thrax
5. The Dark Lands
6. The Brutal Time (2019)
7. Armageddon (already here, long story!)
8. Quasi Redux (2020)
Angelbound Offspring
The next generation takes on Heaven, Hell, and everything in between
1. Maxon
2. Portia
3. Zinnia (forthcoming)
4. Kaps (forthcoming)
5. Huntress (forthcoming)
Angelbound Lincoln
The Angelbound experience as told by Prince Lincoln
1. Duty Bound
2. Lincoln
3. Trickster (forthcoming)


Author Bio:
Christina Bauer thinks that fantasy books are like bacon: they just make life better. All of which is why she writes romance novels that feature demons, dragons, wizards, witches, elves, elementals, and a bunch of random stuff that she brainstorms while riding the Boston T. Oh, and she includes lots of humor and kick-ass chicks, too.
Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.
Be the first to know about new releases from Christina by signing up for her newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/CBupdates

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Monday, June 24, 2019

Blog Tour: Risking It All by S.M. Koz @SM_KOZ


Risking It All
S.M. Koz
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: June 18th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
A high-achieving teen who’s determined to become a fighter jet pilot is matched up with an accused criminal at an elite military boarding school in SM Koz’s YA novel, Risking It All.
Paige knows exactly what she wants—to graduate from Wallingford Academy and become a pilot in the US Air Force. She’s inherited her father’s no-nonsense attitude and whip-smart intelligence, all of which have made her the perfect Wallingford cadet.
Wallingford Academy is the last place in the world Logan wants to be. But after his girlfriend borrows his car and commits a crime, Logan takes the fall and ends up there with hopes of striking a decent plea bargain. For him, graduation can’t come soon enough.
When Paige is asked to mentor Logan, it’s the perfect opportunity to prove her leadership skills—but she doesn’t account for the feelings that start to develop or the baggage from Logan’s past which could threaten both of their futures.

“How did you find information about the military part of your book vs the prison part of your book while doing your research? What are the biggest differences/similarities you found between these two institutions while doing so?”


This is an interesting question because throughout the book Logan was desperate to avoid prison but at certain points wondered if his life at Wallingford was any different than prison would be. To him, they both removed all his freedom.

As far as researching these institutions, I have a lot of family and friends with a military background, so that part was fairly easy. Granted, they were all enlisted as adults, rather than enrolled at a military boarding school as teens. Still, they were able to give me a good idea of what the customs and courtesies at a school would be, help me with terminology, and fill in some background information for my characters’ families. I also watched movies like Taps and a Few Good Men to get in the right mindset. For the more nuanced details at Wallingford Academy, I used information I found online for a Naval boarding school. They had a very detailed handbook, which helped immensely.

The criminal part was a bit harder since I don’t have any close friends or family who have been accused of a serious crime and/or incarcerated. I do, however, have friends who are lawyers and paralegals and I relied on them throughout the writing process. I also have limited courtroom knowledge from being a foster and adoptive parent, so I was able to draw on those experiences to some degree.

It’s not surprising Logan sometimes felt like Wallingford was prison, since both have detailed routines, standard-issued clothing, limited food choices, strict rules, and a hierarchical system. However, the purpose of this structure differs between Wallingford and prison. In prison, it’s mainly used to remove freedoms as retribution and deterrence. At Wallingford it’s used to help students develop strong time management skills, proper respect for others, a sense of responsibility, and a sense of honor, all of which help them excel in the real world after graduation. For cadets who know and appreciate this, the structure is acceptable and even welcomed, especially with the weekend breaks to be a “normal” teen. For those who don’t, like Logan, every single day can feel like prison. Of course, Wallingford has a way of growing on even the most disillusioned cadet. 


Author Bio:
SM Koz was born in Michigan, but moved to North Carolina for college and never left. She enjoys traveling, camping, hiking, photography, reading, spending time with foster kids who call her house home, and learning new things. When she’s not creating online training for pharmaceutical companies (her day job) or writing, Koz can be found at the local community college taking courses on various topics ranging from digital art to HTML to desktop publishing. SM Koz has written six novels. Although her stories differ by genre, ranging from contemporary realism to sci-fi to fanfiction, two things they all have in common are a young or new adult focus and romance. If you’d like to learn more about SM Koz, check her out on social media.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Book Blitz: Skin Hunter by Tania Hutley


Skin Hunter
Tania Hutley
Publication date: June 18th 2019
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
She didn’t want to do it… But she was desperate.
Trying to escape the dangerous streets of Old Triton, the buried city, Milla takes the ultimate risk
Could a dead girl’s identity be her way out? A ticket to a richer, brighter world high above the muck and gloom of her old life?
Now she’s part of a high tech contest, with a prize beyond money, fame and everything she has ever known. A chance to become something… new.
But if anyone finds out who Milla really is, she’s dead.
The other competitors come from privilege, their faces and bodies tweaked to perfection. Rich and handsome Cale could be the most dangerous of all. Why is he so interested in a scarred, ugly “sinker” like Milla?
To survive, she needs to be brave.
To win, she needs to evolve.
Just try and stop her.
Skin Hunter is an upper YA science fiction novel – a futuristic, dystopian thrill-ride with a spark of romance.


Author Bio:
Tania Hutley is a USA Today bestselling author who loves sci fi movies and wishes she lived in the Whedon-verse.
Tania also writes sexy contemporary romance using a top-secret pen name. She could tell you what that pen name is, but then she'd have to turn you into a chicken.

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Monday, June 17, 2019

Blog Tour: The Monster of Selkirk by C.E. Clayton


The Duality of Nature
C.E. Clayton
(The Monster of Selkirk, #1)
Publication date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Monsters come in many forms, and not everyone knows a monster when they see one. After three hundred years of monstrous, feral elves plaguing the island nation of Selkirk, everyone believes they know what a monster is. Humans have learned to live with their savage neighbors, enacting a Clearing every four years to push the elves back from their borders. The system has worked for centuries, until after one such purge, a babe was found in the forest.
As Tallis grows, she discovers she isn’t like everyone else. There is something a little different that makes people leery in her presence, and she only ever makes a handful of friends.
But when the elves gather their forces and emerge from the forests literally hissing Tallis’s name like a battle mantra, making friends is the least of her troubles. Tallis and her companions find themselves on an unwilling journey to not only clear her name, but to stop the elves from ravaging her homeland.
--

The Heart of the Forest
C.E. Clayton
(The Monster of Selkirk, #2)
Publication date: October 17th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Tallis is learning how to deal with loss and violence as she and her friends traverse the forests of Selkirk trying to find the reason behind the elven uprising. Not to mention why they keep hissing her name. But the further into the forests they go, Tallis is finding that the elves’ depravity can still surprise her, and thoroughly test the bonds of friendship, family, and love.
Tallis’s journey eventually leads to answers they’re not prepared for. Now Tallis begins to wonder just who she really is, and if she’s the evil that will end up destroying Selkirk. But she cannot stop to process these revelations, as an unforeseen betrayal lands those she loves at the feet of the very monster responsible for all the hurt, and heartbreak.
Coming face to face with her foe, Tallis discovers all too late she has no idea how to deal with this level of pain, and death. One way or another, the monster’s path ends here, and all Tallis can hope to do is bring those she loves safely out of the heart of the forest.

“How did you find information about the military part of your book vs the prison part of your book while doing your research? What are the biggest differences/similarities you found between these two institutions while doing so?”  

This is an interesting question because throughout the book Logan was desperate to avoid prison but at certain points wondered if his life at Wallingford was any different than prison would be. To him, they both removed all his freedom.

As far as researching these institutions, I have a lot of family and friends with a military background, so that part was fairly easy. Granted, they were all enlisted as adults, rather than enrolled at a military boarding school as teens. Still, they were able to give me a good idea of what the customs and courtesies at a school would be, help me with terminology, and fill in some background information for my characters’ families. I also watched movies like Taps and a Few Good Men to get in the right mindset. For the more nuanced details at Wallingford Academy, I used information I found online for a Naval boarding school. They had a very detailed handbook, which helped immensely.

The criminal part was a bit harder since I don’t have any close friends or family who have been accused of a serious crime and/or incarcerated. I do, however, have friends who are lawyers and paralegals and I relied on them throughout the writing process. I also have limited courtroom knowledge from being a foster and adoptive parent, so I was able to draw on those experiences to some degree.

It’s not surprising Logan sometimes felt like Wallingford was prison, since both have detailed routines, standard-issued clothing, limited food choices, strict rules, and a hierarchical system. However, the purpose of this structure differs between Wallingford and prison. In prison, it’s mainly used to remove freedoms as retribution and deterrence. At Wallingford it’s used to help students develop strong time management skills, proper respect for others, a sense of responsibility, and a sense of honor, all of which help them excel in the real world after graduation. For cadets who know and appreciate this, the structure is acceptable and even welcomed, especially with the weekend breaks to be a “normal” teen. For those who don’t, like Logan, every single day can feel like prison. Of course, Wallingford has a way of growing on even the most disillusioned cadet. 


Author Bio:
C. E. Clayton was born and raised in the greater Los Angeles area, where she attended the University of Southern California (Fight On!) for both her Bachelors and Masters, and then worked in the advertising industry for several years on accounts ranging from fast food, to cars, and video games (her personal favorite). After going the traditional career route and becoming restless, she went back to her first love–writing–and hasn’t stopped. She is now the author of “The Monster of Selkirk” series and her horror short stories have appeared in anthologies across the country. When she’s not writing you can find her treating her fur-babies like humans, constantly drinking tea, and trying to convince her husband to go to more concerts. And reading. She does read quite a bit. More about C.E. Clayton, including her blog, book reviews, social media presence, and newsletter, can be found on her website: https://www.ceclayton.com/

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Blog Tour: The Monster of Selkirk by C.E. Clayton


The Duality of Nature
C.E. Clayton
(The Monster of Selkirk, #1)
Publication date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Monsters come in many forms, and not everyone knows a monster when they see one. After three hundred years of monstrous, feral elves plaguing the island nation of Selkirk, everyone believes they know what a monster is. Humans have learned to live with their savage neighbors, enacting a Clearing every four years to push the elves back from their borders. The system has worked for centuries, until after one such purge, a babe was found in the forest.
As Tallis grows, she discovers she isn’t like everyone else. There is something a little different that makes people leery in her presence, and she only ever makes a handful of friends.
But when the elves gather their forces and emerge from the forests literally hissing Tallis’s name like a battle mantra, making friends is the least of her troubles. Tallis and her companions find themselves on an unwilling journey to not only clear her name, but to stop the elves from ravaging her homeland.
--

The Heart of the Forest
C.E. Clayton
(The Monster of Selkirk, #2)
Publication date: October 17th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Tallis is learning how to deal with loss and violence as she and her friends traverse the forests of Selkirk trying to find the reason behind the elven uprising. Not to mention why they keep hissing her name. But the further into the forests they go, Tallis is finding that the elves’ depravity can still surprise her, and thoroughly test the bonds of friendship, family, and love.
Tallis’s journey eventually leads to answers they’re not prepared for. Now Tallis begins to wonder just who she really is, and if she’s the evil that will end up destroying Selkirk. But she cannot stop to process these revelations, as an unforeseen betrayal lands those she loves at the feet of the very monster responsible for all the hurt, and heartbreak.
Coming face to face with her foe, Tallis discovers all too late she has no idea how to deal with this level of pain, and death. One way or another, the monster’s path ends here, and all Tallis can hope to do is bring those she loves safely out of the heart of the forest.

1.    Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else? 
I kind of always knew I’d end up as a writer even if I tried to deny it for a very long time. Writing was always something I did and enjoyed and never thought much about, even when teachers would enter my essays into contests and they would win awards. It just wasn’t something I considered to be a career option until after I did the normal 9-5 job for a while after college. But eventually I went back to my first, true love of writing and decided to literally put my all into it. When I told my family and friends this, they weren’t at all surprised and most said: “It’s about time!”
2.   How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
 Usually about 2 years. That includes all the research and world building I do before I even write the first word, as well as all the months I spend editing and revising after beta readers and editors have gone through my books with big red pens!
3.   How do you come up with themes for your stories?
Usually through a type of “wouldn’t it be cool if” game once I’m inspired by something I enjoy. So, for The Monster of Selkirk I really liked how the video game Dragon Age set up their world and elves, so I looked at that and thought “wouldn’t it be cool if the elves were monsters?” and things dove-tailed from there!
4.   Do you have a schedule of when you write?
I do try to keep to a schedule because it helps me feel productive even if I’m not in a writing phase of my project. I have so many other aspects of the book I have to manage (like promoting it) that it’s easy for me to get distracted and bounce around from one thing to another without finishing, that things get overly hectic and my writing comes to a standstill. So I try to write for at least 4 hours a day spread out in manageable chunks so I don’t get burnt out on any one thing.
5.   How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?.
I’m not that great at balancing things. I work from home so it’s really easy to work all the time, whether that’s reading for the book reviews other indie authors ask me for, managing my website and newsletter list, my social media accounts… It drives my husband crazy! So I try very hard to make sure that the weekends are spent out of the house so that temptation to get more stuff done is eliminated as much as possible. It’s the only way I can avoid getting seriously burnt out, which leads to a kind of depression for me. It’s no fun!

6.   What elements do you think make a great story line? 
Realism. Even in fantasy books, having them grounded in something that is tangible makes for great story lines. Whether that’s a character trying to deal with grief or their anxiety over responsibility, having those emotions or even topics that transcend genre and are grounded in the real world make for really strong and fantastic stories in my opinion.
7.   What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
For me, the hardest thing is always letting it go. Knowing when I need to stop tinkering or editing just small stuff and giving my book over to others to read—whether as beta readers, editors, or even for publishing. I never feel like things are ever good enough which really slows down how quickly I can get work out.
8.   How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite? 
I have 6 books out with my publisher DevilDog Press but I have written another 2 outside of that series. It’s so hard to pick a favorite because each story has something in it I love that no other book I’ve written has. My characters grow and change just like I do. So something I loved a few years ago isn’t the same as it is today. My work evolves as I learn and read more. So I want to say they are all my favorite for different reasons. If I don’t genuinely love something, I delete it!
9.   Do you have a favorite character?
I love my main character Tallis because she is a reflection of the person I am, and wish I could be. But Rosslyn will always have a special place in my heart because her wit and snarky attitude makes her a ton of fun to write!
10.                 Where do you write?  
I write at my desk in my home office. It’s really the only place I feel comfortable writing because I have limited distractions and have access to everything I need.
11.When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took? 
I knew I didn’t want to self-publish. Not that there is anything wrong with that option; it’s great if you have the passion, the resources, and the ability to do everything on your own. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do all that effectively so I wanted a publisher to help me with marketing, finding a cover designer, getting a professional editor etc. and alleviate that upfront cost of publishing a book. I used to work in advertising, so I was comfortable doing some of that on my own, and I also didn’t want to lose control over the story I wanted to tell, which meant a smaller press publisher was the best option. So I researched, and I queried, and landed with my current publisher!
12.                  Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?
Most of my family aren’t big readers. My parents are very proud of me, but they haven’t read the novels, though they do buy them for their friends! The only family members who have read all the books I have out so far are my sister (who adores Tallis and Tomas together) and my father-in-law (who enjoys watching the characters grow, and especially loved Cookie ;) ).
13.                  What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?
I love traveling! But if I can’t do that, I like gardening as a stress reliever because it has nothing to do with books, and I love going to see live music.
14.                 What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing? 
Outside of just start writing, I’d say to be patient. Writing takes a long time, and it’s never perfect the first time around. But all that is fixable if you sit down to do it, and are patient. Let the words come in their own pace and don’t compare your speed to someone else’s. Take your time to make sure you are happy with your words, then put it aside and come back to it months later to see if everything still reads the same and you still love your story. This is a slow industry, it takes a while for books to get published, so be patient with it and yourself and you’ll be great!
15.                  What is your favorite book? favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write? 
My favorite book series of all time has been The Dragon Riders of Pern pretty consistently, but my favorite author changes almost monthly as I read and discover new books and the incredible authors who pen them. Those authors who have beautiful writing and robust, creative worlds tend to inspire me the most and keep me motivated to write more.
16.                  Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such? 
I do! And a few of them are authors themselves so it definitely helps as we all go through the same struggles together and can also pick up on the little details that my friends and family wouldn’t normally catch. Tyffany Hacket (author of Imber) and becky Moynihan (author of Adaptive) have been huge helps, as have Kat, Theresa, Grace, and Hannah, who have written books that will hopefully come out soon!
17.                  Are you working on anything now? 
Yes! I am shopping a new contemporary family saga out to literary agents right now and am revising a cyberpunk fantasy series. I am also starting to research for my next contemporary and hope to start that in the next few months.
18.                  Tell us 5 things that make you smile
My dog, Dobby.
Playing video games with my husband
Seeing my favorite bands in concert
Happy hour with my big sister and best friends
Having readers share how much they enjoyed my books
19.                  Tell us 5 things that make you sad
My imposter syndrome
When friends cancel plans last minute
Running out of snacks unexpectedly
That in-between phase where I finish a book or project and don’t know where to start on the next thing
Rejection letters
20.                 If you could travel anywhere in the world to visit a place so you could use it as a background for a book, where would it be?
Well, since Selkirk is based pretty heavily on Scotland, I won’t say that lol! But probably somewhere hard to get to, like remote areas of Egypt, Africa, or India just because those places are so vibrant but so hard to capture unless you can see them with your own eyes.


Author Bio:
C. E. Clayton was born and raised in the greater Los Angeles area, where she attended the University of Southern California (Fight On!) for both her Bachelors and Masters, and then worked in the advertising industry for several years on accounts ranging from fast food, to cars, and video games (her personal favorite). After going the traditional career route and becoming restless, she went back to her first love–writing–and hasn’t stopped. She is now the author of “The Monster of Selkirk” series and her horror short stories have appeared in anthologies across the country. When she’s not writing you can find her treating her fur-babies like humans, constantly drinking tea, and trying to convince her husband to go to more concerts. And reading. She does read quite a bit. More about C.E. Clayton, including her blog, book reviews, social media presence, and newsletter, can be found on her website: https://www.ceclayton.com/

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