[Blog Tour] An Innocent Murder by Tom Mach

All About Being An Author
by Tom Mach
When people ask me “what’s it like to be an author?” I ask them “from what perspective”? That’s because if you’re an author and meet other authors, I think they tend to feel you’re just another competitor. Of course, if you’re a famous author (I’m talking about winners of the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize) they tend to treat you like a god—or so I’m told. The general non-writing public tends to consider authors celebrities. I know that because I’ve gone to book signings where people will approach me and say “So you’re actually an author? Wow!”
Frankly, I don’t feel comfortable being put on a pedestal. I’m like everyone else, the only difference being that I love to write. Of course, if you’re not about to give a talk before large crowds (like I did with my novel Sissy!) or are doing book signings of All Parts Together to throngs of people at the President Lincoln Museum in Springfield, Illinois) the public for the most part doesn’t know who you are.  I think that happens because the only place the public might see your face is on the back cover of your book and will recognize you if they stare at your photo on that book cover every day as they eat their cereal at breakfast. (If they do that, they need to get a life.)
To be an author is like being any kind of artist. It’s a lonesome profession, but I prefer it that way. You sit down with your own thoughts, digging through your own soul, and pouring your heart out on paper. You try not to think that you might be making a fool of yourself in the process. As you write, you close your mind to the faces of people who will hopefully read your book or the piles of money you will (or won’t) make. Instead you focus on your story and you carry that story with you everywhere—whether it’s at the breakfast table, at the pool where you’re doing twenty laps, at shopping (where your wife glares at you for not knowing what aisle to find peas, when all you’re doing is trying to find peace with your next scene.)
One of the problems I often encounter—and I don’t know if it’s true for other authors—is that sometimes I get so enmeshed with a character, I feel as if I AM that character.  For instance, in my murder mystery An Innocent Murdered, I became the priest who was eventually murdered. I looked at things through his eyes and thought the way he thought—almost to the point where I felt I had to say Mass. Then there was Susan, the ex-nun in my story who was a virgin for 46 years and was troubled by guilt and shame when she approached her friend, Detective Matt Gunnison, for a favor—could he show her what it’s like to have sexual intercourse?  I was that religious woman who was being stretched in two directions—to maintain her virginity or to satisfy her curiosity.
As far as picking out the genre to write, I never pay attention to what is selling, but I do focus on what I’m interested in at the time. My interests do shift from time to time.  Currently, I’m quite fascinated by 19th century history and have written two novels about it—Sissy! and All Parts Together.  But I have other strong interests as well. Since I tutor an elementary school, I love writing children’s stories. Out of that interest came Homer the Roamer.  I am crazy about whodunit mysteries since they offer me a challenge, so I wrote An Innocent Murdered. Stories about the future interest me, and the result of that interest, along with my scientific background and Biblical research, was a techno-thriller called Advent.  It’s almost impossible to stereotype me and it drives interviewers crazy.  I think the trick is to know where your interests lie and what kind of books you enjoy reading. With me it’s just about everything.  I think the only kind of book I could never write is a Harlequin romance. I tried reading one once and couldn’t get past the first chapter.

BOOK BLURB
Father O’Fallon has been murdered, and police officer Jacinta Perez is arrested and charged. Detective Matt Gunnison, however, is not convinced and with the help of Susan, an ex-nun, he discovers a fascinating link between the priest’s death and the death of a child 25 years ago. Will Matt be able to solve both murders?
 
BOOK TRAILER
BOOK EXCERPT


“No, I understand. Do you think Matt and I can have access to the former rectory? We’d like to look around.”

“Well, I guess not, but why in the world would you want to look around over there?”

Matt showed him his badge. “It’s part of an investigation we’re doing on the murder of that child.”

“By all means, check it out.” He opened a desk drawer and took out a key attached to a plastic tag. “Here, take this.”

Matt pocketed the key and was about to leave when the man stopped him.

“That place is haunted, you know,” the old man said.

“Haunted?”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Mach wrote two successful historical novels, Sissy! and All Parts Together, both of which have won rave reviews and were listed among the 150 best Kansas books in 2011.Sissy! won the J. Donald Coffin Memorial Book Award while All Parts Together was a viable entrant for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Award. He also wrote a collection of short stories entitled Stories To Enjoy which received positive reviews. Tom’s other novels include: An Innocent Murdered, Advent, and Homer the Roamer.

His poetry collection, The Uni Verse, won the Nelson Poetry Book Award. In addition to several awards for his poetry, Writer’s Digest awarded him ninth place in a field of 3,000 entrants. His website is: www.TomMach.com He also has a popular blog for writers of both prose and verse at http://tommach.tumblr.com

Official Website: http://www.tommach.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/kansasauthor
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kansasauthor
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/An-Innocent-Murdered
Youtube: http://youtu.be/ndsPTht08EA
Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/74459

GIVEAWAY
One lucky commenter will win $50. Follow the tour and comment for more chances of winning.
Find the tour dates here

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[Blog Tour] In Leah’s Wake by Terri Giuliano Long

Announcing the In Leah’s Wake Social Media Whirlwind Tour!

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the In Leah’s Wake eBook edition has dropped to just 99 cents this week.

What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes, including Amazon gift cards of up to $500 in amount and 5 autographed copies of the book. Be sure to enter before the end of the day on Friday, December 16th, so you don’t miss out.

To Win the Prizes

  1. Purchase your copy of In Leah’s Wake for just 99 cents on Amazon or Barnes & Noble
  2. Fill-out the form on Novel Publicity to enter for the prizes
  3. Visit today’s featured event; you may win an autographed copy of the book or a $50 gift card!
  4. BONUS: If you leave a comment on this blog post, you have another chance at $100!

…And I can win too!

Over 100 bloggers are participating in this gigantic event, and there are plenty of prizes for us too. The blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card as well. So when you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to say that I referred you, so I can get a point in the poll.

The Featured Events include:

Monday, Radio Interview with Novel Publicity! We’re kicking-off on the Novel Publicity Free Advice blog. We interviewed Terri on our radio show Sunday night and have embedded the full podcast and blogged about its highlights. Give it a listen and then leave a comment on the blog post. This is a great chance to get to know more about this inspiring and friendly author. One commenter will win an autographed copy of In Leah’s Wake. Don’t forget to enter for the other contest prizes while you’re over there!

Tuesday, Twitter sharing contest!A tweet is tiny, only 140 characters. But on Tuesday, it could win you $50. Send the following tweet across the twittersphere, and you just may win a $50 Amazon gift card. An autographed copy of In Leah’s Wake is also up for grabs. The winner will be announced Wednesday morning. Here’s the tweet: In Leah’s Wake has taken the publishing world by storm. Get the book for just 99 cents http://ow.ly/7WP5H#whirlwind

Wednesday, Google+ sharing contest! Yup, there’s yet another awesome opportunity to win a $50 Amazon gift card, and this time it just takes a single click! Visit Google+ and share Emlyn Chand’s most recent post (you’ll see the In Leah’s Wake book cover included with it). On Thursday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. An autographed copy of In Leah’s Wake is also up for grabs. Three chances to win! How about that?

Thursday, Facebook sharing contest! Stop by Novel Publicity’s Facebook page and share their latest post (you’ll see the In Leah’s Wake book cover included with it). It’s ridiculously easy to win! On Friday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. An autographed copy of In Leah’s Wake is also up for grabs.

Friday, special contest on the author’s site! Win a $500 Amazon gift card, simply by leaving a comment on Terri’s most recent blog post. Yup, you read that correctly—$500! How easy is that? An autographed copy of In Leah’s Wake is also up for grabs.

Remember, it’s all about the books!

About In Leah’ Wake: The Tyler family had the perfect life – until sixteen-year-old Leah decided she didn’t want to be perfect anymore. While her parents fight to save their daughter from destroying her brilliant future, Leah’s younger sister, Justine, must cope with the damage her out-of-control sibling leaves in her wake. What happens when love just isn’t enough? Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Terri Giuliano LongAbout the Author: Terri Giuliano Long grew up in the company of stories both of her own making and as written by others. Books offer her a zest for life’s highs and comfort in its lows. She’s all-too-happy to share this love with others as a novelist and a writing teacher at Boston College. She was grateful and thrilled beyond words when her award-winning debut literary novel, In Leah’s Wake, hit the Barnes and Noble and Amazon bestseller lists in August. She owes a lot of wonderful people – big time! – for any success she’s enjoyed! Visit her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Interview with Terri Giuliano Long

In Leah’s Wake and the Characters Who Make It a Story

Please tell us a bit about your book and what you hope readers take away from reading it.

In Leah’s Wake tells the story of a family in collapse. Sixteen-year-old Leah, a straight-A student and star soccer player, has led a perfect life. When she meets and dates a sexy older guy, attracted to his independence, she begins to spread her wings. Drinking, ignoring curfew, dabbling in drugs—all this feels like freedom to her. Her terrified parents, afraid they’re losing their daughter, pull the reins tighter. Unfortunately, her parents get it all wrong, pushing when they ought to be pulling, and communication breaks down. Soon there’s no turning back. Twelve-year-old Justine, caught between the parents she loves and the big sister she adores, soon finds herself in the fight of her life, trying desperately to pull her family together.

Parents, wanting the best for their children, often push their kids to be perfect – and push themselves to be perfect parents. It’s tempting to believe that only bad kids from bad families get in trouble. This attitude allows us to distance ourselves – this could never happen to us – and creates unhealthy competition. When families have problems, we judge and ostracize them, only adding to the difficulties they’re already facing. The truth is, when problems arise, the fallout affects the entire community. The epigraph from The Grand Inquisitor says it best:“everyone is really responsible to all men for all men and for everything.” As Hillary Clinton famously said, it takes a village to raise a child. For the sake of our children, we must all do our part to be supportive members of the village.

Although the Tyler family is far from perfect, they love one another. Had the community rallied around and supported them, perhaps Leah would not have gotten as lost. Like adults, most teens just want to feel accepted and loved – not for what they accomplish or contribute, but for who they are. I’d be thrilled if my novel inspired readers to suspend judgment, to look less harshly at troubled teens and their families. I think we owe it to our teens, to our communities, and to ourselves to work harder to support and encourage all kids, not just those who conform.

Q: Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

LEAH TYLER: Leah is a strong young woman, beautiful, smart, a superstar in the community. As long as she lives up to their expectations, she’s accepted, even celebrated. As soon as she tries to take control of her own life, question the rules, spread her wings, she meets resistance. When she chooses her troublemaker boyfriend over a promising college soccer career, and heads down a path of drugs and self-destruction, she rips her once happy family apart.

JUSTINE TYLER: Justine is twelve, in that awkward stage, not really a child anymore and not quite a teen. Justine is intelligent, faithful, and kind, and she sees the best in people, sometimes to her own detriment. Deeply religious, she sees God as Father and protector – a belief that will be challenged by her family’s turmoil. Her best friend is Dog, the family’s aging pet Labrador. Although only twelve, Justine is left to be the rock as the rest of her family plunges into depression.

ZOE AND WILL TYLER: Zoe and Will are hardworking parents – too hardworking – who love and want the best for their children. Ambitious and strong, Will is willing do whatever it takes to help his children reach their full potential, even if it means alienating them in the process. He can’t sit back, watching his teenage daughter destroy her promising future. Zoe, a child therapist and motivational speaker, is a peacemaker who avoids confrontation, and thus easily falls into depression. Their divided approach to Leah’s rebellion drives a wedge into their marriage.

Rather than listen to their daughter, accept that she’s growing up, that her choices may differ from theirs, and guide her down the path that’s right for her, Zoe and Will try to take control. This is a classic problem between parents and teens. The minute we put our foot down, say no, they can’t do this or that, they tend to focus all their energy in that direction. Zoe and Will’s escalating attempts to control their daughter result in her pulling away. This is a difficult cycle to break.

JERRY JOHNSON: Jerry Johnson, the police officer, is the only non-family member with a voice in the novel. Jerry’s work as a police officer brings him into frequent contact with the dissolving Tyler family. Though flawed like all the characters, he takes his responsibility for others to heart. He’s the connecting force in this novel.

TODD CORBETT: Leah’s boyfriend, Todd, a former roadie in a rock band, is a modern day James Dean, a rebel without a cause. He’s been arrested for dealing drugs, so it’s easy to blame him for leading her astray; really, he’s a conduit. He makes her feel comfortable and safe and encourages her blossoming independence.

By the time Leah realizes that he wants to control her, too – albeit in a different way – it’s too late. If only she’d realized how deeply her family loves her, she might have avoided the dire consequences she suffers. That’s the central irony in the book – perhaps the irony in many relationships between parents and teens.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

Bob Sullivan, the owner of Sullivan Farms Ice Cream, and Dorothy Klein, the beautiful woman who designs the button bracelets Zoe buys for Leah and herself, are real people.

Every other character is completely imaginary. I did borrow gestures, habits, and physical characteristics from real people – the runaway arm belongs to my youngest daughter, KK; my husband is a darker physical stand-in for Will. Of course, borrowing sometimes results in unfortunate assumptions. I’m lucky – my family puts up with my thievery and ignores the conclusions readers draw.

Personality, motivation, and behavior of my characters I’m fully responsible for.

Q: Your book is set in Cortland, MA. Can you tell us why you chose this city?

Geographically, the town of Cortland is modeled after the town of Harvard, MA. In the fall, we used to go there to pick apples. Harvard is stunningly beautiful – with the rolling hills, the stone walls, the orchards. Sometimes, Dave and I would drive there and just ride around. This family is in tremendous pain; they’re struggling. That these fierce struggles might take place in this bucolic setting felt surprising, and that tension felt important to the book.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

Judging from the stories I hear, the social and political climate in the imaginary town of Cortland reflects that in many middle- and upper-middle class towns across the U.S., and perhaps outside the U.S. I’ve talked with parents who’ve expressed frustrations similar to Zoe and Will’s. Culturally – not always or only by their parents – children feel pressure to live up to impossible expectations. When children step out of line, the parents and families often feel judged.

Community plays an important role in setting expectations and shaping and maintaining connections. The expectations, the constant demand to perform, can be overwhelming. In small towns, everyone knows everyone else, by sight if not by name. You can’t hide. If you or a family member is in trouble, everyone knows it. That claustrophobia and the constant feeling of condemnation, being watched, inform the inner lives of these characters and influence their behavior.

Q: Who are your favorite characters in the story?

My characters are all imperfect – they behave badly and they’re sometimes, perhaps often, enormously irritating – but I love them all, for their strengths as well as their weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Justine is sweet and caring and kind, so she’s easy to love, but I also love Leah. Although Leah drives the parent in me crazy, her heart is in the right place. The same applies to Zoe and Will – they often make terrible choices; despite their failures, they act out of love.

In the novel, Jerry Johnson, the police officer, is the only non-family member with a voice. Though flawed like all the characters, he takes his responsibility for others to heart. I’ve always admired Gail Mullen Beaudoin, a police officer in Chelmsford, MA. Gail brings strength, dignity and grace to a very difficult job. I see police officers as the connecting force in communities. Every day they put their lives on the line. To me, they’re our real life heroes. As the connecting force in this novel and for this family, Jerry is my favorite.

Q: Do you have a favorite line or excerpt from your book?

In a chapter called “Sisters Redux,” Justine, the geeky, goody-two-shoes little sister, asks Leah for a cigarette. It’s almost painful to see her trying so hard to win her big sister’s acceptance and affection. At first, Leah scoffs; then it dawns on her that Justine is actually serious and her conscience takes over. Leah has made difficult choices and been ostracized for them; for Justine, that path would be wrong. In certain arenas, dorks have the advantage, she thinks.

As she’s about to say no, it occurs to Leah that Justine has a right to make her own choices. With this insight, for the first time since they were young kids, Leah sees Justine as her equal. Despite her reservations, she gives her sister the cigarette. In a sweet moment, later in the chapter, Leah teaches Justine to dance. This love between the sisters is, to me, heartbreaking and special.

Q: If In Leah’s Wake were to be turned into a movie, who would you love to see play what characters and why?

Will Tyler – Matt Damon. Mr. Damon exudes fatherly love and protectiveness and he’s also very intense. If his daughter were in trouble, I can picture him going into overdrive, like Will, and doing whatever it takes to pull her back.

Zoe Tyler – Sandra Bullock. I see her as loving, driven and ditzy, a less strident version of Leigh Anne Tuohy, the mom she played in The Blind Side.

Leah Tyler – For the role of Leah, I’d search for new talent. Caroline Wakefield, as played by Erika Christensen, in the film Traffic, reminded me of Leah, in her all-American beauty and stunning transformation from preppy to drug-addicted prostitute. Ms. Christensen is too old for this role, but she’d be the prototype.

Justine Tyler – Abigail Breslin. Like Justine, she’s sweet and dorky and cute. She’s also precocious and strong.

Jerry Johnson – Vince Vaughn. He’s not the guy who walks into a room and gets the girl, but he’s centered and responsible, the rock for the others to lean on.

Todd Corbett (Leah’s boyfriend) – Jordan Masek. Jordan plays the role of Todd in my trailer. Jordan is actually a sweet guy, in real life. But he knows how to channel his inner bad boy. I can’t imagine a more appropriately cast Todd.

  

[Blog Tour] The Gaia Wars by Kenneth G. Bennett

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of The Gaia Wars eBook edition has dropped to just 99 cents this week.

What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes, including a Kindle Fire, Amazon gift cards up to $100 in amount, 5 autographed copies of the book, and 5 autographed copies of its recently released sequel, Battle for Cascadia. Be sure to enter before the end of the day on Friday, December 9th, so you don’t miss out.

To Win the Prizes:

  1. Purchase your copy of The Gaia Wars for just 99 cents on Amazon or Barnes & Noble
  2. Fill-out the form on Novel Publicity to enter for the prizes
  3. Visit today’s featured event; you may win an autographed copy of the book or a $50 gift card!
  4. BONUS: If you leave a comment on this blog post, you have another chance at $100!

…And I can win too!

Over 100 bloggers are participating in this gigantic event, and there are plenty of prizes for us too. The blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card as well. So when you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to say that I referred you, so I can get a point in the poll.

The Featured Events include:

Monday, Blogaganza on Novel Publicity! We’re kicking-off on the Novel Publicity Free Advice blog. We’ll ask the writer 5 fun and random questions to get everyone talking. Leave a comment or question in response to the post, and you may win an autographed copy of The Gaia Wars or its recently released sequel, Battle for Cascadia. Don’t forget to enter for the other contest prizes while you’re over there!

Tuesday, Twitter sharing contest!A tweet is tiny, only 140 characters. But on Tuesday, it could win you $50. Send the following tweet across the twittersphere, and you just may win a $50 Amazon gift card. Autographed copies of The Gaia Wars and its recently released sequel, Battle for Cascadia, are also up for grabs. The winner will be announced Wednesday morning. Here’s the tweet: Looking for a YA read that’s full of adventure & intrigue? Check out The Gaia Wars. Reduced to just 99 cents http://ow.ly/7ywpZ #whirlwind

Wednesday, Google+ sharing contest! Yup, there’s yet another awesome opportunity to win a $50 Amazon gift card, and this time it just takes a single click! Visit Google+ and share Emlyn Chand’s most recent post (you’ll see The Gaia Wars book cover included with it). On Thursday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. Autographed copies of The Gaia Wars and its recently released sequel, Battle for Cascadia, are also up for grabs. Three chances to win! How about that?

Thursday, Facebook sharing contest! Stop by Novel Publicity’s Facebook page and share their latest post (you’ll see The Gaia Wars book cover included with it). It’s ridiculously easy to win! On Friday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. Autographed copies of The Gaia Wars and its recently released sequel, Battle for Cascadia, are also up for grabs.

Friday, special contest on the author’s site! Win a Kindle Fire or a $100 Amazon gift card, simply by leaving a comment on Kenneth’s most recent blog post. How easy is that? Autographed copies of The Gaia Wars and its recently released sequel, Battle for Cascadia, are also up for grabs.

Remember, it’s all about the books!

About The Gaia Wars: DEADLY SECRETS have been buried in the Cascade mountain wilderness for centuries. Hidden. Out of sight and out of mind. Until today… Warren Wilkes, age 13, doesn’t like what a greedy housing developer has done to his peaceful mountain community, so he vandalizes the developer’s property, flees into the wild, and stumbles upon an ancient human skeleton revealed by torrential rain. More than old bones have been exposed, however, and the curious artifact Warren finds makes him question his own identity, and his connection to an ancient terror. A terror destined to rise again and annihilate all that Warren loves. He must fight or see his whole world destroyed. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

AboutBattle for Cascadia: When Warren Wilkes, age 13, stumbles upon a mysterious relic deep in the Cascade Mountains, wonder reigns. Brimming with secrets and sentient energy, the relic leads Warren to a fantastic chamber, and to shocking revelations about his identity. Now wonder has turned to dread. A forgotten terror—a demon that knows Warren better than he knows himself—has risen again and is assembling an army; gathering power with a singularly evil goal in mind: to capture and enslave the wild spirit of the Earth itself. As war erupts and the planet slips into chaos, Warren embraces his destiny and finds help where he least expects it. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the Author: Kenneth G. Bennett is the author of the Young Adult novels The Gaia Wars and Battle for Cascadia (the second book of The Gaia Wars), as well as the forthcoming Exodus 2018, a paranormal thriller set in the Puget Sound region of Washington State. A wilderness enthusiast who loves backpacking, skiing and kayaking, Ken enjoys novels that explore the relationship between humans and the wild. He lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and son. Visit him on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Now please enjoy this sneak peek of The Gaia Wars…

Chapter 3

The ground climbed steadily and Warren slowed but didn’t stop. He knew how to pace himself, and ran lightly over the soft earth, weaving between the pines.

A plan formed in Warren’s mind. He would make for Pipestone Canyon, roughly two miles distant. He and his uncle had hiked, skied and snowshoed there dozens of times, and he knew it well. Perhaps he could hide among the canyon’s crags, cliffs and massive boulders. Perhaps.

Warren topped a low ridge, entered a clearing, and heard the sudden rush of brawling Nine Mile Creek, two hundred yards ahead. Born in the snowy Cascades, the sparkling stream clattered across the meadow. It was roughly fifteen feet wide here, but shallow, gravel-bottomed and easy to cross.

Now that he was out of the trees, Warren heard other sounds, too: the unmistakable baying of dogs, surprisingly close, and the low, steady whine of ATVs. The Finleys were after him, all right, and they were getting closer.

For the first time, Warren felt truly afraid. He remembered the rage on Mr. Finley’s face. Who could guess what the big brute might do? Or maybe Finley Sr. would simply turn a blind eye as Finley Jr. pulverized him. Junior was a good thirty pounds heavier than Warren, after all.

Wild thoughts flooded Warren’s mind. Maybe the Finleys would tie him up and drag him behind their ATVs, or let their dogs tear him to pieces. He couldn’t guess, and he didn’t want to find out.

Warren had an idea. Instead of running straight across the creek, he would run in it for a while. His shoes and socks would get soaked, but perhaps the ploy would confuse the dogs—at least temporarily. It was a trick he’d read about in numerous adventure stories. Maybe it would help.

He leapt into the clear, frigid water. It was only about a foot deep here, where it crossed the flat, open meadow, but shockingly cold. He sprinted upstream.

Though June meant summer in other parts of the country, it was still early spring here in the higher elevations of the Clement Valley. It had snowed heavily all winter, and the meadows only recently had become snow-free. It had just rained, too, so everything had a fresh, new quality and the air was crisp and clean. Wildflowers carpeted the creek banks.

Warren splashed on—the gravel stream bottom giving a bit under each sloshing footfall. He saw now that the snowmelt and recent rain had caused the clay soil of the stream’s banks to fracture. Here and there great slabs of creek edge had fallen into the water. In some spots, sections of bank teetered, like new islands breaking apart from the mainland after a catastrophic quake. Ahead, the creek jogged sharply to the right.

Warren scanned the meadow. In another hundred feet or so, he’d climb out of the water and run uphill, toward Pipestone Canyon. He sprinted, following the sharp bend in the stream.

That’s when he saw the skeleton.

It was a human skeleton, no doubt about that, lying face up on the soft earth. Warren could see at once what had happened: the skeleton had been buried in the reddish-brown clay of the bank, but a section of creek edge had fractured and fallen away, freeing the skeleton from its tomb. It lay there in broad daylight, as neatly and cleanly as if it had just rolled out of a crypt. Warren stepped forward cautiously and gazed at the remains in silent wonder.

He would have forgotten about the Finleys, his prank and everything else—only now that he’d stopped moving he heard the dogs and whining ATVs once more. Even over the joyful clatter of the creek, the sounds were unmistakable. The Finleys were coming through the forest, within a minute or two of the meadow.

Warren stared at the skeleton. He’d been to enough museums and read enough books to know that it was very old. The bones were light brown and smooth, like aged ivory. It occurred to Warren they might even be fossilized.

The skull, arm and leg bones were large, and the hips narrow, so he guessed he was looking at the remains of a man. The lower jawbone was missing, as were the bones of the right foot. Otherwise, the skeleton appeared intact. Warren leaned closer to the skull, but the empty eye sockets gazing skyward gave him a queer feeling.

He took one last look and …

There was something protruding from the dirt, near the skeleton’s right hip. Warren peered closely.

The “something,” whatever it was, was encrusted with soft clay. It blended with the surrounding soil, and was nearly invisible.

Warren gently traced the object with his fingers, pried some of the clay away, and understood. It was a pouch: leather, bound at the top with a fragment of cord.

Warren teased more soil from the object, marveling that the leather was still supple and intact. Even the design on the face of the pouch—a fine red spiral—had somehow been preserved inside the clay tomb of the creek bank.

Carefully, painstakingly, Warren lifted the pouch free from the soil, loosened the cord, and spilled the contents out.

The first artifact to tumble onto the creek bank—into the sunlight—was a stone spear point. It was about five inches long, brownish-yellow and lovingly crafted. It was still razor sharp, by the look of it.

The spear point made Warren gasp. But the object that thudded onto the bank after it stopped his heart.

It was a heavy, flat medallion of gleaming, hammered gold, inset with sparkling blue gems.

Dazzlingly beautiful, the medallion (medallion was the first word that came to Warren’s mind) could easily have been the centerpiece of a great king’s crown, or of a royal necklace. The object had seven equal sides.

A heptagon, Warren thought. It was a term he’d learned in last semester’s math.

Warren’s hand shook as he traced the perimeter of the heptagon with one finger. The object was about four inches across, and twice as thick as the old silver dollars in his uncle’s coin collection.

In the center of the heptagon was set a perfect circle of highly polished obsidian. The dazzling blue gems—there were seven of them, as well—were embedded in the gold and placed evenly about the obsidian circle. Warren turned the medallion over and saw that the back consisted of gleaming, hammered gold only.

He lifted the object slowly, reverently. It fit neatly in the palm of his hand and was so bright that it flashed in the warm morning light. It was beautiful. It was mesmerizing. It was …

Warren heard sudden, frenzied barking from the forest below and jumped to his feet. How had they scaled the hill so fast? How long had he been kneeling beside the skeleton? With a leap up the bank, he was off once more, bounding across the meadow and toward the sheltering forest beyond.

Warren had run perhaps fifteen feet when he realized he’d left the spear point with the skeleton. No time to retrieve it now. By the sound of it, the Finleys’ dogs would burst into the clearing at any moment. He had to make it to the trees—had to disappear into the forest—if he was to have any hope of escaping.

[Blog Tour] Paranormal Turkey Tour

Ah yes, Thanksgiving. Nothing says the holidays like sitting around a fully decked out dining room table with mouthwatering temptations waiting to be gobbled up. Everyone waits anxiously for the big reveal… the turkey!

Lovingly prepared since early that morning, the turkey is brought out in a covered, silver serving platter. Aunt Edith smacks little Tommy’s hand as he attempts to steal a candied yam dripping with marshmallow. The collective breath is held as the silver cover is removed… revealing… a zombie turkey!

What—what? That’s right folks, this year, we are celebrating this American holiday paranormal style. And what says paranormal holiday better than a walking, talking zombie turkey?

This zombie turkey brings you important tidings of great prizes that shall be for all people… who participate and win of course.

November 25-27 you could win up to $200 in prizes!

Three days.Four YA paranormal books. Five chances to win!

And who are these crazy paranormal authors? Check them out. It’s like the Nightmare Before Christmas, Thanksgiving style!

Emlyn Chand, author of Farsighted

“Psychic or not, you’ll never see the end for this one coming! Emlyn Chand is pioneering ‘the next big thing’ for YA.” ~ Emily Reese, author of Second Death

Alex Kosmitoras may be blind, but he can still “see” things others can’t. When his unwanted visions of the future begin to suggest that the girl he likes could be in danger, he has no choice but to take on destiny and demand it reconsider.

Monster Mash: Emlyn says… I. AM. WEREWOLF! And why’s that you ask? First off, my name (Chand) literally means moon in Sanskrit. Next, werewolves are super cool–we can blend in with common folk, and then out of nowhere, kapow! I’m a werewolf, and I sure am hungry. Lastly, Team Jacob 100%. Now excuse me while I cock back my head and howl at my namesake.


Patti Larsen, author of Family Magic

“Patti Larsen is truly gifted because I read Family Magic cover to cover and I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for the next installment!” ~ from Goodreads review

Sixteen-year-old SydlynnHayle is the daughter of a powerful witch and a demon lord, but she just wants to be ordinary. When her coven comes under attack, Syd must face the fact only her power can save her family’s magic.

Monster Mash: Patti says… I am a witch. Naturally. I weave spells with my words, cast incantations from my keyboard, mix up the very best potions in my cauldron of documents. You want to stay on my good side. Trust me. Unless you enjoy waking up as something… unnatural.

Kimberly Kinrade, author of Forbidden Mind

Forbidden Mind is a thrilling, dark and deeply romantic read that had me sitting on the edge of my seat and eagerly awaiting the next installment.” ~Refracted Light Young Adult Book Reviews

Paranormal teens with unimaginable powers.An evil organization with deep secrets. When Sam, a girl who reads minds, meets a boy who controls minds, she discovers her future isn’t what she thought. Together they must escape and free the others… or risk losing everything—and everyone—they love.

Monster Mash: Kimberly says… I may look like a demon, but I’m actually a succubus. Enchanting and seductive, I weave stories that will fuel your passions and make you fall in love. But be warned… once you fall under the spell of my words, your world will never be the same.

John Corwin, author of The Next Thing I Knew

Corwin does a phenomenal job of including humor throughout this novel. This book was like . . . Ghost (the movie) meets The Host (by Stephanie Meyer) meets MIB (Men In Black the movie). ~Maryann, Chapter by Chapter

The afterlife is the last thing on Lucy’s mind until she and every other human on the planet drop dead and find themselves in the hereafter. Lucy drags her social life back from the grave and enlists her friends to figure out the rules of the afterlife and, more importantly, to discover who or what killed everyone and why anyone would do such a mean thing.

Monster Mash: John says… I am a ninja. After all, vampires are simply ninjas with fangs. They can hide in plain sight, right in your living room. Jump out and scare the wits out of you. Drop a smoke bomb and poof! All you’re left with is stinky smoke in your house and soiled underclothes.

The Prizes

Four $25 Book Entries: For each of the four books in the contest, you can enter to win $25 (up to $100 in giveaways!) Simply buy a copy of the book and email the proof of purchase for that book OR submit the first sentence of the fifth chapter for that book to ParanormalTurkey@gmail.com. Winners will be chosen randomly. Each person can submit one entry per book. Here are the links for each book:

And…if you buy all FOUR books, you are entered to win the Grand Prize!

The Grand Prize

One randomly selected reader who enters to win all four book prizes (Family Magic, Farsighted, Forbidden Mind and The Next Thing I Knew) will win the grand prize of $100.

So go on now and pick up a copy of these fantastic paranormal reads before the zombie turkey eats you!

What? Still around? Then enjoy these fun book trailers and Paranormal Turkey Tour trailer. (Then go buy the books.) Also, leave a comment and help your favorite blog host win a $50 prize!

Notes:

  • All winners will be chosen randomly using random.org.
  • Amazon links are provided, but books purchased through any online vendor will qualify with proof of purchase.

[Blog Tour] Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

Guest Post from Kendare Blake

What do you do when you’re not writing?  Can you give us a typical day?
A typical day? How boring do you want this? Because I can doboring, on a typical day. Here goes. I wake up, eat something, usually notcereal because sweet doesn’t do it for me early on. Cereal is more like a snackfood to me. Sometimes you get on that cereal kick, too, where you eat like fourbowls in a day.

Anyway, after that I get myself together, maybe do a littleworking out first, keep the writing-desk butt at bay, do any cleaning aroundthe place that needs cleaning, subject myself to a couple of minutes oflap-cat, because he hasn’t had enough time with me after sleeping on me allnight long and slowly driving me into a pretzel ball in the corner of the bed.

The husband is usually up by this point and we may go dosomething arty, or wildlife-y, like the zoo, or a hike, or the aquarium. Maybehit an outdoor market. If it’s Tuesday, there are cheap movie tickets at atheater that serves bitchin’ potato skins and beer. But if we don’t do any ofthat stuff, we may video game our lives away. Right now we’re mindlesslyhacking our way through Devil May Cry 4. It was only seven bucks at GameStop.

Somewhere in there is food, anything fried or cheesy isgood. Nitrates are good. When we want to go healthy, we’ll eat Pho. In theevenings if we’re home we’ll usually barrel our way through whatever we’ve goton the DVR. Fringe. Boxing. Wilfred. Chopped. Midnight or so, the day is over.

And that’s a somewhat typical day off. Sex and the City it’snot, but I like it.

Contest

Who is about to take on Anna next?  In the first week, we met the ghost hunters.  In the second week, we saw their replies.  This week, we find out who actually makes it to Anna’s door!

Each day this week, a final clue will be given for each of the three ghost hunters who accepted Anna’s challenge to come to Thunder Bay.  Follow the tour for the rest of this week to find out who among the five is the one who will enter Anna’s house on the last day of the tour!  A list of all the tour dates, including the first week’s dates where the ghost hunters were introduced, click here.

On the last day of the tour, a link will be provided where you can enter the ghost hunter’s name for 15 entries into the contest to win a Anna Dressed In Blood skinned and loaded Kindle 3!  Open US/Canada.

For an extra points in the meantime, you can gain +1 point a day by tweeting the following:Who will make it to Thunder Bay?  Join the contest to best Anna and win an Anna Dressed In Blood Kindle!  Follow #ADIBtour @KendareBlake


About Anna Dressed In BloodGoodreads, Amazon, B&N, Indie Bound

Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story…

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought tokill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels thecountry with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together theyfollow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping

pesky things like the future and friends at bay.When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressedin Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill.What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’snever faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutalmurder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since herdeath, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the

deserted Victorian she used to call home.

And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.


About Kendare Blake – WebsiteFacebookTwitter 
Kendare Blake lives and writes in Washington state, with cats and a husband who critique the work. Her first literary novel, Sleepwalk Society, recently won a 2011 Indie Excellence Award for crossover fiction. Her second novel, Anna Dressed in Blood, is YA horror, and will be released August 30, 2011, with a sequel to follow in 2012.






Tour Schedule: 
Monday, September 12th – Rachel, Parajunkee 

Tuesday, September 13th – Stacey, A Reader’s Record Wednesday, September 14th – Alyssa, Teens Read and Write Thursday, September 15th – Heather, Buried In Books Friday, September 16th – Jenny, Supernatural Snark Monday, September 19th – Melissa, I Swim For Oceans Tuesday, September 20th – Tawni, The Book Worms Wednesday, September 21st – Alice, Alice Marvels Thursday, September 22nd – Julie, That’s Swell Friday, September 23rd – Angela, The Reading Angel Monday, September 26th – Julia, Rex Robot Reviews Tuesday, September 27th – Ashley, Smash Attack Reads! Wednesday, September 28th – Britta, I Like These Books Thursday, September 29th – We Fancy Books Friday, September 30th (Anna’s 1 month birthday!) – Kristi, The Story Siren Tuesday, October 4th: Announcement of the big prize winner on Kendare’s Site!

[Blog Tour] The Willows Haven by Hope Collier

Today is our stop for The Willows Haven Blog Tour

Here’s an interview with Gabe

1)    What was your impression of Ash when you first met her?
*grins* Well, if you take into account Ashton’s car was stuck in a ditch, and she ultimately proceeded to run over my motorcycle, I found her absolutely endearing.
2)    Do you believe fate brought you together, or something else?
My culture is steeped in fate, so I trust our meeting was meant to be in one way or another. I will tell you this though … I believe I was in the right place at the right time for fate to play its role in life.
3)    When did you first realize you had feelings for her?
How can anyone meet Ashton and not feel something for her?
4)    You’ve known Ash’s family for a long time. Is it weird having feelings for her?
To be honest, the first day I got into her car, that’s all I could think of. That I’d once been so close to her family. But the more I got to know Ash, the less it mattered … it just felt right.
5)    What do you like most about Ash?
The thing I admire most about Ashton is her gift of compassion.
6)    What do you think she likes most about you?
*laughs* I think that’s one you’d better ask her.
7)    What is your biggest fear?
My biggest fear is that I can’t protect her. You can’t imagine what it’s like … knowing that you’re putting the one you love in danger for just loving you. It’s beyond a nightmare.
8)    What is your best/favorite memory with Ash?
We were driving in the car, and she was staring out the window … just staring, mindlessly humming Louis Armstrong of all people. *smiles wistfully* I don’t think she even realized she was doing it. But her contentment, seeing the peace in her eyes, it just melted me.
9)    If there was one thing you could change in life, what would it be?
I’d change the circumstances surrounding Ashton’s life. I would give her the family she never had the chance to know. And she would’ve never been lied to. Ash deserves better.
10) How would you describe yourself before you met Ash? Has she changed you in any way?
I’ve always accepted that things are what they are, but Ashton caused me to see the world in a different light. I quickly came to understand that my whole life boiled down to a system of beliefs, that I was living the way others expected me to. Ash gave me the courage to step outside the boundary of obligations and face the world head-on with a new perspective. …She taught me to fight for love.
Rapid Questions:
Favorite drink? Water
Favorite food? Mushrooms
Pet peeve?
Glass half full or half empty? Who has been drinking my water?
Introvert or Extrovert? Introvert for the most part
Hobby? I enjoy reading and music. And of course, anything outdoors.

Pre Order it here

When tragedy strikes, seventeen year-old Ashton Blake sets out on a cross-country road trip, leaving the comforts of Malibu for the mountains of Kentucky. Along the way, she encounters Gabe Willoughby—the mysterious drifter with eyes like the sea and a knowing smile. Getting to know Gabe raises questions about her past. But no secret can be buried forever, and Ashton soon finders herself in a world where water is air and myth becomes reality.
Just as Ashton comes to accept her newfound heritage, she’s summoned to fulfill a treaty laid down centuries before — a treaty that will divide her love and test her loyalty. In the end, her future isn’t her biggest concern, her humanity is. To run may mean war, but is she strong enough to stay?

About the Author

Hope Collier was born in Harlan County, Kentucky. Growing up in the Appalachia, she quickly learned that a good imagination — along with the ability to outrun the neighbor’s cantankerous dog — was essential to survival. Hope wrote and illustrated her first book at the age of six and never stopped writing. She now lives in central Kentucky with her husband, two daughters, and a menagerie of pets. When not spending time with her imaginary friends, you’re likely to find her stalking other writers on Twitter or searching out new ways of fitting square pegs into round holes.
Book Trailer

Next Stop: A Tale of Many Reviews www.ataleofmanyreviews.com
Follow the tour for a chance to win a Signed Print Copy + Swag, you can enter to win the on the last day of the tour with a video Interview with Hope

GIVEAWAY Win an ecopy of The Willows Haven by Hope CollierJust comment on this post with your contact info and you’re entered.Extra entry for spreading the word.
Ends on the 30th

[Blog Tour] Golden Healer, Dark Enchantress by Christine Schulze

Golden Healer, Dark Enchantress: Excerpt III, from Chapter 4, “Revelations”

“If you’re…safe,” I began, and he jumped a little as I broke the silence, “then why didn’t you want to tell me? Why did you say it would be dangerous for us to be together?”
“Because being with me would inevitably put you in contact with other vampires,” he said. “Possibly those who aren’t Stregoni Benefici.”
“Stregoni Benefici…” I said it slowly and thoughtfully, liking the sound of it. “Is that Italian?”
He nodded, staring at me perplexed, as if I asked the strangest question. His perplexed stare began to turn to one of incredulity as if realizing I might not actually be so frightened after all.
“The Stregoni Benefici,” I repeated, enjoying trilling the ‘r’. “What is it you do exactly, being good vampires?”
He paused, but when he spoke again, he did not answer my question, instead saying softly, “Chrystine?”
“Yes?”
“You’re not afraid, are you?”
He spoke it as more of a statement, yet I could see the hope blazing in his eyes.
“No,” I said. “More bewildered than anything.”
“And you still trust me?” he said, eyes pleading his need to be sure.
“I’ve always trusted you,” I replied. “Besides, I promised, didn’t I?”
He smiled. I noticed again just how white and perfect his teeth flashed and could’ve laughed, but deciding it best not to, simply smiled in return.
“Now, where were we?” he asked.
“The Stregoni Benefici,” I reminded him.
“Oh, yes. Well, we have basically only two purposes. First, to fight against, and destroy, evil vampires as much as we can. Second, to wait for the Golden Healer and protect her when she comes.”
“The Golden Healer,” I echoed. “Who is she?”
Aaryn stared at me as if waiting for something to sink in. As it did, my eyes widened again.
“Me?” I breathed.
“You have the golden thumb and toe, don’t you?”
“Yes, but–“
“And the cross?”
“Yes, but what has that to do with anything?”
“It’s quite a long story.”
“I’ve plenty of time,” I assured him, though I would’ve stayed and listened even if this wasn’t true, both out of curiosity and because the feeling crept in that he wouldn’t really let me go without hearing it anyways.
“Good,” he said. “It begins over a thousand years ago, when the first vampires were, well, ‘created’, if you will.
“An evil sorceress created them. She was known as the Dark Enchantress.” His eyes suddenly transformed into dangerous green flames as he spoke of her, flickering with a new darkness, a danger foreign to those eyes as he mentioned her. I shuddered to even think such a look could exist in those perfect, green spheres.
He continued, “She was once a golden healer like yourself. She, too, was born with a golden thumb and toe. But she used it for her own selfish will, eventually for evil, and–“
“It turned black,” I gasped in horror, not meaning to interrupt him but already drawn into the story. My reaction seemed only to please him as he smiled his half smirk in amusement.
In school we learned of legends warning of the misuse of the golden thumb, but there was only one such elf ever recorded in our history. I shuddered to think that such an evil being could really exist.
“She feeds off evil energy,” Aaryn continued, the green flames of his eyes growing darker as he spoke of her. “The more power she gained, the more evil energy she needed to sustain that power, so she made us. I was among the first of her…creations. We could attack others and multiply, for with every attack our numbers grew and so did her power. She could just sit back and watch her power grow. And once she was strong enough to resist all the most powerful fairies, she could strike, take over not only her own world, but ours as well, and any other worlds that might be out there.”
He paused what seemed a dramatic pause as my heart pounded. Yet beyond feeling horrified, I sat captivated, enthralled.
“What became of her?” I asked.
“She still exists,” he said, his expression darker than ever, and I gasped. I’m sure my eyes grew twice their normal size by now. “She still exists in her world, drawing evil to her through the vampires she’s released both in her world and our own, as well as other worlds we’ve probably never even heard of. She is nearly strong enough, strong enough to destroy us all…”
“What can we do?” I asked.

“That’s where you come in.”

About the Author

Christine E. Schulze has been creating books since she was too young to even write them in words. Her collection of YA fantasy books, The Amielian Legacy, is comprised of series and stand-alone books which can all be read separately but which weave together to create an amazing fantasy. Her fanatsies also incorporate many other genres, such as Christian fantasy, romance, and even a spark of horror at times. She hopes to inspire readers throughout the world with these books by publishing in both traditional and electronic formats to make them available to all readers.

Christine has published several stories with Calliope and Kalkion magazines and is an active member of the WEbook online writing community. She has also published several Christian/fantasy books which are available at various online retailers, as well as publishing several eBooks via Writers-Exchange.
Her latest and most exciting venture includes her publications with Old Line Publishing: Bloodmaiden and Tears of a Vampire Prince: the First Krystine. She also anticipates her upcoming publication with Old Line, Lily in the Snow, as well as releasing The Chronicles of the Mira with Writers-Exchange in both paperback and electronic forms.

Christine currently lives in Belleville, Illinois in her first and most thrilling apartment. 

The next blog stop: Sept 12 – Belle’s Books http://bellebooksx.blogspot.com/