Blog Tour: The Hidden Library by Heather Lyons (Guest Post + Giveaway)

THL Tour Banner
Hey everyone! I’m so excited to be a part of Heather Lyons’ blog tour for her new novel, The Hidden Library (Out now)! For my blog tour stop, I have a guest post from Heather! Plus, there’s an awesome giveaway! First, here’s some more information about The Hidden Library:

THL CoverSometimes, the rabbit hole is deeper than expected . . .

Alice Reeve and Finn Van Brunt have tumbled into a life of secrets. Some secrets they share, such as their employment by the clandestine organization known as The Collectors’ Society. Other secrets they carry within them, fighting to keep buried the things that could change everything they think they know.

On the hunt for an elusive villain who is hell-bent on destroying legacies, Alice, Finn, and the rest of the Society are desperate to unravel the mysteries surrounding them. But the farther they spiral down this rabbit hole, the deeper they fall into secrets that will test their loyalties and pit them against enemies both new and old.

Secrets, they come to find, can reveal the deadliest of truths.


Amazon | Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Kobo

THL Teaser
And now here’s Heather’s Guest Post!! Enjoy!

Does retelling a classic help young readers gravitate to classics?

I am so ridiculously pleased to announce that I’ve gotten many emails, messages, and notes about how the Collectors’ Society books have inspired readers to go and read the originals. Interestingly enough, many readers in today’s society only know some of the characters featured in the series from television and movie adaptations rather than the source materials. I cannot count how many people and reviews have told me that their knowledge of the very famous Alice comes from Disney (albeit cartoon or live action). So, while many modern readers are very aware of her, they’ve never actually experienced her original stories. The same goes for Huckleberry Finn, the Frankenstein story (most people today incorrectly think Frankenstein is the monster’s name!), or even Abraham Van Brunt (who is now known as the dastardly Headless Horseman on the television series Sleepy Hollow). It was so fun to reread these books prior to writing The Collectors’ Society and rediscover why I loved them so much. And now, knowing readers are gravitating toward the original sources after reading both The Collectors’ Society and The Hidden Library? It’s icing on the cake.

THL teaser
And don’t forget to enter the awesome giveaway we have for you! Simply fill out the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Don’t miss the first book in this series, THE COLLECTORS’ SOCIETY!

The Collectors' Society front cover


Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Kobo


Author PhotoAbout Heather Lyons
Heather Lyons has always had a thing for words—she’s been writing stories since she was a kid. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. Heather is a rabid music fan, as evidenced by her (mostly) music-centric blog, and she’s married to an even larger music snob. They’re happily raising three kids who are mini music fiends who love to read and be read to.

Website | Author Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook


THL Available Now

Blog Tour: Shutter by Courtney Alameda (Guest Post + Giveaway)

Shutter BlogTourBanner
Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the Shutter Blog Tour! Today, I’m pleased to share Courtney’s Top Ten Favorite Horror Projects with you. First, here’s the cover and synopsis:

ShutterHorror has a new name: introducing Courtney Alameda.

Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She’s aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera’s technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn’t exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she’s faced before . . . or die trying.

Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Click here to read an excerpt of Shutter!


And now here are Courtney’s Top Ten Favorite Horror Projects! Enjoy!!


Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens . . . are things I don’t much care for (okay, okay, maybe the whiskers on kittens. I’m not heartless!) Most of my favorite things skew along the creepy spectrum, and my favorite books, movies, and video games are no exception. For today’s Top Ten Tuesday installment on Pandora’s Books, I’m counting down my favorite horror (or horror-esque) projects of all time. It was difficult to cull only ten creative works from the myriad of things I have experienced and loved, but the following projects are things that have really affected me over the years.

Here now, I present to you my top ten favorite horror projects of all time (or of thus far):

Shutter 1
I have long loved the ethereal, creepy, and at times gory artwork of Tom Bagshaw, who tackles everything from pop culture to Japanese monsters like the kuchisake-onna (pictured above).

Shutter 2
My favorite YA horror novel is Rick Yancey’s peerless The Monstrumologist, in which twelve-year-old Will Henry and his mentor, Dr. Pellinore, must face a pod of ravenous anthropophagi. Gracefully written and truly terrifying, it took home a Printz Honor Award in 2011.

Shutter 3
There are few manga/anime series more violent than Kohta Hirano’s Hellsing, in which a revived Dracula (Alucard) teams up with a descendant of Abraham Van Helsing to battle modern-day Nazi vampires. Bloody good fun.

Shutter 4
I waited a long time to see Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods, mostly because I took one look at the movie poster and wrote the film off. But one night in October 2013 my curiosity got the better of me, and within the first five minutes, Cabin in the Woods rocketed to the top of my favorite horror films list. Somehow the film manages to the humorous, frightening, and oh-so-meta . . . often all at the same time. Favorite scene? The elevator bank.

Shutter 5
I’ll admit The Walking Dead has petered out for me in season five, but the first and third seasons were action-packed and gutsy (literally and figuratively). The Governor is one of my favorite antagonists in television, and I feel he met his end a little too soon.

Shutter 6
Stephen King’s The Mist (a novella included in Skeleton Crew) was the first horror novel I ever read. Upon finishing, I stopped, considered the novella for a few moments, and then turned back to page one. As an adolescent, I found solace in the scary, so it’s probably no surprise that I now write thriller/horror for young people.

Shutter 7
The X-Files was my absolute favorite television show as a kid—I refused to miss an episode, no matter how late it kept me up on a school night (or how badly it frightened me). To this day, I have Mulder’s I Want to Believe poster hanging in my home, and Eugene Tooms still scares me witless.

Shutter 8
I talk about Ridley Scott’s Alien quite often, and even wrote an entire blog post on what I learned about writing horror from the film.

Shutter 9
My favorite video game franchise of all time is Capcom’s Resident Evil series, with Resident Evil 4 being the most frightening and engrossing installment, in my opinion. There’s nothing quite like being pursued by an army of angry villagers armed with pitchforks, all of whom are infected with a parasite that resembles H.R. Giger’s facehugger from Alien. Add black-clad priests chanting “Morir es vivir” to that picturesque scene, along with bag-faced men wielding chainsaws and a lake-dwelling creature known only as El Lago, and you have one helluva of a ride.

Shutter 10
Finally, my list of favorite horror projects couldn’t be complete without mentioning Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which remains one of the most unsettling novels I have ever read. Aside from Sherlock Holmes, no other character from classic literature has been re-imagined or portrayed in other creative works as often as Dracula has—and with his mesmerizing presence on the page, is it any wonder?



And now, thanks to the amazing people at Macmillan, we have a giveaway! One lucky winner will receive a hardcover copy of Shutter! US/CAN only! To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Courtney AlamedaAbout the Author:
Courtney Alameda’s spent her entire career trying to con and cajole people into reading great books. A veteran of the big-box bookstore trenches, Courtney now works as a librarian for the prettiest library you’ve ever seen, where she spends her time ordering large stacks of YA books, doing readers’ advisory, and dressing up as various mythical creatures for a variety of library events.

Courtney has an affinity for brightly colored lipstick, urban exploration, cosplay, video games, and Twitter. If she’s listening to music, it’s usually Florence + the Machine, Marina and the Diamonds, Rodrigo y Gabriela, or Jason Graves. Her addiction to Dr. Pepper is legendary.

Courtney holds a B.A. in English Literature with an emphasis in Creative Writing from Brigham Young University. She is represented by the amazing and talented John M. Cusick of Greenhouse Literary. A Northern California native, she now resides in Utah with a legion of books and a tiny, five pound cat who possesses a giant personality.


Twitter | Facebook

Blog Tour: The Hound at the Gate by Darby Karchut (Excerpt)

Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the Hound at the Gate Blog Tour! This book released from Spencer Hill Middle Grade on January 13, 2015! Today, I’ve got an awesome excerpt to share with you! But first, here’s a look at the cover and synopsis:

The Hound at the Gate
Autumn: the season of endings. And beginnings.

Especially for one young apprentice.

At the annual Festival of the Hunt, thirteen-year-old apprentice goblin hunter Finn MacCullen and his master, Gideon Lir, join other Tuatha De Danaan to honor their people’s heritage. But Finn soon realizes that there are some who denounce his right to attend due to his half-human bloodline.

As he struggles to keep his place by his master’s side, he finds himself embroiled in a decades-old grudge between Gideon and another Knight, bewildered (and beguiled) by a female apprentice with a temper as explosive as his own, and battling a pack of goblins determined to wipe out the entire camp in a surprise attack.

It’s going to take some fancy knife work, the help of a female Knight with a lethal bow, and one old pick up truck to defeat the goblins and prove to his people that Finn’s blood runs true-blue Tuatha De Danaan.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble

And now here’s the excerpt! Enjoy!

“Finnegan MacCullen.” Gideon pointed at the ground by his feet. “Now.”

Fuming, Finn planted his feet and refused to move. Gideon lifted an eyebrow in warning.

You better get over there, Finn warned himself, recalling what had happened just three weeks ago when he had stubbornly refused to obey a direct order during a hunt. A hard cuff on the head, thirty push-ups, and a five-minute lecture delivered in such a deep brogue Finn could barely understand half the words—that had been his reward. Relenting before the other eyebrow went up, he dragged himself over. He winced when his master reached out and grabbed him by the scruff of the neck.

“Tara Butler is not only a fellow apprentice, but also a girl and a guest, is she not?” Gideon said in a tone that made Finn gulp.

“Yes, sir.”

“Then treat her as such.” The Knight gave him a rough shake with each word.

“Yes, sir,” Finn gasped. He rubbed the back of his neck when Gideon let go. At the unspoken command from his master, he walked over to where O’Shea and Tara stood, the girl now as red-faced as Finn.

Taking a deep breath, he forced himself to look her square in the eye. When you offer up an apology, lad, do so manfully. “Tara Butler, I’m sorry I was rude.”

“You should be. Ow!” She winced when her master pinched her arm. “Yeah, I’m sorry, too,” she replied, clearly not sorry at all.
Hoping to salvage what he could, Finn plowed along. “And I really don’t think you’re a girl.”


“No. Wait. What I meant to say is that I don’t think you’re a real girl.” Finn groaned silently when the words left his mouth.
“What the heck is that supposed to mean?”

Behind him, he could hear Gideon coughing, trying to smother a laugh. Standing behind her apprentice, O’Shea was holding her hand over her mouth.

Feeling like possibly the biggest fool in the entire history of all known and unknown universes, Finn prayed for a pack of Amandán to burst into camp and kill him. Right then.

No such luck.

“Are you trying to say you don’t think I’m a girly girl?”

Finn nodded in relief. “Exactly.” And now I’m going to shut up before I say anything more stupid. If that’s possible, he thought. Which I doubt.

“Oh. Well, okay then.”

“And, on that note, we are out of here,” O’Shea said. “Come on, Tara, before you and Finn start throwing punches.” The Knight nudged her apprentice toward the path, but then lingered a moment. “Gideon. It’s good to see you again.”

“The pleasure is mine, Kel.”

“And I’m glad you’re back.”

“As am I.”

Finn blew out a long breath as they walked away. Sheesh. And Gideon says I have a hair-trigger temper?

Shaking his head in disbelief, he started to say something when he noticed Gideon still watching O’Shea until she disappeared behind a stand of trees. His master continued to stare at the spot, as if remembering something. A faint smile curled one corner of his mouth.

Finn blinked. He likes her. The realization made him suddenly aware of something he knew-but-didn’t-know. Or didn’t want to know, for some reason.

That his master was more than just his master. That Gideon was a person. With likes and dislikes. With faults and strengths.

That Gideon was a man. And just like his master, one day Finn would be a man, too.


Darby Author PicAbout the Author:
Darby Karchut is an award-winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter. Her books include the Griffin Rising series, the Adventures of Finn MacCullen series, and writing as Darby Kaye, The Stag Lord and its sequel, Unholy Blue.

A member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and Pikes Peak Writers, Darby has been known to run in blizzards and bike in lightning storms. When not dodging death by Colorado, she writes urban fantasy for tweens, teens, and adults.

Website | Twitter

You can also email her at:

Blog Tour: The Stag Lord by Darby Karchut (Promotional Post)

Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the Stag Lord Blog Tour! This book released from Spence City on December 2, 2014! Here’s a look at the cover and synopsis:

Stag LordOn the run across America from a vengeful shape-shifter, Bannerman “Bann” Boru has only one thing on his mind: keeping himself and his young son, Cor, alive.

At any cost.

Until he meets Shay Doyle, healer and member of a secret group of immortal Celtic warriors, the Tuatha De Danaan, living in modern-day Colorado. When Cor is injured, Bannerman is forced to accept her help. He quickly realizes that the golden-haired healer is shield-maiden tough and can hold her own on the field of battle with the big boys. And Shay soon discovers that there is more to Bann than meets the eye.

Now, with the shape-shifter Cernunnos teaming up with the local pack of Fir Bolgs (Bronze Age creatures with a nasty taste for children), Bannerman, Shay, her wolf-dog, Max, and the rest of the Doyle clan must figure out how to battle one insane god.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Darby Author PicAbout the Author:
Darby Karchut is an award-winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter. Her books include the Griffin Rising series, the Adventures of Finn MacCullen series, and writing as Darby Kaye, The Stag Lord and its sequel, Unholy Blue.

A member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and Pikes Peak Writers, Darby has been known to run in blizzards and bike in lightning storms. When not dodging death by Colorado, she writes urban fantasy for tweens, teens, and adults.

Website | Twitter

You can also email her at:

Blog Tour: Into the Night by Suzanne Rigdon (Promotional Post)

Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the Into the Night Blog Tour! This book will be released from Spencer Hill Press on December 2, 2014! Here’s a look at the cover and synopsis:

INTO THE NIGHT cover with quoteWhen Selina Baker, a coordinator for a Boston non-profit, goes out on the town with her friend Jess, she never expects to meet the man of her dreams. And she certainly never expects him to be undead.

When things go from flirty to majorly flawed on her first date with James Lawton, he is forced to save her the only way he can–by killing her. Selina suddenly finds herself in the mix with the creatures she thought were made up solely for late-night TV. Into the Night follows Selina’s transformation from a wallflower into an impulsive and dangerous new vampire. With no choice in the matter, Selina becomes trapped between a new man, his wary brothers, and his cruel and controlling Queen, who wants nothing more than to watch her suffer. Selina must walk the fine line between adjusting to her new powers, life after death, and following the rules–all while avoiding disaster.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Author PicAbout the Author:
Suzanne is currently pursuing her MFA in Fiction and has previously had her short fiction published in The Albion Review and Word of Mouth literary magazine. Into the Night is her debut novel.

She loves to travel and has most recently been to Ghana and New Zealand, both which were incredibly beautiful. She even did the Nevis Bungee jump in Queenstown, NZ. (Check out any video of it on YouTube and you’ll know what insanity this is!) Although it’s much closer to home, she also has a great love for the Maine coastline and spends every summer there catching up on all her reading and getting a hunk of writing done.

She currently lives in the D.C. Metro area, where her cross-eyed cat, Otto keeps her company amid the hype and low-flying planes.

Follow her on Twitter, Goodreads, and check out her blog.

You can also visit her website.

Blog Tour: Shade by Cody Stewart (Excerpt + Giveaway)

Shade banner
Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the Shade Blog Tour! Today, I’m pleased to share an excerpt with you. First, here’s the cover and synopsis:

Clendon Kiernan has always preferred the shadows. A place where he was free from the hate and fear, from the stares and ridicule of others. One night Clen discovers the shocking truth of why. He is a Shade. A thing of darkness. A creature with the ability to shred souls. When a vile whisper tells him to destroy everything around him Clen does the only thing he can.

But he cannot run from himself. The darkness growing inside Clen will soon consume him if he does not learn to control it. In his quest to do so, Clen learns that there is an entire world that exists in the shadows of Ellis, a world that has been hidden from him – secret clans with extraordinary abilities, the ghosts of a hidden past, and a war that’s been brewing for millennia. Clen must uncover the true history of Ellis, see through the generations of lies and deceit, and suffer betrayal and heartbreak if he is to save all those who hate and fear him. But when he learns the truth, will he want to?

The darkness in him could save Ellis. Or it could be what destroys it.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Midnight Frost Books | Smashwords | BookStrand

And now here’s the excerpt!

Chapter 1

It lives in the cramped spaces between shadows in the rear-right side of my brain, just behind my ear. It wanders relentlessly, scratching along the pink, fleshy walls of my mind with its unkempt fingernails, shouting obscenities at other thoughts as they travel across lobes and cortices. It vomits poison and corrupts my mind with whispers of death. It reminds me how his blood felt running down the back of my hands. How my knuckles tore as they raked across his cheekbones. How his tooth cracked loose from his gums, and the muffled gargle as he choked on it. It laughs and calls me a coward for running away.

The wind rustles through the pines, dances into my ears, and carries the vile voice away. It’s quiet here. My thoughts are my own.

The fire pops, and a fleet of sparks takes flight, dancing across the night sky. Fireflies follow suit, taking the initiative to investigate the imposters. I readjust a log when the fire dims. It roars to life again and illuminates the decayed insides of the cabin around me. The wooden frame has long since rotted. The stone floor and sections of the wall are the only signs that this was once a structure of some sort.

Muren, my Norwegian Elkhound, refuses to step through the threshold of these ruins, insisting instead on patrolling the perimeter.

I lie back, using my sweatshirt as a pillow, and watch for hours as the flames dance like springtime wildflowers until their petals wilt and fall and all burns to ash. The sun peeks over the treetops and reaches through the canopy with pale fingers of morning light just as the last ember dwindles.

Time to go home.

Birds chime in the new day like church bells, but I still feel heavy with the burdens of yesterday. The walk back is a habit now, following the trail worn by my feet alone. This is a thick part of the mountain, made thicker with countless stories and a dark reputation. Few dare walk it.

Dad sits on the front porch sipping his coffee when I step out of the forest and into the yard. He doesn’t look up from the ground as I come near, doesn’t shift or show any signs of surprise or anger. “Get inside and get washed up. You’ve got an appointment with Dr. Hague before school.”

My parents think I’m crazy. Everyone thinks I’m crazy. It’s hard to blame them, though. I kind of am.


The chemical stink of artificial lavender burns my sinuses. It’s meant to foster calm and encourage me to share openly, but I can’t get the taste of it off my tongue.

“What makes you say that, Clen?” Dr. Hague’s voice has padded walls. “What makes you think people fear you?”

The quiver in their lips as they ask me stupid questions. “I don’t know. Just a feeling, I guess.”

“Is that why you run away?”

“I don’t run away. I just need to take breaks sometimes.”

“Breaks from what?”

I stare out the window at the passing school buses and laughing kids with books tucked under their arms. Packs of them, like roving bands of scavenging coyotes.

Dr. Hague, the school psychologist, observes me like an anthropologist studying apes in the jungle. He wants to ask me about the fight with Jefferson Hewlett, but he doesn’t bother. I’ve been seeing him long enough that he knows I won’t talk about it so soon.

“How are things at home?” Dr. Hague attempts a change in direction. He’s trying to throw me off guard.

“Fine.” But I have an impeccable defense.

“How did your parents react this time?”

“The same.”

“How does that make you feel? That you can run into the woods, disappear for days, and your parents welcome you back as if nothing happened?” His stare is forceful and constant. I sink under the weight of it.

“I need to get to class.”

I wash my face as soon as the session is over, trying to scrub away the smell of therapy before school.


I stand still and invisible in the dull, gray hallways as the horde of apes and coyotes bustles past. They pick fleas out of each other’s hair and nip at each other’s heels. I stand on the periphery, hoping they all just pass me by.

One of them veers off course, working his way through the packs straight toward me. He towers above the rest, the tallest sophomore in school. He’s broad and blond and has a permanent glint of mischief in his grayish-blue eyes.

“You’re going, right? I know you have this mysterious loner persona that you love to project, but this party is going to be epic.”

Oliver Niels seems to be the only one who’s never felt the need to run from me or throw things at the back of my head. He’s been my sole friend since second grade.

“I’m not feeling it tonight, Ollie.”

“You’re never feeling it, Clen. I think you were born without whatever part of your brain actually feels it. Or maybe, I saw this special on the Discovery Channel once about a guy who got in this serious accident, banged his head real bad, and all of sudden spoke in a British accent. You ever experience any head trauma? Seriously, if I wasn’t your friend, you’d never come off the mountain. You’d be a hermit, grow a huge, gross beard and eat squirrel stew. There’d be legends about you. The Hermit of Mount Bannir – died sad and alone with squirrel on his breath.”

Ollie’s voice fades away like a passing echo when I have to venture into the horde to get to class. Cologne and scented body lotions coat my nostrils, and my throat closes from the olfactory assault. The chatter grows to an indecipherable roar of voices that crashes down around me like a relentless wave. Ollie’s voice sounds far away, like he’s yelling at me from the beach as I’m dragged out to sea.

A thick mane of black hair slaps me in the face as it passes. The sweet, natural smell of it lingers. I meet one set of eyes among the hundreds swarming like bees around me. As pure and green as the first leaves of spring. The deafening roar dulls to gentle whisper.

Temporarily blinded by the rare shimmer of beauty among the streaked linoleum and concrete walls, I crash into Silas Conroy, my forehead bloodying his lower lip.

“The hell, Kiernan! You looking to get dead?” Silas snarls like a rabid dog, tagging the wall with red graffiti. His black hair is shaved on the sides, giving him a short Mohawk. His left ear is mostly missing, just bits of jagged scar tissue. His eyes are dark and shallow.

Something hisses in the base of my skull. It’s a cold tickle, a drop of ice water that flows down the length of my spine. But it’s still quiet enough that I can ignore it.

“Easy, Silas.” Ollie steps forward to shield me as I pick up my books. “It was an accident.”

“Protecting him is an accident, Niels. You should side with your own people.”

“You aren’t any kind of people I would claim as my own.”

“I still owe you big for what you did to Jefferson,” Silas snarls at me. “Your bodyguard won’t always be around to protect you, Kiernan.” He cackles like a hyena as he saunters off.

Ollie lifts me off the floor like he always does.

The beautiful green eyes disappear among the horde.


Lunch is a wretched ordeal as usual. I slide my tray along the counter, the lunch ladies looking on like hair-netted prison guards. They heap scorn on my plate, piled high atop a mountain of gritty mashed potatoes.

Kids stack their books in empty seats as I pass. I know I’m not welcome at any of their tables. They all know I’d never dare attempt to be in their company, but they do it anyway, every day, just to make it painfully clear. There’s a small table in the back corner, by the garbage cans and emergency exit. It smells and the bitter wind howls through the doors in the winter. That’s where I sit.

I eat fast so I can leave before the rest. If I’m here when they scrape their plates, I’m likely to end up with creamed corn all over the front of me. The lunch monitors herd us out the side doors to the athletic field to mill about for a mandatory twenty five minutes of fresh air. I shove my hands in my sweatshirt pockets and head straight for the tree by the road. I sit in its shadow, hidden from the late spring sun and the spiteful sneers of my peers.

The crowd immediately divides in two. Half of the field is black hoodies, gauged ears, and work boots – kids from the Pines. The other half is skinny jeans, nice watches, and gelled hair – kids from the Village. They’ve hated each other for as long as I can remember. Not just the kids either. Everyone. I don’t live in either neighborhood, which only means I’m equally hated by both.

Dr. Hague is on monitoring duty today. He wanders down the center of the field, scratching his chin and nodding. He starts for me, knowing I spend this time under my tree and not among my peers as he prescribed, but thankfully, thinks better of it. Being seen with the school shrink would do nothing to improve matters. Instead he makes for a tight circle of kids on the Pines side of the field emanating the faint smell of cigarette smoke.

As I watch him scold and lecture, a rock hits my shoe. I don’t need to look up to know who it is.

“What do you want, Silas?”

“You’ve got debts, Kiernan. First, you lose it on Jefferson. The kid damn near choked on his own tooth. Then you bloody my lip because you’re too stupid to watch where you’re going. Time to settle. And Ollie ain’t here to save you.”

“Leave me alone.”

“No, I don’t think I’m gonna do that.” Silas grabs me by the collar and rips me from the pleasant shadow.

The whisper in my head becomes a harsh cry, demanding that I retaliate. I try to take steady, even breaths, to keep my heart beating a normal rhythm. Dr. Hague said that will keep me calm. Then my feet leave the ground, and I’m weightless for half a second before crashing back to earth. All my calming breath is forced from my lungs. The harsh cry becomes a vicious growl.

A circle quickly forms around us. Kids from the Pines and the Village alike gather to watch my humiliation. I’m the great unifier.

Pressure builds behind my eyes. Dr. Hague says I just need to concentrate. I can’t let it control me.

“What? You aren’t gonna go all ape nuts on me like you did Jefferson?”

“You’ve got anger issues, Silas. I know a good shrink who could help you out with that.”

Silas cocks his arm back, ready to split my skull with a wicked punch.

“Enough,” a commanding voice orders. Dr. Hague pushes his way through the circle. “Everyone inside now! Silas, to the principal’s office. Clen.” He shakes his head, sad and disappointed. “Get to class.”


I’m the only passenger on my bus. The school repurposed a utility van specifically for me. Kids point and chuckle when I get on, but their voices die when the door closes. The drive is quiet.

I stare mindlessly out the window as we drive through town. Ellis is a boring, little hole in the world carved out of mountain and forest. It’s bordered in the north by the Tear of Heaven, a massive glacial lake, and surrounded on the other three sides by the Moreau Mountains. Town is divided in half by the River Skye, which flows from the Tear of Heaven all the way down to Hudson City – Lakeside Village on the east, everything else on the west.

The engine groans and sputters as we climb Mount Bannir. Sal, the bulbous driver who smells of beef jerky, curses his misfortune at drawing the short straw of school bus routes. He pulls to a stop at the end of my driveway, a dirt road that seems to have no end. It twists and turns until it is swallowed by the dark of the dense forest. Sal won’t drive in there. He dismisses me with a guttural grunt.

I’m thankful for the walk. The forest swallows the light and, with it, all the anxiety that’s built up in the back of my mind over the course of the day.

“How was therapy?” Mom asks as she slides dinner in the oven. Dad suddenly shifts uncomfortably and hides his head in the fridge.


Mom stiffens. Her hands become tightly clenched fists inside her oven mitts. “That’s all I’m ever going to get from you, isn’t it?”

“I need to take a shower.”

“Safe to say you’re grounded,” Mom calls as I walk away.

“Fine.” I set my bag in my room, gather some clean clothes and make for the bathroom. I stop at the top of the stairs when I hear the hushed whispers.

“We can’t keep doing this, Clark.” Mom’s frantic, on the verge of either yelling or crying. “He was gone for two days. Sleeping out in the woods somewhere. We had no way of knowing whether he was even alive or not.”

“Muren was with him. He was fine, Sarah.”

“He is not fine. He attacked somebody. And we just send him off to that doctor like it’s going to fix something. This is not a problem Dr. Hague can fix.”

“We don’t have any other choice.”

“Yes, we do,” Mom snaps. “If you would just talk to him, tell him…”

“No,” Dad declares curtly. “We made a decision. We need to stick to it.”

Mom’s feet pound angrily on the floor as she storms off. Dad curses under his breath.


My parents are in bed early. The tense night of passive-aggressive scowling and openly aggressive yelling must have tired them out.

I cautiously open my bedroom window and scale down the pine tree next to the house. Ollie is waiting for me at the end of my driveway.

“Well, look at you,” he says as I climb in the passenger seat. “You showered and even brushed your hair. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were looking forward to this.”

“You don’t know any better. I couldn’t be looking forward to this any less.”

“Don’t be such a sad, old man. You might as well slip on some loafers and a sweater vest, talking like that. Read a romance novel. Eat a sleeve of saltines. I know deep down somewhere in that dark pit of despair you call a soul there is a tiny flickering light. And do you know what that light is?”

I immediately regret getting in Ollie’s car. “No, nor do I care.”

“Youthful exuberance. Passion. A desire to grab life by its delicates and howl at the moon.”

“I’m not grabbing anything by its delicates.”

“I’m talking about living!” Ollie throws his arms toward the sky in an exaggerated, theatrical gesture. “Tonight you’re going to do some living. You’re going to talk to pretty girls, maybe tip some things over. You’re going to act reckless and swear and yell and at no point in the night will you use the word nor. You’re going to act like a real sixteen year old, not the angst-ridden, chiseled jaws you see on the CW. We’re going to the Raveyard.”

The Raveyard is a local legend. One of the original settlers of Ellis, Abigail Moreau, lived alone, in the mountains. One year, crops failed, livestock disappeared, houses burned down, and people dropped dead for no apparent reason. The townspeople accused her of witchcraft. They marched up there in true angry-mob fashion, pitchforks and torches in hand, and killed her. They named the mountain range after her. It was the least they could do, I suppose. Now she’s said to haunt Ellis, looking to exact her ghostly revenge. The Raveyard is a large clearing in the woods where Abigail was said to bury her victims. Now it’s a place to party.

“Whatever.” I hunch down in my seat and pull my hood over my head. Let’s just get this night over with.”
“That’s the spirit.”

The Raveyard is only a few minutes away from my house, in the foothills of Mount Bannir. Ollie turns down an old logging trail that empties into the large clearing, slowing to a crawl as his car jostles over roots and rocks and holes in the ground. I take one long, deep breath, like it’s my last taste of air before diving deep to the ocean floor, and get out of the car. The infinite weight of the sea presses down on me. I cling close to Ollie. He’s my only lifeline, my only source of oxygen while navigating the dark trenches so far below.

The heat of their stares pales that of the raging bonfire. The salty sea water is like acid on the burns. I’m so distracted by the pain that I don’t notice the riptide until I’m already caught up in it. I reach back for Ollie, but he’s pulled in a different direction, one with straight black hair, eyes that smile and skin like the failing light of morning. I’m churned and battered against a/the craggy shore as the sharks circle round. My lungs burn and scream. My head fills with plankton and algae that feed off the soft tissue of my brain. I’m spit out the other side, gasping and broken.

I collapse against a tree and cling to it, desperate for a new lifeline. The smell of the smoke, pine, and birch fill my nose. The crackle of the kindling as it splits and burns rings like a song in my ears. I run my hands across the rough bark, tracing each crack with my fingers. Its sap sticks in the hair on my knuckles. I picture the perfect green eyes that passed too quickly. Eventually, the sound of voices fades away. The stink of cologne and anxiety disappears. The world disappears.

“Are you sleeping? We’ve been here, like, ten minutes and you’re sleeping against a tree. Have you even tipped anything over yet?”

“Ollie, can we just…” As I slowly open my eyes, reluctant to let the world back in, I see that he isn’t alone. The girl that pulled him to a different shore smiles kindly, her soft, dark eyes beaming from behind her raven bangs.

“This is Suzume Akamura,” Ollie declares with an oafish smile. “Su, this is Clendon Kiernan.”

“Hey,” I choke out, recognizing her from school. She’s a freshman.

“Hi.” Her voice is smooth and steady. “How’s it going?”

“Umm, good?” I reply, cautious and confused. Ollie glares at me, silently demanding I be cool.

Su fidgets with her hands. “I’ll be right back. I need to let my friends know where I am.” She disappears around the other side of the fire, her steps gaining more confidence the further away from me she gets.

Ollie pinches the bridge of his nose and shakes his head in exasperation. “Could you be any more awkward? It only takes you two words to send someone scurrying away. You’ve talked to other people beside me before, right?”

“She’s from the Village. I thought you kids from the Pines weren’t allowed to talk to them.”

“I can talk to whoever I want.”

“Hey, it’s your feud. I just don’t want to go out like Mercutio.”


“Romeo’s best friend. Got killed because of the Capulet-Montague feud? We read it last year in English.”

Ollie shrugs.

“How do you pass classes?”


A familiar raven-haired boy marches toward us from the edge of the Raveyard. He’s thin and wiry. He’s a junior, I think. His dark eyes are like empty holes in his head.

“Where is she?” he demands. “Where is Su?”

I lean in close to Ollie’s ear so only he can hear me. “See? This is what I’m talking about. I’m not dueling anyone.”

“Hey, Yori. Su is around somewhere.” Ollie scans the crowd with his hand to his brow, like a sailor taking stock of the sea.

“Stay away from my sister, Niels.” Yori doesn’t seem to mind that he barely comes up to Ollie’s shoulder. He puffs out his chest and huffs authoritatively.

Ollie leans back casually with his hands tucked in his pockets, impressively letting Yori’s obnoxious commands roll off him. Others aren’t so passive.

“Problem?” Brian Till, a boy from the Pines, steps forward. Till rivals Ollie in size, but has none of his restraint.

“None of your business,” Yori spits.

“I think it is,” Till growls and crosses his arms, threateningly flexing every muscle he can.

Others gather around, anticipating bloodied knuckles and broken faces. The crowd erupts, hurling curses and insults like monkeys with their own feces.

The capillaries in my eyes pulse with steadily building intensity. The pressure pushes outward on the fissures in my skull. The rumbling voices bleed together and fade away. The hateful whisper in my head is the only sound in the world.

I hum a song to drown it out, but it devours the music like a rabid dog. I try to push it out my ears, scrape it off my tongue, swallow and digest it. But it won’t quiet. I step back from the crowd and dissolve in the darkness at the edge of the forest. It wraps around me like a snug blanket. I run and let my feet take me where they want to go.

The whisper soon quiets, and I hear the crickets and cicadas and the crunch of the ground beneath me. The soft plodding of my feet on dirt and leaves turns to the course grinding of crushed stone. I’ve stepped into another clearing. My stomach tightens and twists in knots, and the hairs stand up on the back of my neck as a cold shiver runs down my spine. A haunting and familiar feeling creeps over me, like a wave of spiders. The core of me goes cold. Every breeze is a whisper telling me to leave. Every little noise is the ground telling me it doesn’t want me here.

The moon creeps out from behind some clouds, illuminating the jagged tree line at the far end of the clearing to show that it’s not trees at all. It is the charred husk of an old house. The roof has collapsed. Only small sections of the walls are still standing. Everything inside is cinder and ash.

“Clen? Where’d you go?” Ollie calls from behind me. “Sorry about this,” he says quietly to someone else. “I think he’s got a touch of Social Anxiety Disorder or something.”

“Sorry about my brother,” Su replies. “He’s a jerk.”

They stumble out of the forest. Yori follows close after, still making demands.

There’s something strange about this place – something both comforting and terrifying at once. My brain is adrift in a pool of déjà vu. It feels like I exist in two worlds at the same time, and, with each blink of my eyes, I am transported from one to the other. I am standing in an eerie clearing in the middle of the woods, terrified out of my mind. Blink. I’m playing at a home I know well, comfortable and safe. Blink. I exchange unpleasant, untrusting looks with people I’ve just met. Blink. I’m surrounded by friends as close as family. Blink. Darkness. Everything is covered in darkness and fear. Blink. The fear swims in their eyes, now just black, empty orbs. Blink. Emptiness.

I flash from one world to the other so fast that I lose track of which one is real, which one is mine.

Like there’s a rope tied around my insides, I’m pulled toward the house. The icy feeling in the center of my chest spreads throughout the rest of my body, chilling my blood and bones to the marrow. I stumble a few yards from the wreckage, tripping over an unseen object. A Nintendo DS. I pick it up, and a current of electricity shoots up my arm. My muscles spasm, and a vivid scene of anguish flashes through my mind like a bolt of lightning.

The world around me changes. The house is whole again. A young boy stands in front of it. Veins pulse violently in his neck as he screams from the very pit of his soul. Tears stream down his cheeks, but evaporate before they reach his chin. Then the world erupts in fire, and ash blots out the sun. The boy disappears, swallowed in flame. As the world I know returns, I find myself screaming for the boy, reaching out for him.

Ollie rushes to my side, again offering a hand to lift me off the ground. “He’s freaking out. We need to get out of here.”

The fires burn hotter behind my eyes.

“No,” Yori says. “We need to get out of here. You two need to stay away from us. He’s clearly insane, and I don’t trust you.”

Hot flames dance on my skin and smoke fills my lungs. The smell of blistering flesh sets acid churning in my stomach.

I feel death in the air. Cold. Absolute. It’s inside me, scratching at the lining of my stomach, clawing its way out. The beating inside my skull grows faster and stronger, like a dozen horses racing around a track, feet and hearts pounding. They round the last turn. Their muscles explode like gunfire. Pound, pound, pound. The animal sounds mix in a chaotic symphony of noise and agony that crescendos as they reach the finish line. Pound, pound, pound.

It whispers in my head. A vile hiss from a wretched little snake.

Kill them.

And don’t forget to enter the awesome giveaway ($25 amazon gift card combined with a swag package) we have for you! To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cody StewartAbout the Author:
Cody was born in Upstate New York. Eventually setting off to seek his fortune, he worked in a paper mill, a whipped cream factory, cleaned apartments, and administratively assisted several organizations before returning to the Adirondacks with a wife and child that he picked up along the way.

He approaches life as though it were a page – frequently rearranging paragraphs to make it more interesting if not wholly true, fudging with the margins to fit more in, and, sometimes, erasing entire sections altogether.

When not altering reality, he is scouring comic book shops, lying on the ground, or floor (whichever he happens to be standing on when he feels the need to go horizontal), trying to convince his wife to make french toast (she makes amazing french toast), and searching for the darkest cup of coffee in existence.

Website | Twitter| Facebook

Blog Tour: Sing Sweet Nightingale by Erica Cameron (Deleted Scene + Interview + Giveaway)

Disclaimer: I am a publicist for Spencer Hill Press and Erica is one of my authors. Originally, another blogger was supposed to post this on their blog; however, they had a family emergency, so I’m filling in for them. The interview portion of this post is credited to that blogger, since they came up with the questions, not me.
Blog Tour Banner

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to be a part of Erica Cameron’s Deleted Scene blog tour for her novel, Sing Sweet Nightingale (Out now)! I have an interview with Erica and a deleted scene – an alternate ending that includes kissing!! Plus, there’s an awesome giveaway! First, here’s some more information about Sing Sweet Nightingale:


Mariella Teagen hasn’t spoken a word in four years.

She pledged her voice to Orane, the man she loves—someone she only sees in her dreams. Each night, she escapes to Paradise, the world Orane created for her, and she sings for him. Mariella never believed she could stay in Paradise longer than a night, but two weeks before her eighteenth birthday, Orane hints that she may be able to stay forever.

Hudson Vincent made a pledge to never fight again.

Calease, the creature who created his dream world, swore that giving up violence would protect Hudson. But when his vow caused the death of his little brother, Hudson turned his grief on Calease and destroyed the dream world. The battle left him with new abilities and disturbing visions of a silent girl in grave danger—Mariella.

Now, Hudson is fighting to save Mariella’s life while she fights to give it away. And he must find a way to show her Orane’s true intentions before she is lost to Paradise forever.

Goodreads | Dream War Saga Website | Dream War Saga Tumblr

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | Kobo

Now, here’s the interview with Erica!

Question: Why did this particular ending not make the cut to the finished copy?
Answer: It partially had to do with the timeline and how that needed to change. The end of the book needed to be shortened and in the original versions I gave them a full week after Mari woke up to adjust to life again. This time around they only have a day. Hudson is in shock and Mari is still trying to cope with her new way of interpreting the world around her. With the new timeline and the mental space they’re both in that day, this scene didn’t fit anymore.

Question: Things get pretty hot between Mari and Hudson in this scene, they definitely take things a lot farther than the norm for them. What was it like writing such a swoon worthy scene between the two of them?
Answer: Another reason why it was cut! My editors felt like the zero to sixty acceleration was a little too quick. I think that even if the timeline hadn’t shifted to end so soon after she wakes up out of the coma, we still would’ve changed this ending. Writing it was fun, though! If only because I finally got to write Hudson letting go of all his walls and guards and just enjoying a little moment one-hundred-percent. That beautifully broken baby deserves more moments like that. ;)

Question: Can we expect lots of swoons like this scene in Deadly Sweet Lies? Please please please say yes! *crosses fingers and toes*
Answer: Unfortunately not from Mari and Hudson! Deadly Sweet Lies introduces everyone to two new characters: Nadette Lawson and Julian Teagan. It picks up before the end of SSN and gives you a glimpse into a whole different side of both our world and Abivapna. There is kissing in Deadly, though! I can promise you that much. :D

Question: What’s been your favorite thing about this blog tour?
Answer: The coolest thing about a specialized tour like this is that the information is all new, the questions are all different, and I get to talk a lot more about behind-the-scenes information, the process of writing the book, and how much things have changed over the novel’s four-year creation. I also get to share a few scenes I still adore and a couple of bits of information that are still canon. This scene, for example, still happens as far as I’m concerned. It just happens about a week after Mari wakes up. Yesterday’s scene from the inside of Mariella’s coma definitely still happens. All of it. The shopping scene with Dana also doesn’t stray outside of the established canon lines, but it doesn’t actually happen like this anymore. In my head, Dana takes Mari shopping the week before her birthday and there’s a much happier version of this scene when they do that.

And now here’s the excerpt! Enjoy!

“But you know that already, Boy Scout.”

The smile is already spreading across my face, but when the words really click, my heart stalls. Did she just call me a boy scout?

Swallowing, I ask, “How’d you know I was a boy scout?”

It was only for a year. They not-so-politely asked me to leave when I couldn’t stop fighting with the other kids. Really, it was just these three guys with a habit of playing cruel pranks on the smaller kids. And I refused to let them get away with it.

Mari glances at me, biting her lip. She didn’t mean to say that, or maybe forgot it was something we’ve never talked about. After a second, she sighs and lifts her hand to trace a scar I’d forgotten about hidden in my hair on the back of my head.

“You got this when those three kids in your troop pushed you off your bike in the woods. You hit your head on a rock. They thought they’d killed you. They lied and said you just fell and you never told anyone what happened.”

The head injury had made the entire day a little fuzzy. Not even I remember the accident very well, but she knew what happened and I have a feeling she could give me their names, too. The parents of those three assholes funded practically everything the troop did. Who was gonna take my side in that argument? I take a deep breath, my hands tightening on the wheel.

“No one would’ve believed me.”

“I believe you.”

Her hand slides down my neck, traces the line of my arm—lingering for a moment on the tattoo on my wrist—and then she twines her fingers through mine. I lift her hand to my lips and kiss the soft, unscarred skin before letting our hands rest on her thigh. Neither of us says anything for the rest of the drive, but it’s the kind of silence that speaks volumes.

When we finally end up back where we started, I look up at the craftsman style two-story, searching for signs of life. Mari was right, though. It doesn’t look like anyone noticed we left.

As we quietly head upstairs, I try to prepare myself to say goodnight, to let go of her hand and head into the guest bedroom alone. When we reach her bedroom door, Mariella glances up at me, her honey-brown eyes sparkling in the tiny bit of light filtering through the hall window. She opens the door and, still holding tight to my hand, pulls me in after her.

The door clicks shut behind us and I hold my breath, not sure what to do. I know what I want to do, but that doesn’t means she’s thinking the same thing.

But then her smile grows wider and she shifts closer, her hand releasing mine to slide up my arm. It’s enough of a sign for me. I wrap my arms around her tiny waist and lift her lips to mine. Her legs wrap around my waist and her fingers dig into my hair.

Mari’s touch sends electric shockwaves across my skin so strong the hairs on my arms stand on end. Her lips are as lush and full as I dreamt they would be and when she opens her mouth and lets me in, she tastes like strawberries.

With her legs wrapped tight around my waist, I’m free to run my hands from her knees, up her thighs, and slip my fingers under the hem of her shirt. When she does the same to me, sliding her hands down my back and under my shirt, she doesn’t stop there. She grabs the bottom of my shirt and rips it over my head.

The movement and the shock send me off balance and my knees buckle. We crash onto her bed. Her lips never leave mine, but her fingers make a game of exploring my chest, tracing the contour of each muscle until I know I’m about to turn to liquid in her hands. Groaning under her onslaught, I flip us over, pinning her hands over her head and plundering her mouth with mine. No thoughts exist outside of this moment. The rest of the world could have disappeared and I would never know or care as long as Mariella keeps kissing me.

“We have to—have to—stop,” Mari gasps.

My brain is so fogged with her scent, her touch, her everything that it take a second for the words to filter through. And even longer for my body to obey my commands. I roll over, my breath coming in shallow pants as I struggle to keep from reaching for her again.

“I’m not—” She swallows and takes a deep, shuddering breath. “I have things under control, but it’s harder when I’m awake. If I lose focus I might bring the house down around us.”

I blink and push myself up on my elbow so I can look down into her eyes. “You could do that?”

She bites her lip and glances at me without moving her head. “Yeah.”


Her face pales and she nods. “Really.”

I take her face in my hands and press my lips to hers, still stunned I have the right to do this. “That is so hot.”

Mari laughs, a short bark that’s so loud we both freeze to see if it woke anyone up. When she relaxes, I know the coast is clear. She smiles up at me and shakes her head.

“Only you.”

“Exactly.” I kiss her again and again, determined to taste every inch of skin she’ll allow. “Only me.”

I trail kisses from her lips, along the line of her jaw, under her ear, and down the side of her neck. It is so incredibly tempting to slide the strap of her tanktop out of the way and keep going, but I know if I don’t stop myself now I won’t be able to. And I have a feeling we shouldn’t put her control to the test quite yet. Frank wouldn’t be very forgiving if we crumbled his carefully restored Craftsmen into rubble.

Pressing one more kiss to her lips, I drop to the mattress and pull Mariella against my side. She sighs and snuggles closer, tucking her head onto my shoulder, draping her arm over my chest, and wrapping her leg around mine. We lay there in silence for a while as I try to remember what rational thought is like. The patterns she’s tracing on my stomach don’t help. As soon as I think that, I feel her smile. She keeps going.

The smile doesn’t.

“I can see them all.”


Her fingers trace the welt left behind from a chain whip and she shudders. “All the people you fought. The people you saved.”

I hold my breath. The last thing I want is my horrific memories plaguing Mari. I take her hand in mine and draw her away from my scars, only to realize I can’t. There are so few patches of unmarred skin on my body I have no safe place to lead her.

“Don’t,” she whispers, gently pulling her hand out of mine and placing it on a rough patch of skin over my ribs. Road rash from my run in with the Bishop Kings four years ago.

Mariella pushes up until she’s looking down at me, her hair cascading off the side of the bed like a waterfall and her eyes so solemn and sad.

“It’s not over, you know. I don’t know what’s coming, but I can feel it. It’s like there storm clouds in the distance and fire in the air. What we did, it’s already changing things. You… you did what you came here to do. I’m safe. If you want to leave, I would—”

My heart starts beating so fast all I feel is a tremor running through my chest. I pull her down to the bed and press my lips to hers, shutting her up the fastest way I know how. Only when I’m sure she’ll listen do I let her come up for air.

“Listen to me you crazy, gorgeous, stubborn, girl,” I whisper, staring into her eyes. “I’ve helped take out two of them already. There’s nowhere on this planet for me to hide. All me leaving would be doing is hurting both of us, and I don’t want to do that. I love you. The only way I’m leaving is if you order me away.”

But would I go?

“Actually, never mind. I wouldn’t even leave then.” Not now that I know she loves me too.

She opens her mouth to argue, so I kiss her again. Even after I pull back, she still looks like she wants to try to convince me she’s right.


I put a finger over her lips and shake my head. “No, Mari. This time, you’re wrong. It’s something you’re gonna have to learn to live with.”

Slowly, the color comes back to her skin and her smile returns. She kisses the tip of my finger and reaches up to entwine her fingers with mine. “Are you sure?”

“Yes.” It’s not an answer that requires thought.

“It’s not going to be easy.”

I grin. “I have a feeling nothing with you ever will be.”

She grins right back, pink tinting her cheeks and her eyes lighting up. “I choose to take that as a compliment.”

I kiss her temple and her cheek and then her lips, lingering there the longest and pulling her back toward me. “You should.”

Mariella tucks herself against my side, sighing happily. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow or next week or nine months from now. For tonight, though, we have each other and that’s more than enough for me.

Now for the giveaway! We have three amazing prizes for three lucky people! This giveaway is US/CAN only. Prizes are as follows:

First-Place Prize: Signed copy of Sing Sweet Nightingale, bracelet, two book cover pendants
Second-Place Prize: Bracelet and two pendants
Third-Place Prize: Two pendants

To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Erica Cameron Author PhotoAbout Erica Cameron:
After a lifelong obsession with books, Erica Cameron spent her college years getting credit for reading and learning how to make stories of her own. Erica graduated with a double major in psychology and creative writing from Florida State University and began pursuing a career as an author.

Erica is many things but most notably the following: writer, reader, editor, dance fan, choreographer, singer, lover of musical theater, movie obsessed, sucker for romance, ex-Florida resident, and quasi-recluse. She loves the beach but hates the heat, has equal passion for the art of Salvador Dali and Venetian Carnival masks, has a penchant for unique jewelry and sun/moon décor pieces, and a desire to travel the entire world on a cruise ship. Or a private yacht. You know, whatever works.

Her debut novel, Sing Sweet Nightingale, released March 2014 and it was the first volume of The Dream War Saga, a four-book young adult series.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

YouTube | Tumblr | Pinterest

Blog Tour: The Collectors’ Society by Heather Lyons (Character Interview + Giveaway)

TCS BT Banner
Hey everyone! I’m so excited to be a part of Heather Lyons’ blog tour for her new novel, The Collectors’ Society (Out now)! For my blog tour stop, I have a character interview with Alice! Plus, there’s an awesome giveaway! First, here’s some more information about The Collectors’ Society:

The Collectors' Society front cover

From the author of the Fate series and The Deep End of the Sea comes a fantastical romantic adventure that has Alice tumbling down the strangest rabbit hole yet.

After years in Wonderland, Alice has returned to England as an adult, desperate to reclaim sanity and control over her life. An enigmatic gentleman with an intriguing job offer too tempting to resist changes her plans for a calm existence, though. Soon, she’s whisked to New York and initiated into the Collectors’ Society, a secret organization whose members confirm that famous stories are anything but straightforward and that what she knows about the world is only a fraction of the truth.

It’s there she discovers villains are afoot—ones who want to shelve the lives of countless beings. Assigned to work with the mysterious and alluring Finn, Alice and the rest of the Collectors’ Society race against a doomsday clock in order to prevent further destruction . . . but will they make it before all their endings are erased?

Goodreads | Amazon

Kobo | iTunes

TCS Teaser 1
And now here’s the interview with Alice!! Enjoy!

Question: Hi, Alice! Thanks so much for being here with me today!
Answer: Greetings, Meredith.

Question: So…. Modern technology. What are your feelings towards cell phones, computers, etc? What about the clubs and the clothes?
Answer: Bothersome items, to be honest, but I suppose necessary ones, as well. I miss the art of letter writing, though, of taking the time to put thoughts to paper. Texting is not the same, is it? As for the clothes . . . I’ll concur with Wendy. I don’t miss corsets one bit. Modern shoes are a bit more comfortable too, aren’t they? As long as they aren’t those ridiculously tall ones.

Clubs, on the other hand, seem to be the same as they always are. Loud dens of excess and pleasure. Except, perhaps, these modern ones are a bit tamer than the Wonderlandian ones I’m familiar with.

Question: What part of the Twenty-First Century was the hardest to adjust to? On the flip side, what part of the Twenty-First Century made it easier to adjust to everything?
Answer: The technology has confounded me repeatedly. So many gadgets to learn, so many buttons and sequences to memorize. Even still, there are many moments in which I want to hurl my phone across the room. Conversely, I would say that the television has made my adjustments easier. I could watch how the world has evolved in the solitude of my own room, and take in these changes without an audience. I loathe going into situations blind, so this has been a small blessing.

Question: How did you feel when you realized you were from a story and there was another “Alice” out there?
Answer: Numb, I think.

Question: Let’s talk about Finn… Yummy, right??
Answer: Does that mean attractive? Because, yes. Finn is quite alluring, isn’t he?

Question: When you learned about Finn’s story and how he was portrayed in it, how did that make you feel?
Answer: Confused, I suppose, because the image of a boy I viewed on my phone and the man I know are quite different. But then, I am different from what others expect, too, aren’t I? My opinion of Finn is and always will be based upon his actions and self, rather than whatever is said by anyone else.

Question: And what about that moment in the armoire…? *fans self* That was pretty intense, as was the… event… that occurred soon after…
Answer: (turns a bit red, but stays stodgily silent)

Question: Can we talk about F.K. Jenkins….?
Answer: He’s a loathsome swine.

Question: What was the first thought that went through your head when you realized you were finally going back to Wonderland?
Answer: I’m not sure there was a singular thought, but there were a multitude of emotions that can best be described as opposing sides of a coin: elation and fear.

Question: Now, about the White King… *Swoons* Can we just… I don’t know… Swoon over him, please?!?!
Answer: (said quietly) I think it would be terribly difficult not to.

Question: When it came time to leave Wonderland – and the White King – again, how did you feel?
Answer: Heartbroken.

Question: Within your group of friends at The Society, whose “story” shocked you the most? Why or how?
Answer: I would have to say that Van Brunt’s story was the most confounding, because he does not strike me as the sort to act so foolishly. But then again, youth is not always the most rational time in our lives, is it?

Question: What was the most important lesson you learned throughout this journey?
Answer: We are the ones to write our stories—not others.

Question: Looking to the future, what are you most excited about? Or, should I ask, who are you most excited for/to be with?
Answer: I am most keen to unravel the mysteries behind the destruction of Timelines. Something tells me we’ve only touched upon the tip of the iceberg when it comes to discovering the answers. I am also looking forward to fully embracing my status as a member of the Society.

TCS Teaser 2
And don’t forget to enter the awesome giveaway we have for you! Simply fill out the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Heather LyonsAbout Heather Lyons:

Heather Lyons has always had a thing for words—She’s been writing stories since she was a kid. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. Heather is a rabid music fan, as evidenced by her (mostly) music-centric blog, and she’s married to an even larger music snob. They’re happily raising three kids who are mini music fiends who love to read and be read to.

Heather’s Website | Heather’s Twitter

Heather’s Facebook | Heather’s Goodreads


Blog Tour: The Outlanders by Erin Rhew (Guest Post + Excerpt + Giveaway)

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to be a part of Erin Rhew’s blog tour for her second novel, The Outlanders (October 21, 2014)! For my blog tour stop, I have a guest post from Erin. Plus, there is an awesome excerpt and a giveaway! First, here’s some more information about The Outlanders:

With King Jesper dead and Prince Wilhelm mortally wounded, Halfling prince, Nash, and the Fulfilment, Layla, assume the throne of Etherea. They must contend with a new Prophecy Candidate who asserts her position, and Layla is surprised to find her fate intertwined with this challenger. Facing a myriad of choices, Nash and Layla’s decisions affect not only their own futures but that of two kingdoms.

Unbeknownst to the Ethereals or the Vanguards, a slumbering menace stirs in the south, awakened after centuries of slumber. The mysterious Outlanders, a force shadowed in mystery, sit poised to tip the balance of power, sending ripples of fear throughout both warring kingdoms.

Elder Werrick proved a formidable foe, but Layla may yet meet her match in the monstrous Outlander queen. This mistress of the dark’s plans, rooted in revenge and ancient lore, now threaten the livelihood of all three kingdoms.

Racing against time, Layla travels to the Borderlands—home of the Voltons and Ecclesiastics—to discover as much as she can about the war, the First Ones, and the prophecy itself. Lives teeter in the balance, kingdoms sit on the cusp of ruin, and a beast, greater than any she’s ever faced before, plots a catastrophic attack.

Goodreads | Amazon

You can also purchase The Prophecy (Book #1) here

Now here’s Erin’s guest post, in which Erin discusses All of the Changes! Enjoy!

Thank you, Meredith, for hosting me on your blog today! I just re-released my debut novel, The Prophecy, on Oct. 1, 2014 through BookFish Books, and its sequel, The Outlanders, released on Oct. 21, 2014 from the same company. In addition to that, the story has undergone a cover change, and I’ve had a name change. So, Meredith asked me to explain to you all the changes that have been going on in my life.

So, yes, in the last little bit, my life has been turned upside down, inside out, and every which-a-way. I guess I’ll start with the best news—I’M GETTING MARRIED!! Ironically, I met my dream man, the OMG-is-he-even-real-he’s-so-awesome Deek Rhew, on Twitter!
First time meeting

We started out as critique partners in a critique partner group. Since I’m the resident grammar nerd, Deek asked me to edit one of his short stories. I started making notes in the margins, and when I got the piece back to see his changes, he’d replied. We began a whole conversation in those margins. After that, we moved to emailing, followed by texting and Facetime. Why didn’t we just date like a normal couple, you may ask. Well, we were separated by a little thing called…the entire United States. Deek lived on the Pacific Coast, and I lived on the East Coast. After a bit, we decided it was time to meet in person—to see if we related as well in real life as we did through the iPhone screen. I’m terrified of flying, so Deek flew to me. We got along even better in person than we did online—a true match. Poor Deek spent months flying back and forth, practically living on two coasts. On one visit, he made his country-long trek to see me run a half marathon at the beach. The day after the race, we took a hand-in-hand stroll through the sand, the ocean rolling against the shore. He pulled me to a gentle stop, dropped down to his knee, and asked me to be his wife. I said yes. How could I not? The man I believed only existed in dreams and novels wanted to marry me!!

Cross Country Which leads me to my next big change…Deek and I no longer wanted to be separated by a whole country. We yearned to live in the same place so we could be together all the time. But who should move? Deek had only ever lived on the West Coast, and I’d only ever lived on the East Coast. Because we’re adventurous people, we decided to split it down the middle. We agreed that I would move to the West Coast for a while, and after that, he’d come back to the East Coast with me for a bit. Fair trade. We each would get the opportunity to meet one another’s friends and family as well as try our hand at living in a different place—which neither of us had ever done. So, we packed up my meager belongings and travelled by car (remember I’m terrified of flying) across the continental United States.
What a great adventure that was! We had such the blast! We arrived at Deek’s house and tried to make it our home. But it was just too darn big. We both agreed we wanted something smaller (the upkeep on a big house is just ridiculous), so we sold it and moved again! Now, we live in an adorably quaint, small town and rent the most beautiful Victorian you could imagine. I’ve lived in a lot of dwellings (homes, dorms, apartments, etc.), and each one took a while to feel like home. Not the Victorian. It instantly felt like home, even before we moved our furniture into it.

The next set of changes occurred in my professional career. I’d been working for BookFish Books for about a year, and I just loved the work of our cover artist, Anita Carroll. I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to go to BookFish’s website and check out the covers, but you should. Anita is a GENIUS!! I asked her if she would be willing to design a cover for my sequel, The Outlanders. She agreed and asked to read my books. I don’t know if it’s standard procedure for a cover artist to read the book before designing a cover, but I’m thrilled she did. When I presented my concept to her, she got to work immediately. I think her intimate knowledge of my world and characters contributed to the greatness of her design. Once I saw the cover, I just knew The Prophecy had to be redone as well. Anita agreed. Let me tell you, my friends, I am totally in love with these covers in a way I didn’t know possible!!

So, we decided to re-release the books with the new, marvelous covers! The Prophecy re-released on Oct. 1, 2014, and The Outlanders released on Oct. 21, 2014. Even better, Anita designed print covers for each, and they BOTH come out in print form on the one year anniversary of The Prophecy, November 15, 2014! I seriously can’t wait to hold these books in my hand. I may even pet them. My preeeecccciiiiooouuuussss!

Fun EngagementWhen I began this journey as an author, I had no idea where the path would lead. But I’ve met amazing people (like you, Meredith), had epic experiences, and fallen in love with the man of my dreams. All-in-all, it’s been a good ride, but the adventure is just beginning!

Now, here’s a fun excerpt from The Outlanders! Enjoy!

Everything about Mia felt wrong. The girl, who looked so much like Layla, just happened to be where Samson could find her and came with him to the home of her enemy without any resistance? Whole generations of Ecclesiastics searched for entire lifetimes and never found the Fulfillment, yet Samson encountered two potentials in short succession. She couldn’t pinpoint the reason for her unease, but something tickled the back of her mind, inching toward the surface with painstaking sluggishness.
“I don’t understand why she would just come with you to Etherea.” Layla struggled to keep her voice level and calm to avoid raising Samson’s hackles.

“She didn’t have anywhere else to go. Vance killed her family in Vanguard.”

Layla made a mental note to confirm Samson’s version of the story with the information Nash managed to extract from Mia. “If she’s a Vanguard, why would she come with you to Etherea?”

“You came here,” Samson shot back, his inexplicable protectiveness for the mystery girl heightening her concern.

She treaded with care. “Well, some insane man in a black and purple robe stole my brother, so I didn’t really have a choice.”

Mia stared at the young man before her with a mixture of curiosity and weariness. She understood why others found him so handsome—rich, dark hair and those shocking green eyes. If she succeeded, he would be her…she stopped herself, determined to keep her mind clear. She had to give off an air of mystery, to lure the Ethereals into her web so they followed her plan. More than anything, she needed them to follow her plan, so much depended on it. She could not slip up. She could not make a mistake.

Taking a steadying breath, she refocused her thoughts and slid her amethyst colored eyes across the prince in front her. She wouldn’t even think his name or give any indication she already knew about him. She had to forget how much she’d been told about him…how much she’d been told about them all. Feigning ignorance factored into her plan.

“Who are you?” he asked, after spending an inordinate amount of time regarding her.

She noted how his gaze bounced from her eyes to her hair and back again. As planned, her appearance intrigued him. Though he’d asked a different question, she heard the real one layered beneath it. He wanted to know why she resembled the proclaimed Fulfillment. That question would then lead him to an inevitable one…could Mia be the Fulfillment instead of Layla? And if she were the Fulfillment, what did that mean for him? For Wil? For Layla?

“I’m Mia.” She almost grinned, pleased she’d answered his question but given him nothing more. When his lips twisted, her grin broke into a full smile at his evident irritation. “And you are?”

He hesitated. “Nash, brother of the king.”

“The injured king?” He flinched, a subtle movement most might miss, but she caught it.

“According to our friend, Samson, you’re an Outlander.”

“He found me in the Outlands.” The less Nash knew, the better.

Frustration flickered across his face, marring his otherwise handsome features. She smiled to herself, not trusting his patience should her lips turn up yet again.

“Sooo,” he dragged out the word. “Are you an Outlander?”

“No. I’m a Vanguard.”

Nash cocked his head to the right. “Why were you in the Outlands then?”

“I went to escape Vance’s oppression.” Mia stared at the wall behind him until her vision blurred. She willed tears to form. Given the pressure she’d been under, summoning them proved easier than she expected. When the familiar tight burning started near her lids, she blinked at the prince. He shifted in his seat. Mia wanted to snort at his reaction. Tears always made men uncomfortable. “Vance killed my family.” She paused and swallowed, hoping he believed she needed a moment to collect herself. “I ran as far as I could and ended up in the Outlands. Samson found me.”

Nash cleared his throat and shifted again; she increased the flow of her tears in reply. “What do you know about the Outlands?”

“Very little.” She sniffed. Looking as pathetic as she could manage, she attempted to wipe her eyes, an impossible feat given her bound hands. Nash frowned as his gaze landed on her restraints. She bid him to unbind her hands, and for a moment, she believed he might. To her disappointment, he gripped the side of his chair until his knuckles turned white and left her tied up. Mia ground her teeth.

“Do you believe you are the Fulfillment?” Nash kept his voice steady despite the turmoil she read upon his face.

Mia waited a moment to respond, both to further escalate his frustration and to collect herself. In this moment, she needed to be most convincing, to begin what she’d been tasked to set in motion. She gestured with her chin, drawing Nash’s attention to the blazing “F” upon her upper arm. The dark purple birthmark matched the shade of her eyes.

“The First Ones speak for themselves.”

Nash shook his head. “It’s too obvious.”

Mia’s head jerked back. She struggled to maintain her composure as his reaction, so unexpected, derailed her careful planning. Her mind racing, she grappled for a response.

“Too obvious?”

“Yes. See, Mia—” His clear distaste tainted the sound of her own name. “I know about the First Ones.”

“Who do you think you are? An Ecclesiastic?” She smirked at him, acting like she retained complete control, but her insides knotted. She couldn’t lose her ability to direct the conversation.

To her surprise, Nash laughed, though she noted no pleasure in it. “The Prophecy states, ‘In a time of war, when the land is divided amongst the two, she, with raven black hair, purple eyes, and a special blessing from the First Ones shall bring peace.’”

“I think everyone in the three kingdoms and in the Borderlands is familiar with The Prophecy.” Mia rolled her eyes for effect. “What’s your point?”

“My point is, the special blessing wouldn’t be something as simple as a birthmark. If it were, the First Ones would have just said raven black hair, purple eyes, and an ugly purple ‘F’ on the upper arm.” He flicked his hand toward her arm. “Special blessing is vague, indicating something mysterious. There is nothing mysterious about your birthmark.”

Mia’s heart pounded as she felt the tables turn and the conversation slip away. “And there is something mysterious about her?”

The word her hung between them for a moment. Mia took another deep breath, worrying she’d pushed him too far. Beneath his shirt, she saw Nash’s muscles ripple and hoped she’d managed to touch a new nerve.

Mia clenched her teeth. She hated acting this way, so out of character, but she had to press on. No one could know the truth. She had to win this game…

And finally, don’t forget to enter the giveaway by filling out the rafflectoper below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ErinAlbert_AuthorPhotoAbout the Author:
Erin Rhew is an editor, a running coach, and the author of The Fulfillment Series. Since she picked up Morris the Moose Goes to School at age four, she has been infatuated with the written word. She went on to work as a grammar and writing tutor in college and is still teased by her family and friends for being a member of the “Grammar Police.” A Southern girl by blood and birth, Erin now lives in a rainy pocket of the Pacific Northwest with the amazingly talented (and totally handsome) writer Deek Rhew and their “overly fluffy,” patient-as-a-saint writing assistant, a tabby cat named Trinity. She and Deek enjoy reading aloud to one another, running, lifting, boxing, eating chocolate, and writing side-by-side.

Website | Twitter

Facebook | Goodreads

Blog Tour: The Beast of Seabourne by Rhys A. Jones (Promotional Post)

Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the Beast of Seabourne Blog Tour! This book will be released from Spencer Hill Middle Grade on October 28, 2014! Here’s a look at the cover and synopsis:

Beast of Seabourne
Oz Chambers has a wonderful secret; the obsidian pebble, gifted to him by his dead father, is an artefact of astonishing power. The sort of power that makes the year eight science project a hands-down walkover thanks to the the pebble’s genius avatar, Soph. But, there are sinister forces abroad who will do just about anything to get their hands on the pebble, and when fellow pupils start being attacked, Oz finds himself in very hot water. Soon Oz and his friends, Ruff and Ellie, are caught up in a centuries old mystery involving a missing ring, lava toothpaste and a murderous monster known as the Beast of Seabourne”


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Rhys-A-Jones-preferred-224x300About the Author:
Rhys A Jones was born in 1955 and grew up in a mining village in South Wales with his nose in a book and his head in the clouds. He managed to subdue his imagination long enough to carve out a career in medicine, writing whenever the chance arose.

In 1994, writing as Dylan Jones, he published his first scary book for adults, a thriller, which was subsequently made into a two-part film by the BBC. Other scary books followed.

A growing desire to move away from adult thrillers and write for children is what currently preoccupies him. The Obsidian Pebble is the first in a quintet featuring eleven-year-old Oz Chambers whose family inherits a ‘haunted’ house. His mother wants to leave, but Oz wants to unlock the house’s mysteries and uncovers a secret that will change his life forever.
Rhys also writes for adults as DC Farmer

Rhys has three grownup children who have emerged remarkably unscathed into adulthood. When not writing, he practices medicine and lives in darkest West Wales with his understanding (very) wife and two dogs.

Oh, and the Rhys is pronounced Reece–as in the actor Rhys Ifans of Mr Lovegood (Harry Potter) and The Lizard (The Amazing Spiderman) fame. Or perhaps it’s easier if you just think of Reece Witheespoon, though she is a lady.