Blog Tours, Extras, Spotlight

~The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco Spotlight Tour with Giveaway!~

 

The Heart Forger

By Rin Chupeco

March 20, 2018; Hardcover, ISBN: 9781492635857

Book Info:

9781492668084-300RGBTitle: The Heart Forger

Author: Rin Chupeco

ISBN: 9781492635857

Release Date: March 20, 2018

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

 

 

Praise for The Heart Forger

 

“A dark, engaging fantasy series.”–School Library Journal

 

“In this spectacular follow-up to the rich The Bone Witch, Tea’s quest draws the reader further in, setting them on a more dangerous yet intriguing adventure.”— Foreword Reviews, STARRED review

 

“Rin’s beautifully crafted world from The Bone Witch (2017) expands in this sequel, which joins dark asha Tea on her crusade of revenge…Dark and entrancing with a third volume to come.” –Booklist, STARRED review

 

 

Summary:

 

In this dark, engrossing sequel to The Bone Witch, Tea has mastered resurrection—now it’s time for revenge.

 

Tea, a bone witch who can resurrect the dead, is done with her self-imposed exile. She now possesses all seven bezoars she needs to revive the powerful daeva. With the help of these terrible monsters, she can finally enact her revenge against the royals who wronged her and took the life of her one true love.

 

Alliances and allegiances are shifting, and danger lurks in and out of the kingdom. But Tea’s heart is set on vengeance, even if it turns her against her now-estranged brother, who supports her enemies. War is brewing, and when dark magic is at play, no one is safe.

 

 

Goodreads Link:

 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33918881-the-heart-forger?from_search=true

 

Buy Links:

Amazon- https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Forger-Bone-Witch/dp/1492635855/?tag=sbnews-20

Barnes&Noble-

http://www.anrdoezrs.net/links/8520536/type/dlg/fragment/%2F/https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-heart-forger-rin-chupeco/1125526060?ean=9781492635857

 

BooksAMillion- http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Heart-Forger/Rin-Chupeco/9781492635857?id=6538300475571

 

!ndigo- https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-heart-forger/9781492635857-item.html?ikwid=heart+forger&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0

 

Indiebound- https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781492635857

 

 

Other Works by Rin Chupeco:

 

 

Book Info:

Title: The Bone Witch

Author: Rin Chupeco

ISBN: 9781492652786

Release Date: March 7, 2017

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

 

 

Summary:

 

When Tea accidentally resurrects her dead brother, she learns she is a different from the other witches in her family.  Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in her community.  But she finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training. There Tea learns to wield her magic in the face of dark forces and the deceit of those who would plot against her, including the ruling royals, who are waging their own war for control of the land.

 

Told from Tea’s perspective while she waits in exile, collecting the strength and force to combat those who killed her one true love, and a visiting Bard’s perspective, this is another magical tale woven by The Girl from the Well author.

 

 

Buy Links for The Bone Witch:

Amazon- https://www.amazon.com/Bone-Witch-Rin-Chupeco-ebook/dp/B01HN3X3NM/?tag=sbnews-20

Barnes&Noble-http://www.anrdoezrs.net/links/8520536/type/dlg/fragment/%2F/https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-bone-witch-rin-chupeco/1123725845?ean=9781492652786

 

BooksAMillion- http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Bone-Witch/Rin-Chupeco/9781492652786?id=6538300475571

 

!ndigo- https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-bone-witch/9781492652786-item.html?ikwid=bone+witch&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0

 

Indiebound- https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781492652786

 

 

 

 

Book Info:

Title: The Suffering

Author: Rin Chupeco

ISBN:  9781492629849

Release Date: September 8, 2015

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

 

 

 

Summary:

 

After barely escaping the evil spirit that tried to destroy his soul, Tark vows to spend his life protecting the innocent. So when his mentor goes missing on a ghost-hunting expedition, Tark and Okiku join the search. But the Suicide Forest has seduced thousands of people to their deaths over the centuries and is thick with their sorrows.

 

With time running out and danger at every turn, Tark will either become a hero—or die trying.

 

 

Buy Links for The Suffering:

Amazon- https://www.amazon.com/Suffering-Rin-Chupeco/dp/1492629847?tag=sbnews-20

Barnes&Noble-http://www.anrdoezrs.net/links/8520536/type/dlg/fragment/%2F/https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-suffering-rin-chupeco/1121010248?ean=9781492629849

 

BooksAMillion- http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Suffering/Rin-Chupeco/9781492629849?id=6538300475571

 

!ndigo- https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-suffering/9781492629849-item.html?ikwid=the+suffering&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=3

 

Indiebound- https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781492629849

 

 

 

 

rinAbout the Author:

 

Despite uncanny resemblances to Japanese revenants, Rin Chupeco has always maintained her sense of humor. Raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. She’s been a technical writer and travel blogger, but now makes things up for a living. Connect with Rin at rinchupeco.com

 

 

 

Social Media Links:

 

Website: http://www.rinchupeco.com/

Twitter: @RinChupeco

Instagram: @rinchupeco

 

 

 

Excerpt from The Heart Forger:

He does not look so formidable, I lied to myself, staring at the warped, decaying body before me. I can defeat his will. I will break him. It is a wonder what Mykkie had ever seen in him.

It was not the first time I had deceived myself in this manner. Neither was this the first time I had raised King Vanor from the grave. But if I repeated that mantra enough times, I thought I could finally believe my words.

The dead king refused to look at me, his eyes distant. The royal crypts were built to strike both fear and awe in those who visited, but I had grown accustomed to the stone faces looking down at me with quiet scrutiny from their high precipices. But King Vanor’s continued silence unnerved me every time—more than I cared to admit.

“A wise philosopher once said,” Fox drawled from the shadows, “that doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result is the mark of a fool.”

“Why do I bring you along?”

“Well, a wise philosopher once said—”

“Shut up.” My brother had no need to tell me my quest was hopeless. Numerous Dark asha, all more experienced than me, had made the attempt. But I had to do something.

“You’re in a worse mood than usual. Did Kalen chew you out at practice again?”

“If you don’t like it here, why not find some women in the city to flirt with instead?”

“Not in Oda—” He caught himself. “None of your business. Can we get this over with?”

I turned back to the corpse. “Where are you keeping Mykaela’s heartsglass?”

No answer. The colossi statues guarding the catacombs were likelier to respond than this infernal sod of a king.

“Answer me! What have you done to her heartsglass? Where did you keep it? Why do you hate her so much?” My headache worsened. Somewhere in the back of my head, I was aware of a shadow thrashing about, sensing my anger. I saw a vision of water, green and murky, before it faded out of view.

I took a deep breath and let it out carefully. The ache lightened and the shadow retreated as I recovered my calm.

“This is a waste of time.” Fox folded his arms across his chest. My brother looked to be in peak physical health, though he was no more alive than the royal noble standing before us.

Their similarities ended there; there was barely enough skin and sinew clinging to Vanor to pass for human. That was my doing. The first few times I resurrected him, I had been respectful, taking great pains to restore his body to how it appeared when he was alive.

Now I allowed him only enough muscle and flesh to move his jaw.

“He’s not going to talk, Tea. You know that, I know that, and he definitely knows that.”

“I will make him talk.” Many years ago, my sister-asha had fallen in love with this wretched excuse of a ruler. In exchange for her unwavering devotion, he had taken her heartsglass and hidden it so well that no one had been able to find it.

And now, more than a decade later, Mykaela was dying. She could no longer return to Kion. Her health had deteriorated to the point where she had to remain near her heartsglass, still hidden somewhere within Odalia, here in the city of Kneave. It was hard enough to be a bone witch; that she’d survived for this long was a miracle in itself.

I grabbed what was left of the king’s shoulders, pulling him toward me. He reeked of death and obstinacy. “Answer me!” My voice echoed off the columns. “Didn’t you love her even a little? Or are you so petty that you’d allow her to suffer for the rest of her years? She’s dying. What grudge do you harbor to hate her this much?”

“Tea.”

I froze. So did Fox.

I had told no one else about my weekly excursions to the royal crypts. Not my friend Polaire, who would have boxed my ears if she’d known, nor Mistress Parmina, who would doom me to a life cleaning outhouses. Only Fox was privy to my secret, which he had agreed to keep despite his own misgivings. And Mykaela was the last person I wanted to find out.

She had aged more rapidly during the last few years since she had taken me under her wing. There was more gray in her golden hair, more lines on her face. Her back stooped slightly, like she struggled under a heavy burden. She had taken to using a cane everywhere she went, unsure of her own feet.

“Mykaela,” I stammered, “you’re not supposed to be here.”

“I could say the same for you,” she answered, but her eyes were fixed on King Vanor, her pain obvious. He watched her gravely, without shame or guilt, and my anger rose again. How many raisings had my sister-asha endured, forced to watch while this king refused to speak?

I raised my finger to sketch out the rune that would send Vanor back to the world of the dead, but Mykaela lifted a hand. “Vanor,” she said quietly, “it’s been a while.”

The decaying figure said nothing. His eyes studied her, savage and hungry and ill suited for such an impassive face.

“I apologize for my wayward apprentice. She has been willful and intractable since her admission to my asha-ka and has shown little improvement since. Please return to your rest. Tea, let him go.”

Mykaela’s words were a steel knife through my heart. Stuttering apologies, I completed the spell and watched as King Vanor’s body crumbled back into dust in his open coffin. Even as his features dissolved, King Vanor never once looked away from Mykaela’s face.

“Close the lid and move the stone back in place,” she said. I could detect the anger behind her calm. “I would tell King Telemaine to seal his coffin, but even that might not stop you. Whatever possessed you to let her do this, Fox?”

Fox shrugged, grinning like an abashed schoolboy. “I’m her familiar. It comes with the territory.”

“Being her familiar is no excuse for being an imbecile! And you! What possessed you to summon dead royalty in the middle of the night?”

“I wanted to help.” The excuse sounded weaker when made to Mykaela than to Fox. “I thought that I could control daeva now! You said no Dark asha’s ever done that before! That’s why…why I…”

Mykaela sighed. “And so by that logic, you think you are different from Dark asha of the past? What you have in ability, Tea, you lack in wisdom. You cannot compel the dead if they are not willing. Wasn’t that the first lesson I taught you after you raised Fox from his grave? Arrogance is not a virtue, sister.”

I looked down, blinking back tears. Was I arrogant to want to save her? Unlike Fox, Dark asha and all those with a silver heartsglass cannot be raised from the dead, and that permanence frightened me. “I’m sorry. I want to help. But I feel so powerless.”

I heard her move closer, felt her hand on my head, stroking my hair.

“It’s not such a bad thing, to feel powerless sometimes. It teaches us that some situations are inevitable and that we should spend what little time we have in the company of the people that matter most. Do you understand me, Tea?”

“Yes.” I wept.

“Tea, I’m not dead yet.” A finger nudged at my chin. “I would appreciate it if you stopped acting like I was. I do not give up so easily, but we must adopt other means.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It is only an apology if you mean it. This is the last time you will be summoning anyone in the royal crypts, no matter how noble you think your actions are. Promise me.”

“I promise,” I mumbled.

“The same is true for you too, Fox.”

“I promise, milady.”

“Good. Now help me up the stairs. My legs aren’t what they used to be.”

Fox reached down and scooped Mykaela into his arms. “It’s the fastest way,” he explained. “You’ve expended enough energy yelling at us.”

The older asha chuckled. “Yes, that’s always been rather tiresome now that I think about it. Perhaps you should direct your energies toward more productive tasks so I can tire less.”

“How did you know we were here?” I asked.

“I’ve taken to wandering at night. I looked in on Tea, but her room was empty. I detected a shifting of runes nearby and merely followed it to its source.”

“I didn’t mean to make you worry.” The staircase led back to the Odalian palace gardens. For the past two months, Fox and I had been King Telemaine’s guests, traveling the kingdom and tending to the sickly. Most of the people here fear and dislike bone witches, though with lesser fervor than before. It is not easy to hold a grudge against someone who has nursed you back to health.

At the king’s invitation, Mykaela had taken up residence in the castle indefinitely. But every day finds her weaker, and I feared the palace would serve as her hospice.

“There are many other concerns, Tea. Likh has a new case pending, hasn’t he?”

The asha association had rejected Likh’s appeal to join, but Polaire had dredged up an obscure law that permitted Deathseekers to train in the Willows until they turned fifteen, which was Likh’s current age.

Mykaela glanced over Fox’s shoulder, back at the catacombs, then turned away.

She still loves him, I thought, and fury burned through me like a fever. “I’m really sorry, Mykkie.”

She smiled. “As I said, only if you mean it, Tea. Get some rest. We’ve got a busy day ahead.”

* * *

I listened until my brother’s footsteps faded before sneaking out of my room a second time. I opened the doors of my mind to welcome the hidden shadows; they wrapped around my core, creating a barrier that had for many months prevented Fox from discovering the other sentience I hoarded away, like a sweet vintage I had no intentions of sharing. I couldn’t. Not yet.

Chief waited for me at the stables. A lone woman on a horse caused no outcry, and we rode undisturbed out of the city, into a copse of trees that hid us further from view. I climbed off my stallion, told him to await my return, and moved deeper into the forest, into a small clearing that served as a rendezvous point.

I reached out once more to the moving darkness. The scar on my right thigh was hot to the touch. It burned in the cold air, but I felt no pain.

Despite its size, the beast was made of stealth and shadows. Where there was once nothing, it now stood beside me, as if summoned from the air. Three pairs of hooded eyes gazed down at me, forked tongues dancing. Its wings extended, and twilight rolled over me, soothing and pleasant.

Master? It was a voice but not in the manner we think of voices. Our bond gave us an understanding that went beyond language.

I reached out. Its scaly hide was a combination of coarse bark and rough sandpaper.

Play? It sat, unmoving, as I climbed up its back.

Yes.

In the blink of an eye, we were soaring across the sky, rolling meadows and fields of green passing below us. Turn, I thought, testing the limits of my control, as I have over the last several months. The azi complied, wings curving toward the horizon. I laughed, the sound joyous and free against the wind, and one head dipped briefly to nuzzle at my cheek, purring.

This is not selfishness, I told myself, but a responsibility. Mykaela was partly right; I was arrogant and overconfident, but I was not like other Dark asha. No other Dark asha had been able to tame the azi. And riding with it on quiet nights meant it was not rampaging through cities.

But I also knew I had to keep my companion a secret. Raising a dead king was a far lesser sin than taking a daeva as a familiar. I shall conquer this, I thought and, in doing so, sealed my fate.

Why are we at Daanoris?” I asked again when she paused. “Why won’t you tell me?”

“Because I need you as a witness as well as a storyteller, Bard. You will not remain unbiased for long if I supply you with foresight.”

“You summoned me. I travel with you. My opinions will make little difference.”

“You have a reputation for impartiality, Bard. I trust your judgment and my prudence. And here in Santiang, there is someone I would like you to meet.”

“Who?”

“They call him the Heartforger.” She flashed me a quick mischievous grin. “I find it difficult to believe you will be so eager to rule in my favor after the endless stretch of corpses I summoned in my wake. Or after informing you of my intentions to take Daanoris. It is not easy to mask your repugnance. Why have I come to Daanoris? Perhaps simply because I can. Has that not crossed your mind?”

“Tea,” Kalen admonished, his voice low and amused.

She laughed. “Let me continue my story while we still have the luxury.”

The shadows grew across the trees. The daeva melted slowly into the forest, moving silently despite their sizes. No other sound passed through the woods—no chirping of birds nor chatter of squirrels. There was only the wind whispering through the leaves, the crackling of fire, and the sound of the asha’s voice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spotlight

Rules of Rain Spotlight by Leah Scheier

9781492654261-300Title: Rules of Rain
Author: Leah Scheier
Pub Date: December 5, 2017
ISBN: 9781492654261

How far would you go to protect the ones you love?

Rain has taken care of Ethan all of their lives. Before she even knew what autism meant, she was her twin brother’s connection to the world around him. Each day with Ethan is unvarying and predictable, and Rain takes comfort in being the one who holds their family together. It’s nice to be needed—to be the center of someone’s world. If only her longtime crush, Liam, would notice her too…

Then one night, her life is upended by a mistake she can’t undo. Suddenly Rain’s new romance begins to unravel along with her carefully constructed rules. Rain isn’t used to asking for help—and certainly not from Ethan. But the brother she’s always protected is the only one who can help her. And letting go of the past may be the only way for Rain to hold onto her relationships that matter most.

Leah Scheier works as a pediatrician and pens stories of romance and adventure. Her latest novel, Your Voice Is All I Hear, received a Starred Review from Booklist. She lives in Maryland. Learn more at leahscheier.com.

Buy Links:
Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Chapters | iBooks | Indiebound

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2 copies of Rules of Rain
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EXCERPT
From ETHAN’S JOURNAL:
The cholecystectomy was a successful operation. The predicted obstacles were not as difficult to overcome as expected. In the hallways, when the noise level became overwhelming, I utilized the breathing and relaxation exercises Rain taught me. When the surgeon took us to the operating room, it was a relief. The quiet voices, the unblinking light, the predictable, ordered routine. It’s as if the room was designed for me. After Dr. Peters dismissed us, I took a much-needed bathroom break. While I was in the stall, two medical students from our team entered.
Let it go,” the one with the deeper voice said. “I don’t think he was trying to show off.”
Who cares?” High Voice replied. “We’re the ones getting graded. You’d think he’d have realized he needed to shut up. I kept staring him down, but he was ignoring me. What a dick.”
Deep Voice laughed. “That kid sure knew his shit though.”
People like that always know their shit,” High Voice said. “They’re basically walking computers. It sucks for me though. Today’s the end of the rotation, and I got showed up by a teenage robot.”
Deep Voice zipped up his pants and stepped over to the sink. The splashing water obscured the beginning of his reply. All I caught was his final statement: “I’d rather fail the surgery elective than spend a day in that boy’s life. I wonder what it’s like to live without emotions?”
High Voice made a snorting sound. “Whatever. How would he even know what he’s missing?”
On the way home from the hospital, I told Liam what I had heard. He didn’t say anything at first.
Do you think I’m missing something?” I asked him.
He shook his head. “Of course not. Don’t let those morons upset you.”
I’m not upset,” I tell him. “Because I know they’re wrong. I just can’t prove it.”
You don’t have to prove anything to anyone.”
He’s probably right. Still, I think it would be easier for me if I could explain what I was feeling. When I was little, I would just scream until my sister fixed whatever was bothering me. Rain once told me that I keep my emotions in a box, and that no one has the key to the box. I had no idea what that meant. So I said, “Rain, what are you feeling right now?” She started to answer me, and I interrupted her. “No. I want you to describe your emotions. But you have to do it in German.”
Here’s the thing: If she traveled to Germany she would still feel things. But she’d have to use big, weird gestures to show people what she meant because she doesn’t speak German. And no one would understand her, no matter how hard she tried.
After I asked her to describe her emotions in German, Rain was quiet for a little while. Then she wrapped her arms around herself and squeezed. She does that when she wants to give me a hug but can’t.
You’re always in Germany, aren’t you?”

Rules of Rain graphic

Blog Tours, Spotlight

Alone by Cyn Balog Spotlight with Giveaway

9781492655473-PRAlone
By Cyn Balog
Sourcebooks Fire
November 7, 2017
Advance Praise for Alone
“Even careful readers will be caught off guard by twists and unexpected but divine surprises. This first-rate thriller delivers everything a thriller should, and adds more. With a wink and a nod to Stephen King’s The Shining, Balog provides a shocker for the young adult crowd.” –VOYA Magazine, VOYA Perfect 10 Review
“This is the perfect premise for a chilling tale, and Balog fills every inch with classic horror references, red herrings, and uncertain motivations. As Balog gradually builds tension and paranoia, she manipulates reader expectations to set up several possible endings, yet still manages to end with a shocker. This is fantastically creepy psychological horror.” –Booklist
“A bloody, wonderfully creepy scare ride.” –Kirkus Reviews
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33918889-alone?ac=1&from_search=true
Book Info:
This must-read for lovers of Stephen King’s The Shining will leave readers breathless as Seda and her family find themselves at the mercy of a murderer in an isolated and snowbound hotel.
When her mom inherits an old, crumbling mansion, Seda’s almost excited to spend the summer there. The grounds are beautiful and it’s fun to explore the sprawling house with its creepy rooms and secret passages. Except now her mom wants to renovate, rather than sell the estate—which means they’re not going back to the city…or Seda’s friends and school.
As the days grow shorter, Seda is filled with dread. They’re about to be cut off from the outside world, and she’s not sure she can handle the solitude or the darkness it brings out in her.
Then a group of teens get stranded near the mansion during a blizzard. Seda has no choice but to offer them shelter, even though she knows danger lurks in the dilapidated mansion—and in herself. And as the snow continues to fall, what Seda fears most is about to become her reality…

Amazon | B&N | BAM | !ndigo | IndieBound | Kindle | Nook
Cyn Balog photoCyn Balog is the author of a number of young adult novels. She lives outside Allentown, Pennsylvania with her husband and daughters. Visit her online at http://www.cynbalog.com.

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Excerpt from Alone:
Sometimes I dream I am drowning.
Sometimes I dream of bloated faces, bobbing on the surface of misty waters.
And then I wake up, often screaming, heart racing, hands clenching fistfuls of my sheets.
I’m in my bed at the top of Bug House. The murky daylight casts dull prisms from my snow globes onto the attic floor. My mom started collecting those pretty winter scenes for me when I was a baby. I gaze at them, lined neatly on the shelf in front of my window. My first order of business every day is hoping they’ll give me a trace of the joy they did when I was a kid.
But either they don’t work that way anymore, or I don’t.
Who am I kidding? It’s definitely me.
I’m insane. Batshit. Nuttier than a fruitcake. Of course, that’s not an official diagnosis. The official word from Dr. Batton, whose swank Copley Square office I visited only once when I was ten, was that I was bright and intelligent and a wonderful young person. He said it’s normal for kids to have imaginary playmates.
But it gets a little sketchy when that young person grows up, and her imaginary friend decides to move in and make himself comfortable.
Not that anyone knows about that. No, these days, I’m good about keeping up appearances.
My second order of business each day is hoping that he won’t leak into my head. That maybe I can go back to being a normal sixteen–year–old girl.
But he always comes.
He’s a part of me, after all. And he’s been coming more and more, invading my thoughts. Of course I’m here, stupid.
Sawyer. His voice in my mind is so loud that it drowns out the moaning and creaking of the walls around me.
“Seda, honey?” my mother calls cheerily. She shifts her weight on the bottom step, making the house creak more. “Up and at ’em, buckaroo!”
I force my brother’s taunts away and call down the spiral staircase, “I am up.” My short temper is because of him, but it ends up directed at her.
She doesn’t notice though. My mother has only one mood now: ecstatically happy. She says it’s the air up here, which always has her taking big, deep, monster breaths as if she’s trying to inhale the entire world into her lungs. But maybe it’s because this is her element; after all, she made a profession out of her love for all things horror. Or maybe she really is better off without my dad, as she always claims she is.
I hear her whistling “My Darlin’ Clementine” as her slippered feet happily scuffle off toward the kitchen. I put on the first clothing I find in my drawer—-sweatpants and my mom’s old Boston College sweatshirt—-then scrape my hair into a ponytail on the top of my head as I look around the room. Mannequin body parts and other macabre props are stored up here. It’s been my bedroom for only a month. I slept in the nursery with the A and Z twins when we first got here because they were afraid of ghosts and our creepy old house. But maybe they—-like Mom—-are getting used to this place?
The thought makes me shudder. I like my attic room because of the privacy. Plus, it’s the only room that isn’t ice cold, since all the heat rises up to me. But I don’t like much else about this old prison of a mansion.
One of the props, Silly Sally, is sitting in the rocker by the door as I leave. She’d be perfect for the ladies’ department at Macy’s if it weren’t for the gaping chest wound in her frilly pink blouse. “I hate you,” I tell her, batting at the other mannequin body parts descending from the rafters like some odd canopy. She smiles as if the feeling is mutual. I give her a kick on the way out.
Despite the morbid stories about this place, I don’t ever worry about ghosts. After all, I have Sawyer, and he is worse.
As I climb down the stairs, listening to the kids chattering in the nursery, I notice the money, accompanied by a slip of paper, on the banister’s square newel post. The car keys sit atop the pile. Before I can ask, Mom calls, “I need you to go to the store for us. OK, Seda, my little kumquat?”
I blink, startled, and it’s not because of the stupid nickname. I don’t have a license, just a learner’s permit. My mom had me driving all over the place when we first came here, but that was back then. Back when this was a simple two–week jaunt to get an old house she’d inherited ready for sale. There wasn’t another car in sight, so she figured, why not? She’s all about giving us kids experiences, about making sure we aren’t slaves to our iPhones, like so many of my friends back home. My mother’s always marching to her own drummer, general consensus be damned, usually to my horror. But back then, I had that thrilling, invincible, first–days–of–summer–vacation feeling that made anything seemed possible. Too bad that was short lived.
We’ve been nestled at Bug House like hermits for months. Well, that’s not totally true. Mom has made weekly trips down the mountain, alone, to get the mail and a gallon of milk and make phone calls to civilization. We were supposed to go back to Boston before school started, but that time came and went, and there’s no way we’re getting off this mountain before the first snow.
Snow.
I peer out the window. The first dainty flakes are falling from the sky.
Snow. Oh God. Snow.

Alone

 

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Blog Tours, Extras, Spotlight

Did I Mention I Need You? Spotlight Tour with Giveaway

 

 

9781492632184-PRDid I Mention I Need You?

By Estelle Maskame

March 1, 2016; ISBN 9781492632184

 Book Info:

Title: Did I Mention I Need You?

Author: Estelle Maskame

Release Date: March 1, 2016

Publishers: Sourcebooks Fire

 

Praise for Did I Mention I Love You? Series

 

[A] juicy romance…the star-crossed love affair of Eden Munro and Tyler Bruce is a global sensation!” Justine Magazine on the DIMILY series

 

“Maskame pays close attention to detail and, as a teen herself, clearly understands her audience… Many teens will relate to the emotional turmoil of blended families, child abuse, addiction, first love, jealousy, messy breakups, and generally, growing up.” –School Library Journal on Did I Mention I Need You?

 

“Readers will root for them, like they would with Edward and Bella—the mutual attraction and need for one another is palpable. It rings of passion, excitement, and first love.” –VOYA Magazine onDid I Mention I Love You?

 

“An edgy young adult romance with dark layers” –The Examineron Did I Mention I Love You?

 

“A believable coming-of-age story and an unconventional romance, set against a present-day California summer… . The fallout of divorce, the insidiousness of substance abuse and family secrets, and especially the pangs of first love drive this emotionally resonant tale.” – Publishers Weekly on Did I Mention I Love You?

 

“Written in first person, Maskame’s trilogy opener is an excellent portrayal of a teenage girl’s life in the 21st century. Eden has to adjust to her blended family, try to feel pretty, be body conscious, and make friends, all while falling in love for the first time. She is someone all young people can relate to…Romance fans will be captivated by Eden and her journey to finding herself and true love.” –School Library Journal on Did I Mention I Love You?

 

Summary:

 

Love has no rules.

 

It’s been a year since Eden Munro last saw Tyler Bruce: her stepbrother…and secret love. Although they swore to ignore their feelings and put their family first, Eden can’t help but feel excited when Tyler invites her to join him in New York City for the summer.

 

But it’s not like anything is going to happen. Eden is happy with her boyfriend Dean, and she knows gorgeous, green-eyed Tyler must have moved on as well. But as they spend the long, hot summer in the city that never sleeps, it becomes obvious that those old feelings are still there…simmering beneath the surface. Will Tyler and Eden be able to resist temptation?

 

Did I Mention I Need You? Is book two in Wattpad sensation Estelle Maskame’s DIMILY trilogy: three unforgettable summers of secrets, heartbreak and forbidden romance.

 

Goodreads Link:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27015414-did-i-mention-i-need-you?from_search=true&search_version=service

 

Buy Links:

Amazon- http://ow.ly/VkkwY

Apple- http://ow.ly/VkkSO

Barnes&Noble-  http://ow.ly/Vkldc

BooksAMillion- http://ow.ly/Vklph

!ndigo- http://ow.ly/VklIC

Indiebound- http://ow.ly/VklTu

 

Estelle 24About the Author:

 

Estelle Maskame started writing at the age of thirteen and completed the Did I Mention I Love You?  trilogy when she was sixteen. She has built an extensive fan-base for her writing by serializing her work on Wattpad. Fitting book writing between work, Estelle has amassed followers from all over the world. She lives in Scotland. For more visit estellemaskame.com

 

Social Media Links:

 DIMILY Landing Page: http://books.sourcebooks.com/dimily/

 Twitter: https://twitter.com/EstelleMaskame

 

Did I Mention I Need You?  Excerpt:

 

My heart skips a beat as my eyes scan the information signs above me. I should stop and figure out where I’m supposed to go, but there’s no way I can delay this any longer. I just want to see him already, so I sling my backpack over my shoulder and follow the people who have gotten off the same flight as me. But with each step, the more nauseous I feel. The more I realize I shouldn’t have come here. The more I believe this is a bad idea.

Of course it’s a bad idea, I think.

As if I’ll get over him by spending time alone with him. If anything, this is going to make it worse, harder. It’s easy for him. He’s probably long over me, and he’s most likely dating some cute girl with a New York accent. And then there’s me, the idiot who’s spent an entire year still thinking about him. I know that when I see him, everything I felt will come rushing back at once. I can feel it already. I can feel that same nervous feeling in my stomach that I always did whenever he smiled at me, and I can feel my pulse racing at the same speed it always did whenever his eyes met mine.

I wonder if it’s too late to turn around.

The group I’ve been following heads down an escalator, but I hesitate at the top and step to the side, lingering for a moment. Maybe this won’t be so bad. I am excited to see him, even if my nerves are outweighing my excitement, and I’ve been waiting so long for this that it’s stupid to be having second thoughts.

I’m just confused and my head’s a mess, but I’m here now. It’s time to see him for the first time in a year.

My grip tightens around the strap of my backpack as I step onto the escalator, and my heart is quite literally thumping against my rib cage. I wonder if the people around me can hear it. It feels like I’m having a heart attack, like I’ll collapse any moment now from an anxiety overload. My legs feel stiff, but somehow I manage to keep moving, somehow manage to get off the escalator and advance across the arrivals level.

I’m half looking for the baggage carousels and half looking for a pair of green eyes. Around me, I can see people hesitating, looking. People in suits holding signs. Families searching the crowds flowing off the escalator. I know exactly who I’m looking for. For a moment, I think I see him. Black hair, tall. But just as my heart’s about to stop, he draws a woman into his arms and I realize that it isn’t him at all.

My eyes return to roaming the concourse as I make my way toward baggage claim, still forcing my feet to move, however numb my legs feel. I’m stealing glances at the line of placards as I pass, taking in the last names and wondering why all those people are traveling to New York. My thoughts don’t last long though, because suddenly one placard in particular catches my eye. It draws my attention, of course, because I see my name scrawled on it in black Sharpie, each letter slightly out of alignment with the next one.

And that’s when I see him.

Tyler.

He’s slowly lowered the placard to reveal his face, and his grin and his jaw and the color of his eyes and the way one eyebrow slowly arches reminds me of some of the many things I used to adore about him. Perhaps I still do love these things, because now my feet are moving again. And fast. I make my way straight over to him, gaining speed with each step, my eyes locked on him and nothing else. My beeline forces the people around me to move out of my way, and now I’m running. The moment I reach him, I throw myself into his arms.

 

LOOK FOR THE COMPANION NOVELS:

 

9781492632153-300Did I Mention I Love You? Available Now!

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9781492632214-300Did I Mention I Miss You? Available September 2016!

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Extras, Spotlight

Did I Mention I Love You? Spotlight Tour with Giveaway!

9781492632153-300Did I Mention I Love You?
By Estelle Maskame
December 1, 2015; ISBN 9781492632153
Book Info:
Title: Did I Mention I Love You?
Author: Estelle Maskame
Release Date: December 1, 2015
Publishers: Sourcebooks Fire

Praise for Did I Mention I Love You?

“Readers will root for them, like they would with Edward and Bella—the mutual attraction and need for one another is palpable. It rings of passion, excitement, and first love.” –VOYA Magazine

“An edgy young adult romance with dark layers” –The Examiner

“A believable coming-of-age story and an unconventional romance, set against a present-day California summer… . The fallout of divorce, the insidiousness of substance abuse and family secrets, and especially the pangs of first love drive this emotionally resonant tale.” – Publishers Weekly

“Written in first person, Maskame’s trilogy opener is an excellent portrayal of a teenage girl’s life in the 21st century. Eden has to adjust to her blended family, try to feel pretty, be body conscious, and make friends, all while falling in love for the first time. She is someone all young people can relate to…Romance fans will be captivated by Eden and her journey to finding herself and true love.” –School Library Journal

Summary:

Love is everything but expected.

Eden Munro came to California for a summer of sun, sand, and celebrities- what better way to forget about the drama back home? Until she meets her new family of strangers; a dad she hasn’t seen in three years, a stepmonster, and three stepbrothers.

Eden gets her own room in her dad’s fancy house in Santa Monica. A room right next door to her oldest stepbrother. Tyler Bruce. Whom she cannot stand. He has angry blue eyes and an ego bigger than a Beverly Hills mansion. She’s never felt such intense dislike for someone. But the two are constantly thrown together as his group of friends pulls her into their world of rule-breaking, partying, and pier-hanging

And the more she tries to understand what makes Tyler burn hotter than the California sun, the more Eden finds herself falling for the one person she shouldn’t…

Did I Mention I Love You? is the addictive first book in Wattpad sensation Estelle Maskame’s DIMIY trilogy: three unforgettable summers of secrets, heartbreak, and forbidden romance.

Goodreads Link:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25883610-did-i-mention-i-love-you

Buy Links:
Amazon- http://ow.ly/SAmvg
Apple- http://ow.ly/SAvv7
Barnes&Noble- http://ow.ly/SAmJH
BooksAMillion- http://ow.ly/SAmR5
!ndigo- http://ow.ly/SAnIE
Indiebound- http://ow.ly/SAnRt

Estelle 24About the Author:

Estelle Maskame started writing at the age of thirteen and completed the Did I Mention I Love You? trilogy when she was sixteen. She has built an extensive fan-base for her writing by serializing her work on Wattpad. Fitting book writing between work, Estelle has amassed followers from all over the world. She lives in Scotland. For more visit estellemaskame.com

Social Media Links:
http://books.sourcebooks.com/dimily/

Did I Mention I Love You? Excerpt:

I can almost see the road through the gaps in the fence by the side of the house, and I squint through. There’s music playing. More like blaring. I can hear it over the crappy music that’s already bouncing around the back yard, and as a sleek white car speeds up to the edge of the sidewalk and skids against the curb, I grimace in disgust. The music cuts off the second the engine is killed.

“What are you looking at?” Rachael asks, but I’m too busy staring to even attempt to answer.
The car door swings open roughly, and I’m surprised it doesn’t fall straight off its hinges. It’s difficult to see clearly through the fence, but a tall guy gets out and slams the door shut just as aggressively as he opened it. He hesitates for a moment, stares at the house, and then runs a hand through his hair. Whoever he is, he looks su-per depressed. Like he’s just lost all his life savings or his dog just died. And then he heads straight for the gate.

“Who the hell is this jackass?” I mutter to Rachael as the figure nears us.

But before either of us can say anything more, Jackass decides to hit the gate open with a fist, drawing the at-tention of everyone around us. It’s like he wants everyone to hate him. I figure he’s probably that one neighbor that everyone despises, and he’s only here in a fit of rage because he wasn’t invited to the lamest barbecue get-together that’s ever been hosted.

“Sorry I’m late,” Jackass comments sarcastically. And loudly too, with a smirk on his lips. His eyes flash green as emeralds. “Did I miss anything besides the slaughtering of animals?” He throws up the infamous mid-dle finger to, from what I can see, the barbecue. “I hope you guys enjoyed the cow you just ate.” And then he laughs. He laughs as though everyone’s expressions of disgust are the most entertaining thing he’s seen all year.

“More beer?” I hear my dad call out to the silent crowd, and as they chuckle and return to their conversations, Jackass heads through the patio doors. He slams them shut so hard I can almost see the glass tremble.

I’m stunned. I have no idea what just happened or who that was or why he’s just entered the house. When I realize I’m slightly slack-jawed, I close my mouth and turn to Rachael.
She bites her lip and pushes her sunglasses down over her eyes. “I’m guessing you haven’t met your step-brother yet.”

Enter to Win a Copy of DIMILY & an advance copy of DIMINY. This giveaway is active December 1st-December 31st. Open to US & Canadian residents only:

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9781492632184-300Coming Soon!
Did I Mention I Need You (March 2016) & Did I Mention I Miss You (June 2016)
Book Info:
Title: Did I Mention I Need You?
Author: Estelle Maskame
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Publishers: Sourcebooks Fire

Eden and Tyler have desperately tried to ignore their love for each other for the sake of their family. But they can’t seem to stay apart for long, especially once Tyler invites Eden to spend the summer with him in New York.

Away from their life in California and caught up in the excitement of the city, their summer fling turns into something much more serious. Unable to deny their feelings, Tyler and Eden must face reality. But how will their family react when they confess their romance? And is their relationship strong enough to survive the fallout?

Pre-Order Links:
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9781492632214-300Book Info:
Title: Did I Mention I Miss You?
Author: Estelle Maskame
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Publishers: Sourcebooks Fire

Eden’s on her way back to Santa Monica for the summer, and she hasn’t seen Tyler since the devastating fallout of their forbidden relationship. Eden claims to have moved on—but Tyler wants to rekindle the flame.

He convinces Eden to visit his new home in Portland, Oregon, where he has set up a center for troubled teens. Eden’s proud of what he’s built, but the last time they were together, it nearly destroyed Eden and their family. Then a tragedy draws them together, and Eden must search her heart and decide if Tyler is worth the risk once and for all.

Blog Tours, Extras, Spotlight

*The Sister Pact by Stacie Ramey* Spotlight with Giveaway!

The Sister Pact

By Stacie Ramey

November 3, 2015; Tradepaper, ISBN 9781492620976

9781492620976-PRBook Info:

Title: The Sister Pact

Author: Stacie Ramey

Release Date: November 3, 2015

Publishers: Sourcebooks Fire

 

Summary:

 

Who holds your secrets?

 

Allie is devastated when her older sister commits suicide- and it’s not just because she missed her. Allie feels betrayed. The two made a pact that they’d always be together, in life and in death, but Leah broke her promise and Allie needs to know why.

 

Her parents hover. Her friends try to support her. And Nick, sweet Nick, keeps calling and flirting. Their sympathy only intensifies her grief.

 

But the more she clings to Leah, the more secrets surface. Allie’s not sur which is more distressing: discovering the truth behind her sister’s death or facing her new reality without her.

 

Goodreads Link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23510106-the-sister-pact?from_search=true&search_version=service

 

Buy Links:

 

Amazon: http://ow.ly/SqJ3B

Apple: http://ow.ly/SqJnB

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BooksAMillion: http://ow.ly/SqJ8P

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IndieBound: http://ow.ly/SqJcC

Stacie RamieAbout the Author:

 

Stacie Ramey learned to read at a very early age to escape the endless tormenting from her older siblings. She attended the University of Florida where she majored in communication sciences and Penn State where she received a Master of Science in Speech Pathology. When she’s not writing, she engages in Netflix wars with her children or beats her husband in Scrabble. She lives in Florida with her husband, three children, and two rescue dogs

 

Social Networking Links:

 

Website

Twitter

 

Excerpt from The Sister Pact:

 

Liquid inspiration from the Nyquil bottle makes me feel like I should paint something for Leah. Let her know I get it now. Maybe I didn’t always when she was alive. Maybe I didn’t listen when she tried to tell me things.

I open the door and look out into the hallway. Lights off, TV on downstairs. Mom’s check-out gives me the clear shot I need. In the garage I find the white paint from the trim in my room and the tools and brushes. Everything seems really clear right now. And brilliant. I feel sort of brilliant. Like every part of my brain is working.

Back in my room I shake the can of paint and open it with a screwdriver and hammer, trying hard not to spill it on my hardwood floors. Too late.

My curtains are in the way, so I rip them off the rod. I have to stand on my window bench to reach as high as I need. I start to paint, not knowing what I’m doing until the image forms on the wall, like magic. By the time I’ve painted the point of convergence on my window where the pink diamond goes, I recognize it. I painted it like it was burned into my brain. But I guess I knew all the time even as it materialized. I’ve made Leah’s ring.

I sit back and admire my work. I hope wherever she is, she sees this and knows I’m sorry. A shooting pain goes through my head and my eyes try to adjust to the blinding light the sun throws as it sets. Spiky rays of light come from the sunburst that flashes through my painting, making it seem like it’s alive.

I blink away the brightness and try to let my eyes settle. When I open them again I’m confused. Because I see Leah standing there. Really standing there. I steady my gaze and look again. I’m not imagining it. She’s there, surrounded by light, kind of outlined in it. Like one of my rendering sketches.

I want to reach for her, ask her if she’s really here, but when I blink again, her image disappears and I know it’s just my guilt and my need that’s bringing her to me. Even if she can’t stay.

I close up the paint cans and take them and the medicine bottle downstairs. The paint and tools go back into the garage and the brush gets washed in the sink and left to dry on a bottom shelf of the garage. I turn the water on in the sink and run my hand over its stainless steel surface, careful to wash all the remnants of my painting party down the drain. Finally I wrap the medicine bottle in newspaper and push it to the bottom of the trashcan, making certain that it’s completely covered. One thing Leah taught me was how to hide your party.

When I’m done, I walk back up to my bathroom, and brush my teeth, trying not to look in the mirror too long. As if my crazy would show somehow. I crawl into bed, setting my alarm for the morning. First day of school. I put my hands together in the prayer position and put them under my cheek.

I think about what I just did and try not to worry about what it means. It’s too much allows the headache to creep back in, crouching and ready to spring. I’ll close my eyes and go to sleep, and hope that tomorrow will be okay. I know it’s not what I should be doing. I know I’m copping out, but I can’t help it.

I’m living my life in tiny squares. Checker board moves. I go forward. I go backward. I jump. Each play means something. Each turn matters. The most important thing is to keep moving. To not get jumped. Sometimes a little Nyquil helps that. They don’t call it medicine for nothing.

 

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Extras, Spotlight

Wild Sky Spotlight Feature with Giveaway & Extras!!

Wild SkyBook Information

Title: Wild Sky

Authors: Suzanne and Melanie Brockmann

Release Date: October 6, 2015

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal)


Summary

Skylar is a girl with extraordinary power. A girl with a mission to use her Greater-Than gifts to stop the makers of Destiny from getting people hooked on their deadly drug. But Sky is still mastering her new abilities, and her first mission to destroy a Destiny lab leaves her best friend addicted to the drug. For a few days Cal will be able to walk again – until it kills him. Time is running out for Sky to save the world without sacrificing her friends, to become truly Greater-Than…


Buy Links

Amazon –  http://bit.ly/YAWild

Barnes and Noble – http://bit.ly/1WpnUkB

iBooks – http://apple.co/1PFLKEO


SuzanneMelanieBrockmannBiography

Suzanne Brockman, a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author, has won 2 RITA awards, numerous RT Reviewers’ Choice, and RWA’s #1 Favorite Book of the Year three years running. She has written over 50 books, and is widely recognized as a “superstar of romantic suspense” (USA Today). Suzanne and her daughter, Melanie Brockmann, have been creative partners, on and off, for many years. Their first project was an impromptu musical duet, when then-six-month-old Melanie surprised and delighted Suz by matching her pitch and singing back to her. Suzanne splits her time between Florida and Massachusetts while Mel lives in Sarasota, Florida. NIGHT SKY is Mel’s debut and Suzanne’s 55th book. Visit Suzanne at www.SuzanneBrockmann.com.


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Message From The Authors Suzanne and Melanie Brockmann

 

Mel:  Wild Sky is a paranormal story, set in Florida, approximately fifty years in the future. In this world, a small percentage of people, mostly girls and young women, are born with a chemical in their blood that gives them superpowers like telekinesis or extraordinary strength.

Suz: Nicknamed “Greater-Thans” or “G-Ts,” these girls have been targeted for kidnapping by bad guys who harvest their blood and use it to manufacture a drug called “Destiny.” Destiny is extremely expensive, highly addictive, and ultimately fatal, but before the user dies from it, the drug reverses the aging process, heals illness and injury, and gives the addict super powers, too.

Mel:  It’s pretty scary stuff!  Oh, and just an FYI: Although Wild Sky is the sequel to Night Sky, you don’t have to read Night Sky for Wild Sky to make sense!

Suz:  All you really need to know is that in Night Sky sixteen-year-old Skylar Reid discovers that she’s a Greater-Than with some serious superpowers.

Mel: And that Sky and her best friend Calvin–a really upbeat kid who’s spent most of his life in a wheelchair–have some dangerous adventures with another tough-girl G-T named Dana, and Dana’s extremely (ahem) attractive sidekick Milo.

Suz: Sky and Milo really hit it off, so in Wild Sky, they’re a bit of an item.

Mel:  A bit! In Wild Sky, Sky and her friends get into more trouble as they search for Dana’s sister, Lacey, who disappeared years ago and has been presumed dead.

Suz: But now Sky’s got reason to believe Lacey’s being held captive in a Destiny “farm.”  And of course, high jinks ensue, and our beloved character Calvin is put into extreme danger–although throughout most of it, he holds onto his crazy sense of humor!

Mel: We both love Calvin very much!

Suz: And Sky does, too!  When we developed the Night Sky series, we wanted to center it around a main character we could easily relate to. And even though we grew up in very different circumstances –

Mel: Mom has an older sister, I have a younger brother. My dad was a lawyer, my mom a writer. My mom’s parents were both teachers.

Suz: I grew up listening to the Beatles –

Mel: Christina Aguilera.

Suz:  Watching Star Trek.

MelFull House.

Suz: Paul Newman!

Mel: Bradley Cooper!

Suz: But despite all of those superficial differences, Mel and I shared experiences far too common to teenage girls. Waves of self-doubt, with occasionally soul-crushing periods of insecurity.

Mel: Yet even at our lowest moments, we knew that there were things we were really good at.

Suz: And that’s where Sky came from. A young woman whose primary goal is to fit in with her peers, but whose G-T status makes that virtually impossible. Or so she believes.

Mel: Of course, her friends recognize Sky for who she really is – a funny, loyal young woman with a huge heart — whose superpowers only add to her awesomeness.  But for Skylar, nothing comes easy. Everything seems to be on shaky ground – her budding romantic relationship with Milo, her ability to help Dana find Lacey, even her friendship with Calvin.

Suz: It’s that very human mix of vulnerabilities and strengths that make Skylar so special.

Mel: We hope readers see Wild Sky as not just a really exciting, action-packed adventure, but a story about Skylar’s quest – and really every teenage girl’s quest — to own her awesome.

Suz: Because we truly believe that everyone is born with abilities that – no matter how seemingly small or insignificant — should be recognized and celebrated! It is our differences that make us Greater-Than.

 


Wild Sky Excerpt

 

I wish I could say I’d never witnessed a windshield shatter before, but I’dbeen in a terrible car accident a few years back, so I knew exactly what it looked and sounded like.

 

There’s a weird silence that happens immediately after something likethat, in which everything seemed to occur in slo-mo. I forced my mouth tomove.

 

“Gunshot!” I shouted, because I could see both Cal and Garrett lookingwildly around, trying to process exactly what that noise was and what hadjust happened. “Bullet to car window! Over to the right.”

 

The broken windshield belonged to a beat-up sedan parked two slots downfrom us in the Sav’A’Buck lot. Someone had fired a gun, just once,probably from somewhere near the grocery store’s front doors, judgingfrom that broken front window. Shards of glass made tinkling sounds asthey careened off the front of the car and onto the pavement.

 

“Gunman at the store door, get down get down get down!” Calvin shouted,and I stupidly turned to look instead of diving onto the floor of his car, andhe grabbed me by the shirt and yanked me down just as the shootermust’ve flipped the switch from one shot to massacre, and the gun began going off, popping bullets through the air.

 

BOOM BOOM BOOM POP BOOM!

I braced for them to hit Cal’s car, covering my head as I prepared for a rainof glass, but the man with the giant gun must’ve been pointing it in adifferent direction, because I heard the ping of punctured metal andbreaking glass, but it wasn’t from our car.

I could hear someone screaming—high-pitched and frantic—even asGarrett yelled, “Calvin, drive!

 

“Don’t,” I told Cal as I closed my eyes and focused on that glimpse I’d seenbefore he’d pulled me to relative safety.

 

Single gunman. Carrying…

big gun. And something else…?

I focused on calling up the image, and yes, he was carrying some- thingunder his left arm, some kind of brightly colored sack, with his assaultrifle tucked into his right elbow—this tall, broad man, maybe twenty yearsold, buzz cut, scar above his eyebrow.

That screaming—it had been a child’s voice. She was silent now, but Irealized with a flash that I hadn’t seen a colorful bag but instead thecheerfully patterned clothing of a little girl. That man with the gun was abducting a little girl. And I bet I knew why.

 

“Gimme!” I said and reached back to grab one of the water guns frombeside Garrett.

 

“Sky!” Cal exclaimed. “Don’t—”

I didn’t wait to hear what he thought I shouldn’t do. I’d yanked my hood upover my head, hiding my red hair and as much of my face as I could, and Iwas already out of the car and on the asphalt, heading toward the manwho was still firing that gun. He was using it not to kill, thank goodness, butto keep the little girl’s family from following him. I could see with just oneglance that she was unconscious, as he tossed her none too carefully intothe passenger seat of his shiny black Bimmer. He had a nice car. And I waspretty sure I knew how he’d paid for it—by kidnapping little girls like thisone, like Sasha, too, and selling them to the Destiny makers.

 

Mother. Effer.

 

Hey!  I belted out. But my voice was buried beneath the cacophony ofhis weapon. I had to move fast, or he was going to get into his snazzy car and that little girl would be gone.

I took a deep breath and concentrated. Water versus bullets? Notnormally much of a contest there.

 

But I could do this. Couldn’t I?

 

Suddenly, I heard Dana’s voice in my head, shouting Fail! Fail! What are youdoing, Bubble Gum? You have no backup, you have no plan!

What was I doing? This was insane.

 

Still thoughts. I closed my eyes and pictured Milo. I breathed him, I felt him, I heard him. Still thoughts, Sky. Just let it go

And in that moment in which I was specifically not thinking about what Iwas about to do or what the consequences would be if I failed, I felt andthen saw my enormous pile of plastic water pistols—there were sixteenof them total—shoot out from the backseat of Calvin’s car and throughthe passenger side window that I’d left open. They streamed toward me like metal particles toward a magnet.

Then, just as quickly, all but one—a little green one—swooped in front ofme before lining up and hovering in midair.

The little green plastic water gun zoomed over to the man with the realgun and smacked him in the face.

 

“What the hell…?” He fumbled his weapon as he turned to see mestanding there—me and that collection of water guns—and his eyeswidened.

 

“Holy shit, Sky!” With the noise from the assault weapon silenced, I couldhear Garrett shouting, and I winced inwardly because he’d used my name.

 

But whatever he said next was muffled, and Cal’s voice rang out instead.“Hoshitski, look out!”

 

It was an intentional misdirect, and I tried to stand like a Hoshitski might,no doubt surly from years of being teased. I pitched my voice lower andordered, “Drop it! Now!”

The gunman’s wide eyes narrowed, and we both knew he wasn’t going todrop his weapon, so before he could turn and kill me, I let loose my TKand blasted him. All of those plastic guns shot water from their barrelswith the intensity of sixteen narrow but powerful fire hoses, and it sentthe man down onto the ground so hard that I heard his head as it smacked against the pavement.

The gun he’d been holding clattered to the ground.

All of my weapons ceased water-fire and dropped onto the pavement infront of the unconscious shooter.

The silence that followed was eerie. I felt a little dazed, standing therewith a single, silly-looking pink water gun still in my hand, staring at thedowned man and his big real gun, and then over at the bullet-riddledstorefront of the Sav’A’Buck.

 

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