Tag Archives: Month9Books

The Emissary by Kristal Shaff Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway!

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The Emissary
Publication date: September 23, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Kristal Shaff

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

When seventeen-year-old Nolan Trividar witnesses the transformation of his brother from kind to cruel after entering the king’s army, he vows never to follow the same path.

So when his own power—the Shay of Accuracy—comes upon him at the Tournament of Awakening, Nolan conceals his emergence instead of joining the king’s ranks. For years, he traitorously hides his power, pretending to be only a gifted scribe. But when Nolan comes face -to-face with a deserter, the man discovers his secret.

To evade detection and a death sentence, Nolan escapes with the deserter and flees into a night filled with dark creatures who steal both powers and souls. He joins a resistance, a village hidden deep in the forest, filled with others who secretly wield a Shay. But his peace is short-lived when they discover that the dark clouds, undead creatures, their own decreasing powers, and even the king, are all connected.

Purchase:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | TBD | IndieBound

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Excerpt2

“Who is this?” King Alcandor said.

“His name is Alec Deverell,” the general said. “He’s been difficult at the tournament this year.”

“That doesn’t surprise me, considering his display a moment ago.” A purple light glowed from the king’s eyes, and he circled around Alec, examining him.

“Did you say Deverell?” King Alcandor asked.

“Yes, Your Majesty,” the general answered. “He’s the blade maker’s son.”

The king gave a curt nod. “This young man shall be tested next. General, you will conduct his trial.”

Alec’s head jerked toward the king, coming out of his stupor. He wished he hadn’t. When their eyes met, a strange sensation went through him, and he couldn’t pull away.

“Would you like to fight the general, Alec?” the king asked, smiling.

A surge of anger and hatred swelled. Yes, I would. There was nothing Alec wanted more.

“I see this pleases you,” King Alcandor said. “I will enjoy watching you use your skills, young Deverell.”

The general smirked, untied his cape, and flung it off to the side. Then he yanked a sword out of the ground and tossed it to Alec.

Alec caught it easily and swung it back and forth in an arc to get a feel for the blade. It wasn’t one of his father’s swords. The weight was off, and it was too bulky. Still, it felt good to hold steel.

The general unsheathed his sword and lunged in a single, fluid movement. Alec’s trained instincts met his blow. For several minutes, they circled each other, only swinging on occasion to test the reaction of the other. Alec’s nerves twitched at the meaningless duel.

Finally, General Trividar stopped and grinned. “Shall we fight, Mr. Deverell?” And then in a burst of jabs and slashes, the true battle began.

Fighting him was amazing. Alec had never met someone with such natural talent. Father’s swordsman skills were of the highest repute, but this man goaded Alec like none before. Alec fought with every fiber of strength and will and determination he could muster.

As the battle stretched on, it would seem neither could gain on the other. That is, until the yellow fire in the cheater’s eyes began to glow. Slowly and steadily, the general’s Speed increased.

Alec matched him as well as he could. Sweat poured down his face, obstructing his view. Finally, the general struck Alec and his sword arm went limp. Alec cursed and grabbed the sword with his other hand to block another blow.

“You are multi-talented, Mr. Deverell,” General Trividar said.

“Only for you, General,” Alec said between clenched teeth.

Alec barely heard the crowd cheering as the general’s Speed increased even more. Several more gashes appeared on Alec’s body, so fast he didn’t see them come: one on each leg, one across his chest, and finally, one that loosed his sword.

He fell to his knees, trembling with pent up fury. Although Alec couldn’t defend himself, he glared at the general as battle pounded in his blood. General Trividar wiped his sword on the grass, crammed the blade into its sheath, and turned away.

Several Healing Rol’dan ripped open Alec’s shirt, and the all-too-familiar pulse of healing coursed through him. After they finished, Alec fell on his hands, his chest heaving with exhaustion.

“Splendid, young Deverell,” King Alcandor said. “I knew you would not disappoint me.” The king’s eyes glowed purple with Empathy, and that odd sensation shot through Alec again.

“Once more, General,” the king said.

Alec looked up. Another fight? This is too good to be true.

“Your Majesty?” the general said.

“Fight him a second time, General.”

“My pleasure, Lord Alcandor.”

Before the general could make a move, Alec pushed to his feet, grabbed his sword, and sprinted toward General Trividar, swinging with all his strength.

e9591-scroll-hi252812529About the Author

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

Author Links:  Website  | Twitter Facebook | Goodreads

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Giveaway

Winner will be drawn October 25, 2014
· Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of The Emissary by Kristal Shaff (INT)

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Avian (Dragonrider Chronicles #2) by Nicole Conway Blog Tour + Giveaway!

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(click banner to follow the rest of the tour!)

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Avian (The Dragonrider Chronicles #2)
Publication date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Nicole Conway

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What kind of power is lurking inside him?

After a year of training to become a dragonrider, Jaevid Broadfeather has been sent home to rest during a three-month interlude. But when he returns to find the king drake has chosen Beckah Derrick as his new rider, Jaevid realizes something big is about to happen. Every fiber of his being is pushed to the breaking point as Jaevid battles through his avian year, preparing for the final graduation test of the battle scenario. But there is more standing in his way than a few pushups and fancy sword moves.

Jaevid must face a new fear as he is tormented by a gruesome nightmare of a mysterious gray elf warrior murdering the royal family of Maldobar. It seems obvious to him that this is some kind of message about how the war started long ago—until Felix assures him the king is very much alive. With his strange powers growing stronger by the day, and that violent dream replaying in his mind every night, Jaevid no longer wonders if he will pass his avian year or not . . . he wonders if he will even survive it.

The truth will soon be set loose.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | TBD | IndieBound | iBooks

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About The Author2

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Nicole is the author of the children’s fantasy series, THE DRAGONRIDER CHRONICLES, about a young boy’s journey into manhood as he trains to become a dragonrider. She has completed the first two books in the series, and is now working on the third and final book.

Originally from a small town in North Alabama, Nicole moves frequently due to her husband’s career as a pilot for the United States Air Force. She received a B.A. in English with a concentration in Classics from Auburn University, and will soon attend graduate school.

She has previously worked as a freelance and graphic artist for promotional companies, but has now embraced writing as a full-time occupation.

Nicole enjoys hiking, camping, shopping, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends. She also loves watching children’s movies and collecting books. She lives at home with her husband, two cats, and dog.

  Website | Twitter | Facebook

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 Winner will be drawn September 26, 2014

        Four (4) winners will receive a digital copy of Avian by Nicole Conway (INT)

       One (1) winner will receive a digital copy of Avian by Nicole Conway AND a $10 Amazon Gift Card or B&N Gift Card – Winner’s Choice (INT)

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A Whispered Darkness by Vanessa Barger Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway!

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A Whispered Darkness
Author: Vanessa Barger
Publication date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.

When Claire Mallory’s father leaves, her mom moves them to a new town and into a dilapidated Victorian house.

The old house creaks and whistles, and smells well — like it’s been abandoned for years. But as the nights grow longer and the shadows take on substance, Claire wonders if the strange sounds and occurrences might be more than the house showing its age.

Just as things start to pick up in Claire’s love life, her mother becomes possessed. In an attempt to save her mother and their new home, Claire enlists the help of two boys, each of whom is interested in Claire for different reasons. As she chooses one boy over the other, something dangerous is unleashed, and the spirits make their move.

They aren’t content to moan and scream inside Claire’s house, or even control her mom. They want a taste of freedom, and she’s their key to getting it. But is Claire strong enough to fight off the evil spirits, or will they claim her and her mom before it’s all over?

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Old Houses & Why They Can Be So Creepy & Fascinating

Hello and thank you for letting me take over your blog for the day! I’m super excited for the launch of A WHISPERED DARKNESS, and in that spirit the blog post is all about old houses and their appeal. Which they have a lot of, really.

I think, at least for me, old houses are interesting because they have a past. I mean, new homes are pretty and shiny and come with that new paint smell. But old houses, old houses have serious atmosphere. They can look shiny and have that new paint smell too – depends on how well they’ve been taken care of. But they don’t have the cookie cutter look. You’ve seen it. Driving through a new subdivision and realizing that all the houses are the same three patterns (or less) over and over. The only way to tell them apart is the color or the bushes out front.

Old houses have wrap around porches and weird little gingerbread cutouts in the corners that either make them look cute or like a witch with a big wart on her nose is waiting for you to come just a little. Bit. Closer. They have big trees (I’m a sucker for trees. It’s a weird fascination.) and beautiful flowers that pop out of piles of weeds where you least expect it. They watch you as you crunch up a gravel driveway, and look sad when you leave.

For me, their history is what makes them creepy and fascinating. Sometimes they come with ghost stories already built in. I live near Williamsburg, Virginia, and most of the old homes there have some sort of ghost story associated with it. Sometimes several versions of the same story. It gives your mind something to think about and a spark to fuel your imagination when you’re standing outside looking at the window where the wife fell to her doom. Or was she pushed?

Even if they don’t have a ghost story attached, you find things in old houses. You could open a floor vent and find old toy soldiers. Rip up a carpet and find the remains of a wooden floor with scuff marks or a name carved there. Attics can be filled with the leftover flotsam the last owner didn’t want to move again. There was life in the walls before you got there, and you have no idea what happened. Arguments, lovers, children, sadness, war, whatever.

Sometimes (and it might just be me, being fanciful) you can walk into an old house and you can feel the atmosphere change. Heavier or thicker. Like it’s watching you and waiting to see what you do before it makes its first move.

Maybe that doesn’t answer the question, but I think that’s what it is for me. It’s the history of the house and the way it’s been taken care of (or not) that set the tone for how you feel about them.

The house in A WHISPERED DARKNESS is inspired by three that I have seen. One is in the town I used to live in. A huge white mansion that looks gorgeous from a distance, but once you start looking a little closer you can see that the paint is peeling, the gardens are overgrown, and the windows look grimy inside and out. The second is one I passed on  a road trip that was abandoned in the middle of a field. It looked like it had been stately and pretty important in its day, until someone left it to rot.

The last is a house that was being swallowed by woods and swamp outside of a nursery my mom loves in Virginia Beach. (Winesett Nursery for anyone who knows the area). It has collapsed, I think, for the most part now. It wasn’t big, and I never even tried to venture close to it, but it always left an impression. The windows were broken out and always black inside, the door hung crooked, it just seemed to be both enticing and sad and slightly sinister all that the same time. I think it’s what Claire’s house might have looked like if no one ever tried to sell it.

Have you seen old houses that made you feel that way?

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About the Author

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Vanessa Barger was born in West Virginia, and through several moves ended up spending the majority of her life in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is a graduate of George Mason University and Old Dominion University, and has degrees in Graphic Design, a minor in Medieval and Renaissance Literature, and a Masters in Technology Education. She has had articles published in Altered Arts Magazine, has had some artwork displayed in galleries in Ohio and online, and currently teaches engineering, practical physics, drafting and other technological things to high school students in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She is a member of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and the Virginia Writer’s Club. When not writing or teaching, she’s a bookaholic, movie fanatic, and loves to travel. She has one cat, who believes Vanessa lives only to open cat food cans, and can often be found baking when she should be editing.

Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Giveaway

Winner will be drawn September 26, 2014
· Four (4) winners will receive a digital copy of A Whispered Darkness by Vanessa Barger (INT)
· One (1) winner will receive a digital copy of A Whispered Darkness by Vanessa Barger AND a $10 Amazon Gift Card or B&N Gift Card – Winner’s Choice (INT)

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My Tethered Soul (Reaper’s Rite #2) by Dorothy Dreyer Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway!

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My Tethered Soul (Reaper’s Rite #2)
by Dorothy Dreyer
Publication Date: August 19, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books

 

It’s been months since Zadie faced her sister’s Reaper, months during which she’s been under her mentor’s magical protection. But now that she’s turning seventeen, that protection is about to run out.

When dark forces lure Zadie to wander at night, she’s manipulated into committing unspeakable acts. With her friends and family at risk, Zadie must try to use her powers to break free from the Reaper’s grasp, or surrender to the Reaper’s Rite, which can only lead to death.

Purchase:

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…and don’t miss the first book in the Reaper’s Rite series

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Sixteen-year-old Zadie’s first mistake was telling the boy she liked she could bring her dead sister back to life. Her second mistake was actually doing it.

When Zadie accidentally messes with the Reaper’s Rite that should have claimed her sister Mara, things go horribly wrong. Mara isn’t the same anymore—Zadie isn’t even sure she’s completely human, and to top it off, a Reaper is determined to collect Mara’s soul no matter what. Now Zadie must figure out how to defeat her sister’s Reaper, or let Mara die … this time for good.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

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Reapers: The Metaphor

In the Reaper’s Rite series, a teenage girl is faced with battling Reapers. The scary creatures loom in shadowed corners, waiting to strike, so they can feed on frightened souls. One might assume that the battles taking place in my book are a metaphor for fighting death. But that assumption isn’t quite correct. The theme behind MY SISTER’S REAPER and MY TETHERED SOUL is actually the empowerment of good over evil, and secondly, the strength of females to take control of their lives.

In a world where so much bad happens, where we feel helpless to fix the evils of the world, we have to remember to use our magic—or in reality that inner strength and will within us—to stand up for what we believe in and do what we have to do to make things right. I took this mindset to heart when writing my protagonist. Sure, there are times when she feels weak and helpless, like she’s trying her best but it’s still an uphill battle. But that strength and will within her and, in the book, her magic, help her to persevere. And I hope that underlying message comes across to my readers: always believe in your magic!

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About the Author

Dorothy Dreyer

Dorothy Dreyer has always believed in magic. She loves reading, writing, movies, and spending time with her family and friends. Half-American and half-Filipino, Dorothy lives in Germany with her husband and two children.

Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Giveaway

  Winner will be drawn September 13, 2014

· Four (4) winners will receive a digital copy of My Tethered Soul by Dorothy Dreyer (INT)
· One (1) winner will receive a digital copy of My Tethered Soul by Dorothy Dreyer AND a $10 Amazon Gift Card or B&N Gift Card – Winner’s Choice (INT)

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A Slither of Hope (Angel Sight #2) by Lisa M. Basso Blog Tour + Giveaway!

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A SLITHER OF HOPE (ANGEL SIGHT #2)
by Lisa M. Basso
Publication date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.

 

Rayna struggles to piece her life back together, but hiding in plain sight from the police, the SS Crazy, and the Fallen isn’t a foolproof plan—something Kade, the World’s Worst Roommate, reminds her of everyday. The late nights of failing to teach Ray how to protect herself against the Fallen are getting to Kade, changing him in ways he doesn’t like, and after a family emergency sends Ray back into Cam’s arms, Kade decides he’s had enough. News of Rayna’s resurfacing brings both angels and the Fallen to San Francisco by the dozens, all eyes scouring the city for the girl with the gray wings. Rayna will need both Kade and Cam’s help to ensure her family’s safety, navigate the new dangers and enemies springing up all over the city, and manage the surprises that arise with her new set of wings.

Purchase:

Chapters Indigo! | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | The Book Depository | IndieBound

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Lisa M. BassoLisa M. Basso was born and raised in San Francisco, California. She is a lover of books, video games, animals, and baking (not baking with animals though). As a child she would crawl into worlds of her own creation and get lost for hours. Her love for YA fiction started with a simple school reading assignment: S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. When not reading or writing she can usually be found at home with The Best Boyfriend Fiancé that Ever Lived ™ and her two darling (and sometimes evil) cats, Kitties A and B.

Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Giveaway

 

Winner will be drawn August 29, 2014
· Four (4) winners will receive a digital copy of A Slither of Hope by Lisa M. Basso (INT)
· One (1) winner will receive a digital copy of A Slither of Hope by Lisa M. Basso AND a $10 Amazon Gift Card or B&N Gift Card – Winner’s Choice (INT)

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GET BRANDED with Branded (Sinners #1) by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki: Excerpt + Giveaway

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Welcome to the GET BRANDED promo for

Branded (Sinners #1)
by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki

presented by Month9Books!

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

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Fifty years ago The Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society.

To punish the guilty, he created the Hole, a place where sinners are branded according to their sins. Sinners are forced to live a less than human existence in deplorable conditions, under the watchful eye of guards who are ready to kill anyone who steps out of line.

Now, LUST wraps around my neck like thick, blue fingers, threatening to choke the life out of me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit, and the Hole is my new home.

Constant darkness.

Brutal and savage violence.

Excruciating pain.

Every day is a fight for survival.

But I won’t let them win. I will not die in the Hole.

I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter. My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

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Branded (Sinners #1) by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki
Publisher: Month9Books

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CHAPTER 1

I’m buried six feet under, and no one hears my screams. The rope chafes as I loop it around my neck. I pull down, making sure the knot is secure. It seems sturdy enough. My legs shake. My heart beats heavy in my throat. Sweat pours down my back. Death and I glare at each other through my tears. I take one last look at the crystal chandelier, the foyer outlined with mirrors, and the flawless decorations. No photographs adorn the walls. No happy memories here. I’m ready to go. On the count of three. I inhale, preparing myself for the finality of it all. Dropping my hands, a glimmer catches my eye. It’s my ring, the last precious gift my father gave me. I twist it around to read the inscription. Picturing his face forces me to reconsider my choice. He’d be heartbroken if he could see me now. A door slams in the hallway, almost causing me to lose my balance. My thoughts already muddled, I stand waiting with the rope hanging around my neck. Voices I don’t recognize creep through the walls. Curiosity overshadows my current thoughts. It’s late at night, and this is a secure building in High Society. No one disturbs the peace here—ever. I tug on the noose and pull it back over my head. Peering through the eyehole in our doorway, I see a large group of armed guards banging on my neighbors’ door. A heated conversation ensues, and my neighbors point toward my family’s home. It hits me. I’ve been accused and they’re here to arrest me. My father would want me to run, and in that split second, I decide to listen to his voice within me. Flinging myself forward in fear, I scramble up the marble staircase and into my brother’s old bedroom. The door is partially covered, but it exists. Pushing his dresser aside, my fingers claw at the opening. Breathing hard, I lodge myself against it. Nothing. I step back and kick it with all my strength. The wood splinters open, and my foot gets caught. I wrench it backward, scraping my calf, but adrenaline pushes me forward. The voices at the front door shout my name. On hands and knees, I squeeze through the jagged opening. My brother left through this passage, and now it’s my escape too. Cobwebs entangle my face, hands, and hair. At the end, I feel for the knob, twisting it clockwise. It swings open, creaking from disuse. I sprint into the hallway and smash through the large fire escape doors at the end. A burst of cool air strikes me in the face as I jump down the ladder. Reaching the fifth floor, I knock on a friend’s window. The lights flicker on, and I see the curtains move, but no one answers. I bang on the window harder. “Let me in! Please!” I say, but the lights darken. They know I’ve been accused and refuse to help me. Fear and adrenaline rush through my veins as I keep running, knocking on more windows along the way. No one has mercy. They all know what happens to sinners. Another flight of stairs passes in a blur when I hear the guards’ heavy footfalls from above. I can’t hide, but I don’t want to go without trying. Help me, Daddy. I need your strength now. My previous desolation evolves into a will to survive. I have to keep running, but I tremble and gasp for air. I steel my nerves and force my body to keep moving. In a matter of minutes, my legs cramp and my chest burns. I plunge to the ground, scraping my knee and elbow. A moan escapes from my chest. Gotta keep going. “Stop!” Their voices bounce off the buildings. “Lexi Hamilton, surrender yourself,” they command. They’re gaining on me. I resist the urge to glance back, running into what I assume is an alley. I’m far from our high-rise in High Society as I plunge into a poorer section of the city where the streets all look the same and the darkness prevents me from recognizing anything. I’m lost. My first instinct is to leap into a dumpster, but I retain enough sense to stay still. I crouch and peek around it, watching them dash by. The abhorrent smell leaves me vomiting until nothing remains in my stomach. Desperation overtakes me, as I know my retching was anything but silent. My last few seconds tick away before they find me. Everyone knows about their special means of tracking sinners. I push myself to my feet and look left, right, and left again. Their batons click against their black leather belts, and their boots stomp the cement on both sides of me. I shrink into myself. Their heavy steps mock my fear, growing closer and closer until I know I’m trapped. Never did I imagine they’d come for me. Never did I imagine all those nights I heard them dragging someone else away that I’d join them. “You’re a sinner,” they say. “Time to leave.” I stand defiant. I refuse to bend or break before them, even as I shiver with fear. “There’s no reason to make this difficult. The more you cooperate, the smoother this will be for everyone,” a guard says. I cringe into the blackness along the wall. I’m innocent, but they won’t believe me or care. The next instant, my face slams into the pavement as one guard plants a knee in my back and another handcuffs me. A warm liquid trails into my mouth. Blood. Their fingers grip my arms like steel traps as they peel me off the cement. The tops of my shoes scrape along the ground as I’m dragged behind them until they discard me into the back of a black vehicle. The doors slam in unison with one guard stationed on each side of me, my shoulders digging into their arms. Swallowing hard, I stare ahead to avoid their eyes. My dignity is all I have left. The handcuffs dig into my wrists, so I clasp them together hard behind me and press my back into the seat, unwilling to admit how much it hurts. Did they need so many guards to capture me? I’m not carrying any weapons, nor do I own any. I don’t even know self-defense. High Society frowns on activities like that. The driver jerks the vehicle around and I try to keep my bearings, but it’s dark and the scenery changes too fast. Hours pass, and the air grows warmer, more humid the farther we drive. The landscape mutates from city to rolling hills. They don’t bother blindfolding me because they escort all the sinners to the same place—the Hole. Twenty-foot cement walls encase the chaos within. There’s no way out and no way in unless they transport you. They say the Hole is a prison with no rules. We learned about it last year in twelfth grade. To the outside, I’m filth now. I’ll never be allowed to return to the life I knew. No one ever does. “All sinners go through a transformation,” one of the guards says to me. His smirk infuriates me. “I’m sure you’ve heard all kinds of stories.” I don’t respond. I don’t want to think about the things I’ve been told. “You won’t last too long, though. Young girls like you get eaten alive.” He pulls a strand of my hair up to his face. Get your hands off me, you pig. I want to lash out, but resist. The punishment for disobeying authority is severe, and I’m not positioned to defy him. They’re the Guards of the Commander. They’re chosen from a young age and trained in combat. They keep the order of society by using violent methods of intimidation. No one befriends a guard. Relationships with them are forbidden inside the Hole. Few have seen the Commander. His identity stays under lock and key. His own paranoia and desire to stay pure drove him to live this way. He controls our depraved society and believes sinners make the human race unforgivable. His power is a crushing fist, rendering all beneath him helpless. So much so, even family members turn on each other when an accusation surfaces. Just an accusation. No trial, no evidence, nothing but an accusation. I lose myself in thoughts of my father. “Never show fear, Lexi,” my father said to me before he was taken. “They’ll use it against you.” His compassionate eyes filled with warning as he commanded me to be strong. That was many years ago, but I remember it clearly. My father. My rock. The one person in my life who provided unconditional love. “Get out,” the guard says while pulling me to my feet. The vehicle stops, and I’m jerked back to reality. The doors slide open and the two guards lift me up and out into the night. A windowless cement building looms in front of us, looking barren in the darkness. The coolness of the air sends a shiver up my spine. This is really happening. I’ve been labeled a sinner. My lip starts to quiver, but I bite it before anyone sees. They shove me in line, and I realize I’m not alone. Women and men stand with faces frozen white with fear. Some are hardened criminals; others, like me, are innocent. A guard grabs my finger, pricks it, and dabs my blood on a tiny microchip. I follow the man in front of me into the next room where we’re lined up facing the wall. Glancing right, I see one of the men crying. “I didn’t mean to hit the guard. I swear it!” he pleads. I turn my head when I see a guard whip out his baton. The thumping sounds of his beating unnerve me. “Spread your legs,” one of the guards says icily. They remove my outer layers and their hands roam up and down my body. What do they think I can possibly be hiding? I press my head into the wall, trying to block out what they’re doing to me. “MOVE!” a guard commands. So I shuffle across the room, trying to cover up. One.

Two.

Three.

Four.

Five of us sit in the holding room. A woman clings to a man sitting next to her. She grips his arm and I can see the whitening of her knuckles. Her eyes meet mine and then she quickly turns away. He’s bent over his hands, defeated. “I’m not the criminal they say I am,” he whispers. His voice breaks. One by one, they pull people into the next room, forcing the rest of us to wonder what torture we’ll endure. I hear screaming from somewhere inside. An agonizing amount of time passes. I lean my head back and try to imagine a place far away. The door opens. “Lexi Hamilton.” A guard escorts me out of the room, and I don’t have time to look back. The first thing I see is a large photo of a regal-looking man on the wall. His frame is wide and he has cobalt blue eyes and a shock of black hair. He’s handsome, middle-aged, and wears the uniform of the Commander. My jaw drops open. It can’t be… Then the door slams closed. I feel their strong arms pick me up and place me on a table. It’s cold and my skin sticks to it slightly, like wet fingers on an ice cube. They exit in procession, and I lie on the table with a doctor standing over me. His hands are busy as he speaks. “Don’t move. This will only take a few minutes. It’s time for you to be branded.” A wet cloth that smells like rubbing alcohol is used to clean my skin. Then he places a metal collar around my neck. Click. Click. Click. The collar locks into place, and I struggle to breathe. The doctor loosens it some as I focus on the painted black words above me.

The Seven Deadly Sins:

Lust — Blue Gluttony — Orange Greed — Yellow Sloth — Black Wrath — Red Envy — Green Pride — Purple

“Memorize it. Might keep you alive longer if you know who to stay away from.” He opens my mouth, placing a bit inside. “Bite this.” Within seconds, the collar heats from hot to scorching. The smell of flesh sizzling makes my head spin. I bite down so hard a tooth cracks. “GRRRRRRRRR,” escapes from deep within my chest. Just when I’m about to pass out, the temperature drops, and the doctor loosens the collar. He removes it and sits me up. Excruciating pain rips through me, and I’m on the verge of a mental and physical breakdown. Focus. Don’t pass out. Stainless steel counters and boring white walls press in on me. And that large, gilded photo stares at me like it’s watching. A guard laughs at me from an observation room above and yells, “Blue. It’s a great color for a pretty young thing like yourself.” His eyes dance with suggestion. The others meander around like it’s business as usual. I finally find my voice and turn to the doctor. “Are you going to give me clothes?” A burning pain spreads like fire up from my neck to my jaw, making me wince. He shrugs and points to a set of folded grey scrubs on a chair. I cover myself as much as I can and scurry sideways. Grabbing my clothes and pulling the shirt over my head, I try to avoid the raw meat around my throat. I quickly knot the cord of my pants around my waist and slide my feet into the hospital-issue slippers as the doctor observes. He hands me a bag labeled with my name. “Nothing is allowed through the door but what we’ve given you,” he says. I hide my right hand behind me, hoping no one notices. A guard scans my body and opens his fist. “Give it to me.” His eyes turn to slits. “Don’t make me rip off your finger.” He crouches down and I turn to stone. I don’t know what to do, so I beg. “My father gave this to me. Please, let me keep it.” I smash my eyes shut and think of the moment my father handed the golden ring to me. “It was my mother’s ring,” he’d said. “She’s the strongest woman I ever knew.” With tears in his eyes, he reached for my hand and said, “Lexi, you’re exactly like her. She’d want you to wear this. No matter how this world changes, you can survive.” I turned the gold band over in my palm and read the engraving.

You can overcome anything… short of death.

“You’re going to take the one thing that matters the most to me?” I say, glaring into the guard’s emotionless eyes. “Isn’t it enough taking my life, dignity, and respect?” A hard blow falls upon my back. As I fall, my hands shoot out to stop me from smashing into the wall in front of me. The guard bends down and grabs my chin with his meaty fist. “Look at me,” he commands. I look up and he smiles with arrogance. “What the hell?” He staggers a step backward. “What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with your eyes?” “Nothing,” I respond, confused. “What color are they?” “Turquoise.” I glower at him. “Interesting,” he says, regaining his composure. “Now those’ll get you in trouble.” Reality slaps me across the face. I have my father’s eyes. They can’t take them from me. I twist the ring off my finger and drop it in his hand. “Take the damn ring,” I say. I walk to the door. He swipes a card and the massive door slides open to the outside. “You have to wear your hair back at all times, so everyone knows what you are.” He hands me a tie, so I pull my frizzy hair away from my face and secure it into a ponytail. My neck burns and itches as my hand traces the scabs that have already begun to form. Squinting ahead in the darkness, I almost run into a guard standing on the sidewalk. “Watch where you’re going,” he says, shoving me backward. His stiff figure stands tall and I cringe at the sharpness of his voice. “Cole, this is your new assignment, Lexi Hamilton. See to it she feels welcome in her new home.” The guard departs with a salute. “Let’s move,” Cole says. I take two steps and collapse, my knees giving out. The unforgiving pavement reopens the scrapes from earlier and I struggle to stand. A powerful arm snatches me up, and I see his face for the first time.

 

 

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author

Courtesy of authors' website

Courtesy of authors’ website

Abi and Missy met in the summer of 1999 at college orientation and have been best friends ever since. After college, they added jobs, husbands and kids to their lives, but they still found time for their friendship. Instead of hanging out on weekends, they went to dinner once a month and reviewed books. What started out as an enjoyable hobby has now become an incredible adventure.

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Friday Cover Reveal: Fire in the Woods by Jennifer M. Eaton + Giveaway!

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Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

Fire in the Woods by Jennifer M. Eaton

presented by Month9Books!

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

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When a plane crashes in the woods near Jess’s home, the boy of her dreams falls out of the sky—literally. But David’s not here to find a girlfriend. He’s from another planet, and if Jess can’t help him get back to his ship, he’ll be stuck on Earth with nothing to look forward to but the pointy end of a dissection scalpel.

But her father runs their house like an army barracks, and with an alien on the loose, Major Dad isn’t too keen on the idea of Jess going anywhere. Ever. So how the heck is she supposed to help the sweetest, strangest, and cutest guy she’s ever met?

Hiding him in her room probably isn’t the best idea. Especially since her Dad is in charge of the squadron searching for David. That doesn’t mean she won’t do it. It just means she can’t get caught.

Helping David get home while protecting her heart—that’s gonna be the hard part. After all, she can’t really fall for a guy who’s not exactly from here.

As they race through the woods with Major Dad and most of the U.S. military one breath behind them, Jess and David grow closer than either of them anticipated. But all is not what it seems. David has a genocide-sized secret, and one betrayal later, they are both in handcuffs as alien warships are positioning themselves around the globe. Time is ticking down to Armageddon, and Jess must think fast if she’s to save the boy she cares about without sacrificing Earth—and everyone on it.

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Title: Fire in the Woods
Publication date: September 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Jennifer M. Eaton

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Jennifer M. Eaton

Corporate Team Leader by day, and Ranting Writer by night. Jennifer M. Eaton calls the East Coast of the USA home, where she lives with her husband, three energetic boys, and a pepped up poodle.

Jennifer hosts an informational blog “A Reference of Writing Rants for Writers (or Learn from My Mistakes)” aimed at helping all writers be the best they can be.

Beyond writing and motivating others, she also enjoys teaching her dog to jump through hoops—literally.

Jennifer’s perfect day includes long hikes in the woods, bicycling, swimming, snorkeling, and snuggling up by the fire with a great book; but her greatest joy is using her over-active imagination constructively… creating new worlds for everyone to enjoy.

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Friday Cover Reveal: Avian (Dragonrider Chronicles #2) by Nicole Conway + Giveaway!

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Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

Avian (The Dragonrider Chronicles #2)
by Nicole Conway

presented by Month9Books!

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

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What kind of power is lurking inside him?

After a year of training to become a dragonrider, Jaevid Broadfeather has been sent home to rest during a three-month interlude. But when he returns to find the king drake has chosen Beckah Derrick as his new rider, Jaevid realizes something big is about to happen. Every fiber of his being is pushed to the breaking point as Jaevid battles through his avian year, preparing for the final graduation test of the battle scenario. But there is more standing in his way than a few pushups and fancy sword moves.

Jaevid must face a new fear as he is tormented by a gruesome nightmare of a mysterious gray elf warrior murdering the royal family of Maldobar. It seems obvious to him that this is some kind of message about how the war started long ago—until Felix assures him the king is very much alive. With his strange powers growing stronger by the day, and that violent dream replaying in his mind every night, Jaevid no longer wonders if he will pass his avian year or not . . . he wonders if he will even survive it.

The truth will soon be set loose.

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Title: Avian (The Dragonrider Chronicles #2)
Publication date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Nicole Conway

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author

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Nicole is the author of the children’s fantasy series, THE DRAGONRIDER CHRONICLES, about a young boy’s journey into manhood as he trains to become a dragonrider. She has completed the first two books in the series, and is now working on the third and final book.

Originally from a small town in North Alabama, Nicole moves frequently due to her husband’s career as a pilot for the United States Air Force. She received a B.A. in English with a concentration in Classics from Auburn University, and will soon attend graduate school.

She has previously worked as a freelance and graphic artist for promotional companies, but has now embraced writing as a full-time occupation.

Nicole enjoys hiking, camping, shopping, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends. She also loves watching children’s movies and collecting books. She lives at home with her husband, two cats, and dog.

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Friday Cover Reveal: A Murder of Magpies by Sarah Bromley + Giveaway!

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Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

A Murder of Magpies by Sarah Bromley

presented by Month9Books!

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

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A MURDER OF MAGPIES cover art

Besides the dream of seeing your book in print, one thing so many authors daydream about is what the cover will look like. I come from an artistic background. My grandmother was a watercolorist, and I actually spent time in college as an art major before switching first to forensic pathology (don’t ask—it obviously didn’t last) and eventually English. As someone who’s visual, I was excited and, to be honest, nervous for what Month9Books would come up with as the design for the cover of A MURDER OF MAGPIES.

Georgia McBride asked for my input, which I know is rare because so often authors don’t get much say, if any, in their cover art, but I still didn’t know what to expect. Yet when I saw it, I adored my cover. How could there be any other cover for A MURDER OF MAGPIES? The design brings in details like the cobblestone roads of the book’s setting, Black Orchard, Wisconsin. I could imagine walking down that road in the fog and knowing someone was watching. The antique-style light plays off Vayda’s family’s business in the antiques trade as well as her ability to take emotion and turn it into electricity. Then the bird . . . I love the bird’s position as it is hunched over to peck at the ground as if uncovering a secret, and this is a story where everyone has secrets.

FINAL_ A Murder of Magpies_Bromley

Winter in Black Orchard, Wisconsin, is long and dark, and sixteen-year-old Vayda Silver prays the snow will keep the truth and secrecy of the last two years buried. Hiding from the past with her father and twin brother, Vayda knows the rules: never return to the town of her mother’s murder, and never work a Mind Game where someone might see.

No one can know the toll emotions take on Vayda, how emotion becomes energy in her hands, or how she can’t control the destruction she causes. But it’s not long before her powers can no longer be contained. The truth is dangerously close to being exposed, placing Vayda and her family at risk.

Until someone quiets the chaos inside her.

Unwanted. That’s all Ward Ravenscroft has ever been. To cope, he numbs the pain of rejection by denying himself emotions of any kind. Yet Vayda stirs something in him. He can’t explain the hold she has on him–inspiring him with both hope and fear. He claims not to scare easily, except he doesn’t know what her powers can do. Yet.

Just as Vadya and Ward draw closer, she finds the past isn’t so easily buried. And when it follows the Silvers to Black Orchard, it has murder in mind.

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Title: A Murder of Magpies
Publication date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Sarah Bromley

Chapter-by-Chapter-header---About-the-Author

Sarah Bromley

Sarah Bromley lives near St. Louis with her husband, three children, and two dogs. She likes the quiet hours of morning when she can drink coffee in peace, stare into the woods behind her house, and wonder what monsters live there. When she’s not writing or wrangling small children, she can be found volunteering at a stable for disabled riders.

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Boneseeker by Brynn Chapman Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway!

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Title: BONESEEKER
Publication date: June 17, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Brynn Chapman

Arabella Holmes was born different and raised different. After it became apparent she wouldn’t fit the role of a proper 1900′s lady, her father, Sherlock, called in some lingering favors, and landed her a position at the Mutter Museum. The museum was Arabella’s dream; she was to become a purveyor of abnormal science. What her father called a BoneSeeker.

Henry Watson arrives at the Mutter Museum with a double assignment–to become a finder of abnormal antiquities and to watch over and keep Arabella Holmes. An easy task, if he could only get her to speak to him instead of throwing knives in his general direction.

But this is no time for child’s play. The two teens are assigned to a most secret exploration, when the hand of a Nephilim is unearthed in upstate New York. Soon, Arabella and Henry are caught in a fight for their lives as scientific debate swirls around them. Are the bones from a Neanderthal … or are they living proof of fallen angels, who supposedly mated with humans according to ancient scrolls?

Sent to recover the skeleton, they discover they are the second team to have been deployed and the entire first team is dead. And now they must trust their instincts and rely on one another in order to survive and uncover the truth.

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Making Existing Character Mythology Your Own

Hi. My name is Brynn Chapman. I write books. (I sound like I’m giving testament at a 12 step program)

But really, that isn’t too far from the truth. Writers…write. Not because they want to, because they have too. It is a form of addiction. BUT I am to be discussing, ‘how to make existing character mythology your own.’

Well, I am not going to lie. The thought of tackling the icon that is Sherlock Holmes was daunting.

 So…I decided not to think about him…too much. I read and obsessively, watched others portrayals of him. Dissected him, as it were. And with my splicing and sewing , adding an X chromosome, all manner of Frankenstein-y comparisons, gave birth to Arabella Holmes.

The Holmes demeanor, problem-solving ability, propensity towards excess—on and on. I tried to recreate but mold that in feminine form. With her own specific obsessions, passions and idiosyncrasies.

Equally as important was the Holmes-Watson dynamic. I needed Watson’s son and Holmes’s daughter’s relationship to be unique.

Sherlock only makes a brief appearance in my book. Watson has a greater role—and it is the Watson from the text, not the buffoon we see in some of the earlier films of the genre. Watson to soldier, Watson the athlete. Watson the capable.

So, my answer would be—I didn’t make Holmes my own. He never will be mine.

But his daughter…is another matter entirely.

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Brynn Chapman

Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Brynn Chapman is the daughter of two teachers. Her writing reflects her passions: science, history and love—not necessarily in that order. In real life, the geek gene runs strong in her family, as does the Asperger’s syndrome. Her writing reflects her experience as a pediatric therapist and her interactions with society’s downtrodden. In fiction, she’s a strong believer in underdogs and happily-ever-afters. She also writes non-fiction and lectures on the subjects of autism and sensory integration and is a medical contributor to online journal The Age of Autism.

Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Winner will be drawn July 11, 2014

·         Four (4) winners will receive an ebook copy of Boneseeker by Brynn Chapman (INT)

·         One (1) winner will receive an ebook copy of Boneseeker by Brynn Chapman AND a $10 Amazon Gift Card or B&N Gift Card – Winner’s Choice (INT)

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