EMBERS IN THE SEA by Jennifer Eaton is finally here!



I am so  excited that EMBERS IN THE SEA by Jennifer M. Eaton releases today and that I get to share the news! If you  haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Jennifer M. Eaton, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz  also includes a giveaway for a Perfectly Posh, Posh To Meet You Set ($20 value), and an Alien Charm Necklace US Only courtesy of Jennifer & Month9Books. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

Title: EMBERS IN  THE SEA (Fire in The Woods #3)
Author: Jennifer M. Eaton
Pub. Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher:  Month9Books
Format: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 300
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD

Alien scientist David has dealt with disappointment his entire life, but failing to breathe life into the planet Mars is his greatest regret. Out of options and in need of a new home for their people, the alien Caretakers rekindle their plan to inhabit Earth. First they will have to eliminate the human race, including Jess, the only human David holds dear.

Humanity has one final chance at survival. David needs to emulate Earth’s precipitation on Mars. But the catalyst to make it rain lies in the fathomless depths of Earth’s ocean.

The clock is ticking down to humanity’s last hours as Jess and David face  a world more alien than either of them can imagine. The sea hides secrets, but  some secrets don’t want to be found.

 
Excerpt:
 
We rattled, cascading and spinning. My sight blurred. My breakfast  threatened a reappearance. I closed my eyes and prayed David and Edgar could  bring us under control. The tiles rumbled beneath my cheek before we collided to a stop.
 
My body left the floor before slamming back down once again.
 
Oww.
 
I blinked until I could focus. David lay across the side of his seat, his  head dangling near the floor.
“David!” I dragged myself from the unforgiving tiles and sat him back in his chair. His head lolled back, his mouth slightly open. “Oh, God. David, please wake up!”
 
Pressing my fingers against the side of his neck and his wrists, I sought  a pulse. I couldn’t find one, but relief flooded me as his chest rose and fell  in a shallow breath. I glanced over each shoulder, and toward the back of the  ship, looking for what, I didn’t know.
 
Why hadn’t the seats come to life and protected us?
I grabbed the edge of David’s chair, pulling him from the seat and into my arms. “David?” I kissed him and ran my fingers along the side of his face. “David, please … ”
 
I would have felt less empty if part of my chest had broken off and  floated away into the abyss. I didn’t care that we’d crash-landed again. I  didn’t care that the marine floor was probably more alien than the green planet  we’d been marooned on. I didn’t care that the pressure of an entire ocean weighed down on us. And I didn’t care that he left me alone for two years.
 
He was here. Now. And hurt. I fisted my hands and pushed with my mind. If  he needed strength, maybe I could send it to him.
 
His lashes fluttered. His eyes opened, but didn’t seem to focus. “Jess?”
 
I gulped back a sob. “Yeah. I’m here.”
 
He tried to sit up, but frowned and relaxed back into my arms. “Are we  okay?”
“I don’t know.”
 
 
About Jennifer: 

 

Jennifer M. Eaton hails from the eastern shore  of the North American Continent on planet Earth. Yes, regrettably, she is human, but please don’t hold that against her. While not traipsing through the galaxy looking for specimens for her space moth collection, she lives with her wonderfully supportive husband and three energetic offspring. (And a poodle who
runs the spaceport when she’s not around.)
During infrequent excursions to her home
planet of Earth, Jennifer enjoys long hikes in the woods, bicycling, swimming, snorkeling, and snuggling up by the fire with a great book; but great adventures are always a short shuttle ride away.
 
Who knows where we’ll end up next?
Giveaway Details:
(1) winner will receive a Perfectly Posh, Posh To Meet You Set ($20 value), US Only.

(1) winner will receive an Alien Charm Necklace, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cover Reveal – Embers in the Sea


OMGosh, it’s finally here!!  The cover to book 3 in the Fire in the Woods series!!

I LOVE this YA series and I normally don’t like alien tales, but this one is fantastic!

Check it out!!  I’m so excited for Jennifer.

A quick note from the author:


Fire in the Woods has been an incredible journey for me. In book one, Jess and David raced through the woods of New Jersey. In book two, they raced through space, and spent some time on an alien planet. For book three, I needed a brand new frontier, and Earth’s vast oceans seemed the perfect setting for a new alien adventure. I really hope everyone enjoys Jess and David’s race through the sea, because the ocean has secrets, and some secrets don’t want to be found.

 

On to the reveal!
 
Title: EMBERS
IN THE SEA (Fire in The Woods #3)
Author: JenniferM. Eaton
Pub. Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 300
Find it: Goodreads
|
Amazon | B&N | TBD
Alien scientist David has dealt with disappointment his entire life, but failing to breathe life into the planet Mars is his greatest regret. Out of options and in need of a new home for their people, the alien Caretakers rekindle their plan to inhabit Earth. First they will have to eliminate the human race, including Jess, the only human David holds dear.
Humanity has one final chance at survival. David needs to emulate Earth’s precipitation on Mars. But the catalyst to make it rain lies in the fathomless depths of Earth’s ocean.

The clock is ticking down to humanity’s last hours as Jess and David face a world more alien than either of them can imagine. The sea hides secrets, but some secrets don’t want to be found.

 

Excerpt

1Homework Sucked.

I tucked back the dark bang that flew in my face, shifted my seating, and balanced Philosophers of the Pre-modern World on my crossed legs.

Squinting in the morning sunshine, I forced my eyes to read the passage from Colton’s Lacon one more time:

“Time is the most undefinable yet paradoxical of things; the past is gone, the future is not come, and the present becomes the past, even while we attempt to define it.”

I closed the textbook and tossed it on the grass. “Why should I even care about what some old cleric guy said two hundred years ago?”

“Because he’s a famous old cleric guy.” Matt plucked the book from the lawn and dusted a few stray grass clippings from the cover.

“I came to college to study photography, not to be confused beyond reason by dead philosophers.”

Matt handed my book back as we stood. “Philosophy is supposed to broaden your mind.”

“Yeah, well, I’m broad enough.” I could sense a witty retort forming on his lips. “Don’t say it.”

He held up his hands. “I wouldn’t think of it.”

A group of people pointed at us from across the courtyard, and my fingers twined around my necklace, pressing the charm into my palm.

Here we go again.

When I first came to Columbia University, this was one of my favorite places to relax. The grass was like a hug from home, despite the New York skyline looming just over the trees. But each semester I had to dodge more and more Jess-watchers. Why they were still interested in me after all this time, I didn’t know.

It had been nearly two years since David left Earth to help his people populate Mars, and there’d been no impromptu spaceship sightings yet. But alien chasers still flocked to Columbia University thinking today might be the lucky day.

“How about we go this way.” Matt tugged me away from the wide-eyed group. Several of them raised camera phones, then looked at the sky.

It was always the same, as if just because Jessica Martinez walked outside, a spaceship would magically pop out of nowhere and whisk her away.

“You know, it wouldn’t hurt you to smile once in a while.” Matt waved at a guy holding a late model Nikon camera with a cheap lens attached to the front. “You always look ticked on the tabloid covers.”

I left the walkway and stomped across the grass. “These aren’t paparazzi. They’re just gawkers, and they’re driving me crazy. I wish they’d just let it go.”

Matt laughed. “Let it go? You’re Jess Martinez: the girl who saved the world from Armageddon. Twice. I think you need to cut people some slack.”

I stopped by the oak trees beside the library and watched a bird hop back and forth from the grass to the cement walkway. “I just want to be normal again. I want people to stop staring at me all the time.”

“Then you better stop wearing those tight jeans because, damn, girl, I’d snap a few pictures too if I thought I could get away with it.”

I smacked his shoulder, like I always did when he complimented me in his own, Matt-like way. It felt like we were back in New Jersey, back when I was “just Jess” and friendships weren’t so much a luxury.

“So, when is your cancer conference over?” I asked.

“It’s a symposium, and I’ll be here for a few more days.”

A few more days. It wasn’t enough. “Thanks for coming to see me. I missed you.”

Red stained his cheeks. “Yeah, I missed you too.” His gaze drifted to the tree. “Bobby says hi, by the way.”

I cringed and tried to hide my sneer. “I can’t believe you guys ended up friends after what he did to you in high school. He’s such a jerk.”

“Yeah, but he’s a connected jerk.”

“You don’t need him, Matt. You’re brilliant.”

He shrugged. “Brilliant only gets you so far. Bobby has the charm and means to get my work noticed.”

“And in return, you get him good grades?”

“I can’t take his exams for him, but yeah, I help with the other stuff.” We walked to the library steps, where he reclined against the marble. “He quit McGuire for you, you know?”

“That doesn’t change anything. He and I are never getting back together.”

“He’s trying to get back in your good graces … change the world so you see him differently.”

I eased down beside him. “Did he ask you to say that?”

Matt’s eyes opened like saucers. “Am I that transparent?”

“I can’t believe he’s pretending to care about cancer research just to impress me. When will he learn to take no for an answer?”

“So, you’re serious? You’re really not into him anymore?”

“Not. At. All. Not if he were the last guy on the planet.”

A smile spread across Matt’s face. “Good. You can do better. He’s a weasel.” He cleared his throat. “Just don’t tell him I said that. He’s still bigger than me.”

I mustered half a grin when three people jumped in front of the steps and tried to pretend they weren’t taking pictures of me.

“Wow,” Matt said. “They really don’t let up, do they?”

“Not too much, no.”

He stood and helped me to my feet. “How about we go inside somewhere? Is there anywhere around here we can catch an early lunch?”

I folded my arms. “Seriously? We’re in New York City. Name your poison.”

His grin made me forget about the roving photographers. “Anywhere quiet, where we can kinda be alone.”

I straightened. “Alone?”

He slipped his cold fingers around mine. “I meant it when I said I missed you.”

Whoa. I slid my hand away. “Weren’t you just rooting for team Bobby?”

“Yeah, well, I figure if the referee has banned Bobby from the game permanently, that kinda makes room for team Matt to swoop in and maybe win one for the eggheads of the world.”

A flash of seventeen-year-old Matt, bruised and bleeding on the sidewalk after Bobby beat him up for taking me to a movie flashed through my mind, before my vision refocused on the brilliant med student Matt had become. I’d saved the world from aliens, but Matt was going to save the world from cancer. He believed it. I believed it. Matt was one of those guys who could do anything.

As long as he could avoid getting beat up again.

And with me at his side, he would get beat up again. Going to college hadn’t changed Bobby that much, even if Bobby was riding on Matt’s gravy train.

Matt just put himself way out on a limb. But did I want to go out on that skinny little branch with him?

A smile burst across my face. Maybe I did. “How about something a little more casual, like ice cream.”

He held up his hands. “Whoa there. I don’t know. Ice cream sparks of commitment. We’ve only known each other for what, eight years? I think you’re moving a little fast for me. I thought I was pushing it with lunch.”

I punched him in the arm.

He punched me back. I loved that. No airs. No games. No attitude. Just Matt.

Maybe, just maybe, I could get my life back. Maybe I could be happy again.

A startled cry echoed through the courtyard.

“What is that?” a man yelled.

Matt grabbed my hand and we followed the throng away from the steps and onto the South Lawn. A huge hole had formed in the clouds, widening into a shimmering circle of crystal blue.

I plucked my camera out of my backpack and joined the amateurs clicking away with their cell phones. I hid my amusement behind the lens of Old Reliable.

These people had no idea what a picture could be, how to focus in just the right place, how to find tone in the simplest of images, and catch the perfect light to evoke the exact mood. I hit the shutter four times as the anomaly widened, expanding past several city blocks. Nature never ceased to astound me.

A few more photography students added their lenses to the crowd. There’d be no deficit of pictures for the papers to choose from, that was for sure.

I snapped seven more shots. The race was on. Click. Who would take the best shot? Click. Who would be the first to get their work into the papers?

Me. That’s who. Click. Click.

The shape shifted and elongated, swirling until it settled over the courtyard and froze as if someone pressed the pause button.

The crowd grew silent. I lowered my camera. WTF?

The air in the middle of the circle formed a nearly transparent, shimmering bubble. A rainbow formed across its surface; the stripes brilliant, clear, and defined. Dozens of breaths hitched as an iridescent flicker blasted across the apparition. The form pinched and molded into a colorful, swirling tube that slowly dropped from the sky.

Oh. Crap.

Matt tightened his grip on my hand as the other spectators stepped away. Half their gazes staring up, the remainder staring at me.

“Friends of yours?” Matt asked.

I shivered. “No. That’s not Erescopian technology.” At least I didn’t think it was. Erescopian ships were liquid metal … shiny opal or silver. “That just looks like … ”

“Water,” Matt whispered.

Water hanging in the sky. Or more like a lake … a huge lake with a giant elevator tube dropping out of it. So. Not. Good.

The cylinder fell in short, billowing waves before settling on the middle of the South Lawn. It was there, but it also wasn’t—like it took a picture of what was on the other side and played it like a video, hiding the tube like a chameleon. Wicked cool—if I wasn’t standing so close to it.

Matt inched back, glanced at me, then returned to my side. If I wasn’t riveted to my little patch of grass, I wonder if he’d have run.

Camera shutters triggered like crazy. Everyone gawked at me, like I was supposed to know what to do.

Yeah, cause Jess Martinez knows all there is to know about spaceships.

A whoosh echoed through the open area, like the Jolly Green Giant had blown out a candle, but without the wind. The people on the other side of the cylinder lit up as if a hundred suns flooded them. They stepped back, shielding their eyes.

My fingers tightened on the strap of my camera. I’d seen that light before, on the tarmac two years ago, as hundreds of Erescopian soldiers left their liquescent spaceships and stepped on Earth for the first time.

A siren blaring from behind the buildings broke my frozen stance. I raised Old Reliable, clicking off shots that probably would amount to nothing, until a human form materialized within the cylinder’s hazy brilliance.

 

Jennifer M.
Eaton hails from the eastern shore of the North American Continent on planet Earth. Yes, regrettably, she is human, but please don’t hold that against her.
While not traipsing through the galaxy looking for specimens for her space moth collection, she lives with her wonderfully supportive husband and three
energetic offspring. (And a poodle who runs the spaceport when she’s not around.)
 
During infrequent excursions to her home planet of Earth, Jennifer enjoys long hikes in the woods, bicycling, swimming, snorkeling, and snuggling up by the fire
with a great book; but great adventures are always a short shuttle ride away.
 
Who knows where we’ll end up next?

 

 
3 winners will receive eBooks of FIRE IN
THE WOODS, ASHES IN THE SKY, & an eGalley of EMBERS IN THE SEA,
International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you an author with a #WordPress website #book #promotion


Please leave your information on the original site’s comments, not in mine, please. 🙂 🙂

How To Ebook

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I’m compiling a website list of authors with WordPress sites. Please list yours in the comments.

If you’re a Michigan author please let me know also.

Thank you.


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Gotta Have $.99 ebook deals!- #BlackFriday


Guys, peeps, book fiends, book nerds. Yeah. You.  Month9Books and Tantrum book has all their ebooks for $.99 through the end of Black Friday! This includes my book …

IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING eBook Cover 2700x1800

Yep, this awesome, YA epic fantasy is up for grabs for $.99!! You can’t beat that price!  It’s also been getting super reviews, so why not give it a whirl?? You can pick up at any of these fine retailers:

    

 

Also up for grabs for $.99 (among many, many more):

 

        

           

Grab a copy or two today!!!  Thank you so much for your support.  I love you guys!!! 🙂

 

Music for your Thanksgiving Day


Here’s an oldie but goodie post from a turkey day already past. 🙂 Enjoy

YA Chit Chat

Turkey day is here everyone!  Time to loosen those belt buckles and prepare to feast.  Smokers and ovens are working overtime today in American households to produce the perfect golden-brown turkey.  Millions of red and gold potatoes will be cooked, smashed and whipped. Sweet potatoes will be casseroled and garnished with melted marshmallows.  Green beans will be infused with cream of mushroom soup and dried onions.  There will be squash, corn, cranberry sauce, gravy, dressing/stuffing, copious amounts of wine and alcohol, pickles, olives, celery sticks, tomatoes, deviled eggs.  And when the times comes, we will all gather around the table and give thanks for all the friends, family, bounties and blessings we have in our lives, including the music that makes this day so joyful.

What?  Thanksgiving Day has its own music?  Yeppers, it does, and the proof is below.  Celebrate and enjoy.  All I ask is that in your…

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Top Seven Just Released #HarryPotter #PopFunkos You Must Have!


I love Pop Funkos. I only have 3 and they are all Harry Potter, but I want more, more, more. I have my eye on Jack Sparrow, Rapunzel from Tangled , and all of the Hunger Game figures. But the ones I want more than anything are the new Harry Potter Funkos that were released in October.

Who wouldn’t want Delores Umbridge sitting on their bookshelf?

or

this awesome version of Bellatrix LeStrange?

Or maybe you’d prefer

Professor McGonagall

Or Mad-Eye Moody

Or the despicable Lucius Malfoy

Maybe Harry Potter with a dragon egg, or Hedwig is more your style.

     

No matter what your choice, Harry Potter fans can’t go wrong with these new Funkos. I know they’re all on my Christmas list. Which one(s) do you like the most? Which will be the first you add to your collection?

 

 

DAMAGED GOODS – a new novel from the author of GENESIS GIRL



Today Jennifer Bardsley and Month9Books are revealing the cover and first chapter for DAMAGED GOODS, the sequel to GENESIS GIRL which releases January 17, 2017! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers to receive a eGalley!! 

A quick note from the author:

Do you have a friend who has such a messed-up home life that you wonder if they will ever grow up to be normal? That’s how I feel about Blanca, the main character from my series “Blank Slate.” In “Genesis Girl,” readers found out why Blanca’s childhood was so different. Blanca was a Vestal who grew up at Tabula Rasa School, shielded from the Internet and brainwashed into doing whatever she was told. In the sequel, “Damaged Goods,” we find out what happens to Blanca once she escapes from her Vestal bonds. Blanca doesn’t wear her platinum cuff anymore, but does that mean she is free?
 
Writing “Damaged Goods” was a blast. I hope readers enjoy all the twists and turns in the plot and root for Blanca as she figures out the difference between fact, fiction, enemy, and friend. 
 
On to the reveal! 

 

Title: DAMAGED GOODS
Author: Jennifer Bardsley
Pub. Date: January 17, 2017
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Pages: 300
Find it: Goodreads| Amazon | B&N

Blanca has everything she ever wanted, a hot boyfriend named Seth and the loving support of her foster father, Cal. She’s finally escaped the abusive control of her birth father, Barbelo Nemo, and her tortured childhood at Tabula Rasa School. 

But the scars of Blanca’s Vestal upbringing run deep, especially when the FBI start asking questions. Blanca feels abandoned by Seth who is hunting for Lilith, Blanca’s only blood relative. The Defectos, a support group of Vestal-Rejects, offer Blanca comfort instead..

 


While the Vestal order crumbles, Chinese rivals called the Guardians rise to power and wrest control of important Tabula Rasa contacts. Now Blanca’s life is in peril once more, and this time, Blanca struggles to recognize friend from foe.

 

Excerpt

Chapter OneAll I smell is leather. Seth’s arms are around my back, his hands tangled in my long brown hair. My lips devour his, hungry for contact. Beyond us a seagull cries and soars above the waves of Santa Cruz beach.

If I kiss Seth hard enough, my scars fade way into oblivion. Barbelo Nemo and his mind control tricks. My childhood spent in seclusion at Tabula Rasa, hidden from the Internet. I slide my fingers underneath Seth’s jacket against the stickiness of his shirt. I begin to undo a button.

“Whoa, Blanca.” Seth pulls my hands away. “We’re not the only people in the parking lot.”

I scan to the left and right of the rest stop. Strangers are everywhere. “Since when did you care about what other people think?”

“Since I started dating a Vestal.”

I pull back and look out at the cliffs. “I’m not a Vestal anymore. You know that.” I feel the antique chip-watch on my wrist. Seth’s dad, Cal, gave it to me as a present after my platinum cuff was removed. Once a Vestal is de-cuffed, they are expelled from the Brethren.

“So those tourists snapping our picture don’t bother you?” Seth motions to a small crowd a few cars over.

I look to where he points, and the flash of thumb-cameras blinds me. Vestals must never have their pictures taken by random people. That privilege belongs to the companies that purchase them and market a Vestal’s privacy one advertisement at a time. I reach my arms out by instinct, to protect my face from the public. “I’m fine with it,” I lie, pulling my hands down. “But we better leave now or we’ll be late to the restaurant.”

“My dad can wait a few minutes.” Seth scoops me in his arms.

“Blanca!” one of the spectators calls. “And Veritas Rex! Is that really you?”

Seth holds up his hand and wiggles his finger-chips. “The one and only!” Then he dips me back for a kiss.

I stiffen like cardboard. “Stop it,” I mumble, trying not to squirm. All I can think about is the cameras, my face flashed worldwide and weirdoes slobbering over my private moment with Seth. “We’ve got to go or we’ll be late.”

Seth kisses my nose. “I didn’t know you were so punctual.”

“Yes.” I pull myself out of his grasp. “Cal’s waiting.” The sooner I put my helmet on and get back on my motorcycle, the better.

“Blanca,” a man calls as we ride away. “I love you! I’ve watched you all year!”

Underneath my jacket, I shiver. The fame that surrounds me is chilling.

A few miles of pavement put me in a better mood. The day is radiant, perfect for riding our bikes from Silicon Valley over to the coast and back. It’s our favorite weekend ritual. Seth cruises next to me on his motorcycle with the lion-headed cobra painted on the side, and I zoom along beside him in head-to-toe white.

The speed rushing over me tastes of freedom. When we shift into high gear I can forget—for a moment—that three months ago I was a captive at the Plemora compound in Nevada. The memory of my mother’s face exploding gets sucked away.

But not for long.

***

The restaurant Cal picked is smothered in shadows. Candles in glass jars at each table are the only source of a hazy glow. As I walk by, other patrons stare up at me.

Their whispers don’t surprise me. Seeing a Vestal in public is unheard of, and I’m the most famous Vestal in history, with the exception of Barbelo, my birth father.

But father isn’t a word I use to describe my tormentor. I don’t think of Ms. Lydia as my mother either, not usually. The closest thing I have to a real parent is Cal McNeal, who paid thirty-two million dollars to purchase me from Tabula Rasa, the school Barbelo founded fifty-one years ago, in 2012, with the ostensible purpose of shielding students from the Internet. Barbelo’s real objective was to create a network of Vestals in key positions. Spies all over the world who were devoted to him.

Cal waits for us at the table, a smile on his tanned face. His hair is long around the ears. I need to remind him to trim it. Cal wears his usual tweed jacket with soft brown patches on the elbows. He stands up when we reach the table and hugs us both. “Enjoy your ride, you two?”

“From the mountains to the beach.” Seth slides into the booth. He pulls off his jacket and exposes forearms covered with ink. Seth also has tattoos on his face, the most noticeable of which is the lion-headed cobra. That snake was the first thing about Seth I noticed. A year ago he snuck into Tabula Rasa, took my picture days before graduation, and posted it on Veritas Rex. Seth is a viral blogger who does anything to break a story even if involves breaking the law.

My own skin is pure white. I’ve been a consummate rule follower my entire life, with a few notable exceptions. Remaining unmarred by ink or technology tops the Vestal code. It’s a hard habit to break.

Cal passes me the bread basket. “So Blanca, I heard from my friend at Stanford today, and I’ve got good news.”

“Yes?” I take a deep whiff of the yeasty aroma and push the basket over to Seth without taking a piece.

Cal butters his slice with a thick slab of butter. “I told the dean about your special circumstance. That you’ve been out of school for a year, but graduated top of your class.”

Seth chokes on his water. “Top of her class? You mean she was auctioned off to the highest bidder at the Vestal Harvest.”

“Exactly,” Cal says. “Blanca, you’re Tabula Rasa’s version of a valedictorian. I told the dean that you had a classical education from a different era and that you were being tutored in science and technology so that you’d catch up in STEM by matriculation.”

Eagerness glides over me. Six months ago when Cal suggested college I thought he was joking. I dismissed the idea without consideration. But since I returned from Nevada I’ve made attending college one of my primary goals.

It’s not that I don’t love being the face of McNeal Solar. Every time I see an advertisement featuring me on a billboard, I get tingles. But representing McNeal Solar and actually understanding how solar power works are two different things. I don’t want to be a token bobble head. I want to be a real engineer who designs power systems and imagines new inventions.

Cal wants to help me achieve that dream. Seth is so committed to Veritas Rex that there’s no way he’ll work for his dad’s company. But maybe someday I’ll join the McNeal Solar board of directors and people will respect my opinion. It’ll be another way I can be Cal’s daughter. I’ll become his intellectual heir.

“What did the dean say?” My knees shake with excitement until I tense my muscles.

Cal puts down his butter knife. “He knows who you are, of course. He watched the news story unfold along with the rest of the world when you were kidnapped.”

“And?” I toy with my napkin.

Cal smiles. “Given the special circumstances, he agreed to let you take a private entrance exam with a panel of professors ten weeks from now.”

“Yay!” I lean across the booth and hug Cal tight, my face brushing the scratchy fabric of his blazer.

“Awesome, Dad,” says Seth. “How the hell did you pull that off? I’ve never heard of Stanford admitting a student like that before.”

“Well that’s because they’ve never had a Vestal apply. Plus, it helps that a dorm is named after your mother, Seth. Being a large donor has its perks.”

Cal’s wife, Sophia, was an anthropology professor at Stanford until she died of the Brain Cancer Epidemic when Seth was seventeen. It was decades before the world realized cell phones caused cancer. Sophia was one of many victims. Before she died her life work had been researching Barbelo Nemo and the Vestal order he created.

“Mom would have been thrilled to have you as a student,” Seth tells me. “She’d probably follow you around and take notes on your well-being.”

“To your mother, then!” I lift up my water glass.

“To Mom,” Seth answers.

Cal holds up his glass of wine. “To Sophia, a three-way toast.”

“Smile, McNeals.” A guy with greasy black hair and an ugly smirk holds up finger-chips in our faces. “What a touching moment.” The flash pops.

I drop my glass and water drowns the tablecloth.

“Veritas Rex and his Vestal girlfriend. Gotcha!” Another loser creeps up too. The fact that they’re both frantically typing their fingers into the air makes me assume they’re viral paparazzi, uploading us straight to the net.

“Get out of here,” Seth growls, chucking bread at their faces.

A rounded man with a balding head rushes over. “Is there a problem?” He turns to the paparazzi. “I am the maître d’ of this establishment and I will notify the police unless you leave this instant.”

Seth pelts them with more bread. The one with greasy hair catches a piece and crams some in his mouth. “Thanks, Rex,” he mumbles through crumbs, “see you around.”

Several waiters rush over to pick up bread and clear off our wet tablecloth. “I sincerely apologize, Ms. Blanca. I don’t know how those Viruses got in.” The maître d’ uses the derogatory term for viral bloggers, the one that Headmaster Russell taught me at Tabula Rasa.

“It’s not your fault. Viruses are hard to shake.” I slide my foot underneath the table and brush my leg against Seth’s.

“They must have seen your white outfit.” The maître d’ tugs his collar.

“It’s okay.” I nod. “I’m used to it.” I wave off his offer of a meal on the house, but he insists.

Later, over cheeseburgers, Cal brings up my wardrobe again. “You know, Blanca. You don’t need to wear white anymore, unless you enjoy the attention.”

“Of course I don’t want the attention!”

“Then why not change things up a bit?” Cal says. “Shop for new clothes. Try to blend in.”

I look at Seth for support, but he nods in agreement with his father.

“Fatima wears colors now,” Seth adds, “and she’s still a Vestal.”

I picture my best friend Fatima. The last time I saw her she wore a silky green dress from her fashion house and looked like a snake that had swallowed a watermelon. Six months pregnant, her figure still says “Babe alert!” Tomorrow night is Fatima’s engagement party with Beau.

I, on the other hand, am the proverbial girl-next-door. Brown hair, green eyes, and clear skin. Back at Tabula Rasa they said I had a face that could sell soap.

“I don’t want to be a Vestal. I’m a McNeal now. But wearing color seems wrong.”

“It’s not just the clothes.” Seth’s finger-chips buzz and he flicks them off. “The only time you leave the house is with me or Dad.”

“That’s not true!” I insist. “I went to the soundstage last week to shoot a McNeal Solar add.”

“True,” Cal admits. “But it’s what a Vestal would do.”

“What’s that supposed to mean? Don’t you want me as the face of McNeal Solar?” My stomach feels bubbly, like I ate too many French fries.

“Of course I do, sweetheart. I love your campaign for my company.” Cal reaches out and pats my hand. “We’re concerned about you though. We want you to get out there and make new friends.”

I turn and glare at Seth. “This is about the other night, isn’t it? You’re still mad because I wouldn’t go to that club with you, so you got your dad to take your side.”

Seth stares at me hard. “It’s not just the other night. It’s all the time. Your world is so tiny that it’s unhealthy.”

“College is a big step,” Cal says, “in terms of academics, forming new friendships, and learning to mingle.”

“I meet lots of people! I’ve made a ton of friends online. Every time I write a new post for The Lighthouse I get thousands of comments.”

Seth looks at me with piercing brown eyes. “Blanca, you’re new at this, but online friends are easier than people you meet face to face. It’s a different type of interaction.”

At that moment a flash makes me jump. But it’s not a Virus snatching my picture this time. It’s a family in the corner taking a photograph of their kid. “Face to face can be scary,” I say.

“Sometimes,” Cal nods, “but not normally.”

“Normal for me is different.”

“Exactly our point,” says Seth.

Cal leans forward in his seat. “We think it would be helpful if you could chat with someone, to help you process all you’ve been through.”

“You mean like a psychiatrist? You think I’m crazy?” I twist my chip-watch around and around my wrist where the cuff used to be.

Seth scoots closer and lowers his voice. “We don’t think you’re crazy. But some really shitty things have happened to you.”

“You lost your mother,” says Cal.

“Ms. Lydia wasn’t my mother! I mean, she gave birth to me. That’s it. What do I care what happened to her?”

“You must feel something,” Cal says.

“I feel nothing.”

“Then why are you talking so loud?” Seth asks.

I take a quick glance of the room and notice stares.

Our waiter rushes over. “Are you ready for dessert now?” he asks.

“Yes,” Cal answers. “Please bring the menu.”

“No, thank you.” I squeeze my fists together, stress coursing through my body like lightening.

When the waiter leaves, Seth touches my elbow. “We’ve made an appointment for you.”

“What?”

“With Dr. Meredith,” Cal says. “A therapist.”

“You want me to tell my private secrets to a total stranger?” I speak with a steadied calm while a storm builds up inside me.

“She’s not a stranger, Blanca. Seth and I started seeing Dr. Meredith when you were kidnapped.”

My heartbeat is ragged. “You told her about me? You shared my private life with an outsider?”

“Of course not.” Seth’s dark hair sticks up in wild tuffs on his head. “Dad and I had our own stuff to work out. You know I spent five years mistakenly thinking Dad cheated on my mom.”

Cal flinches. “And you have your issues too, Blanca.”

I swallow hard. I reach over and stroke my white leather jacket. Maybe I should get up and go. Ride back to McNeal Manor on my motorcycle. But that would mean going someplace by myself. The last time I rode off into the night, my good friend Ethan was killed and Ms. Lydia kidnapped me.

“Sometimes being an adult means doing things you don’t want to do,” says Cal.

“I’ll drive you to your appointment next week, if that helps,” Seth offers.

“No way,” I say. “I don’t need that type of care.”

I can do this if I try hard enough.

I stand up and pick up my jacket. “Thank you for dinner,” I snarl.

But as I turn to go I walk smack into dark suits. The man is six foot three, every inch of him as sharp as his buzz-cut hair. The woman is my height, about five foot five, with silver stud earrings.

“Blanca Nemo?” The woman has a steady voice. Both of them hold up their palms to flash electronic badges. “Agents Carter and Marlow with the FBI. We need to bring you in for questioning.”

“What the hell?” Seth leaps to his feet.

“Blanca?” Cal springs up. “What’s this about?”

“I don’t know.” I shoot him a frightened look the agents can’t see.

“Don’t say anything without a lawyer. Okay, sweetheart?” Cal types at his chip-watch. “Hold tight until Nancy gets there.”

“Come on, Ms. Nemo.” The male agent grabs my arm, “Our car is outside.”

“Ouch! Not so tight!”

“Her name’s not ‘Nemo’,” Seth shouts. “It’s Blanca McNeal.” He and Cal hurry after us out of the restaurant into the night where a black sedan is waiting.

I turn to look at the McNeals one more time. Seth towers over Cal whose face is twisted with worry.

I smile wanly as the agents shove me into the backseat of the car.

The irony kills. I’m going someplace without them after all.

 

Jennifer Bardsley writes the parenting column “I Brake for Moms” for the Sunday edition of The Everett Daily HeraldShe also blogs at Teaching My Baby to Read with the mission of sparking a national debate on the important roll parents play in education. Jennifer is a graduate of Stanford University and a member of SCBWI. She lives with her husband and two children in Edmonds, WA. 
GENESIS GIRL released in 2016 and is about an 18 year-old girl whose lack of a virtual footprint makes her so valuable that she is auctioned off to the highest bidder, the sequel  will come out in 2017. Jennifer is represented by Liza Fleissig of the Liza
Royce Literary Agency
LLC.
Follow Jennifer on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Goodreads.

 

3 winners will receive and eBook of GENESIS GIRL & an eGalley of DAMAGED GOODS. International.

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Title: GENESIS
GIRL
Author: Jennifer Bardsley
Pub. Date: June 14, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Pages: 280
Eighteen-year-old Blanca has lived a sheltered life. Her entire childhood has been spent at Tabula Rasa School where
she’s been protected from the Internet. 

Blanca has never been online and doesn’t even know how to text. Her lack of a virtual footprint makes her extremely valuable, and upon graduation, Blanca and those like her are sold to the highest bidders.

Blanca is purchased by Cal McNeal, who uses her to achieve personal gain. But the McNeals are soon horrified by just how obedient and non-defiant Blanca is. All those mind-numbing years locked away from society have made her mind almost
impenetrable. 

By the time Blanca is ready to think for herself, she is trapped. Her only chance of escape is to go online. 

#ThrowbackThursday – FIRE IN THE WOODS


Go back to where it all began! FIRE IN THE WOODS by @JenniferMEaton http://amzn.to/1RjV3tm #M9BThrowbackThursday #yalit #scifi

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This is one of the best YA #scifi #adventures I’ve ever read. It’s funny, it’s fast-paced, there’s a great YA hero and heroine, plenty of bad guys. If you love sweet, romantic stories with high-intensity action, please check this one out.   And don’t forget to check out its sequel, ASHES IN THE SKY, and the soon-to-be-released 3rd book in the series, EMBERS IN THE SEA!!

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Release Day Celebration: Immortal (Dragonrider Chronicles #4) by Nicole Conway with Giveaway


OMGosh, it’s a dragon book, but not any dragon book. It’s IMMORTAL!! I’m so fan-girling here!!!

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Hello Readers! Welcome to the Release Day Celebration for

Immortal (Dragonrider Chronicles #4)
by Nicole Conway

presented by Month9Books!

Don’t miss out on the next book in this series,
and be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

 

Happy Book Birthday, Nicole!

 

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Destiny has called.

With Jaevid Broadfeather forever lost to the depths of Luntharda, Felix Farrow struggles to stand on his own. He begins a violent downward spiral which causes him to abandon his post as a dragonrider, hiding in the halls of his family estate. His one hope for redemption lies within the heart of someone from his past—and the very last person he ever wanted to see again.

And now the time has finally come.

Hovrid, who has ruled Maldobar as a tyrannical imposter, is preparing to make a decisive assault against Luntharda that will destroy what remains of the elven race. Only Jaevid, Felix, and their trusted friends are able to stand in his way. They have only one chance to end the war, and only one hope to absolve the curse that threatens to destroy their world. The stage is set. The plan is in motion.

What began as one boy’s adventure will now end in blood.

Excerpt

“. . . souls were funny things. We think we own them, but they aren’t altogether ours. Everyone we love gets a tiny piece of our soul and we get a bit of theirs, too. Those bits stay with us even after we part ways or pass on. So in that way, we get the smallest taste of eternity,” she explained. “Through those tiny pieces of our soul, we are all immortal. If that’s true, and I believe it is, then no one who dies is ever really gone. We carry them with us always.”

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Immortal (Dragonrider Chronicles #4)
by Nicole Conway
Publication Date: November 8, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books

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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 | Instagram |Goodreads

 

OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES:

 

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Cover Reveal: Secrets of a Reluctant Princess by Casey Griffin with Giveaway


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Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

Secrets of a Reluctant Princess by Casey Griffin

presented by Entangled Teen!

Be on the lookout for this upcoming title,
and be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of the post!

Life-Action Role Playing gamers, this one’s for you!

Author, Casey Griffin’s thoughts on the cover:

Talk about punch! The colors immediately grab my eye and the font is so fun and unruly. I feel like the combination of those two things makes the cover of Secrets of a Reluctant Princess striking. With the simple yet powerful design, I think it will scream out from the bookshelf “pick me!” Or maybe that’s just because I love pink. And glitter? What’s not to love? I’m so happy with the results.

 

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At Beverly Hills High, you have to be ruthless to survive…

Adrianna Bottom always wanted to be liked. But this wasn’t exactly what she had in mind. Now, she’s in the spotlight…and out of her geeky comfort zone. She’ll do whatever it takes to turn the rumor mill in her favor—even if it means keeping secrets. So far, it’s working.

Wear the right clothes. Say the right things. Be seen with the right people.

Kevin, the adorable sketch artist who shares her love of all things nerd, isn’t exactly the right people. But that doesn’t stop Adrianna from crushing on him. The only way she can spend time with him is in disguise, as Princess Andy, the masked girl he’s been LARPing with. If he found out who she really was, though, he’d hate her.

The rules have been set. The teams have their players. Game on.

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Secrets of a Reluctant Princess
by Casey Griffin
Publication Date: March 7, 2017

Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: Contemporary, YA

Amazon.com | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Amazon.UK | Amazon.ca | Indies

About-the-Author2

casey-griffin

 

Casey Griffin can often be found at comic conventions on her days off from her day job, driving 400 ton dump trucks in Northern Alberta, Canada. As a jack of all trades with a resume boasting registered nurse, English teacher, and photographer, books are her true passion. Casey is a 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel finalist, and is currently busy writing every moment she can.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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