Brave knights and heroic courage


With the release of my novel, IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING just around the corner in 2016, I thought the following quote by C.S. Lewis was appropriate.

 

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It’s a middle-grade book fest from Tantrum Books!


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Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!

This week, we are revealing

Tantrum Books – 2015 Releases

presented by Tantrum Books/Month9Books!

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

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Three brothers born to a powerful fallen king were abandoned at birth and cast out as orphans. By order of the false king, three of the most lethal assassins have been sent to kill the children before they come of age and plot to avenge their father’s throne. No one knows where the children are, and the children have no knowledge of one another. But that all changes when Benjamin, Tommy, and Sebastian join together to face adversity, an unspeakable evil, and the temptations of magical powers. This is the first installment of an exciting children’s fantasy series about the power of family.

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About-the-Author

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Born in Belfast, Ireland, in 1982, Michael Gibney is a writer whose interests in world politics, literature and the love of film encouraged him to do his studies at the early age of sixteen within the media and journalism field. Through his studies at college and the BBC, he developed an instant passion for creative writing that exceeded his love for media, art and music. Taking his influences from Irish writers like W. B. Yeats, and Belfast Born writers such as author C.S. Lewis and lyricist and poet Van Morrison, Gibney’s somewhat emotionally-charged storytelling is derived from his personal heroes and experiences in his own childhood having grown up in Belfast during the country’s dark history. Combining these influences with recent testing times of the world we live in today has helped create the world of Abasin that is introduced in The Three Thorns, his debut novel and first story in the epic The Brotherhood and the Shield Series. In addition to having a strong way with words and using descriptive text to captivate readers, (both young and old), Gibney combines fantasy with horror and pure escapism to strive to make his story as original and unique as possible.

He spends most of his time writing and painting within the United States and the United Kingdom. He is currently working on books 4, 5 and 6 of The Brotherhood and the Shield Series.

Connect with the Author: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Joshua-Cover

Stay away from the window, don’t go outside when it’s storming and whatever you do, do not touch the orb.

Twelve-year-old Joshua Cooper’s grandpa has always warned him about the dangers of lightning. But Joshua never put much stock in his grandpa’s rumblings as anything more than the ravings of an old man with a vast imagination. Then one night, when Joshua and his best friend are home alone during a frightful storm, Joshua learns his grandpa was right. A bolt of lightning strikes his house and whisks away his best friend—possibly forever.

To get him back, Joshua must travel the Lightning Road to a dark place that steals children for energy. But getting back home and saving his friend won’t be easy, as Joshua must face the terrifying Child Collector and fend off ferocious and unnatural beasts intent on destroying him.

In this world, Joshua possesses powers he never knew he had, and soon, Joshua’s mission becomes more than a search for his friend. He means to send all the stolen children home—and doing so becomes the battle of his life.

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About-the-Author

Donna Galanti

Donna is the author of the Joshua and The Lightning Road series and the Element Trilogy. She is a contributing editor to International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill magazine and blogs at www.project-middle-grade-mayhem.blogs…, a cooperative of published middle grade authors. Visit her at www.donnagalanti.com andwww.ElementTrilogy.com. Donna wanted to be a writer ever since she wrote a murder mystery screenplay at seven and acted it out with the neighborhood kids. She attended an English school housed in a magical castle, where her wild imagination was held back only by her itchy uniform (bowler hat and tie included!). There she fell in love with the worlds of C.S. Lewis and Roald Dahl, and wrote her first fantasy about Dodo birds, wizards, and a flying ship (and has been writing fantasy ever since). She’s lived in other exotic locations, including her family-owned campground in New Hampshire and in Hawaii where she served as a U.S. Navy photographer. She now lives with her family and two crazy cats in an old farmhouse and dreams of returning one day to a castle.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram | YouTube

Strange-Country-Day-Cover

Alexander Graham Ptuiac, the son of an inventor, wants to play for the school’s football team. During tryouts, and under the watchful eye of the team’s coach, he suddenly manifests mysterious superhuman powers. Alexander makes the team, but not before the some ill-intended adults take notice, putting his life in danger.

Alex struggles to suppress and control his strange new abilities, worried about exposing his secret and being kicked off the football team. Then he befriends Dex, a diminutive classmate who can somehow jump as high as ten feet in the air. Seems Alex isn’t the only one at school with a secret.

As the school year unfolds, Alex will find himself the target of bullies, holding hands with his first crush and discovering the shocking truth about himself and his parents.

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About-the-Author

Charles Curtis

Charles Curtis is a writer and journalist based in New York City. He has reported and written for publications including NJ.com (where he is currently the site’s sports buzz reporter), The Daily, ESPN.com, ESPN the Magazine, Bleacher Report, TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly. Charles has covered the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, golf, tennis and NASCAR. He has also written about television, film and pop culture.

In addition, Curtis has also written, produced and was featured in videos for ESPN.com and The Daily. He has made radio appearances on stations including 92.9 The Ticket in Bangor, Maine, WLIE 540 AM in Long Island and on morning shows across Canada via the CBC.
He can be reached on Twitter: @charlescurtis82.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


Super Freak by Vanessa Barger

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Thirteen-year-old Caroline is a freak. Her parents have uprooted her to a town full of Supernaturals. You’d think she’d be thrilled. But, with someone without a magical bone in her body, this daughter of tree sprites feels like even more of an outcast than she has ever before.

To make matters worse, her new home is cursed. But when Caroline takes to investigating the mysterious and strange happenings of Harridan House, her BFF goes missing. Seems someone doesn’t want Caroline sticking her non-magical nose where it most certainly does not belong. Determined to prove herself, Caroline uncovers a plot to destroy her new hometown.

Undeterred, Caroline can’t give up. But what’s a human without magical powers to do? Caroline better figure it out fast, before she loses everything she has ever loved and the whispers she’s heard all her life prove true: Caroline is a useless superfreak.

add to goodreadsComing October 2015

TBD

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.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | YouTube

Giveaway


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Titles not yet released will be upon its publication.

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My Top 10 Pet Peeves about YA Books


I love YA. It is my favorite genre with multiple sub-genres. Yesterday, I wrote about why I love it so much, but even I know nothing is perfect. YA has its flaws. What follows are just a few of my pet peeves about YA.

Instant love

It is so corny, so overused. I mean, I get it, the insta-crush thingy, but that’s not love. I want my main characters to be a little bit more meaty, especially if they are 16 or 17 years old.  There are a few novels where it worked. FIRE IN THE WOODS, by Jennifer M. Eaton, is one of them. I liked this one because the heroine, Jess, had a crush on the hero, David, long before she met him. In fact, her crush was so intense, she couldn’t see the ‘real’ David for the longest time, (which might have something to do with the fact he’s an … oops, no, can’t tell you.  You’ll have to read it yourself. No spoilers from these fingertips.) :-) But for the most part, I really can’t stand the giggly, giddy girls who fall for the cute guy and call it love.  Yuck.

The guy always gets the girl or vice versa.

Please. That’s not reality.  Talk to the bevy of teens out there who are crying to their friends because “the one” dumped them for another. Yes,  I suppose readers want a happy ever after (HEA), but it’s not reality.

Da da da … the Love Triangle

Why? Why are there always 2 guys fighting over the girl or two girls fighting over the guy?  I admit, when I was in high school, there were a couple of really pretty girls that the guys were tripping over, but for the most of us, that’s not reality, either. Most of us were lucky to get one person to look at us, much less have two or more vying for our attention.  Again, I think it’s an attempt by authors to give that fantasy, that HEA, to the readers, but it’s such an overused theme in YA that I’ve grown tired of it.  Where I think the love triangle worked really well is also in the Hunger Games series. I think it works because the guys aren’t ‘love struck’ over Katniss. They see her for what she is, for her strengths and weaknesses. They don’t swoon and they don’t get jealous over each other, not like Edward and Jake in the Twilight series did. And Katniss didn’t want any part of the affection game. There wasn’t time to think about it. She loved Peeta and Gale but they weren’t the focus of her life.  I liked that we knew how everyone felt, but it wasn’t the focus of the story.

The flooding of the market with similar stories

Why? What is it when one book comes out and makes millions do others of the same genre all of a sudden swarm and land on the shelves? Remember when Twilight was big, the whole world was suddenly inundated with vampire and werewolf stories. It was as if the publishing gurus opened up the floodgates and unleashed the madness, hoping that one of their authors would find the same niche that Stephenie Meyer did. Vampire Diaries. Vampire Academy. Marked (which had its own issues).  There were so many. It’s almost like it was planned. Give me something different.

Authors trying to talk the teen talk

I hate this. Authors trying to write like they think teen characters talk. Tahereh Mafi did it well in her SHATTER ME series. Cast & Cast, the authors of MARKED, did not. Then again, that’s my opinion. I know MARKED was really popular so maybe I’m missing something, but seriously, what teen uses the word ‘poopie’?

Inconsistent plot lines

This happens in all writing, but it seems to be really prevalent in YA. I hate it when it’s summer in Chapter 3, but winter in Chapter 4, and apparently we are supposed to understand that 6 months passed somewhere. As an author, I understand how hard it is to keep up with the whens and wheres and hows, but as authors, we need to make sure we nip these things in the bud, because readers, especially YA readers, pick up on them and they don’t like inconsistencies.

The “I” factor

I used to hate books written in 1st person. I mean, it really drove me nuts. I used to think it was so self-centered. I liked this. I like him. I had this for dinner. I don’t like that girl. I’m so unloved. I, I  I. Me, me, me. Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand that teens are very self-oriented, but come on.  Even the brightest teen knows the world doesn’t revolve around him or her, right?   Right?

Over-explanation in series books

Have you ever read a second book in a series and it recaps everything from book 1? Ugh. Stop it. I get there might be a year or more between books, but hey, if you’re waiting on the edge of your seat for book 2, then re-read book one before book 2 comes out. The author shouldn’t have to recap the storyline for the reader, and yet so many do.  Harry Potter books transitioned beautifully.  The Divergent series could have had a few lines in the beginning to transition between stories, but the jolt of hitting the ground running in books 2 and 3 actually worked well with story.  The Lunar Chronicles is another one that had amazing transitions between stories.

The lack of parents or adults

What is this all about? I understand that the teens in YA are the center focus. They have a challenge they need to overcome, but does that mean parents or adults can’t help them? So many times, I’ve read books where the adult figures are absent or don’t have significant roles in the teen’s life. That’s simply not true, and I think it’s why Harry Potter resonated so much with young people. Harry may have lost his parents, but he was surrounded by adults who cared about him, and helped him grow and achieve his end.

Cliched characters

Why are girl protags in contemporary fiction always petite, brunette, giddy,  white, who think they’re ugly or have low self-esteem?  Good grief. What was that old 80s saying? Gag me with a spoon. You want a story about someone with low self-esteem? Pick up a book about the heavy girl who never gets picked for basketball, or the buck-toothed nerdy boy with a heart of gold but no one can get past his looks.  Maybe these books are out there, but they are few and far between. We need to have a lot more diversity in YA. We need the HEA for the over-weight girl with the funny personality who winds up with the jock football player.  We need more characters who are normal find their happy endings. I think that’s one reason I like fantasy, because the characters are unique and different, and they don’t fit into a certain mold. The characters have to look past appearances and focus on the character.  I am glad to see more diversity showing up in YA, but there needs to be more.  Any authors out there up for the challenge?

I hope you’ve enjoyed my likes and dislikes about YA, and instead of nominating only 10 bloggers, I’m going to throw it up for grabs to anyone who wants to participate in the love-hate challenge. All I ask is that you link back to my blog so I can read your posts.

10 Things I love about YA


About two months ago, fellow blogger/author, C.B. Wentworth, tagged me in the Love-Hate Challenge.  The rules of the Love-Hate Challenge are simple:

  • Make a list of 10 things you love
  • Make a list of 10 things you hate
  • Nominate ten bloggers

As a YA author and avid YA reader, I thought I’d tailor this challenge to what I love and hate about YA lit.  Well, maybe ‘hate’ is too strong a word. Let’s go with ‘not too fond of’. Yeah. That sounds better.

Ok, so here we go. Ten things I love about Y.A. lit.:

  1. I know it sounds weird, but there’s a part of me that loves reliving those teen years, when every emotion is dangling on some sort of precipice, where every turn in life beckons you to walk through an open door filled with immeasurable opportunities. I love reading about characters who are trying to figure out who they are and where they belong while battling life and conquering the struggles and adversities thrown at them. Some of them are absolutely heartbreaking. I love seeing young characters fight for their beliefs, to prove to others they can think for themselves while displaying amazing resilience and courage.
  1. YA touches upon timeless, universal issues that teens around the world go through. First love, first crush, heartache, family issues, challenging authority. It’s a way for all young readers to ‘connect’ on an emotional level. The themes resonate among young and old alike.
  1. When we are seventeen, we are invincible. There seems to always be hope, a way out; a way in. The characters always find a way to resolve whatever problem gets in their path. Teens love being able to read about people like them, facing unbelievable odds, kick some serious butt and win without the over-protectiveness of an adult. They like believing they can think for themselves, do for themselves. They find an emotional freedom they may not have in ‘real life’.

  1. Teens feel inspired by YA. Who didn’t love Augustus Waters in The Fault in Our Stars, and who didn’t weep with joy and sadness as we took his journey? He was an amazing book boyfriend, the kind of guy a lot of girls would love to have: witty, charming, loving, and above all, sacrificing.

  1. YA engages teen readers. I’ve known lots of adults who have given their kids books to read like Of Mice and Men (which is an awesome book), or The Great Gatsby, but they don’t resonate with teens. Give them some HUNGER GAMES, or ALL THE RIGHT PLACES, or MOSQUITOLAND, and they’re hooked. These stories are about them, their lives, their friends. It’s a private world where grown-ups aren’t allowed, a place only teens can understand. A place where they are not judged for who they are.
  1. YA is diverse. It can span every genre you can think of. You want fantasy, you’ve got it. LGBT? It’s starting to hit the shelves. Contemporary, dystopian, political … there is no one right book to read, and they have huge followings, so you can easily connect with other fans via social media to talk up your fave book.
  1. As a YA author, I love finding that teen in me that wanted to do so much but didn’t because I grew up in a military family and I was always terrified to buck the horse. This way, I can break the rules. Have fun. Be crazy. The world is mine in YA world, and I am only limited by my imagination as to what my characters can and will do. It’s pretty liberating.

meme - a great book

  1. Good YA spurs passion, excitement. Remember when Harry Potter first hit the scene? Word of mouth was nuts. Now they are classics in every sense of the word, and the staying power is phenomenal. Readers, old and young, adored these books. They talked about them, dressed like the characters. They had Harry Potter parties. They stood in line for hours to get the books, and are still spending money like crazy at the Orlando theme park, as if somehow going there is the same as going to the real Hogwarts or Diagon Alley. J.K. Rowling hit every level of every author’s dream. I can only imagine how it would feel to have this incredibly, loyal fan base.
  1. Good YA books spawn movies. This can be a great thing, like in the Harry Potter franchise or Hunger Games, Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars, etc. It can be a bad thing, too, such as Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones. There is so much detail and world-building in her Mortal Instrument series that the movie didn’t do it justice, in my opinion. A multi-season tv show would have been better. Nonetheless, movies bring YA books to life, and allow those who don’t read the opportunity to experience the YA world. I know my husband was totally pissed over the storyline in the Hunger Games. All I could say was the books were so much better.

  1. YA lit is teen ‘glue’. It doesn’t matter what background teens are from, with YA lit, the stories bond teens from all over the world. They all can live safely in the same stories without fear. Who didn’t know where Number 4 Privet Drive was? Readers from around the world all wanted to step onto Platform 9 and ¾ and take that train to Hogwarts. It didn’t matter if the reader lived in rural America, the wilds in Africa, or a home of the rich and famous. Every teen, every YA fan, took those journeys with Harry and his friends. We found a commonality despite our political beliefs, our personal persuasions, or sometimes radical differences. Good YA doesn’t care if its readers are rich or poor, black or white, young or old. It does remind us, however, that we are all the same underneath. We are all human, with the same emotions, the same fears, the same struggles, and our community is vast. Through YA lit, teens realize they are not alone, no matter how much they may feel they are. Oh, and parents? Reading YA can also be a great way for kids and parents to open dialog. Parents, find out what your kids are reading and read it, too. Start a conversation that doesn’t revolve around homework, messy bedrooms, and curfews. Experience YA. Discover your child. Get involved. Bond.

Tomorrow I’ll let you in on what I don’t care for in YA.  I hope you tune in.

#Month9Books reveals its Fall books preview!


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Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!

This week, we are sharing the

Month9Books Fall Books Preview!

Check out these amazing titles coming from Month9Books this Fall!.
They look amazing!

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

SerpentineEbook

SERPENTINE is a sweeping fantasy set in the ancient Kingdom of Xia and inspired by the rich history of Chinese mythology.

Lush with details from Chinese folklore, SERPENTINE tells the coming of age story of Skybright, a young girl who worries about her growing otherness. As she turns sixteen, Skybright notices troubling changes. By day, she is a companion and handmaid to the youngest daughter of a very wealthy family. But nighttime brings with it a darkness that not even daybreak can quell.

When her plight can no longer be denied, Skybright learns that despite a dark destiny, she must struggle to retain her sense of self – even as she falls in love for the first time.

“Vivid worldbuilding, incendiary romance, heart-pounding action, and characters that will win you over–I highly recommend Serpentine.” Cinda Williams Chima, best-selling author of the Seven Realms and Heir Chronicles fantasy novels

“Serpentine is unique and surprising, with a beautifully-drawn fantasy world that sucked me right in! I love Skybright’s transformative power, and how she learns to take charge of it.” ~Kristin Cashore, NYT Bestseller of the Graceling Realm Series

“Serpentine’s world oozes with lush details and rich lore, and the characters crackle with life. This is one story that you’ll want to lose yourself in.” ~ Marie Lu, New York Times bestselling author of Legend and The Young Elites

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About-the-Author

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Cindy Pon is the author of Silver Phoenix (Greenwillow, 2009), which was named one of the Top Ten Fantasy and Science Fiction Books for Youth by the American Library Association’s Booklist, and one of 2009′s best Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror by VOYA. The sequel to Silver Phoenix, titled Fury of the Phoenix, was released in April 2011. Serpentine, the first title in her next Xia duology, will be published by Month9Books in September 2015. She is the co-founder of Diversity in YA with Malinda Lo and on the advisory board of We Need Diverse Books. Cindy is also a Chinese brush painting student of over a decade. Visit her website at www.cindypon.com.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook |Tumblr| Goodreads

Nameless_450x675

Four clans have been at war for centuries: the Kodiak, the Raven, the Wolf and the Ram. Through brutal war tactics, the Ram have dominated the region, inflicting death and destruction on their neighbors.

Seventeen-year-old Zo is a Wolf and a Healer who volunteers to infiltrate the Ram as a spy on behalf of the allied clans. She offers herself as a Ram slave, joining the people who are called the “nameless.” Hers is a suicide mission – Zo’s despair after losing her parents in a Ram raid has left her seeking both revenge and an end to her own misery. But after her younger sister follows her into Rams Gate, Zo must find a way to survive her dangerous mission and keep her sister safe.

What she doesn’t expect to find is the friendship of a young Ram whose life she saves, the confusing feelings she develops for a Ram soldier, and an underground nameless insurrection. Zo learns that revenge, loyalty and love are more complicated than she ever imagined in the first installment of this two-book series.

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Jenkins brings edge-of-your-seat adventure to this intriguing new world. I can’t wait to read more!”~ New York Times bestselling author Jessica Day George

Wow….WOW, WOW, WOW! I have no words to describe how much I love this book. Jenkins writes characters who are just so easy to love, and when you love a character it makes the book so much better. And I loved all the characters. Zo, Tess, Joshua and Gryphon. Gryphon is definitely my favorite – but who wouldn’t love Gryphon? Of course I do have a soft spot for our heroine, Zo.” ~Bri, Blogger @ Once Upon A Twilight

Nameless destroyed me in the best way possible. The romance was subtle, but written beautifully. The plot was very intriguing and the pacing was spot on. I loved the entire cast of characters, every single one of them added to the story. Trust me when I say you should preorder it, add it to your TBR, request it from your library, do whatever you have to do to get this book in your hands because if you are a YA fantasy fan like me you need this book in your life!” ~Bridget, Blogger @ Dark Faerie Tales

NAMELESS is epic storytelling at its best. My mind is still reeling from the world that I have just been immersed in and I don’t want to leave it. Can I please have the sequel NOW? Because I need to know what happens next but in the meantime I’m just going to re-read it again and again. Is it that good, you may ask? Hell yes!!! And you will think so too. Trust me.” Nancy, Blogger @ Tales of A Ravenous Reader

To say that I love this book is an understatement. It completely blew me away! I am so happy that I took a chance on it. NAMELESS is one book that you can re-read over and over again and it will still feel fresh! I cannot wait for the world to read it and fall under the NAMELESS spell. Because that’s what I feel like I am under, a spell that has me trapped in Zo’s world and won’t let me out! I don’t want out!“~Damaris, Blogger @ Good Choice Reading

About-the-Author

Jennifer Jenkins

With her degree in History and Secondary Education, Jennifer had every intention of teaching teens to love George Washington and appreciate the finer points of ancient battle stratagem. (Seriously, she’s obsessed with ancient warfare.) However, life had different plans in store when the writing began. As a proud member of Writers Cubed, and a co-founder of the Teen Author Boot Camp, she feels blessed to be able to fulfill both her ambition to work with teens as well as write Young Adult fiction.

Jennifer has three children who are experts at naming her characters, one loving, supportive husband, a dog with little-man syndrome, and three chickens (of whom she is secretly afraid).

Visit her online at jajenkins.com


Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest |Instagram

Minotaur.v3

“Where shall I start?” asked Minotaur.

Ovid made an expansive gesture with both hands. “Where else but the beginning of course.”

Minotaur nodded his huge head. “Yes,” he said. “Yes,” his eyes already glazing over with the weight of thousand year old memories. And then he began.

So begins the story of Asterion, later known as Minotaur, the supposed half bull creature of Greek legend. Recorded by the famous Roman poet, Ovid, Asterion tells of his boyhood in Crete under the cruel hand of his stepfather Minos, his adventures with his friend, Theseus, and his growing love for the beautiful Phaedra.And of course what really happened in the labyrinth.

This is the true story of the Minotaur.

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Lovers of mythology will enjoy this coming-of-age adventure and be surprised by the believable, “true story” of the Minotaur.”~ School Library Journal

About-the-Author

Phillip W Simpson

Phillip W. Simpson is the author of many novels, chapter books and other stories for children. His publishers include Macmillan, Penguin, Pearson, Cengage, Raintree and Oxford University Press.
He received both his undergraduate degree in Ancient History and Archaeology and his Masters (Hons) degree in Archaeology from the University of Auckland.
Before embarking on his writing career, he joined the army as an officer cadet, owned a comic shop and worked in recruitment in both the UK and Australia.
His first young adult novel, Rapture (Rapture Trilogy #1), was shortlisted for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards for best Youth novel in 2012.

He is represented by Vicki Marsdon at Wordlink literary agency.

When not writing, he works as a school teacher.
Phillip lives and writes in Auckland, New Zealand with his wife Rose, their son, Jack and their two border terriers, Whiskey and Raffles. He loves fishing, reading, movies, football (soccer) and single malt Whiskeys.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

Giveaway

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Chapter One Reveal for Nameless by Jennifer Jenkins with Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals


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Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!

This week, we are revealing CHAPTER ONE of

Nameless by Jennifer Jenkins

presented byMonth9Books!

NAMELESS is in development for film by Benderspink! That’s the same company who optioned Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen and produced the
I AM NUMBER FOUR film!

Jennifer is also one of the co-founders of Teen Author Boot Camp, and works with amazing authors like James Dashner and Brandon Sanderson to help teens master the craft or writing.

New York Times bestselling author Jessica Day George read NAMELESS and loved it!:

“Jenkins brings edge-of-your-seat adventure to this intriguing new world. I can’t wait to read more!”

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

Nameless_450x675

Four clans have been at war for centuries: the Kodiak, the Raven, the Wolf and the Ram. Through brutal war tactics, the Ram have dominated the region, inflicting death and destruction on their neighbors.

Seventeen-year-old Zo is a Wolf and a Healer who volunteers to infiltrate the Ram as a spy on behalf of the allied clans. She offers herself as a Ram slave, joining the people who are called the “nameless.” Hers is a suicide mission – Zo’s despair after losing her parents in a Ram raid has left her seeking both revenge and an end to her own misery. But after her younger sister follows her into Rams Gate, Zo must find a way to survive her dangerous mission and keep her sister safe.

What she doesn’t expect to find is the friendship of a young Ram whose life she saves, the confusing feelings she develops for a Ram soldier, and an underground nameless insurrection. Zo learns that revenge, loyalty and love are more complicated than she ever imagined in the first installment of this two-book series.

add to goodreads

Pre-order Links:

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excerpt

Chapter 1

Zo couldn’t remember a time when she didn’t fear the Ram.
Even after the raid, when so much of her fear had turned
to hate, the fear still existed beneath. It was a foundation that
she came to rely upon. A constant.

Sleeping under a fir tree so close to Ram’s Gate went
against her very nature. While her body revolted, she couldn’t
think of a more appropriate place to be. Zo choked down the
beastly fear clawing its way up her throat and smiled like this
was just another assignment. “It’s time, Gabe.”

Her guard, Gabe, rested on soggy pine needles beside her.
His hands were tucked behind his shaggy blond head, eyes
closed in feigned sleep. He used to lay like that, with his arms
arrogantly thrown back and his chest puffed out like he owned
the world, when they were kids. The river would rush by
carrying rumors of starving clans and battles lost—heartache
that pulled tight strings of tension throughout Zo’s body—
while Gabe just laid back and chewed on a grass root.

Today, Gabe’s pretend-sleep didn’t fool Zo any more than
it ever had. They both knew he hadn’t slept soundly since
they’d left the Allied Camp a week ago. With eyes still closed,
Gabe frowned as Zo left the protection of his side to bundle her
bedroll. She crawled out from under the skirt of the enormous
fir tree. Its sweeping limbs that kissed the uneven ground had
kept them as safe as one could be in this godforsaken region.
Behind her, Gabe growled impatiently as he gathered his
things to follow.

“There’s no need to rush this.” He pushed the branch aside
and threw out his pack with more force than necessary. Zo
flinched, not used to seeing her childhood friend angry.

“You didn’t wake me for my watch again,” said Zo,
unsurprised. Ever since they’d left the Allies, Gabe had been
insanely overprotective.

“You need your sleep.”

“And you don’t?”

Gabe sighed and scooped a blob of mud from the newly
thawed earth. He frowned and smeared it along the curved
planes of Zo’s face and neck. The cool mud felt surprisingly
comforting, but it could have just been Gabe’s touch. His
capable hands shook while lines of worry deepened across his
brow.

“This won’t work.” He stopped and cupped his muddy
hand at the base of her neck, his blue eyes pleading. “You’re
too pretty. A little mud can’t change that.”

Zo yanked on the sleeve of her shirt until the seam split then
ripped and frayed the cuff of her pant legs. Young, unarmed
women just didn’t go on casual strolls through the perilous
hills of the Ram. Commander Laden said she needed to look
desperate if she wanted them to believe her story. Her lie.

As if looking desperate is hard, Zo thought.

Gabe stood a full head taller than Zo. Despite his large
frame, he could outrun a jackrabbit and his mind was just as
quick. A valuable weapon for the Allies. But with all of his
abilities, he was not the one walking into the lion’s den this
morning.

He untwisted the strap of Zo’s medical satchel and let out a
long breath before dropping his hands to his sides.

“I’ll miss you,” said Zo. Her voice carried the mechanical
cadence she’d adopted several years ago. A small part of her—
the part that wasn’t dead—hated disappointing Gabe. He’d
done so much for her and her little sister, Tess, since they’d
journeyed from the Valley of Wolves to live with Commander
Laden and the Allies.

Thinking of her wild, eight-year-old sister brought a
temporary smile to Zo’s muddied face. She couldn’t think of
Tess and not imagine her tromping through the forest trying
to catch squirrels and sneak up on rabbits. It was her second
favorite thing to do, next to following Zo around the Allied
Camp. The little tick wouldn’t take her absence well. Zo had
left a note and arranged for her care, but that didn’t mean the
kid wouldn’t be furious.

Gabe pressed his cold hands to Zo’s face and forced her to
look at him. “Come back with me, Zo. Let Commander Laden
send someone else. Someone with less to lose.”
“We’re not doing this again.” Zo pulled away. She had
begged for this mission, and she would see it through. No
matter what the cost. The Allies desperately needed information
that only she could provide, if they hoped to defeat the most
powerful military force in the region.

Gabe’s hands curled into fists. His voice rose to carry over
the wind that whipped his unruly hair. “Entering Ram’s Gate
is suicide! We don’t even know if you can get the information
Laden’s after.”

The truth was far worse than Gabe could possibly know.
He hadn’t heard what life would be like inside the Gate. They
would eventually discover her, and once they did, they’d kill
her. Plain and simple.

There were worse things a person could endure.

She’d do anything for the Cause.

“Goodbye, Gabe.” She kissed his frozen, whiskered cheek.

His hand clamped down on Zo’s wrist and he yanked her
into a fierce embrace. “I’ll be close, waiting to help you escape
the minute you send word.” He smoothed down her wild, dark
hair. “I’ll find a way to keep you safe, Zo. I swear it.”
Zo forced a hollow smile, for Gabe’s sake. “Look after
Tess. Tell her I’m doing this for her. Tell her I’m doing it for
our parents.”

She left Gabe standing frozen in the low light of morning.
After a hard climb, Zo reached the towering wall of Ram’s
Gate. The wall was comprised of redwood logs at least four
feet in diameter and fifty feet tall, bound together with heavy
rope and shaved to a point at the top. Black tar and broken
glass glimmered along the high rim of the wall to discourage
clans foolish enough to attack, and souls brave enough to dare
escape.

Zo looked right and left and saw no end to the wall through
the thick maze of aspen and evergreens. From her training with
Commander Laden, she knew the giant wall ran for miles in
each direction until it reached the cliffs that dropped off to the
freezing ocean below. Inside the wall were hundreds of acres
of farmlands, mountainous forests, and enough homes to house
thousands of Ram and the slaves they called “Nameless.”
Calmer than a sane person should be, Zo dropped to her
knees in the shadow of the ominous wall. Knowing these
might be the last free moments of her life, she allowed herself
to think about things that were normally buried deep within
her. The memory of her mother’s soft skin. The safety of her
father’s smile. Tess’ dimples and her eagerness to please,
despite her stubborn ways.

The moment was as sweet as it was brief. But it was hers.
Deep-voiced drums boomed and the enormous gate rose
inch by inch. Men shouted orders and whips cracked. Through
the gap of the slow-rising gate she saw at least forty men in
tattered animal hides with harnesses on their backs. They
slipped through mud while struggling to turn a giant wheel
connected to a thick chain to raise the gate.

The Nameless. The Ram had kept slaves for hundreds of
years, some were captured, others came willingly, while most
were born into the lowly title.

Instinct told her to run, but fear and determination kept her
frozen in place. She locked the people she loved back into the
cage that was her heart and prepared to face her enemy.
Zo pressed her nose into the icy mud in a show of
submission. The drums ceased and the silence echoed in her
chest like a painful heartbeat.

The metal of short swords clinked against armor as men
approached. She peeked up to sight of a bald leader walking
ahead of a wall of six soldiers. His cold eyes seemed too big
for his head, protuberant like those of a frog.

“Get up,” the leader commanded.

Zo climbed to her feet but kept her gaze focused on the
man’s fur-lined boots.

“State your name and clan,” he ordered.

“I am from the family Shaw of the Kodiak Clan,” Zo said,
hoping her accent would pass. The Ram had raided one of the
Kodiak settlements a few weeks earlier. Many of the women
and children whose husbands had died in the raid would
come to the Gate, choosing to offer themselves as slaves over
watching their children starve to death.

The leader circled her. “Age?”

“Seventeen.”

A few of the guards in the line exchanged words. One
laughed under his breath.

“You’re too thin to claim the Kodiak as your clan. Your
jaw is more square than round.”

The sound of a young girl’s scream saved Zo from having
to answer.

“Let me go! You’re hurting me!” the girl cried.

Zo froze. It couldn’t be …

A guard dressed in full armor carried the kicking child up
the muddy hill and dropped her at the bald leader’s feet.
Zo’s whole body went rigid as her eight-year-old sister,
Tess, scrambled up to hug her. “I’m so sorry,” Tess cried. She
must have secretly followed them from the Allies, though how
she survived the dangerous journey unnoticed was beyond Zo.

“Tess, I thought I’d lost you,” Zo stammered. She hoped
her shock registered as relief instead of panic. “Don’t say a
word,” Zo whispered in her ear as they embraced.

“Who is this child?” the frog-eyed leader asked.

“She is my sister, sir. We were separated. She found me.”

“Clearly.” He circled the girls once more then reached out
and grabbed Zo by the throat, forcing her to the ground on her
back. His lips brushed her cheek as he spoke. “How do I know
you’re not a stinking Wolf? That you’re not feeding me some
story?” His breath reeked of stale cabbage and rotten sausage.
Zo’s heels dug small trenches in the mud as she struggled
against the hand tightening around her throat. Black dots
invaded her vision.

The leader smiled and licked his lips as if she were his next
meal. “We don’t allow Wolves through the Gate.” A string of
spittle escaped his lips and landed on her cheek. “Ever.” He
released his grip and Zo gasped for air.

Tess rushed to Zo’s side, her eyes wet with tears.

“With all of the clans mixing, it’s getting harder and harder
to sort the wheat from the tares. I can’t take any chances …

” He shrugged and nodded to his guard. The men moved in,
pulling the sisters apart. Tess let out a shrill cry. A guard struck
her tiny cheek.

“Please!” Zo fought against firm hands digging into her
arms. “I come from three generations of healers. My sister is
learning too. We beg the mercy of the Ram, and pledge our
lives to your service!”

The Gate Master held up a hand, and his men threw Zo to
the ground. His round, glassy eyes stayed fixed on her as he
grunted a soft command to one of his men. The soldier nodded,
bowed, and ran back through the Gate.

“A healer, you say?” The corner of his lip pulled up to
reveal rotting teeth as he smiled. “We’ll see about that.”

about-the-author

©NicholeV Photography, LLC 2008. http://actions.nicholeV.com. This work is registered and protected under US and international copyright laws. Any violation of this copyright will be diligently prosecuted.

©NicholeV Photography, LLC 2008. http://actions.nicholeV.com. This work is registered and protected under US and international copyright laws. Any violation of this copyright will be diligently prosecuted.

With her degree in History and Secondary Education, Jennifer had every intention of teaching teens to love George Washington and appreciate the finer points of ancient battle stratagem. (Seriously, she’s obsessed with ancient warfare.) However, life had different plans in store when the writing began. As a proud member of Writers Cubed, and a co-founder of the Teen Author Boot Camp, she feels blessed to be able to fulfill both her ambition to work with teens as well as write Young Adult fiction.

Jennifer has three children who are experts at naming her characters, one loving, supportive husband, a dog with little-man syndrome, and three chickens (of whom she is secretly afraid).

Visit her online at jajenkins.com

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram

Giveaway

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We have a winner!!


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A couple of weeks ago I posted a review of Grammarly and offered up a free, six-month premium membership to one lucky winner.  Well, today, I get to announce that winner and it is … (drum roll please)…

 

JENNIFER M. EATON!!

Whoo Hoo!!  Congratulations, Jennifer!!  Your email has been forwarded to Grammarly so be on the lookout for an email from them.

Thank you all for participating!  Be sure to stay tuned in because there will be more giveaways coming soon!!

 

CROSSING THE LINE


My SweetSixteens and 16ToRead author mate, Meghan Rogers, has a new book coming out in Winter 2016, and boy does it look fantastic!  Check out this amazing cover for CROSSING THE LINE, the first novel in The Raven Files series.

Even if I didn’t have a blurb for this I would still soooo want to read it. I mean, come on!  There’s a helicopter, a chick wearing gloves and a hoodie perched on a building. It just screams spytastic!!

Good for us, I do have a blurb.  Check it out:

When Jocelyn Steely was kidnaped by a North Korean spy agency, she was only a little girl. Young. Scared. Powerless.

But when she makes it to US soil, she finds that not everyone believes her story. Will she be able to get the Americans to trust her? Or will the North Koreans discover her deception before she has a chance?

The first novel in the Raven Files will leave you breathless.

***

Are you breathless?  I know I am.  Wow. This book is going to be one heart-stopping, wild ride adventure, so make sure you add it to your TBR list today!! And don’t forget to tell your friends because this is going to be a fantastic book you’re going to want to have.

And now that I’ve introduced you to the book cover, why not head on over to Meghan’s hang out spots on-line and introduce yourself. Tell her how much you love that cover and can’t wait to read her book. Oh, and tell her I sent you.

Twitter         Facebook       Instagram     Tumblr     Pinterest     Website

Oh, and don’t forget to add to your Goodreads TBR list!!

2949390

SUFFER LOVE – a cover reveal


Everyone who knows anything about me knows that I’m a cover whore.  I will buy a book just for its cover, I tell you no lie.

Ashley Herring Blake, author of YA contemporary SUFFER LOVE, revealed her lovely cover to the world on July 6 with help from Jen over at Pop!Goes the Reader. It is no surprise Ashley’s cover made such an internet splash because the colors and the star and the promise of love are all so very swoon-worthy. All the gals at Sixteen to Read have been drooling over this YA debut for some time and can’t wait for her ARCs to start circulating. And, turns out? We don’t have to! The Advanced Reader Copies will begin to circulate next week. Yay! Stay tuned for all the ravings about this gorgeous love story!

Ashley’s cover appears below. Be warned. It’s GORG! And check out Pop!Goes the Reader (http://www.popgoesthereader.com/cover-reveal/cover-reveal-suffer-love-by-ashley-herring-blake/) for a full interview with the author.

Then add SUFFER LOVE (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23197843-suffer-love?ac=1) to your gotta-have-it-now Goodreads pile.

SUFFER LOVE

And they call it puppy love – a Dalmatian love story


My husband came home from work one day and told me that a friend had a Dalmatian he could no longer take care of. My husband asked me if I knew anyone who was interested. Was he serious? I laughed. “Duh,” I said. “Do I look like chopped liver?”

I don’t know what I was thinking. After all, I was in my forties and had just started pre-menopause. My husband and I worked full-time jobs. We had four kids spanning elementary, middle and high school, two dogs, three cats, a cockatiel, a miniature blue rabbit, two ferrets, a hamster, a four-foot iguana, a small decorative fish pond, a 150-gallon saltwater tank and a fifty-gallon freshwater tank with Oscars. We were stretched thin with all the vet visits, the kitty boxes, the dog walks, homework, cooking and laundry. The last thing we needed was another mouth to feed. But my husband and I agreed to think about it over the spur-of-the-moment weekend vacation at Disney World with the kids.

During the hour and a half drive to Orlando, we saw signs from God and the universe. There were billboards featuring Dalmatians. We followed behind a car with a Dalmatian in the back seat. We saw Dalmatian bumper stickers, but the kicker came when we tried to check into the All-Star Music Resort and found out they had no more rooms available; however, they did have rooms available at the All-Star Movies Resort in the 101 Dalmatians section.

Talk about destiny.

My husband and I knew then what our answer was, and on our way home, we swung by the house of my husband’s friend and adopted Baby into our home.

From day one, she was the best dog I ever had. She was full of life, energetic, full of expression and personality. She followed me around like a shadow and she loved to cuddle. She was a beautiful dog, one brown eye, one blue, and she was covered in spots. Baby wasn’t “show” quality, but she was perfect for our family.

For two years, she led a spoiled-rotten life. Before we adopted her, she lived outside, chasing squirrels, barking, not getting much attention. With us, she curled up at our feet, slept in our bed, enjoyed the dog park, played in the surf at the beach, and lived a blissful, happy life inside in the cool air-conditioning, out of the hot Florida sun.

Then, one day, I got a call from my husband while I was at work. Something was wrong with Baby—something terribly wrong. I was perplexed. She’d just been to the vet, and he gave her a clean bill of health. By the time I got home, she was lying in the hallway, unable to lift her head or move. Her tongue hung out of her mouth. My husband and I lifted her into the van and drove her to the emergency vet, a five-minute ride from our house. I ran inside to get a tech, but by the time I returned to the van with a gurney, Baby crossed the Rainbow Bridge while being held in my husband’s loving arms.

At the time, I hadn’t experienced so much hurt since my father passed away two weeks before my twelfth birthday. It felt as if my heart had been yanked from my chest and no matter what I did, the tears kept coming. We managed to go back home without her, my sweet Baby, but then we had to face the next hurdle. We had to tell the kids. There was nothing that could prepare us for the loss of a family member. We sat around, hugging each other and sobbing. Our Baby was gone, and an incredible emptiness settled inside our home.

I went to work the next day, my eyes swollen and red, and I still couldn’t stop the tears. My friends were supportive, but there were others in the office who didn’t understand. “She’s crying over a dog?” I heard someone say.

No. Baby was more than a dog. She was my sweetheart, a soul mate in her own right. She gave me and my family unconditional love. The vet said she died from a ruptured spleen, but it didn’t matter. All I could think was that I’d never see her face, kiss her cold nose, hear her bark, or watch her run and romp in the waves. Who was going to curl up at my feet when I read, or lay her head in my lap when I was sad?

She was so young. Only six. My age, in dog years. My own mortality sank in.

It’s been twelve years since Baby passed away. Since then, most of our other pets have passed on, too. I am not looking forward to my dogs or cats dying, but they are getting older, like me, and I know it’s inevitable. And while it makes me sad to think of losing these precious creatures in my life, it soothes my soul to know that Baby will be there, waiting for them on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge, ready to romp and play. And when my time comes, I know she’ll be there waiting for me, too, alongside my mom, my dad and all my other critters. I couldn’t ask for a better welcoming committee.

Baby - February 2001