Thursday, May 30, 2013

Witchling by Ari Harper





Title: Witchling
Author: Ari Harper
Series: Curse of Kin
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Publisher: Lycaon Press
Release Date: November 30 2012








Blurb/Synopsis


Nera is a normal teenage girl living in Ireland, or so she thought until she discovers the family secret.. Now her world is forever changed.

Descended from a long line of witches, she discovers is the one who has to stop the curse that has taken the life of every girl before her.
And if that isn't enough, she must learn to use magic from the man called Bones. He is the son of Mari, Queen of the Witches...and a god. It is Bones who has been entrusted to teach her the skills she needs to stay alive, which wouldn't be so bad if he didn't have an uncanny knack for pushing her buttons.
Can Nera succeed and resist the charms of the man who gets under her skin at every opportunity?

Book Links


Author Bio 

Ari  Harper never wanted to grow up.
To offset the limitations of growing old ungracefully, she created her own set of unique worlds where she can be and do whatever she wants. God, demons and witches surround Ari while she spins her magic, mainly doing what they tell her to do.
She likes to work amongst chaos when given a choice, which is good because she is generally surrounded by children, all clamoring for attention. Some of them end up in her stories, some of them even get to die grisly deaths or be cast away to another realm.
Her favorite pet is a big black Labrador, Hugo. He stars as himself in the Curse of Kin series as Nera's faithful hound.

Media Links




Excerpt


"Witches did and still do exist. You know that wherever there is good there must also be evil to balance it out." He paused, took a deep breath, then continued. "That can take many forms, witches only being one of them. Not all witches are evil obviously, but Edrith O'Reilly was very evil. When Pria planned to elope with Edrith's youngest son, she placed a curse on them. She cursed me, and she cursed her own son. I know this is a lot to take in, Nera, but what I have told you is true. That is exactly what happened."
"Come on, Jasper. You really don't expect me, us, to believe this, do you?" It couldn't be true, yet parts of his story were settling into my heart and mind already, as if the words had been waiting to find a resting place within me.
"Yes, girl dear, I do," Jasper replied, gazing at me. "How did your daughter die, Jasper?" Sully asked, obviously remembering the other dream that I had constantly.
"Edrith slit her throat with a sword, Sully."
I felt the bile rise in my own throat and pressed my hand to my mouth in an effort to stop it. Breathe, I told myself, just breathe. I squeezed my eyes tight and fought for control. I could feel a hand on my knee, and when I looked up, Jasper was kneeling on the floor in front of me, his gaze full of pain.
"Was that the other dream you were having?" His beautiful blue eyes were shadowed and troubled.
I nodded my head. The words stuck in my mind, the bile forcing its way up my throat. I pushed past him and ran for the downstairs bathroom in the hallway. I leaned over and retched into the bowl. I gripped onto the sides to stop myself from collapsing to the floor. My knees had gone weak, and cold sweat was running down my face. I couldn't control the shaking and was past caring. Neither my body nor my mind could accept what I had heard. It wasn't possible. How could it be that Jasper is 800 years old and I am reliving his daughter's death on a nightly basis? No, it is not possible.
There was a light tap on the door, and Brie tiptoed in with a damp cloth in her hands. Her mouth was set into a grim line. She watched me as I struggled to stand and then handed me the cloth. I leaned against the basin, unsteady on my feet. I wiped my face and hands and looked up at her, my gaze searching her face for any trace of sympathy.
"I'm really going crazy, aren't I?" I hung my head, suddenly not wanting to see the pity in her eyes.
"I don't think you are," she replied, her voice gentle. She ran her hand down my arm before I pulled away. "I think what Jasper is saying is true. Why don't you come back into the library and we can discuss it more."
"You're kidding, right," I scoffed at her, ignoring the shocked look on her face. "You don't seriously believe this stuff. Does he look that old to you?" I leaned on the basin until the ground stopped moving under my feet.
"No, he doesn't." Brie brushed her hair back from her face and then licked her lips at the reflection in the mirror over my shoulder. "But he said that was part of the curse, Nera. Just listen to him before you decide you're crazy and he is lying."
"Whatever." I threw the cloth into the sink and pushed past her out of the bathroom.
Jasper and Sully looked up when I stalked back into the room. Brie followed me and hurried to sit with Sully on the couch. I opted to stand beside the fireplace, my arms folded.
"I don't believe you," I said, knowing that with the hitch in my voice I didn't sound convincing. I was acting like a petulant bitch, but I couldn't help it. The way the day was shaping up called for my worst side to come out and play and I really didn't care.
"Before you make up your mind, there's more, Nera." He pursed his lips, then continued. "When there is a curse, there is always a way out of that curse. Each third generation since that time has had one female child that has the ability to break the spell. Not all have had the faith in themselves or believed in me enough to do so. Maybe their connection wasn't close enough," he shrugged. "I don't really know. But you are third generation. You are stronger than any other female that has come forward. Because of who you are, Nera, you are the one."
Jasper watched me closely while I tried to process the information that he had given me. I nibbled on my bottom lip and pulled at my hair. "What are you trying to tell me?" I asked him.
"When you were born, I knew who you were." A small smile hovered on his lips. "You were born with a caul, a part of the birthing membrane, on your head, and that makes you a Caulbearer, girl dear. In the world of magic, this marks the child as unique and powerful, usually with psychic gifts, like second sight and the ability to soul journey. But we can talk about that later."
"Does that mean Nera is a witch?" Brie asked, her eyes wide as she looked at me, her face lighting up.
"I guess that depends on your definition of a witch," Jasper replied. "I believe there are people in this world who have special abilities. Some call themselves witches, some don't. It's just the way you perceive something, I suppose."
"So what does she have to do with the whole curse thing, then?" Sully asked.
Jasper's gazed met mine before he answered. "She is the one that can stop the curse and let me die."
"Are you crazy, Jasper? How can you even think I would let you die?" I jumped to my feet, the horror of what he was saying slamming into me. I paused for a breath, the fear gripping my chest like a vice which made such a simple task difficult. It was too much for me. I turned and fled to the kitchen and threw open the door to the garden. I gulped down a breath of cool air and lurched over to a grassy patch and sank to the ground. Hugo walked over to me and licked my hand before sitting down in front of me, his soulful brown gaze on my face.
"Oh, Hugo, what is going on?" I cried, pushing my face into his fur. Cradling his head in my arms for comfort, I leaned against his huge body. I felt movement, and Brie and Sully sat down beside me. They reached out and wrapped their arms around me. Most of what Jasper had told us was hard to believe, but what if it was true? Parts of my brain screamed at me that it was possible, but parts still balked at the idea of witches, gods, and demons—especially so close to someone I loved.
"Do you believe what Jasper said?" Sully leaned forward. He picked a blade of grass and ran it through his fingers before looking at me again."Do you think it could be possible?"
"I really don't know." I sighed, rubbing the back of my hand over my face. "It seems so farfetched."
"But it could be true." Brie leaned her chin on my shoulder. "What if you really are what he says you are? I've always said there was something special about you. Everyone thinks so, not just Sully and me."
"Yeah, Connor thinks I'm special, so special he wants to grope me every time he sees me," I scoffed.
"Stop being so pigheaded. You know you have something that no one else has. Do you really think we would hang out with you if you were normal?" Brie joked. Her smile faded quickly when I looked at her, and she pulled away from me.
"I know you are trying to make me feel better, and I do appreciate it, I really do. But if this is even halfway true… It's so much to take in." Just pull yourself together, girl. This is getting you nowhere, tears over, deal with it.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My Review of Falling To Pieces by Amber Garza



I fell in love with Falling To Pieces.



Title:  falling to pieces
Author: Amber Garza
Release Date: March 25, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance

My Review

This was the first novel I’ve read by Amber Garza and won’t be the last. Falling To Pieces is a sweet story of how one little white lie can change the way people think about you or someone you care about.  It was a harmless lie at first, only one meant to protect, not to harm, but for Asher and Ivy, the consequences of what transpired could ruin their relationship before it even has a chance to begin.

I liked Ivy and Asher. They were just your average every day young adults trying to find their way in the world. I say young adult, but to me anyone under 30 is young adult. They were college age and they weren’t perfect, they weren’t special and they had their share of problems just like most young people have. They were just two young people who happened to live in the town right next to the one I live in, so I really enjoyed reading about some of the places and settings. Places and settings that I sometimes take for granted. It was nice of Amber to remind me what wonderful little towns there are around here.

The relationship between Asher and his mother wasn’t the greatest, but I suppose that was because of the lie. Asher had been away at college and was home for the summer, visiting his mom and brother, and that was part of the story that kept it real, the fact that she loved him and wanted what she thought was best for her son, and of course, he didn’t see it that way.

Amber knows how to keep the suspense flowing because we really don’t know what the lie is or why until very close to the end, which kept me turning the page because all the while, the story leading up to it is great. Falling To Pieces is a sweet contemporary love story with a touch of unfortunate realism that makes it very heartfelt.


 falling to pieces get 5 shinning stars from me so what are you waiting for? Go get your copy today! Available at Amazon in digital and print formats.

Monday, May 27, 2013

NEW COVERS FOR WHISPER CAPE AND REFLECTIONS

Just a minor change but a big improvement IMHO. 
Here are the new print covers for Whisper Cape and Reflections 
 



Both new covers are available now at 


Saturday, May 25, 2013

As You Wish Tours - Book Yours Today



As You Wish Tours
Owner:  Julia Hendrix
Co-Owners:  Len Phelps & Tina Donnelly
Website:  As You Wish Tours

Services Available for Authors
  • Cover Reveals
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    3. Cover Reveals
    a) Promotes New Book w/Cover
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    a) Promotes Newly Released Book
    b) Includes: Cover, Synopsis and/or Blurb,
    3-5 Excerpts, Author Photo, Bio, Author Links
    & Book Links

    5. Series/Trilogy Promo
    a) Promotes Series/Trilogy
    b) Includes: Cover, Synopsis, Blurb,
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    a) Promotes Book
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    a) Promotes Tour w/Schedule
    b) Includes: Banner, Schedule, Cover,
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    Thursday, May 23, 2013

    A GOODREADS GIVEAWAY - SIGNED COPIES OF REFLECTIONS ORIGINAL COVER


    I’m having a giveaway at Goodreads!!!! I have extra copies of the original cover of REFLECTIONS up for grabs.



    Goodreads Book Giveaway

    Reflections

    by Susan Griscom

    Giveaway ends June 07, 2013.
    See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
    Enter to win
    Can’t wait for the contest to end? I also have copies at a discount for sale for those who can't wait.  Brand new original covers, signed for only $6.00 each. Just follow this link and scroll to the third book down.



    Tuesday, May 21, 2013

    COVER REVEAL - PRINCE OF DARKNESS by Beth Ann Masarik


    Susans Wicked Writings is proud to present another awesome 



    Title:  Prince of Darkness (Book 1)
    Author:  Beth Ann Masarik
    Series:  The World Among Us
    Genre:  Mature YA/Urban Fantasy/Romance
    Publisher:  Hydra Publications
    Release Date:  Summer 2013 (exact date TBA)

    Blurb/Synopsis:

    Hades is hell-bent on taking over the world, but in order to do so, he has to remove his nemesis, Gaia from power.  But one thing stands in the way and she goes by the name of Selene.
    Cue Damien, son of Hades and Persephone.  He happens to be in love with Selene, and will stop at nothing to make sure that she is safe even though their love is forbidden.  Furious with his son’s treachery, Hades tricks Damien into killing the only woman that he has ever loved.  He does so by telling Damien that he will spend the rest of his eternal life in the Fields of Asphodel if he does not prove his loyalty.  Torn between his un-beating heart and his family, Damien does the only thing a true demon prince knows how: killing those closest to him.
    Will Damien follow through with his father’s evil scheme?  Or will he be banished to the Fields of Asphodel for his treachery?

    Beth Ann Masarik is a Young Adult author and writer, indie publisher, and youth advocate. She writes Young Adult fantasy and urban fantasy novels that are mostly about forbidden romance and have some sort of magical creatures in them. Her debut novel, The World Among Us: Prince of Darkness was first published with Otherworld Publications. Unfortunately, OWP closed on December 31, 2012, and the book is no longer available. However, she has signed with Hydra Publicawww.theworldamongussaga.com for more details on my publishing adventures.
    tions, and it will be released sometime in 2013.  You can visit her author website at www.bethannmasarik.com and the series website at

    As a youth advocate, she, along with her new husband, is one of the adult coordinators of the Our Lady of Fatima youth group that is supported by the current pastor and the parents of the kids in the group.

    In addition to writing, she also publishes a bi-monthly e-zine called Literary Lunes Magazine. It is offered as a free black and white e-copy and also offers a low-cost full colored paperback copy of each issue.  For more information, please visit the magazine website at www.literarylunespublications.com  

    Author Links



    Monday, May 20, 2013

    COVER REVEAL & GIVEAWAY - THE SEVENTH LAYER by Rachel A. Olson

    Susans Wicked Writings is proud to present another awesome 

    TITLE:  The Seventh Layer
    AUTHOR: Rachel A. Olson
    GENRE:  New Adult Scifi/Paranormal
    PUBLISHED: August 17, 2012











    Synopsis:

    As if growing up Amish wasn't hard enough, Sarah Miller receives information just before her eighteenth birthday about a childhood she can't remember. Accompanied by long lost friends and a few unlikely relatives, Sarah learns of her supernatural destiny and the race to piece together the jigsaw of her life begins. Amidst the whirlwind of unanswered questions, one stands prominent: will the world meet the foreshadowing doom that lingers in the near future, or will Sarah complete the puzzle in time to save her people and ensure the continuance of mankind?



    Author Bio:
    Somewhere amidst her forty-hour job and playtime with her three-year-old, Rachel finds time to walk the streets of worlds only existing on manmade paper. She resides in small college town Northwestern Nebraska with her young son, just across town from her parents. She enjoys socializing with adults, sipping strawberry wine, and head banging to music that doesn't carry a beat worth the effort of rock star hair slinging.









    BUY LINKS:






    AUTHOR LINKS:

    Blog
      
      
    Excerpt:

    Prologue & Chapter 1 (also available on Wattpad and Scribd)

    Prologue

    It crept down the window like an epileptic spider, jittering from side to side, pausing ever so slightly before continuing its descent.
    The rain.
    It always fascinated me. I often sat on my bed at night watching it shatter against my window, then travel slowly out of sight, dancing a sorrowful waltz with the low light coming from the oil lamp on my bedside table. It mattered little if I had to be up at dawn to start my daily chores with Sister. Nothing truly mattered when it rained.
    Sarah, is everything alright?” Mother stood in my bedroom doorway. She was a plain woman, light brown hair lacking radiance, dull gray eyes, and thin pale lips that almost matched the color of her near-white skin. Her cheekbones curved high beneath her eyes, the lines sharp. Almost too sharp, almost masculine. But she was a kind, gentle woman. No one could deny her that. “Sarah,” she said again when I didn’t reply right away. I looked over my shoulder at her then, grinning briefly.
    Everything is fine, Mother. I was simply admiring the rain.” She smiled, but there was a flash of sadness in her eyes. I knew that sadness, but we never spoke of such things. Sadness in our community was often seen as a weakness of faith. Mother sat next to me on the edge of my bed. She smoothed down her skirt until it lay perfectly across her thin frame. Folding her hands in her lap, she let out a soft sigh.
    It is a beautiful sight to behold,” she said quietly, gazing out the window. When she turned to me again, her eyes were brimmed with tears. I hugged her quickly, letting her cry silently into my hair. Three days left. That’s all we had. When she finally pulled away, she dabbed lightly at her eyes and nose with the cotton handkerchief she always carried tucked in her sleeve.
    I will always remember you,” I said just above a whisper before laying a chaste kiss atop her hand. “Though I know you’ll all forget me, in time.” She started to shake her head, but she knew it was true. No one remembered, the human mind was too simple to comprehend it. I had begun to notice just over the last week that people in the community were already beginning to forget. Mainly just the ones I wasn’t in contact with everyday, but they were forgetting just the same. It seemed strange to a point. They were all I had known for the last ten years. How could anyone be in your life for so long and so quickly forget who you were entirely? Yet, somehow I knew and understood it. No one ever had to explain it to me, I just knew.
    Mother tucked a strand of hair that had fallen out of my braid behind my ear. Her hand cupped my cheek, warm against my skin. I watched her study my face, trying to memorize it before kissing my forehead and leaving my room. I stared at the empty doorway, my heart heavy. Three more days.
    Just three more days.
    ~~~
    I had the dream again,” I told Sister as we scrubbed the kitchen floor.
    It’s so strange to me that you dream so much, Sarah.” Her tone was almost spiteful, maybe even jealous. I’d noticed over the years that either no one spoke of their dreams, or no one really dreamed. I was never really sure which was more accurate. She shook her head at herself. “I apologize. Perhaps I’m not as prepared for you to leave us as I’d convinced myself I was.”
    Sister,” I paused my work to sit back on my heels and look at her. She turned her youthful face to me, looking me straight on with those enchanting brown eyes. “Sister, I can’t imagine it’s easy for anyone to be prepared for what is to come this new moon. How can you, knowing they will use meidung so that no one suspects? That is not a simple slap on the wrist, Sister. I know I can never come back, and it’s not because of meidung. But it seems to give this whole situation a certain omen, does it not?” Her face was dark as she shook her head.
    The Devil’s work, they will say. Cast you out like a rabid dog. Why can we not just say you left of your own volition? Is that not satisfactory? It would be truth! I do not condone this lying for you, but the elders say that God will forgive us.” I smiled then. She had been born into the community and raised according to their beliefs. Not everyone understood why meidung was going to be enforced, not truly. Sister was still young at the ripe age of sixteen. And she was female. Two strikes against her in the community, which meant she was only told that which was required of her to know.
    I went back to scrubbing the floor, falling into the silence that awaited us. It welcomed me, embracing me like a long lost child come home. It was short lived. Sister was never comfortable in such an embrace.
    Tell me again about the dream, Sarah. I think I need a distraction this day.” I studied her for a moment. She looked very much like all the other women in the community. Her usual white blouse was fastened up to her neck, the long sleeves shoved to her elbows to avoid the soapy water. Her black cotton skirt billowed down to her ankles even as she knelt on all fours on the floor. Her black bonnet helped tame the runaway strands of her blacker hair, the rest trailed down to the small of her back in a tight braid. She was slightly rounder than the other women, full of hips and breast. Many whispered behind her back that she was the Devil incarnate, come to tempt all of the men into transgression. I knew she’d simply been better blessed, radiated upon by someone watching over. She puffed a strand of that obsidian silk out of her vision, glancing in my direction.
    It was no different than it has ever been. I stood in an open meadow. Larger than any meadow I have ever seen, covered in the brightest wildflowers, as if they’d been freshly painted on canvas. There was nothing else in sight, just meadow and wildflower and clear blue sky. The sky was cloudless, all except that one cloud just above me. It cut out most of the sunlight, leaving the world in a gray haze. Everything seemed totally gray, lifeless. Until I laid eyes on the wildflowers again. There was a loud sound overhead, like thunder clapping. The air itself became thick, so thick it seemed I could spoon it up and eat it. Then I looked up at that one lonely cloud and it split in two. Only it wasn’t a separation of cloud, but an opening. Like a door to somewhere else, Heaven maybe? And there I saw a face, shining at me. So bright was that smile, like sunlight after a spring rain. And a hand descended, coming toward me, growing larger and larger the closer it came. I felt warmth radiating down upon me. Such heavy warmth, it made me feel disoriented. Like how Mother describes the men from the city after they’ve left a brewery. The meadow vanishes and I am wrapped in white light. I smell spices and fermented grapes. Wine perhaps. And smoked meats, such wondrous aromas! But I cannot see past the blinding light. In the distance are voices and laughter…and music. I’ve never known such joyous music! I feel my body rising from the earth, toward where I had last seen that singular cloud. And in a heartbeat, I am surrounded by the blackness of my bedroom, only my racing heartbeat to accompany me.”
    Sister had stopped scrubbing, her bristle brush soaking in the sudsy water pail. She gazed at me with dreamy eyes just as though she were witnessing the dream for herself. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Mother walk into the house, dirt dusting the hem of her skirt and tipping the toes of her shoes. She tramped across the nearly clean kitchen floor, purposely stomping dirt where we’d just scrubbed. ‘Twas our punishment for stopping before the chore was fulfilled. Sister shot me an apologetic look. I simply smiled at her.

    Chapter 1

    I don’t remember much of my young childhood. I can recall vague details of things Sister and I did together, but everything seems to begin around the age of nine. Mother says something traumatic must have happened that no one is aware of, and it’s an instinctual defense mechanism that my mind has been using all these years to protect me. I don’t know about all that, I’m no brain doctor. I do, however, have dreams about things that are unrealistic. Sure, I suppose anyone who dreams can have an imagination wild enough to conjure up some fairly ridiculous things. My dreams, however, are too real to me. I can feel everything as if it were flesh and bone, and I can see more clearly in dreamland than I seem to while I’m awake. When I was younger, I tried explaining them to Mother, but she’d laugh until she cried, and then I’d cry because she was laughing. I learned very quickly not to divulge too much to anyone after that.
    When I started dreaming of the face in the cloud, I had to tell someone. Sister seemed to be the only one willing to listen, regardless of whether or not she believed it could be real. She’d tell me more often than not that maybe it was a sign that God himself was going to bless me. Somehow I knew that God, her god, wanted absolutely nothing to do with me.
    It seemed so strange that I felt no connection to the god that everyone worshiped. The one everyone in the community said was the one and only god. It never felt right to me, but I knew better than to verbalize my feelings. Feelings in general, not just sadness, were frowned upon. Feelings meant a detachment from God. Detachment meant rebellion. Rebellion was a sin; one of the darker transgressions, and punishment tended to match the level of sin.
    When I turned fourteen, Mother had a heart-to-heart talk with me. At first, I thought it was going to be the birds and the bees conversation that I’d heard the older girls whisper about. Instead, it was to inform me that I was not her blood. Mother was not my mother. When I was eight years of age, a very old, very crippled woman had knocked on Mother’s door. She said nothing at all, simply handed Mother the end of a rope that had been tied around my neck like a leash, then turned and disappeared.
    Back then, Father was still alive. I don’t remember anything about him, and only know his face from the few framed pictures of him that remained in the house. All I know about Father is that he never seemed to smile, he was a very handsome man, though he would’ve looked better with a beard, and Sister was a spitting image of him.
    As difficult as it was at first, I accepted the news with grace. In a sense, it was a relief to know that I’d not been born into the community. It had never felt like home to me, nor was it reality. I appreciated that they had taken me in under no known circumstances of my past, but they lived in a very strange world all of their own creation and I knew deep down that it would never be home. Many things quickly fell into place then. I finally understood why it secretly bothered me that Sister’s hair was black as coal and mine was the color of wildfire as it licked through a dying forest; why she had silky chocolate morsels for eyes and mine were the oddest shade of purple-blue. We were opposites, Sister and I, but she had always been my best friend.
    Six months ago, I had received a letter from a small corporation in California that claimed to have known my biological father. My first instinct was to burn the letter and run from the unknown. After much discussion, Mother convinced me that it couldn’t hurt to write back. I couldn’t remember my past so if it was just a hoax, I wouldn’t really be losing anything. When another letter came, hand written by someone within the company, I knew I had to collect more information. It wasn’t the detail given in the letter of my life before the community that convinced me to inquire, but more the penmanship of the individual who wrote the letter. It was strangely familiar to me, along with the name signed at the bottom. Ambrose Alcina. My stomach flipped excitedly when I read it over and over, memorizing the way each letter sensually curved out, like a woman’s bosom straining against the fabric of her gown. They say you can profile someone just on their handwriting. I knew nothing about profiling, but I did know one thing. This man, whoever he was, knew his way into a woman's heart.
    For the next several months, Mr. Alcina and I continued to correspond through our letters. He seemed genuinely interested in my life and was humored by the news that I'd been raised these last ten years by an Amish community in Southern Nebraska. Humored, but not surprised. It even seemed like old news when I'd informed him that I couldn't remember any part of my life before or even up to coming to the community.
    The last letter I received, around three months ago, requested that I contact him on the telephone. After several weeks of begging and extra chores, Mother finally conceded and I ran two miles to the closest telephone shanty.
    Cartwright and Hankins,” a pleasant greeting rang through. I'd never had the opportunity to learn telephone etiquette, but I'd always assumed it was no different than daily conversation. You just had to visualize the face you were addressing.
    Yes, good day ma'am, would Mr. Ambrose Alcina be available, please.” I hadn't fully caught my breath, but managed to sound quite pleasant, even to myself.
    May I ask who's inquiring?” Her voice was similar to the sing-song of the American Redstart birds in the early morning. Maybe not quite as high in pitch, but just as pleasantly chirpy.
    Yes ma'am, my name is Sarah Miller. Mr. Alcina had requested I call, but I've been...indisposed until now.” I wasn't entirely sure that was a truthful enough answer, but then I'd never been known for always telling the truth.
    Please hold.” There was a strange series of clicking sounds before soft violins commenced playing. My breathing finally evened out and I'd almost forgotten that I was on hold until the music abruptly ended.
    Ambrose speaking.” His voice was like silk lightly rippling over smooth stones. He carried a light accent, though I was not familiar with any of them to make any kind of educated guess of its origin.
    Good day Mr. Alcina, it's Sarah.” There was a quiet pause. “Sarah Miller? From Pawnee County, Nebraska. You'd requested I call, sir. I apologize for not –”
    Sarah, yes! Forgive me, it's been several weeks since our last correspondence. I'd almost given up hope.” It was almost like he was singing me a lullaby. Such richness in his tone, deep and luscious. My body warmed through all the way down to my toes.
    Yes, I apologize for the delay. Mother was extraordinarily difficult on the matter.” I heard him chuckle lightly. It occurred to me then that even his voice was familiar to me. Why did I feel like I knew this man? And why did it feel like it was a deeper knowledge than just friends or acquaintances?
    Sarah, I must discuss something of great importance with you.” He sounded suddenly very serious.
    Yes, of course. Anything you'd like.” My pulse stepped up a notch.
    Sarah...” he hesitated. “Sarah, your eighteenth birthday is approaching, is it not?”
    Yes sir, in three months time. To the day, in fact.” There was a hushed rustling on the other end of the phone. I pictured him shifting in his seat.
    Yes indeed, during the new moon. Sarah, I realize that what I'm about to say to you will come as a bit of a shock, but I need you to listen closely and I pray that you can understand in full how serious this is.” I struggled to find my reply. His tone was so somber, it almost scared me. What could be so distressing? “Sarah, are you still there?”
    Yes sir, Mr. Alcina. I'm sorry, I'm just a bit confused. What is it that has you so sedate?”
    Sarah, listen closely. Please, please listen and understand.” That last part he said so quietly, it sounded more like a prayer to himself than anything directed toward me. “There is no time for explanations. On the morning of your birthday, you will be approached by a man by the name of Nicoli. He is a beast of a man, but he is for your protection...and transportation.” My head immediately whirled out of control. Protection and transportation? Protection from whom? From what? And where might I be going? Was it dangerous? Could I even trust this man I was speaking to? How did I know this Nicoli individual was safe? So many questions and an inoperable tongue. “Sarah?” Ambrose almost sounded as frightened as I felt.
    Why?” was all I could muster. My thoughts were so chaotic, it was nearly impossible to send one little thought out to make my mouth work.
    There is no time for explanations. Go back to your home and prepare. Speak to no one outside of your community. Mention this to no one you do not trust completely. Three months, and I will explain everything. I give you my word.” The line died before I could utter even a squeak.


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    Sunday, May 19, 2013

    REVIEW AND CHARACTER INTERVIEW FROM PLAYING HOOKY by Rita Webb


    TITLE: PLAYING HOOKY
    AUTHOR: Rita Webb
    GENRE: Young Adult/Action Adventure
    PUBLISHER: Robot Playground
    RELEASE DATE: January 21, 2013





    SYNOPSIS


    Valentine’s Day.

    And my 21st birthday.

    Whoop-de-doo.

    Just another college day full of classes and more homework than is humanly possible.

    …until Jason, my best-friend-since-kindergarten, shows up to take me out for the day.

    Like old times: the two of us on a wacky adventure, playing hooky from real life. With his lopsided grin and tickets to a circus full of misfits and monsters, he introduces me to a whole new world—one full of magic and mystery—and turns my reality upside down.

    Except nothing goes as planned, and we end up running through the city to find a missing siren before someone brews a love potion with her blood.

    Sirens and love potions, witches and elves, and Valentine kisses. Nothing will be the same for me again.
      
    AUTHOR BIO

    Leaving the house to go to school, I had schoolbooks spilling out of one hand, the other holding my place in a Nancy Drew novel, and bunny slippers still on my feet. My mom was a wee bit upset.

    I haven't changed much. Still always have a book (or two) in my hand or creating stories in my head, and although I don't have any bunny slippers, I love writing in my jammies and snuggly slipper socks.

    When I grow up (maybe a hundred years from now), I'd like to be a superhero, but for now, saving the day, one page at a time, suits me just fine.

    With my husband TJ (my own cuddly werewolf), I home-school our three girls, who keep us busy with art, science projects, books to read, dance classes, and walks about the park.

    LINKS TO PURCHASE OR FIND THE BOOK

    LINKS TO FIND RITA WEBB ONLINE
    Goodreads:  
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    EXCERPT 

    I’m left alone in the apartment’s tiny entryway with Jason.

    “Emma,” he says, stepping closer, his head leaning down toward me. He is way too close, and I remember I’m not dressed.

    Tall with wide shoulders, Jason is muscular from hard labor (construction and welding) and athletic adventures (kayaking and mountain biking). The perpetual scruff movie stars work hard to perfect shadows his jaw, and his tousled black hair kept short. He cuts it every week because it grows too fast, like at least a half inch a day. With the hazel green eyes and the confident grin he usually wears, he’d make any girl swoon.

    Well, any girl but me. I’d more likely hit him upside the head with a broom than swoon over him.

    “Coffee’s in the kitchen. I need to get dressed and showered; then we can go for pastries at the bakery around the corner.” Just off campus, there’s a scrumptious little shop, but I never have time in the mornings. I turn back to my room but then stop. “Oh, how do I need to dress for the day?”

    “Sure.” He runs his hands through his hair, but his eyes are too busy following my ass to pay attention to anything I said.

    “Jason.” I snap my fingers. “Up here. What do I need to wear?”

    His gaze shifts to my face, and he grins, not even having the decency to flush. “Dress warm.”

    Good. So we’re going to have an adventure.

    My Interview with Emma from Playing Hooky

    Hi Emma, it is so nice to meet you. Please, for the record, can you tell us your full name?
    Emma Star Williams. A ridiculous middle name, I know. My mom loves all that crazy New Age stuff. She hangs crystals in her garden to protect us from evil spirits, and she used to tell me how we are all stars in human form. *rolls eyes*

    What’s it like having your birthday fall on Valentine’s Day?
    Sugary. Birthday cake and Valentine’s candy and heart-shaped sugar cookies.

    Have you ever been in love?
    I thought I had, but when they walked out of my life, I didn’t really miss them. Maybe I was in love with the idea of being in love.

    What is your favorite thing to do?
    Mountain-biking! On Kodiak Island where I grew up, there’s a path Jason and I like to take with some awesome drop-offs and jumps. The crazier, the better. When the path is covered in snow, it’s a bit more dangerous, but that never stopped us.

    What is your least favorite thing to do?
    Sewing. I hate sitting still that long, and messing up generally means starting over. Ugh.

    Do you have any fears? If so, have you told anyone?
    I’m afraid of my life fading into the mundane—paying bills, raising children, rushing from job to soccer practice, tumbling into bed at the end of the day without ever living.

    I confess that I don’t really know what to do with my life. Mom wants me to be an artist like her, and Dad wants me to be a cop like him or go into the military. I’ve settled on studying to be a gymnastics coach, but that’s not really what I want.

    I want adventure and  . . . and something I have no name for. Maybe a yearning to explore and discover new things. And I’m afraid I’ll never get my chance.

    Now that you know Jason better, is there anything that you would change about the past if you could?
    Maybe I should have kissed him when I was twelve when I had wanted to, rather than wasting my time with other boys in high school. But then again, maybe the timing wasn’t right. Maybe things turned out the way they were supposed to.


    Is there anything about your birthday excursion with Jason that you would like a do over?
    Mmmm, I’d like to do that kiss again, only without him being under the influence of a love potion. Don’t you dare tell him that though!

    What is your favorite hair color?
    I used to hate my blonde, curly hair (especially since I looked just like my sister Angelina). I wished it was black and straight—long, thick shiny tresses like some jungle princess—but now that my hair is pink, I’d love to have my blonde curls back.

    Just for fun.

    What is your favorite dessert?
    Turtle Sundaes.

    What is your favorite color?
    I love indigo, and I’m most likely to wear shades of blues and purples. Nothing in my wardrobe matches.

    What is your favorite song?
    I Feel Like a Monster by Skillet. Funny how my best friend turns out to not be human.

    Wake Me Up by Evanescence is a close second. Give me hard rock and symphonic metal and I’ll melt in happiness.

    Chocolate or Vanilla?
    Both! Seriously, what could be better than . . .
         Chocolate brownies with vanilla ice cream
         Vanilla cake with chocolate frosting
         Chocolate and Vanilla pudding swirl
         Chocolate candies with a creamy vanilla center

    Though every single one of these concoctions needs some caramel added to it.

    Beach or Lake?
    I’m not one for lolling around on a beach because I hate sitting still for too long. So for me, the water means kayaking or swimming. Here on Kodiak Island, we have some wonderful inland bays for peaceful kayaking, but I prefer the more challenging surf on the outer coast.

    Danger should have been my middle name rather than Star.

    Favorite food?
    Tacos! With generous amounts of hot sauce

    Emma, thanks so much for allowing us to get to know you better.

    MY REVIEW

    Absolutely enchanting! 
    I got so caught up in this novella I almost forgot about fixing dinner, in fact, it didn’t get started until 7 pm last night. I did not want to stop reading this book.  There is so much action packed into this story it could easily have been a full length novel without any problem.

    It’s Emma’s 21st birthday and her lifelong friend since kindergarten, Jason, shows up to show her a good time. He takes her to a circus and introduces her to all his strange friends, friends she never knew he had. They are soon swept into a fantasy world Emma had no idea existed and then they become involved in a quest to locate a Siren who has gone missing. The Siren has been taken because of her capability to brew up a love potion. 

    I must admit, I was drawn to the book because of the cover and the name, Playing Hooky, which to me suggested a promise of fun. There was no disappointment there.

    The two main characters, Emma and Jason, were so likable and I loved the idea that they each had secret feelings for one another—feelings that Emma felt would only ruin their friendship.
    I’m giving this novella 5 shining stars because I became so swept up in the action. I do wish it had been longer though, because when I got to the ending I wanted more and I sincerely hope that Ms. Webb continues on with the possible love story of Emma and Jason in a sequel.