Friday, May 31, 2013

Guest Post by J. J. DiBenedetto, Author of the Dreams Series!!


Today I have J.J. DiDenedetto visiting the blog today!  He is the author of the Dream Series!

GUEST POST:
Since my novels are all about dreams – specifically the heroine’s ability to see into other people’s dreams – it might seem odd, but I very rarely remember my own dreams.  Pretty much never, in fact.  And on the rare occasions that I do, they don’t seem to have much to do with what’s going on in my waking life. And I’ve never, as far as I can remember, had a dream that corresponds to any of the well-known dream-interpretation imagery. Curiously, my mother’s told me the same thing – she doesn’t dream either, or at least doesn’t remember them. But talking more generally about dreams, I’ve got a couple of beliefs.  One goes along with the traditional dream imagery and interpretation – that there are certain patterns that we all share, and that come out in our dreams.  The idea of finding yourself naked at an event (a test, a big speech, etc) is one of those.  It seems to me that it’s too common for there not to be at least some truth to it - that when it happens to you in a dream, it means you’re afraid or feel unprepared for something coming up in your life (in the first novel, Dream Student, Sara’s roommate has just such a dream about an exam she’s dreading). 


The other thing I think about dreams, which actually doesn’t come up in the novels, is the idea of mixing up different parts of your life. A couple of the rare dreams I do remember involved people who in real life never met – classmates from high school mixing with friends from graduate school, for example.  I’m not sure there’s any deeper meaning to it – my theory is that it’s just the brain doing “housekeeping” while unconscious.


In the novels, most of the dreams Sara sees are a lot more literal than what an “average” dream would be.  The in-story explanation is that Sara’s subconscious is tuning into dreams she can actually understand, and that help her figure out what’s going on.  But there are certainly some cryptic dreams that she sees as well, including one with Sean Connery, another with man-sized ants playing softball, and a third with a giant hand reaching down to pluck people up with huge metal tweezers, for example. I think that the thing that really drew me to write about a character who could see other people’s dreams is the combination of the familiar and the bizarre – a glimpse into the minds of her friends and family, but a somewhat distorted, funhouse-mirror glimpse. 

J.J. DiBenedetto is the author of the Dream series.  You can read more about the books at www.writingdreams.net.

THE BOOKS:
BOOK ONE
BOOK DESCRIPTION
In the first book, in the winter of 1989-90, Sara is a junior in college, planning on going to medical school.  She's a hard worker, shy, no boyfriend, and perfectly ordinary.  But she begins to have strange dreams.  She's not even a character in these dreams - she sees a strange, creepy man assaulting a teenaged girl, the same dream every night.  She doesn't know the man or the girl, but then she sees the girl's picture in the newspaper - she was raped and murdered, her body found on the side of the road.  That's when she realizes, the dreams were the killer's dreams, and she was seeing into his mind.  At the same time, Sara begins seeing other, random dreams of the people around her, friends and others in her dorm.

While this is going on, she's met a guy - a fellow student, Brian, whose dream she's also seen.  He was dreaming of her, and has a major crush on her, and Sara takes the initiative and goes for it with him.  Over the course of the book, her relationship with Brian gets very serious very quickly.  With the help of Brian, and also her roommate and best friend Beth, Sara plays detective, using the clues from her dreams, and old-fashioned legwork, to figure out who the killer is.  It turns out he's a former teacher at the college, Dr. Walters.  At the climax of the book, Sara and friends figure out where he lives, and go to his house.  There, they rescue another teenager who Dr. Walters is about to murder.  In a final confrontation with Dr. Walters, Sara and Brian are both injured, but Sara keeps Dr. Walters talking until the police arrive and arrest him, saving the day.  Six months later, Sara sees one last dream - Brian is dreaming about proposing to her.

BLURB FROM BOOK ONE:
What would you do if you could see other people’s dreams?  If you could watch their hidden fantasies and uncover their deepest, darkest secrets…without them ever knowing?
Sara Barnes is about to find out.  She thought that all she had to worry about was final exams, Christmas shopping and deciding whether she likes the cute freshman in the next dorm who’s got a crush on her.
But when she starts seeing dreams that aren’t hers, she learns more than she ever wanted to know about her friends, her classmates…and a strange, terrifying man whose dreams could get Sara killed.

“Dream Student” is the thrilling first installment of the Dreams series.

LINKS FOR BOOK ONE
AMAZON


BOOK TWO
BOOK DESCRIPTION
The second book opens up in the summer of 1991.  Sara has just started her first month of medical school, and she and Brian were just married a couple of months before.  Sara's dreams start up again, and she sees the dreams of several people in the medical school, all of whom are dreaming about the death of one of Sara's teachers, the very unpopular Dr. Morris.  Then that teacher becomes sick, and Sara is convinced he's being poisoned by one of the people dreaming about him. 


While trying to survive the rigors of medical school, Sara again has to play detective and figure out which one of the suspects is trying to kill him, and how.  In the end, Sara discovers that it's his secretary, Maureen Jackson, who's been having a long-term affair with Dr. Morris.  Sara confronts Maureen in Dr. Morris' hospital room, and in a desperate struggle, she manages to stop Maureen from finishing the job and killing her lover.  Several months later, with the dreams once again behind her, Sara gets good news - she's pregnant.

BLURB FROM BOOK TWO
“I didn’t expect to be woken up by someone I don’t know dreaming about killing somebody.  I thought I was done with that once and for all…”
But Sara’s not done with it.  As if adjusting to life as a newlywed and starting medical school weren’t difficult enough, she’s started seeing the dreams of everyone around her, again.  Before everything is said and done, those dreams might destroy Sara’s hopes of becoming a doctor, wreck her marriage and even end her life…

“Dream Doctor” is the thrilling second novel in the Dreams series.

LINKS FOR BOOK TWO
AMAZON

BOOK THREE
BOOK DESCRIPTION
The third book jumps ahead to the winter of 1996.  Sara finished medical school and now she's in her second year of residency at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.  Her daughter is about to turn four, and she's just given birth to twins a couple of months ago.  On a trip to Washington, DC for a medical conference, Sara and her very precocious daughter, Lizzie, run into the wife and son of her Congressman, and make fast friends with them.  That night, Sara learns that Lizzie shares her talent for dreaming - Lizzie sees the Congressman's son dreaming.  In the dream, the Congressman is being blackmailed by a "big, scary man with a big black car."  Over the course of the book, Sara investigates and discovers that the scary man is a powerful mob boss, Paul Sorrentino.  He's also the father of one of Sara's patients at the hospital. 

After some investigation, Sara learns that the mobster is blackmailing the Congressman in order to get a toxic incinerator built, bypassing all the rules and regulations that ought to prevent it.  In the end, Sara confronts the Congressman, and ends up punching him out before he can go back to Washington to carry out the mobster's orders.  She then confronts the mobster in his own house, and Sara forces him to back down, convincing him of all the innocent people that will be harmed or killed if the project goes forward.  Between her powerful argument, and the fact that she's been so forceful in standing up to him at the hospital when treating his daughter, the mobster is impressed by Sara and gives in to her demands.  The book ends a few days later with the revelation that it's not just Sara's daughter who can see dreams, but her mother learns she has the same talent.

BLURB FROM BOOK THREE
"I would give anything to take this away from her.  I would gladly go back to having the nightmares myself – the very worst ones, the ones that had me waking up screaming in a pool of my own vomit – rather than see Lizzie go through this..."
As a resident at Children's Hospital, Sara can handle ninety hour workweeks, fighting to save her young patients from deadly childhood diseases.  But she's about to be faced with a challenge that all her training and experience haven't prepared her for: her four-year-old daughter has inherited her ability to see other people's dreams...

"Dream Child" is the suspenseful third novel in the "Dreams" series.

LINKS FOR BOOK THREE
AMAZON

BOOK FOUR
BLURB FROM BOOK FOUR
"Why is this so hard for me?  Why am I having so much trouble?  Why do I feel so helpless, so hopeless?  What the hell is wrong with me?"
After tangling with murders and mobsters, not to mention medical school and three years of residency, Sara thought she could handle anything.  And then the police show up without warning at her new office and arrest her for a crime she can't possibly have committed.  Sara's confidence, and her grip on reality, is shattered during one terrifying night in jail.
Now, the very dreams that have endangered her life and driven her to the edge of madness may be the only thing that can help Sara find herself again...

"Dream Family" is the powerful fourth novel in the "Dreams" series.


LINKS FOR BOOK FOUR
AMAZON

ABOUT THE BOOKS
Sara Barnes (later Sara Alderson, when she’s married) starts out in book 1 as an ordinary college student, until she learns she can see into other people’s dreams.  That’s the basic premise of the series.  The characters who appear in previous books, who also are important in book 4, are:

CHARACTERS FROM THE BOOKS
Sara herself
Brian Alderson – Sara’s husband
Betty & Howard Barnes – Sara’s parents
Helen and Ben Alderson – Brian’s parents
Lizzie Alderson – Sara’s oldest child, age 5 ½
Steffy and Ben Alderson – Sara’s twins, age 2
Laurie Kensington – Sara’s medical partner, previously her supervisor during Sara’s residency
Grace Sorrentino – a patient of Sara’s during her residency, age 8
Paul Sorrentino – Grace’s father.  Also a powerful mob boss, who Sara faced down at the end of the third book
Beth Rosewell – Sara’s best friend, dating back to college
Kat Wells – Sara’s godmother, Betty’s best friend
Rebecca Brownell – now 21 years old, she was the teenaged girl who Sara rescued from a killer at the end of the first book
Joseph Harkness – Sara’s friend from medical school, godfather to Lizzie Mary Harkness – Joseph’s wife

THE AUTHOR:
AUTHOR BIO:
J.J. (James) DiBenedetto was born in Yonkers, New York. He attended Case Western Reserve University, where as his classmates can attest, he was a complete nerd. Very little has changed since then.
He currently lives in Arlington, Virginia with his beautiful wife and their cat (who has thoroughly trained them both). When he's not writing, James works in the direct marketing field, enjoys the opera, photography and the New York Giants, among other interests.

The "Dreams" series is James' first published work.



AUTHOR LINKS:

~~~~~~~~~

Thanks so much James for visiting my blog today!! This series looks really good!!  Can't wait to read it!! 



Release Day for The Edge of Darkness by Melissa Andrea!!!!

Title: The Edge of Darkness
Author: Melissa Andrea     
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Day: May 31, 2013
Blitz Host: Lady Amber's Tours


SYNOPSIS:
After a tragic accident, Araya Noelle is left with a constant reminder that nothing is forever.

Instead of dwelling over her loss, she plays the hand she's been dealt without complaint. In a world as black as hers, there's no room for bitterness, no time for regret. Sheltered from the outside world, Araya has become suffocated by a life she has no control over. Until Ryland Dare comes crashing into her life.

You don’t know true darkness until you've felt the light…
Like a firecracker, showering her with colorful sparks of freedom, Ryland quickly sweeps Araya away from her dark existence. For the first time since the accident, living in darkness is no longer something Araya wants to do willingly. Unleashed by the shadows of her reminder, being with Ryland, Araya touches light. Together they will learn what it’s like to be alive for the first time.

At the edge of darkness, a ray of light, will dare them both to live.

THE AUTHOR:
AUTHOR BIO:
Melissa started reading in high school when she found her mom's romance book collection and has been hooked on books every since. She became a complete book-a-holic, starting her own collection and improving her reading skills. Most of the time she could finish a book walking around the store, while her mom shopped.

She wrote her first short story in high school for a competition in her writing class. It was a child's book called 'Arnold' - it was about an ant who believed he could do anything. Oh by the way, she won!

She has written many stories since then, but this will be her first YA paranormal/fantasy and the first book she will have published.

She lived in Mesa, Arizona with her husband of six years, and her 3 beautiful daughters. They are her biggest fans and they inspire her everyday. She enjoys spending time with her family, weekend dates with her mom & taking vacations. Hawaii anyone??

AUTHOR LINKS:
BLOG

EXCERPT:
I brushed my lips across her neck again and watched as the world around us, spun. Her fingers twisted in my shirt and she pulled my  body closer. I didnt expect you Araya.  I rasped against her ear and my fingers tangled in her hair, bringing her lips up to mine. Her breath was warm and sweet against my lips and I wanted to taste her so bad it hurt.

BLURB:
The Edge of Darkness
After a tragic accident, Araya Noelle is left with a constant reminder that nothing is forever.
She is forced to give up her chance to be the youngest dancer accepted into Julliard & taking over their high society school by a graceful storm of determination is no longer an option. Instead of dwelling over her loss, she accepts the new future she’s been dealt. In a world as black as hers, there's no room for bitterness, no time for regret. Sheltered from the outside world, Araya has become suffocated by a life she has no control over. Until Ryland Dare comes crashing into her life.
You don’t know true darkness until you've felt light…
Like a firecracker, showering her with colorful sparks of freedom, Ryland quickly sweeps Araya away from her grey existence. For the first time since the accident, living in darkness is no longer something Araya wants to do willingly. Unleashed by the shadows of her reminder, being with Ryland, Araya touches light. Together they will learn what it’s like to feel alive for the first time.
At the edge of darkness, a ray of light, will dare them both to HOPE.
DARE them to LOVE
DARE them to LIVE

~~~~~~~~~~~~

This makes me so happy to be a part of this release!!!  I can not wait to read this book Melissa!!!! 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Character Bio of Shaun Scott from Welcome To The Family by Caroline F. Levy!!

Hi Jessica. Firstly thank you for having me on your wonderful blog. A big hello to all your readers.

It’s an exciting time for me, with Welcome to the Family coming out. So I thought, as you are being gracious enough to give me free reign with this guest post, I would tell you a little more about one of the characters from, Welcome to the Family. 

The kind of stuff I would want to know about a character, that you just don’t get from the book.

 I don’t know about you guy’s but I always wonder about the little things. From what junk food they might like to eat, to boxers or briefs lol. So here goes.

All about....

Shaun Scott 

Human
Born on the 21st August 1988? Birth sign Leo

Shaun is by nature possessive. He loves to show off what is his, and if anyone tries to take it from him, they had better watch their back.

Coming from a single parent mother who didn’t want him, Shaun grew up in the foster system. He continually rallied against any-one who tried to help him.

Often landing in juvenile detention, just a month here and there, he makes sure he doesn’t get caught for anything worse than the odd act of vandalism or car theft. In Shaun’s eyes these offenses don’t hurt anyone.

On his last visit to Juvi for pinching a car, he met Father Gerald, who managed to talk him into going onto a mechanics course.

On completing the course he is let out of Juvi and comes to town walking into the coffee shop when Angela is on shift. Has he been sent? Or is it fate? That one will be answered later 

He manages to get a job at Topline Motors with a little help.

Shaun’s favourite dinner is lasagne. It’s about all he can cook lol.

Favourite sweets are strawberry bon-bons.

Shaun loves to play darts and pool with the lads. While he’s out he likes a drink. Larger is the alcoholic drink of his choosing. Doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s cold and wet.

He also likes music, his favourite band at the moment is Fall out Boy. Their latest hit, The Phoenix is in Shaun’s words ‘rockin’... 


P.s ladies just in case you wondered. I asked, Shaun is totally a boxer’s boy ;)

Unfortunately I have run out of time with Shaun, he will be back with Protecting the Family, so I will have to come back and do a little more digging 

I hope you enjoyed finding out a little more about Shaun. Heads up, he’s quite the bad boy, and proud of it... 

THE BOOK!


BOOK DESCRIPTION
“Do you believe in things that go bump in the night?”

At only a few hours old, Angela is left on the steps of St Paul’s church. Alone in the world, the only link she has to her past is a pink blanket bearing an emblem with two crossed swords and a snake.

A troubled childhood spent in orphanages leads to Angela attempting to rebuild her shattered life as an adult. Meeting the priest who found her eighteen years previously, she gets a job & boyfriend, and settles into her new life. 

Until she meets Jack.

Drawn to her new boss, she throws herself into work, feeling an unusual bond with people she hasn’t known very long. 

Angela becomes embroiled in this new life, feeling a change within herself. A change which isn’t altogether human. Within this change she finds a terrifying secret…a secret which involves her past, her present, and definitely her future…

LINKS:
AMAZON
GOODREADS
MOON ROSE PUBLISHING
KOBO
SMASHWORDS

THE AUTHOR:
AUTHOR BIO:
I was born In Chatham Kent in 1970. I now live in Yorkshire with my Daughter and our five mad cats’.

My first memories of any book would have been my mother reading The Enormous Turnip. It must have driven her mad, as it was always our first choice when asked what we should read tonight.
I grew up with the classics; Little Women, The railway children but it would have been the house that died and blue beard that I can remember wanting to read.


I can remember writing a verse for the school song and being chosen as a winner for what was then 3rd year juniors. I stopped reading so much in my late teens to my mid twenties, life seemed to always be too busy for that pile of books I so wanted to read. It was when I went into hospital to have my daughter that made time for me to read again and thankfully I haven’t stopped since. However it wasn’t until my late twenties that I realised I wanted to write. I have spent a few years trying to complete an online creative writer’s course; without much success, but it led me to what I am writing now. So never give up if you really want to write! 


I am very influenced by Fantasy fiction / Horror; most of the books I read are in this genre. I have many Authors I like to follow Anne Rice was very influential in the beginning. I also discovered Laurel K Hamilton and many, many more I could go on about different Authors I like to read. However I will say that this year I have also discovered there are literally; well probably thousands of very talented Indie Authors out there and a very welcoming and friendly bunch they are too, but I digress, yes I get very excited about the subject of books. 


I have finished my first Novel called Welcome to the Family which should be ready to publish by the end of April this year. I also have other Novel’s in the pipeline, Nikki’s Revenge & Protecting the Family. Due out later in the year.


AUTHOR LINKS:
FACEBOOK
TWITTER
HER BLOG
GOODREADS

Thank you Caroline and Shaun for visiting the blog today!!!  I look forward to reading the book!!  It sounds awesome!!!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Virtual Launch Party for Uprising by Jessica Therrien

I am so happy to be part of this Launch Party!!!!  I read the first book, and can not wait to read this one!!

Title: Uprising (Children of the Gods #2)
Publisher: ZOVA Books
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 384

Synopsis: 
Jessica Therrien follows up her bestselling novel OPPRESSION with UPRISING, the second book in the Children of the Gods series.

OPPRESSION, translated and sold around the world, was one of the best selling YA novels of 2012. UPRISING continues the story of Elyse, William and the Descendants.

Elyse has been in hiding for most of her life. Only now she’s hiding with William, and she knows who she’s hiding from. The Council wants a child Elyse and William have yet to conceive, a child who will be the next oracle, and who will provide the final piece to a plan Christoph has been organizing for years. Charged with leading the rebellion against Christoph and his Council, Elyse feels well out of her depth. But she has good friends and strong allies who are willing to fight with her to the end, regardless of how far they have to go, and how many lives will be lost in the process. They have one goal: to live freely and openly with the rest of humanity, out from under The Council’s oppressive rule. The stakes could not be higher for Elyse and the Descendants longing for freedom. They'll have to learn to fight if they want to stand up against The Council, and to find allies in a world ruled by their enemies. The hardest part of waging a war is knowing who to trust. Elyse knows their uprising will change the world. She doesn’t realize it will change her, too.

Links to Oppression (Children of the Gods #1):

Links to Uprising (Children of the Gods #2):


THE AUTHOR:
AUTHOR BIO:
Jessica Therrien is the author of the young adult paranormal fiction series Children of the Gods. Book one in the series, Oppression, was published by ZOVA Books in February of 2012 and became a Barnes & Noble best-seller shortly after its release. The second book in the series, Uprising, will be available in May of 2013.

Aside from her Children of the Gods series, Jessica’s work can also be found in a published collection of flash fiction stories called Campaigner Challenges 2011. Out of over 350 submissions her story, The Soulless, won first place for people’s choice and fourth place in the judging round of Rachael Harrie’s Writing Campaign Challenge. Her story, Saved, is also available as part of the anthology.

Jessica currently lives in Chula Vista with her husband and is working on book three in her Children of the Gods series.

Author Links:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Branded Trailer Reveal by Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki!!!

Title: Branded
Author: Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki
Release Date: June 28, 2013
Genre: Mature Young Adult, Dystopian
Reveal Host: Lady Amber's Tours


BOOK DESCRIPTION:
Twenty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best.
Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home.

Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.
The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me.
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter.
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

THE TRAILER!!



THE AUTHORS:
AUTHOR BIOS:
Abi Ketner Is a registered nurse with a passion for novels, the beaches of St. John, and her Philadelphia Phillies. A talented singer, Abi loves to go running and spend lots of time with her family. She currently resides in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with her husband, triplet daughters and two very spoiled dogs.

Melissa Kalicicki received her bachelor’s degree from Millersville University in 2003. She married, had two boys and currently lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Aside from reading and writing, her interests include running and mixed martial arts. She also remains an avid Cleveland sports fan.

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


LINKS:
TWITTER
FACECBOOK
GOODREADS
WEBSITE AND BLOG

Click HERE for the Branded book trailer!!! 


THE EXCERPT:

Chapter One

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

The Seven Deadly Sins:
Lust ¾ Blue
Gluttony ¾ Orange
Greed ¾ Yellow
Sloth ¾ Light Blue
Wrath ¾ Red
Envy ¾ Green
Pride ¾ Purple

 “Memorize it. Might keep you alive longer if you know who to stay away from.” He opens my mouth, placing a bit inside. “Bite this.”
Within seconds, the collar heats from hot to scorching. The smell of flesh sizzling makes my head spin. I bite down so hard a tooth cracks.
“GRRRRRRRRR,” escapes from deep within my chest. Just when I’m about to pass out, the temperature drops, and the doctor loosens the collar.
He removes it and sits me up. Excruciating pain rips through me and I’m on the verge of a mental and physical breakdown. Focus. Don’t pass out.
Stainless steel counters and boring white walls press in on me. A guard laughs at me from an observation room above and yells, “Blue. It’s a great color for a pretty young thing like yourself.” His eyes dance with suggestion. The others meander around like it’s business as usual.
I finally find my voice and turn to the doctor.
“Are you going to give me clothes?” A burning pain spreads like fire from my neck to my jaw, making me wince.
He points to a set of folded grey scrubs on a chair. I cover myself as much as I can and scurry sideways. Grabbing my new clothes, I pull the shirt over my head and try to avoid the raw meat around my throat. I quickly knot the cord of my pants around my waist and slide my feet into the hospital-issue slippers as the doctor observes. He hands me a bag labeled with my name.
“Nothing is allowed through the door but what we’ve given you,” he says.
I hide my right hand behind me, hoping no one notices. A guard scans my body and opens his hand.
“Give it to me,” he says. “Don’t make me rip off your finger.” He crouches down and I turn to stone. I don’t know what to do, so I beg.
 “My father gave this to me. Please, let me keep it.” I smash my eyes shut and think of the moment my father handed the golden ring to me.
“It was my mother’s ring,” he’d said. “She’s the strongest woman I ever knew.” With tears in his eyes, he reached for my hand. “Lexi, you’re exactly like her. She’d want you to wear this. No matter how this world changes, you can survive.” I turned the gold band over in my palm and read the engraving.
You can overcome anything… short of death.
 “You’re going to take the one thing that matters the most to me?” I say, glaring into the guard’s emotionless eyes. “Isn’t it enough taking my life, dignity, and respect?”
A hard blow falls upon my back. As I fall, my hands shoot out to stop me from smashing into the wall in front of me. The guard bends down and grabs my chin with his meaty fist.
“Look at me,” he commands. I look up and he smiles with arrogance.
“What the hell?” He staggers a step backward. “What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with your eyes?”
“Nothing,” I respond, confused.
“What color are they?”
“Turquoise.” I glower at him.
“Interesting,” he says, regaining his composure. “Now those’ll get you in trouble.”
Reality slaps me across the face. I have my father’s eyes. They can't take them from me. I twist the ring off my finger and drop it in his hand.
“Take the damn ring,” I say. I walk to the door. He swipes a card and the massive door slides open to the outside.
“You have to wear your hair back at all times, so everyone knows what you are.” He hands me a tie, so I pull my frizzy hair away from my face and secure it into a ponytail. My neck burns and itches as my hand traces the scabs that have already begun to form. Squinting ahead into the darkness, I almost run into a guard standing on the sidewalk.
 “Watch where you’re going,” he says, shoving me backward. His stiff figure stands tall and I cringe at the sharpness of his voice.
“Cole, this is your new assignment, Lexi Hamilton. See to it she feels welcome in her new home.” The guard departs with a salute.
“Let’s move,” Cole says.
I take two steps and collapse, my knees giving out. The unforgiving pavement reopens the scrapes from earlier and I struggle to stand. A powerful arm snatches me up, and I see his face for the first time.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cover Reveal of Winter Fire by Lizzy Ford!!!

Title: Winter’s Fire
Author: Lizzy Ford
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Release Date: June 21, 2013
Tour Organizer: B3 Tours


BOOK DESCRIPTION
With a Dark witching seeking revenge against him, Beck, the eighteen-year-old Master of Light, must find a way to protect those he loves, the witchlings - and his heart. His duty is further complicated by Morgan, a beautiful Fire witching with a secret that threatens to destroy the progress he's made protecting the Light.

This is the third book in the bestselling Witchling Series. "Dark Summer," the first book in the series, is currently rated as the #1 Top Rated Teen Romance on AMAZON!!

LINKS TO LIZZY'S BOOKS:



THE AUTHOR
 AUTHOR BIO:
Lizzy Ford is the author of over seventeen novels written for young adult and adult paranormal romance readers, to include the internationally bestselling Rhyn Trilogy, Witchling Trilogy and the War of Gods series. Considered a freak of nature by her peers for the ability to write and release a commercial quality novel in under a month, Lizzy has focused on keeping her readers happy by producing brilliant, gritty romances that remind people why true love is a trial worth enduring.

In late March 2012, “Damian’s Oracle” (Book I, War of Gods) was featured in USA Today, an indication that Lizzy’s career is just starting to take off!

In November 2012, Lizzy signed with Margery Walshaw of Evatopia, a literary management and production firm representing writers and their books to TV/movie studios in Hollywood.

AUTHOR LINKS:






 
 

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