BOOK BLITZ: A Forest of Stolen Memories by Callie Thomas #YAfantasy #romance @XpressoTours

A Forest of Stolen Memories
Callie Thomas
Publication date: December 2nd 2022
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

A royal wedding turns to disaster when a curse goes awry. A victim of the Sorcerer’s prophecy, Roselyn’s memories are instantly erased, leaving her panicked at the altar. Confused, she flees to the place her prince fears most—the enchanted Mistbrooke Forest. Danger lurks closer than she can imagine, forcing her to seek help from a dark stranger who may be the key to recovering her lost memories. Can she break the curse without breaking her heart?

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

I didn’t care that he was a prince—they would not force me to marry a stranger.

Yards of white lace, patterned with roses over a white satin gown, clung to the top half of my body, then fanned out around me. Dazed, I stared at them, confused why I couldn’t remember a single detail about my dress. Or about myself.

Who am I? Why could I not remember?

“Rose? Darling?” the handsome prince whispered, his words warm like honey, coaxing my eyes to his. So familiar . . . those silver eyes lined with impossibly long sandy-brown lashes. They matched his styled hair, which curled around his golden crown, not a strand out of place.

His thumbs rubbed in a soothing motion across my knuckles, my fingertips trapped in his grip. I tugged my hands, his eyes narrowing at my struggles as his hold turned painful.

“Please let me go,” I cried out.

He slid closer, so close that his warm breath caressed my cheeks, and I inhaled his lemon scent. Fear rooted me in place, the feeling of confinement strangely paralyzing. His eyes trailed over my features with heated possession, stopping to linger at my lips. Releasing one of my hands, he reached his gloved fingers for my face.

Did he think he could kiss me just because he wished it?

Not if I had anything to say about it!


Author Bio:

Callie Thomas was born in California but moved away immediately after, living in more places in the United States than she can remember. Even now, she can’t stay in one spot too long, but you can usually find her on the sandy shores of someplace tropical, possibly with a coconut drink in her hand. Callie has been writing since middle school when her teacher caught her writing stories instead of vocabulary words in her 7th grade English class. Plagued by doubt, she went in a completely different direction and graduated college at George Mason University with a Bachelor of Science in Graphic and Web Design. But the stories never stopped. Older and wiser (she hopes), she is finally ready to take a leap of faith with her writing. She recently published her first Vella series, A Forest of Stolen Memories, and is currently writing her first novel, The Captain’s Daughter.

Website / Goodreads / Instagram / Facebook / TikTok


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RELEASE BLITZ: A Raven Remix by Sarah Hualde #YoungAdult #CozyMystery #Paranormal @Sthecoffeejedi

 

A Raven Remix

Paranormal Penny Box Set 
Books 1, 1.5 and 2 
Sarah Hualde
 
Genre: YA Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Date of Publication: 11/15/22
ISBN:  9781736756645
ASIN:   B0BKFLD85D
Number of pages: 550
Word Count: approx 80,000
Cover Artist:  OlivaProDesign
 
Book Description:  
 
Most people run from death,
But not Penny.
She chases it down.
 
Penny’s premonitions put her friends in peril. Join her as she stalks the bird of death by following the musical clues he leaves behind.
 
Will she and her cheeky cat, Spades save the day?
Or will the Raven be one step ahead?
 
This Paranormal Penny Boxset features books 1, 1.5, and 2 in the Paranormal Penny Mystery Series.
 
Join Penny and Spades as they thwart murderers before they strike.
Amazon     Kobo     Apple     BN

Excerpt:

It wasn’t life that flashed before my eyes as Betty Fae thwacked me between the shoulder blades. It was death and disaster—replays of all the faces of shock and sadness worn by acquaintances of my past. Death of one sort or the other followed that stupid Raven.

I remembered them all. Vividly. The writer, the homeschool mom, the surfer, the politician. They were among the near-strangers I’d encountered and endangered.

Following their faces came the really painful pictures. The friendly child advocate, the sweet boy next door, and losing my aunt and uncle. After them, but always above them, followed the loss of my sister and father.

All because of the same intolerable bird. Gracious enough to give me a glimpse of their perils before nudging them to the brink. Impending doom sat, staring at me, from the cup of the only friend I had in town- Janice Rockland. It lingered there amid the froth bubbles, telling me Janice Rockland had twenty-four hours, at most, left to live.

My eyes watered. My throat closed all the tighter. Even after it dislodged my Belgian waffle. Air battled past my suffocating emotions. I gulped it down,
despising myself and fearing for my boss.

Janice and Betty Fae offered me a glass of water and napkins, thinking they’d saved the day. Little did they know. Trouble had just landed in their small town.

Janice watched me through the rest of the meal. If I told her she was about to die, would she be able to eat? I sipped my coffee and avoided conversation.

Long ago, I’d explained my weird glimpses to one of the Raven’s victims. Instead of believing me, my friend grew increasingly sarcastic about my confession. He mocked me. I didn’t blame him. I’m not sure I would’ve believed me, either. In the end, his sarcasm killed him. Laughing and gesturing like a mad bird to make fun of my premonitions, he’d lost control of his bicycle and collided with a garbage truck just as it was lowering its load.

No, I wasn’t about to tell Janice about her Raven. I’d keep watch. Stay sharp. Once the bird made an appearance, he wouldn’t leave until his prey was dead. Accidentally or with malice aforethought.

The next song, movie quote, television commercial, or anything ominous could clue me in on how to save her. At least I could give it a shot. If I didn’t keep a constant eye on Janice, her death would be on my head.

 

About the Author:

 
Sarah lives in California, in a home that brings her happiness and hay fever. She loves God, loves her family, and loves freshly brewed coffee. She has a husband who cooks, a son who stop animates, a daughter who loves animals, a dog that follows her everywhere, and a turtle who scowls at her condescendingly.
 
Her mother raised her on Mary Higgins Clark, Diane Mott Davidson, and Remington Steele. Her grandmother shared True Crime stories with her as they plotted how to get away with the perfect murder. It’s no surprise that Sarah became an award-winning spinner of suspenseful tales brimming with quirky characters. Mysteries are in her blood. Not that she could survive one of her own stories. She confesses, “I’d be snuffed out by chapter two.”
 
 
 
 
 
 



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BOOK BLITZ: Never Gonna Happen by Linda Kage #ContemporyarRomance #YoungAdult @XpressoTours @lindakage

Never Gonna Happen
Linda Kage
Publication date: November 8th 2022
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Peyton’s mom and my mom were best friends.

You’d think that should cover the gist of it. But, no… Oh, no.

Not even close.

You see, Mom and Aunt Donna (as I’d always called Peyton’s mother) were not simply just best friends; I’m saying they were the-same-person-inhabiting-two-different-bodies kind of best friends.

And thus, Peyton Royce had been forced on me since the moment she was born.

We were treated like twins, yet always expected to fall in love one day and get married. The only problem with that was I didn’t love Peyton. And I’m fairly certain she didn’t even like me in return.

Don’t get me wrong. I adored our moms—swear to God—but they had to let this stupid notion go, because one thing had become abundantly clear to me over the years. I would never marry Peyton Royce. I think it was my one goal in life, actually.

So… Sorry, Mom and Aunt Donna, but you two just weren’t going to get your way on this.

Peyton and I? It was never gonna happen.

Add to Goodreads / Purchase

EXCERPT:

Aria took her turn next. When she immediately turned toward me and Peyton, my stomach dipped with dread.

“York,” she smirked snidely. “Truth or dare?”

“Uh…” Damn. I shrugged, not sure what would be worse from her. I ended up going with, “Truth,” only to hold my breath and hope she didn’t ask about why I’d really broken up with her. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings and admit that I just didn’t feel any sparks.

But she glanced calculatingly between me and Peyton instead, then asked, “You two have known each other your whole lives, right?”

I frowned in confusion. “Uh, yeah. That’s your question?”

“No. My question is if you two have ever kissed before.”

“What? No!” I frowned at her for wasting her truth question on that and then glanced toward Peyton, shaking my head to let her know my group of friends was clearly insane.

She merely blushed and shrugged back.

And Wes took his turn next in the game.

“York!” he cheered. “Truth or dare?”

“Seriously?” I threw up my hands. “Why is everyone picking on me all of the sudden?”

“Truth or dare?” Wes repeated, lifting a challenging eyebrow.

I didn’t like where Aria had been heading with her question about Peyton, so this time I said, “Dare.”

Wes looked at me with victory, letting me know I’d chosen wrong, right before he said, “I dare you to kiss Peyton.”

Author Bio:

Linda writes romance fiction from YA to adult, contemporary to fantasy. Most Kage stories lean more toward the lighter, sillier side with a couple meaningful moments thrown in. Focuses more on entertainment value and emotional impact.
Published since 2010. Went through a 2-year writing correspondence class in children’s literature from The Institute of Children’s Literature. Then graduated with a Bachelors in Arts, English with an emphasis in creative fiction writing from Pittsburg State University.

Now she lives with hubby, two daughters, cat Holly, and nine cuckoo clocks in southeast Kansas, USA. Farm girl. Parents were dairy farmers. Was youngest of eight. Big family. Day job as a cataloging library assistant.

Harry Potter House Gryffindor, Patronus White Stallion, character match Hagrid. Supernatural Team Dean. Game of Thrones Team Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister. The Walking Dead Team Daryl. Outlander Team Jamie Fraser. Teen Wolf Team Stiles. Avenger Team Thor…or Hulk (can’t decide). Justice League Team Flash. Arrow Team Stephen Amell. Stranger Things obsessed. Heard Laurel, not Yanny.

Started out reading with the Baby-Sitters Club. Then moved to Sandra Brown, Linda Howard, Julie Garwood, and LaVyrle Spencer in high school. Now all over the place with her romance reading tastes.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook Page / Facebook Group / Twitter / Instagram

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BOOK TOUR: The Bone Master by Debbie Iancu-Haddad #YAFantasy #OwnVoices #Teens @RRBookTours1 @debbieiancu

Welcome to the book tour for the next instalment in The Sands of Achten Tan series by Debbie Iancu-Haddad, The Bone Master! Read on for more info!

The Bone Master

Publication Date: October 22, 2022

Genre: YA Fantasy/ Own Voices

Kaii Haku has lived his whole life in the shadow of his cruel father’s magic.
Rebelling against his father- the Bone Master- by drinking and sleeping around was Kaii’s main occupation for years.

But when one of his best friends is kidnapped by pirates, Kaii embarks on a perilous rescue mission with two retired pleasure house workers, a shy teen bookworm, and a feisty girl from the pirate crew.
The journey will take Kaii and his allies far from Achten Tan, to a sea ruled by dangerous conditions and ships that travel on the backs of monsters.

For the first time in his life, he has the power to make a difference, but if he wields his emerging bone magic to save the girl he loves, he risks losing himself and becoming like his father – a man who tried to kill him.

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Kaii

It’s cold beneath the bones.

I can feel them now, all around me.

When I first got my magic back, this awareness overwhelmed me. Sensing the ancient leviathan bones, the city is carved into, and the bones of its occupants. It took me a while to discern the living, breathing residents from the structures surrounding us. These fleeting specks of existence celebrate life today and are reduced to dust tomorrow.

Morbid, Kaii. Really morbid. Gast me. I’m turning into my dad.

I stride through the Undercity, sensing the vertebrae all around me. Up ahead, I detect two (probably live) bodies before I see them, and one more, further away, the target of my visit.

“Who goes there?”

Long wooden staffs bar my way into the Undercity. Which is really gasting rude, all things considered. The tall sharp-faced elf who spoke is obviously one of Aislinn’s people, the Svaalti elves who moved into the Undercity the day after the cavern gnomes left. The two elves, one male, and one female, regard me with haughty expressions. Sporting long pale hair, braided in intricate patterns, their robes a fine silk rarely seen in Achten Tan. I’m relieved they haven’t replaced the bone weapons my father confiscated the day they arrived, seeking refuge after the destruction of Satama.

“Kaii Haku, to visit Opu Haku.” I state. Not that it’s any of their business. The elves nod and move aside, their expressions still just on the wrong side of respectful. Aislinn and her people have taken control of the Undercity like a rot growing into the marrow. They’ll need to be dealt with eventually, but it’s not my responsibility to do so. At least not yet.

Today I’m here to see my father, though I don’t know why I bother. I can already feel him up ahead. My ability to sense bones doesn’t tell me if he’s dead or alive, but something tells me he still lives. As I enter the passageway below the Undercity, an almost palpable wave of animosity floats my way. It must be my imagination.

Opu Haku hasn’t taken well to his imprisonment. The rock cage at the end of the tunnel is lit only by a flickering torch. The hunched figure in the shadows doesn’t stir as I approach, but I sense a subtle testing of my wards, searching for an opening. If he finds it, he could break my bones, hurl me across the tunnel, try to kill me. Again.

“Still can’t throw me down the hall.” I aim for glib, but my tone misses its mark, sliding off his hunched shoulders to land in a splat at his feet. He can’t attack me with bone magic. I’m shielded by the protection runes tattooed into my skin, so instead, he hurls sharp words, seeking to make a mark.

“Why are you here?” he snarls.

“The usual.” I approach the stone bars and slide the package of food through the narrow gap. Drizko engineered a device that provides a trickle of water. It flows through his cell, washing away waste, and enabling him to drink. The smell down here is foul. Body odor and refuse with a side of dirt and despair. Does he even bother to bathe himself anymore? He’s sunk so low, figuratively and literally. From the top of Chief’s Rib to the deepest hole in the Undercity.

“Any plans of getting me out of here?” he asks. His voice is close. I look up to discover he’s right up against the bars. Grey eyes, the same color as my own, stare me down, and for an instant, I see vulnerability in his granite gaze, but I blink and it’s gone.

“No. Nobody misses you, old man.”

Ok. That was cruel, but the guy tried to kill me, more than once. All my warm fuzzy feelings for him are long gone.

“Then why bother feeding me?” He hurls the package I just passed through at the bars, the loaves of algae bread and dried meat strips scattering on the dirty cell floor. “Why prolong my suffering?”

“Maybe I won’t come back then.” I turn and leave, his eyes stabbing my back like knives.

I don’t mean it. I won’t let my own father starve to death, even if the bastard deserves it. He blames me for his imprisonment, and for my part in the destruction of his bone staff, even though both result from his own actions. But I’m not the one who decided to leave him down here. That was the town council’s decision. Even his toady, Rapaccio Pallor, couldn’t sway them.

As I exit the Undercity, my feet turn right towards Jezebone’s. That’s where I always end up lately. It’s better than going back to my empty rooms.

I’m nursing my second or third drink when a wide smile and an An’cher uniform block my view of the bar.

“What are you drinking?” Kamal swings his large blond frame down onto the bench opposite me, patting the seat at his side for D’or to join him. D’or hesitates a moment, his green eyes swinging from me to Kamal.

“Do you want company?” D’or asks me, shoving back his mess of dark curls.

I wave my hand at his already seated boyfriend. “Sure.” I love being surrounded by sickeningly in-love couples. Nothing better.

“Should you two even be in here?” I toss back the rest of my Xenthalor Venom and motion to the barmaid to hit me again. Hopefully not literally this time.

Kamal scrunches up his pale eyebrows like a confused dasu pup. “First of all, I’m almost seventeen now and I have An’cher privileges… And D’or…” he turns to his boyfriend, “do you get a Tar-tule rider discount?”

I’m just messing with him, anyway. I seriously doubt Jezebone’s gives a gast about a minimum age for drinking or for use of their other services.

“Where have you two been?” I mumble into my empty cup.

They exchange a look. “Oh, we were out of Achten Tan for a few days… Visiting my parents at the caverns,” Kamal responds.

He’s sweet, trying to spare my feelings, but I force the issue, relishing the prickle of discomfort. “Mila and Geb’s ceremony?”

“Yeah.”

I’m not bitter. They invited me and I wanted to go. I was just too busy with my ‘drinking myself stupid’ schedule… I’d built up a rhythm and couldn’t take a break for things like forever ceremonies, especially when it’s the girl who was supposed to be my future.

Kamal and D’or exchange another look.

“Can you two still read each other’s minds? Or mine?” I ask.

I really should have had them sign a non-disclosure agreement before I invited six people into my brain. They know too much. I’d make them disappear, but I kinda like the two brats.

“We can’t read your mind,” D’or says, his green eyes glinting with mischief. “Not since Mila’s mind-reading elixir wore off. And we still have enough material to work through from the night of the heist.”

“That was a long list,” Kamal smirks. The two boys nudge each other, practically giggling. It’s disgusting, in a cute, nauseatingly sweet kinda way.

The barmaid slams my drink down in front of me, sloshing some of the green liquid out of the glass to splash on my hand. I miss Kiva. How was I to know the new girl only tends the bar and doesn’t offer those services? I mean, it’s a pleasure house, for Gast’s sake.

I study my wet hand for a moment before lifting my eyes to her furious black ones and licking my fingers off slowly, one at a time. For a moment it looks like she’s going to hit me again, but then she huffs, throwing her dark tresses over her shoulder and stamping off towards the bar again.

“Actually, we wanted to order a drink…” Kamal calls after her.

D’or sighs and slides out of his seat. “I’ll get it. Your usual, babe?”

Kamal nods and unashamedly watches Do’r’s backside as he moves towards the bar. Not that I blame him. I’d watch too if I wasn’t worried about Kamal thumping me for ogling his boyfriend. Not that I care about being hit, but they are friends, sort of, and I don’t do it with friends. I don’t even think about doing it with friends. I made that mistake before and I’ve learned my lesson.

But as my eyes follow D’or towards the bar, I spot a girl who most certainly is not a friend. In fact, I’ve never seen her before. She’s leaning on the wall by the bar, holding a tankard the size of a pumble and wearing a frown that promises to burn this town to the ground. She’s definitely not from around here. Not to brag, but I’ve slept with every unattached, reasonably young, warm body around these parts, who ISN’T a friend. I’d love to add her to my list.

Her clothes are distinctly foreign and I use the term clothes lightly. Apparently, she thinks knives are a fashion accessory. I’ve counted five from this angle alone and I can only see one side of her. She’s not so much wearing a shirt as a type of leather halter with room for more knives, but it affords a very enticing view of her breasts. Before I think too hard about it, I’m out of my seat and crossing the bar in her direction.

I’m not quite into weaving territory yet, which is good, because this girl looks like she’ll require the use of at least part of my brain, not to mention other parts of me. I wonder if her tongue is as sharp as her knives. Still, I manage to walk a pretty straight line over to the bar, my fresh drink only slightly sloshing over my hand.

She watches me, locking her dark eyes with mine, a smirk lifting one side of her full lips. Challenge accepted. I make it across the room to her side, planting one hand on the wall by her head. Mostly for effect, but also a bit for support.

The girl turns towards me, wiping her luscious lips with the back of her hand, and slaps her tankard back onto the bar.

“Can I get you another?” I ask though I don’t know how she finished the first one.

“I’ll pass.” Her voice is deep and raspy. “It tastes like whale piss.” She scrapes a hand through her hair, pushing the short dark strands back behind her ear. One side is shaved short, while the other brushes her bare tattooed shoulder. Mmmmm, tattoos. No, wait. Tattoos are bad. I’m not into tattoos… anymore. Oh, Gast, who am I kidding?

“Well, if you hate the taste, why did you finish the first one?” Am I imagining it, or is she shifting closer?

She shrugs. “I was thirsty.” Yup, she’s definitely moving closer. Running her hand up my arm, she gives my bicep a squeeze, “but now I’m hungry for something else.” Then she licks those pink lips, my eyes following the motion with fascination.

I’ll admit, this has never worked quite so well on a complete stranger before. Maybe she’s heard about me. I lean in, testing the limits of this arrangement. She doesn’t give an inch, which places us chest to chest, and hers is just as pleasing up close as it was from across the room.

“Are you new in town?” I murmur.

Her dark eyes turn up to mine. I’m half a head taller than her, just the way I like it.

“I’m just passing through. Here today, gone tomorrow. So why don’t you show me a good time while I’m here?” She leans in to speak and her breath whispers along my cheek. Her hand is moving again, sliding across my chest and scraping my jaw. She pushes up on her toes, her mouth hovering close to mine.

“What’s the best view in Achten Tan?” she asks. Her scent is tantalizing. A salty, flowery combination I can’t place. I want to inhale her. Better yet, I want to taste her. I swallow, my mouth suddenly dry, and take the last gulp of my drink. She watches my mouth as I lick my lips, her pink tongue darting out to wet her bottom lip.

“Best view in Achten Tan is from the top of Chief’s Rib, where I live.”

She nods in a type of weird satisfaction, like I got the answer right. I look down again; she’s practically plastered to my front, which is good… or bad… because she’s going to feel…

Her smile widens and her hand is on the move again, sliding down, down, down…

I catch her wrist before her hand can reach its destination. I’d like to continue this, but not in the middle of Jezebone’s. They don’t allow that behavior here unless you’re paying for it.

“How about I give you the tour?” I ask.

“Of your rooms?” I thought she wanted to see the view from my father’s chambers, but apparently, she’s as eager as I am.

“Sure. Of my rooms. This way…” I pause, waiting for her name.

“Tara. Tara Phenix.”

Available on Amazon

Speechless in Achten Tan (The Sands of Achten Tan #1)

Sometimes Magic leaves you…Speechless!

Eighteen-year-old Mila hasn’t spoken in the five years since she became an Onra, a first level Everfall witch. After failing the test to reclaim her voice and control her magic, her mentor sends Mila to Achten Tan – City of Dust – a dangerous desert town, built in the massive ribcage of an extinct leviathan.

To reclaim her power, Mila must steal a magical staff capable of releasing it, from the sky-high lair of the Bone Master, Chief Opu Haku.

Her only resources are the magical luminous elixirs of the cursed caverns where she grew up, and a band of unlikely allies; a quirky inventor, a giant-ant rider, a healer, a librarian’s assistant, a Tar-tule rider and the chief’s playboy son.

But in the City of Bones, enemies & friends are not who they seem and trusting the wrong person can be deadly.

If Mila fails she will never speak again and her bones may be added to the wasteland.

About the Author

Debbie Iancu-Haddad is a Jewish Israeli author living in Meitar in the Negev Desert.

She spends her time taking part in Anthologies (seven to date with two more on the way), writing VSS on Twitter, and buying way too much stuff online. Her goal is to promote body positive characters and include characters dealing with physical challenges. #ownvoices

For her day job, she gives lectures on humor, laughter yoga workshops and chocolate workshops, and sees how often she can make her two teenagers roll their eyes.

Debbie Iancu-Haddad | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Book Tour Organized By:

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COVER REVEAL: Fountain Dead by Theresa Braun #audiobook #coverreveal #youngadult #paranormal @tbraun_author @RRBookTours1

I am thrilled to share this beautiful new cover of the upcoming audiobook edition of Fountain Dead by Theresa Braun!

Fountain Dead

Expected Publication Date: Fall 2022

Genre: Mature YA/ Paranormal/ Ghost Story

Mark is uprooted from his home and high school in the Twin Cities and forced to move with his family into a Victorian in Nowhere-ville. Busy with the relocation and fitting in, Mark’s parents don’t see what’s unfolding around them—the way rooms and left behind objects seem alive with a haunted past. Of course, Mark keeps his ghostly encounters to himself, all the while sinking deeper into the house’s dark, alluring, and ultimately terrifying history. As romantic entanglements intensify, the paranormal activity escalates. Past and present come together. Everything is connected—from the bricks in the walls to the hearts beating in their chests, all the secrets of Fountain Dead are finally unearthed.

Coming Soon!

About the Author

Theresa Braun has a Master’s degree in English literature and lives in South Florida where she has been teaching literature and writing for over 20 years. Traveling, ghost hunting, and all things dark are her passions (when she is not coming up with romantic subplots). She has presented at HWA conferences, as well as Utah Quills Conferences. Her published works include both novels and short stories that have appeared in various horror fiction publications. In 2018, she was included in a Best Speculative Fiction anthology.

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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BOOK TOUR: The Atlantean Horse (Feathers of the Phoenix) by Cheryl Carpinello #YoungAdult #Supernatural @ccarpinello @pumpupyourbook

Title: The Atlantean Horse: The Feathers of the Phoenix Book 1
Author: Cheryl Carpinello
Publisher: Silver Quill Publishing
Pages: 149
Genre: YA Paranormal/Supernatural

Blurb:

Ancient Mystery…Mystical Prophecy…Biblical Horsemen

One Epic Task

The Task: Retrieve the Five Feathers of the Phoenix to raise Atlantis so its people can return home.

The Chosen: Cousins Rosa & Jerome embark upon a perilous and personal quest to retrieve the first Feather. Rosa’s special gift, kept far in the Past, will be revealed, and Jerome will discover his.

The Opponents: The Four Deadly Horsemen of the Apocalypse will stop at nothing, not even murder, to possess the Feathers.

Join Rosa & Jerome as they risk all in their search for the First Feather!

 Get it at Amazon

Meet the Author

I’m a lover of mythology, myths, legends, and tales from the ancient/medieval worlds. I enjoy exploring how these have transcended time/space to influence our world today. Myths and legends don’t fade away; they are just repackaged for a new audience.

As a high school English teacher, I continually challenged my students to find connections between today and times long gone by. Some took more digging than others, but the connections were always there. One of my favorites, Star Wars, borrows several concepts from the Legend of King Arthur. The Star Trek series goes even further back into the mythology of ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt as well as others.

I write Arthurian Legend for young readers and teens (I never refuse to let mature readers enjoy my stories!). These stories exhibit what I consider to be cornerstones of that Legend: Courage, Honor, Loyalty, and Friendship.

My tales from Egypt and my new series Feathers of the Phoenix meld the ancient/medieval worlds with today. The Atlantean Horse (Book 1 of Feathers of the Phoenix) also brings the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse out of the Bible and into the modern world. They and my main characters are after the feathers of the Phoenix in order to bring Atlantis alive again.

P.S. I believe in magic and Unicorns!!

Website Link:  https://www.cherylcarpinello.com

Blog Linkhttp://carpinelloswritingpages.blogspot.com/

Twitter Link:  https://twitter.com/ccarpinello

Facebook Link:  https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.carpinello1

Goodreads Link:    https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2924554.Cheryl_Carpinello

Instagram Linkhttps://www.instagram.com/ccarpine1/

BOOK BLITZ: Alex McKenna & Death Is Not The Beginning by Vicki-Ann Bush #YoungAdult #paranormal #LGBTQ @XpressoTours @vickiannbush

Alex McKenna & Death Is Not The Beginning
Vicki-Ann Bush
(Alex McKenna, #4)
Published by: Parliament House
Publication date: September 20th 2022
Genres: LGBTQ+, Paranormal, Suspense, Young Adult

In the fourth and final installment for the series, Alex faces his most difficult case yet—the school bully.

For two years Kyle tried to make Alex’s life even more complicated than it already is. Choosing to single him out for his psychic abilities and other life events, the angry teen took every chance he could to challenge Alex’s well-being.

Despite the constant insults, when the bully is murdered and comes to him for help, Alex sets aside the past to help a soul in need. Searching for the killer, Alex uncovers a truth that answers the question why he was the victim of Kyle negative attention, and the answers that will set them both free.

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EXCERPT:

Alex glanced up to the hovering apparition and raised his chin slightly left toward the door. He hoped the spirit would follow, but instead, it quickly vanished, so he took the cue and let it go. Clasping Margaret’s hand, he ushered them from the store.

Outside, the fragrance of freshly cut grass and blossoming tulips tickled his nostrils. A perfect Spring day. The young couple had strolled the fifteen-minute walk into the small village at the center of Floral Park, taking advantage of the warmer climate.

“It’s super nice out.” Alex smiled.

“It is. I love Spring. Hey, what happened in there?” Margaret asked.

“What do you mean?”

“I thought you spotted something.”

“I did. But they didn’t want my help.”

“Huh. Did you get a good look at what it was?”

“I didn’t know them, but it was definitely an older man. I’d say somewhere around my gram’s age.” Alex glanced over his shoulder back at the store.

“That’s sad.”

“How come?” Alex raised a brow.

“He’s in a drug store for eternity? Why? What keeps him there? Why doesn’t he cross over?”

“You sound like me.” Alex chuckled.

“Well, it was bound to rub off some time.” She lay her head on his shoulder.

“I’m just glad that’s over with.”

“I know.” Margaret gave him a quick peck on the cheek.

Rounding the corner at the end of the block stood a structure Alex struggled with for most of his seventeen years. Coming from a lineage of witches whose roots were planted in Italy, the paradoxical blend of spells and Catholicism baffled him. He chose to believe in spirituality, embracing his ancestors and calling on them in times of need.

Alex let Margaret’s hand slip through his fingers. Across the street, directly in front of the church, was a small park with a handful of benches. His gaze focused on the ornate stained glass adorning the round window above the sturdy oak doors. What the hell? Without care, he stepped into the road and in front of an oncoming car. Luckily, Margaret’s scream freed him from his trance in time for him to jump out of the way. A loud screech from the tires of the irate driver didn’t completely mask the language he yelled from the window.

Margaret rushed to his side and pulled Alex to a bench facing the building that had captivated his attention a few moments ago.

“What the hell?” Margaret slapped his arm.

“Sorry. I don’t know what came over me.” Alex glared at the church. “That’s not true.”

“Okay, spill.” Margaret scooted back and crossed her legs.

“Wait, where’s my bag?” Alex nervously looked around.

“Crap. It’s over there.” Margaret pointed to the asphalt.

“I’ll get it.” Alex motioned to stand.

“Oh, no you don’t. One near-death today is enough. I’ll get it. Stay here.”

Normally he’d argue the issue, but he didn’t trust himself either. The range of emotions creeping along his veins and occupying dread in his gut burned a volcano of doubt in his psyche.

Margaret halted at the sidewalk’s edge and turned her head from side to side before venturing into the middle of the road. She snatched up the bag and scurried back to the bench.

She stretched out her arm to hand the bag to Alex, “Thanks.”

“I’m just that kind of girlfriend. Risking life and limb for the guy I love.”

Alex rolled his eyes.

“Now, where were we? Oh, I remember, you were gonna tell me why you froze in the middle of the goddamn street.” Margaret knitted her brows.

“Once again—sorry. When I saw the church, I had a vision. The building was destroyed like a bomb or something had incinerated it. The darkness crept along the walls. It was like…a living thing.” Alex shuddered.

“Yup, just another day in the world of you.”

Author Bio:

Originally from New York, Vicki-Ann currently resides in Nevada. Writing Young Adult paranormal, she finds inspiration from events that have been in her life for as long as she can remember. Inheriting her sensitivity to the supernatural from her family, they continue to be an endless source of vision.

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BOOK TOUR: Locksmith’s War by Paul Briggs #YoungAdult #ScienceFiction #YAscifi @paulproofreader @GoddessFish

Locksmith’s War

The Locksmith Trilogy Book Three

by Paul Briggs

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GENRE: YA Sci-fi (Young Adult, Science Fiction_

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

BLURB:

For Lachlan Smith, learning the secret of the apocalypse was the easy part.

Ever since Locksmith found the portal to the future, he has been wondering who or what was responsible for the empty, uninhabited world he found.

Now he knows—and now he has to fight them.

He thought he had fifteen years in which to prevent the extinction of the human species.

Now, he has only hours.

When the portal is stolen by a cabal of dangerous fanatics, his mother and many of his friends are trapped on the other side. Now the enemy is after him, and the only way to thwart their genocidal plan is to retake the portal and hold it—at both ends.

With very little time left, a handful of allies who don’t trust each other, almost no chance of success and the survival of humanity itself at stake… Locksmith is going to war.

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

Excerpt One:

Rikki’s first plan of escape

Rikki’s first plan of escape was simple — wait for somebody to open the door, then pounce on them, beat them up and start running. She couldn’t act on this plan until the drug wore off.

She was still feeling jittery from the drug when the lights went out, leaving her in something very close to pitch darkness. The tags on her ears glowed in the dark. The lights stayed off for a fair stretch of time — it might have been an hour. Before long, even with the drug out of her system her pupils had dilated to the point where the light that leaked in under the doorway looked like a line of yellow-white fire, dimly illuminating the room.

Then she heard the footsteps out the in the hall. Someone was headed this way. Rikki pointed herself at the doorway and got herself into a sprinter’s crouch like she’d seen Lock do.

The footsteps stopped in front of the door to her cell. She could see the shadows of somebody’s feet. Just one person. Good. Heavier than average, from the sound of the footsteps, but still better than trying to tackle two or more people at once. Her leg muscles were ready to launch her at the enemy. She got her fists into position. A few good blows to the solar plexus and kidneys…

and try again tomorrow?” This isn’t a track meet, this is a heist. You can’t just reschedule it.

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

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

In addition to writing books, Paul Briggs has worked as a newspaper editor, court reporter’s assistant, and audio transcriber. In his spare time (when he has any) he sometimes performs in community theater, most recently taking on the roles of Bottom, Petruchio, Macbeth, Rosalind, and Richard III in a Shakespeare compilation. An Eastern Shore native who grew up in Chestertown, Maryland, Paul earned a BA in English from Washington College and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland – College Park.

He is the author of several short plays, including the award-winning The Worst Super Power Ever and The Picture of Health.  He is also writing the sequel to his 2018 science fiction novel Altered Seasons: Monsoonrise, which vividly imagines the dislocations that follow when the Arctic Sea ice finally melts and the Chesapeake Bay is drowned by the effects of climate change.

https://www.paulbriggs.com/thelocksmithtrilogy

https://www.facebook.com/paulbriggsauthor/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/655906.Paul_Briggs/blog

https://lockswriter.deviantart.com/

Amazon Buy Link: https://smile.amazon.com/Locksmiths-War-Locksmith-Trilogy-Three-ebook/dp/B09ZK98V96/ref=sr_1_1

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

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BOOK TOUR: The Ghost’s Daughter by Cary Herwig #YoungAdult #Paranormal @HerwigCary

The Ghost’s Daughter

The Army Brat Hauntings Book 1

by Cary Herwig

Genre: YA Paranormal

New schools.
New friends.
No money.

Life as an Army Brat is always challenging. Especially when you’re being haunted.

In the summer of 1956, in the midst of the Cold War, Vivien Brewer, army brat, moves with her family to Camp Breckinridge. She and her sister join friends exploring a nearby abandoned hospital. She’s been told not to go there, but the rumors of treasure prove too great a temptation. What she finds is the spectral revenant of a World War II nurse who wants something and expects Vivien to deliver. Soon she’s in mortal danger, and so are her family and friends. If she can’t deliver what the ghost demands, no one is safe.

Vivien tries to get help, but her father and doctor think her hallucinations must be hormonal. Only her mother knows better—because Vivien inherited a gift from her. Refusing to run or hide, Vivien embarks on the greatest adventure of her young life—and quite possibly, the last one.

Close the doors. Shut the blinds. Turn out the lights. This is a book best read after dark. Just make sure no one is peering over your shoulder…

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CARY HERWIG is a retired archivist living in Oklahoma. She grew up as an army brat moving every year or two. She writes science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery under different names and has published both novels and short fiction for several decades. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, but gets restless every few years, wondering if it’s time to move again.

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BOOK TOUR: Year Zero by David Dean Lugo #YoungAdult #dystopian @daviddeanlugo @RRBookTours1

 

Welcome to the book tour for the first installment in David Dean Lugo’s Revolution’s Children series, Year Zero! Read on for more info!

Year Zero (Revolution’s Children Book 1)

Publication Date: May 24th, 2022

Genre: YA Dystopian

A thrilling new YA dystopian novel has dark parallels to a conceivable future America.

It’s been two years since the establishment of the brutal dictatorship The Incorporated Precincts of America and its governing Board and CEO, as well as the death of the old America. Sixteen-year-old Joey Cryer has two missions: to keep their six-year-old sister, Julia, safe, and to not die.

America first. America last. America always. This is the vow that the CEO leader of the IPA—The Incorporated Precincts of America—pledges to his suffering citizens. With violent protests breaking out in every city, attacks against immigrants, and the national crisis of the Capitol Event, young Joey must keep their vigilance in staying clear of the IPA’s ever-watching Sons of Liberty—its ruthless police force—to avoid becoming “disappeared” with his little sister. This means not maligning the governing body, The Corporation, with any thought, word, or action, or else suffer the consequence. One such sanction for disobeying citizens is being forced on to the required viewing television show “Manhunt,” where they fight for their lives against the Sons, upholding The Corporation’s domination over society.

Two years earlier, before the Second Revolution ended and before the election, Joey’s biggest concern was sitting at the right cafeteria table at his high school or if the girl they liked liked them back. Avoiding the school bully, Harlan Grundy, was always a plus, and so was not getting pummeled. So, it was no big surprise that Harlan became a Son, loyal to The Corporation and carrying out their dirty deeds to keep citizens in check and in fear. The only correct response to a Son? Everything is goodly.

Having lost everything in the revolution’s aftermath, Joey takes an unfathomable risk by helping the near-dead leader of the rebellion, John Doe. Having anything to do with Doe will skip you right past penalties and sanctions all the way to the death penalty, not only for you, but for anyone you love. And yet Joey’s sole mission is keep Julia safe until they can secretly escape to freedom. To do so, they finds they have an unlikely partner in a recently betrayed Harlan. Trusting their former enemy may be the only way to ensure their future—but is it worth the risk for Joey, Julia, and his community?

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Excerpt

No law respecting the established religion, prohibiting its free and compulsory practice, may be passed. All citizens free or otherwise are responsible for their speech, as is the press. The Board may sanction the people or the press should they choose to malign The Corporation or its representatives in print, thought, word, or action.

—First Amendment, Constitution Incorporated Precincts of America

A hand grabs my shoulder, and I know I’m screwed. The flickering light from the Jumbotron across the street dispels the concealing darkness. What was I thinking trying to sneak my way across town square after dark? I pull my hat lower, hoping that he won’t recognize me.

Especially if curfew has started.

Dan and Katie are starting the Manhunt preshow on the Jumbotron, which isn’t a good sign. Manhunt rarely starts before seven.

My mouth is dry, and my heart’s hammering fills my ears. It’s the fight-or-flight response kicking in big time. Except in my case, it’s the flight-and-still-get-pommeled response.

Even knowing how it will end, I still think about running.

Just for a second.

Old habits die hard.

I move my eyes to the hand, hoping it’s not covered by a white glove. Crap. It is. So, the he attached to the hand isn’t a regular cop. A cop will just shake me down and let me go. But not this guy.

He’s a Son of Liberty.

I’m surprised he hasn’t shot me yet. They usually do. I mean, it’s kinda their go-to move. I glance from his glove to his face.

I silence a scream. This guy isn’t any old Son. He’s Harlan Grundy. That name alone makes most kids cry. Always has.

Harlan’s been bullying kids since the old days, back when we still lived in a place called the USA. By the time The Corporation ran things and changed the name to The Incorporated Precincts of America, or IPA, Harlan had transformed bullying into an art form. I mean, watching him terrorize a kid is like watching Michelangelo turn a hunk of stone into a statue. Pure artistry.

Unless you’re the rock.

All the Sons are big, but Harlan’s bigger. Not like Schwarzenegger big. It’s more natural. Like a gorilla. Most let his stocky form, with its squashed nose, thick fingers, and stubby legs, fool them. But he possessed a speed unheard of, even among Olympic athletes.

And I, underneath this big ass coat, am just a scrawny sixteen-year-old. Exercise and me are not the best of friends. I mean, we wave when we pass by in the halls. Unless running from Harlan counts. Because if it does, I’m a gold medalist.

Okay, maybe a bronze because he always catches me.

“Hold it, citizen,” he says loud enough for me to hear over the Jumbotron’s droning voices. That is quite a feat since they always have it turned up to like a million.

Wait. Citizen?

He doesn’t recognize me.

He says something, but Dan speaks over him from the Jumbotron. “We’ll be back after this message.”

A second later, tolling bells replace his smug voice, sounding out the half hour. I glance at the screen, hoping it says six thirty. Instead, a robotic voice says, “The time is now seven thirty. Curfew is in effect.”

I’m doubly screwed.

After curfew, you get arrested or worse, unless you’re on official IPA business. It won’t take anyone more than one look to know I’m not. And Harlan’s fists and I have known each other since I was eight, and he was eleven. It’s only a matter of time until his dim brain dusts off the cobwebs and the first faint itch of recognition dawns on him.

If he doesn’t shoot me, which I doubt, I have two simple choices left. But I won’t get to choose. Instead, an Inquisitor will decide between sending me to a Liberty Camp or inducting me into the army.

The second is most likely. They’re drafting more people every day. Younger and younger too. I mean, except for like Ward Commanders, Inquisitors, and Auditors, the whole Corporation is getting younger. I guess they figure the young don’t have as much attachment to the way things were.

The CEO says we’re winning the war, and the extra troops are for the last push into Ottawa. But I’ve heard the rumors. Who hasn’t?

Some say Mexico, Canada’s ally, has won ground in the Southwest. Others say the early winter weather has paralyzed our troops in Ontario and Alaska. What’s happening in Europe is anyone’s guess.

So, whatever the Inquisitor decides, it’s better if Harlan shoots me.

Usually, I’m home before curfew, but I had forgotten it’s earlier now. That’s thanks to the Does—John and Jane Doe—and their rebels blowing up stuff. Last Tuesday, the day most Sons get their rations, they blew up the rationing center. Now, the rest of us are still living off our last pitiful portion.

Movies make rebellion seem exciting and heroic. I guess it is, fighting oppression or whatever. But from where I sit, trying to get by and staying off The Corporation’s radar, it’s terrifying. It doesn’t help people like me. Maybe it will someday, but I’m not holding my breath.

I burrow deeper into my father’s coat, trying to avoid eye contact. The coat must be the only reason Harlan hasn’t recognized me. There’s no point in trying to hide the bag of contraband I’m holding.

I mean, it’s right there.

Besides, it’s just dumb cans of stupid beef stew I bought at the black market. E-rations don’t hardly give anyone enough food. So, most people, leastways those who can afford it, turn to the black market. Even Block Watch Commanders like Harlan.

It’s not totally the Does fault, though. Food, at least the unpowdered kind, was scarce even before they blew up the rationing center. The troops passing through on their way north to the wall, took most of what we had. They didn’t bother leaving much for us citizens.

I’m not sweating the stew, though. I expect he’ll “impound” it. I’m more worried that what’s stuffed into my belt will spill out. If it does, he’ll definitely shoot me.

He’s eyeing the bag though. His mouth might even be watering. We both stand there, playing our weird freeze tag while waiting for the stupid bell to stop tolling.

As soon as it does, Harlan says, “You’re behind curfew, citizen. Slice me the stew, and I won’t donate a one.”

Ugh. Slanguage.

It takes me a moment to translate his words to regular English. If I give him the stew, he won’t give me a class one penalty. I can’t speak because he’ll recognize my voice, so I nod. Kneeling, I set the bag down and take off.

I don’t look back.

You never look back.

If you do, they might see your face, connect it to a list of subversives, rebels, or whatever list you didn’t know you were on.

I’m two blocks away before a grin spreads across my face. Dumbass Harlan was so preoccupied by the bag that he didn’t notice the cans crammed in my pockets.

I decide to go home through the woods. It’s longer and a thousand percent spookier, but it has more cover. Plus, The Corporation hasn’t put cameras in the forest. At least not yet anyway. That might change if they suspect the squirrels of treason.

Plus, Harlan lives two houses away from me. If he’s heading home, it’s worth the extra twenty-minute walk to avoid him.

I trudge along. I can’t see a thing in the inky blackness. Everything is a muddied silhouette, and I don’t want to trip on something and break my neck. I used to find the sounds of leaves crunching under my feet satisfying. But I don’t anymore.

They just tell the Sons or the rebel squirrels where you are.

My breath comes quick now. Heart racing. It’s my anxiety getting the better of me. I don’t bother fighting it because I’m too busy cursing myself. If Harlan is out on patrol, he’s nowhere near his house. Then again, it might be dumb luck that we ran into each other.

Either way, I don’t really care right now because I’m sure Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers has spotted my dumbass alone in the woods. I stop for a second, but the sound of crunching leaves doesn’t.

A twig snaps.

I turn.

A half-naked figure lunges from the darkness, falling to the ground.

I almost scream.

A man lies motionless. I get a little closer and notice he’s covered in blood. Against my better judgment, I turn him over. A few holes leak his blood.

Someone shot him.

The only people with guns these days are Sons or rebels. Which means they’re probably out searching for him. That thought alone makes me nope my sorry ass out of the woods as fast as I can.

I emerge, unharassed by either rebel squirrels or a fictional slasher, near the non-Harlan end of my block. My breath comes in short, panicked gasps. I’m more than a little embarrassed by how fast I’m moving down the block.

I turn the corner. My house blazes bright in the frigid night. It’s almost enough to chase away the harsh twilight glow from the screens on the telephone poles.

Julia, my little sister hates being alone, but she isn’t right now. Unless Winnie’s wandered off again. She has turned on every light, which means he probably did. The Sons don’t pay him much mind, so he’ll be okay. Hopefully, she hasn’t used up our electricity ration for the month.

I linger in the driveway, eyes darting. I need to make sure I wasn’t followed.

An angry orange flower of fire blooms over the nearby hills. Must be the rebels blowing something up or being blown up themselves. Either way, a bunch of people are dead. A tenth of a second later, a dull roar reaches my ears, and everything shakes.

Every porch light in the neighborhood blinks on, and people spill out from their houses, scurrying around like angry ants. A few have wide eyes, their O-shaped mouths gulping the chilly night air. Which reminds me of the fish that Dad and I used to catch. Others just sigh, wringing their hands. A few look furious.

I’ve lived here for like forever and recognize everyone.

That is everyone except the young man with the neat dark hair walking along the walkway in front of the house next door. His hands are in his pockets, posture crisp but relaxed.

I do a double take because I didn’t expect to see anyone coming from there. It and the house across the street have stood vacant since the Perrys and the Youngs disappeared a year ago. He might be a zig though.

Zig is short for zigzag. They’re the people who refuse to go along with The Corporation but won’t join the resistance either. So, they zigzag between the two opposing forces that shape the IPA. They usually come in small groups, no more than four. There’s not a lot of them. At least as far as anyone can tell. Anyway, neither side likes them much, and both will see them wiped out just as soon. Which is why, if he is a zig, he certainly wouldn’t be so careless and let everyone know where he lives.

He might be a rebel. They sometimes hunker down in vacant buildings. That thought both excites and frightens me.

As he draws closer, there’s no mistaking this man for a zig or a rebel. He wears a suit, but the distant flames give everything a crimson tone, so I can’t tell what color it is. Something on his jacket flickers. He reaches the end of the walkway, and I notice that the light glints off a bunch of Corporation commendation pins on his lapel.

At first, he acknowledges no one as he crosses his arms and stares straight ahead. He appears calm, but his breath comes in peculiar fits like he’s out of breath but doesn’t want anyone to know. Maybe he’s asthmatic? I don’t know. His eyes don’t watch the distant flames like everyone else; they’re watching the streetlights.

Something glistens on his forehead like sweat, but the night is cold, so that’s impossible. He appears to sense me gawking and gives me a nod.

By reflex, I wave.

Another fireball blossoms, this one almost bright enough to read by. The windows rattle from the blast. The neighborhood lights blink a few times before going out. Someone screams as we’re plunged into a weird twilight of flickering screens since those never stop.

I swear Pinman smirks.

A second later, old Doc Salazar asks, “Do you think it’s the Canadians?”

That isn’t as silly as it sounds, since if you’re lucky enough to own a car, it’s like three hours to the border.

“Nah. I bet it’s the Does and the rebels,” Mr. Taylor replies.

Everyone stares at him for a moment. Calling the Does rebels is against the law.

“You mean terrorists,” a throaty unfamiliar voice—my new neighbor—says.

“Yes, y-yes,” Mr. Taylor stammers. He probably noticed every commendation on Pinman’s jacket. He chuckles nervously, running a hand across the back of his neck.

I don’t want to call attention to myself, but Taylor was my dad’s fishing buddy. I can’t count the number of times that the Taylors shared a meal with us after a good day on the lake.

A familiar voice breaks the uncomfortable silence. “Mr. Taylor is scaredly is all. He’s not trying to be outside the box.”

I look around, trying to find who spoke. For some reason, everyone’s staring at me like I punched a nun or something.

Well, everyone except Taylor. He’s got a grateful smile pasted on his stupid round face. The looks confirm my growing suspicion. The voice was familiar because it’s mine.

Pinman doesn’t reply, just cocks his head.

“Well, um, good night, sir,” Mr. Taylor croaks as he scurries back inside his house.

A second later, the loudspeakers atop every telephone pole on the block crackle to life. On the screens, a severe looking yet appealing middle-aged woman appears with her hair wrapped tight around her head. Everything can go dark but not PR Polly, the voice of The Corporation.

There’s a whine of feedback, and Polly stares with a Mona Lisa smile on her lips, waiting for it to pass. It fades to a crackling static and clears.

Her familiar, faintly British voice sounds out. “Return to your homes. All is goodly. We have the situation under control.” As always, she adds the Corporate slogan. “America first. America last. America always.”

Another squeal of feedback sounds out. Dan and Katie return to the screens, laughing about the ratings bonanza it’ll be when the real Does are caught and put on Manhunt. But since Manhunt is required viewing, ratings are a bonanza every day anyway. I’m also not sure how we’d know if they’re the real Does. I mean, every time they think they’ve got them, it turns out they’re regular rebels.

No one even knows what the Does look like.

A weird sensation tingles my leg. It’s my phone vibrating in my pocket. I put aside my stray thoughts for now as I fish it out.

“What did you think of this Realnews brief” flashes on the screen. Underneath, like always, are two emoji:

a smiley one,

and a frowning one.

I tap the smiley face to show that I loved it. No one clicks the other one anymore. Well, no one without a death wish.

Soft clicking echoes around me as my neighbors do the same. By the time I’m done, they’re scurrying back into their homes. I guess they’ve all realized it’s after curfew, so we are all technically criminals right now.

Pinman still stands there with his arms crossed, staring at me. I try not to meet his gaze and mumble something about how my little sister is waiting for dinner inside.

In the distance, sirens blare. A lot of them. All isn’t goodly. I sense the stranger watching me as I walk into my house.

I don’t look back.

You never look back.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Author David Dean Lugo often gets ideas for his stories by wondering what if? In his new young adult dystopian novel, Year Zero, he probed this when writing about a future fascist America run by a governing body called The Corporation and its CEO. Lugo believes that today’s trend of people judging one another too harshly—whether based on their political party, gender identity, or something else—is causing people to drift too far away from one another. His story explores potential extreme ramifications of this.

Lugo believes a great book is one that has believable characters that readers can identify with and relate to. He hopes his stories evoke emotion and thinking from his readers long after the book is closed.

When he isn’t writing thought-provoking YA novels, Lugo enjoys playing guitar, watching movies, playing video/board games, and hanging out with his amazing family. He lives in southwest New Hampshire with his wife Meredith, son Jacob, and their rascally Labrador/Collie mix named Astrid. Year Zero is the first volume in his The Revolution’s Children trilogy.

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