Monday, March 13, 2023

The Breaks Between You and Me by Taiya Collier

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Taiya Collier will be awarding "bookish" sweatshirt and sticker pack (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Somewhere out in the hills of Montana, 17-year-old Harper Cassidy has a home. Really, she does! And so does her sister, Lil. But since all they’ve ever done is skip across the Pacific Northwest from town to town, following her mom’s every desire from Montana to California, it’s been getting harder and harder to feel rooted anywhere.

Until tragedy strikes. And, before she knows it, Harper is... free. Free to go home to Montana and return to a stability she never had. Only, there are several problems standing in her way.

First, she has to create a stable life for her and her seven-year-old sister. Second, she has to do it alone. And third, worst of all, she has to keep her mother’s absence a secret from the people she grew up with: her grandfather, her aunt, and him, the boy.

Andy Madden is Harper’s best friend, and the answer to her aching loneliness, but he is also the threat to containing the secret that her life depends on. A secret that seems just a little too heavy for any one person to keep.

Read an Excerpt

Your name is Andy, and you’re a city boy. You’ve never dressed like one, but the reason how I know is because you’ve always dreamed like one. You stay up late on cloudy nights because you’ve always said they look like city skies, and you love city skies, even though you’ve never even been to the city in your life except for once in New York with your mom when you were seven. It was loud and you loved it. She held your hand on the streets and you gripped it. The air smelled like hundreds of different things at once and somehow, you could manage to breathe it in.

About the Author:

At just eighteen years old, Taiya Collier is already making a name for herself as an author. The Austin-native has set her sights on creating age inclusivity within young adult fiction and shattering the notion that writing about teen life can only be done by middle-aged writers who lack true understanding of the experience. She's published four books so far, each filled with riveting storylines sure to enthrall readers from start to finish! By inspiring other teens towards authorship, she hopes to build up a new generation of YA novelists capable of capturing accurate accounts of today’s youth culture. Taiya is currently attending college full time while continuing to write as often as she can. Her recent works explore themes of identity, strength, growth, and resilience in young adulthood—all of which are important aspects of her journey as a writer. In addition to writing her own stories, Taiya is also involved in various literary events and speaking engagements throughout the year. As an advocate for literary inclusion, she uses these opportunities to spread awareness about the importance of diverse representation on all platforms.


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Friday, February 10, 2023

My Best Friend Athena by Dana Hammer

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Dana Hammer will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

I really disliked children’s literature, so I didn’t read any of the typical Sweet Valley High/Babysitters Club/Narnia stuff. I mostly read Stephen King, John Saul, Edgar Allen Poe, and VC Andrews. In retrospect, some of that stuff was probably not appropriate, but it’s what I liked. And I’m pretty much fine.

What book is on your nightstand currently?

I’m currently reading a romantic comedy called Would You Rather?. It’s about a young woman who marries her friend to get his health insurance, because she needs a kidney transplant, and wants to go back to school full time, and can’t keep her job. It’s a only marriage of convenience, because they’re JUST FRIENDS. I wonder what will happen! So far it’s a pretty fun read, and I’m enjoying it a lot. I’m also reading a book about stalking called The Book of You. It’s the opposite of Would You Rather — the tone is scary, serious, and sad. It makes me want to tell everyone I know that if they have a stalker, TELL ME. I will be your stalker buddy, and come with you to the grocery store and the bank and whatever. You don’t have to deal with it alone! But I don’t think I know anyone who’s currently being stalked, so this kind of feels like an empty offer.

What would you write in a letter to your teen self?

Dear Dana,

1) Snickers bars are not a healthy lunch.
2) Mozzarella sticks and coke are not a healthy breakfast.
3) Don’t go to that expensive private college you’re thinking of going to — it’s not for you, and you will transfer out after one year, much poorer, and not better educated.
4) Make better romantic choices.
5) Take all those bumper stickers off your car — you think they’re funny, but they make you look like trash.

What reality show would you like to be on?

I don’t know if it counts as a reality show, but I’d like to be on “Is It Cake?” I am really, really good at knowing if it’s cake. I would win every time.

What four literary characters would you like to have over for dinner?

1) Ignatius J. Reilly, from A Confederacy of Dunces. Not because I want to be friends with him — I don’t — but I think he would be very amusing to hang out with — once. I want him to play his lute for me, and I want to hear his thoughts on 2023 TV shows.

2) Arturo Binewski, from Geek Love. I mean…he’s a circus freak who starts a cult that makes people cut off their limbs. How could I not want to meet someone like that? That dude has some stories, and some fascinating thoughts in his head.

3) Bertha, the mad wife from Jane Eyre. I mean, was she even mad? Or was she just inconvenient? But let’s say she was totally insane — the woman needed help, not to be locked in an attic. I would feed her, and get her any psychiatric care she needed.

4) Jamie Fraser, from Outlander. I don’t feel like this needs explanation.

Fanny Fitzpatrick has the coolest best friend ever. Athena is smart, and pretty, and brave, and kind. Fanny loves her friend, but sometimes, she feels a little jealous of how perfect Athena is.

But even “perfect” girls make mistakes, and Athena makes a big one when she accidentally turns the school bully into a cockroach. He was picking on their friend Gemma and Athena lost her temper and her magic powers just slipped out right in front of Fanny.

Now Fanny knows that Athena isn’t an ordinary girl – she’s the reincarnation of a Greek goddess, powers and all – and now she needs Fanny and Gemma’s help to hunt down the bully-turned-cockroach and turn him back into a human boy.

Fanny doesn’t want to spend all her time looking for a cockroach. She’s got the Junior Miss Super Pretty Pageant to prepare for, if she can get over her stage fright. Besides, Athena’s Dad, Zeus, has forbidden the girls from meddling with any more cockroaches or magic, and Zeus is a god you don’t want to mess with.

Fanny has to make a choice. Should she pursue her pageant dreams, or risk Zeus’ wrath to find the cockroach-boy? What’s the right thing to do? And how do you hunt down a cockroach anyway?

Read an Excerpt

By the time I get home, everyone in town knows about Daniel’s disappearance, including my mom, which explains why she grabs me as soon as I walk in the door, like I’ve just returned from war or something. She hugs me so tightly I’m pretty sure it damages my intestines. “Honey, I’m so glad you’re home. Where were you?”

“Athena’s. Remember? I told you where I was gonna be.”

“A boy’s gone missing! I had no idea where you were! I was terrified.”

This is what happens when a kid goes missing. Your mom completely forgets about any conversations you had earlier in the day, because all she can think about is the fact that a kid is missing, and it scrambles her brains.

“I’m sorry you were worried, Mom. boy’s gone missing, you say?”

I’m such a bad actress.

“Yes! It’s all over the news. I got an amber alert just a few minutes ago. His name was Daniel Doyle. I think they said he went to your school. Do you know this boy?”

I panic inside. What am I supposed to say? “Yeah, I know him, and he’s a total douche-nozzle, and Athena turned him into a cockroach, but it’s ok. We’re working on it.”

No. I can not say that to my mom. Instead, I will deny everything.



I can tell that my mom doesn’t believe me. She has that skeptical look on her face that she gets when I lie. Probably because I’m a terrible liar. I can’t look her in the eyes, and my face turns bright red. It’s the worst.

About the Author:
Dana Hammer is a novelist, screenwriter and playwright. She has won over forty awards and honors for her writing, few of which generated income, all of which were deeply appreciated. She is not a cannibal, but she is the author of A Cannibals Guide to Fasting. Dana is also the author of middle grade fantasy My Best Friend Athena which was inspired by a desire to write something her 9 year old daughter could read.



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Thursday, February 9, 2023

The Lost Journals of Bud Wiper by S.M. Morgan

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. S.M. Morgan will be awarding a Kindle Paperwhite, a signed Hardback cover of the book and a featured character spot in our next Bud Wiper story to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Why do you write juvenile fiction? What draws you to it?

There are a few reasons why I write juvenile fiction. The first is that I love writing stories that are fast-paced and full of action. These types of stories, to me, are the most engaging for younger readers. Another reason is that I want to write stories that inspire readers; there is just something about young minds and imagination that just isn't there in other age brackets. Finally, writing stories that reflect our world's diversity is essential. I want to write stories that feature characters from all walks of life so that young people can see themselves represented in the books they read.

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

I have always loved reading, and as a child, some of my favorite books were the Harry Potter series, the Chronicles of Narnia, and the Percy Jackson series. I loved getting lost in these magical worlds, and they were all such well-written stories that I could not put them down. I still enjoy reading them now, and they hold a special place in my heart. I just introduced my daughter to Harry Potter, which excited me!

What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

Since I was a kid, I've always loved making up stories. I would create entire worlds and characters in my head, and I loved getting lost in my own imagination. It was only natural that I wanted to become a fiction author when I grew up.

I loved reading books as a kid, and I would often imagine myself as the characters in the stories. I would put myself in their shoes and think about how I would react in their situations. This is one of the things that I think makes me a good writer today – I'm able to empathize with my characters and understand their motivations.

Another reason I wanted to become a fiction author when I was a kid was because I loved the idea of creating something that didn't exist before. I would often daydream about coming up with the next great novel or movie, and it was always so exciting to think about.

Fiction writing is something that I'm passionate about, and it's something that I've always been drawn to. Even as a kid, I could see myself doing this for the rest of my life. It's a career that I'm truly passionate about, and I can't imagine doing anything else.

Coal or candy in your Christmas stocking? Why?

Candy, of course! But funny story, it is a tradition that my wife and kids go to my mom's on Christmas Eve. My sister and niece are always present, so while walking up to the house, I noticed some black rocks(broken asphalt), so I snatched them up, and inside the house, I placed them into a little gift bag, one for my daughter and one for my niece. I then explained how I wanted them to open these gifts first because Santa sent them directly to me for them to open. I may also have something about the first gift of Christmas (The Polar Express was watched daily during that time). The two kids were so confused and sad when they opened up what looked like coal. Good times!

What superpower would you love to have? Why?

I saw the movie "Push" with Chris Evans, and I have been completely convinced that teleportation is the absolute best superpower! Money problems. Nope, not now that you zap yourself wearing a mask into a bank vault. Don't even get me started on the benefits of not needing a car or plane. It's the perfect solution for a low-laying superhero to have.

What book is on your nightstand currently?

Right now I am half-way through The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I am loving his prose. He is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.

Favorite TV show from your childhood?

My favorite has to be Are You Afraid of The Dark. It came on Nickelodeon and I loved it! I also watched The X-Files with my dad a lot.

"Help!! My head is being lowered into the swirling vortex of a toilet!”

My name is Teddy, and I’m in the 6th grade. It’s my first day at a different school, and so far, the only person I know is Zane, the school bully. I was just your everyday kid trying to stay off everyone’s radar, but when I met my new best friend, Bud Wiper, everything changed.

Bud is a 6th grade millionaire from 60 years ago.

Yep, that’s right, Bud Wiper is a treasure hunter from the 1940’s who left behind his journal full of life and adventure, and even though we’ve never met, I think he might be the only thing that gets me through the 6th grade alive.

The Lost Journals of Bud Wiper is a fantastic story of bravery and friendship, perfect for kids, middle school students, and adults.

Read an Excerpt

Leo jumped out of his car and stood in front of Ramsey. “ This not good, mister. Not good. Tell him, perdoon stary, do it now, or they will surely kill us.”

Give them the book Ramsey,” I said, motioning toward the guard.

on his face and then repeated what Leo had told him to say, “Perdoon Stary.” It sounded— strange hearing it from Ramsey with his American accent.

The guards busted out laughing hysterically. Ramsey turned to Leo. “ What did you make me say? ”

“Old fart,” came a voice in a thick Russian accent.

I turned to see a man that looked like he was in charge step forward. He wore a large rounded bill military cap with a red band and golden emblem around the center. “ Nothing in Russia is private. Now give me the book.”

About the Author:
S.M. Morgan is the author of The Lost Journals of Bud Wiper — A Middle Grade Adventure. He lives in East Texas with his wife, daughter, and son, and when not writing potty humor for kids, he is trying to get alone to read more mystery adventure stories.

When the real world calls him to be social, he can be found canoeing with his family or trying to convince his wife to watch action movies.

Amazon Author Page:
Barnes and Nobles:

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Monday, February 6, 2023

Laurel's Marvelous Kingdom by Monique Roy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Monique Roy will be awarding a free hard copy of Laurel's Marvelous Kingdom to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Why do you write juvenile fiction? What draws you to it?

I write juvenile fiction because I want to create meaningful and entertaining stories for children to help them get excited to read and to teach them something about the world.

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

Any books by Judy Blume! She wrote amazing stories that made reading fun and enjoyable. She really knew how to write books that captured young readers and their interests.

What’s your favorite sweet treat?

I love dark chocolate! I also could eat a whole bag of Twizzlers.

What superpower would you love to have? Why?

I would want to be a super healer. I could cure my ailments and injuries, help my family with injuries, illnesses, and diseases, and help the rest of the world. I could help people with life-threatening disease.

Favorite hot beverage. Why?

I love hot tea. When you drink tea, it is relaxing and so good for you. It is great to curl up with a good book and nice cup of warm tea.

Ideal summer vacation.

A month-long holiday at a beautiful beach in the Caribbean. I want to float around in calm, turquoise waters and let the sun kiss my face.

One stormy night, a wicked witch kidnaps the kingdom's two princesses in an attempt to turn them against each other. Now, Prince Falcon must save the princesses before one of them turns evil.

Read an Excerpt

Princess Laurel and her younger sister, Princess Astrid, live peacefully and happily in a marvelous Kingdom.

All is well until the wicked witch stirs up chaos and kidnaps Princess Astrid.

Now, it will take more than Laurel's tree-growing superpowers to rescue Astrid.

With the help of a handsome prince, Laurel rides into the dark forest to find Astrid.

But it turns out that Astrid is jealous of Laurel's superpowers and has teamed up with the witch to reap havoc on the kingdom.

Laurel must convince Astrid to abandon her evil ways and return to goodness-before Astrid and the old hag ruin everything with their mayhem.

This fairy tale for early readers will enliven the imagination of children with a magical adventure.

The story teaches that we are all extraordinary, and that we should appreciate and respect the uniqueness of others.

About the Author:
Monique's passion for writing began as a young girl while penning stories in a journal. Now she looks forward to deepening her passion by creating many unique stories that do nothing less than intrigue her readers.

Monique holds a degree in journalism from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and is the author of a middle-grade book Once Upon a Time in Venice, historical fiction novel Across Great Divides, and historical fiction novel A Savage Kultur.

Monique was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and her grandparents were European Jews who fled their home as Hitler rose to power. It’s their story that inspired her to write Across Great Divides, her first historical novel.

She resides in Dallas, Texas, with her husband and son. She also works as a freelance writer.


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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

The Secret of Alviton by L.V. Clark

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. L.V. Clark will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

Fantasy!! Dragons, elves, magic, sword fights, romance! Dragon Chronicles, The Kiesha'ra of the Den of Shadows, and Hunger Games.

What’s your favorite sweet treat?

Lemon bars and peppermint patties! Basically any baked lemon sweet and chocolate/peppermint combination

What would you write in a letter to your teen self?

Oof! Tough question! To my sixteen year old self, I'd tell her to stick to your guns! Don't doubt yourself so much. You have got so much in you and you are going to do the things you put your mind to. Just stick to who you are!

Hunger Games or Twilight? Why?

For action and intigue- Hunger Games. For romance- Twilight. But as an adult, I noticed some toxic traits that were portrayed as "romantic" in Twilight series. Still super well written though! You could really feel the romance in how it was written, but the actual characters were a bit toxic.

Which of your characters would you most like to meet IRL? Why?

Oh my gosh, Saoirse!!! I know in the first book, Saoirse is just barely introduced, but she is INCREDIBLE! Like I would love to meet her and become her best friend.

You’ve just won a million dollars and you’re not allowed to save any of it. What do you spend it on?

A house, two more dogs, pay off my parent's student debt, a mountain cabin near a lake, a hundred acres of a forest with trails, and all the delicious food I can buy.

Playlist for your current book.

The book I just finished publishing-

Drown- Front Porch Step
Anywhere but here- Mayday Parade
Could have been Me- The Struts (for the final battle scene!)
All I want- A Day to Remember

The sequel ;)

Drown- Bring me the Horizon (funny how it has the same song title)
Shadows- Red
Go to Hell- Go Radio
Falling Down- Atreyu
Ashley- Escape the Fate

Who was your teenaged crush? Why?

I'll amend that question to my teenage 'celebrity crush' since I don't want to say the name of the guy I crushed on so hard in middle and/or High school, haha.

Orlando Bloom, Johnny Depp (from the movie Crybaby), Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic), and Jeremy Sumpter

Alviton was a strong, prospering country, full of light. The people worked side by side with the Fae, creatures blessed with magic. But that was before the war. Massive genocide and fear of the Fae touched everyone as brother turned against brother. Years later, and still reeling from the war, the new generation has clawed and connived to remove the stains left by their predecessors.

Sheltered from this reality, Nydia lives her life relatively happy and ignorant, surrounded by smoke and mirrors. But eventually glass shatters and smoke settles. As she struggles to unveil the truth about herself and the people around her, danger lies on the horizon, threatening to extinguish the small flicker of light in this dark and twisted country.

Read an Excerpt

“One day, the attacks from the west stopped. King Bast had won the war, by killing nearly a third of his subjects. But he still had thousands of children imprisoned all over the country because they couldn’t prove their heritage or where they came from. So, he gave them all the title, raspot, and put them into slavery as a ‘mercy.’”

“That’s horrible… but why are there raspots today? If those children no longer pose a threat, why continue with the enslavement of children?”

I asked. “Because of greed. After King Bast won the war, he used the raspots as a slave army to conquer the surrounding lands. His court and the regional officials saw the benefit of free labor and were all too quick to justify the enslavement of raspots as a form of protection of our lands.”

I paused to absorb all of the information and consider what she told me. “You don’t think… I-I mean, Nydia. Sh-she’s not a…”

I stuttered. “I’m technically not saying anything, but something you must know is that she is being sent a pendant that she must wear at all times. When she emits that light, it acts like a homing beacon to very dark and deadly forces that have killed so many already. The pendant should subdue it.”

My breathing shortened as her words hung in the air. “What kind of dark forces?”

“We aren’t entirely sure. We are concerned that these dark forces are similar to the ones that started attacking us over sixty years ago. That’s why we are bringing in a friend of yours, actually. Taj is the best at reading the ancient language.”

About the Author: Clark has had this story in their head for over a decade, and they finally got it on paper. Clark used their other hobbies—weight lifting and crocheting—to help develop ideas and work through any blocks. They grew up in the south of the United States with their large family. Clark is happily married with two sweet dogs and an apathetic ball python.

I hope you enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed writing it. Expect more to the story!



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Thursday, December 15, 2022

Call Me Obie by Ateret Haselkorn

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ateret Haselkorn will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Why do you write juvenile fiction? What draws you to it?

Call Me Obie is a young adult sci fi novel with a strong coming-of-age undercurrent. I wondered what the “closet” of the future could look like and how people like Obie would or could break out of it. In other words, I wasn’t drawn to juvenile fiction directly but felt that the story I was exploring was best told by a fifteen-year old. She was experienced enough to know discrimination but not jaded to the point of accepting it as “just the way things are.” She was also at a perfect stage in her life to face the question of if to let her medical circumstances define her as a person, and how.

The other benefit of juvenile fiction, IMHO, is that it is relatable to everyone who is around the age of the main character and older. While the setting and the details of the problems that Obie faces – organ printing, government healthcare policies, being tracked and tracking others – are innovative, the nature of them – vulnerability, a power imbalance, and the need for privacy and for love – are not. They are timeless and universal.

What’s your favorite sweet treat?

I love dark chocolate peanut butter cups. I eat them while hiding in the pantry so my kids won’t see. I think they can smell it on my breath but don’t know what it is yet. The day they figure this out will be a hard one for me. I’m happy to share peanut M&Ms, but not my dark chocolate peanut butter cups, oh no.

What book is on your nightstand currently?

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini. Paolini has created a world that exists about 250 years in the future – way later than Obie’s life and story take place. He is a fantastic world builder. Since his book is over 800 pages long, I’d like to apologize to whoever is next on the library waitlist for it because there’s no way I’m going to be able to return it on time. I’m trying but, really, it’s impossible. I will aim for less than one week overdue.

Which of your characters would you most like to meet IRL? Why?

I’d love to meet Mateo, my sweet character with one brown eye and one blue eye from a genetic mutation. Mateo’s character arc is subtle and surprising – at first we think he must hate his circumstances and government-mandated public service. Later we learn that isn’t entirely the case and that he’s used his situation very intentionally to help him grow. He is a strong role model from the outset of the book. I’d like him to show me all of his beautiful creations, and to make me laugh because he is a funny guy.

Playlist for your current book.

I love this question. When I look at the cover, I think of uplifting, electronic music, like From Far Away by the 16 Bit Lolitas. The book should end on a similar note, maybe Nothing Without You by Tinlicker. In between, I need to have some guitar…how about Rosa Linn’s song Snap and then a retro love song, like Pale Blue Eyes by Velvet Underground to accompany the scenes with Obie’s crush. Finally, I’ll need some current hits that will be considered vintage by the year 2100. I’ll go with As It Was by Harry Styles. It’s a perfect fit for a science fiction tale, especially this one. “In this world, it's just us / You know it's not the same as it was…”

Thank you for having me on your site!

Fifteen-year-old Obie hates the word “artificial.” It has to be the Most Misunderstood Word of the Year 2100. The media puts it in front of anything. They started with artificial intelligence and now it goes with housing, law enforcement, and in Obie’s case, her heart.

Just because Obie’s vital organ was 3D-printed doesn’t mean that she’s fake. She’s simply misunderstood, especially by Humanists. They think that artificial organ recipients like her are an abomination, and that’s why Obie can’t let anyone know the truth about her heart.

But when Humanists injure her best friend Mateo, Obie needs to step up. She decides to get him a 3D-printed replacement spleen in secret. In order to succeed, she becomes a black-market criminal, a high-tech healer, and an authority on love (or maybe not the last one so much). But what else can she do when organs are sold by Jonas, a blue-eyed genius who can’t stand the system any more than her?

Call Me Obie explores the future of discrimination and the timeless power of empathy and forgiveness, with a few comedic mishaps along the way. It is the tale of one young woman’s coming-of-age in a future where nearly anything is medically possible and society must ask: When technology can modify humans, who gets to decide how?

Read an Excerpt

I think that if my heart hadn’t been 3D printed, it would have exploded from fear and nerves. I’d been left, cut off from the outside world, in a room with a frozen robot and a body with a hole in its brain. Security was probably coming down the hall to get me. I bet I had five to ten minutes before I was hauled off, and for what? A brain dissection without a transplant. Now Stella’s parents wouldn’t have to come after my family; we’d all be in trouble anyway, and Stella would stay how she was.

No. With the one-word thought I stood up and surveyed the room. I could not, would not, leave it like this. Stopping now would mean that the Humanists had won even though we’d fought back, and that would mean that I was defenseless. Not in the same way as Mateo and the volunteers cleaning the beach, but still. I refused to live in a world where that was true. I had to do something, to take action.

What do I have that I can use?
I approached the toolbox at the center of the robot and opened it.
I have everything.

About the Author:
Ateret Haselkorn writes fiction and poetry. She is the winner of 2014 Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest. Her children’s story was published as a finalist in the 2020 “Science Me a Story” contest of the Society of Spanish Researchers in the United Kingdom. Her work has been published in multiple literary and medical journals.

Amazon Author Page:

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Monday, December 12, 2022

The Girl by Victory Witherkeigh

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Victory Witherkeigh will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Pretend your protagonist is at school and opens her locker – what will we see inside?

● Definitely snack packs of Gushers or dried mango or pineapple.
● A few of the 90s stretchy black chokers next to some fake Hibiscus hair clips
● A giant Zip-lock back of colored pencils and charcoal pencils with sketchbooks
● An entire package of super heavy maxi-pads with a box of Midol hiding behind every AP course textbook the school offers
● Pictures of her with her girlfriends covering a picture of a boy she’s not over but pretending otherwise.

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

I enjoyed reading R. L. Stine and Christopher Pike to Tolkien and C. S. Lewis as a kid. The first dark fantasy series I fell in love with was Garth Nix’s Abhorsen Series and Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman DC comics. I liked literature that always had a darker tone - The Count of Monte Cristo, Edgar Allan Poe, and Mary Shelley’s work. Every so often, I’d come across something I’d like unexpectedly, like The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, but that came up because my childhood hero, Kobe Bryant, would recommend books, and I would devour his recommendations. Once in high school, a friend recommended the Game of Thrones series as it felt the most realistic for a change.

What’s your favorite sweet treat?

In the Philippines, there’s a treat my Lola always got - churros con chocolate. And it’s just as it sounds, fresh churros served with a side of melted or hot chocolate to dip into. It is one of those things I rarely see around, so when I find it, I have to get it. The other would be a Tahitian Vanilla crème brûlée, and it’s that specific because, on Tahiti, the vanilla is so superb that I can’t do any other strain of vanilla.

Coal or candy in your Christmas stocking? Why?

Team lump of coal all the way! Coal can keep your house warm, enable you to cook more food, etc. Honestly, my favorite holiday is Halloween to the Day of the Dead, not just because I write primarily in the Dark Fantasy/Horror genres. I find the end of the year holidays of Thanksgiving to New Year to be very often difficult, lonely, traumatic, and complicated, be it from family traumas or PTSD or just unmet, unrealistic expectations. And I think there can be callousness thrown at those who don’t put on a mask of faking the ‘holiday spirit’ as just being negative. There might be real pain and danger behind just pretending this season is fantastic for everyone all the time.

What superpower would you love to have? Why?

Breathing underwater. Disney’s The Little Mermaid came out during my formative childhood years. Being from a family of various Pacific Islanders, being proficient in ocean water from an early age was a big expectation. The idea of being able to swim for more extended and greater depths in the ocean to fulfill my dream of one day swimming with a ‘Honu’ (Tahitian/Hawaiian for turtle) would be enough to make me cry the happy tears of an anime character.

Favorite hot beverage. Why?

Hot chocolate or a hot toddy, simply because they remind me of being in Germany, Switzerland, and Iceland, traveling through the Black Forest, the Alps, or the glacial ice caves. The tour guides often brought along these beverages as a treat for us when we’d get to the most isolated portion of the nature section, be it a forest glade almost waist-deep in snow or the top of a mountain. These drinks would help bring back some much-needed core warmth to our systems since the temperatures would often be close to fifteen degrees Fahrenheit.

What four literary characters would you most like to have over for dinner?

Samwise Gamgee because a hobbit could prepare any meal better than I could. Plus, I’d definitely have leftovers, and drinks would be better. Tinkerbell would be next because I could probably discuss a way to learn how to fly for hobbit food and since Samwise likes elves, this could be an exciting experience. Anne Shirley would be my third choice because her ability to use her imagination would just go nuts and spark amazing conversation or at least bring out a full poetic speech. Last, I think I’d go with Sita from The Last Vampire series by Christopher Pike, just for the nostalgia of meeting a character I remember enjoying as a kid, but also one that could settle the group down quickly.

Favorite pizza toppings.

Ohhh, this is definitely a Los Angeles thing, but it’s not just the toppings. It’s specifically a Numero Uno House Specialty Pizza, the Slaughterhouse 5. It’s a Chicago-style dough topped with mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, green bell peppers, and fresh tomatoes.

You’ve just won a million dollars and you’re not allowed to save any of it. What do you spend it on?

This reminds me of a Richard Pryor film called Brewster’s Millions, which is, oddly enough, based on a novel from the early 1900s by the same name. I would like to donate half to a charity supporting female education in the Philippines and Tahiti, so a quarter of a million to each island setting. The other half would go to an education fund for my goddaughter, and then I’d used the last quarter million on crazy things Rodeo drive for my office, home decor, or wardrobe.

Favorite class in high school. Why?

My favorite class in high school was Advanced Geometry. My teacher for that class was a wonderfully brilliant woman who was passionate about mathematics and loved theorems. Because of her enthusiasm and passion, she’s so excited about teaching that it was impossible not to participate in the class’s infectiousness. It allowed me to be part of one of her highest performers for the course. I found out later that she had been telling the other math teachers that I would be one of the most gifted math students she’d ever seen, which, as a female who enjoyed her STEM coursework through college, was a tremendous compliment.

The parents knew it had been a mistake to have a girl. At birth, the girl’s long, elegant fingers wriggled and grasped forward, motioning to strangle the very air from her mother’s lungs. As she grew older, she grew more like her father, whose ancestors would dream of those soon to die. She walked and talked in her sleep, and her parents warded themselves, telling the girl that she was evil, unlovable, their burden to bear only until her eighteenth birthday released them.

The average person on the streets of Los Angeles would look at the girl and see a young woman with dark chocolate eyes, curly long hair, and tanned skin of her Filipina heritage. Her teachers praised her for her scholarly achievements and extracurricular activities, from academic decathlon to cheer.

The girl knew she was different, especially as she grew to accept that the other children’s parents didn’t despise them. Her parents whispered about their pact as odd and disturbing occurrences continued to happen around her. The girl thought being an evil demon should require the skies to bleed, the ground to tremble, an animal sacrifice to seal the bargain, or at least cause some general mayhem. Did other demons work so hard to find friends, do well on their homework, and protect their spoiled younger brother?

The demon was patient. It could afford to wait, to remind the girl when she was hurt that power was hers to take. She needed only embrace it. It could wait. The girl’s parents were doing much of its work already.

Read an Excerpt

“— there are certain… misconceptions about me, pretty girl. I, and those I command, end life. That is our purpose, always has been. Our valley is its own land as we are our own kingdom. Death is the one act all living things will succumb to, whether good, evil, or in-between. We don’t have a stake in moral debates or questions, as your kind has called it, since we are a constant, an equalizer. We come for everything and everyone. But humanity has definitely found some of the most creative ways to end life over the centuries, and every so often in history, we’ve granted a request to aid them in doing so.”

Only then did he look over at the girl, his tongue darting out to lick the sugar off his lips. She had barely breathed as he had been speaking, her tongue building more saliva as she became wholly entranced with his words, almost as though she saw the visions of his brethren carrying out their jobs over the centuries. She found herself a little startled that the sound of her own heartbeat was thudding loudly in her ears as he seemed to hesitate to tell her the next part.

“Your ancestors are one such example,” he said, head tilting slightly and as she gasped, he continued. “You, my dear, are the descendent of not one but two who sacrificed to one of mine, my finest general, in fact. You learned the story of Lapulapu?”

About the Author:
Victory Witherkeigh is a female Filipino author originally from Los Angeles, CA, currently living in the Las Vegas area. Victory was a finalist for Wingless Dreamer’s 2020 Overcoming Fear Short Story award and a 2021 winner of the Two Sisters Writing and Publishing Short Story Contest.

She has print publications in the horror anthologies Supernatural Drabbles of Dread through Macabre Ladies Publishing, Bodies Full of Burning through Sliced Up Press, and In Filth It Shall Be Found through OutCast Press.

Her first novel, set to debut in Spring 2024 with Cinnabar Moth Publishing, has been a finalist for Killer Nashville’s 2020 Claymore Award, a 2020 Cinnamon Press Literature Award Honoree, and long-listed in the 2021 Voyage YA Book Pitch Contest.



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