Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Drifting by Steven M. Cross

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Steven M. Cross will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Drifting brings light into the dark corners of mental health, bullying, and sexual assault.

Dean Knight has struggled against his personal demons for as long as he can remember. He thought he lost that struggle when he felt their knowing grip pull him deeper in the river, but he was saved. Saved for what? His memories are trapped within his mental illness. He hears his sister and father’s voices. The problem is, they’re dead, both killed in the same river that tried to claim Dean. As he struggles to remember, he discovers their voices aren’t pushing him to harm himself, but to discover the truth surrounding both their deaths. One person, Ella, has all the answers, but Dean can’t remember if she loved him or tried to kill him.

Roxanne “Rocky” Rivers struggles against her own demons, not voices, but a past trauma she can’t fully remember. She only knows everyone at school thinks she’s a slut and a head-case. A razor her only release for the pain. Rocky knows no one will believe a crazy girl who tries to kill herself.

Dean and Rocky find a connection. Can they find the strength and trust to help each other when neither can survive alone?

Read an Excerpt

The police won’t get here before he kills me. My mom stirs, reaches into her pocket, gets some keys. She reaches for the table she just tripped over.

So this is the way it’s going to end? My mom gets away while her insane boyfriend murders her insane son. Instead of fleeing though, she slips the key into one of the small drawers on the coffee table.

A crazy thought enters my head. She’s getting one of her bottles, and this has been an elaborate ruse so they can kill me and then celebrate. They’ll say I attacked him, and the police will believe it.

Danger to self and others.

She’ll get my money. He steps in front of me with his fists balled. This guy’s going to beat me to death while my mom drinks.

In the distance, sirens shriek. They won’t make it in time. I can imagine the red lights reflecting in pools of—

Blood spatters my face and foams from his mouth opened in a big O of surprise. He drops to his knees. Through the broken glass, I see cop cars flying up our road.

A gun drops from my mother’s hand.

I wonder if the bullet has gone through Paul into me, but I don’t feel any pain. He coughs again, blood gurgles from his mouth. He crumples to the floor.

The police burst through the door with guns raised just like on a cop show, only it couldn’t be any more real.

About the Author:
Steve Cross is an educator/freelance writer who lives in Poplar Bluff, MO. His credits include four young adult novels, two fantasy novels, and seven plays. He has optioned one script and sold another one. Plus, he's finished as a quarterfinalist in Bluecat and in Fresh Voices screenwriting competition. He and his wife have one daughter and two grandchildren with whom they spend a lot of time. Cross loves Cardinals baseball, classic rock music, and character-driven movies. His favorite films are Dead Poets Society and Field of Dreams. Cross also likes to read, everything from Young Adult contemporary novels to screenplays, to horror and fantasy. At 62 and a cancer survivor, he believes his writing career is just now getting into full swing. His favorite type of screenplay to write is a psychological drama.


Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Drifting-Steven-M-Cross-ebook/dp/B093WRF6FC/ref=sr_1_1

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Thursday, May 20, 2021

The Calling by Branwen OShea

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Branwen OShea will be awarding $20 Amazon or B/N 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’s your favorite sweet treat?

Raw cookie dough. My current favorite is homemade chocolate chip cookie dough, but instead of chocolate chips I add in a mix of butterscotch chips and white chocolate chips. Since my family usually eats it raw, I use egg substitute to avoid food poisoning concerns.

Ideal summer vacation. 

 I don’t like the heat, so I’d much rather do a winter vacation. I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland and stay in one of the shelters with glass ceilings so that you can watch the Northern Lights. During the day I’d hike glaciers, visit the hot springs, and see a volcano.

You’re stranded on a desert island—which character from your book do you want with you? Why?

As I said before, I don’t like the heat, so I’d like to get off that island ASAP, even if its gorgeous. The most powerful character to save me would be Kalakanya, since she’s a Crowned One, and with her metamorphosis complete, she can now star beam to any location. She’d get us both somewhere cool with ice coffee in a flash, quite literally.

Favorite pizza toppings.

Extra cheese, hot Italian sausage, mushrooms, peppers, onions, and jalapeños.

Create an ice cream flavor. What’s it called?

All Nighter: Coffee ice cream with chocolate-covered expresso beans & caramel swirl.

Playlist for The Calling

While I don’t usually listen to music while writing, I almost always listen before writing sessions to figure out the day’s scenes. My favorite music for planning The Calling is Two Steps From Hell’s album Invincible.

However, recently I began making playlists for all my characters that will eventually be on my website. I created a general playlist for The Calling that I’ve linked below. It’s on Spotify, and if you download the free Spotify app, you should be able to access the music. The following is my spoiler-free reasoning for adding each song.

The first song is Hearts of Courage by Two Steps From Hell. When I imagine The Calling as a movie, this is its theme song. It starts out with a base beat that reminds me of the humans living below ground. Its joined by another higher and contrasting theme including a chorus that reminds me of the ethereal star beings. The two themes interplay and then reach a somewhat settled conclusion at the end.

Human Characters:

The other songs are for the characters in order of appearance. For eighteen-year-old Bleu Reinier, who is constantly called by nature to leave his home and venture onto the Surface, I chose Into the Unknown by Idina Menzel. This song also fits chapter two where Bleu discovers he and his mother have an unusual connection to someone outside of Northern Haven.

For fifteen-year-old Ayanna Reinier, Bleu’s wild kid sister, I chose I’m Going Slightly Mad by Queen. Ayanna contracts the strange Sickness that is plaguing the teens and makes them lose their minds.

Commander Savas spends much of the book enjoying guns and mad at Educator Girak (Atsushi and Ayanna’s science teacher) for being a ‘traitor.” For Savas, I chose Traitor by Daughtry.

Bleu and his best friend Stamf (also 18) are the number one team in the holographic games arena. Stamf enjoys strutting his stuff in front of the women, so I chose Another One Bites the Dust by Queen, which I can imagine Stamf playing after a big match and trying to get Bleu to dance to.

Fifteen-year-old Atsushi has a sweet crush on Ayanna, but never knows how to quite make his move. I do Adore by Mindy Gledhill fits him well.

For Educator Girak and his wife Josefina Girak (both scientists), I chose The Science Love Song by ASAPScience. Their love is adorable and full of the humorous banter this song contains.

Star Being Characters:

The star beings have a vastly different culture and music based on their goal of Crowning, or metamorphosing into a near-enlightenment state of existence. For 16-year-old Rana, I chose Adi Shakti: Bhangra Mix by Sada Sat Kaur because of its danceable beat and mantra invoking the divine feminine. Rana wants to Crown more than anything, but fears she won’t because her parents were both rare failures at Crowning.

Rana’s best friend and possible love interest, Kahali plays the drums and is one of the best dancers around. For Kahali I chose Ceremony of Passage by Vas, because its one of the best songs I know that’s mainly drums and he’d love playing it.

Eka, another star being who also likes Rana, is more into wood carving. I struggled to find a song for him, but chose I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by the Proclaimers because despite his anxiety, when he commits to something, he’s all in.

The final star being is Kalakanya, the only main character to have already Crowned. We Are Peace by Snatum Kaur is slightly dancey, a bit playful, but also has a strong message. It fits the way Kalakanya sees the world even when its falling apart around her.

The Calling is a multiple point of view sci-fi adventure novel that features the POV of Bleu, Atsushi, Commander Savas, Rana, and Kahali. Step into their world with their playlist on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/403roJ5G7O7Gqt5G162Kdu?si=9CYv3zBITSWlj9yoDGRFFA

Humanity’s wake-up call. Answer it or face extinction.

When Bleu’s little sister shows symptoms of the deadly Sickness, a strange vision directs him to leave humanity’s subterranean haven and seek the cure on Earth’s glacial surface. Joining the expedition team, Bleu expects extreme temperatures, not a surface ruled by ingenious predators.

Rana and her fellow star beings have co-existed with Earth’s top carnivores since the humans disappeared. But when her peers transform into Crowned Ones, the final stage of star being development, she fears remaining Uncrowned like her parents. To prove her worth, she undertakes a dangerous mission—contacting the hostile and nearly extinct humans.

But Rana’s plan backfires, and Bleu’s team retaliates. As war with the more advanced star being civilization looms, both Rana and Bleu separately seek a way to save their people.

Read an Excerpt

“All right, get out, men.” Savas had never experienced such peace on the last mission. This was truly pleasant. They climbed out of the rover, and he tripped on his own feet as if drunk.

Laughing at himself, he reminded the others, “Guns out. Stamf, take the lead. I’ll bring up the rear.”

He paused, swaying a bit, while the other two men passed him and then proceeded slowly down the left branch. Sparkling light from farther down the tunnel lit their way. With a quick glance back toward the entrance, he took up the rear.

Then a voice as ethereal as the wind sang, “Caaaaaahm heeeeeeeere…caaaaaaaaaahm heeeeeeeere…”

What the hell?

Savas shook his head, blinked, and tapped his ear communicator. Stamf and Abdul, farther ahead, had frozen and appeared confused, swaying in place.

Something was terribly wrong. Was this cave filled with noxious fumes? Had they all gotten cold sickness? The databases talked of arctic workers becoming weak and confused by the extreme temperatures.

Think! Think. Savas wanted to lie down and nap. What’s wrong with me? Images from his childhood tumbled through his head. Not now. Not again. I control my own mind.

“Caaaaaaaaahm heeeeeeeeere,” the voice lulled, endlessly peaceful.

They all mindlessly continued forward, as if in a dream. A small part of Savas’ brain screamed in warning. I. Control. My. Own. Mind. He grunted with the effort. Fighting the urge to relax, Savas forced his hands to raise his weapon.

About the Author:
As a young girl, Branwen wanted to become an ambassador for aliens. Since the aliens never hired her, she now writes about them.

Branwen OShea has a Bachelors in Biology from Colgate University, a Bachelors in Psychology, and a Masters in Social Work. She lives in Connecticut with her family and a menagerie of pets, and enjoys hiking, meditating, and star-gazing. Her previously published works include contributing to a nonfiction yoga book, wellness magazines, and her published science fiction novella, Silence of the Song Trees.

Website: http://www.branwenoshea.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/branwenoshea
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/branwenoshea
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/branwenoshea

Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1735915998

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Monday, May 17, 2021

Sophella's Birthday Wish by Maggi Nicholas

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Maggi Nicholas 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.

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

I loved reading as a child. Of course we didn’t have all the distractions that kids have today. I still believe that the child who reads will be imaginative and resourceful. Today’s kids have access to social media and video games, sometimes without parental guidance whereas a well chosen book will stimulate their imagination and creativity.

What superpower would you love to have? Why?

I would like to be able to fly! It’s a theme in both my books as fairy magic in the first book, Sophella, and as possible reality in my next book about time travellers. I’m confident that future technology will see humans flying instead of driving. Favorite hot beverage. Why?

Green tea with Manuka honey. Tea is in my English culture and I drank it from an early age - PG Tips strong black tea with milk and sugar. These days I enjoy a healthier version, but it’s still tea. I love the flavour of green tea, and honey is just “delicious” as Sophella says in my book. I’m very involved in saving the bees and my garden is full of bee-friendly flowers.

You’re stranded on a desert island—which character from your book do you want with you? Why?

Sophella would be the obvious choice as she can move from human to fairy and back, but my choice will be Sweetpea who has the name of my favourite flower. This fairy lost her wings when a large toad chewed them off but shows remarkable stoicism and bravery despite her disability. She is also an entertainer, composing and singing her songs at the fairy parties. Although she is very tiny she is strong and resourceful, a great asset on a desert island!

Create an ice cream flavor. What’s it called?

Oh yes, my perfect ice cream would be honey flavoured and golden honey coloured, dotted with multi coloured sugar flowers and a chocolate bee on top to remind everyone to help the bees by discontinuing harmful pesticides and providing organic flower meadows. I’ve heard that agriculturists in Denmark have to assign five percent of their acreage to growing wild flowers for the bees - what a wonderful idea! The name of my ice cream flavour would, of course be “SAVE THE BEES”.

Here is a modern fairy story about a little girl who has the gift to move between the fairy world and the human world. Her birthday wish comes true when she wishes to fly with the fairies, and so she is able to go on a magical journey with the fairies whilst using her human side to rescue animals and kids in a way that fairies cannot do. Throughout the journey she comes to realize her own strengths as she protects the penguins and rescues the dolphins with great bravery and compassion. During her heartwarming adventure. Sophella forms new friendships and demonstrates life-affirming lessons that can inspire us all.

Read an Excerpt

Fairies fine and fairies good
We are in your neighborhood
In the flowers in the trees
Flying, dancing in the breeze
Magic wands and fairy wings
Fairy dust and sparkly things
We are big, we are small
You may never see us all
In the towns and in the cities
On the beach and in the sea
When the world is sad and lonely
Happy daydreams set you free

About the Author: Maggi was born and grew up in the UK and later moved to Canada with her husband and sons. Inspired by her grandkids, she started writing stories for and about them and is currently working on her next Sophella book, and a book aimed at a slightly older readership about time travellers.

AMAZON.COM: https://amazon.com/dp/0228819962
AMAZON.CA: https://amazon.ca/dp/0228819962?
KINDLE: https://amazon.com/dp/B08QRPSK5P
BOOKSHOP: https://bookshop.org/books/sophella-s-birthday-wish-9780228842835/9780228819967
INDIGO CHAPTERS: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/sophellas-birthday-wish/9780228819967-item.html
BARNES and NOBLE: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sophellas-birthday-wish-maggi-nicholas/1138504509
BOOK DEPOSITORY: https://www.bookdepository.com/Sophellas-Birthday-Wish-Maggi-Nicholas-Anita-Ho/9780228819967

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