Monday, August 30, 2021

Relatively Normal Secrets by C.W. Allen

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. C. W. Allen 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.

Like most siblings, Tuesday and Zed don't always get along. Unlike most siblings, their arguments are over things like whether their parents are hiding a life of crime, or are simply the weirdest adults on the planet. When they decide to go on the hunt for some solid evidence, things get weirder than ever: two thugs with shape-shifting swords show up, their dog shows off some tricks she definitely didn't learn in obedience school, and even their treehouse turns out to be more than meets the eye.

Their escape leaves Zed and Tuesday stranded in a land where robots and holograms live alongside quaint medieval villagers and soldiers on horseback. Soldiers who insist their father is a disgraced fugitive, and their dog a legendary monster.

If they ever want to see their parents again, they'll have to learn to work together. After all, they've got a mysterious code to break, secrets to unlock, bandits and soldiers to outwit, and a rowdy dog whose antics are getting more outrageous by the minute. Even if they manage to evade the eerie secret police and uncover enough clues to figure out what's really going on, they're not sure they're going to like the truth.

Zed and Tuesday will have to decide who to trust and what really matters, or they'll never get back to normal (whatever that is.) Because when it comes to normal, everything is relative.

Read an Excerpt

Their father was fond of saying the dog had not managed to learn anything in the years that followed, but that was not strictly true. While it was true that she did not come when called or sit on command, the dog had in fact learned many tricks. Nyx had learned quite early on, for example, how to help herself to the contents of the refrigerator. No one was quite sure how an animal without thumbs was capable of opening a refrigerator door, since she had never been caught in the act, but an entire ham doesn’t simply get up and go for a stroll during the night, now does it?

Zed imagined some people would consider it normal to take a dog along to run errands—as long as the dog could fit comfortably inside a purse, that is, or at the very least wait patiently in the car. But Nyx was neither tiny, nor well-behaved and patient. She was, in fact, huge. Her bristly black fur and legs that seemed much too long for the rest of her frame made her look like a gigantic hairy spider. His mother spent nearly every moment in the dog’s company, and whenever she needed to go inside the grocery store, or post office, or other location where dogs are generally unwelcome, she brought Nyx along to wait in the car for her return. Nyx made use of this time by bouncing anxiously from seat to seat, smearing her nose on the windows.

About the Author:
C.W. Allen is a Nebraskan by birth, a Texan by experience, a Hoosier by marriage, and a Utahn by geography. She knew she wanted to be a writer the moment she read The Westing Game at age twelve, but took a few detours along the way as a veterinary nurse, an appliance repair secretary, and a homeschool parent.

She recently settled in the high desert of rural Utah with her husband, their three children, and a noisy flock of orphaned ideas. Someday she will create literary homes for all of them. (The ideas, not her family.)

Relatively Normal Secrets (Cinnabar Moth Publishing, Fall 2021) is her debut novel. She writes fantasy novels for tweens, picture books for children, and short stories and poems for former children. Her work will appear in numerous anthologies in 2021. She is also a frequent guest presenter at writing conferences and club meetings, which helps her procrastinate knuckling down to any actual writing.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2021

FrostBorn by Michael Haddad

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Michael Haddad 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.

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

Elias will most likely not have much in his locker. As a former slave, anything he receives is a gift. He has little to no wealth for himself. Textbooks? He’s mediocre at reading. Jacket? Doesn’t need it. I think a solid pair of winter boots would be at the bottom and a few discarded pencils. Other then that, I can’t imagine an exciting locker for Elias.

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

It took me a while to get through the entire Throne of Glass series, but I loved every moment of it. In my teenage years, I read more dystopian novels than traditional fantasy, books like The Darkest Minds, Variant, Divergent, the 5th Wave, Hunger Games, Legend, Maze Runner, etc. Only in my graduating years did I start to tap into more fantasy worlds. After that, I fell in love with the genre. Recently, Six of Crows is sticking out as my favourite.

What’s your favorite sweet treat?

I love sour candy. You can win my heart over with a packet of sour gummies any day.

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

Due to my mild obsession with Greys Anatomy as a teen and my interest in biology, I wanted to be a cardiothoracic surgeon. Unfortunately, I don’t qualify and probably don’t have the academic rigor to achieve that title.

What superpower would you love to have? Why?

I’ve thought of this countless times, but I would love to be able to instantaneously teleport. Of course, all cool superpowers have their limitations, so my teleportation would be limited to areas I’ve already been to and seen. Also, the farther the distance, the longer the cooldown time between teleporting.

What book is on your nightstand currently?

King of Scars has unfortunately been sitting on my nightstand for months. I’ve been preoccupied on my own novel. I haven’t had the chance to read!

What reality show would you love to be on? Why?

Ru Paul’s Drag Race! Why? I’ve been watching the show and that’s all that’s been in my head recently. Do I have any talents like singing and acting? No. Do I do drag? No. Can I apply make-up? No. Do I still want to compete? Yessss kitty girl.

Favorite TV show from your childhood?

The original Yugioh was my favourite hands down. I was absolutely obsessed with it. I had collected countless playing cards and even received a toy Duel Disk for my birthday many many years ago. I used to play the game so often that now, every time I see it, I become overwhelmed with nostalgia. However, these days the game is much more complicated and I can’t keep track of it. On the off chance I do play, I stick to the classic rules.

Favorite hot beverage. Why?

Coffee is my favourite. You just can’t go wrong with it. A standard coffee is great all on its own, but you can even mix it with different flavours. The versatility, the deliciousness, and the caffein keep me hooked!

Ideal summer vacation.

Can someone send me to Bora Bora? An all-inclusive would be fantastic. Thank you!

The Frostborn—the one destined to end the war, the one blessed by the magic of Aether—was supposedly nothing more than a hopeless fairytale, a myth lost to time. But as the centuries-long war between the kingdoms of Eljud and Surtrol forces Elias Jökull to evacuate his village, a run-in with the fearsome Gjallarhorn army awakens within him a dormant power long since forgotten by the people—a power signaling the existence of the Frostborn.

With such critical news, hope of victory against Surtrol becomes contagious, yet Elias's former life of slavery leaves him apprehensive about lending a hand to his own flawed kingdom. Even still, knowing the world will soon be in search of him, the newfound Frostborn must choose his allegiances quickly. And after encountering a ranked Surt captain, he does just that.

But while acting as a double agent, feeding intel to Eljud's southern enemy and working both sides of the same border, his conflicted self struggles to anchor his loyalty to a single kingdom as buried secrets begin to unearth.

The incessant clash between the north and south is soon coming to an end and Elias will have to find a side to stand on. The hard question is: which side? Everyone wants the Frostborn for themselves, but for how long can Elias let the world string him along?

Read an Excerpt

She holds the child close to her chest, cradling the head with a mother’s delicate touch. The other infant is nestled in a crib only a few feet away. Winds rattle the glass panes of the cracked window and some of the winter air seeps through. The rough and tattered curtains dance with it—the only movement in the room besides the woman’s near-chattering teeth. She does her best to keep the children warm, but for some reason they sleep soundlessly, soothed by the whistling of the wind.

The woman brushes a gaunt, wrinkled finger along the pudgy cheeks of the bundle in her arms. The shackles on her wrist jangle, anchored down by a bolt at the centre of the room. The tight, unrefined metal leaves behind blisters, but to her it is worth it. The young child’s skin is stone cold to her touch, but soft and full of colour. He breathes evenly and she can feel his pulse just fine when she moves her finger to the child’s neck. He feels dead, yet is as alive as anyone.

“Freezing cold. Ah, but look at these pudgy cheeks. You remind me of those statues in the hall,” she whispers, pinching his face until it is ruddy. “I’d be scared if you weren’t so adorable.”

The woman lifts her head as the sound of rushed steps echoes in the hall outside the door. She hears the jiggle of keys and a mechanical click releasing the lock. The knob turns and the door swings open...

About the Author:
Hardworking university student and recent John Abbott College graduate, Michael Haddad doubles as a fiction author of the fantastic who throws himself into his own writing—who can't stop imagining new worlds, new ideas, new characters. His passion for roleplaying games has earned him his fair share of teasing, but he'd be lying if he said it didn't open his imagination. When not at his computer, typing away, Michael is often with his friends and family, losing terribly at tennis, hunkering down for movie marathons, and trying to get a good night's sleep. As someone born and raised in Montreal, he is no stranger to having ice rinks for streets and snow up to the knee—but that's nothing a warm cup of coffee can't beat.





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Frostborn by Michael  Haddad


by Michael Haddad

Giveaway ends June 27, 2021.

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Monday, August 23, 2021

Seventeen Butterflies by Anna Katmore

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Anna Katmore will be awarding her entire GROVER BEACH PLAYERS series as ebooks, or alternatively any of her own novels in ebook format the winner likes, to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The embarrassment of being the only “un-kissed” girl in senior high is something Sandy Cardington refuses to accept. The first kiss project is her foolproof plan to finally get rid of the status at her birthday party while her parents are out of town.

With several kissable boys on her guest list, this should be a walk in the park. But she didn’t reckon on her older brother returning from college days before her 17th birthday, putting a spoke in her plans. To make matters even more complicated, he has a friend in tow, and the cute hockey player stirs unexpected butterflies in her stomach every time their paths cross.

While Sandy moves heaven and earth to make her party and project come true, she doesn't know that Thane Griffyn is making his own plans to teach her the real meaning of a first kiss.

Read an Excerpt

“Since when are you in charge of dressing rules in this house?” I fling back at my brother, stemming my hands to my hips.

“Since Mom asked me to come home and keep an eye on you.” His voice takes on a much sharper edge. “Now change into one of your decent dresses or the party’s off.”

My eyes find Thane’s, and I know I’ve lost this battle because his stunned glare on me scratches on cold rage. “Sorry, Sandra,” he growls as he screws the cap back on the water bottle, “but this time your brother’s right.” Totally startling me, he skirts the counter, grabs my hand—none too gently this time—and drags me out of the room.

“Where are you taking me?” I protest when there’s no chance to withstand his pull.

“Upstairs to find you more suitable clothes for tonight. You want to get kissed, not laid.”

Why the hell is he so angry? He’s the last one to get a say in my life. And still, here I am, being hauled into my room by him and wincing as he slams my door shut, cutting us off from the rest of the house. I spin around in front of my bed and cross my arms rebelliously over my chest.

“And now what?” I spit.

“Now you take those boots off.”

A cynical laugh escapes me. “My boots are none of your business.”

As Thane takes one stride closer, the air suddenly cools with his intense scowl. Two feet away from me, he folds his arms, mirroring my stance, and arches one eyebrow. “Either you take them off, or I will. You have one second.”

Jesus Christ!

About the Author:
I’ve been a storyteller all my life, building bridges into different worlds. Already in kindergarten, I’ve seen the most fantastical things and wanted to share them with everyone. My teacher called me a liar back then. Today, I call it the first real flash of my spiritual gift and the cornerstone of my writing career.

When I got older, I’ve had many visions of a perfect career, while writing has always been more of a hobby and kind of a therapy for me when the longing for more magic in this world once again caught up with me in a crushing way. When my first book was finished, I couldn’t even imagine sharing one of my stories with others, ever. In fact, I only got used to the idea while I wrote my second book and learned in a very miraculous way where the many stories in this world really come from.

It’s funny how, at that point, everyone told me I can’t possibly make a living with writing. They even warned me not to quit my job. But after my debut novella PLAY WITH ME came out and sales skyrocketed within the first week, I knew I could do anything I wanted if only I never stopped dreaming.

That’s also part of what I teach my students in writing and spiritual workshops today. Always dream big! If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.

Some personal stuff:

“I’m writing stories because I can’t breathe without.”

Disney is my attitude to life, and if I could I’d save the world from itself. My Patronus is a wolf, my wand the broken twig of an apple tree, 13 ¾ inches with a unicorn hair core. I can’t deny that on some days, I prefer my book characters over real people, but there’s not a single day going by where I wouldn’t try to find magic in reality. And when I’m alone, I love to listen to the many stories of the wind in a mystic mid-summer night.

So you see, I’m lucky enough to live in an enchanting world of my own. It’s peaceful there and full of magical things, fairies and wonders. You’re welcome to follow me there – if you’re ready to open up your mind and leave everything you learned about reality behind. But beware, if you dare to step through this door, you may never want to leave again…


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Thursday, August 5, 2021

City of Lights by Kelly Byrd

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kelly Byrd 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.

What happens when oh so ordinary Mary Jingo, follows her instincts (and her nose) and ends up in a magical land Far From Home?

In City of Lights, author Kelly Byrd introduces readers to Mary, who is one week away from finishing fifth grade. Mary’s mind is on starting middle school in the fall and finally getting her own phone. But then this ordinary girl notices glimmers of light and meets a strange little man who conjures the best smell she has ever smelled. Before she even stops to consider what she’s doing, she agrees to accompany the man to the land of LeeChee, where our Mary Jingo from the Shadowlands in seen as warrior and a great hope.

Now this very ordinary girl must find a way to help save LeeChee from Thrall and restore the Everything—a magical life- and joy-giving force that somehow connects Mary’s world to LeeChee. How can she face the Void, the foul-smelling Shoeboxians, or the evil Mellie? And how can she do all of the Far From Home?

Read an Exclusive Excerpt

The mist began to swirl and take shape. It whirled around, and formed Mellie’s face in mid-air, the mist rippling as she smiled nastily, the scars on her face alive and whirling in the dark night sky.

“You thought you could get away that easily?” Mellie’s voice was amplified and stretched. It was so loud that it blew Mary back. She clung to the handholds on WindRunner’s back. “You can’t get away from the Void, Mitzy Jingles. And you certainly cannot get away from me. It knows your name, it’s seen your face. It hates YOU most of all.”

“Stay away from us!” Mary shouted back at the Void.

“NO!” Mellie’s face spat and laughed. “No, I will not. We got most of what we came for, your sweet Lady Kathryn and that other oracle to boot. I tried to leave you out of this, Shadowlands girl, but you just wouldn’t LEAVE. So, now I’m going to have to, um, borrow your two friends here. The small curly-headed one seems like she will be especially powerful at helping me bend the Everything into the Void.”

“We would never help you!” Teeny yelled from over Mary’s shoulder.

“Oh, that is SO sweet,” Mellie’s floating face replied. “Unfortunately, you won’t have a choice.”

Mellie opened her mouth and bronze mist streamed toward them in a giant wave.

…Mary looked around, the mist swirled around them in great billowing clouds. What was she even doing here? Her family was so far away and she was not cut out for this. If only she could steal a Flike and take it home to show the other kids that she was cool. Then, then she would just be so happy!

Mary swayed in the cloud of mist, thinking of home. She could almost smell her neighborhood—the green scent of the grass and the tang of gentle salt on the air. She was so close to it. She just needed to focus and she could go home and be the coolest person in her class. They would never ignore her again.

About the Author

Kelly Byrd is a middle-grade author by choice, a writer by discipline, home-grown chef, and amateur gardener. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and two cute-as-buttons rescue pups. The Far From Home series is about growing up, finding your voice, and rescuing the Everything.

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