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.

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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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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Grady Whill and the Templeton Codex by Carole P. Roman

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card. Click in the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

If you could have one paranormal ability, what would it be?

I do have paranormal abilities. I speak to dead people.

What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?

That I speak to dead people. I studied with some of the great mediums over the pandemic and have been endorsed by a significant medium.

When writing descriptions of your hero/ine, what feature do you start with?

Usually one thing, like glasses, or thin arms. I look for one thing that will be indelible for the reader.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Panster all the way.

Did you learn anything from writing this book? If so, what?

I learned that we can learn a lot from kids if we listen.

Templeton Academy- the superhero high school is finally open!

The prestigious academy is recruiting the best of the best to enroll in its student body.

The school is as mysterious as it is exclusive.

Grady Whill thinks there is nothing special about him to make the grade.

However, his best friend, Aarush Patel has been selected and thinks Grady has the right stuff.

Even school bully Elwood Bledsoe is attending.

If Grady is fortunate enough to be picked, his guardian has forbidden him to attend.

Will a family secret prevent Grady from becoming the superhero he was destined to be?

Read an Excerpt

I’d like to say that life improved, but I’d be telling you a lie. Elwood Bledsoe continued to bully Aarush. While Aarush constantly cautioned me to rein in my reaction to him, I could not. It landed me in two more detentions, and the last one finally cost me my job at the supermarket where I bagged groceries.

“You’re coming for dinner,” Aarush informed me one afternoon.

I shook my head. “Can’t.”

Aarush neatly packed his brown bag with unfinished food and said, “You have to come over. You’re not working. Tonight they are announcing the winners of the Find My Power Essay on television. Devon Neely has to win. Imagine losing your sight and learning— ”

“Aarush, they’ll never accept a blind kid.”

“They took that girl Lydia,” he blurted.

They had indeed.

“She’s not blind,” he retorted.

I raised my eyebrow. She hardly looked like someone people expected to make it into the Temple. All I could recall was she seemed most unremarkable. Most of the kids who were accepted had a rare talent. They could run the fastest or do math without a pen or paper. I couldn’t remember what made her special.

About the Author:
Carole P. Roman is the award-winning author of over fifty children's books. Whether it's pirates, princesses, spies, or discovering the world around us, her books have enchanted educators, parents, and her diverse audience of children of all ages.

Her best-selling book, The Big Book of Silly Jokes for Kids: 800+ Jokes! has reached number one on Amazon in March of 2020 and has remained in the top 200 books since then.

She published Mindfulness for Kids with J. Robin Albertson-Wren.

Carole has co-authored two self-help books. Navigating Indieworld: A Beginners Guide to Self-Publishing and Marketing with Julie A. Gerber, and Marketing Indieworld with both Julie A. Gerber and Angela Hausman.

Roman is the CEO of a global transportation company, as well as a practicing medium.

She also writes adult fiction under the name Brit Lunden and has created an anthology of the mythical town of Bulwark, Georgia with a group of indie authors.

Writing is her passion and one of her favorite pastimes. Roman reinvents herself frequently, and her family calls her the 'mother of reinvention.' She resides on Long Island, near her children and grandchildren.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Sophia Freeman Series by T.X. Troan

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. T.X. Troan will be awarding a $15 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.

Book 1:

What begins as a special trip for eleven-year-old Sophia Freeman and her father, leaves her trapped on a mysterious island with a tree boy and fantastical creatures. Later, she learns she is dying from an eternal curse and the only way to prolong her life is to drink the island’s sacred water. Can Sophia and her companions reach the fountain and defeat the guardian before time runs out?

Book 2:

Sophia Freeman and her best friend, Tim Charnal, must beat all contestants in a three-round Beyond Event organized by the mighty arbiters to free him from the penalty of murder and gain the islanders' trust. Entering the hologram and surviving environments filled with everything from hammer-throwing cave giants to a slimy tentacled sea monster, they will need all their courage, wits, and skills. But how are they going to win when magic is forbidden?

Book 3:

With the increase in deaths of Pandilone Islanders, the arbiters devise a strategy to free the god demon within five days to lift the Eternal Curse. All goes as planned until iron-masked creatures kidnap magic users, weakening the army. To gain reinforcements, Sophia Freeman, Tim Charnal, and rescued Allen Chan must gather all six items to cast the Dream Spell, connecting them with Sophia’s father and his air force. But how can the trio succeed in time while surrounded by enemies and traitors aiming to stop them at any cost?

Read an Excerpt

Another flaming whip slashed between Sophia and Tim, and they swiftly dodged it. Who could possibly be using Dark Art spells? They looked over and saw Allen’s smoking wand in one hand and Sophia’s scroll in the other.

“S-sorry, guys—I got curious,” said Allen, trembling.

Tim roared, “Curious? You’re not supposed to—”

Sophia raised her hand like Dad did to her, to silence him.

“Allen, can I have my scroll back?” she asked calmly, easing toward him.

Staring at it, he said, “Um … yeah,” and handed it to her.

“Did you hurt yourself?” Sophia asked. “Do you feel any different?”

“I’m fine—actually, I feel good,” said Allen, with a tiny grin.

“Interesting—could you show us how you did that spell?”

Allen gave her a puzzled look. “You mean I’m not in deep trouble? Uh … sure.” He shifted into the attack position and shut his eyes.

“Sophia, I don’t understand—why are you wasting our time?” Tim demanded.

“Shh … Mona was right—you should really work on your temper.” She kept staring at Allen without blinking. “Just watch.”

A moment later, a strong gust howled past them as his wand lit up.

“Allen, break that tall boulder with roots wrapped around it!” Sophia shouted.

He struck with an aggressive roar. “HELLFIRE LASH!” The third flaming whip was unleashed, and it was much bigger than the previous two. It struck directly at the target.


The spell left a hole through the boulder the size of Allen’s fist.

“Wow, that was impressive,” Tim mumbled.

Sophia handed him the scroll and turned to Allen. “Do you feel any different this time?”

Admiring his wand, he said, “Yes, I felt … confident. Something I didn’t think was possible.”

I get it—he’s attracted to Dark Art spells! At that instant, an absurd idea came to her mind.

About the Author:
Thuan Doan was born in Indonesia, and grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.

Thuan has been fascinated by art from a young age, especially fantasy. He would wake up hours before school, sit outside the classroom, and scribble in his sketch book.

After college, he worked on a series of jobs, including: an advergaming association as a storyboard/concept artist, gaming company as lead concept artist, and graphic designer for various clients.

Thuan conceived his first middle-grade fantasy novel, Sophia Freeman and the Mysterious Fountain, during a trip to Gabriola Island, British Columbia in the summer of 2013. Then he took his work and settled in a small town of Enderby, where it’s peaceful and quiet. 4 years later, the story is complete. While book 1, 2 and 3 are being shared with the world, he's writing and illustrating book 4 of the Sophia Freeman series.

Thuan is writing under a pen name of T.X. Troan. “X” stands for Xu, his grandmother’s name who passed away. And “Troan” is a combination of his parents' names.

“No matter how this turns out, I want my family to be a part of this wonderful journey.”

T.X. Troan married Sarah, his original fan and longtime love, in 2016. They live in Enderby with their pack dogs and school of fish!


★ Entrada Publishing Incipere Award, 2020
★ Readers' Favorite 5 star Badge, 2019, 2021 and 2022
★ Literary Titan Badge, 2020

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