Tuesday, October 25, 2016

An Excerpt from MONSTERVILLE: A LISSA BLACK PRODUCTION


Hey all! I've got a spooky treat for you today-- an excerpt of Sarah S. Reida's recently released debut novel, Monsterville: A Lissa Black Production. Read on for chills & thrills!

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As I got deeper into the woods, I realized it had become quiet. It was a weird sound. Or non-sound, I guess.

In the city, there was always noise, no matter where I went. If I stopped on the sidewalk, closed my eyes, and just listened, I’d hear taxi horns and voices and footsteps (plus someone would shove me and scream at me to get out of the way).

Standing in this silence made my skin crawl. It was weird to know I was the only person around. And even weirder to know these woods belonged to my family.

Continuing through the trees, I tilted my head back, taking in limbs so thick I could barely see through to the sky. Water burbled somewhere. A creek? That would be cool. Especially if there was a rock to lie out on, someplace quiet where I could work on my first real screenplay.

I fought past branches and brush toward the water, almost face-planting when I tripped on a root sticking up from the ground. Flip-flops had been a dumb idea.

Eventually, I saw the lip of a wide creek. I climbed down a steep, short hill to the water’s edge, slipping a couple of times on the way.

“Wow!” I said aloud when I got to the bottom, my voice echoing.

It was really pretty down there. The creek’s cur­rent was fast, racing over rocks and splashing against fallen limbs. About twenty feet farther down, there was a pile of tree branches and leaves in the middle of the creek. It looked like beavers had been building a dam. Water ran around it in deep currents, making a sucking sound.

I wished Casey and Taylor were here. We could hang out with lawn chairs and books, Casey sitting under a huge hat, slathered with SPF150 to protect her fair skin, and Taylor in baby oil to bring out her tan.

I picked up a rock and tried to skim it across the water’s surface. It sank.

Suddenly, the hairs stood up on the back of my neck, and even though it made no sense at all, I had this crazy idea that someone was watching me. I could imagine exactly how I’d look as a camera captured my stalker’s point of view—stepping hesitantly, slow. Vulnerable. Maybe seen in a flash frame, to show the stalker close . . . then closer . . . closer. . . .

I tried to shake off the feeling, but my heart drummed against my chest like my body was trying to warn my mind.

Even though I felt paranoid for doing it, I swiv­eled my head around, making sure everything was in order. You know, no one-eyed fisherman clutching an ax and giggling crazily behind a tree.

Nothing. The water kept burbling lazily in the creek and, far away, a bird called out. Through the gaps above in the trees, the clouds in the bright blue sky looked like cotton candy. In every way, it seemed like a beautiful day for a walk in the woods.

So how come the feeling was still there?

I decided to go back to the house. In movies, when people go against their gut instinct, they end up biting it. I started to climb up the bank, using a root stick­ing out of the ground as leverage. It was hard going because my hands were shaking and my legs felt weak.

Water splashed in the creek. I froze, one hand grasping a root and the other gripping a handful of gritty mud. What was that? A beaver? A deer? Or—

Someone—or something—moaned. The sound came from near the beaver dam.

I reached for another root, but it snapped off in my hand. With a lurch, I grabbed for another one. Scrambling, not even caring about the mud that was get­ting all over my clothes, I crawled to the top of the hill.

Stealing a look over my shoulder, I saw bubbles rip­pling the water, and a huge dark form moving below the surface.

Maybe it’s a turtle, I thought. But turtles don’t thrash around like that, and they aren’t six feet long.

All at once, the thing shot out of the water with a huge splash, like someone coming up after a dive. I screamed and fell backward, landing hard on my butt and rattling my teeth.

The creature had two arms and two legs like a per­son, but everything else was just . . . wrong. Fishlike. Water dripped from its scaly body, which shimmered in the sunlight. The creature lifted its green face, its flat nose quivering like it was smelling something.

It locked eyes with me. For what felt like forever, we were frozen, staring at each other. My heart ham­mered so loudly I was sure the creature could hear it.

What was this thing? It looked like the supernat­ural villain in a blockbuster film, but there was no mask, no zipper up the front of its body, no campy sound effects.

Meaning, it looked completely real. And this wasn’t a movie. So, based on logic . . .

It opened its mouth, displaying sharp, triangular black teeth and a dark purple tongue.“Don’t come any closer!” I croaked.

Run! It was the first rule of monster movies. Run. Don’t try to get a better look. But I was rooted to the spot. Monster bait.

The creature shook its head. It didn’t have ears— just dark holes where each ear should have been.

I glared at it, trying to hide how scared I was. “What do you want?”

The creature licked its rubbery lips. When it spoke, its voice was a loud rasp. “Brains.”

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Beware what lurks beneath your bed. . . . It could lead to a monstrous adventure.

Thirteen-year-old Lissa Black is miserable when her parents force her to move from New York City (the perfect home for an aspiring writer/director/actress) to Freeburg, Pennsylvania, nowhere capital of the world. There’s nothing to do there, except play her little sister Haylie’s favorite new game, Monsterville, and hang out with her new neighbor Adam.

But when a walk in the woods lands her face-to-face with a swamp monster hungry for brains and then a Sasquatch that moos, even Lissa can’t call her new home totally boring. With Adam’s help, she catches the culprit behind the drama: a shape-shifting goblin who’s fled from the monster world of Down Below.

And what do you do with a creature that can be literally anything? Make monster movies, of course! Lissa is convinced that Blue will be the secret to her big break.

But when Haylie goes missing on Halloween, Lissa, Adam, and the monster must venture Down Below to stage a rescue—and face the real Monsterville, which is anything but a game.

Monsterville is a fusion of The Boxtrolls, Jumanji, and Candyland, weaving together friendship, family, and monsters into a funny fantasy-horror brimming with heart from a great new middle grade voice.

Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

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Sarah S. Reida is a writer, lawyer, and ugly animal advocate. Growing up in the Midwest (Illinois, to be precise), she read everything she could get her hands on, as well as watched many, many movies during her parents' "camping" trips involving electricity and s'mores in a microwave. A member of The Sweet Sixteens, Sarah's debut middle grade novel, "Monstervile: A Lissa Black Production," is her first novel. A graduate of Saint Louis University (B.A). and Case Western Reserve University School of Law (J.D.), Sarah makes a living helping veteran business owners compete for federal contracts. She and her husband Scott live in the Atlanta area with their dog and four cats. By the time this biography reaches print, they will probably have acquired another animal.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Author Stop: Imani Josey & The Blazing Star



1. The Blazing Star appears to have a strong sister theme. Do you have a sister? Or (like me) did you always wish for one?

So great of you to notice! I gravitate towards sisterhood in my writing as I’m one of three girls (no brothers, though I always wanted one). I’m in the middle (even though my little sister is significantly younger than my older sister and me, making her experience more like growing up as an only child). I had Portia and Alex (Portia is the protagonist of this story, and Alex is her genius twin) in my head for awhile before I started writing, but when I realized they were sisters, the words started to come. It was like, Oh, I get this relationship.

I also like exploring sibling relationships because in many YA stories, the protagonist is an orphan or any only child, or is much older than their siblings so they’re more like a substitute parent. I thought that was interesting, because so many people have siblings and outside of your parents, it’s the first relationship you’re navigating. No one knows you like your siblings. My older sister told me literally yesterday, “You’re the longest relationship I’ve ever had.”


2. What is your favorite weekend activity?

My favorite weekend activity is inactivity. My life can get hectic some (all of the) time, so when I get time to do nothing, I savor it.


3. Can you share some interesting things about Egypt (part of the TBS's setting) with us?

I find ancient Egypt fascinating! The Blazing Star is a semi-historical fantasy set in present day Chicago and ancient Waset (Thebes/Luxor). In the book, Portia has an encounter with a scarab beetle ornament in her history class (our inciting incident). Scarabs were sacred to the ancient Egyptians, represented in amulets and jewelry. The ancients were intrigued by the beetles as they seemed to emerge from the burrow from where they were born. The ancients called them kheprer and associated them with the sun/creator god Khepri. Portia wears her blue scarab throughout the book.


4. How does your writing process work? Do you stick to a certain formula, or does it vary from book to book?

The Blazing Star is my first book, so I had to discover my book-writing process. I’d written articles, short stories, plays, and novellas for my friends, but learning how to write a book was a different animal. When it comes to writing, I see the scenes first. The first scene I wrote in The Blazing Star is now Chapter 28-Swordplay. For awhile I was stringing scenes together (yep, pantser) and then after a lot of editing, I learned I had to start outlining. Even if the outline’s points change (AND THEY WILL), you need to have SOME idea of where you’re going. I also like to write in the morning (6 am-10am), and preferably away from home (and on a desktop).


5. Quick! Which is cuter: baby pandas or baby otters?

Baby otters! Have you seen the otter snacking video????


6. Please share a favorite line(s) from TBS.

Hahaha! I shouldn’t laugh but oh well, here are a few:

· “As expected, a dumb freshman had strayed and they batted her around like maniacal kittens with a ball of yarn.”

· “I didn’t know if she won the Academic Decathlon or the Miss America Pageant.”

· “You are like the sun.”

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Imani Josey is a writer from Chicago, Illinois. In her previous life, she was a cheerleader for the Chicago Bulls and won the titles of Miss Chicago and Miss Cook County for the Miss America Organization, as well as Miss Black Illinois USA. Her one-act play, Grace, was produced by Pegasus Players Theatre Chicago after winning the 19th Annual Young Playwrights Festival. In recent years, she has turned her sights to long-form fiction. She now spends the majority of her time working on backstory, teaching dance fitness classes, and cuddling with her American bulldog, Thor. The Blazing Star is her debut novel.





Sixteen-year-old Portia White is used to being overlooked—after all, her twin sister Alex is a literal genius.

But when Portia holds an Egyptian scarab beetle during history class, she takes center stage in a way she never expected: she faints. Upon waking, she is stronger, faster, and braver than before. And when she accidentally touches the scarab again?

She wakes up in ancient Egypt—her sister and an unwitting freshman in tow.

Great.

Mysterious and beautiful, Egypt is more than they could have ever imagined from their days in the classroom. History comes alive as the three teens realize that getting back to the present will be the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. Stalked by vicious monsters called Scorpions, every step in the right direction means a step closer to danger.

As Portia and the girls discover that they’re linked to the past by more than just chance, they have to decide what it truly means to be yourself, to love your sister, and to find your way home.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Everyone Loves Cupcakes (Ain't that the Truth) Review

Goodreads | Amazon


I am just pleased as punch over this cute picture book. If you're a foodie, read it! The nods to food references all through out the book were just the best. 

Such as: "I'm an early riser." Said by a loaf of bread
And: "I would love to, but I have to take a bath". Said by a tea bag.
And too: "I don't really like New York." Said by a piece of cheesecake.



Plus, we have Angel Food Cake loving everyone, Muffin blowing his top (snicker), and a cookie that happens to be smart. The illustrations were delightful and made me wish I could be transported to a bakery as soon as I got to the end. 



And I'm for sure going to be picking up Everyone Loves Bacon (yup!) by the author Kelly DiPucchio, and illustrator, Eric Wight. Which reminds me, when I was at my local bakery a few weeks ago, they had Maple Bacon Cupcakes. It's like Everyone Loves Cupcake and Eveyone One Loves Bacon had a baby! =)

What about you? Do you love cupcakes and/or bacon?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

BEYOND THE EVER REACH Cover Reveal


Beyond the Ever Reach

Beyond the Ever Reach by Everly Frost
Genre: YA science-fiction

In a world where nobody can be killed, one girl will change it all.

In an alternate version of today’s Earth, everyone is invincible. Since the beginning, people have been able to heal so fast that nobody can be killed. The normal lifespan ranges hundreds of years. Despite all that, Ava Holland is afraid of death. When the unthinkable happens, her only ally is the boy she should fear the most. Michael Bradley is the strongest, fastest healer anyone’s ever seen. But Michael has secrets too.Together, they run from a society that rejects them. Michael seeks redemption and Ava seeks safety, but when the truth is revealed, it’s up to Ava to save them both.

About the Author:

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Everly Frost grew up in a country town, lived for a little while in Japan, and worked for several years in Canberra, Australia’s capital city. Now, Everly lives in Brisbane, Australia.


Friday, October 7, 2016

New Release: The Impending Possession of Scarlet Wakebridge- Rose

S.L. Saboviec's latest release is just in time for Halloween, with a tale of supernatural menance, strained family ties, and unavoidable destiny:

Scarlet Wakebridge-Rosé, busy executive and less-than-stellar mother and wife, has a problem that only an exorcist can solve. Except she’s not precisely a devout Catholic parishioner any longer, and to gain assistance from the Church means telling a whopping lie of omission.

Fortunately, she discovers Father Angelo Ambrosio, whose commitment to helping the afflicted means he’s willing to overlook the things Scarlet prefers to keep hidden. Unfortunately, his sordid past keeps him under a microscope with the bishop, who’s not so liberal in his views.

But the demon harassing Scarlet is relentless. It makes its motives clear: in a previous life, she struck a bargain, promising it her body on her fiftieth birthday. Now, she and Angelo must unravel the mystery surrounding her forgotten past in order to stop the possession by next week or risk losing her to the depths of Hell forever.

This stand-alone novel set in the Fallen Redemption universe extends the series to modern day. Enter a world where humans reincarnate, demons interfere in daily life, and the currents of fate carry us all to our destinies.


99 cent Sale!

Until the end of release week, The Impending Possession of Scarlet Wakebridge-Rosé is 99 cents through Kindle and free through Kindle Unlimited! Don’t wait – the price goes up to next Monday.

About the Author


Samantha grew up in a small town in Iowa but became an expat for her Canadian husband, whom she met in the Massive Multi-player Online Role-Playing Game Star Wars: Galaxies (before the NGE, of course). She holds a B.S. in Physics, which qualifies her to B.S. about physics and occasionally do some math for the sci-fi stories she concocts. Her dark, thought-provoking science fiction & fantasy contains flawed, relatable characters and themes that challenge the status quo.

Her short fiction has appeared in AE and Grievous Angel, and her debut novel received an honorable mention in the 23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

IWSG: Can I Just Be Done Already?


The IWSG is a community where writers can share their fears and insecurities about the writing life. To learn more, check out their website here.

Well, all, there's not much new with me. I'm still drafting, still going slooowly, and becoming a bit frustrated with myself. I wanted to write this book in 3 months (my personal best so far). Then I saw that wasn't going to happen, so I decided 5 months would be my new deadline. 

5 months has come and gone, and now I'm determined to finish by the end of October, which will have me completing the first draft in 7 months. Which I know is still good, and that I shouldn't be hard on myself when I have a day job and a kidlet and things like trash that needs taking out, and clean clothes that need worn and floors that don't crunch underfoot. 

That aside, I'm anxious to get into revisions and start making this book into something more than a hot mess. So I just need to use October to get it DONE. I've already decided I'm going to go buy myself a new shirt when that happens too. And maybe drink a glass of sparkling grape juice (what I like to do to feel fancy). ;) 

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And! In other news, my cp, Kristin Smith, has a fun contest going on. To find out how to win this:

Oooh, the pretty!!

Just go here. (Kristin's Instagram page)

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

New Release: Bloodwalker by L.X. Cain

Congrats to L.X. Cain on her newest release! Sounds like a perfectly creepy read for the season we're in (which is fall in these parts, which means...Halloween!). =)



Lightning flashes. Another child disappears…

When Zorka Circus performs, its big top roars with laughter and cheers, but when it moves on, there are fewer children in the European towns it leaves behind.

Circus Security Chief Rurik suspects a killer hides among the international performers, but they close ranks—they’ve always viewed lightning-scarred Rurik as the monster. Nevertheless, he's determined to find the culprit and stop them before anyone else dies and the only place he can call home is ripped apart by the murders.

Into Zorka Circus comes the Skomori clan, despised as gravediggers and ghoulish bloodwalkers. A one-day truce allows bloodwalker Sylvie to marry. Instead, she finds a body. Alerting others will defy her clan’s strict rules, break the truce, and leave her an outcast.

When more bodies turn up, the killer's trail becomes impossible to ignore. Rurik and Sylvie must follow the clues—even if they lead to something unimaginable.


“YA horror novelist Cain (Soul Cutter) steps right up to the center ring in this captivating shocker of children disappearing after the circus comes to town.” ~ Publishers Weekly


BUY LINKS:




BIO:
L.X. Cain was born in the U.S. but now lives on the Red Sea and busily taps away at a laptop, coming up with stories to thrill and entertain readers.

Contact L.X. Cain at: