Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Book Blitz! Heartbound by P.I. Alltraine



We're happy to be hosting P.I. Alltraine and her HEARTBOUND Book Blitz today!


About the Book:




Title: Heartbound
Author: P.I. Alltraine
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Pages: 177
Genre: YA fantasy romance

Petyr has never found it necessary to consider the humans as anything more than distant, inferior beings–until now. They are the cause of the fatal disease that has plagued his realm, taking the lives of too many of his kind. As a future leader of a realm in peril, Petyr must find a way to resist and cure the affliction. He must enter the unfamiliar realm, appear to be an ordinary eighteen-year-old human, observe, and learn.

However, things don't exactly go according to plan. Instead of embarking single-mindedly on his sober mission, Petyr meets an 18-year-old girl who does things to his emotions that he can't quite fathom or control. Petyr is falling in love, and he almost forgets the gravity his choices have on his entire world. Despite the risk it poses to his life and hers, he wants to know her, and he wants her to know him–and his world.
 

For More Information

  • Heartbound is available at Amazon.
  • Watch the trailer at YouTube.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Book Excerpt:

I defied my fate the moment I leapt out of my apartment’s third-story window. I landed on the pavement without a sound. In the same instant, my feet blended into the measured pace in which humans carried themselves.
Gazing up at the sky, I tried to find something to remind me of my home, of my duty. The future leader of a realm in peril cannot be overcome by irrational desires, I thought.
Thick smoke obscured the heavens so much even the brightest stars were dull and barely visible. A reminder I was trapped in this city, in this realm. Too far away from everything I knew, too restrained, too human.
Through the chaos in my mind, I captured the image of the girl with brown and dark-auburn tones in her hair, the shine that bounced from her loose curls, the depth in her hazel eyes, and even the awkward half-smile when she caught me looking at her. But the memory wasn’t enough. I needed to see her again.
I kept walking until I reached the riverbank in the heart of London. The water rippled with a disheveled mesh of gold and red, reflecting a large architectural structure. My gaze lingered on the clock tower adjacent to the building, gauging its height. A temptation to feel even a fraction of my true nature became a need in every fiber in my body. No longer able to rationalize, my muscles coiled, and I let go. Wind enveloped me with its familiar warmth as I sprang across the River Thames. I aimed to land on the lower portion of the tower, to indulge in the pleasure of my ascent. Though too fast for human eyes, each maneuver, each somersault, each back flip was slow enough for me to savor every moment of my liberation.
On a part of the roof concealed from the passersby below, I was closer to the heavens than I’d been since arriving in the city. Still, I didn’t belong here. Hundreds of lights sparkled below me, each representing a life I didn’t comprehend. Allowing myself to break free from my human fa├žade had made me a liability to the others. For a few moments of freedom, I let myself forget the importance of my purpose here—the lives that depended on it.
Somehow, having the girl’s image in my mind brought calmness within me. One that felt permanent. One that extinguished the sense of entrapment, despite the thick layer of smoke that was still very visible to me. I held on to the calmness as I regained the confidence to face the others.

Watch the Book Trailer!


About the Author: 



P.I. Alltraine is an award winning poet and author. She has won several international poetry competitions, and her poems have been published in separate anthologies.
She teaches English Language and Literature in London. She earned her degree in BA English from Queen Mary University of London, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and Master’s in Teaching at the UCL Institute of Education, University of London.
Before moving to London, she lived in the Philippines where she was ensconced in the rich culture encrusted with dark myths and enchanted tales. She draws inspiration from these in her writing. Although she has lived indifferent places and experienced different cultures, she always enjoyed the constancy of writing in her life. Her favourite authors include John Milton, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce.
Her latest book is the YA fantasy romance, Heartbound.
For More Information

Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things Book Blast!


We're happy to be hosting Martina McAtee's book blast today!



Title: Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things
Author: Martina McAtee
Publisher: Martina McAtee
Pages: 450
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

17 year old Ember Denning has made an art of isolating herself. She prefers the dead. She spends her days skipping school in old cemeteries and her nights hiding from her alcoholic father at the funeral home where she works. When her own father dies, Ember learns her whole life is a lie. Standing in the cemetery that’s been her sanctuary, she’s threatened by the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and rescued by two people who claim to be her family. They say she’s special, that she has a supernatural gift like them…they just don’t know exactly what it is. 

They take her to a small
Florida town, where Ember’s life takes a turn for the weird. She’s living with her reaper cousins, an orphaned werewolf pack, a faery and a human genius. Ember’s powers are growing stronger, morphing into something bigger than anything anybody anticipated. Ember has questions but nobody has answers. Nobody knows what she is. They only know her mysterious magical gift is trying to kill them and that beautiful dangerous boy from the cemetery may be the only thing standing between her and death. 

As Ember’s talents are revealed so are the secrets her father hid and those in power who would seek to destroy her. What’s worse, saving Ember has put her cousins in danger and turned her friend’s lives upside down. Ember must learn to embrace her magic or risk losing the family she’s pieced together.

For More Information

  • Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Book Excerpt:

She went lightheaded as the enormity of her words hit her, “Oh, God. This is like the part in the movie where you try to kill me, right? You are going to try to kill me and I feel too crappy to even try to run.”  

She was talking more to herself now. She leaned back against the rusted mausoleum gates behind her, enjoying the cool metal against her skin. Her head was swimming, the stars above blurring in the sky. No, not now, she thought. It was happening again. Whatever had happened earlier in the cemetery was happening again. She could feel it rising up in her, that weird feeling like her insides were melting and liquefying while she could do nothing to stop it. Was this a panic attack? Could a panic attack cause what happened in the cemetery earlier? Maybe this was some kind of fight or flight adrenaline response.  

She felt caged, trapped by her own body. It was all in her head. The ground wasn’t vibrating at her feet. There was no way she was really burning up in forty-degree weather. Even in her haze she could see him watching her. Maybe if she just held still, he would be quick about it.

Her head lulled on her shoulders. She was going to pass out. It would serve him right. Then he was just there, in her space, fingers cupping her face. She moaned at the feel of his cold hands against her overheated flesh. “And if it is, Luv? If this is the part where I try to kill you? What then? Are you going to pass out and take all the fun out of it? Or will you fight back?”

There was no mistaking the threat of his words, but he was close enough to whisper them against her skin like a promise. She couldn’t think straight. Her head filled with a sound like angry bees. She pitched forward, dropping her forehead to his shoulder, eyes drifting closed. 

He was so cold; even through the layers of his clothes; his body seemed to emit this pleasant icy radiance that soothed her feverish skin. She wrapped herself around him, locking her arms. She buried her face against his throat, nose rubbing against his skin. 

She felt his body go rigid in her arms. She didn’t blame him, on some level she understood sane girls didn’t try to cuddle their killers. But nobody ever accused her of being sane. She was the girl who played in cemeteries and talked to the dead. She was the girl with three therapists before she was twelve. She was the girl in flames and he was ice water; if she was going to die, she was going to have this first. 

They stood there, bound together by her forced embrace. Those strange vibrations increased, building inside her like a living thing, a burning energy trying to melt her from the inside out. She could hear his ragged breath panting against her ear, could feel him writhing in her grasp, but she refused to let go. Could he feel it too? 

She clung to him, knowing if she let go this peculiar energy would overwhelm her. She breathed him in, letting him anchor her as it kept building and burning, growing until it thrust from her with the force of a sledgehammer. He groaned like he’d received the physical blow, he may have fallen had she not been holding him to her. Finally, the world seemed to right itself. Her blood ceased to boil and the vibrations stopped. When her mind quieted, she became very aware of what she was doing.
She let go, shoving him back. Despite his size, he stumbled, blinking hard. They stared at each other, his confusion mirroring her own. 

“What are you?” she whispered. “What are you doing to me?”  

He rushed her, shoving her against the concrete hard enough to knock her teeth together, “What did I do to you? What game are you playing? What are you? What was that? What did you do?” 

She whimpered, feet scrambling for purchase as she realized he’d lifted her from the ground. Her heart thundered in her chest. He was fit but not big enough to haul her off her feet like that. She shoved at him uselessly. “Put me down.” 

Her descent was abrupt, her heart lodging in her throat. His eyes narrowed, his hands tangling in her messy hair, tilting her head to the side. “Come on, Luv, you can tell me. I’m sure it’s eating at you, keeping this secret.” 

He was insane. She opened her mouth to say so but her brain short-circuited as his nose traced along the column of her throat. “I promise, things will be so much easier if you just tell me,” he purred, his lips pressing the words into her skin. She moved closer to him. In her defense, she’d never been this close to a boy before; especially not one who looked like he did.

“We can do this one of two ways,” He inhaled her scent, pressing his mouth to the shell of her ear as he said, “I promise one is infinitely more pleasurable than the other.”

Ew. Oh, God. What was she doing? What was he doing? Seducing her for information? Threatening her? It really bothered her that she didn’t know the difference.

She needed to get it together. Her breath hitched in her chest. This was not how she saw herself dying. She’d had a plan. She’d written it down obituary style for a morbid ninth grade English assignment. She was supposed to die of obscenely old age in her enormous but tastefully decorated plantation home surrounded by her beautiful and ungrateful grandchildren.

He huffed out a laugh and she realized she’d said all that aloud. She was too scared to be embarrassed. Instead, she slapped at his hands ineffectively.

He stepped away so abruptly she staggered, pacing before her, “You’re seriously not going to tell me? You’re only hurting yourself on this one.”

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” she told him, “You’re crazy.”

He sighed heavily, his tone shifting as if speaking to a rather stupid child, “I’ll figure it out eventually.” He told her, pointing at her, “You don’t smell like a witch. You certainly aren’t a shifter.” Then he was back before her, gripping her chin, turning her head side to side, like he was examining livestock, “But you most definitely aren’t human.” Tiny hairs rose along her skin at his touch, “You’re trying my patience. What the hell are you?”

She pushed away from him, head throbbing with his words. “Stop with the grabby hands,”
She needed to think. He was clearly unhinged. She had very few options. She could run but she doubted she could outrun him. Her gaze raked across broad shoulders and a flat stomach, he looked like he did a lot of cardio. She could scream but there wasn’t anybody to hear her. Instead, she did what she always did when she was nervous…she babbled.

She’d watched a million documentaries on serial killers and the mentally ill. She could figure this out. Netflix was her friend. She wracked her brain, if he was a killer she had to make him see her as a person, tell him about her life, say her name a lot, make him believe people cared if she died, even if it was a lie.

But what if he was schizophrenic? He thought she wasn’t human. What was she supposed to do? 

Orient him to reality? Play along with his fantasy? She should have paid more attention.

“What’s your name?” she heard herself say, voice breathless.

He arched his brow, tsking softly, expression bored. “I’m asking the questions here,”

“Just tell me your name,” she demanded, panic creeping back in.

“Mace,” the answer tumbled from his lips unbidden. He looked mystified, like his own mouth had betrayed him. He absently rubbed a spot on his chest.

“Mace,” she repeated, with a nod. Okay, it was a start. “So um, here’s the thing, Mace. I’m only seventeen and I don’t want to die.”

He gave her a look and a ‘fair enough’ shrug and gestured for her to continue, clearly amused by this turn of events.

She frowned, but soldiered on, “You can’t be much older than me so let’s just think about this for a minute, okay?” She raked a hand through her damp hair, “I’m not really sure why you want to kill me but my life has pretty much sucked up until now. Like so much suckage. I can’t even explain the level of suck, but I feel like, statistically speaking, that’s gotta change. I’m not trying to sound like a motivational poster but it’s supposed to get better. I’d very much like to have a pulse when it does,”
He narrowed his eyes at her, brow furrowed. He stepped forward.

“Stop,” she held up her hand, palm out, “Just listen,”

He stopped, looking at his feet then at her again.

“I’m a nice girl,” she told him, before frowning, “but maybe you don’t care about that. I mean, if you’re, like, a murderous psychopath, you probably aren’t super interested in my feelings, but what about yourself?” She reasoned, gesturing spastically to all of his…self, “You seem like the kind of guy who thinks a lot of himself.”

He cocked an eyebrow but said nothing. She was in turbo babble mode now, “If you kill me your life is over. You will definitely go to jail. I mean, look at me.” She gestured to her face, “I look like an ad for facial cleanser and girls who eat yogurt. Juries eat that stuff up. You’d probably get the chair.”
He looked a little dazed. “You make a passionate yet confusing plea, Luv,”

Her heart sank as he took a tentative step towards her, then another. He grinned as he advanced.

“Come on. I’m sure you don’t want to go to prison.” She whined, “You are way too pretty for prison. You’d make a lot of the wrong kind of friends in prison.” Stop saying prison, Ember, she begged herself. “Do you want those kind of friends? Of course, you don’t. We could be friends?” she finished lamely, face flushing with shame. Maybe he should just kill her. It would be less embarrassing.

He blinked at her, cheek twitching, “Aw, are you asking me to be your friend? One might question your judgment.”

Her hands fell to her hips, swaying on her feet. “Wow, not to put too fine a point on it, but I’ve only seen you twice and both times you were here,” she gestured to their surroundings. “You hang out in cemeteries because you have so many friends? Is this were your book club meets?”

“I can see why you have no friends,” he told her drolly.

She squinted as something glinted in the air above his head.

“I-” was all he managed before the object made contact with his head, sounding like a hammer hitting an overripe melon. He hit his knees with a groan, whatever he was going to say dying on his lips.
She looked at his crumpled form, unreasonably disappointed.

She’d really wanted to know what he was going to say. 


About the Author


Martina McAtee lives in Jupiter, Florida with her teenage daughter, her best friend, two attack Chihuahua’s and two shady looking cats. By day she is a registered nurse but by night she writes young adult books about reapers, zombies, werewolves and other supernatural creatures. When she isn’t working, teaching or writing she's reading or watching shows that involve reapers, zombies, werewolves and other supernatural creatures. Her debut novel Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things is set to release on August 31st, 2015. She is currently working on the second book in the series, Your Soul to Take, due to release in 2016.
For More Information
 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things by Martina McAtee



Title: Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things
Author: Martina McAtee
Publisher: Martina McAtee
Pages: 450
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

17 year old Ember Denning has made an art of isolating herself. She prefers the dead. She spends her days skipping school in old cemeteries and her nights hiding from her alcoholic father at the funeral home where she works. When her own father dies, Ember learns her whole life is a lie. Standing in the cemetery that’s been her sanctuary, she’s threatened by the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and rescued by two people who claim to be her family. They say she’s special, that she has a supernatural gift like them…they just don’t know exactly what it is. 

They take her to a small
Florida town, where Ember’s life takes a turn for the weird. She’s living with her reaper cousins, an orphaned werewolf pack, a faery and a human genius. Ember’s powers are growing stronger, morphing into something bigger than anything anybody anticipated. Ember has questions but nobody has answers. Nobody knows what she is. They only know her mysterious magical gift is trying to kill them and that beautiful dangerous boy from the cemetery may be the only thing standing between her and death. 

As Ember’s talents are revealed so are the secrets her father hid and those in power who would seek to destroy her. What’s worse, saving Ember has put her cousins in danger and turned her friend’s lives upside down. Ember must learn to embrace her magic or risk losing the family she’s pieced together.

For More Information

  • Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Book Excerpt:

She went lightheaded as the enormity of her words hit her, “Oh, God. This is like the part in the movie where you try to kill me, right? You are going to try to kill me and I feel too crappy to even try to run.” 
She was talking more to herself now. She leaned back against the rusted mausoleum gates behind her, enjoying the cool metal against her skin. Her head was swimming, the stars above blurring in the sky. No, not now, she thought. It was happening again. Whatever had happened earlier in the cemetery was happening again. She could feel it rising up in her, that weird feeling like her insides were melting and liquefying while she could do nothing to stop it. Was this a panic attack? Could a panic attack cause what happened in the cemetery earlier? Maybe this was some kind of fight or flight adrenaline response. 
She felt caged, trapped by her own body. It was all in her head. The ground wasn’t vibrating at her feet. There was no way she was really burning up in forty-degree weather. Even in her haze she could see him watching her. Maybe if she just held still, he would be quick about it.
Her head lulled on her shoulders. She was going to pass out. It would serve him right. Then he was just there, in her space, fingers cupping her face. She moaned at the feel of his cold hands against her overheated flesh. “And if it is, Luv? If this is the part where I try to kill you? What then? Are you going to pass out and take all the fun out of it? Or will you fight back?”
There was no mistaking the threat of his words, but he was close enough to whisper them against her skin like a promise. She couldn’t think straight. Her head filled with a sound like angry bees. She pitched forward, dropping her forehead to his shoulder, eyes drifting closed.
He was so cold; even through the layers of his clothes; his body seemed to emit this pleasant icy radiance that soothed her feverish skin. She wrapped herself around him, locking her arms. She buried her face against his throat, nose rubbing against his skin.
She felt his body go rigid in her arms. She didn’t blame him, on some level she understood sane girls didn’t try to cuddle their killers. But nobody ever accused her of being sane. She was the girl who played in cemeteries and talked to the dead. She was the girl with three therapists before she was twelve. She was the girl in flames and he was ice water; if she was going to die, she was going to have this first.
They stood there, bound together by her forced embrace. Those strange vibrations increased, building inside her like a living thing, a burning energy trying to melt her from the inside out. She could hear his ragged breath panting against her ear, could feel him writhing in her grasp, but she refused to let go. Could he feel it too?
She clung to him, knowing if she let go this peculiar energy would overwhelm her. She breathed him in, letting him anchor her as it kept building and burning, growing until it thrust from her with the force of a sledgehammer. He groaned like he’d received the physical blow, he may have fallen had she not been holding him to her. Finally, the world seemed to right itself. Her blood ceased to boil and the vibrations stopped. When her mind quieted, she became very aware of what she was doing.
She let go, shoving him back. Despite his size, he stumbled, blinking hard. They stared at each other, his confusion mirroring her own.
“What are you?” she whispered. “What are you doing to me?” 
He rushed her, shoving her against the concrete hard enough to knock her teeth together, “What did I do to you? What game are you playing? What are you? What was that? What did you do?”
She whimpered, feet scrambling for purchase as she realized he’d lifted her from the ground. Her heart thundered in her chest. He was fit but not big enough to haul her off her feet like that. She shoved at him uselessly. “Put me down.”
Her descent was abrupt, her heart lodging in her throat. His eyes narrowed, his hands tangling in her messy hair, tilting her head to the side. “Come on, Luv, you can tell me. I’m sure it’s eating at you, keeping this secret.”
He was insane. She opened her mouth to say so but her brain short-circuited as his nose traced along the column of her throat. “I promise, things will be so much easier if you just tell me,” he purred, his lips pressing the words into her skin. She moved closer to him. In her defense, she’d never been this close to a boy before; especially not one who looked like he did.
“We can do this one of two ways,” He inhaled her scent, pressing his mouth to the shell of her ear as he said, “I promise one is infinitely more pleasurable than the other,”
Ew. Oh, God. What was she doing? What was he doing? Seducing her for information? Threatening her? It really bothered her that she didn’t know the difference.
She needed to get it together. Her breath hitched in her chest. This was not how she saw herself dying. She’d had a plan. She’d written it down obituary style for a morbid ninth grade English assignment. She was supposed to die of obscenely old age in her enormous but tastefully decorated plantation home surrounded by her beautiful and ungrateful grandchildren.
He huffed out a laugh and she realized she’d said all that aloud. She was too scared to be embarrassed. Instead, she slapped at his hands ineffectively.
He stepped away so abruptly she staggered, pacing before her, “You’re seriously not going to tell me? You’re only hurting yourself on this one.”
 “I don’t know what you are talking about,” she told him, “You’re crazy.”
He sighed heavily, his tone shifting as if speaking to a rather stupid child, “I’ll figure it out eventually.” He told her, pointing at her, “You don’t smell like a witch. You certainly aren’t a shifter.” Then he was back before her, gripping her chin, turning her head side to side, like he was examining livestock, “But you most definitely aren’t human.” Tiny hairs rose along her skin at his touch, “You’re trying my patience. What the hell are you?”
She pushed away from him, head throbbing with his words. “Stop with the grabby hands,”
She needed to think. He was clearly unhinged. She had very few options. She could run but she doubted she could outrun him. Her gaze raked across broad shoulders and a flat stomach, he looked like he did a lot of cardio. She could scream but there wasn’t anybody to hear her. Instead, she did what she always did when she was nervous…she babbled.
She’d watched a million documentaries on serial killers and the mentally ill. She could figure this out. Netflix was her friend. She wracked her brain, if he was a killer she had to make him see her as a person, tell him about her life, say her name a lot, make him believe people cared if she died, even if it was a lie.
But what if he was schizophrenic? He thought she wasn’t human. What was she supposed to do? Orient him to reality? Play along with his fantasy? She should have paid more attention.
“What’s your name?” she heard herself say, voice breathless.
He arched his brow, tsking softly, expression bored. “I’m asking the questions here,”
“Just tell me your name,” she demanded, panic creeping back in.
“Mace,” the answer tumbled from his lips unbidden. He looked mystified, like his own mouth had betrayed him. He absently rubbed a spot on his chest.
“Mace,” she repeated, with a nod. Okay, it was a start. “So um, here’s the thing, Mace. I’m only seventeen and I don’t want to die.”
He gave her a look and a ‘fair enough’ shrug and gestured for her to continue, clearly amused by this turn of events.
She frowned, but soldiered on, “You can’t be much older than me so let’s just think about this for a minute, okay?” She raked a hand through her damp hair, “I’m not really sure why you want to kill me but my life has pretty much sucked up until now. Like so much suckage. I can’t even explain the level of suck, but I feel like, statistically speaking, that’s gotta change. I’m not trying to sound like a motivational poster but it’s supposed to get better. I’d very much like to have a pulse when it does,”
He narrowed his eyes at her, brow furrowed. He stepped forward.
“Stop,” she held up her hand, palm out, “Just listen,”
He stopped, looking at his feet then at her again.
“I’m a nice girl,” she told him, before frowning, “but maybe you don’t care about that. I mean, if you’re, like, a murderous psychopath, you probably aren’t super interested in my feelings, but what about yourself?” She reasoned, gesturing spastically to all of his…self, “You seem like the kind of guy who thinks a lot of himself.”
He cocked an eyebrow but said nothing. She was in turbo babble mode now, “If you kill me your life is over. You will definitely go to jail. I mean, look at me.” She gestured to her face, “I look like an ad for facial cleanser and girls who eat yogurt. Juries eat that stuff up. You’d probably get the chair.”
He looked a little dazed. “You make a passionate yet confusing plea, Luv,”
Her heart sank as he took a tentative step towards her, then another. He grinned as he advanced.
“Come on. I’m sure you don’t want to go to prison.” She whined, “You are way too pretty for prison. You’d make a lot of the wrong kind of friends in prison.” Stop saying prison, Ember, she begged herself. “Do you want those kind of friends? Of course, you don’t. We could be friends?” she finished lamely, face flushing with shame. Maybe he should just kill her. It would be less embarrassing.
He blinked at her, cheek twitching, “Aw, are you asking me to be your friend? One might question your judgment.”
Her hands fell to her hips, swaying on her feet. “Wow, not to put too fine a point on it, but I’ve only seen you twice and both times you were here,” she gestured to their surroundings. “You hang out in cemeteries because you have so many friends? Is this were your book club meets?”
“I can see why you have no friends,” he told her drolly.
She squinted as something glinted in the air above his head.
“I-” was all he managed before the object made contact with his head, sounding like a hammer hitting an overripe melon. He hit his knees with a groan, whatever he was going to say dying on his lips.
She looked at his crumpled form, unreasonably disappointed.
She’d really wanted to know what he was going to say.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with Paulita Kincer, author of Trail Mix

Thanks for joining us at the book club Paulita.  

Why did you choose to write novels in the women's fiction genre?

We women are such complex creatures. We have more responsibilities than ever, most of us holding jobs, taking care of a household, raising kids, and making time for romance. The richness of female characters allows for lots of emotion and action in a novel. And, since women make up the majority of readers these days, I hope that the readers can relate to the characters’ dilemmas.

In my novel Trail Mix, one character, Jess, wants to hike the Appalachian Trail with her friend. She tells her husband about the idea and he belittles it.

“Actually, I’m thinking about it.” She stretched a little taller and looked up into his blue eyes that had turned cloudy. She prepared to start wheedling, convincing him that maybe she could hike for a month or two, see how things go.

            He returned her gaze for a moment too long, and then harrumphed.

“Jessica, you’re 45 years old. You’re in no shape to hike from here to Clearwater, much less a thousand miles along mountains.”

I think most of us women can remember a scene like this where our hopes are quashed by someone without faith in us.


Where is your book set and why did you choose that location?

Trail Mix is, as the name implies, set on the Appalachian Trail. Friends Jess and Andi decide to hike the trail during a lull in their lives, one where their children are going off to college and they have this sudden space in their schedules. They claim the hike is the ultimate diet plan – a perfect way to lose weight because they can only eat the food they carry on their backs. But they learn a lot more about themselves than the weight they lose on the trail. 


I’d like to know more about Trail Mix.  Can you give us a little background into why you wrote the novel?

I wrote Trail Mix after I found my friends discussing diets one too many times. We middle class mothers do become a bit obsessed about our bodies as we hit 40. Also, I noticed that as children began to creep up to adulthood, many mothers didn’t know what to do with themselves. I hoped that this book would help explore that crucial time since both of the main characters face that predicament. The novel also delves into female friendships. Jess and Andi spend a lot of time together on the trail. That gives them time to figure out what they love – and despise – about each other.


I’d like to know more about your main character. Can you tell us more about her?

Trail Mix has two main characters, Jess and Andi. Andi is an avid exerciser, anything she can do to reduce the size of her thighs! She works as a children’s librarian and has two children of her own, a son about to graduate from Notre Dame, and a daughter who is finishing her freshman year of college. She and her daughter do not get along, and Andi is tempted to hike the Appalachian Trail just to avoid her.
Jess works as an adjunct professor at a local college. She shuns exercise, but she’s a pro at dieting, having tried every one she’s ever heard of. Her oldest daughter didn’t go to college and has instead moved in with a guy named Gator who likes to play video games but doesn’t work. Her younger daughter is headed to college in the fall but snatched up a last-minute study abroad program so will be gone all summer. Jess finds that she and her husband Mark have less and less to talk about.


Can you tell us a little about the other supporting characters?

The women’s families, of course, play pivotal roles in the novel, but on the trail, the women meet some unusual characters. Everyone on the hike has a trail name. They meet a young man named Pretty Boy who plans to hike the trail before medical school, but he keeps getting injured and having to sit out. Andi and Jess end up joining a group of three women hiking. Mayo is the motherly type who enjoys taking care of the other women. Peanut, small with golden hair, is a southern belle who seems out of place on the tough trail. Half-Turtle is a taciturn woman who prefers the trail to life’s necessities, like hotels and flush toilets. As a group, they all throw their own eccentricities into the journey.


They say all fiction books have pivotal points in the book where the reader just can’t put the book down.  What’s one pivotal point in Trail Mix?

I try to jump right into the exciting parts of the book. As a matter of fact, the book begins with Jess and Andi in a thunderstorm on the trail. As Andi hikes ahead to reach the shelter, Jess continues her plodding hike before reaching the peak of a mountain where a bolt of lightning races toward a nearby tree, and everything goes black.


What’s next on the agenda for you, Paulita?

I’m almost finished with my next novel, Paris Runaway. This book tells the story of Sadie who realizes that her 17-year-old daughter has chased after the French exchange student to Paris. So Sadie hops on a plane to track down her daughter. While in France though, Sadie begins to realize that she lost more than a husband in her divorce; she lost her joie de vivre. France awakens that part of Sadie that she has ignored since her husband left.   


What would you like to say to your readers and fans?
I’m so grateful when readers pick up my novels and even more thankful when they write a review for a book on Amazon or Goodreads. Sometimes I’m amazed at the idea that people are actually reading the words I’ve written and picturing the scenarios that I created.

Thanks for your support.


About The Book



Title: Trail Mix
Author: Paulita Kincer
Publisher: Oblique Presse
Publication Date: August 30, 2014
Format: Paperback / eBook 
Pages: 220
ISBN: 978-1312462502
Genre: Women's Fiction / Travel / Adventure


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Book Description:

In the tradition of Wild by Cheryl Strayed, comes a novel of two suburban women who decide to hike the Appalachian Trail, escaping their lives as moms and wives in search of nature, adventure, and the ultimate diet plan.

How does a woman know what she wants after spending 20 years thinking about her husband and children? Sometimes it takes a distraction from everyday life, time to examine the forest before the trees become clear. With no previous camping experience, Andi and Jess begin the 2100-mile odyssey from Georgia to Maine. The friends figure life on the trail can't possibly be worse than dealing with disgruntled husbands, sullen teens home from college, and a general malaise that has crept up in their daily lives. At the very least, the women are bound to return home thin.


Book Excerpt:

Prologue

Raindrops trickled down Jess’ nose. Her sodden boots plodded along, squooshing the mud with each step.
“Why did I do this?” She threw her head back, her face raised in lament to the sky. The hood of her rain poncho slipped off. The empty forest around her offered no answer, just a steady rain. Then, far above the treetops, she glimpsed a bolt of lightning streaking toward a nearby mountain and heard an answering boom of thunder. She cringed and scuttled faster down the trail.
For nearly two hours, since the wind first whispered its urgency through the leaves, and the raindrops began to fall, Jess had been hiking through the thunderstorm with no place to stop and dry off. No place to get warm. No offer of coffee or a dryer where she could heat up her clingy socks. She walked alone on the Appalachian Trail.
Like being in the middle of labor and deciding she didn’t want to give birth after all, Jess could not turn back. Well, she could turn back, but she would find only more of the same -- woods and rain and an endless trail.
This adventure was all Andi’s idea. As Jess trudged through the forest in the unrelenting rain, she blamed her best friend and hiking companion, Andi, who had pushed the hike as a great way to lose weight. And, when Jess’ teenagers took off for the summer leaving a big gap where the role of mother used to be, she thought a hike with Andi might fill that space. Andi, who, with her long legs, strode ahead, maybe miles away by now, claiming she had to hurry to the nearest shelter to keep the tent dry. Andi had tucked Jess’ poncho around her pack before presenting her back for Jess to return the favor.
“See you at the shelter,” Andi had called. “Only about three miles farther.”
In the city, a three-mile walk might take 45 minutes, an hour if she stopped to window shop. Here, in the mountains, it could last days as she climbed up peaks and descended into valleys. Oh, who was she kidding? She would never walk three miles in the city. She would get in her car and drive.
The thunder crashed louder, and Jess eyed the spiky greenery of a large fir tree. She could take cover under the tree, be a little bit sheltered. Even as she considered taking refuge, she stumbled past the tree, walking, walking.
Tears joined the rain on her face. She felt trapped. No exit ramps in sight. She could only continue to walk.
The wind ripped at her poncho as she climbed slippery stones that had been placed to form stairs. At the top, the wind gusts grew stronger and tried to push her back down. She hurried on along the ridge. Her walking poles dug into the mud that edged the rocks along the path.
On this crest, she stood exposed to the wind and rain and lightning. Rhododendron bushes lined the trail below, but the only plant that dared to peek through the crevices on this crag was a lone sycamore tree. If Jess could escape this bare slope, the trees ahead would provide an arching umbrella across the trail. As she started to descend with the trail, her boot slid across a slick stone, and she toppled backward in slow motion. She wheeled her arms, trying to right herself, but could not stop the plunge until her backpack hit the ground, and she landed – thump – on top of it.
This was supposed to be a diet plan, not a death sentence, she thought, lying on her back like a turtle on its shell, her arms and legs sprawled helplessly at her side. I may drown. The downpour pummeled her full in the face, but she lacked the energy to sit up, free herself from the 30-pound pack, heft it onto her back, and start the hike again.
As the rain doused her face, she slipped one arm from her pack and turned onto her side, away from the sky. For just a moment, she allowed herself to rest, curled into the fetal position beside her pack. A tingle began in her spine, and, in the moment she pondered why—everything went black.



About The Author



Paulita Kincer is the author of three novels, The Summer of FranceI See London I See France, and Trail Mix. She has an M.A. in journalism from American University and has written for The Baltimore Sun, The St. Petersburg Times, The Tampa Tribune, and The Columbus Dispatch. She currently teaches college English and lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband and three children.


Connect with Paulita:
Author Website: paulitakincer.com


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Saturday, September 26, 2015

His Rebel Heart by Amber Leigh Williams



Title: His Rebel Heart
Author: Amber Leigh Williams
Publisher: Harlequin (Superromance)
Pages: 380
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Being a single mother and successful florist is tough, especially when your new next-door neighbor is the man who shattered your heart. Eight years ago, bad boy James Bracken walked away from Adrian Carlton…and their unborn child. Now he's back. And Adrian's desire to protect her son from the truth of his biological father isn't enough to hide the wild blue eyes of father and son, or to keep Adrian from surrendering to the raw passion between her and James. But is he truly the changed man he claims to be? Maybe this time his rebel heart really is home to stay.

For More Information

Book Excerpt:

“I need you to go.”
“I can’t—”
“We’ll be fine,” Adrian told him firmly. “I just need some peace and quiet so I can—”
“I can’t leave you alone,” James told her. “Either of you. Not now that I know what you’ve been through.”
“We’ll be fine,” she said again. “I’ll keep Kyle’s BB gun close.” She paused, wrestling over the next words. “And…and you can come by tomorrow morning. For breakfast, if you want.”
James looked at her, his eyes skimming between hers, then over her cheeks, the line of her jaw. “I don’t want you to be alone,” he murmured.
She sighed. “James, I have been alone, for a really long time.” You made sure of that, she added silently. When you left me. The resentment and anger that were usually brought to life by the words didn’t stir. Tired. God, she was so tired.
Adrian, I’m so sorry,” he said again. When he drew her into his arms, she was helpless to stop him. She had nothing left to fight him with so she closed her eyes as the chest she had fantasized about burrowing herself against moments before rose up to meet her. She felt his lips come to rest on the top of her head. His arms wrapped around her back, closing her in, tightening.
He held her, simply held her, for what seemed like ages. Long enough for the tension to drain from her body. Long enough for her to lean into the hard, strong line of him without scruples, to breathe in the work shirt permeated with the sweet scent of grass and the slight tinge of motor oil. At some point, her arms rose to his waist, folding around to the small of his back to complete the embrace.
A small eternity passed in the space of moments. A hundred unspoken words. Memories stirred, whispering to life, ghosts of what had been.
He moved first, just enough to move one hand up to the nape of her neck. He made a noise in the back of his throat, drawing her attention upward. When his lips touched hers, it felt so natural for her mouth to receive the firm, yielding line of his.
Minutes before, she’d felt drained. Fatigued. The simple press of his lips brought her back to life. Her heart fluttered, lifting and soaring in a way she hadn’t felt since…well, since being with James.
She should have pushed him away. After everything, she should shove him back, make him leave. Instead, she let the moment stretch, slide, deepen until she felt him brush up against the soul she’d buried from everything and everyone.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Illusion of an Ending by Danielle Soucy Mills



Title: Illusion of an Ending
Author: Danielle Soucy Mills
Publisher: Aerial Awareness Media
Pages: 200
Genre: Visionary & Metaphysical Fiction

Three peoples’ life stories intertwine with a synchronistic twist.

Jimmy Pollaski, a young man at the peak of his potential, dies suddenly in a motorcycle accident. As his spirit hovers above his lifeless body, he calls out to his mother, Patricia, only to find that his words are inaudible. He then promises to find some way to transmit his message to the world of the living.

It is no coincidence that Lorrena Shaw can see him, along with other spirits—a gift that Lorrena’s mother shuns. After her mother suddenly announces that they will abandon their home in Connecticut to care for Lorrena’s grandmother—a grandmother she has never known—Lorrena inevitably finds herself in the same small Massachusetts city where Patricia resides.

As their paths unite, Lorrena discovers the unbearable grief that haunts Patricia’s every move. Now, not only must she convince Patricia that her son’s soul has survived the fatal crash, she must also travel beyond space and time to access the Akashic Records, the library of all of Human Existence, and write their stories as one—a story that ultimately shatters the boundaries between life and death.

If you liked The Alchemist, you’ll love Illusion of an Ending.

For More Information

Book Excerpt:

Prologue

Jimmy Pollaski

“Unable are the Loved to die
 For Love is Immortality,”
  Emily Dickinson

            Every day of my life I died a new death.
            As the years turned me from child to teenager to adult, I remember wondering what it would feel like to die. How would I know when it happened?
Now, as I ascend over my body lying lifeless in the hospital bed, I see everything at once, know everything at the same time. My mother stands over me, her head low. She’s waiting for a sign to assure her that I’ll be okay. My father sits behind her. His mind is racing, face blank. He never knows the right way to calm her down. Outside, the San Diego sun warms the day to a pleasant seventy-four degrees.
            I feel nothing but a rush of energy as the light around me grows brighter. Life isn’t flashing before my eyes, like they say, but showing up in pieces that remind me things will not carry on as they were. I begin to recall events throughout my lifetime where I believed I was coming so close...to a close.
            I thought once that dying would be like breaking my elbow after my bicycle flew out from under my eight-year-old body. Pain shot up my arm, folded under at an unnatural angle. Still alive years later, I swore that death would be like the feeling of my lungs collapsing as my track coach yelled, “Only ten more miles!” I thought death loomed after a fifteen-minute swim in November’s North Atlantic, purple shaking lips and rubber skin. When that wasn’t death, I was sure it would arrive the morning after kicking kegs in the woods as the night transformed into dawn.
            I recognize my mother’s worry that if the beer didn’t kill us, maybe it would have been the eighty-foot jumps into the quarry’s cavernous waters. The lofty shadows of trees drifted over our drunken heads, stars blinking through the branches. Our bodies floated in the cool water. Our sobriety was the only casualty then. The intoxication never shut me down completely, not even when my eyes shook to a close, opening again four hours later to the sun pouring rays at me as generously as I had let the alcohol flow down my throat. Head pounding, thinking in broken thoughts. Yes, finally, this had to be it. Really dying.
            Now I know that these times were only attempts at escape, the way my mother closes her eyes but the world remains around her, the way people are unable to fully detach from the hurt and vulnerability which tie us hand-in-hand to life. We persevere, countless moments of pain leading us to this final moment of release.
            Twenty-five years gone by, but it’s my time.
            “Mom, I’m okay! I’m right here!” My voice stifles as if I’m talking into layers of sheets that I can’t lift.
            My mother’s chin rises. She pulls her cell phone from her pocket.
            Thousands of miles away, my sister looks out her window at the snow-covered scenery. The streets are caked in thick ice. She’s clutching the phone to her face, her eyes red and puffy as she dabs them with tissue.
            The hospital staff urged my friends to go and rest hours ago. I see them asleep on the couches, the silent glow of the television lighting up the living room.
            “I know you can’t hear me now, but I will find a way. There is a way,” I tell them.
            It’s only a matter of time before the days align. My path has led me here, the wind pressing against my face, the motorcycle’s engine roaring beneath me. The earth and the ocean smear together at seventy miles per hour. Paths of everyone on Earth diverging, and intersecting.
            I watch my mother collapse into the chair beside my dad, his arm cradling her descent. The doctor stands above them. All at once, I feel the delicate hand of my grandmother, its warmth transferring through my body like a comet grazing the sky with a sudden, hot glow. She’s been waiting for me.
            My mother’s face contorts. She tosses her face into her hands, head shaking back and forth.
            “My story isn’t over, Mom,” I say. “The beginnings and the endings aren’t real. I promise, I will tell you the true story—our story.”
            As I speak, the scene closes in around me, forming a tunnel of astounding radiance. Shards of illumination multiply without hurting my eyes.
            Today I am dying, yet I feel more alive now than ever before as the world around me fades to light.