Category Archives: guest post

GUEST POST: Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader for Kids by Bathroom Readers’ Institute

 

Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader for Kids

by Bathroom Readers Institute

Children’s Nonfiction

Book Description

Here is an exciting chance to own the very first Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader For Kids Only! in a hardcover edition with all new illustrations!
When our younger readers demanded a Bathroom Reader of their own, Uncle John put together this brain-boggling easy-to-read collection of facts, fads, quotes, history, science, origins, pop culture, mythology, humor, and more! Plus it’s full of wacky and fun illustrations and Uncle John’s famous “running feet” — those fun and fascinating facts on the bottom of every page.
Curious young readers will learn about the real Dr. Seuss, baseball superstitions, the birth of The Simpsons, how carnival games are rigged, the history of dining on scorpions and tarantulas, shocking truths about thunder and lightning, and disgusting bodily functions like ear wax production and digestion (and why they’re important), and much, much more..
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Movies I Wish Had a Blooper Reel
by Uncle John

Normally, a blooper reel is a collection of outtakes from a comedy. What I’d like to see are funny outtakes from movies whose topics are so serious that I can’t imagine any of the actors laughing or having fun. With that in mind, here are five movies I wish had a blooper reel.

1. The Godfather
2. The Shining
3. 12 Years a Slave
4. Ghandi
5. Silence of the Lambs

About the Author

The life of Gordon “Uncle John” Javna, editor-in-chief and publisher of the Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader series, reads like one of his books. There’s a lot of fun, intriguing—often odd—information lurking around every corner. He went to art school, and then went on to become a musician, real-estate developer, writer, restaurateur, president of a pre-school, brew pub owner, and editor—not all at once, mind you, but he has been all of these things.

Eventually, though, he realized that because of his love of fascinating facts (and being a bathroom reader himself), he was naturally suited, perhaps even destined, to bring the joy of trivia to the world in a fun, informative way. He assumed the pseudonym Uncle John for the Bathroom Reader series and since then, Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader has become the longest-running, most popular series of its kind in the publishing industry.  To date, there are more than 15 million Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers in print and his fanatical flock of followers span from Australia to the United Kingdom and beyond.

Guided by their obsession with unusual trivia, amazing origins, and forgotten history, Gordon “Uncle John” Javna and his staff at the Bathroom Readers’ Institute have made Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers a must-have for book and gift stores worldwide for over two decades.  Gordon continues to expand his porcelain province from his throne room in Ashland, Oregon.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Google+

PURCHASE

Be sure to follow the entire tour for more fun bathroom facts and guest posts!

Tour Schedule

Monday, June 30th –  Candace’s Book Blog
Tuesday, July 1st – Cindy’s Love of Books
Wednesday, July 2nd – Proud Book Nerd
Thursday, July 3rd  – Bumbles and Fairy-Tales
Friday July 4th – Cassandra M’s Place

Monday, July 7th  – Sweet Southern Home
Tuesday, July 8th – Confessions of a Book Addict
Wednesday, July 9th – Little Red Reads
Thursday, July 10th  – Me, My Shelf and I
Friday July 11th  – Bewitched Bookworms

Monday, July 14th – Kindle and Me
Tuesday, July 15th  – Snowdrop Dreams of Books
Wednesday, July 16th  – Hott Books
Thursday, July 17th  – alwaysjoart
Friday July 18th – Captivated Reading

 

 

Kismet Book Touring

Summer of Zombie Tour: Glimpses of the Undead by Julianne Snow

The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 33 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

I’m super excited to be a part of this year’s Summer of Zombie Blog Tour!

Today I would like to welcome Julianne Snow and her novel Glimpses of the Undead to Sweet Southern Home.

Book Description

From the mind of Julianne Snow comes an undead collection of stories that feature the gamut of emotions and situations. Presented in flash fiction and short stories, the tales are sure to leave you wanting more and checking over your shoulder.

How would a group of children handle an uprising of the undead? What would you do to save a loved one only to find out that you’re facing a different threat altogether? How would a country react to a timely warning at the end of a war? What happens when a vampiric Romeo hits on an unsuspecting human? In a world where the undead are common place and protected, what happens when speed dating produces a love match?

Featuring:
The Treehouse
Kamikaze
Vanier’s Blueprint: A Zombie Tale
Must Love Zombies
Flash Fiction Duo: Fight and Hunger
EXIT
BITE
FLICKER
HORSE
BELOW
AGONY
BLOAT
ELBOW
Love Bites: A Valentine’s Day Misadventure
An Excerpt from Days with the Undead: Book One

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There’s Diversity in the Zombie Genre—I Swear!
by Julianne Snow

Zombie stories are like people.

No really, they are. Every story is different, unique, and for the most part so are people. Sure you have roving hordes of cookie-cutter copies, but you can find that within the genre as well if it’s what you’re looking for.

What does this mean for the reader? Well it means you have a lot to choose from, that’s pretty obvious. But it also means there are numerous stories and series for you to fall in love with. Characters to root for and undead action to wish you never live to see. The diversity is astounding and indicative of the creativity that exists among the talented authors who pen tales of walking corpses intent on spreading the infection.

So what sets my short story collection, Glimpses of the Undead apart? Why should you take a chance on it?

Well, the tales are written by yours truly and they cross a few different genres. What you’ll find are stories that take place during the impending disaster, those that develop once zombies are a part of society, as well as a tale that explores the possibility the undead aren’t out to infect us. Oh and I’ll mention there’s just a smidge of an erotic story line thrown in for good measure—just a little something to make you wonder what would happen if Zombies (and I capitalized it here for a reason but you’ll need to read the story to find out why) couldn’t and wouldn’t infect us if we were to come into contact with them.

So let me leave you with a little something to whet your appetite for some Zombie action:

BELOW

Above them they hear the shuffling, the halting steps over the rough boards. There is nothing they could do but wait them out.
A small, soft whimper escapes the lips of the smallest child. A hand roughly flattens itself across the offending mouth, startling her even more. A louder cry is somewhat muffled by the fingers but it’s too late.
They’ve heard and are trying to locate the source of the noise.
Panic spreads quickly through the bodies cramped into the space, a palpable feeling that sets more nerves on edge and creates additional nervous energy.
The energy translates into more panic, and more panic into noise. The clamour from above is deafening as the dead scramble to get at the living.
There is nowhere to go but up. Their earthen cellar nothing but a tomb they now want to escape.
And then it is quiet. No sound, no scraping. Just the absence of noise.
It is the calm before the storm. The moment before the fall.
With a resounding crack, the wooden planks overhead crumble downward, pinning some, killing others. Pandemonium ensues as the living try to fight, but they have been relegated to the bottom of the food chain.

About the Author

Julianne Snow is the author of the Days with the Undead series. She writes within the realms of speculative fiction, has roots that go deep into horror and is a member of the Horror Writers Association. Julianne has pieces of short fiction in publications from Sirens Call Publications, Open Casket Press, James Ward Kirk Publishing and Hazardous Press as well as the forthcoming shorts in anthologies from 7DS Books, Phrenic Press, and the Coffin Hop charity anthology Death by Drive-In. Be on the lookout for her contributions to a number of collaborative projects to be announced shortly.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #SummerZombie

 

Summer of Zombie Tour: Path of the Dead by Timothy Baker

The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 33 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

I’m super excited to be a part of this year’s Summer of Zombie Blog Tour!

Today I would like to welcome Timothy Baker and his novel Path of the Dead to Sweet Southern Home.

Book Description

Nestled on the foot of Tibet’s sacred Seche La Mountain is the village of Dagzê. The normally quiet streets are bustling with the steady stream of arrivals and preparations for the coming Festival of the Medicine King; a time of celebration, healing, and renewal. But a shadow is sweeping the world, a plague of apocalyptic proportions—the dead are rising and devouring the living, and no place is safe where humanity thrives.

As Dagzê burns, overtaken by the hungry undead, five people come together: Lama Tenzin, an elder monk; Gu-lang, the silent warrior nun and Tenzin’s protector; Cheung, a private in The People’s Army, driver and escort of the Lama; ten-year-old Chodren Dawa, witness to his sister’s death and rising; and Dorje Cetan, a Shaolin-trained hermit monk of Seche La and a dreamer of a dark portent. Together they must fight their way out of Dagzê to an abandoned Buddhist hermitage clinging to the mist-shrouded cliffs of Seche La.

With the undead following and gathering at Eagle’s Nest gate, they barricade themselves inside their dead-end haven, and are soon forced to battle the beasts without, as well as the ones within.

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Zombie Times
By Timothy Baker

One of the most memorable scenes from a zombie film, and one of the most telling, is out of Shaun of the Dead. The apocalypse of the undead is in high gear, the streets populated by zombies, walking where they once walked alive. Our protagonist is oblivious to it all, stepping out his door on a hangover morning, walking to the corner store for a cold drink and a Nutter Butter cone. There and back, he walks, head down, unaware of the smashed car windows, the body in the bushes, and the walking dead shuffling on sidewalks and in the streets. One he even mistakes for a panhandler, brushing him off with an I’m broke line. He makes it home unscathed and still unaware, plops on the couch, pops open his drink, and turns on the television. It makes me question his obliviousness. It could be that he just doesn’t care. That is, not until they’re clawing at this door.

Zombies are everywhere. Not a news flash, right? They’re almost ubiquitous. You can’t turn around without their rancid breath in your face. We’re getting pretty used to them, though, and only pay attention when their particularly mangled or doing something goofy like trying to play a trombone or when they’re eating someone’s fake boobs off. But we love them little flesh eating scamps like we love kittens. We’ve made zombies the biggest, most famous monsters in the history of horror.

And as horror writers that delve into the zombie genre, we are set to the difficult task of keeping it fresh and interesting. It’s not easy. For one thing, zombies are generally boring as characters. Frankenstein’s monster had more personality than a corral of zombies. Bub from Romero’s Day of the Dead was a fracking zombie genius, somehow learning to control his hunger for fleshy humans. Now that’s interesting. But how many of those are you going to come across in the land of the dead?

So in general, a writer can’t use a zombie as a character. They are what they are, singular in their hunger, a monster too big to see whole. They become a condition of the world, a natural event–albeit a gruesome, horrific one–no different from the events in disaster stories like Earthquake and Deep Impact. We have to turn to the survivors for our drama, and that’s what readers really love, the hook that keeps them voluntarily locked in that nightmare world.

Shaun of the Dead is a parody, of course, but it stays true to what came before it: this western perspective of the undead event, an urban world-view of our existence, tainted and cynicized by a media-monster onslaught of violence–it’s at your door–a time in which no one can be trusted, and everyone is on an existential journey of survival of the fittest.

Now this brings me to my debut novel, Path of the Dead (Hungry Ghosts). (See? I finally got to the point, my hidden agenda revealed. Here comes the pitch…) When I warily approached the idea of writing a zompoc novel, it had to be different or it wasn’t happen’n. I began to wonder how rural survivors would view and react to the worldwide disaster, with a culture steeped in a religion of myths and gods and demons and the living spirits of rock, tree, and animal. Would they act so different from us, the western urbanite? What would be the implications for them? Would they be aborigines? An Amazon River jungle tribe? Eskimos? Naaawww. Tibet? TIBET–top of the world, modern and rural, the culture of Maoism and Tibetan Buddhism in clash. Now that would be interesting and different.

Take that world, a place on the opposite of the globe, and throw a good old Romero zombie plague upon it, complete with gnashing teeth, horrific dismemberment, headshots, and zombie gorging. Then add the unexpected spice of a skeptical Chinese soldier; a mute warrior nun, with a flashing, boomerang blade; a young boy in shock after witnessing the death and rising of his sister; and a Shaolin trained monk whose yearning for a lost love stands in the way of his search for Nirvana.
Path of the Dead is a flat out battle with chaos, a tale of survival, and a spiritual journey that promises possible transcendence, or eternal walking death.

It’s not your Daddy’s ole zombie story.

About the Author

Timothy Baker is a retired firefighter and an aspiring, perspiring, horror writer.  Here to rant on random subjects and the art and pains of writing.  He is published in Fading Light: Anthology of the Monstrous, published by Angelic Knight Press and edited by Tim Marquitz. Tim also received a commendation in the Australian Horror Writer’s Association 2009 Short Story Competition.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Amazon

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #SummerZombie

 

BOOK TOUR GUEST POST: Summer on the Short Bus by Bethany Crandell

Summer on the Short Bus

by Bethany Crandell

YA Contemporary

Book Description

Cricket Montgomery has been thrown under the short bus. Shipped off to a summer camp by her father, Cricket is forced to play babysitter to a bunch of whiny kids—or so she thinks. When she realizes this camp is actually for teens with special needs, Cricket doubts she has what it takes to endure twenty-four hours, let alone two weeks.

Thanks to her dangerously cute co-counselor, Quinn, there may be a slim chance for survival. However, between the campers’ unpredictability and disregard for personal space, Cricket’s limits get pushed. She will have to decide if suffering through her own handicapped hell is worth a summer romance—and losing her sanity.

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MELVIN: THE MUSE BENEATH MY FRO
By Bethany Crandell
A muse, as defined by dictionary.com, is a goddess that inspires a creative artist. I’m not sure that I’d consider myself an “artist”, at least not in the traditional sense of the word, and I’m positive I wouldn’t consider my muse a “goddess”, in any sense of the word, but together my muse and I have concocted some pretty ridiculous awesome stories over the years, and it didn’t seem fair to celebrate the launch of SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS without giving some public recognition to the fuzzy little guy who inspires all the magic.
So, without further adieu, I’d like to introduce you to Melvin,
the
hamster who lives inside my brain.  
(Yes, there is a brain under all that
hair!)
Most of Melvin’s time is spent in a steady state of this: sloppy, hung
over,
and totally content to strive for uselessness.  
(The weapon is for
the protection of intellectual property, obviously). 
hamster photo: Gun Hamster hamsterguncute.jpg
But once I get him under the white noise of my beloved Revlon Ionic Pro hairdryer *pauses to receive product endorsement check* like I do every morning, well…that’s when the near-comatose behavior goes out the window and Melvin
actually proves himself as a hamster of worth.
His steps are slow and steady at first–it takes a minute to work the kinks out–but soon he’s at a full sprint and that’s when the magic happens, people.  
(Melvin was a stunt hamster in a former life. His sudden ejection from the wheel has nothing to do with the pints of Guinness he threw back at a St. Patty’s Day party the night before this video was taken)
hamster on wheel photo: Hamster hamster.gif
New characters take shape while old ones are revived with exciting new story lines.
Plot holes are miraculously filled and dead ends are rerouted into territory I never knew existed. It’s like he’s morphed from standard issue hamster into a rodent Jedi or something. The force is always with Melvin….
hamster photo: hamster hamster-1.jpg
 (I have no idea who Phil Steak is, but I thank him for this image)
Anyway, there’s so much activity going on in those ten minutes I spend under the dryer each morning, it’s no wonder Melvin has to gorge himself when he’s done.
(Carrying that much poundage on those teensy, tiny little toes isn’t easy, folks)hamster photo:  homyak_34.jpg

I could say that he’s awesome, talented, ambitious, inspiring, loyal…

but there really aren’t enough adjectives to accurately convey my love for this little guy.
Instead I’ll leave it with this:
MELVIN IS THE BEST MUSE
A WRITER COULD ASK FOR!
Quick side note: *whispers so Melvin can’t hear her*
 Hamsters only cost like $5, so coming up with replacement parts,
*coughs* three year life span *coughs*, should you need them,
won’t be a burden on your wallet.
About the Author

I wish I had some mysterious secret to reveal about myself in hopes that you’d find me interesting…but I don’t.  When it comes to me, what you see is what you get. And what you get is an irreverent, sarcastic and emotional girl who writes stories about characters with these same traits.

I live in San Diego with my husband, two kiddos, and a chocolate lab who has no regard for personal space. I’m slightly obsessed with John Hughes and the wonderful collection of films he left behind, and I’m confident that Jake Ryan will be showing up on my doorstep any day now…

I firmly believe that prayer solves problems, and that laughter is the best medicine. Along with avocados. Avocados make the world a better place.

I’m represented by Rachael Dugas of Talcott Notch Literary Agency.

Website |  Blog | Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

PURCHASE THE BOOK:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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PRIZES:
Book_&_Survival_Kit_prize_pack

2 Summer Camp Survival Packs and Signed copies of the book! US Only.
3 sets of signed swag! US ONLY

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

Follow the rest of the tour here

RockStar Book Tours

GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: The Tallent & Lowery Series by Amy Lignor

Today I’m spotlighting the adventure/fantasy series by Amy Lignor, Tallent & Lowery!  Let me tell you about each of the books.

13–Book One

Description

In 1902, in a dark room on the fifth floor of Carnegie Hall, thirteen people came together to continue a tradition that had been set in stone thousands of years before.

In 2012, Leah Tallent is Head of Research at the New York Public Library. Stoic and stable, brilliant and cynical, she has forever enjoyed her existence among the book stacks. But even with her unparalleled intellect, there was no way to know that on the historic steps between America’s famous lions, she would become involved with a crazy man on a fanatical quest.

Gareth Lowery has spent his life searching for the ultimate artifact that he is certain exists. His life’s pursuit has been to retrieve twelve keys hidden by men whose job it was to protect the single biggest secret ever kept. To find the keys he must enlist the help of an unwilling guide who, unfortunately, knows much more than he bargained for.

From the first page to the last word, this fantastic duo become immersed in a whirlwind treasure hunt with historical and passionate repercussions. From the strange and eerie Winchester House to the blustery darkness of Loch Ness, Gareth and Leah will quickly learn that the theory of duality is correct: For every bad there is a good and, for Heaven, there most assuredly exists…Hell.

The Sapphire Storm–Book Two

Description

After going up against a man who believed he was the Devil, himself, the beloved characters from 13 – Leah Tallent and Gareth Lowery – are beyond exhausted. Now they are about to embark on the most terrifying journey imaginable…a trip to meet Leah’s parents.

When Leah arrives where the ‘home fires burn,’ her sarcasm burns even brighter, while Gareth Lowery – the handsome adventurer – uses his charm to sway the ‘odd’ Tallent clan. But when a frightening call from Gareth’s sister arrives telling him that her love has disappeared, the daring duo is soon running away from one horrific situation directly into another. A new puzzle from the past has come to life. Following clues left behind, the courageous couple becomes embedded in a world filled with liars, killers and greed.

And when the riddle of a famous ‘Bard’ is solved, a strange woman appears who has far more in common with Leah than she can possibly imagine! The heart-stopping suspense of this new quest takes them from Coptic Cairo to the magical world of Petra, in search of a cave deep underground that once housed a true ‘Illuminator.’

Yet again, they must find the answers and stay one step ahead of true villains who are determined to make sure that – this time – Tallent & Lowery do not survive.

The Hero’s Companion–Book Three

Description

With their second battle behind them, Leah Tallent and Gareth Lowery find themselves still knee-deep in hell. What should’ve ended with a celebration of passion wrapped in each other’s arms becomes a nightmare once more, as a mysterious man demands Leah to return home, or else her beloved father will be found at the bottom of the sea.

Scrambling to figure out what’s happened Tallent & Lowery walk in on a family that has literally gone insane: A mother filled with accusations, three sisters who wish them nothing but certain death, and a frightening story of a blood-red eye that leads to a puzzle with immense repercussions. The woman named Anippe who readers questioned in The Sapphire Storm is back, with an item in her possession that will have Tallent & Lowery heading out on an adventure based on pure emotion and ultimate fear – where victory may just depend on their willingness to sacrifice each other.

The time has come for Tallent & Lowery to go head-to-head with the mysterious voice from 13, as a villain is unveiled…and a war begins!

 

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Creating a Famous Duo in Fiction

by Amy Lignor

Personally, my own favorite duo out there in America is the same duo that brought about ‘Tallent & Lowery’ in the first place. Patience and Fortitude, the majestic lions that sit in front of the NYPL, not only greet millions everyday, but they also protect the home, so to speak, of Leah Tallent.

Sherlock and Watson are probably the most famous detective pair out there in the literary world; when it comes to other media venues, you have everything from Crockett and Tubbs to Scooby-Doo and Shaggy to Batman and Robin. Various daring duo’s have always graced the screens – big and small – and have always served up the perfect banter and wit in books we’ve come to love.

With Leah Tallent & Gareth Lowery, I wanted to draw on all of these pairs in very subtle ways. With Leah’s happy (sometimes not) sarcasm and dryness, mixed with Gareth’s easy-going manner and love for her – their combined passion for solving these puzzles have drawn readers to their sides. To me, no matter what unique web they find themselves trying to unravel, it’s their strength as a duo that makes the book a success.

When the partners happen to be male and female (Nick and Nora Charles, for example), they can also bring a true bond into the book, which adds to the power of the story. Leah Tallent has certainly gotten into some dire situations in books; 13, The Sapphire Storm and now, The Hero’s Companion. Yet, it’s not her intelligence or her way of reasoning things out that saves her – it is her partner, Gareth Lowery, who makes sure that Leah always has something worth fighting for.

Gareth, of course, is the one who basically ruined Leah’s quiet librarian life in the first place when, in 13, he appeared inside the basement of the NYPL to retrieve a frightening book that’d been buried in the cornerstone of the building. He expected to discover the next steps he had to take in order to complete a lifelong mission of his. What he never expected was to discover the hard-headed, smart-mouthed, warm-hearted librarian who would literally be the brain and soul he needed for the rest of this life.

Being able to take the detective aspects and combine them with the romantic aspects of literary partners (insert pretty much all of Jane Austen partners here), has allowed ‘Tallent & Lowery’ to become far more than just banter and wit. And…with the next four novels to come, readers will be more than surprised when they find out that this pair may just have to live with the fact that their adventures and puzzle-solving could lead to a break-up that neither saw coming.

When it comes down to duo’s, the literary world has offered more than its fair share. ‘Tallent & Lowery’, hopefully, will become one of those teams that will never be forgotten.

Until Next Time, Everybody,
Amy

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About the Author

Being the daughter of a Research Librarian, books and information were always a ‘gift,’ and there is nothing I like more. In fact, if the NYPL would let me live in their basement, that’s where I would be. I am very proud of my books – especially the ‘Tallent & Lowery’ series – which has been so well-received that I am beyond humbled. Being able to ‘link’ historical locations together and create puzzles that bestselling authors have called, “The Da Vinci Code With Heart”; “Action/Adventure Gold”; and “The Best of the 21st Century” has been beyond my wildest expectations. I am the Owner/Operator of The Write Companion; and I recently was beyond honored to be asked to take on the role of Editor-in-Chief of Hallowed Ink Press – an amazing traditional publisher that will break new ground in the industry. Life is busy…but it’s good. And I have a wealth of friends, family and fans to thank for allowing that to happen! My favorite advice? “While I live, let me LIVE!”

Goodreads

website

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Amy is offering one commenter an ebook collection of all three books in the Tallent & Lowery Series!

 

BOOK TOUR GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: Dead Dreams by Emma Right

Dead Dreams

by Emma Right

Dead Dreams Series, Book One

Book Description

Eighteen-year-old Brie O’Mara has so much going for her: a loving family in the sidelines, an heiress for a roommate, and dreams that might just come true. Big dreams–of going to acting school, finishing college and making a name for herself. She is about to be the envy of everyone she knew. What more could she hope for? Except her dreams are about to lead her down the road to nightmares. Nightmares that could turn into a deadly reality.

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On Being a Mom and a Writer

by Emma Right

“How do you find time to write with such a busy schedule and homeschooling?” or “How do you find time to write?” These are the two most common questions people have asked me time and again. And I always say, “you want the short answer, the true answer, or the practical one?”


So here goes:
Any which way i can make the time is the short, simple answer.

The more truthful answer would probably be: I pray for strength and motivation everyday, many times during the day, sometimes it feels every second of the day! Often I’ve thought if I were God (and I’m glad I’m not!) I’d say, “Not her again!”

For the in depth and more practical answer I’d say this:

As a busy mom I feel it’s important to carve out a small piece in my life for personal growth. To me being organized is the key. When life is a chaos it’s hard to be organized, but it is possible and in fact needful to arrange our lives, as busy moms, into manageable sizes to stay sane–at least for me it has been that way. I’m not saying it’s easy–my husband travels about 60% of the time, and it can be emotionally draining dealing with whiny kids–but if we can lay railroad tracks for our daily lives it’d be easier to function.

On a week to week basis I have my tracks laid down-I know which kid is doing what, when and what meals to be served throughout the entire week–this would cut down on unnecessary time making extra trips to the grocery store. I do most of my shopping on the internet–like books, supplies, clothes, and make-up, to save on time–and it’s less expensive too, with free shipping.

Also, on my site, I have some blogs on using free things to give the kids a great education (and I hope to input more of such things) but still give us, moms, some time to gather ourselves before we fall apart at the seams. One example is using Netflix movies to help in the homeschooling–make movie nights a meaningful and educational experience. And a mom can take a break as the kids watch something that would benefit them.

I’d advice young moms to audit their time–find out when or which time block they spend their time on doing meaningless tasks–it’s like budgeting with time as your currency.

Another advice I have, and this may seem unrelated, is to stay away from negative people as much as possible. There is something draining about being around negativity and this mental torture will translate to stress, illnesses (which will make us even busier and serves no purpose) and there is something about negative words that even suck out whatever little time and energy we have.

But having said that, about the homeschooling, it’s good to have a schedule but if things fall apart and some kid really didn’t finish up whatever task was given, I’d learned through almost 17 years of homeschooling that the best thing is to just move on and not fret. There will always be another day, and in every stormy cloud there truly is a silver lining.

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Chapter One
It started on a warm April afternoon. Gusts of wind blew against the oak tree right outside my kitchen balcony, in my tiny apartment in Atherton, California. Sometimes the branches that touched the side of the building made scraping noises. The yellow huckleberry flowers twining their way across my apartment balcony infused the air with sweetness.
My mother had insisted, as was her tendency on most things, I take the pot of wild huckleberry, her housewarming gift, to my new two-bedroom apartment. It wasn’t really new, just new to me, as was the entire experience of living separately, away from my family, and the prospect of having a roommate, someone who could be a best friend, something I’d dreamed of since I finished high school and debuted into adulthood.
“Wait for me by the curb,” my mother said, her voice blaring from the phone even though I didn’t set her on speaker. “You need to eat better.” Her usual punctuation at the end of her orders.
So, I skipped down three flights of steps and headed toward the side of the apartment building to await my mother’s gift of the evening, salad in an á la chicken style, her insistent recipe to cure me of bad eating habits. At least it wasn’t chicken soup double-boiled till the bones melted, I consoled myself.
I hadn’t waited long when a vehicle careened round the corner. I heard it first, that high-pitched screech of brakes wearing thin when the driver rammed his foot against it. From the corner of my eye, even before I turned to face it, I saw the blue truck. It rounded the bend where Emerson Street met Ravenswood, tottered before it righted itself and headed straight at me.
I took three steps back, fell and scrambled to get back up as the vehicle like a giant bullet struck the sidewalk I had only seconds ago stood on. The driver must have lost control, but when he hit the sidewalk it slowed the vehicle enough so he could bridle his speed and manage the truck as he continued to careen down the street.
My mother arrived a half minute later but she had seen it all. Like superwoman, she leaped out of her twenty-year-old Mercedes and rushed toward me, all breathless and blonde hair disheveled.
“Are you all right?” She reached out to help me up.
“Yes, yes,” I said, brushing the dirt off my yoga pants.
“Crazy driver. Brie, I just don’t know about this business of you staying alone here like this.” She walked back to her white Mercedes, leaned in the open window, and brought out a casserole dish piled high with something green. Make that several shades of green.
I followed her, admittedly winded.“Seriously, Mom. It’s just one of those things. Mad drivers could happen anywhere I live.”
She gave me no end of grief as to what a bad idea it was for me to live alone like this even though she knew I was going to get a roommate.
“Mom, stop worrying,” I said.
“You’re asking me to stop being your mother, I hope you realize this.”
“I’ll find someone dependable by the end of the week, I promise.” No way I was going back to live at home. Not that I came from a bad home environment. But I had my reasons.
I had advertised on Craig’s List, despite my mother’s protests that only scum would answer “those kinds of ads.”
Perhaps there was some truth to Mother’s biases, but I wouldn’t exactly call Sarah McIntyre scum. If she was, what would that make me?
Sarah’s father had inherited the family “coal” money. Their ancestors had emigrated from Scotland (where else, with a name like McIntyre, right?) in the early 1800s and bought an entire mountain (I kid you not) in West Virginia. It was a one-hit wonder in that the mountain hid a coal fortune under it, and hence the McIntyre Coal Rights Company was born. This was the McIntyre claim to wealth, and also a source of remorse and guilt for Sarah, for supposedly dozens of miners working for them had lost their lives due to the business, most to lung cancer or black lung, as it was commonly called. Hazards of the occupation.

 

About the Author

Emma Right is a happy wife and homeschool mother of five living in the Pacific West Coast. Besides running a busy home, and looking after too many pets, she also enjoys reading aloud to her children and often has her nose in a book. Right was a copywriter for a major advertising agency during her B.C. years. B.C.meaning “Before Children,” which may as well have been in the B.C.era, as she always says.

www.emmaright.com | twitter.com/emmbeliever

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Enter the tour wide giveaway to win a copy of the book or an Amazon gift card!

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BOOK TOUR GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: Letters to Nowhere by Julie Cross

Letters to Nowhere

by Julie Cross

Letters to Nowhere Series, Book One

Book Description

From the International Bestselling Author of the Tempest Series…

Set in the tough world of Elite Gymnastics…

I’ve gotten used to the dead parents face. I’ve gotten used to living with my gymnastics coach. I’ve even adjusted to sharing a bathroom with his way-too-hot son. Dealing with boys is not something that’s made it onto my list of experiences as of yet. But here I am, doing it. And something about Jordan–being around him, talking to him, thinking about him–makes me feel like I can finally breathe again. That’s something I haven’t been able to do lately. He knows what it feels like to be me right now. He knows what it’s like to wonder–what now? I think about it constantly. I need answers. I need to know how to get through this. In the gym, if you’re struggling, you train harder, you do drills and conditioning. How do I work hard at moving on? At being on my own? And what happens if I might be…maybe…probably falling for Jordan? I mean we live together now. That can’t happen, can it? But kissing him…well, let’s just say it’s not an easy activity to forget.

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Humiliation 101: a Letters to Nowhere excerpt
In Letters to Nowhere, my main character, Karen, goes from being an only child living with two loving parents in her isolated elite gymnastics world that trades high school for online home schooling—no dating or boy experience at all—to living with her male coach and his very cute and socially normal teenage son. Right from the start, she is caught in one embarrassing situation after another. Prior to her first night at her Coach’s place, Karen’s teammates plant some new concerns she hadn’t thought of until now.

As expected, right after practice, while my face was still as red as my hair and twice as sweaty, Blair turned back into “best friend Blair” and drilled me immediately with all her concerns. She had no internal censor whatsoever. “What if you’re, like, walking to the bathroom and Coach Bentley is coming out of the shower or whatever and you get a glimpse of him naked?” Blair had her head flipped upside down as she forcefully ran a brush through her long black hair. “Do you think that image will ever leave your head? How is he going to coach you after you’ve seen his bare ass or worse—”
“God, Blair!” Ellen groaned, “Ew.”
I rolled my eyes. “I’m not going to see him naked. Besides, I’m sure we’re both mature enough to deal with accidents that aren’t preventable.”
Okay, so I was totally not mature enough to deal with seeing Coach Bentley’s unexposed skin, but you could bet I’d do everything I could to prevent the incident from happening.
And then later on Karen’s reminded of Blair’s warning when she realizes who she’s sharing a bathroom with.

After finishing all the paperwork, I finally made myself walk up the stairs. Jordan’s bedroom door was open, his body stretched across the bed, textbooks and notebooks spread out in front of him as he scribbled on a page. Remembering Blair’s concerns, I knocked lightly on the door frame and he looked up right away. “Is it okay if…if I use the shower? You don’t need to go in there now…do you? Because I can totally wait or whatever.” He looked mildly amused with my obvious distress. “The bathroom’s all yours, Karen.” As I started to turn away, he added, “Just don’t mess with those magazines under the sink.” My eyes widened. Jordan laughed and looked down at his notebook again. “Kidding.” I let out a breath before walking away. “I removed all traces of porn this morning before you got here,” he said to my back. Being an only child had left me highly unprepared for a number of situations. I was clearly in over my head. Not something I felt often.

Hope you enjoyed the short excerpts and check out Letters to Nowhere if you’d like to read of Karen and Jordan’s story!

Thanks,
Julie Cross

About the Author

Julie Cross is the International Bestselling author of the Tempest series, a young adult science fiction trilogy which includes Tempest, Vortex, and the final installment, Timestorm (St. Martin’s Press). She’s also the author of Letters to Nowhere (8/13), a mature young adult romance set in the world of elite gymnastics, as well as several forthcoming young adult and new adult novels with publishers like Entangled, Sourcebooks, HarperCollins, and St. Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunne Books.
Julie lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She’s a former gymnast, longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former Gymnastics Program Director with the YMCA. She’s a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres. Outside of her reading and writing credibility’s, Julie Cross is a committed–but not talented–long distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar weather survivor, expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym shoe addict. You can find her online via twitter, her personal website, email, facebook, Goodreads, or co-moderating the YAwriters section of reddit.
FIND THE BOOK:
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There are two tour-wide giveaways.

–GRAND PRIZE PACKAGE GIVEAWAY to ONE Winner.

–An eBook of LETTERS TO NOWHERE to FIVE Winners.

The Grand Prize giveaway is open internationally, however international winners can only select five of the books listed due to shipping costs.

GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY:

AUTOGRAPHED FINISHED COPIES of…

- All 3 of Simone Elkeles’ HOW TO RUIN series

- TEETH by Hannah Moskowitz
– GONE GONE GONE by Hannah Moskowitz
– LET THE SKY FALL by Shannon Messenger
BITTERSWEET by Sara Zarr
ARCs of OCTOBER 2013 YA RELEASES

- UNBREAKABLE by Kami Garcia

- ANYWHERE BUT HERE by
– BANG by Lisa McMann
– REALITY BOY by A.S. King
– NEVER FADE by Alexandra Bracken
SIX MONTHS LATER by Natalie D. Richards

ARCs of NOV 2013 – FEB 2014 YA RELEASES

- ALIENATED by Melissa Landers (Feb 2014)
– ROOMIES by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando (Dec 2013)
– AFTER EDEN by Helen Douglas (Nov 2013)

OTHER BOOK PRIZES

- Personalized signed copies of TEMPEST + VORTEX (a foreign edition if available can be swapped for the U.S. edition)

- E-copy of LETTERS TO NOWHERE by Julie Cross (if print is available at time of shipping, a print copy will be sent, too)

WINNER’S CHOICE (ONE of Following BIG prizes)

- Basic US Kindle (valued at $69.00 USD) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007HCCNJU/ref=sa_menu_kdptq

OR

- $50 US Amazon Gift card

OR

- $50 US Barnes and Noble gift card

*As some prizes may not be redeemable by international participants, alternative suggestions are welcome but not guaranteed.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

RockStar Book Tours

BOOK TOUR GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: Welcome to the Darkness by L.M. Justus

Welcome to the Darkness

by LM Justus

Darkness Trilogy, Book One

Book Description

A typical teenager, seventeen-year-old Reed Hennessy doesn’t realize how lucky he is to lead a normal life until he loses everything, including his humanity. The attacker who slaughters his family and destroys their home turns out to be a vampire, a creature Reed had considered a myth.

Now a vampire himself, but with the unique ability to walk in sunlight, Reed struggles in the dark underworld he didn’t even know existed. His only two allies in his fight to stay alive are his reluctant mentor, Nathaniel, a vampire with over two hundred years’ worth of emotional baggage, and Sarah, a rookie cop with a secret ability of her own.

Together, Reed and his companions face a harrowing, cross-country journey before stumbling into a plot which could mean the end of everything for humans and vampires alike.

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My Journey to Becoming a Writer

by LM Justus

Around the age of eleven or so, I really started to love books. I was only allowed to borrow a maximum of twelve books at a time on my library card, so I would always take out exactly twelve books each time. Happy times!

By the age of thirteen, I had been reading the Choose Your Own Adventure series for a couple of years, and I decided to write one of my own. This took quite a bit of planning as the story branched off in many directions. I scribbled everything down on various pieces of paper, and gave up after completing only a small fraction of the book.

In grade 9, I wrote a short story for a school assignment, and my teacher called me in after class to have a serious talk. She asked me if I knew what plagiarism was. In retrospect, it’s flattering that she thought my story was so good it might have been copied from a real author, but at the time I was terrified. Luckily, I was wearing a necklace that I’d described in great detail in my story, and I showed the necklace to my teacher. Everything worked out – phew.

Despite my penchant for writing, I never considered a career in the field because I felt I was expected to do something that . . . made more money. My parents wanted me to be a doctor or a computer programmer. I attended the University of Waterloo to earn myself a Computer Science (CS) degree and graduated with a Bachelor of Mathematics – the Math faculty being the one offering CS degrees. I started working at a high-tech company testing software and . . . I hated it. After taking some aptitude tests, I discovered all the writing-related jobs at the top of the list. I was fortunate to make a sideways move within the same company to a documentation job, writing the manuals and online help files for the software I’d been testing.

In my spare time, I started writing various works of fiction, but never got much past the prologue and chapter one. Then, a friend of mine introduced me to NaNoWriMo, which is a challenge to write a short (50,000 word) novel in a single month. This was a pivotal moment for me, because I did it! I managed to write a novel to its completion. I’m not even sure how I managed it because I was sick with the worst cold of my entire life that month, and I had three kids under the age of six. I knew my novel was probably mediocre at best, but I self-published it anyway because I wanted a “real” copy of my book.

The next year, I wrote a book for my kids. I was having trouble finding early chapter books for them, so I wrote a book for them myself. It’s full of inside jokes and things they used to say, which they loved, but it wasn’t meant for mass consumption. I really wanted to write something that was aimed at the masses though, and I finally got the chance once my youngest daughter started grade 1, i.e., when all of my kids were in school full days.

I sent them off to school that September and sat down to write. I turned on some relaxing music, and quickly realized I can’t write anything with music playing. I bashed out the first few chapters feeling quite good about myself. I contacted a friend of a friend, whom I had actually worked with years earlier at my documentation job, and she invited me to join her writers’ group. That was another key moment for me, because I soon learned there was plenty of room for improvement in my writing. After nine months of writing, and another year’s worth of editing, revising, etc., . . . Welcome to the Darkness was released to the world. Only time will tell how the rest of my journey as a writer will continue!

About the Author

Lisa Justus’ path to becoming an author took a circuitous route through the University of Waterloo where she earned a Bachelor of Mathematics, followed by jobs in quality assurance and technical writing at a high-tech company. With a keen interest in creative fiction, she wrote her first fantasy novel as part of NaNoWriMo as well as an early chapter book for her kids when they were younger.  Her YA paranormal fantasy novel Welcome to the Darkness is the first book in the Darkness Trilogy.

These days Lisa is busy writing her fourth novel, reading, finishing her basement, doing volunteer work, and trying to stay in shape by running somewhat regularly. She, her husband, and their three children live in Ottawa, Ontario.

Website  | Facebook | Goodreads  | Twitter

PURCHASE:

Amazon

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PRIZES INCLUDE:
$20 Amazon gift card + a signed copy
5 eBook copies.
Open internationally!

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Xpresso Book Tours

BOOK TOUR GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: Inspire by Heather Buchine

Inspire 

by Heather Buchine

New Adult Contemporary

Book Description

18-year old Paige Rice, an exquisite beauty from East Hampton, NY, has just celebrated her high school graduation and is expecting to spend her summer living it up with all her socialite friends. But her parents have a different idea – she is being hauled away-literally- to the mountains of Vermont for the entire summer- in an RV!

Assuming she will be an outcast amongst the other teens at the campground still does not prepare her for the treatment she receives, which is far worse than she imagined. She also isn’t prepared for Travis, the campground owner’s son and the “Sexiest” guy she has ever laid eyes on. Travis is the only one who shows any interest in getting to know Paige. The only problem is that they have to explore what lies between them in secret. But once all the secrets are stripped away, the truth may be crushing.

***Intended for mature audiences due to language and sexual content***

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Summer Love

by Heather Buchine

Okay. So, I’m a total sucker for romance and falling in love, hence, my choice in careers: making love stories come to life on paper. And I have to say I truly believe there is something magical about the summertime. Like love just hangs in the air like a cloud, ready to pour out over two lonely hearts searching for a connection. Maybe it’s the long summer days, the blistering heat, the crickets chirping in the night, or the scantily clad bodies splashing around on the beach, but I feel like it’s the perfect setting to fall in love.

I admit, as a teenager, every summer I fell over and over again. Every camp I went to began with my heart becoming attached and ended with me being completely distraught over having to leave my “true love” behind. Every family vacation we would take, I managed to find some handsome guy, who was also enduring family time, and ended up tangled in a major crush. Looking back now, I’m not sure if it was because we were two strangers coming from different worlds meeting for the first time that made it so exciting, or whether the fact that we knew our time together was limited which caused the sparks to ignite as quickly as the strike of a match. But whatever the reason, it always ended up being fun, sensationally hot, and over before it ever truly began.

Although sometimes summer love is simply just that, love that lasts for a summer, in some cases (like in my book Inspire), it’s under the hot summer sun where true love begins and two hearts are melted together for life. Whether it happens by an old tire swing hanging in the front yard, or by a campfire roasting marshmallows under the stars, there is something truly romantic about falling in love in the summer!

About the Author

By no surprise my favorite hobbies are reading and writing. But beyond escaping into the written fantasy world, I love experiencing new things. Surfing, motorcycle riding, snow blading, glass blowing, parasailing, SUP boarding are just a few that I have checked off my bucket list, but there is still so much more to explore. Right now, being a mom is my biggest adventure and the best by far!! In the quiet calm hours of the night though, I can usually be found typing away creating a world of romance where drama still exists but love (hopefully!!) always prevails.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook

PURCHASE:

Amazon | B&N

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One commenter will win an ebook copy of Inspire!

 

 

Xpresso Book Tours

BOOK TOUR GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: Unteachable by Leah Raeder

Unteachable

by Leah Raeder

New Adult Contemporary

Book Description

I met him at a carnival, of all corny places. The summer I turned eighteen, in that chaos of neon lights and cheap thrills, I met a man so sweet, so beautiful, he seemed to come from another world. We had one night: intense, scary, real. Then I ran, like I always do. Because I didn’t want to be abandoned again.
But I couldn’t run far enough.
I knew him as Evan that night. When I walked into his classroom, he became Mr. Wilke.
My teacher.
I don’t know if what we’re doing is wrong. The law says one thing; my heart says screw the law. I can’t let him lose his job. And I can’t lose him.
In the movies, this would have a happy ending. I grow up. I love, I lose, I learn. And I move on. But this is life, and there’s no script. You make it up as you go along.
And you don’t pray for a happy ending. You pray for it to never end.
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What is New Adult all about?
by Leah Raeder

New Adult is a brand spanking new genre, so the definition is still a bit up in the air, but I think NA Alley nails it:

http://www.naalley.com/p/about.html

Protagonists generally fall between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six, though exceptions may apply. NA characters are often portrayed experiencing: college, living away from home for the first time, military deployment, apprenticeships, a first steady job, a first serious relationship, etc.

Other terms for NA include: Upper YA, Crossover Fiction, and Mature YA.

NA combines the rawness, intensity, and first-time experiences of YA with the grit, independence, and real-world experiences of adult fiction.
I did a guest post recently on what makes writing NA fun, so here I’m going to talk about why we need the New Adult genre.
“It’s just YA with sex.”
 
This is a common criticism of NA: that it’s just sexed-up YA. And the reason this stings is because there is some truth to it. Yes, NA as a whole has a ton of sex in it. But that’s because people ages 18-26 have a ton of sex. You’re out on your own for the first time, without your parents’ rules hanging over your head. You’re allowed to experiment and make your own choices. It’s all about trial and error, breaking free from your family’s expectations and finding out who you are on your own terms. And that typically includes—you guessed it—having sex.
When people say NA is “just YA with sex,” I think what they really mean is that it contains high school-ish drama, only with more sex. And that’s a fair criticism, too. Yes, NA is typically full of drama. So is real life. A first serious relationship, before you know what your needs and expectations are, is going to be messy and full of drama. You’re trying to figure out who you are at the same time as you’re learning what you want in a partner. That means lots of trial and error, fights, and flung dishes.
Growth is painful, and NA is about people who are still growing—in an emotional, rather than physical way.
“There’s already adult fiction. Why do we need NA?”
There were plenty of books about college-aged people before anyone came up with the New Adult tag. Why do we need it?
Because adult fiction is huge. It encompasses people in their teens, 30s, 50s, 70s, and beyond. The life experiences for each of these age groups are completely different. College is a little world unto itself, like high school, and that world is vastly different from that of a 30-year-old married person with a career, or a 50-year-old whose kids are leaving home for the first time.
New Adult isn’t about narrowing and limiting fiction to certain life experiences, though. In fact, it’s the opposite: NA gravitates toward controversy, bad decisions, messed-up people, and dysfunctional relationships. You can talk about these things with more grit and rawness than you could get away with in YA. NA is sort of a free-for-all right now, where some seriously dark and disturbed shit is dragged kicking and screaming into the light. And this has a lot to do with the self-publishing boom that’s been the driving force behind NA.
My novel Unteachable wouldn’t exist without the NA genre. It’s way too controversial and graphic for YA, but it’s also too focused on young adult issues and themes to really fit in with contemporary adult fiction. NA is the perfect—and only—category for it.
We need the New Adult tag to legitimize fiction that talks about the spaces in between adolescence and adulthood. Those often dark, gritty nooks and crannies that have been overlooked by traditional publishing. NA shines a bright, bold light into this space and says, “I dare you to look.”
And readers are doing just that. In droves.
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About the Author
Writes pretentiously lyrical YA and adult fiction of various genres. Loves zombies, velociraptors, and other world-ending things. Copies her bio from Twitter because she’s lazy.

twitter.com/leahraeder

Purchase:
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You could win a copy of the book or an Amazon GC.

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