The Way to Her Heart by Amy Reece: Book Tour and Giveaway!


Will a mysterious disappearance bring two broken hearts together…or tear them apart?


THE WAY TO HER HEART by Amy Reece 
YA Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Release Date: March 29, 2016
— SYNOPSIS —
No amount of counseling can bring Josh Harris back to his old self.
After a tragedy that changed his life forever, eighteen-year-old Josh has lived in a year-long fog of medication and confusion. It’s all he can do to not think about his dad—a culinary genius who raised him in the kitchen. Thankfully, Josh inherited his golden palate and sixth sense for cooking, which is the only thing that makes sense anymore.
For a seventeen-year-old girl, life can’t get much worse…
Bernie Abeyta is a senior in high school and lives with her drug-addicted mother, but has managed to keep her grades up so she can get into college. With her father in prison and her mom’s sleazy boyfriend getting too close for comfort, Bernie turns to her best friend Gabby Rodriguez for help, but discovers Gabby has gone missing. Distressed over her friend’s sudden disappearance, Bernie resorts to living out of her car while she looks for answers and tries to avoid foster care.
Part love, part mystery, part cookbook—and all heart.
During economics class, Josh finds himself captivated by his new project partner, Bernie. As they grow closer, he insists Bernie move in with him and his mother. Furthermore, he offers to help look for Gabby.
Bernie refuses to believe Gabby ran away, and she’s determined to get to the bottom of the mystery—no matter how great the danger to herself.
Will Bernie’s gritty life be too much for Josh to handle? Or will he fight for The Way to Her Heart?

 

— PURCHASE YOUR COPY! —

 

— EXCERPT —
October

Josh

She cut her hair. Josh realized he was staring at the girl in the next row and pulled his gaze back to his notebook as the teacher droned on about supply and demand curves. I don’t care for short hair on girls. Yet he couldn’t keep his eyes off her. He didn’t even know her name. On Friday her hair had been long, the silky black tresses reaching below her shoulder blades. Today, he could see the back of her neck. He could see how long and slender it was and watched as she reached around to feel it, seeming surprised, perhaps still unused to the short cut. She pushed the long front layer behind her ear. The purple streak is kind of cute, though. He once again forced his gaze back to his notes, reminding himself that he had a girlfriend; a beautiful girlfriend with long blonde hair. Focus, Harris. Get your mind off the pretty girl with the short hair. She was pretty. He’d always thought so, even though he didn’t know her name. He’d heard it; wasn’t it something weird? Enough! Supply, demand. That’s all you need to think about.“So, for the next few weeks you will be paired up with one of your classmates as we launch a new project designed to help you experience some of what it takes to create and stick to a household budget.” Mr. Griego picked up a stack of index cards from his desk. “I have created a scenario with careers and incomes for each couple. Some of you have children, and some don’t. Every few days you will get a new financial situation you have to deal with. Each week of this project will be the equivalent of one month for your budget. You will turn in a complete six month budget, along with a written report at the end of the project. Each couple will also give a five-minute oral presentation.” He started calling names and handing out index cards. There were groans and titters of laughter as the names were called because some of the couples were same-sex. “Josh Harris and Bernie Abeyta.” No one in the class said anything or laughed at the pairing. Josh wasn’t surprised; he had pretty much fallen off the radar over a year ago. He stood and walked to the front of the room to retrieve the index card.

“Who’s Bernie Abeyta?” he asked quietly. Great. I’m paired with a guy. Just what I needed.

The girl with the short, purple hair raised her hand. “Me.” She sounded bored.

“Okay. I’m, uh, I’m Josh.” He stood in front of her desk, awkwardly shifting from side to side.

“Yeah. I’m Bernie.” She glanced up quickly, meeting his gaze, then looked away.

“You have the last fifteen minutes of class to exchange contact information, phone numbers, email addresses, whatever you need to get in touch with your partner. Most of the project work will need to be on your own time as you will need to visit grocery stores and do some online research,” Mr. Griego said.

Josh sat down in the newly vacated desk in front of Bernie. “So.” He waved the index card. “One of us is a teacher and the other is an attorney. Which do you want to be?”

Bernie shrugged. “It doesn’t really matter to me. You choose.”

He looked at her, a half-smile on his face. Close-up he noticed that she had beautiful, smooth, light-brown skin and her eyes were so dark they looked black. She didn’t wear much makeup; she didn’t need to. “Fine. I’ll be the teacher. You can be the attorney.” She looked up quickly. “Is that okay?”

She shrugged again. “Sure. It doesn’t matter. Do we have kids?”

“Yeah, we have two: an eight-year-old daughter and a six-year-old son. So, I guess we should exchange phone numbers and email.” He scrawled his information on a page of his notebook and tore it out, handing it to her.

She took the page, staring at it blankly for a moment before tearing a piece of paper out of her own notebook. “Here’s my email.”

He looked at it. “What’s your cell number?”

“I don’t have one. Just the email.”“Oh. Okay.” Josh had never heard of anyone his age who didn’t have a cell phone. “So, do you want to get together tonight to get started on this? We could meet at my house. Or yours. Whatever you want.”

“Yours. Here.” She pushed the paper back at him. “Write your address. I have to work until seven. I can be there around seven-thirty. Is that okay?” She didn’t meet his eyes.

“Uh, sure. That’s fine. Here.” He handed the paper back. “Do you need a ride or anything?”

“No.”

“Oh. Great. So, I’ll, uh, see you tonight. I guess.” He had never been so tongue-tied around a girl.

“Yeah.” She turned her attention back to her notebook, clearly dismissing him.

Josh returned to his seat, chagrined. I seem to have lost my touch. Then again, he hadn’t really been trying very hard for a long time. He used to be much better at this whole thing: friends, girls, talking. Now he simply didn’t have the energy anymore. It was October of his senior year and he was biding his time until he could graduate and move on with his life. She’s really pretty, though. He groaned inwardly as he packed his notebook and shouldered his backpack. He knew he had no business noticing how pretty his new partner was; he should be thinking about how gorgeous his girlfriend had looked in her cheerleading uniform that morning during the pep rally. She was beautiful, sweet, and had stuck by him through a seriously dark time in his life. He had really been phoning it in lately with Kayleigh. Jeez, he could do better. He merged with the flow of humanity in the hallway, determined to do right by her, starting tomorrow at lunch.

 

— ABOUT THE AUTHOR —
Amy Reece lives in Albuquerque, NM, with her husband and family. She loves to read and travel and has an unhealthy addiction to dogs. She believes red wine and coffee are the elixirs of life and lead to great inspiration. She is the author of The Seeker Series (YA paranormal) and The Way to Her Heart (YA romantic suspense).

 

— GIVEAWAY —


Kai Strand’s King of Bad plus a GIVEAWAY!

If you’ve spent much time here, you’ve probably discovered how much I like Kai Strand’s writing. She first appeared on authorericprice.com shortly after her book King of Bad came out, with a guest post about different types of publishing. Here’s a link to that post. She’s also the mastermind behind last year’s Lightning Quick Reads project. Spend some time exploring this site for hours of quality short stories by several authors.

I’m a huge fan of Kai’s book King of Bad, so I couldn’t resist the opportunity to bring her back for the YA Reads Book Blitz this week. If you’ve ever liked comics as much as I did, this series is for you. Edit: I should also mention this is the second addition with bonus material.

king of bad kai strand

 

Super Villain Academy, where you learn to be good at being bad.

Jeff Mean would rather set fires than follow rules or observe curfew. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; that is until he learns he has superpowers and is recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. In a school where one kid can evaporate all the water from your body and the girl you hang around with can perform psychic sex in your head, bad takes on a whole new meaning. Jeff wonders if he’s bad enough for SVA.

He may never find out. Classmates vilify him when he develops good manners. Then he’s kidnapped by those closest to him and left to wonder who is good and who is bad. His rescue is the climactic episode that balances good and evil in the super world. The catalyst – the girl he’s crushing on. A girlfriend and balancing the Supers is good, right? Or is it…bad?

 

Read below for an excerpt from the book:
An alarm blasted, startling the occupants of the room into silence. The double doors burst open, slamming against the walls with an alarming crack. A swarm of people, clad in black from head to toe, poured through the door. Blue flames erupted from those on the outer edge of the group. The flames weren’t directed at the kids in the room, but acted more like a battering ram to clear the way.
“Blue flame?” Oceanus whispered.
Jeff stepped between her and the melee. He saw a panicked look on Source’s face and wished the intruders didn’t separate them. Jeff knew Source’s lack of skill left him vulnerable.
Oceanus stepped around Jeff. “What do you think you’re doing?”
With her eyes sparking, Oceanus didn’t look as helpless as Jeff would like to think she was. Regardless, the need to protect her was strong and he again stepped in front of her. Hoping to distract her, he said, “Uh…you’re more experienced than me and you can help me fight if we need to. Stay back.”
Oceanus glared at him.
“Uh…for now.” He nodded to give his feeble statement strength.
“But I want to see.” Oceanus stepped sideways. “I’ve never seen blue fire before, Polar. What is it?”
“I don’t know, but it looks like they have more tricks up their sleeve.”
The tight knot advanced militarily to the center of the room. Then they unfurled like a flower bud, revealing a deadly stamen. A small woman, with ebony skin and violet eyes, stood in the center, seeming seven feet tall with the importance she emanated.
She spoke in a smoky, low voice to a ferret-like kid. “¿Dónde está, el?”
The ferret pointed and she raised her long nailed hands above her head. Nets, conjured from thin air, shot up and sailed across the room landing over her surprised target.
“No!” Jeff yelled. He lunged forward, his hands instantly aflame, but when he tried to shoot his fire it balled back on him, burning his own hands. He blew ice onto his hands to squelch the burn. Seeing the frost gave him a thought. “Oci, water!”
He pointed to the floor and indicated that he wanted it to snake across the room.
Oceanus pulled water from the overhead sprinklers and dropped it onto the floor. Jeff drew a deep, deep breath and breathed across the surface of the water. It iced over, immediately sending half the blue flame people to the floor. Jeff blew again, refreezing the water over their hands and trapping them.
“It won’t last forever, let’s move.” He grabbed Oceanus’ arm and they ran. They were halfway across the room when roots burst through the floor and wrapped around their ankles. They sprawled face first on the floor. Another kid fell, knee first, onto Jeff’s back, knocking the wind out of him. Jeff squirmed around until he sat up and grew a small controlled fire in his palm. He showered sparks onto the roots that had snaked up around his calves. The roots shrank away from the fire, loosening their hold and Jeff tore free of their viney grip. He did the same for Oceanus and they scrambled to their feet again.
The intruders hefted their squirming captive toward the door.
Jeff anchored his feet firmly on the ground and gathered all the gravity he could feel around him. As quickly as he could, he bound the feet of those carrying the hostage.
“See if water will work on that blue fire, Oci. Before they get to us.”
Oceanus swung around and saw four of the blue flames approaching. She pulled water from the drinking fountains and doused the flames. But instead of putting it out it seemed to increase it. “No good. I think it’s feeding on it!”
Jeff felt light headed from having to split the gravity in so many directions. He imagined his feet were buried in the ground, giving him a deeper contact with the source, and his head cleared a bit.
“Can you smother it somehow?” Jeff yelled.
“No, I don’t have anything. And the others are getting free.
Sure enough the blue flamers who’d been temporarily frozen were up and re-igniting their fire.
One of the intruders with the blue fire yelled, “¡Detenganlo!” and pointed toward Jeff.
Teachers had joined the fight. In the midst of pelting milk cartons, lightning strikes, and lashing ropes, Jeff was struck by one strange fact. His fellow students seemed to be fighting for the sake of fighting. No one appeared intent on retrieving the hostage. As a matter of fact, Jeff watched a kid blast one of the captors and turn away from the hostage.
Jeff roared. He had to get over there, but if he moved, he’d release the gravitational hold he had on the captors. Experimentally, he slid a foot forward without lifting it from the ground. He felt the hold weaken, but it didn’t break. Concentrating all his efforts on maintaining control, Jeff slid his feet across the floor. The going was agonizingly slow. He felt some of the captors struggle against the gravity that locked them in place, hoping to break free. Someone’s psych ability nudged around his head looking for a way in. With all his efforts focused, he continued to slide across the room.

A blast of steam and heat hit Jeff, knocking him sideways. He slid a couple of feet across the ground and came to a rest in a heap. Dazed, he shook his head and sat up. Then he remembered what he’d been doing. He leapt to his feet and searched the room for the group of captors. Too late. The doors swung closed behind them. Source was gone.

2 ed KoBKing of Bad (Super Villain Academy Book 1) by Kai Strand

Genre: YA Fantasy

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/King-Of-Bad-Edition-Villain-ebook/dp/B00DQGA6MW

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/king-of-bad-super-villian-academy-book-1-kai-strand/1115915105?ean=2940016426198

Box Set Purchase Links:
3 book bundle
The Giveaway:
$15 Amazon gift card plus a signed bookmark and a pack of King of Bad playing cards (see attached picture); open US only
IMG_3110

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:

Kai Strand

When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website, www.kaistrand.com.

Cover Reveal: Super Bad by Kai Strand

Today I’d like to welcome back Kai Strand. I’d have to go back and check to make sure, but I think she now holds the record for the most frequent guest here on authorericprice.com. I’m not sure what more I could say about her. She writes fun middle-grade and young adult novels, and I understand she’s going to be trying her hand at adult soon. She’s also the mastermind behind the Lightning Quick Reads blog. If you haven’t checked that out, you should. So here she is with the cover to the third book in her Super Villain Academy series. Of course I recommend it too. I intended to have reviews of books 1 and 2 ready before this cover reveal, but I failed. I guess Kai will just have to come visit again in a few weeks. Oh yeah, and there’s a giveaway.
Being good isn’t so bad – oh, but it’s so good to be bad.
Excerpt from Super Bad:
Source stepped in front of her, balancing on the edge of the curb. He grasped her shoulders and stared her straight in the eye. “Everything, everyone, will be all right. You have to believe that, Sandra.”
Tears flooded her eyes again. She hated that she didn’t believe him. “I’m scared, Source. I’m afraid Whisper will never wake up. Or that I’ll never walk right again. I’m worried about Mom’s state of mind. I’m scared the world will never right itself, and all this violence will become the new normal.”
Source drew a ragged breath and lightly dragged his thumb across her tear-stained cheek.
Closing her eyes, as though afraid to see the full truth, she whispered her biggest fear. “I’m scared we’ll never find Jeff.”
SUPER BAD The unexpected conclusion to the Super Villain Academy series.
The world is in chaos. Violence and thievery reign. And with the supers still balanced, it’s only getting worse. Without good versus evil, the supers care less and less. In order to restore purpose, the world needs its super heroes and its super villains, but the one who balanced them in the first place is missing.
Sandra’s concern over finding her brother, Jeff, isn’t her only problem. Her pathetic excuse for super powers has left her needing a new ankle. And though she’s still very much committed to her boyfriend, Source, she’s growing unreasonably attracted to Set, the boy who double crossed Jeff by stealing his girlfriend.
When Sandra is taken and held as bait by kids who want to unbalance the super world, it becomes the inciting event that changes things for supers everywhere and forces them to answer the question, “Hero or villain?”
***
Super Bad is scheduled for release in June, but there have been whispers of it releasing sooner. Don’t miss out. Subscribe to Kai’s mailing list and be among the first to know.
***
King of BadJeff Mean would rather set fires than follow rules. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; until he learns he has superpowers and is recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. Is Jeff bad enough for SVA?
 
Polar Opposites – Heroes and villains are balanced. After Oceanus is kidnapped, Jeff learns the supers are so balanced, they no longer care to get involved. Ironically Jeff’s superpowers are spiraling out of control. Will they find Oci before he looses it completely, and will they find her alive?
***

Win a $10 Amazon gift card or an ecopy of either King of Bad or Polar Opposites. Plenty of chances to win. Open internationally. Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway About the author: When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and short stories for the younger ones, Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website, www.kaistrand.com.

Erin Rhew Interview About The Outlanders Plus Book Reviews

I have one of my favorite virtual friends back today. This time we talk about her newest release, The Outlanders (The Fulfillment Series Book 2), her future writing plans, and for more fun, I throw in my review of the book. I also never got around to giving her a review for the first book in The Fulfillment Series, The Prophecy, and I know how important reviews are to authors, so I’ll put that in here as well. So sit back, learn about the first two thirds (plus a little extra) of an enjoyable young adult fantasy series, and help me welcome Erin Rhew. Oh, and if you hurry, there’s a giveaway happening.

cover_OUTLANDERS (2)

So we have a “love triangle” with Layla, Nash, and Wil (Though I’ve always considered them more of a “Love V.” Think about it.) Do you have any favorite or least favorite love triangles from fiction?

I wouldn’t consider it a traditional love triangle (maybe I’ll say love “V” instead…heehee) since supernatural powers are at play and affect the feelings/beliefs of the characters. If I did have a love triangle, I wanted it to be well done (I hope I succeeded—LOL!). I wanted both men to be wholly worthy instead of one good guy and one traditional bad boy.
My favorite love triangle in fiction is the one from the Infernal Devices series. Tess, Will, and Jem…happy sigh. And thanks to the world Cassandra Clare created, the outcome could not have been happier for the reader.
I don’t like love triangles where one guy won’t accept his fate and tries to bend the girl toward his will.

I can’t say I’m a fan of Samson, though I give Elder Werrick an easier time than you. Who are some of your favorite and least favorite characters, not counting the big three?

LOL!! I actually like Samson. His snark is my homage to Percy Jackson. 😉 I like King Rex a lot. I love how he’s strong but gentle. My fiancé, Deek, likes Queen Cataleen, but he always likes the villain because he finds them so layered. 😉 And I like the Voltons. Their calm, cool, collected attitudes appeal to me—particularly Mars and Holt.

I really don’t care for Werrick. He’s an example of “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” And though I tried to make her sympathetic because of her life, I have trouble liking Mia. I feel like I should like Mia, but I just don’t.

Well, you’re the author, so I guess you’d know. But sometimes characters surprise even the author. One day you may learn Samson has a bit of a back stabbing personality, and Werrick has some separation anxiety issues he’s trying to work through. If he keeps meeting with his counselor, he’ll handle it.

Chapters 21 through 25 were my favorite of the series so far. Give us a hint of one thing well get in Book Three: The Fulfillment.

Wow, thank you!! Parts of those scenes were definitely difficult to write.

Hmmmm…here are two hints: One of the three kingdoms will fall in The Fulfillment. And an important character will behave rashly with serious consequences.

Do you have an approximate release date for The Fulfillment?

It’s written, but I’m still matching it up consistency-wise to changes made in The Prophecy and The Outlanders. I hope to submit to my publisher early next year. So, I’m hoping for a later summer/early fall release date.

Have you given any thought to your writing life after The Fulfillment Series?

I already have several projects in the works—a young adult futuristic thriller and another fantasy novel, with a twist.

What writer’s style do you most admire?

Rick Riordan. I absolutely, positively love his style. I want to BE Rick Riordan! LOL!

Oh! I knew this one. I should have asked a better question. Here, I’ll ask one of myself instead:

Team Wil or Tem Nash? Wil’s all right, but if I have to pick one I’ll take Nash.

Rapid Fire Randomness:

Volton Mars/Veronica Mars—any correlation? Nope, I never thought of it until you said it. I actually would have gone for Vulcan with Volton. 😉

Alterations reminded me a bit of Compulsion in the Vampire Academy series. Agree or disagree? I don’t think they’re exactly alike, but the difference is negligible. Compulsion is more related to forcing people to do things. The Alterations implant images. I think it’s a little different.

Layla—is she named after the Derrick and the Dominos song? No. Her name appeared in my head out of nowhere. I found out after I named her that it meant “Dark Beauty.” Perfect and random.

Pick a fantasy series: Song of Ice and Fire, Sword of Truth, or Wheel of Time.
100% Song of Fire and Ice. 😉

I hear winter IS coming. No seriously. The next book is titled The Winds of Winter. That, amongst other things, leads us to believe it may happen.

Here’s an excerpt from The Outlanders:

Everything about Mia felt wrong. The girl, who looked so much like Layla, just happened to be where Samson could find her and came with him to the home of her enemy without any resistance? Whole generations of Ecclesiastics searched for entire lifetimes and never found the Fulfillment, yet Samson encountered two potentials in short succession. She couldn’t pinpoint the reason for her unease, but something tickled the back of her mind, inching toward the surface with painstaking sluggishness.

“I don’t understand why she would just come with you to Etherea.” Layla struggled to keep her voice level and calm to avoid raising Samson’s hackles.

“She didn’t have anywhere else to go. Vance killed her family in Vanguard.”

Layla made a mental note to confirm Samson’s version of the story with the information Nash managed to extract from Mia. “If she’s a Vanguard, why would she come with you to Etherea?”

“You came here,” Samson shot back, his inexplicable protectiveness for the mystery girl heightening her concern.

She treaded with care. “Well, some insane man in a black and purple robe stole my brother, so I didn’t really have a choice.”

Mia stared at the young man before her with a mixture of curiosity and weariness. She understood why others found him so handsome—rich, dark hair and those shocking green eyes. If she succeeded, he would be her…she stopped herself, determined to keep her mind clear. She had to give off an air of mystery, to lure the Ethereals into her web so they followed her plan. More than anything, she needed them to follow her plan, so much depended on it. She could not slip up. She could not make a mistake.

Taking a steadying breath, she refocused her thoughts and slid her amethyst colored eyes across the prince in front her. She wouldn’t even think his name or give any indication she already knew about him. She had to forget how much she’d been told about him…how much she’d been told about them all. Feigning ignorance factored into her plan.

“Who are you?” he asked, after spending an inordinate amount of time regarding her.

She noted how his gaze bounced from her eyes to her hair and back again. As planned, her appearance intrigued him. Though he’d asked a different question, she heard the real one layered beneath it. He wanted to know why she resembled the proclaimed Fulfillment. That question would then lead him to an inevitable one…could Mia be the Fulfillment instead of Layla? And if she were the Fulfillment, what did that mean for him? For Wil? For Layla?

“I’m Mia.” She almost grinned, pleased she’d answered his question but given him nothing more. When his lips twisted, her grin broke into a full smile at his evident irritation. “And you are?”

He hesitated. “Nash, brother of the king.”

“The injured king?” He flinched, a subtle movement most might miss, but she caught it.

“According to our friend, Samson, you’re an Outlander.”

“He found me in the Outlands.” The less Nash knew, the better.

Frustration flickered across his face, marring his otherwise handsome features. She smiled to herself, not trusting his patience should her lips turn up yet again.

“Sooo,” he dragged out the word. “Are you an Outlander?”

“No. I’m a Vanguard.”

Nash cocked his head to the right. “Why were you in the Outlands then?”

“I went to escape Vance’s oppression.” Mia stared at the wall behind him until her vision blurred. She willed tears to form. Given the pressure she’d been under, summoning them proved easier than she expected. When the familiar tight burning started near her lids, she blinked at the prince. He shifted in his seat. Mia wanted to snort at his reaction. Tears always made men uncomfortable. “Vance killed my family.” She paused and swallowed, hoping he believed she needed a moment to collect herself. “I ran as far as I could and ended up in the Outlands. Samson found me.”

Nash cleared his throat and shifted again; she increased the flow of her tears in reply.           “What do you know about the Outlands?”

“Very little.” She sniffed. Looking as pathetic as she could manage, she attempted to wipe her eyes, an impossible feat given her bound hands. Nash frowned as his gaze landed on her restraints. She bid him to unbind her hands, and for a moment, she believed he might. To her disappointment, he gripped the side of his chair until his knuckles turned white and left her tied up. Mia ground her teeth.

“Do you believe you are the Fulfillment?” Nash kept his voice steady despite the turmoil she read upon his face.

Mia waited a moment to respond, both to further escalate his frustration and to collect herself. In this moment, she needed to be most convincing, to begin what she’d been tasked to set in motion. She gestured with her chin, drawing Nash’s attention to the blazing “F” upon her upper arm. The dark purple birthmark matched the shade of her eyes.

“The First Ones speak for themselves.”

Nash shook his head. “It’s too obvious.”

Mia’s head jerked back. She struggled to maintain her composure as his reaction, so unexpected, derailed her careful planning. Her mind racing, she grappled for a response.

“Too obvious?”

“Yes. See, Mia—” His clear distaste tainted the sound of her own name. “I know about the First Ones.”

“Who do you think you are? An Ecclesiastic?” She smirked at him, acting like she retained complete control, but her insides knotted. She couldn’t lose her ability to direct the conversation.

To her surprise, Nash laughed, though she noted no pleasure in it. “The Prophecy states, ‘In a time of war, when the land is divided amongst the two, she, with raven black hair, purple eyes, and a special blessing from the First Ones shall bring peace.’”

“I think everyone in the three kingdoms and in the Borderlands is familiar with The Prophecy.” Mia rolled her eyes for effect. “What’s your point?”

“My point is, the special blessing wouldn’t be something as simple as a birthmark. If it were, the First Ones would have just said raven black hair, purple eyes, and an ugly purple ‘F’ on the upper arm.” He flicked his hand toward her arm. “Special blessing is vague, indicating something mysterious. There is nothing mysterious about your birthmark.”

Mia’s heart pounded as she felt the tables turn and the conversation slip away. “And there is something mysterious about her?”

The word her hung between them for a moment. Mia took another deep breath, worrying she’d pushed him too far. Beneath his shirt, she saw Nash’s muscles ripple and hoped she’d managed to touch a new nerve.

Mia clenched her teeth. She hated acting this way, so out of character, but she had to press on. No one could know the truth. She had to win this game…

TheOutlanders_ErinAlbert_AuthorPhoto

Erin Rhew is an editor, a running coach, and the author of The Fulfillment Series. Since she picked up Morris the Moose Goes to School at age four, she has been infatuated with the written word. She went on to work as a grammar and writing tutor in college and is still teased by her family and friends for being a member of the “Grammar Police.” A Southern girl by blood and birth, Erin now lives in a rainy pocket of the Pacific Northwest with the amazingly talented (and totally handsome) writer Deek Rhew and their “overly fluffy,” patient-as-a-saint writing assistant, a tabby cat named Trinity. She and Deek enjoy reading aloud to one another, running, lifting, boxing, eating chocolate, and writing side-by-side.

Find me online:

 

Twitter: @ErinRhewBooks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Erin-Rhew-Books/182769448541270

Website: www.erinrhewbooks.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23265671-the-prophecy

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23302633-the-outlanders

Buy The Prophecy: http://www.amazon.com/Prophecy-Fulfillment-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00O1IVMPO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412178669&sr=8-1&keywords=the+prophecy+erin+rhew

Buy The Outlanders: http://www.amazon.com/Outlanders-Fulfillment-Book-2-ebook/dp/B00O2I8X50/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412178701&sr=8-1&keywords=the+outlanders+erin+rhew

OK. That turned into quite a post. If you’re still with me, you either really like Erin’s books, or you want the reviews . . . or both. So here they are.

cover_PROPHECY (2)

The Prophecy:

Let’s start off with this whole love triangle thing because it bothers me–in fiction in general, but not in The Prophecy by Erin Rhew, and that’s why it works, and it’s one of the things that makes this book so good. Every time you turn around in modern fiction, one female gets in the room with two males and you’ve got a love triangle . . . and they don’t even have to all belong to the same species. Erin Rhew wrote a compelling, plot driven, fantasy novel, and the so called ‘love triangle’ is just one element of the plot. And instead of getting thrown in because it’s almost expected in YA fiction, it’s necessary to move the plot. Not only does Layla not know if she loves Wil or Nash, she’s not sure if she’s supposed to love Wil or Nash to make the prophecy come true. And yes, guys, if I haven’t made my point clear, this isn’t some sappy romance.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, The Prophecy has action, adventure, humor, and yes, even a little love. If I have anything negative to say, it’s just that the story seemed to jump ahead a time or two, which I found distracting because I wanted to know what happened in the lapse.

cover_OUTLANDERS (2)

The Outlanders:

I started out thinking I was going to like this book less than The Prophecy. It started slower, and I could tell by the general tone, it wasn’t going to have as much action as its predecessor. I was right about everything . . . except the part about liking it less. I thought it was great! The deepening of the plot more than made up for the lack of action. And the ending, watch out! The Prophecy ended on a major cliffhanger. Not only does The Outlanders end on a cliffhanger, but all the loose ends you think are getting tied up toward the end of the story, well, they all come untied.

Now if you’re still with me, you’re just looking for something free, so here’s a Rafflecopter giveaway. A $50 gift cards, signed copies of The Prophecy and The Outlanders. That sort of thing. But hurry, it ends at the end of the day November 1.

Damaged Goods with Kai Strand

I’m thrilled to have one of my favorite authors (she likes when I call her that) on the site today. And not only is Kai Strand here for an unprecedented third time (OK, the site’s not that old), but she brought goodies to give away . . . damaged goodies.

Damaged Goods Tour Banner(1)

Hey everybody, my name is Kai Strand. I was unpacking books at a signing and came across a copy of King of Bad with a torn cover. Bummer. I can’t sell that! But my loss is your gain. Because I can hold a giveaway instead!

Along with a slightly damaged copy of King of Bad, I’m also giving away several sets of character trading cards. These cards have been specially designed for book one in the series. There will be a separate set of cards designed for each book – so be among the first to own a set.

Trading Card

About the book:

Jeff Mean would rather set fires than follow rules or observe curfew. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; that is until he learns he has superpowers and is recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. In a school where one kid can evaporate all the water from your body and the girl you hang around with can perform psychic sex in your head, bad takes on a whole new meaning. Jeff wonders if he’s bad enough for SVA.

He may never find out. Classmates vilify him when he develops good manners. Then he’s kidnapped by those closest to him and left to wonder who is good and who is bad. His rescue is the climactic episode that balances good and evil in the super world. The catalyst – the girl he’s crushing on. A girlfriend and balancing the Supers is good, right? Or is it…bad?

Available in print or electronic: Whiskey Creek Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Excerpt:

“I guess I’m not comfortable being something. I’ve never aspired to do much of anything and it seems like a lot of pressure to suddenly learn I’m supposedly a super villain and that I have to learn how to do it right.”

“You don’t have to do anything, kid. You are what you are. We are just here for you if you want to learn how to do more.” Pyro leaned back in her chair and crossed her leg. “Let me start closer to the beginning. Once upon a time…”

Jeff curled his lip and grunted. “You’re kidding, right?”

“Yes, I am. This is no fairytale.”

“How many of us are there? Is this the only school or are they everywhere? What happens if I decide not to get training?”

“Whoa, boy! Rein in the questions. I’ll get to them.” Pyro’s foot bobbed as she studied Jeff. “I don’t usually recruit. I work in administration, a fundraiser. They asked me to take you on because they suspected you had fire. So let’s start there.”

Pyro explained Mr. Sims initial encounter with Jeff and how he’d reported to Tubs. “That’s when Tubs got me involved. See, Sims felt your S.V. energy when you blew to fan the flames. Since you were playing with fire, Tubs suspected you had it and he knows that fire is a dangerous new ability and best taught by someone with experience. You know, when I first saw you, kid, I thought they were making way more of it than was needed. You were hanging out with your friends. Giving your sister a hard time. Taking out the trash like a good son, but there was nothing about you that struck me as special. Or even super for that matter. But then you did something that changed my mind completely.”

Jeff sat up straight in his chair then slouched back down again. He felt very conflicted hearing that Pyro had been shadowing him for so long and he hadn’t even known it. “What? What did I do?”

“You blew out a match.”

Jeff frowned. “How could blowing fire out prove I have fire in me?”

“It didn’t. You have fire in your hands, just like I do.” Pyro raised her right hand, palm up. Her fingertips were already swollen and throbbing. A spark emitted from each finger and flowed together in the center of her palm. A marble sized ball of fire ebbed and crackled in the middle of her hand. She studied it. “When you learn control, you’ll be able to start fires whenever you want. But what is unique about you, is you will also be able to douse them.”

Pyro held the fireball in front of Jeff. “Blow.”

Jeff shrugged and blew on the fire as if extinguishing birthday candles. A thin frost doused the flame and coated Pyro’s hand. Jeff blinked, thinking he was seeing things. He scraped a finger through the frost on her palm and touched it to his tongue. Cold and wet.
Pyro wiped her hand on her pants leg. “Fire and ice. I can’t even begin to imagine how you do that. But, Jeff, I can tell you no one has ever had opposing elements. Ever.”

Reviews:

I found myself falling in love with all the characters in the book. I loved the different abilities each one of them have. Kai did an outstanding job writing this book. I could not put it down. It is filled with lots of action and even some romance. Everything you want in a book. Victoria for Page Turners Blog

Can’t wait for the sequel! – Christopher White for Amazon

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About the author:

When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and short stories for the younger ones, Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website, http://www.kaistrand.com.

Click here for the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Guest Post: Scott Harpstrite and Comic Book Movies

Scott 1Today I am pleased to welcome Scott Harpstrite as he discusses the evolution of the modern comic book movie. Scott is a Research Lab Supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. I know what you’re thinking: “So he understands liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, but how does this qualify him to discuss comics?” I’ll tell you. As I’ve mentioned before, I am a recovering comic book addict. On Saturday mornings, I frequently paced the mall (faster than most of the senior citizens, but not all). I did this not for exercise, but in anticipation of the comic book store opening; and Scott strode next to me. In many ways, our addictions fed off one another. This post couldn’t go on forever, so many notable movies had to go unmentioned. Please use the comments section to talk about your favorite (or least favorite) comic book movie. And come back here Friday at 4pm CDT for a companion article about my favorite graphic novels.

The First authorericprice.com Giveaway!

To make this more fun, I’ve decided to give away my unopened Collector’s Pack of the Wolverine/Gambit: Victims mini-series. So please, enter to win and tell all the comic book fans you know. To clarify one of the criteria, you can get entries by commenting on either this post or the one I will run on Friday, but not both…I don’t think. The same giveaway will be connected to Friday’s post. Click the link at the bottom to go to the giveaway (I can’t figure out how to make the giveaway show up here).

I can think of no better way to prove to myself I’ve progressed in my recovery than to give away something I once coveted. I reread my opened copy the other night. Aside from having an interesting “modern-day Jack the Ripper” storyline written by Jeph Loeb, in all of their 1995 glory, issues three and four have autostereograms: One for Spider-man they other for Mallrats. Remember those pictures you’d stare at until a hidden image appeared?

The Modern Age of Comic Book Movies

By Scott Harpstrite

In today’s world, movies based on comics are commonplace.  Previously vetted material, from various genres, with the added bonus of an eager, established audience, provides a straightforward moneymaking concept.  In this spring and summer’s blockbuster season, we’ve seen five movies with origins in comics: Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, Red 2, R.I.P.D., and The Wolverine (and who knows, I may be overlooking one or two).  But things were not always like this.  Not so long ago, movies adapted from comic books were rare.

Cover of "Superman - The Movie"
Cover of Superman – The Movie

In 1978, Superman set the bar for modern comic book movies very high.  Christopher Reeve’s portrayal of Superman made people believe a man could fly.  The movie captured the heart and soul of the comic book.  But as the series continued with its three sequels, the quality of the plots declined, their popularity dwindled, and profits decreased.  While the Superman franchise died, the idea of adapting comics into movies lingered.  In 1989 the genre leaped forward with Batman.  Tim Burton’s vision of Gotham City and The Caped Crusader was drawn straight from the comics, dark and serious.  Unfortunately Batman quickly followed Superman’s path.  The franchise saw three sequels, each considered worse than the previous.  Fortunately, the realm of comic book adaptations expanded beyond these two well-known superheroes.  Several other films based on comics debuted: The Mask, Judge Dredd, Barb Wire, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Phantom, Spawn, and The Crow. By reaching beyond the superhero genre, these movies received a broad range of acceptance.

Now it was around this time when I stumbled across comic books.  I instantly became obsessed, reveling in the fantastical worlds, the exaggerated personalities, and the always-epic storylines.  While I gave a great effort to learn about and follow many comic book universes, I lived in the world of the X-Men.  As the Batman movies came and went, I was sinking deeper and deeper into everything X.  Looking at other comic book adaptations, I impatiently waited for the day X-Men would finally hit the big screen.  And just a few years later, an X-Men movie was in theaters; leading to one of my fondest memories…

Cover of "X-Men (Widescreen Edition)"
Cover of X-Men (Widescreen Edition)

Several weeks after opening weekend, my girlfriend and I sat in an almost empty theater. Wolverine, face down in the snow, had just been thrown through his truck’s windshield and slid across the ice. Seconds earlier, Rogue had told him he should wear a seatbelt. We crack up laughing, and the odd sensation of someone watching me set in.  Still laughing, I looked around.  No one else was laughing, and a few of the moviegoers had looked at us, with expressions of curiosity and disbelief on their faces.

As much as they must have wanted to know what we found so funny, I wanted to know why they were not laughing. After a moment of pondering, I understood.  They must have thought that we had already seen the movie and therefore knew what was coming[1].  We had not previously watched the movie.  Yet, we did know what would come next[2].  Wolverine would stand up, grumble, and his wounds would disappear.  We knew the same metal on his claws (adamantium, shown minutes beforehand) covered his entire skeleton, making it nearly indestructible.  We knew any injuries he received from breaking through the glass windshield and skidding across the ground were short-lived, thanks to his mutant healing factor.

At this time, I also understood we watched completely different movies.  I watched my heroes, characters whose struggles I enthusiastically followed.  I watched villains I despised, yet sometimes sympathized with.  I watched my favorite comic books in live-action.  Everyone else in the theater saw something different.  They had just heard ominous introductory narrative on evolution and watched a boy torn away from his family entering a Nazi concentration camp.  They had heard the screams of a teenage girl after a kiss put her boyfriend into convulsions, followed by a Senate debate on the rights of people born different.  They had just witnessed a rough-looking man (whose dog-tag read Wolverine), in a brutal cage fight, a near bar fight where metal claws tore from his knuckles, and a violent crash.  They watched a serious, dark movie.

This difference is the key to comic book adaptations becoming successful movies.  While many people went to see their favorite characters in theaters, many more just went to see a movie, with characters and storylines new to them.  Here were successful comic book characters being tested in the movie format.  If a comic-uninitiated audience enjoyed the movie, it would make money, and justify making another adaptation (i.e. Daredevil, Hellboy, Spiderman, Constantine).

Also, if a particular title turned a profit, a sequel would follow.  If the title failed, it was put back on the shelf…but no longer permanently.  Much like the comic book characters they were based upon, movie franchises can come back from the dead[3].  Almost a decade after Batman Forever ended the series, it began anew with Batman Begins.  Gone for almost twenty years, the Superman franchise returned with Superman Returns, failed, and is now rebooted with Man of Steel.

A new constant for the field developed: several years after a title fails, or even fades slightly, it can reappear to be tried again. This stability allowed the field to expand and experiment.  Now, instead of movies simply retelling popular stories and themes, they sometimes emulate the comic book style, trying to nearly reproduce the comic book on-screen.  Sin City is presented almost entirely in high contrast black and white, very similar to the graphic novels[4].  Watchmen and 300 have the camera angles produce identical views as the comic book panels [5].  These movies are nearly the same as viewing a comic while actors dictate the word bubbles.

Comic book adaptations have changed greatly since the time of Superman. Comics solidified their place in the movie industry through slow and steady expansion. This stability led to some less predictable changes.  Now, movies based on comic books range from a new story for a character originating in a comic book, to an attempt to bring a comic book to life by placing the pictures from the paper pages onto the screen.

Footnotes:

[1] It is also possibly they thought we’re sadistic for laughing at a man getting hurt…which in retrospect does seem a bit sadistic.

[2] My girlfriend, while not obsessed (she didn’t even read comics), had a great knowledge of the X-Men due to us living together.  I believe it is a common occurrence that anyone living with a comic book collector inadvertently (and sometimes unwillingly) absorbs an advanced knowledge of comics.

[3] Death in comics has little meaning.  Returning from death (or perceived death) is far too common, especially for very popular characters with significant deaths: Jean Grey, Superman, Jason Todd (the second Robin), The Flash, Captain America, Batman, Jean Grey again (To tell the truth, I don’t know if she’s currently alive or dead.  She dies and comes back a lot, which makes sense, her codename is Phoenix.).

[4] I don’t want to get into a semantic debate concerning the terms “comic book” and “graphic novel”.  For the purposes of this discussion, I consider them the same type of literature, just packaged differently.

[5] While it is my current favorite comic/graphic novel and movie, I did not mention Scott Pilgrim because it seems to simultaneously be a movie based on a graphic novel and a graphic novel based on a movie.

Don’t forget! You can enter to win an unopened box set of Wolverine/Gambit: Victims 1-4.IMG_20130805_223558_767
Click here for a Rafflecopter giveaway!