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Welcome author Emerald Barnes with her new release The Marked!

The Marked blog tour badge (1)

Thanks for hosting me. Today, I want to introduce you to Myka Williams from The Marked.

My name is Myka Williams. I’m seventeen, and I go to Knight’s Academy in Crescent Hill, Tennessee. I live in the dorms here with my best friend, Olivia Michaels.

Some days, I don’t recognize the girl staring back at me. Some days, I can barely function because I can’t sleep. There’s this wolf in my dreams, and I get the sense that she’s real somehow. Like I can sense her thoughts. Like I’m the wolf. Which isn’t possible, but it feels so real. And it keeps me up at night.

There’s also this guy. His name is Milo, and he’s so frustrating! He’s cute—like really cute—but he’s so…broody. I guess that’s the right word.

One day, he’s giving me gifts, almost kissing me, and the next, he ignores me, basically pushes me away. Something happened between us during Parents’ Weekend, but he won’t tell me what it is. See, I fainted and hit my head, but that doesn’t explain the weird snake-like mark on my neck. No one knows what happened but him, and he won’t talk to me.

Then there’s Preston. If Milo is frustrating, Preston is so much worse. He’s possessive—and he has a really bad anger problem, like he should take anger management classes it’s so bad. He won’t leave me alone. No matter how much I tell him to. Something is wrong with him, and I hate being around him.

I miss my family, and that can’t surprise anyone more than it does me. I thought being at Knight’s Academy would give me purpose. I thought I could figure out who I was, but I was wrong. I’m still adopted, and I still don’t know who my real parents are. My adoptive family, Barry and Jilly, are great, don’t get me wrong. I love them, and I can’t imagine life without them. But, there’s something missing, and I can’t put my finger on it.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I just want to run, much like the wolf I’m dreaming about. As if life wasn’t complicated enough…

The one good thing that has come from being at Knight’s Academy is meeting Olivia. Liv is in every way my opposite, but she keeps me distracted from what’s running through my head on a daily basis. She’s great, really. I’ve never had a best friend before. I tend to push everyone away. That’s why I was okay with moving from Mississippi to Tennessee. I didn’t have anyone at home to hold me back. At least that’s what I thought until I came here. I miss Barry and Jilly. I want to go back home, but I need to finish my year out at Knight’s Academy.

At least I have my art to keep me company. That’s about the only thing I can count on these days. But, I keep painting the wolf… Maybe it’s not the best distraction after all.

Well, I have to go. I have classes to get to. Pray for me. Trig is my first class. I hate Trig.

TheMarked1400x2100About The Marked: Knight’s Academy Book 1:

Myka Williams has never fit in with her peers, and although her adoptive parents are loving and supportive, she feels most at home alone in the woods.

When she’s offered a full scholarship to Knight’s Academy in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, she takes the opportunity for a fresh start. She soon learns that Knight’s Academy is more than just a school. Within the stone walls of the institution, humans and vampires are mixing, and their offspring are going unnoticed.

As Myka falls prey to the evil plan of the school, she makes a chilling discovery about her own heritage and realizes that she’s at the Academy for more than just an education. Myka must yield to her birthright at the risk of losing everyone she loves or succumb to the fate that Knight’s Academy has in store for her—a fate worse than death.

Where to Buy The Marked:

Amazon

Amazon UK

Nook

iTunes

Kobo

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About Emerald:

Emerald Barnes resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it. She’s an auntie, a youth leader, a Whovian, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family-oriented person. God is number One in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor. She’s addicted to tv and binge-watching shows, and she has a thing for superheroes.

Connect with Emerald:

Website: http://www.emeraldbarnes.us

Blog: ebarnes23.wordpress.com

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/emeraldbarnes

Facebook: www.facebook.com/fanpageforemeraldbarnes

Twitter: www.twitter.com/emeraldbarnes

Street Team: http://www.facebook.com/groups/emeraldbarnesstreetteam

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/emeraldbarnes

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/emerald_barnes

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The Portal's Choice banner

Today KD Pryor is stopping off here at The Dark Phantom during her The Portal’s Choice Book Blast! Be sure to fill out the rafflecopter form below to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

About the Book:

The Portal's Choice

Journal, just in case . . .

I didn’t ask to meet ghosts. Shoot, I was fine without them in my life. Uncle Craig and Hannah were nasty to me, but at least I knew how to handle living pains in the butt. Now I have to figure out how to open and close a portal between the human and spirit worlds. And I have to find and return a bunch of angry ghosts through the gateway and lock them on their side. I don’t know why the portal chose me to do this, a fifteen-year-old kid with no ghost busting experience. But it did. And if I want a ghost-free night’s sleep anytime soon, I’d better figure out how to get the job done. Because I’ve about had it with murderous ghouls and their unpleasant agendas. “Signed Tallis Challinor”

After the death of her parents, Tallis Challinor and her brother Wyatt must move to the Midwest to live with their dead mother’s sister and her family. When Aunt Sandra dies three-and-a-half years later, Tallis and Wyatt find themselves moving yet again, this time to New Hampshire to live with their father’s sister, Aunt Gabbie, and her husband Noreis. Gabbie is young, pretty and fun. Tallis remembers being a little girl and playing with her Aunt at the family home in California, before her parents died. So Tallis is excited to re-locate and reconnect with Gabbie. But what should have been a happy reunion is plagued with problems when Noreis opens a portal between the spirit and human worlds located in the basement of the house.

Tallis is a practical kid. She doesn’t believe that ghosts exist. But she can’t deny what she sees with her own eyes and the two ghosts Tallis meets at Thanksgiving in the basement of her aunt’s house are definitely not figments of her imagination, although she wishes they were. Tallis is unwittingly drawn into the portal’s energy when one of the ghosts fixates on her and forces her to assist in the release of three particularly nasty spirits. As a final blow, the portal chooses Tallis as a temporary gatekeeper and she finds herself charged with the duty of returning the very ghouls she’s set free, plus a few of their buddies, back to the spirit realm.

As Tallis learns the secrets of the portal and begins to understand her newly acquired power, she formulates a plan to return the ghosts. Along the way, she receives help from many new friends who fill in the details about the identity of the escaped spirits, providing a possible motive for the outrageous actions of the escaped ghosts. Tallis must learn to trust herself and others as she taps into her inner courage to get the job done and save her town from the angry restless dead set.

Purchase your copy:

AMAZON

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Book Excerpt:

April 29th, 2:30 in the morning

One week to go.

I feel it, the nearness of the spirits. The fact thateverything is aligning to some sort of conclusion. I hopeI’m ready. I hope I have the power to finish this thing. And, I hope that Gregory Millard calls soon.

The shrill ring of the phone pierced the late night silence ofthe house, startling me out of an exhausted sleep. My body jerkedto semi-awareness and I reached for it, knocking it to the floor inmy confusion. I reached down, patted the floor, and finally foundthe phone as it rang for the third time.

“Yeah?” I mumbled.

“Hello, can you hear me?” shouted a voice I didn’t recognize.

I was groggy with sleep and confused as to my exact location.The voice continued hollering at me, but I had trouble focusingon it as my sluggish brain worked to figure out why I wasn’t inmy bed. Finally, I remembered that I’d fallen asleep on the sofain the front room. Satisfied that I could place my body in space, Idirected my mind to the person who was calling. A glance at theclock on the wall said it was 2:00. In the morning.

“Who is this?” I asked, stretching my neck until I felt a loud,satisfying crack.

“My name is …” a male voice started, then abruptly stopped.The connection appeared to be lost.

“Hey, are you there?” I hollered back into the phone, assumingthat if the caller had to yell to be heard, he needed me to yell backat him.

“Tallis, what’s going on down there?” my aunt, Gabbie, calledto me. She hurried down the creaky, wooden staircase.

“Phone call,” I mumbled when she appeared in the doorway.“But I think the connection’s broken. It wasn’t too good to startwith.”

Gabbie moved to my side and looked down at me. Theflickering fire in the wood stove illuminated the paleness of herskin and amplified the heavy shadows under her eyes. She lookedawful, much older than her twenty-seven years.

“Do you think?” she began, and then swallowed. “Is it him?”

I shook my head. “I don’t know.”

The voice burst through the static. “Gregory Millard.” He wasgone again.

About the Author:

KD PryorKD Pryor started life in Missouri, where she read lots of books, even sneaking them into baseball games to the irritation of her father. Kelley graduated with a degree in International and Comparative Studies from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. After college and marriage to a great guy, she decided to pursue a law degree at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. Her oldest son was born soon after law school, followed three years later by her daughter and a move to Kentucky. One more son, a move to Ohio and four years later, her family jumped on the opportunity to move to India. They lived in Bangalore, now Bengaluru, for four wonderfully chaotic years, traveling all over Asia, Australia and Europe.

Now, settled in New Hampshire with her family and herd of cats (only three), she can often be found in her office, working on the next installment of “The Gatekeepers of Em’pyrean” series, reading one of a dozen books she has started, and dreaming of her future travel destinations.

“The Portal’s Choice”, book one in “The Gatekeeper’s of Em’pyrean” series featuring Tallis Challinor, was released on May 6, 2013.

“The Forgotten Gate”, book two in the series, is scheduled for release in 2014.

Visit her website at www.kdpryor.com.

Connect & Socialize with KD!

TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Pump Up Your Book and KD Pryor are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins August 5 and ends August 30.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, September 3, 2013.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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The Sixth Power banner

Carol Nicolas lives in northern Utah (USA) with her husband. A native of Canada, she attended BYU-Idaho (formerly Ricks College) and obtained a bachelor’s degree in education from Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah USA). A teacher, mother of five, wearer of silly socks, and fan of sci-fi/fantasy books and films, she enjoys growing herbs and vegetables, painting, and researching her family history. She likes rock, pop, Celtic and classical music. She has traveled throughout Europe; her favorite city there is Paris, though the romance of Venice is a close second. She speaks American English (with a Canadian accent after she has been talking with her Canadian family on the telephone for just a few minutes), as well a basic modern Greek, which she studied for 4 years to be able to communicate with her husband’s family on their bi-annual trips to Greece. Her deepest secret: she hides chocolate in her desk for emergencies!

Her latest book is the YA paranormal, The Sixth Power.

You can visit Carol’s blog site at http://carolnicolas.wordpress.com

Carol NicolasWould you call yourself a born writer?

I’ve always been fascinated by storytelling in all its forms, but I started writing stories and poems as a teenager.

What was your inspiration for The Sixth Power?

I had the most interesting dream about three siblings sitting together in a crowded room, and the older sister and brother were breathing for their little sister.  When I woke up, I thought, Hmmm.  That would make a good story.  So I began to write.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?  

I explore love, good versus evil, heroism, responsibility, growing up, forgiveness, healing from trauma, developing talents, love…

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

From the first time I dreamed about the characters to the day The Sixth Power was published, it was five years, but I didn’t work continually on the same story.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.  

I can’t say I’m disciplined, as my regular life seems to encroach on my writing time way too much.  But here’s my schedule:  get up, have breakfast, get son off to school, exercise, tidy house, write, lunch, write, pick up son, run errands, make supper, eat, do dishes, write, go to bed, read, sleep.  If I had no other distractions, I’d probably spend almost all day writing.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

The biggest challenge was learning how to take constructive criticism, because whenever someone made a suggestion on what wasn’t working or needed to be changed, my initial reaction was, “NOOOO!”

What do you love most about being an author?

I love the process of creating characters and putting them into situations, and then just seeing where they go from there.  They take on a life of their own.  It’s really fascinating.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

I self published.  Marketing is a whole different animal from writing, and it requires a different set of skills.  Thanks to my wonderful husband, I haven’t had to shoulder all of the marketing myself, but I would gladly let a traditional publisher handle it next time.  However, the trend seems to be for authors to do more of their marketing, so perhaps it’s a good thing I started out this way.

Where can we find you on the web?

web/blog

http://carolnicolas.wordpress.com

Facebook

http://www.facebook.com/carolnicolaswriter

Twitter http://www.twitter.com/carolcnicolas

Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6906036.Carol_Nicolas

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The Sixth Power

About the Book:

Tania Westing, a high school senior, is one of the Gifted Ones, descendants of an ancient family with seven special powers. Some of the powers are common, and some are rare.

Until her geneticist brother Tom was murdered, Tania lived an ordinary life. Now hidden in her mind is a clue that will reveal Tom’s research, including secret formulas to unlock all seven powers. During spring break, Tania meets and falls in love with handsome Dan Maclean. When Tania reveals her rare power to heal, the evil Gifted Ones who killed Tom suspect Tania has his research and formulas and come after her. Tania must learn to use her powers to help save Dan’s sister in time to keep Tom’s secrets safe.

Purchase your copy:

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

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Watch the Trailer!

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Enter to win a $75 Amazon Gift Card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Please welcome my special guest, New York Times bestselling YA author Maggie Stiefvater! Maggie is the creator of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. SHIVER was released last year and has garnered some excellent reviews. This month, however, Maggie is touring the blogosphere to promote the release of the second book in the series, LINGER.

About LINGER:
(Blurb taken from the author’s website)

In Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabel, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love—the light and the dark, the warm and the cold—in a way you will never forget.

Interview:

It’s a pleasure having you on my blog, Maggie! In the first book, SHIVER, the story is told from two points of view, that of Grace’s and Sam’s. What made you decide to use four points of view in LINGER?

I really wanted to make the story a bit of a wider focus, both to see Sam and Grace’s relationship from the outside but also to get a different perspective on life in Mercy Falls. Isabel’s point of view was a very late addition to the manuscript.

Isabel has an important role in this book. What compelled you to continue her story? Did you know in book I that she would eventually have such a major role?

I actually just put her in Shiver as the mean girl with Reasons for Being Mean, and the more I wrote her, the more interested I got in the nuances of her character. I was a bit of an ice princess in the first few years of college, and people tend to take that icy princess shell at face value. So frosty = bitch. When sometimes frosty = hiding, shy, or uncomfortable with making sincere relationships. Isabel lets me dig deep into what the girl behind the mascara.

In SHIVER Grace’s parents are almost nonexistent, hardly ever getting involved in their daughter’s life. In book II their attitude seems to change. Why?

Ah, Grace’s parents. When I sold Shiver, I prepared myself for reviews that grumbled about the sexual content. What I didn’t expect was to get more reviews talking about the absentee parenting of Grace’s parents. The thing is, I’ve met a lot of parents like Grace’s — more and more, actually, as I get older. They don’t see themselves as bad parents. They did their job; got their kids into high school without bad grades or drugs or wiccan rituals or an extreme love of World of Warcraft. They’re upper middle class white folks. Well-spoken, well-educated, two-income families that look quite ideal from the outside. But they aren’t families, they’re solar systems. Solitary planets who just happen to be in the same orbit due to the gravitational pull of the same last name. You might even know some of them. But I’ve talked to these teens who come from these families. Teens who drive themselves home, who have the house to themselves while their parents go on second and third honeymoons for a long weekend, who know more about their college plans than their parents. They exist. Trust me. Ask any high school teacher.

Anyway, in LINGER, Grace’s parents, floating as they were, get shocked out of their complacency when the natural order of things is disrupted. I try to be truthful in my characterizations even when it’s as annoying as all get out for me as a writer.

What was your inspiration for Cole and what made you decide to make him a rock star?

Cole! Cole was originally designed to make Sam look good. Sad, but true. I really, really have this thing for opposites in my fiction. Before a really bad scene, I’ll have a really pretty one. For every good relationship, a bad one. For every really nice boy, a really bad rocker one. *evil grin* Anyway, Cole was to be everything that Sam wasn’t. He also had to have a very good reason for choosing to go with Beck.

I just realized I still haven’t actually said “why rock star.” I can’t remember the exact moment I decided to make him a famous musician, actually. I remember that he had his roots in a character that I toyed with in a short story [http://community.livejournal.com/merry_fates/37340.html] I wrote on Merry Sisters of Fate, called Heart-Shaped Box. You can kind of see the scaffolding there for his personality and for the the relationship between Cole and his friend Victor.

How do you go about maintaining your characters’ motivations believable throughout your stories? Is this a conscious decision or does it happen automatically as you write?

Wow, you have good questions (and hard ones). I think of my novels as character driven stories so therefore, to me, the characters’ motivations are always the most important thing. I can’t write the next scene until I ask myself: how will this affect them? What are the possible things they would do next?

Of course, I know the character arcs beforehand, so sometimes I have to come at it backwards. Like: I want this character to change in this way. What needs to happen to make that happen?

It is definitely not automatic.

Thank you for having me on your blog!

Thank you, Maggie, and best of luck with your tour!

LINGER trailer…

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