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P.I. AlltraineP.I. Alltraine is an award winning poet and author. She has won several international poetry competitions, and her poems have been published in separate anthologies.

She teaches English Language and Literature in London. She earned her degree in BA English from Queen Mary University of London, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and Master’s in Teaching at the UCL Institute of Education, University of London.

Before moving to London, she lived in the Philippines where she was ensconced in the rich culture encrusted with dark myths and enchanted tales. She draws inspiration from these in her writing. Although she has lived indifferent places and experienced different cultures, she always enjoyed the constancy of writing in her life. Her favourite authors include John Milton, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce.

Her latest book is the YA fantasy romance, Heartbound.

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About the Book:

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

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

For More Information

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

Heartbound teaser 2

Would you call yourself a born writer?

Writing is something I always knew I could do. When I was at school, some of my friends could sing, some could draw… I could write. I was the editor in chief of the school paper so I edited and wrote news articles, I wrote many of the school plays I performed in, I entered poetry writing competitions and performed spoken word poetry, I wrote the speeches I delivered in oratorical competitions, declamation, debates, etc. At the time, I thought I was doing so many different things, but looking back, everything I chose to do involved writing. When I was writing Heartbound, there were times when I didn’t agree with my characters’ actions, but I couldn’t change anything because it wasn’t my decision anymore. That’s when I realised what being a writer truly meant. Everyone can write a story, but to create a world with a life of its own, that takes a writer.

What was your inspiration for Heartbound?

The story came to me and demanded to be written. I know, I know. That’s the most clichéd answer ever, but writers keep saying it for a reason. It’s hard to describe the impact of a powerful idea. When it hits a writer, it’s no longer a choice. You have to write it, or it will drive you mad. In my case, I was minding my own business, and all of a sudden, there was this image in my head. It hit me so hard that I had to stop what I was doing. I picked up a pen and paper and started to scribble. My husband walked in and found me on the floor with pieces of papers around me. At that point, the outline of Heartbound was completed—chapter by chapter, from beginning to end.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

I’m interested in exploring the complexities of what it means to be human, to be alive, to find a resolution between who you’re meant to be and who you want to be, to find the courage to go against the tides, refuse to conform, and fight for something that means everything to you but means nothing to everyone else.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

It took 3 years to complete and edit Heartbound, but since I didn’t have any set deadlines at the time, I only wrote when I could. The actual writing time would probably add up to just a few months.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I’m an English teacher, which is pretty hectic, so I don’t always get to write during term times. I get the bulk of my writing done when I’m on my holiday. Otherwise, I take advantage of the silence I find in the early hours of the morning.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Finding the time to write it.

What do you love most about being an author?

There is such delight in creating a whole world.

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?

Heartbound is published by a small press called Soul Mate Publishing, New York. It was a very quick process for me. First, I did some research on credible agents and publishers that would be interested in my genre. I randomly picked one from the list, just to see how the process worked and what a rejection letter looked like. Two weeks later, I got a request for the full manuscript, and two weeks after that I was offered a contract. I had a difficult decision to make because I hadn’t really tried anything else at that point. However, from what I heard, querying agents could take months for a reply (even a rejection reply), and even if someone took me on, there was no guarantee they could sell it to a publisher—and I already had a publisher interested. In the end, it made sense to seize the opportunity. I have to say that I made the right choice signing with them. The whole team—from the editors, the cover artists, the authors—have been so accommodating and supportive. I’ve learned so much from Debby, the chief editor. Most importantly, because SMP is not a big corporate publishing machine, I feel like I’ve had a voice in the whole process.

Where can we find you on the web?

I’m building a (spoken word) poetry collection that will hopefully be ready for publication next year. There’s a video performance available for Unmoving, and a few more from the collection should be up soon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2q4JxaN1fw

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/p.i.alltraine

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: http://pialltraine.com

 

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Arielle StraussArielle Strauss is a twenty-two year old author, actress, and percussionist originally from Freehold, New Jersey. She graduated with a BA in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College, where she began to write “The Wraith Trilogy.” She’s pleased to finally share her first novel, The Wraith, and the sequel, The Huntress, with the world.

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About the Books:

The Wraith 2The Wraith – Ophelia Weller never believed in ghosts until the night she became one. But when the aftermath of a frat party on the most haunted campus in America leaves her face to face with her own naked corpse, she really has no other option. Now a wraith, Ophelia is a spirit hidden amongst the living. Forced to conceal her undead identity from the world, and struggling to remain visible to the humans around her, how will she ever manage to convince her dearest friend of the truth? Or muster the courage to tell her beautiful gym partner that she just may be in love with her? And, with no memory of her death, how will Ophelia solve the mystery of her murder?

For More Information

  • The Wrath is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

The Huntress 2The Huntress – Ophelia’s been dead for several weeks, but she’s still around. Yet other students at Ohio University are dropping like flies, never to return. Surely the most haunted campus in America is home to other wraiths like herself? Ophelia is determined to find them—and to discover the truth about why she continues to dwell in the world of mortals. But faced with a mysterious clan of ghost hunters closing in, threatening to end her unlife, three meddlesome (and crotchety) divine beings determined to control her new existence, and a best friend with more than friendly feelings for the love of her life, how long will Ophelia be able to hide the truth of her death—and her destiny?

For More Information

  • The Huntress is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Would you call yourself a born writer?

Sure. But I’m also a born actor.

What was your inspiration for The Wraith Trilogy?

Funnily enough, The Twilight Saga. I say it’s funny because I wrote the books as a challenge to create something better. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the Twilight books, but “AnTwiNoWriMo” is about writing a 50-thousand-word paranormal romance novel in one month that bests those books. It’s harder than the challenge made it out to be. Especially since the month was only 28 days!

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

Well, death, obviously. But I also like to explore the limitlessness of love, obsession, fate, and compassion.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

I wrote each of them in a month, but the editing process took years. I’m still editing the third book in the trilogy.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

Coming home from school and sitting at my computer until at least 2k words were banged out.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Making giant changes to the story was hard, but sometimes necessary. It affects the outcome of everything; so changing one thing changes a lot of things.

What do you love most about being an author?

When people say to me, “When’s the next book coming out? I need it!”

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, which is a lot easier than the traditional method, but it also means I’m fully responsible for any f*ck-ups. (Excuse my French.) I’m happy with my decision to self-publish, but I’m not as happy with some of the decisions I made in the process. Next time, I know exactly what to do. Everything is a learning experience.

Where can we find you on the web?   

Find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Arielle-Strauss/212821772227597

I love Facebook!

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JRD1James Ryan Daley is a writer, editor, and digital designer. After earning an MFA in fiction at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2004, James has spent most of the years since teaching writing to college students, creating websites about video games, and editing anthologies of fiction and political rhetoric. When he’s not glued to his computer, James can usually be found skiing the slopes of Vermont’s famous mountains or sailing the harbors of Rhode Island. He lives in Newport, RI with his wife and two daughters.

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Jesus Jackson. What was your inspiration for it?

A: While the plot of Jesus Jackson centers on a murder mystery, at its heart, it’s the story of a young man searching for answers to the same huge, impossible, unanswerable questions that we all ask ourselves all the time: Is there a god? What happens after I die? How well do I really know the people in my life? How do I make sense of all the crazy, sad, frustrating, and unfair things that life is constantly throwing at me? These are all questions that I struggled with quite a bit when I was a teenager (and still struggle with, frankly).  Jesus Jackson was a fun and intriguing way of exploring them.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist.

A: In this story, Jonathan is in a sort of philosophical limbo that I think a lot of people experience: he has come to conclusion that he doesn’t believe in any type of god or religion, but he hasn’t yet figured out how to deal with life’s challenges without a belief system to guide him. This story is largely about Jonathan coming to understand how to live his life in the absence of any specific religious faith.

Q: How was your creative process like during the writing of this book and how long did it take you to complete it? Did you face any bumps along the way?

A: Writing the first draft of Jesus Jackson was actually a fairly smooth process: I woke up early every morning, wrote a few pages, and repeated until it was done. Revising the story was a whole lot less smooth. I had to go through multiple revisions (some of them quite extensive, and none of them easy) before I wound up with a finished product that I was really happy with.

jesusQ: How do you keep your narrative exciting throughout the creation of a novel?

A: I just always try to ask myself what would be fun to read about next if I were the reader instead of the writer. Usually that leads me to jump right into something exciting.

Q: Do you experience anxiety before sitting down to write? If yes, how do you handle it?

A: I’ve always found that the best way to deal with that kind of anxiety is to avoid it. For me, that means waking up as early as I can stand to, and sitting down to write before I have enough time to start worrying about it.

Q: What is your writing schedule like and how do you balance it with your other work and family time?

A:  Most of my other work is done on a freelance basis these days, so my schedule is pretty flexible. That flexibility can be just as much of a curse as a blessing, though, because it’s easy to get caught up in other projects, especially when you’re approaching a deadline. That’s another reason why I try to write in the morning, before I have a chance to get distracted.  If I’m approaching an immediate deadline for my writing, though, then all bets are off: it’s just wake up, write, and keep writing until it’s time to go to sleep again.

Q: How do you define success?

A: As an author, I would define success simply having an audience. If there are people who read your book, enjoy it, and want to read your next one: that’s success.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers whose spouses or partners don’t support their dreams of becoming an author?

A:  That’s a tough one. I’m extremely fortunate to have a wife who has always been supportive of my writing, and who happens to be an amazing editor, as well.  I honestly don’t know what advice I would give to someone whose spouse is actively against their writing, except to say that, sooner or later, they’re going have a pretty serious decision to make.

Q: George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” Do you agree?

A: Absolutely, though I tend to equate writing more with an incurable addiction than a painful illness. I feel miserable when I don’t write. I feel great after I’ve just finished writing. Most of the time, the actual writing itself is mildly disappointing, but every once in a while, it feels absolutely amazing.

Q:  Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

A: Yes: that they should all go check out the trailer I made for Jesus Jackson. I basically spent half of my summer learning how to use professional film-making software, and the other half actually making this trailer. The response to it has been really amazing, so I am sure that they will consider it a well-spent 80 seconds. Here’s the link: http://youtu.be/iD3nMqCzjxo 

Book info:

Title:  Jesus Jackson
Genre:  Young Adult Mystery
Author: James Ryan Daley
Website: www.jamesryandaley.com
Publisher:  The Poisoned Pencil
The Poisoned Pen / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

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Julian Rosado-Machain 2Julian Rosado-Machain has enjoyed pizza in three continents, worked in graphic design, armored vehicles, built computers, handcrafted alebrijes and swears that he has seen at least one ghost.

He lives in San Diego, California. And enjoys the sun with his wife, three children and cat.

His latest book is the YA fantasy adventure, Guardians Inc.: The Cypher.

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About the Book:

Guardians Inc 7GUARDIANS INC.: THE CYPHER is two stories in one. A glimpse into a multinational company that is in reality the oldest of secret societies, one that spans close to seven thousand years of existence, weaving in and out of history, guiding and protecting humanity from creatures and forces that most of us believe are only mythology and fairy tales.

The other is the story of Thomas Byrne, a young man thrust into secrets he shouldn’t be aware of and dangers he shouldn’t face but, that he ultimately will, for he is a Cypher. The only one who can steer humanity’s future.

The ultimate conspiracy theory is that Magic is real. Kept in check by technology but, every five hundred years the balance can shift and, if it does, technology will fail and those creatures we’ve driven into myth will come back with a vengeance.

To protect the present, Guardians Incorporated needs to know the future, and to unlock the future they need a Cypher.

This is the first book of the Guardians Inc Series.

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Would you call yourself a born writer?

MMHMMM. I would rather call myself a born storyteller… If we were in caves I would be the one telling the tribe how Tog killed the longtusks with a mace while Agarut burned himself with the red thingy… As for writer, well, it is the medium we have.

Maybe in some years we’ll have direct to brain downloads…or maybe we’ll go back into caves!

I’m the guy with the Tall tales though, BUT I swear I have seen ONE ghost… I’m sure it was a Ghost!

What was your inspiration for Guardians Inc.?

A little bit of everything I have ever read and being interested in, from World War 2 to Robotics to Insects to Mythology….Guardians Inc. has a little bit of everything wrapped into a conspiracy theory to boot!

I know it sounds a little crazy, but believe me, it makes sense, like birds wearing tuxedos in the Antarctic, or a submarine with roll down windows.… You can download it for free and check it out if you don’t believe me.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

Nature, Science, History, Mythology. I always read a lot about these themes and there is always something to explore about them, some hidden connection between all of them that should be brought to light.

We live in a world of connections and order coming out from apparent chaos… The Guardians are those guys that know where to look, and what to avoid.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

Before sitting down to write The Cypher I spent about a year and a half plotting the storylines of the series, the characters, and where I wanted each one to appear and where the storylines should close. Then I wrote a rough “map” of the different books that would make the series.

Along that map, the plot can “wiggle” a little bit. The characters grow by themselves as they live the story.

The Cypher is the first book, but there are two more published: Thundersword and The Four Legged Prophet and I am writing the fourth and fifth books of the series right now.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I am so undisciplined, I can only say that a typical day begins with breakfast,(which can be at 10 or 12 p.m.) and ends with me sleeping until I wake up… My wife hated me until she realized that she actually loves me…

I am alive because I have a good handler.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Writing in English! English is my second language, but I do believe that English is also the language of Fantasy AND Scifi… just as Spanish is the one for historic novels, French is for poetry and Italian is for both compliments AND fighting.

German I don’t know what it is for…maybe just for hardLONGwords!

What do you love most about being an author?

Writing and my typical writing days!

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 totally skipped the search for a publisher or literary agent! I did send a couple of emails just to say I did, but my friend Francisco and I wanted to do Self-publishing from the beginning. Guardians Inc. was a pet project, so we self published….

NOW, on the other hand and 150,000 downloads later, (which I don’t really know if they are really that many… If there is someone out there that can tell me I’ll be grateful) I’m starting to think that I NEED to go the traditional route to really hit on my middle grade market so I’m starting to look for a literary agent and a publisher.

The process has been long and the curve steep and the remaining space is limited, just be assured that it was worthy!

Yep… I can say that I am happy with my decisions so far….

Where can we find you on the web?

www.guardiansinc.com and https://www.facebook.com/Guardians.Incorporated?ref=hl for Facebook and news about Guardians Inc..

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Adam Craig, a forty year-old stock trader in Chicago, finds his marriage teetering on the rocks and his life at a standstill. Desperate and on the edge of personal collapse, Adam takes the advice of a therapist and travels to his childhood family compound on Black Bear Lake with hopes of making peace with his past. Stepping onto the northern Wisconsin property, he relives the painful memories of the summer of 1983, his last summer at the lake. 

In August 1983, a self-conscious fifteen year-old Adam carries a world of worry on his shoulders as he arrives at Black Bear Lake for a month long family reunion. Between anger and fear of mother’s declining health as she quietly battles a quickly spreading cancer and his cherished cousin’s depression over her parents’ bitter divorce, Adam is swept up in smothering familial love among the multiple generations and heartbreaking misunderstanding and betrayal. The arrival of a sensual but troublesome babysitter throws the delicate balance of his family into a tailspin. Blinded by his attraction to the newcomer, Adam fails to see his cousin’s desperate cries for help and the charged electrical current running through his family’s hierarchy. Crushed in the middle of it all, Adam is forced to learn that there’s a fine line between self-preservation and the strength of family blood, all the while unaware of the impending tragedy that will ultimately change his life forever.
 
PURCHASE
 
 
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 
Leslie Liautaud is the author of Midnight Waltzes (2006), He Is Us (2008), The Wreck (2009), SALIGIA (2011), The Mansion (2012) and Summer Nights and Dreams (2012). She is also the author of the coming-of-age novel, Black Bear Lake (CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2014).
Leslie is originally from Kansas City, MO where she worked in the performing arts. Currently, she divides her time between between Key Largo, FL and Champaign, IL with her husband, three teenage children and three rambunctious dogs.
Follow the rest of Leslie’s tour HERE

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LuthiersApprentice_medNiccolò Paganini (1782-1840), one of the greatest violinists who ever lived and rumored to have made a pact with the devil, has somehow transferred unique powers to another…

When violinists around the world mysteriously vanish, 16-year-old Emma Braun takes notice.  But when her beloved violin teacher disappears… Emma takes charge. With Sherlock Holmes fanatic, not to mention gorgeous Corey Fletcher, Emma discovers a parallel world ruled by an ex-violinist turned evil sorceress who wants to rule the music world on her own terms.

But why are only men violinists captured and not women? What is the connection between Emma’s family, the sorceress, and the infamous Niccolò Paganini?

Emma must unravel the mystery in order to save her teacher from the fatal destiny that awaits him.  And undo the curse that torments her family—before evil wins and she becomes the next luthier’s apprentice…

AMAZON / B&N

——————————————–

The Luthier’s Apprentice

 

Chapter One 

Brussels, Belgium

Present day

 

Sixteen-year old Emma Braun got off the school bus and strode down Stockel Square toward her home. She glanced up at the October sky and wrapped her wool scarf tighter around her neck. Heavy dark clouds threatened a downpour.

As she passed a newspaper stand, the headlines on The Brussels Gazette caught her attention:

ANOTHER VIOLINIST VANISHES!

Emma stopped. For a moment she could only stare. She dug into her jacket pocket for coins and bought a copy.

The newspaper article left her stunned. Not only because three well-known violinists had gone missing in the last several months, but because the latest one was her teacher, Monsieur Dupriez.

The news story seemed so hard to believe, she stopped at the next street corner to read it one more time.

It was the last week of October, and the shops and homes were lightly adorned with Halloween decorations. Pumpkins and Jack-o-lanterns sat on doorsteps. Witches, broomsticks, and black cats hunkered down in windows and shops. Just last evening, Emma had sauntered along this street with her best friend Annika, unconcerned and looking forward to Halloween. Now, everything had turned dark and ominous.

The strange incidents she had experienced for the past two weeks added to her stress.

At first she had thought they were a string of coincidences, but not anymore. While scowling at obnoxious Billie Lynam during school recess, for instance, she wished he would fall flat on his face… and half a minute later, her wish was granted. On various occasions she guessed people’s thoughts before they spoke. And yesterday, on her way home from school, she accurately guessed the meal her mom had left on the table for her.

Was she some kind of a psychic? If so, why now? People didn’t develop powers like these overnight. Did they?

She hadn’t told her mom about her new abilities yet; only Annika knew. Maybe she would tell her mom today, after she shared the news about Monsieur Dupriez.

As Emma approached her home, she quickened her step. By the time she reached the door she was almost running. She raced into the hallway and dropped her book bag on the floor.

“Mom!” she called, looking in the kitchen, then in the living room. The house was silent. “Mom!” she called again, racing up the stairs to the bedrooms. Entering her mother’s room, Emma found her sitting very still on the bed with a crumpled letter in her hand.

When her mom saw her, she hastily put the crumpled piece of paper into her pocket and rose from the bed. Her arched brows were furrowed with anxiety.

Emma momentarily forgot the newspaper article. “Are you okay, Mom?”

“I’ve just received some unsettling news,” her mom said. “I must make a trip to see your Aunt Lili. She’s ill. She…I don’t know how long I’ll be gone.”

Aunt Lili? Emma frowned. More surprises. Emma had never met her mom’s eccentric only sister, who lived alone in the Hungarian mountains secluded in an old chateau surrounded by dark woods—or so her mom said. Though again, her mom hardly ever mentioned her.

“What’s wrong with Aunt Lili?” Emma asked. “Can’t I come with you?” She had always been intrigued by her mysterious aunt.

“No. You’ll stay with Grandpa. You enjoy working with him, don’t you?” Her brown eyes met Emma’s before turning away, and though her voice sounded matter-of-fact, Emma detected a trace of ambivalence.

Emma sighed. She loved violin making with a passion, but Grandpa was a bitter taskmaster. No matter how much she tried to please him, she never could. Maybe that’s why her mom often seemed so reluctant about her apprenticeship.

“I’d rather go with you,” Emma said. “Plus, next week is holiday.” All Saints holiday week—or Toussaint, as they called it here—almost always coincided with Halloween.

“That’s out of the question. I don’t know how long I’ll be gone. Besides, you can’t miss your violin lessons, not with the Christmas competition at the academy coming up soon.”

“I’m not so sure about that,” Emma said gravely, extending the newspaper.

Her mom took it. “What’s this?”

“This is why I came running up the stairs.”

Her mom read the headlines. She gasped and looked at Emma. When she finished reading, she sat on the edge of the mattress and stared into space. “Oh, my God…” she whispered.

Emma sat next to her mom. “It says Monsieur Dupriez disappeared in his study. The doors and windows were locked from the inside. The police don’t have any explanation. How can this happen? It’s not logical. It’s not humanly possible.”

“No, not humanly possible…”

“Just like the other three—that German violinist, the French one, the American. Nobody has explained their disappearances. Who would want to kidnap violinists?” When her mom didn’t answer, she began to gnaw at her fingernail.

As if by reflex, her mom pulled Emma’s hand away from her mouth.

“Sorry,” Emma mumbled. “I’m just worried about him.”

“Poor Madame Dupriez. We must visit her. She must be in quite a state.”

“Can you call her now?”

Her mom sighed. “I will. In a moment.” She looked at Emma, her features softening. Gently, she smoothed Emma’s glossy chestnut locks and side fringe away from her face. “Don’t worry, everything will be fine. You mustn’t be afraid.”

“Afraid? Why would I be afraid?”

“I mean, about Monsieur Dupriez.” Her mom appeared flustered.

“I’m not afraid. I’m worried, and angry. I want to find out what happened to him. Without him, I don’t even want to take part in the competition.”

Monsieur Dupriez had been Emma’s teacher since she was four years old. But more than teacher, he was her mentor.

“You will do your best at the competition—with or without Monsieur Dupriez. Do you hear me?” her mom said. Then her voice softened. “Listen, darling, I know how close you are to Monsieur Dupriez, but you cannot allow his disappearance to destroy your chances at the competition. I’m not asking you to win, only to do your best. You have great talent, a gift, and your duty is to use it to the best of your ability. Never forget this. Monsieur Dupriez would never want you to forget this.”

“You still haven’t told me what’s wrong with Aunt Lili,” Emma said, changing the conversation. “Why must you go to her now, after all these years?”

Looking into Emma’s face, her mom hesitated, as if unable to decide what—or how much—to say. “You know she’s always been ill, a recluse. She…” She rose from the bed and walked to the window, then opened the curtain. It had started raining, the drops pelted against the glass. “This time it’s serious. She may die.”

Emma couldn’t help feeling a twinge of suspicion. She hated distrusting her mom, whom she loved more than anything in the world, but this time her mom was lying. Emma trusted that feeling, another of her freaky new abilities. She felt an overwhelming urge to chew her fingernails, but tried to control herself. For her mom, a violinist’s hands were a work of art.

“But what’s wrong with her? What kind of disease does she have?” Emma insisted.

“Her heart is very weak.” Her mom turned away from the window to face Emma. Her voice was laced with impatience.

And again Emma thought: She’s lying.

“Please don’t worry about it,” her mom went on in a lighter tone. “I’ll try to come back soon.”

“How soon?”

“As soon as I can manage.”

“Grandpa is always in such a nasty mood,” Emma complained.

“Well, that isn’t news, is it?” Her mom stared down at the floor, as if absorbed by her own thoughts. After a pause, she added, “He’s old and his back always hurts. You know that.”

“I love Grandpa, but he’s so freaking…” She tried to come up with the right word. Bizarre.  Instead she said, “Mysterious. You know, with his violins.”

Her mom looked at Emma and frowned, as if waiting for her to say more.

“You know what I mean, Mom. With that room at the top of the stairs. The one that’s always locked.”

Her mom’s features hardened. “He keeps his most valuable pieces in there. You must never disobey him. He would be very disappointed.”

“Who said I would go in there?” Emma asked, trying to sound innocent. If there was something she intended to do, it was going inside that room. Once she’d almost been successful. For some crazy reason, Grandpa had forgotten to lock it one day. But the instant she touched the doorknob, he had called her from the bottom of the stairs, his wrinkled features twisted into a mask that had left her frozen. He had appeared enraged and afraid at the same time.

“When are you leaving?” Emma asked, shaking off the past to focus on the present issue.

“As soon as possible. Tomorrow, probably. I’ll get the plane tickets today.”

“Mom…”

“Emma, please. If you’re going to complain or say anything negative, I don’t want to hear it.”

Fine. Obviously, this wasn’t the best time to bring up her new psychic powers. She headed to the door.

“Where are you going?” her mom asked.

“To my room.”

“I’ll call Madame Dupriez to see if we may visit her after dinner. In the meantime, I want you to pack. You’re moving to Grandpa’s tomorrow.”

In her room, Emma dragged her suitcase from the top shelf in the closet and set it on the floor.

“Hi, Sweetie,” she said to Blackie, her rabbit. “Want to get some exercise?” She opened the cage door so Blackie could hop out and roam about her room. Blackie was housebroken, and smart as a cat—or close to it.

She stared at the elegant taffeta gown hanging from her wardrobe door, a strapless design a la Anne Sophie Mutter she’d already bought for the upcoming violin competition.

She sighed.

Slumped on the bed, Emma wondered for the umpteenth time about Monsieur Dupriez’s strange disappearance.

Where could he be?

 

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“I wish I didn’t know. I wish my heart hadn’t been seared black in my chest. I wish everything were different.” – Surrender the Sky

 

Surrender the Sky by Meradeth Houston

Gabby lives by two unbreakable rules: don’t expose her kind, the Sary, and don’t fall in love—too bad some rules are made to be broken.

When Gabby’s most difficult charge accidentally shoots her in front of a class full of students, the event exposes her carefully hidden identity. She shifts from looking like a normal teen to her secret Sary form, revealing her wings and the existence of her kind—immortals who try to keep people from committing suicide. Her incident attracts the attention of the next leader of the Sary, Jassen, who offers her an impossible bargain: she can keep her wings if she makes amends with those who know the truth. Things get more complicated when a rebel Sary, intent on exposing them to the world, starts interfering with Gabby’s work. And there’s no denying her attraction to Jassen, who is torn between his duties and his heart. With threats at every turn and her immortality on the line, Gabby has to find a way to save the Sary or surrender the sky forever.

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Excerpt

” I knew the day was not going to end well as soon as I saw the gun. It bulged in the outside pocket of his backpack, hidden unless someone looked for it. Of course, I had to be the one looking for it.

Chad kept his head down in class, his pen scratching dark lines of some doodle across his paper. I couldn’t drag my gaze away from him.

He’d brought a gun. Damn it. He was going to follow through with his plan.

I was focusing so hard on the knot of guilt in my stomach and the tangle of plans to stop Chad that Bea had to kick my chair to alert me class had started. Of course, Bea had to be in this class with the homicidal kid who was my responsibility.

I did a quick head count. It was Friday, half-day schedule, last period, with spring break starting next week. Most everyone had ditched already, and only thirteen people remained, including our teacher.

Unfortunately, just enough of the students on Chad’s list stayed for the last class. “

 

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About the Author, Meradeth Houston

meradethI’ve never been a big fan of talking about myself, but if you really want to know, here are some random tidbits about me:

>I’m a California girl. This generally means I talk too fast and use “like” a lot.

>I have my doctorate in molecular anthropology. Translation: I sequence dead people’s DNA and spend a whole lot of time in a lab, which I love.

>I’ve been writing since I was 11 years old. It’s my hobby, my passion, and I’m so happy to get to share my work!

>My other passion is teaching. There’s nothing more fun than getting a classroom of college kids fired up about anthropology!

>If I could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because I’m terrified of heights.

Website / Faceboook / Twitter / Goodreads / Tumblr / Google +

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