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Andrea Cefalo is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

The Fairytale Keeper

“The Fairytale Keeper” by Andrea Cefalo

Published as… Young Adult/Historical/Fairytale Retelling

Excerpt from The Fairytale Keeper

Intro: Adelaide’s plan to humiliate the callous parish priest, Father Soren, backfires. She and her father, Ansel, end up in the stocks for a crime they didn’t commit. Proud to have thwarted Addie, Soren comes to gloat.

Excerpt:
Flutes trill and lyres thrum as the throng dissolves into the market for Annunciation Day celebrations. I catch the savory scent of roasting sides of beef and suckling pigs. My stomach howls. I haven’t eaten since Saturday dinner. Dozens rush at the archbishop, seeking an audience. Soren saunters toward me, smirking proudly.

He kneels, and I look him in his piggy eyes. “You thought you were pretty smart, did you not?” he goads. “You didn’t think I would find out about your little plan, did you? Oh, but I did. You would be surprised at how little I had to pay for that information, and now look at where you and your father are.” He cocks his head to the side. “I bet you should like to throw another stone at me now, would you not? But you cannot with those pretty little hands bound, can you? No, no, no…”

“You have become a thorn in my side, girl, and I think you’ll find that I can become a spear in yours.” He pulls a cloth from his robes, and I recognize it immediately. “This was your mother’s, was it not?” He places it beneath his nostrils and breathes in deeply. “She smells lovely…nothing like that day we burned her.”

I’ll claw out his eyes! I shove my hands through the holes as far as they can go.

“You are a feisty little witch!” he laughs. “This is the last of your mother’s things. I am having the rest of them burned in the streets right now. I am having all of your things burned in the streets.”

I pull backward, slamming the base of my head hard against the wood. My neck burns from the pain, but I try again, desperate to break through the stocks so I can get Mama’s clothes, her lavender satchels, anything that smells like her, anything that reminds me of her. Soren laughs.

“Do you want this back?” he asks smugly. Of course I want it back. He knows I want it back. “Swear to me, on your mother’s soul, that you shall sit in my church every Mass for the rest of my days. I shall save you a seat in the first pew so I can look upon your angry, defeated face.”

I collect all the saliva in my mouth and spit, hitting him on the side of his nose. “Keep it,” I hiss.

He wipes my spit from his face with the linen. “Very well, then. I think I shall use this to wipe my arse.” He rises and walks away.

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About the Book

Adelaide’s mother, Katrina, was the finest storyteller in all of Airsbach, a borough in the great city of Cologne, but she left one story untold, that of her daughter, that of Snow White. Snow White was a pet name Adelaide’s mother had given her. It was a name Adelaide hated, until now. Now, she would give anything to hear her mother say it once more. A rampant fever claimed Adelaide’s mother just like a thousand others in Cologne where the people die without last rites and the dead are dumped in a vast pit outside the city walls. In an effort to save Katrina’s soul, Adelaide’s father obtains a secret funeral for his wife by bribing the parish priest, Father Soren. Soren commits an unforgivable atrocity, pushing Adelaide toward vengeance. When Adelaide realizes that the corruption in Cologne reaches far beyond Soren, the cost of settling scores quickly escalates. Avenging the mother she lost may cost Adelaide everything she has left: her father, her friends, her first love, and maybe even her life. Seamlessly weaving historical events and Grimm’s fairy tales into a tale of corruption and devotion, The Fairytale Keeper, leaves the reader wondering where fact ends and fiction begins. The novel paints Medieval Cologne accurately and vividly. The story develops a set of dynamic characters, casting the famous villains, heroes, and damsels of Grimm’s fairy tales into believable medieval lives. Though historically set, The Fairytale Keeper brims with timeless themes of love, loyalty, and the struggle for justice.

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About the Author

Andrea Cefalo Author Photo Besides being the award-winning author of The Fairytale Keeper series, Andrea Cefalo is a self-proclaimed medievalist, hopeless bookworm, and social media junkie. She graduated with honors from Winthrop University in 2007 where she studied Medieval art history and children’s literature. The next three books in The Fairytale Keeper series—The Countess’ Captive, The Baseborn Lady, and The Traitor’s Target—will debut in 2015 and 2016. She resides in Greenville, South Carolina—ever perched before her trusty laptop—with her husband and their two border collies.

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The Fairytale Keeper

Marc Secchia is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

Dragonfriend

“Dragonfriend” (Dragonfriend #1) by Marc Secchia

Published on… 11 April 2015
Published as… Young Adult Epic Fantasy

About the Book

Stabbed. Burned by a Dragon. Abandoned for the windrocs to pick over. The traitor Ra’aba tried to silence Hualiama forever. But he failed to reckon with the strength of a dragonet’s paw, and the courage of a girl who refused to die.

Only an extraordinary friendship will save Hualiama’s beloved kingdom of Fra’anior and restore the King to the Onyx Throne. Flicker, the valiant dragonet. Hualiama, a foundling, adopted into the royal family. The power of a friendship which paid the ultimate price.

This is the tale of Hualiama Dragonfriend, and a love which became legend.

About the Author

Victoria Bright Author Photo
Marc is a South African-born author who lives and works in Ethiopia with his wife and 4 children, 2 dogs, a rabbit, and a variable number of marabou storks that roost on the acacia trees out back. On a good night there are also hyenas patrolling the back fence.

When he’s not writing about Africa Marc can be found travelling to remote locations. He thinks there’s nothing better than standing on a mountaintop wondering what lies over the next horizon.

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Diana L. Wicker is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

Tales from Feyron

“The Legacy of Mist and Shadow” (Tales from Feyron, Book Three) by Diana L. Wicker

Published on… 20 December 2014
Published as… Young Adult Fantasy, Coming of Age

A Chat with…Nuriel & Zilya

Bella: What is the name of the book where we’ll find you? Can you tell us a little about it?
Zilya: We appear together in the newest adventure from the Age of Awakenings set, Legacy of Mist and Shadow. It’s the story of my discovery of my family’s background and where my magics came from.

Nuriel: *snorts as he turns to look at her* It is not. It is the story of the rediscovery of my World Beyond.

Zilya: hmm…perhaps we should just tell you what the author says about the story and let you decide for yourself.

“Old relics and have stories of their own. Sometimes they contain adventures waiting to be sparked and journeys bursting to begin.

The Box of Melodies was left with Clan Caris by Lady Oyisha, daughter of the mists, for care and keeping. A series of visions revealing the last desperate moments of a forgotten clan – the loss of their gateway to Feyron and the escape of a lone traveler holding the box – spurs a handful of adventuresome youth on a trek through the Lesser Forest where they inadvertently cause a ripple through the mists with unintended consequences.

A few of the youth find themselves on an unexpected journey to a World Beyond, lost in mist and shadow, where misunderstanding and suspicion lead to danger and darkness. Forgotten histories are discovered, clan secrets are revealed, and old alliances are remembered as the families of the lost seek to discover where the youth have been drawn by the memories within the Mists of Time.”

Bella: Tell us a little about yourself. Where do you fit into the story? What should we know about you?
Nuriel: I am Nuriel, last descendant of the last Summoner. I suppose I’m the leader of the Avahaa, the remaining few, although that’s not a responsibility I ever asked for. I was just a child when my grandfather fell in battle.

Zilya: *rolls her eyes and shakes her head* You ‘suppose’ you’re the leader of those left behind? He darn well knows they all look to him for leadership.

I am Zilya, a griffin-child from clan Caris. I know that may seem odd, as Caris is the clan of shapeshifters, but my mother is a griffin-child, like her mother before her. I see visions in the moonlit mists. In this tale I find myself on an unexpected journey in an unforeseeable location. There’s nothing quite so disconcerting as finding yourself in a strange location where you can’t understand a word anyone is saying.

Bella: What do you think of the author? Be honest. We won’t tell.
Zilya: I do wish she’d give us a bit of a heads up before dropping us in an adventure. I was, after all, a barely mentioned little sister, hardly more than a side note before this. It was quiet unexpected to find myself in the middle of one of her tales.

Nuriel: I, for one, and grateful to the author for telling our tale. Far too long did we wait in the shadows longing for the light.

Bella: How do you feel about the story you’re in?
Nuriel: Well, it’s the story of the rediscovery of my World Beyond, so I suppose I’d darn well better like it. I do hope she decides to look back on our past, for that is a story worthy of being told.

Zilya: I’m not really sure. Being throw into the middle of an adventure, finding magics I never knew I had…it’s all been quite overwhelming. I’m not really sure how I feel about all the excitement. I’m sort of used to fading into the background.

Bella: Do you like being a character in the book?
Zilya: You know, I’m not really sure. *giggles* I guess I keep saying that, don’t I?

Nuriel: *rolls his eyes and sighs, muttering something under his breath* Well, I am pleased that this story has been told, and I can’t imagine it can be told without me.

Bella: How do you see your future? Without giving anything away about the story, naturally.
Nuriel: My future? *appears slightly confused* Now it’s my turn to say ‘I’m not really sure.’ So much has changed around me, but nothing has changed within me. I still feel…sort of lost.

Zilya: I sort of hope it goes back to normal, but I’m not sure that it can. I mean, after such an adventure, you’re not really the same person anymore, are you? *glances sidelong at Nuriel*

Bella: What do you know about your author’s plans? Can we expect to see you in any future stories?
Zilya: Oh gosh I hope not! *covers mouth and blushes* Is that rude to say? I mean, all things considered, I’m sure I will be. I just hope it’s a much calmer tale.

Nuriel: *says softly to himself as he watches Zilya* Some people are too important not to be mentioned again. *coughs loudly as Zilya glances over at him* I don’t know if I’ll be in any future stories. I may well have fulfilled my purpose now, as far as storytelling goes. I guess we’ll just have to see.

Bella: Let’s say they make a movie about this book. Who do you want to play you, and why?
Nuriel: The author likes this thing called anime. I’ve heard her say that she once saw me in a show. The character’s name was Arawn, and he’s apparently my twin. As to live actors, possibly Colin Morgan.

Zilya: ooo, movies! That is something I do miss from my old World Beyond. Oh gosh, choosing someone to be me? Wow…

There’s so many good actresses that play characters my age. It’s so hard to decide… um…maybe, Amandla Stenberg?

About the Series

The Dreamweaver’s Return (Book One)

The Realm of Feyron has always been. It is the origin of all things magical, the axis point where all the worlds meet. Once, in days gone by, there were many gateways within the Temple of Pyli connecting the Worlds Beyond seeded with magic to their home. Now many gateways have flickered out, and Feyron weakens as the magic fades and the Guardians are lost.

For the first time in over three hundred years a Dreamweaver has come of age and is tasked with contacting the Guardians. When she awakens in the night after a vision of her best friend lost and alone, injured in the snows at the top of the Crystal Mountains, she seeks out the Sacred Fire in the Temple in an attempt to call forth more information. A voice calls out from the fire, “Dreamweaver, you are summoned.” An image appears of an ancient path through the Mist Shrouded Forest leading to a hidden gate into the Crystal Caverns below the mountains. The Guardians have summoned her on a quest that will take her to the four realms of light within Feyron in search of answers and aid.

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The Guardian Child’s Return (Book Two)

The Guardians have awakened after the Time of Sleep and returned to renew the magic with the clans of Faie. At the request of the Guardian, Lord Grypos, Keeper of Knowledge, the Master Scholar travels through the Outer Gateway with craftsmen and apprentices to coordinate the repairs of the once great oasis that houses the ancient archives of knowledge known as the Island in the Sands.

As the summer wanes and the oasis begins to return to its former glory, the Guardian calls the Master Scholar to the meditation room in the wee hours of the night to discuss a journey. In the fire an image flickers of the red desert sands speeding past, a land of grey beyond the desert, and a cavern of twilight behind an obsidian wall. “Arwyn and Shyamal are to go there for me to seek out that which was once mine.”

What starts as a seemingly simple journey becomes an adventure with life threatening consequences as the two are unexpectedly joined by their friends on a journey far from home beyond the Realms of Light in a realm that few within the clans of Faie knew could even be reached.

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The Legacy of Mist and Shadow (Book Three)

Old relics and have stories of their own. Sometimes they contain adventures waiting to be sparked and journeys bursting to begin.

The Box of Melodies was left with Clan Caris by Lady Oyisha, daughter of the mists, for care and keeping. A series of visions revealing the last desperate moments of a forgotten clan – the loss of their gateway to Feyron and the escape of a lone traveler holding the box – spurs a handful of adventuresome youth on a trek through the Lesser Forest where they inadvertently cause a ripple through the mists with unintended consequences.

A few of the youth find themselves on an unexpected journey to a World Beyond, lost in mist and shadow, where misunderstanding and suspicion lead to danger and darkness. Forgotten histories are discovered, clan secrets are revealed, and old alliances are remembered as the families of the lost seek to discover where the youth have been drawn by the memories within the Mists of Time.

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About the Author

Diana L. Wicker Author Photo
Diana lives in the balmy climate of the US south with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and a cantakerous rabbit. She enjoys reading, sewing (clothing, costuming, and experimental toy making), and RPG games. (She grew up with the old school paper/pencil style of gaming, but has transitioned happily to the highly interactive world of video games.)

The idea for Feyron started with a map, a place for her daughter to tell stories and live out storytelling role playing adventures with her friends. The lore grew around the map, for every world needs lore if you are going to “live” there. The idea for a series, Tales from Feyron, grew out of the lore, for if you’re going to invent a world, you may as well play there too. The stories are continuing to grow through the various historical ages of Feyron and may yet “ripple” outwards to the Worlds Beyond touched by magic.

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Leah Zieber is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

Libby Morgan: Reunion

“Libby Morgan: Reunion” (American Heritage Quilt Series) by Leah Zieber

Published on… 7 September 2014
Published as… Young Adult, Historical Fiction

About the Book

Coming from a long line of seamstresses, Libby has yet to sew anything more than the rudimentary button or hem, but on a visit to Connecticut she learns more than just how to sew patchwork. Set in 1855 New England and London, this tender story, Libby Morgan: Reunion, follows tenacious Elizabeth (Libby) Jane Morgan through her thirteenth summer of new adventures at home and abroad. She is given a birthday gift of sewing tools and fabric, as well as old family letters to use as templates for making her first quilt. Her decision to first read the letters results in questions that only her Grandmother Morgan’s stories can answer—stories of true love, horrible loss and family connections to London nobles. Her keen eye and inquisitive nature draws her family into a mysterious investigation that tests their faith, challenges their ability to forgive, and results in a resurrection and reunion of lost hearts.

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About the Author

Leah Zieber Author Photo
Leah A. Zieber is a quilt historian and quilt maker from Temecula, California, specializing in American quilt history and reproduction quilts from the nineteenth century. Her quilts have been exhibited across the country in quilt shows, museums and historical societies and were most recently published in Stars: A Study of 19th Century Star Quilts. Leah has worked closely with Southern California collectors, cataloging, managing, and independently researching their textile collections. Her own collection of antique quilts and related textile items spans one hundred and eighty five years, and she shares her knowledge of American quilt history using her collection in lectures and workshops. Libby Morgan: Reunion is her debut novel and the first in her American Heritage Quilt Series.

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Lance Erlick is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

The Rebel Trap

“The Rebel Trap” by Lance Erlick

Published on… 1 October 2014
Published as… Young Adult Science Fiction

Lance Erlick’s Top Ten List

Top Ten Sci-fi Heroines

Ellen Ripley (Alien): She is a survivor.

Samantha Carter (Stargate SG-1)

Zoe Washburne (Firefly/Serenity)

River Tam (Firefly/Serenity)

Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games): She has an inner toughness without being mean.

Clara Oswald (Doctor Who)

Sarah Connor (The Terminator)

Emma Peel (The Avengers)

Gwen Cooper (Torchwood)

Trinity (The Matrix)

About the Book

Voices in 16-year-old Annabelle Scott’s head aren’t God or signs she’s going mad—yet. Despite being a Mech Warrior recruit, she rebels against her post-Second Civil War society by not only refusing to kill Morgan, a boy she’s attracted to, but also helping him escape.

Annabelle’s commander gives her auditory implants and contact cams for an undercover assignment to investigate her corrupt police captain. Morgan hacks the implants to plead for her help in freeing his brother. As a pawn in a bigger game, can she find a way to help Morgan and discover the link between an attempted assassination of her adoptive mom, the geek institute, and her police captain without falling into a trap, being exiled and separated from family, or getting herself and those she cares about killed?

The Rebel Trap was written as a standalone story, but also follows Annabelle’s adventures from The Rebel Within.

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Lance Erlick's Sale Image

About the Author

Lance Erlick's Author Photo
Lance Erlick grew up in various parts of the United States and Europe. He took to stories as his anchor and was inspired by his father’s engineering work on cutting-edge aerospace projects to look to the future. He studied creative writing at Northwestern University and University of Iowa.

He writes science fiction, dystopian and young adult stories and likes to explore the future implications of social and technological trends. He’s the author of The Rebel Within, The Rebel Trap, and Rebels Divided, three books in the Rebel series. In those stories, he flips traditional exploitation to explore the effects of a world that discriminates against males and the consequences of following conscience for those coming of age.

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Marc Secchia is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

Shadow Dragon

“Shadow Dragon” (Shapeshifter Dragons, Book Two) by Marc Secchia

To Be Published on… 10 December 2014
Published as… Young Adult Fantasy

About the Book

Chameleon Shapeshifters, uncontrollable storm powers, and the rise of Sylakia’s Dragon-elite. The battle against evil scales new heights, but the price of victory grows ever dearer.

Once, a Shadow Dragon ravaged the Island-World. Insatiable. Unstoppable. A Dragon-killer. Now the Shadow Dragon has reappeared, on a collision course with Aranya and King Beran’s campaign to liberate the Islands from the scourge of Sylakian tyranny. He is dark, beautiful and deadly, a predator of untold power.

Meantime, Thoralian weaves his web of guile and betrayal right in the hearts of Aranya’s friends and allies. He will bring them to an encounter only he can win.

Incredible aerial battles. An Ancient Dragon bent on enslaving Aranya. The treacherous secrets of Dragon magic. This is the fight for which destiny has shaped a heroine of rare courage–Aranya, Princess of Immadia. Criminal. Shapeshifter Dragon. A woman who will confront evil at any cost. Spite her at your peril.

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Lance Erlick is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

The Rebel Series

“The Rebel Within” by Lance Erlick

Published on… 25 March 2013
Published as… Young Adult, Science Fiction

“Rebels Divided” by Lance Erlick

Published on… 12 June 2013

“The Rebel Trap” by Lance Erlick

Published on… 1 October 2014

Lance Erlick’s Excerpt

I won. I lost. I’m out. I’m in. I cannot tell a soul. It was enough to spin my head, to make me wish I was back in that zoo of a high school I just left.

My thoughts darkened with the implications of what I’d done and the commitment I’d just made. I hurried out of Commander Hernandez’s sparse office; even the khaki-colored corridors looked darker than I remembered only an hour before. The drab lobby of the Tenn-tucky Mechanized Warrior compound brimmed with sister warriors, a gauntlet I had to squeeze through on my way out. Yet, I could no longer call them “sister” anything.

“Loser!” someone yelled. It sounded like one of Dara’s girls. Defeating the amazon bully in the mech tournament final hadn’t silenced her, or her posse.

“Hey, Annabelle,” Dara yelled, “how’s it feel to wash out?” She stood a head taller than the other girls like some ruling monarch.

Joke’s on you. I took deep, steady breaths while I marched toward the exit. Don’t get into a fight, I reminded myself. That was what she wanted, bringing up how, after the tournament, I’d refused to kill my male opponent in the separate arena final.

Hot, locker-room bodies surrounded me, sweat-soaked from their own arena fights to the death against boys pumped up with steroids and chemical enhancers to make the challenge even tougher. Some two dozen male corpses lay in the arena morgue, testament to the training and bravery of these recruits. Unlike them, I couldn’t bring myself to kill Morgan for sport, even when I had him pinned in a chokehold. For that failure, they took my title and kicked me out of the Mech Corps. Well, to hell with them.

Things weren’t that simple, though. They never were for me.

“You don’t have what it takes,” Dara shouted. The amazon’s large face tightened like a monstrous fist. She growled, “Weakness finally caught up with you.”

“They’ll strip away your title,” scrawny Margarite said from behind Dara.

I inched forward through the crowd, my eyes fixed on the tinted, bulletproof door that promised freedom. Don’t fight. Only a few more feet.

Dara stepped in front of me to block my exit. “You know what that means? I’ll have the title that’s rightfully mine. All that work for nothing. Sucks, doesn’t it?”

Not like getting a title you didn’t earn.

Brandy, my closest mech friend, cowered in the corner, face hidden beneath auburn curls. She brushed the hair aside and glanced up, eyes pleading. I hated letting her down. During training, she’d latched onto me as her lifeline. I sensed she wanted to talk, to get answers, but I was a pariah. I embarrassed the entire program by winning the tournament and the arena contests, yet disqualifying myself on a technicality.

I wanted to reassure Brandy, and thank her for being a good friend, but that would make her life hell with her sister recruits. I couldn’t do that to her. I looked for a path around Dara, one I could take without stirring a fight with one who needed no provoking.

“What ya do, fall in love with that redhead?” Rox yelled. The dark-complexioned loner must have decided to align herself with Dara now that I was out.

The jibe bit hard. Yeah, I’d like to get to know Red—Morgan. Even if I didn’t, I won’t kill for sport. Maybe if I hadn’t saved him several times before the arena match, I might have acted differently, but that wasn’t it.

For the past six weeks as a mech trainee, I’d counted these girls as friends, with the exception of Dara. Now, their scornful looks reminded me of high school. Escaping at 16 had been a gift. Now I longed to return to a cage I understood.

I held my head high, squeezed between Dara and Margarite, and pushed the weaker girl out of the way. I ached to yell out the truth, but Commander Hernandez had been clear and insistent: “Tell no one you’re still in the program.”

Instead, I kept moving and endured jabs to my arms, already inflamed from my fight. Morgan had been a tougher competitor than Dara, and almost killed me twice. Yet, I couldn’t hurt him. Stay calm.

Dara grabbed my arm and pulled me back. “I’m not finished with you.”

“Yes, you are.” I yanked free and pushed through the glass door into sticky heat. Haze drifted in from Knoxville. I was tempted to take my mech-cycle and race to the Outland border to make sure Morgan crossed safely. Then the mechs would follow me and catch him for sure. Patience, Annabelle. Besides, the commander took my electric cycle when she officially kicked me out of the program.

The forest-camouflage guardhouse across the concrete clearing seemed miles away. My adoptive mom and her electric sedan weren’t waiting for me outside the gate, where the commander had arranged for her to pick me up. Nor was Mom’s car among the line of other cars and buses leaving the arena parking lot. Sweat soaked my neck and beaded up on my forehead.

On unsteady legs, I moved toward the gate. It felt like nightmares where I reach for my birth mother while mech-warriors tear me from her arms and send her to prison for trying to help my dad escape. That happened when I was three. Yet the horrid ache returned to me nightly as a fresh wound. To spare me from an institution Mom adopted me and raised me as her own.

I picked up my pace to get away from the taunts that echoed from Dara and her crew on the steps behind me. I had to get outside the compound, which reminded me of a prison with its high concrete walls, concertina wire, and hidden cams.

Still shaken by the mess I’d gotten myself into, I also reeled over having just witnessed someone try to assassinate Tenn-tucky State Senator Cora Scott, my adoptive mom, in the middle of my life-and-death struggle with Morgan. What a cluster. I prayed no one would connect his escape to Mom or me.

She still wasn’t outside the gate.

While getting out of here sounded great, I couldn’t face Mom’s disappointment at my failure or relief that I was out of the mech program. I wasn’t out. Yet. But I couldn’t tell her. I didn’t need Janine’s probing questions either, or her attempts to comfort me as if I were the younger sister. At least with me officially out of the program, she wouldn’t feel the need to join the mechs to follow me.

Where are you, Mom?

I reached the guardhouse. Still no car.

The stocky guard with coal-black hair stepped out of the shadows and blocked my exit. Though shorter, she had the commander’s solid build and looked ready to take my head off—me, the true winner of the Spring Mech Tournament. She probably could. Even though I’d gone through grueling mech qualifications, I hadn’t completed my training yet.

I hung my head. “Sorry, Sandy.”

She grabbed my arm and spun me around to face the building. “You will be. Commander wants you back in her office.” She pushed me toward the mech building and that gauntlet of angry recruits.

“What’s going on?” I looked behind and still couldn’t see Mom’s car.

“Don’t cause me any grief,” Sandy said. Her thick fingers dug into my forearm, making me gasp.

She pushed me back to the building. “Whatever it is, I suggest you humble yourself. The commander has never recalled a washed-out recruit before.”

“Come on, Sandy, give me something.”

Dara, Rox, and Margarite glowered at me from the top step. They blocked the door.

“I don’t know, but good luck,” Sandy said. “For the record, I had my money on you.”

She pushed me up the steps. “Everyone out of the way.”

Dara looked like a giant next to Sandy, but the great amazon stepped aside. Sandy dragged me along the khaki-colored corridor back toward the commander’s office. My eyes watered. It was like getting a pardon from prison, only to have the judge reverse her decision.

“Haven’t you had enough?” Dara yelled after me. “Had to come back for more?”

I dropped my gaze to the concrete floor. Moving toward freedom had given me courage. Now, as my nerve bled away, I could only imagine what had gone wrong.

<Don’t be alarmed,> a muted bass voice said directly into my skull.

You know how when someone says think fast, you can’t? My brain scrambled to make sense of this male voice deep inside my head, given that I’d never heard a masculine tone until six weeks ago.

Sandy tugged me forward. “Don’t keep the commander waiting.”

I pulled back. Morgan, what are you doing in my head? It felt like the mech com-link that allowed you to hear another’s projected thoughts. I couldn’t imagine how to turn the blasted thing off, or how to talk to him without Sandy overhearing. I couldn’t let her or the commander think I was crazy on top of everything else. I considered that possibility.

Morgan said.

I froze. I wanted to see Morgan’s face. Yet I didn’t trust all this craziness inside me, as if I wanted more than just to see him. His tone did sound comforting, though, the only really friendly voice since I ran the gauntlet.

Sandy yanked me forward.

Morgan said somewhere inside my skull.

I followed Sandy, shook my head, and mouthed, “No.” As if somehow, he could see that. I’d done my bit. I’d tried to help him escape.

The gravity of my situation sank in. Had Commander Hernandez caught the nurse helping the boys, or connected the escape to Mom? The entire idea had been stupid, a rushed effort because I really liked Morgan, despite having to fight him. I should have had a better plan, but I was not a planner.

About the Book

The Rebel Within

Sixteen-year-old Annabelle Scott lives under the iron rule of a female-dominated régime that forces males to fight to the death to train the military elite. When pressed into service as a mechanized warrior to capture escaped boys, Annabelle stays true to herself by helping some escape. Her defiance endangers everyone she loves and thrusts her to a place of impossible life and death decisions.

Rebels Divided

Nineteen-year-old Mechanized Warrior Annabelle Scott should kill rebel Geo Shaw during a military operation. Instead, she lets him escape, which mystifies them both. With the nation divided into a female-dominated Federal Union and an Outland wilderness, the Outland warlord and Federal governor conclude a secret deal. It pledges Annabelle to the warlord to provide heirs, and puts a bounty on Geo and his father.

When Annabelle refuses, the warlord kidnaps her and her beloved sister, but underestimates her resourcefulness. Betrayed by their own people, Geo’s plans to bust loose from his impoverished Outland glen and Annabelle’s attempts to escape and enlist his help backfire, and bring them into conflict with military on both sides of the border. Can Geo and Annabelle overcome mutual distrust and work together to rescue her sister and gain justice for his father’s murder? And will their feelings for each other derail or further their goals?

The Rebel Trap

Voices in 16-year-old Annabelle Scott’s head aren’t God or signs she’s going mad—yet. Despite being a Mech Warrior recruit, she rebels against her post-Second Civil War society by not only refusing to kill Morgan, a boy she’s attracted to, but also helping him to escape. After officially kicking her out of the program, Commander Samantha Hernandez gives Annabelle auditory implants and contact cams for an undercover assignment to investigate her corrupt police captain. Morgan hacks the implants to plead for her help in freeing his brother from a heavily guarded geek institute.

Unable to get either her commander or Morgan out of her head, Annabelle can’t confide in her adoptive mom, her beloved sister, or anyone else. While this rift tears at her bond to her sister, circumstance prevents her from searching for her birth mother or who tried to assassinate her adoptive mom.

As a pawn in a bigger game, who and what can Annabelle trust, including whether her mission is the commander’s vendetta? Can she find a way to help Morgan and discover the link between the attempted assassination, the geek institute, and her corrupt police captain without leading Morgan into a trap, being exiled and separated from her family, or getting herself and those she cares about killed?

The Rebel Trap was written as a standalone story, but also follows Annabelle’s adventures from The Rebel Within.

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About the Author

Lance Erlick's Author Photo
Lance Erlick grew up in various parts of the United States and Europe. He took to stories as his anchor and was inspired by his father’s engineering work on cutting-edge aerospace projects to look to the future. He studied creative writing at Northwestern University and University of Iowa.

He writes science fiction, dystopian and young adult stories and likes to explore the future implications of social and technological trends. He’s the author of The Rebel Within, The Rebel Trap, and Rebels Divided, three books in the Rebel series. In those stories, he flips traditional exploitation to explore the effects of a world that discriminates against males and the consequences of following conscience for those coming of age.

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Diana L. Wicker is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

Tales from Feyron

“The Dreamweaver’s Return” by Diana L. Wicker

Published on… 2 November 2012
Published as… Young Adult Fantasy, Coming of Age

“The Guardian Child’s Return” by Diana L. Wicker

Published on… 10 May 2013

“The Legacy of Mist and Shadow” by Diana L. Wicker

Published on… 20 December 2014

Diana L. Wicker’s Quote Art

Feyron Quote Art 1

 

Feyron Quote Art 2

About the Book

The Dreamweaver’s Return

The Realm of Feyron has always been. It is the origin of all things magical, the axis point where all the worlds meet. Once, in days gone by, there were many gateways within the Temple of Pyli connecting the Worlds Beyond seeded with magic to their home. Now many gateways have flickered out, and Feyron weakens as the magic fades and the Guardians are lost.

For the first time in over three hundred years a Dreamweaver has come of age and is tasked with contacting the Guardians. When she awakens in the night after a vision of her best friend lost and alone, injured in the snows at the top of the Crystal Mountains, she seeks out the Sacred Fire in the Temple in an attempt to call forth more information. A voice calls out from the fire, “Dreamweaver, you are summoned.” An image appears of an ancient path through the Mist Shrouded Forest leading to a hidden gate into the Crystal Caverns below the mountains. The Guardians have summoned her on a quest that will take her to the four realms of light within Feyron in search of answers and aid.

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The Guardian Child’s Return

The Guardians have awakened after the Time of Sleep and returned to renew the magic with the clans of Faie. At the request of the Guardian, Lord Grypos, Keeper of Knowledge, the Master Scholar travels through the Outer Gateway with craftsmen and apprentices to coordinate the repairs of the once great oasis that houses the ancient archives of knowledge known as the Island in the Sands.

As the summer wanes and the oasis begins to return to its former glory, the Guardian calls the Master Scholar to the meditation room in the wee hours of the night to discuss a journey. In the fire an image flickers of the red desert sands speeding past, a land of grey beyond the desert, and a cavern of twilight behind an obsidian wall. “Arwyn and Shyamal are to go there for me to seek out that which was once mine.”

What starts as a seemingly simple journey becomes an adventure with life threatening consequences as the two are unexpectedly joined by their friends on a journey far from home beyond the Realms of Light in a realm that few within the clans of Faie knew could even be reached.

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The Legacy of Mist and Shadow

Old relics and have stories of their own. Sometimes they contain adventures waiting to be sparked and journeys bursting to begin.

The Box of Melodies was left with Clan Caris by Lady Oyisha, daughter of the mists, for care and keeping. A series of visions revealing the last desperate moments of a forgotten clan – the loss of their gateway to Feyron and the escape of a lone traveler holding the box – spurs a handful of adventuresome youth on a trek through the Lesser Forest where they inadvertently cause a ripple through the mists with unintended consequences.

A few of the youth find themselves on an unexpected journey to a World Beyond, lost in mist and shadow, where misunderstanding and suspicion lead to danger and darkness. Forgotten histories are discovered, clan secrets are revealed, and old alliances are remembered as the families of the lost seek to discover where the youth have been drawn by the memories within the Mists of Time.

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About the Author

Diana L. Wicker Author Photo
Diana lives in the balmy climate of the US south with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and a cantakerous rabbit. She enjoys reading, sewing (clothing, costuming, and experimental toy making), and RPG games. (She grew up with the old school paper/pencil style of gaming, but has transitioned happily to the highly interactive world of video games.)

The idea for Feyron started with a map, a place for her daughter to tell stories and live out storytelling role playing adventures with her friends. The lore grew around the map, for every world needs lore if you are going to “live” there. The idea for a series, Tales from Feyron, grew out of the lore, for if you’re going to invent a world, you may as well play there too. The stories are continuing to grow through the various historical ages of Feyron and may yet “ripple” outwards to the Worlds Beyond touched by magic.

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Marc Secchia is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

Aranya

“Aranya” by Marc Secchia

Published on… 12 June 2013
Published as… Young Adult Fantasy

Marc Secchia’s Guest Post

Top Fantasy Writer/Book/Series Influences

My early influences were hard science fiction writers such as Isaac Asimov, Ben Bova, Carl Sagan and Piers Anthony, combined with my love of historical fiction, particularly James A. Mitchener. But my true love has always been fantasy.

Anne McCaffrey’s Dragons of Pern has always inspired me with the courage of her characters, sometimes in the face of great odds – she’s my all-time favourite writer, and a master world-builder who I aspire to emulate. LOTR is the motherlode, setting the standard for rich background and historical detail, world building and a great storyline that pitches good against evil in an epic battle. In epic fantasy, Terry Brooks is awesome. I fell in love with his Sword of Shannara series and I think he’s a writer of great craft. I enjoy Robert Jordan for the enormous sweep of his tales and the meticulous crafting that goes into his work.

These are all ‘classic’ influences. I should mention George R.R. Martin, James Maxwell, Terry Goodkind, and Robin Hobb, and I have been known to spend hours chortling over a Terry Pratchett Discworld novel. There are some great novels out there and not enough hours in the day to enjoy them all!

About the Book

Chained to a rock and tossed off a cliff by her boyfriend, Aranya is executed for high treason against the Sylakian Empire. Falling a league into the deadly Cloudlands is not a fate she ever envisaged. But what if she did not die? What if she could spread her wings and fly?

Long ago, Dragons ruled the Island-World above the Cloudlands. But their Human slaves cast off the chains of Dragonish tyranny. Humans spread across the Islands in their flying Dragonships, colonising, building and warring. Now, the all-conquering Sylakians have defeated the last bastion of freedom–the Island-Kingdom of Immadia.

Evil has a new enemy. Aranya, Princess of Immadia. Dragon Shapeshifter.

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About the Author

Victoria Bright Author Photo
Marc is a South African-born author who lives and works in Ethiopia with his wife and 4 children, 2 dogs, a rabbit, and a variable number of marabou storks that roost on the acacia trees out back. On a good night there are also hyenas patrolling the back fence.

When he’s not writing about Africa Marc can be found travelling to remote locations. He thinks there’s nothing better than standing on a mountaintop wondering what lies over the next horizon.

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S. S. Segran is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

Aegis Rising

“Aegis Rising” by S. S. Segran

Published on… 15 November 2014
Published as… Sci-Fi Action/Adventure

S. S. Segran’s Boom Baby Blast

1. One random fact: I walked (yes, walked) into a pillar when I was younger and had to get stiches on my right eyebrow. That was a lot of fun.

2. Fictional character you’d really like to be: That’s a tough one… It’d be neat to be a character from a video game like Uncharted or Assassin’s Creed. Next best would probably be one of the Weasley twins from Harry Potter.

3. Your authorial theme song: Oh boy… I’m not sure if I’d call it my theme song, but ‘Nothing Left to Say’ by Imagine Dragons is probably the closest, just for title alone—guess you could say it’s an oxymoron of sorts because authors do actually have something to say!

4. Favorite part of being a writer: Having the ability to conjure up worlds and scenarios and create characters from scratch, then build them up to entities that people will hopefully either fall in love with or despise. It’s also quite amazing to lose yourself to a different world filled with action and adventure for a while.

5. Name of your first pet (can include family or significant others’…): Maia, an excitable and adorable yellow Labrador whom I loved with all my heart.

6. Music, TV or silence while writing: It varies between silence and music, but definitely not television—that gets too distracting for me.

7. Early riser or night owl: Night owl for sure!

8. Favorite season: Winter, and second to that is fall.

9. Did you always want to be a writer: No, actually. I’ve been fascinated with dinosaurs from a very young age, so my initial career option was paleontology. Then I wanted to be a vet because I love animals so much, but eventually I got into writing. That’s not to say I can’t pursue my other interests!

About the Book

Over a remote northern forest, a small plane carrying five teenage friends flies into a freak storm. Struck by lightning, the aircraft crashes and the passengers find themselves cast into a life-changing adventure.

In a hidden valley, a mysterious people gaze at the stormy sky as a glowing object with fiery wings disappears behind a mountain ridge. The astonishing sight reignites an ancient prophecy foretelling the arrival of five chosen ones destined to become bearers of light against a dark storm gathering on humanity’s horizon.

In a distant city, a secretive organization led by a shadowy figure initiates a sequence of cataclysmic events designed to wreak havoc across the planet, beginning with a remote mining site in northern Canada.

As the three worlds collide, unlikely heroes arise. Armed with powers entrusted to them by the ancient prophecy and the resilience of their life-long bond, the five teens take a stand against a malevolent foe.

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About the Author

S. S. Segran Author Photo
S.S.Segran is the bestselling author of AEGIS RISING, the first book in the Aegis League Series. In crafting the premise for the novel, she drew from the inspiring imagery of the Pacific Northwest, the intriguing potential of the human mind and above all, her abiding love for adventure, science fiction and mystery stories. She enjoys drawing, horseback riding and is an ardent fan of parkour and freerunning. S.S.Segran is a proud member of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets in British Columbia.

S.S.Segran is also the founder of Aegis League (www.aegisleague.org), a non-profit organization whose goal is to support youths living in places and conditions that deny them opportunities to grow. The mission of the organization is to provide life-skills training and micro-loan funding to help them launch small businesses in the communities where they reside. Partial proceeds from the sale of her books go to this cause.

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