Book Blitz: Sneaking Out by Chuck Vance (Excerpt & Giveaway)
I'm back with another book blitz this week. It's turning into a weekly thing and honestly I'm quite enjoying hearing about some new books as well as sharing them with you guys. This time the blitz is for Sneaking Out by Chuck Vance. Sneaking Out is a YA Mystery book and is the first title in the Chased series. It's been released today (March 6th) so happy book birthday to Chuck and the first book in his new series, Sneaking Out. To celebrate the release I'll be sharing an excerpt from the book as well as an international giveaway at the end.
Carry on reading!
by Chuck Vance
Published by: Dunemere Books
Publication date: March 6th 2018
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult
Could you sleep next to a murderer?
Luke Chase—yes, that Luke Chase, a modern hero ripped from the headlines—didn’t mean to get caught up in Mrs. Heckler’s murder. He just wanted to hook up with the hot new British girl at St. Benedict’s, and if that meant sneaking out to the woods after hours, then so be it. But little did he know someone would end up dead right next to their rendezvous spot, and his best friend and roommate Oscar Weymouth would go down for it. With suspects aplenty and a past that’s anything but innocent, Luke Chase reluctantly calls on his famous survival skills to find the true killer.
For fans of “A Study in Charlotte” and boarding school lit, “Sneaking Out” (book one in the “Chased” series) immerses readers in the privileged prep school world, with a mystery that exposes the dark side of life on a residential high school campus.
Chuck Vance is a pseudonym for a bestselling writer of both adult mysteries and novels for young adults. Vance attended boarding school in Connecticut and graduated from Columbia University. Vance has lived in New York, Moscow, London, Paris and Los Angeles and is frequently on the move.
Luke stood up and held out a hand to help Pippa up. He didn’t let go after she rose, and he clasped it firmly as they walked together. It didn’t feel awkward—he’d already held her hand a couple of times. He felt protective. They walked along in silence.
They passed a mailbox, its hinge squeaking in the wind. The wind had picked up a plastic bag, which was scraping along the road, dancing with the fallen leaves. Every noise was amplified.
Luke pulled Pippa toward him to avoid a ditch. It was then that Luke sensed something. He glanced over his shoulder, and saw the flash of someone jump behind a tree. Luke’s muscles tensed. They were being followed.
“Don’t turn around, but someone is behind us,” warned Luke. “On foot.”
He saw Pippa’s neck stiffen. “Who is it?” she whispered.
“Not sure, but let’s speed up.”
They started walking as fast as possible without running. Luke felt as if there was a bullseye on his back. Was the person who was following them crazy enough to do something to harm them? What if he had a gun?
They were about a block away from the nearest streetlight. Luke feared that if they walked under it, they would be completely exposed to whoever was following them. It seemed safer to remain in the shadows. He abruptly pulled Pippa diagonally across the street. They picked up their pace and stayed on course.
“We’ll be able to see who it is when they pass the streetlight,” said Luke.
“Do you think he crossed, too?”
Luke pricked his ears. He could hear a distant tap, tap. Footsteps. “No, he’s on the other side.”
They walked past the streetlight and up about thirty feet before stopping short and turning around. For a split second, they saw a figure bathed in the light, but then it darted to the side. It looked like a man, in a baseball hat. But he was too fast for them. Luke grabbed Pippa’s hand tightly.”
“We need to run.”
Excerpt From: Chuck Vance. “Chased, Book 1: Sneaking Out.” iBooks. https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewBook?id=5A5BF7AEB7E709DFAF15E342D6A5167B
GIVEAWAY - ENDS March 15th
Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
Cover Reveal: Wings of Flesh and Bones by Cathrina Constantine
Today I'm here to share with you the cover for Wings of Flesh and Bones by Cathrina Constantine. Wings of Flesh and Bones is a YA, Paranormal and Fantasy novel that will be released in April this year.
Well, without further ado, here is the cover...
Wings of Flesh and Bones
by Cathrina Constantine
Publication date: April 13th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Synopsis:An Angel. A Witch. A Demon. And A Choice.
Creatures from outer realms suck, as any gatekeeper worth their salt will tell you. Welcome to Rogan’s life, an orphaned seventeen-year-old who lives and trains with other misfits under her uncle’s roof, keeping Earth safe from non-human realm jumpers. Rogan’s biggest issue concerns her uncle’s short leash with her freedom—that is of course, until she’s taken by a notorious witch, and her life begins to unravel. Soon, the supernatural beauty discovers there’s a reason her uncle kept such a tight lock on her whereabouts, and that she has more than angel blood running through her veins.
Eighteen-year-old Max is an angel, and Rogan’s mentor and guardian. He’s well aware of her tenacious inability to obey orders, though he also knows she’s a fierce fighter. When he’s involved in a scheme that ultimately gets Rogan kidnapped, he must battle his way back to her in an attempt to save her from the darkness threatening to possess her.
Cathrina Constantine is the Best Selling author of Don't Forget To Breathe. Her book won Readers' Favorite International Book Award for 2015. New Apple Medalist for 2016. Literary Classics Gold Award. Literary Classics Seal of Approval. Her Paranormal Fantasy, Wickedly They Come has been awarded the 5 Star Seal from Reader's Favorite. Tallas from her dystopian series received Literary Classics Silver Award and Literary Classics Seal of Approval.
Cathrina resides in Western New York. I am blessed with a loving family and forever friends. My world revolves around them.
I grew up in the small village of Lancaster, NY, where I married my sweetheart. I'm devoted to raising 5 cherished children, and now my grandchildren.
I love to immerse myself in great books of every kind of genre, which helps me to write purely for entertainment, and hopefully to inspire readers. When not stationed at my computer you can find me in the woods taking long walks with my dog.
Personally, I quite like the cover and I especially love the blue(ish) colour theme and the typography. What do you think of the cover? Let me know in the comments below!
Book Blitz: Duty Bound by Christina Bauer (Excerpt & Giveaway)
Today I'm here to post as part of the book blitz for Duty Bound by Christina Bauer. Duty Bound is a prequel novella in the Angelbound Origins series, a YA Paranormal Romance series. The novella was published yesterday (the 27th Feb), so happy book birthday to Christina and Duty Bound, woo!
To celebrate the release I'll be posting an excerpt as well as a pretty awesome international giveaway that Christina has organised.
Carry on reading!
by Christina Bauer
(Angelbound Origins 0.5 - prequel novella)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: February 27th 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance
Synopsis:An Angelbound Prequel Novella by Christina Bauer
As the High Prince of the demon-fighting thrax, Lincoln knows he must marry for political gain. Not that he minds. For all of his eighteen years, Lincoln’s been bound to his duty. Fighting demons is his life, and he’s never given romance a second thought. Instead, the High Prince lives for the days when he leaves his hidden realm to fight demons on Earth.
Then, everything changes.
Lincoln and his nobles become forced to visit Purgatory, the home of quasi-demons (who are mostly human with a bit of demonic DNA). Here Lincoln spies Myla Lewis, a lady warrior who enflames his heart, ignites his interest, and inspires his respect. Trouble is, Myla’s also a quasi. By thrax law, Lincoln must kill anything demonic—not date them. For the first time in his life, Lincoln wonders if he’ll follow his duty…or heed the demands of his heart.
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Christina_Bauer_Duty_Bound?id=yoAyDwAAQBAJ
Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers.
Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.
Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.
Stalk Christina on Social Media – She Loves It!
Excerpt: - Chapter 1I am Lincoln Vidar Osric Aquilus, High Prince of the Thrax. My people are renowned as the greatest demon hunters across Heaven, Hell, Earth, Purgatory, and the Dark Lands. At eighteen years old, I’ve killed precisely one thousand four hundred and thirty-seven demons in hand-to-hand combat, more than any other thrax in history. All of which leads to a single inescapable conclusion.
I can make it through this breakfast with my mother.
At least, I think I can.
“You haven’t touched your eggs, my son.” Mother spears a strawberry off her plate. After many years of maternal encounters, I’ve learned to keep my mouth closed in situations like this one. Mother will bring up her true concerns when she’s good and ready.
In reply, I merely maintain her stare. We’ve an odd relationship, but a close one. We’re both natural schemers, so neither wants to pass up a test of intelligence and charm.
“Perhaps you dislike formal breakfasts,” says Mother as she gestures to my tunic.
“I’m fine with wearing royal garb to meals. Rest assured, all my Batman costumes are safely packed away.” As a child, I fought hard to dress as a human superhero. Unlike demon killing, that was one battle I ultimately lost.
“So you say.” A small smile rounds Mother’s mouth. “Those tunics hide quite a lot.”
“True. I’ve a Bohemian Rhapsody T-shirt on under this thing.”
“I have no idea what that is, but I’m pleased to see you turned out so well.”
This morning, I’m dressed in a velvet tunic, leather pants, and tall boots. Meanwhile, Mother looks regal and lethal in her black velvet gown. She has porcelain skin, delicate features, and an all-knowing glare that reduces hardened warriors to mush.
Needless to say, I’m pleased that her glare has softened. I must remember to work Batman into our conversations more often.
For a few minutes, Mother and I continue our breakfast in silence. It would be pleasant, except for the setting. Our new feasting hall is located in Purgatory.
This place combines the worst of a rundown human suburb with the best of a rotting Dumpster. The sky is constantly cloudy with two types of weather: rainy and about to rain. It’s part of the magic of this realm that the weather is always dreary. Plus, the sky never reveals the sun or moon, and even if it did, those celestial bodies follow different patterns than they do in other realms.
Closing my eyes, I let my thoughts return to the glittering caverns of my homeland. As a rule, thrax live underground on Earth in the realm of Antrum. For some reason, the oracle angel, Verus, has demanded the royal family—and our noble entourage—move to Purgatory for a short period of time. This wasn’t a popular idea, but the oracle’s word is law, so we arrived here three months ago. Until Verus sets us loose, our days will be spent in tents and wooden halls like this one.
I scan the empty benches around me and sigh. It’s hard being separated from the bulk of my people. Quiet breakfasts like this only make things worse. Usually our feasting hall is packed with thrax sharing breakfast at communal tables. However, today Mother insisted on having a family-only morning meal, which in this case translates into me, Mother, and a half-dozen terrified workers. Father should get here any minute now. I can only hope he arrives before Mother’s temper returns.
As if in reply to my thoughts, Mother spears another wilted strawberry with a vengeance. Looks like her temper will resurface before Father does. Bugger.
“You never answered my question,” says Mother. “You haven’t touched your food.” She spears a grape with such force the entire table wobbles.
“Careful there,” I say. “You’ll bring down the roof down.”
“One perk of being queen. I can bring down roofs and no one says a thing.”
At those words, the half-dozen servants in the room visibly shiver.
There’s no question about the general topic of Mother’s angst, either. It’s always the same issue: the House of Acca. That tribe is the largest and most troublesome of all thrax.
At this point, problems with Acca could fall into one of two categories.
One, Mother might be worried about my impending marriage contract with Acca’s most eligible noblewoman, Lady Adair. If Mother thinks there are problems on that front, she would be sorely mistaken. It’s a business arrangement, nothing more. I’d regret that, but I’m a prince. I always knew I’d never marry for love.
Two—and far more worrisome—would be if Mother discovered my ongoing scheme against Aldred, the dreaded Earl of Acca himself. I’ve many issues with the Earl, but my largest is how Aldred keeps leading his warriors into ill-planned demon attacks on the Earth’s surface. Thanks to the Earl of Acca, hundreds of good thrax meet bad ends every week. I meet with the families of the fallen, trying to provide comfort as their worlds fall apart. So many tears and ruined lives…and all so the Earl can prove his so-called prowess in battle.
Even worse, my parents have forbidden me from doing anything to stop Aldred’s bloodshed. Per some ancient treaty, if I interfere with Aldred’s rights to lead his troops, then the Earl has the unmitigated right to execute me on the spot.
And as every royal knows, execution threats and breakfast do not mix well.
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Christina_Bauer_Duty_Bound?id=yoAyDwAAQBAJ
Book 1 - Angelbound - is currently FREE:
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Christina_Bauer_Angelbound?id=zDLTDAAAQBAJ&hl=en
Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
Book Blitz: The History of Hilary Hambrushina by Marnie Lamb
This week I've got another book blitz to share with you and this time it's for The History of Hilary Hambrushina by Marnie Lamb. The History of Hilary Hambrushina is a YA Contemporary novel that was released in May last year.
As part of the blitz, I'll be sharing an excerpt and guest post as well as an international giveaway that I'll share at the end.
Carry on reading!
The History of Hilary Hambrushina
by Marnie Lamb
Publication date: May 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Synopsis:Hilary has one goal for her first year in junior high: to become popular. But her plans are turned upside down when her best friend leaves for the summer and a quirky girl named Kallie moves in next door. Kallie paints constellations on her ceiling, sleeps in a hammock, and enacts fantastical plays in front of cute boys on the beach. Yet despite Kallie’s lack of interest in being -cool, – Hilary and Kallie find themselves becoming friends. That summer friendship, however, is put to the test when school begins, reigniting Hilary’s obsession with climbing the social ladder. As Hilary discovers the dark side to popularity, she must decide who she wants to be before she loses everything.
A Journey Prize nominee, Marnie Lamb earned a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Windsor. Her short stories have appeared in various Canadian literary journals. Her first novel, a YA book named The History of Hilary Hambrushina, is forthcoming from Iguana Books. When she is not writing fiction or running her freelance editing business, she can be found cooking recipes with eggplant or scouting out colourful fashions at the One of a Kind Show.
Kallie’s room was the first on the left. Swinging open the door, she spread her arms out and said, “Ta-da!”
Although I was expecting something unusual, I wasn’t prepared for what greeted me. The walls and ceiling were black, and the ceiling had a pattern of white dots and lines that reminded me of the night sky. A huge hammock stretched like a crescent moon between two walls. Some sort of rope-and-wheel apparatus that looked like something we’d built in science class last year was attached to the wall and ceiling above the ends of the hammock. In front of the window was a telescope pointed outside. At least a hundred stuffed animals sat against the walls, and books and clothes lay scattered on the floor.
“What do you think?” asked Kallie proudly.
I didn’t know what to say. It was the strangest room I’d ever been in, but also the most interesting. I thought of my own room, with the shiny new Damian Sámos poster (the same one as Lynn’s) on one wall and the old wallpaper my dad still hadn’t taken down on the other. The wallpaper had faceless Victorian ladies holding flowered parasols, and I loved it — when I was six. Then there was the squeaky hinge on my closet door (another thing my dad hadn’t fixed). Even my new lavender chenille bedding, which I’d begged my mom to buy, looked so boring compared to Kallie’s room.
Finally I mumbled, “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“Really? Fantastic! I wanted to make it unique.”
“Is that the night sky?” I asked, looking at the ceiling.
“Yeah. Those are the constellations. Razi and I finished painting them last night.”
I stared at her. “You painted them? You mean it’s not wallpaper?”
“No, but if you thought it was, it must mean we did a good job.”
“You did an amazing job!” I exclaimed. I looked around the room in awe. How could Kallie have painted such a complicated pattern? I couldn’t imagine painting a wall so well, let alone a ceiling.
Kallie was beaming. “Thanks. We did it mostly at night because we could see the sky then. We had a big map to help us during the day, but you can’t really get the feel of the stars without looking at them, you know?”
Actually I didn’t. I’d never thought about that before.
“But the real reason I asked you to come over,” said Kallie, grinning, “was because I was wondering if you wanted to help me paint stuff on the walls.”
For the first time, I noticed that the walls had no patterns on them. “You want me to help paint your room?” I was surprised and kind of honoured. After all, she barely knew me. “O.K.”
“Great! Stay there!” She dashed out. I looked around. That’s when I realized something was missing. When Kallie came back, pushing a wooden cart with jars of paint in dozens of colours, I asked, “Uh … Kallie, where’s the bed?”
“The bed you sleep on?”
“Who says I sleep on a bed?” She moved some stuffed animals to the hammock.
“Where do you sleep then?”
“In the hammock, of course.”
I was stunned. “You sleep in a hammock? Why?”
“Well … isn’t it uncomfortable?” I said, starting to feel impatient. Why did she always have to answer my questions with another question?
Guest Post (Interview with Marnie Lamb)
This interview was conducted by Tanya Kuzmanovic. Check out Tanya’s blog, Pencils and Popcans.
1. The inception, writing, and publication of The History of Hilary Hambrushina has been about a twenty-year process for you. What sorts of updates did you have to make to the story in order to fit it into the context of the present day?
The most important update was the introduction of an online aspect to the bullying that one of the characters experiences. The ubiquity of the Internet and cell phones means that most bullying, especially by teenagers, now contains, or at least has the potential to contain, an online aspect. So not including such a component would have dated the story. Most of the other changes were small and involved updating references to technology, such as referring to a DVD player instead of a VCR. The early drafts also talked about two sisters, one a twelve-year-old and the other a seventeen-year-old, fighting over the use of the family landline phone. While I think it’s believable that a twelve-year-old might not have her own cell phone, today most seventeen-year-olds in Canada have their own phones. So I changed the source of conflict to something different. Otherwise, I didn’t feel the need to modernize the story. The themes dealt with are enduring and will speak to today’s readers the same way they did to readers twenty years ago.
2. Themes of bullying, friendship, and self-awareness (to name a few) appear throughout The History of Hilary Hambrushina. How do you feel you have specifically strived to set your story apart from other YA novels that portray similar themes and issues?
I strived to broaden the examination of the major issues. For example, the depiction of bullying features not only incidents from the lives of younger characters but also glimpses into the experiences of older characters (mothers and grandmothers). The role of schools in tackling bullying is also addressed. As well, I tried to give Hilary, the narrator, a distinct voice and cultivate a strong writing style that includes humour and the use of original similes. Finally, the novel examines other important themes, such as mother-daughter relationships and the development of young writers and artists. Hence, the story is not just about what happens at school but offers a wider perspective on the lives of tweens and teens.
3. What major changes and/or omissions did you make to The History of Hilary Hambrushina when looking at its earliest drafts compared with the currently published YA novel?
The first draft was actually a forty-eight page “short” story. That story’s ending was simplistic and Pollyannaish. Without giving too much away, I can say that the current ending is hopeful yet realistic. The first draft of the novel contained a chapter that dealt with the resolution of one of the relationships in a way that undermined the growth of a major character. My MA thesis supervisor at the University of Windsor, the late Alistair MacLeod, advised me to delete this chapter, which I did. The early drafts of the novel also included a chapter in which Hilary and Kallie visit a historic house in Toronto. While interesting, the chapter didn’t advance the plot, so it was jettisoned, too. Finally, in one post-thesis draft, I introduced an anorexia plot. Based on the feedback of a publisher, I realized that this plot made the book too complex and unwieldy, so I deleted that storyline.
4. Based on one of your earliest drafts of The History of Hilary Hambrushina, it was important to you that the story unfold from a tween’s perspective. What steps did you take to ensure that this tween voice was believable and accurate?
The main step was to share the early drafts with readers and solicit their feedback. My first readers were the students in my MA creative writing seminar and a couple of professors in the department. One of the students in the seminar also had a teenage sister, who agreed to read the draft. Everyone who read the story felt that the voice was believable. Several years later, I had the manuscript evaluated by a publishing professional. Voice was one of the categories addressed, and the evaluator, too, thought that the voice sounded authentic. Aside from this feedback, I read several Canadian YA novels to get a sense of how other authors have handled a teenage voice. Based on that research, I felt that I had created a voice that was both believable and original.
5. What advice do you have for writers in terms of dealing with favourable and/or unfavourable reviews of their published work?
I think the only downside of too many favourable reviews is that they might swell your head to Brobdingnagian proportions. However, I once read a quotation by another writer who stated that bad reviews usually have a more profound impact on a writer’s psyche than do good reviews. So I think that the risk of an inflated ego is Lilliputian. Bad reviews, contrarily, have an acute and a chronic downside. Ideally, you should avoid reading negative reviews of your work. Realistically, most of us will probably be too overcome by morbid curiosity to bypass those early one- and two-star critiques. And that’s fine up to a point. Indulging your curiosity about bad reviews is a part, albeit a painful one, of the writing journey. But dwelling on the negative is a sure path to self-doubt and anxiety. So after your curiosity is sated, redirect your energies to the positive. Share your heartache with compassionate, supportive people who are good listeners, will let you rant, and won’t shell out that useless advice, “Don’t worry.” Keep copies of positive reviews and reread them when you’re feeling down. Most importantly, take breaks from your book. Detaching yourself from your art can be very difficult. But you are not your book. For your own emotional health, you need to separate the two.
GIVEAWAY - ENDS MARCH 8TH 2018
Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
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