Monday, September 30, 2013

Haunted Chemistry + Giveaways




Alexis heads to the basement of her apartment complex to do laundry. On her way down she bumps into Ian Reese. Alexis has a crush on Ian. The feelings are mutual. It appears that Ian has just moved into the building.

Alexis finishes going to the basement. Alexis gets a spooky sensation when she gets in the basement like someone is watching her. The cupboard opens by itself. Alexis gets scared but luckily Ian is there to protect her. It seems that the basement is haunted.

Haunted Chemistry by Lindsey R. Loucks is my first introduction to this author. I have to be honest that I did not care for this book. The writing style was over simplified. I thought that Alexis was a scaredy cat and I was not attracted to Ian at all. I wanted to read this book for the paranormal elements but there was hardly any in this book. It was hard to take this book serious when you had things like “Oh it is just a ghost and not a demon.” Ok so Ian did not say it exactly this way but you get the picture.













Find Your Ever After in Under An Hour














Ruby Hill by Sarah Ballance



From her earliest memories, Ashley Pearce has been drawn to Ruby Hill Lunatic Asylum, and she's not the only one. Decades after the abandoned hospital ended its institutional reign of torture and neglect, something lurks in the shadows. Since she’s a paranormal investigator, it's Ashley's job to find out what.



Crime scene expert Corbin Malone doesn't believe in ghosts. A born skeptic, he has no interest in entertaining the hype surrounding the mysterious deaths at Ruby Hill, but he won't turn his back while more women die. He agrees to an overnight investigation, never expecting his first encounter would be with the woman he pushed away a year ago. But when he discovers Ashley is a target, he learns his greatest fear isn't living with his own demons, but losing her for good.





Amazon      Barnes and Noble














One Thousand and One Nights by Ruth Browne



Sheri spends her days fighting zombies and her nights chained to a wall, earning her every breath by telling stories to her captor Aleksy—stories that make them both forget the ruined world. Sheri could put up with the conditions—at least she knows her sister is safe in the community Aleksy leads—until she realizes she’s falling for him...even though he wants her dead.



When Aleksy allowed Sheri and her sister into his compound, he didn’t know about the zombie bite on her back. It's only a matter of time before she turns into one of the rising dead and threatens their existence, but Aleksy has a secret need for Sheri and her stories. For everyone’s safety, he chains her to his bedroom wall, hoping for just one more day. But how long will the community allow Aleksy to ignore his own rule: always kill the infected. Always.





Amazon      Barnes and Noble














Mercy by Jan Coffey



Julia Klein’s life has begun to unravel—her daughter Amy has been suspended from school, Julia is about to lose her job, and her boyfriend Garrett is being transferred thousands of miles away. Overwhelmed, she and Amy leave for a weekend at a rambling old colonial inn. Julia never suspects that Garrett, desperate to find a way to keep Julia in his life, has decided to surprise her by joining them. Nor does she expect her daughter to befriend a mischievous ghost...or that she herself would be possessed by the malevolent spirit of a long-dead mother.



As a dark secret emerges, Julia, Amy, and Garrett find themselves pitted in a fight for survival against a savage presence that intends to resurrect/repeat/relive a horrible crime committed two centuries ago. And this time, Amy and Julia will be the victims.





Amazon      Barnes and Noble














Haunted Chemisty by Lindsey Loucks



When bookish college co-ed Alexis heads to the laundry room in her new apartment, she runs into Ian Reese, the chem lab partner she crushed on all last semester. And the guy who stood her up on their first date. But she’s down for an awkward reunion, and no better place than her creepy laundry room.



Ian has every intention of making amends, but just when Alexis begins to trust him again, a new threat calls more than their future together into question. A ghost from the apartment’s past is hellbent on revenge, and if he wants to get his girl, he’ll have to get the ghost first.





Amazon      Barnes and Noble














Wish Upon a Star by Michelle McLean



Ceri McKinley never stopped wishing that her ex-fiancĂ© Jason Crickett would come back into her life. But when he finally does, he comes with a request that puts them both—and all of humanity—into jeopardy.



Jason only wants two things: to bury his brother properly and to convince Ceri to trust him again after he jilted her. But when Ceri agrees to help him get his brother back, they end up fighting for their lives as a zombie uprising threatens them all.





Amazon      Barnes and Noble


















Northern Light by E.J. Russell



Nothing gives art fraud investigator Luke Morganstern a bigger rush than busting forgers, the low-life criminals who dare victimize true artists. But when his latest job sends him to a remote cabin in the Oregon Coast Range, he’s stunned to discover the alleged forger is his former lover, Stefan Cobbe, the most gifted painter Luke has ever known.



Stefan, left homeless and destitute after the death of his wealthy partner, doesn’t exactly deny the forgery -- he claims he doesn’t remember, an excuse Luke can’t accept.



But Luke’s elderly client suggests Stefan may be telling the truth and presents another possibility – a dark presence in the woods, a supernatural fury simmering for decades. Luke must face down his fear of the uncanny – and admit his feelings for Stefan – if either of them is to survive.





Amazon      Barnes and Noble











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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Seaper Powers:In Search of Bleu Jay's Treasure

 
Emma's father comes home. He tells the family that they are going on a family vacation in St. Thomas. Emma hopes to see an octopus. She gets her wish when she meets Oliver the octopus. Emma and Oliver become fast friends.



Steve, a star fish has no friends. He wishes that he could find a true best friend. Steve also gets his wish and more when he meets Oliver and Emma. Now he has two friends. Emma, Oliver, and Steve go on a grand adventure to search for Bleu Jay's lost treasure of gold coins.
 
 
I listened to the audio book. Kim has a great voice for audio books. She is clear and animated. In fact all the readers involved in this book were great. They all helped to bring this story to life. I got nice mental images of Emma, Steve, Oliver, and the ocean they call home. I did not need the electronic version to see the pictures.



I had a fun time with Emma, Steve and Oliver. Each one showed that it does not matter who you are, you are special in your own way. I have to say however that my favorite was Steve. One I like his name and two he reminded me of the little train that could. This book is a book that the whole family will enjoy listening to. Seaper Powers: In Search of Bleu Jay's Treasure makes a splash in a good way!

 
 
 
 
Check out more about the book here
 
 

 
Kim Cameron began her career on KHAT TV as a small town reporter after DJ'ing on KRNU. With a journalism degree in hand, she moved to the Washington DC area writing for the Smithsonian Institute.  Her career took numerous twists and turns through corporate ladders and organizations, but telling stories was always a passion.  She is a proven lyricists with a song catalog of over 65, including a few children's songs.  She wrote her first musical in 2012 while writing for the National Examiner and providing the voice over character for an Asian animation movie.
 
Kim is a true believer in inspiring and nurturing kids.  She teaches vocal lessons to students at the School of Rock and volunteers at the Children's Hospital, singing at their bedsides.
 
While on tour in the Caribbean, she met a 12 year old who had a fascination with octopi.  This brief encounter inspired the creation of Mr. Octopus, a children's tune featuring a 7 year old that Kim recently signed to her record label. After completing the song, her co-writer and guitarist, John DePatie, encouraged her to take the song to next level by writing a children's book using the song as the impetus.
 
After the story was written, John and Kim thought it would be better told using a live narrator and the incorporation of the song.  After months of production, narration, editing, the creation of original musical score and sound effects, the audiobook was completed.  
 
While Kim has had many accomplishments, she and John consider this their biggest feat.  Seaper Powers is the first of a series that Kim and John have committed to write and produce.




Sweet Dreams by Lisa Maliga is a fun, quirky book. + Giveaway

Brenda June Nevins is author of the Yolanda's Yummery Book Series. She is engaged to Warren Laurence Stillman. Thanks to her blog and the many reviewers, her books are selling like hot cakes. You know you have made it big when your book has been selected for a television series. Before Brenda can focus on the new series, she has a big problem. Her upcoming fifth book has suddenly turned into a sci-fi. It is about aliens from the Planet Ho. Brenda must find out who is sending this script and pawning it off as Brenda before her career is ruined.

Sweet Dreams by Lisa Maliga is a fun, quirky book. I would call this book more of a light comedic story with a hint of romance and sweet treats.

In the beginning I found Brenda's talking about herself charming. However as the story progressed and Brenda still kept commenting on herself, I started to get annoyed and turned off. I than found her self-centered. For example "My hair was behaving itself and it would behave even more if I put it into a sophisticated braided bun so that it wouldn't fly around with my BMW convertible's top down."

Although I do have to admit that the parts from the sci-fi book were funny. Using the words "root organ and drilling in the secret area". Of did I forget to mention that the sci-fi is an erotic sci-fi. Also I liked the words of wisdom that was included at the beginning of each chapter from Brenda herself. Like "Take screen shots of your #1 bestseller so that it will remain there longer."

Lisa Maligahttp://www.lisamaliga.com
Author of Books for Discerning Readers
Make your own Bath & Body Products!
 
 
I have a electronic copy of this book to giveaway to 1 lucky reader. Leave me your email address and a winner will be chosen October 5th.

Will in Scarlet

Will Shackley is the son of Lord Shackley. Will's father is accompanying King Richard. Will's uncle has a nickname for Will. It is Will Scarlet. Because whenever Will was in trouble he would turn crimson. So his nickname is a play on his troublemaking ways and his name.

Sir Guy of Gisborne is King John's main man. He visits the Shackley house. An attack takes place and Will's uncle is killed. Will escapes into the woods. There he meets the Merry Men.

This book still had all my favorite characters from this story. I liked the young Will. He transformed from a young boy to a man through the course of this book. The band of merry men and merry girl (yes, girl) brought entertainment to the story. I like both Much aka Marianna and Rob. Much had brains and Rob was the joker of the group.

However do not mistake this book for the Mel Brooks version or even the Kevin Costner flop. This book is not about Robin Hood. It is about young Will and how the kingdom came to be. Don't get me mistaken as Robin does make an appearance in this book. It is later in the story and for a brief period. I would call this book more of a historical read. You can tell it is for the younger audience as the violence is mild and so is the romance, if you could call it romance. A fast read.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Deceived




Elle's father has relocated them again in a new town. Elle is tried of all the moving. At least this is her senior year. Elle does not receive the warm welcome she was hoping for at her new school. Strange things start happening to Elle. First there is the ribbon stuffed in her locker door. The ribbon looks just like the one Elle's mother used to have. She is gone. Than there is the mystery of the cigarette butts that someone leaves on Elle's door mat at school. Who is stalking Elle and why?

I was not feeling this book as much as I would have liked to. It is on the darker side but not dark that it is depressing. What I mean by this is that the book does touch on a serious subject but without all the gore. I just could not connect with any of the characters. In fact, I found myself skimming parts of this book to make it read faster. From what I was reading it did not make me stop and slow down. The ending was alright. Sorry as there is not much else I can say about this book.


Bonus

This story goes deep to the heart of personal threat---a subject often on the minds of teens.

A suspenseful, crime-oriented story in which even the best people are not who they seem to be.

Julie Anne Lindsey is a seasoned writer, with more than 20, 000 Twitter followers and a well-established blog on her website.

Friday, September 27, 2013

How To Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman

 
Marta has always been a good wife. That is what her husband and every one she meets says to her. Lately Marta has been experiencing visions. Visions of events that Marta has no memory of. She is wondering if they are real. She decides to stop taking the medication that her husband is giving her. This is when Marta’s life changes forever.

This is one of those books that will leave you on a love/hate relationship with it. It will mess with your mind and maybe leaving you wanting more. I did have a love/hate relationship with this book. The reason is because while I liked the mind tricks this book played on me, especially when it came to who Marta really is. In addition to whether what was happening to her was real or just “a reality that her husband wanted her to believe.”

Ms. Chapman has done a good job with making me dislike Marta’s husband and family. They all seemed so clinical and cold. Thus I could not figure out why Marta stayed. I mean I understand staying because it is all Marta knows but her husband seems to want to keep Marta drugged up like “Valley of the Dolls.” How to be a Good Wife is a decent first book from new author, Emma Chapman.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sneaking Treats




Title: Sneaking Treats (Tale of the Pumpkin Wraith)

Author: Eddison McRoberts

Illustrator: Jessica Gadra

Publisher: Virtualbookworm.com (July, 2013)

Length: 48 pages

Genre: Childrens Illustrated



Book Blurb
 
Sneaking Treats is the Halloween tale of a candy-obsessed Prince. After a clumsy accident, he becomes so angry with himself that he inadvertently shoes away his own shadow. With the story given life by the remarkable artistry of Jessica Gadra, the royal family’s search becomes a playful game of hide-and-seek, the young boy’s shadow cleverly hidden among the illustrations’ intricate details. But whether the Prince will ultimately be reunited with his scorned ‘Self’ is not the only mystery that haunts the many twists and turns of the royal castle.



Excerpt
 
 
"The Prince couldn’t sleep. ‘Where would I go if I were feeling unappreciated,’ he thought. Unable to come up with the answer, he decided to sneak downstairs for a treat from the Hallowed Cauldron of Candy, singing softly as he went:
‘The Good King warns to keep our faith
Or risk the wrath of the Pumpkin Wraith
But tempted by the sticky sweets
We steal away their trick-or-treats
And risk the wrath of the Pumpkin Wraith
We’ll risk the wrath of the Pumpkin Wraith’


"And THAT’S when he heard a noise…"
 


About the Author: Eddison McRoberts lurks in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and two beautiful Ethiopian-adopted children.

About the Illustrator: Jessica Gadra currently resides in Buffalo, New York, with her husband, Alex, her dog, Eisley, and ten thousand uninvited ladybugs.









 

Guest Post:
 
As newly adoptive parents of our Ethiopian born children, we found ourselves hungry for stories to share with our new family that features adoptive themes, especially for inter-ethnic families such as our own. Despite a few widely circulated favorites, we found the available options to be few. I am not a writer by trade or hobby, but as a creative person with a two beautiful new muses, I was inspired to strike out and create my own.

Rather than tackle interethnic adoptive issues head-on, I chose an entirely different approach: I have been busy creating stories with themes that have absolutely nothing to do with adoption, but which just so happen to feature an adoptive family as the main characters. Modeled after our own, the royal family featured in our first published book, Sneaking Treats, is clearly and pointedly inter-ethnic. However, this is never discussed as an issue within the story, itself. What better way to normalize the concept of adoption than to present it as irrelevant? The royal family is just like any other family with everyday challenges. The primary moral theme attempts to be largely subliminal. By story’s end, swept up in the whirlwind of more pressing mysteries, the reader will (hopefully) have forgotten the Prince and Princess are adopted.

I just read the very first review of our book on Amazon and note that the reviewer didn’t bother to mention the different ethnicities illustrated for the family characters. I consider that a tremendous success!





Links:
 
 
Author website: www.eddisonmcroberts.org



Bookmark our website and watch for news of the future release date for the royal family’s next magical adventure: The Princess and the Puppy.
 
The author accepts no profits for sale or distribution of ‘Sneaking Treats’, instead steering all net proceeds towards his favored charities. Please visit www.ethiopiareads.org to learn how underprivileged Ethiopian children are given the reading skills they will need to transform their society into one of appropriate health, wealth and opportunity for all.


Available in both premium hardcover and ebook formats, Sneaking Treats is also offered in a more-affordable, black & white coloring book version, which features the complete story with illustrations ready for your child’s colorful imagination! Help support our cause and purchase your book at:


Virtual Bookworm:
 




Amazon:

Barnes and Noble:
 




Recommendations:
 
 
For more great kids’ stories that feature ties to Ethiopia, please visit the web pages for authors Jane Kurtz and Chris Kurtz, Americans who works are greatly influenced by their shared childhood growing up in the Ethiopian countryside.








 

 
 
 








Snow Day with author, Dan Maurer




It happens each winter, and has for over 35 years. Every time the snow starts to fall late in the evening before a school day, the dreams begin again for Billy Stone. They are always the same – there’s a dark tunnel, and there’s blood, lots of blood, and someone is screaming.

In this chilling childhood tale, Billy, recounts the events of one unforgettable day in 1975. On that day, he and his friends played carefree in the snow, until an adventure gone awry left him far from home, staring death in the face, and running from a killer bent on keeping a horrible secret.

Set in a time before Amber Alerts, when horror stories were told around camp fires instead of on the nightly news, Snow Day is a blend of nostalgia and nightmare that makes us question if the good old days were really as good as we remember.

From a new voice in dark fiction comes a thriller about an idyllic childhood turned horrifying; a cautionary tale about how losing sight of the difference between feeling safe and being safe can lead to deadly consequences.



Snow Day: a Novella
A Single Night of Thoughtful Thrills
 
I love novellas.  http://bit.ly/171CHuP>Snow Day
, the ebook and audiobook thriller that I’ve recently published, is a novella. 
 
I even like the sound of that word. It has a nice ring to it. Say it with me – no-vel-la
.  Many great writers like John Steinbeck, Charles Dickens, and Ernest Hemmingway have written famous novellas. And for those of us who prefer to read about things that go bump in the night,  authors like Richard Matheson, Stephen King,  Robert Lewis Stevenson and many others can be added to the list.  That’s not bad company. In fact, I love the form and I’m excited to tread, with light foot, along the same literary path as such worthy craftsmen. 
 
Longer than a short story, but shorter than a traditional novel,  the novella is a wonderful but rare bird.  So rare, in fact, that many young adult readers have never encountered one – not in paper form, any way.  Sometimes, when I tell people I’ve written a novella, they cock their heads like a confused puppy.  The words of encouragement or congratulations that spill from  their lips are always polite, occasionally enthusiastic,  but often accompanied by a questioning tone that lingers in the air like the scent of a sweet smelling herbal cigarette smoked less than an hour ago – not terribly unpleasant, but still, something I could do without.
 
In that moment, I pretend that I can read minds, and their thoughts often fall into three categories. Either they think they misheard me – He said novel, didn’t he? Or, they are mildly disappointed, as if a good friend missed the mark on the grail-like quest to write the great American novel– Only a novella, hmm, that’s too bad.   And then there are those who dismiss it as something it is not – Oh, it’s just a short story. At least, that’s what they think as they smile and wish me well.
 
Snow Day  is simply a tale that found its natural length and scope in the land of not-quite-a-novel.  But like King’s The Mist, or Matheson’s Duel, or Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,  its size is its charm. Like all good novellas, it strives to concentrate its impact on the reader into a single evening of thrills, and if I’ve done my job right, offer a few interesting ideas that may chill you. All in one evening, all for the price of a cup of coffee, and for no more personal commitment than the time that passes between the end of dinner and the start of Charlie Rose.  In this age of long work days and over booked calendars, who could ask for more? 
 
As a parent, I was eager to use Snow Day as way to explore  an earlier time – 1975 –  a time when the world that young children played in was much different from what we know today. As they page through Snow Day, younger readers will no doubt think they’ve entered an alien world, one that their parents might call the good ol’ days.  But as you’ll discover, they weren’t always as good as we remember,  and they certainly weren’t any more safe. In Snow Day, Billy Stone, a middle-aged father of two sons, has been haunted for years by nightmares that only come when a blizzard is brewing the evening before a school day.  In his personal recollection, written at the suggestion of his doctor, he takes us back to that one unforgettable snow day from his childhood and the origins of his dark dreams.  Essentially an ode to the campfire stories of my youth, I readily and proudly admit that Snow Day owes a few strands of its DNA to tales like Harper Lees’ To Kill a Mocking Bird (still my favorite novel),  King’s The Body, and others tales of their kind.  There is even a subtle nod Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. See if you can’t find it in Chapter 15.
 
I’m sure these influences will be clear as you read Snow Day, but the real question will be this: did I do them justice, and more importantly, did this novella fulfill the promise of the form – a single night of thoughtful thrills and an interesting, perhaps chilling idea for you to consider as you power down your Kindle, refresh your night cap, and tune in to hear Charlie Rose utter those familiar words...”Tonight on the program...” Only you can be the judge of that. 


Join Dan Maurer, author of the thriller/suspense/horror novella, Snow Day, as he tours the blogosphere July 1 - September 27, 2013 on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book! This tour is part of a huge Kindle Fire HD Giveaway. If interested in signing up for a review, interview, guest post, or book spotlight, please let us know by contacting Tracee at tgleichner (at) gmail.com or leave a comment below along with your contact information.
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SnowDay_Maurer_BookCover_Small_LowRez_287x459_Color_FinalABOUT SNOW DAY: A NOVELLA

 
It happens each winter, and has for over 35 years. Every time the snow starts to fall late in the evening before a school day, the dreams begin again for Billy Stone. They are always the same – there’s a dark tunnel, and there’s blood, lots of blood, and someone is screaming.
 
In this chilling childhood tale, Billy, recounts the events of one unforgettable day in 1975. On that day, he and his friends played carefree in the snow, until an adventure gone awry left him far from home, staring death in the face, and running from a killer bent on keeping a horrible secret.
 
Set in a time before Amber Alerts, when horror stories were told around camp fires instead of on the nightly news, Snow Day is a blend of nostalgia and nightmare that makes us question if the good old days were really as good as we remember.
 
From a new voice in dark fiction comes a thriller about an idyllic childhood turned horrifying; a cautionary tale about how losing sight of the difference between feeling safe and being safe can lead to deadly consequences.
 
Free Audiobook Sample — Snow Day: Prologue
 
 
Buy Snow Day at Amazon
 
Buy Snow Day at Amazon
 
Buy Snow Day at Audible
 
Buy Snow Day at iTunes
 
 
----------------------------------------------------------------

Dan MaurerABOUT DAN MAURER

Dan Maurer is an independent author, publisher, theater producer, director, and digital marketer. He is also a proud member of International Thriller Writers, Inc. and the Horror Writers Association. Throughout his career in publishing and marketing, he has been involved in the publication of bestselling titles such as John Grisham’s The Firm, Richard Price’s Clockers, and Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger’s Lost Moon, which became the film Apollo 13. As a digital marker, he has supported popular publishing brands including Curious George, Peterson Field Guides, and The Polar Express. He has also developed marketing strategies for many corporations, including Citizen, Dun & Bradstreet, RCN and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Dan is a member of an acclaimed New Jersey-based theater company and has won awards for his producing, directing and sound design. He lives with his wife and their daughter in Robbinsville, New Jersey.

An Excerpt from Snow Day: a Novella by Dan Maurer
Copyright © 2013 by Dan Maurer. All rights reserved.
Prologue
January, 1975
     Tap…tap, clang… Tap…tap, clang…
 
”Hello?”
 
My voice was cautious as I called into the darkness. It wasn’t my house and I had no business being down in that cellar. By the look of the boards on the windows upstairs, and the weeds that strangled the front yard, it hadn’t been anyone’s house for a long time. But still, even at ten, I knew in my bones that I’d made the biggest mistake of my life.
 
One of the windows was busted at the corner, and the cold wind whipped and whistled at the breach. Outside, a loose metal trash can rolled and rattled and knocked about with each new gust. It made a soft, distant sound.
 
Tap…tap, clang… Tap…tap, clang…
 
The only light was an old Coleman lantern that I found there. It lay at my feet, the mantle fading and sputtering. Beyond the meager glow that lit no more than my boot-tops, it gave me the terrifying certainty that someone was here, or close by, and would soon —
Was that a sound? I held my breath and listened carefully, trying hard to dismiss the pounding pulse that thrummed in my ears. Was that a shuffling sound, maybe feet moving and scraping across loose dirt?
 
“Hello…? Anyone here…?”
 
I squinted hard but it was useless. The darkness was unyielding and oddly thick with the smell of freshly turned earth. Someone had been digging down here.
 
Tap…tap, clang… Tap…tap, clang…
 
Running into the house to hide from the police was my only option. The place should have been empty, long abandoned. But it wasn’t, and I knew now that I had to get out. I turned to leave, to run; and then I heard it, a word from the darkness. It was whispered and pitiful and — it was my name. Someone in the darkness called my name.
 
”B-Billy?”
 
”Who’s there?” I called out.
 
”I…I…didn’t d-do nothing wr-wrong, Billy.”
 
Both the voice and its stutter were familiar. Just hearing it made my guts twist.
 
Tap…tap, clang… Tap…tap, clang…
 
I snatched up the lantern at my feet, recalled my scout training, and worked the pump to pressurize the kerosene. The lantern’s mantle hissed a bit, burned a little brighter, and pushed back the darkness.
 
”Holy shit…”
 
The light washed over a young boy. Like me, he was just ten, and I knew his name.
 
”…Tommy?”
 
It came out like a question, but it wasn’t. Tommy Schneider lived next door to me and was part of our snowball fight just a few hours before.
 
When the light touched him, Tommy flinched and turned his shoulder, as if anticipating a blow. He shivered and folded his arms across his chest, hands tucked in his armpits. He paced and shuffled his feet in a small circle, as if his bladder was painfully full, and he whined and muttered; half to himself, half to me.
 
“It w-wasn’t m-my fault, Billy. I…I just w-wanted to play.” His eyes were swollen and red, and the tears ran streaks through the dirt on his freckled face.
 
Tap…tap, clang… Tap…tap, clang…
 
“Tommy, what the hell are you doing down here?”
 
”I..I…I’m sorry, b-but I d-didn’t do nothing wrong, Billy. I’m s-sorry.”
 
He kept his hands tucked under his armpits, but motioned with his chin. And that’s when I saw it, just a few feet from where I stood.
Naked and half buried in a pile of loose earth lay the dead body of a boy that appeared to be our own age.
 
”Jesus Christ…what the hell, Tommy.”
 
”No….” His whining grew and fresh tears were coming.
 
”What the hell did you do?”
 
”Nooo…” he whined more and covered his ears. “I didn’t do nothing wrong.”
 
Frantic now, I held out the fading lantern, quickly looking around. We were still alone. The scene before me was unfathomable.
In the half-shadows of the cellar where the lantern struggled to reach, there was a pile of fresh, moist earth and broken shards of concrete. I saw some tools – a sledgehammer and a shovel, and I think a pickax, too. A few brown sacks of cement mix were piled against the wall. And there was a large hole; a gaping wound in the cellar floor that reached beneath the foundation of the house, a hole that led down into a place where the lantern’s light could not touch. Nearby, a stray boot lay in the dirt, just beyond it a gym sock, and another lay close by my feet. A faded, wadded up pair of jeans was perched at the edge of the hole.
 
Tap…tap, clang… Tap…tap, clang…
 
I shivered, despite my layers of clothing and new winter coat. Tommy was freezing. He wore only jeans and a t-shirt pulled over a long-sleeved sweatshirt. His breath, like mine, fogged in the January air, and his jaw waggled helplessly from his shivering.

 
“Who’s that?” I asked, pointing to the body.
 
At first, Tommy’s eyes followed my finger, but then he just moaned and cried some more, and turned away.
 
I couldn’t tell if the boy on the ground was from our immediate neighborhood, or my school, or Boy Scout troop, or baseball team. It was difficult to discern much about him at all. He lay on his belly in a pile of dirt, and the loose earth covering his face and parts of his torso were, it seemed, tossed on him carelessly by whoever dug the hole. The backs of his pale white thighs glowed in the lantern’s light. The only stitch of clothing left on him was a pair of white Fruit of the Loom jockeys tangled around one ankle.
 
I picked up one of the gym socks from the ground, pinched it into a ball and held it with the tips of my fingers. Kneeling beside the dead boy’s head, I held the lantern close with one hand and used the sock to brush the dirt from his face with the other. Like a fossil being unearthed by an archeologist, the truth came slowly. As the seconds passed, the light and each stroke of my hand brought broken, bloodied and indecipherable features into sharp focus. But the crushed and jellied eyeball put me over the edge.
 
I jerked back from the body.
 
”Oh, God! Tommy, what — “
 
My stomach lurched.
 
I dropped the lantern and fell backward onto the ground. Turning and scrambling away on hands and knees, I found a corner and began to wretch. My back arched and my body convulsed uncontrollably. It was the Coney Island Cyclone all over again, but this time nothing came up, only thin strands of bile dripped from my mouth and down my lips.
 
In time, the convulsions faded. I finally rolled over and just sat there, looking at Tommy, wiping the spittle from my lips with the back of a shaky hand. My head throbbed and my mind was fuzzy. No words would come.
 
The wind howled through the broken cellar window again. Outside, the passing cars made a distant shushing sound as they crept along Woodlawn Avenue, tires rolling through the snow and slush. My heaving, stinking breath clouded in the cold air, and Tommy just cried.
 
Clang, clang… Clang, clang…
 
I was ten years old and had just seen my very first real dead body – still and soulless, and battered beyond recognition – lying on the floor of a cold, dark cellar of an abandoned house. What the hell did I get myself into?
 
Clang, clang… Clang, clang…
 
Staggering to my feet, I picked up the lantern and held it out.
 
”Tommy… who did this?” My throat was dry and pained.
 
Just as the words passed my lips, something in my mind and in my ears opened up – popped open, really, like in the cabin of an airliner during descent. That sound.
 
Clang, clang… Clang, clang…
 
It was different. It was continuous. It wasn’t the rattling trash can anymore. The sound came from a distance but it was there, and it was distinctive. I knew exactly who was standing impatiently, hip cocked and jaw set, banging on the lip of a dinner bell with her soup ladle.
 
Clang, clang… Clang, clang…
 
Tommy looked at me. He heard it too and knew what it meant.
 
”Your Ma’s calling, Billy.”
 
”Who, Tommy?”
 
”I…I…didn’t d-do nothing wr-wrong, Billy,” Tommy whined. “I just w-wanted to play.”
 
”Tommy…”
 
”It was ol’ George,” he finally said. “He did it. Stay away from ol’ George.” And then he started to cry again, whimpering. “I just wanted to play,” he mumbled through the tears. ‘ …just wanted to play…”
 
Clang, clang… Clang, clang…Clang, clang
----------------------------------------------------------------

 

Pump Up Your Book and Dan Maurer are teaming up to give you a chance to win a new Kindle Fire HD!

Here's how it works:

Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. If your blog isn't set up to accept the form, we offer another way for you to participate by having people comment on your blog then directing them to where they can fill out the form to gain more entries.
 
This promotion will run from July 1 - September 27. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on September 28, 2013.
 
Each blogger who participates in the Snow Day virtual book tour is eligible to enter and win.
 
Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour.
 
If you would like to participate, email Tracee at tgleichner(at)gmail.com.  What a great way to not only win this fabulous prize, but to gain followers and comments too! Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Snow Day Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule

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JULY
Wednesday, July 3 – Book reviewed at Midnight Thrillers
Wednesday, July 3 – Book featured at Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews
Wednesday, July 3 – 1st chapter reveal at Rainy Day Reviews
Thursday, July 4 – Book reviewed at Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
Thursday, July 4 – Guest blogging at Midnight Thrillers
Friday, July 5 – Book featured at Mom with a Kindle
Saturday, July 6 – Guest blogging at Rainy Day Reviews
Saturday, July 6 – 1st chapter reveal at Parenting 2.0
Sunday, July 7 – 1st chapter reveal at Inside BJ’s Head
Sunday, July 7 – Book featured at Margay Leah Justice
Sunday, July 7 – Guest blogging at Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
Wednesday, July 10 – 1st chapter reveal at Read 2 Review
Friday, July 12 – 1st chapter reveal at Book Him Danno
Sunday, July 14 – Interviewed at Review From Here
Thursday, July 18 – Guest blogging at The Story Behind the Book
Friday, July 19 – Book reviewed at Sarah’s Organized Chaos
Wednesday, July 24 – Book featured at Parenting 2.o
Wednesday, July 24 – Book featured at Books R Us
Thursday, July 25 – Book featured at My Cozie Corner
Saturday, July 27 – Interviewed at Broowaha
Monday, August 5 - Book reviewed at The Road to Here
Tuesday, August 6 - Book reviewed at My Cozie Corner
Tuesday, August 6 - Book featured at Naturally Kim B
Wednesday, August 7 - Book reviewed and 1st chapter reveal at Thoughts in Progress
Thursday, August 8 - Book reviewed at Bookingly Yours
Friday, August 9 - Book featured at Book Marketing Buzz
Monday, August 12 - Guest blogging at Janna Shay
Tuesday, August 13 - Guest blogging at Straight From the Authors Mouth
Wednesday, August 14 - Book featured at Authors and Readers Book Corner
Friday, August 16 - Book reviewed at Miki's Hope
Monday, August 19 - 1st chapter reveal at As the Pages Turn
Thursday, August 22 - Interviewed at Examiner
Monday, August 26 - Book reviewed at Gina's Library
Tuesday, August 27 - Guest blogging at Literarily Speaking
Wednesday, August 28 - Interviewed at Literal Exposure
Friday, August 30 - Interviewed at I'm Shelfish
Monday, September 2 - Book reviewed at Emeraldfire's Bookmark
Wednesday, September 4 - Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book
Friday, September 6 - Book reviewed at Mary's Cup of Tea
Monday, September 9 - Book review and 1st chapter reveal at Laurie Here
Wednesday, September 11 - Guest blogging at Between the Covers
Thursday, September 12 - Book review and Guest blogging at From the TBR Pile
Monday, September 16 - Book review and Guest blogging at Cindy's Love of Books
Tuesday, September 17 - Interviewed at The Writer's Life
Wednesday, September 18 - Guest blogging at Allvoices
Thursday, September 19 - Book reviewed at My Book Retreat
Monday, September 23 - 1st chapter reveal at Literary Winner
Thursday, September 26 - Book review and Guest blogging at Cheryl's Book Nook
Friday, September 27 -Book reviewed at The Self Taught Cook
Friday, September 27 - Book reviewed at A Room Without Books is Empty

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