Monday, October 31, 2016

0 The Nightmare That Tortures Rose + A Giveaway

October is the month of fears, and we're going on tour with some of our favorite authors to talk about what their main characters are afraid of. What keeps them up at night? What nightmare has them waking in a cold sweat? Each day, we'll feature a new main character and delve deep into their subconscious to see what they fear. And each day, you'll have a chance to enter to win some awesome prizes! 

It only seems fitting that we'd end on Halloween with a main character pitted against her very own Freddie Kreuger while locked away in an asylum. Nightmares run rampant in Asleep by Krystal Wade, and we're going to take another look at one of the nightmares torturing young Rose...

Asleep Excerpt

Rose fell asleep that way, smiling, exhilaration making the trip into dreamland take forever. But once she was there, she wanted to crawl back out, back into the land of the waking.
Someone dressed in dark robes grabbed Rose by the wrists and jerked her forward. “Come.”
“No. Please. Not again. Just leave me alone. I just want to sleep.” She glanced back toward the bed and found it wasn’t there. She wasn’t even sure where she was. Her eyes burned, and everything appeared black and fuzzy, like opening her eyes under water at night.
“Come.” The person tugged her along by some invisible force, down dark hallways and stairs, and through cold, drafty rooms where she couldn’t see anything and felt like she was surrounded by ghosts or lunatics—or worse, ghosts of lunatics.
Jingling sounds bounced off the walls—keys? Weapons? Rose didn’t want to find out—and the clang of doors closing vibrated in her chest.
Blackness stretched on forever, only an occasional light swirling by in Rose’s peripheral vision, ramping up her heart even faster than before she’d fallen asleep. “Where are you taking me?”
The person finally stopped next to a big gray door, and Rose ran into his back. His, because he grunted, his, because he was a giant, too tall and too wide and too strong.
Rose tried to apologize, but she couldn’t open her mouth again, her muscles too weak to break through whatever barrier trapped her voice. Panic took hold of her, and she tried to reach up and touch her lips, but she couldn’t. Her hands were secured by the giant before her.
Rose backed away and made it two steps before she was yanked right back, chains jangling.
Chains. She’d been chained.
Why couldn’t she wake up? Why couldn’t she force her way to the surface? Maybe if she hurt herself or found a way to kill herself, she’d wake up. People can’t die in their dreams, supposedly, or so she’d heard on some silly cartoon in the common room the other day.
Yanking harder, planting her feet with all her strength, Rose tried to dislocate her wrists, pulling and twisting and groaning.
“Stop it.” A growl erupted from the man in front of her, which only made her pull harder, struggle more, breathe faster. Breathe, breathe, breathe through her nose. Not enough air. The smell of duct tape overwhelmed Rose.
She’d been chained and duct taped.
“Don’t. Please.”
Phillip? Rose stilled to get her chains to stop banging against each other, listening for his voice. When she didn’t hear anything over her own breathing, she ran at her captor, knocking the hood from his head. His bald, white head was disfigured by thick, raised scars tracing his skull in circular patterns. He turned around as if time was not a concern to him, as if on some mechanical switch flipped to the slowest setting. The man’s expression was blank, but his eyes were as red as blood.
Definitely not Phillip.
She wanted to hide, to cower. Her legs quaked beneath her. Her heart thundered against her ribs. The man reached into his pocket, and Rose’s panicked breaths through her nose and muffled sobs bounced off the walls.
“Don’t,” she heard Phillip say again, but the man’s mouth hadn’t moved. Was Phillip here somewhere? In her nightmare? “Don’t hurt her.”
The man pulled out a skeleton key and inserted it into the cuffs securing Rose’s hands, and she immediately backed away, rubbing at the raw, tender flesh. She ripped the tape from her lips next, crying out as she lost a layer of skin and tasted blood flowing into her mouth. He reached into his pocket again and then held out several charcoal pencils, one of them her pencil. He inclined his head in the direction of the door beside them, which she now saw had 206 and Briar written on it. “Draw.”
Digging his long, witch-like nails into her back, the man shoved her into the room, slammed the door, and slid a bar across it. He locked her in.
Rose was alone, freezing and shaking and alone, holding charcoal. All along the walls were outlines of trees, spindly, leafless trees. Winter trees, white chalk against a concrete canvas.
“No. No, don’t leave! Don’t leave me here . . . .”
She spun around in search of Phillip, for the origination of his voice, for some clue as to what the hell was going on. But she found nothing but the white trees staring back at her.
“Hello?” Rose held her breath and waited for a response. Anything. “Greg? MacGregor?”
“Mom. Mom!” she heard him shout, and then another voice broke through the madness, “You have to save her.”
Rose didn’t recognize the second speaker. He didn’t even sound human, just a bunch of garbled words that found a way to make sense in her dream.
“I can’t. She left me.”
“Not her.” Two lights flashed on, one above Rose, the other above Phillip. He was tied to a chair, bound at the wrists and ankles, naked from the waist up and covered in bruises. A black splotch covered his ribs, big enough for a fist to have made, the same shape as the bruise on his elbow. She took in the others, details about his injuries. A long, bleeding cut above his left nipple. A yellow bruise at his right hip bone. Rose had to memorize this Phillip against the real, breathing, living Phillip so she could differentiate between dream and reality.
But just as quickly as his form appeared, it disappeared before she could finish her appraisal. “Make her draw.”
The reminder that she was here too raised the hairs on Rose’s arms and neck. She waited, sure her heartbeat could be heard by everyone within a three-block radius, but Phillip didn’t respond except with stony silence.
She took a step forward but found her ankle chained to a peg in the middle of the floor. “Phill—?”
Something smacked Rose in the head from behind, and her vision filled with spots. She whirled and threw her hands out, trying to find someone she could fight, someone who deserved her wrath, but her hands didn’t find anyone.
A light blinked on from overhead, and a dark figure rushed up to Rose and punched her in the stomach. She doubled over and gasped, sucking air into her lungs in harsh, wheezing breaths.
“Draw,” the garbled voice demanded.
Rose shook her head, unable to get to her feet and fight, unable to breathe.
A booted foot slammed into her back, flattening Rose to the floor and stealing what little air she was able to recover. She lay there, face pressed to the cool concrete, head spinning, light from above blinding her. Rose wished she could just wake up. Wake up. Wake up.
“Draw,” the voice once again demanded.
Rose couldn’t. Not in her dreams. Not in real life. Not ever. Rose couldn’t draw because she had no inspiration. She couldn’t even remember what her inspiration was, what prompted her fingers to turn her daydreams and creativity into reality, what made them finish something once started.
“Stop,” Phillip shouted, his voice strong and sure. “Just draw, Rose. Draw. You’re like me. They won’t stop. Draw, Rose. Please.”
Wheezing, she lifted her head and looked at the wall full of outlined trees. With sore muscles and no air and feeling like she might die any second, how could she get up and do anything?
The light blinked off again, and the light over dream-Phillip came on. A cloaked figure approached him with a red-hot branding iron aimed right at his chest. Phillip’s eyes went wide and he screamed, loud and feral and absolutely terrifying, pushing against the floor with his bound feet. He turned his head to the side, shaking the chair so much Rose was surprised it hadn’t broken. Screaming. Over and over he screamed, breaking her with his terror.
“Stop,” she muttered, her voice weak and not nearly loud enough to be heard over his. So Rose got to her knees and said it again. The figure still approached Phillip. So she got to her feet and sucked in a ragged breath and shouted through the pain coursing through her chest. “Stop!”
The figure tossed a casual glance her way and shook his finger at her, the iron an inch from Phillip’s chest.
Rose looked in her palm and then up to the wall. Maybe she couldn’t draw, but she could fill in the trees with color. “Okay.”
She made her way to the lifeless trees, legs trembling as she pulled the weight of the chain along with her, back and stomach aching. White chalk rested near her bare toes, so Rose picked it up, placed it on the wall, and set to work.
Phillip stopped screaming. The lights blinked off from over him, but the hot iron remained in the dark. Rose knew it was a threat. If she quit or gave up, Phillip would be injured.
And so she drew and drew and drew, filling in all the empty spaces between the tree outlines with plain colors until her hands felt like they would fall off. Until her legs were too weak to hold her up any longer and she collapsed. And the next moment she blinked her burning eyes open, she was lying face up in bed.
Rose never slept on her back. Ever. She lifted her hands, half-expecting to see residue of chalk on her fingers, but there was nothing. Just a dream.
Just a dream that left every muscle sore, her body trembling with exhaustion, and her brain demanding she sleep at least four more hours. But she hadn’t moved, hadn’t left this room. Reaching beneath the mattress and bed frame, she found her pencil. Right where she’d left it. These meds were really messing with her. Rose hated the way they made her feel, and she planned to tell Dr. Underwood all about the nightmares to see what he could do to fix this.
She hurried to get dressed, marched down the hall and took her meds, then marched along farther to grab breakfast. But Rose stopped dead in her tracks when she saw Phillip sitting at their table, counting his bruises, ignoring the bowl of crap in front of him.
The urge to run to him and ask if he was okay was so strong Rose had to fight to remain rooted in place. She knew what happened last night was just a dream, but she couldn’t seem to balance that with the image of this broken guy sitting at her table. They looked so much the same: dream-Phillip and reality-Phillip.
Ignoring the food line, she took a seat beside him and grabbed his left hand. Rose had to touch him, to see if he was real or an illusion. She didn’t trust herself anymore. Not with nightmares as vivid as she had. And she could hardly ask him to lift his shirt so she could see his bruises.
“Are you in there?” she asked.
Phillip startled and squeezed her fingers in his hands, his warm, trembling hands. “You’re like me, Rose. Like me. They won’t stop. They’ll hurt you.”

About the book

"To cure fear, you must use fear."

Rose Briar claims no responsibility for the act that led to her imprisonment in an asylum. She wants to escape, until terrifying nightmares make her question her sanity and reach out to her doctor. He's understanding and caring in ways her parents never have been, but as her walls tumble down and Rose admits fault, a fellow patient warns her to stop the medications. Phillip believes the doctor is evil and they'll never make it out of the facility alive. Trusting him might be just the thing to save her. Or it might prove the asylum is exactly where she needs to be.

Available Amazon. Add the book to your Goodreads list! 

0 Five Books That Might Convince You That Ghosts Are Real

To be totally honest, I'm not sure ghosts exist. But I'm also not sure they don't exist either. Many people all over the world have had some sort of experience that make them life-long believers. Not to mention all the many books as well as television shows that are dedicated to proving that there is life after death. And though I've watched a few of these shows and read a few of these books, I still remain a skeptic. Do ghosts really exist? The following books might convince you that they do.

Join ghost photographer and researcher Tim Scullion on a two-year tour of Colonial Williamsburg, America's haunted historic city of ghosts. Visit 43 creepy locations where Scullion describes his paranormal odyssey to capture and explain each apparition, a bit of historical and paranormal background of the building it appears in or over, and insights about these ghostly beings that he has learned from careful observation. With more eighteenth-century buildings and homes than any other place in America, Scullion has learned the secret to consistently capturing ghostly apparitions of all kinds on camera. Examine 230 paranormal images that are beautiful, ugly (if not horrifying!), bizarre, and defy explanation. He also provides historic accounts, ghost sightings, and narrative, insights, and introspection for each location. Colonial Williamsburg is a hotspot for ghosts!

Haunted Historic Colonial Willimasburg, Virginia is a great book for history lovers that like a bit of scandal to go with their ghost stories. As far at the "breakthrough photography" is concerned, I'm not convinced. You'll have to check out the images for yourself, but they seemed altered to me. For me, that made this book seem more fiction than fact.

Paranormal Provincetown: Legends and Lore of the Outer Capeby Sam Baltrusis | ISBN13: 9780764351532 | Schiffer Publishing

Known as the spot where the Pilgrims first set foot on Cape Cod in 1620, it's no surprise that Provincetown, Massachusetts, is a hotspot for tourists as well as hauntings including over twenty historic, crime, nightlife, overnight, secret, and Truro haunts. Take a stroll along Commercial Street where the historic Lancy mansion is allegedly haunted by an old woman who died in the late 1800s, but due to the frozen ground, she couldn't be buried, so her son kept her propped up at an open window all winter long. Learn about the historic "Black Flash" of Provincetown a grim reaper-type beast that would snatch children away in the 1930s. From the historic maritime-themed buildings lining Commercial Street to the shores of the Provincetown Harbor, it is clear that there is hardly a corner of the tip of Cape Cod where the paranormal cannot be experienced."

Provincetown, Massachusetts is a cool place to visit, but if you're into ghosts you may want to put it on the top of your destination list. Sam Baltrusis considers this town to be a hotspot of paranormal activity. And like many other books of this genre, Provincetown has a rich history that's worth checking out. Ghost lover or not, this would be an interesting place to visit.

Spirit Magnet in Texas: 20 Ghostly Encounters by Ann Bridges | ISBN13: 9780764350344 | Schiffer Publishing

From the clouds with ghostly faces in the Chisos Mountains to the spirits of the Alamo, follow in the footsteps of a "spirit magnet" as she takes a wild Western romp across haunted Texas and beyond. Meet Joshua's ghost in his creepy room in Mineral Wells and Sara, who is one of the most active spirits at the Menger Hotel in San Antonio. Did phantom soldiers holding swords of fire really save the Alamo from destruction by the Mexicans? Is it really Teddy Roosevelt's ghost that haunts the bar at the Menger? Be amazed at the phenomenal results from the Spirit Scanner. Find out in this factual and spine-tingling adventure across the Lone Star State.

Like the title suggests, Ann Bridges is a spirit magnet. She's had all sorts of interesting and spooky things happen to her. And she visits many interesting places. Some of the places she's visits are considered "ghost hotspots" where ghost tours are given. I'm skeptical of ghost tours because I feel that the integrity of the tour can be easily compromised by many different variables. But there are some cool stories in this book that you might not be familiar with.

Haunted Bridges: Over 300 of America's Creepiest Crossingsby Rich Newman | ISBN13: 9780738748474 | Llewellyn Publications  

More than 300 bridges with eerie phenomenon that span space and time

Across the country hundreds of bridges harbor some of the creepiest paranormal activity known to man. Invisible hands reach out and touch unsuspecting travelers. Residual ghosts haunt scenes of murders, accidents, hangings, and suicides. At some bridges a voice cries out in the darkness that sends a chill down the spine of anyone who hears it.

Haunted Bridges tells the kinds of stories that are told in hushed tones around hearths and campfires as we ponder the unknown late into the night. The stories are at once mesmerizing, unique, and unexpectedly familiar, as if we all know deep down that fate keeps some spirits bound to earth. If you can endure the fear and you don’t look away, you will experience the dread and mystery of the unexplained.

Cities and states are listed for 324 public locations so readers can look up specific bridges.

Every town has some sort of urban legend relating to a bridge--often tragic. Rich Newman's book, Haunted Bridges, is a guide for people who want to tour such bridges. This book is pretty comprehensive, but it is missing some things. I would have liked to see some images of some of the bridges. Also a few maps would have been a great addition. One thing Newman included that I thought was great was he cautioned explorers about some of the older, more dangerous bridges. Safety first!

America's Most Haunted Hotels: Checking in with Uninvited Guests
by Jamie Davis Whitmer | ISBN13: 9780738748009 | Llewellyn Publications

Join Jamie Davis Whitmer, author of Haunted Asylums, Prisons, and Sanatoriums, as she explores some of the most haunted hotels across the United States. From the Jerome Grand Hotel in Arizona to the Palmer House in Minnesota, each hotel is discussed in great detail, covering everything from the building’s history and legends to first-hand accounts of spooky sounds and smells, ghost sightings, EVP sessions, and more. You’ll also find photos, travel information, and everything else you need to plan your own visit to these iconic hotels.

Have you ever stayed at a haunted hotel? Would you ever book a room at a renowned haunted hotel? I'm not sure if I would or not. It's sounds exciting, but I'm not sure I would do much sleeping. Jamie Whitmer did just that. She stayed at some pretty amazing places that had some very interesting histories attached to them. A lot of what Jamie witnessed was not so much as a ghost encounter but more of negative feelings when she went into certain places. And though some of these places may be haunted, the skeptic in me wonders to what lengths the hotel owners will go to in order to keep up appearances that their hotels are in fact haunted. Color me not convinced.

These books were interesting even though they didn't convince me of paranormal activity. I love the fascinating and tragic stories that accompanied most of the stories. I'm not sure I could stay in the hotel that inspired The Shining, but it was cool to read about. I'm still a skeptic, but I remain open to the possibility that there might be ghosts.

Do you believe in ghosts?

Thursday, October 27, 2016

0 What haunts Vee each night when she closes her eyes? + A Giveaway

October is the month of fears, and we're going on tour with some of our favorite authors to talk about what their main characters are afraid of. What keeps them up at night? What nightmare has them waking in a cold sweat? Each day, we'll feature a new main character and delve deep into their subconscious to see what they fear. And each day, you'll have a chance to enter to win some awesome prizes! We met Vee from our recent dystopian release The Surrendered, but now we're getting to know her a bit better by finding out what haunts her each night when she closes her eyes...

My name is Vee Delancourt, and my biggest fear is all about failure. In a world where the nation abuses its children in unspeakable ways, losing this fight just isn’t an option. I hope I can prove myself worthy of the trust so many have put in me. I hope I can one day redeem myself for the mistakes that I’ve already made. . .and for the lives that have already been lost.

She’s here, my old friend is. Stalking my sleep again.

Well, not her exactly, but some version of her. While the pale skin is the same, if maybe a shade lighter, the hesitant smiles I once marveled at have disappeared. A twisted scowl now decorates her
gray lips. Grayish. Not quite blue; not quite white. The color of death.

“You,” she snarls at me, one thin finger aimed in my direction. “You killed us all.”

I shake my head, backing until I come in contact with something. I don’t have to look to know it’s the big covered truck from Hopkins Farm. I’ve been here before, in these very Mills, on this very day. It’s the day that everything changed. The day I escaped the System and set into motion a chain of events that would forever change the lives of so many people. Not all for the better.

My ethereal pursuer continues to advance on me, and my heart races wildly in my chest. “I didn’t mean to!” I cry, pleading with her to understand. “I didn’t know so many would die!”

“Die, die, die. We’re all dead. We died. We’re done. Dead.” Babbling is her only response.

My chest squeezes. Something’s not right. Isn’t there supposed to be peace in the beyond? A great releasement of all the bad experiences? A big screw you to all who did you wrong? This is unfair.

She hesitates in her advance, her feet floating stationary over the dirt path for one moment. Her head tilts slightly, as though listening to sounds in the distance. She grimaces, shudders, and then
moans. “They beckon. They call. . ..” She throws her head back, wailing, “No! I will not go!”

I cover my ears at the thunderous howl, releasing a scream of my own. “Let me help you! Let me fix this!”

Another murderous shriek sounds as I step toward her. “I don’t want to go! Make it stop! I WILL NOT GO!”

I sob, the gasping sounds ripped from my chest as I struggle to stay upright. I feel the blackness trying to take me even now. “Please. Please let me make this right.”

Her head drops forward, drool running from her mouth and over her chin. Colorless eyes swing back to me, and in them I see a sorrow unlike any I have ever witnessed. “You’ve done enough, little rebel. Selfish. Unthinking. Ignorant, rebel. You killed us all.”

“No.” My head continues to deny, but my heart twists at the knowledge that she’s. . .right. She’s dead because of me. Tears overspill my eyes, tracking marks through the grime on my cheeks. I choke. “But I was only trying to help you.”

Her bark of laughter startles me and I jerk in surprise when her finger points again, this time to my left. “Fail. Failing. Failed.” She cackles. And what of them? Will you help them too?”

My head turns.

They’re all there. My dear, sweet friends. Ann and John William. Cason. Matthew. My father. The Overseer. The Master. Asa. All the children. There are so many of them, both known and unknown.

All with the same murderous intent.

To make me pay.

About the book

After a financial collapse devastates the United States, the new government imposes a tax on the nation’s most valuable resource—the children.

Surrendered at age ten—after her parents could no longer afford her exorbitant fees—Vee Delancourt has spent six hard years at the Mills, alongside her twin, Oliver. With just a year to freedom, they do what they can to stay off the Master’s radar. But when Vee discovers unspeakable things happening to the younger girls in service, she has no choice but to take a stand—a decision that lands her on the run and outside the fence for the first time since the System robbed her of her liberty.

Vee knows the Master will stop at nothing to prove he holds ultimate authority over the Surrendered. But when he makes a threat that goes beyond what even she considers possible, she accepts the aid of an unlikely group of allies. Problem is, with opposing factions gunning for the one thing that might save them all, Vee must find a way to turn oppression and desperation into hope and determination—or risk failing all the children and the brother she left behind.

Now available!

0 What am I most afraid of? by Bailey Southwick + A Giveaway

October is the month of fears, and we're going on tour with some of our favorite authors to talk about what their main characters are afraid of. What keeps them up at night? What nightmare has them waking in a cold sweat? Each day, we'll feature a new main character and delve deep into their subconscious to see what they fear. And each day, you'll have a chance to enter to win some awesome prizes! Bailey is the sixteen-year-old protagonist of the Paranormal Comedy THE CONCH SHELL OF DOOM by Ryan Hill. When Bailey isn’t fighting off sea monsters, he’s fighting off his friends’ snark, a healthy fear of rejection, and anxiety. But rejection isn't the only thing he's afraid of...

What am I most afraid of? by Bailey Southwick

What am I not afraid of is probably the better question. I’m afraid my friends will find out who I have a secret crush on- actually, let’s leave her name out of it. If they ever found out, I’d never hear the end of it. I know a lot of people say, “Oh, I’d never hear the end of it,” but I’m serious. Marshall and Tim would hound me until I moved to Allakaket, Alaska, population 107. Even then, I’d still get texts, emails, and even real mail from them with more jokes. To top it off, one of them – most likely Marshall – would make sure the crush knew I liked them in the most public and humiliating way possible.

Maybe Allakaket isn’t the worst idea.

I’m also afraid of goblin sharks, sand soldiers, and having some bad guy’s head put on my body. Definitely the last one. No, my body isn’t the most athletic, but I’m still growing into it? Also, it’s mine. I don’t want some gross head taking control, rendering me basically dead. No way. That’d stink.

Also, I’m afraid of my anxiety. It pops up at random moments and causes all kinds of problems. I do my best to manage it, but that can only get me so far sometimes. I wish it weren’t the case, but it’s the lens through which I view life. It makes me who I am, and it can make me my own worst enemy.

About the book

Bailey didn’t mean to catch his parents plotting to unleash the sinister Trenton Maroney and his powerful oceanic army on the world. It was an honest mistake. Now, he’s got the horribly disfigured Mr. Lovell on his trail, which is doing wonders for Bailey’s anxiety.

His only ally is Franklin, a burn-out several decades past wishing his brother Trenton was destroyed for good. Franklin has battled his brother for two thousand years, and has nothing to show for it except his beloved Mustang.

To stop Mr. Lovell from awakening Trenton, Franklin and Bailey will have to get past his parents, a one-eyed stoner, crooked cops, giant Scotsmen, and Trenton’s army, which can only be summoned by one thing: the mysterious Conch Shell of Doom.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

0 Maia Graystone Interview + A Giveaway

October is the month of fears, and we're going on tour with some of our favorite authors to talk about what their main characters are afraid of. What keeps them up at night? What nightmare has them waking in a cold sweat? Each day, we'll feature a new main character and delve deep into their subconscious to see what they fear. And each day, you'll have a chance to enter to win some awesome prizes! Maia Greystone is the fierce main character from Shadow Fall by Audrey Grey. You'd think that a girl brave enough to enter the trials and pit herself against the Emperor wouldn't have many fears, but Audrey may have discovered otherwise in her interview...

Maia Graystone Interview

Maia has just been pulled from Emerald Island where the Trials to win safety from the
asteroid are taking place.

Side note:
Before we began this interview, I suggested Maia sit in a chair, but she refused. In all honesty, her actions (pacing, insisting on checking the room for weapons twice) and anxious demeanor suggest a scrappy, stubborn young woman.

Hello, Miss Graystone, and thank you for accepting this interview.

*wringing hands*: Oh, I didn’t know I had a choice. I thought . . .

You thought?

Is the Emperor here? Or my mother? *Scans the room, her fingers toying with
a small, plain dagger at her waist
* Did they put you up to this?

No, no. You’re safe, Maia . . . for the moment. It’s just the readers and me
right now. The readers would like to know your worst fear. Can you describe it
for them?

*frowns* My worst fear? Where do I start? *Gives a small laugh* I
mean, the asteroid coming to make half the planet uninhabitable comes to mind.

Is that your worst fear, then?

Well, my brother, Max, being stuck here when she hits. That’s a big part of it.
I mean, he’s only a kid. And he doesn’t take things very seriously. My parents used
to let him get away with everything, the
imp! He’s not built for this world, where you have to be hard and cruel to

Is there a safe place for you, away from the asteroid?

Yeah, the fancy space station called Hyperion, designed for the Emperor and his
court of Golds. The Royalists are accepting four Bronzes. But If I don’t win
the Trials, then Max and I will be left here to die.

So, then, your worst fear is not winning the Trials?

*Chews her lip* I think my worst
fear isn’t just letting Max down again, but . . . the Archduchess finding him.

ME: And who is she?

MAIA: *toys with her dagger* The Emperor’s deranged,
psychopathic lapdog? Everyone knows her—or, rather, everyone wants to not know
her—because everyone that meets her winds up dead. You see, when the Emperor
wants to find someone, he uses her. She’s been looking for Max and me for over
seven years, and if she finds us--*shudders*--well, let’s just say that
can’t ever happen. I’ll do whatever I have to to keep her away from Max.

ME: Is that why you let yourself be reconstructed
into this new image?

MAIA: *Twists her new, sleek red hair between her
* It’s so she won’t recognize me at the Trials. I like it, but . . .
well, I miss the old me, too.

ME: All right, I think we’ve uncovered your biggest
fear for the readers. Anything else you want to tell them before you go back to
the Trials?

MAIA: Yes. Don’t ever give up fighting to save those
you love. Even if it seems impossible to win, even if it is impossible to win, never give up and never surrender.

*Maia gets up to leave, the beautiful, open-back
emerald-green gown she wears glinting in the soft light

Good luck, Maia. I hope you win and save your brother.

*Maia pauses, but doesn’t turn around*

I will. Whatever it takes.

about the book

The asteroid hurtling toward the earth will kill billions.

The Emperor and his Gold Court will be safe in their space station, watching from the stars. The Silvers will be protected underground. But the Bronzes must fight it out at the Shadow Trials for the few remaining spots left on the space station.

When an enigmatic benefactor hands Maia Graystone a spot in the Trials, she won’t just get a chance at salvation for her and her baby brother, Max: She gets to confront the mother who abandoned her in prison, the mad Emperor who murdered her father, and the Gold prince who once loved her. But it’s the dark bastard prince she’s partnered with that will make her question everything, including her own heart. With the asteroid racing closer every day, Maia must trust someone to survive. The question is who?

1 Check out an audio clip from Richard Storry's The Cryptic Lines

Audiobook Info

Audiobook Title: The Cryptic Lines
Author: Richard Storry
Narrator: Jake Urry
Publisher: Richard Alan Storry
Length: 4 hours and 13 minutes (unabridged)
Audio Release Date: March 16, 2016
Synopsis: Set in a sprawling gothic mansion in a remote coastal location, somewhere in the British Isles, the elderly recluse Lord Alfred Willoughby is deciding what is to become of his vast fortune after his death. Whilst his head is telling him to leave nothing at all to his wastrel son, Matthew, his heart is speaking differently. After much deliberation, in a last-ditch attempt to try and show to his son the importance of applying himself to a task and staying with it to the end, he devises a series of enigmatic puzzles cunningly concealed within the lines of a poem – the cryptic lines. If he completes the task successfully and solves the puzzles he will inherit the entire estate; but if he fails he will receive nothing. However, from Lord Alfred’s Will it emerges that Matthew is not the only interested party. The mysterious old house holds many secrets, and nothing is as it first appears…

Buy Links

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Author Bio

Richard is the author of four published novels, with his fifth “A Looming of Vultures” due for publication in 2017. Prior to writing his first novel, “The Cryptic Lines” he was very busy in the theatrical world: He composed the incidental music to Chekhov’s Three Sisters, seen in London’s West End, starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Eric Sykes, and subsequently broadcast on BBC4 television. His musical adaptation of “The Brothers Lionheart” premiered at London’s Pleasance Theatre, followed by a successful run at the Edinburgh Festival where it was voted Best Childrens’ Play. “The Cryptic Lines” has now been adapted for both the stage and screen.

Narrator Bio

Jake Urry is a British actor and audiobook narrator, and also co-founder of Just Some Theatre. Since graduating from an Acting degree course in 2012 he’s toured with Just Some Theatre as an actor and producer, worked on a number of commercial voice over projects and most recently started producing Audiobooks. Jake has produced over 10 titles since March 2016 and has rapidly found himself at home narrating Thriller, Horror, Mystery and Suspense titles. His audiobook work includes dark psychological thrillers White is the Coldest Colour and Portraits of the Dead by John Nicholl, occult mystery series The Ulrich Files by Ambrose Ibsen, and gritty Sci-Fi novel Shadows of Tomorrow by Jessica Meats.

Audio Excerpt

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Tour Schedule

Oct. 23: Dab of Darkness (Review & Interview)
Oct. 24: My World in Words and Pages (Review & Audio Excerpt)
Oct. 25: To Read Or Not To Read (Audio Excerpt & Spotlight)
Oct. 26: He Said Books Or Me (Review)
Oct. 27: Maureen’s Books Blog (Review)
Oct. 28: Desert Bibliophile (Review, Audio Excerpt & Spotlight)
Oct. 29: Never 2 Many 2 Read (Review & Spotlight)
Oct. 30: Bookaholic Banter (Review, Audio Excerpt & Spotlight)
Oct. 31: The Paper Pilgrim (Review)
Nov. 1: My Book Fix (Review, Audio Excerpt & Spotlight)
Nov. 2: Bound 4 Escape (Spotlight)
Nov. 3: Totally Addicted to Reading (Audio Excerpt & Spotlight)
Nov. 4: Books Are My Way of Living (Audio Excerpt)
Nov. 5: Highway YA (Audio Excerpt & Spotlight)
Nov. 6: Jorie Loves A Story (Review & Interview)
Nov. 7: Bedtime Bookworm (Review & Audio Excerpt)
Nov. 8: ShannonBookishLife (Spotlight)
Nov. 9: Book Journey (Review & Audio Excerpt)
Nov. 10: A Literary Vacation (Review)
Nov. 11: Avid Book Collector (Review, Audio Excerpt & Spotlight)

Nov. 12: Brooke Blogs (Review & Audio Excerpt)


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