Thursday, October 20, 2016

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Blog Tour (and a giveaway!): Hold by Rachel Davidson Leigh

VBT: Hold- Rachel Davidson Leigh

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Lucas Aday, the star of Rachel Davidson Leigh’s first novel, Hold.

Hi Rachel, thank you for agreeing to let Luke join us for this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Hi! Thank you so much for having me on your blog! I’m Rachel, and my hobbies include overanalyzing television shows and pairing readers with their perfect books. My debut novel, Hold, is a story about grief, identity, and transformation. After his sister’s death, Lucas Aday can hardly drag himself back to school. He couldn’t possibly prepare himself to stop time or to fall for the only other boy who doesn’t stop moving.

I’m glad that you get the chance to talk to Luke today. He deserves as little bit of celebrity after everything I put him through. Take it away, Luke.

1) What do you find attractive in a man?

Oh, wow. That got personal fast, didn’t it? Um.

I guess I like a good smile. I’ve only liked, maybe, two guys, but they both got this light in their eyes when they smiled and I liked that. I think I also go for guys who think fast? That sounds weird, but it’s cool when a guy can go from one idea to another and another so fast I can hardly follow what he’s going to say next. Even if I can’t actually keep up, it makes me want to be faster and smarter too. So, I guess I like guys who make me better, especially if they have weird minds.

My friend, Marcos, is reading over my shoulder while I write my answers and he says I like weirdos because I’m a weirdo too.

That’s probably true. I know it sounds like I should be mad, but he didn’t mean it like that. He meant the good kind of weird. He’s also saying that I should tell you that “I like guys with good butts” and if I don’t say so I’m “lying my ass off,” but that’s not true. I didn’t say that.

2) The first thing that went through your head when you saw Eddie Sankawulo?

Honestly? I was pissed off. It was my first day back at school after Lizzy’s funeral, the lacrosse guys wouldn’t leave me alone, I was having a panic attack in the hallway, and then he showed up. It was weird. With anyone else, I would have been thinking four-letter words, but he was still Eddie. Even then, he was funny and he didn’t move like anyone else I’d ever seen. It was like he already owned the hallway, and he did have a great smile.

3) Do you think you’ll insist the author visits you again?

This is going to sound rude, but please no? I’m really happy with how it all worked out, but the parts of my life, and my friends lives, that she talks about were some of the toughest things I’ve ever had to go through. She got to be there for some of the best parts of my life too, but if she showed up again, I don’t know, I’d get scared a piano was about to drop on my head. Fanfic authors, on the other hand, can visit us as much as they want. I can speak for everyone when I say that we wouldn’t mind being in a coffee shop AU or trapped in an elevator.

4) Before you met Eddie, what was your ideal man?

Thanks for that. Now Marcos is poking me with a pen and grinning. FYI, I hate him, and I definitely should have read these questions before I let him come over.

Before Eddie showed up in my life, I might have had a long-running, obnoxious, crush-that-would-not-die on the Marcos who is currently poking me in the side. Yes, we were friends then too. Yes, he knew and it was awkward. Actually, there’s a pretty good story there, but I don’t think I can tell you.

Ha. Spoilers.

At the time, I would have said that I liked guys who were really sweet, with a quirky sense of humor, and I probably would have said that same thing about the smile. I might have also said something about his eyes. Now, I’d say that I had a thing for mean space cadets who should stop playing with my pens.

5) You’re going out for dinner. What’s your favorite food?

See? This is what I thought the interview was going to be like. This is a really nice question. When I go out to eat with my friends, I steal all of the seafood on the table, Eddie takes the meat, Marcos boggarts the veggies (even the fried ones), and my other best friend, Dee, eats breadsticks like she’s carbo-loading for the Olympics.

Something had made the whole world stop around him, like his own bubble in time, but it was gone. He couldn’t crawl back inside.
* * *

He broke into a weak smile with the shine again in his eyes. “You came to the game. It was a crappy game, but you were there.”
Luke inched in the door and sat on top of the desk closest to the door. The two desks between them might as well have been two miles. “Of course I came.” He didn’t say, “I came because you asked,” or “I had to go because you wanted me there,” because that didn’t make any sense at all. “I didn’t really know what I was watching, but I tried. Dee gave me a crash course in lacrosse.”
“Next time, I’ll come over and give you a tutorial,” Eddie said with a shaky grin. “You see, there’s this ball, and the whole team is trying to make sure it goes into the other team’s net.”
“Shut up” Luke rolled his eyes, but he couldn’t help smiling back. Next time. He said, next time. What happened to Wes? “I’m sorry, but I can’t take lacrosse lessons from a man who looks like he’s going to the opera.”
Eddie eyed his black-on-black. “I look like I’m going to an audition,” he finally said. “I don’t know. Today, I wanted to look good.”
You do, Luke thought. You are.
He opened his mouth, but the words stuck in his throat. He felt the influence of their room, just like all the rehearsals before this one. Even when he couldn't find a good direction to save his life, he eventually sank into their place, their stage and Eddie’s smile, as if he could stay here forever. As long as Eddie kept looking at him as if he were the smartest, funniest, most talented boy he’d ever known, part of him was sure the outside world would hold its breath and wait. Outside, there were secrets and questions and too many hospital beds, but in here—Luke’s stomach clenched. It would be glowing and perfect for a while, but then he had to go.
* * *
If he were a better person, he would have made Eddie stop. If he were in a movie, Luke would have said “stop” really quietly, and Eddie would have listened, because that’s how movies worked. Luke scowled. Real life needs better editing. He scooted off the desk, stuffed his sketchpad into his backpack and walked into Eddie standing perfectly static outside the doorway.
He wasn’t the only one. He’d dotted the hallway with statues in a picture so silent he could hear his shoes clip against the floor.
Luke hadn’t just stopped Eddie. He’d stopped everything and he hadn’t felt himself try. When Eddie had walked out the door, Luke had wanted him to stop and listen, but his demented mind had only managed one thing. He slid out into the hall with his back flat against the wall and his bag clenched against his stomach.
It had been less than a minute since Eddie picked up his bag. Luke couldn’t have counted to one thousand in his head, and Eddie had already turned into someone new. The sad boy from their stage had disappeared. He had his back to the door and one hand in the air, as he turned toward a cluster of students in track pants and T-shirts. The whole group stood across the hallway with their mouths open and smiling, and, in the middle, a pretty girl stood on her tiptoes to wave back. Luke stepped closer to see her face. She glowed as if she made energy in her fingertips. Her skin was darker than Eddie’s, and she had her hair piled into a ponytail that spilled from the back of her head in a high, elegant pouf. Three years at this school, and Luke couldn’t have picked her out of a lineup, but she already knew Eddie. Luke had frozen the moment when her face lit up with joy. She was so happy to see him, and he—
Luke circled around to see Eddie’s face, and he was beaming back at the girl. In the seconds it took him to step away from the classroom door, he’d been remade. Luke peered into Eddie’s happy eyes and wanted to interrogate their shine.
How? He thought. How did you learn to be everyone at the same time?
* * *

They didn’t have to say where or when they would find each other after school. Dee, Luke and Marcos met outside the south entrance by the wobbly picnic table, because that’s what they’d been doing since they were thirteen. Luke let Dee hug him, twice, and they walked toward her house as though nothing had changed in a month of absences and ignored calls.
They fell into step along the side of the road with the February wind at their backs. Neither of them said anything about the funeral, and, after days of flowers and cards promising Lizzy’s arrival in heaven with all the pretty angels, Luke was so grateful he would have let them hug him all over again. It was the kindest silence.
Five years ago, in seventh grade, the walk had begun as a two-some. Back then, Dee and Luke had bonded, in hushed, embarrassed giggles, over their shared crush on the new boy with the soft brown skin and the big, toothy smile. He was so sweet. She’d been the first person to get how the pieces of Luke fit together, before his parents and long before anyone else at school. She’d glommed onto his side like sticky tape and it all should have been a mess. By rights at least one of them should have ended up heartbroken and in tears, but by luck they’d both fallen for a boy who liked neither of them and was too dense to understand the problem.
It wasn’t until freshman year, when all three of them were connected at the hip, that Dee finally had broken down and told Marcos why she and Luke had both suddenly become obsessed with Ender’s Game. Of course it was a good book, but it was also his favorite book and at the time that’s what had mattered. They’d created a Marcos Aldama book club, for God’s sake, and they might have started on The Song of Ice and Fire series if Dee hadn’t gotten up the courage to ask if hewantedtowalkhomewiththemsometime.
When she’d explained, he’d just stared at her over the top of his ham sandwich. “But how?” He’d asked. “I looked like Manny from Modern Family.”
He hadn’t, not really. Except maybe a little in the face.
Most of all, even when he’d awkwardly clarified that no, he didn’t want to date Luke or Dee and asked if that was cool, Marcos had never said a thing about Luke being a boy. It had probably never occurred to him to care.
They walked out of the school parking lot and down West Thirty-third toward Dee’s house. As always, she marched ahead while the boys trailed behind. Marcos’s arm was slung around Luke’s neck, as if to make sure that Luke was actually, physically, there. Their hips knocked together in an uneven beat when Luke stepped forward on one side and Marcos stepped forward on the other. They couldn’t find a rhythm, but neither pulled away. Luke used to imagine that this was what a first kiss would feel like: all awkward limbs and too much feeling.
Neither of them asked questions. Instead, Dee chattered about one show she’d convinced Marcos to watch and another, which she hadn’t. Luke hadn’t heard of either of them, but that wasn’t new. Lizzy liked old TV shows, so that’s what he knew best. Luke caught every other word as she ran through the plots, but the rest flowed together like music.
* * *

Purchase Links:
Interlude Press Web
Book Depository:  Not yet available

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🍂Happy Fall! How cute is this Book of Spells my mom surprised me with as a Halloween decoration? I think it looks pretty cute among this stack of autumn-colored books! 🍂 🎃QOTD: What are your Halloween plans? I went to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal in Orlando and had such a blast!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Daemoniac excerpt: The Daemoniac by Kat Ross Blog Tour

The Daemoniac
by Kat Ross
(A Dominion Mystery, #1)
Publication date: October 12th 2016
Genres: Historical, Mystery, Young Adult

It’s August of 1888, just three weeks before Jack the Ripper will begin his grisly spree in the London slum of Whitechapel, and another serial murderer is stalking the gas-lit streets of New York. With taunting messages in backwards Latin left at the crime scenes and even more inexplicable clues like the fingerprints that appear to have been burned into one victim’s throat, his handiwork bears all the hallmarks of a demonic possession.
But consulting detective Harrison Fearing Pell is convinced her quarry is a man of flesh and blood. Encouraged by her uncle, Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry hopes to make her reputation by solving the bizarre case before the man the press has dubbed Mr. Hyde strikes again.
From the squalor of the Five Points to the high-class gambling dens of the Tenderloin and the glittering mansions of Fifth Avenue, Harry and her best friend, John Weston, follow the trail of a remorseless killer, uncovering a few embarrassing secrets of New York’s richest High Society families along the way. Are the murders a case of black magic—or simple blackmail? And will the trail lead them closer to home than they ever imagined?


Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She lives in Westchester with her kid and a few sleepy cats. Kat is also the author of the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day (Skyscape, 2014), about a world where the sea levels have risen sixty meters. She loves magic, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Preferably with mutants.

Author links:

The rain eased up some as we made our way toward the arc-lights arrayed around the base of the grain elevator. The ground here was rough and uneven, with chunks of loose paving stone alternating with soggy patches of earth. Twice I tripped, and twice John's strong hand kept me from falling. It broke the ice between us a bit, although I knew he hadn't forgotten our argument.
Tattered clouds raced past overhead. A sliver of moon appeared, then vanished just as quickly. The smell of the river grew stronger, and I could see white and yellow lanterns bobbing on the masts of anchored ships to the south. Long Island City lay across the expanse of black water, on the far side of Blackwell's Island. It was still night, but I could see from the faint bluish line on the horizon that dawn was not far off.
None of us spoke as we approached the small group of uniformed officers. We had no urge to speculate as to the state of the body. We'd know for certain soon enough.
As we came into the periphery of the light, one of the figures detached from the others and greeted us. Sergeant Mallory was a short, broad-shouldered man with an air of world-weary competence. He was young to have earned the rank of detective, early thirties, which meant he was either very smart or very well-connected. As his leather shoes showed signs of wear, I deduced the former, since a well-connected man would almost certainly be a wealthy man. It also implied honesty, which was a rare enough trait in any civil servant, but especially in law enforcement.
"Miss Bly," he said, looking John and me over with shrewd brown eyes. "I thought you were alone. Sometimes I doubt Officer Beane would remember his own mother's name if it weren't tattooed on his backside. Pardon, ladies. But he neglected to mention two additional civilians walking around my crime scene."
"They're here for Myrtle," Nellie said quickly. "This is Harrison Fearing Pell and her associate, John Weston. Myrtle's on the case." She crossed her arms and stuck her chin out, as if daring him to cross the great detective.
Mallory frowned. "What case? And how did you get here so quickly? I only got the call an hour or so ago."
"My sister noticed a certain pattern emerging," I said carefully. "Killings where the victim's face has been covered. All in the last week."
"Two others. Becky Rickard and Raffaele Forsizi."
"I know the cases," Mallory said warily.
"We wondered if they were connected so we've been waiting to see if it happened again," I said, trying not to fidget under his intense gaze. "Myrtle would have come herself but she's been hired by the

Pinkertons. I'm here on her behalf."
"I know the whole department is leaky as a sieve, but this is ridiculous," Mallory muttered through his mustache. "You've beaten the morgue boys!" He thought hard for a moment and seemed to reach a decision. "Alright, listen. I may regret this, but Myrtle did me a good turn once, when I was fresh to the force, and I owe her one. However," and he held up a wagging finger, "that doesn't mean you get something for nothing. I'll let you have a look, tell me what you think, but I want to know what Myrtle knows and why she thinks these cases are tied together." He blew out a long breath. "Which I pray they aren't, because the good people of New York have been through enough this year."
I decided right then that I liked Sergeant Mallory. He wasn't arrogant and inflexible, like some of the detectives Myrtle complained about. And he seemed like he wanted to catch the killer badly enough that he'd take advice from a woman—and risk the ridicule of his colleagues.
I also knew I was navigating some tricky waters. I didn't want to out-and-out lie to a police officer, which was obstruction of justice and who knew what else, but I wasn't ready to break a promise to my client yet either. So I danced around the truth, keeping Brady's and Straker's names more or less out of it, and sticking to the similarities in the crimes. I mentioned the impression of remorse or ambiguity, and the possibility that more than one person could be involved. When I described the Rickard scene, and the writing that was found there, Mallory nodded in grim resignation.
"Miss Bly, I'll determine which details can be published and which will be held back, agreed?"
"Agreed," Nellie said.
"We managed to identify her fairly quickly," Mallory said. "She had a note from her dentist in her pocket recommending cocaine toothache drops. As it happens, one of my men recognized the name—Anne Marlowe. She was an actress, performing down at Niblo's. He saw the show with his wife last week. We checked and the description seems to match, although to be honest, it's hard to know for sure. What's left of her is…well, you'll see in a minute. Come on."
The whole time we'd been talking, my eyes kept drifting towards the center of that spotlight. But my view of what lay there was blocked by two patrolmen and the corner of the grain elevator. Now, we followed Mallory a dozen steps to the open space at the very edge of the East River where what remained of Anne Marlowe lay face-up in the thin rain.

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