Book Promo Feature–Witch’s Mark by Sarah Norkus

YAPC would like to welcome Sarah Norkus to the blog today. She is here to share some info and an excerpt of her book Witch’s Mark. If this looks like something you would like to read, please go get a copy!

Book Description:

Witch's MarkChristians Emily Grace and Megan have had enough. Their atheist nemesis, Samantha, has graduated from unrelenting verbal abuse to serious pranks. Sam and her boyfriend, Kyle, come within a foot of running down Em and her boyfriend, Josh, in the high school parking lot.

On a senior class trip to Danvers, Massachusetts, home of the Salem Witch Trials, Kyle sucker punches Josh. It is game on as Josh retaliates, pummeling Kyle into the ground. As Megan and Em watch in shock, vertigo hits Em with a vengeance, and she passes out.

Sent on a journey back through time, Em is shocked to discover Megan has gone back with her. But that shock is nothing compared to her stunned disbelief at finding Sam unconscious at few feet away.

In The Witch’s Mark, Em, Megan, and Sam discover they have travelled back to 1692 during the time of the Salem Witch Trials. Can the girls overcome their prejudices and work together to survive? Find out as one girl is accused of theft and two are accused as witches. Will all three make it back to their time?

Buy Witch’s Mark:

Amazon * B&N

Excerpt:

Dread squeezed Emily Grace’s heart in a vise as the word “witch” reverberated around the meeting house. Her worst nightmare had just materialized in the form of a teenage girl screeching and pulling at her puritan clothing as she accused Em of witchcraft. Em shook her head, her denial drowned out as more voices chanted “witch.” Her terrified gaze locked on Samantha, frozen in place next to the dais, one purple lock of hair accentuating her too pale face.

The sound of the mallet striking the table on the dais and the magistrate shouting for order, added to the chaos of the three teenage girl’s screams and the loud shouts of “witch” by the frenzied villagers. Em’s heart started to pound like a trip hammer and she nearly jumped out of her skin as a commanding voice shouted.

“Silence!”

The room became as quiet as a tomb. A chill crawled up Em’s spine as the magistrate’s cold gaze fell on first her and then Sam. “It is our degree that these girls shall be removed to Ingersoll’s Ordinary and examined for the mark of the witch.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

About the Author: Author/Speaker, Sarah Norkus grew up in Lexington, KY and credits her father, Robert Sarah NorkusHackett, the former editor of the Horseman and Fair World Magazine and her cousin, Stephen Ambrose, author of Band of Brothers, for inspiring her to become a writer. She now resides in Virginia with her husband, Michael. Sarah is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Other books in her Historical/Fantasy series are, The Secret Diary of Sarah Chamberlain and Stealing the Hieland Jewels.

Connect with Sarah:

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads

Book Promo Feature–Gun Princess Royale – Book 1 – Awakening the Princess by Albert Ruckholdt

YAPC would like to welcome Albert Ruckholdt to the blog today. He his here to share some info about this book Awakening the Princess the first book in the Gun Princess Royale series. If this looks like something you would enjoy reading, please go get a copy or two!

Book Description:

Gun Princess Royale - Book 1 - Awakening the PrincessA High School Sci-Fi Adventure with a bitter gender twist, and a day of Hell for one High School boy.

It is said there is no point crying over spilt milk, but for Ronin Kassius living on the terraformed world of Teloria, his decision to help out the Cosplay Club during his third year of middle school at Telos Academy in the city-state of Ar Telica is one he fervently regrets. Cross-playing as the popular animated heroine, Princess Silver Blue, garnered him a legion of ardent fans misled to believe he is a girl and not a boy because of his overtly feminine appearance.

But a year later and now in high school, Ronin’s daily life descends into a waking nightmare as his school reputation lies in tatters when his cross-playing is revealed on social media. To make matters worse, a near death experience while playing an apocalyptic virtual reality shooter at a gaming arcade, leaves him questioning his sanity and very existence.

With the help of three female classmates, a reluctant friend, and an enigmatic voice in his head that he nicknames Ghost, Ronin struggles to uncover the truth behind the events at the gaming center, and soon discovers that cross-playing is the least of his problems when learns that his life and body have become the possession of a powerful, enigmatic family that has chosen him to represent their interest by competing in the Gun Princess Royale championship, an all too realistic and overly popular VR tournament where female players with corporate sponsorship wield Gun Princess avatars in battle.

However the greatest shock comes in learning that he won’t be participating as an avatar’s operator, but as the prototype Gun Princess called Mirai, an existence that comes with her own unique set of problems, and that there is nothing virtual about the brutal and bloody competition he has been thrust into. To get his body and his life back, Ronin will need to fight and win against other girls, earn the title of Gun Queen, and face off in the ultimate battle royale to earn the supreme rank of Gun Empress.

Buy Awakening the Princess:

Amazon

Excerpt:

I will be honest with you…my outfit embarrasses me.

It is not unlike that worn by the other girls – the other Princesses – so in that respect I’m merely one of the pack.

Truthfully, some of their costumes – for lack of a better word – are far more risqué and revealing than my attire.

Yet it embarrasses me nonetheless while reminding me of what I have become, and of the body that has become my prison.

It is a form fitting, skin hugging, bodysuit that covers me from torso to painted toes. A pastel blue bustier supports my large very fulsome breasts, exposing their tops and promoting a dangerous amount of cleavage. A cropped dark blue jacket offers me a degree of modesty. The shoulders are puffy and dark blue like the jacket, and my forearms and hands are sheathed in black gauntlets with a swirling gold pattern. The torso is light-grey with patches of black and white. The legs are a glossy black with faint tiger stripes of purplish-blue along the shins and calves, and the boots I wear are reinforced, oversized, and allow me to put my foot through a wall without injuring myself.

In other words, I feel like an escapee from an action cartoon for teenage boys obsessed with overly buxom babes, or early twenty somethings that have never dated a girl in their lives and now fawn over two-dimensional females with oversized bosoms.

I am being polite in calling them bosoms.

There was a time a mere week ago when I would have called them by another less savory name, but now that I possess a large shapely pair, I can’t bring myself to refer to them impolitely.

Oh how the tables have turned.

The shoe – dare I say, the high heel – is most definitely on the other foot

So as I stand before the photographer doing my best not to sweat under the intense lights of the studio, clad in my revealing Princess Regalia for the sake of a promotional shoot that will put me on the pages of a magazine read by hundreds of thousands of girls, I smile outwardly and cringe inwardly, and try not to think of how I was tossed out of the frying pan and into the fire by an accursed entity that was simply bored and decided I would serve to entertain it.

Yes, I was toyed with by an accursed entity with a grudge and a chip on its shoulder….

You may ask why am I participating in a photoshoot? We’ll get to that much, much later. Suffice to say that the person I am now is not the person that I was a week ago.

You see last week I was a boy…and this week I’m a girl.

Did I ever dream, fantasize, or desire to be a girl? I attest to you with wholehearted honesty that I did not.

Did I ever consider what my life would be like had I been born female? Yes, I am compelled to grudgingly admit that is true and with good reason. Then again, I’m sure many a teenage boy has asked himself that question at one time or another.

However, I will reiterate for the sake of posterity that at no point in my life did I ever want to be a girl.

No, sir. Never.

That begs the question of do I wish to remain a girl. Honestly…I just don’t know.
So much has happened since that day that I have trouble keeping my finger on the pulse of reality, and there are times I look in the mirror and lose the ability to think coherently altogether.

Some of you may read this and tell me that the Fates were at least kind as in the eyes of mortal men I am quite attractive. However, being the girl that I am now comes with a unique set of complications, and my life is far from a bed of roses.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

About the Author: Albert Ruckholdt is science-fiction/romance novelist focusing on works written for teenage and young adult readers.

A software engineer by trade, he graduated from university with an Honors Degree in Computer Science and immediately entered the world of financial systems. When not writing fiction, he is a senior programmer in a third-party accounting solutions company based in Sydney, Australia.

Raised on a healthy diet of stories by science-fiction greats such Zelazny, Asimov, Bradbury, Simak, Moorcock, and Donaldson, he made the decision to write for the young adult market after receiving surprisingly positive critiques from members of the teenage demographic for a couple of unpublished works.

His first novel, “Pride X Familiar”, was written with the intention of delivering a light-novel for young adult western readers. He later released “Pride X Familiar ReVamp” as an alternative telling of the story.

An avid fan of Japanese anime, manga and culture, he is also a student of the Japanese language at beginner level, and credits Seo Kouji’s manga “Suzuka”, and the works by Shoji Gatoh, as part of his inspiration to put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard.

The Gun Princess Royale series represents his first serious foray into the science-fiction, young-adult, gender-bender genres, and a step away from the Japanese light-novel prose, instead adopting the more traditional narrative style found in Western novels.

Connect with Albert:

Website * Facebook

Book Promo Feature–Premonition by Elle Klass

YAPC would like to welcome Elle Klass to the blog today. She is here to share some info and an excerpt of Premonition the first book in the Zombie Girl series. If you think this is something you would like to read please go get a copy! Premonition and the sequel Infection are priced at 99 cents each for the summer. Infection is available for preorder!

Book Description:

Premonition

Maddie’s parents flip when they find out she’s failing science. That’s her worst problem until she wakes up and finds they’re zombies. Now she must escape them and her house. With nowhere else to go, and the keys to her parents’ sailboat, she makes her getaway. Finding Bryce was a fortunate circumstance and the two take on zombies and set sail for parts unknown.

Buy Premonition:

Amazon * B&N * Kobo * iTunes * 24 Symbols

Buy Infection:

Amazon

Excerpt:

The sun peeked over the horizon. I wiped away my fear, grabbed my mom’s heavy gym bag as a weapon and stepped out of the vehicle, leaving the cat inside, both sets of keys clutched in my fist. I stepped closer to the object and took a deep breath as I peered around the side of the crate. A shovel was thrust against my chin.
“Holy crap. I’m alive, don’t hurt me,” I screamed. “And you’re alive!”
“Shh. You won’t be for long. Your screaming will alert them.” The young man lowered the shovel and grabbed my hand, pulling me down behind the crate.
I didn’t recognize him, but he looked older; maybe a junior or senior. His long, chestnut hair stuffed into a quick-minute ponytail. His green eyes softened as he whispered: “By the looks of your wardrobe,” his eyes scanned my lacy nighty, “you’re escaping zombies too.”
Normally, I might have been embarrassed, but today I was glad to be alive. “Look, if we can get to my dad’s boat we can get out of here.” Straight and to the point – that was me. I didn’t have time for small talk when walking dead people could be lurking. I also didn’t think it wise to waste time on small talk and hugging. That’s when stupid movie people always got killed.
He peeked over the crate. “Where’s your dad’s boat?”
“Here somewhere.” I shrugged.
“That’s a lot of help. Maybe you didn’t notice, but this is a marina and there’s at least fifty boats.”
I sighed.
“Do have anything to fight with?” he asked, his lips in a straight line.
“No, I’ve been using the car to plow over them.”
He looked around and picked up a piece of metal. “It’s not much, but you’ll have to make it work.”
What the heck? His eyes grew grim and I heard the distinct shuffling of zombies. Oh crap!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

About the Author: Elle Klass is the author of mystery, suspense, and contemporary fiction. Her works include As Elle KlassSnow Falls, Eye of the Storm Eilida’s Tragedy, and the Baby Girl series. Her work Eye of the Storm Eilida’s Tragedy is a Reader’s Favorite Fiction-Paranormal Finalist in the 2015 Reader’s Favorite Awards. Baby Girl Box Set received Official Honors in Young Adult through New Apple Indie Ebook Awards. She is a night-owl where her imagination feeds off shadows, and creaks in the attic. Visit her website at https://elleklass.weebly.com.

Connect with Elle:

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads * Pinterest * G+

Book Promo Feature–Craving Beauty (A Wylder Tale #1) by Jennifer Silverwood

YAPC would like to welcome Jennifer Silverwood to the blog today. She is here to share an excerpt and some info about her book Craving Beauty. If this looks like something you would enjoy, please go pick up a copy! Only 99 cents for a limited time only!

Book Description:

Craving BeautyVynasha has spent the last four years tending her mother’s roses and looking after her nephew. The fire that killed their family has left her scarred and put Wyll on the brink of death. Soon the first frost will come down from the mountains and she knows this winter will be his last.
Until a strange beggar appears on the road, telling her of the majikal Source that can heal her Wyll. With nothing left to lose, Vynasha braves the forbidden Wylder Mountains to seek out a cure and her fate.
A lost kingdom is uncovered by an equally lost girl, but the castle is not abandoned as she believes. Shadows cloaking unseen eyes watch. Tapestries whisper from the hidden corners, wondering if the one to break their curse has come. And a hungry beast waits, ready to devour her soul.

 

Buy Craving Beauty:

Amazon * B&N * Kobo * iTunes

Excerpt:

You have but scratched the surface of a deeper tale, my beauty. But can you guess what any of this has to do with you? Can you know the reason the Wylder Mountains led you to my doorstep?”

“No one goes this far north who values their lives. I knew what I was risking when I came here.” She dared not speak a word of the strange wolves that had chased her to the gates or the crippled beggar who put her on the road in the first place. True, some might think she had been led here by forces beyond her reckoning.

His smile deepened, revealing his jagged white teeth. The reminder of his bestial nature was unsettling to say the least. “And you know there is no escape from this prison you have made for yourself, my darling bride?”

Vynasha shivered and kept her features controlled. Ceddrych had warned about predators in the forest and how they could smell fear. She was not afraid of the Prince or his veiled threats. “Yes.”

“Wonderful!” the Prince exclaimed. “Then have you decided to accept my proposal at long last? For surely you understand this must be the only way.”

Vynasha frowned and thought of Soraya and wondered how many other women had been taken and trapped. How many were faced with the same fate, with no chance for escape? “How many?”

The Prince faltered and his triumph faded. “What do you speak of, Beauty?”

Her jaw clamped shut and she fought the wave of anger threatening her control. “How many other women have you led here? How many have accepted your proposal and lost their lives?”

The Prince stared at her with incredulity and then he stood from his seat, the arm of his chair ripped away. “How can you fail to see that I have fallen in love with you, Beauty?”

She braced herself against the back of her chair when he stalked forward. He fell to his knees and pressed a clawed hand to the corner of the table. “Have I not given you everything you could desire, jewels and knowledge and beautiful clothes? What else must I do to prove my love to you?”

She gaped at him, amazed at his almost childlike sense of giving and taking, as if she were a pet or an object. She knew full well, as she had the night of their meeting, he did not love her. It was impossible for her to feel anything for him in return.

“I—” she began and struggled to pursue her thoughts. “I don’t know if I can give you what you want. You have not given me everything I could desire. You have not given me any freedom, only a pretty cage. You have kept me locked away, long after the blizzard ended. I need to feel the wind on my face again, to feel dirt beneath my fingers.” She forced herself to relax her grip on the chair arms.

“I shall show you a new path. But you cannot stray from it, my beauty. Tomorrow night, follow this path and I shall meet you at its end. I vow to you that I shall give you everything in my power. You will have your bit of earth to claim once again, my dear.”

She let him take her hand in his paw and caress it, even though his touch made her feel ill with pity and sadness.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

About the Author: Jennifer Silverwood was raised deep in the heart of Texas and has been spinning yarns a Jennifer Silverwoodmile high since childhood. In her spare time she reads and writes and tries to sustain her wanderlust, whether it’s the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania, the highlands of Ecuador or a road trip to the next town. Always on the lookout for her next adventure, in print or reality, she dreams of one day proving to the masses that everything really is better in Texas. She is the author of the Heaven’s Edge series, Stay, Silver Hollow and Wylder Tales.

Connect with Jennifer:

Website * Twitter * Facebook * G+ * Goodreads * Tumblr

Book Promo Feature–Saving Spade by Dennis Ogden

YAPC would like to welcome Dennis Ogden to the blog today. He is here to share an excerpt and some info about his book Saving Spade. If this looks like something you would enjoy reading, please go pick up a copy!

Content Warnings: Some adult themes, paranormal, and violence 

Book Description:

Saving Spade WWI has ended but the battle to save a horse has just begun.

Aboriginal Trooper Lewis Dunbar of the Australian 2nd Light Horse Brigade should be elated. The war said to end all wars is finally over and he is being sent home after two years of battle in the Arabian deserts…but he’s not!

“The horses are staying!” came the order.

He cannot abandon Spade, the horse he reared, drove cattle on and faced death in many battles with. He will desert the army and ride off into the Sinai desert to find a new life together.

But his plan goes astray when A’isha, a mute Bedouin girl, steals Spade. With Lewis chasing on foot, so begins the perilous journey of two nomads from different continents into the unforgiving heat and sparseness of the desert and the battles against those who threaten them along the way.

The winds of the Sinai not only whip up Djinn spirits, good and evil, but awaken those that live inside the three.

A gripping tale that builds to a confrontation of all the hidden forces.

Buy Saving Spade:

Amazon * B&N * Kobo * iTunes * Book Depository

Excerpt:

Chapter 2
THE BEDOUIN GIRL

[A’isha]

A thick mist of fear and isolation is smothering me. Why am I being held captive by men in uniform? Some with hats that have a strange plume flowing from it. The odour they emit is hard to stomach. They mouth words I do not understand. Hands that have touched me are, I’m sure, the same hands that inflicted my injuries. I’m a Bedouin girl and by the laws of the desert not to be harmed…even in battle.
This tent I am in is small, hot and ill-erected. There is no camel hair woven carpet to cover the ground. No scattered colourful cushions. In fact, there is no colour at all. The canvas walls are grey, as is the uncomfortable bed I lie on. Am I to die here and never to see my family again? Never to marry and have my own family? My own tent?
The injury to my head throbs with the sound of a thousand racing camels. A crude bandage has replaced my head covering. My arm rests in a cloth tied around my neck. I can move my fingers without too much pain, so no bone is broken. My legs are undamaged so I can run. That, I must.

Born at the birth of the century, A’isha bin Saeed al Suhail is a slender, olive-skinned Bedouin girl. Her piercing dark brown eyes are windows to her dogged free will and inner strength. She has no memory of how she became captive. She is aware of the war and that her clan sided with neither the Turks nor the Westerners. They prayed only that the war would end, all those fighting would leave. Life would then carry on as it has since time began. Her peaceful tribe of Bedouin goat herders had only one aim in life—to seek pastures wherever and whenever to feed their flock. Now, with no other Bedouin in sight, she frets for her family.

About the Author: Australian later-in-life author Dennis Ogden now lives on the Queensland Sunshine Coast, Dennis OgdenAustralia. Over the years his writing has evolved into a way of life.
– Original screenplay The forgotten Spirit 1972
– Articles for various design magazine
– Travel writing
– Short stories
– SECRETSINCITY a novel by pen name Deray Ogden 2012
For more information: https://www.ogdenimprint.com.

Connect with Dennis:

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Instagram

Book Promo Feature–Clarence by Stephanie Baruffi

YAPC would like to welcome Stephanie Baruffi to the blog today. She is here to share some info about  her new debut release Clarence. If this looks like you or your child would enjoy, please pick up a copy! The ebook is on sale for a limited time, so pick up a copy today!

Book Description:

Clarence

Kids everywhere will be able to relate to this story of a boy who struggles with feeling different. This story highlights heritage, hurting, and healing. Journey with Clarence to learn how he overcomes his insecurity, to embrace that which makes him unique and discovering that no matter what others say he is truly beautifully and wonderfully made.

Buy Clarence:

Amazon * B&N * Kobo * Publisher

Excerpt:

Clarence’s family gathered around the dinner table. At the head of the table sat Clarence’s father, who had just finished a long day’s work at the family business. After he prayed with the family, they dug into a delicious
Italian meal that included chicken cutlets, homemade meatballs, and pasta Fagioli. Each night during dinner, the family hollered back and forth across the table. Everyone talked in multiple conversations as Clarence watched
and wondered why. Clarence was a shy boy and didn’t seem to understand why everyone shouted, especially all at once! As Clarence looked around the table, he noticed that each member of his family had black hair, brown
eyes, and dark skin. He also realized that all of their ears were of normal size and each of them seemed to look much like the other. But Clarence was the exception. He thought that maybe the kids at school were right about him.
This made Clarence lose his appetite, so he asked to be excused. Nonna the Great followed Clarence into his bedroom.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

About the Author: Stephanie Baruffi lives in New Jersey with her husband and three sons. She is an Early Stephanie BaruffiLiteracy Specialist and obtained her Master’s Degree in 2014. She is also an NJ state certified Reading Specialist. ‘Clarence’ was written in memory of her late grandfather, for which the book was named. He loved his big family and truly did have a big, beautiful set of ears.

Connect with Stephanie:

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads * Instagram

Book Promo Feature–An Epiphany in Lilacs: In the Aftermath of the Camps by Iris Dorbian

YAPC would like to welcome back Iris Dorbian to the blog today. She is here to share some info and an excerpt of her book An Epiphany in Lilacs: In the Aftermath of the Camps. If this looks like something you would like to read, go get a copy!

Book Description:

An Epiphany in Lilacs: In the Aftermath of the CampsAn Epiphany In Lilacs is a young adult novel set in a DP camp outside Hamburg, Germany following the end of World War II. The author, Iris Dorbian, captures in this story a unique glimpse into the period after the Holocaust when survivors had to deal with their new realities for living, based on her father’s personal experience. After liberation in May 1945, Daniel, a 14-year-old Latvian Jew, is treated in a field hospital in the British zone of partitioned Germany. A survivor of various concentration camps, Daniel fights to recover from starvation and disease. Racked by nightmares, a nearly nightly occurrence, Daniel finds sleep almost impossible. Through his love of nature, and pre-war memories, Daniel struggles to find comfort. He forms an intriguing bond with an older German gentile, another survivor. Later on, as he joins a theater troupe, Daniel tries to move on with his life, yet still searching for the whereabouts of his mother and two sisters. Poised on the cusp of a new life, young Daniel makes his way to the country that will become his new home.

Buy An Epiphany in Lilacs: In the Aftermath of the Camps:

Amazon * B&N

Excerpt:

As Daniel staggered into the latrine, he saw a ramshackle half mirror nailed haphazardly to the wall. Composed of lattices of wood, it was the only part of the hospital that looked like a construction afterthought. Either it was the first time it had been put in there or he never noticed it before, having other pressing things on his mind.

Daniel gasped. He looked like a fifty-five-year-old man. Everything about him reeked of lifelessness – from the opaque hazel eyes to the stooped posture resembling a fading, elderly gnome in the final throes of osteoporosis to the branches of bones sticking out through brittle veiny skin. Even his ears protruded with an extraterrestrial freakishness he found alarming. There was nothing youthful about him. His complexion was cadaverously sallow. No, it was worse than that. The flesh was imbued with a color no presumably alive human being could have. All vestiges of innocence were summarily robbed from him and what remained was the hollowed out hulk of a frightened, damaged old man-child.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

About the Author: Iris Dorbian is a business and arts journalist whose articles have appeared in a wide number of outlets that include the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Venture Capital Journal, Buyouts, Investopedia, DMNews, Jerusalem Report, the Forward, Playbill, Backstage, Theatermania, Live Design, Media Industry Newsletter and PR News. From 1999 to 2007, Iris was the editor-in-chief of Stage Directions. She is the author of “Great Producers: Visionaries of the American Theater,” which was published by Allworth Press in August 2008. Her personal essays have been published in Blue Lyra Review, B O D Y, Embodied Effigies, Jewish Literary Journal, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Adanna Literary Journal, ThisSpace.org, Skirt! and Gothesque Magazine. A New Jersey native, Iris has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. You can friend her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/irisdorbianauthor/.

Connect with Iris:

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Pinterest * Instagram

Book Promo Feature–Operation Child Soldier by Jaci Wheeler

YAPC would like to welcome Jaci Wheeler to the blog today. She is here to share an excerpt and some info about her newest release Operation Child Soldier that is currently on preorder and releases May 2. If this looks like something you would enjoy reading, please go pick up a copy!

Book Description:

Operation Child Soldier

I was trained from birth to be the best Agent possible. Growing up in a Military Training Academy for unwanted children has its perks. I might not have ever been to a dance but I am a sharp shooter, master at hand to hand combat and best hacker the Academy has ever seen. I trained my whole life to pass the final and become an Elite agent. The only problem? My entire life has been a lie. My father is a monster and I’ve been trained to kill monsters.

Buy Operation Child Soldier:

Amazon * Website

Excerpt:

Present, Denmark
“Hej, det er Mette,” I answer in Danish.
“Mette? This is Bastian’s pre-school. We thought he might be hiding but we have searched the entire school but cannot find him.”
The mother in me wants to break into hysterics. They found us. How did they find us? I’ve been so careful. It’s been years, so how did they find us now? Calm yourself, Mette; you can break down later once you find Bastian. I immediately shove the hysterical woman aside and bring forth the cold, hard spy. She can handle this efficiently. Assess the situation and proceed. Taking a deep breath in, I exhale and ask the important questions.
“How long was he gone before the teacher went to look for him?”
“Fifteen minutes.”
“How long did you search before you called me?” I can tell I am scaring her now, and that isn’t my intention, but the faster I can get these answers the faster I can get him back.
“About twenty minutes.”
We have been on the phone for about ten, so that means they have forty-five minutes to an hour head start. Crap! They could already be out of the country by now. It’s time to end this conversation now and get my child back.
“Thank you for letting me know; I appreciate it. A relative probably picked him up, I will find out and let you know.” This is clearly not the reaction she is expecting and I can hear the panic in her voice.
“Oh no, Miss; we would have known if someone picked him up early. He would have to be signed out and you have a very strict rule that you are to be the only one listed. This is very serious; we must call the police.”
Time to break out the rusty acting skills, Mette; your son’s life depends on it. If the police are called, I will never get out of here in time so I force a laugh and add a tinge of airhead to my voice.
“Oh silly me, I bet it was my father. He is in visiting from the States.” Truth.
“He mentioned he might pick Bastian up and take him out for a treat. I assumed he knew what time school let out, but it is much earlier in the States so I bet he got confused.” Lie. I hold my breath and pray she buys it; I don’t have time for this. I quickly look at my watch and scan the area once again. Nothing.
“The States? I thought you were Danish?” Good, focus on that. I switch from the Danish we were speaking to perfect English.
“No, my mother is Danish, but my father is American. I was born here and he left several years later,” I say in perfect English that obviously shocks her from the intake of breath I hear. It doesn’t matter what she knows now because our cover is seriously blown anyway.
“Hi, baby. Did you have fun with grandpa? I’m so glad you are home; you scared me to death. Bastian just walked in so I really must run and scold my father for scaring us. I am so sorry, and please apologize to the teacher for me, but I must get him in the bath and wash his sticky hands and face. Have a nice day.”
Before she can protest, I hang up the phone. I have no other option without knowing who he sent or which direction they went. I have only one option: to call the monster himself. He doesn’t want Bastian; he wants me. My son just happens to be the pawn in his sick and twisted little game.
Tears start to prick the back of my eyes and make my vision blurry. I force them away quickly and allow my anger to fuel my hatred for the man who robbed me of my youth. I hide Mette away and bring back Aria, the assassin with the cold heart. She will serve me well.
Knowing exactly where he will be, I dial the number I swore I’d never use again. He picks up after only one ring. The snake was waiting for me.
“Aria. Or should I say, Mette?” He has the gall to laugh. The smugness is flowing off his tongue and all I can think of is how I will cut it out. Later, after I get Bastian back. And I will get him back. And then Edward will pay, and anyone else who is stupid enough to stand in my way.
“Edward,” I say my voice dripping with venom. “Name your price. It must be high for you to be so stupid.”
“Oh, my dear sweet Aria. Always were the cocky one, weren’t you? But you are right to be so. The apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree does it, my dear?”
“Edward, you are trying my patience so you have exactly five minutes to give me back my son or so help me I will serve your heart on a platter. This. Is. Not. An. Idle. Threat!” I say, enunciating each and every word so he knows just how serious I am. He knows not only that I would do it, but that I could do so very easily because he taught me how.
“You will get him back once you do something for me. I have one last job that only you can do, Aria, and then you will get your precious son back.”
“You self-serving, arrogant…”
“Do you really want to waste time name-calling or do you want him back?” He asks, the smugness slipping back in his tone. I hate his tone almost as much as I hate him.
“You have exactly one hour to grab the go bag I know you have stashed away somewhere and board a plane to the States. I will have someone meet you at the airport to go over your assignment.” He’s so assured that I will comply. Little does he know I’m done blindly following his rules. If he thinks he can get me that easily, he has clearly underestimated me.
“That is where you are wrong, Edward. I am not following your rules. You will play by my rules from now on, do you hear me? You think you can waltz back into my life, steal my son, and tell me what I’m going to do? Have you forgotten who you are messing with? Your biggest mistake is taking the only thing left I care about, because now I’m not only dangerous, but I have nothing left to lose. You have exactly ten minutes to bring my son back. And Edward, unlike you, I don’t make idle threats,” I say and hang up.
Aria is back. And she’s going to love making them scream.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

About the Author: Jaci Wheeler lives in the Central Valley of California with her husband and two precious Jaci Wheelerkids.

Her love of literature began in Jr. High when she was introduced to Lowis Lowry’s books. Since then she has had a passion for writing Young Adult books, and creating strong female leads. When she’s not writing she is advocating for Autism Awareness and involved in the deaf community.

Her favorite things to do are play with her children, craft with her friends, sleep while her husband watches movies and indulge in her favorite addictions: Coffee, candy and shoes.

Connect with Jaci:

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Instagram * Goodreads

Book Promo Feature–Webster The Unhinged Edition by Anne Wentworth

YAPC would like to welcome Anne Wentworth to the blog today. She is here to share some info and an excerpt of her latest release Webster the Unhinged Edition. If this looks like something you would enjoy, please go get a copy!

Book Description:

Webster the Unhinged EditionPreviously published 2016 Kindle Select. Webster Harmon has a gift. When the veils come down, spirits show themselves, and he can communicate with them. Tandy, the woman who runs the group home where he lives, manages to find out about his gift and reports Webster as being mentally ill. As a result of this, Webster is sent to a psychiatric unit.

After being released, the only reason for returning to the group home instead of risking a life on the street, is Webster’s love for Beth, one of the other teens living in the group home. Beth is the one person who makes life with Tandy tolerable.

On his way back to Tandy’s, Webster meets Reggae. Reggae’s been living on the street since his uncle died, so Webster brings him along to see if he can stay at the group home. When Webster returns, he finds Beth terrified because Tandy wants to send her for a trial to live with a couple who may have less than honorable intentions.

With the help of his new friend Reggae, Webster is determined to keep Beth safe. When the spirits reveal Tandy’s secrets, Webster decides to make his move to get all three of them out of there and to a better life–even if it means using his gift to break the rules.

Buy Webster the Unhinged Edition:

Amazon * B&N * Blue Swan Publishing

Excerpt:

Leaving the psychiatric unit was a mixture of both relief and angst. I just wanted to get back to Beth. After two weeks of being away from her, I’d started to come apart. Not cool when you’re trying to present as a sane person. Every moment away from her made my heart ache. I listened for the sound of the lock clicking its release, then pushed against the heavy door. Even the air in the waiting area was better than I’d been subjected to on the hospital unit. Hospital smells were the worst to assault a person’s nose. The constant cleaning did little to make any of it disappear. I tried to imagine which smell might win a contest for most offensive, but it would be hard to pick a winner from this environment. Was it the alcohol swab, fresh out of its small wrapper, its sting hitting the air before the nurse swabbed for an injection? Was it from the patients who sat in the smoking lounge—the stink from their cigarettes grasping onto them like a thousand demons slashing at anyone who came within two feet? What about the chronic drug users with their crater-sized, infected abscesses? One of the nurses told me it was the result of shooting up with puddle water. The stench that drifted down the hallway from that was unforgettable. I know; it’s burned into my cellular memory. Today, I would get to leave it behind. Going back to Tandy’s place didn’t exactly thrill me. If it wasn’t for Beth, I’d have walked right out of there and lived on the street.

I went through the large double doors of the psychiatric unit, finding the waiting area quiet. Clearly, housekeeping hadn’t managed to make it in here. The cheap side tables sat littered with takeaway coffee cups and crumpled chip bags. But the space was free of hospital stink, and for that I was grateful. I felt a presence come up from behind, Bhotu. The orderly paused, his discomfort obvious in the stillness and silence of the space. Why he was reacting this way, I had no clue. It wasn’t as though any visitors had shown up during the two weeks.

“To be honest, I’m surprised. I thought she’d come to pick you up. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with just leaving you here.” Bhotu took his hand away from the door, allowing the one side to close. The resounding click of the door locking into place punctuated his statement. The doors automatically locked to prevent patients from leaving the unit and visitors from entering. Although referred to as a secured unit, I found the term prison much more fitting. At least calling it a prison seemed more honest. During my latest stay at the Hotel Crazy, I’d learned much about Bhotu and his surprising life. He’d come from a background of poverty and had made it to America. Bhotu had wanted more from life and had made up his mind to change his stars. Not once had Bhotu judged me. That was rare.

“I had my birthday the day I arrived here. I’m seventeen, and Tandy has reminded me that I only have a year left before I age out of the system.” I didn’t tell Bhotu about the other part of the conversation—about Tandy being so horrible and making good on her threat to have me evaluated again because she didn’t like my kind. This wasn’t new to me. Living in the group home under Tandy’s ever-changing rules and mood swings had left me exhausted. Trying to survive Tandy was like being on an endless hamster wheel of stupid. After years of struggling, I felt like a piece of material with frayed ends and threads hanging. Was I finally unraveling?

My throat tightened with the thought of having to deal with Tandy again. Tandy, the one preaching religion to the bunch of us even though it was against all policy. Tandy, who lectured about morals when she didn’t display any herself. Tandy, who doled out dessert according to which one of us she liked on any particular day. Some people just didn’t have the patience to work with youth. I’d never told her that, but I’d gotten at her with my gift. Beth was the only reason I stayed at the group home. If it wasn’t for Beth, I wouldn’t give a damn about leaving Tandy and her crap behind.

“In good conscience, how can I let you go?” Bhotu’s face mirrored the annoyance and hurt that had edged his words. Suddenly, there was a movement in my peripheral vision. A spirit. The veils came down, making the spirit’s form more visible. Since I was a child, I’d been able to communicate with the spirit world. Try telling that to a psychiatrist and not be locked away for the rest of your life. The message was about Bhotu and how shocked and angry he was about Tandy putting me in the hospital. This spirit wanted me to understand that Bhotu was on my side. I stared at the big orderly, feeling a real connection to him. I’m large for seventeen, but Bhotu towers over most people. It’s an asset to be big and strong on a psychiatric unit. There are times when you have to control people physically. It’s not easy and some fight hard. A person freaking out can do lots of damage. I witnessed one girl having a psychotic episode. She’d thought there were spiders crawling on her body and had fought like a wildcat. It had taken three people to hold her for the injection. I don’t think the girl could have weighed more than a hundred pounds, but man could she fight! I glanced up to find Bhotu patiently studying me.

“How about if I walk back? I promise I’ll go back to Tandy’s place. You can call and check to find out. Hey, man, don’t worry. It’s okay. Maybe she got hung up with something.” I adjusted the backpack on my shoulder. Now late spring, the weather was warm, and the walk would do me good. Besides, I needed to think and plan. My room at the Tandy Inn might have already been designated to someone else. Was I going to get pushed along and into yet another bad situation?

“I am disgusted she did not meet you, considering she was the one who sent you here.” Bhotu shook his head. I understood that he wasn’t comfortable just letting me walk out of the hospital alone. The spirit held up a long rope of braided gold that went between Bhotu and I. It was a message about how anguished Bhotu was over my circumstances.

“Will you be okay? Here, take this.” Without warning, he pushed several bills at me. I don’t think I can remember the last time someone gave me some money. I took it, tucking the bills into the pocket of my jeans.

“Thanks, man. You are one of the few people I’ve met in the medical world that didn’t want to shoot me full of antipsychotics.” I was relieved when he smiled. I just wanted to get out of there and into the sunshine.

“Keep care. Despite what some say, I do not believe you are ill. I believe you came to earth with something extra. Something good. Don’t let those that would tell you otherwise taint your heart.” Bhotu inclined his head, his palms pressed together in front of him. I returned the gesture. Over my stay on the psych unit, I’d learned much from Bhotu. He may have been an orderly, but he did more for the patients than most of the doctors on staff. He listened, and he didn’t judge. One time I’d heard some of the staff making fun of his heavy accent when they’d thought he was out of earshot. I’d got the distinct feeling that Bhotu had heard, but hadn’t said anything back. The guy was calm and cool. I’d miss him. If anyone ought to be running a place for homeless and troubled teens, it should be Bhotu.

“Stay cool, man,” I said, heading for the doors to get outside.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

About the Author: Star-gazing, storms, coffee, chocolate and writing. If you follow the compass of your heart, you can never go wrong. If it’s paranormal – count me in! I love being spooked and have a few real ghost stories of my own to tell.

Connect with Anne:

Website

Book Promo Feature–The Mysterious Package by Christa Nardi

YAPC would like to welcome Christa Nardi to the blog today. She is here to share an excerpt and some info about her book The Mysterious Package. If this looks like a book you would enjoy, please go pick up a copy! 99 cents for a limited time only!

The Mysterious PackageBook Description:

On the long ride to Vermont, Hannah and Tamar are quick to offer assistance when a fellow passenger – a girl in her late teens – is hassled by a rough-looking young man. Grateful as she may be for their help, Gwen thrusts a mysterious package into Tamar’s hand and disappears in the Rutland train station. Hannah and Tamar set out to locate Gwen and unravel the secret of the mysterious package.

Buy The Mysterious Package:

Amazon

Excerpt:

(From Chapter 1)

The scenery flew by as Hannah and Tamar rode the first leg on Amtrak from Baltimore, Maryland to Rutland, Vermont. It was the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and the girls were on the way to their grandparents’ house to help prepare for Thanksgiving Day. The rest of the family would arrive Wednesday or Thursday.
It hadn’t been easy to get the high school to excuse the students from two days’ classes the following week. But both were honor students and they had promised to keep up with their school work. With over eight hours of train ride, Wi-Fi, and available plug-ins, the girls would have plenty of time to get their pesky homework out of the way.
Even though Tamar and Hannah had travelled this route many times, the scenery distracted them. They enjoyed the view of the cities, small towns, and landscape. As the train edged north, vestiges of the last snowstorms were evident. Dirtied piles of snow, not big enough to even call drifts, dotted the landscape.
“Leave me alone!” A woman’s high-pitched plea shattered the constant drone of conversation and the hum of the train as it moved along the tracks.
Both girls turned toward the source of the scream. A girl, about their age, was pushing a young man away. She had medium brown, straight hair to her waist that swung from side to side as she tried to pull away from the man. Conversation stopped as passengers watched the two, but nobody moved. Hannah and Tamar exchanged glances and as one they walked up to the pair.
“Hi! Do you know where the restrooms are?” Tamar asked the man. As she spoke, she and Hannah positioned themselves on either side of the girl. While her polite words and sweet tone were innocent enough, the sisters stood firm and stared him down.
Up close, the young man appeared to be a few years older than the girl. He had dark hair, piercing blue eyes and the shadow of a beard. His wrinkled shirt, dirty jeans, and more than hint of body odor contrasted sharply with the girl’s coral V-neck cashmere sweater and black designer pants. She clutched her Kate Spade bag and tears trickled down her cheeks.
He glared at Tamar without speaking. When Tamar held his gaze, he released the girl’s arm and slithered away.
“I’m Hannah, and this is my sister Tamar. Are you okay?”
“I… I think so. I’m Gwen Singleton. Thank you. Can you believe that jerk followed me from the Café Car.” She considered the two girls in their casual jeans and sweaters. “I think I’ll go back to my seat now. Business class.” With a forced smile, Gwen sashayed down the aisle and into the next car.
“I wonder what that was all about.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

About the Author: Christa Nardi is and always has been an avid reader. Her favorite authors have shifted from Carolyn Keene and Earl Stanley Gardner to more contemporary mystery/crime authors over time, but mystery/crime along with romance and scifi/fantasy are her preferred choices for leisure reading. Christa also has been a long time writer from poetry and short stories to the Cold Creek mystery series. For this new series, Christa has teamed up with Cassidy Salem, author of the Adina Donati Accidental Sleuth series.

Connect with Christa:

Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads