Interview with Shane Morales Author of Scars of Youth

YAPC would like to welcome Shane Morales to the blog today. He is here to answer some of our questions and share some info about his book Scars of Youth. If this looks like something you would enjoy, please go grab a copy!

YAPC: Try to describe your book in one sentence.

Shane: Set at a boarding school in Switzerland during the eighties, Scars of Youth is the first part of a two-part series about the power of first love and second chances.

YAPC: How would my friends describe me in 20 words or less?

Shane: I think they’d say that I’m compassionate, rational, and dorky. They might also say that I’m my own worst enemy.

YAPC: State a random fact about yourself that would surprise your readers.

Shane: I like to watch Shoujo anime series, which are sweet love stories about high-school kids in Japan, and are aimed at teen girls.

YAPC: Do you listen to music while writing?

Shane: Yes. I always have music playing when I’m at my computer desk. I find that soothing heavy metal from the early eighties helps me focus on my writing.

YAPC: Which scenes were the hardest to write?

Shane: In Scars of Youth, the scenes where Jessica struggles with her guilt and shame, and falls into a dark depression. It was hard to make her suffer.

YAPC: Do you see yourself in any of your characters?

Shane: From Scars of Youth, I see myself in both Jessica and Kyle. I’m similar to Kyle in terms of what he likes and the rational way he tends to think, but it’s Jessica that I relate to on an emotional level. Despite being told from both Kyle’s and Jessica’s point-of-view, Scars of Youth is really Jessica’s story. And I based that story on my own life experiences, so I have a deep connection with her that I don’t with Kyle.

YAPC: What inspired you to write, you took any ideas from other books, movies etc?

Shane: Shoujo anime series like Kimi ni Todoke, Lovely Complex, and Toradora first started the gears turning. It was while watching these anime series that I began to want to write a teen love story of my own. The more I thought about what sort of story I might write, the more I started to draw upon my own life experiences, until I had a burning need to tell the story that was developing within me.

YAPC: What is the one book that you think everyone should read?

Shane: The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno. It’s awesome.

YAPC: How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

Shane: I think communication with my readers is very important. I always reply to their messages and I read all of the reviews, even the bad ones. I think it’s every writer’s desire to develop relationships with their readers from readers to fans to friends.

YAPC: Do you ever run into someone who says “You write WHAT?”

Shane: People are always surprised when they find out I write young adult romance, because I’m a middle-aged male with long hair, a beard, and tattoos, who wears all black clothing. Young adult romance is definitely not what my image projects.

YAPC: What projects are you currently working on right now? Would you mind sharing them with us?

Shane: I’m currently working on a young adult tragedy. Like Scars of Youth, it is also set in the eighties, against the backdrop of A tiny American compound in Saudi Arabia. It highlights the unique and somewhat magical upbringing that my friends and I experienced as American kids growing up in Saudi. It’s a sad story, but hopefully will leave readers with a sense of hope. I think the famous saying, “It’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all” aptly summarizes the message of the story.

*****Content Warnings: Scars of Youth explores sexual themes and contains strong language. It is recommended for 16+ readers.

Book Description:

Scars of YouthIs first love forever?

Twenty-five year old Jessica Fowler has lived with the regret of the love she abandoned. Her heart still belongs to the boy she fell in love with in high-school, but she’s come to accept that she can never regain the love she lost.

Kyle Andersen has moved to a new city and is determined to make a new life for himself, but he still feels incomplete. He’s never gotten over the girl who broke his heart when he was just fifteen, and the love he still feels for her anchors him to his past.

On the same night, the two remember each other, and they think back to that one year in high-school that came to define their lives.

This is their story.

Set at boarding school in Switzerland, Scars of Youth is the emotional first book in a unique series about the power of first love and second chances.

Buy Scars of Youth:

Amazon * B&N * Kobo * Apple

About the Author: My name is Shane and I’m a young-at-heart romantic. I love to read young adult love stories, and watch shoujo anime about high-school kids falling in love. I’m inspired by these stories to write my own tales of young love.

Connect with Shane:

Website * Facebook

Book Promo Feature–The Treasure of Gwenlais The Rienfield Chronicles Book 1 by M.T. Magee

YAPC would like to welcome M.T. Magee to the blog today. She is here to share some info and an excerpt about her book The Treasure of Gwenlais The Rienfield Chronicles Book 1. If this looks like something you would be interested in reading, please go pick up a copy! It’s on sale for $2.99 for a limited time!

Book Description:

 The Treasure of Gwenlais The Rienfield Chronicles Book 12015 Silver Medal Winner of Ireland’s Drunken Druid Award
Finalist for IAN Book of the Year Award 2016
2016 Finalist Award for Readers’ Favorite Book Awards
#1 On Listopia’s Best Fantasy Romance (not urban).

Can a reluctant Princess fulfill her destiny to heal the torn Kingdoms and the heart of a battle hardened warrior Prince?

Join Laurel on an extraordinary journey of discovery, danger, wonder, and finding a love she only dared dream of. Come with her to find the truth of who she is, and those who will do anything to stop her from making the words of the Olden Scribes a reality. A love story that will leave you breathless and believing in the wonder of Scottish and Irish folklore and fairy tales.

This is the epic world of Rienfield. A domain filled with beauty, danger, amazing races and cultures. You will find the love and strong ties of family. As well as romance, humor, adventure and tragedy, while the people and beings of Rienfield, search for peace and truth in their way of life.

Buy The Treasure of Gwenlais The Rienfield Chronicles Book 1:



The Scimitar

Laurel looked over and saw that there were several children standing in the path in front of her, crying and holding on to each other, as their parents tried to reassure them that everything would be alright, pleading with them not to move or run. Laurel stepped backwards a bit more which caused the Scimitar to move slowly forward its body twitching with anticipation as it could now be fully seen by all.
“Laurel! Laurel I am begging you, please stop moving,” Caleb called out to her, his voice choked with emotion, as he guessed what she was about to do.
“Laurel, please,” Imagin whispered, her eyes filled with tears.
Laurel looked over at her and then at Caleb, her own eyes wide and fearful but determined. She looked over at the screaming children, still clinging to each other, crying out to their parents, their arms outstretched, the parents now as hysterical as their children. Laurel then looked over again at Caleb with sad eyes and shook her head, as she continued to back away slowly, the Scimitar cat inching forward towards her.
“No, please dearest,” Caleb said, in a choked voice.
With tears running down her face, Laurel gave him a sad smile, then suddenly and without warning, she turned and ran into the forest in front of her, as the Scimitar sprang forward.
“No!” Caleb shouted, as he and Aiden ran forward as well.
Gawain stepped directly in the path of the Scimitar, but to no avail, as the large cat simply tossed him aside with its massive paw, cutting into Gawain’s side. Gawain was only able to graze the Scimitar with his sword.
Aaron ran to the horses to retrieve he and Aiden’s crossbows, as Caleb and Aiden continued their pursuit of Laurel and the Scimitar.
Aaron, grabbing Aiden’s crossbow, and then leaping upon his own horse galloped in pursuit of the two brothers. Laurel was able to gain only a small lead from Gawain’s efforts, as she continued to run forward frantically, her blood running cold as she heard the Scimitar’s growls as it pursued her. She did not turn to see it catch up to her, afraid it would stop her from running. She could also hear the frantic cries of Caleb and Aiden, yelling at her to not stop. Aaron caught up to them, yelling he had the crossbows. Aiden stopped just long enough to grab his bow and continued running. Aaron continued on horseback firing a shot at the Scimitar, finding his mark, the large cat screaming in anger, but not stopping its pursuit. To Caleb’s horror he saw the Scimitar leap forward and knock Laurel to the ground, as it landed on her back, grabbing the back of her cape. Laurel could feel the tips of the Scimitar’s claws beginning to pierce through her clothing into her shoulders. Then it let out a scream and released its grasp. Laurel did not think, only reacted as she tore the clasp from her cape and stood up and continued to run forward. Her mind only thinking of escaping, having no idea where she was going, not feeling the pain of the cuts and bruises the animal had inflicted upon her. The Scimitar screamed in pain and rage as Aiden and Aaron’s arrows found their mark once again, hitting the enormous cat in the side. The Scimitar then noticed its quarry escaping and continued its frenzied pursuit, slowed noticeably by its injuries. Laurel continued running as fast as she could through the forest, noticing the trees thinning out in front of her. As she continued to run, she began to feel breathless and exhausted but she could not stop running every nerve in her body screaming at her not to stop. As Laurel reached what appeared to be a break in the trees, she cried out, as she frantically grabbed a low branch that prevented her from falling off the cliff into the deep heavily flowing river below. Her chest was heaving as she tried to catch her breath, her eyes wide with terror as she looked at the black swirling waters below her. Suddenly she heard the deafening roar of the Scimitar and desperate cries from Caleb as the predator continued its tireless pursuit of her. Laurel moaned in fear and exhaustion, as she realized what she had to do. She would not let the ferocious animal tear her apart. She looked up quickly and saw Caleb running desperately to reach her, but almost upon her was the vicious Scimitar.
Forgive me my Prince, she thought to herself, as tears streamed from her eyes.
She turned and closing her eyes, jumped off the high steep rock face, into the terrifying nothingness, feeling her body fall downward. She heard another roar and then felt the icy shock of the water as she fell into the river, feeling it engulf and consume her. The Scimitar nearly had her in its grasp as Laurel jumped forward, it blindly following her. Caleb cried out in terror and anguish as he saw his beloved and the Scimitar both leap off the cliff into the river below. Caleb ran forward watching her fall beneath the dark swirling water, the Scimitar hitting the water only seconds behind. It surfaced instantly as Aiden and Aaron unleashed their arrows into the beast. Caleb then went to jump forward as he screamed out Laurel’s name, only to be grabbed by Aiden.
“You cannot help her if you are injured yourself!” he shouted, trying to reason with him. “The trail to the bottom is right here! Hurry! This way!” Aiden directed Caleb to follow him.
They ran down the steep path as quickly as they could, not even noticing that Gawain had taken one of the horses and rode down another path to the river’s edge, as he knew were the forest would lead them. Even though it had only taken moments to reach the bottom of the trail, to Caleb it seemed an agonizing eternity. He tore off his coat and boots as he frantically scanned the river for any signs of Laurel. Suddenly his prayers were answered as she surfaced and raising up her arms and gasping for breath, only to sink below the water’s surface once again. Caleb ran forward and dove into the water, as he sank below the inky blackness. Aiden, Aaron and Gawain, stood breathless for a moment waiting for Caleb to reappear. Caleb then burst out of the water’s surface with Laurel in his arms. Aiden and Aaron ran forward to assist him. Grabbing on to Caleb to help him get back to shore.
“She is not breathing!” Caleb said frantically, as he put Laurel on the ground and turned her over.
He hit her back firmly with the flat of his hand several times, his efforts rewarded, with Laurel suddenly coughing and gasping for air, as she spit out water. Turning her back over quickly as she looked at him with a wide eyed frantic expression, still trying to catch her breath. Caleb held her tightly in his arms pushing her hair out of her face, as Aiden and the two Sentinels kneeled down next to them, sighing loudly in relief.
“Breath my love, just breathe. I have you…I have you. It is over, just breathe,” Caleb said breathlessly, as she held her close, his lips against her forehead.
Laurel coughed a few more times before exhaling deeply, as she was finally able to catch her breath. Caleb looked into her face, to see if she was aware. She smiled at him weakly, raising her hand to touch his cheek, before losing consciousness. Caleb held her to him, for a moment burying his face into the side of her face and neck, his shoulders shaking from silent sobs of relief.


About the Author: Hi Everyone, My name is M.T.Magee and I am the proud Silver medal recipient of 2015 The M.T. MageeDrunken Druid Award, based in Ireland. I am also a Finalist for IAN Book of the Year Award 2016 for First Novel. On Sept. 1st 2016 I received the Finalist Award for Best Fantasy Romance from Readers’ Favorite Book Awards
I write bestselling YA historical medieval fantasy that is beautifully romantic with whispers of Gaelic legend and mystical Kingdoms.

I live in New England on our small farm with my husband and son. We raise an assortment of silly goats, quiet rabbits, far too many ducks and chickens, and a high strung Border Collie cross named Gronk. I have always loved fantasy and fell in love with Tolkien at age eleven. I read all of his works at age twelve. I have been writing stories since I was ten years old and have always wanted to be an author. After fulfilling my dream of becoming a nurse, marrying the love of my life and having two wonderful sons, I have finally been able to fulfill my first dream of publishing my first book. My youngest son is severely disabled and I am his full-time caregiver. The long winter months here in New England make it virtually impossible to go out very often, so I used this time to begin my story The Treasure of Gwenlais. Fifteen months and 1144 pages later I am very happy to present my story to all of you. I love strong female characters, who are still able to convey a sense of vulnerability and be very relateable. I also love strong male leads who are not afraid to show their soft side. Love of family is important to me as I am sure it is to everyone and I convey this in my story.

So welcome to the world I have created and I hope you enjoy visiting often. I hope you all enjoy the brilliant work of my cover artist Tyler Donnelly.

The world I have created, comes from the inspiration of both my Scottish heritage and my husband’s Irish descent, with pride and respect for both cultures. The beauty of the Scottish Highlands, as well as the lush rolling meadows of Ireland, serve as a backdrop for the mythical realm of Rienfield. Many of the names of villages and towns that are used are actual names of towns and villages of Scotland and Ireland. They are used in direct correlation for what their rich past made them known for and is applied with loving respect for their history in the story. Many of the names of the characters are Irish, Scottish, or Gaelic, again showing my love and admiration for our heritages. The characters also speak Old Irish, from time to time, referring to it as ‘old speak.’ I hope you will find this as fascinating and beautiful as I did. You will find the Kingdoms of Gwenlais and Heathwin filled with wonder, danger, adventure, romance, love of family as well as betrayal.

The people, races, and beings, will beckon you to return and visit, over and again, sharing in their joys, sorrows, tragedies and triumphs.

Connect with M.T.:

Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest * Goodreads

Book Promo Feature–In The Blood of the Greeks by Mary D. Brooks

YAPC would like to welcome Mary D. Brooks to the blog today. She is here to share an excerpt and some info about  her book In the Blood of the Greeks. If this looks like something you would enjoy, please go pick up a copy or two! This book is reduced to $2.99 for a limited time!

Book Description:

In the Blood of the GreeksIt’s 1942 in German Occupied Greece during World War II, Eva and Zoe — one a German officer’s daughter, the other a young Greek woman filled with fury — should be enemies but they come together in an unlikely union to save the lives of Jews targeted by the Nazis. They know that one wrong move will put an end to their lives.

Fourteen year old Zoe Lambros’ faith in God is shattered after her mother’s death at the hands of the German Commander. She determines to defy the enemy in every way she can–including a festering urge to kill the German Commander’s daughter, Eva Muller.

Eva Muller has a tortured past, and a secret, if revealed, will lead to certain death at the hands of her father. Despite knowing the risk, Eva is working with the village priest to help the Jews escape. With her activities closely observed, Eva needs help to continue the clandestine operation. Zoe is not who Eva has in mind but they have to find a way to work as a team to accomplish their life saving mission.


– Finalist: Fiction – Historical – Event/Era – 2015 Readers’ Favorite

– Finalist Gay/Lesbian Fiction – International Book Awards 2015

– Finalist First Novel – IAN (Independent Author Network) Book Of The Year Awards 2015

– Finalist Outstanding Historical Fiction – IAN (Independent Author Network) Book Of The Year Awards 2015

Content Warning: Mild Language and Low Level Violence

Buy In the Blook of the Greeks:



Chapter Three

Zoe sat outside the house on an upturned wooden crate and watched the soldiers coming and going from the house across the street. She had a white fabric in her hand, and as she embroidered a pattern, she would occasionally glance up at the soldiers and then back down to her handiwork. She had a great memory—she wasn’t sure how it worked, but she could recall everything she saw. She casually glanced down at the watch Stavros had given her.
Zoe’s attention was drawn to several soldiers nearly falling over themselves at the entrance to the house. Moments later a tall figure emerged dressed in a black cloak with a hood to cover their head. Zoe scowled and looked up into the heavens. It was a warm, sunny day and there were no clouds in the sky to forecast a weather change, and it wasn’t cold either.
“What an idiot,” Zoe muttered. The tall figure talked with the guards for a few moments. It was when the cane was produced that Zoe stood up straighter. She had seen that cane before. Very slowly as to not arouse suspicions, she tapped the door behind her, where her cousin was sitting.
“Stav, come out here.”
“Now. I want you to see something.”
The door to the house opened and Stavros came out feeling his way with a cane. Zoe stood up and offered him her seat while she leaned against the wall. Stavros’ “war injury” provided cover for his activities in the Resistance.
“Who is that?” Zoe asked. She decided to sit down on the wooden floor and watch the hooded person.
“Muller’s daughter.”
“Clean your ears out. I said Muller’s daughter,” Stavros replied. “Her name is Eva Muller; she’s 22 and a cripple.”
“What’s her dress size?” Zoe teased Stavros.
“I’m not partial to German whores so I don’t know,” Stavros joked under his breath, making Zoe giggle. “Kiria Despina told me.”
“Despina’s nice although she is always trying to marry me off. Too bad she is forced to work there for those pigs. Why would you bring a woman into a war zone?”
“You’re a woman,” Stavros reminded Zoe as he glanced down and smiled at her.
“I live here.”
“I don’t know why the Nazi brought her here. Maybe Despina is wrong and she’s his wife.”
“She doesn’t look like a cripple,” Zoe muttered, but moments later rethought her assessment. One of the soldiers held out a cane which Eva took. “Well, look at that, she is a cripple,” Zoe said a little louder than normal. She was more than a little surprised when her comment caused Eva to momentarily stop at the top step. The guards didn’t pay any attention to Zoe but Muller’s daughter did react. Zoe saw it and smiled.
“Zoe! Lower your voice.”
“They’re Germans, Stav, they can’t speak Greek,” she whispered.
“If they can’t speak Greek, why are you whispering?”
Zoe grinned and watched Eva laboriously coming down the four steps. “Her shadows can’t, but the cripple can speak Greek,” she said quietly.
Stavros glanced at Eva in confusion and then back at Zoe. “Zo, the sun’s getting to you.”
“No. My head is fine.” Zoe absentmindedly tapped her head with her hand. “She understood what I said.”
“Are you sure?”
“Oh, yes, I’m sure.” Zoe nodded and watched as Eva finally got down the steps. She spoke to the guards for a moment before they backed away from her and stood behind her. Zoe was intrigued by this new arrival. The new commander had only been in the village for a few days and Zoe had not seen his daughter at all in that time.
“Come inside.”
“No, I want to watch the show,” Zoe mumbled as she helped Stavros get up and go inside. She resumed her seat on the overturned crate and saw that Eva had only taken a few steps. She sat up straighter when she saw a gust of wind rip the hood off Eva’s head.
“So now you have a face,” Zoe muttered.
Eva’s long hair disappeared into her cloak. Zoe was mesmerized by the color. She was expecting Eva to be blonde, but she wasn’t. Her hair was midnight black with the barest hint of blue as the sun hit it. The artist in Zoe was amazed; the Resistance fighter was intrigued. Eva stopped as the guard put her hood back on and they resumed their slow journey.
Zoe followed Eva’s tortuous slow walk to where the house ended and the intersection began. “I wonder what color your eyes are,” Zoe mused. “Not bad for a cripple.”
Eva stopped and took a breath. She said something to her guard and for a moment Zoe thought it was about her. It wasn’t. A few minutes later they resumed their journey. Just as Zoe got up to go into Stavros’ house, Major Hans Muller appeared at the entrance. Zoe stopped and sat back down.
Muller was a tall, stocky man in his late forties. Zoe looked into his face as he stood on the landing, waiting for his daughter to come to him. She sure doesn’t look like her papa, Zoe mused. There was a coldness to him, even for a Nazi. He didn’t try to help Eva up the stairs but stood there watching her.
“What an ass,” Zoe muttered.
Eva stopped and looked up at Muller. They exchanged a few words which Zoe couldn’t quite decipher. Muller did an about face and went back inside the house leaving Eva to walk up the stairs and follow him.
Zoe sneered as Eva’s journey up the stairs was taking an extraordinary amount of time. “I’m going to turn fourteen by the time that woman reaches the top step,” she muttered and got up and went inside the house.
“So did you enjoy the show?” Stavros said from the window while he continued to watch.
“I thought you said you weren’t interested in German whores?”
“I’m not.”
“Why are you watching her? Has she reached the top step yet?”
“We should go outside and give her a gold medal. That’s an Olympic event.”
“What is?” Stavros turned away from the window.
“Slow walking.” Zoe giggled. “My god, that took forever.”
“Do you care?”
“What did Muller say to her?”
“I don’t know.” Zoe shrugged and sat down at the table. “I couldn’t hear.”
“Why don’t you go home and pretty yourself up a little bit?”
“Huh?” Zoe stared at Stavros. “What did you just say?”
“I said go and wear a nice dress and do that thing you do with your hair. Apostolos is coming tonight.”
Zoe continued to stare. “What do I do with my hair?”
“You know, that girl thing you do and it looks all nice and pretty.”
Zoe smiled. “You are such a boy. Now why do I have to pretty myself up and do that thing I do with my hair?”
Stavros sat down heavily on the chair and rested his head on the table. “Zoe, can we not play this game all the time?”
“You’re the one who wants me to pretty myself up.”
“Can you please go home and get ready?”
Zoe chuckled. “Mama’s going to find this funny.”
“Your mama has the patience of a saint.”
“I’ll let her know you said that.” Zoe came round to where Stavros was seated and ruffled his curly black hair. She smiled at her cousin, who looked up at her. “You have to stop trying to match make.”
“Apostolos is sweet on you.”
“I’m not sweet on him. He’s too old.”
Stavros let his head drop to the table. “Yes, yes, yes, I know. You don’t like how old he is, nor his height, you don’t like his dark hair, and you don’t like his blue eyes.”
“He’s not right.”
“He can’t help being eight years older than you.”
“Not that, silly.”
“If it’s not his age, nor his height, his hair color or his eyes, what is it this time?”
“He has an accent.”
“What?” Stavros asked incredulously and started to laugh. He slapped his thigh as the giggles overtook him. “He doesn’t have an accent!”
“He’s from Athens.”
“They have a different accent.”
Stavros shook his head slowly, causing his curly hair to swing. “How do you know Athenians have a different accent? You’ve only met one.”
“That’s enough.”
“Zoe, go home and wear that beautiful dress your mama made for you. We have business to discuss tonight.”
“Are we going out?”
“Not tonight, but maybe tomorrow night. There’s a new batch arriving tomorrow. That’s why Apostolos is coming over.”
“Can’t he send a messenger with the information?”
Stavros smiled. “He is the messenger. He’s making a special effort to come and see you.”
“Oh, joy,” Zoe muttered as she raised herself up and kissed Stavros on the cheek before picking up her bag and leaving the house.


About the Author: A geek with too many imaginary friends who speak different languages (knew those language Mary D. Brooksclasses would come in handy). Historical romance and urban fantasy storyteller and addicted to stories and song about strength and courage. I play well with others (for an introvert) but then retreat to talk and write about my imaginary friends. Passionate about lots of things that inspire the mind (art/design, psychology, science and tech) that sets my muse on fire (she’s a busy lady!).

Connect with Mary:

 Website/Blog * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads

Book Promo Feature–Girls Gone Great by J. Drew Brumbaugh

YAPC would like to welcome back J. Drew Brumbaugh to the blog today. He is here to share some info and an excerpt of his book Girls Gone Great. If this looks like something you would like to read, please go pick up a copy! It is only 99 cents for a limited time!

Book Description:

Girls Gone Great

Girls Gone Great” is a collection of magical tales written specifically for girls ages two to ten years. These fable-like stories were inspired by real girls, girls taking a magical journey of self-discovery where doing the right thing turns into something great. When you believe in yourself and have confidence to face obstacles, then any girl has the ability to “go great” and surprise herself just like the heroines in these tales.

Buy Girls Gone Great:



The Escape Artist
The tiny, peanut-sized girl headed for the back door that led outside. No one noticed and no one stopped her. Silently, secretively, she escaped into the forest. Not that she escaped on purpose. She just moved naturally with stealth and grace that somehow defied detection. She didn’t reason why she was doing it, she just did. She was curious and never thought about any danger. She was too young for that. Before she knew it, she was a long way from home in the woods with night coming.
Back home it was some time before her mother realized Escape Artist wasn’t in the house. A frantic search began but Escape Artist was nowhere to be found. Her sisters looked for her in the garage, in the basement play room, in the bedrooms. No Escape Artist. Her father was the first one to notice that the door leading outside was open.
“She’s gone to the woods,” he said, pointing out the back door.
“My baby is lost in the woods,” lamented Mother. “What will happen to her? It’s almost dark.”
“We have to find her,” said Father as he led the family search party out the back and into the growing gloom that filled the woods with shadows.
The darkness engulfed them and it wasn’t long before the entire family had wandered far from home. They quickly realized that they were hopelessly lost and the more they walked, the worse it became. Eventually, they all plopped down on a fallen log to rest and figure out what to do next. They had no idea which direction was home and the forest was now ominously dark and foreboding. Strange noises surrounded them: screeches, yips and yowls. The sisters shivered with fright.
Meanwhile, several low rolling hills away, Escape Artist wandered happily along an animal trail, content as the sun sank out of sight. She was glad that the birds were going to sleep and the night animals were coming out. She watched a family of raccoons plod down the path ahead of her. Curious, she followed along, thinking they might lead to other exciting adventures. Off to the left, an owl hooted, calling to its young. A fox scurried across the trail ahead of Escape Artist, stopped for a moment and looked at her. Then it scampered off into the underbrush.
Suddenly the forest became totally still. At that moment, Escape Artist realized that the raccoons were gone and now on the path in front of her stood a beautiful white horse with a single horn growing from the front of its head. The unicorn tossed its head, the horn glowing brightly and casting a golden light on the darkened trees and bushes. It pawed the ground, bobbing its head up and down while its silky mane, illuminated with hundreds of twinkling stars, lit up the path, the ground, the sky all around Escape Artist. In a gentle, sweet voice it asked, “Where are you going, Little One?”


About the Author: J Drew Brumbaugh lives in northeast Ohio where he spends his time writing sci-fi, fantasy J Drew Brumbaughand suspense novels, teaching and training at the karate dojo he founded and building a Japanese garden in his backyard.

He has three novels in print, a collection of short stories, and has co-authored children’s book. He continues to work on his next book and seems to always have several stories in various stages of completion.

Connect with J:

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads * Pinterest * Tumblr

Book Promo Feature–Every Move I Have Made by Phillippa Cameron

YAPC would like to welcome Phillippa Cameron to the blog today. She is here to share some info and an excerpt from her book Every Move I Have Made. If this looks like a book you would enjoy reading, please go get a copy!

Book Description:

Every Move I Have MadeWhen the phone rings in the middle of the night, Hayley knows it not good news, and she’s right: her boyfriend, Jesse, is missing after a night of fun at the local quarry, and she might have been the last one to see him alive… 17-year-old Hayley is counting down the days to when she can escape from her parents and the life she feels sure she will inherit from them. Her father’s simmering anger at the impotence of his world threatens daily to boil over, while her mother has retreated into herself, never leaving the house. In Hayley’s home, darkness always lurks just below the surface. Hayley has a plan, though, and is determined not to let anyone stop her, and her courage is fueled by the kindness of her two best friends, although not even they know all her secrets. But when the most popular boy in school suddenly turns his attentions to her, she finds herself questioning exactly what it is she wants, until she learns that danger can be found everywhere, not only at home, and even within the boy you love.


Content Warning: Brief, implied rape scene.

Buy Every Move I Have Made:



When the phone rings in the middle of the night, you know it’s not good news. No one’s calling to say you’ve won the lottery. Or you’ve got into that Ivy-League college. Calls in the middle of the night mean only one thing.
So when I hear a phone ring and my eyes flash open to find darkness, when I hear footsteps in the hallway and my bedroom door opening, and when I see the outline of my mother appear in my doorway, I know what it means.
“Halina, wake up.”
I push myself into a sitting position. My breathing is shallow, as if I’ve been running.
“Some woman was on the phone looking for her son,” my mother says. “She says you know him. Says it’s your boyfriend.”
“Jesse?” My voice breaks on the second syllable.
Her figure in the darkness shifts, and her voice is flat. “Woke your father up.”
I fumble in the dark for my phone, saying with a dry mouth, “I don’t know where Jesse is.”
My hand finds the phone and I switch it on. The screen lights up my room but doesn’t reach my mother who hasn’t even crossed the threshold.
I look towards her squat shape nearly filling the doorframe.
“We were at the quarry,” I say. “All of us. The boys were swimming. Jesse’s at the quarry.”
“He’s not. His mother says his clothes are still there. But he’s not. And Halina, it’s four in morning. No one’s at the quarry.”
I am wide awake now.
“What do you mean?”
“What do you mean, his clothes are still there?”
A sigh moves through the darkness. “I don’t know, Halina. That woman was pretty upset. Just call her.”
“But what does that mean?” I sort of spit this out, and I feel my mother back off.
“Call her,” she says, and her voice is swallowed up by the darkness as she fades away. My phone vibrates in my hand, then beeps. Half a dozen missed calls flash up, and a text message, and then another, and another. I wince at every flash. Abruptly, the screen darkens and all that is left is a perfectly round light at the top of the phone puncturing the night in intervals. I sit in the dark for a moment. I know I need to call Jesse’s mom but I am paralyzed.
I close my eyes, tightly, until they sting, and I scream – silently – until everything inside me is emptied out and I’m hollow once more.

On the day Jesse Randall spoke to me, he was sitting on the low wall that trails down the front steps of my school. He was wearing a chocolate brown sweater with the hood pulled up over his head, which is why I didn’t realize at first who he was or that he was watching me. When I was four steps above him, he pulled back his hoodie and stared straight at me. My heart fired balls of heat through my chest and up my neck onto my face. And then Jesse Randall said, “Hey, Hayley.”
Before I could stop myself, I turned around. Turned to see who the other Hayley was that Jesse Randall was talking to.
Because it couldn’t be me.
I had been working late in the library again because I didn’t want to go home, and I was the last one to leave but still, it couldn’t be me.
But it was only me there on the steps.
As in, Hey, Hayley.
I whipped back my head so quickly that my hair, plaited down my back, struck me painfully across the face, and I only managed to get out, “Hey,” in return but I hadn’t stopped walking so in a second I was beyond him and then the steps were gone and I was on the sidewalk that led away from the school and away from him, and right before the path turned a sharp left to follow the road, I looked back.
He was still there.
And he was still looking at me.


About the Author: By night, I’m a ferocious reader and writer, knocking out words at every available moment and Phillipa Camerondevouring every book in sight. Luckily for me, by day, I’m a meek and mild librarian with shelves and shelves of gorgeous novels to choose from, and when I’m not selecting the next fantastic book to buy, I’m dispensing books and advice to a giggle of high-school girls.

I love Young Adult novels. And books from other genres too. Any of them. All of them.

The Day We Are Born is the first novel in my Elements series. Every Move I Have Made is the second book, and was published this year. Each novel is a stand-alone book, linked by its connection to one or more of the elements – earth, wind, fire and water. My third book in the Elements series will be out in 2017, entitled One Great Fear In My Heart.

Connect with Phillippa:

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads

Interview with Ieda Herman Author of The Silver Arrow

YAPC would like to welcome Ieda Herman to the blog today. She is here to answer some of our questions and share some info about her book The Silver Arrow. If this looks like a book you would like to read, please go get a copy!

YAPC: How would you describe your book in 20 words or less without using the blurb?

Ieda: The Silver Arrow is an adventure story set in Iceland with an undercurrent of dealing with and accepting loss.

YAPC: What’s your current guilty pleasure?

Ieda: Coffee and cookies, definitely.  I’m also a big fan of dark chocolate and if I can get that in a cookie, so much the better.

YAPC: Aside from writing, what do you enjoy doing on your spare time?

Ieda: I love to do anything active and adventurous – paragliding, river rafting, rock climbing are some of my favorites.  When I was ten years old, I wanted to fly like the seagulls in Iceland and even tried to jump off the barn roof with a flour sack tied around my neck – that didn’t work by the way.  I finally got to fly when I was 88 years old and went paragliding for the first time.

YAPC: What started you on your journey to be a writer?

Ieda: I have always jotted down thoughts and ideas for stories.  I have piles of them everywhere.  I got serious when I wanted to write down my memories of growing up in Iceland to share them with my friends and family.  My first book was basically a memoir of my childhood. 

YAPC: What do you love about writing?

Ieda: I like being able to share stories about Iceland.  I had such a great childhood of adventures growing up in Iceland and it’s such fun to share that experience through books.

YAPC: What’s the hardest part of writing a book?

Ieda: As English is a second language for me, I dislike the constant correction of my English.  Like most writers, I think the whole editing process is pretty tedious – I would much rather be writing new stories.. 

YAPC: How did you come up with your premise for your books?

Ieda: When I read Jules Verne Journey to the Center of the Earth, it caught my attention that the guide was Icelandic.  Which made sense, because the cave the entered was in Iceland.  When I finished the book, I kept thinking about the guide and wondered what his life after that might have been and how adventurous things were for him after that.  The Silver Arrow follows his grandchildren and their adventures following his journal. 

YAPC: Your favorite books and author?

Ieda: Sagas, author Snorri Sturluson

YAPC: Where can your fans find you?

Ieda: Facebook:


YAPC: Favorite place in the world?

Ieda: Iceland, of course!  I love going back to explore, travel the country and have fun.  This past year, I went fishing and caught three fish at the same time – all over 25 pounds and boy were they heavy! 

YAPC: Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it? 

Ieda: Yes, I have several projects in the works.  One is a sequel to The Silver Arrow, called Inner Space Aliens.  I expect it to be published in the Spring 2017.  I am very excited about it and have had so much fun with the characters of Finna, Kali and Erik in their continued adventures.

Book Description

The Silver ArrowA young Icelandic girl, Finna, lost her father in a shipwreck and now her Great-grandfather is missing. The police believe he drowned, but Finna isn’t convinced. Using clues from hidden papers written with a secret code, Finna and her twin brother Erik along with their best friend Kalli set out to solve the mystery.

They follow the trail from Iceland’s Snæfell Mountain to a cavern under the Icelandic glacier. They are guided by Great-grandfather’s mysterious journal and Finna’s friend Odin, one of the Hidden. They find themselves pulled through a mysterious vortex to another planet. Along the way, they encounter strange and terrifying creatures, Nordic gods and an alien civilization. After her brother and best friend are kidnapped, Finna finds she must use her archery expertise, an ancient artifact and all her courage to save them and an entire planet.

The fate of the alien world and the future of Earth depend on her true aim!

Buy The Silver Arrow:


About the Author: At 91, Ieda Herman has finally accepted that she may be unusual. For years, she has heard Ieda Hermancomments about how adventurous she is, how active and that she is an inspiration. She responds that growing old is not a choice but how you do it is up to you. Getting up in the morning should never be an accomplishment. There are things that must be done, things that are good to do, and other thing you enjoy doing.
She credits her vitality to her Scandinavian heritage, or Viking blood as she is fond of saying, a natural curiosity, and constant movement.

The release of her newest book, The Silver Arrow (IBSN: 978-1535203623) is the result of her most recent efforts. The Silver Arrow, is a Young Adult Adventure story, where Ieda shares the Icelandic experience using the landscape, culture, and Nordic mythology to weave an entertaining tale. Ieda uses her books to promote education and interest in Iceland and the culture.

Since turning 90, she has scaled 60 feet of an indoor climbing wall, practicing for her exploration of the Icelandic cave that inspired Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. She has gone paragliding off the southern cliffs of Vik in Iceland, appeared with her daughter giving presentations on Iceland, and enjoys local festivals and events. A family BBQ in Texas afforded her first opportunity to sit in the driver’s seat of a fire engine, an impromptu fishing trip gave her the thrill of snagging THREE 25+ pound fish on the same line, all at the same time!

Connect with Ieda:

Website * Goodreads

Interview with Carla Trueheart Author of The Ritual of the Four

YAPC would like to welcome Carla Trueheart to the blog today. She is here to share some info about her book The Ritual of the Four as well as answer some of our questions. If this looks like something you would like to read, please go get a copy!

YAPC: How would you describe your book in 20 words or less without using the blurb?

Carla: A teenage boy has a dark and magical connection to an ancient gold dagger left behind by his father. 

YAPC: When did you decide to become a writer?

Carla: After reading the Harry Potter series. I loved reading as a child, but I’d forgotten my love of books in my adult years. Harry Potter helped me remember the joy and magic of reading.

YAPC: When you made your first sale, how did you celebrate and with whom?

Carla: I woke up on Christmas Eve morning to an email from my publisher, offering me a contract. I actually thought I was still dreaming, so I hopped out of bed and tossed my phone to my family for confirmation! Then I told my entire family at Christmas Eve dinner. It was a Christmas I will never forget.

YAPC: Do you listen to music while writing?

Carla: Yes! I have specific playlists for each of my writing projects. I don’t feel I can write a character well until I know their favorite song, so I make sure to add that to my playlist. The music I write to is normally new age without lyrics to distract me, but sometimes it’s period music. The music keeps me focused and in the right mindset and mood.

YAPC: Did you know the title before you started writing?

Carla: My working title was Slicer but that had more of a horror story feel, so I changed it to The Dagger of the Four.  When the story was complete, I ended up changing the title to The Ritual of the Four and that seemed the best fit.

YAPC: What was your favorite scene?

Carla: The snowy mountains scene toward the end of the book, when Shaw and Melody work on finding the final map clue and the gravesite. This was just before the climax, when both Shaw and Melody knew they had to face whatever came next, and that it was all going to end one way or another. I also enjoyed writing the scenes with Fraser when he explained the Ritual of the Four to Shaw and Melody and gave them the first clue to the map.

YAPC: How did you come up with your premise for your book?

Carla: Initially, it was just a loose idea I jotted down in a notebook about a boy who could slice things using only the power of his mind. Looking back, it probably stemmed, subconsciously, from the sectumsempra spell in Harry Potter. I was also reading Dan Brown at the time, which led me to add in the puzzles, clues, and connections to the magic elements fire, water, earth, and air. I ended up making connections with the Ritual of the Four objects, fire/dagger, goblet/water, earth/pentacle, and air/wand. I especially loved the wand with the crystal quartz and blue diamond.

YAPC: Your favorite books and authors?

Carla: The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling is my favorite. Some of my other favorite authors include Stephen King, Katherine Howe, Jennifer Egan, Dan Brown, Amanda Stevens, and Suzanne Collins. My favorite classic stories include A Christmas Carol by Dickens, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

YAPC: Where can readers find your book?

Carla: My book is available at all major bookstores, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iBooks, and smaller online retailers. You may also order the Silver Seal Edition exclusively through my Facebook page or contact me through my website:

YAPC: If I give you a time machine, what time period and in what place would you travel to?

Carla: I would make a few stops, if possible! I would love to visit Colonial America or be present at the Salem Witch Trials. I would then hop to The Civil War era and meet Abraham Lincoln, then off to the 1920s around Prohibition. I’m a huge fan of history and even minored in it at Southern New Hampshire University.

YAPC: What projects are you currently working on right now?

Carla: I just signed a contract for an adult contemporary novel called Back to Blueberry Pond, about three friends who grew up in the 80s and placed their most valuable possession inside a Tupperware bowl as part of a friendship pact. I’m hoping for a 2017 release for that book. I’m also halfway finished with another YA novel with elements of sci-fi, which is a bit of a challenge as I have not written the genre before. I’m excited to see where it goes!

Thank you for these questions! I appreciate the opportunity to talk about my writing projects and connect with readers!

Book Description:

The Ritual of the Four2016 International Book Awards Finalist
Silver Seal Winner

For sixteen-year-old Shaw Huntley, a normal day includes running from two men who want to kill him. Shaw has a dark ability: using only the power of his mind, and visualizing a specific gold and jeweled dagger, he can telekinetically cut or slice objects. If he gets angry enough, he can even cut people. Unfortunately, the two men chasing him murdered his father in search of the physical gold dagger currently in Shaw’s possession—and they will stop at nothing to track him down and obtain it.

When Shaw ends up in Rockpoint, New York, he meets Melody Tufts, a gamer who finds a mysterious triangular symbol on the hilt of Shaw’s dagger. After some investigation, Shaw learns his connection with the dagger and his dark ability were the results of a secret ritual—The Ritual of the Four—performed centuries ago by his ancestors. His dagger is number one in a group of four unique items, each one representative of the four magic elements: fire, water, air, and earth. He also learns there’s a way to reverse the Ritual of the Four forever so he can stop running, settle into a school, and perhaps even begin a romance with Melody. But after the two embark on a dangerous quest to reverse the ritual, decoding clues and unearthing maps, Shaw questions if he wants to toss away his ability—or finally face his foes.

Buy The Ritual of the Four:

Amazon * B&N * Kobo * iTunes


Chapter One
I’m not sure when it will happen. It could be one minute or one month, and when it happens, it won’t be pretty. Not in the particular way they are going to kill me.
Right now, I’m hiding out in one of the few places a guy of sixteen can disappear from the eyes of the world—the top of a Ferris wheel. When I jumped on board, a couple of teenagers were getting a lift in the cart just behind me. A guy and a girl, laughing and snuggling. I’m sure they were hoping to get stuck on top, where I am now, so they could disappear from the world just like I’m trying to do. For once, I was the lucky one this time. I’m stuck up here, hidden, but with a pretty good view of the carnival below.
The autumn carnival in Fairchester, Massachusetts, is a pretty big deal. It’s not like I know this town all that great, because I just got here a month ago, but I did hear from some guys at school that most of the town shows up at the carnival at one point or another. From up here, at the top of the world, I can see why people in Fairchester like their autumn carnival so much. The air is icy, the leaves brown and dying, but smack in the middle are all these neon flashing lights and laughing kids. Game booths with huge stuffed animals. Fat clowns with balloons. The scent of fried dough and cotton candy.
I came here alone but soon had the feeling I wasn’t alone. That’s why I’m hiding out. It’s calm now—they can’t reach me up here if they did follow me to the carnival. And I’m pretty sure they found me, because I can smell the blood laced into the breeze. It comes along with them. It probably comes along with me, too. That’s how they always find me, even when my mother and I change our names and move around the coast. America is not the great hiding place it seems.
The Ferris wheel shifts and vibrates, and I start my decline. My hand shakes on the bar. On the ground, shadowy figures move around, but I don’t freak out because they could be anyone. Maybe some kid’s parents watching the wheel. Maybe some girls making a decision whether to board or try something a little scarier. But the scent of blood grows stronger, and as soon as my cart lands on the bottom, I hop off onto the metal platform, then dash through the back gates. I don’t stop until I’m hidden in a patch of black, between two old trailers.
A thick red hose rests on the ground before me, running toward the giant slide ride. Electricity hums in my ears as I pull out my cell and text my mother: “Come get me.” And then our code word: “lightsaber.” (Quick backstory: Star Wars fan, but please don’t tell anyone). I’m just about to find my way to the street when the smell of blood overpowers me, and my stomach pitches.
“Shaw Huntley,” a familiar male voice says. “We always seem to find each other in the strangest places.”


About the Author: Carla Trueheart is a New England-based writer who holds certificates in poetry, romance Carla Trueheartwriting, copyediting, forensic science writing, historical fiction writing, and writing for young adults. She has studied writing at Gotham Writers’ Workshop and The Writers Studio and is currently working toward completion of her BA in Creative Writing and English through Southern New Hampshire University. She has worked as submissions editor for various online publications, and her poetry and short stories have been featured in The Litchfield Literary Review. Her first novel, The Ritual of the Four, won the Silver Seal from Readers’ Favorite and was a Finalist in the 2016 International Book Awards.

Carla currently works as a novelist with World Castle Publishing and as a professional book reviewer. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, listening to music, reading, and collecting books and candles.

Connect with Carla:

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

Book Promo Feature–The Good Witch’s Weapon by S Dayton

YAPC would like to welcome S. Dayton to the blog today. She is here to share some info and an excerpt of her book The Good Witch’s Weapon. If this looks like something you would like to read, please go grab a copy!

Book Description:

The Good Witch's WeaponThe Prophecy Of A Good Witch: Book One : The Good Witchs Weapon

After the mysterious death of her parents 23 year old Violet Quinn arrives in smog filled 1950’s London. In a vast dark forest along her enigmatic Uncle’s mansion a war of Fairies, Witches and unknown creatures is unfolding. Violet finds herself in the middle. Armed with charm, an uneasy magical temperament and new friends Violet sets out to find out the truth behind the war, and her family’s secret past.

Book Two: A League and a Dragon
Book Three: The Light and Dark of Violet

Content Warning: Mild violence and mild romance

Buy The Good Witch’s Weapon:



Chapter One:

The train station was crowded, bustling with people and steam from the trains. I was looking for a familiar face, but only seeing my Uncle as a child made it hard to recognize him now as an old man. I’m not sure he if would even pick me up. A rich man of his status might not be bothered. He just wrote in his letter to buy the tickets and send word of my arrival. I had, and arrived on time.
Getting off the train most people looked down and away from me. It was unusual to say the least. In Rye, people made eye contact, smiled and often stared. Especially to someone as unusually colored as me. My light green eyes and fair skin made me stick out compared to the tanned skin of the farmers and dark haired women of Rye. My mother’s hair was littered with red, streaks of blonde and strawberry. She was the only one in town who gained as much attention as I did. If we went to town for a meal, or to shop, it seemed half of Rye would be there to greet us. Father preferred the outdoors, and his tanned skin blended in with the others. They thought our porcelain complexions were sickly in comparison. Mother knew we were different, and she often said she “wouldn’t have it any other way!”

I was always uncomfortable with the attention. It was a happy relief to be ignored, to blend into the scenery as if I belonged. It was troubling to me somehow. London was unfriendly and seemed to be filled with smog. The grey sky overhead made good on an unspoken promise, and started to rain. My bright red hair was pinned neatly in a bun, but curls broke loose in the rain. In the dim light of the train station pieces of hair turned from red to deep crimson as I grew nervous. Carrying my bag I looked for a place to wait in the rain. My anxiety grew, my palms getting sweaty and fingers tingle. I looked frantically around for someone to help her. Everyone was looking past. As if she was just an image and not there at all. I closed my eyes to calm myself. I remembered mother’s words and repeated them silently. Calm yourself, breathe. Control yourself, breathe. Center your energy, breathe. I opened my eyes and felt composed.

A tall man wearing a black hat and jacket was staring at me from across the platform. I looked but tried not to make eye contact. I could see him staring without a word as trains rushed passed, people hopping on and off. The station was buzzing with complaints of rain and the chill in the air. As the minutes passed, I sat on the bench with bag tightly on my lap. I could call my Uncle.. I had written of the day and time of arrival. I looked again at the man until he suddenly disappeared. I wiped my eyes with my hand and blinked. Looking around there was no one that seemed to notice. I laughed to myself and realized how hungry I was. The hunger had caused delirium certainly. A grumble in my stomach, mixed with the chill of the air made me miss the green fields and warm pastures of home. I remembered an apple, and dug into my bag looking for it.

“Excuse me, Miss?” Inearly jumped to see the tall man from across the platform, now standing in front of me. His voice was deep, and he was even taller than I had noticed. His broad shoulders made his jacket tight as he bowed towards me and repeated his question.
“Excuse Me, Miss?
I felt afraid to speak my voice. The enormous tanned man was talking to me? Surely I was about to be attacked and sold into some sort of underground London girl trade. I tightened the grip on my bag in case I needed to run.
“You are Miss violet? I am Sampson: Edward Clarke’s personal assistant.”
“Oh yes. I am. Hello.”
I held my hand out to greet him. His expressionless face looked at my bag and grabbed the handles from my grip.
“Follow Me, the car is waiting.”
And with that he was gone hustling through the crowd with the ease of a nearly seven foot man. Under the roof of the train station his long stride carried him past people walking at a normal pace. He breezed past the trains, through the lobby and out the front doors without a single person impeding his speed. He was casually parting the crowds.

I was sweating trying to keep up. I had worn my most comfortable outfit of a long skirt and flat boots only to be chasing a man on slick wet floors in a crowd. I was breathless and cursing myself when we got to the car. A pain in my side had me buckled over behind Sampson as he paused and let me catch up. In a crowd of people darting into dark black cars avoiding the rain, the car stood glimmering. The rain was pouring down, and a black umbrella appeared over my head to keep me dry. All of London seemed to be a dull gray color compared to my Uncle’s car. Catching every bit of light and casting it off the car was glowing. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

The run had caused my hair to fall completely out of the bun and was flowing around like a glow of soft red. I pointed and gasped at the sight of the car. It was completely unlike the rusted old black car my parents owned. The car was a shiny mahogany red, with cream wheels and delicate cream accents on the doors. Painted black lines ran the length of the car, curving and twirling up and over every windows edge. Silver handles to open the three doors on the side. One up front for the driver and two back to back so all the passengers were facing each other. Samson walked to the car and held one of the doors open and motioned I climb inside. I slid on the warm seats; they were soft to the touch yet hard and sturdy. Warm air flowing around me, the plush backs of the seats was nicer than on the train and lined with silver braided edges. I leaned back and smiled to myself. Imagine his house, if this is his car.

Sampson climbed in the front seat, shaking the umbrella gently and laying it on the open seat and drove away without another word. I watched as the streets turned and the car weaved along them. Other cars and busses were on the road, and parked on the sides, but nothing like the one I rode in. I was warm and happy, and couldn’t help but smile out the tinted windows at the people on the streets. It seemed as if no one turned to look at us certainly they could see the car? It was twice the size of a normal car, and they were mostly black and rusted like the one her parents owned. I had a feeling that London wasn’t very fond of visitors and I was clearly from out of town. But Uncle made his life here, and perhaps the way their gaze avoided her was a reflection on him. Was he a good man? A honest man? I was hoping he wasn’t a bad man. There was a glass window between Sampson and myself, but I could see it was half open. I inched closer slowly, keeping in mind the bumps in the London streets. I tied my hair back neatly and cleared my throat. Sampson made a “Humph?” sound to acknowledge my closeness to the open window.

“Mr. Sampson.” , “how much longer?” they had only been driving 20 minutes or so but days of traveling without anyone to talk to had left me anxious for conversation. Unfortunately, Sampson probably wasn’t the best choice.

“Just Sampson, Miss, and we are arriving shortly.”

I couldn’t help but smile, what an adventure! My back to Sampson I sat and watched out the window. A wave of heat rippled through my hair and down my neck. I flushed with delight and excitement. Watching the buildings turn from city to a smaller town, from tall buildings to small businesses. Marbles Books, Hobbins Grocery, Kendal Square Market. The signs were painted in gold letters on faded black slabs of wood. The windows were dirty but you could make out the chocolates in the window of F.H Confections. People were hidden under their umbrellas, faces shielded and jacket collars pulled high as to not let the cold air sink in.

I felt my energy spike. My fingers were tingling like they often did when I was upset. I wasn’t upset however, I was excited. It was a familiar feeling, that had been happening more and more since my parents were gone. I could feel a change within me. It was a feeling my mother had as well. My heart pounding and my fingers feeling the need to move. We passed a hat shop, a bank, a few taverns and I felt the car start to slow down. The engine of the car roared and hummed over the road avoiding bumps and pedestrians with ease.

I felt a pang of sadness for enjoying myself in the wake of everything. But I knew my parents would be happy Uncle had so generously taken me in. At my age without a husband It would be hard to keep up the house alone. Let alone make money on the small herb farm they had. It had produced less and less over the years. The car slowed and turned down a dirt driveway in between two buildings. To me, it looked like an ordinary ally, not nearly wide enough for two cars to pass. They drove up to a cast iron gate where Sampson got out of the car and eased it open. The rain had briefly stopped but the clouds still hung in the air. I warmed with anticipation and felt my hair darken and deepen in color. You could still not see the house yet. I found myself sitting very close the partition window that separated my area from Sampson’s. I was leaning left and right, trying to catch a glimpse of something, and when I did, I was not disappointed.

To say this house was a Manor, would be an understatement. I thought it a castle. Like the pictures in my books. A thick row of hedges shadowed a gray and red brick house with black gilded windows. They seemed a bit dark and dirty, but I attributed that to the weather. It was at least three stories tall, with a balcony off the right side two stories up. On the right were a row of hedges fenced in and an overgrown garden. Half dead and half beautiful ivy climbed over a fence and up the side of the house. A field was surrounding the whole property, with a thick forest behind it. A small chicken coop and wooden building was set back along the edge of the trees. Looking back towards the city, I could only see more trees. A long dirt driveway separated us from the rest of the world.

My mouth was wide open and I was counting windows then Sampson slowed the car to a stop. On the roof I could see windows in the slanted ceiling for gazing at the stars. Uncle’s name was etched in a large stone to the right of a covered entrance. “Dr. Edward Clarke,” I read aloud. Sampson had opened the car door and was now standing, waiting. I couldn’t help but smile as she looked up at him.

“My Uncle is a Doctor?” I asked. Gathering my skirt and avoiding the puddles of the driveway as I climbed out.
“Yes, Miss. A Veterinary Surgeon.. Please follow me in now.”
He shut the car door behind me but I was staring at the house. It was large and beautiful and mysterious. Unlike the humble wooden house without curtains or grand hedges I have at home. HAD at home, I corrected myself in my thoughts. There is no home in Rye anymore, this is home now. And as I followed Sampson in, I was warming up to the idea.


About the Author: S Dayton is a New Englander with English roots. Her style is quirky, witty and full of adventure. She lives in Maine and spends afternoons hiking, entertaining family and drinking cheap wine.

Connect with S. Dayton:

Facebook * Goodreads

Book Promo Featre–Fire Mage by Trudi Jaye

YAPC would like to welcome Trudi Jaye to the blog today. She is here to share some info and an excerpt of her book Fire Mage. If this looks like something you would be interested in, please go buy a copy! It is only 99 cents for a limited time!

Book Description:

Fire MageIn a land of strange beasts, haunted forests and fiery magic the Fire Mage is a legend no one believes in any more.

Especially not Jena, an orphaned ex-slave who’s finally found a safe haven with her master and mentor, the Great Mage Thornal. When royal assassins murder Thornal while trying to steal his powerful Book of Spells, Jena vows revenge on the man responsible—Prince Lothar, the next king of Ignisia.

It’s a dangerous quest that will likely mean her life, but Jena has help in the form of her master’s familiar, an enormous raven, and also her own—completely forbidden—mage skills. If she can keep her secrets hidden, she might just get close enough to Lothar to obtain justice for Thornal’s death.

Meanwhile failed mage Nate is a salt collector in the notoriously dangerous volcano mines, using his unique ability to call demons to keep himself alive. He emerges from his latest run to find everyone at the outpost dead, and royal assassins waiting to finish him off. He barely escapes with his life, but his elation is short-lived—Prince Lothar is convinced Nate is a threat to his claim to the Flame Throne of Ignisia, and will stop at nothing to eliminate him.

When Nate and Jena meet, they’re literally heading in different directions. But destiny—and the prophecies of the last Fire Mage—throws them onto the same path. They must work together if they are to save the kingdom—and themselves—from the machinations of a ruthless royal prince.

Two unlikely heroes, one unscrupulous prince, and a swathe of dark and mysterious beasts—who will survive this encounter?

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Jena felt as if someone had reached inside her body and wrenched out her heart. Bright sparks of pain lanced through her insides, and she cried out. Beside her, the first Hashishin drew in a startled breath.
Something heavy settled around Jena’s shoulders and in the pit of her stomach. Waves of pain crawled up and down her body. She sucked in air with short, panicked gasps, as light flashed in front of her eyes. A sound like rushing water filled her ears, and for a moment, she forgot where she was. The world became nothing more than a terrible overwhelming pain that she couldn’t control.
Falling, flying, upside down, and right side up. She was everything and nothing, white and black, every color all at once; she was inside the dark room of the cottage, and she was flying in the skies above; she was smaller than a speck of dust, and bigger than the world.
Jena opened her mouth to scream, and no sound came out.
Then, just as suddenly, she was back. She felt a hundred pounds heavier, and her vision was strange. Everything was brighter in the room, and she saw even more of the detail around her. The pain was still there, but muted and under control. She could again focus on what was happening outside her head. The knife pricking at her skin hurt, and Thornal was still sitting just across from her. He watched her closely, and when she sucked in a deep breath, some of the tension in his face relaxed. He even sent her a quick smile.
Jena breathed in and out, trying to still the pounding of her heart. There was a new tightness in her chest, but she was able to draw in another deep breath and stay calm. She needed to concentrate on their attackers. They might be trained Flame Hashishin, raised from birth to kill and to withstand most mage spells, but her master was Thornal, the most powerful mage in the kingdom. He was the Guardian of the Book of Spells, and he wouldn’t be easily killed.
“There is your book, Hashishin. Your master will not be pleased that you allowed me to destroy it,” Thornal spoke in a soft voice, almost a whisper.
Jena heard him as clearly as if he spoke directly into her ear. What was he doing?
“Your assistant seems to understand what a mistake that was, mage. If it really was the book?” The Hashishin’s voice was flat and calm as he dug his knife deeper into Thornal’s neck. Thornal grunted in pain and blood spurted below the knife. The large red jewel at the base of the hilt glinted in the firelight.
“You have failed in your mission.” There was a small smile on Thornal’s face, but it worried Jena rather than relieved her to see it. The face of the Hashishin holding her master hostage was impassive, but there was something about the way he held his mouth that said he knew Thornal was right.
The hairs on the back of Jena’s neck stood on end.
Thornal coughed, and more blood pumped out of the wound on his neck. Again, Jena struggled against the man behind her; the knife at her own throat pressed harder against her skin. She stilled, unable to bear the feeling of sharp steel against her raw uneven burns.
“You lie, old man. You would never destroy the Book of Spells. You are the Guardian, bound by your oath. Tell me where it is or the girl dies.” The Hashishin’s voice was neutral, his training ensuring he didn’t panic, or at least let his panic show.
Silently Jena prayed for them. She prayed to the Flames as she had never prayed before, not even in the darkest moments of her life; not even when she had to endure the raw festering burns that had covered a quarter of her upper body. That pain seemed like nothing now, when Thornal’s life was at stake.
The muted throbbing that still coursed through her body danced alongside the fear that was rising from her churning stomach. She stared without blinking at Thornal, but he didn’t look at her. He was concentrating on the Hashishin.
“I would never lie,” said Thornal. “I have burned the Book of Spells, so your master will never have it. I would rather break my oath and see it gone than in his hands.”
He grunted as the knife was thrust deeper into his neck.
Jena gasped, pushing forward off her chair. The arm jerked her back down, and the knife pierced her skin, drawing blood. The sharp pinpoint of pain focused her mind, and in that moment, she realized they were in trouble. Her vision blurred as tears threatened to fall. She frowned and pushed them back, making herself focus on what was happening around her. She had to find a way to save them both.
“This is your last chance, old man. Where is the Book? Your lives depend upon it.” The assassin’s voice shook and Jena stopped breathing. The break in the Hashishin’s emotionless mask was more terrifying than any of the physical threats were.
Thornal motioned his eyes toward her, his lips forming a word. Talk.
“He does not lie,” she said abruptly, trying to understand what Thornal was doing. “It’s an old mage tradition. It makes them stronger if they never lie; their power is enhanced by the very act of truth. It cancels out the excess emotion, the one thing that all mages strive to avoid. Excess emotion destroys a good spell, as they say.” Jena heard her voice as if from a distance, the higher pitch making it sound like someone else talking.
She watched as Thornal whispered a spell under the cover of her voice. It was a simple spell, but cast by a powerful mage.
The hands of the Hashishin behind her fell slack and became nothing more than smoke and dust. Even before he was fully gone, Jena surged out of her chair toward the other Hashishin, grabbing the fire poker next to her chair as she went.
The remaining Hashishin gave a grunt of surprise as the knife he was holding turned to smoke and ash. The spell sped through his body, turning him to dust as well. He tried to jerk his second knife, hidden in his sleeve, toward Thornal. It turned to a dirty powder before it left his hand. Jena’s poker smashed through dust, throwing the particles harmlessly around the room.
She breathed a sigh of relief. Thornal had done it. He had saved them.
As he stood up from his chair, she turned to Thornal—smiling to show she knew he’d been in command the whole time—and felt the brush of steel fly past her arm. The knife from a third Hashishin hit Thornal in the chest with a solid thud. Thornal crumpled to the floor without a sound, the knife hilt standing grotesquely to attention in the middle of his torso.
Jena screamed, taking a step toward Thornal before turning toward his attacker who stood frozen beside the entrance to the room. With a blast of anger and pain surging through her body, she uttered the first spell that came to her head, a feral fireball spell from deep in the Book of Spells. It shouldn’t have worked; she wasn’t in control of her emotions, and she hadn’t grabbed enough earth’s energy. But she was flying on instinct, and she flicked her arms toward the Hashishin before she even thought it through. A painfully white ball of flames came flying out through her fingertips. Heat burned through her and surged into the body of the third assassin.
The Hashishin crumpled to the floor, dead before he hit the ground.


About the Author: Trudi Jaye lives in Auckland, New Zealand, in a secluded haven amongst the trees with her Trudi Jayelovely husband and cheeky young daughter. Trudi enjoys yoga, although she’s not very bendy, and karate, although she doesn’t like the idea of hitting anyone.

For the last ten years she’s been a magazine writer and editor, most recently writing about innovative and cutting-edge research. It’s a great place to get ideas for her books!

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Book Promo Feature–M.I.N.D. by Elissa Harris

YAPC would like to welcome Elissa Harris to the blog today. She is here to share some info and an excerpt of her book M.I.N.D. If this looks like something you would enjoy reading, please go pick up a copy!

Book Description:

Imagine skydiving or bungee jumping or snowboarding off a glacier, and you never have to leave your room. Imagine hooking up with the crush-of-your-life, and you never even have to put on lip gloss. Sixteen-year-old Cassie Stewart can project her mind into other people, and she does it at will. She sees what they see, feels what they feel, but she can’t read their thoughts. It’s a wild ride, but harmless. Or so she thinks. Sure, hanging out in someone else’s body might be a trip, but what if you can’t get back to yourself? What if the body you’re trapped in is committing murder — and the person he’s murdering is you?

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Amazon * Kobo * iTunes * Indiebound



Something is wrong with Mrs. Snyder, and I’m not talking about a few cracked ribs. According to her last email, my social studies paper is due any minute now, which is totally nonsensical, since she won’t be back at school for at least another week. Plus, why do we have to write this stupid essay anyway? We’re not going to Hartford after all, and wasn’t that the point? If it’s supposed to be about our impressions, shouldn’t we, like, be there?

Even if I were inclined to work on it, which I’m not, I can’t concentrate. I look around. Only a handful of kids were rounded up in the sweeps. Brendan isn’t among them. At the table in front of me, Zack and Stephanie are sitting so close together they could be sharing deodorant.

How can I focus when the back of Zack’s head is taunting me with its extreme adorableness? Even his ears are adorable. I write in my notebook, “Zack heart Cassie.” Yeah, right. Not in this life. I put down my pen.

How dumb is sweeps anyway? If you’re found in the hallway after the bell, you get to miss first period. And the problem is…?

I glance at the poster on the wall. On it are the rules for hallway offenders:

1. No talking. (Who would I to talk to, Zack? Just saunter over there, la-la-la, all nonchalant? What would I say to him? So how’ve you been, and by the way, why are you with that skank?)

2. No eating or drinking. (Ridiculous. Is this not a cafeteria? Just thinking about food makes my stomach growl. Hopefully no one hears. I probably shouldn’t have skipped breakfast, but I wasn’t in the mood for scrambled tofu. There’s a Hershey bar in my backpack. I could sneak my hand in, pull out the bar, chew it softly… Not a good plan. The foil would sound all crackly, like at the movies. Funny how I always end up sitting next to someone unwrapping something complicated.)

3. No cell phones, laptops, or tablets. (More ridiculousness. No laptop? How am I supposed to do any work? No snickering, please.)

4. No reading other than school material. (Forget Cosmo.)

5. No chair rocking. (Huh?)

6. No sleeping. (After the first five rules, this one’s hard.)

Since there’s nothing else to do, I try to work on my essay, but I’m having a brain drain. How can I write about the Connecticut government without the Internet? (See Rule #3.) I raise my hand. Mr. Greene is busy fiddling with his phone, so I clear my throat. Obviously, Rule #3 doesn’t apply to vice principals.

He looks up. “Yes?”

“Can I go to the library?”

He stares at me like my nose is a pimple. Stephanie snorts, and Zack twists his head all the way around like he’s possessed by a demon. I feel my neck redden. Apparently it was a dumb idea. Can you tell this is my first time in sweeps?

Stephanie whispers something in Zack’s ear. He laughs and whispers back. “Stop it,” she says in a voice that says the opposite. She’s so obvious she could be a billboard.

Mr. Greene glares at her. “One more time, and I’m sending you to the principal.” He lowers his head and goes back to his fiddling.

A moment later, Mrs. Cramdon from the office comes into the cafeteria and hands him a note. Mr. Greene frowns and takes off his glasses. “I’ll be back in a few minutes. Cassie, you’re in charge.”

What? Why me? Is my middle name Snitch? As he’s leaving, Zack makes a gun with his fist, aims at him, and shoots. Then I hear a rumbling. This time it’s his stomach, and it’s really loud. Stephanie giggles.

Maybe I should offer him my chocolate bar. It would be the perfect excuse for me to go over there and talk to him, except for three things:

1. See Rule #1 for hallway offenders. Except who would report me? Me?

2. I’m a coward.

3. His hand is on Stephanie’s knee. Obviously it’s not chocolate he’s hankering for.

She turns around and gives me a long, smug look, like she knows I like him. Oh, God. If she knows, does Zack know?

Her eyes don’t leave my face as she grabs his head and smacks her lips to his, and the next thing I know they’re kissing like they’re trying to crawl into each other’s mouths. He gropes at her waist; she closes her eyes. My wounded heart can’t take it, so I close my eyes too, and as much as I despise her, as much as I fervently wish that a house will fly by and land on her overly hormoned body, at that moment there’s no other person in the world I’d rather be.

The scent of lilac swirls around me.

This time I’m ready for it. This time, despite my aching heart, despite my supreme jealousy, not only am I not terrified, I’m thinking, Yeah, baby, bring it on!

Zack probes his tongue deeper, so deep I fear for her tonsils. I can’t believe it’s finally happening. Not just me and Zack kissing, but me kissing, period. It’s true, I admit it. I’ve never been kissed, I’m embarrassed to say. I’m totally jazzed that he’s my first tongue. Too bad it’s really Stephanie he’s kissing.

Except his lips feel limp, like she’s kissing cream cheese. Plus, he tastes like sour milk and she’s trying not to gag. “Oh, Zack,” she purrs, her mouth glued to his. “Don’t stop. Don’t ever stop.” She’s saying the words, but her throat feels constricted. He reaches under her T, his hand cold and clammy as it inches its way up, sliding under her bra. His free hand glides down her painted-on jeans. She moans, except it feels forced, like she’s trying to swallow a hiccup. She grabs his neck and pulls him practically on top of her, right there on the chair.

No way, I’m thinking. How much farther can they go? What about decorum? What about Rule #5?

She freezes.

Seriously? If I’m supposed to feel everything she feels, could she at least not feel like a zombie? Maybe hearing bells is a little optimistic, but where are the tingles? Where’s the heat that’s supposed to course through your veins? Why isn’t her heart bursting through her ribcage? Were all those romance novels lying?

He squeezes her left boob and she gets an uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach. It’s like I’m seven years old again and I’m playing doctor with Jordan Weatherfield. Then suddenly I hear a whoosh! and the door swings open. Zack bounces off Stephanie faster than a trampoline gymnast. She smooths down her shirt, but Mr. Greene isn’t looking at either of them. He’s too busy stalking over to my table where I’m out cold, head in my hands. Everyone is staring at me, waiting to see what happens next.

I need to get back to my body pronto, but I don’t know how this works. What did I do the last two times? I remember wanting to get out, but that can’t be all there is to it. Can it? I concentrate as hard as I can, but nothing happens.

Oh. My. God. What if I’m stuck in Skankville forever?

“Rule Number Six,” Mr. Greene says, tapping my shoulder. “No sleeping allowed.”

Stephanie pulls out her lipstick and puckers her mouth, and all at once, as quick as one of her fake-passion hiccups, I’m back in myself.

All right! Except I’m busted again, and there’s a tsunami in my head.

“I want a five-hundred-word essay on why you shouldn’t break the rules,” Mr. Greene says, “and I want it on my desk tomorrow morning.”

Great. On top of my regular homework, my social studies paper, and that psychology presentation I have to make next Monday but still have no clue what to do it on, now this. I have a life, you know. Okay, not really, but how am I supposed to get one with all this work? Seriously, I get penalized for literally doing nothing while Casanova and the skank get off scot-free. Where’s the justice in that?


About the Author: Originally from Montreal, Canada, Elissa has been a donut maker, a librarian, a programmer Elissa Harrisand an editor — but always a writer. When not obsessing over commas and clauses, Elissa enjoys binge-watching, people-watching, photography and bluegrass. She now lives in Arizona, where she continues to suffer from an overactive imagination.

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