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An author with The Wild Rose Press, I strive to bring authors and readers together with a touch of Heart, Soul, and Happily Ever After. You can connect with me at www.facebook.com/imahayes , https://twitter.com/imahayes, and we can get pin happy at www.pinterest.com/imahayes.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Magic of Books Promo- Peyton Garver

SUBLIME KARMA
by Peyton Garver

Genre: YA Contemporary (older YA age group)

Content Warning: profanity and violence, contemporary adolescent themes are prevalent and confronted such as bullying, suicide, cutting



When Brie's stepfather moves the family for what he calls a new beginning, it's not the new beginning she would have hoped for. Brie is targeted by a group of popular girls at her new school, and the only available seat on her bus is next to the school’s star wide receiver, Jake, who for some reason, finds her offensive. After a humiliating article and picture of Brie is posted in the online school journal, a demon she thought she'd overcome resurfaces, and her life unravels. A newly compassionate Jake has finally taken an interest in her, but can Brie learn to trust her heart, or will she miss out on the best thing that ever happened to her?


Jake has his own secrets and has built his own walls, but eventually his curiosity about the new girl gets the best of him. Unfortunately, now there is competition: the captain of her cross-country team. Jake's romantic histories with the girl next door and the school's queen bee, adds tension to a simmering tempest when all he wants is Brie. Is he strong enough to help the one he loves weave sense into her crumbling new reality while overcoming his own tainted past?





The bus snaked its way through the country roads, and then to the lavish development that backed up to the woods behind his house. Upperclassmen from this neighborhood had their own cars. This bus collected the underclassmen: those few who weren’t chauffeured, as minions of the privileged.


Jake leaned back in his seat and folded his arms across his chest, not looking at the kids coming down the aisle. None dared to ask if they could sit in the empty space next to him. They’d sit three to a seat rather than make that request. Just the way he wanted it.


The over-filled bus pulled to a stop midway down Belmont Circle. New stop? Jake looked out his window at the estate with a circular drive. Huh. It finally sold. He watched as a single figure headed toward the bus. What, so now they get door-to-door service? He rolled his eyes.


Seconds later, she stood in the aisle waiting. From his seat, his eyes skimmed up passed her faded jeans and plain, loose sweater, and his breath caught in his throat. Her long blond hair was pulled to the side in a loose braid. Her face? Ethereal. But then, his flustered gaze became an annoyed glare.


Her bleak gray eyes seemed to look right through him before they darted to the space next to him. Did she even register his indignation? She must have. Yet, she stood there in the aisle twisting the loose adjustment strap on her backpack tightly around her fingers.


“May I sit here?” her meek voice broke the silence that had fallen around them.


Noticing the hush of conversation, Jake’s eyes skimmed the crowded bus. There was no doubt he and this new girl had an audience. Not something he relished.


His eyes swept back to her. He could tell she was nervous. He heard it in her quavering voice and saw it in the way she avoided his eyes. He could just say no. But, as long as she was standing, the bus wouldn’t budge. Becca looked at him from her seat across the aisle then whipped her phone out and started her eager texting. He narrowed his eyes at her, and then with a smirk, he stood.


“Really?” he bit out at her under his breath, leaning close so only she could hear. He grabbed his backpack from the seat and football bag off the wheel well and then moved his six-foot-one frame into the aisle. With a jerk of his head, he directed her to the space by the window.


She slipped by him with lithesome poise, maneuvering in the small space without so much as brushing against him. He watched her settle into the seat with perfect posture, even though her feet were raised up on the wheel well. Her vacant eyes never returned to his. So, why was his heart suddenly beating faster? Was it because of his rudeness and the fact that she ignored it? Could it be remorse? She didn’t seem to have that presumptuous, stuck-up attitude that so annoyed him. She looked almost . . . empty.








As a child, Peyton called places like Livorno, Italy; Orléans, France; and Augsburg, Germany home. She has since settled in Maryland, where she earned her degree in education at Towson State University, married her sweetheart of two years, and became an instant mother to three spirited young boys before adding another son to the brood. And, with their yellow lab George, it's no stretch to say she's outnumbered.


When not writing, Peyton is a full time teacher. Inspired by the individual spirits, heartaches, and triumphs of her students, Peyton has developed characters who resemble real world teens dealing with real issues: relationships, jealousy, bullying, and depression. Her newest novel, Sublime Karma, is a contemporary story filled with emotion, depth, wit, and suspense.


When asked if she actually involves her students in her stories, Peyton answered that her stories are completely fictional, but then admitted to an activity in which she does involve them. "One quirky, fun thing I like to do with students who have read my book is develop a dream cast for my characters. That all started when a group of girls were arguing over which actor they thought best fit the character Four in Veronica Roth's novel Divergent. They then turned their efforts to my manuscript. I've since added those dream casts to my website."


When she's not teaching or writing, Peyton enjoys traveling. The Caribbean Islands have become a favorite vacation getaway for Peyton and her husband. "Nothing is better than sitting on a beach, in front of the crystal clear sea, enveloped in the warmth of the tropical sun with a frosty piña colada and a good book that I just can't put down."


Friday, February 24, 2017

Magic of Books Promo- Bruce Blake

ON UNFAITHFUL WINGS
Icarus Fell series, book 1

by Bruce Blake

Genre: Urban Fantasy



To some, death is the end; to others, a beginning. To Icarus Fell, it should have been a relief from a life gone seriously awry.


But death had other plans.


Icarus doesn't believe that the man awaiting him when he wakes up in a cheap motel room is really the archangel Michael, or that God's right hand wants him to help souls on their way to Heaven. Icarus doesn't believe there's a Heaven, so why should they want his help?


But the man claiming to be the archangel tempts him with an offer he can't ignore--harvest enough souls and get back the life he wished he'd had.


It seems Icarus has nothing to lose, until he botches a harvest and the soul that went to Hell instead of Heaven comes back to make him pay by threatening to take away the life he hoped to win back.


To save the wife and son he already lost once, Icarus will have to become the man he never was. Somehow, he will have to learn to believe.



I stood with my back to the church, much the way I’d lived my life.


Rain poured down the eaves, splashing my shoes. Each drop pattering against the leather felt as though it landed directly on my mood. I tugged my suit jacket tighter and glanced at my watch—almost eleven p.m. If the rain didn’t let up soon, Trevor would be in bed, his belated birthday present another day late. After letting him down again, Rae probably wouldn’t let me give him the gift, anyway. A heavy sigh drew the taste of rain on dry soil into my lungs as I suppressed the desire to call her names in my head, to blame her for everything. It wasn’t her fault.


There I stood, spirit as dampened by the April shower as my clothing, thinking I waited for the rain to stop, not knowing it was something else I waited for, something entirely different.


My death.


I shifted again and the plastic Best Buy bag hidden under my jacket to keep it dry slipped out and hit the stairs with a splash.


“Damn it.”


I stooped to retrieve the bag, feeling unremorseful for swearing outside a house of worship. There was no God to hear anyway and—with the Pope dry in the Vatican—who’d be offended? A plump drop of rain punished my Godly disdain with a direct hit to my left eye as I fetched my son’s gift from the top step.


I suspected the rain might not let up any time soon.


It probably couldn’t have happened any differently. Do we have any choice in what we do, or is it all pre-planned? I used to believe we did, but my beliefs—or lack of them—were about to be thrown into question, along with my opinion of what happens after we die.


I stepped back and shook moisture from the bag impatiently. It had been half an hour since the unexpected downpour began, its torrent catching me unprepared and forcing me from my planned path—to sneak Trevor his birthday present without Rae noticing me—to my current hiding spot at the church. This church of all churches.


See what I mean about choice?


If the rain wasn’t going to let up, I’d just have to get wet. I stepped from under the pathetic cover of the church’s eaves and my foot splashed in an unseen puddle, cold water soaking the Wal-Mart loafer on my left foot. Raindrops pelted my cheek and I bit back another curse as I jammed the Xbox game purchased for Trevor’s birthday into the pocket of my suit jacket and pulled the coat over my head. I felt like an idiot as my saturated footwear slurped with each step down the concrete path.


Halfway across the churchyard, I noticed two men blocking the path ahead. They wore jackets with hoods pulled up to hide their faces, keep the rain from their heads. At first glimpse, the sheets of rain gave them a ghostly quality, a glow, and made me doubt my eyes. My gaze flickered sideways to the graveyard beside the church, with its broken, moss-covered headstones canted at odd angles, but I quickly dismissed the thought. A trick of rain and poor light.


There’s no such thing as ghosts.


I slowed, wondering if the men could be avoided. Probably not. Living in the city my entire life taught me to be wary of men hanging out on the streets at night with their faces hidden. But this wasn’t the streets, it was a churchyard, and rain this heavy gave good reason to use a hood. Maybe they’d come for a little midnight prayer, eager for the best pew in the house.


Right.


“Good evening, gentlemen,” I ventured drawing closer to them. “Beautiful night, isn’t it?”


Apparently they didn’t think so. The man nearest me pulled a knife from under his forest-green rain slicker and jabbed it toward me, stabbing the rain between us. Hell of a reaction.


He could’ve just said ‘no’.


“Give me your money,” he growled.


I know you’re supposed to do what a mugger says: it’s your best shot at survival, but I didn’t. Maybe the rain made me hesitate, or the wetness in my shoes, or knowing the boy would be disappointed again; whichever, my brain wouldn’t let my body do what it knew it should. I stood taller than either of them, but they had the knife. All I had on them was fifteen years of poor eating and neglect.


“C’mon guys. It’s a crummy night and I’m two weeks late for my boy’s birthday. Let a guy be, will you? There must be some little old ladies running around practically begging to have their social security cheques stolen.”


“Shut up and give us your money, asshole.”


The man holding the knife remained in front of me as the other circled to my right, presumably to hinder any escape. I watched him out of the corner of my eye, saw rain bouncing off his gray raincoat, noticed that his runners didn’t match, but he quickly passed from view, blocked by the jacket held foolishly over my head, keeping my hair dry in case they killed me. Cool rain peppered my face as I dropped the coat back onto my shoulders and reached to pull my wallet from the inner pocket. The man with the knife lunged forward, brandishing the blade at my nose. My stomach jumped into my chest and I threw both hands up in the air like a good mugging victim.


“Whoa. You want my money, you need my wallet.”


The tip of the knife waggled in the air, gesturing for me to continue. I stared at the point of the blade, at the man’s fingerless glove and the way he’d chewed his fingers until they looked painful. Beyond his arm, I thought I saw a smile hidden in the darkness beneath the hood.


I sighed, a shuddering breath lamenting how little my wallet contained for them to steal as much as it did the fact they were stealing it. The man behind me snatched it away before it cleared my pocket, his nails raking my wrist, and rifled through the meager contents. He snatched the three bills it contained, made a face at the fifteen bucks, and then took the VISA card I’d fought so hard to get after ruining my credit a few years back. Joke’s on him if he uses it, they’ll probably ask for a payment first.


He showed the sparse loot to his partner.


“Fifteen bucks? That’s it?”


“Look at this.” He’d dug out my driver’s licence. I knew this would happen. “The guy’s name is Icarus Fell. Icarus, like in the Iron Maiden song”


“Yeah,” I said. “The guy who named me didn’t like me much. Call me Ric.”


“Sure, Icarus,” the guy holding the knife said in a schoolyard-bully lilt. With a name like Icarus Fell, I’d heard that tone enough to recognize it. He stepped toward me, blade extended to within an inch of my face. I wanted to take an equal step away, but knew his partner wouldn’t like that, so I stood my ground, hoping to look more brave than stupid. “What else you got?”


“Nothing. That’s it.”


“Check his pockets. He put something in his pocket.”


The man tossed my wallet onto the grass where it landed with a mucky-sounding splat. He advanced on me and this time I moved. He grabbed my arm, pulled me toward him.


“Don’t do nothing stupid.”


Why didn’t he tell me that twenty-five or thirty years ago?


He patted my pants pockets first—the most action I’d seen in a while—then moved to the pockets of my suit jacket; the right hand outer one produced a hollow, plasticky thud. I cringed.


“What’s that?”


“Nothing,” I said inching away. “A game for my kid.”


“Give it up.”


“Guys, really. What are you going to do with a video game?”


His fingers dug into my bicep. “Give it to me.”


“I already missed his birthday. Can’t you let me keep it?” I yanked against his grip knowing I shouldn’t—people got killed for less—but I couldn’t let Trevor down. Not again. “Take everything else. I won’t tell anyone.”


“There is nothing else. Give it to me,” the knife-wielder demanded.


I wondered what Rae would tell Trevor when he didn’t get a present from me again. Probably that, since someone else was his ‘real’ father, I didn’t care.


Adrenaline flooded my brain, but it didn’t heighten my senses the way they describe in books. Instead, it made me stupid. Before I realized what I was doing, I swung at the man holding my arm, my fist contacting his nose with a satisfying crunch. The move surprised both of us and he lifted his hands to his face.


It took a second to comprehend that he’d let me go. My heartbeat quickened, pulsed in my ears. I ran, or attempted to: dress shoes aren’t made for sprinting on wet grass. Both men jumped me before I got going, riding me to the ground like they were the cowboys and I was the calf. A knee pressed into my back, an elbow in my ear as my cheek sank into soggy lawn knocking breath from my lungs and hope from my heart. My clothes soaked instantly, plastering cloth to skin, the smell of wet earth filled my nose, literally.


“You stupid bastard,” one of them said, but the mud in one ear and elbow in the other precluded me from identifying which one. “Couldn’t give us the stupid game, could you?” He yanked it out of my pocket.


The pain of the knife’s tip pushing through the flesh of my lower back into my kidney hurt more than I could ever have imagined. The shock of it made me suck a mixture of cold air and dirty rain water through taut lips and expel it all in an agonized howl. The knife rose and fell again, then again, perforating my internal organs, each stab more painful than the last. Each time it pulled free, I prayed to a God I didn’t believe in that it would end, that I would get up and hurry on my way to see Trevor.


My body jerked and spasmed beneath the men straddling me, my bladder let go. After the fourth time the knife entered me, my flesh went numb. It may have pierced me a few more times, but I lost interest in counting. I gasped air in through my mouth and the breath tasted like the black crud scraped off bread left too long in the toaster. And blood.


“That’s enough. Let’s go,” one of them said, presumably the one not engaged in shredding my bowels.


Their weight lifted off my back and my mind told me to roll over and sit up, defend against further attack, but my muscles would have nothing of such a proposal, so I lay on the wet grass doing the only thing I could: bleed. Maybe I wept a little, too, but who can tell in the rain?


“I guess Icarus really did fall, didn’t he, Ric?”


Their laughter didn’t sting nearly as much as the knife, and it dissipated much more quickly as they ran off. I was used to being teased but couldn’t say the same of being knifed. After they left, my ragged breathing and the sound of rain pattering around and on me became my world. I never realized how much noise rain hitting grass made until my ear was pressed to the ground with no choice but to listen.


My stomach knotted as the gravity of my situation set in: after eleven on a Wednesday night, bleeding on the lawn outside an empty church in the kind of downpour that convinced people not to venture out for a chat with God.


Did I mention I was bleeding? A lot?


Water pooled in my ear canal until the unnaturally loud plop of rain drops splashing into the tiny pond drowned out even the sound of my breath. Not steady, metronomic drips like I imagined a water torture would be, but an uneven patter that, should I live long enough, would likely prove equally effective at driving me crazy.


“Help.”


In my head, the single word came out a scream, shaking trees and rattling windows, attracting the attention needed to save me so I could see my son again, even if it was for the last time. In reality, it was more of a peep. I closed my eyes and sucked dirty water through my nose then coughed it out my mouth. The pain it induced in my back and side hurt worse than the original stabbing, like someone stood over me with a hot poker pressed to my side, except I was cold and wet and bleeding to death, too. A hot poker didn’t sound so bad.


“Help,” I peeped.






ALL WHO WANDER ARE LOST
If we're good, we go to Heaven; if we're bad we go to Hell. No one wants to go to Hell.


Except one man who wishes people would just remember to call him Ric.


In the aftermath of a serial killer's murderous spree, souls who didn't deserve damnation went to Hell. The archangel Michael doesn't seem concerned, but Icarus Fell can't bear the guilt of knowing it's his fault they ended up there.


But how can he save them when the archangel forbids him from going and his guardian angel refuses to help?


The answer comes in the form of another beautiful, bewitching guardian angel who offers to be his guide. They travel to Hell to rescue the unjustly damned one by one, but salvation comes at a cost and the economy of Hell demands souls.


Is it a price Icarus is willing to pay?





Bruce Blake lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. When pressing issues like shovelling snow and building igloos don't take up his spare time, Bruce can be found taking the dog sled to the nearest coffee shop to work on his short stories and novels.


Actually, Victoria, B.C. is only a couple hours north of Seattle, Wash., where more rain is seen than snow. Since snow isn't really a pressing issue, Bruce spends more time trying to remember to leave the "u" out of words like "colour" and "neighbour" than he does shovelling (and watch out for those pesky double l's). The father of two, Bruce is also the trophy husband of a burlesque diva.


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