Dreaming in the Pages

Books ... where dreams are better than reality

Broken Pieces

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Friday, June 7, 2013

Orangeberry Free Alert - EleMental: A First-Person Shooter - Steven O’Conner

EleMental: A First-Person Shooter - Steven O’Conner

Amazon Kindle US

Amazon Kindle UK

Genre - Science Fiction

Rating - G

4.6 (12 reviews)

Free until 11 June 2013

The future. It's all about friendship, love ... and dangerous video games.

New cover! Book 1 of the young adult sci-fi fantasy series. (This is the kindle ebook edition of the previously trade-published paperback EleMental.)

Winner of the Young Adult Fiction for manuscript development at Varuna Writers' House (Australia's only national writers' centre).

Bookseller+Publisher review:
'... a fantastic and exciting debut novel by Steven O'Connor ... entertaining mix of futuristic sci-fi, horror, action and angst ... this reads like Philip K Dick for teenagers. With the narrative sneakily shifting between the real and virtual worlds, O'Connor explores some fairly complex and sophisticated issues in a thrilling and accessible way.'Bookseller+Publisher, June 2010.

The story:

Willis, a loner not by choice, is gradually drawn into friendship with Zeb - cool and reckless - and into love with Arizona - bold and untouchable.

Set in 2050, the three teenagers encounter a deadly new virtual reality game called EleMental. Deliberately designed to be highly addictive, to control rebellious asteroid miners, EleMental has a byproduct no one was ready for: gameblur. One moment, you're at your desk, the next, you're battling something half-dinosaur, half-tank.

What Amazon reviewers are saying:

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars. 'Clever, fast-paced and brilliant. A masterpiece from a genius in this genre. I highly recommend this book.' (G. Bachelard)
  • 5.0 out of 5 stars. 'I bought EleMental for my 11-year-old son and he loved it. Intrigued, I read it myself. Highly recommended.' (Euan Mitchell)
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars 'I got this when it was in paperback. I really liked it. Now I see it's on Amazon as an ebook ... I'm getting it again.' (Angry customer)

If you enjoy fast-paced action, strong characters, and a fun writing style, then EleMental: A First-person Shooter is for you! Download a sample or buy the book today.

Orangeberry Book of the Day - Spare Change by Bette Lee Crosby

Coming of Age

At an age when most of her friends had settled into routines of knitting sweaters and booties for grandchildren, Olivia Ann Westerly got married for the first time— to a man ten years her senior. “Are you out of your mind?” Maggie Spence shouted when she heard the news. “You’re fifty-eight years old!”

Of course doing the unexpected was something that could be expected of Olivia. In 1923 when she was barely twenty-five years old, she went off on her own even though her father insisted it was scandalous for a single woman to be living alone. “What will people think?” he’d moaned as she tossed her clothes into a cardboard suitcase. But that didn’t stop Olivia. She got herself a two-room flat in the heart of downtown Richmond and a job working at the switchboard of the Southern Atlantic Telephone Company. “That’s shift work!” her father said. “Some of those girls come and go in the dark of night!”

“So what?” Olivia answered. Then she volunteered for the night shift, because it paid an extra sixty cents per day. Long after any respectable woman would have been snuggled beneath a down comforter, she’d paint her mouth with red lipstick, pull on a cloche hat, and trot off to the telephone company. 

“Have you never heard of Jack the Ripper?” her friend, Francine Burnam, asked. “Have you never heard stories of women alone being accosted?” Married before her sixteenth birthday, Francine already had three children who clung to her like bananas on a stalk and a husband insistent about supper being served at six-thirty on the dot.

“That girl will be the ruination of our family!” Mister Westerly told his wife, but Olivia still stuck her nose in the air and went about her business. A year later when she was given a three-dollar raise and appointed supervisor of the night shift, her father disowned her altogether. The last thing he said was, “I want nothing to do with a girl who carries on as you do. A respectable daughter would be settling down with a husband and babies!”

“I’ve plenty of time for that,” Olivia answered, but by then her father had turned away and refused to look back.

“How much time do you think you have, dear?” her mother asked. “You’re twenty-six years old. What man would want to marry a woman of such an age?”

Olivia knew better. With her green eyes and a swirl of honey blond hair curled around her face, she had no shortage of boyfriends. Herbert Flannery, district manager for Southern Atlantic Telephone, had on three different occasions proposed marriage, the last time in the spring of 1929. That particular proposal followed on the heels of the worst winter Richmond had ever seen—months and months of ice crusted to windowpanes, and milk frozen before you could fetch it from the doorstep. In late December Olivia crocheted herself a wool scarf so oversized she could circle it around her throat three times and tuck her nose inside. Although she’d bundle herself in layers of sweaters, boots, and that scarf, she’d come in from the cold with her nose glowing like a stoplight and her feet near frozen. That winter there were few parties and people did very little socializing, so Olivia spent most of her evenings at home swaddled in a chenille bathrobe as she tried to stay warm. 

In March, a month when she expected the crocuses to pop up from the ground, there was a six-inch snowfall and the wind rattled the windowpanes so loudly that sleep became impossible. When it seemed that spring would never arrive, Olivia began to question the emptiness of her life. Three weeks later Herbert went down on one knee and offered out a small velvet box. She nodded and allowed him to slip the diamond ring on her finger.

Olivia was genuinely fond of Herbert, and when she promised to marry him it was with the utmost sincerity. But that was before they started to discuss the aspects of their forthcoming life together. “Won’t it be wonderful?” she said. “We can walk to work together every day.”

Herbert circled his arm around her waist and pulled her to him in a way that tugged her blouse loose from the band of her skirt. “Umm,” he hummed in her ear, making the same sound as a bee when it drains the nectar from a flower. “We’ll do just that,” he cooed, “until you’ve a bun in the oven.”

“Bun in the oven?” she repeated.

Herbert grinned and affectionately patted her stomach. “A baby,” he said, giving her a sly wink. “You know, a little tyke. A Herbert Junior.”

“I know what it means,” she replied testily, “but aren’t you rushing things just a bit?”

It was impossible not to notice the downturn of her mouth so Herbert smoothed the situation over by claiming he was, of course, referring to such a time as they were ready for the thought of raising a family. He kissed Olivia, but when she closed her eyes there in back of her eyelids was the image of a woman with the look of hopelessness on her face and a bunch of babies clinging to her skirt.  Olivia’s eyes popped open, and she snapped her head back.  “What if I don’t want babies?” she asked rebelliously. “What about my job?  There’s a good chance I’ll be promoted to the central office.”

“Babies are something every woman wants,” Herbert said.  “It’s the natural way of life.  Men work and women have babies.” He gathered her into his arms and held her close. “Don’t worry, sweetheart,” he whispered. “When the time comes you’ll be itching to grab hold of a baby just like every other woman.”     

Although she let it go at that a feeling of uneasiness started to settle in, and Olivia couldn’t dismiss it. Three days later she telephoned both of her older sisters and asked if such a thing was true. Yes, indeed, they’d each answered.  She then telephoned her mother and asked the same question. “Of course it’s true, sugar,” her mother said.  “As a young girl I used to imagine that someday I’d be singing at the Opera House in London, England. But after I married your daddy I got the itch, and then along came Robert. The following year it was Albert, and after him Bernice.” 

“But, Mama,” Olivia interrupted, “didn’t you think you’d missed out on something you truly wanted?”

“Think?” Her mother laughed. “With eight little tykes hanging on to me, I didn’t have time to think!”

It seemed that no matter who she asked it was the same story. “Bounce a baby on your knee, and you’ll forget about everything else,” Sara Sue said. 

“But,” Olivia questioned, “weren’t you planning to be a newspaper reporter?”

“At one time, maybe,” her friend said. “But once Willie came along…”

As the days went by Olivia started to imagine a heavy weight tugging at the hem of her skirt, and at night when she closed her eyes and waited to drift off to sleep she could hear a baby crying. One night she dreamt of sitting at the switchboard with a stomach so large and round that, try as she may, she could not reach across the tandem board far enough to connect a call. 

The following Saturday Francine Burnam stopped in for a visit.  Eight months ago she had added another one to her litter, and she was accompanied, of course, by all four children, the youngest of them howling like a banshee.  “He’s teething,” Francine apologized and jiggled the baby from one shoulder to the other. Olivia was about to suggest that Alma Porter used a piece of ice to soothe her baby’s gums, but before the words were out of her mouth Francine, who already looked like a woman on the edge of a nervous breakdown, started to wail. “Oh, Lord!” She flopped down onto the sofa. “What have I let myself get into?”

“The baby crying has probably gotten you a bit frazzled,” Olivia suggested. “Once his tooth comes in, everything will be just fine.”

“Fine?” Francine exclaimed. “Fine?!  Maybe for you! You’ve got a job where you’re appreciated! Try taking care of four kids, and then see how you feel!”

Olivia was taken aback by the outburst. “But surely Joe helps?” she said.  

“Oh, yeah,” Francine answered. “He helps—helps himself to a piece of pie and tells the kids to shut up because the noise is giving him a headache. He’s got a headache. Ha, that’s a joke! He’s concerned about his headache, never mind that I’m the one who listens to their carrying on every hour of every day.”

“But…”

“That’s not even the worst of it! Now that he’s got me knocked up with a fifth kid, I find out he’s carrying on with some redhead who works in his office. He bought that little whore a fur coat,” she moaned. “Imagine that! A fur coat, when I’m wearing dresses older than the kids.”

“If I were you, I’d divorce him,” Olivia growled.

Francine started to cry even harder. “Oh, yeah,” she sobbed, “and just what am I supposed to do with all these kids?” Just then Joe Junior, the eldest of the bunch, punched his brother in the face, and a new level of wailing ensued.

Suddenly Olivia could see the bars of an invisible cage, and she told herself that this was the truth of what happened. First came the itch, then the babies, then a woman was forever locked into a lifetime of drudgery. It happened to Francine, a woman who’d once worn chiffon dresses and polished pink fingernails, a woman who’d read poetry and loved music. It happened because Francine allowed it to happen. She’d donned a white satin gown and pranced down the aisle like a happy cow unknowingly headed for the slaughter house. If it happened to Francine, it could happen to anybody. 

Two weeks later Olivia slipped the diamond ring from her finger and returned it to Herbert. She claimed that although she cared for him, marriage was simply out of the question. 

“But, sweetheart,” he said bewilderedly, “have I offended you? Have I done something to cause such a change of heart?”

“No,” she answered. “I’ve simply come to the realization that marriage and children are not for me.” She then kissed poor Herbert and escorted him to the door, saying it was her hope they could remain friends.

“Friends?” Herbert replied, but by then she’d closed the door.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Literary Fiction

Rating – PG13

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Bette Lee Crosby on Facebook & Twitter & GoodReads

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Orangeberry Book of the Day - Be Good by Dakota Madison

One

A small ray of sunlight peeked through the window shade and woke me up. I panicked slightly when I realized I wasn’t on the side of the bed I normally slept on. Weird.

It took me another moment to realize I wasn’t in my bed at all. Another round of panic overtook me until I remembered the wedding. Hannah and Brandon’s wedding was last night and I was one of the bridesmaids. I was staying at a hotel with the rest of the wedding party. I let out a small sigh of relief.

The sun seemed to be barely coming up so I could probably go back to sleep for a while. I could enjoy a few hours of solitude until I had to go back to my freaky roommate and her evil cat. Ugh! I hated that damn cat.

Then I felt an arm swing over my shoulder.

Shit. I wasn’t alone. Was I even in my room?

I racked my brain trying to remember any details of how I got back to the room I was in and who could possibly be in the bed beside me.

Nothing.

My mind was blank. I had little recollection of the previous night’s events thanks to a few too many tequila shots, no doubt. Or was it Lemoncello? Barf. The thought of Lemoncello made my stomach churn.  I felt like I might spew.

It was definitely too much Lemoncello.

“Good morning, Beautiful,” murmured a male voice in the bed beside me. Unfortunately, it didn’t sound the least bit familiar.

Was I in his room or had I taken him back to mine? Knowing me, I had suggested we go back to his room so I could make a quick escape in the morning.

I couldn’t remember who I was with or how we ended up in bed together. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time I couldn’t remember how I had gotten into some random guy’s bed. I’ve had many slutty moments in the past but few of them were this slutty. Hooking up with someone at a wedding was an all-time low. And not just any wedding—one of my best friend’s weddings. Oh, God…had I become a wedding slut?

I could feel whoever it was easing toward me in the bed and my heart start racing. Panic was setting in again. I needed to escape. All of my past slut-scapades had ended with me sneaking out of bed, quietly gathering my things and bolting before any embarrassing morning-after crap had a chance to materialize.

Now it was too late to escape unnoticed. He was awake (whoever he was) and I was going to be forced to face him. And I didn’t remember a thing.

I could feel my stomach churning again and I realized my head was also throbbing.

Great. I had to deal with a hangover, too.   

I jumped up from the bed pulling the sheet along with me and ran into the bathroom. I just made it to the toilet when the contents of my stomach decided to make a reappearance.

It was definitely Lemoncello. I wouldn’t be drinking that again for a while. A long while. It tasted absolutely God-awful on its way back up.

I laid my head on the cool side of the toilet and let out a sigh.

I tried to remember anything I could about the previous night. Why did I have an image of a clown so prominently in my mind? What did it mean?

There was a soft knock on the bathroom door. “Are you okay?” the male voice said. There was a tenderness to his voice that surprised me.

“No,” I replied more curtly than I wanted to. Sarcastic and curt remarks often popped out of my mouth before I had a chance to stop them. It was one of my many flaws. I kept a running list. I had been keeping ANNA’S FLAW LIST since I was 12 years old. It started with all of the flaws my mom and dad liked to remind me of and built from there. Most of the flaws came from guys I dated and were used as excuses to break things off. Or maybe they were right and I was just a fucked-up chick (Flaw 15), who didn’t deserve to be loved. 

“Can I come in?” the male voice asked.

I hadn’t even bothered to glance at myself in the mirror as I hurried by on my way to the toilet. When I tried to sit up, I felt like I had just gotten off one of those Tilt-A-Whirl rides at an amusement park. I felt like I was going to hurl again but I was pretty sure there wasn’t anything left in my stomach.

“No,” I managed to mutter right before I dry heaved into the toilet.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Contemporary Romance

Rating – R

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Dakota Madison on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://12novels12months.tumblr.com/

Alicia Renee Kline – Goodnight, Sweetheart

Goodnight, Sweetheart

by Alicia Renee Kline 

One of my absolute favorite scenes to write for Intoxicated was where Matthew comforts Lauren after Eric stands her up.  At this point the Snyder family secret has been spilled, and they now realize how much they have in common – even though they appear to be on opposite sides of the issue.  This is the first time they’ve seen each other since Matthew walked out on her, too ashamed of his past to face her.  Lauren openly wonders the next morning what happened after she fell asleep.  Here it is, from Matthew’s point of view…

She was asleep.  At least he was pretty sure of it.  Her sobs had diminished to mere sniffles, then given way to the slow, deep breathing associated with slumber.  He called her name once, twice, just to check and wasn’t graced with a response.

He should leave.

But something kept him there, stroking her cropped brunette hair even as she slept.  She looked so beautiful, so peaceful, so fragile.  She needed someone tonight and he was her only option.

Her boyfriend was a bastard.  An idiot at the very least.  If he wasn’t miles away, Matthew would have had the notion to chew him out on her behalf.  Never mind he wasn’t any better.  He was probably worse.  But he sure as hell wouldn’t have stood her up and made her cry.

If she was his, he’d give her the world.

It was better not to think like that, to push the absurd thought down to the dark recesses of his mind and never visit it again.  But it was difficult not to with her sprawled across his chest, her ear pressed against the heart he would gladly give her if she would ever ask.  She had it anyway, even if she didn’t know it.

He shifted his weight, partially to get more comfortable and partially to hide his arousal.  She moaned and clung to him.

“Don’t leave,” she whispered.

He held her tighter, shushing her.  She quieted again, her muscles relaxing against him.  As the room darkened, he fought off sleep as long as possible just so that he could enjoy this moment, the period of time that occurred before she hated him again like she should.

The next thing he knew, his sister was shaking him awake, standing above him with her hand on his shoulder.

“Good night?” Blake asked in a hushed tone.  From her tousled hair and wrinkled clothing, he should ask her the same.

“Her boyfriend’s a jerk.  He stood her up tonight.”

She nodded, stifling a yawn.  “I’m going to bed.  If you want to stay, be my guest.”

Oh, he wanted to stay.  But he knew it wouldn’t be the wise decision.  Now that Blake was home, she was better suited to deal with the aftermath.  He couldn’t trust himself to see things rationally.  Reluctantly, he maneuvered himself into a sitting position.  Lauren was so out of it, she didn’t move this time.  He lifted her in his arms, grabbed her cell phone and made his way to the stairs, again tripping over her shoes.  As an afterthought, he scooped up the heels and took them with them.

Once she was tucked in bed fully clothed due to massive self-restraint on his part, he set her cell on the nightstand.  He knew she would look for it when she woke up, probably with a killer headache from crying so much.  He went into her bathroom and rummaged around until he found where she kept the aspirin and carried it back into her room along with a glass of water from the tap.

That task complete, he set about placing her shoes in her closet.  In the darkness, he could make out a lump of something on the floor, which closer investigation proved to be a dress.  He picked it up, smoothing out the fabric as he draped it over his arm.  No matter how mad she had been when she had taken it off, she’d regret it later if it wrinkled beyond recognition.  One didn’t live with a sister like Blake for twenty-five years without knowing that much.

He gave her one last look before retreating back downstairs.  She had rolled over onto her side, cuddling deep into the comforter.  Damn, he wished he was that bedspread.

He was almost out the front door before he remembered the roses in the kitchen.  She had gone on and on about hating them before this whole thing had happened.  He couldn’t imagine what she would think of them now.  Without hesitation, he grabbed them and tossed them in the trash.

He was nothing if not thoughtful.

And right now, his only thoughts were of her.

When everything she ever wanted turns out not to be enough…

Lauren Jefferies is on the verge of having it all. Hard work and determination have culminated in a promotion that promises to put her on track with her upwardly mobile boyfriend Eric. High school sweethearts and together for ten years, they are young enough to have their whole lives ahead of them, but old enough to have established themselves as forces to be reckoned with.

The news should be cause for celebration.

But taking the job means moving two hours away.

Instead of planning their reign as an up and coming power couple, they find their already tenuous relationship further damaged by their conflicting opinions. Eric doesn’t want her to leave. Lauren refuses to back down. In the end, she packs her things and heads up north to her new life, the abstract promise of figuring this all out later hanging between them.

Lauren settles into her new routine quite easily, thanks largely in part to her fast friendship with her roommate Blake. Blake’s companionship comes in a package deal with that of her older brother Matthew. One night over dinner, an innocent conversation leads to the discovery that the three of them have more in common than they’d ever imagined.

Ashamed of his role in the thread that ties them together, Matthew begins to withdraw. As Lauren devises a game plan to ease his torment, Eric inadvertently pushes them together with his selfish actions.

Lauren’s relationship with Eric continues to flounder. The distance is an issue, but Eric’s indifference does nothing to help. Every bright spot in their courtship is countered by darkness and bitterness. More often than not, Matthew is there to pick up the pieces that Eric leaves behind.

Prior to meeting Matthew, Lauren thought she knew what she wanted. Now that she’s just about to obtain everything on her list, she’s left to question if she ever really knew what that was.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Romance / Chick Lit

Rating – PG13

Connect with Alicia Renee Kline on Twitter

Website http://aliciareneekline.com/

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Orangeberry Book of the Day - The Mountain City Bronzes by Madeleine McLaughlin

The Mountain City of Bronzes

by Madeleine McLaughlin

I tap my head and wonder how could jail have been so much fun when I was a child? Back then, I remember noticing only good things behind the solid stone walls where my dad worked. Those idyllic times in our small North BC community shine with magic in my mind. Not like the vast, evil prisons I visit in the metropolises I now live in. Following Dad's path into prison guarding, I still learn from experience how criminals take advantage of each other's inadequacies and how much violence resounds through the walls.

Yet I'll never forget those years I spent with my dad in his jail, having a ball. If I close my eyes, I can still feel the cool stone walls against my hands...

The jail was a great refuge in June, but even in the winter, I found it pleasant to play in. There was so much fun imagining the structure when it was full, back in the gold rush. I could almost hear the walls and floors resounding to the voices of the thousands of lawless men that lived back then. In the large, empty vastness of our jail, I loved pretending I needed to find escape routes.

One day after tromping through the halls for an hour, I found a locked door.

Why is it shut tight? What is behind that door? I pounded and twiddled the lock until my hands turned red, but it was large and solid. I even once tried a bit of lock picking, but ran away when I considered how criminal my actions were.

I just couldn't bring myself to break the law and lose Dad's respect. It wasn't even possible for me to miss a day hanging about, as I just wished to be with him. Every day after school, I rushed to see my dad, the jailer for our community. My feet would bang along the path I had beaten down between the school and the jail. I needed to be able to hear his laughter when my breath puffed after landing on those granite legs, as he always let his good boy do.

Even in my struggles over homework, Dad laughed. Especially when he caught me rushing through my loathsome sums. His gentle heart allowed a boy the freedom to be imperfect. When all was done, I played as I pleased.

When paperwork about the jail took Dad's time, I was banned from the office. Exploring the narrow corridors became a favorite pastime as I leaped and smashed the stone walls, proving how tough a mere boy could be. My eyes widened at each corner because mad trappers lurked in my imagination. Of course, as the hero of my own stories, every confrontation became a victory for me. In my dreams, Dad congratulated me, and I became a big man like him. At the end of my play, I wound up in the same place. The door that was always locked.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Horror

Rating – PG

More details about the author

Connect with Madeleine McLaughlin on Facebook & Twitter

Alexandra Sokoloff – Why Winning Awards Helps Author Recognition

Why Winning Awards Helps Author Recognition

by Alexandra Sokoloff

In my still relatively short career as an author, I’ve been lucky enough to be nominated multiple times for several major awards in several different genres: the Bram Stoker Award (horror), the Anthony Award (mystery), and the Thriller Award (which I’ve won), as well as making other less well known lists, and I’m often asked by interviews and aspiring authors if winning awards has helped my career.

I think anything that gets you recognition helps your career. Recognition is a cumulative thing rather than any one thing. An award is one more reason for a reader to consider giving your book a try – it’s been pre-screened by people who supposedly know. An award-winning book has an edge over a book than a non-award-winning book. How can it not?

Especially when you’re first starting out in the business, award nominations and wins make other authors and publishing houses pay attention to you as well. Those early award nominations for my first novel, The Harrowing (http://www.amazon.com/The-Harrowing-Ghost-Story-ebook/dp/B006K5RVXI) opened doors for me in social situations that led to valuable business contacts. I don’t know this for sure, but the nods may have gotten me my foreign publication deals, or at least helped. The awards help my film agents when they shop my books for film deals.

And the circumstances of some of my award nominations have been a little unusual, which brings a little extra buzz of publicity. The Harrowing was nominated for both a Bram Stoker Award (horror) and an Anthony Award (mystery) – which is an unusual combination – but perfectly describes the book, which is a ghost story with a strong sense of mystery, including about whether or not the haunting is really happening.  And the controversy over a horror novel being nominated for a mystery award was a bonus, too. So what if some genre purists were miffed! As they say, there’s no such thing as bad publicity…

I was also the first woman to be nominated for and win a Thriller Award. Being the only woman in a lineup of men is a little extra bonus, too – it makes me more memorable in a list, and gives me a “cool” factor in an edgy genre.

And now my thriller Huntress Moon (http://www.amazon.com/Huntress-Moon-The-Thrillers-ebook/dp/B008G14754) the first in my new crime series, has been nominated for a Thriller Award in the brand new Best E Book Original Category. Another first, and something I can use as an extra interest factor in interviews, because many awards are still not acknowledging original e books at all, so I’m one of the very first to be recognized this way.

It’s hard to quantify how much any award nomination or win does for the sales of the book, or author recognition, but I do believe every little bit helps.

And let’s face it – a steady line of award nominations really help ease the sting of those snarky Amazon reviews. Which may be the most practical benefit of all.

- Alexandra Sokoloff is the bestselling and award-winning author of nine crime and supernatural thrillers, including the Huntress Moon thriller series, currently nominated for a Thriller Award.  http://alexandrasokoloff.com

—- Book II in the Thriller Award-nominated Huntress/FBI series —-

Twenty-five years have passed since a savage killer terrorized California, massacring three ordinary families before disappearing without a trace.

The haunted child who was the only surviving victim of his rampage is now wanted by the FBI for brutal crimes of her own, and Special Agent Matthew Roarke is on an interstate manhunt for her, despite his conflicted sympathies for her history and motives.

But when his search for her unearths evidence of new family slayings, the dangerous woman Roarke seeks – and wants – may be his only hope of preventing another bloodbath.

*****

It is highly recommended that you read Book I of the series, Huntress Moon, first.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Mystery / Thriller

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

Connect with Alexandra Sokoloff on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://alexandrasokoloff.com/

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Orangeberry Newbie - Time and Space by Shireen Jeejeebhoy

image

Time is kidnapped by three boys from the future, then dumped in the future past to die. She finds shelter with a mysterious man whose name is Space, and she must either adapt or find her way home before the boys catch her and dispose of her forever.

“I am reading Time and Space by @ShireenJ and loving it! What a great writer!” – @Mariam_Kobras, 26 May 2013

—–

Time is turning 40. But as she does every day of the week, she is on her way to her safe, boring job in the city, never thinking she is about to be yanked into a different space and time. Three boys grab her in broad daylight, pull her into a shiny cube, and take her to their present: a lab in future Toronto. Their prof is not amused. The boys had promised never again to kidnap people from the past, he reminds them. He orders them to leave her where they took the others: her future, their past. The Nasty Time, they call it.

But while they leave her alone in order to prep the cube, bikini girl slips in, instructs Time against her will on how to build a time machine to get back home, and hides just as the boys and prof return. But it’s all gibberish to Time, and she doesn’t want to learn anything about time travel . . . until the boys dump her in The Nasty Time. It’s 2411. She’s still turning 40. She wants to go home. But she can only do so if she learns to believe in herself.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords & Kobo

Genre – Science Fiction / Time Travel

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

Connect with Shireen Jeejeebhoy on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://jeejeebhoy.ca/

Orangeberry Book of the Day - Gabriela and the Widow by Jack Remick

Chapter One

And She Left the Dying World

The year the war ended, Gabriela led her sick mother out of Tepe├▒ixtlahuaca. The bones of the villagers still had meat on them then, and the hearths still had fire in them, but the retreating soldiers had chased away the skinny dogs and burned the houses. Scattered in the jungle, the bodies of young women—always the first to pay—had been left to rot. The young men had been killed or turned into soldiers who had, in their own time, committed atrocities.

The path down off the mountain to Paso de la Reina was stony and hard. The journey took eight hours. Gabriela had walked it only three times in her fourteen years, but this time she had the feeling that it would not end well because every few meters along the way, she caught sight of jungle toads staring at her. They were giants, their gray-green bodies covered with warts, their bellies white as cotton. One of them flicked his tongue at Gabriela. When she saw a toad eating a small bird she knew that her mother would not live to see the doctor in Jamiltepec.

At the edge of Paso de la Reina, in sight of the huts and houses and the Rio Verde, her mother begged for a longer rest. Gabriela sat her on a large stone alongside the path in the evening light and there her mother died.

With no one to help her and no one to keep her dead mother company or tell her what to do, Gabriela waited on the path until morning. The men of Paso de la Reina went to work in the fields and the women, on their way to chores, stopped to tell her that she was in luck: the priest—who came once a year to baptize babies, to marry the young, to bless the already interred and to shrive the dying—was in the village.

The priest came and blessed the dead mother. Handing Gabriela a stake, he told her to bury her mother in the red earth beside the path.

With the stake she dug a grave. Not a deep grave but deep enough. She wrapped her mother in the two handwoven huipiles, one dyed deep blue, the other crimson—the only objects her mother had salvaged from the ruins—and buried the body.

At fourteen, she was alone. Her village no longer existed. Her mother was dead. Her murdered father had left a Bible that the soldiers had torn apart, burned, then pissed on, along with a small cache of coins that the soldiers stole before leaving the village to the dead. She was alone and she did not know what to do and she had no place to go.

The priest, a man weary of death but not unhappy to send souls to heaven, told Gabriela that God would provide for her.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Women’s Fiction

Rating – PG

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Jack Remick on Twitter

Website http://jackremick.com/

Monday, June 3, 2013

Orangeberry Book of the Day - Living Backwards by Tracy Sweeney (Excerpt)

CHAPTER 1 - Jillian

I learned an important life lesson at Carrie Picalow’s slumber party when I was just ten-years-old: Horror movies are awesome…until it’s time to go to sleep. Sure they’re fun for two hours while you scream with your friends, but the following eight hours spent squeezing your eyes shut and attempting to fall asleep are torture. I made a vow to stay away from horror movies from there on out, but it never really worked. If I knew there was a scary movie on, I’d flip by the channel to get a peek. If I felt particularly brave, I’d stop and watch for a few minutes with my fingers partially covering my eyes. Even though I knew I shouldn’t—even though I knew I’d be up all night staring at my closet convincing myself that there wasn’t a scary little girl or a deranged clown inside—I’d watch. I couldn’t stop myself. And just as I would have predicted, I’d spend the rest of the night huddled under my covers.

I got the same feeling every time I stared across the room at the computer on my desk. When I’d sit down and open up my browser, I wouldn’t just check my email. I wouldn’t check the weather or the local headlines either. No. Even though I knew I shouldn’t—even though I knew it would only irritate me—I’d do something worse than watching a horror movie. I’d log onto Facebook.

Thanks to the so-called geniuses behind Facebook, suddenly people felt compelled to broadcast every thought, idea or mindless observation in their head on a minute-by-minute basis. But the worst part was that I couldn’t look away. It probably wouldn’t bother me as much if I actually knew any of the people complaining about having to go to work or needing their morning coffee. I didn’t. Not really. My timeline was full of people whose names I knew—kids who went to my high school and lived in my town—but I wouldn’t call them friends. Sure, I remembered that I had chemistry with that guy, and lived down the street from that girl, but I didn’t hang out with them. Or anyone really. Now, over ten years later, I knew every detail of their lives.

Last week, Tyler Burroughs tagged our whole Reynolds High School class in his Twenty-Five Things About Me post. I couldn’t understand why he thought I’d be interested. I hadn’t seen Tyler in over a decade and I barely knew him then, so I could say without a doubt that I didn’t care that he was still a terrible driver and almost lost his license twice. I didn’t care that he went to Comic-Con and met Joss Whedon in the men’s room. Unless Joss was whipping out long lost Buffy footage, it didn’t interest me. But for some reason, I kept coming back. Facebook had become the horror movie I was destined to watch every day of my life.

I blame my best friend Danielle who practically forced me into creating a profile. “Everyone is on Facebook, Jillian,” she informed me. “Even my papa. Don’t you want to be cooler than my papa?”

I couldn’t argue with that logic so I gave in and joined the world of social networking. Now thanks to Danielle, I was able to view people I barely knew discuss high school parties I hadn’t been invited to, dances I’d never attended and places I’d never been.

It really wasn’t her fault. High school was different for Danielle. We went to the same school, but we didn’t exactly run in the same circles back then. She was popular and outgoing, and I was…well…mute.

Looking back now, I didn’t have a lot in common with that girl anymore. People change. And in my case, for the better, I think. I left the shy me back in the school library, eating lunch alone and chatting with the librarian because everything was different once I left Reynolds, Washington, for New York City.

It was during Summer Freshman Orientation at NYU that I ran into Danielle. Literally. I was walking through the quad daydreaming when I nearly plowed over what I thought was a small child. My backpack and papers went flying in the air, and I landed flat on my ass.

“Jillian Cross!” she exclaimed. “What are you doing here? How did I not know you were going to NYU?”

I winced from the pain in my behind and looked up into the pale blue eyes of Danielle Powers. Danielle was someone I had occasionally said hi to, but it was never much more than that. She was in my World Lit class senior year, she was exceptionally perky, and after bouncing off her, ridiculously sturdy for such a small little thing. With her button nose and short, stylish bob, she reminded me more of a cartoon character than an actual person.

“Danielle, wow,” I stammered, suddenly feeling self-conscious. “I didn’t know anyone else from Reynolds would be here.”

image

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Chick Lit

Rating – PG13

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Tracy Sweeney on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.tracysweeney.net/

Orangeberry Book Tours - June Specials & Ongoing G!veaways

All special offers are valid on a first come first serve basis until Sunday, 30th June 2013 (midnight GMT time)

 

ALL 3 (THREE) of the Orangeberry packages listed below for only $55 (Usual price is $160.00)

 

1. ORANGEBERRY PAINT THE TOWN is a 15-day book tour. It consists of 12 blog stops, 1 Twitter View and 2 Twitter Blasts. (Usual price is $50.00)

 

2. ORANGEBERRY SPREAD ME sees to it that you and your book receive long-term exposure on the web with 20 blog stops in 20 weeks. (Usual price is $100.00)

 

3. ORANGEBERRY BOOK EXPO will be held in August 2013. Your book cover will be included for the entire duration of the expo. More details about the expo can be found HERE(Usual price is $9.99)

 

Payment is exclusively via PayPal.

1.Upon sign-up you will receive a starter kit with more details about your guest posts and interview questions.

2. Please sign up HERE

More questions? Email us at info AT orangeberrybooktours DOT com

ALL 5 (FIVE) of the Orangeberry packages listed below for only $100 (Usual price is $280.00)

 

1. ORANGEBERRY SOCIAL BUTTERFLY is a mini book tour (7 days). It consists of 5 blog stops, 1 Twitter View and 1 Twitter Blast. (Usual price is $30.00)

 

2. ORANGEBERRY FLY AWAY WITH ME works for those who would like an “online street team” campaign. More than 50 bloggers will feature your book cover on their blogs and you will receive banner artwork for a FB page . (Usual price is $199.99)

 

3. ORANGEBERRY SPREAD ME sees to it that you and your book receive long-term exposure on the web with 10 blog stops in 10 weeks. (Usual price is $50.00)

 

4. ORANGEBERRY BOOK EXPO will be held in August 2013. Your book cover will be included for the entire duration of the expo. More details about the expo can be found HERE(Usual price is $9.99)

 

5. BOOKBUZZR subscription for one month (Author Pro) which includes 3,000 cover views. (Usual price is $12.99)

 

Payment is exclusively via PayPal.

1.Upon sign-up you will receive a starter kit with more details about your guest posts and interview questions.

2. Please sign up HERE

More questions? Email us at info AT orangeberrybooktours DOT com

Choose from EITHER Orangeberry Book of the Day or Orangeberry Blast Off

 

ORANGEBERRY BOOK OF THE DAY is a sweet tool if you want your book to appear on the same day on at least 50 different blogs, have social media presence and be given full celebrity status. This is ideal for a book launch or if you’re launching a second book for your series.

What will it cost you? It costs $25.00 (Usual price is $49.99) ***This promotion does NOT include a giveaway, if you would like to include a giveaway, please look below for Orangeberry Blast Off.

 

Payment is exclusively via PayPal.

1. Please sign up HERE

More questions? Email us at info AT orangeberrybooktours DOT com

OR

ORANGEBERRY BLAST OFF is a book blast campaign and is ideal for new releases or for getting the word out about your current book.

What will you receive? At least 50 bloggers will feature a promotional post about your book on one single day. This promotion includes a giveaway. All of June, no set up fee will be charged.

Giveaways include Amazon.com gift cards or cash prizes and can range from $50 to $199 (for a Kindle Fire)

Payment is exclusively via PayPal.

1.Upon sign-up you will receive a starter kit with more details.

2. Please sign up HERE

More questions? Email us at info AT orangeberrybooktours DOT com

The ORANGEBERRY BOOKSTORE  is open to all authors, books and genres.

What will you receive? This site receives approximately 5,000 views a month so your book will be placed within reach of book lovers, bloggers and other authors.

What does it look like? All books are listed HERE.

What will it cost you? It costs $29.99 for a whole year. Yes, that's $2.50 a month.

Payment is exclusively via PayPal.

1. Please also send us your book cover  (in jpeg or png). Type email subject as "OrangeberryBookstore".

2. Please sign up HERE

Next available date - within 3 to 5 business days.

More questions? Email us at info AT orangeberrybooktours DOT com

(All proceeds will go towards the Orangeberry Goodie Bag, advertising & site maintenance)

The 2013 Orangeberry Virtual Book Expo  will be held from 1st August to 31st August 2013.

 

Guest 'speakers' will be invited to share on their own writing experiences, the challenges of the publishing industry and the future of ebooks.

Share the event on Twitter with this hashtag #OBExpo

 

Just like a live book expo, the event will open with readers being treated to door gifts. Each day, there will be one guest speaker and other giveaways. Questions will be held via Twitter or a separate forum . If the speaker is an author, readers can also request for a book signing.

Authors, bloggers and service providers are more than welcome to participate in this event. For authors, all genres are welcome but you will have to be specific about your rating (G, PG, PG13).

More guest Speakers will be advised at a later date.

1. Pavarti K Tyler, Founder of Fighting Monkey Press & Marketing Director at Novel Publicity

2. Terri Giuliano Long, Award-winning & Best-selling author of In Leah's Wake

3. Dr. Heather Manley

4. Coral Russell

All sponsorship received from ‘booth’ sales will go towards giveaways, door gifts, advertising and site maintenance.

 

Need more info? Please email us: info AT orangeberrybooktours DOT com

If you have enough info, please:

1. View a sample ‘booth’ and pick your 'booth' size from HERE

2. Fill up the form HERE

3. Proceed to the PayPal page HERE.

OB1 (800 x 200) - You can submit the artwork yourself, or we will do it for you. Banner will link to a page on the OB website where the author can place anything and everything. You can showcase a book trailer, a book excerpt, a book cover and inks to their Amazon page or website. Authors will also need to submit an author interview and a guest post which will be featured on 15 different blogs throughout the entire event. Ideal for authors with more than one book or service providers who have multiple products.

This will cost you $49.99 (that’s about $3.33 a day).

OB2 (400 x 200) – You can submit the artwork yourself, or we will do it for you.  Banner will link to a page on the OB site, which will showcase a book feature and three social media links or Amazon pages. Author will also have to submit an author interview, which will be featured on 5 different blogs throughout the entire event.

This will cost you $29.99 (that’s about $1.67 a day)

OB3 (200 x 200) – You can submit the artwork yourself, or we will do it for you.  Button  will link to author’s blog / website or Amazon page. Ideal for authors and bloggers. Blog hosts who have worked with Orangeberry on a regular basis (minimum 10 tours with no late / missed posts) will automatically receive a slot.

This will cost you $19.99 (that’s about $1.00 a day)

OB4 (130 x 200) – Please submit your book cover which will link to your Amazon / Smashwords page.

This will cost you $9.99 (that’s about $0.03 a day)

*****

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2. We will not take any responsibility for communications between a customer and a sponsor. Each service provider has different terms & conditions, it is your responsibility to read these before making a purchase.

3. All sponsorship received is non-refundable.

Ongoing Giveaways

(click ON image)

Orangeberry Book of the Day - Living Backwards by Tracy Sweeney

CHAPTER 1 - Jillian

I learned an important life lesson at Carrie Picalow’s slumber party when I was just ten-years-old: Horror movies are awesome…until it’s time to go to sleep. Sure they’re fun for two hours while you scream with your friends, but the following eight hours spent squeezing your eyes shut and attempting to fall asleep are torture. I made a vow to stay away from horror movies from there on out, but it never really worked. If I knew there was a scary movie on, I’d flip by the channel to get a peek. If I felt particularly brave, I’d stop and watch for a few minutes with my fingers partially covering my eyes. Even though I knew I shouldn’t—even though I knew I’d be up all night staring at my closet convincing myself that there wasn’t a scary little girl or a deranged clown inside—I’d watch. I couldn’t stop myself. And just as I would have predicted, I’d spend the rest of the night huddled under my covers.

I got the same feeling every time I stared across the room at the computer on my desk. When I’d sit down and open up my browser, I wouldn’t just check my email. I wouldn’t check the weather or the local headlines either. No. Even though I knew I shouldn’t—even though I knew it would only irritate me—I’d do something worse than watching a horror movie. I’d log onto Facebook.

Thanks to the so-called geniuses behind Facebook, suddenly people felt compelled to broadcast every thought, idea or mindless observation in their head on a minute-by-minute basis. But the worst part was that I couldn’t look away. It probably wouldn’t bother me as much if I actually knew any of the people complaining about having to go to work or needing their morning coffee. I didn’t. Not really. My timeline was full of people whose names I knew—kids who went to my high school and lived in my town—but I wouldn’t call them friends. Sure, I remembered that I had chemistry with that guy, and lived down the street from that girl, but I didn’t hang out with them. Or anyone really. Now, over ten years later, I knew every detail of their lives.

Last week, Tyler Burroughs tagged our whole Reynolds High School class in his Twenty-Five Things About Me post. I couldn’t understand why he thought I’d be interested. I hadn’t seen Tyler in over a decade and I barely knew him then, so I could say without a doubt that I didn’t care that he was still a terrible driver and almost lost his license twice. I didn’t care that he went to Comic-Con and met Joss Whedon in the men’s room. Unless Joss was whipping out long lost Buffy footage, it didn’t interest me. But for some reason, I kept coming back. Facebook had become the horror movie I was destined to watch every day of my life.

I blame my best friend Danielle who practically forced me into creating a profile. “Everyone is on Facebook, Jillian,” she informed me. “Even my papa. Don’t you want to be cooler than my papa?”

I couldn’t argue with that logic so I gave in and joined the world of social networking. Now thanks to Danielle, I was able to view people I barely knew discuss high school parties I hadn’t been invited to, dances I’d never attended and places I’d never been.

It really wasn’t her fault. High school was different for Danielle. We went to the same school, but we didn’t exactly run in the same circles back then. She was popular and outgoing, and I was…well…mute.

Looking back now, I didn’t have a lot in common with that girl anymore. People change. And in my case, for the better, I think. I left the shy me back in the school library, eating lunch alone and chatting with the librarian because everything was different once I left Reynolds, Washington, for New York City.

It was during Summer Freshman Orientation at NYU that I ran into Danielle. Literally. I was walking through the quad daydreaming when I nearly plowed over what I thought was a small child. My backpack and papers went flying in the air, and I landed flat on my ass.

“Jillian Cross!” she exclaimed. “What are you doing here? How did I not know you were going to NYU?”

I winced from the pain in my behind and looked up into the pale blue eyes of Danielle Powers. Danielle was someone I had occasionally said hi to, but it was never much more than that. She was in my World Lit class senior year, she was exceptionally perky, and after bouncing off her, ridiculously sturdy for such a small little thing. With her button nose and short, stylish bob, she reminded me more of a cartoon character than an actual person.

“Danielle, wow,” I stammered, suddenly feeling self-conscious. “I didn’t know anyone else from Reynolds would be here.”

“This is fantastic! Do you have a room assignment? We need to change it. You have to room with me and Megan.”

Megan Dunn, Danielle’s best friend, was practically an amazon—tall, beautiful and fierce with long, flowing blonde hair like the supermodels I envied as a kid. Megan was stunning, but she scared the living crap out of me. Although every guy in our class would seem to lose control of their motor functions in her presence, Megan never seemed to care. She actually always looked like she wanted to kick someone’s ass. Rooming with her sounded scary, but if I truly wanted a change of pace—a new life—I felt like I needed to say yes…and then make sure she didn’t want to kick my ass.

There was something about our friendship from the beginning; we just clicked. I wished I had known that in high school because it felt like we were destined to be best friends. Danielle pushed me to break out of my shell and live instead of watching life pass me by. And Megan, not so fierce after all, could always see through my bullshit and set me straight. She became my rock.

So when we headed back to Washington after graduation, Megan found an apartment in Seattle near an Irish pub that serves amazing nachos. It was only a couple hours away from Reynolds so that was useful, too. Danielle worked long hours as the co-owner of an interior design business. Megan scored a position at one of the area’s most prestigious art galleries, and I spent my days researching ways to remove stains from household furniture and water rings from wood tables for Homegrown Magazine.

Looking back, it was hard to imagine how I survived without them. Knocking Danielle over in the quad that day changed everything for me. I probably wouldn’t have been on a first name basis with the school librarian if I had figured out how great they were a lot sooner. Although Judy was lovely and her book club friends were very nice, they were kind of geriatric and not a lot of fun on a Saturday night. I would have given up the pass on late fees in exchange for the memories Danielle and Megan had of high school parties, dates and proms.

It was Danielle’s belief that I should make up for lost time. After insisting that I set up a Facebook account, she then decided that we actually needed to see these people in person. I nearly had a heart attack when she announced her plans for an informal high school reunion. I suddenly felt the need to retreat to the closest Reference Room for comfort.

“Jillian, I don’t understand why you’re so upset about this. You have us now,” she reasoned. “And this is your chance to show all of the people who never got to know you how awesome you are. Plus, you’ll get another peek at the Reconstruction of Sarah Spellman.”

After going to a less-than-reputable surgeon for a breast augmentation, our former classmate’s boobs were now crooked. We didn’t run into her often—only every now and then—but when we did, I couldn’t help but stare. The asymmetry was almost hypnotic. Like if you looked at them long enough, maybe they’d realign. That’s what you get for buying a plastic surgery Groupon.

“As much as I’m just dying to see Sarah’s bad boob job again, it’s not enough to get me excited about a high school reunion.”

“You can always bring Joan,” she replied.

Danielle knew my weaknesses well. Joan was my beautiful, pink rhinestone flask, a gift she had given me for my twenty-first birthday. Joan was my savior. Danielle named her after she caught me talking to myself one night in the midst of a particularly rough evening with Captain Morgan. Like Joan of Arc, I had been hearing voices, too. My voices, however, were alcohol-induced and coming from a pink, sparkly inanimate object. C’mon Jillian, you deserve a break. C’mon Jillian, you know you think he’s cute. C’mon Jillian, you love this song. C’mon Jillian, it’ll be fun.

It had been one of those typical drunk college girl evenings where I threw myself at a guy in my Philosophy class, danced on a table, fell off said table, twisted my ankle and ended up getting carried back to our suite by some burnouts who reminded me of Beavis and Butthead. When Danielle came home, I was pouting while nursing my throbbing ankle.

“It’s not my fault!” I cried, defensive under her condescending stare. “My good old buddy Joan wanted a shot at Mark Jensen. I mean have you seen that boy’s—”

“Jillian, honey, I’m so glad that you’re letting loose and enjoying yourself. Truly, I am,” she began carefully. “But it’s time to ease up on the cocktails once you start chatting with your flask. Talking flasks are not cool. Okay?”

But the truth of the matter was that I had more fun when Joan got me into trouble. I had spent so much of my time hiding in the library in high school. I wanted to go to parties and dance on tables and kiss cute boys. Joan helped transform me from the quiet girl who ate lunch in the library by herself to the charming and mildly-alcoholic woman I was today. And I liked that.

It had been Joan’s idea to go to the party that night. C’mon Jillian, you deserve a break. It was Joan’s idea to jump on top of Mark Jensen and shove my tongue down his throat. C’mon Jillian, you know you think he’s cute. It was Joan’s idea to dance on that table. C’mon Jillian, you love this song. And it was Joan’s idea to tell Beavis that I’d go to Laser Zeppelin with him the next weekend. C’mon Jillian, it’ll be fun. Unfortunately, in that case, Joan wasn’t right.

But even now, years later, Joan still had my back. Uncomfortable work function to attend? Trusty flask in my purse. Stuffy interior design conference with Danielle? Flask in my purse. Football game with Megan? Flask in my purse. No, Joan didn’t actually speak to me, but she always heard me when I needed her.

Sitting at my computer with a glass of wine by my side, I read through my timeline again. There was a message from Sarah Spellman in my inbox.

Danielle told me that you’ll be at the little soiree on Saturday night. I completely forgot that you even went to high school with us. Isn’t that crazy!? I always think of you as Danielle and Megan’s roommate. I’m sure we’ll have time to chat about good old Reynolds High on Saturday. Kisses.

God, I really hated Facebook.

image

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Chick Lit

Rating – PG13

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Tracy Sweeney on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.tracysweeney.net/