Tag Archive | excerpt

Between the Sea and Stars: Cover Reveal + Excerpt

Between the Sea and Stars

Publisher: Parliament House Press

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A Legend,
A Magical Shell
A Girl Who Dreamed Of Something More…

Lena, a Merrow girl, lives in the Skagerrak sea with her father, Carrick and her brother, Javelin who tells her of the legend of the Merrow Queen murdered by her human lover when greed takes over. But what’s worth spilling the queen’s blood? Gifted from Poseidon, himself, a magic shell gives any human the ability to control both land and sea.

When Javelin is called to join a clan of Merrow soldiers bent on protecting their waters from human invasion, Lena resists Merrow law and ventures to the shore with no choice but to swim to land.

With newfound legs, Lena is whisked away on a new adventure with new friends and new trouble. Everyone seems to want something from her as intrigue lurks around every corner.

Trying her best to hide who she is and remain safe from the dangers of the human world, will Lena finally find where she belongs, or will she be swept into a strong and stormy current by lust, greed, and jealousy?

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Prologue

The roaring tide around the Queen of Skagerrak’s fins helped to mute the faint sobs emerging from her blue, scaled lips. Her fins twisted into two perfectly-shaped legs, her skin creamy and soft in the light from the full moon high in the black sky, illuminating the land and sea.

As the transition came to an end, she felt her forbidden lover brush soft, chaste kisses against her neck, a warm homecoming to the human world. His fingers grazed over a delicate, pink shell strung around her neck by a gold chain. The lover, concealing his greed with distracting, tender kisses, wished for nothing more than to steal the magical shell for himself. In those quiet moments, consumed by his lips, she never saw the gleam of silver clutched in his fist as he held her.

With endearment whispered against her ear, the dagger sent a searing kiss into her back. The Queen’s eyes wide with shock, the lover twisting the blade, her cool blood poured over the sand. The lover’s hands darted for the shell, tugging on the golden chain. In her last throes of life, the Queen resisted and threw the shell into the crashing waves, bidding her father Poseidon to wash it away. Her last act of forgiveness for betraying her husband, her people and her home.

With a promised curse on his lips, the anti-lover trailed back into the night leaving the Merrow Queen to dissolve back into the watery depths. But he was determined to one day possess the world between the sea and stars, and all who dwell beneath the waves.

 

To Read Chapters One – Three, Check Out the exclusive additional chapters in the newly released version of “Allerleirauh” (January 16th, 2018)

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Find Out About Other Books by Chantal Gadoury at https://www.chantalgadoury.com/

 

About the Author

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Amazon Best Selling Author, Chantal Gadoury, is a 2011 graduate from Susquehanna University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing. Since graduation, she has published “The Songs in Our Hearts” with 48Fourteen Publishing, and “Allerleirauh” with Parliament House Press, with future titles to follow. Chantal first started writing stories at the age of seven and continues with that love of writing today. Writing novels for Chantal has become a life-long dream come true! When she’s not writing, she enjoys painting, drinking lots of DD Iced Coffee, and watching Disney classics. Chantal lives in Muncy, Pennsylvania with her Mom, Sister and furry-‘brother’ (aka, puppy) Taran.

 

Contact Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chantalgadouryfans/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cgadoury16

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chantalgadouryauthor/

Website: https://www.chantalgadoury.com/

 

Purchase Links

Allerleirauh

Amazon

Parliament House Press

The Songs in Our Hearts

Amazon

Goodreads

Between the Sea and Stars

Goodreads

The Songs We Remember

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Winter Dream

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Blinding Night

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Allerleirauh: Review + Excerpt

Title: Allerleirauh

Author: Chantal Gadoury

Publisher: Parliament House Press

ISBN: 978-1537868608

 

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Once Upon a Time… In the kingdom of Tranen, a king makes a promise to his dying wife that he’ll only remarry a woman who possesses her golden hair. In time, the king’s eyes are turned by his daughter. Realizing her father’s intentions, Princess Aurelia tries to trick him by requesting impossible gifts: dresses created by the sun, moon and stars, and a coat made of a thousand furs. But when he is successful, Aurelia sacrifices her privileged life and flees her kingdom, disguised by the cloak and a new name, Allerleirauh.

She enters the safe haven of Saarland der Licht, where the handsome and gentle Prince Klaus takes her under his care. Hoping not to be discovered by her father’s courtiers, Allerleirauh tries to remain hidden under her new identity when she finds unexpected love with Prince Klaus, even though his arranged marriage to the princess of a neighboring kingdom approaches. Risking everything, Allerleirauh must face her troubled past and her fears of the future along her journey to self-acceptance in this triumphant retelling of the classic Grimm Fairy Tale.

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Excerpt from “Allerleirauh”

“If you ever decide to remarry, you must marry someone who has my golden hair.”

The words echoed in my ears as my mother murmured them to my father. The entire court had gathered there with us in that darkened room with stone walls covered in old tapestries of red and golden threads, watchful eyes of men and women looming over us from the walls.

My mother, the Königin, the queen of Tränen, was dying.

Servants had lit candles across the room, creating a gloomy, death-like ambiance. The only source of light came from the flames, curling out like a snake’s tongue from the fireplace. Many of my father’s councilmen stood murmuring while they waited for the queen’s end to come. They waited for death’s dark cloak to wrap around her like the cape of the goddess, Nótt.

Mother lay in her bed, her form still as her breaths became shallower; her lungs becoming less full of air. Her hair, like spools of golden thread, clung to her pale skin. My father’s hand brushed over her forehead, pushing the strands away. She lifted her hand, touching his, seeking an answer from him.

The contrast of her skin against his was shocking. She was pale—corpse-like, the tips of her fingers already turning a frosty shade of blue. My father kneeled, dressed in a white tunic and tan hunting trousers. His light brown beard seemed thicker than usual. His tired blue eyes, the same eyes that others often commented reflected my own, gazed upon my mother.

He was a handsome man for other women to admire.

He carefully grazed his lips over her knuckles. I could hear his soft murmuring.

“My wife. My poor, lovely Frau.” There had been talk that he had been by her bedside for majority of the night and all through the morning, while I had been kept in my chamber. I was to wait until the end was nearly at an impasse before I was to bid my mother farewell. He had waited upon her on bended knee. It was an unexpected display of affection. My father had never been the affectionate sort, and especially never with me in all my nineteen years.

His gaze drifted toward the line of young maids surrounding the queen’s bedside, all waiting for an order or request. He lifted a hand and beckoned one of them closer. With reddened cheeks, one of the maids took a step toward the bed, offering a warm, wet rag for my mother’s forehead.

My father’s eyes seemed to taunt the maid to come closer as they glittered in the candlelight, a small, amused smirk on his lips as he held out his hand. He knew his effect on women, as did my mother. My father seemed to have always found a strange delight in tantalizing the young women of the court right under my mother’s nose–especially the young maids of the castle. His wandering hands had been an unacknowledged topic between them, and yet had most haunted my mother in her own private chambers.

As I was guided away from my tutoring lessons earlier in the afternoon, I found many of my father’s councilmen murmuring in the hallways. Their conversation had rattled me as they spoke of the queen’s declining health, proclaiming quite loudly their uncertainty of the future of the Königreich, the kingdom. With no male heir, there would be no one with my father’s bloodline to carry the crown. If he were to die, the succession would be uncertain, leaving the kingdom without a König, and I would be left with nothing. There were a few young girls my father had bedded over the many years of his rule, all of whom had come to his knees, begging for acknowledgement, money, or a future for their child. Many of the children were male, all of which my father craved to take under his wing. But as the string of his lovers began to unravel before my mother, she’d quickly banished them and their children from our courts.

“Any male that is not born from me will never be König,” she insisted. My mother feared of finding herself replaced by a younger, more beautiful woman, who would give the king something she could not . . .

A son.

I had been told my mother looked to my father with apologetic grey eyes on the day of my birth. The wet nurse had lifted me, the accursed girlish bundle into the arms of my father as my mother promised, “A son I will give you next time.”

As I grew older, I could see the desperation in her eyes as my father drifted from maiden to maiden, leaving a trail of bastard children in his wake. All while she remained infertile.

As a girl, I was no use to my father. Without a son, the marriage with my mother would always be a failure in the eyes of his court. Because I had not been born a boy, I rarely saw my father. I was only granted permission on special occasions.

My mother hardly paid attention to me either; I was a constant reminder of her failure, her misery, her curse. I had only been permitted to receive an education in writing and reading, and brief history lessons about the kingdom and surrounding countries. I excelled in learning and did what I could to avoid all the other womanly lessons I was expected to learn. I hated the mundane tasks that were deemed appropriate for the fairer sex. My mother did everything she could to keep me tucked away in the castle, out of sight. I was never permitted to join the court for festivities. My mother preferred me to stay in my room or the library, like the castle’s ghost. She wished to pretend I didn’t exist. As my youth began to pass before me, I wondered if I would spend the remainder of my years hidden away behind the stony walls of my father’s castle. I wondered whether, if my mother finally had a son for the king, somehow his birth would release me from the prison which cradled me in my own home.

“Promise me,” my mother hissed at my father presently, as she grabbed his hand. She pushed herself up in the bed with a grunt, to look at him more closely.

I watched them as I clung to the red velvet bed drapes. I could feel myself grow light-headed from the warmth in the room and the array of eyes and voices behind me as they murmured their fears and prayers.

“Promise me,” she begged, her voice cracking as he tucked another golden curl behind her ear. “She must have golden hair, like mine.”

As I watched her glossy strands circled around his fingers, I touched my own loosened curl. My hair was tied back with a black ribbon to match the black gown that Myriah, my nursemaid, dressed me in—a symbol of mourning. And yet, I felt nothing like how a daughter should feel while watching her own mother die.

Perhaps my mother thought her eager demand would bring her peace in the grave. I understood. If she could not be a proper wife, who’d brought him honor with a prince, perhaps her golden-haired replacement could be. Fear surged cold through my hollow ribs as her last breath slipped between her lips, her hand slowly falling from my father’s firm grasp.

A cold shiver ran up my spine as I heard my father’s reply.

“I promise.”

His gaze lifted to me in the quiet moments after. I was my mother’s reflection and her only true legacy. And I knew the king’s promise would become my curse.

My Review:

I absolutely adore the beautiful cover on this, and is what drew me in first. Then I saw that it was based on a Brother’s Grimm fairy tale. Then I read the blurb and was like, “oh yes!”

First, what I liked best about this story was that the girl wasn’t some overly badass who was some magical fighter that seems unreal in most of these fantasy books. Not that I don’t love fantasies with a girl that can kick butt, but sometimes you just want a story where the girl is strong in another way. Aurelia was just that girl. What happened with her father was beyond horrible, and as sad as it is instances like that happen in real life. And I liked how her progression with what occurred wasn’t a magical overnight healing, but the process of time. Yes, there is a beautiful romance, but it started out as a friendship that bloomed into something more. She also didn’t heal because of a guy, but instead he helped support her in the process.

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The journey I had with Aurelia is one I will hold dear. And it was nice to find a fairy tale that felt more for upper YA and adults without being all angsty. Plus I liked that the guy was sweet! There needs to be more books like this!

Find Out About Other Books by Chantal Gadoury at https://www.chantalgadoury.com/

 

About the Author

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Amazon Best Selling Author, Chantal Gadoury, is a 2011 graduate from Susquehanna University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing. Since graduation, she has published “The Songs in Our Hearts” with 48Fourteen Publishing, and “Allerleirauh” with Parliament House Press, with future titles to follow. Chantal first started writing stories at the age of seven and continues with that love of writing today. Writing novels for Chantal has become a life-long dream come true! When she’s not writing, she enjoys painting, drinking lots of DD Iced Coffee, and watching Disney classics. Chantal lives in Muncy, Pennsylvania with her Mom, Sister and furry-‘brother’ (aka, puppy) Taran.

 

Contact Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chantalgadouryfans/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cgadoury16

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chantalgadouryauthor/

Website: https://www.chantalgadoury.com/

 

Purchase Links:

Allerleirauh

Amazon

Parliament House Press

The Songs in Our Hearts

Amazon

Goodreads

Between the Sea and Stars

Goodreads

The Songs We Remember

Goodreads

Winter Dream

Goodreads

Blinding Night

Goodreads

 

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Embracing Hope: Excerpt + Giveaway

Embracing Hope

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Embracing Hope

Janell Butler Wojtowicz

Genre: Christian Romance/ Clean Romance

Published: November 2016

Blurb:

Take a poignant look into the broken heart and daily struggles of Christian college dean Drew McKinley. The story chronicles the turbulent first year in his desperate journey to understand God’s motives for the sudden death of his wife and his quest to find hope in his future.

Crossing his perilous path are Allison, a graduate student and new employee in the dean’s office, and Chris, the handsome but egotistical student senate president.

The road Drew must navigate is fraught with career upheaval, a reawakening heart and the struggle for forgiveness and restoration. Will Drew finish his journey to embrace the hope God offers, the love Allison shares and the guidance Chris needs, or will he turn his back on all three with catastrophic consequences?

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Excerpt from “Embracing Hope”

When Drew got back to his condo after breakfast with Mitch, he took recycling bins from the garage and headed straight for his office. He pulled open the top drawer of the filing cabinet, labeled “Dissertation,” removed all the folders and tossed everything in a bin with a satisfying thump. He turned on the TV for company and for the next several hours sorted through files and books, occasionally reading, mostly shredding. Taking the framed photo from the bookshelf, he wrapped the UConn afghan around it and placed it carefully in his briefcase. Sitting down at the computer, he composed a new email.

Dr. Cavanaugh,

Thank you so much for the opportunity to serve as Dean of Students at Riley University. Riley is an outstanding university devoted to its students and committed to serving God. It’s been a privilege to work here.

However, it is in the best interests of the university and its students that I resign the position of Dean of Students, effective immediately. I will contact Human Resources upon your acceptance of my resignation to complete the necessary exit procedures.

Blessings,

Andrew McKinley

Without hesitation, Drew hit “Send.”

He looked up a phone number on his contact list. “Ed, this is Drew McKinley. Could you give me a call as soon as you can? I need to put the condo up for sale.”

Next he went online and checked flights to Hartford. He frowned at the airfare, but booked a one-way ticket for eleven the next morning. He perused the online career section of the Chronicle of Higher Education and made notes.

Going into his bedroom, Drew hauled out a suitcase from the back of the closet and laid it on the unmade bed. He pulled out clothes from the bureau, placed them in the suitcase and stuffed a couple of suits in a garment bag. The bottle of pills on the bed stand caught his eye. He poured out two, then two more, and swallowed all four without water. Closing and moving the suitcase to the floor, he lay on the crumpled linens. He glanced at the clock: 2:38. Closing his eyes, he let the memories—bittersweet as they were—engulf him.

He saw his preschool teacher leading him to his little desk as his mother lingered in the doorway.

He saw himself as an eight-year-old on his knees next to the bed asking Jesus into his heart.

He saw his mother taking a picture of him in his high school cap and gown.

He saw Kendra grinning across the table in the student union, a dollop of whipped cream from the latte on her nose.

He saw her floating down the aisle on her father’s arm.

He saw Tony behind his desk, interviewing him on a sunny, spring day.

He saw him and Kendra kissing in the gazebo during orientation.

He saw the white casket being put inside the white hearse.

He saw Allison at the Christmas party in the sparkly green dress.

He saw her with Eliza nestled in her arms.

He saw the red car with the bashed-in rear fender in the ramp.

The shrill squeal of the phone sliced through his ears, a crack of thunder shook his bed, and Drew bolted upright in the darkened room. The red numbers of the clock glowed 9:12. He leaped out of bed, but when he stood his legs buckled, and he fell over the suitcase onto the floor. The phone screamed at him again. Like a flood, the dream from the bus rushed back: the storm … the ramp … the exit sign … footsteps … Allison!

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About the Author

Janell Butler Wojtowicz

Janell Butler Wojtowicz, born and raised on an Iowa farm, was one of those kids who loved to write the dreaded “What I did on summer vacation” essay. She wrote stories for her own enjoyment, including a short story about a teenage drug addict—something of which she knew nothing about. Her cousin illustrated the cover using Halloween orange paper featuring a hypodermic needle.

Janell attended the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota, earning a bachelor’s degree in, naturally, Written Communication, adding a Journalism Emphasis. She returned to Iowa where she worked as a reporter/editor at three small town newspapers for 10 years.

Janell left the small town Iowa life when she married, Frank Wojtowicz, a family friend who lived in Minneapolis. (By the way, her Polish last name is pronounced “Why-tow-vitch.) She worked in public relations at her alma mater, the University of Northwestern; Leadership Foundations, a nonprofit organization supporting inner-city Christian ministries; and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Today, Janell owns a freelance service, A Portrait in Words, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.

Much of Janell’s writing has been the “people stories” of trial, tragedy and triumph, which are reflected in her debut novel, “Embracing Hope.” The idea for the novel came after watching a BBC version of “Jane Eyre” in 2007. That night she dreamed the beginning, pivotal scene in the middle and the ending of “Embracing Hope”, and began writing it the next day. Unlike her first story, she was very familiar with the setting of “Embracing Hope”: a Christian college campus.

She and Frank, live in New Brighton, Minnesota, a pleasant suburb of the Twin Cities. She has two step-sons, a step-daughter-in-law, and three step-granddaughters.

Janell Butler Wojtowicz| Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads| Twitter

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Saving It: Review + Excerpt

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Saving It by Monica Murphy

Release Date: November 6th, 2017

Genre: YA Romance

Saving It, an all-new YA romance from Monica Murphy is available NOW!

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Eden: Josh Evans and I have been best friends forever. He knows all my secrets, and I know all of his. So when he randomly asks me to help him lose his virginity, I sort of flip out. That’s a question that sends your mind to places you’ve seriously never considered before. Like, you know. Having sex. With your best friend. Except Josh doesn’t want to have sex with me—he wants me to help him find a girl. A nice girl who’s funny and smart and cute. Except he already knows a girl just like that…

Josh: Eden Sumner is my best friend. So of course she’d be the person to help me find my perfect match, so I can drop my V card before I head off to college. Except the more we search, the more I realize that maybe the right girl has been by my side all along. I don’t need Eden’s help in finding me a girl to love. I’m pretty sure I’m already in love with Eden. But now she thinks I’m only after one thing…with anyone but her.

Excerpt:

Josh pulls the dressing room curtain back and walks out, holding his arms out at his sides. He’s wearing a black button down shirt and the dark khaki pants and um…

He looks.

So.

Hot.

“I’m totally overdressed.”

“No, you look…” I shake my head, at a loss for words. Which is stupid. It’s just Josh.

It’s.

Just.

Josh.

“I look what? Bad?” He’s frowning, staring down at his chest, running his fingers over the shirt buttons.

“You definitely don’t look bad.” My voice is firm. My thoughts are going haywire. I think about the pact we made, how crazy I thought he was for bringing it up.

But hey. Maybe there’s something to this “let’s lose our virginity to each other” deal.

Nah. That’s crazy talk.

He lifts his head, his gaze meeting mine. “So I look…good?”

“You look great.” Understatement. He looks hot like fire. But I can’t tell him that. “You need a haircut.” I say this to break the tension, because there is so much freaking tension right now. Am I the only one who’s experiencing it? Or does he feel it, too?

“Yeah. I know I do.” He runs a hand through his hair, messing it up so it’s a riotous mass on top of his head. My gaze lingers, and I’m tempted to run my fingers through his thick hair and straighten it out.

Oh. My. God. Stop thinking like this!

“Go try on something else,” I tell him, waving my hands and shooing him away. He needs to go. Get behind that curtain and hide for a few minutes so I can gather my thoughts. “Try on one of the flannel shirts and the jeans.”

“Okay.” He sends me a questioning look before he slips back into the dressing room.

I breathe out a sigh of relief, my shoulders slumping. What just happened? I don’t like feeling this way toward Josh. Thinking he’s hot, being attracted to him. It makes me…uncomfortable?

Well, it should make me uncomfortable.

“Your boyfriend is cute.”

Glancing over my shoulder, I watch the sales associate who greeted us when we first walked into the store approach. She’s super cute with a bohemian vibe. Long wavy golden hair almost to her butt, a black choker around her neck, she’s wearing a flower print, flowing dress that swirls around her ankles when she walks.

“He’s not my boyfriend,” I tell her.

Her eyebrows go up. “You could’ve fooled me.”

I’m scowling. “What do you mean?”

“You two looked totally into each other.”

“Yeah.” I laugh, but it feels forced. “No. We’re just friends.”

“Uh huh.” The knowing smile she sends my way tells me she doesn’t believe a word I’m saying. Whatever. “Let me know if you need any new sizes or whatever, okay?”

 

My Review:

I thought this book was cute and fun. I’ve read several of Monica Murphy’s books, and this is my favorite out of the one’s I have read. I’m a sucker for friends to romance stories.

There were some parts that I was annoyed with, but for the most part I liked it. It was pretty corny that this “hot” guy needed his best friend to help him find a girl to lose his virginity. We all know in real life there would be no problem with him doing that on his own! However, I thought the chemistry between Josh and Eden was spot on.

There was definitely plenty of swoon, and Monica knows how to write these types of scenes extremely well! Overall, if you like teen romances, you will probably like this one!
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About the Author:

Monica Murphy is the New York Times, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of the One Week Girlfriend series, the Billionaire Bachelors and The Rules series. Her books have been translated in almost a dozen languages and has sold over one million copies worldwide. She is both self-published and published by Random House/Bantam and Harper Collins/Avon. She writes new adult, young adult and contemporary romance.

She is a wife and a mother of three who lives in central California on fourteen acres in the middle of nowhere along with their one dog and too many cats. A self-confessed workaholic, when she’s not writing, she’s reading or hanging out with her husband and kids. She’s a firm believer in happy endings, though she will admit to putting her characters through angst-filled moments before they finally get that hard won HEA.

Connect with Monica:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MonicaMurphyauthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5934418.Monica_Murphy

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1YUl0Vm

Website: http://monicamurphyauthor.com

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The Divinity Bureau: Author Interview + Excerpt

Title: The Divinity Bureau

Author: Tessa Clare

Date of Publication: September 21st, 2017

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Summary:

The Hunger Games meets Romeo and Juliet in a stunning debut about a forbidden romance between a young activist and a government employee for a corrupt bureau that controls the population by deciding who lives and who dies.

Roman Irvine is a disgruntled IT Technician for the Divinity Bureau, a government agency that uses random selection to decide who lives and who dies. In a world where overpopulation has lead to pollution, a crippled economy, and a world in crisis, he’s accepted the bureau’s activities as a necessity… until he meets April McIntyre.

April has every reason to be suspicious of Roman. He works for the Divinity Bureau, which sent her father to an early grave. But he’s also sweet and loyal, and unbeknownst to her, he saved her life. As Roman and April fall deeper in love, the deeper they’re thrust into the politics of deciding who lives and who dies. Someone wants April dead. And the bureau’s process of random selection may not be so random after all…

 

THE DIVINITY BUREAU – Excerpt

I take the elevator to the third floor, where April’s bedroom is. There are only two rooms on that floor, and April’s room is the one with a door that’s been slammed shut. I give it a knock. “April?”

No answer. I try again.

“April, it’s Roman.”

My only response is silence.

“Listen, I know you’re upset. I know you probably don’t want to talk about it right now…” I pause, listening for a sound from the other side of the door. “But I was hoping that I could change your mind. Or at least get you to talk to me.”

I wait for a response, but none comes.

“Could you at least open the door?”

The door doesn’t bulge. I sigh and slide to the floor. I’m ready to give up when I hear a voice from the other side of the door: “Can you answer one question for me?”

I press my ears against the door, afraid that I might miss something if I stop paying attention for a split second. “Of course,” I answer softly.

April’s voice is so soft that it sounds like a whisper. “Why didn’t you do anything to stop it?”

My mouth falls open. “What?”

“You heard me,” April says, her voice growing louder with newfound determination. “Why didn’t you stop my mother from being elected?”

I press my forehead against the door, wincing at her words.

“You work for The Divinity Bureau,” April continues on. “You have a part in deciding who lives and who dies.”

“April, there wasn’t anything that I could do to stop it.”

“You could have tried,” she hisses.

I don’t know what to say.‘She’s hurting,’ I tell myself. People say awful things when they’re upset. Still, my reasoning doesn’t heal the sting from her words.

“Trust me,” I say, pressing my brows together. “I never wanted this to happen. The last thing I ever wanted was for you – or your family – to get hurt.”

“It’s not just about my family.”

“Then what is this about?” I ask, my voice growing desperate. “Please – tell me, what do I need to do to make this better?”

“How many people have died since you started working for the bureau?”

I’m taken aback by her question. “I…”

I don’t know what to say.

Unfortunately, my silence is the only answer that April needs. “I knew it.”

“Knew what?”

“You sit behind a computer all day,” April says bitterly. “You see a name on your screen – not realizing that this is a person with a life, a family, hopes, and dreams. Then you destroy that life by electing them to die!”

Her words hurt. I wish she’d open the damn door so that she could see.

“I get it,” she continues. “There’s only so much you can do. But once the day is over, you go home, collect a paycheck, and forget about it. That’s what I can’t seem to understand.”

I slam a fist against the door. “It’s not like that! Trust me, April, there is so much that you don’t know – things that I want to tell you…”

I want to tell her everything: the election report, seeing her name on the list, coming to her work, the ruined hack job on her father’s computer, and the research that I had done on her family. I let out a breath. “I’ll tell you everything if you’ll please open the door.”

I press an ear against the door, not caring if I fall over. But I never do.

The last thing I hear from April is a solid, “No.”

 

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Author Interview:

What inspired you to write The Divinity Bureau?

It’s a crazy story! When I was nineteen years old, I was in an unfortunate situation where I was homeless and living in my car. I remember thinking, “There’s no room for me in this world” and just blaming everything I could for my situation, including overpopulation.

During that time, I was also spending a lot of time in the library. The place was the perfect place to be during that period in my life. It was open late, it had heat, but most importantly, it had books to keep me entertained. I was reading a lot of dystopian books. I had also just watched An Inconvenient Truth. On top of that, I’m a hopeless romantic at heart. All of those elements came together to form The Divinity Bureau.

Who is your favorite character in the book and why?

My favorite character is April. Interestingly enough, I had a tough time connecting with her at first. When I started writing The Divinity Bureau, I would skim over writing her parts. She’s the daughter of a wealthy politician, so she’s a brat at times. I also couldn’t relate to some of the problems that she faces throughout the novel.

To make her more relatable to me, I created the storyline of her being cut off from her trust fund. I also gave her a job as a barista, because that’s the job that I was working at the time. And as I started writing more of her scenes, I began to see more of myself in her – from her stubbornness to her innate desire to make an impact on the world. So far, the feedback I’ve gotten is that people like Roman more; but April will always have a special spot in my heart.

What made you want to become a writer?

I started writing when I was seven. I think it’s just something that I was born with. I even attempted to write my first chapter book when I was nine! (I made it to three chapters)

I think I was just born with an expressive personality, and writing is my way of making sense of the world.

What book are you currently reading?

Your book, actually! Just started reading The Bride of Glass!

How many books do you plan to have in this series?

Roman and April’s story is going to be a trilogy, but I’ve had a couple of ideas swirling around for prequels. The world of The Divinity Bureau has so much history, and I’d love to explore the stories behind them.

Do you have a favorite scene in the book?

My favorite scene is Roman and April’s first fight as a couple. I don’t want to spoil it by giving away the reason for it, but April asks Roman how many people have died since he started working for the bureau. At first, he’s flabbergasted. He doesn’t know because he’s never thought about it. To him, it’s a job. He does his work and collects a paycheck at the end of the day, not thinking about the implications of his work. But people die under his watch. And you can see his mindset shift in that moment and throughout the rest of the story.

What challenges do you face while writing?

I think the biggest challenge is not letting life get in the way of my dreams. I mentioned earlier that I was living in my car when I started writing this story, but I soon began to move up in my career. By the time I was 23, I was promoted to a corporate manager. But I always came back to writing – it was my dream since I was a kid to write a novel, and I didn’t want to leave that behind.

Still, it was challenging when I’d watch people my age spend their weekends at the bar while I was holed up in my apartment working on this book. They’d come back and tell me these crazy stories that I missed out on, and I felt like I was missing out. When the book was done and I finally had time to come out with them, I started to realize that those nights, while fun, didn’t compare to the feeling of accomplishment after a period of hard work.

Favorite color.

Black. Half of my closet is black. If I could, I’d probably even make my book covers black!

What advice do you have for future writers?

As cliché as this might sound, the best advice is to keep writing and to follow your dreams. I listened to Gary Vaynerchuk give a talk about what it means to become an “overnight success.” When he started making it big, he would have friends email him and tell him that he got lucky and became an overnight success. But he spent every weekend from the time he was fifteen until he was thirty honing his craft. And I think writers need to do the same. We hear these stories about new authors debuting on the New York Times Bestseller list and think about how we’ll never get there – but there are two factors here: 1) you don’t need a movie deal and to be on the bestseller list to be a success. I have a friend with an email list of 10,000 subscribers who makes her living writing romance novels. And 2) “overnight success” doesn’t happen overnight. You still have to keep working on your craft, working on your marketing, and learn and grow along the way.

What do you like about dystopian books?

Honestly, the world is constantly evolving. New technology comes out every day. New trends emerge. Cultures shift. All of these things have an impact on the world. What I like about dystopian books is the way authors interpret the things happening today and the impact that they might have in the future – whether it’s the discovery of immortality (as in The Divinity Bureau) or an atomic war (such as in 1984).

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About Tessa:

Tessa Clare is the author of The Divinity Bureau. When she’s not writing, she’s an entrepreneur, an activist, a speaker, and the Managing Director of Asset Creative House.

Born in 1992, she started her early career as a concession stand attendant, a busgirl, a barista, a player’s club representative for a casino, and an administrative assistant. She also spent years working as a corporate manager, where the groundwork for Asset Creative House was inspired.

The Divinity Bureau is Tessa’s debut novel about a forbidden love between a young activist and a government employee working for a corrupt bureau, set in a dystopian world.

Link (including Buy links): www.divinitybureau.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tessaclareofficial/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tessaclareauthor/

 

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How does this book sound to you?

Summerlypse: Author Interview + Excerpt

First off, I really liked the style of writing the author used when I read this book. Second off, the teens felt like actual teens.

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Summary:

After his crush rejects him, seventeen-year-old Colton catches a plane to Mexico, hoping to forget all about girls. But a night out at a dance club crowded with long legs in miniskirts doesn’t help, especially when he meets the club’s beautiful DJ, Alex.

In awe of her mixing skills, Colton finds it hard to believe Alex is deaf. As they bond, she asks him to help her win a DJ contest behind her rich, estranged father’s back.

Colton’s not a wimp or anything, but millionaires with armed bodyguards are not his ideal vacation buddies. The only problem—if he helps her, he may fly back home in a body bag.

Excerpt:
 
“Who’s the other girl?” Martin asks.
“Does it matter?”
He puts a hand on my shoulder. “In the matter of beautiful women it matters.”
I roll my eyes. “Chloe,” I say reluctantly, and he’s like, “The…?” and I’m like, “Yup.” And he draws a guitar-shaped girl in the air. “The one with…?” And I point at the imaginary girl. “That’s the one.” He gives me a WTF look. “No way.” And I’m like, “Sí way.”
He does his eyebrow wiggling thing. “I still think you should connect with them, and I mean connect at the metaphysical level without the meta. And—”
“Stop. Can’t you see Miranda broke my heart?”
“Broke your heart? That’s so lame. Sometimes I think you’re the girliest dude friend I’ve ever had.”
“And sometimes I think you’re…you’re…the Mexicanest friend I’ve ever had.”

Continue reading

Alexa Whitewolf: Author Interview + Excerpt

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Summary:

“It was impossible they had met before – of that she was certain. Yet his hold on her was undisputable, an irrational pull to the utmost recesses of her soul.”

Vivienne du Lac has everything she could wish for – a normal, peaceful life, a good job, cushy nest egg, and a semi-social nightlife. The only problem? She’s clueless to being the reincarnation of the Lady of the Lake, Merlin’s apprentice.

Sebastien Dubois is the bad boy you wouldn’t take home to mom and dad – quite the opposite. The sexual chemistry between them is sizzling from the start – but there’s more to the tall, dark and handsome stranger. When a magical past tumbles into her orderly reality, he is Vivienne’s only hope at survival.

Caught between darkness and light, a battle she has no intention to fight – let alone the knowledge to win – Vivienne quickly finds out not even closest allies can be trusted.

Can she look within and become the enchantress Merlin meant her to be… Or will she lose it all over love, for Sebastien’s salvation? This is a battle between good and evil you don’t want to miss.

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Excerpt from Avalon Wishes

As he walked down the stairs in the tower, Merlin glanced out to the forest, before continuing on his journey.

He passed through the last of the barriers, and out the servants’ exit, finally entering the peace and quiet of the gardens. They were rectangular, about the size of his room, with flowers of every type sparsely across. An oak tree, older than the castle itself, stood in the middle.

It was towards it that Merlin headed, his hands tingling at the prospect of touching magic again. In these three days, he had not had as much time as he wanted, and it was akin to breathing: a need, potent and inquisitive.

He took a seat by the oak, hidden in the tree’s shadow, and pressed both hands to the earth by his side. Imbued by the power of the nature surrounding him, Merlin breathed in deeply. On his second exhale, his hands began glowing, and a faint vibration animated them.

Soon, Merlin was lost in the magic, the back and forth between him and the earth. It felt as though his entire body was re-energizing, replenishing with an elixir far more potent than any human beverage.

He could feel himself reverting back to primal needs, carnal desires, to a part of himself that wished to be freed.

“You must be the new advisor.”

The soft, melodic voice penetrated Merlin’s haze, and he blinked. As he came to, her scent assaulted his senses: sweet, almost overtly so, like a nectar he craved to sample.

Merlin caught the woman’s presence out of the corner of his eyes, and turned his head slowly to the side.

Morgana.

She had not introduced herself, but every fiber of his being felt it. Her alabaster skin was almost translucent in the early morning. Long, straight black hair fell to her waist, cinched by a belt. Her soft blue gown did little to hide the curves of her body, something his eyes lingered on.

“I did not mean to interrupt,” Morgana spoke again, and his eyes settled on her rosebud mouth, and the lips moving ever so softly.

Merlin gulped, then looked away. He could not, would not. A promise had been made, one he had to keep. Something within was emphasizing that he really needed to uphold it.

“You did not interrupt,” he replied hoarsely. His throat felt as though it had been force-fed sand.

Extinguishing the magic, Merlin reluctantly let go of the earth and stood. He had no choice, now, but to turn towards Morgana.

The princess moved a few steps closer, as though pulled closer by the same force he was fighting against. This is not good.Merlin could sense the unseen atmosphere literally yanking him forward, like a magnet unwilling to let go.

Their eyes met – and held – cerulean blue to silver. Then Morgana’s gaze roamed over the wizard in a way that did nothing to appease his unsettled body.

What is this!? Merlin fumed internally.

Such weakness had never struck him around a woman – especially not one as young as her. For though Morgana was very much of age at her two decades of life, there was an innocence still within her eyes that drew him in like a moth to a flame.

“I am Merlin,” he cleared his throat, bowing in greeting. “The new advisor, you are correct. And I presume you are Lady Morgana?”

There was a brief hesitation, as though she wanted to try lying, then Morgana inclined her head in assent. “I am.”

Their gazes locked again and Merlin cursed the fates for putting him on the path of this temptress. Her eyes were not so innocent now. Instead, a burning look shone within, one he very well recognized, for it was surely the same one reflected in his own.

Lust, pure and simple.

“I was surprised,” Morgana spoke again, drawing his gaze to hers, “to hear my father sought you out. Apparently, tales of your exploits reached him from afar.”

Merlin was silent, unsure of how to answer. Morgana peered at him for a few moments longer, before smiling briefly. “At ease, Merlin. I shall leave you to your secrets.”

As she turned to leave, the mage could not help his eyes from roaming her form. He turned away, cursing against his own impulses.

Purchase Avalon Wishes on Amazon

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Author Interview:

What made you want to become a writer?

Growing up, I didn’t have the easiest childhood. I think we all struggle with issues with at least one parent, and for me that was my dad. Writing was a way of escaping the limits he imposed on my life. At the time, everything I was reading in young adult had heroines that always needed saving. I came up with my own, women that are proud, and strong and yes incredibly stubborn, but there is more to them than simply falling in love and living happily ever after (not that there’s anything wrong with that! I love HEAs ). What I mean is, writing started as an escape, maybe even a form of therapy, but it became a lot more. The fact that after years of taking a break from it, and moving forward in my life, I rediscovered the passion for words was enough to decide me that I wanted to make my passion my life’s work. That’s when I truly decided to become a writer.

What do you find the hardest about being an author?

Shutting up the characters in my head? Oops, that wasn’t meant to be a question. But seriously, it’s hard sometimes. Like now, I’m technically done writing for the year. So I should be focusing on marketing, networking, etc. But instead I go and start writing again, because the characters won’t leave me alone. They’re not all like that, honest. Mainly Alistair and Merlin, they bicker a lot… Sorry, rambling probably wasn’t part of this, eh? Marketing! My final answer.

What is your favorite character you have written and why?

That’s HARD. And I mean trying to push a Transformer out of way with puny human hands, hard.

My husband would disagree, but up until recently I would have said my version of Merlin from Avalon Wishes. There’s something about writing him as a younger Mage, and all the crap he gets into… Too much fun. Of course, half the fun of it is Alistair, I mean they’re really two peas in a pod!

But currently, I would have to say Freya, my young heroine from The Sage’s Legacy series. There’s a lot of the younger me in her, and as I re-edited the second novel in the series, I found myself bonding with her all over again.

What is your favorite color?

Green! Not neon, but emerald like the beautiful Ireland I’m about to visit in less than 2 weeks!!! 

What is your writing process?

It’s a mess. And I mean, no heads or tails kind of mess… I get an idea, write it down. It’s usually a sentence or two. At some point, a scene will pop in my head. It could be the beginning, middle or end of the novel, and I write it down. Then keep writing from there. I end up with scenes all over the place, notebooks, napkins, you name it…. Then finally type it all up into a semblance of a rough. That’s when the fun really begins! I dig into the meat of the story, fill in plot holes, dialogue, descriptions. Go through five or six edits, then send to my beta, make changes, and after send to my editor.

What book are you currently reading?

Singularity, by Eldon Farrell.

What’s your favorite book genre?

Thriller. I’m a huge James Patterson and James Rollins fan! 

What kind of scenes do you find hardest to write?

Love scenes? I always wonder if my mom will end up reading them

What are you writing next?

I have Avalon Nightmares and Relics of the Underworld (the last instalments of my two series Avalon Chronicles and Sage’s Legacy) planned for release early 2018, so those are my major projects.

But lately (last 2 weeks) I’ve gotten annoyingly distracted by working on a standalone novel (at least I hope it will be!), hesitantly titled “Blazing in a Storm of Ashes”.

Here’s a little excerpt from the young heroine, Corinna:

“I’m not crazy. But when I start getting these bloody migraines and hearing voices, I’m fairly certain I lost it.

And then they turn out to be two hot-as-hell guardians, here to guide me on my quest to purge the world of evil. Because apparently, that’s my job.

I guess it’s just as well I’m willing to play into their delusional game. Until, of course, I find out it’s no delusion at all.

It’s all the more real, and the Phoenix in me rises to the surface, unbidden, unchallenged… And un-allied with either Light or Darkness.

Like I said, I’m not crazy. But read if you dare, and you can judge for yourself.”

What message do you have for future authors?

Never stop writing. If it makes you happy, do it. But don’t write into the genre and way you think your audience will like. Write what you are passionate about, and the rest will follow!

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About Alexa Whitewolf:

I was born in Romania originally, moved to Canada in my teens and then pretty much all over the place in this vast country. Growing up, writing was an escape, a fun way to get away from the reality of the world around me. I always felt different, and though I fit in almost everywhere, I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere.

That changed when I moved to Ottawa for university, at least for a while. But writing was my constant, my always-there escape.

I started writing around 14, The Sage’s Legacy series. I had both book I and II finished by the time I was 16. With university and life getting in the way, I took a break from writing, only dabbling in the occasional contract or fun short stories for my own amusement. It wasn’t until my then-fiancé, now-husband, found one of my notebooks scribbled with scenes from a story, that I got back into it. Avalon Dreams was the product of that long year, followed by its sequel Avalon Wishes this year. My two series, The Avalon Chronicles and The Sage’s Legacy both have strong, stubborn heroines.

Though so far I’ve been writing mainly fantasy/romance/adventure mixes, I have a few projects that will dabble in the paranormal and pure romance coming up J

When I’m not writing, I’m at home with my pups, Zeus and Achilles, out hiking with my husband, or just at my local Starbucks sipping that godly caramel macchiato!

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Website: https://www.alexawhitewolf.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/alexa_whitewolf

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/alexawhitewolf/

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