Posts Tagged ‘Book Excerpt’

Keeping Her: A Message From Cora Cormack

We are delighted to welcome Cora Cormack as she shares a sneaky peek at her upcoming novella, Keeping Her.

Preview Package: Cora Carmack's KEEPING HER by AvonBooks

The Keeping Her ebook novella will be published on 13th of August by William Morrow for US readers and on the 15th of August, by Ebury Digital,for UK readers.

If you would like to learn more about Cora’s work she will be participating in a Goodreads chat along Jay Crownover (author of Jet and Rule)on the 26th of June (click here to go to the site).

Cora will also be hosting a FAKING IT book club on her Facebook page (click here to visit her Facebook page) on the 27th of June from 3-4 p.m. EDT( 19:00-20:00 GMT) where you can live chat with Cora about the book and ask her all your burning questions.

Alternatively, visit the Keeping Her Goodreads page (here).

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Teaser Tuesday: Losing It

Cora Carmack

losing it cover artLove. Romance. Sex. There’s a first time for everything…
As far as Bliss Edwards can tell, she’s the last virgin standing, certainly amongst her friends. And she’s determined to deal with the ‘problem’ as quickly and simply as possible.
But her plan for a no-strings one-night stand turns out to be anything but simple. Especially when she arrives for her first class and recognises her hot new British professor.
She’d left him naked in her bed just 8 hours earlier…

When I was a hormone-riddled teenager my two favorite posters sat side-by-side, on my wood chipped walls (it was the 90’s people). The first was a picture of a gorgeous male model holding a teeny tiny baby in his muscular arms.

The second had a picture of a rather charming *winks* torso, along side which it stated: “I don’t ask for much in a man he only has to be…”
It then proceeded to list an impressive collection of desirable attributes. From the evidence I’ve found within the pages of Cora Cormack’s Losing It I have a sneaky suspicion that Cora may have had the same poster on her teenage wall.

It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to my latest book crush, Garrick:

Gorgeous (and bookish!)

“He looked up from his reading, and suddenly I found it hard to swallow. He was easily the most attractive guy I’d seen tonight-blond hair falling in to crystal blue eyes, just enough scruff on his jaw to give him a masculine look without making him too hairy, and a face that could have made angels sing”

Charming

“You don’t want to finish our drinks?”
He took my hand, and pressed his lips against the inside of my wrist. “I’m already intoxicated.”

Funny

“Are you waiting for an invitation?” I asked, eyeing him standing carefully outside my door. “Is this the part where you tell me you’re a vampire?” He chuckled. “No, I promise the paleness is only because I’m British.”

Bliss’ voice was warm and distinctively kooky, like a modern, American Bridget Jones. I quickly found myself simultaneously laughing out loud and empathetically squirming along side her as she stumble from one deliciously awkward mishap to the next.

“It wasn’t until I’d walked halfway across the parking lot that I realized:
1. I wasn’t wearing shoes.
A. Or a shirt.
2. I didn’t bring my keys
A. Or anything really.
3. I’d just left a complete stranger in my apartment.
A. Naked.
Whoever said one-night stands were supposed to be simple with no strings attached had clearly never met the disaster that was me.”

I absolutely loved Losing It. Funny, romantic and refreshingly free from the “emotional issues” which have featured in many of my recent New Adult reads, it is the perfect feel good, comforting read.

Posted by Caroline

Publisher: Ebury Digital
Publication Date: January 2013
Format: eBook
Pages: 288
Genre: Contemporary romance
Age: Mature YA/ New Adult
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: Debut Author

Thanks to those lovely people at Ebury Press we have one copy of the UK Paperback Of Losing It to give away to one luck UK winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Geek Girl Blog Tour: Book Extract

Both Daisy (11) and I (31 and 1/2) absolutely adore Geek Girl, the hilarious and touching contemporary, by debut author Holly Smale. We are equal parts honoured and delighted share this glimpse of Harriet Manners (from chapter 11) in all of her list making, uncoordinated, geeky glory.

geek girlHarriet Manners knows a lot of things.
She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a “jiffy” lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. What she isn’t quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she’s spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend’s dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome supermodel Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves.
As Harriet veers from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, she begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn’t seem to like her any more than the real world did.
And as her old life starts to fall apart, the question is: will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?

People Who Hate Harriet Manners


Alexa Roberts


Hat Lady


Owners of stalls 24D 24E 24F 24G 24H

I try to blame Nat’s coat dangling on the floor, but Hat Lady is having none of it. There is a lot of squeaking: mine, mostly, followed by hers. And then the crowd gets suddenly bigger.

Apparently I haven’t just knocked over the hat table. Her stall has dominoed into the stall next to it, which has dominoed into the stall next to that, and before I know what’s happening there are six stalls, strewn creatively over the floor, with me lying in a heap in the middle. It’s the fault of those silly fake partitions, in my opinion. They just aren’t stable enough.

Clearly, neither am I.

“This is why I didn’t want you to touch the hats,” Hat Lady is screaming at me as I struggle to get up.

Every time I put my hand down, something crunches. And not in a good-crunch kind of way. In a hand- through-hat kind of way. “You’ve ruined everything!”

From my position on the floor I can see that the tables have crushed at least seven hats, and another three have been hit by the jug of water on one of the now tipped-over chairs. Along with the sign. Another four hats have shoe-shaped dents in them and footprints on the brim. I’m sitting on at least three.

OK, she has a point.

“I’m sorry,” I’m saying over and over again (crunch, crunch, crunch). Everywhere I look are the faces of people who don’t seem to like me very much. “I’m really sorry. I’ll pay for it. I’ll pay for all of it.”

I have no idea how, but I suspect it’s going to involve a lot of car washing and about six hundred years’ worth of groundings.
“It’s not enough,” the woman yells. “This is my biggest sale day of the year! I need to attract a client base!”
I look around briefly. From the size of the crowd, she’s definitely attracted something.

“I’m sorry,” I say again, with my face flaming – because I really, truly, honestly am – and I’m just about to burst into guilty tears when a man wearing a fluorescent yellow jacket and a jaunty black hat leans forward and grabs hold of my hand.

“I’m afraid you’re going to have to come with me,” he says firmly. Then he looks at Hat Lady. “Don’t worry, Sugar,” he adds. “She’s going to pay for the hats. I’ll make sure of it personally.” And he starts leading me away from the carnage.

I gape at him, totally speechless.

So far today, I have nearly died of my own fake illness, fallen over – three times – been shouted at, humiliated, vomited on, abandoned and I’ve managed to trash an entire section of an indoor market. And now, just at the point where I thought it was impossible for things to get worse…

I’ve just been arrested.
***

Massive thanks go to the team at HarperCollins Children’s books for giving us permission to share this excerpt with you today.

Geek Girl by Holly Smale was published on the 28th February and is available now in paperback (£6.99) and e-book formats.

Read Daisy’s review of Geek Girl here.

Posted by Caroline

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Happy Publication Day: The Diamond Thief

Happy Book Birthday to Sharon Gosling and her middle grade debut, The Diamond Thief ( read Daisy’s thoughts here)
We are beside ourselves with excitment to be able to share with you the opening pages of this fabulous stream punk adventure. A massive thank you to the kind people at Curious Fox( learn more here )for granting us permission to post this extract.

the diamond thiefNo one performs on the circus trapeze like sixteen-year-old Remy Brunel. But Remy also leads another life, as a cat burglar and jewel thief. Forced by the evil circus owner Gustave to attempt the theft of one of the world’s most valuable diamonds, Remy thinks it will be just another heist, but when she meets determined young detective Thaddeus Rec, her life changes forever.
Will Thaddeus manage to rescue the jewel? Or is it really Remy that he needs to save?

Le Cirque de la Lune

Rémy took a deep breath as she stood on the edge of the narrow plunge board. Above her, the old material of the big top’s roof was close enough to touch. Below her was nothing at all but air dirtied by dust and tobacco smoke, and then, sixty feet below, arranged around the sawdust of the circus ring, there was the crowd. She could almost hear their silence, the collected indrawn breath of five hundred people. They were all waiting to see what she could do. They wanted to see her tumble through the air above them, to dive and swoop, hanging from a thin metal bar suspended only by two old ropes. And perhaps…just perhaps, this time, she would fall.

Beside her, Larotti balanced precariously, holding her trapeze still. Rémy dipped her hands in the chalk bowl, clapping them together to send a shower of white dust raining through the flickering gaslight. Then she nodded once, chin held high. The little Italian let go as the strains of Saint-Saëns’ “Danse Macabre” began to rise from the ragged little orchestra below. Rémy counted two beats as the trapeze dropped away. Then she leapt, into thin air.

10 For a second, there was nothing to keep her from falling to a horrible death. The crowd gasped, and then, as Rémy’s fingers caught the fleeing trapeze, they sighed in relief. The sound rippled around the huge tent like a breeze, shivering its faded red and yellow stripes.

Rémy twisted lightly, graceful as a bird. She was wearing her favourite costume – it was cerise pink, edged in black, and, even though it was old and had been repaired more times than she could remember, it still stood out perfectly against her pale skin and unruly black hair. Rémy wore it with long fishnet stockings and greasepaint around her eyes, which made her look like a harlequin. Claudette had fashioned a flower from a scrap of almost-matching satin for her hair, along with two long, thin feathers dyed pitch black. From a distance, people said Rémy looked like a bird of paradise, flying on invisible wings. She flipped herself backwards, letting go of the bar with her hands and catching the trapeze with her feet instead, arms stretching down towards the sawdust. Rémy flicked her hips to the right, sending the trapeze into a fast spin as she let one foot come loose and held it straight out, so the audience could see that now, it was only by one ankle that she had any hold at all. Slowing the spin, Rémy righted herself again, dancing up to stand on her hands on the bar before somersaulting backwards as the trapeze swung in a graceful arc above the crowd.

Far below her, Rémy heard Claudette’s sharp whistle echo in the distance. Glancing down, she saw Dominique canter into the sawdust circle. The little palomino wore an old tan saddle and a feather headdress to match Rémy’s own, and on her back was Nicodemus. The pony circled, her pace steady as the wizened little capuchin monkey began to somersault too, over and over, copying Rémy’s movements on Domnique’s back. The crowd roared with laughter, pointing and clapping and slapping their thighs in delight.

Rémy swung the trapeze twice more, gathering speed as the music built and built. She somersaulted again and again, faster and faster. Below, Nicodemus kept perfect time with her all the way.

And then, as the music reached its crescendo, she somersaulted again, twisting backwards, reaching for the bar…She missed. Her fingers brushed the metal of the trapeze, but did not grip it.

Rémy fell like a stone.

Screams erupted around the big tent. People stood, shouting and pointing. Men waved their tattered hats in the air, women pulled their patched shawls up around their faces or used them to shield their children’s eyes, as Rémy plunged head-first towards the compacted earth of the sawdust ring. She managed to twist in mid-air, a mighty turnabout that tipped her upright. There was a flurry of movement in the corner of her eye. Someone from the audience had lunged over the barrier. It was a young man in a long brown coat and top hat – he was rushing towards her, arms outstretched, as if to break her fall. Rémy’s would-be rescuer was so focused on catching her that he almost stepped straight into the path of her horse. Thankfully, Dominique had seen Rémy falling and knew what she had to do.

The pony butted the man out of the way, hard enough to send him sprawling, but at least out of harm’s way. Then she slowed until she was in exactly the right spot. Nicodemus jumped from her back and ran to the upturned bucket in the middle of the ring. Rémy landed squarely, with both feet, on the pony’s saddle, immediately lifting one leg to stand in ballet pose, her free foot pointing elegantly outwards. Dominique continued to canter in a circle as Rémy rode her one-footed. Still standing on the upturned bucket, Nicodemus saluted them both. There was a second of silence as the crowd realized what had happened. And then the sound of cheering and clapping swept over Rémy like a tide, louder than for any other act that night. But then, it always was.

She dropped until she was seated on the pony’s back, patting Dominique with one hand as she waved to the audience with the other. She’d usually do a couple of victory circuits of the ring to soak up the applause, but tonight Rémy’s gaze searched for the man who had tried to save her. He was still picking himself up, forlornly brushing sawdust from his coat. “Sorry,” she called over the thunderous sound of the audience as she pulled Dominique to a halt beside him. “She is trained not to let anything get in her way when we do my act. If she had stopped, I would have died. And you too, probably. I would have crushed you!”

The young man looked up at her. To her surprise, she saw he couldn’t be that much older than she was. It was his eyes that really startled her, though. They were two different colours – one as blue as the sky over Paris on a bright day in May, one as deep brown as good chocolate. And they twinkled. He bent down to retrieve his hat and pushed it on over his mussed hair before replying.

“Well,” he said with a slight smile. “That’ll teach me to be a good Samaritan, won’t it? People do keep telling me I shouldn’t bother. Good day, miss.”

He tipped his hat briefly and then turned away. A second later, he was lost in the crowd. Rémy’s gaze tried to follow him, but it was no good. He was gone.

She and Dominique did one more circuit of the ring and then left the big top, Nicodemus skittering along in their wake. Claudette was waiting for her at the players’ entrance. The little monkey rushed off into the thick night, through London’s chill drizzle and back to the animal enclosure. Claudette tutted as she saw Rémy adjust her opal necklace, pulling it down from where it had flown up around her ears as she’d fallen. “You know you should not wear that on the wire, ma chérie,” Claudette chided in her gentle, sing-song voice, as Rémy slid gracefully from Dominique’s back. “One of these days, you will strangle yourself. And it will be a night like tonight, when someone stupid tries to save the girl who does not need to be saved.”

Rémy grinned as she took the threadbare black robe Claudette held out and pulled it on over her head. She kicked off the silver slippers she always wore on the trapeze and struggled into her boots, instead. They were leather, black and worn like everything else she possessed, and the only pair she had owned since she was ten – six whole years. “Never, Claudette. You know me – I live a charmed life. Probably because I never take my opal off.”

Claudette shook her head with long-suffering patience, her thick chestnut hair hanging loose around her shoulders. At 24, she was eight years older than Rémy, and along with her little daughter, Amélie, was the closest thing Rémy had to a family. “Well, I hope your charm is at full power tonight,” Claudette told her. “Gustave wants to see you.”

Rémy made a face and sighed. “Ach. It must be time.” Claudette raised an eyebrow. Her eyes seemed even darker than usual, and they bore a trace of worry. “Take care, chérie. This one will be difficult, I think. We are not in France now, you know. This is the great city of London, not a little town in Provence.” Rémy straightened up and wiped rain from her eyes as she regarded her friend. Claudette was a fortune-teller and talented pickpocket. She could take a wallet from its owner and they would swear blind she’d never even been close enough to touch them. They were all vagabonds and thieves at Le Cirque de la Lune – and Rémy… well, Rémy was queen of them all. She’d been stealing since she was old enough to walk, and a jewel thief since she’d learned how to work the wire aged eight. Now, she was the best gem snatcher in Europe, probably in the whole of the world. Rémy had never been caught. And, she thought to herself, I never will be. Never.

“You worry too much,” she said. “Why should this be different to any other? They’ll never catch me, Claudette. That is what makes me so valuable to Gustave, yes?” Claudette sighed. “You should not take these things too lightly, Rémy,” she warned. “One day your luck will run out. And in any case, this life… it is not good enough for you. You should run, while you still can. Gustave could not –” Rémy shook her head. “When I can take you and Amélie with me, then we will all go,” she said. “But not before. We need money! And now is not the time for this old argument of ours, ma belle amie. I must go before the old goat gets too impatient. Kiss Amélie goodnight for me. Tell her she must sleep well because Dominique will be waiting to give her another lesson in the morning.”

Claudette smiled, taking Dominique’s reigns and digging a sugar-lump from her pocket as she led her away. “Then you had better make sure you come back, hadn’t you, Little Bird?” Rémy watched Claudette disappear into the thick black shadows of the circus tents. Behind her, the last of the audience was leaving, laughing and chattering. She smiled. She had been good tonight – really good, even despite the almost-disaster caused by the boy with the mismatched eyes. Rémy was always good, she knew that, but some nights it felt as if she could walk on air, and those were always her best performances. Not that Gustave ever paid her extra, or praised her work. He was more interested in her other, illegal, skills.

Rémy looked towards his caravan. It stood apart from the rest, at the back of the field he had rented for them. Well, Gustave called it a field, but it was really just a barren patch of land behind the Spitalfields market, turned to mud by the never-ending rain. Rémy glanced up, blinking into the night gloom at the sooty grey clouds that seemed permanently gathered overhead. Out beyond the market square, the buildings of London slouched towards each other as if sheltering together from the miserable weather. Lights flickered and guttered in windows caked with grime and soot. The silhouettes of the taller townhouses of the East End loomed darkly over the cobbled streets. It was the first time Rémy had left France, and she’d expected a better, brighter place. But there was as much dirt and poverty here as at home, and the bread was bad, too. She dreamed of a life somewhere else, somewhere sunny, where she did not have to steal. One day…Rémy pulled her hands into her sleeves and scuffed the toe of her boot into the mud. ‘One day’ was not tonight, she reminded herself. Tonight, she had to steal the second biggest diamond in the world.

Squaring her shoulders, she headed for Gustave’s haunt. She could hear music from inside the caravan, and knew it was Dorffman, the German, playing his violin. He was supposed to be the circus’s chief carpenter, but ever since Gustave had uncovered Dorffman’s musical skills, he’d made him play every night as the circus owner ate. Rémy wondered what crime the man had committed to end up in this place. She liked him, he seemed nice, but it could be anything. Murder, maybe, although it was more likely to be theft…but everyone at Le Cirque de la Lune had their own story. One day she would ask, she decided, as she mounted the rickety painted steps to her master’s door. “Come!” Came the yell of his voice as she knocked. Inside, Gustave was at his dinner, tearing a whole roast chicken apart with his fat fingers. The sight of the grease trickling down over his knuckles turned Rémy’s stomach and made her forget that she hadn’t eaten since lunch, and then only a round of gritty, grey bread and dripping.

The circus owner glanced up at her. “The cloud is thick tonight. It is Friday, the police are tired after their long week,” he grunted. “But still, now is not the time.” She blinked, surprised. “No?”

“No,” Gustave rumbled around a mouthful of food. “You see, this is important. More important than any other job you’ve ever done. And so I want you to do a…reconnoitre. Find the best way in, determine where the guards are stationed and, more importantly, establish your escape route. Make the plan infallible, yes? You must not fail me, Rémy.” For a moment, Rémy was speechless. He’d never asked her to do reconnaissance before. And she had never, ever failed him. She had never even come close to failing. Seeing her indignation, Gustave sighed and put down his chicken. “You know where this jewel is being kept?” “In the Tower of London, master.”

“Yes,” he said, his voice dry. “The Tower of London. Make no mistake, my little thieving genius. However good you are, this is going to be the hardest thing you have ever tried. So, reconnaissance. There is to be a reception for the great and the good at the Tower tomorrow night. It is the perfect opportunity for you to learn everything you need to know about where the jewel is held. Now, tell me what you are looking for.” “The Darya-ye Noor,” Rémy huffed.

“And what are you not looking for?”

“The Koh-i Noor. I know.”

He snorted, sending flecks of grease and chicken flesh to pepper the table. “You think you know everything, do you not, little Rémy? Can you tell me the difference between the two?” Rémy sighed. Gustave had been lecturing her on this for weeks. As if she couldn’t tell one diamond from another. As if she hadn’t been born able to know the worth of a gem just by looking at it. Rémy remembered every precious stone she’d ever seen in her life, and she could feel all of them now as if she held them still. In her hands jewels were living things, and they seemed to like her. They fell towards her fingers gratefully. She knew them. The thief toyed with the opal around her neck absently, and recited Gustave’s lessons.

“The Koh-i Noor – the Mountain of Light – and the Darya-ye Noor – the Ocean of Light – are sister-stones. They were both mined from Golconda in India more than a century ago. Now Queen Victoria owns the Mountain of Light, and the Shah of Persia owns the Ocean of Light. And for the first time since they were both mined, the stones are back together. In the Tower of London. So that is why we are here.”

“And what do we want?”

“The ocean, not the mountain,” Rémy repeated, dutifully. Gustave’s pudgy, pasty face creased into a frown. “Remember that, Little Bird. The Ocean is smaller than the Mountain, but prettier. And it belongs to the Shah, not the Queen, so the good policemen of London will not care so much about it. Get in, take it, get out. That’s what you need to do when the time is right. Do not get distracted by the larger stone. Do you understand me?”

“Yes, master.”

He nodded slowly, and then held up the remains of his dinner’s carcass. “Do that, and there will be one of these for you. You can share it with that light-fingered friend of yours. And her strange little whelp, if you really do insist on feeding it.” Rémy held herself still, but she wanted to hit him. How dare he talk about Amélie like that? Just because she was different, just because she didn’t speak. How dare he – “Well?” Gustave bellowed. “What are you waiting for? Go!
Prepare!”

Rémy gritted her teeth and left, slamming the door as she ran down the steps. The sound was masked by Dorffman and his mournful violin, the ripple of sad strings rising into the dead, wet night.

* * *

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Self Published Sunday: Excerpt from The Caretakers

Following on from last weeks interview( read it here), Adrian Chamberlin returns with an excerpt from his book,The Caretakers.

As a Cambridge College celebrates a midwinter feast, four uninvited strangers uncover a devastating secret. A secret that must never be revealed…for the love of humanity.
Andy Hughes – a man with a dark past and an even darker future. His search for a missing student will lead him to a confrontation with an evil beyond human imagining…
Rob Benson – a van driver who discovers a dead wild boar in the back of his Transit. A boar that just won’t stay dead…
Jennifer Callaby – Andy’s estranged girlfriend, who discovers the shocking truth of The Caretakers – and the sacred task that they perform…
Jason Franklin – a prisoner who holds the key to the fates of them all, and may well be their only salvation – if he doesn’t destroy them first…
A disturbing thriller that questions the nature of evil and the price to be paid for the continued survival of the human race – a price that for some is too great to pay…
THE CARETAKERS – a Master’s Degree in terror.

Extract from Chapter Three of The Caretakers.

She blinked. She’d seen something out of the corner of her eye, a brief movement outside the tiny chapel. Something red…and green.
The doors opened. A woman’s head peered out…and then sharply withdrew as her eyes met Emma’s.
Stacey!

She let out a strangled cry. There was no mistake. The red hair – as wild and unkempt as her own – was a sodden mass that flicked droplets of sea water on the dark oak doors before disappearing into the stone confines of the chapel.

Emma could smell the salt tang of the ocean waves that had killed her sister. The aroma of putrefying flesh and intestinal gases as the body was dragged from the harbour two years ago now filled the cold silent court.

Her head swam with the memory and she felt the frozen ground beneath her feet tilt violently. She sank to her knees and vomited.
She stared at the vomit steaming on the fresh snow for a long time. Anything rather than look to the chapel entrance.

I have to know.

She climbed to her feet and looked around her. The court was still devoid of human life.

But what about the chapel? Human life in there? It couldn’t be. Stacey Robertson was dead. Whatever had disappeared into the chapel, it was not her sister. Someone was playing a sick joke.

Just like the voices I heard earlier? The voice of Stacey on my mobile? That’s no joke, Em.

She had to know. She had to find out. Stepping over the rapidly cooling vomit and onto the grass of the lawns, she made her way to the chapel.

The doors weren’t closed, but they had been pulled to. She put a shaking hand on the knob and pulled it towards her. The droplets of sea water had run down the timber, forming small shining crystals of salt.

The doors swung open on rusty hinges. She stepped in and her glasses steamed up. She took them off and wiped the lenses on her jeans. The musty smell of old, damp stone filled her nostrils. She couldn’t detect any aroma of seawater now.

Sunlight coming through the open door provided the only illumination, not enough to completely banish the darkness. She replaced her glasses but could only just make out the pews and the altar. The carved image of Christ loomed over the silver eagle on the lectern, His agonised expression hidden by the shadows. She shivered. That sculpture gave her the creeps.

The building was tiny, an apology for a chapel. It had none of the grandeur or ornate decoration that other Cambridge College chapels boasted – the Fellowship didn’t even have a chaplain amongst its numbers – but it had something unique. A wooden carved representation of the Passion that was unlike any other she had seen.

Christ’s legs were folded at the waist, the knees pointed to the left. A wickedly blunt nail entered the right ankle and came out of the left behind it, pinning both to the wood. Two more nails shattered the wrists, not the palms, the fingers clenched inwards like claws, the fingernails penetrating the palms and drawing fresh blood. His head was slumped on His right shoulder, the crown of thorns penetrating the skin.

She walked slowly towards the altar, her mouth dry. The snow on her trainers melted, soaking into the faded, threadbare carpet that led between the cracked and chipped pews. The winter sun rose higher, and Christ’s face was reclaimed from the darkness.

The expression wasn’t one of beatific sacrifice – it was an all too human representation of physical agony. The flesh coloured paint was unnervingly close to the real hue of tortured human skin, right down to the mottled blue and purple patches of the bruising meted out during the buffeting. His piercing blue eyes were wide and staring, the shining pupils dilated. The mouth was open in a silent scream, the thin lips curled and the yellowed teeth broken. The fresh blood trickling from the nail and flagellation wounds were a vivid scarlet in the glare of the December sun.

She heard the sound of dripping water. She frowned, and cocked her head.

There it was again. A steady drip-drip-drip, of liquid falling on stone. She thought of the seawater falling from Stacey’s red hair and put her hand to her mouth.

This wasn’t seawater. The coppery aroma was unmistakeably that of blood. Blood dripping from physical wounds and falling to the stone flags.

Emma let out a strangled cry as she saw the source. Around the nails pinning Christ’s wrists to the cross something glistened and squirmed. Fresh blood, running from the gaping wounds to the ends of the trembling fingers before falling to the floor.

The head of Christ then raised itself from the shoulder. Thorns from His crown were pulled free from the taut muscles in the arm with a wet sucking sound. The emaciated chest rose and fell, shuddering breaths taken and exhaled. Breath that misted in the cold air of the chapel.

The head turned to face the intruder. Emma was frozen solid, immobile, under the gaze of the figure that was no longer made of painted, carved wood. The terrifying expression fixed her to the floor as surely as the nails held the flesh of Christ to the cross.
His eyes had changed. The piercing blue irises were now scarlet: blood-red irises that encircled the rapidly shrinking pupils, constricting them, as though squeezing them out of existence. The lips moved slightly. More mist rose into the air to accompany the barely audible words.

“Confess your faith…”

There was no trace of agony or fear in Christ’s expression now. The lips were twisted into a mocking smile as Emma opened her mouth to scream.

“Confess your faith unto him who said All Souls are mine…”

The words were louder now, clearly audible. Calm, confident and commanding, accompanied with mocking laughter.

“All Souls are mine…and ALL SOULS IS MINE!”

The laughter at the thing’s own joke increased in volume, echoing around the stone walls of the small chapel and drowning the scream that tore from Emma Robertson’s lips.

It wasn’t just the blasphemous words, nor the animated carving of a leader sent to free mankind from death and evil. It was because the words were delivered in a woman’s voice. A young woman’s voice that was painfully familiar.

Stacey’s voice.

Emma’s scream finally drowned the laughter of the abomination on the cross. Blotted out everything. She was oblivious to the closing of the chapel doors behind her.

She was oblivious to the slow, measured footsteps of the man who walked towards her with outstretched arms.

Adrian Chamberlin is a horror writer from the United Kingdom. He has had a catalogue of short stories published in anthologies on both sides of the Atlantic, and his first novel The Caretakers was launched at the World Horror Convention in Austin, Texas, in 2011 to considerable critical acclaim.
He is a founding member of Dark Continents Publishing, a co-operative formed by six dark fiction writers who decided to take control of their writing destinies and self-publish their works through a co-operative model for mutual gain and benefit. Since its launch, Dark Continents Publishing has now become a respected small press publisher with writers from all over the world – including South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia, as well as the United Kingdom and North America – releasing critically acclaimed novels, novellas, and anthologies.

The Caretakers is avaliable to buy from Amazon.uk, Amazon.com and Barns and Noble.

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Self Published Sunday: Bonus scene from Inescapable

Last week we had the pleasure of hosting an interview (read it here) with Amy Bartol, the author of The Premonition Series. Amy has kindly provided a taster of the first book in the series, Inescapable.

My name is Evie Claremont and this was to be the making of me–my freshman year of college. I had been hoping that once I had arrived on Crestwood’s campus, the nightmare that I’ve been having would go away. It hasn’t.
I may be an inexperienced seventeen-year-old, but I’m grounded…sane. Since meeting sophomore Reed Wellington, however, nothing makes any sense. Whenever he is near, I feel an attraction to him–a magnetic kind of force pulling me towards him. I know what you’re thinking…that sounds fairly awesome. Yeah, it would–if he liked me, but Reed acts as if I’m the worst thing that’s ever happened to Crestwood…or him. But, get this, for some reason every time I turn around he’s there, barging into my life.
What is the secret he is keeping from me? I’m hoping that it is anything but what I expect: that he is not exactly normal…and neither am I. So maybe Crestwood won’t be the making of me, but it could be the breaking of me. I have been left to wonder if the dark future my dream is foretelling is…inescapable.

FROM INESCAPABLE – CHAPTER 13 – COLDWATER: “SHADOW MAN DREAM”
This scene was cut from Chapter 13 of Inescapable. It was the scene right after Evie drives with Freddie to Coldwater and she sees the “shadow man” there. I cut this scene primarily for word count, but also because I thought it was confusing. Evie’s dreams are premonitions and this was intended as just a standard nightmare.

Leaning back against the seat, I close my eyes. This was a bad idea, I think and wonder how I’m going to explain what I saw to Reed when I’m not even supposed to be in Coldwater. He’s going to be hostile when I tell him what I did. He wasn’t here to ask, I think grasping at straws, but then I look at my cell phone and I can already hear the argument that I hadn’t even tried to call him. Maybe I don’t have to tell him. I look again through the back window, scanning the cars behind me for any sign of the shadow man, but I can detect nothing. That thing was evil, you felt it and it felt you. You should be on the phone to Reed this minute, I think. Damn!

I worry about the shadow man all the way back to Crestwood. Freddie doesn’t seem to notice my tension as we discuss the installation of the firewall in depth. It’s obvious that Freddie can handle the install without me. Russell and his roommate will probably be at the field by now, so it should be easy enough to get in and get out without him knowing.

Freddie drops me off in the parking lot of my dorm and I can hear the drums of the marching band playing at the field house from my room. Russell’s first game is going to start any minute. I’m torn as to what to do. I had planned on going to support him, but my being there will probably have the opposite effect on him right now. I’m probably the last person on earth he wants to see and that fact makes me more miserable than I can say.

To make matters even worse, I’m beginning to really miss Reed, which is pathetic because he has only been gone a little more than a day. It doesn’t take long for me to break down and try to reach Reed on my cell phone. He doesn’t answer his phone, but I get to listen to his sexy voice on his voicemail and I wish that I had some way to record it so that I can play it back over and over again like an obsessed groupie. When I hear the beep that indicates that I should leave a message, I’m at a loss as to what to say because I hadn’t planned the call at all, it was an extreme impulse.

I say almost breathlessly, “Hi, Reed, it’s Evie…I miss you…come home soon.” Hanging up the phone, I cringe and cover my face with my hands when I think of the message I just left. You are so not a player Evie.

I opt to stay in my room instead of going to the football game. A while later, I hear the chatter in the hallway outside my door. The Chargers, apparently, have won and all the houses are celebrating the victory with parties overflowing with contraband kegs hidden in their basements. I’m not in any mood to party tonight, in fact, all I want to do is hide for as long as possible

I go to bed early and try to imagine just what Reed is doing at this moment. I imagine him lying in his bed, thinking of me. It makes me feel better, even if it isn’t true. I fall asleep thinking of how it will feel to hold him in my arms again.

A noise outside my window distracts me from my thoughts of Reed. It sounds ugly, like the popping sound of joints when they crack from being hyper-extended, but on a grander scale: louder, and with more crunching and fracturing of cartilage and sinew. Confused as to what can possibly be making that noise, I get out of bed and go to the window to find the source of the sound. I can see a man standing under one of the bright lights in the parking lot outside. He’s looking directly at my room. I move back a bit, hiding from his view behind the curtain where I can still see him. I cover my mouth with my hand in fear, watching him.

The man is growing taller, but not exactly “taller.” It’s more like he’s elongating. His legs are growing, but his torso remains the same size so that he resembles a distorted stilt walker. His tread is that of an obscene carnival clown as he scissor-walks toward my window. My breath is coming out in shallow gasps as I’m beginning to shake. Coming abreast of the fire escape, he’s beginning to decrease in size again, morphing into the exact likeness of the shadow man I’d seen earlier in Coldwater. My legs are numb with fear so I can’t run, I can’t scream. I watch him with a sense of helplessness as he moves disjointedly; he is on the fire escape one moment, and the next, he’s in my room.

Backing up stiffly on trembling legs, my knees buckle when I bump into the bed, forcing me to sit on it. He followed me back to Crestwood. He knows what I am! He’s here to tear me apart, I think in terror.

Before my eyes, the shadow detaches itself from the man to become a separate entity, so that “he” becomes “they.” The shadow leads the man, I think as they near my bed. I can smell the rank odor of the shadow; it smells like the sulfur in chemistry class, but different—more putrid. It’s burning my nose with its stench.

I want to scream, but the shadow has put one of its elongated fingertips to my lips. It feels like a blast of icy rotten air. It wags the grotesquely long finger of its other hand in my face, as if shaming me for telling a secret. Watching its fingers grow longer, each one seems to be sharpening like a knife. Before I can do anything to stop it, the shadow plunges its fingers into my chest. Fire burns through me as its spiny appendages enter my heart. Trying to put my hands on its chest, they slide right through it like air. There is no substance to it, but I feel pain; its knives are twisting inside of me. Panicking and flailing, I reach out and push against the shadow’s partner: the man. He’s solid. I beat my fists against his chest, pounding him with all of my strength.

Energy passes through my body and into the man in the form of extreme heat. Through my haze of pain, I can see that I hurt them. The shadow, stunned by my counter attack, withdraws quickly, as if it too, is burned. It leaps back into the man, turning them black. They distort, shrinking like a balloon that has a slow leak, decreasing in size until they’re no more than a murky dot in my room. Then, as if they had never been, they’re gone.

I shoot straight up in bed, clutching my chest where I’d been stabbed in my dream. Gasping for breath, I sob while putting my hands to my chest. I’m whole, I’m uncut, but I feel twinges of pain from the knives that had entered my chest in the dream. I’m okay, I assure myself, panting as if I’ve actually undergone the extreme exertion of fighting off the shadow man. Coldwater was a bad, bad, idea, I think, feeling panic overwhelming me. I allow panic to take hold. Lying in my bed trembling, I realize that I have not been taking this seriously. I’ve been in a state of denial. Reed had said that there are things out there that would like nothing better than to get their hands on me, but I hadn’t been able to grasp it fully. I’m grasping it now that I’ve seen one of them. If that thing had really come for me tonight, I doubt I’d have even seen it coming. I’d probably already be dead. I hug my pillow as I lay in my bed, waiting for the sun to come up.

“I live in Michigan with my husband and our two sons. My family is very supportive of my writing. When I’m writing, they often bring me the take-out menu so that I can call and order them dinner. They listen patiently when I talk about my characters like they’re real. They rarely roll their eyes when I tell them I’ll only be a second while I finish writing a chapter…and then they take off their coats. They ask me how the story is going when I surface after living for hours in a world of my own making. They have learned to accept my “writing uniform” consisting of a slightly unflattering pink fleece jacket, t-shirt, and black yoga pants. And they smile at my nerdy bookishness whenever I try to explain urban fantasy to them. In short, they get me, so they are perfect and I am blessed. Here are some of my sites: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Pintrest and Pintrest.

Inescapable is available to buy from Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

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Self Published Sunday: The Broken Destiny Excerpt

This week Big Book Little Book Welcomes Carlyle Labuschagne as she shares the trailer and excerpts from her book, The Broken Destiny.

An amazing new sci-fi series begins with The Broken Destiny: Book One of The Broken Series.
Ava’s People have been exiled to Planet Poseidon, where through a series of horrific events, Ava discovers that their existence has been fabricated by The Council, And She has a Destiny that could save them. Her Soul is a secret weapon that has been lost to an ancient race. To fulfill her destiny Ava needs to go through a series of “changes” that will reveal her true purpose. Throughout her journey she will become what she hates in order to save the ones she loves. And through it all she will find herself – for that is her Destiny, to rise above the fall.

Prolog
All my life, I had searched for something, something I thought I ought to be. I felt like I was living someone else’s life, waiting for the awakening of my own. I felt like an empty shell burning for life. That was, until the day I lay dying in the prince’s chambers. I could no longer feel the pain from the tear in my gut. The only sensation left was a hollowed-out feeling that I had made a huge mistake in assuming that taking my own life, would have stopped the ancestors’ spirit from raging out. I had given up. I didn’t want to see myself killing the ones I loved. I was the Chosen one, but I threw it all away for what I thought would save a life. Could you end a life to save a life? I did, and I have regretted it ever since. I realized then that things like me are not meant to exist. What had been missing my whole life? It was I. To find myself, I had to lose myself in the worst possible way. The consequences of my actions became the legend of The Broken.

Chapter 7
Wanting

As she pulled the hood over her head to protect her curls from frizzing in the rain, I mirrored her action and let my hood cover my view of her as I turned – covering my tears as we left. It doesn’t matter anyway, seventeen is such an overrated age, I thought. Besides I felt a hundred years old lately. I looked down at the wet ground beneath my feet, water pooling around the soles of my once clean boots. With a slow screech of metal the guards closed the gate behind us. I turned back staring at the huge iron gates, the winged pattern of our military badge spread from one wall to the other, showing me that I was no longer welcome. Sam stood staring as the wind picked up some of her red hair and brushed it across the dark gray sky, like fire against ice. I waved, water darkening the soft material of the gloves Maya had given me, the golden pattern almost fading with each drop. I loved the rain so much, but everything seemed out of place because of it. I will never be happy; our keepers have made sure of that. I kept my eyes on the soaked forest floor. I wanted to feel like this forever – forever gray, forever numb, forever sad. It concerned me that my thoughts were so morbid and indulging, forcing more of these gloomy thoughts to enter my mind. The more negative thoughts I had the worse I felt, and the worse I felt, the more I welcomed the pain and anger that harbored inside me. It was the only part of me I could control.

Carlyle Labuschagne lives in Sunny South Africa , married her highschool sweatheart adn shares her creativity with her two young boys. Carlyle Works as a PR and Marketing Manager by day and writes by every other moment. She holds a diploma in creative writing throught the writing school at Collage SA. Loves to swim , fights for the trees , food lover who is driven by passion for everything fantasy. Carlyle writes for IU emagazine an inspirational non profit magazine that aims at inspiring the world through words.

The Broken Destiny is available to in paperback and ebook buy from Amazon and Barnes and Noble
To learn more about the series visit Carlyle’s Website

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Self Published Sunday: His Black Wings

This week Big Book Little Book welcomes Astrid Yrigollen as she tells us about her new book His Black Wings and shares and excerpt with us.

Astrid Yrigollen is a self-published author of young adult and children’s books. Astrid started her writing career when she began work for the international video game giant, Sega of America. Working her way up the ranks, she began writing companion guides for games. With a love for writing fiction since childhood, she took her short stories out of storage and had her first story ever written published. It was only after that she found out that first stories are never published! She has resumed writing full time and has succeeded in putting out the titles, The Doughnut Tree, Mysterious Pootkins, and The Mosswoods–to name a few. Her short stories have appeared in the literary journal of Threshold Press and Shock and Awe Magazine. She now has a new YA fiction releasing in early November, titled His Black Wings. Astrid thinks of His Black Wings as her pride and joy!

Tell us about your book?
His Black Wings is set in a post apocalyptic world, but it’s not Mad Max like at all. That reference may be a little old for some, so I will say it’s not all gloom and doom and cannibals. It’s about a young woman, Claren Maidstone who grows up during a Victorian era revival period with futuristic technology, but the aesthetic, buildings, clothes are Victorian. Her parents die in an accident and Kurten Wandsworth, a mad man who is in love with her, attacks her. She escapes, but goes from the frying pan to the fire as they say. She ends up in an old mansion called Westwind where Etrigan Lowood, a brooding young man lives. He has been isolated his whole life because he has these massive black wings and he doesn’t want her there. If readers enjoy Beauty and the Beast and Jane Eyre type stories, I think they will enjoy His Black Wings.

Do you ever experience writers block? How do you overcome it?
Most times that I am writing my fingers are flying and I can’t keep up with the story. It’s like its telling itself and I am just a middle man. But there will be times when I have to figure out how to connect events or people but it’s not coming to me as I type. So I immediately get up, do some house chore while thinking of the scene. Then a few minutes later the answer comes to me. Maybe that’s why the dishes never get done.

What are you currently reading?
Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs and The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

What/Who inspired you as a reader?
My father was always an avid reader and taught me to treat books with respect and to collect books for my own library. There would be times I would have a stack of 8 books by my bed and finish them all off in a week’s time. Now I am down to two at a time since I am writing much more. In first grade I also developed a great love for the library and consider it a second home .

If your book had a soundtrack which artists would feature on it?
Cocteau Twins, The Sisters of Mercy, The Smiths, The Cure, Karl Orff for the intense scenes and I would have to figure out how to sneak in some Tom Waits.

His Black Wings is…
Beauty and the Beast set in the future during a Victorian era revival.
The Grand Council has brought the world peace, but will it last?
Malice, revenge and lust are not easily defeated…
Claren Maidstone has been forced to flee her childhood home, following the death of her parents and a vicious attack from a man who intends to marry her.
She assumes a new identity and finds employment as an assistant to the handsome, Fredrick Lowood. However, Fredrick’s generosity isn’t without a price and Claren soon finds herself forced into a strange friendship with his disfigured son.
Unaware of how Claren’s past entwines with his own,
Etrigan Lowood begins to yearn for her love.
Unfortunately, the past is not far behind.
Is his love for Claren enough?
Or will Etrigan remain alone with his black wings…

His Black Wings by Astrid Yrigollen
Beginning of Chapter 1

I didn’t’ know what to say , so I sat there stupidly. He grinned at me from behind white teeth. His ice blue eyes held a coldness and judgment I had not seen before. My heart fluttered and felt like a huge fish was rolling over in my breast.

“Well?” he said as he traced the outline of my knee through my heavy skirt with his slender, white finger.

“What is your wish, Claren?” My heart, upon hearing him use my real name beat harder. I felt the adrenaline push itself through my veins. He seemed to be aware of it, and licked his lips quickly.

“I don t know what is it you ask Sir.’ I stammered, my own voice sounding as a childs would when confronted with some wrong doing.

He had used my real name, was it safe to assume he knew who I really was?
He stopped smiling and cocked his head to one side, contemplating me.

“But you do Claren, you know very well what I want, what you want.”

How did it ever come to this? I thought franticly. What was I going to do, now that he knew who I was? He seemed to read my thoughts in my eyes because he answered my question without it ever being posed.

“What will I do indeed? What can I do is the question, Claren. Here we are on a train, bound for the quaint countryside. No alarm has been raised, no Porter is valiantly trying to fight for your honor or to even help and cover your embarrassment, your lies. Thus, it shall remain so. At least, until we arrive at our destination.”

“Then what? “ I questioned quietly.

I am resolved to die, but not without a fight. He knows this that is why he will not attempt to take me here, on a train full of people. My question hangs in the air between us, like a solid thing. He still has not answered as the whistle of our train shrieks into the wind, we race into the tunnel, blackness engulfing our private car.

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Self Published Sunday: The Serpent’s Ring

H B Bolton has joined us today to share a tasty morsel from her latest book, The Serpent’s Ring.
A middle grade fantasy adventure,The Serpent’s Ring, features fantastical creatures and elements of norse mythology.
Although an established self published author this is H B Bolton’s first book for children.
Check out the other stops on The Serpent’s Ring blog tour via Candace’s Book Blog.
Evan and Claire Jones are typical teenagers, forced to go with their parents to yet another boring museum…that is, until something extraordinary happens to make their day a little more than interesting. After following a strange little creature into a closed exhibit, Evan and his older sister, Claire, discover the Serpent’s Ring, one of the magical relics formed from the shattered Mysticus Orb. Purely by accident, they have awakened its powers and opened a portal to Sagaas, land of ancient gods.
Before the siblings can comprehend what has happened, the Serpent’s Ring is wrenched from Evan’s hand by an enormous bird and flown back to Aegir, the Norse god of the sea. Evan and Claire, accompanied by a band of unlikely heroes, must retrieve the Serpent’s Ring before Aegir uses its immense powers to flood all the lands on Earth.

Popping Out and Dropping Down
Book Excerpt

“It won’t take long for Aegir to figure out how to use the Serpent’s Ring,” Vor continued, but he’d already lost Evan’s attention.

Dunkle and Barfel were far more amusing, as they were attacking treats with a vengeance. Their movements so fast, they were a blur. They were loading up their arms with puffed pastries and other goodies, and stuffing their faces with rainbow-colored tarts. Crumbs flew everywhere, landing across the room on a shaggy, white rug. Evan was transfixed by the spectacle and had trouble looking away.

He grabbed a round puffed pastry. Unlike the imps, he wasn’t going to gobble up the whole thing in one bite; he wanted to enjoy his treat. After all, he wasn’t sure how long it would be before he could eat again. Besides, he felt manners were in order while in the company of a Norse goddess and an ancient professor.

“Excuse me,” Evan interrupted. “What’s this called?”

“A Poppin-Droppin,” Vor said and continued with her tale.

With a strange name like Poppin-Droppin, Evan wasn’t sure what to expect. The soft pastry smelled like sweet-cream butter, so he knew it must be good. He shrugged his shoulders and bit it in half. To his delight, the Poppin-Droppin’s layers flaked apart, melting in his mouth. Its center was filled with whipped chocolate, delivering the most incredible sensation Evan had ever experienced. That was until the remaining bite in his hand sprouted out another pastry, and then another and another. Poppin-Droppins multiplied, popping out and dropping down so rapidly that Evan couldn’t catch them. It didn’t take long for him to realize how the Poppin-Droppins came by their name.

Dunkle stopped devouring food long enough to say, “You must eat that particular pastry all in one bite; do not leave even a crumb. Otherwise, it will multiply and make a mess.”

Evan stuffed Poppin-Droppins in his mouth as quickly as he could. Dunkle and Barfel helped by shoveling in bouncing pastries. Thank goodness the professor and Vor were too busy talking with Claire to pay much attention to the spectacle.
Evan hoped Claire was listening to Vor’s advice closely, because at that moment, he was preoccupied.

Currently, Barbara Brooke resides in sunny Florida with her supportive husband, two adorable children, gorgeous greyhounds, and scruffy mutt. She is actively creating new worlds and interesting characters for the next book in one of her series. Shhhh, can you keep a secret? Not only does she write spellbinding, heart-pounding women’s fiction, she also writes books for the young-at-heart, adventurous sort who yearn to dive into a good young adult fantasy story. These particular books are written under the name H.B. Bolton, but that is another story altogether.

Magic and exotic treats are sprinkled throughout The Serpent’s Ring. Like most boys, Evan is on the constant lookout for something to help ease the rumbling in his stomach. While in Asgard, he discovers there isn’t a food or drink he isn’t willing to try: Poppin-Droppins, Fizzy Whizzles, Woof-Out Bars…thank goodness, not all of them cause bizarre side effects.

Food is comfort. Food is familiar. Food is something people have in common.
And although few people have eaten pastries with magical properties, who couldn’t relate to sinking one’s teeth into soft, buttery pastry? By bringing Poppin-Droppins to life, Evan is able to not only share his experience, but to heighten the readers senses and bring the reader into the room with him. The reader can smell the doughy goodness, feel the moist layers, and taste the gooey chocolate.

Sure, it’s important for a novel to have a strong sense of plot, realistic and interesting characters, and believable dialogue, but what about the extras? such as Harry Potter’s butterbeer, Alice’s “eat me” cakes, and Bilbo’s ale bring life to a story.
Extras like Dorothy’s sparkling shoes, Snow White’s poisoned apple, and Tinker Bell’s pixie dust bring richness to a scene. Many readers yearn to be a part of a world where enchanted items exist —have a replica of Dumbledore’s wand and a chocolate frog to prove it.

What item do you wish had magical properties? What food or drink from a movie would you like to try?

Guest post by H B Bolton

Photo Credits
1 Rainbow Pastries
photo credit: starbooze via photopin cc

2 Puffed Pastry
Photocredit: Minette Layne via photopin cc bochallavia photopin cc

4 Honeydukes
photocredit: Orihimehimex3 via photopin cc

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Self Published Sunday: The Pyramid Legacy

Two weeks a go we were delighted to interview Clive Eaton about his reading and writing experiences.
Clive has kindly returned to Self Published Sunday to share an excerpt from his debut novel The Pyramid Legacy.

For over four millennia the Great Pyramid of Giza has guarded a secret image; until NOW!
A prominent young Egyptologist is murdered by a colleague, deep within the bowels of the Great Pyramid of Giza. The authorities are keen to cover it up, but they know they can’t achieve total closure whilst English robotics engineer, Ben Anderson, remains in possession of a powerful image. An image, which suggests the Great Pyramid at Giza was not built by ancient Egyptians.
What the Egyptian authorities don’t know is that unless the true meaning behind the image can be established, along with other images which will later surface, the future of mankind will face the most serious threat imaginable. Anderson manages to escape Egypt at the earliest opportunity, together with his astrophysicist girlfriend, Samantha Gibson, but the authorities are quickly on their tail when it becomes evident they have arrested the wrong person. Keen to establish who really built the Pyramids, Anderson seeks to gain additional proof to support his theory.
As he and Gibson begin to discover a series of seemingly disparate clues, they soon realise that everything is far from straightforward. Whilst seeking additional resources, Gibson is unwittingly embroiled in the internal politics of the US military, with the result that she becomes a pawn in a vicious power struggle involving a corrupt senior officer. Her path crosses that of an ex-lover and her relationship with Anderson stretches to breaking point. As Anderson begins to see Gibson from a totally different perspective, his focus changes, and he pushes himself well beyond the limits of his comfort zone in an attempt to discover the truth. Gibson is now prepared to do anything to fulfil a lifetime ambition, but as her objective becomes almost within her grasp a virulent virus threatens to stop her . . . and Anderson has the antidote . . . together with a totally different agenda. And so an unprecedented race begins to finally reveal the true legacy of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
The Pyramid Legacy is a thriller, but also has a story of love and deceit deeply woven in

Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness . . .’ Genesis 1:2

Prologue

Northeast Africa, 2350BC
They stood in an excited group, evaluating the task they had almost completed. Seven of them, no more, no less, gathered among the last rays of the sun. Silence descended upon the celebration when the leader raised his hand and wrapped a withered arm around his youngest prodigy. His eyes sparkled with warmth.

‘It has been decided that you will be given the honour of positioning the final component,’ he declared, squeezing the young man’s shoulders with pride.

A broad smile swept across the youth’s face as his colleagues cheered.

The sunset painted their creation and its surrounding landscape with a warm orange glow. The leader lifted the corner of a large cloth, allowing the low sunlight to give life to a brightly coloured object trapped beneath. He studied the young man’s expression and read warm respect reflected in his prodigy’s eyes.

‘Carry out this task with the utmost care,’ advised the sage, patting the youth’s shoulder with a paternal touch. A glimmer of a smile and the slightest of nods gave the leader the response he sought.

Twenty minutes later the task was complete. All the equipment was cross-checked against the master inventory and securely packed away.

The leader faced his team and regarded each of them in turn, appreciating the pride in every familiar face. ‘You have all done outstanding work and deserve to be congratulated on your achievement.’
He gazed towards the heavens, watching as dusk drifted into nightfall. The last flicker of sunlight quietly retired beyond the horizon.

He returned his attention to his team and held out his arms, indicating what they had done. ‘Enjoy our creation for one final moment,’ he advised. ‘We may not return for some time.’

They stared, mesmerized until a blinding light shot suddenly from above, encapsulating the entire team. They each held up a hand to protect their eyes. Then they were gone.

Chapter 1

Cairo, 2025AD
A voice rose over the hum of a mobile air-conditioning unit, bright with excitement. ‘Khalfani! Mohammed! Come and see what we’ve found.’

The two men peered over their companion’s shoulder, their attention on his monitor. The trestle table on which it sat was in a small anti-chamber, deep within the bowels of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Images blinked on the screen, emanating from a camera which had reached a previously inaccessible chamber and now revealed mysteries unseen by anyone in centuries.
Khalfani Rashid squinted, studying the screen. ‘It’s some form of engraving. What do you think it symbolises?’
‘I’ve no idea,’ replied Sa’eed, his voice still carrying the excitement of his discovery. ‘I’ll do some searches on the computer to see if I can establish exactly what it is. Give me a few minutes.’
Rashid glanced towards Mohammed Acbel. ‘Any ideas?’

Acbel shook his head and continued to stare at the screen. ‘Let’s sit down over there and leave Sa’eed to carry out his search.’
In less than ten minutes Sa’eed called to his colleagues, announcing he had a match. ‘Although the engraving in the chamber is actually the mirror image of what I have here, I can now tell you exactly what we are seeing.’ Sa’eed turned towards the other two, his face drawn with concern. ‘And believe me, you’re not going to like it.’

Rashid scrambled to his feet and made his way to where Sa’eed, perched on an upturned crate, operated both the computer and the remote camera. He glanced over Sa’eed’s shoulder, reading the description on the screen. It took a few moments before he realised the significance of what he was seeing. Then he paled and clung to the side of the table for support, mentally comparing the images he had just seen to what technology he knew had been available to his ancestors.

‘No, no, no,’ he muttered. ‘This is impossible. This can’t be right. There must be a—’ The ground beneath his feet seemed to lurch in that moment. Rashid’s legs buckled and he collapsed onto the floor.

‘Khalfani? Khalfani! What’s wrong with you?’ Acbel tugged at his colleague’s limp body, shifting him into a seated position and tucking his head between his legs. Within seconds, he showed signs of life. ‘Khalfani!’ Acbel repeated. ‘What’s the matter with you?’
Rashid, still disorientated, glanced up and blinked at the other man. ‘Look at the computer. Read the description.’ He shook his head slowly. ‘Please tell me I’m seeing things. It can’t be true. It’s not possible.’

Acbel examined the computer screen and suddenly made the same connection as had his colleague. He shook his head like a dog and placed a hand on the wall of the pyramid to steady himself.

‘It can’t be.’ He refocused on the screen and spun to study the other monitor, comparing the two. ‘How did that get there?’ he managed.

Rashid struggled back onto his feet. ‘More importantly, who did it? It couldn’t have been our predecessors.’ Groaning, he pressed his hands against the sides of his head. ‘This is catastrophic news. Do you realise this discovery puts a huge question mark over the entire origin of this pyramid? This could destroy everything we’ve ever known.’

Sa’eed and Acbel nodded, their expressions anxious. All three scrutinised the images on the screens for several minutes.
Sa’eed finally stood, breaking the silence. ‘Ben should be here by now. I’ll go get him and show him what we’ve found. He might know something we don’t.’

Rashid grabbed Sa’eed’s arm, eyes wide. ‘No! Anderson mustn’t see this under any circumstances. Nobody can see this.’
Sa’eed yanked his arm away, confused by Rashid’s behaviour. ‘Don’t be ridiculous. He’s part of this team. Without his robot we would never have made this discovery. He deserves to know what we’ve found.’

Rashid glanced at his watch. Sa’eed was right; Ben Anderson would be waiting for them outside the pyramid. Rashid shook his head, feeling his hands grow clammy with sweat. He couldn’t allow Sa’eed to share their find with anyone, least of all Anderson. If any of this got into the public eye, he, and everything he had ever worked for, would be ruined. He gripped Sa’eed’s arm tighter.
‘Sa’eed. Listen to me. You know as well as anyone that what we have discovered today has to remain secret from the outside world. Think of the consequences if it becomes public knowledge. The very foundation of our country’s proud history would crumble beneath our feet. It would affect the economy, and—’

Sa’eed pulled away his arm and shook his head. ‘You’re wrong. So wrong. I won’t be part of a cover up. I see it as my duty to present my findings in an accurate manner. If we can understand what the image symbolises, we can—’

‘Your findings?’ roared Rashid. ‘This is my project. Mine! And it would serve you well to remember that.’

‘Again, you’re totally wrong.’ Sa’eed swept his arm around the anti-chamber. ‘This doesn’t belong to you. This represents the history of our country, whatever that history may turn out to be. None of us owns the pyramids, but we can all learn from them. I, for one, want to understand why something which is clearly not the work of our forefathers has been engraved on the ceiling of a chamber. Especially here within this, the greatest of all the pyramids. Think about it! This is a four thousand year old mystery waiting to be solved.’ Sa’eed glared into Rashid’s eyes, daring him to disagree. ‘And I want to solve it. So if you’ll please excuse me, I’m going to get Ben.’

Sa’eed turned his back on the other two and headed for the exit.

Rashid stood paralysed for a moment, a sense of desperation sweeping through him. All he could think was that Sa’eed must be stopped. Immediately. He glanced at the toolkit lying on the ground next to the other equipment and picked up a lump-hammer.

Clive Eaton initially trained as an aircraft engineer in the Royal Air Force and worked on Vulcan bombers for a number of years.
He now works as a freelance international trainer in the area of business improvement, and his work has taken him to over 30 countries around the globe.
The Pyramid Legacy is his debut novel and the inspiration came when Egyptian authorities discovered a secret door inside the Great Pyramid of Giza. Although nothing was actually found on that occasion it triggered a ‘what if?’ question, and from there the story developed. Clive is now writing the sequel, which will be titled “Operation Stonehenge”.
The Pyramid Legacy was initially published as an e-book, but now is available as a paperback.
Clive lives in a very peaceful setting, with his wife Judy, in the heart of rural Norfolk, England, which he believes is an amazing place for getting in the right mood for writing.
To learn more about Clive and his debut novel The Pyramid Legacy follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

The Pyramid Legacy is available to buy in paper and ebook formats from Amazon.com, Amazon UK, Smashwords and iTunes for books.

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