Thursday, June 27, 2019

"Grey Skies" by William Becker


INTERVIEW and GIVEAWAY
Grey Skies
by William Becker

Grey Skies by William Becker

Grey Skies by William Becker is currently on tour with Silver Dagger Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
Roman Toguri finds himself burying the body of a nun in Boone, North Carolina. As the skies darken and it begins to storm, he is forced to shove the corpse into his trunk and take it home for the night, unaware of the torment that playing God will bestow upon him.
Enter Hell with two bonus short stories: “The White Shade”, an ultra-violent look into the mind of a mass shooter, and “The Black Box”, a psychedelic dive into weird horror.

Book Video


Excerpt
When I came close enough, I grabbed one of the wooden planks and hoisted myself into the next room. Gazing around, this room immediately seemed fairly ‘cozy.’ The entire room was constructed from the worn wooden planks that were around the edge of the hole. Several feet across from the entrance to the tunnel was a lamp whose shade had turned an ancient shade of brown, filling the room with the orange light that I had seen from the underground, signalling that I had returned to civilization, or at least somewhere with working electricity.
Perhaps the most important feature of the room was a red velvet couch right next to the map, on which sat my familiar friend, the homeless man. A blank, soulless expression covered his face, his eyes unblinking in his focus, or lack thereof.
This was the first time I had seen him in clear lighting, and the black spots on his face resembled a growth or a scab, seeming to extend and pile up over the top of his skin like mold. It was truly disgusting.
I slowly moved to a wooden door near the couch, waiting for him to stop me, but he stared off in the distance, as if he was watching something behind me. I took another step towards the door when my foot planted down on top of something with a gentle crunch, and seemed to stick to the sole of my shoe as I bent down to examine in; hundreds of black specks scurried away from my feet. Each of these specks hurried past me in a large pack, then crawled underneath the couch where the man was sitting, disappearing from sight. My body locked up and I was forced to cringe when I realized that these specks were baby spiders, and I had just stepped on a large sac.
Don’t step on those,” the man muttered, his voice sounding hazy and distant, as if the two of us were miles apart.
“What?” I asked, unsure if I had heard him correctly.
Don’t stomp the eggs,” he replied. His eyes were still locked on something behind me. I glared back, half expecting something to be standing there.
“Why not?”
Because I like them, and they like the cold.
I watched several of the baby spiders move through the holes in his clothes, crawling into them and creating tiny bulges beneath the fabric. I shuddered, and then his head began to turn. It was a painfully slow motion that seemed to last decades, until finally, his eyes rested on me.
I’m finally free, you know.
There was a ticking noise, as if the second hand on a clock was moving, then the orange glow of the lamp was replaced with darkness. The light had been turned off. I wasn’t sure how the man had turned it off, or if the light had simply given out, but despite this, more light leaked into the room from the cracks in the wooden door leading outside, giving a dimmed view of the man on the couch. I glanced back to the floor to see that dozens of the eggs had appeared all across the ground. Had I not seem them earlier? They were a milky white color and about the size of baseballs. A handful of the eggs seemed to wriggle every few seconds, as if they were about to hatch. The light reflected off of them, giving them a shiny appearance in the light.
I looked around, shrugged, then decided it was time to leave. I tiptoed to the door in a state of horrified confusion, leaving the man and his eggs behind.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“A super-surrealistic novel for people that like their macabre up close and personal, and their meaning very hard to decipher.” ~ Gordon A. Long
“I could not read it in one sitting only because I had to read it early enough during the day so that I could sleep at night. Yeah, I'm not afraid to admit that I was freaked the hell out. This author is 18yrs old and delivered a psychological, twisted horror. I want to see what else he has up his sleeve and yet I don't. I believe fans who are looking for something new in horror will love this book.” ~ ILoveMyAudibleKindle
“Becker pens a good horror story in Grey Skies. I found that I did like the majority of the story, but a few parts were a bit confusing, and a bit slow to make sense, but in the end, I enjoyed the story. Yes, it was creepy and scary, and intriguing to see how the story would play out. I would definitely read more by this author, and I am curiously intrigued (and yet a bit fearful) of his imagination. I look forward to reading more by this author.” ~ Amy's Bookshelf Reviews
“I was pleasantly surprised by this book! The writing is vivid and detailed, and I felt that I was immediately inside the main character's head as he goes through a personal hell.” ~ Aina
Grey Skies is really good. It's not easy to creep me out but the little parts dealing with spiders got to me.” ~ Kaili Taghon (Entertainingly Nerdy)




Interview with the Author
Author William Becker stops by today to talk about his new book, Grey Skies.
How did you come up with name of this book?
As you get through the book, water, rain, and drowning are pretty important things. Simply enough, Grey Skies is representative of bad weather, and Roman’s experience, especially as the reader dives into the darker parts of his past, can be equated to “feeling under the weather”.
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
Wet dirt in the middle of spring.
Do you see writing as a career?
I’m here now, aren’t I?
Do you read yourself and, if so, what is your favorite genre?
I’ll read almost anything besides fantasy. Fantasy itself isn’t bad, but it’s slowly becoming the most tired genre. Every book has started to feel the same to me. A lot of reading online has led me to believe that it’ll be a pseudo-medieval world where a collection of misfits gets together to fight evil that is re-emerging after being dormant for centuries. Prophecy stories are awful, so is dragon-riding, so are epic stories about a bloodline battling for control. It’s just an exhausting genre. No disrespect to whoever writes the stuff, I’m sure there are some very, very talented people out there writing fantasy that would knock my socks off.
Besides that, horror and bizarro fiction can always be pretty fun. I prefer my books to be on the condensed side and not meander around for a few hundred pages. The perfect book is between 150-400 pages. Maybe it’s just my attention span, but books like Under the Dome by Stephen King are just exhaustingly long and don’t really take me anywhere new. In that same breath, Carrie is a good example of a perfect novel, as is something like Piercing by Ryu Murakami. Despite my love for horror, I’ll read anything that’s good.
Thanks for stopping by today, William. Enjoy the rest of your tour!

About the Author
William Becker
William Becker is an 18-year-old horror author with a mind for weirder sides of the universe. With an emphasis on complex and layered storylines that tug harshly on the reader to search for deeper meanings in the vein of Silent Hill and David Lynch, Becker is a force to be reckoned with in the horror world. His works are constantly unfathomable, throwing terror into places never before seen, while also providing compelling storylines that transcend the predictable jumpscares of the popular modern horror.
His first novel, Weeping of the Caverns, was written when he was 14. After eight months of writing, editing, and revising, the story arrived soon after his 15th birthday. During the writing sessions for his debut novel, he also wrote an ultra-controversial short story known as “The White Shade” that focused on the horrors of a shooting. Living in a modern climate, it was impossible for “The White Shade” to see the light of day. Following a psychedelic stint that consisted of bingeing David Lynch movies, weird art, and considering the depth of the allegory of the cave wall, he returned to writing with a second story, “The Black Box”, and soon after, his second novel, Grey Skies.

Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card or one of three Grey Skies posters.

Links
Amazon (Kindle Unlimited)

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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

"Bobby Ether and the Jade Academy" by R. Scott Boyer


EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Bobby Ether and the Jade Academy
by R. Scott Boyer

Bobby Ether and the Jade Academy by R. Scott Boyer

Bobby Ether and the Jade Academy by R. Scott Boyer is currently on tour with Silver Dagger Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
When Bobby Ether is abducted and brought to the secluded Jade Academy in Tibet, monks teach him and other special students how to tap into their Anima - the universal energy that connects all living things. But the headmistress of the academy is secretly testing each student, looking for genetic triggers that can be exploited to create a new breed of humans born with metaphysical powers and abilities. As his abilities increase, Bobby is thrust into a cesspool of conspiracy, lies, and betrayal. A jade amulet left by his clairvoyant grandfather may provide answers, but what exactly is his family’s connection to this mysterious place? Can Bobby master his talents and uncover the truth in time to avoid the schemes? If not, his fate - and the fate of all the students - may be sealed.


Book Video


Excerpt
The earthquake that woke Bobby Ether from his nightmare wasn’t a typical Los Angeles tremor. Growing up in the suburbs of the San Fernando Valley, Bobby had experienced enough quakes to know most of them lasted only a few seconds - over by the time you realized they were happening. Not this one.
The entire room shook as Bobby sat upright in bed and rubbed his eyes. The windows rattled and the freestanding dresser in the corner bounced up and down. In a stupor, the long-legged sixteen-year-old stumbled out of bed and headed for his desk to climb underneath.
Nausea washed over him as the floor heaved. Still reliving the nightmare from moments before he awoke, Bobby scurried under his desk before the rumbling finally subsided. Climbing out slowly, he moved to the window, where a foot-long crack had appeared in the drywall below the sill.
It was almost midnight. The next-door neighbor’s house was quiet and dark: no lights or alarms. The water in their backyard swimming pool stood placid.
What the heck?
Bobby brushed locks of wavy blond hair off his forehead, exposing beads of cold sweat. Racing downstairs, he turned on the television in the den and flipped through the channels, but there was no news about a quake. It was only a dream, he told himself. The earthquake, the nightmare, none of it was real.
The phone rang and Bobby jumped. Wiping his suddenly clammy hands on his pajamas, he headed across the dining room to the phone in the kitchen and snatched the receiver off the hook.
“Hello?” he said.
The female voice was cold and mechanical. “Is this Bobby Ether?”
“Who is this?”
“This is Saint Michelle’s hospital. I’m calling from the emergency center.”
Bobby felt the blood drain from his face.
“Hello, are you there?” asked the woman from the hospital.
Bobby’s mouth had turned bone dry.
“We need you to come to the hospital right away,” said the woman. “There’s been an accident.”
The phone slipped from Bobby’s hand, nearly falling to the floor before he caught it and hauled it back up.
The voice on the other end was still speaking. “Sir? Are you still there?”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
Bobby Ether and the Jade Academy is a thrilling action-packed adventure you never want to end.” ~ IndieReader
“A fun, quick read... A likable protagonist, engaging banter, and a fast-paced plot will appeal to teens.” ~ Kirkus Reviews
“The balanced blend of fantasy and action is superb, as is R. Scott Boyer's ability to juxtapose discovery, tension, and struggle. Even young adults who may have only light familiarity with either fantasy or thriller genres will find Bobby Ether and the Jade Academy fast-paced and thoroughly absorbing, making it a top pick for collections seeking genre-busting, action-packed adventure stories a la Indiana Jones.” ~ Midwest Book Review, Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer
“The characters are both intriguing and credible, the relationships between them authentic...” ~ James D. Stein - Author of Cosmic Numbers
“Tragedy, mystery, and suspense make this scientific coming-of-age story a fascinating read.” ~ Clarion Review


About the Author
R. Scott Boyer
R. Scott Boyer graduated from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley in 1996. In 2008, he became fascinated with the idea of blending young adult fantasy with new-age fiction. While maintaining a full-time job, he couldn't help but envision the kind of book he wanted to read. This exploration led to the creation of the Bobby Ether YA fantasy series, which combines spiritual elements with ancient myths and legends to create fun, fast-paced stories tailored for young adults but suited for adventure lovers of all ages.
Through his writing, Scott likes to explore various spiritual and metaphysical themes, including karma, serendipity, communion with nature, and the interconnectedness of all living things. In his free time, Scott likes to play basketball and tennis, as well as bike with his rescue dog, Patch. Over the years, Scott has been involved with a number of volunteer youth organizations, including United In Harmony, YMCA summer and winter camps, various basketball programs, and C5LA.
Raised in Santa Monica, California, Scott still resides in the Los Angeles area close to his family.

Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $75 Amazon gift card.

Links

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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

"Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass" by Heather Day Gilbert


INTERVIEW and GIVEAWAY
Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass
(An Exotic Pet-Sitter Mystery Book 1)
by Heather Day Gilbert

Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass (An Exotic Pet-Sitter Mystery Book 1) by Heather Day Gilbert

Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass is the first book in the Exotic Pet-Sitter Mystery series by Heather Day Gilbert. Available for pre-order: Belinda Blake and the Wolf in Sheep's Clothing.

Belinda Blake and the Wolf in Sheep's Clothing by Heather Day Gilbert

Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
When exotic pet-sitter Belinda Blake moves into a carriage house in tony Greenwich, Connecticut, she’s hoping to find some new clients. Instead she discovers a corpse in the garden - and a knack for solving murders ...
Pet-sitter Belinda Blake doesn’t rattle easily, but move-in day has been eventful, to say the least. The python in her care tried to slither to freedom - just as she met Stone Carrington V, her landlords’ disarmingly handsome son. With the constrictor back in its cage, she heads out to the garden, only to discover a designer shoe poking out of the boxwood hedge - attached to a woman’s dead body.
The victim, Margo Fenton, was a Carrington family friend, and no one in their circle seems above suspicion. Between client trips to Manhattan and visits to her family in upstate New York, Belinda begins to put the pieces together. But though she’s falling for Stone’s numerous charms, Belinda wonders if she’s cozying up to a killer. And soon, daily contact with a deadly reptile might be the least dangerous part of her life ...


Excerpt
The first time I saw Stone Carrington the fifth, I had a snake wrapped around my neck.
Now granted, he acted as if it was something he saw every day, a girl with unwanted snakeskin accents in her curly blonde hair.
“Pet-sitting,” I explained, trying to extricate myself from the ball python I had agreed to “walk” for his owner. “They’re supposedly a relatively mild breed,” I continued.
“I should hope so.” He dipped his tennis visor in a fake bow. Unfortunately, he had emerged from the tennis courts at the exact moment the snake had started climbing me like a tree. “Stone Carrington. And you are?”
“Belinda Blake.” I felt the need to over-explain, one of my persistent habits. “I’m your new tenant. In the carriage house. It’s lovely, by the way.” The snake had stopped wriggling, so I walked a bit faster toward my small house. Why had I chosen to walk up the main drive for another gape at the Carringtons’ mansion?
Stone gave me a once-over as the snake moved again. I was sure my ripped jeans, worn Crocs, and gamer T-shirt didn’t impress, but I was yanked from my self-conscious musings as the python slithered over my shoulder and disappeared down my shirt. I launched into the dance of death, jerking about like Elaine from Seinfeld.
“Here, let me help,” Stone said, making an arguably decent attempt to extricate the wriggling creature from my shirt by wrapping both hands around its tail.
The snake gave a low hiss and slid down further.
“Never mind,” I said hastily, pulling my shirt up and throwing modesty to the wind so I could see the snake’s beady eyes. “Grab its head! We have to grab it!”
Stone was a bit too hesitant as he obliged, and the snake lunged at him.
“It can sense our fear! Just call animal control or something!” I shouted. The snake’s patience was probably exhausted and soon he would start nibbling on me.
Stone did as I said, pulling an expensive-looking cell phone from his white shorts, which must’ve been a bit chilly in November. Still, the shorts managed to show off his naturally tan legs.
The snake continued his horrifying quest to cozy up somewhere on my torso until one of the older gardeners approached us. “Pardon my intrusion, but you are having trouble, no?”
“Yes. Could you help get this thing off me?”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass is a uniquely themed mystery that proves a great start to a new series.” ~ Cozy Up With Kathy
“A wonderful start to an interesting series that shows much potential.” ~ Laura’s Interests
“Gilbert is a skilled storyteller and she has crafted a story that moves quickly with several unpredictable twists and interesting situations, drawing the reader in right from the start. The characters are great - colorful and a tad quirky, likable and realistic.” ~ Anne Rightler
“Once again Heather Gilbert shows her readers that she is a dab hand at cozy mysteries.” ~ Susan Snodgrass
“The characters are really interesting and well developed. The story was so well written and held my attention. The mystery had some unexpected turns and I was surprised by the ending.” ~ Miss W Book Reviews


Interview with the Author
Heather Day Gilbert joins me today to discuss her new book, Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
It's a cozy mystery that's entirely appropriate for teens and up.
What sparked the idea for this book?
I wanted to brainstorm a cozy mystery series that featured a sleuth with a job no one else had come up with yet. I can't even recall how the idea of exotic pet-sitting hit me!
So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
Both sort of happen together. For Belinda, I did some research on her Myers-Briggs personality type ahead of time, then I imagined what she'd do in any given situation. I also liked getting to know her family and friends better as I wrote the series.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
It's funny, but I honestly didn't have any difficulties writing this one - it was just a fun mystery to craft. However, I did switch murderers mid-stream from the one I'd told my publisher I was going to use. I love it when my story surprises me like that.
That’s interesting! How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope it gives them the feeling of having read a satisfying and realistic mystery, full of characters they want to hang out with again. I also strive to have twists most readers can't see coming (like Agatha Christie!).
How long did it take you to write this book?
For this series, I was on a deadline with each of the three books, so I wrote them consecutively, taking about three months for each.
What is your writing routine?
Currently, I write when two of my daughters are at school (one is in K4, and one is a senior!). I often write for four to five hours straight.
How did you get your book published?
My agent, Julie Gwinn with The Seymour Agency, proposed the Exotic Pet-Sitter Mystery series to Kensington, and I was very grateful that they were interested in it!
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
You have to learn to take critiques of your writing, but be careful who you listen to. It helps to find authors who've already been published in your genre, since they've been edited and they know what's expected. It also helps to find an amazing crit partner who gets your writing (no matter what genre you're writing). I've been blessed with a gifted crit partner, Becky Doughty, and I love her writing. She brings things to the table I need, and I hope I bring some things to her books, too! :)
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Like Belinda, I play video games - for me, it's a stress release, something I can do kind of mindlessly, since I live in my head a lot as a writer. I also love puttering around in my perennial flowerbeds and being outside.
What does your family think of your writing?
I am so thankful that my husband, my four children, my parents, my in-laws, and all my family supports my writing. I recently was so thrilled my parents were able to attend the Christy award gala in Nashville with me when my book finaled for an ECPA Christy award last year.
Fantastic! Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I remember reading from age four and loving it. I played outside a lot - barefoot. :) I loved climbing trees. So, I guess I was a tomboy in some ways. I had a really lovely childhood, largely because my parents have a great relationship. Belinda Blake has great parents, too - they were quite fun to write, because her dad's a veterinarian, and her mom is a back-to-nature kind of woman who's working to get off-grid.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
Definitely. I read all the time.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I think it was after winning a few writing contests. As a teen, I wrote a poem and kind of had an epiphany that I was a writer. :)
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
I'm sure they did. I love writing rural settings because I grew up in the very rural mountains of West Virginia.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
For my mysteries, it would be Agatha Christie and Daphne du Maurier.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I love emails from readers! The best thing is when they relate to some aspect of my books, such as the marriage dynamics in my Viking historicals or the mother-in-law relationship (a good one!) in my Murder in the Mountains mysteries. They also tell me that my main characters feel like best friends, and that's always a joy to hear.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I'd say you can definitely look forward to more mystery series and possibly a psychological thriller series.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Heather. Best of luck with your future projects.
Thank you!


About the Author
Heather Day Gilbert
Heather Day Gilbert, an ECPA Christy award finalist and Grace award winner, writes contemporary mysteries and Viking historicals. Her novels feature small towns, family relationships, and women who aren’t afraid to protect those they love. Like Belinda Blake, Heather plays video games, although, so far, she hasn’t done any exotic pet-sitting or hunted any murderers.






Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a themed gift basket.

Links

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