Sunday, 21 June 2015

Foreverland Boxed by Tony Bertauski + Giveaway

Foreverland Boxed
by Tony Bertauski

The Complete Foreverland Saga.

When kids awake on an island, they’re told there was an accident. Before they can go home, they will visit Foreverland, an alternate reality that will heal their minds.

Reed dreams of a girl that tells him to resist Foreverland. He doesn’t remember her name, but knows he once loved her. He’ll have to endure great suffering and trust his dream. And trust he’s not insane.

Danny Boy, the new arrival, meets Reed’s dream girl inside Foreverland. She’s stuck in the fantasy land that no kid can resist. Where every heart’s desire is satisfied. Why should anyone care how Foreverland works?

Six teenage girls wake with no memories. One of them is in a brick mansion, her blonde hair as shiny as her shoes. The others are in a cabin, their names tagged to the inside of their pants. Their heads, shaved. Slashes mark the cabin wall like someone has been counting.

Hundreds of them.

There’s wilderness all around and one dead adult. The girls discover her body rotting somewhere in the trees. As the weeks pass, they band together to survive the cold, wondering where they are and how they got there. And why.

When an old man arrives with a teenage boy, the girls learn of a faraway island called Foreverland where dreams come true and anything is possible. But Foreverland is dead. In order to escape the wilderness, they’ll have to understand where they are.

More importantly, who they are.

Tyler Ballard was in prison when his son created a dreamworld called Foreverland, a place so boundless and spellbinding that no one ever wanted to leave. Or did. Now his son is dead, his wife is comatose and Tyler is still imprisoned.

But he planned it that way.

The final piece of his vision falls into place when Alessandra Diosa investigates the crimes of Foreverland. Tyler will use her to create a new dimension of reality beyond anything his son ever imagined—a Foreverland for the entire world.

Danny, living outside of Spain since escaping the very first Foreverland, begins receiving mysterious clues that lead him to Cyn. They are both Foreverland survivors, but they have more in common than survival. They become pieces of another grand plan, one designed to stop Tyler Ballard. No one knows who is sending the clues, but some suspect Reed, another Foreverland survivor. Reed, however, is dead.

Everyone will make one last trip back to Foreverland to find out who sent them. And why.

Kindle Edition, 935 pages
Published March 21st 2015 by DeadPixel Publications

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo      Apple      Google Play

During the day, I'm a horticulturist. While I've spent much of my career designing landscapes or diagnosing dying plants, I've always been a storyteller. My writing career began with magazine columns, landscape design textbooks, and a gardening column at the Post and Courier (Charleston, SC). However, I've always fancied fiction.

My grandpa never graduated high school. He retired from a steel mill in the mid-70s. He was uneducated, but he was a voracious reader. I remember going through his bookshelves of paperback sci-fi novels, smelling musty old paper, pulling Piers Anthony and Isaac Asimov off shelf and promising to bring them back. I was fascinated by robots that could think and act like people. What happened when they died?

I'm a cynical reader. I demand the writer sweep me into his/her story and carry me to the end. I'd rather sail a boat than climb a mountain. That's the sort of stuff I want to write, not the assigned reading we got in school. I want to create stories that kept you up late.

Having a story unfold inside your head is an experience different than reading. You connect with characters in a deeper, more meaningful way. You feel them, empathize with them, cheer for them and even mourn. The challenge is to get the reader to experience the same thing, even if it's only a fraction of what the writer feels. Not so easy.

In 2008, I won the South Carolina Fiction Open with Four Letter Words, a short story inspired by my grandfather and Alzheimer's Disease. My first step as a novelist began when I developed a story to encourage my young son to read. This story became The Socket Greeny Saga. Socket tapped into my lifetime fascination with consciousness and identity, but this character does it from a young adult's struggle with his place in the world.

After Socket, I thought I was done with fiction. But then the ideas kept coming, and I kept writing. Most of my work investigates the human condition and the meaning of life, but not in ordinary fashion. About half of my work is Young Adult (Socket Greeny, Claus, Foreverland) because it speaks to that age of indecision and the struggle with identity. But I like to venture into adult fiction (Halfskin, Drayton) so I can cuss. Either way, I like to be entertaining.
And I'm a big fan of plot twists.




     The walls inched closer. Reed gripped the bars of his shrinking cell.

     His legs, shaking.

     The cold seeped through his bare feet. The soles were numb, his ankles ached. He lifted his feet one at a time, alternating back and forth to keep the bitter chill from reaching his groin, but he couldn’t waste strength anymore. He let go of the bars to shake the numbness from his fingers.

He’d been standing for quite some time. Has it been hours? Occasionally he would sit to rest his aching legs, but soon the cell would be too narrow for that. He’d have to stand up. And when the top of his cage started moving down – and it would – he’d be forced to not-quite stand, not-quite sit.

He knew how things worked. 

Although he couldn’t measure time in the near-blackout room, this round felt longer than previous ones. Perhaps it would never end. Maybe he’d have to stand until his knees crumbled under his dead weight. His frigid bones would shatter like frozen glass when he hit the ground. He’d fall like a boneless bag, his muscles liquefied in a soupy mix of lactic acid and calcium, his nerves firing randomly, his eyes bulging, teeth chattering—

Don’t think. No thoughts.

Reed learned that his suffering was only compounded by thoughts, that the false suffering of what he thought would happen would crush him before the true suffering did. He learned to be present with the burning, the cold, and the aches. The agony.

He couldn’t think. He had to be present, no matter what.

Sprinklers dripped from the ribs of the domed ceiling that met at the apex where an enormous ceiling fan still moved from the momentum of its last cycle. Eventually, the sprinklers would hiss another cloud and the fan would churn again and the damp air would sift through the bars and over Reed’s wet skin, heightening the aches in his joints like clamps. For now, there was just the drip of the sprinklers and the soft snoring of his cellmates.

Six individual cells were inside the building, three on each side of a concrete aisle. Each one contained a boy about Reed’s age. They were all in their teens, the youngest being fourteen. Their cells were spacious; only Reed’s had gotten smaller. Despite the concrete, they all lay on the floor, completely unaware of the anguish inside the domed building.

They weren’t sleeping, though. Sleep is when you close your eyes and drift off to unconsciousness. No, they were somewhere else. The black strap around each of their heads took them away from the pain. They had a choice to stay awake like Reed, but they chose to lie down, strap on, and go wherever it took them. They didn’t care where.

In fact, they wanted to go.

To escape.

Reed couldn’t blame them. They were kids. They were scared and alone. Reed was all those things, too. But he didn’t have a strap around his head. He stayed in his flesh.

He took a deep breath, let it out slowly. Started counting, again.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9…10.

And then he did it again. Again.

And again.

He didn’t measure time with his breathing. He only breathed. His life was in his breath. It ebbed and flowed like the tides. It came and went like the lunar phases. When he could be here and now, the suffering was tolerable. He counted, and counted and counted.

Distracted, he looked up at the fan. The blades had come to a complete stop. The air was humid and stagnant and cold. Around the domed ceiling were circular skylights that stared down with unforgiving blackness, indifferent to suffering. Reed tried not to look with the hopes of seeing light pour through them, signaling an end. Regardless if it was day or night, the skylights were closed until the round of suffering was over, so looking, hoping and wishing for light was no help. It only slowed time when he did. And time had nearly stopped where he was at.

1, 2, 3—

A door opened at the far right; light knifed across the room, followed by a metallic snap and darkness again. Hard shoes clicked unevenly across the floor. Reed smelled the old man before he limped in front of his cell, a fragrance that smelled more like deodorant than cologne. Mr. Smith looked over his rectangular glasses.

“Reed, why do you resist?”

Reed met his gaze but didn’t reply. Mr. Smith wasn’t interested in a discussion. It was always a lecture. No point to prolong it.

“Don’t be afraid.” The dark covered his wrinkles and dyed-black hair, but it couldn’t hide his false tone. “I promise, you try it once, you’ll see. You don’t have to do it again if you don’t like it. We’re here to help, my boy. Here to help. You don’t have to go through this suffering.”

Did he forget they were the ones that put him in there? Did he forget they made the rules and called the shots and forced him to play? Reed knew he – himself – he had gone mad but IS EVERYONE CRAZY?

Reed let his thoughts play in his eyes. Mr. Smith crossed his arms, unmoved.

“We don’t want to hurt you, I promise. We’re just here to prepare you for a better life, that’s all. Just take the lucid gear, the pain will go away. I promise.”

He reached through the bars and batted the black strap hanging above Reed’s head. It turned like a seductive mobile. Reed turned his back on him. Mr. Smith sighed. A pencil scratched on a clipboard.

“Have it your way, Reed,” he said, before limp-shuffling along. “The Director wants to see you after this round is over.”

He listened to the incessant lead-scribbled notes and click-clack of shiny shoes. When Mr. Smith was gone, Reed was left with only the occasional drip of the dormant sprinklers. He began to breathe again, all the way to ten and over. And over. And over. No thoughts. Just 1, 2, 3… 1, 2, 3… 1, 2—


Reed locked his knees and leaned back as the cell walls moved closer. Soon the fan would turn again and the mist would drift down to bead on his shoulders. Reed couldn’t stop the thoughts from telling him what the near future would feel like. How bad it was going to get.

He looked up at the lucid gear dangling above his head.

He took a breath.

And began counting again.
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Monday, 15 June 2015

Ash to Steele by Karen-Anne Stewart + Giveaway

Ash to Steele by Karen-Anne Stewart

Who I am and all I believe is marred with just one glance into angry, steel blue eyes. He seems to control my air, my ability to breathe. He makes me crave everything I know is a sin. Pure becomes tainted and lines are blurred. It's my fault; I'm the one who isn't strong enough. I've been damaged...broken. Breck's words haunt me...'There's a consequence for every choice you make.'

I've had so many women I can't even remember over half of their names, but none of them are mine; I make damn sure of that. I take what I desire and never look back. I don't need or want anyone, ever...not until I met Emma. Those eyes bore into what's left of my soul and her touch sears me, weakens me. I want to hate her for that. She is my sweetest hell.

Disclaimer: Intended for readers 18+ due to strong language, mature scenes, and some violence.

Paperback, 272 pages
Published February 13th 2014 by Karen-Anne Stewart

Find it on Goodreads
Buy it at Amazon     Barnes & Noble

Author of New Adult Romance who doesn't shy away from writing about sensitive issues and hot heroes.

Karen-Anne Stewart has always adored reading and has now fallen in love with writing. Her written works are The Rain Trilogy: Saving Rain, Healing Rain, and After the Rain, Ash to Steele, and her newly released paranormal romance novel, Feel. Her debut novel, Saving Rain: The First Novel in The Rain Trilogy, was a nominee for the Book Junkie’s Choice Awards, and Saving Rain and After the Rain were nominees for the 2014 RONE Awards.

When Karen-Anne isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, hiking, and visiting new places. She fuels her addiction of creating new stories by her only other addiction, caffeine, and listening to a myriad of musical genres. Tucked away near the Blue Ridge Mountains, Karen-Anne lives with her husband, daughter, three dogs, and their cat. She plans on writing new adult romance as long as her fingers maintain dexterity.



I vaguely hear Anton making his not so smooth move, but my attention is still diverted to the enigma standing on the threshold. Carnal thoughts wage with futile attempts to break the vexing connection enslaving my failing senses. Heat simmers through my veins to places low in my belly and my lips part in resentful shock from the intensity of emotions raging inside of me. His gaze is full of hate, punishing even, and chills spill down my spine. Need to know why he affects me this way conquers all my internal alarms blaring for me to just stay away.

The redhead follows his gaze and the warning in her eyes is clear. Disregarding the seething look, I pull away from Anton. Breck’s lips curve slightly as his eyes gleam dominantly, daring, showing his intentions to play. Standing my ground, I refuse to break the silent challenge. I don’t understand the rules, or the game, but there’s no way in hell I’m going to lose. The music stops; people push their way through the crowd towards the bar, but neither of us moves. Anton is calling me. I ignore him. Flashes of light ignite the room in angry hues as the band begins the next song. Breck’s date pulls on his arm, and it’s me who smiles this time.

Several accosting seconds tick by before he gives me a slight nod, admitting his defeat, but it’s the toxic mix of admiration and animosity in his eyes that strips me of air, making my knees weak. With one last look, he’s gone, but I know whatever this is that he’s started is far from over. Slowly, the tension gripping me begins to ease. Dread and desire hit me like a sledgehammer. I don’t want to play his game. Good or bad, I don’t want to feel anything for him…not him. Shaking my head, I blame Jess’ drink. Feeling discombobulated and foreign in my own skin, I breathe a rushed apology to Anton and walk shakily to the bar.

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Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Clusters : Case of the Missing by T.M. Williams: Interview + Giveaway

Clusters : Case of the Missing
by T.M. Williams

Seven year old Olivia Baxter and her dog vanish while playing in the front yard of her family's home. After a week of searching, Olivia's body was suddenly found in the closet, even after the police had thoroughly investigated the home.

Ethan Franco is a troubled journalist working for the Washington Gazette. His inability to move on from the past has deflated the passion he had for his career, causing him to lose his edge. Frustrated with Ethan Franco, but not wanting to lose his once star journalist, Editor-in-Chief, Jameson Stone assigns him a story to cover as a last chance to prove he could be the reporter he once was.

Ethan Franco begins his investigation into the mysterious death of Olivia Baxter and other unexplained disappearances, believing there may be a connection in the cases. No sooner did Franco begin his investigation then he realizes he is being tailed by government agencies.

Large footprints in the woods, strange sounds, foul stenches, and a looming government presence become pieces of the puzzle in cases of the missing.

Inspired by real events, the author of the Bohemian Grove trilogy and the Apocalypse brings forth a story that has been kept a secret for over a century -- a story that a large group of people are still trying to keep under wraps.

Hardcover, 290 pages

Published February 4th 2015 by AZ Publishing Svcs

Find it on Goodreads
Amazon      Barnes & Noble

|T.M. Williams began her writing career by accident when a song inspired a story. Once she discovered the writing bug she couldn't stop. Since starting her writing career late in 2012 she has gone on to write several more novels, including two Amazon best-sellers.

Genre: Experimental Fiction and Non-Fiction

To stay up-to-date on her work, book-signings, and events, you can follow her on her website or her blog.

She is published by AZ Publishing Svcs. Undead Winter, the novella, is a self-published piece.


Q & A with T.M. Williams

Q:  Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
Ethan Franco, who hates to be called by his first name, is a journalist given a last chance to produce a good story after a bitter break-up. Sheriff Moore is a near retired Sheriff who's disgruntled about journalists. However, even through their differences -- they end up making a good team in researching mysterious cases of the missing.

There's been a lot of great reviews on the relationship between my two characters and I believe it's some of my best work. They both have their demons that they need to work through and are by no means, flawless. I think we all can see a little in ourselves in these men and will get pulled along on the emotional journey they embark on.

Q:  What is the best advice you have been given?
That just because someone is more successful than you means they have the right advice from you. Be open to advice, listen, but in the end - do what's right for you and never ignore your instincts.

Q:  Describe your ideal writing spot.

Wherever my laptop and headphones are.

Q:  If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

I'm dying to go to Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Something about it has been calling to me for a long time. Every time we've planned a trip there something's come up and we've had to postpone it again. I'll make it there soon.

Q:  As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Famous. HA HA - it's so lame. I was a pretty superficial and shallow kid and just wanted to be rich and famous. I've somewhat grown out of it.

Q:  Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
I honestly go between both. I love browsing book stores and walking out with an arm full of cool books that just pulled me in. I also have a collection of collectibles (books). But, I read so much and travel quite a bit, so an e-book is really practical on my pocketbook and the weight restrictions airlines impose. Plus, it's nice to be able to pick up a book in the middle of the night because someone just recommended it to me on Facebook. (And it's better for the environment).

Q:  What book are you reading now?
I'm reading The Lamplighter Collection from Todd VanHooser and the 4th book in the Selection Series.

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