Blog Tour: Author Gust Post and Book Excerpt: 10 Perks of Being a Published Author by Chris Reynolds ( Author of Mind Secrets) Plus a $10 Amazon GC Giveaway!


Hi everyone! We have a very special guest today! We have Ms. Chris Reynolds, the author of Mind Secrets. Today, we'll know more about his book and his thoughts about the perks of being a published author. 

Note: Ms. Chris Reynolds is giving a $10 Amazon Gift Card to a very lucky randomly drawn commenter! So what are you guys waiting for, read on and leave a comment on the comment section below.

Author Guest Post:
10 Perks of Being a Published Author by Chris Reynolds


    1.  The best thing about being a published author is reaching readers. It’s what it’s all about at the end of the day. Being published gets your work out there and without that conduit between the author and the reader, your stories and your ideas will never get an audience.

    2.  It’s as if publication gives you permission to write. Like many people, I began by writing stories simply because I had the ideas and wanted to write them down. I spent a lot of my free time doing this when other people of my age were going to parties or going to the pub, and some people find this a little peculiar. But when you’re “published”, this is suddenly all quite normal, you’re allowed to spend hours alone in your room typing away to yourself because your are working on a book that is going to be published. It not only justifies what I do to other people, but it also justifies it to myself. Sometimes I think I should be going out to parties or getting on with a “proper job”, but being published helps diminish those doubts. Just a little.

    3.  Being published is really useful when it comes to those awkward conversations with other people. You know, the ones which start “how’s your writing coming along?”. It’s so much easier to tell them about your new book coming out, as opposed to mumbling something about waiting to hear back from editors or wading through the second draft.

    4.  The joy of holding a physical book in your hand. It is the manifestation of all your hard work and, there it is, in tangible form. At this point the book has ceased to be part of you, it has become part of the world at large. It is like all the other books that you have read or seen on the bookshelves of a shop or library, but this one was written by you. It’s a very special feeling.

    5.  It makes the next book easier. The fact that you have done it before stands you in good stead for doing it again. Someone liked your book enough to publish it, readers were prepared to pay to read it, some of them even told you they liked it. That’s great motivation for going on and doing more.

    6.  The actual writing, of course, is no easier at all. There’s the added pressure that publishers and readers are waiting for the next one. But at least you have some experience to fall back on.

    7.  I consider working from home a perk, if you can avoid all the distractions around you. There’s no commuting for a start. Some people are good at commuting, but it just makes me tired, even for a short distance, so the less I have to do it the better. Then there’s all the comforts of home — access to a proper kitchen to make a proper pot of tea or to cook a healthy lunch; I can have the window open or closed without having to negotiate with anyone else and I can even write sitting up in bed if I want to. 

    8.  Getting paid. This was actually the first one I thought of, but I shuffled it down the list a bit because talking about art and money in the same breath is not considered cool. But, actually, getting paid for your writing is pretty essential. Which brings me to two other financial points...

    9.  Setting off writer expenses against tax. If you’re lucky and you keep selling books into your old age, the royalties add to your pension. Most writers don’t really retire anyway, so keeping that money coming in as you get on in life is something I hope to do.

    10.  The final perk has to be fulfilling an ambition. Lots of people have ambitions to be astronauts or ballerinas or pop stars, but few people achieve it. I’m lucky to have fulfilled an ambition to be published. It’s been overtaken by new goals, of course, such has having a best seller and writing a better book every single time. But once you've achieved one ambition, the others seem a little more possible.







                              I want to thank Ms. Chris Reynolds for this wonderful guest post here on my blog. I envy published authors because they have these wonderful perks but I know that they deserve these things for working so hard to achieve their ambitions! And now, let's get to know what Mr. Chris Reynolds' book "Mind Secrets" is all about.


                              Title: Mind Secrets
                              Author: Chris Reynolds

                              Paperback: 332 pages
                              Publisher: Elly Books (July 19, 2012)
                              Language: English
                              ISBN-10: 1908340053
                              ISBN-13: 978-1908340054

                              Book Blurb:
                              On the run and without his memories, Michael escapes from a man called Carter onto the unfamiliar streets of London. There, he meets a gang of teenagers with the power to sense the thoughts and feelings of others. They live in fear of ‘the cure’, a mysterious process which takes away their power and, some believe, destroys their personality. Suspecting the cure caused his memory loss, Michael goes undercover to investigate the truth behind the doctors of the cure clinic. What he discovers leads him to a conspiracy that runs to the heart of government and reveals the shocking reality of his own past.

                              Mind Secrets is a compelling thriller set in a contemporary world and will appeal to anyone who's ever wondered what it's like to have mind powers.


                              Book Excerpt:



                              Her stare was intense. She looked into his eyes. Deep. Penetrating. Probing. Through the cornea, past the iris and beyond the pupil. Until she was inside his mind. He couldn’t feel her, but he knew she had to be in there. The subtlety in her stare showed she was thinking about everything she perceived. Like a tiny flashing light on a computer, each bite of information sent a flicker across her eyes. Her breath shallow in concentration. Body absorbed in stillness. Her singular perception, sharp and focussed, stretching out the seconds into minutes.

                              Until her eyes softened and she withdrew. Back through the pupil, the iris, the cornea. Her breathing deepened. She blinked her mascaraed eyelids and their connection was severed. She leant back against the door and her body relaxed. 

                              A mixture of nerves and excitement trembled inside him. ‘Well?’ said Michael.

                              ‘Strange,’ said Jennifer. She seemed distracted, not quite there. Like a person emerging from a dream. ‘There’s so little of you. Like ‘ceiving a baby.’

                              ‘But did you see my memories? Do you know who I am? Where I live?’

                              ‘No.’

                              Michael deflated. His legs hardly had the strength to keep him upright any more. He staggered backwards and felt his bum hit the rim of a sink. He perched on it. ‘God!’ he cursed. He turned and kicked at the wall. Plaster came away from the brickwork and scattered to the floor in pieces. He kicked them to the other side of the room. ‘God! God! God!’

                              His face was hot with frustration. He turned on the cold tap with such force that it sent water spraying onto his trousers. He cupped his hands and splashed it onto his face until his skin, his hair, sleeves and jumper were dripping wet.

                              ‘I’m sorry,’ said Jennifer. ‘There’s a nothingness inside of you. Like someone sucked out your memories.’

                              Where to Buy:

                              Paperback:

                              Kindle:

                              Author Bio:
                              Chris Reynolds is a lover of adventure stories. Chris spent her time growing up avidly reading them, watching them on TV and writing them in her school exercise books. She was often frustrated that stories written by other people didn’t go the way she wanted them to, so she decided to write her own. In the interim, she has worked for the BBC and independent radio as a journalist, written for magazines and some published non-fiction books. Now her stories are available for all to read, following the release of her acclaimed debut novel “Mind Secrets”.

                              Chris lives among the Chiltern Hills, north of London.

                              LINKS
                              http://www.chrisreynolds-writer.co.uk
                              http://www.facebook.com/ChrisReynolds01
                              Twitter: @ChrisReynolds_1


                              Giveaway:
                              Chris Reynolds is giving $10 Amazon Gift Card to One(1) lucky commenter! To make this easier for you guys just answer either one of these questions:
                              • What do you think is the BEST perk of being a Published Author?
                              • What do you guys think about "Mind Secrets" based on the book excerpt? Yay or Nay?
                              Don't forget to leave your email address together with your comment/answer in the comment section to contact the winner.


                              You can also leave your blog url/link so I can follow you back if you've followed Journey with Books

                              Good Luck!




                              Beyond (Crossroads Saga Book 3) by Mary Ting Book Cover Reveal and Teaser!

                              Hi my loves! Welcome to Journey with Books! Today we're uncovering the book cover of Beyond, the third book of Crossroads Saga by Ms. Mary Ting.

                              This book will be released on 9/12/2012.



                              Isn't this one of the most beautiful covers ever?! 

                              Book Blurb:
                              Torn between the past she can't remember and a future she isn’t ready for, Claudia feels at a loss. With unanswered questions, she is certain there is more to her past than just being a venator. Finding the missing pieces in her life won’t be easy because duty calls. When mysterious dark shadows get released, an apocalypse sets in motion. The venators and the alkins must work together once again. Knowing Claudia would be the key to destroying the demons that were released, a familiar stranger appears to protect her. Drawn to the beautiful angel, Claudia finds she must unravel the mysteries of her past in order to help save the world. 

                              Who is the angel assisting her and why does she feel a strong connection to him? 

                              Time is running out. Will she discover all the secrets before it’s too late? 

                              Teaser:

                              Michael brought Claudia back to Paradisus where they stood on top of the hillside.


                              “We’re here,” he said, unable to uncurl his wings as she was safely tucked inside.


                              Claudia looked up, unable to unlock her eyes from his as if she was hypnotized. “Ummm…I
                              should go,” she finally managed to say. Then she tugged his wings away, afraid if she didn’t, he would never let her go and she wouldn’t want him to.


                              When he opened up, she took several steps away from him. 


                              “Thank you. You can leave now.”


                              “Are you meeting anyone?”


                              “No,” she shook her head, lowering her eyes away from his, afraid he would know she was lying.


                              “Then, I’ll stay here.”


                              “What?” Claudia’s eyes grew wide. “I’m perfectly fine. You can leave now.”


                              Michael sat on the pebbled ground underneath a tree, leaning against it. He folded his arms around the back of his neck to rest and grin. “It’s a beautiful day. I think I’ll stay here.”


                              “Umm…” Claudia lost her words for a second. He looked so alluring she had to shake the wicked thoughts out of her mind. 


                              “But you can’t?”


                              “Says who?”


                              “Says…me?” She couldn’t believe Michael was seriously going to stay. He was teasing her and she knew it.


                              “Why not? This isn’t your property,” he smirked.
                              “I know it’s not, but I didn’t invite you to stay and I don’t want you here.” Claudia didn’t want to be rude, but she felt that she had no choice. She didn’t want Michael to follow her through the waterfall.


                              “Hmmm…you kind of hurt my feelings there.” He arched his brows with a frown.


                              There he goes again, looking so darn sexy even frowning. Ahhh!!! “Are you kidding? The deal was for you to bring me here and leave.”


                              “No, the deal was for me to bring you here. There was nothing about me not staying.”


                              “Ahhh! Fine!” Feeling frustrated, she turned. Looking beyond, she noted even more how beautiful this place was. To the right of the hill was where the venators were the last time they were here. To the left of the mountain was where she should go, back to the waterfall, to where Callum was
                              waiting for her, but she couldn’t get her legs to move. She wanted to stay here with him. 


                              Unable to decide, she turned to Michael, but to her surprise, he was gone.


                              Buy the First two books:


                              Crossroads:

                              Between:


                              So are you guys as excited as I am?!

                              About the Author:

                              Mary Ting resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry.  

                              Writing Crossroads was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother.  It was inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl.


                              Author's Blog. www.marytingbooks.blogspot.com/


                              You may contact the author for comments / feedback at maryting.crossroads@gmail.com

                              Blog Tour: Book Review and Book Giveaway: Frost (Frost Book 1) by Kate Avery Ellison


                              Hi guys! Welcome to Frost Blog Tour stop here on Journey with Books! Today I'm posting a review of Frost (Frost Book 1) which is written by Ms. Kate Avery Ellison. There's also a giveaway down below so you might want to check that out. This blog tour was organized by AToMR Blog Tours

                              Paperback: 194 pages
                              Language: English
                              ISBN-10: 1475005873
                              ISBN-13: 978-1475005875
                              Genre: YA 




                              Book Blurb:



                              In the icy, monster-plagued world of the Frost, one wrong move and a person could end up dead—and Lia Weaver knows this better than anyone. After monsters kill her parents, she must keep the family farm running despite the freezing cold and threat of monster attacks or risk losing her siblings to reassignment by the village Elders. With dangers on all sides and failure just one wrong step away, she can’t afford to let her emotions lead her astray. So when her sister finds a fugitive bleeding to death in the forest—a young stranger named Gabe—Lia surprises herself and does the unthinkable.
                              She saves his life.

                              Giving shelter to the fugitive could get her in trouble. The Elders have always described the advanced society of people beyond the Frost, the “Farthers,” as ruthless and cruel. But Lia is startled to find that Gabe is empathetic and intelligent…and handsome. She might even be falling in love with him.

                              But time is running out. The monsters from the forest circle the farm at night. The village leader is starting to ask questions. Farther soldiers are searching for Gabe. Lia must locate a secret organization called the Thorns to help Gabe escape to safety, but every move she makes puts her in more danger.

                              Is compassion—and love—worth the risk?

                              My Thoughts:

                              Frost is the first work of Ms. Kate Avery Ellison I ever read. It's also the first book of a series. I must say that it didn't disappoint. It was the kind of book you'll be so intrigued to ever put down until you reached the conclusion of the book.

                              For this review I will try to a make it short and to the point.

                              Book Cover:
                              The book cover is really nice. It's actually the first thing that attracted me to read this book. The photo is so simple and yet it's so full of emotions.

                              Plot:
                              The plot is a bit different from my usual reads. I find it fascinating and engaging. It would make you really think. It is dystopian after all, and maybe that's why the whole dynamics that was shown in the book was so fascinating and mysterious to me as a reader. It makes you think about the 'what ifs'.

                              It has a bit of romance but I don't think it was the main point of the story. It had so much more depth than just the usual romantic love. It was about survival, family, love, loyalty and sacrifice.

                              Characters:
                              The characters are all pretty intense. They are so different from each other. you can definitely define them from each other. As a reader, I sympathize with what Lia is experiencing. I feel for her. I also admire her strength and her determination to do anything to survive and keep her family in tact. I appreciated how the author gave life to Lia and the other characters in this book.

                              I loved how Ms. Kate Avery Ellison  gave importance to the minor characters. The whole book doesn't just revolve around Gabe and Lia. The other minor characters were given time to be felt by the reader.

                              Chemistry:
                              The romantic chemistry between the two main characters was not instant. There were no instalove and for that I am very thankful. Lia and Gabe got closer with time. Their relationship was a process. It wasn't forced and grew with time naturally.

                              Pace:
                              The flow of the story was quite nice. It was slow at first. Reading a dystopian book is a tricky thing. It's very delicate because the theme of the book is something you have to understand first before you get to the feel of it. The dynamics and the world that the author created must be clear to the reader first and I think Ms. kate Avery Ellison succeeded in doing that. The world she created was complicated but her writing and story telling was very clear and precise and as a reader, I appreciated that.

                              Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. It has that unique ability to captivate you and imprison you in the world that Ms. Kate Avery Ellison built. It has a bit of everything. It has romance, mystery, a bit of action and the little bit of something that could probably spook you. If you're looking for all of these in your next read, then don't hesitate to pick up Frost because you will definitely enjoy it. I know, I did and because of that I cannot wait for the next book to come out!

                              Giveaway:


                              Where to Buy:



                              About the Author:
                              Kate Avery Ellison
                              I've been making up stories since I was five years old, and now I'm thrilled to be able to do it as a full-time job. I have an obsession with dark fantasy, dystopian futures, and Pride and Prejudice-style love stories full of witty banter and sizzling, unspoken feelings. When I'm not writing, I'm creating digital art, reading funny blogs, or watching my favorite shows (which include TVD and BSG). I live with my geeky husband and our two bad cats in Atlanta, GA.

                              Twitter is @katiewriting

                              On the Island Event! (Book Excerpt and Giveaway)




                              Hi guys! AToMR had organized a very fun event for you guys! Today we're celebrating the reprint of the New York Times Bestseller, On the Island by Ms. Tracey Garvis Graves! Below, you'll get a glimpse of what this amazing book is all about. You'll see what drives this hype! Plus there's a giveaway! There are also other fun events you can join. You'll all see the details below, so, read on and have fun!



                              Author: Tracey Garvis Graves
                              Paperback: 336 pages
                              Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (July 10, 2012)
                              Language: English
                              ISBN-10: 014219672X
                              ISBN-13: 978-0142196724
                              Reading level: Ages 18 and up

                              BOOK BLURB:

                              When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day.

                              T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn't bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family - and a stack of overdue assignments - instead of his friends. 

                              Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island. Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.'s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.


                              BOOK EXCERPT:


                              We ate nothing but coconut and breadfruit for the next eighteen days and our clothes hung on us. Anna’s stomach growled in her sleep, and I had a constant ache in mine. I doubted the rescuers were still looking for us, and a hollow, empty feeling that had nothing to do with hunger joined the pain in my gut whenever I thought of my family and friends.


                              I thought it would impress Anna if I could spear a fish. I managed to stab myself in the foot instead, which hurt like hell, not that I let her know.


                              “I want to put antibiotic ointment on it,” Anna said. She dabbed it on the gash and covered it with a band-aid. She said the island humidity was perfect for germs and the thought of one of us getting an infection scared the crap out of her. “You’ll have to stay out of the water until that heals, T.J. I want to keep it dry.”
                              Great. No fishing and no swimming.


                              The days passed slowly. Anna got quiet. She slept more, and I caught her wiping her eyes when I came back from collecting firewood or exploring the island. I found her sitting on the beach one day, staring up at the sky.


                              “It’s easier if you quit thinking they’re coming back,” I told her.
                              She looked up at me. “So I should just wait for a plane to randomly fly overhead someday?”


                              “I don’t know, Anna.”


                              I sat down beside her. “We could leave on the life raft,” I said. “Load it with food and use the plastic containers to collect rainwater. Just start paddling.”


                              “What if we ran out of food or something happened to the raft? It’d be suicide, T.J. We’re obviously not in the flight path for any of the inhabited islands, and there’s no guarantee a plane would fly over. These islands are spread over thousands of miles of water. I can’t be out there. Not after seeing Mick. I feel safer here, on land. And I know they’re not coming back, but saying it out loud seems like giving up.”


                              “I used to feel that way, but I don’t anymore.”


                              Anna studied me. “You’re very adaptable.”


                              I nodded. “We live here now.”

                              WHERE TO BUY:





                              About the Author:

                              Tracey Garvis-Graves lives in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa with her husband, two children, and hyper dog Chloe. This is her first novel. 
                              She blogs at www.traceygarvisgraves.com using colorful language and a snarky sense of humor to write about pop culture, silly television shows, and her suburban neighborhood. She is hard at work on her next book.

                              Author’s website: http://www.traceygarvisgraves.com/
                              Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tgarvisgraves
                              Twitter: @tgarvisgraves, https://twitter.com/tgarvisgraves

                              GIVEAWAY:


                              Thank you for participating in the ON THE ISLAND Event! This week in addition to reviews and posts, select blogs are hosting a word from the author's favorite quotes in the book as a Scavenger Hunt! There is one quote from Anna and one from T.J. Visit each stop this week to find the hidden words (they will be numbered for order) and after July 22nd, submit your answer to the quotes here! Random winners for books and swag will be chosen and notified by July 29th.

                              Also, next week July 23-27, there will be even more events and chances to win the book and swag!

                              • Monday, July 23 at 8:00 pm CST - Chat with the author Tracey Garvis Graves! We will be chatting with the author on Savor Chat: http://www.savorchat.com/chat/on-the-island-chat Come join us! (You can sign in with twitter or facebook)
                              • Each day look at #ontheisland on twitter for random shout outs to win books and swag! @Tale_of_Reviews
                              • ON THE ISLAND releases in bookstores Tuesday, July 10th! If you see the book in stores or 'in the wild' take a picture. Please tweet it and use hashtag #ontheisland. Or you can post it to facebook! Please submit twitter and facebook links of your post/tweet here!


                              Promo Blitz and Cover Reveal: Taken by Storm by Angela Morrison


                              Photobucket


                              Hi guys! Welcome to Taken by Storm Blog Tour Stop here in Journey with Books! Today I'm featuring Taken by Story written by Angela Morrison! We're going to have a little sneak peak inside of it. I hope you enjoy the Book Excerpt down below! Also see what promo Ms. Angela Morrison has for you. (Freebie!) Have fun in entering the discussion down below. Let opinions be known!

                              Title: Taken by Storm
                              Author: Angela Morrison
                              Paperback: 286 pages
                              Publisher: Angela Morrison (June 13, 2012)
                              Language: English
                              ISBN-10: 0615652824
                              ISBN-13: 978-0615652825




                              Synopsis: 


                              Mormon girl Leesie has life figured out until devastated Michael lands in her small town high school. He needs her like no one has before. A rare journey into a faithful LDS teen’s intimate struggle. 



                              "[Morrison] handles the topics of religion and premarital sex gracefully without passing judgment. The message has less to do with religion than learning to respect and cherish others while staying true to one’s own beliefs.”  – Publisher’s Weekly, starred review


                              Brand new paperback and reformatted ebook with fully scalable fonts. Includes bonus, never-before-published scene, "Airport Good-bye!" 


                              10 Year Anniversary
                              Ten years ago this week, Taken by Storm's scuba-diving hero, Michael, swam out of Angela's brain and onto her page. Join the anniversary celebration! Win your own copy of the brand new paperback!  Snag Taken by Storm's Kindle eBook for only $ .99Unbroken Connection (Book 2) and Cayman Summer (Book 3) are free on Kindle! Hurry. The promotion ends Friday, July 20th. Don't own a Kindle?  Download free Kindle apps for your laptop, tablet, iTouch, or phone.  



                              Book Excerpt:
                              Meet Michael: 
                              from Michael's Dive Log, Chapter 1, Taken by Storm, "Before"
                              The dive starts perfect. Perfect water. Perfect sky. Perfect wall. The ocean, warm, flat, perfect. I leave my wetsuit drying on the Festiva’s dive deck. Saltwater slips silky over my skin like Carolina’s caress. 
                              Jeez, I miss her. Caroleena. She insisted on Spanish pronunciation. I thought this trip would help, but I can’t forget lying in the sun, curled together, my face lost in her thick black hair, holding on. Three months. Every day. More when she felt like it. I always felt like it, but I didn’t want to use her. 
                              She dumped me on my butt when I took off to dive all summer at the condo. I wanted to bring her to Florida. Keep her close. Keep her safe. But she had to stay in Phoenix and work. Her family’s got nothing. And Mom flipped when I mentioned it was a shame the sofa bed in the living room would be empty. Dad was cool with it. He’s cool with everything. It should have been Carolina and me all summer, diving. 
                              The creep b-ball jock she’s with now is after one thing, as much as he can get. Possessive, too. Freaked when I called her from the Keys. And when we were all back at school, she wouldn’t even look at me. Dad knew something was up, let me cut a week for the club’s annual “hot deal” hurricane season trip. So, I’m scuba diving my brains out, free diving whenever I can get a spotter, trying not to think about that jock pawing my Carolina. 
                              Love. Makes me crazy. All of it. You get so close, like she’s part of you. And then she’s gone. You ogle the smiling waitress on the boat, who has your girl’s hair and wears a loaded bikini top and a sarong slung dangerously low. You appreciate the view while she serves you a virgin pina colada, but you still ache inside because now you’ve got a hole in your ribcage that won’t fill, a gash that heals way too slow. 
                              Salt water’s my therapy of choice. 
                              I swim my makeshift free-dive raft, Dad’s old scuba vest packed with everything we’ll need, out to the wall. Mom’s late. 
                              Lame. I know. Diving with Mommy. But she’s missing her scuba dive with Dad this a.m. to lie face down on the water all morning watching a breath-holding fanatic sink head first into the ocean. I got to give her props for that. 
                              Spread out, Dad’s BC, the scuba vest, makes a decent place to hang between dives. I blow air into it until it bounces on top of the water and wonder if I’ll get that dive kayak I want for Christmas. I tie my diver-down flag to the BC raft and hook it all up to the buoy marking the edge of the reef. The ocean floor drops off hundreds of feet here forming a sheer coral wall. Still no scary pink slashed shark bait wetsuit jumping off the Festiva and finning toward me. It’s okay. We’ve got all morning. 
                              Good old Mandy in Florida used to spot me. That was in no way lame. I faked shallow-water blackout all the time so she’d have to swim down, wrap her sexy body behind mine, pull me to the surface, and resuscitate me. Mandy. Another hole in my guts. 
                              I’m tired of waiting. I sling my weight belt around my hips and cinch it tight. A few more pounds of muscle mass to my core and I won’t need the weights. I’ve got my body taught and toned. I can hold my breath forever. My heartbeat even goes slow-mo when I free dive. Total control.
                              I pop a quick sixty-footer down to the reef, bop with the juvie fish—yellow and black, blue, purple. Wish I could shrink down to their size and dart in and out of a coral mound happy, careless, flitting, free. Easy to be a fish. I wouldn’t make a freak of myself like yesterday when I finally talked to that waitress. She looks eighteen, twenty tops. 
                              I took my drink to the bar for a refill. “You want to hang out with me on your break?”
                              Chicks usually say, “Yes.” Babes hit on me way more than I hit on them. Even the older ones. I think it’s the hair. Boring brown, but it went wavy post-manhood. I keep it long. Girls can’t resist. I don’t take up their offers as much as I could. Mom’s got this thing about respect.
                              But my waitress didn’t say, “Yes.” She pushed her own thick, black, sexy hair that whispered, “Carolina,” out of her eyes and smiled to let me down easy. “I don’t think so.” 
                              “Come on. There’s nobody up on the bow. You could work on your tan.” 
                              “Tan?” She’s Hispanic, gorgeous golden all over. 
                              “Pretend.” I ran my finger down her arm. We both felt it. That charge when it’s right.
                              She didn’t get uptight and jerk away from me. I was getting to her. “And what will you do?” She blinked slow. Her mouth opened slightly as she exhaled.
                              I traced her fingers. “I’m pretty good with lotion.” 
                              She laughed again, throaty, teasing. “Sorry.” She pulled away then. “Next break the Captain lets me call my kids.” 
                              No lie. She handed me a picture. Three brown faces tumbling over each other. They stay with her mom up in Belize City. She misses them pretty bad. I felt sorry for her. Wanted to do something. I mean here’s this young, beautiful girl stuck serving drinks to creeps like me until her looks go. I wish I could get Dad to hire her, but I don’t think she types. I laughed it off, hung out with her while my drink melted. The whole thing made me feel useless.
                              So much easier to be a fish. 
                              I leave the juvies playing hide-and-seek in the coral’s tiniest caves and swim over to the wall for a look. Nice. Steepest one we’ve been on. Blue, deepening to bluer, deepening to a thousand feet of blue. Perfect. I know I can break a hundred.
                              Today. 
                              Every time I tried at the condo last summer, either the waves were too high or the currents too strong. That’s the Keys. None of that here. I turn away from the promising depths and swim toward sunshine. 
                              When I break the surface, Mom’s all over me. “Dammit, Michael, you supposed—”
                              “Just warming up. Not a real dive.” I suck up. “Never without a buddy.” I duck under the BC raft, grab the weight belt I brought for her from the vest’s pocket, and surface.
                              “It looked like a real dive to me.” Mom fastens the belt, kicking slow to stay afloat.
                              I grin and give her a saltwater kiss on the cheek before I move out along the line stretched between the buoy and raft, positioned so I can dive straight down the wall. I float on my stomach, blow through my nose to clear my mask, shoot a spout of water out of my snorkel, and inhale—fill my gut, hold it a few beats, then blow it out nice and slow, expelling CO2, the waitress, Carolina, Mandy, even Mom, through that handy tube stuck in my mouth. 
                              “Take it easy, this morning.” Mom treads water instead of taking up her spotting position. “Don’t go too deep.”
                              I keep venting, soaking up the blue world under me, eager to immerse myself in it again.
                              “No blackout today, right?” She says that every dive. I was ten that one time. Get over it.
                              A pair of painted angels drift over the top of the wall, their fins waving in time to my slowing heartbeat. I blow up my chest and gut, nine more mesmerizing cycles. 
                              Mom maneuvers into position, face down on the other side of the line. 
                              I advance to super-vents, stretch my head back so I can drive air into every chamber of my skull and torso, filling my throat and nasal passages, again and again until my fingers tingle perfect breathe-down. O2 maxed, totally zoned. 
                              I inhale one last time, packing every crevice, and then pack more air, and more. Mom bumps my leg. Doesn’t matter. I’m Mr. Zen of the Deep. Nothing can penetrate this lean mean free-diving machine. 
                              I slip the snorkel out of my mouth, bend at the waist, kick my massive free-dive fins skyward and shoot down through the water. One kick, two. My buoyancy slides negative at fifteen feet. I streamline it, conserving my hoard of O2. Don’t need to kick now. Pinch my nose and clear my ears—easy. I zoom past the top of the wall, equalize my mask, glance at the dive computer strapped to my wrist, seventy feet, clear again, eighty. The deeper I go, the faster I fall. I blow past ninety. Hit a hundred before I know it. The water’s so kicking clear. 
                              I pull up hard, flip so my head points skyward, and work my fins to stop sinking. I want to celebrate. Kind of a deadly idea. A massive crab, all blued out, sits in a crevice sliced into the wall. He waves his claws in my direction. It took less than a minute to get down there. I have plenty of oxygen packed in my body, but I need it all for the ascent. No time for underwater fans. 
                              I begin kicking for real, powering my giant fins back and forth. Don’t go anywhere. Freak. Ditch my weights? No way. Dive won’t count. My depth gauge reads 99 feet. Good. I’m moving—just doesn’t seem like it. I paste my eyes to the blaring pink triangle that is Mom and kick harder. Ninety feet, eighty. 
                              I make the top of the wall with upward momentum. Acid scalds my leg muscles. My lungs weep for air. Still, I don’t chuck the weights. I keep eye contact with Mom so she won’t think she has to save me and wreck this dive. My chest vibrates with the effort of holding onto the last dredge of O2. 
                              My legs get stiff. I force them to keep wafting my heavy fins back and forth.
                              The drowsy warmth of blackout creeps over me at fifteen feet, but I don’t give it any room. I blow my CO2. Positive buoyancy propels me to the surface. I blast through, plastering Mom. She squeals. 
                              My starving lungs kick back mounds of fresh salt air.
                              “Your lips are blue, baby.” Her eyebrows draw together.
                              I suck O2 to my brain and stick my computer-strapped wrist in her face.
                              107 feet. Perfect. 
                              “Whoa.” She doesn’t yell it and give me skin like Dad would have. “From now on you’re going to need a lot better spotter than me.” Mom starts untying the diver-down flag from the buoy. “Let’s head back.” 
                              “We’ve still got tons of time.” I fin over to her. “I’m going again in a few minutes.”
                              “No way.” She struggles with my knots.
                              “Yes. Way.” My mask fogs up. I rip it off my head. A few strands of wavy brown chick-bait hair come with it. 
                              Mom gets the rope loose. “You need to work on your knots.”
                              “I just got started.” I hock a ball of slime into my mask and rub it around with my finger. “What am I going to do back on the boat?”
                              “You’ve got yesterday’s dives to log.”
                              “I’m staying.” I swish my mask around in the water.
                              “Not without a spotter.” She winds up the rope and hands it to me.
                              I hook the scuba vest raft with an elbow. “Then spot me.” I put my mask back on, mess around clearing it of my wild hair, remembering how
                              Carolina tore at it the last time we were together.
                              Mom turns her back on me. “You’re diving way out of my league.” She unlatches her weight belt, lifts it out of the water by one end, and sets it on the BC raft. “You know I’m lucky if I free dive to thirty.”
                              “This is stupid. You always spot me.”
                              “Not anymore.”
                              “One more dive. Just to the reef. A baby could make that dive.”
                              “Can I trust you?”
                              How can I answer? We both know I’ll be down that wall again—freaking should be down that wall again.
                              “I’m not going to lie there and watch you drown. End of story.” She pulls her still pretty face into a crease. “You’re not free diving unless you’ve got a qualified spotter at the surface and a scuba spotter at depth.”
                              “Give me a break.” Nobody does that for a hundred feet. “It’s not like I’m riding a sled to 450.”
                              “Don’t give me nightmares.”
                              Right on cue, like Mom foresaw all and paid off the captain to get her way, the horn on the Festiva blares, over and over.
                              Mom frowns back at the boat. “Let’s go.” She starts swimming.
                              I hang back.
                              “Get a move on,” she yells. “They don’t blow that thing for nothing.”

                              Author Bio: 


                              Angela Morrison is the award-winning YA author of Taken by Storm (Books 1-3) and Sing me to Sleep. She graduated from Brigham Young University and holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She grew up in Eastern Washington on the wheat farm where Taken by Storm is set. She's an advanced NAUI, Nitrox certified scuba diver. The hurricane that kills Michael's parents was inspired by a real-life diving accident.
                              After over a decade in Canada, Switzerland, and Singapore, Angela and her family are happily settled in Mesa, Arizona. She enjoys speaking to writers and readers of all ages about her craft. She has four children--mostly grown up--and the most remarkable grandson in the universe.

                              Author Links:


                              Links to Buy: 


                              So what do you guys think?  Is RELIGION important in a relationship? How does the difference in beliefs/religion affects a relationship? Let me know your thoughts on the comment section below. Thanks!

                              Blog Tour: Book Excerpt and Giveaway: Tyler Falls by Lori Clark


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                              Hi guys! I hope you're all doing alright! I'm back with another blog tour! Yes, if you've noticed.. I love blog tours! Today, I'm featuring Tyler Falls written by Ms. Lori Clark. We'll get a sneak peek at the inside of this very intriguing and intense book. Plus! There's your favorite... a GIVEAWAY! This fun blog tour was organized by Reading Addiction Blog Tours!

                              Tyler Falls
                              Author: Lori L. Clark
                              Publisher: Lori L. Clark
                              Date Published: May 25, 2012
                              Language: English
                              ASIN: B0086F6V6S
                              Genre: Young Adult

                              Book Blurb:
                              Tyler has suffered from manic depression for as long as he can remember. Through medication and therapy, he manages to keep his life together. But when his parents are murdered, he decides he's had enough of living as a broken person with a broken life. So, in thirty days, he plans to stick the barrel of his Ruger SP101 into his mouth and pull the trigger.


                              Emma Perez's brother, Ethan Giovanni, sits in a mental institution for the murder of Dr. and Mrs. Falls. Deemed mentally incompetent and unfit to stand trial, Ethan has one weekly visitor -- Emma. She doesn't deny his guilt, he's her brother and she loves him spite of the fact he's paranoid schizophrenic.


                              They say when you cross paths with someone more than once, it's fate -- you're destined to meet. Tyler doesn't know Emma is Ethan's sister, and Emma doesn't know Tyler's story either. When Tyler learns who Emma's brother is, the world he's rebuilt around her begins to crumble all over again and it leaves both of them wondering why fate has such a cruel sense of humor.


                              Book Excerpt:

                              Chapter 1
                              Tyler

                              My name is Tyler Jacob Falls and I have exactly thirty days to live. 
                              The special school I attend -- not short bus special -- and my shrink Dr. Dynerbaugh think talking about my problems will be great therapy, part of my healing process. She wants me to open up and share my thoughts and feelings more. Dr. Dynerbaugh even gave me a journal to write in, but I don't plan on using it. I've got news for her; there are more pages in that empty journal than I have days left. 

                              I'm seventeen and live with my aunt and uncle on Loon Island. I've lived here since April last year. No, my parents didn't get a divorce or kick me out. Dealing with that would be a piece of cake compared to what really happened.     

                              My parents were murdered -- on Valentine's Day. 

                              That night, when I pulled into the drive after dropping Livi off, (Livi is Olivia Barnett -- only the hottest chick at Fort Jupiter High School. Yeah, I didn't always have the big "L" on my forehead like I do now), the front door to our house stood wide open. It being February in Fort Jupiter with a foot of fresh snow covering the front lawn, I knew there was no way in hell the front door should be open like that. We had a running joke in our family about my mom being like the Energy Nazi and she would flip out about someone's lack of procedure. 

                              My gut told me something was bad wrong so I pulled out my cell phone, just as a precaution, and inched closer to the front door. When I walked in, that bastard Ethan Giovanni was wiping the blood from the knife he'd just slit my parent's throats with. He wore a sick, twisted grin on his face. I had about two seconds to dial 911 before he spotted me. 

                              For someone who just offed two people in cold blood on their living room floor; he showed no more emotion than if he'd just squashed a freaking cockroach.

                              He had pure evil in his eyes. It's those eyes that will haunt my dreams every night for the rest of my remaining life -- when I actually sleep. Giovanni tried to make me victim number three, and the last thing I remember about that night was the distant echo of sirens. 

                              He tried to run, but they caught up with him about three blocks from our house. But before running like the pussy he is, he stabbed me four times. I spent the next six weeks breathing through the pain of a punctured lung and took my meals through a tube attached to needle in my arm. 

                              My mom and dad were buried while I lay in a semi-comatose state due to all the drugs they kept pumped into my body in the ICU at Fort Jupiter Memorial Hospital. When they said I had healed enough to leave the hospital, I went to live with my aunt and uncle -- Nicole and Kyle Falls -- on Loon Island.    

                              There are Three-hundred-forty-two residents on Loon Island -- forty two normal people and three hundred crazy people. 
                              Those numbers are subject to change, depending on what kind of day I'm having, to forty-one Normals and three-hundred-one Crazies. 

                              My Aunt Nicole gets on my case for calling the residents of the nuthouse Crazies. I should probably clarify something. Loon Island was named for the bird and not because of the lunatics who live here. Oh and the Loon Island Psychiatric Hospital is not the loony bin or even the insane asylum. I wouldn't want to offend one of the nutcases or their families by being politically incorrect. (Sarcasm.) 
                              Ethan Giovanni. His face and name are two things that will go out with me when I pull the trigger. There wasn't a trial because they said he's not competent enough. He's insane. Gee, ya think?! 

                              How ironic is it that we both live here on Loon Island? He's one of the Crazies I told you about. He's in the maximum security part of the nuthouse -- supposedly on suicide watch twenty-four/seven. If you ask me, they should give him a rope and save the tax payer's money. Some people can't be rehabilitated. I mean what's he going to do? Find God? Give me a friggin' break. Scum like Ethan Giovanni don't deserve to live. 

                              We're supposed to take the ferry to the mainland today. It's Monday, May 25. Memorial Day. Aunt Nicole wants to take me to the cemetery where my mom and dad are buried. It will be a day of firsts for me. The first day I've been off the island in over a year and the first time I've been to the grave site. Ever. I wonder if they'll bury me next to them.

                              Aunt Nicole knocks on my locked door and I tell her I'm coming. Since she knows I keep the door locked she doesn't bother trying to open it. 

                              It's not that I don't trust my aunt. On second thought... it kind of is. I don't trust anybody. She works for the hospital sometimes. Her and my uncle both work there. Most of the Normals on the Island either work at the hospital or live with someone who does. She's a Criminologist who studies the nature, extent, causes, and control of criminal behavior in people and in society. I've seen the way she watches me like I'm one of her patients and I know she's just waiting for me to snap.

                              My Uncle Kyle's a warden at the big house. Kyle's badass -- for an old man. He's not old like ancient or anything, just older than me. He works out every day and I know he could kick some serious ass without blinking an eye. I know he'd kick mine in a heartbeat if I were to cross the line. Oh and just for the record... I'm no scrawny assed wimp.

                              I've heard people say never trust anyone over thirty. I have a different set of rules about trust. Don't trust anyone old enough to focus on you with their eyes or manipulate you with a smile. So, except for newborn babies and really old people, there aren't too many people able to earn my trust. 

                              I work out in Uncle Kyle's basement gym late at night when no one's around to spy on me. Now, it's a matter of survival -- in case they lock me up in the nuthouse again and not because I'm trying to turn some hot chick's head. Dr. Dynerbaugh -- Dr. Dinnerbell as I like to think of her -- says it's good to exercise at least thirty minutes each day. It's supposed to help with my depression. She should practice what she preaches. She's not depressed, she's just fat.

                              Chapter 2
                              Emma

                              To my family, I'm Emmaline Antoinette Perez. Everyone else just knows me as Emma Perez or Em. I'm sixteen and live in Prayer Cove. Prayer Cove is part of Fort Jupiter where a lot of Hispanic families live. Since many of us are Catholic, some moron got the bright idea to call the area Prayer Cove. Last I checked -- our mail still comes addressed as Fort Jupiter. 

                              I used to go to school at Fort Jupiter High. But after my idiot brother Ethan needed money for drugs and murdered that man and his wife -- Dr. and Mrs. Falls -- in the white-bread section of the city... going back and facing everyone at school didn't work out so great for me. Now, with a little help from the state, all my classes are done online through Virtual School. 

                              Tyler Falls went to School at Fort Jupiter High School too, but he was a grade ahead of me and we didn't have any classes together. Rumor has it that he went loco after he found his parents murdered and wound up in the nuthouse on Loon Island. 

                              I don't know and I don’t care. I mean, I feel bad about his parents and all, but Tyler Falls is a jerk. One of those popular assholes who thinks he can do whatever he wants. The typical rich kid jock. Nice car, pretty girlfriend. One thing about being on top... it hurts a helluva lot worse when your ass hits the bottom of the social ladder. Anyway, I never met the dude and wouldn't know him if he stood in front of my face. Obviously, we didn't run in the same social circles, if you catch my drift. 

                              I don't have class today because it's a holiday so I'm going to take the ferry over to Loon Island and visit Ethan. Ethan and I have the same mama but different fathers. His real dad took off when he was just a baby. 

                              Even though we don't see eye to eye about a lot of things anymore, we used to be pretty tight. Before he got mixed up with gangs doing drugs and started getting into trouble with the cops all the time.
                              Ethan is four years older than me and the drugs really messed up his head. I don't think the drugs caused all of it but they sure didn't help him any. Now they say he's insane. Unfit to stand trial. A paranoid schizophrenic. He's locked up in the psych hospital on Loon Island. As far as I know, I'm the only one who ever visits him. 

                              I think mama still prays for him, but I wonder where God was when he was getting into all this trouble. I don't dare ask mama that question. I don't think anybody goes to church more or prays harder than mama. 

                              Even though she says she loves Ethan, he is her only son -- she says it is not up to her whether or not he is forgiven -- it is in God's hands now she tells me.

                              She don't visit him. I know it cuts him like a knife, but Ethan won't ever admit it. He don't ask about her and says she is as dead to him as he is to her. That's on a good day. If he's having a bad day, he has plenty to say. None of it very nice -- mostly just plain off the wall crazy babbling. I guess that's more proof that he's where he is for a good reason.

                              Mama works cleaning houses for people. Mostly in Fort Jupiter, but there are a couple houses on Loon Island she does twice a week. I'm thinking about finding me a cleaning job over the summer for some spending money.

                              My papa was killed in a drive-by shooting when I was about six. So now that Ethan's locked up in the crazy house, it's just me and mama.

                              I'm going to take the ferry to Loon Island to see Ethan now. I hope he's having a good day.

                              Where to Buy:


                              About the Author:
                              1. I’m an only child.
                              2. I love dogs!
                              3. I was born in Iowa City, Iowa and lived in Iowa my whole life until January 2007, when I moved to the STL area.
                              4. I worked as a professional psychic reader for 2 years.
                              5. I’m a Pisces Sun, Leo Moon with Aquarius rising.
                              6. I’ve written 3 books and am in the process of writing my 4th.
                              7. I don’t look or act my age!
                              8. I’ve been married twice and divorced twice.
                              9. I love 80′s hair band music.
                              10. I’m a claims payment analyst for Fortune 500 Magazine’s #16 “Top 100 places in America to work.”
                              Twitter:
                              @clarklori

                              GIVEAWAY:

                              What would you do if you fell in love with a person related to someone who did something unspeakable to your family? Would you break up with her/him? Or would you just accept it?

                              Let me know your thoughts on the comment section below.

                              a Rafflecopter giveaway

                              Note: My review for this book will be posted within this week. Thanks!

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