Friday, December 15, 2017

All Systems Down by Sam Boush - Cover Reveal


Thriller
Date Published: 8 February 2018

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24 hours.
That’s all it takes. 
A new kind of war has begun. 

Pak Han-Yong’s day is here. An elite hacker with Unit 101 of the North Korean military, he’s labored for years to launch Project Sonnimne: a series of deadly viruses set to cripple Imperialist infrastructure.


And with one tap of his keyboard, the rewards are immediate. 


Brendan Chogan isn’t a hero. He’s an out-of-work parking enforcement officer and one-time collegiate boxer trying to support his wife and children. But now there’s a foreign enemy on the shore a blackout that extends across America, and an unseen menace targeting him.


Brendan must do whatever it takes to keep his family safe. 


In the wake of the cyber attacks, electrical grids fail, satellites crash to earth, and the destinies of nine strangers collide.
Strangers whose survival depends upon each other’s skills and courage.


For fans of REVOLUTION, Tom Clancy, and Thom Stark’s MAY DAY, ALL SYSTEMS DOWN is a riveting cyber war thriller which presents a threat so credible you’ll be questioning reality. 



Excerpt



The sun rising over the Yalu River was the best part of Pak Han-yong’s day.

It began with darkness. In the distance, on the far side of the river, his homeland lay swaddled in unbreaking night. The fields and the factories, the port and the mills all slept. Then the horizon would lighten, from black to blue to gold, and the three faraway smokestacks appeared from the port city of SinĒ”iju; first as silhouettes, then as gray fists, casting long shadows.

Next, the sun. Crimson light burned at the edges of red pine forests and reflected off the rice paddies. River, land, and air awoke to the glory of the Supreme Leader and the world’s chosen people. Tears sprung, as they always did, as light brought his beloved North Korea to life.

He observed it all from his desk on the tenth floor of the Shanghai Hotel in Dandong, China, across the border from the land of his ancestors.

China. After two years, Han-yong still had trouble internalizing the wealth of this nation. The Chinese lived in skyscrapers, profligate buildings of steel and glass. So different from his home city of Chongjin, where families lived modestly in single-story “harmonica homes,” so named because of their resemblance to the tiny boxes that make up the chambers of a harmonica.

On Fuchun Street, ten stories below, cars bustled. Unnecessary, extravagant. In Chongjin, nearly everyone was content to ride a bicycle or take public transit. And when they did drive, his people didn’t smoke like the Chinese. If you smoked, you wouldn’t catch the constant engine problems of your soviet-made Volga or ZIL.

Even from thirty meters above, it was apparent how the well-fed Chinese had been made soft by water that flowed reliably and electricity that ran all day. Food here wasn’t rationed by the gram. No one in China grew strong and clever from struggle and strain. There were no hardships here. And for that, he despised the Chinese, military allies or not.

“Long live the Shining Sun of North Korea,” he said. These people aren’t better than us. We have nothing to envy in the world. He lowered himself into the seat of his desk, rearranged his mouse so it squared perfectly with his keyboard, took a final sip of tea, and continued to monitor the attack that had started hours earlier.

Today, Han-yong fell into his routine, despite the enormity of the day’s events. Routine was the scaffolding that held his life together. He had woken in the earliest hours, barely speaking to his five roommates in the converted hotel room, had slipped into his pressed uniform, and spit-polished the single silver star on his shoulder. Then, after quickly wiping dust from the portrait of the Supreme Leader that hung alone on the wall, he’d moved to the common area to drink his tea and work until sunrise.

Two years of waiting, and today it has finally begun. He rubbed his hands together. Every day Han-yong worked here, visited the canteen, and bunked in his room. He rarely slept more than five hours. And never, in those two years, had he left the tenth floor of the Shanghai Hotel.

For all the differences between China and North Korea, there was only one that mattered, and it was why Han-yong was here at all. The Internet. On the North Korean side of the river, the global Internet, for all practical purposes, did not exist. There was a limited internal network that pointed to a handful of websites. But North Korea had fewer Internet protocol addresses in the whole country than could be found on a block in some Imperialist cities.

Here in China, though, the Internet reached nearly every corner of the globe. And because of that, Han-yong and the other elite hackers of Unit 101 could touch a banking system in London, a hospital network in New York City, or a data center in Tokyo.

“Junior Lieutenant Pak!” The gruff voice of the senior lieutenant shattered Han-yong’s reverie and brought him spinning from the window, springing to his feet, fingertips raised to eyebrow in salute. “You are to come with me.”

The senior lieutenant was very different from Han-yong. He was loud and assertive, tall by North Korean standards, and good-looking enough that he probably did well with women when he took leave—an amenity provided only to senior officers. But, most grating, he was a traditional military officer, untrained in online warfare, and knew just enough to stick his fingers where they didn’t belong.

Still, there was nothing to do but obey.

They waded the corridors in silence, past the desks where scores of other hackers from his unit sat immersed in a war that had begun with an attack on an Imperialist supercarrier only hours earlier. As Han-yong sauntered through the ranks of Unit 101, his pulse quickened with pride. They were the elite, plucked from grade school from across the country and enrolled in Command Automation University in Pyongyang. They had trained with the singular focus of learning to hack into secure enemy networks. They had become warriors. Instead of tanks or drones, their weapons were in code. They had mastered digital viruses, worms, the dedicated denial of service attack, trapdoors, and botnets. They had simulated cyber war amongst themselves and infiltrated foreign targets. At every stage, they had been tested and evaluated, and only the most gifted had come to wear the uniform.

The senior lieutenant stopped the door that led to the stairwell. “The colonel has ordered a meeting with you,” he said, one hand placed haughtily on his hip, not bothering to meet Han-yong’s eyes. He’d assumed the pose of a Manchurian guerrilla fighter from the war movies. “You will speak when spoken to and answer all inquiries in full.”

Han-yong couldn’t help himself. “Sir, what inquiries?”

“About the interconnect logic bombs,” the senior lieutenant snapped, unlocking the door. The stairwell beyond was devoid of decoration, except for a creamy swirl on the vinyl tile, like the pattern on the lid of a paint can. “Hurry now.” And he started up the stairs, feet tapping a marching rhythm.

The Imperialists of North America had many weaknesses, but Han-yong had been ordered to focus on the power grid. The system was a relic of the 1960s, set up with no thoughts for security, but instead as a way to balance the supply and demand for electrical power across vast swaths of territory. In their arrogance, the Americans had organized just five power-grid interconnections across the entire country, electrically tied together and operating at the same frequency.

While it may have so far proven a sufficient way to balance loads—power companies with little demand could transfer electricity to areas with greater demand—the reality was that a single significant disturbance could collapse all of the systems tied to the interconnection. And Han-yong did not have the means to cause just a single disturbance.

He had the means to cause thousands.

The project was code-named Sonnimne, after the smallpox gods of Korean mythology that long ago crossed the Yalu River. It was both a nod to the new pestilence they would unleash and a reference to how the plague had already spread in secret, machine to machine, substation to substation.

Han-yong had planted logic bombs—malware that could be triggered in response to an event—in substations across the United States. It had taken months of steadfast work. The difficulty was writing the combustible code within a Trojan application in a way that was at once difficult to detect, easy to spread, and powerful once deployed. While the wait and the work had been excruciating, the payoff would be enormous. And imminent.

They reached the top of the stairs, and the senior lieutenant produced a key to open the gray-painted industrial steel door. The eleventh floor was reserved for high-ranking officers, their quarters, and computer servers that required additional security.

Sweat beaded on Han-yong’s brow. The colonel ranked just three steps below a general, and was likely the most senior military official Han-yong would ever speak to in his career. A slipup here might find him dishonored and discharged, or eating rats in a reeducation camp.

They rounded the first corner through the carpeted corridor, where Han-yong noticed, with more than a little satisfaction, that the smell of mildew pervaded every bit as strongly as in the floor where the junior officers worked. The senior lieutenant pulled up short in front of a door with a brass room number in the Western style. Before they could knock, a man inside bellowed, “Junior Lieutenant Pak Han-yong. Come in. Come in.”

The voice was not what he’d expected. Friendly. Jovial, even. Han-yong poked his chin through the doorway.

Nothing about the scene that greeted them was as he had imagined. The hotel suite was gaudy by North Korean standards. The walls, which should have been bare except for the requisite photograph of the Supreme Leader, were decorated with paintings of mountains and birds in a style that Han-yong vaguely recognized as Japanese.

The room was not sleeping quarters, but an office far larger than the room Han-yong shared with the other soldiers. At the center of the space, a heavy-grain oak desk displayed unrecognizable artifacts: three swords on a wooden rack, an unfolded fan with red tassels and a painted orange sun, a clay jar in the shape of a boar, and a half-dozen other oddities that Han-yong had never seen. They were beautiful, and he felt guilty for admiring the work of foreigners.

The colonel himself was also a surprise. A crisp military uniform did nothing to hide his bulk. No one Han-yong had ever met carried more than a few pounds of extra weight. How could they, when even prison guards and soldiers, who received the best rations in the country, still lived off just enough to fill their bellies?

“Junior Lieutenant,” the colonel began, leaning back in his chair, “your commanding officer tells me we are ready to move forward with project Sonnimne. And I understand that you have implanted code throughout the US system of interconnects?”

“Not exactly, sir.” Han-yong hesitated, unsure of how much technical detail to provide. “I created a zero-day exploit. A new kind of virus, sir. It uses entirely original code.” The colonel raised an eyebrow. “That means it can’t be detected by malware filters,” Han-yong continued. “The virus triggered a patch update in the operating systems of the high-voltage distribution facilities and spread throughout.”

The colonel inclined forward, his chair squealing under the weight. “What do you mean by ‘spread throughout?’ How many facilities have the virus?”

Han-yong paused, careful to give the correct information. “All of them, sir. All of the distribution facilities in the United States now have the virus.”

The senior lieutenant let out a dry cough. Otherwise, for several seconds no one moved or spoke. Han-yong shifted his weight between feet.

“But … that must be thousands,” the colonel said.

A trickle of sweat trickled down Han-yong’s brow toward his eye, but he ignored it. “Yes, sir. There are over nine thousand electric-generating facilities and over three-hundred thousand kilometers of high-voltage lines spread between them. These substations alone carry seventy percent of the most-hated nation’s electricity. They all have the virus.” The sweat droplet fell into his eye. He blinked it away.

“Do you mean to say that we have a virus that can wipe out seventy percent of the American electrical grid?”

“No, sir. When the majority of the US power grid goes down, the lower-voltage lines won’t be able to sustain the added load volume. They will topple under the stress. This virus will wipe out one-hundred percent of the American electrical grid.”

The colonel’s mouth hung open as if he were about to speak, but couldn’t, while the senior lieutenant wore a self-satisfied smirk that reminded Han-yong of a least weasel with a bellyful of stolen eggs.

The colonel’s jaw tightened below a layer of fat. “If the virus is dispersed so completely, then why has nothing happened? The lights are still on in the West.”

Now it was the senior lieutenant’s turn to explain. “The virus has two stages. The first is the spreading stage, which is only recently complete. The second stage is activation, when the logic bombs that have been hidden in the code will deploy. We are ready to deploy that on your order, sir. Today, if desired. Along with the hundreds of other attacks Unit 101 has prepared.”

Han-yong nodded, proud that his efforts fit so well with the whole. Each team member had his own projects designed to attack global enemies; separate and equally deadly projects to take out Imperialist infrastructure. Some cyber soldiers had built malware to disable railways. Some had built code to choke airline traffic. Still others had built viruses to cripple the Imperialist military communications.

“At your command, we can activate the logic bombs with a keystroke,” the senior lieutenant continued. “The virus will cause the power grid to overheat and self-immolate. I have no way of knowing how long it would take to repair, but every time the Americans try to rebuild the lines, we can bring them down again.”

At that, the colonel laughed heartily, the fat of his jowls jiggling with mirth. “You both are too young to appreciate the irony in what we are about to do. You see, when the Soviet Union collapsed decades ago, our system also faltered. The subsidies that had sustained us fell away, and our power plants rusted into disuse. Our streets went dark. And many of our cities are still without power, as you know. The fatherland is still in the dark.”

Han-yong nodded. All too well, he knew of the humiliations his countrymen had suffered under the sanctions of their enemies.

“But our time has come,” the colonel continued. “Like the thousand-li horse, we are too swift to be mounted, too elegant to be cowed. At last, it has all come together. The fight has only begun, and already the enemy falters. So now we will strike at the heart. Today we will lash out with this and everything we have. This is our chance to repay, blindness for blindness, a world that sent us into blackness.”



About the Author


Sam has worked as a wildland firefighter, journalist, and owner of a mid-sized marketing agency. Though he’s lived in France and Spain, his heart belongs to Portland, Oregon, where he lives with his wife, Tehra, two wonderful children, and a messy cat that keeps them from owning anything nice.


 Contact Links


Purchase Links

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Beauty and Beastly by Melanie Karsak - Book Blitz + Giveaway

Beauty and Beastly: Steampunk Beauty and the Beast
Melanie Karsak
(Steampunk Fairy Tales)
Publication date: December 6th 2017
Genres: Adult, Fairy Tales, Steampunk
In this tale as old as time, Isabelle Hawking must tinker a solution to a heartbreaking mystery.
When Isabelle Hawking and her papa set out from London on a sea voyage, Isabelle is thrilled. Visiting foreign courts, learning from master tinkers, and studying mechanicals is her dream. And it doesn’t hurt that the trip also offers Isabelle an escape from her overbearing and unwanted suitor, Gerard LeBoeuf.
But Isabelle never arrives. Swept up in a tempest, her ship is lost.
Isabelle survives the storm only to be shipwrecked on a seemingly-deserted island. The magical place, dotted with standing stones, faerie mounds, and a crumbling castle, hints of an ancient past. Isabelle may be an unwilling guest, but her arrival marks a new beginning for the beastly residents of this forgotten land.
See how NY Times bestselling author Melanie Karsak puts a steampunk spin on the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale.


EXCERPT:
“Hello? Is anyone there?”
The sky overhead darkened, and in the distance, I heard the rumble of thunder.
Oh no. No, no, no.
I looked up at the sky. My head swam.
I needed to find shelter.
I turned to go back to the path, but when I did so, I didn’t see the path, nor the ring of mushrooms, nor anything else vaguely familiar.
Once more, the sky rumbled.
I felt the first of the raindrops on my head, but luckily, the thick leaves overhead sheltered me somewhat. As the storm rolled in, the forest grew dark.
I cast a glance around.
It didn’t matter which direction I went. Eventually I would find the shore once more.
Turning to head out, however, I spotted a bluish colored light in the distance. A house? A fire? A lantern? A…something.
“Hello?”
No reply.
Turning, I followed the bluish glow. I headed deeper into the forest, chasing after the light, but soon found its source. It was a mushroom. The glowing mushroom had been sitting on a rise. It had played a trick on my mind. Then I spotted another glowing fungus, then another, and another, all of which held an incandescent blue light. They grew in a straight line. Without a better recourse, and feeling half suspicious of the supernatural, I followed the glow of the blue mushrooms as the rain pattered overhead, the sky rumbling. I followed the blue lights deep into the ancient woods, aware that I was passing other sacred rings. I walked past a mound of earth, a barrow, the final resting place of some ancient person—and some said a passageway to the Otherworld—as I hurried deeper into the woods. Surely I would find the shoreline soon.
Lightning cracked overhead.
Then, on the horizon, I saw golden light. A fire? I squinted my eyes, trying to make out the shape through the trees, but my head ached miserably. Leaning heavily against my staff, I moved toward the golden colored light.
The forest thinned. The glowing mushrooms led me onward toward the glow of the yellow light in the distance. Praying to find someone—anyone—I followed along, well aware that my quick exertion had my stomach rolling. Black spots wriggled before my eyes. The line of mushrooms ended. To my shock, I’d blundered to the center of the island and found myself standing outside the gates of a castle.
I gazed up at the enormous structure. It towered over me, a black silhouette on the horizon. Light glowed through one of the windows in the upper floors. It was raining in earnest now. Not waiting a moment longer, I pushed the gate. It swung open with a creak.
It was pouring.
I leaned my walking staff against a metal bench in the perfectly manicured garden, then grabbing my skirts, I ran for the castle door. As I rushed, lightning flashed. It created an odd illusion on the bushes and flowers around me. For a moment, they all seemed to glimmer like metal under the bright light.
My temples pounded. My stomach rolled. I raced through the heavy rain to the castle door.
Hoping whoever was at home would forgive me for letting myself in, I pushed open the castle door and crept inside.
The place was eerily silent.
“Hello?” I called. “Is anyone here?”
Breathing deeply and quickly, I realized the moment I stopped that I was not well.
I cast a glance toward a roaring fireplace nearby. A chair was seated before the hearth, a glass of something dark sitting beside the seat. I heard a strange clicking sound.
“Hello?” I called again, but this time, my head began to spin. I put my hands on my hips, trying to catch my breath. I closed my eyes. Everything was twirling.
Footsteps approached.
“I-I’m sorry I let myself in but…” I began then opened my eyes.
Standing before me was a massive automaton, its silver eyes staring coldly at me.
A nauseous feeling swept over me, and my head swam. Black spots danced before my eyes.
“Pardon me. I think I’m about to—”
Faint.
But the word was lost.
And so was I.


Author Bio:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Melanie Karsak is the author of The Airship Racing Chronicles, The Harvesting Series, The Burnt Earth Series, The Celtic Blood Series and Steampunk Fairy Tales. A steampunk connoisseur, zombie whisperer, and heir to the iron throne, the author currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.

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Ice Kingdom by Tiana Warner - Book Blitz + Giveaway

Ice Kingdom
Tiana Warner
(Mermaids of Eriana Kwai, #3)
Publication date: December 11th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
The final adventure in the Mermaids of Eriana Kwai trilogy …
Meela and Lysi have unleashed Sisiutl, legendary two-headed serpent of the Pacific Northwest. It was supposed to be an ally that would help them win the war. Instead, it has fallen under the control of King Adaro, ruler of the Pacific Ocean. If Meela and Lysi can’t stop him, Adaro will use the deadly serpent to rid the oceans of mankind.
With the American military using catastrophic weapons of their own to retaliate, Meela and Lysi must make peace between humans and merpeople before one race destroys the other. The journey will risk their lives and put their relationship to the test—but the vengeance that has been consuming Meela’s thoughts, day and night, might prove even more dangerous.

**Read the first book in the trilogy for FREE: download at http://bit.ly/siandmeela until Dec 25th!**


EXCERPT:
Somewhere on the Pacific Ocean
The young man aimed his crossbow at the water, ready to fire a bolt of solid iron at the first glimpse of flesh beneath the surface.
“Sir,” he said, “shouldn’t we have seen one by now?”
The captain turned his back to the salty wind, jaw tight. “They know we’re here.”
“So what are they doing?”
He followed the captain’s gaze. Blackness merged with the empty grey horizon in every direction. A long silence passed, filled only by gentle swells lapping against the ship.
The captain drew his own crossbow.
“Forming a plan.”
All twenty men aboard the ship readied their weapons, reacting in a chain until the last man at the stern took steady aim at the waves.
“Make ready your iron, men,” shouted the captain. “We have ripples approaching off the port side.”
A handful of places in the water puckered, as if something lingered just below the surface. The sea was too black to tell.
Then it happened. Fifty, maybe sixty sea demons burst from the water and slammed against the ship. The men wasted no time. They reacted with trained speed and agility as the demons thrust stones and jagged shells into the wood, both to break holes in the ship and to scale the sides. The men picked them off with bolts of iron and watched them fall one by one back into the sea.
But they were outnumbered. Soon the demons were upon the ship, pulling themselves across the deck with bony arms.
The young man had already shot a dozen and the water reddened with each passing second.
Slow scraping sounds threatened him from behind. He whirled around, crossbow ready. Burning eyes met his, and sharp teeth, bared to rip into his flesh. He gripped the trigger, felt the bow tighten—
And the demon was gone. The young man stared into the wide gaze of a girl his own age. With a startled cry, he jerked his aim so the bolt barely missed her.
She held a black shell in her hand, sharp at the edges and ready to use as a club. But she didn’t raise it. She just looked at him.
He lowered his crossbow.
Her blonde hair fell heavily over her shoulders, dripping beads of water down her naked chest and stomach, pooling where her torso joined her tail.
He blinked, but made no other motion—where her torso joined her tail. Scales faded into flesh like some sort of beautiful, green and tan sunset.
She pulled herself closer.
“Stay back,” said the young man, unsure what prompted him to hesitate.
He looked into her eyes—emeralds surrounded by pearl white—where moments ago they had burned red. Her sharp teeth had retracted behind rosy lips. The seaweed-coloured flesh of her upper body was now olive and raised with goose bumps from the icy wind.
“Hanu aii,” she whispered. Do not fear. She spoke his language.
He loosened his grip on the crossbow, studying her. She lifted a frail arm and pushed the hair from her eyes, then motioned him forwards.
His pulse quickened as he stared at the beautiful girl.
“Hanu aii,” she said again, her voice resonating sweetly, as if she sang without singing.
Suddenly, he was kneeling in front of her, level with her luminous eyes. The sounds around him faded but for the soft purr in the base of her throat.
She reached up and held an icy hand to his cheek, not for a moment breaking eye contact. The hand slid behind his head and pulled his face towards hers, slowly but firmly. He inhaled her sweet breath.
“No!”
He flinched. He turned to see the captain racing towards them, aiming his crossbow at the maiden.
The young man grasped the scene around him. The ship was empty. A few stray weapons and barrels bobbed serenely in the water. Blood soaked the deck in places, and even the main mast had a splatter across the bottom.
The captain fired wide. Before he could reload and aim again, the sea demon put a hand on the young man’s chin and pulled his gaze back to hers.
Her eyes blazed red. Her skin rippled into the rotten colour of seaweed. Her ears grew pointed and long like sprouting coral. She opened her mouth to reveal a row of deadly teeth.
The young man screamed.
The demon pulled him against her with more strength than three men combined, and they dove headfirst off the side of the ship.
They disappeared into the blood-red water.


Author Bio:
Tiana Warner is the best selling author of the Mermaids of Eriana Kwai trilogy. Her books have been acclaimed by Writer’s Digest, Foreword Reviews, and the Dante Rossetti Awards. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of British Columbia. Tiana enjoys riding her horse, Bailey, and is an active supporter of animal welfare.

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Lo, How a Rose by J.R. Simmons - Book Blitz + Giveaway









JR Simmons lives in Northern Utah with his wife and 4 boys.
He loves spending time with his family and coaching his kids in all of their
different sports. He is an avid gamer and is very excited that his boys are
picking up on his hobby. 

JR was recently introduced to triathlons and has since
found that he loves the sport. Most nights he can be found either sitting down
with a good game or hunched over his laptop writing.








Connect with the Author here: 
~ Facebook ~ Website






An ancient prophet, witness to unspeakable sorrow, is
called to deliver a message of hope.

A barren couple learns they will have a child in their old
age, a child who will prepare the way for the coming Lord.

A virgin conceives a miracle.

As Zacharias goes about his duties in the temple, a visit
from an angel brings unexpected but welcome news. The same angel appears to
newly betrothed Mary, and his words will change more than her life. His message
will change the world. From Hebron to Bethlehem to Nazareth, travel with the
mother of the Savior of the world and the people she knew. Become part of the
miracle and see the world where Jesus Christ was born. We all know how the
story ends, but in Lo, How a Rose, see how it all began."




~ Amazon ~ Amazon Audiobook ~

~ Amazon PaperbackAudible ~




  • The Audio Books are read by two brilliant Narrators; Mark Deakins (reader of the Maze Runner series) and Emily Rankin (reader of Before We Were Yours)


The Audiobooks are well worth listening to!




  • Also the e-copy is on sale this christmas season for $1.99 so pick up your copy today!




Snippet: 

“Joseph,” she said, not breaking eye contact, “I'm pregnant.”

Joseph’s jaw dropped as he gaped at the woman that would have been his wife. As his heart stopped in his chest, he hoped he had heard her wrong. How could she be pregnant? We are betrothed. We are set to be married!

“B-but—” Joseph sputtered.

Mary stood straighter, her countenance stronger somehow. Her words clear and direct.

“The night after our betrothal, I was preparing myself for bed when I saw a brilliant, white light in the middle of my room. In the midst of that light, I heard a voice call me by my name. An angel appeared to me, Joseph. He told me that I was to be the mother of the Son of God.”

Standing in the street, Joseph listened with growing skepticism. “But we aren’t married yet …” Joseph argued, hoping that this might be some kind of horrible joke.

“My child is the Son of God, Joseph.” Mary’s quiet words, pierced his ears and heart at the same time.

Joseph broke eye contact and glared at the ground. His brain tried to process her words and a logical explanation worked its way to the surface. You’ve been gone for three months in the hill country of Hebron. Of course the young men there would have been fascinated with your beauty. Mary, I thought you were stronger than that.

Sick in his heart at the idea of Mary’s betrayal, Joseph shifted his eyes back to her perfect face. He could see the shimmer of tears under her long dark lashes, and even through his own heartache, he wanted to reach out and brush them away before they could spill down her cheeks.

Why would you try to hide behind a ridiculous story? Can you not see how impossible it sounds? Was this the cause for the long delay in Hebron? Why couldn’t you have simply told me the truth?

Then, for the first time, Joseph thought about the consequence of Mary’s infidelity.

It was within his rights as her future husband to put her to death for this betrayal. If he so chose, he could have her stoned. Was she making up this crazy story in an effort to save her own life? He hoped that she knew him better than that.

While the idea that she had been unfaithful to him hurt Joseph deeply, he did not want to see her punished. As his hopes and dreams for a quiet future with the young girl shattered, he found himself reluctant to cause her any more pain than absolutely necessary.

“Please, Joseph,” she pleaded brokenheartedly. “Please believe me.”

Joseph shook his head, corralling his rising anger. “I’m sorry, Mary, but I can’t.”

Firming his resolve, he met her eyes once more. Though the expression of anguish on her face pierced straight into his heart, he gritted his teeth.

“I would never hurt you, Mary. Even now, knowing you have done this to me, I would never want to see you in pain.”

“Joseph, you—”

Not sure how much longer he could hold onto his resolve, Joseph held a hand up to silence her. “I need time to think. I will come to your house soon, and we will discuss the betrothal annulment. Though I cannot stop the gossip from spreading as your time approaches, I will not fan the flames by publicly condemning you. Now go. Notify Jacob that he may expect me on the day following the Sabbath. Prepare yourself and your family for what is to come as best as you are able. I have business that I must attend to.”



To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 




The Lost Macaw by B.L. Blair - Book Blitz + Giveaway





Mystery
Date Published: 12/14/17

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The Lost Macaw is the fourth novella in the Lost and Found Pets series. Alexandra Prescott is a licensed private investigator specializing in finding missing animals. Reuniting pet and owner is more than just a job.

A former client hires Alex to find her lost parrot. The bright colored bird has flown away before, but this time there is evidence that Molly was kidnapped. The demand is simple—the bird for the pictures.

When her client suffers a stroke, Alex is left with a ransom note, a missing bird, and some very incriminating photos. She is in a race against time to solve the mystery of the lost Macaw.



Excerpt

“Your little old lady is quite interesting, Alex,” Halie said.
“What do you mean?”
“She didn’t exist until about thirty years ago.”
“What?!”
“I did a preliminary background search on her. In general, she is clean. No debt. The house is paid off as is her car. The one thing that jumped out at me was the fact that she had a safe deposit box at four different banks.”
Luke raised one eyebrow. I got a sinking feeling. I had noted the bank accounts but hadn’t really given them much thought.
“Yeah,” I said, “I saw those.”
“So why does an eighty-year-old woman need four safe deposit boxes?”
“Why does she need more than one?” Luke muttered.
“Exactly,” Halie said. “So I dug a little deeper.”
“What did you find?”
“About thirty years ago, Joseph and Trudy Kearns purchased the house on Carriage. Back then, it was a new neighborhood, and the prices were cheap. They paid cash. They also opened a bank account, and Joe got a job working for the city. Those are the first records I can find for either one of them.”
“Trudy would have been fifty at that time. Her husband probably a few years older. What about birth certificates? Social security cards?”
“They had them, but conveniently, they were issued from a small county in Virginia where a massive flood destroyed all their records. The county office was in the process of moving the old paper records to electronic when the flood hit.”
“Let me guess. The Kearns’s records did not survive the flood.”
“Nope.”
“So the only records for them are the ones they had in their possession.” I paused a moment. “Do they look real?”
“Yes,” Halie replied.
“So they could be authentic.”
“Or really good forgeries. In some ways, it was easier back then.”
“Anything else?” I asked.
“Not really. Like I said, she’s pretty clean. Lives on a fixed income of social security and a small pension from her husband’s job. It isn’t much because he only worked for the city for twelve years before he had to retire.”
“This isn’t looking good.”
“I’ll keep digging. See if anything else turns up.”
“Okay, thanks Halie.”
After ending the call, I looked a Luke. He had a perplexed look on his face that I had a feeling mirrored mine.
“Who the hell is Trudy Kearns?”


About the Author



B. L. Blair writes mystery/romance stories. Like most authors, she has been writing most of her life and has dozens of books started. She just needs the time to finish them.
She is the author of the Holton Romance Series, the Leah Norwood Mysteries, and the Lost and Found Pets Mystery Series. She enjoys reading books, writing books, and traveling wherever and as often as time and money allows. She is currently working on her latest book set in Texas, where she lives with her family.

Contact Links

Twitter  

Purchase Links

Kobo 






RABT Book Tours & PR

Superhero High by T.H. Hernandez - Cover Reveal

Superhero High
T.H. Hernandez
Publication date: TBA
Genres: Adventure, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Sixteen-year-old Annarenee Stevens is the sole member of her family without a super power. The only time she feels powerful is in the pool. With her sights set on swimming for U.C. Berkeley, she’s ready to win it all at the State championship and secure her future.
When the government unexpectedly ends the secret Genetically Enhanced Asset (GEA) program, Annarenee is uprooted from Dayton, the only home she’s ever known, and relocated to San Diego with all of the other GEA families. Queen of her public school, Annarenee is just another zero at Superhero High, a school without any sports teams.
With the end of the program, her hero older brother now needs a college education, too, meaning the only way Annarenee is getting into Berkeley is on a scholarship. Her dream is slipping through her fingers, no matter how tightly she clings to it. To make matters worse, super hot superhero, Ren Gonzalez, is paying too much attention to her. The kind of attention that has Ren’s ex-girlfriend intent on making Annarenee’s life even more miserable.
But when heroes begin disappearing, zeros and heroes will be forced to team up in order to solve the mystery. If they don’t kill each other first.

Author Bio:
T.H. Hernandez is the author of young adult books. The Union, a futuristic dystopian adventure, was a finalist in the 2015 San Diego book awards in the Young Adult Fiction category.
She loves pumpkin spice lattes, Game of Thrones, Comic-Con, Star Wars, Doctor Who marathons, Bad Lip Reading videos, and all things young adult, especially the three young adults who share her home.
When not visiting the imaginary worlds inside her head, T.H. Hernandez lives in usually sunny San Diego, California with her husband and three children, a couple of cats, and a dog who thinks he’s a cat, affectionately referred to as “the puppycat.”
You can find her online at http://thhernandez.com


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The One Apart by Justine Avery - Book Tour + Giveaway


The One Apart
by Justine Avery


~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GENRE: Paranormal

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BLURB:

Only one obstacle stands in his way of enjoying a normal life. He remembers—every life he's lived 
before.

Tres is about to be born... with the biggest burden any has ever had to bear. He is beginning again—
as an ageless adult trapped in an infant body.

He and his teenage mother face life filled with extraordinary challenges as they strive to protect, 
nurture, and hide how truly different he is. But Tres alone must solve the greatest mystery of all: 
who is he? The answer is linked to the one question he's too afraid to ask: why am I?

In his quest, Tres discovers that all is considerably more interconnected and dynamic than he could 
ever imagine—and fraught with far more danger. He cannot hide from the unseen threat stalking him 
since his birth.

Life as he knows it—as all know it—is in peril. And Tres is the only one aware.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCERPT

“He needs a name,” Maria said, pouring scrambled eggs onto the plate decorated with a face of bacon
 strips.

Sancha stared at her plate. “He has one,” she said.

The hot iron skillet slipped from Maria’s hand; she sighed her relief as it landing safely on the stove 
burner. “What... did you decide?”

“I didn’t.” Sancha prodded at her eggs, recovering her bacon art one eye at a time.

“I thought you—”

“He has one already. I just don’t know what it is.”

Maria’s subconscious almost recognized the truth in the statement before it was buried by her 
conscious again. “Don’t be silly. Did you choose a name? If not, I will have—”

“No, you will not,” Sancha ended the conversation.

* * *

In the fenced back yard Maria referred to as “the garden,” sat a rusting swing set for two: 
Sancha’s favorite spot in the whole world. Swinging there—in and out of the shade of the 
broad-reaching maple tree—seemed to slow time and shoo away all teenage troubles.

“I have to name you,” she called out to her bright-eyed baby resting in a basket nestled in the grass 
below her. She swung her pale legs to propel herself higher into the morning sunlight, her glittering hair
swirling around her. “But you won’t tell me what yours is,” she pouted.

Her polka-dotted summer dress fluttered in the breeze as her legs scooped up another pocket of air. 
“I guess you can’t,” she concluded on a downswing. “Yet,” she shouted into the air.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Justine Avery is an award-winning author of stories large and small for all. 
Born in the American Midwest and raised all over the world, she is inherently an explorer, 
duly fascinated by everything around her and excitedly noting the stories that abound all around. 
As an avid reader of all genres, she weaves her own stories among them all. 
She has a predilection for writing speculative fiction and story twists and surprises she can’t even 
predict herself.

Avery has either lived in or explored all 50 states of the union, over 36 countries, 
and all but one continent; she lost count after moving 30-some times before the age of 20. 
She’s intentionally jumped out of airplanes and off the highest bungee jump in New Zealand, 
scuba dived unintentionally with sharks, designed websites, intranets, and technical manuals, 
bartered with indigenous Panamanians, welded automobile frames, observed at the Bujinkan Hombu 
Dojo in Noba, Japan, and masterminded prosperous internet businesses—to name a few adventures. 
She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree that life has never required, and at age 28, she sold everything 
she owned and quit corporate life—and her final “job”—to freelance and travel the world as she 
always dreamed of. And she’s never looked back.

Aside from her native English, Avery speaks a bit of Japanese and a bit more Spanish, her accent is 
an ever-evolving mixture of Midwestern American with notes of the Deep South and indiscriminate 
British vocabulary and rhythm, and she says “eh”—like the Kiwis, not the Canadians. 
She currently lives near Los Angeles with her husband, British film director Devon Avery, and their 
three adopted children: Becks, Sam, and Lia. She writes from wherever her curiosity takes her.

Avery loves to connect with fellow readers and creatives, explorers and imaginers, 
and cordially invites you to say “hello”—or konnichiwa.

Twitter: @Justine_Avery

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

Justine Avery will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner 
via rafflecopter during the tour.

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