Saturday, December 6, 2014

Who R U Really? by Margo Kelly

who are you
Who R U Really? by Margo Kelly Thea's overprotective parents are driving her insane. They invade her privacy, ask too many questions, and restrict her online time so severely that Thea feels she has no life at all. When she discovers a new role-playing game online, Thea breaks the rules by staying up late to play. She's living a double life: on one hand, the obedient daughter; on the other, a girl slipping deeper into darkness. In the world of the game, Thea falls under the spell of Kit, an older boy whose smarts and savvy can't defeat his loneliness and near-suicidal despair. As Kit draws soft-hearted Thea into his drama, she creates a full plate of cover stories for her parents and then even her friends. Soon, Thea is all alone in the dark world with Kit, who worries her more and more, but also seems to be the only person who really "gets" her. Is he frightening, the way he seems sometimes, or only terribly sad? Should Thea fear Kit, or pity him? And now, Kit wants to come out of the screen and bring Thea into his real-life world. As much as she suspects that this is wrong, Thea is powerless to resist Kit's allure, and hurtles toward the same dark fate her parents feared most. Ripped from a true-life story of Internet stalking, Who R U Really? will excite you and scare you, as Thea's life spins out of control.

Excerpt

When Tim’s eyes, bluer than an Idaho sky, met mine, my mind turned to mush. He towered
above everyone else at the bus stop, and on this cold January morning he looked cuter than ever with his bomber hat and rosy cheeks. He shoved his sidekick, Josh, jokingly, and a cloud of white air escaped Tim’s mouth.

My best friend, Janie, whacked me on the hip. “Omigosh, Thea. Here they come. Smile.”
Her words bounced in rhythm with her black ringlets. She adjusted her new fluffy snow white
parka, and even though it had a hood, she would never smash her perfect curls simply to stay warm. The crisp air made the tip of her nose red, but the rest of her face remained alabaster white. We’d been best friends for years, and at fourteen, having a friend made the ninth grade bearable.

Janie hoped Josh and Tim would ask us to the Winter Solstice dance, but I just hoped to speak to Tim without sounding like a complete idiot. Tim walked in our direction with Josh right on his heels. They stopped in front of us, and everyone else hovered to watch the show.

“Thea,” Tim said. I wanted to reply, but no words came.

Josh approached Janie, and I fidgeted with my favorite fuzzy pink scarf.

“Jan-eee,” Josh said, dragging out the last syllable of her name. He eyed her up and
down. “You look like a giant fat marshmallow.”


  Praise for the book: "Kelly's first novel is a suspenseful page-turner with multiple suspects, a little bit of romance, and a strong but not overbearing message." --Kirkus Reviews "Suspenseful novel that's guaranteed to give readers goosebumps--particularly as events heat up toward the end. A good choice for families to read together." --School Library Journal "Who R U Really? is a fantastically creepy book that is surprisingly realistic and totally engrossing.... Once I opened it, I couldn't close it. Who R U Really is a satisfyingly unique YA thriller that left me guessing up until almost the very last page.... This book is very realistic and I really enjoyed the writing style." --Tempest Books "Based on actual events, the story should be required reading for all teens." --VOYA Magazine   who are you (1)
Margo KellyAuthor Margo Kelly Margo Kelly is a native of the Northwest and currently resides in Idaho. A veteran public speaker, she is now actively pursuing her love of writing. Who R U Really? is her first novel. Margo welcomes the opportunities to speak to youth groups, library groups, and book clubs.
Blog Tour Giveaway 1 print copy of Who Are U Really? Open to US only Ends 1/12/15 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 31, 2014

Dystopian Giveaway Hop Happening Here!

Welcome! So glad you decided to stop here and have a little fun and hopefully get some good books to add to the TBR list.  Feel free to have a look around and don't forget to enter to win one of three e-copies of the Mercy Series Boxset.  This includes the first two books in the Mercy Series, plus a bonus short story from another character's perspective.  Filled with suspense, danger, and a strong heroine willing to take it all on, it's a series you won't want to put down.


All you have to do is take a look at the Rafflecopter and click on the entries you want to do.  (And YES, I can do international!) It's just that easy!  And don't forget to head back to one of the main sites to check out all the great giveaways. Click one of the following links to take you back to the linky list: My Shelf Confessions or iamareader
Dystopian Hop

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Making Progress!

I'm 9,000 words into End of Mercy, which doesn't sound like much, but the story is flowing nicely. Everything is on target to be finished and published at the beginning of November. I can't wait to share this story. I believe readers will be surprised and excited with the direction the story is going. I can't wait to show everyone the amazing cover.

Just to give a little taste, here's a snippet:


            For once in my crazy existence, I’d like to walk away from a situation, instead of sprinting for my life.  Clearly…not…gonna…happen…today…Charlie.
            I ran down the hallway like fire already blazed behind me.  Thanks to someone acting before thinking, the whole world of Mercy was about to come tumbling down any minute, and I had only seconds to get freaking gone. 
Fortunately, I didn’t have Star.  I’d sent her ahead, knowing things could get ugly real fast, and sure enough, they were about to.
The first explosion sounded behind me and I heard and felt the pieces of concrete and glass flying through the air around me.  I stumbled forward as the force of the blast hit me from behind, followed by a wave of intense heat that singed my exposed skin.  My ears began ringing, but whether from the sound of the detonation or from the stress of the situation, I wasn’t sure.  Didn’t matter anyway.  I needed to get through the door at the end of the hallway before the next explosion discharged.  It would trigger the rest of the ignitions and everything would go the way of the dinosaur.
Just as I felt the rumbling beginnings of the blast, I flung my grasp at the handle of the door and barely noticed the warmth of the metal before swinging the door wide and throwing myself through it, pulling it closed just in time to hear the whole world explode in a fiery ball of destruction behind me.
I didn’t pause to watch it long though.  Instead taking the stairs two at a time, flight after flight, until my chest ached with each labored breath.  I looked up to see a large number three on the side of the wall next to the door, worn but still clear.  I yanked open the door and sprinted down the darkened hall, picturing each turn I needed to take exactly to get where I was going.
After two right turns, I stopped in front of a large, steel door and rested both hands on the cool surface as I hung my head and worked to catch my ragged breaths.  Each pull of air into my lungs burned, but it wasn’t enough to stop me for long.
Movement on the other side brought me back to reality.  Time was limited, and I wanted free of Mercy and all its horrors.
I shook my head and worked the keys from my pocket.  “Gretchen?  I’m here for you.”
“Charlie?”
“Yeah.  I’ve got the key to get you out.”
Her voice seemed so small and confused as she asked, “Why?  Why did you come back for me?  You don’t…you don’t even like me.”

Why did I come back for her?  She might be a first-class, pruny-faced beyotch, but leaving her had never been an option.  Not when there were no other people in the world like us.  It would be like killing the only other unicorn in a mythical forest.  “Don’t know.  Maybe I just can’t leave knowing you had the last word.”

Friday, September 12, 2014

EDGE OF MERCY is FREE

You can get EDGE OF MERCY free at all the major e-tailers.  END OF MERCY is coming soon, so if you've been considering giving the series a try, now might be a good time.

AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE
KOBO

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Favorite Character Comes to Life

So, I was trying to write a flash fiction story, but I don't do well writing short, so it turned into a story for Snap, one of the favorite characters from Heart of Mercy.  It's still in progress, but I like what it reveals about the world of Mercy.  Here's the world according to Snap:


                I gritted my teeth.  Pinch twisted my shirt and lifted me to my toes, giving me a hard shake.  “Where’ve you been, you little piss ant?”

                “Looking for bait.  Like you told me.”

                “Didn’t see you with the others.”

                And he never would.  I wasn’t like the others.  Plus, I had my own mission which didn’t include finding the few living people to use as bait for the Draghoul, to bring them close enough to allow hunters to lop off their heads in the light of the moon.  Not my priority, but I couldn’t let Pinch know that.  The plan was to play it cool right now.  “Don’t get along with them.”

                “Of course you don’t, Snap.  This ain’t no summer camp.  It’s business.”  No one here knew my real name was Gabriel, and that’s how I liked it.  I earned the name Snap because of a knack for finding things people wanted and needed, like in a snap of the fingers.  But that wasn’t really my job. 

He sneered at the unoccupied trail behind me.  “Looks like you came up empty-handed again, boy.  Losing your touch.”  He clicked his tongue and shook his head.  “Better start producing again or that little brother of yours might have to be used instead.”

Anger crawled over me like a giant spider, gnashing its fangs, ready to strike.  What I wouldn’t give to be able to put Pinch on the ground, in the dirt where he belonged.  But he was older, twice as big, and had Doc on his side.  They knew I’d do anything for my brother.  After all, I’d made promises to my mother that had to be kept, and though I was only twelve, I was the only protector my brother had left.

Pinch loosened his hold on my shirtfront and with a look up at the fading light of the sun, took a step backward.  “Still time.  Get back out there and bring a piece of bait to us for tomorrow night’s hunt.”

“Go back out?  Now?”

Pinch rested his hands on his hips and shifted his feet before smirking in my face.  “Or we could send your brother out in your place.”

His breath smelled like rotting remains, and I wanted so badly just to lay my hands on him and push him out of my personal space.  Soon…very soon.

Instead, I shrugged as if his words didn’t affect me in the least.  “I’ll go, but then by the time I get back, you’ll be too busy to enjoy what I found when I was out earlier.”  I turned to walk away, back into The Dead Forest.

“Wait.  What do you have?”

I shook my head.  “I don’t know.  You’ve made a lot of threats.”  He swiped at me, but I ducked and shifted out of his reach.

“Tell me what you found.”

With a slow nod, I pulled off my backpack and lowered it to the ground.  Just as I knew he would, Pinch grabbed at the pack, lifting it, yanking it open, and gazing inside.  I knew what he’d find.  A couple comic books, a can of beans, an old handheld game system that no longer worked, and the thing I knew he couldn’t resist.  I’d found a large amount of cash, which I’d grabbed with Pinch in mind.  Pretty much meaningless here, but he didn’t plan to be here forever.  Bragged all the time that he knew someone that would take him to Mercy for the right price.  Wouldn’t hurt my feelings to see him go.  And I knew he wouldn’t be able to resist the sight in the bottom of my bag.

By his humorless laugh, I knew he’d discovered it in the deep side pocket.  It wasn’t until I heard the pop of the metal trap closing over his hand that I grabbed the bag, the keys from his belt, and shoved him into the bushes behind him.  He held up his right hand in disbelief.  A mousetrap held his fingers in a vice-grip.  As he stumbled backward, he dropped completely out of sight, falling with a high-pitched scream.

Carefully, I picked my way through the overgrown brush of the forest and looked down into the deep hole usually reserved for the humans we used as bait.  Charlie Little, the girl who looked like a boy and helped me achieve one of my goals, had shown me that treating people like that was wrong.  She was long gone now, but against her own need for protection, she’d pulled my Draghoul mother from the depths of a pond and helped me put her out of her misery.  Her courage had given me my own courage to find a way to get my brother and escape the Factory and all its horrible acts against the last living humans.

“You little…I’ll feed your brother to the monsters myself!”  He cursed me a few more times, and even though he deserved what was sure to happen to him, I hated to leave anyone in such a vulnerable position.  He wouldn’t last the night and would soon leave this place.  Just not in the way he’d planned.

“As I see it, you’ll never have power over my brother or me again.”  He quieted.

An evil grin slid onto his face.  “Don’t worry about me.  I know how to take care of myself.”  He pulled a knife from one of his boots and another from his belt.  They would help him survive the first few Draghoul, but he’d never overcome a whole hoard, even with weapons.

Then he surprised me completely by shoving one of the knives deep in the side of the hole, high above his head.  When he slammed the other knife in and used his feet to brace himself as he climbed up the hole, I scrambled backward.  It was time to go.  Now!

Without another look behind me, I ran toward the Factory.  I knew exactly where they kept my brother, and I had a hiding place prepared for us, but I had to reach him before Pinch got free.  A look at the sky reminded me the sun wouldn’t stay above the horizon much longer either, and then things were going to be all teeth and claws and no guarantees.


Happy Reading!

C. C. Marks

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Here it is: The Opening Scene from End of Mercy

I have been remiss.  Another project has kept me wrapped up, but it is nearing the end.  So, I'm going to begin posting un-edited (please, keep that in mind) excerpts of my progress on End of Mercy.  Oh, and did I mention there will be a cover reveal!  So excited about that.  Trust me, it's another great cover by LFD Designs for Authors.  I can't wait to share it. 

Without further ado though, here is the unedited opening to End of Mercy:


            I woke slowly, tightened my eyelids to block the sunlight streaming through my window, and listened for the sounds of the household coming alive as I snuggled deeper into my covers.  I could hear my mother and father moving around upstairs, getting ready for another busy day of work.  Before I opened my eyes though, I inhaled deeply, searching for the smell of my mother’s pancakes and sizzling aroma of bacon frying in a pan.  I couldn’t seem to get a whiff of them, but I could almost taste the sticky syrup on my tongue as I turned over and slid into consciousness.

            Confused, I blinked a few times when my eyes slid open, and I took in the gritty, gray concrete blocks that made up the wall in front of me.  I pushed up on my elbow and looked around the room slowly.  As my vision cleared, the reality of my situation came back to me.  I wasn’t home.  My parents weren’t here.  The sounds, smells, and sunlight drifting in were coming from outside my small cell in The Heart of Mercy Research facility where I currently was locked in a basement cell.

            I should be used to waking in strange places and even stranger situations by now, but every once in a while, I woke at home again--at least in my mind--and the disappointment was sharp when I realized that place and time was completely gone, would never be something I experienced again.  Gone forever, along with the people I loved most in the world.

            Metal clinked against metal as the door was unlocked from the outside.  I didn’t have to look at who it was.  For some time now, a month apparently, Ben Parsons had been the only person at my door.

            Except for once.  Once it had been someone…or something…else.  It had been Zeke, or what was left of him.

            Now that time, not so long ago, felt like a dream to me.  Maybe it had been one, though it had seemed real enough.  He’d stood there until armed guards had come and taken him away, his eerie ice-blue stare never breaking away from my gaze until he was completely out of sight.  It had been him…but changed.  Even now, I shivered at the memory.

            I threw the covers back and pushed myself to a standing position.  Never wanting to appear vulnerable, I was always ready when Ben walked through the door.  Ready for what?  I really didn’t know.  They’d only drawn my blood once, three tubes of it when I first arrived, and hadn’t run any medical tests since.  In the time I’d been here, I’d only seen a small portion of Mercy as I was dragged through the hallways by armed guards and brought here to this small hole in the ground.  Well, hardly a hole since it had a small, but comfortable, bed and an attached bathroom, but considering I couldn’t come and go as I pleased, it was a prison cell just the same.

I was sure I hadn’t left the safety of the building.  Yet, somehow I suspected whoever was in charge had control of everyone and everything.  And that control was absolute.  What they didn’t know about me was that I didn’t back down and I didn’t give up--not after what I’d been through in the community and fighting my way to Mercy.  Now more than ever, I was determined I would survive.  And so would my sister Star, as soon as I learned where they were keeping her.  Until they let me see her, they weren’t going to get a cooperative prisoner.

            But Ben didn’t appear.

            “Step away from the door.”  The voice was feminine, and I stood beside the bed, too shocked to tell her I wasn’t near the door.  I hadn’t seen a female since my mother nearly a year ago.  There had been no women or girls remaining in the community, and I didn’t dare tell them the truth about me.  Until the end, they all thought I was just one of the boys.  The only female allowed had been my sister.  At the time, I didn’t know why there were no women; I just knew they were gone.

            It was only later that I learned the truth—all the women and girls were sent into The Dead Forest with a few guards to either live or die because females attracted Draghoul.  Or, at least, they believed that to be true.

            On the way to Mercy, I’d encountered one woman, but I didn’t count the pitiful creature I’d found locked in the back room of an underground bunker.  She was more Draghoul than human at that point.  But this, this person was an actual human female.

            She swung the door wide and stood solidly in the frame of the door.  I couldn’t move or speak or anything.  I just stared.
Happy Reading and Writing!

C. C. Marks

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Indie Authors Naked Book Blast

  Indie authors Indie Authors Naked

Indie Authors Naked explores and defines the world of independent publishing. Comprised of a series of essays and interviews by indie authors, booksellers and publishers, readers will get a look at the many aspects of the indie community, where publishing professionals of all types come together with the simple goal of creating something unique; something that speaks directly to the reader, no middleman necessary. Contributors include: James Franco, Hugh Howey, McNally Jackson Books, Sarah Gerard, OHWOW Books, Raine Miller, David Vinjamuri, Toby Neal, Rachel Thompson, Eden Baylee, Christoph Paul, Jessica Redmerski, Dan Holloway, Orna Ross and more.  
  About the Authors

loren
Loren Kleinman is a writer and poet with roots in New Jersey. She has a B.A. in English Literature from Drew University and an M.A. in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Sussex. Kleinman is a columnist for IndieReader.com (IR) where she interviews New York Times and USA Today bestselling indie authors. Some of those interviews in IR reappeared in USA Today and The Huffington Post. Her poetry has appeared in literary journals such as Nimrod, Journal of New Jersey Poets, Paterson Literary Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, Writer’s Bloc, Resurgence (UK), HerCircleEzine and Aesthetica Annual. She was the recipient of the Spire Press Poetry Prize (2003), was a 2000 and 2003 Pushcart Prize nominee, and a 2004 Nimrod/Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize finalist. In 2003, Spire Press published her first collection of poetry Flamenco Sketches, which explored the relationship between love and jazz. Her second collection of poetry, The Dark Cave Between My Ribs, is due to release with Winter Goose Publishing in March 2014. She is currently working on a New Adult romance, This Way to Forever.
Loren1


Amy Holman Edelman launched IndieReader, the essential consumer guide to self-published books and the people who write them, way back in 2007. Since then, indie authors have stormed the bestseller lists, been courted by trad publishers and (after all that), finally gained a modicum of respect. Amy self-published her first book, The Fashion Resource Directory, back in the 80s, long before POD and Amazon and e-readers roamed the land. Her second and third books (The Little Black Dress and Manless in Montclair), were traditionally published (by Simon & Schuster and Shaye Areheart Books, an imprint of Crown). As an author and a publicist with over 20 years’ experience, Amy’s goal for IndieReader is no less than to make indie a respected and desirable category within the publishing world. This book is just one step in that direction.

  Excerpt from the Introduction of Indie Authors Naked by Amy Edelman:

IndieReader was launched in ‘07, otherwise known as the dark days of self-publishing. Back then, every book was considered a vanity publication, every author a failed writer. Denial ran so high that when the self-pubbed book, Her Last Letter by Nancy C. Johnson hit The New York Times bestseller list, the good folks at the NYT were still saying that they’d never include one! And then there was The Shack, another indie that snuck through the gauntlet to appear on the NYTimes list for an astounding 172 weeks between June 2008 to early 2010 (52 of those weeks at #1). Flash forward to 2012-2013. With the advent of ebooks, the publishing landscape has completely and irrevocably changed. Bowker, the ISBN people, recently reported that the number of self-published books in 2012 rose 59% over 2011, growing to over 391,000 titles in 2012. That’s a lot of indie. But it’s not just availability that has changed the notion of what a self-pubbed book can be. Either the whole “vanity” thing was propaganda on the part of trad publishing—after all, Virginia Woolf famously did it with Hogarth Press—or publishing ebooks makes it easier for talented writers to get their work seen. Either way, over the last couple of years—beginning with the high-profile snagging of Amanda Hocking—at least 50 indie authors (many of them interviewed in this very book) have been courted and won by traditional publishers. Did these authors’ books change from when they were self-pubbed to when they became trads? Or did their appearance on the bonafide bestseller lists (The New York Times, USA Today) just make it easier for the Big 5 to spot them? Not that getting picked up by a traditional publisher is always an indie author’s end-game. In fact, a recent survey conducted by The Bookseller noted that only about one-third of the self-published authors surveyed stated that they would consider a traditional book deal. That’s a lot of authors who aren’t willing to trade the freedom of creation for the chance to have their works packaged by committee. So whether an author decides to sell their work to a trad publisher or not—it is clear that indies are here to stay. Their books resonate with readers who really couldn’t give a damn if they came through the hallowed halls of a traditional publisher or just via their ereaders. The indie writing community is strong and getting stronger, as are the options for placing their books (been to your local bookstore lately? You may be surprised at the titles you find on the shelves). Yes, dear readers, this time—thanks to technology and changing perceptions—self-publishing is clearly here to stay. And via interviews and essays, Indie Authors Naked aims to highlight the best of the best.

  
BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
 Ends 2/10/14
 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Please Welcome Amy Durham as She Shares her New Release--DUSK!

It's always a pleasure to have Amy Durham on the blog.  I'm especially excited to know more about Dusk, her latest paranormal young adult romance!  So, without further ado, here she is:

Thanks for the invitation to come hang out in your corner of the blogosphere! I’m always happy to meet new readers and writers!

I write young adult romance, with a bit of a paranormal twist. In DUSK, my newest release, Zoe Gray, high school senior, must work through a tragic season in her life and learn the power of forgiveness and second chances. There to help her is Adrian Shaw, hot new guy at school and biker-boy. But, as Zoe discovers, there’s more to Adrian than meets the eye.

In the following excerpt, Zoe is getting her first, up close look at Adrian. She’s at her locker, looking around for her best friend, Vivian. She finds Adrian instead.

Looking to my left, I saw Viv making her way down the hall. And then he stepped into my vision, blocking out Viv and the rest of the chaos in the hallway.
          Umm, wow. He was even better up close. The ability to speak left me.
          “Hey,” he said, and considering he was standing so close, I knew he was talking to me.
          I looked up. Way up. He had to be over six feet tall. And looked straight into the most gorgeous set of baby blues I’d ever seen. The deep green shirt he wore today accentuated the color of his irises.
          Black hair and blue eyes were totally hot together.
          “I saw you yesterday,” he continued, unaffected by my stunned silence. “I’m Adrian.”
          Adrian. It suited him. His name was just as beautiful as he was.
          I should talk. Say something. Introduce myself. Wipe the drool from my chin.
          “Zoe,” I squeaked, cringing at how stupid I sounded. “Zoe Gray.”
          “Adrian Shaw.” He stuck his hand out, waiting for me to shake it.
          I stared at his hand. He wanted me to put my hand in his, and even as I told myself it was just a simple greeting, the thought of feeling his skin against mine left me frozen.
          Snap out of it! Act like you have a brain, not just raging hormones!
          I gripped his hand. His fingers closed around mine, and everything inside me went still, calm… right. The noise around me stopped. The bustle of the kids in the hall faded away. And I found myself lost in the feeling of my hand in his, drowning in the way his eyes searched mine.




DUSK (blurb)
Zoe Gray lost her father... in more ways than one. Angry and bitter, Zoe spends the summer before her senior year of high school doing everything she can to forget, legal or not. But a close call triggers a reality check, and Zoe decides to put her life back together, a task that proves a lot harder than she thought.

Adrian Shaw shows up on the first day of school, creating quite a stir with his striking good looks and gleaming black motorcycle. But Adrian is much more than a "biker boy", and as Zoe discovers, he may just hold the key she needs to put her life back on the right path.

But as they do battle with evil forces that want nothing more than to destroy Zoe's chance at a normal life, will their feelings for one another make them stronger, or be the reason Zoe's happiness slips away forever?

And will Zoe learn to forgive before it's too late?

Learn more about Amy at the following places:

Find DUSK:





Available soon at iBooks and in print edition from Amazon.

Thanks!

Happy Writing and Reading!