Category Archives: Book Synopsis

Cemetery Club by JG Faherty

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Join JG Faherty, author of the horror novel Cemetery Club as he virtually tours the blogosphere in 2012 on his first tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About JG Faherty

JG FahertyJG Faherty has had a varied background that includes working as a laboratory manager, accident scene photographer, zoo keeper, research scientist, and resume writer. Growing up in the haunted Hudson Valley region of New York, some of his favorite playgrounds were abandoned houses and Revolutionary War cemeteries. His hobbies include urban exploring, photography, exotic animal rehabilitation, and playing the guitar. Contrary to popular belief, he is not addicted to Facebook or tacos.

2012 will see two new books published, CEMETERY CLUB and THE COLD SPOT, plus several short stories. His past novels include CARNIVAL OF FEAR and GHOSTS OF CORONADO BAY.

You can find out more by visiting www.jgfaherty.com, www.facebook.com/jgfaherty, or www.twitter.com/jgfaherty.

About Cemetery Club

cemetery club20 years ago four friends awoke an ancient evil. Now only the Cemetery Club can stop it before the whole town ends up dead. Or worse.

Rocky Point is a small town with a violent history – mass graves, illegal medical experiments and brutal murders dating back centuries. Of course, when Cory, Marisol, John and Todd form the Cemetery Club, they know none of this. They’ve found the coolest place to party after school – an old crypt. But then things start to go bad. People get killed and the Cemetery Club knows the cause: malevolent creatures that turn people into zombies. When no one believes them, they descend into the infested tunnels below the town and somehow manage to stop the cannibalistic deaths.

Now, twenty years later, the horror is beginning again. The Cemetery Club must reunite to defeat the menace once and for all. The problem is they can’t remember how they did it the first time.

It’s a race against time to find the true source of evil infesting Rocky Point, as the Cemetery Club ventures into the cryptic maze, to face their demons in a final showdown.

What Reviewers Are Saying

“Faherty’s latest effort is spell binding terror with a paranormal slant with tons of twists and turns.”

HorrorNews.Net

“JG Faherty seizes his readers by the throat and drags them straight towards the grave with The Cemetery Club., a nail biter in the tradition of the best scare-’em-ups from the 80s. Faherty’s strong characterizations and gripping suspense will leave readers hungry for more.”

- Gregory Lamberson, author of Cosmic Forces and The Frenzy Way

“JG Faherty nails the whole small town horror concept with a King-like flair. I definitely identified with the main characters, both past and present. All in all, I thought it was excellent.”

- Michael McBride, author of Predatory Instinct and Quiet, Keeps to Himself.

“I’ve known JG Faherty since he was an up-and-comer. Now he’s arrived. Start reading him now – as in TODAY – so you won’t have to play catch-up later.”

- F. Paul Wilson, author of the bestselling Repairman Jack series.

“CEMETERY CLUB is like a plastic pumpkin bucket filled to the top with all of your favorite candies. Loads of gory fun!”

-Jeff Strand, author of PRESSURE and DWELLER.

“With plenty of new twists on some old favorites, Faherty’s latest novel provides readers with as much fun in a graveyard as the law will allow. Ancient legends, demonic shadow-creatures and ravenous zombies–what more could you ask for?”

- Hank Schwaeble, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of DAMNABLE and DIABOLICAL.

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Cemetery Club Tour Schedule

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Monday, April 2
Interview at The Hot Author Report

Tuesday, April 3
Guest Post at The Story Behind the Book

Thrusday, April 5
Guest Post at Coffee and a Keyboard

Friday, April 6
Review at Waiting on Sunday

Monday, April 9
Guest Post at Literarily Speaking

Wednesday, April 11
Guest Post at InkyBlots

Friday, April 13
Interview at The Examiner

Monday, April 16
Spotlight at The Plot

Tuesday, April 17
Character Interview at The Plot

Thursday, April 19
Guest Post at The Top Shelf

Friday, April 20
Review at The Top Shelf

Monday, April 23rd
Guest Post at The Book Vortex

Thursday, April 26
Spotlight at The Plot

Friday, April 27
Character Interview at The Plot

A Boy Called Duct Tape by Christopher Cloud

Join Christopher Cloud, author of the young adult novel, A Boy Called Duct Tape, as he virtually tours the blogosphere in April, 2012, on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book.

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About Christopher Cloud

Christopher Cloud admits he came to literature late in life. “I was in my 60s before I developed a real interest in writing fiction,” he said. A Boy Called Duct Tape is Cloud’s debut middle-grade novel. It is a first-person account of three Latino children searching for the “lost treasure” of Jesse James.

Cloud began writing children’s fiction after a long career in journalism and public relations. He graduated from the University of Missouri in 1967 with a degree in journalism. He has worked as a reporter, editor, and columnist for newspapers in Texas, California, and Missouri. His work has appeared in many national publications, including Time Magazine.

Employed by Sun Oil Company, Philadelphia, as public relations executive and later he operated his own PR agency. He created the board game Sixth Sense in 2002 and the game sold at independent bookstores nationwide.

Cloud said his next project is a young-adult novel. “I have written the first draft of a story I’m calling 16 And In Love,” Cloud said. “This story—like A Boy Called Duct Tape—is multicultural.”

Cloud lives in Joplin, Missouri.

A Boy Called Duct Tape Virtual Book Tour

A Boy Called Duct Tape Virtual Book Tour

About A Boy Called Duct Tape

Pablo Perez is a 12-year-old poor kid without much going for him. His classmates have dubbed him “Duct Tape” because his tattered discount-store sneakers are held together with…you guessed it, duct tape. He can’t escape the bullying.

Pablo’s luck, however, changes after he finds a $20 gold coin while swimming in a river near his home. Pablo later buys a $1 treasure map at the county fair. The map shows the route to the “lost treasure” of Jesse James. Pablo can’t help but wonder: Is there a link between the map and the gold coin? He is determined to find out, and he, his 9-year-old sister and 13-year-old cousin hire an ill-natured cave guide, and begin a treacherous underground adventure in search of treasure.

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A Boy Called Duct Tape Virtual Book Tour Schedule Coming Soon

 

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Christopher Cloud will be on book tour April 2 – 27, 2012. Contact Rebecca at Rebecca.camarena@yahoo.com is you would like to host this author.

The Green Memory of Fear by B.A. Chepaitis

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Join B.A. Chepaitis, author of The Green Memory of Fear as she virtually tours the blogosphere in 2012 on her third tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About B.A. Chepaitis

barbaraBARBARA CHEPAITIS is author of 8 published novels, including the critically acclaimed Feeding Christine and These Dreams, as well as the sci-fi series featuring Jaguar Addams. The fourth novel in that series, A Lunatic Fear was a nominee for a Romantic Times Bookclub award.

Her scripts have placed semifinalist with Niccholl’s Fellowship and finalist with Sundance Screenwriter’s award.

She is founder and director of the storytelling trio The Snickering Witches, host of WAMC Writer’s Forum, a Teaching Artist with the Lincoln Center-based Aesthetic education program, and concentration direction in fiction at Western State College of Colorado’s graduate program in creative writing.

You can visit her website at Wild Reads and her blog at M&C Literary Lunch

You can also follower her on Twitter and Facebook

About The Green Memory of Fear

Green Memory of Fear by BA Chepaitis On Prison Planetoid Three, Jaguar Addams uses her empathic gifts to make criminals face the fears that drive their heinous acts. Very few escape the telepathic web she weaves around them. . . . until now.

When Jaguar takes on an assignment investigating a psychiatrist on trial for abuse of a little boy, she finds a killer unlike any she’s faced before. Dr. Senci’s psi skills are a match for her own, and unless she consents to do as he wants, he’ll use them to kill everyone she loves.

Once she realizes who and what he really is, she leaves the Planetoid to go after him. But Supervisor Alex Dzarny isn’t about to let her go it alone, even if it means losing his own life to save hers.

What Reviewers Are Saying

…this is SF at its realistic best.

~Harriet Klausner

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Tour Schedule

Monday, March 5
Guest Post at Alchemy of Scrawl

Tuesday, March 6
Guest Post at The Book Bin

Wednesday, March 7
Guest Post at Inkyblots

Thursday, March 8
Guest Post at Coffee and a Keyboard

Friday, March 9
Review at The Hot Author Report

Monday, March 12
Guest Post at KellyMcClymer.com

Wednesday, March 14
Guest Post at Literarily Speaking

Thursday, March 15
Live interview at A Book and a Chat

Monday, March 19
Guest Post at Writing and Other Ways…

Wednesday, March 21
Interview at American Chronicle

Friday, March 23
Review at The Hot Author Report

Monday, March 26
Guest Post at Pump Up Your Book

Tuesday, March 27
Interview at Broowaha
Guest Post at Celtic Lady’s Book Reviews

Thursday, March 29
Review at Working for the Mandroid

Friday, March 30
Review at The Hot Author Report

Monday, April 2
Spotlight at The Plot

Tuesday, April 3
Character Interview at The Plot

Thursday, April 5
Review at Working for the Mandroid

Friday, April 6
Review at The Hot Author Report

Monday, April 9
Guest Post at The Top Shelf

Wednesday, April 11
Guest Post at The Book Vortex

Thursday, April 12
Review at Working for the Mandroid

Friday, April 13
Review at Minding Spot

Saturday, April 14
Review at Minding Spot

Sunday, April 15
Review at The Minding Spot

Monday, April 16
Review at The Hot Author Report

Tuesday, April 17
Interview at The Examiner

Thursday, April 19
Review at Working for the Mandroid

Friday, April 20
Excerpt at Between the Covers

Monday, April 23
Guest Post at Between the Covers

Tuesday, April 24
Guest Post at TBF Reviews

Thursday, April 26
Review at Working for the Mandroid

Friday, April 27
Guest Post & Giveaway at Darlene’s Book Nook

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B.A. Chepaitis’ THE GREEN MEMORY OF FEAR ONLINE BOOK TOUR 2012 will officially begin March 2nd and end April 27th. Thank you for your support!

Echo Falls by Jaime McDougall

About Jaime McDougall

Jaime McDougall 2Jaime McDougall is a citizen of the world, currently loving life in beautiful country Victoria in Australia. She loves eating sushi, kidnapping her husband and naming her pets in honour of science fiction authors.

She has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: High School: The Real Deal and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Campus Chronicles. So You Want to Write a Guest Post: An Author’s Guide to Promoting with Guest Blogging is her most recent non-fiction ebook. She has also enjoyed writing a column called ‘The New Australian’ in local newspapers as well as various articles online.

Echo Falls is her first paranormal romance novel. You can buy it now at:

Amazon ( Kindle ) | Barnes and Noble ( Nook ) | Smashwords ( Multiformat )
Amazon ( Print ) | Barnes and Noble ( Print )

You can visit her website at InkyBlots.com

About Echo Falls

Running from a nightmare stalking her every move, Phoebe Martin arrives in Echo Falls hoping she has finally found a safe place to stop. But trouble has a way of catching up and soon the signs are there.

After a vicious attack in an alley, policeman Aidan O’Bryan is left with Phoebe as his only path to understanding why the Echo Falls werewolf pack – his pack – is being attacked. When another pack member is killed, Phoebe is forced to confront her past before she loses Aidan and everything she has come to love.

Love and duty become one as Aidan strives to prevent Phoebe from becoming the next victim. But with Phoebe just as determined to protect Aidan and her new home, secrets from her past threaten to tear them apart.

Will love give Phoebe the strength to trust Aidan and face her fears, or will her past destroy her future?

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONEKeep running, keep running, keep running. Phoebe’s lungs burned as her mind screamed the mantra. Keep running, keep running.

How many steps can there be?

She should know. She lived in this apartment building.

Tears ran down her cheeks and her lungs burned for air. Only the random irrational thought broke through the panic keeping her feet moving down the steps. Keep running. Keep running. The light of the emergency exit came into view. Almost there…

The door to the stairwell slammed open with a hollow boom. She tripped and clung to the railing to steady herself.

Keep running.

The shock of the cool night air sent a shiver of relief through her body. She’d come out a side exit into an alley. If she could just get to the front –

Suddenly she was thrown to the ground from behind. She hit the concrete, what little breath she had knocked from her lungs. Blood began flowing from where her head hit the ground, and small sparks of light floated into her vision.

How did he catch up so fast?

Desperately she tried to gulp down as much air as she could, willing her lungs to cooperate. Instinct kicked in as the attacker slashed at her, and she curled into fetal position.

A dog. He’d turned into a dog. A big dog with vicious claws and teeth he used to tear into her exposed back, thigh and shoulder. She slowly regained her breath but could only use it to scream her throat raw.

Her vision faded, taking the small sparks of light with it. Searing pain ripped through her shoulder as a claw dug down against her bone. One last, long scream tore from her lungs before she was left gasping and sobbing, her fear slowly smoldering into rage.

Things can’t end like this.

She opened her eyes as the dog stood over her, trying to get to her throat. A paw came into her line of vision and she saw her chance. She reached out, grabbed it and squeezed with all the strength she had.

The dog yelped and tried to twist away, but she held on with all the strength she had. She knew she’d only bought herself time. She couldn’t move the dog off her and she couldn’t squeeze his paw all night. He tried uselessly to bite her, his jaws having no strength so long as she squeezed his paw. But she could already feel her strength waning.

Suddenly the weight of the dog flew off her, taking the paw out of her grip. Without thinking, she used her one cooperating arm to drag herself toward the front of the building.

She shivered, her arm giving out, and caught a glimpse of a second dog. No. A wolf… Squeezing her eyes tightly shut, she listened to the dogs fighting, the battle just a few steps away. She tried her best to curl up against the building wall and willed the growling and snapping to go away. They sounded like they were tearing each other to pieces.

The universe granted her wish, the battle ending with the sound of two bodies hitting each other and a sharp whine. She shivered and softly whined as well, dreading the approach of the winner as one of the dogs yelped and ran away.

A few moments later warm, human hand brushed the back of her head and she screamed again. If it could be called a scream. Her throat burned and rebelled at her abuse of it.

“Ssh. You’re safe now.”

She tried to scream again and move away, but her body wouldn’t obey her commands. She groaned as the full force of the pain washed over her.

He murmured and she relaxed her desperate grip on staying conscious. Sleep seemed so tempting, the black abyss singing a siren’s song to her. Her rescuer – or captor – tried to soothe her, but something dark and dangerous in his voice betrayed him. He was different. She tried to bat away his hands but gave up after a few attempts, not sure if her good hand was actually moving.

As she slipped into the darkness, she wondered if death had merely granted her a short reprieve from the inevitable.

Blood: The New Red by David S. Grant

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Join David S. Grant, author of the literary novel Blood: The New Red (Offense Mechanisms, an imprint of Silverthought Press, November 2011), as he virtually tours the blogosphere in March on his fourth virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

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About David S. Grant

David S. Grant is the author of ten books including Corporate Porn, Bleach|Blackout, Hollywood Ending, and Rock Stars.  His latest novel, Blood: The New Red, is now available.  David lives and writes his weekly rock, travel, and NBA columns from New York City.  For more information go to http://www.davidsgrant.com Twitter: @david_s_grant

About Blood: The New Red

Blood: The New Red begins at an after party where Mickey, and ex-adult movie star turned supermodel, is aligning himself with one of the top Designers of Seventh Avenue. While trying to land a job on the runway Mickey is thrown into the center of a scene where sex is often the motivation, the wine is served by year, and cocaine is back in full force. Juanita, Mickey’s girlfriend is having difficulties staying sober, fully clothed, and off of her famous boyfriend.Blood The New Red cover

Mickey goes to work for Fashion icon Paul Johnson, one of the two top Designers in NYC. The other is Sandy Johnson, another Designer who will stop at nothing including murder to guarantee victory. A runway exhibition has been scheduled for the two to compete in and find out who truly is the best Johnson. Mickey will be Paul’s top model, and Sandy has found a homeless person nicknamed Kung Fu Master to show his line.

In addition to getting his new line in place, Paul Johnson is also buying chain saws, the louder the better, to put the special in this special event.

Did you know that you can’t be sentenced to prison if actively seeking help at a mental facility? Paul Johnson knows this.

Somewhere between the girls, counting Vicodin pills, and show preparation Mickey has grown a conscience and no longer likes what he sees. He believes (and his psychiatrist agrees) that he has the power to change what’s happening around him.

 

 

Blood: The New Red Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, March 5th

Interviewed and giveaway at Café of Dreams

Tuesday, March 6th

Interview at As the Pages Turn

Wednesday, March 7th

Guest blogging at Hollywood Daze

Thursday, March 8th

Guest blogging at Literarily Speaking

Friday, March 9th

Interviewed at Blogcritics

Monday, March 12th

Guest blogging at Literal Exposure

Tuesday, March 13th

Interviewed at Examiner

Wednesday, March 14th

Guest blogging at Acting Balanced

Guest blogging at Hollywood Gossip

Thursday, March 15th

Interviewed at Beyond the Books

Friday, March 16th

Guest blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Monday, March 19th

Guest blogging at Review from Here

Tuesday, March 20th

Book spotlighted at The Writer’s Life

Wednesday, March 21st

Book spotlighted at Broowaha

Thursday, March 22nd

Guest blogging at Literary Backstories

Friday, March 23rd

Interviewed at The Book Connection

Thursday, April 19th

Podcast interview at A Book and A Chat with Storyheart 6:30 PM Eastern

 

David Grant’s BLOOD: THE NEW RED VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR will officially begin on March 5 and end on March 23, 2012. Please contact Cheryl Malandrinos at ccmal(at)charter(dot)net if you are interested in hosting and/or reviewing his book. Thank you!

Casey and Kyle: I’m Saving Up for a Big Brother!!! by Will Robertson

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Join Will Robertson, author of the comic Casey and Kyle: I’m Saving Up for a Big Brother!!! as he virtually tours the blogosphere in February 2012 on his first tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About Will Roberston

WillWILL ROBERTSON enjoys playing music and working on his serve in Tennis. His favorite beverage is an Iced Tea with no lemon. He loves Tacos and Panini Sandwiches and is fond of road trips. He is an avid mini golfer and an aggressive bumper car driver. He lives with his wife and two children in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. His house is yellow.

He started drawing comics on a road trip when he was twelve. Fueled by Bloom County, Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes and Peanuts, he began creating characters that would carry his own comic strip all the way through college. Along the way, his work was feature in The Statesman Journal (Salem, OR) and The News Register (McMinnville, OR) as well as being published nationally in a compilation of the best 100 Editorial cartoons by students across the US.

In late 2007, Will began to draw a series of cartoons based on his two boys. Those early drawings became the strip Casey and Kyle, which debuted online at comicsherpa.com (a new comic showcase developed by Universal Press Syndicate and gocomics.com) on February 6, 2008.

A year after its debut, Will published his first book of Casey and Kyle comics and began to shop his work to print as a self-syndicated feature. His work now appears in several publications, where it is read by nearly 200,000 readers.

When he is not drawing cartoons, he spends his days working with other self-published authors to bring their work to print, he illustrates books, hugs his wife and takes his kids to the park.

You can visit him online at www.caseyandkylecomics.com.

About Casey and Kyle: I’m Saving Up for a Big Brother!!!

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Casey and Kyle is a strip about the fun and chaos of kids. It’s about the things you remember about your own childhood and (for anyone with kids) the way your own kids really are.

It goes deeper than your average kid strip and builds on the dynamic that exists between an older and younger sibling: The way the oldest always gets to be the hero; the younger the bad guy. It features a cacophony of neighborhood kids, each one making his own indelible stamp on the other characters.

Casey and Kyle appears online and in print where it is enjoyed by nearly 200,000 readers each month. Each book includes nearly 300 cartoons.

What Reviewers Are Saying

“Two Time Editor’s Pick” –comicsherpa.com Your Guide to Undiscovered Comics

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Casey and Kyle Tour Schedule

Monday, February 6
Review at Book Bird Dog

Wednesday, February 8
Review at Children’s and Teens Book Connection

Friday, February 10
Review at 4 The Love of Books

Monday, February 13
Review at The Hot Author Report

Wednesday, February 15
Interview at The Examiner

Friday, February 17
Interview at BlogCritics

Monday, February 20
Spotlight at The Plot

Tuesday, February 21
Character Interview at The Plot

Thursday, February 23
Podcast Interview at A Book and a Chat

Friday, February 24
Review at The Library of Clean Reads

Monday, February 27
Spotlight at Celtic Lady’s Book Reviews

Tuesday, February 28
Guest Post at Everyday Adventure

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Will Robertson’s CASEY AND KYLE ONLINE BOOK TOUR 2012 will officially begin February 6th and end February 29th. Thank you for your support!

The Canker Death by James R. Bottino

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Join James Bottino, author of the fantasy and science fiction novel The Canker Death as he virtually tours the blogosphere in February 2012 on his first tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About James Bottino

James R. Bottino’s life-long interests mix esoteric and disparate fields of study. By day, his foremost influences have been the study of literature and the art of writing. Following these pursuits led him to read anything he could in these areas and to complete every under-graduate and graduate course available to him in the field of creative writing. Following this line, he taught high school English throughout the 1990’s, focusing on the teaching of writing.

By night, when no one was looking, he studied computer systems / networks, computer languages, and operating systems, learning anything he could in these areas, first as a hobby, and, finally, as a career. This mixture of literature and technology served as the inspiration for the The Canker Death’s protagonist, Petor.

James currently lives in a suburb of Chicago, with his wife, daughter, two Australian cattle dogs and far, far too many books and abstruse computers.

You can visit his website at TheCankerDeath.com

About The Canker Death

The Canker Death by James R. BottinoWhen the reclusive, cynical systems administrator, Petor Fidelistro, discovers that one of his own servers has been cracked late one night, he makes it his personal business to track down the perpetrator. What his search uncovers thrusts him, unaware, into a mad shifting between worlds, time and alien minds.

Fighting to keep his grip on reality, and forcing him to cope with his past, Petor finds himself uncontrollably transitioning between sentient minds that range from semi-conscious to dominant, from beings whose bodies and identities he can control, to those who control him so fully as to be unaware of his presence.

As the story unfolds, Petor gathers clues in a twisting mystery that sends him shifting between the mourning child Nanzicwital; the golem giant Faskin; the lascivious, female ambassador Desidia; and Nokinis, an insane prisoner with whom Petor battles for mastery of his own memories. As he struggles to make sense of what is happening to him, Petor finds himself embroiled in the tumultuous upheaval of a ubiquitous society that transcends life, itself.

What Reviewers Are Saying

5.0 out of 5 stars Cliffhanger after cliffhanger! I couldn’t put it down!, September 3, 2011

This review is from: The Canker Death (Kindle Edition)

The Canker Death by James R. Bottino is a mystery, a spiritual awakening, a suspenseful and funny book with complex characters and worlds. This book reminds me a bit of Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber series and also reminds me that good ideas are still out there amidst the plethora of over-worked, tired concepts prevalent in our world today.

How did the author slip in symbolism and deep themes all the while entertaining us with the “full monty” of sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll and stuff that explodes? I’m not sure, but by the time I’d finished The Canker Death, it made me laugh, cry, hang on by the seat of my pants, and shout “SEQUEL!!!” (although the book does stand well on its own.)

Also, while reading, I found the Vitruvian Man map full of symbols, character names and concepts to be a provocative and neat little extra feature. I highly recommend this original tome!

- Amazon Reviewer RIBH

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The Canker Death Tour Schedule

Monday, February 6
Interview at Book Marketing Buzz

Tuesday, February 7
Guest Post at As the Pages Turn

Wednesday, February 8
Interview at Pump Up Your Book

Thursday, February 9
Guest Post at The Book Connection

Friday, February 10
Interview at Paperback Writer

Monday, February 13
Guest Post at Literarily Speaking

Tuesday, February 14
Guest Post at The Story Behind the Book

Thursday, February 16
Spotlight at The Plot

Friday, February 17
Character Interview at The Plot

Monday, February 20
Interview at Beyond the Books

Tuesday, February 21
Interview at The Writer’s Life

Wednesday, February 22
Spotlight at Celtic Lady’s Book Reviews

Thursday, February 23
Review at Martha’s Bookshelf

Friday, February 24
Guest Post at Everyday Adventure

Monday, February 27
Spotlight at Blurbs N’ Bytes

Wednesday, February 29
Guest Post at InkyBlots

March Coming Soon!

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James Bottino’s THE CANKER DEATH ONLINE BOOK TOUR 2012 will officially begin February 6th and end March 23rd. Thank you for your support!

Gastien Part Two: From Dream to Destiny by Caddy Rowland

I am Gastien Beauchamp, artist and lover. Any Frenchman would tell you that a peasant could never own property in nineteenth century France.

Yet here I am, in my very own studio.

The personal cost was horrendous. I barely survived the choices I made, and my sanity was pushed to its limits.

Still, I finally now have security, peace, and freedom. For the rest of my life I can spend time “making love to the color”, making love to beautiful women, and enjoying the wild nightlife of bohemian Montmartre. What more could a man need or want?

Then, one night, I see her. One look at Sophie, and my heart wants to betray me! I try to tell myself that I know better. Who needs love, anyway? I am already married-to my art!

No woman would ever understand and accept my lifestyle; nor am I about to give that lifestyle up! Not when I paid so dearly for it. Besides, I am too badly damaged to ever open up my heart…

About Caddy Rowland

Caddy Rowland grew up in the Midwest with a stack of books that almost reached the ceiling before she was five. Books, along with her vivid imagination, have always been her closest friends.

She lives in Minnesota with her husband, who was her high school sweetheart. They are owned by two parrots. Yes, they can talk, and yes, they can bite! Melanie, the African Grey has such an extensive vocabularly that Caddy sometimes thinks Melly is preparing to become an author.

After over 20 twenty years in advertising sales, Caddy decided to pursue her childhood dream of becoming an author in 2011. There are four books planned for the Gastien series, and many other books in her head. Now, if only she can learn to type 2000 words a minute…

Her goal as an author is to make readers laugh, cry, think, and become intimately connected with her main characters. To her, a good main character stays in the mind long after the story has been read. They should become as real in the mind as the person next door.

My blog: http://caddyrowlandblog.blogspot.com/ Writer of Fiction, Painter of Life & Energy

The Noctuary by Greg Chapman

About Greg Chapman

photoGreg Chapman is an emerging dark fiction author from Australia.

In 2009 he was selected in the Australian Horror Writers Association’s Mentor Program under the tutelage of Melbourne author Brett McBean.

Since then he has had short stories published in The Absent Willow Review, Trembles Magazine and Morpheus Tales and Eclecticism.

Damnation Books published his first novella “Torment” in March 2011 and will release his second, “The Noctuary” in December 2011.

Apart from his writing ability, Chapman is also an accomplished horror artist with publication credits in Midnight Echo Magazine and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. He is currently illustrating a graphic novel for horror authors Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton, to be published by McFarland in early 2012.

You can find him on the web at www.darkscrybe.blogspot.com

About The Noctuary

TheNoctuary_150dpi_eBookStruggling writer Simon Ryan’s life has gone to Hell.

Shadows are pouring into his reality and his words are not his own anymore. He has been chosen to become a scribe for some of the worst creatures of the Underworld – the ones whose sole purpose is to torment human souls – The Dark Muses.

As Simon writes, he falls deeper into the abyss and before long he has no sense of what is real. With the help of another scribe, old and mutilated, Simon comes to discover that his writing can mould people and places –- that he can write things out of existence.

To become a scribe Simon has to pass a test and the Muses offer him a chance to rewrite his horrible past.

All he has to decide is how the story ends….

Read an Excerpt

All of a sudden the darkness parts like a curtain and a tall, robed figure steps out, bathed in a dull light. As my eyes adjust, I glimpse the being before me. The figure is at least eight feet tall. Beneath the scorched lace of its endless robe I can see a bone-thin body wrapped tightly in pale grey skin.Then I see its face; two orb-like eyes centred in a glistening, hairless head. Strange hieroglyphs are scattered about the face, ancient scars carved into the flesh. As I gape in horror the thing beckons me with outstretched hands.

Its fingers look sharp and menacing. As it glides closer I finally see they are not fingers at all, but rather the pointed ends of ancient quills. Bloody ink spills from each tip onto my lounge room floor.

My God, what are you? I hear myself say.

The thing smiles, revealing a toothless mouth, moist with the same foul ink.

“I am no god, Simon. I am no devil. I am purely an inspiration to lost souls. Only the privileged can bear my countenance.”

I sit rigid in my chair as the creature hovers around me, observing me with its hollow eyes. I dont want to look away from it, but the entrance from whence it came lures my gaze. Beyond the curtain of night I can make out a corridor with walls made of parchment, stained and marked with every written language on Earth and others I could never comprehend. The sound of scratching, multiplied a billion times over, echoes throughout the corridor and out into my home.

Abruptly the creature blocks my view and with a wave of his spindly hand the curtain is drawn. The room plunges back into darkness.

“No, Simon, not for you – not yet.”

I look back to where the creature is standing, but the darkness has blotted him out. All I hear is his voice.

“First you must master your words in this world before you can write them in mine.”

**************************************************

**Read Invocation – A Prelude to The NoctuaryFREE!**

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The Girl in the Box by Sheila Dalton

About Sheila Dalton

Sheila on fence(1)Sheila Dalton was born in England and came to Canada with her family at the age of six. She studied English Language and Literature at the University of Toronto. She has worked as a barmaid, an art gallery assistant, and an independent craftsperson and artist.

Sheila was a freelance writer and editor for many years before becoming an Adult Services Librarian for the Toronto Public Library. She lives in Newmarket, Ontario with her husband and two cats. She has written over ten books, including a collection of adult poetry, three children’s picture books, a literary novel, and a YA mystery which was shortlisted for a major Canadian crime writer’s award, the Arthur Ellis.

You can read more about The Girl in the Box and Sheila’s other her work at her website:
http://sheila-anne-dalton.com

About The Girl in the Box

The Girl in the BoxCaitlin Shaughnessy, a Canadian journalist, discovers that Inez, a traumatized young Mayan woman originally from Guatemala, has killed Caitlin’s psychoanalyst partner, Dr. Jerry Simpson. Simpson brought the girl, who may be autistic, back to Canada as an act of mercy and to attempt to treat her obvious trauma. Cailin desperately needs to find out why this terrible incident occurred so she can find the strength to forgive and move on with her life.

Inez, whose sense of wonder and innocence touches all who meet her, becomes a focal point for many of the Canadians who encounter her. As Caitlin struggles to uncover the truth about Inez’s relationship with Jerry, Inez struggles to break free of the projections of others. Each must confront her own anger and despair. The doctors in the north have an iciness that matches their surroundings, a kind of clinical armour that Caitlin must penetrate if she is to reach Inez.

The Girl in the Box is a psychological drama of the highest order and a gripping tale of intrigue and passion.

Watch the Trailer Here

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
JERRY
Guatemala, Feb., 1983The smell was thick as sludge, and rancid. It forced an intake of breath when Jerry wanted to pinch his nostrils shut and run out of the hut.

He struggled to ignore it, but the stench dropped into his throat and lodged there. When he tried to swallow, he coughed instead.

“Agua?” He turned to the Mayan behind him. “Por favor?”

The man nodded while continuing to talk to his wife.

Jerry leaned into his arms into on the rough-hewn table and stared at the crucifixes on the wall.

There were five hand-carved wooden Messiahs in front of him, each more lurid than the last. One strained so far outwards from his cross that Jerry thought he looked like he could tear himself off and change religious history. Painted blood ran from the hands, feet and sides of all five, and hung in gobs from a number of wounded knees. It cascaded over one Christ’s body in vermilion stripes, ending in a single dangling blob at the bottom of the cross.

The murmur behind Jerry grew louder. He swiveled around. The couple dropped their eyes and lowered their voices simultaneously, as though performing a duet.

“Agua?” he pleaded, a hand to his throat.

“Si, Senor.” This time, the man shooed his wife behind a ragged curtain, then followed her out of sight.

Jerry concentrated on the pictures hanging on the wall, in front of him. There were colourful renditions of what he thought must be Mayan deities, interspersed with rumpled copies of paintings of Catholic saints. An abundance of spiritualities, where he himself had none.

He frowned at the uplifted eyes and sweet secretive smiles of the saints. Multicoloured woolen frames bordered each blissful face — —red, orange, bright yellow, the kind of blues and greens that oceans radiate and skies sometimes faintly reflect – —colours out of a child’s fantasy, woven together with tufts and tassels and thick, knotted fringes that infused the pictures with the kind of robust good cheer he’d come to admire in Latin Americans themselves.

His spirits lifted. But there was that unhealthy smell, and a filthy blanket hanging heavily over the doorway, blocking air and light.

He’d met the couple while riding the bus to the village of Panajachel, on the way back from the market in Chichicastenanga.

Baskets were everywhere, and lunches wrapped in banana leaves, redolent with spices. Chickens clucked on the seats beside their owners on the seats. The women’s feet were bare and dusty, the ribbons in their thick braids vibrant against the dark coils of their hair.
As Jerry admired both ribbons and braids, the woman in the seat directly across the aisle from Jerry him leaned forward and vomited in a thin stream onto the floor, then moaned and nestled back against her male companion.

The macho drivers and the hair-raising roads made travel sickness so common here that no one except Jerry reacted seemed perturbed. He sat forward in his seat, frowning at the ashen grey of the woman’s face alarming, a stark contrast to her blue, red and orange huipil, and the vivid rebozo clutched tightly to her mouth.

She groaned again, loudly, and Jerry’s frown deepened. The man who, despite his healthy brown face, looked dull and pedestrian beside her in his faded T-shirt and polyester pants tied with string, pressed a hand to her forehead.

Jerry leaned across the narrow aisle, and spoke haltingly. — “The Senora is … ill? Sick?

“Yo soy … doctor,” he added when he saw the fear in the couple’s eyes. He hoped to reassure them; his Spanish was limited, and it was the best he could do. “From Canada. Don’t be afraid.”

He addressed the woman, punctuating his speech with hand gestures and smiles. “Do you have stomach pain? A headache? Where do you hurt?”

It was the husband who answered in a thin, uncertain voice, “No es nada, no es nada.”

Meanwhile, his wife fell silent and struggled to sit upright. She looked at Jerry through narrowed eyes, then turned to her husband and said something urgently to her husband, in a language Jerry assumed was Mayan.

The man replied in a rapid burst, shaking his head vigorously. She countered with something short and sharp that made him look down at his broad, dusty hands, still shaking his head, but more gently.

Again, the woman spoke to him. Jerry heard the word Canada but could understand nothing else. The man set his lips, frowning, then said to Jerry, “Canada…?”

Jerry nodded. “Si. From Canada.” He pointed to the maple leaf on his backpack.

The man frowned, obviously wrestling with the language. “You please…come to my home?” His forehead knotted.

Taken aback, Jerry stumbled for an answer. “I …ah …well, I don’t know …”

“Por favor.” The voice was now pleading. Both he the man and his wife were gazing fixedly at Jerry.

“For your wife?” Jerry said. “You need a local doctor. I’m not a … doctor for the body. I help with people’s … minds.” He tapped his forehead.

The man blinked, and said, “For … mind?” touching his own head.

“Si,” said Jerry.

The man’s face came alive. “We like … you … visit. You. Come. Visit?” He was pointing back and forth, to himself, to Jerry, agitated, eager.
Just for a visit? Jerry had found the Maya gracious and a little shy outside their marketplaces, but he was not convinced the “visit” would be other than a hard sell, or even something more sinister. The country was at war with itself, had been for decades. Being from Canada was a plus, he knew, better than being American in the eyes of the Indians, but even so …. What had excited the man about him being a “mind doctor”? Had he misunderstood?

Likely he’d interpreted Jerry’s words and gestures as meaning he could help with headaches, or head pain? Jerry wished he could tell him the man he’d said “doctor” only because his Spanish was bad and it seemed a way to offer reassurance.

He didn’t want to spurn their hospitality, though, if, in fact, that’s what it was. His Guatemalan friend Jacinta, who was half-Mayan, had told him it was an honour for a gringo to be a guest in a traditional Mayan home. He was due back in Toronto in less than a week, and had spent his time, apart from these trips on the local buses, at the usual tourist haunts, where the indigenous people were like props, or background music, he thought. Hospitality to a gringo in these troubled times was rare.

The irony of it. He wants my help as a doctor, when I came here hoping to learn from a Guatemalan shaman. A tour he’d hoped to take, on which he would meet shamans and be introduced to some of the psychotropic plants they used, had fallen through because of the political situation. His friend Jacinta knew an H’men, but told him it was impossible to arrange a meeting, even for a Canadian doctor, in the current climate.

He nodded curtly. “Yes. Gracias,” he said. “Is it far?”

“No far,” the man replied quickly, but his downward glance gave his words the lie, and again Jerry wondered what he was in for, and why.
They travelled for a while in silence, Jerry gazing absently out the back window at the stinking, grey scarf of diesel fumes trailing behind the bus.

Just outside Panajachel, the Mayan man waved his hands in the air excitedly and pointed to the front of the vehicle. Understanding they had arrived at their stop, Jerry gathered his things and followed the couple off the bus.

White, red, pink and blue houses reminded Jerry of the pastel candy hearts kids gave out on Valentine’s Day back home. Tiles of reddish-brown clay pipe curved on the rooftops, and fences of corrugated scrap metal divided one tiny yard from another.

The man pointed towards them, and Jerry assumed that was where the couple lived, “no far” after all.

But the man walked past the crowded dwellings, into the trees beyond.

Here it was all fat, leathery leaves, spiralling vines, and densely packed trees in a blind climb for the light. You couldn’t see the sky. The air glowed green through the foliage. Jerry tasted sweat on his lips, and swatted at the insects blurring his vision.

After about half an hour, the trees began to thin. Jerry followed the couple down a sharp incline, crackling through the dry underbrush, before heading up another steep slope, crowned again by trees.

The man glanced at Jerry’s weary face. “No far,” he said anxiously.

Jerry forced a smile, and kept walking. If the man’s sick wife could do it, so could he, he thought, though his stomach hurt as well as his head. So far, he had escaped an attack of turista, and he rather desperately hoped his luck wasn’t about to give out.

There were only small, scrubby bushes around them now, no trees. The brilliant sky was patterned with clouds, and he squinted up at them, grateful they were thick enough to join forces occasionally with the tangled trees to block the worst of the midday sun.

After a climb that made his legs ache and his heart thump in his chest, they reached the top of the hill, and, over the rise, was a house. Or at least, a dwelling — —patchwork walls, a doorway covered in a length of greasy-looking cloth, and a roof of what looked like warped bark, but was more likely corrugated cardboard.

These people have nothing at all. Jerry looked around him, rubbing his forehead hard with his thumb. Nothing.

Close to the hut’s doorway, a large wooden cross wrapped in a ratty swatch of lace leaned sideways at a rakish angle.

To the left of the cross lay a small vegetable patch, staked with tree branches, guarded by a tattered scarecrow made of potato sacks and old plastic bags. An assortment of squash sat in a broken basket nearby. Produce from the garden?

The air bore heavily down, and sweat rolled into the corners of Jerry’s eyes. The silence, punctuated only by the warm hum of insects, the static whir of their wings, began its own buzz inside his aching head.

“Home?” he said to the man beside him, his throat thick.

“Si.”

Jerry managed a sickly smile, then looked away.

The woman pulled aside the stained curtain, and ushered them inside.
And now, here in their small dark house, with his head pulsing, and the gory crucifixes seeming to throb in sympathy, he wiped his brow with his shirtsleeve and nervously licked his lips. Eerie thoughts took up lodging in his head. He thought suddenly of Caitlin, his longtime lover. If anything happened here, if he could not get away, she would sound the alarm. But he wasn’t due back for days yet, and besides, what good would it do?

The back of his throat tasted of salt. His stomach lurched. He put his face in his hands for a moment, and when he looked up, they were standing across from him, their shoulders touching, staring. The man’s eyes looked like they could ignite wood, Jerry thought; the woman’s were fearful.

She held a chipped cup out to him. It felt warm in his cradled hands; inside he saw a yellowish liquid. Tea? He drank greedily, emptying the cup before registering the mouldy aftertaste.

“We lose cinco … five … children, Senor.”

Jerry jerked his head up and gripped the mug more tightly.

The man was explaining something in an awkward blend of English, Spanish and what had to be his own dialect. Jerry couldn’t understand a word, until the man repeated in a soft voice, “We lose cinco children.”
Desperation was a fourth presence in the room now. Jerry looked at the woman with pity. She seemed too young to have so many children … The heat and darkness and smell …

“We have still one child.” The man clasped and unclasped his fingers, lowered his eyes. “Inez.” His lips trembled. When he looked up, he directed his gaze towards his wife, as if seeking her permission to go on.

She nodded almost imperceptibly, her own eyes furtive. When her husband began speaking again, she held a hand to her forehead.

“She ill, very ill,” the man was saying, and for a moment Jerry was confused. He thought the man was referring to his wife.

“Please. Come. Look at her. Por favor.”

“Of course. Though, you understand, I am not a –—”

The man shifted his feet and stammered, “Is no our fault…”

Jerry froze. That phrase or ones like it — —he’d heard them so many times on the Emergency wards — —”It’s not our fault.” “We didn’t mean to hurt him.” “She fell.”

Automatically, he murmured a soothing, “No, no, of course not,” all the while thinking, Oh God, have they done something awful to this child?

“Can you take me to her?” he said, swallowing to dislodge the unpleasant taste in his mouth. He pulled his thoughts together. This isn’t Canada, he cautioned himself. They’ve lost their children to disease or famine, not abuse, and they wouldn’t be so concerned about this girl if they didn’t love her.

“Si.” The man steadied himself for a moment against the table. “Come,” he said, and headed out the door. His wife followed him through the entranceway, with Jerry close behind.

They led him in the direction of a small stand of trees beyond the market garden.

As they approached, scrabbling noises and low moaning, almost a mooing sound, made Jerry’s chest constrict.

A little farther into the trees sat a box.

A patchwork wooden rectangle, about Jerry’s height, about three-quarters that in width. No windows. Jerry thought of shipping crates, of luggage trunks, and shuddered. The door was tied shut with a length of rusted chain and a metal padlock. Oh, God , no. He licked his top lip, drew in a slow breath, hoping to quiet the beating of his heart, now loud enough to interfere with his hearing.

The thumping from the hut was interspersed with grunts. He shut his eyes as the man fiddled with the lock. When he opened them, the door, too, was open.

What Reviewers Are Saying

When psychoanalyst Jerry Simpson rescues a young girl from an abusive existence and takes her home with him to Canada it soon becomes apparent that the girl is suffering from more than trauma. She is mute, locked in an autistic world that Jerry and his colleagues find impossible to infiltrate. They quickly stop seeing her as a fascinating case study and fall beneath the spell of her child like innocence. But when Inez is found leaning over Jerry Simpson’s dead body and is accused of his murder, Jerry’s partner, Caitlin, is motivated to discover not who killed him but why he was killed. Caitlin is forced to confront and overcome uncomfortable suspicion, damaged trust and inner emotional conflict to penetrate Inez’ psyche to discover why her lover died.

When I began to read this book I had no idea what to expect. It is not my genre of choice and I am unfamiliar with both the setting and the psychological problems that Inez suffers. As a consequence it was a real adventure for me; a journey into a world that I soon found totally absorbing and it was immediately apparent that I was in very capable hands.

The Girl in the Box is an intelligent read. I don’t usually enjoy flashbacks but here they serve to illustrate the perplexed state of Caitlin’s mind. Sheila Dalton’s characters are fascinatingly complex and interact so naturally that you forget you are reading a book at all. The narrative is beautiful, her descriptions delicately evocative yet she never shies away from the truth of any situation. The violence is harsh, the love making sensuous and at times the narrative is uncompromising but what makes it wonderful for me is the way Sheila reveals Caitlin and Inez’s inner trauma. Their pain is understated, the scenes lightly but powerfully written providing total credibility and heightening the stunning impact of the final chapters.

I highly recommend this book whether you enjoy psychological drama or not. The characters linger long after the turn of the final page. Like people that you have met once and may never meet again, you worry about them and wonder how they are. This is not a book that you will want to give away, put it on your book shelf and read it again and again.

~Judith Arnopp, Author

A confusing timeline doesn’t detract seriously from this solid mystery where the killer of psychoanalyst Jerry Simpson is known from page one. It was the eponymous “girl in a box” whom Jerry brought back to his Ontario home from Guatemala; the mute Inez whom he most surely rescued from, at worst, certain death and, at least, imprisonment. But the knowing isn’t enough for Jerry’s longtime girlfriend, Caitlin. Accepting that the feral Inez did the murder and that she’s serving time in a mental institution doesn’t do much to resolve Caitlin’s gnawing need to know more. In a series of deftly handled flashes between 1988, the time of Jerry’s death, and when the pair met in Guatemala in 1978, Caitlin obsessively rehashes every detail of their relationship and what she knows of his efforts to save Inez. Even after disjointed pieces of information begin to assemble the picture is still a broken mirror until Caitlin decides to visit Inez. She hopes to give Inez words to finally reveal the whole truth of what happened that day in Jerry’s home office. This novel is a tidy package that successfully juggles themes involving relationships, commitment, professional jealousy and helplessness in the face of international issues.

–ABNA Publishers Weekly Review, 2009

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