Category Archives: Book Excerpt

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.

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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Nate Rocks the World by Karen Pokras Toz

Nate banner

Join Karen Pokras Toz, author of the middle grade fiction book, Nate Rocks the World (CreateSpace, June 2011) as she virtually tours the blogosphere from December 5 – 16, 2011 on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

Karen Pokras Toz photo

About Karen Pokras Toz

Karen Pokras Toz is a writer, wife, and mom. Karen grew up in the small town of Orange, Connecticut and graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Finance. She also attended the University of Richmond, where she studied law and business, receiving both a JD and an MBA. Karen has spent the last several years working as a tax accountant, writing in numbers. She recently discovered a passion for writing with words. Nate Rocks the World is her first book.

Karen is a member of the Association of Independent Authors, Independent Author Network, and The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She is the 2011 Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell Run Honoree for the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter. Karen enjoys gardening, cooking, and spending time with her husband and three children.

For more information, please visit www.karentoz.com.

About Nate Rocks the World

Nate Rocks: Part Super-Hero, Part All-Star Athlete, Part Rock-Star… Part Fourth-Grader? Nate Rocks the World cover

Ten-year-old Nathan Rockledge cannot catch a break. After all, life as a fourth-grader can be hazardous – what with science projects to deal with and recess football games to avoid. Everyone, including his best friend Tommy, seems to have bad luck when hanging around Nathan. Throw in an older sister who is a royal pain, a dad who is stuck in the past, and a mom who keeps trying to poison him with her awful cooking, and poor Nathan’s life as a fourth-grader appears to be completely doomed.

Armed only with his sketchpad, his imagination, and his wits, Nathan Rockledge navigates the perils of the fourth grade in style, to emerge heroic, as Nate Rocks, proving that even a ten-year-old can accomplish great things.

Follow the adventures of ten-year-old Nathan Rockledge as his cartoons and adventures come to life.

Read an excerpt!

The score is three to two in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. The Philadelphia Phillies have a man on first, but honestly folks, I think this game is over. The Phillies have just not been able to pull it together this World Series, and now with all of these injuries, who could the Phillies possibly put in to bat? It looks like this hometown team is running out of options. I hate to say this, but I think the dream of winning this year’s World Series is now over for this team. Wait a minute… is that Nate Rocks approaching the plate? He hasn’t been off the bench all season. Surely, the Phillies have someone more experienced they can use. Even Nate looks confused, as he steps up to the plate. I don’t know about this. Here comes the first pitch … swing … and a miss. Second pitch … ooh, a 95 mph fastball … and that’s strike two. The Philadelphia crowd of 45,000 is silent, as we wait for the third pitch … the pitch that determines this year’s world champions. The pitcher looks around, winds up, and … CRACK – that ball is OUT OF HERE! I don’t believe it, folks! Nate Rocks has hit a home run, and the Philadelphia Phillies have won the World Series!!!”

The Phillies rush out of the dugout, running toward me, as I cross home plate. They pile on top of me. Thunderous cheers of enthusiastic fans echo through the stadium. I can barely breathe. I feel a hand reach out to me.

“You did it, Nate! You did it!” The Phillies’ first baseman yells.  He pulls me to my feet.

Two other players help hoist me up over their shoulders. I wave to the crowd in victory. The players parade me around the bases, and the crowd begins chanting:

“Nate!”

“Nate!”

“Nate!”

“Nathan! For the fourth time – dinner is ready!”

“Huh?” I ask.

Mom is standing in my bedroom doorway, hands on her hips, staring at me, as I sit on my floor among a sea of colored pencils.

“I said dinner is ready. And for goodness sake Nathan Michael Rockledge, clean up this mess!”

“Okay, Mom,” I say. Mom turns around and heads down the steps.

I look back at my drawing. “Not too shabby,” I note, staring at the cartoon. I pick up a pencil and finish drawing myself holding the World Series trophy. Okay, so maybe I made my red hair not quite so bright, took out the freckles and added a few muscles to my scrawny body, but I still think it looks like me. I gather all of my colored pencils and scraps of paper off my carpet and throw them into my desk drawer.

“Nathan, Mom told me to tell you to stop picking your nose and get your butt down to dinner.”

I turn around see my older sister, Abby, standing in the hallway outside my bedroom. Abby is thirteen and is always complaining about something. Plus, she thinks she knows everything. Really, the only thing she knows is how to be annoying.

“Stop it, Abby, she didn’t say that!” I close up my sketchpad and follow her down the stairs.

“What were you drawing anyway?” she asks, as we head into the kitchen.

“None of your business.” I take my seat at the table, where Dad has already started eating.

“Some stupid comic probably,” Abby comments. She sits down across the table from me.

“All right, that’s enough,” Mom says. She puts a plate filled with spaghetti and meatballs in front of me. “Now eat your dinner, Nathan.”

“Yeah, eat your dinner,” Abby says. She swiftly kicks me from under the table.

I stick my tongue out at Abby and take a bite of my dinner. I wonder if meatballs are supposed to be crunchy? I take a big gulp of my milk to help wash down the crispy meat, as I prepare myself for a forkful of gummy pasta.

“How was school today, Nathan?” Dad asks cheerfully. One thing about my dad, he is always in a good mood. Sometimes I question if Abby was adopted – or maybe there was a mix-up at the hospital or something.

“Okay, I guess.” I look back down to my plate.

To be honest, today wasn’t one of my better days. Oh, it started out okay, I suppose, nothing spectacular. I woke up, threw on some random clothes, and went downstairs for breakfast. As usual, I met my best friend Tommy Jensen at the bus stop, just as it started to drizzle. My first thought, after being annoyed that we were standing out in the rain, was excitement over the fact that we would most likely have indoor recess. Believe me, I like recess just as much as the next kid does. I mean, who wouldn’t love being thrown outside for forty minutes of pure torture? Ten minutes of Tommy trying to talk me into playing kickball with the rest of the fourth graders, one minute to realize I am the last kid picked to be on a team, followed by twenty-nine minutes of praying the ball doesn’t come anywhere near me. When we have indoor recess, I don’t have to worry about any of that. I can just sit at my desk for forty minutes and draw cartoons. The rain had stopped by the time the bus reached school.

The good news was nobody wanted to play kickball during recess. The bad news was they chose football instead. Let’s just say things did not go so well and leave it at that.

After recess, we went right to lunch, where I discovered that Mom had packed me the remainder of last night’s dinner: Chicken Surprise. The surprise, it seemed, was that the meal tasted even worse the next day than it did the night before. Mom refuses to allow me to buy hot lunch. She says why waste money when she is able to pack me perfectly good lunches? I can’t wait until I am older like Abby. At least she gets to save up her babysitting money to buy her own lunches at school.

After lunch, Mrs. Dempsey announced that we would be starting a new science unit on energy and light. We would be working with partners. Each team would pick a project to work on, both in class and at home. Mrs. Dempsey usually lets us pick our own partners for science, but this time she stated she had assigned partners that we would be working with for the next two weeks. As soon as Mrs. Dempsey said the words, I closed my eyes and started silently concentrating as hard as I could:

“Please don’t let it be Lisa Crane, please don’t let it be Lisa Crane, please don’t let it be …”

“Nathan,” Mrs. Dempsey said, “you and Lisa will be working together.”

I could hear Tommy snickering under his breath. I looked over at him and shook my head. I turned back around to see Lisa standing right over my desk.

“Hi Nathan,” she said in her over-bubbly voice.

“Oh, hi.”

Lisa Crane and I have been in the same class since kindergarten. There is nothing wrong with Lisa, exactly – well except for the fact that she reports every second of every day back to her mother. Lisa’s mother, Marge, and my mother have been best friends for the last five years. Ever since Lisa reported to her mother that I got in trouble at school last year for falling asleep during math, I have spent a good portion of my life trying to stay away from Lisa Crane.

“So Nathan, I hear you and Lisa are science partners now,” Mom says. She sits down at the table.

“Uh, yeah.” Why am I not surprised that Mom already knows?

“Well, Marge says Lisa is really excited. She hasn’t stopped talking about it since she got home from school today.”

“I’ll bet,” I mumble under my breath.

“Science, huh?” Dad begins, “I loved science as a kid. Hey Nathan, did I ever tell you the story of the volcano your uncle Robert made for the school science fair?”

“Yeah, Dad, he put in two cups of baking soda instead of two tablespoons.”

“Uncle Robert poured in the vinegar and before we knew it, the judges were all covered in lava.” Dad bursts into laughter, as if this were the first time he was telling this story about his older brother, instead of the twentieth.

“Anyway, Lisa wants to get started on your project right away, so I invited her and Marge over on Saturday,” Mom informs me.

“But Mom, you know Tommy and I have plans to go see the new Captain Asteroid movie on Saturday!”

“So, see it on Sunday instead. Besides, you know schoolwork comes first. I think it will be fun to work with Lisa!”

“Yeah, Nathan,” Abby pipes in smirking, “think of how much fun you’ll have on your play date.”

I glare at Abby and continue to twirl my pasta on my fork, thinking of something I can say to convince Mom to cancel. I suppose she wouldn’t believe I have a rare and highly contagious disease that can only be cured by going to the movies on Saturday.

“Bill, how did your meeting go today?” Mom asks Dad, letting me know the conversation about my Saturday plans, is now over.

Read the reviews!

“Nate Rocks the World is a fantastic and imaginative story that will keep your child engaged… Karen does a wonderful job of blending his fantasies with his reality. The characters are so real and likeable. I love the conflict between him and his older sister. The lesson in this story is that dreams can come true and that there is hero inside of even the most unlikely source. Although girls will love it too (my 9 year old daughter did) if you have a boy between 8 and 10 years old buy this book right now!  We can’t wait for the next book in this series!”

-Donna Helsley, Wild About Reading

Watch the trailer here!

Giveaways, Contests & Prizes!

In celebration of Karen Pokras Toz’s Nate Rocks the World, she will be appearing at  Pump Up Your Book’s 1st Annual Holiday Extravaganza Facebook Party on December 16.  More than 50 books, gifts and cash awards will be given away including a printed copy of Nate Rocks the World!  Visit the official party page here!

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Nate Rocks the World Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule

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Sunday, December 4th

Book reviewed at Everyday is an Adventure

Monday, December 5th

Book reviewed at Taking Time for Mommy

Tuesday, December 6th

Guest blogging and giveaway at Reader Girls

Wednesday, December 7th

Guest blogging at Café of Dreams

Thursday, December 8th

Book reviewed at The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection

Friday, December 9th

Book reviewed at The Crypto-Capers Review

Podcast interview at Stories from Unknown Authors 9 AM EST

Guest blogging at Literal Exposure

Monday, December 12th

Interview at Pump Up Your Book!

Book reviewed at 4 the Love of Books

Book reviewed at Loves 2 Read

Tuesday, December 13th

Interviewed at Paperback Writer

Book reviewed at Woven Myst

Wednesday, December 14th

Interviewed at The Hot Author Report

Book reviewed at One Day at a Time

Thursday, December 15th

Book spotlighted at The Plot

Interviewed at Blogcritics

Friday, December 16th

Character interviewed at The Plot

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Tumbleweed Christmas by Beverly Stowe McClure

Tumbleweed banner

Join Beverly Stowe McClure, author of the early reader holiday book, Tumbleweed Christmas (4Rv Publishing, August 2011), as she virtually tours the blogosphere from December 5 – 16, 2011 on her second virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

Bev_Studio_Photo

About Beverly Stowe McClure

When Beverly was a kid she hated to read. Even though her eighth  grade  teacher sent her poem “Stars” to the National High School Poetry Association, and it was published in Young America Sings, an anthology of Texas high school poetry, she hated to write.  In spite of her rocky relationship with the written word, she attended Midwestern University where she read too many books to count, graduated, and became a teacher, which meant more reading. As she read to her students and they read to her, she made an amazing discovery. Reading was fun.

She also started writing. To her surprise many of her articles were published in leading children’s magazines, such as Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, Ladybug, and Focus on the Family Clubhouse Jr. One of her articles was published in a PreK-K Scott Foresman anthology. She also has five novels for teens and two books for young readers published, along with a story in Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Beverly has three sons and a bunch of grandkids. She and her husband live in the country where deer, skunks, and armadillos stop by for a visit. She writes most every day and usually has a book in one hand, with the vacuum, mop, skillet, or other household items in the other.

Tumbleweed Christmas is Beverly’s latest release. Visit her online at:

Website Address: http://beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com

Blog Address:  http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com

Twitter URL:  http://twitter.com/beverlymcclure

Facebook URL:  www.facebook.com/beverlysmcclure

About Tumbleweed Christmas 129998692

Christmas is the time for miracles, but sometimes, a child must make her own miracle, and one for her siblings.

Read an excerpt!

Today was Christmas Eve. My house was dark and sad. We had no Christmas tree. Mom said trees cost money. Dad was n the hospital. She did not have any extra money. I saved a dollar from my school lunch money. I was going to surprise her and buy a tree.

I pulled on my coat. I put my baseball cap on my head. I tucked my baseball glove under my arm. My glove went everywhere with me. Dad gave it to me. We used to play ball, before he got sick.

“Where you going, Jackie?” asked April, who was four.

“Where you going?” asked May, who was only three.

“It’s a surprise,” I said.

Read the reviews!

“Tumbleweed Christmas is an early reader that is a fine example to children of how to embrace the true spirit of the holiday when a more traditional way isn’t possible.”

–Amazon reviewer

Giveaways, Contests & Prizes!

In celebration of Beverly Stowe McClure’s Tumbleweed Christmas, she will be appearing at  Pump Up Your Book’s 1st Annual Holiday Extravaganza Facebook Party on December 16.  More than 50 books, gifts and cash awards will be given away including an angel tree ornament from Beverly!  Visit the official party page here!

Leaving comments on Beverly’s tour stops means more prizes! The person who leaves the most comments at Beverly’s tour stops will win a $10 gift certificate to Amazon.com. The second place winner will take home an angel tree ornament. See Beverly’s schedule below to see where she’ll be stopping during the month of December. Deadline for comments is 11:59 PM Eastern on December 16th.

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Tumbleweed Christmas Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule

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Monday, December 5th

Book reviewed at 4 the Love of Books

Tuesday, December 6th

Book reviewed at The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection

Wednesday, December 7th

Guest blogging at Literal Exposure

Thursday, December 8th

Book reviewed at Taking Time for Mommy

Book reviewed at One Day at a Time

Guest blogging and book reviewed at The Christmas Spirit

Friday, December 9th

Book reviewed at Booksnatchers

Monday, December 12th

Interviewed at The Hot Author Report

Book spotlighted at The Plot

Tuesday, December 13th

Character interviewed at The Plot

Wednesday, December 14th

Guest blogging at Café of Dreams

Thursday, December 15th

Book reviewed at Reading Frenzy

Friday, December 16th

Podcast interview at Stories from Unknown Authors 2 PM EST

Book reviewed at The Crypto-Capers Review

Video book review at YA Books All the Way!

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Beverly Stowe McClure’s TUMBLEWEED CHRISTMAS VIRTUAL BOOK PUBLICITY TOUR will officially begin on December 5 2011 and end on December 16, 2011. UPDATE: This tour is now filled. Thank you!

 

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Alex by Dianne Hartsock

Alex Banner

Join Dianne Hartsock, author of the paranormal/ suspense novel, Alex (Solstice Publishing, July 2011), as she virtually tours the blogosphere from December 5 – 16, 2011 on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

Dianne Hartsock photo

About Dianne Hartsock

Dianne Hartsock lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play.

She says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write her tales. There’s something about being cooped up in the house while it pours rain outside and a fire crackles on the hearth inside that kindles her imagination.

The intricate and fragile nature of the mind is always fascinating.  Having worked with the public through various careers, Dianne has come to respect the resilience and strength of the human spirit. She’s always trying to capture that spirit in her writing.

Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop, which she says is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.

Dianne’s books include Trials of a Lonely Specter and Alex.

You can visit Dianne Hartsock at: http://diannehartsocksalex.wordpress.com/.

About Alex

Alex print cover

Alex is twenty and confused.  He always is.  The world presses on him with its horrors and pain, with scintillating auras that pierce his eyes and drive the migraines deeper. He hears the cries of children, the screaming women. He sees the brutal images of the tortured victims. He feels out of control and his mind slips…

Severely abused as a child, he is left with horrible scars on his body and even worse scars within his mind. Even though it puts him in danger, he’s compelled to help those who call to him. He’s driven, motivated by his visions to rescue them and uncover the killer. When he can, he helps the police; yet some detectives suspect he’s the cause of the problem, not the solution. Often, Alex finds himself alone and afraid in a world he doesn’t understand.

Read an excerpt!

Her skin was soft under his fingertips. Her bare shoulders, the curve of muscle in her arms, her slim fingers; all so soft. Her breath caressed his cheek as he stared at her lips. He wanted to kiss her. It was a risk, he knew, but he ached for someone to break the loneliness. He bent his head and ran his tongue tentatively over the sweet fullness of her mouth. Her tongue met his but he was unprepared for the fire that tore through him. She pressed against him to deepen the kiss and a wild madness surged through his blood.

Something was wrong. She cried out as she struggled in his arms. Her nails raked across his neck. He let her go and watched in bewilderment as she scrambled away, her breath coming in sharp gasps. He reached out a tentative hand, wanting to explain—apologize, but she stepped hastily away from him.

“Freak!” she spat and quickly fled.

He jerked as the word struck him, his arm dropping to his side. The pain of her rejection flooded him. He touched his mouth and wondered desperately what she’d seen as he’d kissed her.

She stopped at the end of the bridge and looked over her shoulder. He couldn’t make out her expression, but he hoped to God it wasn’t pity. He took a hesitant step toward her but she tore her eyes away and rushed off.

He watched her follow the road back to town, hurrying as the sun sank. The far side of the road was already lost in darkness. His shoulders slumped in defeat when she disappeared into the gloom.

Dejected, he sat on the edge of the bridge and dangled his feet over the swift current. The sound of the rushing water echoed under him, filling his ears. It dulled the edge of his pain, making him forget his humiliation as he listened. He could almost make out a voice in the resonance.

* * * *

 

Jane felt the loneliness of the country lane as the shadows crept up from the ditch. The only other soul on the road was a girl hiking in the opposite direction. She recognized Sarah Gladstone, one of the girls Alex worked with, and waved as they passed each other. The uneasiness at the approaching dark kept her from stopping to talk.

She frowned as she hurried on, wondering if the girl had been up at the house. She’d noticed Alex talking to her after work recently. Her lips thinned, not liking the idea of him bringing girlfriends home when she wasn’t there. Not that it was her business.

Disgusted with where her thoughts were headed, she pushed them away and broke into a trot. The two miles had been a pleasant walk in the morning but, as the light faded, she regretted not taking the car into town. She’d forgotten it would start to grow dark before she reached the house and she didn’t like to walk alone at night.
Relief flooded her when she reached the bridge. It was only another quarter of a mile until she was home. Her brisk steps slowed as she spotted someone else on the bridge. She suddenly remembered the news report she’d heard that morning and stopped, a spurt of fear running down her spine. The person was sitting with his back to her, watching the water. But that didn’t mean he wasn’t dangerous. Women had gone missing from the Fort Collins area. What if this …?

She jumped when the person raised his head and then she laughed in sudden relief. She’d recognize that profile anywhere. She’d studied it for years, hoping to understand the complexities of the mind behind it.

Slowly, she approached Alex, trying to read his mood. Concern quickly replaced her apprehension. Something had upset him. He always ran his hands through his hair when he was disturbed and she could see it was a tangled mess on his forehead.

She sat beside him and swung her legs over the stream. “Are you coming home?”

As fond as she was of her adopted brother, it would be the last straw in a trying day if she had to argue with him. Especially over some flighty girl.
But he didn’t answer, and she leaned forward to look at his face. His blue eyes focused vacantly on the water as it slid under his feet. From his distant stare, she knew he was going to have a troubled night.
She laid a hand on his arm. “Alex?”

“There’s a boy in the water,” he murmured. His words were slurred, dreamlike.

She sat quietly and watched the moving stream. “There’s no one there,” she said after a moment.
Doubt crept over his face and he shrugged his slim shoulders. “I hear him.”

He leaned farther out and tried to look under the bridge. She grabbed the back of his shirt to prevent him falling in.
“He wants me with him. He’s scared.”

She shuddered at the all too familiar slur in his voice that warned her his thoughts were miles away. She’d learned long ago not to ignore it. The times in the past that she had, he’d grown frantic and uncontrollable. He’d hurt himself, acting on some image in his mind.

Abruptly, she pulled him to his feet, knowing she’d have to be harsh to catch his attention. She changed her tone, as if speaking to an errant child. “It’s time to go home. Come on.”

He didn’t seem to hear her as he swayed on the edge of the bridge. For one terrifying second, she thought he was going to tumble in. He could swim but she wasn’t sure if he would.

“Alex!” She jerked him roughly to face her. They stood eye to eye, both of them the same medium height. Many people mistook them for fraternal twins. They both had black hair, blue eyes, and slender bodies. Yet, she was always disconcerted by the intense blue of his eyes whenever they stood so close. They were the color of the evening sky; hers had a more greenish cast to them.

“Janie?” he said in bewilderment.

His baffled tone reassured her. It meant he was coming back from whatever strange place his mind had wandered off to. His eyes blinked and refocused. Her heart skipped a beat as the Alex she knew smiled meekly at her. She was suddenly aware of how close they were standing, and pressed a hand to her fluttering stomach when she felt his breath on her cheek.
“I’m sorry; I must have been dozing.”

She grimaced as he quickly averted his face. It was a blatant lie and she knew it. Hiding it from showing in his eyes was his way of trying to protect her. He did it all the time. But she’d much rather he let her into his world, however divergent it was.
She slipped her arm through his and turned in the direction of home. “Never mind. Are you ready for dinner?”
He hesitated, looking at the black water. She tugged a little harder and he didn’t resist. Glancing back herself, she drew him gently away.
* * * *
Late in the night, she heard the stifled groans she’d expected since the episode on the bridge. She drew on her sweatpants and shuffled down the hall. As a precaution, she’d kept the stove light on in the kitchen, and it spilled across the dark living room. With a troubled sigh, she retrieved a damp cloth from the refrigerator and padded back to Alex’s room at the end of the hall.

She knew better than to call him, so she gently tapped on the door instead. Knowing a light would be like a sword through his skull, she tried to find the bed in the dark. She stumbled over clothes and books strewn across the floor and swore. She would think, at the age of twenty, he would be able to keep his room presentable.

Her eyes adjusted to the dark and found him curled up on the sheets, his face pressed against the mattress. He had a pillow clutched tightly over his head in an effort to keep out all sensory stimuli.

She set the cloth on a nightstand. “Hush. It’s just me.” She ran her fingers up his spine and pressed her thumbs into the stiff muscles between his shoulder blades. The knots loosened as she kneaded his tense skin, and she silently thanked the nurse who’d shown her the technique years ago. Alex’s migraines had grown so severe that a specialist had been called, but it was the daily nurse who’d taught her how to care for him.

 

In a few minutes, the tension drained from his body, and she was able to push him onto his back. She took the pillow from his face, but he threw an arm over his eyes.

 

She pulled his arm away and placed the cloth over his brow. His hair was damp with sweat and his lips were white. His breath came in sharp gasps through tightly gritted teeth.

 

He put his hand over hers and pressed the cloth to his eyes. The gesture was intensely intimate, sending a shock through her. The warmth of his skin traveled up her arm and heated her body.

 

“Did you forget your pills?” she asked unsteadily, and he nodded under her hand. She wasn’t surprised. He was always leaving them somewhere or forgetting to take them, even when they both knew a migraine was coming.

 

She settled on the edge of the bed and gently stroked his hair. Her heart ached for his suffering, and she marveled at the strength that got him out of bed every morning, not knowing when the pain would strike him next.

 

He moaned, and she impulsively kissed his glistening forehead. She murmured comforting words in his ear, and for just an instant, allowed herself the pleasure of feeling his body against hers. His breathing became more relaxed as the worst of the pain passed, and she drew away from him.

 

“Can you sleep now?”

 

He gave her hand a gentle squeeze. She knew speech was beyond him at the moment, so she simply brushed her fingers over his cheek. She fought the sudden urge to lie down beside him and hold him in her arms. There’d been many nights she’d sat with him, and all those nights their father had done the same.

 

She panicked at the thought that life would never change. If she gave in to the emotions she unwillingly felt, neither she nor Alex would be able to move on. She’d promised herself long ago to start a new life once he no longer needed her care. She couldn’t do that if she let her emotions get the better of her.

 

She brushed impatiently at her eyes and left him to fight the rest of his battle alone.

Read the reviews!

“I enjoy the way our author carefully lays down her words and shows us descriptively where we are headed in this story, yet only a few footsteps at a time.  If I had to put a one word name to this read, I’d call it WORTHY.  As a storyteller myself, I was easily drawn into the lives that were coming alive to my mind.  It left me wanting more and I anticipated turning the page to discover what would happen next!  ”

–Don Ford, CNY Artists, Crafters, and Creators

Giveaways, Contests & Prizes!

In celebration of Dianne Hartsock’s release of Alex, she will be appearing at  Pump Up Your Book’s 1st Annual Holiday Extravaganza Facebook Party on December 16.  More than 50 books, gifts and cash awards will be given away including an e- copy of Alex!  Visit the official party page here!

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Alex Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule

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Monday, December 5th

Interviewed at The Hot Author Report

Tuesday, December 6th

Interviewed at The Book Connection

Book excerpt featured at Between the Covers

Wednesday, December 7th

Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book

Thursday, December 8th

Book spotlighted at The Plot

Friday, December 9th

Character interviewed at The Plot

Monday, December 12th

Guest blogging at Café of Dreams

Tuesday, December 13th

Book reviewed at Mad Moose Mama

Interviewed at Blogcritics

Wednesday, December 14th

Guest blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Interviewed at Coffee and a Keyboard

Thursday, December 15th

Interviewed and book reviewed at Joel Andre’s blog

Friday, December 16th

Book reviewed at Woven Myst

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Dianne Hartsock’s ALEX VIRTUAL BOOK PUBLICITY TOUR will officially begin on December 5 2011 and end on December 16, 2011. UPDATE: This tour is now full. Thank you!

 

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Invisible by Jeanne Bannon

As a special part of Jeanne’s tour, Invisible is available for $0.99 at Amazon.com and Smashwords from December 5th to 16th!

Invisible Banner

Join Jeanne Bannon, author of the YA novel Invisible as she virtually tours the blogosphere in December 2011 on her first tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About Jeanne Bannon

Jeanne (small pic)Jeanne Bannon has worked in the publishing industry for over twenty years. She began her career as a freelance journalist, then worked as an in-house editor for LexisNexis Canada. Jeanne currently works as a freelance editor and writer.

Jeanne’s had several short stories published and won first place in the Writes of Caledon Short Story Contest. Her novels, The Barely Boy and Dark Angel were finalists in the 2010 and 2011 Strongest Start Contests. Another of her short stories “Thom’s Journey” is part of an Anthology entitled A Visitor to Sandahl and is available at Amazon.com.

Invisible, Jeanne’s debut novel, is about a teenage girl who isn’t happy with herself and wishes she could disappear. And one day she does. Invisible is available on Amazon, Smashwords, and the Solstice Publishing website.

When not reading or writing, Jeanne enjoy being with her daughters, Nina and Sara and her husband, David. She’s also the proud mother of two fur babies, a sweet Miniature Schnauzer named Emily and Spencer, a rambunctious tabby, who can be a very bad boy.

To learn more about Jeanne, visit her at her website www.jeannebannon.com

You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter

About Invisible

InvisibleLola’s not pretty. Lola’s not popular. Lola wishes she could disappear … and then one day she does just that…

For seventeen-year-old Lola Savullo, life is a struggle. Born to funky parents who are more in than she could ever be, Lola’s dream of becoming a writer makes her an outsider even in her own home. Bullied and despised, Lola still has the support of her best pal Charlie and Grandma Rose.

Not only is she freakishly tall, Lola’s a big girl and when forced to wear a bathing suit at her summer job as a camp counselor, Lola’s only escape from deep embarrassment seems to be to literally vanish. Soon after, she discovers the roots of her new “ability”.

Slowly, with Charlie’s help, Lola learns to control the new super power. The possibilities are endless. Yet power can be abused, too…

Then, when tragedy strikes, Lola must summon her inner strength, both at home and at school. She has to stand up for herself, despite the temptations and possibilities of her newfound super power.

A coming-of-age story that will warm the heart.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter Three

I always leave Grandma Rose’s apartment with a smile on my face and an ache in my heart. I wish my mother were like her. How lucky for my mom to have such a wonderful, almost normal, mother. I’m stuck with a parent in an ever-present state of adolescence, whose life’s mission is to desperately hang onto what’s left of her looks. My mom, with her rat’s nest of hair stacked high on her head, dyed cherry red with chunky blonde highlights and dark brown lowlights, and extensions thrown in for good measure. A woman can’t ever have too much hair, she’s forever saying. Giving me her version of what passes as parental advice. I prefer Gran’s words of wisdom – “extensions make a woman look trampy” and “dye your hair only when the white comes in.” It seems more dignified, because I think a woman can have too much hair.

Dad’s just as bad, with his funky jeans, Ed Hardy T-shirts, pointy-toed boots, pierced ears, tattoos and a soul patch. He’s going to be fifty next year, for God’s sake. The thought makes me cringe. I live with dim-witted middle-aged teenagers.

Gran tells me all the time it’s not what’s on the outside that’s important and I know she’s right. I suppose I’m a bit of a hypocrite, since I’m always complaining about my weight or my height, or the fact I don’t have a boyfriend. But I’m supposed to be obsessed with fitting in and with my looks; after all, I’m the teenager.

It’s only a ten-minute walk home from Gran’s. I tilt my face toward the sun, soaking in the warmth of the spring day as I make my way along familiar streets. When I approach the park on the corners of Whiteside Avenue and Moorehouse Drive, I stop dead. Sudden dread causes the beat of blood to fill my ears.

There are three boys and a girl – Nino Campese, Tyler Campbell, his girlfriend Julia and Jon Kingsbury. They’re seniors like me and even though we’ve known each other since kindergarten, once adolescence hit and separated the weak from the strong, the cool from the nerd, I became prey. I was hunted by those better looking, and with more attitude, simply for their entertainment.

I plunge my hands into the pockets of my jean jacket and hang my head. Taking large quick steps, I tread quietly. They’re talking and laughing and the foul scent of cigarette smoke wafts past me in the breeze. From the corner of my eye, I spot Julia and Tyler sharing a butt as they cling together under the large plastic orange slide. Nino’s holding court and Tyler’s laughing at something Nino has said and Jon, well Jon just stands there, looking bored.

Why is he with them? My heart sinks. I thought Jon was different.

Tyler’s eyes flicker my way; immediately I pick up my pace.

“Hey!” someone yells.

I don’t answer.

“Where do you think you’re goin’, ya fat cow?” Nino hollers, as he jogs up beside me followed by Julia and Tyler.

“Home,” I say, not stopping.

Nino jumps into my path. “Where’s your girlfriend, Savullo?” He sneers and spits a snotty gob at my feet.

“Lesbo freak,” Julia chimes in and flicks a butt at my face.

It bounces off my chin with a burning sting. I glare down at her with her hawkish nose and eyes that are too close together. “Get out of my way,” I growl through gritted teeth and try to step around them, but Tyler grabs my elbow, his fingers bite into my flesh and a small groan escapes me.

“We’re not done talkin’ yet, hippo,” he snarls.

I yank free. Tears sting my eyes and the heat of anger and embarrassment reddens my face.

“Leave me alone!” I scream and push. Tyler’s tall, but skinny and I manage to knock him on his ass. But as soon as I take a step, Nino and Julia are on me.

“Leave her alone,” Jon calls. He hung back from the action and is still standing by the orange slide.

I slam a shoulder into Julia’s face and hear a crunch as my bulk meets her nose. Blood spurts and the purple blur of manicured nails flash past, as she whips a hand to her face.

She gazes up at me in surprise. “You broke my nose, you bitch!” Then she looks at Tyler with eyes that say “you better do something about this.”

My heart beats so hard, the swishing of blood in my ears is a roar. They’re swearing, yelling and threatening me, but panic has taken over as adrenaline pushes into my veins, and I make out nothing coherent.

I turn and try to run back the way I’d come. But another hand is on me, biting the flesh of my upper arm through the fabric of my jacket. Then a fist smashes into the back of my head. “You’re nothin’ but a fat dyke.”

My knees smack the gritty concrete as my legs buckle, and deep heaving sobs erupt from me. Why do they hate me?

“Where the hell did she go?” Nino asks, his voice laced with astonishment.

“Holy shit!” Julia and Tyler exclaim at the same time. “What the…?”

Slowly, I pivot and look at them. They’re turning in circles, searching for me.

Jon is with them now. “She’s gone,” he whispers in wide-eyed disbelief.

“What? How?” Nino asks.

I creep away on elastic legs.

What Reviewers Are Saying

This is a great book for teens. The voice and style are perfect for the target audience. As an adult, I enjoyed the story of an overweight girl who learns to love herself, and I was touched by how she came to grips with a totally understandable need for revenge. The story moves along at a good pace, the secondary characters are interesting and believable. The touches of humour were a lot of fun. I think teens with self esteem or body image issues would find this book comforting. Highly recommended.

~Author Sheila Dalton

Giveaways, Contests & Prizes!

In celebration of Jeanne Bannon’s new release, she will be appearing at  Pump Up Your Book’s 1st Annual Holiday Extravaganza Facebook Party on December 16.  More than 50 books, gifts and cash awards will be given away including an one paperback and one e- copy of Invisible!  Visit the official party page here!

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Invisible Tour Schedule

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Monday, December 5th
Spotlight at The Plot

Tuesday, December 6th
Character Interview at The Plot

Wednesday, December 7th
Review at Reviews From the Heart

Thursday, December 8th
Guest Post at InkyBlots

Friday, December 9th
Review at In-Interest
Review at Live to Read

Monday, December 12th
Review at WV Stitcher

Tuesday, December 13th
Interview at Pump Up Your Book

Wednesday, December 14th
Review at Review From Here

Thursday, December 15th
Review at Jasmyn’s Reviews

Friday, December 16th
Review at Mad Moose Mama

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Range War (Saugatuck Trilogy) by David Sayers

Range War (Saugatuck Trilogy) by David Sayers

Sam Stevenson had been Sheriff of Saugatuck for a number of years, and he had faced many challenges. None of them prepared him for what he would face when the railroad was coming to town. Two large ranchers both wanted to control the railroad land, and both planned to use it to destroy the other, even if that meant that Saugatuck became a casualty in the process.

While trying to keep a lid on the situation, Sam is forced to confront something from his past that he had hoped was left behind. The result of this confrontation risks the life Sam had built for himself while starting over in this town. He is also forced to accept that he may not be meant to spend the rest of his days alone, despite the tattered background of both him and his love interest.

This is a fast paced western adventure that reminds us of the old time westerns by Max Brand and similar authors. At almost 34,000 words, this is a fun way to spend a weekend with your Kindle. The first book in a trilogy about the town of Saugatuck and its lawman, and I hope you will enjoy the others.

Read an Excerpt

The late afternoon sun slowly washed across the sparse, open prairie. A small outcropping of buildings jutted up from the ground, a lonely town among the brush. Nothing extravagant distinguished this town from any other across the West, although its residents were quite proud of their simple wooden structures. The town’s entire history had been a struggle. The original residents had fought to establish the town and to protect it from outlaws and evil men. Even today, as the physical dangers to their existence waned, the simple townspeople were still fighting; although now it appeared that they were fighting for the soul of their town. To an outsider, it appeared at first glance that things were calm and peaceful, but in this town, there were always ominous rumblings beneath the surface.

Saugatuck was a typical small western town. There was nothing fancy or out of the ordinary about it or its people. The simple hardworking residents worked hard, played hard, and in between, worshipped God. The key to their strength and stamina was in the history of the town. Every phase of the development of Saugatuck and its people had been a struggle. This was the key to the small town’s backbone. It would have been easy for them to have simply given up, abandoning the town like had been the fate of so many other small settlements scattered across the West, but they refused and fought on. They were determined to build homes, and to make Saugatuck into a town for families to raise their children in, rather than allow it to simply become just another cattle town, another sinful oasis full of gambling halls, saloons, and whorehouses. That was the moral battle fought below the surface of this town nearly every day. Sometimes it wasn’t clear which side was winning, but for now, it remained a family town.

Most of the buildings were along one main street, although there were a few small structures scattered outside of the main part of town. All but a few of the buildings were of single-story design, although there were several that were two stories tall. The buildings all had common walls between them, with wide wooden sidewalks in front of them, bordering the dusty dirt-covered street. The use of a common wall between the buildings made the town much easier to defend; the only way that someone could get into town was by using the main street.

Sam sat on the steps of the sheriff’s office in an old dilapidated rocker and slowly looked up and down the main street. A small cloud of powdery dust billowed up from the ground as the sheriff spat into the street. It’s almost too quiet, he thought as he took one last drag off of his cigarette. He crushed it out in the dust below his feet, slowly pulled himself up, and shuffled back into his office. As he sat down at his desk, Sam stared at Jack Blake’s wanted poster on the wall. Waves of anger began to wash over him. Someday, my friend, Sam bitterly thought to himself. We have a debt to settle. After a few minutes of contemplation, he returned his attention to the disorganized papers spread across the worn wooden desk. A lot of history, some good and some bad, had crossed this old desk over the years.

Little Shepherd by Cheryl Malandrinos

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Join Cheryl C. Malandrinos, author of the Christmas children’s picture book, Little Shepherd (Guardian Angel Publishing, August 2010) as she virtually tours the blogosphere in November and December 2011 on her second virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About Cheryl C. Malandrinos

cherCheryl Malandrinos is a freelance writer, children’s author and editor. Her first children’s book, Little Shepherd, was released in August 2010 by Guardian Angel Publishing. She is also a member of the SCBWI.

Cheryl is a Tour Coordinator for Pump Up Your Book, a book reviewer, and blogger. She is also a former contributor for the Writer2Writer eZine. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two children. She also has a son who is married.

Visit Cheryl at her newly redesigned website http://ccmalandrinos.com/ or visit the Little Shepherd book blog at http://littleshepherdchildrensbook.blogspot.com/.

About Little Shepherd

Obed is in the hills outside Bethlehem on the night of Christ’s birth. Can he trust the miracle of Christmas to keep his flock safe while he visits the newborn King?

Read an excerpt!

“Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us,” Father said to the men.Little Shepherd

“What about the sheep?” Obed’s brow furrowed.

Father’s smile drew deep lines into a face well worn by many days in the sun. He set his gaze on the sky, then down into Obed’s curious, brown eyes. “Somehow, I think they will be safe.”

Obed’s eyes widened in amazement. “Father, surely we mustn’t leave them alone.”

“The angels must want us to see this Savior. Come now, let us not waste any more time,” his father said.

Read the reviews!

“Little Shepherd by Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a fresh rendition of the familiar story of the angels appearing to the shepherds in the field and announcing the birth of the Savior. The unique slant to this particular retelling of the scriptural story is that the reader sees the event through the eyes of a little shepherd boy, tending his first-ever flock of sheep. As a grandmother, I would be delighted to read this story to my grandchildren. As such, I recommend it to parents/grandparents/teachers everywhere who wish to bring this passage of scripture to life for impressionable young hearts to understand”.

–Kathi Macias, radio host and award-winning author of more than 30 books, including the Extreme Devotion series and Valeria’s Cross

“Heartstrings will be tugged as readers journey to the manger with a little shepherd boy. Obed’s father entrusted him with his first flock of sheep. Everything seems to be going perfect until angels fill the sky with an unusual request. Obed’s gripping tale promises to inspire and become a family favorite.”

–Dixie Phillips, award-winning author of Stubby’s Destiny, Angel Eyes, and other Christian children’s books

“The Christmas liturgy, presented from a child’s point of view – simple, innocent, open to wondrous occurrences – both highlights the majesty and wonder of Christ’s birth and makes the liturgy accessible to God’s beloved little ones. I bought four copies already for the children in my family and I can’t wait to present them. I’m sure this book will be treasured and read over and over again. This is a beautiful version of the greatest story ever told and I highly recommend it.”

-K.M. Daughters, author of Rose of the Adriatic

“The book is a fresh reinterpretation of a familiar biblical story of the angels appearing to the shepherds announcing the birth of the Saviour. Cheryl has a unique slant on the retelling of this scriptural story. The reader will see the events unfold through the eyes of a little shepherd boy, tending his first-ever flock of sheep. It is an enchanting story that will bring the important message to young readers.”

-V.S. Grenier, author of Babysitting SugarPaw

“While the title character may have more responsibilities than a child of today, tending to an entire flock of sheep, Malandrinos balances the difference in time period by showing the child-like joy experienced by the adult shepherds at seeing the Messiah. They willingly leave their sheep – even with wolves nearby – in order to heed the angelic announcement of Jesus’ birth. He wonders what could be so important that they would do such a thing. Their reaction to the newborn intrigues him, and he yearns to discover what it all means. It is a beautiful lesson for young readers to experience. The most important thing in life is not one’s job, status or material wealth. It is God.”

–Nicole Langan, Tribute Book Reviews

“This story gives us a fresh look at the miracle that happened so long ago. This is the kind of book parents should read to their children on the night before Christmas, one that should be in every family’s library to become a family tradition.”

-Marilyn Meredith, author of Lingering Spirit

Watch the trailer on YouTube!

Little Shepherd Tour Schedule

Tuesday, November 1st

Book reviewed at So Many Books..So Little Time

Wednesday, November 2nd

Book reviewed at Splashes of Joy

Thursday, November 3rd

Podcast interview at A Book and A Chat 6:30 PM Eastern (Lack of electricity may cause rescheduling)

Friday, November 4th

Book reviewed and giveaway at Day By Day in Our World

Monday, November 7th

Podcast interview at Stories from Unknown Authors 1:00 PM Eastern

Tuesday, November 8th

Book reviewed at Unionvale Homeschool

Wednesday, November 9th

Book reviewed at One Day at a Time

Thursday, November 10th

Interviewed at 4 the Love of Books

Friday, November 11th

Guest blogging at Nancy Stewart Books Blog

Monday, November 14th

Book spotlighted at The Plot

Tuesday, November 15th

Guest blogging at The Plot

Wednesday, November 16th

Guest blogging at Let’s Talk Virtual Book Tours

Thursday, November 17th

Book reviewed at Shaky Mommy

Friday, November 18th

Guest blogging at InkyBlots

Interviewed at Examiner

Monday, November 21st

Guest blogging at J Q Rose

Tuesday, November 22nd

Blogging at Little Shepherd

Wednesday, November 23rd

Book reviewed at Coffee and a Keyboard

December dates coming soon!

 

Cheryl Malandrinos’  LITTLE SHEPHERD VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER ’11 will officially begin on November 1 and end on December 15, 2011. Please contact Cheryl Malandrinos at cg20pm00(at)gmail(dot)com if you are interested in reviewing this book or hosting the author. Deadline is November 15th or until the tour is filled. Thank you for your interest!

The Misadventures of Sister Mary Olga Fortitude by Davis Aujduvd’hui

The Misadventures

Join Davis Aujduvd’hui, author of the humor/satire book, The Misadventures of Sister Mary Olga Fortitude (Outskirts Press), as he virtually tours the blogosphere October 3 – 28 2011 on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About Davis Aujourd’hui

DavisDavis Aujourd’hui is the author of the Sister Mary Olga Fortitude series of hilarious satires. The first book is entitled “The Misadventures of Sister Mary Olga Fortitude.” It was followed by “Babes in Bucksnort.”

Davis possesses a rich life experience that has enabled him to draw from it in order to create a colorful canvas upon which to paint very human lives. He is a retired social worker, having worked for Adult Protective Services in New York State for nearly twenty years. He developed the characters within his series of books in order to entertain a colleague by using the gift of humor.

As will be the case with Sister Mary Olga in his third book, he is a recovering alcoholic. He also happens to be gay as are several of the endearing and humorous characters within his novels. He can speak from his own experience. He has possessed all of the foibles of his cast of characters who are naughty, nasty, and nice.

Davis lives in Upstate New York where he is currently sharing his life with his partner of seven years. He is socially-minded and spirituality is the most important ingredient in order for him to maintain a happy and successful life.

Visit this blog for information on the series: http://bestsatireseriesofthedecade.blogspot.com

Visit this blog for information on the author: http://authordavisaujourdhui.blogspot.com

Connect with him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Davis-Aujourdhui/138584429540046.

 

About The Misadventures of Sister Mary Olga Fortitude

The Misadventures of Sister Mary FortitudeAre you ready for a class in Advanced Holiness for people from all walks of life? Then, perhaps you’re ready to take a trip to the Have A Heart convent in Bucksnort, Wisconsin. There, you’ll meet a nun you’re not likely to forget – Sister Mary Olga Fortitude.

The Misadventures of Sister Mary Olga Fortitude is a satire with a spiritual message, but there’s a lot of hanky panky going on here. Sister Mary Olga is an irreverent nun who has some unique spiritual views that differ from those of the Pope. She’s a great believer of “to each, one’s own.” She also loves her Marlboros and her bourbon. Just don’t let the Reverend Mother in on her secret. The next class in Advanced Holiness may be canceled.

Here in Bucksnort, you’ll meet a zany cast of all-too-human characters. There’s a lot of secret-keeping going on here, but Sister Mary Olga will be sure to deliver the goods in order to provide you with good and bad examples of holiness.

The Reverend Mother is a former prostitute. The convent’s chef is a gay cowboy. Priscilla Bunhead is the town busybody who opens some other closet doors. She, along with the other folks on Dinkledorf Drive, serve up examples of what not to do.

One thing’s for sure. These characters will lighten your load and help you to not take life so seriously. Get ready for non-stop laughs.

Book Excerpt:

Speaking of looking up, that brings me to the subject of Sister Samantha’s secret. Lord, have mercy! Well now! I was extremely thirsty following my most recent week of penance on my knees in my humble little cell; so, I’d made a hasty visit to Randy Cowboy who was generous enough to give me a half gallon of Jack Daniel’s.
I threw caution to the wind and I ducked into cubicle number four where I began to have a few nips. Oh, I must confess the truth. I tied one on! By the time I’d passed out, I’d managed to refresh myself with almost half of that big bottle. Oh my!
Sometime during the night, I must have slipped off the toilet and landed on the floor. I didn’t wake up until the following morning; and, I must say, I had quite a headache! I also realized that I had partially slid under cubicle number three; and, I couldn’t get up.
Well, wouldn’t you know it, the restroom door burst open and I immediately thought that the gig was up. With my luck, I thought that it might be Mother Carmen and that I’d be sent back to my cell for another week of solitary confinement.
Fortunately, God spared me that ordeal and He had sent me an angel. It was Sister Samantha. Of course, I didn’t find that out immediately. Let’s just say that we both had a big surprise in store!
Well! There I was, with my head under cubicle number three, when I heard Sister Samantha singing Amazing Grace as she entered that very cubicle! Apparently, she was so moved by the Holy Spirit that she didn’t even notice my head facing up toward her toilet.
I closed my eyes in reverent prayer just as she was lowering her panties. As she was preparing to sit upon her throne, her habit swished over my face which brought me to attention. I opened my eyes by reflex. Boy, did I get an eyeful and I do mean boy! Sister Samantha wasn’t a woman! Lord, have mercy!
Well! It was a rather awkward situation to say the least! I had learned of Sister Samantha’s incredible secret. I also needed her help. What could I do, but gently murmur, “Please help me, Sister. I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”
Let me tell you, Sister Samantha might not have been a woman, but she let out a high-pitched scream that sounded like a woman giving birth. She jumped off her pot and she whooshed her habit off my pleading face. If anyone else could have seen us at that very moment, I’m sure that both of our faces would have appeared beet red.
Well! If either of us had had a blackmailing bone in our bodies, we both would have had sufficient ammunition to use against the other. Suffice it to say, each of us took a higher path except Sister Samantha had the higher advantage at that moment.
Well, that little woman proved to be very strong. She grabbed me under my arms. Then she pulled me right under the partition of cubicle number three and out onto the restroom floor.
Even though I was feeling very shaky, in more ways than one, I managed to get myself up and onto my wobbly legs. Well, what could I say besides, “Thank you;” however, given the situation, it seemed that something else might be in order.
I felt rather like Little Red Riding Hood when she discovered that her grandmama was actually a wolf. The nice thing about my situation was that Sister Samantha wasn’t about to eat me up. I decided right then and there that I wasn’t going to give her up.
“Sister,” I said. “How did you ever pull it off?”
That’s when she told me her story. You see, Sister Samantha just happened to have been born in the wrong body. She was really every bit as much of a woman as myself with one notable exception. God sure works in mysterious ways!
Sister Samantha was the most beautiful child. She was christened “Bobby O’Reilly” and she was her mother’s only son. As it had turned out, he was her only daughter too.
Mother and child lived with Bobby’s grandmother on the family farm. He was conceived on Christmas Eve and he was born on the harvest moon of the following year. It was a fruitful harvest, in more ways than one! He was his mother’s pride and joy as well as being the favorite grandchild of his elderly grandmother. Little Samantha or, should I say, little Bobby was a perfect angel.
On his first day of school, his mother dressed him up in knickers and she sent him off to the Baptist academy in his hometown which was located in a little parish similar to our own. When he returned from school, both his mother and grandmother were in for a big surprise.
Little Bobby had discovered the academy’s Good Will clothes closet and he had decided to change his outfit. When he returned to his grandmother’s farm, he was wearing a dress, high heels, and he had braided his long locks into a perfect French braid.
Grandma O’Reilly chastened her daughter by exclaiming, “Whatever possessed you to send Bobby to school like that?”
Bobby’s dumbfounded mother simply stared at her son and said, “I didn’t!”
That was just the beginning. By the time Bobby was in high school, he had run off to the big city and he had started living as a woman. He had the most gorgeous natural female breasts and he began to receive hormone shots that made him the envy of the big city drag queens.
He named himself Samantha Monet and he decided to seek fame and fortune as a female impersonator. With his new female voice, he could hit a high C and he was soon performing in the big city clubs and making big money.

One of his favorite routines involved him dressing as a nun. It only seemed fitting since he had converted to Catholicism and he had decided that, once he’d had a taste of the world, he was going to become a nun. Sister Samantha was a smashing success as she wooed the crowds with her renditions of religious songs that soon won converts to her beloved Savior.

Sister Samantha was planning on having a sex change, but a part of her believed she was born in a man’s body to teach the world a lesson in tolerance of those who are different from others. Well! Sister Samantha had already taught me a lesson!

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