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Derek Murphy

What it’s like to live in a castle (Nanowrimo writing retreat)

This month I’m in a 12th century Austrian fortress, working on my Nanowrimo book project with a few writing friends. Right now it’s snowing outside. We have a couple goats, alpaca and rabbits in the barn, tons of space, and almost too much peace and quiet – apart from the continuous clacking of our keyboards as we increase our wordcount (I jut crossed 30K – I’m about halfway through the vampire dystopia book I’m working on).

Here’s a video tour and some pictures – I’ll upload some new stuff soon!

 

 

It’s snowing! Good day to stay in the castle and Write.

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Best YA vampires books – giveaway!

I’m in a castle in Austria working on my YA vampire novel… I’m about halfway done and hope to finish this year and get it published. So in the meantime, here’s an epic vampire giveaway of some of my favorite vampire-themed books.

Twenty vampire novels, AND an amazing vampire-hunting kit.

Click here to enter!

 

 

You can find many of the individual books on this post:

 

The best YA vampire books of all time (plus seven you’ve probably never heard of)

JK Rowling’s favorite bookstore

You may not know this about me, but my MA thesis was about esoteric symbolism in Harry Potter. So I’m thrilled to be travelling through Portugal this month, seeking out JK Rowling’s favorite writing spots for inspiration. Rowling started planning Harry Potter in Porto, and it’s easy to see the connection. The university students wear black capes, and Porto is home to the “most beautiful bookstore in the world” – Livraria Lello.

 

I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like, but I have been reading a lot. Here’s a short list of the books I’ve read and loved recently:

  • Secondborn, Amy Bartol
  • Qualify, Vera Nazarian
  • The Girl Who Dared to Think, Bella Forrest
  • A Court of Wings and Ruin, Sarah J. Mass

Each has similarities to some of the projects I’m working on, so if you enjoyed those I hope you’ll like my books too. My background is in ancient mythology (I hope to visit the ruins of Delphi this year), but I love dystopian stories of futuristic societies and revolution.Next month we’re moving into a 12th century fortress in northern Spain… and after that we’re renting an even bigger castle in Austria for Nanowrimo. I still hope to get several more books finished this year, but I’m not entirely sure which books it will be (The Scarlet Thread just got invited to Amazon’s prime reading program, so it would make sense to finish that series this year).

PS – we have at least one extra bed in the castle and I’m thinking of sponsoring a writer to join us, if you can make it to Austria in November and want to join us for Nanowrimo, hit reply to this email and let me know why you want to come.So many books giveaways!I’m getting close to finishing Orpheum, so I set up a quick giveaway for music-themed books. You can win these three and $50 in Amazon credit… click here to enter.

I’ve also been sharing a lot of book giveaways on my Facebook page, so make sure you checkout the UrbanEpics group and scroll down to see all the prizes and books you can enter to win. I also have some BIG events and giveaways planned for later this year, so make sure to follow the Facebook page to stay in the loop.

Thanks!
Derek Murphy

 

PS… we got to visit some amazing libraries and bookstores in Portugal, I’m attaching a few more pics below. If you’re interested in what a life of full-time travel and writing looks like, you can follow me on Instagram.

 

The difference between fauns and satyrs

 

Hi everyone! This is a sample from my book Orpheum, which is based on the mythology surrounding Orpheus and the Maenads. It includes some unique insights about fauns and satyrs. My interpretation is mythology-inspired and supported by the available evidence, but not universally accepted.

I’m also giving away a copy of Orpheum, along with a copy of Alexandra Bracken’s Passenger and Victoria Schwab’s This Savage Song (which also both feature violin players).

 

Music lovers giveaway
Professor Paleva made me practice until my fingers bled. I waited for her to notice slick red running down my violin strings, but she didn’t let up for another half hour. I pushed past the pain but I was having trouble hitting the right notes. Finally she sighed and nodded that we were done.

I took my hand off my instrument and stretched my fingers. She handed me a damp rag to wash them off.

I thought about what Denzi had done to my shoulder and wondered whether I could heal myself with music.

“I don’t suppose you can fix these?” I said, waving my red fingers in the air.

“Unfortunately, no,” she said. “Healing with music is… challenging. Even for me. And you need the right instrument.”

“Denzi showed me, with his flute.”

“So you know then. What he is?” she asked, pushing her glasses up higher on her nose.

“A satyr,” I nodded. “But I didn’t really understand the difference but them and fauns. Can you tell me more about the history?”

Professor Dobreva sighed and sat beside me.

“Fauns are nature deities. They play the syrinx – a wind instrument consisting of cane pipes of different lengths tied in a row or in a bundle held together by wax or cord, and generally closed at the bottom. Legend has it that the god Pan, the patron of shepherds, fell in love with the Nymph Syrinx, daughter of Ladon the river-god.”

“Fleeing his attentions, Syrinx pleaded with Zeus to save her and just when Pan captured her, Zeus turned the Nymph into reeds. Enraged, Pan smashed the reeds into pieces but on reflection he was struck with remorse and wept and kissed the broken reeds, all that remained of his beloved. As he kissed the reeds, he discovered that his breath could create sounds from them, and so he made the musical instrument that would carry the lost Nymph’s name.”

“The roman counterpart of Pan is “Faunus” – which became the name given to immortal followers of Pan. They believe in harmony and unity. They give up their personal selfish desires for a greater, universal purpose. They play music for the love, as a selfless gift to the world. They’re poets. You could say that Fauns are just the Roman translation of the Greek Satyrs, and they’re actually the same species, but there are other differences.”

“Satyrs follow Dionysus. They play the aulos, a double reeded instrument like a modern oboe. It’s long, phallic instrument that was used for martial music. The satyrs were Dionysus’s military brigade, using music as a weapon. They used music to subdue, to dominate, to conquer.”

“In myth, Marsyas the satyr was supposed to have invented the aulos, or else picked it up after Athena had thrown it away because it caused her cheeks to puff out and ruined her beauty. In any case, he challenged Apollo to a musical contest, where the winner would be able to “do whatever he wanted” to the loser—Marsyas’s expectation, typical of a satyr, was that this would be sexual in nature. But Apollo and his lyre beat Marsyas and his aulos. And since the pure lord of Delphi’s mind worked in different ways from Marsyas’s, he celebrated his victory by stringing his opponent up from a tree and flaying him alive.”

I shuddered at the image.

“I thought Apollo was the good guy?”

“It’s not that simple,” Paleva said. “Apollo represents rational thought and order, but without emotion he lacks sympathy and can be cold and brutal. Dionysus meanwhile is pure emotion, left unchecked it can also manifest as violence. The order of Orpheus was meant to keep the balance between them, unifying head and heart. Balancing the powers so that no one side can dominate the other.”

“And ultimately, both sides are weak without the other. Orpheus was at his most powerful after Eurydice died. Suffering, heartbreak. You must bleed into your strings, but not with your fingers, with your heart.”

“After what happened with Marsyas, Satyrs were the enemy of Apollo. When Denzi turned from Dionysus and became a follower of Apollo after Orpheus’ death, he turned his back on his own kind. They view him as a traitor.”

“You could say the difference between satyrs and fauns could is the difference in platonic and erotic love: one love prioritizes personal satisfaction over the beloved object. The other gives up selfish desire for the happiness of the other. You could also say that fauns are elevated satyrs, who have overcome their baser natures and learned wisdom and philosophy. They experience guilt and shame, regret and remorse. They prioritize the happiness of their beloved rather than simply the gratification of their own sexual desire. But you can also see fauns as simply childish innocents, and the satyrs are more adult, jaded and cynical.”

“So only fauns can heal, with their pipes? Because of the harmonious notes?” I asked, trying to understand.

“Not necessarily. Both use personal force and energy to create music from their wind instruments. Orpheus plays the lyre, a string instrument where music is made from vibration. It was so pure and beautiful, he was able to suspend the laws of physics and nature. It gave him total mastery of the universe. But it’s not really about the instrument. It’s about the player.”

I wondered then where Denzi’s abilities came from. Who had broken his heart?

Prescient, a young adult dystopian thriller – read it FREE

A year ago I started working on my first novel, a time-travel dystopian thriller, with elements of Greek mythology based on the Oracle of Delphi. I published part one, and am now – a year later – putting the final touches on the last scene. The time travel element made plotting more challenging, but it’s finally ready and I’m updating the book with the second half of the story. To celebrate, I redesigned the cover to make it more obviously action/adventure.

Even though it’s young adult, and has some basic tropes of the genre (bullies, boyfriends, high school dances) there’s also a fair bit of kickass action, violence and thrills that will keep most adult readers engaged in the story.

YA dystopia

 

It’s on sale this week for $0.99, and you can buy it now if you’d like to support me.

GET PRESCIENT NOW

 

However, if you bought part one earlier, it’s possible you won’t be able to re-purchase or download the full, completed novel and the final-final scenes… if that’s the case just email me and I’ll send you a link where you can download the whole book for free.

I have big plans for the rest of this series, but I’ll only keep working on it if my readers enjoy the characters and narrative – so make sure you like comments, and share and review the book so I know you want to read what happens next!

I’m going to paste the last few scenes here, below, but omit the FINAL scene.

I strongly recommend not reading this until you’ve read the full book – it’s a long story and you’ll ruin the experience if you skip to the last couple chapters. It won’t make sense unless you’ve read everything that happens before this.

 

EXCERPT (final chapter)

I cried at Eric’s funeral. Not polite sniffling either. Shoulder-racking sobs that burst out of me. I was so loud it was embarrassing. Even worse, the curious eyes felt like hot brands, scorching my skin with accusations. After the tears dried up, the guilt settled deep into my bones. I crossed my arms and wrapped the black shawl around my shoulders. I’d found it in my mother’s closet. Somehow I thought wrapping myself up in it would protect me. I wished it was raining, like it always was in the movies, so I could hide under a black umbrella. But the sky was almost cheerfully blue, like it was mocking our grief.

The preacher’s words hummed in my mind but I couldn’t pull meaning from the sounds—my own thoughts were too loud. This is what it felt like to be a murderer. This is what it feels like to save the world. If no Kyle Peters, there will be no mods. But I never imagined it would happen this way, and I couldn’t escape the feeling that I’d missed something. If I killed Kyle Peters earlier, would Eric still be alive?

I looked up and locked eyes with Eric’s mother, Mrs. Patton. She was glaring at me with a look that felt like a punch in the gut. It was like she knew – but that was impossible. After what happened with Mr. Peters, I snuck out of Zamonta. I hated leaving Eric’s body behind, but I didn’t know what else to do. I was trespassing, and how could I ever explain what happened to Mr. Peters? I had no idea how I’d even done that; that I was even capable of something like that. It wasn’t until I was home, scrubbing the blood off my hands, that I realized I’d been seen—that security guard, Roger, knew I’d been there. Had he seen Eric as well? Even if he hadn’t, the complex must be riddled with security cameras.

For days, I watched the street through the living room windows, waiting for the sirens. They’d arrest me. They’d lock me up forever, or run tests on me like a lab rat until they figured out all of my secrets. And then, it was on the news. A mentally instable high school student killed Kyle Peters, and was shot and killed in the process. Zamonta issued a press release calling it a terrible tragedy. Without naming Tamara directly, they implied that Eric had been motivated by unfounded apocalyptic rumors he’d seen on TV. The next day, the cameras were back, but this time they swarmed our house like red ants around a piece of meat, shouting questions through the walls.

I put my headphones on and tried to tune them out with music. My brain felt frozen, sluggish. I had trouble staying focused on one thing at a time. I had the feeling I was stuck in a cycle, like a hamster in a wheel, running as fast as it could but still stuck in a cage.

Then it died down. I went to school a few times, but I don’t remember anything. Chrys peppered me with questions but I brushed her off. I didn’t see Brett, which wasn’t a big surprise. His father had just died, after all. I was a stone, a piece of wood, until I saw Eric’s body at the funeral, and then I fell apart completely. I remembered playing legos in his backyard, and seeing who could spit watermelon seeds the farthest. Sometimes my mom would walk us to the park so we could climb the jungle gym. Now they were both dead.

The news cycle attacked Tamara for inciting violence, replaying her TV appearance along with a grim photo of Eric, frowning and wearing a dark hoodie. “Civilization will be decimated. Billions of people will die. The man behind it is Kyle Peters, and he must be stopped, at all costs. Stop Kyle Peters, save the world.”

Everyone believed that Eric got his hands on some powerful acid, snuck into Zamonta on his own, and killed Peters in the misguided belief that he was protecting humanity. Tamara’s reputation, meanwhile, was shattered. She was spending less time at home, sorting through her own problems. At least we still had the lottery money. We hadn’t heard anything about a lawsuit since Kyle’s death. When things died down, Tamara could try and appease her conscience with more donations. I didn’t care what she did with it. It didn’t matter now.

The day of winter formal arrived with a halo of uncertainty. I’d left my gray dress hanging out all week—a reminder of what could have been. Sometimes I ran my fingers over the smooth fabric, imagining a gorgeous boy with a heart-melting smile, holding me in his arms as we danced around a finely decorated room with our closest friends. It would be nice to feel beautiful. Not for Brett or anyone else, but for me. Someone to be admired, even loved. But that was a fairy tale. I’d have to get used to being ordinary again.

I sighed and tucked the dress into my closet. Even if Brett didn’t blame me directly, he knew the truth about Tamara’s prophecies. He knew that I was the villain behind his father’s death, even if he didn’t know I killed him personally. That vision I had of us ending up together—that was before. In the alternate future, the one with mods and the destruction of the human race. It was gone now. I’d given up my own happiness and saved everybody. I hadn’t done it on purpose, but it had to count for something.

I’d just nuked a TV dinner when I heard the honking. It started down the street but sounded like it was getting closer. A lot closer. I went to the window just in time to see Brett’s jeep pull up to the curb. Cody was driving, and Chrys beamed at me from the backseat, wearing the princess blue dress she’d bought. Cody looked sharp in a suit and tie. But I barely registered the two of them, next to Brett. He was standing up on the passenger seat like it was a chariot, in a black tux, holding a dozen roses. Before the wheels had even stopped rolling, he jumped off and bowed with a flourish. I opened the door and was halfway across the yard when I realized I was still wearing sweats.

“What’s all this?” I asked, suddenly self-conscious. I crossed my arms.

“A grand romantic gesture,” Brett said, rubbing the back of his neck. “At least I hope it is.”

“I wasn’t expecting you.”

“Clearly,” Brett grinned, nodding towards my sweats.

“I mean, I didn’t think you’d still want to go. With me.”

Brett sighed and took a few steps closer.

“I’m sorry,” he said. He offered me the roses but I didn’t reach for them.

“I’ll admit, I was angry at first. Angry at everything. Eric, Tamara, but you most of all. I always felt like you were asking me to choose, between you and my dad. I felt torn. I’ve been miserable since my dad died, but I realized something funny this morning, I didn’t just miss my dad. I missed you. And when I thought about you and me, together, at the dance—I felt better. Hopeful, almost happy. I don’t have all the answers, but I can’t help the way I feel about you. Plus, what kind of guy would I be if I asked a girl to a dance and then stood her up? There’s no excuse for that kind of behavior.”

“You couldn’t have said all that in a text?” I asked, the tiniest of smirks playing on my lips.

Brett read the humor in my eyes and leaned forward even more, whispering in my ear.

“Some things are better said in person.”

He took my hand and this time I accepted the bouquet of roses from him, lifting them to my lips to hide the smile I was afraid would tear me apart.

“So are we doing this or what?” Cody yelled from the jeep.

Chrys jumped out of the back seat and ran towards us. Her hug was so fierce we almost fell over together. Then she grabbed my arm and tugged me inside.

“Back in ten minutes gentlemen,” she shouted over her shoulder.

“Ten minutes?” I repeated under my breath. “How are you going to pull off that miracle?”

Chrys grinned and shoved me inside. I changed into the dress and let Chrys guide me into the bathroom so she could fix my hair and makeup. I hadn’t talked to her for days, and now she was pretending everything was fine. The silence felt so heavy, like a balloon that was filling up all the space and forcing us apart.

“Chrys,” I started.

“Not now,” she said. The bobby pins she was holding between her lips danced when she spoke. “We’ll have plenty of time to catch up after the dance. Tonight let’s just be the fabulous sophomore girls who’ve been invited to the dance by the hot seniors. Deal?”

“Deal,” I smiled back, linking my pinky finger in hers. I sat still while she fluttered around me with brushes and pencils.

“Perfect!” Chrys exclaimed, putting down the mascara and examining her canvas. “You’re ready.”

She spun me around to face the mirror and my eyes widened. The glass revealed an almost unrecognizable version of me. The strapless gray dress hugged my figure, brushing the floor slightly. It sparkled in the light like silver. My lips were dark red and stood out against my light hair. Chrys smiled and put her hands on my shoulders.

“Who knew you could look this good,” she said, admiring her work.

I turned at an angle and blinked at my reflection. “I look…”

Chrys rolled her eyes. “Yeah, yeah,” she said, waving away my words. “You look great. Hurry up and put on your shoes.”

Chrys fastened the straps of my heels and ran downstairs. She said she wanted me to descend the staircase like “in those cheesy teen movies.” I laughed, but she was serious. I walked as elegantly as possible down the staircase, trying not to fall. My dad beamed up at me with a proud expression, and pulled me into a hug when I reached the bottom.

“You look beautiful, Sweetheart.”

Tears welled up in my eyes, but I took a deep breath to hold them in. I had to stop getting emotional about everything. Chrys pulled us apart and slapped dad on the arm.

“You’re going to make her ruin her makeup.”

I was about to thank her when I heard Brett’s voice call from the front door.

“Are you two ready yet—” his voice cut out when he saw me, like someone knocked the wind out of him. His eyes traveled down my body and back up to my face, as if he were seeing me for the first time. My cheeks reddened under his gaze. I fidgeted with my dress and rubbed my arm, feeling exposed for some reason.

Brett walked up to me and smiled. “You look…” He shook his head, struggling to find words.

“Thanks,” I said, smiling back at him. “You don’t look too bad yourself.”

That was a lie. He looked incredible. His hair was slicked back and his fitted suit flattered his form. Our moment was interrupted when Cody started honking the horn. We moved towards the jeep and piled in. Brett and I sat in the back, our hands painfully close together. He took my hand and squeezed it when we arrived at school, then got out to open the door for me.

As we walked together through the entrance, I almost couldn’t believe that this was real. Maybe fairy tales could come true after all. Brett held out his arm for me to take, but I was distracted by Crys. “You look insanely beautiful!” I said.

“Finally noticed, did you?” She twirled and bowed with a flourish, then she laughed and tossed her hair. “By the way, who are you and what have you done with my best friend?”

I rolled my eyes. “Stop, you’re embarrassing me.”

“I’m sorry, but you look freaking amazing. If I were a guy, I’d take you home with me tonight.”

We both burst out laughing. Cody and Brett stood a few feet away from us, shaking their heads. I noticed the stares once we’d made it outside. Narrowed eyes followed us around the room. Some people were trying to be discreet. Others not so much. I was the girl whose sister made a guy kill Brett’s father. We didn’t belong together, and everybody knew it. I hesitated in the doorway, but Brett grabbed my hand, giving it a gentle squeeze before pulling me inside.

The hall was decorated in silver and blue. Snowflakes lined the walls and lights shaped like moons orbited the floor. There was a fake snow machine in one corner, spitting out flakes of white confetti in front of a dark blue backdrop. A professional photographer was taking pictures of couples. My eyes lit up when I saw it. Crys noticed and clapped her hands.

“We need pictures!” she shouted, pulling Cody along with her. She motioned for Brett and me to follow and the four of us stood side by side for the photo. Cody kissed Chrys on the cheek right before the photographer snapped the photo. He looked at the camera, slightly unimpressed, and pointed towards me and Brett.

“You two,” he said. “Get a little closer.”

Brett put his arm around my waist and held me close. My skin burned with the touch. I focused on breathing steadily as we smiled for the picture. The camera flashed twice and the photographer held a thumb up. Then Crys grabbed my arm without a warning and dragged me to the punchbowl.

She poured two cups and sniffed the punch.

“Lame,” she said, with a pout. I raised an eyebrow and she pointed at the cup.

“No alcohol,” she sighed.

“Don’t worry,” Cody said behind us. “I’ve got rations.”

He pulled a silver flask out of his jacket pocket and poured a foul-smelling, clear liquid into her cup. He offered me some, but I shook my head. I already felt like I was swimming, with the cool air and soft fabric against my skin. Everything was perfect, just the way it was. Chrys closed her eyes and swayed to a pop song that was playing. She danced slowly, while Cody circled her in jerky movements. Crys opened her eyes and shimmied toward me. I laughed and darted away from her. Just as she bumped me with her hip, the song changed abruptly. A slow melody replaced the fast-paced rhythm. Cody swept Crys away to the middle of the dance floor where they clung to each other like magnets.

“Do you want to dance?” Brett asked.

I nodded a bit too enthusiastically and he took my hand, sending a jolt of electricity through my body. On the dance floor, he put his arms around me and I linked my fingers around his neck. We moved to the music, but I was too hyperaware of our surroundings to relax. I looked over his shoulder and caught Courtney staring at us viciously. Brett held my chin and brought my eyes back to his.

“Ignore them,” he whispered. “We’re the only ones here tonight.”

His green eyes sparkled like emeralds in the lights. They were usually such a mystery, but tonight there was no mistaking the fiery look of desire in them. He looked directly at me, like he didn’t care who saw us together. I was so busy admiring him I didn’t notice the small box in his hand until he opened it and held it up to the light. Inside was a silver bracelet with a heart pendant.

“I’ve been holding onto this for a few days,” he said. “I was waiting for the right time to give it to you.”

I stared at the bracelet. “It’s beautiful,” I said. “But I can’t accept that.”

He smiled and took my hand. “Yes, you can,” he said. “It’s my way of showing my appreciation for you.” He looked down slightly. “And my way of apologizing.”

Guilt twisted in my stomach. If he knew what really happened to his father, he wouldn’t be looking at me like this. And he certainly wouldn’t be apologizing to me. I had to tell him the truth, or I’d be lying to him forever. But could I really tell him here, in front of all of these people?

He held the bracelet up questioningly, looking at me through his lashes. His shy smile sent me over the edge. I finally nodded my approval and he put the bracelet on my wrist.

“Thank you,” I said quietly.

His hand lingered on my wrist. He looked at me so intensely, I nearly forgot how to breathe.

My heart skipped a beat as I matched his gaze. He leaned in, eyes still locked with mine, and before I could prepare my brain for what was about to happen, his lips touched mine. He kissed me in a way I had never been kissed before. His lips were soft pillows caressing mine. I wanted to slow this down and make it last forever. I wondered if I actually could.

As our lips familiarized themselves with each other, a strange sensation washed over me. A soft, almost unnoticeable pink glow appeared at the corners of my vision. I started to wonder if it was because of the kiss, but almost immediately after it appeared, an image cut through my mind, sharp like glass. I tried to block it out—to focus on Brett’s lips—but when Jake’s face flashed in front of me, I broke away from Brett and gasped.

Jake. At Zamonta. Surrounded by mods and mercs. I squeezed my eyes shut, then cried out when I heard gunfire. But that was impossible. That future didn’t exist anymore. It couldn’t.

 

***

 

My mind scrambled to make sense of the images I’d seen. The vision seemed different this time. Fragmented, like I was everywhere at once, looking down from different angles. I thought back to the quote I’d read in Mr. Peters’ office. I count the grains of sand on the beach and measure the sea. Did that mean I could see more than what was right in front of me? If it was the same future as before, Jake must have tried to break into Zamonta on his own. And from what I saw, there was no way he’d make it out alive. I jumped when Brett grabbed my shoulder, staring at me with wide eyes.

“What is it, what’s wrong?” he asked. His face was so serious, he reminded me of his father, just before I’d melted his face off. And now I was at a dance with him, letting him kiss me. What kind of monster did that make me? I pushed away from him and ran towards the exit, gasping for breath. I darted between the dancing couples, careening around the floor like I was stuck in a pinball machine. Finally I made it to the door. I ran towards the steps, but didn’t see the foot that kicked out from the shadows. My new dress ripped up to my knees as I tumbled down the steps. I landed hard in the frosted soil, and lay there, stunned. I rolled my head and caught a glimpse of Courtney’s smirk, just before she vanished back inside. I crawled a few steps forward, pulling myself forward with my fingers, then stumbled onto my feet. Brett and Cody caught my arms and led me to the side of the building, near the bike racks. Brett wrapped me in his coat and rubbed my shoulders for warmth. That’s when I realized Chrys was talking.

“Alicia, are you okay? How many fingers am I holding up?”

“One,” I said, narrowing my eyes at her middle finger.

She breathed a sigh of relief and hugged me.

“What the hell happened, you didn’t even drink anything, did you?”

“You saw something, right?” Brett asked, frowning. “Something from the future.”

I felt the stickiness of mascara on my cheek and bit my lip to stop the tears. I don’t know when I’d started crying.

“It can’t be real,” I said. “It was the same as before. Mods, Zamonta, all of it.”

“But that doesn’t make any sense,” Chrys said. “Eric killed Mr. Peters. You said he was behind it all.”

“I don’t know. I can’t explain it. Somehow, it happens anyway. Maybe someone else took over the project. Maybe it’s too late.”

Brett squeezed his fists together. I couldn’t imagine how he was feeling—did that mean his father died for nothing? Cody looked nervous, like he didn’t know whether to comfort me or Brett.

“There’s only one way to know for sure,” Brett said.

“I have to go back,” I whispered, locking eyes with him.

“What, right now?” Chrys cut in. “Absolutely not. You just fell down a flight of stairs, and you’re not exactly dressed for the occasion.”

“It can’t wait,” I said firmly. “Defiance was attacking Zamonta, probably to rescue the missing girls. Maybe to blow it up. But they were losing, badly. If I don’t help them, they’ll die.”

“I’ve got some phylia in my jeep,” Brett said. “I’ve been keeping it nearby, just in case.”

“You need to go home first and get changed,” Chrys said. “Maybe find some weapons or something? You can’t just show up in a formal dress and ask them nicely.”

“Jump from my house,” a voice said nearby. I turned to see Tracy. He was only half formal, wearing jeans and sneakers with a white shirt and bowtie. He must have seen the commotion and followed us outside. “You’ll need clothes, weapons, whatever. Say the word and I’ll get it for you. I can get it later, but it should be there when you show up. Right?”

“Right,” I smiled gratefully.

The others helped me towards Brett’s car and I climbed into the backseat. Tracy’s house was only five minutes away. On the drive over I gave him a quick shopping list. Brett parked in the driveway, and I made sure it was inside the boundaries of Tracy’s future house. Then Brett passed me Cody’s pipe with a tiny bit of phylia in it.

“Find out what’s going on. Find out who is behind it, if you can. But don’t do anything risky. Remember, nothing in the future is as important as you coming back safely.”

I nodded and took the pipe, then grabbed the lighter from Cody.

“This is so weird,” Tracy whispered.

Cody nodded. “You learn to just go with it.”

With two quick inhales, my body sank into the backseat upholstery. The familiar pink haze wrapped me up like a cocoon. For a moment, I relaxed into the euphoric sensation and dared to think that maybe everything would be fine.

“Come back safely,” Brett said, squeezing my hand.

“I promise,” I said. Then he was gone—his face blinked out of my vision like a candle being snuffed. I watched as Tracy’s house was torn down and cleared away by bulldozers. In its place, the much larger, modern architecture of Tracy’s gleaming glass cube grew like a plant, then reflected thousands of sunrises. Seconds later, the pink haze cleared and I was alone in the dark. I raced up the stairs and pounded on Tracy’s door, shouting his name until he opened. His eyes widened at my silvery dress, but I pushed past him.

“You got the supplies?” I asked. He gave me a deer-in-headlights look for a moment, but then snapped into action and ran upstairs. He came back holding a bundle of dark clothes and a pair of black boots.

“Sorry,” he said, handing them to me. “I haven’t seen you in that dress since high school. Twenty years ago. You can change in the bathroom.”

The clothes fit so perfectly, I wondered if I’d tried them on myself. The form-fitting, dark material was easy to move in. I checked myself in the mirror and froze when I saw my reflection. The smudged lines of mascara beneath my eyes, the red lipstick. I scrubbed off the makeup with a damp rag, then I joined Tracy in the garage. He pulled out his rack of weapons and handed me a briefcase. I put it out the counter and clicked it open. Inside were a pair of pistols, with short tubes around the barrel of each gun.

“Rapid fire pistols with custom silencers,” Tracy said, strapping dual holsters around my waist and fastening the belt. “Each mag holds thirty bullets. Ultra-light, low-recoil.” He showed me how to change the mags from the backups on my belt. I held the guns loosely in my palms, getting used to the weight.

“Sixty bullets is a lot of ammo,” Tracy said. “If you get in a tight spot, just keep firing until you find a place to hide, then reload. Got it?”

I gulped, but nodded my head with determination. Jake needed me. I couldn’t wimp out now.

“Don’t worry,” Tracy said. “I’ve seen you practicing with these, you’re a natural. Just trust your instincts. Oh, one last thing.”

He pulled out a pair of goggles with green lenses. He tapped a button and there was a small whirring noise.

“Night vision,” he said. “It’ll give you an advantage, against the mods at least.”

“What about the fence?” I asked.

“Leave that to me.”

 

 

Like it? Read the rest – including the final last scene.

LIKE TIME TRAVEL ROMANCE? GET IT NOW

 

I’m renting a castle to write my next book

Last year I rented a castle for Nanowrimo.

It was actually a chateau in France, but still… pretty amazing. We drank port and explored medieval cities and basked in the inspiration that emits from story-rich historical buildings. We wrote a lot, and even had some fun.

So this year I’m going to do it again.

I’m a bit torn between these two castles.

 

One’s in Spain, one is in Austria… I’ll probably rent them both sometime, but will probably choose Spain for this November.

Why castles?

It sounds incredible, almost luxuriant – but no, I’m not making millions with my fiction. Castles are usually out in the middle of nowhere and hard to maintain, and they don’t attract their own tourism. So there are actually a bunch of them on AirBNB and they’re very reasonable.

Right now I’m trying to find an apartment in Lisbon, I can’t find anything good for under $3000. These two castles cost twice that (about $7,000) but they have space for more people. Split 5 ways and living in a castle for a month usually costs less than living in a major city.

What will I be working on?

I’m trying to finish Orpheum this August and possibly finish Selfie and/or Taste in September. After that, in the castle, I *hope* to finish book three of Scarlet Thread, and book two of Shearwater. Since I’m running the retreat, I may actually not get as much writing done as I’d like. But I’ll be happy if I can finish three or four new books in the next six months (that’s actually a LOT!).

Why Nanowrimo?

National novel writing month is a time when writers come together and write together – the social goal of reaching 50K is inspiring and motivating, and I try to participate. I even wrote a Defense of Nanowrimo and got a tattoo about it.

I love writing, but the struggle of motivating yourself to sit down and do the work is a constant challenge; doing events and activities with other writers and committing to a Grand Gesture can really boost productivity.

For more details about the castle (and an opportunity to join) check out my main site, www.creativindie.com.

 

The best books for teens – YA releases for summer 2017

If you’ve been following me, you’ll know I’ve been giving away three books a week all summer! I’m setting up the last giveaway of young adult books for the summer – so sign up to win 6 new scifi and fantasy releases.

>>Click here to enter the giveaway<<

 

Make sure you scroll down to see ALL the new releases I’m excited about!

 

DIVIDING EDEN (DIVIDING EDEN #1) BY JOELLE CHARBONNEAU

Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure. But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option—to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom. As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family. With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?

Release date: June 6th, 2017

BARREN BY J. THORN

When a sudden storm slams Katy’s boat into the shore, she’s forced to enter the lawless wasteland she’d avoided since the world ended. The horror she discovers amongst the ruins is far worse than she could have imagined. The masked warriors of the Venganza clan chase Katy through the post-apocalyptic landscape, forcing her to decide between her past or the survivors’ future — a decision that could determine the fate of the human race.
Release Date: June 6th, 2017

THE MARKED GIRL BY LINDSEY KLINGELE

When Cedric, crowned prince of Caelum, and his fellow royal friends (including his betrothed, Kat) find themselves stranded in modern-day LA via a magical portal and an evil traitor named Malquin, all they want to do is get home to Caelum—soon. Then they meet Liv, a filmmaker foster girl who just wants to get out of the system and on with her life. As she and Cedric bond, they’ll discover that she’s more connected to his world than they ever could’ve imagined…and that finding home is no easy task.
Release date: June 7th, 2016

ROAR (ROAR #1) BY CORA CARMACK

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. She’s the sole heir of Pavan, and has been groomed since childhood to be the perfect queen. Aurora is intelligent, brave, and honorable – but she has yet to show any trace of magic she’ll need to protect her people. To keep her secret, her mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. It seems to be the perfect solution to all her problems – her spot as the next queen is guaranteed, and he will be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in storm magic, and the people who are selling it are storm hunters and not Stormlings. Now Aurora realizes that there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage. She just has to be brave enough to steal it.
Release date: June 13th, 2017

THE NEXT TOGETHER BY LAUREN JAMES

Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again, century after century. Each time they are total strangers thrust together under unusual circumstances. Each time their presence changes history for the better. And each time they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated. Why does fate keep bringing them together to save the world, and what must they achieve before they can finally be left to love in peace? Maybe the next together will be different. . . .
Release date: June 13th, 2017

OUR DARK DUET (MONSTERS OF VERITY #2) BY VICTORIA SCHWAB

Kate Harker is a girl who isn’t afraid of the dark. She’s a girl who hunts monsters. And she’s good at it. August Flynn is a monster who can never be human. No matter how much he once yearned for it. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost. Nearly six months after Kate and August were first thrown together, the war between the monsters and the humans is a terrifying reality. In Verity, August has become the leader he never wished to be, and in Prosperity, Kate has become the ruthless hunter she knew she could be. When a new monster emerges from the shadows—one who feeds on chaos and brings out its victim’s inner demons—it lures Kate home, where she finds more than she bargained for. She’ll face a monster she thought she killed, a boy she thought she knew, and a demon all her own.

 

Release date: June 13th, 2017

THE FALL OF SHANNARA BY TERRY BROOKS

Across the Four Lands, peace has reigned for generations. But now, in the far north, an unknown enemy is massing. More troubling than the carnage is the strange and wondrous power wielded by the attackers—a breed of magic unfamiliar even to the Druid order. Fearing the worst, the High Druid dispatches a diplomatic party under the protection of the order’s sworn guardian, Dar Leah, to confront the mysterious, encroaching force and discover its purpose. But another crucial journey is being undertaken. Exiled onetime High Druid Drisker Arc has been living in quiet seclusion, far from the politics and power struggles of his former life, until two brutal attacks by would-be assassins force him to seek out an infamous murder-for-hire guild—and find the hidden enemy who has marked him for death. At his side is Tarsha Kaynin, a young woman gifted with the wishsong and eager to be schooled in its formidable power by a master. She, too, is pursuing a mission: to locate her wayward brother, whose own magic has driven him to deadly madness and kindled his rage for vengeance . . . against his sister.
Release date: June 13th, 2017

ABSOLUTION BY GEORGE S. MAHAFFREY JR. AND JUSTIN SLOAN

Absolution: A system of law in which young men and women, “Runners,” are paid bounties, or blood money, to become suspects in crimes committed by the wealthy. The way they are proven innocent? Evade, escape, and survive their hunters. At nineteen, Marisol never thought she would be a tracker of humans. In this post-apocalyptic world where justice is determined by a system of Absolution, Marisol steps up to do her duty. She hates everything that Absolution stands for, but there’s nothing she can do about it. Nothing, that is, until one of her Runners turns out to be the key to uncovering a vast conspiracy that threatens to topple the dictator of New Chicago and change their lives forever.
Release date: June 24th, 2017

 FATES AND FURIES BY RAYE WAGNER

Hope escaped the Underworld with her life, but her memories are as blank as the Book of the Fates she brought back. Still determined to break the curse, she and Xan take an offering to the Olympian temple to solicit the goddess Artemis for aid. But the petition has disastrous results, and now the gods are hunting her. Athan sacrificed everything for Hope, but she’s leaving him behind to travel with Xan to Mount Olympus. But the closer they get, the more Athan’s mortality becomes a liability. Forced to seek refuge in mists and darkness, Athan tangles with deities that weave the very threads of fate. But these goddesses also wield the immortal blades that lay ruin to destinies. With everyone she loves damaged or destroyed by the blood of Olympus, Hope must face the power of the past to change the fate of her future.
Release date: June 27th, 2017

NOW I RISE (THE CONQUERORS SAGA #2) BY KIERSTEN WHITE

Lada Dracul has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself. After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her. What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him? As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won . . . and souls will be lost.
Release date: June 27th, 2017

MIDNIGHT JEWEL (THE GLITTERING COURT #1) BY RICHELLE MEAD

Mira is not like the other Glittering Court girls. She is a war refugee, cast out of her home country and thrust into another, where she has learned to fight against the many injustices around her. For some, the Glittering Court offers a chance at a life they’ve only ever dreamed of, one of luxury, glamour, and leisure. But for Mira, it’s simply a means to an end. In the new world, she plans to earn off her marriage contract price, and finally be free.  Mira pitches herself as an asset to one of the passengers on board the ship: the sardonic and aloof Grant Elliot, whom she’s discovered is a spy for the prestigious McGraw Agency—and her ticket to buying her freedom. His cover blown, Grant has little choice but to take her on. Mira applies herself by day, learning the etiquette and customs that will help to earn her anonymity. By night, she dons a mask and slips into the city, fighting injustice and corruption on her own terms—and impressing Grant with her extraordinary abilities and insights into a brewing rebellion. But the rebellion isn’t all they’re fighting… Neither of them can ignore the attraction burning between them—an attraction so powerful, it threatens to unravel everything Mira’s worked so hard for. With freedom finally within her grasp, can Mira risk it all for love?
Release date: June 27th, 2017

THE SURGE BY MELISSA WEST

Sixteen-year-old alien Val Stone was born for one mission—to kill teenage Randolf “Rolf” Cartier before he fulfills an age-old prophecy, becomes the future American president, and murderers thousands of her kind. Val is ready to sacrifice herself for the good of her people. She knows every aspect of Rolf’s life and is prepared to strike. But what she doesn’t know is that Rolf’s been watching her, too. Waiting for her. Ready to defeat her and save himself. Only when the day arrives, doubt overcomes purpose, and they discover the prophecy was all a hoax. Oh, and they can’t seem to stop thinking about each other. Now they’re running against the clock, desperate to reveal who created the fake prophecy before tensions erupt and there’s nothing left but the memory of a species called human.

Release date: July 3rd, 2017

DRAGONS OF NOVA BY ELISE KOVA

Cvareh returns home to his sky world of Nova with the genius crafter Arianna as his temperamental guest. The mercurial inventor possesses all the Xin family needs to turn the tides of a centuries-old power struggle, but the secrets she harbors must be earned with trust — hard to come by for Ari, especially when it comes to Dragons. On Nova, Ari finds herself closer to exacting vengeance against the traitor who killed everything — and everyone – she once loved. But before Ari can complete her campaign of revenge, the Crimson Court exposes her shadowed past and reveals something even more dangerous sparking between her and Cvareh. While Nova is embroiled in blood sport and political games, the rebels on Loom prepare for an all-out assault on their Dragon oppressors. Florence unexpectedly finds herself at the forefront of change, as her unique blend of skills — and quick-shooting accuracy — makes her a force to be reckoned with. For the future of her world, she vows vengeance against the Dragons.
Release date: July 11th, 2017

ASH AND QUILL BY RACHEL CAINE

Hoarding all the knowledge of the world, the Great Library jealously guards its secrets. But now a group of rebels poses a dangerous threat to its tyranny…. Jess Brightwell and his band of exiles have fled London, only to find themselves imprisoned in Philadelphia, a city led by those who would rather burn books than submit. But Jess and his friends have a bargaining chip: the knowledge to build a machine that will break the Library’s rule. Their time is running out. To survive, they’ll have to choose to live or die as one, to take the fight to their enemies—and to save the very soul of the Great Library….
Release date: July 11th, 2017

IN OTHER LANDS BY SARAH REES BRENNAN

Sometimes it’s not the kid you expect who falls through to magicland, sometimes it’s . . . Elliott. He’s grumpy, nerdy, and appalled by both the dearth of technology and the levels of fitness involved in swinging swords around. He’s a little enchanted by the elves and mermaids. Despite his aversion to war, work, and most people (human or otherwise) he finds that two unlikely ideas, friendship and world peace, may actually be possible.
Release date: July 17th, 2017

THE LAST MAGICIAN BY LISA MAXWELL

In modern day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives. Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future. But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.
Release date: July 18th, 2017

THE FIFTH DOLL BY CHARLIE N. HOLMBERG

Matrona lives in an isolated village, where her life is centered on pleasing her parents. She’s diligent in her chores and has agreed to marry a man of their choosing. But a visit to Slava, the local tradesman, threatens to upend her entire life. Entering his empty house, Matrona discovers a strange collection of painted nesting dolls—one for every villager. Fascinated, she can’t resist the urge to open the doll with her father’s face. But when her father begins acting strangely, she realizes Slava’s dolls are much more than they seem. When he learns what she’s done, Slava seizes the opportunity to give Matrona stewardship over the dolls—whether she wants it or not. Forced to open one of her own dolls every three days, she falls deeper into the grim power of Slava’s creations. But nothing can prepare her for the profound secret hiding inside the fifth doll.

Release date: July 25th, 2017

DAUGHTER OF THE BURNING CITY BY AMANDA FOODY

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show. But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered. Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca. Their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all her loved ones disappear.

Release date: August 1st, 2017

SPARKS OF LIGHT BY JANET B. TAYLOR

For the first time in her life, Hope Walton has friends . . . and a (maybe) boyfriend. She’s a Viator, a member of a long line of time-traveling ancestors. When the Viators learn of a plan to steal a dangerous device from the inventor Nikola Tesla, only a race into the past can save the natural timeline from utter destruction. Navigating the glitterati of The Gilded Age in 1895 New York City, Hope and her crew will discover that high society can be as deadly as it is beautiful.
Release date: August 1st, 2017

COPPER CHAIN BY JAMES MAXWELL

Dion, now king of Xanthos, is finally in command of the naval fleet he’s always dreamed of. But his hopes for peace are jeopardized when King Palemon, in dire need of ships to rescue his starving people from the frozen wastelands of the north, invades the Salesian city of Malakai. Too weak to confront Dion directly, Palemon turns to magic: mysterious copper chains from the lost civilization of Aleuthea, which have the potential to control dragons…and Dion. With the people he loves in danger, and his own freedom at risk, Dion’s only hope is Chloe and the power she struggles to tame.

Release date: August 3rd, 2017

DOMINION RISING

With 23 all-original Science Fiction and Epic Fantasy novels, Dominion Rising is the boxed set of the year! The collection features nearly 8,000 pages and over a million words in total – bringing you sharp, suspenseful, and thought-provoking novels of dark forces and light, of magic and adventure, of enchanted swords and galactic empires.
Release date: August 8th, 2017

REUNITED BY COLLEEN HOUCK

After surviving her otherworldly adventure, Lily wakes up on her nana’s farm having forgotten everything. Her sun prince, her travels to Egypt, and her journey to the Afterlife are all distant memories. But Lily is not the girl she once was. Her body is now part human, part lion, and part fairy. And if that isn’t bad enough, she must harness this power of three and become Wasret: a goddess destined to defeat the evil god Seth once and for all. With the help of her old friend Dr. Hassan, Lily departs on her final voyage through the cosmos and across the plains of Egypt. On the journey, she will transform into the being she is destined to become.
Release date: August 8th, 2017

EPIC CRUSH BY F.C. YEE

 
The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie’s every waking thought. But when she discovers she’s a celestial spirit who’s powerful enough to bash through the gates of heaven with her fists, her perfectionist existence is shattered. Enter Quentin, a transfer student from China whose tone-deaf assertiveness beguiles Genie to the brink of madness. Quentin nurtures Genie’s bodacious transformation—sometimes gently, sometimes aggressively—as her sleepy suburb in the Bay Area comes under siege from hell-spawn. This epic YA debut draws from Chinese folklore, features a larger-than-life heroine, and perfectly balances the realities of Genie’s grounded high school life with the absurd supernatural world she finds herself commanding.
Release date: August 8th, 2017
 

CROWN’S SHIELD BY FROST KAY

 
Despite her resolve to cut ties with the rebellion, Sage Blackwell is forced to turn to her old allies…But when the ultimate betrayal puts her in an impossible position, she has to make a life changing decision: freedom or peace?
From the moment he meets Sage, Crown Prince Tehl Ramses finds himself confronted with one surprise after another- and he hates being the fool. Ensnared in the rebellion’s intricate web of trickery and blackmail, Tehl is forced to take desperate measures: war or compromise?Both Tehl and Sage will do whatever’s necessary to avoid the pending war, even if it means becoming reluctant allies. Tempers rise, myths are unveiled, and assassins abound. Can they put aside their prejudices to protect their people? Or will they tear Aermia and each other apart?

Release date: August 22nd, 2017

He has no voice or name, only a rank, Eighth. He doesn’t know the details of the mission, only the directives that hum in his mind. Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall. His job is to protect his Offside. Let her do the shooting. Until a human kills her…Sixteen-year-old Raven is at summer camp when the terrifying armored Nahx invade. Isolated in the wilderness, Raven and her fellow campers can only stay put. Await rescue. Raven doesn’t like feeling helpless, but what choice does she have? Then a Nahx kills her boyfriend. Thrown together in a violent, unfamiliar world, Eighth and Raven should feel only hate and fear. But when Raven is injured, and Eighth deserts his unit, their survival comes to depend on trusting each other…

Release date: August 29th, 2017

THIRTEEN RISING BY ROMINA RUSSELL

The master has been unmasked. Rho’s world has been turned upside down. With her loved ones in peril and all the stars set against her, can the young Guardian from House Cancer muster the strength to keep fighting? Or has she finally found her match in a master whose ambition to rule knows no limits?

Release date: August 29th, 2017

 

 Which of these have you read? What are you excited to read next?

YA Scavenger Hunt #140

Welcome! You’ve sailed to the final port in the YA Summer Scavenger Hunt! Scroll down to find the final word and complete the short story. In the meantime, I’ve made a bunch of my books free on Amazon this week. I have over 1000 reviews and these usually cost $2.99 each – grab them while you can!

 

Free Books by D.S. Murphy

 

Here are two more projects I’m working on – you can get the first few chapters for free.

If you like them, sign up to my list to read the rest when it’s ready.

 

Can’t use Amazon? You can sign up on my email list and I’ll tell you how to download a free copy.

 

And now, what you’ve all been waiting for.

Drum roll please…

 

The final word in the scavenger hunt is:

LEGEND.

Finish the story with the final stroke – you can get it in the next post HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

Prescient part two (the full book) is almost ready!

This month I’m working on part two of Prescient and I’m kind of loving it. It was going to be my first novel, but the time-travel plotting elements were too challenging to keep straight. There are some big twists and reveals, and while it’s not exactly a zombie apocalypse thriller (though it will be by book 2 or 3), there are some great scenes and a lot of dramatic tension between characters. I think it’ll be my best work yet so I’m excited to share.

In the meantime, you can read part one here – or you can sign up to my list to get part one for free. When the whole book is done, I’ll update the book on Amazon with this new cover, and I’ll send out free ARC copies to everyone on my list so you can read the full thing.

The YA Summer Scavenger Hunt

In June, the Alliance of Young Adult Authors is sponsoring a massive young adult scavenger hunt. This is a chance to meet some new authors, grab a bunch of free books, and sign up to win a whole bunch of epic prizes!

In addition to the $500 grand prize, each author will be giving away lots of free books and cool stuff (for my part, I’ll probably have a set of dystopian books and possibly a huge vampire hunter’s kit).

When the scavenger hunt begins (June 1st) all you have to do is visit each site below in order and write down the special word to reconstruct the story. You can enter any of the giveaways or offers on anybody’s site, or just grab the special word and move on. I’ll add a link soon where you can enter for the grand prize when you have the full story.

RULES

Each author will be given a special keyword, which will be bolded and all caps like this: BUTTERFLIES.

All you have to do is visit all the author’s sites in this order, write down the special keywords to discover the short story, then enter the giveaway with the completed short story HERE (link will be posted soon).

There will be one main giveaway for the main prize, but most of the participating authors will also have smaller giveaways for free books, amazon credit and author swag, so make sure you read their post carefully to see what else they’re offering while you’re on their site for the keyword.

TREASURE MAP (list of participating authors)

  1. Cindy Ray Hale
  2. Katherine Bogle
  3. Melle Amade
  4. David Kudler
  5. A.M. Yates
  6. Alethea Kontis
  7. Stevie Rae Causey
  8. Katlyn Duncan
  9. Debbie Manber Kupfer
  10. Meredith Efken  
  11. Meredith Rose
  12. Lara Ann  
  13. K.M. Robinson
  14. J.A. Culican
  15. Heather Karn
  16. Rob L. Slater
  17. Dylan Keefer
  18. Sarah K. Wilson  
  19. L.J. Higgins
  20. Gina Marie Long 
  21. Em Kazmierski
  22. Travis Hall
  23. Heather Young-Nichols
  24. Anna Santos
  25. J.L. Weil  
  26. Jo Schneider 
  27. Rebecca Fernfield
  28. Kristin D. Van Risseghem
  29. Martine Lewis 
  30. Tara Benham
  31. Stacy Claflin
  32. Beth Hammond
  33. Erica Monroe Cope
  34. Nicole Zoltack
  35. Char Webster
  36. Sabrina Ramoth
  37. T.J. Muir
  38. Raquel Lyon
  39. Beth Rodgers
  40. S.L. Beaumont
  41. Eva Pohler
  42. Melanie McFarlane
  43. Cheryllynn Dyess
  44. Audrey Rich
  45. Amanda Zieba
  46. Sandie Will
  47. Elle Scott
  48. Angie Grigaliunas
  49. Ashley Maker 
  50. Mandy Peterson
  51. Audrey Grey
  52. Elisa Dane  
  53. Amy McNulty
  54. Melinda Cordell
  55. Monica Leonelle
  56. Claire Luana
  57. Frost Kay
  58. Preeti C. Sharma
  59. Bentz Deyo 
  60. April Wood
  61. Lena Mae Hill
  62. Angel Leya
  63. Wendi Wilson
  64. Wendy Knight
  65. Chogan Swan
  66. Tamara Hart Heiner
  67. Norma Hinkens
  68. Patti Larsen
  69. Megan Crewe  
  70. Jamie Thornton
  71. Jessie Renée
  72. T.A. Maclagan  
  73. Lydia Sherrer
  74. Phyllis Moore
  75. P.D. Workman
  76. J.A. Armitage
  77. K.N. Lee
  78. Angela Fristoe
  79. Rhonda Sermon
  80. G.K. DeRosa 
  81. Erin Richards
  82. Ali Winters
  83. Larissa C. Hardesty
  84. Kristine Tate
  85. Debra Kristi
  86. Bella Rose 
  87. Cortney Pearson
  88. Jeff Kohanek
  89. Kristal Shaff
  90. Rachel Morgan  
  91. Emma Right
  92. C.L. Cannon
  93. Joanne Macgregor
  94. Lindsey Loucks
  95. Farah Kuck
  96. Erin Hayes
  97. Jesikah Sundin
  98. Dorothy Dreyer
  99. Danielle Annett
  100. C.J. Ethington
  101. L.C. Hibbett 
  102. Madeline Dyer
  103. Katie John
  104. Nicole Schubert  
  105. Rachel Medhurst 
  106. Tee G Ayer  
  107. May Freighter 
  108. Heather Dyer
  109. Jen Minkman  
  110. J.L. Gillham
  111. Karen Tomlinson
  112. Kate Haye
  113. Tom Shutt
  114. Martina Billings
  115. Jo Ho
  116. Brian King
  117. Inna Hardison
  118. Rachel Bateman
  119. Sally Henson  
  120. J.L. Hendricks 
  121. A.L. Knorr  
  122. T.M. Franklin  
  123. Konstanz Silverbow
  124. felisha Antonette
  125. Jake Devlin
  126. S.F. Benson
  127. Laurie Treacy
  128. Emily Martha Sorensen 
  129. Leia Stone
  130. T. Rae Mitchell
  131. J. Keller Ford
  132. Kat Stiles
  133. Jessica Hawke
  134. Elyse Reyes
  135. Sophie Davis
  136. Bianca Scardoni
  137. Jenetta Penner
  138. David R. Bernstein
  139. Olivia Wildenstein
  140. Derek Murphy
 For rules, updates or trouble-shooting, make sure to check out this main post which will stay updated.

 

TIMELINE

Authors will post the rules and the full list of participating authors sometime in June, and have their post up and visible on their site/blog, with their keyword, by June 1st. Readers just need to go through the list, find the words, and use the story to enter for the grand prize.

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