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Friday, January 29, 2016

Book Tour: Becky's Kiss


Becky meets the boy of her dreams, too bad he keeps disappearing.


"It could not be worse for ninth grader Becky Michigan on her first day at a new school, sitting in beet juice and staining her white jeans in a classroom about to fill up with students. In the nick of time, a gorgeous blonde boy named Danny comes in and offers his over-sized baseball jersey so she can cover up, get to the office, and change. By the time she pulls the shirt over her head, however, he has mysteriously disappeared.

Becky scours the school in search of her dream-athlete and wonders why after contact with him she has magically gained the ability to throw a fastball ninety miles per hour! Instead of finding the answer, however, Becky's new skill pits her against the school bully and the entire varsity baseball team.

That night, after her exciting showdown in front of the entire school, Danny shows up at her bedroom window. If she will agree to meet him behind Rutledge High at midnight on the ball field at the edge of the woods, he promises to reveal a secret meant to alter the past and change her life forever."




Purchase your copy here:


      

   



Nicholas Fisher is a college professor and a sports enthusiast. He writes adult horror under another name, but thought of the idea for Becky’s Kiss while coaching his son’s baseball team. Since the story involved high school drama he decided to write his first young adult piece. When not writing or teaching, Nicholas Fisher enjoys pizza, reality television, and playing the banjo. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and his son goes to Arizona State University.


Connect with the Author Here: 

  







Top Ten Favorite Things

1) Pizza
2) Baseball
3) Football
4) Heavy Metal
5) Horror Movies
6) Autumn
7) Tee Shirts With Cool Logo Graphics
8) Coffee Mugs With Cool Designs on Them
9) Red Mustangs and Other Muscle Cars
10) My Red Mustang With the Black Ragtop


 
Excerpt

“I’m Dr. Edward McGovern, the Principal here,” he said.  He glanced at a couple of things in the file, closed it and leaned back, hands webbed behind the head, elbows out, face no less serious.  “Twenty minutes ago there was an incident in the cafeteria.  Can you explain it?”
Becky was pinching at the skin of her forearm and she made herself stop.  Her voice sounded small.
“I…I was sitting with Joey.”
“Yes, Joey Chen,” Horseshoe-head interrupted. “An excellent student, advanced in the sciences…”  His voice trailed off because Principal McGovern and Rent-a-Cop were staring at him.  “Sorry,” he muttered, getting out a pair of bifocals and a pocket-sized spiral notebook to study.  Becky gave a little cough and went on.
“Cody Hatcher was bullying us. I’ve got witnesses, but nobody likes me…well, not until today…but I mean before, like when Cody hit Joey with an eraser and put his dirty foot on my chair, and…”  Now she faded off.  She was making no sense whatsoever, and she closed her eyes to concentrate.
“Miss Michigan,” Principal McGovern said.  She opened her eyes and saw that everyone at the table was looking at each other rather uncomfortably.  “I don’t think you really realize why you’re here, and that in itself is a surprise to us.  I’m probably going to get a call from Cody Hatcher’s father tonight and an email from his lawyer.  I am going to have to set up a meeting with a member of the board, a union representative for each teacher patrolling the lunch room, a disinterested third party, and a stenographer.  Do you know why I am going to have to go to those extremes?”
“Because I threw the orange?” Becky whispered.  This was a nightmare, a cold nightmare.  How was her mother going to handle this?  Her father would never speak to her again.  She would wind up going to one of those special juvi schools, where sections were overcrowded with kids that had police records, and the classes were monitored by uniformed security guards with weapons.
“Threw an orange,” Horseshoe-head said reflectively.  He was smiling slightly, and again, Principal McGovern and Rent-a-Cop looked over at him.  He went back to his notes and starting writing stuff furiously.  Principal McGovern breathed hard through his nose, sat forward, folded his hands, and spoke at them.
“Gerry, run the clip.”
Mr. Ladd went over to a control panel over by the bookcase and hit a few buttons.  A Sony flatscreen mounted in the corner flashed on, and twenty or so small squares came visible.  Video monitors. Becky recognized the image by the front entrance and another outside the gym where there was the water fountain and the stairwell, though the angles were overhead from their ceiling mounts and slightly tilted.
“Hit number twelve,” Principal McGovern said.  The image flickered, and one camera shot filled the screen.  It was a black and white film of the cafeteria, just above where Becky and Joey had been sitting, the Frederick Douglass poster there, his cheek ripped a bit from the Tic-Tac.  The room was vacant.
“Rewind,” Principal McGovern said.  Ladd clicked away, and on the screen, the room filled with kids walking backwards, coming to rest in their seats, then Becky being seemingly escorted back in and half-circling down into a seat without looking.
Good hair day, she thought crazily.
Then her new friends threaded off one at a time in backward mimics of their timid approaches, and the grainy black and white image of herself was suddenly displaced into the aisle, bent over in the follow-through position, and then across and down to the right the orange exploded back into itself and shot in return to her hand.  There was the ‘wind-up’ that looked all herky-jerky backward and sped up, and then she popped back over to the chair across from Joey Chen.
“Stop,” McGovern said.  “And play it in live time.”
The soundless tape played out, Becky sitting across from Joey Chen, her face hidden by the positioning of the camera above and behind her.  To the right, Cody Hatcher was punching his friend in the arm, eating grapes, and spitting one or two across the table at his other friend, a burly boy in a dark tee-shirt who seemed to be threatening that he was going to knock Hatcher’s tray off the table if he didn’t cut it out.  Then, Hatcher seemed to spy Becky across the room, next tapping and elbowing, like Look here, guys.’  He picked off a grape, pushed up to a half-squat, and whipped it.  Across the space, it was evident that it hit Becky, because her hair moved.  Hatcher sat back down hard, and looked around, all innocent, as his friends bent in fits of laughter.  He picked off a couple more grapes and hurled them in a similar manner.
“He’s quite a shot himself,” Horseshoe head muttered.
“Wait for it,” Principal McGovern said.
Suddenly the screen seemed to explode into motion, and some of it was so quick that it blurred.  One moment Becky was sitting there, shoulders slightly slumped, familiar in that odd displaced way that video tended to portray people, and then she was a snap of motion.  She grabbed the orange and leapt into the throwing lane.  Then there was the wind up and the pitch, and suddenly Becky didn’t look like herself.  She seemed to grow taller, and everything about her motion and mechanics looked…professional, for lack of a better word.  And she didn’t “throw like a girl.”  She didn’t even throw like the typical boy.  The exchange was a rhythmic flurry of knees and elbows and hips and backbone, fierce and balletic, vicious and beautiful, and the orange shot out of her hand like a dark messenger on a rope.  There was a moment that it disappeared behind the concrete pillar obstructing the view, and then it resurfaced on the far side, a streak shooting and exploding in Cody Hatcher’s face.  The Rent-a-Cop shifted in his seat and spoke for the first time, voice soft.
“Chills you right to the marrow, doesn’t it?”
Horseshoe head was still scratching away in his note book, and Principal McGovern addressed him.
“Paul, how far is Hatcher sitting away from her?”
“Sixty-one feet, give or take six inches or so.”  He smiled wide enough to show his fillings.  “My students would get a kick out of this.  You simply approximate…”
Principal McGovern interrupted him by putting up his hand.
“Mike, what’s the distance between home plate and the pitching rubber on a standard baseball field, high school or pro?”
Rent-a-Cop didn’t miss a beat.
“Sixty feet.”
“And what’s the weight of a big league hard ball?
“Five and an eighth ounces.”
Principal McGovern turned to Horseshoe head.
“How much does a Florida Sunkist weigh?”
“Well, first you have to consider…”
“Paul.”
“Hmm?”
“To the point.”
Horseshoe adjusted his position, ankle up on the knee.  “Right,” he said.  “The average orange would be around seven ounces.”  He nodded his head then, all smiles and squinting eyes.  “I know, I know.  Yes, even with the differential, you have a basic match.  The common orange is slightly bigger than a baseball in terms of circumference, and this one, by appearance is of the smaller variety…”
“Oh, it’s a match all right,” Rent-a-Cop said.  “Lock, stock, and barrel.”
Becky’s heart sank and she looked down.  Why couldn’t there be ‘differential,’ or whatever, just this once?  Gosh. Daddy was going to kill her!
“Miss Michigan.”  Becky raised her head and felt her bottom lip trembling.  Principal McGovern still had his hands folded, his eyes hard and his expression entirely flat.
“Have you ever done something like this before?”
“No!” Becky pleaded.  “I swear!  I never picked up a baseball, let alone an orange in my entire life!  Well, I’m sorry, I’m sure I’ve eaten an orange or two, but I don’t even like them really—“
Principal McGovern had his ‘shush’ hand up again.  He gently closed his eyes.
“Just how fast did she throw that thing, please?”
            Horseshoe said, “Yes, considering the approximate weight of the projectile and the distance, compared with the visual I would estimate…mmm…eighty miles per hour or so.”
            Rent-a-cop was stroking his goatee.
            “I’m not really a betting man, but I’d wager Paul is being too conservative here.  I’ve seen plenty in this life, but I’d swear she hit eighty-seven, eighty-eight, even.”
            Principal McGovern shook his head in wonder or disgust, it was difficult to tell.
            “Eighty-eight miles per hour.  In my lunch room, right under our noses.”  He looked around the table and said, to no one really, “And where do they pretty much set the bar for major league pitching, please?”
            “Ninety,” Becky said, unable to stop herself from talking ‘MLB’ with the rest of them.  “But there’s no way I could have hit eighty-eight.  It’s impossible.”
  Principal McGovern sat back and folded his hands at his gut.
            “What kind of pitch did you throw back there?  Tell the truth, now.”
            “A four seam fastball.”
            “What did you aim for?”
            “His nose.”
            “You hit his forehead.”
            “I’m in sneakers and the floor is polished.  I slipped an inch or two on the follow-through, and there was no mound slope to let me come downhill.”
            Her hand flew up to her mouth.  It was all true, she knew, but how could she be so sure of this stuff when she’d never been on an actual mound in the first place?
            “How many pitches do you have, Miss Michigan?”
            None!  Becky’s mind screamed.  I have none, and this is a weird fluke, and I never meant to break any laws!
            “Eight,” she admitted, looking down and shrugging.  “But I don’t know where they came from, I swear.  I mean, the police can’t arrest me for what I dream, can they?”
            “The police?” Principal McGovern said.  Becky tilted up her chin and nodded over toward Rent-a-Cop.  Dr. McGovern gave a short laugh.
            “Mr. Rivers isn’t a policeman, Miss Michigan.  He teaches shop and wears a radio so he can call in injuries faster.  Liabilities and such.”
            “So he’s not a cop?” Becky repeated back stupidly.
            “No.  He works here and coaches my varsity baseball team.  You interested?”

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

Friday, January 22, 2016

Book Tour: Kings or Pawns

Description


Kings or Pawns
J. J. Sherwood

Synopsis: 
J.J. Sherwood’s debut novel KINGS OR PAWNS: THE KINGS, BOOK 1 is the first in a high fantasy epic series sure to please fans of both the science fiction and fantasy genres.

The year is 8994 P.E., and the city of Elvorium is corrupted—rotted to the core by the machinations of depraved politicians. With his father dead and the country facing a rebellion, Price Hairem becomes the king of the elven world of Sevrigel in one of its most turbulent points in history.

Young and daring, Hairem is determined to eradicate the corruption festering in Elvorium’s self-serving and all-powerful council, which thwarts his best intentions at every turn. But Hairem’s problems are far more sinister¬—and deadly—than merely political. The loyal members of the council are being savagely murdered by an assassin loosed within the city—an assassin whose brutality knows no bounds. Outside of the city, the Lord Saebellus wages a vicious rebellion against the capital. He has been thwarted thus far by the brilliant General Jikun, and Hairem is certain that the general can crush Saebellus.

But instead of continuing the campaign against the warlord, the council orders Jikun’s army to be split, sending him on a mission that furthers only their own wealth and power. Jikun knows that the council’s demands will leave Elvorium vulnerable to an attack from the formidable warlord. Although Saebellus has been recently defeated, he is far from vanquished. As corruption and death threaten to tear the city apart from within, the rebel Saebellus seizes the opportunity to lay siege to Sevrigel’s eastern capital and unleash his most powerful weapon yet: a demonic beast that neither weapon nor magic can kill. With the elven world crumbling around him, Hairem is grasping for his own power to fight against the forces that threaten Sevrigel.

Will Hairem overcome the council’s scheming and duplicity? Can General Jikun defeat the warlord Saebellus? Will this be the war that finally brings Sevrigel to its knees? KINGS OR PAWNS offers action, intrigue, mystery, and suspense—a thrilling story that will leave readers hungry for the sequel, Heroes or Thieves, to be published in February 2016.

Buy the book:  Amazon   Barnes & Noble

About the Author


J.J. Sherwood lives in Ohio with her husband and four near-identical cats. KINGS OR PAWNS is J.J.’s widely anticipated debut novel, and is the first book of The Kings quartet. The series is set in the high fantasy world of Aersadore, home to hundreds of characters who all clamor for J.J.’s attention. To learn more about the trials and tribulations of General Jikun and King Hairem, visit StepsofPower.com. J.J. Sherwood will be at the tenth Fandom Fest Comic Con in Louisville, Kentucky this coming August 7th-9th.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Facebook



Review



Kings or Pawns by J. J. Sherwood.  

Wow, I was not expecting that ending!  I warn you now—be ready for a terrible cliffhanger!  The plot was of an elven kingdom torn by constant battle.  They have superior numbers and defeat the enemy in every battle…but the enemies disappear into thin air at the end.  Not to mention the undefeatable beast that ravages the protagonist’s army!  To some, the only way to defeat the monster is to use the dark magic of necromancy.  In addition, a new king has taken the throne after his father died of illness.  This king desires sweeping changes to win the war and combat the corrupt council.  

Politics and war dominate most of the book.  Battle strategies, assassins, kidnappings…each person seems to have their own evil plot.  But there is a little bit of romance thrown into the mix.  The new king is, after all, the land’s most eligible bachelor.  Too bad for the mute servant girl who seems to have fallen in love with him; it’s not like he would ever fall for her.  She was my favorite character—innocent and kind, separated from the corruption of the council and the destruction of the war while still impacting the story in important ways.  I enjoyed the depth of the characters, the planning of the crazy plot, the eloquent descriptions, and much more.  

A couple things, however, gave me pause.  One of the main characters, General Jikun, frequently went brothels.  Prostitution was banned in the country—on pain of death, even—but that did not stop him from paying for it.  I certainly do not appreciated the general’s actions; prostitution is a horrible practice!  Which brings me to the scenes in which a couple were in bed, usually waking up from the night (they did not tell anything of that!), that mentioned things about their nakedness and such.  I personally try not to read such things, and I thought I would give my readers forewarning.  

In addition, there was the dark magic.  Magic is pretty cool—to an extent.  When things start going into dark magic, with the shedding of blood, calling on spirits, and the like, I tend to stop reading.  So, when the initial problem came up of “how are we going to defeat this monster?” and the characters argued over whether to use the forbidden necromancy, I started to get worried.  If they are arguing at the beginning, it is most likely foreshadowing.  I was glad it was banned, but people don’t always follow the rules.  Near the end, although one of the characters had used dark magic (without much description as far as spells, thankfully), there was no consensus on whether it was still considered bad or not, but at least there were consequences. 

These two problems were not enough for me to stop reading the book.  But I state them here for my readers to consider before reading the book.  

All in all, Kings or Pawns was an entertaining fantasy novel of battles, politics, schemes, and elves.  I recommend it to those who enjoyed the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Review: Darkness Reigns

Description


Darkness Reigns
Jill Williamson

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The god of the soil is furious. Volcanic eruptions, sinkholes, earthquakes--everything points to his unhappiness. At least this is what the people of Armania in the Five Realms believe.
 
Amidst the unsettling state of the world around them, the princes of Armania live their lives focused more on who will claim the throne after their sickly father, King Echad, dies. That is until Prince Wilek's concubine turns up dead--beside her, a bloodied message that seems to have come from the mother realms.




About the Author


Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms and the award-winning author of several young adult books including By Darkness Hid, Replication, The New Recruit, and Captives. She got into writing one day when someone was complaining about teen books and she thought, “I could do that! How hard could it be?” Very, she soon learned. But she worked hard, and four years later, her first book, By Darkness Hid, was published and won several awards.

Jill is a Whovian, a Photoshop addict, and a recovering fashion design assistant, who was raised in Alaska. She loves teaching about writing, which she does weekly atwww.GoTeenWriters.com. She lives in Oregon with her husband, two children, and a whole lot of deer. Visit her online at www.jillwilliamson.com, where adventure comes to life.
 


Review


Darkness Reigns tells of a continent with countries overrun by evil—human sacrifices, conniving rulers, and false gods.  People say the horrible natural disasters that have wiped cities off the map are part of the gods’ wrath.  But nobody knows for sure.  Instead, they are caught up in politics: the king of Armania will die soon, and one of his three sons must be named heir or the country will be split into civil war.  Not to mention the tenuous allegiances with the neighboring countries…

Darkness Reigns is the first installment of a three-episode serial book written by Jill Williamson.  It introduces the characters and countries (including a list of the five nations, four main characters, and dozens of minor characters) as well as the plotline.  It did not go much farther than showing the major problems of the countries, the characters’ plans, and the mysteries that will be solved through the course of the episodes.  That said, the author did an excellent job of introducing everyone and everything, and I look forward to hearing the rest of the story.  So many problems to solve!

Darkness Reigns was aptly named.  So much of the novel was focused on the darkness of the world.  What happened to the God in The Blood of Kings Series that was set chronologically later in this same world?  Instead, dozens of lower gods demand human sacrifices and creepy rituals, often involving drugs.  This is not a book for the faint at heart!  Although, the author does try to make it as appropriate as possible, considering the circumstances.  And speaking of appropriate, the kings and princes also have harems and concubines…

So, who should be king?  (The Sars’ (princes) personalities are shown early in the story, so sharing them here is not a spoiler.)  Wilek is a good man; not perfect, but well-meaning, with the country’s benefit in mind.  Janek is a good-for-nothing who is cruel and parties all the time.  Those two are the oldest sons and are in their twenties.  Trevn, a teen having just reached the age of adulthood, is also one of the options.  He is curious and introspective; although he does not want to become king, he would probably make a great one, just as Wilek would.  How can one decide?

Darkness Reigns is extremely interesting.  I have very little idea how everything will come together, and I look forward to finding it out in the next two installments.  I would recommend this book to older teens and college-age adults who enjoy dark-ish, Christian fantasy.  Although it has not shown the Christian side yet, I have little doubt that it will very soon. 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Cover Reveal: Courting Cassandry


Joyce DiPastena dreamed of green medieval forests while growing up in the dusty copper mining town of Kearny, Arizona. She filled her medieval hunger by reading the books of Thomas B. Costain (where she fell in love with King Henry II of England), and later by attending the University of Arizona where she graduated with a degree in history, specializing in the Middle Ages. The university was also where she completed her first full-length novel…set, of course, in medieval England. Later, her fascination with Henry II led her to expand her research horizons to the far reaches of his “Angevin Empire” in France, which became the setting of her first published novel, Loyalty’s Web (a 2007 Whitney Award Finalist).

When she’s not writing, Joyce loves to read, play the piano, and spend time with her sister and friends. A highlight of her year is attending the annual Arizona Renaissance Festival. She lives with her two cats, Clio and Glinka Rimsky-Korsokov, in Mesa, Arizona.

Website: www.joyce-dipastena.com 
Blog: http://jdp-news.blogspot.com 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJoyceDiPastena
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoyceDiPastena

Is it too late for second chances when the girl you loved in your youth comes back into your life?

Gerolt de Warenne became guardian to a child-heiress named Cassandry when he was only nineteen-years old. As he watched her grow into a lovely young woman, he found himself falling in love with her, but Cassandry viewed him as an older brother. So, burying his feelings, he gave permission for her to marry another.

Twenty-four years later Gerolt and Cassandry meet again. With the loss of their respective spouses, Gerolt hopes to finally court Cassandry, but she desires to remain a widow. Instead, they agree to a betrothal of their children.

Matters become complicated as their friendship begins to evolve into the romance Gerolt has always wanted. But by the law of the medieval Church, Cassandry and Gerolt can’t marry if their children do. Can they find a way to be together? Or must they sacrifice their future for the love of their children?


Let's take a look inside before we see the cover!
Gerolt’s gaze shifted back to her face. His eyes suddenly grew so warm, she almost felt herself embraced. “There you are,” he murmured.
She gazed back, baffled, while at the same time feeling something begin to glow inside her. “What do you mean?”
“That smile. I feared I had lost it forever.”

And here it is!!!
*****
***
*

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Monday, January 11, 2016

2016

Source

Happy new year!

I know I have not posted in a while; Christmas and all the events that come with it made my life a little too crazy to keep up with blogging.  But I plan to continue and have some tours and book reviews planned.  I also hope to post a few more personal things--you know, things other than formulated blog tours and reviews--such as top tens lists, musings, updates, and more.  The topic is still books, after all.

How was your year?  Mine was pretty crazy!  College, work, friends, family, reading, blogging, and more kept me pretty busy most of the time.  But there are still so many things I want to do and learn!  Among other things, I want to travel the world, and I want to learn sign language, Chinese, shorthand, martial arts, sword fighting, dancing, embroidery, digital editing, history, writing, editing, and the list goes on.  I fear I have an insatiable curiosity for nearly everything, but I hope to learn (or start learning) a few of those things this year.  What are some things you want to learn?  Do you have any goals for this year?

As for reading, I am attempting to become "well-read," meaning that I am trying to read books in other genres than my favorites (fantasy and historical romance), especially classics, non-fiction, and "big name" books.  I believe it will help me become more of a well-rounded person and help me in my future career.  Besides, just think of all the things to be learned!  To accomplish that aim, I have set myself a goal of reading 120 books this year.  Last year, I read 112 books, 12 over my goal.  Are you setting yourself a reading goal this year?  How many books did you read last year?

A few of my favorite books for 2015 were A Time to Die, by Nadine Brandes; Resistance, by Jaye L. Knight; Oath of the Brotherhood, by C. E. Laureano; Everblue, by Brenda Pandos; and The Royal Spy, by Cassie M. Sheils.  I also read-for-review approximately 50 books over the course of the year, some of which I still need to review.  And, since I discovered how to borrow audio books from the library and download them on my phone/tablet, I have been listened to 15-20 books.  All those details together, I only read-read 25% of all 112 books entirely for pleasure.  Weird!

So, tell my how your life has been going?

Blog Tour: Floor 21


Description


FLOOR 21
Release Date: June 2, 2015

Summary from Goodreads:
As humanity lives out the remainder of its existence at the top of an isolated apartment tower, young Jackie dares to question Tower Authority and their ban on traveling into the tower's depths. Intelligent and unyielding, Jackie ventures into the shadows of the floors below. But will her strong will and refusal to be quiet—in a society whose greatest pride is hiding the past—bring understanding of how humanity became trapped in the tower she has always called home, or will it simply be her undoing?


Buy Links: Amazon


About the Author



Jason Luthor has spent a long life writing for sports outlets, media companies and universities. His earliest writing years came during his coverage of the San Antonio Spurs as an affiliate with the Spurs Report and its media partner, WOAI Radio. He would later enjoy a moderate relationship with Blizzard Entertainment, writing lore and stories for potential use in future games. At the academic level he has spent several years pursuing a PhD in American History at the University of Houston, with a special emphasis on Native American history.

His inspirations include some of the obvious; The Lord of the Rings and Chronciles of Narnia are some of the most cited fantasy series in history. However, his favorite reads include the Earthsea Cycle, the Chronicles of Prydain, as well as science fiction hits such as Starship Troopers and Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep?

Author Links: GoodreadsTwitterFacebook


Guest Post from Jason Luthor


FLOOR 21 happened by accident. I had previously written two books, neither of them great. I had an agent in L.A. who told me I was great at building worlds but my characters didn’t pop or stand out. So, November 2014, it’s NaNoWriMo, I’m watching Walking Dead, and this interesting moment happens. There’s this young teen girl trying to escape a hospital by lowering herself down an elevator shaft. I’m watching this, then I have an idea:

What if the horror was on ground level, but nobody had been back to the ground in centuries?

That’s what inspired the book. I opened up a Word document, started typing in a first person narrative from the perspective of a teenage girl, and put out about five pages of it to a writing group. Response? People go nuts about it. So I think with it. I think after years of writing, feedback from my agent, and just tons of practice, I finally nailed the balance between world building and character.

The book itself follows a headstrong girl named Jackie, whose life is lead from a position of privilege inside of an isolated apartment tower. The occupants live on the top 21 levels, and going any lower is forbidden. Nobody has seen ground, or knows why they got trapped up here, but they know there’s a living sickness known as the Creep that reacts to negative human emotions and will attack or kill people further down the tower. Teams, known as Scavengers, are sent out every three months to scavenge the lower floors for food. Not all of them make it back. 

Jackie has two questions: Who is running things from the top floor (where nobody is allowed to go), and what’s beneath the 21st floor? The book tries to combine a kind of slice-of-life story that portrays Jackie as a pretty imperfectly perfect teenager who has trouble relating to people, bouts of mild anxiety and depression, but also this bravery to explore where nobody else will. 

The greatest response I’ve had to the book has been how much people like Jackie and the characters. That would never have happened a few years ago, when I was still struggling to portray these people as interesting, engaging individuals. So, I’m glad that people are not only fascinated by the world of the tower, but also by Jackie.


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