Wednesday 31 October 2012

iFrankenstein Blog Tour: Character Interview with Victor Frankenstein

Hello Therians,

Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love all things weird, wicked and ghoulish. Ghost tales, scary movies and trick or treating! It is just so much fun!
And, what could be better than having a positively dark and chilling story to enjoy for Halloween??  
That's why today I am treating you to the weirdly twisted and uniquely written, iFrankenstein by Bekka Black.
This is the second instalment in the iMonsters series and is the re-telling of the classic by Mary Shelley. So join me on another awesome JKS Communications Blog Tour, as we showcase this exciting book.

Frankenstein comes to life for the wired generation.

Following her critically-acclaimed iDrakula, award-winning author Bekka Black breathes life into a modern re-telling of iFrankenstein, using only text messages, web browsers, tweets, and emails.

Homeschooled teenager Victor Frankenstein is determined to write his own ticket to independence: a chatbot to win the prestigious Turing prize and admission to the high tech university of his choice. He codes his creation with a self-extending version of his own online personality and unleashes it upon the internet. But soon he begins to suspect his virtual clone may have developed its own goals, and they are not aligned with Victor’s. The creature has its own plan, fed by a growing desire to win darker and more precious prizes: unfettered power and release from loneliness.

As the creature’s power and sentience grows and its increasingly terrible deeds bleed over from the online world into the real one, Victor must stop his creation before his friends and humanity pay the ultimate price.


Get your copy of iFrankenstein today!!

And now, for your real treat, here's an interview with Victor Frankenstein! Enjoy!

Hello Victor,
Thank you for joining us today. I’m glad we were able to drag you away from your laptop long enough for a quick chat J

You didn’t really. I’m typing this on my laptop. The new one.
Oh, well, you can't say I never tried *shakes head*

1.       Tell us a bit more about yourself. I’m a homeschooled kid from Palo Alto who likes to program and hang out online.  I used to have dreams of taking over the world, but I think I need to adjust those a bit.

2.       Why do you have such a dislike for nature? The climate control is terrible! It’s too warm, too cold, too windy, and too wet.  Also, there are things out there that bite you and the last time I tried to commune with nature I was almost struck by lightning. Should I go on?      Err, no. I think we get the picture.
3.       You’re so wrapped up in your technology. Do you ever worry that you’ll miss something? Life is buzzing around you yet you seem quite oblivious to it at times. Life buzzes plenty online, thank you.     Touché

4.       Didn’t you ever feel a little selfish, especially when there was so much of Europe to see with Elizabeth and all you wanted to do was be tucked away with your laptop? I was trying to create an entirely new form of life! That’s very time-consuming and, perhaps, more important than visiting creaky museums full of art. Although, in retrospect, that’s what I should have done and I have apologize to Elizabeth many, many (many!) times.
5.       Why was creating a chatbot for The True Turing Prize Contest so important to you? I wanted to show my father that I wasn’t wasting time online, that I could create amazing things there.  Also, I hoped it would make it possible for me to get a scholarship for college. My father is a photographer, so we’re not exactly rolling in dough.

6.       Do you feel that your haste to create V.V. is what caused his “malfunction”? No, I think the concept was flawed from the start.

7.       When you were first hacked, were you never suspicious that it had something to do with V.V.? I couldn’t even imagine that he could get so powerful so quickly. Nothing like that has ever happened before.

8.       And later, when it got more personal? (referring to a certain letter emailed to you) Then I started to suspect a very close friend. You know who.

9.       Do you really believe that V.V. cured Henry? If so, are you not in the least bit curious to see if you can re-create V.V. for the greater good of mankind? (With proper control measures this time, of course) I’m still not convinced that V.V cured Henry, no matter what Henry says.  I am curious as to ways I could create a more controlled V.V and I have some ideas for how…wait…I can’t. I promised Elizabeth.

10.   Have you tried creating another chatbot? Umm…no…not at all…no way.   Hmmm, yes sure...of course I believe you *raises eyebrow*

11.   What did you learn from the entire V.V. experience? I learned not to create a sentient life form with no moral code. And also that Elizabeth is amazing, and Henry is a good friend at the worst of times.

12.   It spokes volumes about your true character when you agreed to be on an even playing field, with Henry, in the hopes of winning Elizabeth’s heart. So tell me, were you victorious in the end? Are you a “Golden God” ;) That’s still playing out. I’m hopeful.

About the Author:

After a childhood often spent without electricy and running water, Bekka escaped the beautiful wilderness of Talkeetna, Alaska for indoor plumbing and 24/7 electricity in Berlin, Germany. Used to the cushy lifestyle, she discovered the Internet in college and has been wasting time on it ever since (when not frittering away her time on her iPhone). Somehow, she manages to write novels, including the award-winning Hannah Vogel mystery series set, in all places, 1930s Berlin, and The Blood Gospel series (with James Rollins).

She lives in Berlin with her husband, son, two cats, and too many geckoes to count. iDrakula is her first cell phone novel.

Thursday 25 October 2012

48fourteen Halloween Sale!!

Hello Therians,
I have a real treat for you today!
Get your hands on some fantastic 48fourteen titles at a reduced rate!! That's right! No trickery here :)
Sale ends at midnight on Halloween day!

Check out the selection of books on sale now over at Amazon and Barnes & Noble...

The Human Cure by Tracy Auerbach 
 Kate Plesser is leading a dead-end life as an office assistant with a penchant for bad relationships. She is lost. When Kate is kidnapped by Hunter, a gorgeous stranger, she assumes that he is just some sick psychopath. She never suspects that he is actually a vampire, and that she is about to be plunged into a world stranger than her wildest dreams. In the underground city where Hunter lives, she encounters his otherworldly cousin Chase, who holds the key to her freedom. She is thrust into a village where humans are farmed for feeding and breeding. In this mysterious new world beneath Queens, New York, Kate eventually finds something she never expected; her own purpose.

    Tourist by Lucas Bantner

    Imagine gravity was not simply a feature of an organic planet, but a complicated system maintained by a network of large machines. Imagine the Earth was supported by these machines, providing the energy and the subsystem for Earth to function as it does. What would happen as those machines aged? Would they begin to wear down over time? Would they eventually fail? Could they be repaired?

    Just before being arrested on suspicion of murder, a young man named Ian Sheridan discovers that he is able to call upon strange, destructive powers. As he is chased around the globe by the authorities, he takes asylum with a group of people, four hundred years old, that try to convince him his abilities are a result of the machines and their failing health. Ian soon realizes he is the only person who can repair these ailing machines and put the world right again… or can he? As he searches for the machines, he must overcome the demons of his past and the idea that he is simply a pawn in something much larger than himself.


    Change of Pace by Sofia Essen

    What do you do when you get dumped, fired, and turn thirty in a single unfortunate week? You book the last available ticket on the next plane to Greece. Or at least that’s what the normally unadventurous Anna Cox does in a moment of uncharacteristic spontaneity. When she panics as she belatedly realizes that not booking a hotel room in a country she knows nothing about might not have been the best or smartest idea, the charming and easy on the eyes Englishman in the seat next to her comes to her rescue – he takes her to the rural island village in Crete that he calls home.

    As Anna settles into village life, she learns that change, even the unwanted and unexpected kind, can be a good thing. She begins to see that there is always more to any story or person than meets the eye, including herself. In Crete, where time moves differently and days float and blend into one another, Anna finds the courage to discover who she really is, open up to strangers, and to fall in love without holding back even though she might get hurt.

    Therian: The Bloody Crescent
    by Roxanne Kade
    All Amberlyn Darksky has ever wanted is to be normal. But what if normal is everything supernatural and legendary?

    Amber has never been ordinary. She has a gift, the ability to see memories through simple touch, and for her it’s a curse. Especially when she has to relive her mother’s death the night she was born, through her father’s eyes. Leading a sheltered life for years under his constant watch has her yearning for freedom and her acceptance into Cyprus Falls University gives her just that.

    She is immediately plunged into a world of true love, heartache, seduction, and horror. With a deepening affection for Tayelon Cree, whose sparkling hazel eyes leave her breathless, and the undeniable allure of Lucard Colbaine, who seems to be immune to her gift, can she accept what either of them represent in her life? And what about the steely-eyed vampire who invades her dreams? When the blackouts and nightmares begin, Amber fears the pain that rips into her soul and threatens to destroy her. Before long she is faced with the truth of her destiny as well as the devastating secrets that surround the people she holds dearest; dark secrets that will truly change the course of her very existence. Amber doesn’t know if she has the strength to accept the hand fate has dealt her. She will have to fight as hard as possible to remain human while the beasts inside her rage to take over.


    Dead Heart by R.L.King

    Would you give someone your own beating heart so they may live?
    That is the question Doctor Paul Vieyra will have to ask himself as his world comes crashing down around him, and the ghost of those who died on his operating table haunt his mind.
    When Dr. Vieyra sister’s heart begins to fail and her life fade away, a new heart or surgery are her only chances for survival—a chance no doctor is willing to take. Dr. Vieyra will risk everything he has and more for his sister. He will need the help of both old and new friends along with his mental ghosts if he is going to overcome the incredible obstacles that stand in his way.
    The clock is ticking. Will he be able to save his sister’s dead heart? What is he willing to risk?

    Happy reading!!

    Tuesday 23 October 2012

    Cover Reveal: Shadow of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

    Hello, Therians!

    Today I have the great pleasure of revealing the cover for Shadow of the Mark by Leigh Fallon!!
    I won't keep you here goes...drumroll please....

    Isn't it beautiful!?! I really love the colors!
    And now, here's a little more about Shadow of the Mark...
    Life for Megan Rosenberg just got a lot more complicated.

    While she evoked the air element, and her feelings for Adam intensified, a web of lies, deceit, and betrayal has been spun around her.  With the Order tightening its hold, and the reinstatement of the Mark Knights, Megan has more questions than answers as the Marked Ones grow in strength.
    New people arouse suspicion, the DeRises start behaving strangely, and Megan begins to unravel a destiny shrouded in mystery.  It’s a destiny the Order has struggled to hide, and a destiny someone from the past…far in the past, has already laid claim to.

    Shadow of the Mark is the second instalment in the Carrier series! I really loved Carrier of the Mark and I cannot wait for the release of Shadow of the Mark!
    I have followed Leigh Fallon's career ever since she appeared on Inkpop, and she is truly an inspiration to all aspiring authors. Especially those on Figment (previously Inkpop) as well as Authonomy!
    Carrier Trilogy by Leigh Fallon
    About the Author:
    I started out life in South Africa. A year later my parents moved home to Dublin, Ireland. When I was older and realized my parents had moved me from exotic Durban, to sedate Rathfarnham, Dublin 16, I was rightly ticked off.
    Giving up lions for sheep, I grew up in the foothills of the Dublin Mountains where I went to a convent school and had to contend with uniforms, gabardines, and nuns. When not dodging the beady glare of the Sisters of Mercy, I was devouring every book I could get my hands on.
    I traveled all over Europe while working in banking and treasury, but I gave up my calculator in favor of a keyboard and haven’t stopped writing since. My first book, Carrier of the Mark, was published by HarperTeen in 2011.
    Our home is in Cork in the south of Ireland, but we’re currently on loan to Massachusetts in the US where I continue to write books about magic, ghosts, and romance, with a bit of Irish flavor.
    What Leigh had to say about the cover:
    "I know, there's no mistaking it. This is definitely a Carrier Series cover, but that was the intention. After the amazing reception to the cover of Carrier of the Mark, HarperCollins wanted Shadow's cover to be instantly recognizable. And it is, but the new darker color palette reflects the darker tone that this installment brings, and the pink and purple really make it pop. I love it and think HarperCollins have done another amazing job. I hope you like it too."

    Leigh Fallon can be found on Goodreads, Twitter & Facebook. You can also connect with her on her Blog or Website.
    Carrier Trilogy by Leigh Fallon
    Shadow of the Mark is due to hit the shelves on the 9th July 2013 but you can pre-order it now on Amazon.
    And if you really cannot wait that long (I know I can't), Leigh is giving away one signed ARC of Shadow of the Mark, as well as a signed copy of Carrier of the Mark and some awesome swag!!

    Just enter on the rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Haven't read Carrier of the Mark??? Why not!!???

    Get your copy today:

    Or get the Carrier of the Mark audiobook:

    Friday 12 October 2012

    Blog Tour: Skating On The Edge by Joelle Charbonneau

    Hello, Therians!

    Welcome to the Skating on the Edge Blog Tour hosted by JKS Communications! Before I share this fantastic book with you, let's meet, Joelle Charbonneau, author of Skating on the Edge.

    About the Author

    One of the hardest working authors of today, Joelle Charbonneau will have
    had seven books published by established publishing houses within just three

    She’s the author of two adult mystery series: The Rebecca Robbins mysteries (her latest, Skating on the Edge, releasing Oct. 2 from Minotaur Books) and the new Glee Club mystery series (Murder for Choir, July 3, Berkley Books). Charbonneau launches the first of her Graduation Day young adult trilogy in May 2013 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s. Early readers are calling The Testing a mix between the high school ACT and The Hunger Games.

    A storyteller at heart, Charbonneau has performed in a variety of opera and musical theatre productions across Chicagoland. In addition to her stage work, she has also performed with several bands and worked as a solo performer. She now teaches private voice lessons and uses her stage experience to create compelling characters in her books. She also gives lectures about surviving rejection in the entertainment industry.

    Charbonneau earned her bachelor’s in vocal performance at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, and went on to DePaul University for her master’s in opera performance. The mother of a toddler, she hardly ever sleeps. And when she’s not writing, she’s either signing, cooking or watching sports.


    Author blog: Do Some Damage and The Stiletto Gang.

    Author Joelle Charbonneau

    Joelle Chabonneau

    I always love to find out how an author started out or what obstacles they had to overcome before being published. Aspiring authors are always looking for advice and some kind of guidelines to navigate this tough industry, so I am honored to have Joelle here today to share a bit about her journey.

    Up, down and loop-da-loop.  The publishing rollercoaster ride.

    By: Joelle Charbonneau

    The first time I sat down at my computer to type the opening of a novel, I never dreamed I’d attempt to publish it.  I‘d always been a reader, not a writer.  The decision to write was one of impulse.  An idea for an opening line popped into my head and wouldn’t go away.  So, I wrote it down.  Then I wrote the next line.  In between doing eight shows a week at the theater, I typed.  Day after day.  The pages added up.  Soon I had 100.  Then 200 and the number kept climbing.  Finally, months after I began the adventure, I typed THE END!

    I had scaled the proverbial mountain, come down the other side and felt fabulous about the effort.  Was it the best book in the world?  Hell no.  In fact, I would say it was a not so great book.  No one should read that book.  Trust me.  But the lack of greatness did not detract from the accomplishment.  I had taken the roller coaster up the hill and ridden it down in triumph. Wheeee!

    Of course, now that I had done that, I wanted to do it again and this time I hoped to write something the reading public might enjoy.  So, I climbed back on the roller coaster, strapped myself in and once again started the climb. Wheeee!

    I went up and down the hill 5 times before I received an offer of representation from an agent.  Each climb went a little faster.  A little smoother.  Was more exciting on the way down because I had begun to understand the business of publishing.  I understood how great an accomplishment it was to get to THE END.  I was also submitting and receiving rejections, but hearing “no thanks” from publishers and agents didn’t bother me all that much.  They were just bumps along the way.  Part of the ride I had come to understand.

    Or did I?

    Once my agent signed me, the ride changed.  The submission process became a much taller hill and the rejection drops more stomach wrenching.  Then a publisher offered us a contract and the hills and valleys grew even taller and someone added a few loop-da-loops into the mix.  Revisions.  Reviews.  Praise and pans.  Nail-biting while hoping that someone at the publishing house believed in the series enough to offer another contract and keep it going.

    Thankfully, they did.  And other publishers offered to let me take their roller coaster for a spin.  None of it has been easy.  All of it has involved terror, hand wringing and the hope you arrive safely back in the station.

    I thought I understood what the ride looked like when I climbed onto it.  I was wrong.  SKATING ON THE EDGE marks the 4th book I have had published in just over 2 years.  The one thing I have learned is that when I think I know how the ride is going to go, someone throws a loop into the mix.  With each book the hill to create each book gets higher.  The triumph after getting to the end is greater and the rest of the ride—well, I keep getting on the coaster because I’m dying to see how the ride will go.

    Thank you, Joelle!!



    “Rebecca is a spunky, independent heroine. . . . [She] and the quirky secondary characters will appeal to Evanovich fans.”—Booklist

    “A visit to Indian Falls is time superbly spent. Filled with delightful citizens, including
    grandfather Pop, an Elvis impersonator and hugely warm character, this loving close-knit
    community embraces you from the first page. Joelle Charbonneau has a fresh and lively and insightful voice, and she has created characters we’d love as friends. This is a wonderfully fun read.”—Louise Penny, New York Times bestselling author of A Trick of the Light


    Dear Reader,

    Joelle Charbonneau skillfully blends murder with roller-skating to create a winning pair in SKATING ON THE EDGE (Minotaur Books; ISBN 978-0-312-60663-3; October 2, 2012; $25.99; Hardcover).

    It’s Native American Summer Days in Indian Falls, and Rebecca Robbins is roped into taking a turn in the Senior Center dunk tank. That is, until her rhinestone-studded grandfather Pop needs help setting up his Elvis act. Minutes from climbing into the tank, Rebecca has to find a replacement. Roller derby girl Sherlene-n-Mean takes her place, and is promptly electrocuted and killed. It’s obvious to the police and Rebecca that this was no accident, and no one knows who the murderer’s intended target was.
    With Pop cheering her on and aided by a trio of self-appointed bodyguard derby girls, Rebecca digs for answers, dodges bullets, and races to find a killer.

    Author Joelle Charbonneau has worked as a professional singer and actress, and is currently a private voice instructor. Her mother was a national and world champion roller-skater. Joelle lives with her husband and toddler son in Illinois.

    Best regards,

    Hector DeJean
    Associate Director of Publicity
    Minotaur Books

    ( I received a copy of Skating on the Edge via JKS Communications for an honest, unbiased review. )


    Let me start off by admitting that I haven't read the first two books in this series, but after having read Skating on the Edge, I most certainly will make a point of reading them!

    Wow! This was such a fun and exciting story, and I quickly became engrossed in the lives of each and every character. Charbonneau has an easy writing style that helped me settle into the story from page one and it held on tight until the very end.

    Rebecca Robbins is a strong MC who doesn't take an ounce of nonsense from anyone, especially resident Deputy, Sean Holmes. Even when she's fretting for her life, Rebecca puts on a brave front and goes about her usual business like nothing life-threatening has ever happened.

    When Rebecca’s replacement at the dunk tank is murdered, the biggest question is who was the murderer’s real target – Rebecca or Sherlene-n-Mean? A series of deadly events made it clear who the killer was after…why, was still the elusive question. And, was the stunt at the dunk tank really supposed to have killed anyone?

    I really enjoyed being with Rebecca every step of the way as she interrogated suspects, dug up clues, and pieced together the mystery.. Although a number of people had the means and ways, even the motive, there was never a time when one person stood out from the rest and I could actually say “Aha, it was so and so!” The mystery was kept alive throughout the story until the very end, making it feel like I was involved in a game of Cluedo!! 

    And then of course, as small towns go, there were many smaller dramas going on around the main mystery: The miraculous discovery of ancient native artifacts, Rebecca’s somewhat eccentric grandfather and his womanizing ways, her strange father who showed little to no interest in her, a phony psychic and a curse. But my favorite of all was the not so obvious love triangle. Rebecca clearly cares for Lionel and I wish there had been something more to solidify their relationship, one that I’ll get to know a bit more about once I read the first two books, but I have to agree with Erica, there were definitely sparks between Rebecca and Sean. They had great love/hate chemistry and I see it developing into a whole lot more as the series continues. 

    This was a fun, quick read, with many interesting characters and an even more captivating plot.

    It gets…
     Thank you to JKS Communications for giving me the opportunity to read and review Skating on the Edge.

    Sunday 7 October 2012

    Blog Tour: The Star Dwellers by David Estes

    Hello, Therians!!

    Well, once again, I'm excited to be sharing news of the amazing, The Dwellers Saga by David Estes.

    A little while ago I was honored to be included in the cover reveal for The Star Dwellers, the second book in this exciting dystopian series, and today I'm even more honored to be able to give you all a sneak peek into just how amazing this book is.

    But first, just in case you've forgotten, here's the awesome cover and synopsis :)

    After rescuing her father and younger sister, Adele is forced to leave her family and Tristan behind to find her mother in the cruel and dangerous realm of the star dwellers.

    Amidst blossoming feelings for Adele, Tristan must cast his feelings aside and let her find her own way amongst the star dwellers, while he accompanies Adele's father to meet with the leaders of the moon dwellers and decide the fate of the Tri-Realms.

    Will Adele be able to rescue her mother and make it back to the Moon Realm before the President and the sun dweller soldiers destroy her family?

    Can Tristan convince the moon dweller puppets of the error of their ways?

    Was Adele's lost kiss with Tristan her one and only chance at love?

    In her world there's only one rule: Someone must die

    Excerpt taken from Chapter One of The Star Dwellers.

    Chapter One


    Tawni shrugs and keeps walking. Having no other choice, I do the same. That’s when I hear it.

    At first a soft tinkle, the noise becomes louder, a swishing—and then a gurgle. Water, has to be. Tawni looks at me and we both smile. The map was right!

    For only the second time since we entered this godforsaken tunnel, the monotony is broken as the passage opens up to our left. The right wall remains straight and solid, but to the left there is an empty darkness. I feel cool air waft against my face, ruffling my hair. At our feet is water, lapping against the edge of the tunnel floor.

    We go a little crazy. Or maybe just I do. Letting out a Whoop! I sling down my pack and thrust my cupped hands into the cool liquid. First I throw a handful into my face. My breath catches as the icy water splashes over my skin. But I don’t shiver—it feels wonderful. It’s like the water is healing me, rejuvenating more than just my skin: refreshing my soul. The wet drips off my chin and dribbles down my neck and beneath the neckline of my tunic. It feels so good I can’t help myself.

    With no room in my mind left for embarrassment, or modesty, I pull my tunic over my head and toss it aside, leaving just my undergarments. Oh, and my shoes, too, which I pull off, along with my socks. I leave my flashlight angled on a rock so I can see.

    I splash into the knee-deep water, relishing the soft caress of the cooling elixir. The lake bed is covered with long, smooth rocks that massage my sore feet. As I scoop water onto my arms, stomach, and legs, I remember a story my grandmother used to tell me about the Fountain of Youth, a pool of water with life-extending power. The cool touch of this pool feels equally potent, and I half-expect to see myself growing shorter, shrinking to reveal a younger me, the size of my half-pint sister perhaps.

    I don’t shrink, but I am cleansed. When I turn around, Tawni is grinning. She tosses me a sliver of soap, which I manage to juggle and then catch. As I use it to wash my body, she methodically uncaps each canteen and fills them. She is the responsible one.

    Seeing her with the canteens reminds me of the hungry thirst in my throat. I finish with the soap and hand it to Tawni to use. She is already undressed and daintily steps into the pool, looking as graceful as a dancer, particularly when compared to my own clumsy entrance.

    I turn around and splash some more water on my face.

    “Where’d you get that scar on your back?” Tawni asks.

    Looking over my shoulder, trying to gaze at my back, I say, “What scar?”

    She moves closer, places a hand on my back, and I shiver, suddenly feeling cold. Her fingers linger somewhere near the center of my back, where I can’t possibly see, just below my undergarments. “Curious,” she says absently.

    “What is it?”

    “It’s a crescent-shaped scar, small, but slightly raised off your skin. It looks like a recent scar…”

    “Maybe I got it in the tunnels somewhere—or from Rivet,” I say, but I know that’s not right—there would have been blood, and someone would have noticed the wound seeping through my tunic.

    “No, it’s not that fresh. Just looks like it’s from something that happened in the last few years. If I didn’t know better, I’d say it looks just like…”

    I turn to face my friend, taking in her quizzical expression in an instant. “Like what?” I ask when she doesn’t finish her statement.

    “Nothing, I don’t know what I was thinking,” she says unconvincingly.

    “You were going to say ‘Tristan’s scar’, weren’t you?” I laugh. “You’re nuts, you know that?”

    She laughs high and musical. “And you’re not?”

    I grin at her and cup my hands, once more using them as a scoop to lift a portion of water to my face. As I open my mouth to receive the glorious liquid, I see Tawni’s face change from mirthful to one of confusion. It looks like she’s playing with something in her mouth, moving her tongue around, side to side. Her eyebrows are lowered. I plunge the water into my mouth, delighting in the slick feel as it slips over my tongue, down my gullet.

    “Ahh,” I murmur softly, just before Tawni grabs my arm. Her eyes are wide—she is scared. “What?” I say.

    “Spit it out!” Tawni shrieks. Now I am the confused one. “Spit it out!” she says again, reaching around and thumping me on the back.

    “I can’t,” I say over her shoulder. “I’ve already swallowed it.”

    Tawni releases me and says, “No, no, no, no…this is not good.”

    That’s when I taste it. Something’s not right about the water. Like Tawni, I make a face, swish some spit around in my mouth. Overall, the water was refreshing, delicious even, but the aftertaste is not good. The water is…. “Contaminated?” I say.

    Tawni nods slowly. “I think so.”

    Not good.

    As kids, all moon dwellers are taught to look for the signs of contaminated water. Strange coloring, frothy film on the top, a unique odor, strange taste: All are possible clues that the water is not good to drink. At home we used a testing agent every four hours to check our water. If the water turns blue when combined with the agent, it is okay. If it turns green or brown, your water is bad. Even if we had the stuff we needed to test the water, it is too late. We’ve drunk it.

    I peer into the water. It looks okay. No film, no discoloring, no malodor. The nasty aftertaste might just be a result of trace metals in the water, picked up somewhere along its winding path through the depths. I doubt we’re that lucky.

    “What do you think it is?” I ask. There are a lot of dangers associated with drinking bad water. In mild cases, you might just get a bad case of diarrhea or perhaps light vomiting, but there are many worse diseases and viruses that can be picked up, too. Like…

    “Bat Flu,” Tawni says.

    “What? No. I doubt it. Can’t be. Why do you think that?” Bat Flu is the worst of the worst. Infected bats release their infected droppings into a water source, which then becomes infected. The symptoms of Bat Flu are numerous and awful: severe stomach cramps; cold sweats and hot flashes in conjunction with high fever; mind-numbing headaches; relentless muscle aches; hallucinations; and in many cases, death. There was a mild outbreak at my school in Year Three. Four kids, a dog, and one of their parents got the Flu. The only one that survived was the dog.

    Tawni steps out of the water, leaving a trail of drips behind her. She picks up the flashlight and shines it across the pool. I follow the yellow light until it stops on the far wall, which is pockmarked with dozens of small caves. Bat caves. “That’s why,” she says.

    I feel a surge of bile in my throat as I see piles of dark bat poo littered at the tunnel mouths. Each time the bats emerge from the caves, they will knock the piles into the water with the flap of their wings. Evidently, they’re sleeping now—the caves are silent.

    I choke down the bitter, acidic taste in my mouth and say, “But this is a key watering hole for an inter-Realm thoroughfare. It’s even on the map.” My words don’t change anything. The water is likely contaminated. I don’t want to be in denial. I just need to deal with what has happened as best I can. My mother always told me to “face the truth with grim determination and a smile on your face.” I’m not sure about the smile. “Okay, let’s assume it’s contaminated. We need to vomit it out, Tawni. Now!”

    Without watching to see what Tawni does, I stick two fingers down my throat, gagging immediately, the stomach fire rising so fast I can barely get my hand out of my mouth before I spew all over myself. I retch, gag, cough twice, spit as much of the vile liquid from my mouth as possible. At my feet, my own vomit is floating around my ankles. At my side, Tawni is throwing up, too.

    Clenching my abs, I say, “We’re both going to get very sick. But we’ll get through it together.”

    “What do we do?” Tawni asks, her voice rising precariously high. Her lips are tight. I’m afraid she might lose it. Since I met her, Tawni has always been strong, even when her best friend was viciously murdered. But now she looks seriously freaked out. She must’ve seen firsthand what the Bat Flu can do to someone.

    “Who do you know that had the Flu?” I ask, stepping out of the bile-choked water, Tawni flitting out next to me. We are still filthy, but there’s not much we can do about it now.

    Tawni’s eyes flick to mine and then back to the water, to the bat droppings. “My cousin,” she says.

    “What happened?”

    “She passed.”

    “That’s not going to happen to us.”

    “It was awful.”


    Her eyes dart back to mine and stick this time.

    “We’re going to be fine,” I say. “Stay with me.”

    Tawni’s steel-blue eyes get steelier, and then, after reaching a hardness level I’d never seen in them before, soften, returning to their soft blue. “Right. We’ll be okay,” she says, almost to herself.

    I take the soap from Tawni and chuck it, along with the two canteens, across the pool. They clatter off the far wall and plunk beneath the surface.

    “We should dry off with our dirty tunics and then chuck them away, too,” I say.

    Although it’s kind of gross soaking up the water with our filthy old clothes, we both do it because we have to. It’s the nature of things in our world. Out of necessity you have to do a lot of things you don’t want to do. I wonder if it was the same in the old world, before Armageddon, before Year Zero.

    When we are dry and our old clothes have been thrown into the foul water, we each don one of the fresh tunics from our packs. It feels good—the simple act of putting on clean clothes. It’s like a rebirth, a second chance, a new beginning. At least usually. This time neither of us wants to turn the page on our story. But like so many things in life, we have no choice.

    “How far to the Star Realm?” I ask.

    “We’re in the Star Realm now, technically.”

    “But how far to the first subchapter? Subchapter 30, right?”

    Tawni consults the map. “Yeah, first we’ll hit subchapter 30. I’d say at least a twelve-hour hike if we move fast.”

    “We’ve got to make it in eight,” I say.

    Exciting, right??!! Well, trust me when I say it just keeps getting better!
    Don't hestitate, get your copy of The Star Dwellers today! 
    Print- Amazon
    Haven't read, The Moon Dwellers? Get your copy here, and see where it all began!

    Print- Amazon

    Early praise for The Star Dwellers

    Estes´s creative genius continues to shine in this installment. We get quite a few questions answered and more are raised.”
    Author Christie Rich
    This is easily becoming one of the best dystopian books I've read.”
    Lolita  Goodreads
    "The Star Dwellers surpassed all of my expectations and more. I was just completely amazed and thrown back into this fantastic world and left dying to know what will happen next."
    Kayleigh Goodread

    Early praise for the author

    “David Estes you are a genius! This book kept me on the edge of my seat. I felt such intense emotion to the main characters and their cause.”
    Tina Donelly Goodreads
    “Another fantastic book by David Estes that had me gripped straight away”
    Adele Goodreads
    About the author

    David Estes was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was very young. He grew up in Pittsburgh and then went to Penn State for college. Eventually moved to Sydney, Australia where he met his wife. A reader all his life, he began writing novels for the children's and YA markets in 2010. He´s a writer with OCD, a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), a mad-skilled ping-pong player, and prefers writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table

    Author of the Evolution Trilogy!/davidestesbooks

    Check out all the blogs on the Tour for more exciting news about The Star Dwellers. You may even be the lucky winner of your very own copy of this amazing book!!

    Blog Tour Schedule!!

    Author Info, Book Blurb, Cover & Giveaway (The Star Dwellers paperback)

    Oct 2nd

    Terri My Book Boyfriend.

    Excerpt from The Star Dwellers

    Oct 3rd

    Review & Giveaway

    Oct 4th

    Interview and Character Bio (Adele)

    Oct 5th

    Guest post by David Estes

    Oct 6th

    Review & Giveaway

    Oct 7th

    Excerpt from The Star Dwellers

    Oct 8th

    Character Bio (Tristan)

    Oct 9th


    Oct 10th

    Character Guest Post

    Oct 11th


    Oct 12th

    Character Bio (Tawni)

    Oct 13th

    Guest post by David Estes

    Oct 14th


    Oct 15th

    Excerpt from The Star Dwellers

    Oct 16th

    Interview & Review

    Oct 17th

    Character Guest Post

    Oct 18th

    Character Bio (Roc)

    Oct 19th

    Review and closing giveaway (paperback of The Moon Dwellers and The Star Dwellers)

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