Double Release Day

We have a double treat for fantasy fans today with two releases. First there’s book three in Kate McIntyre’s historical-fantasy detective series The Faraday Files: The Heartreader’s Secret, and we also have book four in Eliza Tilton’s fantasy romance series The Daath Chronicles: Deceptively Beautiful – A Daath Wedding.

The Heartreader’s Secret

The brilliant engineer Emilia Banks has gone missing.

Deathsniffer Olivia Faraday may be partial to solving murders, but this missing persons case is too personal to pass up — especially when all the clues lead her and her assistant, Chris, to the sprawling countryside manor where Olivia was born and raised. Their investigation reveals new insights into the political conflict raging in nearby Darrington City, but every step is fraught with mysterious deaths, suspicious stalkers, and players both new and old each harboring dangerous agendas of their own.

Are the powerful traditionalists or the anarchic reformists prowling the borders of the estate responsible for the sudden disappearance of Miss Banks? And could the elusive engineer’s private project truly change the world forever?

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Deceptively Beautiful – A Daath Wedding

While war plagues the various lands, Daath is preparing for the grandest celebration in its history. Lucino and Jeslyn will marry, uniting their people and erasing the scars left from the battle of the valley and the destruction of the temple.

But something is amiss between the couple, and Jeslyn fears Lucino is reverting back to his more ruthless, Reptilian nature. As the days to the wedding draw near, Jeslyn must decide if the man she intends to marry, is the one she should.

When Romulus created the simulacrum, Lucino knew there would be risks, and consequences from using such dark magic. What he never foresaw was his clone taking his place as the ruler of Daath. After a vicious attack from his clone, a protective spell is triggered and Lucino is teleported back to his dying world.

If Lucino doesn’t find a way off Mirth, Jeslyn will bind her aura to the wrong man and ultimately change the outcome of the future of Daath, and every other land in Tarrtainya.

And he only has six days to do it.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

January 2018 Sequels Release Day

It’s a new year, but one thing is consistent here at CQ – our sequels release day. On a selected day each month, we bring you much-anticipated sequels in some much loved CQ series. This month, we have a cyberpunk thriller from Matthew S. Cox, and a steampunk adventure from Jordan Elizabeth.

Zero Rogue (The Awakened Book 5) by Matthew S. Cox

Division Zero Officer Aaron Pryce understood any day on the job could be the last for him or his wife, but he never imagined he’d be the one to kill her.

As it turned out, the world of professional sports frowned on using Telekinesis on the field. So, a “career ending injury” sent him to West City to escape anti-psionic Britain. Two years on the force made for a drastic change of lifestyle for a once-famous Frictionless player, but meeting Allison made his exile worth it.

During a routine call, they corner a psionic woman in the middle of a robbery, who compels Aaron to shoot his partner. Despite his love for his wife, he loses an agonizing battle of wills. His mind, as well as his world, shatters. When he wakes, the store is gone; only a field of debris and dead civilians remains.

A department telepath attempts to verify his story, but triggers another fatal backlash, killing several officers. Considered a murderer with out-of-control powers, Aaron has no choice but to go rogue.

On the run from the law, he has one goal: to find the woman who destroyed his life―and end hers.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Secrets of Bennett Hall (Return to Amston Book 2) by Jordan Elizabeth

Darkness once twisted Adelaide Dinsmore’s mind, but she thought she had grown out of that. Her job as a teacher in Hedlund proved that – until she discovers one of her students dead and the town turns against her. As her mind starts to crumble, she is offered a new job, this time as a governess for Gentleman Bennett’s granddaughter back east.

Bennett Hall is a sprawling manor of winding tunnels and manicured lawns, and the fence is really just for show. The little girl, Theodora, is a delight, albeit quiet, and the Bennetts are kind enough, especially the dashing young Joseph. So what if one of the servants sends chills down her spine every time he looks at her? Surely that, and the noises in the night, are figments of her imagination. She won’t allow the past in Hedlund to tarnish her future at Bennett Hall.

Then, Theodora begins to speak of a Villain who haunts secret passages in the manor, and Adelaide stumbles upon a sealed off wing where ghosts whisper from the shadows. Twisted inventions fill the basement and the villagers are wary of the Bennett family.

The longer she stays at Bennett Hall, the less likely her chance for escape, but she cannot leave Theodora or Joseph. The darkness in her mind might be the only thing to save them.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

December 2017 Sequels Release Day

In keeping with the tradition of the last few months, we’ve saved all the sequels to some much loved CQ series for you to enjoy in one day. This month sees the second installment in two series by Matthew Cox: The Roadhouse Chronicles 2: The Redeemed, and Temporal Armistice 2: The Shadow Collector. We also have the third book in Edward Aubry’s Mayhem Wave Series, the third – and final – book in Darin Kennedy’s Fugue & Fable series, and a spin-off anthology for Jason King’s Valcoria series.

The Redeemed, by Matthew S. Cox

The worst part about chasing one’s dream is catching it.

Six months ago, Kevin opened a Roadhouse of his own. No longer the idiot braving the dangerous post-nuclear highways of 2073, he thought he’d finally grow old and happy selling bullets, beds, and booze to those still foolish enough to get behind the wheel.

Then, he’d met her.

The white-haired outcast from the xenophobic Enclave crashed into his life, becoming the conscience he never wanted and everything he desired. She couldn’t save the world from the Virus, but she could save Kevin’s dream.

A biker gang calling themselves the Redeemed starts shooting up Roadhouses in flagrant disregard of the Code, shattering the serenity of his humble waystation. When the long-vaunted retribution of Amarillo’s army fails to materialize, Kevin feels more like a sitting duck than he ever did on the road―but it’s not his ‘house he fears losing.

Determined to protect her, he takes it upon himself to enforce the unwritten law of the Roadhouse.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Mayhem’s Children, by Edward Aubry

Eight years have passed since the Mayhem Wave forever altered the world to a blend of science and magic, and since Harrison Cody rescued twenty-eight teenage girls from human traffickers. Now they are disappearing, and he suspects their former captors, followers of an entity of ultimate power and evil, of an elaborate revenge scheme. An assistant director in the New Chicago Security Agency, Harrison puts his government resources to the task of protecting these women, and recovering the ones already lost. But Harrison did not just rescue them from villains those many years ago, he also adopted them, and that relationship holds the key to the true nature of their present danger.

Dorothy O’Neill, another of Harrison’s adopted daughters, though from very different circumstances, has taken five-year- old Melody Cody, Harrison’s only child by blood, under her wing. As the missing persons crisis intensifies, Dorothy discovers she and Melody are targets as well. When the NCSA headquarters are attacked by a dark wizard with a colony of giant bats, the two of them flee into the woods to evade capture.

Separated by hundreds of miles, and with no means of communication, Harrison and Dorothy become entangled in the schemes of a monster who hopes to alter the world once again at the cost of all they hold dear. And as Dorothy finds an inner strength and new abilities she never dreamed of possessing, she comes to suspect Melody may be something more than she appears.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Valcoria Awakenings Anthology, by Jason King

The battle for Amigus is over, and orphan-turned-hero, Yuiv, is settling into his life as junior lord of the house of Trauel. The loving family and peaceful life he’s so long yearned for seems to be within his grasp; that is until Yuiv starts having vivid nightmares. His glowing Kalyra eyes mark these dreams as supernatural, proof that he has the gift of Farsight—a power held only by the Al’Kalyra or Arch Sage.

As frightening as the idea of being Valcoria’s prophesied savior is, the terror of what Yuiv witnesses in his sleep is much worse. Pain, grief, blood and death descend upon him as he sees through the eyes of men, women, and even children who have been touched by the light of YaJiann.

The Children of the Crystal star are awakening, rising above turmoil and strife to embrace their destinies as defenders of Valcoria. But all light casts a shadow, and with the heroes come the horrors born of blood and shadow. A dark threat looms; monsters that are far closer than anyone realizes—anyone except for Yuiv. And the revelation is nearly too hard for him to bear as it can mean only one thing.

The battle with the darkness is not over. It has only just begun.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

The Shadow Collector, by Matthew S. Cox

Brooklyn thought nothing would ever surprise her again after learning her father is an extraplanar being―until the police ask her for help.

For most of her life, the cops have been a thorn in her side, always in the way of a good time. By seventeen, she’d spent more time in police cars than some rookies. With age comes (a little) restraint, and she’s managed to avoid getting in trouble for six whole years. Working for the Philadelphia Fire Department offers a sense of belonging and purpose she never had growing up, even if the whole ‘adulting’ thing sucks.

After responding to a fire call eerily similar to the one that claimed her childhood home, a local detective seeks her out. He’s hunting a serial killer who preys on the city’s homeless, taking the lives of those no one cares to see. Every victim’s body has so far been stolen from the morgue, frustrating the investigation to the point he’s willing to rely on a psychic―even a former delinquent.

Brooklyn senses a connection between the recent fire, the murders, and a mysteriously guilty little girl, but her respect for the law only goes so far.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

The Tchaikovsky Finale, by Darin Kennedy

Psychic Mira Tejedor lies comatose in the wake of her second battle with the devious Madame Versailles, but her sacrifice was not in vain. Though at great cost, her nemesis is no more, her love has returned to the land of the living, and twelve innocent girls are back with their families. Still, young Anthony Faircloth can’t escape the notion there must have been another way.

Obsessed with freeing Mira as Mira once freed him, Anthony works to rekindle their special link and soon meets with more success than he knows what to do with. Two distinct worlds, both forged in the imagination of Pyotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, threaten to consume his life.

By the still waters of Swan Lake, Anthony assumes the guise of a man named Benno and must help Prince Siegfried defend the Swan Princess, Odette, from the machinations of a dark sorcerer. In the Stahlbaum house, he takes on the role of a boy named Fritz who, under the command of the Nutcracker Prince, must save his sister Clara from the onslaught of the Mouse King and his army of rodent soldiers. At the intersection of the two disparate settings lies yet another mystery: both Odette and Clara wear Mira’s face. And these intertwining perils are but shadows of the real danger.

Back in the real world, a menacing figure from Mira’s past has escaped from prison and now stalks her on both sides of the veil of dream. Anthony must bring Mira out of her catatonic state so that she can fight one last time, or her life and the lives of all she loves will be lost.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

James Wymore’s The Actuator Series: Book Four Release & Sale

We’re excited to announce that the final book in James Wymore’s SciFi, fantasy The Actuator Series is OUT NOW. You can get the digital edition of THE LAST KEY on Amazon, with the paperback edition forthcoming.

And to celebrate the new release, the rest of the Actuator series will be on sale from November 17, with each title discounted so that you can get the whole series for under $8.

The Last Key

The Actuator, a machine capable of literally changing reality, was created to make a utopian paradise. Before it happened, a saboteur used it to transform the world into patches of every kind of genre fiction, scattering the keys necessary to put it back across the globe. Everyone alive found their lives radically altered, some living in fantasy realms with real magic and others in incomprehensible horrors. Thrown into chaos, people struggled against aliens, pirates, orcs, and vampires. Many died. Only a handful of people on the planet, called Machine Monks, even knew why it happened or how. Now they have to put it all back before humanity is destroyed.

Continuing their quest for the Actuator keys, the Machine Monks realize their cause is becoming hopeless. An army of half-machine men is rapidly spreading over the face of the earth, converting anybody they don’t kill to their cause. With superior numbers and technology, their leader will not stop until every living human is subdued and loyal to him.

Keeping the first key with him, preventing anybody from using the Actuator to change the world, the sociopath rampages. Even if they could get all the keys, the small group opposing the tyrant don’t know what to do when they get to the final one—a key they’ve never seen before. If they don’t find the answers fast, the world will be lost.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

The Actuator: Fractured Earth – FREE

Known as “The Actuator”, this machine is capable of transforming entire communities into alternate realities. In theory, these often terrifying realities are reversible. The scientists in charge of this machine employ operatives called Machine Monks, who attune their minds to manifest single ideas from the realms of fantasy and science fiction. These ideas are then superimposed upon sparsely inhabited areas for testing.

For a while, the enigmatic Actuator cooperates with the experiments, using dampeners to limit the affected area. But those in charge of the project eagerly anticipate exploring the full potential of this amazing device. Experiments progress to where they feed more than twenty different genre ideas simultaneously into the Actuator’s database.

Meanwhile, an unknown saboteur dismantles the dampeners. The effect is catastrophic. The entire world is plunged into chaos, and familiar landscapes become a deadly patchwork of genre horrors. Overnight, the Actuator becomes the worst menace the earth has ever seen, claiming lives in staggering numbers.

Can a few surviving Machine Monks band together to set things right again? It all depends on whether Red McLaren and the Monks can survive their journey through the various realms that separate them from the Actuator, where ever-present orcs, aliens, pirates, and vampires seek to destroy them.

They must move quickly, as time is running out to stop the Actuator and the villain who controls it and the earth’s destiny.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

The Actuator: Borderlands Anthology – FREE

When the Actuator breaks the earth into a patchwork of altered realities, the remaining Machine Monks begin looking for the Keys to put it back. In the meantime, everyone in the world has been transformed without knowing why. This collection tells about some of the people struggling to deal with the change.

  • In Remembering Emily, by Sara Wolf, Daniel must rescue his distant girlfriend from danger. Worse, she might forget him.
  • Matthew Cox explores Cyberpunked China in Stolen Orchid, where a man finds his wife has become a ghost. His only hope is to cross the border to an unfamiliar realm.
  • In The Blackbird’s Tale, Dan Willis tells of a Machine Monk named David, who works his way through Chicago’s noir scene to find an Actuator Key.
  • Nathan Yocum gives us The Dream Journal of Oren Smith Wessely, in steampunk Arizona where his dreams suddenly come to life.
  • Mara Valderran’s The Austenation crosses Pride and Prejudice with werewolves so the young heroine is forced to do the unthinkable and take matters into her own hands.
  • In Escape, by Patrick Burdine, a group of teenagers are caught in a motherless town where all the fathers have turned into faceless, soul-sucking monsters.
  • The Ritual, by Whitney Trang, is a haunted house in Japan where a ghost seeks to sacrifice a young woman’s sister to save his family.
  • The Gatekeepers of Change is James Pratt’s chronicle of the awakening of great power in a man preparing to enact terrible plans.
  • The Ringer is Craig Nybo’s tale about a detective in New Orleans facing zombies and other undead monsters as he assists a client in taking on her crime lord husband.
  • A Soviet soldier guarding Chernobyl, in Jason Purdy’s Anna and Lena, must escape the poisoning by crossing an unknown border.
  • Jenny Persson brings us a teen in Viking Sweden in Once upon a Frozen North, who looks to the steampunk airships just across the border as a means for her escape.
  • Jay Wilburn tells of drug addicted Travis, in Halfway, who finds the sanctuary of the sanitarium suddenly turns violent.
  • The author Juhi’s The Search for Punarnav takes us to India, where a man seeks to become a healer despite the dangerous Hindu mythologies suddenly made real.
  • Jason A. Anderson brings us 15 Seconds of Fame, in Steampunk London where a detective risks everything to save a child from her mob boss father.
  • In Forever Young, Wilbert Stanton explores the fate of an old man who finds himself young again, after paying his life’s savings to gain admission into an exclusive realm.
  • Finally, James Wymore’s tale, Cult of the Actuation, continues the story from book 1, as Dragon Star takes on religious zealots, organized in the wake of the Change, who have taken one of the Machine Monks captive.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

The Actuator 2: Return of the Saboteur  – 99 cents

The Machine Monks fight to keep control of the Actuator while enemies attack the base. As besiegers wear them down, the rest of the world struggles to adapt to the chaos left in the wake of the great change. Their only choice is to push forward and find the next key and shutdown the fantasy realm surrounding the base. When they do, Xenwyn will die.

Haunted by the incalculable death toll all over the earth, Jon accepts the mission to recover the next key. Despite his injuries and as much as he hates to leave his newfound love, he refuses to let all of humanity suffer if he can fix it.

Desperate to keep Xenwyn alive, Red determines to find a magical cure before Jon gets back with the key. Each time he takes her across a border, might be the end.

Seeing all his friends in turmoil, Dragon Star sets out to find the saboteur. If the architect of this dark world cannot offer any means of setting things right, he will at least see consequences for the horrors he unleashed.

None of them ever imagined the Actuator could still make the world even worse.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

The Actuator 3: Chaos Chronicles – 99 Cents

Scattered all across the world, the Machine Monks struggle to deal with the saboteur’s next big move. Isolated in a situation they’ve never experienced before, their mission to collect all the Actuator keys grows desperate.

In “Eyes in the Void,” by Dan Willis, Holly Dark must convince David, a hard bitten, Noir PI, to help her rob a high security train so she can pay off an Ogre who is also her late father’s loan shark.

An elven ranger finds himself in the Old West after a ritual gone awry. Having traded in his longbow for six-guns, he accepts a quest from a strange lawman in exchange for help returning to the home he loves. Matthew Cox tells us “The Ruin of Man.”

When the world’s most dangerous kaiju marches on manga-inspired Japan, can Isaac Tran defeat it using only his wits and the power of anime? Find out in “Memories of a Kaiju,” by Bob Defendi.

A honeymoon “Safari” (by Lorna Marie Larson) goes horribly wrong when rudely interrupted by the chaotic Actuator. Without guns, how do you fight against ancient wildlife with a mind of its own?

Harry’s back from out west, but he’s returned as an orc. Now he’s trying to set up a drug deal that will make Butch rich, if it doesn’t get him killed first. “Monsters in Chicago,” by D. J. Butler.

“Stranded in Camelot” by her so-called friends, Machine Monk Elizabeth Darling seeks a way home to Steampunk London—and finds an unexpected surprise in the medieval forest. Get medieval with C.M. Spivey.

Tina and a group of injured teens stands between a horror and millions of innocent lives. Robert J. Defendi gives us “Big Trouble in Greater Tokyo.”

Patrick Burdine gives us the continued story of orphaned teens in “The Bayou King.” While Lennie is traveling to a safe haven with her little brother through the nightmare lands of the Dead South, disaster strikes and she is forced to rely on a woman with a dark secret if she hopes to survive.

James Wymore tells the next part of the ongoing saga as Brian and his crew face the saboteur face to face in a high tech war that will alter the fate of the world.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Sequels Release Day November 2017

Once again we’re bringing you three much-anticipated sequels to three much-loved series. This month we have The Last Netherworld of the Apocalypse, book four in Nina Post’s Kelly Driscoll Series, Disposal, book three in Tara Tyler’s Pop Travel Series, and Containment, book two in J.R. Rain and Matthew S. Cox’s Winter Solstice Series.

The Last Netherworld of the Apocalypse

Kelly Driscoll is supposed to be on hiatus from her job as manager of Amenity Tower, but she needs money, and the barn her boyfriend bought has a spectral bee infestation. And while Kelly knows never to take a job offer at face value, she accepts a job to track down an immortal women’s restroom designer named Sun. The target was last spotted in Gridlock City, so Kelly—along with her dad, the single-purpose angels, and Af, the former angel of destruction—drive non-stop to get there.

When Kelly first locates Sun, she decides to not turn him in until she finds out who she’s actually working for, but he goes missing after accepting an award for his design of the women’s restrooms in the Ghostburp Hotel. She and her team meet Bes, an Egyptian goddess working as a travel nanny; Lemur, an angel who puts songs in people’s minds; and Penny, a woman who leaves her body behind and joins them as a floating disembodied head.

They search for Sun through a series of strange netherworlds, looking for clues to his current location. But after a narrow escape from the largest netherworld corporation, a bewildering experience on a college campus, a side job in a labyrinth, and an inescapable dentist office and airport, things look bleak. A maddening netherworld portal system is keeping Kelly separated from her family—and Sun is nowhere to be found.

Kelly learns that Sun is key to a plan that would obliterate all of the netherworlds. And as the condo board of Amenity Tower makes a trip to flush five very special toilets, her boyfriend negotiates a life-changing deal with a powerful entity, and her replacement manager at Amenity Tower teeters on the verge of a breakdown, Kelly has to hustle like never before to find Sun and protect both her world and the netherworlds from destruction.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Disposal

In the future many problems are the same, but cool gadgets make chasing the bad guys more fun.

Cooper and Geri are finally in a good place, but their bliss is short-lived. When Cooper’s rebellious nephew Jimmy comes down to stay with them in Atlanta for a summer internship. Now he thinks he’s found the girl of his dreams in a fiery, exotic beauty. Pursuing her against all words of warning into a dangerous underground world, he ends up getting kidnapped by her powerful Drug Lord father. Geri tracks him down, but gets herself kidnapped as well.

Now it’s up to Cooper to use all his resources to save them, including the hot homicide detective Geri secretly despises, and the latest sketchy gadgets his genius friend Hasan needs field-tested. Sure, why not? Cooper will try anything to get his family back.

DISPOSAL is the third book in my Pop Travel series – sci-fi noir, a detective thriller set in the near future.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Containment

Something big stirs in the murk of the Volga river, emerging at night to sow mayhem and death along the banks. Since she’s already stranded at ground zero, Solstice Winters agrees to help. A small numina problem stands between her and getting back to her family―its only about twenty feet long.

Yay for being the only elf in the world.

After narrowly escaping the Ordo Sanguinem Aeternam, she winds up sharing a flat halfway across the world from home with the enigmatic Cristiano, an agent of the secretive organization she may have obligated herself to join. He seems to know his way around the city, and he’s not bad on the eyes either.

Solstice soon realizes she’s tracking a beast the likes of which none of her father’s books have mentioned, a creature unique to Russia that her magic lacks the strength to kill. To make matters worse, the Federal Security Bureau sticks their noses into the mix.

While hunting the dangerous numina, she awakens a forgotten power in the depths of the river that has the potential to alter the course of human history―and not for the better.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Dear Teen Me, by Edward Aubry

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The author at 18, apparently having conquered a small pile of dirt.

Dear Teen Me,

ADD is a real thing.  You have it, it’s going to go undiagnosed and untreated, and nobody will ever cut you any slack for it.  Let’s get all that on the table right up front.  It’s why things that seem pretty easy for lots of other people are impossibly confusing to you.  It’s why deadlines are terrifying.  It’s why your room is a mess.  And, it’s why your life for the next few years is going to be defined largely by other people’s disappointment in you.

Heads up: you don’t suck at everything.  It just feels that way a lot of the time.  You’re going to turn out all right, and do some pretty fantastic stuff.  You write at least five novels.  No lie.  And I’m not talking shitty one-draft vanity projects you keep in a box of notebooks in your closet.  All five novels get published.  Rave reviews. There’s a movie deal.  An audiobook.  For three days you are an honest-to-God bestseller on Amazon.  Keep all of that in your head, because we need to talk about how you’re going to get there.

First of all, you’re going to hear many variations of the phrase “not meeting potential.”  Pretty much every adult in your life is going to have this view of you.  Teachers, parents, relatives, employers, and so on.  By now you’ve already figured out you are smarter than the average bear. So have they. And that carries with it a whole assortment of expectations that seem completely reasonable to your elders, and utterly nonsensical to you.  They are never going to get tired of telling you how much better you should be doing, and none of what they are asking you to do will make any sense to you.

Try to keep the following in mind:

Most of them, maybe even all of them, are telling you these things because they genuinely love and respect you.  To you, it will always sound like scolding.  In their heads, it sounds like mentoring.  A huge proportion of their frustration with you comes from that disconnect, and their inability to see it.

When they talk about your potential, they are measuring something completely immeasurable, and they have no idea they are doing that.  They think they are responding to data like developmental benchmarks, test scores, and observational evidence.  It turns out that stuff only accounts for an absurdly small fraction of who you are and what you can do.  They are not wrong to say that people as smart as you are can do things better than you have been doing them.  But they are absolutely wrong to believe that intelligence alone can quantify potential for success, especially for narrow definitions of success (remember, five novels – hang onto that).

So, yeah, lots of adults and authority figures are going to say the same exact unhelpful things to you, over and over, in chorus, and then blame you when their guidance fails to produce the results they want.

And then someone finally figures out the right way to say it.

You’re going to have a French teacher.  Maybe you’ve already met her.  Her name is Ellen Minor, and you take French 2 and French 3 with her in 10th and 11th grade.  You don’t take French 4, even though it’s offered, and even though she teaches it, and even though you think she’s pretty great for a teacher.  You don’t take it because foreign languages are not intuitive for you, and because you have cultivated an interest in the performing arts over the past three years, and there is no way you can fit it in your schedule and still take drama and music.

And you don’t take it because you think you’re no good at French.

Ellen is going to be disappointed in you.  By that point, disappointment will be pretty much the defining quality of your relationships with teachers, and you will weather it. But her opinion will matter to you, and in the course of discussing your decision not to take the class, you are going to make an offhand remark that she thinks you’re just lazy.  I don’t remember why you say that.  Maybe it’s to pick a fight so you can defend yourself.  Maybe it’s a moment of self-deprecation (there will be a lot of those), and it’s to give yourself permission to hate yourself again.  I don’t know.  But it does turn out to be the right button to push, because what she says next will completely change your life.

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Horribly unflattering picture of me, and in terrible condition, but totally worth including because that’s Ellen in the middle. (Also pictured: Ann Brown, whom I have sadly lost track of)

She’s going to say, “I don’t think you’re lazy at all.  I think you work very hard until you find something that doesn’t come easy for you, and then you give up.”

I… wait… what?

Yeah.  That’s the moment.  Because here’s the secret about ADD: it doesn’t hold you back from anything.  It just means you have to push harder to accomplish whatever it is you need to accomplish.  It means you have to want it more.

Here’s what was happening to you that whole time, right up to that moment:

You accomplished a lot.  That should be obvious, but somehow it isn’t.  Your parents and teachers didn’t think you were smart because of some theory or prophecy. They thought you were smart because you did smart things.  You were reading at a college level by the time you got to middle school. You blasted through math like it was nothing.  And you did those things because they came easy for you, and you enjoyed them, and you got caught in an ease-skill-joy-work-reward loop.  Adults said you were brilliant, and you believed them. But the second your distractibility kicked in and slowed you down, you got the not-meeting-potential smackdown.

Like I said, ADD is a real thing.  Your difficulties are going to be random and profound. It will be frustrating as hell.  The trick is to stop worrying about how good you are supposed to be at whatever it is, embrace the fact that some things are going to require more time, effort and dedication from you than they will from your peers, and never give up.

You’re going to get into Wesleyan.  That’s awesome!  The bad news is college is going to be incredibly difficult for you.  It’s going to take you five years to earn a bachelor’s degree in a field you do not end up pursuing.  You are going to graduate in the bottom quarter of your class.  That’s going to feel like failure to you for years, until one day you suddenly remember that people who graduate in the bottom quarter of their class from Wesleyan are called WESLEYAN GRADUATES.  Wear that badge, pal.  You’re totally going earn it, and you will probably work harder for it than a lot of your classmates who graduate ahead of you (not all of them, obviously, but many).

You’re going to be a teacher.  That probably sounds insane to you right now, but it’s true.  You’re going to get certified to teach math, and then later, on a dare, you are going to add English to your credentials.

You finally get diagnosed at 30.  At first, you will treat it like a dirty secret, and honestly I can’t really blame you.  People you work with, other teachers, your friends and colleagues, are going to say the following things about ADD right to your face:

ADD means Ain’t Doing Diddly.

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PS: Quit biting your nails.

I wish I had a Ritalin dart gun.

No wonder these kids are so hyper; Ritalin is a stimulant!

You will smile politely, fuming inside, thinking you will never be accepted if anyone finds out you are being treated for the same thing they mock so freely.  Eventually you will figure out that you can do a lot more good for your kids if you just shrug off the anxiety and put it out there.  You will have students who treat their diagnosis as a get-out-of-work-free card.  Tell them you have a music degree, you teach math and you write successful novels, and tell them exactly how you pushed past the ADD to make it all happen.  It will make a difference, I promise you.  They need you to be that example.

You’ve got this, buddy.  Now get out there and write some books.

Respectfully Yours,

Future Edward Aubry

Meet Marianne Kirby

Meet Marianne Kirby, author of YA LGBT dark-fantasy horror Dust Bath Revival, 2 December at 18:30–20:00, at Wordier Than Thou, 5741 75th Ave. N, Pinellas Park, Florida 33781 and 3 December at 13:00–15:00, at Writer’s Atelier, 336 Grove Ave, Winter Park, Florida 32789

coverAbout Dust Bath Revival

16-year-old Henrietta Goodness – Hank to all that know her – has heard all the stories about how the Dust made the dead rise. She’s heard about how life changed.

But that was a long time ago, and Hank is ready for another normal dry and dusty Florida summer. She knows the thunder doesn’t really promise rain. Instead, Hank and her brother will do their chores, run into town as much as they can get away with, and lock up tight and safe in their Aunt Marty’s house once the sun goes down. That’s the plan, at least, until an itinerant tent revival rolls onto their land, with a Reborn – one of the risen dead – traveling caged with them.

The arrival of an unknown cousin connected to the revival starts Hank on the road to solving a mystery that even the government might not want unraveled. There’s nowhere to go when the night isn’t safe and there’s no one to trust when everyone might be part of a conspiracy to keep the Reborn walking.

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curiosityquills.comAbout Marianne Kirby

Marianne Kirby writes about bodies both real and imagined. She plays with the liminal space between vanishing and visibility: she thinks the things that go bump in the night need to spend some time in the sun.

A long-time writer, editor, and activist, Marianne is a frequent contributor to women’s interest publications, news outlets, and tv shows that require people to have opinions. She has been published by the Guardian, xoJane, the Daily Dot, Bitch Magazine, Time, and others. She has appeared on tv and radio programs ranging from the Dr. Phil Show to Radio New Zealand.

Marianne was born in Florida and returned there because Florida Weird calls to its own. She has briefly escaped again but is already plotting her eventual winter migration.

This is her first novel.

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The Atlas Link Series: Book One Free & Book Two Out Now

Today is the release of LANDLOCKED, book two in the Atlas link Series by Jessica Gunn; the science-fiction romance series that started with GYRE, in February.

To celebrate Landlocked’s release, book one Gyre is on sale for FREE;

September 12 – 13!

coverAbout Gyre; Free September 12 – 13!

Chelsea didn’t try to teleport. All she wanted was to play the Battle of the Bands show. But after accidentally teleporting onto classified Navy vessel SeaSatellite5, all she’s rocking is the boat. Once it’s sorted out that Chelsea’s not a threat, SeaSat5’s top scientist offers Chelsea a position on the crew as an archaeology intern. Dr. Saint studies people with powers, believing them to be descendants of Atlantean refugees, except Chelsea’s powers are beyond anything on previous record.

While great for everyone else onboard, the miracle of Chelsea is Trevor’s worst nightmare. The same girl who’d given him a brief lifeline to sanity three months ago literally fell from the sky, under a mile of ocean, and onto the very station where he’s employed. Making matters worse, Trevor’s family are Lemurians, Atlantis’s enemy, and Chelsea’s presence is unpredicted—a wrench in an already unstable situation. But Trevor wants no part of his family’s war. The only thing he wants is Chelsea, Atlantean or not.

Days into Chelsea’s sudden appearance, SeaSatellite5 uncovers Atlantean ruins and a massive artifact cache, placing its entire, hundred-man crew in the crosshairs of an ancient war. There are those who want the Atlantean relics inside the ruins destroyed, and only Trevor knows the treasures for what they really are: Link Pieces, tools used by the ancient civilizations for their time-travel war.

With lies and shifting alliances abound, Chelsea and Trevor will have to think fast in order to save the station. If they don’t, the Lemurians will seize the artifacts and Atlantis will be destroyed forever.

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cover2-1000About Landlocked; out now!

When there are more traitors than allies, who do you trust?

Two years have passed since SeaSatellite5 was taken by the Lemurians. Trevor and Chelsea have rejoined the war on TAO’s side, exploring Link Pieces in hopes of finding the station. But so far they’ve managed to find nothing. Not even solace in their crumbling relationship.

After following a Link Piece to A.D. 3001, the botched trip leaves them telepathically connected. It’s too much for Chelsea and, retreating to a nightclub in Arizona, she interrupts an operation conducted by a paramilitary group called TruGates. They seem to know more about the Atlantean-Lemurian war than they’re letting on, and also unknowingly hunt Lemurian mercenaries. While guarding her own ties to the war, and despite Trevor’s and TAO’s misgivings, she agrees to join up if it’ll possibly lead to finding SeaSatellite5.

Back at TAO, Trevor learns that what he and Chelsea assumed happened to SeaSatellite5 barely scratches the surface. As the picture of the war expands, allies and traitors churn out of the web-work left behind. If Chelsea and Trevor can’t get past the betrayals and heal their wounded hearts, not only will the fate of SeaSat5 dangle on a precipice, but also every member of the crew they once risked everything to save.

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BROKEN DOLLS SERIES: Book One – Free; Book Two – Out now!

Fans of Tyrolin Puxty’s middle-grade, dystopian horror series, we have a treat for you. The second book in the series, SHATTERED GIRLS is OUT NOW and to celebrate for today only, book one, BROKEN DOLLS is FREE!

cover1000About Broken Dolls

Ella doesn’t remember what it’s like to be human – after all, she’s lived as a doll for thirty years. She forgets what it’s like to taste, to breathe…to love.

She helps the professor create other dolls, but they don’t seem to hang around for long. His most recent creation is Lisa, a sly goth. Ella doesn’t like Lisa. How could she, when Lisa keeps trying to destroy her?

Ella likes the professor’s granddaughter though, even if she is dying. Gabby is like Ella’s personal bodyguard. It’s too bad the professor wants to turn Gabby into a doll too, depriving her of an education…depriving her of life.

With time running out and mad dolls on the rampage, Ella questions her very existence as she unearths the secrets buried in her past; secrets that will decide whether Gabby will befall the same fate…

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coverAbout Shattered Girls

Ella’s decision to return to her doll form has caused more trouble than she ever thought possible.

Gabby’s a moody teen. The professor is gone. And people are going missing at alarming rates; including Gabby’s parents.

Robotic dolls – eerily similar to Ella – are popping up across the globe and nobody seems too concerned about it. Nobody except for Ella and Gabby.

With only the crazed Sianne left to help them, the girls must fight to find the truth behind the epidemic and the robotic dolls.

Only Ella doesn’t think they’re robotic at all…

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The December People Series: Book One Free; Book Three OUT NOW!

Fans of Sharon Bayliss’ urban-fantasy series The December People, about dark wizards living in modern day Texas, we have a treat for you. The third book in the series, A Taste of Death and Honey is out now and to celebrate for today only, book one, Destruction is FREE!

Destruction, by Sharon Bayliss - CoverAbout Destruction

David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn’t a choice.

Eleven years ago, David’s secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without.

Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David’s wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.
Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.

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Watch Me Burn, by Sharon Bayliss - CoverAbout Watch Me Burn

David Vandergraff lost his home, his job, and contact with his oldest son, but remains determined to be a good husband and father despite being a dark winter wizard.

His resolve is tested when a flyer for a missing girl—who happens to be a summer witch—begins to haunt him. David believes a spell needs to use him to save her, so he follows the magic’s command and looks into her disappearance. His teenage daughter Emmy resents him for caring so much about a random stranger. But when she uncovers some disturbing evidence close to home, she begins an investigation of her own.

David and Emmy quickly learn that the mystery is not only about a missing girl they barely know, but a deeply personal story that impacts everyone they care about. As their world crumbles, they fear the warning may be true—never mess with summer wizards, because the good guys always win.

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ATasteofDeathandHoney800CoverRevealPromotionalAbout A Taste of Death and Honey

When Samantha’s parents died, she lost everything. Her home. Her friends. Her hope. Then a life-loving spring witch at the children’s shelter fills her life with light and joy once again.

But like the springtime, Samantha’s happiness doesn’t last forever. Her friend dies violently in front of her, the victim of a mysterious killing spell. Furious and grief-stricken, Samantha resents her own weak spring magic. She doesn’t need life and renewal. She wants revenge…and death.

Homeless and alone, Samantha seeks shelter with her old friends, the Vandergraff family, and finds an unexpected ally in the powerful winter solstice witch, Evangeline. The girls’ anger and eagerness lead them to cast a killing spell before knowing the truth behind Samantha’s friend’s death or the identity of her killer.

Once the spell is cast, they can’t take it back, and they must fight to stop their own curse before it takes away everyone they love.

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