#Bookblitz…Hacienda Moon…#BookBoost #Gothic #Romance #Booknerd #OnTour @RABTBookTours @kasonndraleigh

Gothic Romance
Date Published: 10/31/17
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Centuries ago, his ancestor fell in love with a woman cursed by a jealous witch. No one believed him until it was too late. Eric Fontalvo was determined to prove one thing… that a family curse didn’t cause his father’s death.
 
The plan was working until the day he found her…again. Suddenly his life changes forever, and he is forced to question everything he believes.
 
Moving into an old plantation house was just what Tandie Harrison needed to recover from tragedy. So she writes a book, a story based on a man in her dreams. There’s only one problem though… the characters from her novel keep showing up on her doorstep.
 
And then she finds a diary written hundreds of years ago.
 
As if that isn’t strange enough, she meets him…the man from her dream, someone who reawakens her psychic power along with something else from long ago.
 
Can Eric and Tandie’s love destroy the force keeping them apart? Or will darkness win again?
 
Hacienda Moon is a new classic tale of two lovers crossing time. A seductive tale of one woman’s journey to confront the demons of her past and to find the courage to face her future. It is a mesmerizing novel that explores the deepest depths of human nature, and the characters will hold and haunt you long after you have read the final chapter.

About the Author

Author of the Bestelling Lost Immortals Saga, Pathseekers and Musical Interlude Series, KaSonndra Leigh is also a mother, blogazine owner, reader, gardener, home renovator, and a slayer of undead Egyptian mummies in Tomb Raider. She believes in karma, coffee, and seriously wish that the producers of Xena would bring her favorite show ever back.
 
Strange things about KaSonndra: Everything. She’s weird, odd, unusual, and generally tends to make people think she swooped down from another planet. Maybe she did. Who knows? She’s also a member of the #zombiesurvivalcrew on twitter. So if you need protection from the upcoming apocalypse, don’t hesitate to call on KayLeigh and crew!
 
KaSonndra was born in the race-car city of Charlotte, NC, and now live in the City of Alchemy and Medicine, NC, when she’s not hanging out in Bardonia (Lost Immortals Saga setting). Most of her characters are based on people that she has met throughout her travels and adventures. People tend to stop and start conversations with KaSonndra as if she has known them her entire life. Does this freak her out? Not really. Her mom says that one day she’ll get kidnapped by one of these folks. KaSonndra’s response? She told her mom that if it weren’t for these lovely people, then she wouldn’t be able to create such fabulously romantic stories.
 
A few other tidbits about KaSonndra… She has watched the movie Under the Tuscan Sun almost 200 times. This is her explanation regarding her obsession. She figures that if she keeps watching the film enough times, then suddenly the house that Diane Lane lives in will magically appear in her backyard. Yes! KaSonndra has a huge imagination!
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#Sale #Bookblitz #Promo…Sonata…#BookBoost #Teen #YA#UF #Gothic #PNR #Romance #OnTour @PureTextuality

SALE!!

Get SONATA at a discount with this
Kindle Countdown Deal!
Starts at .99¢ on 10/30/2017 @ 12pm EST.

 

When Miranda makes music with Leo, she plays like an angel. But Leo knows they’re playing with fire. There’ll be hell to pay – literally. A dark romance with a supernatural twist: The Omen for the Twilight generation. 

What price would you pay for superlative talent?

Sparks fly when pianist Leo steps in to help Miranda audition for a violin scholarship to the prestigious Harkness Conservatory. He’s intense, patient, gorgeously French, and he plays the piano like a dream. The way they play the Kreutzer Sonata goes beyond anything she’s experienced.

But while 17-year old Miranda is impressing the panel, another candidate goes missing. From that moment, something ungodly seeps into her life. The question is – did the music draw in the forces of darkness? Or was it already there?

Oblivious to the ongoing search for the missing musician, Miranda and Leo travel to a medieval town in France, to perform in a prize-winners’ concert. Their attraction intensifies, even as Leo is revealed to have disturbing, even violent, family connections. Miranda is warned off…but it may already be too late.

Only a secretive, ancient sect can protect Miranda now. How can she accept their help when she can’t quite accept that she’s in danger?

About the Book

Sonata
by Mari Rey

Series
Sonata Series #1

Genre
Teen & YA
Urban Fantasy
Gothic Paranormal Romance

Publisher
Darkwater Books

Publication Date
September 27, 2017

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Get Prelude, the Sonata prequel, FREE today! Click on the cover to get yours! SALE!! Get SONATA at a discount with this Kindle Countdown Deal! Starts at .99¢ on 10/30/2017 @ 12pm EST.

  

 

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About Mari Rey

Mari Rey is a fan of action adventure, dark romance and sci-fi and fantasy thrillers. When not writing screenplays or novels Mari spends way too much time watching TV and adores Once Upon A Time, Game of Thrones and Stargate Universe. If that was all she watched on TV, she’d probably have more time to write, but alas! It’s just the tip of the iceberg. Mari lives in England with a husband, two big kids and a very sweet little cat.

You can get in touch with Mari via her facebook page fb.me/marireyauthor.

Author Links

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#Sale #Promo #Blitz…Sonata…#BookBoost #Teen #YA #UF #Gothic #PNR #Romance #OnTour @PureTextuality

SALE!!

Get SONATA at a discount with this
Kindle Countdown Deal!
Starts at .99¢ on 10/30/2017 @ 12pm EST.

 

When Miranda makes music with Leo, she plays like an angel. But Leo knows they’re playing with fire. There’ll be hell to pay – literally. A dark romance with a supernatural twist: The Omen for the Twilight generation. 

What price would you pay for superlative talent?

Sparks fly when pianist Leo steps in to help Miranda audition for a violin scholarship to the prestigious Harkness Conservatory. He’s intense, patient, gorgeously French, and he plays the piano like a dream. The way they play the Kreutzer Sonata goes beyond anything she’s experienced.

But while 17-year old Miranda is impressing the panel, another candidate goes missing. From that moment, something ungodly seeps into her life. The question is – did the music draw in the forces of darkness? Or was it already there?

Oblivious to the ongoing search for the missing musician, Miranda and Leo travel to a medieval town in France, to perform in a prize-winners’ concert. Their attraction intensifies, even as Leo is revealed to have disturbing, even violent, family connections. Miranda is warned off…but it may already be too late.

Only a secretive, ancient sect can protect Miranda now. How can she accept their help when she can’t quite accept that she’s in danger?

About the Book

Sonata
by Mari Rey

Series
Sonata Series #1

Genre
Teen & YA
Urban Fantasy
Gothic Paranormal Romance

Publisher
Darkwater Books

Publication Date
September 27, 2017

amazon-button

Available Now On

The Sonata Series

Get Prelude, the Sonata prequel, FREE today! Click on the cover to get yours!
SALE!! Get SONATA at a discount with this Kindle Countdown Deal!
Starts at .99¢ on 10/30/2017 @ 12pm EST.

  

 

Trailer

About Mari Rey

Mari Rey is a fan of action adventure, dark romance and sci-fi and fantasy thrillers. When not writing screenplays or novels Mari spends way too much time watching TV and adores Once Upon A Time, Game of Thrones and Stargate Universe. If that was all she watched on TV, she’d probably have more time to write, but alas! It’s just the tip of the iceberg. Mari lives in England with a husband, two big kids and a very sweet little cat.

You can get in touch with Mari via her facebook page fb.me/marireyauthor.

Author Links

facebook Amazon icon

 

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#Book #Promo…Blackmoore…#BookBoost #Gothic #Horror #PNR #MM #Romance #Supernatural #Giveaway @MJamesbooks @RoxanneRhoads

Blackmoore

The Blackmoore Legacy

Volume 1

Marcus James

Genre: Gothic horror/paranormal romance/

M/M romance/supernatural

Publisher: Candiano Books

Date of Publication:  06/08/2017

ISBN: 1547266651

ASIN: B071KH64VZ

Number of pages: 416

Word Count: 127,046

Cover Artist: Ransom Graphics

Tagline: The Devil shall come for his witches…

Book Description:

Welcome to South Hill, a neighborhood of wealth, secrets, gracious Victorians, and austere manor homes overlooking the port of Fairhaven and the dark waters of Bellingham Bay. Seventeen year old Trevor Blackmoore has lived here is entire life, shunned and feared, along with the rest of his clan, by the elitist and superstitious families that surround them and who regard the Blackmoores as the devil’s concubines.

As a young clairvoyant dealing not only with the dark secrets of his family but also with his homosexuality-two things which have made him an outsider-he struggles to find normalcy. Trevor’s life is made extremely difficult by his tormentors and former childhood friends Cheri Hannifin, Greg Sheer, and Christian Vasquez; the school gods of the prestigious Mariner High School. His only saving grace is Braxton Volaverunt, a captivating young man with secrets of his own.

A diabolical plan sets in motion a chain of events that will fulfill the doomed prophecy of the Blackmoore family. A centuries old curse comes to an end, releasing an ancient and bloodthirsty evil, set on wiping out the family, and Trevor learns that he is at the center of it. Realizing that he is all that stands between this darkness and his family’s survival.

“2017 E-Festival of Words award winner for Best Literary Fiction”

The Best Halloween Songs You Need To Be Listening To This Holiday Season

Halloween, in my opinion, is one of the most magical times of the year. From the autumnal leaves in all of their wonderful colors just before they completely brown and dry, to the perfume of rotting apples, sickly sweet, and to the darkening sky so early in the day.

There are pumpkins carved with ghoulish grins on porches and in windows, and there is the feeling that at any turn, you may walk right into a ghost.

Parties are planned, decorations are bought and spider webs strung like the anti-garland of Christmas (which has it’s own horror roots), and the food is made.

There’s only one more thing needed, that one thing to set the mood, and it can often be the hardest to put together; the playlist. There are plenty of Halloween records out there, a Halloween station on Pandora, and they all contain familiars like ‘Monster Mash’ and ‘Thriller’, but there are so many other gems out there. So many unknown and not used. Treasures that have existed for as long as the record.

Below is a list of these relative unknowns and the one’s not thought about but are known by everyone. There are a couple of recognizable sonic faces on this list, but for the most part, these songs will be new friends and give you a unique touch to your Halloween romp.

I didn’t include all of my favorites, that would be too long, but I included those that I go back to again and again.

Robert Johnson-Cross Road Blues: This 1936 Delta Blues track is haunting. In it, Robert sings of going to the crossroads and selling his soul to the devil for the gift of guitar playing. It is more likely, that as with all early blues, there was a great Hoodoo influence and who he refers to as the devil, is actually Papa Legba; the deity ruler of the gates to the other realms.

Claudine Clark-Walkin’ Through a Cemetery: This 1962 track is great with its early funk sound and her throaty voice.

Jack Rivers-Haunted House Boogie: Another fun Halloween hit with Blue Grass elements is a great 1951 hit.

Jack Teagarden-Putting Salt on the Devil’s Tail: This 1941 big band has lingering elements of hoodoo found in early blues tracks.

Cris Kevin-Haunted House: 1959 Halloween Rockabilly that is just plain fun.

Louis Prima and his New Orleans Gang-Mr. Ghost Goes to Town: this 1936 Jazz hit tells a tale of a ghost looking for a good time. Considering Prima was from New Orleans, of course a ghost was walking around looking for a good time.

Bauhaus-Bela Lugosi’s Dead: This iconic 1982 hit from Bauhaus is a must have for Halloween, and the opening sequence of the seminal Vampire film, The Hunger, is downright decadent in its darkness.

Judy Garland and the Scarecrow, Tinman, and the Cowardly Lion-The Jitter Bug: this song was cut from the 1939 film. In lost archival footage, they sing this song while in the haunted forest. It is a fun swing track that perhaps was cut because of how different from the rest of the songs are. Fits right in there with Jeepers Creepers.

Screaming Lord Sutch-Jack The Ripper-this 1963 rock song is a blast. Opening with a woman running and then screaming in terror.

 Marilyn Manson-Sweet Dreams: this 1995 cover is dripping with nightmare. I find it to be a constant source of inspiration when I am writing a terribly dark scene.

Michael Jackson-Thriller: one of the most iconic Halloween songs of all time. This 1982, Release will get you moving in all the right ways. A love letter to horror films, my favorite lyric-the one I think is the most powerful and yet so often over looked is “I’ll save you from the terror on the Screen-I’ll make you see that this is Thriller-Thriller night.” It harkens to “keep telling yourself, it is only a movie.” Like most children, the John Landis directed music video film scared me to death.

Datura-Tori Amos: this almost psychedelic 1999 track celebrates the herb that was essential to a witch’s ointment. This dangerous and psychotropic herb got into the pours and is believed may have been the reason witches felt as if they were flying.

Robert Johnson-Hellhound On My Trail- Johnson is back with another 1937 Delta Blues track with heavy Hoodoo influence.

Donovan-Season of the Witch: this 1966 track was a celebration of all of the mystical psychedelic occult revival of the hippie movement. It got a resurgence when it was featured in an episode of American Horror Story: Coven. Give this song a listen and let loose your inner Fiona Goode.

Henry Hall-Here Comes the Bogeyman: this 1932 classic taught young kids how to ward themselves from the bogeyman. It plays like a creepy lullaby and has seen a new life in video games and horror films such as Jeepers Creepers and Sinister 2. It’s haunting melody reaches out through time and has the ability to give anyone the wiggins.

The Four Modernaires-Jeepers Creepers: One of my childhood favorites. Like Here Comes the Bogeyman, this 1938 hit has found infamy in no small part to the film of the same name.

Ted Cassidy-The Lurch: this song (and the video, which I encourage you readers to watch) premiered October 30th, 1965 on the ABC music program Shindig! It is a great, poptastic number with an accompanying dance, and Ted Cassidy-the actor who portrayed Lurch in the Addams Family television show-appeared in costume on set and is featured in the song saying his signature “You rang?” and groaning and moaning in all his creepy and kooky glory.

There you have it! Grab these songs, add them to your party playlist, and have a scream!

 About the Author:

“Some writers have great ideas, but fail with the delivery. That is not the case for our author. He has clearly developed his craft and whittled it to perfection”-Wesley Thomas, bestselling author of Nightmare Fuel.

Marcus James is the author of five novels, including The Blackmoore Legacy series. He has contributed to a dozen anthologies from Alyson Books, has been a featured writer for the Seattle Gay News, is the host of Brews and Books at Ravenna Brewing Co. and is host of Queerly Spoken. When not writing he’s cooking, drinking champagne like water, and watching horror films with his husband and their Staffordshire terrier, Nikita. He is 32 years old and lives in Seattle.

Website: https://marcusjamesbooks.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mjamesbooks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marcusjamesbooks

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjayftw/

Spooktacular 

1 The Blackmoore Legacy set (includes signed copies of Blackmoore, Symphony for the Devil, and the prequel; Rise of the Nephilim).

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#Book #Excerpt…Like Clockwork…#BookBoost #Steampunk #Gothic #Suspense

Steampunk/Anti-Romance/Gothic Suspense

Date Published: February 28, 2017

Publisher: Transmundane Press

Commander Raymond Burntwood of the Royal Navy has returned to England where he meets the reclusive heiress Lady Ariana Grayhart. After the scandal of a night spent dancing together, Ariana returns home to Northumberland. Raymond’s superiors—seeking information about Ariana’s father—dispatch the commander under the cover of courting the heiress.

All is not as it seems in the Grayhart household. Captain Grayhart is an invalid, the servants maintain a monkish silence, and secrets are layered upon secrets. Everyone has their own agenda, from Raymond’s friend and confidante Du Bois, to the family lawyer Sir Berwick, and Ariana herself.

In the midst of it all, Raymond must unravel the truth of Captain Grayhart’s decline and save Ariana’s reputation and fortune. In doing so, he learns dark secrets about himself that could tear his world apart.

Ali Abbas is a writer, photographer, and carpenter from London. He has travelled widely but still lives in the suburb where he was born. It’s hard to explain what he does for a living, the common term is Policy Wonk.

I hurried back up the aisle, looking for a break in the foliage where I could step across, but the wall of green was impenetrable. My boots clattered on the stone floor, and I almost lost my footing as I came around the corner. I caught a glimpse of a figure turning past a small forest of bare poles standing in tall thin pots.

More carefully now, I followed, watching the occasional pools of standing water and mossy patches on the uneven flags. I turned down the same space that the figure had gone and gagged. The stench was foul. I buried my nose in the elbow of my coat and stumbled backwards. My heel caught on one of the tall pots. I grabbed at the pole to catch my balance, but it swayed away under my weight and snapped. I fell heavily on the floor, a length of cane in my hand and the other canes clattering against each other in mock applause.

I stood gingerly, wincing against the sharp pain of a blossoming bruise. The intake of the foul miasma hit me like a blow. I took a few cautious steps, using the length of cane as a walking stick.

We had taken a pirate laden with slaves and bound for Port of Spain once. The Thame had stumbled on him by chance on the high seas, and did some damage before a long chase commenced. The pirates had given up looking after their cargo for some days by the time we finally overcame them and boarded the ship.

In the hold, we had found a hundred souls dead, and only a handful alive. They were barely recognisable as men in their filth and malnutrition, packed into the darkness with death. We took the survivors on board and burned the shattered remains of the ship with its grisly contents. Some nights the smell of that hold haunted me. And now, I had found it once more in a stuffy corner of this oppressive glasshouse.

My mind reeled between the present and past. Before me, a row of corpses slowly decayed into the boards of a ship’s hold. I doubled over and retched up scalding bile. I spat to clear my mouth and squeezed my eyes shut against the vision. Minutes passed before I dared to look up again.

Before me were rows upon rows of noxious-looking fungi. They grew in shallow trays of straw-flecked manure, distended stems rising to lopsided caps. The sickly dark-yellow colour was deeply unwholesome, similar to the lantern lit bodies of the dead slaves. The fungi varied from six inches to a foot tall, and the mature ones seemed to be the same across.

At least eight tables laden were with these trays. Oozing stems showed some had been recently harvested. I reached out my hand in horrified fascination. Something in their vile shape called out to be squeezed. Two soft footsteps fell behind me, and a strong hand gripped my wrist.

About the Author

Ali Abbas is a writer, photographer, and carpenter from London. He has travelled widely but still lives in the suburb where he was born. It’s hard to explain what he does for a living, the common term is Policy Wonk.

 

 

Contact Information

Website: http://authoraliabbas.weebly.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aliabbasbooks/

Blog: https://aliabbasali.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3483369.Ali_Abbas

Purchase Links

Transmundane Press store: http://www.transmundanepress.com/store.html

 

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#Book #Blitz…Chameleon…#BookBoost #Gothic #YA

Chameleon
Zoe Kalo
Publication date: February 2, 2017
Genres: Gothic, Young Adult

An isolated convent, a supernatural presence, a dark secret…

17-year-old Paloma only wanted to hold a séance to contact her dead father. She never thought she would be kicked out of school and end up in an isolated convent. Now, all she wants is to be left alone. But slowly, she develops a bond with a group of girls: kind-hearted Maria, insolent Silvy, pathological liar Adelita, and their charismatic leader Rubia.

When, yet again, Paloma holds a séance in the hope of contacting her father, she awakens an entity that has been dormant for years. And then, the body count begins. Someone doesn’t want the secret out… Are the ghost and Paloma’s suspicions real—or only part of her growing paranoia and delusions?

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Madre Estela remained standing by the door. “Get a bucket and fill it with water.”

Her hypercritical eyes sliced through my self-worth as I grabbed one of the metal buckets, lifted it into the sink, and turned on the faucet. I watched, transfixed, as the water gushed like a torrent spurting from an open artery. The cold spray raised goosebumps on my arms.

Madre Estela snapped her fingers. “Move.”

As I hauled the bucket to the door, some of the water slushed over the edge and splattered to the floor.

“Add the detergent,” she said stiffly, irritated by my clumsiness.

I chose a green bottle, twisted the cap, and poured. The acrid pine smell stung my nostrils.

“Get a sponge and a brush from there. Get going. We don’t have all evening—unless you want to work in the dark.”

I gritted my teeth, but pretended not to be bothered. I suspected that the one thing that this nun couldn’t stand was indifference.

Outside, it was almost dusk. In spite of the intense screeching of the coquíes, the drum of the waterfall hit my ears. It was louder now than the last time I’d been here. How was that possible?

I felt a drop of rain. Great.

Madre Estela put one hand out, palm up. “My, my. What’s this?” She looked chagrined, and I suddenly realized why. If it rained, I would have to go inside, ruining her plans. “What are you standing there for? Start scrubbing.”

I was tempted to throw the bucket of greenish water at her face. Instead, I prayed for rain as I walked across the rose garden. Once at the gate, I glanced back at her.

“You’ll work until I come for you, understood?” she said, hands on hips in her usual stance. She pointed to one of the second-floor windows. “I’ll be watching from there.”

And that was it. She was gone.

For a moment I just stood there. If only my friends could see me now. They would never believe it.

I opened the gate and walked into the graveyard. The statue of Gabriel greeted me, its face fiercer in the dusk. The temperature must have been in the low seventies. I was glad I had my cardigan.

Suddenly, the garden lamp post lit up. I turned, startled. I wasn’t sure if it had automatically switched on or if someone, maybe Madre Estela, had done it from indoors. I glanced up at the second-floor window, expecting to find her face. I had the chilling sensation of being watched. There was nothing. The windows glowed with yellow light, a multitude of feral eyes keeping guard.

However, behind one of the ground-floor windows on the right, a figure appeared. Tall, blurred. Madre Superiora? I was sure that was her office. Yet, something about the shape of the head and the shoulders made me think of…Rubia. What was she doing in Madre Superiora’s office?
Just as abruptly as it’d appeared, the figure vanished from view.

The incident left me strangely unsettled.

Focus.

I splashed some of the water on one of the tombstones and got to work. The sound of hard bristles against stone blocked the hum of the waterfall. Almost.

Go away, damn it.

As I crouched to work on a second tombstone, doing my best not to get wet in the process, something shifted at the edge of my vision. I jumped to my feet, my heart thudding. Gabriel. Its wings had rippled with movement.

Dear God…what’s happening to me?

I rubbed my forehead and grimaced, my fingers shaking.

I felt another drop of rain. If it was going to rain, why didn’t it? The sky was playing with me, too. Mocking me.

I cursed the clouds and started scrubbing again.

I had another sensation of being watched and this time, yes, it was Madre Estela behind the window. I pretended I hadn’t seen her and tried to keep focused on the task at hand. The water had turned blackish with grime.

I don’t know how long I scrubbed. I lost track of time. But it was dark. My back and shoulders were sore and my hands stung from the harsh detergent.

Madre Estela was long gone from the window.

Half panting, I sat down on the edge of the tombstone and tossed the brush aside in disgust. I looked at the statue again, but it was motionless. I turned to the windows again, my eyes slowly moving from one to the other.

From one to the other.

Expecting to see the face. Wanting to see it.

Nothing.

Yet, that weird sensation of being watched, again.

My gaze shifted to the woods, to the exact place where the cemetery ended and the forest started. There was a path there. Narrow, obscured by the trees. For a long moment I sat, mesmerized. Then I stood up and began to approach it. The breeze picked up as I got closer, carrying with it the cool, slightly pungent smell of the waterfall.

I stopped at the very edge, the darkness enveloping me, the dampness seeping through my clothes.

The wind sighed, rustling the leaves and fluttering my hair.

Icy breath, on the back of my neck.

I’m in here… a voice whispered from the shadows.

I spun around in terror.

Then I hit something hard.

 

Author Bio:

A certified bookworm and ailurophile, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery. She lives amongst cats and books in Belgium, and is the author of the Cult of the Cat young adult fantasy series and the Retribution novella series for adults.

Sign up for her newsletter at www.ZoeKalo.com and get her exclusive short story “Irkalla.”

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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#Book #Blitz…Chameleon…#BookBoost #YA #Gothic

Chameleon

Zoe Kalo

Genre: YA Gothic/Multicultural

Date of Pub.: February 15, 2017

Number of pages: 230

Word Count: 55,000

Cover Artist: Deranged Doctor Designs

Book Description:

An isolated convent, a supernatural presence, a dark secret…

17-year-old Paloma only wanted to hold a séance to contact her dead father. She never thought she would be kicked out of school and end up in an isolated convent. Now, all she wants is to be left alone. But slowly, she develops a bond with a group of girls: kind-hearted Maria, insolent Silvy, pathological liar Adelita, and their charismatic leader Rubia.

When, yet again, Paloma holds a séance in the hope of contacting her father, she awakens an entity that has been dormant for years. And then, the body count begins. Someone doesn’t want the secret out…

Are the ghost and Paloma’s suspicions real—or only part of her growing paranoia and delusions?

 

I cannot clearly say how I had entered the wood; I was so full of sleep just at the point where I abandoned the true path.

–Dante Alighieri, Inferno 1. 11-12

Chapter 1

Puerto Rico, 1973

Oak trees dripping with Spanish moss embraced us from both sides, but not enough to shield us from the prison that would be my home for the next seven months. The high stone walls and neo-Gothic bell tower loomed over us as my stepfather drove his Mercedes through the spiked iron gates and into the sloping, curving driveway.

A spider of dread crawled up my back. Prison indeed.

I couldn’t believe it had come to this. The way things had blown out of proportion. I’d only wanted to contact my dead father. Ask his forgiveness.

My mother reached for my hand from the front seat without turning around to look at me. I stared at her perfectly polished red nails and the glittery square cut emerald on her ring finger. Her fingers flicked, silently pleading for my attention, but I was frozen inside. Her hand retreated.

I stared at the convent, my eyes studying the pointed arched windows, the worn, age-blackened stones. The place looked haunted. Perfect for my state of mind. What was my mother thinking?

Something moved behind one of the windows. A face. For an instant my pulse raced at the sheer paleness of it, at the two dark holes that made up its eyes.

“What are you looking at?” Sara, my six-year-old half sister, asked.

I pointed. “A girl.”

She followed my line of vision. “Where?”

“There. High up. In the window.”

She dipped her head so she could have a better look. “I don’t see anything.”

I felt a shiver, but not from the cold. It’s white. It’s watching us.

Then the car moved too close to the building, and the face vanished from view.

“Is this your new school, Paloma?” Sara asked.

I nodded. Sara was the child, female version of my stepfather. Her bottomless dark eyes, framed by velvety lashes, stared at me with misery. “I don’t like it,” she whispered, grabbing my hand.

“It’ll be okay,” I whispered back, and gave her hand a little squeeze.

“You promise?”

“I promise.”

“Well, here we are,” Domenico said in his strong Castilian accent, stopping the car in front of the entrance. He climbed out and opened the door for my mother. Then he proceeded to take out my suitcases from the trunk.

My mother was silent. She stepped out like a wooden mannequin, her eyes shimmery with unshed tears.

I climbed out, followed by Sara, the gravel crunching under our shoes. The early morning air was cool and a blanket of mist still lingered—not surprising, since the convent was on the outskirts of El Yunque, the island’s rain forest. More Spanish moss hung from the oak trees and rippled in the breeze like long, shivering memories. I could smell the dew on the leaves and the rich perfume of moist earth, redolent of open graves.

I glanced at the ominous clouds. “Beautiful morning.”

An ongoing distant hum resonated all around us. One, two beats passed, before it struck me: Waterfall.

Something within me shut down—or exploded, I couldn’t be sure.

I shut my eyes for a second, wiping out memories of chilled water searing my lungs.

I repeated the eighth multiplication table in my head. This always helped.

“After you,” Domenico said, interrupting my thoughts.

I wanted to loathe him. Tried to, anyway. I could see what my mother saw in him: a powerfully charismatic, handsome man with the infinite skill to make people do his bidding. My mother, with her small delicate features and petite frame, looked invisible beside him. A mere spectre. But that was just a façade. I knew better.

The big oak door opened and a nun clad in black habit and a wimple came down the steps to greet us.

Sara wrapped her arms around my waist. Her gesture both comforted me and heightened my anxiety. Nuns in habit made me think of great black birds.

“Bienvenidos,” the nun said. Like my stepfather, she also had a Castilian accent. “I’m Madre Estela and I’m second in charge to Madre Superiora. You must be Señor and Señora de Aznar.”

They exchanged small talk. Madre Estela sounded polite enough, but she didn’t offer to shake hands with my parents, which I found strange. Maybe nuns weren’t allowed to shake hands. I wouldn’t be surprised. I noticed the wedding band on her ring finger. Married to God. Absurd.

“You must be Paloma,” she said tonelessly.

“Yes,” I said. Wasn’t it obvious? I didn’t know what else to say.

The cross on her chest caught my attention. It had a crucified Christ on it and I noticed the thorns cutting Christ’s forehead, the little drops of blood glistening on His fragile body.

“Welcome to our school, Paloma.” Her critical gaze scrutinized my makeup, my tight jeans. “I’ve heard much about you.”

I didn’t miss the hint of cold disapproval in her voice. I wasn’t sure how much my parents had complained about my behavior, but considering I had been kicked out—well, actually, kindly asked to leave—from my previous school in the middle of October, it couldn’t be good.

“Are you ready to resume your senior year of high school?” Stress on resume.

“I can’t wait,” I said. There was no point in being nice—or pretending to be. That just wasn’t me. I felt miserable and couldn’t hide it. Besides, I could tell from our short exchange that she’d made up her mind not to like me long before meeting me, and I had the sinking feeling that no matter what I said or did, her opinion wouldn’t change. I had already been stamped in her Inquisition book, tagged a criminal.

Madre Estela’s stony eyes moved to Sara. My little sister’s arms clutched my waist even tighter. From the nun’s expression, I could tell she was wondering if I had infected Sara with whatever plague ailed me. She dismissed us and turned back to my mother and stepfather. “Madre Superiora is expecting you in her office.  Let’s not keep her waiting. Don’t concern yourselves with the suitcases. Someone will come for them shortly.”

They thanked her and followed her up the steps.

“I don’t want to go in,” Sara said.

“It’ll be okay,” I said. I glanced at the window. I wanted to see the pale face again. But there was nothing.

A drop of rain hit my cheek and I wiped it off. Then I held Sara’s hand and together we walked up the steps and through the arched doorway.

I felt my throat closing up.

Seven months.

Seven months wasn’t that long, was it? Besides, Thanksgiving break was just around the corner. Six weeks, to be exact. I had already marked my calendar. I couldn’t wait. I would go through the motions, no need to make friends that I’d never see again. When you get close to people, you end up getting hurt.

 About the Author:

A certified bookworm and ailurophile, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery. She lives amongst cats and books in Belgium, and is the author of the Cult of the Cat young adult fantasy series and the Retribution novella series for adults.

Sign up for her newsletter at www.ZoeKalo.com and receive her exclusive short story “Arkalla.”

Website and blog: www.ZoeKalo.com

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Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14951190.Zoe_Kalo

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