Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Family Like Hannah's by Carol Ross Tour Grand Finale and GIVEAWAY!!

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Book Tour Grand Finale for
A Family Like Hannah's
By Carol Ross

We hope you enjoyed coming along with us to an Alaskan ski resort and two strong characters who begin at odds, but may just find family and love in each other. If you missed any of the stops, go back and check them out now...


Launch - Intro to the Book

A Family Like Hannah’s is my version of an Alaskan winter - and more specifically - a wintertime in Rankins. On each stop of the tour, I’ve tried to infuse some of this enduring and inspiring winter spirit Alaskans seem to so easily embrace. Hope you enjoy!


"Sweet, clean romance that will still have you reaching for your fan on occasion, A Family Like Hannah’s by Carol Ross takes you through a whole gamut of emotions. From anger and heartbreak to laughter and joy, you will ride the slopes along with a cast of compelling and truly likable characters."

I Am A Reader - Let’s (Really) Get to Know Hannah & Tate from A Family Like Hannah’s


Hannah James – professional skier, owner and manager of Snowy Sky Ski Resort...


Tate Addison – professional snowboarder, businessman, inventor, ski area consultant...


"This was such a delightfully touching tale of possible romance and enduring love amongst life's challenges."


"This book was easy to read and hard to put down. I was drawn in and invested in this story. So good!"



" I love that this isn't just an easy, fluffy story, but had some real filling to go along with it, while maintaining a lighter feel--it wasn't heavy. What a perfect recipe for a great story!"

Colorimetry - Hey, Honey, Let’s Load up the RV and Take the Kids Skiing!


Sure, we saw some of those charming resorts and lodges. From the parking lot. Out the window of our old motorhome. I still can’t believe my dad braved winter weather and treacherous mountain roads in that beast. (Visualize one-step up from Cousin Eddie’s “RV” from Christmas Vacation.) It would only putt along at about 15 miles per hour up the hills, so he would frequently have to pull over and let cars pass. Yep, we were those people. As kids, most of these realities and hazards escaped us. We were just thrilled to be there. For me, there was (is) no place I’d rather spend a winter day than skiing up in the mountains.

underneath the covers - Is the Road to Love Paved with Embarrassing Moments?
Alaskans are pretty inventive with their wintertime endeavors. Luckily, the town of Rankins had already laid a solid foundation for some of the best “meets” between Hannah and Tate. Add a little humor, a lot of tension, some creative license, and I’m excited to bring you a few of my favorite moments from A Family Like Hannah’s...


"This story takes you deep into a small town filled with kind people and history. . . . Tate and Hannah’s ideas for the resort don’t line up very well, so there is tension between them, but there’s also attraction … a lot of it!"

Becky on Books - Review

"A Family Like Hannah’s is a sweet, feel-good romance. . . . This was my first book by this author, but it won’t be my last. It worked well as a standalone. . ."


deal sharing aunt - Interview

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

My ideas always come from my characters. I start by creating a person in my mind. I give them a personality first, including family situation, a job, hobbies, interests, likes and dislikes, and even little quirks. Then I try to drop them right into some kind of action. I add a line or two of dialogue, and I’m off and running. I do love to research my settings also, and often interesting scene ideas will arise from that.

Heidi Reads... - Review

"The characters in this book are vibrant and easy to visualize. . . . I loved the setting of winter in Alaska, especially at a ski resort since I've only been snowboarding twice."

Zerina Blossom's Books - Love, Snow, and Hot Cocoa


When I started writing this story, Hannah’s character was already sitting right beside me - telling me what she wanted to do, what she wanted to say – and what she likes. And Hannah likes hot chocolate...

Wishful Endings - Baby, it's (Really, Really) Cold Outside


Spending the last couple years doing research and just learning fun things in general about this state, I thought it would be fun to show how an Alaskan winter really stacks up.

A Family Like Hannah'sA Family Like Hannah's
(Seasons of Alaska #4)
by Carol Ross
Adult Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
February 1st 2016 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Starting over is serious business

With her professional skiing career cut short by an accident, Hannah James is putting all her energy into transforming Snowy Sky Resort into something special. There's only one obstacle. Famous pro-snowboarder-turned-consultant Tate Addison has his own ideas about taking the Rankins, Alaska, lodge to the next level. But Hannah won't compromise her dreams. She gets that Tate is trying to create a stable home for his orphaned six-year-old nephew—a boy Hannah already adores. And if she isn't careful, she could also fall for the boy's too-attractive uncle. Is she risking heartbreak? Or do she and Tate really want the same things out of life?

The Other Books in the Series

Mountains ApartA Case for ForgivenessIf Not for a Bee


Carol Ross is the author of three books for the Seasons of Alaska series for the Harlequin Heartwarming line. She lives with her husband and one loveable miscreant of a dachshund in a small town in Washington close to both the ocean and the mountains. For a complete list of her books, giveaways, and other fun stuff stop by and visit her new website: carolrossauthor.com.


Tour Giveaway


$50 Amazon eGift Card and an ebook of A Family Like Hannah's (open internationally)
Rankins' Alaska Prize Pack: signed copy of A Family Like Hannah’s, an infinity scarf, gray fluffy mittens, a tin of Starbucks hot chocolate, a coffee mug, and a sterling silver snowflake necklace. (US only)
Copy of A Family Like Hannah's (print if in the US, ebook if outside the US)
Ends February 26th

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Monday, February 22, 2016

Wolfsbane's Daughter by Jennifer Silverwood Release and GIVEAWAY!

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Welcome to the Release Celebration for
Wolfsbane's Daughter
By Jennifer Silverwood

Read the exclusive excerpt and enter the giveaway below...

Wolfsbane's Daughter
(A Wylder Tale Novella)
by Jennifer Silverwood
YA Dark Fantasy
ebook, 52 Pages
February 25th 2016

Wolfsbane and his daughter Resha are on a never ending quest in the Wylder Mountains, to wipe out the wolves who destroyed their village. Before their enemies stole everything she loved, Resha cared for little beyond learning how to be a hunter. After, she learned a hunter must be prepared to fight as well as flee. Now she cares for nothing but revenge.

Until she discovers two majikal humans half frozen in the forest. Resha has a choice, to follow her instincts and leave the strangers to the wolves, or save them. Yet the enemy is on the prowl and there is little time for Wolfsbane's daughter to find safe haven before they are discovered.

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleSmashwords

Exclusive Excerpt

There was a time when she did not hate her father, when her only concern was checking her traps and learning knives from Grandfather. But this was before their village on the ridge of Mount Grimm was attacked and destroyed by their enemies. After that she learned a hunter’s claws must be longer and much sharper. A hunter must always be prepared to fight as well as flee, Father said.
“Stay close, Resha!” her father hissed, drawing her attention to their bleak present.
They had been on the run ever since the attack on Mount Grimm. An entire moon had passed since half the village was murdered, including her brother Vilhelm. If any others survived they were hiding deep in the mountains. The beasts had always been a threat to them. But recent attacks alluded to a new hunger, to wipe out the last humans living in the Wylder Mountains.  Some in the village had blamed Wolfsbane and his quest to avenge Grandfather’s death. Those who might still have blamed her family were dead.
Now all that was left to them was this hunt, her first true hunt. Before this she had been little more than a trapper, practicing her knife on the small creatures she found in the woods near their village. Every time she ended a hare or tripe’s life, she felt nothing of the thrill the other children did.
“Sometimes I wonder if you are too soft to be a predator after all.”
Truly, Father’s words resonated with her far more deeply than she wanted them to. A part of her was so much a child. She had never plunged her knife into the heart of a true beast. It was her greatest fear she would fail in a task Vilhelm would have fulfilled without flinching. Now the legacy of vengeance was left to her hands and the dagger Grandfather made for her last moon day.
Resha took a deep breath and watched it hover in the freezing air. The territory they hunted in was new, closer to the lost city than most of their kind had ever dared to trail. Her father, Wolfsbane, said they were searching for signs of man and beast. She watched the way Father crouched and inspected every curve of the path the tracks had made. When she looked down it was difficult to see anything but shadow and snow. Yet she could almost feel the faintest traces of their prey’s footfalls. It was the smell and the warmth Wolfsbane was following now.
Her attention was diverted by a bright splash of red along the roots of a nearby tree trunk. Her stomach clenched at the thought of the berries hanging from those thin branches. Mother told her to forage whenever they came across nuts and rare plant life. Just because they were hunting, didn’t mean she couldn’t savor a morsel. And there might even be a chance she could snatch enough to save for when they made camp. She glanced up, hopeful Wolfsbane would not notice.
She poked through the fur wrappings keeping her palms and wrists warm, making quick work of the winter berries. Meanwhile, she kept her eye on the glow of torchlight up ahead and slipped the rest into the satchel attached to her belt. The juice stained her fingers a faint purplish hue and she licked them, hoping to hide the evidence. Her eyes shut involuntarily as she drank in the sweet taste. A hand grasped her wrist roughly and pulled so she was forced to face Wolfsbane’s grizzled visage.
“Foolish pup!” he growled. “This land is cursed and you are a fool to touch it! Do you wish to fall asleep forever in these woods?” With every word he squeezed her wrist tighter, drawing tears from her eyes.
“Wolfsbane!” her mother interrupted, gripping his arm tightly with her free hand. “You will not harm our last remaining child. She is hungry and we have not stopped for three days. Leave her be.”
They stood together against the torch, the light illuminating the sickly rage in Father’s eyes and the fear in Mother’s. Resha tried not to give into that same fear. Father would only see it as a weakness. He was too deep into the hunt, and addled by grief to know better.
So she lifted her chin and willed her tears to stop. To say anything would only spark his fury again. Instead she kept her eyes locked with his. Mother’s fingers crept higher, resting over both her wrist and her father’s tense grip. His anger faded, and for a moment, Resha saw the love her father had for her. He opened his mouth to speak and hope bloomed in her chest.
That was the moment a chorus of howls rose together like a nightmare in the woods around them. The cries began ahead of them, further up the valley. Often she had heard them in the distance as a small child within their cottage. Never had she heard them so close and so far away from all she knew.
Her breath came in short, violent gasps as her heart pounded in her ears. These were the beasts who stole everything from them, the ones they had been hunting ever since. For the first time, Resha felt the stirring of the hunt in her blood.

The First Book in the Series

Craving Beauty
(A Wylder Tale, #1)
by Jennifer Silverwood
YA Dark Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 239 pages
October 31st 2015

Vynasha has spent the last four years tending her mother's roses and looking after her nephew. The fire that killed their family has left her scarred and put Wyll on the brink of death. Soon the first frost will come down from the mountains and she knows this winter will be his last.

Until a strange beggar appears on the road, telling her of the majikal Source that can heal her Wyll. With nothing left to lose, Vynasha braves the forbidden Wylder Mountains to seek out a cure and her fate.

A lost kingdom is uncovered by an equally lost girl, but the castle is not abandoned as she believes. Shadows cloaking unseen eyes watch. Tapestries whisper from the hidden corners, wondering if the one to break their curse has come. And a hungry beast waits, ready to devour her soul.

Jennifer Silverwood

Jennifer Silverwood was raised deep in the heart of Texas and has been spinning yarns a mile high since childhood. In her spare time she reads and writes and tries to sustain her wanderlust, whether it’s the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania, the highlands of Ecuador or a road trip to the next town. Always on the lookout for her next adventure, in print or reality, she dreams of one day proving to the masses that everything really is better in Texas. She is the author of the Heaven’s Edge series, Stay and Silver Hollow.


Other Books by the Author
Silver Hollow Qeya (Heaven's Edge #1) Ohre (Heaven's Edge, #2) Stay

Release Celebration Giveaway

$20 Amazon eGift Card (Open Internationally)
Signed copy of Craving Beauty, ebook of Wolfsbane's Daughter, & Swag (US Only)
Ends February 26th

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Grab Our Button!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

A List of Free Book Sites



The symbiotic relationship between blogger and author is a wonderful and mutually benefical unity. Bloggers love to read; authors love to write. Without one, there can’t be another. Or maybe, because of one, there is the other. The chicken and the egg conundrum, lol.

Often, authors will offer free reads to introduce bloggers to new books or a new series. And there are a veritable host of blogs that comb through and compile the free reads offered daily on Amazon and other sites. You can sign up for newsletters from these blogs where lists of free books are sent to your inbox each day.

Now how cool is that??

Below is a list of some blogs that I subscribe to and some that I have seen but never utilized.

Check them out for your next free read!




https://www.swoonreads.com/read/ - (this one is great! it's manuscripts that you can read)
https://kindlescout.amazon.com/about - (this is another fun one! you can nominate books that look good. if they win, you get an email with a free copy to download:) )

Monday, February 15, 2016

Winners!!!


Congratulations to the following winners of my Blog Contest!!!! 

·       Susan White is the winner of Prize One – A tote bag full of assorted book swag!
·       Kathy Osborn is the winner of Prize Two – A tote bag full of assorted book swag!

·       Gaby is the winner of Prize Three – a box of books based on your favorite genre!

Thank you to everyone who entered the Mommasez… contest!! Stay tuned for many, many more wonderful giveaways and amazing posts!

Twisted Up In You Promo Blitz





Contemporary Romance
Date Published: 1/10/2016

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Surviving a harsh upbringing, Corinne Treyton’s new life, comes courtesy of the Angels Warriors MC. No one will ever use her body again, unless she wants them to. Cori, a party girl, doesn’t believe in relationships, but she’d be willing to try if only Blake, her boss, could really see her for who she is. She hides her lifestyle from him; afraid he would think less of her.

Blake Lexington has crushed on Cori since the day she started working for him. He knows a bit about her past, living with the Angels Warriors, and he doesn’t care. He refuses to make a move, thinking it will scare off his shy assistant. For years he thought she wouldn’t be attracted to someone like him.


Finally realizing that he needs to take action, her reaction surprises him. Cori believes he sees her as a slut and wants to use her. Secrets from the past will be revealed causing everything to unravel.


Will real love bring them together or is Cori too damaged to give true love a chance?



Want more Angels Warriors MC??? They are featured heavily in this book!



EXCERPT:


“Corinne Treyton?” I hear an intimidating voice shouting my name.

I hold Melissa’s hand and walk slowly down the steps, coming face to face with the scariest looking man I’ve ever seen – tall, fully bearded, tattoos covering his arms and neck, and a leather vest that says Angels Warriors on it. Instantly, I sag in relief and let go of Melly’s hands. I rush forward, wrapping my arms around this big guy’s waist and sobbing.

“You came,” I choke out.

“Darlin’,” he says gruffly, holding me tight to him. “Reaper, you check the house, find whatever you can, if you can. These f***ers are slimy. Zippo, get the sister. We’re outta here.”

“You can’t take these kids!” my foster father shouts at him.

I stiffen, scared that I’m going to have to stay here. “That’s funny, because we are,” the man holding me says calmly.



About the Author:


USA Today bestselling author, Dawn Martens is a young, spunky Canadian Author. Being a wife to Colin, a mother to three beautiful little girls (Sarah (2007), Grace (2010), and Ava (2014)) and of course best friend to fellow author Glenna Maynard, hasn't stopped this Canadian Firecracker from pursuing her dreams of becoming a writer!
Dawn's number one passion in life is the written word, and she's extremely thankful that she has the ability to share the ramblings from the characters inside of her head with the rest of the world!

She also may or may not have the hugest girl crush on Author Kristen Ashley, who is her personal idol and helped inspire Dawn in the beginning of her Indie career.


 Contact Links...



Purchase Link...

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

This Week's Line Up


Happy Valentine’s Day to all my AWESOME Readers! I hope your weekend was as terrific as mine wasJ

This week, Mommasez… has the following post line-up:
·       The winners of my blog contest will be announced.
·       Jordan’s second book review—The Karma Club by Jessica Brody
·       My review of the new movie, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
·       A Month 9 Contest
·       A book review by ME!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

FREE Authors Cookbook on Amazon



Summary:

What happens when you get a bunch of authors together and the subject turns to food? They decide to write a cookbook, of course. After a few too many Facebook posts featuring pictures of sumptuous dishes our authors prepared, we decided that we needed to band together and share the food love. 

Ever read a book that mentions a dish and wonder what it would taste like? The recipes in this cookbook all come from something we Kindle Press published authors have written about. Whether you’re in the mood for some cocktails, want to try a new main dish or just need to satisfy your sweet tooth, you will find all of the above right here. Seriously, nothing goes better with a book than a nice cold glass of iced tea or a piece of cake. 

Our authors write everything from mystery to sci-fi, romance, literary fiction, paranormal, and the list goes on. We hope you enjoy this book which combines two of life’s greatest pleasures; reading and food. 


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NOTE: Always verify that the book is still FREE before clicking the BUY button!




Friday, February 5, 2016

There Once Were Stars Book Blitz and GIVEAWAY!!


Today Melanie McFarlane and Month9Books are revealing the cover and first chapter for THERE ONCE WERE STARS, which releases April 26, 2016!

Check out the gorgeous cover and ENTER to be one of the first readers to receive a eGalley!!

A quick note from the author:


I have anticipated this moment for months—the moment I would be able to share my cover with all of you! When I first laid eyes on the cover for THERE ONCE WERE STARS I was immediately drawn to the stars and how they are escaping their glass prison. In my novel, the main character, Natalia Greyes, is also locked in a glass prison: her home, Dome 1618. During Nat’s childhood the stars became more visible in the sky, after being blocked by darkness for decades after the Cleansing Wars. Like the stars, Nat is a symbol of change as she transforms from a na├»ve youth into a strong teen, who searches for her place in her tiny world of Dome 1618, and dreams of escaping to the outside one day. But my favorite detail of all is the grass and how cool and inviting it is in contrast to the hard sheen of the glass jar. It can be seen as a symbol of how mankind can never capture or truly duplicate the beauty of nature, or the wonder of life itself.

Don’t forget to check out my trailer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuTOuBPX11k 



On to the reveal! 



Title: THERE ONCE WERE STARS
Author: Melanie McFarlane
Pub. Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback & eBook
Find it:  Goodreads


Peace. Love. Order. Dome. That’s the motto that the Order has given the residents of Dome 1618 to live by. Natalia Greyes is a resident of Dome 1618, a covered city protected from the deadly radiation that has poisoned the world outside for four generations. Nat never questioned the Order, until one day she sees a stranger on the outside of the dome. Now Nat wants answers. Is there life outside the dome and if so, what has the Order been hiding from everyone?



Exclusive Excerpt
Chapter One
I stretch my arms across my bed, running my fingers along the same sheets I’ve had since I was a child. The stiffness was beaten out of them long ago, but they still carry the memory of my mother carefully stitching the first tear back together when I was seven. The tiny x’s remind me of her long fingers, moving the needle back and forth with the same care as when she worked with samples in her laboratory.
I trace the row stitches, squeezing my eyes shut as I make a wish; it is my eighteenth birthday, after all. But when I open them, the same scene shows from my bedroom window that always does—the grid of our dome. Nothing changes. It doesn’t matter how many birthday wishes are made; I always wake up trapped inside the dome. The grid of thick glass and steel arcs far above our apartment, stretching to where the great Axis, a tower of government offices, meets the peak of our home—Dome 1618.
I crawl out of bed and let my gaze trail down the Axis to the rooftops of the other apartment buildings, row upon row of housing for blue-collar workers. Closer to the Axis are townhouses of the business owners, hidden from the rest of us, but that’s not where I long to be. My eyes drift to the base of the dome, far away from my window where the Outer Forest lies, my only saving grace. It’s forbidden to hike among the trees, but sometimes rules need to be broken.
“Natalia!” Grandmother’s piercing voice comes from the other side of my bedroom door. “Get up. You’re wasting the day away.”
The clock on my dresser reads eight o’clock in the morning. Seriously? It’s been nine years since I moved in with my grandparents, and saying Grandmother and I have differing opinions barely touches the surface. Her rules are sometimes worse than those of the Order, who police the dome. With any luck, I’ll be assigned my own apartment soon and can finally restart my life, again.
I run my brush through my long brown hair, although by the time I go outside it will look unruly once again. It’s my curse; I have thick hair like my mother, with waves that look more like oddly-placed kinks, unlike the smooth-flowing locks worn by some of the other girls at my school. But I won’t have to go back to the Learning Institute again. Today I’m an adult.
My jeans are on the floor where I left them last night, and I manage to find a clean T-shirt in my drawer. Both have the same tiny stitches as my sheets, covering up the wear and tear over the years, but I sewed these back together myself. Grandmother is firm on the fact that if I don’t take care of what I have, I don’t get a replacement. There’s no point in arguing when her opinions are as deep as the wrinkles on her face, and honestly, it’s hard to tell which she has more of. Before I leave my room, I grab my mother’s notebook. It’s filled with her sketches and work notes on different projects she was involved in. But my favorites are the tiny notes, squeezed in the margins, excerpt of her personal thoughts, hopes, and dreams. The biggest of these was to move her family outside the dome.
“I know you were out last night,” Grandmother says, eyeing me suspiciously between the milk and dry toast as I slip into my seat at the table.
“Must we have this conversation every morning?” Grandfather speaks up.
“You know the ramifications!” Grandmother shrills, and he shrinks in his chair. “Do you want to let her stroll around at night past curfew? One day she won’t come home, and then we will be questioned.” Grandmother redirects her attention to me. “What are you doing out there that’s important enough to risk everything? Haven’t I warned you? If the Order catches you, you will wish you had listened to me.”
“That’s my problem.” I fold my arms across my chest. She always makes me back down with her words. If I’m going to be an adult, I need to learn how to take a stand.
“If your parents could only see you now,” she says unsympathetically. “They would wonder how they got a daughter so determined to get herself detained. You know what they do with little girls who don’t follow the rules.”
“Yes,” I say through gritted teeth. She’s given these lectures many times. Girls who don’t follow the rules are sent back to the Learning Institute for retraining, where they come out all prim and proper, ready to take their place as functional citizens of the dome. I’m not going back there; I know how to stay under the radar.
“Come on, now.” Grandfather finally steps in. “It’s Nat’s birthday.”
“Yes.” Her tone softens. “You’re eighteen now. Hurry and eat; we got you a little something.”
I gobble down the toast, stale as it is, but fresh food is not something that our dome has had in a long time. Since the accident that caused my parents’ death, the Order stopped all excursions for scientific research, completely cutting off the outside world. Prior to this, there were plenty of rations from the farms due to uncontaminated seeds the expedition teams found, along with new plant life for supplementing the crops. But those stockpiles have slowly depleted.
When I finish breakfast, I look at my grandparents in anticipation. Grandfather’s face is beaming, and though Grandmother looks like she is trying to be serious, I can see a small sparkle in her eyes as she hands me a tiny green box with a little purple bow. The bow is smooth, made from fabric nicer than anything I own. I gently untie it, and put the silky strand safely in my pocket, before opening the box to see what is inside.
A silver, heart-shaped locket sits on top of fine tissue paper, so delicate I don’t dare touch it in case it rips. An image of two hands holding a smaller heart is engraved into the center of the locket. This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen—I’ve never owned jewelry of my own. My hands are shaking so bad I almost drop the box.
“Careful!” Grandmother’s voice snaps me from my awe. She grabs the box from me, and it takes all my inner strength to let it go.
She removes the necklace from the box and opens the locket, holding it out to me. Inside, is a photo of my parents on their wedding day. Photos are luxuries. I only own one other— a photo of me with my parents when I turned three—and it stays safe on my nightstand. But this locket—I can take it with me anywhere. I hold up my hair, allowing Grandmother to secure it around my neck, then grasp the tiny keepsake in my hand. I will cherish it forever.
“I’m going to show this to Jak and Xara,” I say, leaving the table.
“Don’t forget, you have to report to work today.” Grandmother reminds me.
“But it’s Saturday.” I groan.
“You’re eighteen now,” she says, her eyes vacant of the compassion they held only seconds ago. “Your time to contribute to the dome begins today. Plus, any experience is good to have if you want to be a scientist one day, like your parents.”
“I don’t see how cleaning toilets at the Axis will do me any good in the future,” I complain. “And I never said I want to be a scientist.”
“You’ll find where you’re meant to be.” Grandfather smiles. “Understanding everything from the bottom-up will help you make a better decision about what you want to do to make your contribution.”
I sigh as I lace up my sneakers, now feeling the pressure of the future. I have no idea what I want to do today, let alone the rest of my life. But it definitely does not involve cleaning up after those in the Axis. I wave good-bye as I leave the apartment, but only Grandfather waves back. My number one fan; he always tries to keep the peace between Grandmother and I. But no matter how close we are, I still have to lie about where I’m really going. No one can know about my secret place.
Outside, I stretch my arms up toward the top of the dome. The sun shines through the dust covered glass of the dome, with sections of blue sky showing here and there. I sneak around the back of our apartment building, and begin my stealthy weave through alleyways. I have hours before my first shift starts at the Axis. Hours to spend somewhere the Order can’t find me.
When I reach the Outer Forest, I sneak in a break in the fence and move between the trunks of trees, inhaling the last of the old world. The rich combination of musk and earth fills my lungs as I run as fast as I can from the fence. Running is one of the few things that make me feel free. When I reach my destination, I’m out of breath, but exactly where I belong—a hidden clearing at the edge of the dome.
I crawl inside a hollowed-out tree I’ve claimed as my own. How did the Order miss this lone tree, dying amidst the perfection of the Outer Forest? It should have been torn down long ago, to make room for larger, healthier, oxygen bearing trees. Decay doesn’t coincide with the Order’s pursuit for perfection and efficiency, but it’s ideal for me: hidden, empty, and alone. I accept this tree’s imperfections and it offers me solace.
I clutch my locket again, this time removing it from my neck so I can look inside. A twinge of pain prickles my throat as my parents’ faces stare back at me. They look so happy and in love. I remember that about them. The in love part. I haven’t thought about people in love for so long.
I lean back, holding the locket against my chest, intent on enjoying the morning sun. Unfortunately, the heat of the sun doesn’t penetrate the cold glass of the dome, but something about that glowing orb in those blue skies makes me feel better. Mom wrote in her notebook about the first time she felt the sun on her skin: warm and, bright, as if it gave her a new life with its rays, just like it did to the world, after the Cleansing Wars. I close my eyes, imagining myself bathed in sunlight, and finally give in to the peace of the forest.
I wake up, feeling something sharp poking my side. I can’t believe I drifted off. My hand shoots behind me, to find the source of the pain. My mother’s notebook is jutting awkwardly from my back pocket. I stand up to tuck it back in, and my gaze slips above a line of bushes growing wildly along the base of the dome. At the same time, something flashes above them, and my breath catches in my throat. My reflection stares back at me from the glass, revealing my locket shining in the sunlight. Relax, Dacie, it’s only you. A nervous laugh escapes my throat, as I finish putting the notebook away.
Another light flashes, but this time it’s in the distance, on the other side of the glass. I lean forward, focusing on the light, and see a shadow move on the other side. My entire body goes rigid, and my heart beat thunders in my ears. No one could be out there—unless—could it be an Infected? No, that’s impossible. They were all killed by the Cleansing War—everything was. If the nukes didn’t kill them, the nuclear fallout afterward would have.
Something moves again—closer this time. A gasp escapes my lips, as a shudder rips through my body. That’s when I see it—the faint outline of a person standing in the open. He’s camouflaged by a layer of dust, blending him into the barren landscape that surrounds the dome. The figure’s shadow stretches across the ground, reaching toward me.
I rub my eyes, as if something in them could be making me see the figure, but when I open them I’m startled to see the figure again, only now there are two. One stays farther back, toward the rockier land, silhouetted against the foothills in the distance. The other stands a short distance from the dome. My heart skips a beat—they’re both human, and they’re both staring in my direction.





About Melanie: 

Whether it’s uncovering the corruption of the future, or traveling to other worlds to save the universe, Melanie McFarlane jumps in with both hands on her keyboard. Thought she can be found obsessing over zombies and orcs from time to time, Melanie has focused her powers on her two upcoming YA novels: THERE ONCE WERE STARS and SUMMONER RISING.








Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive the FIRST eGalley of THERE ONCE WERE STARS. International.


Melanie is also giving away swag - Enter this giveaway too!