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“What if there was a previous dominant species that we replaced after they screwed it up?”
Jessica arched her eyebrows. “You’re not going to bring up the dinosaurs, are you?”
“Yes, the dinosaurs, exactly! Think about it. The whole world started off with Pangaea, one super continent where all the dinosaurs lived. Then, boom, all of this sudden something happens and wipes them all out. Scientists keep saying it was probably a meteor, but what if it wasn’t? Think about it. What would a meteor have done to the planet? Set it on fire? Filled the sky with ash to choke out most other life? Doesn’t that sound exactly like something the Fire Elemental would do?”
“I’m impressed you know about Pangaea. But it doesn’t change the fact that if I didn’t know you better, I’d say you were a giant stoner.”
“The Earth Elemental could have easily made Pangaea for the dinosaurs,” Sean continued as though he hadn’t heard her. “After they screwed it up somehow, the Fire Elemental wipes them out, the Earth Elemental splits the continent, and they start over, only this time with primitive mankind. It makes sense.”
Jessica pinched the bridge of his nose. “I want to tell you that none of that makes sense, but we just held a conversation with an Easter Island head before Xander become the embodiment of the Earth itself. Anything’s possible at this point.”
“Do you think they ever tried a Xander before?”
Jessica paused. “A Xander?”
Sean glanced away from the blond and stared across the ocean. “They must have had Warriors for each of the elements. The fact that a Velociraptor Fire Warrior is a pretty badass mental image notwithstanding, do you think they tried this before? Creating someone who can stop the cycle?”
“I don’t really know—“
“Because they failed,” Sean said bluntly. He turned back toward his girlfriend. “If they tried it, they failed because the dinosaurs were wiped out. I just keep thinking that we’re not taking this seriously enough, and I know that’s ironic coming from me. I keep worrying that the Fire Elemental is just sitting back laughing right now, knowing that it kicked the crap out of a Sarcosuchus Water Elemental once before and is about to do the same to Xander.”
“I think by this point we’re all taking this seriously,” Jessica said. “Just because you’re joking doesn’t mean you’re not; we’ve known each other long enough to know it’s just your defense mechanism.”
They sat in silence, watching the lapping waves and trying not to see the lava pouring into the ocean not far away. It was peaceful, sitting on a deserted island in the middle of the Pacific. It was easy to ignore the fact that the world was coming to an end. Sean mentally noted Easter Island as a place to visit, once this was all over.
Jessica chuckled softly, disrupting Sean’s musings. He turned toward her inquisitively. “What’s so funny?”
“Pterodactyl Wind Warriors,” she said.
For a moment, he merely arched an eyebrow before he started snickering. Sean couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of the thought. They both laughed until their sides hurt. It felt good just to laugh for no particular reason, to forget about the insanity of their lives for just a moment.
THE EARTH GIVES WAY TO THE SEA,
THE SEA BOWS BEFORE THE WIND,
THE WIND FEEDS THE FLAME,
THE FLAME BURNS THE WORLD OF MAN DOWN TO THE EARTH.
The Fire Elemental has risen and its followers, the Fire Caste, have destroyed the planet. Humanity hangs on the cusp of extinction; their only hope now lies with the troubled Wind Warrior, Xander Sirocco.
Xander has absorbed the power of the Wind and Water Elementals but at great personal cost. Finding Sammy has been his anchor through the chaos around him, but now he finds himself wondering if saving her is enough.
Sammy remains a prisoner of the Fire Elemental, her mind trapped, as the dragon possesses her body. Her love for Xander keeps her going, but will her passion be enough to stop the Elemental from killing Xander once and for all?
Humanity’s last hope rests in Xander finding the Earth Elemental. Claiming the power of the Earth is the last step before he can confront the dragon holding Sammy hostage. Unfortunately, he’s not the only one who knows the location of the Earth Elemental.
It’s a race against time between Xander and the dragon to claim the last of the Elemental power and bring an end to a war that’s spanned millennia.
Earth God is the exciting conclusion to the bestselling and award-winning World Aflame series.
Title: Earth God
Series: The World Aflame Saga #4
Author: Jon Messenger
Published: May 26th, 2015
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Genre: NA Paranormal Romance
Recommended Age: 13+
Jon Messenger (Born 1979 in London, England) serves as an United States Army Major in the Medical Service Corps. Jon wrote his first science fiction trilogy in 2008 and has since written and published over 10 novels. The scope of his writing has expanded beyond science fiction to include the New Adult and Steampunk genres. His books have become Amazon bestsellers, been translated into foreign languages, and have won numerous awards both for content and covers.
Interview (I’m in pink, he’s in purple)
Describe your relationship with a good book.
I love getting lost in a good book. I don’t always get the time to read, not like I’d truly like to, but when you can curl up on the couch, turn off all the electronics and detach from reality for a while, there’s nothing better.
When did you first start writing and what was the first thing that you wrote that you were proud of?
I started writing in college, for all the wrong reasons. I was a subpar college student and thought writing might be a future for me when I inevitably failed out of college. To everyone’s surprise, I actually did graduate. During my Junior and Senior years of college, I started writing a novel called Eyes in the Nuthouse. It was about a man who could understand the honesty behind people’s white lies. Unfortunately, having complete honesty from everyone, including complete strangers, is enough to drive someone mad; hence the title of the story. It was a really interesting storyline but a terrible execution! I reread what I’d written (about 100 pages) a few years later and agreed that the book would never see the light of day.
The first book I wrote that I was proud of came nearly seven years later. I was deployed in Baghdad, Iraq, and had some free time on my hands and, luckily, some great friends to inspire me. I started working on a science fiction trilogy called Brink of Distinction. I published that series in 2011 and though there are faults with my plot and writing style, it’ll always hold a special place in my heart.
Please describe your work ethic as an author.
I’m pretty committed to writing about 1000 words a day, which is about an hour worth of writing. If I can keep that pattern, I can finish a novel in 3-4 months. Real life gets in the way sometimes, but I try to remain faithful to that technique.
How do you balance your work as an author with the other aspects of your life?
I don’t, to be honest. Writing is still a hobby for me, despite having written 11 novels. In my day job, I’m still a US Army officer, which I’ve been for the past 13 years. I just finished my Masters degree, which took quite a bit of my time. And my wife deploys soon, so I’ll be a single father for the 9 months while she’s gone. That hour of dedicated writing time gets slimmer every passing year, but I try my best to write as much as possible.
Why did you write this book?
Because it’s book 4 in a series, and the grand finale, and it would have been damn silly for me not to finish it.
What experiences from your past do you find yourself drawing upon repeatedly for inspiration in your work?
Two combat tours with the Army has given me a lot of realism both in writing combat and interpersonal conflict. You see a much different side of people during war. Some people who seem reserved when they’re at home become pillars of strength on the battlefield. Some who seem incredibly cocky are the first to cry when a mortar lands nearby. People reading my stories haven’t always understood that dichotomy, or the fact that even the strongest of us will eventually sit down on the curb and cry after a really difficult mission.
What do you hope to accomplish in the next five years, both as an author and in your outside life?
For my writing, there are a couple books that I’ve always wanted to write. They’re called Pompous and Pious, and they tell the story of two immortals working their way through time, harvesting souls either for Heaven or Hell. The story idea was one of my first and has always been on my “to do” list, but I’ve never felt comfortable enough to write them. In the next five years, I’d like to see them in print.
As for my personal life, my wife and I are planning to have a second child and five years from now I’ll be getting ready to retire, at which point I can become a full time writer!
Since you are a storyteller, please tell one good lie about yourself.
In 2001, one of my good friends finally turned 21 and to celebrate, all my high school friends got together in our hometown. I’d be lying if I said we hadn’t been drinking long before then, but since he was the last of us to turn 21, it was finally a chance for us all to go to a bar together.
There was a bar only a couple blocks away from his apartment, which made the night perfect. We could walk to the bar, drink ourselves stupid, and then stumble home without having to worry about a designated driver. Unfortunately, about an hour into the night, I realized we couldn’t all be sloppy drunk. The birthday boy was already blind drunk within the hour, having taken shots from the moment we walked in the door. It wouldn’t be that much longer until I was watching him puke in the toilet and I couldn’t very well take care of him if I was drunk, too. So I finished the beer in my hand and started drinking sodas.
No more than an hour later, everyone was feeling sufficiently buzzed (or hammered, as the case may be) and it was time to call it a night. We’d just go back to the apartment and drink there. As we’re walking back, I can see a car driving slowly behind us but I don’t think much of it. However, the birthday boy suddenly loses his balance and stumbles out into the street. Right away, the lights light up on the police car.
To be honest, I couldn’t figure out what we’d done wrong. We were responsible and had decided to walk rather than drive anywhere. As the cop comes up to us, he asks if the birthday boy is feeling okay. He says he is in what was impressively a sober voice. The police officer than goes around the group, asking the same question. Two of us got arrested for public intoxication that night. Not the birthday boy, who had drunk himself into a stupor. Not even the other two guys who were also pretty loaded. Me and another friend, who was probably the second most sober person in the group after me.
Spending the night in the drunk tank sucks when you’re drunk, but at least you usually pass out and sleep the night away. When you’re sober, the drunk tank is just a cold, tiled room that reeks of vomit. It was definitely a night to remember, and one I wish I could forget.
Wow, that’s a really good story. I wonder what part of it isn’t true. I’m going to suspect that they all got locked up, and that Jon got vomited on by his friends. But that’s just speculation. All those hours of alcohol counseling that the military made them do (see? I know a little bit about drunken soldiers!).
The Give Away!
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Author: Michael J Bowler
To Be Published: August 5th, 2015
Genre: YA Paranormal Horror
Content Warning: Mild profanity and language of a sexual nature
Recommended Age: 14+
Excerpt from Spinner by Michael J Bowler:
They were in.
Now to find the grave.
They had a map, of sorts. With the graveyard paperwork Alex’s mother had sent was a map that had numbers on it. Roy knew from his own mother’s funeral that those numbers meant the different graves. One area was circled on the map, and Roy had told them that must be where Alex’s folks were buried. All they had to do was follow the map.
Yeah, he thought, as they stood in a darkened graveyard looking at a paper map with a tiny flashlight beam, trying to figure out just where in the hell on that map they were, sounded easy at the time. Since he was the only one who drove, the others let him plot their way. But shit, he hadn’t been here since last year on his mom’s anniversary to put flowers and, well, that had been during the day!
Israel stood quietly keening with fear, his eyes darting everywhere at once, while Java and Alex waited patiently for Roy to figure things out. Their best landmark was a lake near to where Alex’s parents were buried. They’d have to wander around till they found it.
“They’re near some lake, and there’s a fountain, I think, so we should, like hear water splashing, right?”
Java shrugged, but Alex nodded excitedly. “Yeah, we will. Let’s look around till we hear it.”
They moved out into the tree scattered, grave-filled cemetery with nervous anticipation. Java carried the shovels because he didn’t trust Israel not to drop them if a gopher ran past in the dark.
The grass slowed Alex’s wheels so he let Roy push the chair from behind to conserve his arm strength.
Most of the graves were the small ones like his mom had, just a flat metal plate with names and dates on them. The wind gusted and blew leaves from the fading trees onto the grass, swirling them around their feet as they walked. No one spoke. The silence crushed them. Dark, ominous clouds only added to the horror-film atmosphere, and Roy wished he hadn’t watched so many of those movies at Izzy’s house.
The grass rose up into hills and mounds, all scattered with graves that they passed nervously between. Roy felt weird, walking on top of dead people like this, and he could hear Israel panting with fear. He was about to approach and calm the boy when Java stepped up and flanked Izzy, offering his own muscular body as protection. The gesture surprised Roy, just like the one atop his truck, given Java’s daily frustration with Izzy’s ADHD. But the move clearly helped Izzy, who looked at Java and smiled with gratitude.
The flat graves gave way to the kind with tall headstones by the time the splashing of water came from ahead in the darkness. Roy increased his speed. The tall headstones looked really old, and for some reason they creeped him out more than the newer ones, like somehow older dead bodies would be more likely to haunt them or something.
The splashing grew louder, and the wind stronger. It also got colder, and Roy shivered. Must be the lake water making him cold, he told himself, hoping that was the only reason. The image of that huge, evil cat crept ceaselessly into his mind as he pushed Alex toward his parents’ graves. To find out what? That Alex was a bigger freak than he thought? That he might destroy the world some day? Roy knew these things could never happen, not from Alex. But Alex feared himself even more than he feared the cat. And that broke Roy’s heart every time he thought about it.
The lake loomed ahead, not too big, but bigger than Roy could calculate using his body-height method. A jet of water shot into the air at its center and fell back, hitting the surface with the kind of splashing sounds he used to make in the bathtub as a child.
Java and Israel stopped by the shore of the lake and turned to face him. Roy let go of Alex’s chair and slipped out the map. He squatted down so Alex could see and turned on the tiny penlight. Together, they squinted at the circled spot and tried to figure out which direction it was from the fountain of water.
After a few moments of bobbing his head up and down from the map to their surroundings, Roy thought he’d figured it out. He pointed to their right, to an older part of the graveyard that was a mix of flat plates and stone markers. “Over there.”
The others nodded and they set off. They passed nervously through the rows of graves. Even though Alex hadn’t said anything, Roy felt eyes on them.
Lots of eyes.
But every time he looked around there was nothing but the wind and rustling leaves and their own cushioned footfalls against the grass.
I’m crazy, he thought, imagining dead people watching.
Or maybe it was those creepy-ass stone angels bending toward a grave, hands clasped before them in prayer. Maybe they were watching. Whatever it was, Roy’s skin crawled.
This was the section. He stopped pushing Alex, and the others stopped, too. Now was the part they all hated – reading. They had to look at each grave and try to figure out which one belonged to Alex’s parents. Alex looked at him and Roy whispered, “The last name starts with “O,” right?”
Alex nodded. Roy squinted at the paper and found the name. He could tell because there were two names in front of it and that meant the “O” word was the last name. He pointed to it for Java and Israel. “That’s the name we gotta find.”
“Are dead people, like, you know, laid out by ABCs?” Israel asked.
Java looked at him in annoyance. “Fool, do you even know your ABCs?”
Israel shrugged. “Some of ’em. I always get stuck around, like, ‘G’ or ‘P’ or something like that. I never could–”
Before Israel could start rambling, Roy whispered, “Just look for a last name starting with ‘O.’ Then we’ll check it with the paper.”
Java nodded, but Israel’s mouth fell open. “You mean we gotta split up?”
“Just around here, fool,” Java snapped, keeping his deep voice low and controlled.
“But there’s dead people here!” Israel hissed, his eyes wide with fear.
“That’s why it be called a graveyard,” Java spat, his temper obviously rising.
“Look guys,” Alex said, “you two stick together and me and Roy’ll stick together. ’Kay?”
Java grunted, but Israel nodded rapidly. “Yeah, that’s better.”
The two groups wandered off in opposite directions, each with a penlight.
Roy aimed his light while Alex slowly pushed himself between the graves. The beam struck each headstone or metal plaque long enough for both of them to squint at the last name, and then Roy moved it along to the next. He still felt that sensation of being watched, and it sent chills up and down his spine. The cold, biting wind didn’t help, and he kept his hood up and over his head to keep his hair from blowing into his eyes.
He spotted the other flashlight beam a short distance away, but there seemed to be no one else anywhere around. So who was watching them? Finally, he stepped closer to Alex and leaned down to his face. “Someone’s watching us.”
Alex peered out from his hood, brushed hair from in front of his eyes, and looked at him soberly. “Not someone. Some thing.”
Roy froze. “What thing?”
Fifteen-year-old Alex is a “spinner.” His friends are “dummies.” Two clandestine groups of humans want his power. And an ancient evil is stalking him. If people weren’t being murdered, Alex might laugh at how his life turned into a horror movie overnight.
In a wheelchair since birth, his freakish ability has gotten him kicked out of ten foster homes since the age of four. Now saddled with a sadistic housemother who uses his spinning to heal the kids she physically abuses, Alex and his misfit group of learning disabled classmates are the only ones who can solve the mystery of his birth before more people meet a gruesome end.
They need to find out who murdered their beloved teacher, and why the hot young substitute acts like she’s flirting with them. Then there’s the mysterious medallion that seems to have unleashed something malevolent, and an ancient prophecy suggesting Alex has the power to destroy humanity.
The boys break into homes, dig up graves, elude kidnappers, fight for their lives against feral cats, and ultimately confront an evil as old as humankind. Friendships are tested, secrets uncovered, love spoken, and destiny revealed.
The kid who’s always been a loner will finally learn the value of friends, family, and loyalty.
If he survives…
Michael J. Bowler is an award-winning author of eight novels––A Boy and His Dragon, A Matter of Time (Silver Medalist from Reader’s Favorite), and The Knight Cycle, comprised of five books: Children of the Knight (Gold Award Winner in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards), Running Through A Dark Place, There Is No Fear, And The Children Shall Lead, Once Upon A Time In America, and Spinner.
His horror screenplay, “Healer,” was a Semi-Finalist, and his urban fantasy script, “Like A Hero,” was a Finalist in the Shriekfest Film Festival and Screenplay Competition.
He grew up in San Rafael, California, and majored in English and Theatre at Santa Clara University. He went on to earn a master’s in film production from Loyola Marymount University, a teaching credential in English from LMU, and another master’s in Special Education from Cal State University Dominguez Hills.
He partnered with two friends as producer, writer, and/or director on several ultra-low-budget horror films, including “Fatal Images,” “Club Dead,” and “Things II,” the reviews of which are much more fun than the actual movies.
He taught high school in Hawthorne, California for twenty-five years, both in general education and to students with learning disabilities, in subjects ranging from English and Strength Training to Algebra, Biology, and Yearbook.
He has also been a volunteer Big Brother to eight different boys with the Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters program and a thirty-year volunteer within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles.
He has been honored as Probation Volunteer of the Year, YMCA Volunteer of the Year, California Big Brother of the Year, and 2000 National Big Brother of the Year. The “National” honor allowed him and three of his Little Brothers to visit the White House and meet the president in the Oval Office.
He is currently working on a sequel to Spinner.
His goal as a YA author is for teens to experience empowerment and hope; to see themselves in his diverse characters; to read about kids who face real-life challenges; and to see how kids like them can remain decent people in an indecent world.
A fresh start at college is exactly what Kate needs to ease the burden of her family secrets. When she meets the confident and charming Aaron Jackson, she weaves a new history for herself to fit into his seemingly perfect life. But the past refuses to stay where it belongs, causing a rift between their contrasting worlds.
When Ben reappears in Kate’s life, she is only pulled deeper into the childhood that she’s tried to forget. Driven by the abuse and pain that still lingers within him, Ben seeks Kate’s help in making a change. But in this journey for retribution, lines blur between courage, justice, and revenge.
Bound by their shared and damaged youth, Kate is forced to choose sides, and fast. The final act is almost here, and time is running out.
Vanishing Act is a Lingering Echoes novel that can be read as part of the series or as a stand alone story. Fueled by the scars from an experience in foster care that no child should have to endure, Vanishing Act touches on serious issues that can continue to impact abuse victims well into their adult lives. Vanishing Act is an emotional drama with a sweet romance mixed in.
My vision blurred like I was walking outside in the rain. It may as well have been raining, with how emotionally drenched and defeated I felt as I marched out of my neighborhood. I didn’t know where I was going. Despite the familiar street, I felt lost and confused. I just knew I needed to keep moving, afraid that if I stood still, the storm of emotions would drown me.
Aaron became a silent companion at my side, keeping fast pace with my hurried steps. My thoughts stewed inside my head, a dangerous concoction of fear, hurt, and fury. My whole life I had worked to salvage this family. My entire purpose for going to college was to help us survive, even if our heads were barely above water. But it seemed the minute I’d left the house, both father and son were falling apart, sabotaging my efforts.
Aaron seemed to sense I was about to boil over because he eventually took my hand and pulled me onto the grass. He stood in front of me with both hands on my shoulders, trying to look into my eyes. I shook my head, knowing if I spoke one word that too many more would spew out of my mouth—bitter and resentful—and I’d never be able to take them back. Aaron’s hands moved to my back and he wrapped me in his arms, pulling my face against his chest. His strong hands pressed into my shoulder blades, holding me together like fractured porcelain.
I let the warm tears fall, one by one. I hoped that by keeping my eyes pulled tightly shut, that the tears wouldn’t find an exit. But they did—streaming one after the other until each droplet became a river, a driving current of emotion merging together. It would have felt dangerous without Aaron’s embrace, but I felt safe anchored in his arms.
Title: Vanishing Act
Series: Lingering Echoes #3 (Stand Alone)
Author: Erica Kiefer
Published: May 26th, 2015
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
Content Warning: Violence, drug usage, abuse
Recommended Age: 14+
Erica Kiefer was born on Christmas Eve in Southern California to an American father whose ancestors arrived from Europe during colonial times and a Thai mother who moved to the US during high school. Adding to her rich and varied heritage, Erica grew up living abroad in Asia, including Taiwan, Fiji, Thailand and Indonesia. She gained a great respect for the beautiful mosaic of cultures found in various parts of the world. After graduating from International School Bangkok, she attended Brigham Young University in Utah, where she earned a degree in Recreation Therapy. Her career as a Recreation Therapist has allowed her to work with at-risk youth since 2007. Erica made the best decision of her life by marrying her husband in 2005 and is currently a mother of three, one of whom awaits her in heaven. Erica also loves singing, reading, writing, and satisfying her sweet-tooth with chocolate-chip cookies. Playing collegiate rugby was one of the most memorable experiences of her life, thus far. Erica’s first book, Lingering Echoes, was signed by Clean Teen Publishing and released in early November 2013.
The Book: Amazon
Isis can control her dreams. Or she could—until recently. The creature in her nightmares has been haunting her for months. As if being dumped wasn’t bad enough, now she dreads going to sleep. She decides to confront the creature and win back some of her peace; only, she finds that he’s not a monster and he’s not a dream. A sacrifice for love, a shocking discovery and a jealous ex-boyfriend blur the lines between reality and dreams, making it hard to tell who the real monsters are. Who would’ve known…that sometimes love is lethal?
Series: The Creatura Series #1
Author: Nely Cab
Published: May 12th, 2015
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Genre: YAm Paranormal Romance
Recommended Age: 13+
“Why can’t you believe that I am real?” he asked. “Because you’re not. Look at you with your golden skin andwings, wearing a skirt. How can I believe you’re real?” “I can prove it.”
“Oh, yeah? I dare you.”
“Do you, now?” David raised his brow.
“Double dare. And you should wear a skirt that looks more like pants for the occasion.”
“Your clever quips are very delightful, my lovely. Are you positively sure about this?”
“I’ve been waiting for this for three months.” I crossed my arms over my chest. “Bring it on.”
“Very well. But I have to warn you, I’m quite the competitor.”
“Then there should be a prize for the winner to make it more interesting.”
“You’re proposing a wager?” I nodded.
“If I win, you’ll leave my dreams forever,” I said. He gazed at me for a moment. Maybe it was just my imagination, but I thought I saw a trace of a grin on his face.
“If I should win, you will believe me when I say I’m not a dream,” David said.
“If you say so,” I snickered. “I guess this is goodbye since I’ll be winning.” “And…” he said
“And…you will never again come here.”
“Okay,” I said. “Fair enough.”
“And…” he said again.
“That’s too many ‘ands’.”
“And…” he continued, “I bid you not farewell, but good morrow.”
David tipped his head as he disappeared, leaving behind a cloud of golden dust.
Nely Cab is a Writer of stuff, a Master Coffee Drinker, a Food Maker & Eater, an Imaginary World Conqueror, and an Air Breather. She talks to herself—a lot—in her South Texas home while she plots stories about fantasy worlds and sips coffee from a pitcher. She’s known for cooking far too much food and has a tendency to overdo…well, everything. It is rumored that she is fabulous. Nely Cab is the best-selling author of the Creatura series.
Nely Cab’s Top Ten Favorite Creatures!!!!!!!!!!!!!
3. Lions (what? It’s a creature.)
1. Demi Gods
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