Tag Archives: Jordan Elizabeth

“Path to Old Talbot” by Jordan Elizabeth – Blog Tour

Today I’m participating in a blog tour for fellow author Jordan Elizabeth. She has a new book coming soon. 🙂

(Note: I did not design the cover. The cover artist is Rue Volley.)

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PATH TO OLD TALBOT

A Young Adult Fantasy

Path to Old Tabot - Book Cover

Thirteen-year-old Charity can escape her unpleasant reality by stepping through the parlor closet of her mother’s new home, a mansion built in the 1800’s. 

In her hometown of Talbot, New York, in the year 1880, she doesn’t have to worry about her depressed father skipping his medications or her mother flirting with her coworker. Instead, she gets to know the hatter’s son, who shows her a lifestyle of manners and pride. Few have ever accepted Charity’s old-fashioned ways…until now. 

However, old Talbot can’t banish the present. Charity can stay in the mansion, with access to the hatter’s son in the past, and the prospect of a steady family unit with her mother and the new man in her mother’s life, or she can go back to her father, who has been given the option to straighten out his life and join them in their new home. Instead, his world unravels, and he spirals into violence and self-harm.

Torn between two worlds, Charity knows that if she doesn’t help him, she may lose him forever if he follows through on his threats of self-destruction. 

PATH TO OLD TALBOT is on Amazon from CHBB.

Check out early reviews on GoodReads!

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Check out Chapter 1:

Sunlight reflects off the pavement and bakes my bare legs. Shadows play across Daddy while he cries on the stoop, slumped forward, his shoulders shaking. How many times will he play this game? If he got it together, Mom and I wouldn’t be packing the car to move to a different house.

I shade my eyes and look away from him. Think about the steps. Don’t think about him. It’s a lovely stoop, with only a few chips, and it has a wrought iron railing that curls at the end.

“Why does life keep throwing crap at me?” Daddy’s yell makes a crow fly from the old oak tree in our front yard.

Leaves rustle in its wake as the bird shoots over the house like a black ball, and it caws, a hoarse screech like Daddy’s voice when he’s upset.

Mom carries her last box of books from inside the garage and sets it in the trunk of her Subaru. The huge box catches on an edge and she grunts as she shoves it. Her biceps flex— surprising how strong she is, since she never works out. I swear Mom can lift anything. She wipes her palms on her shorts, smearing dust across the black denim.

“Why does this always happen?” Daddy slams his fist into the cement stoop.

I wince. I could cover my ears against the sound, but I’m not a little kid anymore; no more hiding for me.

His hand bleeds. It will add a new scar to the skinny white lines that crisscross his knuckles.

When I was younger, I pretended they were lines from elf hoes, and miniature vegetables would grow among the whorls of dark curls. Now, seeing the scars makes my stomach clench.

Mom won’t bandage him up. She stopped years ago. This time, I won’t either, even though my fingers itch to fetch the Band-Aids and Neosporin. I didn’t make Daddy punch anything. He needs to patch himself. It isn’t our fault he won’t take his medication.

I pick at my glittered purple polish, catching a hangnail. The red stain mixes with the polish as if I intended for a gruesome pattern.

Daddy staggers off the stoop and paces.

“I need a gun,” he rants. “I’m gonna put a bullet in my head.”

Mom clears her throat. “Come on, Charity. We’re leaving.” She presses her lips into a thin line and slams the trunk door, making her Impreza vibrate. She walks along the path of flat rocks, trampling some of the grass that has grown too tall, and pauses next to him.

Daddy grunts, dropping back down onto the stone, and he tips his head up, his fingers dragging across his cheeks. Blood trickles down the back of his hand into the sleeve of his button-up shirt. His blue eyes are wide and bloodshot, tear-filled. Sometimes when he cries, Mom kisses the tears away.

Even though I’m thirteen, I should be the one crying. Heck, I’m still a child. His therapist said so. Daddy should hold me and promise everything will be fine. He’ll take his meds and we’ll all be okay.

I’m too delusional for all that, but the thoughts slip in anyways.

I shouldn’t have to avoid Daddy when he’s in a mood. I shouldn’t have to worry about my words making him emotional, or my attitude setting him off, or whether I’m going to find him dead when I come home.

Mom kneels to clasp his wrists. “I love you, Max. I will always love you.” Her voice squeaks, but her body remains steady. She doesn’t look away from his stare.

“You can’t go!” He yanks his arms free and stands on the stoop, but he teeters. His bare feet poke from the ragged hem of his jeans. The lack of shoes makes him look like a teenager. When has Daddy ever been an adult for me?

Has he ever been an adult for himself? According to my grandparents, his depression started in high school. Why hasn’t he learned how to cope yet?

“I’ll kill myself!”

I wince at the threat, but Mom rises, shaking her head. Why can’t he see how much we love him? Why aren’t we enough to stop his pain?

“You know where we are. When you’re ready, come find us.” She kisses his mouth, fast, as if afraid he’ll push her away. His blood smears her palm, but she doesn’t look down when she wipes it on her thigh. It leaves a crimson streak, as if she’s the one bleeding.

“Charity!” Daddy stumbles toward me. “You won’t leave me. Come back, honey. I need you.”

I quicken my pace to open the car door and slip into the passenger’s seat. My fingers shake as I fasten my seatbelt. He doesn’t need me. He needs to help himself. I play with my hemp bracelet to avoid looking at him. My stomach heaves as I fight back tears.

“Isadora,” he yells.

I glance back, a final glimpse in case he does kill himself.

It won’t be my fault, or Mom’s. We don’t make Daddy do things. Mom tells me that every day. It is never your fault. Sometimes it hurts to think that. If it was my fault, maybe I could fix it.

His brown hair is in that buzz cut Mom hates. He’s gotten blood on his cheek. If only he took care of the things about the house the way he cuts his hair, the place wouldn’t look so run down. After we leave, he’ll break things, but we took the things we cherished— everything except for Daddy, and seeing the tears in Mom’s eyes, I know we cherish him most of all.

That’s why we have to leave.

Mom sits beside me and slams her door. She slips the key into the ignition and turns it without taking her gaze from the road. I stare forward too, because it only hurts to think about the past. Tall grasses wave in the breeze next to the garage as if saying goodbye.

I’ll really miss this place.

“He needs to get help,” Mom whispers. “He can’t do that with us. We’re just his crutch now.”

A chipmunk darts across the driveway and from somewhere down the street, music plays through an open window. I almost forget how hot the day is until sweat gathers behind my knees.

We need to grow up, too, but I don’t talk in case Mom needs solitude. What will the neighbors think?

It’s about time Isadora and Charity left.

How dare they leave that poor man? Mrs. Ames next door has always seen him as someone to coddle, like an oversized infant. No doubt she’ll go with that train of thought.

Mom drives forward and heads down the road, past all the neighbors with their happy, safe families, as peaceful as the fluffy clouds dancing over the blue sky.

“Isadora! Charity!” Daddy’s wails fade and I bite my lower lip.

Mom told him to come home once he becomes well. Our new house. Her dream house.

Our home.

I want to squeeze Daddy’s hand, to feel secure, but my fingers close on false hope.

 

Jordan Elizabeth - Author Photo

Jordan Elizabeth is known for her odd sense of humor and her outrageous outfits.  Surrounded by bookshelves, she can often be found pounding away at her keyboard – she’s known for breaking keyboards, too.  Jordan’s young adult novels include ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW, COGLING, TREASURE DARKLY, GOAT CHILDREN, and VICTORIAN.  PATH TO OLD TALBOT is her third novel with CHBB.  Check out her website for bonus scenes and contests.

Jordan Elizabeth - Author Logo

 

Books can be our window into the past when we don’t have a portal in our new house.  In honor of PATH TO OLD TALBOT, enter for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!

All winners will be notified after verification of entry at the end of this promotion.  Prizes have been supplied by and the responsibility of delivery are solely that of the author and/or their representatives. Blogs are not liable for non-delivery on the part of the author. No purchase necessary.

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway!

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Runners & Riders Blog Tour

Today I’m participating in a blog tour for fellow author, Jordan Elizabeth. 🙂

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Runners & Riders

Companion to the Treasure Chronicles

A young adult novel of gangs and love in a steampunk world.

Runners & Riders - Book Cover

Juliet loved growing up at the seaside, although it meant lonely hours chasing after the other beach rats while her mother worked as a seamstress. Juliet never expected her seaman father to inherit a fortune and move the family to New Addison City. Suddenly her mother is a socialite and Juliet is best friends with a strong-willed girl who actually likes her. When Juliet’s new friend welcomes her to the Runners, a gang that has plagued the East Coast for years, Juliet sees it as the opportunity to fit in, learn tricks, and make eyes at one of the hottest members. What the gang does isn’t really wrong…right? She’s used to being a pawn for the Runners, but she starts to question what she sees as harmless fun when the gang uses her to attack a young officer.

 

Jonathan Montgomery vowed to end the Runners after they murdered his family. He joined the Riders, an elite police force dedicated to stopping the Runners’ crime spree. They have put him in New Addison City, but rookie mistakes follow Jonathan as he struggles to accomplish his goal, until a young woman feeds him inside information to bring down the Runners.

 

Between murders and secrets, Juliet will need to find her strength to help Jonathan, before the founder of the Runners crawls up from the sewers amongst her inventions to burn down the city.

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RUNNERS & RIDERS is available now on Amazon from Curiosity Quills Press.

Check out early reviews on GoodReads!

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Runners & Riders Banner

Can’t wait to read the next installment in the Treasure Chronicles world?  Check out the first chapter:

A figure ducked behind the work shed where the glow of the back porch gas lamp didn’t reach. Jonathan shielded his eyes so he could see more clearly through the bedroom window, but the backyard lay still. The white sheets the maid had hung fluttered in the evening breeze.

 

His uncle would have a ghost story to tell about those.

 

Another dark shape bolted across the yard; this one crouched in his mother’s flower garden. It might have been one of the boys from school come to throw pebbles at the pale blue siding until Jonathan sneaked out, but they seemed too tall for eleven-year-olds. The one in the flowers crept closer to the house.

 

Movement in the woods drew Jonathan’s attention farther across the yard, where two more shapes lurked. They had to be grown men. He gulped as he crawled away from the window to the hallway where the light from the living room glowed up the stairs.

 

“Found you.” The maid grinned from his parents’ bedroom, a stack of table linens in her arms. “When we play hide-and-seek, you ain’t supposed to come out till I call for you. We gotta practice the rules again? I was gonna come looking soon as I put these cloths away.”

 

He grabbed the railing. “There’s people out in the yard.”

 

Her eyes widened before she clicked her tongue. “Ain’t nobody out in this cold. I’m dreading my own walk home. Bless your father if he gives me a ride.”

 

“I saw them. There had to be ten, at least!” Jonathan took the stairs down two at a time.

 

His uncle sat in front of the living room hearth, the fire crackling to stave off the autumn chill, with Jonathan’s sister nestled in his lap. “The old king rose up tall as that old oak out by the water pump, and he waved his scepter as if he was a wizard.”

 

“Uncle Henry,” Jonathan interrupted. “There are people out back.”

 

“What’s that? You get to bed already?”

 

“What?” His uncle never made them sleep as early as his mother did; they usually got to stay up until their parents came home from the opera house.

 

“You must have had a nightmare.” Uncle Henry chuckled, and the little girl giggled from his lap.

 

“No, I saw them. They were slinking through the yard.” Jonathan pointed toward the rear of the house. His uncle would appreciate “slinking,” as if the word had fallen from one of those mystery novels he read them.

 

Uncle Henry glanced at the clock on the mantle. “Your parents shouldn’t be much longer. It must’ve been them you saw.”

 

“There were a bunch of people. Lots of them. Fifteen at least!” Jonathan’s heartbeat increased. Some of the natives – those Bromi warriors – from out west might have crept across the country. Pirates might have invaded from the sea. His parents whispered about those when they read the newspapers.

 

“Fifteen, huh? Well, you keep an eye on them for me. If they come too close, we’ll build a fort around the house.” Uncle Henry adjusted the pink afghan wrapped around the toddler.

 

The doors were locked, but the enemy might break through the windows. Jonathan’s father kept the guns sealed in a case, but he did have an emergency pistol in a box under his bed. They’d be proud if he protected his family.

 

As Jonathan reached the top of the stairs, someone knocked on the front door. He froze, one sock-clad foot on the landing and the other on the top step. Pirates and natives didn’t knock. They invaded; they were evil.

 

The maid swept past him, lifting her ankle-length brown skirt. “I hope that’s my dear papa come with the pony cart. He won’t let his little girl walk home in the frost.” She winked at Jonathan, but he gulped. She wouldn’t know to be afraid. Even though she played games with him, she was sixteen, old enough to think the world was perfect. Only he knew enough to find danger in shadows.

 

“If that’s your father, invite him in for some coffee,” Uncle Henry called.

 

“Will do, sir.”

 

Jonathan crouched beside the railing and clutched the rungs. If he bent his head enough, he could see the front door. The maid wiped her hands on her apron before she opened it.

 

“Oh, hello. Can I help you?” Her final word fell away in a scream as a man shoved her inside. His black coat buttoned to his chin and a black knit cap covered his head.

 

Jonathan’s own scream strangled in his throat.

 

“This the Montgomery residence?” the man barked. Three more men shoved into the foyer, all of them dressed in full black. The tallest of the bunch seized the maid by the shoulders and slammed her into the wall.

 

“Y-yes, sir,” she stammered.

 

“What’s going on here?” Uncle Henry burst in from the living room while two more assailants stepped inside. Jonathan’s sister started to wail.

 

One of the men drew a handgun from his belt and aimed it at Uncle Henry’s chest. “Where’s the laboratory?”

 

“Get out of this house,” Uncle Henry said. Jonathan had never heard him speak with such calm finesse, the laughter gone from his voice.

 

Jonathan’s hands trembled where he gripped the polished wood. His uncle would handle everything. Take that, bad guys.

 

“Well now,” the attacker drawled, “that wasn’t the answer I was looking for.”

 

“How about you, girl?” the man yelled at the maid. “Take us to the lab.”

 

As soon as the man released her, she sank to the floor, her shoulders shaking with sobs.

 

The man crouched in front of her to grip her chin. “What’s your name, girl?”

 

“R-Rose.”

 

“You the scientist’s daughter?”

 

Jonathan stiffened. Uncle Henry would protect them, and if Jonathan needed to, he could leap over the railing onto the man’s back.

 

“N-no, sir. I’m just the maid. It’s a common name here. Rose. We have that rose festival and all. We have the famous rainbow-colored rose.”

 

He slapped her across the face and jerked her to her feet. “Shut up, bitch. Get us to the lab or you won’t be making no more noise.”

 

“You’ll release her now.” Uncle Henry lunged forward, and a crack split the air. He staggered, rasping, and dropped to his knees. Blood appeared on his chest, the circle growing, morphing into something that dripped and twisted without pattern.

 

“Mack, what was that? You shot him.” One of the men chuckled.

 

“No,” the maid shrieked.

 

Jonathan squeezed his eyes shut. Perhaps he had fallen asleep waiting for Rose to find him. It had to be a dream. Uncle Henry is fine. Were all fine.

 

When he opened them, his uncle lay on the hardwood floor in a pool of red paint. Red paint. No, not paint. Blood.

 

The men stomped through the house toward his father’s laboratory off the kitchen, and the maid’s sobs mingled with his sister’s cries. He had to protect his sister. He’d get the pistol, grab her, and he’d run for the neighbor’s farm.

 

Jonathan ran for their bedroom, the door still open from when the maid folded away the tablecloths. With only the light from downstairs, he crawled to the bed and lay on his stomach to reach the box. Nothing should have invaded his perfect house, with its two chimneys and dark blue shutters, with the flower garden and those ghost sheets flapping on the line.

 

He pulled out the box and flipped the hook on the lid to remove the pistol. He’d seen his father polish it, but he’d never known it could be so heavy. How do I hold it?

 

A door slammed below him. He would have to point the gun and pull the trigger, like what the villain had done to his uncle. The bullet would save him and his sister. It would save the maid. If he found her, she could use it better.

 

He crept back downstairs, but the commotion came from the laboratory. Glass smashed and heavier things crashed. Another gunshot seared through the house.

 

Jonathan ran for the armchair where his uncle had left the toddler. “Rosamund, be quiet.” Her pale hair stood out against the seat’s green velveteen. “Please, Rosamund.”

 

“Well now, who’re you?”

 

Jonathan twisted around and did his best to aim the silver weapon at the man lounging in the doorway. He couldn’t be much older than the maid; how could someone so young do such evil? Jonathan couldn’t picture the boys at his school shooting anyone with anything more than a slingshot.

 

“Get out.” Jonathan’s voice squeaked.

 

The young man chuckled. “I reckon you’re the man of the house now. Good luck with that.”

 

“Get out!” Jonathan pulled the trigger.

 

The pistol clicked, but no bullet ripped through the villain. Jonathan cocked it again, his heartbeat echoing in his ears.

 

The man laughed harder. “That thing’s out of bullets, kid, but don’t worry, we’re leaving. Runners don’t mess with kids.”

 

Jonathan pulled the trigger again, but only that click answered him. Tears burned his eyes as he threw it down.

 

Runners. Next time he met one of them, he’d have a pistol full of bullets.

 

#

 

Jonathan rested his elbows on his knees and sighed. The sun shouldn’t be so bright and the few leaves that had begun to change to gold shouldn’t glow so much. At least the crimson leaves fit his mood.

 

He gazed at Rosamund as she sat beside the few marigolds that hadn’t given up on summer, petting her kitten’s gray head. She looked so happy, with her hair in two short braids. They’d let him dress her in white – black made him shudder now.

 

The Runners wore black.

 

“What do you suppose will happen to the house?” Mrs. Rogers’s voice danced through the open kitchen window. Airing out the rooms wouldn’t help banish that lingering stench of blood.

 

“I don’t know,” Miss Lea answered. He’d always loved his teacher, but she hadn’t said much more than a few sentences, as if she didn’t know how to console.

 

“I don’t suppose anyone will want a house where two murders took place. Shame, since this place is so pretty. Biggest home in all of Rosedale.”

 

Jonathan scrunched his eyes shut. How could they stand next to the laboratory where the maid had been shot? How could they even bear to be inside?

 

“All for that invention,” Mrs. Rogers continued. “You really think a motor for a ship is worth all the trouble they went to?”

 

Trouble. As if murdering his parents in their steamcoach on the way back from the opera house counted as trouble. Trouble meant forgetting to study for a spelling test.

 

“Who knows what those Runners think.”

 

“Blasted Runners. Don’t they care about the suffering families? Couldn’t they have spared all those folks?”

 

Jonathan clenched his hands into fists. He’d hunt them down. They couldn’t take his family away and laugh about it.

 

Miss Lea mumbled something he couldn’t hear.

 

“Are you going to keep the two mites?” Dishes rattled. Jonathan’s mother had never trusted Mrs. Rogers; he had a feeling he would never see those porcelain plates again.

 

Who cared what happened to the belongings?

 

“The neighbors will take him now that their daughter’s so far away. The Ashers are good folk.”

 

Jonathan jerked his head up. The neighbors, that old man and woman who never smiled much? Why would they want the Montgomery orphans, as Mrs. Rogers had dubbed them? He expected they’d live with Miss Lea since they didn’t have anyone else.

 

Miss Lea is nice enough; she’ll take care of Rosamund.

 

“It might do that old Rider a favor having some sprites around,” Mrs. Rogers said. “Come help me wrap up these teacups. Wouldn’t they look darling in my china cabinet?”

 

Jonathan plodded to the water pump to see if he could spot the neighbors’ barn through the trees. Riders hunted down the Runner gangs that plagued the east coast. If he got to live with a Rider, he might learn some tricks.

 

Jonathan sneered.

 

Runner beware, for the mark of the Rider will shine.

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Author - Jordan Elizabeth

Jordan Elizabeth became obsessed with steampunk while working at a Victorian Fair.  Since then, she’s read plenty of books and even organized a few steampunk outfits that she wears on a regular basis (unless that’s weird, in which case she only wears them within the sanctuary of her own home – not!). Jordan’s young adult novels include ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW, COGLING, TREASURE DARKLY, BORN OF TREASURE, GOAT CHILDREN, and VICTORIAN.  RUNNERS & RIDERS is her fifth novel with Curiosity Quills Press.  Check out her website for bonus scenes and contests.

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In honor of RUNNERS & RIDERS, enter for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!

Contest runs from August 22 to September 1.

All winners will be notified after verification of entry at the end of this promotion.  Prizes have been supplied by and the responsibility of delivery are solely that of the author and/or their representatives. Blogs are not liable for non-delivery on the part of the author. No purchase necessary.

 

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win a $5.00 Amazon Gift Card!

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Cover Reveal for Under A Brass Moon – with Jordan Elizabeth

Today I’m participating in a cover reveal for an anthology that Jordan Elizabeth has a story in. While I did not create this cover, I enjoy revealing them. 🙂

Without further ado…

UNDER A BRASS MOON

A Steampunk and Science Fiction Anthology

This anthology includes twenty-seven short stories intended to enchant and consume. Enjoy the works of Jordan Elizabeth, G. Miki Hayden, Benjamin Sperduto, D. J. Butler, Christine Baker, Lorna MacDonald Czarnota, Jessica Gunn, Lorna Marie Larson, Quinn Southwick, James Wymore, Terri Karsten, W. K. Pomeroy, Ashley Pasco, Jeremy Mortis, Grant Eagar, Amberle Husbands, Nick Lofthouse, and S.A. Larsen.

We are thrilled to present this dazzling cover by Eugene Teplitsky.

Under A Brass Moon - Cover Reveal for Jordan Elizabeth

UNDER A BRASS MOON releases on July 28th, but in the meantime, check it out on GoodReads.

Many of the short stories are continuations from GEARS OF BRASS. The anthology is now on sale for 99 cents!

Help us celebrate the cover reveal with the chance to win a $30 Amazon gift card.

All winners will be notified after verification of entry at the end of this promotion.  Prizes have been supplied by and the responsibility of delivery are solely that of the author and/or their representatives. Blogs are not liable for non- delivery on the part of the author. No purchase necessary.

 

Click here to enter the giveaway!

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Blog Tour for a Fellow Author – The Goat Children

Today I’m participating in a blog tour for Jordan Elizabeth’s latest book, The Goat Children. Friday I’ll plan on doing the video blog post, along with an update on our booth at the upcoming Old Drum Days Festival. 🙂

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GOAT CHILDREN

A young adult novel with a touch of fantasy, love, and imagination versus reality.

The Goat Children Book Cover

When Keziah’s grandmother, Oma, is diagnosed with dementia, Keziah faces two choices: leave her family and move to New Winchester to care for Oma, or stay in New York City and allow her grandmother to live in a nursing home miles away.

The dementia causes Oma to be rude and paranoid, nothing like the woman Keziah remembers. Each day becomes a greater weight and love a harsher burden. Keziah must keep Oma from wandering off or falling, and try to convince her grandmother to see a doctor as her eyesight and hearing fail, but Oma refuses to believe anything is wrong. Resentful of her hardships in New Winchester, Keziah finds herself drawn to Oma’s ramblings about the Goat Children, a mythical warrior class. These fighters ride winged horses, locating people in need, while attempting to destroy evil in the world. Oma sees the Goat Children everywhere, and as Keziah reads the stories Oma wrote about them, she begins to question if they really exist.

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GOAT CHILDREN is now available on Amazon from CHBB.

Check out early reviews on GoodReads!

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Check out Chapter 1:

Bodies crushed against each other, a blur of hair and clothes, in the mad dash to exit the subway. The air smelled of the greasy restaurants above and felt stuffy, despite the bitter cold that rattled through the damp subway tunnel. My mouth watered as I sniffed roasted chestnuts.

 

You haven’t eaten dinner yet, my rumbling stomach scolded.

 

I slipped past a man speaking rapid Spanish to board the train, grabbed a pole, slid on to a seat, and pulled my green bag higher towards my chest. The two paperbacks inside jammed into my ribs. With a groan, I shifted into a new position, wondering what glorious worlds awaited within the glossy covers.

 

“Whoa ho, ho, ho.”

 

More people ranting on the subway. It could never be a quiet ride. I opened my bag to peer at the fantasy novels. I’d chosen thick books because they lasted longer and made the reading more rewarding.

 

“Ho, little one.”

 

A face shoved into mine from the aisle, and I jerked back, squeaking. Oily black hair hung over a scarred forehead. The man swayed, braying a laugh. I glanced at the woman with bright pink hair sitting on the next seat. She read a newspaper without looking up.

 

“So much to you.” The man licked his lips and slurred the words.

 

His pungent odor clawed its way through my nose; no escaping the invisible fumes. They washed over me with groping draws until my eyes watered. I cringed, my craving for chestnuts gone. Anyone on a diet would be thankful to have him around.

 

He stood, clinging to a pole with one gloved hand. Threads poked from the torn seams in the gripping brown leather. Two duffel bags, stained with mud, rested near his feet, bulging with contents.

 

I lowered my gaze, clutching the bag tighter. Please go away. I shouldn’t have taken the subway, but I’d done it to save time. Even though I was seventeen, Mama said it wasn’t safe to ride alone, and now, I agreed.

 

I’m not gonna be home by my seven o’clock curfew. Mama’s gonna freak. I can’t believe I forgot my phone.

 

“You don’t belong on this world.” He smacked his lips. Behind his head, a large sign told the public not to smoke, or they’d get lung cancer and die. It was easier to stare at the anti-smoking sign than him.

 

“Yes, thank you,” I mumbled as he leered at me. Even if he lacked a home and suffered from insanity, he didn’t deserve rudeness.

 

“You like fantasy?”

 

I stared at my lap, but when he repeated the question louder, I nodded.

 

“What would ya do if fantasy became your life? What would ya do if it wasn’t fantasy anymore?”

 

“Fantasy isn’t real.” I shifted my gaze to my black socks. They came up to my thighs and the right sock had a tiny hole near the knee. I’d have to sew it when I got home. If I studied it, maybe he’d grow bored and mosey on elsewhere.

 

“Are you happy here? Don’t you want more, little one? I can take you to another world.” His deep breaths made snot rattle in his nose.

 

I gagged, hiding my mouth behind my hand. The woman with the newspaper glanced over. I pleaded silently for her to make the man go away, but she moved to an empty seat down the car, wrinkling her nose. I still had five more stops before I could get away.

 

Do I dare follow her?

 

“Don’t you believe in destiny?”

 

What if he sits next to me? I slid my bag onto the empty seat, clutching the handle. As the subway curved around the corner, it screeched, the sound echoing through the metallic enclosure as if screaming, “Doom!”

 

“I’ve been to other lands. I’ve seen my future, and I spit at it.” He turned his head to hack on the floor. The saliva bubbled with a yellowish hue.

 

The subway squealed to a halt, and some of the passengers stood to exit. I removed the bag in case someone new sat down, someone safe, but no one came near or looked at us as they found seats. The doors slid shut, and the train moved again. Four more stops to go.

 

“Don’t shun fantasy. I’ve made mistakes and don’t want you to make ‘em too. Take it and see what you can do. Take it!” He pumped his fist, revealing grease stains on his coat sleeves.

 

I scanned the other passengers’ faces. They ignored us, although the ranting man filled the car with his voice. Only the smiling faces on wall advertisements watched. Ever-smiling, ever-trapped in their realm of sales. I fiddled with the zipper on the front of my gray hoodie, heart racing.

 

The subway halted at the next station. Again, people exited and entered, and no one sat beside me. Three more stops to go. I drummed my fingers against my thigh.

 

“I know all about the ones they call the Goats.” He drew a ragged breath. “I’m not supposed to, but I know. My wife was one. She told me all about them. Oh, yes, she did. She wasn’t supposed to, but she did. They don’t let them take over the world. They won’t!”

 

Why do crazies always go for alien invasions? I twirled my brown curls. I’d get off at the next stop and walk the rest of the way, even if I arrived home later.

 

What if he follows me?

 

“The Goats!” He flapped his arm.

 

Alien goat invasion. How awesome. I jumped and clutched my bag like a shield. The subway screeched as it approached the next station. I wanted to run, but he waved both arms, repeating the scream.

 

The doors swished open, but if I stood to escape, he could attack. Two more stops to go. What if I can’t escape at my stop, either?

 

As soon as the subway started, he lowered his arm and drew a few breaths. He reeked of alcohol, and overpowering the sweat stench, the stench made my head swirl.

 

“Beware of the Goats.” His chest heaved. “Help the Goats. Save the Goats!”

 

He really is deranged. There weren’t any goats in New York City that I’d ever seen.

 

“Yes, I will.” Go away. “I’ll … I’ll watch out for the goats.”

 

“The Goats,” he corrected, as if I’d mispronounced the word. He picked up his duffel bags and waddled to the back of the car, where he dropped onto a seat. He took a small paperback book from the pocket of his trench coat and flipped it open.

 

When the doors swished open at the next stop, I exited in the crush of bodies. People coughed and spoke, heels clicked and wheels on backpacks rolled, and the sounds echoed off the stone walls.

 

I slid through the turnstile and bolted up the cement steps two at a time, the edges cracked and crumbled and graffiti decorated the walls with images of fire and obscene language. The brightness of the paint, and the harsh edges that curved and sang were beautiful. The scrawls seemed to want to leap off the stone, suddenly alive.

 

At the top, I grasped the railing. Cold, dented metal bit through the fishnet of my fingerless gloves while I gazed over my shoulder. The people emerging didn’t spare me a glance. I was lost in the crowd, a stationary fixture.

 

The man wasn’t following. I ducked my head to push into the crowd. People bumped into me, jostling with elbows and bags. I almost walked into a tourist, who snapped a picture of the taxicabs.

 

“Hey,” called a stout vender from the corner. “You okay?”

 

I tucked back a brown curl. “I’m fine, but thanks.” Wind whipping between the skyscrapers stole the power of my words.

 

“Wanna dog?” He held one out, nestled in a white roll.

 

“No, thanks. I don’t eat meat.”

 

“Good,” I thought I heard him whisper. “Your kind shouldn’t.”

 

He couldn’t have spoken. It must’ve been someone else. It wouldn’t make sense for a man who made his living off people scarfing down meat-in-a-tube to agree with my vegetarian lifestyle.

 

I ogled the sea of metal vehicles washed in the afternoon sunlight like sharks swarming for a fresh kill. I shook off the thought and ran, an empty Styrofoam cup crunching beneath my foot. I didn’t have a watch, but the sun hung low in the sky.

 

A thought raced through my mind as the sun made windows wink and flash.

 

Beware of Goats.

 

#

 

“Long line at the bookstore.” I dropped my bag on the marble table beside the door to my family’s condo. Instrumental Celtic music wafted from the living room as I left the small foyer, and I almost tripped over my sprawled little sister.

 

“Phebe, you shouldn’t lie on the floor.”

 

“Why are you home so late?” Phebe dragged an orange crayon over the page of her coloring book. Her ponytail bobbed as she tipped her head, studying the picture. “You should’ve taken me with you. Mommy said so.”

 

“I’m sure she did.” I rolled my eyes.

 

When I’d left earlier, Phebe had still been doing her mathematics homework. We were home schooled, so even in the summer, we had work to do. It sucked because other home schooled students I knew had summers off. That was our penalty for having a mother with a Master’s degree in elementary education.

 

“Where’re Mama and Dad?”

 

Phebe sat up on her knees with her eyebrows knit together. “Mommy’s crying.”

 

My heart sunk and dropped clear out of my stomach. Mama never got that upset when I came home late. Did she find out about the party last weekend at Tiffany’s? I’d lied and said it was only going to be Tiff, her parents and siblings, and me. I hadn’t mentioned her parents were in Vancouver on vacation or that Tiff had invited all of her friends, not just me. Regret stabbed my gut.

 

“Mama, I’m home! Mama?”

 

The family photographs glared at me from the wall, none so reprimanding as the face of my Reverend Uncle. I kicked off my flats and hurried into my parents’ bedroom. With the lamp off, only a little light slipped through the closed venetian blinds covering the single window.

 

Short brown hair fanned over the plaid pillowcase, and Mama lay sideways on the king-sized bed, a crumpled tissue pressed against her nose. Dad sat beside her, stroking her shoulders. He still wore his suit from work—an even worse sign. The first thing Dad did when he walked through the door was peel off his jacket and toss the tie onto the table.

 

“Mama?” My voice cracked as my throat constricted.

 

“Your uncle called.” Dad tugged on his green silk tie that should’ve been lost in the pile of mail, not still fastened around his neck.

 

“Uncle Tom?”

 

The Reverend in Massachusetts, Dad’s younger brother, only called once a month, on the first Friday. Even though we called him Uncle Tom around the house, we all referred to him as Pastor Thomas to his face.

 

“No, Uncle Jan.”

 

Mama’s brother, the one who called less than Uncle Tom did.

 

“What…what did he want? Has someone died?” Oh no, is it my grandmother? Uncle Jan lived upstate, in the same town as her.

 

“Keziah, it’s your grandmother,” Dad continued.

 

Oh no, oh no, oh no. When I’d been younger, we’d lived down the street from Mama’s mother. She had taken care of me while my parents worked, and we’d often picked violets in the yard. Sometimes, I imagined I could smell their perfume years later and hundreds of miles away.

 

I’d always called her Oma, which meant grandmother in Dutch. I could still remember the way I’d cried and screamed, begging to stay with Oma when we’d moved to New York City. The hours separating us seemed like an eternity.

 

“She has dementia.” Dad removed his tie and knotted it around his fingers.

 

I blinked at him. “Dementia?” Demented, like the man on the subway?

 

“She hasn’t been officially diagnosed, but the symptoms are there. Uncle Jan doesn’t feel she can live on her own anymore.” Dad dropped his tie onto the alarm clock.

 

“So…she’s moving in with Uncle Jan?” I pictured waking up from a sleepover at Oma’s house with fresh squeezed orange juice waiting in the kitchen beside a bowl of cream of wheat cereal, steamy and sweet.

 

“Good morning, sunshine,” Oma would sing. She’d pull out the chair, the seat hideous and green, leftover from the 1970s. It had been an honor to sit at the kitchen table with her.

 

Dad rubbed his chin. “Your aunt won’t let her do that.”

 

I grinned. “She’s moving in with us? That’s amazing!” I only saw Oma on school holidays, and that summer, we’d had to pass because Mama had taught a summer school class.

 

“You know that wouldn’t work.” Dad gazed at the dresser across the room, a fog coming over his eyes.

 

I pulled at a loose thread on my black skirt. If Oma moved in, then Dad would have to move out or risk family war. The yelling would never stop. She hated Dad with a roaring passion I’d never understood. That anger had contributed to the reason why we’d moved, and when we visited Oma, Dad never went.

 

“Your uncle wants to put her in a home.” Dad leaned over to rub a spot on the wall’s blue paint as if that space was the problem, and he could make it disappear.

 

I licked my dry lips. “You mean like a nursing home?”

 

“No!” Mama rose on her elbows. “I’m not putting my mother in a nursing home. Do you know how they treat their patients? It’s horrible. All those people. Oma would hate it. She’s so antisocial these days. Really hate it.”

 

“Hush. Come on, sweetheart. It’s all right. We won’t put her in a home.” Dad combed his fingers through her hair.

 

“Why would Uncle Jan want to do that?” I didn’t know anything about nursing homes, but Mama was right. Oma had become one of the most antisocial people I’d ever met.

 

“It’s your aunt.” Dad patted Mama’s back. “She wants to put your grandmother away. It’s getting too hard to take care of her, and she won’t let her move in with them. You know how your aunt can be.”

 

My aunt could be downright nasty—a sickish combination of stubborn and controlling. Dad was too nice to say that aloud, though.

 

“What are we going to do?” My question made Mama cry harder, and I flinched.

 

“We’ll think of something,” Dad whispered.

*

Jordan Elizabeth - Author Photo

Jordan Elizabeth, formally Jordan Elizabeth Mierek, is known for her odd sense of humor and her outrageous outfits.  Surrounded by bookshelves, she can often be found pounding away at her keyboard – she’s known for breaking keyboards, too.  Jordan’s young adult novels include ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW, COGLING, TREASURE DARKLY, and BORN OF TREASURE.  GOAT CHILDREN is her first novel with CHBB.  Her short stories are featured in over twenty anthologies.  Check out her website for bonus scenes and contests.

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Keziah lives in New Winchester, a town frequented by squirrels.  Win a squirrel charm necklace in honor of her furry companions!

All winners will be notified after verification of entry at the end of this promotion.  Prizes have been supplied by and the responsibility of delivery are solely that of the author and/or their representatives. Blogs are not liable for non-delivery on the part of the author. No purchase necessary.

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Cover Reveal for A Fellow Author – The Goat Children!

Today I’m doing a cover reveal for fellow author, Jordan Elizabeth! I didn’t make this cover, but I quite like how it looks!

In the meantime, onward to the reveal! Take it away, Jordan…

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GOAT CHILDREN

A YA Novel with a touch of Fantasy

When Keziah’s grandmother, Oma, is diagnosed with dementia, Keziah faces two choices: leave her family and move to New Winchester to care for Oma, or stay in New York City and allow her grandmother to live in a nursing home miles away.

The dementia causes Oma to be rude and paranoid, nothing like the woman Keziah remembers. Each day becomes a greater weight and love a harsher burden. Keziah must keep Oma from wandering off or falling, and try to convince her grandmother to see a doctor as her eyesight and hearing fail, but Oma refuses to believe anything is wrong. Resentful of her hardships in New Winchester, Keziah finds herself drawn to Oma’s ramblings about the Goat Children, a mythical warrior class. These fighters ride winged horses, locating people in need, while attempting to destroy evil in the world. Oma sees the Goat Children everywhere, and as Keziah reads the stories Oma wrote about them, she begins to question if they really exist.

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GOAT CHILDREN will be released March 25, 2016 from CHBB.

This story means a lot to me.  Many of the events are taken from my own life when I helped out my grandmother.  She was one of my best friends and in many ways, my world.  It still hurts to think about how the dementia made her suffer.

As she would have said: without further ado, I present the cover for GOAT CHILDREN.  The talented Rue Volley created this cover.

Book Cover Reveal For A Fellow Author - The Goat Children

I can’t wait to share this book with all of you!  You can mark it as TBR today on GoodReads.

Author - Jordan Elizabeth

About the author: Jordan Elizabeth, formally Jordan Elizabeth Mierek, writes her nightmares in order to live her dreams. With an eclectic job history behind her, she is now diving into the world of writing. It happens to be her most favorite one yet. When she’s not creating art or researching her family tree, she’s updating her blog. Jordan is the vice president of the Utica Writers Club. She roams Central New York, but loves to travel.

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Win a paperback copy of my first novel, ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW.

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway.

All winners will be notified after verification of entry at the end of this promotion.  Prizes have been supplied by and the responsibility of delivery are solely that of the author and/or their representatives. Blogs are not liable for non-delivery on the part of the author. No purchase necessary.

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Cogling Blog Tour for Fellow Author – Jordan Elizabeth

Today I’m participating in a blog tour for a fellow author, Jordan Elizabeth!

I’ve been looking forward to this for a while, since I had the privileged of beta reading one of her earlier drafts of this book. I’ll soon be reading the new version, so I’m super excited to see how the book turned out. 😀

In the meantime…

COGLING

Young Adult Steampunk-Fantasy

Jordan Elizabeth - Cogling Cover

The beautiful cover is thanks to Mandie Manzano.

When fifteen-year-old Edna Mather tears an expensive and unfamiliar pocket watch off her little brother’s neck, he crumbles into a pile of cogs right before her eyes. Horrified, Edna flees for help, but encounters Ike, a thief who attempts to steal the watch before he realizes what it is: a device to power Coglings—clockwork changelings left in place of stolen children who have been forced to work in factories.

Desperate to rescue her brother, Edna sets off across the kingdom to the hags’ swamp, with Ike in tow. There, they learn Coglings are also replacing nobility so the hags can stage a rebellion and rule over humanity. Edna and Ike must stop the revolt, but the populace believes hags are helpful godmothers and healers. No one wants to believe a lowly servant and a thief, especially when Ike has secrets that label them both as traitors. 

Together, Edna and Ike must make the kingdom trust them or stop the hags themselves, even if Ike is forced to embrace his dark heritage and Edna must surrender her family.

 

Jordan Elizabeth - Cogling Cover Wrap

 

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Excerpt:

Green smoke snaked up the side of the tenement and drifted over the sill of an open window. A breeze blew the vapor into a column before it solidified into the shape of a stout, young hag. She shook her crimson curls away from her face and straightened the hood of her cloak to keep her kohl-lined, silver eyes shadowed.

The scent of lavender clung to her robes, washing over the small room. Two brass-framed beds crowded the floor. Blankets covered sleeping children. A little boy wheezed against the head of his stuffed bear, drool dripping onto the wool.

The hag squinted to see the goldenrod dream cloud above his head—a dream about seeing his father again. She frowned at the other bed, where a sleeping teenager lay with a threadbare blanket tugged around her chin. Even squinting, the hag couldn’t make out a dream cloud. The girl was too old to be of any use.

The hag slithered to the boy’s bed and, from the folds of her cloak, drew out a rectangular box four inches long, with a circular indentation on one side. She set it on the floor to remove a vial and rag from her skirt pocket, the rough wool of the rag irritating her fingertips.

“Do it, Simone,” the hag muttered to herself as she willed her hands not to tremble. “Make the Dark Mother happy.” She couldn’t fail at her first mission.

Holding her breath, Simone dribbled three drops onto the rag, yanked the teddy bear away, and shoved the drugged cloth against the boy’s mouth. His eyes opened, his gasp muffled, and his body jerked. Simone stiffened.

The girl moaned. Her mattress rustled as she rolled over to face the wall, brown curls shifting over her pillow.

Simone’s heart thudded. By the seven Saints, she should’ve cast a sleeping spell over the girl. The Dark Mother preferred humans to think hags were harmless healers, not thieves who kidnapped children.

The boy writhed, squeaks emerging from behind the rag. Simone pressed harder. She needed his breath in the wool to disguise and fuel the machine.

The potion took hold and the boy collapsed. Simone’s thick lips curved over her broken teeth. She lifted a pocket watch from around her neck and positioned it into the crevice in the metal box. As the two pieces connected, a chime rang out. She set the box beside the limp little boy and draped the rag over it. Even though she should wait to make sure his breath stuck in the machine, she couldn’t risk waking the girl.

The metal stretched to become his replica as if it were made of putty. With a second chime, the metal shimmered and dulled into the pale peach of his flesh, becoming an exact duplicate of the child.

“Mine.” Simone hefted the little boy into her arms, leaving the duplication on the bed, and transformed to smoke before the chimes awoke the girl.

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Check out COGLING on GoodReads and Amazon.

About the Author

Author - Jordan Elizabeth

Jordan Elizabeth, formally Jordan Elizabeth Mierek, writes down her nightmares in order to live her dreams. She is the author of ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW, TREASURE DARKLY, and BORN OF TREASURE. Check out her website, JordanElizabethMierek.com, for more information on her books, contests, and bonus short stories.

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Click here to enter her Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a steampunk necklace!

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Cover Reveal for a Fellow Author – Cogling!

Today I am super excited to be hosting a cover reveal for Cogling by Jordan Elizabeth. 😀

See, a while back I got the pleasure of beta-reading an earlier draft of this story, and I’ve been eagerly anticipating its release into the world. I’ve long wondered what the cover would look like (I did not create this cover). Now I finally get to see it, and so do you!

Are you ready?

I’m telling you, this cover is really pretty. 😀

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…..

……

COGLING

 

A Steampunk Fairy Tale for Young Adults who love a little Romance in their Adventures

 

Jordan Elizabeth - Cogling Cover

 

When fifteen-year-old Edna Mather tears an expensive and unfamiliar pocket watch off her little brother’s neck, he crumbles into a pile of cogs right before her eyes. Horrified, Edna flees for help, but encounters Ike, a thief who attempts to steal the watch before he realizes what it is: a device to power Coglings—clockwork changelings left in place of stolen children who have been forced to work in factories.

Desperate to rescue her brother, Edna sets off across the kingdom to the hags’ swamp, with Ike in tow. There, they learn Coglings are also replacing nobility so the hags can stage a rebellion and rule over humanity. Edna and Ike must stop the revolt, but the populace believes hags are helpful godmothers and healers. No one wants to believe a lowly servant and a thief, especially when Ike has secrets that label them both as traitors.

Together, Edna and Ike must make the kingdom trust them or stop the hags themselves, even if Ike is forced to embrace his dark heritage and Edna must surrender her family.

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COGLING has already gained advanced praise from NY Times Bestselling author, Maria V. Snyder!

“This is a fun YA Steampunk novel. It’s very different than many other Steampunk stories I’ve read. Basic plot is Edna’s brother is kidnapped by hags and replaced with a “cogling” and she’s on a mission to find and rescue her brother. The world is a Victorian-era with a strict class system for the humans and for those with magic. The woman with magic are called hags and the men with magic are ogres and they’re not nice and are planning to change the system. I really enjoyed learning about the world and the characters are well drawn and engaging.”

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Check out COGLING on GoodReads and Curiosity Quills.

Jordan Elizabeth - Author Photo

Meet the author
Jordan Elizabeth Mierek lives in a dream world.  Sometimes she comes out to do her day job, but most of the time she is writing about her favorite people – her characters!  COGLING is her fourth book.  Her previous steampunk series, the Treasure Chronicles, include TREASURE DARKLY and BORN OF TREASURE.  Her debut novel, ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW, is a young adult fantasy-horror.  You can find her short stories in numerous anthologies.  Check out her website, JordanElizabethMierek.com, for contests and bonus stories!

Win a steampunk necklace!

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.

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