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UK Indie Lit Fest

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This year’s festival will take place in the heart of Bradford, at the beautiful Kala Sangam.
The festival will run from 10am until 5pm on Saturday 26th August 2017.
This year we will comprise of the following:

Nearly 40 authors attending from all over the UK, they will be available to talk to readers, take pics, sign books and chat.
FREE workshops for readers, aspiring writers and authors.
Readings from some of our authors and poets.
Books available to buy throughout the day.
2 international hubs with best-selling authors from across the globe via Skype.
FREE entry.

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Don’t forget that your FREE virtual ticket could win you a FREE, signed paperback from one of the attending authors.

 

Who is UK Indie Lit Fest?

 
The UK Indie Lit Fest is a non-profit community interest company, the sole purpose of which is to promote indie authors, smaller publishing houses and allow writers to reach new readers.

The UK Indie Lit Fest is an exciting new project which made its debut in 2016. The brain child of Follow This publishing and UK indie authors, the UK Indie Lit Fest, took place on the 23rd of July 2016 at St James hall, Bolton Road, Bradford, West Yorkshire.

The festival brought together indie authors from around the UK, for an amazing FREE event. Fans met authors from around the country, talked to authors from all over the world in our international hub, learned all about being an indie author, how to become a published author, took part in in our exciting workshops, listened to readings by the authors, entered our exciting competitions to win signed books And much, much more …

 

Some of This Years Authors!

Mark CantrellMark Cantrell Zoltan PosfaiZoltan Posfai Helena FairfaxHelena Fairfax David WickhamDavid Wickham
Felicity SnowdenFelicity Snowden David ProctorDavid Proctor Joshua SuttonJoshua Sutton Irene LofthouseIrene Lofthouse
Razwa Ul-HaqRazwa Ul-Haq Joe KiplingJoe Kipling Ian WoodheadIan Woodhead Maria GibbsMaria Gibbs
Leanna RathboneLeanna Rathbone Samantha DenisonSamantha Denison Emma Warner-ReedEmma Warner-Reed Victoria HowardVictoria Howard
Melody WinterMelody Winter G M SherwinG M Sherwin Michael WombatMichael Wombat Rose EnglishRose English
Meg CowleyMeg Cowley Roger J BartonRoger J Barton D M SinghD M Singh Katherine BlessanKatherine Blessan
PR EllisPR Ellis Adrian BaldwinAdrian Baldwin D.G. TorrensD.G. Torrens KS MarsdenKS Marsden
TL WainrightTL Wainright Keith HoareKeith Hoare GK HollowayGK Holloway Elaine R ChissickElaine R Chissick
CA BellCA Bell Marie LavalMarie Laval Debbie IoannaDebbie Ioanna Lynda StaceyLynda Stacey
Chris TurnbullChris Turnbull David DriverDavid Driver Frank EnglishFrank English Sharena Lee SattiSharena Lee Satti

 

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I had planned to attend last years UK Indie Lit Fest, but things happened and I was unable to get there.

Fingers crossed I make it this year!

 

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The Curse by Margaret McHeyzer

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Title: The Curse
Series: The Butterfly Effect #2
Author: Margaret McHeyzer
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: August 20, 2017

 

The Curse Ebook CoverIt’s been the butterfly effect.

I changed the course of my life because I warned a man.

I thought what I had was a gift, but it’s quickly turning into my curse.

Now I realize I’m much more than a girl with an ability.

Because now… I’m becoming a weapon.

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Author Bio:

 

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER OF UGLY AND MISTRUST
**Write something worth reading**

I’m Margaret and I’m a self-published author.
Recently I was fortunate in obtaining New York Times best selling status on my YA/NA book – Ugly, and my YA book – Mistrust.

My last three books have been YA and I’m completely in love with the genre. I love being able to communicate with people through my words and stories.

My writing genres all differ, but the one thing I keep consistent is my heroines. All my female lead characters are strong, gutsy and not the ‘perfect’ woman. While my books all have romantic elements in them, they aren’t just about the romance. They’re about finding strength, acceptance and making life long connections.

I hope you enjoy my stories as much as I have while writing them.

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Redemption Lake by Susan Clayton-Goldner

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Genre: Mystery
Date Published: May 17
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing

redemptionlakebysusanclaytongoldner1800hrTucson, Arizona – Eighteen-year-old Matt Garrison is harboring two terrible secrets: his involvement in the drowning death of his 12-year-old cousin, and a night of drunken sex with his best friend’s mother, Crystal, whom he finds dead the following morning. Guilt forces Matt to act on impulse and hide his involvement with Crystal.

Detective Winston Radhauser knows Matt is hiding something. But as the investigation progresses, Radhauser’s attention is focused on Matt’s father. Matt’s world closes in when his dad is arrested for Crystal’s murder and Travis breaks off their friendship. Despite his father’s guilty plea, Matt knows his dad is innocent and only trying to protect his son. Devastated and bent on self-destruction, Matt heads for the lake where his cousin died—the only place he believes can truly free him. Are some secrets better left buried?

Redemption Lake is a novel of love and betrayal. It’s about truth and lies, friendship and redemption, about assuming responsibility, and the risks a father and son will take to protect each other.

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Excerpt:

For the next hour and a half, he drifted in and out of sleep. Cradled by the night sounds of the desert outside the open window, each time a memory emerged, his thoughts thickened and folded back into sleep. At one point he heard water running for a bath. A little later, he heard a car outside.
Oh God, please don’t let it be Travis. He stumbled to the window and opened the curtains. In the street, two long rectangular taillights moved away, turning south onto Oracle Road.


Matt leaned against the wall, staring at the sunflower sheets on Crystal’s bed. The same bed he and Travis had jumped up and down on when they were eight. The digital clock read 10:38 p.m. His head throbbed. He needed to close his eyes. Crystal would wake him in time to leave before Travis got home. He fell back onto the bed.


When he woke up again, the room was very dark. He wore only his boxers and a white T-shirt his mother had insisted upon — claiming his usual dark one would show through his tuxedo shirt. As if the color of his T-shirt could ruin her perfect wedding. But he’d been ingenious and found another way to ruin things for his mother. He turned toward the empty space beside him. It took a few moments for him to realize where he was. He closed his eyes, shook his aching head to clear it. Crystal was his best friend’s mother. What the hell was he doing in her bed?


He thought he heard the sound of the front door open, then close again.
Oh God, please don’t let it be Travis. His eyes adjusted to the darkness. One event at a time, he remembered everything.


Fully awake now, he shot from the bed, rocking for a few seconds before he achieved balance, then hurried to the window. The moon hung over the mountaintop, its light silver and unforgiving. Crystal’s driveway was empty. Whoever he’d heard, it wasn’t Travis. On the other side of the street, an engine started. This time the taillights were round. Definitely not Crystal’s Escort. The car turned north on Oracle Road.


Matt let out the breath he’d been holding and glanced at the digital clock—its red letters told him it was 11:20 p.m. He needed to get dressed and leave. The dance ended in forty minutes and Travis would head home. He grabbed his tuxedo pants and shirt from the chair. His hands shook so hard he could barely work the fly and the button on his trousers. He slipped into his shirt, then sat on the edge of the bed. As if he had the flu, his head throbbed and his stomach felt queasy.


He rushed down the hallway toward the bathroom. And when he did, he saw the puddle of blood on the floor beside the bathtub.


He hurried across the room, jerked open the pale green shower curtain.


Crystal lay naked in a bathtub filled with blood-colored water. Her hair, her beautiful blonde curls, had been chopped off, shorter in some places than others, as if a small child had done it. Some of the curls were floating on top of the water.


For a strange moment, everything remained calm and slow.


Her head was propped against one of those blow-up pillows attached to the back of the tub with suction cups. The tint of her skin was pale and slightly blue. Crystal’s eyes were open and staring straight ahead—looking at something he couldn’t see. Blood splattered the white tiles that surrounded the tub. It dripped down them like wet paint. One of her hands flopped over the side of the tub. A single thick drop fell from her index finger into the crimson pond congealing on the linoleum floor. It covered her neck and shoulders. Tiny bubbles of frothy blood still oozed from the gash in her neck.


An empty Smirnoff bottle sat in a puddle of blood on the tub’s rim beside a straight-edged razor blade.


The bathroom was so quiet. Nothing but the sound of his own breathing. He clenched and unclenched his hands. His body grew numb. “Oh no. Oh God, no,” he said, the words thickening in the air in front of him. His head filled with strange sounds—the drone of insects humming, violinists tuning their strings. “What have I done?”


The contents of his stomach rose. He crouched in front of the toilet and heaved until nothing more came up. Then he started to rock, back and forth, muttering what he already knew was a useless prayer.
Please, just let her be okay. He said it over and over like an unstoppable mantra. If only he could keep saying the words, maybe he could reverse this unthinkable thing.


Maybe she was still alive. He straightened up and stepped over to the bathtub to check Crystal’s neck for a pulse. As he bent closer, he smelled the metallic scent of her blood as it mixed with her perfume and the stale, metabolized smell of alcohol seeping through her skin. He placed two fingers on her neck, searching for her carotid and pressed. His fingers slipped into the gaping hole. It felt wet and warm. He screamed and jerked them out. They were covered in blood.


He swiped his hand on the front of his shirt, then checked the other side of her neck for a pulse.
Please, just let her be okay. Nothing. He shook her by the shoulders, then tried again. Still no pulse. At that moment, he stopped his mantra.


Though he knew she was dead, he held her hand—soft and still warm. It belonged to Crystal, who’d taught him to line dance, who liked hot buttered popcorn with cheddar cheese grated on top. Crystal, who was sometimes irresponsible and drank way too much. Crystal, who’d cheered for him at bat in Little League, cheered just as loud as she had for her own son. Crystal, who’d always be sitting in a bathtub of blood. “I’m sorry.” He squeezed her hand, then let go. “And I swear to you, Travis will never know what happened between us.”


Struggling to his feet, he headed for the kitchen phone to call 911. Halfway to the bathroom door, he stopped. Blood smeared the front of his white shirt. And there was still blood on both his hands, drying beneath his fingernails. His body was slick with fear. He smelled it, tasted it, and felt it coming out of his pores like sweat. His mind told him to call the police, to tell the truth. His heart told him to keep his promise to Crystal. It was the last thing she’d ever ask of him.


He dropped his chin and stared at his shirt. Holy shit. If anyone saw him like this, they’d think he’d killed Crystal. The thought stopped him. Had he? Was he capable of doing something so heinous?


The bubble of panic in his throat got bigger. He hurried across the bathroom to wash his hands. There were more clumps of hair in the sink and a hardened blue streak of toothpaste. He used toilet paper to pick up the hair clumps and dropped them into the trashcan. Looking at the uncapped tube beside Crystal’s toothbrush, he felt as if something had been cut out of his chest.


He grabbed the sides of the sink, stared at himself in the mirror. The face staring back resembled no one he’d ever seen before. Was it the face of a murderer? Had he just pushed someone else to her death? He shook his head—breathing in short gasps, like a swimmer gearing up for a plunge. His lungs burned as if he were being swept away by a strong current.


When the memory of his cousin’s death surfaced, as it often did, Matt used his fists to hammer the stranger’s face he saw reflected in the medicine cabinet. The mirror fractured, sending out long cracks in every direction. The face split into interlocking parts like an abstract puzzle. One jagged sliver fell into the sink, breaking in half. It left a black and empty space in what had once been the mirror.


He held onto the sides of the sink again and rocked slowly in front of it, still staring at the blood on his hands and under his fingernails. “You’re all right,” he said, but could barely hear the words, the sounds inside his head were so loud.


In his mind he saw himself letting go of the sink and getting as far away from this nightmare as possible. But it would destroy Travis to come home and find his mother like this. Matt had to intercept him.


He washed his hands, then rinsed the blood from the sides and bowl of the sink, recapped the toothpaste and tucked it into the medicine cabinet. He wrapped the shards of mirror in toilet tissue, careful to avoid getting his fingerprints on the glass, and placed them in the trashcan, jagged sides down. There were no towels in the bathroom, so he wiped his wet hands on his pant legs. Panic rolled in, sucked him under.


What should he do? Call the police? His father? 911? If he did, there’d be a recording of his voice and he’d have a lot of explaining to do. The police often suspected 911 callers. They might take his DNA. What if they found semen inside of Crystal? What if they matched it to Matt’s DNA? If that happened, they’d know. It would be in the newspapers. It would hurt Travis. He couldn’t let that happen.


He hurried back into Crystal’s bedroom. Hands shaking, he sat on the edge of her bed and put on his socks and shoes. Then, as if he were someone else, running through an obstacle course, he went into the kitchen and gathered the empty beer bottles. He took them out into the garage and carefully placed them in their cardboard carriers. Next he wiped the kitchen table, closed the open drawers, loaded the dishwasher, emptied the ashtrays, then made Crystal’s bed with fresh sheets. He tossed the sunflower sheets into the washing machine and started the cycle, careful to wipe his prints from the lid and dial. With the same cloth, he wiped down the edge of the plastic shower curtain, then pulled it closed—the way he’d found it. For the most part, his fingerprints were easily explained. He’d spent almost as much time in Travis’ house as his own.


Matt stood in front of the coffee table. He heard the candles guttering, smelled the wax melting. He blew them out, then picked up the clothes Crystal had discarded in the hallway beside the bathroom door. Folding them neatly, he then placed them on the chair beside her window. He grabbed her red cowboy boots from the living room and set them beneath the chair. It was the least he could do for Travis.


The clock on the stove read 11:45 p.m. The Narrow Way didn’t allow opposite sex teenagers to spend unsupervised time together. Jennifer’s parents would pick her up from the dance. That meant Travis would be leaving for home soon.


If Matt hurried, he could intercept him, convince him to spend the night with Matt and his dad. He raced into Travis’ bedroom, jerked open the drawer where he kept his T-shirts. Surely he had a plain black or a dark blue one somewhere. Matt lifted the stacks of folded shirts until he found one, then ripped off the tuxedo and stained T-shirt, slipped Travis’ shirt over his head, then grabbed his jacket from the kitchen chair and hurried outside.


On the back deck, insects clustered around the light fixture, high-pitched, insistent and frantic. The sound reminded him of Crystal’s voice when she’d pleaded with him not to tell Travis. Why hadn’t he agreed?


In the carport, Matt unlocked the trunk of his Mustang, a restored nineteen sixty-seven Grande that had been his mom’s first car, and dropped both the jacket and the bloodstained shirt inside. Silence ballooned into the night air around him, a strange silence with a ticking heartbeat. Then he remembered the cufflinks. Crystal had tucked them into his shirt pocket. He checked. They weren’t there. He plunged his hands into his pants pockets and then the tuxedo jacket. No cufflinks. He didn’t have time to go back inside. He had to stop Travis from coming home.


When he climbed into the front seat, he looked out through the windshield, but the dome light inside the car and the darkness outside had changed the glass into a mirror. He turned away. His face was the last thing he wanted to see.

 

Giveaway

An e-book of my first novel, A Bend In The Willow

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The Author:

photoshoot-5Susan Clayton-Goldner was born in New Castle, Delaware and grew up with four brothers along the banks of the Delaware River. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Creative Writing Program and has been writing most of her life. Her novels have been finalists for The Hemingway Award, the Heeken Foundation Fellowship, the Writers Foundation and the Publishing On-line Contest. Susan won the National Writers’ Association Novel Award twice for her novels and her poetry was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Animals as Teachers and Healers, published by Ballantine Books, Our Mothers/Ourselves, by the Greenwood Publishing Group, The Hawaii Pacific Review-Best of a Decade, and New Millennium Writings. A collection of her poems, A Question of Mortality was released in 2014 by Wellstone Press. Her novel, A Bend In The Willow, was published in January 2017. Redemption Lake, the first in a 3-book detective series, will be released May 17, 2017. Prior to writing full time, Susan worked as the Director of Corporate Relations for University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona.

Susan shares a life in Grants Pass, Oregon with her husband, Andreas, her fictional characters, and more books than one person could count. In her spare time, Susan likes to make quilts and stained glass windows. She says it is a little bit like writing, telling stories with fabric and glass.

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The Quiet Type by Summer Prescott

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Genre: Thriller
Date Published: April 18, 2017

The Quiet TypeTim and Susannah have ordinary lives on the surface, he’s a mortician for whom death is a serious business, and she’s a chef who really knows her way around a knife, but if the neighbors in their small Midwestern town knew of her dark hobby, they’d run for the hills.

Raised by an apathetic mother and a cruel father, Susannah was bullied and pushed to her breaking point long before she met mild-mannered Tim, and has learned to channel her murderous impulses into a strange form of art, which keeps her clueless husband safe…for now.

As strange events occur, and Susannah’s eccentric behavior becomes more dynamic, Tim starts to wonder about his wife. Will he be too perceptive for his own good?

This twisted, psychological, serial killer thriller will sear your psyche and rattle your soul, so buckle up, you’re in for a terrifying ride.

CONTENT WARNING: If you are a reader of Summer Prescott’s Cozy Mysteries, please be advised that this book depicts the actions and mindset of a serial killer, contains some adult language and adult circumstances.

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Excerpt:

Susannah Guntzelman was invisible. Not in the traditional sense of the word, of course, but in the far more painful translation where all of humanity simply failed to notice her existence. She’d been overlooked and unnoticed her entire life, whether at home, by parents who worked too hard to care, or in public, where strangers merely saw a plain, overweight girl, if they saw her at all. Today was no different, as she shuffled to class in last year’s jeans and sensible shoes, her mass of dry, frizzy hair carelessly piled atop her head in an unruly bun.

Being invisible had its advantages of course. It allowed her to get through nearly every day of her dreary existence without having to interact with other human beings. Teachers never called on her, no one said hello when they passed her in the hall, and she sat alone during every unending lunch hour, methodically eating the interesting assortment of foods that she’d stuffed into her bright blue insulated lunch pack. The bag was an intrusive spark of color in her otherwise beige existence. She hated it, but her mother, Greta, the long-legged, perfect-haired china doll who loved her job more than her daughter, had said that the store didn’t have any black or grey ones, so she would ‘just have to deal with it.’


Susannah trailed behind a gaggle of giggling girls, entering the calculus classroom with perhaps less trepidation than the twittering twats in front of her. She was good at math, it came easily to her, and the teacher seemed to know that she might just spiral into a panic attack if she were forced to participate in a way other than quickly scribbling out correct answers and turning them in. Math was orderly. She liked things to be orderly. She was glad, for the teacher’s sake, that he somehow understood her need for invisibility.


Early parent/teacher conferences had pegged little Susie as an angry child who didn’t get along with others, which led to wretched things. The punishments at home for bad reports were worse than the punishments at school, so she’d learned to keep her seething resentment to herself. She’d kept it to herself for so long, in fact, that she’d grown numb emotionally. Even when battered and taunted mercilessly by thoughtless and cruel classmates, she compressed her mouth into a thin line and kept her head down, waiting until she got home to pick the spitwads from her colorless and tangled hair, and to dab a cold cloth on the welts made by well-aimed rubber bands.


At home, she taught herself to withhold tears from the monster who tried his best to encourage them. When she was stripped naked and whipped with kitchen utensils, belts, shoes, or any other handy device, when she was locked into the chicken coop for days at a time, not even allowed to sleep in her bed or relieve herself in private, and even when she was denied food after the beast who spawned her poked at her soft, white flesh, declaring her to be a fat pig, she’d bite the inside of her cheeks, dig her nails into her palms, or even hold her breath if necessary…but she Would. Not. Cry.


Her goal was simple, wait for the herd of cattle to get out of her way, and get to her seat without bringing any attention to herself. She’d had a rough morning at home, and her nerves were sprinkling dark sparks into her psyche. Susannah was more than ready to immerse herself in the orderly realm of math, glorious math. So focused was she on getting to her seat, that she never saw the furtive foot, encased in an expensive running shoe, darting out like the tongue of a serpent, tripping her.


Arms full of books, the gawky teen hit the ground hard, her head knocking against the metal leg of a desk. There were a few gasps, and more than a few giggles, and when Susannah turned over, stunned, still clutching her books, the concerned frown of Mr. Davis loomed over her.


“Susannah…are you okay? What happened here?” he asked, the cuff of his polyester pants brushing against her arm.


She sat up slowly, dazed, a trickle of defiantly crimson blood running down her forehead, and over the soft round of her cheek. Her heavy glasses were askew, and she pushed them up absently, horrified that every eye in the class was upon her. She flushed bright red from the base of her neck to the roots of her hair, as she heard the guffaws and soft pig sounds of her classmates. Humiliation was an overwhelming emotion that couldn’t be stopped, even with years of conditioning. It slammed into her with brute force, threatening to steal the very breath from her lungs. Her head throbbed with it, her mouth turned to cotton, and beads of sweat sprung out on her forehead as she worked to control the tremors which rippled through her. It took her a couple of tries, while the teacher blathered on with his concern and his questions, asking if she needed to go to the nurse, but she rolled herself onto her knees, and leaning on the desk that had struck her, she rose shakily to her feet.


Debbie Moran. Smug, snooty, Debbie Moran was smirking at her, enjoying the result of her sly move. Until this moment, Susannah hadn’t loathed her more than any of the other simpering American princesses who glided through the halls as though their nimble feet didn’t even touch the chipped linoleum, but now…it was different. Now, dainty little Debbie Moran made something dark rise up inside Susannah the Sow, as her classmates called her, something darker than the judgmental little bitch was prepared to deal with. So dark that it made her heart pound. So dark that it made her mouth water. Soon, Debbie Moran, soon.


Susannah lumbered from the classroom, with Mr. Davis saying something about it being good that she was going to the nurse, but once out of his sight, she bypassed the office and walked out of the school unchallenged, breathing hard, but not from exertion. She huffed and puffed as she walked, striding fast and far as she made her plans, the need for order and justice in her world burning like a hot coal within her.


Teeth clenched, hair blowing in the chill autumn breeze, Susannah swiped absently at the tickle on her cheek, fascinated when she saw blood smeared on her fingers. She turned her hand this way and that, focused on the blood – the rude red color of it. The blood made her think, the blood made her feel, the blood made her hunger. She brought her fingers to her mouth, sucking the crimson liquid in, the metallic blast of it invigorating her. She licked and sucked her fingers until every last trace was gone, and surveyed her pale hand with a slight smile playing about her lips. Soon, Debbie Moran, soon.

The Quite Type Author Summer Prescott

 

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$25 Gift Card.

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The Author:

The Quite Type Author Summer Prescott LogoSummer Prescott is well-known in the Cozy Mystery realm, having written and published several Best-Sellers in the genre. An avid reader of Thrillers, Horror and Suspense, the author has decided to follow her passion with the debut of her Thriller, The Quiet Type, which launched in the top 50 of the Serial Killer category on Amazon. The novel has received high praise in its reviews, and Summer is considering a possible trilogy or series to continue the story.

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The Haunting of Tinley Hall by Tania Hagan

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Title: The Haunting of Tinley Hall
Author: Tania Hagan
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: CHBB Publishing
Cover Designer: Aurelia Fray, Pretty AF Designs
Editor: CLS Editing Services

 
tinley-hallSeventeen-year-old Tinley Hall takes a fall down the steep staircase in her family’s restored Victorian home. When she becomes aware of her surroundings, she realizes she might be dead and she’s not alone as her spirit haunts the old mansion that once was her home.

After meeting a handsome stranger, Tinley is forced to question if he’s really a ghost and if she’s really dead, but she knows something more complicated must be happening.

Will Tinley be able to pull herself through death’s door, back into the land of the living? Or, will she even want to?

As feelings for her companion grow into an otherworldly love affair, Tinley must decide if she’s actually found her soulmate or if she just imagined the whole thing. Either way, she’s about to face the most difficult choice of her life … and of her death.

Amazon | Goodreads

  

Excerpt:

I didn’t die easily. For me, death was pretty much like everything had been in my life—complicated and ambiguous.
The day was dragging out like any other day. My little sister had been whining to my mother about summer camp since the night before, so I did my best to avoid them. My best friend was planning to spend the night, and she and her brother had been hanging out in our pool most of the afternoon.
“I really hate him being here.” Ally rolled her eyes as she laid on her beach towel beside me. She nodded vaguely in her brother’s direction.
I looked across the pool at the boy who had just pulled his long, lean body out of the water on the deep end. He shook his head for a second, sending splashes of water everywhere. As he ran his hand through his damp, dark brown hair, I had the slightest urge to go rake my fingers through it too.
I batted away my thoughts. AJ Stockwell was the last boy I wanted to get mixed up with. Although he was undeniably gorgeous, he had run through a string of four girls during the last school year alone. When he wasn’t loving and leaving his girlfriends, he holed up in his room, building and painting ridiculous model boats. Besides all that, he was my best friend’s brother, so he was sort of off-limits from the get go.
“It’s fine, Al.” I rolled over on my stomach and straightened the back of my swimsuit bottoms. “He just cut the grass, so my dad invited him to take a swim. No big deal.”
“Ugh. It’s a big deal to me,” Ally complained. “I mean, I can’t talk about anything with him around.”
“Relax. He’ll be out of here soon, I’m sure.” I craned my neck, looking at AJ again. “Besides, he’s not bad to look at.”
“Oh, give me a break, Tinley.” Ally turned over on her belly as well. She leaned her shoulder against mine and brought her voice to a whisper. “Didn’t I tell you he just broke up with Amanda? After he dumped Natalie, and Sarah, and—”
“Yeah. I get it. You’ve warned me a thousand times about how much of a creep he is to girls. One cheerleader after another. I would never get involved with someone like him, even if he wasn’t related to you.”
“He’s like a psychopath or something. I swear. He dates these girls for, like, a minute, and then he dumps them. It’s like he’s test driving them or something.”
“Well, he’s pretty hot, so I guess he has that option.”
“Or, maybe, these girls get one look at his toy boat collection and run for the hills screaming.” Ally laughed and moved onto her knees. She stuffed her sunglasses and sunblock into her bag. “I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough of this sun, and enough of you drooling over my disgusting brother. Let’s go up to your room. I want to check out my Instagram anyway.”
“Drooling? That’s extreme.” I flopped over onto my back again and sat up just as AJ walked by. “Oh. Hey.” I squinted up at him.
“You know I can hear every word you say, Ally? Your voice isn’t exactly the most discreet sound in the neighborhood.” AJ wrapped a towel around his waist as he stood there. “I have my reasons for everything I do, and spreading rumors about me only makes you look like an idiot.”
“It takes one to know one.” Ally jumped to her feet, spewing probably the oldest and dumbest comeback known to man.
“That’s just about the most juvenile thing I’ve heard you say, like, ever, Al.” AJ pulled on a tight gray t-shirt before he sat in a nearby deck chair. He nodded to me. “Hey, Tinley.”
Did he just blush? No, Tinley, that’s a sunburn.
“Hi.” I quickly threw on my cover-up before I stood up. “Um, thanks for doing the lawn.”
“No problem.” AJ shot me a gorgeous smile. The dimples on his cheeks seemed to ripple as he talked. “I know your dad’s been busy with that new book of his.”
“True.” I nodded. “I hate mowing, so it was either you or call the gardeners back.”
My parents had fired our weekly gardeners at the beginning of the summer. They were constantly leaving the back gate open, letting our Golden Retriever run free in the neighborhood.
My parents thought my twelve-year-old sister was too young to handle the lawn mower, and my dad had been busy lately writing his latest novel. Plus, my mom swore she had never mown a lawn in her life. So it was up to AJ or me. I always talked them into opting for AJ.
“Come on, Tinley.” Ally grabbed my hand and started tugging me away from the pool.
“I’ll see you around then.” AJ winked in my direction as we were leaving.
Ally dramatically rolled her eyes in response.
“If she sees you first, even from a mile away, I promise you won’t see her around,” she teased her brother.
“Again with the brilliant one-liners, Al.” AJ wadded up his towel and threw it under his arm. He touched my arm as he stood up. “Tell your folks I said thanks for letting me hang out by your pool.”
“I will.” I stood still, despite Ally yanking on my arm.
“Later.” AJ nodded to me one more time before he hopped our six-foot gate on his way out of our yard.
Ally and I tossed on our flip flops before we went through the back door. My mom was really fussy about not getting marks on the floors, especially from pool water. My dad had just restored the original hardwood throughout our Victorian-era, five-bedroom house the previous year. Homes like ours dotted the Chicago suburb of Waybridge, and my parents claimed ours was one of the most authentic restorations in the area.
I couldn’t have cared less about things like that. To me, the old home always felt drafty, and our heating and air never seemed to work as efficiently as the systems inside the modern subdivision houses. I always envied the homes where some of my friends lived on the outskirts of town. But, my parents were in love with ours, and my vote didn’t count much…

  

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The Author:

tania-haganTania Hagan was born in Illinois, but moved to Southern California as a young teen. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a degree in Social Science and Psychology.

She began her writing career shortly after school, when she wrote for a major business magazine. She also read the nightly business report for the company’s TV news. At the same time, she produced, and reported for a weekly TV news magazine program.

After she was married, Tania and her husband moved back to the Chicago area, where she worked briefly as a stringer for a local newspaper. She also became a successful Realtor, and continued to write for online, as well as for print publications.

They have one beautiful daughter. Her dream of dreams is to eventually adopt many more children. Out of everything she’s ever accomplished, she is most proud of being a mom.

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Merry Christmas

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To my followers, occasional readers of Rainne’s Ramblings and those of you who have accidently found yourselves here…

I wish you a Merry Christmas.

However you may be spending it, I hope you all have a wonderful festive season.

May your days be filled with laughter, smiles, and love.

Love to you all,
Rainne