*FREE READ* Demons Lie: A Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft and Demon Hunting Chapter 1

Demons Lie

A Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft and Demon Hunting #1

Chapter 1, Part 2

Once I’m back at the apartment, I open my laptop, pulling up the day’s news. Sure enough, there’s a live feed from outside the sheriff’s office, where a deputy is talking to the reporter.

“The attack happened in the early hours of the morning, in the Bleaker Street neighborhood. At this time, we suspect it was a wild animal attack, but there is no reason to be alarmed. Deputies swept the area, and no animal was found. We will continue working with the wildlife department to find the animal responsible and put it down…”

I close the feed.

Shit on a stick. That means while I was busy putting one down, another demon was still on the loose.

What had the demon said?

We are legion.

Well, great. Leave it to me to stumble on a one-horse, two-demon town.

“Why can’t it ever be easy?” I ask no one in particular.

 ***

The coroner’s office is tucked away in the back of the police station, which makes going in unnoticed nearly impossible. Lucky for me, I’ve perfected my resting bitch face. If you look like you know where you’re going and aren’t thrilled about it, people tend not to question you too often.

I wear this expression now, part in defense and part because I’m still ticked at myself for missing the signs.

Of course there was more than one. With a population just shy of ten thousand people, the rates of missing persons and animal attacks in this shitty little town were mind-boggling. Of course, that’s the thing about shitty little towns; missing persons tend to get chalked up to people just taking off and mutilated bodies…well, anything with claws is some kind of animal of course.

Then again, if they knew what they were looking for…

I push open the door to the coroner’s office and find myself face to face with a baby-faced guy in black spectacles who couldn’t be more than twenty. He’s got a tub of ice cream in one hand and a red spoon sticking out the corner of his mouth.

Nearly colliding with me, he takes a step back, removing the spoon and adjusting his glasses.

“Hey there. Are…uh, are you lost or something?” he asks, looking me over.

I straighten. There are few things that throw a guy off his game, but nothing that works quite as effectively as a smile and a nice rack.

“Are you Ethan?” I ask, quickly reading the name from his lab coat.

He smiles. “Yes, ma’am. What can I do you for? Do for you?”

I toss my dark hair over one shoulder. “Well, I’m kinda new in town. I just got a job at the paper, and a little birdy told me that if anyone might know more about the recent attack…you’d be my guy.”

His expression perks up, then falls. “Yeah, but…I’m real sorry, I can’t make a statement.”

I reach out, putting one hand on his arm. “Oh no. I’d never ask you to do something that might get you in trouble. But I heard about a few similar attacks south of here, and the victims had some weird… well, they think there might be something wrong with the animal responsible. Like it might be sick on account of some infection around the wounds.”

His mouth opens, then closes again.

I hold up my hand. “You don’t have to say anything, and this isn’t for a story. But I mean, if it is the same, I’d like to let them know to start looking up this way.”

Indecision flickers across his face.

“The bottom line, Ethan, is I want to make sure whatever did this never hurts another person ever again, and I think you want the same thing. So, what do you say? I just need, five minutes to look at the remains. You can stand over me the whole time.”

The resolution forms quickly, and he nods once. “Alright. Five minutes. But whatever you find, I have to report to my boss here too.”

“Deal,” I say, motioning for him to lead the way.

He stuffs the rest of his snack in a black mini fridge beside his desk and leads me through a set of double doors to the back.

I’ve been in a morgue or two, and it never fails to give me the creeps. Despite the clean conditions, the set of chains dangling from above one of the tables makes me shiver. I know, practically, it’s how they move the heavier bodies around, but it’s still too gross to contemplate.

The row of freezers is only three wide and four deep, but each one has a tell-tale tag affixed to the front marking it occupied. Moving to the bottom left, he opens it, sliding out the metal gurney.

“Five minutes,” he says again, and I nod.

Unzipping the bag, he reveals the pale, waxy face of the young girl.

“What’s her name?” I ask, leaning forward.

“Roxie. Roxie Johnson. She’s fourteen.”

“Was fourteen,” I mutter, and he nods, his bushy eyebrows furrowed.

The slashes are deep and overlapping, claws no doubt, but far too large for a coyote. Hell, these are big enough to make a polar bear suspect seem plausible, and as I feared, the edges of the skin are burnt, black veins just visible beneath the surface of her skin.

I point to it. “This is it, the infection.”

Ethan leans forward, adjusting his glasses. “My god, you’re right. How did they miss this?”

“People see what they want to see,” I mutter, reaching forward with one hand and turning her face to the side, exposing the neck and worst of the wounds. Even cleaned and dry, they are gaping and painful looking.

“They say she bled out,” he says, shaking his head.

Not touching the wound, I hover my fingertips just above the flesh. The burns around the neck are worse, the veining darker. Two minutes at least. Two minutes of burning, terrifying agony.

“This was the first cut, so maybe it was over quick for her. Hopefully, it was quick.”

He nods but says nothing. Straightening, I stare at her face, letting it sear into my memory.

There’s nothing I hate more than being too late.

And I’m always too late.

The demon hadn’t just killed her; he’d ripped her soul from her body. There’s no way to tell for sure, of course, but it was their way, their reason for attacking.

Soul food.

Literally.

Part of me wants to cry, part of me wants to scream. I do neither. My jaw clamps shut, and I draw a deep, steadying breath in through my nose, holding it for a few moments before releasing it.

“Thanks, Ethan. I had to be sure.”

“I’ll let the doc know when he gets back,” he says. “Will you tell the hunters? So they know what they’re looking for?”

I nod, turning to leave. Stopping at the doors, I look back over my shoulder.

“Hey Ethan, be careful out there, OK?”

He nods, zipping the body bag.

“You too.” His head jerks up. “Hold on, I never got your name.”

“Aria,” I answer, too tired to lie.

 

**I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into The Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft And Demon Hunting. The full novel releases October 30th everywhere books are sold. Pre-order your copy today and have it automatically delivered right to your device or door. Happy Hunting! ~S**

Pre-order the full novel, DEMONS LIE: A Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft and Demon Hunting #1 today

Enter the Demons Lie Pre-order Sweepstakes

*FREE READ* Magic Burns: A Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft and Demon Hunting prequel Part 2

Magic Burns

A Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft and Demon Hunting #0.5

Part Two: Down The Wolf Hole

The path to get to the underground is hard to find in the dark, and even harder to navigate. The power boost from the rave has completely worn off, leaving me dependent on the light from my cellphone to guide the way. Lucky for me, my companion has great night vision.

“So not to be rude, but how old are you anyway?” I ask as we crawl over a fallen rafter and around some scattered rubble.

Phillip sighs heavily.

“You talk a lot, you know that?”

I shrug, “Personality flaw.”

“I’ll be three hundred next year.”

I whistle. “Wow, that’s like, a lot of candles.”

He offers me a confused glance so I explain.

“Like on your birthday cake? Candles?”

He turns back to the tunnel, “I’ve never had a birthday cake.”

His response makes me stop mid-step. “Wait, like ever? In three hundred years? That’s hella sad.”

“I don’t really eat carbs,” he says, as if it’s totally obvious.

All I can do is shrug and continue forward. “Fair enough, I guess. Still. We survive this, I’m buying you a birthday cake. With candles. Probably the number ones though because, damn.”

We turn into the next shaft and the room becomes familiar.

“Hold on,” I say, pushing past him. “It should be just over…”

We turn one last corner and as I take a step my shoe slides out from under me, forcing me to grab the wall for balance. I lift my boot, and the ichor strings off of it into the skin puddle below. “Oh gross.”

Lowering my light to examine the goo, I hear Phillip growl beside me, a low, guttural noise. My eyes flick up without the aid of the light, and three sets of shiny black eyes reflect back at me from the doorway.

I don’t even have time to drop the f-bomb before Philip is shifting, bones crackling and skin stretching. The sound alone is nauseating so I don’t shine the light on him, too afraid of what I’ll see. Instead I raise the beam of light to the nest of demons at the door. Three of them, in full demon form—a mass of muscle and ichor and tendons over black bone—huddle around what probably used to be a person, but now looks kind of like a pile of raw spare ribs.

Vomit burns its way up the back of my throat but I swallow it back down, drawing my katana with my free hand.

Beside me Philip lunges for the one on the right. Sending it sprawling as he lands on top of it, claws and teeth biting and scratching. They roll away, into the shadows, but the sound of their battle echoes in the damp chamber. The other two stand, snarling at me. The first one pitches forward, crawling over the dead body, the other backs up into the doorway and vanishes.

I’m muttering my spell even as it closes in. “Goddess of light, Goddess of land, I invoke thee now to bring light to my hand.”

The energy of the leylines takes hold of the spell and I exhale, the power coursing up through my feet, through my body, and out my hands, which begin to glow with a blinding, golden night. The creature growls and backs up, shielding its eyes.

As it moves I catch a whiff of something like rotting cabbage in a gas station bathroom. The odor makes my stomach churn.

“Oh my god, I get that you’re evil, but do you have to smell bad too? Isn’t being ugly enough?” I ask, dropping my phone with a clatter and slashing forward with my blade. This demon is smaller than the one in the club, shorter and slower. Its mouth hinges open, rows and rows of sharp teeth exposed in the light, bits of flesh still stuck between them.

It lunges and I dodge, side stepping the attack.

“Come on, you’re not even trying,” I say, taunting the creature.

It moves in again and I spin, dropping to my knees and slicing one leg out from under it before flipping back to my feet and striking again, this time nearly taking the head off. It’s already starting to heal when I deliver the final blow, severing the head from the neck completely. It rolls away, a flaming ball of yuck. A dog-like whimper beside me draws my attention. I move to join him, but he shakes his head.

“The door, quickly,” Phillip’s human voice escapes the now elongated muzzle. “Before they can bring reinforcements.”

“Shit,” I mutter, taking the vial of holy oil from my pocket. He’s right. As much as I want to charge in and help him, the door’s gotta go first.

Part of me is wondering how I didn’t know that Weres could speak in wolf form, making a mental note to add it to the family grimoire.

Assuming I survive this, of course.

The other part of me, the part trained for the hunt, brings the light from my hands down to a soft glow, focusing the light into a single stream with my energy. I feel the gateway before I see it, like a magnet, pulling at me.

The rancid smell hits me again, and I manage to duck just as a clawed hand slices through the air where my head had just been. My katana still in one hand I slice at hip level, the blade catches but doesn’t cut through entirely. I have to fall back, drawing it free with a wet slurp.

The creature wails and runs past me, back into the gateway before I can get to my feet. It vanishes, a ripple of air the only indication that there’s an actual portal and not just an empty room behind it. Stepping back I sheath my katana, knowing I probably don’t have much time until the creature heals and comes back to finish the fight–probably with a few hungry friends.

The frame looks like any normal door frame, except the wood is so old and smooth it could easily be petrified. Carvings are etched into it, the language ancient and indecipherable, and they glow faintly as I drizzle the oil on it before reaching into my back pocket for a pack of matches.

Striking the first match, I use it to light the whole pack, touching it to the door in a few places, letting the oil catch flame.

The door burns up quickly—far faster than normal wood would burn, even doused in gasoline–but with no smoke. The engravings vanish moments before the whole thing collapses into a heap of black ash and coal. No sooner is it gone than my light flickers, the energy from the leylines severing like a cut ribbon. Reaching inside myself, I manage to spool my own power, just enough to keep a faint glow in one hand. It’s draining me quickly, and I know I don’t have much time. Grabbing the katana once more, I rush back to my furry companion, hoping that I’m not too late.

The demon wails beneath Philip as his massive wolf form rips at it’s neck, the muzzle wet with ichor and chunks of meat.

“Aright, your turn,” I say, approaching them both. Philip rolls off the creature, his fur covered with thick, slimy blackness, and I deliver one clean strike to the wounded monster, decapitating it.

Once the body has burned away I kneel, offering my hand to the still furry Phillip for a fist bump. I expect him to ignore the gesture, but to my surprise he taps my knuckles with one paw.

“You alright?” I ask.

He nods, licking his chops. “Tastes like sewage,” he says spitting and hacking.

“Smells like it too,” I agree.

The last of my magic dissolves and the light goes out. I cuss, flipping onto my knees and groping for my phone.

“Two feet to your left,” Phillip says. “And forward just a bit.”

Following his instructions, I retrieve the device. Once it’s in my hand the beam of light shines again. Despite the trauma, there’s no apparent cracking. I’d just dropped it on the back, obscuring the flashlight.

“You alright over there?” Phillip asks with a snort. “You look like you’re holding the One Ring.”

Turning to stare at him over my shoulder, I raise one eyebrow. “Did…did you just make a Lord Of The Rings reference?”

His head twitches to the side, “What? I read.”

I’m not sure what to say to that so I just let it go. “Whatever. I didn’t spring for the insurance, ok? These things aren’t cheap.”

“Kneeling in a pile of demon goo, and you’re worried about your replacement plan?” he mutters something else under his breath that sounds a lot like, “Damn kids.” Turning his back on me, he begins slinking back the way we came. Taking a moment to wipe the ichor off my blade with my jeans, I jog after him.

“You gonna shift back?” I ask as we make our way back topside. “I mean, a wolf running around Seattle might alarm the normies.”

He shakes his head, bits of ichor spraying from his fur and coating my pants. I’d complain, but I’m already such a mess it doesn’t matter anyway.

“Clothes tore off when I changed. So, it’s this or an old naked guy. Ironically, I think this is the better option.”

“What a world we live in,” I say, climbing over the last pile of rubble with a grunt. “Thanks again, for coming with me.”

He stops walking, turning to stare at me with his big, golden wolf eyes. “You know, you close the rest of those doors and that’s the end of magic. All magic. You ever stop and think about what that means—really means—for the rest of us?”

I stop, just as I can finally see the sky. Turning my chin upward, I close my eyes, bathing in the moonlight. “I have, trust me. It’s worth it though. If a world without magic is the price for a world without demons, I’ll pay it. Every time.”

“Others wouldn’t be so quick to agree to that. They’ll try to stop you.”

My gaze settles back on him, “That include you?”

After a tense moment he speaks, “Nah. Whatever comes or doesn’t come, I’ve had my fill. Maybe it’s time. Maybe the world needs a change.”

“Maybe,” I agree.

“But you won’t have your powers anymore either. You’ll be just another human.”

He says human, but his tone makes it sound more like prey.

Human. What would that look like? What would it even mean? In that moment all I can see is my mother’s face. The fear in her eyes as she reached out for me.

“Let them come. I don’t care about power anyway.”

“What do you care about?”

“Revenge.” Taking a deep breath, I look back to him, “I’m headed down south next. Got a lead on a gateway in Texas. You wanna tag along? I could use backup.”

“Nah.” Sitting on his haunches he shakes his head, “I’ve had bellyfuls of revenge over the years and you know what I’ve learned?”

I roll my eyes, “No, oh wise dog face. What have you learned?”

“That it never fills you up. The more you eat, the emptier you feel. So, if you want some advice from an old dog—”

“I really don’t.”

“—carve out some kinda happy for yourself, Aria. Before the darkness eats you alive. Find some light.”

With that he stands, shakes his head once, and stalks off into the shadows, leaving me the way I’ve been for the past three years.

Alone.

“I’m a cat person anyway,” I call out after him.

 

And now a sneak peek at DEMONS LIE Chapter 1!

Chapter 1

 

The streets around me are still. It’s been hours since the last of the meandering population took refuge for the evening. There’s something about towns like this that make people, on a deep, instinctual level, walk a little faster once the sun sets. They burn the lights just a little brighter to drive away the shadows and retreat into their safe, cozy homes to wait out the night.

Glass shop windows reflect the pale hue of moonlight, the streetlights too sparse to provide much relief to my tired, strained eyes. My calves ache, too long crouched behind the copper buffalo–a statue in honor of the town’s founder, according to the plaque below its massive head–too many hours walking the barren alleyways, too long since I’ve had anything resembling a real night’s sleep. Every muscle protests, every joint throbs.

I’m running on vapors, the last of the caffeine and adrenaline long since leached from my system by the hours of patrolling the roads.

No rest, or Starbucks, for the wicked, I suppose.

But it’s close. I can feel it like a humming in my veins. A primal warning system, a subconscious alarm. Danger ahead, turn back now. This is the feeling that makes most people turn and walk the other way.

Luckily, I’m not most people.

I’ve been in town less than a week, more than long enough to follow the trail of ichor and dead bodies. There’s a full moon tonight. Predators love the full moon; all the better to spot their prey.

Standing, I lean back, stretching as best I can. The humming is stronger now, and I let it guide me, a tether in the darkness, toward the shadowy parking lot between the buildings. There’s only one car, a beat up old Chevy sitting beneath a single, flickering street lamp.

Making my way toward it, I pull the keys from my jeans pocket, jingling them in my palm.

“Jesus Christ,” I mutter to myself. “What’s a girl gotta do to get a little action around here?”

“Hey, are you OK?” A voice calls across the parking lot, making me jump.

“I was. You scared the shit out of me,” I say, putting one hand over my racing heart. Watching the man walk toward me, I play with my keys nervously. He’s short and stocky, and as he heaves a bag of garbage into the dumpster behind one of the buildings, the hem of his dark T-shirt rides up just enough to expose a ridge of muscles trailing into his jeans.

It’s hard not to appreciate the sight.

“You need some help?” he asks, motioning toward the Chevy.

“That’d be great, actually. I was supposed to be meeting a friend, but I think the battery’s dead.”

Nodding, he approaches. His hair is long and sandy brown, his eyes a light, crisp blue. He’s cute of the hella variety. Probably in his mid-twenties, with a light Texas drawl that adds easily three points to the hotness scale, he makes his way over with his hands stuffed in his pockets.

I take a minute to glance around, but there’s no one else. Above us, the light flickers and buzzes.

“You new in town?” he asks, grabbing the hood of the car.

I shake my head. “Just passing through.”

“Lucky me,” he offers with a goofy grin. “You wanna pop the hood for me?”

“Maybe,” I tease. Leaning against the door of the car, I offer him my best flirty smile. “What makes you think you’re lucky?”

In a moment, his expression changes, the whites of his eyes flooding to black. His grin widens until it’s too wide for anything human, the corners of his mouth tearing and bleeding. “Because I’m going to do terrible things to you, little girl.”

I straighten, my hand reaching back, parting the dark hair at the base of my neck and wrapping around the hilt of my katana. “Funny, I was just thinking the same thing.”

The ring of metal against the sheath echoes through the air as the grin falls from his face. He’s already beginning to slip his skin, patches of it sloughing to the ground in oozy black puddles.

“Witch,” he spits, taking a step back.

I frown. “Rude. You don’t even know me.”

He lunges, but I dodge, bringing my blade up between us. I catch the front of him, and the last of the flesh falls away, revealing the mass of muscle, sinew and bone beneath.

“What? Not even a little foreplay?” I ask, taking two steps back and settling into position. “You demons are all alike.”

He hisses, his fingers extended into talon-like claws. “I’m going to eat your soul.”

It’s hard not to roll my eyes. “Yeah. I’ve heard that before.”

He attacks, fast and off balance. Young, I realize. A baby in demon years. Inexperienced in a fight. Pressing my advantage, I’m able to get a few decent slices in before he knocks me back against the hood of the car. Rolling to the side, I scramble onto the car, the hood denting with each step. He reaches for me, and I parry, slicing off one hand.

The creature wails, a high-pitched cry somewhere between dog and human. While it’s distracted, I make my move. Rushing forward, I jump off the hood of the car and tackle the demon. We both tumble to the ground, but I manage to stay on top.

With one smooth motion, I press my sword to its neck. It claws at me, talons of its one good hand slicing into my back. I scream but manage to hold position.

“You think you can stop us?” It laughs. “We are legion.”

“Yeah? Well, I’m a Taurus, and I. Don’t. Care.”

With that, I press forward with all my weight, severing the head from the shoulders. I manage to pitch to the side and off the body before it bursts into flames, reducing itself to a pool of muck in only minutes before the flame dies away.

Only then do I give in to the pain ripping up my back. Gasping, I allow myself a moment to lie there, a string of words that would have gotten my mouth washed out by my Nana spitting from my mouth. Only once I’ve cussed myself mostly better do I force myself to my feet, slinking back to the spot I’ve been squatting in.

***

Flicking on the light of the bathroom, I strip off my tank top and examine the wound. It’s deep and angry, the edges burnt from the ichor between its claws—that’s probably the only thing keeping me from bleeding out, the seared flesh. Grabbing the black salt from the counter, I toss the whole jar of it in the tub and fill it with cold water. I’d been able to splice into the box outside for electricity, but the hot water heater had been disconnected and removed long ago. Falling to my knees beside the iron tub, I hold my hands above the surface.

“Grant me now thy holy fire, as is my need–as is my desire. By the power of salt and the grace of the sea, grant thy fire unto me.”

The heat builds in my palms moments before the top of the water ignites, blue and green flames flickering several minutes before snuffing itself out. The last of my energy sapped, I crawl into the tub, still in my jeans and bra, letting the now warm water cradle me. Even the sharp stinging of the black salt into my wounds isn’t enough to keep me from lulling to the side, surrendering to the blissful arms of sleep.

***

The next morning, I jolt awake. I’m shivering, goosebumps covering every inch of me as I pull myself from the water and onto the cracked tile floor, gasping for breath against the frigid cold.

Luckily, the window is open and the already sweltering temperatures are warming the whole room. Prying myself free of my clothes, I stand, wrapping myself in a towel, and pull my hair over one shoulder to look at my back in the mirror.

The cuts are mostly healed; only red, angry scratches remain. Grabbing the now empty jar of black salt, I swear under my breath.

It’s not easy to come by and takes a painfully long time to consecrate enough to be useful for that kind of healing. Not exactly something you can order on Amazon.

“Shit,” I say, setting it aside. “Guess we do it the old-fashioned way.”

Dressing as quickly as I can given the ache in my back, I dry my hair and head down to the pharmacy at the end of the street.

Last night’s empty streets are once again bustling with life, people on their way to work and school; totally oblivious to the evil creature I’d dispatched less than twelve hours ago. I can’t help wondering how long it’s been here, preying on these people. How long it had gone unnoticed.

The door chimes as I enter, picking up a basket with a groan I can’t contain. Wading through the aisles, I pick up a pack of bandages, some burn ointment, and an energy drink for good measure. I’m about to head for the checkout when I catch a snippet of conversation between the pharmacist and an older man.

“They say it was a coyote attack. Seems odd it’d venture so far into town, don’t you think?”

Pausing, I stand in front of a random shelf, biting my lip as I strain to hear.

“Third one in as many months. You’d think animal control would have found the damn thing by now and put it down.”

“That poor family. She was barely fourteen, you know. Just a tragedy.”

“Do you know when it happened?”

“Early this morning, I guess. Betsy said she left before sun up to do her paper route. They found her about six-thirty.”

“Oh, fuck me,” I mutter.

“I’m sorry, miss. Did you need help with something?” the pharmacist asks pointedly.

I glance at him, blinking. “Oh, no. Sorry, I was just,” I turn back to the shelf and find I’ve been staring at a rack of condoms for the last five minutes. “Need a few of these,” I finish, grabbing a handful of boxes. “You know, safety first.”

The men exchange a startled glance, and I head for the register, first aid gear and prophylactics in tow.

 

Read the rest of Chapter 1 NEXT MONDAY!

Pre-order the full novel, DEMONS LIE: A Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft and Demon Hunting #1 today

Enter the Demons Lie Pre-order Sweepstakes

*FREE READ* Magic Burns: A Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft and Demon Hunting prequel

Magic Burns

A Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft and Demon Hunting #0.5

Part One: A Date With Disaster

The coffee shop is mostly quiet, the dull hum of the old-fashioned percolator like music in the background. A chalkboard sign hangs on the teal wall to my left with the command to, “Pretend it’s 1995, turn off your phone and talk to each other.”

Not that anyone is obeying. Even the barista is leaned across the counter, phone in hand as he smiles at some unknown digital amusement.

Probably porn.

I sigh. Seattle actually reminds me a lot of my green, mossy home in Louisiana. Even in the heart of the city trees, vines, and ferns cover nearly every possible surface, allowing you to forget the concrete below. Of course, there’d never been a place like this back home. Trendy to the point of annoyingly pretentious, this coffee shop is just like the half dozen others in a three-block radius. The napkins are cloth, the mugs vintage and unmatching, and the booths reclaimed pallets with cushy pillows.

I scan the room once more. Seven people—no, scratch that, seven bodies besides my own. The distracted barista in white apron with curly blonde hair down to his shoulders, three elderly women in loud colored clothes playing cribbage in the far booth, a couple behind me who, judging by what I can over hear, are on their first date, and the server, in a plaid shirt, with a deliberately scruffy chin and knot of hair at the back of his head. He approaches me now, coffee pot in hand. I raise one finger, calling him over wordlessly.

At my table he hesitates, cocking his head to the side. “I gotta ask, are you sure you’re old enough to be drinking this much coffee? You look about twelve.”

I bristle at his observation. “I’m sixteen.”

He whistles, filling my cup. “This much caffeine isn’t good for you, you know.”

“What can I say? I already drank all the whiskey.” He shoots me a concerned glance but I hold my face neutral. Truth is, my gut instinct is to tell man-bun to get bent, but unfortunately, I need his help.

Gotta play nice.

For now.

Lowering my voice, I lean forward. “Hey, this couple behind me, they regulars?”

He glances over my shoulder, then shakes his head. “The girl is, can’t say I recognize the guy. Why?”

I shrug, “I’m looking for someone.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah, someone who knew my mom a while back,” I whisper, offering him a pointed look. Clearing my throat, I continue, “Like, sixteen years back. We might, uh, share some DNA you know?”

Ok, it’s a total lie, but it’s enough to take me from weird stalker to someone harmless–at least in his mind. His expression morphs from concern to sympathy. “Ah, gotchya. Well, good luck.”

“Thanks,” I mutter blowing on my fresh cup. When he’s gone I sit back, once more tuning into their conversation.

“No, it’s true,” she says, her voice light as a feather. “It’s the full blue blood moon tonight. It’s a really rare cosmic alignment.”

He snorts, “I suppose you’re going to tell me that Mercury is in Gatorade or something too.”

She laughs, but it’s sharp, defensive. “I’m serious. You think things get weird during a full moon? Tonight’s going to be crazy.”

I don’t see him shift in his seat, but I feel it, a change in the air. “How do you know so much about all this, anyway?”

I take a sip of my coffee just as she releases her next words.

“Oh, I was an astronomer in my past life.”

Boiling coffee shoots up my throat and out my nose as I try to hold in the laugh threatening to erupt. Grabbing a rag, I wipe my face, coughing. But the time I compose myself they have resumed their conversation and I can only wonder what on earth compels a guy to stick it out after a comment like that.

They exchange a few more meaningless pleasantries after that, before she finally drops the bomb.

“Hey, so I’m going to this underground full moon party tonight, you wanna come?”

He doesn’t even miss a beat, “Sounds great.”

Gathering their things, they stand. As they walk by I take a moment to really look them over. He’s not super tall, but good looking enough. He’s got that perfect five-day beard and dirty blonde hair that hangs long on one side and short on the other, a muscular build accentuated by his one size too small tee shirt, and jeans with embellishments on the back pockets. She, by contrast is practically an amazon. Long red hair, deep green eyes, and a hint of freckles riding across her perfectly sloped nose. She’s got a few inches on him, probably around the six-foot mark, and of course, a rack big enough to make men not really care how crazy she might be.

Maybe it’s magic, maybe it’s just boobs.

Inhaling deeply, I force out a long, slow breath just before they hit the door. Reaching out with my magic I find what I’m looking for, the thing that drew me here. A familiar tingle returns to me, sending an electric shock through my skin.

Demon.

There’s no doubt. But which one is it?

Standing I pull a few crumpled bills out of my pocket and drop them on the table.

“You be careful out there tonight,” man bun calls out from where he’s tying a bag of garbage. “This city can be dangerous after dark.”

“You have no idea,” I mutter and follow the couple.

 

***

 

It’s nearly a mile before we hit the warehouse. Dark has fully fallen and the city street is aglow with pink and green neon lights, that’s good enough to allow me to slink behind them, never far but managing to stay unnoticed. Last Supper Club, the dilapidated sign reads. There’s no line outside, but a handful of people in weird Victorian era clothes mill about, smoking what certainly isn’t tobacco. The couple steps inside and after a few minutes, I move to follow them. A tall man in a bowler hat and vest stops me with one had.

“Twenty-one and over sweetheart.”

Sighing, I pull my wallet from my back pocket and hand him one of my fake ID’s.

“Uh huh, nice try,” he says, handing it back.

Damn.

Opening my mouth before I can even decide between giving him a sob story or simple trying to bribe my way in, a tingle washes over me again. It’s like static on a television, and it drives its way up my spine and into the base of my neck, making me shiver.

Brushing past me, a burly man with a tall top hat and curly mustache nods to the doorman who returns the gesture. This feeling is different from the other, but also familiar.

“Werewolf,” I mutter to myself, taking a step back.

Shit and double shit.

While not unheard of, it’s rare to just run into one, especially on a night like to night. For a werewolf to be out tonight, he’s gotta be super old and super in control. Either that, or he’s just super crazy and about to eat a club full of humans.

Could go either way, really.

And here I thought tonight would be boring.

However, I’m under dressed for a fight with one—much less two—potentially clawed opponents. Opting to regroup and prepare, I duck out of line and grab a cab to the building I’m currently squatting in.

“Wait for me?” I ask, tossing a fifty over the back of the seat.

“Five minutes,” he says flatly. “No more or I go.”

Damn. You can’t even buy a decent sidekick these days.

The apartment is nothing fancy, but still nicer than the abandoned movie theater I’d called home in Denver, despite being in a rough side of town. It’s a second-floor studio above a boarded-up tattoo parlor with an old brass chandelier in the hallway that still glowed with three of the six bulbs. Jimmying the lock, I hurry inside to grab my katana and a vial of holy oil.

The floor is cluttered with old maps of the underground, sewer tunnels, and public utilities, my battery powered lantern in the corner of the room casting enough light to keep the bugs mostly away. In and amongst the papers are my good scrying crystal, my family grimoire, and of course, a protection sigil I’ve carefully carved into the old floorboards. From the corner of the room a hiss reminds me that the stray cat I picked up yesterday was still hanging around, despite being released to the fire escape last night.

Reciting an incantation, I hold my hands out, calling to the spirit world. The magic pulls at me, a draining feeling that I probably shouldn’t risk this close to a fight, but to be honest, I want to reach out—in case it’s the last time.

“All geared up and nowhere to go, baby doll?” My Nana’s voice booms from inside the ratty calico which now struts toward me boldly, its tail twitching.

“Actually, I’m in a bit of a hurry. Found a club that’s playing host to a demon and a werewolf tonight. Double the fun.”

Sitting, she begins to lick herself. “You gotta watch those mutts, especially on the full moon.”

“Really? I had no idea,” I mutter, picking up and tossing aside the papers one by one.

“Don’t get lippy with me, missy.”

I sigh, “Sorry Nana. I’ve got a cab waiting. Have you seen my amulet? The Lapis one?”

Standing again she saunters to the pile of blankets I’ve been using as a bed for the past few weeks. With one paw she reaches under the top blanket and pulls out the chain.

“Oh, yes,” I say, crossing the room and grabbing it. I slip it over my head, shaking my long brown hair over it and tucking the stone under my green tank top.

“You decided on your next stop, baby girl?” She asks, pausing to scratch herself. “Maybe headed back down to the bayou?”

Gesturing toward the laptop on the floor I answer. “Nope. Looks like Texas. Lots of disappearances, lots of unsolved animal attacks. Sounds like my kind of party.”

“You just be careful, darlin. And if you can’t be careful, be—”

I cut her off, “Be armed. I know.”

Rolling onto her side, she looks up at me, her eyes far too wise for the face they currently occupy. “You still upset about Denver?”

I shrug, turning my back to her as I fumble to braid my hair. “I’m fine,” I lie.

“It wasn’t your fault, Aria. You know it wasn’t.”

Turning back to her I let the first real hints of irritation slide into my voice. “I’m not a child, Nana. I was unprepared and people died. That’s on me, plain and simple.”

“Don’t you do that, baby girl. Don’t you try to carry the weight of that.”

“I really don’t have time for this. I need to get back to the club—before any more innocent people get eaten. Or worse.”

She doesn’t ask what worse might be. We both know worse. We’ve lived worse.

I’m about to close the spell when I look at the nana cat once more.

“How’s daddy?” I ask. “Any better?”

Cocking her head to the side she rubs against my leg. “Oh sugar, its gonna take time. When someone takes their own life like that…there’s a lot of healing that needs to be done before his spirit’s whole again.”

I lick my lips. I know. She’d explained it more than once. At first, I’d been so bitter I hadn’t even cared, but then, as time rolled on, forgiveness had crept in. Now, I mostly just miss him. I miss them all.

“Thanks Nana.”

“For what sweetie?”

I shrug, “For hanging around, I guess.”

“Anytime you need me, I’ll be here. We all will, our whole family back to the beginning of everything. We’re all looking out for you.”

“I know.”

She winks, an expression almost comical on the face of a cat, “Then next time leave us some good Scotch and gumbo to say thanks. No more gas station sushi and Dr Pepper, alright?”

“Sorry Nana, times are tough.”

She opens her mouth to say something else, but I clap one, hard clap, releasing the spell. The cat, now looking confused and a bit terrified, blinks once then runs for the dark corner of the kitchen.

 

***

 

Less than an hour later I’m back at the club and I’m armed and ready for a fight. I’d found the gateway—the portal the demons were using to enter our world–yesterday, down in the ruins of the old city about twelve feet below our feet. I should have burned it down right then, but something stopped me, an instinct as ancient as my family line. Since the great fire in the late 1800’s, a dozen or so folks were either murdered or went missing each year in just this six-block area. The most recent, a school teacher, had been found sans head. Nothing screams demon like decapitated English teachers.

Plus, there was the ichor.

Demon blood isn’t like human blood. It’s black, slimy, and basically battery acid. Every time a demon shifts into human form and back, it oozes the stuff.

I knew what it was at first sight, but it had likely been dismissed by human authorities as oil stains or something similar, if it had been noticed at all.   Humans tend to ignore the supernatural as a matter of standard operating procedure. Truth is, people see what they want to see, they know what they want to know. It’s one of the few constants in life.

Bowler hat guy is still manning the door, so I slink around back, all the better for not being spotted with my sword, sheathed at my back but far from concealed.

Pulling a switchblade from my pocket, I hold out my arm, quickly carving the sigil for stealth into my skin as I curse out loud. It’s a shallow cut but it still hurts so badly I nearly faint from the pain, but as soon as I connect the final lines, the wound heals over, a light pink scar that will be gone in a few days. Most sigils can be done with consecrated ash, but in a pinch, blood would do just as well. I breathe again, forcing myself to push past the ache and focus on what’s inside.

The back door is locked, no surprise, and I am about to force the lock when it swings open. A man, probably in his early twenties with an impressive neck tattoo that looks like a bat and a ring through his septum, looks me over.

“Hey,” I fumble. “Any chance you’d be willing to let me inside? I just want check it out. My older sister keeps raving about the place.” He hesitates, so I add, “Please?”

His eyes wash over me once more, this time he licks his lips. “Alright, but stay away from the bar, got it?”

I nod, “Promise.”

He pushes the door open fully and I duck under his arm and inside. It’s a small kitchen that reeks of stale bread and olives. He points to a narrow hall.

“That way to the club.”

“Thanks,” I offer again as I head down the dark hallway.

Stepping out into the club, I realize quickly that I may be in over my head. The place is packed, hundreds of people writhing on the dancefloor beneath a gold, strobing light. Sweaty bodies, pulsing music, the stench of body odor and alcohol and…something I can’t quite place.

Desperation?

Pot.

I take a deep breath to confirm.

Yep, definitely pot. Not that I’m prudish about the stuff—it’s just not my herb of choice. Give me a good nettle tea any day…

Despite the normally calming effects of the smoke, the energy of the club hits me like a tidal wave. It’s strong, pushing at my skin, forcing its way into my lungs with each breath. Closing my eyes, I reach out with my magic to survey the room, a trick my mother had taught me too long ago to recall. The werewolf hits my energy wave first, a cool tingle not unlike cold rain. It makes me shudder, then refocus. He’s thirty steps to my right, sitting at the bar. His power is cold, literally freezing, a feeling unique to his kind, at least in human form. The animals are warmer, the heat of their magic burning like a fever. His kind normally run a comfy sixty-five degrees on average, but this was even colder, a testament to his self-control that the wolf was so well contained.

My magic recoils from him but continues stretching out until I feel the familiar static. It’s almost painful, the pins and needles feeling you get when a limb falls asleep. Opening my eyes, I walk in the direction of it, finding the couple in a red velvet booth, my mind spinning with scenarios that might let me lead him out of the club, into the back alley where I can dispatch him without causing a scene. The girl from the diner is on his lap, her back to me, her body vibrating oddly. Initially, I think they’re kissing. But then, as I get closer, I realize it’s something else.

So much for doing this quietly.

“Hey, let her go,” I order, my voice audible even above the pounding, wordless music.

The girl stiffens, then sits upright. When she turns to me, her neck at an impossible angle, she grins.

“Ok, let him go. Sorry, I shouldn’t have assumed,” I say. “But seriously, you’ve got a little evil on your face.” I point to my chin, “Just right here.”

She hisses. I glance around, my hand already grasping my katana. No one seems to notice us. Either my sigil is working, or people really just don’t give a fuck anymore.

Probably a bit of both.

“Get lost, little witch, or I’ll eat you all up,” she says, blood and spittle smeared along her chin and lips. Her teeth are pink, her eyes pitch black and reflecting the pulsing lights.

“Gotta be honest here, it’s hard to take you seriously in that ugly ass tube top. Seriously, you look like my grandmother.”

With that she launches herself to her feet. In the booth first date guy slumps over, his eyes fluttering.

I motion to him with my empty hand, “Was that really necessary? I mean, I get it, he wasn’t exactly prince charming, but don’t you know not to play with your food?”

She’s lunging in an instant, but I already have my blade up. The crowd parts just enough to give us room, but still, no one looks directly at us.

“Fire!” I scream, but they continue ignoring us.

Well shit. The sigil worked a little too well.

She dives forward and I dodge left, slicing her in the back as she moves. She snarls again, the skin slipping from her hands like melting wax, revealing sharp claws and sinew below.

“Ugh. Neat party trick. Gross, but neat.”

She moves again, this time slashing with claws. I roll backwards, bounding upright just as she closes the distance between us once more. Stumbling back, I try to put some distance between us. The katana isn’t exactly a close quarters weapon and this isn’t exactly a roomy dance floor anyway. She slices through the air and I bend forward, her claws catching my shirt but not the skin beneath it.

Losing my balance, I fall onto my ass with a thud, raising my katana between us. But she’s too fast, and I brace for the claws heading my direction.

Before they can connect, a pair of arms wraps her from the back, dragging her off of me and I roll to my feet. She struggles with her assailant, writhing as strong arms hold her.

The music screeches to a halt and a voice comes over the loud speaker. I think it’s going to be a warning—someone has seen us and is going to tell everyone to get out—but it’s not.

“It’s nearly the witching hour boys and girls, count it down with me,” the DJ orders, eliciting a round of cheers.

The sound of bones cracking draws my attention back to the demon who, in a move like nothing I’ve ever seen, doubles over, sending the old man werewolf flying and I have to duck so he doesn’t hit me.

Around me the energy of the room intensifies, the crowd screaming their count down.

“Seven, six, five…” they chant. That’s when I realize what’s happening around me. In the old day’s witches would have huge bonfires where they would dance and chant, a way to raise energy then channel it to do their spells. An old-timey rave, just like this one. They had only two purposes, to raise as much magic as possible, or to call something ancient and powerful onto this plain.

The leylines beneath our feet pulsate with energy, converging in the heart of the old city, sending power into the gateway like nothing I’ve ever felt. It must be lit up like a beacon now. A glowing, all you can eat, sign to every nasty creature within a hundred miles of our world and theirs.

I don’t hesitate, dropping my guards I let the energy flood into me, soaking it up like sunlight until I feel stronger, brighter, faster. It seeps into the marrow of my bones.

“Four, three, two…”

With two quick steps I slash downward, even as the demon runs at me full speed, the last of her human skin sluffing to the ground in a wet, ichor filled puddle.

“One…”

My skin prickles again as the flashing lights change, gold to yellow to red. They may be raising the power, but it fills me as well, a jolt somewhere between ten cups of coffee and a syringe of adrenaline to the heart. I’m fluid as I open myself to the power, letting it fill me. Every moment is achingly slow, though somewhere in the back of my mind I know I’m actually moving so fast most of the humans probably can’t even register what’s happening.

My blade sings through the air, not stopping until it hits the stone floor with a ring. The demon blinks, its mouth wide as it crumples in two, severed halves. It’s less than a second before blue-green flames erupt from the corpse, consuming it with a noxious odor until only ashes remain.

From across the bar another set of eyes is on me, a tall man, probably in his early thirties wearing a black suit with the tie loosened around his neck, stalks toward me, his eyes black as ebony.

I’d been so distracted by the girl, I hadn’t bothered to check the rest of the club.

It’s a goddamn demon bar.

Suit guy reaches me, still looking more human than monster even as I step back, taking a fighting stance.

He says nothing, rushing me with his shoulder down. He’s fast, but I’m already moving, the blade of my katana slicking his head from his shoulders as I spin away from him.

Just then a screaming whistle erupts, followed by flashing silver lights. Spinning, I see the werewolf near the front door, his hand still on the fire alarm as it blares.

There’s another demon at his feet, a guy with long blonde dreadlocks and a multi colored tunic with a peace sign on the front. His head is twisted around backward, ichor pouring from his mouth as he gasps on his hands and knees.

“You just gonna leave that lying around?” I call out.

The Were looks down, sighs heavily, and kicks the demon hard enough that he rolls down the stairs and to my feet.

I hop backward as he reaches out, one hand slipping out of its skin and wrapping around my ankle.

He pulls and my leg goes out from under me, leaving me on my ass once more. But I manage to hold the blade as I fall and leaning forward I slice off his hand, rolling to my feet. Once I’m upright again, I slip the blade under his chin and pull upward with all the force I can muster.

“Not bad,” the Were says, jogging down the steps.

“Yeah. Thanks for the assist,” I offer. Around us the crowd continues to roll around us, rushing for the front door.

“We should probably make a hasty exit,” he says, grabbing my arm, which I promptly pull from his grasp.

“Don’t wait for me,” I order.

Sheathing my sword, I fight against the tide of people filing out the front, stopping to lean over the still unconscious guy from the coffee shop. His pulse is slow, but strong, so I slap him in the face sharply. He’s bleeding from the neck and shoulder, obviously the demon had taken a few bites out of him, but he’s mostly intact.

Lucky asshole.

As he snaps to, his hands immediately find the wounds and he whimpers.

“What the fuck?” he asks, then seeing the blood on his fingers, he squeals.

“Relax, you’ll live,” I say, patting him on the arm hard enough to make him wince. “Next time, maybe you’ll stay away from the crazy ones.”

Blinking, he looks up at me, his mouth turning into a full-on pout. “But I like the crazy ones.”

Throwing my hands up I leave him, “Fine then. Get eaten. What do I care?”

I’m out the back door just as the first sirens approach in the distance and I slink down the alley, not too far but far enough to watch, and duck into the shadows behind a greasy brown dumpster.

Eventually the old Were appears from the chaos. He circles the building, looking down the alley for me. Stepping out from the shadow, I call to him.

“Hey, over here.”

He walks toward me. I’d been right about him being old. There’re deep lines around his mouth and eyes, his hair and mustache streaked with silver. It’s easier to see now, in the unforgiving yellow streetlights.

I chuckle and he looks at me quizzically.

“Sorry, I was just thinking you’re a silver fox, only a wolf.”

His expression doesn’t change.

“Guess it was funnier in my head. Anyway, thanks again for the assist back there,” I offer, wiping my hands on my ripped jeans.

“I’m Aria,” I say, holding out a hand. He just stares at it so I lower it down. “Or that’s cool. Whatever.”

After a moment of hesitation, he growls, “Philip.”

“Alright Phil,” I mutter. “Anyway, thanks. So, see you around. Or not.”

I turn to walk away but he calls out.

“You could have gotten yourself killed. Or worse, exposed us to the humans.” His tone is deep and accusing.

I spin on my heel.

“Chill grandpa. I took out the demons, saved a club full of humans. No harm done. I’ve got one more issue to deal with, then me outta here. Don’t get your mustache in a knot.” Then a chilling thought occurs to me, it’s enough to make my hand twitch for my katana. “Unless you were there for the meal?”

“No.”

“No, what?” I demand. “No, you weren’t there to eat the humans or no, you’re not going to let me walk away?”

He shakes his head, “No, I wasn’t there to hurt anyone. Werewolves don’t eat humans, which you would know if you were half as smart as you seem to think you are. Don’t you know you shouldn’t go looking for trouble?”

“I know Weres don’t eat humans, but I don’t know you, now do I?,” I scoff. “And besides. Rule number nineteen of demon hunting, always go looking for trouble.”

“You shouldn’t be here.”

“Oh, something tells me this is exactly where I should be. What about you. Why were you in this particular club on this particular evening?”

He bristles. If he’d been in wolf form the hair on his back would be standing at attention.

Finally, reluctantly, he answers, pointing skyward at the massive, pale blue moon, “Fighting the change on a night like this takes a little extra energy. I followed the leylines here. Thought I’d soak up a little juice.”

“Next time just crack a Red Bull like everyone else,” I say. “It’s safer.”

“Then take your own advice. Whatever other business you think you have in Seattle, forget it. Go home. Get out of the city. Tonight.”

“Or you’ll what? Piss on my carpet? Pfft,” I turn my back on him, but the moment I do he pounces. Between one heartbeat and the next my katana is drawn and I’ve turned into the attack, crouched with the tip of my blade at his neck.

“Bad. Dog.” I say, my muscles tight and ready to strike.

“You don’t think I know who you are and why you’re here? Word travels fast in our circles, witch. And you’re making quite a name for yourself. Roaming town to town, hunting demons, killing monsters. One of these days that mouth is gonna write a check your sword can’t cash.”

“I like that, maybe I’ll put it on my business cards.”

He grunts, “If you live long enough. Problem is, you’re not just taking out the bad guys. I hear you’re making some pretty powerful enemies of your own kind too. Messing with their magic. They sure are put out about it.”

Now it’s my turn to get surly. “Why do you give a shit about a few grumpy witches?”

He holds up his hands, “I got my reasons. Staying in good graces with the local witch helps keep the skin on my back.”

It takes me a second, but I catch on, rolling my eyes. “Oh, I get it. Local witches keeping you hidden from your pack, right? I mean, wolves without a pack…tend to get put down, don’t they?”

He says nothing, but I can see the truth in his eyes.

I straighten, lowering my sword and sheathing it. “And what, you’re gonna rat me out to them if I don’t tuck tail and run?”

Now his expression changes, shame filling his features.

“I should.”

“You like having your city full of soul sucking demons? Because I sure didn’t see any of your local witches here tonight, taking them out. Even though it’s kind of literally their job. Makes a girl wonder.”

He stays silent for a moment, finally speaking in a calm whisper.

“What’s your plan?” he asks. “The demons are gone now, so why are you still here?”

Stepping in close enough that he can feel my breath in his face I turn my chin up, holding his eyes. “I’m closing the door—this one and all the others. I’m slamming it shut so their kind can’t infest this city anymore. And then I’m going to close the next one, and the next one, until they’re all gone. I’m going to wipe every single demon off the face of the earth with my bare hands if I have to, and I’m gonna make sure they can never slip through ever again.”

“That’s a lot of rage for someone so young,” he says softly.

I wave him off, “Yeah. Anger issues. I know. You’d have them too if your family was slaughtered by the things. I was nine when they took my mother. I watched…” my voice breaks so I harden my face, clenching my jaw until I’m sure I can speak without wavering. “So, you can walk away, or you can help, but so help me if you get in my way, I’ll cut you down where you stand. Nothing personal.”

“You know where the gateway is in the city?” he asks after a few tense moments.

I nod.

“Then let’s go.”

 

Magic Burns

A Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft and Demon Hunting #0.5

Part Two: Down The Wolf Hole

Coming 9/24

Pre-order the full novel, DEMONS LIE: A Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft and Demon Hunting #1 today

Enter the Demons Lie Pre-order Sweepstakes

 

DEMONS LIE Cover Reveal

Demons Lie 
by Sherry D. Ficklin 
Publication date: October 30th, 2018
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Rule #1 Demons Lie 

Orphaned by an unspeakable evil, Aria Dupree is the last of her line. A powerful witch tasked with guarding the boundaries between our world and the world of demons who prey on humankind, Aria has gone rogue. Now she’s out to find and destroy every single gateway into our world and kill every demon that she can find – including the one who murdered her mother.

But, as it turns out, hunting is the easy part; it’s graduating high school that might kill her. Red Prairie Texas isn’t just another stop on her demon hunting world tour and an unlikely alliance might be exactly what she needs to keep from becoming a slave to the very darkness she’s been fighting against.
Because the devil is coming down to Texas – and only Aria can keep all hell from breaking loose.

Add to Goodreads / Pre-order

***Also, I will be releasing a short prequel serial for free on her website beginning Sept. 17th and leading up to the release. You can check it out at http://sherryficklin.com.***!

New Release! Glitter and Gold Is Here!

NOW IN PAPERBACK:

Grab your giggle water and pearls because it’s time to celebrate! Glitter and Gold by Sherry D. Ficklin is now available in paperback. Grab this gorgeous new paperback that will sit perfectly next to The Canary Club. More information can be found below.

Order your paperback from: AMAZON / BARNES & NOBLE

Glitter and Gold: A Canary Club Prequel
Sherry D. Ficklin
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Now available in paperback
Genres: Historical, Young Adult

Set during the flamboyant anything-goes era of 1920’s America, these three tales are filled with intriguing characters and rich imagery from the time period—with flappers, jazz music, gangsters, and lavish wealth. Escape to a different decade today with the compelling stories of the Canary Club Anthology.

Novelette 1- Gilded Cage
Masie, the flaxen-haired daughter of notorious bootlegger Dutch Schultz, returns home from boarding school to find her family in crisis. Her mother is dangerously unstable, her father’s empire is on the brink of ruin, and the boy she once loved has become a ruthless killer for hire. To keep her family’s dangerous secrets, Masie is forced into a lie that will change the course of her future—and leave her trapped in a gilded cage of her own making.

Novelette 2- All That Glitters
A dame with brains, moxie, and killer curves, June West isn’t your average flapper. She’s managed to endear herself to the son of one of the most powerful gangsters in New York, earning herself a spot in the limelight that she’s always longed for. With the infamous playboy at her side, June has become accustomed to living the high life. Lavish parties, expensive clothes, sparkling jewels—nothing is beyond her reach. But when her carefully woven web of lies finally catches up with her, she must make an impossible choice… come clean about her past and risk losing everything, or find a way to bury her demons—once and for all.

Novelette 3 – Nothing Gold
Dickey has been down on his luck since the day he was born. Flat broke and sick of being looked down on, he meets young socialite Lillian at a wild party. The connection is like a strike of lightning. From a wealthy New York family, this debutante is everything he’s been told he can never have—and the only thing he wants. Determined to win her, he knows the only way to get her parents approval is with cold hard cash. So when a shot at the biggest score of his life comes around, he just can’t refuse…

Order The Canary Club today!

The Canary Club
Sherry D. Ficklin
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult

“Bad Luck” Benny is a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. Recently released from jail, he has vowed to keep his head down and stay out of trouble. But he also needs to care for his ailing sister and the rest of his struggling family, and he’ll do anything to make that happen—even if it means taking a position with a notorious crime boss. He soon finds himself in over his head—and worse still—falling for the one dame on earth he should be staying away from.

Masie is the daughter of a wealthy gangster with the voice of an angel and gun smoke in her veins. Strong-willed but trapped in a life she never wanted, she dreams of flying free from the politics and manipulation of her father. A pawn in her family’s fight for control of the city, and with a killer hot on her heels, she turns to the one person who just might be able to spring her from her gilded cage. But Masie is no angel, and her own dark secrets may come back to burn them both.

Two worlds collide in this compelling story of star-crossed lovers in gritty prohibition-era New York.

Perfect for fans of Beatriz Williams’ A CERTAIN AGE or Libba Bray’s THE DIVINERS, THE CANARY CLUB by Sherry D. Ficklin will entice Historical Romance fans of all ages. This Gatsby-era tale filled with dazzling speakeasies, vicious shoot-outs, gritty gangsters, and iridescent ingenues has also been compared to the television series Z: THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING and BOARDWALK EMPIRE.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

Author Bio:

Sherry D. Ficklin is a full time writer from Colorado where she lives with her husband, four kids, two dogs, and a fluctuating number of chickens and house guests. A former military brat, she loves to travel and meet new people. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

A Gift For You: Deleted Scene (Canary Club)

Happy Holidays everyone! I have a very special gift for you all, an exclusive never before seen deleted scene from Canary Club! A VERY abbreviated version of this made the final cut of the book, but I always thought this gave us a bit more insight into JD’s mind. I hope you enjoy this extended look at Benny and JD!

***Copyright 2017 Sherry Ficklin, All Rights Reserved***

It’s late when JD stumbles in, June hanging on his arm. He’s already blotto, judging by the sway in his step and the slight slur in his words as he approaches where I stand, leaning against the bar.

He points a finger at me, closing one eye. “We need to have a talk.”

I motion for him to join me in the back, hoping to at least keep whatever beating he’s about to deliver from the prying eyes of the patrons.

Following him through the curtain, I tense, expecting the first blow to come fast and without explanation. But when he turns, I make no move to defend myself. I won’t raise a hand to him, Masie’s brother. That much I’ve already decided. I’ll take my licks if it will somehow soothe his rage.

To my surprise, there’s no punch, no angry words. He smoothes his hair with one hand and leans against the wall, as if the room has begun to spin and he needs the support.

“I want you to know I’m not angry with you, Benny,” he says, his words slurring slightly. “Well, I’m a little angry. But it’s not your fault, you see. This is just how he operates.”

I lean against the opposite wall, crossing my arms and ankles. “I wouldn’t blame you if you were. I never meant for this to happen.”

He nods, then, closing his eyes, takes a deep breath. “I know. Dutch has been trying to whip me into shape since long before you came into the picture.” He grins, opening one eye. “And without much success.”

When I say nothing, he continues. I’m not sure if it’s the booze talking or if he’s just in need of a friendly ear, but either way, I listen patiently.

“You’re not the first baby bird Dutch has taken under his wing. He does that ya see, he puts on this show of being a good guy, makes sure you trust him. Then he makes sure you need him, he throws around money and favors and positions. I used to think it was just a gas, a way for him to feel better about himself. But I don’t think that’s it at all.” JD shakes his head, then pats his vest until he finds and produces a small flask from one of the breast pockets and takes a swig. He offers it to me, which I refuse with a shake of the head, then returns it to the pocket. “He’s smart, my pops. He doesn’t have friends—part of being in this business I guess—he only has enemies and people too afraid to be his enemies. So, he does this dance, puts on a show, lures you in, and then before you know it, you’re in too deep to move. You’re stuck. And then he throws you a lifeline—at a price, of course.”

I scratch my chin, thinking of the fella Masie mentioned. “Is that what he did to Mad Dog?” I ask boldly.

JD’s grey eyes snap up from the floor as he nods. “Masie’s been flapping her gums I see.” He shrugs, “Doesn’t matter. Mad Dog is just one in a long line of people Dutch has manipulated. He started with us, though, with me and Masie. Guess we got boring after a while. I mean, how many times can you break someone before it loses its entertainment value?”

He snorts but my mind immediate goes back to Masie’s mother, of how completely and totally ruined she was. Is that what’s in store for Masie and JD? Bullets, knives, thugs–that I can handle, but how can I protect her from that? From her own father?

Leaning against the wall, unsure what to say, I just mutter, “My family isn’t perfect, but I can’t imagine.” Though even as I say it, I can’t help but think of all the times I’ve seen Masie cover up a bruise or hide the emotion from her voice. I knew she walked on eggshells—but I’d never suspected JD was doing the same. Never understood the extent, not really.

“Dutch has this idea about what we should be, Mas and me. And no matter what we do or how hard we try, we never quite live up to his expectations. Ah, it doesn’t bother me so much anymore; I’m used to being the family screw-up. I worry about Mas, though. She never wanted any of this, and I know she’s not happy here. This new club, it’s not about business—it’s only about keeping her here, making sure she can never leave.” He snorts, “The Canary Club, more like The Canary Cage.”

“I know she’s unhappy; I can see that. I just want to help,” I say, pushing off the wall and peeking out the curtain as she begins a new song. Her eyes flicker to me, a moment of concern crossing her face. I wave, just to let her know everything’s alright, and she looks away, returning to her performance.

“You’re a good fella, Benny. And I know you genuinely care about her.” He steps forward, shoving his hands into his trouser pickets, wobbling just a bit. “The best thing you can do for her is to stay close. Help her make the club into something she can at least live with, if not love. She’s been through enough.”

“Oh, and there’s one more thing,” he says before drawing one fist from his pocket and, with impossible speed, ramming it into the side of my face.

I slide along the wall, holding myself upright by sheer will. Another punch lands, this time on the other side of my face, and it knocks me back straight. The blood pools in my mouth but I can’t force myself to swallow so I spit it onto the floor at his feet.

“I thought you weren’t mad?” I demand, bracing for another blow.

He shrugs, “I’m not. But Dutch can’t know that. This little display was to rile me up, if he thinks it didn’t work, he’ll keep pushing until something does. Better he thinks we’re on the skids than make him get creative. And trust me, he can get very creative.”

I grunt, touching the side of my mouth gingerly. He managed not to split my lip, but there’s already a welt forming on my jaw.

“How am I supposed to explain this to my ma?” I ask more to myself than him.

He grins, “Tell her it was for your own good. Medicinal, like leeching.”

“Yeah, I’m sure she’ll buy that,” I offer with an eye roll.

We stand there for a minute as silence stretches out between us. A mutual understanding, maybe, or at least a silent, unsteady alliance. Finally, slowly, he begins unbuttoning his sleeve cuffs and rolling them up. For a moment I think he’s going to hit me again, but he doesn’t, he just points to the curtain, “We best be getting back.”

“One more thing,” I say finally. “About Mad Dog. You think he’d hurt Masie?”

JD lowers his chin, suddenly looking very sober. “In a minute, if she were standing between him and something he wanted. He’d kill her without blinking an eye, that’s what Dutch turned him into. It’s what he’d turn me into, if I let him. You gotta understand, Benny, there’s no real family in this life, no real loyalty. Remember that when you’re dealing with Dutch—or anyone else. You’re only of value as long as they need you, or as long as they think you need them.”

“That go for you, too?” I ask, only half joking.

He raises his hand, flexing his knuckles to show off the bruises forming from my blows to the face. “Assume it does. Better to be pleasantly surprised than disappointed. You wanna stay in good around here, think about what Dutch needs from you, and what you need from him.”

“What about you? Is there anything I can do for you?” I reach out, drawing back the curtain for him to pass through.

On his way by, he pats me on the shoulder. “Oh, I doubt it, but thanks for the offer.”


 

Thanks for reading, I hope you liked it! If you are interested in more, you can grab the full novel here.

And be sure to pick up the prequel to Canary Club, GLITTER AND GOLD, for FREE here.

 

Merry Christmas!

~Sherry

Riches To Rags & An Interview With Casey L. Bond

 

Hey Everyone! I’m here with an exclusive interview with the amazing Casey L Bond about her life as an author and about her new novel, RICHES TO RAGS. Grab a seat and let’s dish with one of my favorite authors!

 

Q.When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

A. I’ve always loved writing, even in school, but I wrote my first book five years ago.

Q. How long does it take you to write a book?

A. It varies depending on the book. Fantasy books are longer, so those take a few months from the start of the first draft to the end of the final draft. Others are shorter and some flow better than others. I can write a first draft in 6 weeks, usually. But there’s a lot of revision and rewriting to get it polished.

Q. What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

A. I write most days from 10am-4pm, although sometimes life happens. 🙂

Q. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

A. I like to write in sprints, sometimes with others and sometimes alone. It keeps me motivated! So I’ll time myself and write as fast as I can during that time period. Most sprints are 30 minutes for me. But I can write a lot of words doing that throughout the day and taking breaks in between sprint sessions.

Q. Why did you opt to go indie vs traditional publishing?

A. I love the control that self-publishing affords and while I’ll always self-publish, I would ultimately love to be represented by an agent who will seek a traditional book deal for me.  I’d love to be in both worlds because it’s difficult to reach readers at times.

Q. Where do you get the idea for Riches To Rags?

A. I love fairy tale retellings and I thought it would be fun to tell a story in reverse. 🙂

Q. What is your favorite fairy tale?

A. My favorite? That’s tough. I love Rapunzel and Beauty and the Beast. I actually love most of them! LOL!

Q. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

A. I’m usually running my kids to activities. We have a farm, so we’re busy with it, too. But I love spending time with family and friends, photography, and swimming in the summer. I work out three days a week and I love watching movies.

Q. What is the best writing advice you ever got?

A. Read great books and learn skills from them. And keep your head down and write. Stop comparing yourself with other authors. Their journey is different.

Q. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

A. How fun it is to make worlds and cultures! I love disappearing into a book where the world is a bit different from ours, but you see the same issues in it.

Q. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

A. Some of my books are serialized, so I don’t count all the parts. I have over 20 books. I can’t pick a favorite! I love them all for different reasons.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say? I do on social media and at author signings! They’re so great. I love getting messages or comments from them on posts. I read reviews and try to learn from those, from what readers loved and what they didn’t. I appreciate everyone who reads my work so much.

Q. What is the best part of being a writer?

A. Getting to get up everyday and know that I’m about to do what I love.

Q. What do you think makes a good story?

A. Great characters lead the plot. 🙂

Q. What are you working on right now?

A. I just finished my second retelling (based on Sleeping Beauty) and I freaking love it. I can’t wait to share it with you. I’m working on a fae fantasy novel right now and should finish the first draft in the next couple of weeks. It’s so fun. My last two books have witches and fae and I can’t tell you how much fun these creatures are!

NOW be sure to swing over and grab your copy of this fun new fairy tale story! Here’s the details and a sneak peek:

Blurb:
Most girls dream of being princesses, but one princess just wants to be a normal girl.
Ella Carina, crown princess of Aelawyn, knows brutality and lies—she’s seen the way her father rules. Princess. Possession. To her father, the words had the same meaning. She was only as valuable as the alliance formed with her betrothal. Her freedom comes from an unlikely place: an attack on the castle.
When the conquering King offers to protect her from the betrothal her father arranged for political gain, she consents. Hiding her within a peasant family is the only way to keep her and her secret safe.
In this simpler life, Ella flourishes and catches the eye of the local Blacksmith’s son. For once, she can be herself and make her own choices, but the life of a princess—even one kept secret—was never meant to be easy.
Trevor, crown prince of Galder has been searching for Ella, but not because of their betrothal. She is in grave danger from the very people who hid her away. His plan is to show her the truth and help her to safety.
Nothing goes as planned. When Trevor finds her, it’s to discover she’s fallen in love with a peasant. Now he has two goals: help her regain her throne… and show her that she belongs with him.
Award-winning author Casey L. Bond resides in Milton, West Virginia with her husband and their two beautiful daughters. When she’s not busy being a domestic goddess and chasing her baby girls, she loves to write young adult and new adult fiction.You can find more information about Bond’s books via the following links:

I was in my room, lost in my own worries, when the world as I knew it was torn to shreds.
My room was large, and with only a bed and wardrobe inside, it was far too spacious than anything I needed. But it was also my sanctuary. It had to be. Father didn’t allow me to leave the space without an escort, and only then when he gave me permission, which wasn’t often. I considered myself lucky to have a window until that day.
The horrors I saw from that window would stay with me forever.
Sitting quietly in the alcove, watching the comings and goings of the villagers, was how I learned the ever-changing styles in fashion and beauty, how gentlemen and ladies were to properly act, and how some acted very improperly when they thought no one was watching.
The day the Kingdom of Aelawyn fell, I was watching and envying the lives of her people.
Nothing seemed amiss as three large, covered wagons approached the front gate. The man driving the horses that pulled the lead wagon shouted to the guard atop the gate, announcing that they carried supplies, taken from another forest raid. They were granted immediate entry, Father’s guard raising the portcullis for them.
One by one, the wagons crept into the yard. As soon as the gate slammed back to the ground behind the third wagon, a loud whoop sounded. The guards were stunned, so much so that it took far too long for them to spring into action and defend the castle. The wagon canvases were torn to shreds as a small army, clad in armor and donning swords, shields, and all manner of weaponry, unfolded from the wagons and began to slash their way across the yard.
They did not take time to discern villager from soldier, male from female, innocent from guilty.
A river of blood flowed in their wake, draining between the cobblestones. They were so skilled and efficient in battle that they entered the castle before any alarm could be raised to stop them. In no time, they’d taken the castle itself.
Copyright Casey L. Bond

Canary Club Release Day!

The Canary Club
Sherry D. Ficklin
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: October 16th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult

“Bad Luck” Benny is a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. Recently released from jail, he has vowed to keep his head down and stay out of trouble. But he also needs to care for his ailing sister and the rest of his struggling family, and he’ll do anything to make that happen—even if it means taking a position with a notorious crime boss. He soon finds himself in over his head—and worse still—falling for the one dame on earth he should be staying away from.

Masie is the daughter of a wealthy gangster with the voice of an angel and gun smoke in her veins. Strong-willed but trapped in a life she never wanted, she dreams of flying free from the politics and manipulation of her father. A pawn in her family’s fight for control of the city, and with a killer hot on her heels, she turns to the one person who just might be able to spring her from her gilded cage. But Masie is no angel, and her own dark secrets may come back to burn them both.

Two worlds collide in this compelling story of star-crossed lovers in gritty prohibition-era New York.

Perfect for fans of Beatriz Williams’ A CERTAIN AGE or Libba Bray’s THE DIVINERS, THE CANARY CLUB by Sherry D. Ficklin will entice Historical Romance fans of all ages. This Gatsby-era tale filled with dazzling speakeasies, vicious shoot-outs, gritty gangsters, and iridescent ingenues has also been compared to the television series Z: THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING and BOARDWALK EMPIRE.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

Glitter and Gold (A Canary Club Prequel) is currently FREE!
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

 

ENTER THE #CANARYCLUBBOOK PHOTO CONTEST!

Share your picture of The Canary Club using #CanaryClubBook on social media for a chance to win a ‘Canary’ Yellow Kindle Fire! Feel free to be creative. Make a collage using the image of the book cover, take photos of the book on your shelf, etc. Plus, qualify for an ‘everyone can be a winner’ prize when you share a picture of The Canary Club on a bookshelf at Barnes and Noble stores!

Author Bio:

Sherry is the author of over a dozen novels for teens and young adults including the best selling Stolen Empire series. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.
Sherry also writes contemporary romance under the pen name SJ Noble. You can find her at her official website, www.sherryficklin.com, or stalk her on her Facebook page www.facebook.com/sherry.ficklin.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY! WIN A CTP MYSTERY BOX:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

XBTBanner1

SaveSave

Releasing A Book In A Trump-tastic World

Publishing is a world of constant peaks and valleys. It’s one of the things that makes this industry tough to live in–one month you’re making a living wage, the next you’re eating tuna from the can for a week solid just to keep the lights on. For those of us who live here full time, be it writers, agents, editors, or even publishers, we come to expect this. We know there will be lean times and we plan for them as best we can. One of the things that can cause a nose dive in sales (both retail and sales to publishers) is an election.

Basically, every election year we have a solid three months where the public is bombarded with campaign ads, speeches, political rallies, and sometimes even a scandal or ten. It eats every second of our existence both online and IRL. This isn’t a bad thing. It means we’re engaged and attentive to the process of our government and that’s hugely important. But it’s also why smart folks never release new books near election time (unless they are about the candidates). Because–to be very blunt–there’s no room in the media for it. And without media attention, it’s nearly impossible for a book to really take off (unless it’s by an already hugely popular author like Dan Brown or JK Rowling–and sometimes even then it can be tough).

But usually the election comes and goes, the new president takes office, and things begin to settle back into normalcy. Book sales bounce back, publishers begin acquiring again, and the media once more looks to the arts (books, music, etc) to entertain the masses.

Only this time, that never happened. 

This time, after the election the media became even more engrossed with the president and the new administration. Here we are, nearing the end of 2017, and it’s almost impossible to get any buzz going about anything not political. We are overwhelmed with various social movements and online political trends, and it certainly doesn’t help that every day the commander-in-chief tweets his morning BM and manages to say something that causes at least some kind of stir (Covfefe, anyone?).

Even the few amazing (and socially timely) books that did release this year didn’t get nearly the attention they deserved and therefore didn’t achieve nearly the sales they might have otherwise. Any other year and people would still be buzzing about these, but as it is, they ended up with moderate coverage and humble success compared to what they might have gotten even a year ago. Why does that matter? Because publishers rely on those huge blockbuster books to fund the other, smaller releases. It’s how they can afford to invest on a new author or a quirky title that may or may not find an audience. And without it, those smaller books (and by extension authors) dry up.

Not to be all doom and gloom but it seems even mother nature was stacked against us this year with record breaking storms and countless voices crying out for help and aid. I watched as authors, some who I know are struggling themselves, worked tirelessly to raise funds for those in need, and I’ve never been so proud of my community. I have spent a great deal of this year feeling bereft, wanting to help but unsure how, wanting to scream and rage and also to curl up in a ball and cry. But I took those feelings and did what I do best. I made them into words. I put those words on paper and held them out for the world to see.

And I was very, very lucky.

When you release a book, it’s always a gamble. Will people respond to the book, will they see it, will it matter? There’s no way to know. You do your best, you exhaust every avenue that might help people discover your book, but at the end of the day, there’s no guarantees. There’s just you and your book, and more and more book promotion feels like screaming into the wind.

Assault scandals, social movements, political protests, are all very important things, and I’m not saying we shouldn’t be focusing on them. We SHOULD know from day to day whether North Korea is threatening to nuke us (again). We SHOULD be using our voices and taking stands against injustices.

But in a Trump-ed up world, is there no room for anything else? 

It can’t be healthy for us to be so hyper focused on those negative things that we muffle the sound of emerging art, becasue art is too important for us to allow it to be blocked out. Books and music are a few of the outlets that offer an escape, albeit a brief one, from the constant noise of the world. Our job as writers is to inspire, entertain, and even, on occasion, to challenge the way you think. I, for one, believe that we still need that as a society, otherwise I wouldn’t do what I do. I’m sure we aren’t the only industry impacted by all this, but unfortunately it does make me wonder.

Without the support of the media, can books even survive?

This year we’re seeing across the board drops in book sales, both digital and print. Bookstores are scrambling to maintain their increasingly precarious footing while even digital giants like Amazon are having to reevaluate their sales platforms (and what they pay authors). The competition to get crucial advertising is at a frenzied high, often pitting authors and publishers against eachother in a dangerous game of bidding for shelf space and buying blog posts. Is it any wonder that authors are desperate and feeling the crunch? That indie authors who were once able to rely on their income are now retiring from writing to return to the work force? Just last week I had dinner with an (NYT Bestselling) author friend who admitted that though his publisher was sending him to London for a book event in November, that he was going to have to start driving for UBER at night to make ends meet once he got back.

Color me depressed.

Now, as we head into what is traditionally a ‘busy season’ for book sales (at least print sales), It will be interesting to see if we are able to finally begin pulling out of this rut which has lasted far too long already.

So, for those authors who are struggling, who are scraping for any media attention and visibility they can get, I say…

I honestly don’t know what to say.

I hope that it will get better for you. I hope it will get better for us all. I hope that someday we will again live in a world where we get as much good news as we get bad, have as much fun as we have worry. I hope that people who need your books will find them and that you will continue finding new avenues and means to connect with readers.

And I hope it happens before we all starve to death.

 

YA Scavenger Hunt

Welcome to the YA Scavenger Hunt!

This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

You are currently hunting on TEAM ORANGE

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the ORANGE TEAM–but there is also a red team, a gold team, a blue team, a purple team, a green team, and a pink team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
 
Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the orange team, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
 
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by 10/8, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

On to the hunt! 

Today, I am hosting LM Preston on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt!
LM. Preston was born in Washington, DC.  She loved to create poetry and short-stories as a young girl.  A Techie and Educator for over sixteen years, she started writing science fiction under the encouragement of her husband who was a Sci-Fi buff and her four kids.  She has an obsessive desire to write and create stories of young people who overcome unbelievable odds.  She loves to write while on the porch watching her kids play or when she is traveling, which is another passion that encouraged her writing. In addition to being an author, she’s also a Moderator for Yalitchat.ning.org, 2012 Vice President of Mid Atlantic Book Association and 2012 co-chair for the Maryland Writer’s Conference.
 
Find out more information by checking out the author website or find more about Fierce Tides, Book 3, in the Purgatory Reign Series here! (Psst, its only $.99 right now!)

EXCLUSIVE CONTENT

 

CONTINUE THE HUNT

Looking for my exclusive bonus content? You’ll have to keep searching.Somewhere on this Scavenger Hunt I’ve hidden an exclusive excerpt of Canary Club AND the top secret title for the next Canary Club novel. Also, to enter the giveaway, you need to know that I have 181 chickens! It’s my favorite number!
 
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author,

LARISSA C HARDESTY!