Archive for September, 2013

Book Excerpt from Ragesong: Awakening


I’m hosting a snippet today from YA fantasy adventure “Ragesong: Awakening”. Enjoy!

Book Excerpt

From Chapter 11


“Jake!” she screamed as though coming out of a trance. “Are you okay? Did he hurt you?” she asked, rushing over. Reaching down, she tried to pull him to his feet.

Jake winced and waved her off. “He kicked me in the ribs. I don’t think he broke anything, but, man, that really hurt!” He gingerly got to his feet and rubbed his side. “We need to keep going. Swyf said not to stop until one of them caught up with us. Are you okay?”

“Something happened,” Sam said in wonder, almost as if he was not there. “I picked up that rock, but I didn’t know what to do with it. I was terrified. I mean, that guy was huge! Then everything slowed down around me and I wasn’t afraid anymore. When I threw the rock, I knew I couldn’t miss. I know it sounds impossible, but I could have thrown fifty more and each one would’ve landed right where I aimed.”

Sam glanced down at the fallen soldier, who had blood running down his face from where the rock had struck him. “Jake,” she added, horrified, “I can’t throw that hard. I mean, I thought I might just distract him a little, you know? Give you a chance to roll away or something, but…” She looked at Jake quizzically, but he had no answers.

“It was Ragesong,” Joraus’s deep voice announced.

Ragesong: Awakening

18361383Title: Ragesong: Awakening

Author: J.R. Simmons

Genre: YA Fantasy Adventure

When the peaceful kingdom of Fermicia is enslaved by a power-hungry renegade, its only hope lies in a band of unlikely heroes: two children whose musical abilities allow them to harness the power of Ragesong, and their shape-changing guides.

Jake starts his first day of junior high completely oblivious to the fact that he has been chosen for something incredible. That same afternoon, he learns that he has been marked as one with the power to save an entire kingdom. Through the course of his journey, Jake discovers that his advanced musical abilities are peculiarly connected to a mysterious power known as Ragesong. Joined by a shy, young girl with similar musical talents and two Changelings that hold a fierce loyalty to their homeland and king, Jake must learn to harness this ability in order to survive the dangers of a hostile new world.

Author Bio

JR Simmons lives in Northern Utah with his wife and 4 boys. He loves spending time with his family and coaching his kids in all of their different sports. He is an avid gamer and is very excited that his boys are picking up on his hobby. JR was recently introduced to triathlons and has since found that he loves the sport. Most nights he can be found either sitting down with a good game or hunched over his iPad writing.






September 29, 2013 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

Book Excerpt from Hello! A Modern Love Story


I’m hosting a snippet today from a contemporary romance novel called “Hello! A Modern Love Story”. The book sounds interesting, and I hope you enjoy the excerpt!

Book Excerpt

 In their bedroom that afternoon, Elise laid little Gregory down for a nap in his crib. She limped to the window to close the drapes. She was about to pull the drawstrings on the curtains but the shrill unfamiliar voice of a woman coming from the garden stopped her. She pushed the window open a quarter of the way to see what was going on. A very attractive dark-haired woman was arguing with Bob, who stood like a sentinel, his arms crossed in front of his chest.
Elise heard the woman saying, “Do I look like I have a gun or a knife on me?”
She opened her bag and showed its contents to Bob. “There’s nothing in it but make-up, perfume and my wallet.”
“Miss Williams, I didn’t say you had a gun or anything like that. Elise is resting and recovering. She can’t see anyone right now. Maybe, you should come back when Greg is here.”
“I don’t want to talk to Greg. I want to see Miss Halverson.”
“Not possible, Miss Williams.”
Lori Williams. What could she want? Elise was about to close the window but she hesitated for an instant, reconsidered, and stuck her head out the window a little.
“It’s all right, Bob. I will see Ms. Williams, but it’ll take me a few minutes to come down. Show her to the living room, please.”
Elise hobbled towards where Lori waited. She was more than uncomfortable. She was in pain and irritated, and conscious of Lori’s intent, even insolent, stare as she approached on her crutches. She sat on a chair opposite the couch Lori dominated, with her curvaceous figure stretched diagonally across it, one arm perched on the back. Face-to-face, the two women assessed each other.
At first glance, Lori seemed the more striking of the two—dressed in red jersey, with jet black hair cascading down her shoulders, and narrow hazel eyes she gave an upward lift to with eyeliner, shadow, and mascara. She had on four-inch heels that added to whatever advantage in height she had over Elise. They made the legs she extended towards Elise seem longer.
Lori presented a dramatic picture against the couch and Elise could not help admiring her. “Wow, she’s all-woman,” she thought.
She felt juvenile, ordinary, and colorless next to Lori. She, herself, did not have any make-up on, not even the bit of lipstick and eyeliner she put on before Greg came home. And how could she be elegant with those crutches and the ugly gash on her leg?
“What can I do for you, Ms. Williams?”
Lori had not blinked in her frank scrutiny of Elise. She said, “You are as beautiful as an angel. But so young. Nothing like the women he had escorted and courted before. I would never have thought you were Greg’s type. He’s always gone for dark-haired, statuesque and sexy women.”
“You mean, like you, Ms. Williams? Anyway, I’m not a type and my relationship with Greg is none of your concern. You came all the way here to see me, so I thought I owed you the courtesy of hearing you out. I will admit I’m also curious.”
“Miss Halverson, I had nothing to do with your accident. That driver is lying.”
“It’s your word against his. And you already lied once about your acquaintance with him.”
“I’m sorry I did. That was a mistake. But Greg must have told you why I did that.
“He said you didn’t want your fiancé to find out about it.”
“He knows, now, thanks to Greg. Now, David says he needs time to decide if he wants to go on with the marriage.”
“That is none of my concern.”
Lori uncrossed her legs and leaned forward. “You’re right, it isn’t. But I am pleading with you, as one woman to another. Greg fell in love with you and I’m sure that’s why I lost him. I might lose David; too. He’s beginning to wonder if I had something to do with your accident. But I don’t. I honestly don’t. I bear you no grudge. You’re the only one who can help me convince David.”
Elise was dumbfounded and could not believe what she just heard. What nerve this woman had.
“Let’s say I believe you—I’m not saying I do—your trouble with your fiancé is between you and him. And I definitely wouldn’t want to get involved in it.”
“Yes, but I’m begging you. If you tell the press that you think I was not responsible, David will believe you and he’ll trust me again.”
“Ms. Williams, I can’t tell, from where I sit, who’s lying—you or the driver. And you did make threatening statements.”
“The angry words of a jilted woman. Can you blame me? The day before my wedding, he dumps me! For you.”
“You’re guessing. How can you be sure Greg broke your engagement for another woman? And if he did, how would you know who she was? Anyway, that was more than two years ago.”
“Well, the rumor is Greg has a son more than a year old. He would have been conceived about that time.”
Elise did not answer. She stared at Lori, her defiant eyes daring her to say more.
“It’s your child, isn’t it? Yours and Greg. I smelled you on him the day he dumped me.”
“Ms. Williams, this conversation is over. I’d like you to please leave now. I will make this clear: I will not issue any such statements to the press.” Elise grabbed her crutches and started to rise from her chair.
“Miss Halverson—Elise—please hear me out a little longer. Please,” Lori cried. Her eyes were pleading and she gripped the arms of her chair, as if she would have to be pried from it for her to let go of it.
Elise looked down at Lori from where she stood. She did not answer but she stayed.
“All I want is to be happy, like you. I’ve already had my heart and my hopes broken once. Now, I have another chance at it. Couldn’t you find it in your heart to help me?”
“Don’t you see Ms. Williams? If I were to make the statement you’re asking me to, then I will be biasing the police investigation. I can’t do that.”
“But I had nothing to do with it. Don’t you think the police would have arrested me by now, if they have evidence that I did?”
“True. Evidence is not there in a case based on one person’s word against another’s; and we may never get at the truth. But I’m sorry. I can’t help you. I have to remain neutral.”
Lori burst out crying. “Please, I beg you.”
“Ms. Williams, I am very tired and I do have to go now.” Elise limped away on her crutches and up the stairs.
When she reached the second floor, she called Bob. “Bob, Ms. Williams is still in the living room. Could you please make sure she’s all right? She might need help to her car.”
Bob replied jokingly, “You didn’t hit her with your crutches, did you? She has that effect on people.”
She laughed. “No, she’s a formidable woman whether you like her or not. I’m sure she would have yanked the crutches out of my hand, before I could move a muscle.”

Hello! A Modern Love Story

Hello! 3D coverTitle: Hello! A Modern Love Story

Author: EJourney

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Heartache and the specter of revenge follow when sparring partners spend the night together two days before he weds someone else.

A deliciously romantic romp with a good dose of realism and a twist of mystery.

A clash of wits, more than of wills, drives the love story in this modern-day pastiche of 19th-century romance novels by Elizabeth Gaskell (North and South) and Jane Austen.  The main protagonists deal with messy feelings and events that could happen to any of us:  The heroine, a bright young lawyer, confronts choices about career, abortion, and reactions of parents, friends, and men; while he, an alpha male, is haunted by past relationships, but with a sensitive, caring side that emerges as he woos the heroine.

Author Bio

EJourney is a flaneuse (an observer/wanderer) who writes about, and illustrates (oils, pastels, digital) what she sees and loves.   In a past life, with a now-dormant Ph.D., (University of Illinois), she researched, evaluated and developed mental health programs.

Writing was her first love and she wanted to be a journalist but her parents balked at that.  She was 15, malleable, and dependent on them for support, so she went into the social sciences, actually a compromise and preferable to chemistry, her parents’ choice.

EJourney’s first novel, Margaret of the North, is illustrated with digital “paintings” done on an iPad.

Her book website is: for articles on books and writing, some reviews, and interviews.

For her take on art, travel (mostly Paris where she has stayed for months), eating, and state of being as well as some of her paintings, her website is Journey on a Limb at .


book website:

September 28, 2013 at 11:33 am Leave a comment

Book Excerpt from Lunula


I’m hosting an excerpt today from YA fantasy novel “Lunula”. The book sounds like a great read. Enjoy the snippet!

Book Excerpt

I unhooked the front of my cape, letting it fall to the stone floor at my feet, and shivering as the cold air hit the skin on my shoulders. I still wore only the loose white gown, but if I was burned by this liquid, I wanted to heal as swiftly as possible without the cape in my way. I took hesitant steps across the silent tunnel until I stood before the alcove. It rested at the height of my shoulder. I took a deep breath through my nose, braced myself, and plunged my hand into the hole.

As the shock of the water hitting my arm registered, my fingers closed around the cold necklace. I pulled my hand from the space, clutching the artifact, and grasped my arm to heal it.

But there was nothing to heal. I blinked in shock, wondering if it could really have been that easy, and swiveled to look at the guards. “It didn’t burn me.”

They looked just as perplexed as I felt. Before they could comment there was a change in the weight of the artifact, and then a trickle of sand started from my palm to the floor. The lunula had completely disintegrated into a fine, golden dust, and the sensation of the many grains being sucked from my hand caused me to drop the remains suddenly. The dust fell to the rough surface of the floor and then slithered quickly into a crack no wider than a hair.

“What the—?” I peered at the crack, noticing that the dust didn’t stop falling into it, and that it was now a gray color. The crack began to widen, and I realized that the stone floor itself was disintegrating into granules of sand that fell into the ever-widening crack. With a gigantic thump, the floor below me shifted, and all at once the stone ground became sand, falling into the crack that steadily grew into a giant rift as the floor unraveled. I stumbled backwards, motioning for the guards to leave. “Run!” I called.

My feet were sucked into the sand, halting any progress. I felt my body pulled toward the crack, and my heart hammered in panic as I fought against the current. Before I disappeared into the rift, I saw the elven soldiers scrambling from the advancing, crumbling stone. I felt my body go weightless, and a scream burst from my throat as I fell for several seconds in the complete darkness.

My cry for help cut off when I suddenly felt solid ground under my feet. My legs took my weight, and my breath came in short gasps as I attempted to right my senses. I was in absolute darkness, and the only sound was my breathing.

Then a beam of light shot through the darkness to illuminate an earthen bowl on the dirt ground. The light looked like a beam from the moon, but it appeared from the darkness, rather than coming from an obvious source.

Steadying my breaths with a hand to my chest, I straightened and walked toward the bowl.

Evidently the priest who placed the lunula in the alcove did not want it to be easy to retrieve. The bowl, simple and brown, made from crude clay, held nothing in it. I bent on one knee to examine the piece, and noted a design etched onto the bottom of the inside. As I stared at it, comprehension dawned, and I recognized a language. It must have been very old, though, because I did not recognize it from anything I had come across before. It only took a moment before I grasped the meaning: The purer the vessel, the easier to see the gift within.

I could see nothing else where I crouched, and didn’t dare leave the light to blindly search the surrounding area. I was meant to do something significant with this bowl, but what? I picked up the heavy vessel, and it lifted easily. There was nothing underneath. I placed it back down on the packed dirt earth, sat back on my haunches, and repeated the phrase out loud in its original language.

The bowl began to slowly fill with water, and I lurched forward on my knees, bending over it and watching anxiously as the clear, almost blue water slowly rose to the top. When the water reached the precipice of nearly spilling over, I saw a shimmer at the bottom. After hesitantly testing the water with my finger, and finding that it didn’t burn me, I plunged my hand into the cool, clear liquid. My hand closed over a round object.

When I pulled it out, it was not the lunula as I had hoped. It was a glass sphere, just big enough that I could fully close my hand around it. As I stood, the sphere began to glow. The space around me illuminated, and so I moved forward, lighting my way with the golden aura of the magical sphere. The bauble was warm against my skin in contrast to the penetrating cold in the air around me. In the dim light I could see the vapors of my breath swirling into the darkness.

Although the light illuminated the ground, I didn’t see anything ahead of me until a black stone archway loomed over me. I followed the curve of its structure with my eyes before leaning forward to search the darkness through it. The ball didn’t give off enough light to see what lay ahead. My heart pumped so loudly it was the only thing I could hear. Inhaling a fortifying breath, I stepped through the archway.


Lunula font 2cTitle: Lunula

Author: Alyssa Auch

Genre: YA Fantasy

The witch knows he will hunt her.

If history repeats itself, as it always does, Wynn will have no choice but to cross paths with her feared counterpart, the warlock. If given the chance, he would kill Wynn, absorbing her aura and obtaining ultimate power. In a desperate attempt to outrun destiny, Wynn moves from place to place, hoping to stray from the map laid out by the Fates. But by chance, on an urgent errand for Queen Alexandria herself, Wynn finds she has fallen into the hands of the one man she so hopelessly fled from. Now his captive, Wynn must guard her secret and that of her kingdom, or risk bringing forth a dark age not seen in hundreds of years.

Author Bio

authorAlyssa Auch was born and raised in Pennsylvania with loving parents and three hilarious younger siblings. Her imagination was sparked by the lush, green forests and bright colors of her home that often spoke of other worlds only found in the magic of writing. She brought that inspiration into the fantasy novels she so loves to create.

Currently, Alyssa is a senior at Brigham Young University-Idaho studying Marriage and Family Relations with a minor in English. She is married to her High School sweetheart, and they have three beautiful children who keep them both very occupied. Although her novels are often written in the late hours of the night and during cherished naptime blocks, she devotes a very special part of herself to the power of words and love of storytelling.


Lunula Purchase Links

Publisher Site


Barnes and Noble


Author Contact




Twitter: @alyssa_auch


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September 26, 2013 at 12:22 am Leave a comment

Book Excerpt from All Hallow’s ABC

I’m hosting an excerpt for something a little different today – a kids book named “All Hallow’s ABC”. It’s a little different this time around, because the excerpt is an image!

Book Excerpt

03HallowWebAbout All Hallow’s ABC

Title: All Hallow’s ABC

Author: Jenni Kaye

Genre: Alphabet Book

From Apples to Zombies, the alphabet has never been spookier! Find visual treats and tricky rhymes in this colorful Halloween primer. All Hallow’s ABC is a delight to read out loud for kids of all ages.
Buy the eBook through Independent Booksellers or from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Tomely or Kobo.

Buy the print book through special order at Independent Bookstores or through Barnes and Noble or Amazon.



Watch the book trailer:









September 22, 2013 at 11:43 am Leave a comment

Book Excerpt from Trapped


I’m hosting an excerpt from romantic suspense novel “Trapped”. The excerpt sounds like a great read, and I hope you’ll enjoy it as well!

Book Excerpt

Turn signal flashing, she eases into the right lane in front of a large, battered pick-up, with less than a half-mile to the Old Orchard Exit Ramp. Jackee Maren rarely drives so aggressively, but first delayed by her two sons’ late departure from school, and then navigating around a minor fender bender on Dundee Road, she is already ten minutes behind, and she’s never late. The Northern Illinois Chapter of the United Way won’t start their planning session without their chairwoman, and Jackee hates the idea of keeping so many busy people waiting.

Peeling onto the ramp, her attention is drawn to her two boys, bickering and shoving in the back seat. Glancing back at the road, a ridge of goose bumps cascades down her spine. They’re hurtled toward a string of glaring taillights… cars unexpectedly stopped by a red light at the first intersection off the expressway.

Jamming a foot on the brakes, she’s stunned when the big Mercedes slews sharply right, smack into the path of the huge pickup truck, which had exited behind her. It slams into the rear fender of the sedan, sending it careening off the road, the seatbelts gouging her shoulder, crushing the breath from her lungs.

“Hang on boys,” she gasps. Oh God! My sons! They can’t die here.

They spin down the embankment like an eccentric top, ricocheting off a bridge column. The wheel torn from her grip, the air filled with the screech of rending metal and the stench of burning rubber, the car rears like a great angry beast, its rear legs hamstrung. Slamming down, it hurtles backward into the culvert, bucking and skipping along the steep embankment.

Despite seatbelts, Jackee is flung around like a rag doll in the jaws of some huge terrier. The air bag erupts in the midst of their tumultuous downward plunge, rushing out at 200 MPH, just as frontal impact slings her forward.

Her face catches the brunt of the blow, skewering lips on her teeth, smashing her nose. A searing bolt of pain fires across her brain, igniting a burst of red heat behind her tearing eyes. A sharp pitch right crushes her left cheek against the window, knocking her momentarily senseless. The sedan teeters, enveloped in a cloud of dust, hunkering precariously on its haunches before crashing down on its wheels, coming to a thunderous, grinding stop.

She awakens to wailing and blubbering from the two small boys in the rear seat.

“Mommy!” The call gasped through ragged breathing.

“Mommy!” Now a frantic screech.

“I’m…I’m here.” We’re alive! Thank God, we’re all still alive.

She sags against the seatbelt, every joint singed with agony, unable to will herself into action.

Help should be coming. She moans.  Gotta hang on… She slips out of consciousness.


About Trapped

TRAPPED reduced cover 3Title: Trapped

Author: George A. Bernstein

Genre: Romantic Suspense

The darkness is still, silent. Jackee Maren’s heart pounds reverberating through her body as fear sears her veins. Someone’s coming. No way out. This time they will kill me. Her breath is short, her chest burns. Must run. Faster. Faster! Her eyes fly open, her heart still racing with blinding fear. Jackee breathes deeply with relief and stares at the ceiling desperately trying to calm herself. The same dream. Something, someone is watching… and waiting.

A tragic car accident leaves beautiful, vibrant Jackee Maren completely paralyzed, mentally alert but trapped in “Locked-in Syndrome,” able to move only her eyes. Jackee’s husband, Phil, is devastated and her two young boys left with nothing but a shell for a mother, but still, Jackee senses the foreboding of an evil presence and knows time is short.

Slowly, Jackee learns to communicate with her physical therapist, Kevin, by blinking her eyes. As evidence comes to light that her car accident was no accident, Jackee knows she must expose the person who wants her dead before they get a second chance.

While Jackee works her mind to put all the clues together, she discovers she has the ability to sense the thoughts of others, but she hides this talent from everyone but her sons, not knowing whom she can trust. By actively exercising her new psychic ability, Jackee finally learns who masterminded the accident but seems helpless to stop them from trying to kill her again.

Slowly a psychic plan forms to not only ensure her boys are safe forever, but to exact revenge on her would-be murderer. Jackee vows not to rest until this would-be-killer understands what it is to be TRAPPED! But she must hurry, with only a year to live.


Author Bio

GeorgeGeorge Bernstein is a youthful seventy-seven-year-old, with a B.A. from Northwestern University, now living in south Florida with Dolores, his wife of 54 years. He is the retired president of a publicly held Chicago company.
George’s main interest now is as a serious novelist. He has attended numerous writers’ conferences and seminars, including that of famous fiction agent, Donald Maass, and he has worked with independent editor, Dave King, all with the goal of improving his craft.
George’s first novel, Trapped, is published by TAG Publishers, after being a finalist in their Next Great American Novel contest. Dee Burks and her staff really love the story, and have put a lot of effort into comprehensive editing and revision suggestions, making Trapped the best it can be. Trapped was also a finalist at the 2012 Florida Writers Association RPLA fiction contest, and has since acquired over seventy 4 & 5-Star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

George has also recently released his 2nd novel, A 3rd Time to Die, which has been received with several 4 & 5-Star reviews. The most common comment for both novels is: “I couldn’t put it down.”





September 18, 2013 at 2:42 pm 1 comment

Book Review Cast The Cards

cast ebookTitle: Cast The Cards

Author: Shyla Colt

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Buy: Amazon

Savannah escaped a kidnapping but her best friend Clark—the man she secretly loved—didn’t. Guilt-ridden and changed after the event, she gives up her dream of teaching and earns a position in the F.B.I as a profiler. When she’s targeted by the very same kidnappers wishing to finish the job, she is armed with her skills, backed by her first love’s twin brother, and forced to revisit her demons when Clark’s ghost appears.

After his twin’s murder, Officer Carey Carr loses more than his brother. Savannah avoids him for a decade. Her return—and her steaming-hot body—stir brand new feelings in Carey. But Clark’s reappearance has Carey battling to control his primal desires around the woman his twin loved.

As Savannah and Carey, with Clark’s help, embark on a cruel game of cat and mouse with the kidnappers, the twins come to an understanding that involves Savannah and more pleasure than the three of them have ever dreamed.

While out on a date, Savannah and her best friend and secret love, Clark, get kidnapped. Savannah survives, but Clark isn’t as fortunate. The memories of that night haunt Savannah for many years to come, as she gives up her childhood dream and becomes an F.B.I. agent. She loses touch with Carey, Clark’s twin brother, and moves out of her home town.

But when the people who murdered Clark get back in touch with her, and it becomes clear they have their eyes set on her, she needs Carey’s help. Returning back to her home town brings back memories she’d rather forgotten, and when the unthinkable happens and Clark’s ghost shows up, Savannah isn’t sure if she’s dreaming at first or not.

The underlying mystery, with the kidnappers/murderers wanting Savannah and Carey and Clark trying to protect her, was pretty awesome. I didn’t like Clark-ghost though. I don’t know why, but I thought he was more annoying than interesting, and I would’ve preferred had it been just Carey and Savannah trying to get past their guilt and sorrow. Would’ve made for a stronger, more emotional read, in my opinion.

But Clark-ghost is there, and all in all, he’s not so bad. The story surrounding the relationship between the three of them is equally as interesting as the relationship itself. Savannah is a strong, opinionated woman, and Clark and Carey are both brave, strong and intelligent. There’s lots of romance and suspense. This is the kind of book that’s ideal for curling up in your bed and reading with the night light. It’s not scary, but there’s tons of suspense.


September 5, 2013 at 9:20 am Leave a comment

Book Excerpt from Blind Study


I’m hosting an excerpt from YA supernatural thriller “Blind Study” today. Enjoy the excerpt!

Book Excerpt

After Tony gave me my magic blue pill and left, Bonita told me I’d been asleep for over twenty-four hours. That didn’t surprise me—I had a year’s worth of sleep to catch up on.

I felt like Paul in the Bible—the scales had fallen from my eyes. I watched a Lifetime movie marathon with Bonita all afternoon. I hadn’t been able to watch television or read since my accident, unable to follow a storyline for more than a few minutes before the throbbing reality of my body pulled me back to myself.

When dinner came, around six, I ate ravenously, marveling at the sharp, bright flavors on my tongue, so different from the flat, grey cardboard food had been to me just yesterday. Suddenly, there was beauty in everything, the dull sheen of my peas, the movement of my hands as I cut my meat. Whatever veil had been separating me from the world had lifted; to quote the Bible again, I was in the world, not of it.

Around eight o’ clock, my eyelids started to droop. I fought them; everything that happened today was miraculous enough to be a dream, and I didn’t want to wake up. But my body was determined to recapture the year of lost sleep. The soft buzz and bluish light of the television grew steadily more distant, until—

I opened my eyes with a gasp, to inky blackness. I flinched away from the dark, but I was already back as far as I could go, pressed against a wall of rough stone that caught at my hair and scraped the backs of my arms. Blind eyes open as wide as they could go, I slid my fingertips out along the walls, terrified that at any moment, my hand would encounter needle-sharp teeth or clutching talons, but too afraid to sit curled against the wall and wait for something to find me.

When my seeking fingers found nothing but more wall in both directions, I stood carefully, one arm above me in case something—a low ceiling, a blood-sucking bat—was overhead. I stood to my full height, and didn’t hit my head, but my hand brushed stone ceiling. I flinched back, and spiderwebs clung to my fingers. I wiped them against the wall with a whimper.


I shrieked. “Who’s there?” From the echo of my scream, I was in a small, enclosed room, which meant the owner of the voice must be very near.

“It’s okay,” the voice said. It was male, young, maybe late teens, early twenties. “I’m in the next cell—”

Cell? “It sounds like you’re in here!”

“There’s a stone missing between our cells, over here at the floor. Follow my voice.”

It could have been a trap, but my options were limited. Sooner or later, the voice and I would meet—at least this way, I was expecting it. I headed away from the wall, out into empty space, where the floor could drop out from underneath me at any moment. I waved my arms in front, like a child trying to find a donkey to pin the tail on.

“Marco,” I said, voice trembling. I heard him laugh softly.

“Polo,” he said, just as my fingers brushed stone again. His voice came from low on the wall, and I crouched, feeling along until I found a rough, broken edge of masonry.

“Found it,” I said. I lowered myself down to sit next to the hole. “Where am I?”

“I don’t know,” he said, and his voice shook a bit, too. “I was hoping you would.”

“No idea why we’re locked up in cells?”

“None. I’m not even sure it’s technically a cell, but what else can you call it? A tiny stone room with a bolted door—”

“There’s a door?”

“Should be to the far right of your side of the hole. It’s to the left in mine.”

I stood and made my way over to the wall perpendicular to this one, where I found a very solid wood door. I felt completely around the edges, looking for a weakness, but there was no knob, no hinges. Defeated, I returned to the hole in the wall.

“You found it?” he asked.

“I found it. There’s no way out.” I shuddered, closed my eyes against the tears.

“I thought so,” he said. “It’s the same on this side.”

I breathed deep, trying to clear my head. “Who are you?” I asked.

Another soft laugh, laced with panic. “I don’t know,” he said. “Do you know who you are?”

I opened my mouth to tell him of course I did—but the darkness crushed me, and I couldn’t breathe.

I didn’t know who I was. My name, my age, any pertinent information that could have given me a clue to who I was or how I’d gotten here—all gone, deleted, wiped clean away.

Blind Study

Blind StudyTitle: Blind Study

Author: Jacquelyn Sylvan

Genre: YA Supernatural Thriller

Eighteen-year-old Alice has spent the last year of her life in a hospital bed, held hostage by pain from a freak accident. Doctors can neither explain nor cure her condition, and her medical insurance is about to run out. Then, she’s offered one last chance—inclusion in a study for a revolutionary new pain medication.

Miraculously, the medication works. There’s only one side effect—vivid, terrifying nightmares, of imprisonment in a pitch-black cell, with no memory of her identity or how she got there. At least, she thinks that’s all they are, until someone from her dreams shows up in real life.

When other sinister happenings cross the boundary between dreaming and waking, Alice must choose: return to a half-life of isolation and agony, or confront the malevolent force behind the dreams, before she and those she cares about are trapped in their nightmares forever. But by the time she makes her choice—it may already be too late.

Author Bio

jacquelynsylvanauthorpicBefore Jacquelyn Sylvan became a writer, she worked as a waitress, video store clerk, trail-riding guide, and veterinary technician, among other things. She’s a few inches shy of five feet tall, which means she’s sometimes mistaken for a child when she rides her bike, and often looked at suspiciously by amusement park ride operators. When she’s not writing, you’ll probably find her watching Vampire Diaries or trying to warn people about the impending penguin apocalypse. Jacquelyn lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two cats, and two very large dogs. Her YA novel, Blind Study, a supernatural thriller, comes out August 20, 2013.


Twitter: @jacquelynsylvan

September 2, 2013 at 9:43 am Leave a comment