Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Signs Point to Yes‏ by Sandy Hall Blog Tour - Interview

Signs Point to Yes

Signs Point to Yes by Sandy Hall
YA Romance
Expected Publication: 20th October 2015 by Swoon Romance

The author of A Little Something Different brings you the most adorkable romance ever.

Jane, a superstitious fangirl, takes an anonymous babysitting job to avoid an unpaid internship with her college-obsessed mom. The only problem? She’s babysitting the siblings of her childhood friend and new crush, Teo.

Teo doesn’t dislike Jane, but his best friend Ravi hates her, and is determined to keep them apart. So Teo’s pretty sure his plans for a peaceful summer are shot. His only hope is that his intermittent search for his birth father will finally pan out and he’ll find a new, less awkward home. Meanwhile, at Jane’s house, her sister Margo wants to come out as bisexual, but she’s terrified of how her parents will react.

In a summer filled with secrets and questions, even Jane’s Magic 8 ball can’t give them clear answers, but Signs Point to Yes.

Interview with Sandy Hall

What is Signs Point to Yes about, in your own words?

Superstitious fangirl Jane is bored and lonely and lacks drive until she gets a job babysitting for some kids in her neighborhood. Those kids, three little girls, just happen to have a nerdy hot lifeguard for an old brother. Cue the biggest crush of Jane’s life, a semi-awkward summer, and a completely non-epic but still fun roadtrip.

How did you come up with idea for Signs Point to Yes?

All I really wanted was to write a summer romance book about a girl who falls for her neighbor. I just kept throwing things at it to see what would stick! It went through a lot of different drafts but I love how it turned out.

Do you have a favourite character from the book?

I love Jane. I really wanted to explore a character that didn’t know what she wanted from life. Jane loves reading and writing fanfiction but she has zero interest in school and doesn’t want to go to college. It’s the summer before her senior year of high school and her parents are getting on her case about making choices about her future. But Jane isn’t interested.

What's your favourite part about writing/being an author?

I’m a lifelong book lover and I’ve worked in libraries since I was 16, more than half my life at this point, so my number one favorite thing about being an author is getting to meet authors I admire. Authors have always been like rock stars to me so now that I get to be around them and meet them professionally, it’s just living the dream.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Read, marathon TV shows, shop. I’ve been really into Broadway shows lately too, trying to see as many as I can. I just bought tickets to Hamilton so I’m super excited about that. I don’t get to see it until February next year, but still can’t wait.

Are you currently working on anything?

I’m always working on something! Even if “working” just means mulling ideas over about plots or characters. I spent the summer working on a new book, but it’s nothing official yet. And October is always a planning month for me with National Novel Writing Month in November. So always lots to do!

Any parting words of advice?

Inspiration can come from anywhere at anytime. I often forget this when I feel writer’s block coming on or when I’m having trouble with a plot. When something isn’t working, it’s time to get up and get away from it for a little while, to do something different and shake up the routine.

Author Bio - Sandy Hall

I’m a teen librarian from New Jersey where I was born and raised. I have a BA in Communication and a Master of Library and Information Science from Rutgers University. When I’m not writing, or teen librarian-ing, I enjoy reading, slot machines, marathoning TV shows, and long scrolls through Tumblr. A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT is my first novel.

Author Links
Tumblr - Goodreads - Twitter

Find the rest of the TOUR HERE!

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Book Blitz: Awakening by Catrina Burgess - Excerpt + Giveaway

Awakening (The Dark Rituals #1) by Catrina Burgess
Published: 7th October 2015 by Full Fathom Five Digital

In Awakening, the first installment in the Dark Rituals series, a former healer turns to the Death Arts to seek revenge.

Seventeen-year-old Colina was born a healer. But after a horrific event forces her to leave her clan, she becomes desperate to learn the dark magic of the death dealers, mages who draw their power from the spirits of the dead. Colina was taught to fear and hate death dealers, but becoming one of them is the only way for her to get the revenge she seeks—and the only way for her to survive.

Colina asks a young death dealer named Luke to help her, but he’s reluctant to train her in the Death Arts. Little does she know convincing him to teach her will be the easiest part of her journey. To become a death dealer, Colina will need to undergo three dark rituals, each more terrifying than the last. At the same time, she’ll have to deal with her growing feelings for her mentor. Too bad the first ritual involves him strangling her to death.

As Colina undergoes the trials, she discovers an untapped darkness within herself. If she survives the horrific rituals and gains dark power, what will she become?

Catrina Burgess’ Dark Rituals series originally appeared on Wattpad with over three million reads. Awakening is the first book of four and was named Wattpad’s Best Suspense Story of 2014. 

Book Links


I shrugged my shoulders. “Look, everything in life is a risk—a gamble. I’m here, and I’m throwing the dice.” I didn’t want to ask the next question on my mind. It’d been haunting me ever since he’d told me about the ritual, but now, standing here in the cemetery, I had to know. “How are you going to do it?” I whispered.

“Strangulation is the easiest.” His voice was suddenly void of emotion.

What the hell did he mean, “strangulation is the easiest?” I assumed he’d give me a potion. I’d drink something, slowly fade out, and then be given an antidote to undo the spell.

“I’m going to put my hands around your neck and squeeze the life out of you. You have to experience the pain—experience your death at the hands of a death dealer. It’s the only way the ritual works.” Fear—there it was again in his eyes. “You don’t have to do this. It’s crazy we’re doing this.”

I took a deep breath and stepped toward him, even though my body screamed at me to run away from certain pain and death. “You know we don’t have a choice. If you want to save your sister, you need my help. I can’t help you as I am. I need power.” It was true—I wanted to save his sister—but I also wanted to exact my revenge, and I was willing to do anything to see the men who killed my family pay.

Author Bio - Catrina Burgess

I’ve been known to eat pizza and cold Chinese food for breakfast, and I’m the queen of the board game Stratego. I’ve never been beaten. NEVER!

You can find me online at: 

Wattpad // catrinaburgess 

Website // http://www.catrinaburgess.com/

Owner/Operator Romance Junkies // http://www.romancejunkies.com

I write because it helps keeps the darkness away and reminds me that there is magic in the world. I live with one husband, two dogs, and a cat named Shitty Kitty in a small mining town in Arizona. At night this place is definitely spooky. I swear I’ve heard the wind giggle, and sometimes there’s a very odd breeze. Luckily, I love all things that go bump in the night. I adore old movies. I’m a huge Joss Whedon fan.

RJ Blog // http://www.romancejunkies.com/rjblog/ // @RJBookReviews

Author Links
Website - Goodreads - Twitter - Facebook


Tuesday, 29 September 2015

It's A Wonderful Death by Sarah J. Schmitt Blog Tour - Guest Post + Giveaway

It's A Wonderful Death by Sarah J. Schmitt
Expected Publication: October 2015 by Sky Pony Press

Seventeen-year-old RJ always gets what she wants. So when her soul is accidentally collected by a distracted Grim Reaper, somebody in the afterlife better figure out a way to send her back from the dead or heads will roll. But in her quest for mortality, she becomes a pawn in a power struggle between an overzealous archangel and Death Himself. The tribunal presents her with two options: she can remain in the lobby, where souls wait to be processed, until her original lifeline expires, or she can replay three moments in her life in an effort to make choices that will result in a future deemed worthy of being saved. It sounds like a no-brainer. She’ll take a walk down memory lane. How hard can changing her future be?

But with each changing moment, RJ’s life begins to unravel, until this self-proclaimed queen bee is a social pariah. She begins to wonder if walking among the living is worth it if she has to spend the next sixty years as an outcast. Too quickly, RJ finds herself back in limbo, her time on Earth once again up for debate.

RJ is a snarky, unapologetic, almost unredeemable, very real girl. Her story is funny and moving, and teens will easily connect with her plight. Prepare to meet the Grim Reaper, who’s cuter than you’d expect; Hawaiian shirt–wearing Death Himself; Saint Peter (who likes to play Cornhole); and Al, the handler for the three-headed hound that guards the gates of Hell. This cast of characters accompanies RJ through her time in the afterlife and will do their best to gently shove her in the right direction. 

Book Links

Early Praise for It's A Wonderful Life

"Fun, Funny and Full of Life" - Kirkus Review

"A snarky joyride of a book with a deep moral core; long after you've finished laughing, you'll still be thinking about RJ's journey and perhaps asking yourself: What defines a life well lived?" - Mike Mullin, author of Ashfall

"It's a Wonderful Death is a wonderful gem.  Both snarky and uplifting, it sneaks inside you and makes you smile and cry at the same time." -Sarah Beth Durst, award-winning author of Vessel and Drink, Slay, Love  

"It's A Wonderful Death is a great mix of mirth, myth and metaphysics; I enjoyed it greatly and I'm certain that YA readers will as well." - Daniel Waters, author of Generation Dead

"Mean Girls meets A Christmas Carol! Smart, sassy, and humorously original with clever world-building and a host of interesting characters, It's a Wonderful Death will have you laughing out loud and rooting for RJ from the first page!" - Amalie Howard, best-selling author of Bloodspell

"Just the kind of story I love -- full of snark, heart, and contemplation about the meaning of life! It's a Wonderful Death will get you thinking about what you want to leave behind and how you want to live until then." - Kristen Lippert-Martin, author of Tabula Rasa

"RJ's witty narrative had me both laughing out loud and weeping into the pages. It's a Wonderful Death is a delightful read that questions the butterfly effect of choices made...and unmade." - Danielle L. Jensen, author of Stolen Songbird

“You know a story’s going to be good when Death shows up as a surfer! I loved every bit of this funny and heartwarming tale of second chances.” -Lisa Maxwell, author of Sweet Unrest

Guest Post by Sarah J. Schmitt


If you have a lot of booklovers in your life like I do, finding the perfect gift is next to impossible. So, in honor of the holiday shopping season that is looming ahead of us, I offer up a selection of very cool items for your friends who love to curl up in front of the fire with a good book. (Perhaps even a copy of It’s A Wonderful Death.) If you’re interested in purchasing the item, click on the image to be transported to a retail location.
The fire would be even nicer with a cup of your favorite hot beverage in this mug.
Hot Girls Read - 11oz Coffee Mug - Bookworm - Graduation - Funny Mug - Gifts for her - BFF Gift

Know someone who is always lending books? Give them the cools to keep track of who has what?

Want your entire house to spell like your favorite literary location or the bookstore across town? Here’s a great place to find a candle to do just that.
Sherlock's Study - Soy Candle - Book Lovers' Scented Soy Candle - 8oz jar

Know someone with chilly tootsies? Give ‘em a pair of book inspired socks to keep warm.
Bookworm   Blue Lagoon

And finally, for the Harry Potter fans among us, you can never go wrong with HP inspired gear.
Harry Potter Ministry Of Magic Vinyl Sticker   Always Necklace, Harry Potter Necklace, Snape Necklace, Professor Snape, Lily Potter, Harry Potter Gift, Statement Necklace, Fangirl, Magic

Well, that’s a few ideas to get you started. Oh, I can’t forget one more suggestion for the booklovers in your life. You know… if they’re into this kind of stuff.

Author Bio - Sarah J. Schmitt

Sarah J. Schmitt is a K-8 school librarian and Youth Service Professional for Teens at a public library who, in addition to planning a variety of events, enjoys opening up the world of books to reluctant readers. She runs a teen writing program that combines Skype visits from well-known authors and screenwriters and critique group style feedback.

Prior to immersing herself in the world of the written word, Sarah earned her Masters of Science in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs from Indiana University where she worked with first year college students as they acclimated to college life. Sarah lives outside of Indianapolis with her husband, two kidlets and a cat who might actually be a secret agent. She is an active member of SCBWI, ALA and the Indiana Library Federation and is a regular participant at the Midwest Writer's Workshop. Her debut novel, IT'S A WONDERFUL DEATH, comes out Fall 2015 from Sky Pony Press.

Author Links
Website - GoodreadsTwitter - Facebook

Find the rest of the TOUR HERE!

Tour-Wide Giveaway

-Ends 9th October 2015

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Friday, 25 September 2015

The Heartbeat Thief by A.J. Krafton Blog Tour - Interview + Giveaway

The Heartbeat Thief

The Heartbeat Thief by A.J. Krafton
NA Fantasy
Published: 12th June 2015

Haunted by a crushing fear of death, a young Victorian woman discovers the secret of eternal youth—she must surrender her life to attain it, and steal heartbeats to keep it.

In 1860 Surrey, a young woman has only one occupation: to marry. Senza Fyne is beautiful, intelligent, and lacks neither wealth nor connections. Finding a husband shouldn’t be difficult, not when she has her entire life before her. But it’s not life that preoccupies her thoughts. It’s death—and that shadowy spectre haunts her every step.

So does Mr. Knell. Heart-thumpingly attractive, obviously eligible—he’d be her perfect match if only he wasn’t so macabre. All his talk about death, all that teasing about knowing how to avoid it…

When her mother arranges a courtship with another man, Senza is desperate for escape from a dull prescripted destiny. Impulsively, she takes Knell up on his offer. He casts a spell that frees her from the cruelty of time and the threat of death—but at a steep price. In order to maintain eternal youth, she must feed on the heartbeats of others.

It’s a little bit Jane Austen, a little bit Edgar Allen Poe, and a whole lot of stealing heartbeats in order to stay young and beautiful forever. From the posh London season to the back alleys of Whitechapel, across the Channel, across the Pond, across the seas of Time…

Book Links

Interview with A.J. Krafton

Could you please give us a brief description of what The Heartbeat Thief is about?

Being the most beautiful debutante in 1860’s Surrey isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Senza Fyne knows all too well the expectations set upon a young Victorian woman—and she also knows that, in one fell swoop, death can just whisk it all away. When she meets the mysterious and mystical Mr. Knell, she is offered the chance to escape the chains of Life and Death and to enjoy the bliss of youth and beauty for all eternity.

But that takes magic…and a steep price. She’d have to surrender her life to gain an eternity and she’d have to steal the heartbeats of others in order to keep it.

She has everything to gain if she succumbs to his spell…but knows not what she might lose.

The Heartbeat Thief combines the character-exploring style of Jane Austen with the macabre shadowy atmosphere of Edgar Allan Poe.

Where did you get the idea for The Heartbeat Thief?

I wanted to explore a new doorway to immortality. As a reader, I shamelessly prefer vampire stories—the classics are my favorite (although my idea of a "classic" might be different than everyone else's J ).

But, as a writer, I like finding new ways to tell those stories. My first series was a trilogy that focused on demivampires, werewolves, and their ancient Egyptian origins. This story, however, was not a vampire story, so my challenge was: how does someone become immortal other than vampirism? The answer: vampirism…with a twist.

Senza became immortal when a spell was cast upon her. However, the spell must be "fed" in order for it to continue—and it is fed with heartbeats.

My research of Victorian sentiments of what is proper and what is scandalous led me to feel that traditional vampirism (drinking blood) would be scandalous to the point of erotica—NOT what I wanted. In an age where ankles were hidden and first names used only in the privacy of intimate company, even a lingering touch might seem salacious.

Who is your favourite character and why?

Oh, that's a tough question. I enjoyed many of the characters in this book. If I had to be sentimental, however, I'd pick Piotr, the man Senza meets when she settles in New England. Piotr is near the end of his life but ranges because he feels like he should still be at the beginning. It's quite a contrast to Senza's position. I think Piotr brings out a goodness in Senza she'd been afraid to express. He gave her courage and helped her get to the place she needed to be.

What's your favourite part about writing/being an author?

When someone talks about one of my stories, I go right over the moon. It's such an amazing feeling—if I see a comment on Twitter or Goodreads, I get so jazzed. Those little connections make me feel like I created something that matters. When readers like what they read and talk about it, I feel like the person I'd written the story for had finally found it.

What are you currently working, or do you have planned for the future?

Right now, I'm writing a serial about a magician who's been pulled into the divine war of angels vs. demons. It's a lot of fun because I get to play with magic. J

I also recently began the process of getting some of my titles into audiobook format. Fingers crossed for a smooth process! It was a new kind of fun to find the right voice for the story so I'm looking forward to the finished product. Gives me chills to hear people reading my words out loud.

What's one thing you hope readers will take away from your book?

You might think I'm going to say something like "Live life to the fullest" but that's the shallow end of the story.

This story is about more than a cliché. It's about fighting self-deception and the failure to live a life that fulfills the spirit. Senza lives in a time when girls were expected to do things a certain way and follow the rules that society set out for them.

So I hope that readers will read this book and take away this message: Don't settle for what destiny has planned for you. It's your future. Face it on your own terms.

Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

Always persevere.

There is a huge learning curve in the beginning and I think a lot of us go into this business with an established set of expectations. Trouble is, the first lesson you learn is to forget what you think you know.

Take time to observe others who are ahead of you on the path to publication. Learn from their highs and their lows. Learn the craft of writing. Learn the ins and outs of the business itself. Reset your expectations and the keep writing, keep submitting, keep getting your stories out there.

Just persevere.

Thanks so much for such an in-depth interview, I loved reading your answers!

Author Bio - A.J. Krafton

AJ Krafton is the author of New Adult speculative fiction. Her debut The Heartbeat Thief is due out on Kindle in June 2015. Forthcoming titles include Taking' It Back & Face of the Enemy. She's a proud member of the Infinite Ink Authors. AJ also writes adult spec fic as Ash Krafton. Visit Ash at http://ashkrafton.com

Author Links
Website - Twitter - Facebook

Find the rest of the TOUR HERE!

Tour-Wide Giveaway


-Ends 1st October 2015

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Thursday, 24 September 2015

Book Blitz: Girl on the Run by B.R. Myers - Excerpt + Giveaway

Girl on the Run by B.R. Myers
Published: 21st September 2015 by Nimbus Publishing

When seventeen-year-old track and field star Jesse Collins’ dreams of a full scholarship are shattered after the sudden death of her dad, she leaves home to work as a summer camp counselor to escape the small town nosy stares...and her own secret guilt.

After a mix-up at registration, she’s put in charge of a boys’ cabin, and the head counselor, Kirk, predicts she won’t last the first two weeks. In the midst of fending off four twelve-year-old boys who are hell-bent on mortifying her and a growing attraction to Kirk, Jesse finds the inspiration to run again from an unlikely source. But getting her old life back isn't that easy and soon Jesse will realize that a good pair of legs can take a girl far, but she'll never outrun the truth.

Book Links

Book Trailer


Cool morning air hit my face. My sneakers kept count with a steady beat.

“Feet and lungs, Jesse!” Dad called out.

I pumped my arms faster, not even hearing the gravel crunch under my shoes. I wasn’t running, I was flying. I bounded through the air for a few more seconds before slowing down.

“Beat that!” I laughed between deep breaths.

But he wasn’t behind me.

“Dad?” My voice echoed through the empty park. A woodpecker knocked above my head. I looked up, but there wasn’t a bird. Then the park melted into darkness...into nothing.

I blinked and my bedroom came into focus. Someone knocked on my door. I pulled the covers over my head.

“Hey, Legs,” Grandma sang. “You up?”

“Yeah,” I mumbled into the pillow.

This was the worst time of the day. For a few seconds, I believed that life for the last four months had only been a dream, and that Dad was actually downstairs making breakfast.

Although Mom was the caterer, Dad owned the kitchen on weekend mornings. It was unusual to wake up and not smell bacon or hear the gurgles from the coffee maker. But that had changed, too. The familiar knot tightened my stomach. Reality packs a mean punch.


“Yup.” I pushed myself up in bed and rubbed my face. Grandma’s white spiked hair peeked around the doorframe. A big smile on her red lips made me return the expression automatically. She closed the door, then sat down on the bed and took my hand in hers.

“Oh, Legs.” She’s the only person who still calls me that without it feeling forced or sarcastic. Her silver bangles tinkled as she traced the lines of my palm with her wrinkled finger.

“Let me guess,” I yawned, “an unexpected romance.”

“Hmm,” she frowned.

“Good or bad?”

“Shh, I’m concentrating. This is very interesting.” She turned my hand and gently squeezed the flesh, making ridges along the side of my hand.

I knew what she was looking for. “How many kisses, Grandma?” I asked.

“More than you’ve had before, one in your very near future.”

“Someone special?” I played along.

“Someone who loves you,” she promised. Then she leaned forward and kissed my forehead. “How was your date last night?”

I groaned. “He kept calling me Jessica.” It was an honest mistake, I guess. Not many girls are named Jesse. I was supposed to be Julia, after Julia Child, but Mom was so dopey from painkillers after she had me, Dad got to choose. He was a sportswriter who worshiped Jesse Owens, and when I paired up with track and field like peanut butter with jelly, it seemed I was fulfilling my namesake’s destiny. Even Mom, food whiz extraordinaire, was excited to have a super jock for a daughter, and once the trophies started to pile up, she finally forgave Dad.

“Looked like you made up by the end,” Grandma teased. She’d been watching through the drapes, of course.

“Never kiss anyone goodnight after they’ve eaten a tub of flavoured movie popcorn,” I told her. I could still picture him sprinkling two full packages of the fake seasoning.

“He didn’t even flinch when I warned him about the MSG.”

She nodded like she was mentally cataloguing my advice. We sat quietly, and her gaze fell on my huge duffel bag, bursting with clothes.

“Chloe said she dropped off some outfits,” I said.

She smoothed out the yellow chenille bedspread. “I put in a couple of extra things for you too,” she said. I snuck a glance at the closet, wondering if she’d found my sneakers. My doubts about leaving for the whole summer began to creep back.

“I’m worried about Mom,” I confessed.

“Of course,” Grandma said. “But your mom needs this time too. Her grief is different from yours. She needs to go through all of his things, get rid of his clothes, organize papers—”

“But I can help her do that!”

“No, Legs, she needs to grieve without you watching or listening.” She let me sort out what she had said. And the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Didn’t I do all my real gut-wrenching crying when I was alone?

“She needs to cry, without being worried I’ll hear her,” I finally said. I hadn’t been the only one in the house pretending all these months. I drew up my knees, hugging them under the bedspread. Grandma looked at my door as if she expected Mom to walk in on us. “Can I give you some advice?”

My eyes flicked between the door and Grandma. “You’ve never asked before.”

Then she leaned closer and made her voice soft. “Kiss as many boys as you can.”

“Is this the same advice you gave to Mom when she was my age?”

“Of course not, you’re completely different girls.” She paused, and then brushed a stray hair away from my face. “Therefore, you get different advice.”

“Anything else I should know?”

She pursed her lips and looked to the side. “If you’re ever in a sticky situation, especially with a boy—”

“This sounds kinky.”

“—and you need a quick getaway, there are two courses of action that never fail.”

“Mace and kicking?”

“No,” she waved her hand. “Crying and talking about tampons.”

“Grandma,” I moaned. “I think you just set feminism back by thirty years.”

“It always worked for me.”

“So...kiss lots of boys. That’s your advice?”

She laughed. “Because someday you’ll be an old fool like me, and no one will want to kiss you.”

I circled her tiny frame with my arms, inhaling her familiar scent of lavender skin cream. She leaned back and patted my cheek. “Legs,” she said, “take this summer for you. Go skinny dipping, curse out loud in a quiet room, eat French fries and ice cream for breakfast...”

“That’s more your style than mine.”

“Doing things outside of your comfort zone helps you grow,” she said matter-of-factly.

But I was terrified. What if I couldn’t do it? My commitment to training and running had kept me focused. Without it I was floundering and clueless, completely lost. Maybe doing some- thing brand new wasn’t the best idea. “What if...” I started, then my voice caught in my throat.

What if I never feel like me again? What if I stay this loser forever? What if I ruin everything at camp too?

“What if this is a mistake?” I finally asked.

“That’s how you learn. I didn’t get this smart from always making the right choices. Besides,” she squeezed my hand, “the mistakes are the best stories.” She laughed and a little bit of my worry melted away. “Now get up. Scarlett O’Hara has called twice already.”

Chloe squealed so loudly, I had to pull the phone away from my ear. “So?” she giggled.

“Is the Kissing Clause a myth or did the hot lifeguard bring you back to life?”

“His name is Ben,” I reminded her. “Last year he worked as a camp counsellor, so he gave me some advice—don’t let the kids drown. Profound, huh?”

She let out a disappointed sigh. “Another one bites the dust.”

I squirmed on the spot. “It’s me that’s the problem. I feel like I’m letting everyone down.”

Chloe made a surprised sound. “The only one you’re letting down is Old Jesse.”

“Old Jesse?”

“Yeah, remember her?” she sassed. “That girl was always smiling and laughing, but she was a real bulldog on the track. She’s the one who never gives up.”

Bulldog on the track.

I never used to back down from a challenge. The dirtier, the better. But that girl left town four months ago and was never coming back. I was watching life from the sidelines now.

My finish line vanished the day I threw my runners in the closet.

She was quiet, then she said, “Hey, at least tell me how the kissing was.” Her tone was so hopeful it made me smile.

I wanted to tell her that I’d felt it all the way to my toes. That kissing Ben was like tasting honey over vanilla ice cream. But I couldn’t. I pictured the tiny molecules of flavored MSG sliding off of his tongue and into my mouth. The kiss could be summed up in one word—well, actually, one flavour. “Dill pickle,” I said, dully.

After promising to email Chloe regularly, Mom, Grandma, and I piled into the van.

The scenic drive through the valley was a little over two hours. There wasn’t much talking; instead we let the radio break up the silence. Soon the wooden sign announcing we had arrived at Kamp Krystal Lake came into view.

Along the winding dirt road, trees to either side gave way to expansive grounds. The area was teeming with kids. In a flash of red, one kid ran right in front of the van, then something slapped against the door.

“That little bastard threw mud at the car!” Grandma announced from the back seat.

“What kind of place is this, the delinquent hall?”

My heart began to beat faster. What did I know about delinquents? The only kids I babysat were the Turner triplets, and they were angels. I gripped the edge of the seat.

“Don’t worry, Jesse,” Mom soothed. “I’m sure he’s full of nervous energy. Besides, girls are always better behaved.”

The parking lot was a sea of buses and cars. All around us kids were hugging parents goodbye while teenagers high-fived each other.

“Wow,” Grandma said. “I bet she’s pop, pop, popular!”

Standing tall among a giggling group of kids, a platinum blond ponytail armed with a clipboard showed off a brilliant smile. Everyone else was a tray of stale graham crackers, and she was the cupcake with pink fluffy frosting. She ushered the group away from the buses, clearly their newly appointed summer queen.

“Are you all right?” Mom asked, studying my face. “Have you changed your mind?”

I snuck a look at Grandma in the backseat. “No, I need this time too, Mom.”

My armpits got sticky and my fists, full of vinyl, started to cramp. I couldn’t move. Grandma leaned forward and put her head between me and Mom. “When I was seventeen,” she began, “I spent my summer at a resort. There was one nerdy boy who was a terrible flirt. One night he asked me to help him carry some watermelons up to a private function. I expected some bridge club meeting, but it turned out to be this wild party for staff.”

Grandma sighed and her voice became dreamy. “And that’s when I saw Johnny. He was hired to teach the rich old ladies the fox trot. I fell so hard for him. He taught me about dancing, and love and well...it was a summer I’ll never forget. And all because I helped carry watermelons to a party.” She stared out the windshield, lost in her thoughts.

“Grandma! That’s Dirty Dancing!”

Mom closed her eyes then pinched the bridge of her nose with her thumb and finger. “I think the point Grandma is trying to make is that someday, you may have your own daughter at camp.” She paused for a moment then gave me a slight smile. “Do you want to tell her about a movie, or a real story—maybe one that might happen here, this summer?”

My mouth fell open. “Are you telling me to have sex?!”

Grandma exploded with laughter from the back seat. “Oh my god, Maria, if Stevie was still alive he’d have a heart attack all over again.”



An uncomfortable silence filled the car. Slowly our sniffles punctured the quiet air.

“I’m sorry,” the three of us said together. Grandma reached for our hands.

“That was a good movie,” Mom finally said.

“Yeah,” I whispered. “Especially the ending, when he catches her in the air.”

Mom cleared her throat. “Next year you’ll be getting ready for university, and you’ve always spent so much time training. It’s good to slow down sometimes, Jesse,” she said.

“I’m worried you’re missing out on being a teenager.”

I stared down at my lap. My little summer camp experiment had become a test. A test to see if I could learn to live without running. Without Dad.

“But don’t do anything stupid,” Mom said, suddenly pan- icked. “Don’t lose your head in a false romance.”

“False romance?”

“Have fun, but don’t come home pregnant,” Grandma said.

“That’s it!” I screeched. “Any more talk of sex from you two, and I’ll be in the monastery for life!” I jumped out of the car and grabbed my duffel bag from the trunk.

“Nuns go to the convent,” Grandma called out.

We had discussed earlier that I would walk away on my own. No goodbyes, no tears— well, none outside the car. I shouldered my duffel bag and followed all the other kids.

The Cupcake ran by me, her perfect ponytail swinging from side to side, a clip- board tucked under her arm. I reached up and tried to smooth out my own hair, still somewhat straight from Chloe’s make- over last night.

“Hey Legs!”

Grandma had taken my seat, and was leaning out of the passenger window of the light blue van as it pulled away, and I suddenly wished I was going with them. “Just remember,” she called out.

“Nobody puts Baby in the corner.” Then she laughed and blew me a kiss.

Author Bio - B.R. Myers

I write YA, appreciate a design in my cappuccino, love shopping for vintage jewelry and dream in color. Coming from Nimbus Publishing, my contemporary coming of age novels, BUTTERFLIES DON'T LIE (SEPTEMBER 15,2014) and GIRL ON THE RUNJUST JESSE (Fall 2015). from Fierce Ink Press, ASP OF ASCENSION (July 2015).

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