Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Guest Post: Schism

Today, my birthday, is also the book birthday for fellow Muse Author Laura Maisano and her exciting novel SCHISM.

SCHISM (Illirin Book One)
By Laura Maisano

Art therapy hasn’t done squat for Gabe Jones. A thousand sketches of his fiancée can’t bring his memory, or her, back to him. Nothing on Earth can. His past lies in another dimension, a world just out of sight.
Another student on campus, Lea Huckley, unknowingly shares Gabe’s obsession with the fourth dimension. The monsters from the other side attacked her parents and fled, getting her folks locked up in the loony bin. Proving this other world exists is the only way to free them. Lea and Gabe strike a deal to help each other, and together they manage to open a door to the world of Gabe’s true origin. She’d use him for proof—if she didn’t already care too much.
While Gabe tries to reconcile his feelings for Lea and his rediscovered memories of his fiancée, a much more sinister plot unravels. He uncovers his history just in time to become the unwilling lynchpin in a conspiracy to start a war. His memory holds the secret to the final riddle the would-be conqueror needs to get the upper hand. Gabe must protect the riddle at all costs, even if that means leaving Earth, and Lea, behind forever.

Lea packed light. Other than her phone’s GPS and a flashlight, she kept a small notepad, her lucky pencil, and the thermometer in her cargo pocket. She didn’t need to find data, now she needed proof.
She led the way down the alley where skyscrapers blocked the glowing moon and the lamps from the highway. Yellowed fixtures above each back entrance threw faint cones of light onto the cement, like holes in Swiss cheese.
Lea checked the coordinates on her phone while she walked, and the little red arrow crept closer to the flag icon she placed to mark the interaction point.
Gabe spent his time surveying the area for anything that might be a danger. He kept fidgeting behind her and turning around every few seconds, a twitchy meerkat on patrol.
“We’re only between buildings. It’s not the end of the world.” Lea checked her phone again to make sure they were headed in the right direction.
He glanced over his shoulder. “I still don’t like it. It’s night, people do get mugged, you know.”
“The statistics of that are so low. We’re really not in any danger, considering the population and how many times that sorta thing happens.”
He shifted uneasily behind her. “Whatever, we’re raising the chances by being out here at night.”
Lea rolled her eyes. “I’m not missing this opportunity.”
“I know that. Neither am I.”
They came to a cross section behind two major offices where the loading docks and dumpsters sat for both of them. A stream of water trickled down the concave cement into the large sewer grate. Old garbage left a fume hanging around, and the humidity only made it worse.
Lea double- and triple-checked her coordinates, cross-checking with her notes. “This is it. Within I’d say, a fifteen foot diameter, low to the ground.” She shoved the phone in her cargo pocket. “Perfect.”
“How long?”
“Roughly ten minutes.”
Ten minutes may as well have been six hours. She paced back and forth, her sneakers scuffing the gritty pavement.
Gabe continued to keep a watchful eye out for muggers or vagrants. What a dork.
She snickered quietly. For someone who didn’t know his own experiences, he sure seemed paranoid. She watched him standing straight, darting his eyes to the entrance and even up to the windows above them. Watch out bad guys, Gabe’s on to you. She smiled and turned to see what looked like heat waves rising from the cold cement. Crap. The interaction had already started.
“Gabe…” She waved him over next to the loading dock.
This interaction provided no shining lights or obvious movement. Not much stood out visually, except maybe the air glistening like summer heat waves if she squinted hard enough, but her digital thermometer found the coldest point.
“Here,” she whispered, not wanting anyone or anything on the other side to hear. She stretched her arms forward, and Gabe did likewise.
“On the count of three.” She waited for him to nod. “One…two…three.”
They both reached through the interaction point and grabbed at the thicker air. Nothing. They tried again, pulling, grasping, and making any sort of motion to trigger a rip. Finally, Gabe leaned in and pulled out at just the right angle, because the light tore across like a jagged line. Lea grabbed the edge of it and tugged, opening the tear wider until they both fell through.

About the Author
Laura has an MA in Technical writing and is a Senior Editor at Anaiah Press for their YA/NA Christian Fiction. She’s excited to release her debut YA Urban Fantasy SCHISM, and she’s finishing up the sequel UNITY.

Her gamer husband and amazing daughter give support and inspiration every day. Their cats, Talyn and Moya, provide entertainment through living room battles and phantom-dust-mote hunting. Somehow, they all manage to survive living in Texas where it is hotter than any human being should have to endure. Check out her blog at LauraMaisano.blogspot.com.

Twitter: @MaisanoLaura
Google + https://plus.google.com/+LauraMaisano

Friday, April 24, 2015

School of Deaths NOW IN PAPERBACK

School of Deaths has been available for 11 months as an ebook.  

Reviewers have said the book is

"Too Good to put Down!" - Author Joan Curtis

"It Brought Tears to my Eyes" - Author Heather Greenis

"Five Stars!" - Reader's Favorite

"This Book's World is Brilliant!" - OnlineBookClub

"Amazing Story!" - NerdGirl 

Find out why readers love the first novel in The Scythe Wielder's Secret.

NOW IN PAPERBACK!! click the cover below! 

 School of Deaths Paperback

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Time for a blog tour!

YA Bound Book Tours is hosting a SCHOOL OF DEATHS blog tour, in celebration of the PRINT RELEASE at the end of this month, and the release of SWORD OF DEATHS a month later.

For the full blog tour schedule visit:

 School of Deaths Blog Tour

Monday, April 13, 2015

Two Meetings

The following story is true.

1. From the point-of-view of Bandit, a precocious Shih Tzu, newly adopted.

People people people!
People looking at me, oh boy!
People people people people!
The nice people put me in their shiny car.
What's this place? Where am I? Where am I?
People? Where am I, people?
Hello? Hello?
Who's that over there?
Is that a stuffed toy for me?
Is that a stuffed toy?
Food. Food. Food.
Stuffed toy thing got up.
Wait, not a toy.
It's a cat.
Hi cat! Hi! Hi! Hi!
Wanna be friends?
Friends? Friends? Friends?
Hi! Hi! Hi!
Why're you looking at me like that?
Cat's hissing.
Hey! Hey! Hey!
Dumb cat.
Want to play?
Want to play?
Hey! Hey! Hey!

2. From the point-of-view of Faith, our cat

The subjects again neglected to administer the proper amount of royal pets to my backside. The peasants. We shall have to have words when they return. As usual, my meal this morning was too dry, and my requests for mountain fresh water have been ignored. Again.
Today is a busy day. After a bath behind the royal couch, I plan to sunbathe for two hours. I have considered taking a nap, but might instead take a stroll to the eastern window, where the sun is warmer. The plants will need tending, of course, I haven't bitten them in days.
Where are the subjects? I grow weary of their absence. I certainly did not grant permission for this extended leave from my presence. How dare they ignore me this long? I shall be sure to pay them back during their repose tonight.
Ah, finally. My subjects have returned, no doubt with some tokens of their affection with which they shall shower me. I shall receive them in the western chamber. But, oh, what is that hideous noise they make? It pierces the ears, shattering the calm.
What is that thing?
I do not grant is presence, remove it at once.
You dare approach me? Peasant! Back, before I release my full fury on your tiny carcass. Subjects, I am most displeased. You think this thing will amuse the likes of me.
I think not.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Aladdin and the Jinn

Lately I have had a lot of posts about writing. But what happens when thirty teenagers are asked to write an original play? The most challenging thing I've attempted at my job as a high school theatre teacher was to try just this feat.

I came to school in August, and told the kids I wanted them to put on an ensemble show. They'd work together to create an original script, and would all perform in it. The students voted to adopt the story of Aladdin, using an aesthetic of Israel and Palestine.

The show was a struggle to mount. Students had conflicting opinions on the direction of the story, the types of characters, or the overall plot. As an author, it's solely up to me to decide what my characters do and how the plots unfold. To have thirty teens arguing over this was no easy task.

I gave the kids projects, including writing short scenes, monologues, music (non-verbal) scene work, and slam poetry. Many of these elements ended up becoming part of the final process. We worked with a professional choreographer from a local theatre to develop new movement techniques, and with a professor from George Washington University to research the political issues.

Then the hurdles hit... ten missed rehearsals for snow/weather. Eleven students deciding two weeks before the show that they'd rather fail the class than be in the performance, and seven kids kicked out of Tech (backstage theatre) for pot (out of ten kids total in Tech).  Plus, we got a new space- a huge abandoned tech room which is the new drama room, and we're converting into a blackbox theatre. It's exciting, but we moved into the space exactly one week before the show opened!

Despite the hurdles, the show was an overall success.  Audiences enjoyed seeing the student's dark take on an otherwise light fairy tale, and were very impressed by how the show worked as a cohesive piece. Two alumns of Roosevelt drama each said it was one of the more ambitious and impressive shows they'd seen at the school.

And now it's spring break, and I am relieved to be writing alone- not thirty voices arguing, but just my own voice going to the page...