New Release: Everlasting by Candace Knoebel

everlasting_ebook

What if your destiny lay on the other side of death?

The annual Culling ceremony is a day every coming-of-age novice looks forward to within the Primeval Coven. It’s the start to being initiated into the Night Watchmen, humankind’s protectors, and it’s the long-awaited day when novices discover if they’re a Hunter or a Witch.

But this day is not a happy one for Faye Middleton. Not when she’s known her whole life that she’s a Defect and is about to face banishment in front of her fellow novices. She’s forced to attend the Culling with little hope for her future, but what she discovers about herself is far worse than she could’ve imagined. And far more dangerous.

Thrown into training and separated from her friends, Faye must learn to adjust. She struggles to find her place within the Coven, and with Jaxen Gramm, the darkly handsome and extremely unnerving man assigned to watch and protect her. Emotions run high, and when she discovers a deadly secret about him, her struggles deepen. As corruption within the Coven begins to unravel, Faye pieces together her role in saving the future of her people, and within Jaxen’s life…but will the truth save her, or be her undoing?

GENRE: Paranormal Romance

Available on Amazon & Barnes & Noble!

Excerpt:

“This way,” Nathaniel says from the side of the stage. We’re like cows being herded into individual pens to await sacrifice. There are closed-in cubicles constructed backstage, and each of us is placed in one without a word of guidance or encouragement.

“Wait a second,” I say as I try to scan down the row one last time for Katie, but I’m shoved into my cubicle and the door shuts, enclosing me in between four confining walls with only the light of a lamp. I drag my hands down the fabric of the walls until I fall down into my seat. I tug on my braid again and again and again. Calm down. Breathe. Calm down. I chant this over and over again, imagining that Katie’s the one who’s coaching me. I shut my eyes and am back in her room. The scent of her perfume overwhelms the small space, but instead of making me sneeze, it comforts me. It makes my imagined state more real.

I hear loud clapping coming from off the stage and know someone must’ve just gone. They obviously weren’t a Defect. No one wants a Defect at their ceremony. A voice shouts, “Let’s go, Todd Jenson. It’s time to meet your partner.” I wonder if it was Katie on stage. I wonder if he’s her partner. I wonder this through eighteen more times worth of clapping and cheering and name calling. Anytime now, they’ll open my door and force me to stand before the crowd, force me to touch the quartz, force me to face my peers in shame. If they deem me a Defect, I’ll be the first this Culling, and most likely the only.

I twist my hands into knots and think about my parents. They have to be out there by now. I’m going to walk out there and they’re going to be in the front row smiling. I open my eyes. Four walls. They’re closing in on me. They’re suffocating me. I have to get out.

“Faye Middleton?” The door opens and air rushes in. I draw sharply on it as the cheering continues. Another novice and her new partner walk off stage. It’s the girl with black hair. She’s coyly looking at him from under her lashes. He looks pissed.

Nathaniel guides me forward, and I want to yank my arm from him. I want to tell him I left my courage back in that cubicle, but I don’t. I can’t. My lips are glued shut by fear. My knees have turned into two extremities of doubt, and I know I’m going to fall. I’m going to forget how to speak.

Steel blue eyes find mine from across the stage. Elder Maddock. He bows ever so slightly in my direction, his eyes seeking past my outer appearance. I wonder if he knows who I am. He has to. I stop right before him and feel like a bird trapped in a cage. I can’t escape the thousands of eyes studying me. I can’t escape the hundreds of assumptions building me into something I’m not.

“Faye Middleton,” he says, his voice eager and curious. There’s a friendly lightness in his voice I don’t expect, a sound that makes me feel safe and comfortable under his gaze. He has thick, golden brown hair combed neatly over to the side and back, showing off the squared planes of his face. He looks much younger than he should, but older than my father. “Are you ready to begin?”

I turn to the crowd and scan desperately for my parents. Eyes. There are so many eyes. Too many. They form together, creating an awful monster that wants to swallow me whole. I can’t find them. The eyes have hidden them from me. I’m all alone. I try to swallow, but my mouth is so dry. I bite the inside of my cheek, curbing the need to release tears.

The Witch standing next to him says, “Faye, he asked you a question.”

I take in a tight breath and force myself to look away and back at Maddock. “I’m sorry,” I whisper, my stomach twisting a little tighter.

He pretends not to notice the panic I’m sure my face is masked in and offers me the kindest, most patient smile. “Everyone is nervous on the day of the Culling,” he says knowingly. “I was a wreck the day of mine.”

Polite laughter comes from the audience, and I feel myself relax just enough so that I can breathe again.

He offers me a small wink…a knowing sort of wink, and says, “Your parents will be proud.” He says these words carefully, evenly, and I know he’s trying to tell me something. They’re okay? He’s aware of who I am. “So are you ready to begin?”

ADD IT ON GOODREADS!

picture-222-1329600950

About The Author

Candace Knoebel is the award-winning author of Born in Flames-a young adult fantasy trilogy.

Published by 48fourteen in 2012, Born in Flames went on to win Turning the Pages Book of the Year award in February of 2013. Embracing the Flames, the second in the trilogy, is scheduled for release in the summer of 2013.

Candace Knoebel discovered through lunch breaks and late nights after putting her kids to bed, a world where she could escape the ever-pressing days of an eight to five Purgatory. Since then, she crawled out of Purgatory and has devoted her time to writing and sometimes heelying.

Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ @candaceknoebel

Advertisement

Musical Monday: Hotel California by the Eagles

Hotel California was written by Don Henley, Don Felder, and Glenn Frey. It was released in 1977 and, yes, I’m old enough to remember when it was first played on the radio. I’ve always loved the lyrics of the song which speak of something inviting and enticing that turns out to be something else in disguise. It’s a song about decadence and greed (“Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends”) and how it can ultimately destroy you (“We are all just prisoners here, of our own device”).

Did you notice the play on words with the lyrics, “she got the Mercedes bends?” Bends, not Benz. I’ve checked various sources for the lyrics and in each it is written as “bends.” Bends is a decompression sickness caused when ascending from depth or ascending to a higher altitude. In their song, it seems to refer to a sickness caused by a quick rise to fame and the pressures of living the high life. I don’t know if that was the intended meaning of the lyric, but if so,  it’s pretty clever.

I never thought they were referring to the wine when they sang: “We haven’t had that spirit here since 1969.” I learned the following about that lyric on Wikipedia:

In a 2009 interview, The Plain Dealer music critic John Soeder asked Don Henley this about the lyrics:

“On “Hotel California,” you sing: “So I called up the captain/ ‘Please bring me my wine’/ He said, ‘We haven’t had that spirit here since 1969.'” I realize I’m probably not the first to bring this to your attention, but wine isn’t a spirit. Wine is fermented; spirits are distilled. Do you regret that lyric?”Henley responded, “Thanks for the tutorial and, no, you’re not the first to bring this to my attention–and you’re not the first to completely misinterpret the lyric and miss the metaphor. Believe me, I’ve consumed enough alcoholic beverages in my time to know how they are made and what the proper nomenclature is. But that line in the song has little or nothing to do with alcoholic beverages. It’s a sociopolitical statement. My only regret would be having to explain it in detail to you which would defeat the purpose of using literary devices in songwriting and lower the discussion to some silly and irrelevant argument about chemical processes.”

Gotta love Don Henley. I was fortunate to see the Eagles in concert when they played UT stadium in Austin, Texas. My husband and I were having a drink at a nearby bar before the concert, and stayed longer than intended. As we walked toward the stadium, they began to play Hotel California. We sprinted to the venue and arrived in time to see the performance. Fortunately that song is 6 1/2 minutes long and the acoustical introduction is over a minute, so we didn’t miss much, but our delay, in this case, had everything to do with the alcoholic beverage.

“Hotel California”

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night
There she stood in the doorway;
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself,
“This could be Heaven or this could be Hell”
Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor,
I thought I heard them say…Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year (Any time of year)
You can find it here

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget

So I called up the Captain,
“Please bring me my wine”
He said, “We haven’t had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine”
And still those voices are calling from far away,
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say…

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
They livin’ it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise)
Bring your alibis

Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said “We are all just prisoners here, of our own device”
And in the master’s chambers,
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can’t kill the beast

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
“Relax, ” said the night man,
“We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave! “

The Gods of the Copybook Headings by Rudyard Kipling

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.” Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Book Review: Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse fiveSlaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Goodreads Description: Kurt Vonnegut’s absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut’s) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.

Don’t let the ease of reading fool you – Vonnegut’s isn’t a conventional, or simple, novel. He writes, “There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick, and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters.”

Slaughterhouse-Five is not only Vonnegut’s most powerful book, it is also as important as any written since 1945. Like Catch- 22, it fashions the author’s experiences in the Second World War into an eloquent and deeply funny plea against butchery in the service of authority. Slaughterhouse-Five boasts the same imagination, humanity, and gleeful appreciation of the absurd found in Vonnegut’s other works, but the book’s basis in rock-hard, tragic fact gives it a unique poignancy – and humor.

My Review:

I read this book in May 2013 (I really need to get better about posting timely reviews), and while it’s been criticized as being choppy, disjointed, all over the place, and unintelligible, I came away with a profound sense of the disastrous effects of war on the human psyche.

The book is based on Vonnegut’s own experience as a prisoner of war where he, by a strange twist of fate, survived the fire-bombing of Dresden during World War II.

The main character, Billy Pilgrim, was a prisoner of war held captive in an underground meat locker of a slaughter house, Slaughterhouse 5, that is.  In a reversal of fortune, his prison had become his salvation, delivering him from an apocalyptic scene of unimaginable destruction when the city of Dresden was almost obliterated from the earth. In the aftermath, his surviving captors forced him to perform the harrowing task of recovering and burning the bodies of the deceased.

The book isn’t written in chronological order. Instead, it jumps forward and backward in time, jarringly, to various periods in the main character’s life including time spent with aliens on the planet Tralfamadore. Yes, aliens.Was the character abducted by aliens? Did he become unstuck in time? Or were these just coping mechanisms in the aftermath of war?

Reading this book reminded me a little of someone who had experienced psychological trauma so severe that their personality split as a means to deal with reality. This condition, known as Dissociative Identity Disorder (previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder) is a trauma-based disorder. It’s interesting that PTSD, common among war veterans, is also a trauma based disorder, and considering Vonnegut was a war veteran my perception of the novel may not be far off the mark. Vonnegut himself described the book as “so short and jumbled and jangled…because there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre.”

When you’ve experienced atrocities so unimaginable, it’s hard to make sense of anything and it’s easy to understand how Billy Pilgrim became “unstuck in time” and found refuge in another world. And so it goes…

Opening Line:

“All this happened, more or less. The war parts, anyway, are pretty much true.”

Memorable quotes:

“- Why me?
– That is a very Earthling question to ask, Mr. Pilgrim. Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anything? Because this moment simply is. Have you ever seen bugs trapped in amber?
– Yes.
– Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.”

 “And Lot’s wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human. So she was turned into a pillar of salt. So it goes.”

“Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops.”

4 of 5 stars

Conversations with My Kids: Mispronounced Words

The following is a conversation between my 13-year-old son (KJ), 8-year-old daughter (CJ), and me :

KJ: Momma, I just discovered I’ve been spelling and pronouncing “environment” wrong for years.

I had to laugh because it was said as if he’d spent decades on the planet.

MJ: How have you been spelling it?

KJ: E-N-V-I-O-R-N-M-E-N-T

MJ: So you’ve been pronouncing it like, IN-VI-ERN-MENT?

KJ: Yeah.

MJ: Makes you sound like a hick.

KJ [chuckles]: I know, but a lot of people pronounce it that way.

MJ: Do I?

KJ: No, but I didn’t really notice I did until I saw the word on one of my homework assignments.

CJ: I’ve been pronouncing a word wrong.

MJ: You have?

CJ: Yeah, I’ve been saying FEB-YOU-AIR-EE. I didn’t know there was an “R” in there. It’s FEB-ROO-AIR-EE! Everybody says FEB-YOU-AIR-EE.

This got me thinking about words that are commonly mispronounced. I thought of  few, but searched on Google for a list. Here are a few I’ve heard or were surprising to me. I have to admit, I was guilty of a few mispronunciations. Click here for the full list.

Incorrect –> Correct 

  • affidavid –> affidavit   Damn. Right of the bat, I’m guilty. I know how it’s spelled, but I think I do this. I can get lazy with the “t” and not say it clearly. Curse you, southern dialect!

Gasp

  • Old Timer’s –> Alzheimer’s  Well, I guess Old Timer’s do get Alzheimer’s.
  • aks –> ask

aks

  • bidness –> business  This one is like nails on a chalkboard.
  • blessing in the skies –> blessing in disguise   I was surprised people mispronounce this one. Maybe they are just waiting for a holy vision to appear?
  • cannidate –> candidate  Maybe it’s a cross between a cannibal and a candidate? It might not be too far-fetched.
  • card shark –> cardsharp  I learned something. I’ve never seen it pronounced or written as “cardsharp.” Guilty, again.
  • carpool tunnel syndrome –> carpal tunnel syndrome   It was probably derived from parents sitting too long in the carpool lane.
  • chester drawers –> chest of drawers  Who has Chester’s drawers?
  • doggy dog world –> dog eat dog world

doggy dog world

  • expecially –> especially  Said by those who are extra special. 
  • Febyuary –> February  Hey, my daughter’s only eight. Cut her some slack. 
  • irregardless –> regardless

Irregardless

  • jewlery –> jewelry This one gets me too.
  • Laura Norder –> law and order  SMH
  • libary–> library  I’m going to go out on a limb and say this person doesn’t visit one.
  • mawv –> mauve [mowv] Learned something else, but it just doesn’t sound right. Guilty, yet again.
  • mute –> moot  Nails on a chalkboard.
  • neanderthal < –> neandertal  Either is acceptable, but Germans pronounce it with a “t” sound. Add German accent if you prefer the “t” version.

Neanderthal

  • nucular –> nuclear  Always makes me think of him.

Bush

  • persnickety –> pernickety (pronounced with a silent “s”)  I’m guilty of pronouncing the “s,” but in my defense, Merriam Webster’s Dictionary shows the incorrect pronunciation.
  • prolly –> probably I’ve seen this one typed like this way too many times. Texting is going to destroy our language.
  • for all intensive purposes –> for all intents and purposes
  • pacifically –> specifically
  • supposably –> supposedly  And I just thought they were just congested.
  • take for granite –> take for granted

granite

  • zuology –> zoology   Never thought about this until now. Is it Zulander or Zoolander?

zoolanderWhat are some words that you often hear mispronounced? Are you guilty of mispronouncing any words?

Teaser Tuesday: Witness by Jamie Magee

witnessI’m reading Witness by Jamie Magee, another book in my Series Challenge for 2014. It is the 2nd book in the See series. Here’s a teaser:

“I knew that what we were seeing was temporary and that at some point after this moment, he would be thrown out of that life, punished by the devil himself for releasing the darkness. I didn’t want him to see that.”

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Musical Monday: It’s Time by Imagine Dragons

My daughter’s favorite band is Imagine Dragons. When I heard they were coming to our area, I jumped at the chance to get tickets (plus, I kinda wanted to see them myself).

I’ve already posted a couple of their songs (Demons and Radioactive)  for Musical Monday, but this is another favorite.  I can’t wait to see them live with my little girl 🙂

“It’s Time”

So this is what you meant
When you said that you were spent
And now it’s time to build from the bottom of the pit
Right to the top
Don’t hold back
Packing my bags and giving the academy a rain-checkI don’t ever wanna let you down
I don’t ever wanna leave this town
‘Cause after all
This city never sleeps at nightIt’s time to begin, isn’t it?
I get a little bit bigger but then I’ll admit
I’m just the same as I was
Now don’t you understand
That I’m never changing who I amSo this is where you fell
And I am left to sell
The path to heaven runs through miles of clouded hell
Right to the top
Don’t look back
Turning to rags and giving the commodities a rain-check

I don’t ever wanna let you down
I don’t ever wanna leave this town
‘Cause after all
This city never sleeps at night

It’s time to begin, isn’t it?
I get a little bit bigger but then I’ll admit
I’m just the same as I was
Now don’t you understand
That I’m never changing who I am

It’s time to begin, isn’t it?
I get a little bit bigger but then I’ll admit
I’m just the same as I was
Now don’t you understand
That I’m never changing who I am

This road never looked so lonely
This house doesn’t burn down slowly
To ashes, to ashes

It’s time to begin, isn’t it?
I get a little bit bigger but then I’ll admit
I’m just the same as I was
Now don’t you understand
That I’m never changing who I am

It’s time to begin, isn’t it?
I get a little bit bigger but then I’ll admit
I’m just the same as I was
Don’t you understand
That I’m never changing who I am

Marketing for Introverts

Helpful marketing advice for writers.

All I Have to Say

If you’re a writer (published or unpublished), I’m sure you’ve heard about or experienced the difficulty of marketing a book. It’s hard to draw attention to your book when there are thousands of other books competing for readers’ attention. I’ve blogged about this topic before, so I know I’m not the only one who struggles to shine the spotlight on my book. There’s no single magical, free, easy way to sell books, but for those of you who have time, energy, and very thick skin, here is a list of marketing strategies that have been very effective for many authors:

  1. Blog Tours: You can pay a tour host to organize interviews, book spotlights, and reviews, or you can contact bloggers on your own. It is possible to organize your own blog tour, but it is very time consuming. Some bloggers have huge backlogs. Others will not respond. (Note: I’ve tried…

View original post 1,069 more words

Blogging from A to Z

A2Z-BADGE-0002014 2I’m taking on another challenge: Blogging from A to Z during the month of April. Last year I was new to blogging and didn’t know about the A to Z challenge until it was well underway. I was disappointed that I missed out on it because I’m always up for a challenge and the participants seemed to be having so much fun.

The Blogging A to Z Challenge is the brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out. The challenge is to publish a post inspired by a letter of the alphabet (in alphabetical order) every day in April except Sundays. Excluding Sundays leaves 26 days in the month and there are 26 letters in the alphabet. Get it? On Tuesday, April 1st, you will post about something that begins with the letter “A” and continue the daily post through the remainder of the alphabet.

You can blog about any topic. My blog is about writing so my theme will be related to writing. I’ve already decided on the topics for each day and have planned a few posts so far.

Why don’t you join us? It will be fun!