Digging in the Stars Blitz

Digging in the Stars
Katherine Blakeney
Published by: Blaze Publishing
Publication date: March 28th2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

A lost ancient civilization and the tomb of a legendary king lie buried beneath centuries of ash on the volcanic planet Thror, but that’s not the only reason sixteen-year-old Carter has tricked her Archaeology of Outer Space class into coming here. Her best friend Conrad has justdisappeared on a trip to Thror, leaving behind little more than a broken vintage camera. The strange and disturbing photographs she manages to extract make her suspect Conrad’s disappearance is somehow connected to the hidden tomb of the last king of Thror.

Unfortunately, the ludicrously over-friendly ‘Furry Giants’ who have taken over the planet’s barren surface would rather offer her cheap souvenirs than answers, and the local officials insist they have no record of Conrad’s existence. Inspired by fear for Conrad’s life and the chance to make the greatest archaeological discovery of the century, Carter and her friends follow Conrad’s footsteps deep into the mountains of Thror’s forbidden Black Zone and launch an illicit excavation.

Coded messages, stunning ancient ruins, and clues left by Conrad himself begin to surface as the young archaeologists fall victim to an alarming series of accidents stagedby the increasingly hostile Furry Giants. Piecing together a history of dictatorship, terrorism and disguise, Carter glimpses the horrors beyond Thror’s flamboyant façade and startling revelations about the friend she thought she knew. The masks of Thror hide devastating secrets, and the golden tomb buried deep in the frozen core may claimthe lives of everyone she loves.

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TEASERS:

“Please remain seated as we begin our descent into Thror.Welcome, and enjoy your stay.”
The time for action was at hand, and she still didn’t feel ready. The flight felt much shorter than she’d expected.
The girls exchanged bewildered looks across the aisles. Stunned silence. They couldn’t have missed that final announcement. Avoiding Professor P’s gaze, Carter still felt the look of shock the professor shot across the cabin. Once, Carter had seen herself arriving on Thror as a great explorer. Instead, she would be remembered as a half-baked deceiver and kidnapper. The Throrians would have called her a scent-changer.

* * *

Carter had been so close to her goal. She saw that crack with her own eyes, a portal into a lost ancient world, chambers filed with carvings, images that had never been recorded or reproduced. The greatest discovery of this or any other century, waiting less than twenty feet away. Waiting for her. And Conrad had been there first. The moment she thought it, she felt guilty. She was allowing herself to get carried away by archaeological fervor, mentally competing with Conrad, when he might have paid a terrible price for his discovery.



Author Bio:

I am an author and independent filmmaker/stop motion animator with a BFA in Stop Motion Animation from the School of Visual Arts in New York and a PhD in Film Studies from the University of Edinburgh (Scotland, UK). My thesis focuses on silent film adaptations of late nineteenth and early twentieth century Gothic novels, with a special emphasis on psychological and aesthetic representations of the Monster figure. My debut novel, a YA Sci-Fi adventure called Digging in the Stars, is forthcoming with BlazePublishing on March 28, 2017.

Raised by an Egyptologist mother, I grew up among museums and excavation sites,where I developed an unhealthy fascination with ancient art and mythology. I divide my time between bringing 12”-tall people to life in my studio in Edinburgh, excavating ancient tombs in the Egyptian desert, and researching Gothic literary monsters in silent film. I have worked for more than 10 years as photographer and videographer for the South Asasif Conservation Project, an archaeological expedition in Egypt and I have published numerous articles on film and archaeology.

I write, direct, design, and animate short films and commissioned projects in my studio in Edinburgh, Scotland and have been employed as an animator, screenwriter, modelmaker and art director for studios in Edinburgh, South Korea and Qatar. I have produced commissioned projects for IdeasTap in London, the Arts Trust Scotland and the British Library. My shorts have won competitions and screened at various international festivals including the Edinburgh Fringe. In 2015, my short film The BurglarWith the Yellow Hand was nominated for an Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) Research in Film Award.

You can find out more about all aspects of my work on my website, http://yorwickcastle.com
My new blog http://KatherineBlakeneyStardigger.blogspot.com is all about Digging in the Stars and my references and inspirations as a writer.

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Of Glitter and Gold: A Canary Club Anthology

Of Glitter and Gold: A Canary Club Anthology
Sherry D. Ficklin
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: March 27th 2017
Genres: Historical, Young Adult

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

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

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

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

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NOTHING GOLD EXCERPT:

It’s easier than I imagined to sneak into the party. The music is so loud and the crowd so enormous that no one sees me wind my way through the shrubs on the outskirts. The massive estate is far enough away from the city that I had to hitch a ride to get here, and I’ll have to time my exit just right to make the train back to Manhattan.

Brushing off my secondhand suit coat, I enter the party via the back patio. A wide pool is filled with people, most still in their fancy evening wear. My eyes slide past them,searching for the one person at this shindig that I know. I scan past butlers with white gloves holding silver trays covered in champagne glasses, past gleeful dames in short skirts with blood-red lips, and past gents in their glad rags I can tell with one glance costmore dough than I make in a year working at the mill.

When I finally see him, his pinstripe suit, matching fedora, and red pocket square, he’s standing atop the massive staircase on the ledge overlooking the party. Deacon Brewer, the reason I’m here tonight. His hands are stuffed in the pockets of his trousers as he chats up a fella I don’t recognize, along with the dame hanging off his arm. Plastering on an easy grin, I wind my way through the people, helping myself to a glass of bubbly as I head for the stairs. The stone steps are covered in gold confetti, the whole place practically dripping with it. Long, red velvet drapes hang from arched windows, and leafless branches painted gold and draped with crystal beads sit in tall vases in every corner. Nothing has been left un-gilded.

I shake my head at the audacity. Might as well have a neon sign—someone, please rob the joint.

Deacon sees me coming and dismisses himself from his conversation, welcoming me with an open hand.

“Dickey Lewis, glad you could make it, boy,” he offers warmly.

As if I had a choice.

“Of course, Mr. Brewer,” I respond with more warmth than I feel. Truth is that I’m in deep to Deacon after a few bad bets at his club last month, and he opted to make me work it off rather than take it outta my hide. I suppose that makes him clever, but I can’t help the gnawing feeling that this is a debt I may never fully repay. “What’s the score?” Iask, lowering my voice.

Draping an arm across my shoulders, he walks me through the glass doors and intothe house. Still crammed with people drinking, dancing, and generally wrecking the joint, he pulls a cigar from his vest pocket with his free hand.

“Upstairs in the den is a lovely Monet, behind which is a very large safe. Cash, some baubles, and a bankbook are inside. I don’t care about the rest; you take what
you need. But the bankbook needs to find its way into my hands tomorrow morning by eight am.”

I take a deep breath, rolling my tongue over my teeth before answering, “How am I supposed to get into the safe?”

He barks a deep laugh, slapping me on the back. “Guess you’ll have to get a little creative. Just get in, get out, and don’t let nobody see ya, got it?”

All I can do is nod and watch him swagger away. Sure, I’ve boosted loot before, but always simple jobs, smash and grabs. Nothing like this. What have I gotten myselfinto this time?

Still, whatever else is in there is mine for the taking, I tell myself. Could be a big pay day, judging by the looks of the place.

I wander casually through the house, trying to look as if I belong while also counting the number of cops and guards watching the area. It’s not as many as I expected. I graba dark-haired dame by the waist, offering her a charming smile and asking for a dance. We Charleston together for two songs, finally stopping to imbibe more champagne. When I ‘accidently’ stumble into her, she spills the contents of her glass on my jacket, fumbling a wide-eyed apology.

Waving her off with a smile, I hand her my glass, “You take this, and I’ll go find a place to wash up.”

“You could always take a dip in the pool, honey,” she says, batting her eyelashes.

Beside her, a gentleman points up a secondary set of stairs near the front door. “Washroom is up there, I think.”

I mutter a thanks and a promise to return, then make my way up the stairs, continuing to stumble around as if drunk, occasionally opening a door to find a couple necking or a room full of folks smoking the Indian hop in long pipes.

Finally, the thumping of the music fading below me, I make my way to the library. Beyond that, I find the only locked door on the entire floor. Digging into my pocket, I pull out my lock kit, a simple flattened iron jimmy and a hooked pick. Sliding both in the lock,I slide them back and forth, listening for the mechanism inside to release. It doesn’t takelong and the door springs open, allowing me to step inside and close it quickly behind me. It’s dark except for the glow of a single lamp atop a massive oak desk, behind which is a tall arched window overlooking the front of the estate. From this spot, I can see the cars lined up along the circular drive, partygoers coming and going in wild abandon. Pulling the pocket watch from my vest, I wipe my fingers across the cracked glass face, checking the time. Only thirty minutes until the train. If I miss it, it’ll be two hours before the next one. Not the end of the world, unless someone notices the lift before I’m gone. That’s a long time to stick around with a pocket fulla stolen goods.

I glance around me, the blood chilling in my veins. Every wall except the one with the window is covered in framed paintings. And I have no idea which one is a Monet.

Scrambling, I begin lifting each, checking the wall behind for any sign of the safe. Finally, on the opposite wall from where I started, I find it. Carefully lifting the heavy
canvas free, I set it on the floor and turn my attention to the wall safe. It’s not large, about the size of a bread box with a spinning combination dial in the center. Unsure what else to do, I pull the pocket knife free from my trousers and flick it open, trying to wedge it between the door and the frame. As soon as I do, I know it’s going to be futile. The thing is heavy steel; no way my knife is gonna bust it open. Putting it away, I begin spinning the dial at random, praying I’ll get lucky.

I’m so flustered I don’t hear the door open or the footsteps from behind me until it’s too late.

“It’s my birthday,” a voice offers, making me spin, hands balled into fists to fight my way free from the room.

The dame is tall, her garnet-red hair rolled into bouncy curls and pinned in a messy heap at the back of her neck. Her dress is green, almost the same color as her eyes, and it hugs her slender frame as if it were a second skin. Even the long strings of pearlstwined around her neck seems completely natural, not just a decoration but an extension of her. I take a breath, blinking, momentarily stunned. She drapes one hand on her hip, her entire body listing to the side as she points to the safe.

“The combination,” she repeats. “It’s my birthday.”

Finally recovering my voice, I stammer. “I was, uh, just…”

The corners of her mouth turn upward. “Breaking into my father’s safe?”

I don’t know what to say. I feel her in the room, the way one might feel the air change right before a storm, a heaviness that settles in, leaving my soul with a sense of foreboding. My instincts battle inside me. Do I grab her and tie her to a chair, or do I flee? The weight of her gaze makes it impossible to think clearly.

“Relax,” she says, raising a glass I hadn’t noticed her holding to her lips and taking a slow drink. “I’m not calling the guards if that’s what you’re worried about.”

“Oh? You’re just gonna let me crack this safe and walk away with whatever’s inside?”

She shrugs. “It’s not my money. What do I care?”

I lick my lips, sizing her up. A spoiled little rich girl who wants to stick it to Daddy. I’ve seen a few of those in my day. I can work with this—if I can get my head back on straight. It’s not like me to get so flustered by a dame, not even a high-quality one like this.

“Besides…” She sets the glass on the desk and saunters toward me. “It’s not like we don’t have enough.”

I catch a hint of her perfume in the air when she brushes by me, lavender and something else I can’t quite place. Taking the dial in her hand, she spins the knob until the door finally clicks, then she steps back, giving me a go-ahead gesture.

I hesitate, flicking glances at the bare skin where her neck meets her shoulder, at the creamy whiteness of her skin, before settling my eyes on her face. “What’s your name, doll?”

She looks down, sheepishly at first, but then raises just her eyes to look at me with an expression of bold defiance. “I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours.”

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Safe and Sound Read-a-Long

Hey guys! I am super excited to read Safe and Sound by Alli Hope. I was so lucky to be able to read it a few years ago, but I am looking forward to reading the finished product with new eyes. What I remember from before is an incredible story about a girl and a boy thrown back together as they go on an almost impossible journey. It also talks about human trafficking, which is something so serious that feels like it only get discussed when it’s in the Taken movies or when Ashton Kutcher talks about it. Atlanta is a hub for human trafficking and the town I live in isn’t that far from there. I hope that this opens the eyes of so many young adults who are reading it. It’s also a really great story of two teenagers trying to find their way in the world again.

Alli Hope is hosting a Read-A-Long for Safe and Sound from March 24-April 2.

16 year-old, Hailey Perish, knows her life can’t get much worse. Since her dad split a few years ago, Hailey’s mother has spiraled hard and fast, careening toward rock bottom and threatening to take her daughter down with her. Hailey now marks time by evictions, her mother’s poker games, and Saturday School where she voluntarily shows up for weekend detentions to secure her one promised meal of the week. She has no room for relationships, especially with someone like her childhood love and junior class golden boy, Carson Hart. Hailey trusted him once and Carson failed her. She’s determined not to let herself be hurt again.

When Hailey’s mom does the unthinkable and bets her own daughter in a high stakes poker game, Mitch, the loan shark, is all too eager and determined to collect on his debt. To him, Hailey is nothing but property. His property. And he’ll do anything to recover it. On the run from a fate that promises a much worse life than she already knows, there’s only one person in the world Hailey can call for help.

Will Carson be there for her in her darkest hour and deliver her from harm’s way safe and sound? Or will he abandon Hailey—just like he’s always done—just like they all do?

Alli Hope’s debut novel delivers an unforgettable story about love & surviving in the dark places. Safe & Sound contains mature situations and content.

Alli Hope lives on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia. She spends her days working with homeless veterans and her nights putting words on the page. Co-creator of fangirl podcast All The Flails, Alli loves binge watching shows on Netflix or reading swoony books with characters she can fall in love with. She recently married Ricky Whittle and David Ramsey, despite what they’d say otherwise.

Use the tag #SSReadAlong to read along on Twitter! I know I will be!

ANDROMEDA Review Tour July 11-15

July 11-15, 2016

Release week festivities for Meg Trotter’s ANDROMEA! This debut novel well release on July 12, 2016 and we are celebrating all week! From July 11-15 we are looking for bloggers to post honest reviews and to host a giveaway. We also ask that you email the links back to me so that we may also promote your posts. We also ask that you post your reviews to Amazon and Goodreads as well if you have accounts.

About ANDROMEDA:

For as long as she can remember, seventeen-year-old Princess Andromeda has done what was expected of her. She consented to a political marriage to a hateful older man. She became a quiet, obedient housewife. After her husband’s death, she agreed to be united in yet another political marriage for the sake of her country’s stability.

However, when the Greek goddess of the sea disrupts this second wedding ceremony, jealous of the pomp of the celebration, she places a curse on Andromeda and her home: either sacrifice the princess to a sea beast or let the creature destroy her country. A visit to the Oracle reveals that Andromeda needs four ancient weapons of the Greek gods to fight off the beast and the goddess who controls it.

Now Andromeda must find the strength and the cunning to do what she has never done before — to fight for her own life — while keeping the well-meaning “hero” Perseus out of her way.

From Meg Trotter:

“Andromeda” is a retelling of the Greek myth of Perseus, from Princess Andromeda’s point of view. The series will follow her and several other heroines who are often portrayed as secondary to their “heroes” in each of the myths. I hope you enjoy the ride!