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BLOG BOOK BLAST TOUR

Exigency (Protectors of the Elemental Magic Book 2)

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Author: Marnie Cate

Title: Exigency

Series: The Protectors of the Elemental Magic Series

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Romance

Synopsis:

There is a world around us that most people don’t take the time to see. Mara Stone’s world was shaken, but she is a fighter. Facing new adversaries, Mara is learning what it truly means to protect the magic. As she starts to rebuild her life, the web of her family’s secrets continues to unravel. Mara is forced to face her fear of losing everything she holds dear. She said that you would be a challenge to my children. I thought I had made the right choice when I selected Eliza. If only Mae had not interfered. But, enough of those sad thoughts, I think the two of you will be perfect replacements. When Mara and Cole find themselves in the cold world of Snowstrum, they will have to choose either to be true to their promise to protect the magic, or to follow their desires. Magic may not be enough to free them from the icy fortress they are trapped in.

The second book in the Protectors of the Elemental Magic series, Exigency is a compelling, magical young adult fantasy tale.

Excerpt

Accepting his assistance, I stood up to find myself in the middle a winter wonderland. The snow-covered ground was filled with large trees heavy with the snow. A small white rabbit hopped through the tree lines. The sky above was a deep blue with not a cloud in it. In the distance, I could see a castle. The structure was like none I had ever seen before. The high towers and walls looked as if they were made of ice.

“Is that where we are going?” I asked, unable to maintain the cold demeanor anymore.

“That is your new home, Marina,” he said, as he put two fingers in his mouth and whistled.

Horses clomping sounded behind us. The skeleton of a man was sitting on the outside of a black and silver carriage being drawn by four skeleton horses. The driver wore a red and black uniform with a black top hat. His empty eye sockets glowed red. Slowing beside us to a step, a Vetur hopped off the back of the carriage and opened the door for us.

“Are we riding in this?” I asked. “Isn’t he the one that threw me here?”

Taking my hand, Cole said, “Mort will not harm you. This will be more comfortable than the long walk and it will give us time to talk about tomorrow’s events.”

Sensing my reluctance, he kissed me on the cheek and whispered in my ear, “Trust me. Climb in.”

————————————————————————–

EXIGENCY COMPLETE

Amazon Book link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01BVSJU5K

Marnie Cate BiographyMarnie Cate

Marnie Cate was born and raised in Montana before adventuring to the warmer states of Arizona and California. Her love of Dame Judi Dench and dreams of caticorns and rainbows inspired her to chase her dreams. One great sentence came to mind and the world of elemental magic and the humans they lived amongst filled her mind. With her first book Remember: Protectors of the Elemental Magic, the story has just begun.

Links:

Marnie Cate’s website: marniecate.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarnieCate

Twitter: twitter.com/Marnie_Cate

Pinterest: pinterest.com/marniecate

Goodreads: goodreads.com/Marnie_Cate

Amazon page: amazon.com/dp/B01BVSJU5K/

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DEEP

Deep-Banner

Synopsis

Fleeing from a troubled past that left him feeling tarnished and used, Sean finds work as a medic aboard the deep sea mining ship Ariel, on a distant planet.

Under the leader ship of the infuriating, yet charismatic, Captain Joel Riley, Sean settles into his simple, but dangerous, new life. It’s a life he soon comes to love; albeit one in which he conceals his sexuality and avoids intimacy.

But Sean’s new world is turned on its head when an old face threatens to expose him for the man he used to be.

With Joel’s help, will Sean learn to come to terms with his past and become a man he can be proud of?

Deep AL Bates

Buy Links

Don’t miss the limited time 30% discount across Amazon sites!

WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/deep-by-al-bates/

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Deep-L-Bates-ebook/dp/B01AOB6VW0/

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Deep-L-Bates-ebook/dp/B01AOB6VW0/

Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/Deep-L-Bates-ebook/dp/B01AOB6VW0/

Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/Deep-L-Bates-ebook/dp/B01AOB6VW0/

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-deep-1969763-177.html

Book Trailer

Excerpt

Joel Riley was a difficult captain to work under, and for his first season in the Deep, Sean was pretty sure he despised the man. But another season in he’d grown accustomed to the captain’s volatile temper and inability to compromise. Joel had been a miner all his life, born on Titan to a family of miners. He had the sea in his veins and Ariel was his heart. There was a confidence to Joel that drew the crew to him and an arrogance that kept him slightly out of reach. Rugged, strong, and built for hard labor, he was the exact opposite of Sean—and yet of all the crew, Sean felt closest to Joel. Sean understood the captain’s approach, his passions, and he trusted the older man with his life.

“Captain, is everything all right?” Sean said from the entrance.

Joel jumped, knocking his knees on the control board. “Jesus, boy! What you doing creeping around in the middle of the night?”

“I wasn’t creeping,” Sean said.

“Skulking around, spying on people, and you reckon that’s not creeping,” Joel grumbled.

Deep Cover

Sean thought better of continuing into an argument. If Joel’s mood was testy they were going to go around in circles annoying each other.

“I was about to turn in,” Sean said, deciding it was best to be passive.

“You looking for permission?” Joel’s tone was still curt, but it wasn’t really directed at Sean. Something else was bothering him.

“No, I just thought I’d come in and say good night.”

Joel sighed, apparently appeased by the lack of confrontation. He gave Sean a weak, tired smile. “Better get some rest, Doc. Couple of hours and Harvey will need you to stitch something, no doubt.”

Wasn’t that the truth. Harvey, their engineer, was pretty good when it came to mineral mining and keeping the ship moving, but he could injure himself getting into his dive suit.

“What about you, Sir?”

“I’m not planning on cutting anything,” Joel said, his smile strengthening.

“I meant are you turning in?”

Joel hesitated. Usually the captain was impossible to read, but every so often Sean got hints of the man behind the muscle. There was a softness to him, hidden behind the square jaw and piercing eyes. Sean had always been drawn to his vulnerable side. It crept in from time to time, reminding Sean that the captain, despite liking to pretend he was a demigod, was just a man. A good man.

“Not yet.” A shadow seemed to be hanging over him.

“Would you mind some company?” Sean offered, sensing the captain had something he needed to get off his chest.

“Suit yourself.” It was as close to an invitation as Joel ever gave anyone.

About the author

A.L. BATES has a keen interest in Sci-fi and adventure novels and enjoys writing stories with strong characters in imaginative backgrounds. Although an avid writer, Deep is the first published novella by A.L. Bates.

A.L. Bates can be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoralbates


Br0th3rly Extract

Br0th3rly blog tour

Title: Br0th3rly

Author: Alina Popescu

Series: Famous on the Internet, Book One

Genre: Gay Romance, Contemporary, M/M Romance

Length: Novella

Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

Start your journey through the new techie/geeky gay romance series by Alina Popescu—Famous on the Internet—with the first book, Br0th3rly.

Synopsis

Fighting his relentless love for Trevor, the guy he was raised to consider his brother, has been Tristan’s mission in life.

To distance himself from Trevor, even after discovering they weren’t really related, he left for college at sixteen. Moving into the city, building a new life, and running an anonymous blog about

what he considers sick, twisted feelings might make Tristan famous on the Internet, but it isn’t enough to get over his obsession. Every time he goes home, a quick glance at Trevor brings it all flooding back.

Br0th3rly 3D Cover

When commitment-phobe Trevor announces he’s got a serious boyfriend during one of Tristan’s rare visits home, the adoring kid brother will be forced to run once again. This time, however, Trevor doesn’t stand back and watch him leave.

Instead, he follows him, making it nigh on impossible for Tristan to keep his love a secret for much longer.

Excerpt

A knock on my door told me I’d unsuccessfully tried to sleep till dinner time.

“Yeah,” I groaned, praying he would not come in.

Of course it was Trev; that was the rule in our house. Dad would get drinks ready, Mom would cook the meal, and Trev would fetch me. I’d been hiding before dinner since I was fourteen. Back then I used to blame it on homework; now I was using my exhaustion.

It was an excuse, but I wasn’t lying. I really was shattered. About a week before having to spend time with my family, sleep would start to elude me. Restless nights, or dark dreams that began erotic and ended with disgust painted on my parents’ faces. Worse, that same look of disgust was painted on my brother’s face, twisting it cruelly.

Trev pushed the door open and leaned against the door frame. “Dinner, baby bro.”

I groaned and pressed the heels of my hands into my eye sockets. I hated the sound of his voice when he called me that. Such warmth, such pure brotherly love. He was never this sweet and warm with anyone else, not even with Mom. Just me. Man, did that make me feel like the freaking asshole of the century.

“C’mon, lazy boy, Mom’s been cooking all day to make your favorites. Let’s not keep her waiting.”

He stood there, in the doorway, waiting for me to come. I knew what would happen next and I braced myself. Deep breaths, deep breaths. Think of grandpa and grandma having sex. It was useless. The moment I passed by, he ruffled my hair and pulled me into a half hug. There we go, boner time! I could not have my brother touch me and not get a stiffy. And he always was so carelessly tactile with me.

I grumbled some excuse or another and hid in the bathroom.

Book Trailer

Buy Links

Don’t miss the ARe 25% off sale till January 23rd, WIP’s Unzipping 2016 Sale – 35% off all list titles till January 24th, or the huge Australia Day Sale–January 25 to January 27—50% off all titles on WIP’s website and 35% off on Are!

WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/br0th3rly-by-alina-popescu/

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B019VK3VFA/

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B019VK3VFA/

Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/dp/B019VK3VFA/

Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B019VK3VFA/

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-br0th3rly-1959019-149.html

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/br0th3rly-alina-popescu/1123179425

Br0th3rly Cover

Giveaway

1x$10 WIP Gift Card

2×1 Backlist Title from WIP – anthologies and individual releases included

About the author

Writer, traveler, and coffee addict, Alina Popescu has been in love with books all her life. She started writing when she was ten and she has always been drawn to sci-fi, fantasy, and the supernatural realm. Born and raised in Romania, she finds her inspiration in books of all genres, in movies, and the occasional manga comic book. She is a proud geek who needs her fast Internet and gadgets more than she needs air.

Social Links

Site & Blog: http://alina-popescu.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authoralinapopescu

Twitter: http://twitter.com/alina_popescu

Instagram: http://instagram.com/alinapopescuwriter

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/alina-popescu

Google+:  https://www.google.com/+AlinaPopescu

Amazon:  http://amazon.com/author/alinapopescu


The Running Game Cover Reveal

I’m two days late (blame too much wine and not enough sleep), but I have been busy and as this very important event is taking place today I figured it was worth the wait.

I am very, very pleased to reveal the new cover for The Running Game.

This cover was designed by the incredibly talented Ashley Ruggirello, her attention to detail is incredible (and so are all her covers). I’m over the moon with it.

The Running Game is going to be re-released very soon and we’ll also be showcasing a new trailer next week. The excitements getting too much! Not long now.

Find out more about my cover designer here:  www.CardboardMonet.com


The Eye of Mares

 The Eye of Mares Blog Tour

 ROTE - Eye of Mares Revised Cover Art

To celebrate the release of the second instalment in the Rise of the Elohim chronicles, the Eye of Mares is going to blog hopping like a headlining rockstar, multiple showings for over the course of two weeks, with a new page shared with each appearance, continuing from where the last one went off and today I get to host the latest page:

 

 

 

The Eye of Mares – Part 11

…“Tell me, Damien—” Zach said, as he materialised beside his own bed, tying his pillow cases together. “—you forgot how fast I am, haven’t you?”

“Grrrr,” Damien snarled. Besides being furious, he felt a little embarrassed. He had forgotten.

Damien cursed himself for his own stupidity, as he bit his own tongue. In the forty-six months he had known Zach, he was aware of his spectacular talents. Such as his natural talent of being able to raise both speed and strength at an astonishing rate when fighting stronger opponents. And yet despite being no match for him, Damien was forever trying to best him, only to be met with failure time and time again.

He had hated Zach from the day he met him, all because he was meant to live the same life as Zach, to grow up as a Watcher, as opposed to being a prisoner on Osiris. He deemed Zach unworthy of the life he led and desired it for himself instead. And he would do whatever it took to bring Zach down a peg or two.

“Give me my sword back, Damien.” Zach repeated evenly.

“Never!” Damien denied in retaliation.

Then I’ll just have to reclaim it for myself then.

Zach’s telepathically spoken words threw Damien off-guard, allowing him to strike out twice. His first move saw him use the sheet to slap Damien across the chops before he whipped it again at his legs, knocking him over.

The sword came free from Damien’s grip, only to have the sheet fly out again and reclaim both it and the sheath for its owner. Zach tossed the sheet back onto his bed and sheathed his weapon, only to then advance on his defeated foe.

“I can sense your every move and read your every thought. Did you really think I didn’t know you were coming?” Zach asked off-handedly. “I knew what you were up to from the moment you woke up this morning.”…

 

Be sure to check out the continuing blogs to watch the story continue, or pick up a copy direct from Amazon: The Eye of Mares – Out now!

You could even let the adventure continue and check out its prequel, where the story began and the series was created: The Spirit of Iris – Out now!

 

Cover Art Book 3 - The Story Continues.JPGAuthor: Rocky Rochford

Illustrator: Ashleigh Longman

Title: The Eye of Mares

Series: Book 2 of the Rise of the Elohim Chronicles

Genre: Illustrated YA fantasy adventure

Book Content Rating: Suitable for ages 12 and up

Tag-line: “Darkness has many forms and Mares is its playground.”

 

Blurb:

Nearly four years have passed since Zach drew blade against the Shanzi Shimay and now the time has come for him to draw his sword once more. The Realm of Mares has fallen victim to invasion as three terrifying beasts of darkness, seek to destroy the world around them, as they await the inevitable arrival of their King.

With dark times ahead, the numbers of the Watchers on Iris has grown, as Zach is joined by seven fellow students, all too eager to prove their worth. It’s not long before the students are put to the test facing off against the Nein Navy and uncover a dark secret.

The stage is set and the Battle for Mares is under-way. 

Author Shot - Rocky Rochford 2015Rocky Rochford Biography

Rocky Rochford is your standard guy, if your standard guy scuba dives, partakes in underwater photographer and is a wake-boarding, adventure seeking, sword collecting, marine conservation supporter. After living life on the road and the places between, he finally settled down but not without benefiting from all the lessons life had to teach him.

Self-professed “Student of Everything, and Master of Nothing,” Rochford does not choose what he writes, but writes what chooses him, be it fantasy, crime, poetry, philosophy or even adventure. Life is a journey we all get to experience, just like a good book.

Every read into another of his typed works is another trip into the imagination of his mixed up, crazed and deranged mind and this year along those works include the likes of full novels and novellas such as:

London Calling – a Deep Water Novel (Spy Thriller)London Calling

Don’t Even Blink – Part of the Don’t Turn Around Trilogy (Horror)

Wait and Bleed – The Don’t Turn Around Collection (Horror collection of the entire Don’t Trilogy)

And now The Eye of Mares – Book 2 of the Rise of the Elohim Chronicles (Illustrated YA fantasy adventure)

 Other works released by him, are a number of short stories pertaining to horror, paranormal and romance, as well as other works released as part of an anthology:

The Devil You Know (Paranormal short)

Salt in the Wound – Part of the Entwined Saga (Paranormal short)

The Food of Love (featuring Him & Her) – An Anthology by Solstice Publishing (Romance filled Anthology)

Him & Her (Romance Standalone release)

Don’t Say A Word (Horror)

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Volume II (featuring The Devil Before) – An Anthology by the Solstice Shadows (Paranormal themed Anthology)

Awethology Dark (featuring Ghosts) – An Anthology by the #Awethors (Adult stories pertaining to a darker theme)

The December Awethology Dark Volume (featuring Seven Years Bad Luck) – An Anthology by the #Awethors (Adult stories pertaining to a darker theme, set around December)

****Welcome to the World of Rochford****

­­

Social Media Links:

Rocky Rochford’s website: rockyrochford.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IamRockyRochford/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RockyRochford

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7310280.Rocky_Rochford

Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Rocky-Rochford/e/B00O3AA3KU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1449272442&sr=8-1

 

Rochford writes a little something for everyone, so if Mares isn’t your cup of tea, you can guarantee one of his many other works certainly is!

Wait and Bleed


STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART

BLOG TOUR

STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART

By BREIGH FORSTNER

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON NOW!

‘MUSIC WAS IN HIS BLOOD, AND SHE WAS IN HIS HEART…..’

Young attractive rock girl playing the electric guitar

SYNOPSIS

Cale Pelton didn’t want to fall in love.

Fresh off a breakup, he was scrambling to find a new lead guitarist for his band, Everlasting, before they went on tour. He wanted to enjoy being single, singing his heart out nightly to fans.

Never did he expect to meet Bryn Schaefler, the sassy rich girl that would change his life.

Bryn left her parents’ house with only her suitcase and guitar, leaving her old life behind her. She nails the band audition and becomes Everlasting’s new lead guitarist. Bryn didn’t want to find Cale attractive, let alone develop a crush on a bandmate. But when trouble starts to find the band, Bryn starts to believe her family will do whatever it takes to get her home.

Will Cale and Bryn listen to their heads and stay strictly professional? Or will they follow their hearts and admit their feelings towards eachother?

author photo

AUTHOR BIO

Breigh Forstner currently resides in Southeast Michigan with her two daughter. While she works full-time during the week, at night she spends time with her girls dancing and coming up with her next book idea. Her goal is to make it onto a best sellers list at some point in her career, and writes any chance she can get. She is a music lover and is a sucker for going to concerts, rock bands, and tattooed bad boys.

AUTHOR LINKS

Facebook: www.facebook.com/breighforstnerauthor

Twitter: @BreighForstner

Instagram: https://instagram.com/breighforstner/

Blog Page: http://breighforstnerauthor.weebly.com/

BLOGGERS: For review copies, please contact the author.

straightfromtheheartteaser3

Follow Breigh’s book news as she’s featured on other blogs throughout the week, including author spotlights, author interviews, guest posts & more!

Kathleen


THE CHURNING

BLOG TOUR

THE CHURNING

By Justin Edison

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON NOW!

Teaser2

Synopsis

In Justin Edison’s second novel, Persian-American soccer star Arman Hessabi wakes in chains in a house of enemies. Driven in part by an abusive older brother, the hero feels his life is complete with the glory, women and riches afforded by a Premier League striker’s lifestyle. But he meets his match in Fat Man, Captain, Huck and Kay—men who hold him in thrall somewhere in Europe. Through trials, Hessabi comes to question his own ego and position in life. But is it too late for a soccer star with no apparent power over his own fate?

Author Bio

Justin A. Edison has been writing fiction and stories for twenty-odd years. A graduate of the Evansville and Hamline writing programs, he counts among his adventures a rocking semester at Harlaxton (in the British Midlands) and a tour of the Czech Republic. His pursuits include hiking, Web site design, trying to fix the world (in too many ways) and playing soccer (rather poorly). He lives in the Seattle area with his wife, two energetic kids and a vocal cat.

The Churning is his second novel.

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Author Links

To contact the author: edisonchurning@gmail.com

www.jedisonwriting.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/ChurningBook?ref=hl

@jedisonbooks

BLOGGERS: REVIEW COPIES ARE AVAILABLE. PLEASE CONTACT THE AUTHOR.

Justin Edison Blog Tour Poster


Time for the Lost – Cover Reveal

TFTL Cover RevealCalla’s disappearance leads her family and friends to suspect that she’s lost. In a desperate attempt to find her, Valcas seeks help from a man he betrayed. A new search begins, one that sounds promising, even if it forces Valcas to confront his past.

The travel team reunites for a mission they never saw coming: a journey to a world caught between life and death, and hidden within the deepest recesses of time. Ivory rediscovers a friend and Ray learns the meaning behind his tattoo. But the connections they make between travelers and the lost may twist the core of the Time and Space Travel Agency inside out.

Time for the Lost is the third installment in The Call to Search Everywhen serial series.

Catch up with Calla and Valcas’ adventure before the third book releases in February 2016!

series graphicAmazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ iTunes ~ Audible

About the Author

Chess Desalls is the author of the YA time travel series, The Call to Search Everywhen. She’s a longtime reader of fantasy and sci-fi novels, particularly classics and young adult fiction. Her non-fiction writing has led to academic and industry publications. She’s also a contributing editor for her local writing club’s monthly newsletter. The California Writers Club, South Bay branch, has awarded two of Chess’ stories first place for best short fiction. When she’s not reading or writing, she enjoys traveling and trying to stay in tune on her flute.

chessConnect with Chess on:

Twitter
Facebook
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Goodreads
Pinterest


Renovo

G Wakeling terrified me with his book Inside Evil, now he’s back with an amazing sci-fi novella, Ronovo, which of course isn’t scary at all. I mean what could be scary about waking up on a spaceship that’s falling apart!!!! Needless to say I’m still having nightmares.


Up to her eyeballs in debt, Dr. Rachel Galliance jumps at the chance of a last-minute rotation on Mars, despite being terrified of hypersleep. This is her last chance to get life back on track, and it’s only one stint on Mars – how bad can it be?

When she awakes, her vessel – the Renovo – is eerily quiet; that’s before it begins to disintegrate around her. Fighting for her life and struggling to save her crewmates, Rachel realises something is very wrong. The question’s not will they reach Mars, but will they ever see Earth again?

DOWNLOAD NOW


The Distant Sound of Violence

I am super excited today to bring you details of the new release from my #Awethor buddy Jason Greensides. Jason’s a great writer and I know you’re gonna love his new book.

Seven Days, Seven blogs, Seven Chapters

Day One, Chapter One

The Distant Sound of Violence by Jason Greensides Relaunch Blog Tour

The Distant Sound of Violence promo banner

Author: Jason Greensides

Title: The Distant Sound of Violence

Genre: Literary/Contemporary/Coming-of-age/mystery

Book Content Rating: Adult, based on language, violence, and sexual content

Synopsis:

Do we ever escape the decisions we make when we’re fifteen?

Nathan Dawes, the loser from school, an outsider, street philosopher and member of The Grove Runners gang, needs Ryan’s help to get Stephanie to fall for him. When Ryan’s lawnmower is stolen, Nathan sees this as his chance to enlist Ryan in his plan.

Although Ryan knows becoming friends with Nathan could lead to trouble, he reluctantly agrees to help.

Stephanie wants nothing to do with either of them. Besides, she’s more interested in the one guy in the world she really shouldn’t be.

As Nathan continues his pursuit of Stephanie, and Ryan gets mixed up with The Grove Runners, soon events overtake them all, haunting their lives for years to come.

This intelligent and compelling debut is a heart-breaking tale of bad decisions and love gone wrong. It’s about choices that lead to violence, loss and tragedy.


Excerpt

Chapter One

‘You can’t change the size of fire.’

The first words he ever said to me were half lost in the rumble of traffic along Ladbroke Grove.

I’m sure he thought he was being poetic or something, but right then I didn’t care: someone had just stolen my aunt’s lawnmower while I’d been inside the repair shop. I stormed up to him from the curb, where I’d been scanning the road for some sign of the thief, and barked down at him, ‘Where’s the mower?’

He gave me a crooked smile, delved into his trouser pocket, pulled out a stick of Dentyne and offered it to me.

How did he think a stick of gum could help in this situation? How would that help when my aunt went batshit? Weirdo stuff like that made everyone at school run whenever they saw Nathan. It also didn’t help that he was supposed to be part of a gang – The Grove Runners – and it was this that made me weary of him now. If any of the girls from school saw me talking to him, they’d be gone.

So I smacked the gum out of his hand, sending it flying onto the concrete.

‘Which way did he go?’

‘That way,’ Nathan finally said, jerking his thumb towards the Harrow Road.

I turned from him then ran off in what would turn out to be a futile search for the lawnmower.

*

The next time I spoke to him was two days later in Mrs Bradley’s history class. For some reason, he threw himself into the chair next to mine, flung his graffiti-covered bag on the table, just as my girlfriend Karen – the girl I was supposed to be saving the seat for – walked up, saw the two of us, gave an exaggerated huff and strutted away again.

‘Yeah, cheers for that,’ I said to Nathan as I watched Karen’s arse sway tauntingly as she walked away to look for another seat.

‘Sorry, mate. I didn’t mean to –’

‘Save it.’

Besides, he didn’t seem sorry. He looked amused.

Ignoring him, I perched on the edge of my seat and watched to see where Karen would sit. I could still salvage the situation, follow her over there, tell her she looked beautiful today.

She finally sat over in the opposite corner, at the farthest point away from me.

But then I saw she could have taken the seat next to this other girl, but hadn’t. There was an empty seat next to her. She wanted me to follow!

I grabbed my books and pens, but just as I was about to leap from my seat, Mrs Bradley clapped her hands, told everyone to shut up and draw the curtains. Too late to change seats. I slumped back into my chair and dumped my books on the desk as far from Nathan as I could. Yeah, petty, I know.

Mrs Bradley inserted a video into the player, switched off the lights and ordered everyone to put their pens down. Seconds later, Alain Resnais’s Night and Fog flickered across room.

As the opening credits rolled and the haunting music rippled through the sweaty air, I soon forgot about Nathan and the trouble he’d caused me with Karen. That film is probably why I remember the events of that day as well as I do: Jews stripped, shaved and tattooed; a man who’d been shot, lying on a barbed wire fence; a bulldozer shovelling raw-boned and skeletal bodies into a ditch…

About halfway through, I snuck a look at Nathan. Odd: he seemed just as disturbed by the film as I was. Usually he’d sit at the front, cracking wise, but now he was gazing at the screen, the flecks of green in his brown eyes shimmering, the Dentyne frozen in the side of his mouth in mid-chew.

When it was over, as Mrs Bradley ejected the video and switched on the lights, I whispered to Nathan, ‘That film was insane. I can’t believe –’

He held up a chubby, scarred hand to silence me, an odd, faraway look on his face, and huskily said, ‘I know where your lawnmower is.’

*

This was back in ’91 when I was living with my aunt in a small flat off Portobello Road. She’d taken care of me since I was eleven, when my parents, away on their second honeymoon, had drowned off the coast of Antigua (that small island in the Caribbean where I was born).

My father had jumped into the sea to save my mother after she’d been swept away by the swelling waves in the rainy season of 1987. Since that time I’d been living in west London under the stern guidance of my aunt. I always had plenty of friends and girlfriends, and usually managed to stay on top of my homework and out of trouble.

But something must have happened when I turned fifteen. Whether it was the nightmare of exams and having to make decisions about what I was going to do with my life, or whether hormonal changes had twisted my way of thinking – whatever it was – something had changed in me.

So, that afternoon after Mrs Bradley’s history class, I skipped football practice and lied to Karen about where I was going – something the old Ryan Williamson would never have done – and walked through Notting Hill with Nathan Dawes.

‘Where are we going?’ I said as we turned onto All Saints Road.

‘You’ll see.’

I think he thought ‘You’ll see’ would be enough to get me off the topic.

It wasn’t.

‘Come on. Don’t be lame. You said you knew who took my lawnmower.’

‘Yeah, and I bet you wish you could go back in time and stop that kid from taking it.’

‘So what if I do?’

‘My point is’ – he broke off to take a hefty drag on his cigarette – ‘that stuff what happened in Germany would have happened anyway. Determinism, innit.’

Nathan had already gone home to change, and he was now wearing a shirt, trainers with big floppy tongues, and aviator glasses, which were balanced on his head. His hair was slicked across his brow, partially covering a broad face that seemed both welcoming and belligerent.

It was that look on his face which was going to make me argue that what happened in Germany could have been stopped, perhaps asking him if my parents’ death was also inevitable. But I didn’t. Instead, I asked, ‘What you doing after exams?’

He seemed to struggle with this question, his brows jagged in a deep frown, his pockmarked, nail-bitten hands scratching at each other. ‘I don’t know… I just… Whatever I do, I just want to fit in. I want the girls to like me.’

I laughed, then, seeing that he was being serious, shut my mouth again.

‘Well, what are you gonna do?’ he said.

‘I want to make films and maybe get married, I guess.’ The vagueness of my answer was worrying, and, as if to steer the conversation back to the safety of the present, while realising Nathan had derailed the conversation in the first place with all that determinism bollocks, I said, ‘What did this kid look like, anyway?’

‘Can’t remember,’ he shrugged, ‘all kids pretty much look the same.’

‘You’re right useless.’

Nathan laughed, as if I’d fallen into a trap he’d laid. ‘Well, as Chaung Tzu said, “All People understand the use of the useful. But few people understand the use of the useless”.’

I waved him off. ‘And you said you want the girls to like you?’

But he’d already moved on, his attention caught by a group of boys waiting outside Vidur’s Videos. ‘There’s some people I want you to meet,’ he said.

I stopped dead, eyeing the boys wearily.

‘Come on,’ he continued, ‘your aunt wants her lawnmower back, don’t she?’

‘But I didn’t think I’d have to meet your dumbass friends in the process.’

‘Get over yourself. You need to see what’s on the underside of life. You need to –’

‘Shut your trap. I need to go meet Karen. I need to go to football practice.’

‘Look. Come with us just this once,’ he said. ‘After that you can go back to your hot girls.’

I studied his face. Could he hear the crazy things he was saying?

He looked back at me, and we tried to stare each other down, the traffic along Ladbroke Grove spluttering around us.

I don’t know how long the two of us stared at each other like that, but it felt a long time. Then, unable to remain serious any longer, we both broke into laughter.

‘You’re fucked,’ I said, my reluctance at meeting his gang crumbling the longer I watched Nathan’s animated eyes.

‘Let’s do this,’ he said.

I glanced over at the boys, who’d begun to saunter towards us, and I cursed under my breath. It was too late to walk off without looking like I was scared of them.

First, Nathan introduced me to Dwain Tapper, the leader of The Grove Runners, a curbside gang which had strong ties to a Yardie outfit headed by Dwain’s cousin, English Victor; then, Fahad Kandala, son of Vidur, the Indian proprietor of the video shop we were stood by now; Courtney Hoxton, another boy with Jamaican parents; and lastly – although

everyone was uncomfortable with his presence – Aidy Small, now half-hidden behind a wall because he knew he wasn’t welcome due to him being only eight years old.

We ambled up Ladbroke Grove to the Harrow Road where, according to Aidy (whom Nathan had sent to follow the thief), the lawnmower could be found in a shed at the end of an alley behind Lee’s Arcade. We stood across the street, eyeing the arcade, watching old men and kids trundle in and out, until it became apparent to the other gang members that they had no idea why we were there.

Dwain, grouchy, marginally overweight, with a short Afro, leering smile and dark confrontational eyes, stepped right up into Nathan’s face, looked him up and down, as if Nathan were emanating some faintly pungent smell, and said, ‘Why you bring us here for, star?’

Nathan placed a hand on my shoulder. ‘We’re here to get Ryan’s lawnmower back. Look how upset he is.’

I looked down at the floor, embarrassed that Nathan, despite Dwain’s glare, was just laughing him off.

Dwain kissed his teeth, eyed Fahad and Courtney, thrust his glare upon me then focused back on Nathan. ‘Ain’t no reason why we should help this bumboclot. My man looks like a batty boy.’

‘Don’t be like that,’ Nathan said, ‘he’s gonna help me get laid. The least we could do is this one little thing.’

‘I’m going to what?’ I said.

Fahad and Courtney laughed.

‘You ain’t getting no pussy,’ Dwain said, ‘not dressed like that. You look like you’re dressed for the beach – raas.’

Nathan flattened out his shirt with his palms. ‘This was my dad’s.’

‘No shit it was your old man’s. If I were you, I’d mash up his face; he’s laughing at you, star.’

What did Nathan see in these kids? Courtney and Fahad were OK, I guess, but Dwain was just…ugh.

‘If you batty boys fink I’m gonna watch while you steal back some pathetic lawnmower and drag that shit halfway across London, you’re on a jolt flex.’ Dwain hunked up a gob of spit and fired it three feet from Nathan.

Nathan blew air from his lips, making his fat lower lip wobble. He didn’t speak, just turned to eye the arcade again.

Feeling stupid for ditching football practice and Karen for these bunch of losers, I decided to make it up to my aunt in some other way. So I turned and walked back.

Nathan called after me but I kept my head forward and my feet moving. They were proper doing my nut. I had to go ring Karen.

Now about twenty meters away (I could hear Nathan and Dwain arguing again), I stomped on to the nearest bus stop.

*

When I arrived home, Aunt Esther was stooped over the stove, boiling rice, a wooden spoon in one hand, a bible in the other. She was stood between me and the phone.

Acting casual, I strolled up to the biscuit tin, pulled the lid open and picked out a chocolate Digestive, knowing this would cause her to turn and allow me to squeeze by her to the phone.

It worked, but she ignored the pre-meal biscuit and said, ‘How many sweet potatoes you want?’

My stomach flipped, both at the prospect of eating sweet potatoes, and being accused of rejecting my West Indian heritage. I took a bite of the biscuit and said, ‘Do I have to?’

She kissed her teeth, something I was used to her doing for the last four years, but this time it reminded me of Dwain, catching me off guard.

‘Look here, boy,’ she said, ‘I don’t never give you no yam, no plantain, dasheen, green banana, okra, aubergine, callaloo –’

‘I know. Just one then.’

I squeezed past her, the phone now in my sights at the end of the hallway. But just as I was about to leave the kitchen, she said, ‘Any sign of my lawnmower?’

‘What do we need the lawnmower for, anyway?’ I said, backchatting her against my better judgement. ‘We live in a flat.’

‘Don’t make me walk my hand around your face, boy. You’re lucky Gertrude can’t hear you. She box your ears.’

Gertrude was my grandmother in Antigua. Esther always said that Gertrude wanted nothing more than to get me out of the satanic cesspool of London and over to the Caribbean, to straighten me out, teach me the ways of the Lord.

Obviously, I hated the idea, so in order to steer the conversation away from that, I stepped outside the kitchen and said, ‘God, I’m starving, maybe I’ll have some plantain if you’re doing some.’

‘Eh-eh. Now you want my cooking. Have mercy.’ Despite herself, she laughed and waved me out of the kitchen. ‘And don’t go runnin’ up my phone bill.’

‘I won’t.’

I closed the door behind me and dialled the number.

‘Who’s this?’ Karen’s mum asked even though she knew who I was.

Sweat moistened my hands and I struggled to grip the receiver by the earpiece. ‘It’s Ryan. Is Karen there, please?’

There was an awkward silence, then: ‘Hang on, I’ll go see if she’s in.’ I flinched at the sharp knock of the phone being placed onto a table.

At last Karen came on the line. ‘Hello,’ she said, her voice oddly blank.

‘Hi, it’s me,’ I whispered.

‘Oh, hi,’ she said, the background noise at her end fading as she went into another room, ‘I thought you were with that Nathan Dawes.’


The Distant Sound of Violence cover

To celebrate the relaunch and Kindle $0.99 / £0.99 promotion of Jason Greensides’s acclaimed literary coming-of-age debut, The Distant Sound of Violence, you can read the first seven chapters on seven different blogs over seven days. I’m proud to host Jason for day one of the tour, featuring chapter one. Happy reading!

Amazon Book link: mybook.to/TDSOV

Jason Greensides Biography

Jason Greensides has a degree in Video Production and Film Studies and has made several short films, two of which have been broadcast on television – but writing fiction is his real passion.author headshot photo

He’s interested in ‘outsider’ types, people operating on the edge of society. This inspired him to write his first novel, The Distant Sound of Violence. It’s about a group of kids, one in particular, Nathan Dawes, whose philosophical obsessions and criminal connections have made him an outcast at school.

Jason is now working on his second novel, another coming-of-age mystery, but on coffee breaks he blogs and tweets about writing, and throws in the occasional book review.

Links:

Jason Greensides website: jasongreensides.com

Facebook: facebook.com/jasongreensidesauthor

Twitter: twitter.com/jasongreensides

Google Plus: plus.google.com/+JasonGreensides

Pinterest: pinterest.com/jasongreensides

Goodreads: goodreads.com/Jason_greensides

Amazon page: amazon.co.uk/Jason-Greensides