Spotlight & Excerpt: Coyote Summer + Giveaway

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Coyote Summer
by Laura Koerber
Genre: Magical Realism, Coming of Age

 

Ben O’Rourke, his best friend Clint, and their classmate Claire were supposed to grow up to be wealthy, prominent people like their parents. They were private school kids, raised in the belief that they were obliged to turn expensive educations into prestigious positions in society. Actually, more than that. They were entitled to prestigious positions—at the top.
 
Clint had done that by winning his dad’s seat in Congress. Benny didn’t know anything about Claire, except she’d never married and she still lived in Camden. Right there in Clint’s district.
 
Ben was nervous. His voice had to reach across the Rocky Mountains, across the Great Plains, and all the way to Wisconsin. And it had to reach across nearly forty years and who-knows-what changes and pain as well. Did it mean anything that Claire never got married? Girls who went to Saint Anne’s were brought up to get married.
 
As the phone rang, Ben’s memory returned to the past…and the two girls who’d rerouted his life the summer before college. An assault on Claire right after their high school graduation had led Ben to struggle with right, wrong, and his place in society; while his first love, Puppy, taught him there was much more to life than a prep school upbringing…maybe even things that floated beyond the realm of human understanding.
 
 
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excerptThen I went in to confess.

I felt soothed the minute the walls closed around me. Warmed with the glow of the stained glass windows, the church interior was both lofty and cozy. The high ceiling made me feel small, but in a good way, like I was a small part of something huge. It was strange to be there without my family, but I didn’t feel alone. And I loved the silence. Padding quietly down the aisle toward the front, I chose a pew and settled in to wait.

There were two women ahead of me. Churches, at least Catholic ones, attract lonely women. My mom called them church mice. I hoped they wouldn’t take too long at confession. Then I felt bad for sneering at them as church mice and for thinking their confessions were not as important as mine. I heard a movement and a teen-aged girl left confession and headed up the aisle toward the back door with quick, quiet strides. The church ladies watched her leave, then glanced at each other. Then one gathered up her purse and disappeared into the confessional. Of course, everyone wonders what everyone else is confessing to. Was that girl pregnant? Her head had been down. Or was she abused and seeking help? Or, more likely, her mother sent her because they got into a spat, and the mother wanted to emphasize that God was on the side of adults.

I needed to focus my mind and get my confession organized. I started talking in my head: “Father, I have sinned. My sin is one of omission. I know of a bad thing that happened, and I didn’t tell anyone. My sin is also that it took me a long time to realize for sure that it was a bad thing. I was confused about that. My sin is that I don’t want the crime to be reported to the police because I don’t want to get involved in it. I feel bad that it happened, but I don’t want to have anything to do with it now. I just want to offload my guilt and get on with my life.” I stopped, stunned at myself. That last was part was my real reason for confession—I was there to offload the whole incident and get absolved, so I could forget about it. But the rape wasn’t mine to forget and leave behind.

A door clicked and heels tapped. Church lady #1 was leaving. She gave her friend a quick smile. I thought: They’re meeting for coffee or something afterwards. This is their social life. What was it for me? A get-out-of-responsibility pass? I didn’t wait for my chance to confess. Instead, I jumped to my feet with the word “rape” rocketing around in my head until it drove me out of the church like a whipped horse. I stumbled outside into the heat of the summer day where a blue sky was smiling and people were driving around doing ordinary innocent things, and I was the guy who didn’t deserve to be in church because I just wanted to forget about a rape.

Laura started off life as an artist. Even in early elementary school she could draw with near-photo realism. She liked to tell herself stories while driving, or doing boring tasks such as housework, but never thought of herself as a writer.

That is, until she got involved in the rescue of an abused dog. Her first book, a collection of short stories entitled The Dog Thief, made the Kirkus Review list of one hundred best indy publications and set her on a course of writing.

With one exception, her subsequent novels are in the genre of fantasy, though four have themes relating to current events, and three are also dystopias. Wild Hare, the story of a half/man-half/nature spirit and his feud with the local civic powers also made the Kirkus Review “best of” list.

The exception, I Once Was Lost But Now Am Found, is the nonfiction account of the largest dog rescue in the US to succeed without help of local authorities.

Laura is a retired teacher and lives on an island in Puget Sound with her husband; her one-eyed cat; and her elderly, disabled and chronically grumpy shih tzu. She is volunteers at a rescue for unadoptable cats.

 
 

 

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Book Blitz & Excerpt: Little Hood and Her Wolf + Giveaway

Little Hood and Her Wolf
Janie Marie
(The Big Bad Wolf Trilogy, #2)
Publication date: December 8th 2020
Genres: Coming of Age, Fairy Tales, Young Adult

Kylie knew Logan Grimm came with a price. She just had no idea that the price was being told what to do by the most dangerous residents of Blackwoods.

She should run and survive, but Logan’s sweet words and even sweeter kisses keep her where she is.

Right where the Big Bad Wolf lies in wait.

Goodreads / Amazon

Little Hood and Her wolf

EXCERPT:

Kylie blinked a few times and stared ahead. Janie was sitting across from her and Logan, and Ryder was pouring Dr Pepper into her glass. He opened a few prescription bottles, and Janie held her hand out without saying anything, waiting for him to pour a pill from each bottle. When she swallowed the last pill, she gagged a little before receiving a kiss to her forehead.

God, she really is crazy.

Logan squeezed Kylie’s leg under the table because she was staring with her mouth open.

“Have you never seen someone take medication before?” Ryder asked, his harsh tone biting at her skin.

“Babe,” said Janie the same time Logan called out, “Ryder.”

Kylie swallowed and looked at Janie, who only smiled at her. It wasn’t the smile she’d given her yesterday though. It was forced.

“She needs to stop staring at you like you’re a fucking science experiment,” Ryder said, his voice louder as Janie cooed to him.

“She’s just curious,” Janie said, but even then, she didn’t sound the same. She sounded like a small child. Ryder didn’t seem to like that.

“Curious my ass.” He glared at Kylie.

“Enough.” Logan kept his eyes trained on Ryder.

“I’m sorry,” Kylie whispered, her heart racing under Ryder’s stare. He might not be the killer, but he was willing to be.

Janie put her hand over Ryder’s as she replied, “I take medicine to help with my PTSD and other stuff. Ryder helps me remember to take them because I don’t like to. Swallowing pills bothers me now.” Janie finally smiled, but it was all for Ryder.

“It’s none of her business.” Ryder’s voice was so loud it hurt to listen to him speak.

Gawain spoke up, putting authority into his order. “Boys, you both need to relax, or we’re sending Kylie home and taking Janie away till this mess blows over.”

“It’s fine,” said Janie when Ryder let out an angry noise at the threat being issued. Janie kissed Ryder’s cheek and whispered in his ear until he turned to peck her lips. He started eating. “He just doesn’t like people staring,” Janie said when Kylie still couldn’t look away, “or judging me.”

“I wasn’t judging,” Kylie said quickly, her voice a hushed whisper while she covered Logan’s shaking hand.

“Yeah.” Janie smiled, but it was clear she didn’t believe her. “Everything’s fine, right, babe?”

Ryder grunted and stuffed more food in his mouth.

Janie returned her focus to Kylie, her eyes flashing with fire. “Sleep well?”

Kylie tensed. “I slept fine, thanks.”

Those vibrant hazel eyes stayed on her for a moment longer before shifting to Logan. He was still glaring at Ryder, which might’ve been why Janie’s tone darkened. “Logan, put yourself in his shoes. You wouldn’t like someone staring at Kylie over any of her personal issues either. You know why it bothers him, and you know why he’s really mad.”

Logan fumed as he glared between the couple but said nothing.

Janie’s eyes narrowed. “And don’t forget you’ve reacted worse when something was said to her. This is the same.”

“It’s not the same,” Logan said between clenched teeth. “She didn’t say shit about you!”

Ryder slammed his hand down on the table and stood, glaring at Logan. “No, you just opened your fucking mouth and spilled every one of her secrets.”

Logan stood up, his eyes dangerous. Kylie grabbed his hand as Janie wrapped her arms around Ryder to keep him from lunging over the table.

“I had no choice,” Logan yelled back.

“Bullshit.” Ryder carefully peeled Janie off him and nudged her over to Gawain before stepping around the table. “We made one rule, Grimm. And that was to keep our mouths shut. I warned you not to say anything. Everyone warned you.”

“Stop.” Janie tried to break free from Gawain, but she was held tightly against her brother as Logan and Ryder stood toe to toe. “Babe, please let me handle this.”

Ryder ignored her and smirked at Logan. “You’ve been good on your word this whole time—but Blondie sucks your dick, and suddenly you’re confessing like a church girl who touched herself for the first time.”

Logan swung before the gasp finished leaving her lips. He hit Ryder right in the jaw, and it was total chaos from there.

-Little Hood and Her Wolf, The Big Bad Wolf Trilogy #2

–See Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, book 1 in the series here.

Author Bio:

Janie Marie is a native Texan and resides in her hometown north of Austin, Texas, where she devotes her time to family, pets, and her writing.
Much of her life experiences–good and a lot of bad–are where she has chosen to draw inspiration from to create her characters and stories. It’s important to her to create the kind of characters she needs or needed at one point in time because she wanted to create something only the saddest souls would recognize as brave and strong.
Be ready for raw, emotional tales, as Janie never holds back. With her darkest thoughts she found light is still possible, that the sad girl can sometimes glow the brightest. Because she is beauty surrounded by darkness.

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