Book Blitz: My Friend Jackson + Excerpt

 

My Friend Jackson
by Christopher D. Ochs
YA Urban Fantasy

Date Published: 10/1/2020

Publisher: anigrafx, LLC

 

An ancient guardian chose her. Neither the guilty, nor the innocent, nor she are safe.

Fresh out of the Projects, Jasmine’s days are filled with emotional, physical, and cyber abuse at the hands of her new school’s queen bees. With her parents mostly absent, Jasmine latches onto Bibi, a grandmotherly figure from Tanzania, and her beloved pet chameleon, Jackson. Rivalries, jealousies and hatred escalate the violence toward Jasmine to a murderous level, until a monstrous force intervenes with deadly consequences. When she discovers the secret behind her unholy avenger, Jasmine takes the offensive, becoming a merciless force more terrifying than her worst tormentors. But choices have consequences. Some more horrific than others.

Can Jasmine untangle her life and reclaim her identity, her life—her soul—from her inscrutable guardian, while eluding the police and those who seek revenge?

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Excerpt

Halfway down the latest alley, her ears pricked up at the sound of a footstep. Before she could turn around, her world went blinding white with pain.

Jasmine doubled over in the back doorway of a Chinese food joint, gasping for air between two dumpsters reeking of rotting meat and burnt soy sauce. Her ribs were aflame and the back of her skull felt like it had been split by a jackhammer. She reached for her searing scalp, and her backpack tumbled off her shoulder, clanging against the dumpster.

Bitch, I told you to stay away from Caleb. He’s mine!”

Jasmine gathered her rubbery legs underneath her to stand, steadying herself against the nearest dumpster. Her vision returned, rippled with wet blurs that might have been tears, snot, or blood.

In the long shadows cast by distant streetlights, Nevaeh’s face burned out of the darkness, livid with rage.

Jasmine’s abs clenched, trying to squeeze behind her spine, when she recognized the signs of a girl prepped for a throwdown. Earrings gone. Hair tied tight behind her head. Face slicked with a sheen of Vaseline to deflect blows and scratches.

What the hell do I do now?

The oversized heavy steel ring emblazoned with a prominent gold initial “C” no longer hung from her necklace. It was on the middle finger of Nevaeh’s fist. A tuft of Jasmine’s frizzy hair dangled from it.

That ring—it ain’t her bling, it’s Caleb’s.

The tendons of Nevaeh’s knuckles quivered, taut as bridge cables. She shoved Jasmine backward against the wall with her free hand.

Jasmine whimpered as her head thumped against brick. The world’s loudest gong clanged in her ears. Her legs buckled, helpless against the ground that seemed to spin under her. She kept her eyes glued on Nevaeh’s burning scowl, the only thing that kept her consciousness from tumbling upside-down.

Jasmine’s accusing stare only infuriated Nevaeh even more.

Can’t you take a fuckin’ hint? Don’t you know you ain’t wanted, ho? Our team don’t want you. Caleb don’t need you. And I sure as shit want you gone!”

Nevaeh raised her fist again. “Die, bitch!” Putting her full weight behind it, she swung, aiming Caleb’s ring straight for Jasmine’s face.

A glistening blur of dark umber shot out from behind the other dumpster. It wrapped around Nevaeh’s head, and a muffled scream flooded Jasmine’s ears. Nevaeh clutched at the glistening slimy blob, but her attempts to claw the suffocating mass away from her face proved futile.

A split second later, Nevaeh’s whole body snapped away like a rag doll.

Caleb’s heavy steel and gold ring clattered on the asphalt.

Nevaeh’s strangled gurgling made Jasmine’s gut twist. Somewhere beyond the dumpster came a slurping rasp, as if from a giant bowl of ramen. The sound of tearing cloth and rending flesh was followed by the sickening crack of bone.

Jasmine curled into a ball, raw terror forcing her knees into her chest. Her feet twitched with every shallow ragged breath. She clamped her head between her hands, but the horrific sounds still reached the spinning pit of her darkest fears.

The dull murmur of the streets had reclaimed the alley, and her sense of up and down returned. Righting herself against one dumpster, she wiped the stinging sweat and tears from her eyes and squinted into the murky light.

What the fuck just happened?

 

About the Author

Christopher D. Ochs’ foray into writing began with his epic fantasy Pindlebryth of Lenland: The Five Artifacts. Several of his short stories have been published in the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group and Bethlehem Writers Group anthologies and websites. Using his skills learned with the Lehigh Valley Storytelling Guild, he crafted a collection of mirthful macabre short stories, If I Can’t Sleep, You Can’t Sleep. His latest work, the gritty YA urban fantasy/horror, My Friend Jackson, has earned 5-star ratings from Indies Today and Readers’ Favorite.

His current literary projects include:

short fiction in BWG’s and GLVWG’s upcoming anthologies, and Firebringer Press’ next entry in their Eternity series; a sci-fi/horror novel Sentinel of Eternity; a prequel novella and a second novel in the Pindlebryth of Lenland saga. Chris has too many interests outside of writing for his own damn good. With previous careers in physics, mathematics, electrical engineering and software, and his incessant dabblings as a CGI animator, classical organist, voice talent on radio, DVD and anime conventions, it’s a wonder he can remember to pay the dog and feed his bills.

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RABT Book Tours & PR

Spotlight & Excerpt: Deviant Descendants + Giveaway

On tour with Prism Book Tours


Deviant Descendants
(Deviant Academy #2)
By Belle Malory
YA Urban Fantasy
Paperback & ebook
December 29, 2020

Welcome to Arcadia, where bloodlines and magic are divided.

After catching my sister hooking up with my boyfriend, I snapped. Like full-on, epic snapping.

I tried to kill her.

I know, it’s terrible. I have issues, okay? The magical kind. AKA, I’m cursed. I’m also a descendant of Ares, the God of War. Let’s just say, it means I come from a long line of hotheaded crazies.

Since my family no longer trusts me, they ship me off to Arcadia, the academy for descendants. Full of booby traps and conniving students, this school is not for the faint of heart. This one gladiator, Xander, shows me the ropes, keeping our alliance a secret. My connection to him is strong, but we’re from different houses. We can never be anything more.

The worst part?

The Fates decide my bloodlust is too unpredictable. There’s something destructive inside of me, something I can’t control. The only way to contain it is to practice love magic in House Aphrodite, where I’m not exactly welcomed with open arms.

And every day, I get closer to fulfilling the curse’s prophecy. If I can’t figure out a way to stop it, I may end up destroying myself…

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Excerpt

“Let’s say by some miracle, the fire determines you’re worthy,” Redtree continued, his hawk-eyed gaze darting around the crowd. “Make sure you hold your hand steady. You must outlast the pain to complete the Summoning. Once it’s done, you and your weapon are bound for life.”

Well, this was just perfect. He was expecting each of us to go up there, in front of everyone. I wasn’t afraid of the pain, but I didn’t want to put my hand in while others were staring. I could already hear their boos and cackles coming for me. Thankfully, Redtree went in alphabetical order, which meant I would be one of the last to be called.

Student after student got up, put their hand in, and came out with nothing. Most of them lost their tempers, kicked the ground, and shouted expletives. These were hotheaded Ares descendants, after all. None of us handled patience very well.

One kid, Leo Valentine, stuck his hand in and started convulsing. His body jerked chaotically, then he laughed when the crowd gasped in anticipation. He withdrew his arm and shrugged, running off when the other students started throwing random items at him; an apple, several pencils, and someone’s tattered sandal.

“Sheridan Thorne,” Master Redtree called, and I flinched. Several groans made their way across the field.

Lovely.

“I hope the fire shoots her back to Aphrodite,” one student said, and I winced.

“I hope it burns her alive,” said another.

Their words lashed against me like a whip. I shouldn’t care what they thought, but I did. To make matters worse, Xander heard them too. “Shut your mouths, or I’ll do it for you,” he said, glaring.

Let’s get this over with.

I hurried toward the fire, stopping at the glass cage. The blue flames hissed and swished as if they were alive. Slightly hypnotized, I stuck my arm inside, ready to pull it back out and return to my seat as quickly as possible.

But when I jerked back, the fire grabbed hold of me. Its flames wrapped around my wrist, cuffing me there in the spotlight. The burning sensation engulfed my entire arm, like hot grease. I ground my teeth together, feeling my skin sizzle and spark. My instincts told me to yank it out and run because it felt as if my arm was being seared off. But I refused to cower. Not in front of them.

I stood as still as possible, digging my heels into the ground, trying not to let everyone see how much pain I was in. My eyes burned with unshed tears, but I held strong.

“No way,” someone whispered.

“This has to be a joke,” said someone else.

Their whispers and comments buzzed in my ears. I blocked them out, too absorbed by the pain and confusion of what was going on. A tornado of energy swirled around me, dulling everything else. Strong magic whooshed through my body, sending little sparks of heat in every direction. The magic was searching for something. Whatever it was, I hoped it found it quick.

My arm exploded in an array of white flames. They were so bright it blinded me for a few dizzying seconds. Amazingly, I continued to stand my ground. The flames dulled, ending with one last burst of blue. My arm fell slack, but my whole body trembled.

Over. Finally.

The entire field was silent. So silent, I could hear the sound of my own shaky breath. I looked around at the crowd, a little dazed. All of their wide eyes were on me, but not on my face. Glancing down at my arm, I saw the reason for their stunned gazes.

My fingers were curled around a sleek, golden bow. A quiver of arrows was strapped to my shoulder, encrusted in glittering gems. Diamonds, sapphires, and emeralds—what was I seeing? Both pieces gleamed in the sunlight, as if the gods had personally created them.

Master Redtree slowly clapped his hands together. “Well, well.” He released a shaky breath. “Miss Thorne, you are the youngest student I’ve ever witnessed summon a soul weapon.” He continued to clap, the only one to do so. “Class, this is the student to watch out for. If summoning came that easily, fighting will too.”

No one said a word.

Excerpted from Deviant Descendants by Belle Malory. Copyright © Belle Malory.

Other Books in the Series


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About the Author

I enjoy writing stories about magic because the real world is often too boring. As an author, my goal is to make you feel something, to put a dreamy smile on your face, to make you laugh, cry, or to escape life for a while.

I live in Orlando, FL with my family. Keep up with me on social media.

I love hearing from readers!

Website | Goodreads | BookBub | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Tour Schedule
(Posts go live on the day they’re scheduled.)

November 29th: Launch
November 30th: R.J. AndersonSwift
December 1st: Ralene BurkeArmor of Aletheia
December 2nd: Michelle Diener – Breakaway
December 3rd: Sandra Fernandez Rhoads – Mortal Sight
December 4th: J.M. Hackman – Burn
December 5th: Sharon Hinck – Forsaken Island
December 6th: Ronie Kendig – Dawn of Vengeance
December 7th: Carla LaureanoOath of the Brotherhood
December 8th: Belle MaloryDeviant Descendants
December 9th: Sara SchallerThe Genesis of Seven
December 10th: Jennifer SilverwoodStay
December 11th: Anne Wheeler – Treason’s Crown
December 12th: Melissa Wright – Between Ink and Shadows
December 13th: Morgan WylieSilent Orchids
December 14th: Kristen YoungApprentice
December 15th: Grand Finale

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One winner will receive a $75 (USD) Amazon eGift Card

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Ends December 19, 2020

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