Audiobook Tour Sign Up: Fountain Dead by Theresa Braun (Feb 13 – 17) Genre: YA Horror/ Ghost Story @tbraun_author @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours

Hey Folks!

I’m organizing an audiobook tour for Theresa Braun’s Fountain Dead and I need hosts! The tour will run from February 13th to the 17th and of course audio codes will be provided. 

Sign up below!

COVER

 

Fountain Dead

*Cover Reveal: October 29th

Expected Publication Date: Fall 2022

Genre: Mature YA/ Paranormal/ Ghost Story

Mark is uprooted from his home and high school in the Twin Cities and forced to move with his family into a Victorian in Nowhere-ville. Busy with the relocation and fitting in, Mark’s parents don’t see what’s unfolding around them—the way rooms and left behind objects seem alive with a haunted past. Of course, Mark keeps his ghostly encounters to himself, all the while sinking deeper into the house’s dark, alluring, and ultimately terrifying history. As romantic entanglements intensify, the paranormal activity escalates. Past and present come together. Everything is connected—from the bricks in the walls to the hearts beating in their chests, all the secrets of Fountain Dead are finally unearthed.

Coming Soon!

About the Author

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Theresa Braun has a Master’s degree in English literature and lives in South Florida where she has been teaching literature and writing for over 20 years. Traveling, ghost hunting, and all things dark are her passions (when she is not coming up with romantic subplots). She has presented at HWA conferences, as well as Utah Quills Conferences. Her published works include both novels and short stories that have appeared in various horror fiction publications. In 2018, she was included in a Best Speculative Fiction anthology.

 Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

 

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Audiobook Cover Reveal Sign Up: Fountain Dead by Theresa Braun (Oct 29th) Genre: YA Horror/ Ghost Story @tbraun_author @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours

Perfect for Halloween!

Theresa Braun is releasing  a new audiobook edition of her fantastic novel Fountain Dead and I am organizing a reveal on October 29th! This one is GORGEOUS and it’s the perfect book for the spooky season! I’m looking for hosts so sign up below!

Cover Reveal Banner

Fountain Dead

Expected Publication Date: Fall 2022

Genre: Mature YA/ Paranormal/ Ghost Story

Mark is uprooted from his home and high school in the Twin Cities and forced to move with his family into a Victorian in Nowhere-ville. Busy with the relocation and fitting in, Mark’s parents don’t see what’s unfolding around them—the way rooms and left behind objects seem alive with a haunted past. Of course, Mark keeps his ghostly encounters to himself, all the while sinking deeper into the house’s dark, alluring, and ultimately terrifying history. As romantic entanglements intensify, the paranormal activity escalates. Past and present come together. Everything is connected—from the bricks in the walls to the hearts beating in their chests, all the secrets of Fountain Dead are finally unearthed.

About the Author

19983953_1306701169379600_8663127046803166554_o

Theresa Braun has a Master’s degree in English literature and lives in South Florida where she has taught literature and writing for over 20 years. Traveling, ghost hunting, and all things dark are her passions. Her short stories have appeared in several horror and speculative fiction publications, including The Horror Zine, Sirens Call, Best Indie Speculative Fiction: November 2018, and Double Barrel Horror Volume 3. Her experiences living in a haunted house in Winona, Minnesota have inspired her first novel, Fountain Dead, released by Unnerving.

 Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

 

 

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Book Tour: The Maze Cutter (The Maze Runner Series) by James Dashner – Genre: YA Dystopian @jamesdashner @KeriBarnum @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #TheMazeCutter #TheMazeRunner #BookTour

We are celebrating the upcoming release of The Maze Cutter by James Dashner, and we are thrilled that the series continues with a new generation of chacters! Read on for more details and make sure to pre-order a copy today! 

There are fabulous giveaways too — A book box containing a hardcover edition (US only) and a $25 Amazon gift card, audiobook download, and signed bookplate for one lucky international winner!

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The Maze Cutter (Hardcover/ Kindle/ Audio Editions)

Expected Publication Date: November 15th, 2022

Genre: YA Dystopian/ Teens

Publisher: Akashic Media Enterprises

Seventy-three years after the events of THE DEATH CURE, when Thomas and other immunes were sent to an island to survive the Flare-triggered apocalypse, their descendants have thrived. Sadina, Isaac, and Jackie all learned about the unkind history of the Gladers from The Book of Newt and tall tales from Old Man Frypan, but when a rusty old boat shows up one day with a woman bearing dark news of the mainland–everything changes. The group and their islander friends are forced to embark back to civilization where they find Cranks have evolved into a more violent, intelligent version of themselves. The islanders are hunted by the Godhead, the Remnant Nation, and scientists with secret agendas. When they cross paths with an orphan named Minho from the Remnant Nation, the dangers become real and they don’t know who they can trust. The islanders will have to survive long enough to figure out why they are being targeted, who is friend or foe, and what the Godhead has planned for the future of humanity.

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The Maze Runner Series

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Pre-Order The Maze Cutter at These Fine Retailers

Amazon | B&N | Waterstones | Bookshop | Kobo | iBooks

About the Author

James Dashner

James Dashner is #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Maze Runner series, including The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, The Kill Order, and The Fever Code, and the bestselling Mortality Doctrine series (The Eye of Minds, The Rule of Thoughts, and The Game of Lives). Dashner was born and raised in Georgia, but now lives and writes in the Rocky Mountains.

James Dashner | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

 

The giveaway will run from October 3rd until October 9th!

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Book Tour Schedule

October 3rd

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com

@jacleomik33 (Review) https://www.instagram.com/jacleomik33

@brandidanielledavis (Review) https://www.instagram.com/brandidanielledavis/

@bri_serena_reads (Review) https://www.instagram.com/bri_serena_reads

@books_inthecity (Review) https://www.instagram.com/books_inthecity/

The Librocubicularista (Review) https://thelibrocubicularista.wordpress.com/

@courtneys.shelflife (Review) https://www.instagram.com/courtneys.shelflife/

Riss Reviews (Review) https://rissreviewsx.wixsite.com/website

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

October 4th

@caffeinatedbibliophilia (Review) https://www.instagram.com/caffeinatedbibliophilia/

I Smell Sheep (Review) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

@genoviareadingco (Review) https://www.instagram.com/genoviareadingco/

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Review) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/

@margiebythebookcase (Review) https://www.instagram.com/margiebythebookcase/

@marvsbooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/marvsbooks/

@takealookatmybookshelf (Review) https://www.instagram.com/takealookatmybookshelf/

Bunny’s Reviews (Review) https://bookwormbunnyreviews.blogspot.com/

FUONLYKNEW Blog (Spotlight) http://fuonlyknew.com/

October 5th

The Book View (Review) https://thebookview.com/

@theenchantedshelf (Review) https://www.instagram.com/theenchantedshelf/

@all.you.read.is.love (Review) https://www.instagram.com/all.you.read.is.love/

@by_hckilgour (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/by_hckilgour/

@authortaylorkillpack (Review) https://www.instagram.com/authortaylorkillpack/

@better_0ff_read (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/better_0ff_read/

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

October 6th

Cheryl’s Book Nook (Review) https://cherylsbooknook.blogspot.com/

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.com/

@my.bookish.mind (Review) https://www.instagram.com/My.bookish.mind/

@gryffindorbookishnerd (Review) https://www.instagram.com/gryffindorbookishnerd/

@rainbowbookdragon15 (Review) https://www.instagram.com/rainbowbookdragon15

@themagicofworlds_be (Review) https://www.instagram.com/themagicofworlds_be/

October 7th

@its_b.e.l.l.e (Review) https://www.instagram.com/its_b.e.l.l.e/

Didi Oviatt (Review) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

@inkspit.blog (Review) https://www.instagram.com/inkspit.blog/

@happily_undignified (Review) https://www.instagram.com/happily_undignified/

@atypical.tales (Review) https://www.instagram.com/atypical.tales/

Misty’s Book Space (Review) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

@tabithabouldin (Review) https://www.instagram.com/tabithabouldin/

@junk.journal.librarian (Review) https://www.instagram.com/junk.journal.librarian/

@bhaneereads_ (Review) https://www.instagram.com/bhaneereads_/

@readingwithwrin (Review) https://www.instagram.com/readingwithwrin/

 

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Book Tour: The Prism Effect by J. Wint – Genre: YA Fantasy/ Sci-Fi @superbo1970 @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #Books

To celebrate the release of the second instalment in The Skylight Series by author J. Wint, we’re going back to where the adventure began with The Prism Effect! Read on for more details!

The Prism Effect MIDJOURNEY EBOOK

The Prism Affect (The Skylight Series #1)

Publication Date: September 2021

Genre: YA Fantasy/ Sci-Fi

LIFE has never been easy for young Jet Stroud.

He is affected by a rare condition known as ephebus mortem, also called the youthful death, and legend says it will kill him before his twenty-fourth birthday. To make matters worse, the legend also claims that its victims become delusional as they grow older.

However, things take a turn for the better when he is unexpectedly accepted into the renowned Skylight University–an orbiting system in the Earth’s atmosphere. At first, he doubts the legend and begins the semester hoping to learn more about his strange disease. As the school year unfolds, he meets a group of students like him and they band together. Soon, strange things start to happen–mysterious shadows follow them, bizarre holographic prophecies appear that only they can see, and haunting voices cloud Jet’s thoughts. He begins to struggle on the blaze pitch and with his studies. The small group of students threaten to splinter apart as the semester races to a close and Jet wonders if he will survive. In the end, he uncovers something about himself so profound that it will change his life forever.

Excerpt

“Jet?” she asked. “Everything okay?”

He didn’t respond, still gazing in the direction of the fountain. She snapped her fingers in front of his face to gain his attention.

He blinked and looked at her. “Sylvant, over there next to the fountain… do you see it?”

It was the heat mirage again. It shifted around the base of the fountain, blurry and transparent. But it was too cool for a heat mirage, though it looked exactly like the ones he’d seen on hot and humid days.

She glanced in the fountain’s direction while pulling him out of the street. She shook her head. “No, I don’t see anything. Are you sure you’re okay?”

Jet looked at her defensively. “I’m fine, thanks.” He walked towards the fountain with the mirage in his sight. Sylvant followed, the heels of her shoes clicking across the vacant intersection. Jet stepped up to the fountain’s basin for a look around, but the mirage was gone.

“I swear… it was here,” he said.

“What was here? What are you talking about?” she asked.

“There was a… a shape, or something like a mirage here, just now.”

Sylvant cleared her throat. “Why don’t we go inside. We need to talk about this.” She flashed her sister’s journal in front of his face.

Jet hesitated. He wanted to understand what he’d just seen as much as he wanted to hear about the journal.

The shape suddenly reemerged near one of the alleyways, steam momentarily cloaking it. Then, the sunlight dimmed and turned everything a shade of rust.

“There. It’s there!” he hissed at her. “You can’t see that?”

She peered toward the alleyway. “Jet. You’re starting to worry me.”

“You don’t believe me, do you?”

“Jet, I’m trying to understand, but I don’t know what to say.”

“I’m going after it,” Jet said. “I want to prove to you—”

“Whatever it is, let it go!” Sylvant looked down the dark alley and back at him. “We can talk about it inside the café, alright? My first concern is your safety.”

Jet could see the uneasiness in her expression. “Sylvant, I’m asking for your help, not your protection.”

It was growing darker, and an unsettling stillness seemed to descend around them. Sylvant recovered her composure. “As a professor to a student, it’s my responsibility to look after you. You need to come with me.”

Jet watched the mirage move down the alleyway and vanish into the steam. “I can take care of myself. I’ll call you later, Sylvant. I promise.” He sprinted down the alleyway, leaving her behind.

Plumes of steam gushed from the buildings lining the alley and hid the fleeing mirage. The sunlight was nearly gone, making it difficult to see. Jet had to stop a few times to see where he was.

The chase came to an abrupt halt when the alley ended at a brick wall. The mirage was gone. Jet backtracked, looking for signs of it. He noticed a ladder on one building and climbed up three stories and onto the rooftop. He skirted the parapet and stopped to regain his bearings.

The sunlight flickered and dimmed, like someone sliding a gossamer drape in front of it. Jet looked at his watch, surprised to see there should still be half an hour of daylight left. What happened next made the hair on his arms stand up. One of the system’s outer belts crossed slowly in front of the sun, casting a long shadow over the cityscape beyond. The eclipse’s shadow inched eerily across each building, engulfing the city in darkness. Jet had read an article about the event, something called a skylight eclipse.

His skin grew cold as the eclipse overtook him. From the rooftop, he watched the leading edge of it creep doggedly across the pitted field and towards the dimly lit factory in the distance. Fleeing just ahead of the eclipse was the shimmering mirage.

Jet leapt over the building’s parapet and onto an adjacent rooftop. He scrambled across a metal bridge spanning the alleyway and sprinted across the field.

He entered the abandoned factory minutes later and slowed to a halt, kneeling against a storage tank to catch his breath. He could hear equipment running in the distance, which seemed odd since the factory appeared to be vacant. A rust-colored smog from old chemicals still lingered in the air. Rogue weeds grew up through cracked concrete, and above him, a maze of catwalks and pipes cast a kaleidoscope of patterns onto the pavement.

He crept further into the factory, searching for the mirage. The ground below his feet quivered, and the sound of equipment grew louder. Tremors accompanied a dull scraping noise that sounded like metal grinding on metal. Something big moved below the surface. He placed his hand on a storage tank and felt it vibrating rapidly.

Jet followed the thrumming for several minutes before stumbling upon a vast clearing. Rusted sheet metal walls rose up to create a circular pit. Sand and dirt covered the ground, and tumbleweeds piled along one end like skeletal remains. In the center stood an oddly shaped contraption that resembled the smokestack of a ship. Its bow pointed skyward like a steel chimney with steam spewing from it.

An uneasy feeling settled over him as he hid in the shadows. He was in the middle of nowhere and chasing a mirage. It was getting late, and the eclipse had him on edge.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

wint - 1

Wint graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in architecture. He is a licensed architect and LEED accredited professional who believes in a strong, sustainable community. As a student of architecture, he developed a love for design and continues to push for creative solutions.

As a child of the 70’s, he developed a love for cheesy science fiction movies, and later became an avid fantasy reader. His youthful influences—combined with his college experiences and background as an architect—have propelled his work as a writer to create the Skylight Series.

J Wint | Twitter | Facebook

Book Tour Schedule

September 19th

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com

@genoviareadingco (Review) https://www.instagram.com/genoviareadingco/

@takealookatmybookshelf (Review) https://www.instagram.com/takealookatmybookshelf

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

@fle_d (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/fle_d

 September 20th

Bunny’s Reviews (Review) https://bookwormbunnyreviews.blogspot.com/

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

September 21st

@gryffindorbookishnerd (Review) https://www.instagram.com/gryffindorbookishnerd

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Spotlight) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/

Sadie’s Spotlight (Spotlight) http://sadiesspotlight.com/

September 22nd

@margiebythebookcase (Review) https://www.instagram.com/margiebythebookcase/

Book Reviews by Taylor (Review) https://www.bookreviewsbytaylor.com/

Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com

September 23rd

@wolfesbooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/wolfesbooks

@booklymatters (Review) https://www.instagram.com/booklymatters/

Stine Writing (Spotlight) https://christinebialczak.com/

 

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Book Tour: Year Zero by David Dean Lugo – Genre: YA Dystopian @daviddeanlugo @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #YearZero

Welcome to the book tour for the first installment in David Dean Lugo’s Revolution’s Children series, Year Zero! Read on for more info!

yearzero_ebook

Year Zero (Revolution’s Children Book 1)

Publication Date: May 24th, 2022

Genre: YA Dystopian

A thrilling new YA dystopian novel has dark parallels to a conceivable future America.

It’s been two years since the establishment of the brutal dictatorship The Incorporated Precincts of America and its governing Board and CEO, as well as the death of the old America. Sixteen-year-old Joey Cryer has two missions: to keep their six-year-old sister, Julia, safe, and to not die.

America first. America last. America always. This is the vow that the CEO leader of the IPA—The Incorporated Precincts of America—pledges to his suffering citizens. With violent protests breaking out in every city, attacks against immigrants, and the national crisis of the Capitol Event, young Joey must keep their vigilance in staying clear of the IPA’s ever-watching Sons of Liberty—its ruthless police force—to avoid becoming “disappeared” with his little sister. This means not maligning the governing body, The Corporation, with any thought, word, or action, or else suffer the consequence. One such sanction for disobeying citizens is being forced on to the required viewing television show “Manhunt,” where they fight for their lives against the Sons, upholding The Corporation’s domination over society.

Two years earlier, before the Second Revolution ended and before the election, Joey’s biggest concern was sitting at the right cafeteria table at his high school or if the girl they liked liked them back. Avoiding the school bully, Harlan Grundy, was always a plus, and so was not getting pummeled. So, it was no big surprise that Harlan became a Son, loyal to The Corporation and carrying out their dirty deeds to keep citizens in check and in fear. The only correct response to a Son? Everything is goodly.

Having lost everything in the revolution’s aftermath, Joey takes an unfathomable risk by helping the near-dead leader of the rebellion, John Doe. Having anything to do with Doe will skip you right past penalties and sanctions all the way to the death penalty, not only for you, but for anyone you love. And yet Joey’s sole mission is keep Julia safe until they can secretly escape to freedom. To do so, they finds they have an unlikely partner in a recently betrayed Harlan. Trusting their former enemy may be the only way to ensure their future—but is it worth the risk for Joey, Julia, and his community?

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Excerpt

No law respecting the established religion, prohibiting its free and compulsory practice, may be passed. All citizens free or otherwise are responsible for their speech, as is the press. The Board may sanction the people or the press should they choose to malign The Corporation or its representatives in print, thought, word, or action.

—First Amendment, Constitution Incorporated Precincts of America

A hand grabs my shoulder, and I know I’m screwed. The flickering light from the Jumbotron across the street dispels the concealing darkness. What was I thinking trying to sneak my way across town square after dark? I pull my hat lower, hoping that he won’t recognize me.

Especially if curfew has started.

Dan and Katie are starting the Manhunt preshow on the Jumbotron, which isn’t a good sign. Manhunt rarely starts before seven.

My mouth is dry, and my heart’s hammering fills my ears. It’s the fight-or-flight response kicking in big time. Except in my case, it’s the flight-and-still-get-pommeled response.

Even knowing how it will end, I still think about running.

Just for a second.

Old habits die hard.

I move my eyes to the hand, hoping it’s not covered by a white glove. Crap. It is. So, the he attached to the hand isn’t a regular cop. A cop will just shake me down and let me go. But not this guy.

He’s a Son of Liberty.

I’m surprised he hasn’t shot me yet. They usually do. I mean, it’s kinda their go-to move. I glance from his glove to his face.

I silence a scream. This guy isn’t any old Son. He’s Harlan Grundy. That name alone makes most kids cry. Always has.

Harlan’s been bullying kids since the old days, back when we still lived in a place called the USA. By the time The Corporation ran things and changed the name to The Incorporated Precincts of America, or IPA, Harlan had transformed bullying into an art form. I mean, watching him terrorize a kid is like watching Michelangelo turn a hunk of stone into a statue. Pure artistry.

Unless you’re the rock.

All the Sons are big, but Harlan’s bigger. Not like Schwarzenegger big. It’s more natural. Like a gorilla. Most let his stocky form, with its squashed nose, thick fingers, and stubby legs, fool them. But he possessed a speed unheard of, even among Olympic athletes.

And I, underneath this big ass coat, am just a scrawny sixteen-year-old. Exercise and me are not the best of friends. I mean, we wave when we pass by in the halls. Unless running from Harlan counts. Because if it does, I’m a gold medalist.

Okay, maybe a bronze because he always catches me.

“Hold it, citizen,” he says loud enough for me to hear over the Jumbotron’s droning voices. That is quite a feat since they always have it turned up to like a million.

Wait. Citizen?

He doesn’t recognize me.

He says something, but Dan speaks over him from the Jumbotron. “We’ll be back after this message.”

A second later, tolling bells replace his smug voice, sounding out the half hour. I glance at the screen, hoping it says six thirty. Instead, a robotic voice says, “The time is now seven thirty. Curfew is in effect.”

I’m doubly screwed.

After curfew, you get arrested or worse, unless you’re on official IPA business. It won’t take anyone more than one look to know I’m not. And Harlan’s fists and I have known each other since I was eight, and he was eleven. It’s only a matter of time until his dim brain dusts off the cobwebs and the first faint itch of recognition dawns on him.

If he doesn’t shoot me, which I doubt, I have two simple choices left. But I won’t get to choose. Instead, an Inquisitor will decide between sending me to a Liberty Camp or inducting me into the army.

The second is most likely. They’re drafting more people every day. Younger and younger too. I mean, except for like Ward Commanders, Inquisitors, and Auditors, the whole Corporation is getting younger. I guess they figure the young don’t have as much attachment to the way things were.

The CEO says we’re winning the war, and the extra troops are for the last push into Ottawa. But I’ve heard the rumors. Who hasn’t?

Some say Mexico, Canada’s ally, has won ground in the Southwest. Others say the early winter weather has paralyzed our troops in Ontario and Alaska. What’s happening in Europe is anyone’s guess.

So, whatever the Inquisitor decides, it’s better if Harlan shoots me.

Usually, I’m home before curfew, but I had forgotten it’s earlier now. That’s thanks to the Does—John and Jane Doe—and their rebels blowing up stuff. Last Tuesday, the day most Sons get their rations, they blew up the rationing center. Now, the rest of us are still living off our last pitiful portion.

Movies make rebellion seem exciting and heroic. I guess it is, fighting oppression or whatever. But from where I sit, trying to get by and staying off The Corporation’s radar, it’s terrifying. It doesn’t help people like me. Maybe it will someday, but I’m not holding my breath.

I burrow deeper into my father’s coat, trying to avoid eye contact. The coat must be the only reason Harlan hasn’t recognized me. There’s no point in trying to hide the bag of contraband I’m holding.

I mean, it’s right there.

Besides, it’s just dumb cans of stupid beef stew I bought at the black market. E-rations don’t hardly give anyone enough food. So, most people, leastways those who can afford it, turn to the black market. Even Block Watch Commanders like Harlan.

It’s not totally the Does fault, though. Food, at least the unpowdered kind, was scarce even before they blew up the rationing center. The troops passing through on their way north to the wall, took most of what we had. They didn’t bother leaving much for us citizens.

I’m not sweating the stew, though. I expect he’ll “impound” it. I’m more worried that what’s stuffed into my belt will spill out. If it does, he’ll definitely shoot me.

He’s eyeing the bag though. His mouth might even be watering. We both stand there, playing our weird freeze tag while waiting for the stupid bell to stop tolling.

As soon as it does, Harlan says, “You’re behind curfew, citizen. Slice me the stew, and I won’t donate a one.”

Ugh. Slanguage.

It takes me a moment to translate his words to regular English. If I give him the stew, he won’t give me a class one penalty. I can’t speak because he’ll recognize my voice, so I nod. Kneeling, I set the bag down and take off.

I don’t look back.

You never look back.

If you do, they might see your face, connect it to a list of subversives, rebels, or whatever list you didn’t know you were on.

I’m two blocks away before a grin spreads across my face. Dumbass Harlan was so preoccupied by the bag that he didn’t notice the cans crammed in my pockets.

I decide to go home through the woods. It’s longer and a thousand percent spookier, but it has more cover. Plus, The Corporation hasn’t put cameras in the forest. At least not yet anyway. That might change if they suspect the squirrels of treason.

Plus, Harlan lives two houses away from me. If he’s heading home, it’s worth the extra twenty-minute walk to avoid him.

I trudge along. I can’t see a thing in the inky blackness. Everything is a muddied silhouette, and I don’t want to trip on something and break my neck. I used to find the sounds of leaves crunching under my feet satisfying. But I don’t anymore.

They just tell the Sons or the rebel squirrels where you are.

My breath comes quick now. Heart racing. It’s my anxiety getting the better of me. I don’t bother fighting it because I’m too busy cursing myself. If Harlan is out on patrol, he’s nowhere near his house. Then again, it might be dumb luck that we ran into each other.

Either way, I don’t really care right now because I’m sure Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers has spotted my dumbass alone in the woods. I stop for a second, but the sound of crunching leaves doesn’t.

A twig snaps.

I turn.

A half-naked figure lunges from the darkness, falling to the ground.

I almost scream.

A man lies motionless. I get a little closer and notice he’s covered in blood. Against my better judgment, I turn him over. A few holes leak his blood.

Someone shot him.

The only people with guns these days are Sons or rebels. Which means they’re probably out searching for him. That thought alone makes me nope my sorry ass out of the woods as fast as I can.

I emerge, unharassed by either rebel squirrels or a fictional slasher, near the non-Harlan end of my block. My breath comes in short, panicked gasps. I’m more than a little embarrassed by how fast I’m moving down the block.

I turn the corner. My house blazes bright in the frigid night. It’s almost enough to chase away the harsh twilight glow from the screens on the telephone poles.

Julia, my little sister hates being alone, but she isn’t right now. Unless Winnie’s wandered off again. She has turned on every light, which means he probably did. The Sons don’t pay him much mind, so he’ll be okay. Hopefully, she hasn’t used up our electricity ration for the month.

I linger in the driveway, eyes darting. I need to make sure I wasn’t followed.

An angry orange flower of fire blooms over the nearby hills. Must be the rebels blowing something up or being blown up themselves. Either way, a bunch of people are dead. A tenth of a second later, a dull roar reaches my ears, and everything shakes.

Every porch light in the neighborhood blinks on, and people spill out from their houses, scurrying around like angry ants. A few have wide eyes, their O-shaped mouths gulping the chilly night air. Which reminds me of the fish that Dad and I used to catch. Others just sigh, wringing their hands. A few look furious.

I’ve lived here for like forever and recognize everyone.

That is everyone except the young man with the neat dark hair walking along the walkway in front of the house next door. His hands are in his pockets, posture crisp but relaxed.

I do a double take because I didn’t expect to see anyone coming from there. It and the house across the street have stood vacant since the Perrys and the Youngs disappeared a year ago. He might be a zig though.

Zig is short for zigzag. They’re the people who refuse to go along with The Corporation but won’t join the resistance either. So, they zigzag between the two opposing forces that shape the IPA. They usually come in small groups, no more than four. There’s not a lot of them. At least as far as anyone can tell. Anyway, neither side likes them much, and both will see them wiped out just as soon. Which is why, if he is a zig, he certainly wouldn’t be so careless and let everyone know where he lives.

He might be a rebel. They sometimes hunker down in vacant buildings. That thought both excites and frightens me.

As he draws closer, there’s no mistaking this man for a zig or a rebel. He wears a suit, but the distant flames give everything a crimson tone, so I can’t tell what color it is. Something on his jacket flickers. He reaches the end of the walkway, and I notice that the light glints off a bunch of Corporation commendation pins on his lapel.

At first, he acknowledges no one as he crosses his arms and stares straight ahead. He appears calm, but his breath comes in peculiar fits like he’s out of breath but doesn’t want anyone to know. Maybe he’s asthmatic? I don’t know. His eyes don’t watch the distant flames like everyone else; they’re watching the streetlights.

Something glistens on his forehead like sweat, but the night is cold, so that’s impossible. He appears to sense me gawking and gives me a nod.

By reflex, I wave.

Another fireball blossoms, this one almost bright enough to read by. The windows rattle from the blast. The neighborhood lights blink a few times before going out. Someone screams as we’re plunged into a weird twilight of flickering screens since those never stop.

I swear Pinman smirks.

A second later, old Doc Salazar asks, “Do you think it’s the Canadians?”

That isn’t as silly as it sounds, since if you’re lucky enough to own a car, it’s like three hours to the border.

“Nah. I bet it’s the Does and the rebels,” Mr. Taylor replies.

Everyone stares at him for a moment. Calling the Does rebels is against the law.

“You mean terrorists,” a throaty unfamiliar voice—my new neighbor—says.

“Yes, y-yes,” Mr. Taylor stammers. He probably noticed every commendation on Pinman’s jacket. He chuckles nervously, running a hand across the back of his neck.

I don’t want to call attention to myself, but Taylor was my dad’s fishing buddy. I can’t count the number of times that the Taylors shared a meal with us after a good day on the lake.

A familiar voice breaks the uncomfortable silence. “Mr. Taylor is scaredly is all. He’s not trying to be outside the box.”

I look around, trying to find who spoke. For some reason, everyone’s staring at me like I punched a nun or something.

Well, everyone except Taylor. He’s got a grateful smile pasted on his stupid round face. The looks confirm my growing suspicion. The voice was familiar because it’s mine.

Pinman doesn’t reply, just cocks his head.

“Well, um, good night, sir,” Mr. Taylor croaks as he scurries back inside his house.

A second later, the loudspeakers atop every telephone pole on the block crackle to life. On the screens, a severe looking yet appealing middle-aged woman appears with her hair wrapped tight around her head. Everything can go dark but not PR Polly, the voice of The Corporation.

There’s a whine of feedback, and Polly stares with a Mona Lisa smile on her lips, waiting for it to pass. It fades to a crackling static and clears.

Her familiar, faintly British voice sounds out. “Return to your homes. All is goodly. We have the situation under control.” As always, she adds the Corporate slogan. “America first. America last. America always.”

Another squeal of feedback sounds out. Dan and Katie return to the screens, laughing about the ratings bonanza it’ll be when the real Does are caught and put on Manhunt. But since Manhunt is required viewing, ratings are a bonanza every day anyway. I’m also not sure how we’d know if they’re the real Does. I mean, every time they think they’ve got them, it turns out they’re regular rebels.

No one even knows what the Does look like.

A weird sensation tingles my leg. It’s my phone vibrating in my pocket. I put aside my stray thoughts for now as I fish it out.

“What did you think of this Realnews brief” flashes on the screen. Underneath, like always, are two emoji:

a smiley one,

and a frowning one.

I tap the smiley face to show that I loved it. No one clicks the other one anymore. Well, no one without a death wish.

Soft clicking echoes around me as my neighbors do the same. By the time I’m done, they’re scurrying back into their homes. I guess they’ve all realized it’s after curfew, so we are all technically criminals right now.

Pinman still stands there with his arms crossed, staring at me. I try not to meet his gaze and mumble something about how my little sister is waiting for dinner inside.

In the distance, sirens blare. A lot of them. All isn’t goodly. I sense the stranger watching me as I walk into my house.

I don’t look back.

You never look back.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

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Author David Dean Lugo often gets ideas for his stories by wondering what if? In his new young adult dystopian novel, Year Zero, he probed this when writing about a future fascist America run by a governing body called The Corporation and its CEO. Lugo believes that today’s trend of people judging one another too harshly—whether based on their political party, gender identity, or something else—is causing people to drift too far away from one another. His story explores potential extreme ramifications of this.

Lugo believes a great book is one that has believable characters that readers can identify with and relate to. He hopes his stories evoke emotion and thinking from his readers long after the book is closed.

When he isn’t writing thought-provoking YA novels, Lugo enjoys playing guitar, watching movies, playing video/board games, and hanging out with his amazing family. He lives in southwest New Hampshire with his wife Meredith, son Jacob, and their rascally Labrador/Collie mix named Astrid. Year Zero is the first volume in his The Revolution’s Children trilogy.

David Dean Lugo | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

 

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Book Tour: Rune and Flash by Joe Canzano – Genre: YA Scifi/ Action-Adventure @happyjoecanzano @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #BookTour

Welcome to the book tour for Rune and Flash: Inside the Dream Prison. On this tour you will find reviews exclusively at each stop, so follow along and find out what readers are saying!

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Rune and Flash: Inside the Dream Prison

Publication Date: May 14th, 2022

Genre: YA Sci-Fi/ Action/ Adventure (In the vein of Hunger Games and Divergent)

When 16-year-old Markla Flash is convicted of murder and sentenced to 1,000 nightmares inside the Dream Prison, her friend Rune vows to help—but he quickly finds himself pitted against his parents, and the police, and a gang of murdering “subversives,” as well as the keepers of a society where artificially created dreams are used for both punishment and pleasure.

“Rune and Flash” is an action-filled science fiction adventure about the power of truth, technology, and love.

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Excerpt

Markla didn’t care for the dark. Why did they need to be creeping around in the woods at night? The trees all looked like gnarled monsters, and the moon stared down like an evil eye, and couldn’t they attack this place in the daytime?

The Serenity Six Dream Station would still be around when the sun came up. It would still be around on a weekend, too—in case someone didn’t want to save the world on a school night. But she was the only one still in school, and being just sixteen years old no one seemed to care what she thought, anyway.

Dru was two years older and he was up ahead. He was stomping through the forest, snapping twigs and swishing his feet through every pile of dry leaves. If the darkness gave them a certain element of surprise, it was totally lost by all the noise they were making. They were supposed to be warriors in a primitive and ancient tradition, schooled in the art of silent attack—but now the idea made Markla roll her eyes. We’re as clueless as the enemy, she thought. Any second now someone was bound to walk into a tree and knock himself unconscious.

The thought almost made her laugh, but she bit her lip instead and stepped lightly over a thick root. She was tiny, and slender like a branch, and she wouldn’t be walking into anything. Then Dru held up his hand and whispered in a fierce tone.

“Stop!” he said.

Markla didn’t stop right away. Instead, she tossed back her hair and crept to his side. Markla’s hair was a shade or two darker than midnight, and it was always tangled and messy, and most of the time she liked it to hang down because it covered a small scar near her left ear and another star-shaped one on the right side of her forehead. But tonight it seemed appropriate to let her scars show.

They were standing at the edge of the dense forest. Somewhere nearby, an owl hooted and her heart leaped. She brushed a mosquito from her bare arm and peered across a grassy clearing. Did she really want to do this? Well, she did have a steel club slung across her back, and so did Dru, and so did the other three people who’d come trudging through the woods on this humid autumn evening. They were staring across the field at a knob-like building that resembled an observatory. There was no kind of visible fence around the place, but it was supposedly equipped with sensors that would detect anyone who crossed a certain perimeter—unless the system was disabled by someone inside.

Dru wiped some sweat from his forehead. He motioned for everyone to crouch down, and in the darkness three silent figures followed his instructions. But Markla remained standing, and so did he, and he turned to face her like she knew he would. Even in the moonlight, she could see his blue eyes, thick dark hair, and chiseled facial features—and yeah, he looked good. But just because Dru was sexy didn’t mean he couldn’t be infuriating, especially when he said, “Maybe you should wait here.”

“What?” She felt her stomach tighten. “What are you talking about? You want to leave me behind?”

Dru smiled. “Markla, no—that’s not how it is. I know you’re tough, but you’re also small, and we could use a lookout.”

“That’s stupid,” she sputtered. “That was never the plan. I’m part of the group, and now you want to leave me here all alone?”

“No one wants to do that. It’s not like that at all.”

“If you leave me here by myself, I’ll be alone, right? I can count to one.”

Dru sighed in dramatic fashion. Behind Markla, the three others remained silent, like they were waiting for the argument to end. And it did end, the way it always ended. Dru reached out with his big hands and squeezed Markla’s shoulders as he looked into her eyes and said, “I would never leave you behind, Markla. You know that.”

She was quiet. “Okay,” she finally said. Then she shrugged. “So what are we talking about? Let’s go.”

He laughed. “We can’t go yet, honey. We have to wait for the signal.”

Right. She knew that, and she hadn’t meant it literally. Then there was a chirping sound, and Dru was staring at a wafer-sized device in his hand.

“Okay, this is it!” he said. “Are we ready to do some damage?”

Everyone murmured that they were—and then they put on their masks.

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About the Author

Joe Canzano_800x600color

Joe Canzano is a writer and musician from NJ, U.S.A. His stories have appeared in a variety of printed literary journals, as well as in the Akashic Books online series, “Mondays are Murder.” He has also published five novels. His website is happyjoe.net.

Happy Joe | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

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