#BookExtracts By Lou of #Unlocked – a #Charity #Book supporting #TheTrussellTrust By@D20Authors @LoveBooksTours #BlogTour

Today I have a very special book that I can reveal 2 excerpts from. All profits of sale of this anthology – UNLOCKED will go to THE TRUSSELL TRUST. The TRUSSELL TRUST is a large food bank charity in the UK. Find out more about them in the link:The Trussell Trust. As you meander down you’ll discover the cover, the blurb and 2 extracts from the book.

Trussell Trust 

https://www.trusselltrust.org/what-we-do

We support a nationwide network of food banks and together we provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty, and campaign for change to end the need for food banks in the UK.

In the UK, more than 14 million people are living in poverty – including 4.5 million children. We support more than 1,200 food bank centres in the UK to provide a minimum of three days’ nutritionally-balanced emergency food to people who have been referred in crisis, as well as support to help people resolve the crises they face. Between April 2019 and March 2020, food banks in our network provided a record 1.9 million food supplies to people in crisis, an 18% increase on the previous year and during the coronavirus pandemic food banks have seen need rise even further. You can find out more about the impact of our work during the pandemic in our latest report, available here.

We know it takes more than food to end hunger. That’s why we recently launched our five year strategic plan. We know our goal to end the need for food banks is ambitious, but by working Together for Change, we believe it is achievable.


Blurb 

ALL PROFITS FROM UNLOCKED WILL BE DONATED TO THE TRUSSELL TRUST

From murder to magic, loss to love, Berlin to Bologna and everything in between, this brilliant anthology showcases 16 unique short stories from the D20 Authors, a best-selling group of writers whose debuts were published during the COVID 2020 lockdowns.

Meet the cleaner who won’t let anything stand between her and her job; the ocean diver with a mysterious mission; the pyromaniac driven by a painful compulsion; and the politician struggling to balance it all….

Compiled by best-selling author Philippa East, and covering everything from crime to romance, mystery to uplit, this multi-genre collection has a story for everyone. Contributors to UnLocked have been longlisted, shortlisted and winners of a variety of awards, including The Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, The McIlvanney Prize for Best Scottish Crime Book, The Guardian’s Not-The-Booker Prize, The People’s Book Prize for Fiction, and the CWA New Dagger Award for best debut of the year.

With this superb anthology, the D20 Authors are delighted to be raising funds for the Trussell Trust, a charity who supports a nationwide network of food banks, and together they provide emergency food and support to people facing hardship, and campaign to end the need for food banks in the UK.

Get to know some of the best fiction writers publishing today, support the Trussell Trust and treat yourself to some great entertainment by reading this exceptional collection.

 

Contributors

Debra Barnes       Tom Benjamin                Caroline Bishop Emma Christie

  Catherine Cooper          Polly Crosby Victoria Dowd       Philippa East  

 Tim Ewins Gillian Harvey      Nydia Hetherington      Anna Jefferson

Penny Jenkins        Louise Mumford           Holly Race Rosie Walker

Here is the first of 2 excerpts.

THE CLEANER
LOUISE MUMFORD

I love my job.
 
Noble profession, cleaning. You take the chaos and mess of people’s lives, the smears and stains and overflowing
bins, and you create order from it – you show them the gleam that lies underneath. You show them the potential.
Of course, then they mess it up again.
 
Some people might think this new job of mine weird, I guess. After all, I’m still working in the same building, on the
same floor – in fact, I can even see my old desk. Nine to five, five days a week, twenty years: Mr Dedicott’s Personal
Assistant. Sounds fancier than it was, but I didn’t mind that – I’m not fancy.
It was a big change, leaving. If I had my time again, would I have done anything different? Of course, yes. But things
are what they are. I can’t change them.
 
I’m here for a reason.
 
And it’s not because of my love for emptying bins.
We work the night shift, which suits me. I’m not so good in the day anymore; I feel a bit fuzzy around the edges,
floating from one place to another in a daze half the time. It’s taken me a while to settle in. I don’t mean in terms of
banter and swapping trashy gossip mags with the others, I mean the effort of it. It’s hard work. Hoovering, wiping,
lifting, moving, bleaching. The concentration. No wonder I’m a wreck in the daytime.
 
I always do my desk first. No, not my desk anymore, I have to remember that. His. They replaced me with a man.
Just a lad, I saw him the one time, skinny legs in those terrible tight suit trousers which young men wear nowadays,
the kind that look as if they cut off circulation to the brain. I’m sure he’s competent at his job.
But he’s not me.
 

And onto the second

THE REEF

EMMA CHRISTIE

Now, her breath was everything.
She pictured her lungs, fat with life. The muffled whisper of each inhale and exhale was amplified by the snorkel tube,
made her feel bigger than she was.
 
But more guilty.
 
She sighed then swam through the sound of it, repeating one phrase in her head.
Alan made me do this.
 
She headed back to the boat, grunting as she pulled herself onto the narrow metal steps hung over the side. She
wanted to reach for Alan’s chaffed hands, feel them grip her freezing, slippery fingers. She wanted him to haul her
over the side of the boat like a prize catch, to wrap her in an oversized towel and bring her the last of the whisky. Not
this. Never this.
 
She had one foot on the top rung when the boat lurched to her side, throwing her back into the water. She tried again,
fell again, then gave up. She’d swim for a while instead, watch life.
The sea was calm today. A few fish inspected the sandy floor, bellies flashing green and blue and silver when they
turned and caught the light. Some swam alone, hunting and hunted. But mostly they moved together, stayed low and
headed towards the reef. Towards Alan.
 
She started swimming after them, then hesitated and checked her watch. Grief clogged her throat. The worst part –
the watching part – wouldn’t be over yet. There would still be movement, traces of loss. No, she’d stay well away until
Alan was definitely gone. She turned around and kicked hard, one arm stretched ahead of her as she powered
through the water. She kept the other arm by her side, hand gripping the smooth handle of the harpoon gun.
 

A quick reminder of what The Trussell Trust does

Trussell Trust 

https://www.trusselltrust.org/what-we-do/

We support a nationwide network of food banks and together we provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty, and campaign for change to end the need for food banks in the UK.

In the UK, more than 14 million people are living in poverty – including 4.5 million children. We support more than 1,200 food bank centres in the UK to provide a minimum of three days’ nutritionally-balanced emergency food to people who have been referred in crisis, as well as support to help people resolve the crises they face. Between April 2019 and March 2020, food banks in our network provided a record 1.9 million food supplies to people in crisis, an 18% increase on the previous year and during the coronavirus pandemic food banks have seen need rise even further. You can find out more about the impact of our work during the pandemic in our latest report, available here.

We know it takes more than food to end hunger. That’s why we recently launched our five year strategic plan. We know our goal to end the need for food banks is ambitious, but by working Together for Change, we believe it is achievable.

Advertisement

#Excerpt of a #Chapter of I Made It Out By Avishai El #IMadeItOut #AvishaiEl @between_pr #BlogTour

I Made It Out
By Avishai El

I Made It Out banner

Today I am pleased to be on the blog tour for – I Made It Out. I have a sneaky peek at the cover, blurb and an excerpt of the first chapter to share with you Thanks to Reading Between The Lines for inviting me. Take a look and also discover where you can buy the book and website and social media links.

I Made It Out

Blurb

I Made It Out” details the raw, uncut, and honest life events of AvishaiEl.  She is 32 years old and decided to write this book to help other people who are going through situations that they feel as though they can’t get out of.  She affirms that you can get out of any situation and provides historical context in which she used her mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual capacities to face challenges head on.  In order to maintain peace, one has to go through things in life to get there.  She has gone through ups and downs.  All readers from all walks of life will be able to relate to her shared experiences.  On days where you feel low in life and on days where you feel high on life, opening this book and reading it will provide you with the tools you need to succeed no matter what.  Some of the imagery is explicit to paint a visual picture for the reader.
If she could get through it you can. You can make it out

Chapter One 

On rare occasions he would take me somewhere. The only time I remember him actually spending time with me at that age was when he went to get himself a sandwich filled with sprouts. He let me have a bite of his sandwich but didn’t get me a sand‐ wich. I always thought that was the weirdest thing to do. If I had a child, I would have also bought them something to eat. My father was a detached individual who acted impulsively. He was someone who would leave people, such as my mom and I, filled with unanswered questions. For example, him leaving was an impulsive action. There was no explanation. Another example is the time I asked my father about nationality. I asked my father, “What is my nationality?” His response, “We’re everything.” In my estimation his actions didn’t make sense to me. He wasn’t the type to admit to anything or take accountability. Saying, “Sorry” was not a part of his vocabulary and he always appeared aloof. This aloof, detached attitude that my father possessed put my life in danger. What was seen as ‘doing the right thing’ by my mom, because she followed a court order and didn’t want to keep her daughter away from her father, would later bring immense pain and sadness.
Every other Friday when I went to see my father at my paternal grandmother’s house, my mom would check in and my grandmother would make it seem as if she was there watching me at all times and would tell my mom that my father came over. My paternal grandmother would tell my mom I was doing fine. The reality was, unbeknown to my mom I wasn’t left with my father or his mother, I was left with my paternal grand‐ mother’s husband. He was an elderly man who I saw as a monster. That creature from hell looked like a classic Mr. Rogers to the average person. He would even smile at other people so you wouldn’t suspect the evil lurking underneath that mild exterior. He was very deceptive.
Every time I went over there, I was terrified, but I didn’t say a word to my mom. He abused me sexually and made me do despicable things against my will. He cussed often and called me a bitch. When I was left alone with him, he displayed different personalities. I saw a warped individual, not a person. I was only two-and-a-half to three-years old when I was violently abused.
No child should have to be brutalized. I remember wanting to run away from the house but he blocked me from leaving. I felt trapped. I can recall my mom dropping me off with another family member in the car. My paternal grandmother was outside to walk me in. I cried uncontrollably and was petrified to enter that house. The look on my mom’s face was one of uncertainty. She looked as though she didn’t want to leave me and kept asking me if I wanted to come with her. My maternal grandmother who was in the car with her said, “Just go ‘head,” an irritated edge to her voice. My paternal grandmother would say, “Let’s go in. She’s going to be fine. We’re going to go get breakfast.” This put my mother’s fears at ease. Yet, once again, she lied to my mom. She ended up leaving me with that monster again and then came the worst day of all.
WEBSITE & SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Lou Presents an #Extract of The Farmhouse – A Southern Gothic Ghost Tale By L.B. Stimpson  @zooloo2008 @stimsonink @QuestionPress #TheFarmhouseOfPeaceandPlenty

Today on day 1 of this blog tour, I present an extract from The Farmhouse by L.B. Stimpson. Thanks to the author for providing the extract and Zooloo Blogtours for inviting me onto this.
Follow onto the Blurb and Extract and take a peek at a bit of this interesting, evocative, atmospheric book, that may well have your spines tingling, to see who lives in a house like this – an ageing, spooky farmhouse that just may put you in the mood early for Halloween!

The Farmhouse Book Cover

Blurb

The house, for all of its solitude, seemed incredibly noisy

The Farmhouse, having stood against time and history for nearly 160 years in the Virginia countryside, was forgotten and abandoned until Kyle and Jenny Dowling moved in during the summer of 1972.

The Dowlings, married just a year, were struggling to repair their broken marriage. It was to be the perfect place, away from it all, to heal their relationship. Jenny would write and Kyle would tend to minor renovations. The rent was cheap.

The realtor warned them, however, against staying beyond the final days of fall.

Extract

Late Spring 1972

Jenny Dowling bit her lower lip in a failed attempt to keep her opinion to herself. She had promised her husband she would keep an open mind, but she didn’t expect the house to be so dilapidated. She swallowed her doubt and concern as they traveled down the gravel road, it was so worn and lonely and if she had to admit, the surrounding fields appeared frozen in time and she and Kyle were emerging through a portal, far from modern society, disturbing the past. Haunted. Yes, haunted was the perfect description. She closed her eyes and tried to imagine the past, when wagons rolled and seclusion was necessary for survival at times.

“Oh, Kyle, you can’t be serious,” she finally blurted out as her eyes wandered along the overgrown driveway beyond the padlocked cattle guard gate which appeared to be holding in the decay spilling forth from the broken windows lining the front of the house. Empty, hollow eyes. Oh, he can’t be serious, but yet, he was.

Kyle reached over and grasped his wife’s hand. “Look, I know it doesn’t, well it might not be the secluded getaway you said you wanted, but it has some charm and it’s cheap and near enough to the city if I need to get back to the university, but I doubt that anyone will be calling. Besides, it has electricity and the realtor said she would cut us a break on the rent if we fixed up a few things.”

Jenny pulled her hand away and cranked open the window. The air was still. It was as though it was holding its breath lest a breeze break through the last shards of broken windows protecting the house against the elements. The house, this house, was exactly what Kyle had always wanted. Of course he would have chosen such a place–lonely and secluded.

The Farmhouse Book Tour Poster

Lou Presents an #Extract of The Seamstress of Warsaw By Rebecca Mascull @zooloo2008 @rebeccamascull @SpellBoundBks #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour

Today I am kicking off the blog tour with an extract/excerpt of The Seamstress of Warsaw By Rebecca Mascull to whet your appetite and draw you in….
This is the latest book from the author who has also brought you – The Ironbridge Daughter and many more… You can find out more about her below…
Thanks to the publisher company lSpellbound Books for providing the extract/excerpt of the book.The Seamstress of Warsaw

Extract/Excerpt

WINTER 1920

He said to wear her best dress, the one with the poppies. Whatever could it be for? Perhaps they were going for lunch. That would be a miracle in the midst of these dark days, when he came home from his long walks with empty pockets and the scent of hard drink, without a word or even a smile. But she hoped for the miracle all the same. He waited by the door, shifting from foot to foot.

“Come on! Come on!” he laughed and took her hand. It was the first time he’d laughed in weeks.

They walked arm in arm down their street. Slowly, on dense snow. They turned one corner, crossed the road and stopped. There was a shop, in the window photographs of a baby, a young couple, a soldier.

“Darling, I‘ve decided to enlist.”

“No,” she said. “No!”

“I’m going away tomorrow.”

“Don’t leave me,” she said.

“Here. I want a photograph of you to take with me.”

He opened the shop door to an anteroom. The owner came through and she watched as they made arrangements. Her lover turned back to her and kissed her cheek, his touch like paper. She was led through to a small studio, shrouded in heavy curtains, a chair centrally placed. The photographer had a kindly face. He asked her to sit down. Her lover stood behind the camera, grinning.

“My Helena is a beauty, isn’t she? I want a close-up, just her face. Those eyes. One day, I will write a sonnet about them.”

She might be able to stop the tears coming, if she pressed her nails hard into her palms. Harder.

The photographer said, “A little smile, my dear?”

She was thinking of their room, how tiny it was, cluttered and dirty. How vast it would be tomorrow, when he had gone. His stories, his dreams, his plans for them: only now could she see them clearly for what they were. A handful of thistledown.

She heard them talking of the photograph, ready next week. She was to pick it up and pay. With what? Where would she find the money for milk, for bread?

At the door, he hugged her roughly.

“When the Russians are gone, I’ll come home to you. And one day, I will write an epic poem about it.”

They stepped out and stood a moment in the cold.

He said, “You must send the photograph on to me.”

He kissed her. Warm against the icy air. A taste of vodka.

“Where will you be?”

“I don’t know yet. As soon as I’m settled, I’ll write to you.”

They walked on through the snow. The east wind wailed through Warsaw.

About The Author

Rebecca Mascull Author PhotoRebecca Mascull is an author of historical novels. She also writes saga fiction under the pen-name of Mollie Walton.

Rebecca’s latest book under the Mascull name is coming on September 18th 2021, THE SEAMSTRESS OF WARSAW, the powerful tale of two people unknowingly connected to each other, caught up in the whirlwind of World War II, whose perilous journeys we follow from the Blitz to the Warsaw Ghetto and beyond, published by SpellBound.

Mollie Walton’s The Ironbridge Saga series is set in the dangerous world of the iron industry: THE DAUGHTERS OF IRONBRIDGE (2019). The second book in the trilogy is THE SECRETS OF IRONBRIDGE (2020), set in the brickyards of the 1850s. The third book is set in the coalmines and servants’ quarters of the 1870s: THE ORPHAN OF IRONBRIDGE (2021). All three are published by Bonnier Zaffre. Mollie’s next trilogy will be set in WW2 North Yorkshire and the first book of this saga will be out in March 2022, published by Welbeck.

Her first novel as Rebecca Mascull, THE VISITORS (2014) tells the story of Adeliza Golding, a deaf-blind child living on her father’s hop farm in Victorian Kent. Her second novel SONG OF THE SEA MAID (2015) is set in the C18th and concerns an orphan girl who becomes a scientist and makes a remarkable discovery. Her third novel, THE WILD AIR (2017) is about a shy Edwardian girl who learns to fly and becomes a celebrated aviatrix but the shadow of war is looming. All are published by Hodder & Stoughton.

She also completed the finishing chapters of her friend and fellow novelist Vanessa Lafaye’s final work, a novella called MISS MARLEY, a prequel to Dickens’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL. This novella is published by HarperCollins.

Rebecca has worked in education, has a Masters in Writing and lives by the sea in the east of England. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund, based at the University of Lincoln.

Follow her at:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaMascull/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/beccamascull/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rebeccamascull

Buy on

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B099KWCPFS

Amazon UShttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B099KWCPFS

 

Lou Presents an #Extract #Excerpt of Release By Karen Moore @KarenMo35731701 @darkstrokedark @between_pr #Release #Thriller #CrimeFiction #BlogTour

Today I have been gifted an extract from the first chapter of Release for you to read, be inspired by, be perhaps pulled in by. Find out more about the author, the blurb and of course a sneaky peak of part of the book. I thank Reading Between The Lines and  for gifting me the extract and inviting 

Release 2 

About the Author

Release authorKaren Moore is passionate about all things noir – crime, mystery, thrillers – and writes in that genre.

She has been writing all her life, mostly for work purposes, and is now delighted to be able to spend more time developing her own creative work.

Her debut novel, Torn, is a dark tale of intrigue and betrayal set in Sicily and North Wales. Release is the sequel, although it is written as a standalone novel for people who may not have read Torn.

Karen worked as a tour guide across Europe, North America and Canada, followed by a career in PR and marketing. She has lived in France and Italy, and is now based in Cheshire, England. Her cat, Lexi, often appears in her social media feeds.

 BLURB

ReleaseWhen Hanna’s estranged mafioso husband, Luciano, is released early from a Sicilian prison, she fears he will come after her and her young daughter, Eva.

The revelation leaves her with a dilemma. Invited to Sicily to attend her best friend’s wedding, can she really take the risk?

But even staying at home in North Wales may not be safe. Something strange is going on at her old cottage in the hills. As the lines between Sicily and North Wales blur, Hanna uncovers a criminal operation that leads her to fear for Eva’s life all over again.

Will Hanna ever be able to release herself from Luciano’s grip? Or will her discovery lead her into even deeper danger?

Excerpt

Chapter One

Shielding her eyes against the dazzling sunlight, Hanna shivered as she stepped out into the afternoon heat. Maybe it was the sharp contrast in temperature after the coolness of the cottage. Or was there another reason? Something was bothering her, an uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach she’d had all day. It was as if the nightmares of the past were lurking in the shadows, threatening to return.
Trying to ignore it, she carried the tray of marinated chicken pieces over to the barbecue where Rhys was busy poking the glowing coals. His tanned face crinkled into a smile.
“Nearly ready now. Only a few more minutes. I’m ravenous. Don’t know about you?” Rhys almost had to shout to make himself heard above Eva’s shrieks as she tore around the garden after Bryn, his new squeaky doggy toy clamped between his jaws.
Hanna forced a smile. “Me, too.”
“How about an aperitif while we wait?”
She nodded and flopped onto a garden lounger. “That’d be great, just what I need.”
Rhys wiped the beads of sweat off his forehead with the back of his arm. “Fine. Won’t be a
minute…” he said, already making for the back door into the kitchen.
Hanna sat back with a sigh. Cosmo, their adopted cat, stretched out lazily on the patio, basking
in the sun, purring contentedly. The heady scent of sweet honeysuckle wafted through the air. The garden was a blaze of colour: swathes of pink and purple mallow, dainty red fuchsias, spectacular blue hydrangeas, giant yellow daisies, and delicate peach roses. Amazing how they manage to bloom with so little attention, she thought. There was even a fig tree, although she doubted it would bear fruit in the Welsh climate. The fine weather wouldn’t last long.
The warm sun made her drowsy and she was almost nodding off when she heard the chink of ice against glass. Rhys set two tall drinks down on the table, together with a bowl of olives. He collapsed onto the lounger next to her.
“I thought you might like one of these,” he said, handing her a glass filled with a sparkling dark-coloured liquid, a twist of blood orange clinging to its rim.
She took a sip, savouring the familiar bittersweet orange flavour that immediately conjured up memories of Sicily. Memories more bitter than sweet. A shudder ran through her as if a dark cloud had passed over the sun. Shrugging it off, she said, “Orange vermouth, my favourite! Wherever did you find it?”
Rhys grinned as he reached for his drink, studying her over the top of his glass. “I saw it the other day in a farm shop and remembered you telling me how much you used to like it.”
“It’s wonderful, really refreshing. The perfect summer drink,” said Hanna, reaching for an olive.
Rhys downed half his drink in one gulp. “Mmm, not bad. I might have to have another one.” Hanna laughed. “You’re supposed to sip it slowly and relish its tangy aroma.”
“You sound like an advert! No wonder you’re in marketing!”
“You’d better get a move on with that chicken. Eva’ll be famished after all that running
around.”
“OK, boss, anything you say.” Rhys finished his drink, returned to the barbecue, and started to
load the chicken onto the rack.
Hanna took another sip and scanned the garden again. Eva was still charging around after Bryn in a game of hide-and-seek that he seemed to be winning. Peals of laughter and high- pitched squeals from the squeaky toy floated on the air. Just as well we’ve no immediate neighbours to disturb, she thought. Rhys busied himself at the barbecue, deftly wielding a pair of tongs, humming softly to himself.
So much had happened since Sicily and her daughter’s kidnapping two years earlier. By some miracle Eva had emerged remarkably unscathed, and as her fifth birthday approached, she was growing into a chirpy and inquisitive little girl. She seemed happy in their new home, an old stone cottage in the little village of Abergarron, slightly set back from the North Wales coast, and had settled in well at the school she had been attending for the past few months.
But for Hanna it hadn’t been so easy, and she still bore the scars of her Sicilian husband’s betrayal and deceit. What hurt the most was the apparent ease with which he had shunned both his wife and daughter in favour of the noxious family business. But at least that was all behind her now, and Luciano was paying the price: a fourteen-year jail sentence in Palermo’s Pagliarelli maximum-security prison.
Trying to dismiss her feeling of foreboding, Hanna reminded herself she had much to be thankful for. Eva no longer asked about Luciano and her Sicilian grandparents, and had accepted Rhys without too many questions. Hanna’s own relationship with Rhys was warm and loving, a bond that had developed naturally without any great effort on either part.

#Extract of Rising Star by Michele Kwasniewski @MicheleKwas @RandSmithBooks @RandomTTours #YA #RisingStar

Rising Star
By Michele Kwasniewski
Extract/Excerpt

Today I am pleased to show you an extract/excerpt from Rising Star, thanks to Random TTours Rand-Smith Books and Michele Kwasniewski for providing the passage.
I will also say that Rising Star is an interesting sounding book that looks at the price of fame and fortune, which is a highly fitting for today’s society of young adults. Find out about the author, the book and then discover an extract from it to get your reading eyes going.
Readers… meet Dani Truhart

About the Author

Michelle K Author PicThe author, Michele Kwasniewski, is an entertainment industry insider who has seen what the Hollywood machine can do to people – having worked for many years in film and television production on such films and TV shows as Primal FearIndependence DayEvita, Face/OffBig Brother, and many TCL, HGTV, and Discovery series including: Meet the Pandas, Adoption Story, Wedding Story, and Extra Yardage. 

 

Michelle Kwasneiwski Author PicWith her book, she shares the glamour and excitement of fame as well as the hard work it takes to achieve success and the price of living life in the public eye.  Everyone wants to be famous, but most people have no idea what that really means.  Michele has seen it firsthand.  She is an active member of the Producers Guild of America.

 

Blurb

What’s the Price of Fame?

Rising Star Cover ImageIn the first book in THE RISE AND FALL OF DANI TRUEHART series, RISING STAR, fifteen-year-old Dani Truehart is living a life that is not quite her own. Driven by her mother’s desire for fame and fortune, she has spent her childhood dutifully training for a career as a pop star. On the brink of discovery, doubts begin to creep into Dani’s mind as she questions her own desire for fame, and she wonders whether she can trust the motivations of the adults who are driving her forward.

Following a brilliant audition arranged by her vocal/dance coach and former ’80s pop icon Martin Fox, Dani is thrown full-force into the music industry. She leaves her friends, family and scheming mother behind to move with Martin, who has become her legal guardian, into the Malibu compound of her new manager, Jenner Redman. Jenner, the former swindling manager of Martin’s boy band, leverages what’s left of his depleted fortune to launch Dani’s career.

Isolated from her life at home and trying to stay apace with her demanding schedule, Dani struggles to keep in touch with those she loves, connect to her withholding mother and find her voice as an artist. With Martin and Jenner at odds over their rocky past and finding herself unprepared to handle the pressures of her future singing career, Dani’s debut album and future stardom are at risk of falling apart.

Rising Star Cover Image

Extract/Excerpt

Sean, the lights, and the gym quickly dissolve into my shrieking

alarm clock and my equally grating mother yelling my name. I roll over groaning and blindly striking out for the clock, knocking odds and ends off the nightstand. A final violent swipe turns off the alarm. I pry open my eyes. It’s 5:12 a.m.

“Danilynn Marie Truehart, get up this instant! Don’t make me walk up those stairs and get you, girl.”

I pause for a second, wondering what evil I’ve done in my past life to deserve such torment in this one. Jodi Truehart is her own special brand of torture. Some days it’s all I can do not to either burst into tears or erupt in a tirade of swear words. My mother never stops. She is unrelenting, unforgiving, and utterly determined to make me into a star.

Sighing as I haul my bones out of bed, I remind myself that if I’m really that miserable, I could make the endless lessons and rehearsals stop. My mother is all about the bottom line. If there’s any chance she won’t receive a big payoff after all these years of pushing and spending, she’ll cut her losses and turn her maniacal stage-mother- ing skills to some other money-making prospect. She’d probably just have another baby. I chuckle to myself…third time’s a charm, right?

Grabbing the stack of workout wear on the dresser, I stumble down the hall to the bathroom. My father is shambling up the stairs from the kitchen, a steaming mug of coffee in hand.

“Sorry about all the noise, Dad. Guess I overslept.”

He shakes his head. “No worries, Marie. I had an early meeting any- way.” He blows me a kiss and continues down the hall to the master bedroom.

My dad is the only one who calls me Marie. I’m named after his mother, who used to visit us a lot when we were younger. We used to hang out at her house all the time, and she used to bake the best cakes ever. But there was some sort of falling out between her and my mom, and we stopped going to see her. No one ever mentions it, and I’m too scared to ask what happened. Though I haven’t seen her in years, I always think of her when he calls me “Marie.”

“Where’s my apology, superstar?” Geena appears in the doorway of her darkened room, arms folded across her t-shirt, her blonde hair tousled. She smirks and gives me a playful slap on the butt as I pass. “Better get in that shower.” Geena puts her hands on her hips and wags her finger at me in a perfect imitation of our mother’s Texas twang, “Don’t make her walk up those steps and get you, girl.”

I groan. “God, you’re lucky you’re the smart one! If you’d been able to sing, maybe they’d have stopped at one kid, and I’d be blissfully unaware up in the stars somewhere.”

“You make your own luck, sis, believe me.” Geena winks at me and disappears into her room.

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