Tag Archives: young adult

New Release Blitz: We are the Catalyst by Tash McAdam

We are the Catalyst | Tash McAdam

The Psionics #2

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: February 25, 2019

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: No Romance

Length: 106,900

Genre: Science Fiction, LGBT, cliffhanger, espionage, spies, military, young adult

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Blurb

Kidnapped and imprisoned, telepathic children are forced to gather military intelligence. Repeatedly stripped of their memories, they live in ignorance of the world above. You can’t tell anyone a secret if you don’t remember it. It’s not child abuse if no one knows you exist.

Epsilon 17 appears to be just another mindless tool, empty of thought. But it’s a lie. The carefully constructed shell she hides behind protects her from their mind wipes. One day she will destroy the Institute. All she needs is a chance.

That chance could be Toby, if he doesn’t die first. He should never have left the safety of the suburbs, but cornered in an alley by a gang, he’s out of options. Of course, if he realized he had superpowers, he probably wouldn’t have been so worried. Unfortunately, they come at the cost of a finger, and his old life. Injured and panicked, he would have stayed on the dirty ground until the Institute came for him, if it wasn’t for Serena. Name-taking, ass-kicking Serena. She can punch through walls and practically fly, surely she can keep him safe…

But the Institute is sending Epsilon 17 to hunt him down, and she’s never lost a trail.

Can ARC, the mysterious group Serena works for, protect him? He has to get his powers in order, fast. It’s time for Toby to stand up for himself. An underground war is raging, and Toby’s just been drafted.

Join NineStar Press Authors Alex Harrow, L. A. Ashton, and Tash McAdam on FACEBOOK for a virtual launch party of their releases, EMPIRE OF LIGHT, ECHOES, and WE ARE THE CATALYST!

Find the party HERE. The event is February 25th from 8-10 PM CST, but feel free to drop by and stay as long as you wish!

For more info on each author and their books, visit:

EMPIRE OF LIGHT by Alex Harrow
ECHOES by L.A. Ashton
WE ARE THE CATALYST by Tash McAdam

Stop by for exclusive snippets, character takeovers, prizes, and swag!

Excerpt

We are the Catalyst
Tash McAdam © 2019
All Rights Reserved

E17

I’m floating, weightless, sensationless. The gel covers my body, every inch of my skin submerged and cushioned. The drowning sounds almost pleasant when I describe it this way, but my eyes are covered, liquid is pressing against my lips. It’s in my ears, filling my nose, dulling my senses. I’m drowning in breathable fluid, oxygenated goop. The sensation of lungs pleading for air lasts the short minutes I can hold my breath…then I have to inhale and my body is flooded.

I scream. The noise vibrates soundlessly in my throat, and then my body goes limp as my insides adjust, and my brain revels in the fresh oxygen. This isn’t new to me, I’ve been here before. I know how the gel works, giving me the oxygen my body requires at the cost of instinctive terror and panic that overrides all logic. It turns out there’s no getting used to suffocation. Even once the lungs realize they can drag oxygen from the fluid, it’s an emotional drowning.

You lose every sense of who you are like this, blurring at the edges until disappearing into nothingness, every sense of self fading as you drift out of your body, into a void. The sensor pads connected to my poor, bald head were itchy when they were applied, now they may as well not be there—except I know they’ll still be doing their jobs. The wireless connections to the computer equipment in the laboratory above me will continue to let the doctors know when I have disappeared, when I can’t think anymore.

It comes too fast. It always does. Without any variation in pressure or sound around me, my mind rebels and flails for anything to hold onto. It takes me hours, maybe. It could be minutes or weeks, I suppose, but I think it takes me hours to calm myself, to drag back the knowledge I have skin, I have a border, and I’m impenetrable and separate from what is around me.

This is the Tank.

In the Tank, there’s no gauge of time, nothing to touch or feel, no sensory hooks to hold onto. Insulated against life, I can’t do anything except hang there, helpless. There’s no one here for me to reach for, this time. Sometimes there will be others—different people, different ages. I reach out to them, feel for them with the telepathic powers that are both the reason I suffer and the only thing saving me from true madness. Even momentary connections with others remind me I’m not alone. I reach out, but they never feel me. They are truly alone, isolated from everything and everyone.

I’m the only one who survives the Tank. And I don’t know why. Of course, the scientists would never tell me anything. I’d be punished if I asked. I’m supposed to come out blank and empty and unknowing, like the others.

Thanks to the Tank, and the loneliness of my life, I spend a lot of time speculating why I’m different. I think it might be the dreams keeping me safe. I dream of a boy, a boy who runs in the sunshine and plays a sport with bats and balls. A boy who lives a blessedly unremarkable life. I think I made him up, to save me from the nothing. Could I have invented a place to go and hide in vibrant experiences and Technicolor feeling? Not like the Tank, where there’s nothing, nothing at all.

I’ve been in fourteen times as far as I remember. Other people have been dipped opposite me, or next to me, ten of those times. I feel their thoughts, their confusion and panic. I can’t see them. I can’t see anything at all except for vague shadows which pass my prison. Once a hand was pressed to my Tank, a black blur against the grey dark. The thoughts buzzing in the person were angry and desperate. They wanted to help me, but they couldn’t. I don’t know who it was.

Today, I’m alone. There’s no one else being wiped. Even if there were others, I can’t Project—send thoughts or feelings out of myself—so there’s no way for me to communicate. It seems to me if we connected, maybe they’d stay.

Instead, I talk to myself all the time, even under the draining numbness of the gel I drown in. It does something to me, to them, to us. As soon as I’m submerged, I can barely sense at all, the techs and other people mere scratching tickles at the surface of my consciousness, not like the normal swirling chaos of the thoughts always spinning around me, every fleeting miniscule flicker of awareness loud and seething for my attention. For the vast majority of my life, I have to block everything, block it all out so I don’t lose myself in the minds of others.

Not in the Tank, though. My powers are muted and tamped down by whatever is happening to me. And the others? Eventually their minds recoil at the endless nothing and they withdraw into the safety of white noise, the illusion of peace.

Then the wipe begins—a skull full of bees buzzing, crawling through memories and erasing the pathways making someone’s self. People fade away as I listen to their mental screams and pleas for mercy. They’re loud, then, as they beg for their memories, but the cries always dissolve into whispers and then nothing, nothing at all.

They cease to exist.

I don’t know why I alone remain “myself” in the Tank; perhaps I’m mad and there is no me. Maybe all I ever do is float here in the numbing absence of everything and tell myself stories. But I don’t believe so. I’m Epsilon 17, and I remember what that means. It is the name they gave me—not one I want, but it defines me, nonetheless. Epsilon is my class; I’m Epsilon Class, number seventeen. Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon…there are mostly Beta class here—the lowest, the least gifted. Alpha talents are so low the Institute has no interest in taking them on as students. That is what the Shepherds call them…call us, when they speak to us. Alpha talents get to live their lives away from this.

We are “students,” as though they are our teachers, here to help and educate us. In their heads, they call us sheep. They have no idea I can hear them—hear everything they think. They are trained to hide themselves, as I have taught myself to do, and it never crosses their minds they aren’t as safe as they believe. Because they are wrong about me. They have no idea I can tuck myself into a secret space inside my head and resist the nothingness of the Tank. Maintain my sense of self. Protect my memories. They know I’m special, but they have no idea how strong I really am…and how much stronger I’ll be. Every time they leave me in the Tank, I come back to my memories faster, and I hate a little more.

Soon all there will be left of me is hate.

This is how I stay myself in the Tank. Instead of waiting for it to end and feeling my mind snap when I realize it never, ever will—I have been here forever and will stay here forever—I take all the scraps of me, all the pieces making up who I am, and tuck them away, out of sight, in a private bunker in my mind.

While I’m suspended, I disappear into my dreams, if I’m alone. When there are others, I always wait until they have gone, in case one day one of them stays with me. They never do.

Once I’ve hidden I don’t come out until I’m sure I’m safe. Until I feel a soft, scratchy sensation and smell the faint, fresh bleach of my sheets. The triggers my body remembers. When I’m tucked up in my bed, I come back to reality, I realize I am not the boy-who-runs. And I remember everything they tried to take from me.

The moments before it comes back are the only times I feel safe.

It wasn’t always this way. When I was a child, I didn’t remember at all. They cleaned me the same way they clean everyone, and I became a fresh slate, a new start. You can’t tell anyone a secret if you don’t remember it. It’s not child abuse if no one knows you exist. We are the perfect soldiers in a war most of us repeatedly forget. We are forced to participate and then erased as though we were never there, gifted in a way people don’t expect and can’t plan for.

Mindreaders. Telepaths. Psychics. There are many names, but here at the Institute, they like the scientific terms. We are the Psionics, and they use us without shame.

If you are powerful, The Institute is there, listening to your thoughts, guiding your hands when you are writing, perhaps sending you dreams. Even controlling your every move like a puppet. Assignments can last for years if the Government wants a consistent presence monitoring one individual. You get to know them when they’re your target. I’ve been in heads which haunt my dreams. It makes me wish I did forget, but never enough to let go.

Two years ago, I was assigned to a political leader in Muntgummery, near the East, for eight months. He was a bad man. He liked to hurt women, and I had to watch it so the Institute could blackmail him. The Government knew the city was going to drown in the ravenous coastal waters as they rose and wanted to control who was saved. At the end, I worked with a Projector, who used my knowledge of the target to get into his head and overtake him completely. The city was abandoned to the flooding shortly after. The top Test-scorers were evacuated, and then the tube tunnels were sealed, Citizens, slumdwellers, and refugees alike were left to drown. I remember them screaming as we flew over the rioting streets.

The list of secrets I know is long, and I have nowhere and no way to write it down, so I keep them in my mind. It’s safe there because, though the business we are in is to take secrets, nobody knows I have any, and so nobody even looks. I hide everything under a blank, unmarked surface, and their probes slide over me like I’m invisible, or empty like the others—an untouched piece of paper waiting to be filled with their knowledge and used to affect the course of the world.

I have been aware for five years, give or take. It’s possible I have remembered myself before but didn’t manage to hide it and was wiped so I really did forget again.

But I learned.

The first time I came back to myself, they tried to wipe me again and again. Three times they put me back in the Tank, until I thought I was lost, gone and mad. But then it happened. I found the way—the way to leave what they were doing behind with my body—and keep my mind safe inside another life. A better life.

I don’t know how many days passed after that dip, but when I came to, I was restrained on a cold, hard table. I felt a grasp at my thoughts, a touch against my mind. I knew what it meant—they would put me back in, drown me again to kill these memories. We’re not supposed to remember the Tank. We’re not supposed to remember who we are. I scampered away inside my head and drew myself into the smallest ball possible, shielding my thoughts. I was small and tight and tucked away in a corner, and I tried so hard to hide and make the man go away. I felt him grope around—a blind man fumbling through my head. He must have been satisfied, accepted the lack he found inside me. He thought I was empty, and they could start again.

This is my story, and I’m putting it away to keep it safe. That way when I disappear again, I can find all the thoughts I’ve had, see the feelings I stored here. I don’t know how it works, but it is enough for me that it does.

Because this is my mind, my secret self, the weapon with which I’ll one day destroy everyone who has a hand in this. I’m Epsilon 17, and I’m going to bring this regime down in flames.

The Tank fades away and I’m gone. The boy’s packing a bag, this time. I think he’s frightened. I wonder what he has to be scared of, this boy with parents who ruffle his hair and friends who shout with laughter.

Meet the Author

Tash is a 30-year-old teacher candidate at UBC in Canada, although they were born and raised in the hilly sheepland of Wales (and have lived in South Korea and Chile before settling down in Vancouver). Tash identifies as trans and queer and uses the neutral pronoun ‘they’.

They’re also an English teacher and fully equipped to defend that grammar! They have a degree in computer science so their nerd chat makes sense and a couple of black belts in karate which are very helpful when it comes to writing fight scenes.

Their novel writing endeavours began at the age of eight and included passing floppy discs back and forth with a friend at swimming lessons. Since then, Tash has spent time falling in streams, out of trees, learning to juggle, dreaming about zombies, dancing, painting, learning and then teaching Karate, running away with the circus, and of course, writing.

They write fast-paced, plot-centric action adventure with diverse casts. They write the books that they wanted to read as a queer kid and young adult (and still do!)

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Book Blitz: The Winnowing by Jo Schaffer

The Winnowing | Jo Schaffer

Stanley & Hazel #2

Published by: Month9Books

Publication date: February 26th 2019

Genres: Historical, Young Adult

Darkness descends over St. Louis, a city already rocked by the Great Depression.

More and more people are disappearing, and some have turned up dead. A sinister secret society is putting forward their plan known as The Winnowing, designed to wipe out those they consider “undesirable”.

After Stanley and Hazel foil the diabolical plans of Charles Chouteau, they become instant celebrities. Hazel is thrust into the role of debutante, and risks loses herself in it. Meanwhile, Stanley must deal with the horrific tragedy of his best friend’s death while being threatened by the unseen forces of the Veiled Prophet.

With things spiraling out of control, Stanley and Hazel’s relationship is tested, possibly beyond repair. As bodies pile up, people become more desperate.

The divide between wealthy and poor grows ever wider, threatening to tear their worlds apart. Now, the two must find a way to work together if there is any hope at all of saving their relationship and their futures.

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Author Bio:

Jo Schaffer was born and raised in the California Bay Area in a huge, creative family. She is a YA novelist, speaker, writer at Patheos.com, works in film production and is a Taekwondo black belt.

She’s a founding member of Writers Cubed and co-founder of the Teen Author Boot Camp, one of the largest conferences in the nation for youth ages 13-19. She and a crew of local and international bestselling authors present writing workshops to hundreds of attendees at the Utah-based conference as well as hundreds of others worldwide who view the conference online.

Jo loves being involved in anything that promotes literacy and family. She is passionate about community, travel, books, music, healthy eating, classic films and martial arts. Her brain is always spinning new ideas for books and sometimes she even gets around to blogging.

Jo is mom to three strapping sons and lives in the beautiful mountains of Utah.

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Cover Reveal: Kingdom of Sand & Wishes

Kingdom of Sand & Wishes: A Limited Edition Collection of Aladdin Retellings

Publication date: May 24th 2019

Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult

Aladdin, but not as you remember it….

On the dusty streets, around the bustling bazaars, being overlooked by a Sultan’s Palace was a land.

A land of magic, secrets and treasures buried deep beneath the desert.

Through Arabian nights, dark forces are at work. Dark forces that can threaten the peace of everyone in the Kingdom. Watch our authors as they answer the question, can three wishes save the day?

Join our award-winning and USA Today bestselling authors for nine action-packed fantasy and contemporary retellings with Sultans, sorcerers, romance and more magic than a genie’s lamp can hold.

One click now for your happily ever after….


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Book Blitz: Travel Diaries of the Dead and Delusional by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

Travel Diaries of the Dead and Delusional | Lauren Nicolle Taylor

Published by: Clean Teen Publishing

Publication date: February 18th 2019

Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Nineteen-year-old Langley is crazy…like get out the straight jacket and prepare the padded room kind of crazy.

She knows it, and the kicker is—she’s choosing to stay that way. She clings to the persistent and intrusive hallucination of her dead sister by choice.

Sure, it might be nice to live life in the real world. But not if it means she has to let Sarah go.

Tupper’s life is charmed. He has loving adoptive parents, and several athletic college scholarships on the table. But his passion is for the arts, for the beauty of solid ink lines on paper. His illustrations are eerily similar to a keepsake from his birth mother, Anna: comic-book-style drawings scrawled across an old map…her version of a travel diary.

At eighteen, Tupper sidesteps his planned future and starts his journey where Anna’s ended—following her map from Kansas City to Canada. His travels will put him on a collision course with Langley, and their bond is palpable from the start.

But secrets will push between them—Sarah and Anna, two ghosts who could sink their icy fingers into the teens and tear them apart.

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Author Bio:

Lauren is the bestselling author of THE WOODLANDS SERIES and the award-winning YA novel NORA & KETTLE (Gold medal Winner for Multicultural fiction, Independent Publishers Book Awards 2017).

She has a Health Science degree and an honors degree in Obstetrics and Gynecology. A full-time writer, hapa and artist, Lauren lives in the tucked away, Adelaide hills with her husband and three children.

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Cover Reveal: Mimic by C.L. Denault

Mimic | C.L. Denault

The Prodigy Chronicles #2

Publication date: March 22nd 2019

Genres: Dystopian, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult

In 2012, one cycle of an ancient calendar system came to a close.

Humanity predicted its downfall, but it wasn’t the end of their evolutionary climb. It was the beginning.

Willow Kent is discovering that life as a second-phase prodigy comes at a price.

Trapped in the London Core, her choices are limited, made difficult by her forbidden romance with Reece and the presence of a new commanding officer who establishes harsh rules. With unpredictable skills and a growing distrust in her birth parents, she is struggling to play the Core’s game.

But when opportunity arises in the form of a mysterious shapeshifter, Willow realizes there’s more to her own evolution than meets the eye. She soon learns that keeping secrets is a key move, and the more dangerous they are, the greater her need to evolve into the powerful prodigy nature intended her to become.

But those closest to her have their own secrets, and her status has made her an easy target for betrayal. Who will she turn to, when nothing is as it seems?

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Author Bio:

C.L. Denault is a speculative fiction writer who loves dreaming up tales of adventure and intrigue. A former systems analyst, she gave up her nerdy code-writing skills to care for her family (including a son with special needs), and currently lives among the vast stretches of cornfields in Illinois.

Writing and working out are her biggest passions, along with drinking coffee and watching sci-fi. When she’s not hanging out with her husband and kids, she can usually be found at a library or tucked away in the shadowy corner of a hip coffeehouse. She’s also been glimpsed sneaking into her garage, late at night, to work on her time machine.

She enjoys connecting with people—especially those from other planets, nearby dimensions, and the future. To find her, just visit her website or social media pages. Or use a Stargate. Whichever is easiest.

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Book Blitz: The Ruins by T.H. Hernandez

The Ruins | T.H. Hernandez

The Union #2

Publication date: June 16th 2015

Genres: Adventure, Dystopian, Romance, Young Adult

Heartbroken, grief-stricken, and wracked with guilt, seventeen-year-old Evan Taylor returned to the Union, leaving behind the boy she loved.

Now, she and her friends must find a way to do the impossible – warn the citizens of the Union about an impending rebel attack without alerting the government and risking retaliation against her friends in the Ruins.

When every move Evan makes is thwarted, it soon becomes clear she’s being watched. Faced with a daily fight to stay one step ahead of her pursuers, she returns to the Ruins. But life in the Ruins has its own dangers, and soon she’s fighting a different battle – to stay alive long enough to discover the truth.

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Author Bio:

T.H. Hernandez is the author of young adult books. The Union, a futuristic dystopian adventure, was a finalist in the 2015 San Diego book awards in the Young Adult Fiction category.

She loves pumpkin spice lattes, Game of Thrones, Comic-Con, Star Wars, Doctor Who marathons, Bad Lip Reading videos, and all things young adult, especially the three young adults who share her home.

When not visiting the imaginary worlds inside her head, T.H. Hernandez lives in usually sunny San Diego, California with her husband and three children, a couple of cats, and a dog who thinks he’s a cat, affectionately referred to as “the puppycat.”

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Book Blitz: The Council of Nereth by T.J. Amberson

The Council of Nereth | T.J. Amberson

Publication date: December 2nd 2018

Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Young Adult

Six months have passed since the Council of Nereth was formed.

The land is at peace.

The people are thriving, secure in the knowledge that Raelin, the evil sorceress who once ruled over them, is no more.

Like the other members of the Council of Nereth, Edlyn has returned home to live and work, waiting for the time when the council will meet again.

Busy serving the people and restoring the manor of her childhood, Edlyn keeps her deepest wishes hidden away in her heart. On Edlyn’s eighteenth birthday, a messenger from the capitol arrives to her home and delivers devastating news: Maddock has gone missing, and the worst is feared.

Edlyn rushes back to the capitol to join the other council members in a desperate search for Maddock. Soon, a ghostly attack confirms the terrifying truth that evil forces are upon Nereth once again.

With time running short, Edlyn and her companions must find Maddock and save Nereth before it is too late

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Author Bio:

TJ Amberson hails from the Pacific Northwest. With a love of writing in several genres, TJ strives to provide well-written, age-appropriate, & original novels for tweens, teens, and new adults.

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