Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cover Reveal: FATE AND OTHER COINCIDENCES by Cecilia Robert

I love supporting amazing authors, and Cecilia is such an awesome author and person! Check out her new cover, isn't it hot? :)

Book Title: Fate and Other Coincidences
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Cover Designed by Regina Wamba Mae I Design


Sometimes Mr. Everything is waiting around the corner, holding a glass slipper.

After being shamelessly dumped via voicemail and losing a bid to work for one of the most prestigious magazines in the country, Michaela Bennett tries living life on the edge. But then she meets Ayden Black, a kilt-wearing, pierced, wild card and everything changes. He makes her want to buy all the bassinets and booties in the world, calling her dream of settling down with Mr. Right to the surface. But she's been down that road before, and she's not about to tumble down it again. She's tired of waiting for Mr. Everything to sweep her off her feet. This time, she's going to throw caution to the wind and go for Mr. Fun. But what happens when Mr. Fun becomes Mr. Everything?

Ayden Black has been in love with Michaela for as long as he can remember. There's only one problem: she doesn't know he exists. So when a fateful, drunken encounter suddenly puts him on her radar, he's ready. He just has to sharpen his flirting skills first. Juggling a failing company, and a coveted new job, his life is in turmoil. But there's one thing he knows for sure: Michaela may be the only person that can help him save his business, and he's not about to let her slip through his fingers. True love couldn't have better timing.

Add on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18744688-fate-and-other-coincidences?from_search=true

About the author:

I enjoy writing stories about people finding love in the most unexpected places, coupled with adventurous journeys, whether it's urban, fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary or paranormal romance. There's always a happy ever after, no matter how long it takes to get there. When I'm not working in my full time job, I don my supermom cape, or in most cases find myself trapped between the pages of a book in search for a hero who'll make me swoon with just a look or a word. My favourite form of therapy is knitting. Best. Therapy. Ever.

Where to find the author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CeciliaRobertBooksNAAdult

Blog: http://cecereadandwrite.blogspot.com

Follow the story on Pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/ceciliarobert/fate-and-other-coincidences-wip/

Friday, July 25, 2014

Guest Post by Heidi Garrett: What Happens When We Die?

I have a special treat today! Heidi and I are swapping blogs and she always has the best ideas when it comes to something fun to write about :) Today we're talking about what happens when you die--and how that fits into our books. Interesting, right? I'm hanging out over on her blog, so come say hi, and be sure to check out her post (and definitely her upcoming release!).

What Happens When We Die?

What happens when we die? Where do we go? We ask these questions because we have such a strong sense that something essential survives the death of our physical bodies. Whatever it is, the accumulated experience and wisdom of a life lived seems hard-won and valuable. Surely, its not just tossed into a cosmic landfill to disintegrate into nothingness over light years. Most of us hope not.

Like many, Ive long believed that our soul, our spirit, whatever you want to call that non-physical part The Teachings of Don Juanbooks Ive never reada seed was planted within me which has since blossomed. After he shared with me Don Juans Yaqui belief about life after death, I came to this:
of our selves which seems determined to believe in its enduring existence, survives. However, in a discussion I had with my husband many years ago about the Carlos Castaneda books,

By the time we draw our last breath, our identities have either evolved enough as individuals to survive the assault of physical death, thus we move on to the next plane of existence. Or our identities have not evolved enough as individuals to survive the assault of physical death, and our essence is reabsorbed into whatever primordial substance births souls in the first place. Our individuality and whatever knowledge weve gained in our walk on this planet is subsumed by the collective consciousness/pool of soul goo to be drawn from again at some point in the future. However, next time we wont be the same discrete individual we were, well be a scoop of something all mixed together, and when were born again, well have another chance to establish our identities and move on to the next plane of existence. If we fail to meet the threshold again, back to the pool of soul goo I suspect the threshold is some sort of energy level cohesive enough to survive well, death.

I like this way of seeing things because it keeps me centered in my life here. To me thats important: To be here now. The truth is, no matter how much I contemplate the after life, its really all a crap shoot. It may or may not exist. But today does. And I do believe that the universe is about expanding consciousness, and I do believe the intelligence/life force that animates the universe is interactive, thus the one thing Im pretty sure about is this: The best thing I can do about any tomorrow, including a dead tomorrow, is live the most joyful and conscious today that I can manage.

In the end, I like to keep things simple.

This skeletal belief system Ive sketched out here is the foundation for the cosmology in my Daughter of Light series. However, Umbra, the series antagonist, was born from an imbalance that occurred when the human population exploded. Now the souls of humans whose consciousness has evolved too much to be reabsorbed into the pool of soul goo, but not enough to make that leap to the next dimension, split into ember and ash. The ember is reborn in the enchanted world as the vital muannai, wingless dark faeries who populate northern Faerie, and the ash drifts into the Void, beyond the Parallel of Shadows. This ash has aggregated into the incorporeal but discrete entity which calls itself Umbra, the darkest part of the shadow.

Now, Umbra seeks to incarnate. Since he is the most toxic residue of the human psyche no one really wants him to. Half Faerie is scheduled for a July 31st release.

Genre: Fairy Tale Fantasy
Find on Goodreads!

ABOUT Half Faerie:
Melia is an eighteen-year-old half-faerie, half-mortal who longs to fly like the full-blood faeries. She also yearns for a life that’s truly her own, which might prove more difficult than sprouting wings. Her faerie mother practices black magic and her mortal father plots to bring war to the enchanted world. No matter how she tries to distance herself from them, Melia can’t seem to escape their long shadow. After the half-faerie is accused of acting as her father’s spy, her best friend advises a trip to the Illustrator, a mysterious woman who paints intricate body art. The woman marks Melia’s forehead with a plain blotch. She claims it will call a green-eyed stranger from distant lands to the half-faerie’s side. Spooked rather than comforted, Melia dismisses the woman’s words. Rather, she travels to the mortal world to confront her father.

The fallout from her visit destroys what's left of their already fractured family. Melia’s mother is unforgiving. The punishment she metes out will leave her middle daughter torn between guilt and ecstasy, challenge the bonds between three sisters, and complicate Melia's relationship with the green-eyed stranger. The half-faerie is sucked deeper into the vortex of her family’s dark history when the youngest sister pursues their parents' damning legacy. Melia and the green-eyed stranger must stop her—or risk the rise of Faerie’s darkest queen.

Daughter of Light is a spinoff of the 14th century French fairy tale, Melusine. A high fantasy with fairy tale elements, it's great for readers who enjoy fairy tales retold. The variety of female characters, layered story, and intriguing cosmology make it a great read for young adult and older readers.

Heidi Garrett was born in Texas, and now she lives in Eastern Washington State with her husband. Garrett is the author of the contemporary fairy tale novella collection, Once Upon a Time Today. In these stand-alone retellings of popular and obscure fairy tales, adult characters navigate the deep woods of the modern landscape to find their Happily Ever Afters. She’s also the author of the Daughter of Light series, a fantasy about a young half-faerie, half-mortal searching for her place in the Whole.

Find Heidi here: www.heidigwrites.blogspot.com

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

After Reading: TEX AND THE GOD SQUAD by Stuart R. West

Richard “Tex” McKenna's graduating high school. It’s a shame he doesn't have a clue what comes next. There's no time to think now, either. Being a male witch makes Tex a ginormous supernatural trouble magnet. There's an angry witch in pursuit and a maniac in a Grim Reaper's costume on the loose. Why did the cheerleader really kill herself? Is the heinous Clarendon Baptist Church a front for something more sinister? Elspeth’s back, too, trouble trailing on her booted heels. If Tex and his friends don't figure it out soon, Tex won't have to worry about life after high school. (Goodreads)

I've reviewed the first two books in this series, Tex the Witch Boy, and Tex and the Gangs of Suburbia

I've immensely enjoyed West's series of Tex and his band of friends as they traveled through high school and navigated some seriously crazy situations. This last book was an entertaining and full of the twists, turns, and great characters that I've come to expect. I still completely adore Olivia, Tex's girlfriend, and the two of them were still the hilarious and cute couple. The situations they get into during their senior year are more serious and definitely make the reader think about the real-life corollaries of what's being portrayed by some of the antics of the church and their beliefs. That, and dealing with the issues that Tex has to face in terms of what to do with his future, coupled with his witch responsibilities, were a perfect mix. I was quite sad to reach the end of the book, but it was a satisfying ending and I know I have Elspeth, the Living Dead Girl to go read next :)

Have you had a chance to read any of Stuart's series?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Spotlight on Margo Dill's CAUGHT BETWEEN TWO CURSES

Looking for the Summer Reads Scavenger Hunt? Go here! :)

All-Star Game and Break CONTEST and BOOK SALE

Busch Stadium by Phil www.flickr.com
It's the middle of July. Baseball fans everywhere know that means it's time for the All-Star Game and short break from regularly scheduled baseball games across the United States. For non-loving baseball peeps, you can just keep on enjoying your summer as you have been: curled up with your favorite book, sipping cold lemonade, and relaxing by the pool. However you want to celebrate this week, please also join in the fun with young adult author Margo L. Dill as she holds a contest and book sale! 

Why during All-Star Game Week?

Great question! Margo's young adult novel, Caught Between Two Curses (Rocking Horse Publishing, March 2014), is the story of 17-year-old Julie Nigelson, who is cursed. So is her entire family. And it’s not just any-old-regular curse, either—it’s strangely connected to the famous “Curse of the Billy Goat” on the Chicago Cubs, hence the All-Star baseball week celebration.

Julie must figure out this mystery while her uncle lies in a coma and her entire love life is in ruins: her boyfriend Gus is pressuring her to have sex, while her best friend Matt is growing more attractive to her all the time. Somehow, Julie must figure out how to save her uncle, her family’s future, and her own love life—and time is running out! 

What have people been saying about Margo's book?

Here are a few lines from a couple reviews on Amazon.com:

"This book is one of the best I have read in a long time. Once I opened it up I could not stop until I was finished."  ~Janet Cannon

 "A baseball mystery and a contemporary, heartfelt romance, CAUGHT BETWEEN TWO CURSES is sure to score big with the young teen audience!" ~Cathy C. Hall

"I definitely recommend this to young adults, but really any adult because it's a story that keeps you interested and will stay with you long after you finish." ~Amie Merz

Okay, so what is the contest and the sale???

photo by DonkeyHotey flickr.com
Here's the part you've been waiting for.  First the sale: 

The Kindle ebook is...99 cents July 14/15, $1.99 July 16/17, $2.99 July 18/19, and back to $3.99 July 20.

The print copy is for sale ON MARGO'S WEBSITE (http://margodill.com/blog/books/) and is $5.00 off the cover price, so only $6.95 (+$3.00 for shipping and handling). She will autograph it and gift wrap if it's a gift, plus include a bookmark for free. More details at the link above. (The print version is also on sale for $10.76 (10 % savings) on Amazon.com.) 

 If you are an Amazon Prime Member, you can check out the e-BOOK for free at anytime!

The contest:
Go to the Rafflecopter form below this post--all you need to enter is your name and e-mail, which is how I contact you if you win one of the prizes. Do at least one of the tasks below and then click on the entry button to enter the contest. You can do as many tasks as you want! If you are confused or have any questions, please feel free to e-mail Margo at margo (at) margodill.com. Tasks range from leaving a review of Caught Between Two Curses to announcing the contest and sale on a social media page to uploading a photo of you in baseball gear. See below for more.

Margo L. Dill
The prizes:

One winner with a United States mailing address will win a $25 gift card to either Applebee's, TGI Fridays, Starbucks, Panera Bread, or Olive Garden (winner's choice). One runner-up winner will receive a free 3000-word critique from Margo (Editor 911)--this can be anywhere in the world as long as the document is in English. The contest goes from July 14 to July 20. Winners will be announced on July 21! 

What are you waiting for?
So, join in the fun and while you're entering the contest or buying a sale copy of Caught Between Two Curses, join in a rousing rendition of  "Take me out to the ballgame. Take me out with the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks. I don't care if I ever get back. . ." 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer Reads Scavenger Hunt & Giveaway! #SRScavHunt

Today I have some serious fun for you! This scavenger hunt it all about awesome summer reads and all kinds of fun authors are participating. And there's an awesome giveaway going on, too :) Including signed copies of my books!

The details: The Summer Reads Scavenger Hunt will run from TODAY until midnight on SUNDAY (19th July). To enter to winFORTY signed paperbacks by a wide range of authors PLUS $30 worth of Amazon Gift Cards, simply hop around ALL participating stops, collect all of the highlighted numbers, add them together, and then go enter the requested details along with your calculated answer in the ENTRY FORM. You can find more information on how the stop works HERE. All stops will direct you to the next place to hop across to. And don’t worry if you get lost, because the entire list of participating authors can be found HERE.

So, here's my 5 favorite places to read during the summer:
  • Hello, the beach! Of course!!
  • The lake :) (hmm, there's a bit of a water trend here...) Flathead Lake in Montana is utterly beautiful and I love driving up there.
  • The patio at my house. Love curling up in the sun with something good to read.
  • Outside at the Starbucks--weather permitting!
  • My bed. Because what's summer without sleeping in a little? ;)
     (A few photos of my favorite summer haunts!)
I'm lucky enough to be hosting a giveaway for an awesome signed copy of Crossroads: A Demos City Novel by Jonathan Lister! Enter in the rafflecopter below to check it out :)

And check out his book at Amazon: Barnes & Noble: Kobo!

And for the amazing overall giveaway? My magic number is 2 (two)!

The next stop on the hunt is S.J. Pajonas, so go check out her blog: http://www.spajonas.com/blog

Or, if you have all of your numbers and are ready to enter, then hop across to the Summer Reads Scavenger Hunt Entry Form.

And if you want to win some awesome swag from yours truly, go to Lisa Swallow's blog :)

What's up for grabs here! Enter below :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

SOULLESS by Crystal Collier Cover Reveal & Review of MOONLESS

Have you met the Soulless and Passionate? In the world of 1770 where supernatural beings mix with humanity, Alexia is playing a deadly game.

SOULLESS, Book 2 in the Maiden of Time trilogy

Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she's forced to unleash her true power.

And risk losing everything.

What people are saying about this series: 

"With a completely unique plot that keeps you guessing and interested, it brings you close to the characters, sympathizing with them and understanding their trials and tribulations." --SC, Amazon reviewer

"It's clean, classy and supernaturally packed with suspense, longing, intrigue and magic." --Jill Jennings, TX

"SWOON." --Sherlyn, Mermaid with a Book Reviewer

Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend†(a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

COMING October 13, 2014

PREORDER your print copy
Sign up for Crystal Collier's newsletter to receive release news and freebies.

In the English society of 1768 where women are bred to marry, unattractive Alexia, just sixteen, believes she will end up alone. But on the county doorstep of a neighbor’s estate, she meets a man straight out of her nightmares, one whose blue eyes threaten to consume her whole world—especially later when she discovers him standing over her murdered host in the middle of the night. 

Among the many things to change for her that evening are: her physical appearance—from ghastly to breathtaking, an epidemic of night terrors predicting the future, and the blue-eyed man’s unexpected infusion into her life. Not only do his appearances precede tragedies, but they are echoed by the arrival of ravenous, black-robed wraiths on moonless nights.
Unable to decide whether he is one of these monsters or protecting her from them, she uncovers what her father has been concealing: truths about her own identity, about the blue-eyed man, and about love. After an attack close to home, Alexia realizes she cannot keep one foot in her old life and one in this new world. To protect her family she must either be sold into a loveless marriage, or escape with the man of her dreams and risk becoming one of the Soulless. (Goodreads)

I am massively behind on my reviews, so today's double-duty: Crystals awesome new cover, and a chance to talk about the first book in her series! So, where to start? Collier describes her novel as Jane Eyre meets Supernatural, and I have to agree! It's quite the epic book, and I was easily immersed in the mystery, the characters, and the rich setting. I tend to find Victorian England to be a bit overdone, but the author makes it engaging--with all of its good, and bad sides. Alexia was an interesting character, and I enjoyed seeing her growth. There were a few times I wanted to yell at her to just bug someone to give her the answers she was seeking when it seemed so obvious that everyone was keeping thing from her, but then again, I tend to yell at book characters quite a bit :) And, in keeping with the time period, the way Kirin handles dolling out information in small snippets felt accurate, though personally it would have driven me nuts! Anyhow, I enjoyed the world building in this novel, and the depth of the various characters, and look forward to reading more about them in Soulless!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Giveaway Winner and RISE UP Volume 1

Thanks SO much to all the awesome people who entered my giveaway last Friday :) I seriously appreciated all your help! And, after tallying entries and doing a little random.org magic, Leandra Wallace was the necklace winner! Woot! Major congrats!!

Okay, one more thing I wanted to showcase today:

“We all know how fragile life is, especially when faced with a life threatening illness.” ~Nic, Flirty and Dirty Book Blog.

Fiction introduced us. Reality binds us together.

Stephanie Thomas—co-founder of The Indie Bookshelf—has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma. Stephanie isn’t only a blogger; she’s a loving wife, and mother to three young boys.

In the independent author community, we have an extraordinary network of fellow authors, and readers. A special group of people who bridge this gap—helping authors connect with readers—is book bloggers. These men and women dedicate hours upon hours to reading and reviewing our works, and spreading the word to help us reach new readers.

Now, one of these women needs our help.

100% of the proceeds of the Rise Up anthology (volumes one and two) will go directly to Stephanie and her family to help them on this unexpected leg of their journey together.

Inside the pages of this collection, you’ll find amazing works of fiction. But please remember the reality, and help support Stephanie and her family.

Included in Volume One of this collection are the following novels:

What Happens Tomorrow - Elle Michaels
Insipid -- Christine Brae
Bouquet Toss -- Melissa Brown
Can't Go Home -- Angelisa Stone
Point of Submission by Remy Landon
Breakaway by Lindsay Paige and Mary Smith
A Love by Any Measure by Killian McRae
Discovering Lucy - Laura Dunaway
Something's Come Up - Andrea Randall and Michelle Pace
By A Thread - RL Griffin
Honest Love - CM Hutton
Serendipity - Stacey Bentley
Haven from the Storm - Sarah Dosher
Damaged - Nina D'Angelo

Monday, July 14, 2014

After Reading: AUTUMN IN CARTHAGE by Christopher Zenos

A quick reminder that if you want to enter the giveaway I have running, today's the last day! I'll be picking a winner tonight. Details here! :)

The nether side of passion is madness.

Nathan Price is a college professor with crippling impairments, seeking escape from his prison of necessity. One day, in a package of seventeenth-century documents from Salem Village, he stumbles across a letter by his best friend, Jamie, who had disappeared six months before. The document is dated 1692—the height of the Witch Trials. The only potential lead: a single mention of Carthage, a tiny town in the Wisconsin northern highland. 

The mystery catapults Nathan from Chicago to the Wisconsin wilderness. There, he meets Alanna, heir to an astonishing Mittel-European legacy of power and sacrifice. In her, and in the gentle townsfolk of Carthage, Nathan finds the refuge for which he has long yearned. But Simon, the town elder, is driven by demons of his own, and may well be entangled in Jamie’s disappearance and that of several Carthaginians. As darkness stretches toward Alanna, Nathan may have no choice but to risk it all… 
Moving from the grimness of Chicago’s South Side to the Wisconsin hinterlands to seventeenth-century Salem, this is a story of love, of sacrifice, of terrible passions—and of two wounded souls quietly reaching for the deep peace of sanctuary. (Goodreads)

Thank you to the publisher for a copy of this novel in exchange for a review (and LibraryThing for facilitating!)

I think the best way to describe this novel is Outlander meets Discovery of Witches. Considering how much I adored both of those novels, this instantly went on my to-be-re-read shelf because I honestly loved it. The opening, with such a frank description of academia (which rang incredibly true to life), drew me in, and then Carthage was such an interesting place that I could hardly put the book down. The main character, Nathan, wrestles with demons I have seen quite a bit of in those that I work with. Academia attracts several types of people, and to be honest, one of those types often struggles against depression (or several related troubles that are often, inappropriately I know, grouped together). In the characters growth and experiences, I found myself rooting for him, and completely wishing I could move to Carthage (except for the winters--give me somewhere warm!). A little interesting twist on the inhabitants, and well, I was all in. I don't want to give away too much, because that's part of the allure of the novel, but this was an amazing book that I highly recommend. I'll be re-reading it this autumn for sure.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Last Day of My Blog Tour (and a #giveaway)

Wow, it has been a whirlwind week! I've had a totally amazing time! And it's far from over :) Today, swing by these awesome places to say hello, enter the giveaway, and all that good stuff!

-Faith Sullivan Writes : Review
-Observation Desk: Guest Post
-Fathomless Reveries: Review

Also, if you're looking for something fun to read this weekend, my whole series is still on sale :) Check out Colors Like Memories and The Chemistry of Fate (both just 9 pennies!), and especially snag a copy of Surrender the Sky, just $2.99!

And, because it's the last day, I thought I'd do a little giveaway, just for fun, here on my blog and over on facebook. I thought I'd make another cute necklace, with the word/short phrase of your choice, that I've done before. What do you need to do to enter? Share a tweet, or link on facebook, or anywhere really, and leave the link in the comments. Easy? Easy. I'm even adding some potential tweets here :)

Gabby lives by 2 rules: don’t expose her kind & don’t fall in love. SURRENDER THE SKY. #YA #ebook Sale: 2.99! http://amzn.to/1tg1aZp

They are everywhere, can be anyone, and are always the last person you’d expect. THE CHEMISTRY OF FATE.#NA Only .99$! http://amzn.to/1lrx5A8

"I greeted his tombstone the way I always did-with a swift kick." COLORS LIKE MEMORIES #YA .99$ this week! http://amzn.to/1kRU2Nm 

I'll pick a winner on Monday!
Something like this is up for grabs!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

THIS IS SARAH by Ally Malinenko Spotlight!

Really quick, before today's post, this is where I'm chillin' today. Come say hi!! I'm bringing the chocolate!
-YaReads: Interview
-Michelle’s Paranormal Vault of Books: Review
-Part of that World: Review

When Colin Leventhal leaned out his bedroom window on the night of May 12th and said goodbye to his girlfriend, he never expected it would be forever. But when Sarah Evans goes missing that night, Colin's world unravels as he transforms from the boyfriend next door to the main police suspect. Then one year later, at her memorial service, Colin makes a phone call that could change everything. Is it possible that Sarah is still alive? And if so, how far will he go to bring her back? 

As Colin struggles with this possibility, across the street, Sarah’s little sister, Claire learns how to navigate the strange new landscape of life without her sister. While her parents fall apart, Claire remains determined to keep going, even if it kills her. 

THIS IS SARAH serves as a meditation on loss, love, and what it means to say goodbye.

A little excerpt from Colin:

I get up early to run because it’s easier in the morning. There's no one up yet at five am, and the streets belong to me. I don’t even bring music anymore. I only want to hear the steady thwack of my sneakers on the pavement, the rustle of leaves in the breeze, and the huff of air coming out of my lungs. It sets up a rhythm that allows my brain to shut off for a while so my mind stays empty.
Not thinking feels good. It’s one of the few things that still feels good.
I crest the hill at the top of Cedarhurst and pick up speed going down. My lungs feel clean and clear, and I think about sprinting the last five or six blocks back to my driveway. My energy seems a little low, but I figured I can probably push it.
The sound of my feet hitting the pavement intensifies, and I pump my arms hard, small tears forming in my eyes from the wind. I clear my mind. I am no longer Colin. I’m just muscle, tissue, and bone— a complex and delicate machine pushing its way against gravity and inertia, covering distance on this rock floating in the darkness of an ever-expanding space.
When Claire pulls her bike alongside me, I nearly jump out of my skin. Where the hell did she come from? She pedals hard, riding off the seat, her blonde hair whipping back. She passes me, looks back, and smiles. As the distance between us grows, I’m overcome with loss and a sort of panic, like I need to catch up to her. I’m not sure what it is, but I watch her move away from me—her blonde hair streaming, her legs working the pedals—and every muscle in my body screams to catch her.
Suddenly Claire is everything in the world, everything beautiful, alive, peaceful, and good, and it’s all getting away from me.
The farther she gets from me, the closer she gets to the monsters, and all I want in the world is for Claire to always be safe.
Jesus Christ, I just want to be able to save one of them.
She looks back at me once and smiles before pumping the pedals again. In that moment, that small bright moment, her hair and her smile reflecting the early morning sun, she looks just like Sarah. Just like Claire looked that day in the hallway.
Suddenly I feel so hollow and empty, carved out like the husk of some dead cicada. I watch her get away from me and feel more lost than ever before. She rounds the bend and disappears from my line of sight. Something inside of me snaps, and I stumble forward. My feet, now clumsy, get all tangled until I stop and bend over—heaving, coughing, spitting foam—my heart wild inside me. In my head, an image forms of Sarah, when I made her laugh so hard she nearly choked on her sandwich at the diner.
That was Sarah.
Sarah and me, in a moment we won’t have again. A moment that was once real but now felt like it belonged to another life. Neither of us foresaw it ending this way.
The year before or the week before or the day before. We never saw it coming.
If I knew when she stood on that driveway, staring up at me, with me hanging out of the window looking down at her, if I knew, I would have told her everything.

Ally Malinenko is the author of the poetry collection The Wanting Bone (Six Gallery Press) and the children's fantasy Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb (Antenna Books). She lives in Brooklyn with her husband.

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