Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt, and Giveaway – Scardust by Susanne Van Rooyen

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SCARDUST
by Suzanne van Rooyen
Publication Date: February 8, 2016
Genres: New Adult, Gay, LGBT, Science Fiction, Romance

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SYNOPSIS: Dead Rock, Texas, 2037

Raleigh Williams made a promise to his brother before he died, that he’d scatter his ashes on Mars. Desperate to leave a life of bad memories behind and start over in the Martian colony, Raleigh fully intends to keep that promise. But his plans are thwarted when a meteor near-misses him in the desert, and Raleigh finds in its crater not debris or even a spacecraft, but a man covered in swirling scars and with no memory of who he is. At least he looks like a man—a man Raleigh can’t seem to keep his eyes off of—but whenever they touch it ignites a memory swap between them.

Raleigh agrees to help Meteor Man piece together his life through their cosmic connection. But the memory share goes both ways, and Raleigh becomes inexplicably entangled with a guy who is everything he needs—everything good that Raleigh is not—but might not even be human. As their minds and worlds collide, reality unravels and Raleigh must face a painful truth, one that could shatter his dreams of finding love, reaching Mars, and fulfilling his brother’s last wish.

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Excerpt

The Texas sky stretches an empty hand across the desert, reaching for the shimmer-slick horizon it won’t ever be able to hold. Bear and I hit the dirt road cutting between the fracking lands flanking old McCauley’s farm. It’s not even a farm any more, just a homestead crumbling down around a geriatric couple too stubborn to sell their land before they kick the bucket.

My feet lead me straight to the crater. Pain drills through the side of my skull, a screwdriver to the brain as a kaleidoscope of images form and fracture in my mind: Writing a final physics exam and not knowing all the answers, meeting my little sister’s first boyfriend, struggling against the effects of zero gravity.

The mental storm ends when I blink. What’s happening to me? Withdrawal from the meds shouldn’t be like this, not this intense or disorientating. This is more like a bad acid trip. How can I remember something I’ve never done? Please don’t let this be another episode.
Chilled despite the baking heat, I turn away from the crater and head back to the Interstate, the headache fading.

McCauley’s drought-slimmed cattle are ghost smudges in the dusk heat as Bear and I follow the trail of roadkill along the asphalt. The wind barrels across the land, dousing us in the stench of gasoline from the lonely pump-jacks studding the fields to the north. My scars burn as we approach the bone cross marking the spot where Weston met his maker.

First time I made the cuts right after West died, everyone thought I was trying to kill myself. I tried telling them it was Comanche tradition, a way of honoring the dead. All that got me was another prescription for meds I’m not sure I ever needed. They gave me the wrong cocktail too. Instead of the drugs making me happy, they made me crazy: make Daddy Sergeant Williams proud, throw sick bullets and score touchdowns, beat a kid’s head in and get sent to juvie kind of crazy.

I brush bird shit off the bleached leg-bones of a coyote with the hem of my shirt and splash bourbon into the dried out grass. My brother chose suicide over standing up to our father. Hope Dad enjoys hunting down insurgents in the Middle East while his eldest son sits in an urn on the mantelpiece.

“Hi, West,” I whisper. “Here’s to four years dead.”

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ABOUT SUZANNE VAN ROOYEN

Suzanne van Rooyen

Suzanne is a tattooed storyteller from South Africa. She currently lives in Sweden and is busy making friends with the ghosts of her Viking ancestors. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When she grows up, she wants to be an elf – until then, she spends her time (when not writing) wall climbing, buying far too many books, and entertaining her shiba inu, Lego.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

GIVEAWAY

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Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt, and Giveaway – Yesterday by Mickie B. Ashling

Tour Banner Yesterday

I’d like to thank fellow author Charlie Cochet for giving me the opportunity to appear on her blog once again to share an exclusive excerpt of my latest release, Yesterday. This novel is a standalone, a period piece set during the final days of the Pahlavi dynasty. The time and place aren’t conducive to romance, especially between two men, but love and logic aren’t always compatible as Kamran and Grady soon find out. Can a chance meeting alter one’s destiny? The answers are revealed within the pages of Yesterday.

The striking cover was designed by multitalented author and cover artist Catt Ford. Aside from the giveaways, which are listed on the Rafflecopter widget, I bring an exclusive excerpt. I hope you enjoy the sneak peek.

YesterdayLG

2015NewAbout the Book

In June of 1978 Grady Ormond, eighteen-year-old son of diplomat Peter Ormond, accompanies his father to his new posting as US Ambassador to Pakistan. Neighboring Iran is on the brink of a civil war, with the monarchy in danger of being overthrown.

Grady will be leaving for New York City in late August to study cinematography and has been warned to keep his homosexual orientation tightly under wraps while on vacation. Repercussions in the predominantly Islamic region could be severe.

On their first night in Karachi, his father hosts a cocktail party to meet the local dignitaries. Grady is introduced to His Highness Prince Kamran Izadi, nephew of the Shah of Iran. Twenty-three-year-old Kamran has recently returned from the UK, where he spent eleven years, first as a student, and then as a financial analyst.

The attraction is immediate—unforeseen and dangerously powerful—but neither one dares to make a move. Odds are so stacked against them it’s futile to even entertain a friendship, but they do, and their world tilts precariously.

With his country in turmoil and Grady about to leave for college, Kamran makes a decision that will change their lives forever.

2015NewExcerpt

The cool air blowing out of the air-conditioning vents in the Land Rover was such a wonderful contrast to the squelching heat we’d just escaped. I could have happily stayed in the car for the rest of the day. All too soon, we were bumping up a long dirt driveway toward a white stone edifice sitting on a rise. I was no farmer, but I recognized oranges and lemons and, in addition, several much larger trees with thick limbs weighed down by fat golden mangoes. There were also palm, banana, and other large varieties of vegetation I didn’t recognize bordering the edifice and acting like a natural canopy against the harsh sun.

A pair of sleek black-and-white dogs ran up to the car the minute it rolled to a stop. They looked like greyhounds—deep chested and long legged—but covered with feathery fur on their ears and curved tails. When Kamran stepped out of the vehicle, they ran up to him, tails wagging happily. He got down on his haunches and rubbed each one behind the ears, speaking to them softly in his language. He stood and gestured for me to come close.

“Put out your hand so they can smell you,” he said. “They’re normally docile but have been known to snap at strangers.”

I did as I was told and watched in wary silence as the animals slowly approached. “What are their names?”

“Zena and Sher.”

Naturally, the first thing that came to mind was Sonny and Cher, who were all the rage a few years back. The animals’ large eyes, long, narrow heads, and silky hair hanging down their droopy ears, framing their faces, reminded me a lot of the iconic diva, a favorite among so many of my friends. In the weeks to come, I’d refer to Zena as Sonny because it flowed so much better with Sher. After a while, Kamran stopped correcting me.

As soon as we walked into the house, I was enchanted. The difference between the nondescript exterior and jewellike interior was unexpected. Colorful mosaic tiles were painstakingly laid out on walls and ceilings, and the floors were covered with large tiles that looked, to my untrained eye, like creamy marble. I supposed that given the opulence of the rest of the place, it wasn’t too farfetched. The house was built around a courtyard with open arches on one side of the walkway and closed rooms on the other. The materials were most likely chosen to withstand the rain that supposedly fell in pummeling sheets once monsoon season started. A small fountain in the center of the courtyard provided the soothing sounds of running water as it cycled through a pair of dolphins that appeared to be leaping out of its depths.

There were several iron birdcages strategically placed along the walls of the room with different varieties of exotic birds. One cage in particular caught my attention. A pair of birds in varying shades of green with deep garnet markings on their sides watched us as we approached.

“Are they parrots?” I asked curiously. They looked like them only smaller. As soon as they heard me talk, they began to screech loudly, swaying back and forth, long claws tightly gripping the wooded perches. They had large reddish-orange beaks that would probably do some serious damage to a finger if provoked.

“They’re Alexandrine parakeets,” Kamran informed me. “Named after Alexander the Great, who’s credited with bringing them to this region.”

“Do they bite?”

“Absolutely,” he said. “Don’t try petting them, or you’ll regret it.” Despite the warning, he opened the cage, stuck his hand inside, and one of the birds hopped right onto his outstretched forefinger. Slowly, he took him out, all the while crooning to the creature in Farsi.

“He’s obviously trainable,” I commented, watching in fascination as Kamran and the bird communicated mysteriously. “Does he have a name?”

“Xandar,” he said with a quirk to his lip. “And the female is named Rhoxana.”

“Naturally,” I said. “I should have guessed.”

Purchase Links

Dreamspinner Press eBook | Dreamspinner Press Paperback | All Romance eBooks | Amazon

2015NewAbout the author

Mickie B. Ashling is the pseudonym of a multifaceted woman who is a product of her upbringing in multiple cultures, having lived in Japan, the Philippines, Spain, and the Middle East. Fluent in three languages, she’s a citizen of the world and an interesting mixture of East and West. A little bit of this and a lot of that have brought a unique touch to her literary voice she could never learn from textbooks.

By the time Mickie discovered her talent for writing, real life got in the way, and the business of raising four sons took priority. With the advent of e-publishing—and the inevitable emptying nest—dreams of becoming a published writer were resurrected and she’s never looked back.

She stumbled into the world of men who love men in 2002 and continues to draw inspiration from their ongoing struggle to find equality and happiness in this oftentimes skewed and intolerant world. Her award-winning novels have been called “gut wrenching, daring, and thought provoking.” She admits to being an angst queen and making her men work damn hard for their happy endings.

Mickie currently resides in a suburb outside Chicago.

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2015NewGiveaway

Three winners will win an ebook copy of Yesterday, a signed print copy of Yesterday, or a Dreamspinner gift certificate. Contest open internationally. Must be 18 or older to enter.

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2015NewTour Info

Jan. 20 – Hearts On Fire

Jan. 21 – The Novel Approach

Jan. 22 – Diverse Reader

Jan. 22 – Multitaskingmommas

Jan. 25 – Charlie Cochet

Jan. 26 – On Top Down Under Book Reviews

Jan. 27 – Love Bytes

Jan. 28 – Prism Book Alliance

Jan. 29 – MM Good Book Reviews

Feb. 1 – Rainbow Gold Reviews

Feb. 2 – Sinfully

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