Caller 107 by Matthew Cox is now available for purchase!
Genre: young-adult, contemporary paranormal
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
When thirteen-year-old Natalie Rausch said she would die to meet DJ Crazy Todd, she did not mean to be literal.
Two years is a long time to be stuck between two people that want nothing more than to destroy each other. A tween crush on the larger-than-life jock from a local radio station is the only trace of a once-happy life ruined by warring parents.
Whenever WROK 107 ran a contest, she would dive for the phone, getting busy signals and dead air every time. She never expected to get through, but at least with her best friend at her side, it used to be fun.
Before her parents ruined that too.
Her last desperate attempt to get their attention, falling in with a dangerous group of older teens, goes as wrong as possible. With no one left to blame for her mess of a life but herself, karma comes full circle and gives her just a few hours to make up for two years’ worth of mistakes–or be forever lost.
MATTHEW COX: Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey. Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it.
And now for a sneak peak into CALLER 107! This excerpt is from CHAPTER 5 of the young adult novel:
The hot shower helped her mood; the wall of silence that hung over breakfast and the ride to school did not. Mrs. Mendoza was off that day, and her mother’s culinary efforts were limited to dumping cereal in a bowl and carrying the unopened bottle of milk to the table. Even toast was a challenge. Natalie kept her arms folded and her gaze out the passenger side window. After last night, she wanted to stay as far away from Etan, Kevin, and Cory… even Jason, as she could. That had been far too close. She wondered if they had gotten away. The police cruiser had come in quiet; somehow, she set off a silent alarm. If they got pinched, she had no doubt they would drag her into it. After all, she was the one that set off the alarm.
After that night, she wanted―needed―comforting, but the only thing Mother offered was more yelling and derision. She should talk. Why did Mother do that to their family? What happened to the woman that she used to admire? By the time the car squeaked to a halt by the private school, Natalie was crying. She did not look over before getting out. As her boot hit the street, she froze; one hand on the door and her back turned. A sense of something wafted out of the car that made her pause. If Mother apologized for being a bitch, Natalie would fall apart right there―she might even apologize herself, perhaps even hug her. Was she going to say sorry? Come on, Mom, you can do it… please.
“Have a good day, hon. Please think about what you’re doing with yourself.”
Mother had no idea how shallow she was; much less see what she was doing to the people she supposedly loved. Natalie trudged through the courtyard, clinging to her backpack, ignoring the other kids trickling in just a little late. The massive front door guard offered an honest smile as she shrugged through the metal detector. For him, she managed to brighten up. He was the only one in this entire building that did not judge anyone.
“You a’ight?” Buttons threatened to spring off his white shirt as he leaned forward. The security guard hat tilted at an odd angle, balanced atop thick cornrows. “You don’t look so good.”
“I’m okay, just a fight with the bitch.”
He shook his head. “Y’oughta ‘spect yo’ momma, girl. Y’only get one.”
She frowned. “She doesn’t respect herself, why should I?”
Darius leaned against the wall, folding his arms with a resigned shake of the head; the stool protested his change of posture with an audible creak. Natalie wandered through the hall, pivoting through the flood of a sudden post-homeroom crowd as she continued on her way to her locker.
It had been a week since she had even bothered to open it; the combination took a moment to come back. 3-14-15. Pi… You are such a damn nerd. The door squeaked to the left. You’re better at nerd than you are at street punk. She frowned at the texts and notebooks. For no reason she could think of, the sight of them made her angrier with her mother. What did that lawyer do that made her father break contact? She put a hand on a thick calculus textbook, rubbing her thumb over the spine. She could pick herself up, try to start giving a shit again, but what was the point? A yearlong deliberate slide was a hard thing to pull out of, and repeating a grade would destroy any chance of early college admission.
Skipping senior year and going right to college was a prospect her father had been thrilled about; now, he did not even want to talk to her. She dropped a few books into the backpack and pushed the locker closed.
BUY THE BOOK:
With the release of my fourth novel on the horizon, I thought I would give a short refresher of the three published novels I already have out there in the universe. What better time for a Goodreads Giveaway! (-:
BURN BABY hits bookstore shelves December 11th. Stay tuned for book cover reveal and blog tour, etc. As my publisher is arranging all of that, I do not yet have the details.
I can tell you a bit about the Burn Baby story. Here’s the cover blurb:
Seventeen-year-old Francis Fripp’s confidence is practically non-existent since his abusive father drenched him in accelerant and threw a match at him eight years ago. Now badly scarred, Francis relies on his best friend Trig to protect him from the constant bullying doled out at the hands of his nemesis, Brandon Hayley—the unrelenting boy who gave him the dreaded nickname of Burn Baby.
The new girl at school, Rachel Higgins, is the first to see past Francis’s pariah-inducing scars. If Brandon’s bullying doesn’t destroy him, Francis might experience life as a normal teenager for the first time in his life. He just has to avoid Brandon and convince himself he’s worthy of Rachel’s attentions. Sounds easy enough, but Francis himself has a hard time seeing past his scars. And Brandon is getting violently frustrated, as his attempts to bully Francis are constantly thwarted. Francis is in turmoil as he simultaneously rushes toward his first kiss and a possible violent end.
How did BURN BABY come to be? Of course it was a Muskoka Novel Marathon novel. I wrote it over the course of 72-hours during the 2012 Muskoka Novel Marathon. Then I edited it for about six months, prior to giving it to my agent Stacey Donaghy. Stacey found a home for it almost immediately at Curiosity Quills, who also took my 2010 Muskoka Novel Marathon novel, Half Dead & Fully Broken (which will release in January, 2015). Voila!
Now, on to my three published novels. (-:
SUMMER ON FIRE was released in 2011. It’s young adult. It has received some phenomenal reviews which completely blew me away. I thought it was time for Goodreads to give away another copy. So, you can head over to Goodreads right now and enter. It’s easy-peasy. CLICK on the cover below and you will be taken to the contest at Goodreads:
Simply click on the ENTER TO WIN button and follow the instructions. This contest is open to USA and CANADIAN residents.
Here’s the cover blurb for SUMMER ON FIRE:
Zach Carson is a loyal friend. But is loyalty enough to keep best friends together when one of them sets fire to the rural barn they use as the local hangout? Zach, Jeff Barsell and Arnie Wilson struggle to pick up the pieces when news spreads that a body was discovered in the burnt out shell of the neighbouring home. When the word murder is used by the local police, the stakes grow even higher. When the police start searching for their most likely suspect-none other than Jeff’s older brother, and nemesis, Marty Barsell-the boys decide to join forces and come up with a way to prove his innocence. But just how innocent is Marty Barsell? When Marty admits to being at the scene of the crime, the three friends enlist the help of Zach’s annoying sister, Sherry, as well as the sympathetic town eccentric, Ms. Halverton. But can they keep it together long enough to save Marty, and themselves, from imminent catastrophe? Summer on Fire is the story of friendships, and the lines we are asked to cross in order to keep them.
Several of the reviews have likened SUMMER ON FIRE to the movie STAND BY ME, which I take as the ultimate compliment…as it is one of my favourite coming-of-age movies.
Why I have your attention, here’s the cover blurbs for the other two novels currently available:
Sebastian Nelson is a boy in search of a family. Abandoned by his mother, Sebastian is left with a broken father who doesn’t even seem present when he does show up. Forced to be the main caregiver of his younger brother, Renee, and lost in a sea of indifference, Sebastian only wants to experience the love a real, stable family could afford him.
One morning he discovers the famous folksinger, Teal Landen, asleep on the sofa. Teal’s nurturing nature brings an immediate sense of security into Sebastian’s tumultuous life. But a dark secret looms between Teal and Sebastian’s father of a hidden past. Sebastian is driven to discover their secret, but also he’s aware of how tenuous their hold on Teal really is. He doesn’t want to lose the feeling of home Teal’s presence has brought him.
If Sebastian pushes too hard, he could lose Teal forever. He could be destined to raise his younger brother alone, while witnessing the total decline of his emotionally devastated father. If Sebastian is abandoned by the only healthy influence in his otherwise shaky existence, he will also be forever in the dark about the secret that will reveal so much about his fractured family.
In the midst of absence, death, and insanity, Tobias longs to make his family whole again.
With a mostly absent father, a deceased older sister, a younger sister on the verge of invisibility, and a certifiably insane mother, Tobias Reason is forced to grow up quickly. Though he tries to be a surrogate parent to his sister, their broken mother, Maggie, takes up a lot of his time. Annabel falls to the wayside and becomes a ghost in their chaotic existence.
When Maggie flippantly hands her mother’s house over to Tobias, he sees an opportunity to learn how and why his family became so shattered. Be careful what you wish for. When his world begins to collapse from the weight of unburied secrets, he focuses on a stranger from his parents’ past. Only by eliminating the past, he believes, can he make his family whole again.
If you made it this far, leave a comment and you will be entered to win an ebook of your choosing from the three novels currently available. In the comment, mention which title you’d like to win. You will be entered. Another easy contest. (-:
Thanks for stopping by!
Current Government Guidelines for the Living Impaired
By Danica Parker-Pierce
Contributor to the Stephen E. King High School Newspaper
As civil rights groups across the United States continue to file lawsuits in both state and federal courts, the staff of the school newspaper decided it was time to review the rights which have been temporarily bestowed to the “living impaired” or zombies as most students still call them.
However, one of the first things to remember is that if you see a zombie that is not accompanied by a caretaker, you should immediately call 9999 and report the sighting to the zombie hotline.
For the first few months following the zombie outbreak, there were no laws covering this problem and the undead could be disposed of on sight without fear of reprisal. However, with the advent of medicine and technology (specifically the development of Mortiphalin), that has changed.
The main thing to remember is that it is no longer lawful to “dispatch” an undead person. This was done by destroying the brain of the zombie.
According to the new mandate set forth by the federal government, until these legal matters can be settled, the living-impaired have most of the same rights as all Americans. (Technically, they even have the right to vote, but as they can barely hold a pencil, let alone mark a ballot, that issue is really not an issue at this point.)
However, not only is “killing” a zombie against the law, it is also illegal to abuse one. This latest ruling came down after it was discovered that zombies were being used in club boxing matches and even being used as piñatas in backyard parties.
As the number of living-impaired loved ones being cared by family members rises, it becomes more and more likely that they will eventually become a normal part of everyday life. Or at least as far as the word “normal” can be used when referring to zombies.
The above article was provided to me by Curiosity Quills author STAN SWANSON. It appears in the Stephen E. King high school newspaper. The newspaper, and the school, can be found in the new Curiosity Quills book HORROR HIGH SCHOOL: RETURN OF THE LOVING DEAD.
The first book in the young adult Horror High School series, Return of the Loving Dead (by Araminta Star Matthews and Stan Swanson), is now available through Amazon or your favorite bookstore. You can also visit the official Horror High School blog at http://horrorhighschool.com/
Bio: Stan Swanson is coauthor of Horror High School: Return of the Loving Dead along with Araminta Star Matthews. Published by Curiosity Quills Press, Return of the Loving Dead is the first book in a new series about zombies, teen romance, the mystical occult, and the nature of true love.
Bio: Araminta Star Matthews is an author, educator, and instructional designer in Central Maine. Born a ginger to a pair of geek parents (one, a lover of all things Stephen King, the other a tabletop gamer and Tolkein-fan), Araminta has always been a bit of an odd duck. Her books typically feature strong, young women who are brilliant, clever, funny, and weird. Her books include Blind Hunger, Write of the Living Dead, Before Black Mask, Before Weird Tales, and The Warehouse. Her notable shorter works include “Bark of the Covenant,” in One Night Stands, “The All-Consuming Hunger of Love” in Dark Moon Digest, “Under My Skin” in Zombies Need Love, Too, and “Every Time a Bell Rings,” in Slices of Flesh. She lives in Central Maine with her miraculous dogs, Devo the whippet and Crivens the Jack-Chi, and her partner, Abner Goodwin.
Much thanks to Stan Swanson for stopping by today. And congratulations to him and Araminta Star Matthews on the release of the first book in the Horror High School series. I wish them the best of luck with their series!
Is it even a fault to feel forever 18? If my worst fault is that I have never grown up, I’m a very happy camper indeed. I blame young adult fiction. It’s an escape that can place me immediately into my teen years simply by reading.
Remember the old days when you had to be courageous to read teen fiction. I can still remember being in my thirties and reading the teen stuff at home so nobody else would know my preference. I refer to that time as the dark ages. Thankfully, with the advent of digital books comes a greater ability to hide what one is reading. I can now read young adult fiction on the subway, in the street, at Starbucks. It’s liberating!
Wait? I also relaxed the way I feel about YA fiction. Frankly, I don’t give a damn who knows what I’m reading. Life is too short to worry about things like that. I’m a proud YA reader…I celebrate YA whenever I can. Some of my favourite authors are YA writers. John Green, Hannah Moskowitz, Victoria Schwab, David Levithan. I read these authors and it makes me want to be a better writer.
Oh yeah…I’m a YA author too. To thine own self be true. I can’t be ashamed of what I read. I also write it.
Why am I writing about YA fiction like it’s a dirty little secret? I’m sure if you’re a fan of YA you don’t feel this way. What I’ve noticed though, is that some of those who are not fans (few and far between these days) actually have a lot of negative things to say about the market. I recently witnessed a few people making disparaging comments about the fact that THE FAULT IN OUR STARS had a rocking opening weekend at the box office. “An unknown young adult movie!?” Really? Unknown? John Green is perhaps one of the most celebrated authors of our time. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that. Of course, I can also be counted in the league of the Nerdfighter…so maybe my opinion doesn’t count?
John Green is not only writing some of the best young adult fiction on the market. He is also changing the world. And he is getting teens (and adults) into the mindset that they too can change the world. It’s all good. Do I want to hide the fact that I’m reading his book? Hell, no.
There is a lot to love about YA fiction. If it’s a fault to be in love with young adult literature, it’s a fault that is filled with the gloriousness of stars! (-:
If you are looking for something to take in at the movie theatre this weekend, look no further. The Fault in Our Stars was just as incredible on the big screen as it was on the page. Of course I went on opening night! I waited a long time to see a John Green story make it to the big screen. Dear Hollywood: My next wish is to see the incredible LOOKING FOR ALASKA on the big screen. Please make it be so. (-: