Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Blog Tour: Upon Broken Wings by E. L. Reedy & A. M. Wade (Review, Author Interview, Excerpt + Giveaway)

E. L. Reedy & A. M. Wade have a new YA Paranormal book out:

Author Name: E. L. Reedy & A. M. Wade
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Release Date: Friday, April 20 2018
Format: ebook
Is This Book Romance?: Yes
ISBN: ISBN: 978-1-77339-634-7
Price: 4.99
Story Type: Novel
Word Count: 69,500
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer

Genres: YA, LGBT, Fiction, Paranormal
Pairings: Two young adult males

Keywords/Categories: Gay, Straight

Book Blurb:

Bound by a dark act of hate and despair, high school freshmen, Andrew and Kiernan, learn that their untimely deaths did not bring an end to their pain, but only began the suffering of those left behind. While his lost memories return, Andrew must master seemingly impossible feats, both spiritual and physical. As a dark spirit stalks Kiernan through the borderlands of life and death, he must also face the pain his actions have caused his loved ones. To save both their souls, Andrew must convince Kiernan to return to life and open his eyes to the love and beauty which had always been there.

Evernight Teen | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Smashwords | Goodreads


$20 Amazon gift card 


A Recollection of Death

—from Andrew Harowitz, Memories of the Living

My dearest Michael.

My love.

I still remember the moment I surrendered my broken heart on that last bitter, rainy day of October, burying it with a tattered piece of my soul beneath the cold, still ground.

You were there of course, dressed in your finest black suit and a matching dark tie, and I am sure you saw, as did I, the last traces of autumn fade to winter, in a cycle unbroken since the twilight of the Ice Age—in those ancient times when the last glaciers melted away from the northern continents and poured their essence into every sea and ocean of the world.

Great and small flocks of blackbirds and crows swept over us in their mysterious formations, some late to start their journey to the south, others simply launching into the sky—those that never leave our lands—they are like the keepers of death, winter’s closest ally. Tell me Michael, if you remember, did you hear them sing, as their melodies soared high into the heavens? It was a lonely sound like that of a train whistle before sunrise, or the roar of the long-trucks, rolling down the highways between cities late at night.

Did you know that it’s on the first day of spring that life truly begins for the newborns and young? It renews for the old still blessed to be with us, and for those of us caught up in the turbulent in-between years, it is just another marker of the slow passage of time.

We followed the long hearse that day in a car, black as coal, with windows tinted for the privacy of all. Your parents sat on the back seat beside me. Did you see them there? Listen to your mother’s cries? Watch your father’s falling tears? Did you look upon me, lost so far inside myself that I showed no emotion at all?

Our procession crossed the city of Fair Cedar on a journey spanning from the church to the cemetery. As has always been custom, we ignored the stoplights and stop signs on the way, cutting off traffic and slowing only for turns and bumpy sections of road.

When we at last entered the misty graveyard, the rust-shrouded iron gates squeaked as they swung open. I heard and even felt their haunting echo that followed us along the curving drive through the forest of tombstones and trees.

I saw yellow and orange lilies, and roses, both white and red, among the grave markers and stones. Did you see them dying in weather more unstable than crackling ice on a thawing lake? Looking past them, I saw statues of angels and saints, bright as stars, when brief breaks in the gray clouds let the sunshine pass down to the earth below.

I remember every bump in the road, Michael, as from my window, I watched the passing trees, without a leaf on their branches—they seemed naked in the cold, half hidden by distance, the thickness of the haze, but more so by the tears that refused to drip from my burning red eyes.

Our sad parade parked, stretched along the side of the road, and I lost count of those who stepped out from their warm cars to join us in the damp, cold air. I followed just behind your parents and they followed their parish priest. He was dressed in his cassock and robe and carrying his crucifix before him like an upraised sword. For reasons I still don’t understand, I think I cracked a smile at the oddity of it all, but it was gone before anyone else saw it.

Your mother and father walked close, their hands held tight between them. But I only held white roses, still on their stems, which I had done all too often, and everyone else clutched tightly to umbrella handles, sympathy cards, and bouquets of many colors.

I heard a haunting whistle that filled my soul with dread, but it was only the echo of the wind, blowing through the branches of the trees. It made me feel so alone, Michael, in a place all gray, empty, and almost silent. I truly wept then. I cried in those days and more times after that than I could ever hope to count.

Though it was cold, I wore only a black jacket and matching pants, no coat or gloves to keep me warm. My suit was an older one of yours that your parents let me borrow, not brand new like the one you wore that day. My arms were too short for my hands to even reach the ends of the sleeves. I looked silly and I wanted to laugh, but by then, I had forgotten how.

We came at last to a casket resting at the center of a large velvet cloth—it was the second I’d seen that day, Michael. Do you remember why? I think they were trying to hide from us the open pit beneath it, but we all knew the truth—the ever-hungry earth awaited on yet another feast.

I stayed near you and your parents throughout the entire service, but not too close. I was not their beloved son. They were not my heartbroken parents.

A fire burned inside of me, Michael. Twice, I think I nearly threw up, but I stayed steady and strong. I stood firm for the soul once belonging to the body resting in the mahogany box, too long for a child and too short for an adult, but just the right size for a fourteen-year-old boy. The lid of course remained closed. We both knew why, didn’t we?

Thunder rumbled far and near, and the crows cried out, launching from the trees in formation for reasons unknown. My world went hazy. I wiped the tears away with my sleeves, but they just kept flowing like a waterfall down both of my frozen cheeks.

I watched your mother and father, leaning on one another, as the stone-faced priest read from his prayer book. I wanted a shoulder for my weary head. I needed a hug or at least some sort of touch, but you would not even look my way. You only stared at the sky with your eyelids closed tight. No one, Michael, no one consoled me—my grief ran through me unchecked, a sorrow much too deep for an already grieving boy of thirteen years to bear alone.

A shadow of the approaching storm fell upon us. It grew dark. A strong wind ripped away flowers and stole umbrellas. Then it started to drizzle. And the drizzle became a downpour.

I opened my eyes wide and tilted back my head, with my mouth open. Do you remember when we used to catch raindrops on the tips of our tongues? We were younger then, and the drops tasted sweet, not like the bitterness I felt in those passing days of loneliness and death.

Your father, who had always been kind, offered me his umbrella, but I only shook my head. I wanted—no, I needed—to feel every icy touch of water, as it soaked through my suit. I shivered, but the fires of grief flowing through me remained. I burned inside, hot like an open flame.

The priest’s words seemed mumbled, but I am sure that it was a fine eulogy. My attention was focused on a coffin containing a boy only a year older than me. He was but a child stolen away by twisting metal, exploding glass, and the unquenchable thirst of a river swollen well past its banks.

Your mother lost it then, Michael, did you see? Did you hear her cries? She beat her fists against your father’s chest, and he just held her, whispering words of comfort for her alone.

I watched in tearful silence, as other wives, sisters, and daughters fell into the arms of their brothers, husbands, and sons. Their weeping seemed like a great and sorrowful symphony that only brought pain to my ears. There were no shoulders for me to rest my head upon, though, no one held me. You kept your arms at your sides, and you stared at the sky with your eyes shut tight.

I fell to the ground, and the sky unleashed a deluge. My knees splashed in the sodden muck, but I barely noticed. Then I heard a scream, a roar that knocked me flat. Michael, do you remember? I do. I’ll never forget. That scream was mine, from my own lips, but it came from somewhere much deeper.

I thought that you touched me then on my shoulder, and I thought I heard your gentle laugh, and even a whispering of your voice, sad and quiet. I looked up then, but it was only your father, reaching out to help me back to my feet.

I was all alone, Michael. You were there, but you would not meet my eyes. You didn't even look my way. You only stared, as ever you will, into that mysterious beyond. I buried my heart that day, Michael. I buried my love on the last day of October, in the rain, when we buried you.

Author Interview:

How long have you been writing?
A –All my life but haven’t been writing for those outside my family to hear until last couple of years.  I have helped edit my brother’s books for years and have to tried to come up with honest and constructive criticism and praise. I admire his amazing poetic flow as he writes and am often swept away before I realize that I have missed a few things.  If any story does that to me, I’m in. I’m more down to earth, and I often see the grammatical and punctuation errors long after I have read the story. So, I think we balance each other and hope we can keep writing till our ideas or our fingers say, “No more”.
E – I have written on and off for years, but I got serious about it in early 2001.
Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book? You know, gay, straight, bi…
A –Kids with disabilities of any kind are so underrepresented in fiction.  Two of my three children were born with “speed bumps” and have spent their whole lives trying to fit in and keep up with the rest of their peers.  They are smart, funny, loving people but are only noticed for their differences. They have all been encouraged to talk to us or any of our friends and family if they need to vent or ask questions.  I am truly honored when they want to talk to me. Gay teens are another group that needs more attention. I hope my kids have learned from me and the rest of our family that love is the important thing.  The sex of whom you love, and who loves you, is only important for knowing what names to put on Christmas cards and invitations.
E – Gay kids. So many people in our society think young people don’t know their own drives and desires. And it is such a tragedy, when a young one is lost because of their inability to fit in to society, their families, their churches.
Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
A –Part-time.  I am a stay at home mom with three kids with various issues and right now, a husband on work comp with a back injury.
E – Part Time: I’m a CMM Tech full time, which helps keep my brain active, which is kind of a requirement if you wish to create.
Do your books spring to life from a character first or an idea?
A –Sometimes the idea comes first, sometimes the character.
E – For me it’s an idea that eventually gives birth to the character.
How long does it take you to write the first draft?
A –Several months.  Life gets in the way sometimes.
E – Three to nine months. How much is going on in my personal life greatly affects the speed.
What is the most heartfelt thing a reader has said to you?
A – “Your story made me feel like someone understands me”.
E – “Your story touched my soul.”
Star Trek or Star Wars?
A –Both.  One had to lead the way to the stars, and one had to give us strong leaders to defend the places found there.
E – Star Wars. Because, well… Yoda.
What is your writing Kryptonite? I mean, what gets in the way?
A –A pattern I’m crocheting or knitting that needs to be finished for someone in the family at a particular time—we have a big family, so there is always a birth, birthday, or something coming up.  Sometimes is just as simple as, “will you please make this?’
E – An intriguing movie when I should be writing or crating notes.
What do you do when you get writer’s block?
A –Give myself a day or so to let things simmer, then just share some ideas with E and hope that block gets pushed away.  Music and reading or listening to audiobooks as I do other things, actually bring me back around to what I’m working on with him.
E – I pull out a pile of blu-rays and dvds and just start watching, to distract myself from whatever it is already distracting me from writing.
How did you deal with rejection letters?
A –Ouch, and why?  Sometimes I wonder if they actually read it, because the rejection ideas don’t seem to have anything to do with the story sent in, hmmm.
E – I’d like to say I grin and bear it, but sometimes you just want to grab the rejecter by the shoulders and shake them, while screaming, “What is your major malfunction?”
What action would your name be if it were a verb?
A –Accepting, as life has been so stressful for so long, I just have been Elsa in my brain.  You know, “let it go”.
E – I greatly suspect it would be something like napping. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to enjoy sleep.
What fantasy realm would you choose to live in and why?
A –Valdemar, because Companions!
E – LOTR because…. Elves!
What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?

Both – We’re working on a three or four book saga of fantasy that follows a group of druids from their initial creation to modern day wars with forces of darkness. The first book is done, or so we thought – as we expand our notes for the other books, we keep finding ourselves returning to the source and making a change here or there. When? One thing at a time, but the first book, probably sometime this year.

Author Bio

E. L. Reedy -- Was born and raised in Iowa, where he devoured tomes of fantasy, sci-fi, and young adult novels as a child. In his free time, he is an avid gamer (D&D and Pathfinder). He has traveled the world as a soldier in the U.S. Army, and now lives in Iowa, where with his writing partner, he continues to pen works in the realms of Fantasy and Horror in the Young Adult Universe.

A. M. Wade -- As the only girl in a family with five boys, she readily escaped into fantasy, sci-fi, and other fiction novels. Having traveled through most of the US, she enjoys using scenery and characteristics of the different states in the story adventures she created for the little ones in her family. Now, she writes sci-fi, fantasy and horror with a lifelong co-conspirator.

Author Website: https://oflightandshadow.blog/
Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/oflightandshadow7/
Author Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/elreedy http://amazon.com/author/amwade

3 Stars

What I Loved: I adore the idea of fate and destiny. I want to believe so much in Soul Mates and/or bonds as well as predestined meetings. It's intriguing to think of how things in life happen for a reason, certain paths we choose or missed opportunities and how our lives change. I enjoyed that part of the story, the glimpses of paths crossing in different ways or the effects on each other’s lives that we have no clue about. I guess it’s the theory of the Butterfly effect that made it so intriguing to me.

When I found myself engrossed in the story, I was an emotional mess. Tears came easily as I read what poor Andrew lived through during his short life. He broke my heart more than once. As did what happened with Michael. Kieran was just as heartbreaking and hard to read. This was definitely not a sweet, happy love story.

What I Liked: This did have a happy ending or I guess I should say more of a bittersweet ending. I can’t say it was how I’d hoped it would end but I liked that it left a feeling of hope.

What I Didn’t Like: So the beginning of this story was extremely confusing. I had absolutely no idea what was going on and it was a bit hard to figure out who everyone is. With the confusing start, it was much too hard for me to get into the story. It didn’t help that while some may find the writing beautifully descriptive and poetic (to which I agree) it made it even more difficult to truly immerse myself in the lives of Andrew and Michael, their mothers, Casey and Kiernan.

I was constantly pulled from the story when the descriptive writing seemed to take over and the dialogue became scarce. Things would drag on and I would have to force myself to keep going in a desperate attempt to see how everything played out.

There’s a ton of symbolism, spiritual as well as religious. In some ways, it was deep and thought-provoking and in others, it was almost too much. I love the paranormal or fantasy elements but it could also be daunting at times.

Overall, this is a story that I wouldn’t necessarily recommend to just anyone. You have to be in the mood for angst and sad themes. You have to love reading purple prose or at least not find it somewhat disconcerting. The story has a wonderful message and it definitely gets to you. Upon Broken Wings makes you think and makes you hope that when our children are hurting they are able to come to us or ask for help.

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

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