Monday, June 29, 2015

Translucent playlist

Now that Of Starlight (Translucent #2) is out, I thought I’d share the playlist for the first two books! For those of you music lovers, I wanted to post the songs that inspired me while writing the novels. I hope you enjoy listening to them as much as I did!

 As for Ash and Darkness (Translucent #3), I’ll have a big announcement coming up in the next couple weeks, so be sure to sign up for my mailing list (in the righthand corner) to get exclusive access to a little surprise I’m giving my newsletter subscribers!


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Coming September 14: Ash and Darkness

Hi readers!

Now that Of Starlight (Translucent #2) is now out, it’s time to announce the third novel in the series. On September 14, 2015 Ash and Darkness, the third book in the series, will hit shelves! I hope you’ve enjoyed the twisted story so far—it’s about to get even stranger! It’s currently available for pre-order, so make sure to click here to check out Ash and Darkness on Amazon!

In the next month or two, I will start putting up teasers! If you want to read the first three chapters of Ash and Darkness early, make sure to join my newsletter (form in the righthand corner of my website), as I’ll be sending it exclusively to mailing list subscribers!

Here’s the description for Ash and Darkness:

It’s called dark matter, a living substance secreted by a meteorite that can make people invisible. Sixteen-year-old Leona Hewitt has been wearing it for twelve hours. It should be every teen’s fantasy—unbeatable pranks, a front row seat in her crush’s bedroom, a place to lick her wounds all alone. And it is . . . it is. 

Until she can’t get it off. 

In an instant, the fantasy becomes a nightmare. She’s stuck like this, invisible. Scratching at it, burning it off, cutting her skin off with a knife—nothing works. Dark matter is eating her, consuming her body like a bacteriophage and leaving behind a ghost. 

But when she wakes up in her bedroom, seemingly back to normal—only to find the city outside abandoned and ghostly quiet, she realizes she’s been transported to an impossible parallel realm. Electronics barely function, food turns mealy and rotten, fire snuffs out in seconds . . . and the only signs of life are the clues to a strange riddle left behind by a dead girl.


***

Click here to see more about Ash and Darkness on Amazon!

Happy reading,
Dan


Monday, June 15, 2015

Of Starlight: $25.00 Amazon eGift Card Giveaway

Hi readers!

I wanted to give a big thank you to all of you readers that have pre-ordered Of Starlight (Translucet #2). It’s reached its goal of 100 pre-orders, which means it’s time for a giveaway!

I’m giving away one $25.00 Amazon gift card to those readers that have pre-ordered the novel! To qualify, post your order # or a screenshot of it below the Facebook post, which you can find here. 

If you’d like to qualify for the giveaway, you can still do so! Click here to grab your copy of Of Starlight. Giveaway ends at 10:00 PM on Wednesday, June 17.

And make sure to look out for Of Starlight, which will hit shelves this Thursday, June 18!


For those of you unfamiliar with my Translucent series, here’s its description:

Translucent

When a meteorite falls near her campsite in the San Rafael Wilderness, troubled teen Leona Hewitt ventures down into the crater looking for a souvenir. What she discovers changes her life. 

Contained in the meteorite is a sticky, mucous-like fluid that bends light, cannot itself be seen, and seems to grow in the presence of living tissue. It’s drawn to her. 

But when a government team arrives in hazmat suits and cordons off the meteorite impact site, Leona questions her decision to take it home with her. For one thing, there are rumors of an extraterrestrial threat. 

For another, it has been speaking to her. 

It wants to be worn . . . stretched on like a second skin. It’s seeking out her weaknesses, exploiting her deepest fear—that the only boy she’s ever loved will unearth the vile secret in her past and see her as a monster. Now it promises salvation. 

It can make her invisible. 


You can check out Translucent, the first book, here.

Happy reading,
Dan

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Of Starlight (Translucent #2), Teaser #2

Hi readers,

Next Thursday, June 18, Of Starlight hits shelves! For those of you who haven’t heard of my newest YA series, Of Starlight is book two in the Translucent series. For more on Translucent, click here!

Today I wanted to share the second teaser from Of Starlight. Without further ado, here it is:

Of Starlight Teaser #2

“Tell me what happened,” said Emory, when I slid into his convertible ten minutes later—top up, thank God.

“Drive . . . just drive,” I said, peeling off the last of the dark matter from my bare feet and scraping it into the contact lens case.

He watched me, but said nothing.

I’d thrown on a loose tank top and shorts, so I was immensely grateful for the heat in his car. My core was still ice cold.

He put the car in gear and gunned it up the street. Only when I counted four blocks between me and my house did I let myself relax. But I wasn’t about to tell him what had happened. Telling him would only make him worry and want to help me, which was the last thing I wanted. If Megan was right, I was still his sister’s murderer.

I was the reason this creature had possessed her body.

To have him save me from her, given the circumstances, would be the deepest shame. I would rather die.

“You going to tell me what happened?” he said.

“Can I just be with you right now?” I said.

“Never gotten a straight answer from you before,” he said, rolling down his window to spit out a piece of gum, filling the car with chilly gusts. “Don’t know why I thought I’d get one now.”

“Don’t be an ass,” I said, breaking into shivers all over again. “By the way, thanks for coming to get me. I just . . . I can’t be in my house right now.”

“So what am I going to do with you?” he said, leaning forward to read street names. “It’s three in the morning on a Friday, and I know your parents don’t know you’re out with me.”

“It doesn’t matter anymore,” I said, cradling my head in my hands. “Nothing matters anymore.”

“Not going to argue with that,” he said, scowling.

“I hate life, Emory.”

“No, you don’t.”

“I’m so sick of this,” I said. “I’m so sick of everything.”

“Except me, apparently.”

I peered sideways at him. “Why do you tolerate me? I’m depressing, and morbid, and I hate myself, and you’re cool and gorgeous and . . . and I’ve seen you when you’re happy and it’s amazing, and you light up everyone’s life . . .” I turned away, tears blurring my eyes, “but you’re not happy, and it’s my fault. It’s all my fault.”

His eyes squinted as he considered this. “You’re right, you’re not happy,” he said. “You are depressed, and you do hate yourself—and a lot of other people do too, apparently. But you’re real, Leona.” He pulled up to a stop sign, and his eyes flicked to mine. “I look at everyone else, and I see this shiny exterior and this fake smile, but that’s it. There’s nothing in here.” He made a fist and thumped his chest. “But you . . . you don’t smile, and I like that. Because all that’s been stripped away. When you look at me, it’s just raw . . . and it’s powerful—and yeah, it’s really sad sometimes—but you’re the only person who looks at me like that. And when you do, I can’t look away from you.”

His words left me in a fog. I had nothing to say.

“And you’re gorgeous too, FYI.”

“Uh . . . okay.” My breath quivered in my lungs, and I felt weightless for the tiniest instant before I plunged back down into my abyss. I blushed and faced forward, my heart throbbing painfully. A whisper of envy unfurled in me. I wanted to be that girl—tortured, but beautiful. Forlorn, but loveable. But I wasn’t. I was unforgiveable.

By him, most of all.

“I want to know what it was,” he said softly. “I want to know what did this to you. I remember noticing you in the halls last year, you with your sophomore clique. I remember writing you off as a shallow airhead. You’re not that girl anymore.”

“I wish I still was,” I murmured.

“I don’t,” he said.

“You will.”

We lapsed into silence, and only then did I notice he was taking me up a steep windy road into the hills, downshifting around the curves. His wrists gleamed under the passing streetlights, hard planes like carved marble. My gaze climbed to his forearm, where the rolled-up sleeves of his collared shirt were stretched tight around knotted, sinewy muscle—his throwing arm. I wanted to touch his skin . . . feel if he was real. Or a temptation meant to drive me insane.

He caught me staring at him and raised an eyebrow, and I jerked my head forward and tucked my hair behind my ear, instantly self-conscious.

Santa Barbara flashed below us, all glittery and lit up, before vanishing behind a switchback.

“Where are we going?” I said.

“Somewhere that’s not your house.”

“Good.”

Okay, but where were we going?

More importantly, what were we doing? Together. Driving into the hills at three in the morning?

“Are we, like . . . dating?” I said, fearing the answer even as a giddy flutter passed through me.

He shrugged. “I don’t really like to put a label on things.”

“No, no, no . . . nooooo,” I said, suddenly tensing up. “We can’t be dating.”

“Like I said, no labels.”

“Because if we were . . .” I warned.

“You would know. Just chill. You’re overthinking. You said you just wanted to just be with me, so let’s just be, alright?”

“Yeah, but not like that.”

He slowed the car down. “You want to go home?”

“No.”

“You want me to keep going?”

“No.”

“Alright. We’re going to stop in the middle of the road.” He stopped in the middle of the road. “And we’re just going to sit here.”

We sat there.

“Okay, you proved your point,” I said. “I’m a mess and I have no idea what I want. Are you happy? Now can we go?”

He smirked and we started up again. I rested my head against the glass and let my hair shield me from view, feeling dizzy and sick.

My sanity dangled over a precipice, and he was the only thing keeping me up. If he left, I would fall. I could already feel myself slipping. At the same time, every second I spent with him twisted the knife a little deeper.

I killed his sister.

I still hadn’t told him.

I couldn’t tell him.

Emory pulled onto a dirt road, and the car bounced over potholes, the tires crunched on dirt and pebbles. He veered into the chaparral, and dry stalks blazed in his headlight before his bumper whacked them to the side. A cliff loomed ahead, and all at once the chaparral fell away, replaced by a panoramic view of the city lights.

His car pulled right up to the edge—and for a moment, I thought we would pitch over—before he shut off the engine. “It’s just a place we can talk,” he said, opening his door.

I climbed out too and stood next to him at the cliff edge, but the city’s beauty was lost on me. It might have dazzled another girl living another life, but not me. Not right now. The tall grass rustled nearby, and a dusty breeze lifted my hair and set me shivering.

“Can we get back in the car?” I said. “I can’t look at this right now.”

“Then close your eyes,” he said.

“It’s cold.”

“No, it’s not.”

“And I’m scared.”

“Of what? Field mice?”

I bristled at his comment. “I’m cold,” I said.

“Fine. Come on.” He put his hand on my lower back and guided me into the backseat of his convertible, then slid in after me, pulling the door shut behind him. As I shifted on the rear bench seat, my bare thighs stuck to the cold, cracked leather. His legs pressed against mine, and all at once, he was way too close, with nothing separating us. My heart gave a nervous thump, as if I’d never been with a boy before. But I didn’t pull away. Suddenly, all I wanted was to be close to him. Nothing else mattered.

I bit my lip and pushed back against him, letting my thigh slide against his. I felt his arm fall around my shoulder, and he kissed the top of my head, his lips brushing my scalp and lingering on my hair, drawing a shiver of pleasure down my spine. The heated spice of his cologne made me tipsy, and I looked up at him, breathing him in.

Lit up by the city lights, his hair glowed around him like a halo. I touched his jaw, mesmerized, and trailed my fingers along its length as I pulled him into a kiss. The smoky, minty taste of his mouth enveloped me like a drug high, his lips demanding my single-minded focus. Bit by bit, everything else fell away. Before I knew it, he had scooped my legs up by the knees and pulled them over his lap, leaning into me to deepen the kiss. My fist tightened instinctively around his shirt, dragging him closer.

I ignored the tiny nagging at the back of my mind that this was wrong. Right now, I didn’t care.

He pulled away from me before I was ready, leaving my lips feeling lonely and cold as a sharp ache spread through my chest. I clung to his shirt, afraid to let go.

He pushed his hand through his hair, his gaze tortured. “This . . . this feels irresponsible.”

“Why?” I breathed, hating the desperation in my voice.

“Because I need to know you’re okay. I need to know I’m not making this worse for you. But I am. I know I am.”

“Nuh-uh,” I said, shaking my head. “You’re not allowed to feel guilty. You’re perfect.”

He chuckled darkly. “Then you don’t know me.”

“Oh, really? Do you have a dark secret, Emory?” I teased. “Did you cheat on a spelling test in third grade? Did you accidentally step on a spider once when you were twelve? Please, you’re like the most pure, worthy person I know. I doubt you could hurt a fly without feeling remorse.”

His eyes flashed to mine. “What’s your dark secret, Leona?”

The question caught me off guard, and a shameful heat bloomed in my cheeks. I averted my eyes before he saw it, both needing and hating the reassurance of his arm around my back.

“Leona . . .” he said gently.

“You can have me,” I murmured. “All of me.”

I felt him peering down at me. “Be careful what you offer,” he said. “Because I will take it.”

I nodded, my throat dry. Too late for that.

Peeking at him, I glimpsed only concern in his gaze, zero judgment. Curled up in his arms, I felt safe for the first time. Maybe he would forgive me, after all. As he watched me, I kissed him again, shyly, just a peck on the lips. When he kissed me back—hesitantly at first, but then harder—an electric giddiness unfurled in my stomach, leaving my heart racing. I broke off and rested my head on his chest, listening to his heartbeat, craving everything about him. Then it just bubbled out.

“I love you,” I whispered.

The confession jolted my heart, and I clamped my mouth shut as my nerves became hyperalert to every uncomfortable shift of his body beneath mine.

“Yeah . . . that’s what I was afraid of,” he said.

My body tensed up, and I squeezed my eyes shut, mortified. “I didn’t mean that.”


“Yes, you did,” he said.

***

If you enjoyed reading that, please make sure to check Of Starlight out on Amazon! You can do so here. I’ll be giving away an Amazon gift card exclusively to readers who pre-order the novel, so make sure to grab a copy!

Happy reading,
Dan

Monday, June 8, 2015

Of Starlight Giveaway

Hi readers!

Of Starlight (Transluent #2), the second novel in the Translucent series, comes out June 18. Pre-orders play a huge role in how well a book does, and I wanted to give back to those of you who've helped promote Of Starlight before it's release, so … I've decided to give away a $25.00 Amazon gift card once Of Starlight hits 100 pre-orders. We're almost there! You can pre-order Of Starlight here. If you haven't read Translucent, the first novel in the series, yet, you can check it out here.

Translucent (Translucent #1): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TC1K40Y/
Of Starlight (Translucent #2): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00WPF2V5U/

Happy reading,
Dan

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Of Starlight (Translucent #2), Teaser #1

On June 18 Of Starlight (Translucent #2) is hitting shelves, and I’m so excited to share the second installment in the Translucent series with you all! For those of you unfamiliar with the series, you can check out Translucent, the first novel, here


Of Starlight Teaser #1

I dropped the phone like it had bitten me. My heart boomed in my ears, obliterating all other sounds. Megan leaned in, clutching my arm, her eyes and mouth wide open in shock. She’d heard.

Alive.

Ashley Lacroix was alive.

Not just a hallucination this time.

Not just a figment of my subconscious reflected back to me by dark matter.

This time she was here in the flesh.

But we’d killed her—Megan and I. We’d dumped her body in the woods. I’d seen her rotting corpse.  

Trembling, I picked up the phone and raised it to my cheek. Emory’s tinny voice continued to hiss excitedly from the speaker.

Something inside me felt sick.

“But . . . but what about the body?” I gasped. “You said you found a body, you said the police identified it . . . you said it was her.”

Next to me, Megan squeezed my arm tighter and mouthed, “Body?”

She didn’t know I’d led him there.

“Hold on,” said Emory, and I heard a door close—moving to where Ashley couldn’t hear. “That wasn’t her. Some other girl who was dumped in the woods, maybe. My dad says the DNA sample they tested was probably contaminated.”

“Then where has she been for the last three months?” The question came out overly accusing, but I didn’t care.

None of this made any sense.

“Apparently, she hitchhiked to South Carolina to visit some kind of healer about her sleepwalking,” said Emory, chuckling. “That’s where she’s been this whole time.” 

“In South Carolina?” I said in disbelief. “She’s been in South Carolina? For three months? And she didn’t call home once to let her family know she wasn’t dead?”

“Leona, I literally just found out this morning that my baby sister is alive after thinking she was dead. I don’t know every little detail, okay? She said the healer insisted she come in secret, that they had some kind of arrangement. So yeah, if you ask me I’d say this guy sounds shady as hell, but you know what? I’m not going to get on her case about that right now because I love more than anybody on earth and I’m just grateful she’s alive. I called you because I thought you’d be grateful too. We can work out all the details later.”

I winced at his words, mortified at my own callousness. “You’re right, I’m sorry,” I whispered. “This is . . . this is amazing. I’m really, really happy for you.”

“I want you to come over for dinner tomorrow,” he said.

“You . . . what?” My heart jolted.

“Yeah, I want you to get to know her.”

Dinner. With Emory and his parents and the sister I’d murdered. The prospect brought instant terror. This couldn’t be allowed to happen. “Tomorrow? I . . . I can’t tomorrow . . .”

“Be here at six,” he said, and hung up.

I stared at the phone in my hand, too stunned to close my mouth.

Megan tugged it out of my hand and pocketed it, startling me back to the present. “So . . . Ashley’s alive,” she said calmly. “That’s either really good or really bad.”

She’d heard the entire conversation, no doubt.

I shook my head, lifting my gaze to hers. “But we killed her,” I muttered. “She’s dead. She’s supposed to be dead.”

“But she isn’t.”

“But she was. We hit her going fifty miles per hour. You checked her pulse. We dragged her body into the woods and left her there. She was dead.”

“Shh,” she said, glancing in the direction of the kitchen, where my mom was washing dishes. She rose to shut the door.  “Okay, let’s talk about this. Maybe she wasn’t really dead. Maybe she got up right after we left and hiked back to the road. Maybe that was why she was out there. She was hitchhiking.”

But I saw her rotting corpse. “No, Megan. She was dead. I know she was dead.”

Megan folded her arms and shrugged. “Then Emory just prank-called you and she’s not actually back.”

“Why would he do that?” I said, lip curled. “That’s not funny, that’s morbid. Only you would think that’s funny.”

“Then how else do you explain it?” she spat. “Either she’s alive, and we didn’t kill her, or she’s still dead and that wasn’t her on the phone. Make a choice.”

“Maybe we killed someone else,” I murmured.

“Someone else who looked exactly like Ashley?”

“We don’t know that, Megan. It was dark. We were freaking out. Do you remember what she looked like? All I remember is she was blonde and pretty, but the rest is a blur.”

“Not me,” said Megan. “I have a perfect image of her face burned in my brain.”

“Because we saw pictures of Ashley afterward on the internet,” I said. “Sometimes the brain can do that. It changes your memories based on stuff you learn afterward to make things consistent. So we thought we killed Ashley, and later we remember the girl’s face as Ashley’s. That’s textbook psychology.”

Megan stared at me. “So you think we killed someone else?”

“I’m just saying it’s a possibility.”

“Then two girls disappeared that night. How come we haven’t heard of the other one?”

She had a point, but my mind was still too wound-up to stop and think. “Over the phone—you heard her—she didn’t sound like she remembered me. She was like, ‘uh . . . hi, Leona,’ like she had no idea who I was. You heard that, right?”

“Yeah, because you hit her with a car and knocked her out. You probably gave her brain damage.”

I dragged a hand down the back of my neck, now pacing my bedroom. “This is so screwed up . . . so freaking screwed up,” I ranted. “What are we missing?”

Megan’s eyes lit up. “Wait . . . if we didn’t kill her, if we didn’t actually kill her, then we’re off the hook, right? We don’t have to feel guilty anymore . . . right?”

The same hope had crossed my mind, but I’d already snuffed it out. “We killed someone, Megan. There’s a body rotting in the woods, and we put it there. Someone is dead because of us. Maybe not Ashley, but someone.”

“Why do you keep talking about a body?” she said. “What body? If she got up and walked away, then there’s no body.”

I looked at her and licked my dry lips. “She was dead, Megan.”

“Yeah, I thought so too. We’ve been wrong before.”

“What if we were set up?” I said. “What if someone was trying to make another girl disappear and make it look like we killed her?” I flipped around and stomped across the room. “Never mind. I don’t know what I’m talking about.”

“Clearly,” she said.

“She wasn’t breathing,” I said. “She didn’t have a pulse. For like forty minutes, she didn’t have a pulse. If you don’t have a pulse for forty minutes, that means you’re dead.”

“Did you check her pulse?” said Megan. “I checked her pulse. Maybe she had a weak pulse and I couldn’t feel it. I’m not a doctor.”

“This is so screwed up,” I muttered.

“How come it’s Ashley that shows up while we’re wearing dark matter?”

Dark matter. I’d almost forgotten.

We’d been talking to it when Emory called. The reminder left a chill.

“I don’t know,” I said. “Maybe our brains are filling that in too.”

“Maybe it’s because the girl who looks like Ashley and sleepwalks like Ashley and jumps out in front of our car the same night Ashley goes missing, is in fact Ashley.”

I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “Why don’t I just ask her when I have dinner with her tomorrow.”

***


You can pre-order Of Starlight here!

Happy reading!
Dan