Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Destroying Angel Book Blitz+Giveaway!!!

Destroying Angel
Release Date: 07/09/15
187 pages

Summary from Goodreads:
Gates McFarland’s mother has just been proclaimed brain dead by a neurologist. But fifteen-year-old Gates doesn’t believe it’s true, because she hears her mother’s voice in her head. The command is simple: Find my heart. It’s the last thing Gates hears from her mother before the neurologist pulls the plug.

After contacting the Organ Procurement Agency, Gates learns there is no record of her mother’s organ donation. She meets Dr. Ascuitto, her mother’s neurologist. A menacing figure, he threatens to institutionalize Gates if she continues her inquiries.

Determined to find the truth, Gates gets help from John Ed, a street-smart, sixteen-year-old recovering addict. Together, they navigate an underworld of body theft, interstellar drug trafficking and doctors who double as dealers. She finds herself attracted to John Ed’s musical talents and emotional strength even as she is drawn ever-deeper into an alien world accessible only by use of a hallucinogenic spore. Hostile and governed by a sinister waif named Penny, the world holds secrets about Gates’ mother’s death…and the key to Gates’ survival.

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The book release party is Tuesday, July 28 in New Orleans. Everyone is welcome to attend! The Facebook invitation is here:


I go to the sanctuary of the high school outcast—the library. It’s almost as posh as the cafeteria: a sun-filled room with floor-to-ceiling windows that have sweeping views of the Rocky Mountains. I find a DVD of The Magic Flute, my favorite opera, and check it out. I love Mozart; always have, ever since seeing a movie about him when I was little. Dad says I had a crush on the actor that plays Mozart, but it wasn’t just that. The childhood fame, the ridiculous talent, the drinking, the mysterious early death...he was like a proto-rock star. The kind of person I dream of becoming, except without the early death. I’m a little washed up for a child prodigy, but there’s still some hope for me. I just need to do something amazing this year or next, like write a symphony or become a wunderkind fashion blogger.
Or maybe just write a decent research paper.


I need you to find my heart, Mom had said when she was dying in the hospital. Find Mom’s heart...what then? Do I cozy up to some old dude and listen to it beat? I know she’s not coming back, and I know I may be delusional thinking she spoke to me when she was already gone, but looking at these pictures sparks something in me. I want to find out who received her heart, not only because she asked me to, but also because I’m curious. And maybe I do want to hear it beat again. Maybe there is some comfort in knowing part of Mom is still alive in the world. Maybe I do want to know who received her “gift of life.”
I dial my cell phone.


My heart speeds up. “You could get in a lot of trouble.”
John Ed shrugs as if he doesn’t care. I suppose he doesn’t. From what I’ve heard, he’s gotten into trouble before, trouble much worse than this.
“I could get in trouble,” I say.
“Forget I said anything.” John Ed releases the automatic locks and gives me a farewell salute. But I don’t want to leave. I don’t want this to be all—a favor, a polite goodbye. And as my heart beats ever faster, I think I hear my mother’s in it. Maybe this is what she wants for me. Maybe this is what she’s pulling me toward.
“There’s a land line inside,” I say. “That’s what we should use. Park in the cul de sac by the greenbelt.”


“Penny shot him with an arrow. I think the tip was covered in Amanita spores,” I say.
Scott shakes his head. “That’s incredibly toxic. In the bloodstream, it spreads like, well, like a mold. It can take people over. Animals, too, I’d assume.”
“What happens when people get taken over by the Amanita?” I ask.
“They aren’t themselves anymore,” Scott says flatly. “That’s why you should never snort it or shoot it. But some people, well, they don’t listen and then you wind up with Sporeheads.”
“You think that’s what’s happening to Papageno? That it’s spreading though his body...colonizing him?”
“That’s what fungus does. Filthy stuff. I hate selling it. One of these days, I’m gonna tell Penny that’s it, I’m through...” Scott trails off on his rant. “Anyway, we better make sure that wound’s clean.”


After the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, Kittie appears. With her shining eyes and radiant expression, she doesn’t seem to think I sound hokey at all. “I thought I saw a newcomer out there,” she says. “Welcome! Can I give you a hug?”
Kittie’s embrace is fierce and tight—none of that awkward air-hug thing where you don’t touch the other person. I feel her pregnant belly, as round and hard as a little cannon ball.
“I could really relate to your talk,” John Ed says. “The destroying angel got me, too. For a while.”
I feel so flattered that Kittie has come up to me when the whole meeting is buzzing about her. I want her to know that her talk mattered to me, that it moved me. I’ve never heard anyone be so...what’s the word I’m looking for? Compelling? Eloquent?
“But for the grace of God...” Kittie walks her fingers across a tabletop, then mimics falling off in a dramatic arc.
“You were so honest,” I blurt. “I’ve never heard anyone be so honest before.”
I’ve heard that the truth will set you free. I never knew the truth would also compel people to listen.


Outside, the sky is a leaden gray, and snow is beginning to fall. I slide down to the soft, deep rug, leaning against the desk. Why did I hesitate so long? I should have escaped much sooner. I’d wanted to leave before I even got here, and again the minute I saw its sign and glimmering windows in the sunset. But if I left, this place would be allowed to go on. With its deception, trafficking, faked overdoses, and whatever else is going on. Whatever weird experiments they’re running here. Cammie would be lost; possibly Lena, too. And John Ed. How could I leave him?
But if I stay, I could end up like Penny, pulled down deeper into an alien world by the Amanita, not dead but not really alive, just a detached consciousness that doesn’t even know it’s a ghost. That can trick people like me and Cammie and Lena, people who might share its fate. Yet, if what Ine is saying has any truth to it, this world is where I come from. I feel a pull and a throb like an undulating tide: the incessant beating of my mother’s hidden heart. I know I’m closer than ever before.

I play keyboards and sing backup vocals in a band called Shouts and Murmurs. There are always rehearsals and recording sessions going on in my house, so the book playlist is our debut album, “New East Berlin And Other Stories.” Listen to it here:

Q: In your book, Gates’ mother dies and donates her body to science, and Gates goes on a quest to find it. Why did you write about organ donation?

A: It’s a topic that kept finding its way into my life. My friend Zane died unexpectedly and became an organ donor. Then, my friend Lauren, who had cystic fibrosis, died waiting for a lung transplant. And last, my former boyfriend Jonah, who had muscular dystrophy, died waiting for a heart transplant. So organ donation is something I was thinking a lot about while writing DESTROYING ANGEL.

Q: Were you good at English in school?
A: Yes, I was a relentless reader, so I absorbed a lot of information about grammar and spelling that way. I was very good at diagramming sentences. When I was in fifth grade, I went a year without watching TV, just to prove I could, and read some books that remain favorites today: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Gone with the Wind are among them.

Q: What does your writing process look like?
A: Well, I am a full-time journalist, so I write at work, during my lunch breaks and random down time. It just looks like me tapping at a Word document. Some days are busy, so I don’t get much time to write fiction. On those days, I try to write something, even if it’s just a sentence. Any day that I write, I consider a success, even if I only write for a couple minutes.

Q: You’re also a blogger at Is it hard to write books and maintain a blog?
A: No. They’re very different types of writing, and I enjoy doing both. I find that the more I write, the more I can write, if that makes sense. It’s similar to how, if you start running, you’re able to run longer and longer the more you do it. Anything that motivates me to write is a good thing. Plus, I’ve made wonderful connections through blogging.

Q: What is the most useful thing you’ve found for marketing books?
A: Definitely writing guest posts for blogs and articles for online publications. Most let you link to your blog, and it’s a way to get your name out to a wide audience who might not otherwise have heard of you.

Q: Your protagonist gets in trouble with the police. Have you ever been arrested?
A: Yes, when I was 21 I spent a weekend in jail on felony possession charges. I went to court-ordered rehab, completed a year on probation, did community service, paid a lot of fines, and haven’t had any trouble with the law since. You could say I’ve been rehabilitated.

About the Author
Hi all! I'm a book fiend turned professional wordsmith who tells stories both fictional and factual. My debut novel, DESTROYING ANGEL, was published this year by Torquere Press. I freelance for publications including,, BRIDES and Country Living, and I have served as a local editor for Zagat and Fodor guides.

I work as a full-time journalist at Gambit Weekly, THE BEST source for news in New Orleans (I'm biased, obviously). 

Author Links:
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