Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hike up Devils Mountain by Penny Estelle new release. check this book out it is a great read.

Chapter 1

Andy Thompson’s hand was shaking as he reached for the dirty, tarnished doorknob. He stopped, took a step back, and glanced around for the hundredth time. His heart was pounding so hard, he was sure his chest was actually moving with each thud.

In all his ten years, Andy had never disobeyed his parents. Until today. On a scale of one to ten, this was an easy nine. He could still hear his mother last night at dinner: “Nobody has been in that house for three years. No telling what kind of shape it’s in. The walls are probably termite ridden and ready to crumble, if they haven’t already. It’s dangerous and you have no business being there. You could get seriously hurt. I, for one, think it’s about time they tear that eyesore down. You stay clear of that place!” Blah . . . blah . . .blah . . . blah . . . blah.

The company that was to tear down the old abandoned house the very next morning had placed a ten-foot high chain link fence around the house. It didn’t take him very long at all to get inside that.

He now stood in front of the slanted, cellar doors, which were rough wood,
weathered, and ridden with bugs. remembered a time when they were white as snow, but now they had only traces of paint here and there. He wondered if, with a
little pressure, the doors might just splinter with a good kick.

Taking a deep breath, Andy grabbed the doorknob, placed his foot on the other door and pulled with all his might. He gave a surprised yelp when the rotted wood surrounding the knob gave way, and he tumbled and fell flat on his back. He regained his feet, massaged his sore pelvis and saw one door now hung on a single hinge.

He was breathing hard when he finished muscling the broken door open.

All he had to do now was dig up some courage to take those rickety steps down to that dark, spooky basement. On one side of the steps was a cement wall that disappeared into darkness. On the other side was gray nothing. There wasn’t even a railing to hold on to.

The urge to run for his bike and get home was strong, but a nagging voice told him that he’d never get this chance again. He bad that, after tomorrow, this house would be history.

Since the weather outside was perfect for bike riding, he’d put on a striped,
cereal-stained, short-sleeved T-shirt, and a pair of well worn Levi’s, with his
knees trying to peek through a few threadbare spots. But dressed as he was, he
now felt a chill, and goose bumps covered his body as he crossed the wooden
steps. He found a light switch to the left. Even as Andy tried it, he knew
there’d be no lights coming on. He tried it anyway, several times. Up, down, up,
down, up, down. After all, you just never know, and he wanted to be sure!
The eerie creak that accompanied each step was like a thunderclap in Andy’s ears. He reached the cement floor. He stood still, listening, but for what?
Silence was all he heard.

Rays of light filtered in through four small, dirty basement windows. Dust particles made the air hazy, like smoke floating up by the ceiling. Thanks to that small amount of light, Andy could see most of the large room, though the corners were still shrouded in darkness.

Swallowing hard, Andy ventured farther into the room. He tripped over a small broken cement step that had been part of a shower stall at one time. He saw the big, black furnace against the far wall. had forgotten about that awful furnace. Its door lay on the floor, leaving a gaping black hole. It looked like a monster, ready to suck up anything that came close. Andy shivered. He didn’t feel the need to explore over by that particular wall.

Old wooden cabinets lined another wall. Doors were open, revealing glass jars, some broken, and lots of candles of different shapes and colors, some partially burned. all those candles made him smile. Now he could almost smell the vanilla or cinnamon in the air.Next to the cabinets, he saw several stacks of boxes, but a few were turned upside down and tossed here and there. One box must have held nothing but magazines, because ripped pages covered the gray cement floor; while another was overturned, and old Christmas decorations were lying about. Had somebody been in here and dumped them? Maybe an animal had gotten inside? Andy didn’t like either of those possibilities, as he glanced into the still dark corners, staring again at the open furnace.

He ventured over to the steps that led up deep inside the house and wondered if that door might be unlocked. “No way,” he muttered, but moved to check it out. He was halfway up when a mouse ran over the toe of his blue tennis shoe.

Andy never knew he could scream so loud.

In his hurry to get off the steps, he tripped over his own feet and fell down the last
two steps.

Bringing his hands up to break his fall, he landed on the scattered magazines, and slid into the box full of old Christmas stuff. Andy found himself covered in
Christmas lights, old tinsel, and broken ornaments.

Something caught his eye as he struggled to untangle himself. He scrambled to his feet and hurried over to peek under a cabinet where a piece of molding had come loose. Something shiny was in there.

Andy slowly reached in and pulled a long skinny box from its hiding place. It was
gold and looked brand new. “Wow,” he whispered, staring. There was no latch on
this box. No matter which way he turned it or how he shook it, the box wouldn’t
open. “Open, you dumb box,” Andy shouted. The box became almost transparent and whatever was inside glowed a brilliant red.

As if burned, Andy dropped the box.

When the box hit the floor, it fell open. Inside, lying on a bed of red velvet, was a
stick of some kind. It was that glowed like fire. Andy gave the box a tiny nudge
with his toe. Nothing happened.

The stick just kept glowing.

He knelt down to examine it a little closer. He took a magazine, rolled it up, and
touched it. After all, if it was hot, he didn’t want to get burned.

Again, nothing happened.
Andy touched it. There was no pain—no smell of burning skin.

Removing the stick, Andy he got to his feet. Now what?
“Well, if it isn’t Andy Pandy.”

Friday, September 7, 2012

Only 99 Cents!
Lola’s not pretty. Lola’s not popular. Lola wishes she could disappear …
and then one day she does just that...

For seventeen-year-old
Lola Savullo, life is a struggle. Born to funky parents who are more in than
she could ever be, Lola’s dream of becoming a writer makes her an outsider even
in her own home. Bullied and despised, Lola still has the support of her best
pal Charlie and Grandma Rose.

Not only is she freakishly tall,
Lola’s a big girl and when forced to wear a bathing suit at her summer job as a
camp counselor, Lola’s only escape from deep embarrassment seems to be to
literally vanish. Soon after, she discovers the roots of her new

Slowly, with Charlie’s help, Lola learns to control
the new super power. The possibilities are endless. Yet power can be abused,

Then, when tragedy strikes, Lola must summon her inner
strength, both at home and at school. She has to stand up for herself, despite
the temptations and possibilities of her newfound super power.

A coming-of-age story that will warm the heart.

Free Excerpt: ( Please excuse any formatting issues that my blog has caused to this excerpt)

Chapter One

“Lola, get your suit on and help supervise the pool,” Justine, the athletic, sun-kissed, twenty-one-year-old camp director orders once we get off the bus.“The more eyes the better.”

Immediately my heart takes off in a sprint.
“What? Why?” I try to hide the wobble in my voice.

Curious, expectant gazes turn to me as my fellow counsellors wait with evil half-smiles for my reaction. Although I haven’t told a soul, except my best friend Charlie, how I feel about wearing a bathing suit, they know my private horror. It’s the horror of every fat girl.

Justine flips through the sheets on her clipboard. She runs a finger down the column of names. “No campers will be sitting out today.”

The impossible has just happened. Not one kid was sick, or had left their bathing suit at home. In my three summers as a counsellor, not once has this happened.

For a long, awkward moment, I stand frozen in place wondering how to get out of this. A sudden migraine? My period? My mouth opens, but no words come.

Justine leaves and with her, my chance for escape. I’m left teary-eyed, searching through my bag for my black one piece.

Stuffing away the panic, I march past the onlookers, who I have never considered my friends despite working with them the entire summer. In the change room, I find an empty stall and with great reluctance, pull on my suit.

It’s my last day of work as a camp counsellor at Inglewood Day Camp. My group of kids consists of eight six-year olds — four boys and four girls. On Thursdays we take the campers to the local outdoor swimming pool. It’s a short ride, only five minutes on the creaky old school bus and my job is to watch the kids who won’t be swimming; either because they don’t feel well, or they’ve forgotten their swimsuits. Believe me, this job suits me just fine. As a matter of fact, I volunteered for it.

Not only am I fat, I’m freakishly tall. God only knows why, since Mom is petite and Dad is on the short side. My older sister Eva is the spitting image of Mom, fair and fine boned. I take after Dad’s side, bulky, dark and thick. Dad says I must have gotten some of Uncle Sammy’s genes, the giant of the Savullo family, who tops out at 6ft 4 inches. Anyway, I’m sure you’re getting a good mental picture right about now.

My insides drop as if I placed a foot on a step that wasn’t there when I peer down at the coarse dark hair creeping from my calves to just past my knees, where it gradually peters out. Then I run a hand across the tops of my thighs. The triple bulge of my belly prevents me from a good look at my sorely neglected bikini area. Even in the blazing August sun, I wear baggy cotton Capri pants, never exposing more than an ankle. There’s never
been a reason to shave. My eyes mist with tears, but I pinch them away. It’ll be hard enough to go out in public like this, but I won’t give them the
satisfaction of seeing me cry. I lift my chin in resolve and open the door.

The whistle blows, signalling the beginning of the session. Screams of delight fill the air, as the kids jump into the pool to find relief from the 90-degree heat.

I fasten a towel around my waist as best I can. Towels never seem large enough to wrap completely and comfortably around the bulge of my stomach. To the pool I go, treading silently so as not to draw attention.

“Where’s Lola?” Sonia, a fellow counsellor, asks.

At first I think she’s joking because I’m right in front of her. I toss her an annoyed look and don’t bother to answer as I trudge past to the edge of the pool, where I pull off my towel and slip into the water.

“She’s probably taken off,” Jerod replies.
He’s a year younger than I am, but looks older with his muscular build and
chiselled jaw line. The girls love him. “I hope she doesn’t show,” he continues.
“Who wants to see a hippo in a bathing suit anyway?”

Sonia laughs, a little too hard and places a
hand on Jerod’s shoulder.

Puzzlement and anger compete on my face. I’m standing no more than three feet away from them. I’m used to rude comments and I know what everyone thinks of me, but this is way beyond mean. The tears in my eyes spill down my cheeks and I slip under the water, hoping to wash away the evidence of my pain. Not that anyone would care, but crying could give them more
ammunition; just another reason to taunt me.

Kids bounce around me, laughing and playing.
Justine stands like a sentinel, looking like a Bay Watch babe in her red suit,
one hand gripping an emergency flotation device. Her steel blue eyes are focused on the activity in the pool.

Jerod jumps in, nearly landing on my back. I barely have time to leap out of the way. My anger boils; blood rushes to my temples and pounds there, giving me an instant headache. I hurl myself at him, pushing with all my might, elbows aimed at his chest. I hit nothing but air and fly into the rough concrete wall of the pool, scraping a hole in my one piece and rubbing raw a patch of skin. Small blood pinpricks rise to the surface.

“Hey!” I scream, bewildered. How’d he manoeuver out of the way so fast?

Jerod slips under the water and emerges at the other end of the pool in one long, slick glide.

The steel in me comes up, anger replacing humiliation. I pull my bulk out of the water and march over to Justine.

“Did you see what that asshole just did?” I bellow.

Justine brings the whistle that hangs from her neck to her lips and blows two sharp blasts, making my ears ring. “Stop horsing around,” she calls to a group of boys, who offer sheepish grins and stop instantly.

I step forward so she can see me. “Justine?”
I reach to touch her shoulder but, impossibly, my hand falls through her.

“Justine?”I call again, louder, my voice panic-laced. With both hands, I grab her, or tryto. Again, it’s as if she’s not there.

My mind is swept along in a current of anxiety. What’s happening?

Then it hits me... it’s me who’s not there.