#CoverReveal for The Reaping by Shirley Anne Edwards

The Reaping
Shirley Anne Edwards
Publication date: October 23rd 2016
Genres: Horror, Young Adult

The quaint village where Adela Jane lives is surrounded by fear. At night, a centuries old green mist covers the land and controls the animals within the forest. Lately, Adela feels someone or something is following her every move. Unbeknownst to her, the mist waits for the perfect moment to make her his. Adela feels trapped by her small town life and burdened by her love she keeps hidden for her best friend’s older brother, Nathan Alexander. But all that changes on her eighteenth birthday when Nathan admits his love and desire to marry her. Adela’s joy is cut short when the mist kidnaps her and takes her to his secret underground lair. Her nightmare has only just begun when the mist makes Adela his bride.

What of the Jabberwocky fell in love with Alice from Lewis Caroll’s Through the Looking Glass? That’s the question tackled in The Reaping. A Young Adult with an atmospheric Gothic feel, and elements from such classic novels, as Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera and John Fowles’ The Collector.

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Author Bio:

Shirley Anne Edwards is a Northeast girl who first found her love for books when she read Nancy Drew’s The Secret of the Old Clock Tower at thirteen. Shirley found her love for writing at a very young age, and since then has let her imagination run wild by creating quirky characters and vast worlds in her head.

Shirley lives in New Jersey and works in the entertainment industry in New York City.

In the immortal words of Mark Twain: “Life is short, Break the Rules. Forgive quickly, Kiss SLOWLY. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably and never regret ANYTHING That makes you smile.”

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter



End of #SonofaPitch Round 2 – my take

b36ce-soap-finalI thought I’d write a post for those folks in the Son of A Pitch contest since our time is drawing to a close. I wrote a similar post back in February, when the contest had it’s first run and was winding down. I’m not gonna lie – I was tempted to copy and paste all those words here. If you want to read the earlier post, click … Wait, maybe you shouldn’t. I might repeat myself.

Working with so many talented people has been an honor. (And that includes the amazing judges/hosts as well.)  Your creativity was daunting and the hours dedicated obvious. Quite frankly, I grew a little tired of only being allowed 250 word chunks of stories I wanted to plow through with a cup of java in hand. So, there you have it – kudos.

The voting part of the contest will conclude Round 2 of Son of a Pitch, and I gotta tell ya, that’s my least favorite part. After working with you guys and seeing edits #1 through #10, I’ve grown to care for your success, your characters and your words. (I would say you too, but that tinkers with the parallelism, so I hope that one goes without saying.) I don’t like the thought of participation medals, never have, but I find myself wanting to pass out votes like they’re nickel candy. But you and I both know that won’t do. There’s a part of me that hopes each of you are proud of putting your words out there.

So, I’ve got the next couple hours to decide how I’m going to approach handing out votes. No, strike that. You’ve all worked hard this week – trimming, rephrasing, and honing. Let’s say how I’ll be awarding votes. See, I don’t like that either. So, how I’ll be voting. I think I can live with that. I’ll swing by all spots tomorrow to make up my mind – so if you’ve got an updated version, show that baby off.

Between now and then, I’ll finish visiting the ones I’ve missed, answer any questions, and figure out my voting plan… might be on total transformation or quality of hook. It certainly won’t be based on hours vested because then I’d need a vote for all. Katie already tolerates my whines about voting, I won’t throw mutiny in the mix.

I hope you all walk away with a little more in your basket than you arrived with. I know I will. And my TBR future book list grew by leaps and bounds. If you want to let me know how your baby fares in the world, please do. I’d like that.

Best of luck to all of you and thanks for playing. Seriously.


Hades out.







Son of a Pitch entry #7 – Eden


Title: Eden

Age and Genre: YA Light Science Fiction (in contemporary setting)

Word Count: 109,000

Jaye was eighteen year old Savannah Black. That is, until she woke up in an underground research facility called Eden. Now she’s being told her old life is over, the result of a worldwide airborne virus and that in exchange for her safety, she must consent to scientific testing, even if that includes Eden’s famous colored serums, the ones aimed at making her forget her past. But there’s just one problem. Jaye hasn’t forgotten her past. In fact, the longer she’s here, the more she remembers and the more dangerous to Eden she becomes.

In order to survive, Jaye will have to break her rule of trusting no one to obtain the truth, a truth more sinister than even she could have imagined. A truth that could change the world.

Can Jaye escape the system in time to prevent a revolution? Or is her expiration date approaching sooner than she realizes?

First 250 words:

I pry my eyes open, dark spots dancing in my vision. A revolving metal fan stares back at me, it’s blades spinning at a lazy speed, the cool breeze welcome on my sweaty skin. The white lights are blinding compared to the fog I’m coming out of. The dream. Me, floating in a thick gelatinous substance, one that clung to my body, hugged me close. Everything within in me jumbled and stuck, sinking beneath me like quick sand. I wipe the sleep from my eyes, catch the small red light flashing above the metal door. It speaks.

“7346 is now awake.” 

I back against the bed’s headboard, my heart seizing within my chest, oxygen draining from my lungs. Where am I?

Four bare walls surround me, all white, the sterility of it like bleach, singeing my nose. An armchair sits in the left corner and to my right is a small desk, three books resting on its metal surface. The only other item in the room is the bed beneath me, covered in white linen. 

Images surge through my brain: a small girl coughing, people wearing masks, a white corridor. None of them make sense.

The blinking light turns solid red, watching me.

“Hello?” I call out. 

The door slides open and a girl with short blonde hair steps inside. Her skin is so fair it nearly matches the pale walls. She smiles at me, checking her clipboard.

“7346, I’m glad you’re awake.”

Son of a Pitch Entry #8 – The Water Child


Title: The Water Child
Category and Genre: YA Contemporary 
Word Count: 60,000


Most kindergarten promises don’t last, but for fifteen-year-olds Tora Hayashi and Sakura Suzuki, best friend vows mean forever. That is, until the girls move to Tokyo and Tora is forced to realize that their friendship is on the verge of changing, even dissolving. To make matters worse, Tora is abandoned by the one person who promised never to leave her, Okaasan, her own mother.

Desperate to change her life trajectory, Tora invites Sakura on a cross-country journey to her hometown, where her family keeps an ancestral shrine. There, Tora is sure she’ll discover the truth about her mother’s disappearance. But the fantasy vacation soon turns into a nightmare when a black wall of water stampedes the city.

Every new friendship gained along their trip is broken as the tsunami sucks the city dry and throws impossible obstacles in their way. In a desolate landscape, void of friends and family, Tora must fight to find and save the lost. But as she quickly learns, there is more than one wave in a tsunami, and more than one way to save a life.

First 250 Words:

Men in orange suits dash onto the train tracks to haul the remains of a body off the rails. They run single-file, practiced. I tighten my grip on the metal pole near the train door and my eyes blur over my iPhone screen. Everyone knows why we’re delayed, we simply don’t say it.

“We apologize for the inconvenient delay,” buzzes the train conductor.

Electronic doors slide open, releasing the inconvenienced passengers. I stifle a shiver as a gust of early spring air washes into the train car. Morbid curiosity claws at my throat. I gulp it down. Don’t look, don’t stare. I step forward, gazing at the platform outside, halfway concealed by a blue tarp. Police and railway employees crisscross the scene, assessing the ‘human accident’ on the tracks below.

“Tora,” Sakura calls. “This isn’t our stop.” Her eyes meet mine through a mirror in her makeup compact. She’s re-coating every single eyelash in thick black goo, legs crossed and sitting in the handicap zone.

I startle, recalled to our present journey, a last attempt to study before the high school entrance exam. The train doors whisk closed. I jump back and my phone clatters to the floor. The evening breeze also falls, cut short by the closing doors, and dissipates like a recoiling fog.

Sakura turns in her seat to face me, her questioning gaze drifting to the phone at my feet. Heat wafts to my face. My mother warned me never to compare Tokyo with home, but I can’t reconcile this.

Son of a Pitch Entry #9 – Gale


Title: GALE
Age and Genre: YA Historical Fantasy
Word Count: 92,000

A young fisherman and a mysterious selkie must stop the deadly, magical storms before they destroy his human village and her faerie world.

Eighteen-year-old Callum discovers a young woman collapsed on his beach and befriends her despite his family’s warnings against sea folk. The girl, Murron, is a selkie, a mythical creature who can transform from a seal into a human. With no memory of her past, she falls in love with the vast skies and sweeping heather.

And then nature begins to unravel.

Gales batter the fishing village, threatening not only Callum and Murron’s budding romance, but all of Orkney. Callum and Murron discover the faerie ruler Teran, lord of winter and chaos, causes the storms. Murron’s memories hold the key to stopping Teran, but a tempest rips the young lovers apart. Callum and Murron must battle the treacherous seas and reset Teran’s magical imbalance before the storms destroy the human world and trap Murron under the sea forever.

First 250 Words:

Midsummer’s Eve always brings change. At least, that’s what everyone in Orkney said. The grannies liked to taste the wind and predict the coming change.

Callum Anderson figured the change would come whether he knew about it or not, so he focused on the present. Instead of sitting near a granny’s knee listening to her guesses, he wandered the shoreline, taking care not to get sand on his woolen trousers. He glanced up and down the beach as he walked toward the sea, looking for any clumps of kelp the water washed on shore.

The sun warmed his stubbly face, and he basked in the heat. Callum had shed his cap and cloak at midday, and he prayed that winter and storms would not come again. Sunlight never felt so good.

He spied movement behind a cluster of rocks nearby, so he strolled toward them, ruffling his dark brown curls and shoving his hands in his pockets. Midsummer’s change didn’t occur to him on that sluggish, warm afternoon.

Winds swept across the sea, turning water into small waves that crested toward shore. The islands of Graemsay and even Hoy were dark mounds far across the gray water. The sun had eaten the morning mists hours before, and a perfect Midsummer’s Eve anchored the summer of 1746.

A dark figure splashed in the waves by the rock cropping. Callum squinted, jogging over.

As he reached the grouping, a person climbed from the water on the far side of the rocks.

Son of a Pitch Entry #10 – Soul Bound


Category and Genre: YA Urban Fantasy 

Word Count: 83,000


Falon shares her mind and body with another soul. And they don’t always get along.

Being soul bound means Falon is constantly fending off Wolf’s attempts to take control of her body and resisting her animal urges. It also means she’s never alone. And when belonging among humans is difficult, it’s always good to have a friend. But their peaceful life protecting their forest is sent into upheaval when two supernatural strangers show up, after Falon’s blood.

Falon and Wolf become trapped in a lethal game of cat and mouse. And their kind have been the mice for centuries. Murdered for being a threat or exploited as a weapon, soul binders are caught in the middle of a supernatural war for power. And Falon is the tide-changer both sides are after.

This is no battle of good versus evil. There is only evil. And though joining a side might mean Falon can save her kind, joining the wrong side could mean she dooms them all to extinction.

First 250 Words:

Even from here I can feel their heartbeats, thumping quickly inside their chests. I can hear their labored breaths and see their faces moist and glistening with humidity. They have no idea they’re being watched, my body blending in with the thick, deep darkness of the inner forest of the Refuge.

They were easy to track, the stench of alcohol and sweat, their heavy boot prints and tire tracks, all glaring evidence of trespassers. I shuffle closer, carefully choosing each place to set my feet.

My toes sink noiselessly into the damp dirt, the calloused soles of my feet numb to the muddy grit. Energy from the Earth passes from the ground into my feet, teeming with life that I can’t see, but can feel around me. I am one with everything, one with the souls of the animals and trees that I share this forest with.

And these poachers don’t belong.

                I part the waxy leaves of a giant fern and can see them, swatting at mosquitoes and toeing the prints from a boar in the dirt.

                Attack, Wolf says, pushing me forward.

Beads of sweat bubble up on my forehead as I keep my feet firmly planted, resisting her control. It’s always a fight over control. Not yet.

She storms around in my mind, her anxiousness making my temples throb.

                A poacher turns in my direction and I shrink back into the shadows. The thick treetops of pines, oaks, and sabal palms, draped in Spanish moss, dilute any light from the moon.

Son of a Pitch Entry #6 – Trading Stitches


Title: Trading Stitches

Age and Genre: YA Dark Thriller

Word Count: 89,000


Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger is nothing more than a motivational saying for most people, but for Marc Cheeks, it may be his only hope for surviving his teen years.

Since his mother died, Marc has heard his troubled father repeat the cliché. During his recovery from a near fatal stabbing, Marc suspects the cliché is family fact. He becomes physically stronger, but strength comes with a cost. Anger consumes his father. Insanity holds his uncle. Cancer stole his grandfather. Marc fears what awaits him.

When his dad inexplicably takes his own life, Marc races to understand his father’s final words: “Find your kismet. It doesn’t have to be a curse.”

 Marc enlists the help of his best friend, the girl next door, and a local bartender to decipher clues left in a journal written by Marc’s dad. Despite offers to help Marc, his institutionalized uncle yields more questions than answer.

As the curse continually places Marc in harm’s way, he begins to doubt his ability to escape his fate. His desperate search for his Kismet, a soulmate thought to be the answer, leads him to two girls in his life: the girl next door and the creepy teen occupying the cell next to his uncle in the insane asylum.

Unfortunately, not everyone Marc wants him to succeed. One or two even want him dead. Marc is forced to risk his own life plus the lives of all those helping him only to discover that pesky, old curse might not be his alone.

He must decide not only how many lives, but who’s life is worth the answer to his father’s final words.

First 250 Words:

I thought it was a rule people didn’t use a kid’s dead mother against them. I guess my dad didn’t get the memo.

“You’re using too much starch.” I tugged my collar. The fibers ran their scratchy fingers along the back of my neck.

Dad scrunched his face and stared cockeyed. “What?”

He yanked the wheel sharp left and the balding Michelin tires squealed. Heads turned as our rusty Nissan pulled into the school’s gravel parking lot.  The rickety fender clung to the truck. A painful daily reminder of the past four years. It begged to be fixed, but Dad ignored it.

“We’re learning about starch in Home Economics,” I said. “Does this shirt even need it?”

He rolled his eyes, “I don’t know, Marc. That’s a question for your mom.”

I hated when he did that. A car accident ripped her from us four years ago, but he only mentioned her when he didn’t want to answer a question.

“Do other dudes know you’re learning this stuff.” My dad wiped down his scruffy face. “It’s going to get you beat up.”

“How’s that different than any other day?” I scoffed.

“Guys still pestering you?”

“It’s called bullying.” The peeling latch jiggled in my palm. “Like you care.”

His fist slammed the faded dashboard. “I do care! Besides, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Right?”

“No one believes that, Dad.”

“I do. Your grandfather did,” he said. “One day you will, too.”

Dead grandfather card for the win.

Son of a Pitch Entry #5 – Old Man Boone



Age and Genre: YA Romantic Suspense

Word Count: 75,000



In OLD MAN BOONE, sixteen-year-old Hailey Johnston fears her life is over when her divorced mother moves them to Clearmont, Wyoming. But fear takes on a new meaning when someone starts terrorizing her family—especially at night, when the sky is darkest and the countryside quiet beneath a blanket of slumber, and Hailey awakens to her little sister’s bloodcurdling screams… A new love interest and his vindictive ex-girlfriend bring added uncertainty to Hailey’s world, as does the eerie story of a ghost—the ghost of Old Man Boone—who has haunted the rural town for decades. To save her family, Hailey must discover the truth behind who is frightening them.



First 250 Words:

This was hard for all of them. But whatever their troubles, they were in this together. The three of them. They had survived the upheaval of the last six months, and they could survive the next six. They were making a fresh start in a new place.

Things could only get better.

Hailey stared out the window at fields overflowing with sagebrush and felt the familiar hot rush that came just before an onslaught of free-flowing tears. She swallowed, forcing down the sob threatening to burst free. It would do no good to cry. She’d already spilled a million tears, but it hadn’t changed anything.

“What do you think?” Her mom, Ruth, glanced over from the driver’s seat, a cautiously hopeful expression on her too-lean face. The weight loss from everything that had happened over the last six months was evident, as were the gray hairs—hairs that had been dark brown a year ago. 

Hailey knew her mom was doing her best to find the positive in a bad situation, and it was because of her example that Hailey found the strength to calm the gush of bitter emotion.

She summoned a small smile. “It looks like it could use a few more people, Mom. Maybe even people like us.”

The creases in her mom’s forehead smoothed. “Good!” She smacked the steering wheel enthusiastically. “I whole-heartedly agree. Why don’t you wake up Sarah? We’ll be at our new home in no time.” She stepped on the gas.

Son of a Pitch entry #4 – The Freshman Reinvention


Title: The Freshman Reinvention

Category and Genre: YA/Contemporary

Word Count: 95,000


Pubic-Head, Jew-Fro, Big Brown One…AHHHH! If Jennifer Arnold knew how to make her classmates stop bullying her, to stop breaking her with each nasty name and rumor, she’d do it. If only she were strong enough, courageous enough to believe in herself, but a lifetime of emotional abuse from home and bullying from school have left her hollow and splintered.

Just when she needs her most, Jen meets Becca Orlin. Beautiful, self-assured and fearless, Becca quickly becomes her new best friend. While at overnight camp for the summer, Becca helps Jen discover her inner strength, tackle her body image issues, and accentuate her outer beauty.

In the fall, when her friendship with Becca evolves into a secret romantic relationship, Jennifer grapples with understanding her sexuality and morals. Their reinvention plan works though, and nearly all bullying at school ceases. Jen confronts her burgeoning fortitude when debating whether or not to share her clandestine relationship with her best friends. If she can’t, she will be forced to continue to hide what is quickly becoming the most life altering relationship she has ever known. However, her secret being divulged and resuscitating the now defunct abuse scares Jen into a claustrophobic silence and traps her in a cocoon of lies.

Although her relationship with Becca soothes her raw soul from years of abrasion, Jen’s damaged psyche could prevent her from knowing true completeness within herself and with another. Her determination to reinvent herself and conquer her debilitating issues brought Jen and Becca together, but those issues might also be what drives them apart.

First 250 Words:

The pain is instantaneous, a microscopic blowfish swimming peacefully in my body until someone yells hate in my direction, causing the puffer to balloon and impale me with one thousand venomous spikes. I yearn for a life without torment.

 “Have a great summer, Pubic Head,” he yells at my back after I pass him on my way out of this god forsaken hellhole of a school.

 “Yeah B.B.O. Maybe you’ll learn how to tame that Jew Fro,” sneers one of his cronies. Their gang of goons erupts with laughter. “Or just shave it off and save yourself from looking like my jock.”

 They can’t see my beet-red face or smell the sweat that dampens me instantly or feel the tremors wracking my body. Nor can they see my desperate soul leaking out through the fresh wounds ripped open by their words, bleeding me dry.

This is what I know about life at fourteen: It Sucks. Capital S.

 But the way I see it, I can continue spending my time wallowing in my misery, focusing on nothing except the epic Greek tragedy that is my life, or I can try to forge a new path. A path that leads to a life not filled with self-loathing or urgent wishes to be born into a different body or a different family in a different town in a different state where people aren’t assholes. There’s only one debilitating question that stymies me every time I have this illusion. How?

Son of a Pitch Entry #1- From Flame To Ash


Title: From Flame to Ash
Age and Genre: YA Dystopian
Word Count: 64,000

Kiara Talwar is an empath: she senses the emotions of others and can often tell the cause behind them.  She views her ability with indifference until she’s discovered by a United States government founded on the principle that ignorance is bliss.  The government was well-intentioned, but created its utopia by taking away the freedom of its citizens.  They accomplished this by erasing the citizens’ memories of horrible events and then limiting access to information.  The government takes advantage of Kiara’s ability and forces her to become a spy for them.  She is threatened with death if she does not obey.

Sixteen-year-old Blake Richards is training to be a soldier for the same rebel group where Kiara is sent undercover.  He befriends and eventually falls for Kiara.  Blake has been raised among the rebels and fighting with them is second nature to him.  The fight becomes personal when Blake’s mom is killed by the government. Blake’s connections within the rebel group make him a valuable source for information and Kiara takes advantage of that by manipulating him.  His naivety and trusting nature cause him to remain oblivious to her hidden motives.


As Kiara falls deeper into her own inner darkness, Blake is put securely into harm’s way.  Kiara, one of the people Blake trusts most, has now become the biggest threat to his safety.  He still fails to see Kiara as the villain she’s been forced to become.  It may be too late for her to be saved, but Blake could still have a chance: if he can survive Kiara revealing her true colors.

First 250 Words:

Alone. That’s how I liked it. And that was how I sat now, in the corner of the cafeteria watching people dance. This year’s Homecoming was as unbearable as any other dance. If I could make my own choice I wouldn’t be here, but my friends managed to convince me to come. The same friends that abandoned me now.

      It was so hot and sticky in here. I wiped my sweaty palms on my dress. I might have hated the dance itself, but I did like my dress at least. The pretty turquoise color stood out nicely against my dark skin and black hair. At least that’s what my friends said.

      “Are you okay?” A voice said behind me. I turned around.

      “Yeah, I’m fine.” I said as I rolled my eyes. “Why?”

      The boy who had approached me shrugged. “You look lonely.”

      “Why do people always think it’s bad to be alone?”

      The boy shrugged again.

      I sighed before saying, “the fact that I’m alone doesn’t mean I’m lonely.” People were always assuming I was lonely.

      “Good point.” The boy motioned to the chair next to me. “Anybody sitting there?”

      “Be my guest.”

      “Thanks.” He flashed a grin and ran his hand through his dark brown hair. He was tall and the color of his hair exactly matched his eyes. “My name is Caden. Yours?”


            Caden started to snack on the pretzels he was holding. I turned my attention to the center of the cafeteria. I had tried to spend my evening dancing, but that didn’t work out well.