Friday, February 05, 2016

Book Blitz + Giveaway: Burning Bright by Chanda Stafford

Burning Bright
by Chanda Stafford
Release Date: January 25th 2016

Summary from Goodreads:

Three years ago, Samantha Gray killed her parents.

Haunted by their deaths, she hides her scars behind sarcasm and vintage t-shirts, counting the days until she can escape her foster home in Alegria, Arizona. Then she meets Ben, a California boy whose filmmaker parents constructed a big cat sanctuary outside of town. She's hesitant to get close, terrified he'll learn her secret.

When Ben introduces Sam to Solomon, a Bengal tiger on borrowed time whose gruesome history eerily mirrors her own, she must decide whether she’s strong enough to overcome her past and save not only Solomon’s life, but her own. And to do that, she'll need to tell Ben the truth.

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About the Author

Chanda Stafford teaches middle and high school English. She loves traveling and currently lives in Michigan with her husband and a menagerie of rescued dogs and cats.

When she’s not reading or writing, Chanda enjoys old zombie movies, authentic Italian food, and comic books.

Author Links:
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Burning Bright book blast tour

Blog post:
Once a reader, always a reader

I was a reader long before I wrote my first story. Something about books has always drawn me in, and I love nothing more than being sucked into a book so deeply that I eat, sleep, and breathe it until I reach ‘the end.’
Genre knows no boundaries with me. I regularly devour romances, young adult, science fiction, fantasy, and pretty much anything that strikes my fancy. Except vampires. Twilight kind of ruined that for me.
Being a reader has played an integral role in my writing. From the thousands of books I’ve read, I’ve learned cadence, form, sentence structure, and a whole litany of literary devices that help me make the words I choose sing.
I find the constant consumption of books to be an inspiration. Just this month I’ve read books on psychic development, werewolves, and a couple young adult horror novels. I’m also knee deep in the second book in a series about a plucky wildlife agent who will do whatever it takes to save the animals she loves. These stories have helped me add depth and intrigue in my own pieces and also develop interests that I never knew I had.
By both enjoying and analyzing other stories, I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t work, even though they’re both totally subjective. Except for sparkly vampires. That’s one trope I don’t think I’ll ever use, even though it worked pretty well for Stephanie Meyer.
Teaser 1:
“I didn’t think you’d come.” A low voice murmurs over my shoulder, and I spin around. Ben leans against the wall, dressed in all black, from his button up shirt to his dress slacks. He’s slicked his hair back in a ponytail at the nape of his neck and a shiny black Batman mask fails at obscuring his identity. He appraises my dress silently, his eyes darkening with some emotion I imagine is reflected in my own. Gently, he reaches out and runs his fingers along the shawl’s feathery edges.
“Some disguise, huh?”
He leans closer, tugging a stray curl fanning the side of my face. “It doesn’t matter. I’d know it was you anywhere.”
A nervous giggle bubbles up from my lips. His proximity unnerves me, makes me want to both collapse into his arms and run away at the same time. I scan the room for his parents and when I don’t see them, I shove my mask up on top of my head, like a feathery pair of sunglasses.
“Yeah well, I still don’t want to get arrested.” I tighten the shawl around my shoulders.
He reaches up and caresses my cheek, his hand lingering on the side of my neck. “I’m glad you decided it was worth the risk.”
Teaser 2:
“I knew you’d be back.”
I spin around, heart pounding as a dark shadow slowly transforms into the monster haunting my nightmares. He leans against the door frame, a sick grin twisting his face.
I gasp, my breath freezing in my throat. “I thought you were asleep.”
“Something told me to stay up.” He lifts a brown bottle; the liquid sloshing inside and takes a long, deep drink.
I straighten my spine, channeling strength. “I came for my money. Where is it?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
I clench my hands into fists. “I earned every single cent. Give it back!”
He leers at me. “It was on my land. You know what they say, finders keepers.” Daryl sets down his bottle with dull clank and steps forward. That's when I realize he's holding his revolver in his free hand.
“It’s mine,” I hiss, trying not to show the fear that’s robbing me of my breath.
Daryl gestures with the gun for me to exit ahead of him. “I don’t care. Move it, now.”
Reluctantly, I march into the kitchen. My gaze darts to the door, but I don’t try to escape. I may be able to outrun him, but I can’t outrun a bullet, much less six.
“I have a right to defend my family and my property.” He cocks the gun, and he slides between me and the exit. I’m trapped. “It’s the middle of the night, and I don’t know who’s breaking into my house. Maybe you’re a druggie, trying to rob me and my wife. Around these parts, everyone’s armed, so I gotta do what I gotta do to protect myself.”
“You’re crazy!” My heart races in my chest, spurred on by fear and adrenaline. This is bad, really bad.
“So, according to the law, I’m completely within my rights as a home owner and a human being to defend what’s mine.” The moonlight enters his eyes, and he doesn’t look like himself any more. He’s changed, his features elongated and monstrous. His lip curls in disgust and lowers the gun to my temple.
My instincts take over and I spin around, trying to duck around him so I can get to the front door. The logical part of my mind screams that he can easily get around me, but the animalistic part of me screams for freedom. I shriek as a bullet punches through the wall right where my head was just seconds before.
First chapter
“Please listen to me,” my aunt Mary begs, clutching my uncle’s hand. “We love you, we really do, it’s just—” She glances at him for help, her dark brown eyes welling up with tears.
“You can’t handle me, right? I know how it is.” I scowl at her. The scars on my arms itch, but I ignore it to focus on my family’s betrayal. “You can’t even bear to look at me most of the time.” My face burns and moisture pricks my eyes.
My aunt’s shoulders bow and my uncle wraps his arm around her. “That’s not it, at all,” she says. “Please, let me explain.”
“Why? If it weren’t for me, mom and dad would still be alive.” My body thrums with adrenaline and pain and I stand up, unable to sit there any longer. “That’s why you’re kicking me out.”
My uncle raises his palm to stop my angry tirade. “Now Samantha, you know we don’t blame you for that. It was a horrible tragedy, but it wasn’t your fault. We love you very much, but we just can’t tolerate your behavior any longer.”
“So that’s your excuse?” I pace the faded living room, anger propelling me forward. “What exactly am I doing wrong?”
My uncle holds up one finger. “You skip school.” I snap my mouth shut, unable to deny his accusation. I can’t stand being trapped inside those walls with everyone staring at me all the time, the girl who murdered her parents.
Another finger pokes skyward. “You’ve gotten in two fights this year because of your temper.” My fists ball at my sides, proving his words. “You also lied to us about your whereabouts several times since you’ve moved in with us, and we’ve caught you sneaking out to do God knows what. You stole money from your aunt and me.” He takes a deep breath. “And last night we found drugs under your bed.” He sounds weary now, as if this is taking all the fight out of him.
I freeze mid-step. “What are you talking about?” I can’t deny the rest, but it takes a few seconds for me to remember the little sandwich bag tucked under my mattress. He holds up the offending narcotics. “Oh, that.”
My face stings in humiliation and I grab on to any wisps of anger I have left. “I can’t believe you searched my room! And for your information, it’s just a joint. Lexi asked me to hold on to it for her until tomorrow. I wasn’t going to smoke it, I swear.” I cross my arms in front of my chest. “It’s not like it’s cocaine, or meth, or anything.”
Disbelief stretches my uncle’s eyebrows until they disappear into his receding hairline. “It’s still drugs.”
“But it wasn’t mine!”
My aunt stops sniffling and raises her watery gaze to mine. “We wish we could believe you. We really do.”
A sharp knock on the front door ends our standoff. My aunt draws in a shaky breath and glances toward the other end of the house. “I’ll get it,” she says and flees the room, her mincing steps quickly fading down the hall.
I turn the full force of my fury on my uncle. “Do Toby and Delilah know what you’re doing?”
My uncle stares at the faded brown carpet. “Your aunt thought it would be best if they weren’t here for this.”
“She’s right!” I bark out a laugh. “They’re just little kids and they’ve been traumatized enough.”
The front door closes, and two sets of footsteps approach the living room. My body stills, something’s wrong. If it was just the pizza guy, my aunt wouldn’t have invited him in.
My uncle’s lips thinned. “Just remember, you pushed us to this point. We only want to help you. Where you’re going, they have doctors and therapists. We can’t afford all that and we can’t have your negative influence around your brother and sister.”
“Who’s here?” I turn toward the doorway as the footsteps pause, just outside. “What’s going on?” My heart lodges somewhere in my throat.
Aunt Mary hurries in first. She tries to take my hands in hers, but I jerk them away. “Please understand that we only want what’s best for you. We love you and this isn’t good-bye. We can still talk as much as you want. We can call each other on the phone, email, text, anything. And—and they said that we can come visit, maybe even with Toby and Delilah.”
“Where are you sending me?”
Our visitor clears her throat as she crosses the threshold into the room. She’s a middle aged woman with red hair straight out of a bottle and an unfortunate purple pants suit. She nods at my aunt and uncle before sticking her hand out to me. “Hello Samantha, I’m Madeline Monroe, from the Department of Child Safety. I’d like to talk to you.”
Music Playlist
  1. Stand Up- Five for Fighting
  2. Burning Bridges- OneRepublic
  3. How to Save a Life- The Fray
  4. You and Me- Dave Matthews Band
  5. Working on a Dream- Bruce Springsteen
  6. Scare Away the Dark- Passenger
  7. Demons- Imagine Dragons
  8. I Will Follow You Into The Dark- Death Cab For Cutie
  9. Wherever this Goes- The Fray
  10. Notbroken- The Goo Goo Dolls
  11. Bad Moon Rising- Creedence Clearwater
  12. Already Home- A Great Big World
  13. I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight- U2
  14. Geronimo- Sheppard
  15. Riptide- Vance Joy


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