Friday 20 March 2015

Book Promo - Starley's Rust

Starley’s Rust
The EMBODIED trilogy #2
JB Dutton


Published: January, 2015
Format: Ebook & Paperback
Genre: YA urban fantasy
Length: 60,810 words, 206 pages in paperback
Ebook ISBN: 9781311725493
Paperback ISBN-13: 9781502843920 
Paperback ISBN-10: 1502843927
Review formats: Mobi, Epub, PDF

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Paperback links

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A family mystery, an exiled race, freakish beasts, jealousy, love… and death. Kari Marriner has to face them all in the fast-paced urban fantasy thriller Starley’s Rust, book 2 of the Embodied trilogy by British-Canadian author JB Dutton.
Long blurb

Six months ago, Kari Marriner’s life was torn apart. Now turned 17, she’s looking for answers in her rural Wisconsin hometown. But just as the Embodied seemed to have vanished, there’s a new, more terrifying visitor from the Dark Universe.

Back in Manhattan, a charismatic English artist named Starley convinces Kari he can find her missing mother if she flies to Paris with him. He also shares an incredible secret from the dawn of mankind. But Starley is not who he seems. Before she knows it, Kari finds herself standing in front of the Mona Lisa with him, yelling out, “He’s got a bomb!”

And that’s when things go totally insane. The Rebel Embodied’s henchman, Cilic, returns to Earth on a deadly mission. The body of Kari’s treacherous friend Aranara is washed up on the banks of the Hudson. But is she really dead? In the Paris catacombs, Kari and Starley are hunted by a nightmarish mythical creature that’s all too real.

A family mystery, an exiled race, freakish beasts, jealousy, love… and death. Kari has to face them all in this fast-paced fantasy thriller.

Starley’s Rust is the spellbinding second novel in JB Dutton’s EMBODIED trilogy. The first installment, Silent Symmetry, was published in 2013 and reached the #1 spot on Amazon’s free Kindle ebook Futuristic & Sci-Fi Romance chart.

Short blurb

Six months ago, Kari Marriner’s life was torn apart. Now turned 17, she’s looking for answers in her rural Wisconsin hometown. Just as the Embodied seemed to have vanished, there’s a new, more terrifying visitor from the Dark Universe. A family mystery, an exiled race, freakish beasts, jealousy, love… and death. Kari has to face them all in Starley’s Rust, book 2 in JB Dutton's The Embodied trilogy.

Author reading

Excerpt 1

The sun was setting behind the buildings. A big barn with half the roof missing. A grain silo. A couple of smaller shed-type buildings, one with no door, the other with the door hanging off its hinges. And a farmhouse. Windows shattered. Front door gawping at me. I gulped and sent an ILY back to Cruz. He liked those.
Then I had the strangest feeling. Like a disruption in the atmosphere, but also in my mind. The air changed somehow, and I heard a rumbling of distant thunder. I could have sworn that the fading daylight got brighter for a few seconds. The hairs stood up on the back of my neck. It made me stop moving. Then reality seemed to snap back to normal. I kept going toward the farmhouse.
I saw something move.
The setting sun had backlit the barn so it was hard to be sure what it was. A horse, I think. A big, black stallion moving around in the barn.
My mind filled in the blanks. Probably a horse that had escaped from a neighboring farm and made a new home for itself here. Okay, cool. No mystery. Maddie must have seen it and her mind made it fit the legend.
I lay Maddie’s bike down in the grass, careful not to make a sound. I tiptoed toward the barn, not wanting to startle it. I turned on the flashlight app on my phone. Clouds were gathering, the light was fading. More distant thunder. I just needed to find it, take a photo and show Maddie. Her grandfather would know what to do, how to capture it safely and find its owner.
I entered the barn, still creeping quietly. Ew. It certainly smelled like a barn. There was hay strewn around on the ground. My phone flashlight was practically useless. It illuminated a patch, like, five feet in front of me. In the dim light, I could make out a row of stalls on each side and a hayloft up ahead with a ladder propped against it.
Now I thought about it, the smell was kinda weird. I grew up around here and although I’d never spent any time on a farm, I sensed that there was some kind of extra, non-farm smell here. Hard to identify. But yucky and familiar all the same.
Was that an animal noise in one of the stalls on the left? Or just the wind blowing through the holes in the walls? I crept toward the stall very, very carefully. My hand holding the phone was shaking. Come on, Kari. Get a grip. The sides of the stalls weren’t high enough to conceal a horse. Unless it was lying down in the hay, of course.
I reached the stall where I thought I’d heard the noise. I waited a second, held my breath, then stepped in front of the stall’s open gate. It was empty. And that’s when the hairs stood up on the back of my neck again. But this time there was another, all-too-familiar feeling along with it.
It was the feeling I had when Noon was in my head. Yet not exactly the same. This was unpleasant, even disturbing, and somehow stronger.
I spun around. In the barn doorway stood the black stallion. Protruding from its forehead was a long, tapered horn. It really was a unicorn. It raised its head and my mind felt like a heavy blanket had been draped over it. It eyed me purposefully. My irrational fear as a little girl came flooding back, multiplied by a million. I almost peed my pants. Was this a bad dream? Maybe I would wake up surrounded by My Little Pony’s in my 8-year-old’s bedroom?
If only…
The unicorn took a step forward. The feeling in my head got even stronger and now I could swear that I heard the name Noon repeating over and over. Not his voice, just his name. Was the unicorn Embodied? I didn’t get a chance to wonder about this because now the feeling in my head was becoming worse… painful. I was convinced that my mind was being probed by this astonishing creature. In the space of a few seconds, the pain increased and so did the repetition of the name Noon until it was so excruciating that I felt like screaming. I put my hands to my temples and opened my mouth. As I was about to close my eyes, I saw the unicorn start to charge toward me.
Despite the pain, I managed to fling myself to one side and into the empty stall just before it reached me. It galloped past and I heard it stop. My head was still throbbing. I staggered to my feet, one fist still pressed to my temple. Maybe I could make a break for it.
The unicorn appeared in front of me, blocking the stall entrance. I was totally trapped. I looked around in desperation. A broken wooden handle was poking out from a pile of hay in one corner. I grabbed it and pulled out a pitchfork. The unicorn advanced into the stall, its head lowered so that its horn was aimed directly at my head. The pain coursed through my brain like a river of electricity.
I swung the pitchfork at the unicorn’s head. I missed, but it backed up, startled. I swung again. It made a snuffling sound and stepped back further.
“LEAVE ME ALONE!” I screamed.
The unicorn cocked its head to one side like it was listening to me. The pain in my brain diminished.
I swung again and shouted the same thing.
The unicorn drew itself up to its full height and then something even more incredible happened. It raised its tail. But this was no stallion’s tail. It was like a huge peacock tail, shimmering with shades of black, gray, and silver. The tail fanned out, probably ten feet wide, and despite the pain in my head, I lowered the pitchfork, just standing there in awe. What was this being? It seemed to possess incredible power and at the same time be unimaginably beautiful. In fact, it was all the more terrifying because it was so beautiful.

Excerpt from Starley’s Rust
Copyright © 2015 John B. Dutton

Excerpt 2

The Mona Lisa was housed in a huge glass case embedded in a wall at the end of the gallery, barely visible above dozens of tourists’ heads. I tried to avoid eye-contact with the guards. We walked toward the milling throng of people, some shuffling closer to be in range to take a bad cellphone photo of the painting, others walking away from it, nodding in appreciation and mentally crossing another item off their bucket lists.
“So let’s just go over this again,” whispered Starley.
“Don’t worry – I’ve got it. We get nearer the painting then I put the backpack on the floor. You take out the fake bomb and I yell out that you’ve got a real bomb and then all hell breaks loose and I spend ten years rotting in a French prison.”
“Exactly! Except for the last part. Sentences are more lenient here than in the US.”
“Cool, I feel much better.”
He winked at me. “Let’s go, yeah?”
We edged our way through the massed tourists. My heart was in my mouth. My mouth was dry. I suddenly needed to pee. Everything felt like a movie.
Then there was nothing between us and the Mona Lisa except for a curved wooden barrier with a guard positioned each side of it.
“Now put the bag down slowly,” said Starley.
I unhooked it from my back and lowered it to the floor. I could feel the guards’ eyes burning into my skull. I stared at the painting. Those famous eyes stared back. Starley bent down and unzipped the backpack. Before I knew what was happening, he had leaped up onto the wooden barrier.
Now or never, Kari.
“HE’S GOT A BOMB!” I yelled as loud as I could.
Starley held the fake bomb high above his head with one hand.
Screaming. Shouting. The guards froze. People froze. Some tripped over each other in their rush to get away. What had I done? Now I was isolated in front of the painting. Starley had a can of spray paint in his other hand. He shook it, the rattling of the can joining the general soundtrack of panic. What was he doing?
Alarms went off. Incredibly loud. I put my hands over my ears. More screaming. Doors closing automatically. People cowering on the floor. Some just standing there, dumbly recording the chaos with their phones.
I stepped away from the backpack. One of the guards sprang to life and dived on top of it. The other, younger guard looked like he wanted to cry.
Starley sprayed a large, red T on the wall to the left of the Mona Lisa, a T on the right side of the painting, then an O on the glass cabinet, encircling her face.
ToT. He really was doing this for me.
He threw down the spray can and took something out of his pocket. A Ziploc bag. Reaching into it, he sprinkled flecks of rust onto the paint. Some stuck to it, some fluttered down like grungy confetti.
The guard lying on the backpack was yelling something in French. Another guard from somewhere else in the gallery appeared and grabbed Starley’s leg. Starley shouted, “Temple of Lies!” The younger guard regained his composure and helped his colleague drag Starley down from the barrier.
I looked around. I didn’t dare intervene. What was the point? And all the while, people were filming the stunt. Oh yeah, this was going to get some attention.
The guards wrenched the fake bomb from Starley’s hand and quickly clued in that they had been tricked. The guard lying on top of the backpack stood up and looked inside it. He recoiled. He must have squished the leftover stinky cheese.
Starley was beaming.
The brave guard said something into a walkie-talkie and the gallery doors reopened. The guard who had jumped Starley slapped some handcuffs on him and started to lead him away with the young guard. But the brave guard stopped them. He looked closely at Starley’s face, then turned to me. My insides churned. He said something else to his colleagues, then Starley said something and the brave guard slapped him across the cheek. I yelled out, “Hey!” and before I knew it, I was being cuffed too.
“Sorry,” said Starley.
But you know what? I didn’t care. I could see the tourists sharing their photos and videos of the stunt on their phones. I knew that Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube would soon be buzzing with the latest Temple of Truth scandal. And this was Starley’s plan. It was performance art that would go viral, which meant that Salas and the other Embodied couldn’t just buy the artwork to hide it from public view. And I was in every video too.
As the guards led us out of the gallery, I started to smile. My guard didn’t like that. He said something in French and shook my arm roughly. Real cops were coming toward us. I had a last glance back at the Mona Lisa. It looked way better with Starley’s rust on it.

Excerpt from Starley’s Rust
Copyright © 2015 John B. Dutton


“The second book is as well; it's fast-paced, keeps the attention, has a great, suspenseful plot that ties in well with the first book but spins everything off in a different direction, and pulls in a lot of cool mythology while at the same time getting a great "alien" vibe in.”

“Character development is great--we continue to follow the struggles Kari has to deal with as she searches desperately for the mother that everyone else insists is dead, and the new character, Starley, is great. Quirky, mysterious, funny and sad, he brings a great dimension to the story.”

“Some parts of the books have great suspense, while some deal with issues all young adults can relate to: the fickleness and confusion of love, the need to break the rules and do something extraordinary, the sadness and desperation of losing a loved one. It's never preachy though, and always fun.”

About the author

After graduating from film school in London, England, John emigrated to Montreal in 1987, where he still lives with his two young children and their even younger goldfish. He spent over a decade as a music TV director before moving into the advertising industry as an award-winning copywriter for clients such as Cirque du Soleil. John has written novels, short stories, blogs, screenplays and a stage play, and is currently writing a trilogy of Young Adult novels. John speaks four languages and has been married three times in three different countries in three different decades. He therefore likes the odd pint of Guinness. And he’s pretty keen on the even pints too…

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Telephone: (514) 992-5771

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