Giveaway: SING SWEET NIGHTINGALE by Erica Cameron

Nightingale Cover

About the Book

SING SWEET NIGHTINGALE

Author: Erica Cameron

Release Date: March 4, 2014

Pages: 320

Publisher: Spencer Hill Press

Goodreads/Amazon/Barnes & Noble

Mariella Teagen hasn’t spoken a word in four years.
She pledged her voice to Orane, the man she loves—someone she only sees in her dreams. Each night, she escapes to Paradise, the world Orane created for her, and she sings for him. Mariella never believed she could stay in Paradise longer than a night, but two weeks before her eighteenth birthday, Orane hints that she may be able to stay forever.
Hudson Vincent made a pledge to never fight again.
Calease, the creature who created his dream world, swore that giving up violence would protect Hudson. But when his vow caused the death of his little brother, Hudson turned his grief on Calease and destroyed the dream world. The battle left him with new abilities and disturbing visions of a silent girl in grave danger—Mariella.
Now, Hudson is fighting to save Mariella’s life while she fights to give it away. And he must find a way to show her Orane’s true intentions before she is lost to Paradise forever.

Over the course of its edits, Sing Sweet Nightingale has had somewhere between eight and ten completely different beginnings. Nothing seemed to work! It took my editors and I a long time to decide what the right moment to start the book at was. This is one of the versions of chapter one that didn’t make the cut. Well, the last half of it anyway. The final version still begins with Hudson’s point of view, but at a different point in his life. In fact, this moment where Horace decides to move with him isn’t in the book anymore at all. The decision is still made, but you don’t get to see it. Which is why I wanted to share this scene with you now! I hope you enjoy. J

When I walk into the house, Horace is already making breakfast.

“You’re back early,” he calls from the kitchen. “Didn’t expect ya for another half-hour at least.”

Horace is a grandfather, just not mine. He’s spry for a guy in his late seventies who survived being beaten half to death four years ago. His blue eyes still flash with quick wit and observational skills worthy of a PI, his hair is just a halo of thin white curls from his ears to the back of his head, he’s a good deal shorter than me and looks as frail as kindling, but he’s the only person I’ve met who can look me in the eye. I saved his life four years ago and now he’s saving mine. He’s also the only person who knows the whole story behind J.R.’s death. He’s the only one who stuck around me long enough to listen.

He looks up when I walk into the kitchen and the smile freezes on his lips.

“What happened?”

“Is it that obvious?” I thought I was keeping my jitters pretty much under control. Guess not. It’s hard, though.

He points at me with the wooden spoon in his hand. “Grass stains. And you tore your damn shirt.”

I look down. Huh. Hadn’t even noticed that. There’s a couple drops of blood and a tear in the shirt from where I must’ve caught a rock in the grass, but no scratches on my skin.

“So?” He keeps his eyes on me but goes back to finishing breakfast. “You gonna tell me or do I have to beat it out of you?”

Now that I’m standing here, I don’t know if I want to tell him. Don’t know if I can. My own parents kicked me out of their house. Horace took me in. He’s the only person in the world I trust. I don’t want to leave, but I have to or he might be the next one to get hurt. J.R. didn’t know anything about the dreamworld and he got caught in the crossfire. If the same thing happens to Horace… My chest clenches and the hole J.R.’s death left behind gets a little bigger. A little more ragged around the edges. I barely survived it once. No way am I letting it happen a second time.

“I need to leave.”

Horace’s eyes narrow and he stares at me for a second before turning back to the scrambled eggs on the stove.

“All right, kid. So where we headin’?”

“What?” I step closer. He’s already put himself to too much trouble for me. “No, Horace. That’s not what I—”

“Boy!” Horace turns and whacks me with the spoon so hard bits of egg go flying across the kitchen. “I know exactly what you meant, but I’m not stupid enough to let you go running off into trouble alone. And don’t you try to tell me I can’t go. I didn’t get to be this old to get ordered around by some eighteen-year-old hothead!”

His blue eyes stare up into my black ones as if he’s daring me to argue. Before I can think of a single thing to say, Horace grabs a couple of plates off the counter and shoves them into my hands.

“So, where we going?” he asks as he dishes eggs onto the plates.

“Uh… I don’t know yet.”

Horace rolls his eyes and drops the empty frying pan into the sink, muttering to himself as he bumps the faucet on and the waters hisses against the hot metal.

“I had a dream,” I tell him. The muttering stops and he slowly turns to look at me. “I know I have to leave, I just haven’t figured out where yet.”

“A dream like the one you had before I showed up?” he asks.

I nod. One of the three other dreams I’ve had so far hit me the night before Horace found me two months ago. I’d been living in a motel and spending my days working my way through the entire metaphysical and paranormal sections of the library when I wasn’t looking for a job. I dreamed that he insisted I come live with him. The least he could do, he said, after what I’d done for him years ago. The next day, that’s exactly what happened.

But moving? It seems like moving is asking too much.

Over breakfast, I tell him everything I saw even though none of it makes sense yet. He listens carefully and sits there chewing slowly when I’m finished, his bushy eyebrows pulled together.

“Swallow’s Grove, Swallow’s Grove…” Horace mumbles to himself. “Why do I know that?”

I grab his laptop from the office and type the words into the search engine. Most of the results don’t mean anything to me, but there’s one in the middle of the page that might be something. A list of small towns in the northeast. One of them is called Swallow’s Grove.

“There’s a town in New York called Swallow’s Grove,” I tell Horace.

As soon as I say it, his hand slams down on the table and he grins. “Knew it! Greg! Gotta call Greg.”

His son, Horace Gregory Lawson IV, refuses to answer to anything but Greg. I don’t know a lot about him, only the basics: he’s in his mid-fifties, works in real estate or real estate development or something. He married young, divorced two decades later, and during their marriage his wife gave birth to an amazing number of children for such a short time span.

Horace is ten times a grandfather including two sets of twins, one pair identical, one pair fraternal. He also has three great-grandchildren already. None one of them lives within a hundred miles of Horace. I think the fact that he misses his family is one of the reasons Horace has been so willing to let me stay.

The conversation with his son doesn’t last long, but I catch a couple mentions of a fixer-upper. After a few minutes, Horace ends the call and slides his phone back into his pocket.

“Just what I thought,” Horace says. “Swallow’s Grove is a little bit of nothing town buttin’ up against the Canadian border in New York.” One eyebrow raised, he crosses his arms over his chest. “Greg has a deal in the works for a place he was planning on flipping. It’s ours if we want it. You sure that’s the right place?”

I push my plate away and shake my head. “No, but it’s the only lead I’ve had since this thing started. I’ve gotta try.”

“Well, say goodbye to city life, Hud.” He shakes his head and sighs. “Looks like we’re movin’ out to the country.”

“You don’t have to come.” His eyes narrow and I’m glad he doesn’t have a spoon in his hands right now or he’d probably smack me upside the head with it. “It’d probably be safer for you if you didn’t.”

“Would’ve been safer for you to walk away and call the cops from a payphone four years ago. Don’t mean it was the right thing to do,” he snaps. I try not to remember Horace as he looked that night, all bloody and bruised and half-conscious after three gang kids tried to use him as their initiation murder. It was gruesome then and somehow time has only made the image worse. At least he survived. I stopped them, saved Horace, and our testimony put the three behind bars. They came looking for me as soon as they got out. When they found me, J.R. wasn’t as lucky s Horace had been.

What would our lives look like if I hadn’t walked by that evening? My brother might still be alive, but Horace would have died. Maybe in the long run it wouldn’t have changed anything. Even in hindsight, it’s impossible to know. You can only see the path you’re walking, not the ones you passed by.

“I’d be dead if you’d picked the ‘safe’ choice,” Horace says. “How you think I’d feel if you got yourself in trouble ‘cause I was playing it safe?”

“About as good as I’ll feel if you get hurt for following me.”

Horace snorts and shakes his head, but he doesn’t really have a retort for that.

I know I can’t force Horace to stay if he’s made up his mind to go, especially since he knows where I’m headed. If I leave him behind, he’ll just follow me and make an even bigger stink about it. But I try anyway. “I can’t be sure I’ll be able to protect you. I don’t exactly know what I’m doing.”

Horace grins and slaps me on the shoulder. “Kid, no one does.”

He wanders off, talking about rental trucks and furniture remainders, and I almost smile. As much as I hate the idea of something happening to him, I gotta admit that moving to a new state is going to be a lot easier with Horace behind me the whole way.

I just hope I actually find what I’m looking for when we get there.

About Erica:

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Erica Cameron knew that writing was her passion when she turned a picture book into a mystery novella as a teen. That piece wasn’t her best work, but it got her an A. After college, she used her degree in Psychology and Creative Writing to shape a story about a dreamworld. Then a chance encounter at a rooftop party in Tribeca made her dream career a reality.

Erica is many things but most notably the following: writer, reader, editor, dancer, choreographer, singer, lover of musical theater, movie obsessed, sucker for romance, Florida resident, and quasi-recluse. She loves the beach but hates the heat, has equal passion for the art of Salvador Dali and Venetian Carnival masks, has a penchant for unique jewelry and sun/moon décor pieces, and a desire to travel the entire world on a cruise ship. Or a private yacht. You know, whatever works.

Her debut novel Sing Sweet Nightingale releases March 4, 2014 from Spencer Hill Press. It is the first book in The Dream War Saga.

Erica is represented by Danielle Chiotti at Upstart Crow Literary. However, for subrights inquiries on Sing Sweet Nightingale, contact Rebecca Mancini at Rights Mix. Regarding publicity for The Dream War Saga, contact Cindy Thomas at cthomas {@} spencerhillcontemporary {.} com.

To contact Erica, try: 
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Photo by Lani Woodland

Giveaway Details:

2 finished copies of the book, plus a grand prize basket! US Only.

Giveaway:a Rafflecopter giveaway

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