Friday, August 19, 2011

BSP: Shades of Gray Blog Tour and Giveaway

Reader Girls is today's stop on the Shades of Gray Blog Tour. Author L.M. Pruitt has provided our readers with an excerpt from her intriguing and often humorous paranormal book, the first title in A Jude Magdalyn Novel series. The author is also giving away one ebook copy of her novel to one commenter below (please leave your email to be entered).

Shades of Gray blurb: Jude Magdalyn Henries lives what many would call an unconventional life.

Orphaned at birth, raised by nuns, a teenage runaway living on the streets… she now earns a living at odd jobs, including one as a fake tarot card reader. Very little about Jude’s life appears normal, by any scale. When she accepts a gig to do a private reading, unconventional takes on an entirely new meaning.

Life as she knows it ends when she’s thrust into a world she never knew existed—one filled with magic, vampires, and her beloved New Orleans on the verge of an underground war. To make matters worse, she's got two men in her life vying for attention, Williams and Theo. Both call to a different part of her, but one scares her just a little bit. Can she step up to the challenges set before her and make the right choices for the greater, which may or not be the greater good?

We welcome author L.M. Pruitt:

Before I started writing, seriously writing, I read James Scott Bell’s Plot and Structure. In it, he talks about Mythic Structure, which is basically the formula George Lucas used in Star Wars. One of the defining moments in a story built on Mythic Structure, other known as The Hero’s Journey, is the “call to adventure” or a disturbance.

Or as I like to call it, the first shit-just-got-real moment.

In Star Wars, it’s when Luke gets Leia’s distress signal. For Jude… well, read below.

I broke into a run, Izzy right next to me, taking to the street when the crowds on the sidewalk proved too thick to push through. I knew where I was headed. Common sense would have me turn onto Royal and heading to the police station. Whatever was guiding me had me barreling down St. Peter for Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral.

I’ve seen the Cathedral more times than I could begin to count. I worked in the open area between it and Jackson Square during the day, reading cards for tourists and locals alike. The ghost tours do a little spiel near the gates ofthe Square before heading down Pere Antoine Alley where it’s said a ghostly funeral procession sometimes passes during intense storms.

The one night when we desperately needed a group of people, hell, a swarm of them, not a person was near the Cathedral.

My shirt was stuck to my back and my breath heaved in my lungs when I stumbled to a stop in front of the Cathedral. My heart sank with recollection. I should have remembered, the gates were locked at night. Short ofjumping the fence, there was no way to get on church grounds. I had no idea why it was so paramount for us to be on church grounds, but it was.
Before I could figure out the next step in my lack-of-a-plan plan, the Creepies came around the corner of St. Peter. Suddenly, jumping the fence seemed like the best idea all night.

Izzy was bent over, her head between her knees, trying to catch her breath. She isn’t active at her best moments, and running a block and a half full out had left her more winded than me. If it came down to a fight, Izzy was at more of a disadvantage.

I hauled her up, not giving her time to complain. With my eyes on the approaching quartet, I knelt down and made a basket out of my hands. “Up and over, Izzy. No arguments. And back away from the fence.”

For one of the few times in our friendship she did exactly as I told her, without any comments or complaints. She’d just turned around and started backing towards the steps when one of the new, larger players jerked me up by my left shoulder, fast enough to have me stumbling into him. Without missing a beat, he whirled me around, locking both of my arms behind my back.

There’s a reason cops cuff you from behind. It immobilizes your upper body and more than one person has discovered you can’t kick with both legs. The muscle behind me knew all this and used his knowledge accordingly. If there’s a scarier sensation than looking into a face that could haunt your nightmares and not being able to get away from it, I don’t want to know what it is.

Hart reached his right hand out and stroked it gently down my left cheek. His touch was icy and even though he’d had to have run just as fast as Izzy and I, he wasn’t winded in the least. None of them were, including the woman, and she was wearing three-inch stilettos. The woman had some serious skills.

His voice was just as cultured as earlier this evening but there was something else in it now, it took me a moment to pinpoint exactly what - eagerness.

“You sacrifice yourself for your friend. How noble. I do believe I’ll enjoy bending your will to mine.”

He leaned toward me, close enough I should have been able to feel his breath on my face. His mouth was less than an inch from mine and I couldn’t feel even the minutest stirring of breath. As close as he was, the pulse in his neck should have been visible – it wasn’t. He smiled and the flash of light on his teeth buckled my knees.

He had fangs. Honest to God, true as you live, fangs.

Oh, this is bad.

The muscle behind me grunted loudly and for a moment I thought my sagging had put too much weight on him. The thug could probably bench press me. There was no way a little thing like my knees buckling would make him grunt. I heard a whiz above my head, followed by a second, louder grunt, and I put two and two together.

Somebody was shooting him – with arrows.

This night could not possibly get any more fucked up.

My captor dropped my arms, probably in an attempt to pull the arrow out of his chest, and I fell to my knees. I heard the air above me hiss again and then twice more. When I turned my head to look behind me, I saw the thug on the ground, arrows in his heart and head. I would have screamed, except Izzy was doing enough for the both of us.

I was suddenly jerked back to my feet.

Hart held me in front of his body like a shield and I got my first look at the new dancers joining the fight. If the evening hadn’t already taken more turns than a drunken man’s road, seeing the gorgeous man from outside the Cat’s Meow aiming a loaded crossbow at me would have been the cap on possibly the worst night of my life. It didn’t help when I noticed more archers on either side of him, and to the far left – a woman old enough to be my grandmother – with a ball of fire in her hand.

Apparently, I’d been wrong. The night could get more messed up.

“Release the girl, and I’ll allow you to walk away tonight, Hart.”

Hart laughed and it was the sort to make small children cry and flowers die. Well, maybe not, but it wasn’t pleasant.

“What makes you think such an outcome is possible, Williams? Would you shoot the girl if I refused to release her?” he shouted at the archer.

I was getting irritated at being jerked around and being called “girl”, but figured in this moment discretion was the better part of valor. Williams, as my would-be rescuer answered to, smiled coldly. “You’ve forgotten to guard your back, Hart. One would think you would have learned such a lesson over two hundred years ago.”

The woman, who’d been silent until now, spoke from behind Hart and to the left. “They have us surrounded. Leave the girl for later. You cannot complete your plan if you are a pile of ash.”

At that particular moment the woman with the ball of fire closed her hand. Instantly, my left palm began to burn. Hart and I let out a yell as my hand seared through the fabric of his pants. In a panic, he hurled me away from him, sending me sprawling on the ground between the two groups. I turned over and scuttled backward, crablike. Elegant, no, but it kept Hart in my sight which was good enough for me.

The fiery burning in my hand was gone as suddenly as it had come and when I raised my hand to check for blisters, I blinked. Nothing but smooth skin. I shook my head and looked away from Hart long enough to catch the older woman’s eye. “How did you, I—.”

“Questions best kept for later, Jude Magdalyn Henries. One event at a time.”

Apparently everybody knew my name, even though I was learning the players in bits and pieces. Nodding slowly, I turned my eyes back to Hart and pushed to my feet. I walked backward until I felt a hand grip my left. I didn’t have to look to know it was Williams. I couldn’t explain it but I was out of the crossfire and safe as I could be at the moment. Good for me.

Hart seethed. His female companion all but dragged him back to St. Peter, through the row of men at their backs while their guard had died. The row of men, I assumed they belonged to Williams, let them pass, but didn’t take their eyes off them. Neither did I, yet it still seemed like the pair vanished between one breath and the next.

The group breathed out a collective sigh and I heard a voice whisper a quick Hail Mary. Slowly, the sounds of the Quarter filtered back in and I remembered to take a breath of my own. Or what would have been a breath if Williams hadn’t chosen that moment to speak and my breath became a squeak.

“I assume you have questions. Let’s see to your friend. Gillian and I will do our best to answer them.”

I turned my head to stare at him. Up close, he was even more mouthwatering, but strangely enough, it wasn’t the foremost thought on my mind. “Oh, you can bet your ass I’ve got questions. And somebody sure as hell better have answers.”

To purchase Shades of Gray: Kindle / Nook
Hole in the Wall: A Jude Magdalyn Exclusive: Smashwords (FREE!)

About the author: L.M. Pruitt has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember. A native of Florida with a love of New Orleans, she has the uncanny ability to find humor in most things and would probably kill a plastic plant. Titles written include New Moon Rising, Shades of Gray, the first novel in the Jude Magdalyn series, as well as Hole in the Wall, a Jude Magdalyn short. She is currently at work on Taken. She makes her home in Florida with one two cats—one smart, the other an idiot.

Connect with her at:
Personal Blog:
Facebook:           L.M. Pruitt
Twitter:              lmpruitt

In addition, one other reader will also win 1 ebook copy of Shades of Gray from our tour stop. All you need to do to enter is comment below (leave your email addy).

Next on the tour:

We thank L.M. Pruitt and The Bookish Snob Promotions.


  1. book sounds good

  2. can't wait to read this book !

  3. Enjoyed the excerpt,this book should be a really good read!

  4. I love L.M. Pruitt's writing and would love to read Shades of Gray. Thank you for sharing in this fun tour and giveaway opportunity.


  5. Thanks so much for havIng me! I hope you're enjoying Shades of Gray. For anyone who misses out on a copy, keep following the tour--there are multiple giveaways, including over 20 at the final stop! As always, happy reading!

  6. Shades of Gray sounds great! Thank you for the giveawaqy.

    artgiote at gmail dot com

  7. No need to enter me in the contest. I already have a copy. (I love LM's work!) Just wanted to say thanks for sharing the interview and sample read.

  8. This does sound like a fun book! And it doesn't hurt that I love anything set in New Orleans.

  9. LOVED this book and this excerpt! L.M has an amazing gift for storytelling so I'm excited that the word is spreading! I can't wait for more!!

  10. Great excerpt! (not entering giveaway)

  11. This sounds great would love to read it! thank you for the great giveaway!

  12. Sounds good. Thanks for sharing!

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  13. This sounds like a really interesting book. I had not heard of it but it is now on my wish list and I can't wait to read it. Thank you for the giveaway.
    manning-j2004 at yahoo dot com

  14. The book sounds interesting. Thanks for the giveaway.

    areeths @ new DOT rr DOT com

  15. Really liked the excerpt! Would love to win a copy of this book, please count me in!