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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

PR Special Edition: SHOALMAN IMMORTAL blog tour + Giveaway!

Poisoned Rationality Special  Edition

Welcome to another Poisoned Rationality Special Edition!  Today we have author Toni Decker sharing the first chapter of their new book SHOALMAN IMMORTAL.  Don't worry there's no spoilers for the first book, IMAGES ETERNAL, included in the synopsis ;)

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Summary
Falling in love was never supposed to be part of the picture.

Kyrissa Spears was born with a powerful, and deadly, gift. When she paints, she captures emotions so strong they can kill. Desperate to find a teacher capable of helping her unlock and control her abilities, Kyrissa's search leads her to an artist who may be able to help her. And he's the one person she can't accidentally kill.

After five centuries of pain and loneliness, Robert Shoalman craves release from his immortality. He's all but given up hope until he meets the beautiful and intriguing Kyrissa. She could paint his death and break the curse, but at the cost of destroying her gift and being lost to him forever—none of which will matter if the demon hunting him finds them first.


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CHAPTER ONE 
Death lingered patiently in the far corner of the bar, waiting for her to come and greet it. Kyrissa Spears swirled a tiny straw in her pink drink, waiting for the moment she could make an escape to the other side of the room. She didn't care to drink the liquid in front of her. She wasn't here to listen to the music. And she feigned only half interest in whatever her best friend said beside her. Kyrissa was here for one thing.

She was here to feel death.

Kyrissa spent her fair share of hours in crowded bars, breathing in stale air while drowning out music from mediocre bands with cheap beer. She counted the minutes before she could go home and paint away her frustrations. Her loneliness. Or anger. Or whatever other feeling she could conjure up and force onto the tip of her paintbrush. At least she used to. Now she was lucky to summon enough emotion to fuel a crayon drawing. Her paintings over the last four years not only lacked feeling, they barely contained skill.

Kyrissa sighed. She sat patiently, waiting for a band to start that she had no interest in hearing. She bided her time until she could make her way to the back of the restored pub with dark wood panel walls, exposed brick, and century-old oak floors. The bar itself even looked hand-carved from a single ancient mahogany tree, worn in some places, chipped and repaired in others; it might as well be original to the building.

Yet Gallery, the hottest local music venue, was also an art gallery that usually highlighted local talent. Somehow, the venue had managed to attract a sampling of death to hang on its walls through the art of The Shoalman Collection. It was the largest collection of paintings that appreciated death as an artistic subject the way Kyrissa thought it deserved to be appreciated, or in her case, worshipped. It was also owned by Robert Shoalman himself, a formidable expert on the subject matter and a master painter in his own right. And she wouldn't miss seeing this collection in person, not even for her own death.

If only his most prized masterpiece was here. But no one had laid eyes on the Isle of the Dead since it first debuted onto the art scene four years ago. Or in the case of the Isle, grabbed the art scene around the neck and tightened its grip until breathing faltered.

From her barstool, Kyrissa admired the works lining the perimeter of the room, protected by a glass hallway that allowed access to no one. The barrier between her and death taunted her the way a cocktail mocked an alcoholic. She tried to ignore the vibrations that made every hair on the back of her neck stand up. And she pretended the chill in the air tonight that she'd never witnessed at Gallery before was merely her imagination.

"Do you care if I go check out the art before the band starts?" Kyrissa asked.

"As if I didn't know you were here for the art." Mandy grinned in her direction. "But don't miss Eternity. They should be on stage in just a few minutes."

Convinced this band was about to be picked up and fast-tracked onto the larger music field, Mandy wanted the audience to support them the way she did. That's why she’d given the local band her personal endorsement, offered an exclusive glimpse into the new lead singer and wrote a glowing article that was likely to make the biggest critic stand up and notice. The band had apparently also given Mandy the heart of their lead singer, even if she hadn't yet admitted that she wanted it. Mandy even tried to convince Kyrissa the relationship already fizzled out. But Kyrissa saw through her best friend's denials.

"I'll be right over there." Kyrissa pointed to the glass wall that separated the art from the music. The partition framed the perimeter of the room, enclosing pieces of art both local and recognized worldwide. "Just wave me down when they come on."

Mandy didn't respond, craning her neck over the crowd, no doubt searching for Lucien amongst a room full of music lovers. Kyrissa shook her head, laughing as she ventured away from her lovesick best friend.

At the end of the aged oak bar stood a gentleman whose hand tailored, three-piece suit stuck out in the sea of T-shirt garbed college students filling the restored pub. Mr. Hayworth, Mandy's father. He and Mandy had a strained relationship at best, but still linked by more than just blood. They were both Guardians and Kyrissa would rest better knowing the two were on the path to reconciliation.

“Kyrissa,” Mr. Hayworth said, kissing her cheek. He’d always been more father figure than just her best friend’s father. If it weren’t for him, and Mandy, Kyrissa wasn’t certain she would have survived her mother’s death.

“It’s good to see you, Mr. Hayworth. Mandy will be surprised.” Surprised was an understatement. Just two nights ago, Mandy was certain her father didn’t approve of her career choice, much less her entanglement with a possible rock star.

“Let’s hope it is a pleasant surprise.” He smiled. Behind him, the art hummed louder, as if it were calling for only her. Maybe no one else was listening.

“I’m going to check out the artwork to give you two some privacy,” Kyrissa said.

“Be careful,” he warned as if he felt the energy in the room too and just hadn’t attributed it to the art.

“Always,” she laughed. Careful wasn’t actually a word that described her well.

Mr. Hayworth stepped around her and made his way towards his daughter, opening a direct path to the artwork Kyrissa so desperately coveted. Three feet separated her from her fixation.

Three feet and a pane of glass she hadn’t noticed earlier.

Pressing her nose to the glass, Kyrissa admired the brush strokes in a field of poppies and she could almost count the layers of paint evident on the canvas. Kyrissa respected the carnage of one painting so realistically portrayed that she could taste the coppery tang of the blood. But too much distance still existed between her and the art, as if she was standing on the wrong side of the glass. Because she absolutely was.

A narrow hallway protected the paintings, with just enough space between the brick wall and the glass to allow someone to pass within the space. Kyrissa was naturally petite, just small enough that she could easily navigate the hall. Running her hand along the last pane, she gave a gentle nudge. It sprung open, revealing a hidden glass door. Kyrissa squeezed into the space.

The air changed the moment Kyrissa stepped inside the gallery, the way a storm brings on whirling winds and takes every drop of ocean water out to sea. Every breath she took spanned two. Every heartbeat lasted the length of three. And every moment that she stood amongst this art, she wondered how she could possibly ever capture a tenth of the emotion contained in these masterpieces.

The thrill of getting caught was part of it; knowing how elusive these paintings were, it was a wonder there weren't armed guards at every entrance. But Kyrissa could separate the danger from the pulse of energy emanating from the paintings. Her own blood seemed to slow to match the beats of the energy until they formed a rhythmic coupling she'd never experienced before. Within the paint, grief emanated from the surface, resentment swirled in the air, and the absolute nothingness culminated in the heart of every image. Every painting in the collection captured the emotions so often forgotten about during the process of dying, or from those left behind. The Isle of the Dead, the crown jewel of the collection, embodied the pinnacle of every one of those emotions. If only it was here too.

It wasn't that these paintings were painted with any more skill than she possessed. She had plenty.
And it wasn't that she used any less passion in her own art that these artists used; she had passion enough to go around. It was just that every painting evoked a visceral reaction, in its purest form. Whoever caught a glimpse of them felt whatever emotion the depiction contained— courage, longing, even serenity.

Kyrissa was a painter who worshipped the collection like a religion because she was a practicing member. Emotion once flowed from her paintbrush. But the last time she lost control of her gift, she painted death.

And somebody actually died.

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 About the Authors
Who is Toni Decker? Two authors telling one sizzling story after another about twenty-somethings getting along in their own crazy, fantastical worlds. Both women are wives and mothers, sharing brain cells and characters as if they only exist with the other. Toni, one half of the Toni Decker brain, is an avid reader of all things Young and New Adult while Kira, the Decker half of Toni Decker brain, devours fantasy for midnight snacks. Together, their stories are one part New Adult, one part Fantasy and three parts of Holy Hotness. We leave it up to the readers to decide who writes which character.  

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Want more chances to win? Follow Toni amd Kira on their blog tour!

Week 1:
Jan. 12 - Krista's Dust Jacket / Guest Post
Jan. 13Poisoned Rationality / Chapter Reveal
Jan. 14The Book Swarm / Guest Post
Jan. 15BookShelfery / Chapter Reveal
Jan. 16Step Into Fiction / Guest Post

Week 2:
Jan. 19Winterhaven Books / Chapter Reveal
Jan. 20Jenuine Cupcakes / Guest Post
Jan. 21Reads All The Books / Chapter Reveal
Jan. 22Read-Love-Blog / Guest Post
Jan. 23The Irish Banana Review / Chapter Reveal