The Portal’s Choice
The Gatekeepers of Em’pyrean Series
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: Madaket Lane Publishers
Number of pages: 502
Word Count: 148,139
Cover Artist: Bespoke Book Covers
Portals. Doorways. Gateways. All ways to get in or out of someplace, right?
Nothing weird, spooky or otherworldly about them. Or, at least that’s what Tallis Challinor always thought. Tallis is a practical young woman, a writer, a lover of words and a natural storyteller. But she’s not sure what to do when real-life sucks her into a story far stranger than anything she’s ever imagined.
Tallis discovers that portals are passageways between the human and spirit worlds. She finds out that bent-on-evil ghosts can escape from the spirit realm through those gateways whether they are supposed to or not. And when they do, Tallis finds herself the chosen human, picked by the portal in her basement in New Hampshire, to seek out and return the wayward spirits.
All Tallis wants to do is recover from the loss of her parents and settle into her new home. She’d like a boyfriend, someone like the cute guy, Aiden, down the street. She’d like some girlfriends to talk to and maybe even go shopping with. And she’d like the ghosts, the portal, and the responsibility that has been thrust upon her to disappear.
But when the ghosts threaten her new hometown, her friends, and the family she holds so dear, Tallis discovers the inner courage to meet the portal’s challenge and save those most precious to her. Along the way, Tallis learns that she is more than she’s ever imagined herself to be and that she deserves more than she’s ever dreamed possible.
The Inn of the Kindred Spirits
The Gatekeepers of Em’pyrean Series
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: Madaket Lane Publishers
Number of pages: 194
Word Count: 52,870
Cover Artist: Bespoke Book Cover
Brittany, France. Near the coast. A picturesque inn. Spectacular scenery. Tasty French treats. Time off from school.
Tallis Challinor imagines this as the perfect vacation scenario, so when her grandfather suggests that she accompany him to the country of her ancestors, she is more than happy to tag along. What Tallis doesn’t bargain on is another ghostly encounter, especially not so soon after she’s sealed up a bunch of unruly ghosts on their side of the portal between the human and spirit realms. But, when she feels the energy radiating from the megalithic standing stones dotting the countryside around Carnac, France, an energy that feels frighteningly like the power exuding from the portal in her basement back home, she has a feeling she might be in trouble. And she is right.
When her grandfather goes missing, Tallis leaps into action. She calls the only ghostbuster she knows in France and, with help on the way, she gears up to battle another set of spirits bent on causing destruction. Along the way, Tallis is forced to examine her life, her relationships, and her tightly-held beliefs about who she is and where she comes from. She also has to juggle two impossible males, both attractive but annoying, both seemingly set on driving her nuts or breaking her heart.
Prologue of The Portal’s Choice
April 29th, 2:30 in the morning
One week to go.
I feel it, the nearness of the spirits. The fact that everything is aligning to some sort of conclusion. I hope I’m ready. I hope I have the power to finish this thing. And, I hope that Gregory Millard calls soon.
The shrill ring of the phone pierced the late night silence of the house, startling me out of an exhausted sleep. My body jerked to semi-awareness and I reached for it, knocking it to the floor in my confusion. I reached down, patted the floor, and finally found the phone as it rang for the third time.
“Yeah?” I mumbled.
“Hello, can you hear me?” shouted a voice I didn’t recognize.
I was groggy with sleep and confused as to my exact location. The voice continued hollering at me, but I had trouble focusing on it as my sluggish brain worked to figure out why I wasn’t in my bed. Finally, I remembered that I’d fallen asleep on the sofa in the front room. Satisfied that I could place my body in space, I directed my mind to the person who was calling. A glance at the clock on the wall said it was 2:00. In the morning.
“Who is this?” I asked, stretching my neck until I felt a loud, satisfying crack.
“My name is …” a male voice started, then abruptly stopped. The connection appeared to be lost.
“Hey, are you there?” I hollered back into the phone, assuming that if the caller had to yell to be heard, he needed me to yell back at him.
“Tallis, what’s going on down there?” my aunt, Gabbie, called to me. She hurried down the creaky, wooden staircase.
“Phone call,” I mumbled when she appeared in the doorway. “But I think the connection’s broken. It wasn’t too good to start with.”
Gabbie moved to my side and looked down at me. The flickering fire in the wood stove illuminated the paleness of her skin and amplified the heavy shadows under her eyes. She looked awful, much older than her twenty-seven years.
“Do you think?” she began, and then swallowed. “Is it him?”
I shook my head. “I don’t know.”
The voice burst through the static. “Gregory Millard.” He was gone again.
“Gregory,” I stood up, pacing, anxious not to lose the connection I had with this guy, no matter how tenuous it might be. I’d been calling him for the past three weeks, leaving him voicemails asking him to call back. Messages that had grown in desperation even as I’d tried to keep calm so that my growing sense of panic didn’t wash through in my voice, did not warn him away.
“I’m here,” he said, and I reached for Gabbie’s hand, feeling a wave of relief that I wanted to transmit to her. “Is my Grandmother Ethel okay?”
“She’s fine,” I said. “But we really need you at her house.”
“I’m in Northern Canada... Baffin Island… Pretty remote… Bad connections here… Just got your messages.”
“I thought you lived in Montreal?” I said, and immediately thought who the heck cares where he lives? “Can you get to Landry?” I hollered, hoping he’d say yes, praying he’d be on the next flight.
“Not sure how long it’ll take.” His voice faded in and out, insubstantial and so far away, yet still our lifeline. He had to get here. “Why?”
“Uh,” I hesitated, not sure how to answer, but knowing this wasn’t the time to explain, and pretty certain that he wouldn’t believe me even if I tried. Gabbie was giving me an is that the best you can say to this guy? look. She lifted her hands in the air, exasperated. I shrugged, knowing she was as anxious as I was to get him here even though her hand gestures weren’t helpful. I shot her a you want to try and do better? look and continued. “It’s too hard to explain over the phone,” I improvised. “Especially with this connection. Please come. I’ll tell you all about it when you get here.”
“But, Grandmother’s fine?” his voice trailed through the ether.
“Everyone is fine,” I said, striving to relay a maturity I didn’t feel. “Your great-aunt Constance is anxious to see you,” I added, wanting to reassure him that I had a real connection to him.
“Be there as soon as I can find a way off the island.”
“Thanks, Gregory.” I felt relief wash over me, accompanied by a glimmer of hope that, with his help, I’d finally get the escaped ghosts back to the spirit world and close the portal in the basement of his grandparents’ home once and for all.
The connection broke. He was gone. I sank back onto the couch, exhausted. Gabbie joined me.
“He said he’d come?” she asked, rubbing her eyes and tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.
“I think so. He said he was somewhere remote, some island or something. He hadn’t gotten the messages before.”
“I’m frightened, Tallis. For all of us, but especially for you.” She scooted closer to me and we leaned against one another. I felt soothed by her presence and glad for her support. Because I was scared, too. As Gabbie dozed, I allowed my mind to wander over all the ins and outs of my situation. As if being fifteen isn’t hard enough.
All I wanted was a normal life, like any teenager. Instead, here I was, living in a small town in New Hampshire and dealing with a horde of nasty ghosts who were seeking revenge for perceived wrongs done to them during their living years. And, for the murderous deaths most of them had endured. When I’d been deputized as a Gatekeeper of the portal between the human and spirit worlds, and been given the responsibility of rounding up the recalcitrant ghouls, the otherworldly thugs had come after me. They’d focused on making my life hell and, in the process, had turned me into the biggest freak Landry had ever known. In the last three weeks, I hadn’t been able to go anywhere without an earthbound spirit showing up to taunt me and to hurt a bystander or two. I was getting sick of the entire mess. Not to mention, I wasn’t too popular around town.
Gabbie shifted and settled against a cushion, allowing me the freedom to grab my journal. I wanted to record my conversation with Gregory, jot down the mess of thoughts running through my brain, and then, hopefully, get some sleep. I’ve always kept a journal, but I’d never had such interesting entries. Of course, when I was being the most honest with myself, I knew that what I was really doing was leaving a record of my experiences. Just in case.
A creak from outside the living room put me on alert. The hair on my neck rose and I held my breath, straining to hear any other sounds. Not tonight. Please.
When no other creaks sounded, I let out a sigh. It’s an old house. There’s bound to be a few noises.
Noreis’ face floated into my mind and, at that moment, I wanted him there because he’d know what to do and then I wouldn’t be the responsible one. Noreis. Gabbie’s husband and a man I’d once dismissed as weird, but whom I’d come to respect immensely. I missed him, although he did manage to keep in touch. Returning the spirits to the Netherworld would be as much for his sake as for mine.
Gabbie snored softly. She was tired most of the time and I was glad she could rest. Still, I envied her. I’d been on alert for what seemed like years because whenever I let down my guard, the spirits attacked. That’s why I’d chosen to sleep downstairs tonight. Being in my room at the top of the house was too far away from the portal to quickly respond to an attack.
I hated being on the defensive. It was wearing me down. I needed to switch to the offense, which was why I needed Gregory Millard to get to Landry quickly. As the grandson of the last active Gatekeeper for this particular portal, I hoped he might have the power to help me corral the wandering spirits back to the spirit realm and close them in forever.
Another creak, louder and closer this time, and coming from the vicinity of the basement door, sent me to my feet, my journal clattering to the ground. The noise woke Gabbie just as another sharp crack of old wood disturbed the stillness of the house. We stared at each other, terrified, and then we turned to watch for movement beyond the slot of space between the open pocket doors. Something was out there. I could feel it.
2- $25 Amazon gift cards
About the Author:
KD Pryor started life in Missouri, where she read lots of books, even sneaking them into baseball games to the irritation of her father. Kelley graduated with a degree in International and Comparative Studies from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. After college and marriage to a great guy, she decided to pursue a law degree at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. Her oldest son was born soon after law school, followed three years later by her daughter and a move to Kentucky. One more son, a move to Ohio and four years later, her family jumped on the opportunity to move to India. They lived in Bangalore, now Bengaluru, for four wonderfully chaotic years, traveling all over Asia, Australia and Europe.
Now, settled in New Hampshire with her family and herd of cats (only three), she can often be found in her office, working on the next installment of “The Gatekeepers of Em’pyrean” series, reading one of a dozen books she has started, and dreaming of her future travel destinations.
“The Portal’s Choice”, book one in “The Gatekeeper’s of Em’pyrean” series featuring Tallis Challinor, was released on May 6, 2013.
“The Inn of the Kindred Spirits”, a novella featuring protagonist Tallis Challinor, was released in November 18, 2013.
“The Forgotten Gate”, book two in “The Gatekeeper of Em’pyrean” series, is scheduled for release in 2014.