15 Aug

Interview/Excerpt on www.andisyoungadult.blogspot.com


http://andisyoungadult.blogspot.com/2013/08/meet-arthur-j-gonzalez-author-of-photo.html

Meet Arthur J. Gonzalez, author of ‘The Photo Traveler’

Please extend a warm welcome to Arthur J. Gonzalez, the author of ‘The Photo Traveler.’ Can I just say how much I love this purple cover?

Congratulations on publishing your first novel! This sounds like a fun new twist in the YA sci-fi genre. How did you come up with the idea? 

Thank you! J

THE PHOTO TRAVELER was created after one of the most important individuals in my life lost his grandmother. He was looking at an old black and white photo and said, “I would do anything to jump into this photo.”

In that moment the idea came to me.

I thought, Oh my god. What if we could?

Imagine having the ability to time travel to and revisit old memories or moments in time!?

Quickly, I developed the story line with that very premise, living the experience vicariously through Gavin.

This is Book One in the Photo Traveler series. How many books do you anticipate? When can we expect the next installment?

I anticipate there being three books in the series. I am looking at an end of year release for the second installment, THE PEACE HUNTER.

How much do you have in common with Gavin?

I relate to Gavin in regards to him wanting to find his greater purpose. Actually, I think this is something everyone can relate to.

What kind of research did you need to do for this book? 

I researched countless books and websites so I can accurately depict the historical aspects of THE PHOTO TRAVELER. I wanted everyone to feel as though they were actually there.

Do you have any other book ideas in mind, outside of this series?

My children’s novel, Monty and the Monsters, will hopefully be ready by end of summer/end of year. The story is about a newborn human boy, Monty, who’s taken from his world and raised by monsters (in a hysterical monster world I created, called Gloomsbury). Monty is raised by monsters his entire life, carrying the burden of feeling different, but never knowing he is actually a human. His life is filled with isolation and loneliness, constantly being the target of heavy bullying.

On Monty’s 15th birthday, he is informed of the truth of his origin and given the opportunity to venture to his human world; where there, Monty will have to decide if he will stay in the world he was stripped of, or stay with the monster parents he has grown to love, in a world that has always shunned him.

The story is about love, blended family, acceptance, bullying, and finding your way.

My young adult superhero series, tentatively titled LADY ELEMENT (a series meant to break passed the typical male superhero mold, by focusing on a female main character, Charlee, who has developed her abilities to summon the elements. She is on the hunt for her scientist parents whom she discovers have been kidnapped by an underground governmental program, designed to create new strands of diseases for population control. Charlee suffers from body dysmorphia, has a hunky gay best friend, and in a matter of words…is quite fierce.).

The third novel is part one in a still untitled YA series surrounding the end of the world. This story, though, takes place ten years after the fact, where five 5 teens wake to an earth that has evolved into a completely different planet than they remember.

They are forced to resuscitate their kind and reestablish civilization. But they soon realize why their world ended and discover that earth is still at its mercy.

And then I’m also working on an adult Fiction series surrounding Greek Mythology, The Olympian Chronicles: Hades. Think True Blood with Greek Gods, rather than vampires and werewolves. It’s an edgy, sexy, and modern take on Greek Mythology, with a 21st century twist.

What would our favorite tales look like if they took place in today’s world?

Do you engage in any photography? 

I don’t necessarily engage in formal photography, but I’m constantly taking pictures on my iPhone. I love to capture memories.

What kinds of photographs attract you, making you want to dive into them?

I have several ‘Wonder of the World’ and ‘Landscapes’ coffee books. I love losing myself in how photographers capture the essence of our world. Have you seen some of these photos? They look like they’re apart of some mythical, fantastical world. It’s stunning! I also love the work by Peter Lik.

You were born and raised in Miami. What are some of your favorite things about that area? 

I love the fact that culturally, you can see it all in Miami. I was fortunate to be raised in a city that is comprised of all types of races, cultures, beliefs, sexual orientations, etc. I think it’s been a major contributor to my more liberal mindset and the deep respect I hold for others.

What are some travel destinations that are on your bucket list? 

Brazil, Greece, Monte Carlo, Tokyo, Dubai, Fiji, Hawaii, Sydney — Oh, I can keep on, trust me. 😉

What is something that readers may be surprised to learn about you? 

I went by myself to volunteer in Haiti, just two months after the 2010 disastrous earthquake. That trip changed everything I thought I knew about myself.

Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Thank you in advance for the support and love! Feel free to sign up for my mailing list for exclusive updates, cover reveals, first-look excerpts, and giveaways at: www.arthurjgonzalez.com

Thank you so much for your time!
 

About the Author:
THE PHOTO TRAVELER is young adult author Arthur J. Gonzalez’s first novel. Arthur was born and raised in Miami surrounded by his loud Cuban family. He graduated from the University of Florida, where he acquired his coffee obsession and his chocolate hoarding antics. He’s the proud father of one baby girl, Sookie–his miniature schnoodle dog. Arthur is a self-professed goofball who spends 98% of his life laughing. He’s now working on his second novel.
The Photo Traveler
The Photo Traveler Series
Book One
Arthur J. Gonzalez
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Publisher: Fahrenheit Publishing
Date of Publication: Feb 20, 2013
ISBN: 978-0988891630
ASIN: B00BI4KEQC
Number of pages: 420 pages
Word Count: 87K
Book Description:
Seventeen-year-old Gavin Hillstone is resigned to being miserable for the rest of his life. Left alone in the world after his parents died in a fire when he was four, he was placed in foster care, which for him meant ending up in an abusive home with an alcoholic adoptive father. Gavin’s only escape is in taking and creating images. His camera is his refuge from the unending torture and isolation of daily life in his “family.” Until he learns by accident that he isn’t alone in the world after all. His father’s parents are still alive and living in Washington DC.
When he takes the plunge and travels 3,000 miles to find his grandparents, he learns that they—and he—are part of something much bigger, and more dangerous, than he could ever have imagined. Something that has always put his family at risk and that will now threaten his own life, while forever changing it. He learns that he is one of the last descendants of a small group of Photo Travelers—people who can travel through time and space through images.
But his initial excitement turns to fear, when he soon discovers that he and his grandparents are being pursued by the fierce remnants of a radical European Photo Traveler cult, the Peace Hunters. What Gavin has, they want! His adventure will take him to past eras, like The Great Depression and the Salem Witch Trials.
Gavin will have to discover who he really is and must make choices that spell the difference between life and death for himself, for the relatives he now knows and loves, and for the girl he will come to love. For Gavin, life will never be the same.
Read an excerpt:
PROLOGUE

What do you do when a sudden gust of wind forces your boat totally off course and into the unknown? When from one moment to the next, the life that you thought you’d always be living morphs into one you’d never imagined?

Ever since I could remember, I believed there had to be something more to life than the one I’d been thrown into as a child. Even though I sometimes told myself I had to be crazy because just the idea seemed so hard to imagine—given how things had gone so far, anyway.
I would ask myself if it was wrong for me to feel this way. If I was being naïve to think there was something greater out there. Something that really belonged to me. But what do you if you feel an unknown force pulsating through your blood, constantly reminding you of it? Are you just supposed to ignore it?
I suppose that most of the time that’s what they teach us to do. You know, “Forget it. Take the easy way out.” Sure. Never the right one.
That’s what they kept telling me. “You’re kidding yourself if you think you can have a better life.¬ Learn to live with what you’ve got.” Things like that.
Maybe that’s why I started taking photos as soon as I got my hands on my first camera. It was a way I could distance myself from the life I was being forced to live. It let me create images of the world around me, finding life in the most ordinary moments…like when the sun makes a lonely tree sweat and it in turn gives water to a struggling, thirsty grasshopper below. Those things were real. Not the crappy life I’d always been trapped in.
And then, just a few weeks ago, my life took a turn for the unexpected. And now all I have to say to you is—believe in your gut instinct. Intuition is what kept me alive. It’s what made me believe. At the end of the day, it was all I really had that was mine. And you can find what’s really yours, too.
CHAPTER ONE:
The walk home is brutal. I was hoping that the sun would have begun its descent by now, but it’s still as blazing hot as ever. I remember them saying on the news that this was going to be one of the hottest summers ever. Though I feel like they’ve been saying that for the past five years. Global warming or something.
I know that nothing good is going to be waiting for me when I get to the house. For sure, Mel’s already gotten back and is showing Jet what I did to the car and batting her lashes and blaming it all on me. Equipped with her fake tears, she’s probably made up a lie about how I “blew up” on her and refused to go back with her even though she “begged” me to get in. It wouldn’t be the first time her lies have gotten me into trouble. And no doubt he’s now in a violent rage and shouting about how I’m going to “get my ass kicked” and how “useless” I am.
I trudge along trying to prepare myself for the tempest that’s going to hit me when I finally get back. I don’t even need to close my eyes to envision the fury in his bloodshot eyes and smell his liquor breath and see his large, flaring nostrils.
If only Leyla were still alive. God, I miss her. Because of her, Jet actually used to be a decent father. He always had a short fuse, but he wasn’t the angry, pathetic drunk he turned into after she died and he got serious about drinking. Looking at him today, with his beer belly lapping over his belt and the patches of thinning hair on his scalp, I find it hard to remember that he actually used to be a handsome, well-groomed guy. And not a bad foster father, either. I remember him getting home early from the construction site with a smile and he’d sometimes even have a toy for me. Things really do change, I guess.
I was four when my real parents died in a house fire while I was at daycare. I ended up in foster care because I had no other relatives to claim me.
I’ve never quite known how Leyla and Jet took me on, but after a year of fostering they legally adopted me. And until I was about eight, I was a generally happy kid even though Mel and I never really got along. I think she always felt threatened by me, and my guess is that she was jealous because Leyla and Jet had brought this random kid into her home and she had to share their attention with me.
I guess it would’ve bothered me, too, if I’d been in her place. But it’s not like it was my fault. I wasn’t intentionally trying to steal them from her or something. I would never do that.
That day, Leyla took me and Mel to the convenience store two blocks from our place. I was whining nonstop because I wanted sour bear gummies, and I wasn’t going to let up until I had them. But while I was happily grabbing my bag of candy, two masked men with guns barged in and ordered the clerk to hand over all the cash in the register.
I had no idea what was happening, but I was so scared that I started crying. One of the guys pointed his gun at me and shouted, “Shut up, kid!” That made me cry even louder and harder.
“I said shut up!” he repeated, and took a step toward me.
“Leave him alone!” Leyla shouted. She grabbed me and put me behind her, shielding me with her body. Mel was crouched in a corner near the Slurpee cooler with tears running down her cheeks.
“Hey!” the guy said. “Whaddya got in that purse?” He made a grab for it. She backed away from him, but he grabbed her and threw her to the filthy, sawdust-covered floor. His buddy ran over, held her down, grabbed her purse, and tore it open.
“You can’t take our money!” I yelled. I ran over and kicked him in the shin to try to get him away from her. He swung the gun around at me and Leyla sprang up from the floor and lunged in front of me as the gun went off.
It hit her in the neck, and seconds later she was gone.
Before I could even process what had happened, the gunmen ran out of the store. I’ll never forget leaning over Leyla’s body and staring at the pool of blood spreading over the floor. Her jungle-green eyes—Mel’s exact eye color—were wide open, but I somehow knew that she couldn’t see me even though her tears never seemed to stop.
“MOM!” I screamed. “Mom! Mom! Mom, I’m sorry!”
I kept calling her name over and over and over even though I knew she would never answer me again. Finally I knelt down in all the blood and laid my head on her stomach until Mariela, the Mexican clerk who’d been working at the store ever since I could remember, hurried over and peeled me away from Leyla’s body.
“Dios Mio! Mijito!” she sobbed, “Ven conmigo.” And as I started to hear the police sirens in the distance but getting louder every second, she led me into the stockroom so I wouldn’t see any more. Then she went back out to Mel, who was still huddled on the floor rocking back and forth in shock. She didn’t talk for almost a month. I’ve never eaten sour bears again.
Even worse, the next day Jet told us that Leyla was pregnant and that they’d been planning to surprise us with the news that night at dinner. So I’d been the cause of two deaths. A double loss. Go me.
Jet never stopped holding it against me. And Mel’s jealousy turned into outright hatred.
I’m not sure either of them hated me more than I hated myself.
Jet turned to alcohol. He spent his days binge-drinking on the couch that he and Leyla had chosen together. He stopped taking construction jobs and finally took a temporary leave of absence that somehow turned into a permanent one. Two years later he married Dina, who not only puts up with his brutal attacks and constant verbal assaults, but for some unknown reason actually defends him.
She’s as pathetic as he is, and that bothers me because she’s actually a sweet woman. It’s like she’s under some kind of spell. What kind of woman puts up with a man who bruises her constantly and hurls hateful remarks? Last night he called her a “filthy pig”. And he’s always calling her a “fat ass”, which I don’t understand because she’s not even pudgy in the least! And trust me—I know chunky. I was a size Hefty for most of my childhood.
In all honesty, I think she feels she has no choice. She doesn’t have enough education to get a good-paying job, so Jet supports her—although I’ve always wondered how, since he hasn’t really worked for years now. I figure that Leyla had some sort of insurance policy.
On top of everything else, Dina was Leyla’s best friend. Maybe she feels guilty about marrying Leyla’s husband and inheriting her family. I don’t know. From my understanding, Jet and Dina became each other’s “support” after Leyla died, and eventually the feelings “just happened”.
I call BS on the whole thing. I think they just found it convenient and used all the other stuff as excuses.
In any case, all three of them hold me accountable. It’s been almost ten years and they’re still holding it against me. They never let it rest. Not a week goes by that Jet doesn’t snarl at me. Usually while he’s beating me. “Adopting you was my biggest mistake! If it wasn’t for you, she’d still be alive!” The hate in his words when he says it…I know he means it every time.
The worst part is, I accept everything he says because I’m still pretty much blaming myself too. I know that if they hadn’t taken me in, Leyla probably would still be alive. And so would their second kid, the little brother or sister who never got a chance to be born.
That hurts to think about, because Leyla was a great mom. If more people had a mom like her, there’d probably be less crazies in the world. She read to me every morning. Sang to me every night. I can still hear her humming lullabies to me whenever I had nightmares about the fire. I remember drifting off to sleep with my fingers wrapped around a strand of her curly blonde hair. I loved her curls.
“Mom, they’re just like Slinkies!” I used to tell her. I would tug at them to straighten them out and then let them go to spring back into curls. Slinkies were my favorite childhood toy. Now I can’t stand the sight of them. Especially the neon-green ones, because they remind me of the one she brought me one day as a joke.
At night when I have trouble sleeping I can still hear her sweet voice reaching out to me and crooning, “Let the night take all your fear… Let my voice be all you hear…”


18 May

A Witchy Preview of The Photo Traveler by: http://izzylovesbooks.blogspot.ca/


http://izzylovesbooks.blogspot.ca/2013/05/the-photo-traveler-blog-tour.html

 

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Photo Traveler Blog Tour

EXCERPT
I’m in the courtroom. It’s filled with agitated Puritans screaming at a teenaged girl who is being held to the floor by two burly men. Standing behind a tall counter across the room is the judge.
         Fortunately, I’ve landed behind the crates, which gives me a perfect view of the trial. I probably should have changed clothes to something less… modern. I don’t think they exactly wore jeans in this era.
         I’m trying to hear the judge’s words, but it’s difficult because the dozens of townspeople are howling over one another. One woman shrieks, “I’ve seen her wandering the streets in the middle of the night! What decent lady would act so?”
         A toothless, disheveled man next to her shouts, “And her husband! He’s disappeared!”
         Another man leans forward and spits on the girl. “She’s a daughter of the devil! With my own eyes, I’ve heard her speaking the language of demons!”
         The mob starts chanting. “Witch! Witch! Witch!”
         This is crazy.
         The girl, who I don’t think can be older than sixteen, is slumped over on the floor. Her hands are bound together with thick, coarse brown rope. She looks petrified and is weeping while facing the ground. I can’t hear her saying anything, but she seems to be whispering to herself. Maybe praying. She’s dressed in a long-sleeved black dress with a white collar and cuffs and her hair is hidden in a white bonnet. Like a costume. Like something along the lines to what pilgrims wore.
         I can’t believe that the actions playing out in front of me are actually real. But they are.
         “Elizabeth Wills!” the judge shouts. The two men holding the girl refer to him as Magistrate John Howlands. “You have been accused of demonic witchcraft. How do you find yourself?”
         As she turns her face toward him, the crowd goes silent. She swallows hard and then says softly, “I know of no devil. My faith is in my Lord. I know not of any other way.”
         “Blasphemy!” a woman near her shrieks. “She lies!”
         “Silence!” the judge thunders. He then orders his assistants, “Take her outside so we may examine the circumstances.”
         As the two men drag her outside, the crowd continues shouting. Their fury is terrifying. I feel my heart pounding. I have to shake the numbness from my hands and hold myself back from whimpering.             I look around and spot a narrow line of sunlight coming through an unobtrusive pair of swinging doors that lead out of the courtroom. Maybe I can get to her that way.
         Before I make a run for the doors, I look for the carving I had seen in the book. I feel around the crate in front of me until I finally find it—the initials “L + A 96” carved into one of the panels. I run my fingers along the marks. Could this be—
         I’m brought back to reality by the crash of a distant crate being pushed over. The crowd’s becoming more frenzied. I have to get out before I’m caught. I drop into a crouch and sprint for the swinging doors.
         Elizabeth is lying in a courtyard only a few feet from me. Her arms are wrapped around one of the posts that support the overhanging roof, bound by the same rope. She’s weeping and begging her God to protect her. I can feel my heart breaking. I know she isn’t a witch. But from what I can remember from the pages of the book, she will not survive this. I feel helpless. I know I can’t change the past, but there’s no way I can let her just die.
         I edge toward her from behind and stammer, “Miss Wills?”
         She keeps her face averted and doesn’t respond.
         “I’m not here to hurt you. I promise.”
         She still refuses to look at me, but I see tears running down her cheeks. “Please leave me alone! Let me be alone with my God!”
         “I don’t know how to say this, but I know you are not a witch.”
         “I know nothing of such vile things!” she sobs. “But at this moment I wish it were true, for then the death I am facing would have some justification!” She finally looks up at me and takes a deep, surprised breath when she looks into my eyes. “Your eyes! Where do you come from? Are… are you in fact a witch? Is that how you know who I am when I do not know who you are?”
         “No! I come from the future. I know it sounds strange, but—”
“Your eyes are like theirs’!
         My heart skips a beat. “‘Theirs’? Whose?
         “The lady and the man! You look like them!”
         “A lady and man who looked like me?”
         “They dressed as you do, and their eyes shimmered like the planets. They were witches, too!”
         My hands are shaking. “Where are they now? Please tell me! I need to know!”
         She turns her head away from me. “They disappeared into the air. While I was watching them. That is how I know they were witches. They left me to be hanged when it should have been them!”
         “Elizabeth, please! Are you sure they disappeared?”
         She doesn’t respond. Come on, Elizabeth, answer me. “Please,” I beg. “They’re my parents! Help me find them!”
         The word “parents” causes her to look at me again. She shakes her head. “They have fled. The man told the woman ‘great’ something, and ‘Quickly!’ And then I saw them vanish with my own eyes. Now leave me be!”
         “I can help you. I can help you escape.”
         Her tear-filled blue eyes light up. “Yes. Oh, yes! Please set me free. My Lord has heard my prayers! My Lord has heard my prayers!”
         “Please, be silent,” I warn her as I grab a jagged piece of rock from the dirt and begin scraping it against the rope. I’m getting more and more frightened. The waves of noise from inside are growing louder, and terror is catching in my throat. Just as the rope around her wrists starts to give way, I hear a pistol being cocked and feel the barrel of a gun against my skull. I freeze.
         “Step away from the witch and announce your name!” It’s the voice of one of the court officials.
         “I come in… peace?” I answer nervously.
         “Siblings of the black beast! You have come to protect your bewitched sister, have you not? Kneel before me!”
         He summons the other assistants from inside. They throw me to the ground and tie my hands with the same skin-prickling rope. What have I gotten myself into? This is not good. This is not good at all.
         They drag us both inside. The crowd, even more enraged than before, shrieks and jeers, “Hang them both! Hang them both!”
         Magistrate Howlands peers down on us. “You both have been found guilty. And will be executed by way of hanging immediately.”
         Did he just say… hanging? You’re kidding me! No, no, no! This is not how this is supposed to play out. This is supposed to happen only to her, not me! I begin to sweat profusely and grow more anxious. I try to remember the return chant that will take me back home, but my mind is frozen. This cannot be happening.
         Elizabeth stands with her eyes closed, tears rolling down her cheeks. She continues whispering prayers to herself.
         The same two brutal assistants grab us both by our bound arms and shove us toward the doors of the courthouse. The crowd screeches with frantic joy, hugging and rejoicing over our imminent execution.
         As they pour out of the courthouse behind us, the assistants drag us to a wooden platform, eight feet high, directly under a noose that dangles from a large limb of a leafless, skeletal tree that appears to symbolize death waiting for its next victim. I’m literally about to throw up.
         “No Beasts of the Blackness shall reside in our midst!” Magistrate Howlands announces. “Mistress Elizabeth Wills and her unidentified demonic brother will be hanged, never to walk our God-fearing community again!”
         I watch in despair as the assistants force Elizabeth up onto the platform where a man in an oversized black cloak who resembles the Reaper places the noose around her neck and tightens it. She continues moving her lips in prayer.
         When he steps back from her, she opens her eyes and scans the mob, which suddenly grows silent.
         “I pray that—” She stops to catch her breath. “—that your Lord will forgive you for my murder. I shall forever rest in peace, in the name of my God.”
         Then she moves her foot over the edge of the pedestal—and allows her body to follow.
         I gasp along with the mob, but I have to bury my chin to my chest because my hands are bound and I can’t cover my eyes against the sight of her lifeless body dangling in mid-air.
         Come on, Gavin! What are the words? “Back in time… Home I go…?” I’m trying desperately to remember but nothing works. I look up and my eyes meet Elizabeth’s dead gaze. I swear she’s looking right at me. I turn away, holding myself from nearly throwing up again.
         The Reaper grabs her body and pulls her in toward him. As he unties the rope from around her broken neck, she collapses against him and he loses his grip. Her body falls eight feet off the platform and onto the hard ground. Her head smashes against a small boulder near me, and when I see her bloody skull and lifeless body lying at my feet, I can no longer hold back my nausea. I turn my head to the side and let it all out.
         I’m pushed through the crowd as they hiss at me and throw stones and branches in my direction. I drop to my knees and beg for my life, and I don’t even feel the stones cutting into my skin because I’m so terrified. The assistants drag me toward the platform and hand me over to the Reaper, who pulls me up to my doom.
         “Please! Please! I’ll give anything!” Sweat is oozing from every crevice of my body.
         I can’t believe it’s ending this way. I can barely control my breathing. I’m standing on quivering legs on this platform under the stale wind.
         “No! Please!” I beg again, but the Reaper just continues adjusting the rope around my neck. The rough strands scratch my throat when I swallow.
         Magistrate Howlands throws me a look of disgust and tosses a small woven bag towards the Reaper. “Cover his head! I never want to see those vile and disgraceful eyes again. His final moments should be filled with darkness.”
         The Reaper pulls it over my head, stealing my final moments of sight and life from me. The material, which smells of a dead animal, scratches at my face. This is the last thing I will remember.
         “On my count of three!” I hear the magistrate proclaim triumphantly. “One!… Two!…”

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Gavin Hillstone is resigned to being miserable for the rest of his life. Left alone in the world after his parents died in a fire when he was four, he was placed in foster care, which for him meant ending up in an abusive home with an alcoholic adoptive father.

Gavin’s only escape is in taking and creating images. His camera is his refuge from the unending torture and isolation of daily life in his  “family.”

Until he learns by accident that he isn’t alone in the world after all. His father’s parents are still alive and living in Washington DC.

When he takes the plunge and travels 3,000 miles to find his grandparents, he learns that they—and he—are part of something much bigger, and more dangerous, than he could ever have imagined. Something that has always put his family at risk and that will now threaten his own life, while forever changing it.

He learns that he is one of the last descendants of a small group of Photo Travelers—people who can travel through time and space through images. But his initial excitement turns to fear, when he soon discovers that he and his grandparents are being pursued by the fierce remnants of a radical European Photo Traveler cult, the Peace Hunters. What Gavin has, they want!

His adventure will take him to past eras, like The Great Depression and the Salem Witch Trials. Gavin will have to discover who he really is and must make choices that spell the difference between life and death for himself, for the relatives he now knows and loves, and for the girl he will come to love.

For Gavin Hillstone, life will never be the same.

PURCHASE: 
AUTHOR BIO
My name is Arthur J Gonzalez.  I’m 28 years old, born and raised in Miami, FL.  I graduated from the University of Florida.  I am currently   releasing my debut novel, The Photo Traveler.  The premise surrounds 17 – year old Gavin, who discovers he is part of a small group, called Photo Travelers, who can time travel through photos and images.

Author Links:

 



14 May

Excerpt on http://bookmarksspoilersandhappilyeverafter.blogspot.com


http://bookmarksspoilersandhappilyeverafter.blogspot.com/2013/05/blog-tour-photo-traveler-by-arthur-j.html

Blog Tour: The Photo Traveler by Arthur J Gonzalez

The Photo Traveler by Arthur J. Gonzalez
Publication: February 20th, 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal/Time Travel

Blurb:
Seventeen-year-old Gavin Hillstone is resigned to being miserable for the rest of his life. Left alone in the world after his parents died in a fire when he was four, he was placed in foster care, which for him meant ending up in an abusive home with an alcoholic adoptive father.

Gavin’s only escape is in taking and creating images. His camera is his refuge from the unending torture and isolation of daily life in his  “family.”

Until he learns by accident that he isn’t alone in the world after all. His father’s parents are still alive and living in Washington DC.

When he takes the plunge and travels 3,000 miles to find his grandparents, he learns that they—and he—are part of something much bigger, and more dangerous, than he could ever have imagined. Something that has always put his family at risk and that will now threaten his own life, while forever changing it.

He learns that he is one of the last descendants of a small group of Photo Travelers—people who can travel through time and space through images. But his initial excitement turns to fear, when he soon discovers that he and his grandparents are being pursued by the fierce remnants of a radical European Photo Traveler cult, the Peace Hunters. What Gavin has, they want!

His adventure will take him to past eras, like The Great Depression and the Salem Witch Trials. Gavin will have to discover who he really is and must make choices that spell the difference between life and death for himself, for the relatives he now knows and loves, and for the girl he will come to love.

For Gavin Hillstone, life will never be the same.

Get it here:
Excerpt:

And here I am, right in front of them. My real mother and father. They gape at me and move apart from their posed position as I stand before them in their living room. I have to admit, I’m pretty stunned myself. I have no idea what to say, which works because what I’m feeling right now cannot be translated into words.

I look at my mother first. I really do have her eyes. She looks like such a sweet person. I wish so much that I could have grown up with her. Long, dark, wavy hair, soft olive skin, and a small button nose. And my dad—a younger version of Bud, but an older version of me. I actually look like someone—someone who exudes honesty. Nothing like Jet. It hits me hard at this moment when I realize that I have a family.

“Uh… I’m Gavin.”

They don’t say a word. They just run over to me and wrap me in probably the biggest hug I’ve ever experienced. No, I take it back, it is the biggest hug I’ve ever experienced. It feels so good. So real.

My mom buries her face in my neck. She smells like roses mixed with hints of tangerine. “Oh, sweetie!” she exclaims. “You’re beautiful! Beautiful…” She holds me away from her and looks me in the eyes with a big smile. “You have my eyes. I hoped you would!” She places her hand on her belly and hugs me again.

My dad comes from behind and messes up my hair. My whole body tingles. I want this every day. I want for this moment to never end.

“I wish I could’ve done this before,” I finally say. “I can’t believe I just found this out.”

They exchange puzzled glances.

“You just learned how to travel?” he asks.

“Yeah! Bud and Estelle taught me yesterday. It’s the coolest thing ever!”

My mom grabs his hand and they look at each other. Her mood has changed. “That means we didn’t teach you… so… something must have happened to us. We die… don’t we?”

My heart’s slamming in my chest. I just screwed this up! “No! I mean… uh…” I go silent.

“It’s okay,” my dad says. “You don’t have to explain.”

“What gave it away?” I ask, defeated.

“We decided we’d teach you about photo traveling when you got to sixth grade,” he says. “But you’re a lot older than that now, and you don’t know, so…” He lifts his hand to his neck and makes a throat-cutting gesture. Then he smiles and shrugs, trying to make light of it, but I don’t buy it. It’s too forced.

How could I have let that slip? This is terrible.

Mom asks wistfully, “But we do at least get to see you grow up… don’t we?”

“Yeah.” I answer softly, and smile at her. “Yeah, you do.”

But the corner of my right eye starts twitching, and I turn my head to keep them from seeing it. I want nothing more than to tell them the truth. Maybe I can warn them right now about the fire. “But I can tell you how? I can save you guys! We can stop—”

My dad shakes his head. He takes me by the shoulders and brings his face close to mine. “No, no, no! Gavin, it’s crucial that you never try to alter the past. My folks must’ve already told you that. Telling people what’s going to happen in the future… well, you can pretty well bet that they’re going to try to avoid it if it’s not what they want to hear.”

I nod, but I still don’t think it’s fair. I know it’s against the rules, but this is different. These are my parents!

I’m about to change the subject but he beats me to it, and I’m glad he does. “You know,” he grins, “you look just like me when I was your age. Same wavy brown hair. Strong jaw. Small ears. It’s unbelievable! I bet you’re quite the ladies’ man.”

I smile back at him, but I’m still caught up in thoughts about protecting them.

“How are mom and dad?” he asks. “When you go back, tell them I love them. Please.”

“And take care of them,” my mom chimes in. “They’re the most special people you’ll ever meet.”

“I will.” I glance at my mom’s belly. “Do I kick a lot?”

“You’d think I’m giving birth to a soccer player!” she laughs. “Want to touch?”

She grabs my hand and places it over her belly. The feeling is surreal. Not only am I meeting my parents for pretty much the first time, but I’m feeling myself move inside her stomach. This is bizarre.

We laugh and joke and bond effortlessly. It’s as if we’ve met so many times before. Like I’ve actually spent my entire life with them after all. Like no time has passed at all. Everything about it is natural. Nothing like those conversations that feel forced. But suddenly sadness strikes me like a car crash. Nothing adds up. Why was all of this taken from me?

“I think I’m going to head back now,” I tell them.

My dad, Liam, eyes me so intently that I feel he’s reading my thoughts. “You okay?”

“Yeah. It’s just a lot to handle all at once.”

“Okay. Just promise me you’ll leave things as they are. We’re not gods. And always remember how much we love you. Nothing can change that.” He hugs me. “We’ll see you again soon.”

“I’ll come back. But… I’m confused. Will you guys remember me?”

“If you travel back to this exact moment,” my mom explains, “we’ll relive the experience as if it never happened. It’ll be like seeing you for the first time all over again. But if you ask Bud and Estelle to give you a photo of us after this very moment, we’ll remember this one then, because this moment would have occurred and you would have already traveled to us.”

Before I leave, I scan the living room. I don’t remember anything about it. I wish I could so badly. The vanilla scent of the burning candle on the oak coffee table. The navy leather couch, the ivory walls, the brownish-beige tufted carpet. None of it seems familiar. Then I spot my dad’s red Kodak Brownie Starflash camera on the white laminate kitchen counter. Its like the same one I mentioned to Yogi.

I walk over to it and pick it up. “Were these popular?”

“The gray and black ones were,” my dad says. “Not so much the red ones.”

“Don’t get me started on that camera!” my mom says,“He put us on a wild hunt to find that thing!”

I laugh and set it down again. “I guess I get it from you, huh?”

He looks confused. “Get what?”

“When you want something. You don’t stop till you find it. I guess I get it from you.”

He smiles. “I hoped so.”

We hug as tightly as we can for a long, long time. I don’t want to let go. I’ve dreamed of seeing them again so many times. I just never thought it would be possible. I don’t want to leave, but I need to go back and find out more. How could photo traveling be dangerous? I want to ask them, but I don’t want to ruin the first time I see them. I’m sure it’s why they haven’t brought it up themselves.

After one final hug, I reluctantly chant my words.

About the author:
My name is Arthur J Gonzalez.  I’m 28 years old, born and raised in Miami, FL.  I graduated from the University of Florida.  I am currently   releasing my debut novel, The PhotoTraveler.  The premise surrounds 17 – year old Gavin, who discovers he is part of a small group, called Photo Travelers, who can time travel through photos and images.
Check her out:


11 May

Excerpt on http://mythicalbooks.blogspot.ro/2013/05/excerpt-and-giveaway-photo-traveler-by.html


http://mythicalbooks.blogspot.ro/2013/05/excerpt-and-giveaway-photo-traveler-by.html

 

vineri, 10 mai 2013

Excerpt and Giveaway The Photo Traveler by Arthur J. Gonzalez

Released in February 20th, 2013
Description:
Seventeen-year-old Gavin Hillstone is resigned to being miserable for the rest of his life. Left alone in the world after his parents died in a fire when he was four, he was placed in foster care, which for him meant ending up in an abusive home with an alcoholic adoptive father.

Gavin’s only escape is in taking and creating images. His camera is his refuge from the unending torture and isolation of daily life in his “family.”

Until he learns by accident that he isn’t alone in the world after all. His father’s parents are still alive and living in Washington DC.

When he takes the plunge and travels 3,000 miles to find his grandparents, he learns that they—and he—are part of something much bigger, and more dangerous, than he could ever have imagined. Something that has always put his family at risk and that will now threaten his own life, while forever changing it.

He learns that he is one of the last descendants of a small group of Photo Travelers—people who can travel through time and space through images. But his initial excitement turns to fear, when he soon discovers that he and his grandparents are being pursued by the fierce remnants of a radical European Photo Traveler cult, the Peace Hunters. What Gavin has, they want!

His adventure will take him to past eras, like The Great Depression and the Salem Witch Trials. Gavin will have to discover who he really is and must make choices that spell the difference between life and death for himself, for the relatives he now knows and loves, and for the girl he will come to love.

For Gavin Hillstone, life will never be the same.

Excerpt:
         He takes a slip of paper, writes something on it, and gives it to me. It reads:
To this time, allow my travel.
Take me there, let time unravel.
         “Just look into the photo and recite the words with us.”
         “I don’t get it. This is—”
         “Trust us, dear,” Estelle says.
         I shrug. “Whatever.”
         Together the three of us chant the rhyme. A thunderous noise like a storm of lightning firing down on a small town erupts through my ears. I feel like I’m falling but also being kept afloat by bursts of cold winds from every direction. My mouth is open. Trying to scream. Nothing comes out. Everywhere around me is bright, but I can’t define the color. Then, as quickly as it comes, it ends. Everything suddenly slows, like a speeding carnival ride coming to an end.
         “What was that?!” I scream, fixing my crazy hair. I look around. We’re no longer in their dining room. Instead, we’re standing outside the diner, and it looks exactly like the photo.
         “What?… How…? That’s the one in the photo—Wait, where’s the photo?” I search my pockets. Scan the ground for it. Nothing.
         Bud slings his arm around my shoulders and grins. “Told you we’d show you!”
         I scan the scene in front of me. 1970s-style Cadillacs, Camaros, and other cars I’ve never seen before are pulling up as waitresses on roller skates cruise over to take orders. Some song by Bennie and the Jets blares from speakers mounted on the diner’s roof. All I see are bell-bottoms and disco-inspired haircuts.
         “This can’t be real. It can’t be. Right?” I turn to ask them. But I stop talking when I see that their eyes are now glowing a fluorescent purple—part eerie, part enchanting. “What happened to your eyes?!”
         “It sure is real, sweetie,” Estelle smiles. “We’ll explain the eyes inside.”
         “But…” I am so confused.
         “You come from a family of photo travelers.”
         “Photo travelers? What do you mean?”
         “How about we go inside?” Bud says. “They have the best shakes here. They just don’t make them like this anymore. Right, Stelle?”
         She giggles and we walk toward the diner. I hold the door open for them. It’s outlined by a blazing pink neon light. As we walk inside, I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the window. My eyes are purple, too! What isthis?
         The hostess, in a pink-and-black uniform, smiles at us. “Welcome to Pinky’s! Booth for three? Right this way,” she adds as she pops the bubble of her chewing gum with her furry pink pen.
         I am in the heart of the Seventies! I can’t believe my eyes. My purple eyes, that is. I’m trying my best to soak in the world around me as I distractedly follow the hostess to our pink-and-red iridescent leather booth.
         “Your waitress will be with you in a moment. Enjoy your meal!” she mumbles between chomps on her gum.
         I grab the menu and examine it. My mind quickly shifts to the thought of selling something like this on eBay and the money I could rack up. I can’t believe it’s authentic. This is crazy.
         “Try the strawberry shake,” Estelle urges me. “It was your dad’s favorite.”
         “Photo travelers?” I demand. “How did we do that? Can I do it on my own? Have I always been able to? Why are our eyes purple?”
         I have so many questions I can’t even take a breath in between them. The more I ask, the more questions I have. But the more questions I have, the more confused I feel.
         The waitress, whose nametag reads “Ritsy,” interrupts us, throwing us weird glances as she takes our order.Our eyes. I keep mine glued to the menu. We order three strawberry shakes and decide to share a large basket of Pinky’s “famous” chili-cheese fries.
         Bud waits for her to leave, then says, “Photo travelers are a small group of people who can travel to the past by means of real life images or photos. Your parents were photo travelers. Estelle’s family and mine were photo travelers. Our families have been travelers for more than a hundred years. Actually we met as kids through our families. And the eyes will happen every time you travel. It’s the only thing that gives us away, really.”
         “So I can just jump from picture to picture?” I’m starting to feel excited about this. Even though I still reallydon’t get it at all.
         “Pretty much. There are a few rules, of course, but you’ll learn them.”
         “And every time I do, my eyes will change color?”
         Bud nods. “Yeah. But let me ask you, I bet you’ve always naturally been drawn to photography? I mean, when you look at photos, you feel almost connected to them?”
         “Yeah. That’s exactly how I feel. Photography’s everything to me. I just had no idea anything like this was even possible. That I’d be able to pretty much transport myself into it.”
         “Sweetie,” Estelle chimes in, “That’s why we had to give you up after the fire. This all may seem fun to you right now, but there are plenty of dangers. On the day of the fire, we were traveling. We didn’t even know about it until we had returned. And by then there was nothing we could do. Their bodies were never found, but even without that we knew they hadn’t been killed. Liam was too clever for that. We think that they were either actually traveling when the fire broke out, or that they traveled through a photo or image to save themselves. But we’ve never seen or heard from them again.” She sighs. “You were at daycare when it happened, so you probably don’t remember much.”
         “Oh, believe me,” I reply. Their abandoning me still hurts. I can’t help it. “I remember never being picked up by my parents and never seeing them again. I remember a lot of things. What I don’t understand is how I don’t remember you guys.” They look so uncomfortable that I feel bad about it. I don’t want to hurt them, so I change the subject. “So you haven’t seen them for years either? But I don’t get it. Why couldn’t they just come back through another photo or something?”
         The waitress arrives with our orders. My foot jiggles impatiently as she sets out our food, then asks, “Anything else…?”
         “We’re fine. Thanks!” I spit out. She rolls her eyes and walks off.
         “Here’s the thing,” Bud continues. “We can only transport through photos—or other images, actually. But if the host photo or image we use gets damaged or destroyed, we’re trapped in wherever we traveled to. And that’s what we think happened to your mom and dad—the photo they traveled to was destroyed in the fire.”
         Estelle adds, “And we have nothing to tell us what photo they used, or what time they may be trapped in.”
         I stop sipping on my shake and look blankly down at the table. My mind is trying to catch up. I finally get it. “You’re saying they might still be alive?”
         Bud nods. “But there’s no telling where or when. Trust me. We’ve tried the best we can.”
         They start explaining the rules. We can travel though photos and images that depict moments that actually occurred in real life. So I’d be able to travel to an image of an old scene, like of Abraham Lincoln speaking. But it has to be something that someone was physically able to capture with a camera, or by painting or drawing it, or by making some other kind of image.
         Another rule, more of a rule of thumb, is that we should travel to images of a group of people or to a busy scene, not to just two people or to an image where our sudden appearance would be obvious.
         “We transport right into that very moment, so we try and be as inconspicuous as possible,” Estelle explains.
         The big no-no turns out to be that we can’t try to change an event that’s already happened. This rule turns the conversation more serious. For the first time since I’ve met them, Bud looks stern, rigid. “This is absolutely forbidden. If you change an event, you change time, and you have no idea what the ripple effect will be. You’ll have no idea what you may have affected.”
         “What do you mean? Like trying to bring someone back from the dead?” I joke.
         He doesn’t laugh. “You’ve heard about the ‘butterfly effect’? That the smallest changes we make in the past can affect the future in unimaginable ways. Everything we do in the past has a consequence to our future. We are not gods, and it’ll do you good to remember that. This gift is supposed to allow us to be visitors or passengers. That’s it. Nothing more. Do I make that clear?”
         “Yeah. I get it. No changing the past. You guys can relax. It’s not like I’m planning on leading some zombie apocalypse.”
         He pulls out another scrap of paper and scribbles on it. “When you want to return, you just repeat these words out loud, and you’ll be right back where you left from. He hands it to me but grins, “But you better wait till we pay our tab!”
         While he calls the waitress over and pays her—with old dollar bills, not the new ones—I read:
Take me home to what is mine.
Back to the present, back to my time.
He gives us a nod. We say the chant—