Thursday, July 18, 2013

BLOG TOUR SPOTLIGHT: Keeper of the Black Stones by PT McHugh

Today is a special one, because today I have been given the pleasure of highlighting, once again, one of my favourite YA Time Travel books of the year (if you read my blog, you've probably noticed the massive amount of them I've read this year alone!). Keeper of the Black Stones was a much anticipated book for me, and I was overjoyed that the publisher saw my excitement, and allowed me to participate in the very first blog tour back in March.

This post, however, is jam packed with EXTRA goodies this time around. I have guest posts from both the author AND my favourite character, Tianna. As well as....wait for it....a sneak peak excerpt from Book 2!!! So start scrolling, and discover some exciting things about Keeper and it's author!

Title: Keeper of the Black Stones 
(Stone Ends #1)
Author: PT McHugh
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy Fiction
Publisher: Glass House Press
Release Date: Feb 26/2013
Read My Review: HERE
Goodreads: ADD

Awkward in his own skin, shy around girls and worried about anything and everything, Jason Evans is just like a million other teenage boys in high school, with one very large exception: he has been given a gift that allows him to jump through time. A set of stones has fallen into his lap that gives him access to any place - and any time - that he chooses. But along with that gift comes the responsibility of stopping the man who is using those very stones to travel through time and change history for his own purposes.

A man who is now holding Jason's grandfather hostage, and threatening the world's very existence. Jumping through time with his best friend and body guard, Jason must enter the world of Medieval England, learn its customs, navigate unimaginable danger, and help Henry VII win the Battle of Bosworth, in the name of finding his grandfather, rescuing a beautiful girl from the clutches of a corrupt church, and destroying the one man who pledges to turn history inside out.


QUESTION to AUTHOR: Where have you been since the 
release of Keeper back February?

From where I stand now, it seems like February 26th, 2013 (our launch date for Keeper) was twelve years ago. It’s incredibly hard to believe that so much as happened in such a short window of time. I’ve been MIA in regard to updating my blog, but I thought I’d take this opportunity to update let everyone know what’s been happening in my life.
I’d have to say the biggest question I’ve been asked since the book’s release is “has your life changed at all?” The answer is pretty simple: only in regard to time. I have a lot less of it now (which is ironic, considering Keeper’s subject matter is … time).
Second question is “what happened during the book’s release?” Well, the first week Keeper came out, my wife and I flew to Southern California, met with the head of my publishing company (who’s also my editor and acting publicist), and practiced how I would act. That means we had to figure out what I was going to say to students, teachers, and fans alike, and I had to learn to recite it again and again, quickly, and without screwing it up. (I’d known all the answers before, of course, but when I actually got in front of everyone, I couldn’t remember the things the marketing people told me to save my life. But that’s a different blog for a different time). The first day of the tour, we went to several elementary schools for appearances. And it was … odd. And scary.

And absolutely terrific.

No one knew who I was, of course, and to be honest I had no idea what to expect. Fortunately for me, the kids, teachers, and administrators were fantastic! We got the royal treatment at every school, with special passes, great crowds, and a TON of questions. Then, when we arrived at Barnes & Noble for our first bookstore signing, we found that the place was packed! I was completely astonished. It was great to see the kids we met at a school appearance earlier in the day, along with their parents. Several kids stood out to me in particular – I was honored to have two “body guards” guide me from classroom to classroom in one school, and I’ll never forget their infectious smiles and enthusiasm. I can’t wait to see them again next year when the second book (title to be announced!) comes out. Things like that really stuck with me, because I got to make such personal connections with the kids.

The next day I did another school appearance, where they actually bought me Jamba Juice and served lunch (they found out through unknown sources that I was a sucker for Jamba Juice).  I met the entire middle school over several forty-five-minute segments, which means I met about eight hundred students over seven hours. I loved every minute of it. The questions, the excitement … it was wonderful. I felt like a celebrity, and honestly couldn’t get enough of it. I would have stayed on tour for months if I could.

Alas, real life interfered, and I had to come back home after just a week.
Since our trip to Southern California, we’ve gone to New Hampshire, Vermont, North Carolina, and New York for appearances and signings. At the same time, of course, my editor and I are hard at work finishing up the second book, and anxiously talking about its release in spring of 2014.

Then, of course, the whole thing starts over again. And I could be more excited about it!    


Here are 10 things we didn't know about my 
favourite character in Keepers, Tianna!

  1. Tatiana speaks five languages (English, French, Spanish, Italian, and Romanian). She’s fluent in every language, and used to taunt her father in Romanian whenever she got mad at him.

  2. She’s practiced martial arts since she was five years old (tai-kwon-doe). She achieved black belt earlier than anyone else in her class, but did it quietly, because she doesn’t really believe in bragging. She does, however, love knowing that she could beat anyone else in the class.

  3. Since her mother’s death four years ago she’s been going to prep schools and living in dorms rather than living with her father or grandfather, who she doesn’t really like. She’s currently staying at KUA (Kimball Union Academy) in Plainfield, NH, where she’s studying languages, literature, history, and marshal arts. During vacation she has to travel home to Vermont to stay with her grandfather, but she spends most of her time away from him.

  4. Her favorite place in her grandfather’s home is the tiny room in the eaves of the barn. She found it when she was ten, and realized that no one used it for anything – it was full of old tack, grubby clothing, a wealth of cobwebs, and several very large spiders. She promptly cleaned it out and claimed it for her own. Since then she’s installed a small television, the most comfortable chair in her grandfather’s house, and a mini fridge. She’s also been steadily stealing books from her grandfather’s three libraries, and building her own. He’s never said anything, and she doubt that he cares. This is where she disappears for days on end. She calls it her Neverland.

  5. Favorite Movie: The Princess Bride. She won’t admit it, but she’s a romantic at heart, and cries whenever Wesley tells Buttercup, “As you wish.” She’s also kind of jealous that Wesley becomes a pirate. It’s on her list of things to do one day.

  6. Favorite dessert: cheese cake, with raspberries and chocolate syrup on top. She likes New York style, not that fluffy whipped kind. She likes to say that whipped cheese cake is for sissies. Her favorite restaurant, thanks to the cheese cake obsession, is Junior’s in New York City.

  7. She plays the clarinet, and she’s incredibly talented. She thinks it’s a girly thing to do, though, and doesn’t tell many people. But she’s already been invited to join the New York City orchestra when she gets older.

  8. Favorite sport: riding horses. It’s one of the only things that makes her grandfather worth the trouble, in her opinion, because he buys her horses that no one else ever could. She’s been in state and national competitions, and done extremely well. One day she’d like to be in the Olympics. If she has the time. Her riding abilities have come in handy so far, considering she practically had to teach Jason how to sit on a horse.

  9. Tatiana keeps a journal, but she’ll never let anyone read it. It’s the only place where she’s truly honest, and it would make her extremely vulnerable for anyone to hear what she actually thinks. 

  10. She was diagnosed with Lyme disease when she was three, and nearly lost her life. Now nothing scares her. She figures she almost died once, and it wasn’t that bad. Why would she worry about dying again?


And now, on to the BEST part! Here's a sneak peak from Book 2! 
Title: A Rebel's Stone

Have you ever had a dream so real that when you woke up, for one brief moment, you weren’t sure where your imagination stopped and reality began? Where you forgot who you were and how you got there, and had trouble remembering even your own name? 

I only ask, really, because that’s been happening to me a lot lately. 

I realize this sounds crazy, but it’s not too hard to imagine when you think about what I’ve seen over the past few weeks. God, has it only been that long? 

I guess I should probably start at the beginning, for this to make any sense at all. Months ago, John Fleming, an old friend of my grandfather’s, introduced him to an archeological discovery. A large stone, which looked more like a kitchen counter than the find of the millennium. His son had found it on an archaeological dig, and taken it to Dartmouth College to unravel its secret. 

Fleming showed the stone to my grandfather – Doc to me – because he was a mathematician. See, the stone had hundreds of symbols engraved on its surface, and Fleming thought he’d be able to read them. In the end, of course, he did a lot more than that. He deciphered their meaning, yes. And then he listened to their instructions. Turned out the stone wasn’t just a dusty old relic carved out of granite by an ancient civilization. Or rather, it was, but it was also something a lot more. A portal, capable of doing the impossible. Capable of transporting someone back in time, into the very history of our books and stories. And it wasn’t the only one. 

Allowing that journey, of course, means allowing us access to that history, and the people that made it. And that, my friends, is the crux of the problem. 

My grandfather recognized immediately how dangerous the stone was. He knew that going back in time would endanger history, and the fate of the world itself. Unfortunately, Nicholas Fleming, John’s son, looked past the danger and saw the fame and fortune that such a discovery would bring. Unwilling to listen to my grandfather’s warning, Nicholas armed himself with a weapon and his twenty-first-century knowledge, climbed onto the stone, and went merrily back to Old England, to reappear some five hundred years before I was born. 

My grandfather, with his ability to read the stones, identified Nicholas’ destination and went after him. His plan was to bring the man home, to safety, but that goal was quickly overshadowed by what Nicholas was doing. Because within days of finding him, Doc realized that Nicholas’ ambition had gone far beyond money and glory. He had decided to reshape history to his liking, starting with the War of the Roses. And in changing history – for reasons that still escape us – he was putting the entire world in danger. He had to be stopped. 

You might be asking yourself how I got involved in all of this. Devine intervention, coincidence, bad luck? Well, that’s the million-dollar question that keeps me up at night. And I still don’t have a good answer. Not one that would make sense to anyone other than myself. The simple truth is that I also have the ability to read the stones. And I can do it better than my grandfather. I can travel back in time, yes, but I can also do more. Somehow, and I know how crazy this sounds, I can talk to the stones. Learn from them. Use them as the tools they actually are. And it’s all with one goal in mind: to preserve our past. To maintain history and, with it, the thread of time, and the world around us. 

 How do we do that? I have no idea. But I can say with a bit of pride that we’ve already started. Doc and I, with the help of my friends, Tatiana, Paul, and Katherine, and my recently acquired body guard Reis, defeated Richard III at the battle of Bosworth, despite Fleming taking his side, and thus helped to close the door on the Dark Ages. We stopped Nicholas Fleming from throwing the world off balance by changing the outcome of that one important war. So we’ve already started our fight for history and the world. 

 Unfortunately, Nicholas Fleming, now known as Dresden, escaped. Doc believes that Dresden has no true relationship with the stones, and therefore can’t predict their line of travel. Based on that, he thinks that Dresden’s last trip on the stones must have ended up at the bottom of the English Channel, or atop Mount Everest under several feet of snow. He doesn’t believe that Dresden survived his escape. He thinks that we’re safe, now that Dresden has disappeared. 

But I know differently. I know what I saw when Dresden escaped, and the stone he was on made sure I understood. In reality, Dresden was sent to Germany in the year of 1939, right when the Nazis were coming to power. He didn’t know where he was going, but I’m sure he made it there safely. And I have to find him. No matter how much Doc tries to convince me otherwise, the stones don’t lie. Dresden is still out there, somewhere. And I have to find him and stop him, before he does anything else to damage history. 

Because the world won’t be safe until I do. 

Jason Evans 
 Keeper of the Black Stones


PT McHugh didn’t start out as a storyteller. He was, however, born into a family that encouraged imagination. He became a fan of history in school and then went to college to become a construction engineer, to build a world of straight lines, angles, and equations.

He was just as surprised as everyone else when he realized that he believed in magic, and might just know the secret of how to jump through time. Since then, he’s been researching the possibility and learning everything he can about history. Just in case the opportunity arises.

PT was born and raised in New Hampshire and currently lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife, two daughters, and a dog named Bob, daring to dream of alternate worlds and cheering for his beloved New England Patriots.

Contact Links:


Thank-you to the ever-wonderful Carrie from Glass House Press for hosting this tour and allowing me to participate, and to the author, PT McHugh for creating such an amazing series!

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