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A Blackbird Summer Series Novel
Em Shotwell
Releasing April 5th, 2016
City Owl Press

When people fear the unknown, being Gifted is a curse.

In the cornerstone of the rural south, Brooklyn, Mississippi, no one dares make eye contact with the strange Caibre family. Until the rewards are worth the cost. The townsfolk come, cash in hand, always at night, to pay for services only a Gifted can provide.

No matter the Gifts prevalent in her family, at twenty-one, Tallulah is expected to follow the path laid out for her: marriage, babies, and helping her mama teach the family home school program. She’s resigned to live the quiet life and stay out of trouble…until she meets Logan.

An outsider and all around rebel, Logan doesn’t care about her family’s reputation. Yet after a tragic loss wreaks havoc on the crumbling relationship between the Caibres and the townsfolk, Tallulah must decide if love and freedom are worth risking everything.

Again, I waited for the laughter. Instead, Logan nodded, encouraging me to continue, and I realized that while part of me may have wanted him to bolt, but mostly, I really, really wanted to trust him.
I took a sip of my water to wet my dry throat. “So there’s my Grandma. Hers is the most important Gift. It is called Vigour, and it is pretty rare. Death and sickness are slower in her presence. She even ages slower. It drives my Mama crazy that Grandma has less wrinkles than she does. She’s also why our fruit trees are able to produce all year, and why our produce stand never has to close for the season.”
I plunged ahead, afraid that if I gave Logan one second of a chance, that I’d get that laugh or snide comment I’d been waiting on earlier. “Speaking of Mama, she can talk to birds. Crows are the chattiest, always gossiping and getting on her nerves. Daddy can call down the weather. He’s been known to shield the town from a few close calls with tornados. My sister Delia, and also my cousin Jack, they are Charmers. With a little eye contact they can convince anybody of anything.” I paused, looking down to my hands and smiling. “When we were little, Delia was always stealing candy. If a store clerk saw her, she’d just smile at them straight in the eye, and they would smile back, letting her take whatever she wanted. It’s also the reason Myrtle is so scared of her—but that’s a story for another time. I have a cousin who can see two minutes into your future just by touching you, and an Aunt who can—”
I stopped talking, suddenly aware that Logan was staring at me, open-mouthed. “Look, I know it sounds crazy. I do. But I swear I am telling you the truth.”
He nodded.
Here it comes, I thought, suddenly aware of how much his rejection would sting. I’d shared too much. Now it felt personal.
 “I didn’t say that I think you are lying. It’s just— it’s a lot.  What about you? What’s your Gift, Tallulah?” He asked, straight-faced. The look made me suspicious, fearful the skepticism was coming.
I sighed.
“Mine isn’t that clear cut. But it’s another reason—on quite a long list—of why this has to be our one and only date.”
Logan narrowed his eyes. “That I don’t understand. If I said that I believe what you are saying, then why couldn’t we at least have a chance at getting to know each other? Let’s just say that I bought into all this,” he said. “That I believe you come from some kind of motley band of rural super heroes—then why would I need to stay away? I would know what I was signing up for.”
I smiled. Motley band of rural super heroes…
“You believe me?” I asked. The possibility never occurred to me, not really. I had never, not once even imagined that he would believe me at face value. I mean, I’d hoped it. Really hoped. And I knew he would hear the rumors, but to an outsider they would sound like small town legend. It was actually something that my family had counted on over the years. One of the ways that we remained hidden in plain sight.
Logan shrugged. “I think I do,” he paused. “What if I told you I had my own secret? That there was something that I never really talked about because it made me sound crazy?”
I stared at him, my eyes narrowing. What could he possibly have to say, after hearing about my family, that he wouldn’t want to say for fear of sounding crazy? I think I had just covered enough crazy for the both us.

Let’s Meet The
Men of Blackbird Summer

Blackbird Summer is a lot of things. It is a small-town romance. It is a story of survival. Of sisterhood. Of forbidden love. It gets dark and gritty.

But it is also a whole lot of fun.

One of the main reason that Blackbird Summer manages to be a  fun book, despite going to some rather dark places, is because of the men. They are protective, but they are also super chill. They are the kind of guys that you would want to have a beer with. To laugh with. The kind of guys you’d be comfortable bumming around with and being yourself.

I have talked a lot about my leading ladies—Tallulah and Delia Caibre. And I have even talked about the parents and their (very) strange family dynamic.

Today—the guys get their turn!

Meet Logan: The One Off-Limits…

Age: 23

Occupation: High school music teacher.

Talents: While Logan isn’t Gifted in the way that Tallulah’s family is, he is a very talented musician with a passion for teaching music. He plays guitar and piano.

Look: Logan is tall (something that Tallulah notices instantly…she is a tall girl herself). He has dark tan/ medium brown skin given to him by his Native-American father and Haitian Grandmother. His eyes are dark green (A gift from his Grandfather). His hair is shiny  and chin length. He is quick to smile and laugh, showing off perfect teeth.

Tallulah and Logan are instantly drawn to each other—but there is more to their connection than insta-love. (If you are curious, you can get your free copy of The Chans by going here. This will give you a glimpse into Logan’s head). Unfortunately—there are many reasons that Tallulah and Logan shouldn’t be together. Good thing they are willing to break a few rules.

Meet Thomas: The One She’s Supposed To Be With…

Age: 23

Occupation: Works on an off-shore oil rig.

Talents: Thomas is from a Gifted family. He has an unsual talent…he can create and control small balls of fire. He claims it’s mostly useless, but makes for a pretty impressive party trick. His real passion is the outdoors. An avid fisherman, he’s happiest in nature.

Look: Thomas is a country boy. He has shaggy brownish/blondish hair that is usually stuffed under a baseball cap, and Gifted-Green eyes. He is tall, but where Logan is lanky, Thomas has a muscular build. He has dimples and a southern drawl.

Thomas is the one that Tallulah is supposed to like…but when he connects with the wrong Caibre sister, the rest is history. He and Delia seem to be made for each other…if only they can work it out.

Meet Jack: Cousin and Partner In Crime…

Age: 18

Occupation: At 18 years old, Jack works at the family produce stand and on the farm. He has plans though…plans that are sure to shake things up.

Talents: Jack is Delia’s boy book-end. More like twins than cousins, it’s no surprise that they possess the same Gift: the Gift of Charm. If Jack can make eye contact with an unGifted person- then they will want to make him happy. 

Look: With the same straight, dark hair and big, bright green eyes—Jack and Delia look like they are cut from the same mold. (Jack’s Dad and Delia’s mom ARE twins...) He has clear, fair-ish skin and a runner’s build. He’s taller than Delia and Tallulah, but average height for a dude.

Jack is Tallulah and Delia’s “third”. He grew up letting the girls boss him around, and even as a young adult, is still the most laid back one in their group of three. Nothing really ruffles Jack’s feathers. He’s happiest when the people he loves are happy. But like Tallulah, he hopes for a future where he can be his true self, and he isn’t scared to shake things up to make it happen.

Who is your favorite guy from Blackbird Summer? I would love to hear who you prefer. Are any worthy of the title “Book-Boyfriend?” 

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Em Shotwell is the author of Blackbird Summer with City Owl Press. She believes the most interesting characters are the ones who live on the sidelines, and that the smallest towns often hide the biggest secrets.

Em’s characters will bless your heart between sips of sweet tea- but be warned! There is often more to them than meets the eye. She loves to craft stories around outcasts and weirdos with a spark of magic and a penchant for finding trouble.

She lives in South Louisiana with a husband who spoils her and two mini-superheroes who call her mom. When she isn’t writing about misfits and oddballs, she enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, and debating Doctor Who facts with her obsessed ten year old.

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