Tag Archives: Guest Post

Mistress of Lies by Holly West Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway!

HollyWestBanner1Welcome to the Mistress of Lies Blog Tour! I’m happy to be a part of this tour, as fortunetelling and historical fiction are two of my favorite things. While I don’t agree with all of the author’s ideas about fortunetelling (I’m a professional tarot reader, after all), I think she did a phenomenal job researching 17th Century fortunetelling and bringing the time period to life.

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MISTRESS OF LIES
Mistress of Fortune #2
Author: Holly West
Release Date: Sept, 29 2014
Publisher: Carina

London, 1679

Isabel, Lady Wilde, mistress of King Charles II, has made a good living disguised as fortune teller Mistress Ruby, counseling London’s elite. But after the murder of one of her customers, business has taken a downturn, and Isabel is on the verge of accepting the king’s offer to move into the palace.

Isabel’s plans are interrupted when a beggar girl named Susanna shows up at her home, claiming to be her niece. Isabel always believed that her older brother, Adam, died alone during the plague. When Susanna reveals that Adam was actually murdered, Isabel is compelled to take up an impossible task: discover the truth about her brother’s death, twelve years after it happened.

Isabel’s investigation leads her through the gamut of London society, from bear-baiting matches and brothels to the realm of wealthy bankers. But as she uncovers her brother’s dark secrets, Isabel begins to wonder whether the past is better left buried, especially when uncovering the truth could lead to her own funeral.

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Fortunetelling in the 17th Century

I’ve always been pretty up front about the fact that I don’t personally believe that anyone has the ability to predict the future. But I chose this profession for my heroine, Isabel Wilde, for a couple of reasons. First, I’ve always been fascinated by the cultural traditions of soothsayers and healers, particularly “wise women.” Medical science was in its infancy in the 17th century, and only the rich could afford physicians. Wise women took up the slack, especially in rural areas.

Second, I needed Isabel to be able to earn a living for herself outside of the occupations typically available to women in the 17th century. The roles of wife, mother, servant, or prostitute were not for her. I liked the idea of creating a strong female character that understood the constraints of her gender, working them to her advantage rather than letting them define her. She isn’t shy about the fact that she’s a charlatan—unless you happen to be one of her customers, of course—but at heart she wants to help people. Though Isabel isn’t exactly a wise woman, she does recommend various herbs and connections to her customers and offers sincere, practical advice when she can.

Her main role is that of a fortuneteller, however, and as such, part of my research included a visit to a fortuneteller. I’ll admit to being nervous, not because I feared she’d reveal something unexpected, but because I didn’t want her to know I was only there for research purposes. I made an effort to be myself as much as possible while paying attention to her words and methods. In the end, she wasn’t much help because her questions and answers were so vague—since I was writing a book I need to present more compelling encounters, so much of what appears in my novels is entirely made up.

The main method Isabel uses in her occupation is palm reading. Tarot cards existed at the time, but their original purpose was for playing games and while there’s evidence they were used for divination in the mid 16th century,  the cards themselves held no meaning. I used the Internet to research chiromancy and used its principles as a loose guide in determining what her counsel would be to her various customers.

London was full of astrologers in the 17th century. In a time when much of the population was illiterate, the signs above their shops featured crescent moons, stars, and suns to identify their businesses. In the series’ first book, Mistress of Fortune, Isabel pays a visit to her friend and mentor, Mary Bixby. Mary is an astrologer, and to write the scene I prepared an astrological chart for Isabel. I enjoyed getting into Mary’s head as she gives Isabel counsel and tried to be as authentic as possible in interpreting the chart.

While I can’t say my opinions about fortunetellers have changed as a result of my research, I do enjoy imagining Isabel’s adventures as a soothsayer. I guess you could say my love of writing the Mistress of Fortune series is “written in the stars.”
black-divider-no-background-hiAbout the Author

holly_headshot_0214Holly West is a crime fiction writer based in Los Angeles. Her short stories appear in several anthologies and her debut historical mystery, MISTRESS OF FORTUNE, will be published by Carina Press in 2014.

Website: hollywest.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/writerhollywest
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hollywest
Instagram: http://instagram.com/hollywest

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4932670.Holly_West

 

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Giveaway

HWest Giveaway

Must be 13+ To Enter | Ships in US ONLY

1 Winner will get a Kindle Fire HD 7 (8GB) Tablet in their choice of color.

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Phobic by Cortney Pearson Book Blitz + Giveaway!

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IFB is hosting the promo event for Cortney Pearson’s YA Horror release, Phobic. Continue below for a teaser and giveaway.



22465896Series: The Forbidden Doors #1
Release date: September 8th 2014
Purchase: Amazon


Synopsis via Goodreads:

Fifteen-year-old Piper Crenshaw knows her house is strange. It’s never needed repairs since it was built in the 1800s, and the lights flicker in response to things she says. As if those things aren’t creepy enough, it’s also the place where her mother committed murder.
 
To prove she’s not afraid of where she lives, Piper opens a forbidden door, which hides a staircase that leads to the ceiling. That’s when the flashbacks of the original residents from 1875 start, including a love affair between two young servants. Each vision pulls Piper deeper into not only their story, but also her house. Piper confides in her best friend, Todd, whom she’s gradually falling for, but even he doesn’t believe her. At least, not until her house gets axed during a prank, and the act injures Piper instead, cutting a gash the size of Texas into her stomach.
 
Piper realizes her house isn’t haunted—it’s alive. To sever her link to it, she must unravel the clues in the flashbacks and uncover the truth about her mother’s crime, before she becomes part of her house for good.

 
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Cortney Pearson
Cortney Pearson is a book nerd who studied literature at BYU-Idaho, a music nerd who plays clarinet in her local community orchestra, and a writing nerd who creates books for young adults. She lives with her husband and three sons in a small Idaho farm town.
 


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A Whispered Darkness by Vanessa Barger Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway!

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A Whispered Darkness
Author: Vanessa Barger
Publication date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.

When Claire Mallory’s father leaves, her mom moves them to a new town and into a dilapidated Victorian house.

The old house creaks and whistles, and smells well — like it’s been abandoned for years. But as the nights grow longer and the shadows take on substance, Claire wonders if the strange sounds and occurrences might be more than the house showing its age.

Just as things start to pick up in Claire’s love life, her mother becomes possessed. In an attempt to save her mother and their new home, Claire enlists the help of two boys, each of whom is interested in Claire for different reasons. As she chooses one boy over the other, something dangerous is unleashed, and the spirits make their move.

They aren’t content to moan and scream inside Claire’s house, or even control her mom. They want a taste of freedom, and she’s their key to getting it. But is Claire strong enough to fight off the evil spirits, or will they claim her and her mom before it’s all over?

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Old Houses & Why They Can Be So Creepy & Fascinating

Hello and thank you for letting me take over your blog for the day! I’m super excited for the launch of A WHISPERED DARKNESS, and in that spirit the blog post is all about old houses and their appeal. Which they have a lot of, really.

I think, at least for me, old houses are interesting because they have a past. I mean, new homes are pretty and shiny and come with that new paint smell. But old houses, old houses have serious atmosphere. They can look shiny and have that new paint smell too – depends on how well they’ve been taken care of. But they don’t have the cookie cutter look. You’ve seen it. Driving through a new subdivision and realizing that all the houses are the same three patterns (or less) over and over. The only way to tell them apart is the color or the bushes out front.

Old houses have wrap around porches and weird little gingerbread cutouts in the corners that either make them look cute or like a witch with a big wart on her nose is waiting for you to come just a little. Bit. Closer. They have big trees (I’m a sucker for trees. It’s a weird fascination.) and beautiful flowers that pop out of piles of weeds where you least expect it. They watch you as you crunch up a gravel driveway, and look sad when you leave.

For me, their history is what makes them creepy and fascinating. Sometimes they come with ghost stories already built in. I live near Williamsburg, Virginia, and most of the old homes there have some sort of ghost story associated with it. Sometimes several versions of the same story. It gives your mind something to think about and a spark to fuel your imagination when you’re standing outside looking at the window where the wife fell to her doom. Or was she pushed?

Even if they don’t have a ghost story attached, you find things in old houses. You could open a floor vent and find old toy soldiers. Rip up a carpet and find the remains of a wooden floor with scuff marks or a name carved there. Attics can be filled with the leftover flotsam the last owner didn’t want to move again. There was life in the walls before you got there, and you have no idea what happened. Arguments, lovers, children, sadness, war, whatever.

Sometimes (and it might just be me, being fanciful) you can walk into an old house and you can feel the atmosphere change. Heavier or thicker. Like it’s watching you and waiting to see what you do before it makes its first move.

Maybe that doesn’t answer the question, but I think that’s what it is for me. It’s the history of the house and the way it’s been taken care of (or not) that set the tone for how you feel about them.

The house in A WHISPERED DARKNESS is inspired by three that I have seen. One is in the town I used to live in. A huge white mansion that looks gorgeous from a distance, but once you start looking a little closer you can see that the paint is peeling, the gardens are overgrown, and the windows look grimy inside and out. The second is one I passed on  a road trip that was abandoned in the middle of a field. It looked like it had been stately and pretty important in its day, until someone left it to rot.

The last is a house that was being swallowed by woods and swamp outside of a nursery my mom loves in Virginia Beach. (Winesett Nursery for anyone who knows the area). It has collapsed, I think, for the most part now. It wasn’t big, and I never even tried to venture close to it, but it always left an impression. The windows were broken out and always black inside, the door hung crooked, it just seemed to be both enticing and sad and slightly sinister all that the same time. I think it’s what Claire’s house might have looked like if no one ever tried to sell it.

Have you seen old houses that made you feel that way?

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About the Author

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Vanessa Barger was born in West Virginia, and through several moves ended up spending the majority of her life in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is a graduate of George Mason University and Old Dominion University, and has degrees in Graphic Design, a minor in Medieval and Renaissance Literature, and a Masters in Technology Education. She has had articles published in Altered Arts Magazine, has had some artwork displayed in galleries in Ohio and online, and currently teaches engineering, practical physics, drafting and other technological things to high school students in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She is a member of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and the Virginia Writer’s Club. When not writing or teaching, she’s a bookaholic, movie fanatic, and loves to travel. She has one cat, who believes Vanessa lives only to open cat food cans, and can often be found baking when she should be editing.

Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Giveaway

Winner will be drawn September 26, 2014
· Four (4) winners will receive a digital copy of A Whispered Darkness by Vanessa Barger (INT)
· One (1) winner will receive a digital copy of A Whispered Darkness by Vanessa Barger AND a $10 Amazon Gift Card or B&N Gift Card – Winner’s Choice (INT)

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My Tethered Soul (Reaper’s Rite #2) by Dorothy Dreyer Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway!

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My Tethered Soul (Reaper’s Rite #2)
by Dorothy Dreyer
Publication Date: August 19, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books

 

It’s been months since Zadie faced her sister’s Reaper, months during which she’s been under her mentor’s magical protection. But now that she’s turning seventeen, that protection is about to run out.

When dark forces lure Zadie to wander at night, she’s manipulated into committing unspeakable acts. With her friends and family at risk, Zadie must try to use her powers to break free from the Reaper’s grasp, or surrender to the Reaper’s Rite, which can only lead to death.

Purchase:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | TBD | iBooks

…and don’t miss the first book in the Reaper’s Rite series

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Sixteen-year-old Zadie’s first mistake was telling the boy she liked she could bring her dead sister back to life. Her second mistake was actually doing it.

When Zadie accidentally messes with the Reaper’s Rite that should have claimed her sister Mara, things go horribly wrong. Mara isn’t the same anymore—Zadie isn’t even sure she’s completely human, and to top it off, a Reaper is determined to collect Mara’s soul no matter what. Now Zadie must figure out how to defeat her sister’s Reaper, or let Mara die … this time for good.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

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Reapers: The Metaphor

In the Reaper’s Rite series, a teenage girl is faced with battling Reapers. The scary creatures loom in shadowed corners, waiting to strike, so they can feed on frightened souls. One might assume that the battles taking place in my book are a metaphor for fighting death. But that assumption isn’t quite correct. The theme behind MY SISTER’S REAPER and MY TETHERED SOUL is actually the empowerment of good over evil, and secondly, the strength of females to take control of their lives.

In a world where so much bad happens, where we feel helpless to fix the evils of the world, we have to remember to use our magic—or in reality that inner strength and will within us—to stand up for what we believe in and do what we have to do to make things right. I took this mindset to heart when writing my protagonist. Sure, there are times when she feels weak and helpless, like she’s trying her best but it’s still an uphill battle. But that strength and will within her and, in the book, her magic, help her to persevere. And I hope that underlying message comes across to my readers: always believe in your magic!

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About the Author

Dorothy Dreyer

Dorothy Dreyer has always believed in magic. She loves reading, writing, movies, and spending time with her family and friends. Half-American and half-Filipino, Dorothy lives in Germany with her husband and two children.

Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Giveaway

  Winner will be drawn September 13, 2014

· Four (4) winners will receive a digital copy of My Tethered Soul by Dorothy Dreyer (INT)
· One (1) winner will receive a digital copy of My Tethered Soul by Dorothy Dreyer AND a $10 Amazon Gift Card or B&N Gift Card – Winner’s Choice (INT)

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Let’s Get Lost Week 2 Blitz: Release Celebration + Giveaway!

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Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid Book Blitz + Giveaway!

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Let’s Get Lost
by Adi
Alsaid
Release Date: 07/29/14
Harlequin Teen
 
Summary from Goodreads:
Five strangers.
Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.
Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA.
She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need
someone the most.There’s HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams
for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen
goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes
off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost
the ability to love.Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves
them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila’s own 4,268-mile
journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need
most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you’re
looking for is to get lost along the way.

 

Early Praise:
“Reminiscent of John Green’s Paper
Towns
 and road trip novels that feature a teen paving the way to
adulthood, Alsaid’s debut is a gem among contemporary YA novels.” – School
Library Journal
“Five love stories, beautifully woven
together by a special girl in search of adventure, hope, and full
appreciation of life’s simple pleasures. A do-not-miss.  ” – Justine Magazine
“Moving and poignant.”  – Glitter Magazine
“An entertaining and romantic road-trip
debut.” – Kirkus
“Leila’s quest to find the Northern
Lights takes readers on a captivating cross-country journey, where four
strangers’ adventures collide into one riveting tale of finding yourself.” ―YABooksCentral.com


“This will likely be a popular summer
hit, especially for older teen about to embark on their own journeys of
self-discovery.” –
Booklist
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Top 5 YA Authors

 

 

  • John Green
  • Leslye Walton
  • David Levithan
  • Corey Whaley
  • Lockhart

 

In the few years since I began reading young adult novels, I’ve taken a shotgun-blast approach when choosing what to read next. Rather than focusing on one author’s work to fully explore, I’ve tried to get my hands on as many different ones as possible. So, though I’ve only read one or two books by some of these authors, they wrote the books I most enjoyed within the genre, and am looking forward to reading more and more of their work. Three of them I only discovered this year while traveling to book conferences, and all three of their books (Whaley’s Noggin, Lockhart’s We Were Liars, and fellow debut author Leslye Walton’s The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender) are among my favorite books overall that I’ve read in the past couple years.

 

My Top 5 YA Authors

 

Donna Jo Napoli

Libba Bray

Laurie Halse Anderson

Holly Black

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

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bd3d9-abouttheauthorAdi Alsaid was born and raised in Mexico City, then studied at the
University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in class, he mostly read fiction and
continuously failed to fill out crossword puzzles, so it’s no surprise that
after graduating, he did not go into business world but rather packed up his
apartment into his car and escaped to the California coastline to become a
writer. He’s now back in his hometown, where he writes, coaches high school and
elementary basketball, and has perfected the art of making every dish he eats
or cooks as spicy as possible. In addition to Mexico, he’s lived in Tel Aviv,
Las Vegas, and Monterey, California. A tingly feeling in his feet tells him
more places will eventually be added to the list. Let’s Get Lost is his YA
debut.  
Let’s Get Lost Website!
 
Author Links:
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1 signed hardcover copy of Let’s Get Lost
1 Let’s Get Lost luggage tag
1 Harlequin TEEN notebook
1 Let’s Get Lost sachel
1 Harlequin TEEN tote bag

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Book Blitz Organized by:

Book Tour: Prophecy of the Most Beautiful (Oracle of Delphi #1) Guest Post + Giveaway!

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17772-grey-divider-no-background-hiprophecy of the most beautiful

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Prophecy of the Most Beautiful 
(Oracle of Delphi #1)
by Diantha Jones 
Release Date: 03/01/12

She has a destiny so great that even the gods fear her.

Constant hallucinations and the frequent conversations with the voices in her head, have earned eighteen-year-old Chloe Clever the not-so-coveted title of “Whack Job” in her home town of Adel, Georgia. Fed up with prescription meds and therapists, she wishes for a life where she is destined to be more than the butt of everyone’s jokes and mockery.

Be careful what you wish for has never rung more true.

After a vicious attack and learning that her favorite rockstar is an Olympian god, she is thrust into her new life as the Oracle of Delphi, the prophesier of the future. Setting out to fulfill the prophecy she has been given, Chloe learns of how great she is to become, all the while fighting mythical monsters and trying to outwit the ever-cunning Greek gods who harbor secrets of their own. While on a mission to discover the Most Beautiful, she strives to uncover the mysteries of the demigod Prince who has sworn to protect her with his life…and threatens to win her heart in the process.

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Wrangling the Myths: How I Did It

 

I didn’t really. Wrangle the myths, that is.

 

Greek mythology is so massive, it would take a lifetime to learn everything. Even then, I bet there’d be something you missed. It’s an impossible thing to take on. I’ve studied the myths for the past four years and still feel like a fish out of water at times. There’s just so much of it, so many interpretations, that in the end it all boils down to which tall tale you choose to believe.

 

When researching the myths for my Oracle of Delphi series, I started with…duh, the Oracle. That was easy enough, I guess. Then I moved on to the Olympians. That went well too…at first. Then I realized there was so much more to the big twelve than I had ever known. They are each the god of at least ten different things. They’ve also got a beast or two that is attributed to them, plus plants and other symbols. And let’s not start with the love interests! Out of control, I tell you.

 

But I didn’t stop there. To understand the ways of the Olympians, I had to also study the Titans (Kronos, Rhea, Hyperion, etc.) and the gods of the Cosmos (Uranus, Gaia, Nyx, etc.). Then came the myths themselves. My favorite is the story of Cupid and Psyche and how their romance came to be. But there are other cool myths as well, such as the quest of Jason & the Argonauts, and the twelve labors of Hercules, both which are important to the Oracle of Delphi series.

 

Then there are all of the minor gods and demigods who played major roles in Greek mythology. Really ya’ll…it’s a lot, but not for a moment have I ever felt bored with it. It’s all such exciting stuff! Each time I open one of my books or bring up a website, I’m excited wondering what new, amazing myth I’m going to discover. So have I conquered the Greek myths? Not even close. But I’m sure having a blast trying.

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About the Author

diantha jones Diantha Jones was born the day thousands of turkeys sacrificed their lives to fill millions of American bellies on November 22 which also happened to be Thanksgiving Day (Her mother says she owes her a turkey). She is a Journalism graduate who wants to be a career novelist (of books, not Facebook posts). When not writing or working, she is reading on her Nook, being hypnotized by Netflix or on a mission to procure french fries.

The Oracle of Delphi fantasy series is her first series. She is also the author of Mythos: Stories from Olympus, a companion series, and there is another fantasy series in the works. She also writes (new) adult fantasy/paranormal romance under the name A. Star.

 

Author Links:

Website Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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The Haunt of Thirteen Curves by Jeanne Arnold Book Blitz + Giveaway!

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The Haunt of Thirteen Curves
by Jeanne Arnold
Genre: YA Paranormal
Release Date:  July 7th 2014
“In the armory, things can be convincing and impossible. Just like Elias.”
 
Seventeen-year-old Marcella Jackoby’s bleak reality is altered when she encounters the apparition of a grieving bride wandering the deadly thirteen curves outside of Pennywright. Intent on capturing Marcella, the bride seeks to populate a mythical castle disguised as an abandoned armory, where young guests tirelessly battle an alliance of recluses in order to live with the promise of eternal youth and love.
 
Unaware of Elias Hawk’s efforts to safeguard her from untimely death, and in spite of the fact that he and the kids residing at the armory are not what they appear to be, Marcella falls for this enigmatic young man. As she uncovers Elias’s century-old secret, Marcella’s home life crumbles and an encounter with a roughneck adversary threatens her budding relationship and the existence of the armory’s residents, unintentionally leading Marcella to ignite war between the worlds, endangering the couple’s future in a shocking twist of fate.
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Hi there,

I feel I must warn you. If you survive the heart-pounding drive up the haunted thirteen curves, avoiding the clutches of roving brides and armed recluses, you better be ready for what awaits at the top.

I found out the hard way when I demanded my sister tell me where she disappeared to for days on end. I wasn’t willing to back down until she shared her secret escape. Little did I know she would actually drag me up the stomach-churning curves, blindfolded, with her boyfriend at the wheel, driving a million miles an hour. What they revealed to me in the winter of my seventeenth year…transformed me forever.

Surviving the treacherous drive to the abandoned armory was merely the start of my death-defying adventure. Navigating Elias Hawk’s sneaky manipulation became my task when I was introduced to the castle in the sky and its unique cast of dwellers. The more Elias evaded my questions about the place he called home, the more I knew he was covering up something big. The striking boy drove me wild with his clever smokescreens and well-timed kisses. Until I stumbled on his nemesis…a waiflike, ghost-bride waiting to collect me on the thirteen curves.

Trust me when I tell you to hold on tight. You’ll need more than a seatbelt to ride this ride.Consider yourself warned.

Sincerely,

Marcella Jackoby of Pennywright

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jeannearnold

Jeanne Arnold is an author of young adult romance. At a young age she found her creative outlet in art, and for years her fictional characters came to life in drawings and paintings, until they demanded a voice. Now they grace the pages of her stories. Jeanne shares her time with her fictional teenage counterparts and her human family in Central New York. STUBBORN is available in ebook, print and audiobook at all major online retailers. Look for THE HAUNT OF THIRTEEN CURVES in July 2014 and JUST AS STUBBORN, the second installment in the STUBBORN series, in January 2015.

 

 

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Cover Reveal: Phobic (Forbidden Doors #1) by Cortney Pearson + Giveaway!

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Series: The Forbidden Doors #1
Genre: YA Horror
Release date: September 2014
Fifteen-year-old Piper Crenshaw knows her house is strange. It’s never needed repairs since it was built in the 1800s, and the lights flicker in response to things she says. As if those things aren’t creepy enough, it’s also the place where her mother committed murder.
 
To prove she’s not afraid of where she lives, Piper opens a forbidden door, which hides a staircase that leads to the ceiling. That’s when the flashbacks of the original residents from 1875 start, including a love affair between two young servants. Each vision pulls Piper deeper into not only their story, but also her house. Piper confides in her best friend, Todd, whom she’s gradually falling for, but even he doesn’t believe her. At least, not until her house gets axed during a prank, and the act injures Piper instead, cutting a gash the size of Texas into her stomach.
Piper realizes her house isn’t haunted—it’s alive. To sever her link to it, she must unravel the clues in the flashbacks and uncover the truth about her mother’s crime, before she becomes part of her house for good.
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On Inspiration

As writers we are constantly gathering inspiration (whether we know it or not). An overheard conversation, watching people interact, teenagers laughing together, hearing others tell stories. I believe we subconsciously refer to our life experiences as we write and create stories. We have to. In order to generate realistic emotion and detail that readers can relate to, we have to have some kind of jumping-off-point to base them on. I’d like to share just a few things that sparked ideas for me as I created the world of PHOBIC, a world which is based on the ethereal aspect of seemingly ordinary places.

Inspiration #1
My great aunt lived alone in this fantastic old house built by her father, my great-great grandfather. And it felt like stepping back through time every time I walked through the door. BUT. Right off from her back door–the entrance we always used–was a staircase. It wasn’t long. It wasn’t even hidden like those in my story. But this staircase led to Aunt Vay’s basement with its concrete floor and old cast iron stove and that pair of metal roller skates that always sat alone on a shelf. I hated going in that basement, especially by myself.

Looking back at these pictures now I wonder why I’d been so scared, but as a kid that basement was terrifying!

The basement in PHOBIC plays a huge part in the mystery of the house Piper lives in. It’s a place she’s been forbidden from entering, but this time she’s determined to find out why.

Inspiration #2
Another instance happened at Aunt Vay’s when my mom, sister, and I had pulled in late at night to sleep after traveling from California to Utah all day long. We were tired. It was cold and windy outside. And my mom couldn’t find her key to the back door. We tried that knob several times and then as I went to reach for the knob again, the door opened. All on its own. OPENED. My mom, sister, and I all exchanged looks and when I checked the knob (on the now open door), it was still locked. True story! So it prompted the opening and this scene in PHOBIC:

My best friend Todd’s red pickup appears at the curb, spewing exhaust like the truck has a cigarette up its backside. I jerk up. My pulse kicks at the sight of him. That’s been happening a lot more lately, my insides flaring up and doing some sort of spastic dance whenever I catch sight of his alluring smile and dark curls.
Leaving the second Pop-Tart on the table, I stuff my phone in my pocket and snatch up my backpack and clarinet case. I dart past the round, velvet-topped table in the wide hallway to the front door.
I reach for the knob. It won’t turn.
Heart pounding, I try again. One way, then the other. Chick. Chick. The lock mechanism is vertical. The door isn’t locked.
“Not now,” I say under my breath. “Please not now.”
The hairs at my nape skulk up one by one until they all stand on end. My wrist flicks, and the obstinate knob makes the same chick chick sounds. The eerie feeling spreads down the length of my arm, making the knob cold under my touch. What is going on? I’m used to my house doing strange things, but why won’t it let me out?

Inspiration #3
The Winchester Mansion in California has also been intriguing to me, especially the staircase that leads to the ceiling. This whole house is completely creepy, but especially this:

Piper’s house also has a hidden staircase similar to this one. Her discovery of it knocks her sense of reality way off course, and she begins seeing flashbacks of the original residents of house. Which leads to…

Inspiration #4
I LOVE romances, along with Victorian/Regency-era stories. So my final inspiration for the story–particularly the flashbacks that Piper has to the past–is:

Downton Abbey (I know it takes place after the two eras above-mentioned. But still, inspiration.) It was after watching the first few episodes that my two star-crossed servants in love sprang into my head.

There were many other sources of inspiration as well, but these are the main ones. What about for you? What inspires you when you write?

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About the Author

cortneypearson

Cortney Pearson is a book nerd who studied literature at BYU-Idaho, a music nerd who plays clarinet in her local community orchestra, and a writing nerd who creates books for young adults. She lives with her husband and three sons in a small Idaho farm town.
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Copper Magic by Julia Mary Gibson Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway!

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Copper Magic
by Julia Mary Gibson
Publisher: Starscape (July 1, 2014)
Genre: MG Historical Fantasy
 

Can an unearthed talisman found on the shores of Lake Michigan save 12-year-old Violet’s fractured family? Exploring themes of Native American culture, ecology, and conservation, this historical fiction novel comes brilliantly to life.

The year is 1906, and twelve-year-old Violet Blake unearths an ancient talisman—a copper hand—beside the stream where her mother used to harvest medicine. Violet’s touch warms the copper hand and it begins to reveal glimpses of another time. Violet is certain that the copper hand is magic—and if anyone is in need of its powers, it’s Violet. Her mother and adored baby brother are gone, perhaps never to return. Her heartbroken father can’t seem to sustain the failing farm on the outskirts of Pigeon Harbor, on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Surely the magic of the copper hand can make things right for Violet and restore her fractured family. Violet makes a wish. But her ignorant carelessness unleashes formidable powers—and her attempts to control them jeopardizes not only herself, but the entire town of Pigeon Harbor.

In Copper Magic, land and waters are alive with memories, intentions, and impulses. Magic alters Violet and brings her gifts—but not always the kind she thinks she needs. First-time author Julia Mary Gibson brings Violet and her community to life in this impressive and assured debut.

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Researching This Book

Research for Copper Magic was extensive and consuming.  I read all I could find on the history of the midwest, of Michigan, of the town I used as a model for Pigeon Harbor, Native American history, Anishinaabe tradition and culture, Hopewell art, copper, the logging industry, archaeology, astroarchaeology, plant medicine, quillwork, Edwardian fashion, and many other topics.

I went to every small-town museum and historical society in northern Michigan that I could find.  I went to Ohio and Illinois and visited Cahokia and the Hopewell sacred sites.  I watched movies set in the early 1900s, read the literature of that time.  I interviewed people.  I wrote letters.  I kept reams of notes in file folders.  I tacked images on my office wall: a dilapidated farmhouse, cherry trees in bloom, copper repousse plaqueous, Anishinaabe quillworkers selling their birch boxes by a tourist hotel, a map made by the French explorers, a modern map of Michigan, a map of the forced relocation of Natives, birch trees, Lake Michigan ice floes.

I never didn’t want to find out more.  I felt I had a responsibility to be as authentic to the time period and to the characters as I possibly could.  What would a 12-year-old small-town girl read?  What animals would she see in the wild?  How would her mind work?  How would she allow herself to feel?

A downside to research is that sometimes you want to use stuff that’s really cool that doesn’t serve the story.  In my writing group we call this phenomenon The Pickle Factory.  One of us was writing a book about a certain time and place, and in that actual time and place there was a pickle factory.  She found out all about how the pickles were made and what the factory smelled like and what kind of women worked there, and she really wanted one of her characters to work there too.  She wrote a wonderful scene in the pickle factory, but it didn’t quite go with the rest of the book.  She resisted dumping it, but eventually she did.

I contended with some Pickle Factories in Copper Magic.  Pickle Factories have to be put aside.  They drag the story down.  But they can be saved in one of those nice file folders.  Maybe that’s why I’m working on a story set in 1918, not so far from the 1906 of Copper Magic.  Those Pickle Factory files might come in handy.

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About The Author2

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For a significant chunk of my life I worked with sprocketed celluloid, as a garage animator and in various capacities in the visual effects industry. My colleagues were geniuses and magicians and sorceresses. The work was a blast (sometimes literally – catch me as Frances McDormand’s double in an awesome old-school beamsplitter shot in Sam Raimi’s DARKMAN), but a time came when my own work cried out to be fostered again.

I live in Hollywood, California, surrounded by my four-generation extended family of poets, thespians, dancers, filmworkers, and urban farmers.

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