October 31, 2012

The Non Reluctant YA Paranormal Spookacular Day Ten: HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Welcome to the FINAL day of The Non Reluctant Reader YA Paranormal Spooktacular. Today, there will be no giveaway or guest post, I just want to thank you all for all the comments and how supportive you've been of this event! If you could please fill out THIS SURVEY I'd love you forever!

October 30, 2012

Crossed Read-a-Long Week One Discussion Post

First, I would like to apologize to everyone for this post going up to late. I accidentally scheduled to go up at 9:00 PM not AM *headdesk* 
Hey everyone! Hope you are all enjoyed your reading of Crossed! It's week #1 in the read-along! By now you should have finished book one, MatchedParticipate in the discussion here and at Enna's blog to be entered to win one of the Breathless Reads prize packs! Remember. This is a celebration of Ally's wonderful books. Feel free to critique them however you may like. But keep in mind, any mean comments directed at Ally, Enna and I, Penguin Teen, or you fellow read-a-longers will be DELETED and you will be bared from future discussions. We're not trying to sound serious, we just want this to be DRAMA-FREE!
This week's question:
Cassia and the other girls at the work camp treasure the painting that Xander gave her. If you were in the same situation and could only take one painting or poem with you, what would it be and why?
Answer the question the comments then fill out the rafflecopter! Have fun!

The Non Reluctant Reader YA Paranormal Spooktacular: Scott Tracey, author of Demon Eyes

Hey guys, welcome to the ninth day of The Non Reluctant Reader YA Paranormal Spooktacular! I'm pleased to welcome Scott Tracey, author of Demon Eyes! So read on and prepared to be scared! And make sure when tweeting about it you use the hashtag #NRRYASpooktacular! See the schedule of the entire event and all the authors featured HERE.
Demons don't die without a fight...
After destroying the demon Lucien, Braden—son of Belle Dam’s most powerful warlock, Jason Thorpe—doesn’t need the power of his witch eyes to see that everything in his life is turning against him: friends, family, and even his visions. When disturbing nightmares of Lucien’s return haunt him, Braden discovers that the simmering feud between the city’s two witch dynasties is fast approaching its explosive boiling point.
While struggling to come to terms with his attraction to Trey, Catherine Lansing’s son who should be his mortal enemy, a diabolical plan starts to unveil before Braden’s eyes. Young women are disappearing from Belle Dam, and as he investigates, Braden is forced to explore the dangerous unknown power within himself. But when the truth about his family is revealed, Braden must pay a terrible price.
So I scrambled my brain to come up with a great topic, but seriously, it’s HARD.  Like, thinking up your own topic is not for the weak of heart.  Should I write about my favorite villains?  Favorite scary novels I read growing up?  Favorite scary Paris Hilton memories? 

And then it hit me.  The scariest non-horror movies ever.  Now there were a few honorable mentions, but I had to go with only the movies I’ve actually finished watching.  So, sorry ARACHNAPHOBIA, I couldn’t pick you.  Fun story – when I was a kid, my parents bought Arachnaphobia when it came out, and I tried DESPERATELY to watch it.  I think it just became a challenge after awhile – to see if I could get through the entire movie.  I probably started watching it 20 different times.  I never once made it through.  THAT is the mark of a traumatizing movie.  I probably wasn’t even that scared of spiders before! 

Also, an honorable mention to SLITHER, which Nathan Fillion.  I got to the part where the girl expands to the size of a barn and I was DONE.  D.O.N.E.  I hate sci fi movies especially when people get infected by creatures and things.  It gives me the creeps more than almost anything else.

But as I said, these are only the honorable mentions.  I had to go with the five scariest movies I’ve ever seen all the way through.

The Top Five Non-Horror Scariest Movies Ever:

IMDB says: A group of five college graduates rent a cabin in the woods and begin to fall victim to a horrifying flesh-eating virus, which attracts the unwanted attention of the homicidal locals.

Why it’s creepy:  It’s not even really a horror movie, per se.  But it’s a horrible, horrible movie (in the good way) about the flesh eating bacteria and one really messed up weekend.  I’ve seen this movie once, and only once, and I’ll probably never watch it all the way through again, because it creeped me out that bad. 


Because everything in this movie could feasibly happen.  It’s not about an undead killer being raised from the dead for the ninth time, this could happen.  (Okay, maybe not exactly the way it happened in this movie but it could happen).  There are horribly graphic moments where you realize just how horrible it would be to have the flesh eating virus.  If you’ve seen the movie, you know exactly what I’m talking about when I mention the shaving scene.

IMDB says: The drug-induced utopias of four Coney Island individuals are shattered when their addictions become stronger.

Why it’s creepy:

Drugs are bad.  But watching a movie like this, where you see exactly how so many different people fall into the drug trap, is kind of terrifying.  You can see exactly how people fall into a lifestyle of drugs and destruction, and you see exactly how badly Jared Leto fairs by the end.  Again, another movie I’ve only seen once (even though I own it) and I’ll probably never watch again.  The image of Jared Leto’s arm haunts me to this day. 

IMDB says: After an attack leaves him in limbo -- invisible to the living and also near death -- a teenager discovers the only person who might be able to help him, is his attacker.

Why It’s Creepy:  I don’t think there would be anything worse than having to watch what happens in the aftermath of your death, and knowing that there was nothing you could do to affect any of it.  Watching how the kids at school talk about you once you’re gone, what your parents go through, and even the ways your death affects the people that you didn’t realize it would affect.  And you’re trapped in a quiet afterlife world where no one can hear you, and nothing that you do sticks, and all you can do is watch.

This movie, unlike some of the others, is a movie that I’ve rewatched a thousand times.  It’s one of my favorite movies, and I love the visuals and the way the movie is set up.

IMDB says: Synthetic kryptonite laced with tobacco tar splits Superman in two: good Clark Kent and bad Man of Steel.

Why It’s Creepy:

Now this is an oldie (sort of), but it’s the first truly horrific movie I’ve ever seen in my life.  In the movie, there’s a part where one of the villain’s cohorts (his assistant, or secretary, or girlfriend, I forget) gets sucked up into this giant supercomputer and is forcibly remade into a creepy cyborg against her will.  I tell you, I saw this movie when I was five or six and I didn’t sleep for WEEKS.  WEEKS.  Any time you have a movie where people get remade, or they get infected with alien things, or they’re in some way taken over by computers or anything like that, it freaks me out worse than anything.

I STILL cannot watch this movie to this day.

IMDB says: A champion high school cheerleading squad discovers its previous captain stole all their best routines from an inner-city school and must scramble to compete at this year's championships.

Why It’s Creepy:  Do I really need to explain this one?  Seriously, I still have nightmares…

Something Wicked Comes Giveaway Hop: Win 666 Park Avenue by Gabriella Pierce

Welcome to my second day of the Something Wicked Comes Blog Hop hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings and Babbling About Books
666 Park Avenue by Gabriella Pierce
What if your mother-in-law turned out to be an evil, cold-blooded witch . . . literally?
Ever since fabulously wealthy Malcolm Doran walked into her life and swept her off her feet, fledgling architect Jane Boyle has been living a fairy tale. When he proposes with a stunning diamond to seal the deal, Jane can't believe her incredible luck and decides to leave her Paris-based job to make a new start with Malcolm in New York.
But when Malcolm introduces Jane to the esteemed Doran clan, one of Manhattan's most feared and revered families, Jane's fairy tale takes a darker turn. Soon everything she thought she knew about the world—and herself—is upended. Now Jane must struggle with newfound magical abilities and the threat of those who will stop at nothing to get them.
Enter after the page break!

October 29, 2012

The Non Reluctant Reader YA Paranormal Spooktacular Day Eight:

Hey guys, welcome to the eight day of The Non Reluctant Reader YA Paranormal Spooktacular! I'm pleased to welcome Kathleen Peacock, author of HemlockFirst Lisa will guest post, then there will be a giveaway! So read on and prepared to be scared! And make sure when tweeting about it you use the hashtag #NRRYASpooktacular! See the schedule of the entire event and all the authors featured HERE.
Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.
Since then, Mac's life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac's hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy's killer:
A white werewolf.
Lupine syndrome--also known as the werewolf virus--is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.
Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy's murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy's boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.
Kathleen Peacock's thrilling novel is the first in the Hemlock trilogy, a spellbinding urban fantasy series filled with provocative questions about prejudice, trust, lies, and love.
Graveyard Girl
Flash Back

“Don’t you think that’s a little… morbid?” My mother stands in the middle of my first apartment and stares at the huge black and white photo hanging above the sofa.

As far as tombstones go, it’s massive—made even more so by the fact that I practically stretched out on the ground to get the angle I wanted.

I shrug and lie. “I never really thought about it. It’s just a school project.” If I told her the truth—that I thought the picture was beautiful and spent twenty dollars on a sheet of large format photo paper to blow it up—she’d worry. If I even hinted at how often I used to go to the graveyard back home—an isolated spot on the edge of town—she’d freak.

As far as parental units go, my mother is pretty understanding, but given that I've rapidly gone from an introvert with self-esteem issues to an extrovert whose been bombing her first year of college, this doesn't seem like the time to tell her about my attraction to cemeteries.

After a long moment, she lets the subject of the photo drop and turns away.

The picture ends up being the first of many.

Flash Forward

Once it occurred to me to start taking photos in graveyards, I couldn't stop. Weeks go by—even months and occasionally years—and then I get the itch to point a camera at weathered inscriptions and sightless stone angels.

When I’m writing and get stuck on a chapter or plot point, I grab my iPod and ramble down tree lined paths, past plots and crypts, while listening to Death Cab for Cutie or Matthew Good.

It probably sounds totally EMO (Death Cab for Cutie? Tombstones?), but it’s not. For one thing, I’m terrified of death. Forget going gently into that dark night: I’ll be clinging on by my fingernails, wailing and screeching. I can barely make it through an episode of Six Feet Under without freaking out.

And, yet… I love cemeteries.

I love looking at markers and inscriptions and the mementos people leave behind. An entire passage in the second Hemlock book was inspired by Celtic knot work I spotted on a grave during one ramble and a small path tucked into a forgotten corner of my favorite graveyard—an inexplicable path that seemed to go nowhere—provided the inspiration for a major plot point in another book.

Death frightens me, but cemeteries fill me with a weird sense of calm—almost like walking through white noise. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense—how can you love cities of the dead when you fear death?—but it’s my one slightly spooky quirk.
Kathleen has generously donated one copy of Hemlock along with some awesome Hemlock swag! Enter after the page break!

October 28, 2012

The Non Reluctant YA Paranormal Spooktacular Day Seven: Lisa Desrochers, author of Last Rite

Hey guys, welcome to the seventh day of The Non Reluctant Reader YA Paranormal Spooktacular! I'm pleased to welcome Lisa Desrochers, author of Last RiteFirst Lisa will guest post, then there will be a giveaway! So read on and prepared to be scared! And make sure when tweeting about it you use the hashtag #NRRYASpooktacular! See the schedule of the entire event and all the authors featured HERE.
In this final installment of the thrilling, edgy Personal Demons series, the battle between Heaven and Hell has become critical, and Frannie Cavanaugh is right at the center of it.

With the help of the powerful angel Gabe and demon-turned-mortal Luc, Frannie has been able to stay one step ahead of the forces of Hell. But when the demons killed Frannie's best friend and destroyed her brother, they raised the stakes. If Frannie wants to keep her family and friends safe, she knows she has no choice but to go on the run.
Their best defense is the power Frannie has been struggling to master, but her attempts to hone her skill go horribly awry. If Frannie doesn't learn fast, the consequences could be devastating--even apocalyptic.
What happens when you can't outrun Hell...or trust the ones you love?
Frannie and Friends Pumpkin Carving Bash!

Frannie had some of her closest girlfriends over for a pumpkin-carving contest. She’s posted shots of their pumpkins below so y’all can vote for your favorite. And she’s promising prizes for the winners. (Which might include you if you vote!)

Here are the pumpkins!

Frannie’s pumpkin (Personal Demons):
pumpkin Frannie.jpg
Calla’s pumpkin (Nightshade):
pumpkin calla.jpg
Buffy’s pumpkin (Buffy the Vampire Slayer):
Pumpkin buffy.jpg
Anna’s pumpkin (Anna Dressed in Blood):
pumpkin anna.jpg
Aislinn’s pumpkin (Wicked Lovely):
pumpkin aislinn.jpg
Bella’s pumpkin (Twilight):
pumpkin bella.jpg
And, Ginny Weasley’s pumpkin (Harry Potter):
pumkin ginny.jpg

Frannie really needs your help to pick the winner, so vote in comments and help her out. Five (random) voters will receive signed Last Rite bookmarks and iPhone skins and one lucky winner will receive a signed copy of Last Rite plus swag! Make sure to include your emails! Contest ends Sunday, November 4th!

October 27, 2012

The Non Reluctant Reader YA Paranormal Spooktacular Day Six: Kendare Blake, author of Girl of Nightmares

Hey guys, welcome to the fifth day of The Non Reluctant Reader YA Paranormal Spooktacular! I'm pleased to welcome Kendare Blake, author of Anna Dressed in Blood and Girl of Nightmares. First Jessica will guest post, then there will be a giveaway! So read on and prepared to be scared! And make sure when tweeting about it you use the hashtag #NRRYASpooktacular! See the schedule of the entire event and all the authors featured HERE.
It's been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can't move on.

His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live—not walk around half dead. He knows they're right, but in Cas's eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.

Now he's seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he's asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong...these aren't just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn't know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn't deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it's time for him to return the favor.
Kendare Blake's Halloween Costume of her Heart

I love Halloween. The candy. The fall colors. The Candy. The costumes. The CANDY. The raucous parties made more intense by the strange feeling that something is ending; the summer, the year, the life cycle of seasonal plants. And obviously, THE CANDY.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to dress up for Halloween. For years, there’s been a costume I’ve been chasing, intending to find the stuff necessary to put it together. And it never happens. So I’m going to talk about it now, in an effort to find closure and let the fucker go.

The costume is: Goldfish who outgrew her bowl.

I would need: goggles. Swimfins painted orange. An orange bodysuit with gauzy fins sewn on. A sphere of plastic around my middle, with fish rocks glued to the bottom half and maybe some plastic plants. Or maybe I’d just carry around a little plastic castle, all sad like.

I want to be that fish. Because I would look horrible and ridiculous.  

But this will never happen. One year I went so far as to purchase the goggles and orange dye for some kind of jumpsuit. Never used it. So I have to let it go. I have to move on, and think about other, more attainable costumes. Like the back end of a horse. Or the Hamburglar. Or that first chick who got eaten by Jaws.

I feel better already.
Kendare has generously offered up one signed copy of Girl of Nightmares! Enter after the page break!

October 26, 2012

The Non Reluctant Reader YA Paranormal Spooktacular Day Five: Jessica Spotswood

Hey guys, welcome to the fifth day of The Non Reluctant Reader YA Paranormal Spooktacular! I'm pleased to welcome Jessica Spotswood, author of the witch novel, Born Wicked. First Jessica will guest post, then there will be a giveaway! So read on and prepared to be scared! And make sure when tweeting about it you use the hashtag #NRRYASpooktacular! See the schedule of the entire event and all the authors featured HERE.
A gorgeous, witchy, romantic fantasy by a debut author! Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and the Beautiful Creatures series!
Everybody thinks Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they're witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship--or an early grave. Then Cate finds her mother's diary, and uncovers a secret that could spell her family's destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra. But if what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe--not even from each other.
 Jessica Spotswood's Favorite Spooky Reads
When I was a teen, my favorite books were historical romance. But I also loved horror - Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine, and especially Lois Duncan.

I was visiting my parents in August when my eyes fell on my old bookshelf and a few tiny Lois Duncan paperbacks. I'm behind on my Goodreads challenge to read 100 books for the year, so I picked them up and brought them home with me, thinking a few quick re-reads would help. And once I read those three, I was hooked. I ended up buying five more. September became a Lois Duncan reading marathon for me.

What I love about Lois Duncan is that her books aren't really horror - there isn't the shock value associated with horror movies - it's more of a slow, creeping suspense. Her heroines have to save themselves from dreadful, often supernatural, predicaments. There are always fantastic villains. And the plots are crazy, high-stakes drama. Let me tell you about four of my favorites (warning: spoilers ahead!).

In DON'T LOOK BEHIND YOU, April's dad has been working with the FBI to bring down a drug dealer, and her family gets relocated through the Witness Protection Program. She has to leave her house, friends, and boyfriend behind with no explanation. She doesn't even get to choose her own name. And when she tries to reach out to her old life, a notorious assassin begins to chase her family. I love this one because even though April makes some seriously bad choices, I totally understood her frustration; she doesn't have any control over anything.

In STRANGER WITH MY FACE, Laurie's boyfriend insists that he's seen her out when she's home sick. Strange sightings continue, and Laurie starts to feel haunted. Eventually, she discovers that she's a) adopted and b) capable of astral projection and c) so is the twin sister she didn't know she had. I love this one because it's seriously creepy and the setting is amazing. Laurie's parents' are a writer and a painter, and they live on a house perched on the edge of a cliff on an island in Maine (called, naturally, Cliff House). I want to live at Cliff House!

In SUMMER OF FEAR, Rachel's cousin Julia is orphaned and moves in with Rachel's family. Everyone else seems enchanted by Julia - including Rachel's boyfriend. But when accidents befall everyone who opposes Julia (including, sniff, Rachel's dog!), Rachel starts to suspect her cousin isn't what she seems - and that she might be a witch. I love this one because Rachel seems like such a brat, but she's totally right all along!

In LOCKED IN TIME, Nore's dad has remarried and she's forced to spend the summer with her new stepfamily at their isolated plantation, Shadow Grove. Soon, Nore starts to feel like something is off about her gorgeous young stepmom. Then her stepbrother asks her to run away with him - and tries to drown her when she refuses. Eventually, she discovers that her stepfamily has stopped aging and her stepmom has become a Black Widow in order to keep their beloved plantation up and running. I love this one because it's just totally whackadoodle.  

What are some of your favorite scary reads?
Jessica has generously offered up a giveaway for a copy of any Lois Duncan book, plus some Born Wicked swag! Enter after the page break!

Sweet Peril Cover Reveal

Hey guys! Today I am very pleased to reveal the cover for Wendy Higgins second novel, the sequel to Sweet Evil, Sweet Peril! And without any more fuss... BEHOLD THE COVER.

Anna Whitt, daughter of a guardian angel and a demon, promised herself she’d never do the work of her father—polluting souls. She’d been naive to make such a claim. She’d been naive about a lot of things. Haunted by demon whisperers, Anna does whatever she can to survive, even if it means embracing her dark side and earning an unwanted reputation as her school’s party girl. Her life has never looked more bleak. And all the while there’s Kaidan Rowe, son of the Duke of Lust, plaguing her heart and mind.
When an unexpected lost message from the angels surfaces, Anna finds herself traveling the globe with Kopano, son of Wrath, in an attempt to gain support of fellow Nephilim and give them hope for the first time. It soon becomes clear that whatever freedoms Anna and the rest of the Neph are hoping to win will not be gained without a fight. Until then, Anna and Kaidan must put aside the issues between them, overcome the steamiest of temptations yet, and face the ultimate question: is loving someone worth risking their life?
I, for one, really like this cover! It is so awesome!

About Wendy Higgins:
After earning a bachelors in Creative Writing from George Mason University and a masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Radford, Wendy taught high school English until becoming a mommy. Writing Young Adult (YA) stories gives her the opportunity to delve into the ambiguities of those pivotal, daunting, and exciting years before adulthood.
She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, daughter, and son. Sweet Evil is her debut novel.

October 25, 2012

The Non Reluctant Reader YA Paranormal Spooktacular Day Four: Daniel Marks, author of Velveteen

Today is the fourth day of The Non Reluctant Reader YA Paranormal Spooktacular and I'm pleased to welcome Daniel Marks, author of Velveteen for a guest post! Read the post then enter the giveaway for a signed copy of Velveteen! And make sure when you're tweeting about the event to use the hashtag #NRRYASpooktacular!
Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that’s not the problem.
The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it’s not a fiery inferno, it’s certainly no heaven. It’s gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn’t leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what’s really on her mind.
Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she’s figured out just how to do it. She’ll haunt him for the rest of his days.

It’ll be brutal... and awesome.
But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen’s obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she’s willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.
Velveteen can’t help herself when it comes to breaking rules... or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.
Has Halloween changed a lot? I mean since I was a kid? I have this feeling it’s a different world out there, somehow gentler and struggling to be free of conflict, populated by a generation that doesn’t seek out horrific experiences. I hope I’m wrong. I really do. But until I am certain, I’m going to hide out in my house watching horror movies and pretending that people aren’t quivering in the shadows for fear that Hocus Pocus might come on the TV (clue: that movie’s not scary).

I’m thinking of a Halloween back in 1978. I was in the 5th grade, so long ago, I can’t even remember how old that would make me—clearly I need some gingko. I can paint you a picture though. Back then, it was pretty common for young kids to roam the streets until 10 or 11 at night without our parents worrying. After all, the folks were too busy cutting the seatbelts out of the car or filling the attic with asbestos to mind. So, on a regular night, the neighborhood was a thunderdome of pranks, fights and vandalism.

But on Halloween…APOCALYPSE!

We’d dress up in our crappy costumes and hit the streets, eyes narrowed to slits to search out the older kids hiding in the shadows, waiting to slit our trick-or-treat bags open with knives they’d swiped from their older brothers or sisters. The candy would rain down on the concrete. Reach for it at your own peril. Violence was not out of the question, nor was anyone likely to go to Juvie for beating up a kid. That just didn’t happen. Ever—the juvie part, I mean, not the beatings. Those were rampant.

Those were the days, though. Days of actual, unsupervised danger—not a parent in sight. And kids were tough, we moved in packs like animals. I say one group jump a stranger who dared to whisper something from a bush. He may have survived with a few teeth intact. Maybe.

Meanwhile, the kids just walked off with their candy cigarettes dangling from their lips jumped on their banana seat bikes and headed down the next driveway to snatch some razor blade-laced popcorn balls or red candy apples spiked with cyanide. NOMS.

I shouldn’t pretend that our parents didn’t care. That wasn’t what was going on at all. In the ten to twelve years of parenting that preceded this Halloween night, they’d done exactly what parents did back then, they filled us with capital “F” Fear. They taught us to be leery of strangers and to fight back…hard, lest we be murdered. Horror movies were a blueprint for safety. Hey, Danny. Check out what happens to these kids when they don’t tell their mom where they’re going.

Yup. Dead.

Maybe I came from a tough area—I know I did—but there’s something to be said about being tough. It’s a shield. Because when the horror show comes. I’m ready. I hear the music and I know there’s something around the corner.

My blade is ready. How about yours?
Danny has generously offered up a signed copy of Velveteen and some swag! Enter to win that after the page break!

October 24, 2012

The Non Reluctant Reader YA Paranormal Spooktacular Day Three: Marta Acosta, author of Dark Companion

Welcome to the third day of The Non Reluctant Reader Paranormal Spooktacular! Today I'm pleased to welcome Marta Acosta, author of the Gothic YA, Dark Companion. She's also the author of a bunch of vampire adult novels! First Marta Acosta will give us an awesome guest post then there will be a giveaway for a copy of Dark Companion!
Orphaned at the age of six, Jane Williams has grown up in a series of foster homes, learning to survive in the shadows of life. Through hard work and determination, she manages to win a scholarship to the exclusive Birch Grove Academy. There, for the first time, Jane finds herself accepted by a group of friends. She even starts tutoring the headmistress’s gorgeous son, Lucien. Things seem too good to be true.
They are.

The more she learns about Birch Grove’s recent past, the more Jane comes to suspect that there is something sinister going on. Why did the wife of a popular teacher kill herself? What happened to the former scholarship student, whose place Jane took? Why does Lucien’s brother, Jack, seem to dislike her so much?
Marta Acosta's Fears
 Hi, Benji, and thanks so much for inviting me to NRR’s Spooktacular paranormal celebration!  I like to put my own spin on paranormal creatures – there’s always a scientific explanation for what these creatures are. No, I’m not a scientist, but I pester a friend who is a doctor. I ask him, “What scientific principle could be used to explain why someone would want to drink blood?” And he tells me some really smart-sounding medical stuff that I write in my books.

I’m not scared of ghosts, but I am scared of ghostly things – like moths. Maybe it’s because they come out at night, they’re pale and weird, and they flutter so frenetically at lights. If I was writing a horror story, the main character would be trapped in a room with thousands of frantic moths.  There would be scary shadows and the moths would fly blindly into her, and she’d be shrieking for help.

Okay, maybe eventually she’d figure out that the moths couldn’t hurt her, so that story might not be in Stephen King-territory. What about rats? Rats terrify me. I once watched a documentary about rats in the slums of New York. The movie showed people who talked about the rats coming out at night and biting their faces. It was one of the top three worst movie dates I’ve ever been on, which is a cautionary tale about dating angsty artists. Anyway, I put scary rats in my Casa Dracula series featuring Milagro de Los Santos; in Haunted Honeymoon, book 4, her fiancĂ© says to her, “What is it about you and rats?” Rats are terrifying, that’s what!

As someone who grew up in the suburbs, another thing that frightens me is the woods at night.  They’re dark even in the daytime, and your view is obstructed by trees and bushes that are shifting and moving in the wind. Do you remember the Halloween scene in To Kill a Mockingbird when Scout and Gem are cutting through the woods and they realize that they’re being followed? Scout’s clumsy pumpkin costume slows her down and she can’t run fast enough as the danger gets closer. It still gives me shivers!

When I was thinking of a setting for my young adult gothic novel, I decided to use an isolated grove of ancient birches, because birch trees sway and move so much in the wind, and their black and white bark can look like faces.

Jane Williams, who was raised in crowded foster homes, is offered a full-scholarship to exclusive Birch Grove Academy for Girls, and even given her own place to live – the former groundskeeper’s cottage amongst the trees. It seems too good to be true. The longer Jane stays at Birch Grove, the more she begins to wonder about another orphan girl who suddenly left the school and why the headmistress and her handsome sons pay so much attention to her. When Jane hears strange noises at she begins to wonder if the sound is only the trees, or is someone watching her?

There are no rats or moths in Dark Companion, but I think the story has plenty of shivers as Jane figures out exactly why she was brought to Birch Grove and what she’s willing to do to stay.
So, as Halloween draws near, I have lots of advice to share with you: 1) Don’t tell people you’re afraid of moths or they’ll just make fun of you. 2) Don’t let angsty artist types chose the movie on a date. 3) Don’t dress as a pumpkin and take a shortcut through the woods, unless you want to tempt a maniac.

So what scares the heck out of you?

Marta and her publisher have generously donated one copy of Dark Companion for giveaway! Enter to win after the page break!

October 23, 2012

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop: Win Nine Spooky Books

Welcome to my stop on The Spooktacular Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and The Diary of A Bookworm
So it's Halloween time and I'm ready to get my boo on! So I'm giving away all of these books:
Black Dawn (The Morganville Vampires, #12)Bitter Blood (The Morganville Vampires, #13)Velveteen (Velveteen, #1)Paper ValentineDemon Eyes (Witch Eyes, #2)Girl of Nightmares (Anna, #2)BetrayalTeam HumanAlice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles, #1)
Enter after the page break!

The Non Reluctant Reader YA Paranormal Spooktacular Day Two: Amy Garvey, author of Glass Heart

Welcome to the second day of The Non Reluctant Reader YA Paranormal Spooktacular! I'm pleased to welcome the first author of the event, Amy Garvey, author of the witchy and zombie novels Cold Kiss and Glass Heart! First Amy Garvey will give us an awesome guest post and then there will be a giveaway of both Cold Kiss and Glass Heart! So read on and prepared to be scared! And make sure when tweeting about it you use the hashtag #NRRYASpooktacular! See the schedule of the entire event and all the authors featured HERE.
Wren can do things that other people can only dream of. Make it snow on a clear, crisp day. Fly through an abandoned tunnel. Bring a paper bird to life.
Wren knows her abilities are tinged with danger--knows how easy it is to lose control--but she can't resist the intoxicating rush. And now that she has Gabriel by her side, someone who knows what she can do--what she "has" done--she finally feels free to be herself.
But as Wren explores the possibilities of her simmering powers, Gabriel starts pushing her away. Telling her to be careful. Telling her to "stop." The more he cautions her, the more determined Wren becomes to prove that she can handle things on her own. And by the time she realizes that Gabriel may be right, it could be too late to bring him back to her side.
Amy Garvey's Terrifying TV Tale
I’ve loved Halloween since I was a kid. Well, that sounds silly – what kid doesn't like putting on a costume and demanding candy from strangers? What I mean is I loved to be scared, regardless of the time of year – Halloween was simply my official day of celebration. I loved anything that even vaguely had to do with the spooky or the haunted or the terrifying – give me an old crumbling gravestone, or an attic cloaked in shadow and spider webs, or an abandoned house on top of a hill and I was in heaven. I don’t know if it was in my genetic makeup – “baby fine hair, green eyes, absolutely cannot ice skate, thinks ghosts are neato” – or if I created my own addiction, but it started when I was about eight.
Those were the days when TV sets were often only black and white and had rabbit ears, and you had to GET UP to change the channel or the volume, so you sometimes ending up watching strange stuff out of sheer laziness. On this day I was out on the screen porch, where we had a little tabletop TV to watch in the summer. I was bored, it was drizzling, and I’d finished my book, so I wandered out there and turned it on. Those were also the days when a) there was no cable, b) there were only about ten channels if you were lucky, maybe a couple more if you braved the wilds of UHF, and c) children’s programming was limited mostly to Sesame Street, Captain Kangaroo, and Scooby Doo. Shows for kids on a random Saturday afternoon? They didn’t even exist.
I have no idea what channel I landed on as I turned the dial, except that the picture was grainy black and white and someone was screaming. I was in. Unfortunately, the movie ended about ten minutes after I turned it on, and to this day I have no idea what it was. A vaguely British boy in old-fashioned clothes and an old woman were in a crumbling old house – I remember a close-up of really appalling Victorian wallpaper – and they were arguing. Someone had hidden something? There might have been a trunk involved? Either way, the last shot as the credits rolled was another face, possibly a young woman’s or maybe the boy’s, screaming and appearing to melt as the camera panned away to show this very Addams Family-esque residence in all its macabre glory. I was heartbroken. What had happened? Was there a ghost or a spell or a body in the basement? All I knew was that it was unlikely I would ever find out, but every time I stumbled across anything that even resembled a black and white horror movie after that, I stopped to watch. I thought the title might be The House That Screamed, but I was wrong, and I couldn’t even look it up until I was in college, when Leonard Maltin started putting out his movie encyclopedia.
But maybe that movie was why I chose Jane-Emily, a classic ghost story, at the next school book fair. Or why I loved Richard Peck’s The Ghost Belonged to Me and Ghosts I Have Been, and tried to watch Dark Shadows (the original!) whenever I could after school. By the time I hit middle school I was reading Stephen King and sneaking into such fine cinematic classics as Friday the 13th and Prom Night (the originals!). I was a horror junkie, and that hasn’t changed. The show I was most excited for this fall? American Horror Story: Asylum. The last movie I rented from Red Box? Cabin in the Woods. Definitely an addiction.  
Which I guess makes it sort of predictable that my first YA novel was about a girl who raised her boyfriend from the dead, and that’s perfectly okay with me. Meanwhile, if anyone knows what movie started all this, call me!
Amy has been very generous and offered up signed copies of Cold Kiss and Glass Heart for giveaway to help you get your spook on! Enter after the page break!

Matched Read-a-Long Week Four

Hey everyone! Hope you are all enjoyed your reading of Matched! It's week #53 in the read-along! By now you should have finished book one, MatchedParticipate in the discussion here and at Enna's blog to be entered to win one of the Breathless Reads prize packs! Remember, only if you signed up before today can you take part! Remember. This is a celebration of Ally's wonderful books. Feel free to critique them however you may like. But keep in mind, any mean comments directed at Ally, Enna and I, Penguin Teen, or you fellow read-a-longers will be DELETED and you will be bared from future discussions. We're not trying to sound serious, we just want this to be DRAMA-FREE!
This week's question:
What did you think of Matched? Are you excited to read Crossed?
Then enter the giveaway for this week!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Top Ten Books to Get You in the Halloween Spirit

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
Top Ten Books to Get You in the Halloween Spirit
Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles, #1)
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
Though this one isn't that scary it does get you in a great Halloween mood!
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
This one is so epic and the vampires are quite creepy!
Frankenstein (Penguin Classics)
Frankenstein by Mary Shelly
Frankenstein is one of most loved horror stories for a reason - not only is not creepy as hell but it mkaes you think too!
  The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
This one is more of a suspense horror novel because there are none of the typical paranormal creatures, but it is really chilling!
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Nothing beats a classic!
666 Park Avenue (666 Park Avenue, #1)
666 Park Avenue by Gabriella Pierce
I'm reading this right now and it's quite creepy!
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austin and Seth Grahame-Smith
This one can get just outright gory and really freaky!
Witch Eyes (Witch Eyes, #1)
Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey
This one takes place where I live and I really hope our town doesn't have all the scary demons and witches as depicted in this book!
Velveteen (Velveteen, #1)
Velveteen by Daniel Marks
A purgatory revolution, a psychopath killer, and all the gory details, Velveteen is damn terrifying!
Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1)
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
This one is scary enough to make grown men run behind their mother's legs in fright. SUPER SCARY!

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