HallowRead 2017 – #horror #UF #steampunk #paranormal

I’ll be at HallowRead this weekend. If you’re going to be near Ellicott City, Maryland on Saturday, come see me!

What’s HallowRead?

HallowRead is a book festival and mini-con for authors and fans of Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Steam Punk and Horror.

Multi-author event with various activities throughout the weekend including:

Writing Workshops

Ghost Tour

SteamPunk Author Tea

Author Panels

Book Signings

Paranormal Investigation

… and so much more.

Hang out with your favorite authors in our host city, the haunted and historic town of Ellicott City, Maryland!

What will I be doing there?

I’ll be watching and participating in the panels (more info on the two panels I’m on below; for a full schedule, check out HallowRead’s website. Darynda Jones is doing the Keynote Speech at 3:00.)

Indie Uprising- 12:30 The crest and subsequent ebbs and flows of the Indie market. Best practices, tips and techniques for an ever changing industry. Moderated by Bryan Nowak, with Meg Eden, C.J. Ellisson, Jill Archer, J.A. Grier and Alex Owens

Nevertheless, She Persisted- 2:15 Writing kickass heroines and wise women in the age after Buffy, Bella and Hermione. Moderated by Rebecca Rivard. With Jill Archer, Katherine McIntyre, Kathy MacMillan, Heather Elizabeth King, Misty Simon and R.A. Boyd

I’ll also be at the book signing from 4:00-6:00. If CreateSpace cooperates and sends me my books in time, I’ll have copies of Pocket Full of Tinder there. I’ll definitely have copies of the first three Noon Onyx books. I’ll have some Halloween goodies and some bookish bling to give away. Hopefully, I’ll have my new Square credit card reader, although cash always works. 😀

If you already have a copy of one of my books, bring it. I’d love to sign it!

Hope to see you there!

More Info

October 20-21, 2017
Roger Carter Center
3000 Milltowne Drive
United States
Ellicott City, MD 21043

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Ann Gimpel on Seasons of Change

Just got back from a long weekend in Florida. Terrific trip but the airports were nuts. One cancelled flight due to Niko, one delay to address a maintenance issue, another due to lightning in a connecting city… so Ann’s weather-related guest post is particularly timely. Stay safe, everyone!


“Weather is a potent element in fiction.”

I’m a four-season gal, myself. I like cold winters, balmy springs where things are coming alive again, and long, languid falls with that crispness in the air that promises winter is just around the corner. The only season I’m not crazy about is summer. I’ve never liked heat much, so thirteen years ago we moved to the mountains. The first few years were great, but the advent of climate change has brought ninety degree days to the High Sierra. I’m not terribly pleased about that, but there’s not much I can do, either. One good thing is that at eight thousand feet elevation where I live, it always cools off at night.

Weather is a potent element in fiction. It can actually be a character in its own right. I’ve written some books where the weather was one of the antagonists. Quite aside from that, there’s something delightful about misty, foggy moorlands. Or rainy, blustery days. Real people have to deal with weather, so story characters should have to as well. It makes the book seem more real, at least to me.

Writing convincingly about weather is a challenge. After all, how many ways can you describe a blizzard? It turns out, there are a whole bunch of them. And what a wonderful opportunity to show the reader watery eyes, shivers, frosty whiskers, and half-frozen fingers and toes. It’s impossible to write a whole book from a “show” perspective, plus it would be exhausting to read. But there are tricks that can make a manuscript come alive to a reader’s senses. Weather is one of them. Smell is another. The world smells different after a winter rain than it does after a gentle spring shower. Writers who pay attention to their surroundings come up with the best descriptions of how their characters react to elements in their environments. Maybe it’s clichéd, but Margaret Mitchell’s description of Atlanta burning in Gone With the Wind is amazing. I could almost smell the smoke reading it as a thirteen year old long after lights-out by flashlight under the covers.

I’m not quite old enough to remember when families gathered around the radio, because TV either hadn’t been invented, or was in its infancy. I have, however, listened to some old radio programs like Mystery Theater. Radio used a lot of sound effects, many of them weather-related. There was the patter of rain, the whoosh of wind, and people huffing and puffing against a storm in progress.

How about you? What’s your favorite season and why would you pick that one? Do you have a favorite book where the weather played a significant role?

More about Ann

Ann Gimpel is a USA Today bestselling author. A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Her longer books run the gamut from urban fantasy to paranormal romance. Once upon a time, she nurtured clients. Now she nurtures dark, gritty fantasy stories that push hard against reality. When she’s not writing, she’s in the backcountry getting down and dirty with her camera. She’s published over 45 books to date, with several more planned for 2017 and beyond. A husband, grown children, grandchildren, and wolf hybrids round out her family.

Website | Blog | Amazon Page | Facebook | @AnnGimpel

More about Ann’s Latest Release

edge-of-night-cover

Edge of Night

Here’s a roadmap to Edge of Night. Welcome to an eclectic collection of nine short stories.

You’ve done time at the edge of night. Nail-biting, stomach-churning time filled with hissing snarls, menacing growls, the whoosh of unnatural wings, and the flash of hellfire. Time that lasts forever, but is over within seconds because time becomes unpredictable in places like that. You don’t want to stay, but it’s too fascinating—in a grisly, macabre, toe-curling kind of way—to turn your back on.

You recognize it, though. The place just at the threshold of darkness where it’s not quite safe anymore. Evil broke its bounds at the edge of night, or maybe it always ran free and we’ve been deluding ourselves all along.

Join me for nine supernatural tales. Monsters, demons, gods—fallen and otherwise—ghosts, aliens. A touch of science fiction. More than a splash of romance. From magical lands to a chilling glance into the past, Edge of Night has something to tempt everyone. Everyone who craves danger, that is. It takes guts to read the stuff woven into nightmares.

It’s a tough job, but you’re up to it.

Welcome to my world. A world where magic holds court and the dude next door just might be a demon. Or a shifter. Or an alien.

Click here for information and buy links

edge-of-night-banner


Thank you for guest blogging today, Ann!

The Taxidermist’s Daughter: a Gothic-tinged, avian-hued horror story

The Taxidermist’s Daughter by Kate Mosse is a difficult novel to classify. It’s set in Sussex in 1912, but I wouldn’t call it historical fiction; it’s more atmospheric than tediously accurate in its depiction of the time and place. It opens with a murder, a body, and a group of suspects, but it’s no detective story; throughout the novel, the reader knows far more than the late-on-the-scene policeman. If pressed, I’d call the book a Gothic-tinged, avian-hued horror story. It’s a story of revenge — or justice, depending on your perspective.

The Taxidermist's Daughter, Kate Mosse, horror, revenge, justice, Gothic, mystery, historical fiction

The titular character is Connie Gifford, whose memories before the age of twelve are lost. Amnesia can be a clichéd plot device, but Mosse makes it work well enough. In a Prologue, Connie visits the Church of St. Peter and St. Mary where, on the Eve of St. Mark, it’s thought the ghosts of those who will die in the coming year will be seen. Instead, a cloud of birds rush out of the church, striking hats and gravestones, killing themselves in the process. And then, through vague imagery, we see a woman garrotted. It’s an upfront warning to readers. The book is a bit more grisly than Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca.

The two things most readers will remember about the book are its setting and its focus on taxidermy, specifically with respect to birds (birds are a major motif). Mosse’s descriptions of Fishbourne’s marshes and mill pond, as well as the fictional Blackthorn House, Apuldram Woods, and the aptly named Themis Cottage, are vividly rendered. Instead of a windswept moor and a stormy winter, readers get a windswept coast and a stormy spring. Desolate, doomed places like Wuthering Heights, Manderly, and the House of Usher are evoked.

Most of the chapters end with an excerpt from the book Taxidermy: Or, the Art of Collecting, Preparing, and Mounting Objects of Natural History by R. Lee, which was published in 1820. These peeks into the ghoulish practice gave the story an authentic, if creepy feel, especially because they were immediately followed by the murderer’s journal entries. I’ll admit that I usually prefer my macabre to be more Grim Reaper than Jack the Ripper, but the gruesome aspects of the novel never quite reached a point where it was a major turn off for me. (In fact, my imagined ending was even grimmer than the one Mosse chose).

Two other quick thoughts:

There were a lot of characters whose names began with the letter C. Crowley and Crowther, I understood. Connie and Cassie, I did not.

Mosse used weather to heighten the tension in a way that was believable and effective. It’s a technique I’ve used and I’m always worried it won’t work — that adding a storm to a big set piece showdown will seem tacked on. But, writers, it’s a technique worth studying. I hope it’s not too big of a spoiler to share that Mosse ends the book with a big spring flood. You all know my thoughts on nature and how it can be both destructive and regenerative. I’m not sure she meant it as a metaphor, but it seemed to me that her cold, wet, inexorable tide seeped into the town like an insidious evil and then swept out, taking itself and everything it touched with it.

Have you read The Taxidermist’s Daughter? What did you think?

Halloween, books, book convention, HallowRead, Maryland, fantasy, horror

HallowRead — Author Interviews, Schedule, and Ticket Giveaway!

Today’s post is all about HallowRead, the book festival and mini-con for authors and fans of paranormal, urban fantasy, steampunk, and horror. It’s happening on October 21-23 in Havre de Grace, Maryland. I’m giving away one ALL-INCLUSIVE TICKET (includes Friday Workshops, Saturday Panels, Ghost Tour, Book Signing, and Sunday Brunch & Wine Tasting). Details on how to win the ticket are below. For those of you who can’t make it, here’s a fun Halloween themed Q&A with me and two other HallowRead authors:

RYSA WALKER is the author of the bestselling CHRONOS Files series. Timebound, the first book in the series, was the Young Adult and Grand Prize winner in the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. The CHRONOS Files has sold nearly half a million copies since 2013 and has been translated into ten languages. Rysa currently resides in North Carolina with her husband, two youngest sons, and a hyperactive golden retriever. When not working on the second book in The Delphi Trilogy, she watches shows where travelers boldly go to galaxies far away, or reads about magical creatures and superheroes from alternate timelines.  She has neither the time nor the patience for reality TV.

DYLANN RHEA was raised in a small town in Bergen County where she still lives today with her family. She has always shown a passion for writing despite the difficulty she faced in school with dyslexia. Rhea spent most of her time daydreaming and writing during her childhood with no vision of becoming an author. After attending community college for a semester, she decided to pave her own path and create the world she wished she could have read about as a young adult. She published her first two books, Tormented Soul and Fallen Warrior, in 2015.

What’s your favorite Halloween treat?

Rysa: Take5 bars that I steal from my kids’ haul on Halloween.  I don’t buy the darn things, because it’s one of the few candy bars that I will scarf down with a shameless lack of self-control.  I may have to break the no-buying rule this year, however, since my guys now insist that they are too old to trick-or-treat and it’s really not Halloween without Take5.

Dylann: What isn’t my favorite? Honestly, I eat any treat you put in front of me, however I really enjoy the classic Candy Corn. You can never go wrong with the classics.

Jill: Twizzlers and Sour Patch Kids… also caramel apples, salted caramels, Milk Duds, and Milky Ways. I don’t think I’ve ever had a Take5 though, which means I’m going to have to hunt one down now to see what I think.

What do you think this year’s most popular Halloween costume will be?

Rysa: I’m pretty sure Star Wars will top the list.  I’m guessing we’ll have about as many Reys at our door as we did Groots last year, and Harry Potters a few years back.  Those were my favorite Halloweens, because I could dress  up as Bellatrix and chase all of the little Gryffindors around the cul-de-sac shouting “I killed Sirius Black!” without the neighbors complaining.

Dylann: I wouldn’t be surprised if the ‘joke’ costume is either Trump or Hillary. The kid’s costume is always tricky, but I think this year it could be Star Wars costumes. I know I dressed up as Jarjar when I was in Kindergarten even though everyone hates him.

Jill: I’m wondering how many Harley Quinns I’ll see and if that’s a good thing or a bad thing…

Do you have a favorite horror movie?

Rysa: I love scary books, and I like some scary movies, but not gory ones.  Spewing arteries put me off my popcorn (although probably not off my Take5 bars).  My favorite is probably “IT,” especially Tim Curry’s performance as Pennywise the Clown.  I’m more than a little afraid of clowns to begin with, so he scared the bejeezus out of me. 

Dylann: Horror is one of those things that I hate, thriller movies creep me out ten times more. If I had to pick it would be Friday the 13th. Someone invading your mind is horrifying and part of me feels like it could happen one day.

Jill: I think my current favorite is Spring. Other creepy, scary, and/or Gothic movies I’ve enjoyed: Sleepy Hollow, The Village, Underworld, Crimson Peak, Jane Eyre, Edwards Scissorhands, Shaun of the Dead…

If you could be any type of monster, which would it be and why?

Rysa: It wouldn’t be a clown, that’s for sure.  Maybe a dog-shifter like Sirius Black? My golden retriever has a pretty sweet life.

Dylann: Do witches count as monsters? I’ve been obsessed with them ever since I watched Charmed when I was younger. Witches have a perfect balance of being on the border of human, but not. There’s something so fascinating about them, but if witches don’t count werewolf in a heartbeat. There’s something sexy about the beast within and again you’re only a werewolf once a month so you have that humanity.  

Jill: A Valkyrie or one of the Furies for sure. 😀

Are you superstitious? If so, about what?

Rysa: Usually not, although I was somewhat more superstitious when I was a kid.  I’d worry a bit about my mom if I stepped on a crack in the sidewalk, and I’d avoid walking under ladders — although the last is partly because I’m so clumsy I’d likely knock the thing down.

Dylann: Hell yes! I’m always looking up my horoscope and reading my tarot twice a day. I LOVE seeing psychics and mediums, palms readers, the whole nine. Sometimes I play back my recordings of what a psychic has said to me and try to decipher it. I don’t believe in the whole walking under a ladder thing or black cats being bad luck. I do throw salt over my shoulder if I spill it.

Jill: I’m superstitious in the most inconsistent ways. I think nothing of stepping on cracks or walking under ladders, but I try not to open umbrellas in the house or break mirrors. I knock on wood, wish on stars, wonder if things really do happen in threes…

Have you ever seen a ghost?

Rysa: I haven’t seen one, but I’ve seen evidence of one.  When I was about seven months pregnant with my middle son, we had several odd incidents in our house.  A floor lamp suddenly dipped to one side, making the dog go crazy.  A piece of stuffing from a pillow  suddenly appears in a glass of water that was clear a second before.  Several other things happened that involved water, and all of this took place within a couple of days and then ended.  The family joke is that it was my son checking us out as potential parents to make sure we had a sense of humor. 

Dylann: No and I don’t have a desire to. I already know spirits exist, but I don’t need to be scared shitless and see one.

Jill: Only on-screen or in costume.

What is your latest book about?

rysa-walker-2Rysa: The previous question was a perfect segue, since my latest book, The Delphi Effect, which launches October 11th, is–at least in part– about a ghost.  Anna Morgan has the unfortunate ability to pick up mental hitchhikers who have unfinished business.  Her current hitcher, Molly,  is a bit more insistent than most, and Anna gets pulled into the search for a serial killer and a government conspiracy that could get Anna and her friends killed…but could also help her figure out the origin of her abilities.

One of the reasons that I’m really excited for this year’s Hallowread is that it’s located in Havre de Grace, Maryland.  Havre de Grace is one of the settings of The Delphi Effect.  Some scenes are also set in nearby Port Deposit–although I guess I should really say under Port Deposit…at the site of the former Tome School.  It’s great to be able to do my first post-launch event in an area that had so much influence on the book.

Dylann: Right now I’m in the process of finishing my first trilogy The Storm Trilogy which is about a young girl named Kaden who comes from a dysfunctional family and has in turn created her own idea of family through her sister and best friend, Megan. One night while she’s out with Megan, things go awry and Megan ends up missing. Kaden is forced to work with a young man, Finley, who shows Kaden a fae world hidden within the streets of Seattle. As Kaden gets pulled further into the darkness of the world, she realizes Megan is in much more danger than she thought.

Jill: Maegester-in-Training, Noon Onyx, heads to Rockthorn Gorge to work for its new demon lord – who also happens to be her ex-boyfriend.

Where can we find it?

Rysa: You can find The Delphi Effect, along with my other books, on my Amazon page and at select book stores.

Dylann: The first book, Tormented Soul can be found here and the sequel, Fallon Warrior, can be found here. Both can be purchased through Barnes and Noble upon request.

Jill: You can add Pocket Full of Tinder to your Goodreads shelf here and subscribe to my newsletter for future ARC and pre-order info.

Where can we find you at HallowRead?

Rysa: I wouldn’t miss the Ghost Tour in Havre de Grace on Friday October 21st.  I’ll also be on two writing panels, Saturday October 22nd.  The first is “An Architect and a Gardener,” which looks at the differences between writers who are plotters and those who fly by the seat of their pants. (I’m very much in the latter category!) The second is “Suspending Disbelief,” where the group will be looking at the challenges of writing magical stories while keeping it “real” enough that the reader buys into your world. Finally, I’ll be signing copies of The Delphi Effect at the Havre de Grace Library on Saturday afternoon from 4-6 PM.

Dylann: I will be on the Urban Fantasy Round up panel and hovering around the event all weekend so come say hello!

Jill: I’ll be at the Books You Can Sink Your Teeth Into panel and the book signing and generally around all day Saturday.

Where can we find you online?

Rysa:

If you find me at Facebook or on Twitter, please tell me to get back in the Writing Cave.  I spend way too much time there.  I’m also occasionally on Goodreads and you can get updates on my books, appearances, and other information at my website. Plus, if you sign up for my newsletter, you’ll get a free CHRONOS short story.

Dylann:


More about HallowRead

Multi author event with various activities throughout the weekend including Writing Workshops, Ghost Tour, SteamPunk Author Tea, Author Panels, Book Signing, Paranormal Investigation and so much more. Hang out with your favorite authors in our new host city, the haunted and historic town of Havre de Grace, Maryland!

Local Maryland author of dark urban fantasy, Rachel Rawlings, had a crazy idea. Create a book convention for genre fiction and hold it the weekend before Halloween. Haunted and historic Ellicott City held a special place in her heart so there was no other place to take her first ever convention. The town welcomed her and HallowRead with open arms. Each ticket sold helped raise money for the Ellicott City Partnership- a coalition of residents and business owners for the betterment of the town. HallowRead raised money for projects like rain barrels which help reduce the sediment and contaminants running into the Patapsco River and fund grants for projects like Paint Main Street which helped small business owners get a much-needed fresh coat of paint improving the moral and over all appearance of the town.

Rachel is excited to take the convention on the road for 2016 and raise funds for Harford County literacy programs and the local library system! One ticket, whether it’s a $10 paranormal investigation or the full monty ticket, makes a difference for the town and the wonderful people who call it home, something Rachel is extremely proud of.

Click here to see a list of HallowRead events.

Get your tickets here.

See a list of attending authors here.

For more about HallowRead founder, Rachel Rawlings, see this previous post featuring her Maurin Kincaide UF series.


More about the Ticket Giveaway

I’m giving away one all-inclusive ticket to HallowRead. To enter to win, comment below (answer one of the questions in the Q&A above) or contact me no later than midnight EST on October 4, 2016. My complete giveaway rules are here. Hope to see you there!

Thank you to Rysa and Dylann for the Q&A. It was fun reading your answers. I’m looking forward to meeting you in person in October.

Hope everyone’s fall is off to a great start!

HallowRead 2016 Book Convention Tickets On Sale Now!

Received this info from Roxanne at Bewitching Book Tours and Rachel Rawlings, HallowRead’s founder. Bought my ticket this morning! Hope to see you there!!

Halloween, books, book convention, HallowRead, Maryland, fantasy, horror

Hallowread is a book festival and mini-con for authors and fans of Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Steam Punk and Horror.

October 21-23 2016 in Havre de Grace, Maryland!

Multi author event with various activities throughout the weekend including Writing Workshops, Ghost Tour, SteamPunk Author Tea, Author Panels, Book Signing, Paranormal Investigation and so much more. Hang out with your favorite authors in our new host city, the haunted and historic town of Havre de Grace, Maryland!

Local Maryland author of dark urban fantasy, Rachel Rawlings, had a crazy idea. Create a book convention for genre fiction and hold it the weekend before Halloween. Haunted and historic Ellicott City held a special place in her heart so there was no other place to take her first ever convention. The town welcomed her and HallowRead with open arms. Each ticket sold helped raise money for the Ellicott City Partnership- a coalition of residents and business owners for the betterment of the town. HallowRead raised money for projects like rain barrels which help reduce the sediment and contaminants running into the Patapsco River and fund grants for projects like Paint Main Street which helped small business owners get a much needed fresh coat of paint improving the moral and over all appearance of the town.

Rachel is excited to take the convention on the road for 2016 and raise funds for Harford County literacy programs and the local library system! One ticket, whether it’s a $10 paranormal investigation or the full monty ticket, makes a difference for the town and the wonderful people who call it home, something Rachel is extremely proud of.

Click here to see a list of HallowRead events http://hallowread.com/events/

Get your tickets here: http://hallowread.com/tickets/

See a list of attending authors here: http://hallowread.com/authors/

Author Opportunities still available!


About the Founder of Hallowread:

Rachel Rawlings was born and raised in the Baltimore Metropolitan area. Her family, originally from Rhode Island, spent summers in New England sparking her fascination with Salem, MA. She has been writing fictional stories and poems since middle school, but it wasn’t until 2009 that she found the inspiration to create her heroine Maurin Kincaide and complete her first full length novel, The Morrigna.

When she isn’t writing, Rachel can often be found with her nose buried in a good book. An avid reader of Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Horror and Steampunk herself, Rachel founded Hallowread- an interactive convention for both authors and fans of those genres.

More information on Hallowread, its schedule of events and participating authors can be found at www.hallowread.blogspot.com

and www.facebook.com/Hallowread.

She still lives in Maryland with her husband and three children.

www.rachelrawlings.com | www.authorrachelrawlings.com | www.hallowread.com

Rachel Rawlings: HallowRead 2016 and her Maurin Kincaide #UF Series

Today’s guest is UF author Rachel Rawlings. Rachel is from Baltimore and, for the past four years, she’s organized HallowRead, a book festival and mini-con for fans of paranormal, UF, steampunk, and horror. She’s here to tell us a little bit about HallowRead 2016 (it’s never too early to start thinking about Halloween!) and her Maurin Kincaide series. Do any of you live near Baltimore? Interested in going? I know I am! 🙂

Welcome, Rachel!

First let me start out by thanking Jill for having me on the blog! I’m thrilled to be here talking about my other passion besides writing – HallowRead Book Convention.

HallowRead is a mini-con for fans of Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Steampunk and Horror themed around Halloween. In fact, as you already may have guessed, it’s name is a mash-up between my favorite holiday and my favorite pastime. This is our fourth annual event and man, have we come a long way. Lightning struck in January of 2013 while driving through the Fort McHenry tunnel and I knew I had to find away to make this event happen. That fall we had our first con.  From running from one banquet room to another setting up tables our first year in Ellicott City, Maryland to attracting talent like Darynda Jones and last year’s keynote speaker Kami Garcia, HallowRead and I have been very fortunate indeed.

This year we’re taking HallowRead on the road, moving from our former host town of Ellicott City to another haunted and historic town – Havre de Grace, Maryland. Situated on the Susquehanna River just at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, this quaint waterfront town is steeped in history from being raised to the ground by the British in the War of 1812, to losing the vote to become the capital of the United States by one ballot, a film set for the Netflix series House of Cards, to being the last place Edgar Allan Poe was seen alive before his mysterious death in Baltimore. Sounds perfect, right? With bed and breakfasts, restaurants and shopping all within walking distances, we couldn’t agree more. In fact, the town will be an active participant, in a throw back to our first year we are going to hold activities in different venues throughout the town.

From engaging author panels where book lovers can listen to their favorite authors talk about their books and writing process, to writing workshops, a book signing, ghost tours, awesome swag bags filled with goodies and more, we certainly have something for everyone to enjoy. HallowRead is a nonprofit event (5013c), focusing all our fundraising efforts on the arts. This year we will be donating our funds to organizations like LASOS who help children whose first language is not English learn to read and prepare for school, the Harford Library System, and the Opera House restoration in Havre de Grace, which will provide a much needed mix use presentation house for the Arts and Entertainment District of Havre de Grace.

We’re excited about HallowRead 2016 and can’t wait to see you there!

More about HallowRead

Multi author event with various activities throughout the weekend including Writing Workshops, Ghost Tour, SteamPunk Author Tea, Author Panels, Book Signing, Paranormal Investigation and so much more. Hang out with your favorite authors in our new host city, the haunted and historic town of Havre de Grace, Maryland!

Local Maryland author of dark urban fantasy, Rachel Rawlings, had a crazy idea. Create a book convention for genre fiction and hold it the weekend before Halloween. Haunted and historic Ellicott City held a special place in her heart so there was no other place to take her first ever convention. The town welcomed her and HallowRead with open arms. Each ticket sold helped raise money for the Ellicott City Partnership- a coalition of residents and business owners for the betterment of the town. HallowRead raised money for projects like rain barrels which help reduce the sediment and contaminants running into the Patapsco River and fund grants for projects like Paint Main Street which helped small business owners get a much needed fresh coat of paint improving the moral and overall appearance of the town.

Rachel is excited to take the convention on the road for 2016 and raise funds for Harford County literacy programs and the local library system! One ticket, whether it’s a $10 paranormal investigation or the full monty ticket makes a difference for the town and the wonderful people who call it home, something Rachel is extremely proud of.

http://www.HallowRead.com

More about Rachel’s

Maurin Kincaide Series

The Morrigna
The Maurin Kincaide Series
Book One

Free  at    Amazon    Audible    BN

I’m Maurin Kincaide, a psychometric, and until a few days ago I was working for Salem’s Preternatural Task Force as an interrogator. I cracked more cold cases and got more confessions than anyone else in the department. Of course that was before I traded in my badge for an ancient Celtic sword. Now, I’m the Special Liaison for the Council, the governing body of the Others, and I take my orders from witches, werewolves and vampires.

I didn’t just make a career change though. I’m not the same person I was before. I’m stronger, I can heal from wounds that would kill a normal person. I’m developing latent psychic skills at a breakneck speed. Oh yeah, and it would seem that a Pagan goddess has taken permanent residence in my body and mind. Crazy thing is, I’m starting to feel normal, like this is who I’m supposed to be.

Of course, there are those who don’t agree. Morrigan and her sisters for example. Actually, I’m pretty sure they’d like nothing more than to see me dead. And if I can’t stop them and the demons they’ve raised, they just might get their wish.

Witch Hunt
The Maurin Kincaide Series
Book Two

Available at Amazon    BN   Audible

Maurin Kincaide is back in this action packed follow up novel to The Morrigna. No longer a member of Salem’s Preternatural Task Force, Maurin is the new liaison for The Council, governing body of Others. During what should have been a routine meeting with her former Captain, Maurin is brought in on a murder investigation.

Three dead witches, three cryptic clues, no sign of the killers and the Salem coven is losing allies within the Council. If Maurin and her unlikely partner Captain Matthison can’t stop the killers, the Witch City might be without its namesake.

Wolfsbane
The Maurin Kincaide Series
Book Three

Available at  Amazon   BN   Audible

Given the choice between her sister’s wedding and witnessing the challenge for Alpha of the Salem pack, Maurin knows exactly where she’d rather be. Smack dead center in a pack of snarling werewolves wearing eau de filet mignon.

Until Francesca takes off the morning of her wedding. Being her sister’s keeper will not excuse her from her job as the Council Liaison. Torn between obligations to a family she’s avoided for almost a decade and the Council of Others, Maurin has less than twenty-four hours to set things right.

Bloodbath
The Maurin Kincaide Series
Book Four

Available at  Amazon   BN   Audible

Bodies are piling up and all signs point in one direction. Rogue vampire. Except things aren’t always what they seem, especially in a murder investigation.

With her current relationship on the rocks, her father playing match-maker and her neighbor tossing his hat in the ring, the body count isn’t the only thing on the rise. Maurin is neck deep in magic, mayhem and murder.

Can she catch the killer before the killer catches her? One things for certain, when hunting vampires there will be blood.

Ill Fated
The Maurin Kincaide Series
Book Five

Available at BN

Some things are destined to end in death. After the first attempt on her life Maurin wasn’t scared. Hell, she was almost flattered. But someone put a price on her head and things are getting complicated. Trouble is brewing in the fae courts and it’s spilling over into Salem. The UnSeelie Dark Guard have answered the call for her head on a platter and people closest to her are disappearing.

Can Maurin master court politics and find her missing men before someone claims the bounty on her head?

More about Rachel

Rachel Rawlings was born and raised in the Baltimore Metropolitan area. Her family, originally from Rhode Island, spent summers in New England sparking her fascination with Salem, MA. She has been writing fictional stories and poems since middle school, but it wasn’t until 2009 that she found the inspiration to create her heroine Maurin Kincaide and complete her first full length novel, The Morrigna.

When she isn’t writing, Rachel can often be found with her nose buried in a good book. An avid reader of Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Horror and Steampunk herself, Rachel founded Hallowread- an interactive convention for both authors and fans of those genres.

More information on Hallowread, its schedule of events and participating authors can be found at www.hallowread.blogspot.com  and www.facebook.com/Hallowread.

She still lives in Maryland with her husband and three children.

It looks like HallowRead 2016 will be on October 21-23. If you will be anywhere close, put it on your calendar! Thank you to Rachel for guest blogging today!

The Spirit Chaser’s Playlist: 13 Songs

Kat Mayor is a “full-time reader, part-time writer” from Texas. Her paranormal romance THE SPIRIT CHASER features a paranormal investigator, psychics, ghosts, demons, and dangerous places. Do you have a song that reminds you of your favorite book? Kat has thirteen songs that remind her of various scenes from her book. She’s here with her playlist and a chance to win some awesome prizes: a $50 Amazon eGC, a $25 Amazon eGC, a signed copy of The Spirit Chaser, and an e-copy. Details are below. Welcome, Kat!

Spirit Chaser

Playlist for The Spirit Chaser

I love to listen to music while I write. These songs either played in my head during certain parts of the book, or the lyrics remind me of the story in some way.  After the song title I wrote a short description of the part of the book it reminds me of.

  1. Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield: Casey’s ringtone.
  2. The Devil Went Down to Georgia by The Charlie Daniel’s Band: The bar scene with Casey and her friend Tina.
  3. Love Bites by Def Leppard: Austin and Casey slow dance.
  4. Talking Body by Tove Lo: Austin and Casey’s first night together.
  5. So High by Ghost Loft: Austin brings Casey to his high-rise apartment.
  6. Crave by Tove Lo: Austin comes to visit Casey in Shadowcreek over Christmas.
  7. Devil Woman by Cliff Richard: Wild party at Austin’s loft.
  8. Prayer in C by Lilly Wood and The Prick and Robin Schulz: Casey separates from Austin.
  9. Take Me to Church by Hozier: She-demon visits Austin in her human form.
  10. The Moon Is Falling Down by Cry Wolf: The Spirit Chaser crew arrives at Enchanted Hill Manor.
  11. Ghost Town by Adam Lambert: Casey returns to Shadowcreek.
  12. The Home We Made, Pt II by Cry Wolf: Casey reflects on everything that has happened.
  13. When the Love Falls by Yiruma: The final pages of the book.

Do you have a song that reminds you of your favorite book?  What is it about the song that makes you think of it?

More About The Spirit Chaser

Some places are too evil. Some places should be left alone.

Austin Cole has it made. Star of the hit television show Spirit Chaser Investigations, he has become the world’s most famous paranormal investigator. Although hard work, a talented investigation team, and favorable genetics have something to do with it, it’s his lack of fear and willingness to take risks no one else will that make Spirit Chaser Investigations cable’s number-one show.

When a ghost-hunt-gone-wrong seriously injures his best friend and lead psychic, Austin is forced to find a replacement for a team member he considers irreplaceable.

Casey Lawson can’t catch a break. She’s been on her own since she turned eighteen and is scraping by as a part-time psychic and cashier at a New Age store. When a desperate Austin Cole calls her up and offers her a position on his team, has her fortune finally changed?

He’s a control freak; she’s stubborn and opinionated. It takes time, but when they finally realize they’re working on the same side, everything clicks, both on and off screen.

Just when things are looking up, a new threat emerges. Over the years, Austin has angered plenty of demons, and one of them has set her sights on him. Now he’s the one in danger, and it’s up to the team to rescue him from the riskiest investigation of their lives.

Amazon Kindle    Amazon Paperback   Kobo   BN   Smashwords

More About Kat

Kat Mayor is a native Texan, wife, and mom. In addition to The Spirit Chaser, she has written a young adult series, The Circle. She’s a full-time reader, part-time writer, and when she’s not kicking a story around in her head, she loves to read and review books on Goodreads.

More about the Giveaway

Kat is giving away the following prizes at the end of her blog tour:

  • First Prize: $50 Amazon gift card and signed Paperback of The Spirit Chaser
  • Second Prize: $25 Amazon gift card and e-book of The Spirit Chaser in Mobi, EPUB, or PDF.

Click here for the Rafflecopter link. Click here for my complete giveaway rules.

The Spirit Chaser Banner

I don’t have a song that reminds me of a favorite book, but I do have ten songs that served as partial inspiration for my gothic romance novelette “Dream, Interrupted.” Long-time followers have already seen the playlist, as well as read about how the songs served as transitions in the story itself, but anyone new who’s interested can click here for the playlist and here for the transition post. Basically, I introduced each section in the story by having the main character discuss those songs. I loved how, for anyone familiar with the songs, the references and discussion added a deeper layer of meaning to the story.

Also, gotta add, that I’ve been inspired by the song The Devil Went Down to Georgia too. The working titles of all of my novels were originally riffs on common sayings involving the devil, the third one being The Demon Went Down to Jorja (cue the groan 😀 ). Interested in hearing more about the how the devil became associated with the violin? Click here for a post I did over at SF Signal a while back.

And, while we’re not on the subject, Valentine’s Day?! Did everyone have a happy one? I hope so! My Valentine’s Days always seem to be a bit un-traditional, which I like. Last year, I had lunch with a friend and then played poker with my family. This year, I spent an hour+ browsing in a New Jersey Barnes & Noble with one of my daughters and then played an intense game of UNO, the Frozen version. Best new card? Olaf’s summertime card. I could use a little summertime… we’re under yet another winter storm warning, this one with sleet and freezing rain.

Thank you, Kat, for guest blogging today. Wishing you and everyone a dry, warm, and not-too-scary Tuesday!

SPRING: #horror #romance #movie

Has anyone watched SPRING yet? The 2014 horror, sci-fi, romance flick directed by Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson and staring Nadia Hilker and Lou Taylor Pucci? (It’s not rated, but I’d put it squarely in the rated “R” category.) I saw it last week and have been thinking about it on and off since. If you’ve seen it and want to discuss, read on! If you haven’t, be aware – big spoilers below!!

Spring

The woman who cuts my hair recommended this to me. I’ve been going to her for years and we talk about movies all the time. We have similar tastes and she watches as many movies as I do. So it’s always fun to catch up and swap recs. I have to say, the day we discussed this one was pretty funny. The backdrop was this semi-swanky hair salon and there we were, me in the chair, her chopping away behind me, talking about blood and tentacles and syringes and killings and body transformations… and it seemed like every head in the room turned our way. I couldn’t figure out if they thought we were insane or just wanted to watch the movie too.

As some of you know, I’m actually not a huge horror fan. I prefer supernatural thrillers, psychological suspense, and/or dark fantasy to straight up horror but, occasionally, I’ll watch something with a twist (The Cabin in the Woods comes to mind). So I was wary when my hairdresser first recommended Spring. After hearing all the gory details, I asked her:

Does it have a happy ending?

Yep, I’m a wimp sometimes and I just wanted to know what I might be getting myself into. She was reluctant to spoil it for me but finally said, “Yes.” And her answer is what convinced me to watch it and why I’m passing this info on. Romance fans who like dark stories, this one’s for you. Bonus: horror fans will not be disappointed either (but don’t tell them the ending 😉 Half the fun for horror fans will likely be trying to figure out whether the guy will end up the girl’s victim in some sort of gruesome black widow scenario).

Why did I like it?

I loved that it successfully blended two near-opposite genres. Combining horror and romance is really difficult. Romances are about bringing two people together. They are about human connections, closeness, emotions, warmth, and love. Horror is about frightening the crap out of the audience. You know someone’s gonna die and it might even be the MC.

Ok, so what’s it about?

The movie opens with Evan losing his mother. It’s a really sad scene. Tough to watch, but it immediately establishes his capacity to love and be there for those he loves. Grief-stricken, he decides to travel and round-aboutly makes his way to Italy where he meets a mysterious, beautiful woman – Louise. The rest of the movie centers on their developing relationship, which is massively complicated by who and what she is.

What you may not like about it

FlickFilosopher wrote a review that points out that, in order to get to the happy ending, Louise had to give up her immortality and change who she was. The reviewer’s point was that, not only was Evan not worth Louise’s sacrifice, but why should the girl always have to change to get the guy?

It was an interesting point and one that caught my attention. (Obviously, the stories are different, but in my first novel, Noon also struggled with who and what she was. Ultimately, she decided not to change.)

For me, however, Louise’s change and sacrifice worked. Why? Three reasons.

First, I thought Evan might be someone who was worth that kind of sacrifice. Hey, it’s a movie. The filmmakers only get two hours for audiences to fall in love with their characters. They showed me enough of Evan’s character for me to fill in the gaps. He had potential as an awesome beau even if we didn’t see all of it. His devotion to his mom and his interactions with the other characters (the two buddies he traveled with for a while and the old widowed farmer he worked for) gave us hints that he was someone who, despite being at a very dark point in his life, was still going to approach the world with openness and warmth.

Second, he loved Louise enough to die for her. Yes, he fell in love quickly but, man, once he was in, he was all in. When he found Louise mid-shift in her apartment looking deadly and terrifying, he didn’t run. Nope, he bashed down the door and found a way to help her. And, at the very end, when Louise kept telling him she was probably going to kill him – that she didn’t love him and that, for his own sake, he should get the hell out of dodge – he didn’t. He never left her. He was willing to risk her killing him if it meant having a chance at a life with her.

Third, there were hints that Louise was sick and tired of that immortality b.s. Is it really all it’s cracked up to be? Sounds pretty lonely to me. And Louise’s rebirths every twenty years sounded awful. If she was fully embracing who and what she was, she wouldn’t have been carrying around all those syringes to stop the transformations. Nope, she was ready for it to be done.

Have you seen SPRING? What did you think?

[Am I back to blogging? No. Not really. I may share my thoughts on stuff from time to time here, but for now, I’m still focused on my WIP. So I’m heading back to my writing cave. NaNoers – soldier on!!! Wishing you – and me – high word counts for today! 😀 ]

What to Read and Watch: 3 Fantasy Novels + 2 Futuristic Movies + 1 Horror Show #SFF

I’m a panelist at SF Signal’s Mind Meld today. The question was:

What lesser-known books have you read, fairly recently, that you think deserve more attention, and why?

If you stop by, you’ll get to see what my answer was (hint: 3 fantasy novels), as well as read the other panelists’ answers, which should give you some great reading ideas for your holiday break.

For those of you who need to take a break from your TBR pile (it happens; you’re forgiven 😉 ), below are my thoughts on what I’ve been watching.

General Spoiler Warning: I find it hard to discuss things without giving too much away. I’m not a reviewer, I’m a fan. So… if you don’t like spoilers, go watch MR. NOBODY, HOW I LIVE NOW, and AMERICAN HORROR STORY (COVEN) and come back.

Mr. Nobody

Like Inception and Cloud Atlas, this is a movie you’re gonna wanna watch twice. I knew from the trailer that it was trippy science fiction (a good thing). Even so I still had to resort to some post-viewing internet searches to get the red-yellow-blue thing. But once I did, I thought it was a brilliant visual way of reinforcing Nemo’s various life choices/paths. The story is about a man named Nemo Nobody who is 118 years old when the movie starts. He is the last mortal man in a futuristic society that has learned how to achieve immortality through stem cell compatible pigs (that part sounds absurd, but the movie isn’t, and the filmmakers treat the concept as absurdly as it sounds… perhaps a commentary on the futility and absurdity of man’s constant search for immortality?).

In any case, Nemo is being interviewed on his deathbed. A journalist has snuck into his room and wants to hear his life’s story. But his joy at snagging the scoop turns to confusion as Nemo weaves a story that is full of multiple inconsistencies and not a few earlier deaths. Nemo isn’t just musing about “what if” or “wish I woulda.” His constructs three different realities with alternate endings in each. Most of us tell our life’s story in chronological order. Not Nemo. His story is full of all the choices he made – and all the ones he didn’t. It’s pretty neat. (Although I found his “blue” life and wife hard to take, but she’s supposed to be that way. Great acting by Sarah Polley, btw. Who saw The Claim? That’s another good one to rent, although there’s not even a whiff of SFF in it).

All of the above aside, I’m not sure I agree with the ending premise: that all your life’s paths are just as worthy, equal, or meaningful. At the same time though, since we live in the real world (where smoke will not go back into the cigarette even if we live to be 118), I think it’s important not to regret past choices or wonder too much about paths not taken.

Interested in reading more about Mr. Nobody?

How I Live Now

Fifteen year old Elizabeth a.k.a. “Daisy” – a troubled teen who hears voices and has a constant need to wash her hands – arrives from the U.S. to spend a summer with cousins on a remote farm in the English countryside. A nuclear bomb is dropped on London. WWIII breaks out. Martial law is declared. And then… bad stuff happens. The kind of stuff you can imagine. And then are glad that you’re only imagining it, not remembering it.

The movie opens with scenes of idyllic summer days (you know their only purpose is to sharply contrast with whatever’s coming next) and scenes from an idyllic summer love (the fact that the young lovers are cousins is glossed over and, in light of the film’s true horrors, I had no trouble forgetting about that too).

Saoirse Ronan plays Daisy and she is terrific, as always. I wanted to know more about Daisy’s character. Why did she hear voices before the war even started? Why was she always washing her hands? There was other evidence of mental and/or emotional vulnerability (medication, a vague reference to a possible eating disorder) but the underlying cause was never explained. Were all of Daisy’s pre-war problems just due to the fact that her dad ignored her? Maybe the character was more fully fleshed out in the novel. Or maybe it doesn’t matter. The message of the film was survival and forward motion, not looking back.

Regardless of the cause of Daisy’s initial troubles, the one bright spot of the film was watching her transform from a prickly, obsessive, anti-social teen into someone with close family relationships, the competence to plan and execute a cross-country trek back home through land pock-marked with enemies and other dangers, and the will not just to survive but to make sure those she cares about do too.

Above all, How I Live Now is a film that makes you appreciate life. All of it. The big stuff. Family. A safe place. A sense of self. And the small stuff. Gardens. Sunshine. Clean water.

American Horror Show (Coven)

Even though I’m a speculative fiction fan, I don’t read or watch a lot of horror. But I love certain aspects of it: dark, macabre storylines, monsters, usually a twist or two, and sometimes, humor. I think I first heard about this show in Entertainment Weekly and the premise intrigued me: a New Orleans boarding school for non-conformists who also happen to be witches. In the first episode, a witch accidentally kills her boyfriend – by her act of passion, not in an act of passion – and another is burned at the stake (she comes back to life in E2). The show never looked back. Each episode just got more and more outlandish, which is what makes it so entertaining.

Ordinarily, by now, I would be wondering how the creators could possibly sustain the dramatic trajectory they’ve put themselves on, but that brings me to the other reason I got hooked on the show: its unique anthology format. Each season is a standalone story, with its own story arc – a promised beginning, middle, and end – all in one season. Each season stars many of the same cast members: Jessica Lange, Taissa Farmiga, Evan Peters… As well as some who are there only for that season: Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Emma Roberts, Zachary Quinto… So, of course, I had to go back and start watching season 1 (Murder House) in between episodes of S3. Be forewarned, however, this is not a show for the meek. (Fans of True Blood or Game of Thrones, you’ll be fine. 😀 ).

What about you? Have you seen Mr. Nobody, How I Live Now, or American Horror Story (Coven)? What do YOU think? Hope everyone’s having a great week!

Author Interview: Damien Walters Grintalis, Author of “Ink”

For my last post in the 2012 Fall Into Winter Darkness Book Blast, I interviewed Damien Walters Grintalis, author of the upcoming horror novel INK, which is being released on December 4, 2012 from Samhain Publishing. When I first heard the premise of INK, it immediately intrigued me and I pre-ordered it. I asked if Damien would be willing to answer a few questions while we wait for its release. Happily, she agreed. Along with sharing a bit about INK, she also discusses what it’s like to be an Associate Editor for “Electric Velocipede” and a staff writer for “BookLifeNow.” Welcome, Damien!

Horror Novel INK
INK’s release day is 12-4-12

Jill Archer: Your bio says that you were influenced early on by the movie ALIEN and Stephen King’s THE SHINING. If you’d been 11 in 2012, which movies or books might have influenced you in the same way?

Damien Walters Grintalis: I suspect I’d be influenced by the YA dystopian and zombie literature, like Suzanne Collins’ THE HUNGER GAMES and Jonathan Maberry’s ROT & RUIN. As far as movies, I’m not certain there’s anything that would have quite the same impact as ALIEN.

JA: Your bio also says you hate spiders (me too, although I try to remember Charlotte before reaching for my shoe or a rolled up magazine). Are there any insects you do like?

DWG: I like cicadas, praying mantises, moths, butterflies, fireflies, and ladybugs. Ants, too, as long as they’re not traipsing about in my kitchen.

JA: INK, your debut horror novel, features the protagonist Jason and his ‘fearsome griffin’ tattoo. Why did you choose a griffin as the creature for the tattoo? Is there a picture of Jason’s tattoo in the book or anywhere online – or do you leave that up to the reader’s imagination?

DWG: I wanted something mythical as opposed to real, and I also wanted something that could be monstrous. The combination of talons, wings, and claws was absolutely perfect in my mind.

There are no pictures of the tattoo, and, while I don’t give a head to toe filling in every line and feather description of the griffin, I think I describe it in such a way that a reader will be able to imagine it clearly. At least I hope so.

JA: Since I was curious about what Jason’s griffin tattoo looked like, Damien shared a small excerpt:

The creature, its feathers and fur done in shades of amber, gold and tawny brown, looked ready to spring up from his skin. Its beak and claws were pale but tipped with dark, its eyes a piercing green, and the massive chest leaned forward and up—regal, haughty, and proud.

JA: Do you have a tattoo? If not, did writing INK make you consider getting one? (Or, if you have one, did writing the story make you think about having it removed?)

DWG: I have several tattoos. Some predate the writing of INK, others have come after.  At one point, I was thinking about adding a griffin tattoo, but I haven’t made up my mind yet. I don’t believe in monsters, at least not inhuman monsters, and I trust my tattoo artist, but perhaps fate should best not be tempted.

JA: What was the inspiration for INK? What compelled you to write the story?

DWG: I was on my way out of a tattoo shop in Fells Point (in Baltimore) when I had an idea for what I thought would be a short story: Unsuspecting man gets tattoos and they come to life and tear him apart. But when I sat down to write it, a very different story started to emerge and it didn’t take long for me to realize that it was a novel, not a short story.

JA: What sort of research did you do in order to write INK?

DWG: I had to look up a few things about the Washington Monument and the street names for a graveyard mentioned in the book, but that’s it. I’m more of a ‘make it up as I go along’ sort of writer.

JA: Who are some of your favorite authors? / Which authors have inspired you or influenced your work?

DWG: Stephen King, Peter Straub, and Joyce Carol Oates have been my biggest influences. I am in awe of their character development, their plotting, and their craftsmanship.

JA: You are an Associate Editor of the Hugo Award winning speculative fiction magazine, Electric Velocipede and a staff writer for BookLifeNow. Can you tell us a little bit about each and your work there?

DWG: Electric Velocipede is a Hugo Award-winning speculative fiction magazine edited by John Klima. He founded the magazine in 2001 and has published short fiction by many notable writers, including Catherynne M. Valente, Jeffrey Ford, Rachel Swirsky, Jeff VanderMeer, Aliete de Bodard, and Jay Lake. In 2001, the magazine made the switch from print to online, and that’s when I joined the team.

I do a lot of things in the background, everything from proofreading to gathering contributor bios to setting up the story posts, and I’ve recently started copyediting as well. Being part of a magazine from the inside has been a wonderful experience.

Booklife, penned by Jeff VanderMeer, is an “essential reference [that] reflects on methods for being focused, productive, and savvy in the craft of writing.” The book was accompanied by the website, which expanded on the topics even more.  Earlier this year, Jeff handed the reins of the website, BookLifeNow, to Caroline Ratajski, who then assembled a team of industry folks to help out. Because we bring our own experiences and advice to the table, we post on a variety of writing and publishing topics from many different viewpoints. My most recent BLN post was Writing When You’re Broken.

JA: What is your favorite horror movie?

DWG: Without a doubt, ALIEN. THE EXORCIST runs a close second.

JA: Did you dress up for Halloween this year? If so, what was your costume?

DWG: I did not, although I joked that since I wore yoga pants and a t-shirt, I was dressed as a writer.

JA: What’s next for you?

DWG: My agent and I are working on final edits to another novel called Paper Tigers, a story about a heavily disfigured young woman and a haunted photo album that promises the illusion of physical perfection, a promise which comes with a great price.

I’ve recently finished the first draft of another novel, and I have yet another waiting in the wings for edits. I also write a lot of short fiction and have several stories in various states of undress.

JA: Thank you for answering these questions and sharing a bit more about INK with us. Best wishes for your release!

More About “Ink”

A tattoo can be a work of art…or a curse.

The fearsome griffin inked on Jason’s arm looks real enough to climb off and take flight. Jason thinks his new tattoo is perfect. Until he wakes up one night to find his arm temporarily ink free. Until he finds a brick wall where the tattoo shop should be.

As Jason’s world spins out of control, he comes to realize a truth as sharp as the griffin’s talons. The tattoo is alive, it’s hungry, and if Jason tries to kill it, he’ll die. The artist will remove it for a price, but he’s not interested in money or Jason’s soul. He wants something far worse…

  • Ink can be pre-ordered here.
  • For Damien Walters Grintalis’ website, click here.

So readers and writers, what about you? Do you find the premise of INK as intriguing as I do? Do you have any tattoos? If so, what’s the story behind them? If not, are you thinking about getting one? If your tattoo artist could create anything you wanted (and would work for free), what tattoo would you choose? Have a terrific weekend, everyone!

2012 Fall Into Winter Darkness Book Blast!

Fall into reading
If she can do it, so can you. What’s your excuse for not reading more? 😀

Starting this Saturday, I’m going to be hosting another round of guest bloggers interspersed with an author interview or two.  Darker days means darker stories and I’m happy to report that this round of writers is just as diverse as the last. If all goes well, we’ll be hearing from authors who write urban fantasy, dark paranormal, horror, even non-fiction — one author has compiled a collection of local ghost stories to share. Morgan Keyes, author of Darkbeast, a middle grade fantasy that was just released from Simon & Schuster yesterday, will get us started. She’s going to be giving away a copy of Darkbeast to one lucky commenter.

Hope to see you here this weekend… and throughout the fall!

Bloodstorm’s Amber Kallyn: What in the (paranormal) world?

Available Now

Amber Kallyn, Author of Bloodstorm, a paranormal romance featuring a vengeful vampire and a sexy sheriff, is currently on a blog tour to promote her latest release. She’s here today to talk about her vampire heroine and the other Arcaine races in her book. Amber is giving away a $5.00 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky commenter today. Details on her giveaway (as well as details on an even bigger giveaway and the limited dates when you can download Bloodstorm for free) are below. 

Who’s afraid of the dark?

It’s the deepest, oldest fear, niggling down to the center of the soul.

Luckily, now we have light. 🙂

But that old fear remains, and one of the manifestations of that fear are monsters.

Devils, demons, vampires, shifters.

These creatures have evolved over the years into something a little less monstrous. Think of Dracula in Bram Stoker’s tale. Sure, he was a vampire. But his ongoing quest was to find his lost love.

Anyone other than me root for him?

Vampires and shifters in some stories have turned into not the monsters in the dark, but those keeping the darkness at bay.

One of the things I love the most about paranormal romance is the menagerie of characters. Creatures big and small, out of history or mythology, become real.

In Bloodstorm, my main character is a vampire. But there’s a whole host of Arcaine races.

Shifters, such as the werewolf pack warring with the vampire clan.

There’s also ghosts, demons, witches and fey.

Each Arcaine race is based on real-world myths, just changed a bit for my world.

For example, my vampires don’t follow the standard conventions.

They can get a tan, though the sun will weaken them. The whole Holy Water & garlic doesn’t do a thing except leave you with a cranky, wet vampire.

They drink blood, but a nice gourmet meal will help them keep that whole humanity thing going. A liquid diet can turn them into true monsters of the dark.

Stakes hurt, but to truly kill a vampire in my world, it’ll take a beheading.

They’re supernatural beings, fast and strong, but under it all, they still face the same emotional needs as anyone.

In the end, they want to belong and to be loved.

And for me, that’s the point of a romance, whether it’s two people falling in love, or two paranormal creatures. 🙂

More About Bloodstorm

A vampire must choose between love or revenge.

For two hundred years, Niki DeVeraux has been tracking the monster who murdered her family and made her a vampire. She finally catches up to him only to face more than she bargained for in a too-sexy sheriff who makes her remember she’s still a woman. With duties as Keeper of the peace and Sheriff, Shane Spencer must protect humanity and stop the friction between the local Arcaine races before it turns into an all out blood war.

When wolves start turning up dead, the tension between the races grows and suspicion falls on Niki. Shane knows she’s not to blame, and it has nothing to do with the primal urges she stirs within him. Working together, they must stop the hostilities from going over the edge. Trouble is, the desires raging between them might prove more dangerous than the surrounding threats.

Bloodstorm will be FREE at Amazon on May 7-9. Don’t forget to grab the e-book during this special sale! If you don’t want to wait, it’s also available now by clicking here.

More About Author Amber Kallyn

One of those rare breeds, Amber Kallyn is an Arizona native who can trace her family’s history through six generations in the state. She lives with her sexy husband, and their four very active children. Included in the menagerie are two cats (though there’s always room for more) and two dogs. We won’t count all the fish.

Amber loves the paranormal, from dragons to werewolves to vampires. She’s currently at work on her next book, probably running around the house acting out a fight scene with her collection of swords and daggers. Or maybe, wishing she had claws to practice the other fight scenes.

A voracious lover of the written word, Amber found at an early age that she could read fast. Really fast. She devours novels by the day, novellas by the hour, and is always looking to get her hands on more.

How to connect with Amber:

Details on Amber’s Giveaway

Amber says:

So here’s the scoop. I’m giving away a $5 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky winner at every stop in the blog tour. Just comment to be entered. See the details HERE.

And I’ll be giving away another $20 Amazon gift certificate to the reader who leaves the most comments on all the blogs I’ll be visiting. (If there is a tie, I will use Random.org to select the winner).

So readers, how about you? Are you afraid of the dark? Were you as a kid? Or were you the one telling all the scary stories at sleepovers or around the campfire? Did you root for Dracula in Bram Stoker’s classic tale? If not, have you ever rooted for any other paranormal creature? Amber said her vampires don’t follow the standard conventions. Have you read any other stories that play with traditional vampire myths in unusual or memorable ways? If so, we want to hear about it! 🙂 Amber, thank you for guest blogging today!!

A Writer’s Perspective: Why Titanic’s Story Endures

RMS Titanic departing Southampton on April 10,...
RMS Titanic departing Southampton on April 10, 1912 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyone remembers the tragic true life story of Titanic, the doomed ocean liner that sank during her maiden voyage almost a hundred years ago.

But why? Not why did it sink, but why do we remember the story?

According to some experts, an average of two large ships sink every week. That’s about 100 ships per year. Titanic sunk almost 100 years ago. Out of the roughly ten thousand ships that have sunk since then, why is it the first ship we think of when someone says, “Name a ship that sank”? Why have so many books and movies and museums been made to tell its tale?

My trip to the Titanic Museum in Pidgeon Forge, Tennessee this past summer (click here for last week’s review of the museum if you missed it) was thought-provoking and emotional. As a writer, one of the things I wondered about was how this story captured the public’s attention — and how it continues to hold it nearly a century later.

So, here it is. My list of story elements that I think makes Titanic unforgettable…

Why Titanic’s Story Lives On

1. Irony. Titanic was huge. It and its sister ship, Olympic, were two of the largest ocean passenger liners ever to sail. I’m not sure why, but people usually think the bigger the craft, the less likely it is that it will go down. (I’ve seen this same thinking with respect to airplanes; some people are afraid to fly in small airplanes because they perceive them to be less safe than commercial airlines, but the same rules of physics apply!) My nine-year old daughter studied Titanic in school this past year. I asked her why Titanic’s story captured her interest. Without hesitation she said, “They said it was unsinkable, and it sank anyway.” I think humans are naturally drawn to stories that show our own hubris.

2. Tragedy. Titanic was a disaster. Over fifteen hundred people died. This makes the sinking one of the deadliest in peacetime ever to have occurred.

3. True Story. Titanic’s sinking was a true story. Real people died that night, people like David Vartanian, Alice McCoy, Jane Richards Quick…. (The Titanic Museum has a page devoted to telling the biographies of these people, both famous and not). Why do people love true life stories? Two reasons: One, they are always amazed that the ‘truth is stranger than fiction.’ True stories are immune to claims of melodrama. Second, with true life stories, the “What Would You Do If…?” factor is high. And with Titanic’s story, it was very high. There were all kinds of reported situations within which you could imagine yourself and wonder: would you act admirably or shamefully? The gated stairwells (someone had to have locked them), the band that played on while the ship went down, the captain who pushed the ship ever faster even though it was a calm night and icebergs had been spotted in the area, Ida Straus‘ plucky and poignant refusal to leave her husband (“Where you go, I go.”)

4. Famous People. Titanic was full of the rich and famous. Everyone’s always reading about these people under normal circumstances. On board were John Jacob Astor, Molly Brown, Lady Duff Gordon, Isador Straus, Frank Millet, et al. It was an illustrious crowd, one that generated headlines no matter what they did.

5. Opulence and Glamour. Titanic was a luxury liner, one of the finest ones in her day. It had telephones, elevators, a library, barber shop, swimming pool, Turkish baths, fine cuisine, and beautiful artwork, furniture, and features. First class tickets were expensive and people dressed up for dinner. Ocean going voyages on luxury liners were celebratory. Passengers were on holiday. These elements give the story added interest and drama when juxtaposed against the stark reality of what happened later.

6. Horror. The images immediately conjured up in your mind are scary and easily understandable. The flickering lights that then go out a few moments later, plunging everyone into permanent darkness. Can you imagine being inside the ship when that happened? The tilting ship decks pointing toward below freezing water. It may have well have been boiling water for all anyone could survive it. The water rushing down the stairwells. Even if you can swim, the thought of being trapped in a sinking ship is incredibly, horrifyingly frightening. The fact that there weren’t enough life boats for everyone. People panicking, yelling, pushing, shouting.

7. Timing. Disaster struck during Titanic’s maiden voyage. This was the ship’s debut. All eyes were on her. Attention hadn’t had a chance to wander yet. If Titanic had been an older vessel with scores of past successful voyages, her sinking would have been newsworthy, but not nearly as much. Maybe it’s the shameful waste of it all, or the incredulity of realizing that something as spectacular as Titanic could be destroyed before experiencing its day in the sun. But the indisputable fact is that Titanic sailed once — and only once — and that, in and of itself, is memorable.

8. Hope. Some people were rescued. Some passengers survived. There were harrowing tales, but some had a happy ending. Not everyone died. And that, I think, is the key. If everyone had died, the story would still be told, but not in the same way. The stories of those who died are awful, but they’re tempered by the stories of those who made it. There’s the story of Leah Aks, the mother whose infant son was torn from her arms and then thrown overboard — only to be caught, thankfully, by Selena Cook. There’s the story of the Navratil boys who, after being kidnapped by their father, were reunited with their mother after the sinking. And what about the Unsinkable Molly Brown? She’s an unforgettable character if ever there was one.

Titanic may be the first ship you think of when someone asks you to name a ship that sank, but it’s a story about life as much as death. It’s a story of tragedy, but it’s also a story of rescue. And rescue stories are some of the most appealing and enduring stories around.

Related Link: Julian Fellowes, the creator of Downton Abbey, just launched a new Titanic miniseries, which premiered March 25th. Click here for clips of Digital Spy’s interviews of cast members telling us their thoughts on why Titanic’s story endures.

What about you? Why do YOU think Titanic’s story is so enduring?