Fun #Winter Poll: Who’s Your Favorite “Winterbeest”?


Wildebeests are majestic and all but they’re not magical or mysterious. I spend a lot of time researching supernatural beasts, as well as deities and other mythical creatures. So I thought it would be fun to share five of my favorite winter baddies with you. (Sometimes, I absolutely adore the research I do now – beastie research sure beats the hell out of legal research! Although I did love the law library and, believe it or not, used to love doing research in Land Records. Bonus Five => here’s the 5 careers I would love to have if I weren’t a lawyer or a writer: bookseller, librarian, land surveyor, title abstractor, monster slayer.) Cast your vote for your favorite “winterbeest” below!

#5 Boreas


 The Cold North Wind. The Bringer of Winter. Read more about him here (including how King Laomedon’s preternaturally fast horses were allegedly sired by Boreas) and here (background on the eponymous 2013 Thanksgiving storm).

#4 Yeti


Snowy Sasquatch (a.k.a. The Bumble in “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer”). Click here for the Bigfoot Researchers Organization Geographic Database of Bigfoot/Sasquatch Sightings and Reports and here for The Museum of Unnatural Mystery’s page on the Yeti: Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas.

#3 Frost Giants

Frost Giant

Long before they became Hollywood villains, they were Norse legends. For the Marvel Comics Frost Giant wiki, click here. For Martin Hojbjerg’s Norse Mythology site (which includes an alphabetized list of giants), click here. And for my review of the audio version of Neil Gaiman’s Odd and the Frost Giants click here.

#2 The Lord of Misrule

Lord of Misrule

Known in Scotland as the Abbot of Unreason and in France as the Prince des Sots, the Lord of Misrule was the person appointed to preside over the Feast of Fools, which was a winter celebration that mimics certain aspects of the Roman holiday Saturnalia. I used the Lord of Misrule and the Feast of Fools as inspiration for some of the opening scenes in White Heart of Justice (Fitz plays Lord Lawless at St. Luck’s Festival of Frivolity).

I’m not the only writer who’s been inspired by this figure. See also Rachel Caine’s Lord of Misrule and Jaimy Gordon’s Lord of Misrule, which I’m reading right now. (I’m aware of how odd it is that I’m reading the horseracing book and not the vampire one. But I stopped by my library just before our Key West trip and happened to see Gordon’s book. I loved Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit so I thought I’d give it a try. The two best things about it? Peeking inside the world of low-stakes horse racing and the author’s voice or writing style. It’s unique.)

#1 The Dark Mother


Demeter, grieving, angry, and fierce. In winter, when Hades steals Persephone from her, she goes all Momma Bear on the world, sowing vengeance instead of seeds and reaping death instead of crops.

Honorable mention


A tie between winter storm Janus and our snow blower!

So, how about you? Do you have a favorite “Winterbeest”? Do you like doing research or is it a necessary evil? How did everyone do with winter storm Janus? I hope everyone had fun sled riding or reading inside today! Fingers crossed that everyone is in school and back at work tomorrow. Northeasterners, enjoy the snow!


If Fiery Edge of Steel was made into a movie, who would I cast as Noon Onyx?

I’ve never answered the question of who I would cast as the lead characters in the Noon Onyx books if the books were made into movies. Mostly, it was due to the fact that no one actress came immediately to mind. But another reason is that I was reluctant to limit the character’s interpretation in that way. Books and movies are very different storytelling mediums. One of the amazing things about books is that readers can fill in the gaps of the story with their own imaginations. Part of me felt like if I said who I thought would make a great Noon, that’s who people would always visualize. But that’s ridiculous. And SO NOT FUN!

EJ over at From the Shadows asked me “the casting question” and this time, I had to answer it. So if you’re wondering who I would cast as Noon, Ari, and newcomer Rafe Sinclair, then check out today’s interview by clicking here. I talk about other stuff too, like when I started writing, what brought me to the paranormal genre, which supernatural talent I would want for my own, and why people will like Fiery Edge of Steel. And, of course, there’s a giveaway! Come comment for a chance to win a signed copy of Fiery Edge of Steel!

If you’ve read Dark Light of Day, I’d love to hear *your* thoughts on who would make a great Noon and Ari. Or you can tell me what you think of my choices and whether you’ve seen any of the MOVIES I reference. 😀

Hope to see you there! Have a great Wednesday!

One of the neatest things about Release Day: Friends sending you pictures of their recently delivered copies! Thanks, Dianne, for texting me this pic!!
One of the neatest things about Release Day: Friends sending you pictures of their recently delivered copies! Thanks, Dianne, for texting me this pic!!

Fiery Edge of Steel Sneak Peek Tour is at Rabid Reads Today

The Fiery Edge of Steel exclusive excerpt tour is wrapping up. Today and tomorrow are the last days to enter to win a signed ARC and a $25 eGift Certificate to the bookstore of your choice. Check out today’s excerpt at Rabid Reads. And see below for more Fiery Edge of Steel inspirations. Happy Friday!

Jill Archer, Fiery Edge of Steel, inspirations, bonfire, urban fantasy, speculative ficion

I’ve always loved bonfires. I still remember spending one Christmas Eve with my dad, step-mom, and brother watching the bonfires burn along the Mississippi River. I also remember my high school used to let students build and burn a big bonfire for homecoming. And, growing up in western Pennsylvania and now living in rural Maryland, there have been no shortage of friends to hang out with who also love to safely burn things. Despite the picture above looking very “Lord of the Light-ish” I took it last summer at a local backyard bonfire. I took it with my cell phone so it’s a little grainy, but the timing couldn’t have been better. I was walking out to my car and I turned around and saw the moon and the guy standing in front of the fire (yes, he’s in front of the fire, not in it :-)). I couldn’t help thinking that scenes like this have likely happened throughout human history with very little change. I edited out the farm house, which really gives the picture a timeless look.

Those of you who have read Dark Light of Day know that bonfires play a minor role in the story. They do in Fiery Edge of Steel too. And I even managed to work in my idea that scenes like this have been repeated with each passing generation for countless years. (Chapter 21 for anyone who’s curious). Unless something drastic changes during edits, there will also be a bonfire in Act I of book #3. Why? To me, they are a symbol of continuity and community, friendship and warmth.

More Inspirations for Fiery Edge of Steel and Teaser Tour Excerpt Part Three

The third Fiery Edge of Steel, Chapter 1 excerpt is at the speculative fiction blog, Preternatura (Suzanne Johnson’s blog). Find out which demon they’re bringing to Timothy’s Square for the Carne Vale and enter to win one of six signed ARCs of Fiery Edge of Steel (US) and a $25 eGift Certificate to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble, winner’s choice (international). And see below for some more “behind the scenes” type stuff. Happy Wednesday!

Lady Justice, fantasy with legal fiction elements

I name all my chapters and then take the names out during edits. Some of my chapter names could probably be left in — the ones that are evocative because they play off some thematic element in the chapter. But many of them are just sign posts for me, the drafter. They help me to keep track of what the chapter’s supposed to be about. When I was drafting Fiery Edge of Steel, I had this idea to put little snippets of stuff at the beginning of each chapter. Things that would provide information to the reader, but not necessarily as part of the narrative. I decided against it. For one thing, the books have enough information for the reader to digest. But for those of you that like extras, here’s the one I drafted for the beginning of Chapter 20:

Lead investigators shall have the following duties:

1. To the Demon Council: Lead investigators shall be loyal, faithful, and respectful to the Council, and shall uphold its authority at all times;

2. To the Investigative Team: To the extent possible based on field situations, lead investigators shall keep members of their investigative team reasonably safe;

3. To the Outpost Lord: Lead investigators shall not unnecessarily offend an Outpost Lord who is under investigation. During the investigation, investigators shall cause as little disturbance as possible in outpost operations and shall take care not to diminish the Outpost Lord’s adoration; and

4. To Justica: Lead investigators shall conduct a thorough investigation, shall render an impartial and fair judgment, and then mete out punishment, including execution, as necessary.

Rule 2290.13(g) of the Maegester’s Rules of Engagement (Demon Complaints; Investigation of Outpost Lord; Duties of Lead Investigator)

Fiery Edge of Steel Teaser Tour Part Two at Urban Girl Reader

Fiery Edge of Steel Chapter One, Part Two is up at Urban Girl Reader! Click here for the 2nd excerpt and more chances to win signed ARCs (US) and a $25 eGC (international). Hope everyone’s day has been great! Mine has been wet and rainy.


Here’s a deleted snippet from Fiery Edge of Steel, Chapter 2. It’s the menu at Alba’s (a.k.a. “the Black Onion”), a tiny cafe on the corner of River Road and Widow’s Walk where Noon and her study mates go when they want to get off campus.

Bread $3.95
Soup $6.95
Fish $12.95

Black Onions $0.60
Don’t you want to know?

Fiery Edge of Steel Exclusive Excerpt Tour: ARC Giveaways and More!

Fiery Edge of Steel is releasing at the end of this month — May 28th! To help spread the word about its release, I’m doing a six stop exclusive excerpt tour through Bewitching Book Tours. From today through May 11th, one part of Chapter 1 will be posted at each of the stops below. I’m giving away six signed ARCs (US only) and one $25.00 eGift Certificate to the bookstore of the winner’s choice (international) during this “teaser” tour. I’m ALSO giving away two more signed ARCs of Fiery Edge of Steel and two signed copies of Dark Light of Day from my site (US only). All you have to do to enter to win one of those is e-mail your US address to [archer at jillarcher dot com] by midnight EDT May 13th. Subject line should be the title of the book you are interested in. (You can say “both” :-D).

Fiery Edge of Steel

Exclusive Excerpt Tour

In writing Fiery Edge of Steel, I was inspired by a number of things, among them an old French imposter case, two children’s songs, and a fairy tale. I wanted to explore the themes of love, betrayal, knowledge, death, and duty. To set up those themes I could think of no better way to open the book than to recreate a Haljan version of the 16th century execution of Arnaud du Tilh, the man who impersonated the French peasant Martin Guerre. That recreation forms the basis for Chapter 1.

May 6th: Part One at Fang-tastic Books

May 7th: Part Two at Urban Girl Reader

May 8th: Part Three at Preternatura

May 9th: Part Four at Urban Fantasy Investigations

May 10th: Part Five at Rabid Reads

May 11th: Part Six at Romancing the Dark Side

Great First Reviews!

I was thrilled and excited to see that the first reviews for Fiery Edge of Steel were positive. In fact, I love what was said about the book and the series. I’m very grateful for any interest and thankful to everyone who takes the time to read and review.

“Archer delves deeper into the enticing and magical world of Dark Light of Day in this original and clever urban fantasy… Excitement and action leap from the pages as Archer’s skill with description pulls readers fully into her magical world.” — Publishers Weekly

“The second Noon Onyx story is an astounding adventure tale. Archer’s unique world, where Lucifer’s army triumphed at Armageddon, is filled with adherence to strict laws that keep an uneasy peace between races. This is proving to be a really fresh and fascinating series!” — RT Book Reviews

Noon Onyx is participating in a

Supernatural Smackdown

Does that sound hilarious and fun or what?!? I couldn’t resist saying I’d participate even though Noon’s character isn’t as kick a$$ as the characters she’ll be competing against. If you’re interested in seeing how a Supernatural Smackdown works, stop by Dark Faerie Tales (I’ll be taking notes along with you because this is the first one I’ve ever done!). And, if you want to vote for the underdog, come check out my post there on May 16th! (Yes, I’ll be sending out reminders. ;-))

More About the Noon Onyx Series

In Dark Light of Day, the first book in the series, Nouiomo “Noon” Onyx, a 21 year old post grad magic user, had to choose between death or training to become a demon peacekeeper. In Fiery Edge of Steel, Noon faces a different question.

The Noon Onyx series is a genre-bending fantasy series. The setting is post-apocalyptic, but it’s not dystopian fiction. In fact, Armageddon is old news. Demons have inherited the earth, but goodness and love still exist. In short, the series is for readers who adore adventure, passion, mystery, and magic.

I’ll be posting info and links to various other events in connection with Fiery Edge of Steel‘s release. And I’ll be posting more guest blogs from the fabulous authors who are participating in the Spring Into Summer Romance guest blog series. Behind the scenes, I am working feverishly (sometimes literally — dang spring colds!) on book #3.

I had a lot of fun writing Fiery Edge of Steel and I hope you enjoy reading it! Have a great week, everyone!
Jill Archer's Dark Light of DayJill Archer's Fiery Edge of Steel

Urban Fantasy Author Suzanne Johnson on Holidays for Paranormals

Suzanne Johnson is an urban fantasy author who writes for Tor. She also has a terrific urban fantasy blog, Preternatura, where she discusses speculative fiction books, writing, and (in her latest Shop Talk series) publishing. She’s here today to talk about holidays in paranormal stories and to share a bit about her books Royal Street and River Road. She poses some fun questions about the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Anita Blake, and Cat and Bones. And she’s giving away some cool prizes. Details at the end of the post! Welcome, Suzanne!

urban fantasy, Suzanne Johnson, Royal Streeturban fantasy, Suzanne Johnson, River RoadIn my Sentinels of New Orleans series, I decided to embrace the holidays

We’ve been going through a lot of holidays the last few months—Thanksgiving, Christmas, MLK Day, St. Patrick’s, Easter….

As an author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance, as well as an avid paranormal-fiction reader, I’m always interested in how (or if) holidays are treated in our favorite books.

Do the Black Dagger guys paint Easter eggs for baby Nalla? (I totally want to read that!) Does Anita Blake sit down with her 2,375 men for Thanksgiving dinner and, uh, “dessert”? Do Cat and Bones hang up Christmas stockings and fill them with silver bullets and knives?

Usually, we ignore the holidays in our books, or brush past them. But in my Sentinels of New Orleans series, I decided to embrace the holidays. Because nobody does a holiday like my favorite city. (I mean, have you heard of Naked Bike Ride Day? And did you know there was a PARADE for that? I’m still having nightmares.)

In River Road, everyone’s hunkiest shapeshifter Alex Warin decides to throw a combination Halloween party/housewarming, complete with costumes. Against her better judgment, DJ lets her loup-garou friend Jake talk her into going as Red Riding Hood to his Big Bad Wolf. The undead pirate Jean Lafitte was ready to go as himself, until he learned it was Alex’s party and he wasn’t invited. (Bah to “le petit chien.”) DJ’s friend Eugenie and her creepy, mysterious boyfriend Quince Randolph went as hippies, complete with tie-dyed clothes and Grateful Dead tunes.

In Elysian Fields (coming in August), the story picks up a couple of weeks after the end of River Road, so we get to contend with Thanksgiving. Normally, DJ might be dragged to Picayune, Mississippi, to eat turkey with Alex and Jake’s families, but things are kind of strained on that front by the time Thanksgiving arrives. DJ can’t cook, unless you count reheating pizza. So she’s made plans to spend the holiday hanging out alone in Jean Lafitte’s hotel room at the Monteleone, eating doberge cake and charging movies to his room account (he’s out of town, too). Of course plans have a way of changing…

Now I’m turning my mind toward Christmas, and what kind of chaos and shenanigans my characters could get into. I mean, the Elves are now a major species in the series, so perhaps they could help Santa…unless Santa himself is an Elf. And then there’s Twelfth Night, and Mardi Gras, Lundi Gras, and Mardi Gras…And somewhere in there, I think I need to work in Naked Bike Ride Day…

Have you found a “paranormal” holiday that you enjoyed? Leave a comment to win a copy of either Royal Street or River Road (your choice), or an “I (heart) Jean Lafitte” T-shirt!

More About Royal Street

As the junior wizard sentinel for New Orleans, Drusilla Jaco’s job involves a lot more potion-mixing and pixie-retrieval than sniffing out supernatural bad guys like rogue vampires and lethal were-creatures. DJ’s boss and mentor, Gerald St. Simon, is the wizard tasked with protecting the city from anyone or anything that might slip over from the preternatural beyond.

Then Hurricane Katrina hammers New Orleans’ fragile levees, unleashing more than just dangerous flood waters. While winds howled and Lake Pontchartrain surged, the borders between the modern city and the Otherworld crumbled. Now the undead and the restless are roaming the Big Easy, and a serial killer with ties to voodoo is murdering soldiers sent to help the city recover.

To make it worse, Gerald St. Simon has gone missing, the wizards’ Elders have assigned a grenade-toting assassin as DJ’s new partner, and undead pirate Jean Lafitte wants to make her walk his plank. The search for Gerry and the killer turns personal when DJ learns the hard way that loyalty requires sacrifice, allies come from the unlikeliest places, and duty mixed with love creates one bitter roux.

Where to buy

More About River Road

Hurricane Katrina is long gone, but the preternatural storm rages on in New Orleans. New species from the Beyond moved into Louisiana after the hurricane destroyed the borders between worlds, and it falls to wizard sentinel Drusilla Jaco and her partner, Alex Warin, to keep the preternaturals peaceful and the humans unaware. But a war is brewing between two clans of Cajun merpeople in Plaquemines Parish, and down in the swamp, DJ learns, there’s more stirring than angry mermen and the threat of a were-gator.

Wizards are dying, and something—or someone—from the Beyond is poisoning the waters of the mighty Mississippi, threatening the humans who live and work along the river. DJ and Alex must figure out what unearthly source is contaminating the water and who—or what—is killing the wizards. Is it a malcontented merman, the naughty nymph, or some other critter altogether? After all, DJ’s undead suitor, the pirate Jean Lafitte, knows his way around a body or two.

It’s anything but smooth sailing on the bayou as the Sentinels of New Orleans series continues.

Where to buy

More About Suzanne

Suzanne Johnson
Suzanne Johnson

Suzanne Johnson writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance from Auburn, Alabama, after a career in educational publishing that has spanned five states and six universities.  She grew up halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis’ birthplace and lived in New Orleans for fifteen years, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football and fried gator on a stick.

Where to find Suzanne online

River Road and Royal Street Button April May 300 x 225

So, everyone, let us know what holidays you’ve enjoyed reading about. Prizes are your choice of either Royal Street or River Road or an “I (heart) Jean Lafitte” t-shirt — love it! 😀 Suzanne, thank you for guest blogging today!

#Movies: 3 Great Paranormal Movies and 1 “Pitch Perfect” Musical Comedy

Below are my thoughts on Looper, ParaNorman, Frankenweenie, and Pitch Perfect. Have you seen them? If so, share your thoughts in the comments!  Later this week, I’ll have some more guest bloggers with some terrific giveaways.

Despite different endings, ParaNorman and Frankenweenie have wonderfully similar messages
Despite different endings, ParaNorman and Frankenweenie have similar messages

Looper (time traveling assassin)

At times reminiscent of Terminator, Twelve Monkeys, and Inception, this film was fantastic. I know some reviewers have discussed the film’s time traveling paradoxes (and it’s true, some parts of the plot require an even greater willing suspension of disbelief than normally required for time travel movies), but the other parts of the film (the acting, the slightly futuristic 2044 Kansas world, and the surprisingly sentimental character motivations) make it all worthwhile. The only thing I was confused about was the sound of the crying baby when Old Joe was with his wife. If you’ve seen it, what do you make of that? Was that part of a plotline that was later abandoned?

ParaNorman (boy can speak with ghosts)

One Friday night during the holiday break, I took my youngest to see Parental Guidance, but it was sold out by the time we made it to the theater. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise because we came home and rented ParaNorman. I feel certain I would not have enjoyed Parental Guidance as much as I did ParaNorman. Because most of the movie up until the end was funny, the climatic ending scene between Norman and Aggie was more sad, scary, and serious than I expected it to be. But, of course, “scary” is relative. (Obviously, it’s not true horror and my eight year old was fine with it).

Frankenweenie (boy brings dog back from dead)

It’s Tim Burton so I wanted to see this immediately, but I wasn’t able to see it in the theater so I had to wait. Two things that had my kids hesitating over it was that it was all black & white and one of them thought it would be too sad. No doubt there were sad moments, but this movie was as wonderful as I thought it would be and everyone was glad I convinced them to watch. The whole family enjoyed it. It’s cute, funny, and not very scary.

Pitch Perfect (all girl a capella group competes in college competition)

I’m not sure I’ve mentioned how much I love watching movies about young performers. (Lemonade Mouth was adorable too and better suited to younger audiences). These kind of films are just pure fun. They require little to no thought to watch, they are not emotionally wrenching or graphically violent. They have no hard-core message. They are predictable, but that’s also why they aren’t stressful. Let’s see… what else can I say other than I thought Anna Camp and Rebel Wilson stole the show. They (and the musical numbers) were awesome! 😀

Final Thoughts – ParaNorman v. Frankenweenie (spoilers!)

It’s interesting to compare and contrast ParaNorman and Frankenweenie. Both films have outcast protagonists with no “real” friends. (Victor’s best friend is his dog and Norman spends more time interacting with ghosts than living people). So it was neat to see two very different possible endings for protagonists like them. In ParaNorman, the ordeal with the zombies and the witch leads Norman to integrate himself more fully into his family and community. Norman has a clear “real” friend by the end of the movie – Neil. I think, because I watched ParaNorman first, I kept thinking Frankenweenie would end similarly – with Victor peacefully accepting Sparky’s death, grateful that he had more time with him and/or was able to say goodbye, and then deciding to embrace a “real” friend – Edgar. So I was pleasantly surprised when Sparky lived and continued to be Victor’s best friend. For me, the underlying messages are the same: close relationships are the key to happiness. Who your relationship is with matters less than the fact that you have one.

Ghosts as Paranormal Heroes by Juli D. Revezzo

Ghosts as paranormal heroes
The Artist’s Inheritance is available now

Juli D. Revezzo writes paranormal and urban fantasy stories. Her work appeared in DARK THINGS II: CAT CRIMES: TALES OF FELINE MAYHEM AND MURDER, which is a charity anthology of over twenty “cat-themed stories of dark mischief.” All proceeds go to The Cat House on the Kings, California’s largest no-cage, no-kill, lifetime cat sanctuary and adoption center. She’s here to talk about her latest release, THE ARTIST’S INHERITANCE. Welcome, Juli!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, the last decade, you know that paranormal romance and urban fantasy is hotter than hot. Oh, the industry might be yawning over these tales of otherkin interacting with humans, but it seems every article and blog one can read on the subject, at least those written by the fans, proves otherwise. Vast majorities of these fantasies star vampires and werewolves.

But there are other creatures in the worlds of mythology to pick from. The most enduring critters, if we step back and look at the whole history of paranormal fiction, is ghosts. Right off the top of my head I can name a few popular ghosts stories from the beginning of popular fiction to today:

  • The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  • Turn of the Screw by Henry James
  • The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
  • The Time of their Lives (yes, the Abbott and Costello movie)
  • The Witching Hour by Anne Rice

So why is it this creature, who veritably defines the field of paranormal research, is so neglected in modern fiction? When we can populate our tales with heroes of the otherkin, vampire, and even those of the angel and demon persuasion, (and even zombies, for God sake) why not ghosts? Why are such stories relegated to some catch-all horror shelf? Just because they float rather than walk, and might be a little on the transparent side? Why can’t they fit into the tried and true happy ending requirement? Yet I’ve actually seen editors wrinkle their noses at the idea of a ghost hero, but why?

Stepping back and throwing out the requirement of an HEA, can’t it be done?

For the most part, that’s what I asked when the ghosts in my debut novel, The Artist’s Inheritance (and its subsequent burgeoning series Antique Magic) began taking serious shape. Who better defines ever after than those in the ever after? Those who wait for their beloveds on the other side, or those stuck here, pining for their loved ones?

When I did, my character made contact with an ancestral ghost, who lends a helping hand to save his descendents from a curse he couldn’t stop when he was alive.  What’s more romantic—or heroic, for that matter?

I hope you will take a look at my novel, The Artist’s Inheritance and see if you agree!

So, what do you think? Have you ever tried to write a ghostly hero? How’d it work out for you? Would you try it again?

More about The Artist’s Inheritance

Settling into their new home in Gulf Breeze, Florida, Caitlin finds strange changes coming over her husband Trevor. He seems obsessed with a beautiful chair he’s carving.

When the nightmares deepen and ghosts begin lurking—she knows something’s not right, and not just her newfound precognitive abilities. It’s the damned chair, she’s sure. Could it be just what it seems: a mundane piece of furniture? If so, why is it attracting dark forces—the forces she suspects drove Trevor’s siblings to insanity and suicide?
Before the same happens to Trevor, Caitlin must convince him to sell his art. But armed with only a handful of allies, and little experience of the supernatural, she must proceed with caution against the hellish forces besieging her family. If she succeeds, she will break the ancestral curse. If she fails, she may lose forever the one thing she cares about most: her beloved Trevor.

The book is available at Amazon and Smashwords and coming soon to paperback via Createspace.

More about Juli

Author of The Artist's Inheritance
Juli D. Revezzo

Juli D. Revezzo has long been in love with writing, a love built by devouring everything from the Arthurian legends, to the works of Michael Moorcock, and the classics and has a soft spot for classic the “Goths” of the 19th century. Her short fiction has been published in Dark Things II: Cat Crimes, The Scribing Ibis, Eternal Haunted Summer,  Twisted Dreams Magazine and Luna Station Quarterly and Crossed Genres‘ “Posted stories for Haiti relief” project, while her non-fiction has been included in The Scarlet Letter. She has also, on occasion, edited the popular e-zine Nolan’s Pop Culture Review… But her heart lies in the storytelling. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the Tampa Area Romance Authors, and the special interest RWA chapter Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal.

How to contact Juli:

Writers, have you ever written about a ghostly hero? If so, we want to hear about it! (Don’t forget, I’m also over at Happy Tails and Tales today talking about the demons from Dark Light of Day and giving everyone a sneak peek at the scene where Noon meets a palm-sized demon for the first time). 

Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

During one rainy day this past summer, I spent a very pleasant afternoon perusing and purchasing hardbacks (a luxury for me!) from Atlantic Books in Stone Harbor, NJ. One of them was MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN by Ransom Riggs. I had read a review in Entertainment Weekly about it weeks before and the whole concept had piqued my interest.

An author who combined creepy vintage photography with a novel? I was IN!

I bought about a dozen or so books that day and PECULIAR CHILDREN was the first one I read. Why? The pictures, of course. They drew me in as much as the story itself. Who can resist bizarre black and white photographs of the strange and macabre? Not even my kids could, who at 7 and 9, were sneaking peaks when I wasn’t reading it.

So what is PECULIAR CHILDREN about anyway?

To say that the book is about peculiar children would be a bit disingenuous, but there you have it in a nutshell. But the story is so much more. Since it recently came out and I’m not into providing spoilers, I’ll just say that the book is about a boy, Jacob, who suffers (and witnesses) a terrible family tragedy. This tragedy sparks a search for information and that search leads Jacob to some very strange and peculiar places. Places well worth visiting as a reader.

Jacob ends up making contact with a girl, Emma, who has a special relationship with fire. Whether this girl is real or imaginary, human or supernatural, dead or alive, etc. I leave to you to find out. Telling you about her, in and of itself, is no spoiler — her picture is on the title page, before the Prologue even begins.

I thoroughly enjoyed PECULIAR CHILDREN. It’s full of all kinds of story elements I adore:

  • The strange and the creepy
  • Boarding schools
  • Carnival references
  • Reality versus illusion
  • Romance
  • Horror
  • Quirk (what else would one expect from Quirk Books out of Philadelphia, the folks who brought you PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES?)

Regarding the photographs, I thought it was brilliant how Riggs almost seamlessly wove them into his story. He says in a note at the end that all of the pictures are authentic and, with the exception of a few that had “minimal post-processing” were unaltered. Fascinating. The book would have been good without them but the visual elements certainly added to the experience. Equally impressive was how Riggs worked in other real life details (references to Jeffrey Dahmer, the 1908 Siberian explosion, and WWII’s holocaust).

PECULIAR CHILDREN is also a good work to study. There’s all kinds of things that can be learned from it but two things, in particular, that struck me were his use of motif (birds — see what I have to say about motifs under my “For Writers” page) and his exceptionally well written descriptive prose. Consider the following two sentences:

“What stood before me now was no refuge from monsters but a monster itself, staring down from its perch on the hill with vacant hunger. Trees burst forth from broken windows and skins of scabrous vine gnawed at the walls like antibodies attacking a virus — as if nature itself had waged war against it — but the house seemed unkillable, resolutely upright despite the wrongness of its angels and the jagged teeth of sky visible through sections of collapsed roof.”

I don’t know about you, but I just had to get inside that house and see what was there.

How about you? Have you read PECULIAR CHILDREN? How do you feel about combining story mediums? Are there any other books you’ve read that allow readers to interact with the story world through more than just words?