Friday, October 31, 2014

Monster Madness Blog Hop


Happy Halloween, guys and ghouls! Welcome to the Monster Madness Blog Hop hosted by Vicki Leigh and me. Since Vicki and I both released monster books this year (The Monster Within and Catch Me When I Fall), we thought it would be fun to have a blog hop dedicated to the monsters we love so much. So have some candy corn and enjoy this post as Vicki and I interview each other.

Okay, Vicki, time to fess up. What monster scares you the most?

I’m pretty hard to scare, to be honest. But there is one monster who gives me the creeps: Freddy Krueger. In a way, he was kind of the inspiration behind the Nightmares in my series, because the thought of someone being able to kill you in your dreams terrifies me. I’ve never actually seen the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, but, man, that dude creeps me out.

I love Freddy! My sister loved the Nightmare on Elm Street movies so I saw them much younger than I should have. ;)

How about you, Kelly? You have to be afraid of someone or something, too!

Growing up, I was terrified of the monster under the bed. I even wrote a short story about it called “The Monster of All Monsters.” Anyway, if I had to get up in the middle of the night for water or to use the bathroom, I’d stand on my bed and try to jump to the doorway. Thankfully, I’ve gotten over that fear. Now the thing that freaks me out is ghosts. I tried to write a book about a haunting once, and the research totally scared me away from the idea.

Oh, man. I love ghosts. Like, I legitimately want to spend the night in a true haunted house. I think it’d be awesome. (Yet, a fictional guy creeps me out. I’m weird; I know. J)

All right, Vicki, you have to create a NEW monster. What does it look like, and what kind of terrifying things can it do?

Hmm…I think a monster who takes the shape of whatever form you find most attractive would be pretty terrifying—especially when he/she sucks out your soul during a smexy scene and leaves you a comatose patient for the rest of your life. That may have been done before. I don’t know. But I’ve heard freaky stories about what it feels like to be in a coma. I never want that experience. Or being found comatose on my bed in my birthday suit.

All right. So, my monster sucked. You create one, Kelly. I’m positive you can do better!

I’m feeling the pressure now. I’m sort of stealing from Harry Potter here, but I think a monster that can transform into whatever it is a person fears the most would be just awful because no one would be safe from it. No wait! Better yet, the monster becomes ALL of your fears rolled into one! So if you are afraid of snakes, ghosts, and realistic looking dolls with eyelids that open and close (not that I’m being that specific because those are my top three fears or anything), the monster would turn into a doll possessed by a ghost who can charm poisonous snakes to attack on command. *shivers*

Back to you, Vicki. We’ve all been inside haunted houses or mazes at Halloween time, right? What monster got the best of you inside one of those?

I actually have a good story for this, because I really am super hard to scare. I’ve been in haunted houses and mazes, and usually when things jump out at me, I giggle. So, last year, I went to a haunted cornfield with a few friends. We walked through a LOT of really tall corn, and a trailer that was pitch black. None of the actors really got me, even when I had to feel the walls because it was so dark I couldn’t see. And then we exited the cornfield, and I was like, “well, that was fun,” thinking it was over.

Then, out of nowhere, came a dude with a chainsaw. Good lord; I jumped out of my skin! I screamed and then tipped my head back and guffawed. That dude got me. It was the chainsaw noise that did it, and his perfect position: I thought the maze was over.

How about you, Kelly? Do you have a good haunted house story?

Ooh, sneaky little chainsaw-wielding devil! ;) 

Okay, well I have to say I startle easily, not scare easily. I went through a haunted dorm in college. I give the people who ran it credit because it was pretty good. There was a funeral in one room, and we all thought the dead body was going to get up. It was really a distraction for something that snuck up on us. Still, I wasn’t scared. Nor was I scared when they turned out all the lights and we had to find out way out in complete darkness. Then at the end, there was a guy in a gorilla suit. That made me laugh, but it also distracted me from the hands reaching out from under the stairs I was climbing. I admit I jumped when I looked down and saw what I’m assuming was a zombie gripping my leg.

Time to change gears. What monster is your all-time favorite, Vicki?

Am I okay to say Cookie Monster? J For real, though, my favorite is probably Dracula.

How about you? You have to have a favorite!

I think I’m going to have to go with a zombie. Something about a reanimated corpse is both disgusting and terrifying, considering it wants to eat your brains. Got to love that! ;)

Now it's your turn! Choose 3 questions below to answer either in the comments or on your own blog.


1. What monster terrifies you the most?
2. Do you have a good haunted house story?
3. What's your favorite monster?
4. Is there a monster book that terrified you as a child?
5. Have any book recommendations for stories that include monsters?
6. Finally, create your own monster! What does it look like, and what scary things can it do?
Then tag FIVE of your friends to share in the Monster Madness!
And be sure to enter our giveaway to win books and SWAG from Vicki and me.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Writer Wednesday: Finding Your Audience

We've all heard that half the battle—or maybe more—in selling books is finding your audience. But how do you do that? It's something that I've struggled with, so I thought I'd share my story with you. 

When Touch of Death was originally submitted to editors, it was pitched as The Walking Dead meets Shatter Me. Now, I should have immediately realized my audience off of that pitch, but I was new to the industry and I admit it went right over my head. Now, nearly two years later, I realized that I have a huge audience I never reached out to. Fans of The Walking Dead!

So this Sunday, I'm hosting a Twitter Viewing Party during this week's episode of The Walking Dead.

In addition to the viewing party, my P.A. made this for me, and I love it because it's Daryl and my book! ;)


I've also been on a book tour for The Monster Within and I've been bringing my bookmarks for the Touch of Death series. After I talk to people about The Monster Within, I mention Touch of Death. But my first question is always "Are you a fan of The Walking Dead?" All but one person I asked answered yes to that question, and the one person who didn't said she wasn't but the woman with her was. It's the perfect way for me to introduce my series and hand out bookmarks. So that's the pitch I'm sticking with for this series.

Will this connection to The Walking Dead help sales? I guess I'll find out, but I certainly can't see how it could hurt.

So it may have taken me a while to stumble on this idea, but I found my audience. How have you found your audience?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Mishmash 10/27/14


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Monster Madness Blog Hop Join Vicki Leigh and I on Halloween for the Monster Madness Blog Hop. We'll be talking about what monsters scare us and you can join in. There's a giveaway too. Sign up here
  2. The Monster Within Book Tour  My book tour for The Monster Within is in full swing. I've had book signings the past two weekends and have two more this Saturday and another planned for the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I'm having a blast! I'll be at the Family Reading Festival in Pottsville, PA from 10am-1pm and then I'm heading to Moravian Book Shop from 5pm-7pm. If you are in either area, stop by and see me!
  3. Drafting Again  I have a rare moment between editing jobs, so I'm fast drafting again! This is the fourth book I'm drafting this year, and since three books was my goal, I'm happy.
  4. The Walking Dead Twitter Party  I'm hosting a Twitter Viewing Party during this weekends episode of The Walking Dead. Why? I love the show and my Touch of Death series was pitched as The Walking Dead meets Shatter Me, so yeah, I kind of love zombies. And maybe Daryl, too. ;) Join me! I'm giving away lots of prizes, including signed books and SWAG!
  5. The Darkness Within Cover Reveal  So there was a glitch with my cover reveal for The Darkness Within and the bloggers never got the info. But I'm so in love with this cover. Check it out. 
After dying of cancer at seventeen and being brought back to life by an evil witch who turned her into a monster, Samantha Thompson thinks she's finally gotten past all the tragedy in her life. Now she's part of a coven of good witches who are helping her and her boyfriend, Ethan Anderson, learn to use the powers they received from other witches. Aside from the fact that Sam and Ethan are still in hiding from their old lives--the ones they had before Sam was brought back to life--things couldn't be better. Sam and Ethan are inseparable. What could go wrong? 

Magic. 

Ethan's magic came from a witch who'd turned as evil as possible, and though his coven thought he'd be fine, the more he uses his magic, the stranger he starts acting. The magic inside him is changing who he is. One minute he's Sam's sweet, perfect Ethan and the next, he's a complete stranger. Even with all her witchy power, Sam is helpless against the magic corrupting Ethan. Can Sam find out what's wrong with him before she loses him to dark magic forever?

Add it on Goodreads. Pre-order on Amazon.

That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

*Oh, and don't forget that the #IntotheFireChallenge ends at midnight on Halloween, so get your review posted on Amazon.* 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Feature: Oliver's Hunger Dragon


I don't normally feature PBs on this blog, even though I write them, but this one needs to be spotlighted for a few reasons. First, Sherry Alexander dedicates her blog and her books to helping children. I'm amazed at all she does for charities. She even donates part of her proceeds from her book sales to these organizations. She's really an incredible person. Second, how adorable is this book cover?


Oliver has a Hunger Dragon who rumbles and grumbles. He wants it to go away, but Hunger says he plans to stay. Is Oliver the only one who has a dragon deep inside? 

Oliver is a story about child hunger and how it overpowers children making them too tired to play or to do well in school. But Oliver discovers hunger can be deterred through the power of friendship and the sharing spirit. A portion of all proceeds from the sale of this book will go the Clark County, WA Food Bank, Feeding America, and the Portland, OR Police Bureau's Sunshine Division to help feed the one in four kids in America who go to bed hungry every night. For a chance to win a book, check out the Goodreads Giveaway here. It ends TODAY so head over and enter now.
 
Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Curse of the Granville Fortune Release Day Scavenger Hunt!


Let the hunt begin!

Curse of the Granville Fortune officially releases into the world today! This middle grade fantasy adventure involves a race to a treasure, so there's a scavenger hunt to celebrate.

But first, check out the cover and blurb:



Find the fortune, break the curse!

The hunt is on for an ancient treasure tied to nine-year-old J.B.'s family history. He's been having visions that make him sweaty, lightheaded, and certain he’s turning into some kind of freak—or worse, going insane. But things are worse than he imagined. The visions stem from a family curse. An ancient ancestor was accused of stealing the massive Granville fortune, and now J.B.’s entire family will suffer.

To break the curse, J.B. must find and return the Granville’s stolen property. But he's not the only one searching for the treasure. As he sets out on his journey through a dark and foreboding forest, he'll battle his worst fears and fight terrifying creatures along the way. And when he meets two others who share the missing pieces of his visions and suffer from the same curse, the three soon realize they need to work together to break the curse before it's too late.

Order it on Amazon or B&N.

Now for the scavenger hunt. Below is a list of bloggers helping out with the hunt. Visit each of their pages and collect a letter that is "hidden" in their post in either a different color or a larger font size. See what I did there? Hmm, is that the first letter clue? ;) If you go through the list in order, the word will spell itself out for you. If you don't go in order, you'll have to unscramble the word. Either way is fine and totally up to you. Then enter the word on the rafflecopter form for bonus entries. You don't have to find the word to enter the giveaway, but the word will earn you the most entries.

What's up for grabs?

SWAG from ALL of my books!

Yes, that's right. There's a drawstring bag, coins, buttons, a mood ring, a heart bracelet, a flame pendant, trading cards, a key, and bookmarks! All this loot could be yours!

Here are the stops for the scavenger hunt (in order):

Good luck!

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday Mishmash 10/20/14


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Curse of the Granville Fortune Releases Tomorrow!  I can't believe tomorrow is the big day! My middle grade fantasy will be available 10/21.
  2. Out of the Ashes on Goodreads  You can now add Out of the Ashes, book two in the Birth of the Phoenix Series, on Goodreads.
  3. #IntotheFireChallenge  Halloween will be here before you know it, so get your review of Into the Fire up on Amazon to be entered for a chance to become a phoenix in the third book in the Birth of the Phoenix Series. You could also win signed copies of all three books in the series.
  4. Beth Fred's Writing Class  My friend Beth Fred is teaching another class through Colorado Romance Writer. It's called The Art of Blurb Writing. Sign up here.
  5. Witches Three Tour  I signed at Books-A-Million in Exton, PA last Saturday along with Jennifer Murgia and Molly Cochran. Jen and I will be signing at BAM in the Stroud Mall in Stroudsburg, PA this Saturday from 1-3pm. Come see us if you're in the area.
Here are some fun pictures from last Saturday.


That's it for me. What's on your mind today?



Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Feature: Soul Redemption by Miranda Shanklin


Last week I featured Soul Journey, and this week I have the sequel, Soul Redemption.


Just when Annisa and her friends were starting to think maybe the Counsel would leave them alone, two new students arrive at school. In any other town, new students wouldn’t be a sign that something big was about to happen to Annisa, Chase, Landon, and Penelope; but this wasn’t a normal town and they weren’t normal teenagers. They had come into their powers and defeated the most feared assassin in their world, so the appearance of new witches in their small town could only mean one thing.....the Counsel was ready to make another attempt to destroy them.

After watching the new students alienate them from everyone they know, including their parents, Annisa and her friends break through the spell and things start to calm down for them. It’s not until an old enemy returns with news that will shock them that they realize everything is not as it seems. Now they have to decide whether or not to trust an old enemy claiming to help them, or try and fight against the Counsel’s most trusted Advisors on their own.
The choice the group makes will change their lives forever.

EXCERPT FROM SOUL REDEMPTION:

It started happening slowly at first. It took a few days for me to figure out what was going on. All of a sudden a few of my friends wouldn’t even look at me anymore and they refused to talk to me, so I had no idea what happened to make them treat me like this. I'd known these people my whole life so it really didn’t make sense to me that they were withdrawing from me completely. Landon was noticing the same thing. Penelope and Chase had moved so many times growing up that they really didn’t notice. They didn’t know anyone around here well enough for it to really change for them.

Landon and I were watching as the people that we'd grown up with slowly turned their backs on us. The more that the new kids showed they had no interest in us, the more others were starting to act the same. I was getting very suspicious of the new kids and what they were doing to the rest of the school.  I had no proof and really no idea what they were doing, so I couldn’t do anything but watch as this all happened.

After about a week, Chase noticed that we weren’t stopped so much in the hall by people that wanted to talk to me. The girls on the cheerleading squad were no longer trying to give me their ideas for a new routine, and were just going through the routine without engaging either me or Penelope.  After practice he had a strange look on his face and I knew he was starting to put it all together too.

That night we met with our parents in the secure room in my basement.  This was the only place that we could go and know for sure that the Counsel was not listening in on us. We had spelled the room to not let anyone hear anything from the outside and only us that created the spell are able to enter the room.

Since Chase was noticing what was going on I felt it was safe to bring it up to the others, “I haven’t said anything because I couldn’t prove what I was suspecting, and I wasn’t sure if I was overreacting. Today, I noticed that Chase was starting to see it too.  I don’t know how they are doing it, but the new kids are alienating us from everyone at school.  Somehow the people that Landon and I have known our whole lives will not talk to us or even look at us unless it is completely necessary. They avoid us as much as they can. Even the cheerleading squad won’t really talk to me.”

Landon had been nodding the whole time I was talking letting me know that he had noticed all of this too, “The football team will still follow my instructions and play the strategies that I tell them to, but that's it. They won’t talk to me, they won’t make suggestions, and off the field they won’t really talk to me unless they have to.”

My mom and Landon’s mom exchanged a worried look and then my mom said, “There really is no way for us to know at this point; if this is just from them starting rumors that you just haven’t heard yet, if there is a spell that they cast, or if it is simply a phase the kids at school are going through.  You have to remember that not everything that happens in the world has to do with magick. Sometimes it is just jealous teenagers. It is probably just the other kids trying to make sure that you don’t try and make a move on the new kids. With the way that the situation evolved when Chase and Penelope first moved here, and nobody knowing the real story so nobody understands what happened.  I think you are just overreacting to normal teenage behavior.”

Chase was the one to voice the concerns that I was feeling, “If you really think that, then why did you both look worried before you started that little speech?”

My mom did not like the way that he said that but she answered him anyway, after she gave him a stern look to make sure he knew that she was not going to let him get away with talking to her like that again, “The worried look was because we are afraid that you are all so focused on the Counsel and what they are doing, that you are going to see something sinister in every action that anyone takes. We don’t want you to become so paranoid that you accidentally harm an Innocent.  You have to remember that most of the town is not from our world and have no idea magick even exists. High school is never easy, and nobody ever said that it was fair or that teenagers were always rational.”

I let out a frustrated sigh, “It’s different than the normal teenage drama.  We had to deal with that when Chase and Penelope first got here, and this is not the same.”

Landon’s mom gave me a sympathetic look,  “Honey, I know that you are used to being liked by everyone and that you have never had to deal with the other side of the table when it comes to popularity, but you have to understand that sometimes these things just happen with no involvement from magick.”


Seeing that we were just going to keep talking in circles about this subject, because neither side was willing to concede, Penelope changed the subject, “Okay, we're just going to have to agree to disagree on this for now.  I am more concerned with how it feels when we are around them.  I can sense them and their magick, but it’s not the same as with other witches.”

You can grab this book for only $3.99 on Kindle.

Want your YA, NA, or MB book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.