The Writing Adventures of The Undead Duo–Julie Hutchings and Kristen Strassel

Introducing: Julie Hutchings


I love talking about myself.

Originally posted on Author's Crossing :

Happy Tuesday all!! I want you all to meet the awesome Julie Hutchings! I have gotten to know her through twitter, bought her books and they are waiting to be read. She is such an exciting person! So sit back and get to know her with me.

Julie Hutchings Julie Hutchings

About the Author Julie Hutchings:

Julie’s debut novel, Running Home, gives you vampires with a Japanese mythology pants kicking is available through Books of the Dead Press. Julie revels in all things Buffy, has a sick need for exotic reptiles, and drinks more coffee than Juan Valdez and his donkey combined, if that donkey is allowed to drink coffee. Julie’s a black belt with an almost inappropriate love for martial arts and pizza like some turtles we know. Julie lives in Plymouth, MA, constantly awaiting thunderstorms with her wildly supportive husband and two magnificent boys.




View original 1,645 more words

Julie Gets Sappy About Living the Dream

TODAY’S BREW: Chocolate Cappuccino Something or Other

By Julie

Work/Life Balance is this unicorn everyone is always chasing, correct?

I finally have it.

I almost said I “think” I finally have it, but no. I do. I have it. At least for now. I might lose it again, but looking for it is fun, too. Trying to achieve is never a bad feeling. Exhausting, sure. But not bad.

Last night a book club in my neighborhood that’s been meeting for twelve years brought me to dinner (lobster ravioli and harvest sangria), and these wonderful women not only read RUNNING HOME, but loved it. We talked books, and the neighborhood, and kids, and I talked shop about being an author and that it’s what I’ve always wanted to do my entire life, and that I went to school for it, and that I had a great job and I got rid of it and we laughed and I was so happy. So grateful.

It’s one thing to be recognized in the world of publishing as a solid author. It’s another thing when your neighbors and the community you live in recognize that this is YOU.

Yesterday afternoon after school one of Bennett’s classmates came up to me and said, “I learned today that you’re a writer and you’re coming to talk to my class.” My heart stopped as it does every time one of these kids finds this out.

Friday I get to go to Bennett’s class and talk for an hour about drafting. They came home with packets about how a particular author they’re reading developed her novel through five drafts. I get to show these incredible kids and their incredible teacher that there’s not just one way to write the story you want to write. Everyone has their own process, everyone finds it on their own by trying. That getting it “wrong” in the first draft is an illusion–that the first draft is telling yourself the story, and every draft after that is about making it what you want it to be. Drafting, editing, revising–it isn’t about fixing what’s wrong. It’s about knowing what you want it to be and shaping it to be that. By your standards and nobody else’s.

I do a lot in a day. It’s not always easy, but greatness rarely is. Greatness by my standard–no one else’s. I get to bring my babies to school every day and bring them home. I got to carve pumpkins with Sam’s class on Friday, and host a giant trick or treating parade Saturday night. I learned that a novel I edited was nominated for the Bath Novel Award. I made scrapbooks with my kids and watched movies all weekend and write in short spurts, making every word count. Every single day we go to the park after school and my kids and their little troupe leave the swings behind and play in the woods, and their parents and I have made these amazing friendships while our kids play together. And while I worry about Christmas money and car inspections and new tires and rent, I remember that amazing literary agents are reading my latest novel, one that I believe strongly in, and growth comes with growing pains. And I remember that living the dream is exactly that–living it. Not getting it. But getting there. I want all these things: the bonding, the creativity, the time, the comfort. I’ve worked for it, I’ll work to keep it, and I’ll work to make it better all the time. Success for me comes in succeeding, and in all the steps it takes to get there. Feeling all the rocks underfoot in the road and smiling at the potholes. The potholes are deep, but my strength runs deeper.

Work/Life Balance isn’t just about time for me. It’s about meaning. Doing something meaningful myself, showing my family and community that they’re a part of that every step of the way. Seeing all the parts form the whole. The whole is my standard, and no one else’s.

Addictions of the Eternal–The Saving

Today’s Brew: Pumpkin Spice

Today we have a special guest. JC Stockli is a fellow member of NECRWA and she writes dark and twisty paranormal. Right up everyone’s alley around here.  Check out her new release, The Saving, and if you haven’t read The Nothingness yet, well, what are you waiting for? *stares at you awkwardly*

The Saving (digital cover)9.30.15

“Have you found the light, or have you fallen?”

Evie’s life can never be the same as long as the Sempiternal continue to call out from the depths. She’s in limbo, too ignorant and afraid of the future Lucca has planned with her. She’s left Fallhaven, set adrift in a new city, and fighting more than withdrawal. Evan has become her constant companion, committed to assimilating Evie to a clean, mortal life, but at what cost?

Though he fights to help her conquer her demons, still she struggles with her cravings for Lucca’s nothingness. How can she move on when there can be no light to her days without the darkness of his nights?

Buy Links:
Amazon (Kindle):

About JC Stockli:
Choose your poison: Paranormal Fantasy • Romantic Horror • Dark Fantasy With A Twist

J.C. Stockli is inspired by music, the past, and possibilities. Happily Ever Afters are only achieved through the cost of some blood, guts, or a soul or two… if at all.

Also an established full-time professional with her MBA, over the years she’s moonlighted as a magician’s assistant, a roadie for a heavy metal band, a dance fitness instructor. She’s even dressed up as a promotional character at public events. She’s a current member of RWA’s Futuristic, Fantasy & Paranormal (FF&P) and New England (NECRWA) chapters, loves to dabble in cover design, and feels passionately about the power of authors supporting other authors.

She lives along the Massachusetts coast with her husband and two children. You’ll likely find them dancing around the house, tearing up the dirt, or out on the water soaking in the sun and breathing in the sea salt air.

Follow Links:
Twitter: @JCStockli (



Check out Under the Sugar Sun by Jennifer Hallock

Today’s brew: French Vanilla

by Kristen

Jen Hallock was one of the first people I met at my local RWA chapter meetings, and we became fast friends even though we wrote vastly different things.

One of the things that drew me to Jen? She’s a bad ass. She’s one of those people who very easily knows everyone. I love that. Also, she coaches football, and this book actually hit Amazon while she was on the field with her team! Bad. Ass.  She wrote an extremely unique historical romance set in the Philippines. Not only did she live there, but she’s history teacher and a scholar of the region.

I haven’t had a chance to read Under the Sugar Sun yet, but I’m so looking forward to it. I love unusual historicals, set in the far reaches of the world that we as Americans hadn’t had a chance to explore at that time. Australia, Asia, India at the turn of the last century? Sign me up.

Keep reading for an excerpt from the book!

Front Cover USS

A schoolmarm, a sugar baron, and a soldier…

It is 1902 and Georgina Potter has followed her fiancé to the Philippines, the most remote outpost of America’s fledgling empire. But Georgina has a purpose in mind beyond marriage: her real mission is to find her brother Ben, who has disappeared into the abyss of the Philippine-American War.
To navigate the Islands’ troubled waters, Georgina enlists the aid of local sugar baron Javier Altarejos. But nothing is as it seems, and the price of Javier’s help may be more than Georgina can bear.

Under the Sugar Sun is available on Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited!

First Encounter


Georgie was not lucky—never had been—but even she could not believe her poor timing. The growing fire was only a few streets away. In this city made almost entirely of wood, the buildings separating her from the fire were a mere appetizer when compared to the towering three-story Hotel de Oriente, where she was now standing. If the Oriente burned down, it would kill scores of Americans who chose this very hotel to protect them from the dangers of the city. None of this was part of Georgie’s plan: she had come to the Philippines to start a new life, not end the one she had.

She blew out the candles, pinched the wicks between her fingers to be safe, and fled the room. She ran down two flights of polished wood stairs, almost flattening a bell-hopper in the empty lobby as she charged the door. Where were the other guests, and why was no one evacuating the hotel?

Once in the street, Georgie took a moment to get her bearings. She’d had a clear view from above, but now the eastern horizon of the plaza was blocked by the La Insular cigar factory. The dull light of petroleum lamps did not help much either. She ran toward the open square in front of Binondo Church to get a better look and then followed the glow of flames down a dirt road. She had just arrived in this city, but she could still guess that tall, redheaded white women should not race through the streets of Manila at night.

She wound her way down to the canal where the fire was digesting rows of native houseboats. Families stood on shore and watched helplessly as their homes burned. Women comforted children and men cradled prize roosters as houseboat after houseboat disappeared into the flame. A dozen Filipino firemen in khaki uniforms and British-style pith helmets stood idly, their shiny engine from Sta. Cruz Fire Brigade Station No. 2 sitting unused, too far from the water line to do any good. Judging by the men resting casually against the cool iron, no one had lit the pump’s boiler yet.

Georgie had read that the natives here were natural fatalists—a long-suffering, impassive people—but this was just ridiculous. She approached the firemen.

“Put water there,” she demanded, pointing to boats that had so far escaped the flames. If doused heavily enough they might only smoke a bit. She struggled to remember the word for water she had learned earlier that day. “Tabog, tabog,” she said.

The men looked at her blankly. She tried again, working out the mnemonic device in her head: the Philippines were islands too big in the sea…too big…tubig.

“Tubig,” she said, pointing. “Tubig, tubig.”

They shrugged but kept staring at her, more interested in the novelty of a hysterical Americana than in the fire. Looking for help elsewhere, Georgie slipped around the front of the engine to find two men arguing loudly in English.

“I’ve warned you before not to interfere with the quarantine, señor. I’ll not explain myself again, especially to the likes of you.”

The speaker, a squat American policeman, had comically bushy eyebrows that did not match his humorless tone. No doubt he had been interrupted from his evening revelry to carry out this duty, and he planned to finish the job quickly and get back to the saloon. Georgie had grown up around men of his stripe, their ruddy noses betraying a greater exposure to alcohol than sun.

She did not have a good view of the man the policeman was speaking to, but she heard the fellow give a short cluck before responding. “There’s nothing in your law to prevent me from standing here, and I’ll do it all night if I have to.” His British accent amplified his condescension.

“You’re interfering with a direct order of the Bureau of Health,” said the policeman, “and that could cost you five thousand dollars—gold, mind you—and ten years in Bilibid.”

“You can’t be serious.”

“That’s the law—need I translate it into goo-goo for you?”

Sensing she was missing something, Georgie edged forward to get a better look at the Brit and discovered that he was not a Brit at all. His angular face bragged of Spanish blood, but the blackness of his hair and eyes revealed a more complicated ancestry. She had heard about these mixed-blood Filipinos, many of them wealthy and powerful, but she had not expected to meet one shirtless on the shore of the canal.

“I read law in London,” the Mestizo said. “I need no lectures on the King’s English from a blooming Yank.”

Proud words from a naked man. Well, not naked exactly, but the black silk pajama bottoms—Chinese-style, embroidered with white stitching—did not hide much. He was the tallest man in the crowd by half a head, and his powerful torso betrayed some familiarity with labor, yet he spoke to the policeman with the studied patience of a man used to commanding those around him.

“Put out this inferno,” he continued. “If you don’t, there’ll be nothing left to disinfect. The entire city will burn.”

“That’s hardly likely. We’re protected by water.” The American waved his fat hand toward the walled-in core of Manila and the bay settlements beyond, the places where the colonial regime was headquartered and most foreigners lived. The wide Pasig River in between would buffer the elite from the “sanitation” of this canal.

A tall flame bit noisily into the woven roof of a houseboat, devouring the dry grass in seconds. Georgie followed the Mestizo’s gaze from the grass to the bamboo-pile pier, nipa huts, and market stalls. Wood, wood, and more wood—it was all bona fide fire fuel straight up the street to the Oriente, the hotel that contained all her possessions in this hemisphere.

The Mestizo turned back to the policeman and tilted his head toward this path of destruction. “I’m sure you’ve considered every possibility,” he said acidly.

“I don’t have to listen to this.” The American stalked away, still eyeing his adversary, and nearly collided with Georgie. In something close to relief, he directed his frustration at her, a new and easier target. “Miss, this is no place for a woman. What are you doing here?”

Georgie wondered the same thing—though her concern had little to do with her gender and more to do with the fact that, in the thirty hours she had spent in Manila so far, she had been temporarily abandoned by her fiancé, maybe permanently abandoned by her missing brother, and now threatened by a fire that her own countrymen would not even bother to put out. That last part bothered her the most right now.

“Why aren’t the wagons being used?” she asked. “You have enough equipment to douse the flames.”

“The fire’s a necessary precaution, I assure you,” the policeman said.

Georgie frowned. “A precaution?”

“I have orders from the Commissioner to sweep this district—”

A loud crack interrupted him as another boat frame split under the strain of falling debris.

“You set this blaze?” she asked, still not sure she was getting it right.

The policeman looked quickly at the fire and then back at her. “We did what we had to do. After we burn out the spirilla in this nest, the entire area can be disinfected with carbolic acid and lime.”

Georgie knew from experience that fire was a risky ally. She had grown up near the tenements of South Boston, twelve acres of which burnt down in the Roxbury Conflagration. “Isn’t that a rough way to go about it?”

Her skepticism exasperated the policeman. Clearly, he had not anticipated this challenge from a fellow American.

“Rough?” he cried. “People should be thanking us for our help. For months we’ve been distributing distilled water all over the city for free. We’ve built new encampments and staffed them with doctors and nurses to treat the stricken. We’ve even reimbursed people for the loss of their filthy, worthless shacks. Are these efforts appreciated? Instead, savages like him”—he crooked his thumb at the Mestizo—“stir up trouble, talking of tyranny.”

The dark-eyed man in question did not respond, but crossed his arms across his bare chest. When he caught her looking at him, she turned away, embarrassed by the impropriety: his in dress and hers in curiosity.

“And what’s the natives’ answer to the cholera?” the policeman continued. “Candles? A few prayers? Carting some wooden saints around?”

Georgie thought he had a point, albeit one badly made. It took no more than an hour in the city to realize that Manila had no sewage system, making it ripe for plague. Nowhere that she had wandered today had been out of olfactory range of the Pasig River, its estuaries, or the Spanish moat. Using the same water for drink and toilet did not make for a pleasant bouquet, never mind good health. That thought gave her some sympathy for the beleaguered Insular official. This morning’s Manila Times had reported that cholera deaths were down to a quarter of their July high, so something must be working.

“Maybe he’s right,” she said hopefully to the angry man. “They’re killing the germs, after all.”

The Mestizo ran a large hand through his short hair and sighed. “His plan would’ve been better if he hadn’t chased off the infected people who used to live here, spreading the disease farther. That’s not just stupid, it’s bad policy. Do you know what the people will say tomorrow? ‘The Americans are burning the poor out of their homes to make room for new mansions.’”

“That’s absurd!” she said.

The policeman did not deny it, though. “These brownies are like children, always looking to blame someone else. I can’t control what they think, nor would I deign to try.”

The Mestizo clenched his fists at his side, unconsciously tugging at the silk pajamas. Georgie wished he would not do that, especially since it was clear he was not wearing anything underneath. She turned away to watch the flames.

A piece of fiery thatch floated through the air near her head. A fresh gust of wind blew it up and over the street toward a cluster of neighboring homes whose occupants were still in the process of pulling out their belongings. The fireball rose and fell, dancing through the dark sky in slow motion, until it landed on the grass roof of one of the huts, igniting in seconds.

Everyone, including the firemen, rushed to warn those inside, but somehow Georgie got there first. She climbed the ladder into the hut and found a small boy holding a baby. He looked at Georgie with wide eyes as if she, not the fire, was the monster devouring his home. She inched forward, hoping her exaggerated smile would bridge the language gulf. She motioned him forward, her hand outstretched, palm up, fingers beckoning—but to no avail. The boy backed farther into the bamboo wall, acting like he had never seen such a gesture before.

Georgie looked up and saw that the whole roof was in flames. How had the fire grown so quickly? “Please!” she shouted, even though she knew her English was worthless. “You have to climb down with me.” She waved her arms furiously, only adding to the boy’s terror. She couldn’t will herself to crawl more deeply into the hut, though. That would be suicide.

“Ven acá,” a deep voice said. She turned to see the Mestizo behind her on the ladder. “Dito.” He motioned with this hand, too, but his palm faced down, brushing his fingers under like a broom. It seemed a dismissive gesture to Georgie, but the boy responded right away and crawled toward them.

The man handed the baby to Georgie before scooping up the boy. “Now go!”

The Mestizo swung back on the ladder to let Georgie down first. Just then the fire surged out of the hut, raking the big man’s back. Grunting in pain, he shoved everyone the rest of the way down and pushed them all to the ground. He fell last on top of the human pile, providing cover as the platform of the house gave way in a single explosion. The flames reached out to claw at them one last time before retreating. The Mestizo pulled Georgie and the boy onto their feet and dragged them farther from the burning hut, just to be safe.

After a few moments Georgie started to breathe again, devouring air in large gulps. She could feel the heavy sobs of the boy wedged into her side, but she did not have a free hand to comfort him. The baby, on the other hand, made not a sound. Georgie looked down at the little one, wondering what kind of life the infant had led so far if tonight’s episode was not even worthy of a good bawl.

A single beat of peace passed before a throng of excited Filipinos descended on them. A young woman swooped down to grab the two children, leaving Georgie alone in the Mestizo’s arms. He continued to hold her close, brushing the ash and dirt off her ruined white shirtwaist. It was a useless attempt, but she didn’t stop him.

“Are you all right?” he asked. He was still sweating—a musky, sweet scent that distracted her from the smoke. When she looked up at his face, she noticed details she had missed before: the dimple in his chin, prominent among his dark stubble; his full bottom lip, swollen a little from an accidental elbow in the face by the boy; and his low, dark eyebrows that framed his strong, straight nose. He was handsome but unrefined—too urbane to be a blackguard but too unruly to be a gentleman.

“Are you okay?” he asked again, shaking her lightly. “Can you hear me?”

She was embarrassed to be caught staring. “Yes,” she answered. “I’m sorry. I’m fine.”

“Not hurt?”

“No, I’m okay now. I’ve just…I’ve never felt so useless. The boy couldn’t understand me.”

The Mestizo shrugged. “Believe me, had you spoken his language, he would have been more scared.”

Georgie laughed, surprised at her ease. “I don’t know how your heart isn’t racing.”

The man paused, his smile not softening the look in his eyes. “Who says it isn’t?”

So he might be a bit of a blackguard after all, she thought.

Georgie noticed that the natives had stopped watching the fire and instead were watching her. She glanced over to the American policeman. The man did not need to speak to communicate the extent of his disgust. No self-respecting American woman would allow herself to be held this way by a half-naked Filipino. Upper-crust accent, Spanish features, and English law degree notwithstanding, he was still a “brownie.”

Georgie tried to loosen the Mestizo’s grip by twisting away. When that didn’t work she gently nudged him with her elbow, but he didn’t take that hint either. A seed of panic bloomed in her stomach. If they did not separate, there was liable to be more trouble for them both. She planted both palms on his chest and pressed lightly, but no one on the outside could see her resistance. All they saw was a suggestive caress.

The policeman’s eyes darkened. A small man like him—diminutive in both stature and intelligence—would no doubt resort to the power of his office to reestablish authority. Dash it, he had said as much even before the Mestizo had gotten his hands on a white woman.

Georgie summoned her strength and shoved the Mestizo away, hard. His heel caught on a rock and he fell, grimacing as he landed flat on his injured back.

A few bystanders laughed. Some would have laughed at anyone’s misfortune, but others relished the embarrassment of a proud man. Not surprisingly, the policeman’s guffaw was the loudest.

The Mestizo’s cheeks flushed red, but fury trumped pride. He got up immediately, rising in a single fluid motion while glaring at Georgie. She wanted to say something to defuse the situation—to explain, apologize, something—but the moment passed before she got up the courage. The man pivoted on his heel and walked away, not bothering to brush the gravel from his burned, torn flesh.

Georgie sighed in regret. Her first full day in Manila had not been a success by any measure. Unfortunately, it was too late to turn around now.


MARK MATTHEWS GOT A BOOK DEAL! And you can get a free book!

TODAY’S BREW: Like you need to ask. Pumpkin. Pfft. Obvs.

By Julie

Many of you know I got my start with Books of the Dead Press, who published RUNNING HOME and RUNNING AWAY. In addition to introducing me to the world of publishing, Books of the Dead did something else for me–introduced me to a few amazing friends. Mark Matthews’ ON THE LIPS OF CHILDREN was published alongside RUNNING HOME a few years back with Books of the Dead, and since then Mark has become a very close friend that I trust, rely on, and just plain love. He’s very kind, incredibly funny, and someone I’m better for knowing. Look at him, he’s so pleasant!

mark matthews

(go find Mark on Twitter

So when I got the news that his novel, MILK-BLOOD got a movie deal? Well, yeah, I cried, and I begged to be part of announcing it for a lot of reasons. It’s wonderful to see my friend have such success, and it’s fantastic that MILK-BLOOD was self-published.



MILK-BLOOD, a novel by Mark Matthews, has been optioned for a full length feature film by Monkey Knuckle Films. The option includes rights to the short story, The Damage Done, a companion piece to the novel.
“MILK-BLOOD is true reality horror, with supernatural elements that only serve to make it more believable,” explains executive producer Michael Bradford. “The story will certainly hold an audience.”

MILK-BLOOD is the story of a ten year old girl named Lilly, born with a heart defect, who lives on a Detroit street where poverty, urban despair, addiction, and both the living and the dead threaten her outside her doorstep. The author has tapped into this experience as a
social worker to create what one review site calls, “an Urban legend in the making.”  The author’s previous novel, On the Lips of Children, was a number one best-selling kindle novel on amazon.

The title, ”Milk-Blood,” comes from the Neil Young song, “The Needle and the Damage Done” and refers to the extensive lengths a heroin addict will go to in order to maintain their high.

Monkey Knuckle Films is a newly created LLC, but the founders have a long history of horror, and have worked with actors such as Sid Haig from The Devil’s Rejects, and much of the cast of The Evil Dead. They are currently in post-production for the horror film, “Elder Island“, set for release in 2016. MILK-BLOOD was a semi-finalist for the 2015 Best Kindle Book Awards and is available in paperback, kindle, or audiobook on amazon.

A sequel to MILK-BLOOD is scheduled for release in early 2016. (And I, Julie Hutchings, gets to edit it!) “The sequel is some twisted material,” says Matthews, “but with a purpose. Horror without heart doesn’t appeal to me, and I don’t think to many readers.”
To celebrate the movie contract, the author is offering up to ten vouchers for a free kindle download on amazon. Just email your request to

Interested in some MILK-BLOOD? Well, you’re in luck. Below are five codes for free Kindle Versions. Just be the first to enter one of the codes into this link here:  and BAMN! free MILK-BLOOD to your kindle.
Gift Claim Code GS4WEEN9X355NCZ
Gift Claim Code GS99HX2C245U5DT
Gift Claim Code GSR4X27F4W8JWC9
Mark, congratulations, from the bottom of my heart. Couldn’t happen to a better guy.

Happy Book Birthday, Protect Me!

*pops the cork on the champagne*

I did something with Sawtooth Shifters I’ve never done before. First, I didn’t really say anything about it before the series dropped. And I didn’t give you one book. I gave you two. Almost three. Protect Me has been available for what seems like forever now, but today you can finally read it! THANK YOU so much for an AWESOME preorder on Protect Me! I know many of you are waking up to Kiera and Baron on your Kindles or preferred reading devices and fuck, you guys rule. I hope you love them as much as I do.

Kiera is a bad ass chick, and Baron believes it’s time for a different way in the forest. On paper, they don’t look like they’d work. But these two sizzle together.  They’re not a traditional romance couple by any stretch of the imagination, but that doesn’t stop them from getting their happily ever after.

Keep reading for an excerpt!


A scarred soldier. A submissive shifter. It’s not what you think.

Baron Channing is tired of fighting.

As second in command, he’s built to take orders. The Channing pack has protected Sawtooth Forest for generations, and now they’re guarding the women who saved the family from the dog fighting ring. The Channings must fight for respect, but Baron doesn’t believe violence is the answer. He needs to take a stand for what he believes in if he wants to keep the incredible woman he’s been assigned to protect.

Kiera is a soldier.

She grew up in a man’s world, and she’s got the scars to prove it. Sent to Forever Home for rehabilitation for PTSD, Kiera didn’t believe she could learn anything from a bunch of homeless animals. But when a rescued werewolf sees her in a way no one else ever has, she realizes how wrong she was.

Together Kiera and Baron learn that the bravest thing is being true to yourself.




When I was a little girl, I wrote a book. It was similar to the movies I watched a million times with princesses kissing princes and fairy godmothers who waved magic wands, granting them their happily ever after. Because most of the books I read at the time had pictures, I took great care in illustrating it. Colored everything inside the lines. My brothers found it and had a fucking field day. I was the only girl, the youngest of five, so the ridicule was endless. Having nobody to play with but a bunch of boys toughened my ass up in no time, and soon I dreamed of adventures they didn’t laugh at. Anything that would get me as far away from the Kansas farm and the endless flat land we called home had my name written all over it.
I never stopped dreaming of my prince. I didn’t tell anyone about it anymore—I’d learned my lesson. Especially now that I was twenty-nine and my imaginary boyfriend’s GPS didn’t seem to work in Idaho. It was a bitch getting a signal out here.
After the things I had seen, now I was pretty sure happily ever after only existed in fairy tales.
Prince Charming or not, I’d never been satisfied with mediocrity. Baron Channing was the closest thing to my nine-year-old rendition of a fairy tale prince I’d ever seen. I’d originally drawn him in crayon, but I’d nailed the long, shiny black hair and tan skin. I even got the blue eyes right, but I hadn’t dared to imagine they’d be flecked with an impossible amount of gold, like sun streaks on a cloudless day.
Had I met Baron as a man first, I don’t think I would’ve been surprised to learn he was a wolf. Everything about him was sleek and powerful. I was dying to see what his body looked like under his clothes. I got hints of muscle straining against his shirt, but it was just a tease. I hugged my pillow to keep my hands off of him.
I should’ve never let my brothers talk me out of writing romance and becoming a fairy princess. Instead I let them lead me to war.

Interview with Summer Wier, author of Sci Fi YA, LINK!

TODAY’S BREW: More than you can imagine.

By Julie

Last week was the release of LINK by Summer Wier, a book near and dear to my heart. I had the divine pleasure of editing this book, and to see it come to life from start to finish is wonderful. It’s almost as near and dear as Summer herself, who is one of the greatest champions of my work and the one who insisted THE HARPY become a REUTS Publications book next year. I knuckled my way into Summer’s busy schedule to ask her a bunch of questions about LINK, which is one of the most unique YA sci fi books ever.


  • I love the unique way stars are used in LINK. Different than any sci fi or fantasy I have ever read. Where the heck did that come from? Are you a science geek or did you have the idea and need to find a way to make it come alive?
Why thank you! That’s such an amazing compliment. I think I’m definitely more geeky now than I ever would have admitted growing up, but I’ve always loved astronomy and astrology (two very different takes on similar things). When I set out to write a book, my original idea had nothing to do with stars or space, but focused on the connection between two characters who were separated by something I hadn’t figured out yet. It took me forever to even start writing because I didn’t know what I wanted the book to be or what would make it different from so many young adult stories that were already on the shelves. One day, I stumbled across this NASA clip “Black Hole Eats Star, Beams Signal to Earth” ( and I was so fascinated by it, I swear I watched it a hundred times. As I played the video over and over, it was like I’d found the piece I was missing for my story. LINK’s world, partly based on real science, partly imagination, mapped itself out in my mind, and at that moment I knew exactly where my story needed to go.
  • Kira’s relationship with her mother and her views on her mom’s life fascinated me. Tell me a little about how their relationship evolves in this book, if you could without giving too much away. :)
This is one of those areas where I used perspectives from my youth and parenting experiences, and blended them together. As a parent, I thought about how many things happen in life that children are completely oblivious to, or if they are aware of “things” they don’t always know the truth behind the story. In LINK, we see Kira’s perspective of what she believes is “truth” based on her experiences with her mother, and also what she’s created in her mind so that she can cope with what she thinks has happened between her mother and father. As the story evolves, Kira begins to piece together clues that shed more light on the events contributing to her parents’ past. And when she learns the “truth,” she gets a peek into her mother’s perspective and the reasoning for everything she did to protect Kira. With secrets revealed, Kira gains a new look on life and grows closer to her mother!
  • You created a really cool dreamscape sort of alternate world, which you managed to make unnerving and a little scary without any monsters. How did you do it?
I think black holes carry an uncertainty that contributed to the natural mystery of the world I created. I mean, what the heck is inside there?! No one really knows. There is so much left to discover in our galaxy, universe, and beyond—anything is possible! As my theories evolved from the NASA video, I let my imagination run wild with the kinds of landscapes one might see in a world pieced together in the way they’re fabricated in LINK, how this world would sustain itself in such an atmosphere, and who would inhabit it. Mix in the disorientation from traveling by starlight and who wouldn’t be a little creeped out with what awaits on the inside?
  • What is the message you want your readers to take from LINK?
Science changes everyday; life is ever-evolving. When I started writing LINK, so many of my ideas went against everything science believed about black holes (hence the fiction part). Take this simple definition of black holes from Wikipedia, “A black hole is a region of space-time exhibiting such strong gravitational effects that nothing—including particles and electromagnetic radiation such as light—can escape from inside it.” The NASA clip I shared earlier was a first look at a celestial event that totally changed that definition. And now, leaders in the science community have totally changed their positions on what’s possible when it comes to black holes, even so far as to share theories remarkably similar to those I created for LINK! (See article here: So my message to readers is: Anything is possible. Nothing is written in stone. Question. Explore. Create. The sky’s the limit.

Thanks so much for having me today! <3
YOU GUYS PLEASE BUY LINK AND LOVE EVERY SECOND OF IT.Dreamy, fluid, and beautiful, Link pairs the mystery of science fiction with the minor-key melody of a dark fantasy, creating a tale that is as human as it is out of this world.

Available now from Amazon, and other retailers.


TODAY’S BREW: Caramel Apple Spice!

By Julie


Graveyards, spirits, witchcraft, black cats, candy, and haunted houses.  

Strange things happen on Halloween. All Hallows Eve is the single night where the veil between the living and the dead is opened. And now spirits, monsters, and candy will collide!  

Seventeen authors and illustrators set out on a horrific journey to set the record straight. What really happens on Halloween night? Trick or Treating is not all fun and games. There are more tricks than treats scattered through these pages. Sure, All Hallows eve can be a scream. But sometimes, it’s straight-up murder. 

Halloween Night: Trick-or-Treat is a middle grade and young adult horror anthology that falls on Halloween night.  

Read if you dare! You’re in for a scare! 


Stories & Illustrations Include: 

Big Brother Zombie by Evan Purcell

Give Us Something Good to Eat by Rie Sheridan Rose

Halloween Ritual by Amy Giuffrida

Haunter by Ryan Bartlett

Hello Annie by Tiffany Morris

It’s All a Bunch of Hocus Pocus by Violette Ulalume

Knock, Knock by Jennifer Moore

Ms. Holstein’s Special Halloween Treat by Chad P. Brown

Night of Monsters by Matthew Wilson

Something Good to Eat by Patrick Hueller

The House of Sam Hain by Betty Rocksteady

Sweet Nothing by Julie Hutchings

The Ghost by David N. Smith and Violet Addison

The Peeping Trick-or-Treaters by Kevin Lewis

Tricks and Treats, and Chicken Feet by Shawn Anderson

What Lurks in the Darkness by Kathleen Palm

Halloween Night: Trick or Treat on Goodreads: Available October 27th!

More from the Publisher

Hocus Pocus & Co. believes in in all things scary. We are a small publishing house that wishes Halloween was all year long and loves what goes bump in the night.

Hocus Pocus & Co. is headed by Jolene Haley, who noticed that horror was an unrepresented category in MG, YA, and NA and is working hard to change that!

Hocus Pocus & Co. on the web:

Hocus Pocus & Co. on Twitter:

Cover Design by Cara Vescio

Join the book buzz using hashtag  #HocusPocusReads

Ready For Some Fairy Tale Confessions?

FTC banner

Earlier this year, I teamed up with a bunch of awesome authors with one mission: taking on classic fairy tales and putting our own signature stamp on it. This was so different than anything I’d ever done before, so I was in.


When you think about it, a romance novel is a modern day fairy tale.  It brings two unlikely people together. They see something in each other no one else does, and together they can achieve more than they ever could on their own.  And that happily ever after thing, sign me up.

I took on Sleeping Beauty.  I knew I could add my own special twist to this story.  What would wake a modern girl up from a seemingly endless coma?  And what was that slumber a metaphor for?  I came up with Lani, a bad ass rocker chick with her middle finger up in the air, desperately trying to escape the expectations set for her by her famous family, and Darius, the vampire who saw through all the crap–not only the image that her family wanted for her, but they one she’d built for herself–and loved her for who she really was.

Close-up of young sexy couple in ecstasy

This story is EXCLUSIVE to this set. You can’t get it anywhere else.  Also check out Cinderella, Rumpelstiltskin, Jack(lyn) and the Beanstock, Beauty and the Beast, Alice and Wonderland, Pinocchio…seriously, why are you still reading this and not that? Oh, because I haven’t given you links yet. Let me fix that:

Amazon    Amazon UK    BN    iBooks   Kobo

Spend A Wild Night With Some Very Wicked Alphas…


your next red-hot read in this sizzling collection of paranormal
romance scenes, featuring werewolves, dragons, vampires, witches,
psychics, angels, goblins, aliens, a succubus, and sexy cowboy shifters.
Your favorite authors (including New York Times and USA Today
bestsellers as well as rising stars) share the steamiest scenes from
their latest works!

Kindle (.mobi)

Only $0.99 for the hottest excerpts in paranormal romance!

All Retail Outlets:


Don’t forget to check out the Wicked Alphas, Wild Nights website for all the details and newsletter sign-up. Be the first to find out about the next two sets in the series!

Post Navigation


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 494 other followers