Deadly Ever After

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

Archive for the tag “Jolene Haley”

Get HAUNTED, YA Horror by Jolene Haley and Brian LeTendre!

TODAY’S BREW: Cozy Sweater Pumpkin Apple Picking Fireplace Crisp Air, medium roast

I’m kidding.

By Julie

I have the extreme pleasure of showing you the second book in Jolene Haley’s and Brian LeTendre’s Woodsview Murders series. This is HAUNTED, a YA horror coming out on October 11 from Horror Twins Press. Perfect timing for an eerie, atmospheric, exciting read, so get on it!

haunted-3d-book

Haunted on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26010171

Last October, corpses piled up in Woodsview, Massachusetts faster than autumn leaves in the dead of fall. The small town changed forever when Jeremy Kane, known as the Harvester, slaughtered Avery Blair’s classmates, her friends, and Jason, the love of her life. Avery was supposed to die too, but she narrowly escaped, killing the Harvester in the process. Avery and her best friend are trying to move on and leave their horrible past behind. They’ve enrolled in college, and taken on new challenges. Avery has a campus radio show, and Quinn has found a release—and a new relationship—on the roller derby track.  The Harvester nightmare was laid to rest, along with the bodies of her friends and the remains of the killer. But what’s dead doesn’t always stay buried. With the anniversary of the slayings, comes a suspicious death on campus. When two of their dorm mates disappear, Avery suspects that the Harvester is back to finish what he started.  Avery Blair is haunted by the ghosts of her past—memories of the slayings that torment her days and curse her sleepless nights. She can dismiss the visions of Jason she sees everywhere, but she can’t ignore the signs that scream the Harvester is back…for blood. One thing is certain—people are dying, and the killer is determined to add Avery and Quinn to the carnage. Can Avery separate fiction from reality and find the killer, or will the ghosts of the past finally consume her? Jeremy Kane is dead. He can’t possibly be back from the grave, can he?

 

Read the first half of HARROWED (book #1 in the series) for free on Wattpad or buy the entire thing on Amazon for only 99 cents!

 

About Brian LeTendre:

Brian LeTendre is the writer of the Parted Veil horror series, which includes Intrusive Thoughts, Courting the King in Yellow, Lovecraft’s Curse, and Lovecraft’s Pupil.

A gaming, comics and horror lover, Brian has co-hosted and produced a podcast about geek culture called Secret Identity since 2006, producing well over 1700 hours of programming. He also hosts and produces podcasts about writing (See Brian Write), music (Thrash It Out) and gaming (Co-Op Critics).

Brian lives and works in Massachusetts.

Brian on Twitter

Brian’s Blog

Brian on Amazon

Brian’s Podcasts

About Jolene Haley:

Jolene Haley is the author of the Woodsview Murders series (Harrowed and Haunted) and the Orchard Pointe series. She’s also the curator of the best-selling horror anthologies The Dark Carnival, Halloween Night: Trick or Treat, and the upcoming first of its kind, a YA pizzathology titled A Pizza My Heart.

She runs a YA horror blog The Midnight Society, self-love blog and magazine Shine Bright Gang, and Hocus Pocus & Co., a small horror press. She writes every genre under the sun, but prefers horror.

When she’s not writing she can be found cuddling her two dogs and enjoying the beach, where she lives.

Jolene on Twitter

Jolene’s Blog

Jolene on Goodreads

Jolene on Facebook

Join the book buzz using hashtag #WoodsviewMurders

Cover Reveal! HALLOWEEN NIGHT: TRICK OR TREAT

TODAY’S BREW: Caramel Apple Spice!

By Julie

I’M EXCITED ABOUT MY STORY IN THIS AWESOME ANTHOLOGY COMING OUT OCTOBER 27TH! CHECK IT OUT!

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! 

FINAL-Halloween_night_large

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: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25673465-halloween-night 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: http://hocuspocusco.com/

Hocus Pocus & Co. on Twitter: https://twitter.com/hocuspocusco

Cover Design by Cara Vescio

Join the book buzz using hashtag  #HocusPocusReads

COVER REVEAL AND GIVEAWAY! Young Adult Horror, HARROWED by Jolene Haley and Brian LeTendre

TODAY’S BREW: Pumpkin spice! Get used to it.

By Julie

I’m so excited for this cover reveal. For this book. For my dear friends Jolene Haley and Brian LeTendre, folks with hearts of gold that write like the dickens. Not Charles Dickens, just some other dickens. And WE NEED YOUNG ADULT HORROR. Anyway, LOOK:

Harrowed-Cover-Reveal

Young Adult Horror coming 9/22/15 by Horror Twins Press! Harrowed on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25728924-harrowed

Woodsview Teaser _1

ENTER TO WIN HARROWED!: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/YTdmM2RlYjFhMDQ0NmM1YWQxNjA5MTk3ZGNiYTk3Ojg=/?

ABOUT HARROWED:

Journalism Rule #1: Always report the story. Never become the story.

Avery Blair has accepted the fact that nothing exciting ever happens in her small town of Woodsview, Massachusetts. As the editor of the high school blog, she prays for something—anything—to come along that would make for a great headline.

When Beatrice Thompson’s body is found in the girls’ bathroom, Avery has her biggest story ever. The rumors circulating the school say that Beatrice took her own life, but Avery doesn’t believe it for a second. Her instincts prove true when the next day brings another body bag.

The tiny community of Woodsview has become the hunting ground for a killer known as the Harvester. The killer targets Avery and her classmates, stalking their every move and terrorizing them with morbid messages.

With the help of her boyfriend Jason, her best friend Quinn, and an aging detective who can’t keep her off the case, Avery dives head-first into her own investigation. She discovers that the secret of the Woodsview Harvester is buried in the town’s history and its annual Harvest Festival celebration. With every clue she uncovers, Avery grows closer to unmasking the killer—and becoming the next victim.

Avery Blair has finally found a story to die for…if she can stay alive long enough to write it.

Harrowed on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25728924-harrowed

Brian LeTendre Author Pic

Brian LeTendre is the writer of the Parted Veil horror series, which includes Courting the King in Yellow, Lovecraft’s Curse, and Lovecraft’s Pupil. Brian currently writes a webcomic called Mo Stache, which can be read for free online and will be collected in print in 2016.  Brian lives and works in Massachusetts.

Brian on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SeeBrianWrite

Brian’s Blog: http://www.seebrianwrite.com/

Brian on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Brian-LeTendre/e/B00AGFTZFA/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Brian’s Podcasts: https://soundcloud.com/seebrianwrite

Jolene Haley Author Pic

Jolene Haley is the author of the Woodsview Murders series, Harrowed (out 9/22/15) and Haunted, coming fall 2016. She’s also the curator of the best-selling horror anthology The Dark Carnival through Pen & Muse Press.  She runs a YA horror blog The Midnight Society, the author resource site Pen & Muse, and Hocus Pocus & Co., a small horror press.

Jolene on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoleneHaley

Jolene’s Blog: http://jolenehaley.com/

Jolene on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7753660.Jolene_Haley

Jolene on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jolenelouisehaley

Woodsview Teaser _5

MONDAY GRATITUDE with Julie

TODAY’S BREW: The bottoms of the bags of coffee. If this were a sandwich made of the last pieces of all the meat, it would be called a hoffaloney sandwich. This is a coffaloney.

By Julie

My little world is weird, and it’s very funny in the right light, but also I’m subject to a day now and again where I say WHAT THE HELL THIS ALL SUCKS SO MUCH CAN I HAVE ONE NORMAL FRIGGING DAY PLEASE?

Yesterday was that day. Today is the day I take a page from one of my closest friends, Jolene Haley, and write a Monday Gratitude blog. I feel better already.

First, a short list of some of the things that have happened in the past two weeks:

  • car broken into
  • covered in black sticky mud after saving Sam from low tide. Mud so thick that a passerby said “nice tattoos!” regarding my legs but IT WAS MUD which I then washed in a public bathroom sink, in a skirt, while the town officials wandered around the property doing assessments.
  • insurance turned down the med that Sam absolutely needs and is perfect for him but approved TWO meds that are absolutely wrong.
  • my phone dies if it isn’t plugged in
  • I don’t want to change diapers anymore.
  • Pizza man walked in my back door, into my house. I hadn’t ordered pizza.
  • I’m boring myself already, let’s get to the good stuff.

MONDAY GRATITUDE

Ten things that make me happy.

  1. The kids asking me as soon as we wake up if we can stay home today.
  2. ANYONE CAN MARRY WHOEVER THEY WANT TO AND THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS GAY MARRIAGE ANYMORE, IT’S ALL JUST REGULAR MARRIAGE.
  3. I have two eighties robots that I rescued from eBay.
  4. Finished writing a story, the first short piece I’ve done in a loooooong time and I really like it.
  5. Had an apocalypse dream starring Ryan Reynolds. Awesome.
  6. https://youtu.be/6JCLY0Rlx6Q
  7. My friend Brett Jonas sent me a bunch of awesome goodies from her family’s farm, http://goatmilkstuff.com/ and she just rescued a stuck kitten also.
  8. People that make movies asked about my book and even if none of them ever pick it up, that alone is more joy than I can even stand.
  9. Bennett got all Outstanding on his report card after going through THREE teacher changes in second grade.
  10. We rescued a fish at the beach the other day.

The awesome thing is that I have SO MUCH MORE than ten things to list, far more than the other crappy list. As a matter of fact, I might write one of these every damn day for a while.

As always, I have the most incredible people in my life, people who inspire me as a mom, people who encourage me as a writer, people who support me as a friend, people who love me as a Julie.

March Madness Flash Fiction: EMILY by Jolene Haley

TODAY’S BREW: Fancee Mistobox coffee

By Julie

I can’t trust myself not to go on and on about Jolene Haley because my heart bursts with love for the girl. When I was having my roughest time she got a bunch of folks to write what they love about me and made an entire Friday event out of it. She’s there for all of us, whenever we need it, but without that do-gooder vibe that makes a person run, you know? And her jokes are the dirtiest. The DIRTIEST. And there is nothing she doesn’t do. The girl is a miracle. And then she goes and writes stuff like this. Raw, but polished and frightening and heavy-hearted. Beautiful.

EMILY

by Jolene Haley

Crazy.

It’s whispered behind my back. It’s written on my charts. It’s murmured from professional to professional as they discuss me.

I don’t feel crazy.

I don’t look crazy. I‘m just an average teenage girl. Long blond hair. Brown eyes. Freckle-faced.

I’m not like the rest of the people locked away in Friendly Hills Mental Institution. For one, I don’t walk around drooling or screaming.

One of my favorite authors wrote something that fits these people perfectly. They’re “like haunted houses. The lights were on but no one was home.” That’s what it’s like here. I’m stuck in a house of horrors, complete with wailing.

I’m not dangerous like they say. It’s all a misunderstanding. If they ask Emily, she’ll tell you.

“Layla,” a soothing voice says.  “Ready for your three o’clock?”

Every Tuesday and Thursday at three o’clock sharp I see Dr. Novak, the resident psychologist.

No. I’m not ready.

I hate the doctor. He isn’t making me better. He makes everything worse.

Everyone at Friendly Hills knows that you have to go willingly. If you don’t, you still go. But with a new syringe mark in your flesh.

I slide the paperback back on to the shelf. I’ve read every book in the building three times. Maybe four.

“Sure,” I say, forcing a smile. “I’m ready.”

I know where the psychologist’s office is but the nurse escorts me anyways. The white walls and white floor are accented by white, tattered curtains moving gently in recycled air.

Before I know it, I’m outside the office. The blond woman in scrubs opens the heavy metal door.

I slip through the entrance, letting the door thud close behind me. This entire place smells like burst water pipes and mold.

An empty desk and rusty folding chairs are scattered around the waiting room. There’s another door to the left. This one is propped open. It’s the doctor’s office, so I walk in.

The round, middle aged man stands when I appear.

“Ah, Ms. Barnes,” the man says. Like he didn’t know that I’d be here. Like it’s some sort of pleasant surprise. But it’s Thursday, at 3:00. We both know better. We’ve had this schedule for the last six months.

“Dr. Novak.”

“How are you doing today?” he asks, almost like he genuinely cares. A warm smile spreads across his rosy cheeks. I want to cringe. I want to scream.

Instead I bite my cheeks and reply. “Great.”

He sits back in his seat, his large belly extending over his khaki pants.

“Well, you’re certainly looking well.” Dr. Novak’s eyes travel from my face downward. A shiver runs up my spine. Dr. Novak grins, his lips pulling up at the sides, displaying his yellow teeth.

My eyes slide over his desk. Messy stacks of paper, Bent manila folders full of secrets, stories. I hate that my entire life boils down to one fucking folder, strewn on his desk.

“Why don’t you shut the door,” the doctor suggests.

I didn’t like shutting that door. Nothing good comes after the door is shut.

“No,” I tell him.

A smile spreads on his face in such a strange way, it looks like a snarl. “I can help make you better, Layla. I can fix you.”

“There’s nothing wrong with me.” I’ve told him that since the day I arrived.

“Your family doesn’t see it that way,” the doctor says matter-of-factly. “After all, it’s my report that can get you out of here. Don’t you want a good report?”

Movement catches my attention. We aren’t alone. Emily is here too, peeking out from behind the curtains. How did she sneak in without getting caught? Emily is great at sneaking.

Her long brown hair is stringy and she looks pale. Her hospital gown sags on her shoulders but it doesn’t matter. She’s my best friend. I love her. She won’t let the doctor hurt me.

“I said, shut the door Layla,” Dr. Novak repeats. He’s growing impatient.

I nod and pad over to the wooden door. I peek my head out. My heart sinks. The waiting room is still empty. There’s no one around to help me if I need it. I close the door behind me.

“Pull down the shade,” Dr. Novak instructs me.

I pull it down and turn, leaning against the door. My heart is racing.

Emily gifts me an encouraging smile. One that is wordless but says everything. I’ll protect you. Just like I always do.

“Come here,” the doctor orders.

I want to throw up. Every bone in my body screams for me to run. But where? Every white corridor only leads to three more. Every door is locked. Every window has bars.

“Come here girl,” the doctor orders. “You don’t want me to tell your family that you’ve sunken worse into your madness, do you? Come.”

Come, I think bitterly. Like a dog. Like an obedient pet. I am to come, stay, sit, and roll over whenever he commands.

My gaze travels above the doctor’s head and they’re met by warm brown eyes. Emily moves out from behind the curtain, beckoning me closer.

I take a step towards them both. Then another.

The doctor narrows his eyes at me. “What are you looking at?” He sits up in his chair and turns. I’m afraid that he’ll see her, that we’ll be caught. I don’t want Emily to get in trouble.

Dr. Novak’s gaze moves straight past her, before turning back to me with a look of confusion.

For an all-seeing doctor, he sure is blind. Emily’s right there. Right behind him. And she doesn’t look happy.

Emily lifts her arm and brings it to her neck, dragging her finger across her throat. Then she points at Dr. Novak.

I shake my head. I hate the doctor. But that doesn’t mean I want him dead. Or maybe I just don’t want to be the one to kill him.

Emily won’t understand. She doesn’t forgive. She doesn’t forget. And Emily wants Dr. Novak dead.

Emily points to the doctor’s desk.

My eyes wander over the mess. Amongst the files and papers there is one thing that catches my attention: a pair of large, sharp scissors.

“Layla, come here now,” the doctor demands, frustrated. “You’re being naughty. You ought to listen to your doctor. I know best.”

Dr. Novak settles back in his chair, tilting it so far backwards that for a moment I’m afraid that he’ll topple over into Emily.

I tiptoe to the edge of his desk, a scream settling in my throat. After all, who will hear? It’s no use. I don’t like to fight it. The doctor likes a struggle.

I run my fingers along the desk. The scissors are close. Very close. I can have them in my hands in a matter of seconds.

Emily nods encouragingly. Her nod says it for her, “Do it. End him. He doesn’t deserve to live.”

I don’t want to hurt anyone. Just like I didn’t want to hurt anyone last time. But Emily is never wrong.

“That’s it, girl,” Dr. Novak murmurs. “Just a little closer so we can begin our session.” He chuckles. I grimace.

“Do it,” Emily whispers. Dr. Novak doesn’t seem to notice.

I step around the desk stopping inches from his chair. He clasps his sweaty hand around my wrist. “Thata girl,” Dr. Novak coos.

“If you don’t, I will,” Emily warns me, standing right behind him. “And I’ll make him suffer.”

My eyes travel back to the scissors. They’ll do the job nicely.

Dr. Novak places one of my hands on his knee.

“He deserves it! He hurt me too. Don’t let him get away with it!” Emily’s shouting now. Her brown eyes are darker, cold. Her wispy hair is swaying, like there’s a draft in this windowless room. “Do it! Kill him!” she screams.

Emily’s right. He deserves it.

The doctor chuckles, grabbing my hand and inching it down his thigh. Then, he releases me, wrapping his hands around the back of his neck. He trusts me to keep going. He knows that I don’t want a bad report.

“Now!” Emily screams. Her dark eyes gleaming with bloodlust. “Just there,” she points to the doctor’s neck. “Jam them right in and twist.”

I keep my right hand on the doctor’s leg and with my left, I grab the scissors.

I stare at his neck, covered tightly with a stained button-down shirt and tie. The veins in his neck are crimson streams that soon will be set free.

I raise my hand, the shining scissors clasped tightly.

This is for Emily.

Emily dances with glee behind the doctor, waiting for the moment to come. She’s enjoying this. She always does.

“Doctor,” I say quietly, so not to alarm him.

“Yes?” he asks. His eyes are still shut. A smug smile is plastered on his face.

I clear my throat and perfect my aim. “I think my madness is getting worse.”

Emily rears her head back, screaming in laughter. She knows I’m not crazy. She knows that he deserves this.

The doctor’s eyes snap and land on the scissors pointed at his neck.

Before he has time to react, Emily grabs my hand. Just like last time. Just like all the other times. Before I can blink, the scissors are in his neck. Twisting. Turning. Setting his sin free, which comes out in squirts.

Emily’s hand is still on mine, pushing the scissors deeper.

“Oh yes,” she laughs. “Your madness is much worse.”

She giggles so loud it muffles the other sounds. The drips. Gurgles. Murmurs. Pleas.

I realize Emily isn’t the only one laughing. I am too. Giggling. Dancing.

Emily and I whirl around, holding the scissors in the air like a treasured pet.

The door opens, the blond nurse from earlier gasps. Her face twists up in horror and fear. She plasters herself against the office door. She screams.

I look over at Emily. Maybe she has an escape plan. But there, just where she was a moment before, she is gone.

Emily is gone.

Jolene Haley is an author and the curator of the best-selling horror anthology The Dark Carnival through Pen & Muse Press. She also runs a YA horror blog The Midnight Society and the author resource site Pen & Muse.. She writes every genre under the sun, but prefers horror. When she’s not writing she can be found cuddling her two dogs and enjoying the beach, where she lives.

Founder of The Midnight Society  |   Co-founder of Pen & Muse
Also hangs at JoleneHaley.com    |   Moonbeams & Mischief 
Tweet me!  @JoleneHaley 

Julie Takes the Gloves Off For 2015

TODAY’S BREW: Trader Joe’s Winter Blend. I love this stuff.

By Julie

You guys know me pretty well. What you see is what you get here, so if you think you don’t know me, then you haven’t seen anything. In any case here are some solid truths about me that are important these days:

I’m a determined, will-do sonofabitch. Nothing stops me, I don’t make excuses and I make damn sure that I turn every slip-up, every “failure” or rejection into a building block. I make plans, I change them, and I trust my gut. I’m true to me, I believe in myself and I make my own luck. Even when I lose, I win. And I have a helluva time doing it.

I firmly don’t believe in bad days. I’m a resilient motherfucker, and part of that means not getting bogged down by a string of bad moments, but brushing them off and creating the day you want. This also works for week, month, year, life.

If you know me REALLY well, you know that these things weren’t true of me in 2014. This year was a ballbuster. Hardest year of my life. And it beat me down. I’m one that’s quick to say that things can only beat you down if you let them, and more accurately I exemplify it. I’ve had a lot of experiences that change lives, and I’ve made a lot of life changing choices. I NEVER let my circumstances decide my life for me.

Then New Year’s Eve 2013 came. And my husband suddenly didn’t have a job. We already lived pretty goddamn minimally, and were perfectly happy about it. But this? This removed all of our steady income. Not to mention that we’re creatures of routine and habit. We like familiarity around here. Tim had worked at that job down the street from us since we were in high school. Imagine that feeling at 40 and what it does to a person. But as poor as we were, we’d be lying if we said we didn’t love being at home together all the time! The kids, Tim and me? We rarely got irritated by each other, we genuinely enjoyed our time. But it was hard because money and the inevitable depression of unemployment as hard-working people.

Not long after Tim got a new (wonderful for the heart) job, our then 3 year old baby began…. losing himself. WE were losing him. He was always a wild card, earning himself the nickname “Frats” because he was a walking frat party from birth. Without getting too in-depth, his spirit took a turn for violence, debilitating habits that had us walking on eggshells at best, and holding each other sobbing in parking lots at worst. Long, draining story short, we saw (and continue to see) several psychologists, psychiatrists and counselors, finally determining that our boy is not only extremely hyperactive, but has OCD and we need to be on the lookout for bi-polar disorder. Just keeping up with it, the medication, the constant shifting of gears, the effect of changing lots of rules in a house of routine and trying to be fair, nurturing, FUN, and a warrior for my kids’ health while one thrived and grew and the other struggled…. it tore me to shreds. A million times over. The whole time I was virtually isolated due to the new work schedule and my exhaustion. A dark night of the soul indeed.

The hits just kept coming, all year long, one after the other right up until this very week when I found out I have a large fibroid and some other vascular growth to be meddled with.

All of this put my writing and editing jobs into a flummox, and that last of my very own routines was demolished. The thing that was all my own that kept me sane, gone. Sure, RUNNING AWAY came out, and I’m grateful for that, but I wasn’t able to give it the attention it deserves upon publication, and the new book I’m working on has been recently shelved just to give myself a break. (Not for long. I start work again second week of January, so Jolene Haley, don’t freak out. THE WIND BETWEEN WORLDS is still very much alive.) In other book news, THE HARPY, which was being pitched to traditional publishers by my agent was determined overall to be too dangerous, too risky, too unorthodox and too “abrasive.” Rejections rolled in. But that is a story for another post.

In any case, this post for as little as it touches on our troubles this year, would have had me shuddering and scream-crying even a couple of weeks ago. Not now.

We were determined to give my boys an amazing Christmas. Sam, with all of the hard work he put in this year as just a baby, to simply be happy with himself deserved everything in the world for all his incredible progress. Doctors are shocked that he is so fantastic in public, so wonderful with other kids, so communicative and incredible in his first year of preschool because it must be exhausting for him. This baby tries so hard, most adults will never know how to control their emotions the way this child does. In the meantime, Bennett at 7 years old, is being asked to bend the rules over and over for his brother. He sacrifices, sees violence that he shouldn’t, and yet is happiest when he’s at home. He won an academic achievement award at school, not to mention countless little good behavior tickets from teachers. He’s sensitive, thoughtful, kind, hilarious, and loves his little brother more than I have ever seen any kid love their sibling. He taught him how to write, for chrissakes.

So these kids get ALL THE CHRISTMAS PRESENTS. Because if there’s one way to reward a kid for a great year, it’s that way. Simple. Fun. The final pat on the back of the year. Not to mention that our family was all together, when work has not permitted it as much, and we were so happy. Best Christmas ever.

I wanted a Christmas that kicked 2014 in the ass and said, “YOU’RE OVER. YOU CAN GO NOW.” It was my favorite Christmas ever, and Christmas vacation is still as amazing as the days leading up to it. We’re so happy. That’s all I want.

2014 knocked me to the ground and kicked me over and over. I was defensive. There was no plan, only reaction. There was little personal victory because I was always just trying to get up on my knees again.

Those days are over. I’m a warrior at heart, always have been. Any warrior worth his armor takes serious beating before their greatest victory.

Watch out, 2015. I’m coming for you.

Trying on a New Hat with Pen and Muse Press

Today’s Brew:  I drank enough Diet Coke today I’ve probably corroded my innards.

by Kristen

If you’ve been hanging around the Twitter box lately, you’ve probably seen the buzz about the new division of Pen and Muse, run by the fabulous Kristen Jett and Jolene Haley.

Introducing Pen and Muse Press!

Teaser

What does that mean for you?

Pen and Muse Press is an accompaniment to Pen and Muse, a writer’s haven, for writers of all ages and genres. Receive personalized marketing, branding, and writing to help further your writing career.  Pen and Muse Press is the side of Pen and Muse for writers who are serious about treating their writing career as a business.

 “Found your writing Muse but need a little inspiration in the marketing department? We’re your Muses!”

What does this mean for me?

I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the publicity interns for Pen and Muse Press, to be launched on July 22 (date tentative).  July 22 is a big day round these parts.  Julie’s just releasing her debut novel that day.  So as you can imagine, it will be like any other Monday.

You’ll be seeing me musing on social media.  Facebook, Google Plus, possibly some Twitter action.  We will be hosting some of Pen and Muse Press clients’ blog tours here on Deadly Ever After as well, so stay tuned to see the some of the best fresh new talent as they launch their new projects.

I’m really excited about this position, and I thank Kristen and Jolene for choosing me.  I have discovered that I really enjoy the publicity end of book marketing, and these ladies know their stuff!  I’m looking forward to soaking in all the knowledge they are willing to give me, while giving authors the recognition they need to get their books off the shelf and into your hot little hands.  Stay tuned to Pen and Muse Press for more information, or follow us on Twitter!

 

I Get Around

Today’s Brew:  Starbuckian Goodness

Guest Post: Kristen Strassel and Writing in a Crowded Genre

The fabulous Muses, aka Jolene Haley and Kristen Jett, at Pen and Muse asked me to do a guest post for them, and it’s up today!  Go check it out!  I talk about writing in a crowded genre.  We all hear that there’s too many vampire books, young adult, new adult, erotica, insert popular genre here.  I tell you why I stuck to my guns, and what you can do to make your work stand out.

Post Navigation