Deadly Ever After

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

Archive for the tag “new books”

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

Julie’s Version of a Strong Female Character

TODAY’S BREW: Chocolate Mint until my heart grows legs and runs away

By Julie

joss whedon quotes

This quote from the almighty Whedon makes me swell with pride. That strong women are on the radar, that we’re moving forward. Also, like Joss, IT INFURIATES ME AND MAKES MY INSIDES BURN LIKE A FOREST FIRE.

I’m overjoyed–OVERJOYED–to be writing fresh words again (ahem, the mark of a strong woman), on the sequel to a book that I finished (strong). The main characters are five witches. I’m going to account for here, what makes them strong, and there probably won’t be anything about magic.

  • they’ve all faced oppression, abuse, questionable (gently worded) parenting methods, and still face every day
  • they make lots of mistakes, and keep moving forward
  • they learn to support each other despite coming from a place where they were taught to hate each other
  • their sexuality and identifications. Enough said.
  • they’ve been called failures and fight to prove to themselves that they’re not–even when they fail
  • they break rules that don’t work and make new ones, that sometimes work but often don’t and they keep making more
  • the way they fight their Big Bad has yes, a lot to do with magic, but a lot more to do with overcoming their fears and thinking outside the rules set for them
  • they get back up
  • they all have vices, none of them are solely “good,” and none of them are “the bad girl with a heart of gold,” or the villain. They’re all more than one thing.
  • they’re seventeen–and hold a world together out of necessity. They’re afraid and they still do it. They do it because they’re afraid. They look for answers to find a way out of it. They screw up a lot, sometimes irreversibly. They move on. All traits of what strong adults do, and what strong adult women do. It starts somewhere.

None of them know karate. None of them are trying to prove themselves to a boy. Some of them have body issues, some of them have drug problems, some of them are smart-mouthed but it’s not the only thing that defines them. They’re more than one thing. I didn’t write them with the intent of being “strong female characters,” I wrote people. I wrote people I’d want to know, people with thick stories, opinions, journeys within themselves to take. I didn’t write them “as teens,” I wrote them as people.

IT’S TRUE, TEENS ARE PEOPLE AND THAT’S NOT THE ONLY THING THEY ARE.

The thing about each of these young women that I think is cool is that if you were to ask them what makes them strong, their answers would be widely varied, if they thought they were strong at all.

What we think of them is not necessarily what they think of themselves. Not everyone will agree on what makes a person strong–or a girl strong–or a woman strong. One thing that is true without question is that it will be questioned whether or not they’re strong female characters.

To that, I say, I don’t have to prove a thing to anyone.

 

 

 

THE CRIMSON CORSET: Interview and Excerpt with the Amazing Alistair Cross

TODAY’S BREW: Target brand Chocolate Cupcake AND IT REALLY TASTES LIKE ONE!

By Julie

Alistair Cross is a great friend and an amaaaazing writer. His poetry and his horror work is so sensual and evocative, it’s unparalleled. So when I demanded the opportunity to preview his first solo novel, THE CRIMSON CORSET on Deadly Ever After. I seriously cannot wait. HERE, LET ME SHOW YOU ONE OF MY FAVORITE POEMS OF HIS AND YOU’LL SEE WHY. https://alistaircross.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/battle-kiss/

And THIS is about THE CRIMSON CORSET

NOW BUY THE CRIMSON CORSET: http://www.amazon.com/Crimson-Corset-Vampires-Cove-Book-ebook/dp/B0139K6N7Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1438549888&sr=1-1&keywords=the+crimson+corset+by+alistair+cross

NOW I ASK ALL THE QUESTIONS.

  • You’ve come up with some really unique and beautifully disturbing ideas for THE CRIMSON CORSET that remind me of your poetry, which as you know, I’m in love with. Tell us about the crimson corset itself.

Thanks for loving the poetry! The poetry loves you, too!

Regarding the actual crimson corset … it refers to two things. First and foremost, it is a literal corset – a very special garment worn by my undead antagonist, Gretchen VanTreese, when she’s feeling uninspired. There are specific reasons this article of clothing is so special to her – macabre, gruesome reasons that I can’t expound upon without giving spoilers. I can say that some very special care went into the construction of the garment and because of those unnamed specifics, the corset represents to Gretchen a passage into power, and freedom from her past – it is a symbol of what she could become.

Then there’s Gretchen’s nightclub, The Crimson Corset, named for that very special red bodice of hers. Purchased in 1912 when Gretchen and her band of Loyals settled in Crimson Cove, the Swiss-Chalet-style former lodge is notorious for its wild parties and long history of debauchery and excess. Built over underground tunnels of the rum-running days of Prohibition, there’s a lot more to this club than any of the locals know. This club was a ton of fun to write and it became a character in its own right as a lot of the action and danger takes place there.

As for the book … The Crimson Corset is the first in a series titled The Vampires of Crimson Cove. It begins when a seemingly ordinary young man named Cade Colter who moves to the little California village of Crimson Cove where he discovers he’s not so ordinary after all. Unbeknownst to him, Cade has a genetic rarity that makes him very extraordinary, indeed … and very valuable Gretchen VanTreese.

As Cade becomes the object of Gretchen’s obsession, the peaceful faction of vampires on the other side of town must call off the ancient and uneasy truce between their Loyals and Gretchen’s in order to protect Cade Colter. But Gretchen has already begun laying an elaborate trap that will put Cade, and everyone around him, in mortal danger.

  • Tell us about Jazminka and her very unique weapon choices.

Jazminka is Gretchen’s second-in-command, and she’s one of my favorite characters in this book. Born in Yugoslavia in the 1700s, Jazminka has had plenty of time to perfect her skills. She can drain a grown man of blood in six seconds or less without spilling a single drop, and she uses weapons of only the most fashionable kind to do it. From her steel-tipped stiletto heels, to the flowing chiffon of her glove-sleeves that serve as garottes, Jazminka is a woman who dresses to kill. Literally.

  • We share a love of making vampires that stand out amongst the others in the genre, but you like your classic vampire to stay that way. What makes your vampires yours?

I actually never envisioned myself writing a vampire novel and I haven’t read much vampire fiction in recent years, so it’s hard for me to say what makes my vampires different – because I don’t know what to compare them to. I do know that I have a respect for the traditional vampire genre, and didn’t want to stray too terribly far from that, so I hope that if my vampires are particularly unique for something, it’s because they aren’t so unique that they lose the integrity of the legend.

  • You’re a self-proclaimed character writer. Tell me about it.

Before I sit down to write, I do two things. First, I spent several weeks submerged in research and story development – and then I consider two to three possible endings for the story. After that, I just write. It’s difficult to explain how your characters can execute the story according to their own wills, but that is exactly what happens. Some writers understand this and some don’t. I think it’s just one of many inexplicable creative processes. How can anyone explain creativity of any kind? Where does it come from? It’s a slippery slope, my friend.

  • You’ve got mermaids and vampires in one book! Talk!

Ha ha! Well, the mermaids are vampires. Now, before you start thinking I have actual mermaids with sharp fangs swimming around and biting scuba divers, let me explain. Near Crimson Cove is a very real little town with an old, abandoned lodge called The Brookdale Lodge, which lent some inspiration to the club in The Crimson Corset. At the Brookdale, there was a glassed-in area of the pool where prostitutes dressed as mermaids swam for the men at the bar, and in much the same way people at restaurants can choose their lobster from a tank, these gentlemen would choose a “mermaid” for the evening. This concept fascinated me, and I created the vampires, Violet and Scarlett, to be the Crimson Corset’s finned – and fanged – ladies of the night. They are not, however, real mermaids.

  • What do you see yourself writing next?

Oh, I already know what I’m writing next and have already begun it. Or, them, to be accurate (there are several projects currently in progress.)

I’m in the beginnings of the next solo novel which, although not related to The Crimson Corset, will feature some familiar faces. While writing, I’m often introduced to what I call “surprise characters.” These are characters that weren’t part of the original plan. Usually, these unplanned characters further the story and end up being great additions … other times, they go nowhere and either need to be cut out entirely, or moved to a different story.

In The Crimson Corset, there is one character in particular, Deputy Nick Grayson, who really seemed to have a strong story behind him – more than I could explore in The Crimson Corset. I didn’t want to leave him behind so as I wrapped up The Crimson Corset, I gave him a job offer in a neighboring fictional town, where I will be able to tell his story. While this new book has no vampires – it focuses on angels and demons – it will be a lot of good, gruesome fun and I’m very excited about it.

Also, my collaborator, Tamara Thorne, and I are finishing up volume one of the serialized Ravencrest saga, The Ghosts of Ravencrest. Immediately after that, the next volume begins, as well as another novel –  a hard-hitting, fast-paced, balls-to-the-wall psychological thriller that we’ve been talking about for a while. So yeah. It’ll be a busy year.

  • What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done? Don’t hold back now.

Honestly? Getting my name on a book next to Tamara Thorne’s! Seriously. If you don’t believe me, check out The Cliffhouse Haunting. There I am … right next to her. It’s awesome. And it was an incredibly fun book to write, too! I’ve been a fan of Tamara’s since the 90s, so to be able to meet my hero and write books with her is – without a doubt – the coolest thing that has ever happened to me.

the crimson corset cover

EXCERPT

In his dreams, he saw Alison. At first, she was smiling, sitting on a towel on Bonny Doon beach, her blond hair moving gently in a light breeze. She and Ethan were the only two there and at first, it didn’t seem strange to him that there was no sun. He looked up into the black sky, saw the sprinkle of silver stars and the crescent of the moon. “Come on,” he said to his sister. “It’s dark.”

Alison smiled at him but there was something sinister about it.

He stepped closer to her. “We need to go.”

Her mouth didn’t move, but he heard the words clearly: “Not yet.”

He looked around for anything they’d brought that needed to be taken back with them. But there was nothing, just sand … and the water. It gleamed like onyx and lapped at the shore, suddenly much closer than it had been moments before. “The tide’s coming in,” he said, but Alison wasn’t listening. She just sat, staring into the distance, that strange smile on her face.

A new sound came – rain? – but he didn’t feel any of it. He looked up again. The sky was blacker and the stars were missing. He searched for the moon and couldn’t find it.

Alison turned her head and faced him. “A storm’s coming.” Her once-pretty features were gone now, replaced by blue-white skin, hollow eyes, and thin lips. Her face had gone cadaver-thin and her body, clad in a bright orange bikini, had begun to show signs of decay.

The dark sea water turned the color of blood and was close enough now that it lapped at the tips of her toes, as if tasting her. As the water – the blood! – receded, it took Alison’s flesh with it, leaving behind only the bones of her feet.

She threw her head back and laughed, it might have pleased him if only it hadn’t sounded so mad. She scooted closer to the ocean of blood, tossing her head back and giggling as if the water – as it spirited away her flesh – was merely tickling her.

“No!” He ran toward her. His legs pumped and his lungs burned, but he couldn’t get any closer. It was as if he were running in place. He watched, terror-stricken, as a massive wave rose and crashed down on his sister. “Alison!”

She disappeared under the red water and moments later, the tide returned to the sea, leaving behind the smell of burning flesh – and what was left of Alison.

His heart pounded and his stomach heaved at the sight.

She was little more than bones now, with intermittent strips of charred, melted flesh hanging from her frame. To Ethan’s horror, his sister rose and began ambling toward him. Her jawbone worked feverishly before she found her terrible croaking voice. “You did this to me! You!” She raised her arms, her finger bones curling in as she reached for his throat.

He tried to turn, but couldn’t. Glued in place, he felt the cold wet bones of her hand close around his neck.

“You did this to me!”

Ethan shot up in bed, his heart pounding high in his chest. He screamed, kicked the quilts off, kicking, kicking, grasping at his throat. His eyes flicked open and he was somewhere else: His bedroom. The smell of burnt flesh receded, making way for the stink of his own sweat, which drenched his T-shirt and bed sheets. He gasped for breath for several long moments. It was just a dream. Just a dream. Rain still tapped at the windowpane, reminding him of the click of finger bones. He shuddered, cold, and pulled the blankets closer.

Reaching into the nightstand drawer, he retrieved a half-drunk pint of whiskey and took a long pull. This wasn’t the first dream he’d had about Alison – and it wasn’t the worst. He told himself he could handle it. Just let the whiskey do its work and go back to bed. It was just a dream. But he knew it wasn’t just a dream. It was much, much more than that.

 

alistair cross

Alistair Cross was born in the western United States and began penning his own stories by the age of eight. First published by Damnation Books in 2012, Alistair has since published several more novels. In 2012, he joined forces with international bestselling author, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write the successful Gothic series, The Ghosts of Ravencrest. Their newest novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, is an Amazon Best Seller, and this summer also sees the release of Alistair’s solo novel, The Crimson Corset.

In 2014, Alistair and Tamara began the internet radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! Haunted Nights LIVE! premiered to great acclaim and has featured such guests as Chelsea Quinn Yarbro of the Saint-Germain vampire series, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels that inspired the hit television series, Jay Bonansinga of the Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter novels, and New York Times best sellers Christopher Rice, Jonathan Maberry, and Christopher Moore.

Alistair is currently at work on several projects including a solo novel and a new Thorne & Cross collaboration. His influences include the works of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Saul, Ira Levin, and William Peter Blatty.

website: alistaircross.com

blog: alistaircross.wordpress.com

twitter: @crossalistair

Facebook: facebook.com/alistaircoss

Goodreads: goodreads.com/author/show/6517308.Alistair_Cross

JULIE ANNOUNCES ALL THE THINGS!

TODAY’S BREW: The Vanilla of France

By Julie

Holy mother of all Hell and creatures of many shapes and sizes, I HAVE THINGS TO SAY. So many of them, I cannot fit them all here but I will goddamn try.

First. FIRST. There’s this amazing podcast, Haunted Nights Live? Yeah, Christopher Rice was on last week. You know, CHRISTOPHER RICE. Go ahead, go listen:  http://t.co/vn8mGyiVeW. Then in a couple of weeks? Laurell K. Hamilton will be on. OH YOU KNOW, LAURELL K. HAMILTON. And right in between them, this Thursday, June 11th? OH IT WILL BE ME ON HAUNTED NIGHTS LIVE, BETWEEN THOSE FOLKS. You know, just Chris Ricey and ol’ LKH. Holy Christ.

Annnnyway, it’s on Thursday, June 11th at 9pm EST. Like Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights Live so you can get the heads up when I talkeroo: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Thorne-Cross-Haunted-Nights-LIVE/360703350753608 and/or also at Authors on the Air here: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorsOnTheAir.

PRETTY PLEASE LISTEN TO ME! I’m giving away a couple of signed copies of RUNNING HOME, and I have things to yap about and you know me….I have OPINIONS.

Also, I’ll probably talk about OH NOTHING, JUST THAT FINALLY, FINALLY THE HARPY HAS FOUND A HOME AND IT COULD NOT POSSIBLY BE A BETTER HOME I COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED.

REUTS Publications has given the bitter, brutal, anti-Batman, Charity Blake a go. You guys. This is really emotional for me. Charity is close to my heart because she’s close to nobody’s heart. But you want her on the page. You guys are going to love/fear/want to hang out with/run fast from her.

For the full press release, and to read a little more about what to expect, here’s my new publishing home!  http://blog.reuts.com/julie_hutchings_signs_the_harpy/

But if you want some quickies, which Charity isn’t afraid to give, she’s a little of this:

charity burlesque

Maybe not that sweet though, she’s got a lot of this:

steampunk charityboozin

But with more booze and raw meat? Oh, there’s also some of this:

EvanRobbieBut also a place kind of like this:

harpies danteBut more fun than THAT, for crying out loud. Like this:

red hellAnd with folks like these:

harpy hell

harpy skull

But to lighten the mood, there’s one of these:

canary

You guys will be into it, I promise! Go add that girl on Goodreads! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25665403-the-harpy?from_search=true&search_version=service_impr Support that you don’t always want the good girl to win.

Anyhow, thank you guys for being here when I want to blab at you and please listen on Thursday! YOU OWE ME. You totally don’t, but listen anyway.

THE HARPY IS COMING TO LIFE WITH REUTS PUBLICATIONS!

TODAY’S BREW: champagne.

By Julie

I’ve been waiting to give this news for a long time. Another day will be ALL MY FEELINGS about it. There are so many.

Read the full press release here: http://blog.reuts.com/julie_hutchings_signs_the_harpy/

Julie Hutchings Signs Dark Fantasy/Horror Mythology with REUTS

Posted by on Jun 4, 2015 in Press Release | No Comments

a-harpy

It’s about to get dark and twisted up in here. That’s the life Charity Blake lives in the newest addition to the REUTS collection—THE HARPY, by the lovely Julie Hutchings. In this incredibly moving and imaginative tale, Julie brings the mythology of the harpy to life in a way you’ve never seen before. We’re thrilled to bring this amazing story to the world! And trust us, it’s all parts dark and all parts twisted to become 200% awesome. It’s not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure, but it will have you holding your breath, choking back tears, and vigorously turning pages until the very end. Read a little bit about it:

“Hutchings beautifully breathes life into anti-heroine Charity Blake in a way that punches your gut and pulls at your heart at the same time. When eternity in Hell is more appealing than the life she’s made, Charity has to question if it’s possible to fix what–and who–she’s broken. The Harpy delivers a powerful story of hurt, revenge, and redemption, with emotion-filled prose and gripping imagery.”

Introducing ISLA’S INHERITANCE by Cassandra Page!

TODAY’S BREW: I’ve filled my cheeks with pumpkin spice and that’s going to be all day long.

By Julie

I’ve been waiting for this book for what seems like the length of Hulk Hogan’s longest hair. (It’s super early. Check in later for a better metaphor later. A betaphor.) I’m very excited to see my good friend Cassandra Page’s gorgeous book come to life finally!

Isla

HOW STUNNING?!

Isla was content to let her father keep his secrets, but now she can’t stand the touch of iron and her dreams are developing a life of their own. She must discover the truth — before it’s too late.

Seventeen-year-old Isla Blackman only agrees to participate in a Halloween party séance because Dominic, an old crush, wants to. She is sure nothing will happen when they try to contact the spirit of her mother. But the séance receives a chilling reply.

SHE IS NOT DEAD.

Isla doesn’t want to upset her father by prying into the family history he never discusses. When the mysterious and unearthly Jack offers to help her discover the truth, Isla must master her new abilities to protect her loved ones from enemies she never knew existed.

Goodreads | Amazon | Smashwords

OH, WHAT YOU WANT AN EXCERPT NOW? *EYE ROLL*

“Okay.” Emma rolled up her sleeves so they wouldn’t trail on the table. She slid the upturned scotch glass so the pentagram was centred within it. “Everyone put a finger on top of the glass.” We did. “Ready?” Without waiting for a response, Emma tilted her face towards the ceiling. “Is anyone there?”

Nothing happened.

“Is anyone there?” Emma asked again. She didn’t seem worried. I glanced at Dominic, whose face had fallen.

“Is anyone there?”

The glass began to inch along the surface of the paper, picking up speed as it slid towards the YES. Tamara gasped, going white under the makeup; that pale, she looked like a porcelain doll. Emma smiled, enjoying her moment. The guys watched with wide eyes.

“Welcome.” Emma smiled. “What’s your name?”

I studied the glass in its nest of fingers as it spelled out D-A-N-I-E-L. My eyes narrowed, searching for the whitening around the fingertips that would indicate someone was pushing the glass. Was that why Emma had turned off the light—to hide the tells?

“Hello, Daniel.” Emma smiled again. “Daniel’s my spirit guide,” she added in an aside to the rest of us as the glass slid across to HELLO.

I watched with a frown as the others asked questions of Daniel: where he was born, how he’d died, that sort of thing. I didn’t pay much attention; I was busy trying to see how the trick was being performed. It was a normal scotch glass and, if anyone was pushing it, they were being discrete. Emma was good.

Finally, she looked around the table at us. “Daniel can act as our intermediary to the afterlife, protecting us from evil spirits. Do any of you have relatives who have passed over that you’d like to contact? A grandparent or anything?”

“My grandpop’s dead, but he was an old bastard.” Kurt laughed. “I don’t want to talk to him. Besides, your Daniel wouldn’t let him through if he doesn’t like evil spirits.”

Tamara shook her head; Dominic turned to me. “Isn’t your mother dead?” he asked softly.

“Yes.” I looked away. I’d never known my mother. She’d died giving birth to me. But I didn’t like the idea of turning her into a parlour trick.

Dominic saw my hesitation and looked sheepish. Emma brightened, though. “What was her name?” she asked.

“Melanie,” I said reluctantly. “Melanie Blackman.”

“Hey, we don’t have to do this if you don’t want to,” Dominic said.

“It’s all right,” I said. It wasn’t real. It didn’t matter.

“Melanie Blackman, are you there?” Three times Emma repeated the call, and, as before, the glass didn’t move until the third time.

NO.

“No?” Emma looked surprised—which was itself surprising, given she was the one moving the glass. “Melanie Blackman, are you there?”

The glass circled away from the word and back again, rattling across the paper.

NO.

Obviously that wasn’t meant to happen. “Daniel, are you there?”

There was a long delay while I imagined a sheet-covered ghost handing over the receiver of a telephone. YES.

“Why isn’t Melanie Blackman there?”

It wasn’t real. It didn’t matter. But I still held my breath as I watched the glass spell out the reply.

S-H-E [SPACE] I-S [SPACE] N-O-T [SPACE] D-E-A-D.

I KNOW, RIGHT? Cassandra Page is a wonderful writer, friend and human being, and she’s so wonderful she’ll let you enter to win a $50 Amazon gift caaaard! (insert Oprah voice)

<a id=”rc-d0425123570″ class=”rafl” href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d0425123570/” rel=”nofollow”>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>
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Isla_mirror

Author bio

Cassandra Page is a mother, author, editor and geek. She lives in Canberra, Australia’s bush capital, with her son and two Cairn Terriers. She has a serious coffee addiction and a tattoo of a cat — which is ironic, as she’s allergic to cats. When she’s not reading or writing, she engages in geekery, from Doctor Who to AD&D. Because who said you need to grow up?

Author links

Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Pinterest | Goodreads

The Undead Duo Do Smart Things Sometimes

TODAY’S BREW: Tim got this Godiva pumpkin coffee and it’s almost gone and I might eat the bag.

By Julie

Holy hell, it’s Monday. Hey you guys know what’s available now?

Running Away Final Cover

THIS IS. IT’S THIS. THIS IS AVAILABLE.

That thing came OUT. Oh, you’d like to read it, you say? HERE, PLEASE DO. Amazon:

http://t.co/nDVwNx3b9z

OR OVER HERE.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/running-away-julie-hutchings/1120408618?ean=2940046196108

I couldn’t be more excited at how well it’s been received, but I’m even more excited about how soooooo many people I respect and love came rushing to my aid to spread the word. (My Million Page Thank You Post will be coming soon when I can do it without crying.) This release was so much different from releasing RUNNING HOME, and I can barely type this without crying SO NOT RIGHT NOW. HERE IS A FUNNY THING SO I WON’T GET TOO EMOTIONAL.

Finally. Someone writes my biography.

Another important piece of literature, my biography.

I’ve had one of those dreamlike weeks that make me so stupidly happy I’m intolerable at best. The most recent of my HOLY JESUS, THIS HAPPENED moments was that I, Julie Hutchings, the person who sat on the edge of a bouncy house bumper last month, sunk to the floor on it and rolled onto the ground, me, I was on Chuck Wendig’s blog. If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you may not know that I command an army of raccoons in Chuck’s driveway and live in his trash cans. He’s my HERO. And he, (quote, unquote) “hands me the keys to Terrible Minds” this one day. If you want to know how surreal that is, go look. Go ahead: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/10/02/julie-hutchings-do-the-thing-that-makes-you-bleed/

I feel like I’ll be riding the high of putting out a second book for a while, but that’s not what I want to yap about right now.

I want to yap about this gal:

IT'S KRISTEN, YOU KNEW THAT.

IT’S KRISTEN, YOU KNEW THAT.

This broad is publishing, by herself, her first contemporary romance, vampire-free. Not that she had a problem or anyth– well, it was a manageable situation with vampires, but there were a LOT of vampire books. So this is a huge change for the other half of the Undead Duo. The book is about people, and it’s close to home in a lot of ways, and it is very close to her heart. I’m wildly proud of her for putting books out period, let alone THIS book, and at a time when she’s working so hard at her other job that she can barely see to feed her bird. Not to mention that both of our lives have been so FULL lately that we scarcely see one another, and to not have that physical, in person support from the other makes publishing a difficult thing. I’m not even doing it alone and it’s hard for me. I don’t know how she does it.

Sometimes we text each other this when asked “whatcha doin’?”

Questioning all my life choices. You?

This is not one of those times. There’s no doubt in my mind that this book is going to be the one that turns a whole different set of heads. God, that sounded weird.

SECOND HAND HEART is going to be a stunner. It’s bringing something totally different to the world of New Adult, and I expect no less from Kristen. She never gives you something you’ve seen before. And I’m overjoyed to be a part of her blazing trails again.

I love you, heterosexual life partner. We did this thing, and we’re doing it still.

Secondhand Heart Preview and Excerpt

Secondhand-Heart-FOR-WEBTime flies when you’re releasing books.  I started Secondhand Heart on Valentine’s Day, sitting in Barnes and Noble in Hyannis, eating cheesecake with Julie.  The words came fast, one weekend alone brought ten thousand. I never thought I’d be releasing it eight months later. This book changed a lot of things for me. It was the book that made me decide to become a true independent author. It’s my first contemporary romance. So even though it’s my fourth full-length book, I feel like this is a new beginning for me. It’s scary and exciting and totally fitting for this book.

Secondhand Heart is a book about new beginnings, ones the characters never expected and really never wanted.  Daisy had married her childhood sweetheart, but he was killed in the line of duty.  Cam had won reality competition The Spotlight, or so he thought, anyway. His wife, daughter of the show’s producer, fixed the results. Once word of the fix got out, Cam’s music career unraveled.

The great thing about life is you don’t only get one chance to do something. It’s not about how many times you get knocked down, it’s about how many times you get back up. Even though Daisy doesn’t think she’s ready to move on–especially not to start a serious relationship with someone–Cam makes her feel something she hasn’t since she lost her husband. Alive. Ready to take chances again.

If you’ve read any of my Night Songs books, you’re used to vampires and rock stars. Secondhand Heart brings you a country singer, Cam Hunter. I set the Night Songs books in Las Vegas because vampires, rock stars, and Sin City had so many similarities, but Secondhand Heart takes place in my hometown of Plymouth, Massachusetts.  I originally wanted to set it in Nashville, hence the country singer. But as I figured out who the major players were in this book, I realized it was a story about coming home, and I couldn’t set it anywhere else.  Later this week, I’ll be sharing some of the places featured in the book. I loved using the town as a setting, and even more, a character.

Sex, blood, and rock n’ roll?  It’s all still there, just in a different way.  It’s a sexy book, a sweet book, but it’s not a straight line to Happily Ever After Town. I won’t give anything away, but not everyone makes it to the end.

I hope you’ll add it to your Goodreads TBR list, or maybe even pre-order it.  Keep reading for an excerpt, and check back as I’ll be blogging about the book all this week.

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Bree was my best friend, but she couldn’t keep a secret for shit. That’s how I knew that my sister Evelyn’s surprise plans for my twenty-first birthday couldn’t have been that exciting. Bree hadn’t slipped at all. And she loved gossip. Any time I had news I didn’t want to share with the world, I simply didn’t tell her.

“What did you do last night?” Ev laughed at me when I rolled down the stairs at the crack of noon. Her skin was glowing, probably from sunrise yoga or something. I still had sleep crumbs in my eyes. “Did you have a date?”

“Shh.” Perfect example. I let Bree sign me up for an online dating site a few weeks ago, and of course, she told Ev. I got way more hits than I expected, and certainly more than I wanted. Turns out older dudes are really into chubby chicks. Some of them I talked to, because I didn’t want to look like an asshole, but I always blew them off before we could actually go out. “I didn’t go anywhere. I watched baseball with Dad and drank a six pack of blueberry beer.”

I didn’t have to tell her that I spent the night missing Jordan, my husband. She knew. He’d been killed in the line of duty a year ago in Afghanistan. That roadside bomb took everything from me. His dog tags clanked against the counter as I made my coffee. I never took them off.

“Oooh. Bunker Hill?” Ev asked and I nodded. “I love that stuff. But it’s got a higher alcohol content than the swill Dad likes to drink, so it will kick your ass if you’re not careful. No wonder you look like hell. I figured you’d be out partying it up.”

“Thanks a lot.” I ran my finger under my eyes, not remembering if I washed off my makeup last night. I’m sure I’d cried it all off, anyway.  I needed grease to kill this hangover. I pulled out the frying pan and cracked some eggs.

“We have a birthday cake shake, Daisy,” my mom almost sang as she danced around me making my eggs and toast. Now that Mom worked for Lifedrinks, a weight loss shake that among other things, promised world peace, she judged everything I put in my mouth. “All you need is skim milk, chocolate pudding mix—“

I couldn’t take this shit before my coffee. “Why would I want that when I can have real birthday cake for my birthday?” Wait a minute. “In what universe is pudding better for you than eggs?”

I didn’t have to turn away from the frying pan to know that my mother was sputtering. Ev giggled. I’d asked her something that wasn’t covered in the sales brochure. “It’s about feeling satisfied. And in control.”

“Ma, stop it. It’s Daisy’s birthday weekend.” Ev shook her head. Mom’s sales pitches had been making us bristle for years. She’d run the gamut of home party products, including sex toys, which I’d discovered, much to my horror, when I moved back home. I hoped she didn’t hear Ev ask me about having a date. I didn’t need her butting her nose into that. Or making suggestions.

Shake in hand, Mom left the house in her nuclear green spandex pants without saying another word.

“What’s with the glasses?” I motioned towards Ev’s face.

“Oh! Aren’t they great?” Ev pushed the glasses up on her nose. “One of my clients made them. She uses recycled water bottles for the frames.” Ev was a publicist for independent artists. Unfortunately, most of them didn’t make much money, so Ev often swapped her time for product.

I brought my breakfast over to the table, and Ev joined me. “They’re fabulous.” I lied, not asking her if there was a prescription. I knew she could see just fine. They were way too big for her face, and after this weekend, I’d probably never see her wear them again. “Stop changing the subject and tell me what we’re doing.”

“You asked about my glasses!” She whacked me. “So mom and I went to the farmer’s market this morning on the way home from the commuter rail, and—“

“If this has to do with organic radishes, I may never talk to you again.”

“Let me finish! I made an awesome salad with all organic veggies while I was waiting for you to get your ass out of bed,” she giggled when I rolled my eyes. “You better eat some of it. And Dad wants to barbeque tonight.”

“You’re just going to eat salad? Sucks to be you.”

Evelyn only loved animals, she didn’t eat them or wear them. I loved them too, and I admired her conviction. But damn, I loved hamburgers, especially from the grill. With pepper jack cheese. And tomato. “We picked up some veggie burgers.”

“This is all good, but Dad barbeques like three times a week. What are we doing tonight?” The suspense was killing me. What could it be? I hung on to hope that it would make me feel better. Everyone tried so hard, and I couldn’t tell them their efforts just made me miss Jordan more.

“We’ll barbeque first. Bree’s going to come over with the kids so mom can watch them.” Ev continued. That was the other reason I knew Ev’s plans couldn’t have been so great. Any time Bree got out of the house without a diaper bag on her shoulder was monumental. She would’ve spoiled the surprise on account of that alone. “Do you remember Cam Hunter?”

“How could I not? Is he going to jump out of my birthday cake?” Before Ev became Evelyn, the hipster determined to save the world one recyclable at a time, she was Evey, an aspiring country singer. And she was damn good. When she was a senior in high school, she tried out for The Spotlight, a talent competition. She made it all the way to the television part, but nerves got the best of her when the show went live and she flubbed the lyrics in one of the early rounds. I still think she would have won if that didn’t happen. Cam Hunter was also on The Spotlight that season, but his nerves were just fine. He won the whole thing.

“Kind of. Did you hear about the bar he’s opening?” Ev bounced up and down in her seat with excitement. Obviously she still had a giant crush on him. I’d tease her about it later, but right now, I wanted to know what his bar had to do with my birthday.

“Oh yeah, I think I did.” Cam was from around here, too. Bridgewater, about a half an hour away. It had been really unusual that The Spotlight had two country singers from Massachusetts that season. Because he was local, and Ev had it bad for him, I’d sort of paid attention to his career, but he’d fallen off my radar lately, along with pretty much everything else.

“Guess who’s handling the press for the bar? We’re going to the grand opening!” Ev’s face fell when I didn’t share her excitement. I wasn’t into country music and I really wanted my surprise not to be one of her work things. “It’s invitation only, red carpet and everything.”

That did sound cool. Maybe a little too cool for me. “What the hell am I going to wear?”

“It’s not formal like the Oscars or anything, just wear something cute that you’d wear out.”

Ev was either in denial or oblivious about how much weight I’d gained since Jordan died. Or how much I hadn’t been out since then. “I don’t have any cute clothes.”

“Jeans and a top. You have jeans and a top,” Ev insisted. “Do you want go shopping?”

I wasn’t that concerned about it. “Hell no. This is a beach day. And all the kids have already worn out their parents. We’ll have the place to ourselves.” I prayed Ev had brought her suit. She’d know I’d want some sun time.

“It’s like you planned it this way.” Ev pulled over the strap of her tank top, revealing her bikini underneath. I didn’t correct her. Sleeping until noon and nursing a hangover was a perfectly sound life plan. Plus it gave her a chance to do all those adult things I wanted nothing to do with before I woke up, and then spend the afternoon at the beach with me.

 

Get Ready For We Own The Night

Today’s brew: Water. Still kind of dehydrated from working outside

by Kristen

We-Own-the-Night-print-FOR-WEB

WE OWN THE NIGHT comes Monday, September 1!  You can preorder it now and it will be waiting  for you in your Kindle or iPad at midnight. Or wait til Monday, if you’re into that sort of thing.  You guys were good. I made you wait five months for the conclusion of this story. I want to make sure everyone’s all caught up and ready to GO.

What can you expect from We Own the Night?

  • Callie is back!  The story picks up where Because the Night left off. After teasing everyone for two books about what happened to Blade, everything is revealed. And he’s pissed about having to wait to tell his story.
  • We’re back in Vegas. Mostly at the Alta Vista, but North Strip represent!  We made stops at the Riviera, Circus Circus, and the Stratosphere.
  • Everyone who made it to the end of Because the Night and Night Moves alive and/or undead makes an appearance in We Own the Night.
  • Lennon and Tony from BTN as well as Rachel from Night Moves play key roles.
  • New characters!!  You’re going to meet Cash Logan, a mysterious circus leader, and Holly Octane, a performer in his show who bursts into flames every night.  You also get to meet Tristan’s dad.
  • Tristan is….Tristan.
  • We Own the Night wraps up this particular storyline, but doesn’t close The Night Songs Collection. The mythology will continue with characters that are new and familiar with you.
  • But no more cliffhangers.
  • I was actually able to end the story with a Happily Ever….Afterlife?

Welcome to WIDOW TOWN by Joe Hart

joe hartTODAY’S BREW: Life Is Good S’mores Brew. Seethe with your jealousy.

By Julie

Joe Hart is my internet roommate. We would have a sitcom-worthy lifestyle. However, we settle for being wonderful friends and loving each other’s work, so I’m proud as a sonofabitch to introduce you to his latest, and Jesus H. Christ if this blurb isn’t fantastic.

In the future there is no such thing as a serial killer.
A breakthrough research project has detected an active gene present in all known psychopaths and developed a vaccine to make it completely dormant. People are inoculated at birth. Society has rejoiced the extinction of the sociopathic mind. 
There hasn’t been a serial killing in America in over forty years. 
Sheriff MacArthur Gray resides in the future but lives in the past. His world views have chased him from a large metropolis to his home town, but there is no sanctuary to be found after he arrives. 
Because people are dying and only he can see the truth. 
A sociopath has somehow survived and is thriving in the new world. Soon Gray is thrust into a nightmarish race against the killer where no one is safe, and everyone is a suspect.
Get yourself a copy of WIDOW TOWN here. http://t.co/q5NOsVfgfc and then love me for what I’ve told you to do.
Then go follow him on Twitter @AuthorJoeHart and check out his blog for some of the best flash fiction you’ll ever read http://t.co/Y0U66xfRMP. YOU’RE WELCOME.

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