Beware the Little White Rabbit Blog Blitz

I’m over at Pen and Muse today talking a fantastic Alice in Wonderland inspired anthology! In case you missed it, I wanted to share it here because I think this is going to be amazing!

First off, if you’re not familiar with Leap Books, check them out. They’re a small press run by one of my favorite authors Shannon Delany. This year is the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland this year and Leap Books is celebrating it with a trip down the rabbit hole!

Here are the details. But beware! Of the Little White Rabbit!


Beware the Little White Rabbit

An Alice in Wonderland inspired anthology


Coming April 14, 2015




Edited by:

Shannon Delany and Judith Graves


Contributing authors:

Charlotte Bennardo, C. Lee McKenzie, David Turnbull, Christine Norris, Jacqueline Horsfall, Medeia Sharif, Laura Lascarso, Tom Luke, Jessica Bayliss, Crystal Schubert, Holly Odell, Jennifer Moore, and Liam Hogan. If you want to check out each authors bios, please check out Leap Book’s blog.



Curiosity often leads to trouble…

Thirteen powerful voices in young adult fiction invite you to journey into startling new Wonderlands in this nod to the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s timeless character, ALICE.

Mystery. Madness. Mayhem. Each story in this collection will intrigue, bewitch, and enchant. Through rich historicals, castles and keeps, wild wormholes, secret workshops, deadly plagues, and gritty urban explorations, we present new tales of Alice and her white rabbit.

Whether an intrepid reporter, a would-be car thief, or the last human in a world ruled by machines, at the heart of each story Alice is a girl discovering who she really is in worlds that never fail to surprise.

What wonders await, oh curious reader? Leap down the rabbit hole and discover the truth…






“There came a crack like thunder.

A rabbit hole, launched from its orbital warren, streaked down through the clouds. It hung in the air like a frozen fork of lightning. Beneath the helmet that Hatter had made for her, Alice felt the root ends of her hair tingle from the electrical change that accompanied its arrival. What appeared to be a stuffed white rabbit tumbled earthward. Payload delivered, the hole rapidly lost its integrity and dissolved into a glimmering fragment that dissipated on the wind.

Alice crouched low amongst the ruins as the rabbit sniffed the air, internal sensors trying to get a fix on her location. She clutched her vorpal sword. The pistons on the rabbit’s spring-loaded flanks gave a venomous hiss as it launched itself into a powerful leap.”


~ Alice, Last of the Beating Hearts by David Turnbull


What do you think? Doesn’t it look fantastic? Let me know in the comments below!



Cover Reveal: Sweet Madness by Lindsay Currie and Trisha Leaver

SWEET MADNESS, September 18, 2015 from Merit Press

Lizzie Borden took an axe

And gave her mother forty whacks.

When she saw what she had done,

She gave her father forty one.


Who was Lizzie Borden?

A confused young woman, or a cold-hearted killer?

For generations, people all over the world have wondered how Andrew Borden and his second wife, Abby, met their gruesome deaths. Lizzie, Andrew’s younger daughter, was charged, but a jury took only 90 minutes to find her not guilty. In this retelling, the family maid, Bridget Sullivan, shines a compassionate light on a young woman oppressed by her cheap father and her ambitious stepmother.

Was Lizzie mad, or was she driven to madness?



Pre-order on Amazon

Pre-order on Barnes & Noble


About the Authors

trisha-leaverTrisha Leaver lives on Cape Cod with her husband, three children, and one rather irreverent black lab.  She is a chronic daydreamer who prefers the cozy confines of her own imagination to the mundane routine of everyday life.  She writes Young Adult Contemporary fiction, Psychological Horror and Science Fiction and is published with FSG/ Macmillan, Flux/Llewellyn and Merit Press. To can learn more about Trisha’s books, upcoming shenanigans, and her quest to reel in the perfect tuna, visit her website









lindsay-currieLindsay Currie lives in Chicago with her three awesome children, husband, and a one hundred and sixty pound lap dog named Sam. She has an unnatural fondness for coffee, chocolate and things that go bump in the night. She spends her days curled up in the comfortable confines of her writing nook, penning young adult psychological horror, contemporary fiction and science-fiction and is published with Flux/Llewellyn, Merit Press and Spencer Hill Contemporary. Learn more about her at








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Monday Gratitude: Things I Love

I started Monday Gratitude in February and it received a tremendous response. So here I go again!



What is Monday Gratitude?

Monday Gratitude is a new feature on my blog where I’ll be listing neat things that I find and the events, books, blogs, and people that I’m thankful for.


  My friend Julie over a is running a March Madness writing showcase, where readers can submit their short stories. The only rule is that the story must revolve around “madness” as a theme. I’ve been loving the creative stories!

 I’m obsessed with lace and tattoos. So I made a Pinterest board of the two together.

 Modcloth has a new look book board for bohemian fashion & decor. I’m in love with it. If someone could buy me one of each, that would be great. I mean just look at this adorable cactus mug!

 The new moon happens next Friday. Gala Darling has suggestions on how to make the best of it and live a happier more magical life.

 Have you seen this chocolate dessert that blooms like an actual flower?

 An artist uses candies to transform a room into a sweet wonderland. It’s so incredible. I love the colors and the psychedelic dreamland that’s been created.

 Oprah and Deepak are running a FREE online meditation course called Manifesting True Success. It last 21 days and I’d really recommend it. I’ve done some of their free programs before and I loved them. I even did them at home, in my PJs, with my dog.

 Amy from The Midnight Society reviewed the movie HORNS. I’ve seen it and let me tell you, it is weird. But excellent.

 To fill your wanderlust: The Laughing Medusa has a list of how you can have an adventure in your own town!

 Andrew de Torres is one of my favorite musicians. He’s been in Danger Radio, The Scene Aesthetic, the Price of Spain, and most recently he started a new band called Kaptan. I love his new song. Check it out here!


What are you thankful for today? Let me know in the comments below!


Bleak House and Social Responsibility (and GIFs)

I love classics. I love Dickens. And I love re-reading them over and over again. One of the things I miss most about college and my English literature courses was the healthy discussion around books, meaning, and their themes or symbols. Today, I want to talk Bleak House, one of my favorite Dickens books.

The novel Bleak House by Charles Dickens is filled with critiques and moral lessons for all readers while offering an entertaining and entwined plot. Of the critiques that Dickens offers the reader, the most important are the parallels of charity abroad vs. charity at home and the need for social responsibility in the world. In a world with so much stimuli and drama, it is easy to be enthralled with nothing but concern for one’s own life. Charles Dickens expresses the importance of contributing to the welfare of society because it is the world’s duty to take care and love one another. Without this care and love, our society and individual lives are doomed just like so many characters that are afflicted in his novel from the lack of help at home. Dickens critiques those that advertise their charity and reminds the audience that charity must be genuine. These important and relevant lessons to any time period are also supported in other works including A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and Silly Novels By Lady Novelists from George Eliot. These authors work together to instill in society that it is vital for our survival as a race to help one another. The lack of concern to improve life around one another, as revealed in Bleak House, can consequently lead to great unhappiness, further problems, and even unexpected death.


Esther, the protagonist in Bleak House, is an orphan who is taken in by Mr. Jarndyce (her gracious benefactor) as a guardian. Her travels to Bleak House lead her to meet two friends (also cared for by Jarndyce) named Ada and Richard who stay with her throughout the novel. One night before they reach Bleak House, they are set up to stay overnight at the house of Mrs. Jellyby. Mrs. Jellyby is a strong headed woman who is obsessed with her “mission” of charity to help Borrioboola-Gha in Africa. This woman is so caught up in her cause that she neglects her family and their needs in their entirety. Esther, Ada, and Richards’s arrival find the house a complete mess, children are running around, and another poor child has his head stuck in a stairwell. Humorously, Mrs. Jellyby fails to notice any of these hectic situations or have any concern for her children as she is merely concerned with writing a letter on the topic of her charity in Africa. When Mr. Jarndyce asks Esther what he thought of Mrs. Jellyby, Esther replies, “ perhaps she was a little unmindful of her home…it is right to begin with the obligations of home…no other duties can possibly be substituted for them” (Dickens, 83). This understatement of the lack of care in Mrs. Jellyby’s home best portrays Dickens’s opinions of social responsibility. It is noble to care for mankind, and other duties of society to try and make a difference. However it is irresponsible to ignore the plights of those around and under one’s care. This was a vital message that Dickens desired to reveal, which is why he has Esther say it, instead of letting the reader draw these conclusions for oneself after reading about the state of Mrs. Jellyby’s home.


In chapter eight, we are reminded of Mrs. Jellyby by a new character named Mrs. Pardiggle. Mrs. Pardiggle is an annoying woman who forces her sons to give their money away to her charities against their will. When Esther is talking to Mrs. Pardiggle, Mrs. Pardiggle tries to get Esther and Ada to come with her to make her rounds to spread word about the Bible. Esther tries to get out of it by saying that she is too inexperienced as of this point and she “thought it best to be as useful as [she] could, and to render what type of services [she] could, to those immediately around [her] (Dickens, 128). Esther’s comment is a direct address of the question of charity at home vs. charity abroad. Esther acknowledges the need of social responsibility but criticizes Mrs. Pardiggle indirectly by commenting that Esther needs to help out “those immediately around her (Dickens, 128).” Mrs. Pardiggle makes it a point to try and help other people and make their lives better, but Mrs. Pardiggle doesn’t see her own hypocrisy. Her own children are miserable, and yet she does nothing to change that. She is blinded by her charity work and caught up with advertising her good deeds. Dickens is successful in portraying to the reader the state of unhappiness and unrest in society (represented by Mrs. Pardiggle’s children) that will inevitably transpire if immediate problems are home are ignored.

It appears at first to the reader that Mrs. Pardiggle is taking charge of her need for social responsibility by helping others, but it soon becomes apparent that her intentions may be all but in the interest of genuine help. Even Esther, who does not like to find fault in others, recognizes Mrs. Pardiggle’s narcissism. After watching Mrs. Pardiggle leave a house that she was unwelcomly visiting, Esther comments that, “I hope it is not unkind in me to say that she certainly did make…a show…of doing charity by wholesale (Dickens, 133). Esther acknowledges Mrs. Pardiggle’s rapacious benevolence, but knows that it is not one of genuine concern or even one of a wanted concern. Mrs. Pardiggle does her charity only to advertise it and have the ability to brag about it. There is something honorable and dutiful to help out fellow mankind, however those truly honorable in recognition for their good deeds need not make an advertisement out of it like Mrs. Pardiggle does. Dickens illustrates that Mrs. Pardiggle’s and Mrs. Jellyby’s duties are done merely in vain, not for the goodness of mankind. This show put on by Mrs. Pardiggle, is seemingly similar to works by George Eliot entitled, “Silly Novels By Lady Novelists.”

In Silly Novels By Lady Novelists, George Eliot critiques female writers at the times for their foolish topics and thinking that they are better than all others. Mrs. Pardiggle is in a seemingly familiar situation. She too, like the lady novelists addressed in this piece, “keeps a mental pocket mirror, and is continually looking into it at her own ‘intellectuality’…she mistakes bombast for eloquence and affectation for originality (Black et al, 406).” This describes Mrs. Pardiggle perfectly. She has such a high opinion of herself and tries to advertise how good she is doing. Someone worthy of much praise and someone who was actually doing good things for others, would most likely receive warmer welcomes than she did when visiting Jenny’s home and she would not have to advertise it. Similar to Eliot’s line “affectation for originality”, Mrs. Pardiggle has an affectation to appear to have the quality of being charitable, however if she truly was engaged in charitable deeds, she would notice the unmet needs and the desire for change that her children wish for.

Through a pocket mirror

Jenny, who Esther meets through Mrs. Pardiggle’s visit, mourns the death of her baby. Jenny is lucky enough to have a friend that sneaks out of her house just to watch over Jenny. The women tells Esther and  Ada when they go back to Jenny’s house to bring some presents for comfort, that is her husband were to find her out of the house now, he would murder her. Esther and Ada reply “may heaven reward you, you are a good woman” (Dickens, 135). At this period of times, men had complete control over a woman. They controlled the woman’s assets and could even beat them without consequence. She is risking being beaten by her husband for being out so late, but compassion and duty to console another human being drives her to take the risk. Jenny’s friend understands human longing for help and understands that though she is at risk for sneaking out, it is for a good cause. Here, Jenny fulfills Dickens’s call to action to help a fellow human in need and the goodness and comfort that result.


Tom All Alones is a ruinous place in Bleak House where Jo, a street urchin, lives. Tom All Alones is full of filth, disease, vermin, and parasites. It is where sickness dwells and the working class live; if one can call their lifestyle living. One cannot deny the connection between illness and Tom All Alones. Jo, Charley and Esther all suffered from smallpox and have different outcomes. Jo eventually dies from illness, Esther nurses Charley back to health from smallpox, and Esther herself recovers from smallpox, but is forever changed by it. The prevalence of sickness is a commentary on societal desires for the upper class who forget about those who can barely feed themselves. The wealthy knew about the unhealthy conditions of Tom All Alones and did nothing. As a consequence of doing nothing to help any of the poor souls that dwell in Tom All Alones, Dickens shows the audience the punishment. If someone had acted and tried to make a difference, perhaps Tom All Alones would not have been so dirty or disease ridden. If it was not so disease ridden, perhaps Jo would not have died. Perhaps Jenny’s baby would not have died. Perhaps Esther would not have gotten sick and been scarred for life.  A seeming contained mess of filth known as Tom All Alones has now become everyone’s problem, not just those who are forced to inhabit there. Dickens demonstrates the effects that misery and unhappiness has on all people, even if the effect is not seen at first.

Misery affects all of us.

This commentary can also be found in Charles Dickens novel A Christmas Carol as well as in pieces from the work and poverty section of A Broadview Anthology. Scrooge the protagonist is a hard unfriendly and uncharitable man to say the least. When he is asked for a monetary donation for the poor, Scrooge basically says that if the poor cannot feed themselves, then they deserve to die. He continues on to say “it is not my business” (Dickens, 316). Later back at Scrooges home when the ghost of his old working partner visits him, Marley tells Scrooge, “My spirit never walked  beyond our counting house…mankind was my business…charity, mercy, forbearance…”(Dickens, 321). Dickens does not take a chance in the reader missing his moral points. The ghost of Marley blatantly tells Scrooge that business does not mean anything in life because he had no ties to another being. He provided nothing to his fellow man and refused to take part in any social responsibility close and far away. He failed to provide care and charity for mankind as whole and as a punishment Marley is doomed to wander in unrest for all eternity. Marley then, calls to reform Scrooge so that Scrooge does not have to bear the weight of chains and the pain of restlessness for the rest of his life. Scrooge may think that his lack of apathy or compassion will never affect him until Marley reveals the truth. Scrooges comment that “It is not my business” to care for others is a view that many upper class held. They could not see how the struggles affected their lifestyle, so they did not feel the need to aid in any way. They only saw it beneficial to act, when something for themselves could be gotten out of it. If any character in Bleak House had made any effort to try and aid the disease in Tom All Alones, they would have remained most likely un-afflicted.


The reality of the world is that most people care for themselves. If others are hurting and in need, it is the general idea that their struggling is usually their own fault,or at the very least, solely their battle. Through the use of the novel Bleak House by Charles Dickens, readers are called to action to change their selfish ways. Through dramatic events and loveable characters, Dickens reveals the necessity for kindness and the need to genuinely help one another. It is vital for the survival of the human races to care and provide for those who need it. Dickens stresses the need to act first at home to solve problems before moving any further and trying to aid distant places. The inability to recognize problems at home only lead to unrest and disaster, as demonstrated through the use of Scrooge, Esther, and many more characters. Although this message may seem like one out of a hallmark card, these key themes are still something that if practiced and applied, would make this world a much better place.

love eachother

Care for each other like you care for yourself.


Works Cited

Eliot, George. “Silly Novels by Lady Novelists.” The Broadview Anthology of British Literature: the Victorian Era. Ed. Joseph Black. Broadview P, 2006. 407-420.

Dickens, Charles. “A Christmas Carol.” The Broadview Anthology of British Literature: the Victorian Era. Ed. Joseph Black. Broadview P, 2006. 313-360.

Dickens, Charles. Bleak House. London: Penguin Books, 1971.

All GIFs compliments of the interwebs.



Have you read Bleak House? Did you like it? What was your favorite theme or motif from the book? Let me know in the comments below.



Monday Gratitude: Things I Love

I’ve been wanting to do a Monday gratitude post for a while now so I figured now is a better time than ever.


What is Monday Gratitude?

Monday Gratitude is a new feature on my blog where I’ll be listing neat things that I find and the events, books, blogs, and people that I’m thankful for.


  A little writing peptalk on writing and never giving up by yours truly.

  I’m in love with this floral antlers necklace display. Yes please!

 My amazing friend Julie is putting on a March Madness writing showcase. Check out the details! You can be a part of it, too!

 My amazing friend Riki Cleveland reviewed my other amazing friend Tyler Snell’s new book MANHUNT. Come swoon with me (and pre-order the book)!

 Brian Taylor has written one of my favorite posts of all times. SHUT UP AND WRITE.

 The Midnight Society talked about their favorite classic monsters. Hint: Mine is the swamp thing.

 I’m in love with the Aim for the Moon pillow from Modcloth. Super cute!

 Love this! 10 Things Every Female Should Know. Awesome video from SoulPancake.

 Check out these Charming Character Illustrations from Tutti Confetti (feature on Chic-Type). So awesome! My favorite is the one from Moonrise Kingdom.


What are you thankful for today? Let me know in the comments below!







P.s. If you want to participate yourself in Monday Gratitude, just write your post and copy and paste it into the linky tool here to have it listed below.



Leap Books: SHINE Calls for Submissions by Judith Graves

As acquiring editor for SHINE, the new YA/NA line from Leap Books, I’m always in the market for great reads and what better way to seek them out than to share news about our upcoming releases and provide our submission guidelines?

ShineLeap Books, LLC has been around since 2009, but we’re just venturing into the world of ebook novellas for both young adult and new adult markets. Early in 2015 we’ll see the launch of two young adult SHINE titles and I can’t wait for these babies to go live.

half-lifeTina Ferraro, a two-time RITA Young Adult finalist and the author of The ABC’s of Kissing Boys (Delacorte Books for Young Readers), helps to launch SHINE with HALF-LIFE, a dreadfully fun paranormal. This story follows Trisha in the days before her 15th birthday, as her long deceased identical twin makes appearances in mirrors to help prevent her similarly early demise.

From author, Laura Lascarso, we have RACING HEARTS: Book One, the first of a new series that will do much more than image006just rev your reading engine. The book follows a pair of star-crossed lovers. Jesse wants to honor his father’s legacy; Brooke wants to prove her father wrong in this modern-day Romeo & Juliet set in the world of competitive car racing. Lascarso’s debut novel Counting Backwards (Atheneum) won the Florida Book Award gold medal for YA literature.

Thanks so much for helping to spread the word about SHINE and allowing me to connect with your readership!

Interested in submitting a manuscript to SHINE? I’m accepting both agented and unagented submissions at: – attention: Judith Graves.


The nitty-gritty details:

-          SHINE word counts: 15-30k

-          We’re looking for solid storytelling with romantic elements, engaging voices, and characters that LEAP from the page

-          All genres will be considered, but preference for: contemporary, thriller, paranormal, and mystery


Why an e-novella with Leap Books SHINE?

-          Introduce readers to your young adult fiction brand / style / tone / voice / worlds by giving them a short, fun, affordable read. Snag their interest in your other projects by offering a tale sure to SHINE

-          If you want to step into the ebook arena, but have been hesitant to offer a full-length novel, here’s your chance to test this market

-          Each book will be professionally edited and have an eye-catching cover

-          At a small press, you’ll have more one-on-one contact with our editors and other authors

-          Each title will be launched with a blog tour facilitated by a successful blog-tour organizer

-          SHINE titles may be compiled into anthologies to be sold in both print and ebook format.

The Blood Talisman Blog Tour AND Giveaway!

Today I’m thrilled to be a part of The Blood Talisman blog tour.

I’m sure you know Kim Culpepper as it seems she’s a huge part of the writing community and participates in just about everything! I’m here today to help share a little bit about her new book THE BLOOD TALISMAN and give you a glimpse at an exclusive excerpt (YAY!). Did I mention there’s a giveaway as well? You could win your very own copy! Entry is at the bottom of this post.



The Blood Talisman

by Kim Culpepper

The Blood Talisman cover

Book Genre: Urban Fantasy

Book release date: 05/21/2014

 The Blood Talisman book blurb:

Alex Jacobs gets bitten by a werewolf, and that’s only the beginning of his problems. When his wife is kidnapped and turned into someone he doesn’t recognize anymore, he not only struggles with letting her go but, also with saving her life.

Selene is a powerful witch that not only teaches Alex the ways of the wolf but, also teaches him about restraint and purpose. Her shy innocence quickly attracts him to her and he struggles with being torn between two women. Their feelings for each other are constantly put to the test as a battle for the blood talisman, the key to immortality, is fought for power to some and a way to live forever for others. It is quickly learned that immortality comes at a price to all of humanity.

The Blood Talisman on Goodreads

The Blood Talisman on Amazon


The Blood Talisman Exclusive Excerpt 

Since I’m a huge fan of villains and the like, the excerpt I’m featuring today is of the evil variety. Ready for it?


That Ram doesn’t seem like a very nice guy, does he? Hehe. Well, I guess you’ll need to read The Blood Talisman to find out!


About Kim Culpepper


Kim Culpepper is a horror lover! She is the author of The Blood Talisman, several short stories, and also runs Dark Child Create, a company the designs custom book covers. Her work has been published in Sanitarium Magazine, The Opening Line Literary Zine, and more.

Kim is a native of Colombus, Mississippi where she lives with her wonderful husband, two beautiful kids, and two mischievous cats.  Most of her writing is based in the south because she enjoys writing characters with accents and the South has plenty of people to inspire that.

Kim on Twitter:

Kim’s Blog:


Kim on Goodreads:


Join the book buzz using hashtag #BloodTalisman


Win a copy of The Blood Talisman! There are three super easy ways to enter! Check them out!

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Trick-Or-Treat Chronicles with Romily Bernard


Last year I picked up a book called Find Me.

I’d never heard of the author before but it sounded good. The page I skimmed in the book was funny and interesting. So I grabbed it. AND OH MY GOD ROMILY BERNARD IS ONE OF MY NEW FAVORITE AUTHORS!!!! In fact, just recently I picked up her newest release REMEMBER ME. I took an awkward photo with me holding it for proof.

Okay, so back to how amazing Romily is. I love her writing because it’s funny, snarky, clever, and some scenes from FIND ME were so perfectly creepy that I was glancing from side to side. I loved it. And I can’t wait to finish Remember Me!

Also Griff is my new book boyfriend. Just sayin’.

When I was making my list of dream guest authors for my Trick-Or-Treat Chronicles interview, Romily was on my list. I was hopeful, but I wasn’t sure she’d agree. But she did! Oh man, was I dancing when she agreed! So let’s talk to her, shall we?


Hi Romily! Thank you so much for being here today. Let’s start off with an easy one! What inspired your YA Find Me series (Find Me, Remember Me, etc.)?

Find Me all started when I had this image pop into my head. There was this girl…and there was a cop trying to break into her house…and she was terrified…and I had no idea why. So I wrote Find Me to figure that out.

Love it! I love that the idea popped into your head and you wrote it to figure the story out. Now, one major facet of your book series… Griff! I’m absolutely in love with Griff from your Find Me series. Who would play him if your series was turned into a movie or a tv show?

Thank you!! I’m so glad you like him! Wait until you see what I do to him in Trust Me *laughs evil author laugh*. I think Andrew Garfield would be a pretty cool Griff—and Emma Stone would be the perfect Wick.

Oh! I love that casting suggestion. You’re right. He makes the perfect Griff! So tell me, what is your writing process like? Tea? Cookies? Music? Silence?

It’s weird. Sometimes I need silence and sometimes I’m okay with noise. I used to do a lot of writing in staff meetings. It was the perfect blend of boring and background noise to get your brain kicking along “Where could I hide a body?” lane.

FindMe_USHahaha! Writing in staff meetings! I love it! So, since this is a Halloween interview, do you believe in ghosts?

Yes! I’ve had a few experiences and as much as I want to explain them away, I haven’t been able to. I guess that makes me a reluctant believer?

Oh! So now we have to know! Tell us about your real life spooky encounter! Have you had one?More?

Yeah, quite a few unfortunately. Most of them were unpleasant, but I’ll tell you about the nice (sort of) one. My mom was up with insomnia one night and, after lying there for a couple hours, she decided to pray the rosary over and over. Which woke me up. Four. Miles. Away. For reals. I heard her voice in the other room except she wasn’t in the other room. She was at home in her bed. I sat up and listened for about ten minutes before going, “I do not believe in this. I do not believe in this.” and going back to bed.

If you would see me right now my mouth is hanging open! That’s crazy! And awesome.  I feel like this is a great beginning for a new YA series! Hehe! What is your favorite scary movie?

I am the lamest thriller writer ever. I can’t watch scary movies because they give me horrendous nightmares, but if I had to pick…probably PSYCHO.

20359661What is your favorite costume that you’ve been for Halloween?

Cleopatra! I can rock some facepaint let me tell you.

Oh! I love it! Now that, I’d like to see! What is your favorite scary, spooky, or fall read?

Oh, man I can’t pick just one. My top obsessions at the moment are BEWARE THE WILD by Natalie Parker, BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA, and ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD.

Excellent choices! You’ve listed some of my favorite YA novels! Speaking of Halloween, if you could choose what goes on your tombstone, what would you have it say?

“Here lies Romily. She probably died doing something Boy Genius told her not to.”

Hehehe! Do you have a favorite Halloween song?

Uhhhhh….Monster Mash? No, wait, don’t put that haha.

Too late! It will haunt you forever! So, tell us Romily, what are you working on now or would you like to write next?

I’m working on my next YA proposals. I’ve got two contemporaries and a historical—all with thriller twists.

Oh! Sounds great! I can’t wait. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with myself when I finished Remember Me!


Lightning Round

Say the first word that comes to mind when you see the prompt!

Trick Tying your shoelaces to a desk while you sleep

Trick TP-ing someone’s house

Pumpkin Pie!

Boo! Rawr!


Thank you SO much Romily for being here today! It was a blast and it was so fun learning spooky things about you! I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for upcoming treats (aka books)!


About the Author

Romily-BernardRomily Bernard graduated from Georgia State University with a literature degree. Since then, she’s worked as a riding instructor, cell-phone salesperson, personal assistant, horse groomer and exercise rider, accounting assistant, and, during a very dark time, customer service representative. . . . She’s also, of course, now a YA novelist.

So don’t let anyone tell you a BA degree will keep you unemployed.

Romily currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and Find Me is her debut novel. It placed first in the 2011 YA Unpublished Maggie Awards (given by Georgia Romance Writers) and won the Golden Heart Award for YA Romance from the Romance Writers of America in 2012.

Website      Twitter     Goodreads


Trick-Or-Treat Chronicles with Debbie Dadey & Marcia Thornton Jones

I can barely contain my excitement today!!!!

And not only because it’s Halloween. I have two VERY SPECIAL guests. Guests that helped to shape my love for horror and the macabre as a child. Guests that have written some of my favorite books of all times. Guests that to me, are literary legends.

Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones have written over 150 books. And I guarantee that each and every one is amazing! In fact, I’ve read most of them. So, I knew right off the bat that I wanted to interview them for my grand Halloween Trick-or-Treat author interview. I wasn’t sure they’d agree to it, but much to my wonder and surprise, they said yes!

Oh my lucky stars, they said yes! Let’s hop to it!



Hi Debbie and Marcia! First off, thank you so much for letting me interview you. You ladies are literary legends! I’m honored to have you!

Let’s start off with a warm up question, one that I’ve wondered about for years. What inspired your amazing children’s book series The Bailey School Kids?

Debbie: We actually had a bad day at the school where we were both teaching. We jokingly said, “If we were monster teachers, the kids would pay attention to us!” That’s how we came up with the concept of Mrs. Jeepers, the vampire teacher.

Marcia: Believe it or not, the first book of The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, VAMPIRES DON’T WEAR POLKA DOTS, was based on a real event—my really bad day. The kids in my classroom wouldn’t listen, they wouldn’t stay on task, and one of them even talked back to me. By the time Debbie came to my classroom for our lunchtime writing session I was ready to give up teaching and move to Alaska.

“I’d have to grow ten feet tall, grow fangs, and blow smoke out my nose just to get them to pay attention,” I told her.

Debbie laughed and said, “What if there was a group of kids that weren’t really bad, they just forgot to be good so often that their teacher DOES quit and she DOES move to Alaska. And what if they get a new teacher who CAN grow ten feet tall, has fangs, and blows smoke out her ears?” We kept ‘what-iffing’ just for fun, and that’s how we came up with Mrs. Jeepers and The Bailey School Kids.
Vampires-Dont-WearI love it! That’s so fascinating. And as sorry as I am to hear you had a bad day, I’m so grateful that something so wonderful came out of it! So, let me ask, you two have co-written so many books together, from The Bailey School Kids series to the Ghostville Elementary series, etc. Do you have a favorite book that you’ve written? Why that one?

Debbie: My favorite is usually the one I’m working on right now! But I definitely have a soft spot for many, including Ghouls Don’t Scoop Ice Cream. I enjoy reading the chapter called ‘Super Eddie’ out loud. I’m working on a fantasy middle grade novel right now.

Marcia: Picking a favorite book is like asking a mother to point to her favorite child! I love them all for different reasons. A few do stand out, though.

My favorite book growing up was HENRY HUGGINS by Beverly Clearly. I loved how Henry brought home Ribsy! I always wanted to write my own dog book, so my favorite published book of my own is CHAMP, a story about a kid who sets out to prove to the community—and his father—that there is more than one way for a severely injured dog to be a winner.

UNICORNS DON’T GIVE SLEIGH RIDES is one of my favorite Bailey School Kids book because I’m an animal-lover and in that book the Bailey School Kids figure out a way to help the homeless animals in BaileyCity. Plus, it’s the first book in which the illustrator, John Gurney, used my likeness as one of the characters (I’m the newswoman for WTMJ news)!

But my true favorite isn’t published yet. WOODFORD BRAVE (Boyds Mill Press), set during World War II, will be released in the fall of 2015. It’s special because I interviewed my mother about what it was like living through the war years and I was able to incorporate family anecdotes into the fictional story.

I love those too! How fun! So, how is it co-writing with someone? What do you love about working with each Genies-Don't-Rideother?

Debbie: It’s kind of like the tag teams in professional wrestling. I can hand off the manuscript to Marcia and say, “Your turn!” It’s a chance for twice the creativity!

Marcia: Having a partner helps keep me disciplined, plus it’s always exciting to the see the results of our combined brainstorming.

Sounds like you guys are meant for each other! Hehe. What is your personal writing process like? Tea? Coffee? Music? Silence?

Debbie: I used to write at night after everyone was asleep. Now, I write in the morning, starting at 6:15. I like quiet, punctuated with occasional snores or barks of my two dogs. I usually end my work day at 3:00, when my son gets home from school, but if I’m on a roll I’ll keep going and going!

Marcia: I like the room to be quiet while I’m writing. Music and other people (or one of my cats) can easily distract me. I write in spurts so having mini-goals helps me with forward progress. Getting up and moving is important to my process and I tend to intersperse writing with getting mugs of tea, a yoga sequence, a short nap, or just walking around the house.


Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever had a real-life spooky encounter?

Debbie: I was in a basement in New York City where I definitely felt an evil presence! I got out of there fast!

Marcia: No spooky encounters for me, but I find the idea of ghosts intriguing. After all, where would all of our joys, sorrows, love, thoughts, memories, ideas, and creativity go once we’ve left the shell of our bodies? What happens to all that energy? It has to go somewhere…right?
Ghosts-Dont-EatWhat is your favorite scary movie?

Debbie: Believe it not, I’m not huge into scary. I like a lot of humor mixed with a touch of creepiness-something like the Haunted Mansion movie with Eddie Murphy.

Marcia: I’m not a big scary-movie-watcher, but a long time ago my husband and I saw a very creepy version of Dracula on a public television channel. Unfortunately, we’ve never been able to find it again. This version was the ultimate in creepiness-through-suspense. (I talk more about what terrifies in my 10/10/14 blog post: )

Oh! How fun! I love it and I love that blog post! So, what is the best thing you’ve ever been for Halloween?

Debbie: My husband and I were bloody mad scientists one year!

Marcia: I’ve been ghosts, hoboes, witches, and even a Pilgrim. But the favorite thing I’ve been is a treat-giver. I really like sitting on my front step giving out candy. One time a group of kids saw me writing in my journal so they stayed and helped me brainstorm ideas for the Bailey School Kids!

How cool is that! I love that kids helped you brainstorm your book! So I have to ask, what is your favorite Halloween or fall read?

Debbie: I absolutely adore The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams. It is such fun to read aloud. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman is pretty awesome. One book that always gets a jump when I read it to kids aloud is Dragons Don’t Throw Snowballs.

Marcia: Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven”. There are so many layers to that poem!

Gasp! The Graveyard Book is one of my ALL TIME favorites. And Poe’s The Raven, how can you go wrong?! Love these Marcia and Debbie! So, in grand Halloween fashion, who is your favorite book or movie villain and why?

Debbie: No one is better than Darth Vader! May the force be with you!

Marcia: Walter White from BREAKING BAD. I thought he was a fascinating study on how someone who is normal and smart and ethical can so quickly got caught up in a sequence of events that cause him to truly ‘break bad’.

Hehehe. I love those answers. So tell us, what’s your favorite fall drink or treat?

Debbie: Warm cider!

Marcia: Crisp fall weather means it’s time for a big pot of chili!

Yum! I’ll be over in a bit. Can’t wait for some cider and chili! What’s next for your story-telling? What can we look forward to? As a fan of young adult fiction, I must say that I’d love to read a middle grade or young adult version of the Bailey School Kids, solving mysteries in middle or high school. Will we ever get that?

royal-tea-9781481402552Debbie: We’re delighted that next year we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots, the book that started the Bailey School Kids series. We have talked with Scholastic about other books, so you never know!

I do have three books coming out next year:

January – A Tale of Two Sisters (Mermaid Tales #10)
May – Polar Bear Express (I just got the cover and it is so cute!!) #11
Sept. – Mermaid Star (this title may change) #12
My newest book is A Royal Tea (Mermaid Tales #9) and I’m having a great time learning about creatures underneath the sea. The creatures definitely get creepier the deeper in the water you go!

Marcia: I’m excited about my mid-grade novel, WOODFORD BRAVE (Boyds Mill Press) scheduled for a fall 2015 release. Right now, I’m playing with a YA book.

Debbie and I have talked about writing a spin-off series about the Bailey School Kids. We’ve even brainstormed some ideas!

You literally have me drooling. I’d love a spin-off of the Bailey School Kids. And Marcia, what’s this YA!!! I need this now! And Debbie, all of those releases look fantastic! I can’t wait to read them. I’ve certainly added them to my Goodreads.


Lightning Round:

What do you associate with the following words? (Example: Bat – Dracula)


Debbie: dead

Marcia: brains, brains, BRAINS! (and of course, THE WALKING DEAD)


Debbie: jack-o-lantern

Marcia: pie


Debbie: full

Marcia: howling werewolves


Debbie: dead (On the Sunday before Halloween this year, I’ll be in charge of a Cemetery Crawl at a local non-profit, the Moland House. We’ll be the ghosts of people who were at the Moland House and ‘haunt’ the grounds.

Marcia:  Graveyard – ‘Here lies …’ (Tombstones.)

Thank you SO much for letting me interview you ladies. It’s been a dream. Thank you for providing years of entertainment, magic, and fun for readers! You’re welcome back anytime.

About the Authors

About Debbie Dadey


Debbie Dadey is the author and co-author of 162 books for children, including the Mermaid Tales series from Simon and Schuster and the beloved Adventures of The Bailey School Kids from Scholastic. Ms. Dadey is a former teacher and librarian. Please like her at

Website   LinkedIn   Twitter   Facebook

About Marcia Thornton Jones


Marcia Thornton Jones has published 131 books for children with sales totaling more than 43 million copies world-wide. Her works include CHAMP (mid-grade novel), RATFINK (mid-grade novel), GODZILLA ATE MY HOMEWORK (chapter book), THE TALE OF JACK FROST (picture book) and LEPRECHAUN ON THE LOOSE (picture book). She is the co-author of seven popular series including The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, Keyholders, Ghostville Elementary, The Bailey School Kids Jr. Chapter Books, Triplet Trouble, Bailey City Monsters, and The Barkley School for Dogs.

Website      Goodreads

Trick-or-Treat Chronicles with Susan McBride & GIVEAWAY!

Hi everyone! Happy Monday! Only five more days until Halloween! Eep! So far we’ve had some amazing authors on the Trick-or-Treat Chronicles.

In case you missed it, at first we had Kim Harrington, then Judith Graves, and Tessa Gratton. Today we have a very special guest.

She’s written just about a bazillion books and all of them have incredible ratings on Amazon and Goodreads. Somehow I was living under a rock and had only heard of Susan for the first time this year when I read her novel Very Bad Things. It literally blew my mind. Very Bad Things is a fantastic YA thriller that’s like Pretty Little Liar’s and Gretchen McNeil’s Ten had a baby and it became a superhero and saved the world. THAT is how good this book is. In fact, I raved about it on Goodreads, gave it a five, and wished I could give it a 23. You can read the full review here. And since this is slowly becoming the longest introduction in the world, I just want to say this. If you do nothing else this year, pick up one of her books. You will NOT regret it.



Hi Susan. Thank you so much for letting me interview you. I read your amazing YA mystery book VERY BAD THINGS and I absolutely loved it! What inspired it?

very-bad-thingsYears ago, I read an article in the newspaper about a FedEx employee who opened a leaky box that he was delivering. Yep, it contained body parts. Blech. It was so gross that I knew someday I’d have to use it in a book. So the idea for Very Bad Things was born (and, yes, the leaky package is in there!).  The story revolves around Katie, a senior at a prep school, who’s had kind of a rough time since her dad died. She has a best friend named Tessa and she’s dating Mark, who’s the school’s hockey star. Her life seems too good to be true: and it is. When a risqué photo of Mark and a girl named Rose shows up online after a hockey party—and then Rose goes missing—Katie begins to wonder how well she really knows Mark. As she starts digging into the mystery of Rose and what happened to her, she learns things about other people that shake her faith in everyone around her, including Tessa.

Ooohhh! How creepy that’s it’s based off of something that really happened. I love it! Now, you you have several novels out right now (Little Black Dress, Very Bad Things, The Debs, etc.) Which has been your favorite to write and why?

Unbelievably, Very Bad Things is, like, my 18th published novel. It seems crazy to have that many out. I loved writing the women’s fiction, like Little Black Dress and The Truth About Love & Lightning, because I got to tell juicy stories about families and relationships and secrets. Those are definitely books of my heart. I just finished writing Say Yes to the Death, the sixth Debutante Dropout Mystery for HarperCollins. The first five in the series will be out in a boxed collection the day Very Bad Things drops, as a matter of fact! They’re just good, silly fun. I also have another mystery series with HarperCollins called the River Road Mysteries, which debuted this summer. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but it’s probably Very Bad Things because it’s my newest “baby” and it took two years of blood, sweat, and tears to write. I’m really proud of how it turned out, and I’m biting my nails, hoping readers will like it!

Trust me, readers will love it! I know that I did. So tell me, what’s your writing process like? Tea? Cookies? Music? Silence?

Hmm, tea and cookies sound good!  (I haven’t had lunch so I’m hungry!) I don’t play music while I work because I tend to start little-black-dresshumming or singing along and get distracted. I prefer silence or maybe a TV on in the background (and since I have a toddler, that usually means I get to hear lots of “Sesame Street” and “Barney!”). I seem to write better on gloomy days. Maybe that’s the mystery writer in me! My process mostly involves keeping my butt in the chair and making myself get at least 1,000 words written every day. Toward the end of a book, the words come a lot faster, kind of like flying downhill on a roller coaster.

I love it. I think that the key to being a successful writer is writing! So, being a Halloween interview, I have to ask. Do you believe in ghosts?

I do!

Have you ever had a real-life spooky encounter?

I’ve had a few, like a week after one of my cats died when I swear I saw the shadow of that cat jumping off a chair. And when I lived with my grandmother twenty years ago before she passed away, I heard her talking in the middle of the night. I tiptoed into her room, and I could swear she was having a conversation with my grandfather. I couldn’t see him, but I think she could. And I know he was there.

Whoa! That’s incredible! I believe in ghosts and I just love hearing these stories. In fact, I have a similar one in my family where a family member was heard talking to her already deceased husband just days before she herself died. It’s all so interesting. So, what is your favorite scary movie?

The Sixth Sense.

Such a good one! What is the best thing you’ve ever been for Halloween?

the-debsThis sounds creepy when I write it down…once for a mystery convention, I was a murdered cheerleader. I had my old cheerleading outfit from high school (down to the socks and red and white shoes), and I got a big plastic knife that I stuck through a headband. Then I did fake blood down my face.  I was a big hit.

Hahaha! I love it. That’s such a fun idea. It reminds me of one of my favorite R.L. Stine books. What is your favorite scary, spooky, or fall read?

I still remember reading Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot when I was about 12, and it got me so scared that I was afraid to be alone for a while!

Oh. I love Salem’s Lot, but I admit that I haven’t read the book yet! Looks like I need to! So, who is your favorite book or movie villain and why?

Hmm, I think it’s Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind because she’s both a heroine and a villain. She saves Tara in the end, but she screws up so many people’s lives in the process (including her own).

Oh! That’s such a good one. Scarlett is such a fantastically written character. So, speaking of Halloween, what’s your favorite Halloween drink or treat?

I love pumpkin anything:  pumpkin cookies, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin ice cream, and pumpkin cake. This is my favorite time of year!

Oh, yes! I’m a sucker for pumpkin everything. I have some pumpkin ice cream in my freezer right now. So, tell us, because I’m hooked on your writing. What’s next for your story-telling? What can we look forward to?

Say Yes to the Death, the sixth Debutante Dropout Mystery, will be out next September. I hope to write another YA mystery one of these days after I take a little time off with my two-year-old, Emily (and Emily’s daddy!). I’ve been working nonstop for 15 years, and I’m pooped!

Understandable. After reading Very Bad Things, I see just how much work and detail you put into your books. Someone get Susan a margarita and a Hawaiian vacation, stat!

Lightning Round:

What do you associate with the following words?

(Example: Bat – Dracula)

Bones - Chicken

Pumpkin - Muffin

Moon - Pie

Graveyard – Tombstone

I almost wrote “Tombstone Pizza”—I think I’d better go eat lunch!

Hahaha! I think I need lunch too, because that sounds fantastic!

Thanks for having me, Jolene!  Readers can visit me at or on FB at any time!

Thank you so much Susan for taking the time to visit today and partake in this fun Halloween interview. You’re amazing to read and a fantastic sport. I can’t wait to read you for years to come!


About Susan McBride


Susan McBride is the USA Today Bestselling author of Blue Blood and four other award-winning Debutante Dropout Mysteries from HarperCollins/Avon, including The Good Girl’s Guide To MurderThe Lone Star Lonely Hearts ClubNight Of The Living Deb, and Too Pretty To Die. A sixth title, Say Yes to the Death, will be out in September 2015. Susan has another series with Avon that debuted in May 2014, the River Road Mysteries, starting with To Helen Back and followed by Mad as Helen (July 2014) and Not a Chance in Helen (September 2014). Susan’s young adult thriller, Very Bad Things, is an October 2014 release from Delacorte Press. Publishers Weekly raves: “McBride’s fast-paced plot is fueled by jumps between multiple characters’ perspectives, and her rendering of the venerable yet sinister school… is as absorbing as the tightly wound mystery.”

In addition to her mysteries, Susan has penned three well-received women’s fiction titles.The Truth About Love & Lightning (02/13) was selected by Target stores for their Emerging Authors program, was a Midwest Connections Pick, and was dubbed “a poignant page-turner” by Publishers WeeklyLittle Black Dress spent five weeks on the St. Louis bestsellers list and was a Target Recommended Read. The Cougar Club was selected by Target Stores as a Bookmarked Breakout Title and named a Midwest Connections Pick by the Midwest Booksellers Association. Foreign editions of Susan’s books have been published in France, Turkey, Croatia, and Bulgaria (and, coming soon, Lithuania!).

Susan has one nonfiction title available: In the Pink: How I Met the Perfect (Younger) Man, Survived Breast Cancer, and Found True Happiness After 40, which tells her tale of becoming an “accidental Cougar” and marrying a younger man, her cancer diagnosis at age 42, and finding herself pregnant at 47.

She has authored several YA non-mystery novels for Delacorte about debutantes in Houston: The Debs (2008) and Love, Lies, And Texas Dips (2009). Gloves Off, the third book, has not been released.

In January of 2012, Susan was named one of St. Louis’s “Most Dynamic People of the Year” by the Ladue News. In April of 2012, she was given the “Survivor of the Year” Award by the St. Louis affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. As Susan likes to say, “Life is never boring.”



Susan is graciously giving away TWO hardback author signed copies of VERY BAD THINGS. You can enter by using the Rafflecopter form below.  There are many ways to win! Thank you Susan for the generous offer! Winners will be chosen at random on 11/10/14.

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