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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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Trick-or-Treat Chronicles with Tessa Gratton

I’m extremely excited to introduce my special guest today. She holds a special place in my heart.

I remember the first time that I held her book in my hands, I had this thought. “Finally, someone wrote a book that I’ve been dying to read.” I read it. And I loved it so much that I bought everything else that this author’s ever written. I love her ability to combine dark writing with humor and suspense.

Kicking off this week’s Trick-or-Treat Chronicles is the amazing Tessa Gratton, one of the most fantastic dark authors around! She’s the author of Blood Magic and The Blood Keepers and many more! Let’s start!


The Blood KeeperHi Tessa. Thank you so much for taking the time to be a part of the Trick-Or-Treat Chronicles. Let’s get started, shall we? What inspired your amazing YA paranormal books in The Blood Journals series (Blood Magic and The Blood Keeper)?

Thank you! Ever since I was little I’ve wanted to be a wizard – I love magic, and not just any magic, but the intricate, rule-laden kind you spend years studying until you’re so powerful you get a tower and your own army of orcs. I read books about witches (fiction and nonfiction), did all kinds of research on medieval witchcraft as well as folklore about witches in many different countries. I loved the idea of witches living in the modern Midwest, and I knew the magic had to have major consequences. That’s what led me to blood.

In short: I was excited about intimate, bloody American witchcraft, and I so waited for the right characters to find the story.

I love it! I’m a huge fan of your intimate, bloody American witchcraft tales. Hehe. Now, you have several novels and anthologies out right now. Which has been your favorite to write and why?

the-lost-sunOhhh what a difficult question. I have to say THE LOST SUN was my favorite, because it was the most painless, and it was a huge, exciting world to play in. I loved almost every moment of it, even the challenges. It was fun, and I was a full-time writer. It was basically a dream come true to focus all my professional time on a project I loved. That said, I feel the most proud of THE STRANGE MAID, partly because it was incredibly difficult to get right.

Nice. Good to know. So speaking of working hard to get things right, what is your writing process like? Tea? Cookies? Music? Silence?

Once I sit down to work (post coffee, exercise, email, tumblr) I don’t have a real process, other than re-reading what I worked on the previous day, and trying to get down 2,000 words before the end of the day. I like to listen to a playlist, if the scene or story works for it, but sometimes I need silence. I’ve worked really hard to be able to write anywhere – my office, my parent’s sofa, a coffee shop, an airplane… I don’t want to make too firm a process, in the fear that I’d falter if the process fell apart.

So, I have to ask. You write such lovely dark novels, does this mean you believe in ghosts?

I want to, but I’ve never experienced anything that made me think they’re real. I believe in the possibility of them!

Nice. You’ve got an open mind, I like that. Have you ever had a real-life spooky encounter?

I wish! Please let me stay in your very haunted house, if you know of one!

Hahaha. Well, I lived in a haunted house when I was younger and have some very interesting stories we can swap. So, what is your favorite scary movie?

The Others” with Nicole Kidman. The atmosphere is amazing, and the writing, too.

Looks like I’ll have to re-watch it. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but I remember really liking it. Now that Halloween draws closer, what is the best thing you’ve ever been for Halloween?

I love going as a witch, of course!

Who would have thought? What is your favorite scary, spooky, or fall read?

The Witching Hour by Anne Rice. It is so creepy, lush, full of history and a very scary, very intriguing ghost named Lasher.

I’ve never read it! I’ll definitely need to change this. I love interesting ghosts. Now, who is your favorite book or movie villain and why?

I love Cansrel, the villainous father of Lady Fire in Fire by Kristin Cashore. He is so complicated, interesting, and frightening – yet Cashore managed to make me love him a little bit, through Fire’s eyes.

And here’s another one that I haven’t read! Dang. Looks like my to-read list just keeps getting longer. As you know this is called the Trick-Or-Treat Chronicles. What’s your favorite Halloween drink or treat?

Nerds! I love that candy, and I only have it at Halloween.

What’s your favorite Halloween soundtrack or song?

The Nightmare Before Christmas” of course. Is there any better?

Glory's-TeethOh! I love it. That’s one of my Halloween favorites! So tell us Tessa, because I’m dying to know, what’s next for your story-telling? What can we look forward to?

I’ve got three novellas coming out in November in the United States of Asgard world, and the third book in the series comes in April. I’ve written a few YA Fantasy stand-alones, and they’re currently on submission!’

Yay! Oh I can’t wait to check them out in November. You wouldn’t happen to have a time traveling device so that I can have them now, do you?

Huge thank you for being here today Tessa, I know you’re very busy and I really appreciate you taking the time to check in with your readers and have a little bit of spooky fun.


About Tessa Gratton


Born in Okinawa, Japan while her Dad was on duty with the US Navy, Tessa moved around throughout her childhood and traveled even more. She’s lived in Japan, California, Kansas, and England, and visited 4 countries.

After graduating from the University of Kansas in 2003 with a degree in Genre Studies, she went on to graduate school for a Master’s in the same. Halfway through, she ditched the program in favor of the blood, violence, and drama of Anglo-Saxon and Germanic epic poetry and to focus on her writing. Tessa doesn’t have a graduate degree, but she did translate her own version of Beowulf!

Despite having traveled all over the world, she settled in Kansas where the sunsets are all in Technicolor, with her partner, two cats, and a mutant mutt named Grandel.




Books on Amazon

Books on Goodreads


Stay tuned for Friday’s next Trick-or-Treat stop. We will be having the lovely Jus Accardo! In case you missed last week’s with Judith Graves, check it out here.

Huge thank you again to Tessa for making this possible!


Trick-or-Treat Chronicles with Judith Graves

I’m so excited that so many fantastic authors were willing to let me conduct Halloween inspired interviews with them for the month of October. Today on Trick-or-Treat Chronicles we have a fantastic author who was kind enough to take a moment from her writing and zombie organizing to let me interivew here.

Today, I welcome Judith Graves, a fantastic young adult author. She’s the author of several titles such as Under my Skin (the Skinned series), Strangeways Versus the Blood Brothers, and Killer’s Instrict.


Hi Judith! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. Let’s just dive in. What inspired your YA paranormal novel Under My Skin?

Under-My-SkinI’ve always loved mythology and monster-hunter tales, but there weren’t that many set in Canada. The initial spark to write the Skinned series came from a desire to prove that we could have fun, action-packed, and sassy monster stories set here in my home province of Alberta. Throughout the series I incorporate Alberta history, some First Nations peoples and their lore, as well as ideas and myths brought to Canada from those who emigrated here hundreds of years ago.

I love that you incorporate Alberta’s history. You’re right. I don’t feel like there are too many set in Canada. So, you’ve written so many books I have to as, what is your writing process like? Tea? Music? Silence?

Loud music (usually via ear buds). Coffee. Chocolate.

All excellent choices. Never underestimate the power of chocolate. Especially for writing inspiration! So, being that this is a spooky treat-or-treat interview, do you believe in ghosts?

I believe there are many things in this world we don’t yet understand. Until then, it’s fun to embrace the notion that anything is possible.

Have you ever had a real life spooky encounter?

Yes. Several. Usually after a night of binge watching horror films.

Ooooh! I’d love to hear some. Or do I smell next book topics? So, what is your favorite scary movie?

Lol…I have many. But my favs blend thrills with laughs. I’d say American Werewolf in London (1981) is my all-time go-to scary movie, but a more recent film would be The Descent (2005). Dark, narrow places deep underground…and horrid creatures picking off people one by one. That film does suspense so well.

I so agree! I remember watching the Descent, seeing them go underground and I was like, “Nope. Pass for me, thanks.” I don’t think I could do it. So, speaking of trick-or-treat, what is your favorite costume that you’ve been for Halloween?

I think this year might be one to remember. I’m organizing the first Zombie Walk fundraiser for the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation in my hometown and will be going as a zombie librarian. I work in a school library as my day job (which is perfect for a YA fiction writer). This Halloween, one “shussssh” from me, and you’ll soon be one of the INFECTED undeads. Find out more about my Zombie Walk here:

Whoa! That is so epic and amazing! I’ll definitely check it out! I think it’s so cool that you’re doing that. And zombie librarian? Oh my goodness. Return a book late and you’ll really regret it. Hahaha! Sp, what is your favorite scary, spooky, or fall read?

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe. I love most of Poe’s work, but this particular piece is just so haunting and eerie. Plus, I have a thing for ravens. This year I embraced my Poe fixation with two tattoos on my arms. The word “Nevermore” and three black birds.


Oooh my freakin’ goodness! That is so cool. Your tattoos are gorgeous! You just might be the coolest librarian on the planet. I think if you’re going to get anyone’s words permanently engraved on your body, Poe is the best choice. Nicely done! So, speaking of Poe and his creepy and amazing atmosphere, if you could choose what goes on your tombstone, what would you have it say?

“I’m right behind you.”

Hour-Of-The-WolfHahaha! I love it. Judith, you are awesome. So, what mythical creature do you wish was real and why?

The Kelpie. Like a lot of girls, when I was a pre-teen, I had a horse-crazy phase. But, being into mythology and the paranormal, the horses I wanted to keep in my narrow “big city” backyard had wings and lived in water and might really be witches. This also might have been influenced by my father’s love of Stan Rogers’ music and his epic song, “Witch of the Westmoreland”. Check it out here.

Do you have a favorite Halloween song?

See above. ;)

Oh! That’s awesome! I’ll definitely be adding this to my writing playlist. So speaking of writing, what would you like to write next?


Lightning Round

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

Skeleton KEY

Pumpkin LATTE



Thank you so much Judith for being here today. I know you’re supremely busy and I love that you took the time to have a little Halloween fun! I’ve read Judith’s work and I highly recommend it. For more information on her books and Judith, check out her website here!


About Judith Graves


 Residing in a northern Alberta community, similar to the fictional town of Redgrave, where Under My Skin is set – Judith unhappily endures snow in the winter, and runs away from bees in the summer.

A firm believer that Canadian teen fiction can be sexy, action packed and snarky as hell – Judith writes paranormal stories with attitude.

Judith is a member of theWriters Guild of Alberta, the Canadian Children’s Book CentreSociety of Children’s Book Writers & IllustratorsInternational Thriller Writers, and has toured with the Young Alberta Book Society. She’d love to visit your library or school for an author visit or writer’s workshop!




Our next Trick-or-Treat Chronicles session will be with the Queen of Scream, Tessa Gratton. Come back on Monday 10/20/14 to check it out!

Huge thanks to Judith Graves!


The Secret Diamond Sisters Book Blitz!

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The Secret Diamond Sisters (The Secret Diamond Sisters #1)

by Michelle Madow

Release Date: 02/25/13

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

the secret diamond sisters

About The Secret Diamond Sisters

Savannah. Courtney. Peyton.

The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite.

Suddenly the Strip’s most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past.

Add to Goodreads

 Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | Book Depository | iBookstore

The Sequel is Coming…

diamonds in the rough

 Diamonds in the Rough (Available for Pre-Order)

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A MillionBook Depository | iBookstore


“Sexy and often electrifying … Gossip Girl meets The Princess Diaries in a city that never sleeps.”



“This quick and entertaining read is filled with glitz and glamour … get ready for one crazy and fabulous ride.”

–RT Book Reviews


About Peyton (one of the sisters)


At seventeen years old, Peyton is the oldest Diamond sister. She’s been hurt in the past, but because of it, has developed a thick skin. She will do anything for her sisters, going as far as protecting them from their mom’s outbursts and getting home first from school to make sure everything in the house (including their mom) is ready for them. She’s tough, doesn’t trust easily, and while she has many people she hangs out with, the only people who she feels truly know her are her sisters. She doesn’t like school (she gets restless sitting in classrooms!) and can’t wait until graduation so she’ll be done forever.

Peyton’s a natural night owl, and waking up in the morning is a constant struggle. (Her sisters usually resort to throwing things at her to wake her up, and often yell at her to hurry up showering so they can have time for their morning routines, too.) She needs at least three cups of coffee to get going. She loves rock music, and can usually be found with an earbud attached to her ear, even during her classes. She loves partying and dancing and getting lost in the music. She also enjoys an occasional chill night of movies and television shows, as long as it’s not a rom-com chick flick.

She wears mostly black clothing—why bother with colors when black always looks hot on her? Her nails are usually painted black as well. She’s not afraid to speak up for what she believes in and she will always stand up for her sisters. She tries to not let anyone in to avoid getting hurt—but really she just wants to find that one person who cares enough to break down her walls.


About the Author


Michelle Madow was inspired to write The Secret Diamond Sisters series while walking through her favorite hotel in Las Vegas. The next book in the series, Diamonds in the Rough, launches in October. Prior to The Secret Diamond Sisters, she successfully self-published The Transcend Time Saga. A tireless promoter of her work, Michelle is active on social media networks and has toured across America to promote her books and encourage high school students to embrace reading and writing. A graduate of Rollins College, Michelle lives in Florida … but she loves going to Vegas.
To chat with Michelle and other fans about her books, join Michelle Madow’s Street Team on Facebook!

Author Links:




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Trick-or-Treat Chronicles with Kim Harrington

I really wanted to do something special this year for Halloween. After I brainstormed ideas, I decided that whatever I did had to be book related. After giving it a lot of thought, I decided that I wanted to conduct Halloween interviews with some of my favorite authors.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure I would get much of a response, especially since I brought out the big guns and emailed some of the biggest names in YA (all of them my favorite YA authors). Much to my surprise and awe, many of them agreed to an interview!

Kicking off my Trick-or-Treat Chronicles Halloween author event is the fabulous (and so insanely nice) Kim Harrington. Kim is a MG and YA author of a multitude of books written under Kim Harrington and K.A. Harrington. I recently read FORGET ME and I was blown away. It had everything I wanted in a book and more. In fact, I devoured it. Most of my reading updates on Goodreads for Forget Me were like, “I LOVE THIS BOOK AND I DON’T WANT IT TO BE OVER.”


Hi Kim. Thank you SO much for letting me interview you. I’m a huge fan. So, I’ll just start off asking a few bookish questions. Because I was completely in love with Forget Me, I’ll start there. What inspired your amazing YA mystery novel Forget Me?

forget-meI was online one day and a social media site wanted to tag a photo of a friend with someone else’s name. They do look alike. But the gears started turning in my writer brain. I played the “what if” game and FORGET ME was born!

God bless your creative writer’s brain! I loved that story. I too have had a similar experience but I never even thought about turning it into an epic mystery. So, you have several novels out under Kim Harrington and K.A. Harrington. Which has been your favorite book to write and why?

My favorite is always the book I’m drafting at that time, and my least favorite is whatever I’m revising. ;) But CLARITY will always hold a special place in my heart because it was my first published book. I wrote a few before that one, but it was the first that I got to hold in my hand and see on a shelf.

Ah! That makes sense why it would be special to you. So, speaking of writing, what is your writing process like? Tea? Cookies? Music?

I prefer writing at home in total silence. I’m not one of those writers who can work productively in Panera. I’m too easily distracted. And I love to eavesdrop, which is a great way to get ideas, but not to get work done.

Hahaha! You love to eavesdrop? You’re my kind of people. Honest about writerly quirks! So, this is a Halloween interview after all, do you believe in ghosts?

No. But that might be more wishful thinking than anything else.

Ha! So if you don’t believe in ghosts, have you ever had a real-life spooky encounter?

Not really. When I was growing up, there was a big old house at the end of the street that had been built in the 1800s. It was abandoned for much of my childhood, so of course we all said it was haunted. And we would dare each other to look in the windows and freak each other out. It was fun!

Oh, I love it! I’m picturing it right now. So, what ‘s your favorite scary movie?

Poltergeist. It’s a classic! I watch it again every few years.

Oh! That’s one of my favorite horror flicks! I loved it growing up and still do! So, speaking of scary things, what is the best thing you’ve ever been for Halloween?

One Halloween a few years ago, I was sick. My husband and son were going to be out trick or treating so I was the only one able to hand out candy. I didn’t want to get any kids sick, but I also didn’t want to not answer the door. So a friend who worked in a hospital got me a surgical mask, gloves, and a surgical gown. The kids who came to the door thought my doctor costume was great, but it also made sure I didn’t give anyone else the flu!

clarityHaha! I love it. Now, that’s creative and efficient! So tell me, what is your favorite scary, spooky, or fall read?

Oh, there are so many. My two favorites are HELL HOUSE by Richard Matheson and THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson.

Eep! I just looked these up and they look fantastic! How have I never heard of them? I am definitely adding them to my October reads. Thank you! So, random question, what mythical creature do you wish was real and why?

When I was little I had a thing for unicorns, so I’ll go with that! Make little Kim’s dream come true.

Haha! Who doesn’t love unicorns? I can’t say that I blame you. So what’s your favorite Halloween treat?

I love candy bars. Like LOOOOOVE candy bars. It’s difficult to pick just one, but if forced…Twix? No, Snickers. No, Hershey’s Cookies & Cream. Ugh, this is hard.

Sorry Kim. I had to ask some tough life questions. I guess we’ll just have to buy you one of each. So tell us mesmerized readers and fans, what’s next for your story-telling?

Nothing I can announce yet, but here’s hoping you haven’t seen the last of me. :)


Lightning Round

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

Pumpkin – orange

Cemetery – bones

Midnight – moon

Vampire – teeth


About Kim Harrington

kim-harrington-author-picKim Harrington is the author of ClarityPerceptionThe Dead and Buried, and Forget Me for teens and the Sleuth or Dare series for kids. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and son. When not writing, she’s most likely reading, watching one of her favorite TV shows, or fantasizing about her next vacation. Her first book, Clarity, received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, was a 2012 ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, sold to nine countries, and was optioned for television by Warner Brothers.

Join Kim on TwitterGoodreadsInstagramFacebook, and Tumblr.


Check back here on Friday for our next installment of the Trick-Or-Treat Chronicals. We’ll be having fab author Judith Graves.

Thank you again to Kim for making this possible!