Category Archives: Giveaway
by Adam Cesare
Harriet Laurel notices the odor at Mercy House as soon as she sets foot inside, brought there against her will by her son, Don, and his wife, Nikki. In the early stages of dementia, Harriet has grown resentful of Nikki, blaming her daughter-in-law for failing to supply grandchildren. Yet even Harriet must admit that her mind becomes clearer as soon as she crosses the threshold. If it wasn’t for that annoying smell.
Arnold Piper is an eighty-five-year-old ex-Marine, a proud man who has cared for himself his whole life. But no longer. Betrayed by his aging body, Arnold is learning that the trials he survived long ago in war-torn Korea pale beside the daily indignities of growing old. Little does he know that his greatest nightmares are still ahead of him.
Sarah Campbell is an idealistic nurse whose compassion has been stretched to the breaking point at the chronically understaffed facility that is Mercy House. But now Sarah’s list of unpleasant duties is about to take a terrifying turn. For something wicked is brewing in Mercy House. Something dark and rotten . . . and deadly.
MY THOUGHTS: 2.5 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
The book started out in a promising way, but quickly became a gore fest….it was gore just for the sake of having gore, in my opinion.
In this tale, some sort of change comes over the residents of a nursing home so that they’re not only growing stronger and overpowering the staff and visitors, they are in fact thirsting for their blood! I wouldn’t call this a zombie book, though.
We learn just enough about the main characters so that we care what happens to them; even though some are stereotypes, we still want them to survive. The book is pretty fast paced, with action happening within the first 20%, and ramping up quickly after that.
While I like the author’s writing style and originality, I had a hard time taking this story seriously sometimes. It’s not that the blood and gore turned my stomach, it’s that it seemed it was at times just put into the plot for shock value, not to add anything. I would recommend this book only for strict horror fans who want a different, but still familiar feeling, book about survival horror.
About the Author
Adam Cesare is a New Yorker who lives in Philadelphia. He studied English and film at Boston University. His books include Video Night, The Summer Job, Zero Lives Remaining, and Tribesmen. His nonfiction has appeared in Paracinema, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and other venues.
One reader will win a copy of MERCY HOUSE by Adam Cesare + a Hydra mug
by Heather Herrman
For fans of Stephen King, Joe Hill, and Sarah Langan comes a thrilling new vision of American horror. In Heather Herrman’s heart-pounding debut novel, evil is ready to feed—and it’s got one hell of an appetite.
In the wake of tragedy, John and Erma Scott are heading west in search of a new life. So when car trouble strands them in sleepy Cavus, Montana, they decide to stay for a while, charmed by the friendly residents and the surrounding ambiance. Here, they hope, is the healing balm that their marriage needs.
Then John and Erma find themselves in a fight not just to save their marriage, but their very lives. For this is no ordinary town. Its quiet streets conceal a dark and bloody secret that has slumbered for centuries. Now, that secret is awake . . . and it’s hungry.
Like a slow infection, evil is spreading through Cavus. Soon John and Erma—along with the local sheriff, an undocumented immigrant, a traumatized teenage girl, and an old man with terrible secrets of his own—must join together to battle an all-consuming force that has set its sights on its prey: the entire human race.
“Both the evil that suffuses the pages of Consumption and the motley gang of innocents who defend against it are much more interesting than those usually found in your average scare fare. Solid writing elevates this imaginative fright-fest from an invigorating new voice.”—Sophie Littlefield, bestselling author of the Aftertime series
About the Author
Heather Herrman explores American society through horror fiction. She holds an MFA from New Mexico State University, and her work has appeared in such publications as Alaska Quarterly Review, The South Carolina Review, and Snake Nation Review. Herrman’s fiction has also been honored with a Frank Waters Fiction Prize and a scholarship to the Prague Summer Program for Writers.
Connect with Heather
PRIZE: $25.00 eGift Card to the eBook Retailer of the Winner’s Choice + an eBook copy of CONSUMPTION by Heather Herrman
Dark Screams, Volume 3
Short Story Collection
Peter Straub, Jack Ketchum, Darynda Jones, Jacquelyn Frank, and Brian Hodge contribute five gloomy, disturbing tales of madness and horror to Dark Screams: Volume Three, edited by Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of the celebrated Cemetery Dance Publications.
THE COLLECTED SHORT STORIES OF FREDDIE PROTHERO by Peter Straub
A mere child yet a precocious writer, young Freddie records a series of terrifying encounters with an inhuman being that haunts his life . . . and seems to predict his death.
GROUP OF THIRTY by Jack Ketchum
When an award-winning horror writer on the downward slope of a long career receives an invitation to address the Essex County Science Fiction Group, he figures he’s got nothing to lose. He couldn’t be more wrong.
NANCY by Darynda Jones
Though she’s adopted by the cool kids, the new girl at Renfield High School is most drawn to Nancy Wilhoit, who claims to be haunted. But it soon becomes apparent that poltergeists—and people—are seldom what they seem.
I LOVE YOU, CHARLIE PEARSON by Jacquelyn Frank
Charlie Pearson has a crush on Stacey Wheeler. She has no idea. Charlie will make Stacey see that he loves her, and that she loves him—even if he has to kill her to make her say it.
THE LONE AND LEVEL SANDS STRETCH FAR AWAY by Brian Hodge
When Marni moves in next door, the stale marriage of Tara and Aidan gets a jolt of adrenaline. Whether it’s tonic or toxic is another matter.
MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
This is a fine collection of scary short stories. While some offer more chills than others ( I wouldn’t read Nancy alone at night), they all had great twists and led to pretty cool conclusions.
My favorite story is probably Nancy by Darynda Jones. It’s the story of a high school girl who seems to be tormented by a poltergeist–but when a new girl in town tries to help her, she discovers a shocking secret. This story was rather scary…I DID read it late into the night and kept looking over my should to make sure nothing was there!
Another great one is I Love You, Charlie Pearson by Jacqueline Frank. As the story of a young boy who seems to have a very creepy crush on an older girl unfolds, you get squirmy and by the end you have your mouth open in shock…because the ending was definitely unexpected!
Dark Screams Volume 3 is a gathering of perfect little bites of fiction, and as you finish one story you’ll definitely be ready to move on to the next one. Reader beware!
The giveaway is for a $25 e-gift card to the e-retailer of your choice,
plus a copy of Dark Screams, Volume 3.
Let Me Die in His Footsteps
by Lori Ray
On a dark Kentucky night in 1952 exactly halfway between her fifteenth and sixteenth birthdays, Annie Holleran crosses into forbidden territory. Everyone knows Hollerans don’t go near Baines, not since Joseph Carl was buried two decades before, but, armed with a silver-handled flashlight, Annie runs through her family’s lavender fields toward the well on the Baines’ place. At the stroke of midnight, she gazes into the water in search of her future. Not finding what she had hoped for, she turns from the well and when the body she sees there in the moonlight is discovered come morning, Annie will have much to explain and a past to account for.
It was 1936, and there were seven Baine boys. That year, Annie’s aunt, Juna Crowley, with her black eyes and her long blond hair, came of age. Before Juna, Joseph Carl had been the best of all the Baine brothers. But then he looked into Juna’s eyes and they made him do things that cost innocent people their lives. Sheriff Irlene Fulkerson saw justice served–or did she?
As the lavender harvest approaches and she comes of age as Aunt Juna did in her own time, Annie’s dread mounts. Juna will come home now, to finish what she started. If Annie is to save herself, her family, and this small Kentucky town, she must prepare for Juna’s return, and the revelation of what really happened all those years ago.
4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
This book is set in the South in the early to middle 1900’s, and it moves at about the same pace as I expected life did back then: slowly, taking time for things to happen, but they are oh so delicious when they do.
The girls in this rural Kentucky town have abilities called the “know how”; some are both with the gift of being able to predict when things will happen, or just strong feelings about certain things, and some are born without gifts. The book tells the story of two sets of sisters, a generation apart, in which one sister has strong abilities and the other has none.
Our main character is Annie Holleran. On the verge of becoming a woman, she and her sister go down to a forbidden property one night to perform the tradition of seeing one’s future husband in the well. But instead of seeing a boy, Annie sees a body. Events only get more sinister from there, as we begin to learn the story of Annie’s mother and her sister, and how events from the past can affect the present in ways we never expected.
I definitely liked Annie as a character. Because of who her mother was, some people in their tiny town were wary of her and what her abilities might hold. Annie is like her mother in some ways, but she’s her own person in the most important ones. She abides by tradition but doesn’t focus her life around it. She has her own thoughts on who she should marry and how he should treat her.
The story has a slight supernatural touch, just enough to give the plot a darkly mysterious edge but never fully explained. The entire town is affected by “the know how”, whether a girl has it or does not, and the townsfolk all believe in the powers and hold them in high reverence.
As I said, the plot moves slowly, but watching it unfold in the way it did was a fantastic plot device within itself. You find yourself feeling many different things about the characters as you learn more about them, and you will change your mind completely on some things by the time all is revealed.
This is a great summer read for anyone who likes their mystery with a bit of the unknown.
About the Author
Lori Roy was born and raised in Manhattan, Kansas where she graduated from Kansas State University. Her debut novel, BENT ROAD, published in 2011, was awarded the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best First Novel by an American Author, named a 2011 New York Times Notable Crime Book and named a 2012 notable book by the state of Kansas. BENT ROAD has been optioned for film. Her second novel, UNTIL SHE COMES HOME, was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice, and was nominated for an Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best Novel. Her upcoming novel, LET ME DIE IN HIS FOOTSTEPS, will be published June 2nd. Lori also serves as treasure for the Sisters in Crime organization and is a liaison to the Author Coalition. She currently lives with her family in west central Florida.
One reader will win a copy of LET ME DIE IN HIS FOOTSTEPS. US/CAN ONLY PLEASE.
To enter, please leave a comment on what your favorite flower is!
Winner will be drawn June 13.
American Sniper took theaters by storm when it was released. Now, you can own the film on BluRay and DVD–and help out Wounded Warriors in the process.
From director Clint Eastwood comes “American Sniper,” arriving onto Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD on May 19 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, A Mad Chance Production, A 22nd & Indiana Production. “American Sniper” stars Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, whose skills as a sniper made him a hero on the battlefield. But there was much more to him than his skill as a sharpshooter.
A two-time Oscar® nominee for his work in “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle,” Cooper stars alongside Sienna Miller, Luke Grimes, Jake McDorman, Cory Hardrict, Kevin Lacz, Navid Negahban and Keir O’Donnell.
Oscar®-winning filmmaker Clint Eastwood (“Million Dollar Baby,” “Unforgiven”) directed “American Sniper” from a screenplay written by Jason Hall, based on the book by Chris Kyle, with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice. The autobiography was a runaway bestseller, spending 18 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, 13 of those at number one.
The film is produced by Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper and Peter Morgan. Tim Moore, Jason Hall, Sheroum Kim, Steven Mnuchin and Bruce Berman served as executive producers.
“American Sniper” will be available on Blu-ray Combo Pack and includes the film in high definition on Blu-ray disc, a DVD, and a digital version of the movie in Digital HD with UltraViolet. Fans can also own “American Sniper” via purchase from digital retailers.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will donate a portion of the proceeds across physical and digital sales to Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). One dollar of each purchase will be donated up to $1,000,000 from April 21, 2015 through December 31, 2015, void in Alabama, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Mississippi and South Carolina. To get involved and learn more, visit http://www.woundedwarriorproject.com.
The mission of Wounded Warrior Project is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. WWP’s purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. To learn more about WWP’s life-saving programs and services, please visit http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/programs.
Thanks to our generous sponsor, one reader will win a copy of the American Sniper Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack. Please leave a comment letting me know whether or not you’ve seen the film, or your thoughts on it. US only please. Giveaway ends May 31.
by Krys Fenner
Bella has lived a rather boring life, but that all quickly changes. A new position in school forces her to take charge. A new boyfriend (her first), Jeremiah, hands her a confidence she has never known before. A new role in her church’s Fall Production makes her a leader. But that all gets destroyed when an attack by her father’s enemy turns her into the center of attention. Bella believes things couldn’t get worse, but they do. Can she survive the road of destruction and emerge stronger? Or has all that she gained been destroyed forever?
Using Psychology in Writing
by Krys Fenner
There are two ways to use psychology in writing. One gets very technical, while the other is more descriptive and action-oriented. There are two questions I would ask. Whose perspective is the story being told? And who is your audience? Once those are answered, then you’ll know how much terminology should be included in the manuscript.
Theoretically a work of non-fiction directed at a psychology student, psychologists, psychiatrist, or any counselor will be filled with more terminology than say a work of fiction intended for a young adult (12-18), new adult (18-25), or adult (25+) audience. Pieces of fiction are more likely to be action-based than using terminology. However, this again depends on the point of view character and your audience.
If the novel is written from the perspective of a counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist then the use of technical terms is highly probable. But if the book is written from a character suffering a particular psychosis, the character isn’t going to think “I have an adjustment disorder with a depressed mood.” Instead, actions and words of that character will display the psychological issue. If I was an author writing this character, then I would take into consideration how to demonstrate their problem.
Let’s say Jane has just gotten divorced. To describe an adjustment disorder with depression, I would reference her problems sleeping or lack of appetite. I would write about Jane’s refusal to spend time with friends. Or how she misses time from work. I could show her crying a lot or getting frequent headaches. All of these things would be symptoms of the psychological issue without verbally giving it a name. So, what if the point of view were changed?
With all that is going on, Jane recognizes she has a problem and decides to go see a psychologist. The doctor Jane chooses consults with another psychologist in their practice. We’ll call Jane’s psychologist, Dr. Tracy. If I were writing the scene from Dr. Tracy’s point of view, then I am more likely going to use technical terms, especially if she is speaking to a colleague. However, as a writer I will take into consideration my audience. Who am I writing the story for? Do I expect people who read the novel to understand these terms? If not, I have two options: define the terms in the book or dumb the terminology down.
It isn’t hard to write a book using psychological issues without technological terms. You just have to know who your audience is and whose perspective the story should be told from. The difficulty is in making sure the actions and feelings the character displays are accurate and appropriate for the situation. If you can do that successfully, the terminology won’t matter; the story will.
About the Author
At the age of 16, Krys Fenner fell in love with Psychology and Creative Writing. At that time she wrote her first short story dealing with sexual abuse and forgiveness. Psychological issues in her family filled her with the desire to help others using her own experiences. So in 2004, she earned an Associate of Arts in Psychology. And while her sister is the one with dreams of becoming a Psychologist, Krys Fenner returned to Creative Writing. She is currently working on a Bachelor of Arts and plans to continue on to a Masters degree, where she can major in her first love (Creative Writing) and minor in her second (Psychology).
by Jennifer Latham
Expected Publication: May 19, 2015
Meet Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic fifteen-year-old, ready to take on crime in her hometown. When Scarlett agrees to investigate a local boy’s suicide, she figures she’s in for an easy case and a quick buck. But it doesn’t take long for suicide to start looking a lot like murder.
As Scarlett finds herself deep in a world of cults, curses, and the seemingly supernatural, she discovers that her own family secrets may have more to do with the situation than she thinks…and that cracking the case could lead to solving her father’s murder.
Jennifer Latham delivers a compelling story and a character to remember in this one-of-a-kind debut novel.
About the Author
I write because it’s the only job I’ve been able to stick to for more than two years. Seriously.
I’ve lived lots of different places. Here’s the list: New York City; San Francisco; Augusta, GA; Buffalo, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Madrid; Providence, RI; and now…Tulsa, OK.
I’ve had some really weird and really normal jobs. The weirdest was helping out with autopsies. The one I’d go back to if I couldn’t write is being a school psychologist. The one I still do sometimes is teach yoga.
I live with my two daughters, two dogs, a cat, three turtles, three hermit crabs, a bunch of fish, and a husband (mine, of course).
I love watching people.
And I love writing about the people who live inside my head, even when they don’t play nice.
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10 winners will receive a finished copy of SCARLETT UNDERCOVER. US Only.
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by Derek E. Sullivan
Henry “Biggie” Abbott is the son of one of Finch, Iowa ‘s most famous athletes. His father was a baseball legend and his step-dad is a close second. At an obese 300+ pounds though, Biggie himself prefers classroom success to sports. As a perfectionist, he doesn’t understand why someone would be happy getting two hits in five trips to the plate. “Forty percent, that’s an F in any class,” he would say. As Biggie’s junior year begins, the girl of his dreams, Annabelle Rivers, starts to flirt with him. Hundreds of people have told him to follow in his dad’s footsteps and play ball, but Annabelle might be the one to actually convince him to try. What happens when a boy who has spent his life since fourth grade trying to remain invisible is suddenly thrust into the harsh glare of the high school spotlight?
MY THOUGHTS: 3.5 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
At over 320 pounds, Henry Abbott is not only the biggest kid in his high school, he’s also the one made fun of the most. After all, his nickname since childhood has been Biggie–even teachers and his stepdad call him that. But after a fluke at the beginning of the school year that results in him throwing a perfect game of wiffle ball in PE one day, Biggie decides that this will be his year; he will lose weight, be the star pitcher on the baseball team, and finally get the girl he’s been in love with for as long as he can remember, Annabelle.
Biggie makes good progress, but just as it seems he’s within reach of all his dreams, he realizes that you can’t make plans involving other people, because you definitely cannot predict what they will do. Biggie is thrown several curveballs, and it’s up to him to pull himself through if he wants to finish out the year his way.
I have to say that Biggie is one of the single most frustrating characters I have stepped into the shoes of. He complains about how his life is and how people treat him, but he is the only thing in his way most of the time. He makes some decisions I just can’t understand. Just WHY would you tell your dream girl you’ve been stalking her email for the past several years? Even Biggie knows he’s making a mistake as the words leave his mouth. It also takes him much longer than it should to see that the reason he doesn’t have any friends isn’t because he’s overweight; it’s because he’s quite arrogant and gives off the impression that he believes he’s better than everyone else in town.
While I appreciate that Biggie did put in all the hard work that led to his weight loss, I want to state to young readers that in my opinion, the amount of weight loss shown is not realistic. It’s stated that in one month Biggie loses 28 pounds–this should not and will not happen to anyone who’s just cutting calories and exercising, no matter how hard they work. I just don’t want teens who read this book to think that they too can lose that amount of weight in so short a time.
I liked the way the author showed the relationship between Biggie and his younger brother, but I wish I could have seen more between Biggie and his parents. There is a sort of emotional scene between Biggie and his stepdad towards the end of the book, but other than that there’s really not much interaction between he and his parents at all.
If you can get past Biggie’s often Debbie Downer type attitude, there’s a good story here with a very important message. I believe a lot of kids will be able to relate to the main character, and that’s always a very important goal in a YA novel.
About the Author
Derek E. Sullivan is an award-winning reporter and columnist at the Rochester Post-Bulletin in Minnesota. As a reporter, he has written more than 1,000 stories about the lives of teenagers, which he attributes to helping him find his YA voice. He has an MFA from Hamline University and lives in Minnesota with his wife and three sons.
PURCHASE THE BOOK
2x 50$ B&N Gift Cards
3x Signed copies of BIGGIE hardcover
by Paula Stokes
For fans of Gone Girl, I Hunt Killers, and TV’s How to Get Away with Murder.
Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?
When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.
Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? In a story that Kirkus Reviews called “Captivating to the very end,” Paula Stokes starts with one single white lie and weaves a twisted tale that will have readers guessing until the explosive final chapters.
For more information, check out THE OFFICIAL LIARS, INC. WEBSITE.
About the Author
Paula Stokes writes stories about flawed characters with good hearts who sometimes make bad decisions. She’s the author of several YA novels, most recently Liars, Inc. and The Art of Lainey. Her writing has been translated into nine foreign languages. Paula loves kayaking, hiking, reading, and seeking out new adventures in faraway lands She also loves interacting with readers. Find her online at authorpaulastokes.com or on twitter as @pstokesbooks.
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2 Signed Copies of Liars, INC. by Paula Stokes.