Tag Archives: Paranormal

Ghosts in the Mirror by Joyce Mangola

I’m excited to introduce you to Joyce Mangola. She’s a multi-published author in several genres, and she’s just released her first YA novel with Lycaon Press. I’ve not yet had an opportunity to read her story, Ghosts in the Mirror, but the cover and blurb are so intriguing, it’s jumped to the top of my TBR pile.

Blurb: Sixteen-year-old Jeremy Riggs has lived his life in and out of the hospital. While the doctors are clueless as to why he lapses into comas, he is well aware of his unique ability to merge with a wandering spirit. With his own soul too weak to sustain life, it’s the only thing keeping him alive.

Waking up from a coma a year after being found at the county dump—next to the remains of the last spirit to inhabit him—Jeremy finds the newest spirit is nothing like the previous ones. It’s bent on revenge and has the will to take control over his body. With the police lining him up as a murder suspect and an ancient evil pursuing him, Jeremy must help the ghost hitching a ride in his body find eternal rest without seeing his own soul snuffed out.


I’d love to hear your thoughts on the excerpt below. :-)


The trees along the sidewalk offered a little shelter from the few headlights from passing cars. Jeremy moved as fast as his fear allowed. That sick feeling just wouldn’t leave him, and he fished out a lollipop to calm his nerves. What good was packing a survival kit if it didn’t include his favorite snack?
His steps faltered, and he looked to his left, shivering. The house he’d been looking for stared back at him. The broken door looked like a jagged smile, the windows more like sinister eyes. Three stories high and he’d have to scale every single creepy step to get to what he needed.

A whip of cold wind had Jeremy moving into the house, squeezing through the broken slats. His nose wrinkled, and he pulled his shirt up over half his face as his lollipop fell out of his mouth. Dust hung in the air. It clogged his nostrils, and he gagged, but he couldn’t stop his exploration. At the base of the first flight of stairs, he closed his eyes. Eerie whispers filtered through his ears, and he shakily ascended the first step. Halfway up his hand came away from the rail as if it burned him. The sickening feeling crawled all over his skin, and he fought the urge to run back outside.

“This was a bad idea.” His right hand tapped his leg twice, and he sighed. Beverly wouldn’t allow him to run if he wanted to.

He ignored the rooms on the second floor and continued to the third. At the top, he leaned over, the urge to throw up strong. Jeremy wiped the tears away from his cheeks, waiting for his eyes to adjust to the dark. His right hand fumbled for the small flashlight in his backpack, and he stopped it.

“Not yet. Give me a minute.” He hunched over again and gagged, glad his stomach held down his cookie binge. He made his way down the hall. Above him, the string for the attic steps dangled, cobwebs stretched along the expanse. His fingers grasped for the cord.

The door gave away when he tugged. Jeremy covered his face as dust and debris fell down. His feet fought to steady themselves on the steps. One by one he ascended, his breathing labored. He scrambled into the small space and slid down against the wall.

“Okay. Now let’s get some light.” Beverly grabbed the flashlight out of the backpack and flicked it on. Jeremy had no idea what he was looking for, only that it was located in the attic. That eerie radar the ghosts gifted him with never steered him wrong before.

The chill of the room had his teeth chattering, and he swept the light around the small space. Broken furniture and a few deteriorated cardboard boxes adorned the rat-infested abode. Jeremy could hear their scurrying and plotting to expunge the trespassing human. Blinking, he concentrated. Something lingered, waiting for him to discover it. He froze as he saw the markings along the rafter beam.

“There.” He stood up and walked closer. “That’s it. Whatever that is, I’m sure of it.” He studied the lines, and the possible way the artist had created the symbol. Gouged into the wood, the marking reminded Jeremy of the hieroglyphics he studied at the library.

“Why is someone putting these in the old buildings? I see that they could be undisturbed and whatnot, but why?” He dug in his backpack and brought out a small notebook. With a pen, he quickly sketched the markings. Jeremy didn’t want to rely on his memory to remember how the symbol looked.

He checked his watch. “It’s about midnight, Beverly. Time to get home.”

Jeremy stepped to the attic ladder and staggered, dropping to his knees. His vision wavered, and the pounding in his head started. His head swiveled to the symbol as an inky shadow slithered along the floor.

“Touch it.”

A cold voice beckoned him. Wooden and jerky, Jeremy stood and shuffled like a marionette toward the odd etching in the rafters.

“Beverly,” Jeremy whimpered. “Don’t listen to it.”

“Touch it,” the voice hissed again. Jeremy gasped as his right hand reached out and caressed the symbol. A jolt of electricity coursed through him. He fell back, convulsing. Rolling over to his side, he threw up. It tasted of ash and cinder, and he gagged as more came up. He started crawling to the opening, feeling the sickly slimy sensation dance along his spine.

Purchase links:


Joyce Mangola has been writing for most of her life, spinning outlandish tales since she was twelve. She is a multi-published author over several genres and Joyce is her pen name for the young adult side. Writing has always been the one dream she pursued relentlessly until she succeeded with her first short story publication. She hasn’t looked back since. Besides bringing to life the different characters in her head, she enjoys drawing and playing the flute. Though a Pittsburgh native, she calls Carlisle, Pennsylvania her home for over twenty years now and has no plans of moving—unless it’s back to Pittsburgh, of course. She’s a proud mother of two sister rescue cats, Brine and Ariel. She encourages anyone who has the heart to adopt a furry companion. Give them love and receive it back tenfold.



Filed under Cover Reveal

A Sneak Peek From Author J.A. Campbell

It’s my pleasure to introduce you to J.A. Campbell, author of Summer Break Blues. She’s given me permission to post an excerpt, and I’m very excited to share it with you all. :-) Call my a sucker, but I LOVE vampire stories, and this looks like a good one. Enjoy.


Blurb: Meg managed to survive her senior year of high school as a vampire, and now she’s looking forward to a relaxing summer with her friends before trying to tackle college. Unfortunately, some unfinished business from the previous year rears its ugly head and Meg is forced to deal with the Sidhe who are distinctly unhappy that she killed one of their kind last winter. Then Ann’s parents vanish while they are on their annual summer vacation in Maine and it’s up to Meg and the rest of the gang to come to the rescue. Though she is still trying to figure out who, and what she has become, Meg and her friends feel they are up to the challenge. That is until things really start to fall apart.


Summer Break Blues – Excerpt

I ran, almost flew over the sand. Alexander’s sheer panic drove me to move faster than I ever had before. I didn’t have much time to take in the scene, but he struggled with someone. Not having a better idea, or time to plan, I tackled them. We all tumbled to the ground, and I managed to keep hold of his attacker long enough to get him away from Alexander. We rolled, and I tried to come up on top, but the stranger was strong and pinned me before we even stopped moving.

“Aww, and here I’d thought you brought me dinner.” I had a brief impression of black eyes and gleaming fangs before he grabbed my shoulders and lifted me up, then slammed me back into the sand.

Pain lanced through my head. I groaned and tried to fight back, but before I’d even formulated a plan, the assailant’s weight was gone. Alexander cried out again.

“Damn it, why do I have to keep saving you!” I jumped up and plowed into them again. This time I dug claws into his ribcage and jerked him away. I thought I had a good grip, but he twisted free. The smell of blood was overpowering. Some of it was Alexander’s, but much of it was my opponent’s. He backed up, still smiling at me. He didn’t look at all concerned I’d just buried claws into his ribcage. He wasn’t much taller than me, and his dark hair and almond eyes made me think he was Asian. But the fangs he bared were all Vampire.

Terror lanced through me, making me weak. I wanted to run. The fear I’d felt when I’d faced the Unseelie last winter was nothing compared to my fear now. Vampires were real monsters, and I was certain I was about to die.

“Well, you do have a little bite to you.” His smile wasn’t friendly.

He wasn’t much bigger than me, but he was a lot faster, and I lost sight of him until he stood right in front of me.

“But you’re young. And dumb. I told you to be more careful.”

I tried to block his next move, but he caught my arm and twisted me around, trapping me against his chest. I felt strangely exposed and panic turned my limbs, and my brain, to jelly. I shrieked and tried to pull away.

The Vampire laughed.


“Run! Get out of here!” I thought that’s what I said, but in my panicked state I could have been shouting the periodic table. I kicked backward, and my heel connected with the Vampire’s shin. His grip never loosened.


I wasn’t sure if I actually heard the words or not, but they punched through my panicked fog, and I did the best I could. The Vampire still had hold of me so I twisted my face against his blood-covered chest.

Light flared and the Vampire screamed. I pulled away from him, small pinpricks of heat searing along my shoulder and back. He was still yelling as I ran away from him.

“What the hell was that?”

The Vampire had vanished by the time I reached Alexander’s side.

“Sunlight. You’re not nearly as affected by it as normal Vampires are, so I thought it would be safe.”

I looked up at the dark, night sky then back at him. He opened his clenched fist and sparkling motes fell to the beach where they faded away. I arched my eyebrows.

“It’s a spell. I made them teach it to me when I started hanging out with you.”


“Not for you, stupid. You’re barely affected by sunlight. I learned it so I could defend against other Vampires.”

I felt like an ass, but I couldn’t think of anything to say so I turned away from him. “I have blisters.”

“They’ll heal.”

“Right.” I took a deep breath and tried to calm myself down. Which was a mistake. “You’re bleeding.”

“Skinned my elbow,” he said. “I’m actually not hurt otherwise. Your rescue was timely.”

I nodded and headed back to the car. “So are you going to tell me what you think happened to Ann’s parents?”

He jogged to catch up. “Not yet, Meg. I’m not sure. If I was, I’d tell you, but other people have secrets, too.”

I couldn’t argue with him. “Fine. So what the hell was that all about?”

He laughed. “We were just attacked by a Vampire, Meg. That should have been pretty obvious. He was likely after me, and you simply got in the way. Thank you.”

“Sure.” I kicked a shell off the boardwalk.

Summer Break Blues is the Sequel to Senior Year Bites

 Purchasing Links: Bono Books | Amazon UK | Amazon US


Julie has been many things over the last few years, from college student, to bookstore clerk and an over the road trucker. She’s worked as a 911 dispatcher and in computer tech support, but through it all she’s been a writer and when she’s not out riding horses, she can usually be found sitting in front of her computer. She lives in Colorado with her three cats, her vampire-hunting dog in training, Kira, her horse Triska, and her Irish Sailor. She is the author of many Vampire and Ghost-Hunting Dog stories and the young adult urban fantasy series The Clanless. You can find out more about her at her website: www.writerjacampbell.com.

Author Links: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Filed under Author Interview

Review of After Dark by Emi Gayle

If you find it hard to choose between vampires and fairies, but also like dragons, witches, sirens, ghosts, goblins, and every other imagined supernatural being then After Dark is the novel for you.

After DarkI must mention that I beta read this novel, and, lucky me, I’ve already read the other two in the series. So I can say without a doubt that After Dark sets up the story world and trilogy stakes with efficiency.

Eighteen-year-old Mac Thorne is a changeling who, after dark, can turn into any supernatural creature with just an intake of breath. Sounds like fun, huh? Well there’s a catch. She has until her nineteenth birthday to choose which form she’ll be for the rest of her life.

Mac is a super-sassy teen with bags of attitude. She won’t take crap from anyone, especially the council of supernaturals who each have a vested interest in her final choice. Enter Winn Thomas, the geeky human, who might just possess the knowledge Mac needs to make her difficult decision.

Apart from the array of weird and wacky characters, my favourite part of this novel is the partnership between Mac and Winn.

Lucas Till as Winn Thomas

Lucas Till as Winn Thomas

I adore geeks. I grew up in a family of them, hung out with a group of them throughout school (yes, I’m a geek myself), so Winn Thomas is my kind of leading man. It helps that he’s cute and kind-hearted, and strong in all the ways Mac isn’t. Their relationship sizzles, and there’s a very sexy encounter that’s sure to generate discussion. :-)

Twists and turns galore, kung-fu fighting, a flamboyant-dressing demon, and loads of laugh out loud moments. Nuff said. :-)

After Dark by Emi Gayle is due to be released by J. Taylor Publishing on 31st October 2012.


Filed under Mull it Over

A Peek Inside The New Death by James Hutchings

The New Death

The New Death

The New Death

Death gets a roommate…
An electronic Pope faces a difficult theological question…
A wicked vizier makes a terrible bargain…
44 stories. 19 poems. No sparkly vampires. There’s a thin line between genius and insanity, and James Hutchings has just crossed it – but from which direction?




If my life was filmed, it would
go straight to DVD
and someone who was famous once
would have the role of me
and if five stars meant ‘excellent’
you’d give it two or three
and most of those who rented it
would watch ironically.

Years later they would track me down
and do an interview.
They’d say “I heard you died,” and I’d
say “Yeah, I heard that too.”
“Is any of it fictional?”
“Perhaps a scene or two.
There weren’t as many ninjas, but
the rest is mostly true.”

James Hutchings

James Hutchings

James Hutchings

James Hutchings lives in Melbourne, Australia. He fights crime as Poetic Justice, but his day job is acting. You might know him by his stage-name ‘Brad Pitt.’ He specializes in short fantasy fiction. His work has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, fiction365 and Enchanted Conversation among other markets. His ebook collection, The New Death and others, is now available from Amazon, Smashwords, and B&N. He also blogs daily.


Filed under Guest Blog

Musa Books I Love Blog Hop

Welcome, and thank you for stopping by on your tour around the Musa Books I Love blog hop hosted by Musa Publishing.

Musa Blog Hop Button

Musa Blog Hop Button


The Musa book I love is Above Haldis Notch by Keith Pyeatt.

Above Haldis Notch

Above Haldis Notch

Physical death is tragic, but the death of a spirit is a life forever lost.

Jenna Emerson learns she’s clairvoyant when her mother’s spirit contacts her with a plea for help. Something in the afterlife threatens the survival of spirits from Haldis Notch, Vermont.

From the house next door comes another plea, this time from the living. Responding to it leads Jenna to reunite with her childhood friend, and she learns how intensely his deceased father, Jake, resented the residents of Haldis Notch. Retaliation against physical lives wasn’t enough. He carried his venom into death, determined to inflict vengeance on their souls. Jake always had a special passion for Jenna, and now she’s the only one who can stop him. To succeed she must learn more about what drives him, but understanding Jake’s motives draws her into his trap. If Jenna falls victim, every soul in Haldis Notch will suffer the ultimate retaliation for the petty grudges they held in life.

Paranormal horror is one of my favourite genres, so I couldn’t wait to dive into Above Haldis Notch. Pyeatt’s writing style is smooth and easy to read, and he has a way of describing places and people so they quickly become familiar – like old friends.

The mystery element of this novel pulled me in from the start. It began with a suicide so strange and psychologically disturbing that I vowed to read the rest of the book during daylight hours. It was a wise move.

Jenna, the main character, is truly courageous in her efforts to save herself, her family, and the residents of Haldis Notch from the boundless and menacing antagonist, Jake. She’s a heroine you can route for, and right up to the final moments I wondered how on earth she would prevail.

I wholeheartedly recommend this novel to any lover of horror and the paranormal.

Above Haldis Notch is available for purchase from Musa Publishing and other on-line retailers.


The two Musa book’s I’m most looking forward to reading.

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis

The Last Time Keepers and the Arch of Atlantis by Sharon Ledwith, set for release on May 18th 2012

When Amanda Sault and her four classmates are caught in a major food fight at school, they are given the choice of suspension or yard duty. It was a no-brainer. A two-week crash course in landscaping leads the kids to discover a weathered stone arch buried in an overgrown backyard. Instead of a forgotten lawn ornament, it turns out to be an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis. Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers—legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from an evil force—the five children, along with two offbeat adults, are sent on the adventure of their lives to save the Earth from an uncertain future. The Timekeepers’ first mission lands them in 1214 England during Mayday, where they must find an adolescent Robin Hood and his band of merry teens before history is turned upside-down.

The Druid – An Asgard Adventure

The Druid – An Asgard Adventure

The Druid – An Asgard Adventure by S.G. Rogers, set for release on April 20th 2012.

There is mischief afoot in Asgard, but Odin is not there to stop it.  A powerful immortal bent on revenge devises a plot that accidentally ensnares a mortal on Earth.  It’s a good thing Dani Avery enjoys fantasy and fairy tales because she’s about to find out the truth behind the legends.  Norse mythology gets a modern twist in The Druid, the story of an ordinary mortal who meets a hero from the pages of a book–bigger than life and twice as Elvish.



I’m giving away an e-book copy of The Trouble With Nightingale published by Musa Publishing. This YA paranormal fantasy story is offered as an international giveaway available in PDF, e-PUB, mobi and PCR formats.

The Trouble With Nightingale

The Trouble With Nightingale

The Trouble With Nightingale

When seventeen year old Millie Scrubbings moves to new digs on East London’s Nightingale Estate, she believes she’s finally closed the door on a childhood dictated by strangers. But overnight, her peaceful high-rise turns bonkers, and a series of grisly murders leaves Millie frightened and more helpless than ever.

Millie must accept her lead role in rescuing Nightingale from its descent into anarchy, or risk all Hell breaking loose.

 How To Enter

To win my giveaway, all I ask is that you like my facebook page (link on sidebar) and leave a comment below with contact details to confirm your entry. Already following me on facebook? Just write a comment. If you’re really keen, earn a second entry by subscribing to my blog.

That’s it! Good luck, and don’t forget to visit all the other blogs on the hop. Click here to re-join the giveaway fun.

Terms & Conditions

  • This Blog Hop runs until 23:59 on February 19th 2012, and the draw will take place after that date.
  • The winner will be chosen by my random and impartial 5 year old daughter
  • I will contact the winner via email and give the winner 72 hours to accept their prize.
  • Prize as stated—no (cash or other) alternatives will be offered.


Filed under Blog Hops

Interview with Dusty Crabtree

Today I’m pleased to introduce you to Dusty Crabtree. Dusty is a fellow YA author from Musa Publishing. Her debut novel, Shadow Eyes, released yesterday, and she’s here tell us all about it. I can’t wait.

Dusty Crabtree

Dusty Crabtree

About Dusty Crabtree

Dusty Crabtree has been a high school English teacher since 2006, a challenge she thoroughly enjoys. She is also a youth sponsor at Cherokee Hills Christian Church in Oklahoma City and feels very blessed with the amazing opportunities she has to develop meaningful relationships with teens on a daily basis.

Shadow Eyes

Shadow Eyes

Shadow Eyes

Iris Kohl lives in a world populated by murky shadows that surround, harass, and entice unsuspecting individuals toward evil.  But she is the only one who can see them.  She’s had this ability to see the shadows, as well as brilliantly glowing light figures, ever since an obscure, tragic incident on her fourteenth birthday three years earlier.

Although she’s learned to cope, the view of her world begins to shift upon the arrival of three mysterious characters.  First, a handsome new teacher whose presence scares away shadows; second, a new friend with an awe-inspiring aura; and third, a mysterious and alluring new student whom Iris has a hard time resisting despite already having a boyfriend.

As the shadows invade and terrorize her own life and family, she must ultimately revisit the most horrific event of her life in order to learn her true identity and become the hero she was meant to be.

Welcome to my blog, Dusty. I’m so chuffed to have the opportunity to chat about your book Shadow Eyes.  Perhaps you could start by telling us a little bit about it.

Shadow Eyes is a young adult urban fantasy about a girl who sees shadows and light figures – essentially demons and angels.  There’s a lot of mystery involved with various characters, and there are many plot twists and surprises along the way to keep the reader guessing and wanting to find out more.

Shadow Demon

Shadow Demon

What inspired you to write this book?

My friend actually inspired me to write the book.  I had actually never written any type of creative writing (aside from poetry) period!  Needless to say, writing a novel had NEVER crossed my mind until she suggested it to me, saying, “Hey, you’re smart.  You’re an English teacher.  You should write a book like the ones we love to read.”  She’d been referring to the young adult urban fantasies and paranormal books we’d been reading lately, mostly about angels.  I had already had an idea for a movie where the audience sees angels and demons surrounding people without their knowledge, so with her encouragement and belief in me, I let that idea develop and morph into what is now Shadow Eyes.

How fantastic that you have such a supportive friend. She obviously knew you had talent.

How did you choose the title for your book?

My main character, Iris, has violet eyes – obviously, a very unique trait.  Plus, her eyes are the source of her unique ability (or curse as she would say) to see the shadows and light figures.  There are deeper symbolic meanings, but if I shared them with you…I’d be giving something major away.

We definitely don’t want any spoilers!

Violet Eyes

Violet Eyes

Tell us a little bit about Iris, your main character. What makes her tick?

Hmmm…I would have to say her perfectionism and organizational freakishness.  …Which is basically like me.  However, unlike me, the cause of this is everything she’s been through and goes through in the duration of the book.  Being obsessive about everything is the one thing that makes her feel like she has a little bit of control.

Open to a random page in your book and explain what’s happening.

Lol! Iris’s boyfriend is starting to get a little bold in their relationship.  He just kissed her “with enough passion and intensity for a PG-13 movie” right in the middle of the school cafeteria.

Ooh, saucy!

Who will enjoy reading your book and why?

I think anyone who enjoys urban fantasy or paranormal books will especially like Shadow Eyes, but it’s not so overly fantastical that the average reader of books geared towards teens and young(ish) adults would still enjoy it.  I would also even venture to say that guys would enjoy it because the plot doesn’t revolve around a love relationship like many books in this genre do (although there are a few guys heavily involved in Iris’s life), and it has a good amount of action and plot intrigue.

Are you working on another book at the moment?  Can you tell us about it?

Yes!  Shadow Eyes will have a sequel!  I’m not sure what the title will be yet and I’ve only gotten through the first chapter so far, but the outline is already done and I’m super excited for it!  I can’t really tell you a whole lot about it though because that would give too much away for the first book!  Let’s just say, Iris continues her journey from where it leaves off in the first book.

I love sequels!

How long have you been writing, Dusty?

I’ve only been writing since May 2010, and this will be my first novel.  Well, first anything really.  But don’t let that scare you!  I’m a quick learner, and I had lots of help with learning how to revise and hone my craft.  I’ve come a long way!



What is your most common writing mistake, the one that makes your editor want to scream?

Well, I don’t know if she wanted to scream, but I think I’m a little adverb-happy.  She was constantly having to tell me (ever-so-politely), “Do you think we could leave this adverb out?” or “Can you explain or describe how they are like this instead of stating it?”  She was right on every account, and I’m getting much better at catching myself as I write.

Yep, those sneaky little adverbs creep in everywhere.

Who is your favourite writer and why?

Although I LOVE the Hunger Games trilogy more than any other series I’ve ever read, I think I would have to say that my favorite author is Becca Fitzpatrick who wrote the Hush Hush series.  In my opinion, the plot in Hunger Games trumps Hush Hush, but as a write I enjoy Becca Fitzpatrick’s style a little more.  I just love the way her words flow so smoothly that you don’t even notice how quickly you’re eating up the page until you get to the end of a chapter and find that you’re craving more.  I actually went through my entire book and did some major wording and sentence structure revision after reading Crescendo because I loved her style so much.  She taught me a lot inadvertently.

Thank you so much for providing us with such fun and detailed answers. I’m sure readers will join me in wishing you every success with Shadow Eyes.

 Shadow Eyes can be purchased from Musa Publishing and Amazon.

You can find out more about Dusty Crabtree on her blog, and Facebook Author page.


If you are a published author and would like to be interviewed on my blog, please contact me at amaleen (at) amaleenison (dot) com.




Filed under Author Interview

The Trouble With Nightingale Release Day Party!

Well, today’s the day. The one I’ve waited for months to arrive. It’s the official launch of my story, The Trouble with Nightingale.

The Trouble With Nightingale

The Trouble With Nightingale

I wracked my brain for weeks about what to include in this post. It needed to be something special to celebrate the milestone in my writing career – my first solo publication. But all my ideas seemed boring or contrived.

If only I could throw a party and offer a beverage (or two, or three) to everyone who stops to read my release day post. We could have a chat, a laugh. I could find out about you and your projects, and thank everyone for their interest in my writing and time in visiting this blog.


Then I had a brainwave and made a call to my wonderful, technically minded, brother. Love you John!

We hatched a plan.

Party Food

Party Food

I still can’t offer you real food or drink, only this picture of the spread I wish I could provide, but I can thank you in person for stopping by the blog today and read you the first few pages of my story.

Don’t forget to press the play button below. I hope you enjoy. Amaleen xx


Hop on over to the Euterpe blog to read the dirty details.

The Trouble with Nightingale can be purchased from Musa Publishing and other on-line book retailers.


Filed under My Writing

Young Adult Faeries & Fantasy Giveaway Hop

Welcome, and thank you for stopping by on your tour around the Young Adult Faeries & Fantasy Blog Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and wb32Reads.


I’m giving away an e-book copy of The Trouble With Nightingale released on 20th January by Musa Publishing. This YA paranormal fantasy story is offered as an international giveaway available in PDF, e-PUB, mobi and PCR formats.


The Trouble With Nightingale

The Trouble With Nightingale

The Trouble With Nightingale

When seventeen year old Millie Scrubbings moves to new digs on East London’s Nightingale Estate, she believes she’s finally closed the door on a childhood dictated by strangers. But overnight, her peaceful high-rise turns bonkers, and a series of grisly murders leaves Millie frightened and more helpless than ever.

Millie must accept her lead role in rescuing Nightingale from its descent into anarchy, or risk all Hell breaking loose.


How To Enter

To win my giveaway, all I ask is that you like my facebook page (link on sidebar) and leave a comment below with contact details to confirm your entry. Already following me on facebook? Just write a comment. If you’re really keen, earn a second entry by subscribing to my blog.

That’s it! Good luck, and don’t forget to visit all the other blogs on the hop. Click on the button at the top of this post to rejoin the giveaway fun.

Terms & Conditions

  • This Blog Hop runs until midnight on January 12th 2012, and the draw will take place after that date.
  • The winner will chosen by my random and impartial 5 year old daughter :-)
  • I will contact the winner via email and give the winner 72 hours to accept their prize.
  • Prize as stated—no (cash or other) alternatives will be offered.


Filed under Blog Hops

Interview with Vera Jane Cook

This week, we’re delving into the paranormal. There’s nothing I love more than a book about witches and ghosts, especially when it’s tied to historical fact. Fellow Musa author, Vera Jane Cook, has joined us to talk about her newly released novel, Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem. Vera Jane reveals some spooky co-incidences about her book and Annabel Horton’s name in her interview. It’s fascinating.

Vera Jane Cook

Vera Jane Cook

About Vera Jane Cook

By day I work as an academic consultant for an education publishing company. I live in New York City and take great pleasure in my fantasy life. I write to justify my imagination and satisfy my churning soul. New York City does that to a person, escape is a necessary indulgence.

Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem

Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem

Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem

From the Salem Witch trials through the Nineteenth Century and beyond, Annabel Horton is pursued by the devil’s disciple, Urban Grandier, the demonic priest from the incident at Loudon. She must take the bodies of those that the devil favors to protect her family. She must uncover the motive behind the illusive Ursula/Louis Bossidan, the scandalous cross-dresser who is pursuing her beautiful granddaughter, and she must learn, being one of God’s most powerful witches, how to use her power. But will it be enough to save her husband from Urbain’s fiery inferno? Will it be enough to save her children from demons greater than themselves? Read on, you will learn more…..

Welcome to my blog, Vera Jane. I’m so chuffed to have the opportunity to chat about your book Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem. Where did the initial idea for the book come from?

I woke up one morning with the opening words to Annabel Horton on my lips. I ran to the computer to write them down. Light is not the same to me as it is to you……….. At the time, I was writing another book, my first manuscript, a semi autobiographical tale about three generations of women. Once Annabel spoke to me I wrote them both, spending time on one story and then going back to the other. I enjoyed my own split personality, my need to tell both Annabel’s tale and my own.

What in particular inspired you to write this book?

You know, what really inspired me to write this book was my love for Anne Rice and her vampire novels. I was so intrigued with the prospect of going anywhere I wanted to go without having to make sense of anything. It may be because I’m also Catholic, and death fascinates me, being able to beat death in some way also fascinates me. But even deeper or beyond death there is religion and the great icons of religious history. More than anything, I want to go back in time and see life from the perspective of those that couldn’t possibly conceptualize us. But since I can’t, I assume a knowledge that all time is within me anyway.

What research did you need to do to write Lost Witch of Salam?

I researched the Salem Witch trials pretty extensively and used the actual people that are recorded in history as having been there and died there. I found an interesting correlation to the incident at Loudon and this mesmerizing priest that was able to drive the nuns into sexual hysterics, sort of like the hysterical little girls from Salem. When the book opens, Annabel is confused. She finds her way as a spirit, but when she is between this world and that place where all time meets, she returns with more knowledge and more acceptance of her power. By the end of the book, she enjoys it, this ability to cross time. I hope that in the second book of the trilogy I can write about her power, not her awareness of being powerful, but her actual experience of herself as one of God’s witches.

Salem Witch Trials

Salem Witch Trials

How did you choose the title for your book?

The title for the book was very interesting. It must have been buried deep in my subconscious, either that or I channel lost souls. My character’s name is in the title. As I wrote I realized my character was indeed, lost. Thus came the rest of the title: Lost Witch of Salem. But what is most interesting about this is that the morning I awoke and began to write, the name Annabel Horton just came to me. I have no idea how I thought of it, but I decided to Google her, and lo and behold I found that a real Annabel Horton lived and died shortly after the infamous witch trials in Massachusetts. I think, sometimes, she told me her tale and vanished, leaving it all buried within me.

That’s a very interesting. I love the idea of Annabel Horton channeling her story through you.

So, who will enjoy reading your book and why?

People who might like my book are a bit eccentric and question whether or not this is it, in terms of explaining life. I mean, science explains it, religion explains it, but is that it? Couldn’t there be some other whole explanation as to how we got here and who we really are? There are people who talk to ghosts, people who have seen the other side and though they don’t explain it well, can we really doubt their experiences? What’s a soul and where does it go? Have we been here before? I think anyone open to questioning the journey we’re all on would like this book. Annabel is a spirit. She calls herself a witch because she can cross time. Well, maybe we all have that ability. Who knows?

Annabel sounds like a very interesting character, what makes her tick?

I’d say being in spirit form makes Annabel tick. It isn’t easy being pursued by the devil. Let’s not forget her vast wealth and her need to protect it. Oh, and that nasty cross dresser makes her tick like a time bomb, the little slippery scoundrel!

Witch Trial

Witch Trial

Are you working on another book at the moment? Can you tell us about it?

Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem is the first of a trilogy. The second book is called, Annabel Horton and the Black Witch of Pau. Back in the 1400s and 1500s there were many French witches. The Black Witch is a descendent of a very famous one, Angele de La Barthe, who was from Toulouse and was killed in 1230 for being a witch. The French witches did many things for money, like selling their infants and doing incantations for the King and Queen. They were paid royally for their talents. My Black Witch is not so macabre. Every time she kills she must sing, specifically, an aria. She’s an opera singer for real but she has this ability to concoct potions of great strength. At the bequest of Urban Grandier, she mixes her greatest creation with the sole purpose of doing away with Annabel Horton and those closest to her. It will be a real clash of swords when they do go at it.

That sounds fantastic. I’ll be adding it to my TBR pile.

Vera Jane, how long have you been writing seriously?

I was always writing, not necessarily a novel, but poems, a diary, short stories. I never dreamed in a million years that I would ever consider taking it seriously. As a young woman, I wanted to be an actress, which I was for at least ten years. I drifted away from acting for a number of reasons, but mostly because I was not really well suited for it. At some point, at around my fiftieth birthday I sat down to write a novel. Today I have eleven completed novels, two are published and three will be published this year and next. I discovered myself at fifty; it’s never too late to evolve with life.

And you’ve been very successful at carving a new career for yourself.

Who’s been most influential to you as a writer in improving your craft?

The greatest teachers I have as a writer are other writers. I learn a great deal from good editors but there is nothing like reading a book written by a writer that has learned how to craft plot, develop story line and create compelling characters that live and breathe on the pages. I started reading novels at a very young age, and it was like magic. The book was called Hot Shot. It was about a basketball player. I fell in love then and there. The last time I was in love? Well, let’s see. Before Caleb Carr there was Wally Lamb. Just a week or so ago it was Anita Shreve. Once upon a time it was Oscar Wilde and Collette. Tomorrow I just  know that Nelson DeMille will sweep me off my feet.  But my heart has always belonged to Jodi Picoult.

And finally, as a bit of fun, what is your favourite word?

I like the word persnickety though I’ve never used it in a novel but it just describes so many people I know. I myself am persnickety. Maybe I should create a persnickety character, a feisty old woman, perhaps, or a little young whippersnapper. Hey, there’s a word, whippersnapper – describes my dog to perfection.

Thank you so much for providing us with such detailed answers. I’m sure readers will join me in wishing you every success with Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem.

Please write a comment below to let Vera Jane know how much you’ve enjoyed the interview. Perhaps you have a pressing question that I failed to ask. Don’t be shy. Write your question in the box, and Vera Jane will be more than happy to provide an answer.

Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem can be purchased from Musa Publishing.

You can visit Vera Jane Cook at her website and blog.

If you are a published author and would like to be interviewed on my blog, please contact me at amaleen at amaleenison dot com.


Filed under Author Interview

Interview with Keith Pyeatt

Keith Pyeatt Headshot

Keith Pyeatt

This week, we’re delving into paranormal horror – my favourite genre. Fellow Musa author, Keith Pyatt has joined us to talk about his newly released novel, Above Haldis Notch.

About Keith Pyeatt

Keith Pyeatt is an engineer from Texas who became a novelist in Vermont and now lives in Tucson, Arizona. He writes paranormal thrillers — what he calls “horror with heart” — and he has three novels published with small presses. His novels are high concept thrillers with strong paranormal elements and plenty of psychological and physical tension, but the main focus is always on the characters.

Above Haldis Notch

Above Haldis Notch


Above Haldis Notch – Physical death is tragic, but the death of a spirit is a life forever lost.

Two neighboring families–one loving and respected in the community, the other made dysfunctional by abuse and scandal–must join forces to save a small Vermont town from a vindictive spirit who threatens not only their lives but also their afterlives.


Welcome to my blog, Keith. I’m so chuffed to have the opportunity to chat about your new book Above Haldis Notch.  Perhaps you could start by telling us a little bit about it.

Glad to. Above Haldis Notch is an afterlife thriller/paranormal horror novel that fits right into my horror with heart brand. It’s set in the rural Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, US, where I lived for a decade and where I began writing fiction. The novel embraces that area, just like I did.

The main character, Jenna, learns she’s clairvoyant when her recently deceased mother contacts her from the afterlife, pleading for help. A vindictive spirit is not only killing residents of Haldis Notch, it’s catching their spirits in the afterlife, intent on killing the part of us that’s supposed to live on after our bodies die. The spirits of both Jenna’s parents are in jeopardy, as are those of her neighbors and friends. To save them, Jenna must learn who is responsible, why he’s doing this, and how. The trapped spirits grow desperately weak, so there’s little time to act, but Jenna’s energy is divided. The vengeful spirit keeps her on the defensive by threatening more people she loves, and if anyone else dies now, their essence will perish in the afterlife with those already trapped.

My goodness, poor Jenna. It sounds like she’s pitted against a relentless antagonist. Can you tell us a little bit more about your MC, Jenna?

Jenna comes from a loving, supportive family, and she is very family centered. That love of family drives her, especially since her family is under constant attack in this novel. Family influence is an ongoing theme in the story, as well as a driver. Jenna’s “pillar of the community” family lifts her to become a better person, and her love for them keeps her motivated. Her best friend’s family is a stone around his neck that makes it difficult to even stand up straight. I loved exploring that difference in those characters.

A Spirit

A Spirit

Do the names of your characters have special meanings, or do you just pick them out of thin air?

If a perfect name doesn’t spring to mind, I use baby naming websites. That means I use baby naming websites a lot. Sometimes I simply look for names that sound like they fit the characters. Other times I look at the meanings behind the names. Above Haldis Notch is an afterlife novel, so I searched for names that had something to do with spirits. Haldis, I remember, means stone spirit, a perfect name for a centerpiece of my novel, the natural notch between mountains in Vermont that’s also a spot where the boundary between life and afterlife is thin. A form of the name Jenna, my protagonist, means something like white spirit. Ady or a form of that name means something like nurturing spirit. Ady is Jenna’s grandmother, and she’s also clairvoyant and teaches Jenna in many ways.

Another trick I use, especially for last names, is to peruse the phone book. In northern Vermont, many families are French Canadian, and their family names reflect that.

The phone book is a great idea! I may just try that in the future.

So, Keith, when did you discover you wanted to write, and how did you get started?

I like telling this story. I was a manager at an electric utility in Vermont, and my assistant challenged me to write a short story. The only requirement was that the good guys had to win. We weren’t seeing that outcome in the real world often enough to suit us, so I agreed. She wrote a clever short story, four or five pages long. It was great, with a beginning, middle, and satisfying end. I wrote seven or eight pages, and I was still introducing the first characters and the conflict.

I put the story on hold, tried to forget it, but my assistant pestered me for an entire year to finish it. Finally, I started working on it one Friday evening after work. Turns out, the idea had been percolating in my mind for a year, and it was ready to come out. Once I began writing, I couldn’t stop. I wrote nearly every waking moment for the entire weekend. I got up early and wrote every morning before leaving the cabin for work, I raced home and wrote every night, and I wrote until I couldn’t see straight on weekends. Three weeks later, I finished writing my first novel. As you might imagine, the writing itself sucked. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was encouraged because it was structured like a novel, had interesting characters, a good pace (despite all the telling instead of showing), and a coherent plot. The best part was that writing it ignited a passion in me. I’ve been writing fiction ever since.

That is a great story. I’m always amazed at how the subconscious mind can work away behind the scenes to produce a story.



From your first foray into writing, how did you make the leap to become a published author?

It’s been a long journey. I tried for years to get an agent to represent me to the big publishers. At first, I wasn’t really ready, but I didn’t know that then. But I was also working hard on learning my craft. I read books on writing, participated in critique groups, wrote new novels, and constantly returned to earlier novels to revise them–yet again–as my skill level increased. Even when I really was ready, I couldn’t land an agent. I rarely even got one to request material from my queries. The ones who did respond often offered praise, which was nice, but the praise was always followed by the dreaded however… I kept hearing that paranormal thrillers were a tough sell unless from an established name. Or they liked it but it was hard to define, and they had no contacts to sell it. I write what I like, and I didn’t want to change it, so I eventually queried small presses. I’ve had much better luck there, and I’m having fun working with them.

I’m always keen to find out if an author is a plotter or a pantser. Spill the beans, Keith.

I’m a plotter, but I’ve found through trial and error that a rough outline is better for me than a detailed one. If the outline is too extensive, I tend to just follow the outline, without exploring opportunities or expanding the story or characters beyond my initial intent. On the other hand, without an outline of any kind, I wander around, stall out, and end up wondering where the heck I’m going with this novel.

Before I begin writing first draft, I need to know where to start, where I’m going, and some major points in the middle, usually turning points or plot twists or big revelations. That’s pretty loose for a plotter, but I like thrashing my way forward, as long as I know which way forward is. All the unexpected happenings and characters and twists make writing more fun, and I end up with a better novel than I could have outlined.

The other thing that works for me is to re-plot if needed. If thrashing my way forward leads me somewhere I hadn’t intended, I decide whether I need to get the story back on track or re-plot it. I try to give myself the flexibility to be as creative as I want to be, but I always have a direction and destination in mind, even if they change along the way.

Do you have a favoured POV?

I favor close third person. I enjoy really snuggling up to my characters when I write, feeling what they feel, thinking what they think. Sometimes I think my eyes dilate right along with my characters as I write.

Wow. What a beautiful way of describing your affinity with characters.

Keith Pyeatt Growling

Keith Pyeatt Growling

Earlier you talked about learning the craft of writing. Have you ever taken a writing class, and do you belong to a critiquing group or have a critiquing partner?

I’ve read and studied several writing books. I haven’t taken formal writing classes since college, other than for technical writing, but I’ve learned a great deal through writers’ organizations and conferences. Critique groups and critiquing partners have been a huge asset to me and my writing, and they continue to help me today.

As I mentioned, I began writing while living in an extremely rural area. I tried to find a local group of writers, one time driving 45 miles to a library where I heard writers sometimes met once a month. No one showed up. So I went online and joined several groups that swapped critiques online. I benefitted greatly, and not just from being critiqued. Critiquing others is a wonderful way to become a better writer. From those groups, I have writer friends I’ve remained in contact with for 14 or 15 years, and I’ve never met them. One writer, Joylene, was the very first person to critique me. To this day, despite that we’ve never me, I consider her a close friend. She’s also been my critique partner ever since. I’m reading her latest novel now and offering comments, in fact. She’ll return the favor for me when I’m ready.

Here’s something else that’s a fun memory. Early on, when I was eager to share my new novel (novel #2) with someone, I met a woman named Heather in a chatroom. This was back in the 90’s, when social chatrooms were new, or at least new to me. I told her I write novels and asked if I could email her a chapter. She read it and asked for more. I ended up sending her the entire novel, one chapter at a time, usually one a day. Then I did the same with the next novel. These novels were already written and edited many times when I sent them, but I’d go through and edit each chapter again just before sending them. I found my editing skills sharpened, I guess because I knew someone I liked and whose opinion I respected was waiting to read it and tell me what she thought. That process helped me a lot. And a big bonus for me: I’m also still friends with Heather all these years later.

So the internet has been very good for me. I’ve belonged to face-to-face critique groups too, and they’re great and I have friends from those as well, but online groups are a better fit for my needs. I don’t belong to a critique group now, but I do critique and get critiqued over on a writers’ website called Litopia. I’m known as bump there (short for bump in the night), so say hey if you belong to Litopia and you see me.

Are you working on another book at the moment? Can you tell us about it?

I’m writing first draft on a novel that’s kind of a dark fantasy. It has disfigured sirens, strange and dangerous critters, love, lust, greed, addiction, and a hero who resembles a young Lyle Lovett in a tool belt. It’s been on hold for a while, but I’m about ready to dig back in.

Thank you so much for providing us with such detailed answers. I’m sure readers will join me in wishing you every success with Above Haldis Notch.

Please write a comment below to let Keith know how much you’d enjoyed the interview. Perhaps you have a pressing question that I failed to ask. Don’t be shy. Write your question in the box, and Keith will be more than happy to provide an answer.

Above Haldis Notch can be purchased from Musa Publishing and Amazon.

You can visit Keith Pyeatt at his website, blog, and follow him on facebook and Twitter.

In addition to Above Haldis Notch, Keith has two other published novels that are worth checking out.



Struck – Lightning isn’t always an act of nature. Sometimes it’s a calling.

When lightning strikes Barry Andrews as he hikes among petroglyphs in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the surge of energy awakens abilities he’s carried since birth. Easy-going Barry must accept his role as warrior, unlock ancient secrets from the Anasazi ruins in Chaco Canyon, and save the earth.

Dark Knowledge

Dark Knowledge

Dark Knowledge – When good and evil intertwine, taking one means accepting the other.

When a mentally challenged man named Wesley absorbs bits of knowledge from a beckoning world inside his mind, dark instincts tag along, thrusting him into an evil contest where he is both contestant and the prize Satan hopes to win. The further Wesley progresses, the more difficult it is to tell good from evil and the higher the stakes become. What must he sacrifice to save mankind: his life or his soul?


Filed under Author Interview