Teaser Tuesday: The Castle in Transylvania, Back from the Dead: The original zombie story by Jules Verne


Here’s a few teasers from my spooky read this week. I know, I know…you’re saying Jules Verne? Zombies? Really? I mean…isn’t he all about Sci Fi and sea monsters and stuff? Zombies and Romance? That’s what I said, anyway. Jules Verne came back on my radar because a good friend said his favorite book ever was by Jules Verne called Mysterious Island. He’s a native French speaker, so it was no surprise that when we started talking about our favorite novels most of his were French, and most of them were authors I’d never heard of. I really loved Mysterious Island so I guess that’s why this title jumped out at me while I was checking out books on a recent visit to see my daughter in Boulder. I’m not really a zombie girl, but I’m hooked now. Jules Verne wrote this story in 1892.

First sentence:

“This story is not fantastic; it is only romantic. Should we conclude that it isn’t true, given its implausibility? That would be a mistake. We are living in a time when anything can happen–one can almost say, when everything has happened. If our tale is not very likely today, it can be so tomorrow, thanks to the scientific resources that are the lot of the future, so no one should take it into his head to rank it among legends.”


“But there was no time to lose, for it was probable that someone would enter the crypt, as soon as they thought he had fallen asleep under the influence of the sleep-inducing drink.

The work went faster then he could have hoped, since mildew had eaten away the wood around the metallic framework that held the bolts to the embrasure. With his knife, Franz managed to detach the round part, working almost noiselessly, pausing sometimes, listening, making sure he heard nothing outside.”

What are you reading this Halloween week? Happy Haunting!

Trailer park Thursdays — What I learned making 13 on Halloween’s book trailer

The trailer for 13 on Halloween was the second trailer I produced. I learned a lot when I produced my first book trailer for Winnemucca, a small-town fairy tale. Winnemucca’s trailer was a bit long. The standard seems to be right around a minute and a half at the most. It’s crazy how long two and a half minutes can seem. The minute difference really matters to readers/viewers. I’ve been doing a lot of presentations lately on my trailers and wanted to share this one with you because, as you know, I’m a bit of a freak when it comes to Halloween. I love it. I always have. And 13 on Halloween is free everywhere, so if you like reading about a girl who gets a birthday gift that’s literally out of this world, on her 13th birthday which just happens to be on Halloween, you might want to check it out.  When I produce trailers, they help me see my stories in new ways. My process so far involves writing the novel, then designing the cover, then producing the book’s trailer. I love this creative process because it reminds me of a crescendo in music. I begin with all the characters in my mind, then I get to “meet them” visually for the first time in the process of designing the book’s cover. And finally I get to experience the world in a bigger way when I add music and live action footage to breathe even more life into the story.

When my girls were little, I liked to serve dessert or breakfast for dinner sometimes. I loved it when their schools had upside-down days, or inside-out days. I’ve been thinking it would be fun to do the same type of thing with my creative process. Take that crescendo and reverse it. Start with a trailer, then a cover, then write the story. It’s fun to think about. Mixing things up. Trying something new creatively. But, whatever I do, I need to keep it under a minute and a half! LOL!

Best selling authors offering their favorite books to their loyal fans at Free-bookshop!

Several of your favorite authors have joined together to offer you free copies of their best selling novels. Visit Free-Bookshop.com from March 7, 2013 to March 11, 2013 to pick up kindle and nook versions of these must read books. Paranormal, YA, Fantasy and more. Titles will change daily. Check back all week so you don’t miss any of these fabulous ebooks.Authors featuring free books on one or more days include:Nancy Straight
Charlotte Abel
Leia Shaw
Laura A.H. Elliott
Samantha LaFantasie
J.H. Walker

YA Indie Carnival––Happy Halloween: Spooky, Scary, Eerie Excerpts

This week at the carnival all the carnis are sharing their spooky, scary, eerie excerpts! Soooo…join in on the fun and share some of your spine-tingling stories too. Did you break into a cemetery as a kid and SWEAR you heard moans and groans when no one else was around? Comment with your scariest memories, and I promise I’ll make your heart race even faster if you listen to 13 ON HALLOWEEN, available now at Audible.com ($1.99 for a limited time). In 13 ON HALLOWEEN (Shadow Series #1), Roxie is afraid of her attic. With good reason. In SHADOW SLAYER (Shadow Series #2) Roxie has a lot more to be afraid of. Here’s a blood-curdling Zombie excerpt:

I turn another corner in the labyrinth. Every leaf, every twig, and even the grass changes colors. Unnatural colors. I startle at a huge rustle beside me and bite my nails.

Two disembodied arms stick out of the bush next to me. My heart beats hard against my chest. I try to wriggle out of his grip but whoeveritis clamps down on my arms making it hard for me to get any leverage.

“AAAAAHhhhhh!” I scream, writhing back and forth. I fight to free my arms but he’s already wrestled them to my sides. I can’t move. He lifts me a few inches off the ground. I kick and stare at my useless hands and spot the long nails with black nail polish that begin to dig into my skin. There’s a tattoo on each finger. All the same. Stars, I think.

“I want to suck your blood!” he says laughing, lowering me to the ground. As soon as my feet get a little traction I kick and try to run away.

“Ouch! Drew, control your woman!” One of the guys says, a familiar voice. A football player steps out of the bushes. He loosens his grip and places an arm, the size of my thigh, over my shoulders. He marches us out of the labyrinth. I twist around, searching the maze. There’s no sign of the sword, my sword.

Drew doubles over, laughing and the prankster takes my hand and places it in Drew’s. My gaze falls on the spot of fabric where Drew’s boutonniere isn’t. We’re surrounded by a bunch of homecoming zombies. Sixteen-year-old zombies. Their tuxedo coats all ripped and fake-aged with chalk or something. The black make-up around their eyes smudge into their white make up, their faces so pale they kind of glow in the moonlight.

“Zombies don’t suck blood!” Drew says between laughs.

“I know it just sounds so much better than I’d like to eat your brains,” the guy says. “Who’s this tasty morsel?”

“Roxie, this is everyone,” Drew says. In the middle of a circle of homecoming zombies, I immediately breathe easier. “Everyone, this is Roxie,” Drew gives my hand a little squeeze. I sink into his hug, floating my fingers over the spot where his boutonniere should be.

“Finally. Hey, I’m Franklin.” A large guy, the guy who had me in his grip and the size of a line backer, exactly the size of a line backer, pulls me away from Drew and buries me in a bear hug.

“That’s enough,” Drew says, taking a hand to Franklin’s shoulder, separating us.

“This is the one, huh?” another guy, smaller than the rest, says. “I’m CeCe.” He kind of scowls as he puts his hands in his pockets and rubs his chin with his shoulder. A little of his undead makeup rubs off on his brown suit coat.

“Hey,” I say. “What’s with the whole Halloween homecoming get up?” It’s all I can manage. I get super shy when I’m around people I don’t know, let alone football players who are years older than me who I barely know. Guys who just tricked me.

“She totally fell for it guys!” Another of the guys says.

“This is Randy,” Drew says, using his whole arm to point him out.

Randy makes like he’s going to run into me and dodges me at the last minute. “May I have this dance?” he says in a made-up English accent. He doesn’t wait for an answer and twirls me around then dips me and says, “I am you know… randy….” with a mischievous smile.

I turn to face Drew. “So what? All that was a joke?”

Drew gazes at the ground before he walks over and wraps me in his arms. His lips meet mine in a forceful kiss. “All of that,” he says. It’s like the best date ever, aside from the fact he made me believe I’m a Shadow Slayer and have to save the world. 

For another excerpt and for the Shadow Series playlist, dream cast and more click here.

Shadow Slayer (Shadow Series #2) is available at Amazon. 13 on Halloween (Shadow Series #1) is free at Amazon.

I dare you to check out the other spooky scary & erie excerpts from my fellow carnis! Click here for more!


13 on Halloween Audiobook winner & look what came in the mail!

I’m doing a giveaway this week–1 signed copy of Shadow Slayer [open to US readers]. At the beginning of Shadow Slayer, Roxie is trying to fit in as a freshman in high school but she feels like all her middle school friends are abandoning her. All you need to do to enter to win is comment here with one of your freshman high school stories about fitting in. Maybe it’s about the first time you felt like you fit in, maybe it’s about the first new high school friend you made, or maybe it’s about that place at school where you’d go to get away from it all.

Good luck!

And the winner of a the 13 on Halloween audiobook is…..Wonder Woman Terri! Congrats Terri, I hope you enjoy listening to the beginnings of the Shadow Series! Thanks for your tweets and photos, you’ve inspired me when I needed it most! <3

Top Secret Project Reveal: 13 on Halloween (Shadow Series #1) now available on Audible & iTunes!!

Click the image to hear a sample!

Roxie has the best night of her life until the popular kids decide they want to celebrate her birthday in a way Roxie never expects––in her attic, with a gift that’s out of this world, and a pact to never tell a living soul what happens next.

13 on Halloween (Shadow Series, #1) is now available on Audible & iTunes! Writer/Voice Over artist Jeanne O. Whitehouse and I teamed up on this project and it’s been so much fun. It’s such an amazing experience to hear how Jeanne’s made Roxie, Hayden, Adrianne, Ally, Brian & Mitch come to life in new ways 🙂 Soon we’ll be doing a post about our process and what we learned. Jeanne’s voice is FABULOUS and I hope to have her read the entire series. If you’re an audiobook lover, or know someone who is, we’d sure love it if you could help spread the word by tweeting or FBing the links. Coming SoonBook 2 in the Shadow Series! Cover reveal is Aug. 17th! To watch the 13 on Halloween trailer, listen to the playlist or read an excerpt click here

Twelve-year-old Roxie wants to be like Adrianne, the popular girl who gets everything she wants––a trampoline, a flock to prowl around the mall with, and most especially invitations to parties. When Roxie invites all the popular kids in the eighth grade–she calls the peacocks–to her first ever thirteenth birthday party on Halloween they all come and give her a gift that’s literally out of this world. Roxie astral projects to Planet Popular where she becomes seventeen instantly and gets everything she’s always wanted, but nothing is as it seems. Being a high school peacock is complicated. Roxie will risk everything on Planet Popular to be who she thinks she wants to be. Oh yeah, there’s Prom, doppelgangers, and lots of bad peacocks too.



YA Indie Carnival Sequels: Challenges in writing 14 ON HALLOWEEN

Today at the YA Indie Carnival we’re talking about our experiences either reading, writing or reviewing sequels. I’m writing my first series now: The Teen Halloween Series & The Starjump Series. In the dozen or so years that I’ve been writing fiction, I’ve always written stand alone novels, so this is all very new to me. Here are a few challenges I’ve found in writing the sequels.

A very practical matter is how to design the covers. I didn’t set out to write a series when I penned 13 ON HALLOWEEN. It all came together organically at the end of the story. At that point, I knew that the scope of Roxie’s story was bigger than one book. Never having written a series before, I didn’t really think about the book 2 cover when I designed the cover for 13 ON HALLOWEEN. I fell in love with the quiet strength of Roxie, the main character, portrayed on 13 ON HALLOWEEN’S cover. I saw the image and just new she was the perfect Roxie for 13 ON HALLOWEEN. In 14 ON HALLOWEEN Roxie has grown up a little bit, and she’s got a lot on her plate for a 14 year old. There’s a lot of growth that happens in a teenager’s face from 12 to 16. So I knew that I didn’t want to use the same model over and over.

I have two favorite pictures that hang in my house. In each frame I’ve put the school photos of my girls from kindergarten to senior year in high school. They are the photos that get the most attention when visitors come over. That so many years of a life is housed in one single frame is incredible. Breathtaking.

So I want the covers for the series to reflect Roxie’s physical growth, but also her growth in confidence and strength. This is something that is so important to me as an author and I never anticipated it would take so much of my time and attention. But I do truly love it. I couldn’t imagine not having control over this aspect of the story. I’ve designed lots of versions of the 14 on HALLOWEEN cover. I sort of fell in love with one of the versions and thought that was it, but after I got lots of feedback it just didn’t work for a variety of reasons. I kept at it and I’m really excited with the turn the cover took and I hope you are too. I plan on revealing the cover mid-May.

Of course, it would be nice to have a book to go with it. LOL! That’s been the real hard part. In fantasy there is so much to keep track of, I find. The limits to the worlds I’ve created. Keeping track of seemingly millions of little details. How this world grows and changes from 13 ON HALLOWEEN to 14 ON HALLOWEEN has been my biggest challenge in writing the sequel. Taking it and adding to it in ways that make sense for the characters and the fictional world that they occupy. This has been my greatest challenge as a writer so far. I love it, but it also keeps me up nights too.

As a matter of fact the other day I had to get out all of the details swimming around in my head, so I asked hubby if he was ready for a philosophical conversation about the world that our alter egos inhabit. LOL! It was fun and intriguing, but most of all it was great to actually talk about the story out loud with another person. This has helped most of all in my process. A little chat now and again about the fictional worlds I’m trying to create. This has become part of my process.

Thanks for stopping by Laurasmagicday today! Be sure to stop by the the rest of the carnis who have much more experience than I in this particular realm:) I hope you enjoy their take on the sequel!

1. Laura A. H. Elliott author of Winnemucca & 13 on Halloween, Book 1 in the Teen Halloween Series 2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3. Heather Self 4. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series
5. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga 6. Cheri Schmidt, author of the Fateful Trilogy
7. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog 8. K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
9. Patti Larsen, The Hunted series and The Hayle Coven series 10. Amy Maurer Jones, Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy
11. Fisher Amelie, author of The Understorey 12. M. Leighton, Blood Like Poison Series, Madly, The Reaping
13. Cidney Swanson, author of Rippler 14. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter
15. Melissa Pearl, Author of The Time Spirit Trilogy 16. Heather M. White, author of The Destiny Saga
17. Courtney Cole Writes 18. Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
19. Ella James 20. Maureen Murrish


Hey y’all welcome to this week of the YA INDIE CARNIVAL! Can I just say how AMAZING my fellow carnis are? I feel so lucky to be able to read all of their inspirational posts! SQUUUEEEE! Today’s topic kind of made me go…what??? I mean, do I tend to write a season? Of course not. I don’t just write one season. FAGETABOUTIT. But then I skimmed my books and I noticed a pattern.

I love the HEAT. Maybe it’s because I grew up in Chicago. Maybe it’s because I raised my family in LA. I don’t know the reason why. But when you open the pages of my books, you will sweat! Ah, wait a minute. Maybe that came out wrong. Yeah, there’s lots of that stuff in my novels too, but back to weather…hee-hee.

Here’s a hot scene from WINNEMUCCA:

But I didn’t hear the rest of what Earl said because the white line brought me back home in my mind to when the horrible-wonderful ripening first buzzed through me after school. I had pulled my bangs back and stroked my next-to-invisible lashes with brown-black mascara when my feet twitched, unsteadying my hand. A prickly heat tickled my toes and crawled up my thighs. It made me move when I most wanted to sit still. So I bunched my white sundress up, unhitched my strapless, boob-crushing, employee-discounted leopard bra and scooted out of its matching thong. I wadded up my sex-wear and buried that perfumed ball of lace and silk in my wastebasket between unwrapped Slimfast pills, crushed wedding-present boxes and crinkled Snickers wrappers.

My heart leapfrogged me back to the road when a gust of wind just about blew the whistle on my commando-self, right in front of Earl. I tripped on some weeds at the side of the highway as I patted down every inch of my churned up skirt, my face hotter than the asphalt under my feet.

“Your momma called two hours ago,” Earl said, leaning out of his patrol car, his face as red as the pomegranates Momma grew in the backyard. “Bobby took you for dead.”

I’d done the worst thing possible by standing Bobby up. Because doing that one true thing meant the rest of the truth wasn’t far behind. I’d have to tell Bobby I didn’t love him and that buzzed the heebie-jeebies through me. The kind I’d get when I’d rush to kill a black widow before it killed me. I had no idea what Bobby would do when I told him. I had no idea what he was capable of. But, in the end, nothing would frighten me more than myself. 

Here’s a hot scene from 13 ON HALLOWEEN

I grip the coconut tighter, hoping it will bring me some kind of luck. But I never really heard of lucky coconuts. I reach into my back pocket. And when I don’t have pockets, since I’m wearing the same linen dress as the last time, I can’t catch my breath. The message and the rabbit’s foot are gone. They didn’t AP with me. Duh, neither did my clothes. Continue reading YA INDIE CARNIVAL: SEASONS | SOME LIKE IT HOT

YA Indie Carnival : Kiss & Tell from 13 on Halloween

The carnis are all kissing & telling today! Here’s one of my favorite kissing scenes from 13 ON HALLOWEEN. Twelve-year-old Roxie wants two things more than anything. She wants to become popular––a peacock, in Roxie Speak. And she wants a guy named Hayden, the coolest guy at school, to notice her. So, she throws her first-ever birthday party on Halloween, her thirteenth birthday, and invites all the peacocks and they all come. When they give her a gift that’s out of this world, her whole life changes and Roxie astral projects to Planet Popular. This is what happens when she gets there. 14 ON HALLOWEEN will release this summer.

I’m sitting in the middle of a parking lot at a school. In the middle of a lane with rows of cars, really nice cars, on either side of me. And right then is the first time I know, I really believe, I might never get home. And I understand what that really means more than I did before. And now I’m not so down with it. But I keep thinking that being the James T. Kirk of Peacocks will be worth it. Hayden’s older brother gives me a hand up. We walk to the school together. He holds the door to the school open and says, “We’re late.”

The next thing I know I’m sitting in class. Hayden’s older brother sits next to me. I so don’t belong here. I’m in freaking high school. A buzzer sounds after physics class and Hayden’s older brother walks up to me.

“I’ll pick you up at eight.”

“Ok,” I say because I don’t know what else to say and when I can’t think of anything to say I usually agree with everyone.

“Wait, where are we going?” I say.

“What are you kidding me?” he says and holds my hand. We walk down the hall together. And then he turns around and he holds my other hand and it happens. It just happens so fast. Not like in the movies at all, where it’s this big freaking deal or it’s during some date at a movie. Hayden’s older brother kisses me. My first kiss.

My first kiss is with a freaking doppelganger. A shadow person. But, he seems so, real. I get over it pretty quick because he tastes like vanilla ice cream and red hots. I have no idea why he tastes like vanilla ice cream and red hots but I want to kiss him again this time so I’ll remember it. The whole second kiss. Only this time the kiss is crazier. Weirder. He opens his mouth and in the middle of the kiss his tongue rolls over mine. I laugh. Because, sometimes, when I don’t know what else to do, I laugh.

“What is it?” he says.

“It tickles,” I say.

“Since when?”

“I don’t know, it just, does.”

“Roxie, you’re a riot. It’s what I love about you.” He laughs.

I’m trapped in the body of a popular girl. A way older popular girl. And I’m doing older, popular girl things. And my knees go all wobbly. I feel my forehead, because I can’t believe this is really happening, even though I know it is, but it could be a fever-induced dream instead just because of how wobbly I feel. I look around to see if there’s any trace of my attic around, like maybe I can still see the portal that sucked me in. But there isn’t anything except couples, like us, talking in whispers and a bunch of jocks running through the hall. They slap high-fives to Hayden’s brother.

“Hayden, dude.”

Hayden. No way. I kissed Hayden? If this guy is Hayden, then it’s years from now. I mean years from eighth grade. And we’re dating.

Want some more Kiss & Tell? Check out my fellow Carnis!

1. Laura A. H. Elliott author of Winnemucca & 13 on Halloween, Book 1 in the Teen Halloween Series 2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3. Heather Self 4. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series
5. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga 6. Cheri Schmidt, author of the Fateful Trilogy
7. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog 8. K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
9. Patti Larsen, The Hunted series and The Hayle Coven series 10. Amy Maurer Jones, Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy
11. Dani Snell’s Refracted Light Reviews 12. Fisher Amelie, author of The Understorey
13. M. Leighton, Blood Like Poison Series, Madly, The Reaping 14. Kimberly Kinrade, Bits of You & Pieces of Me, Forbidden Mind
15. Madeline Smoot, Missing, Summer Shorts, and The Girls 16. Cidney Swanson, author of Rippler
17. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter 18. TG Ayer
19. Melissa Pearl, Author of The Time Spirit Trilogy 20. Heather M. White, author of The Destiny Saga
21. Roots in Myth, PJ Hoover 22. Courtney Cole Writes

Florida Book Tour with the Paranormal Plumes!

I’m going to post on the tour soon, but in the mean time, Abby, a friend of Tiffany King’s and an amazing photographer, just sent us some incredible images and I want to share a few with you! A BIG thank you to the students of Deltona High and Galaxy Middle Schools. MISSING MY PLUMES! 


Me & Mr. Microphone…hilarious. I always make myself laugh when I talk into a microphone!

A student interviewed me and Abby took a pic! Kinda cool a picture of a taping…