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!

Moon Killers (Shadow Series #3) : episode 1


Happy Halloween! To celebrate I’m releasing a portion of Moon Killers in installments to thank you. So on this All Hallow’s Eve, come sit by the fire with me. Here’s a hot cup of apple cider. Are you all set? Let’s read the first episode of book three of The Shadow Series together…

When something feels wrong, it usually is.

My boyfriend Drew places his hand on my cheek. We’re lying next to each other in the end zone at the high school’s dark, empty football stadium. Blades of grass tickle a warning all along my spine––Drew and I aren’t alone. I rustle in place, trying to shake the feeling that someone is out there in the dark, watching us. Instead, I lose myself in Drew’s gaze, caring and not caring that he’s picked tonight to tell me everything––finally. When he leans in close, I close my eyes, feel his lips on mine and melt in his arms. He kisses me as if he’s lived a thousand lifetimes and discovered only love matters. But he will die. And I will not. Not for a very long time.

Nothing about Drew says he’s just begun his Last Life. Nothing about Drew has changed at all since I took his place as the Shadow Slayer. Girls still swoon over him, especially under the Friday night lights––where he can be found pulling off winning plays week after week. Most girls would die to just talk to him. I can’t believe he’s my boyfriend.

There are two main ways girls like to stalk Drew. After a game, they flock in his wake when he and the other football players make a pit stop at the Snack Shack on their way to the locker room. The girls smile with their hot dogs or hot chocolate hot in their hands, and flip their hair ready for Drew––all dripping with Gatorade––to turn around and instantly fall in love with one of them. And when this fails, their backup plan is keeping a vigil in the football field parking lot with an eye on the locker room door. The boys, fresh from their showers, punch and joke their way to their cars. Said swooning girls walk around in circles, searching for rides they never missed. Most end up lingering by Drew’s baby blue Beemer with a can-you-help-me, I-missed-my-ride bat of their eyes, which can have the affect of bonding opportunistic girls to oblivious guys. Sometimes after a game, I stare at all the hair-flipping, eye-batting, stranded girls and wonder which one will become Drew’s girlfriend now that I’m the Shadow Slayer. Which of them will be the mortal girl he’ll date after me.

I know I don’t have a shot at being Drew’s girlfriend for very much longer anyway, even without the whole have-to-save-the-world-from-the-Shadows thing that will pretty much eat up all my free time for the next five hundred years. I mean it’s inevitable that he’ll wake up one day and be like, oh, ick what was I thinking. It’s not like he’s made me feel he’s doing me a favor by dating me or anything, in spite of our obvious violation of the Hot Factor Doctrine––Drew being a ten and me being a six. It’s way more complicated than the fact that doctrine dictates he should date up at least a few factors especially since there are plenty of female tens here at Oakdale Central High School. No, the reason I won’t be Drew’s girlfriend for long is that he’s mortal now. He’ll want, no make that need, a mortal girlfriend. He’ll need to live a real life. The life he’s dreamed about for centuries. The life he fought for. The life he slayed for. We can’t be together now that I’m the Shadow Slayer. One day soon, we’ll be separated forever. I shiver.

“Roxie, what’s going on?”


“I’ve asked you over and over and you…I don’t know…it’s like you’re not even here.”

“I’m here. Now.” I manage a smile even though my heart’s breaking.

His smile fades and he pulls me in close to his chest.

“Will you wear my jersey to school tomorrow for luck?”

I nod. I like wearing his number. Eighteen is my new favorite number. “Sure, you know I will.”

“LT is double tough this year because their backup quarterback Anderson got a shot at starting and even though he’s just a sophomore he’s blowing every other quarterback away. If we’re going to win our division, we have to beat LT.”

It’s strange to hear Drew talking about division finals and beating LT as intensely as he once did about my destiny as Shadow Slayer and how I’d have to battle them. This mortal life is his now. So very different than mine. Being the best quarterback is what matters most to him now. I wish it could matter more to me. But my old life is sort of hollow. I’m in between worlds, not quite here.

The only thing that matters to me is moon killing. It’s the only way I’ll ever be able to gain an advantage over the Shadows. It’s the only way I’ll have a shot at my own Last Life. It’s the only way I’ll be able to save the world.

But, tomorrow’s game against LT is epic. It’s kind of cool how everyone at school, make that everyone in town, wants to beat them. We hate LT. I still don’t know why, it just is. Last year when I was a freshman, I had no idea exactly why we hated LT––Lyons Township High School, the high school a few towns over. And apparently, just being a few towns over is the only reason we need to hate them. It’s weird and doesn’t make sense but our hatred really just boils down to geography.

When you’re in high school you sort of have to accept things like archrivals. Before I met Drew last year, before I found out that I’m the Shadow Slayer, I thought freshman was tattooed on my forehead. Back then it seemed everyone around me knew I didn’t know anything about anything especially stuff I was supposed to automatically know, like LT being the enemy. It took me a long time to figure stuff out freshman year. Most of the reason I wasn’t a total loser freshman year was because Drew was my boyfriend.

to be continued….

Book 1, 13 on Halloween (free)

Book 2, Shadow Slayer

Want to know more about the series? Click here for playlists, dreamcasts, and book trailers

Shadow Slayer, book 2

The Seven Caves & Other Spine-tingling Short Stories




The Seven Caves

Lucia is a small seaside town perched on the cliffs of central California. Discovered by Don Gaspar de Portola and his soldiers late in the 18th century, the town is named after the day of its discovery––December 14, Santa Lucia Day.

On a day not too long ago, a local caretaker of an estate just to the south of Lucia, known only as Point 16, received a visitor. The stranger said he was from The Vatican and inquired as to seven caves that The Vatican had listed in its archives from the manifest of the town’s discovery centuries ago. As he further stated that the caves were sure to be located off the coast of Point 16, the caretaker dismissed the man’s strange way of talking but became obsessed by his manner of dress which included a spectacular sword with rubies inlaid in its handle.

The caretaker scratched his head. He’d kayaked up to the caves a time or two and had paddled inside a little ways. The only person the caretaker knew that ever sailed inside the caves any distance at all, and at that only a quarter of a mile, was long dead. Rumor was that the seven caves all met up in the very center of The Santa Lucia Mountains. The mysterious visitor surprised the caretaker when he knew that the caves were the color of blood and shocked him when he spoke of a great temple with treasure inside.

The caretaker told the stranger that the caves were real enough, but that no one he knew had ever been able to sail deep into the caves to discover any temples or treasure.

The stranger thanked the caretaker and went on his way. The caretaker, uneasy about the stranger, decided to follow. The stranger rode his horse to the beach beside the caves and climbed into a simple dugout canoe. Primitive by any standards. Its oars like branches.

The stranger paddled and paddled. The caretaker could only watch from shore. As the surf drew out to sea more of the cave entrances became exposed. When the great swells crashed into the cliffs the waves churned powerfully in the caves and splashed back out to the open sea. Yet, the stranger didn’t veer from his course, one that would soon place him inside the nearest cave.

The caretaker began to sweat. The stranger had paddled his small canoe in an angry sea yet his navigation, indeed the boat itself, seemed unaffected by it. The caretaker searched the coast close by for a kayak sometimes hidden in the brush by the owner of Point 16.

He longed to paddle into the caves. Make that discovery. For, he knew the sea better than most around these parts. Certainly, he would be able to keep up with the stranger. As luck would have it, he found an abandoned canoe. And so he too paddled out to sea.

The sun disappeared behind a cloud and the chill of the fog invaded the caretaker’s bones. A great cloud river of fog moved from north to south over the Pacific, inching to shore. Upon a great break of an early evening wave the stranger disappeared into the first cave.

The caretaker followed.

The next thing the caretaker remembered was fading in and out of consciousness as Search and Rescue revived him. The caretaker asked about the stranger but was told no other body and no other boat was found, not unusual in the rugged depths of the central coast.

The caretaker’s dreams were filled with the stranger and endless trips into the caves, alive with treasure.


When the caretaker came to he was quite inconsolable. Gone mad with a fear of the sea. He tossed back and forth in the sandy soil trying to get away from those that had saved him when he spotted the stranger’s sword, stuck in the sagebrush. The caretaker wrapped his hands around the rubies and pulled the sword out of the brush. Don Gaspar de Portola was engraved in the silver blade, dripping with blood.


Get the anthology free for The Nook here.

Happy Halloween!



Moon Killers Comes Alive! + Podcast giveaway


What’s the scariest thing you’ve done so far this Halloween season? **knees knock** My scariest thing? My first ever podcast. EEEP! In it, I talk about how Moon Killers is being released in a totally new way. But, I can’t do this alone. I’ll need your help! I reveal all the scoops at YAPodcasts hosted by the fabulous Amy Maurer Jones. (I also talk about how I got to meet and interview Quentin Tarantino and Christian Bale too, hee-hee) Click here to listen, if you dare 😀 I’ll be posting the details of the Moon Killers release here sometime over the weekend. Get ready to help Moon Killers come alive, in this new kind of storytelling. So let’s get started! (GIVEAWAY AT THE END OF THE POST!)

MOON KILLERS by Laura A. H. Elliott

“When something feels wrong, it usually is.”

My boyfriend Drew places his hand on my cheek. We’re lying next to each other in the end zone at the high school’s dark, empty football stadium. Blades of grass tickle a warning all along my spine––Drew and I aren’t alone. I rustle in place, trying to shake the feeling that someone is out there in the dark, watching us. Instead, I lose myself in Drew’s gaze, caring and not caring that he’s picked tonight to tell me everything––finally. When he leans in close, I close my eyes, feel his lips on mine and melt in his arms. He kisses me as if he’s lived a thousand lifetimes and discovered only love matters. But he will die. And I will not. Not for a very long time.

What’s your high school football stadium look like? Post your pic or link to a video of your stadium here and I’ll send you a kindle copy of Shadow Slayer:D If we get more than ten football stadiums posted, then I’ll throw in a surprise bonus too.

© Laura A. H. Elliott 2013

Who’s your favorite YA Monster?

Ah! what a GREAT Halloween topic, and y’all know how much I LURVE Halloween:D


Click here to take a peek at the LA Times feature I produced called L.A. RIP which has clips of movies that haunted my YA heart. The classics, yaknow, like Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, Dracula, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. Even though these stories aren’t YA, they terrified me as a teenager and inspire my writing.

So, what’s at the heart of a great monster? Um, the really scary answer? What we fear about ourselves. Take Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. We all have good and bad inside of us. There’s a wonderful Cherokee tale about an elder Chief telling his grandson about life. He tells his son that every man has two wolves living inside of him. There’s a good wolf–full of gratitude, joy, reverence, respect, truth, happiness, and love. But there’s a bad wolf to–full of betrayal, manipulation, deceit, selfishness, secrecy and calculation. The young grandson went wide-eyed and asked his grandfather which wolf would win. To this his grandfather replied, whichever wolf you feed, my son. The Shadow Series explores this duality. In the series, during the 13th year, a teenager must decide what kind of person they will become. The person they choose to leave behind, their alter ego, populates a shadow world of beings who want nothing more than to become human and invade earth. These shadows are the monsters in the series. Some are good, some are bad and all of them are desperate to become human.

The monsters in YA fiction feed the bad wolf. And they don’t have to have fangs or green or furry or sparkling skin. The truly scary ones are the ones that seem just like you and me. And what makes every great YA monster so intriguing? Most of them are vulnerable to something or someone. They aren’t all bad, some even want to end their battle with the dark side but can’t or are unwilling or don’t know how.

Here’s some of my recent favorite YA Monster titles, what are yours?

From Bad to Cursed by Katie Alexander
From Bad to Cursed by Katie Alexander

Bad Girls Don’t Die

The Haunting Season by Michelle Muto
The Haunting Season by Michelle Muto

Be careful what you let in…

The Existence Series by Abbi Glines
The Existence Series by Abbi Glines


What happens when you’re stalked by death?

Eeep, did I tell you I’m a part of this new super cool group of 11 other writers! I’m really excited to have been asked to join the YA Society of Storytellers. I’ve been honored to know these authors over the years and respect and admire their work so much. Check out these amazing authors here and get in on the book club here! We post every other Friday. And our next topic is Cover Love!


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!

YA Indie Carnival : Amazon–All In or Diversify?

The cutest salt & pepper shakers on the planet!
The cutest salt & pepper shakers on the planet!

This is such a fascinating topic. I’m for DIVERSIFY.

Here’s why. Christmas before last, KDP Select was new. I jumped in. I did FABULOUS with my royalties in Dec/Jan and then in February everything tanked. I don’t know why, this was just my experience. I had no other channels to make up the shortfall and all my eggs were in the Amazon basket. This was pretty stressful for me. Amazon has blazed the trail for indie authors, so I was really all about jumping in with them and had no question that what they were proposing would be good for my sales and that KDP Select was going to be the best way to have my books find their audience. But, it didn’t turn out that way for me. Now, I have lots of author friends who worked their KDP select titles AMAZINGLY and had just the opposite experience. They did their free days and promoted them very successfully and shot to the top of their categories and then the momentum led them to carry great ratings in their categories after the free period. But, this was not the case for me. For me, the five day free downloads were big, not huge, but big. By the time the free days were over I shot to the bottom of the paid rankings and then gained a little bit of momentum in my book’s categories but not enough to keep any one of them on top for long. It was thrilling seeing the books go to the top for however short a period of time though.

IMHO, all my eggs in one basket isn’t a good idea. I mean, I wouldn’t just buy one stock for retirement, right? I wouldn’t tell my child to just have one friend. IDK, it’s kind of like that for me. And I came to this realization when I talked to a friend and AMAZING author Chanda Hahn. We were at the 4th Annual Pacific Northwest Book Festival in downtown Portland, OR and in between chats with readers and runs to Starbucks we talked about today’s topic. Chanda told me that her titles took off on iBooks. That it never got the mo’ on Amazon the way they did on iBooks. I thought that was interesting.

After 13 on Halloween & Winnemucca came off the KDP Select period I marketed them on other channels. December 2012, 30% of my sales were from channels other than Amazon. Amazon is where the most free downloads from 13 on Halloween (Shadow Series #1) take place, the second most frequent place readers download 13 on Halloween is Page Foundry, in third place was Sony. Shadow Slayer (Shadow Series #2) sold the most on Smashwords & Apple. Winnemucca sold the most on Smashwords and Barnes & Noble last month. Transfer Student sold the most on Amazon. So, Chanda got me to realize that books have their own sales energy. And while one title might do great on Amazon, another title might take off on a different channel for no particular reason. So, heck, I’m up for my stories finding their readers anyway they can. And even if I only get an occasional reader off of Apple so be it. I’ll take that sale 🙂

Every month is different but the trend for me has been that 30% of my sales have been from other channels and I’d hate to marginalize those readers. IMHO, one size doesn’t fit all. So, what’s your take? As a reader, are you happy when you can get your books anyway you want? Or, are you a loyal Amazon Prime Borrower? I’d love to know.

As an author, I do enjoy when a reviewer needs a certain kind of format and I’m able to offer it to them. It’s great to not have to sweat the exclusivity issue!

This is just my IMHO. There’s as many opinions on this as authors 🙂 So, if you want to find out what the other carnis’ experience has been check them out by clicking here! Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by. I thought I’d share this pic of these salt & pepper shakers. My mom was in the hospital and my sis took dad out for a little lunch at his favorite Thai food place and there, on the table were these cuties. You know how when you’re just spent and could use a little hug. Well, that’s what I was when I saw these guys. I hope they make you feel good if you need a little hug today!

The Halloween Unicorn & a gift for you…

The Paranormal Plumes Society


This year I’m going to be a unicorn for Halloween. I’ve never gone to a Halloween party as a mythical animal before and I thought the time was right 😀

Are you dressing up tonight? What are you going to be?

I thought I’d give you a treat instead of a trick this Halloween. So, for today only you can go to Smashwords and use this coupon NE68Y to download a free copy of TRANSFER STUDENT, an intergalactic tale of beauty & the geek. I hope you enjoy Rhoe & Ashley’s story. What would you do, if a boy geek alien’s science fair experiment went horribly wrong and he swapped lives with you, a popular Beverly Hills surfer girl?

Here’s a big HALLOWEEN hug for my good friends that I met just a year ago, and now they’re all such good friends. Nothing like a haunted tour of Savannah, Ga! Here’s some more info on the Paranormal Plumes tour last Halloween.

The Plumes head out on the town for a scare at The Sorrel-Weed House