YA Storytellers “fireworks” excerpts — so hot they explode!


I’m excited to giveaway a signed paperback to a random Goodreads commenter in the YA Storytellers Book Club Group discussion of Shadow Slayer. Click here to participate….


Cover for the paperback copy of Shadow Slayer
Cover for the paperback copy of Shadow Slayer


Click here to listen to the series playlist!

Here’s the “fireworks” excerpt from Shadow Slayer:

He finally slows to a stop at the last deserted bonfire. The couples gathered here when we first arrived are inside the mansion, dancing no doubt. Drew turns toward me, grabbing both of my hands and says. “You are the Shadow Slayer.” I’m not sure if it’s his torment or desperation or the fact he believes this shadow stuff with all his heart that sends shivers up my spine in the warmth of the bonfire. I swallow hard. “What’s a Shadow Slayer?”

“You’re the only human who can stop the onslaught, who can turn the tide.” Drew tilts his head as if he doesn’t know what to say next. “It’s sporadic when you’re new. Visions come fast. Some are to be trusted. It’s part of the initiation.” I miss his smile, the one he flashed in the cafeteria when our eyes first met. By the glow of the bonfire in the light of the almost full moon, Drew’s so much more than a ten, his hot factor. This simple thing, being caught in his golden gaze in the heat of the bonfire, makes me realize I’m about to believe anything he says.

The land of the free and the home of the brave…[photo: courtesy Bryna Butler]
Where will your thoughts take you when fireworks light up the night sky this weekend?

For many years I haven’t been able to see fireworks on the 4th of July. So many years, in fact, I can’t remember the last time I saw fireworks. Fire danger in California played a part. Financially strapped cities too poor to put on shows was a factor. Over the past three years, these themes of danger and lack would unfortunately become forces with which I’d have to contend on a much deeper, personal level.

Tonight I thank the universe that I’ll see fireworks again. Seeing them with those I love is pure magic. Thanks for sharing some of your holiday weekend with me here at Laurasmagicday.

The YA Storytellers are all posting “fireworks” excerpts – so hot they explode! Reading excerpts from my fellow society authors – Bryna ButlerKasi BlakeHeather HildenbrandPatti LarsenQuinn LoftisLiz LongMelissa PearlL.M. PrestonStacey RourkeChristy Sloat and Suzy Turner is a fun way to beat the heat this holiday weekend. For more “fireworks” excerpts click here!


It’s the friends you can call up at 4 AM that matter — Marlene Dietrich

Wearing a peacock necklace–a little special swag I’ll be handing out at UtopYA this year 😀

I’m thrilled to be attending UTOPYA COn 2013 this year. It’s a miracle that I’m able to make it. I know we’ve all had tough times. Honestly, everyone I’ve talked to about 2012 has said it was the suckiest year ever. Okay, I know that suckiest isn’t actually a word, but there’s no other way to describe it. I hope 2012 wasn’t that way for you. I have to give a shout out to the many, many people who’ve kept me on track despite the dark times this past year. There aren’t words to describe how much your encouragement and unwavering support has meant to me.

While shopping the other day, I found this card at Cost Plus that read “It’s the friends you can call up at 4 AM that matter” – Marlene Dietrich. Srsly, if you can count even one person in the “4 AM friend category” you are truly blessed! Take some time to thank your 4 AM buddies today. I can speak from personal experience that you probably don’t thank them enough. And in the middle of it all this past year, when I didn’t think I’d ever write again, I had some amazing 4 AM friends to kick me in the A$$ and say, there’s beauty in the brokenness….now f-ing write about it. Well, I have. I just finished editing my first adult title called The Storytellers, about a group of writers whose stories all come true for each other. The Storytellers will always have a special place in my heart because it brought me back to what I love. I have much to be thankful for, one of which is the nomination of SHADOW SLAYER for Best Book Trailer of 2013. Working on this trailer is the first thing I did to try and find my way back to writing. I’ve always loved expressing my stories visually. This was just a natural extension of that. Here’s to a wonderful time in Nashville and to ALWAYS remembering to count our blessings no matter how dark life seems! <3

Bucket List Ebook Giveaway (includes UtopYACon award nominees) Winner!


Thanks so much for helping to celebrate my birthday! You all inspire me so much 🙂 I loved reading what tops your bucket lists and they inspire me to take another look at mine. I think it’s fascinating that so many people include travel in their lists. The top travel destination was Ireland. Other countries mentioned were France, New Zealand, England, Sweden, Italy & New Zealand

The award for the most unique: Write my name on Juliet’s wall in Verona

The award for the most romantic: To have a destination wedding

The award for the most literary: To be a published author

The award for the most inspiring: To get a bachelor’s &/or master’s degree

I’m so excited to announce some incredible news that a few of the authors in the giveaway have been nominated for UtopYACon awards! Congratulations to Heather Hildenbrand, C.A Kunz, Heather Self, Quinn Loftis & Tiffany King! Shadow Slayer’s book trailer was nominated too 🙂 Check out all the nominated book trailers here and be sure to vote for your favorite here! So honored to be nominated with these amazing authors. Can’t wait to see them all in Nashville in a few weeks. Will you be in Nashville at UtopYACon? If so, let me know!

Now….drumroll PLEASE!!!!

The winner of the Bucket List Ebook Giveaway is————–Ashley Nicole (@ahaszko) 

Click here to see all the FABULOUS ebooks that you’ve won!

Congrats Ashley! Soooooo excited that you won and I hope you get to write on Juliet’s wall one day real soon 😀

Monday Muse: Shadow Slayer’s Seven Magic Words


I did a ton of research when I wrote SHADOW SLAYER (Shadow Series #2). Among the many things I researched were magic words. I wanted to create a magical world that felt and seemed real and had a feeling of history. What I discovered were magic words that had been used in literature for centuries. (Yes, this is when I spend way too much time reading cool stuff and not writing.) I do enjoy tangents. They are wonderful things and sometimes take me exactly where I need to be. And then again they sometimes lead me to wander off. And while deadlines and commitments and the real world are all fabulous things, I like to wander. I’m a fan.

Here’s a magic word that I found in my research and fell in love with––Ranokoli. It looks kind of odd in black and white, doesn’t it? For some reason it reminds me of pasta. I’d like some ranokoli with marinara sauce. Can’t you just see it on a menu? Ok, that aside, the real cool thing about this magic word is that it appeared in a story long ago written by Irving Bacheller (1859-1950) and he lived nearly 100 years. Back in the day, that was SO rare. So, that kinda got my attention. And then, I read this excerpt from Silas Strong by Irving Bacheller (1906):

The chief invited a great council and organized the Society of the Magic Word. Every member promised that whenever the greeting ‘Boneka’ were given him, he would smile and bow and answer, ‘Ranokoli.’ The greeting meant ‘Peace,’ and the answer, ‘I forgive.’ Then, one by one the law-giver called his councillors before him, and to each he said: ‘The Great Spirit is in this greeting. I defy you to hear it and keep a sober face.’ Then he said ‘Boneka,’ and the man would try to resist the influence of the spirit, but soon smiled in spite of himself, amid the laughter of the tring, and said ‘Ranokoli.’ Thereafter, when a quarrel arose between two people, and outsider, approaching, would greet them with the magic word, and immediately they would bow and smile and answer, ‘I forgive.’ 

This is the story behind one of the seven magic words in The Shadow Series. Roxie only gets to use the magic words one time. So, far in book 2 she’s used up four of the seven magic words. She still has to use Ranokoli : The Great Spirit of Forgiveness.

Email me with Roxie’s worst fear at the beginning of 13 on Halloween & your address and I’ll mail you Shadow Series Swag. (HINT: you’ll find it listed in the 13 on Halloween ebook which is free everywhere 🙂 ) This giveaway is open internationally until 4/30 🙂  my email address is elliwrite (at) yahoo (dot) com

You can purchase Shadow Slayer here, here, and here.

Shadow Slayer Tour: Laura Answers Readers’ Questions with a Q & A & Giveaways!


First a picture of my favorite ornament this year!

(Read to the end of the interview to enter the giveawayS!)

Where do you get your character names? Do they come natural or does it require a lot of thought? (Dana Mason)

I LOVE dreaming up character names. They are such an important part of the story and can have so much symbolism attached to them. For the Shadow Series the names of my characters came from a 2nd/3rd grade class where I was a volunteer. I taught kids how to read and it was so rewarding. The teacher was fabulous too. And so a lot of the names of the characters in 13 on Halloween and Shadow Slayer were inspired by the kids I got to know through my volunteer work. Roxie just introduced herself to me. I’ve never known a Roxanne. But, I really like that she has an X in her name. I think that’s cool:) Drew was originally called Andy in Shadow Slayer, but I didn’t like that name as much as Drew, so I switched it. Sometimes I write an entire story and switch out a name that doesn’t work for me any more after I’ve written and revised and put the polish on a story. Most of the times characters just come to me and their names are a part of them, so it doesn’t require very much thought. Great question Dana! Thanks for asking it and for joining the tour.

Do you do a lot of research before starting a book? (Giedre)

I do a certain amount of research for all my books. But some way more than others. For Winnemucca, a small-town fairy tale, I delighted in the research of mariachi music. Mariachi music is folk music and so there really isn’t a lot written about its history, especially about female mariachis. But I was very lucky to find the history of Lydia Mendoza and so I based Esperanza’s character on the life of Lydia Mendoza. If you want to read a little bit about Lydia Mendoza click here.

For Transfer Student I did quite a lot of research about aliens. And extraterrestrials. What one might look like. There’s so much literature out there about about UFOs and I found one book in particular extremely helpful when I came up with the way Rethans appear and their world. I wanted to research a plausible parallel planet to earth and found this research fascinating. So I dove into the books and literally found it so fascinating, I almost didn’t write the book 🙂

For 13 on Halloween & Shadow Slayer I did a lot of research about luck and superstition and animal spirits. I also researched The Tempest.

In my current WIP, a WWII tale based on the real life survival of my family in Indonesia, I’m doing quite a bit of interviewing and reading historical documents, verifying prison camps and hellships. It’s all very fascinating.

So…as you can tell I LOVE research. And I love it so much that I might never write. This is the dilemma. How much time should a writer spend on research? Well, thankfully Dana Jo Napoli, a great YA writer, came to my rescue and gave me some great advice. She said first to give yourself a set timeframe in which to do your research and stick to it. You can’t research forever. (Wise woman, huh?) And second, you will always find information that conflicts. If you have two different bits of research to choose from when writing your story always pick the one that will let you write a better story, a more dramatic story. I tell you what, I think that advice is fabulous. It’s saved me from researching books and never writing them. Thank you Dana Jo Napoli!

Do you have a favourite SF series or movie that inspired you to write Transfer Student? (Jen Minkman)

Well, yes. Every series I ever watched from Star Trek to Lost in Space to The Jetsons to My Favorite Martian. I’ve always been drawn to the portrayal of aliens, perhaps because there isn’t a greater “outsider” than an alien. And I think aliens are a metaphor for growing up. We often feel like aliens in our own lives/bodies while we are just growing into them. We don’t recognize ourselves sometimes. And so, I love exploring the very literal instance of what people/societies would do when they are confronted by a person/species they don’t understand.

If you any free time … what do you do on said free time? What’s one thing you do to unwind? What’s one of your favorite guilty pleasures? (Veronica Huerta)

I love to play the piano. I haven’t played in years and am just back at it. I took lessons for eight years from the nuns at a local convent in Chicago. I think Sister Mary Carl and Sister Miriam Rose are looking down on me and smiling, even as I hit some wrong notes 🙂 I love to cook/bake and I love to garden. I love to hike and ski too 🙂 My favorite guilty pleasure is to go to movies and see a double feature and eat lots and lots of popcorn!

Who would you cast to play the lead in Winnemucca, a small town fairytale? (Suzy Turner)

I cast Emma Stone as Ginny. I love Emma and think she’d be fabulous. Anyhoo….here’s the rest of my Dream Cast: http://laurasmagicday.wordpress.com/winnemucca-trailer/ if you want to see who’s who in Winnemucca.

How did the story of Shadow Slayer. come to you? (Tara)

Great question. The story of Shadow Slayer evolved over a period of time. Originally the series was going to be the Teen Halloween Series, but I didn’t really think that title described what was happening in the series. So, I changed the name of the series to reflect the real drama of the books, the shadows. As I dove deeper into what a shadow really is, I came up with the plot of Shadow Slayer. I think it is fascinating to explore who we become and why. And the idea of “another us” out there wanting “in” on our lives. The constant struggle we all have between good vs. bad, our wants vs. our needs, our desires vs. our reality. These are all things I hope to explore in the series.

I hear that there’s four books in this series.. any idea if you plan to continue on with this series or any spin offs in the works? (Veronica Huerta)

There are four books in the series. Moon Killers, is book 3 and will be out in early 2013. Last Life is book 4 and is due out this summer. I wouldn’t rule out a spin-off, although I haven’t got that mapped out yet. Thanks for the suggestion! *grabs notebook and scribbles down ideas* 🙂

Thanks for all your wonderful questions! I had a fun time answering them 🙂 

Buy Laura’s books here.

Where will the tour be next? Click here for the schedule.

Enter the giveaway! What’s up for grabs? 4 ebook copies of Shadow Slayer!

Just tweet this post to enter to win! (tweet button is below) Easy. Peasy. Good luck 🙂 Winners will be announced on Monday 12/17!




Click here to enter the tour giveaway today! The prizes include: 2 – $10 Amazon Gift Certificates 2 – paperback signed series copies of 13 on Halloween & Shadow Slayer 5 – ebook copies of Midnight Surrender, a paranormal romance anthology that includes a lost excerpt of Shadow Slayer.

Shadow Slayer Tour: “The adventure Roxie goes on is fast-paced…” More reviews & Giveaways too!

The sword of Sandonian steel
The sword of Sandonian steel from Shadow Slayer (Shadow Series #2)

Tomorrow is the day I’ll be answering all of your questions. Thanks for commenting with yours here on Laurasmagicday. And thanks for joining the tour today. I’m so happy you’re here 🙂 Today on the tour there are some great blogs I hope you visit over and over again. Cristy’s Love of Books features a review of 13 on Halloween (Shadow Series #1) — FREE on Amazon & B&N & everywhere you buy ebooks. Click here to read Cristy’s wonderful review. A Dragon’s Love reviews the series, click here to check out her take on Roxie’s story. Megan Talks Books features the series today too, click here to check out an excerpt from Shadow Slayer. I’d like to say a BIG thank you to all the wonderful blog readers and reviewers who are helping to spread the word about the Shadow Series. Continue reading Shadow Slayer Tour: “The adventure Roxie goes on is fast-paced…” More reviews & Giveaways too!

Shadow Slayer Tour: Win a copy of the Shadow Slayer Audiobook & hear the playlist!

Shadow Slayer (Shadow Series #2) audiobook now available!
Shadow Slayer (Shadow Series #2) audiobook now available!

It’s Audio WEEKEND on the tour today! Woot! GiveawayS & yesterday’s winner are at the end of this post 🙂

“I loved the way this story was written, you can tell that Roxie has matured a bit since book one.  This was an action filled entertaining novel, I can’t wait to see what happens next!” -Bookworm Babblings, 5-star review

“This is a great series for young adults. Clean, fun, and super action-packed.” – Realms of an Open Mind, 4-star review Continue reading Shadow Slayer Tour: Win a copy of the Shadow Slayer Audiobook & hear the playlist!

Shadow Slayer trailer reveal & more giveawayS (win a paperback of Shadow Slayer/Swag)

I’m so happy you’re part of the tour today. The fabulous blog The College Crawl is hosting Shadow Slayer, click here to check out her review! Also, it’s book trailer reveal day for Shadow Slayer on Laurasmagicday. I hope you enjoy it. Giveaways & yesterday’s winner are listed at the end of the post. Good luck!

Thanks for sharing in the reveal!

Do you need to know how to put a book trailer together, or do you want to try to make one for a class project? Click here to read an article I wrote on how to make your own book trailer. Happy trailering! Do you have a story about putting your trailer together? I’d love to hear about it. Continue reading Shadow Slayer trailer reveal & more giveawayS (win a paperback of Shadow Slayer/Swag)

Shadow Slayer (Shadow Series #2) Book Trailer Reveal & Giveaways!

a scene from shadow slayer

YAYYYY! Thanks for being part of the tour today. Today is the Shadow Slayer trailer reveal! But you won’t catch it here, you have to click here to go check out the fabulous Breathe in Books blog, today’s stop on the tour! Thanks so much to Breathe in Books & My Seryniti for the fabulous reviews 🙂

“Book one was good but unlike most series, book two got even better! It is really fun to watch Roxie grow and by book two you’re not sure exactly who to trust which is even more fun!” — My Seryniti

“The Shadow Series is fantastic! … I wasn’t sure throughout the entire book who was a good guy and who wasn’t. There is so much suspense and intrigue. And top it all off with your typical teenage drama makes this book awesome.” – Breathe in Books 5-star review

Click here to find out where the Shadow Slayer tour will take us tomorrow! I’m happy you took some time to join the tour today 🙂

GiveawayS? Did I say giveawayS? Well, yes. Yes I did!

Click here to enter the tour giveaway today!

The prizes include:

2 – $10 Amazon Gift Certificates

2 – paperback signed series copies of 13 on Halloween & Shadow Slayer

5 – ebook copies of Midnight Surrender, a paranormal romance anthology that includes a lost excerpt of Shadow Slayer.

Want MORE?

Every day on Laurasmagicday there’s a new giveaway.

What’s for grabs today?

 An ebook copy of Shadow Slayer. 

What to do to enter? Since today is trailer reveal day, all you need to do to enter to win your ebook of Shadow Slayer is comment here with a link to one of your favorite book trailers! It’s a great way to enter to win & get the word out about some great reads! Easy peasy.

CONGRATS to yesterday’s WINNER of an ecopy of the Shadow Slayer Suzy Turner!

Shadow Slayer (Shadow Series #2) Excerpt & Giveaways!

I’m thrilled that today’s tour stop is at Michelle’s Paranormal Vault of Books ! Be sure to check out her awesome blog. Two days away from Shadow Slayer’s book trailer reveal day! EEEEPPP! #jumpsupanddown Wanna see where the tour will be tomorrow? Click here for the tour schedule 🙂

Here’s an excerpt from Shadow Slayer — at the end of the excerpt are the giveaways for today & our winner from yesterday!

(Drew and Roxie are on stage at practice for try outs for the school play, The Tempest)

“Very good, we’ll start with you, sir, the strapping young lad who looks like a TV commercial. I’d like you to read Prospero and I’d like you, my dear”— he points at me—“to read Ariel.”


“She’s an airy spirit,” he says. It’s really weird the teacher hasn’t told anyone his name.

“Cool,” Drew says.

“Yes, it would be if you weren’t lying to her all the time.” The teacher looks right at me.

And it’s too horrible to even think about. Drew lying to me. But, we’d only just met. He has to just be talking about the play. What could someone I don’t even know possibly have lied to me about?

Drew’s wide-eyed look makes the cold fingers of creepiness crawl over my body again. Continue reading Shadow Slayer (Shadow Series #2) Excerpt & Giveaways!