Author Interview: Jenniffer Wardell

Jenniffer Wardell’s latest release, Beast Charming, just released. If it’s anything like her debut novel, we’re in for a real treat! Read below to get to know the author and learn more about Beast Charming.

 

Beast-Charming-cover-web1: What’s your favorite music to listen to while you write?

I can’t listen to music while I write, because the lyrics start a fistfight with the words of the story and it ends up in a big mess all over the page.

2: Do you like writing heroes or villains more?

I like writing heroes better, but only if they’re flawed heroes. Perfection is dull.

3: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

For writers, the characters in our books are distressingly similar to our children, and if I tried to pick one as a favorite I’d feel far too guilty any time I even thought about the other ones. Generally, though, I’m fondest of whichever character is being most witty at the moment.

4: Do you prefer salty or sweet snacks?

Depends on my craving.

5: What authors do you look up to and why?

Terry Pratchett was a genius, and the world is a duller place now that he’s not in it. He could combine humor and truth better than anyone, and he had a way of turning fantasy inside out that made it both seem incredibly real and somehow more magical at the same time.

6: Which author do you think you write like the most?

I had someone compare me to Terry Pratchett, once. I nearly cried I was so happy.

7: What’s your favorite food?

There’s too many to list.

8: What’s your favorite movie?

Same as above. The world is a varied, magical place, full of delicious things for both the mind and the body, and I’m delighted by nearly all of it.

9: If your book was turned into a movie, who would you cast for the main characters?

I have to admit that Kat Dennings is my fantasy Beauty, mostly because of the sarcasm that radiates out of her every pore. James (aka Beast) would probably require major CGI, but I’d love it if he was voiced by Karl Urban. The man can get such a great growl in his voice.

10: Describe your book in one sentence.

Beauty and the Beast with a better sense of humor, family drama, and some aggression issues.

11: What kind of interaction do you hope to see from your fans?

I’d love to have them talk to me, whatever their preferred format is. (If you want to go straight to e-mail, it’s jennifferwardell@gmail.com)

12: Would you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?

Somewhere in between. I go quiet in big crowds, but if it’s someone I’m comfortable with I will absolutely talk their ear off (often with dramatic hand gestures, which have thankfully not injured anyone so far).

13: If you could meet anyone in the world, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Terry Pratchett. I’d like to have had a chance to give him a hug and tell him thank you.

 

Book Blurb: 

Beauty Tremain had spent her life being thrown into the path

of ogres and noblemen by her title-hungry father, Noble Tremain (whose name is really Frank.) Escaping the bonds of her sadistic matchmaker father to work for a dragon-owned temp agency, Beauty hesitantly takes a mysterious job working for a butler in an enormous mansion. When the mansion’s owner,

James Hightower, proves to be a seven-foot-tall brooding beast

with the bad habit of hurling statuary from the rooftop, it’s up to Beauty to roll up her sleeves and argue her way to a paycheck.

When Beauty and James start having feelings for each other, however, they determine their relationship is the least of their concerns. Beauty’s father re-enters the scene armed with lawsuits and threats. To add to the chaos, James’s mischievous ex-fiancee shows up to reclaim him. Beauty and the beast need to somehow control their tempers long enough to return the favors with schemes of their own.

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Interview: Author Johnny Worthen

Worthen_TheBrandDemand_CMYK300dpiJohnny Worthen is an author I’ve met through the writing industry. He’s a giant teddy bear that everyone loves, and his magnetic energy is also in his writing. In honor of his latest release, I had the privilege to interview him!

If you’re interested in attending his launch party on April 18th, click here for details – it’ll be a blast!
Me: What’s your favorite music to listen to while you write?

Johnny: Sometimes I have a song that inspires a book. Lady Gaga was at the center of ELEANOR, The Temptations for ANDI KENDRICK (not published yet) but I had nothing special for THE BRAND DEMAND.

I do however have a favorite playlist featuring Godspeed, You Black Emperor!, but that’s only for my dark stuff and only when I’m in a zone. Otherwise, silence is usually required. Never anything with lyrics. I write by sound. I read every word aloud, paying close attention to rhythms and cadences. Lyrics mess me up.

Me: Do you like writing heroes or villains more?

Johnny: If I’m doing my job right, they’re very much the same insofar as my heroes are flawed and my villains believe they’re doing the right thing. I tend to make my villains so villainous that they make me uncomfortable so a short visit with them is usually enough. My heroes however are complex and reward the effort I put into them.

Me: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

Johnny: In THE BRAND DEMAND, I love Galen Reed, my protagonist. Though the book is ostensibly a mystery and a bit of political polemic, the book evolved into a character study of a lonely man. Power and limitations, source of purpose and connection became the theme.

Me: Do you prefer salty or sweet snacks?

Johnny: Sweet. And it shows.

Me: What authors do you look up to and why?

Johnny: Elmore Leonard and Tim Dorsey are my mystery heroes. Leonard defined a genre, Dorsey writes to my irony. Cormac McCarthy shows me what language can do, the shadows it can cast.

Me: What’s your favorite food?

Johnny: Beef Barbecue Back Ribs – my own recipe.

Me: What’s your favorite movie?

Johnny: Generally speaking, I’d say Blade Runner, but I have many favorites. Noir, detective, mystery, heavy thematic influence and cool as all get out. Thoughtful science fiction.

Me: If your book was turned into a movie, who would you cast for the main characters?

Galen: Jake Gyllenhaal

Bonnie: Chloë Grace Moretz

Brand: Ben Mendelsohn

Carson: Gary Busey

Alice: Lena Headey

Me: Describe your book in one sentence.

Johnny: Galen Reed and his gang of political activists face ruin when things get out of control during a blackmail scheme of a local Utah philanderer.

Me: What kind of interaction do you hope to see from your fans?

Johnny: I dream of a connection the way Edward Abbey had with his fans for THE MONKEY WRENCH GANG, but I’ll settle for a fan-base who enjoy thoughtful character driven thrillers. I’m sure I’ll get letters complaining about the beginning of THE BRAND DEMAND from one group and the end from another. There is controversy in the book. I might piss people off. I might give them hope.

Me: Would you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?

Without a doubt I’m an extrovert. I draw power from crowds.

Me: If you could meet anyone in the world, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Calvin. I’d punch him in the nose. The whole “God loves the wealthy more than the He does the poor” has done more social damage than any other single idea.

 

Johnny and BrandBook description:

Galen is political. Galen is fed up. Galen is a blackmailer.
Brand is a jerk who has money. He had an affair and Galen found out. Now Brand has
new problems.
A criminal and self-styled Robin Hood, Galen must face down a ruthless enemy who
does not share his ideological limitations.
In the footsteps of Edward Abbey’s THE MONKEY WRENCH GANG, THE BRAND
DEMAND follows a group of political activists who strike at the system with cunning and
guile while getting rich doing it.
Galen takes risks and money, but when his plans go awry, he quickly learns that politics
are no substitute for wits.
Galen has to come to grips with his own boundaries of action and love while running for
his life in Southern Utah. He has to stay under the radar, dodging skinheads and corporate
moguls, Latter Day Saints romance writers and cheating husbands and—of course and
always—the authorities.

Learn more about Johnny and all of his published works at the following links:

Www.johnnyworthen.com

Www.johnnyworthen.blogspot.com

Amazon

Goodreads

Facebook

Twitter: @JohnnyWorthen

About the Author:

Johnny Worthen is a nationally acclaimed, award winning author of books and stories.
A son of the Wasatch Mountains, he graduated with a BA in English and Master’s in
American Studies from the University of Utah. With this basis in literary and cultural
criticism plus a lifetime of scars, he writes upmarket, multi-genre fiction seeking truth in
narrative.
When not presenting at conferences or attending conventions, Johnny is most likely
hard at work at his keyboard somewhere in Sandy, Utah with his wife, two sons and cat.
“I write what I like to read; this guarantees me at least one fan.”

Black Jack COVER REVEAL!

Black Jack – The Ace of Hearts Book Two

Melanie S’velare is a survivor, the strongest witch in her coven, and a princess. With the key to her magic, the Ace of Hearts, presumably destroyed, her powers continue to grow. As her power increases, her control on them becomes weaker until it is clear she may be the most powerful witch on the planet and the most dangerous. The Alaman, another coven, concerned by her strength, send an ambassador to gauge her control, stability, and how dangerous she truly is. The Alaman are well known for killing witches who pose a threat to their own powerful hold over the globe and if they see fit to end her life, she will have no choice but to fight.

With her soulmate by her side and the remains of her Vanguard, Melanie strives to maneuver a maze of political scandals designed to make her falter. If she fails, she will not only lose her throne to the traitorous Lord Rossi, but also her life to the fiery Alaman.

Melanie can only pray her secret that the Ace of Hearts is alive and manipulating them all in a final deadly game is never revealed.

Black Jack book two in the Ace of Hearts series will be released July 2015.

Sounds awesome, right? If you haven’t read Ace of Hearts (book 1) check it out here. Are you ready for the big reveal? Drumroll….

Black Jack Cover

 

About the author:

headshot Mikki KellsMikki Kells is both a writer and a rider. She spends her nights crafting fantastical stories and her afternoons bowing to the demands of her beloved horse. Her interests in fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal stories developed from a childhood of imaginary exploits and continue to influence her professional career. She resides in central Utah.

Follow Mikki for more news, contests, and extras.

www.mikkikells.com

Twitter/Instagram: @mikkikells

Blog: www.mikkikells.tumblr.com

Spotlight: Assets

assets-coverAssets is the second in The Plague Legacy young adult dystopian series. Assets is available for pre-order now and releases April 9.

If you sign up for Haggerty’s newsletter, you’ll receive a free ebook of her next Grimm Chronicles novella, One, Two, Blood on My Shoe, in May! Click here to sign up.

Haven’t read the first book yet? Good news: Acquisitions will also be on sale for 99c from April 3-12.

Enjoy this exclusive excerpt from Assets:

Ben leaned back again and shifted his eyes to Cam. “Name?”

“Cam.”

“No, no,” Ben shook his head and clicked his tongue. “Here we do it right. Just ‘cause we’re slaves don’t mean we don’t have manners.” He sniffed and held out his hand.

Cam took it. The old man’s skin was as dry and thin as paper.

Smiling, Ben pumped Cam’s arm. “Mister Benjamin Tanner. And you are?”

“Cameron Landry.”

“Well met, Mis-ter Cam-er-on Lan-dry,” he drew out each syllable. “Welcome to my fine establishment. The smell of manure is exceptional here, ripened to perfection. We live with horses and detest housecleaning. You understand, I’m sure?”

Not sure what else to do, Cam nodded. “Nice to meet you, Benjamin Tanner.”

“Please,” Ben released Cam’s hand, still speaking as if he were someone else, “do sit.” He pulled an overturned bucket away from the wall.

Cam sat on it, shifting his butt around until he was as comfortable as he figured he’d get. “What about the dog?”

“Kitty?” Ben took on a new accent. “Nine lives, this one.” He stooped and scratched the dog’s tall ears. “She had ‘er throat smashed by a Regulator, she did. A mighty ‘eart without a bark,” Ben grinned.

Offering the old man a tight smile, Cam reached out his hand and bit his lip while Kitty sniffed his fingers. After a moment, she nudged her nose under his hand. “My friend was attacked by dogs on the trip here. The bite wounds got infected,” Cam’s throat tightened.

Ben’s bushy white eyebrow shot up. “He died, eh?”

Cam nodded, the memory stealing his voice.

“You said you were hungry?” the old man’s voice returned to his normal pitch and he took another drink from the bottle.

“Starving,” Cam’s stomach rumbled, the fish from Styx’s warehouse long gone.

“Well, I ain’t got any food,” he held out the bottle, “but I got my own special brew.”

“No, thanks,” Cam looked at the door, his thoughts on Myla and Jax.

“Waiting for someone?” Ben walked past Cam to the door and opened it. He looked outside, then banged it shut, the liquid in his bottle sloshing from the vibration. “Nobody there, rookie.”

“My friend is a mutant. She came here with me.” Cam watched as Ben busied himself at the iron stove. Kitty jumped onto the cot and watched, her ears pricked high.

Heat blasted into the room when Ben popped the doors, raising the temperature from hot to sweltering. Sweat ran down Cam’s back and soaked into the waistband of his shorts. Flinching in sympathy when a couple of sparks landed on Ben’s bare thigh, Cam’s throat tightened as Ben rammed a branding iron into the flames.

The man stumbled as he stood, and Cam caught him before Old Ben fell against the stove. The old man was as light as a child, as weightless as his paper-thin skin. Settling Ben on his feet, Cam sat back on the bucket. “What did Charyn mean when she told you that Valiant will expect to see me here in the morning?”

“If you’re gone, I get whipped.”

“Whip you?” Cam was surprised. “Why?”

Ben shrugged. “Basic crowd control. Most people are willing to risk their own punishment for something they want, but they won’t risk hurting someone else. Slavery 101.” He pointed at Cam. “Consider that the beginning of your education in Salvation. Next course is all about pain.” Ben played with the end of the branding iron.

Cam felt the blood drain from his sweating face. “What if I don’t care if they hurt you?”

“Oh, you’ll care,” Ben smiled, showing off a row of crooked yellow teeth. “I’m pretty fabulous.”

 

Christine_Haggerty_web_mediumAbout the author: Christine Nielson Haggerty grew up in rural Utah with three brothers, a sister, several chickens, a goat, and an outhouse. She always loved the escape of fantasy and the art of writing, and her passion for life is to craft stories of strength and survival.

As a former high school language arts teacher and a black belt in karate, Christine has found a niche in combining those skills to help authors write effective fight scenes.

An award-winning young adult author, she writes the dystopian The Plague Legacy series and the dark fantasy fairytale novella series The Grimm Chronicles.

Other Links for Christine Haggerty

www.wattpad.com/ChristineHaggerty

Facebook: Christine Haggerty, Author

Twitter: @chaggerty99 Amazon: www.amazon.com/Christine-Haggerty Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/7468114.Christine_Haggerty

Author’s Combat Academy: www.authorscombatacademy.com

Pretty Things (Grimm Chronicles Book 1) Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Pretty-Things-Grimm-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B00TC0UPMM/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Spotlight: Pretty Things

Pretty Things Kindle

Pretty Things Blurb

When Maddie’s father catches her with a boy, he hauls her into town in a pig wagon and finders her a husband. But Peter’s cabin in the woods promises something very different than Maddie’s happily ever after.

Pretty Things, a retelling of “The Robber Bridegroom,” is the first novella in the Grimm Chronicles series. Warning: not your granny’s fairytales!

Christine_Haggerty_web_medium
Christine Nielson Haggerty grew up in rural Utah with three brothers, a sister, several chickens, a goat, and an outhouse. She always loved the escape of fantasy and the art of writing, and her passion for life is to craft stories of strength and survival.

As a former high school language arts teacher and a black belt in karate, Christine has found a niche in combining those skills to help authors write effective fight scenes.

An award-winning young adult author, she is now launching her dark fantasy fairytale novella series The Grimm Chronicles.

Find out more here!

Guest Post: Favorite Halloween Movies

It’s great to be back, Adrienne! I’ve got a fun list for you today. Are we ready??

You know things are going to suck when you’re the new kid. But when you’re the new kid and a vampire… well, it bites!

 

Unlike most kids, Scarlet Small’s problems go far beyond just trying to fit in. She would settle for a normal life, but being twelve years old for an entire century is a real pain in the neck. Plus, her appetite for security guards, house pets and bloody toms (tomato juice) is out of control. So in order to keep their vampire-secret, her parents, Mort and Drac, resort to moving for the hundredth time, despite Scarlet being dead-set against it. Things couldn’t be worse at her new school, either. Not only does she have a strange skeleton-girl as a classmate, but a smelly werewolf is intent on revealing her secret. When she meets Granny—who fills her with cookies, goodies, and treats, and seems to understand her more than anyone—she’s sure things will be different. But with a fork-stabbing incident, a cherry pie massacre, and a town full of crazy people, Scarlet’s O-positive she’ll never live to see another undead day.

 

Not even her Vampire Rule Book can save her from the mess she’s in. Why can’t she ever just follow the rules?

Add Little Dead Riding Hood to your Goodreads to-read list here Purchase LDRH at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite Indie bookstore!

 

***

 

When I was a teenager, I was big into slasher films. Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the Thirteenth, Fright Night, to name a few. But I’ve tamed my viewing preferences in my adulthood. Now I’m not so much into the super gory, gross horror movies or shows (unless we’re talking The Walking Dead), which means I tend to go for movies that could appease a younger audience. Some of them are classics, others just a little creepy, some are cheeeeeesy, but every one of them are a hit in my book!

Amie’s Top Five Halloween Movies:

  1. The Others

  2. The Corpse Bride

  3. Hocus Pocus

  4. Sleepy Hollow

  5. Bram Stroker’s Dracula

There you have it! What are your favorite Halloween movies?

 

 

 

About us:

Amie Borst is a PAL member of SCBWI. She believes in Unicorns, uses glitter whenever the opportunity arises, accessories in pink and eats too much chocolate. 

Bethanie Borst is a spunky 14 year old who loves archery, long bike rides and studying edible plant-life. She was only 9 when she came up with the idea for Cinderskella!

Little Dead Riding Hood is their second book in the Scarily Ever Laughter series. Their first book, Cinderskella, released in October 2013.

You can find them on facebook. Amie can be found on twitter, pinterest, and her blog

***

 

We’re having two great giveaways as part of our blog tour! The first is for a copy of LITTLE DEAD RIDING HOOD! So be sure to enter the giveaway by following the steps on the rafflecopter form below.

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THEN – as soon as you finish that, be sure to stop by my blog for a second contest! I’m having a SCAVENGER HUNT that you won’t want to miss with lots of extra great prizes! All you have to do is make sure you enter the contest below first then hopping over to my blog and filling out the rafflecopter form

there! Super easy! Here’s the rafflecopter form for my blog just in case you missed it!  a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

See you soon!

 

 

Giveaway for Little Dead Riding Hood

Hi Adrienne and audience! Thanks for having us here today. I’m so excited about the upcoming release of my second book, co-authored by my daughter, Bethanie. LITTLE DEAD RIDING HOOD is available Tuesday, October 14th, 2014!

You know things are going to suck when you’re the new kid. But when you’re the new kid and a vampire… well, it bites!

Unlike most kids, Scarlet Small’s problems go far beyond just trying to fit in. She would settle for a normal life, but being twelve years old for an entire century is a real pain in the neck. Plus, her appetite for security guards, house pets and bloody toms (tomato juice) is out of control. So in order to keep their vampire-secret, her parents, Mort and Drac, resort to moving for the hundredth time, despite Scarlet being dead-set against it. Things couldn’t be worse at her new school, either. Not only does she have a strange skeleton-girl as a classmate, but a smelly werewolf is intent on revealing her secret. When she meets Granny—who fills her with cookies, goodies, and treats, and seems to understand her more than anyone—she’s sure things will be different. But with a fork-stabbing incident, a cherry pie massacre, and a town full of crazy people, Scarlet’s O-positive she’ll never live to see another undead day.

Not even her Vampire Rule Book can save her from the mess she’s in. Why can’t she ever just follow the rules?

Add Little Dead Riding Hood to your Goodreads to-read list here Purchase LDRH at amazon, B&N, or your favorite Indie bookstore!

Adrienne has asked us for our top five list of books that influence our writing. I swear, this is a trick question! I’m always afraid I’m going to look stupid with my choices. Plus, I’m not sure it’s any one book, or even combination of five books, that influence me. So many things influence my writing, spark inspiration, and help me become a better writer.  Anything from a movie, to the outdoors, to the fragrance of a candle can inspire me. Sometimes it’s even a dream. Or a special shared moment in front of the campfire, or an inside joke with my kids. It’s crazy how many small, everyday things can inspire me.

But, since we must give a list, here goes!

Bethanie:

1) Coraline by Neil Gaiman

2) The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire LeGrand

3) The Year of Shadows by Claire LeGrand

4) Ranger’s Apprentice (series) by John A. Flanagan

5) The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

6) The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

Amie:

1) I’m actually going to have to agree with Bethanie about Coraline

2) Technically Coraline is tied with The Cavendish Home

3) Do I really have to name a book? Cause I really want to say EVERY SINGLE TIM BURTON MOVIE ever produced!

4) Sariah McDuff: Primary Program Diva  So once, a very long time ago, when my kids were small, I read them this book. It made me laugh so hard I filled buckets with tears!  When I think of humor, my memory draws upon this story.

5) Here’s where I go a little crazy: Dr. Seuss, S.E. Hinton, Edgar Allen Poe, Peggy Parish, Madeleine L’Engle, James Hilton, E.B.White….the list goes on…(I told you it was crazy)

Thanks for having us here today, Adrienne! I hope you’re readers enjoyed it as much as we did.

Borst Family (7)

About us:

Amie Borst is a PAL member of SCBWI. She believes in Unicorns, uses glitter whenever the opportunity arises, accessories in pink and eats too much chocolate. 

Bethanie Borst is a spunky 14 year old who loves archery, long bike rides and studying edible plant-life. She was only 9 when she came up with the idea for Cinderskella!

Little Dead Riding Hood is their second book in the Scarily Ever Laughter series. Their first book, Cinderskella, released in October 2013.

You can find them on facebook. Amie can be found on twitter, pinterest, and her blog

Now go and enter that giveaway! What are you waiting for?

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Guest Post and Giveaway with Matt and FJR

splinters-blog-banner-v1

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How does writing fulfill you in your life?

F.J.R. Titchenell Head shotFiona:

It’s hard to answer this without creative use of understatement. Writing is in the same arena with eating and breathing in terms of how integral it is to my existence.

Living through a single reality without imagined alternatives sounds to me like living with my head wrapped in soundproofing foam.

Stories are the best way I know to look at that reality, examine its parts, analyze its potential, figure out how and where and why we find meaning in it. I’ve always known I needed to be part of making the stories.

Okay, putting aside sweeping, dramatic, ethereal reasons for writing, it is in fact a calling that makes everything else in life easier and more interesting and meaningful, because everything is research. Everything I see and hear and experience goes into storage for writing material later. So when I’m having a bad day, at least I’m spending it gathering details of characters’ future bad days, and thinking of ways to describe or joke about whatever’s bothering me.

So how does my writing make my life better? By making my life into something that makes my writing better.

MattCarterImageMatt:

I’ve always had an active imagination. As a kid it usually manifested itself by making me absolutely terrified of anything I didn’t know or understand or that TV told me to be afraid of (since, being a little kid, TV was kind of my god at the time). It wasn’t until I started to grow up and really get into reading that I realized that I could use a lot of this constantly active imagination to mold a lot of my crazier ideas into stories, which was a pretty good outlet for getting them out of my head, since these ideas tend to get cluttered at times. For this reason alone, I honestly could not see a world without writing. I could see a world with my head potentially popping like a balloon, but not a world without writing.

However nice it may be not seeing my head explode like something in a Gallagher routine, I think the part I really love about writing is just entertaining people. I love to make people laugh, cry and scream (for good reasons). I love to transport people to other worlds, to get them to forget about the world for just a few minutes while taking a look into my oft-twisted brain. At heart I’m a storyteller, and though I’d write even if I was the last person on Earth, I just live to see people’s reactions to my work, good, bad and otherwise (though more good than bad is always nice).

Check out their latest book, Splinters, here:

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You can find F.J.R. Titchenell online here:
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You can find Matt Carter online here:
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Website

Mojave Green Giveaway! Bro Washburn’s Guest Post


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TOPIC: What is thrilling and spooky, but not too overpowering?

Pitch Green and Mojave Green are the first two books in The
Dimensions in Death young adult horror series. Based on a scary story we
used to tell as kids to our siblings and friends, these books combine
horror, suspense and mystery, moving at a breathtaking pace as our
protagonists fight for their lives while they battle a monstrous evil
presence hiding in and around an old, deserted mansion in a small mining
town located in a desolate part of the Mojave Desert.
Though what is overpowering to one, is underwhelming to another,
achieving “scary” is child’s play once we understand the rules of the game,
and some of the best games are kid’s games.
#
Slowly I pushed the door open, straining to see into the bedroom
without actually stepping in. The door opened all the way against the
sliding closet doors behind it. I could see that both closet doors were
closed, so I knew there was nothing immediately behind the door I was
pushing, but I had no idea what might be waiting for me in the closet. The
hallway lights were off, but there was still enough light behind me to cast
a pillar across the room and onto the far wall. Nervously, I crouched to
minimize my dark shadow, knowing there were hidden eyes watching me, waiting
for my next move.
Reaching carefully around the corner into the room, I flipped the
light switch hoping a light might come on, but nothing happened. Though it
was hopeless, I flipped the switch a couple more times, thinking it might
elicit a response from someone in the room–still nothing. Except for a dim
lamp, stuffed into a far corner of the room under a red sheet, the room was
dark and mostly hidden in black shadows–nothing moved. A blanket hung
across the outside windows, blocking all light. Another blanket hung from
the non-working ceiling light across to one end of the window blind,
completely hiding one corner of the room.
This was a new configuration. I had no way of knowing what to
expect. Down on hands and knees, I tried to see under the beds, but
blankets on both beds had been pulled all the way down to the floor.
Holding my breath, I listened for any noise-any sound that might betray a
stalker lying in wait, but I heard nothing. The first move had to be mine,
so I stood and leaned into the room. There were piles of blankets and
pillows on the bed to my right. I decided not to go that way–who knew what
was under those piles.
Sliding into the room with my back against the closet door, I kept
one hand on its handle, ready to prevent anyone from sliding it open from
inside. I stepped quickly to the middle of the wall on the other side.
Back to the wall, facing out, I watched for any movement, listened for any
noise. I was now close enough to the second bed that with a quick step, I
could hop on top. It had no blankets or pillows on it that might be hiding
something–it looked safe. I stepped forward, and a hand suddenly shot out
from under the bed, grabbing my ankle. I yelped in surprise. They had me,
and I hadn’t seen it coming.
#
In a sudden rush, the tension was released, and I was safe once
more. Of course, I had never really been in danger–it had just felt that
way. And that was the fun of our small haunted house.
This was a game invented by our cousins, Sandra and Steven, fraternal twins.
When they came to our house, there was usually something scary going on, and
one of our favorite games was called, “Haunted House.” Because the grownups
didn’t want us ransacking the entire house, it was really just “a haunted
bedroom,” but that was all we needed to create some serious haunting.
The rules of the game were simple. One kid was sent away to wait in
the front room while all the other kids turned a bedroom into a haunted
house. When someone in the haunted house yelled, “Ready,” the designated
victim would try to find all the monsters hidden around the room before one
of them could grab the victim by surprise. Everyone enjoyed the mystery and
suspense of being the victim. It was a challenge trying to anticipate where
all the monsters would be hidden. Sometimes a monster would be put in an
obvious place to distract the victim from another monster carefully hidden
nearby.
We all enjoyed being monsters too. It took a lot of creativity to
not do the same thing every time–there was no mystery or suspense in
repeatedly doing the same thing. In addition, a good haunted house required
more than just mystery and suspense. In order to be really scary, a good
haunted house, or a good horror story, needs one or both of the following:
(1) a dangerous threat from a hidden source of power, and/or (2) a warping
or distortion of something that is normally familiar and friendly.
The victim in a haunted house (or the reader of a horror story) must
feel a personal threat (either to him or herself directly or to a
significant other, like the story’s main character). The more significant
the threat, the scarier the threat, with life and death threats being among
the scariest. A good horror story creates a bond between the reader and the
character at risk, so the threat will hang heavy over the reader as it hangs
heavy over the character in the story.
One way to make a hidden power threatening, or to increase the sense
of threat, is to create a sense of revulsion through the warping or
distortion of the familiar. Few things are more fascinating, and at the
same time more scary, as something familiar, even mundane, that has been
horribly warped or distorted to the point of being painfully ugly. Even
without feeling a direct personal threat to oneself, or a significant other,
an encounter with a painfully ugly distortion of the familiar can elicit gut
wrenching feelings of revulsion and fear. This has been done successfully
with clowns, birds and even mothers.
When it comes to “scary,” a subtle presentation of a hidden threat
coupled with a distortion of the familiar will beat a stream of blood and
gore every time, and will keep your readers (victims) coming back again and
again. Though you will need to be creative in building the mystery and
suspense anew in each new story, your readers will love you for it. Good
haunting! Good horror!

Here are links to the Brothers Washburn’s social media:

Mojave Green can be purchased on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Copy of BrothersInWhite042212photoOne

Guest Post: Building Tension Through Questions

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Jo Nelle. She is a new author with three books coming out this year! Whew – that’s enough to keep anyone busy. I’ve asked her to give some writing advice to other authors and below is what she has for you. But make sure you read this entire blog, because she’s doing an awesome giveaway that’ll have you blog hopping in no time!

We’re looking at some ways to build tension in our stories and decided to ask a lot of questions to get us started.

Questions!

Decide what the overall book question is going to be for your story. This is the overall premise you are writing to achieve. For Damnation it is:

* Will 17 yo Cassie Witlon earn amnesty from Hell in the next 20 days?

Then as you plan or revise each scene decide what questions you can plant for the readers to be motivated to learn the answer to. Here are some more we used:

* Will Cassie beat the deadline?

* Will Cassie escape?

* Will Cassie get distracted from her purpose?

These are a little cryptic but they become more detailed as we wrote the scenes. We need one question for each scene. Some authors describe this step as making sure your scenes have a “purpose” or a “goal.” It’s just a little easier for us to think in terms of answering a question.

Blurb of their upcoming release, Damnation:

Cassie is going to heaven—if she can get amnesty from hell in the next twenty days. Her assignment is to change the eternal destination of a girl in Albuquerque to earn admittance into heaven.

No sweat.

But when Cassie returns to earth during her three-week, mostly-mortal assignment, her old habits get in the way, (apparently habits don’t die when you do), the partners assigned to help her are anything but helpful, and it turns out the girl she is supposed to help is the only enemy she made on her first day of school.

Oh, I’m so going to hell.

Things aren’t all bad—it helps to have a hot angel on your side. Mmm-Marc. Even though he’s all about heavenly business, Cassie would like to make it personal.

Assignment with benefits.

 

 

 

Author Pic•About Jo Noelle:

Jo Noelle grew up in Colorado and Utah but also spent time in Idaho and California. She has two adult children and three small kids.

She teaches teachers and students about reading and writing, grows freakishly large tomatoes, enjoys cooking especially for desserts, builds furniture, sews beautiful dresses, and likes to go hiking in the nearby mountains.

Oh, and by the way, she’s two people—Canda Mortensen and Deanna Henderson, a mother/daughter writing team.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 winner will receive a $100.00 Amazon.com giftcard.

Blog hop and Rafflecopter registrations Begin 9/1/14 and End 9/7/14 MDT

This drawing is open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Card. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Check back on this blog between Sept. 8-10, 2014. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized and sponsored by Canda Mortensen & Deanna Henderson DBA Jo Noelle. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Blogs to hop to for the giveaway: