Friday, December 30, 2016

Sarah by Teri Polen

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Teri Polen will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Pretend your protagonist is at school and opens his/her locker – what will we see inside?

Cain isn’t known for his neatness – his mom says he lives like a pig (Cain prefers the term survivalist). His locker has several bottles of Gatorade and protein drinks in varying degrees of emptiness, the latest copy of The Walking Dead graphic novel, three pairs of soccer cleats, five shin guards (the match to his favorite Nike one never turned up), a picture of Lindsey on the door, and Finn’s annotated copy of Gone With The Wind – Cain has to read it for English Lit and Finn got an A on his report last year.

What would you write in a letter to your teen self?

This is advice I’ve given to my sons – and I wish it would have been my mantra as a teen. Life is too short to worry about what others think of you – focus on yourself and what makes you happy, figure out your goals, and work towards them. Everything else will fall into place.

What candy do you give out at Halloween?

I deliberately try to buy something I know I won’t eat – if it’s anything chocolate or peanut butter, there’s no way it will last until Halloween – so I usually buy something like Skittles, Almond Joy (I hate coconut), or Starburst. I don’t care for sour candy, so that’s also a possibility.

What superpower would you love to have? Why?

When my son was younger, he loved asking questions like this. I’d love to fly. Our extended family is spread across several states and we’ve had more road trips than I can count. Flying and avoiding all the traffic, fast food places, and whining from the back seat would be a dream come true!

Sum up your book for Twitter: 140 characters or less.

I did this for Twitter pitches – and it’s one of the hardest things I’ve done! ‘A dangerous bet, vengeful ghost, dead bodies, hot new g/f. Cain only wished for one of these Sr yr – instead, he got all four.’ It got me a few likes from agents and publishers.

Favorite hot beverage. Why?

I’m not a tea or coffee drinker – and many of my friends and family find that oddly disturbing. If we meet at a Starbucks or local coffee place, I usually have to take my own Diet Coke (nectar of the gods as far as I’m concerned). But I love a good hot chocolate in the winter.

Which of your characters would you most like to meet IRL? Why?

I’d love to meet Finn, Cain’s best friend. There are no hidden agendas with him – you always know where you stand, he has a wicked sense of humor, is fiercely loyal to his friends, and he was such fun to write. Sometimes his responses were entirely unexpected.

Thanks so much for having me on Books in the Hall and helping to promote Sarah!

Seventeen-year-old horror fan Cain Shannon thought helping a ghost find her killers would be the supernatural adventure of a lifetime. Now, he just hopes to survive long enough to protect his family and friends from her.

A bet between friends goes horribly wrong, resulting in Sarah’s death. When she returns to seek justice against those responsible, Cain agrees to help her. But when he discovers Sarah has been hijacking his body, he realizes she wants retribution instead of justice.

Terrified of what could have happened when he wasn’t in control, Cain commands Sarah to leave his house - but exorcising her isn’t that easy. She retaliates against her murderers in bloody, horrific ways, each death making her stronger, then sets her sights on Cain. With the help of friends, Cain fights to save himself and his loved ones and searches for a way to stop Sarah before she kills again.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Squatting down to sort through the box, my elbow nudged one of the balls and it bounced across the floor a couple of times before I stopped it. When I picked it up to toss it back in the box, I noticed a splotch of red on one side. It was glistening, like the spot was wet, and after running my finger across the ball, I brought it closer for a sniff.

I knew that smell. With the multitude of soccer injuries I’d received over the years, the copperish tangy aroma of blood was all too familiar. Wait - blood? Was Eby injured somewhere up here? But I’d looked around and knew for certain he wasn’t here. Had I stepped on something and cut myself? When I looked down to check my feet, that’s when I saw it. A circular pool of blood on the floor about a foot in diameter. How had I missed this? It hadn’t been here when Finn and I were looking around last night. One of us would have noticed this.

So how did blood get here in the past twenty-four hours?

Then I felt it. Frigid air wrapped itself around me, like it was a living, breathing entity, causing me to gasp. When I let out a shaky exhale, I could see my breath. In a 90 plus degree attic. My gaze shot down to the floor where the blood had been.

It was gone.

About the Author:
Teri Polen loves horror, sci-fi, and fantasy books and movies. She fangirls over The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related. She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat.


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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Mirror of Doom by Bailey Baxter

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Bailey Baxter will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Why do you write juvenile fiction? What draws you to it?

There’s a freedom in writing for kids. I can create quirky, fun characters and send them to other worlds. I can dream up horrible, scary creatures to stalk them in the dark woods. And I can place them in the most epic adventures.

In other words, I can let my imagination go wild – and it’s all okay!

But, there’s something else. I was a child once. (I know. Shocker.) I loved books that put average kids in situations where they had to learn to be brave. Those books spoke to something in me – my own desire to be brave. I’m hoping “The Mirror of Doom” encourages kids like the books of my childhood encouraged me.

Pretend your protagonist is at school and opens his/her locker – what will we see inside?

Let’s see… Tim would have a poster of the latest Star Wars movie inside the door. No doubt about that. Of course, his backpack would be crammed in there, along with a half-eaten sandwich (loosely wrapped in a napkin)… last week’s gym clothes he forgot to bring home to be washed… a gorilla mask (don’t ask)… a few stale Snickers candy bars… a half-empty bottle of Coke (it’s flat)… and his crumpled up English homework that he swore his grandmother’s dog ate.

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

The Chronicles of Narnia books were my favorite. I loved the idea of finding a doorway to another world in an old wardrobe. Just look at the adventures the Pevensie kids had! They met creatures that didn’t exist in their own world. They faced dangers. They even fought in wars! Their lives went from ordinary – to extraordinary. I loved that. It was the perfect escape for me.

What’s your favorite sweet treat?

Chocolate. Preferably dark. I actually have a stash hidden away in a cupboard. (Shhh! Don’t tell!)

What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

When I was very young, I wanted to be a nurse. I’ve always liked to help people. But, I’ve turned into a rather squeamish adult who can’t stand the sight of blood, so I’m glad I didn’t pursue that career path!

I also toyed (seriously) with the idea of being a spy. It appealed to my desire for adventure and danger – and my impressive ability to keep secrets. I even applied to a job with the FBI once. I never heard back, though.

Being a foreign missionary was another career path I considered, and, in my 20s, I decided to give it a go. I spent two months in India on a mission trip. Unfortunately, I spent most of that time dealing with “India’s revenge.” Let’s just say that dream died fairly quickly.

But, honestly? Since I was about 12 years old, I’ve wanted to be an author. I love to write stories; it’s as simple as that. I never thought I could make a living as an author, because so few writers do. But I realized several years ago that the money doesn’t matter so much – not when there’s so much joy in the process.

What would you write in a letter to your teen self?

I would say to my teen self just what I would say to any teenager reading this:

Be yourself.

You are uniquely created for a purpose. There is no one else like you in the world. Whether you have a special love for people… mad math skills… or can bake the most delicious brownies on the planet, you are born with everything you need to be the BEST you.

So, you don’t have to try to fit in. You don’t have to worry about what people think of you. And you don’t have to be afraid of failure. Because failing means you tried – and that makes you a winner in my book.

And, if you want to live a fulfilling life, figure out what your passion is – and go after it.

What superpower would you love to have? Why?

Is there a superpower that lets you vanish and reappear somewhere else at will? If there is, I want that one. Then, I could easily pop in on my family in England – without spending hours in a cramped plane flying over the Atlantic Ocean. I could get to the mall without sitting in traffic. And I would never be late for anything again.

Sum up your book for Twitter: 140 characters or less.

Tim Hunter is stuck in another world. An evil queen, enemy soldiers and a dragon want him dead. Does he have what it takes to survive?

You’re stranded on a desert island—which character from your book do you want with you? Why?

Without a doubt, Gavril, the prince of Tryton. He’s resourceful and brave, so if it turns out the island is not so deserted, he could totally deal with any cannibal warriors that may appear. Plus, he’s used to living in medieval times, so he has skills. He can light a fire without a match, trap and skin a rabbit (for food), and knows poison ivy when he sees it. He probably even knows how to fish and build a shelter!

Favorite class in high school. Why?

My 7th grade English class with Mr. Torgeson. He is the teacher who “saw” me. Not only did he recognize I had the ability to write, but he offered to work with me to enter a writing contest. He was the only teacher in all my years of school to go above and beyond the normal classroom interaction to reach out to me. And I will never forget him.

What would you do if you got stuck in another world? 12-year-old Tim Hunter and his two older siblings panicked. Just a little. (Can you blame them?) Unfortunately, the only way they can return home is to steal a magic mirror from an evil queen. Yes, that’s right. Evil! To make matters even worse, enemy soldiers, horrible creatures called galrogs, and even a dragon will do anything to stop them. Do they have what it takes to make it home alive? There’s one way to find out. This fun, fantasy-adventure for middle-grade readers is available on

Read an Excerpt:

Then a strange sound startled me out of my thoughts.

Was that thunder?

Kat stopped and looked around. “What was that noise?”

“Everyone, keep going,” Gavril said from behind me. “We need to get off this bridge now.”

“Why?” I asked. “What’s going on?”

“Just move, Tim!”

Before I had a chance to even take one step, something dark and huge flew over us and let out an ear-splitting roar that shook the entire bridge.

Kat screamed, and we all hit the deck, so to speak. As I clung to the trembling bridge, I could hear a shower of stones falling into the cavern below.

Okay, that definitely wasn’t thunder.

“What was that?” Ron yelled.

“Akar!” Beriman yelled back.

“What’s an Akar?” I asked.

There was another roar, and we all ducked our heads as the shadow swooped over us again. A stream of flames burst from its mouth, lighting up the entire cavern and answering my question.

Akar was a dragon.

About the Author:
Bailey Baxter is the pen name of a somewhat successful copywriter who writes online "junk mail” for health supplement companies. She's been writing stories since childhood. In fact, when she was 12, Bailey wrote and illustrated tiny books that she stapled together and passed to her friend during class. (She was never caught.)

Bailey grew up in Ellington, CT – a small town where cows outnumbered people 2 to 1. She currently lives in Asheville, NC with a mischievous Shih-tzu named Lucy. Fortunately, Asheville is weird - and proud of it - so it gives her plenty of inspiration and plot ideas for new books.

Her first book, The Mirror of Doom, was inspired by a certain pesky brother named "Jimmy" and the childhood desire to find a wardrobe to a place like Narnia.

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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Interview with Amanda Meuwissen

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Amanda Meuwissen will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Why do you write juvenile fiction? What draws you to it?

This was actually my first time writing Young Adult. Part of why I was drawn to it in this case was a few years ago, likely ten years since I’d started the series, I finally read the last book in the Rainbow Boys trilogy by Alex Sanchez. I was also watching Teen Wolf at the time, and between the two, it made me think of one of my favorite movies growing up, My Best Friend is a Vampire. All of those things together created Life as a Teenage Vampire, my newest novel. I was also very inspired by my teenage readers, those who read my adult books and my fanfiction online. I’ve become very active on Tumblr the past few years, and engaging with the younger side of fandom has been very rewarding for me. It definitely inspired me toward this book, and their response to it so far has been wonderful. There’s a part of us that is always our most vulnerable teenage self even when we’ve long since graduated high school, filled with insecurity and the need to belong. I love delving back into that mindset and pulling out something positive for the next generation.

Pretend your protagonist is at school and opens his/her locker – what will we see inside?

Emery would have a poster inside the door for the Spring Play since he has one of the lead roles; a tacked on piece of paper to the outside of the door that says ‘If you see someone talking to a wall, they’re probably in Speech; a smattering of photographs of him and his friends, particularly him and his best friend (and love interest) Connor, who would likely be showing off his newest prosthetic arm design; a very organized stack of books so he can switch things out for classes quickly and not carry everything in his backpack; and the aviator sunglasses Connor gave him for when he’s feeling particularly sensitive to the sun.

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

Time Windows was one of the first books that really drew me in and caused the rest of the world to fall away. It had time travel, parallel dimensions, a ghost story – everything I love – with a protagonist who had just moved to a new town, which was just like me at the time. I also started reading Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles when I was 12. Anything horror was my bag, and I had a serious love of vampires. It amazes me that this is the first time I’ve actually written a vampire story.
,br> What would you write in a letter to your teen self?

Every year you will feel happier than the last. Power through, be thankful, don’t settle for that special someone but don’t be afraid to accept the right one when they do show up, and listen more than you talk. Take a breath. Take another. Always be open minded and listen to other people’s stories. Especially if you disagree with them.

What superpower would you love to have? Why?

I’ve often said I would want pyrokinesis, because I am a fire girl through and through, but to be honest, I’d love Mystique’s power to change my appearance at will. I change my hair all the time, different styles and colors, change my glasses constantly, love getting new clothes – even when playing video games, one of my favorite things is getting new armor – and being able to just will myself to look how I wanted each day would save so much money and be loads of fun, especially when it comes to wanting to cosplay.

What book is on your nightstand currently?

The Bell Jar. I never read that title in high school. I read Catcher in the Rye, and mentioned to a friend recently that it was one of the few mandated books in high school that I enjoyed (other than Shakespeare, which I loved). She said that if I liked that I’d love The Bell Jar because it’s similar but from a female perspective. I’m halfway through…and I despise it to my very core. So I have to finish it. I don’t feel it right for me to criticize something unless I’ve given it it’s fair shake, so I’m going to see if it gets better, see if the protagonist has any redeeming qualities. If not, I may have my new most hated novel of all time, and I never thought anything could beat out my hatred for The Great Gatsby. Hunger Games or Twilight? Why?

Neither. I do not like either of those series. And while I love Harry Potter, if I had to throw out another series to trump those two, for me the best Young Adult series I ever read was The Dark is Rising. I bring up Harry Potter because The Dark is Rising in some ways was Harry Potter forty years before Harry Potter. An eleven-year-old boy discovers he’s actually from a magical race on his birthday and embarks on a journey to save the world. It’s fantastic, to this day one of my favorite book series. It has a sort of Narnia feel to it as well, but with Arthurian legend, which I’ve always been a sucker for, as I adore fae lore. It has rich characters, amazing action, and truly inspired ideas for magic. Twilight for me had too bland a protagonist and too abusive a romantic relationship. It didn’t do vampires the way I like my vampires, as someone who grew up on Anne Rice. And Hunger Games has a very unlikable protagonist to me, and dystopian has never been a genre I enjoy reading.

Favorite TV show from your childhood?

Choosing one is tough, because I was such a TV child, but I think I have to say Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I was just on the cusp of being a teenager when it started airing, and it ended my senior year of high school, so it really was my young adulthood beginning to end. I laughed, I cried, I got angry. I mourned characters, and felt something truly inspiring and fulfilling when it ended. It’s one of the few shows that has a (near) perfect ending for me. The humor, the relationships, the clever writing, and well, use of vampires and so many things I love, it really encompasses childhood for me, especially since I loved the original movie as a child too.

Who was your teenaged crush? Why?

The actor Jonathan Brandis. There’s always something bitter sweet about remembering him, because he very sadly took his own life when he was only in his late twenties, but he was one of my first and longest lasting crushes. First in Neverending Story 2, then older in SeaQuest, and even later as the voice of Mozenrath for the TV version of Aladdin. He just captivated me in everything he did. He could play hero, villain, and burdened hero equally well, and had this mischief about his smile that drew me in. I really mourned his passing, but I try to remember the ways he impacted my life in how he brought characters I loved to life.

Favorite class in high school. Why?

Senior Year, AP Literature and Composition. So many reasons. The teacher, Mr. Krall, was a favorite of any student who had him for his humor and energy. We read some of my favorites, like Shakespeare, and were encouraged to read novels of our own to do papers rather than just the usual fare the school pushed. I also had already aced my AP test for Language and Composition the year before, and since my college of choice would only accept one English AP credit, I didn’t have to take the test for Lit and Comp. It took the edge off, and allowed me to just enjoy what I read and wrote that year.

Emery Mavus just wants to survive his senior year of high school. Becoming a vampire complicates things. So does a bizarre mentor, a group of vampire hunters, and an unexpected, new attraction for his openly gay best friend, Connor. An occasional uncontrollable hunger for blood might be the least of his worries.

Check out this excerpt:

It was a trick. Emery had made it all up, knowing that the details would lead Connor to vampires. These were just Halloween fangs. Connor wasn’t really hypnotized into submission; he was just stunned, believing his own crazy imagination. He’d longed for years to have Emery this close, after all, crowding him into a corner, lips descending. He’d just imagined them descending a little closer to his mouth, though his neck wouldn’t be so bad…

…if not for the sharp sting, the breaking of the skin and rush of blood sucked out of him so fast he felt dizzy, and then—wow.

It didn’t hurt at all. It felt like Emery was tucked into his shoulder intimately, fully aware of the pleasant buzzing he caused in Connor’s gut every time they touched. Connor had dreamed of this, imagined it just like this, and felt lulled by Emery’s body being so close, and the way he shivered feeling those lips on his skin. He almost thought he heard Emery’s soothing voice whispering affirmations he’d always wanted to hear.

“Em…” Connor breathed out, barely audible.

The room was dimming, but he felt cozy where he was. His arms were limp and heavy as he lifted them to pull Emery closer, feeling the soft fabric of the sweater against his somewhat numb right palm. He pulled tighter, twisting flesh and plastic fingers alike in the fabric, pulling…with the faint sense that he should be pushing instead.

“Em…” he choked out like a whimper, like he was crying. Why was he crying? This was everything he’d ever wanted…

About the Author:
Amanda has a Bachelor of Arts in a personally designed major from St. Olaf College in Creative Writing, and has been posting content online for many years, including maintaining the blog for the digital marketing company Outsell. She spent a summer writing screenplay script coverages for a company in L.A., and is an avid consumer of fiction through film, prose, and video games. Amanda lives in Minneapolis, MN, with her husband, John, and their cats, Helga and Sasha (no connection to the incubus of the same name).

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