14 October 2011

Our NY farmhouse predated the 1776 War of Independence by a few years. As someone born in England but raised in the States, this always thrilled me. Crazy King George was still dithering on his throne, and the American rebels were laying their plans and dreaming of their ideal republic when my house was already 10 or 20 years old. People had farmed,  lived and died there, including the eccentric artist we'd bought the house from.

I loved it though the floors slanted and the ceilings were low. Broad beams held up chipping plaster, and heavy split farm doors which had once led outside, now entered into a sun room and a guest bedroom. And outside on a tangled 3 acres of grass, weed and wild flowers, two 200-year old apple trees, gnarled and bent, raised claw-like branches to the sky. On alternate years they still produced apples but they were small, sour and wizened and only the deer and black bears ate them.

We slept upstairs, my toddler son tucked into a bed under the eaves, and my husband and I in a room which spanned the rest of the house but necessitated bending almost double along the edges. It took a few months to get used to the claustrophobic ceiling height but then afterwards it just felt cozy, as if the house was wrapping its arms around us.

Downstairs was the guest room. We had few guests and it was frequently empty, though the cat liked to lie in a pool of sunlight in the doorway. I don't know when I first noticed that she would never go into the room. It was as if an invisible forcefield kept her paws and tail on the dining room side. She never looked altogether comfortable, and normally she was a sprawling, rolling, tail-lashing cat. When the sun had moved on, leaving her on a cool spot, she'd rise and stretch and giving a disgruntled meow would go look for some other warm place. Never once did she turn her nose into that room or jump on the bed.

As soon as you crossed the thresh-hold, you felt it along the hairs on your arms and tapping fingers down your spine. It was always cold in that room. It had the same insulated plaster walls, the same wooden floors, the same caulked windows as the rest of the house. It faced south but it never warmed up. And although we had fine cobwebs all over the house which I could never bring myself to knock down with the broom, all occupied by fat yellow and black banded orb weaver spiders, the webs in that room were dingy and shredded and empty. They flapped in the corners as if a breeze was getting through non-existent cracks. It was as if the cat and the spiders knew nothing could live there, with the deep, biting cold which you could feel through the boards, through the rug, through the soles of your slippers.

Eventually I just closed that door and put a bookshelf in front of it, and the cat found a window-sill in the 
sun-room which suited her fine.

Ashes, Ashes is available now from Scholastic!

Synopsis: A thrilling tale of adventure, romance, and one girl's unyielding courage through the darkest of nightmares. Epidemics, floods, droughts--for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she's rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can't continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There's something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.

Order online:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository

Find Jo Online:

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Enter to win a SIGNED Hardback of Ashes, Ashes OR a SIGNED Audio copy of Ashes, Ashes! 
There will be TWO winners in this giveaway! 

*NOTE: First place winner will get their choice of the Hardback or Audio book. 
Second place winner will receive which ever of the two is remaining. 

Rules and now to enter:

You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
To enter, please fill out the form provided below.
Giveaway open to US/Canadian mailing address only.
Giveaway ends: October 28th, 2011

Don't forget to stop by and check out who Jessica is featuring today for Haunted Halloween!

REMINDER: *If you are interested in the COMMENT CONTEST, remember to include your email address with your comment for an extra entry.
Please ready full entry rules >>>HERE<<< 

Jo, thanks so much for being part of this years Haunted Halloween. Loved the story, talk about a creepy room! I think I would have done the same thing. Also, we can't say thank you enough for the donations for this giveaway. Thank you so much!

*I am not compensated at all for any of the links within this page.

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  1. Awesome giveaway! I really want to read this!

  2. OMG! I really wish I would win the signed hardcover of this book. I adore this cover btw. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Email: osnapitzAngiex3(AT)aol(DOT)com

  3. Haven't heard of this book! Sounds pretty interesting!


  4. Oooh...thanks for including the audio for this one!

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  5. This sounds soo good. Would love to win the hardback. Thanks for the chance to win!


  6. What a great story!! I live in a century old farmhouse myself and I love it. Our is unfortunately drafty though!

    AmethystDaydreams at zoho dot com

  7. Thanks for the wonderful post and giveaway! I really enjoyed the story. This book sounds fantastic! going on my wishlist :)

  8. Ooops, forgot to include my e-mail on the comment I post. Sorry :(


  9. People say that animals can sense what people can't! Must be true :)


  10. Sounds like something I could get into. Thanks for the post.

  11. So many scary stories! Thanks for sharing!


  12. This book sounds fantastic! Thanks for the awesome post and giveaway!


  13. Oh creepy room! But awesome premise for your book! tinas_family3(at)yahoo(dot)com

  14. Once spiders are mentioned, I'm already freaked out!!!

    jadedlittlegirlx AT gmail DOT com

  15. Sounds like a really creepy room not one I would want to go near. Thanks for the giveaway.


  16. Ok this one sounds like one I will really like - if I wasn't on a book buying restriction I would have to pick this one up asap - adding it to my wishlist thanks!
    tlabunski **(gmail))**

  17. This book sounds great. Thanks for the giveaway!


  18. There's a room just like that at my grandmothers house! Two of our family members passed away in it ages ago and it really is the coldest/creepiest room in her house. I refuse to step in it lol


  19. Another fun story and post!

    ashleysbookshelf at gmail dot com

  20. I wish I could live in a house like that, but without the creepy factor. I would take out that room because that is so scary... but I love the history!


  21. Mary DeBorde
    zenrei57 (at) hotmail dot com

    Ashes, Ashes is another dystopian that I've been drooling to read!!! I can't believe all these wonderful giveaways - thank you so very much :D

  22. I have been wanting to read Ashes, Ashes. Thank you so much for sharing with us today and for the awesome giveaway opportunity.


  23. I would not be okay with a room that my cat refused to go into and that raised goosebumps on my arms. It's more than a little terrifying, but certainly makes for a good story.


  24. Goodness, that's so creepy! I have no idea what I would have done in that situation.

    readingfever {@} gmail dot com

  25. I so would have boarded up that room closed forever! Great post and great giveaway:)

    bchild5 at aol dot com


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