20 October 2010

Haunted Halloween: Lesley Livingston + A Giveaway!

A Hilltop Encounter
By: Lesley Livingston

“There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy…”

I think Shakespeare’s Hamlet was on to something when he made that observation.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve thought the idea of the unseen world—the existence of ghosts and spirits and gods and creatures like the Faerie, invisible to the human eye or mind—was fascinating. And more than a little thrilling. Fun, even! When I grew up and got to experience the phenomenon first hand… the descriptive word that sprang to mind was something else entirely: scary.

Some years back, I spent three weeks on vacation in Wales. For those of you who’ve never been… I highly recommend it. It is an ancient, wildly beautiful, enchanted land full of—among other wonders—crumbling castle ruins and secretive, mist-shrouded emerald-green forest-robed hills.

One of these hills is neither mist-shrouded, nor green, nor forested. In fact, unlike the surrounding loveliness of the verdant valley in which it resides, this hill is sere and dead, its steep sides covered in spiky brown weedy grasses. But there is a ruined castle at its summit.

So, of course, I was going to have to visit it!

The way up was treacherous—a steep winding goat track. It would be just as bad on the way down, too. Once we reached the summit we wandered around for a bit. The castle—what’s left of it—is a skeletal, forbidding place, mostly scattered stones and a few tattered walls and arches. Still, it was a glorious morning, bright and beautiful, perfect for sight-seeing. Unlike every other historical site we’d visited, though, this place was deserted. Utterly.

And yet…

My companion hailed me from across an open expanse, raising his voice so I could hear him over the wind that howled like the souls of the damned up there (in the vale it had been utterly still): “Are we the only ones up here?” he shouted. “’Cause it feels like…”

“We’re being watched?” I responded.

Yeah. And not by what I would have necessarily characterized as ‘friendly’ eyes.

We made a hasty retreat. We’d spent the better part of the holiday up ’til that point hacking around castle ruins and had never felt anything like that… it was spooky. But on the way down from the top of the tor, the spook-factor leapt off the chart. Treading carefully on the steep and treacherous goat path, I fell not once… but twice. Sure, I admit, I am notoriously clumsy. But both times, I swear to you, I fell because something shoved me—hard—between my shoulders. A hand. I could feel the palm, the fingers, the push…

Halfway down the hill and in desperation, we buried a handful of coins in the dirt on the hillside (an old Welsh bit of superstition), and the wind just… stopped. Also, no more shoving.

I can’t explain it. But back home in Canada, weeks later, I decided to research this particular obscure ruin. It was one of the ones we hadn’t been able to find out much about while visiting. Now… here’s the thing. I was writing my first ever book at the time and, when I finally found some information about the place (the internet was not quite as useful back then—it took some digging), my blood ran cold.

That particular site—it’s actual historical significance—proved to be so closely tied into the mythology I was writing about that I actually wound up setting the climax of the story there. That place made the story work.. It solved all of the plot problems I’d had up until then. And I never would have figured that out if some…thing hadn’t forcefully brought it to my attention.

So, thank you unseen, ghostly presence! I appreciate the nudge. Both of them.

Title: Wonderous Strange (Wonderous Strange, #1)

Synopsis: 17 year-old Kelley Winslow doesn’t believe in Faeries. Not unless they’re the kind that you find in a theatre, spouting Shakespeare—the kind that Kelley so desperately wishes she could be: onstage, under lights, with a pair of sparkly wings strapped to her shoulders. But as the understudy in a two-bit, hopelessly off-off-Broadway production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, wishing is probably the closest she’s going to get to becoming a Faerie Queen. At least, that’s what she thinks... In this fun, urban fantasy, Kelley's off-stage life suddenly becomes as complicated as one of Shakespeare’s plot twists when a nighttime trip to Central Park holds more than meets the mortal eye

Available now from HarperTeen!

Title: Darklight (Wonderous Strange, #2)

Synopsis: Much has changed since autumn, when Kelley Winslow learned she was a Faerie princess, fell in love with changeling guard Sonny Flannery, and saved the mortal realm from the ravages of the Wild Hunt.

Now Kelley is stuck in New York City, rehearsing Romeo and Juliet and missing Sonny more with every stage kiss, while Sonny has been forced back to the Otherworld and into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the remaining Hunters and Queen Mabh herself.

When a terrifying encounter sends Kelley tumbling into the Otherworld, her reunion with Sonny is joyful but destined to be cut short. An ancient, hidden magick is stirring, and a dangerous new enemy is willing to risk everything to claim that power.

Caught in a web of Faerie deception and shifting allegiances, Kelley and Sonny must tread carefully, for each next step could topple a kingdom . . . or tear them apart.

Avaible now from HarperTeen!

Title: Tempestuous (Wonderous Strange, #3)

Synopsis: With a single lie, seventeen-year-old Kelley manages to protect the boy she loves and send him retreating into a haven for Lost Fae hidden below New York City. If she can figure out who’s after Sonny’s magick and uncover the reason why Janus Guards are being recruited to hunt innocent Faerie, Kelley might stand a chance at getting him back…but not before she must finally confront her own Faerie powers and master them.

Available December 2010 From HarperTeen

Order or Perorder all of Lesley's Books Online here:

Amazon | Borders | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository

Find Lesley Online:

Website | Blog | Twitter

Enter to win a SIGNED Paperback copy of
Wonderous Strange!!

Here are the rules and how to enter:

You MUST complete the form to enter. No entries in comments please they won't count. Comments are welcome, so share your love with Lesley!
You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
This contest is open to US only. Sorry!
Contest ends: Nov. 3rd, 2010


Good luck to everyone who enters. If you have any questions, please see my policy page or feel free to email me with any questions.

Lesley, Thank you so much for your story and your donation!

Check out Jessica's Haunted Halloween post with..........

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.

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

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  1. I always love the covers of these books. Interesting story.


  2. I think its awesome that you got your climatic scene from a real creepy experience.

    romancebookjunkiesdanielle at yahoo dot com

  3. Thanks for the story. I think ghost stories are the most mysterious.
    Great giveaway!

  4. Great story! I too have been quite taken with reading about different myths and where they originated from. Wonderous Strange sounds incredible. Thanks for the giveaway. ^_^

    hauntingorchid (at) aol (dot) com

  5. Wow, that's creepy. But still pretty cool!

    Like the covers of these books, they seem very ethereal and intriguing!


  6. It was like it was meant to be! Wow!

    I need to read these! I hear great things about them and have yet to do so!


  7. Its awesome that a scary experience led the you a literary breakthrough.

    jlynettes @ hotmail .com

  8. Great story thanks so much for the chance to win!

    I really need this book :D I have the third book but have yet to read 1 and 2.

    Don't forget to check out my giveaway.


    Ashley's Bookshelf

  9. Thanks for the neat story! I must check out these books :)


  10. Cool story, sounds like quite the interesting site.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  11. Wow cool story! It must have been scary feeling the hand push you! Thanks for the giveaway!

    sophiayunjin @ gmail . com

  12. Thanks for the giveaway! Awesome story... and I envy your trip to Wales. : )

  13. Great Story. I really want to read this series! Great Post!!


  14. I absolutely love this series. I don't know what it is, but I'm hooked on it.

    Love the giveaway too :)

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  15. Woww cannot wait to read this one! Thanks for the giveaway :)


  16. That's fantastic that your vacation helped you write your books! And that where you visited was the climax of the story! That's awesome! Thanks for sharing!


  17. Great, creepy story!

    This is such a great series!


  18. I LOVE Hamlet! It's one of my favorite Shakespeare plays!

    I've read Wondrous Strange, and I really enjoyed it, but I haven't gotten around to reading the sequel yet! I've heard nothing but good things about it though!


  19. I have to agree with Danielle that it's kind of awesome that your big climactic scene is actually inspired by/takes place in an area where you experienced some strange things yourself. Thank your for sharing your story and for the giveaway :D


  20. Oh I'd love to visit Wales one day to see castles and other sites. I think it's pretty neat that place you visited actually ties into your book like that.

    nalynboni AT gmail DOT com

  21. I love these books and the covers are gorgeous!


  22. these look amazing, the covers are divine, very few and dreamy
    i voted

  23. Lovely description of Wales! Definitely want to go there one day. :)


  24. Oh! Now I'm curious as to the tale of the castle! Thanks for the story!

    Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

  25. I think that was really creepy but cool too!

    twilightforever.edward at gmail dot com


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