31 October 2012

The Pink Lady
A Halloween Blog Post 
by Michael Griffo

When I was eleven-years-old I had my first nightmare.  Up until then my sleep had not been invaded by disfigured murderers or grotesque creatures or vengeful aliens.  Up until then my sleep was peaceful.  All that changed with the arrival of The Pink Lady.
I remember the first night she visited me because it was the night before my family moved from an apartment in the city to a house in the suburbs.  We were leaving behind concrete, endless rows of conjoined tenement buildings, and noise to enter a world filled with grass, detached one-family homes, and quiet.  I was thrilled because I was going to be able to play outside in my own backyard, nearby would be swimming pools, parks, and tennis courts.  And, most of all, I would finally have my own bedroom.
The night before we moved I went to bed later than usual, way past my bedtime.  I shared a room with my older brother so I wasn’t alone, but since he wasn’t as excited as I was about moving away from familiar territory he had turned in earlier that night.  By the time I crawled into bed, he was fast asleep.
For a few minutes I was wide awake thinking about how my life would change the next day, but slowly the sights and sounds around me began to fade away.  Gone were the packed boxes lining the wall in my room, gone were the sounds of my parents doing last-minute packing in the kitchen.  Soon they were replaced by dreams of my new life.  And very soon after that those happy dreams were shattered.
I heard her first.  In the darkness I could hear clicking, a steady rhythm, click-click, click-click, and I thought the blinds were hitting against the window, but there was no breeze.  The air was still, as if it were holding its breath in anticipation of what was coming.
The clicking continued, getting closer and closer and my own breath stopped flowing when I realized the sound was footsteps.  Click-click, click-click.  Heels clicking against the steps in the hallway, the steps that lead up to our apartment door, the door that opened up to the kitchen which was only one room away from where I slept.
Out of necessity my breathing returned, the sound so quick and harsh that it took me a few moments to notice the clicking had stopped.  Not because the person making the sound had moved on, but because she had reached her destination.
I knew that my parents had locked the front door, they never went to bed without making sure the two locks were bolted and the chain was put in place.  But somehow, and I’ll never know how, the door slowly creaked open as if my parents had left it unlocked or as if the intruder had her own key.
The clicks returned as someone entered the kitchen and then slowly closed the front door.  When I heard the two locks snap back into place and the jangle as the chain was put back into its slot I tried to rise from my bed, but it was as if I was being strapped down.  My arms, my legs, my head, all felt like they were being pressed down by some unseen force, whatever it was it weighed tons because I couldn’t move an inch.  All I could do was wait.
Outside the moon was only half-full but it shone brightly so some of its glow filtered through the window and into my room.  As the clicking resumed, I struggled and was finally able to turn my head to face my brother.  I could see his face, but his eyes were closed and I could hear his slow, even breaths, telltale signs that he was sound asleep.  I wished to God that I could be so fortunate, I tried to will myself to fall asleep right at the very second.  But how can you fall asleep when there’s a strange woman standing at the foot of your bed?
The panic raced through my body like a rat running through a maze.  I could feel it ricocheting from side to side, hitting a limb, traveling up my legs, down my arms, moving blindly, unable to stop.  Despite the fear that was gripping me I couldn’t close my eyes, I kept staring at The Pink Lady and I’ll never forget what I saw.
At the foot of my bed was a woman wearing a pink jacket and matching skirt, tight-fitting, hugging the curves of her body.  She looked normal.  Her left arm was bent and the fingers of her pink-gloved hand were touching her chin.  On her head she wore a pink hat with a huge brim that tilted forward and camouflaged the right side of her face.  The left side of her face was visible in the moonlight and there was just enough illumination for me to see that whatever she was, she was anything but normal.
Some of her skin was the same color as her outfit, but most of it was either blood-red or charcoal gray.  The discolored portion of her face drooped, hung from the bone as if it had caught on fire, but hadn’t melted off entirely.  The iris of the one eye that I could see was bright red and the flesh around the socket was so thin it looked like someone scooped out the skin around her eye.  As I peered at it I remember thinking that it looked like it was suspended in mid-air, as if it wasn’t connected to the rest of her face.  Unfortunately, her face, her stare was connected to me.
Her gaze was relentless, she never blinked (though I’m not sure she could have even if she wanted to), and her stare was filled with disgust and accusation and cruelty.  I knew instinctively that she wanted to make my last night in this room a living hell.
I was only half right.
She placed one hand on my bed and then another pausing only to lift her head so I could see her thin, burnt lips spread out into a ghastly smile.  I tried to lift my legs to kick her, raise my arms to push her away, open my mouth to scream, but I was frozen, pinned to my mattress unable to defend myself in any way.  I was unable to do anything, but watch The Pink Lady crawl up my bed, lift one hand, then another, her body grazing against me, until her face was directly above mine.
Lowering her head, her one crimson eye stared at me, taking in my terrified face and she laughed silently.  The smell that escaped her lips was putrid, like unattended waste, and covered me like a soiled blanket.  She lowered her head even further until her lips were pressed against my ear.
“I will never let you leave,” she hissed.

When I woke the next morning it took me several minutes to discover that I could move.  I was once again in control of my body.  I breathed in deeply and the room smelled as fresh as the sunshine pouring through my window.  The scent of rotting garbage was a memory.
Every once in a while during the drive to our new home I would get a flash of The Pink Lady in my mind’s eye.  Sitting in the front seat in between my parents, standing on the side of the highway, looking at me in the rear view mirror.  But those images weren’t real, she wasn’t real.  She had just been a nightmare.
That’s what I thought.  That’s what I hoped.
When we pulled into the driveway I clung to those feelings, but when I reached the top of the stairs they were viciously plucked from my heart.
“How lovely,” I remember hearing my mother say as she picked up the planter that had been left in front of our new door.  A planter filled with thirteen roses all the same beautiful shade of pink.
Two words were hand-written on the card that had been placed in the center of the roses.  When I read them I shuddered so violently I had to grab hold of the banister so I didn’t fall over.
Welcome home.

Title: Unafraid (Archangel Academy #3)
Author: Michael Griffo
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation, 352 Pages (February 28th, 2012)
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis: The boarding school known as Archangel Academy possesses a legacy of secrets known only to a privileged few. For in this peaceful, charming part of England lives a population of vampires at war with one another--and Michael Howard is caught in the middle of it all. . .When Michael left his small Nebraska hometown to enroll at Archangel Academy, he couldn't have imagined how much the experience would change him. Once mortal, Michael is now a vampire with a destiny that was foretold long ago, and a group of friends with their own mysterious abilities.

But there are enemies too, some of them hiding in plain sight. Being strong enough to defend himself isn't enough. Michael must find a way to protect his entire race of vampires. Dark forces within the school will drive everyone to take sides in the escalating violence. And for all his new powers, Michael will discover that love, jealousy, and vengeance have a danger all their own. . .

Find Michael Online:

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Order The Archangel Academy Series Online:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository

Also, check out two other books Michael has for sale – HOLD BACK THE NIGHT, a supernatural saga (Dark Shadows meets Knots Landing!) and PEN PALS – female fiction based on his mother’s real-life relationship with her British pen pal >>>CLICK HERE<<< for more info and how to order.

Book Trailer:


  • THREE winners will receive the above title

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  • This giveaway is open to US & CANADIAN residents only.
  • Giveaway ends: November 20th, 2012 (12:01AM EST)

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Michael, thanks for writing this truly terrifying story for this years Haunted Halloween. Each year I save the 31st for what I believe is the scariest story and yours has won that place. Your story really freaked me out and I hope it does that for everyone who reads it too.

Also a HUGE thank  you goes out to Kensington for donating the three copies of Unafraid for giveaway.

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"Waiting On" Wednesday is an event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. The purpose of this weekly event is to spotlight a soon-to-be-released book that you are very much anticipating. "Waiting On" Wednesday will also give bloggers an opportunity to share ideas for our TBR lists.

Title: Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2)
Author: Veronica Rossi
Publisher: HarperCollins, 400 Pages (January 8th, 2013)
Add to: Goodreads
Pre-order here: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository

Synopsis: A world-defying love is put to the ultimate test in the heart-stopping sequel to Veronica Rossi's "masterpiece," Under the Never Sky. (Examiner.com)

It's been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don't take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe's precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both.

Threatened by false friends, hidden enemies, and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?

In this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and dystopian elements to create a captivating love story as perilous as it is unforgettable.

Title: Nobody
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: EgmontUSA, 400 Pages (January 22nd, 2013)
Add to: Goodreads
Pre-order here: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository

Synopsis: There are people in this world who are Nobody. No one sees them. No one notices them. They live their lives under the radar, forgotten as soon as you turn away.

That’s why they make the perfect assassins.

The Institute finds these people when they’re young and takes them away for training. But an untrained Nobody is a threat to their organization. And threats must be eliminated.

Sixteen-year-old Claire has been invisible her whole life, missed by the Institute’s monitoring. But now they’ve ID’ed her and send seventeen-year-old Nix to remove her. Yet the moment he lays eyes on her, he can’t make the hit. It’s as if Claire and Nix are the only people in the world for each other. And they are—because no one else ever notices them.

Two titles for this weeks WoW. One that I've been dying to read since I finished the first title in the trilogy. I need to read Through the Ever Night like I need to breath. Yes, I'm freaking out about this one and I can't wait to finally get more of Perry & Aria and Roar & Liv. If you haven't read Under the Never Sky, you have no idea what you're missing. The second book that I picked today sounds pretty amazing too. I mean anything that has teen assassins in it is a must read in my book. 

What do you guys think of this weeks picks?

*covers are always subject to change.

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30 October 2012

Haunted Halloween 2012: Adult Title GIVEAWAY!!!

Last year we held a giveaway for some Adult Titles and this year we thought we'd do it all over again! We know A LOT of our readers will be happy about that and we have some amazing titles that we'd like to give away to YOU! So, check out what you can win and good luck to each and everyone of you!

Will receive 13 books + swag pack!

Fate's Edge By: Ilona Andrews
Death's Rival By: Faith Hunter
Bitter Seed of Magic By: Suzanne McLeod
Unbroken By: Rachel Caine
The Bride Wore Black Leather By: Simon R. Green
Magic on the Line By: Devon Monk
Mysterious Minnesota: Digging Up the Ghostly Past at 13 Haunted Sites By: Adrian Lee
Encounter with Hell: My Terrifying Clash with a Demonic Entity By: Alexis McQuillan
In the Presence of Spirits By: Barbara Parks
Restless in Peace By: Mariah de la Croix
A Wedding in Haiti By: Julia Alvarez
The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving By: Jonathan Evison
The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro

Will receive 11 books + swag pack!

Poughkeepsie By: Debra Anastasia
Dead Mann Running By: Stefan Petrucha
Taken By: Benedict Jacka
Left Hand Magic By: Nancy A. Collins
Acquainted with the Night  By: Piper Maitland
The Cross: Vampire Federation By: Sean McCabe
Haunted  By: Jeanne C. Stein
A Haunted Love Story By: Mark Spencer
The Receptionist By: Janey Groth
All Woman and Springtime By: Brandon W. Jones
The Aleppo Codex By: Matti Friedman

Those are some serious Adult Title Prize Packs, right? I think they are pretty amazing if I do say so myself! AND they are for TWO LUCKY WINNERS!!! YAY! So, common all you over 18 year olds and enter to win today!

  • Each winner will receive one of the above prize packs depending on what place they have won.

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  • This giveaway is open to US residents only. SORRY! Postage is killing us this month. I hope you understand.
  • Giveaway ends: November 17th, 2012 (12:01AM EST)

NOTE: This is the SAME Rafflecopter form you will find at Confessions of a Bookoholic.

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A HUGE THANK YOU to all the many publishers who have donated this month for our Haunted Halloween Event. Without you and the many authors and friends, this event would be nothing that it is today. Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!

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This is a true story — least as “true” as my imperfect memory can conjure up. And when a fiction writer tells you a story is true, you ought to pay close attention. We lie for a living.

These events took place in June, 2009 in the Catskills Mountains of New York. The names have been changed out of friendship and respect.

I'd never been to a weekend writers retreat. But when a couple of good friends invited me, I found myself jumping at the chance. There were five of us in all and, for the purposes of this story, let's call them Jezzie, Meredith, Ryan and Vera.

Jezzie and Meredith I'd known for years. Both were published novelists. Both brilliant and engaging people. Vera I'd met a few times but, as yet, couldn't really call her a friend. That would change — big time. As it would with Ryan, whom I'd never met at all, except via a writers forum we all belonged to.

By the end of the weekend, a very special camaraderie would develop among the five of us. And not just because of shared meals, swapped stories, and ... well ... alcohol. But, in no small part, because of our sixth “member”.

Jezzie and Vera had set the whole thing up — a big Victorian house outside of a remote town in the Catskills, all alone on a steep mountainside, near a stream. From the outside, the place kind of defined “quaint”: a gabled roof, a wrap-around porch, large windows and doors of heavy wood.

Inside, the first floor included a “great room”, with living and dining areas, a large, fully equipped kitchen, a living room (with the only land-line phone), a media room (with T.V., stereo, etc.), and a couple of small bedrooms, neither of which we used. Up the central staircase, the second floor hallway fed a single bath — the only one in the house — and five more bedrooms. Only the front bedroom had a king size bed in it.
I was lucky enough to get that room, as I'm a man of some — well — size.

At first, as we arrived one or two at a time, the mood was tentative. We were getting to know one another, feeling each other out. Then, as those early hours passed and we shared our first meal, things slowly began to relax. That's how it goes at such events, in my experience. That night, exhausted from the drive and the new environment, I slept like a bear.

The next day, Friday, we spent writing and sharing story ideas. All of us gathered around the huge antique wooden dining table, our laptops plugged into every available outlets, toiling at whatever our Work-In-Progress d'jour happened to be. For hours we'd type in silence, only to have someone stop and read a passage that they’d written and wanted to test out.

It was a great day.

That night — or, more precisely — early the next morning, things took a turn.

I awoke around eight. Sunlight was streaming through the high windows in my bedroom. The house was still asleep. So I lay there for several minutes, awake but comfortable, thinking about nothing in particular, my gaze settled on the closed door for no particular reason.

Then I felt someone climb onto the other side of the bed.

Those of you who have children will know exactly what I mean. The mattress dips with first one knee and then the next. If the mattress is older, as this one was, there might even be a little bouncing involved — not much, but enough to awake a sleeping parent.

Except I was awake, and my kids were mostly grown and a long way from here.

A moment later, before I could even really react, a voice — a little girl's voice — whispered in my ear, clear as a bell: “Daddy?”

I tried to turn my head, to whip it around really. But I couldn't! It felt like a small hand was pressing on side of my face! The pressure was playful but surprisingly firm, and I had to really harness my strength to break it.

It felt like forever, but was probably no more than a few seconds, before I managed to twist my body, shift my weight and finally look at the other side of the bed. As I did, the pressure immediately vanished, as did the child's weight on the mattress.

I was completely alone in the room — with my heart in my throat.

Needless to say, I got the hell out of there.

Sometime later, as I sat down in the great room, my friends rose and the day started. We all had breakfast. We all spent the morning writing or editing. Then, just before noon, Jezzie, Meredith and I drove into town to bring back lunch. On the way, we stopped at a local ATM.

And while standing in line with these two people — both of whom I knew well and trusted — I said, “I had a crazy dream this morning ...”

Then I told them. I told them all of it.

When I finished, they looked at me. The stranger standing in front of us at the ATM looked at me. For a long time, nobody spoke.

I felt like an idiot.

Then, very quietly, Meredith said, “I've been seeing a little girl around the house all weekend.”

Now it was her turn to be looked at.

Meredith had a daughter who, like my kids, was home — not here. Yet yesterday, as Meredith had been working alone at the dining room table, she'd seen a little girl walk up the main floor hallway and disappear into one of the unused bedrooms. At first, her distracted mind had assumed, as parents will, that it was her daughter. Then, of course, the absurdity of that had dawned and Meredith had stood and gone into the bedroom to look.

She had found it empty.

This next part of my story remains a point of some contention. As I remember it, the three of us agreed to hold off telling the others. I don't really remember why, just that we did. Except, the moment we got back to house, Meredith marched it and announced, “Ty was touched by a ghost!”

And Ryan, who was sitting on the couch with his laptop, looked up and said sheepishly, “Um ... I didn't want to say anything, but I've been sensing a little girl in this house since I got here.” Sensing. That was the word he used. He's from California. 'Nuff said. (Kidding, buddy!)

Well, we searched the house, top to bottom. Nothing. Vera and Jezzie complained that neither of them had run into anything so “interesting.” We talked about the supernatural, about our various — and varied — belief systems, and then finally we went back to work. This was a writers retreat after all. There was writing to be done.

But as the day got long, I kept thinking about the necessity of my spending one more night in that bedroom upstairs.

I admit it: I was spooked. No pun intended.

As the windows grew dark, sometime after supper, I found myself in the kitchen with Meredith, cleaning up the dinner dishes. There, mustering up my courage, I said what I'd been too embarrassed to say before now, “I'm ... really freaked out about sleeping in that room tonight.”

Meredith seemed genuinely surprised. “Are you? You don't have to be. She's just a little girl.”

“A little dead girl,” I said.

“Look,” she told me. “All you need to do is: just after you shut off the light say, 'Little girl, thank you for your visit last night. But I'm not your daddy, and what you did really frightened me. So I'm going to ask you to please let me sleep in peace tonight.' Then you won't have any problems at all.”

Ridiculous. Right?

Well, around midnight in that dark house, with mostly everyone else in bed and with my exhaustion warring with my trepidation, I gave the ridiculous a try. I said what Meredith suggested, exactly the way she suggested it.

Then, I slept.

In the morning I awoke, immensely relieved. No ghostly visitation. No little hand on my face or child's weight on the bed.

It was Sunday morning and we were all rising early. Ryan and I would be leaving first for the long drive down to Newark airport, where he would catch his plane west.

I went downstairs and found him sitting on the couch, completely spent. “You okay?” I asked him.

He looked up at me with bloodshot eyes. “I had a ... visitor ... last night.”

“Oh,” I said.

“After you all went up to bed, I stayed down here and worked a little longer. After a while, I started hearing someone in the kitchen. It sounded like they were opening and closing drawers. I could hear the utensils clattering around as they did it.”

“Jeez,” I said, sitting down. “Did you check it out?”

“No, I didn't 'check it out'!” he exclaimed. “I sat here on the couch, put my head down, and pretended I couldn't hear it! Except, a few minutes later, I started hearing footsteps walking back and forth in the room with me! Right there!” He pointed to the empty space between his couch and mine.

“Well that did it,” he said. “I went upstairs. But, after I'd gotten into bed, I found out that the the footsteps had followed me! There was someone walking around in my bedroom! So I threw the covers over my head and ... well ... just waited for the night to end.”

Ryan met my eyes, tired and shaken. “What I don't get is why? Why come to me all of a sudden?”

I looked at my friend, my new friend, as I'd never met him before this weekend. And here's what I didn't say. I didn't say: “Well, last night I asked her not to bug me. So maybe she decided to bug the only other man on the premises.

“Maybe there's a little girl in this house ... looking for her daddy.”

We all went home that morning, with the retreat declared a resounding success on many levels. I told my wife what happened. I told my family and co-workers. And, over the course of the next year, Vera, Jezzie, Ryan, Meredith and I discussed it online.

The following June, we scheduled another retreat and Jezzie booked the same house. I admit I had — mixed feelings — about that.

But there was nothing. No ghosts. No footsteps. Nobody “sensed” anything.

I had no idea why, but the whatever was haunting that amazing house had apparently gone.

What did it all mean? Was it real or did I doze off that morning and dream what happened to me? Did Meredith doze off at the dining room table? Did poor Ryan doze off on the couch with his laptop, then wake up and go upstairs to bed, only to have to same disturbing dream?

Or was there really a little girl in that house. And, if so, did she finally find her daddy?

I hope so.

Title: Queen of the Dead (The Undertakers #2)
Author: Ty Drago
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 432 Pages (October 1st, 2012)
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis: Twelve -year old Will Ritter and his rag-tag army of teenage resistance fighters may have triumphed over the Zombies last time, but that's the thing about the dead: they keep coming back.

A new Corpse leader has crossed the rift and taken command of the invasion: The Queen of the Dead is even more brilliant and ruthless than her predecessor, and her ambitions are even deadlier. Will and the crew must somehow rescue his mother, prevent an assassination, and show FBI Agent Ramirez the truth about the Corpses-and the danger the world faces.

But how do a bunch of kids prove to a grown-up that monsters are real?

Find Ty Online:

Website/Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Order Ty's Books Online:

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  • FIVE winners will each receive a copy of this title

Rules and how to enter -

  • Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter this giveaway.
  • Name & Email Address must be provided. (Easy Entry, just click the form & it does it for you!)
  • You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
  • This giveaway is open to US residents only.
  • Giveaway ends: November 19th, 2012 (12:01AM EST)

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Ty, it's great having you back on my blog for Haunted Halloween. LOVED your story, it is the perfect addition to our scary month long event. 

Also, a HUGE thank you go Sourcebooks for donation the copies of Queen of the Dead for this giveaway.

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<<<

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It snowed the day she came back into my life. A late fall storm that blanketed red and gold leaves with white sugar icing. It had been humid and gray the day they’d buried her.

Today, as snow fell upon a sea of maple, her voice whispered against me. The heat began in my heart and shot outwards, bleeding off my fingers as memories called to me, my name on her soft, so soft, lips. Outside, the storm continued, but I couldn’t see through where my breath had fogged the window. When I turned around, she was perched on the edge of the bed, waiting for me to join her.

Blonde hair curled over her shoulders, blue eyes stared through me, drawing me in. When she reached for me, I fell to my knees in front of her, pulling her against me. The exquisite feel of her touch burned through me. I had forgotten how soft skin could be, how sweet the breath shared in that first kiss, how wonderful she was, how alive and beautiful and mine.

She was gone when I awoke, though her scent lingered. As it always had. That first kiss still wet my lips, the taste of her on my tongue. I dragged myself away, refusing to look behind me to see the empty bed. I couldn’t help myself, I never could. I looked.

She was perched on the edge of the bed, waiting, once again, for me to join her. There was nothing else but her, smiling at me and with each step I took towards her, that glorious smile grew. She was waiting, willing. Oh, so willing.

Blue eyes pierced me to the core as her memory called my name. Soft, sweet, beautiful, wonderful, I had never stopped missing her. Not when I buried her. Not in all the days since. There was a vast emptiness within where she had been. I missed her, still. I missed her, always.

I remembered watching her die, holding her in my arms as she drew that last precious breath before she left me. Alone. Forever alone. Now, it was snowing and, once more, I held her in my arms. She kissed away each tear that slid down my cheek, banishing the nightmare that had been her death. Promising me that I’d never be alone again. That she’d fill the void I’d lived with for so very long.

With her whisper-sweet voice, she invited me to join her, to never miss her again. To never be alone. To be with her. Forever. Always.

That she finally wanted me as much as I had always wanted her. She was there, waiting. Waiting for me. After all these years, living through the nightmare of my life without her, she’d finally forgiven me for killing her.

And all I had to do was die.

Title: Henry Franks: A Novel
Author: Peter Adam Salomon
Publisher: Flux, 288 Pages (September 2012)
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis: A dark, psychological thriller about a boy's search for himself

Four thousand, three hundred and seventeen stitches, his father had told him once. All the King's horses and all the King's men had put Henry Franks back together again.

One year ago, a terrible accident robbed Henry Franks of his mother and his memories. The past sixteen years have vanished. All he has now are scars and a distant father—the only one who can tell Henry who he is.

If he could trust his father.

Can his nightmares—a sweet little girl calling him Daddy, murderous urges, dead bodies—help him remember?

While a serial killer stalks their small Georgia town, Henry unearths the bitter truth behind his mother’s death—and the terrifying secrets of his own dark past.

Sometimes, the only thing worse than forgetting is remembering.

Find Peter Online:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Order Henry Franks Online:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository


  • ONE winner will receive a copy of the above title

Rules and how to enter -

  • Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter this giveaway.
  • Name & Email Address must be provided. (Easy Entry, just click the form & it does it for you!)
  • You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
  • This giveaway is open to US residents only.
  • Giveaway ends: November 19th, 2012 (12:01AM EST)

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Peter, thank you for sharing such a dark and creepy story perfect for Halloween! I know I enjoyed reading and had goosebumps the whole time. 

Thank you also goes out to Flux for donation a copy of Henry Franks for this giveaway.

REMINDER: *If you are interested in the COMMENT CONTEST, remember to include your email address with your comment for an extra entry.
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29 October 2012

Haunted Halloween 2012: COVER VOTING!

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Photo credit to: http://www.emilysbridge.com/
Emily’s Bridge

“Are you sure this is it?” Jen asks.

I stare through the windshield at the old covered bridge. It looks smaller than I thought it would: narrow and short.

“That’s what the map says.” My voice comes out in a whisper, though we’re the only two people in the car. The only two people for miles probably.

“Should we get out?”

“I don’t know.”

It is not fully dark, though the sky is gray and the sun has long since disappeared behind the trees. There is something sinister about the way the fading light falls on the wooden beams that are just visible inside the open doorway.

“Well, we can’t just sit here.” Now Jen is whispering too. “Let’s go through it at least.”

I try not to swallow too loudly as I shift the car into drive again. We start to inch closer to the dark opening of the bridge.


I slam on the brakes at Jen’s hushed command. Even though we weren’t going very fast, both of us lurch forward. “What is it?” I ask.

“Do you really think the story is true?” Jen taps on the dashboard in a nervous gesture. “God, this place is creepy.”

“Maybe it is. How should I know?” We are closer to the bridge now, and I can see the interlocking beams that zigzag across the ceiling. That’s where she would have hanged herself, I think.

“We shouldn’t have come here. It’s too close to Halloween.” Jen laughs, though it sounds weirdly high-pitched in the small space of the car. “Let’s just turn around.”

“You’re not afraid of a little ghost, are you?” I struggle to keep my voice light.

I can practically feel Jen rolling her eyes. “You’re the one who wanted to come here tonight. Not me.”

I don’t answer. She’s right, of course. I’m the one who read about Emily’s Bridge in Joseph Cistro’s book of true horror stories, Passing Strange, True Tales of New England Hauntings and Horrors, and I’m the one who convinced Jen to take this hour-and-a-half road trip to see what it was like. But I wasn’t expecting to get here so late, right as the day was shifting into night, and I wasn’t prepared for how I’d feel – hollow in the very bottom of my stomach, anticipating something I wasn’t sure I wanted to experience in the first place.

“Okay, okay, I’m not freaking out.” Jen takes a visibly deep breath, her shoulders rising and falling. “Do it. I’m ready. Drive.”

But for some reason, I cannot make my feet move. The bridge looms in front of us, and now it looks massive, dark and crawling with shadows.

I try not to think about the fact that Emily was our age when she killed herself on this covered bridge in Stowe, Vermont. The story goes that she was jilted by her fiancé on the night they were supposed to be married. When she found him gone, she came here with a rope, tied it to the beams in the ceiling, and swung out into the air. I can almost picture it now, as I stare at the bridge, can almost see her feet dangling inches from the rough, wooden floor. Who found her, I wonder? Her mother, frantically screaming her name? Her friends, only 17 like she was, old enough to have their hearts broken, old enough to chose to die?

“What do they say happens here?” Jen doesn’t mention the fact that I haven’t started driving.

“The usual ghost stuff. Fingernails scratching against the car. Thumps on the roof. Stuff like that.”

“But she can’t like, get in the car?”

I force myself to laugh. “She’s not even real, right? It’s just a story.”

“Then why aren’t you driving?”

Good point.

I slowly take my foot off the brake and the car rolls forward. We are almost at the open door.

“Don’t go so slow,” Jen snaps.

I step on the gas. My hands are sweaty on the steering wheel. We edge forward, until we’re inside the bridge. Everything is darker in here, like it is already fully night.

Suddenly, Jen goes still. “Did you hear that?”

“What?” We are crawling forward, but the other end of the bridge might as well be a mile away. I want to go faster, but I can’t seem to make my feet press any harder on the gas pedal. My heart feels like it is in my chest, my throat, pulsing.

“There’s a bumping noise.” Jen’s voice sounds strained and low. I listen carefully. And then I hear a dull thud that sounds like it’s coming from somewhere above us.

It’s her feet. It’s her feet swinging against the roof of the car.

No. Be rational. “It’s probably the wind,” I say, though neither Jen nor I believe it.

“Just go,” she shouts, and I automatically step on the gas. We fly out the other end of the bridge.

As soon as the wooden structure is out of sight, I stop the car. Jen is breathing hard. I am too, I realize. We sit there for a moment in silence. Finally, Jen begins to laugh. “Oh god, I think I just peed my pants.”

“My heart is racing,” I whisper.

“I don’t care if we’re best friends. The next time you want to go to a haunted bridge, you’re on your own.”

“Don’t worry, I’m never doing that again.”

“Let’s go home,” Jen says. She sits back in her seat.

I loosen my hands from the steering wheel. It feels like they are claws, and I have to work to pry them apart. Was that her in the bridge, thumping on the roof of the car? Was she trying to contact us in some way? Maybe we reminded her of herself, young and filled with longing, waiting for something exciting to happen.

I’ll never know the truth, if it was the ghost of Emily, or the wind, or just our fear creating the illusion of noise, but I meant what I said to Jen that day. I never went back to Emily’s Bridge.

Title: So Close to You (So Close to You #1)
Author: Rachel Carter
Publisher: HarperTeen, 320 Pages (July 10th, 2012)
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis: Lydia Bentley has heard stories about the Montauk Project all her life: stories about the strange things that took place at the abandoned military base near her home and the people who've disappeared over the years. Stories about people like her own great-grandfather.

When Lydia stumbles into a portal that transports her to a dangerous and strange new reality, she discovers that all the stories she's ever heard about the Montauk Project are true, and that she's in the middle of one of the most dangerous experiments in history.

Alongside a darkly mysterious boy she is wary to trust, Lydia begins to unravel the secrets surrounding the Project. But the truths behind these secrets force her to question all her choices--and if Lydia chooses wrong, she might not save her family but destroy them . . . and herself.

Bio: Rachel Carter is the author of So Close to You, the first book in a time travel trilogy from HarperTeen. She grew up in the woods of Vermont, and graduated from Columbia University with an MFA in nonfiction writing.

Find Rachel Online: 

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Book Trailer:


  • ONE winner will receive a copy of the above title

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Giveaway ends: November 18th, 2012 (12:01AM EST)

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Rachel, thanks for writing this scary story for us. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to go through a bridge or even see a bridge the same way again after this. Also, a HUGE thank you for offering the copy of So Close To You for giveaway.

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Two days.

That’s how long my now-husband and I had to find a place to live after I got the call from Mills College that I’d been accepted into their MFA program for fiction. We had neither the funds, time off of work, nor plan for moving from Nashville, but we knew we had to move. It was a non-negotiable; Mills was my dream, northern California was our goal, and the rest would just have to fall into place.

And so during our two-day tour of the Bay Area, we found ourselves returning to the island city of Alameda, a city bordering Oakland with a view of San Francisco from the beach. Though we’d toured a handful of apartments, we signed a lease with the property manager, Marie, for the first one we saw – a tiny, one-bedroom place in a 1920s building, and the only apartment we could find with rent below $1,000 a month. Our new home was ours.

One grueling cross-country trek later, we arrived in Alameda, cats in tow and somewhat clueless as to how we were going to make this new life. But we loved our new apartment. Its old details were charming. It had an intercom from the stoop. It had a stoop! It was located on the corner of some downtown action. We could walk everywhere. And surprisingly, the apartment had one giant closet, a coveted feature in Northern California, especially in buildings this old. Strangely disproportionate and oddly placed, the closet was located in the living room, and was approximately half the size of the living room, with a built-in dresser and a tiny window facing the street below.

Our first days were exhausting. We battled the feeling of dislocation that comes with a major move. My husband worked nights at the time, so we kept shifts in the new apartment, living our lives in parallel, rarely seeing one another.

I first heard the murmuring while I was unpacking one night. My husband was asleep in the bedroom and I was pulling books from a box in the living room. No radio on, no television. The windows were closed. I was thinking about the orientation I’d be attending at Mills a couple days later. In my right ear, I felt a sort of popping sensation, as though a vacuum had pulled the sound from the room. Everything went very still. And then a sort of muttering. Very low, completely indistinguishable. I reeled, my mouth open, ready to scold my husband for teasing me. I was positive he’d snuck up behind me to scare me. But when I turned, there was no one there. The room felt heavy. I went to the bedroom and found my husband sound asleep. My cats were nowhere in sight, a difficult feat to accomplish in an apartment so small. I dismissed the whole ordeal, deciding I was clearly tired and imagining things.

The next morning, I’d forgotten anything had happened, and we were back at the task of unpacking. My husband was in the living room, picking up where I’d left off with the books. I was in the kitchen, stacking plates in cupboards.

From around the corner, he said “What?”

“What what?”

“I didn’t hear you. You were mumbling,” he said.

I climbed down from the kitchen counter and rounded the corner to the living room.

“I didn’t say anything.”

“Yeah you did. You were telling me something, but you were muttering.”

I shook off a chill, then told him to show me where he was standing.

“Which ear did you hear the muttering in?”

He pointed to his right ear.

I told him what had happened to me the night before, the events of which I’d forgotten about until now.

“It sounded like a woman,” he said.

We looked around for an open window, something we’d missed. Anything. But there was nothing. Still no sign of the cats.

Things were quiet for a week or two after that. My husband was busy with work. I was busy with school. So while we’d parked ourselves on the couch in the living room one afternoon for a well-earned day of rest, we were stunned to find one of our cats, finally emerged and beginning to skulk around the apartment, wander into the room. As cats are known to do, he headed straight for the closet in the living room, hoping, I’m sure, for a place to hunker down for a mid-day nap. But when he rounded the corner, something caught his eye, something neither my husband nor I could see.

Our cat stopped dead in his tracks, hunched his back, and all the fur along his spine stood on end. His eyes, wide and unblinking, were fixed on the upper corner of the closet. We followed his gaze but saw nothing. The cat stood like that for a full minute before backing slowly out of the closet – never taking his eyes from the corner of it – then bolted around the corner. We didn’t see him for the rest of the day.

As time went on, we began to settle into our lives in our new city. The cats were unusually skittish, but we attributed that mostly to the move and the new surroundings. It seemed we’d mostly forgotten about the strange happenings. Yet, that’s always when things began to happen again.

It was my habit to fall asleep on the couch reading for school in those days. Because my husband worked nights, I was more comfortable trying to wait up for him so we could go to bed together. It was on one of those particular nights that I was startled awake at 3:00 in the morning. I figured I was hearing my husband come through the door, but when I woke, there was no one there. No husband. No cats. No one. And that was what was so unsettling. Because I should have heard something. The sound of the radiator. The buses going by outside (we lived on a busy street). But I recognized this silence. It was the same silence I’d heard right before the murmuring in my right ear that first week in our apartment. And though no murmuring came this time, I had the distinct impression I was not alone. The air was dense and motionless, and I was disturbed enough to feel like I couldn’t move. I stayed rooted to that spot on the couch until my husband came home an hour and a half later.

Other occurrences followed. A fold-down ironing board slammed down inches from my head once. I had a couple more nighttime incidents, as did my husband. Waking in the middle of the night to nothing in particular, but feeling the unmistakable presence of something right beside us. And the cats continued to act strangely. They rarely hung out in the living room closet, despite the fact that the closet provided the only real place for them to create a little hiding hole for midday naps. I was uncomfortable staying in the apartment by myself, but we continued to live there for three years. The location was great, the rent was cheap, and let’s face it: Moving is a pain.

When we bought a house in Oakland, we put in our notice with Marie and packed up. On the last night before we moved, I realized I needed to return to the apartment to take out some trash. With my husband and work, I turned to my mom – in town to help out – to come with me. As we gathered the trash bags from the bedroom, we were just about to leave when we heard the sound of dishes clattering in the sink. Dishes that were already packed, in a kitchen with no one in it.

My husband and I returned to the apartment one last time to turn our keys over to Marie and do a final walkthrough the following week.

My husband turned to her before we left.

“Okay, I have a weird question for you.”

Marie said nothing, but a knowing smile spread across her face.

“Has anyone else who’s lived here ever mentioned anything … strange?”

Marie’s smile broadened. “You mean like the sound of a woman’s voice, sort of murmuring?”

We nodded.

“Over there, near the closet in the living room?”


So that was our answer.

Our house in Oakland was just as old as the apartment in Alameda, but our cats returned to their normal, playful selves the second we moved in. In the entire five years we lived in that house, I heard not a single murmur.

Title: The Murmurings
Author: Carly Anne West
Publisher: Simon Pulse, 384 Pages (March 5th, 2013)
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis: A teen girl starts hearing the same voices that drove her sister to commit suicide in this creepy, suspenseful novel.Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. After all, she heard strange voices that drove her to commit suicide. But Sophie doesn't believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on.

As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not…

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  • Name & Email Address must be provided. (Easy Entry, just click the form & it does it for you!)
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  • Giveaway ends: November 17th, 2012 (12:01AM EST)

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Carly, thanks for sharing this uber creepy story. I would have been a tad freaked out to say the least. I don't know how you managed to stay there for that long. Then to know you weren't the only ones who had the same things happen?! *shivers* 

Thank you to Simon Pulse for donation the ARC copy of the Murmurings for giveaway.

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28 October 2012

I grew up in rural Nova Scotia, on the eastern shore of Canada. The province is 'almost' an island, connected to the rest of Canada by a thin strip of land that leads into New Brunswick. It's a place settled by mostly Irish, English and Scottish folks, but also boasts a strong Mi'kmaq (or Migmaw) culture. It's important that you know this because story-telling is big in all of these cultures. There's also a lot of superstition and belief in the spirit realm.

I was raised by a woman who loved the idea of ghosts. She was also a tea leaf reader whose mother was known not only for her own fortune telling, but for having prophetic dreams. You can see where I'm going with this. When I announced to my mother (at the tender age of 3 or 4) that I saw two women coming down my grandmother's stairs she believed me without question. And when I found a black and white photograph of them several years later, she was not at all surprised that I knew their hair and eye color. I actually think she was a little proud!

My grandmother's house was haunted -- everyone seemed to know this. After her death someone bought the house only to quickly put it on the market again. An old man in the community said it was because of the ghosts. Most people scoffed at the idea, but I'm certain I'm not the only one who wondered if it was true. My uncle claimed to have seen a woman there late one night, though Nan said he was drunk. One day when she was gone, I walked down to Nan's house to water her plants. As I did so every hair on the back of my neck stood up on end. I *knew* that if I turned around there would be someone on the stairs behind me.

I did not turn around.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I said (very loudly), "I'm supposed to be here. I'm just watering the plants and then I'll go." After that things weren't so weird, but I couldn't wait to get out of there. The air in that house was different. When Nan was there -- or all was as it should be -- it was the most warm and inviting house I've ever been in. There was the sense of being surrounded by good things, and I refuse to believe any spirit that might have been present there was anything but good.

When I was still quite young -- probably 6 or 7 -- one of our immediate neighbors died in a house fire. My father was one of the volunteer firemen who found the body. Dad had visited this man earlier in the evening. Our neighbor was a hopeless alcoholic, generally harmless sort of man who was often times very paranoid and odd. It wasn't uncommon to find him looking in the windows of our house. One window he used to peer through was the window by our kitchen table. I won't lie -- until the time when my mother had to leave her house, I could not sit facing that window at night. Perhaps it was irrational, but I am still convinced that some nights our neighbor was out there, looking in.

One night my mother and I were watching T.V. and we heard the doorknob of the back door rattle. We lived in the country and it was common to leave the door unlocked during waking hours, but we always locked it at night. I remember seeing the knob turn, but when I looked out the window in the door to see who had come to visit there was no one there. Mom declared that it was that same neighbor coming to call, and we went back to our T.V. show. Yes, we just went back to regular life, as though nothing truly bizarre had just happened. Around the same time Mom experienced some strange things in our kitchen -- things rattling, items misplaced. Two drinking glasses that had been sitting in our sink apparently flew together and smashed into piece. A shadow moved across the wall. Mom, irked that she had just lost two glasses, frowned in the direction of that shadow and said, "OK [neighbor's name], that's quite enough!" The shadow faded and the mischief came to an end. Though, every once in awhile he'd show up again, as though letting us know he was still around, watching.

But I still won't sit in front of that bloody window.

Title: The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (Steampunk Chronicles, #2)
Author: Kady Cross
Publisher: Harlequin Teen, 416 Pages (May 22nd, 2012)
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis: In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling - or dangerous.

Sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne and her "straynge band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper, hauled off by bounty hunters. But Jasper is in the clutches of a devious former friend demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him...for the life of the girl Jasper loves.

One false move from Jasper and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens. And tightens.

Find Kady Online:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Order Kady's Books Online:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository

ENTER TO WIN A SIGNED COPY OF THE GIRL IN THE CLOCKWORK COLLAR & Ni-clove-a Tesla soap, Handmade by a friend of Kady's!!!

  • ONE winner will receive the above book & soap

Rules and how to enter -

Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter this giveaway.
Name & Email Address must be provided. (Easy Entry, just click the form & it does it for you!)
You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
This giveaway is open to US residents only.
Giveaway ends: November 16th, 2012 (12:01AM EST)

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Kady, thanks for squeezing this in. I know you're schedule is crazy busy right now, but I have to say your story is way creepy! Thanks for sharing. Also, thanks for donating the signed book and soap for giveaway! 

REMINDER: *If you are interested in the COMMENT CONTEST, remember to include your email address with your comment for an extra entry.
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Hi, I’m Lisa and I'm a proud bibliophile.

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