Top Ten Bookish Items I’d Like to Own

Posted November 12, 2018 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 15 Comments

Christmas is next month and, I don’t know about you, but I’m already building my wish list of fun things I’d love to own. Many of those, of course, are bookish! So here’s a few of the fun things I’ve come across online!

Bookish Items I’d Like to Own

1. Harry Potter Christmas at Hogwarts 500-piece Puzzle by New York Puzzle Company (Buy Here)
I love puzzles, and how magical and beautiful is this one?? 

2. If You Can Read This Bring Me My Book Socks by California Social Hour (Buy Here)
Fun socks are the best, and these ones feed my bookish heart.

3. Book Lovers Tea Cup and Saucer by Roy Kirkham (Buy Here)
Oh man. I’ve loved this from afar for a very long time!

4. Book Nerd Bracelet (in brown) by laureldenise (Buy Here)
This is such a simple, cute, and dainty bracelet!

5. Cat Lady Enamel Pin by HennelPaperCo (Buy Here)
Not technically bookish, but cats and books kinda go hand in hand for me!

6. Stack of Book Earrings by Coryographies (Buy Here)
SOOO cute!

7. Read Bracelet by ALikelyStory (Buy Here)
Adorable!

8. The Hound of the Baskervilles T-Shirt by Literary Book Gifts (Buy Here)
I remember reading this book in school and being so freaked out! It was one of my favorite reads in school, and this shirt is so fun!

The GOOD NEWS! Melissa from Literary Gift Company has offered my readers 20% off anything on her site, no minimum. Use the coupon code ThatArtsyReaderGirl20! It never expires!

9. Bookish Decal by BookishStuff (Buy Here)
This would look ADORABLE on my car’s back window!

10. Ex Libris Necklace by Out of Print (Buy Here)
This is super dainty and pretty.

Which of these would you love to own? 
What’s on your list this week?

 

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Rachael Lippincott’s Connection to Five Feet Apart | Author Guest Post (+ Giveaway)

Posted November 12, 2018 by Jana in Blog Tour, Giveaway, Guest Post / 6 Comments

I’m pleased to kick off the official Five Feet Apart blog tour with this lovely guest post by author, Rachael Lippincott! I didn’t know that this story was a screenplay before a book, and that a movie is currently in production. That makes things even more interesting. I have a bit of a personal connection to this story, as someone I care about has cystic fibrosis. It’s so nice to get a little background on it, and what inspired its creation before the movie, starring Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson, hits theaters on March 20, 2019.


Rachael Lippincott’s Connection to Five Feet Apart
by Rachael Lippincott

To put it simply, this book is the product of the hard work of many, many people. From the screenplay itself, written by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis, to Claire Wineland’s incredible contributions and spirit, to Justin Baldoni’s work as the director of the movie, to my physical writing of it, all of it had this innate desire to raise awareness about Cystic Fibrosis at the very core.

For me, everything started the day I got the screenplay for Five Feet Apart. I poured over the words, finishing it over the course of an afternoon, the story of Will and Stella leaving me filled with a myriad of emotions, from anger to joy to sadness to longing. When I finished, my computer screen was filled with tabs about Cystic Fibrosis and B. cepacia and medical statistics for the disease.

My inspiration started with the screenplay and grew to so much more than that over the course of that afternoon and the coming weeks and months. It became about the real life Wills and Stellas. People like Claire Wineland, who stare CF in the face and inspire so many others to live a life that they can be proud of. It became about a mom in Des Moines with this superhuman perseverance to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis foundation so that her daughter and so many other CFers can live to see a cure. It became about people that had never heard about Cystic Fibrosis reading Will and Stella’s story, or watching it on the big screen, and taking the time to open up google and learn about what the disease is.

I am acutely aware every day that this book could have had anyone’s name on the cover next to Mikki and Tobias’s. But I was lucky enough to be able to use my greatest passion, writing, to join a team of people committed to raising awareness about Cystic Fibrosis, and I take that very seriously. I can say earnestly that I will do everything I can to raise awareness for CF and I hope beyond all else that Five Feet Apart helps in some small way to bring about a cure.


Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott
Original screenplay written by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis
Published by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers on November 20, 2018
Genres: Young Adult Fiction — Contemporary, Romance
Add to Goodreads • Amazon • B&N • Book Depository

Can you love someone you can never touch?

Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.

The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.

Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment.

What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?


About Rachael Lippincott

Rachael Lippincott was born in Philadelphia and raised in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She holds a BA in English writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, splitting her time between writing and running a food truck with her partner.

 

The publisher has graciously offered up a copy of Five Feet Apart to a lucky reader of That Artsy Reader Girl!

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Blog Tour Schedule

November 12 – That Artsy Reader Girl

November 13 – Vivacious Bibliophile

November 14 – A Gingerly Review

November 15 – Life of a Simple Reader

November 16 – A Glass of Wine

November 17 – Book is Glee

November 19 – Bumbles and Fairytales

November 20 – Adventures of a Book Junkie

November 21 – Jen Ryland Reviews

November 22 – Joyous Reads

November 23 – Chasing Faerytales

November 24 – Folded Pages Distillery

November 26 – Oh, Hey! Books

November 27 – Book Briefs

November 28 – Novel Knight Book Reviews

November 29 – A Dream within a Dream

November 30 – My Guilty Obsession

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Top Ten Backlist Books I Own & Still Need to Read

Posted November 5, 2018 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 35 Comments

So… this topic is super broad and really hard. I know there’s no possible way to narrow down all the backlist books you’ve missed between now and the beginning of time to just 10, so just do your best! Maybe they’re the newest backlist books, or the ones by authors you love. Maybe they’re the ones you’ve had on your TBR list the longest or the ones that were published before you were born. Or MAYBE they’re just the highest on your list of priorities! Whatever the case may be, I’m expecting a whole lot of book pushing to come from this week’s topic!

Because I have a million books, I’ve decided to only mention the physical books on my bookshelves (that came out before 2018) that I got because I was so excited to read them and then promptly didn’t.

Legend by Marie Lu
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
The Love Academy by Belinda Jones
Spirited Away by Cindy Miles

Should I prioritize any of these?
Which backlist book is at the top of your TBR right now?

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Author Interview With C.J. Lyons | The Color of Lies Blog Tour (+Giveaway)

Posted November 5, 2018 by Jana in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Giveaway / 4 Comments

Author Interview With C.J. Lyons | The Color of Lies Blog Tour (+Giveaway)

Welcome to The FFBC’s blog tour of C.J. Lyons’s The Color of Lies! As one of the co-owners of The Fantastic Flying Book Club, I had the exciting privilege of organizing this blog tour (creating the tour banner was especially fun!) and am delighted to be hosting C.J.’s welcome interview here on my blog as well!


Author Interview with C.J. Lyons

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

1. Your bio on your website says you’ve been a storyteller all your life. Can you tell us about one of your earliest stories?

CJ: One of my first memories is when I was two or three, using my mom’s hair curlers as finger puppets to tell stories. But my earliest written story that was read by anyone other than myself was in third or fourth grade when I wrote a serial for our class newspaper.

It was set during the Civil War and featured a blind girl and her horse (a palomino, of course) as she made her way through the wilderness spying for the Union Army. She had a walking staff that she also used for kung fu, thus hitting all the major tropes that would appeal to eight-year-olds…

Thank goodness there are no known copies left in existence!

2. You’ve written multiple books for teens and adults. How is writing YA fiction different than writing adult fiction?

CJ: I love writing YA because I can actually be more honest than with my adult fiction. Adults read for escape but YA readers also want that deep emotional honesty and they hate being coddled or patronized, so I can be blunt and truthful with them, go deep and dark, revealing that there’s a cost to any happy ending. It’s really quite refreshing!

3. Your first career was as a doctor. What skills and knowledge did you bring with you to your writing career?

CJ: Being a writer actually turned out to be a very valuable skill that helped my success as a physician—because I understood the patterns behind storytelling, I was able to allow my patients to tell their own stories without interruptions and translate their words into the facts I needed to help treat them.

In turn, being a physician helped my career as a thriller writer. Although I’m known best for my FBI thrillers, my first published books were medical suspense, set in a Pittsburgh ER. And of course, having first hand medical knowledge is really helpful once you start blowing things up and the bullets begin to fly.

4. What are some of your favorite thrillers?

CJ: Wow, this is so hard! I love anything Lisa Gardner writes—she’s a master of using point of view and setting to bring her characters to life. Of course, there are the classics, like Silence of the Lambs and The Eight. And I also enjoy more quiet psychological suspense that creeps into your soul—I was a huge fan of Sharp Objects before HBO ever heard of it.

5. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

CJ: I am a avid reader—mainly YA, SF, some fantasy, poetry, and literary fiction. And I love movies, not just watching them for entertainment, but then breaking them down to see what works and what doesn’t. Now that there are so many great long-form TV series like Breaking Bad, The Handmaid’s Tale, etc, I really enjoy delving into that kind of storytelling as well.

I also love hiking—if a trail has waterfalls, I’m so there! And I enjoy traveling, immersing myself in different cultural experiences, although that always ends up being research for future books.

ABOUT THE BOOK

1. Describe your book in five words or less.

CJ: Girl’s life is a lie.

2. What inspired you to write a book about synesthesia?

CJ: As a physician, I’ve long been fascinated by unique medical oddities such as synesthesia. It’s not a disease, but rather the way the brain processes information is mistranslated into other senses. You may see letters as colors or smell words you read.

People with synesthesia experience the world differently, which is not only fascinating, it makes for an intriguing character—especially since we all base our idea of reality on what we see, hear, feel. For people with synesthesia, their reality is already very different than people who don’t have synesthesia, so if we upset that reliance on what is seen, felt, or heard, how do we know what’s real and what isn’t?

Start playing with people’s perception of reality, of their basic, essential truth, and you open up a world of possibilities for a story.

For The Color of Lies, I took that a step farther with the idea of a girl who saw everyone else’s truth … but was blind to her own.

I loved that conflict, the paradox of what we see and believe versus what is real. And how we deny reality, sacrifice it to our dreams by what we choose to believe … It happens every day in the real world. Just look at the epidemic of fake news posing as reality.

What if someone’s entire life was colored by what they wanted to believe instead of what was real? Answering that question led to The Color of Lies.

3. Does Ella see her medical condition as a blessing or a curse?

CJ: At the start of the story, Ella views it as mostly a blessing. Although her synesthesia has isolated her (she can’t bear to be in a crowd) and forced her to be the “adult” taking care of her grandmother and uncle who are more severely impacted by their own forms of synesthesia, it has also given Ella the gift of seeing the truth in people, which she has translated into her art.

By the end of the story, everything has changed—not only how Ella feels about her synesthesia, but also how she feels about the truths it reveals.

4. What’s your favorite quote from The Color of Lies?

CJ: “The world is filled with magic. You just have to look and listen.”

5. What kinds of things did you research while writing this book?

CJ: As a physician, I had access to a lot of research about the causes and types of synesthesia, but those weren’t helpful as I really wanted to learn more about how people experienced it and how it impacted their lives.

Luckily, there are several great books that go into depth about historical people who had synesthesia and there are a lot of YouTube videos with first hand accounts of how people live with it. I also have a friend who sees music as color and light and one who sees letters as colors, so it was great fun listening to their stories.

It’s more common than people realize—twice as common as having red hair (a fact that plays into The Color of Lies). I’m not sure, but I may have a form myself. Ever since I was a kid I could read a recipe and taste it—even if I’d never tasted that recipe or its ingredients before. Or maybe that’s just the over-active imagination of a storyteller at work!


The Color of Lies by C.J. Lyons
Published by BLINK on November 6, 2018
Genres: Young Adult — Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
Add to Goodreads • Amazon • B&N • Book Depository

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author CJ Lyons comes The Color of Lies, a world drenched in color and mystery.

High school senior Ella Cleary has always been good at reading people. Her family has a rare medical condition called synesthesia that scrambles the senses—her Gram Helen sees every sound, and her uncle Joe can literally taste words. Ella’s own synesthesia manifests itself as the ability to see colors that reveal people’s true emotions…until she meets a guy she just can’t read.

Alec is a mystery to Ella, a handsome, enigmatic young journalist who makes her feel normal for the first time in her life. That is, until he reveals the real reason why he sought her out—he wants to learn the truth behind her parents’ deaths, the parents that Ella had always been told died in a fire. Alec turns Ella’s world upside down when he tells her their deaths were definitely not an accident.

After learning her entire life has been a lie, Ella doesn’t know who she can trust or even who she really is. With her adoptive family keeping secrets and the evidence mixing fact and fiction, the only way for Ella to learn the truth about her past is to find a killer.

Perfect for fans of Caroline B. Cooney, Ally Carter, and Jennifer Brown, The Color of Lies blurs the lines between black-and-white facts and the kaleidoscope of reality.


About C.J. Lyons

CJ Lyons has lived most of her life on the edge.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over forty novels, former pediatric ER doctor CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart.

CJ has been called a “master within the genre” (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as “breathtakingly fast-paced” and “riveting” (Publishers Weekly) with “characters with beating hearts and three dimensions” (Newsday).

She has assisted police and prosecutors with cases involving child abuse, rape, homicide and Munchausen by Proxy. She has worked in numerous trauma centers, on the Navajo reservation, as a crisis counselor, victim advocate, as well as a flight physician for Life Flight and Stat Medevac.

A story-teller all her life, CJ has always created stories about people discovering the courage to make a difference. This led her to coin the term: Thrillers with Heart.

CJ has taught numerous live and online workshops as well as given keynote speeches to audiences around the world, including: The London Book Fair, The Frankfurt Book Fair, Mystery Writers of America’s Sleuthfest, RWA, Romantic Times, Oklahoma Writer Federation,Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and PennWriters among others. She was also the conference chairperson for the highly successful inaugural ITW ThrillerFest.

Her novels have twice won the International Thriller Writers prestigious Thriller Award, the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, Golden Gateway, Readers’ Choice Award, the RT Seal of Excellence, and Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense.

To learn more about CJ and her writing, check out these interviews with her.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan | Book Review

Posted November 2, 2018 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 1 Comment

Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan | Book ReviewReign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan
Series: Reign of Shadows #1
Published by HarperTEEN on February 9, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: Audiobook
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

This is not your magical, light and fluffy Rapunzel retelling! Reign of Shadows is dark and creepy and intense and so unbelievably exciting. Luna, the lost princess of Relhok, has been sequestered in a tower with her guardians for her entire life to protect her from those who would do her harm. She’s the rightful heir to the throne, and the current king is making life miserable for the members of his kingdom. The land is also ruled by evil creatures (dwellers) who delight in killing anyone who crosses their path.

While exploring one day, Luna stumbles across three people and saves them from a pack of dwellers and brings them back to her tower. These are the first strangers Luna has ever met. One of these people is a handsome archer named Fowler, who captivates and excites Luna. Due to circumstances beyond their control, they set out on a journey together in search of a safer place to live. As they journey together across a barren, dark wasteland that has been ravaged by the dwellers, they learn to depend on one another. Together they have a unique set of skills that aide them in heir survival.

I liked both of these characters a lot. Luna is so sheltered and comes across as being very helpless, but she has spent her life developing and refining her ability to survive. She’s unassumingly strong and courageous despite her lack of exposure to the world. She’s able to trust in spite of the murder of her parents, and she’s able to love regardless of the fact that he family was ripped away from her as a baby. Fowler is damaged and has hardened himself in an effort to avoid more pain. Those he cared about are long gone, and it’s easier for him to be alone than to risk losing someone he cares about. He has no interest in being a part of Luna’s life, but he also has this deep sense of loyalty and honor even though he doesn’t really owe anyone anything. I liked that about him.

The romance is pretty swoony, and very slow building. I like romances that take a long time to develop, though, so I was totally on board with this one. I also like romances in life or death situations because there’s a lot of tenderness and need in addition to pure trust and dependency on one another.

I don’t want to say too much and spoil the book for anyone, so I think I’ll leave it here. Reign of Shadows is filled with little story elements that made it unique from the original tale of Rapunzel. I’ve always loved Sophie Jordan’s writing, so I had a feeling I’d enjoy this book. I listened to it on audio, which was very well done. All in all, I really loved the story.

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Debbie Mason’s Five Fall Favorites | Author Guest Post

Posted November 1, 2018 by Jana in Guest Post / 0 Comments

Today I’m welcoming Debbie Mason to the blog to share with us her five favorite things about fall! Fall is one of my favorite seasons (second to winter, of course), and I can ditto every single things she’s mentioned here! Read more about her, and her latest book (a feel-good Christmas story in her contemporary romance series, Harmony Harbor) following her list!


Five Fall Favorites by Debbie Mason

“If a year was tucked inside of a clock, then autumn would be the magic hour.”
– Victoria Erickson

Fall is truly a magical time of year. It’s a time when nature puts on a show, and the countdown to the holidays begins. A time to be thankful and grateful. A time for family dinners, hearty soups, and fragrant stews. Here are just a few of my fall favorites I especially look forward to.

1) Pumpkin Spice Latte
For me, nothing says autumn like the appearance of pumpkin spice latte on the Starbucks menu. I don’t know which I love more, the taste or the smell. But what I do know is that some of my favorite fall days have been spent curled up under a cozy blanket with a pumpkin spice latte in one hand and a book in the other.

2) Fall Fairs
There’s nothing my family likes more than a fall fair, but we don’t always agree on what we should do/see first. I like to check out the baked goods and crafts, hubby likes to attend the tractor pull and cattle judging, while our kids prefer the corn maze and local bands playing at the grandstand, and the grandbabies are all about candy apples, corn dogs, and the midway. But the one thing we can agree upon is that it’s a great way to spend a fall weekend together.

3) Fall Foliage
Our favorite way to enjoy the fall foliage is on a walk in the woods not far from where we live. I love the cold, crisp air, the rich, spicy scent, and the crunch of leaves under my feet. There’s nothing more peaceful or magical than standing in the middle of a forest as the brilliant red and yellow leaves dance their way to the ground.

4) Halloween
The weeks leading up to Halloween are my favorite. I love pulling out my old magazines and getting ideas for spooky treats and decorating. This year we were all about the metallic pumpkins for the adult kids in the family, and white pumpkins transformed into unicorns for the little ones. It’s also the time of year when I turn to books by my favorite paranormal authors. We do the same with our TV viewing. This year, we binge watched The Haunting of Hill House. As much as I loved it (and I really did), I still enjoy old Halloween favorites like Hocus Pocus, Halloweentown, and Practical Magic.

5) Countdown to Christmas
In late October, we can usually count on a flurry of snowflakes to get us into the holiday spirit. If that doesn’t happen, there are tons of other opportunities to put us in the mood. Decorating inside and outside with Christmas carols playing is one activity that’s sure to do the trick. As does baking, gingerbread-house making, and attending the local parade of lights. Another favorite in our house, a Hallmark movie marathon. This is a tradition that will have special significance this year, as the adaptation of the first book in my Christmas, Colorado series, The Trouble with Christmas, will be airing on the Hallmark Channel December 9 as Welcome to Christmas.


The Corner of Holly and Ivy by Debbie Mason
Series: Harmony Harbor #7
Published by Forever on October 30, 2018
Genres: Adult Fiction — Christmas, Contemporary, Romance
Add to Goodreads • Amazon • B&N

Sometimes love is just around the corner . . .

With her dreams of being a wedding dress designer suddenly over, Arianna Bell isn’t expecting a holly jolly Christmas. Instead, her heart feels about three sizes too small. That is until her high school sweetheart Connor Gallagher returns to town and she finds his mere presence still makes her pulse race. But just when she starts dreaming of kissing under the mistletoe, he announces that he will be her opponent in the upcoming mayoral race….

Hot-shot attorney Connor Gallagher has something to prove. He’s tired of playing runner-up to his high-achieving brothers. So when the opportunity to enter the campaign comes up, he takes it. Even if it means running against the only woman he’s ever loved. But with a little help from Harmony Harbor’s local matchmakers and a lot of holiday cheer, Connor and Arianna may just get the happy ever after they both deserve.


About Debbie Mason

Debbie Mason is the USA Today bestselling author of the Christmas, Colorado and the Harmony Harbor series. Her books have been praised for their “likable characters, clever dialogue and juicy plots” (RT Book Reviews). When she isn’t writing or reading, Debbie enjoys spending time with her very own real-life hero, their three wonderful children and son-in-law, and their two grandbabies in Ottawa, Canada. For more on Debbie and her books, visit authordebbiemason.com.

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Ten Scary Books I’m Too Chicken to Read (But Want To)

Posted October 29, 2018 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 19 Comments

Tomorrow is Halloween, so of course that means it’s a creepy/Halloween freebie this week! I really love freebie weeks because I get to see your creativity and I get to stalk your lists for future TTT ideas! I’m a huge chicken, so I’m sharing books that I’d really like to read, but I’m worried they will be too scary for me. I’ve included the keywords from the synopsis that have me thinking I might not be able to handle it. lol. Maybe you can help talk me into some of them, or save me from books you know a chicken can’t handle!

1. The Family Plot by Cherie Priest

Cemetery. Corpse. Danger. Storm shuts down the only road to the property. Power goes out. MURDEROUS PHANTOM. Raising Hell.

2. Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough

Beware. Isolated village. Evil that has lain hidden for years. Horrifying truth.

3. The Shining by Stephen King

Stephen King. Atmospheric old hotel. Remote. Sinister. Strange and terrible forces. Stephen King.

4. There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Dark past. Mysterious outsider. Gruesome murders. Grotesque flair. Secrets.

5. Dreamfall by Amy Plum

Debilitating insomnia. Experimental new procedure. Malfunction. Dreamworld. Nightmares. Hunted by creatures from their darkest imaginations. Tormented.

6. The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle

Amish. Murderous. No one goes outside, and no outsiders come in.
(Note: I’m not afriad of Amish people. It’s the whole package.)

7. Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

Screaming. Drenched in blood. Vanished. She doesn’t know who she is. Haunted by strange visions and broken memories. Bloody razor. Violent. She will never escape. Twisted secrets.

8. Between The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Devil. Eerie. Grim. Liar.

9. The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

Three decades. Inferno. The girl of nowhere. Disturbed mind. Sinister. Alter ego. Dark, twisted magic.

10. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Jack the Ripper is back. Brutal murders. Rory spotted the man… The only one who can see him. His next target.

What are your Halloween plans? My students will be having a very fun-filled day at school (including a costume parade and class party). Knowing how insane it will be, and how tired I’ll be when I get home, my plans include watching Arsenic & Old Lace while eating caramel apples like an old person! 

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Inspiring Coffee Shops by Jenny Hale | Author Guest Post

Posted October 29, 2018 by Jana in Guest Post / 2 Comments

I’m so happy to have Jenny Hale on the blog today to give us a small glimpse into where she writes all of her amazing books! I’m super excited to read her upcoming releases, Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses (out tomorrow!), as well, which you can read more about below!


Inspiring Coffee Shops by Jenny Hale

When I’m working, I like to be out of my house, usually at a coffee shop—different ones all the time. While I’m there, I’m eyes-on-the-screen, fingers moving at a clip, downing a latte. To any onlooker, I might seem like a caffeine-laden vagabond who avoids housework to spend long hours on my computer in isolation. But that would be far from the truth.

New surroundings supercharge my senses; they affect me more than any amount of caffeine could. While I won’t deny my love of lattes, (I’m one of those who rattles off eye-rolling requests like “skinny almond milk sugar-free caramel latte with no whip”) the lattes are but an added bonus, a ticket to get me a seat in this new location.

The swirl of cold air as the old oak door opens and shuts, the smell of roasting coffee beans tickling my nose, the gurgle of the espresso machines, the embrace as two people meet up and settle happily at a table nearby—while my fingers move, my brain is taking all that in.

Traveling is my way of reviving my mind, of filling it with little bits of new information that I store away and draw upon when the stories start to take shape. Each place is like a gift, and I unwrap it slowly, taking in every fold, every angle, every line of it. I might unwrap the gift and find someone’s laugh, or the way they inhale just before they speak. I might see a shadow on a table and note how it moves whenever someone passes by.

And then I write.

Sometimes the locations themselves find their way into my stories. The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia is one of them. I used to live in Richmond, and I have spent a few Christmases sipping drinks among the incredibly festive holiday decorations there. You can catch a glimpse of it in my novel Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses. I hope you get a chance to visit with my characters Abbey and Nick!


Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale
Published by Forever on October 30, 2018
Genres: Adult Fiction — Contemporary, Christmas, Romance
Add to Goodreads • Amazon

Single mother Abbey Fuller loves her family more than anything, and she doesn’t regret for a moment having had to put her dreams of being an interior designer on hold. But with her son, Max, growing up, she jumps at the chance when a friend recommends her for a small design job. How hard can it be?

Nick Sinclair needs his house decorated in time for his family’s festive visit-and money is no object. What he doesn’t need is to be distracted from his multimillion-dollar business-even if it is Christmas.

When Abbey pulls up to the huge Sinclair mansion, she has a feeling she might be out of her depth. And when she meets the gorgeous, brooding Nicholas Sinclair, she knows that she’s in real trouble . . .

With the snow falling all around them, can Abbey make her dreams of being a designer come true? And can she help Nick to finally enjoy the magic of Christmas?


About Jenny Hale

When I graduated college, one of my friends said, “Look out for this one; she’s going to be an author one day.” Despite being an avid reader and a natural storyteller, it wasn’t until that very moment that the idea of writing novels occurred to me.

Sometimes our friends can see the things that we can’t.

While I didn’t start straight away, that comment sowed a seed and several years, two children, and hundreds of thousands of words later, I completed a novel that I felt was worthy of publication. The result was Coming Home for Christmas, a heart-warming story about friends, family, and the magic of love at Christmas.

The rest is history.

When I’m not writing, I’m a mother of two boys and a wife to a very supportive husband.

Author Website | Twitter

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Teri Bailey Black’s Experiences As a Debut Author | Girl At the Grave Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

Posted October 25, 2018 by Jana in Blog Tour, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway, Guest Post / 7 Comments

Teri Bailey Black’s Experiences As a Debut Author | Girl At the Grave Blog Tour (+ Giveaway)

Welcome to The FFBC’s blog tour of Teri Bailey Black’s The Girl At the Grave! As one of the co-owners of The Fantastic Flying Book Club, I had the exciting privilege of organizing this blog tour and am delighted to be hosting Teri’s guest post on her experiences as a debut author here on my blog as well!


My Experiences As a Debut Author
by Teri Bailey Black

Two days after my book was released, I received a message from a stranger through social media: “It is 2 am, so I’m not even going to attempt writing my review until tomorrow, but your book is everything! Thank you for writing it and sharing it.”

Messages like that make my heart sing because getting published is a bumpy road with as many twists and turns as a murder mystery.

I’ve been writing stories since I learned to read, but stopped for about ten years after I got married and had four children. My first child was born with severe disabilities, which brought a few extra challenges. Plus, I started a home business that took off and kept me creatively happy. Life was busy! But as my kids hit the teen years, I yearned to write again and started carving out that time.

It took me a while to figure out WHAT I wanted to write. I started out with middle grade fantasy because that’s what I enjoyed reading with my kids. I went to a big SCBWI conference in Los Angeles and submitted my first chapter for a critique with an editor. I sat down with much fear and trembling, and her first words were, “This is amaaazing! How fast can you finish it?” Wow, that was quick and easy. I spent four months finishing the manuscript, sent it to her with confidence—and a month later received a 2-sentence form rejection letter, not personalized at all.

Okay, not so quick and easy.

By then, I’d realized that my writing voice isn’t middle grade action, it’s more atmospheric and young adult. I wrote a young adult fantasy with magic, but by the time it was done, I knew it wasn’t that special—just a practice novel. I sent queries to agents anyway and did receive some personal notes that encouraged me. They liked my writing, but not the story.

Hm. Start again—with what? By then, the market was flooded with some truly amazing YA fantasy and dystopian, so I wanted to try something different. I’ve always loved murder mysteries, so quickly landed on that idea. (At the time, I wasn’t aware of any YA mysteries, but they’ve since become a trend, which makes me happy because I love them!)

GIRL AT THE GRAVE started as an image in my mind of a little girl in the 1800’s with wild curls and dirty feet—an outcast because her mother was hanged for murder. The story started in her childhood, then wandered into her teen years. I added murder and romance. I wrote without much of a plan (typical seat-of-the-pants writing, before I’d figured out good plotting techniques.) That first draft took a year, writing occasionally.

I sent out queries and received several requests for the full, followed by rejections with praise for my writing voice but problems with the plot. One agent asked me to revise and resubmit, with a suggestion to make it either a full children’s story or a full YA story. Seemed so obvious, suddenly.

I set the story aside for six months while I read some books on plotting—wishing I’d done that earlier. Who knew there was so much to writing? (Everyone except me, apparently.) I carefully restructured the whole story, then rewrote it. This time, I saw clearly what the story needed to be.

That third version was the ticket to publication. Quite a few agents requested the full. Barbara Poelle read it and called quickly (no surprise if you know Barbara), which led to a stressful weekend as I emailed the other agents and they all scrambled for a chance. But I knew I wanted Barbara. A month or so later, she sold it to Tor Teen in a 2-book deal. Exciting!

Until . . . three months later, I received my revision notes from my editor. Her sharp, professional eyes had spotted a problem at the core of the story that would require changing almost every thought, word, and action from the main character. I completely agreed with her; that wasn’t the sticking point. But UGH! I couldn’t imagine rewriting it yet AGAIN. I flailed around for a few days, then took a deep breath and said YES I CAN DO THIS. She wanted the revision in 3 weeks. I said impossible. She then gave me six weeks, and I ended up taking 8 weeks. As the deadline loomed, there were some all-night writing sessions. I pushed the send button and collapsed.

Now, when I read reviews praising the book’s plot, it makes me giggle a little. It wasn’t easy, but I did get there in the end.

Thank goodness those first few books didn’t sell. Yes, really. I needed that practice to learn the craft, because once you hit the book deal, strong writing skills are required to revise quickly and meet deadlines. (Well, I didn’t revise QUICKLY, but more quickly than I could have a year earlier.)

I’m happy to say that my next book is coming together in a much easier fashion. Another murder mystery with dead bodies, romance, and a setting that makes me clap my hands with excitement. Can’t wait to share it with the world!


Girl At the Grave by Teri Bailey Black
Published by Tor Teen on August 7, 2018
Genres: Young Adult — Historical, Mystery, Romance
Add to Goodreads • Amazon • B&N • Book Depository

Valentine has spent years trying to outrun her mother’s legacy. But small towns have long memories, and when a new string of murders occurs, all signs point to the daughter of a murderer.

Only one person believes Valentine is innocent—Rowan Blackshaw, the son of the man her mother killed all those years ago. Valentine vows to find the real killer, but when she finally uncovers the horrifying truth, she must choose to face her own dark secrets, even if it means losing Rowan in the end.


About Teri Bailey Black

Teri Bailey Black grew up near the beach in southern California in a large, quirky family with no television or junk food, but an abundance of books and art supplies. She’s happiest when she’s creating things, whether it’s with words, fabric, or digging in the garden. She makes an amazing chocolate cherry cake—frequently. She and her husband have four children and live in Orange County, California.

Author Website | Twitter | Instagram

 


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