Tag Archives: Halloween

Writers Who Create Other Things: Danielle Ackley-McPhail’s Horns (a must for October… and year-round!)

My next guest is Danielle Ackley-McPhail, who writes fantasy and also creates custom-made costume horns. How cool is that? We met last month at the Baltimore Book Fest (we were on the Dark Fantasy panel together). I mentioned that I was hosting a guest blog series featuring writers who also make crafts, jewelry, and other art in order to show how creative authors can be in other ways and she told me she makes one-of-a-kind horns. When I heard that, I told her I really wanted her to come blog and tell us about them and share some pictures. Her wonderful post is below. Welcome, Danielle!

Danielle Ackley-McPhail Custom-Made Horns 2

How I Became The Hornie Lady

Hi, my name is Danielle Ackley-McPhail and most times I’m an author….but occasionally I’m also the Hornie Lady!

Why am I called the Hornie Lady? Funny you should ask. Several years ago a friend and fellow author came up to me and said… “I have to tell you something….when my son was younger and we would come into the dealers room, the moment he saw your display of horns he would say ‘Mom! It’s the hornie lady!’ Embarrassed, I told him, ‘No! Don’t call her that!’ but now that he’s grown I had to share that with you.”

Well, soon after she told me this story I had a chance to meet one of my literary heroes, Sherrilyn Kenyon, author of the Dark Hunter series. In that series she has a baby-goth demon named Simi who calls horns ‘hornies’. Because of that event I ended up making horns for Ms. Kenyon wholesale. Naturally, when I went pro, I had to be The Hornie Lady.

Why did I start making horns to begin with, you ask? Well…as a small-press author I learned early on the importance of diversifying. When I first started out it was very hard going only having one book, so I branched out into anthologies and grew my list. After that I made sure I had several books coming out every year just to keep new things on the table. That is important when you do the same shows over and over. If you don’t have new material the fans you’ve already made won’t have anything to buy next time. And as for what you hope will be new fans…you want to give them as many options to choose from to increase your chances that you’ll have something they will like.

Danielle Ackley-McPhail, custom-made costume horns, fantasy, cosplay, stage, Halloween

That still doesn’t explain the horns, though, does it?

When I started doing conventions I wanted to have fun as well and I always loved costuming so my first efforts with clay were masks and they were strictly for myself and whatever costume I wanted to make. One of the first costumes I made was a One-Eyed, One Horned Flying Purple People Eater. Soon after that I went to a renaissance festival and saw the costume horns they sold….I was not impressed, but I was intrigued. The first thought to go through my head was “I can do better than that!”

Danielle Ackley-McPhail Custom-Made Horns 3

The Too Cute puppies called. They want some horns!

The Too Cute puppies called. They want some horns!

So I tried. My first foray as a seller of horns was the very first East Coast Faeriecon. In that weekend I sold 53 set of horns and I was hooked. People loved them. My prices were reasonable, the designs were unique and original, and my method of attachment was simple. From that point on horns became a staple of my vending efforts. I had fun making them and trying new things, and from a production standpoint costs were quite reasonable.

This wasn’t just good business, but an excellent complement to my marketing as I am a fantasy author. The horns are a point of interest that often causes people to stop at the table. Once I get them to stop and start to chat with them I can then direct their attention to the books. Also they are a good conversation piece and a hawker’s hook….imagine, is there any better way to draw someone’s attention than to ask “Can I make you hornie?” If nothing else, it makes people laugh and if you can do that then you make a connection, an impression, and even if they don’t stop that time, they will remember you and eventually their curiosity will get the better of them.

At worse I sell a set of horns and nothing else, at best I can get them to buy a book as well, and I might just have made a fan, literary or otherwise! Even today I can recognize people wearing horns I sold them years ago, and repeat customers are a common occurrence. In fact, some people make a point of coming to buy a set each time they see me at a show, and not because anything happened to the ones they bought before.

One of my greatest (and most guilty) triumphs is when I discover someone trying to copy one of my designs…and not being able to pull it off ;)

In the end it comes down to one thing for me: I love to create, no matter what the medium. Words…clay…cooking…It’s all good!

Hornie Lady Contact Info

Danielle Ackley-McPhail Custom-Made Horns

More About Danielle

Award-winning author Danielle Ackley-McPhail has worked both sides of the publishing industry for longer than she cares to admit. Currently, she is a project editor and promotions manager for Dark Quest Books.

Her published works include five urban fantasy novels, Yesterday’s Dreams, Tomorrow’s Memories, Today’s Promise, The Halfling’s Court: and The Redcaps’ Queen: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale, and a young adult Steampunk novel, Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn, written with Day Al-Mohamed. She is also the author of the solo science fiction collection, A Legacy of Stars, the non-fiction writers’ guide, The Literary Handyman, and is the senior editor of the Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series, Dragon’s Lure, and In an Iron Cage. Her work is included in numerous other anthologies and collections.

She is a member of the Garden State Speculative Fiction Writers, the New Jersey Authors Network, and Broad Universe, a writer’s organization focusing on promoting the works of women authors in the speculative genres.

In addition to her literary acclaim, Danielle crafts and sells original costume horns under the moniker The Hornie Lady, at literary conventions, on commission, and wholesale.

Danielle lives in New Jersey with husband and fellow writer, Mike McPhail, mother-in-law Teresa, and three extremely spoiled cats. She can be found on LiveJournal (damcphail or badassfaeries), Facebook (Danielle Ackley-McPhail), and Twitter (DMcPhail). To learn more about her work, visit http://www.sidhenadaire.com, or http://www.badassfaeries.com.  

"Come, Best Beloved, and sit you by my feet. I shall tell you a tale such as sister Scheherazade could have scarce imagined..."

“Come, Best Beloved, and sit you by my feet.
I shall tell you a tale such as sister Scheherazade could have scarce imagined…”

My older daughter bought Danielle's steampunk faerie tale at the Baltimore Book Fest

My older daughter bought Danielle’s steampunk faerie tale at the Baltimore Book Fest

To find Danielle’s horns online, click here

To find Danielle’s books online, click here

If you are a writer who makes and sells art, jewelry, or some other type of craft, and you are interested in guest blogging, please contact me for more details. I have a few guest spots left.

Hope everyone had a nice weekend. Ours can be summed up in three words: planes, trains, and automobiles. Or movies, music, and books. We flew down to Cape May for the New Jersey State Film Fest on Saturday then took the train up to NYC for Gary Wright’s concert/book signing event Sunday night at the City Winery. (Gary is my husband’s cousin. He is a musician, memoirist, and all around great guy. The concert was fun. Hadn’t heard him sing Dream Weaver live since his impromptu performance at our wedding. I have a great picture, which I might post if I can find it…)

How about you? Did you do anything fun last weekend? Do you think Danielle’s horns are as neat as I do?

Thank you, Danielle, for guest blogging today!


Rose Shababy: What is the best Halloween costume you already have?

Today’s guest blogger, Rose Shababy, is the author of THE BLUE EFFECT, an adult urban sf/fantasy that was released this fall. She’s here with a confession…

“I’ve never been much for dressing up during the Halloween season.”

Sure, as a kid I looked forward to it every year, but as an adult I’ve been a little apathetic about the idea. I’ve only dressed up a couple of times in the last twenty years.

Once, in my twenties, I went to a bar party as a baby in a onesie with full freckles and binky and proceeded to consume large quantities of upside down margaritas. I will admit that I stumbled home with all the adroitness of a real baby.

One year I worked at an Italian specialty grocery and the girls I worked with convinced me we should all dress up. I went along with it, figured out a simple costume I could wear over a dress of my own, and showed up that day with a tiara and sash that read “Miss Diagnosed.” I chuckled over my own cleverness, but the laughs abated after a while, somewhere around the tenth customer that said “I don’t get it.”

I haven’t tried dressing up since. Oh, I talk about it. Sometimes I tell my husband, “We should have a giant costume party this year!” And we never do.

I’ve often thought I’m just a big ol’ stick-in-the-mud for not dressing up. Until recently.

I’m an avid reader. I love the whole fantasy/science fiction/paranormal genre, but I’m not picky. I’ll read just about anything if it looks interesting.

Writing a book is even better.

Reading someone else’s work means I’m limited by the confines of their story. When I sit down to write, I can build my own world and take it anywhere I want to go.

The people in my stories can be anything I want them to be.

I had so much fun writing my debut novel, The Blue Effect. Each character is a piece of me, albeit exaggerated. Not to mention they all have really cool super powers.

My main character, Blue Brennan, is larger than life. She’s sassy and mouthy, jaded yet vulnerable, ordinary and extraordinary.

Kasey is mysterious, honorable and kind.

Avery is grouchy and gorgeous and tortured.

The beautiful twins, Val and Esme, are opposites. Esme is gentle and brilliant, while Val is wild and hilariously snarky.

Ash is thoughtful and earthy.

When I sit down to write, everything I wish I could be, or the things I wish I could say or do come pouring out onto the pages.

None of my characters wear costumes, so no amount of dressing up could make me feel like I’m walking in their shoes.

Turns out, they’re unnecessary, because the best costume available is my own imagination.

I can close my eyes and suddenly I’m armed to the hilt, fighting evil vampires.

Or I’m waving my wand in an epic witch and wizard battle.

Sometimes I’m wandering Bourbon Street in New Orleans searching for ghosts and ghouls.

Other times I’m dressed in petticoats and lace, trying to escape Atlanta before Sherman’s men set it on fire.

Once in a while, I’m fighting for survival in prehistoric times, hunting mammoths and gathering food for winter.

And sometimes, I’m Blue Brennan, telling people off, freezing time and jumping through space to wherever it is I want to be.

When I read or write a book, I can be anyone I want, no costume necessary.

And as it turns out, my imagination is the best costume I could ever wear.

The Blue Effect

More About The Blue Effect

Blue Brennan is jaded and bitter despite her pin-up girl looks and quick wit. Night after night, she scours the Seattle club scene looking for someone or something to fill the emptiness inside.

When she meets the mysterious Kasey, her world stops… literally. He claims she has the ability to control time and stuns her even further when he reveals his own gifts.

Blue is inexplicably drawn to Kasey and reluctantly enters his world filled with a new breed of humanity. They’re misfits like her, blessed or cursed with powerful abilities, struggling to hide their differences from the rest of society.

Then the group discovers a nameless, faceless sociopath with nightmarish powers; and he’s coming for Blue. She’s left reeling when they discover her gifts are the key to defeating his terrible evil and saving them all.

Now she must race against the clock to harness her own powers and save her new friends. Can she be more than a renegade? Can she be a hero too?

Available at Amazon  BN  iTunes  

Rose Shababy

Rose Shababy

More About Rose

Rose Shababy and her family reside in eastern Washington State. Rose grew up in the Northwest but swears she’s going to move to warmer climates someday. She’s claimed this for over 20 years, however, and has yet to move more than 75 miles away from her mother.

Rose has a deep love of all things Star Trek and yearns to travel the heavens, as well as an intense desire to be bitten by a radioactive spider.

Unfortunately she sucks at science and math so she hasn’t been able bring her dreams to life, instead living vicariously through books, comics, television and film. She hopes to someday make a million dollars so she can afford to buy her way to the international space station, but she’d settle for being able to fly around the world and leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Rose also loves to cook and worked for years in a gourmet Italian grocery and deli where she learned to hone her skills. She prepares culinary masterpieces for her family, but fervently wishes the dishes would wash themselves. Especially now that her dishwashers/children are nearly grown and only one still lives at home.

Rose likes to use her free time wisely. For instance, she likes to daydream, will often read for hours until she falls asleep on the couch with an electric blanket and a warm tabby cat curled up on her hip, as well as spending cozy weekend days watching Syfy movies like Sharknado and Mega Piranha with her husband.

If Rose were a cartoon animal, she’d prefer to be a wise old owl or a sleek and sexy jaguar, but in reality she’d probably be a myopic mole with coke-bottle glasses.

Rose can be found online here:

The Blue Effect Banner

So, what about you? What are you dressing up as for Halloween this year? Rose is the only one who gets a pass. Kidding. I actually haven’t dressed up in a while. But Halloween’s on a Friday this year, which means a little extra celebrating might be in order. 

Both of my kids want me to go as one of the Downton Abbey characters. I’m honestly not sure why. Maybe because they know I like that show. Maybe because the dresses are pretty cool. But I can’t do Downton Abbey without zombifying it. [and p.s. to WordPress "zombifying" is in Merriam-Webster: please update spellcheck.]

Thanks, Rose, for guest blogging today!


Happy Halloween!

Whatever your plans are tonight — have fun! We are doing the usual: handing out candy to the little people and adult beverages to the big people. Hope the rain stays away or it’s gonna be a muddy one. Below, pics from our carving fest last night. Enjoy!

Halloween, pumpkins, jack-o-lantern, black cat

BLACK CAT WITH HAT AND BAT
by eldest

Halloween, pumpkins, jack-o-lantern, batman

CALLING BATMAN!
This one’s mine.
The original design had a face for the bat, but I skipped it.
I think I like this better though.
Who knows who will show up tonight! :-)

Halloween, pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns

My youngest experimented with a new way to carve.
BEWARE: requires a thin pumpkin wall and a powerful light.

Halloween, pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns

Halloween, pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
Second from left is my husband’s.
His jack-o-lanterns are very consistent, year after year. :-D


A History of Witchcraft by Sapphire Phelan

Sapphire Phelan is my next guest with a timely look at the history of witchcraft. Three days until the big day! We’re carving pumpkins tomorrow. Anyone else? In the meantime, enjoy the season. Welcome, Sapphire!

witch_on_broom

Wise Women

I wrote a couple of short novels about a woman who becomes a witch through making love with her demon familiar and has to save the world twice from demons. Both were added to a print book, titled The Witch And The Familiar. Of course, all of the mythology of Tina’s and Charun’s world is made up. But with Halloween fast approaching, this might be a good time to blog about the long line of history concerning witchcraft in our own world that is not made up. Though there are legends and myths concerning even those. The word ‘Witchcraft’ has been derived from the word ‘Wicca’ meaning ‘the wise one’. Witchcraft has been seen as a magical phenomenon, a pagan worship or religion, sorcery, and others, at different periods in our world history.

Thousands of years ago, people lived much more primitive lives than we have in our technological society today.  Without the luxury of modern medicine and treatments, when a person was sick, ill or in pain there was little that could be done about it.  Becoming ill was much more dangerous in those ancient days, and the ramifications of any sickness were frequently much more serious.  But some women and even men learned the value of healing herbs, and other types of homeopathic treatments.  These people were actually very wise when it came to their knowledge of herbal remedies.  These astute women, skilled in the art of natural medicine, also sometimes functioned as midwives and assisted in the delivery of babies, using various plant-based medicines to ease the pain and suffering experienced during childbirth.

The earliest records of the concept and practice of witchcraft can be traced to the early days of humankind when witchcraft was seen as magical a phenomenon that was invoked for magical rites which ensured good luck, protection against diseases, and other reasons.

However, it was not until 1000 AD that the practice of Witchcraft and witches invoked the wrath of priests, Christianity, and members of the society. Witchcraft, seen as a religion of the ancient and traditional pagan religion which worships the feminine, earthly, and masculine aspects of God, was considered as anti-Christian and a heresy.

Held to be against the declarations and beliefs of the Church, witches were considered as evil, making pacts and connections with the Devil. It was even believed that witches engaged in practices such as flying, invisibility, killing, taming black wolves and cats to spy on people, and others.  The belief in the existence of witches was strengthened particularly after Pope Innocent VIII issued a declaration in the 1498 confirming their existence in society, and inquisition increased, although in 1200, killing of witches had already become authorized by Pope Gregory IX. The Inquisition thus began after 1200 on orders of the Church to discover the witches or heretics who were believed to be evil and against the Church. Full-fledged killing of witches was, however, recorded in the 1500s and 1600s.  The first crusade against witches was held in 1022 AD when a witch was burned to death.

In Salem in 1692, 150 people were tried as suspects of practicing witchcraft. Unlike Europe, where those tried and convicted of witchcraft (those that survived being piled on with the increasing weight of stones or dunked in a river to see if they swam or sank), in Salem, those convicted of witchcraft and executed, were done so by hanging.

People suspected as witches were usually burned at stakes, and those pleading their innocence were either stoned to death or even sometimes thrown in water to prove their innocence. Witches usually faced severe and painful deaths or punishments.

Unlike the cases in Salem, Massachusetts, where women had been accused unjustly and declared guilty, then hung, another commonwealth, Virginia handled the witchcraft thing much better. To curb runaway charges of witchcraft like in New England, the Virginia General Assembly passed in 1662, “An Act for Punishment of Scandalous Persons.” It stated that women who acted peculiar and scandalous and caused their husbands to bring suits against those accusing their wives of witchcraft, after judgment had been passed, the woman would be punished by ducking. If the slander was enormous, the damages were adjusted at a greater amount then five hundred pounds of tobacco.

So except for Witches are as much a part of Virginia’s history and folklore as anywhere else. There were homes in Virginia that have witch doors—crosses carved on the paneled doors to keep the witches away—and people made witch bottles to protect them against witches—though the bottles were used mainly in the Tidewater area. An Indian idol, “Okee,” was considered to be a “devil-witch” by John Smith himself after the colonists landed at Jamestown and settled it. In 1654, according to author and historian Richard Beale Davis, there was a conviction of witchcraft in Virginia that resulted in an execution on a ship bound for Jamestown. This would have been long before the witchcraft trials at Salem. At that time, witches were believed to conjure up storms at sea, along with causing widespread illness among the passengers. When a severe storm happened and threatened the vessel commanded by Captain Bennett, he ordered the death of a woman named Catherine Grady, all because she was a “witch at sea.”

Today, no one is hung or burned at the stake for witchcraft. In the United States people can do whatever religion they want to believe in, long as they don’t do harm to others. We’ve came a long way from our tribal ancestors who sat around a campfire or a bonfire and huddled in fears of evil spirits, demons and witches.

More about Sapphire

Sapphire Phelan has published erotic and sweet paranormal/fantasy/science fiction romance along with a couple of erotic horror stories. Her erotic urban fantasy, Being Familiar With a Witch is a Prism 2010 Awards winner and a Epic Awards 2010 finalist. The sequel to it is A Familiar Tangle With Hell, released June 2011 from Phaze Books, Both eBooks were combined into one print book, The Witch and the Familiar, and released April 24, 2012. Her male/male paranormal romance novella, Dark Leopard Magic, second book in the Beast Magic series was just released as an audio book.

She admits she can always be found at her desk and on her computer, writing. And yes, the house, husband, and even the cats sometimes suffer for it!

Dark heroes and heroines with bite…sink your teeth into a romance by Sapphire Phelan today.

Website  Newsletter Facebook

Thank you for guest blogging today, Sapphire!


Fun “What’s Your Reaper Name?” Quiz by Boone Brux

Boone Brux is today’s guest. She has a fun and hilarious “What’s Your Reaper Name?” Quiz (Come on, you know you wanna know what your reaper name is. The list is full of scary stuff! ;-)) She’s also here to share a bit about her October release, To Catch Her Death. Welcome, Boone!

To Catch Her Death

Hi everyone! I’m so thrilled to be here today to talk about my new book, To Catch Her Death.

The story focuses on Lisa Carron, mother of three and widow. When caught in a minimart robbery, Lisa inadvertently activates her reaper powers. After much ado, she finally decides to accept the role as one of Alaska’s Angels of Death, only to find out her clients will be people who have died in stupid ways. Yeah, she’s not thrilled about that.

I started thinking about what kind of reaper I’d make. Which quickly led me to ask, what would my reaper name be? Maybe I have too much time on my hands, but I came up with this fun chart so we can all have our very own reaper name.

Use the first letter of your first name and the first letter of your second name to find out. I, for example, am The Nefarious Reaper of Diets. Wow, that’s fitting. The only other one more fitting might be The Luscious Reaper of Frostbite since I live in Alaska and am definitely luscious.

I’d love to see what everybody comes up with. Post your reaper so we can all have a good laugh. And don’t forget to check out To Catch Her Death if you want a fun read.

Boone Brux Whats Your Reaper Name Quiz

More About To Catch Her Death

What do you get when you cross a hockey mom with the grim reaper? Me, Lisa Carron.

If being a depressed, frumpy, widowed mother of three wasn’t bad enough, I just discovered I’m a grim reaper. I know what you’re thinking. Wow, that’s kind of sexy and full of awesomeness. Hardly. Oh, and my clients? Stupid people. Like I don’t get enough of that from the living.

Since Alaska is big and angels of death are few, I’ve been partnered with reaper extraordinaire, Nate Cramer. He’s strong, silent, and way too good looking for my recently widowed state. Oh, and he reaps violent criminals, so that should be interesting.

Forget the danger and the hours of self-analysis it will take for me to find my reaper mojo. My biggest problem? Hiding it all from my overly attentive family and nosy neighbors. Now that’s going to take a miracle.

Excerpt

“You’re not welcome here.” He took a step forward and I slapped my hand against the wall, blocking his path with my arm. If he was a grim reaper then maybe he couldn’t enter my house until he was invited—like vampires. “Be gone.”

He smirked. “I’m not a vampire.”

“I know you’re not. There’s no such thing.” I rolled my eyes, trying to give the impression I hadn’t totally been thinking that. “What do you want?”

“Give me ten minutes. Then I’ll leave and never bother you again.”

It sounded too good to be true. “Never ever?”

“I promise.”

He didn’t do any kind of scout’s honor hand gesture, so I didn’t know if I could completely trust him. “Ten minutes.”

In that amount of time, he could have me sliced up and vacuum sealed, but what choice did I have. I spun and walked into my kitchen. The idea of he being a grim reaper was the lesser of two evils made me want to laugh. Not in a haha, ironic isn’t it way. But a deeply disturbed things keep getting weirder and weirder way.

His footsteps followed. I cursed myself. He’d probably leave big, stupid dirt marks all over my sparkling floor. I scooped up my glass and turned to face him. My upbringing forced me to offer him a drink. “Would you like a glass of wine?”

He held up a hand and shook his head. “No, thank you.”

Hmm, very polite—for a killer. I pulled out the chair and sat, indicating he should do the same. I sipped slowly, wishing it was something stronger. “Okay, speak.”

He lowered himself into the chair and propped his elbows on the table, leveling a stare at me. “You are a grim reaper.”

“So you’ve said.” I took another drink and set down my glass. “Are we done?”

“Hardly.” He eased back and sized me up, his gaze narrowing. “All right then, you explain what happened at the Holiday station this morning.”

I considered giving him Vella’s explanation, but those reasons sounded even more ridiculous than reaping a soul. I decided to change tactics. “Let me ask you this. Why do you think I’m a reaper?”

“We recently lost one of our own and you came on our radar as the next reaper in line.”

“Lost one of your own?” I didn’t like the sound of that at all. “You mean one of your reapers died?”

He shifted in his chair. “Yes.”

“That’s a bit ironic isn’t it? The angel of death dying.”

He shrugged. “We’re mortal, tools for the greater good of mankind.”

I refrained from telling him how much of a tool I thought he was. “Isn’t the grim reaper immortal?”

“You watch too many movies.”

That was true but I didn’t confirm his statement.

 More About Boone 

Boone Brux

Boone Brux

As a bestselling author, Boone Brux’s books range from high fantasy to humorous paranormal.

A former nanny, Boone has lived all over the world, finally settling in the icy region of Alaska, where she writes full time. Always looking for the next adventure, it’s not unusual to find her traversing the remotest parts of the Alaskan bush. No person or escapade is off limits when it comes to weaving real life experiences into her books or blogs.

Boone can be found online here:

To Catch Her Death Banner

Ha! My reaper name is “The Demented Reaper of Menstrual Cramps.” Look out!

So, everyone, what’s yours?

Thank you for guest blogging today, Boone!


Fantasy: Turning “Can’t” Into “Why Not?” by Kathleen Collins

UF author Kathleen Collins is touring with Bewitching Book Tours to promote her October 28, 2013 release, REALM WALKER. In connection with her tour, she’s giving away a Halloween themed prize pack and eight e-copies of REALM WALKER. Welcome, Kathleen!

urban fantasy, Realm Walker, Kathleen Collins

So I’m one of those people that never has a shortage of ideas. In fact, my idea file on my computer is pushing two hundred ideas. Some of those are just a line or two of something that occurred to me. Others are several pages of notes. Those ideas cover historicals, sci fi, fantasy, paranormal, contemporaries and on and on it goes. Obviously most of those ideas will never get used simply because I don’t think I could ever write that many books and I’m constantly getting new ideas. The ones I keep returning to are the ones that take place in fantasy worlds.

There are multiple reasons for this, but perhaps the biggest one is I get to create. I’m not talking about writing the book itself here, I’m talking about creating a world. I get to make the rules, bend the rules and throw them completely out the window if need be. If I want everyone in my world to have purple skin, I can do that. If I want my vampires to have babies I can do that, too. It’s my world and whatever I say goes.

Now that doesn’t mean I don’t have to keep track of the rules of my world. I can’t have purple skin in chapter one and green skin in chapter three unless there is a darn good reason for it. Readers of these genres are generally willing to suspend disbelief but that only goes so far. What it does mean is that I am in control. Realm Walker for example takes place in a world very much like ours, but different in major ways. And these differences affect everything else in the world, from politics to entertainment. It’s the molding and shaping of the worlds that I love.

Sometimes I’ll find myself writing something and I’ll think, ‘oh, I can’t do that’. Then I’ll look at it again and think, why not? It’s my world, my creation, and no one can argue that I’m doing it wrong unless I cease to follow my own rules. And a lot of what I create may never be seen by the reader. For example, in my world leprechauns can take on the appearance of any humanoid creature. That means they can be two feet tall or six feet tall, with red hair or blond, and their appearance can change in a second. Why do you think they’re so hard to catch?

I’m not ruling out writing in a genre where the rules of the world are firm. In fact, I have a contemporary idea that’s been bugging me for months. I’m just not sure I’ll have as much fun playing in worlds where I don’t get to make all the rules.

More about Realm Walker

An estranged mate, a mangled body and a powerful demon who calls her by name…

As a Realm Walker for the Agency, Juliana Norris tracks deadly paranormal quarry using her unique ability to see magical signatures. She excels at her job, but her friends worry about her mysterious habit of dying in the line of duty without staying dead. That’s only the first of her secrets.

Most people don’t know Juliana became the mate of master vampire Thomas Kendrick before he abandoned her seven years ago. Most people don’t know the horrors she endured at the hands of the vampire he left in command. Most people don’t know her true parentage, or why a demon on a world-threatening rampage has taken a personal interest in her…

Even as Juliana pursues the demon, it goes after all she holds dear—including Thomas, who is back to claim her for his own. But if she can’t reconcile her past and learn to trust herself again, she will lose him forever.

Realm Walker can be pre-ordered here:

More about Kathleen

Kathleen Collins

Kathleen Collins

Kathleen Collins has been writing since Kindergarten. And while her ability has drastically improved, her stories are still about monsters and the people who play with them.

The rare instances that she actually finds some spare time, she spends it playing with her two boys. Three if you count her husband.

She is currently hard at work on her next book.

FIND KATHLEEN ONLINE HERE:

Giveaway

And don’t forget to click here to enter to win Kathleen’s Halloween themed prize pack (US only) and/or 8 e-copies of REALM WALKER!

Realm Walker Banner Tour

So, speaking of Halloween themed prize packs… now that it’s October, who’s excited for Halloween?! Are you dressing up this year? If so, as what? If not, why not? Are you buying candy? Will you be watching horror films all month? Which ones? I want the details, people! :-D

Thank you for guest blogging today, Kathleen! Good luck and best wishes for REALM WALKER’s release!


Looking for #Writers (both pubbed and unpubbed)

Writer

In search of… Writers!

I’m putting together a new guest blog series for this fall. In the past, I’ve done guest blog series that focus on a particular type of story: romance, new adult, “dark stories” (UF, mystery, horror), but this time I’d love to do a guest blog series that unpublished writers could participate in too. I already have a handful of writers lined up with some great topics (interesting, different, and creative ones — love it!) but I’d like to find a few more, if possible.

Here are examples of the type of content I’m looking for in these future guest posts:

  • Writing craft / Writing process
  • Writing life
  • Speculative fiction/PNR book review (honest and fair, but generally positive)
  • SF/F movie review (especially ones that are adaptations from novels)
  • Product review (product needs to be related to writing or reading)
  • Spotlight your favorite Bookstore or Coffee Shop
  • Neat post about your day job (especially if it’s in an interesting career and/or something someone might base a character on)
  • Travel post related to books in some way – either a research trip you took or a trip to a place that was a setting in a book you read
  • Seasonal post related to Halloween: books, decorations, costumes, food, history, etc.

I’m NOT looking for posts about your WIP, current project, or published work but published authors can include their published work in their bio and I can share links to websites, blogs, FB, Twitter, etc. I’m hoping that some of you will think this idea is as fun as I do. I like blogging and am excited to see the posts for a guest blog series like this.

If you’re interested in participating, please e-mail me (archer at jillarcher dot com) and include the information below:

  • Title for the post
  • Description of what you want to talk about
  • Online contact info
  • Anything else you think is relevant

Please forward this post to anyone you think might be interested. Thanks, everyone!


3 Unconventional Heroines for Your Un-Princesses (and Misc. Updates)

These have all been out for a while, but I thought I’d share three of my family’s favorite picture books with you. GREAT FOR ALL AGES, BUT ESPECIALLY FOR YOUNG UN-PRINCESSES! Each of these stories also has some great character inspirations for last-minute Halloween costumes!

Cinderella Skeleton

Let us know if you decide to dress up as Cinderella Skeleton, Prince Charnel, or stepsisters Gristlene and Bony-Jane!

Why we love Cinderella Skeleton: Why?! Well because she’s “everything a ghoul should be” of course! :-D Don’t take my word for it. Here’s a few more wonderful lines from author Robert D. San Souci:

Her build was long and lean and lank;
Her dankish hair hung down in hanks;
Her nails were yellow; her teeth were green—
The ghastliest haunt you've ever seen.
Foulest in the land was she.

Bonus: David Catrow’s gorgeous pictures! It’s a wonderfully macabre, colorfully detailed reinterpretation of the Cinderella story.

Violet the Pilot

Let us know if you or your daughter dresses up as Violet the Pilot (or her dog Orville!)

Why we love Violet: What’s not to like about a girl who reads Popular Science, has a dog named “Orville” and who rescues a bunch of Boy Scouts?

Bonus: Getting to see all of Violet’s various flying contraptions. Among them: the Tub-bubbler, the Pogo Plane, and the Wing-a-ma-jig.  Violet’s inventive and inspiring!

The Paper Bag Princess

Do a Google Images search for “Paper Bag Princess” and you’ll see lots of other neat costumes that people have made based on this character.

Why we love the Elizabeth: Sure, Elizabeth’s beautiful, has “expensive princess clothes” and is going to marry a prince, but fairly early on she loses most of what she holds dear. Her new best friend is the titular paper bag and we get to see that Elizabeth is as beautifully strong as her new dress is not.

Bonus: Elizabeth’s last lines to Prince Ronald (oft-quoted in our house).

Have you read any of these books? If so, which is your favorite?

Book Signing Update

This Saturday I’m doing my last in-person event for Dark Light of Day. I’m signing books at a multi-author event featuring Nora Roberts, who is signing the third book in the InnBoonsBoro Trilogy, The Perfect Hope. The book signing is in Boonsboro, Maryland at Turn the Page bookstore from 12:00-2:00. For more information (including a list of the other authors who are attending), please click here. If you live in the area, I’d love to see you there!

Blog Tour Update

Yesterday, I was at Laurie’s Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews. Laurie interviewed me and I shared what my family thinks of Dark Light of Day, whether my husband reads my work or not, and how I’ve responded to negative and mixed reviews. If you have a chance, stop by!

Carving Pumpkins Update

Carving pumpkins; Halloween

This pattern reminded me of the Sleepy Hollow tree…

Halloween pumpkin

Carved pumpkins

Every year my cat (under the table) tells me he wants to go as Jiji, the black cat from Kiki’s Delivery Service. Unfortunately, he’s an indoor cat.

Are you carving pumpkins this year? What will your pumpkins look like?

Frankenstorm / Superstorm Sandy Update

Superstorm Sandy

Pre-Sandy: I told them umbrellas would turn inside out. They improvised. :-)

Gusts of nearly 50 mph. Lost power for a while and though there was a swarm of no less than a dozen BGE trucks outside our house at one point, we were up and running yesterday having lost nothing more than a window screen. Today, school is cancelled for the third day, we are in a “brownout” with limited power and have no internet. (I’m posting this using a cellular hotspot). How is everyone else? I hope everyone is safe and that you suffered minimal flooding and wind damage. My thoughts are with everyone in NYC, New Jersey, and elsewhere where the impact was much worse than it was here. Gotta put in a pitch to donate to the Red Cross or your favorite disaster relief charity if you haven’t already!

Best wishes for Halloween! Here’s to hoping that Mother Nature will be much kinder to us for Thanksgiving.


The Calm Before the Storm

I’m over at Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess today. Jody asked me how the digital revolution has affected my career as an author and I share my thoughts on the importance of book bloggers and review sites in the future landscape of publishing. The interview with Jody is one of the last handful of posts I’ll be doing for the DLOD blog tour. There will be a few more interviews and my last few posts will be me discussing DLOD’s settings, man’s endless fascination (some might even say obsession) with fire, and then a wrap up “Tales from the Cyber Road” post, which will have my reactions to the blog tour, etc.

Tomorrow, I’m hosting another guest blogger and next week I’ll probably do a Halloween post or two — and possibly even a FRANKENSTORM post! Geesh! I was kidding with my earlier Snowtober posts from last year, but apparently snow in October this year is not entirely out of the question. I hope anyone living in the Northeast is ready. (Although if you have kids, I’m betting you already have enough batteries to get you through three apocalypses. One itty, bitty hurricane is not going to put a dent in your pile of C’s and AA’s).

Regarding the possible RH Penguin merger, I’ll just quote Samuel L. Jackson from Jurassic Park, “Hold onto your butts.” :-/

I hope, despite all the “unsettling” news of impending storms, etc., that everyone is able to have a nice weekend.


Top Ten Romantic Halloween Movies

Snowtober 2011

Remember Snowtober? It was neat, but I’m glad it doesn’t happen every year!

Snow storm

Normally I don’t look this happy when scraping snow off my car…
but a snowstorm in October was worth a grin!

Tomorrow, I’ll be at NYCC but I’ll also be over at Book Lovers Hideaway for their Halloween Spooktacular. Because I’ve missed doing my movie reviews lately (and maybe you have too), I put together a Top Ten List of “Romantic” Halloween Movies. Plan a movie marathon for this weekend or just pick one to watch after handing out all the candy on 10/31! Stop by and tell me which one is your favorite – or add your own suggestions. You know how much I love movie recommendations!

NYCC Update

I was excited to find out that they added a new panel at NYCC for Saturday on genre-bending novels, which includes Dark Light of Day:

GENRE-BENDERS: Out-of-the-box Science-Fiction and Fantasy Novels that blur the lines of fantasy, SF, horror, romance, steampunk, you name it! Join authors in a discussion about stories that can’t be bound by the constraints of any genre. Whether mixing elements of romance with horror, or fantasy with thrillers, these authors show that a good tale can be spun from multiple traditions. Saturday, October 13th, 2:45–3:45 PM, 1A01

Have a great weekend, everyone! I’ll be posting again on Tuesday!


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