Monday, October 31, 2016

Haunted Halloween Tour: Asleep by Krystal Wade

October is the month of fears, and we're going on tour with some of our favorite authors to talk about what their main characters are afraid of. What keeps them up at night? What nightmare has them waking in a cold sweat? Each day, we'll feature a new main character and delve deep into their subconscious to see what they fear. And each day, you'll have a chance to enter to win some awesome prizes! 

It only seems fitting that we'd end on Halloween with a main character pitted against her very own Freddie Kreuger while locked away in an asylum. Nightmares run rampant in Asleep by Krystal Wade, and we're going to take another look at one of the nightmares torturing young Rose...

Asleep Excerpt

Rose fell asleep that way, smiling, exhilaration making the trip into dreamland take forever. But once she was there, she wanted to crawl back out, back into the land of the waking.
Someone dressed in dark robes grabbed Rose by the wrists and jerked her forward. “Come.”
“No. Please. Not again. Just leave me alone. I just want to sleep.” She glanced back toward the bed and found it wasn’t there. She wasn’t even sure where she was. Her eyes burned, and everything appeared black and fuzzy, like opening her eyes under water at night.
“Come.” The person tugged her along by some invisible force, down dark hallways and stairs, and through cold, drafty rooms where she couldn’t see anything and felt like she was surrounded by ghosts or lunatics—or worse, ghosts of lunatics.
Jingling sounds bounced off the walls—keys? Weapons? Rose didn’t want to find out—and the clang of doors closing vibrated in her chest.
Blackness stretched on forever, only an occasional light swirling by in Rose’s peripheral vision, ramping up her heart even faster than before she’d fallen asleep. “Where are you taking me?”
The person finally stopped next to a big gray door, and Rose ran into his back. His, because he grunted, his, because he was a giant, too tall and too wide and too strong.
Rose tried to apologize, but she couldn’t open her mouth again, her muscles too weak to break through whatever barrier trapped her voice. Panic took hold of her, and she tried to reach up and touch her lips, but she couldn’t. Her hands were secured by the giant before her.
Rose backed away and made it two steps before she was yanked right back, chains jangling.
Chains. She’d been chained.
Why couldn’t she wake up? Why couldn’t she force her way to the surface? Maybe if she hurt herself or found a way to kill herself, she’d wake up. People can’t die in their dreams, supposedly, or so she’d heard on some silly cartoon in the common room the other day.
Yanking harder, planting her feet with all her strength, Rose tried to dislocate her wrists, pulling and twisting and groaning.
“Stop it.” A growl erupted from the man in front of her, which only made her pull harder, struggle more, breathe faster. Breathe, breathe, breathe through her nose. Not enough air. The smell of duct tape overwhelmed Rose.
She’d been chained and duct taped.
“Don’t. Please.”
Phillip? Rose stilled to get her chains to stop banging against each other, listening for his voice. When she didn’t hear anything over her own breathing, she ran at her captor, knocking the hood from his head. His bald, white head was disfigured by thick, raised scars tracing his skull in circular patterns. He turned around as if time was not a concern to him, as if on some mechanical switch flipped to the slowest setting. The man’s expression was blank, but his eyes were as red as blood.
Definitely not Phillip.
She wanted to hide, to cower. Her legs quaked beneath her. Her heart thundered against her ribs. The man reached into his pocket, and Rose’s panicked breaths through her nose and muffled sobs bounced off the walls.
“Don’t,” she heard Phillip say again, but the man’s mouth hadn’t moved. Was Phillip here somewhere? In her nightmare? “Don’t hurt her.”
The man pulled out a skeleton key and inserted it into the cuffs securing Rose’s hands, and she immediately backed away, rubbing at the raw, tender flesh. She ripped the tape from her lips next, crying out as she lost a layer of skin and tasted blood flowing into her mouth. He reached into his pocket again and then held out several charcoal pencils, one of them her pencil. He inclined his head in the direction of the door beside them, which she now saw had 206 and Briar written on it. “Draw.”
Digging his long, witch-like nails into her back, the man shoved her into the room, slammed the door, and slid a bar across it. He locked her in.
Rose was alone, freezing and shaking and alone, holding charcoal. All along the walls were outlines of trees, spindly, leafless trees. Winter trees, white chalk against a concrete canvas.
“No. No, don’t leave! Don’t leave me here . . . .”
She spun around in search of Phillip, for the origination of his voice, for some clue as to what the hell was going on. But she found nothing but the white trees staring back at her.
“Hello?” Rose held her breath and waited for a response. Anything. “Greg? MacGregor?”
“Mom. Mom!” she heard him shout, and then another voice broke through the madness, “You have to save her.”
Rose didn’t recognize the second speaker. He didn’t even sound human, just a bunch of garbled words that found a way to make sense in her dream.
“I can’t. She left me.”
“Not her.” Two lights flashed on, one above Rose, the other above Phillip. He was tied to a chair, bound at the wrists and ankles, naked from the waist up and covered in bruises. A black splotch covered his ribs, big enough for a fist to have made, the same shape as the bruise on his elbow. She took in the others, details about his injuries. A long, bleeding cut above his left nipple. A yellow bruise at his right hip bone. Rose had to memorize this Phillip against the real, breathing, living Phillip so she could differentiate between dream and reality.
But just as quickly as his form appeared, it disappeared before she could finish her appraisal. “Make her draw.”
The reminder that she was here too raised the hairs on Rose’s arms and neck. She waited, sure her heartbeat could be heard by everyone within a three-block radius, but Phillip didn’t respond except with stony silence.
She took a step forward but found her ankle chained to a peg in the middle of the floor. “Phill—?”
Something smacked Rose in the head from behind, and her vision filled with spots. She whirled and threw her hands out, trying to find someone she could fight, someone who deserved her wrath, but her hands didn’t find anyone.
A light blinked on from overhead, and a dark figure rushed up to Rose and punched her in the stomach. She doubled over and gasped, sucking air into her lungs in harsh, wheezing breaths.
“Draw,” the garbled voice demanded.
Rose shook her head, unable to get to her feet and fight, unable to breathe.
A booted foot slammed into her back, flattening Rose to the floor and stealing what little air she was able to recover. She lay there, face pressed to the cool concrete, head spinning, light from above blinding her. Rose wished she could just wake up. Wake up. Wake up.
“Draw,” the voice once again demanded.
Rose couldn’t. Not in her dreams. Not in real life. Not ever. Rose couldn’t draw because she had no inspiration. She couldn’t even remember what her inspiration was, what prompted her fingers to turn her daydreams and creativity into reality, what made them finish something once started.
“Stop,” Phillip shouted, his voice strong and sure. “Just draw, Rose. Draw. You’re like me. They won’t stop. Draw, Rose. Please.”
Wheezing, she lifted her head and looked at the wall full of outlined trees. With sore muscles and no air and feeling like she might die any second, how could she get up and do anything?
The light blinked off again, and the light over dream-Phillip came on. A cloaked figure approached him with a red-hot branding iron aimed right at his chest. Phillip’s eyes went wide and he screamed, loud and feral and absolutely terrifying, pushing against the floor with his bound feet. He turned his head to the side, shaking the chair so much Rose was surprised it hadn’t broken. Screaming. Over and over he screamed, breaking her with his terror.
“Stop,” she muttered, her voice weak and not nearly loud enough to be heard over his. So Rose got to her knees and said it again. The figure still approached Phillip. So she got to her feet and sucked in a ragged breath and shouted through the pain coursing through her chest. “Stop!”
The figure tossed a casual glance her way and shook his finger at her, the iron an inch from Phillip’s chest.
Rose looked in her palm and then up to the wall. Maybe she couldn’t draw, but she could fill in the trees with color. “Okay.”
She made her way to the lifeless trees, legs trembling as she pulled the weight of the chain along with her, back and stomach aching. White chalk rested near her bare toes, so Rose picked it up, placed it on the wall, and set to work.
Phillip stopped screaming. The lights blinked off from over him, but the hot iron remained in the dark. Rose knew it was a threat. If she quit or gave up, Phillip would be injured.
And so she drew and drew and drew, filling in all the empty spaces between the tree outlines with plain colors until her hands felt like they would fall off. Until her legs were too weak to hold her up any longer and she collapsed. And the next moment she blinked her burning eyes open, she was lying face up in bed.
Rose never slept on her back. Ever. She lifted her hands, half-expecting to see residue of chalk on her fingers, but there was nothing. Just a dream.
Just a dream that left every muscle sore, her body trembling with exhaustion, and her brain demanding she sleep at least four more hours. But she hadn’t moved, hadn’t left this room. Reaching beneath the mattress and bed frame, she found her pencil. Right where she’d left it. These meds were really messing with her. Rose hated the way they made her feel, and she planned to tell Dr. Underwood all about the nightmares to see what he could do to fix this.
She hurried to get dressed, marched down the hall and took her meds, then marched along farther to grab breakfast. But Rose stopped dead in her tracks when she saw Phillip sitting at their table, counting his bruises, ignoring the bowl of crap in front of him.
The urge to run to him and ask if he was okay was so strong Rose had to fight to remain rooted in place. She knew what happened last night was just a dream, but she couldn’t seem to balance that with the image of this broken guy sitting at her table. They looked so much the same: dream-Phillip and reality-Phillip.
Ignoring the food line, she took a seat beside him and grabbed his left hand. Rose had to touch him, to see if he was real or an illusion. She didn’t trust herself anymore. Not with nightmares as vivid as she had. And she could hardly ask him to lift his shirt so she could see his bruises.
“Are you in there?” she asked.
Phillip startled and squeezed her fingers in his hands, his warm, trembling hands. “You’re like me, Rose. Like me. They won’t stop. They’ll hurt you.”

about the book

"To cure fear, you must use fear."

Rose Briar claims no responsibility for the act that led to her imprisonment in an asylum. She wants to escape, until terrifying nightmares make her question her sanity and reach out to her doctor. He's understanding and caring in ways her parents never have been, but as her walls tumble down and Rose admits fault, a fellow patient warns her to stop the medications. Phillip believes the doctor is evil and they'll never make it out of the facility alive. Trusting him might be just the thing to save her. Or it might prove the asylum is exactly where she needs to be.

Available Amazon. Add the book to your Goodreads list! 

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Friday, October 28, 2016

Haunted Halloween Tour: The Surrendered by Case Maynard

October is the month of fears, and we're going on tour with some of our favorite authors to talk about what their main characters are afraid of. What keeps them up at night? What nightmare has them waking in a cold sweat? Each day, we'll feature a new main character and delve deep into their subconscious to see what they fear. And each day, you'll have a chance to enter to win some awesome prizes! We met Vee from our recent dystopian release The Surrendered, but now we're getting to know her a bit better by finding out what haunts her each night when she closes her eyes...

My name is Vee Delancourt, and my biggest fear is all about failure. In a world where the nation abuses its children in unspeakable ways, losing this fight just isn’t an option. I hope I can prove myself worthy of the trust so many have put in me. I hope I can one day redeem myself for the mistakes that I’ve already made. . .and for the lives that have already been lost.
She’s here, my old friend is. Stalking my sleep again.
Well, not her exactly, but some version of her. While the pale skin is the same, if maybe a shade lighter, the hesitant smiles I once marveled at have disappeared. A twisted scowl now decorates her gray lips. Grayish. Not quite blue; not quite white. The color of death.
                “You,” she snarls at me, one thin finger aimed in my direction. “You killed us all.”
                I shake my head, backing until I come in contact with something. I don’t have to look to know it’s the big covered truck from Hopkins Farm. I’ve been here before, in these very Mills, on this very day. It’s the day that everything changed. The day I escaped the System and set into motion a chain of events that would forever change the lives of so many people. Not all for the better.
                My ethereal pursuer continues to advance on me, and my heart races wildly in my chest. “I didn’t mean to!” I cry, pleading with her to understand. “I didn’t know so many would die!”
                “Die, die, die. We’re all dead. We died. We’re done. Dead.” Babbling is her only response.
My chest squeezes. Something’s not right. Isn’t there supposed to be peace in the beyond? A great releasement of all the bad experiences? A big screw you to all who did you wrong? This is unfair.
                She hesitates in her advance, her feet floating stationary over the dirt path for one moment. Her head tilts slightly, as though listening to sounds in the distance. She grimaces, shudders, and then moans. “They beckon. They call. . ..” She throws her head back, wailing, “No! I will not go!”
                I cover my ears at the thunderous howl, releasing a scream of my own. “Let me help you! Let me fix this!”
                Another murderous shriek sounds as I step toward her. “I don’t want to go! Make it stop! I WILL NOT GO!”
                I sob, the gasping sounds ripped from my chest as I struggle to stay upright. I feel the blackness trying to take me even now. “Please. Please let me make this right.”
                Her head drops forward, drool running from her mouth and over her chin. Colorless eyes swing back to me, and in them I see a sorrow unlike any I have ever witnessed. “You’ve done enough, little rebel. Selfish. Unthinking. Ignorant, rebel. You killed us all.”
“No.” My head continues to deny, but my heart twists at the knowledge that she’s. . .right. She’s dead because of me. Tears overspill my eyes, tracking marks through the grime on my cheeks. I choke. “But I was only trying to help you.”
Her bark of laughter startles me and I jerk in surprise when her finger points again, this time to my left. “Fail. Failing. Failed.” She cackles. And what of them? Will you help them too?”
My head turns.
They’re all there. My dear, sweet friends. Ann and John William. Cason. Matthew. My father. The Overseer. The Master. Asa. All the children. There are so many of them, both known and unknown.
All with the same murderous intent.

To make me pay.

about the book

After a financial collapse devastates the United States, the new government imposes a tax on the nation’s most valuable resource—the children.

Surrendered at age ten—after her parents could no longer afford her exorbitant fees—Vee Delancourt has spent six hard years at the Mills, alongside her twin, Oliver. With just a year to freedom, they do what they can to stay off the Master’s radar. But when Vee discovers unspeakable things happening to the younger girls in service, she has no choice but to take a stand—a decision that lands her on the run and outside the fence for the first time since the System robbed her of her liberty.

Vee knows the Master will stop at nothing to prove he holds ultimate authority over the Surrendered. But when he makes a threat that goes beyond what even she considers possible, she accepts the aid of an unlikely group of allies. Problem is, with opposing factions gunning for the one thing that might save them all, Vee must find a way to turn oppression and desperation into hope and determination—or risk failing all the children and the brother she left behind.

Now available!
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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Haunted Halloween Tour: Conch Shell of Doom by Ryan Hill

October is the month of fears, and we're going on tour with some of our favorite authors to talk about what their main characters are afraid of. What keeps them up at night? What nightmare has them waking in a cold sweat? Each day, we'll feature a new main character and delve deep into their subconscious to see what they fear. And each day, you'll have a chance to enter to win some awesome prizes! Bailey is the sixteen-year-old protagonist of the Paranormal Comedy THE CONCH SHELL OF DOOM by Ryan Hill. When Bailey isn’t fighting off sea monsters, he’s fighting off his friends’ snark, a healthy fear of rejection, and anxiety. But rejection isn't the only thing he's afraid of...

What am I most afraid of? by Bailey Southwick

What am I not afraid of is probably the better question. I’m afraid my friends will find out who I have a secret crush on- actually, let’s leave her name out of it. If they ever found out, I’d never hear the end of it. I know a lot of people say, “Oh, I’d never hear the end of it,” but I’m serious. Marshall and Tim would hound me until I moved to Allakaket, Alaska, population 107. Even then, I’d still get texts, emails, and even real mail from them with more jokes. To top it off, one of them – most likely Marshall – would make sure the crush knew I liked them in the most public and humiliating way possible.

Maybe Allakaket isn’t the worst idea.

I’m also afraid of goblin sharks, sand soldiers, and having some bad guy’s head put on my body. Definitely the last one. No, my body isn’t the most athletic, but I’m still growing into it? Also, it’s mine. I don’t want some gross head taking control, rendering me basically dead. No way. That’d stink.

Also, I’m afraid of my anxiety. It pops up at random moments and causes all kinds of problems. I do my best to manage it, but that can only get me so far sometimes. I wish it weren’t the case, but it’s the lens through which I view life. It makes me who I am, and it can make me my own worst enemy.

about the book

Bailey didn’t mean to catch his parents plotting to unleash the sinister Trenton Maroney and his powerful oceanic army on the world. It was an honest mistake. Now, he’s got the horribly disfigured Mr. Lovell on his trail, which is doing wonders for Bailey’s anxiety.

His only ally is Franklin, a burn-out several decades past wishing his brother Trenton was destroyed for good. Franklin has battled his brother for two thousand years, and has nothing to show for it except his beloved Mustang.

To stop Mr. Lovell from awakening Trenton, Franklin and Bailey will have to get past his parents, a one-eyed stoner, crooked cops, giant Scotsmen, and Trenton’s army, which can only be summoned by one thing: the mysterious Conch Shell of Doom.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Haunted Halloween Tour: Shadow Fall by Audrey Grey

October is the month of fears, and we're going on tour with some of our favorite authors to talk about what their main characters are afraid of. What keeps them up at night? What nightmare has them waking in a cold sweat? Each day, we'll feature a new main character and delve deep into their subconscious to see what they fear. And each day, you'll have a chance to enter to win some awesome prizes! Maia Greystone is the fierce main character from Shadow Fall by Audrey Grey. You'd think that a girl brave enough to enter the trials and pit herself against the Emperor wouldn't have many fears, but Audrey may have discovered otherwise in her interview...

Maia Graystone Interview

Maia has just been pulled from Emerald Island where the Trials to win safety from the asteroid are taking place.

Side note: Before we began this interview, I suggested Maia sit in a chair, but she refused. In all honesty, her actions (pacing, insisting on checking the room for weapons twice) and anxious demeanor suggest a scrappy, stubborn young woman.

ME: Hello, Miss Graystone, and thank you for accepting this interview.

Maia *wringing hands*: Oh, I didn’t know I had a choice. I thought . . .

ME: You thought?

MAIA: Is the Emperor here? Or my mother? *Scans the room, her fingers toying with a small, plain dagger at her waist* Did they put you up to this?

ME: No, no. You’re safe, Maia . . . for the moment. It’s just the readers and me right now. The readers would like to know your worst fear. Can you describe it for them?

MAIA: *frowns* My worst fear? Where do I start? *Gives a small laugh* I mean, the asteroid coming to make half the planet uninhabitable comes to mind.

ME: Is that your worst fear, then?

MAIA: Well, my brother, Max, being stuck here when she hits. That’s a big part of it. I mean, he’s only a kid. And he doesn’t take things very seriously. My parents used to let him get away with everything, the imp! He’s not built for this world, where you have to be hard and cruel to survive.

ME: Is there a safe place for you, away from the asteroid?

MAIA: Yeah, the fancy space station called Hyperion, designed for the Emperor and his court of Golds. The Royalists are accepting four Bronzes. But If I don’t win the Trials, then Max and I will be left here to die.

ME: So, then, your worst fear is not winning the Trials?

MAIA: *Chews her lip* I think my worst fear isn’t just letting Max down again, but . . . the Archduchess finding him.

ME: And who is she?

MAIA: *toys with her dagger* The Emperor’s deranged, psychopathic lapdog? Everyone knows her—or, rather, everyone wants to not know her—because everyone that meets her winds up dead. You see, when the Emperor wants to find someone, he uses her. She’s been looking for Max and me for over seven years, and if she finds us--*shudders*--well, let’s just say that can’t ever happen. I’ll do whatever I have to to keep her away from Max.

ME: Is that why you let yourself be reconstructed into this new image?

MAIA: *Twists her new, sleek red hair between her fingers* It’s so she won’t recognize me at the Trials. I like it, but . . . well, I miss the old me, too.

ME: All right, I think we’ve uncovered your biggest fear for the readers. Anything else you want to tell them before you go back to the Trials?

MAIA: Yes. Don’t ever give up fighting to save those you love. Even if it seems impossible to win, even if it is impossible to win, never give up and never surrender.

*Maia gets up to leave, the beautiful, open-back emerald-green gown she wears glinting in the soft light*

ME: Good luck, Maia. I hope you win and save your brother.

*Maia pauses, but doesn’t turn around*

MAIA: I will. Whatever it takes.

about the book

The asteroid hurtling toward the earth will kill billions.

The Emperor and his Gold Court will be safe in their space station, watching from the stars. The Silvers will be protected underground. But the Bronzes must fight it out at the Shadow Trials for the few remaining spots left on the space station.

When an enigmatic benefactor hands Maia Graystone a spot in the Trials, she won’t just get a chance at salvation for her and her baby brother, Max: She gets to confront the mother who abandoned her in prison, the mad Emperor who murdered her father, and the Gold prince who once loved her. But it’s the dark bastard prince she’s partnered with that will make her question everything, including her own heart. With the asteroid racing closer every day, Maia must trust someone to survive. The question is who?

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Haunted Halloween Tour: The Carver by Jacob Devlin

October is the month of fears, and we're going on tour with some of our favorite authors to talk about what their main characters are afraid of. What keeps them up at night? What nightmare has them waking in a cold sweat? Each day, we'll feature a new main character and delve deep into their subconscious to see what they fear. And each day, you'll have a chance to enter to win some awesome prizes! Read on to find out what our dear friend Peter Pan Pietro from Jacob Devlin's The Carver worries about at night...

Hey everybody! Pietro Volo here, your favorite character ever from The Carver and the handsome, dashing alter ego of your favorite Lost Boy, Peter Pan.

Friends, I know what they say about me. I’ve seen the movies. I’ve listened to the songs. If I’ve understood them correctly, the stories ask you to believe the following:
  1. That I am still a ten-year-old boy.
  2. That I need a bottle of Gorilla Glue to stick my shadow to my toes.
  3. That I’m going to fly into your children’s windows and whisk them off to some isolated world filled with man-eating gators and pirates, kinda like how I picture Florida.

There was a time when all of this might have been true, but it bewilders my brains to believe that all these stories handle this so casually. The songs are slow, soulful, and even a little touching. But now that I have a fifteen-year-old son? Dude, I’m freaked. What if there’s another me flying around world and he’s determined to snatch moody teenagers right out of their beds and zoom them off to a place where we can’t get a hold of them because AT&T doesn’t reach that far? This is scary. Zack doesn’t even wear pants to bed.

*clicks on flashlight and points it under my chin*

That is one of my worst nightmares. The other one is a terrible dream that I have allTheTime. You know who else likes to fly through your window while you’re sleeping? The Sandman. He’s supposed to bring you some nice REM, but when he gets sick, we all get these recurring fever dreams.

You’ll never guess what my nightmares involve. There are some tiny changes from night to night, but they always involve one freaky element that kicks me--hard, I’ll have you know--right in the Assassin’s Creed parts I and II. One time, I was on top of Mount Everest. Don’t ask me how my lazy bum got up there, but then there was an earthquake that brought the whole mountain down. Another night, I was standing on top of Clocher de Pierre, the bell tower offering the best view of Florindale, and my shadow took a torch and lit the base on fire. I’ve also been on a tightrope across two skyscrapers, and my wife and kid are at either side holding Santoku kitchen knives. How fair is that, Sandman? But my least favorite is probably the Ferris Wheel, which is clearly falling apart as I swing back and forth at the very top by one hand.

But wait! you say. You can fly! I get that a lot when I talk about nightmares. You can fly, you can fly, you can fly. Well, hey. You ever have those dreams where you’re being chased by like, a leathery winged demon, or a dude with a bloody axe, or an animatronic orangutan from Disneyland? And sometimes, your feet plant roots into the carpet or you suddenly weigh a hundred thousand pounds? That’s me. That’s Murphy’s Law. When the Ferris Wheel crashes into dust, you don’t get to fly.

Yeah, the Sandman’s a friggin’ jerk. You should hear about how many times Prince Liam’s had to fight off a dragon with a toothpick, or Snow White’s twisted dream where her feet turn into apples. Hansel? Pretty sure his nightmares are drizzled on a graham cracker and loaded with a generous coat of pure sugar. Hey, that might be a beautiful dream for you and I, but that guy probably wakes up plastered in sweat. Gross!

I wanna share something a morally grey, shady magical fairy once told me on one of the scariest nights of my life. Do not be angry when your shadow eludes you, she said. After all, shadows are born from the light. The world can be a real scary place sometimes. There’s violence and pure hate. There are hateful queens, chameleon wolves, and aquamantulas. There are deceptions and cancers and poisonous fruits, and Space Mountain breaks down when you’re in line. And the Sandman doesn’t care. But, I’m here to remind you that it takes a light to cast a shadow (unless it’s my shadow--this thing doesn’t obey me or physics or anything.) Find your light source. It can be anything. Family. A hobby. A good book and a Netflix show to binge on. Or, you know, me… But whatever you do, I really hope you don’t turn to a mirror to solve your problems. I mean, you can, but good things don’t usually happen. That’s another story for later.

Happy Halloween, Lost Children! BOO!

about the book

THE GIRL IN THE RED HOOD has been looking for her mother for six months, searching from the depths of New York’s subways to the heights of its skyscrapers . . .

THE PRINCE looks like he’s from another time entirely, or maybe he’s just too good at his job at Ye Old Renaissance Faire . . .

THE ACTRESS is lighting up Hollywood Boulevard with her spellbinding and strikingly convincing portrayal of a famous fairy. Her name may be big, but her secrets barely fit in one world...

Fifteen-year-old Crescenzo never would have believed his father’s carvings were anything more than “stupid toys.” All he knows is a boring life in an ordinary Virginia suburb, from which his mother and his best friend have been missing for years. When his father disappears next, all Crescenzo has left is his goofy neighbor, Pietro, who believes he’s really Peter Pan and that Crescenzo is the son of Pinocchio. What’s more: Pietro insists that they can find their loved ones by looking to the strange collection of wooden figurines Crescenzo’s father left behind.

With Pietro’s help, Crescenzo sets off on an adventure to unite the real life counterparts to his figurines. It’s enough of a shock that they’re actually real, but the night he meets the Girl in the Red Hood, dark truths burst from the past. Suddenly, Crescenzo is tangled in a nightmare where magic mirrors and evil queens rule, and where everyone he loves is running out of time.

Monday, October 24, 2016

haunted halloween tour: regress by sf benson

October is the month of fears, and we're going on tour with some of our favorite authors to talk about what their main characters are afraid of. What keeps them up at night? What nightmare has them waking in a cold sweat? Each day, we'll feature a new main character and delve deep into their subconscious to see what they fear. And each day, you'll have a chance to enter to win some awesome prizes! Read on to find out what Tru Shephard from Regress is afraid of...

My name is Tru Shepard, and my worst fear isn’t about monsters. It’s about losing my creativity, a part of my personality.

I’d left the warehouse district an hour ago. My shoes echoed on the deserted rain slicked sidewalk. The quiet night air was cold and smelled of moist dirt. Once again, I’d missed the train and had to walk home. Big mistake on my part. Sure, I had protection but it wouldn’t stop….

The familiar electronic hum approached from behind me. I was out in the open with no place to hide. Without any warning, the air above me filled with drones coming from every direction. I had no choice but to surrender. I knelt on the wet asphalt with my hands up.

The police dragged me into an unfamiliar, abandoned building. The walls and floors gleamed white. I gagged on the smell of fresh chlorine. My eyes stung from the intense, white lights. Fiery pain ripped through my arms. Smoke escaped my lips. So cold. My teeth chattered. My body kept shaking.

I lifted my head. A man in the trademark navy blue suit of the CHA stood in front of me. My insides quivered. A metallic voice announced I was a traitor and a danger to society. But it offered me a choice—immediate administration of the vaccine or death.

It didn’t matter. Either way killed a Creative.

Someone held a syringe filled with a golden liquid.

A flash of dark steel. The cold barrel of a gun pressed against my temple. If I chose me, my family would be heartbroken. If I…too late. Someone else made my choice. I didn’t get a say in the matter. A man pulled the trigger. 

That’s my fear—losing my Creativity because of the New Order’s mandatory vaccine.

about the book

The United States has fallen.

Creativity is banned.

A government-mandated vaccine which totally blocks creativity.

It’s 2025 and the country is run by a group of scientists and technologists.

Tru Shepard, a soon-to-be seventeen-year-old, wants to avoid the vaccine. Without self-expression, Tru would rather die.

Zared Aoki has his own secrets. He wants Tru’s help exposing the plans of a corrupt, domineering government. In exchange, he’ll help her avoid the vaccine.

Failure is not an option. Tru refuses to live a colorless, dull existence.

10 days.

That’s all the time Tru has.

Lies and secrets make up her world. Is she ready to learn the truth?

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