Halloween Blog Tour Bash & Book Launch Party!

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Hey everyone!  It’s Halloween, which means it’s the last day of the Wicked, Weird and Whimsical Words Halloween Blog tour, and also the launch date for The Midnight Carnival: One Night Only!  If you’d like to win a copy of One Night Only plus a bunch of other cool prizes, be sure to comment to this or any other blog post on the tour!

Now, I love Halloween but my family didn’t technically celebrate it.  My dad passed out candy, but my mom was religious and didn’t believe in Halloween, so we never got to go trick-or-treating.  We got to pass out candy sometimes and see kids in cool costumes, and we got to eat the leftover candy and chips in the weeks after, but that was it. 

So, Halloween has never been much about getting treats for me.  It’s about seeing other people in costumes, and spooky stories and movies (which you couldn’t avoid), and black cat, pumpkin and bat decorations.  Sometimes it’s about giving treats, too (like I mentioned over on Justine’s blog, I utterly adore the new All Hallows Read tradition).

A couple of years ago the Halloween treat was launching Re-Vamp, which was a total thrill.  I’m still proud of that collection and our wonderful authors have given us permission to keep the book available for the foreseeable future.  This year’s treat is releasing One Night Onlyand I hope people enjoy it as much as they’ve seemed to enjoy Re-Vamp.  Based on a shared world/RP, One Night Only explores the misadventures, mishaps, and mischief of a carnival full of monsters and stranger things.  If you’re a fan of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or “Being Human” you’ll probably enjoy One Night Only, with its mix of horror, humor, and quirky characters.  It’s a very playful book,and we had a lot of fun writing it, which I think shows.

What Halloween treats are you looking forward to this year?

Halloween Guest Blog: Justine Graykin

Guest author Justine Graykin

Guest author Justine Graykin

My earliest influences were October writers like Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, and H.P. Lovecraft.  I read Harlan Ellison and collected horror anthologies.  I was into dark and dystopian, quoting Nietzsche and planning for the apocalypse.  How in blazes did I wind up the author of Archimedes Nesselrode, which has been described as an exquisite raspberry sorbet with which to cleanse the pallet in between weighty, heart-breaking, gut-wrenching, literary best-sellers and Oprah books?

Because I also grew up with Star Trek, and in the end, Star Trek won.

As a part of growing up we all need to deal with the dark side.  Halloween is a metaphor for that phase of our lives when we confront Death, try on masks as a way to figure out who we are, laugh uneasily at the shadows lurking around us as we watch summer chill into the season of hardship.

I lost my mother unpleasantly, to cancer, when I was twelve.  That’s when my Halloween came.  My way of dealing was to walk right into the shadows and plumb the depths.  Heavy metal music, drugs and nihilism, much to the consternation of my grieving father, who had no idea what to do with me.  Poor man.

But after a few years of rebellion, of punk and snark and pissing off authority, I got tired of wearing black.  Nihilism is fine for the young, whose instinctive sense of immortality keeps them just one defiant shout ahead of despair.  But nihilism is exhausting.  There had to be something beyond wearing masks, of every day being Halloween.

I went back and reread Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked.  Like a spider web breaking across my face, invisible and delicate, I realized I was alive.  I realized what an amazing, ephemeral miracle that was.  Happy New Year.

So what began to interest me, almost obsessively, was understanding what it meant to be alive, particularly how to be alive in a world where there is death and suffering, stupidity and cruelty.  And that’s the direction my writing went.  Finding meaning in the darkness, the warm orange glow of the grinning jack o’lantern.

That’s why I write with humor, with optimism, with delight.  Not because I’m avoiding or ignoring the horrors of the world, but exactly because I acknowledge they are there.  I am staring the hag of despair in the face and disempowering her with laughter, with joy, with hugs and gentleness and compassion.

Come, smile with me, and believe in hope, in the goodness lurking in people’s hearts and the beauty that can be found in the world.  Come, have a bit of fun!

ANcoverLarrythumbJustine Graykin is a writer and free-lance philosopher sustained by her deep, abiding faith in Science, Humanity and the belief that humor is the best anti-gravity device. Author of Archimedes Nesselrode, a book written for adults who are weary of adult books, she is producer of the BroadPod podcast.   She lives, writes and putters around her home in rural New Hampshire, occasionally disappearing into the White Mountains with a backpack.  Find her on her website at JustineGraykin.com.

The Wicked, Weird and Whimsical Words Halloween Blog Tour runs every other day October 23-October 31.  Join us all five days for Halloween fun!  Be sure to say hello on any post to be entered in a giveaway at the end of the tour!

Halloween Guest Post: Were-Beasties by Vonnie Winslow Crist

Guest author Vonnie Winslow Crist

Guest author Vonnie Winslow Crist

Werewolves and other shape-changers are popular Halloween creatures. But why do these were-beasties appear in the folklore and legends of so many cultures?

Perhaps it’s because we like to be frightened! Shape-shifters often morph after the sun sets – the time of day when our ancestors had to walk home down lonely roads or through dark forests. Even today, we imagine the silent padding of a creature following us down a dim-lit path. A creature that was human moments before, and now views us as prey. In Thriller, Michael Jackson’s girlfriend flees from the singer in werewolf form, but by the end of the video, Michael appears normal except for his eyes. Likewise, in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books, kind Professor Remus Lupin turns into a werewolf who would gladly devour Harry and friends if given a chance. The viewer/ reader knows the beast still lurks in the man.

Maybe that duality of human nature is the reason shape-shifters are such a powerful and wide-spread legend. One moment we’re friends with someone, and the next we’re so angry that, for a split second, we could kill them. Were-beasts can’t or don’t stop the killing urge. Their animal instincts control them and they act and react in violent ways. The character of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is an example of two natures, one human and one beast, contained in a single being.

The prefix wer comes from the Old English word for man. So whether a werewolf, were-bear, were-crocodile, were-hyena, were-jaguar, were-tiger, or a were-boar, the shape-changer is part human and part animal. Usually, the shape-shifter came by his or her ability through magic or sorcery: a curse or enchantment, being conceived on the night of the new moon, drinking from a pool of water where a wild beast drank, sleeping in the light of a full moon, being bitten or scratched by a were-beast, eating tainted meat, or wearing animal skins. (Fur-wearers beware!)

In Greek mythology, Zeus created the werewolf. In the 1500s in France, many people were executed after they were accused of being lycanthropes. Even Christian saints got mixed up in the were-beast mythology. With a fatal silver bullet or arrow being the usual way to gain release from weredom, were-beasts were told to pray to St. Hubert (656-727 A.D.) the patron saint of archers, dogs, hunters and hunting, forest-workers, and trappers. St. Hubert was called upon to cure rabies (and werewolves) up to the 1900s.

I included a race of were-cats in my Young Adult fantasy adventure novel, The Enchanted Skean. The Hunters are were-panthers, were-lions, and were-leopards who can control when they change into their human and big-cat forms. Enemies of dark magic, they help the protagonist, Beck, and his comrades fight an evil mage and his band of thugs. But in the book, Hunters can be killed when in human form by swords, and alas, some of these courageous warriors meet their end in battle.

So as Halloween approaches and shadows seem to follow even the bravest amongst us, beware the were-beasties that prowl alleyways, backyards, and forests. Let’s hope should you meet a shape-shifter, they can control their beastliness like my Hunters – or that you can out-run whichever were-creature is stalking you!

Skean front coverAbout the guest writer: Vonnie Winslow Crist is author of a YA fantasy novel, The Enchanted Skean, 2 speculative story collections, The Greener Forest and Owl Light, and other books. A firm believer that the world around us is filled with mystery, miracles, and magic, Vonnie celebrates the power of myth in her writing.

Read an excerpt of The Enchanted Skean

Learn more about Vonnie and her writing: http://vonniewinslowcrist.com  and http://vonniewinslowcrist.wordpress.com
Become her fan: http://facebook.com/WriterVonnieWinslowCrist  and http://goodreads.com/vonnie_winslow_crist
Follow her: http://twitter.com/VonnieWCrist
Purchase Vonnie’s books: http://tinyurl.com/Vonnie-Winslow-Crist-Amazon and http://tinyurl.com/Vonnie-Winslow-Crist-UK-Amazon

The Wicked, Weird and Whimsical Words Halloween Blog Tour runs every other day October 23-October 31.  Join us all five days for Halloween fun!  Be sure to say hello on any post to be entered in a giveaway at the end of the tour!

Halloween Guest Post: What Would You Do For Extra Time? by Trish Wooldridge

Guest author Trish Wooldridge

Guest author Trish Wooldridge

Hint: Don’t edit an anthology…

The search for extra time has always lent itself to the weird. Deals with the devil, infernal machines, djinn with their own agendas…

There is always a cost. Usually one that is more valuable than money. One most people are too scared to pay.

The irony that I’d joined forces with a long-time friend and writing colleague, Anthony Francis, to edit an anthology called Doorways to Extra Time–when neither of us had extra time to go through submissions, make choices, edit, proof layout, etc.–was never lost on me. It still isn’t as I try to find time to promote this anthology I paid a good deal of heart and soul for the time to make it happen. As did my co-editor.

We don’t regret that price, though.

An anthology always costs more than you think it will… in time, money, effort…sanity.

First, we had far more submissions than we thought we’d get. Yay our theme resonated with people! Crap…we have to read all these.

And we did read nearly all of them in full. Actually, I know for a fact Anthony did read Every. Single. Submission. In. Full. Even the ones with unintelligible grammar or that had nothing to do with the topic. He’s the nice editor.

On top of the large amount of submissions, we got a larger-than-normal amount of really good submissions! Yay!

Then we found out we had 20k fewer words than we’d hoped.

The really hard and scary part set in: We’d have to send rejections to stuff we loved. In a few cases, to people we considered close friends.

Doorway Stained GlassConsidering and weighing the stories and picking just the right mix made us later on our responses and eventually sent us into an editing frenzy against our deadline…something that would haunt us until the final release date and hoping the books made it to my hotel at Dragon*Con.

Oh… and another scary part? We both decided to have a budget to invite a few pros to play in our anthology. I asked two authors who I’ve known and loved for years, Walter H. Hunt and Jody Lynn Nye. They accepted! But…now we also had to edit these author icons!

But it was so worth it. Walter H. Hunt wrote a short story based on his upcoming novel, Elements of the Mind, and Jody Lynn Nye, who’s humor is inimitable and sent us one of the few truly happy interpretations of our theme.

The time–that infernal price–that it cost us was so worth it. Worth every stressed second. Because now these stories are out in the world…and they can touch others as they touched Anthony and me.

While it’s a given that anthologies are not generally “moneymakers” for most presses or most authors, they have value. They cost time, they cost money, but they often boost an author to bigger and better markets.  I got my start in anthologies, and I still submit to them regularly.

And to those who enjoy short fiction and its various themes, anthologies offer little escapes. Little adventures that take you to a whole new world. Give you a new thought. Introduce you to a new person, a new idea.

And those escapes don’t cost you a lot of extra time.

In fact, they just might show you a door to extra time. Without the hefty price tag. Or at least show you where to look.

Happy Halloween!

Doorways CoverDoorways To Extra Time, edited by Anthony Francis and Trisha Wooldridge, featuring twenty authors’ takes on finding extra time, is available as a trade paperback or ebook from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and anywhere books are sold–ask your local bookstore about it!

The Wicked, Weird and Whimsical Words Halloween Blog Tour runs every other day October 23-October 31.  Join us all five days for Halloween fun!  Be sure to say hello on any post to be entered in a giveaway at the end of the tour!

Halloween Guest Blog: Elizabeth Black

In honor of Halloween I’m hosting four guest authors as part of the Wicked, Weird and Whimsical Words Halloween Blog Tour! Kicking off the tour is Elizabeth Black with a special sale/giveaway of her dark/fairy tale erotica.

Halloween Special Sale And Free Erotica

veil_mediumIn honor of Halloween, my favorite holiday, I, Elizabeth Black, am holding a special sale including FREE EROTICA!

From October 28 through November 3, when you buy my stories “Alicia” or “When The Veil Is Thin”, show me proof of purchase and you get one of my erotic fairy tales FOR FREE! They are “Climbing Her Tower” erotic Rapunzel) and “Trouble In Thigh High Boots” (erotic Puss In Boots). These two fairy tales are also marked down from $2.99 to 99 cents during that week. Don’t pass up this great opportunity to enjoy some good books.

“When The Veil Is Thin” is a fantasy tale about a woman who finds the man of her dreams in every sense of the words. He is in her dreams, when she sleeps at night. There is a rare planetary alignment that allows her to use magic to make him real. In order to make him flesh and blood and a living part of her world, she must follow the explicit instructions of spells cast within the three days of the alignment. How does she accomplish this, especially when it comes to her greatest fear? Read the story and find out!

Blurb for “When The Veil Is Thin”:

Angelica Preston is in for the ride of her life. With the help of a little magic, she meets the man of her dreams – literally. Antonio is the main character in her latest romance novel, but she makes passionate love to him in her dreams. He tells her she can make him a flesh-and-blood lover only if she follows explicit instructions. She has three days to achieve her goal. Does she do as she is told, or does she need to be punished for not following through? Time is running out. How will Angelica win Antonio in the end?

Amazon US: http://tinyurl.com/amazon-us-veil

Amazon UK: http://tinyurl.com/amazon-uk-veil

House Of Erotica (UK): http://tinyurl.com/hoe-veil

“When The Veil Is Thin” web site:

http://elizabethablack.blogspot.com/p/when-veil-is-thin.html

Alicia_72dpi“Alicia” is a story close to my heart, since I enjoy horror but I also enjoy writing romances. So I combined the two in “Alicia”.

Blurb for “Alicia”:

When the love of his life, Alicia, calls him in the middle of the night to report she had been raped, Eric drops everything to come to her rescue. She takes him on an eerie ride through turbulent hours he can’t quite comprehend. Alicia may need his help, but her situation is not what it seems.

Rape is a tough topic to tackle, so to add a horrific eerieness to the entire ordeal makes it even more confusing and frightening. Eric learns as much about himself as he does about Alicia as he helps her through her trauma. This book is available at the Mocha Memoirs Press web site as well as the regular ebook distributors.

Nook: http://tinyurl.com/nook-alicia

Amazon US: http://tinyurl.com/kindle-alicia

Mocha Memoirs Press: http://mochamemoirspress.com/alicia/

“Alicia” web site: http://eablack-writer.blogspot.com/p/mocha-memoirs-press.html

When you buy my stories “Alicia” or “When The Veil Is Thin”, show me proof of purchase and you get one of my self-published erotic fairy tales FOR FREE! You have your choice between the following stories:

Beautiful lady in the coniferous forestCLIMBING HER TOWER – erotic Rapunzel

This isn’t your mother’s Rapunzel.

This erotic version of Rapunzel, “Climbing Her Tower” depicts Rapunzel as a voracious woman who discovers the joys of kinky sex with a sexy prince with a few unusual kinks of his own. This story includes BDSM, M/F, M/F/F, virgin fantasy, and erotic shaving. You’ll get so hot you’ll want to let your hair down as well! Let Rapunzel and her prince take you on the sexual ride of a lifetime. Absolutely only for 18 years and over.

“”Climbing Her Tower” is an erotic twist to the fairy tale Rapunzel. I sure love a good fairy tale and this hot and steamy tale doesn’t disappoint.” — Beverly at Sizzling Hot Book Reviews

Climbing Her Tower has all that and more. It is the story of Rapunzel told with a bit of a BDSM twist.” — Hitherandthee from Night Owl Reviews

WARNING: Rapunzel isn’t sweet and innocent. In this fairy tale erotica, she tires of being a virgin and craves the touch of Prince Richard’s hands all over her body. Although she begins naive, she blossoms with sexual excitement under the watchful eye of her prince, who introduces her to BDSM, erotic shaving, and deep penetration. He leaves her wanting more, and you will want more too!

Beautiful lady in the coniferous forestTROUBLE IN THIGH HIGH BOOTS – erotic Puss In Boots

This isn’t your mother’s Puss In Boots.

This erotic version of Puss In Boots, “Trouble In Thigh High Boots” is a story packed with hot, sexy, body humping adult fairy tale erotica.

Trouble in Thigh High Boots is a delightfully creative retelling of the Puss in Boots tale. It is a tale that has been told myriad times, but never in such a wonderfully imaginative way. The characters are enchanting, and the story flows beautifully. The love scenes are sizzling.” — Hitherandthee of Night Owl Reviews

WARNING: Tita isn’t your run of the mill Puss In Boots. She’s a cat shapeshifter who turns into a mouth-wateringly sexy human woman with a sex drive to match. This story includes M/F, F/F, M/F/M/F, light bondage, and lactation. This erotic fairy tale will get you hot in all the right places. Definitely for only 18 years and over.

Don’t let this sale go by without taking advantage of it! Enjoy some hot erotica and a spooky tale just in time for Halloween.

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Here’s where to find me on the web. Friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and check out my books! I’ve included my Amazon author pages for both of my pen names, so whether you’re into sexy or spooky, I have stories for you!

Elizabeth Black – Blog and Web Site

http://elizabethablack.blogspot.com/

Elizabeth Black – Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/elizabethablack

Elizabeth Black – Twitter

http://twitter.com/ElizabethABlack

Elizabeth Black – Amazon Author Page

https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethblack

E. A. Black – Amazon Author Page

http://www.amazon.com/~/e/B00BBWHMFM

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The Wicked, Weird and Whimsical Words Halloween Blog Tour runs every other day October 23-October 31.  Join us all five days for Halloween fun!  Be sure to say hello on any post to be entered in a giveaway at the end of the tour!

Wicked, Weird and Whimsical Words: a Halloween Blog Tour

It’s that time of year again: the nights are getting longer, the air growing cooler.  Fall leaves turn and winter approaches.  Halloween is coming.  And what better time than the day of tricks and treats to indulge yourself in a good book–or a good book blog tour?  Welcome to Wicked, Weird and Whimsical Words, presented by your hosts, Elizabeth Black, Trish Wooldridge, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Justine Graykin and LC Hu.

Join us every other day starting October 23 on our participating blogs, below, or come back here and catch up (we’ll update with links to post each day of the tour)!  Leave us a comment to be entered into a drawing for our Halloween Treats!

Participating Blogs

Justine Graykin @ WordPress

Elizabeth Black (blog may contain adult content)

A Novel Friend

Whimsical Words

LC Hu @ WordPress

Halloween Treats

Archimedes Nesselrode ebook

Halloween swag pack (bracelet, temporary tattoos, a chapbook and more) from Trisha Wooldridge

Re-Vamp ebook

The Midnight Carnival ebook

All ebooks will be in your choice from available formats!

Post Index

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A happy Halloween

Re-Vamp Cover

Cover of Re-Vamp, art by Leah Jay

It’s my birthday! Which means it is also Halloween! Which means it is also the day that Re-Vamp officially comes out!

Three happy things on the thirty-first of October. I’ve always seen three as a magical number, and it seems even better on All Hallow’s Eve.

It’s pretty hard to believe that it’s been a full year since Die and I, almost on a whim, decided to launch the Re-Vamp project. We’d been kicking around the idea for some time–maybe even as long as a few years–back when we were maintainers of another horror livejournal community. At first the idea was some sort of short fiction challenge or contest, to bring back the monstrousness of the monster. After that Die and I thought maybe we’d just write a few stories–we didn’t think, at first, that anyone else would really join in, though we sent out a few tentative invitations to writer friends of ours. But we were pleasantly surprised to find this was not the case at all! In fact, by the end, we got many unexpected and wonderful stories without having to beg for them ;).

Die’s been such an incredible force for our little project, recruiting new authors and poets to the cause, spreading the word about Re-Vamp near and far. Die braved a case of nerves to get in touch with life-long writing heroes like Susan Price, who, as busy as she is, has been a wonderful supporter of the project. (And I was also very very pleased to be introduced to Susan Price’s work, which quite frankly I absolutely love. I have a post about fairy tales sitting in the wings, very much inspired by recent readings of the Ghost World Sequence books.)

We’ve also had amazing support from our readers–Mandybling comes to mind as someone who’s always there with a thoughtful comment, but there were many of you, including a couple of marvelous fans who gave a Re-Vamp flyer to Clive Barker!–and from our authors. And we were, quite frankly, totally overwhelmed by the response to the Monster Makeover Contest. We only expected to get three or four entries… in fact both of us feared getting none at all… and instead we had thirteen marvelous stories! That was brilliant and, well, we learned a few lessons about how to run a contest, but we also got an amazing collection of stories, which you can still always read on the Re-Vamp Livejournal.

Die and I also learned so much about producing a book. I’ve done some minimal layout work–program books and comic books/comics anthologies and brochures and the like–but never a full length anthology like this. I ended up reading up a lot on book design and, well, let’s just say it’s not as easy as it looks, even though the whole point is that it’s supposed to be unnoticeable if the job is done well! (Also now I notice “rivers” in books I’m reading–Oh dear!) Die really stepped up and tackled the ebook side, dealing with Smashwords and Kindle and producing a fantastic digital edition of Re-Vamp.

I also really must give a shout-out to our amazing, amazing cover artist Leah Jay and also to the wonderful Sophia McDougall who copyedited for us.

But sincerely, thank you to everyone who supported Re-Vamp. This project never would’ve succeeded without you. The anthology’s just the cherry on top… the real reward was the amazing yearlong journey. I’ve met authors and readers I would never have met without the Re-Vamp project, and had a wonderful time of it. I won’t say it was easy, but it was worth every gnashed tooth and tear of frustration shed.

Thanks everyone, and happy happy Halloween.