Welcome Quinn Loftis, author of the Grey Wolves series.
1. What would we find in your refrigerator right now? Since we're snowed in, lots of milk, Coke Zero, and turkey for sandwiches.
2. If you could wave a magic wand and have a different career, what would it be? There isn't anything else I'd rather be doing.
3. What inspires you out of writer's block? Writing a great scene between the Hero and Heroine (usually an argument lol)
4. If someone wrote a biography about you, what would the title be? Mad Ravings of a Raving Mad Woman.
5. Any works in progress? Into the Fae!!! I am so excited about this book.
6. Werewolf or Vampire? Vampire or Zombie? Aliens or Mole People? Werewolf (as you know), Vampire, Aliens.
7. Puppies or Kittens? Puppies (puppy breath duh)
8. Which of your characters is most like you? I'm a perfect blend of Jacque and Jen.
9. Which character is least like you? Sally
10. Which character would you want to be friends with? All of them LOL.
11. Do you have a favorite charity? St. Jude's Research Hospital.
You can learn more about Quinn and her books at http://www.quinnloftisbooks.com
I don't usually do spotlights on authors outside of the YA genre, but Kim Karr is a Facebook friend, and she has a new book out. Torn is the second book in the Connections Series. Here is my interview
1. Tell us a bit about your book Torn. Connected is a story about finding love when you think there is none left to find. It will make you believe in love at first sight and that people do have soulmates, or at least I hope it did, and Torn is about what happens when the unexpected happens and how those soulmates deal with it.
2. When did you decide you wanted to write? I've always wanted to write. I was an English major in college but switched majors halfway through my first four years. Many things inspired me to actually write Connected, but what urged me to do it was a book. A book titled Wife 22. The author discusses her character hitting a 'tipping point year.' Well, I hit mine in 2012. What is a tipping point year? It's when you turn the same age your mother was when she died. That put things into perspective for me and made me want to write.
3. How did you go from Indie to published with Penguin? Two days before Connected was released, Amy Tannerbaum contacted me for a copy of the manuscript. The day Connected was released I signed with her. She sent it out to publishing houses and Kerry Donovan of Penguin wanted it. I signed a 2 book deal and just recently signed another 2 book deal.
4. What are you reading now? I usually listen to books while reading others. I am listening to All In and reading Weathering the Storm.
5. Who is your favorite character to write for? I like writing all the characters, but I love writing River. He's unlike anyone I've ever read.
6. Is there a genre you'd like to write for someday? I love writing New Adult so much, I doubt I'd try anything else.
7. Where can readers find you online? www.authorkimkarr.com or http://www.facebook.com/authorkimkarr
Thanks for the interview Kim!!!
If you love romance, give Kim's book a try. Start with Connected. If you love it, Torn is also available.
This week the YA Storytellers are bringing you a list of must-have books for an enjoyable holiday season. If you bought someone a Kindle or Nook (or any reading device for that matter) for Christmas, fill it up with some books. They will love it that much more.
Check out the other lists here http://yastorytellers.com
My list? Here we go.
We will start with non-free books.
1. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (so far there are five in the series)
2. Need by Carrie Jones (there are four in the series)
3. The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan (sp?) (there are three in the series)
If you are loading books as a gift, unless you know they love a certain author, it's probably a good idea to just get the first in the series. Let the reader decide if they want more.
FREE books? I love free books. There is no risk. Try it and find a new author to love.
1. Raven by Suzy Turner (great rating on Amazon, lots of reviews, and is on several lists)
2. Vampires Rule by K.C. Blake (lots of reviews, good rating, the first of five)
3. Branded by Keary Taylor (a very popular author)
4. Hollowland by Amanda Hocking (an interesting book on zombies)
5. Bait by K.C. Blake (getting great reviews, second book is out)
4. Post about Hunter on Facebook. (you can copy the tweet above and use it.)
RULES: MAKE SURE to let me know what you did and provide links. I need proof that you have done these things. If you are already a follower of my blog, FB page, etc, let me know and you will be entered. This is for US RESIDENTS ONLY. If you try to enter and you have a mailing address outside of the United States, another winner will be chosen. Sorry about that, but I cannot ship outside of the US. I reserve the right to disqualify anyone I see as cheating or not following the rules. The winner will be chosen on December 23rd, with the winner announced by Christmas Day. You then have FOURTEEN days to get in touch with me via email here: firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address. If I do not hear from the winner within the allotted time, another winner will be chosen. If the top three people do not respond to claim the prize, it will remain the property of K.C. Blake. The prize will be shipped the first week of January, barring incident beyond my control such as freak snowstorm or strike by postal service. There is only one prize to be awarded. Questions? Feel free to post them. Thank you.
Summary: The Noah sisters rule Titan High with their beauty, brains, and magical powers.
Each year they play a secret game: Crushed. The girls pick their targets carefully and blow enchanted dust into the boy’s faces, charming them. The girls give the boys commands, tasks to perform. If the boy completes the task, the witch's power grows. At the end of the year the girls call their spells back and test them to see how much power they've gained. The witch with the most power wins a year's worth of saved up allowance from her sisters.
This year Kristen chooses the wrong boy to mess with after Brittany dares her to Crush him. Ordinarily Kristen wouldn't dream of doing something so risky, but she's in a bad mood and isn't thinking clearly. Right away she senses something is wrong. Instead of staring at her with puppy dog eyes, Zach Bevian (also known as tall, dark, and scary) glares at her, a look that could kill. Then he hesitates when she gives him an order. Something is definitely wrong.
After being Crushed, Zach goes home to the family mansion and lets his anger ripple off him in deadly waves. The house shakes. Zach is also a powerful witch, but he has another dark secret. It involves his impulsive and mentally challenged sister.
Kristen almost dies that same day. Someone is trying to kill her, but she has more suspects than evidence. If the spell didn't take, it's possible Zach is trying to put her out of his misery. Or it could be her jealous sister Brittany. Or is there another witch at theschool a witch in hiding?
Zach decides to play along and pretend to be enchanted rather than risk exposing the truth about himself. If Kristen is going to play games with boys, maybe she should be taught a lesson. He sets out to show her the error of her ways. Then he gets caught up in a murder plot. Should he save her life or let her enemy get rid of her?
The reaper threw back its head and shrieked as a cloud of black smoke twisted up its body like a huge snake. The robe began to disintegrate. Threads turned to smoke. An invisible entity ate at the robe and the reaper until nothing was left but a bad memory.
A lot of you have been asking when Hunter (the follow-up to Bait) will be released. It will be out on Halloween (barring incidents beyond my control). Here is the cover:
That is Nick Gallos on the cover!!!
Here is a short excerpt:
Disbelief fueled Nick's anger. He should have known it wasn't going to be that easy. Lifting his hand, he sent a powerful ball of flaming energy at the reaper. The ball struck its chest. An explosion rocked Nick back on his heels and set a stack of books on fire. He lifted his arm to shield his face.
Squinting, he stared at the red and orange flames while waching for movement. Killing a reaper wasn't easy, but hopefully he'd managed to get rid of it for a few minutes, long enough for him to get away.
No such luck.
The thing came roaring out of the fire.
Nick spread his legs wide for balance and prepared for a hit.
The rogue reaper yelled, "Return to the Realm. You are needed there."
Who doesn't love a character that can shift into a wolf? They have been showing up in books and films for years. Sometimes they melt into a wolf. Sometimes they turn in the blink of an eye. Then there are the painful shifts like on Vampire Diaries and An American Werewolf in London.
Werewolves can be huge or the same size as when they are in human form.
Sometimes they have powers.
A werewolf bite can turn a normal person into one like them.
Sometimes a scratch or a bite from a werewolf can kill a vampire.
The myths on our furry friends are wide and varied. How do you like your werewolves?
As we take a break between vampires and werewolves, let's talk about Supernatural. It is the best show ever!!! If you haven't given it a try, do yourself a favor and rent the DVDs or tune in on Tuesdays.
What is so AWESOME about Supernatural?
1. Sam and Dean (two super hot guys)
2. The black Chevy Impala Dean calls Baby
3. Bobby. He calls them Idjets.
4. An angel in a trench coat
5. Funny lines like "Dude, you fugly."
6. Death loves to eat fried pickle chips.
7. The Trickster enjoys playing jokes on the boys.
8. The brothers fight like... well, brothers.
9. Stay in the ring of salt when Dean tells you to.
10. The Ghost Facers
In other words, there are million reasons to watch.
Look at that face! Isn't that enough of a reason to watch?
I ran out of things to put on here about vampires. LOL. They are just everywhere, aren't they? Because of the success of Twilight, there has been an explosion of vampires in the market. For those of you who don't know, I wrote Vampires Rule before this huge popularity of vamps hit the fan. Bad timing on my part. I had a super good agent behind me, and we got a few nibbles at some top publishers, but in the end it was not to be. I was told by a few of the editors that they would have gladly published Vampires Rule if it wasn't for the satuation in the marketplace. So that is why my books are only available online now.
I don't blame the editors for feeling this way. It makes me roll my eyes now too when someone tells me they wrote a vampire book. I'm getting little tired of them. HOWEVER, there are exceptions. Some people just have awesome hooks that make you want to read their books even if you are sick of the subect matter. Here are some of the books that I think put a new twist on an old theme:
1. Suck It Up by Brian Meehl: A tongue in cheek story of a young vampire who drinks something called Blood Lite, a soy product that is like blood but doesn't come from humans, and he thinks staking should be a hate crime. I haven't read it. Sounds different.
2. The Vampire Coalition: This is a series of books available as a box set for a low price. It's about a vampire who forms a group to protect humans from other vampires.
3. The Iron in Blood: This one sounds interesting. A girl gets a blood test and her world turns upside down as she becomes the world's most reluctant vampie, and there are three powerful brothers hunting her down.
The Woodlow Mansion:
Since no one comments, I'm not sure if anyone is even reading this story. I have a lot of other things I could be doing. If you want more, leave a comment. If it turns out more than a few people are reading it, I'll finish it.
Be sure to take the Bite Me Quiz in the previous post.
The Woodlow Mansion
Shannon put Tyler in the first bedroom at the top of the stairs so they would be able to hear him if he needed something. There was a huge bed and an old dresser with an oval-shaped mirror, all covered in dustcloths, which Shannon promptly removed and tossed into a corner. She left him on his own for a moment while she went to the car for a fresh pillow and blanket.
Upon her return, she said, "At least most of the filth is on the dust covers."
Tyler sat on the edge of the mattress and watched her tidy the room. It seemed like a lifetime since he'd slept on anything larger than a hospital-issue mattress. His insides were wound tighter than a ball of yarn. He didn't feel comfortable in his own skin.
"Is there anything else I can get you?" she asked.
Tyler looked at her, prepared to say no, but then his eyes drifted to the visible mirror. Something rippled deep in the silvery depths. He wanted to tear his eyes away before the monster revealed itself, but every muscle in his body froze in fear.
He saw the outline, an unfinished shape, move closer to the surface.
"Are you sure you don't want to eat?" Shannon asked.
It wasn't the monster; it was much worse. A ghostly apparition appeared in the mirror and stared straight at him, a smirk on her face. It was his twin sister, Lisa.
Part of him wished he was still in the asylum.
Tyler wanted to point at the mirror and shout for Shannon to look at it, but he knew from bitter experience what would happen if he did. Shannon would turn to find nothing more than her own reflection looking back at her. She would probably conclude the doctor was right and lock him up forever.
He shook his head slowly. "No thanks. I don't need anything."
Lucy lifted a ghostly finger and wagged it at him, silently scolding him for lying.
"Well, if you change your mind, just holler," Shannon said as she headed for the door.
In his mind, he begged her not to leave him alone in the unfamiliar bedroom. He considered saying the words out loud. Maybe he could tell her he was hungry after all. Or he could ask her to stay while he fell asleep. Surely she would understand if he didn't want to be alone. She'd seen the asylum. She would understand.
His lips parted.
She closed the door behind her, leaving him alone with his demons... the ghost of his sister.
Lucy seemed pleased. Her dead mouth formed a smug smile, and her eyes held a malicious glint the living Lucy hadn't known. But this was not Lucy, not the sister who had loved him. It was the 'thing' in the mirror, and it hated him beyond reason.
Tyler jumped up, tore the quilt off the bed, and raced to the mirror. He covered her image, careful to tuck the edges in around the side so it wouldn't slip. The entire time he worked, he kept thinking her hand would shoot out, grab him by the wrist, and drag him into the mirror.
Take this quiz to find out just how bite-able you are. If a vampire was to turn you, who would it be?
1. What do you like most about vampires?
a. They are immortal.
b. They stay beautiful forever.
c. They have cool fangs.
d. They can kill.
2. If a cute boy you just met in a club told you he was a vampire, what would your first reaction be?
a. Where can I get my hands on a stake?
b. He must be joking.
c. You are afraid for your life.
d. Cool! You want to be one too.
3. If you were a vampire, what would you do on your first day with fangs?
a. Come up with a plan. How are you going to spend the next one hundred years?
b. Stay in bed and hope it is just a bad dream.
c. Try out your cool new powers.
d. Look for everyone who has hurt you and make them pay.
4. Which female vampire from the Vampire Diaries do you relate to the best?
5. If you were a vampire and a hunter tried to kill you, you would...
a. Run away
b. Beg him not to hurt you, and kick his butt if he tries to do it anyway. Knock him out, but don't kill him.
c. Kill him if you have to.
d. Kill him for fun.
If your answers were more A's than anything, you would be bitten by....
Edward from Twilight
Edward is the vampire who would most likely go for you. This guy feasts on bears and rabbits and wouldn't dream of hurting a human being. He will watch over you while you sleep and save you from accidents during the day.
If you chose more B's than anything, you would be bitten by....
Stefan from Vampire Diaries
Stefan is your typical brooding vampire, but he will take care of you, save you from anything you need saving from, as long as he isn't the Ripper at the time. Yes, Stefan has a crazy bad side. Just don't get on it, and you'll be fine.
If you chose more C's than anything, you would be bitten by...
Spike from Buffy
Spike started out as a truly evil guy who would kill you just as soon as look at you, but love has softened him a bit. You gotta love that leather coat he wears. He's a bit moody and jealous, and he's been known to beat the crap out of people he 'used' to love.
If you picked mostly D's, you would be bitten by....
Damon from Vampire Diaries
Damon thinks it's funny to kill people. He has even been known to snap the neck of a good friend when he gets moody. So watch out. He knows your weaknesses, and he'll be a great boyfriend, until you upset him.
The Rule Series is becoming more popular, so I will be adding to it soon. Readers are awaiting book #4 and book #5 (Wizards Rule and Mortals Rule). People have been asking for a happy ending. How do you feel about that? When it comes to the supernatural, do you prefer a happy ending, a sad ending, or an open ending where you have to decide what happens to your favorite characters?
They ran into the house and through the living room to a closed door. Hope blossomed in Shannon's heart. Tyler had moved on his own. He was going to be okay.
Whitney pointed at the door. "He's in there."
Johnny pulled what appeared to be a silver cigarette case from his breast pocket. Shannon knew better. It was his tool kit. Choosing one carefully, he winked at Shannon before inserting it into the lock. A few seconds passed. They heard an audible click.
Shannon smiled. Being married to a 'businessman' had its perks. "I'll take it from here. Can you keep the kids busy until Nick gets back with the food?"
"Sure." Johnny placed a quick kiss on her jaw. "If you need me, yell."
She stepped into the bathroom and found Tyler leaning over the toilet. The floor was filthy, but she knelt next to him anyway. She smoothed hair back from his face as he continued to dry heave.
"Feeling better?" she asked once he finished. "You look green as spinach. Poor baby. How many different drugs did they have you on?"
"I could open my own pharmacy. He scooted back from the toilet and leaned against the wall. His blue eyes swam around the room. "Where are we?"
"Don't you remember leaving the hospital? Car ride? Anything?"
"Reality is a bit of a blur right now." He tried to grin, but it didn't look right on his pale face. "In the hospital, I had what the doctors called lucid moments, but mostly I was in a walking nightmare. I saw strange things. Talking turtles, fish swimming in my window, and a bald man with sharp teeth." His brows drew together. "Wait a second. Was Nick here?"
She nodded. "He went to town for food."
Tyler groaned. "No way am I eating anything."
"Rest then. Tomorrow you'll be your old self again. I'll help you find a bedroom."
"Will you tuck me in too?" he asked in that sarcastic-Tyler fashion she'd come to kow and love.
"Give me a second." Tyler grabbed the edge of the sink and pulled himself to his feet. She tried to help, but he ignored her reaching hand. He turned on the tap. A trickle of dirty water turned into a stream. He closed his eyes and splashed his face a few times.
Shannon stepped over the threshold.
"They're waiting for you."
She froze. "What did you say?"
He frowned. "I didn't say anything."
She stared at him as he passed her on his way to the living room. Was she imagining things? Or was this house actually haunted?
I saw a segment about Kickstarter on 60 Minutes a couple of years ago. They have created a place where patrons of the arts can find artists to help out. It has taken me this long to decide to give it a try. Marketing is expensive, not to mention editing, paying for a cover, and the other stuff that comes with creating a book. I thoroughly researched Kickstarter, and they seem to be legit.
There have always been people out there who want to support the arts. Usually they do it at fancy dinners, art galleries, etc. Well, now they can go through Kickstarter. If you haven't been to the site, you should check it out. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of interesting projects. It isn't just about books.
If you list a project, you have to put up some rewards. I chose to give away autographed copies of the finished book to anyone who donates at least $50. Why so high? Well, you have to factor in a few things. Kickstarter and Amazon (you have to go through them to get the money) both take a small cut. Then I have to buy the books myself, have them shipped to me so I can sign them, and then I have to pay for shipping a second time to get them into the hands of my kind benefactor. Keep in mind I am doing this to make enough to pay for some expensive marketing.
Yes, you do have to tell them what you are going to use the money for, and you have to list the lowest amount you are going to need to do what you want to do. If you do not make that much, you don't get anything. It's a little bit like gambling. So I added up the things that I want to do, plus the cost of paying off the rewards, and came up with the number I needed.
I will let you all know how this works out, if it works out.
There are a few interesting stories from writers who have tried this, some stories of success that you can look up if you want.
Can't figure them out? Answers are in the Comment section.
Match Heroes to the Book/Show
1. Buffy A. Dimitri
2. Vampire Diaries B. Edward
3. Twilight C. Angel
4. Vampires Rule D. Stefan
5. Vampire Academy E. Jack
The Woodlow Mansion
Tyler's eyes went blank again. She called his name, shook him, but he didn't respond. He remained frozen, and after a while she wondered if she'd imagined the whole thing. She moved to the other side of the room, putting as much distance between them as she could without leaving.
Maybe the doctor was right, and Tyler had lost his mind.
The sound of a car door closing brought her head up with a sharp snap. She mentally prepared a speech for her husband, knowing Johnny was going to be livid. She'd have to talk fast. Once Johnny made up his mind, it was impossible to change it.
Shannon hurried outside to greet her family, smile firmly in place.
Johnny scowled at her, gestured angrily to the house, but he wouldn't say a word as long as the kids could hear him. That made her job easier. She rushed around him to get to her son, hoping the sight of the house wouldn't scare him.
"This is way cool, Mom," Bobby said. "Are we going to live here?"
"It's temporary, sweetie." She kissed him on the forehead. Then she looked past him to his sister. Whitney already had her arms crossed over her chest and a sour look on her face. Shannon repeated, "It's temporary."
Whitney rolled her eyes. "I am not spending a single night here. I'll sleep in the car. There are probably spiders in that house, deadly spiders."
"Cool," Bobby said.
"Shut up, booger-breath. No one asked you."
"Knock it off," Johnny said while rubbing the back of his neck. "Your mom and I need to talk. I want the two of you to go inside, but stay by the door. Don't you dare wander off, and don't touch anything."
Shannon forced a bright smile. "Tyler is inside, but he's sick, so don't bother him."
Bobby hurried into the house, while his sister took each step with care as if she was in her nineties and afraid of falling. Before he disappeared inside the house, Bobby muttered something about missing the coolest opportunity in the world if he wasn't allowed to explore. Whitney continued to complain in a loud voice about the spiders.
Johnny held a hand up before Shannon could say a word. He gave her a look he usually reserved for rival gangsters. "We are not staying here."
"Too late." She shrugged. "Already paid for. We own it, at least for the moment."
"If I want my money back, believe me, I can get it."
Her hands went to her hips. "Don't you think your none-too-subtle way of dealing with people has gotten us into enough trouble? In case you've forgotten, I am being forced to walk away from everything. I'm going to leave the country with you. I wil stand by you, support you with every word and every action, but I will not walk away from this house until it's time for us to go."
He frowned. "Why is this house so important to you? It's just a crappy building."
"No. It's my career. I've worked things out with my agent so I can continue to write while we're living abroad, but I need something to write about. The walls in this house have stories to tell." She threw her hands up. "If you want to leave, you can take the kids and go to a motel. I'm staying here. Before this night is over, I'm going to have my next book. I'm sure of it."
Johnny stared at her in silence.
She could tell she was winning, so she added, "Give me this. I don't need diamonds or jet planes or a private island. Just give me this."
He sighed and rubbed his jaw. She had him on the ropes, and they both knew it. So, she went in for the kill. Placing lips on is cheek, she snuggled close to his side. "If I can do this, I'll have my book, and I'll be able to leave this country with a smile on my face. No resentment. I promise."
A low grow erupted from his throat. "You know I can't refuse you after everything you've give up for me."
"Mom!" Bobby raced out the front door. "Tyler is throwing up. He ran into the bathroom and locked the door."
Shannon took advantage of the rare moment and circled the car to help Tyler get out. He didn't seem any more aware of his surroundings than when they'd picked him up. He wobbled on unsteady legs. She grabbed him and wrapped his arm around her shoulders.
It was difficult to get Tyler up the front steps. He staggered around like a drunken sailor. She dug deep into her pocket for the key, but Tyler kept slipping. She was forced to abandon her search for the key again and again to steady him.
Nick finally decided to help. He joined them on the porch and wrapped an arm around his brother's waist. He kept Tyler on his feet while she opened the door. They cross the threshold together into a huge foyer with a marble floor and a winding staircase. By the looks of it, no one had bothered to clean for years. Dust, cobwebs, and general filth covered everything.
Nick repeated, "Johnny will never agree to stay here."
She glared at him before stepping into another room that opened into the foyer, no doors. Several pieces of furniture were scattered in what appeared to be a random pattern, covered in dustcloths. She uncovered an enormous old-fashioned sofa. "You can put him here."
Dust polluted the air as she folded the cover and tossed it into an empty corner. Coughing, she waved a hand in front of her face and wrinkled her nose. The gesture seemed to make it worse. She went to a window and puhed at the locking mechanism. It was rusted shut.
Nick sat next to his brother on the sofa and stared at him. "Tyler? You hungry? I can run into town and get you something. Do you want to eat?"
Nick looked at Shannon. "Did that idiot doctor tell you how long my brother is going to be a zombie? Is he ever going to come around?"
"It's the drugs."
"Are you sure?" Nick crossed the room to stand next to her. His voice lowered to one notch above a whisper. "What if this isn't about drugs? What if his mind has completely snapped? He could be dangerous."
The doctor's warning replayed in her head. She was glad Nick hadn't heard the man's dire prediction. He would cart his brother back to the hospital and let them drug him.
She shook her head, jaw tight. Crossing the room, she went to stand behind Tyler. She rubbed his shoulders and spoke directly to him. "You are going to be fine after those drugs are out of your system. Don't you worry. I want you to relax." She shot Nick a warning look, silently telling him not to argue. "Nick is going to go to town for food while you and I settle in here. How does that sound?"
Tyler didn't respond.
She hadn't expected him to.
"I don't think I should leave the two of you here alone," Nick said, but she was already pushing him to the front door.
"Johnny will be here any second with the kids," she said. "You know Bobby is a bottomless pit, and Whitney will be whining from now until she's an adult living on her own. Don't give her another reason to complain. Go. Get food."
She smiled, showing off her expensively straight teeth, thanks to years in braces. Nick's shoulders sagged. She'd won the argumet, and they both knew it. She pushed him out the door and closed it.
Clapping her hands together twice, she said, "Okay then. What should we do first, Tyler? I'd love to explore this old house. What about you?"
He turned his head and looked straight at her, eyes filled with pure hatred.
A shiver shot through her body, and she blamed it on the cold house.
WITCH HUNT is my other Witch-Games novel.
Want to check it out?
You can find book links on my Buy Links page.
This is our last day talking about witches. Tomorrow we will be on to Vampires. Can't wait.
Let's talk about the differences in wiches.
1. Cauldrons: Some witches use exotic ingrediants and brew it up in bubbling cauldrons. You don't see much of these anymore, but they are fun.
2. Broomsticks: I just watched Hansel and Gretel, Witch Hunters, and those witches rode broomsticks. They were ugly too, unless they were trying to fool someone by being pretty for a minute. I was also reminded that they ride broomsticks in the Harry Potter movie, so this aspect is still alive and well in literature and in movies.
3. Incantations: A lot of witches simply say words. I think it's better when they don't have to go through a long chant in order to achieve their goals.
4. Nose Twitching: Remember Samantha from Bewitched? LOL. She is the only witch I've heard of who twitches her nose to cast a spell. Good thinking on the writer's part.
I am having Internet issues, so I will NOT be posting The Woodlow Mansion today, but I will try to put up double the pages tomorrow.
A few hours later, Nick parked on the circular drive in front of the mansion. Shannon bent down looked up at it through the window on Tyler's side. She gasped. It was better than she'd dreamed. No one could stay here without a ton of scary thoughts nibbling on the edges of their minds.
A fountain with two angels had overgrown grass covering the bottom half. The great expanse of lawn hadn't seen a blade in years. Weeds mixed with the grass, trying to strangle it. The mansion's large stone steps were cracked in several places, and a few of the diamond-cut windows were broken.
Shannon climbed from the car, eyes wide. The picture hadn't done it justice. The house was a complete wreck. She didn't mind, but Johnny was going to hit the roof when he saw it. He'd probably grab his cell and start calling motels. She could hear him now. My kids are not staying in this death trap!
But it was perfect... so perfect.
Every childhood nightmare, every terror she'd experienced in her life paled in comparison to the thought of spending one night under Woodlow's tattered roof. Her legs felt like rubber, and her heart thundered in her chest. She could feel the creative juices flowing already.
Nick gaped at her over the top of the car. "You've got to be kidding."
"I know it's a bit rough."
"Rough? The place is crumbling before our eyes. It's dangerous."
Shannon raised an eyebrow. "More dangerous than having mobsters after us? Give me a break." She grinned. "You have to admit, no one will look for us here."
1. A new witch tries her new powers out and turns herself into a mouse. You...
a. Use your magic to change her back in a flash. It's easy for you.
b. Pull an all-nighter with friends to research the matter.
c. Ask an experienced witch for help so you don't turn yourself into a mouse.
d. Get a cage and some treats for her. You've always wanted a pet.
e. Call an exterminator.
2. You have a crush on a certain guy. What do you do?
a, Find someone to introduce you. No way are you using magic to get a date.
b. Try a spell to get him to notice you.
c. Use a love potion and MAKE him want you.
d. Make his life miserable for not noticing you. Maybe turn him into a toad.
3. There is an unexpected test in Chemistry today. Do you...
a. Take it with a smile on your face, because you read ahead and are ready for anything?
b. Take the test without magic and hope for the best?
c. Make the fire alarm go off? No test now.
d. Cheat off your friend's test?
e. Use a spell to set the school on fire?
4. There is an opening on the cheerleading squad, and you want it. Your rival is also going for it. What do you do?
a. Let her have it. You'll have more time to study this way.
b. Offer to practice with her and make it a friendly rivalry.
c. Do a spell to make her into a klutz and hope it doesn't backfire.
d. Put a curse on the girl to keep her from showing up.
e. Put a spell on the whole squad so they not only give you the job, but make you into the leader.
5. What is your favorite thing to do with friends?
a. Get together for a book club and talk about your latest find.
b. Watch a movie while stuffing your face with popcorn.
c. Throw a party while your parents are out of town and use magic to make it more fun.
d. Use your magic to play mean tricks on people.
e. You don't like hanging with other people because they never do what you want them to do.
6. Which of these movies would you rather watch?
a. A documentary because learning stuff is fun.
b. A romantic comedy because you love to laugh and you either have a special guy in your life or you're waiting for him.
c. A comedy to get your mind off your problems.
d. Fantasy, especially if witches are involved. You might learn a new trick.
e. A horror movie. You love to see people suffer.
7. When a bully picks on you, you...
a. Cry and hide out in the bathroom. Why are people so mean?
b. Ignore them.
c. Try to use a spell to trip them or make them drop their books, even though it probably won't work.
d. Get in their face and scare them with threats while showing them a flash of fire in your eyes. Then get them after school when no one is around.
e. Make them disappear. Poof! No more bully.
Give yourself 5 points for each A, 3 for each B, 1 for each C, none for D, and minus 5 for each E and F answer.
Hermonie (22-35): You are smart and only use magic when necessary. When you do magic, it always works for you. Reading is both fun and educational. Be careful not to be too much of a know-it-all or you might lose all your friends.
Bonnie (8-21): Friends can count on you. If there's trouble, you will stay up all night to research and even put your own life at risk. The problem is you don't know when to stop. The power has a tendency to get away from you. Listen to those around you, people wiser than yourself, and take advantage of their experience.
Sabrina (1-7): Things don't always work out for you. You might even be a bit of a klutz when it comes to magic. Fun is the biggest part of your nature, and that will cause trouble for you. Life isn't all about games. Try to be serious once in a while.
Willow (0 to minus 29): You have a dual personality. Part of you is good, loyal, and fun. The other part of you is twisted and dark. You have a tendency to use magic for everything. Lean on your friends. Trust them, and let them help you to be a better person.
Wicked Witch from Oz (minus 30): You need serious therapy. Lol. Be careful or a house might fall on you.
(We continue our story from where we left it, with Shannon and Tyler in the backseat of the car while Nick drives them to their new house.)
"Normally, I wouldn't have been able to get Johnny within spitting distance of a house like this," she told Tyler. "He was against it at first. But I pointed out to him how he's uprooting us, dragging me away from everything I know. The least he can do is stay in a haunted house a few nights."
Shannon bit her lower lip and leaned closer to Tyler as he searched his empty eyes for fear. She hadn't meant to call it a haunted house. She didn't want to scare him. The poor kid had been through enough already, losing his sister in a car accident. It wasn't his fault he'd lost control and hit a tree. It wasn't his fault Lucy hadn't been wearing her seatbelt.
Her brows drew together as she remembered his talk of a monster in the mirror. She hoped she hadn't contributed to his delusions with her scary stories. Tyler was one of her biggest fans, listening to her talk about her plots in depth. He'd loved it. Her stories had made her Tyler's favorite babysitter while he was growing up.
She sat back in her seat, deflated, and stared at the passing scenery. She'd never forgive herself if she'd caused Tyler's break from reality. Perhaps she should have spent a few more minutes talking to his doctor. She should have at least asked what sort of behavior she should look out for after the meds wore off.
"Run out of things to say already?" Nick asked.
"I thought he might like some silence."
Nick sighed. "How long have we known each other? Since you were a bratty kid in pigtails, that's how long. I know you, and I know when something is eating on you. What is it?"
She looked at Tyler with his empty eyes and blank expression, and she wondered if any of them would feel normal again.
"You don't have to worry," Nick said. Johnny and I got this. No one will find us at this Woodlow place. I checked it out this morning and no one ever goes there. I also planted a false trail to lead Desperio away from us. We'll be safe."
She nodded, chewing on her lower lip. He had to remind her of their dangerous situation. Between calming the kids down, trying to make the move easier on them and reassuring Johnny she would stand by him no matter what, she felt like a juggler with too many balls in the air. On top of that, she now had Tyler to worry about.
Zach slammed the door so hard that it
rattled the diamond-cut windows.He
stormed through the foyer and thundered past the hand-carved staircase on his
way to the study where he could contemplate his revenge in private.That little witch was going to be sorry.Fists clenched, he walked past the stone
fireplace without looking at it.Changing direction with a sharp turn, he went into the family room
Furious, he stood in the center of
the massive room and released a slow, audible breath.
The mansion shook.A picture fell off the mantle; a vase toppled
off the corner table and shattered.Hearing glass break fueled his anger.The mansion shook harder, but he didn’t care if the roof caved in on his
head.He was so angry that not even a
ton of wood and stone could hurt him.
He turned around slowly and found
his sister below the great arch between rooms, hands covering her head in an
effort to protect it from the falling debris she probably imagined was on its
way.In his need to blow off some steam,
he had forgotten she was in the house.Her dark brown eyes were wide, terrified.
“Are you okay?” he asked,
“In an earthquake you are supposed
to stand in a doorway.There are
earthquakes in California.We live in
California now.You should stand over
here in the doorway.You’re supposed to
stand in the doorway during an earthquake, and this is an earthquake.I’ve never been in one, but I’ve read about
Physically, his sister was twenty;
mentally, she was a great deal younger.His parents had figured out there was something wrong with her when she
turned five, but they couldn’t take her to a doctor because she was already
using her powers.Their mother had
turned to the Internet, researching Morgan’s behavior, and she’d come up with a
few possibilities.Autism had been at
the top of the list.
Morgan thought as a child, but she
could do some pretty amazing things like remember everything she read word for
word.Other people called it a
photographic memory.He just called it
Shame filled him, and the house
stopped shaking.“It wasn’t an
earthquake, Morgan.It was just me.I’m sorry.I lost control of my powers for a second.It won’t happen again.”
“Why are you home?”She lowered her hands.“This morning you told me you would be here
at three o’clock.I wrote it down.”Morgan marched over to the coffee table where
she’d left her notebook.She opened it
and showed him a page.“See?It says right here that Zach is going to be
home at three.We’re going to have a
snack together, and then you’re going to make dinner for me at six.”
“I had a small problem at school.”
“But you told me you had to go to
school and blend in.You said you needed
to fly below the radar.You told me we
had to be careful so no one would figure out our secret.”
Leave it to Morgan to remember
every single word he ever spoke.She
probably wrote it down in her notebook, every syllable.He sighed and rubbed the throbbing place
between his eyes.No one could make his
head ache like Morgan.He said, “I tried
to stick to the plan, but something happened.”
“You aren’t supposed to be home
until three o’clock.It isn’t three
o’clock yet.I haven’t had lunch.I was about to have my snack, peanut butter
and graham crackers, but the house started shaking. I forgot to eat.”
Zach dropped on the sofa, arms
crossed, feeling guiltier by the second.It was his job to take care of Morgan, not to scare her to death.He stared at the paneled wall without seeing
it and mumbled, “You can have your snack now.”
Morgan dipped her head to look at
her watch.Dark brown hair fell forward,
covering her quizzical face.“I can’t
eat my snack now.The time is six
minutes after ten.I have to eat my
snack at ten o’clock.”
“It will be okay, Morgan.This one time you can eat a few minutes
She shook her head stubbornly.“I can’t eat my peanut butter and graham
crackers.The time is six minutes after
ten.I eat my snack at ten o’clock.”
The anger began to build in his
chest again, but he swallowed it quickly
She was the reason he hadn’t done
anything about the Noah sisters.He
didn’t want anyone to find out about Morgan and tell the witch’s council, so he
had watched those girls from a distance as they’d played their stupid game.No one knew it, not even Morgan, but he had a
small vial of blue dust hidden in a secret drawer in his cherry wood headboard
He had made his own love spell
potion after realizing what the Noah sisters were doing.Daydreaming about enchanting the triplets and
making them do humiliating things had gotten him through some tough times his
Junior year, but he’d been afraid to actually do it.Love spells had a tendency to not work
properly when used on other witches; although, he suspected he had enough power
to make it work.
To get her mind off her missed
snack, he decided to tell Morgan about his day.“That stupid little witch blew pink crap into my face.I should have melted her on the spot.”
Morgan looked faintly alarmed.“Are we allowed to do that?You told me we aren’t supposed to hurt
people.”She flipped her notebook to
another page and shoved it under his nose.“See?Right there.”She pointed at the neatly printed
sentences.“We aren’t supposed to hurt
anyone.It’s an important rule.You said so.I underlined it three times.”
Indeed she had.
Zach swallowed his anger at Kristen
Noah and chose his words carefully.Empathy was a foreign concept to Morgan.If he didn’t spell it out for her, she could use her powers to hurt
“The girl I’m talking about is a
witch, not your average person.She has
powers of her own and obviously isn’t afraid to use them.”
“It’s okay to hurt witches
then.Just not regular people.”
“No.That isn’t what I’m saying.”He got up and paced the length of the room
while trying to come up with a reasonable argument that Morgan would understand.He needed to keep it simple.“If we are attacked, we have to defend
ourselves.Make sense?We shouldn’t hurt anyone unless our lives are
at stake.”He forced a smile and lowered
his face a bit so he could stare straight into her eyes in order to keep her
attention focused on him long enough to get his point across.“I was joking about melting her.We don’t do that, not ever.Okay?”
“Will you get in trouble for
leaving school early?You told me you
wanted to look normal.I wrote it down
in my notebook, but I remember it too.I
remember you telling me you had to act like a normal teen.”
“Cutting school is what normal
teens do.The wild ones anyway.”He shrugged and dropped his hands back to his
sides.“Remember me telling you about
the witches at school last year?” Once Morgan nodded he said, “Well, one of
them tried to enchant me today.”
Morgan’s brows knitted
together.“But you can’t be enchanted.”
“I know that.”
“She doesn’t know.”
Her usual matter-of-fact tone fell
on his ears like a cat’s claws on metal.He sighed.“No, the witch doesn’t
know about me.”
Crushed is available at Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords. Links can be found on buy links page here on my blog