Young Adult Romance: The Seer: Deadly Fairy Tales, Book 1 by Elizabeth Marx @emarxbooks


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If you’re a fan of young adult literature, especially romances, see the following book to read this fall!


Young Adult Romance


the-seers-deadly-fairytale

Fairy tales aren’t supposed to be deadly, but anything can happen on Halloween night in Salem … even a human sacrifice.

When a supernatural beast murders a sixteen-year-old girl, her soul is reawakened as an OtherWorldly being. Now, as the Seer, she is destined to serve the Order, even as she craves retribution. Invisible, isolated, and confused, she rejects her calling and seeks solace in the one thing she believes is real: her connection to Locke … only he can’t see her, or feel her presence.

Determined to find some way to warn Locke of the danger he’s in the Seer sets out to discover the truth behind the clandestine Order. Unfortunately, those who are like her fear her, and only one acknowledges her existence—Tristan, a Guardian sentenced to defend the Order at all costs.

Soon Tristan discovers something sinister, something that cannot only destroy the Seer, but every witch in the Order.

To protect the one she loves and regain the life she lost, the Seer must join forces with Tristan and save the thing responsible for taking her away from the world to which she desperately wants to return.

Deadly Fairy Tales is a paranormal young adult urban fantasy romance series set in Salem. Books in the series are as follows.
The Seer Book 1
All’s Fair in Vanity’s War Book 2
Something Greedy This Way Comes Book 3

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About the Author:

Elizabeth Marx writes deeply emotional romances that take her readers on a roller coaster ride between desire and despair. Often described as hilarious, heartbreaking, and heartwarming, she’s not afraid to tear you apart just when you think you know what’s going to happen. Because let’s face it, a happily ever after has to be earned.

Elizabeth resides in Chicago with her husband, girls, and two cats who’ve spelled everyone into believing they’re really dogs.

Sign up for her Newsletter: goo.gl/TfpyLu

She loves hearing from readers, contact her at http://www.elizabethmarxbooks.com or http://www.facebook.com/AuthorElizabethMarx


See more Halloween reading suggestions on our 31 Nights of Haunted Reads Master List!

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10/17/17 A List of Free Halloween Themed Books For YOU To Read


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Free BooksTo Read This Halloween

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There are two certainties in life soul collector and hellhound Jericho Stryker knows too well—Death never takes a holiday, and women are typically more trouble than they’re worth. That goes double for his personal nemesis and regular pain in his backside, Lola McKenna. Sure, the luscious little hellcat gets his blood boiling in more ways than one, but some scratches are best left un-itched. That determination is strained to the max when a botched soul acquisition job lands him on the same case as Lola.

Fetching a stubborn soul from a haunted bordello should be a piece of cake. Unfortunately for Lola, she has to deal with Jericho horning in on her bounty. Attempting to keep her cool and her wits around her sinfully sexy adversary? Easier said than done. Especially when she finds herself locked overnight with Jericho. Not strangling him before sunrise? A faint possibility. Ignoring the lusty, depraved sexual fantasies he awakens in her? A snowball’s chance in hell of happening. But worst of all is the very real possibility that he could steal the one thing she most fears losing to him—her heart.

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Take a peek into world of mystery, terror, and all things spooky. Within these pages, you will find the realm of the unexplained. These tales are sure to make you quake with dread and beg for your blanket. From curses, to secrets, love, family and betrayal; come venture into a legend or two beyond living conceptions. Let our stories bring to light what hides in the shadows.

Samhain, also known as the Feast of the Dead, is said to be the day where the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest. During this time, the two worlds are better able to see one another, and the ghost of the past can communicate with those still among the living. For each pagan holiday, there will be a corresponding volume in the Wheel of the Year Anthology.

Stories Included-
Buried Secret- Taylor Lexus Brown
Graveyard Girl- Ashley Nicole Davis
Sing Me to Sleep- Tara Ann Moore
Our Sins Speak to Us- Taylor Lexus Brown
The Girl with the Beautiful Eyes- Ashley Nicole Davis

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One of the most common human fears is the fear of the unknown. At a time when we constantly have infinite information literally available at our fingertips, this fear is more relevant than ever. We don’t like it when we see something that can’t be easily classified or explained by doing a quick search on the internet. It disturbs us and forces us to confront the fact that as much as mankind has discovered, there is still so much that we don’t know.

This book will present to you stories about ten of the world’s unknown creatures. Mysterious creatures are found all across the globe. One of the chapters will take you down Africa’s Congo River, a waterway that is mostly unexplored, where it is believed a species of dinosaur lives quietly beneath the rushing current. In yet another chapter, you will be taken to rural Ohio where a Bigfoot-esque creature terrorized a family.

All of the encounters recorded on these pages happened to real people. Be warned that stories will disturb you and that many of the people who have come across an unknown creature have never recovered. Every day they deal with the trauma of their encounter and are continuously haunted by the fact that what they saw has never been seen before.

You will find no creature comforts here…

Here’s A Preview Of What’s In This Book…

Scary Stories: The Malevolent Mothman
Scary Stories: The Last Remaining Dinosaur
Scary Stories: Pakistan’s Bigfoot
Scary Stories: Legend of the Lizard Man
Scary Stories: Revenge of the Pope Lick Monster
Scary Stories: The Depraved Werewolf ofGermany
Much, much more!

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Samhain. All Hallows’ Eve. The most mystical night of the year. The time when the veil between the worlds became perilously thin. And with a full moon overhead, this awesome power reaches its climactic height.

Sorcha had no time for mystical nonsense – there were enough challenges in navigating the mine-field of her mother’s vicious temper and the most important event of her young life. For, at long last, she had left Edinburgh to see the world. She and her mother were visiting the elegant city of Bath. Sorcha was wearing the finest dress she’d seen – and she was stepping into a life she’d only dreamt of.

But when Johnny’s eyes meet hers, and jealous rivals vow revenge, that delicate layer between what is and what once was rips. It shreds like the fragile thread of one’s life.

One Scottish Lass is the first novella in the regency time travel romance trilogy. It is 116 pages / 18,000 words. The second novella in the series is A Time Apart. The first two novellas end in cliffhangers, while the third provides a happy ending. The series then will continue in another trilogy – those will be coming out over the coming weeks. These stories are teen-friendly with no explicit language, violence, or intimacy. All proceeds benefit battered women’s shelters. Note that for those who prefer reading books in all-in-one form, each trio of novellas will also be compiled as a completed box set once all three are done. It just means you have to be patient and wait for me to finish writing all of them :). For those who prefer to read along as I write, and offer suggestions for me to shape the plot, these novellas are here for your enjoyment! Either way, I’d love to hear your feedback on the storyline and characters.

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She said she needed a ride…

High school senior Ned Raymond is on his way to a Halloween party at Redlake Grange when he spots a beautiful girl stranded at the side of the road. Dressed in a scanty nurse’s costume, and smeared all over with fake blood, she climbs into the passenger seat and asks Ned to take her to the party.

But when the most attractive girl he’s ever seen starts offering to repay his kindness, it quickly becomes obvious that she wants them to share more than just a set of wheels.

Halloween Hitchhiker is the pilot episode for Lusty Urban Legends. It contains graphic descriptions of sexual acts between consenting adults.

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Halloween is coming, and as the parents of Damsel Creek celebrate the occasion in style, the teen population of the sleepy town are forced into caring for their youngest counterparts. As Aaron settles in to a night of babysitting at the house of the Chief of Police, he faces strange occurrences at every turn. With news of a killer on the loose, he tries to convince himself his mind is playing tricks on him, but when a series of menacing phone calls alert him that the threat is real, he has no other option than to fight. Can Aaron make it through the night as the target of a stalker who desires his death, or will Halloween be coming early this year?

Are you brave enough to read what happens when the line between real life and horror blurs?
A situation horror from the author of ‘The Rainbow Connection’ series and ‘That Day in Spring’.

Warning: scenes of violence, terror, and little to no romance. This is a tale of horror. Expect no love scenes.

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It is Halloween night, 1967 in New York City. Young Sonia and her brothers spill out into the chilled evening air, full of the joy and revelry of Halloween night. But high above on the roof of the old tenement where she lives, a pale face lurks, waiting to beckon…

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Jamie was thumbing through the newspaper in search of a weekend job for the summer. She was sixteen years old and needed the extra money to help save for textbooks when she starts college in the fall. She tossed the newspaper on the floor frustrated with no results. Then one of the newspaper pages flipped over to the last page of the classifieds and there it was in small print, “babysitter needed for the summer.” She said, “How did I miss this, maybe, I passed over it because it didn’t say weekends only.”

Jamie’s first babysitting job would turn out to be her worst nightmare with fatal results.

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When Nora’s young lover Nico admits he’s always wanted to celebrate a real American Halloween, she summons him to Halloween Town, USA—a.k.a. Salem, Massachusetts—for two nights of nothing but candy, sex, and mischief.

If necessary, they can skip the candy.

Featuring characters from Tiffany Reisz’s award-winning Original Sinners series, this standalone erotic novella is the perfect Halloween treat.

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As a spinster of nearly thirty, Catherine Wilde is the only one in her family without any hope of finding a husband. She’s also the only one who inherited her grandmother’s extraordinary skills. Catherine Wilde is—as some might say—a witch.

And when a pompous gentleman stands in the way of her sister’s happiness, she decides to teach him a lesson… in love.

A Spinster & A Witch is a clean Regency short.

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A visit with her grandmother doesn’t turn out the way she planned.

Hannah Crane is stuck. Having just graduated college, she’s living at home and has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She turns to her grandmother for advice, but when she’s startled by a wolf, everything changes.

In the forest investigating a recent rash of murders and missing shifters, werewolf Caleb Overstreet doesn’t expect to run into a human, let alone a witch. And especially not a woman whose scent awakens his hunger.

As the secrets of her ancestry are revealed, Caleb and Hannah are unable to stay away from each other, putting Hannah in danger. A rival pack believes her to be the key to a curse that would enable them to control other shifters. But is Hannah a wolf charmer or is she really Caleb’s fated mate?

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After inheriting a reputedly haunted medieval castle, the Marquess of Bradenham heads to Ravenglass with his friends to inspect the place and host a Samhain masquerade party. He gets a most welcome surprise when he meets a lovely girl in the castle’s gardens and the rest of his life suddenly has a purpose.

Callie Eilbeck has always avoided Marisdun Castle, there’s something about the place that has terrified her from even her youngest days. But after a chance encounter with the castle’s new owner and falling rather fast for handsome marquess, Callie vanishes without a trace just like the castle’s former mistress. Is one of Bradenham’s friends responsible for her disappearance? Or has the castle claimed another victim? And can the marquess find her before it’s too late and she’s lost forever?

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Roxie wants to be like Adrianne, the popular girl who gets everything she wants–a flock to prowl around the mall with; invitations to parties; and for Hayden, the cutest guy in the eighth grade to, you know, notice her. When Roxie invites all the eighth grade popular kids (code word : peacocks) to her first ever thirteenth birthday party on Halloween, they all come and give her a gift that’s literally out of this world. Roxie astral projects to Planet Popular where she becomes seventeen instantly and gets everything she’s always wanted, but nothing is as it seems. Being a high school peacock is complicated and Roxie will risk everything to be who she thinks she wants to be. Oh yeah, there’s Prom, doppelgangers, a mysterious map, and lots of bad peacocks too. BONUS EXCERPT:Shadow Slayer, Book 2 in The Shadow Series is available for 99 cents for a limited time! 13 on Halloween & Shadow Slayer are now available as audiobooks on Amazon too!

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9 Terrifying Stories that Took Place on Halloween: True Tales…

Claim Your FREE Bonuses After the Conclusion!

For most people, Halloween is a fun time. It’s a time to dress up, go to parties and socialize with friends and family. A time to be deliciously but harmlessly frightened by stories about murder, mayhem and the supernatural.

However, a significant part of the fun of Halloween is that it allows us to be scared without ever feeling really threatened or unsettled. After all, the stories we like to tell and watch and listen to at Halloween are just that, stories. No matter how scary they may be, we can always comfort ourselves with the knowledge that they aren’t real…

However, I’m afraid that isn’t true of any of the stories in this collection. These are all factual accounts of brutal murders, mysterious disappearances and unexplained deaths which happened at Halloween. You’ll read here about children who vanished from their homes or strollers on Halloween. You will learn of brutal murders of men and women all of which took place during the fun and excitement of the 31st of October. And you will hear about people who simply vanished on Halloween, never to be seen again.

If you want innocent Halloween scares, try a movie or a television show. If you want real, bloody, frightening, baffling Halloween mysteries, you’re in the right place.

Here Is A Preview Of What’s Inside…

Halloween Mysteries: The Disappearing Toddler
Halloween Mysteries: Sex, Drugs, Halloween and the Son of Sam Snuff Film
Halloween Mysteries: Death in the Fridge
Halloween Mysteries: The Halloween Murder of Walker County Jane Doe
Halloween Mysteries: The Bunny Girl who Disappeared at Halloween
Halloween Mysteries: The Halloween Smiley-Face Murder
Much, much more!

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Cheating is a dangerous game. Jusk ask Tom.

He’s a man with a lot to juggle: a frustrated wife, a secret new girlfriend, and the unpleasant task of trying to keep his deteriorating farmhouse from falling down around him.

Now with his wife out of town for the week, Tom is eager to get busy under the covers with his beautiful new lover; but first there’s something he has to finish up…in the CRAWLSPACE.

(This story is a selection from the SCREAMSCAPES: TALES OF TERROR collection, available now in multiple formats.)

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Delivered by fate into a dark destiny …

Benjamin, a new lawyer in Victorian London, aspires to nothing more than a quiet, unremarkable life. When he is sent to Transylvania on business, he looks forward to demonstrating his steadfast and reliable nature.

Nothing prepares him for Vlad. The handsome, forceful viscount seems to cast a dark spell over his young guest. And then the dreams begin. Vivid, frightening, but strangely alluring, they are full of forbidden desires … and sharp white teeth at his neck.

Slowly seduced by the castle and its master, Ben must decide if escape is what he really wants. But if he stays, can he ever be more to Vlad than prey?

This 12,500 dark erotic romance features features submission, captivity, and scorching sex scenes, and is a perfectly wicked treat for a night’s reading.

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From the bestselling author of A Little More Dead, comes a brand new terror no one saw coming…

A horrifying vision of a missing girl lying broken in the haunted reaches of Mortimer Woods, leads Malin Waterhouse to the worst discovery of her life. Not so much the mangled body hidden in the trees, but what she calls the family curse. Insight runs strong through her ancestry, a power the police will never believe. Tormented, she’s forced to enlist the help of Holden, an ex-cop with a bad severance package and even worse attitude. But how can they stop the darkness from striking again if they’re always too late? The horror we see in the news, day in and day out, have come to Cottage Grove to collect and it doesn’t take Malin and Holden long to realize they’re asking the wrong question. The right question is: what is IT?

In a spine-tingling climax no reader can predict – IT will reveal itself in the most disturbing of ways. One that, in the end, will leave you suspicious of a stranger in the crowd…or even someone you love.

No one is safe from the thing in the night.

The Hunting of Malin is a full-length, standalone novel and will soon be available on audiobook.

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Strange phenomenons have spread across the nation like a wildfire. Signal loss and unsolved murders have swept through the United states. All victims that survive the attack awake with a strange case of amnesia except for one young girl named Soneyu. She tried to live a normal life with her two older siblings and adopted father. Her life was quickly turned upside down upon the first encounter with a masked man. He hides behind every corner slowly driving the girl insane as she tries to unravel the mystery behind the nightmare specimen. The hellish journey with her best friend pushes their mental capacity to the limit as they encounter many gore scenes and many different nightmare creatures. The battle to prove that she isn’t mad to those involved in her everyday life becomes a challenge as the nightmare creatures tend to mysteriously vanish after an attempt to take her life. New people have shown up in the small county during the beginning of the end. One guy out of the strange group of people catches the main characters eye. It seems as though fate has brought the two together as their destiny appears to be connected through the nightmares.

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John and Molly Hart always wanted a normal life together. Born to psychic parents, and with special gifts themselves, they marry and settle down to raise a family. They are not shocked, then, when they begin to suspect that the old house they now call home, at 1225 Gable Road, is haunted. They, and their equally gifted children, quickly adapt and learn to live with the occasional peculiar occurence in their domestic arrangements.
Events change dramatically, however, following Molly’s birth of twins, and the entire family begins to experience a mounting terror they’ve never either experienced or imagined.
John and Molly, frantically attempting to save their marriage, their children and their home, must uncover the tragic secret behind this new level of terrifying hauntings. Could it be that the key is connected to a past life? Could this be a secret, long-forgotten, but actually hiding in plain sight?

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Marty is the ideal fifth grader. He gets good grades, listens to his teachers, and doesn’t start trouble in class.But there’s a darkness settling over Marty’s life.The kids at school won’t stop picking on him, his family life lacks any sort of structure, and his estranged older brother collects severed heads in his bedroom closet. And when Marty’s not working on countless comic books of his own design, he’s filling his head with the lessons only low-budget horror movies can provide. Join Marty as he attempts to find himself amidst the chaos of his everyday life, where severed heads roll like bowling balls and horror movies might just save your life.

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Ravyn Washington.

Ordinary high school teen worried about getting her driver’s license, dates and passing classes. Oh, and dead things.

Sometimes dead things wake up. It happened to her Nana, branded witch and necromancer by the Inquisition. Now Inquisitor Lockwood shows up in town, checking if Ravyn inherited the curse.

And dead things wake up. If Lockwood finds out, Ravyn could burn.

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Each Halloween, the city of Grimaldi endures a phantasmagoric children’s play. At night, the city becomes a stage where the Harlequin, that unique performer both tragic and comic, bends everyday life and twists expectations. In his terrible annual performance, the audience becomes the actors; some are changed, some are lost in the dark plot.

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Kathy Taylor had weathered eight rough years as a black female police officer in Boston – but enough was enough. She turned in her badge, moved up north, and set up shop as a private investigator in historic Salem, Massachusetts. Now she’s surrounded by Wiccans and herbalists, by crystal shops and psychic pizza-deliverymen.

And her first client has just stepped in the door.

The Lucky Cat is the starting point in the Salem Massachusetts Mini Mystery series. These short stories were written and loaded one a day from October 1 through October 31, 2014. You can read them one-by-one if you wish, or, if you prefer, you can read them as a complete boxed set. All author’s proceeds from this series benefit battered women’s shelters.

Lisa has lived in scenic Massachusetts since 1986, with only two brief forays out of state. One of Lisa’s ancestors was Ann Foster, who died during the Salem Witch Trials. Ann Foster was a grandmother by that time and sacrificed herself to protect her daughter and granddaughter. Ann had been born in England, came over in 1635, and was 75 by the time of the trials. Salem reached its dark depths during those trials from 1692-1693 – but since then has healed, blossomed, and now shines. Salem features the amazing Peabody Essex Museum, a plethora of gorgeous historic architecture, and a beautiful coastline. It’s well worth a visit.

If you can’t go in person, enjoy a virtual trip through Lisa’s first-hand descriptions!

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From Author Dan O’Brien: Two Chilling Horror Books To Read This Halloween @AuthorDanOBrien


Disclosure: This post contains compensated affiliate links and/or sponsored content. Click here to read more.

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With the leaves falling, the nights lasting longer,  and the temperatures dropping, it’s the perfect time of year for horror fans to curl up with a chilling read. See these two books from Dan O’Brien to get your horror fix, but be warned. You might want to leave a light on if you read these at night!


Bitten

bitten-dan-obrien

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:

“Bitten is an extremely well-balanced and engaging novel. It contains mystery, suspense, horror, romance, and best of all – a creative, genre-bending twist on werewolf mythology. The story is quick-paced and dark without being too heavy or overdramatic. The protagonist is a strong and courageous FBI agent who is able to assert herself without casting aside her femininity. She reminds me of Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone and Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum…If a sequel follows, I will definitely read it.”

“Author Dan O’Brien Left His Mark With BITTEN. For some there will always be a fascination with discovering answers…I’ve now read three books by O’Brien but BITTEN is by far my favorite. It not only showcases his literary skills but leaves the reader wanting more. What else could an avid reader ask for?”

A predator stalks a cold northern Minnesotan town. There is talk of wolves walking on two legs and attacking people in the deep woods. Lauren Westlake, resourceful and determined F.B.I Agent, has found a connection between the strange murders in the north and a case file almost a hundred years old. Traveling to the cold north, she begins an investigation that spirals deep into the darkness of mythology and nightmares. Filled with creatures of the night and an ancient romance, the revelation of who hunts beneath the moon is more grisly than anyone could have imagined.

Free on Kindle Unlimited

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Drained

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A frightening new case.
A mysterious journal.
The beginning of the end.

Lauren Westlake has left behind the horrors of northern Minnesota to investigate a strange package with a cryptic return address. Crossing the country to the city by the bay, Lauren discovers that Locke was only the beginning. Crossing paths with a stoic SFPD detective and a surprise from her past, she must figure out what hunts the foggy streets of San Francisco in this new novella.

Is it vampires?

Is it something more?

Love supernatural, paranormal, and scary stories? Then what are you waiting for?

How about gory horror stories, women sleuths, and occult assassins? The Prime Lending Library allows you to grab this book at no cost if you are enrolled in Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited.

Get it today!

Free on Kindle Unlimited!

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About the Author:

dan-o-brien

Dan O’Brien has written over 20 books, including the bestselling Bitten, which was featured on Conversations Book Club’s Top 100 novels of 2012. Before starting Amalgam, he was the senior editor and marketing director for an international magazine. In addition, he has spent over a decade in the publishing industry as a freelance editor. You can learn more about his literary and publishing consulting business by visiting his website at: www.amalgamconsulting.com. Contact him today to order copies of the book or have them stocked at your local bookstore. He can be reached by email at amalgamconsulting@gmail.com.

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Looking for more Halloween reading recommendations? See our 31 Nights of Haunted Reads event!

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Magic, Demons, Witches, & Zombies: Books By Juli D. Revezzo To Read This Fall @julidrevezzo


Disclosure: This post contains compensated affiliate links and/or sponsored content. Click here to read more.

Looking for some books to put you in the Halloween spirit? See these below! From magic to demons and witches to zombies, you’re bound to find the right book to add a little paranormal to your fall reading!


Lady of the Tarot

lady-of-the-tarot

WHAT THE CARDS FORETELL MAY BE REAL, AFTER ALL

1793: Having escaped the Reign of Terror, Emilie Maigny took refuge in England, trying to come to grips with the life and loss she left behind. When her brother, Sinjon, returns, a terrifying evil swoops down upon her. Nightmares plague her now, providing strange clues … but to what?

Scottish-born Linton Morrison spent his entire life in luxury, whiling away the hours in intense study of the tarot and the cards’ hidden meanings, but until he met the lovely Emilie Maigny, he would never have guessed how important his study might be–to his life and Emilie’s survival when terrible evil strikes.

A Cypher is all Emilie needs, but what is it? Is Linton the key? He may charm her heart–and he may be her only salvation.
Keywords: French Revolution, Gothic Romance, tarot, historical romance, 18th century Europe, Reign of Terror, fantasy romance, Family Saga, scandal, suspense

Buy this book now at:

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Excerpt:

Footsteps drew her attention to her brother. “Put those away!” he snapped.

He snatched at the cards; they flew from her hands. Emilie gasped in surprise.

Sinjon glared at her. “Don’t ever touch them again, do you understand?”

He spun on his heel and tossed the few cards he held into the fire.

Emilie rose from her chair. “What on earth is wrong with you?”

“You wouldn’t understand,” he hissed.

When he looked back at her, Emilie stepped back.

Sinjon’s eyes glowed red.

She blinked and the fire died from his gaze. Had she hallucinated?

A laugh bubbled up in his chest. “Even if I tried to explain it to you, it’d be no use. You’d never believe me.”

“I will if you’d but tell me and let me decide!” she said.

Sinjon took a step forward, and she stepped back. He took another step forward and Emilie felt her back hit the bookcase. Emilie closed her eyes, shaking her head. When she opened them again, for a moment, she believed she saw a devil standing behind him.

An eight-legged, hundred-eyed fiend, flesh dripping from its ruined carcass. It licked its lips as if ready to dive into a feast of which her soul comprised the main course.

She wanted nothing to do with men, cards, or parties now. She wanted nothing more than to escape. To get as far away from her brother, and this house as possible. Alas, no. She found herself caught in his gaze and the pain and hell she saw there.

Fearful, she sent up a little prayer, pushed past him, and ran for the parlor door.

Upstairs, she latched her bedroom door with shaking fingers. Sinjon would never hurt her. She’d imagined what she’d seen.

She clutched the cross at her neck. What on earth had possessed her brother?

Anger at her because of her lost engagement, or some other perceived slight?

Anger at their father’s death? At the populace who drove them out?

Or something darker?

She shook her head. “Silly girl. You’re imagining things!”

She hoped.

She anticipated morning, when Porter would arrive. Perhaps he would cheer their brother up.

On the other hand, Porter looked down his nose at Sinjon even on a good day. She wondered if it might not be better for Porter to spend the week in the arms of whatever lightskirt currently entertained him.

Emilie sighed and snatched her bedcovers back. How would Grand-mère explain to their guests if he showed up with a dollymop on his arm?

No, better for Porter to remain wherever he was. Grand-mère didn’t need more stress right now.

Longing filled her, a longing to go home, to return to her carefree days, the days of picnics and parties, and playing among their rich gardens. To see her father and mother again.

Who would ever believe their family would come to such a state!

Things would change. Her family would be happy again.

She studied the sparkling gold ring on her finger.

They had to be! If not, well, she’d have her own family soon. Nicholas would return her happiness.

Curling her finger against her lips, Emilie smiled to herself. Even when the worst rumors flew from France, he always said what she needed to hear. He never failed to make her smile.

Had Sinjon not knocked the cards from her hands she might’ve attempted to see what her future held, if she knew how to read them. Didn’t she deserve a happy marriage?

Such thoughts and pastimes were mere fancy. She’d never quite learned the trick of reading the future in playing cards. Thomas Paine and his followers knew best. The here and now was all that mattered. No one could peer into the future.

A rumble of thunder filled the night air. A slight shock tickled across Emilie’s skin. She rubbed her hands up and down her arms and blew out the lamp.

Sleep soon took her—until her door hinges creaked. She turned over and peered across the room. No moonlight shone through her curtains to help her see. She sighed and turned over, shooing away her apprehension. She’d had far too many nightmares lately. She told this one to go to hell and stay there.

A light flashed outside. She counted, waiting for the thunder.

But the thunder never sounded. Perhaps the storm was over?

She closed her eyes and dreamed. A couple danced on the parapets of a tower. A tall man with dark hair, handsome in the moonlight; a young woman dressed in the softest silk dress found in Paris’ shops. Emilie sighed wistfully as the couple smiled at each other as if no one else existed for them in all the world. She recalled the moments Nicholas smiled at her with such longing. He would make her content, she knew it. If he ever proposed.

A glance overhead showed stars lighting the night. They sparkled and danced in the dense navy blue sky, but clouds rolled back in. 

She strolled to the tower’s railing and peered into the night, wishing on her star.

A thought whispered in her mind. A sweet voice, like a lover. But poison tinged the sweet sound: “Answer my riddle.”

The Tower of London rose up before her, and impossibly, she gazed down on a courtyard stuffed full with jeering crowds. A guillotine’s blade flashed as it swooped down upon the body of a woman tied to its bascule. Emilie’s hand flew to her mouth. The woman’s dress looked suspiciously like her own.

The blade’s crack rang through the night; lightning exploding from its edge shook the tower. The flash lit up the night sky. Electricity sizzled along Emilie’s skin and she pitched forward, wheeling her arms in the air for balance as the railing split open. The woman screamed and hugged her lover.

A second flash rent the sky, for a moment, she felt someone behind her. A quick glance showed Nicholas, clawed hands reaching for her throat.

And then the lightning struck the platform at Emilie’s feet. She grabbed for the woman and her lover but failed to reach them.

She and the two lovers toppled off the parapets, flung headlong over the edge, to the rocks and raging sea below, bricks racing along behind them as the tower tumbled down.


Bicycle Requiem: A zombie novelette

bicycle-requiem

On the way home from a draining night of work, Theodora (called Teddy by her friends) finds herself guilty of something she’d never dreamed: a hit and run that results in a child’s death.

Wracked with guilt, Teddy hides her secret, carrying on as if nothing happened, but when the victim’s zombie returns, bringing along her own kind of disturbing justice, Teddy learns innocent little Mara isn’t exactly what she seemed.

And Teddy wonders, would jail be better than eternity with the vengeful girl’s accusing spectre.

Is it a small price to pay–and for what?

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Excerpt:

I jammed headphones onto my head and stared at the ceiling, worried. How could I go to Ava’s party? Someone there would ask about the dents in my fender and then … and then … what?

Hours later, the light of the full moon filling my room, I couldn’t sleep.

Strange nightmares plagued my sleep: little Mara on her red bike pursuing me through ancient battlefields, speeding her way around and through the legs of screaming warriors. The little girl lying in the street, her bicycle askew, her limp body bent in odd angles; her candy apple red eyes watching me accusingly. Sirens blaring, a police cruiser behind my car, inside which I sat transfixed, afraid to move, watching myself beg a ghost for mercy. A girl dressed in police blues, her triple pupils lit with some ethereal, accusing fire. I squinted to see the words on her shiny gold badge. Was she a junior G-man? Had she somehow joined the Florida State Troopers?

Did they allow zombies to join their squad? Maybe she was part of a new training program for future Buffys. Sun glinted too bright off the badge and for a moment, all I saw were red lines and sparks. I blinked to clear my vision.

“You ruined my plans!” She spoke in a deep timbre far beyond her years, her voice sounding like a man’s tenor as she clapped handcuffs around my wrists. My shoulders bashed against metal as she threw me—or my dream doppelganger—up against my car. “You can be certain you’ve not seen the last of me!”

I couldn’t think of a word to say, my heart pounding through me, paralyzed me.

Maybe I should go talk to Ava. She’d have some advice for me. Know something of the truth. Perhaps she’d divine whether or not the girl on the news and my ghostly girl were one and the same.

I guessed what she’d tell me. Go to the police. And yet, the little girl held me tight. Screaming, her eyes glowing fire, her hair wriggling around her like snakes as blood and gore oozed from her lips and chest. I swallowed hard and tasted it in my mouth—warm iron.

I jolted up in bed. What was wrong with me? The pictures wouldn’t leave my head and so to distract myself, I snatched my IPOD from the bedside table. Surfing the Internet, looking for something happy to clear my mind, I fell back into morbidity, filling the search engines with all manner of monster names.

From the corner of the room, I heard the soft smacking of lips. I looked up to see the little girl, hovering by the ceiling, watching a spider hang in its web.

A shudder gripped me, but I resolved to ignore her and turned back to my Internet search. A simple definition drew my attention:

Zombies: Once-dead corpse reanimated by magic, or curse.

Though the body decays, it lives on, usually sustaining itself off the flesh and brains of the living.

Common in Haitian folklore and Voodoo.

Zombie. Well, the girl certainly seemed to fit that definition. But I saw nothing written about the hovering.

Some people say the zombie is a form of damned on Earth, not welcome in Heaven, not wanted in Hell, the zombie soul is forced to walk the Earth until doomsday.


The Artist’s Inheritance

the-artists-inheritance

The balance between good and evil can be an art… or a curse.

Trevor and Caitlin were once happy newlyweds, profiting from Trevor’s art. Until Trevor inherits his brother’s house, and with it, his part of an old Welsh family curse. Now, Caitlin will stop at nothing to save her beloved husband from insanity and suicide, even if it means she must embrace her destiny and become a witch.

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Excerpt:

“Look, I love you, Trevor,” Caitlin said, “but why don’t you put your art aside for a minute and help me move the rest of these boxes out of the living room?”

He didn’t hear her, more intent on the chair. Beautifully carved of expensive oak, its curving armrests begged something to hold; its tall back reached toward the ceiling, though its peaked top fell far short of its goal.

He hadn’t wanted to just fit precut plywood slats together. No. He’d gone out, bought blocks of wood, chiseled and sawed away at the blocks day after day. He’d worked on it since late February when he’d bought the house in Gulf Breeze, Florida, from his sister-in-law Amelia. Almost before he’d finished packing his tools, he’d pulled out his sketchbooks to jot down ideas.

If he’d only stop working long enough to help her straighten up the downstairs, she could love the piece even more.

He said nothing.

“Trevor? Boxes. Move. Help.”

“Yeah, yeah. In a minute.” He strolled to his worktable by the attic window. Pencils, saws, gouges and other woodworking tools filled its surface. Trevor selected another gouge and turned back to the chair.

Caitlin crossed her arms, finding herself thoroughly dismissed, and not liking it one bit. Oh, for Pete’s sake! “Maybe you can use one of the empty boxes to move that thing out.”

“What? Move what out?”

She waved a hand to the chair. “Your project to make you the new avant garde?” If he didn’t get rid of it, she’d do it herself. She hated the thing. Her skin crawled whenever she looked at it, yet she couldn’t say why. “When someone buys it, you can use one of the boxes to ship it to them.”

A quirk creased his brow; the silent look proved he thought her crazy. “Sell it? Who’d want it?”

“Indeed.” She pushed the festering argument down, watching him finger the chair with mixed reverence and longing. Though lovely, she wondered why he would simply carve a chair when they had this beautiful landscape, Santa Rosa Island, and its intriguing Civil War era fort, outside their window.

Maybe his brother’s love of the fort drove him away from the subject.

She ran a hand along his shoulders. “Come downstairs when you can, honey.”

Trevor blinked and set the chisel aside. “I’m sorry. What needs doing?”

She tugged his hand. “Come on, I’ll show you.”

Another set of boxes managed to make it into the attic, but by dinner Trevor was hard at work again. Caitlin frowned, stirring a dish of steaming vegetables.

He was driven. She had to give him points for that. He spent hours, days thinking about his work; nights brought dreams of the chair. One night not long after they’d cleaned up the living room, Caitlin found him sitting in the attic, staring at the oak construction, muttering to himself.

No, not good enough. Useless piece of trash—

It’s lovely. Keep going.”

Ugly, terrible. Quit wasting your time.”

“Honey, who are you talking to?” Caitlin said.

He held the chisel poised against the chair. The moon shone through a gap in the curtains. Caitlin stood at the door, watching, worried. She took a step forward.

A frosty blast seeped over her.

She crossed her arms tight across her chest to ward off the chill. Another step forward and the chill vanished. She breathed a sigh of relief.

Her worry for her beloved remained. “Trevor?” Fixing her gaze on the chair, she could see yet more intricate designs in the wooden surface, swirling vine-like etchings, a few stylized horses and ravens.

The chisel fell from his grip.

Did she see a severed human head among the marks? “What are you doing?”

“Dreaming. I mean, I thought I was.” He scanned the room, bewildered. “I don’t know.”

She took his hand and tugged him to his feet. “I’d say you were sleepwalking.” She frowned at the chair. “Or I guess, sleep working.”

Trevor wasn’t prone to sleepwalking. How bizarre to find him working while unconscious! “Come back to bed.” She led him to their bedroom, pulled the bedcovers back, and he crawled underneath them, shaking.

Everything after she’d snuggled down next to him was an utter haze. Yet, somehow, here, three-thirty in the morning, he’d ended up in the darkened attic working on the chair again. She switched off the light and pulled him into her arms. “You need to give that chair a rest. You’ll burn out if you’re not careful.”

His twin brother Gordon had. Gordon worked himself to death his wife said. Of course, exhaustion wasn’t the official explanation for Gordon’s demise. The local news had a field day with the story. His was the first famous death at the fort in . . . a long time.

She didn’t want to think about it.

Three days passed and the more Trevor’s head cleared, the more he spent time with Caitlin and their new home. He trailed behind while Caitlin trawled the nearest garden center, picking out flowers for her garden, then spent all day planting. Beside the lavender, marjoram and other herbs she’d planted in spring she added some pink blooms—what the garden center employee called Echinacea. She was all set to plant a tray of geraniums, momentarily.

Caitlin took a swig from a water bottle and brushed the sweat from her brow. “I hope these last through fall. You know my horrible luck with plants.” Several years of trying in vain to keep chrysanthemums alive on their apartment porch proved her words. Somehow, she suspected those deaths were due to her timing and hoped she got it right this time.

Trevor bit back a laugh. “That was a fluke.”

“Uh huh.” Caitlin picked up a geranium start, squeezing its plastic pot to loosen the roots. “We’ll see.”

When she exhausted her day’s gardening efforts she allowed herself to relax. A shower proved a great balm to her aching back, and she smiled when she peeked out the window to see the red and purple blossoms in her new garden. If the geraniums and Echinacea didn’t last, she hoped the rose bushes would survive.

She rolled her shoulders and dragged the towel over her wet hair, deciding she would pay for all the hard yard work tomorrow.

If it didn’t kill her.

“You know, I think I’ll let you do all the yard work from now on, and just direct from the shade.” She sauntered into the bedroom. Empty. She slid her favorite nightgown over her head and padded through the house. Trevor wasn’t in the kitchen, either. Only the lunch dishes waiting in the strainer met her gaze. She peeked out the front windows.

No Trevor.

Where did he get to?

Tapping met her ears. She mounted the stairs, and pushed the attic door open. There he stood, tools in hand.

Hard at work—again.

She leaned against the doorjamb, arms crossed, watching. “I don’t mean to sound like a worried mother, but haven’t you done enough work?”

“Mom was never so worried about me.”

No, because for all we know, she’s dead.

Caitlin shuddered, willing the thought away. She was unsure how to describe the sound of his chisel—tapping in designs, or nailing a coffin shut? “Suit yourself. Don’t blame me if your batteries are drained in the morning.”

“In a—oh, hell. I forgot what I meant to add.” He sighed and tossed the chisel onto the floor beside the chair. “You’re right, as usual.” He pushed to his feet and loped past her, placing a kiss on her cheek. “What’s for dinner?”

She rubbed her hand along his back, and turning, frowned at the chair.

For a split second, she saw a figure in the chair, a man with his head lolling at a weird angle. The lips gray and cold under the dark beard, the eyes open, staring at something she couldn’t see.

The soldier’s black boots waited beside Trevor’s monstrous creation, as if he might step into them any moment. His military-style coat hung over the high back. He’d died, and would never use any of them again.

Her heart seized for the poor man. Who was he?

The shape of his face changed, shedding the beard, the jawline tapering into a more feminine line.

The face mutated further until she recognized it: The face was her own.

Caitlin sucked in a quick, startled breath and took the stairs as fast as she could.

*~*~*~


Caitlin’s Book of Shadows

caitlins-book-of-shadows

Though their fame became legend, a rumor cropped up about the Fulmer family: Something terrifying stalked Caitlin and her beloved Trevor. Something the bits and pieces she left claimed she had to make sense of. When the curator of their collection finds Caitlin’s long forgotten diary, she wonders will it tell the whole tale? Will it tell why Caitlin seemed so determined to tell the difference between reality and nightmare? Why she thought herself a witch?

What will the holidays hold for Caitlin? Perhaps the answer lies between the lines of her story, one of lessons, struggles, and hopes for each new year.

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Excerpt:

Caitlin worked the afternoon away in Kameko’s Print Shop, packaging a new order when the door opened. Hofter stepped into the shop. Caitlin froze. Hadn’t Arianrhod insisted she’d “taken care of him”? How, exactly, when there [the imp] was, flitting here and there amongst the customers, smiling, brandishing his claw-tipped fingers.

Caitlin narrowed her eyes watching him, unsure of what her eyes told her. He can’t be here.

She tried to will the unwelcome vision away but Hofter refused her silent order to leave. He approached one gentleman waiting in line. Hofter’s claws flashed. The man yelped and cursed.

Had he cut the gentleman? At least that’s what she thought she saw. She dropped the bundle of fliers she’d been carrying and screamed.

In the next second, Hofter disappeared but she couldn’t stop screaming.

Calvin sprinted out the office door. “What’s going on here?”

Hofter was gone and yet, she kept on screaming.

Calvin took her by the arms and shook her. “What is it, Caitlin?”

She pointed to the crowd. Hofter had disappeared and she knew though Calvin’s gaze followed the direction of her finger, he saw nothing.

“Maybe you need to take a break. Go on. Mark can handle things for now.” He turned and shouted over his shoulder, “Mark?”

The student assistant slinked into Caitlin’s spot at the counter as she tried to keep from running out the door.

Hands shaking, she pulled her purse from her locker seeking her cell phone to call Beryl.

“Sweetie,” Beryl said, “are you sure it was Hofter?”

“I saw him, plain as day.” Her mouth was so dry and heart pounding so hard she could barely get the words out. “There’s no doubt in my mind he’s not as imprisoned as she promised.”

“I’ll be right there.”

Yet, it seemed to take forever for Beryl to arrive. When she did, Caitlin stood back trying to do her work as she watched Beryl scrutinize the afternoon crowd of customers. She couldn’t stop shaking.

Beryl finally sauntered up to the counter and shook her head. “I don’t see him, Cait. I don’t even feel any remnants of him.” She reached out and ran her hand down Caitlin’s arm. The touch calmed her—a little. Not as much as she would’ve liked it to. “Sweetie, why don’t you go home and get some rest?”

Caitlin nodded to a watching, curious Calvin. “I would if I could, but I’m stuck here until closing.”

Beryl waved him over and proceeded to flirt with him. Caitlin didn’t know how she did it, but she managed to talk him into letting her leave. Driving her to Dr. Austin’s office herself, Beryl waited until Caitlin reformed from the puddle of sobbing goo she turned into. How she didn’t tell Dr. Austin the true nature of the monster she dealt with, how she managed to stay out of the nuthouse, was beyond Caitlin’s power to discern.

Even when she closed the door and the drapes that night, she could’ve sworn she saw Hofter hanging in the air outside her windows, grinning his evil, impish smile.

“Are you okay, honey?” Trevor asked.

“Yeah. I’m fine.” Liar. She slammed the drapes shut. Go to Hell, Hofter! And stay there!!!


Drawing Down the Shades

drawing-down-the-shades

Business can be hell…

Life is good at Starfort Collectibles until the owners, Caitlin and Trevor Fulmer, acquire a beautiful statuette with a murky past. Shortly thereafter, mysterious hauntings wreak havoc on the couple when a ghost in the attic threatens retribution. Caitlin presses her coven for help before the ghost succeeds in meting out deadly punishment–on Trevor.

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Excerpt:

Something crashed inside the store and Caitlin yelped in surprise. Trevor spun toward the door, yanked it open and cursed.

All the items that had once covered a small, scarf draped maple table—a framed ivory cameo of a three dancing maenads, a metallic-painted figurine of a woman pouring wine from a jug, and shards of antique glass—littered the floor, the glass shattered, the frames cracked. Above, the vent spewed a dust plume into the air, and from her vantage point, Caitlin thought the cover’s screws seemed loose.

Trevor cursed and knelt to pluck up the brass statuette.

Caitlin set a hand on his shoulder. “At least that survived.”

Trevor whispered something under his breath and standing, set the statuette back on the table. “All right,” he said. “It can’t hurt. Call Heather.”

* * * *

An hour later, Heather leaned against Trevor’s sales desk. Their friends Beryl and Sealya stood beside her. If anyone could figure this puzzle out, it was her three witch friends. She hoped.

“Are you sure it’s not a normal sound?” Beryl asked.

“It didn’t start until recently.”

“It could be mice.” Heather flipped a page in the phonebook, dark eyes narrowed on the text. “I can’t promise the exterminators won’t kick you out of here for a few days. You might just want to let it die.”

“And risk the decaying smell getting into all this?” Caitlin waved a hand around the shop. “I don’t think so.”

“Poisons will, just as well.”

“We’ll find some environmentally friendly chemical,” Heather said. “I know a few exterminators who use them.”

“Heather knows everyone,” Caitlin mouthed to her husband and he smiled.

“It could just go on its own,” Beryl said. “Squirrels do that.”

Caitlin peered up at the vent. “You think it’s a squirrel?”

“I don’t care why the vent rattles,” Trevor said, “I just want it to stop.” He pointed to the broken vase. “If I have to pay an arm and a leg to get an exterminator out, I will.”

The vent rattled again, loud, but the vases and bowls nearby remained still in their display case.

“Maybe there was an earthquake?” Heather suggested.

Caitlin and Trevor shared a glance. “I didn’t feel anything,” Caitlin said.

If there had been, the local news would’ve been all over it. Earthquakes in Florida were a rarity.

Caitlin moved a little closer to the door, reaching a hand toward the vent overhead.

A feeling of dread went through her. As if something passed through her that shouldn’t have.

“Beryl.”

“What, dear?”

“I—” She gulped. “I felt—”

What?

“Something.”

Beryl frowned hard. Sealya and Heather drew up behind her. “Something what?” Sealya asked.

“Something wrong.”

Beryl took a step forward. “Like what?”

A ghost. But it didn’t feel like Roland’s ghost, Trevor’s Civil War era grandfather who seemed still to love her so much. The presence felt, darker. It made Caitlin want to fall down in a heap and sob herself dry. She wanted to die and for a moment, looked down, eyeing the shards of glass on the table. She could see herself dragging one across her wrist …

She scrambled away from the shards, seeking out Trevor’s stability.

“Hey, Caitie.” He enfolded her snugly in his arms, smoothed a hand down her back. “What’s the matter, honey?”

“Save your money for now.” She sniffled, reached up and pushed her hair out of her face.

Beryl laid a hand on his arm, fingers grazing Caitlin’s shoulder. When she turned to meet her friend’s gaze, she noticed Beryl’s full attention on Trevor. “I think it’s something we can take care of for you.”

“Oh,” Trevor pffted. “Please. Go ahead. But I hope you don’t mind if I bow out of it this time.”

As if she could leave him out of it. They’d both experienced far too much of the other side lately. For now, Caitlin laid her head against his chest, hoped she could deal with this strangeness without involving him.

Unfortunately, whatever it was had taken up residence here, not at Noah’s, not at Abby’s gallery. Here.

She stepped back. “Let me talk to them alone.” She turned to her friends and ushered them to the far side of the store. “Well?”

“What do you think?” Sealya asked.

Caitlin folded her arms over her chest, watching through the open doorway as Trevor swished the broom over the mess by the antique table. She met Sealya’s eyes. “I think it’s a ghost.”

Beryl went stiff and closed her eyes. She took several deep breaths and after a few moments, opened her eyes. “I don’t feel anything.”

Caitlin frowned. Hard. “I’m telling you, there’s a ghost in here.”

“How can you be sure?”

She nodded to the windows. “Remember my soldier?”

“Feel the same?”

“More ominous. Darker, but yeah, pretty much.”

Beryl smoothed a hand over Caitlin’s back. “Something is here, then.”

Caitlin nodded. “The question is, what? Trevor’s lost six 19th Century vases. Do you know how ticked he is?”

“Well, you can tell him the good news.”

“What good news?”

“I think you’re right; it’s not the A/C unit,” Beryl said. “My guess is it’s another—” She paused, watching Trevor in the far room. Seeing his attention on the broken vase pieces, she glanced back to Caitlin and mouthed. “—imp.”

“Oh, for Pete’s sake.”

“I could be wrong.”

She didn’t buy it.

Beryl shrugged. “Could be just a ghost.”

That wasn’t much better. Caitlin shook her head and headed for the stairs.

“Where are you going?”

“I want a look at these ducts.”

Heather’s brow creased. “Looking for?”

Caitlin shrugged. “Just to be sure.”

Just to be rational, her mind said. Even though she had enough experience now not to question the paranormal, she hoped on the side of normalcy.

At the top of the stairs, she pushed the store’s attic door open. Boxes, packing crates, old furniture Trevor couldn’t fit in the shop downstairs littered the small space. Caitlin shuddered when she beheld a few of the Art Deco chairs he’d stored here. Would she never get over the scar his chair-like creation of last summer had left on her psyche?

A hand landed on her back, and she jerked. Wondered that she didn’t jump right out of her skin.

“We’re right here, sweetie,” Sealya said. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to scare you.”

“You didn’t.” Much.

Caitlin gulped and crossed to the air conditioning unit. The old monster rumbled and hummed, keeping the winter’s humidity away from the antique treasures Trevor stored here. She knelt down beside the machine, and tapped its metal casing. She duck-walked to its far side. A sticker adorned the surface, McTainst’s Air Conditioning, 2009, scribbled across its surface in bold blue lettering.

She sighed in disappointment. “Good news is the darned thing might still be under warranty.”

“What’s the bad news?” Heather asked, hooking her thumbs into the belt loops of her jeans.

A dark feeling, like a dull ache spread through her fingers, intensifying as it moved up her arm. She snatched her hand back, cradling it for a moment, kneading her fingers into her skin. Where was the aspirin when she needed it? “Something’s wrong here.”

“What kind of wrong?” Beryl took a step forward.

“The same kind as—”

A loud, feminine shriek pierced the quiet.

Caitlin screamed and jumped up, a hand going to the peridot and gold pendant around her neck.

“I don’t think the A/C’s responsible for the broken vases,” Beryl said, her voice shaky as she scrambled to the far side of the attic.

Caitlin skidded to a halt next to her, her heart thudding like a jackhammer. “No. Seems to me, we’re haunted.”

The scream died away. Caitlin took a hesitant step forward. A cold breeze whooshed through her. She went rigid. “Oh, damn.”

“What’s the matter?” Heather asked.

The breeze blasted through the room, kicking dust along in its wake. It circled back to the air conditioning unit. Something inside the unit burst into flames.

Caitlin screamed and fell back into the wall of her friends’ bodies, their panicky breath filling her ears alongside the crackling, cackling flame.

The flame whooshed out leaving a light glow at the air conditioner’s grill, smoke twisting above it. Caitlin flexed her hand, once, twice. The pain seemed to be subsiding. Nothing to be afraid of.

Yeah. Right.

She took a deep breath as she stepped forward. Complete and utter misery tightened her chest.

Caitlin’s heart caught, then rampaged. She turned toward the door. “Out, out, out!”

Beryl or someone pushed the door open. Heather went first, then Sealya followed. Beryl and Caitlin ran down the steps after them. She followed the women into the store, past Trevor where he conversed with a customer.

“What’s the matter?” he said. “Did you find something?”

“We’ll be back.”

“Excuse me.” Caitlin heard Trevor’s words and his footsteps behind her. Felt the air of his hand as he reached out for her. She didn’t stop. “Where are you going?”

“The coffee shop!” she shouted, reaching the porch’s top step. “We’ll be back soon.”

“I have coffee in the—”

She paused, turned. “Go home, honey.”

He pulled her coat from the coat rack and handed it to her, shutting the door behind him. “What do you mean, go home? Here. Wait.” He helped her into her coat. “Cait, what’s wrong?”

She slipped her arm into her sleeve, and hugged him. Warm, solid. “Trust me. Close up; take the day off. Stay away from that attic. Come home.”

“Why?”

She ran down the steps. “Ari would say so too, if she were here.”

Her friends’ excited exclamations blasted from her car but she ignored them. Trevor’s wide eyes said all she wanted to hear. He’d listen to her. He’d be safe.

Caitlin flopped into the driver’s seat, jammed her keys in the ignition, and skidded out of her parking place. Her heart didn’t stop pounding until she’d pulled onto Fort Pickens Boulevard.

She pulled off to the side of the road and laid her head to the steering wheel. The horn beeped. She laughed and turned her head, looking at Heather in the passenger seat. Her friend’s brunette ponytail was a mess, the beaded hair clip hanging halfway down it.

“Oh, damn. Oh, damn! What was that?”

“I think,” Beryl said from the back seat, “your husband’s in trouble again. Or will be soon, if we’re not careful.”

Caitlin gripped the steering wheel, pumping at it, like doing vertical push-ups. Or slamming herself against it. “Why the hell can’t these things leave us alone?”

* * * *


Mourning Dove Locket

mourning-dove-locket

For antique shop owners Caitlin and Trevor Fulmer, the intrusion of gods and ghosts is an unfortunate daily occurrence. After a young girl offers Caitlin a gold locket, however, she can’t help but notice it’s oozing with paranormal energy.

More significantly, the locket’s owner is surrounded by Otherworld spirits. Caitlin recognizes in the girl all the signs of a budding witch in the midst of a dangerous crisis.

Can she and her covenmates protect the girl and assist her in embracing her powers, before those beyond the veil extract their revenge?

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Excerpt:

“Hi,” a girl’s voice drew Caitlin’s attention away from the jewelry. Behind her, for an instant, something shimmered in the sunlight. An old woman smiled, there and gone, startling Caitlin.

She’d had bad luck with fear the last year and wondered when her heart would give out from it. Ghost, another pesky ghost, she thought. Gulf Breeze was full of them, these days. The apparition already gone, Caitlin scrutinized the girl, taking in her dark ponytail, her shorts. She was about fifteen or maybe sixteen, Caitlin judged from the braided bracelet on her wrist, and her height. But more important markers interested her. The girl’s solidity, that she couldn’t see through her, the perfume-cloud around her, and the sheen of sweat on her lip and staining her blue short-sleeved school uniform shirt, told Caitlin she must be alive.

“You like jewelry,” she said.

Caitlin’s hand sought out her peridot and gold ingot necklace, the one she’d received from the goddess Arianrhod, an heirloom her former incarnation had left in her care. Payable on her next life.

The necklace had almost come at a stiff price, very nearly the loss of her beloved Trevor. If she ever met her other self, Kate, in a dark forest, they were going to have a long, serious discussion. She wondered if the other Kate understood what “what the hell, woman?” meant.

She’d seen enough of Kate’s tribulations to know she did.

Caitlin scanned the store, seeking out Hofter—the evil imp who had given them both fits.

Seeing that he wasn’t doing handstands near the doors of the dressing room—or anywhere else, for that matter—she turned back to the teen.

“Sure. Some pieces. Why?”

From her pocket, the girl produced a small, oval gold locket. “I bet you’ll like this.”

Caitlin cocked her head, studying the piece.

She offered it but Caitlin kept her hand firmly placed on her warm hip. She’d learned never to touch first. She’d even become wary of sniffing strange things, in the last few months. As there was no sense in jumping to conclusions yet, she met the girl’s hazel-eyed gaze. Clear and calm, yet expectant.

Her fingers proved warm and soft when she laid the necklace in Caitlin’s. This girl was no ghost.

“It’s my abuela—grandma’s.” She glanced over her shoulder to, Caitlin thought, a woman. “Mom doesn’t want it. She wants to sell it anyway.”

“You should give it back to your grandma, then.”

“I can’t.” The girl shook her head, disturbing her shining black curls. “But my grandma needs it.”

Caitlin wondered how many times a year her heart could stop, and yet, keep her alive. It is my Grandma’s. I can’t give it to her. But Grandma needs it. Oh…

Surely, these weren’t normal verbal slips. She knew present tense when it was used.

Caitlin studied the locket in her hand. Some sort of dove graced the smooth gold cover. She flipped it over, squinting for the maker name or some sort of engraving to identify the owner. She didn’t see one.

Turning it over one more time, she ran a finger over the dove, closed her hand around it. “I can’t take it from you, dear, but let me go talk to your mom.” She smiled at her. “Maybe we can work something out.”

The girl shrugged and headed in the direction of a table full of pots and pans. A woman of clear Hispanic descent stood there, perusing the items. Caitlin approached her yet her daughter made the introductions. “Mom, she’ll give Abuela her necklace.”

Did the teen have any idea what she said? She peered at the girl. She was no ghost.

The woman blinked dark eyes. “It’s a locket, mija, and you know she doesn’t need it anymore,” she said, a hint of accent to her voice. The woman met her gaze, a sheepish smile on her face. “Don’t pay any attention to her, ma’am.”

She doesn’t need it anymore. The grandmother might indeed be dead.

“She has an active imagination.” Yet Caitlin had a feeling the girl was more than imaginative. Was she a budding medium?

Caitlin knew how treacherous the training was. Her heart twisted for the girl. Was she too about to go through hell, as Caitlin had?

She held her hand out for the locket, but a little voice whispered in her mind that it would be better if she made a deal. “I’ll tell you what.” Why can’t Trevor be here for this? Buying and selling antiques was his forte; she was still an apprentice. “My husband owns an antique shop.” She opened her purse, pulled out a Starfort Collectibles business card, and handed it to the woman. “Your daughter says you’d like to be rid of this necklace. I’m sure my husband can give you a fair price for it.”

The woman took the card and studied the embossed lettering, the star sitting beside Trevor’s name.

Starfort Collectibles; Trevor Fulmer, Owner, Proprietor. Caitlin was still pleased with the printing job she’d done here. For however much she hated working for Kameko’s Print Shop, they’d done good work together.

Caitlin frowned at the memory of the print shop’s jackass manager, Calvin. Glad to be out from under Calvin’s thumb, she retrieved her cell phone. A quick search of Starfort Collectibles’ website gave her a good idea of a preliminary offer. Without Trevor, it felt strange to make such a promise, but then she remembered what Michela once told her: Legally, she owned half of their business. Wouldn’t any offer she made be just as valid? Still, flipping the piece over in her hand, she wasn’t sure. “Let me see what I can do.” Caitlin took a few steps away, dialing Trevor’s cell phone number.

“Starfort Collectibles,” Trevor answered in two rings.

“How much would you give someone for an old locket?”

“What age?”

“I don’t know,” Caitlin admitted.

“Condition?”

“It’s a bit banged up. There’s a teenage girl offering it to me, so I suppose it’s expected.”

“Why would she offer it to you?” he asked.

“Don’t know. But I have a hunch.”

“Do you?”

Caitlin glanced over her shoulder. The mother was trying to mind her own business, so Caitlin lowered her voice. “She claims her grandmother wants me to have it.”

“What’s the grandmother say?” he asked.

She cleared her throat. “I don’t think she cares for money anymore.”

“Oh…” The tone in Trevor’s voice told her he absolutely understood in what world the grandmother currently resided.


For Young Adult Readers: 8+ Books To Read This Halloween


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If you’re a reader searching for Halloween-themed books featuring a young adult hero or heroine, then your search is officially over! See the suggestions below for our Halloween must reads, as these young characters encounter ghosts, paranormal creatures, supernatural entities, and other scary things that go bump in the night.


I Was a Teenage Ghost Hunter by Brian K. Henry

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Moody sixteen-year-old barista Devin Mulwray is doing his best to ignore bizarre manifestations at his job in the chilly Northern California town of Arcata. Already teased about his recurrent ‘phase-outs’, the last thing he needs is to get pegged as a guy who sees ghosts. It doesn’t help his state of mind that his boss is a sarcastic slacker, his single dad is always on the road with clients and local occult fan girl Nayra is spreading ‘ghost boy’ rumors about him online.

But when violent paranormal activity badly spooks teens at an abandoned estate, Devin’s pushed into investigating by his eccentric friends Clive, a budding composer, and Rex, a tech head excited by ghost hunting gadgetry. At first reluctant to get involved, Devin’s encouraged when Emily, one of the more empathetic girls at Grey Bluff High, is impressed with his daring.

Together the friends explore the creepy Rousten manor. But as the only person able to perceive the manifestations, Devin soon finds himself going one-on-one against a powerful spirit who attacks the locals and infiltrates Devin’s own dreams.

Devin must face his fear of confronting the spirit world and get to the bottom of the hauntings before the specter unleashes more havoc on him and his friends.

Wattpad readers loved I Was a Teenage Ghost Hunter. Here is a sample from fans who read the book when it was featured on Wattpad:

“Best ending ever!!! I loved it, you’ve done a seriously great job and it was such an awesome read. I really love Devin and everything about this book :) ” Bookworm177

“Done reading this last night, and it was awesome! What a spooky story indeed. Clive and Rex’s bickering moments were also funny!…You have my 30 votes. :) ” – Chemister

“amazing story I enjoyed it very much…and it kept a mystery element till the end :) thank you for uploading it! keep up the good work! :) ” – Sriparnaman

“Thanks for the awesome book. I love ghost stories and I count this as one of the best that I read. Please do write another. :D ” Robby_Lao

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Excerpt:

Devin was left by himself. Could anyone possibly have a weirder batch of friends? Nayra and her obscure historical obsessions, Rex and his habits of jumping to conclusions and spreading stories and Clive with his snobbish attitude, urbane comments and difficult music. And what kind of friends were they, anyway, always bringing up the last things he wanted to hear about? He sighed and stared ahead, but immediately knew he’d made a mistake.
The white figure in the walnut tree was clearer than ever.  It formed a fluttering dress and a soft hood of some delicate fabric. Under the hood were the blowing strands of a woman’s hair. She turned and for the first time Devin could see that, not only was there a figure, but the figure possessed a clearly delineated face.
The woman’s head included an uncanny pair of lips, blanched a deathly white, and the lips were mouthing some comment.
Despite himself, Devin leaned forward, as though trying to hear. Hear something that clearly couldn’t be there.
She opened her mouth repeatedly, making a rounded shape, but he couldn’t make out what the accompanying sound might be. Then a techno ringing intruded on his ears.

Cherish by Norma Huss

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It’s the annual Local History cemetery visit and sophomore Kayla wishes that strangely dressed teenage ghost would go away. Instead, it’s Kayla who disappears into the 1946 life of a teen who will die in days.

Andrew is a pal who claims a crush on the student teacher, but has eyes for Kayla until she starts acting in a totally weird way—and chasing her best friend’s steady.

Finally, there’s Cherish, a spirit who has waited for this opportunity to live a new life in a new century. This time, she plans to win.

Is this the new reality, or will Kayla, armed with only her cell phone, find her way home before she dies Cherish’s death?

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Excerpt:

Chapter 1

I’m getting truly sick of finding all the former Mayor Thompsons’ gravestones every October and hearing the story of how the first one named our town after himself. I’m getting even sicker of ghosts. I mean, what is Halloween without sheets flapping from trees pretending to be ghosts? But that’s not the kind of ghost I’m talking about.

Dani taps me on the shoulder. “Is she here, Kayla?”

“Yeah.”

“Where? What’s she doing?”

I nod in the ghost’s direction. I don’t want to point. Does that make sense? Being careful not to point at a ghost because it might bother her? “She’s sitting over there under that tree. Her skirt is spread all around her like some kind of fan.”

“And she always looks the same? Wow! If I were a ghost, I’d get tired of wearing the same stuff all the time.”

“I don’t really want to talk about her.” But I think about her anyway. Back when I was in first grade I thought she was a lady, but by fifth grade I could see she was a teenager. Now I just wish she’d go away.


A Town Bewitched by Suzanne de Montigny

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It’s tough for Kira, growing up in the small town of Hope as a child prodigy in classical violin, especially when her dad just died. And to make matters worse, Kate McDonough, the red-haired fiddler appears out of nowhere, bewitching the town with her mysterious Celtic music.

Even Uncle Jack succumbs to her charms, forgetting his promise to look after Kira’s family. But when someone begins vandalizing the town leaving dead and gutted birds as a calling card, Kira knows without a doubt who’s behind it. Will anyone believe her?

Reviews
This phenomenal story will lure you into the magic of the bewitched town and make
you care more about the main character than you ever have before. Author –Madeleine McLaughlin

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The Night the Jack O’ Lantern Went Out by Alexander S. Brown

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Halloween. A holiday that inspires memories, excitement, and a little bit of fear in everyone. A single day where all the ghosts and ghoulies come out to play and sometimes its hard to tell which of the creepy crawlies are human and which ones truly rise from beyond seeking unsuspecting souls. Author Alexander S. Brown explores all the wonderfully terrifying possibilities Halloween has to offer in THE NIGHT THE JACK O’ LANTERN WENT OUT! Brown delivers new tales of terror in this collection laced with just enough nostalgia to make us all hope Halloween comes sooner…and stays far enough away that the monsters don’t get us!

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Excerpt:

It’s so simple to burn cornhusk dolls. You light a matchstick, apply it to the doll and within minutes, the thing is up in flames. The material is so flammable, you don’t need anything else to encourage the fire. Just light a match, touch it to the doll, and the doll is no more. In my final moments, I wish I would have never made the cornhusk dolls, because now fire won’t even destroy them.
Days ago, I was a mother of a happy daughter. My heritage is from the Cherokee bloodline. My husband was also of Cherokee descent. We would still be together today living, laughing, and loving, if he hadn’t been killed two years ago in a railroad accident. Until his death, we envisioned ourselves with multiple children. We would watch them grow old and produce children of their own. I think back on all of our dreams and realize dreams aren’t meant for everyone.
All I had left was my Sena, my child of seven years. I think about how my husband hoped one day to survive the poverty of the 1930’s. Although he never saw that day, I hoped Sena would be able to see this country advance. She would grow, marry, and have children of her own. She would be able to live the dream I was denied. Again, dreams aren’t meant for everyone.


Haunted Hijinks: A Family Plotz Adventure by P.S. Witte

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Life can be a little topsy-turvy when your family owns and operates a haunted house year-round, but it is never boring! Teenage twins Victor & Ivy Plotz are fearless; they’ve grown up around mummies, ghosts, possessed toys & giant aliens, and they know every nook & cranny of the mansion, from each mechanical monster arm to every 3-D apparition. However, all bets are off when the house’s “brain” takes a direct lightning hit and all the haunted employees go rogue.

Bumbling thief, Virgil, is drawn to the Plotz mansion after reading an article about their extensive and valuable art collection in the half of the house the family lives in. Trying to prove that he has the chops to be a proper thief, he breaks into the house without realizing the other half is a haunted attraction, nor that his movements are being tracked by more than one entity. He is about to have a very, very long night…

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Excerpt:

“The twins raced their scooters up and down and around the hallways, laughed and sped over the bug bots and any other obstacles in their way. Not far away, Virgil was on a mission. He walked determinedly down a hallway, but it looked a little different than his previous visit. The carpet had changed to a darker blue and the wallpaper had become a light, yellowish-green with large blue cornflowers. The wall trim was butter yellow. Virgil slowed down, confused.
“Whoa! Someone must’ve forgotten about this hallway. For about twenty-five years. Maybe they use it for storage.”
He continued down the hall and stopped at a door that resembled a hotel room. He tried to open the door but it didn’t budge. He held his goggles over his eyes to study the door.
“Number two thirty-seven? Is this a hotel, too? Did i miss the other rooms?”
Virgil’s gaze scanned the area and he approached a shelf on the wall. He picked up a matchbook from the shelf and read the cover.
“WELCOME TO THE OVERLOOK HOTEL”
Virgil studied the cover, turned the matchbook over, then put it down, puzzled.
“Strange thing to have in a hallway. A matchbook. It’s gotta be trash. There’s lots of junk in here, even papers all over the floor. These people are pigs. Oughta clean up once in a while. Might have people check in if it was clean. Filthy idiots.”
Virgil crouched and shuffled through the crumpled papers piled on the floor. He picked up a piece of paper, stood, and read it through his goggles as he walked.
“What’s this say? All work and no play makes Jack a…”
As he passed a wall sconce, a small sensor flashed at the bottom. Two juvenile voices sounded faint through the built-in speakers. Virgil barely heard it.
“Come and play with us.”
Virgil stopped to look around, but couldn’t find the source of the sound. It was eerie. He continued on and looked through his goggles again. A blue Big Wheel toy, knocked on its side, rested near the wall. Dark droplets of some kind formed a path that led around the corner. He walked slower and slower, then heard the voices again, but this time they were louder.
“Come and play with us.”
Spooked, Virgil looked over his shoulder and walked faster and faster. They were children’s voices and they got louder and more insistent.
“Come and play with us. Forever…”
Virgil jogged down the hall.
“…and ever…”
He broke into a full out run. The twins laughed, sped around the corner, and rode their scooters in a zigzag pattern. They met Virgil who ran into the same hall. They all froze, stared at one another, and screamed.


Helens-of-Troy by Janine McCaw

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“The Gilmore Girls meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

Fifteen year old “Goth-Chic” Ellie has a lot of explaining to do. She’s just moved to the small town of Troy, fought with her uptight mother Helen, met the boy of her dreams and found a dead body on her sexy “new-age” grandmother Helena’s porch

But Ellie’s not alone. Helen is hiding something. Helen knows all about the kind of eerie dreams her daughter is having, the dreams that show the whereabouts of the missing children of Troy, because she’s had them herself. But she’ll never admit it. Not while Ellie’s sex-crazed friend Ryan is safely behind bars for the murders. Helen knows what it’s like to be attracted to dangerous men.

Then there’s the little matter between Helena and Gaspar BonVillaine, the teenaged vampire. Now that he’s caught Ellie, he doesn’t know whether he wants to kill her or turn her to the dark side and keep her forever. Helena should have finished him off when she had the chance.

To survive the vampire feeding frenzy surrounding them, mom Helen needs to come to terms with her own insecurities and deal with the gifts she has. Helena must learn to ground herself for the good of mankind and more importantly her own family. And Ellie has the toughest choice of all. Ellie must decide whether it’s time to let her own childhood go and become the woman she is destined to be, one of the ageless and timeless “Helens of Troy”.

Author Janine McCaw (Olivia’s Mine, Feb. 2006,) has written this 100,000 word novel, the first in a fantasy series about “the Helens”. The three generations of gatekeepers will take the reader on a trip to a realm mere mortals fear to visit alone, and they’ll make her want to stay a while.

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SEER: The Ghosts of Gray Fable Kindle Edition
by Eli Bloom

seer-the-ghosts-of-gray-fable

Fifteen-year-old Grace “Gray” Fable can speak to the dead. When her dad moves from Los Angeles to be with his mysterious girlfriend, Gray must attend notorious Willowbrook High School, the scene of a mass shooting five years earlier. When she meets the ghosts of those who died that tragic day – including the school shooter himself – she must uncover a dark secret to lay the victims to rest, and find peace for their families before it’s too late to stop another tragedy.

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Excerpt:

1. Misfortune Teller

“That closet would be a good place to hang yourself,” I said. I was six years old.

“Okay,” my dad replied, leaning over the bed to tuck me in. He didn’t seem overly concerned, or even fearful; he just looked at me with a kind of puzzled love. Which I’d take, because there was something nice about puzzled love.

“She’s nice,” I said.

“Who is?” he asked.

“The woman who lives in the closet.”

Ever since we’d moved into the apartment a couple months before, I’d seen stuff moving in the closet. I think she was testing me to see how afraid I’d get. It should have been terrifying, but it wasn’t. Part of being able to see ghosts is the ability to cast aside some of the eeriness and abject fear. At six years old, I hadn’t yet learned I was supposed to be afraid. Maybe all closets had a visitor, I thought at the time. Which might have been incredibly naive, but maybe all people should be open like this, because there are a lot of dead people out there, waiting to talk.

She seemed as much a part of my bedroom as the color of the walls. Ghosts are like wild animals, and if that twig crunches in the forest, it’s not because they’re trying to freak you out: they’re just walking around. So I wasn’t fearful. The hangers moving about seemed no different than if they’d been blown by the wind, or a live hand. What did I know about death and the afterlife at 6? I didn’t even know what “hanging” was. I had never heard of suicide. I’d just heard a voice in my mind saying, “I hung myself,” and then I saw a woman suspended in my closet like clothing. She was only there for a split second, and I went back to getting ready for bed; sort of sad that she wasn’t there anymore. More concerned that she’d never come back than she had been there at all.

My dad looked over at the closet, partially to humor me, but also with a little fear that he might see something. I think he believed that little kids could see things that adults couldn’t.

“Which closet?” he asked, as if one closet was less creepy than the other.

“The one on the right,” I answered. There were two closets with my desk in between, littered with drawings. I wasn’t very good, but I enjoyed it.

“Then we’ll shut it,” he said, and promptly shut both doors. The room felt instantly quieter.

I couldn’t read what he was thinking (that skill would come later), but I could read his mood, and he was all right with me telling him about the dead lady hanging in my closet. He’s not completely sane either. A writer of horror and sci-fi and stuff I’m not allowed to read yet, even at 15. He just thought an imagination, even a dark imagination, was a sign of intelligence, so he was fine with it. Which is probably why I didn’t lose it completely throughout my childhood. Note to parents: accept your kids, especially the weird ones.

My dad gave me a hug, said, “Night, Gray,” and kissed me on the forehead: the ritual. Then he left the room, and I was alone in the dark.

The closet door slowly opened again.

“You can come out now,” I said.


The Town Halloween Forgot, The Curse of Willow Creek by K. A. Hambly

the-town-halloween-forgot

A Young Adult Novel

Sometimes Halloween is all trick, and no treat.

Danny Hallows is no ordinary fifteen year old. After his parents’ divorce, he relocates to a small Welsh town called Willow Creek where he accidentally sets off the beginnings of a 600 year old prophecy. Discovering his family are related to the last witch of the 1656 witch trials in Wales, he is faced with protecting his family’s legacy and saving Halloween from the dark sorceress Morwenna,

Can Danny stop the prophecy before it’s too late?

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The Madman of Lake Mongawonga by Eric Mosher

the-madman-of-lake-mongawonga

Fledgling vampire hunters David Gale and Arvid Johansen are taking a few days off to relax at a leadership camp they received an invitation to. They expected campfire stories and trust falls and a little vacation from the undead. Instead, it looks like one of the local legends has come to life when campers start disappearing. Add in a beautiful vampire with a grudge against them and it looks like this will be one sleepaway camp they might not walk away from.

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Excerpt:

They all looked up and saw John’s fireplug frame trembling as he huddled against the wall and pointed at the window.

“What is it?” Dave asked, pausing the movie so he could hear the explanation and also so he wouldn’t miss anything.

“There’s something out there,” John said, his voice quavering with fear. He looked like he was a step away from pulling the sheet over his head for protection.

“You’re going to have to be more specific than that. Is it a wolf? Is it a bear? Is it a ghost?”

“It was a person.”

“Like a pervert or a killer?”

“I don’t know. His face was all scarred and he was just glaring in the window at me.”

“Well that doesn’t sound good at all,” Dave said with a nervous sigh. “Perverts and monsters are always ruining my fun.”

He got up from his spot on the bed next to Arvid and Alanah and approached the window with great caution. Slowly he walked up to the wall alongside it and then pressed his back to it before leaning over, lifting the curtain and sneaking a peek out.

There was nothing out there. Anymore, at least. Just tree branches rustling in a breeze. He wasn’t about to go and check to be sure, not without knowing what the hell it was and if he had the right weapons for the job. Also, it was dark and he didn’t have a flashlight. Movies had ingrained in him that going outside to investigate was always a bad idea.

“It’s gone now, whatever it was.”


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