It’s A Sale!

Through Friday, both Don’t Fear the Reaper and The Book of Lost Souls are on sale!

As of October 14th, both are priced at 99 cents, but sometime on the 15th/16th, the price will go up to $1.99, and then back to $2.99 on the 18th. Here’s my Amazon page where you can grab them both. 

 

 

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When teen witch Ivy MacTavish changes a lizard into her date for a Halloween dance, everything turns to chaos. And when no one is powerful enough to transform him back except Ivy, it sparks the rumor: Like father, like daughter. Ivy has heard it all before – that her father, who left when she was seven – was involved with the darkest of magic. Making the rumors worse, someone uses an evil spell book to bring back two of history’s most nefarious killers. Ivy’s got a simple plan to set things right: find the real dark spell caster, steal the book, and reverse the spell. No problem! But she’ll have to deal with something more dangerous than murderous spirits that want her and her friends dead: the school’s resident bad boy and hotter-than-brimstone demon, Nick Marcelli. Nick’s offering Ivy more than his help with recovering the missing book – he’s offering her a way to ditch her scaly reputation as a lizard-lover. Demons are about as hard to handle as black magic, and as Ivy soon discovers, it’s going to take more than a lot of luck and a little charm if she wants to survive long enough to clear her status as a dark witch, get a warm-blooded boyfriend, and have her former date back to eating meal worms before the week’s end.

 

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Haunted by memories of her murdered twin, Keely Morrison is convinced suicide is her only ticket to eternal peace. But in death, she discovers the afterlife is nothing like she expected. Instead of peaceful oblivion or a joyful reunion with her sister, Keely is trapped in a netherworld on Earth with only a bounty-hunting reaper and a sarcastic demon to show her the ropes. When the demon offers Keely her ultimate temptation–revenge on her sister’s killer–she must determine who she can trust. Because, as Keely soon learns, the reaper and demon have been keeping secrets and she fears the worst is true–that her every decision changes how, and with whom, she spends eternity.

 

Sunday Sampler: The Book of Lost Souls

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It occurred to me that I’ve never posted the first chapter of THE BOOK OF LOST SOULS. I’ve always loved teen witch Ivy and company. They’re different from the darker books I tend to write. I can’t tell you how many times I laughed out loud while writing this book. When I wrote the last page, I secretly vowed that one day, I’d write more about Ivy and her friends. Maybe one day, I will. I miss what I call the Ivy League. THE BOOK OF LOST SOULS is also where Devlin the Beelzepup made his debut. He’s the only character inspired by real life — my dog Ronan, who rightly earned the name Beelzepup before he was even three months old.

Without further ado, here’s today’s Sunday Sampler. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Going over it again sure brings back fond memories and a smile.

“I don’t know, Ivy. This borders on black magic,” Shayde said. “You are so dead when your mom finds out.”

For as long as Ivy could remember, Shayde had been the cautious one. The problem was, Raven’s take was different. From the intense expression of interest on her face, Raven thought the whole thing was a rush. Ivy should have counted on the obvious—as usual, her two best friends had conflicting viewpoints.

Great. Just freaking great.

Ivy tried to relax, to not let them sense how nervous she was. This wasn’t black magic. Not really. Just sort of… well, gray. Gray wasn’t so bad. Was it?

She tapped the glass in front of a lizard, a horned toad named Spike. “Who says she’ll find out?”

Shayde gave Ivy an incredulous look. “You’re a witch. Your mom’s a witch. We live in a small town where everyone knows practically everyone else and you think people won’t figure it out?”

“Lighten up! It’ll be fun,” Raven said as she adjusted her fake jewel-encrusted crown. Each girl had dressed in a different costume for the annual Northwick High Halloween party—Shayde as a pirate lass who would have turned any real pirate’s head, Raven as an elaborate, medieval version of the Red Queen, and Ivy in a simple Renaissance-style Juliet costume.

This year, Raven’s parents had agreed to host the event the week before Halloween. The location made for a very happy student body since Raven’s parents also owned the ideal place for such a party—the newly renovated Forever View Funeral Home and Mortuary.

Ivy wiped her perspiring palms against her dress, trying to ignore the growing tension between her friends. She stared into the terrarium. “I guess if I’m going to do this, I’d better get busy.”

Spike, who belonged to Raven’s younger brother, tilted his head at them, as though wondering which girl held his dinner of crickets or mealworms. If Spike had known what Ivy had in mind, he might have considered retreating behind the rocks at the far edge of his sunlamp-heated enclosure. But Spike was a lizard and therefore blissfully ignorant.

Spike’s terrarium sat on top of a bookcase next to a cherrywood study desk. A wrought-iron day bed was opposite the desk, covered with a gold and black coverlet and a single red pillow. A guys’ Renaissance costume in dark velvet lay on top of the coverlet.

Ivy reached inside the terrarium and scooped up Spike, who at the last minute tried to scramble to the safety of his river rock hideaway.

“You do know what happens when horned toad lizards feel threatened, right?” Raven chided.

“Yeah, I know. But everything will be fine,” Ivy said, more to reassure herself than her friends. She placed Spike on top of the costume and tried not to think about him freaking out enough that he’d actually squirt blood from his eyes. The chance of anything like that happening seemed minuscule at best. In her experience, Spike was a very calm lizard.

“He’ll be the perfect Romeo,” Ivy said, confident she had also managed a decent Juliet. It hadn’t come without some effort, though. The only Juliet outfit at the costume shop had been two sizes too large and a much brighter green than she liked. It took a couple spells—one to trim the dress down so she didn’t look like she was wearing a tent, and a second spell to change the color to sage instead of a Christmassy green. With her auburn hair, she’d end up resembling a life-sized holiday ornament, which was definitely not the look she was going for.

On the bed, her soon-to-be Romeo took a step forward and cocked his head, first to one side, then the other, eyes scanning the coverlet for insects.

“You think we should have fed him first?” Shayde asked.

If Shayde still thought this was a bad idea, then maybe it was. Maybe she should return Spike to his tank and forget the whole idea. Then she thought about Dean Matthews, one of the coolest, most gorgeous guys at Northwick High. After tonight, maybe he wouldn’t act like she was so invisible.

“Oh, this is going to be too cool!” Raven exclaimed.

Instead of encouraging her, Raven’s enthusiasm gave Ivy another moment of concern. Raven enjoyed living life on the edge. Shayde might be a little too far on the common sense and caution side, but Raven was the exact opposite. She was a vampire, and vampires were almost immortal. Which made a lot of them avid risk takers. At least the ones Ivy had met.

Ivy took Spectacular Spells Explained—the spell book she’d borrowed from her mother’s reading shelf—flipped it open to a bookmarked section, and scanned the page. From her pocket she retrieved a folded page torn from a magazine and drew a deep breath. Altering clothing by magic had been easy, but the Changing spell wasn’t something she’d done on a live creature before.

“Isn’t there a guideline that says witches aren’t supposed to change one living thing into another without a really good reason and Council approval?” the ever-cautious Shayde asked. “Won’t it seem, you know, like something your dad would’ve done?”

“Shut up, Shayde!” Raven hissed. “Ixnay on the evil wizard-ay.”

Ivy unfolded the paper in an attempt to ignore Shayde’s all-too-true comment about her father—a wizard who once had been associated with a very evil spell caster before leaving town—and studied the ad. In it, a sandy-haired model leaned against a brick wall. He was bare chested and barefoot, wearing only faded jeans and a seductive gaze.

“Yum!” Raven said, earning her a frown of disapproval from Shayde. “Not like that! I just meant he’s pretty hot for one of them.”

“You mean a Regular,” Shayde corrected.

“Right. My bad.” Raven rolled her eyes. “Humans. Regulars. Whatever you call them, they’re not Kindreds. There’s nothing about them that’s supernatural.”

“Half the town are Regulars,” Shayde reminded her.

Shayde and Raven’s friendly sparring was nothing new. But right now, it was a distraction Ivy didn’t need. “Cool it, guys, okay?”

Shayde and Raven exchanged looks and a shrug.

“I think he’s a little old for you,” Shayde said. “He’s definitely frat material. Your mom is gonna freak when she hears about this.”

“I’ll be seventeen soon.”

“Next spring,” Raven said, fidgeting with a lock of her black hair. “Besides, he’s not that old. What? Twenty, maybe? He’s supposed to look like he’s in college.” Raven smirked. “You’ll definitely get everyone’s attention with him.”

“He also looks kinda like an older version of Dean,” Shayde pointed out. “Come on, Ivy!” She folded her arms across her chest, looking more pouty than angry. “How much more obvious can you get?”

Ivy shut out her friends’ commentary, narrowed her eyes at Spike, and extended her hand, fingers spread wide as she concentrated on her spell. Spike jumped like he’d been prodded, and then ever so slowly the horned toad’s shape began to grow and twist. Small wisps of smoke that smelled faintly of old grease rose into the air, and Ivy wrinkled her nose.

Transformations didn’t impress Shayde—she was a werewolf, after all. On the other hand, Raven took a keen interest. “Wow. This is kinda gross,” she said. “I love it.”

Ivy agreed with the gross part. She found it repulsive as the lizard started to take more human form—a grotesque combination of scales and ever-shifting rubbery skin that reminded her of the piglets in formaldehyde she had dissected in biology last spring. As she continued focusing on the spell, Ivy felt an odd, sugar-like high race through her, and she concentrated even harder. Spike’s form slid, almost fluidly, into the surrounding clothing, sparing the girls from further having to watch much more of the half-lizard, half-human transformation. The lizard’s scaly head and reptilian claws shifted into human hands and feet. A wide mouth became the soft, sensuous lips of the model. When Ivy finally completed the spell, Spike really did look human. He lay there for a minute, blinking his dark-brown eyes.

Then he scanned his costume for bugs.

“I really think we should have fed him first,” Shayde repeated. “And what’s with his hair?”

Despite the spell’s success, Ivy had to agree that Spike’s blond hair resembled his name. It stuck out from his head at every imaginable angle.

Raven scrunched up her face. “He looks like Billy Idol.”

Ivy and Shayde looked at Raven, confused.

“A contestant on American Idol?” Shayde guessed.

Nooo,” Raven said. “Billy Idol. He was a punk rocker back in the eighties.”

“Oh,” Ivy replied. Raven would know about that era. Vampires didn’t age like the rest of the Kindreds. At least most Kindreds. Raven and her brother had been turned into vampires when they were teens back in the early eighties and would still look and, for the most part, act like high school students when Ivy and Shayde were graduating college. It had to be weird to stay young for so long, to always feel pretty much the same. In some ways, it’d be great to never grow old. But to stay a teen practically forever? The thought was unbearable. Ivy shivered almost imperceptibly.

“Ivy,” Shayde said, concern sweeping across her face. “I think you forgot to make him think human. And he can’t go like that. I mean, really, just look at his hair. He looks like a porcupine with an excess of hair gel.”

Spike jerked his head around in short, quick movements—eyeing the girls, the bed, the room. The spell hadn’t worked quite as Ivy planned. She took another glance at the bare-chested model in the ad. His blond hair was wavy but at least under control. The model looked smug. Spike looked, well, mental.

“Hmmm. He loses something from the guy wearing the jeans to the guy in leotards, but not bad,” Raven said. “Shayde’s right, though. You need to make him more human. And we really do need to fix his hair. Sure you don’t want to make him a brunette?”

“Whatever you’re gonna do with him, you’d better hurry. The party starts at seven, and it’s already six thirty,” Shayde said, exasperated. “I still don’t know why you didn’t go with Nick. It would have been easier.”

“Ivy doesn’t want who she could have,” Raven said. “She wants who she can’t have.”

“What? Nick Marcelli too much of a heartbreaker for you, Ivy?” Shayde taunted. “Afraid you might really like him? Or maybe it’s the bad-boy reputation?”

“The rep’s sort of undeserved, don’t you think?” Raven said. “Kid stuff. Setting off fire extinguishers during exams, shrinking the girls’ gym uniforms—”

“Putting glamours on the freshman lockers to resemble the black pits of hell, hacking into the school computers. Should I continue?” Ivy replied.

“That was over a year ago,” Raven countered. “He’s grown past that.”

“Nick dated Phoebe. I heard she’s into black magic,” Ivy said. “Really dark stuff.” Besides, Mr. Marcelli had been a friend of her dad’s, not that Ivy would ever mention that as a reason, even if it was partially true.

Raven groaned. “Ugh! Phoebe! That was her story, not his. Anyway, Nick’s just… mischievous. You could do with a little adventure.”

“Uh-huh.” Ivy motioned to Spike. “Isn’t this adventurous enough?” She shook her head. “Forget I asked.”

“Besides, Nick is hot,” Shayde added. “Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed.”

Ivy considered Nick. Sicilian complexion, dark, short hair. When he smiled, his coal-colored eyes had a way of smiling too. And he was tall, just over six feet.

“Ever notice,” Shayde said, interrupting Ivy’s visual, “Nick has a way of entering a room with all eyes on him and a way of leaving without being noticed when he wants? Nick is like smoke.”

Yeah, Ivy thought. She’d noticed. Nick was trouble in more ways than one. Her father had been like Nick, full of mystery, with a past full of rumors. She disliked anything or anyone who reminded her of her father. And that meant that every demon and bad-boy wizard in Northwick was on her do-not-trust list, which meant they’d never make it to her must-date list. No matter how hot they were. “Nick isn’t my type.”

Raven sighed. “Well, I can’t say you don’t set high goals, Ivy. You’re not the only one who lies awake at night thinking about Dean.”

Raven was right about Dean being a hot commodity. Without a doubt, Dean was red carpet, paparazzi material all the way: perfect smile, lean and muscular, thick blond hair, and eyes so blue the whites looked glacial. To top it off, he was captain of the football team and a fairly talented wizard. No black magic practitioners in his family. No mysterious rumors. No glamours on lockers.

Unfortunately, Dean wasn’t going to the party alone. It took both beauty and popularity to gain Dean’s attention. Ivy figured that if she showed up with an eye-catching, college-aged date, she just might stand half a chance against Dean’s on-again, off-again girlfriend, Tara.

Yeah, right.

It took twenty minutes for Ivy to find a makeshift intelligence charm from the advanced section of Spectacular Spells Explained to make Spike act more human. She skimmed through the spell, frowning at the warning written above the incantation:

Important Note: The Intelligence spell accelerates over time. Please use caution. We suggest using a Hesitation spell (pg. 73) and a Reducing spell (pg. 119). Best practice is to remove this spell after a few hours. May cause headaches or nosebleeds with prolonged use. In some rare cases, severe depression and paranoia have been reported.

“Two more spells?” Ivy glanced at the small clock sitting on the desk. “I don’t have time for two more spells.”

Ivy,” Shayde grumbled in cautious protest.

Ivy waved her off. “It’ll be fine, Shayde. Really. It’s not like Spike is going to be human more than a few hours. And this way, he’ll at least have an IQ. He’s not hanging around long enough that he’ll need to be Einstein.”

Shayde shook her head and went back to work on Spike’s hair.

Ivy felt a little better about ignoring the warning when the Intelligence spell didn’t start off so well. Spike’s conversational skills weren’t the best—he mostly just parroted what everyone said around him. She glanced at the clock.

“Okay, I’ve got time for one more incantation,” she said. “Feel better?”

Shayde didn’t comment.

“Well, hurry up!” Raven said. “Or we’re going to be the last ones there.”

Ivy flipped through the spell book and found a temporary charm to make Spike appear a bit more formal and reserved. “This should work.”

While Ivy worked on the last spell, Raven and Shayde finished up with Spike’s hair. They’d done a good job. He now looked just like the magazine photo. Sort of. From a distance. Maybe.

Spike had a strange look in his eyes Ivy couldn’t quite figure out.

 
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READ MORE BOOK EXCERPTS FROM THE BOOK OF LOST SOULS AND OTHERS, HERE.

Sunday Sampler: The Book of Lost Souls

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Thanks to everyone who read all the Summer Sunday Samplers. I hope that you’ve enjoyed them. Here’s The Book of Lost Souls, with a Devlin scene for all my fellow dog lovers.

Devlin followed Ivy up the stairs and into her room. Ivy shut the door and sifted through her dresser, retrieving a lavender sleep T-shirt. After changing and tossing her clothes in the direction of the clothes hamper, she pulled the book bag from under her bed.

Why had someone buried all three books? Who had left the bag and the remaining books there for them to find? And what did a gardening book have to do with The Book of Lost Souls?

She looked at The Rise of the Dark Curse. Her hand hovered over it for a second or two. Giving in to her curiosity, she picked the book up, and a sudden surge of energy rushed through her like an electrical current.

From his spot on the end of the bed, Devlin whined.

“It’s okay, buddy,” Ivy assured him. She sat on the bed and rested the book on the covers. “Just a minute or two. Maybe it’ll give us a clue on who’s using the other book.”

Devlin whined again and lay down, paws over his snout.

Heart racing, Ivy gently flipped the book’s cover open. The tendrils of black mist twirled and danced, as though rejoicing.

She’s back! Little one is back!

Ivy paused and listened, but the voices had grown silent. It was her imagination, nothing more. Although the tendrils of mist had died down, the immense cold that began to seep from the pages had not. Ivy flipped through a section of the book, the buzzing in her head, the adrenaline-sugar rush tingling inside her. It was both horrible and exhilarating.

The spells within the book bordered dark to downright gruesome. She read one page after another, each spell more and more like a train wreck she couldn’t look away from. Each spell filled her mind, feeling oddly like they’d settled down for a long visit.

Devlin barked. He stood inches from her, snarling, teeth bared. A sudden rage flared through her, and Ivy raised a hand, preparing to repel Devlin off the bed—and maybe into the wall—for his uncommon outburst of disloyalty.

Devlin lunged. Surprised at her beloved pup’s behavior, Ivy’s spell missed. She jerked back, out of the way of Devlin’s teeth. He clawed at the book, slamming it shut, yelping in pain as one of the tendrils of mist touched his paw. He scurried to the edge of the bed, ears and tail tucked in fear, paw still lifted in pain. But he was still snarling at the book.

It was the book he’d been after. Not her. He’d wanted her to stop reading it.

Ivy couldn’t believe that she’d almost struck Devlin. She’d never do such a thing. But something had come over her while reading the book. She scooped Devlin into her arms. “I’m sorry,” she repeated over and over. Devlin licked her face in accepted apology, but his eyes darted back to the book.

“Yeah. You’re right.” Ivy retrieved her book bag and, using the covers as a barrier, slid the book into the bag. She exchanged it for A Botany of Spells—Magic for the Garden. She zipped the bag shut and pushed it under the bed.

She examined Devlin’s paw, which looked okay. He tentatively set it back down on the bed, applying a bit of weight to it. The book was far too dangerous. She had to get rid of it soon. Ivy glanced at the alarm clock. She’d been going through the book for over half an hour. The longer she’d spent with it, the more engrossed she’d become and the more it had affected her. Devlin had seen that and tried to protect her from it. But it had affected him, too. Beelzepups were very in tune with their owners, and Devlin was feeding off her energy.

Ivy scratched under his chin. “Thanks, buddy.”
Read more of The Book of Lost Souls or check out my other books at these retailers:

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Sunday Sampler: The Book of Lost Souls

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Another Summer Sunday Sampler from THE BOOK OF LOST SOULS.

“Great!” Gareth said. “We lost him again. I’ll never get Spike back to normal at this rate! And when I do, he won’t like eating his mealworms. He’ll be spoiled eating insects he’s caught in the wild.”

They stood at the base of the ditch where Spike had vanished into a rusty drainage pipe leading to a small retaining pond.

Bane knelt down to look inside. “I don’t know. He can’t go anywhere. He’s trapped in there. All Ivy has to do is go in after him.”

Ivy wrinkled her nose in disgust. “Are you insane? I’m not going in there!”

“She doesn’t have to,” Raven said. “If he can’t go anywhere, why can’t Ivy just aim a spell inside the pipe?”

Shayde nodded. “Good idea. Think you can do it, Ivy?”

Ivy considered the plan. “I don’t know. I’ve never aimed a spell at something I can’t see before.”

“Oh, come on, Ivy! Get him back,” Gareth pleaded. “Who knows when we’ll come across him again?”

Ivy sighed. Spike was Gareth’s pet. At least he used to be. And he’d trusted her. What if someone had lost Devlin? Gareth had done her a favor by letting her use Spike in the first place, which was more than she’d have done. She’d never have let anyone do anything to Devlin. She had to get Spike back.

“Fine,” she said, drawing closer to the pipe. Her friends hunkered down next to her, all eager to see what spell she’d choose to bring Spike out.

Ivy focused into the darkness and cast a simple Retrieval spell. There was a rustling sound, followed by the echoes of heavy thuds and thumps. Ivy distinctly heard feet shuffling against the pipe.

Gareth rubbed his hands together in anticipation. “Here he comes.”

The five of them flew backwards into the soggy ditch, avoiding the family of rats that flew out of the end of the pipe. The rats sailed overhead, screeching and wriggling furiously. One by one, they fell to the ground, each with a little sickening thud, before scurrying off in different directions, still shrieking with indignation.

Bane swore under his breath. Ivy disentangled herself from Raven.

“Uck!” Gareth said, wiping slimy green algae from his hands onto his pants.

“Well, that didn’t work,” Ivy said. “Sorry, guys. Really, I’m so sorry.” Ivy had never thought of herself as lucky or unlucky, at least not until the past twenty-four hours. Now, nothing she did worked out right.

Read more of The Book of Lost Souls or check out my other books at these retailers:

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Sunday Sampler: The Book of Lost Souls

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Just a typical Mother/Daughter conversation, at least for Ivy and her mom….. 

“Fine. She was a fairy, okay? A fairy princess with an apparently edible dragonfly tacked to her dress. But she would have made a better dung beetle. Suits her personality.”

“Ivy,” her mother said soothingly as she took a seat next to her. “You’re a beautiful young girl. You’re top of your class and can perform some very advanced spells for a witch your age. Sometimes that intimidates boys. I’m sure that’s why no one asked you to the party and that’s okay—”

“Mom!” Ivy interjected. This was embarrassing. She hated it when her mother decided they were going through some pivotal mother-daughter moment. Ever since he left them, her mother went overboard during times like this, trying to compensate for two parents instead of one.

“When I was your age, I didn’t have a boyfriend, either. It’ll come, sweetheart. Maybe if you were a little more sociable. Not that I’d ever complain about your grades, however your people skills could use a little work.”

Ivy avoided looking at her mother, trying not to show her growing annoyance. She didn’t want to hear this. Instead, she petted her dog, a rare Kindred breed known as a Beezlepup. Some people mistook them for a fox-dog hybrid or even part coyote, but every Kindred knew that Beezlepups were pure mischief, which apparently was the perfect breed for Ivy lately. Devlin lifted his head and looked at her with his beady, slanted eyes.

“Someone did ask me, Mom. I just didn’t want to go with him. Can we drop this?”

Her mother clasped her hands together and her face brightened. “Who?”

Ivy patted Devlin’s side and he rolled over, eager for a belly rub. Ivy obliged. “Nick.”

“Nick Marcelli?” her mother asked. “Ah! I understand why you didn’t want to go with him.”

“Huh?”

“Well, he’s a demon, Ivy,” she said in the same tone she’d used when they had their mother-daughter talk when Ivy turned twelve. “They’re a little intense. You’re not ready to date a demon.”

Ivy frowned. She was more than ready. If she wanted to date Nick, she could. Nick clearly liked her. And she’d have no problem handling a demon. She wasn’t a child, after all. She was one of the most responsible and intelligent girls in her entire class.

“Mom—”

“Now, Ivy, it’s okay. You really haven’t dated much, so I understand he might be a bit much for a first boyfriend.”

“I said I didn’t want to go with Nick. Not that I couldn’t,” Ivy nearly shouted. Raven was right, it was safer to want what she couldn’t have. Besides, if she went out with Nick, how long before he grew tired of her? Look where love had gotten her mother—broken hearted. A mischievous dog was all Ivy cared to deal with. A troublesome boyfriend? No thanks.

“I’m not interested in Nick,” Ivy reiterated.

“Oh?” Her mother looked puzzled. “Then why do this, Ivy?”

“Dean Matthews,” Ivy replied in as small a voice as possible and still be heard. She didn’t want to have to explain it further than that.

“OH!” her mother said, eyebrows raised. She leaned forward and smiled wickedly. “So…you used Spike to try and make Dean jealous? Isn’t he dating the dung beetle princess?”

Ivy managed a laugh. “Yeah, Tara Prescott, the dung beetle princess.”

 Read more of The Book of Lost Souls or check out my other books at these retailers:

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Sunday Sampler: The Book of Lost Souls

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Scene with Ivy, Nick and Phoebe:

Ivy narrowed her eyes. If he thought he could sway her, win her over with that come-hither charm of his, then, well, Nick Marcelli had another thing coming. She wouldn’t be swayed. Not by that smile. Not by those smoldering eyes or his dark hair or—”
“Nick!” a voice called out. “Oh, hello, Ivy.” The voice belonged to no other than Phoebe. Phoebe’s gaze fell on Ivy’s book bag and without another word, she slid into the booth against Nick.
“You’re so bookish, Ivy. Helping Nick with one of his classes?”
“We weren’t studying,” Ivy said firmly.
She had no idea why she felt the need to be so defensive. Her tone caught Nick’s attention, and he raised an eyebrow in question. It didn’t escape her that he hadn’t moved over to offer Phoebe more room. Was he trying to see what her reaction would be? From the subtle disapproving look he’d given Phoebe, Ivy decided Nick wasn’t thrilled about the intrusion, either.
And what did she care, anyway?
“Actually,” Nick said. “We’re on a date.”
Phoebe looked at Ivy. “Really? Weren’t you dating a lizard?”
“Ivy and I had a little spat, that’s all,” Nick lied.
Ivy and Phoebe both stared at him in disbelief. What was he doing? What a ridiculous story! This was his great plan?
“But we patched things up,” he said quickly.
“Oh,” Phoebe said, sounding disappointed. Yet, she didn’t miss a beat. “So how is Spike, Ivy?”
“Still missing,” Ivy grumbled.
“Well, better luck with your next creation.” Phoebe turned and smiled devilishly at Nick. “Made up dates are so much easier to handle than demons like Nick here.” She patted Nick’s leg.
Ivy took a deep breath. “Hate to be rude Phoebe, but our food is getting cold.”
Phoebe slid out of the booth. “When you get smart, call me, okay, Nick?”
Ivy glared after Phoebe. She pointed a finger at her and cast a spell that made the back of Phoebe’s hair frizz. Nothing permanent, it’d last a half-hour, tops. It made her stop and consider why she’d done it, but she couldn’t come up with a reason except that Phoebe had pissed her off—just like Tara had yesterday. Still, she should be careful. Throwing hexes around after last night, even small ones, would only bring unwanted attention. And it’d be worse if word of the book ever got out.
She took a deep breath. It was okay, she was just on edge. That’s all. Perfectly understandable. She caught Nick snickering and leaned toward him, “Please don’t tell me that was your plan to rescue my reputation as a lizard lover.”
Nick looked at her sheepishly. “Well, yeah. It sorta was.”
Ivy leaned back and took a sip of her soda. That was the best Nick Marcelli, Master of Mystery and Chaos, could do?
“So, are you jealous?” Nick asked.
“What?” Ivy said, nearly choking.
“Are you jealous? Even a little? I mean, some of the guys think Phoebe is pretty hot. At least before you made her look like a Chia Pet. Nice. I like a girl who isn’t afraid of a little mischief.”
All laughter vanished. Was she jealous? No, she couldn’t be. She liked Dean, and Nick was nothing like Dean. Dean was predictable, outgoing, and far from mysterious. And Phoebe? Well, Phoebe was just being bitchy and had irked her at a bad time. “No,” she said. “Not at all.”
Nick smiled and leaned forward. He gently grasped one of her hands. When their eyes locked, Ivy didn’t pull away. Why didn’t she pull away? Why couldn’t she look away?
“Oh, come on Ivy. We both know you only think you want Dean. Now, I may not be anything like him, but I’m not like anyone else you’ll ever meet, either.”
Two women raced past them outside the window. One screamed for help. But what the other cried out caught her attention the most.
“Right here in Northwick. In daylight! He’s been murdered!”

 Read more of The Book of Lost Souls or check out my other books at these retailers:

Amazon    B&N    iTunes    Kobo    Books A Million    Audible

Coffin Hop 2012

It’s time once again for the annual Coffin Hop! This year, we’ve go one heck of a line up: over 100 horror and dark fantasy writers are participating, which means you just might find some awesome new authors and books to read.

Oh. Did I mention ALL the prizes? Every participating blog is offering their own giveaway. That’s literally hundreds of prizes. Follow the link below for all the participants, and don’t forget to enter my own contest.

2012 Coffin Hop Linky List

What am I offering? Take a look: An e-copy of BOTH Don’t Fear the Reaper and The Book of Lost Souls, PLUS an e-copy of Coffin Hop 2013: Death By Drive-In Collector’s EP, Lisa Novak’s Dead Heat, RaShelle Workman’s box set of Blood & Snow (volumes 1-4), Sarah Woodbury’s The Last Pendragon, Addison Moore’s Ephemeral, Kindle copies of The Childe and Dark Days by C.A. Kunz, and Soul Quest by Amy Mauer Jones.



That’s THIRTEEN e-books!

The winner will be drawn at midnight, October 31st and announced the following morning. How do you enter? You’ve multiple choices, and each will earn you a name in the hat.

Leave a comment below.

Tweet: #CoffinHop 13 e-book giveaway! Visit @MichWritesBooks https://michellemuto.wordpress.com/

Tweet: #HalloweenReads: Don’t Fear the Reaper & The Book of Lost Souls by @MichWritesBooks http://amzn.to/zdkrTi

Share my FB post of the contest

Follow me on FB and say hello in the Coffin Hop Post

8 Award-Winning Books, 8 Bucks

Readers! Eight award winners in the 2012 eFestival of Words “Best of the Independent eBook Awards” have grouped together to offer you an amazing opportunity. They’ve reduced the prices of their award-winning novels to 99 cents for August 27 and 28th!

Whether you like to read mysteries, romance, horror, young adult, women’s fiction, or fantasy, this group has it. Are you a writer yourself? Do you want to learn all about digitally publishing your next masterpiece? They’ve got you covered there too.

Get all eight award-winning ebooks for the price of one single paperback!

 

Award Winners

Best Mystery/Suspense: Dead is the New Black by Christine DeMaio-Rice
Best Non-Fiction: DIY/Self-Help: Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran
Best Horror: 61 A.D. by David McAfee
Best Romance: Deadly Obsession by Kristine Cayne
Best Young Adult: The Book of Lost Souls by Michelle Muto
Best Fantasy/Urban Fantasy and Best NovelThe Black God’s War by Moses Siregar III
Best Chick Lit/Women’s LitCarpe Bead’em by Tonya Kappes
Award for Best Twist (“I’ve Been Shyamalaned”): The Survival of Thomas Ford by John A.A. Logan

Here’s a one-stop shopping link for your convenience: http://amzn.to/MO7qBY

Book Blurbs

Dead is the New Black by Christine DeMaio-Rice

Laura Carnegie gave up on the man of her dreams a long time ago. He’s fashion designer Jeremy St. James, and not only is he her boss, everyone knows he’s gay.

When the woman who holds the company purse strings is found dead in the office, and Jeremy’s arrested for the murder, everything changes. If Laura can just solve this crime, keep the cops off her tail, break up a counterfeiting ring, and get the show on the runway by Friday, she might stop being Seventh Avenue’s perpetual loser.

If you love Project Runway, or enjoyed The Devil Wears Prada, try Dead Is the New Black.

 

Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran

This guide contains over 60,000 words of essays, articles, and how-to guides, as well as contributions from 33 bestselling indie authors including J Carson Black, Bob Mayer, Victorine Lieske, Mark Edwards, and many more.

It covers everything from how the disruptive power of the internet has changed the publishing business forever to the opportunities this has created for writers. It gives you practical advice on editing, cover design, formatting, and pricing. And it reveals marketing tips from blogging and social networking right through to competitions, discounts, reviews, and giveaways.

If you are considering self-publishing, if you need to breathe life into your flagging sales, or if you want to understand why it’s a great time to be a writer, Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should will explain it all.

 

61 A.D. by David McAfee

61 A.D. For ten years, Taras has lived in the young city of Londinium, feeding off the cityís underbelly. But now Theron, his old enemy, has come looking for revenge, and Tarasí nights of living in relative peace are about to end.

Yet not even Theron can slip into town unnoticed, and the Council of Thirteen sends Ramah to deal with the two renegades once and for all. But unknown to the Council, a much older enemy is also in Londinium, and this time even the great Ramah might not be safe.

Set against the backdrop of the Iceni uprising in Roman-era Britannia, 61 A.D. continues the story of Taras, Theron, and Ramah, as they fight their way through history.

 

Deadly Obsession by Kristine Cayne

Nic Lamoureux’s perfect movie star life is shattered by a stalker who threatens any woman close to him. When he meets photographer Lauren James, the attraction is instant–and mutual. She’s exactly the sort of woman he craves, but the stalker makes deadly clear Lauren is the competition.
And the competition must be eliminated.

“Stock up on ice cubes because this is definitely one sizzling debut. Readers will be hooked from the first sentence- on the book and on Nic! As rich as a white chocolate cheesecake, Cayne’s entrance into the suspense genre is invigorating, explosive and simply intoxicating.” ~ RT Book Reviews Top Pick

 

The Book of Lost Souls by Michelle Muto

When teen witch Ivy MacTavish changes a lizard into her date for a Halloween dance, everything turns to chaos. And when no one is powerful enough to transform him back except Ivy, it sparks the rumor: Like father, like daughter. Worse, someone has used an evil spell book to bring back two of history’s most nefarious killers.

Ivy’s got a simple plan to set things right: find the real dark spell caster, steal the book, and reverse the spell. No problem! But first, sheíll have to deal with something more dangerous than murderous spirits: the schoolís hotter-than-brimstone demon bad boy, Nick Marcelli. Demons are about as hard to handle as black magic, and Ivy soon discovers itís going to take more than a lot of luck and a little charm if she wants to clear her status as a dark witch, get a warm-blooded boyfriend, and have her former date back to eating meal worms before the weekís end

The Black God’s War by Moses Siregar III
Against the backdrop of epic warfare and the powers of ten mysterious gods, Lucia struggles to understand The Black One.

Her father-king wants war.
Her messianic brother wants peace.
The black god wants his due.
She suffers all the consequences.

“Moses is a fine writer deserving of success, and I think that it will follow … I really enjoyed Moses’s work.” – David Farland, NYT Bestselling Author of The Runelords

 

Carpe Bead’em by Tonya Kappes

Hallie Mediate was raised by her (slightly) crazy Great Aunt Grace on the wrong side of the tracks in Cincinnati. Hallie escapes her hometown and never looks back.

That is, until sheís transferred back to the hometown. Not wanting her past to cross paths with her future, Hallie puts her life on hold.

Aunt Grace is still up to her old tricks, but Hallie finds some sanity at a local jewelry-making class where she uncovers a hidden talent for beading.

Will she keep searching for the happiness she may already have found?


The Survival of Thomas Ford by John A.A. Logan

Thomas Ford is the only survivor of the car crash which killed his wife. He is also the only witness who would be willing to identify the young, reckless driver who caused the crash. But the driver would sooner see Thomas Ford dead than ever let that happen.

Happy Reading!

The Book of Lost Souls Wins Award: eFestival Of Words Best Young Adult for 2012

BIG announcement today! First up The Book of Lost Souls, (aka the Little Book That Could), does it again: it’s the eFestival of Words winner for the category Best Young Adult. The contest started back in the spring when readers submitted their picks for best in each category. I had no idea that The Book of Lost Souls had been nominated, so imagine my surprise when I learned that it made it to the semi-finals. There were a lot of great books on the list, one of which has gone on to garner appraise and a book deal in the traditional world.

Summer rolled around, and I just sort of figured that was it. The semi-finals. Not too bad! But then, a fellow writer told me I’d made it to the finals. What I never dreamed could happen, happened today. The Book of Lost Souls took first place!

But, the awards don’t stop there. Indie Chicks – 25 Women, 25 Personal Stories also took first place for Best Anthology.

I’m over the moon. Totally and completely over the moon.

Irons in the Fire

I have a lot of irons in the fire this month, so my apologies for short posts.

– I’m prepping for the Decatur Book Festival Sept. 1st & 2nd. If you happen to be in Decatur Georgia, I’d love to meet you.

– Working on the last chapters for the new book and revisions on the first half. More about it soon, but if you like haunted houses, stay tuned.

– There’s some upcoming news to share. Maybe next week? Sadly, it’s not a movie deal or anything like that, but I’m still pretty excited.

– Did I mention I’ve been talked into revisiting an adult paranormal novel? No? More on that one, too.

– The Book of Lost Souls: the last day to vote for Ivy & Co., for the eFestival of Words Best YA is coming up. If you haven’t voted, Here’s the link and instructions:
eFestival of Words
Log-in go to the Awards Hall (bottom right of screen). Then scroll down to category listings – go to the Young Adult Finalists poll and voila!

Okay. Enough seriousness. How about a little humor?

The Book of Lost Souls is Free: 2 Days Only

Yep, The Book of Lost Souls is available for free on Amazon for two days only (January 26th & 27th, 2012). If you haven’t read it yet, now is your chance. I’m not planning on making it free for a looooong, long time. If ever (hey, I’ve got to eat and pay the bills, right?).

Want the print version? It’s not free, but it IS part of Amazon’s 4 for 3 book special (and so is Don’t Fear the Reaper).

Amazon link

If you miss the free days and are a member or Amazon Prime AND you own a Kindle, you can still borrow and read The Book of Lost Souls for free until mid March 2012 through Amazon’s Select program.

Promo Special: 4 for 3

Amazon has been running a special on certain print books and home and garden items for about a week now – and much to my delight, both The Book of Lost Souls and Don’t Fear the Reaper are both included in the promotion. So, if you’ve been wanting either book in print, now is the time! I have no idea how long Amazon will run the special. Below the items, you’ll see a Special Offers and Product Promotion section for further explanation on qualifying items.

Here are the links:

The Book of Lost Souls

Don’t Fear the Reaper

The Book of Lost Souls & Don’t Fear the Reaper Have a Banner Week!

It’s been a banner week for 5-star reviews for both books.

The Book of Lost Souls got a stellar review from the fab site Mission to read. The site has a LOT of reviews, guest appearances, and other features.Check ’em out. It also got a 5-star rating from the talented author duo C.A. Kunz (The Childe series) on Amazon.

Don’t Fear the Reaper‘s reviews totally blew me away this week. I mean totally. Deja Vu from a few weeks ago when Andrea over at The Bookish Babes called it stunning? Sheila, over at Why Not? Because I Said So! not only gave Reaper 5 stars, but said it’s one of her favorite books in 2011. She had a LOT of other awesome things to say, but I’ll let you read the whole review here. If that wasn’t enough flattery for the week, Shana over at A Book Vacation said so many amazing things that I don’t think I’ll ever stop blushing. Her full review will be available on her website in early December (I’ll update this post with the link), but you can read her review on Goodreads. Aobibliphile topped off the week with this five-star review and a quote that sums up Don’t Fear the Reaper nicely: Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me. The Carriage held but just ourselves And Immortality ~Emily Dickinson

I don’t know what to say except that I’m not only on cloud nine, I’m deeply honored. To each and every one of these reviewers, thank you!