Thursday, January 22, 2015

Q+A with Author L.A. Starkey and Giveaway

Q+A with L.A. Starkey Author of Young Adult Paranormal Novel Deceived and Giveaway

Please welcome today's guest author L.A. Starkey!  L.A. is the author of DECEIVED, the first novel in the Soul Keeper young adult paranormal series.

Keep reading for a chance to win Deceived and Destroyed by L.A. Starkey!

Q+A with L.A. Starkey

EJ: When did you begin writing?

LA:
  I started four years ago in my early 30’s actually. I know most people will attest to having been writing since they were in grade school or high school, but I’m forever a reader more than a writer. I realized a few years ago that I’d read so many books (crazy amounts of books) that I’d figured out how to spot plot holes, bad characterization and poor flow. I figured if I could see all of that then maybe, possibly, I could write a novel myself with the right storyline involved.
I enjoyed reading so much that I wanted to give someone the experience that so many had given me, putting a smile on their face or a tear in their eye – whatever it meant for them. I just decided today to try it and within a few minutes of starting my characters took the show and the novel was done before I knew it. It was one of the coolest experiences of my life and I’ve done it many times since.

 EJ:  What brought you to the paranormal genre?

LA: 
I love disappearing when I read. I live a fast-moving crazy life and so where I am looking for adventure in the pages of a novel, I’m really also looking for something that could NEVER-EVER happen. I want to jump into a world where things exist that only do so in our imaginations. Paranormal novels do that for me every time. I try to read or write other genres and it never works out for me.

EJ:  If you could be any paranormal or have any one supernatural talent, what would it be? Why?

LA:
  Oh man… That’s like giving a kid a candy store and asking them to choose their favorite type. I guess I’d be a vampire. Not that I would enjoy the blood sucking part of life, but life sometimes sucks so…. SeewhatIdidthere? Flying, living forever, moving fast, scaring and intriguing people, changing life and seeing so much? I’d totally sleep in a casket for those powers, especially if my male counterpart was a hottie, which is a must!

EJ:  Tell us why readers will enjoy your new release.

LA:
  My Soul Keeper series has it all: love story, adventure, horror, paranormal elements, loss and despair, loads of humor and multiple characters for you to love. People will enjoy it because it because it will surprise you about the time you feel like it’s starting to slow down a little and the love story will cause your heart to beat a little fast. The ending is a cliff hanger and I know some people aren’t too fond of those, but I rarely encounter cliff hangers in life except at the end of a TV series season, so I’d prefer them in my books. Leave me wanting more… that’s what I tried to do to.

EJ:  If your book(s) were being made into a movie, who would you cast for the leading roles? Why?

LA:
  Let’s see… Marcus and Nicolas are twins so I’d pair them up with Kellan Lutz. Samantha would be Victoria Justice, and Julie would be Annasophia Robb.

Q+A with L.A. Starkey Author of Young Adult Paranormal Novel Deceived and Giveaway

Deceived (Soul Keeper #1) by L.A. Starkey.

They say a soul is the immaterial essence, the animating principle, the actuating cause of an individual life.

But what if you had to share yours with the one person you hated the most?

The soul mate principle states that for every one soul there is another that will recognize its match, hence creating the perfect union.

But what if you had two soul mates, which would you choose?

What if your choices had eternal ramification?

Deceived, the debut novel in the Soul Keeper Series, is a modern day love story about the implications of having more than one soul mate, and having to choose between the two of them. The decisions of the gods has left the next generation, their heirs, torn between fate and reality, and the balance of the future hangs in anticipation of what's to come.

Release Date: August 28, 2014
Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult
Add to Goodreads.

Thank you L.A. for joining us here today at From the Shadows!

You can learn more about L.A. Starkey and her books by visiting her website.

Deceived Giveaway

The author is giving away signed copies of Deceived and Destroyed by L.A. Starkey.

To enter, use the rafflecopter form below.  This giveaway is open to US and Canada only.  This is an Xpresso Book Tour giveaway, therefore the winners will be selected by author or publisher, not From the Shadows.  Giveaway ends February 12, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Boston With Skylar Dorset

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Boston With Skylar Dorset author of Otherworld series

Come on boys and ghouls!  It's time to hop on Route 666 for a spooktacular Paranormal Road Trip.  This week's stop is Boston, Massachusetts and our special guide is Skylar Dorset, author of the Otherworld young adult paranormal series.

The Otherworld series is set in Boston so it seems fitting that our guide for this week's Paranormal Road Trip be author Skylar Dorset.  Let's see what terrifying places Skylar has planned for our tour.

Boston's Top 5 Spooky Places

North Grove Street

North Grove Street is spooky for what used to be there: Harvard Medical College. The school has since relocated, although North Grove Street is still the home of Massachusetts General Hospital. But why is this place spooky? Because it was the site of one of the most high-profile murders in history, which led to the so-called trial of the nineteenth century. The murder was so famous that the crime scene was the first place Charles Dickens asked to be brought when he came to Boston. But we don’t talk about it much anymore, so here’s the super-grisly story:

George Parkman was a wealthy Boston Brahmin (as Boston aristocrats were known). He actually donated the land on North Grove Street that Harvard Medical College was built on, and the street adjacent is still called Parkman Street. Later, it would supposedly become the scene of his death.

Parkman was known for lending money around town (a character right out of Dickens!). He was a well-known figure in Boston, where he was often seen walking the streets, collecting his debts (he was too cheap to own a horse!). The last time he was ever seen, it was going into Harvard Medical College, where one of his debtors, Harvard Med School Professor John Webster, had arranged a meeting with him.

Parkman’s worried, wealthy family reported him missing and launched a citywide hunt for him, papering the city with “missing” posters, dragging the Harbor and the Charles River, etc. The police also searched Harvard Medical College, but found nothing.

In the meantime, though, Ephraim Littlefield, a janitor at Harvard Medical College, decided to take matters into his own hand (there was a large reward being offered for information about Parkman’s disappearance). Littlefield knew that Webster had been in debt to Parkman, had met with him on the day of his disappearance, and had been questioned by the police. Webster, according to Littlefield, had a suspicious conversation with Littlefield about what Littlefield had witnessed, and later presented Littlefield with…a Thanksgiving turkey. (It was that time of year.)

Littlefield took the turkey home to his wife and they enjoyed a pleasant Thanksgiving dinner while Littlefield mused upon Webster’s odd behavior. But what could he be hiding? The police had searched the school building and turned up nothing. Littlefield remembered that the day before, though, Webster’s furnace in his laboratory had been burning all day. Curiouser and curiouser, Littlefield persuaded his wife to go to the school with him on Thanksgiving and keep watch while he broke into Webster’s lab. The privy in Webster’s suite of rooms emptied into a pit that hadn’t been searched by the police, and Littlefield focused his actions there, chiseling away at the brick wall (it was a time of strongly built buildings!). It was tough going, as you can imagine, and it was a holiday, so Littlefield gave up after a couple of hours and went to a dance. (True story.)

The next day, however, was no Black Friday shopping as we would have today. Littlefield went back to work, resumed his chiseling, broke through to the pit, and spotted human remains. He called for the police, who in turn arrested Webster, who in turn tried to commit suicide almost immediately. The police resumed their searching of Webster’s lab, which apparently had been totally half-hearted before, because now they found body parts, partially burned, in the furnace as well as in other hiding places around the lab. (Amazing detail: Parkman’s wife identified his body based on very personal parts of his body.)

There was a trial, so well attended that they had to hand out tickets and cycle groups of people in and out of the courtroom, and Webster was found guilty and sentenced to death. He later wrote a confession, claiming to have killed Parkman in self-defense. Webster was hanged…or so some people say. Others say he was never killed and was instead smuggled out of Boston. Still others thought Parkman himself hadn’t died and had simply fled the city. Sightings of both men happened all over the world for years afterwards. To this day, the whereabouts of Webster’s body is mere conjecture, because it was kept secret for fear of grave-robbing. (Or because he hadn’t died, if you believe the rumors.)

At any rate, who knows if either one of those tragically linked men ever left the spot of their final altercation?

(This story owes a debt to Cleveland Amory’s The Proper Bostonians, which was the first time I had ever heard of it.)

Langone Park in the North End

You might think that this is just a normal park, but, before it was a park, it was the site of a huge tank that stored molasses. Yes. Molasses. Which are basically a thick byproduct of the refining of sugar that you can use for a lot of stuff, and that was heavily used back in the beginning of the twentieth century. At that time also the North End was said to be the most densely populated area of the entire country, heavily packed with people.

In January 1919, the molasses storage tank, which had been poorly maintained by its owners, cracked open, possibly spurred by the stress of a sudden rise in temperature in the city’s weather. Molasses spilled into the North End at a speed of 35 miles per hour. A car can’t even reach 35 miles per hours these days in the narrow, clogged North End streets. The molasses plowed over crowds of people who couldn’t get out of the way quickly enough, killing 21 of them.

There are lots of historical ghosts in the North End, a very old part of the city that holds the famous Old North Church. But the molasses spill haunts more than anything else. On very hot days, the story goes, you can still smell the sticky sweet scent in the air.

Boston Massacre location outside the Old State House

In March 1770, a group of British soldiers fired into a crowd of Bostonians that had gathered in protest outside of the Old State House, killing five of them. Later, John Adams defended the soldiers and actually won acquittals for almost all of them, but the event was seared in the colonial memory as the Boston Massacre and helped spur the revolution that would come a few years later.

The victims are buried in the nearby Granary Burying Ground. The Granary Burying Ground and the Kings Chapel Burying Ground, also nearby, are both said to be haunted by plenty of unknown groups, but it’s the site of the Massacre itself that I find creepiest. It’s a round circle of bricks in front of the Old State House, now surrounded on all sides by very busy streets. In the midst of all the cars whizzing past, you can hear the chaos of that winter night that caused the frightened soldiers to fire into the crowd, and you can stand on the spot where the first five casualties of the American Revolution lost their lives.

Boston Common

Boston Common is the huge public park in the middle of Boston. In the beginning of Boston’s life, it was used for grazing cows. And for hanging people who upset the populace. These days, it’s just a park, but it’s said to be haunted by ghosts, both of those who lost their lives there and those who just loved the place and hate to leave it. You never know which kind you’ll meet!

Salem

This might be cheating, because it’s technically outside Boston, but it’s not very far, and no discussion of creepy goings-on in Boston is complete without remember the Salem Witch Trials of the late seventeenth century, in which an entire town was seized with panic and ended up gruesomely killing some twenty people accused of nothing more than being witches. Salem is full of witch trial linked attractions, but there is an official Witch Trials Memorial, adjacent to an old burying ground, that can raise chills as you read the words the poor victims pleaded in their defense.

Bonus Outside Boston Trip!

Medfield State Hospital: Formerly an asylum, this now-vacant hospital campus is open to the public daily for them to wander, but not many of them ever go. On the day we went, we were alone among the empty buildings where so many unfortunate, unhappy patients lived. Spooky and sad. And, if you want to see it, you should go now, because apparently they have begun demolishing the buildings

Thank you Skylar for giving us such a haunting tour of Boston!  

To learn more about Skylar Dorset and her books, please visit her website.  You can add the Otherworld series here on Goodreads.

The Boy with the Hidden Name otherworld young adult paranormal novel by skylar dorset on Paranormal Road Trip Destination Boston


Have you visited Boston, Massachusetts?  Ever experience anything of the supernatural kind in and around Boston?

What did you think of Skylar's picks for spooky places?

Last week on Paranormal Road Trip we visited Dublin, Ireland with Ruth Frances Long.  Next week we'll be doing a six month Paranormal Road Trip recap. Has it really been six months?  Wow!  The following week we'll be traveling to Banff with Nancy Baker.

Join us for another spine-tingling Paranormal Road Trip...
if you dare!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Q+A with Rebecca Chastain + A Fistful of Evil Book Giveaway

Author Interview at From the Shadows: Q+A with Rebecca Chastain + A Fistful of Evil urban fantasy Book Giveaway

Please welcome today's guest author Rebecca Chastain!  Rebecca is the author of Magic of the Gargoyles and A Fistful of Evil.

Keep reading for a chance to win an ebook copy of A Fistful of Evil by Rebecca Chastain.

Q+A with Rebecca Chastain

EJ:  When did you begin writing?

Rebecca:
  I began writing as a preteen, though I’ve always made up stories. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized most people aren’t constantly making up little stories for themselves about the people or situations around them, or just about anything at all when they’re doing monotonous tasks. I love making up my own history for various people, which I later learned is the basis for creating characters. To this day, I still craft stories for people standing in line in front of me at the grocery store or the odd mailman, who comes on the sixth delivery day.

EJ:  What brought you to the paranormal genre?

Rebecca: 
Magic is the reason that I write. If I could actually do magic, I never would have become an author. I’d be a great sorceress somewhere, most likely riding an enormous horse or driving a chariot pulled by dolphins, depending on whether my powers were stronger on land or water. In the last two decades, I have never come up with a story idea that didn’t involve magic. I guess I came to the paranormal genre by default.

EJ:  If you could be any paranormal or have any one supernatural talent, what would it be? Why?

Rebecca:
  If I could be any paranormal, it would have to be some form of were-animal. I’m rather partial to were-panthers, but even better would be a were-eagle. I would love to be able to fly! For supernatural talent, I would want to be able to touch an object and see everywhere it’s been. Can you imagine how incredible I would be as an archaeologist? Or better yet, think of all the amazing events I would be able to see that took place in the past!

EJ:  Tell us why readers will enjoy your new release.

Rebecca:
  A Fistful of Evil is a lighthearted coming-into-power story of an everywoman trying to find her place in a secretive world to which she reluctantly belongs. The novel is a mixture of adventure and humor, with a fair share of evil and hot guys. While the novel is an urban fantasy, it doesn’t rely on the genre’s tropes; instead, there is a brand-new magic system, never-before-scene good and evil creatures, and nary a werewolf or vampire in sight. It’s also designed for pure entertainment, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. If you like a little humor with your urban fantasy, you’ll enjoy A Fistful of Evil.

EJ:  If your book(s) were being made into a movie, who would you cast for the leading roles? Why?

Rebecca: 
I am terrible with celebrities: I pretty much know only the big names, and most of those are too old to play the roles I’d want for them in my novel. However, if I could pick actors at any age, I think a young Sandra Bullock (around the time of The Net) would make a great Madison Fox. She’s has an incredible ability to balance action with comedy, especially physical comedy. For Niko, I’m rather partial to Taye Diggs. I’m open to suggestions for the rest of my characters, except for Mr. Bond: He would be played by my cat, of course.


A Fistful of Evil urban fantasy novel by Rebecca Chastain book giveaway at from the shadows

A Fistful of Evil (Madison Fox, Illuminant Enforcer #1) by Rebecca Chastain.

Madison Fox just learned that her ability to see souls is more than a sight: It’s a weapon for fighting evil. The only problem is she doesn’t have a clue what she’s doing.

On the positive side, her money problems are over, she’s possibly discovered her purpose in life, and her coworker is smoking hot. On the negative side, evil creatures now actively hunt her, and deadly experiences are becoming the norm.

When she thinks it couldn’t get worse, a powerful evil sets up shop at a local hotel’s video game convention, and it’s got its eye on more than the gaming geeks: it is hungry for Madison’s soul. Madison needs to become an expert illuminant enforcer overnight to save her job, her region . . . and her life.

Release Date: August 2014
Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Add to Goodreads.

Thank you Rebecca for joining us here today at From the Shadows!

To learn more about Rebecca Chastain and her books, please visit her website.

Did Rebecca's Q+A make you want to read A Fistful of Evil?

If so, you're in luck.  We have a special book giveaway for our readers.

A Fistfull of Evil Ebook Giveaway

We are giving away one ebook copy of A Fistful of Evil by Rebecca Chastain.

To enter, please leave a comment on this post, and include your email address so we may contact you if you win.  This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.  Giveaway ends January 31, 2015 midnight EST.

Good luck!