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I Belong

Spooky Legends: Amanda Bonilla

October 30th, 2011 Angela Posted in Spooky Legends 44 Comments »

Click to see the Spooky Legends Master List with links to all the previous posts and giveaways

Today’s Spooky Legends guest is Amanda Bonilla, debut author of the Shaede Assassin urban fantasy series from Penguin/Signet Books.  The series launches in December with SHAEDES OF GRAY, and continues with BLOOD BEFORE SUNRISE on July 3, 2012.  Our story features the Idaho’s Jack the Ripper urban legend.  Want to win your own copy of the book?  Comment below for a chance to win!

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Idaho always makes me twitchy. Not that I go there often. It’s not like Idaho’s a hotbed of criminal activity or anything. And since this assassin only takes out the lowest of the low, I don’t have much of a reason to visit. There’s too much space in Idaho. Not enough people. There’s not nearly enough hustle or bustle for my taste. It’s too hard to be obscure in a place like that. I try to stay close to Seattle. I feel safe in the crowds of people. No one pays attention to me there. I can stay relatively anonymous. Shadows lurk around every corner, what’s one more among the masses? In Idaho it would only take a heartbeat for someone to notice the faint, inhuman glow of my eyes or catch the dusting of shadow from the corner of their eyes as I leave my corporeal form behind. That’s the sort of attention I don’t need. But I’m not here to complain about my hang-ups. I’m here to tell you about one of Idaho’s most notorious murderers, and the historical state penitentiary he still haunts to this day.

Believe it or not, The Old Idaho Penitentiary is listed as one of the most haunted places in the United States. That’s saying a lot considering Idaho’s population and obscurity in relation to the other 49 states. Let’s face it: most people east of the Mississippi confuse Idaho with Ohio. Anyway, in 1956 this guy named Raymond Allen Snowdon murdered Cora Dean, a local mother of two kids. Now, if I’d been in Garden City when the SOB was caught, you can bet your ass he wouldn’t have gone to prison. One thing I can’t stand is an abuser, and even worse, a drunken abuser. I would have gladly run my dagger across his throat and avenged Cora without the help of the authorities. Apparently, after a night of drinking, Raymond got into a spat with Cora and he backhanded her. Cora retaliated, and kicked the bastard. Good girl. Raymond didn’t so much like being kicked in the middle of his slapfest and he snapped. He took a two-and-a-quarter-inch pocket knife, slashed the poor woman’s throat, and severed her spine. As if that wasn’t enough, Raymond stabbed Cora repeatedly. According to the coroner, around 30 times.

After the murder, the lowlife had the nerve to ditch the knife in a gutter in front of Hannigan’s Cigar Shop in Boise, and after that, he went in to the store’s bathroom to freshen up. Lovely. A real pillar of the community. Luckily, Ray’s porch light was a little dim. The local cops found the discarded knife in the gutter and connected Raymond to Cora’s murder. He was convicted and sent to the infamous 5 House at the Idaho State Penn, where only the most heinous of the state’s criminals were kept. The violent nature of Ray’s crime came as a shock to the peaceful community. In fact, the local papers dubbed Raymond as Idaho’s Jack the Ripper, due to the fact that he’d slit Cora’s throat. Ray must’ve liked the title. He bragged to the other inmates, and claimed to have committed two other grisly murders that he’d never been convicted of. In 1957, a year after Cora’s murder, Ray was taken to House 5’s gallows. I suppose there’s a certain poetic justice to Raymond Allen Snowdon’s death. When he dropped through the hatch, his neck didn’t break. His death was slow and painful: he dangled from the noose, struggling, as it took fifteen minutes for him to suffocate. I have to say, I hope Cora was watching from wherever her spirit had gone, and I hope Raymond’s death eased her soul.

The inmates rallied around Raymond’s death, stomping, chanting, beating on the sandstone walls, and shaking the bars of their cell doors as he died. News of the event made its way north to Seattle. The Russian mob boss I’d been working for at the time told the story to his cronies—myself included—after one too many shots of vodka. The guy’s mother was gypsy or something, and he was superstitious as hell. He claimed that Ray’s soul would become earthbound. He never bothered to explain why. Maybe it was because of his slow, tortuous death, or maybe it was the chanting of the inmates as he struggled for his last breath. Who knows, maybe Ray’s soul was too dark, even for hell to take. But something kept Raymond Allen Snowdon’s soul earth-bound.

Hannigan’s Cigar Shop still operates in Boise. The owners attest to hearing footsteps and strange noises in the bathroom late at night. The same bathroom where Ray washed Cora’s blood from his hands. Even though the penitentiary was shut down sometime after 1973 due to degenerating conditions and is now a registered historical site, paranormal investigators claim that the sounds of talking, screams for help, and loud, unexplained banging echoes throughout the prison. Some of these ghost hunters have even said that in the middle of the summer, it becomes so cold that you can almost see your breath and strange laughter bounces off the sandstone walls. Could it be Raymond? Perhaps he lives there still, reliving the brutal murder he committed as he laughs in the face of death.

A Shaede doesn’t fear ghosts. Really, what could an earthly bound spirit do to a preternatural creature like me? It’s pretty hard to harm a shadow. But if I were human: frail, mortal, and trapped within a corporeal form, I’d stay as far from Raymond Allen Snowdon’s spirit as possible. I’d hate for one of you to become his next victim.

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About Amanda:

Amanda Bonilla lives in rural Idaho with her husband and two kids. She’s a part-time pet wrangler, a full-time sun worshipper, and only goes out into the cold when coerced. She loves the outdoors, black clothes, pink appliances and thinks junk food should be a recognized food group. In the summer, she can be found sitting by the lake, enjoying the view from her dock.

You can visit Amanda around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Amanda Bonilla?

Shaedes of Gray

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This giveaway is provided by Amanda Bonilla

One winner will receive a ARC of Shaedes of Gray: A Shaede Assassin Novel 

by Amanda Bonilla

Available on December 6, 2011 from Penguin/Signet Books

About the Book:

In the shadows of the night, Darian has lived alone for almost a century. Made and abandoned by her former love, Darian is the last of her kind-an immortal Shaede who can slip into darkness as easily as breathing. With no one else to rely on, she has taught herself how to survive, using her unique skills to become a deadly assassin.

When Darian’s next mark turns out to be Xander Peck, King of the Shaede Nation, her whole worldview is thrown into question. Darian begins to wonder if she’s taken on more than her conscience will allow. But a good assassin never leaves a job unfinished…

Click HERE to read an excerpt

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Spooky Legends: Kendare Blake

October 29th, 2011 Angela Posted in Spooky Legends 45 Comments »

Click to see the Spooky Legends Master List with links to all the previous posts and giveaways

Today’s Spooky Legends story is from author Kendare Blake.  Kendare’s recent release is ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD (the first in a series), which is simply a phenomenal read.  The second installment in the series is GIRL OF NIGHTMARES, which hits shelves in 2012.  Kendare’s hero, Cassio Lowood, is a savvy ghost hunter and he has some pretty interesting supernatural stories to tell.  Part Supernatural (the show) and part Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD will definitely leave its mark.  Want to know more?  Be sure to read the excerpt below to get a taste of this bone-chilling story.  Our story today features The Midnight Man urban legend.  Thanks to Kendare, you have a chance to win your own copy of the book.  Comment below for a chance to win!

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An Open Letter from Cas Lowood, Professional Ghost Killer, to Those Interested in Testing The Midnight Man Urban Legend

Dear People With Deathwishes-

It has come to my attention that a few of you are looking to tempt fate this Halloween by trying to conjure a malevolent spirit known amongst the Slumber Party Circuit as The Midnight Man. You’re wondering if it’s real. You’re wondering if you have the guts to see. Maybe you’re even wondering if you’ve got what it takes to make it out alive.

You probably don’t. But, who am I to rain on your parade? It’s Halloween, right? So go ahead. Get crazy. And hey, I want to know too. At least a dozen individual tips about this guy have come across my desk this month. Personally? I think it sounds like bunk. Absolute BS. So before I sit in a dark house with my athame, doing the dance and singing the song and feeling like an idiot, why don’t you do it? Test it for me, if you will. And if you live, and tell me it’s real, I’ll believe you, and come and kill the thing. Scout’s honor.

You know what to do. But in case you’re fuzzy, here are the instructions:

You’re going to need a piece of paper, and a sterilized needle. Also, a candle. And I guess a bunch of salt.

It has to be midnight when you start this. Like, midnight on the nuts, or it won’t work. Write your name on a piece of paper and add a drop of blood. Then tape it to your front door, but only if it’s made of wood. So I guess you need a wooden door. Also, tape.

Light a candle. All of the other lights should be out.

Knock on the door 22 times. The 22nd knock should take place on the last chime of midnight, so what, the twelfth chime I guess.

Open the door, blow out your candle. You’ve just summoned The Midnight Man. Now re-light your candle and try not to poop your pants.

Apparently now you just have to survive until 3:33 am, so, no trouble at all. If your candle goes out, it means he’s close. Then you’ve got to re-light your candle and sprinkle a circle of salt around you. I’ve never heard of this working, but my witchy friend Thomas says that it might. Good luck. Either way, you’re now sitting in the middle of a salt circle until 3:33am. Bring a book. If you don’t die, The Midnight Man will give up at 3:33.

Uh, stay clear of cold spots and run away from low whispers. Don’t try to leave the house, and don’t try to go to sleep. Otherwise, have a blast. If you see something corporeal, give me a call. Otherwise, stop it with this stuff. I’ve got murderers to deal with.

Disclaimer: my friend Carmel is insisting that I tell you to not really do this. To which I say, chill out Carmel, it’s not real. But okay, fine. Hey death-seekers. Don’t really do this. Leave it to the pros.

Yours truly,

Cas Lowood

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About Kendare:

Kendare Blake is an import from South Korea who was raised in the United States by caucasian parents. You know, that old chestnut. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Ithaca College and a Master’s degree in Writing from Middlesex University in London. She brakes for animals, the largest of which was a deer, which sadly didn’t make it, and the smallest of which was a mouse, which did, but it took forever. Amongst her likes are Greek Mythology, rare red meat and veganism. She also enjoys girls who can think with the boys like Ayn Rand, and boys who scare the morality into people, like Bret Easton Ellis.

You can visit Kendare around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Kendare Blake?

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna Dr...Sleepwalk Society

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This giveaway is provided by Kendare Blake

One winner will receive a copy of Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

Available on August 30, 2011 from Tor Teen

About the Book:

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas’s life.

Click HERE to read an excerpt

Order from

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Spooky Legends: Nancy Gideon

October 28th, 2011 Angela Posted in Spooky Legends 31 Comments »

Click to see the Spooky Legends Master List with links to all the previous posts and giveaways

Today’s Spooky Legends guest is Nancy Gideon, author of the Moonlight paranormal romance series from Simon Schuster/Pocket Books.  The series continues with the fifth installment, HUNTER OF SHADOWS, followed by SEEKER OF SHADOWS on June 28, 2012.  Our story features the Reflection urban legend.  Want to win your own copy of the latest book?  For an additional, non-caloric treat to celebrate Halloween, Nancy is offering two commenters chosen at random an advance copy of HUNTER OF SHADOWS! Comment below for a chance to win!

Nancy wants to know:

What is your favorite Urban Legend  (Mine is “Large Marge” from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure!) or your favorite scary movie that never fails to make you jump . . . even when you know it’s coming?

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The Spooky Legend “Reflection” set in my By Moonlight world

By Nancy Gideon

It was late, but Tina Babineau was reluctant to wake her sleeping son and send him upstairs to bed.  They’d been watching the original version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers together, and somewhere in the middle of the movie, the eleven-year-old had drifted off, clearly not as riveted to the tense chiller as she was.  Perhaps because its scare factor paled in comparison to the nightmare they’d been living for the past months here in the rambling former mobster’s fortress. The thought of pod people didn’t seem quite so shocking after discovering their own ability to transform into something far more unnatural.

They were the monsters now.

She turned the sound down to a whisper, pulled the snuggly blanket about the both of them, and switched off the light, letting the glow of the screen flicker over the deep shadows of the room.

It was nice sharing moments like these with Oscar in the small back parlor where overstuffed furniture created a cozy illusion of home.  But it wasn’t their home, and when she took her son up to tuck him into his bed, all she had to look forward to was the emptiness of her own.

She took another sip of wine and let the loneliness of the night howl through her.

What had happened to the wonderfully normal future she’d begun to build with the man she loved?  Oh, yeah, he’d found out his wife and step-son weren’t human. Alain Babineau, New Orleans detective, decent man, adoring husband, a man so proud and protective of his close-knit little family, had hardly been able to look at them since.

The move to the old mansion on River Road had been made to keep them safe.  That’s what she’d told her son, anyway.  But in her bruised and aching heart, she knew different. The door to their happy home, to their treasured life, had been closed to them, shutting them out, and her greatest fear was that it would never open again.

The big house was dark, the only other stirrings of activity far removed from their secluded spot.  Its halls were steeped in disquieting silence and draped with brutal deeds past. She would never feel comfortable within them, but where else could they go? How else could she provide a sense of comfort and security for her child when all they once knew had been torn away by startling revelation and violence? Max Savoie, the mysterious half-brother Oscar never knew he had, had called them family and gathered them close in this new world of danger and intrigue, against threats both real and potential to her boy.  But where was Max now that they depended upon him?

Where was the husband who’d made her so many beautiful promises?

A sudden flash lit up the grounds outside, followed by an ominous growl of thunder.  The air grew instantly heavy.

Anticipating the loss of power that often came with the fierce Gulf storms, Tina reached for her son’s shoulder to shake him awake when a glimpse of movement from the veranda caught her eye.  She paused, staring through the window. Was someone out there in the darkness?

She almost dismissed it, thinking she must have seen one of Max’s many guards on their regular patrol.  The knowledge of their somber, well-armed presence, their weapons now loaded with special silver-coated rounds, was reassuring in Max’s absence. But hadn’t she seen one of those hulking sentinels pass by only minutes ago?

A shiver ran through her.

Cautiously, she sank down low so her head couldn’t be seen above the top of the couch, peering over its arm into the blackness beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Another jolt of lightning, this time closer.  There, almost out of sight behind the gathered curtains, stood a figure on the other side of the glass.  A figure in sleek, unrelieved black, definitely not one of the well-dressed hired men.

She caught back her cry of alarm and turned off the television.  Could he see them here inside the darkened room?  Had he been out there, for how long, watching them?

Tina thought of the nerve center of the estate’s security on the far side of the massive building.  Would anyone hear her cry for help?

Then she felt it, that prickle of sensation she’d recently learned was called a Glimmer. Their instinctive awareness of one of their own kind.

She touched Oscar’s arm, her urgent voice soft.  “Baby, wake up.  Don’t move. I think we’re in trouble.”

Dark eyes flashed open, glinting as she felt him tense, sensing the other presence. “How many?” he whispered, alert to the danger of their position.

“At least one, right outside.”

A low sound of menace rumbled up through the boy’s slight body.  She quieted him with the press of her hand over his.

“No.  Stay still.  Maybe he doesn’t know we’re here.”

Oscar didn’t argue that that was unlikely.  If they sensed him, the intruder would certainly be aware of them.  How had he gotten over the high walls, onto the well-guarded grounds through the thick net of surveillance cameras? How could he have gotten so close, right up to their very door, without drawing any attention?

Unless he was one of them.  One of the assassins from the North.  Here for Oscar.

After a quick cut of fright tore through her, Tina bristled at the thought of her child in danger. No way would she let them take Oscar away from her again.  But the two of them were vulnerable and alone, she unskilled, Ozzy just a boy.

Quickly, while there was still time, she reached for her cell phone, carefully retrieving it from the table next to the couch.  Tucking it under the blanket so the illuminated face wouldn’t betray them, she made the call, refusing to believe he wouldn’t answer when he saw her name.

“Babineau.”  Such a curt, impersonal response.  Tina was too afraid to let it wound her.

“Is Silas with you?  It’s an emergency.”

His pause relayed his own hurt that she would request aid from his new partner instead of her own husband, but he passed the phone without a word.

“MacCreedy.”

Tina pressed close to the phone to whisper, “Silas, someone’s outside.”

His voice lowered with an intense gravity.  “Where are you?  Are you alone?”

“Ozzy and I are in the back TV room.”

“Stay put. I’ll have the house security there in seconds. We’re on our way.” The connection severed abruptly.

Help was coming.  Alain was coming.  She closed her eyes, her arm tightening about the taut figure beside her, listening, waiting, scarcely breathing.

The silence was broken by the sound of footsteps rapidly approaching. Light flooded in from the hall, and they were quickly surrounded.  Figures raced past the windows outside on the porch, chasing possible threat away, yet Tina couldn’t stop trembling.  Until her husband appeared in the doorway.

He crossed to where the two of them huddled on the couch.  Worry, no, fright, tightened his handsome features as he crouched down before them.  His words shook slightly.

“Are you both all right?”

Tina managed a small smile and a nod, her heart knocking with something other than fear as he briefly touched his fingertips to her cheek.  Such a warm, comforting gesture too quickly withdrawn.

The detective was pulled away as the men searching the grounds returned, shaking their heads, reporting that there was no sign of any intruder; no damp footprints on the porch boards, no disturbance to the yielding lawn.  It was then Tina saw doubt flicker in her husband’s eyes. Did he wonder if she’d made it up just to gain his cruelly withheld attention?

Her tone was sharp.  “Someone was out there.  I saw him there, right outside the window. Both Ozzy and I . . . felt him.”

Alain tensed at her mention of their preternatural abilities.  His expression hardened as he turned away from them, moving stiffly around the side of the couch, his back to them when suddenly, he drew a harsh breath of surprise.

Tina twisted to look up at him in alarm.  “What is it?”

His face had gone pale as he looked to the windows then back at the floor behind where they were seated. “There wasn’t someone on the porch,” he said quietly.

“But I saw him out there,” Tina argued, confused by his strange expression.

“No.  You didn’t.  He wasn’t outside the window.”

She came up onto her knees, Oscar following suit so they could look over the back of the couch to see what Alain was staring at on the floor with such fixed horror.  At wet footprints on the carpet directly behind where they’d been sitting.

“He wasn’t out there,” Alain concluded.  “You saw his reflection in the glass.”

He’d been in the room.

Right behind them.

I hope you enjoyed my retelling of the classic Reflection urban legend, and that you’ll join me in welcoming NOPD detective Silas MacCreedy into my By Moonlight world as the hero of HUNTER OF SHADOWS, available on 11-29-11 through Pocket Books.

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About Nancy:

With over 50 sales to her credit since her first publication in 1987, Portage, Michigan author Nancy Gideon’s writing career is as versatile as the romance market, itself. Her books encompass genres from historicals and regencies to contemporary suspense and the paranormal. Her works have been published overseas in Romanian, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Danish, German, Icelandic and Chinese, among other languages.

Also listed on the International Movie Database (IMDB), she collaborated on the indie horror films In the Woods and Savage with screenwriting and ADR script credits, and even played the character “Bar Extra.”

A national speaker on writing in general and romance in particular, Gideon is a Western Michigan University honors grad with a major in journalism and minors in history and communications. She’s a member of Novelist, Inc. and the Mid-Michigan, Greater Detroit, PASIC and FF&P chapters of Romance Writers of America®, and is former vice-president, published author co-liaison and award-winning newsletter editor for MMRWA.

The mother of two grown sons, one married and proud producer of her grandson and the other shanghaied into being her assistant, she also works full time for the law firm, Redmond, Redmond & Yokom.

A prolific writer, Gideon attributes her creative output, which once peaked at seven novels in one year, to her love of history and a gift for storytelling. She also credits the discipline learned through a background in journalism and scheduling writing time around diaper changes, Scout meetings, band lessons and outings to the Zoo Boo…and, of course, OCD. The due date for her third book and her second son were on the same day…and both were early! When on deadline, she turns on the laptop between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m. to get a chapter in before work.

While the pace is often hectic, Gideon, a Gemini, enjoys tackling diverse projects. One month it’s researching the gritty existence of 1880’s Texas Rangers only to jump to modern themes of intrigue and possibly a legal thriller or two. Then, it’s back to the shadowy netheworld of shape shifters, vampires and movie serial killers. When not working on her latest plot twist before sunrise or arranging medical depositions, she enjoys indulging in Netflix, hosting her critique group, and feeding a variety of wildlife on her fourth-floor balcony including a yearly family of raccoons. And, of course, reading.

You can visit Nancy around the web here: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Nancy Gideon?

Masked by Moonlight Chased by Moonlight Captured by Moonlight Bound by Moonlight Hunter of Shadows

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Discover more about my “By Moonlight” world here or here, and to further celebrate the thrills and chills of this Trick-or-Treat season, stop over and visit my Haunted Open House.  The doors will be open from Monday October 24th to Friday October 28th for spooktacular fun, games, goodies and giveaways with extra special guest ghouls and guys popping in, a costume contest fit for a demon diva, and free book download you can really sink your teeth into!

This giveaway is provided by Nancy Gideon

Two winners will each receive a copy of Hunter of Shadows (Moonlight) by Nancy Gideon

Available on November 29, 2011 from Simon and Schuster/Pocket Books

About the Book:

The secrets he knows about her could get him killed.

Transferring to the New Orleans Police Department, Detective Silas MacCreedy has a hidden agenda: to secure his clan’s place once again in the Shifter hierarchy. What he didn’t count on was stumbling upon a sexy assassin who could shred his best intentions and lead him into a dangerous dance that threatens to engage his heart.

But the ones he doesn’t know . . .

Monica Fraser knows just how to make a man beg—for his life. But she has no clue how to fight her attraction to the fiercely intense detective who seems determined to get in her way, both professionally and intimately.

. . . could kill them both.

When emotional attachments to the past and an unexpected glimpse of a different future have her questioning her deadly purpose, Nica must discover the truth about her secret abilities in order to free herself from the forces that control her. But that freedom comes with a price—trusting those she’s been ordered to eliminate.

Click HERE to read an excerpt

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Spooky Legends: Leanna Renee Hieber

October 27th, 2011 Angela Posted in Spooky Legends 35 Comments »

Click to see the Spooky Legends Master List with links to all the previous posts and giveaways

Today’s Spooky Legends guest is Leanna Renee Hieber, author of the upcoming Magic Most Foul gothic romance series from Sourcebooks Fire.  The story begins on November 8, 2011 with DARKER STILL.  You have a signed pre-order opportunity for DARKER STILL: A Novel of Magic Most Foul via WORD Brooklyn.  All you need to do is leave any requests in the Comment Field of your order.  It’s a great way to make pre-ordering a book personal! Just click on this link.  Our story is written in the voice of the heroine from DARKER STILL, and features the alligator in the city sewer system urban legend. Want to win your own copy of the book? Check out the giveaway details below.

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In Which Miss Natalie Stewart of New York City (In the Year of Our Lord 1880) addresses a common misconception about subterranean Manhattan creatures:

Hello. My name is Natalie Stewart. I am seventeen years old. I suffer from Selective Mutism due to a childhood trauma and while I’ve been called an “unfortunate”- the world in 1880 New York City has its beauty and its limitations – and I’m sure my options in life may be limited, I choose to believe in things I cannot explain and am currently rather taken with something entirely supernatural. There’s a young man- a handsome, striking, utterly beautiful young British Lord trapped in a painting. And somehow I am involved in his escape. Demons, curses, rituals and nightmares, these are the things of magic most foul. Into these dangerous webs Lord Denbury and I have been drawn. So you can imagine the sorts of encounters I have had on the bustling, darkening gaslit streets of Manhattan… I have seen harrowing nightmares walk among the living.

However I have NOT, contrary to some rumors, seen alligators in the sewer systems. Rats? Well, yes. It is a major metropolis, I suppose rats are inevitable. But alligators? Come now. Be serious. But do wish me luck with the dark magic and the curses.

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About Leanna Renee:

An author, actress and playwright, Leanna grew up in rural Ohio, graduated with a BFA in Theatre, focus in the Victorian Era and a scholarship to study in London. She’s adapted 19th Century literature for the stage and her one-act plays have been produced around the country. Her novella “Dark Nest” won the 2009 Prism Award for excellence in Futuristic, Fantasy, or Paranormal Romance. The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, first in the “Strangely Beautiful” saga of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels (Barnes & Noble Bestseller), named a favourite of 2009 by 14 book blogs, won 2010 Prism Awards for Best Fantasy Romance, Best First Book and is optioned for musical theatre adaptation currently in development. Her new Historical Paranormal YA series begins with DARKER STILL: A Novel of Magic Most Foul, set in 1880 New York City (11/11 Sourcebooks Fire).

Leanna is a proud member of member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and the International Thriller Writers. She is a proud co-founder of Lady Jane’s Salon Reading Series in New York City.

A member of Actors Equity Association (AEA), the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), Leanna works often in television and film. When not writing or on set, she loves a good Goth club, singing soprano in choir and adventuring about her adopted hometown of New York City, where she resides with her real-life hero and their beloved rescued lab rabbit Persebunny.

You can visit Leanna Renee around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Leanna Renee Hieber?

The Strangely Beautiful Tale o... The Darkly Luminous Fight for... The Perilous Prophecy of Guard...Darker Still

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This giveaway is provided by Sourcebooks Fire

One winner will receive a copy of Darker Still: A Novel of Magic Most Foul by Leanna Renee Hieber

Available on November 8, 2011 from Sourcebooks Fire

About the Book:

The shadows deepen on the gas lit streets of New York City in the year 1880; the year Natalie Stewart first glimpses the cursed portrait of mesmerizingly handsome Lord Denbury. Something mystical – and frightening – is happening to the painting.  Details in the portrait keep changing, and the eyes of the young British lord seem to be imploring her to do something.  Natalie is at a loss and even more disturbed when a doppelgänger of the supposedly dead Lord Denbury walks into the viewing rooms and threatens her.

Drawn into the painting by an unknown power, Natalie discovers that Lord Denbury’s soul has been trapped in the portrait and a creature – or demon – is inhabiting his body and committing unspeakable crimes in The Five Points neighborhood.  More horribly still, every murder, every action the monster takes seem to be part of greater plan.  It’s a race to find a way to free the trapped lord, even while her heart is already hopelessly captured.

Menaced by demons and curses, Natalie must also struggle against her own mute voice.  Unable to speak since the death of her mother, she must discover the courage and fortitude within herself to find her voice, because in order to free Lord Denbury, Natalie must speak.

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Spooky Legends: Brenna Yovanoff

October 26th, 2011 Angela Posted in Spooky Legends 46 Comments »

Click to see the Spooky Legends Master List with links to all the previous posts and giveaways

Today’s Spooky Legends guest is Brenna Yovanoff, author of THE REPLACEMENT (already available) and THE SPACE BETWEEN (available November 15, 2011 ) from Penguin/Razorbill.  Our story features the La Llorona urban legend.  Want to win your own copy of Brenna’s latest book? Check out the giveaway details below.

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The story of La Llorona is a sad one.

I never heard it from my mother, and not from any of her boyfriends or attendants or her friends. And I certainly never heard it from my sisters, who would only find the situation funny.

They say that once, in the heart of Mexico, a woman was in love with a rich, handsome man, and because she loved him, she was willing to do whatever it took to be with him. My mother says that love is for the weak. For cowards and fools.

The woman was a widow, with two young children from her short-lived marriage, and her lover said he could never marry her because of this.  He didn’t want to tie himself to a woman with children that weren’t his own, and because of this, the woman knew she had to get rid of them.  She drowned them in the river so that she could be with the man she loved.

When he learned what she’d done though, he refused her.  When he said he couldn’t be with her if she had children, he meant he couldn’t be with her at all.

In her grief and desperation, the woman flung herself somewhere.  Into a chasm or off a bridge, maybe. She drowned herself in memory of her dead children and ever-after, she wanders the countryside looking for them, calling out and weeping uncontrollably.  She steals the children of farmers and villagers, drowning them once she discovers they’re not her own.

This is the story of La Llorona, and it is a false one.

There are no curses, no such thing as ghosts. The tale of La Llorona is really just a shadow of the truth, the tale of my aunt Lamia, who once loved a god with a powerful wife.

Here is the real story.

The god’s wife was jealous and vengeful, and in an elegant stroke of cruelty, she forced Lamia to eat her own children as punishment for her trespasses. My cousins, gone in an instant, lost at the hands of this jealous wife.  Woman are often the deadlier of the species.

Now, Lamia creeps across the whole world, eating up all the bad children, the disobedient ones, as compensation for what she lost, but it never fills her, never satisfies her.  This is the truth.

She does not weep.

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About Brenna:

I’m good at soccer, violent video games, and making very flaky pie pastry.

I’m bad at dancing, making decisions, and inspiring confidence as an authority figure. I suspect this is because I am short, and also terrible at sounding as though I have any idea what I’m talking about.

I was homeschooled until I was fifteen, which has probably affected my world view in ways I can’t fathom.

Also, I really, really like parentheses. (Really.)

You can visit Brenna around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Brenna Yovanoff?

The ReplacementThe Space BetweenAn Infinite Thread - A Merry S...

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This giveaway is provided by Brenna Yovanoff and Dark Faerie Tales

Two winners will each receive a copy of The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff

Available on November 15, 2011 from Penguin/Razorbill

About the Book:

Everything is made of steel, even the flowers. How can you love anything in a place like this?

Daphne is the half-demon, half-fallen angel daughter of Lucifer and Lilith. Life for her is an endless expanse of time, until her brother Obie is kidnapped – and Daphne realizes she may be partially responsible. Determined to find him, Daphne travels from her home in Pandemonium to the vast streets of Earth, where everything is colder and more terrifying. With the help of the human boy she believes was the last person to see her brother alive, Daphne glimpses into his dreams, discovering clues to Obie’s whereabouts. As she delves deeper into her demonic powers, she must navigate the jealousies and alliances of the violent archangels who stand in her way. But she also discovers, unexpectedly, what it means to love and be human in a world where human is the hardest thing to be.

This second novel by rising star Brenna Yovanoff is a story of identity, discovery, and a troubled love between two people struggling to find their place both in our world and theirs.

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