Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Day of 99 Cent Book Sale!

Today, December 31, 2011, is the last day to snag your copy of Judith Graves' e-book, Under My Skin, for only $.99.

If you're a paranormal lover, this is one sale you won't want to miss.

All her parents wanted was for Eryn to live a normal life...

Redgrave had its share of monsters before Eryn moved to town. Mauled pets, missing children. The Delacroix family is taking the blame, but Eryn knows the truth. Something stalks the night. Wade, the police chief's son and Redgrave High's resident hottie, warns her the Delacroix are dangerous. But then so is Eryn--in fact, she's lethal.

But she can't help falling for one of the Delacroix boys, dark, brooding--human Alec. And then her world falls apart.

A normal life? Now that's the real fairytale.  


"Under My Skin is a roller-coaster romp through a supernatural world filled with scary beasties, otherworldly magic, and characters you'll root for...a compelling story full of mystery, magic, action and romance. A fun and engaging read."
~Rosemary Clement-Moore, author of Prom Dates from Hell

"Eryn emerges as a strong, independent, feisty young woman whose sense of responsibility for her "pack" .... fans of paranormal YA fiction will appreciate a protagonist with attitude and anticipate the next volume in the planned trilogy, Second Skin, to be released in 2011."

~ CM Magazine

"I love stories that are filled with paranormal beasties, great characters (especially kick-butt heroines), resident hotties, and humor! I couldn't decide whether I was Team Alec or Team Wade even up to the end."
~ Aly from The Young Adult Literature Review

Saturday, December 24, 2011

One More Finnish Treat

For lovers of all things Finnish and paranormal, here's a sneak peek at an excerpt from the anthology Spirited. This story, "The Cold One," is by bestselling, award-winning author Candace Havens.

"Bone-chilling cold and secrets.
Those are the two things I'll take with me when I leave Finland.
If I leave..."

"Havahduttaa jalkeilla apulainen." The words are so loud I jump out of bed and hit my head on the slanted roof. Groaning, I rub the top of my head.
Grandmother stands at the end of the bed pointing at me. "Havahduttaa jalkeilla apulainen." She says it again.
"I am up," I grumble. I can see my breath the room is so cold.
"Wait." I sit back on the bed. "I understood you. You said, 'Wake up, girl.'"
"He's coming. Save me." Poof. She's gone. I mean, like I blink, and she's no longer there.
"Who's coming?" I whisper. I glance at the clock on the wall. Two in the morning. But I'm wired. No way I'll be able to go back to bed any time soon.
I pull on one of the big sweaters mom bought me for the trip and go downstairs. It's even chillier in the living room without the fire. The crazy thing about houses in Finland is that everything is white—the walls, the counters, the floors, and even the cabinets. The house reminds me of a hospital. In the kitchen I fill a glass of water from the tap and chug it down.
Thump. The sound against the basement door sends my glass clattering into the sink.
My breath catches as the door opens. Screaming and moving seem like great options, but my body freezes. My reflexes take a hike.
Maybe this is one of my crazy dreams. And…
"Good, you're awake." A guy's blond head pops out of the darkness. He steps into the kitchen, and I can see he's probably only a year or two older than me. "I can use your help. We're almost out of time."
"Who-uh-who are you?" My voice sounds strangled. He's more solid than the ghosts, so I assume he is real. Though, around here anything can happen. But how did he get in?
"Riku. I'm helping your grandmother. She won't leave me alone. Come on." He waves me toward the basement stairs and then disappears.
Bad things happen in basements. In every horror movie I've ever seen, people die when they go to the basement. Sometimes it's the devil. Other times it's zombies or evil spiders. But they always die. There's a strange guy I don't know in grandma's house, and the smartest thing I can do is tell my mother. Or call the police.
Do they have 911 in Finland?

Then something he says clicks in my brain.
Before I realize it, I'm halfway down the stairs. 
"My grandmother is dead," I say...

To read more of this story or others by authors such as Maria V. Snyder, Shannon Delany, Linda Joy Singleton, Jill Williamson, and other exciting YA authors, click here for the ebook or preorder your print copy from the Leap Books store.

And watch for other exciting news to celebrate Leap Books 3rd anniversary on January 1. Throughout the month we'll have books on sale for $.99. One pre-celebration treat is Judith Graves Under My Skin, available now for only $.99.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Finnish Christmas Eve Recipe #3

Patrice Lyle, author
Here's the third recipe that our spies dug up from author Patrice Lyle's secret collection of tasty Finnish recipes for Christmas Eve. And although this is the last of the recipes, if you stop back on Christmas eve, we'll have one more special Finnish treat.

Here's the third secret recipe:

Rutabaga Casserole (Lanttu Laatikko)


3 fresh rutabagas
4 eggs, beaten
1 TBSP butter
sea salt

Peel the 3 rutabagas and cut into chunks. Boil in salted water for about 45 minutes or until soft. Drain and then mash. Add the butter, and then salt and pepper to taste. Beat eggs well in a separate bowl and add to rutabagas. Mix well and pour into greased oven dish. Sprinkle with nutmeg and bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes. This casserole is really like a soufflĂ© and could be made more like a soufflĂ© using only the egg whites and adding a bit of milk (or Thai Kitchen Lite Coconut Milk for those who don’t do dairy like me J). It can also be mixed ahead of time, refrigerated and then baked on Christmas Eve. This is one of my favorites!

And be sure to watch for Lethally Blonde starring Morgan Skully, the blonde demon who spies for the devil. It releases February 14, but you can preorder a copy at the Leap Books store.

And don't forget to stop back for your special Christmas eve treat...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Finnish Christmas Soup for Good Luck

Patrice Lyle, author
Here's the second recipe that our skullduggery snagged from author Patrice Lyle's secret collection of luscious Finnish recipes for Christmas Eve. As we promised, we're going to post one every other day leading up to Christmas Eve.

So stop back for some more wonderful Christmas treats.

Here's the second secret recipe:

Fruit Soup over Creamed Rice w/ the “Good Luck Almond”

Ingredients for the fruit soup (note: fruit soup is delish served over ham):

1 lb mixed dried fruits
2 ½ quarts water
1 cinnamon stick (note: can sub powdered cinnamon if you don’t have a stick)
1 cup sugar
1 TBSP cornstarch
2 TBSP cold water

Simmer dried fruits in water with sugar and cinnamon stick until tender (about one hour). Dissolve cornstarch in the cold water. Bring soup to boil and stir in cornstarch mixture. Cook covered on low to medium heat until soup has thickened and is clear. Cool with cover on to prevent skin from forming on top. This is an easy recipe to make on Christmas Eve day and just keep warm on the stove. The rice (below) can be made the day before and refrigerated.

Ingredients for the creamed rice:

1 cup uncooked white rice
6 cups of milk (or nondairy substitute of Thai Kitchen Lite Coconut Milk)
½ tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 cup cream, whipped (or nondairy substitute Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk, not the Lite)
Cinnamon sugar mixture
1 almond to put in the bowl (very important b/c tradition has it that whoever gets the almond will have good luck in the upcoming year … but no digging through the bowl to find it allowed!)

Combine rice, milk, salt and sugar in top of a double boiler. Cook over boiling water for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until rice is creamy and milk is absorbed. Cool for about 30 minutes and fold in whipping cream. Then add the ‘good luck almond” and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

This recipe makes a lot! And people love the Good Luck Almond part!

And be sure to watch for Lethally Blonde starring Morgan Skully, the blonde demon who spies for the devil. It releases February 14, but you can preorder a copy at the Leap Books store.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Finnish Christmas Recipes

Patrice Lyle, author

Those of you who read author Patrice Lyle's blog on Julia Karr's Live Journal blog know she mentioned some delicious-sounding Finnish recipes for Christmas Eve. Luckily, for you we have undercover agents to rival Morgan Skully, the heroine of Lethally Blonde, who spies for the devil. We managed to get our hands on 3 (yep, 3 yummy recipes) and we're going to post one every other day leading up to Christmas Eve. So pop back for some more wonderful Christmas treats.

Here's the first secret recipe:

Finska Pinnars (my favorite cookie EVER!!)


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 tsp almond extract
1 and 2/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
½ cup finely chopped blanched almonds
3 TBSP sugar
1 egg yolk
1 TBSP water
2 squares semisweet chocolate
2 teaspoons vegetable shortening
Royal Icing
Milk (or nondairy Original Rice Milk)

Beat the butter with ½ cup sugar and almond extract in a large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in flour until soft dough forms. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Combine chopped almonds and 3 TBSPs sugar on wax paper. Beat egg yolk and water in a bowl until blended. Set both aside.

Remove dough from refrigerator. Take about 2 level teaspoons of dough for each cookie and roll (with floured hands on a floured surface) into 3-inch length “finger shaped” pieces.

Brush each cookie with egg & water mixture, then coat each cookie with chopped almonds & sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees fro about 12 minutes or until golden. Note: cookies will flatten into ovals during baking. Cool on wire racks.

To decorate: melt chocolate with shortening; cool slightly and drizzle over cookies. Thin a small amount of Royal Icing (recipe follows) with milk (or nondairy Original Rice Milk) and drizzle over chocolate. Let set until chocolate and icing hardens. Makes about 3 dozen.

Royal Icing


1 egg white
dash of salt
¼ tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup (or so) of confectioners sugar

Mix all ingredients together and drizzle over Finska Pinnars. Cover any unused portion in a bowl for later use.

And be sure to watch for Lethally Blonde, which releases February 14, but you can preorder a copy at the Leap Books store.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Talk to Mystery Writer Bonnie Doerr Live

Bonnie Doerr, award-winning author of the eco-mystery series that includes Island Sting and Stakeout, will be hosted by Barry Eva on his program, "A Book and a Chat." You can log on to listen or phone in to ask questions or participate.

We'd love to have you join us:

 “A Book and a Chat with Bonnie Doerr”
Saturday December 17, 2011
11:00am EST

http://www.blogtalk Across-the- Pond
Number to join in is: 347- 237-5398

Sunday, December 11, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

Author Patrice Lyle and the other authors in the Class of 2k12 are offering special gifts this holiday season, beginning with the kickoff of Patrice's book, Lethally Blonde. Win an ARC and other cool prizes by leaving a comment at Julia Karr's Live Journal blog. And read about the delicious Finnish recipes, that Patrice loves for Christmas.

As for her heroine, blonde demon chick, Morgan Skully, how does she celebrate the upcoming holidays? Obviously, Christmas isn't in her plans...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

$.99 Books During December

Looking for a spooky read for December?

Check out Under My Skin, Book 1 in the Skinned series by Judith Graves.

From now until January 1, 2012, you can snag the ebook for only $.99!

To order, click here or here.

If you love Under My Skin as much as we think you will, watch for the release of Second Skin, Book 2 in February 2012...

You can reserve your copy, by clicking here and adding it to your shopping cart.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Teen Interview: Patrice Lyle

Anna Sattler

Our teen interviewer caught up with Patrice Lyle, the author of the upcoming Lethally Blonde.

What inspired Lethally Blonde?

I was trying to figure out what to write next and then I started thinking about what books and movies I really loved. Sweet Valley High instantly popped to mind – I loved that series when I was in high school! Then I thought about how much I loved Elle Woods in the movie Legally Blonde… and then I thought what if Elle Woods was a teen demon in high school? And it went from there. I originally titled the book Demon Valley High, but soon realized that Morgan’s story was supposed to be called Lethally Blonde.

How long has it taken you to write this story?

It took me about six months to plot and write Lethally Blonde. Then I had revisions to do for Leap Books before they agreed to publish it.

Have you become particularly attached to any characters?

Oh, yes. Morgan Skully (the main character) for sure! She is so fun to write with her obsessions with shopping, pink, and hottie Derek.

Did you ever get stuck in your plot line? If so, how did you move on?

No, but only because I wrote the first three chapters and then I outlined the rest of the book. That works best for me because I’m really a pantster at heart, but I’ve written myself into too many corners that way. So writing the first three chapters pantster-style gives me time to get to know the character and see what the central conflict is. Then I plot out the rest of the book, chapter by chapter, and write the rest of it. Sometimes things change plot-wise as I actually write the rest of the book, but I usually stick pretty close to the plot as I originally envisioned it.

Did your story change considerably during editing?

Not a lot changed plot-wise, but I added a lot of meaning and motivation during the editing phase.

When you began writing did you anticipate how the story would end or did it just evolve? 

I had no idea when I wrote the first three chapters, but once I outlined the entire book I definitely knew how it would end. And Lethally Blonde ended like I originally envisioned it in the plot outline.

How would you advise young adults who want to become published authors?

Read as much as you can and write every day! Even if you only write for a half hour a day, it’s critical to write daily to keep you in the writing zone. It can be so hard to get back into the zone once you leave so my advice is … never leave! Stay in the zone every day. After that, join a writer’s group (like SCBWI - the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), take classes (I have a Masters from Seton Hill University in Writing Popular Fiction – an excellent program!) and then submit, submit, submit! And lastly, don’t ever give up on your dream.

Thanks, Anna and Patrice!

Patrice is also an author of one of the craft articles in the award-winning writing book, Many Genres, One Craft

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Top Choice Award: Stakeout

Author Bonnie J. Doerr's eco-mystery about sea turtles has received a Top Choice Award from Flamingnet.

Comments by the teen reviewer:

"This book is the perfect mystery. Full of suspense, action, and drama, Stake Out is one of the best mysteries I have ever read."

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Spooky Story in News

The Bonneville Nouvelle recently published an article titled, "Graves' spooky story to be published in Spirited anthology," by Melissa Barr.

Photo by Melissa Barr

The story highlights Judith Graves' latest releases: "Strangeways vs. the Wraith" in the Spirited anthology and the second book in the Skinned trilogy, Second Skin.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Teen Interview: Jacqueline Horsfall

Our teen interviewer, Anna, poses a series of questions for author, Jacqueline Horsfall.

What was your inspiration For The Love of Strangers?

FLOS originally came about as a gut punch, one that wouldn’t let up. A relative told me about her single, professional, middle-aged friend who traveled to Russia to adopt a baby, but came back with a baby and an older sibling (who had adjustment problems). I couldn’t get the story out of my head, and blabbed it to everyone I knew. When an idea is that strong, it practically writes itself. I had spent time in Russia years before, so I drew on my visit for the backstory setting.

· How did you develop your characters?

Each human character is a little part of me. The animal characters are based on my observations and interactions with local wildlife. But all the characters, human and animal, are grounded in goddess mythology, specifically from the ancient Russian deer cults.

· Did you have to change the length of your story considerably during editing?

The length doubled! I’m basically a short story writer, so I always practice writing “tight.” Crafting a YA novel at 50,000 – 60,000 words gave me the freedom to expand scenes, develop characters, and add backstory – story elements lacking in the original version.

· Have you become more attached to the main character as opposed to the supporting characters?

 That’s like asking which of my children I prefer. All of the characters are my babies, and I love them equally. Unless they go off and do weird stuff I don’t approve of.

· Do you base your characters off people you know?

I mash up peculiar personal traits appearing in my characters so no one can say, “Hey, that’s me!”

· Are there aspects of your story you just don’t like?

I love the story. I highly value my editor’s suggestions. I adore the book it became, with its illustrations and cover art. I’m so pleased and proud that I could craft a contemporary story with a mythological theme because I truly believe that a society without mythology is doomed.

· How would you advise young adults who want to become published authors?

Find an enjoyable career field, one you’re passionate about. Writers can’t be hermits – they need life experience and an income. Read, read, read books by prize-winning and best-selling authors. Above all, ask yourself this important question: Do I really want to be a writer or do I only like the idea of being a writer? There’s a big difference.

Thanks, Anna and Jackie! Great interview!

Jacqueline Horsfall's book, For the Love of Strangers, is illustrated by Mary B. Kelly.

Jackie with her many published books.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pure Speculation Festival Today

On November 19th, meet Judith Graves at the Pure Speculation Fest in Edmonton, Canada. She'll be speaking on the Young Adult Fantastic Fiction: Not Just About Boy Wizards panel with Gail Siddonie SobatMarty Chan, and Nicole Luiken.

Here's the low-down:

“Testosterone-filled fantasy continues to dominate the industry, yet there are any number of compelling narratives featuring the female protagonist and her particular strengths, trials and passions. Unfortunately, women writers of children’s/YA SF novels with female protagonists are still all-too-frequently relegated to the literary backroom. Presenters will share insights about the female writer & the protagonist of speculative fiction, and their essential roles in righting the gender imbalance & the ghetto-ization that plague the SF genre.”

A chance you won't want to miss:

As a part of Pure Spec’s fundraising efforts for a local charity via the GEEKS FOR GEEKS auction,  Judith is raffling off naming a character after one lucky winner. That’s right, a character in SKIN OF MY TEETH could be named after YOU. Although Judith warns that "said character’s life expectancy is not guaranteed and it is likely that he/she may suffer a painful death under the light of the new moon – or some such paranormal goodness."

Still it's a great way to get your name in print and help charity at the same time.

Look for Graves other books:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Danger: Crime Scene

Author Bonnie J. Doerr appeared at Barnhills Bookstore in Winston-Salem, NC, on Saturday, November 12, 2011. The audience enjoyed her presentation about her hands-on research before she writes her mysteries about endangered animals.

Here are some photos of her presentations and booksignings after each event. Note the crime scene tape adorning the book display table and around the author's neck.
Here's the audience for the first sitting eagerly watching her slides about Key deer, sea turtles, and pelicans. To accommodate the crowds, Doerr did a second presentation.

Fans line up for autographs at the end of the first presentation.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

SPIRITED 13 ARC Giveaway Winners!

Each correct answer to our research questions was considered a new entry, winners were then selected from the correct entries via random number generator.

The winners of the SPIRITED 13 ARC giveaway contest:

Elizabeth M
Breia B
Charlotte H
Joanna W
David F
Melissa M
Amy C
Jen M
Renee V
Jolene H
Ashley D
Ashley L

Winners will be notified directly by a Leap Books representative regarding shipping details.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Round four of the SPIRITED contest starts today!

Hey Ghosthunters! Still trying to unearth all of the authors featured in Leap Books’ latest haunting release, SPIRITED? Awesome! We hope you’re ready for the final round…

Your mission? Use your paranormal spidey senses (or your trusty EMF detector) to decipher the information and tell us which authors you'll find in the anthology.

Email your responses to by noon, October 31, 2011

Correct answers for each author will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a copy of SPIRITED. 

Winners will be announced November 1, 2011.

Hint: Follow the Spirited Twitter and Facebook never know what extra clues you might unearth.

Here we go:

AURHOR 1: She can keep a secret, win an argument, pick up spiders, handle the sight of blood, subdue aggressive dogs, make a mean grilled cheese sandwich, and keep her sanity. And if that's not enough, this Spirited author can also write...poetry, middle grade, young adult, contemporary, and creative non-fiction. Her YA speculative novel Shifters will appear in 2012. 

AUTHOR 2: Oast House is not this SPIRITED contributor's first short story to be featured in an anthology. She is one of 27 international authors included in Mon Coeur Mort (My Dead Heart), a collection of horror fiction. And her short story BEATING GOLD was one of six romantic tales in a special edition of Romance Stories Magazine. She began writing short fiction on a secondhand typewriter in her late teens. 

AUTHOR 3: This SPIRITED contributor has a bleeding cool job - she reviews comics for DC! She's also writing a graphic novel based along with other novels and screenplays. Her first fantasy/adventure screenplay DEVASHARD is currently in pre-production. And if that's not cool enough, she will soon to launch a web comic called Daedalus Wax.

AUTHOR 4: From martians to witches, this California-dwelling author began writing fiction in the third grade. And even though he’s a (wee) bit older now, he still loves tales of dragons and giants, along with the reluctant young heroes who battle these fierce creatures. In addition to his story in SPIRITED, this author has published several short works in various places and is currently working on the finishing touches of his novel, Love and Taxes. 

Good luck, Ghosthunters!

Watch October 30, 2011 for a special SPIRITED contest wrap-up post with even more chances to WIN a copy of the anthology everyone will be talking about.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Round three of Ghosthunters Spirited contest starts today!

We're giving you a chance to figure out which authors will be featured in Leap Books' latest release, SPIRITED - Ghosthunters style! 

So, how did you do with the first two rounds? Still working on them? 

This hauntingly good book stars some of the best young adult authors to die for. 

Your mission? Use your paranormal spidey senses (or your trusty EMF detector) to decipher the information and tell us which authors you'll find in Spirited.

Email your responses to by noon, October 31, 2011Correct answers for each author will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a copy of SPIRITED. Winners will be announced November 1, 2011.

Hint: Follow the Spirited Twitter and Facebook never know what extra clues you might unearth.

Ready for round three?

AUTHOR 1: It's a good thing Halloween happens only once a year, because this SPIRITED contributor loves a good ghoul fest. She'd admit to spending way too much on festive decor, including a collection of animated zombies and ghosts guaranteed to give the local trick-or-treaters heart palpitations. In fact, this writer enjoys all things of the heart, including a good paranormal romance, the occasional Nora Roberts marathon, and spending time with her three bull mastiffs. You know, just skulking around. In addition to her own list of works in progress, this author co-writes with another Spirited contributor, and pens adult fiction under a pseudonym. 

AUTHOR 2: Research is key for this New York Times bestselling author. She's picked a lock, toured a maximum security prison, studied karate and learned to ride a horse - all in the name of fiction. Not sure if this is your particular brand of poison? It will be if you read her thrilling series about a young woman who becomes a poison taster (how do you even get THAT job?) Or her brilliant books about a magician who can capture magic inside her glass creations. This talented writer has a black cat named Valek and loves to travel. In fact, you may have read one or two of her travel articles. 

AUTHOR 3: Chances are, you haven't read this SPIRITED contributor's blog about books, video games and movies--because if you had, he'd have to change the title from "Least Read Blog." But we'd bet you will check out his debut novel, Failstate, which launches early 2012. The story is about a superhero who is competing on a reality TV show. Sounds fun, right? He's a husband, a father, a sci-fi writer, a bookstore and library terror, an all around geek--and at 6'6", a towering giant! 

Good luck!

Next SPIRITED Ghosthunters post: Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ghosthunters take note: Week 2 of SPIRITED contest starts today!

We're giving you a chance to figure out which authors will be featured in Leap Books' latest release, SPIRITED - Ghosthunters style!

So, how did you do with last week's clues? Still working on them? Refresh your memory here.

This hauntingly good book stars some of the best young adult authors to die for. Your mission? Use your paranormal spidey senses (or your trusty EMF detector) to decipher the information.

Email your responses to by noon, October 31, 2011. Correct answers for each author will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win copy of SPIRITED. Winners will be announced November 1, 2011.

Hint: Follow the Spirited Twitter and Facebook never know what extra clues you might unearth.

Ready for round two?

AUTHOR 1: Looking for the inside scoop on Hollywood? This author can help. She's one of America's leading entertainment journalists, hobnobbing with the likes of Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage, George Clooney and Tom Hanks. She even wrote a biography on Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Her novel writing career began in 2008, when a friend suggested she give it a try. Good thing. She's gone on to pen six best-selling novels for Berkley, and now writes for the Blaze line of Harlequin. In her spare time (ha!), she's the Vice President of the Television Critic's Association. 

AUTHOR 2: This SPIRITED contributor is guaranteed to get under your skin. She writes teen fiction to DIE for. A lot of teen fiction, actually. Aside from numerous personal projects, this prolific (and uber talented) author is co-writing several series with two of the other writers featured in Spirited. Isn't that LOVELY? Part writer, part musician, and full time geek, this author loves tragic romance, werewolves, vampires, magick...and her two Labrador retrievers, Willow and Higgins. 

AUTHOR 3: If writing's your passion, this young adult writer can help. She's part of two great groups - Novel Teen, a site where reviewers, writers, and critics take a look at good, clean teen fiction; and Teenage Authors, a fabulous resource for youth interested in making their writing dreams come true. Raised in rural Alaska, this author admits to having a fondness for Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. Her latest novel will be published December, 2011.

Got it figured out? Email your responses to Remember, each correct answer gets your name in the draw for a chance to win a copy of SPIRITED.

Good luck!

Next SPIRITED Ghosthunters post: Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Win a copy of the SPIRITED anthology!

Who are the masterminds behind Leap Books' latest release, SPIRITED anthology? Here's your chance to figure it out - Ghosthunters style. 

This hauntingly good book stars some of the best young adult authors to die for. Each week, a new blog post will offer clues to help you figure out who they are. Your mission? Use your paranormal spidey senses (or your trusty EMF detector) to decipher the information. 

Email your responses to by noon, October 31, 2011. Correct answers for each author will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win copy of SPIRITED. Winners will be announced November 1, 2011.

Hint: Follow the Spirited Twitter and Facebook never know what extra clues you might unearth.


1. This author redefines the short story! Her debut book won the grand prize in the first-ever cell phone novel contest by Since then, she's been spinning tales of love, loss - and, oh yeah, werewolves. Her series takes place at Junction High, where you'll be sure to run into Jess. But hopefully no spiders. This writer has more than a casual fear of arachnids. 

2. Remember Sweet Valley High? This SPIRITED anthology contributor certainly does. She wrote one Sweet Valley Twins novel, and five books in the Sweet Dreams series in the 1980s. These days, she spends time writing her own books about Goths, psychics, mermaids, aliens, cheerleaders, clones, parallel worlds and ghosts - not necessarily altogether, of course. Over the years, she's amassed a collection of more than 5,000 books - most of them series. 

3. Ready to get your freak on? This author can help! She writes teen fiction with BITE...werewolf bite, that is. She published her first story - four lines about a frog - at the tender age of 8, and has been writing ever since, gathering ideas from dreams, life adventures and movies. Especially the flicks of John Hughes, well-known for his cult classics The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink and 16 Candles. As a high school DJ, this writer developed an eclectic musical taste, including the works of Corey Hart. The lyrics to "Never Surrender"are taped above her writing desk. 

Got it figured out? Email your responses to Remember, each correct answer gets your name in the draw for a chance to win a copy of SPIRITED.

Good luck!

Next Spirited Ghosthunters post: Sunday, October 9, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dracula, Vampires, and Other Supernatural Powers

By Sydney Scrogham

Do you believe in miracles? Do you wish that the Twilight stories were real? What if you could come face-to-face with the supernatural and live to tell about it?

Sighisoara, Romania
Romania, as a whole, is known as Dracula’s home. On the last day of my trip, my team took a bus ride to the medieval city of Sighisoara, Romania. (Try saying that five times fast.) Stepping into the city, I felt like I was in a movie, or walking through the countries of Epcot at Disney World. Stumbling on uneven cobblestones, marveling at the pastel colors of buildings, trying to wrap my mind around how this church was built before America even existed, I tried to capture the beauty of the city on camera. I failed. There’s something about breathing the air, hearing the honking cars and screeching birds, and feeling the sun on my face with a cool breeze that a camera just can’t capture.

Dracula's birthplace
Our guide took us to Dracula’s birthplace, a bright yellow building now made into a restaurant for tourists. He told us how Vlad Dracul was known as “The Impaler,” and feared by many people. His original last name meant “Spikes,” but at some point Vlad had decided to take his father’s name from the coat of arms. The coat of arms was a dragon, and since there is no Romanian word for “dragon,” Vlad’s name simply became “Dracul.” Once the Germans heard stories of Vlad the Impaler, the truth had become twisted. As his victims were being impaled, Vlad would sit by and eat; the Germans made up the myth of Vlad Dracul drinking the blood of his victims. Voila, the legend of Dracula.

Sign outside Dracula's birthplace
As I listened to this brief snippet of history, I couldn’t help but think of all the stories on the shelves now about vampires. Why are people so fascinated with the supernatural? What is so appealing about a lover that can suck you dry before you blink? Okay, maybe that’s a bit over the top, but still—it’s like something deep inside of us knows there’s something bigger than us out there in the universe.

Vacation Bible School in one of Oradea's parks
Back in Oradea, Romania, I’d gotten to see a little taste of that supernatural in action. My team had just done a vacation Bible school curriculum in a local park with children who bubbled over with enthusiasm, much like American children. Now, breaking into our small groups, we moved out around the basketball court to ask people if we could pray for them.

My small group went to talk to an elderly couple. They reminded me a lot of my own grandparents, gentle faces with smiles, shaky hands, and soft voices. Our translator helped us talk to the woman, who told us her husband, Alexander, was sick with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Alexander’s face was like a stone—completely blank. We prayed for his healing once and didn’t see a change in his demeanor, but his wife thanked us anyway. We were getting ready to walk away when Jonathan, one of my teammates, suggested that we pray for Alexander again.

Trying not to feel disappointed, I laid my hand on Alexander’s shoulder one more time and started to pray. While we were praying, Jonathan began singing “How Great Is Our God.” I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, that some of the girls in our small group were starting to back away from the prayer circle with overwhelming tears in their eyes. I couldn’t see Alexander because of the white baseball cap on his head, but I stepped away to offer one of the girls a tissue. When I looked back at everyone, I could see the lower half of Alexander’s wrinkled face. His lower lip was trembling violently with emotion, and a tear dripped off the tip of his nose. My heart swelled inside my chest, suffocating me, and I, too, began to cry out of love for a man I’d never met before. I could be his granddaughter; my grandfather could be dying, slowly wasting away with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

The fortress
Our prayers were cut short by one of our leaders telling us we needed to leave the park suddenly for safety reasons. We each hugged Alexander, who looked at us, his eyes taking us in for the first time, while he continued to sob. Our translator spoke to him, and he nodded. Alexander’s wife had told us that he couldn’t understand words anymore because of the Alzheimer’s, and I almost laughed, because he certainly understood now.

As we walked away from the park that evening, I knew I’d seen God heal a man and defy the laws of medicine and science. In a supernatural surge, all of us had ended up in tears. The funny thing about miracles is that they have a way of growing on everyone who witnesses them. The new books on the shelves staring vamps and werewolves and people with wings might not be too far off. I’ve seen it with my own eyes—the supernatural does exist.

Author Sydney Scrogham walking through the streets of Sishisoara