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Tuesday, November 8, 2022

The Man Who Came and Went Joe Stillman

 


From the writer of "Shrek" comes "The Man Who Came and Went," a magically realistic novel about a grill cook who can mind read orders, and a small town diner that changes lives. 

The Man Who Came and Went 
Joe Stillman

Genre: Magical Realism / Mature YA / Literary Fiction
Publisher: City Point Press
Date of Publication: 3/1/22
ISBN: 9781947951389
Number of pages: 240
Word Count: 64,000
Cover Artist:  Barbara Aronica-Buck and Susan Stillman

Tagline:  
A grill cook who mind-reads orders.  
A diner that changes lives.
Tips appreciated. 

Book Description:

Fifteen year old Belutha Mariah, our storyteller, is the oldest of three kids from three different fathers. Her life’s goal is to keep her dysfunctional mom, Maybell, from procreating yet again and then to leave the coffin-sized town of Hadley, Arizona the second she graduates high school. 

Along comes the new grill cook at Maybell’s Diner, Bill Bill, a mysterious drifter with the ability to mind-read orders. As word spreads, the curious and desperate pour into this small desert town to eat at Maybell's. Some believe Bill knows the secrets of the universe. Belutha figures he’s probably nuts. 

But his cooking starts to transform the lives of locals and visitors, and Belutha finds her angry heart opening as Bill begins to show her the porous boundary between this life and what comes after.

Amazon     BN     BaM     Bookshop     Indiebound


Excerpt

            That day, the day Bill arrived, my mom was serving up eggs and complaints.

            “Dammit, that daughter a mine,” she yelled to Dolene, across the diner. Shes like walking birth control. Does she think Im trying to have babies? Scuse me, Darlin’” Maybell gave Clovers bubble walker a little kick, sending it between tables 4 and 6 so she could get by and dump a load of dishes behind the counter.

            Dolene was homegrown, like the tumbleweed, with eyes like a golden retriever that never quite looked at you directly. She was smart enough to add up a check, but you could tell she was never getting out of Hadley. I take it you didnt get laid last night.”

            Maybell pointed to her sour puss. Does this say laidto you?”

            There was a harrumphfrom booth 5 by the window. That was Rose. Rose was an old woman by the time she was 30. Now she was in her late 60s, a widow since before I was born—in other words, forever. She liked to spend her afternoons at Maybells Diner, reading her book and keeping an eye on the goings on around her, as if she was the towns homeroom teacher.

            “Look at Saint Rose,” Maybell said, stuffing dirty plates into the plastic tub under the counter. Thinks she smells better than Mentos. I aint running a library here, Rose. Next time bring Readers Digest!

            There was another sound from Rose, something between a welland a pfffft.She never took her eyes off her book.

            The door opened with a DING from the bell that hung on it. No one noticed Bill entering. He was about average in height, but his skinny frame made him look taller. You could tell from his face that he was in his mid-20s, but those were hard years he had lived, and his body looked frail and geriatric. His clothes were old and clung to him like an extra layer of skin, with a smell that would never wash out.

The angles of his face were sharp and careworn. But his eyes, those were different. His face was hard and weathered, but his eyes were soft. They seemed brand new.

No one in the diner even looked. If they did they would have seen those eyes taking in every little detail: the people talking, forks carrying food, the string lights behind the counter, Dolene ringing up a check. But what drew Bill more than anything else was the grill. Harley, the grill cook, must have had four meals going at once, each with its own set of sounds and smells. Most of those meals involved eggs. His spatula made a metal-on-metal scrape as he turned them. Bill was riveted. He went to sit at the counter to watch.

            Down the counter, a porkish-looking man named Earle—probably one of three men in town who had never slept with my mom—raised his empty cup. Can I get a refill, Maybell?”

            Maybell stopped and faced him. Seriously, Earle? Is it so goddam much trouble for you to get up off your ass and get it yourself? Cant you see Im working here?”

            “Well…” he stammered. I just—was I—I was—”

            Maybell pointed to the coffee pot. How far away is that? Two feet?”

            “Sure, I guess…”

            “Am I your personal slave, Earle? Is that why God put me on earth?”

            “No, I dont think youre—”

            Maybell grabbed the pot and sloshed coffee in his Earles cup. There. You happy now?”

He nodded meekly.

            While she had the pot in her hand, Maybell filled the cup sitting in front of Bill. Ill be by to take your order in a minute, hon.”

            Maybell walked on. Bill just sat there and stared at the coffee. For him, there was no diner anymore, no Maybell, no clanking dishes or dumb conversation. He leaned closer to that cup like it was the only thing in the world. And there he was, smelling coffee for the first time. And it smelled like life. Like a whole world. Like this is how a planet smells if youre up in space and could take a deep breath. Bill was motionless for who knows how long. And then, when he was good and ready, he took his first sip.

            Those eyes, the ones that didnt belong on his head, they closed as if he was praying. No, more like he was hearing a prayer. The coffee was praying to be heard, and Bill heard it.

 

About the Author:

Joe Stillman co-wrote “Shrek” for Dreamworks which earned him an Academy Award® nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay and the Annie and BAFTA Awards.  Other produced features are “Beavis & Butthead Do America”, “Shrek 2”, “Gulliver’s Travels”, “Planet 51” and “Joseph King Of Dreams”. 

In television, he was co-producer and writer on “King of the Hill,” for which he received two Emmy Award® nominations. He was a writer and story editor for Nickelodeon’s “The Adventures of Pete and Pete” and a writer on MTV’s “Beavis and Butthead”. More recently he worked on Nickelodeon’s “Sanjay And Craig” and “Kirby Buckets” for Disney. Other TV credits include “Albert” for Nickelodeon, “The War Next Door” for the USA Network, “Clueless”, “Doug” and “Danger And Eggs” for Amazon.

Joe is currently working on “Curious George” and “Half-Baked 2” for streaming on Peacock.










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Monday, October 31, 2022

The Bruja's Guide to Everyday Magic

 



The Bruja's Guide to Everyday Magic

With the publication of Practically Pagan ~ An Alternative Guide to Magical Living, many readers have asked me what I mean when I say I write about and practice ‘everyday magic.’  In fact, a number of people have picked up my new book expecting complex spells and occult practices, only to be disappointed by pages filled with anecdotal stories and tips about energy, intention, and conjuring so subtle it’s part of our daily lives.  The irony, of course, is that these simple acts of energetic awareness—what some people call mindfulness or intentional living—are actual magical practices! These daily conjurings might lack some of the sparkle and flash of more elaborate mystic practices, but they are some of the most powerful forms of spell casting and an important foundation for any kind of magical practice.  
I’m all about keeping it simple.  Our thoughts are spells. Our energy tells us everything we need to know about a specific situation or person, as does their vibe. Our daily habits shape the kind of life we want to live—so we need to be intentional about it.  We can also sometimes get a little carried away with the theater of the occult world, so much so that the real magic gets lost under the hocus-pocus.  I think of it as burning incense to cleanse your home when the space is dirty and what you really should be doing is giving it a good scrub down.  Light those incense, sure, but don’t ignore the important task of tending your sanctuary.  It’s not just dust and crumbs on the floor, but stagnant energy that needs to be cleared out through the literal act of cleaning.  That’s the thing with magic: the best kind is simple, but also hard work.

Hard work—but worth it. 

So if you’re just beginning your journey into the mystic world or are a long-time pagan or witchy soul wanting to get a refresher on foundational practices, check out my Bruja’s Guide to Everday Magic.

This post originally appeared on Enchantment Learning and Living


Hungry Business: A Gothic Story about the Horrors of Dating
Maria DeBlassie

Genre: horror, comedy
Publisher: Kitchen Witch Press
Date of Publication: October 12, 2020
ASIN: B08L48MVHD
Number of pages: 20
Word Count: 4400

Tagline: Dating. It’s hungry business. 

Book Description:

Looking for love can be deadly...

A short story on the horrors of dating during a zombie apocalypse by bruja and award-winning writer and educator, Maria DeBlassie.

"Simple yet detailed, unique, and innovative. A brilliantly written little gem that is equal part creepy with the plague of walking dead and equal parts cozy with the hot chocolate and watching the neighbor's cat."

"Drawing parallels between the pitfalls of dating and dating in the zombie apocalypse, this short story packs a big world into a few pages."

"Just the right size to occupy your time while waiting. I hope you find the humor I found."

You know how it goes.

You go out, hoping to meet someone.

You wade through your fair share of brainless automatons, lifeless bodies, and ravenous undead, good at passing as human.

The more you go out, the less hope you feel and the colder your body gets.

But you keep at it.

All you need is one beating heart to match your own before yours stops pumping altogether.

How hard can it be to find one living, breathing human in a city full of bodies?

Dating.

It's hungry business.

CW: Assault



He said he’d love to have you for dinner—but you are careful.

A woman has to be careful.  Never give them your address.  Don’t drink too much.  Be aware of your surroundings at all times.  Carry grave dirt to throw at them if they get too forward.  Be ready to run to the nearest safe space if needed.  The good news is that the Hungries, while persistent, are dumb as fuck (brain rot, you know) and slower than the sickness overtaking their bodies.  Unless, of course, they are well fed, which is rarely the case.

This one looks a little better, you think optimistically.

You sit across from each other at the dinner table.  The white tablecloth is as smooth and unblemished as his collared shirt.  He has dressed for the occasion, taking care to hide the evidence of his affliction as best he can (though truly there is only so much he can do with a missing ear and half a brain).  Still, the tuxedo and carefully applied makeup are enough to create the illusion of pumping blood beneath his pallid, blush-stained cheeks—in the right light. Which is another reason why you chose this place.  Candlelight can hide a multitude of sins.

His manners are studied and smooth, as if he has spent a lot of time practicing more human-like movements and behavior. You admire a man who makes that kind of effort.  He watches you as much as you do him, as if he is trying to remember what it was like to be alive. When you reach for your wine glass, so does he—only his thick decaying fingers almost crush the stem, whereas your nimble live ones carefully bring the dark red liquid to your mouth. You try not to notice how he stares at your lips—stained now from the wine—wondering, perhaps, how you taste. As it turns out, he does get a taste of you. You’ve been surreptitiously picking at a hangnail on your pinky finger—that’s how scintillating the conversation is—when you looked down and realize it is your whole fingernail that has come off.  You stare at it in horror, letting the truth of your situation sink in.  

At least he has the decency to wait until you’ve left the table before grabbing your napkin and stuffing your bloodied nail in his mouth.  A little color comes back into his face.  He groans in ecstasy.

Nice to know you could still have that effect on a man.




About the Author:

Maria DeBlassie, Ph.D. is a native New Mexican mestiza blogger, award-winning writer, and award-winning educator living in the Land of Enchantment. Her first book, Everyday Enchantments: Musings on Ordinary Magic and Daily Conjurings (Moon Books 2018), and her ongoing blog, Enchantment Learning and Living are about everyday magic, ordinary gothic, and the life of a kitchen witch. When she is not practicing her own brand of brujeria, she's reading, teaching, and writing about bodice rippers and things that go bump in the night. She is forever looking for magic in her life and somehow always finding more than she thought was there.


Find out more about Maria and conjuring everyday magic at www.mariaddeblassie.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/enchantmentll

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/enchantmentll

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mdeblassie.writer

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7rY-gLkSH-w8uuVyrhVALA





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The Terrible Delights of Spooky Stories

I love scary stories. I’m also a total chicken. I grew up telling stories on the playground, huddled around trees or crawling into quiet places with friends to to listen to urban legends and frightening tales, from La Llorona to to Bloody Mary, to strange tales of a woman with the ribbon around her throat that literally held her head on to creepy dolls come to life the moment you closed your eyes to sleep at night…I couldn’t help myself. I devoured them!  

In class, we learned more about La Llorona (a figure that inspired my novella, Weep, Woman, Weep), Baba Yaga, and all sorts of spooky stories that gave me a good chill but were rather less terrifying than what I heard on the playground.
Of course, there was no better time to tell and listen to these stories than the fall, as the season slowly ripened into Halloween, the days got shorter, and the cool evenings and turning leaves were the perfect backdrop for stories that reminded us that there is more to this world than meets the eye.

I would come home from school filled up on those terrible tales and, after playing in piles of leaves in my backyard, would feel a growing sense of unease as the sun began to set and darkness took over. I was certainly grateful for the comforting presence of my dogs when darkness stole across the sky. The feelings were pushed away with dinner, in the cozy brightness of the kitchen and the warmth of family, but readily came back when I was tuckedin bed later that night.

Every creek, howl of wind, or cricket chirp sounded like aghostly footstep, theweeping woman, or all manner of supernatural threats. Mirrors were not to be looked in, when the sun went down. Windows must be closed at night, lest La Llorona find a way in. Blankets were to be tucked around you up to your chin to protect you from whatever might be lurking under the bed.

I felt would never fall asleep!

But, of course, I did. And with the coming sun, came the confidence of youth that there was nothing truly scary in this world and I went right back to the playground ready to consume more lurid and horrible tales. 

They were terrifying. They were also thrilling.  I couldn’t help myself—even when they gave me nightmares and my mom tried to get me to stop listening to these stories—they had this allure to me, pulling me into a world of the strange and gothic.

The feeling didn’t go away as I got older. Take, for example, the time I went trick o’ treating with a friend in middle school, one of the last times I would venture out on that childhood ritual. I was no stranger to haunted houses—there were plenty in my neighborhood. I livednext door to one and there was another a few blocks away that looked like something out of a gothic novel: big, dark, looming, and a story about a murder so strange and unexpected it devolved into its own neighborhood legend with everyone having a slightly different explanation for why the house just felt…off.

My friend and I were alone on the street and were doing our best to casually walk past the house, feeling very brave and very adult in our fairy costumes, proud of the fact that we could trick-or-treating unchaperoned. But once we neared that house, suddenly home felt so very far away, the other groups of Halloween revelers so very far away.  There was only the darkness surround us and the specter of that gina those before us. 

Then we heard something—a yip, a yell, from someone in the distance—and we screamed, running for the safety of my home.Gone were the bold, brave adults and in their place were two frightened children who wanted nothing more than the warm lights and safety of home. As it turns out, the noise we heard was from a bunch of wildpartiers, but it became so much morefrightening when it was disembodied and the shadows fed my imagination, as did all the terrible tales I’d been coming that season.

As scary as that was, and as silly as my friend and I felt in retrospect, there was no denying the fun we had, nor the deep sense of comfort we felt in returning to my house. That’s what scary stories do for us. They bring us home. We find catharsis in facing the darkness and making it out the other side. We appreciate the light where and when we can find it.  

Here I am now—still loving scary stories. Still a total chicken. Still ready for a good tale of terror…in the daylight. Still not looking in mirrors and closing all my windows at night. And I speed up whenever I have to walk by that haunted house, indeed any haunted house, less the specters inside think to invite me in.

That’s the beauty of these early childhood frights. They gave me a solid appreciate of the thrills of a good scary story and a healthy respect for the unseen worlds or even vibes I get that tell me a person or situation is more than meets the eye. 

This is why I tell spooky stories today. They reveal so much more about ourselves and the world around us than many an ordinary tale. From writing horror comedy about the terrors of dating in Hungry Business to the haunting wails of La Llorona in Weep, Woman, Weep, all my tales are inspired by the ordinary gothic all around us, pairing catharsis as we face the dark and find the light.  What do you love about scary stories?





Hungry Business: A Gothic Story about the Horrors of Dating
Maria DeBlassie

Genre: horror, comedy
Publisher: Kitchen Witch Press
Date of Publication: October 12, 2020
ASIN: B08L48MVHD
Number of pages: 20
Word Count: 4400

Tagline: Dating. It’s hungry business. 

Book Description:

Looking for love can be deadly...

A short story on the horrors of dating during a zombie apocalypse by bruja and award-winning writer and educator, Maria DeBlassie.

"Simple yet detailed, unique, and innovative. A brilliantly written little gem that is equal part creepy with the plague of walking dead and equal parts cozy with the hot chocolate and watching the neighbor's cat."

"Drawing parallels between the pitfalls of dating and dating in the zombie apocalypse, this short story packs a big world into a few pages."

"Just the right size to occupy your time while waiting. I hope you find the humor I found."

You know how it goes.

You go out, hoping to meet someone.

You wade through your fair share of brainless automatons, lifeless bodies, and ravenous undead, good at passing as human.

The more you go out, the less hope you feel and the colder your body gets.

But you keep at it.

All you need is one beating heart to match your own before yours stops pumping altogether.

How hard can it be to find one living, breathing human in a city full of bodies?

Dating.

It's hungry business.

CW: Assault



He said he’d love to have you for dinner—but you are careful.

A woman has to be careful.  Never give them your address.  Don’t drink too much.  Be aware of your surroundings at all times.  Carry grave dirt to throw at them if they get too forward.  Be ready to run to the nearest safe space if needed.  The good news is that the Hungries, while persistent, are dumb as fuck (brain rot, you know) and slower than the sickness overtaking their bodies.  Unless, of course, they are well fed, which is rarely the case.

This one looks a little better, you think optimistically.

You sit across from each other at the dinner table.  The white tablecloth is as smooth and unblemished as his collared shirt.  He has dressed for the occasion, taking care to hide the evidence of his affliction as best he can (though truly there is only so much he can do with a missing ear and half a brain).  Still, the tuxedo and carefully applied makeup are enough to create the illusion of pumping blood beneath his pallid, blush-stained cheeks—in the right light. Which is another reason why you chose this place.  Candlelight can hide a multitude of sins.

His manners are studied and smooth, as if he has spent a lot of time practicing more human-like movements and behavior. You admire a man who makes that kind of effort.  He watches you as much as you do him, as if he is trying to remember what it was like to be alive. When you reach for your wine glass, so does he—only his thick decaying fingers almost crush the stem, whereas your nimble live ones carefully bring the dark red liquid to your mouth. You try not to notice how he stares at your lips—stained now from the wine—wondering, perhaps, how you taste. As it turns out, he does get a taste of you. You’ve been surreptitiously picking at a hangnail on your pinky finger—that’s how scintillating the conversation is—when you looked down and realize it is your whole fingernail that has come off.  You stare at it in horror, letting the truth of your situation sink in.  

At least he has the decency to wait until you’ve left the table before grabbing your napkin and stuffing your bloodied nail in his mouth.  A little color comes back into his face.  He groans in ecstasy.

Nice to know you could still have that effect on a man.




About the Author:

Maria DeBlassie, Ph.D. is a native New Mexican mestiza blogger, award-winning writer, and award-winning educator living in the Land of Enchantment. Her first book, Everyday Enchantments: Musings on Ordinary Magic and Daily Conjurings (Moon Books 2018), and her ongoing blog, Enchantment Learning and Living are about everyday magic, ordinary gothic, and the life of a kitchen witch. When she is not practicing her own brand of brujeria, she's reading, teaching, and writing about bodice rippers and things that go bump in the night. She is forever looking for magic in her life and somehow always finding more than she thought was there.


Find out more about Maria and conjuring everyday magic at www.mariaddeblassie.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/enchantmentll

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/enchantmentll

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mdeblassie.writer

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7rY-gLkSH-w8uuVyrhVALA





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Friday, October 28, 2022

The Last Man? Journey To New Eden Favian Segovia

 


The Last Man? 
Journey To New Eden
Favian Segovia

Genre: SciFi
Publisher: Writers Republic LLC
Date of Publication:  August 26, 2022
Number of pages:  132 pages

Book Description: 

A new sci-fi book series awaits readers as author Favian Segovia releases the first installment in The Last Man? He invites readers to embark on this journey to the New Eden with the last man on Earth. What will happen to the world, as people know it? Can one man still bring hope despite the challenging circumstances that lie ahead? Readers will find out in the pages of Book One of “Journey to New Eden”. 

A world war of greed and power pushes the governments into their own extinction. A virus outbreak targets men into a near extinction. A military driven by women search for surviving men in an attempt to control a world in ruins. All faith has been lost with no future and no hope. Only one secret place holds the answer to restore peace. One man is the key of hope. 

A man out of the ashes rises forward in search for the last city called New Eden, in the hopes and desperation to re-establish humanity. But he has to find out the hard way the perils of being the last man. 



About the Author:
 
Favian Segovia was born in the city of Bravo state of Nuevo Leon in the republic of Mexico.

Favian believes that just like most talented people that were born with a beautiful voice or with an exceptional ability to draw or paint fine arts. He believes that every person in the world has a talent that almost no one can replicate. Everyone is unique in their ability, everyone has a different approach to doing things and building great  ideas or structures of disbelief. Favian believes that the mind is so powerful that it can be used for the good of humanity or its destruction. Favian believes in opportunity for everyone. Sometimes finding a great person is like trying to find a diamond in the rough. Favian wants to be recognized one day as one of the best sci fi writers.

Favian believes he can get to the top if he steps out of the ordinary in writing and goes beyond or above conventional writing. But he also is also a down to earth person knowing that it's not easy going out to change what is already established. But truly believes that nothing is out of reach if you keep dreaming and keep making those dreams come true by never giving up hope and doing everything in his power to make it happen. Once you give up you will never accomplish your dreams.





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How to have a haunted Halloween Party | Tips from a YA Vampire Author

 



How to have a haunted Halloween Party | Tips from a YA Vampire Author

Halloween is my favorite time of the year. I love the spooks and thrills that come with the season, but sometimes, it can get a bit gory for my tastes. But when you remove all the blood, it can start to feel too childish. So here are some tips and tricks to have a hair-raising Halloween without getting blood everywhere. 


Set the Stage

Where you host your party doesn’t matter nearly as much as how you set the stage. Whether it’s outside, at someone’s house, barn, or rented out space, how you use the space with make the difference, and a few decorations can go a long way.

But that does not mean you have to empty out your wallet. Grab some cobwebs, creeper cloth, and make a skeleton or two and you have the start to your prefect haunt. And finding things around your house like old bottles, notebooks/ journals with little or no decoration, black cloth, etc. can be an excellent way to decorate without breaking your bank. For an added effect, you can use black and silver spray paint can give your old items a whole new look. This especially works well for old bottles, using the silver paint to give it a speckled aged feel. And depending on your theme, most anything old and torn will also work. Anything to give your place that run down and ruined feel.

From there, find a corner or a spot you want to be a focal point and use your decorations to create a scene in whatever party theme you want. I prefer the haunted house vibe myself. Last year, my aunt create this awesome witch’s brewing corner for our Halloween party. Most of decorations were things she already owned or recycled from pervious years. Dim the lights and with a cauldron of dry ice, it was the perfect setting to greet guests as they joined the party. But this set up could be quickly changed to a variety of themes. Take away the cauldrons and the witch decoration, and I know a few Bloodlink vampires that would enjoy this theme.

Set the Mood

Music is everything. It can turn your party haunt into a barnyard debacle if not chosen well. But adding the right ambience music with help your guest get a sense of mood from the moment they arrive.

Some of my favorites from my Halloween playlist actually made it on to my writing playlist because they fit so well. I’m a personal fan of Nightcove_thefox, an indie music artist who writes song inspired by the popular indie horror game, Five Night’s at Freddy’s or FNAF. A few of them I’d recommend for most any Halloween playlist are “Twisted”, “Wolves” and “For You”. Of course, how can you have a Halloween party without Micheal Jackson’s “Thriller” and “The Monster Mash”. But my all-favorite song to have for the spooky season comes from the cartoon Scooby Doo movie Scooby Doo! On Zombie Island. “It’s Terror Time Again” is pure gold, and though it is a little harder to find, it’s one I definitely recommend. Whether you are planning a dance part or just want music in the background, these songs with fit most any Halloween playlist.

If possible, it is best to dim the lights in your space. Either turn off the main lights and stage the light with colored lights, or if you are lucky enough to have them, use the dimmer on the main room lights. Dimmer light will instantly create a creeper vibe as who knows if there is a ghost lurking the dark corner you can’t see. And if you have the extra cash, I definitely recommend getting a fog machine, so long as your space can handle it. Make sure to get low lying fog and use it in spacious or open air areas as breathing in too much of the fog created can be bad for you.



Set the Table

Lastly, what party is complete without treats! These can be a simple as buying one from the store and arranging them in fancy glassware to look like a mad scientist’s table to homemaking one of the thousands of recipes and ideas you can find on the internet. 




One of my favorites is making mini brownies, and while they are cooling, press the middle down with a spoon then top it with green frosting, sprinkles and a pretzel stick to make mini cauldron’s you can eat.

And with that, you’re set. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to guest blog today and hope these tips helped you can create you own spooky party haunt. Have a happy and haunted Halloween!


Bloodlink
Raye T. Watson

Genre: YA Vampire and Paranormal Mystery 
Publisher: Knighted Phoenix Publishing
Date of Publication: August 2, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-958797-04-4
ASIN: 1958797049
Number of pages: 421
Word Count: 188,536
Cover Artist: Raye T. Watson

Tagline: Sometimes, in a world of darkness, it’s the secrets that keep you sane.

Book Description:

Katelyn Phillips hates the Greatlee Wood, the small forest near her home in Effingham, England. She just wants to forget the uncomfortable feeling of being watched whenever she sees that line of trees and move on with her life like a normal person. But when she wakes up one night numb and dead, the forest becomes the least of her worries.

Now she’s lost all connection with the outside world as she fights for control of her mind and the lust for blood. But she’s not alone.

Aidan O’Conner, the superstitious Irish fellow with centuries of experience, is willing to help. Together, with his family and friends, they teach Kate what it means to be a vampire and how to manage her newfound powers, but there are some secrets they are not so willing to share. Like why the door at the end of the hallway is always locked? Or why the manor they live in was half burned down 20 years ago? And how does it all tie into the ghost tale of the Armuary Phantom?

Can Kate uncover the truth and protect her new surrogate family, or will these secrets and deceit cause her to lose trust in everything, including herself?


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Something is wrong. I’m finally waking up. I can almost feel my consciousness slip into focus, but I still feel like I am floating.

I pry my eyes open, and I can see I am lying in a bed, but I can’t remember how I got there or when I’d gone to bed. Had I been hallucinating? Is Ryan okay?
I put my hand to my head, or I think I did. I can’t feel it. I can hear movement, but I can’t feel anything. I frown, realizing the floating feeling hasn’t gone away. It isn’t really like floating; it isn’t as soothing. It’s just... nothing.

That scares me.

My eyes pop open, and I sit up, feeling like my heart should have shot to my throat. This isn’t my bed. This isn’t my room.

It is dark in this room, but I can see it fine. Moonlight filters in through the window to my left and helps define the room. I am in a four-poster bed in a renaissance style room. It’s as big as my living room. It is beautiful, but how did I get here?

I hear the rustle of the bed covers and look down. I can see my hands on the covers, but as I grip them, twist them, and throw them away from me, I still have no sense of their weight or texture. I rub my fingers and hands together, but nothing.

I can’t feel... anything!

Alarmed and panicked, I take in air through shallow and quick breaths as I kick away from the things I can’t touch. In the process, I fall backward over the side of the bed and hit the floor with a thud. I wish I could say that it hurt. But without the bang that resonated in the room as I hit the ground, I may not have known I’d fallen at all.

What is wrong with me? Tears of fear fill my eyes. Fear as intoxicating as poison burns inside me, and I begin to cry, too scared to think. I crab crawl quickly away from the bed, as if it was the thing that made me this way. I crunch against the far bedroom wall, which stops me from going any further. I turn and run my hands along the wall, but it’s the same as the bed. Without my sight, I wouldn’t even know it was there. Terror grips me, and I curl up in the corner and hug myself, but it doesn’t help. It’s as if my whole body is filled with novocaine.

Before too long, I can hear footsteps outside the room I’m in. They sound like they’re coming toward me. They are going to find me. I don’t know if I want them to or not.

About the Author:

Raye T. Watson grew up in Northern California near the capital of Sacramento where she continues to live with her family. She is the only girl and second oldest of four children. She graduated Brigham Young University – Idaho with a bachelor's degree and a minor in English. She enjoys learning and being a jack-of-all-trades.

As a kid, she actually did not like reading as a kid because her reading level was slight below average compared to other kids in her grade, but she loves most anything with a story: movies, TV shows, video games. But books were too boring to bother with. When she was 11 years old, her older brother tried to get her in a newer series about a young boy who learns he is a wizard and had to take an invisible train to go to wizarding school. She was not interested. But this book had a movie coming out, which he was very excited to see, so their parents took them to see the first Harry Potter movie. Watson was so enthralled with this magical world, she read books 1-4 before the second film was released in theaters. And thus, her love of reading was born.

Watson had always loved creating her own stories, whether it was creating new characters to fix the TV show plotlines during the commercials or playing games of make believe with her younger brother, but once she started reading, she began to write. None of her written stories ever got far, but she dreamed it all in her mind. 

In early 2010, she got her first glimpse of what would become her debut novel, Bloodlink. She’d always loved vampires and the spooky thrills of Halloween, and having finished the Twilight Series and Dracula, she began to define her own kind of vampire.

In the summer of 2012, she met the lady who would become her best friend and fellow author, Charity Mae. Watson and Mae swamped stories during their first meeting and have encouraged each other’s writing ever since.

Watson continues to write to this day and enjoys drawing and painting in her free time. She created the cover art and title page art for her book and hope to publish more art and books in the years to come.


 








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