My Halloween recommendations

I realised today why I like Halloween so much; for a few weeks, the world looks like the inside of my mind. People decorate with ghosts and pumpkins and let in the dark and scary with reckless abandon. Horror films dominate the TV. And we all eat more sweets than is good for us. It’s my Christmas.

Every year, I choose a Halloween read, a Halloween horror film, and a Halloween treat (not chocolate, I eat that all year round anyway!) This year, I’m going to share them all with you.

My Halloween read is, thanks to Netgalley and Amulet Books, Blood Countess by Lana Popović. Here’s the summary:

A historical YA horror novel based on the infamous real-life inspiration for Countess Dracula

In 17th century Hungary, Anna Darvulia has just begun working as a scullery maid for the young and glamorous Countess Elizabeth Báthory. When Elizabeth takes a liking to Anna, she’s vaulted to the dream role of chambermaid, a far cry from the filthy servants’ quarters below. She receives wages generous enough to provide for her family, and the Countess begins to groom Anna as her friend and confidante. It’s not long before Anna falls completely under the Countess’s spell—and the Countess takes full advantage. Isolated from her former friends, family, and fiancé, Anna realizes she’s not a friend but a prisoner of the increasingly cruel Elizabeth. Then come the murders, and Anna knows it’s only a matter of time before the Blood Countess turns on her too.

I’m really looking forward to it. I love the history of Countess Elizabeth Báthory, so am chomping at the bit to get my teeth into this one – too much? If you’d like to read it, you’ll have to wait until the New Year :(

My Halloween Horror film is the Ginger Snaps trilogy – yes, I’m being greedy and having a three for one. Featuring sisters bonded by more than just blood, and believable werewolves; it even takes us back to the start of the curse with Ginger Snaps Back. I would highly recommend all three films. If you have the channel, they’re on Starzplay, or you can still find them on DVD.

My Halloween treat is going to see Dracula the ballet performed by the Northern Ballet . I’ve never seen a ballet before, and I’m hoping that with its Gothic costumes, beautiful scenery and amazing feats of grace, it’ll start a life long love of this art form. Who knows, I might even meet a real vampire there…probably not!

I love this time of year, and I hope you do too. So get out there and carve scary pumpkins to keep the evil spirits at bay, buy overpriced sweets that somehow taste better shaped as ghosts, zombies and witches. And feel, just for a little while, that the supernatural world is close enough to touch – and to touch you back!

Happy Halloween!

Interview with Jennifer Harlow

Werewolf 1Tell us about your publishing journey.

Feels like a million, billion years when I started this journey. I started my first book at nineteen, finished by twenty-one and that’s when I began looking for agents. I didn’t get one until age twenty-six, got a publishing deal at twenty-seven, and the book didn’t come out until twenty-eight. Almost ten years. Ten years of rejection, and going to conferences to pitch agents, and query letters. Natural stubbornness and tenacity spurned me along. It is not for the faint of heart.

What part of being a writer do you love most?

The commute. Three steps to my desk, and I can work in my pajamas. I also love getting to play God. It’s a great job for a control freak like me. This character’s pissing me off? Uh oh, eaten by werewolves. *Evil Laugh*

Which part do you hate most?

I don’t know if I hate it or I’m just crap at it, but the marketing stuff. I’m a private person by nature, so talking about myself, especially having to draw attention to myself, and selling my product just do not come easily to me. I’m proud of my work, I’m told it’s quite good, but I’d rather be alone with my imaginary friends than tooting my own horn.

If you could be a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?MindOverMonsters

A time and space traveler. Basically Doctor Who but not an alien. Sick of our modern world? Travel to Regency England and stalk Jane Austen. Need some cash? Go nick a Picasso painting and bring it back to make millions. Just have to make sure I don’t step on any butterflies or Benedict Cumberbatch might never be born and that would be a massive crime against nature.

Vampires – scary monsters or romantic leads? Which do you prefer and why?

I’m a fighter, not a lover so I love scary more than romantic anything. With my vampires I try to have them walk that fine edge. They can be scary, they are killers after all, but they can fight against that if they so choose. I wouldn’t shag one though. I just couldn’t get past the no pulse thing. Ick.

If you had a time machine, what era would you like to visit and why?
I’d go meet Charlotte Bronte. I’ve been obsessed with her for years and read every biography I could find. I’d just want to meet her. See what her life was really like. So if I had a time machine, I’d get my stalker on.

What life advice have you been given, that you wished someone had given you sooner?

“Fuck them.” Don’t let anyone ever tell you who you should be or what your life path should be. Just because everyone else does it, doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Like what you like, love who you love, and as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, do what you want. Once you stop caring what people think about you, life becomes a trillion times better.

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?

Sherlock Holmes because of…reasons. And I’d feed him cake because who doesn’t love cake?

Whats A Witch To DoWho are your favourite authors and why?

Without question Janet Evanovitch, Laurell K. Hamilton, and Jennifer Crusie. From Evanovitch I learned how to incorporate humor, mystery, and sexual tension while keeping a quick pace in the story. Hamilton showed the perfect was to combine two genres effectively, thriller and paranormal, and that a heroine doesn’t have to always be a sweet, perfect woman. She can have a hard edge and still be likable. From Jennifer Crusie, I learned the art of a romance novel without a clear formula. Her characters aren’t perfect, they meet in strange ways, and struggle with real compatibility issues. I just hope I did my heroes justice.

What are you working on at the moment?

Werewolf Sings the Blues, the second in the Midnight Magic Mystery Series just came out so I’m doing the promotion for that. Next year the third in the series, Witch Upon a Star, comes out in 2015 so I’m doing the edits for that. I’m also fixing up my first in another new series, a steampunk romance entitled Verity Hart Vs. The Vampyres, which should be out sometime this year. Also sometime this year will be the fourth in my F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad series, High Moon, and I pray that by the end of the year the final in my superhero trilogy The Galilee Falls series, Fall of Heroes will also be out. Damn, I better get back to work, huh?

Where can fans find you online?  Tales From the Darkside Blog





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Book Review: Four Weddings and a Werewolf by Kristin Miller


To have and to howl…

Logan Black, former Marine and bodyguard for the Seattle Wolf Pack, hates weddings and has no plan to walk the path to matrimonial misery. But when he’s hired to protect a hot-to-trot wedding planner with a werewolf stalker, he’s forced to put his feelings aside. Not such an easy task when the damsel can turn him on with a single smoldering glance.

Wedding planner Veronica Vale knows werewolves exist, but hates them. One bit her sister, changing their lives forever. When a sexy Marine shows his gorgeous face at one of her wedding appointments, Veronica finds it hard to focus on the task at hand.

The chemistry drawing Logan and Veronica together seems fated, but with Logan’s playboy attitude, Veronica’s hatred for werewolves, and a stalker lurking in the shadows, these two need more than passion to keep them together.

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About the Author: werewolf author

National bestselling author Kristin Miller has had a passion for language and literature her whole life. Born and raised in northern California, she often made up stories about faraway places and edge-of-your-seat adventures. After graduating from Humboldt State University, Kristin taught high school and middle school English, married her college sweetheart, and had two beautiful munchkins. In 2008, she took time off from teaching to raise her children, and started writing while they napped.

Her first novel was published in 2011, and since then she has had eight other novels published with Entangled Covet, Avon/HarperCollins and Harlequin Nocturne. She is the author of the Seattle Wolf Pack series (starting with the national bestselling book Gone with the Wolf), the dark and gritty Vampires of Crimson Bay series and the short-but-steamy Isle of Feralon novellas.






My Review:

Again, I was silly and didn’t realise that this book was one of a series, although this fortunately centred around different characters, so it wasn’t necessary to read the one before. It also caught you up to speed quite quickly too.

With a title like, Four Weddings and Werewolf, it gives you the impression it’s a light hearted paranormal romantic read – and it is. It made me chuckle in places and the male lead Logan was a typical alpha male (pun intended)

The romantic part was a bit predictable for my liking, but the build-up between Veronica and Logan made up for that, although there was an initial attraction they weren’t instantly in love. Many books out there now seem to skip over that part and have their main characters in love before the plot even gets going. The author didn’t gloss over the necessary stages of romance – which I think helps to take the reader right along with the characters.

From a writer’s perspective it flowed nicely, but I did find Veronica a little much in places and would have liked to see her negative bias on shifters shift quicker to move the storyline along easier. The editing was superb, and especially appreciated as I’ve read a lot of Indie books recently where grammar and spelling was all over the place.

The front cover doesn’t give much away and maybe a wedding theme in the background would have spiced it up a bit – but hey, it shows the two main characters off nicely and always helps when imaging them.

Overall I’d give Four Weddings and a Werewolf 4 out of 5 stars – a Werewolf version of The Bodyguard.

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