Meet Kerri Maniscalco and special guests for her HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA fall tour!

i am so thrilled to announce the fall tour stops for HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA! join me and special guests at each stop while we chat about books and all of our favorite things. we’ll be unveiling more guests over the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned!

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Signed/personalized preorders will be available at each location for anyone who cannot make it out to the event, so check out/contact the bookstores for info on how to place your order. For non-US readers, BOOKS OF WONDER sends out international packages. YAY!

***If you’ll be attending the events, books will be available for purchase there. Both myself and special guests will be there to sign your copies. Please check with the individual bookstores for any special instructions they may have on if they allow other merchandise/books to be brought to the event.

Reminder–save screenshots of your preorder receipts…you’ll need them for the incentive that will be announced before tour. (Yes, the incentive will be international as well–I couldn’t leave out non-US residents!)

***If you want to preorder (through an event bookstore) and still plan on attending the event, please contact the bookstore where your event is taking place. They will have information on how to proceed with your order. 

HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA FALL TOUR

September 19, 2017

East Tennessee History Center

7:30pm

Knoxville, TN

September 22, 2017

Books of Wonder w/special guests TBA

6:00pm

New York, NY

September 23, 2017

Boston Teen Author Festival

Cambridge, MA

September 25, 2017

Quail Ridge Books In conversation with Renée Ahdieh

7:00pm

Raleigh, NC

September 26, 2017

Spellbound Children’s Bookshop w/special guest TBA

6:00pm

Asheville, NC

September 28, 2017

Foxtale Book Shoppe w/special guest TBA

6:30pm

Woodstock, GA

September 29, 2017

Little Shop of Stories w/special guest TBA

7:00pm

Decatur, GA

October 7, 2017

Texas Teen Book Festival

Austin, TX

ahhhhh! two weeks until publication!

Hello friends! i can hardly believe that publication day is just TWO WEEKS from now. OMGGGGGGGG. seriously. how is my book going to be in the world so soon??? i know i’m going to be a teary bucket of emotions come the 20th.

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a few quick things of note as the countdown to publication begins:

* Order two days before: September 22 * 6:30 PM

THE BOOKSELLERS AT LAURELWOOD

Order two days before: September 26 * 6:00PM

Books of Wonder

Order two days before: October 1 * 3:00 PM

QUAIL RIDGE BOOKS

Order two days before: October 2 * 3:00 PM

SPELLBOUND CHILDREN’S BOOKSHOP

Order two days before: October 3 * 3:00 PM

SCUPPERNONG BOOKS

  • lastly, here is a picture of me holding my book for the very first time. i think my expression says it all…HOLY WOW.

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thank you to everyone who’s pre-ordered, shouted from the rooftops, and asked their libraries to order STALKING JACK THE RIPPER. you are so appreciated.

xoxoxo

5 words, 14 letters…I HAVE A BOOK DEAL!

“I can’t believe this is real life” has become my new mantra. If someone were to tell me three weeks ago that I’d be sharing this news with you, I’d think they were crazy. And clearly compulsive liars, and why the heck was I friends with such crazy compulsive liars?! I’d need to look into finding some decent friends…

I’m still shamefully ineloquent right now, so please forgive this rambling mess of emotions. This is a post I’ve been dreaming of, patiently waiting for five years (including query trench time) and (more than) a handful of books later to write. It will be told with a series of accompanying gifs because that’s kinda how I roll.

Guys? I have a book deal.

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Holy state of denial, Batman. Maybe I should say that to myself again, a little louder this time to be sure: I HAVE A BOOK DEAL.

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Like the time I had “THE CALL” with my agent (and was totally convinced Barbara wanted to talk on the phone because she found fancy new ways of lighting my manuscript on fire…using her eyes), I sent my pal A.G. Howard an email, panicking that MAYBE THEY WILL SAY “HAHA JUST KIDDING, NO DEAL HERE, MANIAC. WE FOUND WAYS TO LIGHT YOUR BOOK ON FIRE WITH OUR EYES.”

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Ever the reasonable one, Anita assured me that still wasn’t a thing. So now I’m back to quietly repeating my mantra. I cannot believe it’s happening. Like seriously…what dream world did I teleport to and how long can I stay?!

My editor and publisher (SQUEALS!) were even nice enough to have it announced, so I can now stare at it, all wide-eyed with tears streaming down my face, and keep whispering, “I can’t believe this is real life.”

Here’s the publishers marketplace deal announcement:

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And here’s a screenshot of the Publisher’s Weekly announcement:

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This is what it says: Jenny Bak at Jimmy Patterson Books has bought a YA novel called Of Blood and Shadow by Kerri Maniscalco. The debut gothic thriller, inspired by the Ripper murders, is about a Victorian-era lord’s daughter who defies society expectations by secretly apprenticing as a forensics examiner, and soon finds herself embroiled in the investigation of a serial killer who is stalking London’s East End. The book is scheduled for fall 2016; Barbara Poelle at Irene Goodman Literary Agency negotiated the deal for world English rights.

*jumps up and down* *faints*

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So yeah. It’s really real. I’m not sure I’ll ever wrap my brain around that, and honestly? I hope I never do. This is such an incredible blessing.

Thank you to my family, loved ones, friends, and all of my writing pals (#goatposse) and critique partners and beta readers and agent siblings. And to my superhero/agent goddess, Barbara Poelle, for making this insane dream come true.

And a BIG THANK YOU to my editor. *waves* Hi Jenny! I am ridiculously excited for what comes next!

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Also, I am so grateful and beyond words thrilled to be on this journey with James Patterson and the entire team at JIMMY Patterson Books and Little, Brown. You guys are total dream makers. Thank you forever.

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OF BLOOD AND SHADOW is in the best possible hands and I cannot wait to share these characters and this world with all of you next Fall, dear readers and friends.

And now? WE DRINK CHAMPAGNE AND DANCE.

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OR DANCE IN OUR CHAMPAGNE.

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EITHER WAY WE’RE DANCING AND CHAMPAGNE IS INVOLVED!

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Click here to add OF BLOOD AND SHADOW on goodreads!

an ode to the precious and some gemma doyle fangirling

my latest book haul!

my latest book haul!

books are such magical things. we can open them and be transported to new worlds, new times, and new adventures. we can laugh and cry and shake our fists along with our favorite characters, and we can fall in love and have our hearts broken with them, too. my ya gothic horror is on submission right now, and i’m in the midst of researching and drafting out my latest project to keep from obsessively checking emails from my agent. i’m also binge-reading a bunch of books and loving every second of this part of work. here are a few titles from my recent book haul that i’ve been super excited about reading.

A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY – Libba Bray

ETIQUETTE AND ESPIONAGE – Gail Carriger

A COLD LEGACY – Megan Shepherd

RED QUEEN -Victoria Aveyard

omg the gemma doyle trilogy??? where has it been all my life. so. effing. good. i bought the other two books and am eagerly* awaiting their arrival. i cannot believe it’s taken me so long to get into them.

what debut are you most looking forward to? and what are some of your favorite creepy books? i need to add some more titles to my (ever) growing list!

*by eagerly awaiting i mean pacing back and forth, cursing the mail for being late, and breaking out into a cold, i-NEED-it-now sweat. the next step will be rocking in the corner and smacking my gums until the precious arrives. not pretty.

xx

Book Review: The Cure For Dreaming

CureforDreaming_finalcover (214x324)Title: The Cure For Dreaming

Author: Cat Winters

Publisher: Amulet

Genre: YA Historical

Rating: Five Stars

Jacket Copy:

Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout.

Review:

i cannot even BEGIN to express how much this book kicked ass. i loved Olivia Mead and how determined she was to remain true to herself, despite living in a timeframe where girls and women were supposed to be quiet and content with staying at home, taking care of the menfolk.

that’s not to say it was a guy vs. girl thing. on the contrary, it was a beautiful expression of how important it is to have EQUAL rights across the board. no matter your race, creed, sex, or sexual orientation, you have the right to live your life freely and with respect.

what an empowering and positive read!

it was bittersweet in a way, too. women have come a long way, but we still have so far to go in the equality department. we need to remember that and cherish each other. being a feminist isn’t a dirty word. being a feminist means being proud of being a woman and all the wonderful layers that come with that. we can be strong and weak and emotional and rational and outspoken or shy. we can be intelligent and sexy and cute and fierce and love to be in the kitchen and STILL be feminists. we can be boy crazy one minute and fighting against discrimination the next. we are a thousand things all rolled into one and we are pretty freaking amazing. strapping guns to our hips and ninja-kicking people doesn’t always equal strength. being yourself in a world that’s constantly trying to force you into one box or another is being just as strong, and is hella brave.

i’ve got a whole new appreciation for the suffragists who’ve paved the way for us to be whoever we want to be and wear our identities proudly. we still have to fight the good fight, but we’ll get there. thank you, cat winters, for shining the light on these amazing ladies and their stories.

Hang out with Cat Winters on the interwebs:

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Website

YA Author of FERAL – Holly Schindler – Talks Cats, Creepiness, and Spills Writing Secrets

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Bella getting possessive of FERAL.

As promised in yesterday’s review, I’ve got a nice little treat for you today… Please help me (and Bella) warmly welcome YA Author, Holly Schindler, to our little corner of the interwebs with her fun interview!

Were there times when you were writing FERAL that you found yourself afraid of unexpected noises, or checking over your shoulder for stray cats or creatures lurking near the edge of the woods?

It’s funny—I didn’t.  But my experience with FERAL is quite different than my readers’.  Anyone who picks up the book dives straight into full-blown creepiness (think jumping cannonball style into an ice-cold swimming pool).  For me, the creepiness was more gradual (think edging your way into chilly water slowly, bit by bit).

The book actually started out as an MG mystery, believe it or not.  (When I started revising, the book started getting darker and drifting away from MG—until I felt sure it actually needed to be a YA.)  The MG version was about a girl looking into a cold case—that cold case eventually turned into the far more recent death of Serena Sims as it appears in FERAL.  The death always took place at school, and it always revolved around a “cheating” clue (though “cheating” took on a different meaning when it became YA), and the manner of Serena’s death was always the same.

Once I knew I was going to bump the book up to YA, my main character didn’t work.  (Bumping a book into a different age group SOUNDS simple enough—but oh, boy!  It results in a complete and total overhaul.  Trust me.)  So I had to brainstorm a new seventeen-year-old protagonist.  That’s when I discovered that Claire was the victim of a gang beating—that discovery made me realize the theme would be recovering from violence, and that the genre would be psychological thriller instead of straight mystery (or even horror, as I’d suspected it might be as I started to revise).

I was actually continuing to darken the details all the way through the book’s development once it was acquired at HarperCollins…

I do have a loose idea for a straight teen horror novel, and it’ll be interesting to see how it feels to do the cannonball dive into dark, creepy material.

I am a shameless cat lady and I was genuinely spooked by my little mews, purring contentedly beside me while I read. Where did the idea of these menacing, are-they-or-are-they-not-supernaturally-evil-felines come from?

I’m actually an animal person myself.  I’ve only spent three of my 37 years without an animal of some sort.  I grew up with two cats I loved to pieces—Tuffy, as her name suggests, was born feral.  The creepy use of cats in the book has nothing to do with what I think of cats in general.  I’d love to have another—right now, I’ve got the world’s most spoiled Pekingese.  He’s definitely an only child.  I’m not exactly sure what he’d do if I brought another animal into the house, but my suspicion is that carnage would ensue.

When the book was an MG, I knew I wanted the victim’s corpse in the cold case to be torn apart by Missouri wildlife.  In the original draft, it simply kept the police from accurately pinpointing the manner of death (as it also does in the final version).

Once I started to move the book toward YA (and the murder became recent rather than a cold case), I knew I wanted the cats to play a bigger role.  So much of Peculiar is a mirror-image of the Chicago, reminding Claire of the horrific beating—those cats are a kind of gang, too, just like the human gang that trailed Claire in Chicago.  And Sweet Pea specifically also becomes the vehicle to depict how Claire feels about herself post-beating.

The atmosphere was so beautifully handled and consistent throughout the entire book. You really transported the reader to this small Missouri town and brought it to life, just as if it were a movie unfolding on the big screen. Did you have any audio or visual aides you used while creating the haunted atmosphere of Peculiar, Missouri?

I appreciate that—I think, when you’re writing something that’s a bit more dramatic, plays out scenically rather than internally, hearing that your book unfolding like a movie is one of the best compliments you can receive!

Mostly, I was using my own surroundings.  I’m a lifelong Missouri gal, and I live in Springfield, which is an even mix of urban and rural.  It’s a medium-sized city (third largest in the state) with three universities; I live in a city-style neighborhood, but the end of my neighborhood is marked by a field surrounded with barbed wire.  Barns, hay bales, horses, cows—you can see all that, less than two minutes from my house.

My hometown also got really hammered by a couple of ice storms—one in ’07 and one in ’08.  Those storms made a big impact on me—I’ll never forget the frightening sounds of tree limbs snapping and transformers sparking and not knowing if or when the power would get back on…

I mentioned before that FERAL is a psychological thriller.  It really follows so many classic conventions of the genre: Hitchcockian pace, attention to the main character’s psyche—even those feral cats are a nod to Hitchcock’s THE BIRDS.  Psychological thrillers also frequently use water as a metaphor for the subconscious (the shower scene in PSYCHO, much of WHAT LIES BENEATH).  The ice storm is also making use of the water metaphor—here, it symbolizes Claire’s frozen inner state, her inability to move on after a violent attack.

Who were some of your favorite authors growing up, and did any of their stories or styles help you with the crafting of this novel?

I mostly read contemporary realism.  I’m a child of the ‘80s, so you can picture me in a perm and giant glasses, combing the library for Judy Blume books.  I stumbled on a Christopher Pike book in junior high—FALL INTO DARKNESS—and I fell in love.  I’d read a few mysteries before, of course, but this was the first adventure-driven book I’d read.  There was something so compelling about it…I wound up reading every Pike book I could get my hands on after that.  It made a big impact, that’s for sure.

In the spirit of Halloween, and the scary thrill-ride that is FERAL, what’s something that terrifies you now? Or even something that scared you as a kid?

Heights.  I’m terrible with heights.  Probably because my vision absolutely stinks—20/700.  Yeah.  I know.  The silliest thing that makes my skin crawl?  Slugs.  Slugs drive me crazy.

What’s a fun fact that no one knows about FERAL?

It’s kind of a fun fact about me as a writer…If I want to completely turn off my inner critic, I take my glasses off while I draft.  My eyesight’s so crummy, I can’t see the screen.  If I can’t see the screen, I can’t get nitpicky.  It’s cool when a “weakness” turns out to be a blessing in disguise, isn’t it?

Holly SchindlerHolly Schindler is the author of the critically acclaimed A BLUE SO DARK (Booklist starred review, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year silver medal recipient, IPPY Awards gold medal recipient) as well as PLAYING HURT (both YAs).

Her debut MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, also released in ’14, and became a favorite of teachers and librarians, who used the book as a read-aloud.  Kirkus Reviews called THE JUNCTION “…a heartwarming and uplifting story…[that] shines…with vibrant themes of community, self-empowerment and artistic vision delivered with a satisfying verve.”

FERAL is Schindler’s third YA and first psychological thriller.  Publishers Weekly gave FERAL a starred review, stating, “Opening with back-to-back scenes of exquisitely imagined yet very real horror, Schindler’s third YA novel hearkens to the uncompromising demands of her debut, A BLUE SO DARK…This time, the focus is on women’s voices and the consequences they suffer for speaking…This is a story about reclaiming and healing, a process that is scary, imperfect, and carries no guarantees.”

Keep up with Holly online:

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Website

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FERAL jacket copy:

The Lovely Bones meets Black Swan in this haunting psychological thriller with twists and turns that will make you question everything you think you know.

It’s too late for you. You’re dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a way to start anew.

But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger, and her fears are confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town’s feral cats. While everyone is quick to say it was an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it, and vows to learn the truth about what happened.

But the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley….

Holly Schindler’s gripping story is filled with heart-stopping twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very last page.

Interested in watching the book trailer? Check out the link by clicking H E R E.

Book Review: FERAL by Holly Schindler

Feral HC

Title: FERAL

Author: Holly Schindler

Imprint: Harper Teen

Rating: Five stars

Holly Schindler’s FERAL promised to be like THE LOVELY BONES meets BLACK SWAN and it did not disappoint. From the first two opening scenes, I knew this was going to be one of those true psychological thrillers, emphasis on the psychological aspect.

*pumps fists*

I was disturbed.

I was horrified.

I was cringing back from the pages, peering through my fingers, and feeling so utterly overwhelmed. I freaking LOVED it.

Schindler did a phenomenal job with making the reader FEEL like they were slowing becoming unhinged and unbalanced right along with the main character. I love books with unreliable narrators, and Claire, the MC, is absolutely convincing in this role. It’s so hard to come across a contemporary novel that really takes the reader on a psychological mind melt, and this work has definite nods towards classic masters (like Hitchcock) in this genre. I felt myself questioning my own sanity and judgment of what was real and what could be fantasy with each new page I turned.

The atmosphere in FERAL was also extremely well crafted. I could clearly picture being in this creepy, foggy town that lived up to its name of “Peculiar.” The entire cast of characters added to this haunted setting – and at times it felt like it had shades of Stephen King’s horrorlicious style. I love how King can make a small town absolutely terrifying, even by having a character simply walk to the store for some milk while you’re screaming “Look behind you!” only to realize that all is safe…for now. Schindler did that beautifully. You find yourself constantly on edge, wondering what horror is going to take place next, and questioning everyone and their motives.

Characters are not all perfect, the good ones have flaws, and blemishes and chinks in their armor. It’s what being human is all about, and FERAL is great with delving into humanity. Victims of violence go through a multitude of emotions, and not all of them are going to be pleasant. Sometimes we have to learn who we’re not before we become the person we’re meant to be. I loved Claire. She had ups and downs, and I was right there with her throughout her journey.

My mews.

My mews.

Hands down, I’d recommend this book to anyone who’s a fan of true psychological thrillers. Bella gives it two paws up as is evident in this pic.

I had a wonderful opportunity to fangirl like crazy talk to Holly Schindler after I read the book, and am happy to share some of what she said with you tomorrow on the blog!

In the meantime, Readers, who are some of your most memorable unreliable narrators?