Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Halloween Blog Tour’

The Kelpie: Trusting Children’s Intellect by T.J. Wooldridge

You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, you write it for children. – Madeleine L’Engle

thekelpie_front_only “One of the (many!) cool things about working with Spencer Hill Press is that I know our rights sales person and we occasionally get to hear feedback from people who want to buy rights for the various books—be they foreign publishers or movie or TV execs.

For The Kelpie, I received rejections saying that it was too complex for them, particularly TV or movies. They didn’t say it was too scary, at least, but we’ll get to that.

Thing is, I had about a dozen beta readers in my “target demographic” – kids 11-13—and they all followed it fine. My crits from them were mostly on how my kids spoke and, especially, how they texted and wrote on Facebook. I also got word from several teachers, librarians, and booksellers that they needed advanced reading for kids in this age bracket. They were running out of stuff.

That warmed my heart.

One of my most admired authors, one who was a light shining through my childhood thanks to her books, is Madeleine L’Engle. I still see kids carrying her books around. Not but a few years ago, they were all re-released with new covers.

There has yet to be a movie or even mini-series that has done any of her work justice.

Maybe it’s not so bad to be “too complex.” That’s why we read, right? Books are written because they are the best medium for the stories they tell.

I wrote The Kelpie for readers. I wrote it for kids.

I’ve always believed most kids are smarter than adults give them credit for. Goodness, I know plenty of kids who are smarter than most adults sometimes. In fact, I would even offer that kids lose some of their spark the older they get, the less they believe. I also believe children are braver than adults. They have to be.

As a kid, everything is still new. And scary. You don’t know a lot and you’re thrust into situations they don’t know and they have to flounder and figure it out. That’s normal life. A kid as to adapt faster than adults. New schools, various family events, changing friends, changing enemies. What you say and do can change things in big scary ways.

Magick exists. Magick is the power of the unknown. The things not yet discovered. It can be amazing and helpful. It can also be terrifying. Deadly.

In books, for children, it’s another thing to adapt to.

Heather, Joe, Rowan, and all my Kelpie kids come up with some pretty unexpected and imaginative ways to cope when magick and the dangerous monsters that turn their world upside down. They have ideas that adults wouldn’t have. Plans that just might work because they haven’t “grown up” too much to discard an “impossible” idea—the idea that just might work.

They don’t disbelieve in the magick. It can hurt them…but it can work for them, too. Because they believe.

Most writers I know share that quality with kids: We haven’t “grown up” too much to discard our “impossible” ideas.

Don’t let anyone tell you that your magickal ideas are impossible, either. They might just be the ideas that work!

Happy Halloween!”

T. J. Wooldridge’s debut novel, The Kelpie, from Spencer Hill Press, will be available through all bookstores (request it if it’s not on the shelf!) and Amazon on December 3rd. You can pre-order your copy today from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your favorite local bookstore!

The Wicked, Weird and Whimsical Words Halloween Blog Tour runs every other day October 23-October 31. Join us all five days for Halloween fun! Be sure to say hello on any post to be entered in a giveaway at the end of the tour!

Thanks to Trisha Wooldridge for her guest post. Be sure and visit the other blog sites for fun Halloween-themed posts (including my guest posts). Coming up on Whimsical Words on All Hallow’s Eve: a bit of Halloween lure from yours truly.

Read Full Post »

Fun Recipes For Halloween By Elizabeth Black

3 Bad Moon Rising small My favorite time of year is the fall. Halloween is my favorite holiday. I like it even more than Christmas.

Fall is also the time for baking. While I make the usual fall goodies like pumpkin bread, banana nut bread, and various types of pies, I like the fun foods for Halloween. The first two recipes here are fun foods ideal for the scariest night of the year. The second two are more traditional fall treats. Enjoy!

BROKEN GLASS CUPCAKES

13 Owl Flying extraIngredients:

1 Can white frosting

1 Box Red Velvet Cake Mix

Sugar Glass:

2 cups water

1 cup light corn syrup

3 1/2 cups white sugar

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Edible Blood:

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup water, or more as needed

15 drops red food coloring

3 drops blue food coloring

Directions:

1- Prepare Red Velvet Cake Mix According to box, line cupcake tins with paper cupcake liners.

2- Divide cake batter between lined cupcake tins.

3- Bake according to box instructions. Let cool and frost cupcakes with white frosting.

4- Make the sugar glass. Mix 2 cups water, 1 cup corn syrup, white sugar, and cream of tartar in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Use a candy thermometer and boil sugar syrup until temperature reaches 300 degrees (hard ball), stirring constantly. The mixture will thicken as water evaporates. When sugar reaches 300 degrees, quickly pour onto a metal baking pan. Cool until completely hardened. Break into “shards” using a meat mallet.

5- Make the edible blood. Mix together 1/2 cup corn syrup and cornstarch in a large bowl. Slowly stir in the 1/4 cup of water, adding more if necessary, until the corn syrup mixture has thickened to the consistency of blood. Stir in the red and blue food coloring.

6- Stab each frosted cupcake with a few shards of broken sugar glass. Drizzle on drops of “blood” to complete the effect.

UNICORN POOP COOKIES

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrq8v9ijPs4&feature=youtu.be

Ingredients:

1 C. sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup shortening

50 gram cream cheese, softened

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 whole egg

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 cup all purpose flour

Preparation Method:

1- Combine butter, shortening and cream cheese in a large bowl, beat together until smooth. Add sugar and salt. Beat until combined. Beat in egg and almond extract until combined and gradually add the flour beating until combined.

2- Form dough into a ball with your hands and then into a log shape, divide the log shape into six portions (or how ever many colours you want).

3- Place each portion of dough into individual bowls and tint the dough different colours.

4- Chill tinted dough in the refrigerator 1 hour or freezer 15-20 minutes.

5- Divide each tinted chilled dough ball into 8 equal pieces.

6- Take one piece of each colour dough ( leaving the rest in the fridge while you work) and roll out like a rope or snake on your counter-top. If you use a piece of waxed paper on the counter, you shouldn’t have to add any flour.

7. Roll the rope shape to about 6 inches long. Continue rolling all the colours and stacking them into a pile. Gently press the ropes together and roll the large multicoloured “rope” on the counter to round and smooth it and if desired to lengthen it to 10 to 12″.

8- Cut the multicoloured “rope” into two pieces, using both hands, roll with your palms in different directions on both end of the rope pieces to twist it gently.

9- Coil the rope into a poop shape, using your imagination as to what you think unicorn poop should look like

10- Press in some silver candy balls (dragee) into the dough pieces to decorate if desired. Place dough on greased cookie sheet (or one covered with parchment or silicone mat) and bake at 375F for 8-10 minutes until cookies are set and bottoms are light brown, they will not spread very much.

11- Cool on wire rack.

12- Coat with sparkle gel and/or disco dust to give them some sparkle and add some sprinkles to the still wet gel for more texture. Let cookies dry completely before stacking.

CARAMEL CORN

5 Gifts in the Dark smallIngredients:

1 1/2 cup Brown Sugar

1/2 cup Butter

1/4 cup Corn Syrup

1/4 cup Molasses

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Maple Syrup

1/3 teaspoon Cream of Tartar

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

4 Quarts Popped Corn

1 1/2 cup Mixed Nuts or Spanish Peanuts

Directions:

1- In saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, molasses, corn syrup, and salt.

2- Boil for 6 minutes, stirring constantly.

3- Add flavorings, cream of tartar, and baking soda.

4- Stir in nuts and cover the nuts completely with the mixture.

5- Stir in popcorn a bit at a time and coat completely.

6- Make sure to mix the nuts well with the popcorn.

7- Bake in 200 degree oven for one hour.

Hint:  Don’t eat it all at once!

MAPLE CANDY

The directions for making maple candy reminds me very much of making English toffee. It’s all in the chemistry.

Ingredients:

2 Cups Fancy-grade Maple Syrup

Directions:

1- In a heavy-bottomed 4-quart pot, boil maple syrup on medium-high heat to 235 degrees F, stirring the surface occasionally to keep it from boiling over.

2- Immediately remove the pot from the heat, leaving the thermometer clipped to the side, and place the pot on a wooden board to cool. (Do not touch the syrup while it is cooling, or large crystals will form.)

3- Cool the mixture to 175 degrees F, approximately 10 minutes.

4- Beat the mixture rapidly and continuously with a wooden spoon until the syrup becomes lighter in color, thick and creamy and begins to lose its gloss (about 4 to 5 minutes).

5- Pour into rubber maple-sugar molds or a buttered pan. If using a pan, score into squares immediately). Set aside to cool.

6- When the candies are cool, turn the molds upside down and remove.

7- Candies will store up to 1 month in a container in a cool, dry space. Makes 18 to 20 one ounce maple leaves.

Hint: The outside temperature dramatically affects the degree to which you boil maple syrup. 235 degrees is considered the “soft ball stage.” To obtain the “soft ball stage”, maple syrup is boiled 22 degrees past the boiling point of water. You will find that water will reach the boiling point at anywhere from 209 degrees to 217 degrees depending on the outside temperature and humidity.

Here’s where to find Elizabeth Black (EA Black) on the web. Friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and check out my books! I’ve included my Amazon author pages for both of my pen names, so whether you’re into sexy or spooky, I have stories for you!”

Elizabeth Black – Blog and Web Site: http://elizabethablack.blogspot.com/

Elizabeth Black – Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elizabethablack

Elizabeth Black – Twitter: http://twitter.com/ElizabethABlack

Elizabeth Black – Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethblack

E. A. Black – Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/~/e/B00BBWHMFM

(Note: Elizabeth Black’s blog contains adult content.)

The Wicked, Weird and Whimsical Words Halloween Blog Tour runs every other day October 23-October 31. Join us all five days for Halloween fun! Be sure to say hello on any post to be entered in a giveaway at the end of the tour!

Thanks to Elizabeth Black for her guest post. (I can’t wait to try out a couple of the recipes). Be sure and visit the other blog sites for fun Halloween-themed posts (including my guest posts). Coming up on Whimsical Words between now and All Hallow’s Eve: speculative authors Trisha Wooldridge and Gail Z. Martin. Missed some of these fabulous guest posts? Check out the Wicked, Weird and Whimsical Words Halloween Blog Tour for links.

Read Full Post »

The Demon and the Author: An Interview by L.C. Hu

“Earl of Hell Glasya-Labolas, aka Obed Brandt, is head of security at the Midnight Carnival. In the spirit of the upcoming observance of All Hallow’s Eve, he has agreed to interview Re-Vamp and Midnight Carnival author L.C. Hu. He gratefully acknowledges Vonnie Winslow Crist for playing host to them.

tumblr_mqxmcbfdjR1scakoko1_500 OB: Good evening, LC. Thank you for joining me. We at the carnival know you as our Ringmaster, in a way, and we’re all curious to know more about what’s behind all those shadows.

LC: Oh, I’m only half the Ringmaster, if that, so don’t give me more credit than is due. But thank you for having me! And I suppose I could let you have a peek.

OB: Much obliged. So, what would draw you to the carnival, as a patron? What kinds of things would you most want to see or experience?

LC: Hmm. The sideshows, I suppose, though part of the carnival’s power, as you know, is to draw people in no matter what their interest. But the sideshows would be what caught my attention. The firebreathing, the tattooed lady, that kind of thing. Part of the draw of those shows are the hopes you’ll catch a glimpse of something really odd, and I think at the Midnight Carnival, you’d see that.

OB: Could you be convinced to stay there?

LC: Oh, probably not, I’m a bit of a coward, heh.

mc_cover OB: Speaking completely hypothetically, of course… if you were to make a deal with a devil, what would you want from the bargain? What would you be willing to do or give up in exchange?

LC: I… I don’t think there’s much that could get me to make a deal with a devil, even one as handsome as yourself. I’m too much of a control freak. I suppose the one exception would be if something threatened one of the people I loved; I should be willing to give up quite a bit to help them. But even that would have to be pretty drastic, as I also feel that some bad situations are just to be endured and learnt from.

OB: Let’s say you did decide to settle in at the carnival. What job would you want? Why do you think that would be a good fit for you?

LC: Ha honestly, I think I’d be fit to maybe sell slushies or do admin work for the Ringmaster. I’m not much of a carnie. Maybe I could take tickets, like Carver does.

OB: You seem very comfortable with horror, and with horror-influenced writing. What draws you to that? What do you like most about it? Least?

LC: I enjoy the tension and release of being afraid and then understanding. I suppose that’s why much of my favorite horror is resolved–not just unfathomable evil (with a few exceptions). There’s an element of mystery to a lot of horror that I’m drawn to. I like puzzling over a story, trying to figure it out, to find out motivations and outcomes. The thrill of the scary moments, and the relief of the resolution. My least favorite thing about horror is that there’s a lot of it that brutalizes or objectifies women, or takes pleasure in the fear of women. We’re 50% of the population, but we get more than 50% of the fictional brutality. Although, sadly, that fact is probably reflected in reality, I wish that fiction could give us more of something else. I also really, really am not into super-sexualized violence against women, and that happens a lot in horror, too.

OB: In the carnival you deal with a wide range of supernatural creatures. What species do you most easily identify with? Which is the hardest for you to relate to?

LC: Oh, werewolves have always been my fictional “spirit animal” of sorts. I can relate to that uncontrollable anger, the beast within as it were, and the struggle to control the animal inside. Hardest to relate to… I suppose the mermaids. That’s just a species I’ve never been super aware of, so I don’t know all the mythology behind the species.

OB: Anything you’d like to add?

LC: Only that Halloween seems like the holiday made for the Midnight Carnival, but that’s the last place I’d want to be on Halloween. You and yours have made it a wonderful, terrible place to be.

OB: Thank you again, LC. A pleasure, as always.

Thanks to Liz Neering for writing Obed Brandt!”

L.C. Hu co-edited and contributed to the anthology Re-Vamp and The Midnight Carnival: One Night Only. To learn more about The Midnight Carnival: One Night Only, available this Halloween, visit maddocsoflit.com or find L.C. Hu at elsiewho.wordpress.com!

The Wicked, Weird and Whimsical Words Halloween Blog Tour runs every other day October 23-October 31. Join us all five days for Halloween fun! Be sure to say hello on any post to be entered in a giveaway at the end of the tour!

Thanks to L.C. Hu for her guest post. Be sure and visit the other blog sites for fun Halloween-themed posts (including my guest posts). Coming up on Whimsical Words between now and All Hallow’s Eve: speculative authors Trisha Wooldridge, Elizabeth Black, and Gail Z. Martin.

Read Full Post »

Stubborn as Summer by Justine Graykin

j_graykin_photo “I’m standing on my deck looking out over the leaf-strewn grass, through the woods towards the wetlands. It is a warm October day, drawing close to Halloween, a time, as we say in New England, when the frost is on the pumpkin.

Except there has been no frost.

It is as if summer is holding its breath, refusing to give way to fall.

I am more than half a century old. This seems to me quite remarkable. I remember a world before computers, before the Internet. My grandmother knew an inconceivable world without telephones, cars, or electricity. I was amazed to think about it when she described that world. Now my children look at me the same way.

This year I finished climbing all the mountains in New Hampshire that are four thousand feet or higher, including the Presidentials, Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison and Monroe, windswept rocky piles where the weather can change quickly, the conditions turn deadly, and lives are lost every year. I hiked those mountains and camped out in them alone.

On the trail, the 20-somethings, 30-somethings, 40-somethings, excused themselves to pass me, striding along, leaving me behind. But I kept plodding along, and I reached the summit eventually through sheer stubbornness.

This year saw the publication of one of my novels, at last, after years of effort, writing and rewriting, submitting and compiling the long list of rejections. At last I had success with Archimedes Nesselrode, a whimsical romantic fantasy rather different from my others. But then again, they are all different from one another. I am asked what kind of fiction I write, and I am at a loss to say. It rambles in all sorts of directions, save one: It is never dark. There is enough suffering in reality. I’ll only allow suffering in my fiction if I can put an end to it.

ANcoverLarrythumb So, publishers seeking dark and dystopian, gritty and urban, heart-breaking, gut-wrenching Oprah books, have passed me by, until now. And readers, exhausted from reading all that emotional mayhem, embrace the gentle humor of Archimedes Nesselrode with delight. Because we all need a bit of fun, a touch of the whimsical, now and again.

At conventions and author events, all those 20-somethings, 30-somethings, 40-somethings have their stack of books, their publishing history. But here I am with Archimedes, and I’ll get there through sheer stubbornness.

In many traditions, Halloween marks the turning of the year. It wears the face of the Crone as it watches summer wither and fade, taking on the appearance of Death as it pulls over its head the cold blanket of winter. But this year, summer digs in its heels, refusing to yield. And here I am, more than half a century old, climbing mountains and persisting in this damn fool ambition to be a writer, suddenly with success. Plodding on. Stubborn as summer.”

Justine Graykin is a writer and free-lance philosopher sustained by her deep, abiding faith in Science, Humanity and the belief that humor is the best anti-gravity device. Author of Archimedes Nesselrode, a book written for adults who are weary of adult books, she is producer of the BroadPod podcast. She lives, writes and putters around her home in rural New Hampshire, occasionally disappearing into the White Mountains with a backpack. You can find her on her website at www.JustineGraykin.com

The Wicked, Weird and Whimsical Words Halloween Blog Tour runs every other day October 23-October 31. Join us all five days for Halloween fun! Be sure to say hello on any post to be entered in a giveaway at the end of the tour.

Thanks to Justine Graykin for her guest post. Be sure and visit the other blog sites for fun Halloween-themed posts (including my guest posts). Coming up on Whimsical Words between now and All Hallow’s Eve: speculative authors L.C. Hu, Trisha Wooldridge, Elizabeth Black, and Gail Z. Martin.

Read Full Post »