Archive for the ‘Paranormal’ Category

Author Mary Cunningham is excited to announce the release of the 5th and final book in the award-winning series Cynthia’s Attic, “The Legend of Lupin Woods” (as usual, it’s filled with fun, time travels, colorful characters, unexpected twists and… yours truly is in it!).

Cynthia’s Attic: The Legend of Lupin Woods (Book 5)

Cynthia and Gus have solved a lot of mysteries across time, but something is seriously wrong and things are beginning to unravel.

Aunt Belle is missing…again! Cynthia’s great-grandfather, Beau, was never found! And now they are wondering if Blackie is still making life miserable for Lilly and Annie.

This time, the twelve-year-old girls journey into a strange woods full of frightening creatures and dark secrets in search of answers.

From Aunt Belle’s cottage to a small village in France, they meet new friends and discover a connection to New Orleans that may lead to the devious source behind these alarming developments. Or bigger trouble.


Read an excerpt from Cynthia’s Attic: The Legend of Lupin Woods

My back pressed against a small tree as I peered over one shoulder, then the other. More blackness. I pulled my knees tight to my chest to create as small a target as possible. If I could keep still until morning, this place might be less formidable.

Those eyes … did they just move? Hair stood straight up on my neck as a low growl inched ever closer. I sucked in one last breath and hid my face waiting for a fatal blow or bite.

“Well, well. What do we have here?” My head jerked skyward. Yellow eyes hovered over me. “Cat got your tongue?”

The creature bent down and poked my upper arm with a furry finger. I wanted so badly to run, but sheer terror kept me plastered to the tree.
The hulking figure straightened and chuckled. “I’m not planning to hurt you. What are you doing in Lupin?”

Lupin? I tried to answer, but dryness gripped my throat as if I’d swallowed an entire sandbox. Plus, an ominous word jumped into my brain. I’d heard something that sounded a lot like lupin once before. It was at the movies! Wolfman. Oh, no. Lupine is another name for wolf! Was I in a wolf forest?

My eyes scanned the treetops. I might be saved if the sun rose soon, but light would have to pass through the dense canopy, and from where I sat, that seemed doubtful. The beast must’ve read my mind.

“If you’re waiting for sunrise, you’ll be disappointed.” It smiled–or made a weak attempt–revealing huge, pointy teeth. “Instead of night and day, around here we have night and black.”
I gulped and finally manufactured enough spit to choke out four words. “Why-am-I-here?”

Visit Cynthia’s Attic Blog for a schedule of The Legend of Lupin Woods Blog Tour!


Mary Cunningham: Like Cynthia and Gus, my childhood best friend, Cynthia and I grew up in a small, Southern Indiana town…the setting for the series. Not one summer day passed that we weren’t playing softball, hide and seek, badminton, or croquet with friends in the vacant lot behind Becky’s house.

In my attempt to grow up, I joined The Georgia Reading Association, and the Carrollton Creative Writers Club. When giving my fingers a day away from the keyboard, I enjoy golf, swimming and exploring the mountains of West Georgia where I live with my husband and adopted furry, four-legged daughter, Lucy. Together we’ve raised three creative children and are thrilled with our 2 granddaughters.

At last count, I’ve moved 9 times to six different states (all after the age of 36), and aside from the packing and unpacking, it’s been a great experience, having made some very dear and lasting friendships. My non-writing time is spent showing power point presentations on gathering ideas and the writing process to schools and libraries.

Mary Cunningham Books

Smashwords Ebooks

Cynthia’s Attic Series for ‘Tweens on YouTube


Review: “Curse of the Bayou” and “The Magician’s Castle” by Mary Cunningham

Have you ever dreamed of traveling in time, uncovering secrets from the past, taking a ship cruise from Paris to America, enrolling in a colorful circus, fighting dangerous pirates and visiting a magician’s castle? Here’s your chance with Mary Cunningham’s series “Cynthia’s Attic”!

In the third installment of the series “Curse of the Bayou“, tomboy Gus and picture-perfect Cynthia are on they way to dust away the mist wrapping the disappearance of Beau Connor, Cynthia’s great-grandfather. They’ll have to deal with a hungry alligator, awful dumplings, a bunch of colorful pirates and their parrot (keep an eye on your belongings with him) and a very special puma. You’re in 1914 New Orleans!

In “The Magician’s Castle“, Gus, Cynthia and their friend Annie will have to cruise between a chilling castle and a farm, fight a ruthless antique seller and help a century-old love story end with a “happily ever after”. A pretty heavy program, but not heavy enough to scare our sassy and inventive twelve year old.

A light-hearted action-packed comedy adventure that would make a great family movie or miniseries. Gus and Cynthia’s fans won’t be disappointed as they meet old acquaintances and make new friends in a whirlwind of humor, aventure and green and purple lights. A pleasant trip to the past…and the future.

Buy the books:’s%20Attic&page=1
Visit Mary Cunningham’s website:

Young author (and YABooks Central YA Goddess) Kimberly Pauley answers my questions about vampires, getting published, young adult books and tells us more about her upcoming projects…

Howdy Kim, welcome to the new & improved “Veronika Asks”! Ready for some vampire and YA chit chat? First, how would you describe yourself in three words?
Um…short weirdo.

A little bit of Astrology now: you’re Aquarius, aren’t you? They’re known for being honest, friendly and optimistic, but also unpredictable and contrary. Do you match your sign description?
Yep, I am. And I’d say those things fit me pretty well, all in all. I used to have this book called Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs and it always amazed me how well the description pegged me (except for the part about being blond and blue-eyed).

Your first YA novel “Sucks to Be Me: The All-True Confessions of Mina Hamilton, Teen Vampire (maybe)” was released in paperback on August 11th 2009. Tell us more about Mina Hamilton! And first question (can’t help it): who picked the title? 🙂
My editor came up with the title. The original title that I wrote it under was “This Bites” but then a bunch of vampire books came out with “bites” in the title so we went back to the drawing board.  It’s a story about a girl who’s parents are vampires and she’s being made to choose whether or not she wants to be one too – in a month’s time. And she’s got to go to “vampire classes” when she’d really just rather be a normal teenager.

I’ve heard there will be a sequel named “Still Sucks to Be Me”, out in September 2010…
Yep! Though the date was recently moved up to May 11th, 2010, which I am super happy about.

Why vampires? Do you think they are now a part of Pop Culture?
Vampires have always been a part of pop culture. Vampire myths have been around essentially as long as humans have been – and they exist in some form in pretty much every culture. They come and go in popularity, but they are always around.
I never thought I’d write a book about them, but goes to show that you never know what will happen!

You’re a big “Twilight” fan (you even mention Stephenie Meyer in the first chapter of your novel). Some people say authors try to surf on the vampire wave created by Stephenie to attract “vampire lover” readers. What would you answer to this?
I’m sure that some authors have done that. However, people don’t realize how s-l-o-w the publishing business is. Anything you see on a shelf today was written ages ago (usually). I wrote my book before Twilight came out, in fact (though it didn’t appear on shelves until 2008), and a lot of other vampire books hit the shelves around the same time as Twilight, which means they were written probably between 2001 and 2004.
The original reference in my book was actually to Anne Rice (since I hadn’t even heard of Stephenie Meyer when I wrote the book), but my editor and I decided to change it Meyer since she had become such a pop culture phenomenon and we weren’t sure as many teens would know who Anne Rice was today (she no longer writes vampire novels, in fact).

If, like Mina, you had to choose whether to stay human or become a vampire, what would you do?
If I were in the exact same position as Mina, I would probably choose to become one. But it’s hard to say unless you are actually faced with the decision.

How did your passion for reading and writing start? Is “Sucks to Be Me” your first completed novel (or do you hide some more unpublished gems in your desk)?
I’ve always been a reader and a writer. I do have some other unfinished manuscripts, but Sucks to Be Me was my first completed novel. Now that the second book is wrapped up, I’m working on a new book. It’s also a fantasy, but it doesn’t have any vampires in it. J

How did you get “Sucks to Be Me” published? Tell us more about your journey in the publishing world! What was the coolest thing? And the most difficult (and unexpected)? Do you have some tips for an aspiring author willing to be published?
Well, I’d been sending it out to agents and they all pretty much said the same thing: we like your “voice” but we don’t think vampires are a good sell these days (remember, this was back before Twilight hit big). I was about to try and re-write it without vampires of just work on something else when a friend of mine mentioned that her editor was looking for paranormal YA. She introduced me and they ultimately bought it (though it took them almost a year to decide).
Strangely enough, I got the news that I was getting published the exact same week that I found out I was pregnant.
As for some writing tips, I’ve got some on my website: and I also host an online Writing Camp.

You’re the owner (and YA Goddess) of the popular “YABooks Central” website, revolving around YA books, YA authors, YA reviews…well, everything YA. How did it start? What can your readers expect from “YABooks Central” in the future?
It started back in 1998. Originally, I was a “guide” with the Mining Company, which then became which then ditched most of their teen sites. So I started up YA Books Central because I had all these great author interviews and reviews. I’ve expanded it over the years and now have a staff of volunteer reviewers. We’ll continue to do giveaways every month and post reviews and interviews and more. I expect to hit 20,000 reviews this coming year.

On your website, you’ve reviewed hundreds of YA books and interviewed dozens of YA authors. Do you have a few favourite books/authors to remember?
I loved interviewing Clive Barker. He was just cooler than cool and I got to chat with him on the phone for an hour. And I adore Neil Gaiman (who doesn’t?). Honestly, I’ve pretty much yet to meet a YA (or other) author I didn’t like.

Is there a book you wish you’d written?
Hmmmmm. Maybe Coraline?

Do you plan on writing something unrelated to vampires and Mina Hamilton? Tell us a little bit more about your projects…
Yes, definitely. I’m working on something now about a teen girl with an unwanted (kinda useless) “super” power who stumbles into a celebrity kidnapping/murder mystery. And the next one I plan on picking up after that is probably an idea I have about the adopted son of Death. And there’s a joint project I’m working on with a friend.

The infamous “Nothing-in-common-with-books-question”: you’ve just found $100, how will you use your newly acquired money?
Hm. I really don’t know. I’d say The Sims 3, but I never have time to play anymore!


Author & Book: An impossible question
Movie & TV show: The Princess Bride and, um, well, Eureka or Glee.
Food: I’d say chocolate, but right now I’m craving potatoes. Love ‘em. Any kind.
City: Oh, that’s tough. I just like cities to wander around in!
Music: That’s harder than picking a book! Anything but country.
Hobby: Too many: painting, knitting, making soap, baking…basically, just making stuff.
Place to write in: my office at night, when the rest of the house is quiet
Quote or Motto: “Being intelligent is not a felony.  But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.” —Lazarus Long (Robert. A. Heinlein)

“Tea or Coffee?”

Tea or Coffee? Coffee.
Saturday night. Disco & Restaurant or Home, Books & DVDs? Home, Books & DVDs!
Going on holidays. Beach or Mountains? Hm. Before, when we lived in Florida, I’d definitely say Mountains. Now? Kind of a toss-up.Sleepy Little Town or Crazy Megapolis? To visit? Crazy Megapolis.
Pick a DVD: Comedy or Weepy Drama? Comedy, definitely.
Like To Travel or Hate to Move? Like to Travel
Sport Lover or Couch Potato? Couch potato, sadly
Leader or Follower? Observer
Shy or Easy-going? Mostly Easy-going, but with snark on the side.
Serious or Funny? Funny

Thank you, Kim!
You can learn more about Kimberly Pauley and her books at
And don’t forget to discover for YA books, news and reviews!

Kelley ArmstrongBest-selling author Kelley Armstrong answers my questions about writing, werewolves and the Women of the Otherworld and tells us more about her upcoming books…

Hi Kelley, thank you for being on “Veronika Asks” for the October special! First, would you please introduce yourself to our readers? How would you describe yourself in three words?
I’m the author of the “Women of the Otherworld” paranormal suspense series, “Darkest Powers”  YA urban fantasy trilogy, and the Nadia Stafford crime series.  I grew up in Ontario, Canada, where I still live with my family.  A former computer programmer, I’ve now escaped my corporate cubicle and hope never to return.
How would I describe myself in three words?  Averse to normality.

“Frostbitten”, the tenth novel in the “Women of the Otherworld” series is on stores this month. Can you tell us more about it?
It returns to my first and most popular heroine, werewolf Elena Michaels.  Together with her husband, she goes to Alaska to warn a young werewolf that he’s in trouble…and gets into a whole lot of trouble herself.

Can we have a few tiny spoilers about the 11th “Otherworld” book? Some hints, maybe…
It’s done, so I can give a few hints <grin>  The narrator is Savannah Levine, who has grown up over the course of the series, having first appeared in Stolen at the age of 12.  In book 11 (Waking the Witch) she’s 21 and gets her first investigation.

And in December 2009 comes out “Angelic”, a short novella (in limited edition!)… What is it about, why a novella and why in limited edition?
I don’t get a lot of opportunity to publish novellas and I have a lot of ideas that just aren’t novel length.  The requests I get are for anthologies where they want a specific theme, meaning I can’t use one of my ideas!  With Subterranean Press, I get the chance to write about anything I want–in this case, it’s an Eve Levine story.  They do a fancy hardcover edition with four original full-colour illustrations, which is why it’s a limited edition. I did a short story for them last year and was thrilled with the result.

Why did you choose to write about witches, vampires and werewolves? How was the “Otherworld” series born?
I love writing paranormal fiction.  I’ve been fascinated by the supernatural since childhood.  When Bitten sold, the plan was to follow up with another stand-alone supernatural thriller.  Then my publishers suggested turning it into a series.  I loved the idea, but couldn’t imagine a whole series on Elena so I introduced other supernatural types in Stolen.

You’re now a New York Times bestselling author. Do you remember how it all started? Can you tell us more about your “Want my book published” quest?
I’ve been writing all my life.  In my twenties I started working on novels, and would sporadically send out query letters and sample chapters, but never got anything more than a form letter rejection. When I finished Bitten, I had an instructor look at it, to see how well I was progressing.  He offered to recommend it to an agent, and things happened very quickly from there.  Within a couple of months I went from being unpublished to having multiple book contracts.  So it was a long empty road, with a very quick stop at the end!

How do you explain such a success? Why do you think paranormal novels are so popular nowadays?
I wish I knew! I’ve heard many theories floated, but I suspect it’s just the cyclical nature of the medium.  Paranormal books come into fashion, then fade out, and after they’ve been gone a while, people are hungry for them again.

How do you work? Do you have a few rituals or habits that help you?
I don’t really have any rituals or habits.  That’s a necessity for me.  With a full household of husband, kids and pets, I need to be able to jump into writing at a moment’s notice.  If I could only write at certain times, under certain circumstances, I’d be in big trouble.  My basic routine is to start when they kids go to school and work (writing, editing, outlining, etc) until they come home, then get things like business done after dinner and on weekends.  It’s not a regular 9-to-5, Monday-to-Friday job–I can say that much!

What do you think is the perfect “paranormal fiction” cocktail?
I’m not sure there is one.  I know what works for me as a reader–fast-pacing, high action, humour, light romance and good world-building.

If you had a magic wand, how would you use it?
That’s one of those questions that requires a big answer, like the kind they give in beauty pageants.  Bring world peace, end world hunger…

I see there’s a Role Playing Game devoted to the “Otherworld”. If you could live in the “Otherworld”, who would you be?
Which character? None. LOL  There’s not one of my characters I’d trade lives with.  Now, if you forced me to become one, I’d pick Elena, mainly because we share a lot of superficial qualities–same age, similar educational background, Canadian, married, kids.

Is there a book you wish you’d written?
Oh, there are lots!  At least a few times a year, I pick up a book and think “I wish I could write like that.”  I know my strengths and weaknesses as a writer, and I envy anyone whose strengths are my weaknesses.

What are you working on right now?
I just finished my fourth young adult novel, and I’m currently proofreading the third–The Reckoning–which comes out in May.

Do you want to add something (or perhaps wish a happy Halloween to our readers? While we’re at it, do you celebrate it and how?)?
Yes, a huge Happy Halloween to all.  It’s always been a favourite holiday of mine.  I used to decorate my parents’ house with a front yard cemetery, tableau in the garage etc.  Unfortunately, where I live now, we’re lucky to get one trick-or-treater a year–it’s a rural area and religiously conservative (many kids don’t go out for Halloween)

Finally, the “Nothing-to-do-with-books-question”: you’ve found $100, how will you use your newly acquired money?
Books of course!


Author & Book: Richard Adams, Watership Down
Movie & TV show: The Princess Bride, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Food: Cheesecake
City: Montreal
Music: Just regular top-forties rock/pop
Hobby: Reading!
Place to write: Curled up in a recliner
Quote or Motto: Mae West quote: When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I’ve never tried before.

“Tea or Coffee?”

Tea or Coffee? Coffee.
Saturday night. Disco & Restaurant or Home, Books & DVDs? Home with books and DVDs
Going on holidays. Beach or Mountains? Mountains
Sleepy Little Town or Crazy Megapolis? Hmmm, prefer rural life, but if it had to be urban, I’d go with the big city
Pick a DVD: Comedy or Weepy Drama? Not really keen on either…
Like To Travel or Hate to Move? Both.  I like travelling for business/pleasure, but I don’t like moving permanently
Sport Lover or Couch Potato? Couch potato
Leader or Follower? Leader (I’m bossy)
Shy or Easy-going? Shy
Serious or Funny? Both

Thank you, Kelley!
You can learn more about Kelley Armstrong and her books at

Laurie Faria StolarzAcclaimed author (“Blue is for Nightmares” and “Deadly Little Lies” series) Laurie Faria Stolarz answers my questions about Wicca, Salem and writing and tells us more about her upcoming books & scary urban legends…

Hi Laurie, welcome to “Veronika Asks” for the October special! Would you please say a few words about yourself? Could you describe yourself (then your books) with three words?
I’m laid back, motivated, and perceptive.  For my books: suspenseful, humorous, romantic.

“Deadly Little Lies” will be out in November 2009. Can you reveal a few spoilers about those little lies (tell the truth!)?
There are so many lies in DEADLY LITTLE LIES.  Just when you think you know who’s telling the truth, you find out that person might be lying.  I’m really excited about the release.  I think fans of DEADLY LITTLE SECRET will be pleased with this latest installment of the TOUCH SERIES.  There are tons of twists and turns and a romantic triangle develops.

You wrote the bestselling series “Blue is for Nightmares”. Can you pitch it in a few lines, to spark the interest of those who haven’t read it yet?
The BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES SERIES centers around Stacey Brown, a 16-year-old hereditary Witch who experiences premonitions about the fate of herself and her friends.  She uses folk magic as a way to bring those premonitions to fruition, so she can stop the impending danger before it’s too late.

The graphic novel “Black is for Beginnings” is in bookstores since September 2009. What can we except from Stacey and her friends in this new addition to the series? Will there be another book?
When my editor approached me with the idea of writing a graphic novel, I was very intrigued because it gave me the opportunity to not only try something new, but to really picture the book as a movie.  I have a background in screenwriting and wrote BLACK IS FOR BEGINNINGS in screenplay format, adding in ideas for illustrations and sidebars.  It was an absolute thrill to write, and to have the opportunity to work with an illustrator for these characters and situations I’d created.  BLACK IS FOR BEGINNINGS does not take the place of a regular prose novel in the series.  It is a companion piece, complimenting the entire series as a whole.  It picks up where RED IS FOR REMEMBRANCE left off, and also shows some fan-favorite scenes from the entire series.  As for another book in the series, I’m not sure yet.  I’m open to the idea, so we’ll see.  A spin-off or companion series could also be fun.

You were born in Salem (who doesn’t know about the Salem Witch Trials?). Is there a connection between your hometown and your writing?
Yes and no.  I first started BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES in an adolescent fiction writing workshop in graduate school.  I knew I wanted to write a mystery/thriller. I loved suspense novels as a young adult and I really wanted to write something that would have appealed to me at that age, adding in elements of humor, romance, and drama. When I started the novel, I had no idea I would delve into the world of magic and witchcraft – that is until I did a free-writing exercise in my workshop class.  I wrote a scene in which Stacey, my main character, was meditating in front of a blue candle. Students in my class suggested that since Stacey had a candle, and since I’m originally from Salem, I make her a practicing Wiccan.

A very predictable question for an author writing about magic: do you believe in magic, witches and supernatural powers?
Having been raised in Salem, MA, and having done a lot of research on Witchcraft, I do have a lot of respect for the Wiccan religion.  Growing up, it was really no big deal to have practicing Wiccans in class with you in school.  They’re normal people, with normal jobs, who go about their normal lives.  It’s a major religion in Salem, and people take it very seriously.  I think Salem’s biggest influence on me is that I’m open to that.  But, no, I am not a Witch and do not practice magic, though I do love home remedies and lighting an occasional soy candle.

When did you start writing? Was the road to the publishing house quick and easy or long and tiring?
I tried selling my first novel BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES for over two years before I finally found an editor who was willing to work with me.  That editor, Megan Atwood, though no longer at Llewellyn Publications, was really excited about the project and so I knew I was in good hands.

Finding a suitable agent or editor is a full-time pursuit and luckily I didn’t give up – even 50 rejection letters later.  When I was trying to sell, I kept a log detailing to whom I had sent my work, what exactly I had sent (i.e. a query letter, sample pages, the full manuscript), how long he or she had kept it, and what the outcome was.

My favorite rejection letter came from an editor who said: “While this is an interesting project, I do not feel it is strong enough to compete in today’s competitive young adult market.” That same young adult novel (Blue is for Nightmares) has sold over 150,000 copies, was named a Reluctant Reader Quick Pick through the American Library Association, a Popular Paperback, was nominated for YALSA’s Top Ten Teen pick list, and has been translated into a dozen different languages.  When I speak to young people and aspiring writers, I always tell them this story, that if I had stopped persevering, I may never have been able to enjoy the success of my work.

How do you work? Do you have some rituals or habits? What about the writer’s block?
I don’t have any rituals or habits, except that when I’m on deadline, I write at least 10 pages per week.

As for writer’s block, I don’t allow myself to get it.  Whenever I get stuck in my writing, I grab a notebook and pen, and get away from the computer.  I start taking notes on my work in progress – where I am in my story, what I know for sure, and where I need to be.  I remind myself of my main character’s motivations and obstacles, and try to think of new and interesting ways to throw my reader off track.

Catastrophe scenario: imagine you wake up tomorrow and find out you’re not an author anymore. What will you do?
I love health and nutrition.  I think I might go back to school to become out a holistic nutritionist.  I’d also take a trip to Maui.

If you had a faerie in a bottle granting you three wishes, what would you ask for?
To end suffering, poverty, and intolerance.

Do you know a scary urban legend you’d like to share?
Yes, when I was writing PROJECT 17, I did a ton of research on the former Danvers State Hospital, the abandoned mental institution on which the novel is based.  When I was in high school, the hospital would get broken into on a regular basis.  Kids would go up there at night, searching for adventure.  The hospital, now mostly condos, is rumored to have been haunted as a result of all the suffering that went on there.  The hospital was also built on the land where Judge Hathorne’s, (the judge for the Salem Witch Trials), house had been.  I spoke with a psychic claiming to have gone to Danvers to do a séance shortly after it’d been closed down.  According to her, when she climbed the main steps of the Kirkbride Building, she got violently ill, completely disturbed by what she’d sensed.

If you could trade places with anybody for one day, who would that be?
Seriously?  My cat.  She sleeps for most of the day, stops for a little playtime, eats really well, and gets lots of attention.

Do you celebrate Halloween? If you do, how? Can you remember your best/worst Halloween memory? Who would go as this year?
Yes, I celebrate by taking my kids trick-o’-treating.  We hit the retirement home first, and then make our way around the neighborhood.  We decorate the house with faux-cobwebs, spiders, a black cauldron that gives off fog, and jack-o’-lanterns.  We also play scary music that blares out the windows, so passersby can hear.  My worst Halloween story?  I spent the evening in Salem – it’s like Mardi Gras in Salem on Halloween.  Some guy wearing a Michael Myers hockey mask (from the movie Halloween) followed me all over the city.  He never said a word and I couldn’t get away from him.

Could you advise some good Halloween-themed reads for those who want to feel All Hallow’s Eve magic during whole October?
Anything by Stephen King.

What are you working on next? Do you wish to add something, Laurie?
I’m currently working on DEADLY LITTLE GAME, the third book in the TOUCH SERIES.  I’m also working on DO YOU SEE, the third book in the Amanda Project.

I’d like to also inform readers about the contest I’m currently running, the winner of which could have their creative writing critiqued by my editor.


1.  Go get yourself a copy of BLACK IS FOR BEGINNINGS.
2.  Read it.
3.  Come up with a playlist of at least 10 songs based on BLACK IS FOR BEGINNINGS. The songs can be of any music genre and of any time period you feel is most suitable (feel free to mix things up).  Send the list, along with a brief explanation for each song, as to why you think it’s a good fit for the book, to:  Winning entries will reflect an understanding of the book’s themes, characters, issues, scenes, and overall story.  The winning playlist will appear on my site, along with your first name.

FORMAT: Your entries should appear like this:  “Name of Song” by “Artist.”  I chose this song because it reminds me of the scene where Stacey blah, blah, blah…
DEADLINE: Midnight, EST, October 15, 2009.
NOTIFICATION: Winners will be notified no later than November 1st, 2009.
PRIZE: The winner of the contest will get to have up to ten pages of his or her creative writing, (12-point font, double-spaced, standard margins), critiqued by Brian Farrey, my amazing and talented acquisitions editor at Llewellyn/Flux Publications (the publisher of my BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES series).
ALTERNATE PRIZE: If you are not a creative writer and would prefer an alternate prize, my publisher is having some BLACK IS FOR BEGINNINGS apparel made up (we’re thinking it might be a T-shirt or sweatshirt – details coming soon).  It’ll have a graphic from “BLACK” on there, and if you’d like I can autograph it for you.


Also, I will be announcing a TOUCH SERIES contest very soon, the winner of which will get a minor character in DEADLY LITTLE GAME, the third book in the TOUCH SERIES named after him or her.  Details coming soon, so please keep checking my website:

And here comes the “Nothing-to-do-with-books-question” I’ve been asking for three years: you’ve found $100, how will you use your newly acquired money?
I’d use it toward a day at the spa. It’s been way too long since I’ve treated myself to a seaweed wrap and massage.


Author & Book: Can’t pick just one, but one of my favorite books of all time is The Awakening by Kate Chopin.  As for what I’m reading at the moment, I’m currently on an Ellen Hopkins spree.
Movies: Never Been Kissed, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Juno, Green Card, Once, The Devil Wears Prada, Bridget Jones Diary, Thelma & Louise, Mean Girls, Moonstruck, Clueless, Under the Tuscan Sun, and anything with John Cusack.
TV shows: The Hills, The City, Real Housewives of (wherever), The Real World, America’s Next Top Model, and Supernatural.
Food: Indian food – onion chutney, curried vegetables, and kashmir bread. I also love cheeseless pizza from Bertucci’s.
City: Paris.
Music: Fergie, James Blunt, Tori Amos, Sting, Sarah MacLachlin, Gwen Stefani, Black-eyed Peas, Gavin Rossdale
Hobbies: Walking, napping, cooking, shopping, interior decorating.
Place to write in:  My office.
Quote or Motto: Perseverance is key.

“Tea or Coffee?”

Tea or Coffee? Coffee.  Bold and black.
Saturday night. Disco & Restaurant or Home, Books & DVDs? Restaurant with friends.
Going on holidays. Beach or Mountains? Beach.
Sleepy Little Town or Crazy Megapolis? Crazy Megapolis.
Pick a DVD: Comedy or Weepy Drama? Depends on my mood.
Like To Travel or Hate to Move? Like to travel.
Sport Lover or Couch Potato? Wannabe couch potato who does dance-aerobics, yoga, Pilates, and plays tennis.  I do love my potato time, though.
Leader or Follower? Leader.
Shy or Easy-going? Easy-going.
Serious or Funny? Both.

Thank you, Laurie!
You can learn more about Laurie Faria Stolarz and her books at

Laurie’s Reading List for Halloween
Anything by Stephen King.

Mindy KlaskyWitches, spells, sparkles, lots of laughs and romance with Mindy Klasky and her bewitching heroine, Jane Madison.

Hi Mindy, welcome to Veronika Asks! Please introduce yourself…
Thank you, Veronika! It’s a pleasure to be here! I am the author of eight published novels. I started out writing traditional fantasy (SEASON OF SACRIFICE and five volumes of the Glasswrights Series), but now I’m writing contemporary paranormal romance (with a humorous flair.) When I’m not writing, I work as a librarian for a national law firm – I manage seven libraries in fourteen cities. I’m also a wife and mother to two very needy cats.

If you could describe yourself with three words…
Quirky, optimistic, and hungry. (Maybe I shouldn’t be answering these questions at the end of a long work day 🙂 )

I usually ask the Astrology question, but I don’t know your sign. Are you interested in Astrology? What is your sign? Do you match your sign description?
I am a Libra. While I’m intrigued by some astrology, I’ve never studied it in depth. I find that I am – in many ways – a typical Libra, according to the various horoscopes and other sources I’ve consulted. I am happiest when my world is in balance, when things are fair to all concerned, and when justice – either literal or figurative – prevails.

Tell us about the Jane Madison series…
Jane’s story starts in GIRL’S GUIDE TO WITCHCRAFT. Jane is a librarian at a collection in Georgetown (Washington, D.C.) When her employer is forced to make salary cuts, Jane is offered the opportunity to move into a cottage on the library grounds. Much to her surprise, she discovers a secret stash of books in the basement, along with a statue of a black cat, which turns out to be a magical familiar. Before Jane knows what’s happened, she’s a witch, and she’s forced to juggle romance, work, and magic.

“Sorcery and the Single Girl”, the second book in the Jane Madison series, will be out in September. What will Jane have to deal with in this episode?
In SORCERY, Jane is recruited by the Washington Coven, a powerful collection of witches. She has to decide just how much membership in the Coven means to her – and whether she’s willing to leave behind friends and family to make the magical connections she craves.

Why did you choose to write about witchcraft? Some people say that the topic has already been fully explored…
There are lots of books about witches, but not many of them that approach the topic with my brand of humor. I wanted to write a story about a woman who is capable, competent, and floundering in an environment wholly new to her. Witchcraft gave me the opportunity to explore all of those notions.

Will there be a third Jane Madison novel?
There will be – in fact, I’m writing it now! MAGIC AND THE MODERN GIRL will be in bookstores in October 2008.

You were a librarian – and so is Jane, your heroine. Do Jane Madison and you have a lot in common?
Jane has a topsy-turvy dating life, as did I. (I am grateful to say that my single days are behind me – I found my husband about a year after I had sworn off dating altogether.) Jane also has a best friend, with whom she shares all the complicated decisions of her life. I remain extremely close to a handful of girlfriends – the sorts of people I can call at any hour of the day or night, just to has through those problems that keep me tossing and turning in the wee hours of the morning.

There is also the “Glasswright Series”, a fantasy series. What is it about?
The Glasswrights Series is about Rani Trader, an apprentice in her country’s stained glass makers’ guild. Rani witnesses a murder, and she’s accused of being the killer, so she is forced to go undercover in her society’s strict castes, to unveil the true assassin.

How do you write? How do you beat the dreaded writer’s block?
I used to write for an hour every morning, after working out, but before showering and getting ready for work. Now, I find that publicity and promotion activities fill my morning writing time; I generally get my writing done on weekends (in three- or four-hours blocks) or by taking a week-long vacation from my day-job. During a nine-day Writing Marathon, I can complete approximately 35,000 words (about one third of a novel).

I have a home office on the ground floor of my three-story townhouse. I sit at a desk that I bought at IKEA about 15 years ago; it looks like leftover hardware from the space shuttle, but it has the best ergonomics of any computer desk I’ve ever used. I use a five-year-old Dell desktop computer, running Windows XP, and I write using WordPerfect 10. I keep an Excel spreadsheet to track my story outline. (When I’m traveling, all bets are off – I write on a hotel bed, on a couch, on a chaise lounge, wherever I can find a surface to balance the laptop I’m using — which might be my own, might be a friend’s, might be a loaner.)

So far – knock wood – I’ve never had writers’ block. I sit and write whenever I’m able to make the time.

How do you picture your readers or “Who do you write for”?
Publishers will say that my readers are young women, between the ages of 15 and 40. I consistently find, though, that a wide variety of people read my books. I write for people who are interested in taking journeys, in exploring alternative realities to the one in which we live.

What do you think about eBooks? Would you consider writing one?
I don’t personally care for reading eBooks; I spend approximately 11 hours a day in front of a computer now, and I don’t care to devote more time to pixels on a screen. GIRL’S GUIDE TO WITCHCRAFT and SORCERY AND THE SINGLE GIRL are both available as eBooks, so that readers who prefer the technology can enjoy them.

Which books would you advise for a perfect beach read? Have some favorite authors to feature?
In the realm of contemporary romantic comedy, I’ve fallen in love with the books of Laura Caldwell. I’ve also been reading a lot of young adult fiction recently, and I’ve been particularly taken with the science fiction trilogy UGLIES, PRETTIES, and SPECIALS, by Scott Westerfeld.

And now the famous Nothing-To-Do-With-Books question: you’ve just found $100 in your pocket, how will you use the money?
I’d probably end up in a bookstore, sipping an overpriced cafe au lait and browsing the mystery, science fiction, or non-fiction titles to find the perfect additions to my toppling-over to-be-read pile.

Would you like to add something, Mindy?
Thanks for the chance to answer these great questions!

“Tea or Coffee?”

Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book? Reading a book.
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ? Mountains.
Sleepy Town or Crazy Megalopolis? Crazy Megalopolis.
Picking a DVD. Comedy or Drama? Drama.
Shy or Easy-going ? Easy-going, but need alone time.
Serious or Funny ? Serious, but can crack a joke.
Love to Travel or Hate to Move? Business travel against my will, pleasure travel not often enough
Sporty Girl or Couch Potato? Not.
Leader or Follower? More often leader than not.


TV show: House
Movie : At the moment, ALL ABOUT EVE
Book: At the moment, Sherman Alexie’s, THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN
City: Washington, D.C.
Food: Ice cream (coffee with a fudge ribbon – no nuts!)
Music: Ocean waves on a deserted beach
Favourite place to write: Any place quiet enough to concentrate
Quote or motto: Thou Mayest (“timshel”), from Steinbeck’s THE GRAPES OF WRATH

Thank you, Mindy!
Visit Mindy’s website: