Blog Tour: Remember Me

Blog Tour, Book Reviews

Remember Me

By Chelsea Bobulski
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: August 6th 2019

Genre: Young Adult, Horror
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Synopsis:
In this eerie and suspenseful YA, a teen girl discovers what connects her to the hotel she calls home as horrifying visions lead her to the truth. 
Nell Martin is moving again, this time to the Winslow Grand Hotel, built in 1878. As Nell is settling in, strange things begin to happen. Doors lock of their own accord, writing appears on bathroom walls–and most horrifying of all–visions of a dead boy permeate her waking life. Thinking it was her mind playing tricks on her, she soon finds the past and the present colliding as she learns horrific details of a murder that happened at the hotel in 1905 involving a girl named Lea.
Nell and a mysterious bellboy must relive that day in hopes of finally breaking a curse that imprisons them both. And Nell discovers what truly links her to the history of the Winslow Grand Hotel.
The Review
About the Author
Chelsea Bobulski was born in Columbus, Ohio, and raised on Disney movies, classic musicals, and Buckeye pride. She’s always had a penchant for the fantastical, the stories that teach us there is more to this world than meets the eye. She has a soft spot for characters with broken pasts, strange talents, and a dash of destiny in their bones. After graduating from The Ohio State University with a degree in history, she promptly married her high school sweetheart and settled down in Northwest Ohio with her notebooks and daydreams and copious amounts of chocolate. THE WOOD is her debut novel.
Social Media Links:

Tour Schedule Here.

 

 

Giveaway
Prize: Win (1) copy of REMEMBER ME by Chelsea Bobulski (US Only)

Starts: 06 August 2019
Ends: 20 August 2019

 

Tour Organized By:

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Author Interview With Briana Morgan

Author Interview

Meet Briana Morgan.

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Hi Briana! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi there! My name is Briana Morgan. I’m a young adult horror and fantasy author, freelance editor, and playwright with a passion for all things spooky. When not writing or editing, you can find me on Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

 

The Interview.

If you could use only one horror trope for a year – what would it be and why?

The final girl trope! Females are strong as hell, and I love writing badass heroines.

 

How has your experience as a writing coach strengthened or weakened you as a writer?

Helping other people work through problems in their process and manuscripts has only helped me as a writer. It’s always encouraging to see how many people struggle with similar issues as me, and sometimes while I’m researching or talking through an issue with a client, I’ll discover solutions I hadn’t considered before.

 

Fantasy vs. Horror – what genre wins in the ultimate battle of wills?

At this point, fantasy, since I have completed two fantasy manuscripts. However, I’m planning to write mostly horror from now on, so… horror.

 

Were there any books that really spoke to you this year from a reader’s standpoint?

I’ve been reading a lot of female-authored horror, and one of my favorite books I’ve read this year (though it wasn’t published this year) is The Awesome by Eva Darrows. It has a fun voice and Supernatural vibes and I couldn’t put it down.

 

What was the hardest thing you had to learn as you balanced being an author with your freelance services? What are you still learning?

It can be hard to make time for everything. Some days, nothing gets done, but that’s okay. This year, I’m learning how to take breaks, and that the world won’t end if I miss a day of writing or editing for someone.

 

Out of your published works, do you have a favorite or a particular book that has really stuck with you?

My favorite book I’ve written is Reflections. I learned so much about myself writing that book, and I think it has the best message in terms of emotional impact.

 

What was it like writing your very first play?

Strange, mostly. I didn’t think I’d ever write a play, but I had toyed with the concept of Touch for years. At first, I planned for it to be a short story, but the idea lends itself more to being staged and witnessed in real time, if that makes sense. It also started as a three-act play, which I condensed to one act. Funny enough, Touch is my shortest work, yet it is the most frequently discussed, performed, and adapted. I’m planning to do more plays in the future.

 

With the different hats you juggle – author, editor, coach, playwright – has any particular role challenged you this year?

I hinted toward this a little in my previous answer, but I haven’t been lending time to the playwright version of myself. I’ve been chipping away at a YA contemporary manuscript, editing for clients, and coaching writers, with little time left over for playwriting. Like I mentioned, I’m hoping to write more plays soon.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

Do yourself a favor and read more horror books by women! Especially queer women and women of color. There is a treasure trove of books just waiting to be discovered, and it kills me that the boys are still running things. It’s 2019. Let’s change this together.

 

Thank you Briana for a lovely interview!

Author Interview With Jack Henseleit

Author Interview, October Spooky Features

Meet Jack Henseleit.

JACK HENSELEIT was born on a winter evening in 1991, just after the stroke of midnight. When the weather is dark and stormy, he writes fairy tales – real fairy tales, where witches and goblins play tricks on unwary girls and boys. Not all of the tales have happy endings.

Jack’s debut horror series for middle-grade readers, titled The Witching Hours, was first launched in Australia in 2017, with a US edition of book one (The Vampire Knife) releasing in September 2018, and with a US edition of book two (The Troll Heart) set to follow in 2019. When Jack isn’t writing scary stories, he can be found exploring forests, playing board games, or wrestling with his cat, Teddy, all in (and around) Ballarat, Australia.

Social media links
Website: http://www.jackhenseleit.com
Instagram: @jack.henseleit
Twitter: @jackhenseleit

The Interview.

Hi Jack! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.

Hello Rae, and hello blog readers! My name is Jack, and I write scary stories for children. Prior to writing my first book, I studied creative writing at the University of Melbourne for five years, where I shivered my way through countless cold, rainy nights. Luckily for me, the constant bad weather was very inspiring, and it was those rainstorms, coupled with my rediscovered love of the Brothers Grimm, that eventually motivated me to plot out my first novel. Melbourne may not be a perfect match for the wilds of Transylvania, but writers are always told to write what they know, and I’m certainly very familiar with being caught in the elements!

An author. A vampire. Tell us about your writing life and how your stories come to life.

My writing life changes enormously depending on where I am in the writing process. The best days are when I’m planning out a new idea, allowing my brain to entertain itself as it fleshes out the story, chasing inspiration through books, movies, Wikipedia articles, YouTube videos, and whatever else I can find to keep the story going. The more difficult days come when the story actually needs to be written down, and I have to spend hours sitting at my computer, trying to choose the words that will make a reader see the same mental pictures that I do. Those days are fun as well, but they’re not quite as exciting as the brainstorms that came before.

In the specific case of The Vampire Knife, I spent the months leading up to the writing phase reading The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales and watching a whole bunch of vampire films, while also learning as much as I could about the Romanian countryside. Then, when my notebook was bursting with ideas, I began to write 1,000 words of the story every night, and I kept on writing until I reached the ending. The most exciting days during that writing period were when a new spooky scene would spring up out of nowhere, and suddenly my characters would be running away screaming from a peril that not even I had expected. These unexpected interludes can be incredibly worthwhile – although in some of the later books, some of those surprise scenes have been at risk of derailing the plot entirely!

How would you describe horror (description and expectations) in terms of a middle grade understanding rather than adult?

This is a good question! People often look confused when I tell them I write horror stories for kids, but for the most part, I think horror stories can provide a valuable release for both age groups. For me, horror exists at the intersection between danger and curiosity, which are concepts that are universally understood: both adults and children understand the wisdom of avoiding a dangerous situation, because neither party wants to come to harm, but at the same time, both audiences can remain deeply curious about what might have happened if they’d made that riskier decision. What would have happened if they’d crept outside that night? What would have happened if they’d walked past that crocodile? And so we send our fictional heroes into those situations instead, and naturally, bad things happen – but the audience’s good decision making is validated, and their curiosity is finally sated.

Interestingly, if we look at the horror stories being told a hundred years ago, I don’t think there was much distinction between adult and middle-grade horror at all: a child in 2018 is unlikely to be terribly scared by any of the old Universal horror films, like Dracula (1931), or The Mummy (1932), or Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954). But then slasher films became a thing, and all of a sudden horror fiction for adults became bloody, and visceral, and unrelenting – and that’s the shift that children’s horror cannot, and will not, ever make. Children’s horror is allowed to be scary, but the story needs to be threaded through with hope and moments of respite, so that the child reader can maintain a level of control over the experience. Bad things can happen, but the (mostly) happy ending always needs to be waiting around the corner!

How does the writing – editing – publishing process of your current novels differ from your first, The Vampire Knife?

Last month I finished writing the fourth book in The Witching Hours series, and regretfully, the experience of writing book four was a lot more difficult than writing book one. When I wrote The Vampire Knife, there were no expectations whatsoever: nobody knew I was writing a book, and so I felt a great freedom to write whatever I wanted, taking the story in whichever crazy direction would amuse me the most. Now, three years later, I’m lucky enough to have a real audience, and a team of real (and brilliant) publishers supporting my series – and I’m terrified of letting them down! I really want each new book to be even spookier and more exciting than the ones that came before it, and as a result I’m constantly second-guessing myself, shifting the scenes around to try and make them as entertaining as they can be. I’m still having a tremendous amount of fun, but it’s fair to say that the learning curve for writing sequels was more challenging than I expected. (But also, now that the story is done and dusted, I feel confident in saying that book four is the scariest story yet!)

Write a one sentence fairy tale – goblins and all!

“The goblins doused their torches as they snuck into the treasure cave, slipping through the shadows; but the dragon saw them coming by the greed glinting in their eyes, and he waited for them in the dark, gobbling them up one by one.”

“For only the bravest readers.” Why do you think it is important to have horror reads available for younger readers?

As well as providing a safe way for child readers to satisfy their morbid curiosities, I think horror stories are always terrifically entertaining – and in an age where books are having to compete with YouTube and iPads to gain a child’s attention, I think it’s great for booksellers and librarians to have an easy selling point to try and lure in a reluctant reader. “This one has a vampire in it” is a good hook at any age!

Tell us a little bit about your series, The Witching Hours. Do you have a favourite book, character, scene or all three?

The Witching Hours series follows heroic siblings Anna and Max as they travel around the world, encountering a whole menagerie of terrifying magical creatures in each new country they visit. The books are written according to modern sensibilities – the cliffhangers come thick and fast – but at the same time, the core stories are heavily inspired by traditional fairy tales, and so aim to encapsulate a very old-school approach to magic and adventure. It’s also a writing philosophy of mine that children shouldn’t expect to battle with monsters and come away unscathed, and so readers should be warned that Anna and Max may not escape their first adventure entirely intact…

In terms of having a favourite book, character, or scene, I always tend to be most in love with whichever piece of writing I’ve been working on the most recently! When I’ve just finished writing a scene with Anna, I’m always enamoured with her courage, and her kindness, and her boundless curiosity; but then I’ll write a scene with Max, and be impressed with his good sense, and his humour, and the lighter touch that he brings to proceedings. Having said that, I’ll always be beholden to the fifth chapter of The Vampire Knife (titled, appropriately enough, “The Witching Hour”) which is the first scene I ever wrote for the story, back before I even knew I was going to write a novel. It’s a lovely little horror story in its own right, and provided me with a solid foundation on which to construct my first book – and, indeed, my first series.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

I’ve got nothing else to share, except to thank your readers for giving this article a click! If anything I’ve said here has sparked your curiosity, I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy of The Vampire Knife, to see what terrors lie within. Happy Halloween, and happy witching!

 

Thank you Jack!

Happy Halloween everyone!

Author Interview with Emma Berquist

Author Interview

Meet Emma Berquist.

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Welcome Emma! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in Austin, TX, but for some reason I can’t seem to stay in one place for too long. Since college I’ve been a librarian in San Antonio, a teacher in Singapore, a barista in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and now I finally get to say I’m a writer. I love horror movies, miniatures, peanut butter, and jigsaw puzzles. You can probably find me hiking somewhere around New Zealand with my tiny rude dog.

Social Media Links:
Twitter: @eeberquist
Instagram: @eeberquist
Website: http://emmaberquist.com/

The Interview.

How do you deal with writer’s block and writer’s burnout?

One thing I find helpful is treating writing like a job. Every day I have to hit a certain amount of words, and when I’m done, I’m done. Even if you’re only writing 500 words a day, if you make it a habit, eventually you will have a complete book. And just like a job, I make sure my days off are really days off—it’s important as a writer to give yourself time to live, to go for walks and watch movies and read books that inspire you and make you excited to get back to work.

From Texas to New Zealand – how cool! Did you traveling influence or hamper your writing at all?

Yes! I like to set my books in places I’ve lived or feel a strong connection to because it helps with descriptions and authenticity. DEVILS is set where I grew up, my next book is based in LA, and New Zealand will definitely make an appearance in a future book. But the move was for sure a big disruption—I was in the middle of drafting my second book, and having no furniture or reliable internet made everything a lot harder.

“Keep together. Keep your eyes open. Keep your wits about you…” I already got chills! Please share your origin story and journey to publication of your debut novel, Devils Unto Dust.

DEVILS was the second book I wrote. (The first was a terrible mistake that will never see the light day.) I started writing it in 2013, after a trip out to the California desert. It reminded me of where I spent my summers as a kid, and I fell in love with the idea of the desert as a horror setting. It took me two years to finish and edit the book into something I felt could be shown to agents, and then I spent another year in the query trenches. I got a lot of rejections, but luckily all it takes is one yes. Once I signed with my agent, we did another round of edits and I went out on sub. From there, the process went slowly but steadily, and five years later I got to hold a copy of my book in my hands.

How did family relationships influence your plot for Devils Unto Dust? We know from the summary Willie’s mother is dead, she has siblings to care for, and her father is MIA.

I’m from a big family that grew up in a small house, which means no privacy, a lot of chaos, and a lot of closeness. I wanted to bring some of that mad energy into Willie’s relationships with her siblings, but couple it with the responsibility that comes with being the oldest. For her younger siblings, Willie is really the only parent they’ve ever known, and she feels a strong sense of obligation. With her brother Micah, she’s able to be just a sister, someone who can tease and squabble with her little brother.

Advertised as a “True Grit with 28 Days Later blend” did you rewatch any scences from either to help work out kinks in your debut?

Absolutely! I’m a big horror fan, so I watched a number of zombie flicks to get ideas about fight scenes and physical descriptions. And while I did watch True Grit, I also read the book the movie is based on to get a feel for the time period and language.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

I just saw HEREDITARY and it’s super creepy. Also John Wayne’s real name is Marion Mitchell Morrison.

Meet Author Derek Milman

Author Interview

Meet Derek Milman.

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Derek Milman has worked as a playwright, screenwriter, film school teacher, DJ, and underground humor magazine publisher. A classically trained actor, he has performed on stages across the country and appeared in numerous TV shows, commercials, and films. Derek currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.
 
Social media.
Twitter: @DerekMilman. IG: @DerekMilman. Website: derekmilman.com
Here’s the interview!

Wow. Your writing journay started young from age 8 to 14 when you caught your first big break with a profile in the NYT. Did you always know you’d become published someday? What made you keep trying?

Oh no, no no I did not. No idea. Plus, I should emphasize the quality of my writing at 8 years old was questionable. No one was going around saying: “this dude is an 8-year-old Cormac McCarthy, watch out.” I would write intensely for periods of my life and then I would stop. I started out as a playwright, out of college, but I wasn’t much of a playwright, I think. I went to grad school for acting and just stopped writing for a few years. I think I needed a break. I started writing YA a few years ago because I had a story idea I couldn’t shake, and felt maybe I had developed my voice, and actually had stuff to say. Fiction freed me in a way; I wasn’t constrained as much by the structure of writing works for film, or the stage. There was lots of rejection at first. It was a long road for me.

I also have to ask… did you keep any of your underground humor magazine? Will it ever see the light of day again?

I was told recently one of my younger brother’s friends, this kid I grew up with, had a copy, and he showed my brother and my sister-in-law. I wasn’t there. Apparently it was all wrapped up in plastic and protective paper like it was the dead sea scrolls. Maybe he thought it would be worth something one day? Maybe it will! Some people say it was THE WORLD’S FIRST ZINE. Who am I to argue with that? I think my parents maybe kept a few copies–in storage somewhere or something, wherever people’s parents store things.

I think it is safe to say your experience in acting shaped your debut novel Scream All Night? Primarily since Scream All Night is about a young actor struggling with his past. Did anything that happened in real life make its way into the novel in some way?

Oh, absolutely, more than people could ever guess. Definitely meeting certain writers and directors while working on TV shows, or in plays. Most are fine, actually. A few are bullies. But I guess a lot of what seeped into my novel was my time at Yale Drama; we were living a very unnatural existence–this extended family constantly performing for each other, pretending to be other people. It was a strange, insular world that no one can really understand unless you’ve been through the experience yourself. The infamous Yale Cabaret, where we’d meet once a week to regroup and perform for each other in this underground theater, definitely helped inspire the Crepuscular Dusk scene in Scream All Night–although if you haven’t read the book yet you probably have no idea what I’m talking about.

Don’t laugh… because you probably get asked this a lot. But, what is your favorite element of B-horror and cult films?

Probably the sheer weirdness factor of cult films, and how things could fail on all cylinders, but at the same time there was a group of people–the investors, the producers, the creatives, who all agreed this was a good idea. I think that’s pretty fascinating. Maybe it’s just collective hope. But some of these low budget films are beautiful in their own right. Night of the Living Dead, which is a quintessential B-horror, pretty much changed the world. No one had heard of zombies before. Nothing was the same after Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which I think is a work of art.

Let’s finish with something fun. If Dario Heyward found himself stuck on an island for a month what would he smuggle with him?

Dario’s most valuable possession at the beginning of the novel is a smashed iPhone 6. He doesn’t have a cell phone plan, but he downloads Miles Davis records. He’s really into jazz, and Miles. So I’ll go with that.

Is there anything else you’d like to share or say?

People keep asking me if Scream All Night is scary, if it’s actually a horror novel. Nope! The backdrop of the story takes place at a B-horror movie studio, but the story is really a dark comedy. There are creepy elements here and there (how could there not be?), but the beating heart of the story is Dario (my MC) and his relationship with what’s left of his family, his family legacy, and the people he once loved and lost, with everyone living in unnatural seclusion, in a place that really shouldn’t exist, but somehow still does.
Thank you Derek for stopping by A New Look On Books!
Keep an eye out for Scream All Night coming out next month!

My Review: Spinner

Book Reviews

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of Spinner in exchange for a free, honest review. Opinions are my own. My contain some spoilers or spoiler-y hints.

 

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Spinner Review

By: Yours truly – Rae

“Okay,” Alex said, steeling himself for the pain to come. “Tell me.” – Michael J. Bowler, Spinner

As an orphan, outcaster, and now hellraiser – literally, Alex’s chances for survival and a normal life are slim. The novel opens with the hint at Alex’s ability as a spinner and an outlook on his situation as a fifteen-year-old wheelchair bound teen who hasn’t been cut any breaks in life. He has his friends, known as The Losers, at school who are all facing known stereotypes ranging from color of skin to a mental illness. They are mocked, bullied, and forgotten both in school and their home lives. At least they have each other – right? Then the antagonists enter the picture and the horror begins.

Right away I was apprehensive about Spinner. Grammatical issues aside, two first seen within the first few pages, I couldn’t connect with Alex or his friends on a deeper level beneath the stereotypes. Eventually, I did but it came a little too late for me. I felt for them, their situation, but some things didn’t mesh with me. For instance, do troubled students in high school really just have one teacher to teach all their subjects the entire school year? I can see their treatment slipping through the cracks on some level and the bullying felt authentic amongst the crushes, flirting, and name calling. At school I knew them for their outward personas and stereotypes played to a T, when they were together I got a sense of who they were underneath their facades and their love for each other, but then the crazy happened and I lost myself in the plot of good vs. evil.

Another issue was my lack of, well horror, as the story progressed. There are demons, vivid dreams (visions), two groups fighting each other for domination, and the glaring presence of good vs. evil. Killer cats, cloaked figures, murders, and more felt too… pushy to me. Even the warring groups, their members so to speak, had me gritting my teeth at their portrayal. The teens got swept away and drowned in chaos. I wanted a build up of suspense, plot, and instead I felt like I was dodging my way to the end wondering what was going to happen next, why it was going to happen, and how it was all going to work out. The end, I confess, did fill me with a sense of buildup and surprise – maybe even a little horror until everything evened out again. People are lost, relationships are tested, and mysteries were sold. I just felt… unsatisfied.

Unfortunately, I didn’t mesh with Spinner but that doesn’t mean you won’t!  I recommend giving the book a try if you like a fast paced coming of age, horror story.

My rating: 3/5