Christmas is coming! Hooray! And what better way to celebrate than with a month of special offers, competitions and giveaways?
That’s right, we love Christmas so much that every day leading up to 25 December we’ll have another offer or a prize to be won for you, our ever-wonderful readers. Good, eh?
We’re kicking things off today with a limited time offer on Eva Darrows’ kick-ass YA novel The Awesome. Read on for more about this most – ahem – awesome of books, and click the links at the bottom to buy…
Seventeen-year-old Maggie Cunningham is tough, smart, and sassy. She’s also not like other girls her age, but then, who would be when the family business is monster hunting? Combat boots, ratty hooded sweatshirts, and hair worn short so nothing with claws can get a grip, Maggie’s concerns in life slant more toward survival than fashion or boys.
Which presents a problem when Maggie’s mother informs Maggie that she can’t get her journeyman’s license for hunting until she loses her virginity. Something about virgin blood turning vampires into pointy rage monsters. Blood and gore and insides being on the outside and all that.
Maggie’s battled ghosts and goblins and her fair share of house brownies, but finding herself a boy-fitting in with her peers-proves a much more daunting task than any monster hunt. Did you know normal girls don’t stuff their bras with holy water balloons? Nor do they carry wooden stakes in their waistbands. And they care about things like “matching” and “footwear.” Of course, they also can’t clean a gun blindfolded, shoot a crossbow, or exorcise ghosts from a house. Which means they’re lame and Maggie’s not. Because Maggie’s awesome. The Awesome, in fact.
Just ask her. She’d be more than happy to tell you.
It’s December fifth, and Claus the All Powerful relaxes upon his candy cane throne. Plans for The Day are going according to plan. Mrs Claus is happy. He is happy.
But there are problems. Rumblings of a reindeer rebellion brewing. Rudolph has been stirring up discontent among his brethren. He wants a living wage, a carrrot allowance, a union. His nose is redder than ever. Claus ponders the revolt to the soothing sound of that song that David Bowie did with Bing Crosby. Soon, he shall visit the reindeer and assert his authority once more…
Before then, however, we’ve got another piece of super-sweet Advent goodness for you. We wouldn’t want to anger Claus. He watches. He always watches.
So, for a VERY limited amount of time, you can grab the eBook of Eva Darrow’s bleedin’ wonderful talke of kick-ass monster killers The Awesome for only 99c/99p over on Amazon. Mush!
The awesomely-awesome THE AWESOME is now out in the UK, US and Canada. To honour this final publication date we asked the inspiration behind the incredible Janice from the title (aka Eva Darrows’ own mom) for a few words on what it’s like to be fictionalised, and what can we say – clearly the author apple didn’t fall far from the tree as she turned in a beautiful, poignant and suitably kickass reply.
How awesome is THE AWESOME? Sassy, irreverent, and fast paced, it hijacks the reader for a thrill ride that doesn’t end until the last page.
I am a fan—and not just because my daughter wrote it. I am a fan for a more important reason- it explores the world of a successful atypical family. It celebrates our family.
You see- I am Janice. My-daughter-the-author is Maggie. When the author was about the same age as Maggie, she and I lived in a 200 year old New England farmhouse, surrounded by acres of corn fields. This crumbling, majestic relic housed the two of us, plus our menagerie of cats, dogs, birds, fish plus the occasional curious opossum or skunk that decided Willowbrook Farm was a cool place to call home.
I was a young mother- my daughter was born before my nineteenth birthday. I was divorced. (Did you know that making life decisions-like marriage- at age eighteen is stupid?) So here we are, living on the farm…a girl-child and her girl-Mom. No, I didn’t have pink hair, and I didn’t have sex with a vampire (one would remember that, right?), but I was the spoiled Prom Queen who morphed into a single Mom in the blink of an eye, who had to grow up uber fast because there was never enough money. Child support was non-existent. (Did I mention my ex-husband Prince Charming ended up being a peckerhead deadbeat? No??) Did you know kids need to eat, kids need new shoes, kids need new glasses? I worked multiple jobs to make ends meet- for a decade it felt like all I did was work. I had a brand-new, nasty chip on my shoulder, a quick temper, and a smart, sarcastic mouth that was my armor through those difficult days.
I also had a brilliant teen daughter. Her mind worked in cosmic circles that far transcended my own abilities. She was a capable but lazy student, a good kid with a big brain and a big heart, and for that I am grateful. She was both belligerent and sensitive. Storm clouds threatened her sunny skies just about every day. Our relationship was tested by epic battles that used sharp, smart words as weapons. Her enormous intellect would try to triumph over my stubborn, mulish disposition, which resulted in some hammer-and-tong battles that still echo in my inner ear.
In retrospect, I look back with pride at our tiny family of two. We fought, we struggled, we challenged each other, but we were as cohesive a family as any other that I knew. More conventional families had heartaches that we did not. Mom vs. Dad struggles, warring siblings, competitive parenting (such as trophy birthday parties!) were non-existent in our world. We had our own issues, we dealt with them.
The process was not pretty, but the job got done. I am one of those weird people that believe adversity teaches a soul to appreciate happiness, even in its humblest form. Hard fought battles build character. Working for something gives that something value. We had each other, and ultimately, it was plenty good enough.
Looking back, I wish that I hadn’t had to work so much, so I could have enjoyed this Brainiac Child of mine. Time passes like a runaway horse. But the reality is, we’d probably be arguing about her umpteenth lost pair of glasses, or why she would benefit by putting down the book and going outside to play with the neighborhood kids. She would roll her eyes and stomp her feet in frustration- I would stick my tongue out at her- or worse.
Janice and Maggie might fight, but ultimately they both win. They might lock horns, but they recognize that they are a team. Janice and Maggie aren’t conventional, but they work. We know, because we lived that life. Hold on and enjoy the ride, ladies!
I like to think that our life together- our formative years- helped forge the witty, wonderful, intellectually nimble, funny- as -hell woman she has become. That makes it all worthwhile.
In the next book, I hope to see Maggie and Janice at it again, fighting the good fight- together.
THE AWESOME it out now, it the navigation links for more content and you can order in the UK and US today.
“THE AWESOME does not merely live up to its name, but in fact, speeds past it at the speed of a crossbow bolt slamming into a vampire’s breastbone.” – Chuck Wendig, author of the Miriam Black series
“Piercing and brutally funny—I wish I’d had Darrows to read when I was a teen.” – Lilith Saintcrow, author of the Dante Valentine series
“The story is imaginative, the suspense is taut and the action sequences are worthy of Joss Whedon. I’m onboard for any and all sequels.” -James A. Moore author of the Seven Forges series
“Maggie’s profanity-laced, snarky, deeply loving, yet antagonistic relationship with her mother is delightful.” – Kirkus Starred Review
“Blisteringly funny and unrepentantly crass, Maggie’s hard-edged narration is the soul of Maggie’s story, which thoughtfully explores her complicated relationships with her boyfriend and take-no-prisoners mother.” – Publishers Weekly Starred Review
“THE AWESOME is wickedly smart and horrific but hilarious… You all are going to LOVE this book.” – Fangirlish
“The best thing I can say is I wish I had this book when I was a teenager… THE AWESOME delivers exactly what the title promises. Buy it now.” – YA Asylum
“With any luck, THE AWESOME will be the start of a great new series. Certainly they are enough plot threads left dangling to make for a sequel… THE AWESOME does what it sets out to, and if you like Urban Fantasy, then you should give it a look.” – Starburst Magazine
“I LOVE The Awesome. Eva Darrows is on my must-read list. 5/5” – Dark Matter Zine
“Maggie Cunningham is the foul-mouthed little sister to Chuck Wendig’s Miriam Black with a dash of Joss Whedon.” – A Measure of Strangeness
“If you are looking for a book that will provide hours of entertainment, a good ab workout from the laughs, and a fantastic story, look no further.” – Xpresso Reads
“The Awesome really is a killer read, it is funny, it’s fast paced, spunky and a little scary in bits, it is like a cross between Supernatural and the early Southern Vampire series novels that have been jammed in a blender with a shed load of vodka and spice. 5/5” – Random Redhead Ramblings
“Darrows has a killer knack for character development… It’s a YA book that anyone can enjoy.” – Atomic Fangirl
“The Awesome is a nonstop fun express – poking fun at everything including itself. A protagonist that I look forward to meeting again soon.” – Smorgasbord Fantasia
“This book is kind of like a Buffy the Vampire Slayer story, but revitalized” – Mentor’s Reading
“A really fun mix of genres that is best described as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Gilmore Girls having a weird kid that turns out to be Superbad.” – The Artolater
“This has to be one of the very best paranormal books I have ever read… a must read!” – Skeena and a Book
Boskone52 – Eva Darrows and Lauren Roy appearance schedule
Eva Darrows (THE AWESOME) and Lauren Roy (The Fire Children) will be at Boskone 52, February 13th – 15th at Boston Westin Waterfront. Here’s where you can catch them and what our top picks for the weekend are:
Eva Darrows in her Hillary Monahan disguise joins Mur Lafferty (moderating), Maya Bohnhoff, Christopher Golden and Charles Stross to talk Angels Demons and Saints
Religion has always played a strong role in fantasy, and we’ve seen an influx of fiction that specifically features characters that have been touched by higher powers — especially in today’s urban fantasy. What role do these characters play within the story? How do we see these roles changing or morphing into something new? Why do we keep coming back to these types of characters? And what are some examples of stories that use these characters especially well?
RAVENSTONE TOP PICK
Lauren Roy joins Veronica Koven-Matasy (moderating), A.C.E. Bauer and Bruce Coville for It’s Complicated: Kids and the Culture They Consume
As the lives of young adults in our ever-changing modern society become more complicated and diverse, so do their personal interests and experiences. Panelists discuss how the growing complexity of our world affects the content of young adult literature, comics, games, and film. How do the philosophical issues that impact today’s society affect how teens see themselves within the fiction they consume? What are some practical ideas for better connecting today’s children and teens with yesterday’s or tomorrow’s literature?
Lauren Roy provides the Gaming Review 2014-2015 with Bill Todd (moderating), Heather Albano, Michael Sharrow, and Brianna Spacekat Wu
What are the hot new board/card/RPG games for 2015? What’s trending? What new expansions to previously released games are out now? Let’s discuss all things related to new games.
RAVENSTONE TOP PICK
Eva Darrows (Hillary Monahan) joins Carrie Vaughn (Moderating), Melissa Marr and Paul G. Tremblay, Jordan Hamessley for Writing for Teens VS Adults
With so much crossover, is there a difference anymore? And where does middle-grade fiction fit? Editors and authors discuss.
It’s definitely worth getting up with the raven’s dawn chorus for this one: Eva Darrows (Hillary Monahan), Bruce Coville (moderating), A.C.E. Bauer, Jordan Hamessley and Veronica Koven-Matasy dive to some of the best speculative children’s literature in KidLit: Great Spec Fic for Young Readers
There’s some pretty spectacular speculative fiction available for children these days. What’s behind the ongoing boom? Panelists talk causes and trends, while plugging their favorite authors and stories — including some that grownups could also learn to love.
Lauren Roy will be signing her debut Night Owls and you can pester her for sneaky spoilers for The Fire Children too
RAVENSTONE TOP PICK
Lauren Roy is joined by Charles Stross (moderating), Susan Jane Bigelow, Don Pizarro and Jarvis Sheffield to talk about a key issue for 2015: Finding Diverse Fiction
There is a clear desire for increased diversity within SF/F fiction and fandom. There are also a lot of emerging writers who are bringing diversity to the genre, but many of them are still flying below the publicity radar. Authors and publishers come together to share their “must read” lists and tips on where to find some of the new up-and-coming authors.
RAvenstone top pick
THE AWESOME Eva Darrows will be joining Veronica Koven-Matasy (moderating), Felicitas Ivey, Stacey Friedberg and A.J. Paquette for one of our most anticipated panels:PG-13: Violence, Sex, and Teen Readers, seriously it’s like they created this just for her:
When writing for teens or choosing books for young adults to read, is there a PG-13 line that needs to be drawn? Is there more violence and sex in YA books today? Or have we just become more aware of it? How does a writer address difficult or sensitive topics without going too far? Panelists discuss danger zones within YA fiction.
Eva Darrows will be signingMary the Summoning in Hillary Monahan form. We’re sure if you ask really nicely she’ll scrawl you a quick Eva out too…
Lauren Roy, Chris Jackson (moderating), James Cambias and Mur Lafferty lead the discussion on Authorship, RPGs, and the Legacy of D&D
Dungeons & Dragons, the first commercially available role-playing game, was published 40 years ago. D&D ushered in a new era of cooperative storytelling that has inspired Game Masters, players, and authors to dream big and create their own fictional universes. Panelists explore the many facets of RPGs — from developing challenging and believable frameworks for cooperative story construction to taking the story beyond the game.
Our reigning queen Eva Darrows (here present as Hillary Monahan) sets the fairytale world to right with Sarah Langan (moderating), Ingrid Kallick, Carrie Vaughn and Tom Shippey in The Fairytale Princess, Circa 2100
Before Disney appropriated Snow White, Jasmine, Aurora, and the rest of the “princess clique, ” these were characters who presumably served a deeper purpose in structuring the fables of bygone years. What parts do they play for today’s children? What meaning might these reminders of a fairytale feudal past still hold a hundred years from now?
Ever wanted to hear some of your favourite writers talk about how they create the worlds you want to inhabit? Lauren Roy, E. C. Ambrose (moderating), Myke Cole, Peadar Ó Guilín, and Rosemary Kirstein star in Writers on Writing: Worldbuilding from the Ground Up
Some spectacular stories take place in worlds very different from our own: from life on (or in) a gas giant to a civilization that lives on a world-tree as big as the Himalayas. But there are perils associated with venturing far beyond human experience. An inconsistent or poorly described worldscape can furnish a confusing story, or challenge a reader’s ability to suspend disbelief. Hear from writers who have created fully realized worlds that their readers can almost see, touch, and smell.
RAVENSTONE TOP PICK
In a two-for-one-in-one body Eva Darrows and Hillary Monahan will be reading from THE AWESOME and Mary the Summoning
Sunday 15th @ 2:00pm
RAVENSTONE TOP PICK
Lauren Roy will be giving an exclusive preview of The Fire Children in her lunchtime reading. EXCITING.
Greetings ghouls! Earlier this week we were lucky enough to be over at our friends Fangirlish for the cover reveal of our next book THE AWESOME by Eva Darrows, and what a cover it is.
But just one dose of Eva hasn’t been enough and to prove her AWESOME credentials we’ve set her a special Halloween challenge to pick her favorite ghost…
Tis the season for ghosts, goblins, and ghoulies, and in the Halloween spirit, I’m going to talk about my favorite of the aforementioned trio: ghosts.
I love them, enough that my debut novel MARY: THE SUMMONING (released under my OTHER name Hillary Monahan) tackles the Americanized version of the Bloody Mary ghost.
I’ve always been afraid of spirits and likely always will be. Think about it—a werewolf you can kill with a silver bullet. A vampire, a stake and a beheading. A zombie’s brains splatter nicely with a gun. But a ghost? What do you do? Pants him? Mock him? Throw stuff through him? STEAL HIS LUNCH MONEY? Answer: Hope really hard you find the thing tying the ghost to this plane and burn it. That’s . . . about it. And if that doesn’t work? Well. Sorry.
So without further ado, here is a list of Eva’s favorite ghosts from popular media.
5) The School Bus Children, TRICK ‘R TREAT
I have a love of all things creepy and funny. As such, Trick ‘R Treat is RIGHT up my alley. Campy, lots of good scares plus some legitimately funny moments? Yes, please. The best part of the movie is undoubtedly the sack boy, Sam, but as the viewer is never told what Sam is (though I’d venture a guess that he’s the spirit of Halloween), the School Bus Children come in a close second.
A special needs bus crashes into a ravine on Halloween, the poor, costumed children all drowning to death. But all is not as it seems. Some say the driver of the bus was drunk. Others say he was paid to drive the children into the water. All the viewer knows is that going near that ravine on Halloween night is a terrible idea. When the local kids convince Rhonda, an outcast, to go trick or treating with them and visit the tragic site, we get to meet the school bus children years after their demise. It’s not pretty.
4) Kakayo, THE GRUDGE
Kakayo falls in love with another man. For her betrayal, her husband murders her, the family cat, and their son Toshio. Kakayo rises from her death as an onryo, or vengeful spirit. Anyone who enters the house where she died is cursed to see her and—eventually—die.
There are a few things that make Kakayo so spectacularly creepy. The first is her appearance. Typical Japanese ghost with the white skin and the long black hair, Kakayo is often seen covered in blood. Sometimes it’s hers, sometimes it’s not, it’s cool. She’s fashionable in her blood-splattered frock. She also tends to crawl across the floor, pulling her lower half and twitching all the while. That’s less cool, but okay, I’m with you Kakayo.
Then there is the noise she makes. The clicky, growling death rattle that will almost always get the hair prickling on the back of my neck and make me weep for my mommy.
Here. Have a nightmare or forty.
3) The Woman in Black, THE WOMAN IN BLACK
THE WOMAN IN BLACK is a novel from the early eighties written by Susan Hill. Gothic, moody, and wonderfully eerie, it’s been turned into a movie not once but twice, the most recent version starring Harry Potter. I mean the dude that plays Harry Potter but who will always be known as Harry Potter so whatever. A woman, Jennet, gives birth to an illegitimate child back when such things were big no-nos. Her sister adopts the boy and raises him as her own, insisting Jennet never reveal to Nathaniel his parentage. Jennet agrees and moves into her sister’s house, relegated to Nathaniel’s aunt instead of his mother. There’s a terrible carriage accident in the marshes surrounding the house and Jennet watches helplessly as Nathaniel drowns. After Jennet’s death, her ghost will only appear when a child is about to die. Sometimes, she makes a child dies. Jennet’s not great people.
While I haven’t seen the eighties version of the movie, I will say the 2012 version was splendidly scary with just enough jump scares and oppressive ambiance to keep me enthralled. Jennet is as terrible in the book as she is in the film, and well-earns her place on this list.
2) Tate, American Horror Story
Tate, American Horror Story The first season of American Horror Story remains my favorite and that’s all because of Tate. The viewer knows early on that Tate Langdon is dead. Tate Langdon knows Tate Langdon is dead. The people living in Tate’s house? Clueless. Ben Harmon is even seeing Tate as a therapy patient after Tate’s living mother hires him on. Violet Harmon makes out with Tate because apparently that’s a thing people do with ghosts when they’re bored. While Tate can be charming (especially in Violet’s company) and somewhat tragic, he’s also manipulative and damaged. He vacillates wildly between sweet and psychotic. He’s responsible for at least a few of the deaths that have occurred in the Harmon house, and when he’s angered, proves utterly ruthless. Conniving, angry, broken, and lonely, Tate is so divinely flesh out and terrifying, I can’t help but put him on my list.
1) Sadako/Samara, THE RING
There is one ghost that, no matter how many times I see her on film or the page, will send me flying through the roof. Here she is. I’ve listed both Sadako and Samara because the Japanese and American versions of Koji Suzuki’s ghost terrify me in equal measure. White dress, black hair, and hands hanging limply from the wrists, she is one mean spirit. You can’t stop her. Just when you think you’ve won, you haven’t, the cycle of the ring never ends.
I saw the American film before I saw the Japanese film. The book came later. Samara terrified me because she was one of the few monsters that was mean JUST BECAUSE and it was done well enough I actually bought into it. There’s no rhyme or reason for her atrocities beyond she was born bad. Horses kill themselves, the girl is able to project terrible visions onto X-Ray paper, she drives her mother mad with her twisted version of love.
If you explore RING backstory beyond the American film, the character is more fully fleshed out. The Japanese prequel (Ring 0) gives you a tragic backstory that, frankly, diminishes Samara’s scares instead of enhances it, in my opinion. Still. I love this ghost. I will likely carry her with me through my horror career. She is the stuff of my nightmares.
Find out more about THE AWESOME or sea more from Eva by hitting the navigation tags at the top of this post!
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