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The Poppet and the Lune Audiobook Trailer | October 14, 2014 | 8:08 PM

Behind the Scenes of the Audiobook Trailer

Well, I had a very fun weekend. I finished the audiobook trailer for The Poppet and the Lune, which you can watch here!

My lovely sister was a big help in making this. Without her, it would not have come out nearly as nice as it did. Thank you, Lisa! <3

And today I would like to share some behind-the-scenes fun with you!

We had a great view of the moon, so that was wonderful! It was the right time of the month, too!

We have a beautiful wooded area behind our house, which was the perfect setting for this trailer.

And, best of all, I got to dress up as the patchwork girl! With the ring made of moonbeams hanging around my neck, of course.

I felt so ready for Halloween, covered in stitches. Perfect costume! I felt like I was made of patchwork. And walking through the woods really made me feel like the patchwork girl. We used blue glimmer eyeliner for the stitches, and covered the lines with silver body glitter. For the mismatched skin, we used brown eyeshadow with glitter.

It was so much fun, and a perfect time of year to do it. It was cold and grey outside, and it smelled like Halloween, you know, that pumpkin scent mixed with burning wood? Although I was freezing in that sleeveless dress by the end of filming, haha.

So, what are you waiting for? Go watch the trailer! Guaranteed to put you in the Halloween spirit!

Halloween Cookies and Eclipses | October 09, 2014 | 11:42 PM

Hello, all!

I’m still a bit tired from my late-night activities the other night. What kept me up past sunrise, you ask? The lunar eclipse!

Look at it. Perfect for Halloween: A blood moon.

To be fair, I’d fallen asleep around 2 AM, but my sister came and got me up at 4 AM. (And my mom had gotten her up before then.) Ah, teamwork.

It was so pretty! And the night was clear, unlike the eclipse that happened back in April, which was completely blocked by clouds. So cool!

But when I came in from our lovely middle-of-the-night-eclipse show, and curled back into bed, my kitten said “You got up! It must be time to get up! We play! GET UP!” And thus I was up ‘til past dawn.

In other news, I took a break from working today to bake Halloween sugar cookies! Aren’t they spooky cute?

Halloween Sugar Cookies

You will need:
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup shortening
½ cup butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk

Chill for one hour. Roll out and cut with cookie cutters (Halloween-themed, of course.) Bake at 350 degrees, for 8-10 minutes.

Frost with vanilla frosting (or chocolate, if you’d like!) I divided the container of vanilla frosting into three bowls and used food coloring to make one bowl orange, one purple, and I left one bowl white.

A fun and delicious break from work, if I do say so myself. And, best of all, while I baked I watched Disney’s Halloween Treat. My favorite part is the Donald cartoon featuring his nephews trick-or-treating, and the hilarious Witch Hazel, entitled “Trick or Treat.” If you’ve never seen either, but are a fan of Disney and Donald Duck, I would check them out! They are definitely a Halloween tradition for me.

What are your favorite Halloween treats to make? Let me know in the comments below!

My interview with Madeline Claire Franklin | October 07, 2014 | 2:43 PM

Today we have special guest, Madeline Claire Franklin, who agreed to answer some questions for all of you lovely people!

1) What inspired you to write The Poppet and the Lune?

MCF: Honestly, I was in a lull after completing a HUGE rough draft of the novel that would eventually become (though barely resemble) THE HIEROPHANT. I'd also just gotten out of a long term relationship, and I was in a strange place knowing that I would be studying abroad the next semester. Life was ungrounded and in flux, and all I wanted was to write something totally fantastical and enchanted, without being too Disney-esque, just for fun. I like weird stories and dark fairy tales, and anything that turns what is expected on it's head. Also at the time, everything Tim Burton had directed up to that point were among my favorite movies. I've often said that if Tim Burton ever adapted anything I'd written, I could die happy (though my opinion has changed in recent years, I still have tons of respect for everything up to and including Sweeny Todd!).

So, with all that in mind, I was sitting in a coffee shop with my best friend and writing confidante one night, literally just thinking really hard about what I could write next, and the basic idea of THE POPPET AND THE LUNE came to me in quick successive pieces: first the poppet's origin, then Faolin's. I feel the need to make it clear that getting an idea like that, by looking really hard for one, had never happened before and hasn't happened since!

2) What was your favorite part of writing TPaL? Any favorite characters or moments in the story?

MCF: Interestingly, writing TPaL sort of trained me how to be a professional author. I've been writing novels since I was a kid, but it wasn't until I wrote TPaL that I learned the bliss and value of slow and steady progress. Most importantly, though I had a general idea of everything that would happen in the story while I was writing it, TPaL taught me to trust my instincts and to sometimes let the characters take the reins. There were certain things (well, ok, one kind of important thing) that I explicitly said would not happen when I set out to write the book, but the characters thought otherwise. Ultimately, they were right, and following that instinct made the book even more rich and complicated.

My favorite character to write was definitely the poppet herself. I loved all the characters so much, but her unique view of the world was so much fun to bring to the page. I kept surprising myself over and over again with the things she would say. I sometimes wonder where any of it came from!

My favorite moment is impossible to give without spoilers! But it happens at a masquerade...I'll just leave it at that ;D

3) The Poppet and the Lune has been released in many forms, both as a novel and a serial. Can you tell us a little about the publishing history of this book?

MCF: Ah, yes. One of the other reasons writing this book was so different from any other manuscript is that, originally, it was a free web serial which meant that I had an obligation to produce two or more chapters a weeks. The chapters are and were relatively short for a novel, but each one was meaningful to the story. Having the challenge of putting out a certain amount of writing per week, and being accountable to other people, really made the whole process unique and exciting.

I originally did not intend to publish TPaL as a novel for sale, but I had enough support for the idea that I went ahead and queried agents. Over and over again, I got the same response: essentially everyone loved it, but no one knew who would publish it because it was very off-genre. I even had a handful of NYC editors take a look at it, and they felt the same way (though one person thought the idea of a girl made from pieces of dead children was just too disturbing to write about).

Around that same time, the self-publishing boom was just beginning. So I thought: why not? And the rest is history.

4) What did you learn the most during this project?

MCF: The biggest thing I learned from writing TPaL is to always write what you love. It's important to have an audience in mind when you're writing, but it's even more important to enjoy what you're writing. There is so much pressure to write every tiny aspect of your story *just so* so that you can please as many people as possible--forget all of that. Don't be unwilling to learn or change your viewpoint, but remember that you literally cannot please anyone, and your first and foremost priority with anything you write should be to please yourself. I can't express how important that is, in life as in any independent creative project.

5) What are you working on currently?

MCF: Right now I'm working on the second book in my ARCANA series, a YA/NA dark fantasy/thriller trilogy that follows two girls as they delve into a world of demons, magic, and angelic conspiracy. There's tarot reading, true love, parallel worlds, and a whole lot of adventure. The series is TONS of fun to write, but I've gotten so close to all the characters that it's actually kind of hard for me to put therm through all the painful things I've outlined for them. Kind of. (You can't see it, but I have an evil grin on my face while I'm typing) Check out the first book, THE HIEROPHANT, if you want to know more!

6) Now that you've finished your first ACX project, do you have any plans to create more audiobooks?

MCF: I would LOVE to! Actually, my most recently released novel, GHOST CITY, is being prepped for narration right now. It's another off-genre book that I lovingly refer to as a "post-apocalyptic ghost story," with probably the most badass character I've ever written. I mean, writing the poppet was practically a spiritual experience, but writing the MC for GHOST CITY was so intensely cathartic and satisfying. I can honestly say she's the best character I've ever created. The book itself is very meaningful to me, and since I've long harbored a secret dream of voice acting, I've decided to give narration a shot! I have a closet that I think will convert into a studio quite nicely.


Thanks so much for all of those great answers, Madeline!

Be sure to buy The Poppet and the Lune Audiobook, on sale now!

And don't forget to enter the contest on Madeline's blog for a chance to win a free copy of the audiobook!

Of Ghosts and Goblins! | October 06, 2014 | 11:53 PM

It has been unseasonably warm here today, with muggy heat reaching about 85 degrees. Boo, I say! Boo! To keep me in the October spirit, however, I decided to partake in some of these things.

Movie: Labyrinth

Made in 1985, this classic Jim Henson movie is beloved by many. Starring David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly, it tells the story of Sarah, an imaginative girl who loves all things fantastic and magical, who is stuck at home baby sitting her infant brother, Toby. Sick and tired of his endless crying, Sarah wishes that the Goblin King from the story, Labyrinth, would take him away. She is shocked when she gets her wish, and the Goblin King, Jareth, arrives and tells her that she has 13 hours to make it through his mystical Labyrinth and save her brother. Along the way she meets many friends, and faces many obstacles, learning that she has all she needs to defeat Jareth already inside of her.

I love this movie! I actually didn’t see it until recently, but it has all of the great 80s elements that remind me of my childhood. So much glitter! I love the character of Jareth, and David Bowie is awesome, of course. I also like that it has some Wizard of Oz-esque qualities. This movie always makes me think of Halloween, maybe because the first time I saw it was in October. The movie also starts with a rainstorm, so that reminds me of this time of year, plus it's full of magic and fantastic creatures! If you’ve never seen it, I recommend it!

Computer Game: The Ghost of Thornton Hall

Check out the game!

In the chilling 28th installment of the Nancy Drew PC games, you, playing as super sleuth Nancy Drew, are asked to investigate the disappearance of bride-to-be Jessalyn Thornton. Jessalyn was having a slumber party with her friend in the old Thornton Manor, rumored to be haunted by a family ghost, when she suddenly vanished. As you search the estate (including the spooky cemetery) for the missing girl, you learn more about the Thornton family’s tragic past...and begin to see a ghost in a long red ballgown haunting the grounds. Could she be responsible for Jessalyn’s disappearance? Find out in this hauntingly good game.

As I said before, I love Nancy Drew games, particularly ones with a monster or a ghost involved. I love something that adds a startle factor in these games, something that makes you crave to play the game at night, even though you know it will give you nightmares if you do; some element that makes you have to play it with someone else in the room. The Ghost of Thornton Hall did not disappoint.

This game was the scariest one I’ve ever played. I have heard that Shadow at the Water’s Edge is truly the most terrifying Nancy Drew game to date, but I haven’t played that one yet. (Judging from the trailer, I’d say people are right, but I think The Ghost of Thornton Hall has got to be the runner-up.) If it’s scarier than this one, it must be pretty good.

The mystery was really interesting, too. I was speeding through the game, trying to find more and more clues to piece the puzzle of the Thornton family’s history and learn more about the ghost. If you look closely on the cover, you can see flames in the ghost’s pupils! Creepy! And, if memory serves, there was a birthday masquerade that took place on Halloween night! So, it is a perfect Halloween choice, in my opinion.

So, what are your favorite Halloween movies and games? Leave your answer in the comments below!

Halloween Fun | October 04, 2014 | 12:04 PM

Well, we are almost done putting up all of our decorations! Here are a few more things that put me in the Halloween mood:

Movie: Return to Oz

Based on L. Frank Baum’s beloved Oz series, this movie takes its material specifically from The Land of Oz and Ozma of Oz. It also has some nods to the 1939 film, such as her slippers being ruby instead of silver.

Ever since her first trip to Oz, Dorothy has been having trouble sleeping at night. Something is deeply troubling her; she just knows her friends back in Oz are in trouble. One day on the farm, she is sent a key on a shooting star with the letters O-Z on the handle. When she is suddenly swept back to the magical land, with her chatty hen, Billina, Dorothy finds that her suspicions were correct: something terrible has happened. The yellow brick road is destroyed, the Emerald city has lost all of its gems and has fallen to ruin, and the citizens of Oz have vanished. Dorothy must embark on a quest with Tik-Tok, Jack Pumkinhead, the Gump, and Billina to defeat Mombi and her master, the evil Nome King and save the Scarecrow and the land of Oz.

I love this movie. I saw it on the Disney Channel when I was really young, and it has always been a favorite that I watch over and over. The time I really want to watch it though, is October. And it’s not just that the movie has some scary parts, it actually takes place in October, too!

“It’s Halloween soon.”
“I know.”

It changes quite a bit from the books that it is based on, but I myself really like the way they set it up. A fair word of warning: the freaky Wheelers and head-collecting Princess Mombi may scare you. They give me the delightful “Ooh, this is so interesting, but kind of scary” chill, but they actually terrify my sister. So, just be wary if you’ve never seen this one before. But after all, all the creepy parts (the Nomes, the Wheelers, the Deadly Desert, Mombi) are just like they are in the books.

Book: Hector’s Haunted House

Does anyone remember the PBS television series Ghostwriter–? It ran from 1992-1995 and was a mystery serial starring a bunch of teens in Brooklyn who had a mysterious friend who couldn’t hear or talk, but could READ anything–Ghostwriter! Very good, fun, compelling, and had a lot of serious themes. Plus it was super nineties, so that makes it even more fun. If you remember it, or are interested, I recommend checking it out, the first season is out on DVD.

The show also had a tie-in book series. I recently got a few of them from the library, and I would like to recommend Hector’s Haunted House as a spooktacular book to read!

A little overview of the plot: Hector and his mother are moving into their first house! They are both very excited, and can’t wait to start fixing the place up and make it home.
But then Hector receives an ominous note, telling him that their new house is haunted!
Soon he is haunted by the ghost himself, and so he and the Ghostwriter Team investigate to see if it’s all a hoax...or if Ghostwriter isn’t the only ghost around, after all.

This book was really good. Everyone from the show was in-character, and the mystery got really creepy in some parts. When I read this one at night, I got scared! The backstory of the house was really interesting, too. If you like ghost stories, this may be one for you!

Computer Game: The Curse of Blackmoor Manor

Check out the game!

In the eleventh game of the best-selling Interactive game, you, playing as the title character Nancy Drew, are invited to stay at an old manor in England. But when you get there, strange things are happening. The lady of the household is bedridden and refuses to see anyone, and you begin to hear stories of the manor’s dark past, and a creature that may or may not be a myth.

This game is really good. I love the Nancy Drew Game Series, and this one is one of my favorites. The mini-games are fun, the story is really intricate and well-written, and there are plenty of spooky moments that make you jump in your seat (a must for me with these games).
This game is also one of the longer ones, with 20+ hours of gameplay! (The later ones are a lot shorter, because they started putting out several a year.) I recommend it to mystery lovers everywhere!

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