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Halloween Blog Post: Justine Graykin

10252013 - ANcoverLarrythumbWelcome to the Wicked, Weird and Whimsical Words Halloween Blog Tour!! A few of my author friends from Broad Universe and I adore Halloween, so we’re trading blog posts every other day for this last week of October.

Justine Graykin‘s second post in this tour tickles me to no end. I’ve been a fan of her Archimedes Nesselrode since she started reading excerpts from it at Rapid Fire Readings years ago. It was an audio book first, and I just don’t do audio books. So, when she finally, finally, finally had a huggable book published, I did, indeed, drive all the way up to her release party in New Hampshire so I could immediately hug my own copy. Squee!

Happy Halloween!!

An Excerpt from Archimedes Nesselrode by Justine Graykin

Archimedes Nesselrode, my newly-released novel from Double Dragon, is mostly gentle and whimsical, a tale of an artist with strange and wonderful creative powers.  But these powers also have a dark and frightful side, one which even the artist himself fears.

In honor of the this shiversome season, I offer to the readers of my dear friend Trisha’s blog an excerpt from the book in keeping with that spirit of darkness.

We join the artist and his devoted housekeeper attempting to escape from the vengeful anger of Zarah Trebbiano, the operatic diva whose advances Mr. Nesselrode has rejected.

“Get in the car, Mr. Nesselrode,” Ms. Mare said firmly, “I shall handle this.”

“Oh, yes, get into the car, Michel!” the singer mocked.  “Do as your woman servant says!  Spineless worm!  That is all you are!  Gutless and spineless!”

“That will be enough!” Ms. Mare snapped in an imperiously commanding tone that any school mistress would have envied.  “You will leave immediately and do not dare attempt to contact Mr. Nesselrode again in any way!”

“Call off your dog, Michel,” Madam Trebbiano said, “her yapping annoys me.”

“You are a crude, ill-bred woman who ought to be ashamed of herself, but is too arrogant to realize it!  Now, good night to you!”  Ms. Mare turned on her heel to go.  Her employer had still not moved.

“Ill-bred?” the singer cried.  “This from an illegitimate brat of the serving class!  Oh, yes, I know who you are!  You’re the housekeeper, aren’t you?  Do you think to improve your position by coddling your master?  A bit of advice to you–don’t attempt to bed him!  He is a passionless, impotent fish!”

“How dare you?” Ms. Mare cried in outrage.

“Can’t you say anything, Michel?  No, you pathetic, sniveling poseur!  I should never have wasted my time with you!  You are not a man at all!”

“That will be enough!” Ms. Mare commanded, uncomfortably aware that they were beginning to attract a crowd.  “Mr. Nesselrode, get into the car.  We are leaving!”

“Go on, Michel!  Run with your tail between your legs!  That’s all you’ve got down there!  Go home with your faithful dog!  Perhaps you can reward her with a few limp-wristed caresses!  Or do you prefer little boys?”

“Zarah, shut up!”

The transformation of Archimedes Nesselrode from rabbit to wild-eyed fury was sudden and astonishing.  He spun around to face her and his voice rose into a screech.  “Shut up!  Shut up!  Shut up!”

Madam Trebbiano was shocked speechless, taking a step away from him.  Ms. Mare was frozen, her mouth open.  She had seen him annoyed, fretful, peevish and irritated.  She had never seen this.  His eyes blazed with madness, but not the gentle, harmless madness she was accustomed to.  His face was twisted horribly and malignantly.  The winged snake flew up into the air with alarm and darted over to Ms. Mare, coiling about her legs and cringing, afraid of her own master.

“You summon great passion in me, Zarah!  Oh, yes!  You inspire me with wild emotion!”  He laughed, but it was a fearful, maniacal sound.  “You are fascinated by my magic, eh?  I’ll give you a demonstration!  See what I create in your honor!”  He held out his hands.  To Ms. Mare’s horror they were dripping with scorpions.  If there was any creature which inspired greater loathing in her than spiders, it was scorpions.

Madam Trebbiano’s expression showed much the same sentiment.  She was grimacing in revulsion.  Archimedes Nesselrode, quite monstrously insane, walked towards her.  “Embrace me, Zarah!  I’m all yours!”

“Get away from me!” she cried, backing away.  But she found her retreat blocked.  They were no longer standing on a city sidewalk.  Archimedes Nesselrode had conjured a chamber of horrors.

The stone walls that enclosed them slanted at bizarre angles and intersected with unbearable asymmetry.  The seams where the stone blocks met were cracked and seeping with fungoid slime.  From the slime bubbled shapeless things which crawled and dripped to the crazily tilting floor.  The ceiling was thickly hung with sticky webs which seethed with black legs and bloated bodies.

“Gifts for you, Zarah!” he shrieked, his voice cracked and shaking, “From the bottom of my heart!”  He threw the scorpions at her, and began to laugh hideously.  He became swathed in robes of black and scarlet, and from beneath the folds of the robe erupted monstrosities, deformed and hideous.  Writhing hunks of severed flesh, embedded with eyes, oozing like open wounds, they flopped and crawled around him.  Zarah Trebbiano screamed and clawed helplessly at the venomous creatures that clung to her, stinging her repeatedly.

Stunned with horror, Vivian Mare stared, unable to believe that her timid, sweet employer could have so suddenly mutated into this terrible monster.  It took an act of strongest will power to break the paralyzing spell.

“Snake, for pity’s sake, let go of me!”

My thanks to Trisha Wooldridge for her gracious hospitality.  Archimedes Nesselrode is available as a paperback 10252013 - j_graykin_photothrough Amazon and as an ebook though most major distributors.  You may learn more about this and my humble self on my website, at justinegraykin.com

About the Author:

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

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

COPPER GIRL Blog Tour: How Copper Faucets, Neil Gaiman, and a Rainy Night in Portsmouth Led to Copper Girl

CopperGirlsFRONTcoverFINALhirezI’m happy to share my blog with my good friend, Jennifer Allis Provost, as she shares one of her adventures that led to her awesome book, COPPER GIRL.

So here’s what happened:

It was 2010, and Neil Gaiman was touring for the tenth anniversary edition of American Gods. Being a huge fan of all things Neil, I had to go. Unfortunately, the closest stop was Portsmouth, NH, which is about two hours away. Which means, I needed to enlist a co-conspirator.

Enter Trisha Wooldridge, owner of the blog you are now reading. Being that she’s also a die-hard Neil fan, she was game. So I picked her up, enjoyed some of the best Mexican I’ve ever had (in Worcester, MA, of all places) and headed north. During the drive, I fished a bracelet out of the center console; it was green marble with a copper clasp. I gave it to Trisha (hey, she paid for lunch) and commented that copper was my favorite metal.

Once we reached Portsmouth we met up with another writer friend, one Justine Graykin. After dinner at a British-themed pub, we trekked over to the Music Hall, listed to Neil speak, read from American Gods, and be interviewed by the local NPR affiliate, and scored some signed hardbacks.

Right now, you’re wondering why I’m telling you all of this, and what this possibly has to do with Copper Girl. Patience. It’s coming.

After the event at the Music Hall was over, Trisha, Justine and I went to a local restaurant (for the life of me, I can’t remember the name of it – Portsmouth Brewery, maybe?) for drinks and dessert. (Side note: the common theme to all of my and Trish’s adventures seem to be drinks and dessert.) We hit the bathroom before we left, and let me tell you, that was one of the nicest ladies’ rooms I’d ever seen. It had granite counters, a terra cotta tile floor, and the most gorgeous copper sinks and faucets. While washing my hands, I remarked again that copper was my favorite metal.

“You keep saying that,” said Trisha. “Maybe you should write a copper story.”

And, I did.

The point behind my ramble is this: I was lucky enough to be with two creative individuals, talking and laughing and generally going on about the sorts of things I don’t normally get to talk about, like my love of Charles Dickens, and  literary tropes, and why libraries don’t have more funding than the defense department. I had the opportunity to be exposed to Trisha and Justine’s creativity, and I borrowed a bit of it.

Take away lessons:

Creativity does not exist in a vacuum – if you isolate yourself, you will never open yourself to new ideas. Place yourself with other creative individuals, and soak up their brilliance.

Inspiration is everywhere – even in a bathroom sink.

Have drinks and desserts with friends often – you never know where it will lead you. And, um, chocolate.

Want to win a Token replica from Copper Girl? What about a gorgeous Copper Girl T-Shirt based on the beautiful cover by Lisa Amowitz? How about a $10 Barnes & Noble Gift Certificate? Check out the raffle below!

Back cover matter:

Sara had always been careful.

She never spoke of magic, never associated with those suspected of handling magic, never thought of magic, and never, ever, let anyone see her mark. After all, the last thing she wanted was to end up missing, like her father and brother.

Then, a silver elf pushed his way into Sara’s dream, and her life became anything but ordinary.

Rafflecopter link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MTBiNjRkMDYwN2U2MWZjNzBmNmM4YWEwNTEyODI0Ojg=/

Author bio:

Jennifer Allis Provost is a native New Englander who lives in a sprawling colonial along with her beautiful and precocious twins, a dog, a parrot (maroon bellied conure, to be exact), two cats, and a wonderful husband who never forgets to buy ice cream. As a child, she read anything and everything she could get her hands on, including a set of encyclopedias, but fantasy was always her favorite. She spends her days drinking vast amounts of coffee, arguing with her computer, and avoiding any and all domestic behavior.

Friend me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jennallis

Follow me on Twitter: @parthalan

http://jenniferallisprovost.com/

http://jenniferallisprovost.blogspot.com/

Last Chance to Win Scavenger Hunt Swag!

thekelpie_front_onlyLast Chance to Win Scavenger Hunt Swag!

Thank you everyone who participated in my Cover Reveal Scavenger Hunt–whether you posted a piece or were hunting through to win one of the awesome prizes!

If you haven’t yet entered, let me remind you of what’s up for grabs:

Prize 1:

A beautiful oval fused glass necklace on an antique backing featuring a kelpie–or, well, a scary looking black horse.  It matches the MacArthur tartan, color wise! Made by Renee of Stained Glass Creations!

Prize 2:

More beauty + jewelry! A necklace featuring Vic Caswell’s actual art of the kelpie in a beautiful setting by Art by Stefanie.

Prize 3:

For the non-jewelry inclined: An 11×6 poster of the cover art, signed by the author and artist, plus a set of trading cards based on the scavenger hunt pieces–the characters featured on the cover!

 

How do you play?  Go to the various blogs below and collect the words from the novel excerpts within each of the posts!  To make it extra easy, here are the permalinks with the words you need to collect:

Visit the Faery Castle at Kate Kaynak’s blog: http://thedisgruntledbear.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-kelpie.html

Scavenger Hunt Goal: first sentence, 10th word

Hop over to Scotland at Stained Glass Creations and Beyond: http://stainedglasscreationsandbeyond.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/a-walk-in-scotland-scavenger-hunt/

Scavenger Hunt Goal: first sentence, 12th word

Check out the artist rendition of Heather MacArthur’s family tartan with Aimee Weinstein at http://tokyowriter.com/2013/03/26/scavenger-hunt-contest-author-and-friend-trisha-wooldridges-new-book-cover/

Scavenger Hunt Goal: first sentence, first word

Bonus Art!

Meet Heather’s dad, Michael MacArthur, at Valerie Hadden’s blog: http://valeriehadden.wordpress.com/2013/03/27/family-should-be-a-safe-place-where-you-could-have-your-worst-days-and-still-be-loved-an-interview-about-depression-and-family/

Scavenger Hunt Goal: first sentence, 12th word

Cast your eyes upon the kelpie, itself, with Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert at http://suzannereynoldsalpert.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-kelpie_28.html

Scavenger Hunt Goal: 2nd sentence, 2nd word

And feel the snark of Monkey, the fey cat with Justine Graykin at http://justinegraykin.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/monkey-the-fey-cat/

Scavenger Hunt Goal: first sentence, 3rd word

Meet Heather’s best friend, Prince Joseph at, who’s hanging out with author Darby Karchut at http://darbykarchut.blogspot.com/2013/03/cover-reveal-kelpie-by-tj-wooldridge.html

Scavenger Hunt Goal: first sentence, 17th word

And finally meet Heather, herself, who’s hanging out with one of Trisha’s editors, Laura Ownbey at http://redpenreviews.blogspot.com/2013/03/editing-kelpie-study-in-nuance.html

Scavenger Hunt Goal: first sentence, first word

Besides catching the awesome art and some sneak-peaks at the novel, some of my hosts have written their own messages about the novel, about some of the topics in the novel, and (thank you, Laura), about their experience editing the novel.  Take a little time to look around these blogs; you may enjoy what else they offer!

Happy Hunting!