Ten Books to Get Your Halloween Creepy On

Halloween ISN’T just for traditional horror novels anymore. More and more, novels are blurring the lines between genres, making for some awesome reads. Here are my ten picks to help you get your creepy on, in no particular order:

THE GATES by John Connolly

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At the surface, it’s a fun look at what would happen if some hapless neighbors opened the gates to Hell. It reminds me a lot of GOOD OMENS by the kings, themselves, and (cough, cough) SACRIFICIAL LAMB CAKE by yours, truly. There are some truly creepy moments (but not too creepy; I’m a wimp, after all) that’ll get you in the Halloween spirit PRONTO.

THE RADLEYS by Matt Haig

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I love me a good vampire book, especially if it’s not trying too hard to be the next in the Vampire Chronicles. Haig balances creepy with heartfelt in this book.

THE WINTER PEOPLE by Jennifer McMahon

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I once recommended this book to a friend of mine who loves female-driven thrillers as much (if not more) than I do. She came back halfway through with, “This is too scary for me.” Wuss.

BLOODSUCKING FIENDS (series) by CHRISTOPHER MOORE

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MOAR VAMPIRES. Moore writes what many reviewers have dubbed horror/comedy in which the monsters are slightly ridiculous and (more often than not) a little sex-crazed. I’ve loved everything Moore has put out (with the exception of BITE ME, but we don’t talk about that), with BS FIENDS being near the top of the heap.

THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman

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In my opinion, no list about books is complete without at least a terse mention of Neil Gaiman. THE GRAVEYARD BOOK’s best feature is probably that it’s suitable for almost all age groups. My nine year old daughter read it and loved every page as much as I did.

ALICE by Christina Henry

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This book threw me for a fucking loop. Henry takes the original Alice tale and flips it on its head, making villains of the most innocuous of characters. There’s danger, excitement, and a Hatter Tim Burton (circa Nightmare Before Christmas) would love. The sequel, RED QUEEN, looks to be just as creeptastic.

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA by Gaston Leroux

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We’ve all seen the stage play adapted by Andrew Lloyd Weber (or at least the knock-off film starring Gerard Butler and doe-eyed darling, Emmi Rossum) but it’s hard to comprehend the horror behind the story without reading the novel it’s based on. Familiarity with the plot will guide you through the dry bits. Promise.

THE END OF THE SENTENCE by Maria Dahvana Headley & Kat Howard

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I came across this book the first time on Twitter but didn’t finally pick it up until I saw it calling to me from a table at the library book sale. My advice? DON’T WAIT FOR SERENDIPITY. More a novella than a novel, it tears open old fairy tales I haven’t seen adapted before and lays them bare on a puddle of blood.

DUNGEONS AND DRAG QUEENS by MP Johnson

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When I think Halloween, I think costumes. And when I think costumes, the masters (mistresses, rather) belong to the drag community. In this book, a drag queen is sucked from the bitch-fight drama of her local bar to a world where a serpent king wants to make her his queen. They don’t call it bizarro for nothing, k?

MY BEST FRIEND’S EXORCISM by Grady Hendrix

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You might recognize this author as the same fella who put out HORRORSTOR. I wasn’t a fan of his first go around, but decided to give this book a go anyway. I WAS COMPLETELY REWARDED. Seamlessly blending comedy with horror, it’ll have you giggling while you keep a cautious eye over your shoulder.

 

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on my recommendations, or give me your own creepy reads!

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention ALL DARLING CHILDREN, my newest book, which is a dark (and yes, creepy) retelling of Peter Pan. Go on. You know you want it.

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Ain’t she GORGEOUS?

 

 

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PAN IS COMING – A Giveaway!

It’s Monday and I’m back in the seat after having spent two weeks on honeymoon hiatus. I KNOW. YOU’RE THRILLED.

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Ain’t she GORGEOUS?

My newest novel, ALL DARLING CHILDREN, is being released on Thursday, Oct 20th as an e-book (with the paperback to follow shortly after), and I want to give away a few of them because nothing makes Mondays better than free books.

So, to be entered, head over to my Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/katrinamonroewriter/ – give it a like, and I’ll select three winners at random on release day to receive an e-book copy on me!

As always, I’ll ask the winners (if they’re so inclined) to leave a review on Amazon once they’ve finished. Reviews really help in getting a writer’s work seen, so ANY book you’ve read and loved (or even not loved), drop a line or two on the ol’ Zon.

Cheers and good luck!

What Time is It? Also, Facebook Things

I got back from my honeymoon in London yesterday and JESUS is jet lag a thing that is real and also horrible.

Just a quick word and a request: Since getting married (YAY), I’ve changed my last name (because we can’t do things without being FACEBOOK OFFICIAL in this world) making it harder for people to find me by my writer name. So, to make it easier, I’ve created an author page. Give it a like and be entered to win a copy of ALL DARLING CHILDREN, which comes out October 20th! https://www.facebook.com/katrinamonroewriter/

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Ain’t she GORGEOUS?

 

A TALE DU MORT is FREE This Weekend!

Saturday and Sunday, to be exact.

Most of you are already aware, but in case you missed my thousands of tweets on the stress of planning a wedding, I’M GETTING MARRIED!

In celebration (and who am I to resist a perfect promo set-up?) I’ve made A TALE DU MORT free for everyone this weekend. Here’s the Amazon link.

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GET YOUR READ ON and I’ll see you in two weeks with tales of a couple trying to wander London without looking too much like tourists.

How the F*** Do I Name My Characters?

If you’re a parent (or even if you’re not), it’s easy to understand the agony behind choosing a name for this squirming mass of flesh you’ve created. You want something that’ll represent them, something that’ll stand out, but not too much, and God forbid you pick something with an automatic and unfortunate nick-name attached.

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As writers, we go through the same torment. We peruse all the baby name databases. We say their names over and over to see how it’ll sit on someone’s tongue should they read it out loud. We scribble them in notebooks and on napkins and try to imagine a face that’ll reflect the person we want them to be. It’s torture, but it’s vital to the success of a book (in which I define “success” as a book readers talk about or think about after the cover is closed).

First, I want to say that I’m not knocking the Marks and Julies of the fiction world. Names don’t have to be unusual to stand out. It’s all about the name that accompanies the personality. Example: Andrew Yancy from Carl Hiassen’s BAD MONKEY and RAZOR GIRL. Pretty standard name, right? But when paired with the ironic swagger of an ex-detective-now-roach-patrolman, it’s a name that’ll stick in the reader’s mind. He’s Andrew, not Drew or Andy. Yancy is the kind of surname with a nondescript background, so you’re free to mold him any way you like in your mind.

For the writer who wants a more unusual name without throwing in useless consanents and ridiculous accent marks, I give you these examples:

Bunny Munro from THE DEATH OF BUNNY MUNRO. The name “Bunny” is ironic, given his less than soft nature, making it unusual enough to stand out. The same principle goes for Fat Charlie from ANANSI BOYS who is anything but fat and Abby Normal from Christopher Moore’s BLOODSUCKING FIENDS series who would love to be anything but normal.

You could go for something more literal, like SERGE STORMS from pretty much any Tim Dorsey novel who blows through the book like a category 5 hurricane on a mix of speed and coffee. Or there’s Mr. Wednesday from AMERICAN GODS, whose literal meaning takes a little bit of digging. His name is one of convenience, granted to him when he asks Shadow Moon what day it is and then replies, “Today is my day.” That statement alone is a summation of Mr. Wednesday’s character, which gives his name meaning.

Then there are names that carry with them the entire heart of the story. Osceola Bigtree from SWAMPLANDIA isn’t the protagonist, but she carries in her name (and her character) the soul of the book, which takes place in the swampy underbelly of South Florida.

In the end, readers will interpret your character names however they want. I could be totally off about Osceola, but her name stuck with me because I was able to extract meaning and because Karen Russell GAVE her name meaning, even if it wasn’t the same as mine. The name you choose isn’t as important to your characters as the reason behind it. Sometimes, it’s just because the name “suits” a character. That’s PERFECTLY FINE. Names that suit characteristics will make sense and serve to draw a clearer picture for the reader, making your story memorable.

I’ve given you some of mine; Now, let’s hear some character names that’ve really stuck with you, long after you’ve finished reading.

Birthdays and Celebrations– Or: Reasons to Open the Wine Before Noon

While the Google Doodle is blowing up balloons, celebrating being old enough to vote, we’ve got some announcements and shenanigans happening here, too.

First, ALL DARLING CHILDREN has an official (e-book) release date of October 20th. Mark it on your calendars, tell your friends, cuddle your Pooh Bear in nervous anticipation. For now, here’s a cover and blurb:

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Ain’t she GORGEOUS?

All boys grow up, except one.

On the tenth anniversary of her mother’s death, fourteen-year-old Madge Darling’s grandmother suffers a heart attack. With the overbearing Grandma Wendy in the hospital, Madge runs away to Chicago, intent on tracking down a woman she believes is actually her mother.

On her way to the Windy City, a boy named Peter Pan lures Madge to Neverland, a magical place where children can remain young forever. While Pan plays puppet master in a twisted game only he understands, Madge discovers the disturbing price of Peter Pan’s eternal youth.

If that don’t tickle your fairy tale bone, I don’t know WHAT will.

 

Second, I’m getting MARRIED. To celebrate, I’ll be making A TALE DU MORT free on Amazon from Saturday to Sunday. So, you can read (and review! please!) while I’m betting half my stuff that this will all work out just fine.

 

Finally, I want you all to wish Kate Moretti a huge HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY on the release of THE VANISHING YEAR, which Mary Kubica called “a stunner!” I’ll be picking it up today to take with me on my honeymoon. Here’s a cover and a blurb:

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Zoe Whittaker is living a charmed life. She is the beautiful young wife to handsome, charming Wall Street tycoon Henry Whittaker. She is a member of Manhattan’s social elite. She is on the board of one of the city’s most prestigious philanthropic organizations. She has a perfect Tribeca penthouse in the city and a gorgeous lake house in the country. The finest wine, the most up-to-date fashion, and the most luxurious vacations are all at her fingertips.

What no one knows is that five years ago, Zoe’s life was in danger. Back then, Zoe wasn’t Zoe at all. Now her secrets are coming back to haunt her.

As the past and present collide, Zoe must decide who she can trust before she—whoever she is—vanishes completely.

Pick up your copy today and don’t forget to leave her a review. Happy Tuesday!