All posts by Mary Crockett

Mary Crockett is co-author of the novel DreamBoy, available from Sourcebooks Fire in summer 2014.

Shiny New Cover Reveal & Giveaway – THE ONE THING

We at the BookYArd are super excited today to reveal the gorgeous new cover for the 2015 debut THE ONE THING by Marci Lyn Curtis.

Voila!

The One Thing Marci Lyn Curtis Cover

Beautiful, right? And while we’re at it, take a look at these little beauties, which Marci is giving to some lucky soul! Click here to enter the giveaway.

custom earrings book swag

ABOUT THE BOOK

A soaring tale of life and love, of sacrifice and renewal, and learning to see people as they really are.

Maggie Sanders might be blind, but she won’t invite anyone to her pity party. Ever since losing her sight six months ago, Maggie’s rebellious streak has taken on a life of its own, culminating with an elaborate school prank. Maggie called it genius. The judge called it illegal.

Now Maggie has a probation officer. But she isn’t interested in rehabilitation, not when she’s still mourning the loss of her professional soccer dreams, and furious at her so-called friends, who lost interest in her as soon as she could no longer lead the team to victory.

When Maggie first meets Ben, she thinks she can add crazy to her list of problems. But the precocious ten-year-old isn’t a hallucination. Maggie can actually see him. She immediately befriends the kid, desperate for any chance to see again.

It turns out Ben’s older brother is Mason Milton, the ridiculously hot lead singer of Maggie’s new favorite band. Music is the first thing that has made Maggie feel alive since losing her sight. But when she learns the real reason she can see Ben, Maggie must find the courage to face a once-unimaginable future…before she loses everything she has grown to love.

ABOUT MARCI

Marci Lyn Curtis author photoMarci Curtis grew up in Northern California, where she went to college and met an amazing guy in a military uniform. Two college-aged kids and one dachshund later, she lives in Maryland, where she laughs too loudly and eats peanut butter off spoons. Her YA contemporary debut, The One Thing, comes out September 8th, 2015 via Disney-Hyperion.
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8 Frightful Books to get your SCARE ON!

As the bewitching night approaches, it’s the perfect time to heat a mug of cider and curl up under a fuzzy cover with something truly horrifying–a book!

Here are some suggestions from BookYArd authors of reads that get them spooked–plus a few spooky books from the YArd itself!

GHOST STORY by Peter Straub

For four aging men in the terror-stricken town of Milburn, New York, an act inadvertently carried out in their youth has come back to haunt them. Now they are about to learn what happens to those who believe they can bury the past — and get away with murder.

— recommended by Rin Chupeco, author of THE GIRL FROM THE WELL

Here’s why Rin loves Straub’s GHOST STORY: “Creepy girls, grotesque deaths, and insanity are my preferred trifecta!”

And here’s why you’ll want to check out THE GIRL FROM THE WELL:

girlfromthewellA dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

~

“BOOGEYMAN” — a shortstory in the NIGHTSHIFT collection by Stephen King

You can hear it here:

— recommended by Trisha Leaver, coauthor of CREED

What Trisha says about THE BOOGEYMAN: “The word terrifying doesn’t do this story justice. The hint of insanity and fathers rather disturbing choice make this one of the few horror stories that continues to plague my mind twenty years after I read it!”

Creed final coverCREED by Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie

Three went in. Three came out. None even a shadow of who they once were.

When their car breaks down, Dee, her boyfriend Luke, and his brother Mike walk through a winter storm to take refuge in a nearby town called Purity Springs. When they arrive, the emergency sirens are blaring and the small farming town seems abandoned. With no other shelter, they spend the night in an empty house….

~

MARY – THE SUMMONING by Hillary Monahan

There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her.

Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them–Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna–must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go.

— recommended by Sarah Bromely, author of A MURDER OF MAGPIES

What Sarah says about MARY: “I’ve read Hillary Monahan’s book several times. Still hate mirrors at night.” –

A MURDER OF MAGPIES by Sarah Bromley

murdermagpies500pxWinter in Black Orchard, Wisconsin, is long and dark, and sixteen-year-old Vayda Silver prays the snow will keep the truth and secrecy of the last two years buried. Hiding from the past with her father and twin brother, Vayda knows the rules: never return to the town of her mother’s murder, and never work a Mind Game where someone might see.

 

 

~

IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

— recommended by Mary Crockett, coauthor of DREAM BOY

Why Mary thinks you should read Capote’s novel: “The real horror here is that In Cold Blood is a true story. The senselessness of murder, the randomness of it–the savage caprice–makes this book bone-chilling.”

DREAM BOY by Mary Crockett and Madelyn Rosenberg

DREAM BOY by Mary Crockett & Madelyn Rosenberg

Perfect and REAL. The boy of her dreams. And when he brushes past her, he whispers her name.

Annabelle Manning spends her nights with a blue-eyed boy who consumes her dreams – then vanishes each morning as she wakes. He’s everything she’s every wanted, but even she never expected to find him in her chemistry class the next day.

Now she’s got a gorgeous guy who’s totally into her, whispering the most ridiculously romantic things in her ear. Her life is a dream come true – until her dreams stop and the nightmares begin.

 

THE GIRL FROM THE WELL emerges today!

Ready to get seriously creeped out? Good! Rin Chupeco has a little something for you.

Today we’re celebrating the launch of Rin’s THE GIRL FROM THE WELL, a book that is as scary as it is insightful. Here’s there word from Goodreads:

girlfromthewellYou may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night.

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret – one that would just kill to get out.

The Girl from the Well is A YA Horror novel pitched as “Dexter” meets “The Grudge”, based on a well-loved Japanese ghost story.

~

You’re ready to get this, right? Good news! You can find it at Indiebound, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and pretty much wherever books are sold!

Here’s what some other young adult writers have to say:

vigilantepoets“I confess–I was creeped out just by reading the description. If you’re looking for a chilling story with some serious literary chops (starred PW review!), THE GIRL FROM THE WELL is the book for you!”

– Kate Hattemer, author of THE VIGILANTE POETS OF SELWYN ACADEMY

wordless“It doesn’t get much better than “Dexter” meets “The Grudge” as far as what I look for in a horror novel. I love the international setting, and the voice sounds so unique and powerful–I can’t wait to read this!”

– AdriAnne Strickland, WORDLESS

b2ap3_thumbnail_Gilded_final-cvr-comp_12-11-13“THE GIRL FROM THE WELL sounds creepy in the best possible way. I love how diverse and unique this book sounds. This book is going to be one thrilling, chilling ride.”
– Christina Farley, GILDED and SILVERN (forthcoming)

“An eerie YA horror reminiscent of movies like TOne for sorrow, two for joy A destructive girl, a damaged boy Click to see largerhe Grudge and The Ring, THE GIRL FROM THE WELL is sure to scare you senseless!”

– Sarah Bromley, A MURDER OF MAGPIES

DREAM BOY by Mary Crockett and Madelyn Rosenberg“‘I am where dead children go.’ Holy crap! I’ll be reading this one with all the lights on throughout the house!”

– Mary Crockett, DREAM BOY

 

 

 

 

 

The Everything-You-Ever-Wanted-to-Know-About-Dream-Boy (and then some!) Tour

Dream Boy comes out July 1st from Sourcebooks, and in the days leading up to that (and the days following) my coauthor Madelyn and I have a group of fabulous bloggers who are hosting us as part of our Launch Tour. We hope you will visit them. The sites will feature reviews, guest posts, and give-aways. So now, without further ado:

We stared out yesterday with three (count ’em THREE) different stops: Interviews at Kate Ormand’s blog and Reading is My Treasure and Fashion Tips from Dream Boy at Fic Fare.

June 13th: Follow Madelyn over to talk rock music and leather pants at Buried in Books.

June 14th: We’ll both be hanging out with Jill talking dreams at Bitches n’ Prose.

June 15th: Mary will be sharing “a book and a chat”–and taking LIVE questions–with Barry Eva, so call in (info here).

June 17th: Madelyn pays a visit to Spirit of Children’s Literature.

June 18th: Look for us over at Artzicarol Ramblings.

June 19th: It’s Nerd Herd time!

June 23rd: Mary hangs out with Giselle at Xpresso Reads.

June 24th: Madelyn answers some of Jean’s tough questions at Book Nerd.

June 25th: Keeping it local, Madelyn runs down the street to visit Amy at Aya M Productions.

June 26th: Mary and Madelyn talk old movies with Erin at Jump Into Books.

June 27th: Mary is on the spot again, this time at Blogging Between the Lines.

June 29th: Suzanne Wardle of the Roanoke Times will let you know what she thinks of Dream Boy on the Sunday book page.

June 30th: Learn 10 random things about Madelyn and Mary over at Jessica’s Blog, Jessabella Reads.

Early July: Check out the review at Wondrous Reads.

July 1st: And T minus five seconds. Four. Three. Two. One. LAUNCH! Look who’s been dreaming all over the web! Mary will have a round-up of authors sharing their dreams over at One Four Kidlit.

July 2nd: Mary hangs out with Carol Riggs at the Fearless Fifteeners.

July 3rd: Books in the Spotlight.

July 3rd: Heather’s Book Chatter.

July 7th: Not on television yet, but we are on Kelly Vision.

July 8th:  Long and Short Reviews.

July 9th: Mallory Heart Reviews.

July 10th: Playlist time! Madelyn shares some of her favorite songs about dreams, plus some songs we listened to while writing Dream Boy, over on YA Misfits.

July 11th: Mary visits with Tressa at Tressa’s Wishful Endings.

July 12th: Mary dishes on Chilton fashion at the Unofficial Addiction Book Club. 

July 12th: If you’re in Virginia, we’ll be in Salem, live and in the flesh at the Salem Museum for our real world launch party from 3 to 5. Come see us! (Looking for a Northern Virginia date as well.)

July 15th: What are we doing? Oh, Just Reading Away the Days.

July 16th: Madelyn heads to Canada (virtually) to talk about (fictional) boys with Dayla at Book Addict, 24-7.

July 17th: Maryann (who created our lovely banner, by the way. Thanks, Maryann!) talks Dream Boy at Chapter by Chapter.

Whew. More stuff as we find out about it. Meanwhile, we hope you’ll look for our book!

Indie Bound  |  B&N   |   Books a Million   |  Apple   |  Amazon US   |  Amazon UK   |    Indigo   |   The Book Depository   |   Waterstones   |   Goodreads

** GIVEAWAY **

Enter to win a free Advanced Readers Copy of DREAMBOY on Goodreads.

YA Novels as Haiku – A Poetry Month Celebration

How could we let April pass without sending up a whoop-whoop to the great Poetic Muses in the Sky? So here, on that last day of National Poetry Month, we are celebrating all things poetic by writing synopses of our debut books in haiku form.

Enjoy, ye mortals and goddesses of inspiration alike!

~

girlfromthewellSpirits have no place
hunting these child murderers
– but she is hungry.

A tattooed boy has
poison underneath his skin
and she is the cure

How do you fight an
evil revenant, you ask?
Dead girls make good blades.

— Rin Chupeco

~

The-Girl-Who-Never-Was-Skylar-DorsetTurning seventeen
Means learning she’s a faerie.
Complicated? Yes.

Know what’s kind of hard?
Having a faerie-boyfriend
Who’s now imprisoned.

Poor Selkie’s got a
Mother who’d prefer she’s the
Girl who never was.

– Skylar Dorset

~

16037505SALT

A powerless witch
Fighting some demons and then
Like magic, she wins!

FOLLOW ME THROUGH DARKNESS

A girl on the run
Through a dead world only forty days
To arrive or everyone dies.

The truth is a lie
There is death on both sides but
Only one is life.

– Danielle Ellison

~

Wordless - small

Near-future city
Where Words are used for power
One must flee or die

– AdriAnne Strickland

~

DREAM BOY by Mary Crockett and Madelyn Rosenberg

Dream boy becomes real.
But when your dreams come to life
so can your nightmares.

– Mary Crockett

Writing Tips from THE WALKING DEAD

I was not destined to be obsessed with The Walking Dead. To misquote Shakespeare, “Some are born to love The Walking Dead…, and some have The Walking Dead thrust upon them.”

I, friends, am a member of the later (and perhaps lesser) group.

It started when I was teaching a literature & ethics course at Roanoke College a few years ago. In different classes, and in the midst of different conversations, students would pointedly ask (as if their question were 100% relevant to the topic), “Do you watch The Walking Dead?”

“No. I don’t like scary shows,” I’d answer. “They make me want to wet myself.”

“Well, you should watch it,” they’d respond with youthful enthusiasm, not to mention an unfounded confidence in my post-pregnancy bladder.

I’d smile and say “perhaps”–thinking, not a chance in hell–and steer the conversation back to the matter at hand.

After about five of these classroom exchanges (plus another when I was interviewing a renovation specialist for a feature in a business magazine), I began to wonder what the universe was trying to tell me.

Apparently it went something like this:

WatchTheDead

Ok, Universe. Message received. I got my bum to the library and checked out the first season on DVD. And watched it in one sitting.

Now, a few short years later, my in-season Sunday night ritual goes something like this:

foist kids on husband…

lock self in room…

consume new episode of Walking Dead without blinking…

check twitter for #TheWalkingDead during commercials…

consider getting therapy…

tweet stupid questions about what I didn’t entirely understand about the episode…

get answer from tweeps…

check out more #TheWalkingDead tweets…

have mind blown by some guy on twitter who notices everything…

watch The Talking Dead after-show with the adorable nerdist Chris Hardwick (seen here in Eugene’s Mullet)…

scour message boards for conversation about just aired episode…

check Tumblr and Deviant Art for new Daryl fan art…

Daryl's Wings by cpn-blowfish, DeviantArt
Daryl’s Wings by cpn-blowfish, DeviantArt

check out all posted previews of next episode…

tweet about how seven days is just… too… long… to… wait… for… next… gasp… episode…

ignore husband’s attempts to stop me from talking about about characters he doesn’t know…

drift to sleep for next six nights in puddle of melted brain matter…

dream that Carl walks in front of a bus and I have no way to stop him…

repeat.

So, as I approach the long, hot summer (or as it is known to Walking Deadheads, “the black hole between Season 4 and 5”), it occurs to me that this zombie drama has fed not only my zombie-ish appetite for complex moral dilemmas involving the undead, it has also enriched my understanding of what it takes to create a good story.

So with no further ado (and yep, I am aware this entire post has been nothing BUT ado up to this point), here are a few of the writing tips I picked up from watching The Walking Dead:

1. Everyone’s gotta suffer.

Suffering distills a character traits into their purest form. And nothing shows that better than The Walking Dead. We don’t get people, we get people in the raw.

If life didn’t suck and the world wasn’t glutted with all those eager, innard-munching zombies, the characters might not ever show their greatest kindness. Or greatest weakness. Or greatest courage. Or all three. (And sometimes all three at the same time.)

This suffering notion is probably something I should have picked up long ago when I read all that Greek drama in college. I remember my beloved professor repeating pretty much daily “we must suffer, suffer into truth.” Yet, somehow it never occurred to me that the reason freshmen were still reading about Agamemnon and Clytemnestra all those thousands of years later was because of the suffering as inextricably as the truth.

2. The more resonant the character, the more dramatic the swan song.

Hershel’s beheading. Andrea and Milton’s barber chair pas de duex. Lizzie and Mika’s twisted and senseless deaths. Think of anyone you’ve cared about on the show. Now think of the way that character ended their time on screen. There are almost always more bangs than whimpers. By his final curtain call, I was even bawling my eyes out over Merle (or really Daryl’s loss of Merle).

Big characters deserve a big death. It’s a mark of respect. Of course, since we’re not all writing about a zombie apocalypse, this big-for-big equation can translate into all kinds of big equivalents: big love, big failure, big discovery, big regret, big ball of string, big dream of becoming the best tutu seamstress on the east coast. Whatever.

3. Let the enemy surprise you.

Yeah, zombies are tricky b@*$tards who sometimes pop out of dark corners or rise from the mud in flash-flood areas. The point that has been made continually about this show, however, is that other humans, not zombies, are the real threat. So in some respects, the enemy itself is more nuanced than at first glance.

People aren’t just fighting zombies; they’re fighting humans. Beyond that, those human enemies can be downright surprising.

After seeing the Governor massacre his own townsfolk following his unsuccessful attack on the prison, for example, we find him wandering around like the grand poohbah of hopelessness. He has, to quote the poet Fred Chappell, let his life “grow bearded and strange.” When he then takes up with Lilly and Tara and little Meghan, it seems possible that the newly shaved “Brian” will go forth in the world as a transformed man, sharing SpaghettiOs and letting kids beat him at chess.

But lo and behold, no matter how he tries to avoid his worst self, a few episodes later, he–surprise!–amasses troops and goes all psycho Governor on the prison yard.

What can this teach us about writing?  First, our villains are much richer and more interesting when other, different lives seem entirely possible for them. Simultaneously (and contradictorily), there is a satisfaction of sorts in the reader’s understanding that a character inevitably fulfills his or her ultimate path.

Plucking the cord between those two opposites (the many paths/the single path) is one of the difficulties and joys of writing.

So let your protagonist’s enemy do something surprising. And then let them do what they were born to do.

4. Let the hero surprise you.

When Rick chomped into Joe’s jugular vein, I was, among other things, surprised!

(Perhaps this belongs under the “let your heroes learn from their enemies” column, because the neck-biting thing was a technique Rick must have picked up from some zombie along the way.)

How does that relate to writing? Again, it’s the cord thing. Some tension about where exactly your hero belongs on the moral spectrum isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There can be questionable acts which are justified, just as there can be the veneer of civility (aka Woodbury) over the most savage of hearts.

What situation that will allow your character to do something unforgivable–and still be understood and forgiven?

Go there.

5. When in doubt, “kill” someone.

In an “Ask Me Anything” interview on Reddit, Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman was questioned about his process for approaching a character’s death.

His response: “Sometimes it’s something I’ve planned and built to for many issues. Other times it’s just me thinking ‘it’s been a while since something really interesting happened’ and killing a character on the fly.”

Cold? You bet. Effective? That too.

Along the same lines, Kirkman had this to say in the same interview:

“In my opinion, I feel like characters ripen like fruit. So while I wouldn’t say the more popular a character is the more likely they are to die, they do have to reach a certain level of popularity before they’ve ‘earned’ the death.

No character is too popular to die. (Suck it, Reedus!)”

First, a message to Kirkman: No killing Daryl!

And while we’re at it, no killing Carl and no (though this may be the futile wailing of the Greek chorus here) killing Rick!

Now, on to the actual objective of this post: how does all this relate to writing?

Killing off characters has long been considered one of the cheapest tricks in a fiction writer’s bag. And of course, it doesn’t–and shouldn’t–make sense for every story we write to end littered with a Hamlet-esque pile of bodies. (Of course, the bodies in The Walking Dead tend to take care of themselves–either being reanimated or devoured–so no littering there.)

That said, there is freedom in the notion of “killing a character on the fly”–whether we’re talking literal or (better in most cases) some metaphorical type of death.

The take-away? Interesting things can happen when we let go of the idea that the characters we love in a story must prevail.

And those metaphorical deaths can take many interesting forms: the loss of their humanity; the separation from whatever matters to them; the death of their dreams.

So, now it’s your turn to tell me: What have YOU learned from The Walking Dead? About writing? About life? About the zombie apocalypse? Post it in the comments below!

~

ZombieMaryMary Crockett is coauthor with Madelyn Rosenberg of the zombie-less novel DREAM BOY. Sadly, she suspects she would be among the first to turn in a zombie apocalypse.

You can make her book happy by adding it to your Goodreads bookshelf or pre-ordering at IndieBound, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble. You can make her happy by saying “hi” on Twitter or Facebook.