Thursday, October 08, 2009

Blogtoberfest Day 6 - Nancy Holder

I was extremely psyched to get today's Blogtoberguest, Nancy Holder. This New York Times-bestselling author has been publishing short stories and novels since I was a teen myself. She also writes a fantastic cross-genre column for the Science Fiction/Fantasy Writers of America Bulletin.

So when I noticed we were on a YA authors list together, I thought, wait, that Nancy Holder? No way!

Yes way. And here she is, guest blogging and giving away not only a signed copy of her latest release, Possessions, but also four other books, to one lucky commenter:
Pretty Little Devils

Wicked 1
Wicked 2
Wicked: Resurrection

* * * *


This is what it’s like to be the new girl at a haunted boarding school:

You walk down the narrow corridors unaware that there are rusty wheelchairs hidden behind the bricks…wheelchairs that roll along hidden tunnels without anyone to push them. The pools of light from the overhead antique crystal chandeliers cast circles on the hardwood floors…and in those circles are the faces of the dead, studying you. Wondering, Can we take this one?

The other girls at Marlwood Academy for Young Women tease each other about ghosts and blame the lack of cell phone coverage on “ectoplasmic residue”—phantom remains. They don’t have the horrible nightmares that smother you night after night after sleepless night—of something pressing you down into the mattress and sliding into your head like a frozen knife. They don’t see the faces in the mirrors or hear the laughter echoing out of the lake—the lake where you find the frozen body of a dead girl—a girl who tried to tell you about the terrible things that are happening at Marlwood.

You stand trembling on the windy cliffs and stare down at the black water and wonder, Am I crazy? Are they? Will I be next? Will I die here? And if I do, will anyone ever know what really happened to me?

That’s why the dead are restless at Marlwood. No one does know what happened to them, a hundred years ago. And not only do they want their story told…

They want payback. An eye for an eye, a life for a life, a soul for a soul.

The dead walk the earth in the dark, in the fog. On Halloween, their black, hollow eyes stare hungrily at the fun they never had; at the designer costumes that cost tens of thousands of dollars—sexy Goth corsets and Broadway musical ball gowns; at fabulous handmade chocolates and spectacular cakes air-freighted in by celebrity chefs; and at the rich, handsome boys who sneak across the lake from their prep school to party. Enraged, the deprived dead trail after the insanely-beyond-rich students of Marlwood, then climb inside them and wear them like costumes.

The mad dead possess them. And make them do things.

And being able to do things…terrible things…is so glorious that they don’t let go.

Then you show up, the new girl, the one who has decided not to play the popularity game anymore. The one who needs safe haven, and instead finds lures and traps at every turn. The one—the only one—who really sees what’s going on.

The one who might die next.


In Possessions, Lindsay Cavanaugh has escaped from the disaster that was her life in San Diego to Marlwood Academy, a super-exclusive but very isolated private school in the mountains of northern California. She’s come for the academics and the anonymity. But she stays because girls are dying, and she has to make it stop.

Why doesn’t anyone else notice just how strange the mean girls of Marlwood really are? And not just mean, but evil?

Terrifyingly evil?

Maybe Lindsay sees the horrors behind the glossy, upscale world of privilege because she met death when her mother died. Or because she had a very public nervous breakdown, which made her realize that who and what we are can shatter under pressure. Whatever the reason, Lindsay comes to Marlwood highly self-aware, wounded, and very kind. She tries to end the hauntings of Marlwood not only to save herself, but her friends…and even her enemies—the princesses of Marlwood, led by their queen, Mandy Winters.

Lindsay clashes with Mandy over warm and adorable Troy Minear, Mandy’s boytoy; and Mandy’s twin brother Miles Winter, wicked sexy, half-mad, beyond scary. Troy’s heart belongs to Lindsay, but he himself belongs to Mandy. Miles insists that Lindsay is trespassing on Winters' territory—going where she’s not wanted. Doing things she shouldn’t do.

Crushing on a boy who is taken.

There’s another clique of girls with grudges against Lindsay, and they’re dead. And they want, very badly, for her to die, too.

This is the story of Possessions, a novel that creeped me out so much while I was writing it that now I have to sleep with the hall light on. I wrote most of it bunkered in my downstairs guest bedroom with the door sensibly shut…only to hear bumps and thunks upstairs—hopefully, my two cats. I forgot that Lindsay is not a real person, and that Marlwood is not an actual place. But to me, even writing those words “not real” seems disloyal. I like Lindsay so much. I admire her and I care about her, and I would love to have her as my friend and ally in the dark moments of my life.

Falling into “unreal reality” is both the bane of a writer’s existence and the joy of the freelance novelist. I live many lives, all at the same time. I’m possessed by what I do. And I’m very happy to say that I’ll be possessed by Lindsay for a long time, as Possessions is the first of my new YA horror series for Razorbill. Possessions 2: The Evil Within, will come out in June.

Speaking of many lives, I am also the coauthor of the New York Times bestselling series, Wicked. There’s a new video of my coauthor Debbie Viguie and I talking about the need for the magical and supernatural in our fiction at the San Diego Comic-con. We are writing a spinoff series of Wicked called Crusade, and the first book, Crusade: Converted, will be out next fall.

Halloween is here, and with it, short, dark days and cold nights. Time for ghost stories and lots of reading. I hope you’ll curl up with Possessions and something warm to ward off the chills…especially the ones I hope to send down your spine!

* * * *

To enter to win the Nancy Holder 5-pack, leave a comment below. For complete rules, read the introductory post.

Deadline for entry: Thursday, October 15, 11:59pm Eastern.

NOTE: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. The winner of the Nancy Holder five-pack is...Dawn M! Dawn, please send your mailing address to me at jeri AT jerismithready DOT com.

Thanks to everyone who commented and made Nancy feel welcome!

Note: the end-of-the-month grand prize will include one item from the Nancy Holder 5-pack, winner's choice.

Other open Blogtoberfest giveaways:
Shannon Reinbold-Gee and 13 to Life
Saundra Mitchell and Shadowed Summer
Sarah Beth Durst and Ice
Megan Crewe and Give Up the Ghost
Kelly Parra and Invisible Touch

Thanks again to Nancy for bringing the spooky!

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It's been a long time since I've read something spooky, and your Blogtoberfest is showing me how much I've missed. This prize pack sounds WONDERFUL! Please enter me.

Posted by: Blogger Riva at 10/08/2009 9:45 AM

Sounds deliciously chilling! I might save this one to read over Halloween weekend. :)

Posted by: Blogger Ken at 10/08/2009 10:00 AM

I love scary and spooky and this is alot of fun Jeri. Thank you for the cool contest and the introduction to new books and new authors. :)

I like the cover and the storyline. I have read the gifted series by Nancy and I hope one day she continues it. :) She is very talented.

Posted by: Blogger Chris J. at 10/08/2009 10:38 AM

Oh...this sounds so wonderfully spooky! I would love to win this prize pack :)

Posted by: Blogger Poppy at 10/08/2009 10:44 AM

Please enter me this sounds great!!

Posted by: Blogger Jamie at 10/08/2009 10:48 AM

Ooh, I love a good scary story! Thanks for the contest - I've been marking all these books on my list to check out for some good Halloween reading. Thanks!

Posted by: Blogger Cambria Dillon at 10/08/2009 11:00 AM

Wheee! I have Possessions on order. Can't wait for it.

I love me some Nancy Holder. And she now probably thinks I'm stalking her. LOL

Posted by: Blogger Vivi Anna at 10/08/2009 11:42 AM

oh please enter me!

A Blog with Bite!

Posted by: Blogger Froggy at 10/08/2009 11:46 AM

Possessions sounds like an awesome book. Great Prize pack

Posted by: Blogger cait045 at 10/08/2009 12:35 PM

Ooh...super creepy. Love it.

BTW, I loved the Comic-Con video! Very fun. I've never had the nerve yet to go to Comic-Con (because it always sounds *so* crowded!) but I keep telling myself one day I'll do it... :-)


Posted by: Blogger Cara King at 10/08/2009 2:35 PM

Thanks for introducing me to another new author!

Posted by: Blogger tetewa at 10/08/2009 2:35 PM

Oh wow. This looks really cool. Just my sort of thing!

Posted by: Blogger Sheila Deeth at 10/08/2009 3:45 PM

OHHHHH.... I really want to win that looks amazing and to top it off my birthday is October 31st (yes! that's right Halloween) hahaha... it would totally top off my bday wishes.... Please enter me... Oh and special thanks to Jeri Smith-Ready for the Blogtoberfest and to Nancy Holder for a great look book

Posted by: Anonymous Brittany Littlepage at 10/08/2009 4:09 PM

It's so funny becasue I grew up in a small town called Minerals Wells, Texas. It's the home of the Baker Hotel. This hotel was opened in the late 1920's and was closed by 1972. It is said to be haunted, which I fully believe. When I was a little girl some friends and I stayed the night in the hotel and let me tell you it was creepy. Well your book brought back memories to those crazy times we would sneak up and down the halls of the Baker. I can't wait to read it!

P.S. If you want to know more on the Baker Hotel here's a link!

Posted by: Anonymous Brittany Littlepage at 10/08/2009 4:54 PM

Sounds like a dark, creepy story - great for halloween!

All the books so far look fantastic!


Posted by: Blogger Karen at 10/08/2009 6:03 PM

*sigh* I would have just died to have gone to a haunted boarding school, but I'm strange like that. lol

Whoever wins this prize pack will be lucky indeed!


Posted by: Blogger Asylumgirl at 10/08/2009 7:53 PM

I'm a fan of Nancy's, and POSSESSIONS sounds great! Not to mention the other wonderful prizes.

Thanks for the great contests!

Posted by: Blogger Karen W. at 10/08/2009 7:58 PM

lookin forward to nancys book!
sounds interestin..

prize packs sound nice

Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 10/08/2009 8:45 PM

Possessions sounds amazing. I havent read any of your books yet. But I definitely think I want to start with that one. I havent read anything that would freak me out like that in a long time.


Posted by: Blogger donnas at 10/08/2009 9:36 PM

I would love to be entered in this!
officiallymrs (at) blogspot (dot) com

Posted by: Blogger OfficiallyMRS at 10/08/2009 10:33 PM

Hi Nancy~

I think that Possessions sounds really great and I am even more excited to hear that it is the first of a series.

Posted by: Blogger Lori T at 10/08/2009 11:16 PM

Mary D
zenrei57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

Spooky books are my favorite things!! I've not yet had the pleasure of reading books by Nancy Holder but I know I'd love her writing, please enter me to win and thank you bunches :)

Posted by: Blogger M.A.D. at 10/09/2009 12:53 AM

Probably should have paid attention to the warning not to read this alone at night. I have chills and a definite need to finish the book.

Posted by: Blogger Carla Lee at 10/09/2009 3:24 AM

Sounds great count me in!

Posted by: Blogger Sara C at 10/09/2009 10:25 AM

Would love this!'

faked_sugartone at hotmail

Posted by: Blogger Diana Dang at 10/09/2009 2:31 PM

I could have sworn I'd read something by Nancy in my misspent youth--now it seems likely I probably did!
I am such a dork that when she mentioned 'Troy Minear," I saw it as "Tim Minear"---the co-creator of "Firefly"!
Anyway, Possessions sounds really atmospheric and creepy and the perfect read for this time of year!

Posted by: Blogger Kimberly B. at 10/09/2009 4:12 PM

"then climb inside them and wear them like costumes." -- Nancy, That is one freaky cool phrase! lol WOW "Possessions" sounds amazing and I love how you mentioned that it was freaking you out while you were writing it! lol You must know you have something good when your own writing can affect you in that way as well??
Thanks so much for sharing. I can't wait to check this out, and as the others have said before me, awesome prize pack too! Thanks for the opportunity and for the wonderfully awesome Contest Jeri!!
Thank you ladies!
Debbie G in NY

Posted by: Blogger WriterWannaB_NY at 10/10/2009 12:39 AM

Ooo, this sounds nice and spooky. The perfect book to read on Halloween. :0) Count me in, please!

librarygrinch at gmail dot com

Posted by: Blogger Dawn M. at 10/10/2009 3:22 AM

This comment has been removed by the author.

Posted by: Blogger Casse AKA Catholic Kittie at 10/10/2009 6:18 AM

I added all these books to my wishlist aka "whine to everybody who has ears until I get them" list.


Posted by: Blogger Casse AKA Catholic Kittie at 10/10/2009 6:19 AM

I love creepy books and boarding schools :D
really excited about this contest!

Posted by: Blogger I Judge Books By Their Covers at 10/10/2009 12:30 PM

Please count me in! :)

~ Lauren

Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 10/10/2009 1:55 PM

Wow great contest, I would love to win these books(:

kelseythebookscout at gmail dot com

Posted by: Blogger Kelsey at 10/11/2009 12:56 PM

Woah, scary is right! I've often though that one of the scariest things in paranormal fiction would be to have something else take control of your body and force you to watch. *shiver*

Posted by: Blogger alanajoli at 10/12/2009 9:44 AM

Wow, this sounds like a good one!

Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 10/12/2009 11:16 AM

Possessions sounds like such a fantastic read! I would absolutely love to be entered to win.

Posted by: Blogger Erica at 10/14/2009 8:59 PM

I'm so excited about all these new and spooky books. This is a great contest, and thanks for introducing us to all these cool new authors!

Posted by: Blogger Brittany at 10/14/2009 10:18 PM

Sounds perfect for some October reading!


Posted by: Blogger Book Sp(l)ot at 10/15/2009 2:59 PM

Hello to everyone who entered! I am so pleased to "meet" you all! And Kimberly, you are NOT such a dork. Troy Minear IS named especially for Tim Minear, one of the nicest, smartest writers EVER.

Posted by: Blogger Nancy Holder at 10/16/2009 10:16 AM

The winner of the Nancy Holder five-pack is...Dawn M! Dawn, please send your mailing address to me at jeri AT jerismithready DOT com.

Thanks to everyone who commented and made Nancy feel welcome!

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 10/16/2009 6:14 PM


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Jeri Smith-Ready is a Maryland author of books for teens and adults.

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