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
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?
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!