Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bookanistas Review and Giveaway, The Death of Yorik Mortwell!

Okay, so anyone who knows me or my writing knows I'm a huge fan of creepy, so when I was sent a copy of THE DEATH OF YORIK MORTWELL, by Stephen Messer, I was entirely thrilled! 

I've always been a fan of the "underdog", and well, you can't get more underdog than poor Yorik, a little servant boy whose life is taken when he's purposefully hit by a rock by a spoiled rich boy who lives in the manor he serves at. Even in death, poor Yorik doesn't have it good. Once again he's a servant to a Princess who wants him to spy on the manor. 

I'm not going to give too much away, but this story has many twists and turns, wonderfully fascinating characters, and let's just says our hero, Yorik, learns some important lessons about life (in death), and by the end of the book he realizes he doesn't need to serve anyone anymore. 

So you have this beautiful macabre story by Mr. Messer (who is an awesome guy, btw), along with the fantastic illustrations of the one and only Gris Grimly! All combined this makes for a fantastically creepy-rific novel and I'm a little sad to have to give away this lovely signed hardcover, but hopefully it will go to a good home. 

Things of note: This book is a quick read, coming in at 175 pages, so if you know any children daunted by huge books, this compact novel won't scare them away. The book takes place in the Victorian age, but never fear, the prose are very attainable to all levels of readers. Readers who like a touch of creepy (think Tim Burton, not Wes Craven) should really enjoy this book. 

Here is what the School Library Journal had to say about The Death of Yorik Mortwell:
Gr 5 8—When spoiled Master Thomas of Ravenby Manor throws a rock at orphaned servant Yorik Mortwell, the 12-year-old falls from a tree and dies. Now a ghost, Yorik quickly acquires a new master, the Princess of the Aviary Glade, who demands that he haunt Ravenby—"You're a ghost and you've got to haunt something"—and to spy on it. Upon returning to the estate, Yorik goes in search of his servant sister, Susan. He encounters a pack of demon-hounds, Master Thomas, and the Yglhfm, evil Dark Ones that sit on shoulders whispering and wreaking havoc. Yorik must find how to defeat them. Full-page, macabre illustrations appear throughout. Lemony Snicket, Harry Potter, and Neil Gaiman enthusiasts will appreciate this engaging, eccentric adventure.—Krista Welz, North Bergen Public Library, NJ 

To learn more about Stephen Messer and his books, please visit his website and check out the interview Team Member Dawn Lariamore had with Stephen last year, talking about his debut novel WINDBLOWNE, which garnered fantastic reviews! 

To enter the The Death of Yorik Mortwell giveaway:
1. Follow this blog, because I will be soooo happy that you did. ;)
2. Leave a comment.
3. Take a midnight stroll around a creepy graveyard (this rule is optional).

Congrats, Stephen! Winner will be announced on Wednesday of next week! 

Now check out these other fabtastic Bookanista reviews & giveaways! 
Christine Fonseca  brings you a special Guestanista review of SPRINKLES AND SECRETS
Shannon Messenger delights in DEAD TO YOU – with giveaway
Beth Revis interviews TEMPEST author Julie Cross – with giveaway
Jessi Kirby takes a shine to the SURRENDER and new POSSESSSION covers
Stasia Ward Kehoe adores IN HONOR
Jen Hayley gushes over THE GIRL WHO LOVED A CITY
Veronica Rossi  is crazy for INCARNATE
Nikki Katz marvels at A MILLION SUNS
Gennifer Albin   is on fire over CINDER
Tracy Banghart  is all about THE OTHER LIFE 
Jessica Love wonders at THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

Friday, January 20, 2012

Find a story in ANYTHING!

"Alright Mr. Demille, I'm ready for my close-up."
Maybe there is not an entire novel in this picture, but there is certainly a picture book of some sort. I do a little exercise from time to time, staring at random objects, pictures, etc, in order to give myself ideas. Look at anything around you right now and come up with an idea! It's pretty amazing that it actually works, but it does. Right now, I'm staring at my Jack Skellington coffee mug and my remote control. Okay, that's a novel right there...robotic underworld creatures who humans control with the click of button! Love it! ;)

Happy Friday!


Friday, January 13, 2012

Where and When do you do your BEST writing?

Where I'm from, many of us complain that there is no snow in December, and then, when it finally hits in January (and oh, does it hit) we complain that there is too much snow--not a happy medium when it comes to Chicago weather! The above picture displays exactly what Chicago looks like right now, and yes, that's a Chicago dog! :)

It got me to thinking about our writing environment. In other words, in what physical setting do we write best? I do love to write when the neighborhood is encased in snow and I'm all warm and cozy in my house, but I'd have to say fall is my favorite season! There is nothing better than writing on a cool fall day, when the sky is overcast, and all the leaves are whipping around the streets, and Halloween is right around the corner! BOO!

What about you? Where and when are you at your writing best?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I'm no Lady Gaga, but I AM a writer!

Don't worry, I'm lip-syncing in this picture, not serenading my poor family or else (trust me) their ears would be covered. That's my 8 year old son's present I'm holding from our very cool Yule. His very first, real guitar! It's fun to pretend to be something you're not sometimes. Here, I'm pretending I can carry a tune!

Very recently I was asked, what I would do if I won a huge lottery, never having to work again. What would I do? Without hesitation, I explained that I would write, write, write, and then, write some more. The response I received was, "Are you crazy? I'd travel the world and do fun and exciting stuff every day of my life! I wouldn't write for anything!" 

I thought the response was just as deranged. I live and breathe writing. If I don't write for a few days I get antsy and annoyed, and I'm just not sure why. It's what pulls me out of bed in the morning (as does my four year old) and what keeps me up late at night. It's what drives my poor husband nuts and what makes me treat my laptop like a member of the family. It has made me a whole person and that's worth more than winning any lottery, though, I certainly wouldn't shun the windfall!  

xoxo -- Hilary