DRAWN up for Book of Year – Please Vote!

Nominated BoY 2012 DrawnHi everyone!

I was so excited to learn that my YA novel DRAWN is up for BEST BOOK OF 2012 at the great review site Long and Short Reviews!!!

The poling just opened today and runs through Feb. 14th.  So here’s where I can use some help. If you could stop by their voting page and cast a vote for DRAWN, that would be all sorts of wonderful :)  You just need to select DRAWN, scroll to the bottom of the page and hit “Vote” and that’s that.  And, if you are feeling particularly wonderful, you could also spread the word, maybe?

To cast your vote, please click here.

Long and Short Reviews has already selected DRAWN as a “Best Book” and it was voted as a “Book of the Month,” plus in their review, they said, “I was drawn (pun intended) into this book from the first page and couldn’t put it down...The setting is wonderful… This story is so deftly created… It has the perfect amount of romance, and enough action and suspense to keep the most distracted reader turning the pages.”  Phew, that was cool.

Anyways, thanks so much for any support you can offer.  It’s so appreciated.


Writer Wednesday: On Writing Magic

*This post originally appeared on my DRAWN Blog Ghost Tour earlier this year at the wonderful blog site The Cozy Reader

MP900414028We writers have the best job in the world.  We get to perform magic, to make things mysteriously appear out of nowhere.  All writers do this when they write fiction, but when we are writing actual fantasy scenes, well, that’s more magical than ever.

The trick, as with all magic, is making the audience believe. In my paranormal novel Drawn, the main character Michelle De Freccio is an artist that draws and then meets Christopher, a hot medieval ghost with a sketchy past.  Okay, so you have to suspend some disbelief when you read books like this, but my job is to make everything as credible as possible.  I didn’t want to create something goofy, but a novel that is gripping and that feels very real. A story that truly draws you in. To do this, I grounded as much as I could in a gritty reality, and only put in a few spare touches of magic.

On the reality front, it helps to have a character like Michelle who is a born skeptic, and a cynical Jersey-girl to boot. She’s hoping to start over in England and have a more normal life (back in New Jersey everyone called the De Freccio’s the De Freakos…her family has an odd background and she was labeled a freak).

Even Christopher, who is technically a ghost to Michelle, is a realist living in his own world in the 1400s. Convincing both of them that they are linked in a time traveling relationship isn’t easy. People who are skeptics need some undeniable proof…and a touch of magic, like in this scene from the book, narrated by Michelle, when she realizes she’s truly in another time and invisible, among other things:

But Thomas Haston’s vision remains barely focused on Christopher. “Yes, master.” He bows his head. “I shall grab the reins.”

He hurries toward us. Straight toward me. He must be completely blind, because he’s going to walk right into me.

“Watch it,” I say.

He doesn’t walk into me. He walks through me. Like I’m a stream to be waded through. My skin feels itchy and a nasty saltiness fills my mouth. Christopher releases me and looks at me with horror. I look at my hands, expecting them to be see-through, but they’re solid. “What the hell?” I say.

“What in hell,” he says, his voice barely a whisper.


So who is the ghost here, and what, exactly is going on?  Here’s the end to that scene:

Christopher takes both my hands, gingerly, as if he’s afraid they’ll burst into flames. “What are you? A sprite? A spirit? A phantom?”

“I’m a freak,” I say. And burst into tears.


MP900444287While much of Drawn is based in realistic scenes, whether in the present or in the distant past, there are a few times when I really get to flex my magic muscles. One of my favorite moments happens when Michelle brings a book with her into the past, a book that reveals all the battle outcomes in the 1400s.  While Christopher would be able to use this information to his advantage, this will clearly mess with destiny.  Some things are just not meant to happen, so:

I run my finger over the text to where I left off. “The Duke, misreading his opponent, brought his forces for the Christmastime to the castle of…” Suddenly the page looks different. More white space. Less words.

“The castle of?” Christopher prompts.

I try to focus on the words. “…for the Christmastime to the castle of Sandall, but…” Something seems to move across the paper. My skin crawls, as I slide my eyes downward. I watch with horror as the letters at the bottom of the page disappear one by one.

I flip the page. Letters disappear from the bottom here, too. The white of the paper grows, eating away at the words. Frantic, I flip back to the page I was just reading. Completely blank. “Oh God.”

“What is wrong?” Christopher tries to sit up.

I flip ahead a few pages. Two paragraphs are left. I quickly read, “Henry’s forces had been gathering throughout the area for some time and the land was heavily for—” The rest of that word is gone, as is the rest of the writing on that page.

“Why did you stop?” Christopher says and peers at the book. He draws in his breath as the words I’d just read vanish like a fabric unwound by a pulled thread.


Every novel with a fantasy element must have its own set of rules.  In Drawn, messing with destiny can be killer, literally. The history book with its unraveling writing sends up a warning to Michelle, but she disturbs destiny anyway, and winds up putting Christopher’s fate in horrific danger…  Okay, I can’t say anything more about that without spilling too much about the story.

But I can say one other thing about writing magic: If you put a very real moment right up against a magical one, the contrasts can create a seriously strong scene. In this scene from Drawn, Michelle is in her own time being attacked by a bunch of thugs from “the wrong side of Castle Road”:

Drawn-ebook cover final borderAs rough hands drag me off the sidewalk, I shriek “Christopher!”

They laugh. “Calling your posh boyfriend?” Bobby says. “Guess he can have you when we’re through.”

I close my eyes and hear a scream. It’s not me.

My eyes fly open. Bobby cradles his arm. Blood seeps through his fingers. “Who did that?” He looks around wildly.

I back away and another guy tries to grab at me. He shrieks as his thumb is sliced off, seemingly by nothing. It lands bloody beside me. I catch a glimpse of a rusty truck in the street before I close my eyes and curl up in a ball. Tears streak my face.

There’s more terrified screaming, then I hear them run away.

“Michelle. Michelle?” someone says and touches me. I whimper. “It is okay. I came. They will not hurt you now.” I feel the hand rub my arm and he says, “Shh now. Shh.”

I dare to open my eyes and there is Christopher kneeling beside me, a blood-smeared sword in his right hand. He drops the sword and gathers me into his arms.


For some reason, this scene always gives me the shivers.  I guess I’ve always been a sucker for a brave hero in tall boots.  Now that’s magic!

Special Free Offer (this week only…)

Quick post to let you know that my award-winning paranormal DRAWN is available FREE in ebook format through a special promo this week only (11/12-11/16) through Amazon worldwide.  You can access it for US readers here and for UK readers here.

And special thanks to all the awesome sites who are helping tell the world about this special limited promotion.  Sites like FREE KINDLE BOOKS AND TIPS and SNICKS LIST.

Happy reads!


Reviews, News and Free Stuff!

Hey gang,

Lots of stuff going on out there…Reviews, news and free stuff, oh my!  Definitely update time.

First of all, here’s a freebie for you folks.  Today and tomorrow only, August 8th-9th, you can snag your own free ebook copy of my novel DRAWN through Amazon. Just click here.

I’ve received some awesome support for this free promo from a number of sites and people, such as Free Kindle Books and Tips.  If you are ever searching for top-rated free ebooks, this is a great place to visit and bookmark.  To pop by today’s listing, which features DRAWN (yeah!), click here.

I also highly recommend the site Flurries of Words, which gives top billing to the best ebook deals. They highlighted my novel here!

Another excellent site, Digital Book Today, has just featured an interview with me where I share the moment when I met a ghost in a dungeon, and then…well, you’ll just have to find out for yourself by clicking here.

And props also go out to the awesome review site Night Owl Reviews, who not only gave DRAWN a glowing “Top Pick” review, but also created a banner for the free giveaway of DRAWN just because they are so awesome at supporting authors!

In other news…the fab book review site Book Love 101 just posted this amazing review of DRAWN. The reviewer said: “I loved the passion between the two characters, the forbidden romance, the ever impending mystery that could tear them apart. Loved it all!…We’ve got forbidden romance, time travel, mystery, deception, heart break, and so much more! All put together to make one truly EPIC read! Five stars from me! I’d recommend this read to anyone!”

Zowie!  Needless to say, I’m thrilled.  If you’d like to read the full review, and check out other reviews by Book Love 101, just click here.

And the very cool review site Supernatural Snark is currently featuring a guest post that I wrote titled, “Catching a Spirit.”  I talk a bit about that thin veil between the past and the present, and share an excerpt from DRAWN where Michelle first meets a spirit who is all too real. It’s a bit of a tingly moment, and you can catch it (and tingle?) by clicking here.

Also, the fun review site Romance Bookie was nice enough to feature an interview with me on their site!  I talk about my inspiration for the novel, will there be a sequel (?), and offer a bit of writing advice too.  Read all about it by clicking here.

I have to say that this is just the tip of a wonderful iceberg of supporters. I wish I could mention every single one. The people who take the time to post reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. The folks who bother to Tweet about DRAWN and post about it on facebook and on their websites.  It’s overwhelming in a good way.

My gratitude goes out to you all!

Happy reads,

Things are Heating Up!: Drawn Blog Ghost Tour Week 3

TONS of excitement here.  This past week my new paranormal novel Drawn cracked #11 in its category on Amazon!!! Seems readers are really warming to this novel about Christopher, the hot medieval ghost with a sketchy past.

And the Drawn Blog Ghost Tour is smoking hot so far.  There have been a slew of guest posts about writing, hauntings, knights, passion and art.  There have also been two probing interviews, one ghost photo, and a bunch of really sizzling reviews…including one from TwilightMOMS who said: “Mysterious and enchanting, DRAWN is a breath of fresh air. If you are looking for a page turner with a unique twist, then look no further.”

Also, the winter nights have been heating up with not one but two giveaways. **There is still a chance to enter these…simply click here for the Elliot Review (ends Jan. 30th) and here for TwilightMOMS (ends Jan. 31st) and follow the directions to win your own autographed copy of Drawn!

Now Week 3 of the tour steams ahead with three red-hot stops:

January 30th: At Word For Teens, my guest post “Do Over” talks about how I overcame my own battles with bullies and how this helped shaped the novel…plus there’s a brand new Drawn BOOK GIVEAWAY!

February 1st: At Author Chronicles the bloggers host a writerly interview with me.  Plus they put up an amazing review of Drawn here.

February 3rd: Author Danyelle Leafty posts her review of Drawn on her Myth-Takes blog.

To visit all the stops on the tour, click here or on the Drawn Blog Ghost Tour tab at the top of this website. And for info on how to purchase your own copy of Drawn just click here.  Then you can find out for yourself why paranormal author Cyn Balog called Drawn, “A lushly romantic ghost story…captivating and haunting. I didn’t want it to end.”

Stay warm…cuddle up with a good book!


DRAWN Now out in Paperback Too!

And so the journey really begins… My new paranormal YA novel Drawn is now not only available in ebook but in paperback too!  That means that you can now go into your favorite bookstore and order your very own copy, or you can order it online through Amazon by clicking here!  In case you don’t already know, this novel is about a teen artist who draws and then meets and falls for a hot medieval ghost. Yowza.

You can do a lot to make this novel successful by purchasing it now, instead of later.  Sales that happen all at once push the book into a higher ranking, more people notice it then, and buy it, and so on!  (Same goes for the ebook sales…so whatever form you purchase, now is better than later…for ebook purchase info, click here.)

To celebrate this new publication, I’m currently hosting a Drawn paperback giveaway over at Goodreads.com. Up for grabs are 5 autographed copies of Drawn, and all you have to do is enter to win by going here.

And on Tuesday, I’m kicking off my very first blog tour.  This is new territory for me, folks, and it promises to be VERY exciting.  The month-long Drawn Blog Ghost Tour includes stops at some of the hottest blog sites, and includes a range of interviews, reviews, guest posts and book giveaways!  First stop will be on Tuesday at Jonathan Maberry’s Big Scary Blog…with a post that will include a never before seen ghost photo.  NOT kidding. It’s freaky.  Check back throughout the month for all the tour highlights. And to haunt all the tour stops, you can find each blog tour detail and link by clicking here.

So now Drawn is officially out in the world.  What a long, but wonderful journey it’s been.  Thanks so much to all my friends, readers and supporters for encouraging me along the way. This novel really means a lot to me, and I hope it will come to mean something to people who read it, too…

Thanks, all,


Drawn e-book Now on Sale!

SO excited to announce that my new paranormal romance novel Drawn is now on sale in ebook form!!!!  The novel is all about a teen artist who meets a hot medieval ghost with a sketchy past.

It’s listed at $2.99. For more info and to buy it:

CLICK HERE for Kindle through Amazon

CLICK HERE for Nook through Barnes&Noble

CLICK HERE for all formats through Smashwords

Since one of the hardest things about writing a novel is getting the word out, I’d be so grateful if you would share this info with anyone who might be interested. :)

Reviews are starting to come in for Drawn and readers are loving it.  Check these out:

“…a wonderfully spooky tale of romance and discovery. It’s a magical exploration of the unconquerable power of love. Highly recommended!” —Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Rot & Ruin and Dust & Decay

“In DRAWN, Marie Lamba deftly entwines romance and mystery, past and present, into a page-turning adventure. Buy it today and I promise you’ll be finished reading far too quickly!” —Joy Nash USA Today bestselling paranormal romance author of The Immortals series, The Grail King and The Unforgiven

News about publication of the paperback edition will be coming soon…so keep your eyes peeled.

Excited and nervous…hoping folks love this novel as much as I do…  But mostly happy here!

Happy reading,

Going on Tour: Announcing the DRAWN Blog Ghost Tour!

This has been a busy time at casa Lamba.  Yes, there have been presents to shop for and trees to decorate and chocolates to eat, BUT forget all that.  What I’ve been REALLY busy doing is getting ready to launch Drawn, my new paranormal novel, in just a few short weeks!!!!

Since Drawn is all about a hot medieval ghost with a sketchy past, I thought it’d be cool to haunt blogs all over the world, revealing deep dark secrets about the book and the characters.  So I’m happy to announce the upcoming DRAWN Blog Ghost Tour.

From January 17th through February 17th, we’ll be heating up the winter with stops at blogs hosted by red-hot authors, sizzling book reviewers, and book bloggers as far away as Australia!  There will be lots of chances to learn more about Christopher the shady ghost and Michelle the teen artist who draws him and then meets and falls for him.  Plus there will be a bunch of chances to win your own free copy of Drawn.

The fun starts January 17th.  For all the stops on the tour and more info, just click here or on the DRAWN Blog Ghost Tour tab on the top of my site. And check back throughout the tour for updates.

Also…stay tuned for more info about Drawn, which will be on sale everywhere in January!

Excerpt from DRAWN, my newly completed YA novel

DRAWN, Marie's latest novel, is full of castles, ghosts and passion

DRAWN, Marie's latest novel, is full of castles, ghosts and passion

DRAWN is my latest novel, just completed a month ago, and now in the hands of my wonderful agent. Thought it would be fun to share an excerpt from it with you all here…

It’s about NJ teen artist Michelle DeFreccio, who moves with her dad to England in search of a fresh start and a normal life…a life far from her past. In New Jersey she was pretty much shunned, and everyone called her family the De Freako’s. But in England everything is different. Better.  Then someone starts showing up. He appears in her artwork and invades dreams. And when Michelle finds herself intensely drawn to him, her freaky past catches up to her in a big way. Is he a stalker, a ghost or a delusion? Is she falling in love, or losing her mind? Only one thing’s for sure: nothing will ever be normal again.

an excerpt from
a young adult novel
by Marie Lamba

Back in the courtyard, a group of tourists, probably Americans judging by their baggy jeans and baseball caps, waits by the sign announcing the next guided tour.

Roger takes off his feathered hat and runs his fingers through his hair. “That’s my cue.” He suddenly looks very tired.

“Mrs. Reilly is right,” I say. “You need some rest. And some food.”

And you need to mind your business,” he snaps.

I should be mad, but instead I find myself worried. “You okay?”

“Just go find this guy, but don’t let him bother you, got that? If you see him, come find me. I’ll be here in the courtyard or in the first set of castle apartments nearest to the dungeon.”

I nod.

“Good.” He sets his hat on his head, takes a deep breath, then strides over to the tourists and says in a cheery voice, “Hi-ho! Welcome one and all to Blanchley Castle where history comes alive.”

I go into the castle building, wandering through some winding passageways, pushing past clusters of tourists crowding the halls until I finally recognize the steps heading up to the main hall where the Academy hosted the dinner. If I retrace my steps from that night, maybe I’ll locate that upper room where I first saw Christopher.

I find the main hall is empty and quiet. There is no lit fire in the fireplace now, and a simple, brightly painted shield has replaced the bear head over the mantle. Daylight spills into the room through the row of stained glass windows along the opposite wall, covering the rough floor in bits of colored light. There is one raised table at the back wall with a few tall chairs, and in the middle of the room is a single long wooden table, with benches along its sides.

I turn and bump into someone.

It’s Christopher. His glow-stick eyes are wide.

There’s a moment of tense silence.

“Leave me alone!” we both say.

“Me?” I say. “That’s a laugh. You’re the one following me.”

“You deny bewitching me? Infecting my thoughts, my dreams? Be gone, witch.”

“You have serious problems, you know that? ‘Be gone, witch?’ Who talks like that? And look at you? I don’t even think you work at this castle. I think you just dress like this to get your jollies or something.”

He briefly looks down at his green tunic, which is worn belted over a white linen shirt, and at his knee-high leather boots. “It is you who dress for jolly sake,” he says. He strides around me, studying my jeans, sneakers and jacket. “Bedecked in such harlotry. Showing yourself not a fine lady in the least, but as the witch you really are.” He grabs my arm and pulls me close. “You are the one who is not of this castle. No one knows of a Michelle from Jersey. Not one soul swapping the latest news in the castle courtyard has heard of you.” He shakes my arm. “Either you are merely sent to undo me, or you plot about things far worse, far more traitorous. Fool that I am, I had thought you were the one who would …”

We are very close now. His eyes are intense, yet sad. I am all too aware of his fingers wrapped around my arm. Of his face bent toward me. Of his auburn hair falling over his forehead. Of his soft full lips. I again feel myself drawn powerfully to him. Feel my breath catch as his grip loosens and his hand slides up my arm. This is crazy.

I force myself to step back. “Y-you’re crazy. Stay away from me, or I’ll tell the police or the Bobbies or whatever the hell you people call them.”

He seems stunned.

I run from the hall and down the steps leading back toward the courtyard.

“Michelle, I found him.” It’s Roger, striding up the steps, his hat in his hands. “That crazy bloke. You won’t believe it.” He takes my hand and pulls me downstairs. “Come on. I’ll show you before my next tour.”

“But I found him. He’s upstairs, right now.”

Roger draws his brows together, races past me up the steps and into the hall. I scramble to follow.

I find Roger, hands on hips, surveying the hall. A room that is suddenly filled with ordinary tourists. No sign of Christopher. I notice that the bear’s head is somehow again over the mantle. I look around wildly. In front of the windows are now suits of armor standing at attention – armor that definitely wasn’t there a few moments ago.

“So? Where is he?” Roger says.

“I-I don’t understand. He was standing right…” How could all the tourists possibly get in here so fast?  “I must have been mistaken,” I say, my voice shaky.

“Well, I’m not. Follow me.”  He leads me out of the hall, down the stairs, through the courtyard where a fresh cluster of tourists is waiting by the sign for the next castle tour, and into another doorway.  “I told you he looked familiar. I was leading the last tour when I spotted him,” he says, as we go down a dark corridor lit with electric lights that are made to look like torches hanging from the walls. He turns left into a large arched entry, which opens into a long, richly furnished sitting room. I remember seeing this room on the night of the dinner. There are paintings on the walls, lush Persian carpets on the floors, and worn, overstuffed sofas arranged around ornately carved low tables.  Roger says, “I was taking the group through this wing, describing all the Victorian era additions, and I was just launching into an apology about the Earl’s missing Mating Chair, when I saw this.”

Roger points to an empty spot in the corner of the room now occupied by a little sign that reads “Exhibit Temporarily Removed.”  I notice the wall behind it, and I gasp.

There, in a large gilt frame is an oil painting. It’s Christopher, complete with his long brown hair, his light eyes seemingly on fire. His bear pin gleams on his cape. The artist’s technique is crude, the paint thickly applied and cracking, but Christopher’s intense look is accurately captured.

I step closer. Read the plaque beneath the painting. “Christopher Newman of Watley Manor, circa 1460.”  My knees tremble. My hands start to shake.

“What’s the matter?” Roger says. “You look like you’ve seen a – ”

“Don’t,” I say in barely a whisper. Now my lips are trembling, tears are streaming down my cheeks. I back away from the painting.

“Michelle? What is it?”

I can’t speak. Can only shake my head over and over again. And run.

I run through the bright castle courtyard, tears blurring the daylight into a rainbow of colors. I slam into a man taking a picture of his wife and kids beside the Instruments of Torture sign, and murmur an apology as I make my way past them and through the arched gateway.  My shaky legs somehow take me down the path to the visitor’s lot, where I fumble with the lock on Mary’s bike.

Then I ride, my legs pumping hard, as if I can outride what I now know is happening to me. Wasn’t my brother, Wayne, around my age when he started mumbling in class? When he got that crazed look and said, “They are talking to me. I’m just answering”? But he could never explain whom he’d answered. My mom had an explanation: he had the psychic gift. The doctor had another explanation: schizophrenia.

I’m soaring along the road that passes St. Paul’s Church. The wind whips at my face.

“Shelly honey,” my mom had said to me, “you got the gift.”

By the church’s roofed gateway, I squeeze the hand brakes and throw the bike down. I drag myself through the graveyard, stumbling on bits of broken gravestones. I find myself at that tomb, wiping my cheeks and nose with the back of my hand. There is his figure. Christopher Newman of Watley Manor. I wonder if Wayne’s delusions seem as real to him as this one does. I pant as if I can’t breathe. As if I’m being buried alive. I sink to my knees, rest my forehead against the cold stone monument, and whisper, “No.”

New Beginnings

It’s 2008, and I’ve sort of recovered from my extremely crazy booksigning/appearance schedule of the past few months.

I don’t know about you, but for some reason, this year I’m more ready than ever for fresh starts. I’ve seriously cleaned out my office, trashing old files, and even windexing my desktop. I’ve filed away the old, and pulled out the new, namely two new novels to move ahead on.  So this seems like the perfect time to start a brand new blog!

For my older postings, you can go to my myspace page Marielamba, and click on my blog. There isn’t a ton there, but it does chronicle some of my experiences with marketing my first young adult novel, WHAT I MEANT… (Random House YA). 

Here, I’m hoping to relate more of the writing experience. 2008 should prove interesting. For one thing, my second YA novel, which I call OVER MY HEAD, is just starting to make the rounds to publishers via my wonderful agent. How quickly will anything happen? What responses will we get from publishers? Will I chew all my fingernails and toenails off while I wait? These and other burning questions may or may not be answered over the next few weeks or months. Suffice it to say that I’ve done all I can with the writing of the manuscript, and now it’s on to the part I hate: the it’s all out of my hands part. I really really really like to be in control of my own destiny. Too bad I never am!

And while this manuscript is out trying to find its perfect match, I’ve got to somehow put it out of my mind while I escape into the world of my next book, which I call DRAWN.  I’m actually really looking forward to writing DRAWN. It’s about a teen artist who moves to England with her father in hopes of finally fitting in and seeming normal. But when she gets there, she discovers she’s unwillingly carrying on her family’s freaky psychic tradition.

Among the fun things I’m looking forward to in this book are exploring the artist’s mindset, exploring the castles and countryside of England, and exploring what it would be like to be in love with a really fantastically sexy ghost.  Good times for me!  

I’ve always been an artist, sketching, doing linoleum prints, pen and ink drawings, photography, ATTEMPTING to oil paint. But when I had kids, I kind of put my art supplies aside, devoting myself to raising my daughters and to writing. There simply wasn’t time for art, too. Can you tell I really miss it? I’m hoping that by traveling along with my character Michelle De Freccio as she sees the world through her artist’s eyes, that I will start to see things that way again too. 

As for England, when I was a senior in college, I spent a semester living in the Cotswolds with a British family. So writing about Michelle as a student there will be just like traveling there without having to pay the expensive airfare.

And as for getting involved with a sexy ghost? Sigh. What can I say? I never have. I envy Michelle’s future adventure, except for the whole her boyfriend is already dead part. Hey, no relationship is perfect, right?  

I’ll keep checking in with updates on DRAWN, and on OVER MY HEAD for you guys here, along with any news about my first novel WHAT I MEANT… 

Also keep your eyes peeled for a series of book reviews on this blog. I have about 30 advanced reader copies of new YA books that will be coming out in 2008 spring and summer. As I read through them, if I like them I’ll post a review. If I don’t like it, I’ll keep my mouth shut.  I’ll leave the negative crud to others. Suffice to say, if I write about a book, it’s because I really think it shines.