Hi gang! To celebrate the re-release of my OUTLANDER-like novel DRAWN with its new cover, I’m doing a giveaway over at Goodreads.com. Starting today through the end of May, you can enter to win one of 5 free signed copies. To enter, just click here.
Here’s what the book’s about:
Michelle De Freccio moves with her dad to England, where she hopes for a more normal life. Instead she discovers a handsome guy appearing in all her sketches. When she actually meets him at the town’s castle, she’s unmistakably drawn to him. But something is definitely not normal.
He wears medieval garb, talks of ancient murders, and tends to disappear with a kiss. Could he be a ghost? Could Michelle be losing her mind? Or has she simply uncovered a love so timeless it’s spanned the centuries…
I’m SO very grateful to DRAWN’s many fans who have praised this novel with 5 star reviews and to the book bloggers who have awarded it top honors and high praise, including “Best Book” (Long and Short Reviews) and “Top Pick” (Night Owl Reviews), and have called it “breathtaking” (Moonlight Book Reviews), “epic and gorgeously written” (InD’Tale Magazine), “Loved it all! …one truly EPIC read!” (Book Love 101), and said, “…this book deserves to be shouted about from the rooftops! The author’s imagination and plotting skills are phenomenal. I think this is the 4th or 5th time I have read Drawn, and each time, the second I start that first paragraph, I am a captive in her perfect, imaginary world, and I never want to leave” (Geekery Book Review).
So enter to win anytime between now and the end of May. And if you haven’t already, please (humbly asking…) do add DRAWN to your “to read” shelf on Goodreads.com so your other friends there who might be interested in it will see this title as well.
I look forward to connecting with many more readers in the future. That for me is the true joy of being a writer! Thanks so much, all.
I’ve always been a sucker for a good time travel tale. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and A Knight in Shining Armor are all favorite books of mine. And then there are the flicks: 13 Going on 30, 17 Again, Kate and Leopold, and the ultimate time travel movie Back to the Future. So it should be no surprise that I’m always hoping to find a smart time travel novel to represent as a literary agent.
And, also not a surprise, as an author I had the most fun writing my OUTLANDER-like time travel novel DRAWN, which I’ve just re-released this week with a new cover! So, cuz of the new cover release and all, I thought I’d dwell today a bit on the past, and my kind-of obsession with it…
I think what I love most about time travel is the way it allows me to toy with what it’d be like to visit another time. Not to be someone who lived in that time long ago or far away, but to be myself encroaching on another world. Whenever I visit an old building, a castle, or a ruin, I can’t help but wonder what the people were like back then. Were they very different? Would I connect with them somehow?
If you could go anywhere, or rather, anywhen, when would you go? What sort of tales would you weave around that?
Me? I’d end up smack-dab in the Middle Ages. I’d love to see a fully functioning castle, and women whisking about in those elaborate gowns and pointy headpieces, and knights clanking in their armor, and foppish troubadours strumming lutes.
Honestly, that’s one of the fun things about being a writer — being able to bring your own imaginings to life. In my novel DRAWN, Michelle De Freccio is a practical teen. She’s an artist, but still is someone firmly grounded in reality and the normal. When she moves to England, she keeps drawing pictures of some guy. Then she starts bumping into him at the town’s castle. That’s when things start to get really strange. Michelle refuses to believe he’s actually from another time, or that she’s no longer in the present. She’s convinced he’s just some nut, until this moment in the novel:
“Try taking your meds,” I tell him, stuffing these things back into my bag. “Try not wearing that cape and boots all the time. While you’re at it, why don’t you take up a hobby, like going to Star Wars conventions as a Jedi knight?” I hang the bag over my shoulder and grab my drawing pad. “I’m leaving and if you follow me, I swear to God I’ll scream and you’ll be in prison faster than you can say Society of Creative Anachronism. Got that?”
He flashes a half smile. He’s so attractive. He’s so cocky. I grit my teeth and back away. I’m near the steps. I turn, about to run down, when I see over the wall something far below. My heart seizes up.
No tourists. No tents. No cars. No parking lot. Just grass, a water-filled moat and a deep forest in the distance.
From this point on, Michelle is forced to believe in things she never thought possible. Like the ability to connect with another time. Or how two people from such different times can feel so close. Of course Michelle and Christopher have serious differences in their beliefs and outlooks on life. Like in this scene:
He drinks a few handfuls of water, then sits back. “First you must tell me, do you support the House of York and the true and rightful king? Or are you with the so-called King Henry, that addlepated idiot who is not sane enough to know his own name?”
“You shouldn’t call him an idiot. He’s sick. Like your father was sick.”
“He is nothing like my father,” he says, indignant.
“I mean King Henry is mentally ill. It’s a sickness. It’s pretty sad.”
Christopher snorts, which seriously annoys me.
“Lots of people are mentally ill, Christopher. Lots of good people.” The tremble in my voice makes him look up. “If there was a cure, maybe he would get better and have this really great life.”
“Michelle, I happen to know for a fact that physicians have bled the king and attempted to drive out the demons that possess him, and to no avail.”
“That’s not science. It doesn’t fix anything. You know, some day in the future they’ll come up with all sorts of medicines and treatments that will—”
“You think too much.” He stacks his armor in a neat pile.
“And you don’t think enough. You are so, so…”
I’m about to say “medieval” when Christopher says, “So concerned about getting through every day alive.” He holds up the dented piece of armor to punctuate his point, then throws it clattering to the ground.
One of the most fun things about writing a time travel is tossing in modern stuff and contemporary comments into the mix. Like when Michelle, after watching Back to the Future in her own time, goes to Christopher’s time with a book outlining all the battle outcomes of the 1400s. She tells him, “This book holds all this information about what will happen. In the wrong hands, it could be disastrous. At least according to Hollywood.” And Christopher responds, “I do not know of this Hollywood person…”
And what does happen with this book? If Christopher uses it, people will live who shouldn’t have, and others will die who shouldn’t have. Quite a mess. Then there’s a scene when Christopher is unconscious from a battle wound, and Michelle tries to save his life with one of those impossibly tiny first aid kits people keep in their purses:
“Okay, modern science to the rescue.” I open the kit and inside are three Band-Aids, a Midol pill, a small foil tube of antibacterial cream and one alcohol wipe. That’s it. I sink onto the chair.
Throughout the novel, the couple faces a ton of challenges as they fall in love. How can they have any sort of life together when every time Michelle sees him, she’s changing destiny in dangerous way? Plus Christopher is “no prince.” His life is intertwined with treachery and murder. And adding to their couple issues is this biggie: every time they kiss, she’s thrown back into her own time.
Can love overcome all of these problems? Should it? DRAWN is my way of exploring these questions…and of getting completely lost in the past.
If you are interested in exploring DRAWN, you can check out more about it by clicking here. Also, if you are on GOODREADS, you can enter to win one of 5 signed print copies of DRAWN with its new cover by entering the giveaway there starting this Friday. To enter, click here from Friday. The giveaway runs through the end of May.
*Marie is a Literary Agent at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in New York City. To keep up with all her Agent Monday posts, subscribe to her site.
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.
*This post originally appeared on my DRAWN Blog Ghost Tour earlier this year at the wonderful blog site The Cozy Reader
We 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.
While 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”:
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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 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.”