On March 28, Leap Books will be releasing Spirited, an anthology with contributions from some awesome YA writers, including Maria V. Snyder, Shannon Delany, and Judith Graves. All proceeds from the sale of SPIRITED will be donated to 826 National, which provides under-resourced students, ages 6-18, with opportunities to explore their creativity and improve their writing skills.
Here is more information about the book:
Leap Books: http://leapbks.com/spirited.htm
Buy link for print book: http://leapbks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=9
Buy link for ebook: http://www.amazon.com/Spirited-ebook/dp/B005ZGH4ZI
(Note: ebook will be on sale from March 21-31 for 99 cents)
Leap Books summoned best-selling paranormal and dreadfully talented debut authors to conjure up Spirited, a haunting collection of 13 tales guaranteed to keep you up all night.
Get entombed in stories of Egyptian treasures, shudder at tales of malevolent spirits, and become enthralled with the adventures of witch-hunters, ghost seekers, and lost souls. From steampunk to cyberpunk, our collection spans past, present, and future hauntings. One story actually leaps off the page with 3D augmented reality.
Go ahead. Turn the page if you dare. We won’t tell if you sleep with the light on. Because after all, there’s no rest for the wicked.
Anthology edited by Kat O’Shea
Contributing authors include: Maria V. Snyder, Candace Havens, Shannon Delany, Jill William-son, Linda Joy Singleton, Heather Kenealy, Judith Graves, Kitty Keswick, Dawn Dalton, Carmen Tudor, John W. Otte, Halli Dee Lilburn, and Mark Finnemore Augmented Reality by Karl Gee
Print book available only from the Leap Books store.
Here is more information about 826 National:
826 NATIONAL (Visit the website)
If you’ve visited the Leap Books website, you know we lean toward the eccentric and snarky. So when we found an organization that’s a little off-the-wall and dovetails with our goals—reading and writing—we couldn’t resist.
Kids ages 6 to 18 are enticed in by storefronts, which caught our eye(our third eye, too). Here are a few of the offbeat stores:
• Museum of Unnatural History (Washington, DC)specializing in saber tooth dental floss and unicorn burps;
• pirate store (San Francisco) selling glass eyesand peg legs (be sure to check the sizing chart to properly fit yours);
• space travel supply company (Seattle) sportingrocket fuel to ray guns;
• superhero outlet (Brooklyn) furnishing capesand grappling hooks;
• spy store (Chicago) dealing in periscopes andnight-vision goggles;
• time travel mart (Echo Park, CA) stocking dinoeggs and dodo chow;
• robot repair shop (Ann Arbor, MI) marketing robot emotion upgrades and positronic brains;
• Bigfoot Research Institute (Boston) offeringYeti hairballs and sea serpent secretions.
What kid wouldn’t be lured in?
If that weren’t enough to intrigue, once the kids walk through the doors, the center provides free tutoring by professional volunteers and a variety of writing programs to increase literacy skills, so it seemed like a natural—or should I say, supernatural—match for us.
Here are some excerpts from SPIRITED:
EXCERPT # 1 Dawn Dalton, "Thread of the Past"
Letitia ducked out of the room and followed Elijah up three flights of stairs, amazed at the ease with which he climbed. He all but floated, occasionally glancing over his shoulder to ensure she hadn’t lagged too far behind. Captivated by his twinkling eyes and flushed cheeks, she ignored the dull ache of trepidation thudding in her chest.
He stopped at the entrance to the turret, a large wooden door blocked by crisscrossed two-by-fours. KEEP OUT was crudely painted across the front in red. Blood tears dripped from the lettering where too much paint had been used.
Letitia’s pulse spiked.
"Why is this room closed to the public?"
The sparkle in Elijah’s eyes dimmed. "It’s the site of a great tragedy," he said. "A young girl committed suicide in this room after her sister, Emma, was hanged. She slit her wrists." His eyes bored into her, nearly piercing right through. "Some say she was a rare beauty, trapped in the turret by her evil father. Betrothed to another and forbidden to be with her true love."
"Like a princess," Letitia said, thinking of her own scars. Had this girl felt pain or relief when the suffering ended?
"And what about her true love? Did he marry someone else?"
Elijah’s eyes met hers. In his she found sadness, and longing. "No. He never stopped loving her."
She wetted her lips. "Even in death?"
"Especially in death."
Letitia pressed her cheek against the door and inhaled the scent of birchbark and the faint odor of smoke. "This room wasn’t destroyed in the fire?"
Elijah reached for her hand and held it. "It remains almost as it did in 1879." He caressed her hand with his thumb. "Would you like to see inside?"
Letitia stared at the way his fingers moved across her skin, somehow comforted by his touch. She tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear to allow more time to find her voice. He seemed to have a knack for stealing it. "But the door is barricaded."
"The house is a labyrinth of passageways." He pulled her toward another small room adjacent to the turret. "You just have to know what you’re looking for." He motioned to a wooden hatch, almost camouflaged in the corner amidst a broken table and miscellaneous pieces of plastic and glass. Elijah pulled on the handle, and the door creaked open. He offered a boyish grin. "Through here."
Moonlight streamed through the window, casting an eerie blue-tinted glow. Her eyes traced the path of its wide beam to the center of the room, where an antique sewing machine rested on a wooden cabinet with wrought iron legs. The large handwheel appeared brushed in silver.
The most beautiful thing Letitia had ever seen. "I love it," she whispered. "Was it hers?" She ran her hand along the top of the sewing machine and wrapped her fingers around the wheel. Her hand molded to its form.
Somewhere in the background, an organ played a familiar tune. Letitia hummed its melody while her hands explored, barely registering Elijah’s voice in tune with her own. Her fingers knew just where to touch, and her foot slid along the ornate pedal as though it belonged there.
"Go ahead, try it," Elijah said, his breath like a soft kiss on her cheek.
"But I have no material, no thread. And it’s so old. I don’t even know if it works."
Elijah positioned her hands on the wheel, his body pressed against her back. The warmth of his skin awakened a memory. "Close your eyes and pretend," he whispered over the rising crescendo of the organ’s song.
Its final note ended with the shattering of glass and a piercing scream from below.
EXCERPT #2 Judith Graves, "Strangeways vs. the Wraith" (steampunk)
This would not do.
I crouched over the slim form of Nora Rumsay and administered smelling salts to my unconscious companion, who, but seconds before, had fainted in a dead heap at the top of The Narrows grand staircase.
Another eerie wail, an exact replica of the one that had sent Nora off, rumbled from the lower level, reverberating underfoot as the very floorboards absorbed the sound. The howl of a crazed beast. A demon seeking a soul.
And annoying as hell.
Seeing Nora begin to stir, I tucked the vial of salts into a hidden pocket sewn within the folds of my skirt. It clanked against the Hylo derringer also encased within. These days it sticketh closer than a sister.
I gathered my skirts and swept to my feet.
"Jefferson Rumsay," I roared, "play that infernal gramophone disk once more, and I’ll flay the flesh from your bones. I won’t stop there, no sir. I’ll stretch your skin over the disk and see what pretty songs your rotting hide sings beneath the needle."
From below, a flash of dark hair, spindly limbs trapped in a day suit, and then Nora’s younger brother appeared, saying, "Someone’s testy."
And someone was lucky to be alive.
"You don’t think I have cause? Of course not, because you don’t think. Ever. I almost had your sister feeling quite confident at the prospect of descending twenty-seven stairs while in full debut ball finery. Almost had her able to hold her chin high and face the scrutiny of the lowest echelon of New York society known as the upper class." I gestured to Nora. "Now look at her."
"Oh, that didn’t sound flattering, now did it?" Nora said as she struggled to her feet against yards of petticoat.
I shot her a reassuring smile and a low, "Of course you look lovely as always, my dear."
I scowled down at the brat who stood at the base of the stairs, leaning a nonchalant arm on the intricate handrail.
I placed my hands on my hips. "We can’t have the debutante fainting every two seconds because her father insists on this ridiculous Specter’s Ball theme, despite knowing she’s scared witless of anything supernatural." I smiled at Nora, all reassurance. "Not that I think you’re witless. Of course I don’t."
Mr. Rumsay, however, was a different matter. The recent widower, and founding member of the New York branch of the Ghost Club, had no idea how terrified his daughter was of his occult dabbling since her mother’s death the year before. His obsession to prove contact with the other side was impossible had marked him as one of society’s most vociferous debunkers of spiritualism. To Rumsay, the inventor of numerous mechanical gadgets and the smallest steam-driven engines in the world, every supposed supernatural occurrence had a scientific explanation.
Yet the man also mourned his wife with a tenaciousness that was not healthy. If a way existed to contact her dead spirit, he’d discover it. By any means. Even if it meant embracing the possibilities of the magical world.
Neither Nora nor her father were aware that I, Miss Amelia Strangeways, had proof Rumsay had done more than debunk the dark arts. He’d begun practicing them.
If the man hadn’t been about to call on the powers of hell, I’d have been impressed. Not many attempted the ritual known as the Widow’s Curse, mainly due to the sheer amount of time it took to see results. Those seduced by the power of the dark arts were prone to impatience—often the trait that got them killed by the very magic they sought to wield.
The Widow’s Curse required the soul of the initial sacrifice to burn in hell for a year and a day before the culmination took hold. The same amount of time as an old-world handfasting.
And the dead would walk once more.
Rumsay had the audacity to bring New York’s elite to witness his efforts and then planned to gut them like feted sheep.
On the eve of Nora’s debut.
A series of imposing chimes drummed through the house, announcing the arrival of the first of the two hundred and fifty-seven illustrious guests.
All soon to be pawns in the supernatural gamble of a madman