Hallowe’en Extravaganza!


We only have to wait a week now! Next week I will post the first contest. Get ready for some crazy halloween fun!


Yea. So what if I start preparing for Hallowe’en in August. I still have a bride and groom skeleton set hanging from my window from last year. In my world, everyday is Hallowe’en.

We won’t start any of the festivities until Oct. 1st (whimper heard around the world). But I wanted everyone to be aware that there WILL be festivities. I had to take last year off, but I’ll more than make up for it this year!

I already have some amazing books from extremely generous publishers like Little, Brown, Walker, Quirk Books, and Abrams, lined up for giveaways. Ghosts, skeletons, murderers, maniacs, and good old spooky fun haunt these pages.

There will be contests to win books. And they are difficult contests. They involve writing, and reminiscing, maybe some old Hallowe’en pictures?! There will be plenty of books, thus plenty of creepy contests.

Get ready…


Wait a month and a half…

a word on creativity…

“Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work.”-Rita Mae Brown

Often times I find myself standing at the edge of a cliff. Arms out, eyes closed. Although I can feel the exhilaration of the decision I am about to make, there is always a bit of hesitation. But falling slowing into the ravine always turns out to be the most exciting creative act I could ever do.

Sometimes I break an arm. Sometimes I end up with a headache. Often times I realize it’s a lot of work to find a successful life for myself inside that ravine. But I always trust my instincts. And through that essential trust in myself, I find creativity in myself. And it’s my creativity that ultimately makes that jump.

I’m once again plugging Underneath The Juniper Tree because it is the embodiment of all that is creative. In addition to pushing your creative boundaries, it pushes your comfort zones. Both of these things lead to becoming a better writer. Which I assume is your goal since you are reading this post write now.

(A piece from UTJT)

Check out the NOVEMBER ISSUE and learn from all of those who have made that leap into the dark ravine of creativity.


Three VERY important things…

One: Princess Prep: Fashion & Words Contest. Ends October 10th. (https://www.facebook.com/princessprep)

Two: Guys Read Thriller Contest. Ends October 13th.

Three: October Issue of Underneath The Juniper Tree!

This is such a fun time of the year, get into the spirit of the season by dressing up princess dolls, writing thrilling tales, and reading spooktacular stories!

Challenge-a writer’s refiner’s fire

I love a good challenge. Especially as a writer. A writing challenge is such a fantastic way to keep the creative side of your brain vibrating with ideas and your heart pumping alive with innovation and artistry. And love. Because you have to love to write. #laboroflove

I’ve heard that feisty Marjorie and testy little Tex over at Underneath The Juniper Tree (see post below) know just how to challenge a great writer as yourself. Be sure to check out the ridiculously bizarre and fun weekly challenges as well as the larger contest going on right now, the Sinister Summer Stories Contest.

Also remember that this IS NOT JUST FOR WRITERS. Underneath The Juniper Tree wants artists. And everything I said above about challenging yourself goes for an artist as well. And I heard Tex goes a bit easier on artists because he really truly loves to eat words…and toes, but that’s for another conversation.

Challenge Yourself. 


Hopefully YOUR Halloween turns out better than Selena’s

Dakota Cameron, my 10-year-old niece, has written a terrifying story that is sure to keep you up for nights! Dakota is an avid reader, reading books way above her age level, she always makes student of the month (!), and is a soccer star extraordinaire. She’s the sweetest little girl around—don’t let her story fool you.

Please tap your keys loudly for Koty and her scary short story!


Selena’s Last Halloween

by Dakota Cameron

I stared across the lengthy body of water reflecting dusk’s orange and pink sullen glow.

It was Halloween night and I was deep in thought as the water lapped against the broken brick walls of the lighthouse. I stood for a bit, then stalked back toward the cabin where my family and I were staying that night.

I grabbed the bowl of candy that lay in the small living room on the little brown coffee table and slumped onto the couch, waiting for the doorbell to ring.

It took me a few moments to realize that I was tired and I let my eyes rest until the doorbell rang. I grabbed the bowl of candy and opened the door to a small girl in a little pink ballerina costume. I greeted her, threw her a long snickers bar and waited until she turned back to her parents, than I slowly closed the door and sat back on the couch, but again, the doorbell rang. I got up and took a few small Skittles bags and opened the door, but instead of finding a little kid in a costume I was pulled into the darkness—a darkness that drowned out the screams of my family—and I was thrown into the backseat of a car.

I awoke feeling tired and miserable. I laid in a small concrete room with only a wooden brown door and a chair massed with cobwebs and spiders.

I leaned against the door; I’m only twelve years old, I am only twelve years old, my name is Selena and here I am, here I am in the middle of nowhere. The hairs on my neck stood up, awoken by the darkness and coldness creeping in from all sides of the small room.

Then, taken by surprise I fell backwards as a large man pulled the door open, and guided me toward a larger room down the corridor where he opened the double doors to a man sitting on a red leather chair smoking a cigar signaling me to come forward. I stood there shocked. What was it that I did? What did they want me for?

Without hesitating, the large man pushed me forward. I walked down across the ginger carpet and stopped in front of his chair. He stood, towering over me as he let out a cloud of his acid breath and gave me a harsh, rather crooked smile.

I looked away from his gaze, avoiding the sharp look in his eyes. I caught a glimpse of the moon in the silver sky through the sleek old window in the corner of the room before I turned back to the man. He smiled that crooked smile and briefly signaled to the man behind me.

Then my world went black.

Beware of Clarisse Honkle

I have an awesome set of nieces and nephews. When I asked if any of them would like to write a scary short story for my blog, two of my nieces, Cassidy and Dakota, both got right to it! Both of them are such talented, intelligent girls and I am so lucky to get their talent exclusively for my blog!

First up: My 12-year-old niece, Cassidy. She is quite the writer (also, quite the volleyball player, she just made the traveling Vball team!)

ANYWAY, knowing my girl’s propensity for writing and knowing how talented she is, I knew her story would be just as spooky as I expected it to be. This busy little girl also just finished a book she has been writing called Myth. She is a nonstop achiever.

Without any more babble from me…please tap your keys for Cassidy Ogden and her short story:


Clarisse Honkle


That was it. But that tombstone somehow meant a great deal to George, although he had no idea why.

George was lonely without a family. One night the man woke. He jumped when he saw a small girl standing timidly in the doorway. As she walked closer to him he saw that she was missing an arm, was covered in scrapes, and limped when she walked. She stopped at the foot of his bed. In a hushed voice she spoke. “Help. please.” George asked who she was but she interrupted him screaming, “Make it stop!!” She went as still as a statue and stayed there, watching him all night. He woke in the morning and the girl was gone.

That night he fell asleep fast, still exhausted from the night before. But once again he woke. Sure enough he looked up to find the girl staring at him. The girl would repeat the words “Help. Please.” And if he tried to talk to her she would scream at him.

Until one night she let him speak. “Who are you?” he asked. “Clarisse Honkle,” she replied. George’s mouth fell open. The tombstone.

She yelled harder when he tried to ask her more questions. “Leave me alone George! You were supposed to forget!” she shrieked.

As the nights passed, occasionally Clarisse would answer questions for George. After several months George had gathered some useful information. Clarisse was being stalked by a man. She was an orphan. The stalker was after money her parents left to her. Her stalker kid-napped her and threw her in his car. They crashed. Her body was found missing an arm. Her captor had amnesia from hitting his head and he didn’t remember her.

One night, George crawled into bed for the last time. After falling asleep, he woke once again. He heard her voice say “Hi, George.” He looked up. “George, I never got my revenge on my stalker. Don’t worry, you won’t remember anything, you have amnesia, remember? Of course you don’t.” George never woke again.

Now you must remember when you get in the driver’s seat, always say Honkle three times to give Clarisse the respect she never received when she was alive and to insure that you will not be her next victim. Who knows, you could have had amnesia like George.

A Witchy Love Affair

One of the better parts of being an agent is that I get to snap my fingers at my incredibly cool clients, beg them to do things for me, and usually get what I want! Yep! I abuse my power over these poor unsuspecting writers—even if this particular client is a father of 3 kids under the age of 10, has a day job, and is undergoing revisions of his MS for me—I still have the nerve to ask him for favors. But you all benefit. So really, how bad am I?

Here’s the deal. A while back, I started to run across all these vintage Halloween Pin Up girls. They’re all over the place. And I happen to have this client—Peter Landau—who is like Allen Ginsberg, Hunter S. Thompson, Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan, and Rivers Cuomo (when he was cool) all combined. I thought, who’s more perfect to whip me up a short little story based on one of the Halloween Pin Up Girls? So I sent him a 1966 Bill Layne Pin Up of a “sexy witch” and he returned with this. I love my job.

You know what I could go for now? Batter-fried tarantula. Crunchy on the outside, gooey on the inside. Sure, the hairs get stuck between your teeth. What, you want everything? You sound like my old man Jack.

Where’s Jack? I’m sitting on him. There’s not much else I can do with Jack. I mean, he’s got a big head and all but other than that he’s lacking the essentials for a mutually rewarding relationship. That’s what I read in a book. There was a time when books said that a green witch getting friendly with an orange jack-o’-lantern was a sin against god and country. They used to lynch pumpkins that just carved an eye in a witch’s direction.

Of course it’s hard to lynch a pumpkin head. Right, Jack? Sorry, my man doesn’t talk much. He’s got a slice of a smile and a few buck teeth, but they ain’t made for conversation. Mostly, he just likes to stick a lit candle in his hollow head and let the fire do the talking. He’s got bright eyes, right? And there’s more. Did you know his seeds are edible? When I gutted him I used his innards to make a sweet pie filling. What more does a witch need from a mate? I’d rather sit on his face than have to listen to Jack blah, blah, blah. There are better things for a mouth than speech. I should know. There’s a spell for that. Well, I’d love to chat all night, but it’s Halloween — show time — and this broom ain’t going to fly by itself. Haunt you later.