Halloween Giveaway (and another writing inspiration moment)

halloween

Note: the Halloween giveaway is closed.

I love Halloween–everything about it. I love the costumes, the decorations, the crisp fall air.  Some of my favorite, most vivid childhood memories involve halloween parties, trick-or-treating, watching scary movies at slumber parties, and forcing myself to go through haunted houses with my much braver friends.  (I’m kind of a wuss when it comes to scary stuff, what can I say?)

I also find this time of year to be oddly romantic.  So much so that when I began writing my upcoming release Something About You (which, while still a contemporary romance, has a suspense subplot), I knew I wanted the book to take place in Chicago during the fall.  And I’ve been wondering lately why I find the Halloween season particularly romantic. This morning I started scrolling through my Halloween memories, and one in particular jumped out at me.

Freshman year.  His name was Steve.

I was thirteen years old (darn November birthday) and in my first year of high school.  One of my best friends, we’ll call her Emily, somehow met and had become friends with–gasp–a sophomore boy–named Steve.  She had a crush on him.  Big time.  A few weeks into her crush, she introduced me to Steve at a football game and we all began talking.  And then… when Emily ran off to buy a hotdog or something, Steve asked me for my phone number.

Uh oh.

I distinctly remember trying to figure out how to handle this situation: of course I was supposed to decline, my friend really liked this guy, but on the other hand Steve didn’t know Emily liked him and she would’ve killed me if I had told him.  And there was another problem:  Steve was really, really cute.  Now before you slay me for what I’m about to say next, keep in mind that I: (a) was thirteen years old, and (b) had absolutely no experience in How To Handle Boy Issues because I’d gone through a really awkward phase in junior high that involved glasses and blue eye shadow (thank you, late 80’s) that mercifully had begun to cease over the summer (thank you, contacts).  So having a boy ask for my phone number was wholly new to me.

So I did it.  I gave Steve my phone number.  Back-stabbing ho! you cry.  Well, maybe.  But in my defense when Steve called the next day, my conscience kicked in, and I brushed him off.  So he called again.  And again.  Eventually we started talking, a lot, and now–big problem– I liked Steve, too.  Not knowing what else to do, I gave in and told him that Emily had a crush on him and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings.  Steve, to his credit, was that most rare of high school creatures– A Really Nice Guy–and he didn’t want to hurt Emily either.  So we agreed that we would hold off on “going out” (remember the days when you called it that?) to see if Emily got over her crush.

A few weeks later, it was Halloween.  Emily, myself and some of our other girlfriends went to the town’s annual Haunted House, which was actually pretty big and scary. We “happened” to meet Steve and his friends there.  (Okay, Steve and I may have had something to do with that.)  We decided to go into the haunted house together, one large group of girls and guys.  Someone suggested we go in boy-girl-boy-girl (to protect us frightened females) and “somehow” Steve and I ended up next to each other at the end of the line.  We got into the haunted house–and yes, being the aforementioned wuss, I was actually kind of scared–when I suddenly felt Steve slip his hand into mine and pull me back from the rest of the group.  We waited for everyone to get lost ahead of us, and then, in the darkened coffin-filled and fake-blood-splattered hallways of the haunted house, he, well… kissed me.  Then we went through the rest of the haunted house holding hands, and when we got to the end we let go and pushed out the exit door.  We found Emily and our other friends waiting outside for us.

“Wow.  We must’ve gotten separated at that part with the strobe light.  Frea-ky,” I said breathlessly.  (How sly was that…?)  Emily appeared not at all suspicious, and I felt kind of guilty, and also like I had this secret, this big, romantic thing–a first kiss– that had happened to me that I couldn’t tell anyone about.  Heady stuff, for a thirteen year old.

What’s really funny to me now, is that in Something About You, I wrote this scene that is in some ways similar to that Haunted House moment. But I hadn’t even picked up on those similarities until I sat down to write this blog post.  I guess that’s the neat thing about blog-writing: in writing about yourself, you sometimes learn something about yourself along the way.  In any event, for those of you who do happen to pick up Something About You, I’ll be curious to know if you catch which scene I’m referring to.  😉

So now for the giveaway part.  (Yes, this isn’t just some weird sharing moment, there’s still a giveaway.)  Speaking of romance, haunted houses, and other paranormal things… I’ve often said that I’m a newbie reader to paranormal romance.  Not because I don’t like it, more because I simply don’t know where to start.  But over and over there were two series of books that people told me I had to read:  the Gardella Vampire Chronicles by Colleen Gleason, and the Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh.  I’ve since begun both series, and I have to say:  I’m a big fan.

As such, to celebrate Halloween, this week I’m giving away to one lucky person copies of both The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason, and Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh, the first books in each author’s series.  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below.  You can share a favorite (or romantic) Halloween memory, you can tell me which paranormal romances are your favorites, or you can just say hi.  (I’m not fussy.)  The contest will remain open until 10pm CST on Friday evening, and the winner will be announced on Halloween.

Happy reading!  And Happy Halloween!

45 thoughts on “Halloween Giveaway (and another writing inspiration moment)

  1. ggs_closet says:

    Your Halloween memory brought back a memory of mine. I guess I’m a best friend crush stealing ho too. lol
    However, I married the crush so I figured out it was meant to be. We are celebrating 10 yrs come June.

    I ADORE paranormal. I constantly searching for new and older authors because right now I’m so ahead of my reading I am waiting on 1020 releases. It’s so sad.

    So sign me up for your giveaway. I really need something to read. 🙂

  2. Joder says:

    What a beautiful story! It’s so sweet and I can see why you’d include it in a book, it’s that kind of moment that makes a story memorable.

    As for me, I enjoy Halloween. Not as much as when I was a kid though. But I do like scary movies and books, so I guess I haven’t totally lost the ghoulish spirit.

  3. Rowena says:

    What a great Halloween story, you back stabbing ho you, haha. Just kidding. Aww, I love these little stories that you share with us. I love little walks down memory lane. I can’t wait to read SAY! =)

    Hugs!

  4. KristiBug says:

    That’s an awesome story, I love it! LOL – I love all sorts of books. Katie McAlisters Dragon series is pretty good, I just noticed she has the ending of one of them coming out next week. I also just started G. A. Aiken, Dragon Actually which got recommended on the Borders blog a few days ago and that is pretty good!

  5. Stephenia says:

    What would Halloween be without a haunted house/hot guy memory?? I have such a memory from my younger years also.

    I still love the costumes, the cooler fall weather and the eager faces of trick or treaters. It is such an exciting time of year.

    Happy haunting!

  6. Chelsea B. says:

    You know, I’ve never read any Colleen Gleason or Nalini Singh books! Though I’ve heard there really good. But I love paranormal romance above all other genres! Gena Showalter, Kresley Cole, Kerrelyn Sparks, and Cindy Miles are just a few of my favorites! I would pick up any book with their names on the cover just because their name was on the cover LOL 🙂

    Great contest and story! 🙂

  7. Booklover1335 says:

    Hi Julie,
    Halloween is my fav holiday of the year. No stress and all fun…not to mention the chocolate 🙂

    Anyways I would love to win both books. I haven’t read either author so guess their firsts would be a good place to start.

    One of my fav paranormal romance authors is Kresley Cole.

    cldivineATyahooDOTcom

  8. Mariska says:

    Hi Julie,
    since we don’t have halloween in our country, i just can’t think any good memories of it.
    I’ve heard of Nalini singh, but haven’t had chance to read her works. Well, either of Colleen’s.

    Please count me in the drawing! THANKS.

  9. Amy M says:

    I love your stories about your…youth! they are always great.

    I don’t really have any favorite memories of Halloween. I am a huge chicken, so Halloween scares me. Of course, everything scares me so I can’t just blame it on Halloween. I do love to stay home and pass out candy to the kids though. And it is fun when my 4 come home with dad and they ring the door bell and try to scare me when I answer to give them their candy. Then we pile into the car and head out to my mom’s, and other family members so they can all see how cute the kids are. That is about it for me. Nothing too great there!

    Thanks for the fun contest!

    amy m

  10. tennismom mary g says:

    Hi Julie
    Just wanted to say hi, so don’t enter me. Loved your story & one day you’ll have to tell us how it worked out with Emily. I don’t read a lot of paranormal yet but The Missing by Shiloh Walker is one of my fave books of any genre. It’s “mild” so it’s good for someone just getting their feet wet.

  11. maddbookish says:

    My favorite Halloween memory was taking my daughter out for her first time trick or treating. She was only a year old and we figured we’d roll her along in her stroller while her brothers did most of the trick or treating and we’d toss her a few candies from her brothers’ buckets. What we didn’t expect was that she would demand to be let out of the stroller so she could go with her brothers to the doors and hold up her little bucket for treats. It was the cutest thing.

    Favorite Paranormals:

    Marjorie M. Liu’s Dirk & Steele series

    The Crimson City series – Liz Maverick, Marjorie M. Liu, Patti O’Shea, Carolyn Jewel, and Jade Lee

    Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld

    Lora Leigh’s Breed series

    Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series

  12. RachieG says:

    I wish I had a romantic Halloween moment! 🙂 But I do dress my weenie dog up as a hot dog every year…..not too romantic but awfully fun! 🙂

  13. Lyoness2009 says:

    No romantic Halloween stories for me, BUT I do love fall. Something about the cooler weather and need for hot chocolate that seems romantic to me. Aww…and I love the craft shows!

  14. Paula says:

    Halloween’s nowhere as “big” here as it’s in the States. I got to see US Halloween a few years ago and loved the decorated houses. And candy. lol
    Happy Halloween!

  15. PaulaAP says:

    Hi Julie!

    I really enjoyed reading your blog post.

    Autumn has always been my favorite time of year. And I absolutely loved Halloween when I was a kid and all the candy that went with it. Now I’m happy just to enjoy the holiday with a nice scary book or a spooky movie.

    Thanks so much for your contest! I’d love to be entered in it! The books look great!

    Hope you have a wonderful Halloween! 🙂

  16. Jeanette Juan says:

    My favorite Halloween memory is going around my neighborhood when I was a little kid with my dad trick-or-treat! I always ended up getting a ginormous bag of candy to show my mom!

  17. MaryM says:

    I LOVE Fall and all the seasons! Since my grandsons are 3 and 1, I’m not into scary Halloween. I was lucky to find a cute Halloween storybook!
    I loved you first kiss story and unprepared teenage situations.

  18. MaryM says:

    Julie, I just read Practice Makes Perfect! In less than 24 hours! I LOVED it! Being gloriously recently retired and loving every minute of it, today was an awesome day! I slept late, stayed in my pjs ALL day and could NOT put Practice Makes Perfect down…until I had finished it..wish it was longer…Being a parent of a 32 year old, I wish parents didn’t have such a negative impact on their children. Oh!! It was fiction…. and there ARE always exceptions…Sorry Maria!
    Thanks bunches Julie!! As I said I LOVED your 2nd book!!!

  19. Renee G says:

    I’ll just say Hi and share my Haunted House Memory. I’ve got to say when you were talking about the Halloween House, my mind jumped to a trip to Disneyland that I took in my early 20s. I was with a mix of other 20 somethings that all were new hires at our national firm. A group of us headed to Disneyland to explore one evening and I and Mr. New York road the Haunted House and every ride afterward together. We kept in touch and remained friends for a number of years after that. (Not quite as romantic as your haunted house story — but I still had to smile.)
    rsgrandinetti@yahoo(dot)com

  20. BookFiend says:

    What a cute story. I can’t wait to read the version in Something About You. Thanks for hosting the contest. I just recently discovered Nalini Singh and would love to give Colleen Gleason a try. Thanks!

  21. Nikki H says:

    I really enjoyed reading about your high school experience. That was a sweet story. Kissing in a haunted house? Gotta be in the top 10.

  22. kara says:

    I don’t read a lot of paranormal, but I am a huge fan of the Nalini Singh series you mentioned! I also keep up with both the Lara Adrian and JR Ward series. I haven’t read the Colleen Gleason books yet, but would love to try them out. Happy Halloween!

  23. Sandra Lynne says:

    My favorite Halloween memory is getting dressed up in fun and scary costumes and going trick-or-treating with my sister and my cousins. We had SO MUCH FUN!
    Your blog also made me remember the haunted houses I used to visit with some of my schoolmates.
    This post brought back many happy memories! 🙂

  24. Darcy B says:

    I love love love Halloween—I also had my first kiss at a Halloween costume party–I was a different person in my fancy southern belle dress –I flirted outrageously with my crush’s best friend—–oh memories …
    thanks for the chance to win!
    kakihararocks@gmail.com

  25. Lea says:

    Thanks for sharing your Halloween memory with us Julie! My favorite Paranormal romance writer is Larissa Ione. I love her Demonica series. Gritty, dark and the characters are awesome.

    Fall is my favorite time of year too.

    Thank you for sharing and for the giveaway!

    Best

  26. Julie says:

    I love paranormals! Unfortunately, no romantic Halloween memories for me, but my girl friend and I spent half of last year’s counseling a mutual boy friend on his unrequited crush. 😀

  27. Jennifer says:

    Alrighty then…. I will not bore you with tales of why I hate this time of year, just allow me to say that I live in Alaska so we had to pick out costumes that would fit over our Michelin Tireman Snow suits which always ruined the Fairy Princess effect I was going for.
    On the upside, I am in possession of what everyone else wants this time of year… I own a haunted house. Oh sure, laugh it up folks. Think what you like… but when you are the one getting whispers in your ear at 3 am and ducking flying lip glosses you’ll understand! Luckily, mine are relatively harmless… well,except for when they opened the garage door late one February night after we had gone to bed and caused our pipes to freeze… that sucked. But otherwise, we like to think of them as pets.
    I am trying to motivate them to pull some nifty hijinx come Saturday, but as with all pets they are pretty much on they’re own schedule and it just depends on whether they are in the mood or not. Lets hope for the best! 🙂

  28. Jason says:

    My favorite Halloween is when we got 2 feet of snow on Halloween here in MN. It was crazy

    jason(at)allworldautomotive(dot)com

  29. Kim says:

    A favorite Halloween memory for me reoccurs every year as we dress our lab-retreivers dogs up to greet the guests. All the children love it & the dogs don’t mind either.

  30. maered says:

    I love paranormal romance! I love Patricia Briggs and Nalini Singh’s angel series. Love Meljean Brook’s Guardian books, too. Great contest!

  31. Dottie says:

    Halloween is a favorite for me. I have to say one of my favorite Halloween memories also involves a haunted house at the State Fairground in Springfield. I went with a friend and oddly enough, her older boy (who was only slightly older than me and in my grade at school) turned up there too. We also decided to go in together. My friend’s brother walked me through the haunted house, holding my hand through the really scary parts (um, for me that was almost the entire haunted house). No, we didn’t kiss, not that I didn’t want to, but I was so shy. It was my first crush.

    I love all sorts of paranormal romance, Sookie Stackhouse with the ever gorgeous Eric Northman comes to mind.

    Thanks!

    Dottie 🙂

  32. Colleen says:

    I love Halloween – the smells and decorations.

    I had a favorite costume when I was younger. Before they sold those fancy costumes, my mom actually made my pumpkin costume out of felt. But she made it really big so that it had to be stuffed with newspaper. The first time I wore the costume, it was stuffed and so big that I could barely walk down our front stairs by myself without tripping. But everyone loved the costume so it was worth the hassle.

  33. wendy wallach says:

    Okay this is hello! I will comment that I love getting to pick through my daughters trick or treat booty every year and I am a lucky mom as she does not like chocolate! ( where did I go wrong?)

    madamerkf at aol dot com

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