Vintage Halloween Cards

Happy Halloween all you ghouls, goblins and other creatures of the night.

Halloween is a multi-billion dollar business with costumes, especially those for dogs, being a HUGE item.  It’s so commercial, everyone vying for the best costume, the most absurd foods (like kitty litter cake, which is actually quite tasty), and bizarre decorations.  Universal Studios and other big theme parks go to elaborate extents to make scary ‘stages’ where people pay good money to go and get scared.

But it used to not always be like that.  While people now send cards to others during the season, it’s not the BIG thing to do, but once, a long time ago, it was.  Take a look at these awesome Halloween cards from the early 1900s.  I just love this stuff, don’t you? (all these pics are in the public domain, by the way).

The search is on…

Hello fellow bloggers and readers.  Today begins my quest for the perfect blog title.

For those of you who didn’t read yesterday’s post, I’ll sum it up here.  I’m going to be changing my WordPress Blog to a more interactive play site centered around my epic YA Fantasy novel, IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING, slated for release in Fall 2016.  BUT, it’s only the first in the Chronicles of Fallhollow Trilogy, so, I will need a title that can encompass the entire series.

What is the theme of the books?  Think dual dimensions, magic portals, dragons, kings, knights, spunky teens, mystery, murder, strange beings.

My plans for the new blog are to introduce everyone to the fantasy world of Fallhollow and its surrounding kingdoms.  This means you’ll get to read interviews with some pretty awesome characters. You’ll get the behind the scene tour with characters not in the books but make up the settings.  You might even get to meet a real dragonologist!

Anyway, all of this is still in the design stage but I’d at least like to have a name for my blog, so put your thinking hats on.  Dive into the fantasy part of you where hobbits and mystical beings reside, and see what fabulous name you can come up with.

You can comment below and all suggestions will be taken under consideration.  The winner will will a digital copy of your choice of

Reading Glasses

This is a collection of some of the most awesome, spell-binding speculative fiction short stories I have ever read.  Truly fantastic. It also includes my short story, The Passing of Millie Hudson, but that’s neither here nor there.  All of these stories are fabulously written and any fan of speculative fiction will fall in love.  Click the book to find out more.

The contest will remain open until December 1, 2014.

Thank you for all your help, and I can’t wait to see what you all come up with.

My Mantra for #NaNoWriMo … and life in general

I trust my ability to know what’s right for me without having to doubt who I am when I get things wrong. I realize that there’s always room for improvement and I commit to consistently trying to become a better person in all aspects of life. I’m not better than anybody… it’s just clear that I’m not the same as everybody…and I work within my purpose every day to make that clearer. Greatness is my choice for my life, therefore I make no excuses when I fall short; I only put forth more effort. I’m here for something bigger than me, and my only desire is to add value to everything that I can. Should I stumble, I will remember these words, I will remember who I am, and I will remember that my mission is more important than my mistakes. I will never quit. ~ anonymous

Changes – they are a coming

I know. It pains many of us to change. Lots of people don’t like change. They’re comfortable with the status quo. Why fix it if it ain’t broken, right?

I am not one of those kind of people. Yes, I like to do things in a certain way. I have my own groove, and I get upset sometimes when people throw it off … kind of like this

But that’s not often. I do, however, realize that change is inevitable so that is why I’m going to start screwing up my blog here a little.

Now, it won’t happen overnight. It will be gradual. I’ll probably make a dummy blog site first to see how it will all work, but if it goes as planned, it’s going to be pretty darn cool.

Why am I thrusting my blog through this metamorphosis? Well, I have a novel coming out in 2016 and I want to start introducing people to the world, its people, yada yada. I’m planning on some sort of interactive medieval-esque sort of thing. There will be announcements, minstrels, stories from the bards. You’ll be introduced and get a chance to talk to some of the head honchos like King Gildore and Queen Mysterie. Eric, Sir Trogsdill, Sestian and many others. The blog will take you on an adventure, a journey through the three kingdoms of Fallhollow. You’ll venture to the Floating Isles of Isis (might have to change that name due to current worldly events). You’ll visit jousting tournaments, talk with a dragonologist. I’m really wanting this to be a wonderful time for all to be had.

Now, what does this mean for my normal blog stuff? Well, that will be handled over at my new blogger site (which is still in transition.) It’s called Into the Mystic Realm and you’ll find all sorts of posts on YA books, reviews, blog tours, etc. I’m currently in the process of moving things over.  Are there going to be bumps?  Yep.

The really cool thing is, I am going to need a really cool fantasy, medieval kind of name for my new WordPress Blog and tomorrow and I want you to help me out finding a name.

That means, tomorrow, I will start a contest.  Name that Blog!  There is a pretty cool prize for the winner I choose ~ well, at least I think it’s cool, so make sure you tune into see what that’s all about.  I hope you tell all of your friends to join in. It might even get you a mention in my novel.

So, see you back here tomorrow.  ‘Til then…

#Mockingjay fans – Are you ready?

I don’t know about you but I’m dying for the final installments of the Hunger Games. I wish in one way the producers wouldn’t cut the final book into two films, but then again, I get it. I just don’t want to wait for it.

I know I’m going to cry. For those who’ve read the book, you know why. But I’m also going to run the gamut of every human emotion one can experience. And if the film is done correctly and keeps with the storyline of the book, #Mockingjay 1 and 2 are going to leave me stunned, wiped out, paralyzed. My husband (who hasn’t read the books), finds the story disturbing on so many levels and the past 2 movies have stayed with him for quite some time afterwards. Imagine if he’d read the books. When I finished them, I felt like I’d fought this war myself. I couldn’t stop thinking about all that had happened, all that was to come, all that should have been but never will be. A love that should have lasted, that should have continued for all time, but didn’t.

Very rarely have a read a book that leaves me so numb. The ending was predictable. That’s not to say I liked it. I wanted a different path for Kat. I didn’t get what I wanted. I don’t think anyone did, but we got the only choice that was logical, unruled by emotion. I wept. I got angry. I loved. I rejoiced.

And I’m hungry for more.

#Mockingjay.  Coming to a theater near you November 21. Are you ready?

New Blog site for Blog tours

Hey happy peeps:

Just wanted to give you an update on some stuff I’m doing.

In light of WordPress taking down some author/reviewer blogs because of links to 3rd party sites, I’ve decided to move all of my “Blog Tour” posts to Blogger. The new site is called Into the Mystic Realms and you can find it here.

The rest of my WordPress blog will remain here where I’ll post my normal stuff, but I didn’t want to risk WP taking down my blog because they thought something might be violating their Terms of Service.

I hope you guys stop by there and follow my Blog Tour and Cover Reveal site.  It’s still a work in progress but I like the way it’s looking so far.  Would love for you to stop by and visit.

How to back up your blog

Yesterday, I gave the heads up that seems to be targeting book reviewers who conduct blog tours that link to 3rd party websites. According to two bloggers who commented on that post, they went to put a new post on their blog only to find it suspended. Gone.

Can you imagine as a blogger logging into your blog only to find it gone, suspended or hacked? Think of all the hard work and all those hours you put into creating your blog, now nothing more than a memory. Yes, it’s true that backs up their free site, but that doesn’t help you if they are the ones who suspend your blog.  If you have a blog, it would be a great idea to get into the habit of backing up your own blog.

So how do you do that?

Step 1

From your dashboard go to tools and click on export.
Click on: Export, Create an XML file containing your posts and comments for you to save or import into another WordPress blog.  Free.

Step 2
It will take you to a page that says, Choose what to export– choose All Content.
Click on Download to Export at the bottom of page.

Step 3
Click ok if you get a prompt. This will take you to where you want to save the WordPress file. Create a new folder in your documents, or use an existing document to save your WordPress blog.  I also save to Dropbox because I can access my files from any device with Dropbox installed. Of course, feel free to use whatever program you’re comfortable with.  What I like about this is that i don’t have to email my files to myself anymore.  I like that.

Last thing, the document you saved will not look like your blog.  It is strictly code, but the code is what you’ll need if you ever want to import (move) your blog to another site or recreate your site if it is ever compromised.

And that’s it.  Easy-peasy. Now you know how to do it, go back up your blog. You can never be too careful.

Beware: targeting authors and reviewers

So, has targeted one of my favorite bloggers and book reviewers.  I tried to access her blog two days ago to read about a book she reviewed and I got the following message:

[name of blog] is no longer available.

This blog has been archived or suspended for a violation of our Terms of Service.
For more information and to contact us please read this support document.

Upon looking at’s Terms of Service, I noted they had highlighted one clause:

the Content is not spam, is not machine- or randomly-generated, and does not contain unethical or unwanted commercial content designed to drive traffic to third party sites or boost the search engine rankings of third party sites, or to further unlawful acts (such as phishing) or mislead recipients as to the source of the material (such as spoofing);

Why is this clause potentially problematic to authors, publishers and reviewers?

1.  Authors are a huge family. We stick together. We promote each other because we want to see each other succeed.  When one of our author friends has a new book or short-story published, we chat it up. We talk about it. We tell everyone  we know about it and where they can find more info.  Many times there are youtube videos, vlogs, book trailers, in which case, there is invariably a link to a third-party site. even allows for linking to youtube videos; however, it is still a third-party site, and if those with the power at WordPress want, they can stop allowing users from posting these videos that authors rely on.

2.  Authors, especially debuting authors, and many of their publishers (often small, indie houses) rely on blog tours to promote their authors. These tours usually consist of one or more the following:  book reviews, cover reveals, giveaways, etc.  I’d like to focus on the giveaways here, as most of them point to Rafflecopters.  Since doesn’t allow ‘flash’ files on their free blog hosting site, the giveaway appears as a Rafflecopter link in the blog post. The reader clicks the link and is taken to a third-party site.

3.  Most authors have Goodreads and an AuthorCentral page. Most blog posts supporting authors and their works have links to both Goodreads and Author Central pages, thus taking the readers to a third-party website.

4.  Most bloggers promoting an author and/or a book provide links where the reader can connect with the author.  These links usually include social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc.), the author’s blog site, the author’s website, and other sites where the reader can find out more about the book and the author.  These are all third-party sites.

5. Authors rely on reviewers to help get the word out about a book. Many readers rely on these reviews and they want quick, easy links to the authors and the books.  If views all of these links to third-party sites as being in violation of their Terms of Service, book reviewers like the one I mentioned above, will soon be targeted and their blogs suspended.  I can only imagine that authors will find themselves in the same position.

6.  SEO-driven blogs will falter without links to third-party websites. Good blogs loaded with information will almost always have links to third-party websites because that is where the blogger got his/her information to begin with.  They need to link to that site so it is not claimed as their own information., if you’re listening and reading, please take note: your blog hosting site is a HUGE hub for authors, reviewers, publishers, etc.  These blogs not only give personal insight into what the person liked or didn’t like, but they also turn the entire populace in the world onto some works they may have never heard of.  That is the purpose of a blog. To enlighten. To share. To be a part of a global community. Artists need these blogs, they need these websites to let the world know about them. The links provided to the reader enlighten, and connect individuals in a way that is personable and fun. Yes, it drives traffic to other sites, but that’s inevitable. Artists need traffic. They need word of mouth. They need to connect on a personal level with their readers/followers. If you decide that all authors/reviewers/publishers who promote the artists are guilty of violating your Terms of Service clause because there are links to third-party websites, then I’m afraid you might lose a huge number of bloggers. I know I would be one of the first to go.

I will definitely keep my eye on my fellow blogger/reviewer’s site to see what happens.  She has sent several e-mails to contesting the suspension of her book review blog.  I will keep you posted on what happens. If, indeed, they suspended her book review blog because of this ridiculous 3rd-party clause, then I will slowly move my blog to another site (maybe my own website or Blogger), and say good-bye to WordPress. I hope that doesn’t happen.

Then again, I might switch anyway. Blogger has some really cool templates. 🙂

M9B Friday Reveal: Chapter One of The Night House by Rachel Tafoya and Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals

M9B Friday Reveal: Chapter One of The Night House by Rachel Tafoya and Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals


Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!

This week, we are revealing the first chapter for

The Night House by Rachel Tafoya presented by Month9Books!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!


Bianca St. Germain works at a Night House, a place where vampires like the aristocratic Jeremiah Archer, pay to feed on humans, and she doesn’t much care what others think of her. The money is good, and at least there, she’s safe. Bianca also doesn’t care that the Night House is killing her. All she cares about is: nauth, the highly addictive poison in vampire bites that brings a euphoria like no drug ever could.

But when Bianca meets James, a reclusive empath who feels everything she does, for the first time, she considers a life outside of the Night House and a someone worth living for. But Jeremiah has decided to keep Bianca for himself; he won’t allow her to walk away.

As she allows her feelings for James to grow, she struggles to contain nauth’s strong hold on her life. If they are to have a future, James must make her see what she’s worth, what she means to him, before Jeremiah and nauth claim her for good.

add to goodreads

Publication date: December 9, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Rachel Tafoya


Enjoy Chapter One! Happy Reading!

The Night House
Rachel Tafoya


It’s been one day since I last had nauth.
A chill is starting to set into my bones. As some giant carelessly spills orange and red over the sky, I hurry back to the Night House. This tiny black pillowcase that I call a dress is tighter than it should be, and I’m in heels that force me to walk on my toes. I never took ballet, but I’m pretty sure I’ve been walking on pointe since I came to Philly.
When I reach the building, the sun is long gone. My boss, Finn, waits behind the black double doors. I can’t see him, but I can feel him—or maybe I’m just used to his grimace greeting me. My shoes click against the stone steps. I love that sound. Sometimes I spend my days just listening to everyone walk by. The click, thud and slap of shoes are the real soundtrack of the city.
But the Night House is quiet.
Finn opens the door for me with a scowl. He could be beautiful like the others, if he tried, but he is the laziest vampire I have ever met.
“Bianca St. Germain.” His voice is bored, as usual. “You’re late.”
“Figured you’d rather I take my time than break my ankle in these shoes.” I breeze past him. The chilly night air follows me in, pawing at my back like a neglected pet.
“I can fix ankles,” Finn is still facing the door like I haven’t moved. “Your pitiful lack of manners, however … ”
I shrug him off. “It’s a couple of minutes, cut me some slack.”
“This isn’t high school, Bianca. You’re not a teenager when you’re in here.”
“Sorry, I’ll start investing in stocks or something. That’s what old people do, right?”
He huffs in my direction as I feel my way around the darkness. The whole place is pitch black until the thin hallway forks. To my left, pale blue lights beckon the customers. I go right, through the heavy curtain that leads to the girls’ rooms. Vampires with their night vision don’t need guidance, but I’m fairly certain every girl has tripped at least once down here.
The doors are nearly invisible except for the strips of space at the bottom where they don’t quite reach the floor. Those spaces cast light on my feet as I teeter past on these impossible heels. They’re new, and I’m still breaking them in, but I’ve never felt this tall before.
I hear scuffling and shifting behind those doors. The other girls hide in their rooms all day. They don’t understand why I still crave the sunlight, why I don’t make my room my little home and never leave until I’m called. That’s what Finn wants me to do, what the girls think I should do, but I would rather sleep on the cracked unyielding sidewalks of Philly than in the Night House. I would rather be homeless than call this place home.
When I find my room, I turn the knob and bump my hip into it. It opens with a groan. My door has been broken for at least three months. Finn keeps saying he’ll fix it, but he couldn’t care less and we both know it. Still, I keep bugging him. I can’t give up that easily.
My room is like two closets that had the walls knocked out between them. A bed is nestled in the corner. Most of my important stuff is underneath there, like sketchbooks, novels and accessories to hide my scars. One wall is dominated by a large mirror with huge lights, like an actress might have for her dressing room. Though I’m sure an actress would have working lights. I slump into the folding chair and rest my fish-netted legs on the dresser. Makeup and various beauty tools—eyeliner, lipstick, blush—lay scattered over it. This is the only time I can bear to look at myself. Right before I become another person.
I start with the lips. Blood red, the way they like it. Then I frame my eyes in black so that the green pops. I don’t need to do anything to appear pale. That one comes naturally. But I smooth my face with lotion and foundation, and then add rosy cheeks. When I unravel my scarf, I have to close my eyes. That way, when I open them, I can pretend it’s someone else’s neck covered with scars. Some crazy girl with her makeup on. The scars are nearly invisible, thanks to Finn and his healing blood, but I can still see clumps of white scar tissue, just a shade paler than my skin. I hate not being able to cover my scars with anything—makeup doesn’t taste good.
When I am done with makeup, I change out of my dress and tights and heels and put on an awful old corset. Each girl has at least one old-fashioned outfit because sometimes vampires prefer to live in the old days. We all have different specialties. My friend Alex is all about the 1950s. I got stuck in the 19th century.
Tonight, I have an appointment with Jeremiah, and he’s very old and very proper but he’s not above throwing a tantrum if I’m not perfectly in period. Jeremiah is a regular here. For a while, he used to switch between the girls until I showed up. He’s something of a collector, and when he found out I had AB negative, he became my regular. Apparently AB neg means something, or that’s what Finn told me anyway. It’s tricky having the same guy come by all the time because you start to know each other. That doesn’t make it easier. I wish they were all strangers. Unfortunately, I know Jeremiah very well.
So I put on this musty old dress with frills and lace and after it’s on, I am a dusty layer cake. I hate Jeremiah, but he pays nicely so I always get a tip from him. That means a new sketchbook, or maybe I’ll treat myself to a cupcake.
Finn knocks on my door even though it’s open. “Jeremiah is here.”
I stifle a groan and meet his gaze.
He gives me a once over. “Fix your hair.”
“One hundred strokes, right?”
“He’s in the Fire Room.” Finn leaves before I can say anything else.
I pick up my paddle brush and make my hair as flouncy as I can, but it’s thick and heavy and sits the same way no matter what I do to it. It could take hours to make my hair salon styled. Besides, it’s fine the way it is. Maybe not 1800s fine, but Jeremiah will have to deal. It’s not my hair he comes for, anyway.
I step out of my room, and I feel like I walked out of Sense and Sensibility. I like Jane Austen. She writes happy endings.
I hate Jeremiah.
The hallway takes me past all the doors which start to open, like night-blooming flowers. Alex flashes a smile. Her hair is full of curlers. Jessie tries to zip up her dress by herself even though we all know she can’t. Yvonne runs between her room and Jordan’s, trying to decide which shoes to wear. Both pairs are ugly.
I take the back way into the lounge, away from the front doors. One of Finn’s guys waits by the entrance. He is even less animated than Finn, which is hard to accomplish. He’s probably well paid with some name like Tank or Gunn. We both pretend this isn’t awkward, and he lets me through.
Yet another hallway lies ahead. Another thick set of curtains separates the lounge from the rooms, but I can see a bit of the blue lights on the other side. There, one of the luckier girls gets to pretend she isn’t vamp food in order to be the hostess, taking names. There, vampires sit idly on a long winding couch, tapping their feet, waiting their turn, while they ignore their thirst. There, Finn handles all the customers and tells them to be patient while the girls get ready. Then we can sneak into the rooms and appear like we’ve been there all along. We’ll ask sweetly, “What took you so long?” and they’ll blame Finn, but they’ll thank him later.
Inside the Fire Room, creatively named for being the only room with a fireplace, is where it starts. My hunger. It is different from the vamps’. It is a void, embedded deep in my veins, which can never be filled.
The word echoes in my head and sends chills down my spine.
I want it.
I want it now.
But I must be patient and distract myself by taking in the decorations in the Fire Room. It really seems like it was transported straight from some Victorian’s living room. From the stiff baroque curtains and the velvet couch, to the unused silverware sitting on the dark wooden table, I blend right in.
This is one big show for the vampires. The whole Night House feels like a movie set. I am an actress. Finn directs us. Still, I know it’s real. So I face the fire and let it warm my skin as I wait for everything to get too close.



Rachel Tafoya

Rachel Tafoya studied creative writing while at Solebury School and was published in their student run literary magazine, SLAM. She attended a writing program for teens at both Susquehanna University and Denison University, and the Experimental Writing for Teens class and Novels for Young Writers program, both run by NY Times bestselling author, Jonathan Maberry. Rachel is the daughter crime author Dennis Tafoya.


Connect with the Author: Tumbler | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


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My novel, In the Shadow of the Dragon King, picked up by film maker

Yep, in my dream last night, my novel, In the Shadow of the Dragon King, was picked up by none other than Peter Jackson himself. See, he likes dragons and destroying things and when he read my novel, he knew he had to put it on the big screen.

Needless to say,  I was overjoyed, as was my publisher.

Of course the film was a HUGE success and was up for 9 Academy Awards.  All of the authors from Month9Books and its imprints were there at the theater.  We were all dressed to kill and we made such a lovely bunch of giddy authors. My daughter, Heather Jessup, who is a real-life costume designer, did all the costumes for the film (I told Peter I wouldn’t allow the film to be made without my daughter as the CD. Let me tell you, she was stoked beyond stoked.)  Heather won an Academy Award for her role in the film. The film won a couple of other awards for musical score and set design, but I woke up before I found out if it won Best Picture.

Dreams. Ya gotta love them. And until my dying breath, this will be the next major dream I will see come true. Don’t believe me?  Just watch and wait.  Peter Jackson, if you’re out there … I’ve got my eye on you.  🙂

So, tell me. What is your BIG dream?