Blaze’s Haunted Halloween: Pt. I


October is the month of fears, and we’re going on tour with some of our favorite authors to talk about what their main characters are afraid of. What keeps them up at night? What nightmare has them waking in a cold sweat? Each day, we’ll feature a new main character and delve deep into their subconscious to see what they fear. And each day, you’ll have a chance to enter to win some awesome prizes! Read on to find out what Tru Shephard from Regress is afraid of…

My name is Tru Shepard, and my worst fear isn’t about monsters. It’s about losing my creativity, a part of my personality.

I’d left the warehouse district an hour ago. My shoes echoed on the deserted rain slicked sidewalk. The quiet night air was cold and smelled of moist dirt. Once again, I’d missed the train and had to walk home. Big mistake on my part. Sure, I had protection but it wouldn’t stop….

The familiar electronic hum approached from behind me. I was out in the open with no place to hide. Without any warning, the air above me filled with drones coming from every direction. I had no choice but to surrender. I knelt on the wet asphalt with my hands up.

The police dragged me into an unfamiliar, abandoned building. The walls and floors gleamed white. I gagged on the smell of fresh chlorine. My eyes stung from the intense, white lights. Fiery pain ripped through my arms. Smoke escaped my lips. So cold. My teeth chattered. My body kept shaking.

I lifted my head. A man in the trademark navy blue suit of the CHA stood in front of me. My insides quivered. A metallic voice announced I was a traitor and a danger to society. But it offered me a choice—immediate administration of the vaccine or death.

It didn’t matter. Either way killed a Creative.

Someone held a syringe filled with a golden liquid.

A flash of dark steel. The cold barrel of a gun pressed against my temple. If I chose me, my family would be heartbroken. If I…too late. Someone else made my choice. I didn’t get a say in the matter. A man pulled the trigger.

That’s my fear—losing my Creativity because of the New Order’s mandatory vaccine.

about the book

regress-final-ebooklgThe United States has fallen.
Creativity is banned.
A government-mandated vaccine which totally blocks creativity.
It’s 2025 and the country is run by a group of scientists and technologists.
Tru Shepard, a soon-to-be seventeen-year-old, wants to avoid the vaccine. Without self-expression, Tru would rather die.
Zared Aoki has his own secrets. He wants Tru’s help exposing the plans of a corrupt, domineering government. In exchange, he’ll help her avoid the vaccine.
Failure is not an option. Tru refuses to live a colorless, dull existence.
10 days.
That’s all the time Tru has.
Lies and secrets make up her world. Is she ready to learn the truth?

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NaNo Planning and Costume Hunting

What happened to the first half of October?!

I feel like I haven’t updated this in forever, but it’s actually only been about ten days. With that said, thank you to all who participated in #YASH! It was so fun connecting with new readers. We had a very lively chat in the comment section about roller coasters and Ferris wheels and my personal favorite Disneyland ride: Space Mountain! I loved hearing from people who were discovering THE CARVER for the first time, and it was great hosting Alexandra Sirowy and connecting with Mary Crockett. Did you all get the chance to see my cover clue for THE UNSEEN? Official cover reveal is coming in a few months and it’s a blast to look at!

On that note, I’ve been hard at work on the next few entries in the ORDER OF THE BELL SERIES. I’m excited to announce that THE IVORY QUEEN is officially available for preorder on Amazon and Blaze Publishing’s website, and hopefully that will sustain your cravings until we’re ready to release THE UNSEEN! While I wait to start my next round of revisions, I’m busying myself with the third novel, but I have to admit I’m taking it suuuper slow right now. I want to do it justice and get it all right, but I’m also trying to delay typing THE END for as long as possible! So in the meantime, I’m working on a top secret little side project for the upcoming NaNoWriMo season😉 are any of you participating in National Novel Writing Month?

In the meantime, I’m just really looking forward to Halloween! I still haven’t picked out a costume, but I spent some time browsing the shops today for some ideas. I’d love something that I can wear to both Phoenix Fan Fest (where I’ll be saying hello to Brett Dalton and Millie Bobby Brown next weekend! AHHH! Authors get starstruck too) and to a Halloween party. So do I feel like being creepy? Super? Super creepy?

One more thing: do you ever wonder what gives Pietro Volo nightmares? I’m gonna let him tell you himself, but I hope you’ll come back on the week of the 24th to follow the Blaze Haunted Halloween blog tour!

Are any of you dressing up for Halloween this year? Let me know in the comments!

YA Scavenger Hunt: Halloween 2016


Ciao, World! Jacob Devlin here, your host for this leg of the Fall 2016 YA Scavenger Hunt!

Some quick fun facts about your host:

  1. Pottermore thinks my Patronus is a marsh harrier.
  2. My first “full-length” writing endeavor was a notebook full of X-Men fan fiction in 2nd grade.
  3. I have a suspicion that my blood type is Dr. Pepper.

But enough about me, let’s talk about you! You are currently hunting on TEAM ORANGE for the YA Scavenger Hunt.

If you’re looking for my exclusive bonus content, you’ll have to go a little deeper down the rabbit hole… Continue reading

YASH is Coming!

Happy October, friends!

Did anyone else wake up feeling like Jack Skellington when he rises from his little pool?

I, for one, love this month just as much as I love September. I can’t wait to break out my brown leather jacket again, throw some hot chocolate on my Keurig and sip it all cozy on my couch, maybe the new Magnus Chase book in my hand or watching Luke Cage on Netflix… and then there’s the thrill of choosing a Halloween costume! I haven’t dressed up in a couple years, but I’m in the spirit this year. We’ll see what calls to me!

Here’s another reason to love October: From 10/4-10/9, I’ll be participating in my first YA Scavenger Hunt, and if you play along, it’s better than trick or treating! 120 authors come together on a massive blog tour, and I will be one of twenty on the ORANGE TEAM.


I’ve chosen some fun bonus content for you to access somewhere in the interwebs, and it will only be accessible to those who play the hunt. You’ll get to know my characters and thought process a little better, and if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the cover to BOOK TWO of THE ORDER OF THE BELL!

So, Tuesday morning, come on back here and kick off a brand new road trip through the world of YA lit! I’m hosting a very special author during the hunt, and if you play along, you’ll find me and that cover clue hiding on another blog somewhere! Better yet, you can even win prizes! I’m giving away some good ones…

Let the festivities begin!



Are you ready to join the fight against the #taxonkids? Author Case Maynard is here to read you the first chapter of THE SURRENDERED, the hot new release currently climbing the dystopian charts!

about the book:

TheSurrendered3After a financial collapse devastates the United States, the new government imposes a tax on the nation’s most valuable resource—the children.

Surrendered at age ten—after her parents could no longer afford her exorbitant fees—Vee Delancourt has spent six hard years at the Mills, alongside her twin, Oliver. With just a year to freedom, they do what they can to stay off the Master’s radar. But when Vee discovers unspeakable things happening to the younger girls in service, she has no choice but to take a stand—a decision that lands her on the run and outside the fence for the first time since the System robbed her of her liberty.

Vee knows the Master will stop at nothing to prove he holds ultimate authority over the Surrendered. But when he makes a threat that goes beyond what even she considers possible, she accepts the aid of an unlikely group of allies. Problem is, with opposing factions gunning for the one thing that might save them all, Vee must find a way to turn oppression and desperation into hope and determination—or risk failing all the children and the brother she left behind.

Now available!

about the author:

case photo pngWith over 20 years’ experience in the legal and medical fields, Case Maynard decided to trade in her briefs and reports to write the stories that have been floating around in her head since childhood. She lives with her two teenagers and husband in South Georgia, while maintaining a long-distance liaison with her oldest daughter and partner in crime in Alaska. When not writing, she enjoys reading as often as possible, binge watching anything good on Netflix, and all things NCAA football (Go Noles!). You can learn more about Case and her stories on her website.
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Interview at Clocher de Pierre

Hello from the Old World!

I’m sitting at the top of Clocher de Pierre, the gathering place of the Order of the Bell. It rained over night, so today it’s a nice brisk typical fall day out, and I am joined by some of your favorite characters from THE CARVER!

Madame Esme, Pietro Volo, Hansel, Enzo DiLegno, and Rosana Trujillo are here to celebrate this week’s Book Blitz and tell you a little bit about how their lives have changed since their most recent adventure entered print. It’s nice to put my interviewer hat on again! Let’s check in with these goofs and find out what they’ve been up to over the past two months.

Jacob: Hello everyone!

All: *a jumbled mess of “hello”s, “good day”s, and other salutations*

Jacob: It’s good to see you all sitting together! I see you all pretty much every day and put you through a lot of turmoil, but it’s pretty rare that all five of you sit in the same room. Has this ever happened?

Madame Esme: It has not yet come to pass in this reality, but it is foretold that all paths will converge on a day yet to arrive.

Pietro: So this is Madame Esme, huh? You really are as strange as they say…

Madame Esme: Madame Esme thanks you.

Jacob: Oh wow, this is your first time meeting? I’m sure the rest of you need no introduction. Hansel, how are you?

Hansel: Life is sweet as candy, Lore Master! It’s been a whirlwind, to say the least.

Jacob: Really? In what way? What’s been new for you?

Hansel: Oh, you know, before THE CARVER, I was a simple man who hardly existed outside of a brief fairy tale meant for younglings. Now, I walk down the street, and people ask if they can do selflings with me!

Jacob: Selflings? I’m a little lost, is this a Florindale thing that I haven’t written about yet? Can one of you enlighten me?

Esme: Madame Esme knows these too! People approach her with their smart phones–

Hansel: And they freak out, right? “Hey, you’re the bad guy from that book! Let us have a selfling!”

Enzo and Rosana: *together* Oh, selfie! Jinx!

Jacob: Ah, I get you now! So you’re experiencing a bit of star power, huh? That’s awesome!

Hansel: Quite. Until a fair lady sees me on the street, grabs her child, and quickly runs the other way. I hear what they whisper about me. “No, no, child, that’s the bad man!” Only a small handful of people run away. The rest do selflings and seem to be able to separate myth from reality: Hansel in the book world, and real Hansel!

Jacob: Well, it’s really interesting to hear how you’re handling your role as a fictional villain, and how people are responding to that. Pietro, what’s your experience been like?

Pietro: I feel like a movie star, man! Everywhere I go, people are like “OMG IT’S PETER PAN!” I don’t know how Violet could stand it, honestly. I’ve recently started wearing a big fake beard, a baseball cap, a giant hoodie, and aviators when I go out because the paparazzis and the mamarazzis are everywhere.

Enzo: *grinning* Don’t lie, Pietro. You like the attention.

Pietro: *shrugs* Okay, I love the attention. But not at the grocery store! That gets old real fast, because now everyone cares what I’m having for dinner, and I have to go through self check-out because the check-out guy is always commenting like, “Hmmm, Peter Pan likes extra crunchy Skippy peanut butter… why not buy the brand with your name on it?” Have you seen the Peter Pan on Peter Pan peanut butter? He looks like a freaking Christmas elf! That’s why I’m a Skippy guy. Other than that, yeah, life is super chill. I owe ya one, Jay.

Jacob: Shucks, man. Let’s talk to our teenage heroine! How are you, Rosana?

Rosana: I’m well! And can I just say that I love the cover for The Unseen? The world is gonna love it.

Jacob: Thanks! I think you’re right. We still have a long time before we can show it off, but it’ll be worth the wait. Do you wanna tell the world what it’s been like working on the sequel?

Rosana: In a word? Intense. Take all the action and adventure and the dark side of THE CARVER and double it. I’ve never felt such physical or emotional exhaustion before. You’re kind of a relentless author.

Jacob: Ha! I’ll take that as a compliment. If I’m not pushing you to your limits, I’m not doing my job.

Rosana: But it’s paying off, you know. At least, I think so. I really feel like I’m growing in a lot of different ways because of this project.

Jacob: You and I both, my friend. So, now that I have you here, there’s something everyone’s dying to know. It’s about you and our hero sitting next to you…

*Rosana and Enzo share a look*

Jacob: I’ll be blunt: are you two a thing?


Pietro: *leans forward and winks at Enzo, tilting his head toward Rosana*

Enzo: Sorry to disappoint, but we’re not a “thing.” How many successful relationships do you see in THE CARVER?

Jacob: Quite a few, actually. Your parents, Zack’s parents, Snow White and Prince Liam…

Enzo: Okay, let me use Batman as an example. Is Batman in a successful relationship? Or Captain America? Wolverine? We’re all trying to save the New World now. It doesn’t make sense to be in a relationship right now. All the best superheroes are single.

Rosana: Right.

Jacob: Okay, I’ll respect that answer. But this series has to come to an end at some point. Either a bunch of you will die and Queen Avoria will win, or, after a great and terrible struggle, some of you may defeat Queen Avoria and finish the series with your lives. What then? Should readers look forward to the possibility of “Rosenzo?” or “Enzana?”

Rosana: I guess readers will have to read on.

Esme: *singsong voice* I knowwwww!

Jacob: Ha! Okay, one final question for all five of you. In one word, tell me what you look forward to the most about your future in these books. Or what you hope for.

Esme: Mystery.

Pietro: Pizza.

Hansel: Possible redemption? Sorry, that’s two words.

Enzo: Home.

Rosana: Wonderland.

Jacob: Killer answers! Thank you all for–

Rosana: Wait! You have to tell us your one word now.

Jacob: Oh! Ummm… Chaos. I love complicating your lives.

There is a big sale for THE CARVER this week! Be sure to check out Amazon’s deals on paperbacks, Kindle, and audio books. Also, be on the lookout for some fun interviews and blog posts, and be sure to check out Case Maynard’s big release through Blaze this week, THE SURRENDERED!

Fifteen Years Later

Like a lot of paychecks that come just before rent is due, some memories are snuffed out within minutes. I have to make a very conscious effort to remember what I had for breakfast this morning, and if I meet somebody at a party or a gathering, I have to repeat their name at least three times if I want to have any hope of it sticking when I see their face again five minutes later.

Strangely enough, other memories linger and bury themselves in the beehive of the mind. I have this very vivid memory of the day my mom took me to see Batman Forever (which she called “the Jacob movie”) and I thought the movie theater was the most magical place. Two hours later, I woke up during the credits and was incredibly sad that I had missed out on Batman. I remember the first time I saw a tarantula scuttling around the desert, and I don’t think I’ve ever run harder to get away from something. I can also tell you what I had to do for homework exactly fifteen years ago to the day.

The day wasn’t important because of the homework itself, but it’s simply one random detail that I can recall when much heavier things were happening. I learned that morning that on the other side of the country, a plane had hit a building and burst into flames. That’s so sad, I kept thinking. What a scary accident. And then another plane crashed into the other tower of the World Trade Center, and all I could come up with was, That’s such a weird coincidence. A freak accident.

As I sat there in my ten-year-old body that afternoon, listing all the ways that I could describe a chocolate chip cookie using all five senses, my ten-year-old brain was having the most trouble trying to grasp the fact that a plane could crash into a building on purpose . . . that, as my mom, and my friend’s mom, and my teachers gently explained to me, if two planes crash in the same place, it couldn’t be an accident . . . that there was such a horrible idea called terrorism, and that what I was determined to call a “freak accident” was further proof that there is evil in this world.

It was almost too much to wrap my brain around. Why would somebody hijack a plane on purpose and crash it if that means they’ll die too? Why would somebody do this to kill hundreds–thousands of people? Every time I tried to understand it, I’d get frustrated, but eventually, I had to accept it as fact. Terrorists had attacked America. It was a blow to my innocence as a fifth grader who wanted to believe that the world was good, that even some of the abusive people I’d encountered in my own life had to be good people deep down. That was what I used to tell myself to get through my first ten years of life, which weren’t exactly happy-go-lucky. Everything is good.

As of September 11, 2001, everything wasn’t good at all. People lost their lives. People lost loved ones. People lost a sense of safety and security. A family friend was called to New York to search the rubble for bodies. Something terrible had happened, and everything wasn’t good. This was the strangest idea for me to grasp.

But as the ash and smoke cleared over the next few months, stories of strength, bravery, and love came out of the rubble . . . stories of passengers who fought back on United 93 . . . stories of people in the workforce who missed the subway by a minute because they had spent extra time looking for their keys, and then hugged their family a little tighter that night . . . stories of people in the streets offering each other shelter as they ran from the falling debris. Schools paid tribute to the firemen and cops who lent a hand. We wore ribbons and hung our flags. We came together to offer what we could, whether it was thought, prayer, relief funds, or warmth.

And then I realized something that I still believe today: It can be possible for everything not to be good, and yet something will still be good. In other words, I had finally accepted that there was real darkness in the world, but it didn’t mean everything was dark. It meant that the candlelight was brighter and more powerful than I had previously understood. It meant that where there’s a school bully or an abusive presence at home, there is a greater number of people in this world who will rush to shield you or build you up again. It meant that for every hijacker, there are a hundred other people who will come together to keep the plane in the air. It meant that for every ugly comment, ten people say something beautiful.

That’s why fifteen years later, memories can linger, and why it’s important to share stories when this happens. We share stories so that we don’t forget. We share stories so that in times of darkness, we remember where we found that light.


If you’re a book lover or a fall lover, there is so much to get excited about right now.

First of all, it’s September! Here are just a few reasons why I’m so excited about this month:

  • Pumpkin flavored treats make their appearance in the coffee shops again.
  • The Hogwarts Express leaves from the King’s Cross Station.
  • Double-digit temperatures become a regular thing in Tucson again. I may even break out a hoodie…
  • You know how Earth, Wind, and Fire asks if you remember . . . the 21st night of September? Well, I always do, because that’s my birthday😀

And this particular September is full of great things to look out for. A Torch Against the Night recently came out, which I had the pleasure of reading a month in advance when they gave away free ARCs at Comic Con. I can’t express how much I love the Ember in the Ashes series and Sabaa Tahir’s writing style. I hope you get the chance to check it out!

Secondly, the Hogwarts short stories are about to be released into the world! I’ve recently mentioned that I’m feeling the Potter-mania again, and I just finished my reread of The Order of the Phoenix. After I got over my feels when Sirius Black died again (Sirius-ly, how is it that his death hurts even more the second time? Is it just me?), I started questioning why it is that the fifth volume of the series has been my favorite all this time. Ultimately, I decided it’s because it’s the book where the faculty shines. I love McGonagall’s snark and saltiness toward Umbridge. I love Dumbledore’s badassity. I love Flitwick’s subtle presence (also he’s a Ravenclaw!) and the way Trelawney’s importance gets cranked up in the tiniest way. Also, Snape. Enough said. Actually, when all is said and done, Harry Potter is my least favorite character of the Harry Potter series, but the Hogwarts faculty is full of flavor. So, I can’t wait to get my hands on those short stories and learn more about my favorite professors!

So, whatever gets you excited about this month, I hope you get a chance to enjoy it in full. Maybe you’ll get to pull out your hoodie, grab a coffee, and read something amazing. Maybe it’s a good month for a road trip. Maybe you’ll go pick out a Halloween costume. I could definitely use some ideas on that myself this year!

What do you love about September?



Some things I’ve been learning throughout the month of August:

  • The Harry Potter books are even more fun the second time. I’m currently reading Order of the Phoenix again, which is my fave! We knew since The Sorcerer’s Stone that Dumbledore was a badass, but then this book happened. As Kingsley says, “Dumbledore’s got style.”
  • Meditation works wonders for the writer’s brain, and for every other part of the brain, too. If you haven’t tried the Headspace app, give the free trial a go. It’s awesome for stress, for focus, and there are some really fun animations to watch.
  • There’s something incredibly fun about hearing your audiobook for the first time.

Yes, you read that correctly! I’m so excited to say that THE CARVER is now available to listen to on Audible!

Thanks to Blaze and to the vocal talents of Kit Karlyle, all of the characters of The Carver have come to life in roughly eleven hours of audiobook awesomeness, and I have to confess I’m very happy with how it turned out. There are a lot of characters at play in this story. I found myself wondering, how is one man going to do all of these voices? But then I started listening to his rendering of Pietro. And then Hansel. And Rosana. Snow. Liam. The dwarves. Avoria! Bellamy!!! It’s so much fun, honestly.

In the meantime, I’m hard at work on the sequel, and I’m consistently blown away by how well Krystal and the Blaze team understand my vision. We’re about to crank it up and really forge it into the sequel I dreamed of sharing with you. In psychology, there’s this idea of “flow,” where you lose your sense of time and become completely immersed in what you’re doing. It happens when the level of pleasure meets the level of challenge and reward, and I can honestly say that when I’m writing and revising these books, it’s the ultimate flow experience.

One more thing I wanted to share with you this week: check out this amazing banner image! It’s my official “brand” now, and the artist made it even better than what I saw in my head! I’ve always been drawn to stories that start in mundane places, and then branch out into extraordinary worlds. (Think LOST, Kingdom Hearts, the Marvel movies, etc.) This is the image I strive to paint in your head, and I love the image the artist just created for me!


Do what you love, and love what you do! Go find your flow this week🙂


The Ivory Queen

Hello World!

So, THE CARVER has been in the world for about a month now, and if you’ve already finished it, wow, you’re fast! It’s been so fun watching the occasional email come in with questions, kudos to a favorite character, or just a friendly hello. THE CARVER has already surpassed every hope I ever dreamed for it, and I can’t wait to see how far we’ll get to take it!

For those of you who have already finished, I’m so excited to announce that the next part of the story will be available to you as an electronic download beginning on January 10, 2017!!! If you enjoy a good villain, I think you’re going to enjoy this deep dive into the mind of THE IVORY QUEEN!
Inline image 1

THE IVORY QUEEN is a novelette that will serve as the “1.5” of the ORDER OF THE BELL series, bridging a very short gap between THE CARVER and the official sequel, which I’ll have more news about very soon. We’re working on covers and blurbs this very moment!

Just in case you haven’t read THE CARVER yet, I won’t spoil anything by giving you the blurb! But if you’re ready, head on over to Blaze Publishing’s website and check out the full cover and the official blurbs.

Thank you all for your support of this series and I can’t wait for you all to spend some more time with the big bad of Florindale!