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Mothman Mysteries in real life

Something to try when you visit the Mothman Festival next weekend…

The large, fingerprint sized knothole in the tree on this monument always seemed odd to me so I gave it a purpose.

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Do word counts count? 2018 edition

Has it been a year already? Time flies when you’re writing words. But just how many words should we be writing? Here’s my annual look at YA word counts for traditionally published and indie authors.

To get a feel for the mainstream market, I usually pull Barnes & Noble’s list of teen bestsellers, but I’d like to change it up a little and instead take a peek at the New York Times.

NY Times Young Adult Hardcover Bestsellers List July 29, 2018
(released early online)

 Title  Word Count*
 The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas  111,750
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi 134,250
Hocus Pocus and the All New Sequel by AW Jantha 132,000
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green 76,000
One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus 92,000
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds 80,000
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert 92,000
Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli 92,000
Legendary by Stephanie Garber 116,000
The Fates Divide by Veronica Roth 116,000

Average: 94,200
Median: 92,000

*Word counts estimated based on reported page count

I don’t know about you, but for me, the three bestsellers at 92,000 words really pops out. Two more are just 14,000 words more at 116,000. Two more are within just 16,000 less words at 76,000 and 80,000.

We now take a look at the Smashwords Young Adult or Teen bestsellers to get a look at the books getting notice aside of the big publishing houses. Unlike the NY Times list, this list not only includes novels, but novellas, novellettes, shorts, minis, and everything in between.

Smashwords Bestselling Young Adult or Teen – July 25, 2018
Note: Includes only English books and excludes book sets

 Title  Word Count
 Skating Through by Jennifer Cosgrove  70,430
Her Elysium by Emmy Engberts 81,440
No Sad Songs for Me by Daniel Fleischhacker 67,740
Ice Kingdom by Tiana Warner 85,790
Goldie the Special Kitten by Linda J Oliver 2,450   (selling for $7.99)
Quantum Civil War by Stephen Arseneault 90,210
The Burning Claw by Quinn Loftis 125,540
Cinderella Boy by Kristina Meister 89,180
Luna of Mine by Quinn Loftis 86,320
Love is Blind by Shayna Bueckert 74,170

Above chart includes actual reported word counts.

Average: 77,327   Average excluding 2,450 book: 85,790
Median: 83,615

Most impressive is Goldie the Special Kittenwhich hits the list at a microscopic 2,450 words but sells for $7.99 a copy! The description is riddled with grammatical and typographical errors, but the cover has a kitten in a toilet, so there’s that.

These numbers show a slight decrease from the 2016 B&N numbers, compared to the larger decrease shown in Smashwords word counts.

Bottom Line (yes, I know it’s not really at the bottom)
For 2018, YA bestsellers seem to be steadily set at 85-95,000 words, with 92,000 being a seemingly magic number.

And speaking of past years, how does 2018 measure up?

Smashwords Bestsellers Average Word Counts
2018: 85,790 (excluding Special Kitten)
2016: 99,468
2014: 83,829

B&N and NY Times Bestsellers Average Word Counts
NYT 2018: 94,200
B&N 2016: 95,225
B&N 2014: 88,875

Check out past Word Counts articles on this blog…
Do Word Counts Count 2016 edition
Do Word Counts Count 2015
Do Word Counts Count? 2014 update
Do word counts count?2013

 

 

 

 

 

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Late summer events for readers

A couple of big events are coming up that are sure to be fun for any reader.

First up is Once Upon an Author Signing at the Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth, Michigan. There are panels for writers on Aug. 10 with an toga-themed awards banquet that evening. The author signing will be held the next day, Saturday, Aug. 11.

Over 70 authors will be in attendance including Quinn Loftis, Rue Volley, and yours truly. I’m probably most excited to see Christy Sloat. She was a member of The Society of YA Storytellers with me. One of the few that I’ve never met in person…yet!

The event is hosted by award winning novelist Stacey Rourke, author of the Legends Saga and Unfortunate Souls Chronicles among many other fantastic reads. Tickets are still available at the event site.

The other always awesomesauce event is Mothman Festival. It’s coming up the weekend of September 15-16. Always kooky and full of fun, the festival has everything a fan of paranormal could ask for. I’ll be onsite in Saturday signing books and people watching. Typically I’m under the white tents behind the Mothman Statue. Stop by and say hi.

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Vacationing in the Lost City of Atlantis?

Ran across this today. Over the years, I’ve been known to send this travel advisory to enthusiastic Midnight Guardian readers.

~ATLANTEAN TRAVEL ADVISORY~

The Mogdoc Royal Empire has been informed of your imminent crossing of the barrier. According to our records, you have been classified as HUMAN. Therefore, we would like to welcome you to the beautiful, lost continent of Atlantis.

We hope you find our residents charming. If any should extend an invitation to dinner, please do not hesitate to comply.

Just a few rules to help make your trip more enjoyable…

Bring a flashlight

The evil that banished our land across the barrier plunged us into a world without sun or moon, a land of forever night. From our experience, humans often find it difficult to see in the dark without assistance. This beacon will also make it easier for us to find you if you should escape become lost.

Discard your Token upon arrival

While it is true that humans must hold an Atlantis token to cross the barrier, once you arrive you should discard it or hand it over to the nearest mogdoc authority. Common sense may tell you that you need to hold onto it to get back, but common sense is so overrated.

Avoid the village known as Elsted

Please know that this destination is not a safe haven for humans as you may have been told. It is old, secluded, and infested with rodents.

Never question these rules.

You can trust us, we’re mogdocs.

We hungrily await your arrival.

Featured pic by Chen YiChun at unsplash.com

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10 Cringe-worthy Reads That’ll Make you Scream (with delight)

Vampires, Witches, and Ghosts…oh my!! Are you looking forward to Halloween as much as I am? Beyond consuming copious amounts of fun-size chocolate (don’t judge me, it’s Halloween), I always love to get in the spirit by reading a creepy story. For the blog today, I’ve pulled together some of my new favorites as well as a few of my usual October re-reads. Enjoy.

book cover

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

A jaw-dropping mystery about a woman whose life is turned upside down when she finds out that her husband is a serial killer. She and her kids must go into hiding to protect themselves from the cyber trolls that think she knew about his sinister hobby all along.

Lots of creepy cyberspace stalking, an abundance of interesting characters/suspects, and a soccer mom turned survivalist (reminiscent of Terminator’s Sarah Connor), make me love this new series from one of my all-time favorite authors. The next book in the series, Killman Creek, comes out December 12, 2017.

frenzy

Frenzy by Casey Bond

Vampires verses zombies in an unsettling dystopia where there are more secrets than you can shake a stake at. Frenzy is the first book in the completed series of the same name.

I listened to these on Audible and found myself shouting out loud at almost every chapter end. Relentless thrills, unforeseen twists (how does she dream up this stuff), and drama that makes you cry one moment and laugh the next make Frenzy a must read.

vampwish

The Vampire Wish by Michelle Madow

Original twist on the usual vampire stories. The vampire kingdom is separated from our own in a magically protected valley. A girl is kidnapped and pulled into the vampire kingdom to spend the rest of her days as a human slave. A chance encounter, changes her circumstances and brings her closer to her only wish, to become a vampire so that she can escape. The Vampire Wish is the first book in the Dark World series. The fifth book, The Vampire War, is slated to release in December/January.

Reminded me so much of my own Midnight Guardian series with the idea of a world of baddies separated from our world by only a thin layer of magic. A great meshing of contemporary and old world. This fresh take on vampires is a new favorite.

ddt

Dark & Deadly Things by Kelly Martin

Things go really, really wrong on the Dark & Deadly Things reality ghosthunter TV show’s live episode. The lead ghosthunter’s daughter and the last remaining survivor of the doomed episode pair up to solve the mystery of what really happened that night. Dark & Deadly Things is the first book of the completed Dark Things series.

Fans of Supernatural and The Conjuring/Annabelle movies will love this ghosthunting series. Don’t read it when home alone (trust me). Seriously creepy and imaginative, Dark & Deadly Things is the perfect Halloween read.

halfway

Halfway Dead by Terry Maggert

A loveable witch in a cozy, small town meets a stranger looking for some rare trees in the woods (so they say). In the search, the young witch uncovers and rights the wrongs of the past. Halfway Dead is the first book in the Halfway Witchy series. Halfway Drowned is the recently released fourth book in the series.

Forget Glinda and Elphaba, Carlie is my favorite witch. Ever. There I said it. Girl is powerful and smart, while sometimes vulnerable, and she makes waffles. Amazing descriptions make you feel like you are really there with her. Carlie plus a perfect mix of spooky adventure, cozy mystery, and comedy makes this a well-loved book.

witch hearts

Witch Hearts by Liz Long

Before I met Carlie, I met Ruby. Ruby isn’t all-in when it comes to the creepiness, but she is always there for her friends. When her roommate is killed by something that is apparently hunting witches, Ruby sets off to unravel the mystery. Witch Hearts is a standalone novel, even though I’ve personally begged the author for a second one. Many times.

One of my all-time favorite creepy mysteries, Witch Hearts delivers. Ruby is a very realistic character, so well-developed that I felt like I knew her. I found myself forgetting to breath during the suspenseful parts, and the mystery wraps around your brain and has you thinking of it long after you’ve left the page. Always a favorite re-read for October.

bait

Bait by Kasi Blake

It’s not Bay-Lee’s fault that she is classified as “bait”, the lowest cadet level, at the Van Helsing School. Everyone has to start at the bottom. Secrets abound in this great, paranormal coming-of-age story. Bait is the first book in the Order of Spirit Realm complete series.

Fast action, the Van Helsing connection, and Nick and Bay-Lee’s dramatic relationship had me from the start. A monster mash-up with a strong female lead makes Bait a Halloween tradition.

graveyardbook

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Haunting prose about a boy that grows up in a cemetery filled with ghosts. My recommendation, don’t read it. Well, no, read it, but then also listen to the audiobook narrated by Neil Gaiman. Neil’s voice brings an all new dimension to the entrancing story. One of the most well-worn paperbacks in my personal library, The Graveyard Book is perhaps my favorite book of all time.

graveperil

Grave Peril (Dresden Files) by Jim Butcher

I absolutely adore the Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher, which I first picked up on recommendation of another one of my favorite authors, Charlaine Harris. As part of my own Halloween tradition, every October, I make it a point to listen to a Dresden Files book narrated by James Marsters (Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer). This year, I chose the audiobook for Grave Peril, remembering its super creepy villain, the Nightmare, and its equally creepy spell that wrapped ghostly barbed wire around its victims. More Charlaine Harris Recommendations (always good)

mooncalled

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Coyote skinwalker Mercedes Thompson is tough. She had to be, being raised by werewolves. The Mercedes Thompson series is one of my most loved. Each book is an intense, action-packed mystery wrought with shifter testosterone, faerie magic, and snarky Mercedes. Moon Called is the first book in the ongoing series.

Those are my top 10 for this year. Have any more to add? Do it in the comments below. As for the creepiest one of my books, check out Shadows Rising.

Featured Spooky Woods Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

 

 

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Easter Eggs for Red Feather Girl

Love this tradition!

A few weeks after each new release, I spill the hidden little somethings that I like to call Easter Eggs. Here are the eggs for Red Feather Girl, the new short story included in the Amazon Exclusive edition of The Complete Midnight Guardian Series. 

Read the story first, this post contains SPOILERS. Read More

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