Thursday, December 19, 2013


BLURB FOR DEATH OF THE MAD HATTER: If the king loses his head, then the Queen with a Bleeding Heart would rule the Red Court until Time ceased to move forward. When a second carried on for infinity, every creature in Wonderland would tip their Hat to the misfit girl with a Boy’s name (or was it a boy with a Girl’s name?) who’d end the Reign of Terror. However, it all hinged on the One-Eyed Hare being able to convince an uninspirable Heir that the impossible was indeed possible—like stopping time—and that Love was worth a Beheading.
Heads would Roll…Hearts would Break…In the end, would it matter who Reigned?  

 Mini excerpts: 
“Madness looks good on you.” Pg 67
“You belong in a straightjacket instead of a pretty dress.” Pg 244
“I’m logically impaired.” 293
“If you jotted down all of my ill-thought out comments, you could write a book entitled, Guide to Getting Punched in the Throat for Boneheads.” Pg 273
“Little mad, good. Lots mad, blissfully dangerous.” Pg 293
“One moment Alice Mae and I were sworn enemies—like a superhero to a villain.” Pg. 129
“Her lips should have a warning label posted: Highly addictive.” Pg 123
“Wonderland was a magical world where the most far-fetched dreams come true. Alas, it is also where intoxicating nightmares run rampant.” Pg 24
“What a silly notion—dying for love. Ugh! (Cue eye-roll)” Pg 5
“Out of all my ill-fitting hats, one has never given me a headache like you do.” Pg 120

We asked Sarah a few questions we thought you might like to know the answers to!!

IHB: What is the most important thing about being a writer? 
Sarah: Never to take a review too seriously.

IHB: Where do you get your inspiration from? 
Sarah: Oh heavens, everything. I’m a slave to my imagination and it gets bored rather easily. 

IHB: How do you cope if you get a bad review?
Sarah: I have a happy folder. A few minutes rummaging around in there usually brings my spirits back up. Otherwise, there’s always chocolate.

IHB: How do you choose your characters' names? 
Sarah: This is going to sound nuts, but they choose me. Like I said, my imagination is a little overzealous. If a character doesn’t feel real to me then I’ll dump him and look for my next book boyfriend….someone relatable.

IHB: Occupational hazards about being a writer?
Sarah: High blood pressure from all the coffee

IHB: What book or film character would you say you were most like? 
Sarah: Hunger Games. The fashion in that movie is EPIC!

What makes you laugh? 
Sarah: Pictures of cats

IHB: Which book has been the hardest to write? 
Sarah: Honestly, this one. I write in first person, and before now, always as a girl. I didn’t know if I could write from a guy’s perspective…and didn’t know if I could “sound” like a dude. i.e. “What are you going to wear?”
Girl’s response: I have 673453408927353634 things in my closet but only 8 things that I can pull off today….I wonder if I can still eat that Reese’s peanut butter cup and pull off these tights. Oh, hell. I’ll just wear jeans and some fabulous shoes.
Guy’s response: clothes

IHB: Any hints as to what lies ahead for your characters? 
Sarah: Ummmm, someone dies?
IHB: Favourite character? 
Sarah: Mr. Ruth – the white rabbit who hates his Godgiven name: Rutherford
IHB: Least favourite? 
Sarah: The Joker. Creepycreepycreepy

IHB: Which character would you like to meet in real life? 
Sarah: The Mad Hatter. He’s my current book boyfriend, don’t tell the others!

IHB: What word can’t I spell? 
Sarah: Available. Oh hell, I think I got it right. Usually I have to Google that forsaken word and I use it all the time!

IHB: Your favourite authors? 
Sarah: Anita Blake

IHB:Favourite book right now? 
Sarah: Sookie Stackhouse Series

IHB: What genres of books do you read? 
Sarah: Fantasy romance

IHB: Childhood book? 
Sarah: Berenstain Bears

IHB: Did you ever dream you would become an author? 
Sarah: Nope.  

IHB: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 
Sarah: Hopefully behind a computer

Random questions -

Favourite colour?
Favourite food? pizza
Best childhood memory? Anyone with my brother and I 
Best ever purchase? Can be something big or small. Bubble bath
Best memory as an adult? The day my husband took me as his wife
Is there a person, alive or dead, you dream about meeting if you could? Abe Lincoln

Rafflecopter signed book giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

EXCERPTS FROM Death of the Mad Hatter
Accidental Beheading
The Queen of Hearts kissed the King one last time before the Joker ripped his head from her hands and tossed it alongside the rest of his body. The queen’s personal guards picked up the pieces and clumsily carried the dead king out of sight. 
No one spoke. Only the sound of a ticking clock interrupted the stunned silence of the night. Standing next to the pool of blood, the queen let a love-letter the king had written slip through her fingers. 
Appearing out of thin air, a Cheshire kitten, affectionately named Chez, who was distinguished by his white and blue stripes, playfully pawed at the letter. Extending his claws, he shredded it while the queen did nothing. When the Joker bent over and reached for the remaining pieces of the letter, the kitten bit him, drawing blood. Chez’s hair stood on end as he guarded the letter. 
“If you want to play dirty, may I suggest a play date, Chez?” the Joker asked, inspecting the bite mark. His voice was as innocent as a child, but the look in his beady eyes was that of a psychopath’s. “I have all sorts of modified toys collecting dust in the dungeon.”
“Don’t antagonize the Joker, Chez. He is a bit of a schizoid,” Hearts said, picking up the kitten. She stared at the pieces of the love-letter for so long that her eye twitched. “Burn it so that no one finds out that the king loved a seamstress.”
The Joker picked up the pieces and fisted them. The recipient of the letter showed through his fingers: Dearest Genevine— He held his hand up to his mouth and blew. Pieces of the letter flew into the air and burst into flames. They flickered and fell to the floor in a pile of ash. 
“I’m required to scold you for leaving your sharp toys scattered all over, Joker. It’s a pity the king had to pay for your untidiness,” Hearts said, glancing at the guillotine that was drenched in the king’s blood. 
“Then I shall only take out my biggest toys when you order me to do so… again,” the Joker said and winked. “Since this is a hush-hush operation, I assume you don’t want me to kill the seamstress? Oh! Or perhaps she could have a misfortunate accident as well?”

“No, that would be far too coincidental,” the queen said, as a matter-of-factly. “Keep her alive. Isn’t it fitting that she must live, knowing her lover is dead? Oh, and see to it that she never leaves Wonderland. Everything considered, she is still the most talented seamstress in the court, and I’ll need someone sew me a black dress to wear at King Edward’s funeral.”

Bleeding Hearts:
The Jack prophesied: If the king loses his head, then the Queen with a Bleeding Heart would rule the Red Court until Time ceased to move forward. When a second carried on for infinity, every creature in Wonderland would tip their Hat to the misfit girl with a Boy’s name (or was it a boy with a Girl’s name?) who’d end the Reign of Terror. However, it all hinged on the One-Eyed Hare being able to convince an uninspirable Heir that the impossible was indeed possible—like stopping time—and that Love was worth a Beheading.
Heads would Roll…
Hearts would Break…
In the end, would it matter who Reigned?  
 “Reign of Terror—everyone acts like it’s a bad thing,” the Queen of Hearts said, reading the script that Jack, the prophesier, had scribbled on an ingredients page of a violet book entitled, Sweets for the Rabbit Hole Voyager. The Mad Hatter’s crest, M.H. and a top hat, was printed on the top of every odd number page inside the book. 
Hearts tore the last stanza from the Bleeding Hearts Prophecy, crumpled it into a ball, and smashed it between the pages of The Lazy Killer’s Poisons, another of the Mad Hatter’s works. 
What a silly notion—dying for love. Ugh! (Cue eye-roll)

“Words escape me in the presence of your beauty.”
She pretended to be mad. She even put her hands on her hips and scowled, which made her more attractive. There was no denying Alice Mae’s magnificence. She could compete with models in natural beauty, but it wouldn’t be a competition when considering her quirky personality. She wasn’t definable. She was complicated. She had so many different levels, uncharted territory, to her. She was a mystery, and I wanted to spend all eternity trying to solve her, if I wasn’t fighting with her. 
Obviously I couldn’t say that. No one ever wants something (or someone) if it’s too easy to take. So I added, “You’re even more attractive when you pout.”
“I’m not pouting,” she insisted, even though her bottom lip stuck out enough for me to struggle to keep my thoughts straight.
“Then tell me what word you’d use to describe what you’re doing to me,” I said, stepping closer to the only girl in the world who could pull off wearing a combination wrestler’s and football player’s uniform and be so damn provocative.
“I’m just being playful.” The look in her eyes was anything but innocent. 
“Playful?” I closed the distance between us. “I think you need to check out a thesaurus from the library because playful isn’t the word I’d use.”
I pressed my finger against her shoulder pads. I traced my finger down until it fell off the pads. The spandex wrestling uniform accentuated the perfect formed lines of her stomach. I let my finger drift lower until I traced her hip that protruded slightly.
“What word would you use?”
“Inviting.” I lifted her chin. I bent forward so my nose traced her cheek. “You are being rather inviting.” With my other hand, I tugged on the thin spandex that covered her stomach. “And I want to accept your invitation.”
“Ryley, I’m not the kind of a girl who just sends out all sorts of invitations without...”
“You’re not the kind of girl who falls in love?” 
She pulled away. “It would be tragic if I fell in love.”

I let my hands fall by my side. “Would it be tragic to fall in love, period—or just with me?” 

She's Not My Type
There were the types of girls who dressed for guys, the type who still played dress-up, the type who lived in sweatpants, and then there was an entirely different breed who wore mismatched socks with pride. This chick fell into the last category. Why anyone could possibly think bright orange and blue would go together, unless they were a Boise State fan, was beyond my thought process. Her shoes were quite possibly handcrafted a hundred years ago, and her tattered skirt looked as though she found it in a dusty box tucked away in an attic. However, the zebra patterned gloves actually appeared to be from this decade. 
“Well, it’s rather fortunate that you didn’t dribble. Mr. Ruth would have a fit if he became familiar with the underside of your pet-soaked shoe,” the girl said, petting the stuffed animal’s head. Her accent was none that I’d heard before—and I’d lived in a lot of different places. She sounded like a British gal impersonating a southern bell. “It’d be quite regrettable if anything happened to him on the first day of school. He must have fallen out of his hidey-hole.” 
“You named your stuffed rabbit, Mr. Ruth?” 
She covered the bunny’s ears. “Rutherford is his real name, but he hates it and makes all the other rumperbabbits call him by his nickname.”
“Bunnies, rabbits, hares—rumperbabbits. Same thing,” she said with a wink. She had the most volatile light-blue eyes that were so electrifying I couldn’t look away. 
Time out—just for reference, I didn’t believe in juvenile notions, like love at first sight. In my book, time didn’t cease to move forward when two people fell in love. As a matter-of-fact, I’d have to be drunk (not on love) for such an irrational thought to enter my mind.

But, there was something magical about her. A mischievous charm. I wouldn’t have said that I necessarily liked it, but it was intriguing. She was intriguing… and new. For a town whose newspaper’s biggest story was the harvest report, having a new girl in school would most likely be headlined on The Gossiper’s front page.

State of Extreme Panic
“Out of all my ill-fitting hats, one has never given me a headache like you do.” 
“I’ve only begun to give you a headache,” she whispered and turned around and walked down the steps. 
She got to the landing before I was close enough to grab her wrist, stopping her escape. She wiggled, freeing her hand. When I refused to back off, she moved her leg like she was going to knee me in the groin, so I completely closed the gap between us, pressing my hips against hers. She had no movement to strike. 
“I’m done with this charade!” I yelled even though we were millimeters away from each other. “Everything you say doesn’t make a lick of sense. Why did you come here? Surely it wasn’t just to annoy me.”
“Just because you don’t understand my way of thinking, it doesn’t mean that I don’t make sense!” she yelled. “You’re such a—”
“A what?” I interrupted. “An Otherworlder?”
She stepped closer, even though I hadn’t thought it possible, making it clear that I hadn’t intimidated her. Even though I was taller than her, she stood on her tip toes, making us closer to the same height. 
“Actually, I was going to say that you are such a boy! What’s an Otherworlder, Ryley? I’m not sure that word even has a definition, or did you make it up? Now, who sounds crazy?” she said, spreading her arms wide.
I’d forgotten about everyone else in existence. Everyone was staring. Judging from the context spoken, I did sound more insane than she. 
“What is Wonderland, Alice Mae?” 
“Do you not remember anything?” She seemed genuinely frustrated. 
“I’m not in the habit of remembering places I have never been, you stupid girl!”
“Don’t call me that!” She socked me in the gut. Normally, I would have thought it cute that she tried to attack me since she was so feeble, but today it only aggravated me.
“I was alerted that your father’s car had moved,” Alice Mae said. “Was he able to answer any of your questions?” 
The hall got so quiet, not a single person coughed. I wanted to rip the damn rabbit’s head off, but it was in my backpack that I’d dropped when I noticed the hat carnage in my locker. 
“My dad is not around,” I said. 
“Interesting phrasing,” Alice Mae said, analyzing my comment. She tapped her finger on her chin like she was deep in thought. “You didn’t say he was dead, nor did you confirm it. Perchance you and your mom made up a series of lies about him?”
I had to shut her up before she told everyone the truth! I wanted to strangle her. I hated how she could completely destroy me with a few simple words. She knew my deepest secret, and now she was telling the whole school about my whacked-out dad!
“—where does he live Ryley? I can’t seem to remember its name. It was some kind—”
I slapped my free hand over her mouth. She bit down. I pulled my hand away. Teeth marks were embedded in my skin. Smirking at me, she licked her lips. 
“You instigated this war!” she said. She spoke more loudly. She was right. Her voice did carry. “Your father isn’t dead. He’s insa—”
In a stated of extreme panic, I did the only logical thing I could think of to shut her up. 
I kissed her. 

Super-villain Feline: 
Faded pink tights should never be worn—period. However, it was easier to overlook that fashion no-no because she wore an oversized tie-died t-shirt. At least she made it a little more stylish by tying the shirt’s back into a knot with a ponytail holder. A navy blue duffle bag hung from her shoulder.
“Chez wouldn’t get out of the oven, and my aunts were trying to bake sweets,” She held her finger along the wall, tracing the brick line as we walked down the hall to the freshman hall. 
“Who’s Chez?” I asked, walking alongside her.
“A spy. He doubles as an annoying, super-villain feline. It would seem that making sure I received a tardy slip on week two was on that cat’s top priority list.”
There were far too many oddities about her comment. “Why was there a cat in your oven?”
“He was curious.”
“Is this cat real or is he a figment of your imagination?”
That earned me a slap across the face. 

BIO: I specialize in dark, paranormal romance – think “happy ever after” but with a twisted, dark chocolate center. Real-life romance isn't only filled with hugs, kisses, unicorns, and rainbows. True-love can be more thoroughly described in times of darkness and tribulation. It’s in those harsh moments where you see what a person is truly capable of – both the good and bad. Sometimes prince-charming isn't always on time, and the glass slipper is a little snug. However, it doesn't mean Charming is not Mr. Right, and who says every shoe is the perfect fit?
Stalkery Links:
Twitter: @sarahjpepper
(I’ll be posting several insights behind Death of the Mad Hatter here)
YouTube trailer: 

Goodreads author:
Goodreads book:

No comments:

Post a Comment