Monday, 24 October 2016

Get Ready for Halloween with JoAnne Keltner's Goth Girl, Virgin Queen Book Blog Tour...

Welcome to the 2-week blog tour for Goth Girl, Virgin Queen by JoAnne Keltner.

Follow the tour and connect with bloggers, read reviews of the book, and meet the author.

How to Carve a Pumpkin that Will Scare (but not repulse) Trick or Treaters

What better way to invite Trick or Treaters to your doorstep than with a carved Halloween pumpkin. But if you’re like me—unable to draw a straight line with ruler and better skilled at carving a pumpkin for deer feed—you’ll benefit from this trick I discovered that can help you create a Jack-O-Lantern that’s horrific in a good Halloween way. The trick: use stencils! The treat: you’ll have a carved pumpkin to be proud of!

Where to Find Stencils

Free is always better...well, at least if you’re trying to go cheap. I discovered several sites from which you can download free stencils (patterns). Below are just a few of the sites I downloaded patterns from:
!         Pumpkin Masters:

Before downloading a file from any website, make sure it’s a reputable site and that you have virus detection software installed and running on your computer!

If downloading files from the Internet frightens you, you can always buy the stencils from a store like Wal-Mart, Target, or Party City or from an online store like Amazon. Stencils are sold as part of pumpkin carving kits and are also sold separately.

Keep in mind that unlike downloadable stencils, which are just patterns, most purchased stencils have the image cut out or are perforated so you can cut the image out yourself; hence, they are actual stencils. This allows you to trace the features onto the pumpkin with a marker instead of having to poke tiny holes into the pattern and pumpkin to transfer the image.

Tools You’ll Need

!         Stencil or pattern
!         Small nail or poking tool (if using a pattern)
!        Marker (if using stencil)
!        Scraper
!        Pumpkin carving saw or small serrated knife
!        Tape
!        Newspaper

How to Apply Image and Carve the Pumpkin

1.) Cover your worktable with newspaper.

2.) With the pumpkin carving tool or small serrated knife, cut a circle around the stem of the pumpkin wide enough to fit your hand into. This circle, complete with stem, will later serve as a lid. So, when you cut out the circle, cut at a slight angle toward the stem as this will help keep the lid from falling into the pumpkin.

3.) Clean the seeds and goo out of the pumpkin using the scraper tool. You can use a big spoon to scrape the insides out or use the scraper tool that came with the kit. Dump the goo and seeds onto the newspaper for easy clean up or into a bowl if you plan on making pumpkin seeds.

4.) Tape the stencil or pattern onto the pumpkin. Be sure that the outside of the pumpkin is clean and dry so that the tape will stick to it, and be sure that the stencil or pattern lies flatly across the curved surface of the pumpkin.

5.) If using actual stencil, use the marker to trace the image onto the pumpkin. If using a pattern, use the poking tool by inserting the tool into the design to transfer the drawing. Holes should be spaced about 1/4" apart.

6.) Remove the stencil or pattern from the pumpkin.

7.) Use the carving saw or small serrated knife to cut along the drawn or perforated lines on the pumpkin.

8.) Proudly display your carved pumpkin!

Here’s a picture of my finished product. For the cat cutout, I used a kit, and for the Jack-O-Lantern cutout, I used a free pattern from The Pumpkin Lady website and a small nail to poke the holes for the image. Not too shabby, eh?

Book Information:

Title: Goth Girl, Virgin Queen

Author Name: JoAnne Keltner

Genre(s): Young Adult Paranormal

Length: Approx. 298 pages

Release Date: December 3, 2015

About Goth Girl, Virgin Queen:

Calling Jackie Turov psychic makes her cringe. But Jackie’s no normal seventeen-year-old. She picks up emotions from people and objects like a freak. The emotions make her sick, and the guilt she feels for lying to her church when she was twelve causes her to deny her psychic abilities.

So Jackie goes goth to make others stay away from her and forget her past. But her past is soon resurrected when her jealous friend Trish invites a demon, a persecutor of healers, to steal away Jason’s love for Jackie. The demon causes Jackie to be bullied for the lie she told and puts her best friend, Jason, in danger.

Jackie must learn how to use her gift to protect Jason and herself and to heal the negative energies of those around her. To do so means she must overcome her guilt and accept who she is before the demon claims her soul.

Enter the Goodreads Giveaway:

Read an Excerpt:

The medicine cabinet mirror—dotted with rust and turning gray—made the powder foundation on Jackie’s face look ashen and her jet-black hair, blurry. She looked like a shadow of a girl. She smeared black lipstick on her lips and shook out her shoulder-length hair. Her straight-cut bangs veiled her mascara-lined eyes, and the layered ends of her hair stuck out in defiant wisps.

Some of the kids at school—the ones she didn’t hang out with—called her Goth Girl. Some, whose memories wouldn’t die, called her VQ for Virgin Queen.

Jackie preferred Goth Girl, to be one of the living dead, to be numb to the emotions that plagued her. But this was what she wanted, not what she got.

Goth Girl or Virgin Queen, she was a freak, absorbing the emotions around her like a sponge. Sometimes the emotions made her sick. Sometimes they made her see things.

Because of this, she kept to a tight-knit group of goth friends—Jason, Zeta, and Trish—and avoided social activities. She attended high school only because Mom wouldn’t let her homeschool. Mom was afraid she’d hang with Babu all day, making piroshki and doing needlepoint instead of studying. Jackie, afraid of what life offered a freak like her beyond high school, had to admit that hanging with Babu all day was tempting.

Typically, Fridays were movie nights for Jason and her, but tonight would be different. Tonight, she’d subject herself to a hodgepodge of emotions from crowds and rides and the very ground she’d walk on to protect Jason. For this, she would need physical and spiritual strength, which she sought from Babu these days.

Babu’s door was cracked, and Jackie slowly pushed the door open. “Babu?”

The room smelled of beeswax and down. A candle burned on the shrine on the dresser. The flickering flame animated the icon of the Virgin of Vladimir and cast shadows across the picture of Babu, Grandma, Mom, and Jackie. Although Babu didn’t speak English, and Jackie didn’t understand much Russian, Jackie knew Babu kept that picture on her shrine to pray for Grandma, who passed away several years ago; for Mom, who divorced Dad; and for the girl who saw the Virgin when she was twelve—for the girl she had become as a teen.

Babu sat in bed, a country quilt spread over her legs, her thumb pressed against a knot of her prayer rope, her head bowed sleepily, and her lips wording prayers.

“I wanted to say goodbye,” Jackie whispered.

Babu crossed herself and then smiled at Jackie, her gold eyetooth shining from the light of the bed-stand lamp. She patted the empty space beside her. “Sadees.”

Jackie sat down beside Babu at the edge of the bed and took Babu’s hand in hers. Babu’s hand was warm and knotted with arthritis. Jackie rubbed her thumb over the bumps on Babu’s knuckles; her black fingernails were a sharp contrast to Babu’s flour-white skin.

She wasn’t afraid to touch Babu’s hands and absorb her emotions. Jackie got a good feeling from her. Babu filled Jackie’s inner vision with white light. She renewed her spirit. And this is what Jackie needed for the commitment she had made for tonight.

Kooda eedyosh?” Babu asked.

“I’m going out,” Jackie said as if Babu understood her. This is how they communicated: Babu telling her stuff she couldn’t understand, Jackie telling Babu stuff she couldn’t understand. Somehow they carried on fine this way.

Eedyosh sdroozyamee?”

“I’m going with Jason.”

Babu rubbed the top of Jackie’s hand and ran her thumb over black fingernails. “Fsyevo kharoshevuh,” she said in a comforting tone and gently squeezed Jackie’s hand. Then she cupped her hands around Jackie’s jaws and pulled her forehead to her lips. Jackie imagined Babu’s kiss imprinted on her forehead and carrying Babu’s blessings and love with her tonight.
Meet the Author:

JoAnne Keltner is the author of Goth Girl, Virgin Queen (Solstice Publishing, 2015) and Obsession (Musa Publishing, 2013 ed.). As an only child and avid daydreamer, she spent hours alone in her backyard on the South Side of Chicago, which she imagined to be everything from an alien planet to the Antarctic. She currently lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband, four dogs, cat, and three chickens. When she isn't writing or freelance editing, she's obsessively streaming popular TV shows.

Social Media Links:


  1. Thank you so much, Sharon, for hosting Goth Girl Virgin Queen!

    1. You're very welcome, JoAnne! Best of luck with your book tour! Hope you sell truckloads! Cheers!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Julia! Appreciate you stopping by to support JoAnne! Cheers!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing How to Carve a Pumpkin!!

    1. My pleasure, Amber! Love helping out a fellow author! Cheers and thanks too!

  4. Awesome post on how to carve a pumpkin! Perfect for Halloween! :)