Dark Dreams and Dead Things by Martina McAtee | Guest Post + Giveaway

Welcome to the DARK DREAMS and DEAD THINGS Blog Tour!
Read a 'behind-the-book' post by author, Martina McAtee, check out the book, and enter the giveaway!
Why Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things

When I first wrote Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things it was for NaNoWriMo 2014 and I just needed a name and a cover. I had initially called it Teenagers Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things because my characters are seventeen years old and weren’t technically children. It was simply just a working title that was a play on the 70’s cult classic horror movie Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (it was also the name of one of my favorite Supernatural episodes) I wasn’t too concerned about the title at the time because I had no intention of publishing the book. I was just trying to see if I could actually finish a book. 

It took me two months to complete the rough draft which was about 97,000 words. I then let my best friend read it and held my breath. If it sucked, I was going to chuck it and just give up on writing altogether. (Yes, I was being dramatic). She loved it. So I decided to revise it and polish it up. I added more and more layers with each pass and when I finished the final draft, four months later, it was 152,621 words. 

Now I needed a real title for the book. The book revolved around a girl who had an affinity for the dead, one that had started when she was a child. It had characters who were obsessed with movies, in general and zombie/horror movies, in particular. There were numerous nods to some classic movies, including a dog named Romero after George Romero, who some consider to be the creator of the entire zombie film genre. 

I played around with other titles; hundreds of them, truth be told. I had already chucked the word Teenagers from my working title as it didn’t roll off the tongue and it was saved on my laptop as Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things but everybody had opinions. Everybody. Some people said the title didn’t make sense, some thought it was too long, others said I’d be sued for stealing (you can’t copyright a movie title) but no matter how many different titles I tried, I just kept coming back to it. Before my editor cut it, my characters even reference the 70’s movie with the original title. 

I knew, going in, it was a risk to use this name for the book. I knew it would be a hassle for marketing purposes. Luckily, traditionally published authors were starting to put out books with really long titles right as I released the first book so it wasn’t quite so shocking to see my title sitting next to theirs. Honestly, my long title has gotten me some extra publicity on Instagram when bookstagrammers do hashtag challenges for things like #longestbooktitle. 

Speaking of Instagram, my book title was a pain for hashtagging purposes because it’s really long and most of the tag was populated with images from the original movie. When I attempted to shorten it to just the initials, my book was lumped in with people doing re-watches of the Supernatural episode with the same name. Eventually, I just let the reviewers and bookstagrammers hashtag it however they wanted and stopped worrying about it. Some people do question me about the long title, about using a title that others have used before. One person, who never read the book wrote a scathing one star review on Amazon accusing me of stealing not only the name of my book but the entire plot. (Clearly they had never read the book). There have been some trials and tribulations but overall I think this was the name the book was always supposed to have. Why? Because I write about teenage reapers who spend their lives around the dead, the formerly dead or the undead and no other title seemed to fit as well as that one so for better or for worse, that’s the title that stuck.
Dark Dream and Dead Things 
Dead Things #2
Publication Date: July 15, 2016
Genre:YA Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
17-year-old November Lonergan spent her whole life feeling like an outsider. She was right. She’s a reaper like her mother; like her two cousins, Kai and Tristin. The supernatural world believes they are part of a prophecy to save them from an evil known as the Grove. Ember just wants to survive high school and fix the fallout from bringing back her friend.

Old enemies are lurking; waiting for their opportunity to strike but the pack has a new problem. A group of legendary hunters has resurfaced, threatening the reapers and anybody who stands with them. They are making good on their threats too; attacking those closest to the pack.

Their only hope of defeating the Legionaries involves trusting a stranger to perform a dangerous spell to advance Ember and her cousin’s powers. But Ember has a secret; a secret she can’t tell the pack. One that leaves the pack vulnerable.

An attack on pack allies, leaves one member of the group injured and another missing, along with a mysterious girl named Evangeline who may play a bigger part in this than any of them realize. As the Legionaries are closing in, the pack must trust their enemies, enter hostile territories, and play a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a psychopath. Their entire plan lynches on a dangerous bargain, but rescuing one member of the pack could mean losing another in their place…possibly forever.
Check out the first book in the series!
About the Author

Martina McAtee lives in Jupiter, Florida with her teenage daughters, her best friend, two attack Chihuahua’s and two shady looking cats. By day she is a registered nurse but by night she writes young adult books about reapers, zombies, werewolves and other supernatural creatures. She wrote her first story when she was five with an orange crayon on a legal pad she stole from her mom’s office. She’s been writing ever since. Her influences include Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine, Joss Whedon, L.J. Smith and even J.K. Rowling. Living in South Florida provides her with plenty of material for the weird worlds she writes about. When she isn’t working, teaching or writing she’s reading or watching shows involving reapers, zombies, werewolves and other supernatural creatures. 

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