August 8, 2015

The Nightmare Charade Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway
Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Nightmare Charade by Mindee Arnett! Today I have a fantastic guest post by the author to share with you - and don't forget to enter the giveaway! To follow the rest of the tour, click on the banner above.

The Nightmare Charade (Arkwell Academy #3)
Author: Mindee Arnett
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Tor Teen


The final installment in a thrilling fantastical mystery series.

Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare. Literally. Dusty is a magical being who feeds on human dreams.

Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy is hard enough, not to mention the crazy events of the past year. Dusty may have saved the day, but there are many days left in the year, and with an old foe back to seek revenge, she'll need all her strength to defeat him and save her friends.

Mindee Arnett thrills again in this stunning final installment in the Arkwell Academy series.
One of the questions I get asked most often is where I got the inspiration for my books. People want to know the big picture, “lightbulb” moment. For The Nightmare Affair that inspiration came from Henry Fuseli’s painting “The Nightmare.” I took one look at the picture and thought, what would happen if the demon and the woman were reversed? And presto-change-oh, my main character Dusty was born. shortly after.

But one thing I don’t talk about very often is the day-to-day inspirations, the little things that seep into my stories both consciously and unconsciously. All writers are constantly surveying the world for ideas to steal…err…to borrow for a story. Sometimes these ideas are story starters. These usually come from “what if” questions. Whenever I see something interesting or weird around me I start asking questions about it. My mind tries to come up with an explanation of what I’m seeing. For example, on the way to work the other day I saw a vanity plate that read: U MS ME. Now, there are many different ways you can interpret this message. The first one that came to my mind was “you miss me.” Right away, I started imagining that the car’s owner was someone who had recently gone through a bad breakup and the plates were supposed to be a reminder to the ex about what a mistake it was to end the relationship. That then led to the question of why would the person think the ex was likely to see it? Why would the ex care? Was the car owner delusional? And so on. Not long after I had a possible story idea and a main character to drive it…haha.

But other times these inspirations are small, little details that I use to help bring the story to life. A lot of these show up in the names I pick for places and people. And there’s really no rhyme or reason behind what inspires me and what doesn’t, what sticks and what dissipates. The best I can do is identify some of them for you and let you make your own inferences. So with no further ado, here’s a sampling of some of the small inspirations that found their way into The Nightmare Charade

* Dr. Hendershaw was inspired by the principle of my elementary school, the only teacher in my educational career to ever give me a detention. Dusty inherited my lingering animosity over the event.

* A scene from the movie The Dark Crystal inspired a magical artifact that plays a big part in Charade. I don’t want to go into details because of spoilers, but I’m certain anyone who is familiar with the movie will recognize it. Dusty actually mentions the movie and the specific scene, but she doesn’t name it.

* In Charade, we finally get to visit the magickind police department. I’ve titled the building “The Rush.” The name and physical description were inspired by “the barn” from the TV show The Shield.

* We also learn that the police department has a magickind prison attached to it. The description and general layout was inspired by the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio, rumored to be one of the most haunted places in Ohio. Clearly you can see why: 

* Dusty and Selene move into a new dorm room. Its physical description was inspired by my first dorm at The Ohio University. I was lucky enough to have a suite, which meant a private bathroom. Selene and Dusty also joke about how they used to wear shower shoes. I don’t know if that’s true for college community showers, but it was definitely true in the army when I was in basic training. You had to wear shower shoes. And you totally wanted them because of germs and stuff (yuck).

* In the first chapter, we learn that Dusty visited the Paris catacombs as part of her summer trip to Europe. Although I myself have never been to Europe, I drew a lot of inspiration from photos a friend of mine took on her recent trip there.

* The boat pictured on the cover and which appears in a dream sequence was partially inspired by the movie Cleopatra.

* We finally get to see a gladiator game in this book. These games are inspired by love of the videogame Halo.

* Speaking of video games, a new character introduced early on has the last name of Valentine. This is a shout-out to the video game Resident Evil. There’s a bit of a zombie theme in Charade, so I thought it appropriate.

There are bunches more, but hopefully you get the idea. Inspiration is everywhere. All you have to do is take it in and let your imagination run wild.
Last Kiss
I had no idea that the first kiss would be the last.
The last free one that was, the only one Eli and I didn’t have to steal or keep hidden like some terrible secret.
No, I had no idea what was coming as I stood in front of the bathroom mirror and reapplied my cherry lip gloss for the fourth time.
“You know, Dusty,” Selene said from outside the door where she was hanging posters on the wall of our new dorm room, two floors up from our old one. “Despite what the packaging might claim, I don’t think it’s actually possible to increase the size of your lips by putting on layers.”
Suppressing a nervous laugh, I turned and stepped out into the living room portion of the suite. We were juniors this year, and that meant a larger dorm, complete with a private bathroom. Selene and I had plans to burn our old shower shoes in a celebratory ritual this weekend.
I fixed her with the most serious stare I could manage. “Are you sure? This is magic lip gloss, you know.”
Selene snorted. “I don’t believe you.” She held out her hand, and I set the lipstick canister on her palm. She turned it over in her fingers, and then raised it to eye level to read the label.
“This is in French.”
“That’s because I bought it in Paris.” The memory brought a fleeting grin to my face. Despite the emotional challenges I’d faced during my summer vacation spent touring Europe—being cut off from my friends; stuck with only my mother for company; and most especially, going weeks on end without a single word from the literal boy of my dreams, Eli Booker—the physical experience had been fun. The lip balm was an impromptu purchase at a little shop called the Incantorium Emporium. It was the kind of place that only served magickind. Probably a good thing, given its location inside a secret alcove in the Paris catacombs. 
Nothing said magical and charming like a bunch of skeletons.
“So I gathered,” Selene said with a hint of envy in her voice. Her summer hadn’t been quite as exotic, although I would’ve traded places with her in a hot second. She’d spent the last eleven weeks hanging out with her boyfriend—late-night strolls by the lake, trips to the movies, not to mention hours of kissing, or so I guessed. Even if Selene were the kind of girl to make out and tell, she wouldn’t have chosen me as her confidant. Partially because I wasn’t thrilled about her reconciliation with my sometimes tormenter and regular jackass Lance Rathbone, but mostly because she knew all too well how little kissing I’d been doing lately.
A situation that was about to change.
A flock of butterflies took flight inside my stomach. I fought to keep the tremor out of my voice, my words coming rapidly. “Yeah, the shop owner told me it has an amore charm on it. At least, that’s what I thought he said. His accent was pretty thick, and I don’t think he liked me at all. He was a Mors demon and you know how they feel about Nightmares. I mean, then again, pretty much everybody hates Night—”
“Dusty.” Selene grabbed my shoulders and gave me a shake. “You’re babbling.”
I gulped, trying to settle the butterflies, but they only increased their frenzy, becoming hummingbirds instead, wings on turbo speed. “Sorry. I can’t help it. I’m nervous.”
Selene smiled. The gesture was so radiant it made my head spin, and for a second the hummingbirds froze, stunned by an unexpected onslaught of bliss. That was the trouble with having a siren for a best friend—random moments of dazedness. Not that it was her fault. She couldn’t help being beautiful and mesmerizing. No more than I could help the way my eyes glow in the dark, an aspect of my Nightmare heritage. At the moment, however, I had a feeling Selene wasn’t aware of just how much more dazzling she was being than normal. I suspected it might have something to do with Lance.
“You’ve no reason to be nervous,” Selene said, her smile easing enough to make the radiance tolerable. “You look beautiful.”
I shook my head and stepped back. “It’s not that. It’s…” I broke off, searching for the right words. Looks weren’t the problem. I didn’t feel beautiful, exactly, but I knew I was looking nice, slightly above my average state. My makeup was even and natural, and I’d managed to convince my frizzy red hair to lie flat for once with some help from Magick Madam’s Hair Pomade, another purchase from the Incantorium Emporium. Outfit wise, I’d opted for a pair of low-rise designer jeans and a pale pink knit top, the kind that hangs loose around the shoulders, that my mom bought me from a boutique in Italy.
No, looks weren’t the problem.

Time was.

YA Author of THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR, a contemporary fantasy coming March 5, 2013 from Tor Teen (Macmillan) and AVALON, a YA sci-fi thriller coming Winter 2014 from Balzer+Bray (HarperCollins). Represented by the fabulous Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary. Addicted to jumping horses and telling tales of magic, the macabre, and outer space.
Amazon | B&N

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I have only read The Nightmare Affair so far but I really enjoyed it. The read was unique and fun <3 Hope to get my hands on the 2 & 3 book asap. Thank you for the chance to win!

  2. I'd love to win these books! I'm enchanted. Had a lot of fun with the guest post. I'm a people watcher and fascinated by architecture so I can see how you get your inspiration. Sometimes I'll spot something that I never noticed even though I've driven past it hundreds of times:)

  3. I'd love to read these! I like that the "monster" in this one is a nightmare...very unique.

  4. I would love to read these books because I have never read them before!! Thanks for the great giveaway!! :D

  5. Great post! Those prison pics definitely gives me the creeps!

  6. I am intrigued by the excerpt and would love a chance to read these books!

  7. It sounds interesting! Haven't heard of this series before. Thanks for the introduction!

  8. This sounds exciting. A great post.

  9. This sounds like a very interesting and unique series. I'd love to read it!

  10. I haven't read of this series before, but it sounds quite interesting! The excerpt had me hooked from the very beginning. :)