The Troubled Souls of Goldie RichBook 2T.W. KirchnerGenre: YA mysteryPublisher: Short On Time BooksDate of Publication: 02/12/14ISBN: 1494906902ASIN: 978-1494906900Number of pages: 92Word Count: 30,000Cover Artist: Tony BrysonBook Description:After the first harrowing but successful zombie encounter, fourteen-year-old Goldie Rich and her older sister, Gema, make amends. Since Gema still doesn’t share Goldie’s belief in zombies, Goldie and best friend, Rita, decide to keep their zombie activities a secret. With nine souls left to free from the magical pendant Goldie found, her zombie hunting days are far from over.The warring light and dark magic of the pendant give Goldie frequent nightmares. Her visions give her clues of what lies ahead and what she needs to do to defeat the evil Bokor. As she struggles to unravel them while keeping it a secret, friends Jonny and Blake get pulled into the zombie hunt. Just when Goldie finally feels she has the mission under control, some new discoveries alert her that the dark magic has placed Gema in danger.
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The Zombie Upstairs
The white magic charms fought against the black magic spells cast on the pendant. The invisible battle raging inside the tiny, glass cylinder made it ice cold to everyone’s touch. Everyone except Goldie. Around her neck, the pendant radiated a tingling warmth that turned into a scorching poker whenever a zombie drew near—and they were coming for her.
I peeked out of my bedroom window for the hundredth time in hopes that the zombie traps would work.
“Ow! What did you do that for?”
Rita had closed the wooden blinds on my nose without warning. Obviously, she was oblivious to my pain because she casually twirled a teal lock of hair around her fingers and strutted away from the window. I meant to tell her that her choice of hair gel clashed with her fingernails—a bad paint job done in navy blue polish—but now wasn’t the time.
She bit her lip and squinted at me. “Goodness, Goldie. Stop worrying. That was awesome the way you handled the first zombie. Did the dude really look like Frankenstein and glow like a light bulb? I can’t believe he died from being smacked in the face with a salt packet. Who wouldn’t believe in zombies after that?”
“Really? You have to ask?” I twisted my out-of-control curls into a bun and secured them with a handy plastic bag clip from the empty pretzel bag. “I can name lots of people that still don’t. Seriously, Rita. Everyone thinks it died of a heart attack. Except for us, the Bokor, and voodoo enthusiasts. We know the truth—feeding a zombie salt frees its soul, and it drops dead. We already know that no one, even my dear sister, Gema, is going to believe what sounds like a wild tale spun by a fourteen-year-old.” I stroked the floppy ears of my little dog, Chanel, to try to work out my aggravation. “Whatever.”
Rita reached over and touched my pendant with one finger, but she pulled it right off. She rubbed her finger. “Geez. That’s too freaky. The glass froze my fingertip. By the way, what’s the magic number?”
I lifted the pendant to my face and turned it to admire the golden dust and nine black granules trapped inside the seamless cylinder. “Nine. Nine souls left to free. Nine zombies the Bokor has sent after me.” I breathed a deep sigh. “That’s okay, let them come. We know what to do now.”
Wide-eyed, Rita stammered. “We? We’re BFFs, but you are the chosen one. I don’t have magical powers.”
Rita was dingy, but she knew better. “I don’t either.”
“But you have a magical necklace.”
“Good point. Someone made sure I found the pendant. But who? And why?”
Rita shrugged and exaggerated a yawn, slipping into bed. “No idea. But you invited me to sleepover. It’s 3 a.m., and we haven’t seen a decent horror movie yet.”
I flopped on my bed and grabbed the TV remote. Chanel jumped up next to me and curled up into a furry black ball. “I don’t sleep normal anymore. Every night, I have zombie nightmares. I see…things…clues, I think, but I can’t piece it all together. Sometimes the Bokor appears. His face is always hidden under a black hood, but I feel like I know him. It’s weird.”
Rita pulled the blanket over her head. “Do me a favor. When you have another nightmare, be brave. Beat up the zombies. Face the Bokor dude. Yank that hood off. It’s a dream—they can’t hurt you.”
For a few minutes, I pondered the suggestion. “You’re right, but…”
Snoring rumbled from under the blanket.
I sat my glasses on the nightstand. “Never mind.”
Although I resisted sleep, it crept upon me like magic. I opened my eyes and shivered. I wasn’t in the familiar graveyard that inhabited my nightmares for weeks but a dark cavern. My footsteps echoed, breaking the silence, no matter how carefully I stepped. A chill rushed down my spine. Faint light from two hanging lanterns illuminated the walls, carved from a damp, reddish earth. It was a known fact to us zombie enthusiasts that zombies and mud went together like peanut butter and jelly. My breathing deepened and the steam it created rose like smoke into the cold blackness.
The sound of feet shuffling across the dirt floor brought on more chills. My body tingled from fear. I wanted to run, but the cavern grew darker up ahead, and I didn’t know what I’d be running into. This time, with salt packets crammed in my pocket, I was prepared to take down this zombie like I had the first one. With as much bravery as I could muster, I spun around. My body turned rigid. The Bokor had found me. As usual, I couldn’t see his face under the black hooded cape, only glowing red eyes that reminded me of hot coals in a fire pit.
Writing zombies for young adults, the challenges it presents
I tried to make The Zombie Upstairs suspenseful but not gory. My zombie series is not a typical YA where anything goes. I tried to capture a 14- to 16-year-old market that is caught between Middle Grade and YA. My zombies are also not the typical Hollywood zombies. They are based off the zombies created from voodoo and not the decomposing, reanimated corpses typically portrayed.
The importance of social media in promoting your book
Unless you’re a well-known author who has long list of successful books or you have access to promote your book in front of a million viewers on TV, readers won’t be seeking out your books. Social media is a great way to get your book in front of them. Social media makes it easier to target a large number of readers that have a specific interest in your type of book in a short period of time.
The Zombies of our days (how to find new stories with and about zombies)
The zombies in my books aren’t reanimated corpses, but the type created by sorcerers of voodoo. The plot is centered on a mystery that the main character has to solve—the zombies are basically a road block, but one she can’t go around. She has to plow forward, through them.
About the Author:
After working an assortment of jobs, which include a computer programmer, marketing director, and substitute teacher, T.W. Kirchner decided to concentrate on her second loves, writing and art. Her first loves are her husband, two children, and furry menagerie known as the Kirchner Zoo. Pirates Off the Deep End and Pirates Off the Wall are my first published novels. The Troubled Souls of Goldie Rich: The Zombie Next Door and The Troubled Souls of Goldie Rich: The Zombie Upstairs are now available. A sequel to Pirates will be out around summer 2014