Sunday, April 28, 2013

Blog Tour: Pretty Dark Nothing by Heather L. Reid - Guest Post & Giveaway

I'm very excited to have fantastic writer and dear friend Heather L. Reid here today as part of the blog tour for her debut novel Pretty Dark Nothing. I love doing things a bit differently, so instead of a review or Q & A, I asked Heather to tell us a bit about some of the settings of Pretty Dark Nothing. Before Heather takes over the blog, here's the blurb.

by Heather L. Reid
Publication Date: April 23, 2012

It’s been twenty three days since Quinn has slept for more than minutes at a time. Demons have invaded her dreams, stalking her, and whispering of her death. The lack of sleep and crippling fear are ruining her life. Energy drinks and caffeine pills don’t make a dent. When Quinn dozes off in the school hallway, Aaron, an amnesiac with a psychic ability, accidentally enters her nightmare. The demons are determined to keep them apart, and Aaron from discovering the secret locked away in his memory. Together, they could banish the darkness back to the underworld for good. That is, unless the demons kill them first.

Setting in a novel can refer to a specific place, a time in history, or can be a simple description that adds to the atmosphere of a novel. The right setting can add emotional impact and bring a scene to life and even up the tension in a scene. Here are three of my favourite settings from Pretty Dark Nothing.

Dreams: Quinn doesn’t want to sleep because she’s plagued by nightmares, so there are a few dream sequences within the story. Setting a scene in a dream is difficult. Real dreams can sometimes be confusing, and while, as a writer, you want to convey a little bit of the unreality a dream can create, you also don’t want the reader to feel lost. It’s a difficult balance. In the dream scene represented by the picture below, Quinn has fallen asleep only to find herself at the edge of a lake. At first, she’s at peace, happy to be somewhere beautiful and serene, but the dream turns to a nightmare as a dark fog approaches from the middle of the water.

Nightfall had stolen all the light in the world, leaving the sky pitch black. No moon. No stars. Strong currents churned around her legs, and goose bumps covered her flesh. She hugged herself, rubbing her bare arms in a futile attempt to keep warm as the bitter wind bit her face and whipped her hair into a million dancing strands. The joy drained out of her, leaving a dark pit of hopelessness.’

Aaron, through a psychic connection with Quinn, ends up entering her dream. He appears to her as a flash of light in the trees.

‘She had to get back to shore, but she couldn’t see which way to go. A flash of light caught her attention; it darted in and out of the trees, a beacon in the dark.’

And he helps her wake up from the nightmare before it consumes her.

‘Pushing his fear away, he threw himself into the water, diving beneath an incoming wave. Panic set in as it swept him back, but he gritted his teeth and reminded himself it wasn’t real. He was experiencing her dream, the immediate reality of her unconscious. He was safe in his room. Breaking the surface, her hand found his, and he pulled her into a tight embrace. As her body molded to his, fire burst through them, burning away everything and severing his connection.’
Milky Way
Stargazing: Another scene I love is when Quinn and Aaron share a brief moment of happiness. Aaron opens up to her about his past and she starts to trust him. They break the ice by coming up with names of their own constellations.

'Aaron pointed to another group of stars. A jumble of questions lodged in the back of Aaron’s throat, about her nightmares, their connection, her sudden change toward him. He wanted to ask them all at once, but he’d never seen Quinn so calm before, so relaxed. Her happy mood pulsed against his consciousness, and he began to trust the moment, letting his desire to be with her sweep all uncertainty away. Maybe now wasn’t the time to probe her for answers. She’d had a rough night, if she wanted to forget the drama and talk about stars, why not? Maybe it was time to get to know each other better, like two people on a first date talking about normal stuff.'
“What about the Ice Cream Sundae? It even has a cherry on top.” Quinn indicated a dense ball of stars. 
“Or the frog?” Aaron said. “Catching a fly.” 
“Oh! I totally see it! Can you imagine being born under the frog star sign?”
“Better than the sign of the fly.”
They both burst out laughing.
Quinn paused. “Sometimes I feel so insignificant when I look at the vastness of the universe.”

The ease of their conversation surprised him. All awkwardness disappeared, and it was if they’d know each other their whole lives, spent hours under the stars just like this.
“Yeah, I know how you feel. Billions of stars and galaxies, and humans have barely scratched the surface of what’s out there.” Aaron caressed her arm. “We have more in common with the universe than you know. We’re all part of it, made of it, of stardust.”

The Ruins St. Angels Church: The last setting I want to share is a place that’s special to Aaron.

‘St. Angeles. It felt like it belonged somewhere else and in some other time, like him.’

‘He cut a sharp left up a narrow dirt road. Bits of gravel pinged against the metal body as the tires kicked up bits of debris. The engine roared as he poured on the speed. St. Angeles Chapel stood three hundred feet before him—its stone bell tower standing stark against the bright sky. The tires squealed as he skidded to a stop in front of the old church. Breathless, he removed his helmet and dismounted. He stood beneath the gothic stone entry arch and pushed at the large wooden door, its metal hinges groaning with the weight of heavy oak as it swung open. His footsteps echoed off the nave’s stone floor. Light streamed through the unbroken stained glass window at the back, casting a patchwork of color across the dust-covered pews and the large Light streamed through the unbroken stained glass window at the back, casting a patchwork of color across the dust-covered pews and the large cross suspended from the ceiling. St. Angeles: his thinking place, his sanctuary. His mood lifted as he sat, cross-legged, before the disused altar. He thought about Quinn and their connection. Could she feel it too?’ 


Heather L. Reid eats mayonnaise on her fries, loves men in kilts, and met her husband playing Star Wars Galaxies online. This native Texan now lives with her Scottish hubby in North Ayrshire, Scotland, where she wanders the moors in search of Heathcliff and William Wallace.    

You can find Heather and her book here:
Pretty Dark Nothing: Goodreads - Amazon - Barnes & Noble
Heather L. Reid: Website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads
Month9Books: Website - Blogger Central - Facebook - Twitter - Pinterest - Goodreads

Grand prize includes a signed copy of PRETTY DARK NOTHING, bookmarks, sleep mask, and nail polish! (US Only). Five ebook copies of PRETTY DARK NOTHING will also be given away, open internationally.

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April 22 - Falling for YA (Guest Post) 
April 23 - Imaginary Reads (Review)
April 24 - The Eater of Books! (Review & Interview)
April 25 - Book Twirps (Review)
April 26 - Chapter by Chapter (Review & Favorites Q&A)
April 27 - Library of  a Book Witch (Review)
April 28 - Life Debatable (Guest Post)
April 29 - Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf (Interview))
April 30 - YA Book Central (Guest Post)
May 1 - Book Haven Extraordinaire (Guest Post) May 2 - Books of Love (Review)
May 3 - I Am A Reader, Not a Writer (Top Ten)
May 4 - The Book Cellar (Interview)
May 5 -  A Dream Within A Dream (Review)


  1. Thanks for hosting me, Jani! I LOVED sharing some of my favorite settings in the book with you.

    1. Thank you for writing such a fantastic post, Heather.

  2. Nice job with settings, Heather. It's definitely one of your strengths as a writer. I was already looking forward to rereading PDN, but this post really adds to my excitement.

    Nice place you have here, Jani! Thanks for hosting.

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Vaughn. You're right, Heather did a wonderful job creating the setting.

  3. This looks like a brilliant read, and I love the insight into the settings!

    1. Yup. I love setting posts as well. Might have more in the future.