Hello, and thank you so much for having me! I don’t know about you and your readers, but this year I’ve welcomed Fall with open arms. The cooling air, changing colors, and upcoming holiday season have motivated me to begin celebrating early by writing a few festive novellas. First up is my sweet, cozy contemporary romance, HALLOWEEN WARS. This story was so much fun to write as it includes several elements that make for a good plot, including love, tightknit families, warm small-town vibes, and of course, plenty of drama. Read on to learn more about HALLOWEEN WARS and check out an exclusive excerpt!
Title: Halloween Wars
Author: Denise N. Wheatley
Word Count: 9,371
Genre: Chick Lit, Women’s Fiction, Sweet Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: October 25, 2019
Publisher: eXtasy books
In the small town of Hallowsville, all’s fair in love and war when frenemies Joy and Ava battle it out to win Halloween’s spookiest yard competition, along with the heart of the new guy in town.
Halloween is the most popular holiday of the year in small-town Hallowsville. While most are looking forward to the festivities, costumes, and treats, frenemies Joy and Ava are focused solely on winning the annual spookiest yard décor competition.
Joy has won the contest five years in a row, so she’s convinced her Zombieland graveyard theme will undoubtedly earn her first place yet again. Then word spreads that Ava-determined to ditch her never-ending second place status-has a spectacular plan up her sleeve that’s bound to secure the big trophy. This news throws Joy into a tizzy, and she creates a new outrageously gory concept that’s bound to turn heads and stomachs.
Tensions amongst the competing neighbors intensify when Kevin, a handsome divorcé, moves to town and joins the competition’s panel of judges. The stress to impress runs high between Joy and Ava as they do whatever it takes to win both the contest and Kevin’s heart.
When Joy heard her son PJ running down the stairs, a thrill of excitement shot through her. She was standing in the middle of the basement with her hands to her chest, eager to show off the final touches on her spooky display.
It was the afternoon of Halloween, and PJ had been outside setting up a tent in their front yard. The big reveal was set to take place at six o’clock, and Joy didn’t want anyone to catch a glimpse of her horrifying exhibit a minute sooner.
PJ entered the basement and gasped, stopping dead in his tracks when he saw the setup.
Joy didn’t quite know what to make of his reaction. “So,” she said, holding her arms out at her sides, “what do you think?”
“I uh…I don’t know what to say, Mom. Where do I even begin?”
Joy walked over to where PJ was standing and crossed her arms, analyzing what she’d deemed a gory yet artistic masterpiece.
“This looks like a scene straight out of an award-winning horror movie,” she told him, her tone filled with confidence. “There’s no way Ava will ever be able to top it. The judges may as well just hand the first-place trophy over to me now.”
She turned to PJ, who still hadn’t said a word, and nudged his arm playfully. “What’s wrong? Black Halloween cat got your tongue?”
“It’s just…it’s just a bit much, don’t you think? This is a small town, wholesome Hallowsville. Our Halloween displays have never been this violent and gruesome. I mean, how are all the kids gonna feel when they see it, not to mention their parents?”
Joy moaned while walking over to one of her haunting mannequins and repositioning it. “The kids will be fine, and so will their parents. If you want to win, PJ, you have to take risks. I had to elevate my concept to the next level this year in order to secure the big trophy. You know Ava is trying her best to outdo me, and I can’t have that.”
“You’re determined to win the contest and Mister Thorton, huh?” PJ asked mischievously. “Poor Miss Jacobson.”
“Excuse me? What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Is that even a real question, Mom? Practically everybody in town knows you have a thing for Mister Thorton. And Miss Jacobson is really bad at hiding her crush on him. We all see the way she giggles and acts uber flirty whenever he’s around. I just don’t want this to blow up and turn into some big feud if you end up winning the contest and the new guy.”
Joy looked over at PJ and smirked. “Not if I win but when I win. And on that note, let’s start loading up these guys. It’s almost showtime.”
“Yep, let’s do it,” he replied apprehensively before carefully placing the frightening display pieces onto a dolly.
Want more? CLICK HERE to order your copy of HALLOWEEN WARS now!
Denise N. Wheatley is a lover of romance, happy endings and the art of storytelling. She’s best known for her chick lit novel I WISH I NEVER MET YOU, which was published by Simon & Schuster in 2004. She has since traditionally published several novels and novellas, including contemporary, suspense and paranormal romance. She strives to creative characters who are strong, colorful and relatable, and tell entertaining stories that embody matters of the heart.
Denise received a B.A. in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago, the city where she was born and raised. She’s written screenplays and ghostwritten for some of your faves, and when she’s not sitting behind a computer, you can find her in a movie theater, on a tennis court, watching true crime television or chatting on social media.
Shop Denise’s collection of novels on Amazon!