Friday, October 16, 2009

Guest Blog and Giveaway with Mary Donev

Ghost Hunter Books
by Mary Donev

Thanks to Roxanne at Fang-tastic Books for inviting me as a guest! I’m one of the authors of the Ghost Hunter tween series of books.

The roots of kids’ enjoyment of ghost stories are found in the earliest days of life. Just look at the surprise and then delight of a small child playing peek-a-boo. (For an instant a pick-me-up at any time, just search ‘peek-a-boo baby laughing’ on Youtube!)

You may have fond memories of being around a campfire with darting shadows behind you, hearing ghost stories that made you jump and then giggle at your own silliness because, after all, it was “just a story.”

No childhood campfire for me. What made me go “aaahhh!!!” when I was about 10 years old was a book of ghost tales from the library. The title is long-forgotten, but the experience isn’t. Since I had an upstairs bedroom to myself, there was no need for an under-the-covers flashlight. Like the proverbial snake and the mongoose, I was terrified at every page turn, yet I couldn’t stop myself from reading story after story. Having a flashlight sure would have saved on the electric bill because, even after I finished the book, I couldn’t bring myself to turn off the light!

What’s the attraction of a ghost story? Maybe it’s the heart-pounding adrenaline rush you feel. Maybe it’s the thrill of being sucked into the account, becoming so engrossed that you’re one with the character, terrified and in danger… while at the same time you know that you’re really safe, it’s only a story.

Even in our modern age, children still love tales of ghosts. It’s one thing for them just to read about ghosts… imagine books where kids can actually SEE the ghosts in action!

Ghost Hunter titles use the new Interactive Book-Webscene (IBW) storytelling process to make ghosts come alive for tweens.

Here’s what makes IBW books different. The IBW infuses print text with multimedia components called webscenes. Don’t confuse the IBW with e-books or downloads. The way an IBW story works is that you read a chapter of the book, at the end of which you find a weblink. When you go online you discover an animation (and perhaps additional multimedia components) that’s an integral part of the storytelling and actually advances the plot. After you view the webscene, you return to read another chapter, find another weblink, and so on.

With print as well as visual and, at times, auditory stimulation, the IBW takes being involved in the story to a whole new level!

Ghost Hunter tales feature Cori Denton, a girl who’s just a little different from other kids her age – she sees ghosts from history. As she globe-trots with her archeologist mom to various sites, she runs into a lot of them!

What do you do about a ghost who’s stuck in this world and can’t seem to crossover, even after hundreds of years? You solve the mystery of what’s holding them here and help them move on. Of course, not EVERY ghost you encounter is friendly, and some are downright dangerous.

Take, for instance, The Ghost Hunter and the Ghost of the Amazon Warrior…

Cori’s just minding her own business, enjoying a quiet day of sun and surf alone on a Malibu beach. Quiet and alone, that is, until a ready-for-battle warrior ghost shows up aiming a blowgun directly at her. Cori streams a video image of the female ghost to Marta Santiago, her best friend and “virtual sidekick” who lives in Texas. Kids get to see the same image Marta “sees” when they go to the webscene hyperlink given at the end of the chapter.

It seems like a simple task for Cori and Marta to help the ghost work through her “issues,” if only they had a clue who the spirit is and where in history she’s from! The up-side is that the who and where become clearer when conquistador ghosts show up from the same time period in history. The down-side is that they TOO want to kill Cori!

Each chapter of the book ends with a cliffhanger that leads to an online webscene. You can experience one of the webscenes kids view from The Ghost Hunter and the Ghost of the Amazon Warrior at

Ghost Hunter books are just one of several IBW series. Kids who may be too young for ghost stories can still enjoy webscenes in books such as the KA Reader beginning reader series. Fang-tastic kids, of course, will love KA Reader – The Fang Gang, a story of a group of bats driven from their comfortable home by a very noisy neighbor. To take a peak at a webscene from this fun story, go to

Intrigued by the idea of IBW stories that come to life in a different way than mere old-fashioned print books? You can order Ghost Hunter titles, as well as KA Readers and other IBW series for kids at

If you have questions about Ghost Hunter books or the IBW, you can reach me by email at

Again, thank you Roxanne and Fang-tastic Books for allowing me to be part of your Halloween event!

Hey, want to win a copy of The Ghost Hunter and the Ghost of the Amazon Warrior for a Fang-tastic child in your life? Just go to, and then write something you think is cool about any of the IBW series available there.

Do you think IBW books will engage kids? Tell us why! Post your comments below. The winner will be chosen by random draw. Contest ends November 1.


Elie said...

I have never heard of this before. I think it is cool how there is something for a variety of readers. Preschoolers and up. very cool!

Elie (Ellz Readz)

Linda Henderson said...

I have grandkids ranging in ages 14 to 6 months. I'm always searching for reading material for the 14 and 13 year olds.

Unknown said...

Hi Mary :)
Thanks for the great post.
I think my son would love these books. He reads the Goosebumps books I got him from the used book store.
He's 12, so he's the right age.
Thanks for sharing,
All the best,

Asylumgirl said...

I think these books would definitely engage kids. Ghosts and sci-fi/fantasy are usually great for reluctant readers.


Unknown said...

Hi Mary,

I have a 12 year old niece who's very into supernaturally type things. I think she's love these, very interesting and engaging!

Too Cool!

Dottie :)