Monday, August 29, 2016

Blog Tour: Just Kill Me by Adam Selzer (Guest Post + Giveaway)

Contemporary Fiction 
Publication.Date  August 30th 2016
Published By:  Simon and Schuster Books For Young Readers
AuthorAdam Selzer

Just Kill Me on Goodreads
My review copy:Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:

From the author of Play Me Backwards and I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It comes a dark comedy about one teen’s unusual summer job as a ghost tour guide in Chicago.

Megan Henske isn’t one to heed warnings…

When the last letters in her alphabet cereal are D, I, and E, she doesn’t crawl right back into bed. When her online girlfriend won’t text a photo, she just sends more of herself.

And when she realizes that Cynthia, her boss at a Chicago ghost tour company, isn’t joking about making stops more haunted by killing people there, she doesn’t quit her job—she may even help.

But who is responsible for the deaths of prominent figures in the murdermonger industry? Could it be the head of the rival tour company? Or could it be someone near and dear to Megan?

Soon after she learns that she has an uncanny resemblance to a flapper who disappeared in 1922, Megan receives a warning she can’t ignore: the next ghost on the tour might be her…

The Ghosts Of Chicago:
Guest Post by Adam Selzer

     Just south of Soldier Field, Chicago’s Prairie Avenue has a block of old robber baron mansions from the Gilded Age. There’s the Kimball House, as in Kimball Pianos, the former home of Marshall Field Jr, and a place called the Keith House that looks like something out of Scooby Doo. But right in the middle of those is a smaller place called the Clarke House. Built in 1836, it’s generally considered the oldest house in Chicago. When I tell this to tourists from the UK, they think it’s hilarious. In the UK people have takeout menus from before 1836.

Chicago is a very young town, but people have been talking about ghosts here for close to two hundred years. Back in the 1840s, some of the early settles talked about “The Prairie Specter,” the ghost of a black-haired woman who was said to roam around the outskirts of town at dusk with her arms outstretched, as though she was looking for something to hold on to. She stopped being seen around 1850, perhaps when the land she was said to roam was built on and stopped being a prairie. Around the same time, there were even stories of a glowing ghostly mule floating around on the South Side.

Now, we sometimes advertise Chicago as the most haunted city in the world - but there’s a fair amount of hype built into that; it’s not like the parks department releases data on which city has the most ghosts. But we’ve got some good stories. Among these:

Resurrection Mary The most famous of the “vanishing hitchhiker” ghosts, Mary is said to hitch rides on Archer Avenue and disappear outside of Resurrection Cemetery. She stands out from similar ghosts in other towns because we have a lot of first-hand sightings, which is pretty rare in the ghost world, really.

Tapeworm I met Tapeworm. He ran a tattoo shop in a former funeral home that had been said to be haunted for decades. He liked the ghosts in his place for the most part, but said that “What really freaks me the %^& out is the stairs - twice I’ve been walking down them ^&*ing stairs and felt like the ghosts were trying to %^&ing push me. And everyone knows you can’t fight back with these cats! So I said, ‘LIsten, you %^&*, if I ^&*ing die in this place, it is %^&*ing ON.” Three weeks later he DID die in the place; staff at the tattoo shop were talking about his ghost within weeks.

Peg Leg Johnny The first time I investigated the old Congress Hotel, staffers told me they’d been getting calls about a “hobo” with a peg leg lying asleep in one of the hallways. They’d go to run the guy off and find no one there. Later, a guard told me he’d seen the peg leg ghost himself in one of the ballrooms. I like to imagine it’s the ghost of Charles Cramer, a one-legged clown who committed a couple of murders near the Congress in the early 20th century, escaped from prison in the 1920s, and was never found.

The Gray Lady The former Harpo Studios, where Oprah filmed her show, served as a morgue after a steamship capsized in 1915, and is often said to be haunted as a result. The most famous ghost, the Gray Lady, is said be a woman in gray who floats down a hallway. But she’s better known among ghost hunters than she ever was among Harpo employees. They’d tell me about a little girl they’d see by the vending machines, and about a woman they’d hear crying in one of the bathrooms (I liked to call her Moaning Myrtle), but they always told me they’d never heard of the Gray Lady!

The Hooters on Erie - the River North Hooters has always claimed to be haunted, but they could never figure out WHO would be haunting them. I eventually found an article about grave robbers in the 1870s stashing bodies in barrels in a barn right where the restaurant is now; what made it especially amusing is that when the grave robbers were caught, the newspapers went into great detail talking how attractive one of the nude corpses in the barrels was.

Now, whether these ghosts are “real” is sort of beyond my pay grade - my job in the ghost hunting world was always just doing the historical research, really. I tend to believe that almost everything can be explained away. But the stories behind them can be fascinating, and lead to more and more of those “curiosity doors” that you should never leave locked. And they gave me a lot of ideas for backstory and plot points for JUST KILL ME, in which a group of ghost tour guides makes places even MORE haunted by killing people at them.

The Elbridge Keith House on Prairie Avenue. That we don’t have better ghost stories about this place reflects poorly on the city!

The Gold Ballroom at the Congress Hotel. As Ricardo explains in the book, the “orbs”are not ghosts, they’re ghost farts.

The Clark House, form 1836, via adam’s instagram (

About the author:

His first book was HOW TO GET SUSPENDED AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE (now available in a "Now With More Swearing") edition, his next one is PLAY ME BACKWARDS (for satanic young adults), and his best known is probably I KISSED A ZOMBIE AND I LIKED IT, a Twilight satire that was not marketed as a satire.

He also writes the SMART ALECK'S GUIDE series and has published a bunch of Chicago history/ghostlore books.

You can also find him under the name SJ Adams, the name he used for SPARKS: THE EPIC, COMPLETELY TRUE BLUE (ALMOST) HOLY QUEST OF DEBBIE, which won a Stonewall honor and made the YALSA popular paperback list.
LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook

3 Finished Copies of JUST KILL ME (US Only)

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