ATO- Dax Varley

 Okay lovelies it’s #ATO Tuesday and I’ve got another critique partner on for today, Dax Varley! She’s a sleepy hollow fan and her books are AMAZING! Addicting, terrifying at points, romantic and wonderfully well written. Okay, I’m shutting up now. Dax it’s all yours!

SH Cover


Katrina is still haunted by her encounter with the Headless Horseman – the night he beckoned to her. Now he has risen again, slashing heads and terrorizing the quiet countryside.

Her only joy during this dismal darkness comes when Ichabod Crane, a gorgeous young man from Connecticut, moves to Sleepy Hollow and their attraction turns to romance.

When the Horseman marks Ichabod as his next victim, Katrina, despite dangerous efforts to save him, sees no other choice than for them to flee.

But the Horseman awaits.

Now it’s up to her to sever the horror and alter the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.



  • As a writer, we have to do a lot of research to make sure our stories are rooted in facts. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever researched?

One of the main characters in my book Spellbound and Determined is an autodidactic genius named Zach. I based him on the character Spencer Reid from the TV show “Criminal Minds.” I basically had to research every word that came out of Zach’s mouth. At one point, the characters have to get up close and personal with a savage junkyard dog so they could place a leech on him (sounds cruel and weird, but it makes sense if you read the book). I drove myself trying to find out how to get around a guard dog without losing some body parts. I finally discovered that the Myth Busters had devoted an episode to that. And, of course, it wasn’t one that’s readily found for free online. I paid the $1.99 to rent it and watched it on my tablet. The technic was not at all what I expected! I’m so glad. Because it turned into one of the funniest scenes in my book.

  • Are the experiences in your book/s based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

None that I can think of, but I do like having visuals so I make character collages to aid and inspire me. Here’s the link to some of them if you’d like to take a look:

  • Here is one of my favorites—finish this sentence–Someday, I want to____

Go to ComicCon and be among my own kind. I still can’t believe I’ve never been. It’s definitely high on my bucket list.

  • What’s your favorite love story ever? (movie or book)

I’m a sucker for the movie Somewhere in Time. I’ve seen it dozen times and still cry at the end. *sigh*

  • What’s your all-time favorite quote ever?

“It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.” –Mark Twain

  • And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:

This is from my newest book, Return to Sleepy Hollow. Katrina sees the Headless Horseman outside her window.


I bolted straight up from sleep, my heart a clapper in my chest. The pull, like an ox dragging a plow, had me on my feet. I padded to the window, knowing he’d be there.

I sent you away.

It had only been two days. Just two. Why was he back so soon?

I pressed my hands to the rimy pane and leaned my forehead against it. Just go to him, Katrina. Let him take you.

He opened his cape and extended his arm, lifting it toward me. The summoning was so strong I wanted to dive through the glass. I clenched my fist and gritted my teeth. No. I will not come.

He closed his fingers into a fist and drew his hand back, pulling the invisible cord that bound us.

“No, no, no,” I murmured. Enough. Enough! I sent you away!

Hitching my nightdress, I swept out the door and down the narrow stairs. The dark kitchen was a maze of shadows, but I maneuvered it without light. I rounded past the pantry, the butcher blocks and counter, to the stone hearth on the far wall. Snatching up the fire poker, I sailed to the door. Not a practical weapon of course, but my brain was mired with anger and fatigue.

I rushed through the door, into the alley, poker high above my head. I half expected he’d have vanished, but he still sat astride his great steed, patient as any ghost, I imagine.

Like a madwoman, I charged, swinging the iron rod. “Begone, devil!” I brought it down hard, connecting with the horse’s rump. The horse snorted, billowing smoke from its nostrils. Or maybe it was winter vapor. My rapid breath hung before me too.

As I raised the poker again, the Horseman snatched it from my grasp. In one swift move, he flung it. It spun through the air and stuck like a dagger into the door.

My fury outweighed my fear, and I refused to back down. “Go away!”

In a blink, he unsheathed his sword and pressed the tip to the soft palate under my chin. Its stinging prick was the first real sensation I’d felt in weeks. That, and the warm trickle of blood inching down my neck.

I stood as still as the buildings surrounding me, my breathing shallow and quick. Facing off with a man who had none. I then closed my eyes, covering them with my hands. Seconds ticked away, the sword still piercing my skin.

“If you want me,” I said, “you’ll have to take me. Or kill me. But I will not willingly come.”

More seconds passed as I stood in that freezing alley. By day, it was filled with delivery carts, cooing pigeons, and stray dogs. Tonight, it was just me, in my thin nightdress, my bare feet frozen to the ground.

“Take me or kill me,” I repeated.

A hand swooped down, clasping my shoulder. I sucked in a quick breath.


       Chilling right? I love this book and what I’ve gotten to read of the second so far. Dax, like many of my other ATO authors has agreed to do a giveaway, and she’s giving away a signed paperback copy of Sleepy Hollow! And I will of course match her and also giveaway a signed paperback copy of Legendary! The rafflecopter is below so be sure to enter 🙂

But first the cover and blurb for book 2 of the series!

Return to Sleepy Hollow Cover


Katrina has escaped the noose and is hiding in Philadelphia. But she can’t
escape the legendary Headless Horseman. As before he comes to her window, beckoning her to him. Why her? The truth unfolds when Katrina is forced to RETURN TO SLEEPY HOLLOW.

The compelling sequel to SLEEPY HOLLOW is here!





Dax Varley writes the kind of young adult novels she wishes were around when she was a teen. She’s a lover of humor, horror and all things paranormal. 

When Dax isn’t writing, she’s collecting odd photos online, reading recaps of her favorite shows or kicked back with a good book. She lives in Richmond, Texas with her husband, a shelf full of action figures and about a dozen imaginary friends.

Real or imaginary, you can find her at the following locations:
Twitter: @daxvarley

Alright, that’s it for today everyone! Come back next week for the next ATO and  don’t forget to enter in the giveaway!

<3 always LH

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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One Comment  to  ATO- Dax Varley

  1. Sharon says:

    Wow – thanks for the giveaway!