Come As You Are Is Free for Five Days!

It’s almost Halloween, and I am celebrating by offering the Kindle version of my new horror collection, Come As You Are, for free October 27th through the 31st. I hope you’ll take advantage. The title work is a novella about a bullied middle school kid looking to take revenge. Only, the method he’s chosen puts himself and everyone around him in horrible danger. Here is what Readers’ Favorite had to say:

Ivan’s innocent and unwitting flirtation with the demonic is first-rate supernatural horror. Ramirez’s characters are beautifully defined, particularly Ivan and Hershey, the school janitor, who turns out to be much more than that. His plot is beautifully scripted and the suspense and supernatural dread emanating throughout this story make it impossible to put down until the last page is read. Come As You Are: A Short Novel and Nine Stories is highly recommended. 

Get your free copy now—and Happy Halloween!

[Come As You Are Cover]


Some things are better left alone.

Ivan Stein isn’t sure he can survive seventh grade, let alone middle school. Living in a town known for its poverty and violence, he is regularly bullied along with his best friend, Ollie. But fortunes can change. One day, Ivan finds an old notebook in an abandoned locker at school. Despite a stark warning, he takes the book and unleashes powerful magic he can use to punish his enemies. But demonic forces control the book’s pages—a terrifying evil that will inflict suffering on the good as well as the bad and take his soul as payment.

Come As You Are is supernatural horror reimagined as Young Adult fiction. But don’t be fooled. Its violence will disturb you and its depiction of people living in a gloomy, desolate town without hope will make you cry. Pray that Ivan and his family can survive this dark, perilous journey.

Also in this collection:

“Nailed It”
“Brown the Recluse”
“I’ve Been Better”
“A Bone in the Throat”
“Regino Sings”
“A Proper Revenge Takes Time”
“Something to Hold”
“The Widow and Her Magician”

How I Pick the Names of My Characters

By Maria Grazia Swan

[Maria Grazia Swan]No doubt it’s a fun task for a native author. By native I mean US born. I was born in Italy. I lived in five countries before settling in the United States, and I find American names very confusing. The last thing I want to do as an author is to have my readers confused by my characters’ names. They’ll have plenty of chances to get confused without worrying about names.

Before you judge me and think I’m a whiner, let me provide an example or two.

Take Pat for example. Is it short for Patricia or Patrick? How can you tell? Then there are Toni and Tony. Yes, for a native that’s simple. For me, it is a little more difficult.

After a friend explained that the letter i works for the female version and “y” for the male as a nickname for Anthony, I feel like I have Anthony under control.

But what about Miki, Mickey, or Micky? Where did the “y” come from in this case? What about Sam? And Blair, Morgan, Jaime, Marion, and dare I ask? Paris. Are these boy’s or girl’s names?

Then you have last names that are really first names. How confusing is that? There’s Lynn David, Andrew Lawrence, April Rose, Kim Lindsay, Tom Arnold, Ricky Martin, Tina Louise, Marc Anthony, Marc Grace, Darryl Hannah, Dave Barry. I bet you could add a dozen more to this list.

Okay, I think I made my case, so that’s why I keep my names simple, I try to pick the ones easy to pronounce both in English and Italian, like Mina or Margo.

Anyway, the best way for you to find out if I’m speaking the truth is to read my books. Here is Bosom Bodies, Mina’s second adventure. The eBook will be free for Kindle on January 3rd, 4th and 5th. Go ahead, what have you got to lose? And let me know what you think about the names and a few more choice Italian words. See? You get to practice Italian…for free.

Bosom Bodies is FREE at Amazon from January 3–5, 2014.

 [“Bosom Bodies” at Amazon]

About the Author
Maria Grazia Swan has written short stories for anthologies, articles for high profile magazines and numerous blogs tackling love and life. She engaged her editorial and nonfiction skills for Boomer Babes: Tales of Love and Lust in the Later Years. You can find her at, on Facebook and on Twitter.