Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Writer Wednesday: Interview with Jane Wells, author of Glitter in the Sun

Today is my second Writer Wednesday, during which I be feature an author you may or may not have heard of. Once again, my goal is to introduce you to some books and authors that you may not have read before.

Today, I'm interviewing debut author, Jane Wells, author of the book, Glitter in the Sun--which releases on November 14, 2011.

A wife, mother and writer, Jane Wells has written and taught Bible studies, and served for four years in youth ministry. Currently, however, keeping up with two Golden Retrievers and two very active boys seems to be a full time job on its own. Her book, Glitter in the Sun, will be released November 14 by Read the Spirit/David Crumm Media, LLC. It can be purchased through or through my website, A brief description of the book: Her book explores how readers can glimpse truths of faith through the Twilight saga. Glitter in the Sun invites individual readers and Bible-study groups to consider that there may be links between the love stories of Twilight and the One who can truly satisfy their longing hearts.

MERRIE: If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would it be?
JANE: Someplace warm and sandy with crystal clear blue water… and almost completely deserted. I don’t know where that is because I haven’t been there yet!
MERRIE: I haven’t been there either, but when you find it, let me know!

MERRIE: What’s your favorite TV show?
JANE: Bones. I am fascinated by the science of it all and love how the characters are written and interact.

MERRIE: What is the one book that everyone should read?
JANE: Oooooh, that’s really hard… other than the Bible – because it doesn’t matter what genre you’re looking for, it’s in there – I don’t have any single recommendation.

MERRIE: What movie or book are you looking forward to this year?
JANE: Breaking Dawn, of course! After that, the upcoming Avengers movie.

MERRIE: If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and what would you eat?
JANE: There are a bunch of writers I know only through Facebook and their books whom I would love to spend real time with (ahem, Merrie Destefano). Even if we weren’t talking about writing the conversation would still be fascinating because writers are information omnivores. As for what I would eat? As long as there was coffee and cheesecake I would be content!
MERRIE: Coffee and cheesecake? I am SO there. Seriously, it would be so much fun to hang out with you for lunch. We must do that someday.

MERRIE: What is your favorite place to write?
JANE: There is a coffee shop here in Monroe, MI called Agua Dulce. It is my office away from home! When I hit a writer’s block I sit back for a few minutes to sip the bottomless coffee and watch people.

MERRIE: Tell us about your current book.
JANE: Glitter in the Sun is a Bible study that explores just why the Twilight Saga has become such a phenomenon. Even if you don’t care for the story, writing or concept, you’ve got to admit that holding all top four positions of the New York Times bestseller list and grossing more than $1.8 billion (yes, with a “b”) with the first three movies alone, makes the Twilight Saga a force to be considered at least.

I believe the Twilight Saga is so popular because it strikes at a universal chord. The themes of eternal love and unconditional acceptance are at the core needs of every person. We are born that way, to be hungry for the love of an eternally and unconditionally loving God.

MERRIE: How long did it take you to write your current book?
JANE: I wrote Glitter in the Sun one week per chapter, so it took about four months.

MERRIE: What was the hardest part about writing this book?
JANE: Making sure that what I thought was in fact what the Bible said about the topic. It was a huge growth experience for me to seek out what God has to say about all these “modern” questions and problems.

MERRIE: What advice would you give to a beginning writer?
JANE: Just do it. If within yourself you deeply wish you were a writer, then I’d say you probably already are. You just need to put fingers to keyboard and hammer it out!

And now, answer the first thing that comes to your mind:

MERRIE: Dog or cat?

MERRIE: Hot tea or cold tea?
MERRIE: Yay, hot tea wins!

MERRIE: Flying monkeys or munchkins?
JANE: Munchkins (Flying monkeys - *shudder*)
MERRIE: Yikes. I always thought the munchkins were WAY scarier than the flying monkeys.

MERRIE: Supernatural or magical?
JANE: Supernatural

MERRIE: Brownie or cake?
JANE: Brownie
MERRIE: Now, we’re talking.

MERRIE: High heels or tennis shoes?
JANE: Ummmmm… well… will I be playing with my boys or playing at being a grown-up?
MERRIE: Trick question. And…a trick answer. How about tennis shoes with high heels?

MERRIE: Read a book or watch TV?
JANE: Book!

MERRIE: Hawaii or Rio de Janeiro?
JANE: Hawaii

MERRIE: Rich or famous?
JANE: Famous. (My husband would say rich. That’s why we’re a team!)

MERRIE: The beach or the forest?
JANE: Can the beach be at the edge of the forest?
MERRIE: Cheating. Ahem, I mean, you stole my answer.

MERRIE: Now or later?
JANE: Now.
MERRIE: Absolutely. Why wait? Unless we’re talking about cleaning the house.

Thank you, Jane, for stopping by today and I wish you much success with Glitter in the Sun!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Teaser Tuesday:

It's Teaser Tuesday (wild round of applause for books, books, and more books) and my selection today is THE REAPERS ARE THE ANGELS by Alden Bell [Joshua Gaylord].

And now, the rules of Teaser Tuesday:
-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
-BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
-Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

And my Teaser Tuesday snippet, paragraph two, page 54, from THE REAPERS ARE THE ANGELS by Alden Bell:

"Here among these pretty homes, on a four-lane road with a wide grassy island in the middle where banyan trees are planted at equal intervals, she finds an accumulation of meatskins, a trail of maybe twenty, all loping awkwardly in the same direction. She pulls the car up past them to the front of the line where there is a large man trying to outpace the congregation behind. In his arms is the body of an ancient woman no larger than a child."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cool Blog Alert: Cinder author Marissa Meyer's NaNoWriMo Countdown

If you’re looking for some NaNo encouragement AND you want to learn more about a debut author, check out Marissa Meyer’s Live Journal. Author of the upcoming Cinder (a book I can’t WAIT to read), Marissa’s doing a day-by-day countdown of author tips during the month of November. Covering items like ARCS, blog tours, conferences, and downloads, her blog posts make great reads for aspiring writers. Interspersed among these tips are updates on her soon-to-be released novel. In her own words: CINDER, in which Cinderella is re-envisioned as a teenage cyborg, is due out 3 January 2012.

(Isn't that cover fabulous?)

Here’s a quote from a recent article by USA today about Cinder:
“Meyer sets this Cinderella story in futuristic New Beijing, where humans and androids coexist in a dystopian society ravaged by plague. Being a teenage cyborg, Linh Cinder is looked down by society on the whole, and especially by her stepmother. She does have one talent working in her favor, however: Her computer brain interface makes her the best mechanic around, which is fortuitous when Prince Kaito comes calling to her market booth and asks her to fix his broken android before the annual royal ball.

Cinder and the prince's lives become intertwined, while an antagonistic force lies in wait in outer space waiting for the right moment to strike Earth.

The next three books in the series will also take a futuristic sci-fi twist on classic tales: Scarlet is inspired by Little Red Riding Hood, Cress is a take on Rapunzel and Winter is Meyer's version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.”

And, this is what always sells me on a book. An excerpt. Here's a link to the first chapter.

Also, up tomorrow: An interview with debut author, Jane Wells.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Do tigers like catnip?

This video makes me smile. I think these cats need a couple of big stuffed mice to play with.

I am totes surviving the apocalypse and these books are why

Everything I know about surviving the coming apocalypse I learned from these books.

1. World War Z by Max Books
I will not purchase any black market organs infected with a zombie pandemic and then have said organs transplanted.

2. The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan
I’m not opening the door for any of my dead relatives.

3. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
I will stay the heck away from fast zombies, especially when I'm in the forest.

4. The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
I’m not climbing over the fence and going to a ghost amusement park at night, no matter how cute the boys are.

5. Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts
The minute my neighbors are possessed by an evil force, I’m getting out of town.

6. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
I’m not making friends with some strange girl who can walk in the sunlight. Not even if I was the last man on earth and everyone else was a vampire.

7. The Stand by Stephen King
I will not catch the flu. Cough. Cough.

8. Xombies: Apocalypse Blues by Walter Greatshell
If blue Xombies come, I’m having a hysterectomy. (Sorry for being so blunt)

9. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
I am disguising myself as a guy and hiding from cannibals.

10. The Children of Men by P.D. James
I will do everything possible to make sure the last baby survives. Everything. Possible.

Above artwork by Mike Butkus, from How To Draw Zombies, published by Walter Foster

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The original odd couple

They may be an odd couple, but they're definitely beautiful. Heartwarming tale of two rescued big cats.

Playing around with a text cloud

I was playing around on the Internet the other day and discovered this way cool site ( where you can transform your writing into a text cloud. So I did a little experiment, using the beginning of a book I was working on, a few years ago.

The title of the book was The Other Side of the Needle and, unfortunately, I haven't gotten very far with it. But I thought I'd share a page or so of the story, plus the text cloud. One of the things I've learned, over the years, is that writing prompts and little things like this can actually recapture you're love of writing and make you fall in love with a "broken story" all over again. This particular was broken and I didn't spend the time trying to fix it. But now, as I look at the beginning again and listen to words of this character, I find that I'm still slightly enchanted by both her and her dilemma.

So, here's the text cloud, created on


And here's the snippet that I used to make the text cloud.

I stand in front of the mirror and look for the difference. I know it’s there somewhere, beneath the makeup, under the smile, buried somewhere below bone and flesh, a monster breeds. In silence I speak its name, but otherwise I try to pretend it doesn’t exist. Don’t want It to know that I’ve found out.

A tumor. Growing. In my brain.

Wish this was happening to someone else. Wish I was someone else. Right now I’d switch places with my cat if that were an option.

It isn’t.

The sun shines outside the window, forcing cherry blossoms to glow with a supernatural light. I hate the implication that the rest of the universe is moving along in some ordered fashion. If I’m headed toward death, then shouldn’t everything else come to an end? Shouldn’t all the oxygen get sucked away by some environmental tragedy, shouldn’t the war that’s been hanging over our heads finally start?

Shouldn’t my husband end his affair, the one I’m not supposed to know about, and tell me how much he truly, madly, desperately needs me?

Apparently not. Apparently this tumor with my name on it doesn’t affect anyone but me. Well, me and my doctor, I guess. He stands to make a sizeable increase in salary over the next several months. I glance down at my arms, still bronzed by summer sun, wonder how pale I’ll be when all this is over. My gaze lingers too long on the ID bracelet that hangs loose on my wrist. Like I was going to get lost in this exclusive clinic that feels more like a spa. Like anybody was going to forget my name when I have it tatooed across my left forearm, tangled in a gothic swirl of red and black, as if I myself was going to forget who I was back when I was 19.

Kathryn. Delicate lines. Cursive script.


Will I write more about Kathryn and her mysterious illness? Maybe. I haven't decided yet.

How about you? What do you do with your broken stories and how do you fix them?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Doing NaNoWriMo Light

Me: I’m doing NaNo Light.

Imaginary Friend: What’s that?

Me: I’m drafting off all the real NaNoWriMos, following in the slipstream of the writers who are in front of me.

Imaginary Friend: ???

Me: I’m trying to write many pages per day. Many. Pages. Per. Day.

Imaginary Friend: Do you have an actual goal?

Me: Um.

Imaginary Friend: Isn’t that part of NaNoWriMo? Write 50,000 words in one month?

Me: Well, yeah. But I just want to write many pages in one month.

Imaginary Friend: Slacker.

Me: Am not.

Imaginary Friend: Are too.

Me: You’ll see. I’ll get a lot written. I will.

Imaginary Friend: Snort.

Me: Hey, are my Imaginary Friend or my Inner Editor?

Imaginary Friend: Sorry. Yay for you!! *imaginary hands clapping*

Me: Now we’re talking.

Imaginary Friend: So, how many pages do you have written?

Me: Today, right now, 120.

Imaginary Friend: How many pages do you want to finish by the end of the month? *returning to the original topic of goals and not tricking me one bit*

Me: I’d love, love, love it if I could get 200 pages done by the end of November.

Imaginary Friend: Go for it. Seriously. Write. More. Now.

Me: I will. Thanks! *typing furiously, allowing my characters to tell me where the story is going, wishing someone would bring me a brownie so I would have lots more energy and ideas cuz I seriously need ideas when I'm writing this fast*

Writer Wednesday: Featured book: In Plain Sight

I'm launching a new series today called, Writer Wednesday, during which I'll be featuring an author you may or may not have heard of. I'm hoping to introduce you to some books and authors that you may not have read before.

Today's author is Marlayne Giron and her book is IN PLAIN SIGHT.

AUTHOR BIO: Marlayne Giron is a Messianic Jew, wife and mother living in Orange County, California. She has been married to her husband Michael since 1986 and is the mom of a lovely daughter. In 1982 she was inspired to write The Victor from a verse in an Amy Grant song called: “Fairytale” (from her Father's Eyes album): “…two princes wage the battle for eternity but the victor has been known from the start”. It took nearly 30 years before for The Victor was published in 2009. Since she first began to write it in the early 1980s, Marlayne endured a four-year bout with intestinal disease that resulted in major surgery, then infertility followed by the adoption of her daughter in 1997. Because of the demands of having to work full-time and lack of interest from family and friends in the book, she gave up on her dream of ever seeing The Victor in print until April of 2008 when Tate Publishing called to offer her a contract.

IN PLAIN SIGHT synopsis:
It started with the crop circles followed by the disappearance of cattle. Then he appeared. He was obviously Old Order Amish. He did and said everything right but no one knew what family or farm he belonged to. He worked in the fields and barn raising's like everyone else and was in every respect just like one of them except for his silver eyes. Despite his quiet and respectful demeanor the community of Bird-in-Hand was leery of him. Every-one avoided him; except for Rebecca Esh...two star-crossed lovers whose romance not only endangers the Amish family who takes him in but puts the world he and his brother come from in great peril.

IN PLAIN SITE Book Trailer.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The dog story that broke my heart

Crossroads Pet Resort--located in Stanton, California--is where my 2 German shepherds board when we go out of town. I always hate boarding my dogs because I miss them so much. When I'm gone, I think about them all the time and can't wait to get back, so I can take them home.

Home. My home. Their home.

That isn't what happened to Midnight, the 11-month-old husky mix in the photo above.

His owners took him to Crossroads Pet Resort and left him there. They never came back for him.

I almost burst into tears when I got the e-mail last night from Crossroads. The folks at the resort are hoping to find a forever home for this furry guy, because his original owners never bothered to come back and take him home. Midnight had a home. He had people who loved him. And then they just changed their mind. That kind of animal-ownership really bothers me. But I won't get on a rant.

Although I really want to.

The reason I'm posting this is because, maybe, you live in Southern California and, maybe, you would love to give an abandoned dog another chance.

Here is the contact information for the pet resort:
Crossroads Pet Resort
10832 Knott Avenue
Stanton, CA 90680

I hope Midnight finds a forever home really soon. And I hope his new parents never do what his old parents did.

In praise of the independents

Major bookstore chains are great. They really are. But I have to admit that I truly love independent bookstores and always have. I appreciate the fact that the customer service is fantastic, that the folks who work there not only know their products--they actually love the books they sell and have read almost all of them.

One of my all-time favorite bookstores, Mysterious Galaxy, is now actually two bookstores. (Yay and double yay!)

This incredible store, originally located in San Diego and now with a second store in Redondo Beach, boldly touts its theme:

Books of martians, murder, magic, mayhem and more.

Now, you can probably see another reason why I love them so much. They carry my kind of book. I can wander through their store and find exactly what I'm looking for, stuff that some other stores don't carry. This particular independent bookstore has been open for more than eighteen years and this makes me really happy. I love to see independent businesses, not only surviving, but succeeding in today's climate.

So, in honor of the independent bookstore, I encourage you to purchase your next book from your local independent store. Or consider ordering a book online from Mysterious Galaxy. The authors and the bookstore owners will be delighted that you did.

Teaser Tuesday and Happy Release Day to Dark Inside author, Jeyn Roberts

First, Happy Release Day to Jeyn Roberts!! *confetti flying, people dancing, loud music playing* I picked up an ARC of this book at Comic Con and, once I started reading (which wasn't until I got home and my head stopped spinning from all crazy costumes and a convention hall filled with 130,000 people), anyway, once I started reading this book I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. Seriously. It is that good. I can't talk loud enough or tell enough people about how much I loved, loved, loved this book. I plan to do a proper review of this in the future, but for now let's just call it a 5-star book filled YA apocalyptic awesome. This is one of my new favorite books and favorite authors. I can't WAIT to read the next book in the series.

And now, the rules of Teaser Tuesday:
-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
-BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
-Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

And my Teaser Tuesday choice:

The boy--Michael couldn't remember his name--hadn't opened his eyes in a long time. Shallow gasps escaped bluish lips, his chest rising against his shirt. His face was deathly white, eyes sunken deep into the recesses of his skull. The poor kid probably weighed as much as a small animal.

From page 114, DARK INSIDE by Jeyn Roberts

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Scariest Scene from The Wizard of Oz

Yikes, this thing still gives me chills when I watch it. *hiding and running away*

Some Pure Halloween Crack

Lots of fun stuff going on today. It is Halloween, after all. Zombie costumes, vampire teeth, hounds of hell wandering the streets. So, in honor of this way-fun holiday, I've been hanging out online. Check it out...

Check out my guest post over at fellow Harper author, Helen Lowe's, blog. I'm chatting about 10 movies to get you in the mood for Halloween.

Here's a taste of my list...

8. THE HAUNTING (1963): Be afraid. Be very afraid. This is one of the creepiest movies I’ve ever seen. A group of people do a paranormal investigation on Hill House, spending the night. Be prepared for a rush of pure adrenaline, for this is a tale of psychological horror that builds and builds until even you want out of Hill House.

9. THE OTHERS: Another psychological horror, this movie was inspired by the novella, The Turn of the Screw. Nicole Kidman plays a mother, trying to protect her two children from a houseful of ghosts, or is she? The plot twists and turns as you learn more about this family and the ghosts who live in the house.

Check out my interview and the book giveaway over at Paper Cuts Review. This is part of blog owner, Stephanie's, FEAST OF SCREAMS event (Yikes, does that sound creepy and fun!).

Here's a taste of the interview:

Q: What has your journey been like to become published? What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

A: It took me a long time to get my first book, Afterlife, published. Mainly because I had to write about 4-5 other books first. The whole process took about ten or eleven years, during which time I became an editor at a book publishing company (The Word For Today), and later a magazine editor at Victorian Homes magazine. So, obviously, even though my books weren’t selling, my writing and editing skills were improving. I would advise any aspiring writer to join a good supportive writer’s group, to attend local writer’s conferences, to read books on writing, and to read really well-written books. And every time you get a rejection, get back up, dust yourself off, and start writing again. Your writing will get stronger and your next book will be even better.

AND I haven't forgotten that I promised to post my Top Ten Books for Halloween. So here goes:


1. iDrakula by Bekka Black

2. Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge

3. Brains: A Zombie Memoir by Robin Becker

4. Pay Me in Flesh by K. Bennett

5. Don’t Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon

6. Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

7. Interview With A Vampire by Anne Rice

8. The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro

9. Darkness Inside by Jeyn Roberts

10. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

And, just for fun, I’m going to add three additional books (one of which is mine, sorry for the pimpage):

11. Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee

12. Winterland: A Novella by Mike Duran

13. Feast: Harvest of Dreams by Merrie Destefano

So, go out there and enjoy this night of pure candy-crack fun!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ten Days of Halloween: Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge

Every once in awhile, I stumble across a book that leaves me breathless. I'm propelled forward. Compelled to read. Like a lemming, I plunge over the cliff, discover the land beneath my feet is gone. I've scampered through the forest of words too quickly, come face-to-face with the most horrid of all reading calamities...

The book is over. I'm done reading. I'm sailing over the edge of the cliff.

I don’t find a book that pushes me over the edge very often. So when I do, I realize instantly that I’ve just found my New Favorite Author.

Allow me to introduce you to Norman Partridge, my NFA. The book that had me flying through the air—the dark dangerous night air—is Dark Harvest, published by Tor.

You must read it. Really. You just have to.

Besides the stunning prose, the nostalgic setting and the perfect monster, one element captivated my writer's heart. The POV. I’ve never read anything like it. Smooth and flawless, it sailed from one person to the next with nary a skip or a bump. I was never confused (terrified, yes) and I was never irritated. I gladly soared along like the chill autumn wind, danced through swirling leaves as the writer had me chasing one character after another, all within the same scene.

If you're a writer and you struggle with POV, if you want to see something new and daring and creative, if you just plain want a good book that won’t let you rest until you are completely and thoroughly done, this book is a must-read. But I have to warn you. Dark Harvest won’t leave you alone, even after you finish it. Sorry. This one’s going to cling to the walls of your memory. Maybe forever.

So, come with me to the scary lemming edge, to the cliff you can’t resist.

Come. Read the first chapter.

Put on your lemming skin and read.

I dare you.

P.S. Stay tuned for more Halloween book recommendations in the next two days, plus an update on what's new and exciting in YA!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

On the road to fantasyland (which is a little bit like Disneyland, but not really.)

I'm getting ready to head down to World Fantasy Con for a few days. (Very excited!) I'll be on a panel Friday morning. Info is below.

FRIDAY: 10:00 AM

Pacific 1: But Can You Bring Him Home To Mother?

You think your last boyfriend was a monster? Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies - is there anything beyond the pale in paranormal romance? A look at relationships with individuals who aren’t quite human. How did we come to regard what used to be considered ravening monsters as prospects? Is the dating pool that desperate?

Panel Members, including me:
Merrie Destefano, Carolyn Grayson, Frances Gross, Linda Thomas-Sundstrom (M), Sandra Wickham

ALSO, I wanted to let you know that I'll have a interview on Paper Cut Reviews on the 29th. (What day is that? Hmmm. Trick question.)

And since I'm going to be gone for a few days, here's something fun to watch:

P.S. I will continue my countdown of Ten Books to Read for Halloween when I get back...

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Ten Days of Halloween: Day One: iDrakula

Halloween is coming. Soon leaves will be blowing across your yard, pumpkins will glow on your porch and troops of ghouls will come knocking on your door, demanding treats. The days are getting shorter and darkness rules the land. We mortals try to stave off the long, lonely night by lighting fires, baking cookies, and curling up in a comfortable chair with a great book.

This is the season for great books. Great spooky books that make the chill in the air a bit more sharp.

Over the next ten days, I’m going to be recommending ten fabulously creepy books, each of them perfect for a long, autumn evening, when the wolves are howling and your cup of tea is steaming.

My first recommendation:
iDrakula by Bekka Black

This digital book is beyond incredible. A reimagining of Dracula, this version brings a familiar tale to life in a new, fresh way. The story is told through a series of e-mails, text messages, Internet searches and voice mails, with the occasional picture attachment thrown in. Designed to be read one day at a time—a technique that heightens the tension and makes you even more invested in the story—Bekka Black’s creation is flawless. I couldn’t put it down. Seriously. The characters feel incredibly real and the story puts a modern spin on the original vampire story, making it not only more contemporary and more scary, but also more believable.

I give this digital book 5 stars and I highly recommend it for a spooky, Halloween read.

My only question is: Can we expect more of these from Black? I hope so. Because I want more. I’m already imagining iFrankenstein or iMummy or iWerewolf.

The author of iDrakula, Bekka Black, just told me that iFrankenstein is up next (woo hoo!!) and will hopefully be out by Halloween, next year.

Monday, October 17, 2011

If the blogging shoe fits...

Hey, you know how I don't blog very often? (One of my writing pals just called me a blog sloth on Facebook. Ahem. Okay, so that shoe fits.)

Well, is it okay if I blog to tell you about some free stuff?

Free stuff. Yeah. That's what I'm talking about.

Here goes:

I'm giving away a $25 Amazon gift card, plus a copy of FEAST over on the Supernatural Underground. Contest ends on October 20. (Hurry!)

Books N Kisses is giving away some cool stuff for Halloween (go over and check out all the loot). In the mix, are a signed copy of Afterlife and a signed copy of Feast, given away by Yours Truly.

Plus, this isn't free, but it is cool. I just re-designed my website and it should be up and running and all sparkly in about 2 days. (I'm very excited about that.)

And, by the way, my motto is: If the shoe fits, then it's time to go shopping for a new handbag.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Great Beginnings

What catches your attention when you're browsing through the local bookstore? A trendy cover? A kiosk display? I confess, I'm a sucker for both of those. But for me, the bottom line is always the book itself. Story concept and execution are what get me to buy books.

So, I thought I'd just share some first passages from books that I loved.

From The Black Echo by Michael Connelly:

"The boy couldn't see in the dark, but he didn't need to. Experience and long practice told him it was good. Nice and even. Smooth strokes, moving his whole arm while gently rolling his wrist. Keep the marble moving. No runs. Beautiful."

From The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins:

"When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim's warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course, she did. This is the day of the reaping."

From This Glittering World by T. Greenwood:

"Winter came early to Flagstaff that year. Ben hadn't split the firewood that lay in a cluttered heap in the driveway. He hadn't cleaned out the chimney or brought salt to melt the snow from the sidewalk in front of the house. Sara hadn't gotten the winter coats out of storage, hadn't taken down the artificial spiderwebs and plastic decals she'd hung in the windows for Halloween. the harvest dummy sat ill-prepared and coatless on the porch. The jack-o-lanterns hadn't even started to bruise and rot when the first storm brought twelve inches of snow. They weren't prepared."

From Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell:

"Red Dolly stood at break of day on her cold front steps and smelled coming flurries and saw meat. Meat hung from trees across the creek. The carcasses hung pale of flesh with a fatty gleam from low limbs of saplings in the side yards. Three halt haggard houses formed a kneeling rank on the far creekside and each had two or more skinned torsos dangling by rope from sagged limbs, venison left to the weather for two nights and three days so the early blossoming of decay might round the flavor."

What about you? What gets you to pick and read/buy a book?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Teaser Tuesday

I'm joining the ranks of bloggers who share a random, selection of text from a book that they've enjoyed.

My book choice: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. My quote was taken from the third paragraph on page 98.

"It was like a detonation--a sharp intake, all air sucked into a tight core and then expelled. It was silent, lightless--to the gape-jawed witnesses it was nothing at all, just a girl throwing up her hands--but Karou felt it, and the angel did, too. His eyes went wide with recognition in the instant before he was flung back with devastating force to hit a wall some twenty feet away."

And, just for fun, here's a shot of me at Comic Con, when I met Laini and she signed my ARC of Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Winner of FEAST and AFTERLIFE announced!

Hi, everyone! If you've ever wondered why authors suddenly become invisible and don't post very often on their blogs, it's almost always because they're working on a book. That's what I've been doing and that's why I haven't posted much lately (sorry).


I do have good news.

We have a WINNER in the contest I was running HERE.

Just a reminder of the prizes...

And, the winner is Tiff! Congrats, Tiff. I just sent you an e-mail requesting your shipping address. Yay!! I have the following items waiting for you:

Afterlife tote bag
Signed copy of Afterlife
Signed copy of Feast
Feast and Afterlife buttons and bookmarks

Thank you to everyone who participated in the contest! I loved reading your answers. =)

If, by any chance, I don't hear from the winner in three days, another winner will be chosen.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Learn all my deep, dark secrets, plus win some stuff

So far, this release week has been incredible. People have read FEAST, written reviews and asked me a zillion questions. Believe it or not, I've told them all of my deep, dark secrets--all the stuff that I usually confess to my closest friends--so you really should check out the interviews below. On top of that, many of these sites are hosting contests where I'm giving away some very cool FEAST swag. Again, another reason to check out the links below.

I even have my own contest running on two different sites, one on MY VERY OWN BLOG, and another one on SUPERNATURAL UNDERGROUND. (Above advice still holds true. Check this stuff out too.)

Today, there's book review and swag giveaway over the SciFiChick. This contest runs through July 15. HERE'S A SNIPPET OF THE REVIEW: This unique fantasy is dark, full of mystery, danger, and chills. Fast-paced and thrilling, this gripping novel is excitement from beginning to end.

You can read other reviews of FEAST on the blogs below:

Glitter in the Sun

Mel's Random Reviews

I Smell Sheep


Mel's Random Reviews

I Smell Sheep

My Bookish Ways






The amazing HarperCollins site.

Release Day: Excerpt from ROGUE GADDA by Nicole Murphy

Yay! Today is Release Day for ROGUE GADDA by the amazingly talented Nicole Murphy. You'll get to read an excerpt from her latest release, which did I mention this already?--it releases TODAY! How cool is that? And after you read this delightful snippet from her book and fall in love with it and have to get a copy for yourself--after all of that, please be sure to tell your friends about this book too. Because your friends really like to hear about great books.

So, for more Invasion of the Urban Fantasy Book Babes, just continue reading....

Amazon (for Kindle)


iBooks for Apple



A young woman was slumped on a sofa, her red hair cascading over the pillows. Leaning over her was a tall creature, thickset with no discernible neck. The crophe had four eyes stretched across its wide, purple-skinned face. Its huge hands were extended toward the woman and it was pulling her power into itself.

Hampton held his hands up and sent out a stream of power, aiming to catch hold of the creature and pull it away from its victim. The moment his power touched it, however, the beast shimmered and then transferred.

Hampton swore and pulled his power into himself. He closed his eyes and focussed on the threads of essence the creature had left behind, a barely perceptible pathway to its destination. Then he followed.

He was in a dark alley, full of refuse. The smell hit him like a punch and he grimaced. He turned slowly, but the crophe was nowhere in sight. He walked around, trying to find its essence and failing. Its creator had obviously met it here and then shrouded them both before leaving.

He shook his head, then transferred back to the victim’s room. He knelt by the sofa and put a hand on the woman’s forehead. Her power had been completely drained.

This time, Hampton allowed himself to swear aloud.

He scooped her into his arms, pictured a white room with benches and coffee tables covered with magazines, and transferred.

He marched down the corridor, firing out mental messages. In seconds Madge Florrie, the head healer of Sclossin, popped out of a room. She looked at the woman and nodded. ‘In here.’

By the time Hampton lay her down, Madge had been joined by Sarah and Horatio Cormac, caelleach of the gadda..

Is that Bridget Kelly? What happened?’ the caelleach said.

‘Bridget was attacked by a conjured creature. A crophe.’

‘She’s been hurt?’

‘Power totally drained.’

Cormac frowned. ‘You took it back from the creature and returned it, didn’t you? Why is she still unconscious?’

Hampton clenched his teeth. ‘The monster disappeared before I could apprehend it.’

‘It escaped?’ Cormac’s face went red. ‘You let it go?’

Hampton knew what Cormac was thinking - what kind of Sabhamir would let a beast escape?

It was a question he was asking himself.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Release Day: Excerpt from BURN THE NIGHT by Jocelynn Drake

Yowsa. We're now on Day Three of the Invasion of the Urban Fantasy BOOK BABES. Guess who's up today? None other than the incredibly talented, New York Times best-selling author, Jocelynn Drake. (Hurrah!)

Today you're getting a real literary treat. You get to read an excerpt from Jocelynn's new release, BURN THE NIGHT.

Book description

The Great Awakening approaches . . .
After eons in exile, the naturi have broken their chains and now roam the Earth bent on revenge. It is the sworn duty of Mira, the Fire Starter, to protect the nightwalker race—though even she may be powerless to withstand the horrific onslaught. As Mira and her brave lover, the vampire slayer Danaus, stand ready to do battle, thousands of winged shapeshifters darken the skies. The war of ultimate extermination has begun, and the battleground is Mira's home turf.

The humans don't yet recognize the doom descending upon them. And the nightwalkers will surely perish unless they unite with outcast naturi who claim to want peace. But these unexpected "allies" are the same demons who have long worked for Mira's destruction—and in these darkest of days the lines between friend and foe will blur treacherously before the bloody end of all things.


Please note: The reading order of Jocelynn's books is as follows:
Pray for Dawn
Wait for Dusk
Burn the Night


And now here's what you've been waiting for


Chapter 1

The clang of clashing swords echoed through the woods.

Gritting my teeth, I dodged one blow and swung my short sword at her throat, aiming to remove her head. Rain pelted us in large, heavy drops, blurring vision and soaking clothes. I had called down the rain, but was holding back on the lightning, knowing I would finally need it when they tried to overwhelm me. The torrential downpour I had created wasn’t succeeding in slowing down my opponents as much as I had hoped. Only the one light clan naturi seemed bothered by the weather, while the other four earth clan members stalked me like a pack of wolves looking for a weakness in their prey.

As I fought my one-time brethren, I could easily hear Cynnia’s voice ringing in my head when I would most like to walk away from this battle and return to her side.

Please, Nyx, I need him.

The moment Cynnia spoke those words I knew that I was in trouble. Rowe had become a nightmarish creature among our kind, the first in all of memory to ever be banished. Yet, I also understood my young sister’s thinking. Rowe was a powerful naturi, a force to be reckoned with. He would make a powerful ally if we could win him over onto our side, which was looking thin and sickly in comparison to those that had gathered to Aurora’s skirts.

After traveling for more than a month, word finally leaked into my camp that a group of earth naturi had gotten their hands on Rowe and were dragging him toward Aurora’s domain in the western part of the United States. I could only guess that their plan was to throw a weakened Rowe at Aurora’s feet so that she could deliver his death rather than allow his continued banishment. He was too much of a threat to leave alive.

Sparing a glance out of the corner of my eye, I found that Rowe still lay on his side not far from the fire they had tried to start before my arrival. His arms were bound behind his back and his clothes appeared to be torn and muddy. Whatever their grand scheme was, Rowe was not going to see his wife-queen willingly. He was being dragged before her.

When I had gotten within feet of the camp, they had not hesitated to attack, while the light clan member hung back and vainly attempted to maintain the fire they had been building. Blocks blows and sliding out of harm’s way with a practiced ease, I managed to edge closer to the camp while avoiding my opponents.

“I’ve come for Rowe,” I announced, not looking at my fallen compatriot. “I have need of him. Please, hand him over.”

“Aurora desires his presence as well,” the light clan member smirked as the others circled me. It was the smirk that caused me to recall that this was Claudia, one of Aurora’s long-time assistants and loyal followers. Now, she was reduced to errand runner as there were too few that Aurora felt she could trust. Paranoia and mistrust had sunk its fangs deep into the queen over the past several years.

My grip tightened on my sword, but my gaze never wavered from Claudia. “What does she want with him? He’s been banished.”

I could feel a gathering of energy beneath my feet. One of the earth naturi had moved closer. Someone was about to make their move and I needed to be ready. However, I preferred to know what Aurora was up to before I started killing at my adversaries.

“She’s willing to forgive him if he can hand her the Fire Starter.”

“I doubt that.” Forgiveness was not something that my sister understood or even believed in. While I wasn’t too fond of Rowe, I was willing to let him live if he assisted Cynnia in her endeavors.

“Hand him over to me and no one will get hurt,” I commanded. The muscles throughout my body tensed as I readied for the attack.

“You’re just one pathetic warrior without a nation to protect. We outnumber you now, Nyx, and Our Queen has ordered your death. It’s you who should run,” Claudia mocked.

Pressing my lips into a firm line, I swung my left hand grabbed the small crossbow at my side. As my arm swung up, the bolt shot from the weapon and embedded itself deep within Claudia’s throat, causing her to stumble backward, gasping in horror and pain. She was the obvious leader of the group and now she would be unable to shout orders while I decimated her comrades. The crossbow was hooked back on a strap on my side before she finally hit the ground.

My sword whipped through the air, slicing one earth naturi across the chest. It was little more than a flesh wound, but the blood saturating his shirt was enough to give anyone second thoughts about continuing. Another earth naturi with more common sense and clarity awoke the trees around us. A large limb reached down to grab me, but I ducked out of the way, sliding in the mud and leaves. I grabbed a sleeping branch and swung up so that I was looking down on the little camp. Darkness had thickened in the area, giving me an edge. I had spent too many centuries working exclusively at night, making my night vision sharper, keener than that of my brethren.


Awesome stuff, right? If you want to know more about Jocelynn and all her great books (and I KNOW you do), check out her AUTHOR WEBSITE HERE.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Release Day: Excerpt from FEAST by Merrie Destefano

Today, for the second installment of the Invasion of the Urban Fantasy BOOK BABES, I'm going to be sharing all of FEAST's delicious news and reviews, a contest and a scrumptious excerpt. You can also read other excerpts of FEAST on my fellow BOOK BABES' blogs here: Karina Cooper, Jocelynn Drake and Nicole Murphy.


First up, there have already been a number of cool reviews for FEAST here:

"Feast was like a dark fairy tale come to life, full of monsters and heroes and things that go bump in the night that feed on your dreams. Part Urban Fantasy, part Horror, I fell in love with this world."

"This isn’t a traditional Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance. It is a dark Fairy Tale, a Fantasy. A story of dreams and nightmares, where the spoken word has a power of its own. Her descriptive prose builds a magical atmosphere."

And there are some guest posts and interviews here:

There's a guest post and contest over at Book Faery, where I confess why I the bad guys. You should check it out!

I have an interview over at I Smell Sheep where I discuss how long it took me to write FEAST. And there's a contest running over there.

There's also a guest post and contest at Bitten By Books where I discuss the world-building and creation of the Darklings in FEAST.


She was just a girl—bony, pale-skinned and wild—when we stumbled upon each other in the woods, the wind shimmering through the trees around us. I remember thinking that she was nothing like her parents, both of them sleeping back in their rented cabin, the stench of rum and coke seeping out the windows and doors.

She should have been scared when she saw me, appearing suddenly in the russet shadows, but I could tell that she wasn't. Her long dark hair hung in a tangle, almost hiding her face. In that moment, I realized that she lived in a world of her own.

Just like me.

“Do you work at the inn?” she asked, her gaze running over my form curiously.

I nodded. Somehow she had recognized me. True enough, we’d seen other often. I did work at the inn. I brought her parents fresh linens and coffee every morning. But this was my free time and I no longer wore human skin.

“You're different. Not like the other one.”

I frowned, unsure what she meant. I cocked my head and then followed her pointing finger with my gaze. She gestured toward a trail that led deep into the woods, all the way to the edge of my territory.

“Have you gone that way?” I asked, concerned when I saw her yawn.

She nodded and stretched, all of her barely as tall as my chest.

I heard him then, one of my wild cousins, calling to her. She lifted her head and listened.

“He wants me to come back.” She shifted away from me, started to head down a path that led to shadows and darkness.

In that instant, a stray beam of sunlight sliced through the trees, fell upon her milky skin and set it aglow, almost like fire.

That was when I saw them.

She was surrounded by imaginary playmates. Transparent as ghosts, though they were only visible occasionally. An arm here, a leg there, a laugh that echoed and followed after her.

I quickly glanced at her forearms, bare for midsummer and they bore no mark. No one had claimed her yet. She was still free.

I could have claimed her for myself right then and to this day I sometimes wonder why I didn't. I think it was because she was so small—only seven years old, much too young to harvest, though my wild cousin wouldn’t think so.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Here's a LINK where you can read an even longer excerpt on the HarperCollins website.

And here's where you can purchase your very own copy of FEAST: Amazon l Barnes and Noble l Borders l Mysterious Galaxy l Laguna Beach Books l Vroman's Bookstore l Indie Bound Books l Or at your favorite local bookstore.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


To enter the contest, all you have to do it post a comment below and tell me what's the best book you've read this year. Be sure to include your e-mail address so I can contact the winner. This contest will run through July 13. Prizes include: Afterlife totebag, copy of FEAST, copy of AFTERLIFE, buttons and bookmarks.

I look forward to reading your comments!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Release Day: Excerpt from Lure of the Wicked by Karina Cooper

Here you go--the first installment of the Invasion of the Urban Fantasy BOOK BABES. Featured author of the day is none other than the fabulous, Karina Cooper. (Wild crowd noise and applause in background.)

Up today, for your reading enjoyment, is an excerpt from her brand new release, LURE OF THE WICKED.

NOTE: The reading order of Karina's books is as follows: Blood of the Wicked, Lure of the Wicked, All Things Wicked (Feb 2012)


READ AN EVEN LONGER EXCERPT HERE. (Be prepared to fall in love with this story and NEED to buy it right away.)


God take them all, he hated this sacrilegious tomb and its aberrant clientele.

But he couldn't do anything about it yet. Patience. It was the stake-out to end all stake-outs. He could do patience.

He had to. He'd had the perfect vantage point, the perfect box seat to watch the opera unfold, but no.

The missionary had to ruin it.

That should have driven him insane. It should have worried him. Instead, he'd barely escaped her sharp eye and quick mind, and even now he smiled from the cramped hole he hid in.

Naomi West would make it fun. Much more fun than he'd thought when he'd first taken on this operation. It wasn't her fault she'd stuck her foot in it, after all. Like him, she was just doing her job.

But now he had to plan a little more carefully. A little more cautiously. It wasn't like shooting oily fish in a barrel anymore.

The Church had dealt its hand. Joe wondered if it knew that it was playing itself at the table.

He imagined that his fellow missionary was well and truly pissed at losing him. It'd been damned close. Only the vase he'd thrown at her had given him the time to get away, but she was tough stuff. Mission-suit Teflon.

And if she ever got her hands on him... He didn't laugh, but it was close. Swallowing back a bubble of eagerness, he didn't so much as shift a muscle. Strain already ripped through his cramping limbs, but he could hold it until the Second Coming if he had to. Tenacity. That's what made him a damn good missionary.

And based on what he knew about Naomi West, that's what made her almost as good as he was.



Phew. Was that amazing or what? Don't forget, you can read a longer excerpt of this book HERE.

Not one, but two FEAST Release Parties with swag today

My second novel, FEAST: HARVEST OF DREAMS, is out in the wild today. In honor of her release, I'm inviting you to not one, but TWO Release Parties today. Both parties have a contest with the sweet swag you see above: large FEAST tote bag, signed copy of FEAST, FEAST and AFTERLIFE buttons and bookmarks.

Release Party One is actually an interview over at I Smell Sheep. Stop by and check it out. You'll find out things like how long it took me to write FEAST and why I wanted it to have the tone of a dark fairy tale.

Release Party Two will be held at Bitten By Books and has a guest post titled "If You Could Turn Back the Hands of Time." In it I discuss the world building I did while creating the Darklings--the supernatural creatures in FEAST. This party will go live at noon Central Time.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Plans for the Urban Fantasy Invasion: Day One

Plans for the BOOK BABE party are underway and whispers are rumbling down back alleys. It all begins tomorrow, right here, at 9:00 a.m. PST. That's when you'll get a taste of Karina Cooper's steamy LURE OF THE WICKED.

And, trust me, that's not all.

On Wednesday, you'll get some snippets of FEAST. Plus links to all the FEAST events going on online, plus a CONTEST!!

On Thursday, you'll get a sampling of Jocelynn Drake's BURN THE NIGHT.

And then, on Friday, you'll get read some of Nicole Murphy's ROGUE GADDA.

All new releases. Hot off the steamy press. Guaranteed to make you stay up all night and keep the lights on.

Sentimental Endings: A Story

“I’m not one for sentimental endings. Not this time.”

That’s what he said. When he slammed the car door. When he walked away into blue velvet. Those were his words, each one like the drumbeat to a funeral dirge, like the handful of stones I’m forced to carry in my heart.

Sometimes I repeat them to myself, roll the syllables over my tongue. When the midnight pours in my window, cold and dark. When my bed feels as empty as my soul. Sometimes I imagine another ending and I write it down.

“I’m not one for sentimental endings. But this is a beginning—”

He would lean toward me, over cracked vinyl seats, cup my face in his hands and look into my eyes. The single tear sliding down my cheek would take his breath away for a moment, then he would kiss it away . . .

“I’m not one for sentimental endings. But this is breaking my heart, I just can’t—”
He would weep; he would beg me to stay. He would promise to change, to be different, to do anything I ask. One hand would slide over mine and he would pull me back into his arms. My face would be wet from his tears . . .

“I’m not one for sentimental endings. Not this time.”

I would turn away from him, the words still warm in my mouth. I would open the car door, swing my legs out onto pavement, stand up and feel an intoxicating sense of freedom. I am leaving him and he is devastated . . .

Of all my imagined endings, this last one is my favorite, the one I rehearse when the ache drives me to my knees, the one that gets me through the day when I feel like a shadow walking through bright crowds.

6 Things That Make Me Toss Aside A Book In Frustration

I must confess, if a book doesn’t hold my interest, I stop reading. I’m limited in how much time I have to read, so I try to read only the best books. Some things that will make me stop reading are:

1. If I can’t connect with the main character

2. Sloppy storytelling/poor writing

3. Plot threads that don’t lead anywhere

4. Meandering plot

5. Implausibility

6. And this one will cause me to not buy the author’s next book: an ending that wasn’t as phenomenal as the beginning.

How about you? Do you stop reading a book if it doesn't meet your expectations? Do you agree with my list or do you have another list that you'd like to share?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Coming soon to a bookstore near you!

Invasion of the Urban Fantasy Book all begins on June 28. Release Day Madness. And it runs through July 1. All release day madness, every day.

Featured authors include: Karina Cooper, Jocelynn Drake, Nicole Murphy and myself.

We'll be posting excerpts of our novels (gasp), posting links (eeek), and quite possibly revealing deep, dark secrets (oh, no).

You never know. We may even toss in a giveaway or two.

Stay tuned for more details. But, if you really want to be safe, RUN to your local bookstore. And ask for our books by name.

The book born out of insomnia, is now causing insomnia...

What's coming up this week? Madness. I mean, a book release. Plus I've been trying to finish a WIP. So far I've had 3 nights this week where I couldn't get to sleep until 4 a.m. !!! I suppose it's my book, Feast, getting her revenge.

See, it was a book born out of insomnia. And now--just as it's about to release and the whole world will have a chance to see it--I have insomnia all over again.

Does this mean I need to write a sequel? Are the Darklings tormenting me, silently begging me to tell more of their story? I definitely have ideas for another book. I even have some cool ideas for a sequel to Afterlife.

If. I. Could. Sleep. I. Might. Be. Able. To. Write.

In other words, hint to any lurking Darklings, let me sleep, okay??

So, just for fun, I thought I'd post some photos of actors that I would cast in the main character roles. Here goes:

In this shot, Zachary Quinto plays Ash, who is caught in the act of casting an enchantment:

A young Sandra Bullock would star as Maddie MacFadden, the woman who unwittingly becomes the main target in the Darkling hunt:

Here's a shot of Zachary Quinto as Ash, looking devious:

And the shot at the top of the page was an inspiration photo I chose to help me imagine the forests that surround Ticonderoga Falls.

Friday, June 24, 2011

10 Things I Like To See In A Good Book

I love reading and I’m always delighted when I discover a new author or a new book. Things that I look for are:

1. Extraordinary writing

2. Captivating voice

3. Excellent story-telling ability

4. Realistic characters

5. Believable world-building

6. The magical ability to make me forget that I’m reading a book

7. A story or character that takes me to a new world

8. Well-crafted metaphors and themes

9. Moral value

10. An ending that lives up to the beginning

As an author, I'm curious what you look for in a book. Do you agree with me or am I way off base? I'd love to hear your opinions!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Feast countdown continues

Today I have a contest running over on the Supernatural Underground.

This is what you can win in if you enter the contest...

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I can't believe that Release Day--June 28--is almost here.

So, here's the countdown of what I will do until Feast releases:

I will have 6 showers, watch 15 TV shows, read part of one book, go for 8 walks, climb 25 flights of stairs, crack up laughing 8 times, burst into tears 2 times, send 310 e-mails, read most of those e-mails before I send them, troll the Internet 6 hours longer than I should, wear my PJs all day 2 times, cook a meal 0 times, feed and medicate the dogs 12 times, feed and medicate myself more times than I can count, forget what I was going to say right when I was in the middle of a sentence 16 times, do a happy dance 3 times, drink 35 bottles of water, check on the baby hummingbirds in my yard 10 times and try to get some writing/editing done 18 times.


Monday, June 20, 2011

One of the best things a writer can see

Friday evening I got to meet the members of The Ladies Guilty Pleasures Book Club. I had a great time chatting with them and answering questions about Afterlife. One of my favorite parts of the evening--besides meeting the ladies themselves--was when I got to see their copies of the book, many of them dogeared and full of bookmarks.

That's the best thing a writer can ever see--a copy of your book that has been well-read.

Thanks to everyone in the club! I really enjoyed meeting you and hope I get to come back sometime.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Baby hummingbirds in nest--so cute!

You have to look really close, but two baby hummingbirds are waiting for the mama bird to return and feed them. Their tiny beaks are pointed toward the sky. You can even see one of them stick his tongue out. So adorable! These little guys have a nest in the bougainvillea in my backyard.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Heads or Tails: A Story

The coin flipped through the air. Heads. Tails. Love. Hate. Such a human thing to do. Such a weak response to something as important and necessary as breathing. Sometimes I wonder if humans even have a heart, if they are truly alive.

I watched as my current victim-in-progress debated whether to call a young woman he fancied. A thick silver disk, stamped with symbols on both sides, spun through the air in a high arc, sunlight catching, reflecting; a heavenly mixture of silver and golden light, an almost magical and musical act. The coin finally spun to a halt with a chorus of bright ringing notes as it landed on the ground.

My human, my favorite Creature To Haunt And Torment, held his breath. Leaned over. Stared at the silver answer.

Heads. Tails. Love. Hate.

His answer, the one he wanted, stared back up at him.

It was almost funny.

Because the thing he didn’t know, the one thing he couldn’t possibly know, was that I was going to steal this dream from him. As soon as he would lay down his head, close his eyes and sail off into the land of dreams, I would take it away. I would burst it, like a golden bubble, lick it up like a bowl of melting ice cream.

And his dream of a life of love would dissolve. He would forget this Valentine’s Day Coin Toss. He wouldn’t remember his resolve to call Violet in the morning. The jeweler might phone him in a day or two, ask him about the ring that he had ordered and my sweet captive human would wonder what he was talking about.

Heads. Tails. Love. Hate.

In my world, hate wins every time.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Revealing my secrets, one by one

There are some very cool things going on the cyber universe today...

First, FEAST was reviewed over at The Aussie Bookworm. You can read the review here.

Here's a snippet:

"I really liked the way that the bits and pieces of vampiric lore were sprinkled throughout the novel. Some of them as we have always believed i.e. that they need to be invited to be able to cross your threshold while others have been tweaked slightly. They don’t drink blood but they harvest dreams."

Also, Kristin over at My Bookish Ways posted an interview with me today. AND she's giving away a copy of Afterlife. Believe it or not, she got me to confess something I've never told anyone online before. *gasp*

Some of the other things we discussed: What I like to see in a good book and what makes me toss a book aside in frustration. VERY good questions!

AND one more cool thing going on. I Smell Sheep has a very fun Swag Day Contest going on through Friday, June 17. Their contest involves matching an author with his/her pet. And, yes, I'm one of the featured authors! Followers of my blog should be able to figure out which one of those furry beasts belong to me. Hint, hint: Remember, I have 2 black and tan German shepherds? See, I just gave you one answer so you'll be ahead of the game.

Besides cover flats, bookmarks, buttons and trading cards, the folks at I Smell Sheep are also giving away the following books: signed copies of Afterlife and Nightwalker, an ARC of The Iron Duke, a paper copy of Demon Slayer. E-copies of Along Came a Demon and Shades of Gray, and Devil Without a Cause, which can be either a paper or e-copy.

I hope you'll check those posts out and say hi to the blog owners. They love visitors!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Day The Earth Stood Still: A Story

The sun didn’t rise on Thursday. That should have been a sign, a warning. It should have set all the alarms ringing inside Sam’s head. But it didn’t.

Because he didn’t wake up.

Nobody did.

The day the Earth stood still—the day everything changed—went completely undetected. It lodged, like a rock, right between Wednesday and Friday, dark, cold, silent. No NASA scientist and no Hindu philosopher caught the great hiccup in the universe. Friday came, blinding and bright and charged with energy—a bit too much energy, in fact. Power surged and crackled through cables and wires and ended up shorting out cell phones around the world.

The Internet, on the other hand, ran smoother than ever.

Sam thought he noticed a difference when he sat down, fingers poised over keyboard. Thought he heard a crack, snazzle, pop in his ears. Like liquid silver, every connection zapped into place faster than it ever had before.

He grinned.

New Web sites sparked into prime time, exquisite and compelling and somehow already linked to existing sites. Without realizing it, his computer began to prefer these new, almost alien sites, would route him there over and again, leave him there for long intervals.

Basking in the light.

Sweet. Ambient. Light.

A soft strobe pulsing just beneath the surface, a message read by brainstem and cerebellum like secret code. A whisper program that ran undetected, just like that missing Thursday. A cyber virus that thrummed all day long. Even after his computer was turned off.

That night, while the computer junkies around the world slept, cozy and warm and safe inside footed pajamas and Ambien cocktails, the program kicked into high gear and the transformation began. So subtle it wouldn’t even be noticed, not by the humans anyway, just like that missing middle-of-the-week day.

The morning came and a few hackers noticed that the sky hung a bit darker, cereal crunched a bit quieter, surfaces felt a bit smoother and dialogue—well, dialogue came in a steady stream, more like binary code than conversation.


Sam smiled as he sat down on the wrong side of the screen, 001010101111, ready and eager to get to work.

Head tilted, he listened.


The sound of birds, singing.


The clatter of keyboard keys, a cyber universe turned inside out.


One word repeating itself over and over, one human staring at him through transparent screen, typing.


In some languages the word meant Aliens.

But in most it simply meant:


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Visiting the town that became Ticonderoga Falls in Feast

One of the best parts about writing is getting to do research--especially when that research involves taking a trip up into the mountains and staying in a cabin. My next novel, Feast, (which releases in just 18 days--yikes!) is set in the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California. Although the actual town where the story takes place, Ticonderoga Falls, is fictional, it was based on the very real and very charming town of Big Bear, California.

So, at the beginning of December, 2009, my husband, our two German shepherds, our Siamese cat and I spent four days in Big Bear. My husband and the dogs got to go sledding and hiking, while I did research. No, really, I got to go sledding and hiking too. But I really did a considerable amount of research while I was there. We even stayed in a little cabin, similar to the one the main character in Feast, Maddie MacFadden, stays in.

I must confess, I never saw any Darklings though. But they may have been hiding. After all, I was just about to expose them all to the world.

So, here is my photo travelogue of the trip, with captions so you don't feel lost...

The gorgeous drive up into the local mountains...the higher you go, the taller the trees, until finally it seems like the forests could just eat you alive. The perfect setting for my scary, yet romantic novel:

Caleb, the larger than life dog...we finally arrived in the cabin, started to get our things unpacked and, of course, the dog took that time to choose the most comfortable chair for himself. He just watched while we worked:

Hezzie relaxed, glad the evil car ride was finally over...he stretched out on an ottoman and waited for us to start a fire in the fireplace. Sometimes he enjoyed being in the cabin, sometimes he acted like we were torturing him. Poor kitty:

Chatting with someone who lived in Big Bear...this was my favorite part of the trip, meeting the amazing people who lived here. This incredible woman, Cathy Jones, took the time to share stories about the town, pointed out local hiking spots on the map, gave me advice on who to interview and how to get hold of them. She even told me about a local independent bookstore that might be interested in carrying Feast. She gets 5 gold stars for being hospitable and for making the trip much more fun:

Investigating the SUVs the policemen drove...part of my research involved asking the local police a zillion questions (there's a bit of a mystery in this book) and checking out their SUVs. Since one of my characters was the local sheriff, I needed to know what kind of car he would drive, what his uniform would look like, how he would handle a certain situation (can't give away too many clues!), and what kind of gun he would carry:

Big Bear Lake, surrounded by snow and shrouded by clouds...isn't this picture a bit eerie? Well, that's exactly what I was hoping for when I picked this tourist town--I wanted something close enough to L.A. to visit within a day and remote enough to be slightly creepy:

The dogs and I...okay, here's where worlds collide and everything gets really strange. I was up in Big Bear working on the research for my second novel, but at the same time my editor and the staff at Harper Voyager were hard at work getting my first novel ready for printing. So, here I am, frolicking in the snow with my two wild German shepherds. For some reason, Caleb--the one with mouth open--wouldn't stop barking when we were taking his picture. Call of the wild or something. Anyway, that's the only picture I have of him, in eight years, where he's doing anything like that.

So, then we go home and the next day, my editor sends me the gorgeous cover artwork for Afterlife. Do you see how much my dog looks like the dog on the cover? I couldn't believe it. And not like I look anything like that cover model, but it's weird that we're standing in almost the same position. Worlds were colliding and aliens were dying when all this was going on, that's all I've got to say:

So, there you have it. A tiny glimpse into the real town behind the fictional town of Ticonderoga Falls. And very soon you'll be able to read more about the inhabitants of this mountain village, both human and Darkling.