Saturday, March 30, 2013

Time For A Breather

Hey everyone,

I just wanted to let you know that I'm taking a small break.

I've been invited to go to Guilin, this like uber amazing scenic place in China. I just couldn't say no. My amazing husband is watching the kids while I flit off with some girlfriends. This all feels very indulgent, but I know I'm going to love the break and will come back feeling refreshed.

So - no blogging from me until April 9th.

I'll see you when I get back and tell you all about it!!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Indie Author Spotlight - K. C. Blake

Author Bio:   K.C. Blake is a ninja on the keyboard.  When she is locked away in her office, pounding out another story, no one dares disturb her.  She probably wouldn’t hear them anyway.  They don’t get it.  They think she’s in her office, but she’s lost in another world.  Sometimes she is fighting vampires or hunting ghosts.  Sometimes she is running with a werewolf pack or falling in love with a misunderstood creature.  Her books appeal to lovers of the paranormal.  Whether you are twelve or fifty, you will fall in love with her stories.

Twitter: @kasiblake
Interview:

1) What is your all-time favorite book and why?
City of Bones.  I love the way Cassandra Clare writes, so visual that I can see it, and I love her awesome characters.

2) Is there an author you could be compared to or popular fictional characters your book's characters could relate to and why?
I don’t think my characters are like any other characters I’ve read about.  My writing is my own.  I’ve been told I have a unique voice, a unique way of writing.  Some people love it and some of don’t.

3) Can you give us your favorite quote from one of your books and explain it?
This is a hard one. I can’t think of one off the top of my head, so I will use one that people have put on Goodreads as their favorite.  It is from Vampires Rule.

“Stop!” she screamed. “Don’t hurt him.”
“Back off!” Billy shouted.
She yanked harder on Billy’s arm.
“He isn’t a vampire anymore, idiot. Look! Do you see that big, yellow thing up in the sky? That’s called the sun. It’s shining down on him, and he isn’t exploding. His fangs are gone. He’s as human as we are. Case closed.”
Billy stared up at the sky, his jaw slack. “Not possible.”
Jack mumbled, “They don’t call me Jackpot for nothing.”
“What?” Billy blinked at him.
“Private joke.”

I think it’s pretty self-explanatory.  Jack was a vampire and now he’s not, and his brother just found out.

4) What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep writing?
There isn’t any certain thing that inspires me.  Once in a while a movie or book will speak to me.  Sometimes a person I know will say something that sends me into a ‘what if’ daydream.  As for music, I love listening to songs while I write.  What I listen to depends on what sort of scene I’m writing.  I need a song that captures the emotions of the scene.  Then I can picture it in my head, and I’ll listen to that song a hundred times if I have to in order to finish what I’m working on.

5) Describe your typical writing day or week.
Within five minutes of waking I am thinking about whatever book I’m working on.  I might listen to music and daydream about it for a while, or I might jot down some notes.  Usually I spend time on-line before pulling my book up on the computer.  I check email, do some research, and play games (lol) before starting to work.  Then I work on and off all day until I get a chapter finished or am too tired to keep going.  I take breaks quite often.  If I don’t, my eyes and head hurt so bad the next day that I can’t work at all.

6) Is there a food or drink do you have to have when you're writing?
No.  Eating and or drinking distracts me from the writing.  If anything, once in a while I will have some chocolate, something I can just pop into my mouth.  I’ll use it as a reward.  I get one after I finish a certain amount of pages.

7) Can you tell us what you're working on right now (& possibly provide an excerpt & cover)?
I am editing a book called Bait, the first in a new series.  Here is the blurb for it:

At sixteen, Bay-Lee Bishop is not your typical girl.  The last thing she wants is to be popular, but flying below the radar isn’t easy when you’re the tallest girl in the eleventh grade.  She works hard to keep a steady C point average, never raises her hand in class, and avoids extra-curricular activity of any kind.  The other students would be stunned to learn she’s living under an alias as she and her uncle move from town to town, just barely staying a step ahead of the monsters hunting her just because she’s Van Helsing’s daughter.

Life is weird.  Then it gets worse.  A reaper uses her closet to cross over with a dire warning the day before she’s whisked away to her new school.  This time it’s the school she was always meant to attend, a school that trains hunters.  

This is what she’s been waiting for her whole life, only it isn’t anything like she imagined. The other students hate her, something evil is killing hunters, and her mentor refuses to give her the slightest bit of help.  Determined to make her father proud, Bay-Lee focuses on her training.  Nothing is going to distract her.  Not border monsters or wraiths or the boy with jungle green eyes.

For Bay-Lee, love is not an option.  But try telling that to her heart.

Excerpt: (keep in mind this book is still being edited)
At some point during the night a stranger crawled into Bay-Lee’s bed while she snored softly, unaware.  The mattress springs squeaked in complaint beneath the additional weight as he reclined on his side and stared down at her face in the moonlight.  It bothered him that she continued to sleep.  After all the stories he’d heard about this girl, exploited rumors verging on myth, he’d expected more from her.  Shouldn’t she be able to sense danger?
This was Van Helsing’s daughter?  She looked insignificant, vulnerable beneath the green sheet.  He could snap her neck so easily—and maybe he should.  The world would continue on, undisturbed, but the dark cloud hanging over his head would finally dissipate.
A fraction of moonlight filtered through partially open curtains, not enough to see clearly, but it didn’t matter because he’d seen pictures of this girl on Van Helsing’s desk.  Her features were burned into his retinas.  Every time he went into the office he tried not to look at the photographs, purposely pointing his gaze elsewhere.
There was something about her, something unsettling which inevitably pulled him back to stare at her reproduced image.  She looked like an average girl at first glance.  A pretty face framed by dark hair that nearly reached her waist, parted in the middle and layered stared back at him.  Of Brazilian descent, her eyes were the darkest of browns, nearly black.  They hid a mountain of secrets.  She had attitude to spare and the camera caught it, recording it for future historians—if the prophecies were correct, they would want to study her.
She possessed a ‘bite me’ expression that must drive vampires crazy.
Fortunately, he was not a vampire.
Her mouth bothered him the most. Full lips haunted his dreams with a secretive smile curving the ends and a bottom lip that begged to be nibbled on. Sometimes, when he wasn’t carefully controlling his thoughts, he wondered what she would taste like.  In his dreams, when he wasn’t fully in control of his mind, he kissed her without ceasing.  He wondered what would happen if he kissed her in real life.  Would it stir something deep in his soul?  Would the prophecy come true?
Something hard lodged in his throat and he swallowed.  It was a near miss, so he swallowed again.  Kissing her shouldn’t even be a blip on the radar. This girl was the reason he didn’t have a home or a family.  It was her fault he’d grown up on the outside looking in, her fault people whispered behind his back, and her fault he was destined to die young.
Bay-Lee stirred in her sleep.  Mumbling, she pushed against his chest with two fingers.  “Go ‘way.”
Cute like a box of kittens, for a second he forgot to hate her.  His heart momentarily softened—not for long.  The unfamiliar sensation was enough to wipe the half-smile from his face.  Delivering a mental kick to his brain, he reminded himself this girl was the last person in the world he could let his guard down around.  She was worse than trouble.  If he wasn’t careful, this seemingly harmless meeting would lead to his total destruction.
Ready to wake her, he leaned in close and whispered her (fake) name.  Like him, she was forced to live under an alias.  Michelle.

Vampires Rule:  FREE

They don't call him Jackpot for nothing.

Jack has always beat the odds... until now. When a werewolf tried to kill him, vampires saved him. When he got tired of life as a vampire, another attack gave him back his mortality. Now Jack just wants to live a normal life, but what's normal about having a hunter for a girlfriend, a brother who wants to stake him to be on the safe side, and a werewolf building an army to rule the world?








Werewolves Rule: $2.99

The second book in the Rule Series















Shifters Rule: $2.99

Third book in the Rule Series
















Crushed: $2.99

The Noah sisters rule Titan High with their beauty, brains, and magical powers.

Each year they play a secret game: Crushed. The girls pick their targets carefully and blow enchanted dust into the boy’s faces, charming them, but this year Kristen makes a grave mistake. She chooses the wrong boy and almost dies that same day. Coincidence? Maybe.

But something isn’t quite right about Zach Bevian. He doesn’t behave like a boy who’s been Crushed. He goes from hot to cold, from looking at her with contempt to asking her out on a date. She doesn’t know what to think. Does he hate her or is he truly falling for her? Is he trying to kill her, or is he trying to save her?



Witch Hunt: $2.99

A magical game of Hide n Seek begins.

Find the missing player and win.

The game resets, everyone forgets, and they start to play again.
Starr Hughes hasn’t believed in magic since her mother died. As a reporter for the school paper she’s only interested in cold, hard facts. When she hears rumors that the mysterious It-Squad members are about to play a secret game, she is determined to learn all about it, especially since she’s been in love with one of the members half her life. Hiding under the headmaster’s desk, planting bugs, and breaking into a fellow student’s locker are all on her to-do list.

Starr is about to discover that witches not only exist, but they need her help. Someone is using the game to steal their memories, their powers, and maybe even their lives.

ATTENTION: Although this is the second book in the series, each book has its own set of characters and can be read as a stand-alone book.


Bait:  (coming Summer 2013)  FREE

If you don’t think monsters in the closet are real, ask Bay-Lee.

At sixteen, Bay-Lee Bishop is on her way to a new school, a training ground for hunters.  Before she leaves she gets an unexpected visitor, a reaper with a warning: It kills you on your birthday.  For years she’s dreamed of becoming a great hunter so she can avenge her mom… but school is nothing like she imagined.  The students resent her, a border monster is running loose, her mentor refuses to help her, and hunters are dying on their birthdays.  If she’s going to live long enough to reach her goal, she’ll have to solve this mystery before the day of her birth arrives.

The last thing she needs is to fall in love.  No problem.  Bay-Lee is focused and determined.  She barely notices boys.  Then she meets Nick Gallos, a gorgeous boy with jungle green eyes, a reckless heart, and a past darker than her own.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cover Reveal and Book Sale

As many of you may have seen, Betwixt is currently on sale. Until March 31st, you can pick up a copy of the book for half price. Details are below.

Before we get to that though, I'd like to take a moment to reveal the cover of J. A. Huss' latest book. This isn't usually my type of cover, but I really like this one. The cherry, the lips... it's just all good. 

Now I do apologise, the photo will NOT upload no matter how many times I try. So you're going to have to click through to the Goodreads link, but while you're there, you may as well add the book to your reading list.


* * * * * * * * * * 


BETWIXT IS ON SALE!!
Only $1.99 until March 31st.


"Gripping and evocative. A dark tale that strikes close to your heart, rekindling hope and faith." 
T. G. Ayer - Author of The Valkyrie Novels.

* * * * * * * * * * 

For every copy of Betwixt sold, a portion will be donated to a charity organisation - Love146.

These guys are working to prevent child exploitation and trafficking. They also help with rehabilitation and gifting the freed children a chance at a life filled with hope and promise.

Betwixt is a story about being rescued and redeemed. Love146 does an amazing job at restoring those who have been broken.

* * * * * * * * * * 


Beautiful, wild-chid Nicole Tepper is hit by a car and left for dead. But when she wakes the next morning, Nicole finds herself in bed without a scratch. Perhaps she was more intoxicated than usual, as her mother is giving her the silent treatment and her friends are ignoring her as well. 

Things take a turn for the weird when Nicole soon discovers she is actually hovering between life and death. Her body is lying in the forest while her spirit is searching for anyone who can hear her. Unfortunately the only person who can is Dale Finnigan, the guy she publicly humiliated with a sharp-tongued insult that has left him branded.

Desperate, Nicole has no choice but to haunt Dale and convince the freaked-out senior to help her. Will he find her body before it's too late? Or will the guy who tried to kill her with his car, beat him there and finish her off before anyone finds out?



Check out Amazon stores to purchase a copy.

Amazon USA
Amazon UK



Friday, March 22, 2013

Goodreads - What's Good and What's Not

YA writers and bloggers unite each week to share their thoughts on what it's like going indie in today's publishing world.

As a reader and a writer, I am a big fan of Goodreads. 

From a reader's perspective, I love being able to add books to my reading list. I love being able rate books, tell people why I loved them and let people know what I'm reading. I love seeing what other readers think about books too. I have read some amazing stories thanks to recommendations on Goodreads.

From a writer's perspective, I really do love it. I think it is a great way to get exposure for my work. I love the Event feature, the Giveaway and the Listopia features. I have had many people add my books to their reading lists because of these. Unfortunately these do not always result in sales, but at least the interest is there. 

I know some authors do not like Goodreads. I think people are far more ready to leave their honest opinions on this site and they hold nothing back. Some authors have been badly burned by nasty comments and reviews. I don't have a problem with someone not liking my books. Reading is a very subjective thing and people have a right to their opinions. I do think people need to be careful how they word these opinions though. You can still be respectful in your dislike of something. 

All-in-all I will be forever grateful to my friend, T. G. Ayer, who put me onto Goodreads in the first place. It has been awesome for my writing career and it definitely motivates me to read more as well. 

What do you think of Goodreads?


Check out what the other YA Indie Carnival members think on their sites, which are listed below.

You can also check out the YA Author Club for the latest updates and news on what we're all up to.

1.Laura A. H. Elliott2.Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3.T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series4.Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga
5.Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog6.K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
7.Gwenn Wright, author of Filter8.Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
9.Ella James10.Maureen Murrish
11.YA Sci Fi Author's Ramblings12.A Little Bit of R&R
13.Melissa Pearl14.Terah Edun - YA Fantasy
15.Heather Sutherlin - YA Fantasy



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Are You Living The Life You Want To Live?

On Thursday, my dear Nana passed away. I am one of those lucky few who has lived for 34 years knowing all four of my grandparents. Nana is the first to go. Ironically out of the four, she was the healthiest. Her sudden heart attack took me by surprise, but I was so grateful that her suffering only lasted a few days. I am so sad that she is gone.


Death has always made me reflective. I've been to a few funerals in my time, some absolutely tragic, others celebrations of a life well-lived. Being in China, I was unable to attend Nana's funeral yesterday, but I spent most of my day thinking about her... and about life.

My brain buzzed with all my happy memories of Nana. Her conspiratorial winks as she passed me a candy from her special bag when my mom wasn't looking, the tight squeezes she gave me whenever I arrived at her house, the amazing baking she always lavished upon me. I also thought about those times when I was a teenager and rolled my eyes at the thought of having to go around to my grandparents for a visit... or those times in recent years when I was just too busy to drop in a say hi to them. Oh how I wish I'd taken the time.

Life is short. So incredibly short. We never know which moment will be our last. It makes me want to ensure that I am not wasting a minute of my time. It makes me want to hug my children extra tight before I put them to bed. It makes me want to stop rushing around the house tidying and sit down to play games with them. It makes me want to linger when I kiss my husband goodbye. It makes me want to fit Skype calls and e-mails to my family and friends into my daily routine. And when I do get those moments to myself, it makes me want to spend time doing the thing I love the most. Write my stories.

I often say how lucky I feel to be doing what I truly love. When I do pass from this earth, I know I will have been living my life to the fullest. Loving those around me and sharing my imagination with the world are my two key focuses. If anyone asks me, "Are you living the life you want to live?" I can say yes... and that feels so incredibly good.

Can you say the same thing?
Do you know what your dreams are?
Are you making them happen?

My hope and prayer is that your answer is also, yes.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Indie Author Spotlight - Rachel Coles

Rachel Coles - Author of Pazuzu's Girl, Into the Ruins, and Beyond The Veil

Rachel Coles lives in Denver with her family in Denver, Colorado. She works in public health disaster preparedness. She enjoys researching mythology to incorporate into story-telling. Her family and friends share her enthusiasm for fantasy and science fiction, she is the proud mom of one of the youngest Trekkies in the state.

Social Media Sites:

Spotlight Author Questions:

1. What is your all-time favorite book, and why?
I'm not sure I could pick a single one. One of my favorite series is Dan Simmons' Hyperion series: Hyperion, Fall of Hyperion, Endymion, Rise of Endymion. I loved those books because they were complex, and when I put the last one down, it felt like my brain had changed after reading them. Mind-blowing. The series explored human evolution, not just physical, but religious and cultural, in the kind of time-span covered by Dune. It also explored artificial intelligence, in a different way than anything I'd read before. I also loved reading Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. I always enjoy reading that because Discworld really picks you up and carries you away in the story. And that world is hilarious. Terry Pratchett takes typical tropes like vampires, dwarves, werewolves, etc, and turns everything on its head. He's a really fun read, great for escaping. But I would say that the book whose phrases stayed with me for decades was either Something Wicked This Way Comes, or The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury. He was one of the most poetic writers I'd ever seen, and really impressed upon me the power of words.

2. Is there an author you could be compared to or a popular fictional character you could relate to and why?
I have been compared to Neil Gaiman once or twice, because of the mythological content of some of my stories. That absolutely makes me feel honored. He is another one of my favorite authors, and I have to admit that I've emulated him in a lot of ways. As for characters I could relate to, I guess I would have to say Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit. I come from a family of Hobbits, pretty much. We're mostly little people who love to eat and talk, and eat and talk, and eat and talk. I'm mostly not exaggerating. When I went to my aunt's retirement party, we stopped at a deli and got pounds of meat, knishes, whitefish salad, bagels etc, on the way to her place from the airplane. Two hours later, we went to her party at which we didn't stop eating, talking, and dancing for five hours. And when we got home, we cracked open the leftovers and ate again, chatting around the kitchen table. And that was just the beginning of the weekend. Elevensies/luncheon/afternoon tea/dinner/supper, they all ran together. Somehow I'm not 800 pounds. That's why I think we're secretly Hobbits. I am specifically a bit like Bilbo Baggins because I like telling stories, I am a creature of habit, and don't normally go for anything unexpected, but every once in a while, I throw my hands up, give in to my wild side, and get into trouble.

3. Can you give us your favorite quote from your book and explain it?
My favorite quote, spoken by Pazuzu, is "I will do whatever I have to do to protect you, even if I do it poorly in your eyes. You are young and angry and nothing is as simple as you imagine." I like it because Pazuzu's Girl is partly about what it means to be a parent. Whatever his other flaws are, he loves his daughter, and insists on being a dad, even if it means Morpho is mad at him. It reminds me of what I have heard some parents say, 'It's not my job to be your friend, it's my job to be your mom/dad.' I'm sure that I will someday have this conversation with my daughter when she is a teenager, because I had it with my parents at some point.

4. What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep on writing?
Everything. I'm a space cadet and cannot stop daydreaming, and every experience I have somehow wends its way into a story. But specifically, I'm a child of the 80's. I mostly listen to 80's music because even though it's corny often, there was an optimism then, and now a nostalgia. It's energetic, bittersweet, and just kind of grabs my emotions. I write best when I'm caught up in some emotion or other. People who inspire me to keep writing are my family and friends. My daughter was the reason I started writing. She loves to hear bedtime stories, particularly scary stories. And when we had burned through all of the remotely age-appropriate scary stories we could find, we started making them up together. I started writing them down, and kept going. My husband who is my best friend is really supportive and beta-reads my stories. The writing group I'm part of, we critique each others material, and have peer-pressure writing nights and get each other to write (pssst, just a few words, you know you want to, all the cool kids are doing it...)

5. Describe your typical writing day or week.
My writing can be kind of scattershot. I have weeks where I'll sit up until midnight after my daughter goes to bed, and write every night. Other times, it'll be only on peer-pressure writing night, when I take my daughter with me to Panera and she plays Minecraft, while we all write, though I often have her write me a story on her iPad too.

6. Is there a typical food/drink you have to have when you write?
Well, I don't know if I have a particular food or drink, whatever I'm in the mood for at the time. Usually iced tea of some kind. I've gotten into the habit of eating a Panera sandwich and soup, and one of their brownies. I love eating their brownies when I'm writing, and am sad when they're all out by the time I get there. Their chocolate chip cookies are nice, gooey, and chewy too. But I can't eat those every time I write, or I'd need a forklift to get me to the restaurant.

7. Can you tell us what you're working on now, possibly an excerpt?
I'm working on a sequel to Pazuzu's Girl. For now the working title is Iron Butterfly. But I will probably change it, because there are really four main characters: Morpho-- the demon Pazuzu's daughter who is also part Sidhe, Ereshkigal--ruler of the Underworld, Ninhab Agresti--Morpho and JD's high school principal and future consort of Ereshkigal, and Marduk--ancient god-king of Babylon now a CEO.

From 'Iron Butterfly'


The tunnel went on in darkness for a ways. Morpho couldn't tell how long. She had the feeling of rough walls on either side and above. The ground felt like loose dirt underneath her sneakers. But light grew ahead, and slowly they emerged out of the tunnel. There was sky overhead, but it wasn't like any sky she'd ever seen. There was a moon like the moon outside in the regular world, except bigger, and brighter. It was clearer, and looked somehow like a bowl of molten silver dripping little pearls into the rest of the sky. The sky around the moon was deep emerald green shading into black velvet, which was littered with rainbow swaths of stars.
“Whoa.” JD stared around him at the thick bushes and trees. Their leaves were bronze and teardrop-shaped, with an iridescent sheen. Other bushes looked periwinkle blue in the glow from dozens of insectile motes that flitted away through the trees. The forest went dark, and she had somehow gotten the impression that they hadn't been alone when they had come out. “Okay, then.” JD whispered. He kept going along a faint trail. “That was cool. Like Tinkerbell's family.”
She looked back at the tunnel, but there was only foliage behind them. “Tunnel's gone...Of course.” She muttered. “Okay.” She followed him until the trees thinned out to a broad plain of rolling grass-covered hills. The trail widened into a road that threaded through the swells of land. They had been walking for about five minutes, cresting the first hill when the baying started in the distance to the left. It got louder quickly as whatever made that sound came closer, but as she stared out at the hills, she couldn't see anything, at first. Then a form took shape in the low mist that cloaked the valleys. As it got closer, it looked like a woman riding a chariot, that was drawn by the largest dogs she had ever seen. They were the size of horses, so black the light of the moon just sunk into their fur. Their ringed yellow and red eyes shone from their heads like lamps, and their sharp teeth were as black as obsidian. She didn't get as far as noticing what the woman looked like.
“Oh hell!” Morpho and JD turned and ran.
“Change, Babe, change!” JD yelled to her. “They won't be able to chase all of you!” he panted. “Or maybe you could test your Cuisinart wings move!”
She changed into a cloud of butterflies with razor wings and flew up into the sky above the chariot to get a vantage point, but the chariot had gained on JD. Then just when she thought that it couldn't get worse, the chariot split into three. Three chariots, three sets of hellish dogs, and three women. They circled JD.
Leave him alone! She thought, as she dived at them. But the woman in the middle raised her hand, and suddenly, Morpho was human again as she slammed down onto the ground in front of the figure, whose hand was still outstretched toward her. Morpho couldn't move, not even to turn her head, so she had a moment to see the women who had captured them. The tallest one had blazing red hair, not just Irish red, but so red it was almost like flames drifting around her head, barely restrained in long braids that were bound by delicate chains ending in tiny golden balls. She wore a gold circlet with swirls across the band. Her eyes were blood red. The woman to her left had a face very much like the red-haired woman, enough to be sisters. Her hair was as black as the messenger Raven's wings, almost as black as the hell-hounds' fur, absorbing light. Her black irises were like two holes in her eyeballs. Her nose was long and slightly curved, and her lips were thinner than her sister's. The last woman was as pale as her sister was dark, the shortest of the three. She had pure white hair, as long as the other two. Her skin was the color of bone, and the eeriest part was her eyes. They were completely white. There were no pupils or irises, just milky white all the way across. They were terrible to look at, and oddly beautiful.
The red-haired one spoke. “You certainly are curious little creatures, aren't you? Lugh told us you were coming. I warned your mother that you would be too curious for your own good at some point. I told her you would be your father's child.”
“Who are you?” Morpho choked and strained against the force that held her head down. It released suddenly, and she sat up, spitting soil.
“I am Nemain. We are the Morrigan. We rule here. You would do well to show us some respect. Especially since you are trespassing.”
“Lugh is here? He told you about...us?” She glanced at JD. The dogs stood in front of him, a low rumbling growl issuing from their throats.
“Yes, though Macha saw that you would come.” She nodded at the white sister.
“Uh, sorry, we didn't mean to trespass.” JD gulped, looking at the length of the dogs' teeth.
The black-haired sister turned to her sibling, opened her mouth and a caw bordering on a shriek came out. It wasn't amiable, like Raven's caw. It was sharp and dangerous. Her nose seemed longer and her lips and white teeth seemed sharper.
Nemain studied JD. “Badb says you are young and...cute, like a lapdog. She wants to let you live, for now. Very well.” She reached over Morpho, as if her arm simply stretched and grew. Her long-fingered white hand grasped the back of Morpho's shirt and hauled her up as if she were a kitten, into the chariot and dumped her at her slippered feet. Badb took JD. His face was frozen somewhere between terror and the goofy look he got when he stared at his busty guitar girl posters. If Morpho had been closer to him, she would have smacked him. But then, the chariots took off with a lurch and they were moving so swiftly she didn't have a chance to do anything but slit her eyes against the wind as they flew. Everything turned grey and when she looked down at her hands, they seemed insubstantial, like mist. The dogs, JD, Badb and Macha, all of them seemed to blend into the grey so their edges blurred. She didn't want to turn and see the red-haired queen behind her. And then, they slowed to a halt. Now, they were in a circle of grey stones so tall, the shadows they cast from the moon must have spread across the plain they were on for a mile. And across the shadows, filling up the plain behind them were hosts of fairies of all kinds. At least that's what Morpho thought they were when the chariots pulled around. There were some very powerful looking fairies around a semicircle of thrones in the center of the stone circle. Their thrones were all different too. One of them was made of what looked like carved amber, inlaid with gold in the same swirling designs as the red-haired queen's circlet. Another was made entirely of silver, another of pure gold, shining in the moonlight. Another appeared to be made of woven branches and soft emerald moss. Lounging in the amber throne, was Lugh, their erstwhile legal guardian. He had a gold circlet around his forehead, the only thing controlling his wild tawny locks. He wore what looked like a fine red linen tunic with gold embroidery and woolen plaid leggings.
“Hi, luv! Took you long enough.”
“You knew we were coming.” Morpho said.
“I've been livin' with you for almost a year. And I know your mama.”
“So...you're not mad? That we, uh, poked around and, uh, followed you?”
“I didn't say that.” His pale eyes flickered for a moment with golden light. “But you're my cousin's girl. I'm under a geas that I'd look after you if something happened to...the other side o' yer family.”
“Under a what?”
He smiled grimly. “Geas. An oath.”
“Oh.” She swallowed, somehow deflated.
“Relax, I like you. I like yer boy too,” he nodded at JD, “or we'd be havin' a very different conversation right now."
 “Do you vouch for them, Lugh Lamfada?” The man who sat in the golden throne boomed. Though he was seated, he was obviously tall and powerfully built. His hair was silver. He had none of the other marks of advanced age, but Morpho could tell he was old. Really old. Not crusty though. He radiated power. He had the bearing most jocks took steroids to try to look like, with half the brains.
“I do, your Highness.” Lugh inclined his head.
The Morrigan hauled her and JD out of their chariots in front of the King. Then the chariots collapsed into a single throne made of black sharp rock and padded with what Morpho seriously hoped wasn't human skin. There were six heads tied by the hair onto the sides of the throne. And instead of three women, there was only Nemain now. She stared at Morpho. Her expression was somewhere between contempt and curiosity. Either way, it was unsettling. She said nothing.

Pazuzu's Girl - Morpho Wilson thought her life was difficult enough. Her father is Pazuzu, the Mesopotamian demon of plague and the Southwest wind. As a teenager Morpho struggles against her father, while trying to adjust to high school in a new neighborhood. The family is constantly moving in an attempt to elude Pazuzu’s murderous ex-wife, a demoness known for killing children.

Then something unique happens. A socially-impaired classmate becomes so intrigued by Morpho that he pursues her, despite the mystery surrounding her family and the danger that accompanies it.

But before their romance can grow the demoness tracks Morpho down, and now only needs an ancient artifact called the Tablet of Destiny to complete the destruction of the world. The tablet confers on its owner the ability to control the fate of everything and everyone on earth.

Once the tablet is discovered in the Middle East, the oldest and most powerful gods begin a battle for its possession, with the human population caught in the middle. Morpho, her family, and her new friend must decide, do they escape from the horrifying demoness or fight for their own destiny. How far will Pazuzu go to save his daughter from a hellish fate? Will his banishment from Heaven so many millennia ago end up being a curse...or a blessing?


Into The Ruins is an urban fantasy anthology featuring life-changing or world-changing events. They feature everything from comic horror, as in Diary of a Duct Tape Zombie, horror, as in Mushrooms, historical fantasy, as in Plagues, science fiction, as in Whistles, and finally a fun animal story, as in Beergarden.

In Diary of a Duct Tape Zombie, Detective Nate Mallon investigated vice, when he was alive. Being a police officer was his life. Even dying didn't dampen his enthusiasm for solving his last case. However, there are others who aren't ready to be dead yet, and they aren't trying to solve cases. They are at the center of them.

In Mushrooms, Kallie and Mark Sangiovi didn't live complicated lives. They enjoyed their humble home in Denver, fresh food, and most of all: each other's company. But one strange summer in 2011, everything changed. What begins with an invasion of ants, and summer colds, brings them to the brink of death, in a few days. And they aren't the only ones. During this time, Denver becomes an eerie city, populated by the sick, whose imperative is to bite the people closest to them. The city grows still as the epidemic progresses, and Kallie and Mark leave the human race behind.

In Plagues, Miryam, humble daughter of Hebrews, doesn't have many aspirations as a slave in the city of Ra'amses. It might not be much, but the stability of her husband, child, and home are enough for her to live her life as it is. Her brother, Moses, raised in the Pharaoh's palace and 'touched by God', has grander aspirations for their entire people. But there are many sides to the growing conflicts. The political situation deteriorates in Mitzrayim with the rising power of Ramses, and the advent of terrible environmental disasters. And Miryam finds that her friendship with her Egyptian neighbor, Acenath, means as much to her as her religion.

Beyond The Veil is an anthology of ghost and spirit stories that encompass everything from vengeance, closure, or justice from beyond the grave, to portals from which sinister things can enter our world. Take a ride through these stories and explore some of the possibilities of existence beyond life.

Bees of St. John:

Shana Latray needs a vacation. Her life as a telecommunications service provider feels like a dead end. St. John of the Virgin Islands seems like paradise, but behind the frozen drinks, and the beaches, is a complicated history of invasion and ancient predators. Shana Latray realizes quickly that nothing, from the warm, friendly locals, to the ever-present bees among the profuse tropical flowers, are at all what they seem.

Kisses:

Terry Cooper always hated Valentine's Day, more so since losing her husband. In fact, she hated it so much, she inadvertently put a curse on it. Now, dreadful things are happening on this romantic holiday, as anyone who is kissed will die. And in the midst of this crisis, is a strange ancient ghost warning Terry that only she can revoke the curse. But she doesn't know how. What she does know is that if she doesn't find a way, for hundreds of people across the city, their Valentine's Day kisses will be their last.

Tribulations of a Jewish Vampire:

Becoming a vampire was not on Leah Horowitz's list of life goals. Contrary to all the romantic and dark hype about the sexy life of vampires in the movies and books, Leah's life, when she was turned after her fatal motorcycle accident was anything but glamorous. With no guidance but her still human wedding-happy cousin, her orthodox Jewish aunt, and skeptical mother, she almost dies as her culture and her needs as a vampire clash.

Full Circle:

Life for Jim Red Eagle and his family is unfair. He is an auto-mechanic in his Lakota community, who runs a simple honest business. When his son is involved in an accident that leaves him paralyzed, and he can't seem to find anyone who can help them, he starts falling apart. As he sits in the hospital chapel, wondering what to do, a mysterious Irishman shows up. As the two men get to know each other, and the man's shocking history are revealed, Jim finds that good deeds in the past can return in forms he never expected.

The Muse:

Do you ever feel like statues can hear you, see you, feel your presence? Eliza Shourd is a sometime sculptor, filling credits with an art class while she works through another degree. But after falling asleep by the Platte River in the middle of the night, and waking up to a disturbing drawing she didn't remember doing, her life, and her art takes a turn for the dark. When people in her life begin disappearing, she returns to the river to find out why.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Indie Life - It's About Quality

I'm very excited to be part of The Indelibles Indie Life series. These posts run on the second Wednesday of every month and include ideas and articles from a wide variety of indie authors. Check out the links below to learn more about INDIE LIFE.

Last month I spoke about balance.

This month, I want to talk about quality.

When I first jumped on the indie band wagon, I decided that I wanted to be seen as a professional. Whether we like it or not, there seems to be a stigma when it comes to self-published authors. Because our work hasn't been vetted by a traditional publishing house, people question whether our work is good enough. Heck, I even question myself sometimes, but that's a whole other blog post ;-)

The point is, if we want to lose the stigma, we have to act like professional authors. One way of doing that, is to produce quality work. Writing is not something every person can do and it only comes 100% naturally to a few. If you love writing as much as I do and you really want to make a career out of it, then I highly suggest you take the time to study the craft. I thought I could write before, but after taking a two-year writing course and reading many books on how to write well, I realized how many mistakes I was making. I'm not saying I am the world's best writer, but I have come a long way and I now feel confident that I am producing quality work. Work that deserves to be published.

So other than trying to master the craft of writing, what else can you do to strive for quality?

- Use critique partners and beta readers. These guys are worth gold to you. Honest feedback on your first drafts are key to ironing out the creases in your story.

- Pay a professional editor. I know they cost, but can you really afford not to? I did with my first books because I had no money, but I've always regretted it. I now refuse to publish a book until it has been professionally edited.

- Make sure your cover looks as though it belongs on a bookstore shelf. Don't settle for a homemade job when graphic design is not your skill. Covers do not break the bank, but they can break or make book sales.

Aiming to produce quality takes time and a little money, but you will never regret spending a few pennies to make your mark in the reading world. Act like a professional author and you will become one.

That's my theory :-)
What do you think?