Friday, January 28, 2011

#FridayFlash - Burning Times

Something short, sweet, and to the point.  Submitted it to IndieInk but it hasn't been randomly selected yet.  You get to enjoy it now.


***

The lesser clerics were in awe of the prisoner.  Robert knew it was another of the Devil’s tricks she used.  Even if he found her healing remarkable, as head of the Church’s hunters, he could never show it.


The prisoner in question strode tall between her guards, giving no sign of the punishment she’d endured during the last two weeks.  Bruises had faded within hours, broken bones repaired overnight.  The brightness of her eyes never dimmed, and she was never less than proud and full of spirit.


Robert had a grudging respect for the devilspawn.  She’d fought them at every step, and two of his inquisitors were in the infirmary.  Only the threat of flames had quelled her.


The villagers watched, murmuring amongst themselves.  They liked this woman, yet had done nothing to hide her.  Robert’s unease increased as the village grew quiet, the devilspawn mounting the pyre.  She was tied to the post, and smiled up at the sun.


He approached the pyre, torch in hand.  “This be your last chance to repent.”  The reek of oil burned his nose.


She kept her eyes closed, face to the sun.  “Your fire will merely set me free.”


Robert frowned.  The unrepentant heathen had spoken the same phrase over and over since cleansing fire had first been mentioned.  He gritted his teeth, thrusting the brand into the waiting tinder.  “Return to Hellfire.”


Flames roared, rapidly coming to life on the pyre.  Smoke billowed, and the prisoner began laughing.  Fire encroached on her feet, licking at her thin dress, and she laughed harder.  Robert glared, wishing she’d drowned when dunked.


Wood creaked, and another roar came.  Not from the fire, but from an animal throat.  The crowd genuflected, and a monstrous winged shape rose from the pyre.


“God in Heaven” Robert whispered as the dragon took flight.  She’d been telling the truth.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Down with all non-vampire #vampires

At Embrace the Shadows, Robyn Bachar was talking about paranormal romance vampires that aren't really vampires.  She said if there aren't fangs and blood, it just loses her.  (Paraphrasing.)

I whole-heartedly concur with her.  I don't care how romantic or non-monstrous a vampire is, so long as he's still biting.  The feeding and biting is as important as the caring for his woman.

Yes, I've said this before.  And I'll probably say so again.  And again.  And again.  Until I gather up an army of like-minded readers who all cry for the fangs to come back.

Sex is great, and all, but I don't really need yet another immortal guy who can screw really well.  But if he bites, and drinks blood, and has hard fangs to pierce deeply, then he's perfect.  There doesn't even have to be traditional sex, because the bite is more than enough.

Where are the rest of you?  Who else likes vampires for that dark ecstasy?  Stand up and be counted.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cover art

Barring any minor edits, you are looking at the cover art for my new book.  YAY!  This is how I spent a chunk of my weekend, just working the rose over, and deciding what to do with the typeset.

As SVC is more urban fantasy than paranormal romance, I really wanted a cover that refelected that. 

Though my husband is teasing me about the lack of beefcake moobs.  Of course I glare, and he just grins.  It's much fun.

Just a couple more weeks before this will be available.  Much work left to be done.

So, what do you think?  Love it, hate it, non-commital?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Some movies that really worked

I've watched quite a few movies since the last time I talked about them.  Maybe I should be better about that.  Maybe.

Black Swan...my household must be some of the only people to not like this movie.  I honestly think without the masturbation and lesbian scenes, this movie would not be making the impact it is.  To me, there really could have been so much more done with the madness, and descent.  The obsession and insanity and the strangeness ballet dancers go through should have been played with more.  More wondering if she's seeing things, and why she's breaking, and the depths to which she'll go.

True Grit was awesome.  I didn't even realize Matt Damon was in it until the end credits.  (I didn't see the opening credits).  Probably one of his best roles.  And the actress was phenomenal.

The Warrior's Way, if I hadn't mentioned it, is awesome.  Like a great big live-action anime.  So, just my style.

We also got a Netflix stream-only account, and so I've been watching a lot of random movies, and old ones I'd never seen.

Isolation sounds like it's a stupid movie; genetically engineered cows are turning into monsters.  Even though the description on netflix was lame, I put it on for background noise anyway.  And was surprised by how fun and brutal it was.  There was a genetically engineered cow monster, but the movie was more about the characters dealing with it than a rampaging monster.  And the end was great.

Boy Eats Girl is a funny zombie movie, that really works.  I don't know what to say, other than watch it.

Then there was Outcast.  I liked the movie, but only because I started filling in the back story myself.  There was blood magic, and monsters, and non-humans, and a hunter, but so very little is explained.  If I hadn't been making up my own story with it, it would have been very not good.  As it was, it was only meh.  It did make me want to write my own version of it.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Guest post - Jodi Langston

Welcome indie author Jodi Langston, with some good advice for all authors.

***

I think whether indie or traditionally published, it seems like some find overnight success because all we see is the end result…slowly we hear the story behind that success. I think for most of us, success will be slow and will be an uphill battle, riddled with self-doubt and naysayers. One of my favorite quotes is by Genghis Kahn…that which does not kill us makes us stronger.

Self-publishing, like life, is about picking yourself back up, dusting yourself off and moving forward, past the one star reviews and slow sales. My journey started in mid-September 2010 and it has been up and down, but I am determined not to give up.

There are wonderful people and resources out there to help you on your journey, so use them. Social networking through Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and various other sites is necessary to get your name and your work out there. Be helpful to your fellow writer and it will come back to you in loyalty and favors returned. I try to be subtle in my marketing, if one can be, and have joined various group that cross-promote each other. I find being the shy writer, this is very helpful. It is often easier to promote someone else’s work. I joined Independent Author Network and have been pleased with the cross-promoting that goes on. It’s difficult to try and write and promote your work so having others help you in that process, by keeping your name out there, is invaluable!!

Try to connect with people through other passions in your life as well. I enjoy photography and post my pictures on various sites.  I have plans to sell the scripts I’ve written based on my novels, so I have branched out into screenwriting venues to promote my scripts and novels...you never know! I read a blog the other day where one well-placed tweet led to thousands in sales.

Value yourself and the time you have put into your work. Like so many things in life, you get out of self-publishing what you put into it. My sales aren’t monumental but I am seeing a steady increase each month. I have made it to #12 at Amazon in romantic suspense and the top 100 in several other categories. Amazon rankings are fluid and always changing.

If you want something in this life badly enough, you will have to fight for it.  I’m a fighter and I’m here to stay!

Best of luck!
Jodi Langston

Friday, January 21, 2011

#FridayFlash - Full Moon

Here's a story I came up with after Eric Krause's writing prompt.  It poured from me, and I liked where it went.  Might be a tiny bit sick and twisted for some, though.

***

It's a full moon out.  The land is bathed in silver, dark shadows clinging to the forest floor, and people huddle behind locked doors.  Rightly so; the lycans will be out soon.

After they've hunted, I'll be on the corpse.

Maybe they'll get a big moose.  I love them.  So tasty and rich, and so much flesh to share with my normal raven cousins.  Nothing quite like a big liver in the winter months, all buttery smooth good.

The first howls rise, near the hamlet.  My mouth waters at the prospect of human flesh.  They're so much more fearful than animals, so horrified at the prospect of death.  Thinking they're at the top of the evolutionary charts gives them this entitled attitude that just adds to the surprise when they're attacked.

Changing to my corvid form, I take flight.  Humans are so deicate, pink like pigs, but much more tender.  Easier to kill.  The lycans sometimes go nuts, shred them, leaving scattered gobbets of people flesh.  Then me and my cousins have to hunt and peck for the best bits.  It's still good, but it makes the feast too much like work.

Not that I'll complain about free human.

Maybe it will be a small boy they kill.  I caw with joy.  Small boys taste different; of budding youth and potential strength.  They're best just before the testostrone kicks in and hardens their muscles.

I start flying faster, hoping the lycans kill a pregnant girl.  The crunchy little fetus should satisfy my sudden craving.  I can almost feel the peculiar snap of unfinished bones in my beak.  Soft skull with squishy brains, and all the clingy fragments of womb.  I can't wait.

The full moon is out, and it will be a good night.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Meeting a fan

I just got back from having the pleasure of meeting @sara_carty.  I'm giddy as can be, because I got to meet someone I didn't know who read my book.  Head swimming, heart pounding, giddy and excited.

First off, she's a cool beans woman.  Ask her for book recommendations, because she reads voraciously.  If it's paranormal romance, I would guess that she's read it.  And she's also plain cool to talk to.

Second....OMG I MET A FAN!  I honestly don't know which of us was more excited.  That's such a cool moment.  I never ever want this kind of reaction to go away. I always want to be super excited to meet someone who read my book.

So, thank you Sara.  Thank you so much.

Book reviews - HP Mallory and Inner Demons

Inner Demons by Sarra Cannon was very awesome, and a great follow up to Beautiful Demons.  Questions were answered, only to be replaced by more questions.  I'm very intrigued, and waiting for the next part.  Sarra's created a fun world full of darkness that really captivates.  A must read.

This will seem totally unfair, but I'm going to spend more time on Mallory's books.  I LOVE Sarra's series, and I want to see her very successful, but I have a hard time saying more than, "This is great, check it out."  I shall remedy this after the third book.

Finished both Fire Burn & Cauldron Bubble and Toil & Trouble by HP Mallory.  I loved the worlds that were created, and the breadth of characters.  The narration was great, in a style that was friendly and light without being just chatty and an anecdote.  Sinjin was awesome, though it should be no surprise that I prefer a vampire character.

*possible spoilers*

I do have a couple tiny quibbles, though.  Mostly with the second book, Toil & Trouble, and how it ended.  I had no problems with the going back in time, and as soon as Rand was there, I knew Jolie was the woman he'd bonded with.  I actually liked that, and liked how different the characters were.  But I felt the actual solution to be forced, along with the reasons no one recognized Jolie.  And Mercedes just ending the war was a giant deus ex machina.  It took the pressure out of the war, made it no big thing.

Won't stop me from reading the next book, though.  I was just displeased with the hand of the goddess coming in and laying everyone to rest.  Not only on a personal level, but I felt robbed of anything climactic and epic.

I also thought Jolie suffered a little much from the everyone wants her syndrome.  She's thrust into the paranormal world, and everyone wants to get in her pants.  It gets a little distracting at times, but isn't really a big deal in the end.

Like I said, little quibbles.

And I just about died of laughter when she had an elder vampire names Varick.  I got an absolute blast out of Jolie saying it was the quintessential vampire name.  Made me feel that I'd made a great choice when I found that name.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Guest post - Out of the Slush Pile by John Betcher

Please welcome indie author, John Betcher


***




Out of the Slush Pile and Out to the Readers
by John L. Betcher


Since I am a self-published author, I have to deal with all the same challenges that other self- and indie-published authors must confront. Writing and editing my books. Designing interiors and exteriors. Finding a quality printer. And selecting distribution channels.


But I think the single greatest challenge self- and indie-publishers face is how to differentiate their books from the growing slush pile of unvetted publications inundating the publishing world.


Depending on whose numbers you believe, it appears that there will be more than a million new book titles published this year in the United States. About two-thirds to three-quarters of them will be self- or indie-published books.


Who’s in charge of determining the quality of all these publications?


Well . . . we would like to think that mainstream publishers still give their titles a thorough vetting – though some readers would claim the overall quality of traditionally-published books has declined a bit during the present upheaval in the publishing industry. And mainstream book reviewers still devote 99% of their attention to these traditionally published books. We should expect that their reviews are honest and useful to readers.


But just how does a self-published author make his or her book stand out from the other 700,000 or so new self-published titles flooding the book distribution systems?


The optimistic answer is that “the cream will rise to the top.” Although I am optimistic, I don’t personally see the opportunity for the cream to rise when the milk is spilled all over, as it is in today’s publishing world.


For example – If you are an avid reader of thrillers (the genre in which I write), how can you find my books in the “slush pile” without first knowing my name or the title of my book?


Here are some possibilities–


Why not search Amazon, or B&N for “thrillers”? Good idea.


Wow! Lots of thrillers out there. Don’t see mine anywhere near the top of the list. Maybe instead of sorting by “Relevance,” we should sort by “Average Customer Review Ratings.” Tried that, too. Lots of different books than the first search. But my thriller still isn’t in the first dozen pages, even though it has a 5.0 star rating from 10 Independent Reviewers (not friends or family).


Maybe if you go to the library and ask for thrillers by indie-authors? Reference Desk: “Sure. I can help with that. What’s the name of the author or the title of the book?”


Okay. That service is helpful once you and your books are already known. But what if the readers are still trying to find the “cream.” They don’t know of you yet. So they can’t ask for you by name. Rats!


There are several websites claiming to be the gatekeepers of quality independent publications. “We separate the wheat from the chaff so you don’t have to.” What about them? Are they the answer?


Reason tells me that no website can afford to hire enough people to give the 700,000 slush pile books a bona fide review. I have visited many of these sites. My conclusion is that nearly all are profit-driven – not really trying to provide a useful reference tool. (If there are bona fide sites out there, I apologize — and good luck to you. I haven’t found you yet.) Rats again.


So just how is the cream supposed to rise from the spilled milk?


As far as I can tell, there is currently no definitive way for a very marketable, high-quality, self-published book to reach its readers without the author employing diligence, hard work and lots of time. And even then, a substantial modicum of fortuity is required.


That’s right. I said you need to be lucky. Believe it!


How do you increase the chances of having good luck with your book?


Just because luck is required for success, that doesn’t mean authors should throw in the hat. Do actors quit because they can’t find good acting parts right away? Not the ones you know about. They didn’t quit. So don’t give up. No white flags allowed.


Instead, try the following:


1) Write well. If readers find your book and don’t like it, it will not be a success.


2) Market creatively, both online and in the real world. Just because there aren’t many really good marketing tools doesn’t mean there aren’t any! Get that website up. Get on Twitter. Maybe on LinkedIn or FaceBook, too. Join some author groups. Share ideas. Make connections.


3) Give free books to libraries. Libraries tend to have a lot of readers stopping in. (Surprise!) Maybe one or more will pick up your book on a whim – or because they like the cover, or the cover text.


4) Seek out Independent Reviewers. If someone happens to stumble upon your book, those reviews will give the reader/buyer greater confidence that your book is the kind of book they want to read.


5) Alert the media to your author activities. Let your local paper, radio station, TV station know when you have book-signings, speaking appearances, published reviews or interviews.


6) Keep writing. The more books you have available, the greater the chance that a reader will stumble upon one.


7) Be patient. Writing and selling books is a marathon endeavor – not a sprint.


8) Keep improving your own skills. This applies to writing, publishing and marketing. Learn from your mistakes. Learn from the successes and mistakes of others. Keep on learning and improving.


9) Undertake any legal means at your disposal to get the word out about you and your books.


Do I guarantee these things will make your “cream rise to the top”? Of course not. But we operate in the real world. There are no guarantees. Until some big player (like Amazon, Google, B&N, Independent Book Sellers of America) promulgates a useful way to discriminate between good indie books, and not so good ones, you will continue to swim upstream.


This is the hand you are dealt. Play it out to the last card! Be tough! Be an author! That’s what author’s do – at least the ones you’ve heard about.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Guest post - Thomas Drinkard

Please welcome indie author Thomas Drinkard!

***

Your name: Thomas Drinkard




ABOUT YOUR BOOK

Name of book and genre: Piety and Murder – Thriller/mystery


What is it about?

Mack Brinson has two major problems. He’s trying to recover from the long trauma of losing the love of his life—his wife Song. Now, his only family, Song’s mother, Huong, is being systematically, and legally, bilked by a sleazy televangelist’s organization.

When Brinson goes to the smarmy preacher’s headquarters in an attempt to stop the thievery, he is physically threatened.

Brinson is a former Green Beret and isn’t intimidated. He goes after the preacher in an attempt to gather embarrassing information. When he gets too close, someone tries to murder him in a running gunfight on the Lake Ponchartrain Bridge.

Brinson meets a woman, Pattie, who finally begins to dissolve the emotional walls he has erected. He begins to learn how to love again. Another woman who figures significantly in the story is the preacher’s nominal wife, Rita.

There is an unseen hand behind the preacher’s organization. The face of the antagonist is unclear, but when Huong is kidnapped, Brinson has to call on his old Special Operations contacts to find the kidnapper and rescue her.

The face of the man behind the televangelist finally becomes clear and shocking. Vengeance: slow and awful lies ahead.


When will it be available? December 1, 2010


What inspired you to write this book?

News stories about the sleaze within the televangelist organizations.


How did you choose the title?

It reflects what the book is about. Hiding behind phony piety is an organization ready to kill.


Who is your favorite character in your novel, and why?

The protagonist, Mack Brinson; he shares many of my views and some of my background.


Who is the ideal reader for your book?

Anyone who likes action-laced thrillers with a love story included.


What are the publicity plans you have coming up?

I’m scheduled to do a reading for a mystery-lover’s group; an interview with local newspapers; press releases to various outlets and a local-author’s reading for libraries in the area.


Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?

I learned quite a bit. I learned that, to write decent dialogue, one must make it ‘sound’ right. Reading the manuscript aloud helps.


Where can readers learn more about your book?

I’ve posted the first chapter and an action scene—a shootout on the Lake Ponchartrain Causeway bridge—on author’s website: http://www.thomasdrinkardwrites.com


Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

I’m currently about one-third through a ‘prequel’ to Piety and Murder. The book shows the origins of the current book. Much of it is set in combat situations. A war story with a love story inside.





ABOUT YOU


Tell us something about yourself. (Where are you from, what is your background, how long have you been writing and anything else we might find interesting about you.)

I was born, reared and formally educated in the Deep South. I’ve been writing and telling stories in one form or another since the first grade. I’ve published poetry in numerous literary magazines and technical articles relating to passing qualification exams for registered securities representatives. I’ve written a complete textbook for that industry and a number of continuing education courses. Like Mack Brinson in Piety and Murder, I’m a former Special Forces (Green Beret is the common term) soldier.


What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Favorite book? Why?

I like many types of books. Currently I’m reading a biography of George Washington. But, I read more fiction than anything. My favorite authors are the ones that have influenced my writing most: John D. McDonald, Robert B. Parker and James Lee Burke.


What is your guilty pleasure read you turn to for sheer entertainment value (book, particular author)?

I wouldn’t say ‘guilty’ but I get a lot of enjoyment from Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series.


Who is your literary idol?

If I could establish a series that engulfs readers, making them sorry when a book ends and panting for the next installment as John D. McDonald did with Travis McGee, or Robert B. Parker did with his Spenser series, I’d be happy.


Was there a favorite writing teacher or mentor?

In college: the late Stanley Rosenbaum and Jack Kingsbury. They were gifted teachers. Two wonderful women who influenced me were the late Anne Carroll George who wrote the hilarious ‘Southern Sisters’ series and Helen Norris Bell whose beautiful short story ‘The Christmas Wife’ was turned into a made-for-TV movie that appears every year.


Where can readers learn more about you?

On my blog; my author’s website or Twitter and Facebook—under my own name.


What sorts of things inspire you as a writer?

World and local events. I see, read and ask ‘…what if…?’


How do you approach a story? Do you start with outlines or something else? Planner or pantster?

The broad outline is in my head, but the scenes often dictate themselves.


Where do you work when writing? What is your ideal creative environment?

My office. What Stanley Rosenbaum called the ‘womb room.’ I need uninterrupted quiet, although I often have music in the background.


When do you write (morning, night)?

Usually not early morning, but otherwise no specific time.


Do you have any writing rituals?

Bring up the word processor, locate the manuscript and start typing. The scene is already in my head. I have to translate it to words.


How do you come up with the names for your characters?

Some are pure invention. Some are hybrids names from people I’ve met, or read about.


Is writing your main creative outlet, or do you have other talents/creative pursuits?

I often do a bit of amateur landscape photography.


Do you ever get writers’ block? How do you tackle it?

Currently, I have two novels underway; the prequel I mentioned and a ‘space opera.’

When either becomes a bit stale, I work with the other.


What’s the most personally challenging aspect of writing?

Treating it as a job. Time management is often a challenge unless I have a deadline.


What is the best advice you can give other writers about writing?

Write about people you like. If your characters don’t fascinate you, no one else will like them either.


What genres do you write in? Why?

Thrillers, action-adventure, mystery and occasionally, a space opera.


Can you tell us about any themes you have running through your stories?

Except for the prequel and a planned sequel, each book stands on its own.


Tell us your “story of getting published.”

I sent query letters and submitted manuscripts to a couple of publishers. Most probably went unread. I found LazyDay almost by accident and, after reading what I could about the company, sent in a submission.


What was your first reaction when LazyDay Publishing offered you a contract?

Delighted. Bought a bottle of champagne and shared it with my wife.


What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?

I read that the definition of a published author is someone who doesn’t give up. I didn’t, thank goodness.


Did you learn anything from publishing this book? What?

Persistence is an absolute requirement. I heard an agent at a recent writer’s conference opine that, if Faulkner submitted Sound and Fury today, he’d probably have great difficulty finding an agent.


If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?

I may have stayed with an agent who originally liked the book. The problem was, she was on the opposite coast, wanted to do things by snail mail, and was trying to emasculate my protagonist. I’ll never know.


What is the best advice you could give other writers about publishing?

Other writers can learn what I did: persistence growing from a belief in the book.


What are your ideas about the future of digital publishing?

Digital publishing is a tsunami building on the horizon. Growth in digital books has been in strong contrast to decline in hardbacks. Then, when one reads the story of a well-known author whose publisher was literally forced by demand to offer a new book in digital format and then the book sold thousands of digital copies the next week, the trend is clear. Readers like the convenience of sitting at home, reading about a book and, with one click, buying it. I think there were those, in the scriptoriums of monasteries, who thought the new-fangled device Gutenberg invented was only a passing fad.



Although readers like the convenience of the ebook, they are still drawn by images. Attractive covers and trailers sell more than bookstore signings.









Monday, January 17, 2011

The anatomy of romance books

Technically, my complaint would go to any book that has an interaction with people.  Since it mostly happens in romance books, that's why I'm titling my article thus.

A couple are being all passionate, and he sweeps her against his broad chest, and kisses her fiercely.  Problem; he's six foot two, she's five foot four.

I just don't understand how a tiny little thing could be pressed tight against her lover and have her mouth devoured.  Granted, I haven't been five for four since about the sixth grade, and don't remember it very much.  He'd have to pick her up, wouldn't he?  I stand next to people eight inches taller than me, and I can't envision it.

Nor can I envision him tucking her under his chin without having to really crick his neck.  She just wouldn't be that tall compared to him.  She'd come mid chest, if that.

Which means it sometimes throws me out of the story when these events happen.  I am suddenly asking myself how it's possible, instead of joying the passionate moment.  I stop, and mentally reconstruct the scene, trying to piece the couple together.

Because it bothers me, I'm now putting extra effort into making sure how my characters are aligned.  Not that I have a lot of couples that aren't close to the same height.  But it's something to keep in mind.

What are other little things that bother you that you now look for?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Reasoning with Vampires

I've become enamored with Reasoning with Vampires.  Not just because she bashes on Twilight, but because of how she does so.

It's all about the bad grammar and poor word choice.  Sure, a little bit about the crappy characterization, but that's not the real focus.

I like studying the problems she brings up, because it's something I can look for in my writing.  I think I've made some of the same mistakes.

And, as a vampire fan, I love anything that trashes Twilight.

Friday, January 14, 2011

#FridayFlash - Karl the wulfen, finale

Yes, the last one.  Maybe just for now.  I was writing the story of a werewolf by request.  He's never come and read the story, and I just don't care enough about werewolves to keep it up for myself.  Maybe I'll return to the world of Karl someday.

***

Karl's heart raced, legs trembling.  He stared at the rifle, too stunned to comprehend what was going on.

Jenny kept her distance, gun braced expertly at her shoulder.  "I'm actually glad you didn't die with the others," she taunted.

"What?"  This had to be a nightmare.  His sweet Jenny couldn't be aiming a gun at him.  Sh couldn't have known about the attack, couldn't be so callous about such a loss of life.

"Now we can use you to find the rest of your kind."  She gestured to the bed with a jerk of her head.  "Just settle back in, why don't ya?"

She meant it.  Jenny was involved with the slaughter.  Karl's heart broke; his darling lover was as vicious as the men he'd destryoed.  Her betrayal was worse, because she'd just been taking care of him so kindly.

The woman would need to die.

Karl growled, crooking his fingers.  The change was coming slowly, more painful because of his recent poisoning.

Jenny knew what was happening.  She fired without taking the time to aim.  Karl dodged, the silver slug cutting his shoulder.  Snarling in pain, the wulfen lunged at the woman, claws sprouting.

She fired again as he tackled her.  The bullet punched through his chest, and claws sank into her sides.  Blood splattered as they went down in a tangle of limbs, cries of pain coming from the pair.

Karl hurt, physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Jenny bit him, fighting any way she could.  The silver burned an already traumatized system.  He couldn't comprehend how his lover had hid her evil nature.  And most of all, he couldn't understand her betrayal. 

Over and over, it came to that.  Hadn't they been in love?  Hadn't he risked the anger of his clan?  Hadn't he made her happy?

Jenny jabbed a thumb into his eye.  Karl snarled, jaws elongated, and bit deeply into her face.  She screamed.  Blood gushed, bone cracked, then she screamed no more.

Slumping to his side, Karl had no fight left in him.  Without his clan, there was nothing worth fighting for.  Darkness claimed him.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Reading updates

So much reading at work, so little that I've been saying about it.  Shame on me.  And no links, because I'm being lazy.

Most recently, I finished Marked by Elizabeth Naughton.  It was okay.  Not really my cup of tea, though the writing was skilled and the plot was fine.  The narrative was just not in a style I care for, and the monsterously brawny male lead was actually a turn off.  There was also a little too much love=sex, and fascination only with the physcial aspects of the couple.  I wouldn't not recommend this book, but I probably wouldn't read anything else from her.

Slave by Cheryl Brooks was another book that wasn't bad, I just didn't personally like.  It's in first person, and the narrator is chatting with you like she's recounting the story.  So there's little asides, and hints at the future, and it just doesn't work for me.  It's hard for me to connect with the character when I feel like it's all an anecdote.  And I could have done with less about how perfect his funny alien cock was, and the wonderful pleasure goo it had.  It was distracting to me.  As with Marked, I won't discourage people from reading it, but I personally won't go out of my way to pick up another of her books.

Pack Challenge by Shelly Lauenston was a change of pace for me, because it features werewolves.  It didn't leave much of an impression on me one way or another.  It was fine to read, mostly enjoyable.  The main character's friends were a little too childish and easily distracted when things needed to be serious, and the climax was over and done with too quickly.  The bad guys appeared from almost nowhere, and then were soundly trounced.  Nothing to make them seem like antagonists, except that we were told so... Very little time was spent with them.

The Cutting Edge by Darcia Helle was one of the only books I thoroughly enjoyed lately.  I related so much with the character when she was having her violent little day dreams, because I too work with selfish stupid customers.  So it was like my regular day, except I've never had a serial killer decide I would understand him.  Everything played out well, and it was a very good book.  Definitely worth getting.  And I'm not just saying that to support a fellow indie author.


I'm looking forward to Inner Demons by Sarra Cannon, and Devil's Eye by Kait Nolan.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Saint Valentine's Clash blurb

As we approach the release of Saint Valentine's Clash, there are going to be more and more things I talk about to hype it up.  I mean, I've got to show off the cover, and the blurb, and all the fun stuff.

So, here's the current blurb.  It just gets you going, doesn't it?


Her powers are growing, her depressions are gone, and Keila is doing what she does best; helping those who need her.  The young psionicist has her life back on track thanks to her considerate vampire lover and close friends that love her.

Varick is out of town, and Keila keeps herself busy to avoid any longing.  Simy is suffering flashbacks from childhood, Giovanni says people are going missing, and a strange presence is affecting Portland.  More than enough for a young psionicist to juggle and solve, keeping herself happy.
Events culminate quickly; Simy is kidnapped, a sex cult is kidnapping people, and an enticing incubus becomes her ward.  Suddenly, it's a race against time with an enemy from her past.

Keila must face her greatest challenge, alone, and prove to the world just how deadly capable she is.

Friday, January 7, 2011

#FridayFlash - The Hunt featuring Keila and Varick

Just a tiny piece with my main characters.  They're much on my mind, because of the rewrites.  Trying to create some new characters for another project, but these will always be my primary loves.

***

Thursday, January 6, 2011

#FridayFlash - The Stuffie That Should Not Be

Joanne woke suddenly, heart racing in her throat. Panic tightened her muscles, and adrenaline was icy in her veins. Darkness filled the room, the only sound coming from the grandfather clock in the hall.

So what had woken her so violently?

Controlling her breathing, Joanne remained still. If someone were in her house, she couldn't alert them that she was awake yet. Didn't need to have them do something irrational because she startled them. After a few minutes of silence, she sat up and turned on her reading lamp.

Sitting next to her can of soda was her newest stuffed animal.

Joanne frowned sharply and picked up the cephalopod. He was the smallest of her collection, almost too cute to go with the rest of her collection. On a shelf above her bed were the rest of her stuffies, where little Cthulhu had been put before bed: a yellow and orange flame; a semi-pterosaur with huge teeth; a puffy black goat with long tentacles; a mass of iridescent bubbles. A collection of the most horrific plush toys ever, and one of them had made its way to her nightstand.

Her overactive imagination played out a meeting of Great Old Ones done in polyfil and cotton, and Joanne laughed. Lovecraft would sit up in his grave if he knew how cute the ancient horrors could be.

Smiling, she set Cthulhu aside and turned the light out. No plushie could be that bad. She needed to stop reading horror stories right before bed, and maybe she'd get through the night. Joanne would certainly stop thinking her stuffies were out to get her.

Overhead, something began a demonic song, piping on a horrible flute.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A grateful new year

I'm not normally cheerful around the holidays.  Not to sound terribly much like I'm whining, but I normally find myself feeling less than accomplished, and a little crushed by the passage of time.

But not this year.

This year, I do feel accomplished.  Two books out in 2010, a story in an anthology, a book coming out soon, and so much more.

Like friends like you.  Thank you all for being here, for reading, for talking, for making everything worthwhile.  You're why I keep writing.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Smash bloghop

Joy of joys, the first blog hop of the year!  Thanks to Babs for hosting the wonderful event.  Check out her blog for a big giveaway, and check out everyone else.  Links at the bottom.

I'll give away a copy of stories with bite o,.,o to everyone who leaves me their email in the comments. Happy New Year to you!


This should be a fun year.  I'm looking forward to all the writing, and all the reading, and all the meeting of new people.  Last year was a big learning experience for me, and I feel ready for everything ahead of me.

Even if it goes by reeeeeaaaallllly fast.

So what are you looking forward to?