deadlyeverafter

The Writing Adventures of The Undead Duo–Julie Hutchings and Kristen Strassel

Surprise! It’s a Shifter Novella!

Today’s Brew:  Spiked Punch.

by Kristen

I did something I never thought I was going to do.  I wrote about shifters. This story started like most stories start for writers: I got an idea in my head that just wouldn’t leave me alone.

Lions toy with their prey before killing it.  But what if her fell for her, instead?

Even though this story came together quickly, I did more research for it than I ever have for any of my full length books.  I’ve never been to Colorado.  This is the story I climbed a mountain for. Obviously, I’m not a lion or a doe.  I had to learn a lot about how these animals behaved.  The coolest part was, their natural behaviors really helped guide the story.  By letting the characters be true to their nature, it moved the plot forward.

I had a lot of fun writing this, and I’m going to write more.  You know, because I didn’t have a full plate or anything to begin with.

Check it out!  The story starts on Halloween, making today the perfect day to share it!

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Available on Amazon

She’s not ready to let fate decide her mate…
For centuries, weredeer in the Colorado Mountains have met their fated partner during The Mate. They shift the autumn they’re ready to produce offspring, and spend the rest of their lives with their mate, for better or worse.
But Daphne wants to be able to choose her own fate. In a town overrun by hunters and woods full of predators, it’s dangerous enough to be a weredeer. Yet, living in an arranged marriage seems even riskier.
His instinct is to kill her, but he let himself get too close…
Mountain Lions toy with their prey before killing it. Deer are their main target, and Woodland Park is ripe with choices during The Mate. Leo never expects his prey to shift to a beautiful human girl when he captures her, especially not one he’s had his eye on for a while. He can’t bring himself to hurt her, instead, he drives her wild with pleasure. But he knows he’s not her mate.
When the lions of the mountain learn that Leo is falling for a doe, he’s forced to reveal his true nature to Daphne. Now that she knows she’s fallen for a predator, can she force herself to leave him, or will she listen to her heart and stay with Leo?

Redefining Success

Today’s brew:  Anything with vitamin C in it.  This stupid cold decided to fight back.

by Kristen

success

I’ve never had a five year plan. They always freaked me out, locking myself into a solid path for five long years.  That was the reason I got my cosmetology license.  I couldn’t commit to years of studying for a degree than might not even land me a better job that I had.

Of course, I look to the future.  I have a retirement account, and I do have goals.  But in general, I’m a panster through and through. My work schedule is always different, and I’m always ready to basically get up and go. I’m an Aries, and this works for me.

When I started writing, my goal was just to finish the book. I was happy any day I got words on the page, and that the story was flowing.  Once I reached that goal, things changed again.  I wanted to publish it.  I feel like there’s tons of information available on what happens between typing THE END and getting your book published, but that’s when people start to quiet down.

Things change.  You’re either tied into a contract, and on deadlines, or you’re self-publishing and working on your own schedule.  As a self-publisher, even though I hire a lot of work out, there’s still so much more to do than I ever imagined.  I have seven books available now.  More are coming. There’s always something that needs to be done, and it’s not just putting words on the page. Yesterday I went shopping to decorate my table at a book signing.  I work from morning to night many days, and I love it. I might not have as much time to be on social media anymore, but it doesn’t mean I’m not here.

Not every book can be a bestseller.  One of my author friends said recently, “I miss the excitement of not knowing.”

My books have had their struggles.  I had to completely tear everything down and start over.  Why? Because things weren’t working.  On a lot of different levels.  I was lucky. I was able to get my rights back almost immediately. Many authors are stuck in limbo in bad deals or defunct houses.  But if you can get your rights, you owe it to yourself and your books to do right by your stories.  Whatever that means. If they need to be reedited, do it. Give them new covers. Any of those things that keep you awake at night are the things you now have the power to change.  It was a ton of work, but I did it.  Now I have beautiful books I can be proud of.  They’re not hitting the NYT list, yet, but they sell. And I’m happy any time someone new finds my stuff.  I’m even happier when people buy Night Moves or We Own the Night, because I know they want to keep reading about these people who started off as just voices in my head.

Now that I’m not a debut author, I know what to expect.  Promo is hard. Julie’s compared it to feeling like a door to door salesman. I’ve compared it to running for office. I’ve had a lot of doors slammed in my face. But so many people have been supportive and more helpful than I could have ever imagined.

I think about writing differently  now. If I should write about something new, or if I should continue a series. It’s a business, and I have to treat like a business. That means profit and loss and other things that give creatives hives. What’s worth the investment.  Many of us shy away from talking about money, but it’s an important conversation to have.  Since I self-published, I paid for the editing, design, and promo out of my own pocket. If you’re not self-published, someone else paid that for you.  And I can tell you whoever wrote those checks wants the same thing:  to make their money back.  It might not happen on every book.  But realistically, there’s only so long you can operate at a loss.  Food and shelter are really, really sexy.

This is one of the reasons I love being indie.  I’m a control freak. All those charts and numbers, even though I’m not a math person, I am competitive. Give me a goal and that’s like talking dirty to me. I like being able to change things up and take chances.  So here’s what I’ve learned:

  • There are a lot of books that come out every day. And a lot of people believe in those books. It’s hard to have your voice heard in the crowd. Harder than I ever imagined.
  • Just because things don’t explode on release day doesn’t mean that your book is dead. All it takes is for it to fall in the right hands, and to be in the right place at the right time.
  • That doesn’t you don’t have to get the word out!  “Write a good book and people will find it” is the most misleading piece of advice out there. On some levels, it’s true. But how are you going to get it in anyone’s hands to get them talking about your book?
  • You can revive a book at almost any stage of the game.
  • If you don’t like how things are going for you and your books, change it. No, it won’t be easy. But yes, it will be worth it.
  • Keep writing. Your books will get better and better.

Success is going to look different for every one of us. What you consider success might change a couple times along they way. Do what’s best for you. Don’t worry about what someone else doing.  You’re the only one who can define success for you.

Welcome Back to Life, Dracula! MY LIFE BEYOND THE GRAVE by Kai Kiriyama

TODAY’S BREW: Godiva Pumpkin Spice like a fancy queen of things.

By Julie

Perfect timing for a juicy vampire book, our darling friend Kai Kiriyama has released an amazing novel into the wild and had this to say about it:

MY LIFE BEYOND THE GRAVE is a project dear to my heart, a pet project that combines my love of vampire mythology and my love of macabre history. Dracula has always held me in thrall, ever since I was first introduced to him when I was 10 or so. (And it was, I must admit, through Dracula Dead and Loving It that I really fell in love with him.) This book represents a love affair that I’ve had with Dracula ever since. I’ve taken history and given it a new life in this book. This is my coming of age Dracula story, a look at the history and an examination of a man who must forever live with the sins he committed as a human. I hope that this book will rekindle your love for Dracula, and for vampires. Thank you for checking me out.

And of course, a HUGE thank you to my lovely, gracious, wonderful hosts here. I couldn’t do this without your support. Thank you. xx

-Kai Kiriyama

MyLifeBeyondtheGrave

HERE, HAVE AN EXCERPT:

MORTAL DEATH

 

As with all men, even I had to die.

According to the history books, and yes, I am narcissistic enough that I went back and checked the facts to see what people have been led to believe about me, I was killed in a skirmish somewhere that no one is quite certain of, and that the exact date of my death is up for debate.

They also say that the men who killed me took my head back to Constantinople. Obviously that is a damn lie. Immortal though I am, removing my head will kill me permanently. That was one of the first things that I was taught when I awoke as a vampire for the first time. Furthermore, I didn’t die by the road in a skirmish when they say that I did. There’s a reason that the history books have no accurate date for my death. Did you ever think to question why?

The scholars believe in part that it was to keep morale up, that the men fighting with me during my short third reign didn’t want to admit that I was dead, and that they fought hard to keep my death a secret, and to keep my remains from being taken to Constantinople.

That was not true. Well, it was partly true, but my head was not removed from my body.

The person who was killed and thought to be me was one of my doubles. I had hired three men to pretend to be me. They were given explicit instructions and were made up to resemble me ever more closely than they already did.

My wife was not aware of this fact, however, and I made sure that she believed me to be dead when the reports reached her ears. As soon as that part of the ruse was completed, I never saw my wife again.

It pains me to this day that I was never able to live a life with her, and I don’t know if I was ever a father, or if she remarried. I chose to leave that part of me behind when I became the thing that I am now, and I have never even considered the thought of finding a woman to bring into this new life of mine. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone who I cared about. It isn’t as glamorous as the movies make it seem.

My death as a mortal happened at the end of October. It was when my contract was set to expire, and when my reign as Prince Dracul would end forever. I made the deal when I was in prison and feverish and I don’t remember what the terms were, I was convinced that I was talking to myself the whole time, but here I am.

The only regret that I have is that I was not given more time.

I suppose that, looking back on it, I would have been killed sooner than I would have liked had I not been given over to the unlife I live now.

I was just beginning to enjoy being Prince again. The old bloodlust returned, the fierce pride in my kingdom, the desire to make it better. I am, after all, my father’s son.

I was not ready to go, and two months into my final reign and I was forced to give it all up, instead of using my powers to rule as an immortal Prince and put and end to the fighting once and for all. Alas, I was unwelcome in my homeland once the deed was completed.

So I allowed my death to be exaggerated and my doubles were killed in different skirmishes. My “head” was brought to Constantinople when my third and final double was killed and it solidified the end of Vlad Dracul.

I was, however, already dead by the time this was happening. I died on the night of October 31 and was reborn in the early hours of November 1 in the year of 1476.

My mortal death was one that was not greeted by a funeral. Neither deaths that I suffered through were particularly peaceful or celebrated in the way that you would want it to be. The men who were my doubles were treated poorly, hastily buried when it was realized that they were not truly me, and spit upon and cursed for their treachery and lies. My first two doubles were left in shallow, unmarked graves where they fell. My men in both skirmishes were beaten back as the Ottoman forces grew more determined to take the body of Vlad Dracul back to their leaders.

When it was discovered that I had tricked them, the Ottoman forces were in such a rage that stories of their anger spread across the country like wildfire. I had tricked them, twice, and sent them into a howling fit. I had made them a laughingstock across the country and word of their stupidity passed the lips of everyone who had once feared them. This would be the quiet legacy of mine that would colour the stories of my brutality. Vlad Tepes was as clever as he was brutal, and not even the Turks were safe from my trickery.

I watched these things happen from a distance, unable to help, unable to interfere lest I truly be caught and killed. I was already living on borrowed time, and I had so much to do to set my affairs in order before I was to be whisked away from my mortal life and taken into the clutches of the dark of night as a vampire.

I certainly did not get everything done that I had wanted to and the creature who had offered me immortality came to collect his due right on schedule.

I fought against him for a week.

“Mortal one, it is time,” he said the first night he found me. I was going over military strategies for the next leg of the fighting that I was about to lead.

“I cannot come with you right now,” I argued. “We are winning for the first time in weeks, and I am desperate to take this next leg of the journey. What is one more night without me when there are hundreds of men, my own and Ottoman alike, upon whom you may feed?”

“You drive a hard bargain, little Mortal, but I will allow it.”

I argued with him this way for a week. Always one last thing to do. One last leg of the battle, one last conquest, one last woman. One more night, master, please, I beg you.

I was taken in the night, without warning. I had no time to argue with him when he had made up his mind that I had to be stopped. At this time, my “head” was just arriving in Constantinople, and I hadn’t seen my men that day. As far as they knew, I had been killed on the battlefield, when really I had been in a small hovel, hiding and trying not to let my men know that I had not been killed. My master came upon me that night as soon as there was no one around. I was reading by candlelight, waiting for my men to arrive with reports. I had two men I trusted with the plan of my doubles, and they had been keeping me abreast of all the happenings of the war in my absence. My master arrived and startled me.

“You are not who I was expecting,” I told him, brusquely.

“Your men believe you dead.”

“Not all,” I snapped. “I have men who know the truth.”

“And I have stepped in and bent their minds. They now know you are dead, there is no more time to stall.”

Whatever he did to me, I could not argue. He was upon me in a flash. I could not scream, I could not fight back, I had lost control of my body and my mind and I fell into stunned silence as he fell upon me with the swiftness of a wolf. I sat there, reeling from the wounds inflicted upon me that would grant me my immortality; I felt that I had not accomplished enough. I was forty-five years old when I died. I was alone, in a hovel, left to die as my blood seeped out from two delicate holes in my neck. I was left to suffer through the slowing of my heart; with nothing to keep me company except the memories of life only half lived. I hoped that I would see my brothers soon, that I would join them in death to be welcomed into their embrace in the afterlife, but that was not true. I forgot that, as my life drained away and my breathing became shallow and laboured, that I would not be joining them. Not yet.

I still had a contract that needed to be fulfilled.

Read another excerpt on Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/story/25029410-my-life-beyond-the-grave-the-untold-story-of-vlad

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

kai

Kai Kiriyama is a Canadian Asgardian geek with an affinity for Pokemon and Shakespeare.  Accomplished at divination through crystals, pendulum, tea leaf reading and palmistry, Kai oftentimes frightens herself (and her clients!) with the accuracy of what she predicts. Convinced that both her to-read and to-write piles will never be completed, Kai tries not to worry too much about it. Oftentimes, you can find her hanging around on twitter and dispensing dubious advice through her blog.

WEBSITE: http://www.theraggedyauthor.com

TWITTER: http://www.twitter.com/raggedyauthor

TUMBLR: http://www.theraggedyauthor.tumblr.com

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/thekiriyamaheir

ADD ON GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23303143-my-life-beyond-the-grave

Buy on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/483291

Buy for Kindle on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OC2X93M

Buy on kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/my-life-beyond-the-grave-the-untold-story-of-vlad-dracula

 

 

Julie’s thoughts on FALLEN SON, DARKEST NIGHT by Melissa Petreshock

TODAY’S BREW: Tea. Oh stop it, I can have tea sometimes.

By Julie

When someone can give me writing reminiscent of Anne Rice (when Anne Rice was Anne Rice and not “oh, her again), this is a major accomplishment. It’s not every writer than can create a world so rich that the reader is taken completely out of the moment and inserted into the novel. Melissa Petreshock manages to do this not only in her debut novel, FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS, but in this incredible prequel short story she does it again. More importantly, the darkness and intensity of the characters really shines in this story, putting me head over heels for Dante, who I am definitely not supposed to find as alluring as I do. But he says stuff like THIS:

“Perhaps you can teach me to be like you, to feel sorrow rather than rage, to desire sacrifice rather than seek revenge.” His voice drops low. “Save me.”

And then you throw at me mythology that is unparalleled in its depth, and I can’t resist. Vampires, dragons, gods, you name it, you get it and it’s done so seamlessly and cohesively that I am in awe of her ability to mesh such beings into one storyline.

FSDN - Cannot escape promo teaser

Introduce yourself to this amazing world through FALLEN SON, DARKEST NIGHT.

FSDN Cover Art AVAILABLE NOW ON WATTPAD http://www.wattpad.com/72617517-fallen-son-darkest-night?d=ud

After four millennia of waiting for change, the Mother Goddess sees no other recourse but to summon Theo Pendragon to perform his sacred duty as one of the Dracopraesi, imprison her only son in the Underworld, and save her people.

Given the​ vast destruction Dante has caused ​in the Earthen Realm, Theo is prepared to fulfill Dana’s request​ without hesitation​, but ​when confronted with ​unexpected events and a plea for mercy, will the dragon ​find him worth redemption, or is it too late for this dark soul to seek forgiveness?

FALLEN SON, DARKEST NIGHT is a ​short story companion to FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS (Stars and Souls Book 1). ​Three thousand years before Caitriona Hayden is even born, Dante’s actions and Theo’s decision impact the destiny that awaits them all.

Melissa A. Petreshock_ smaller file

Melissa A. Petreshock is a full-time writer and member of the Romance Writers of America with past experience in the medical and educational fields, though she has primarily devoted her adult life to raising a family. Born and raised in Kentucky, Melissa spent a number of years in Massachusetts, living outside Boston and in Springfield before returning to her home state where she now resides on a small farm. She enjoys quiet married life and the silliness of her three children, indulging hobbies of music, Zumba, and a minor television addiction in what little free time she finds. Melissa’s interests include causes demanding social change such as mental health awareness and teen suicide prevention. FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS is her debut NA Fantasy Romance novel.

 

You can find Melissa on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

 FSDN - Fate at birth promo teaser

 

The Tethering by Megan O’Russell

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Today, Megan O’Russell stops by to ask some interesting questions about building paranormal worlds, and talk about her new release, The Tethering.

Purchase through (Click on the Appropriate Link):

Silence in the Library Publishing
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords

Vampires that sparkle. Vampires that fly. Are werewolves victims of a disease, or is it a hereditary trait usually found in biker gangs? Do fairies have wings? Are they human size or tiny? These are the questions fantasy authors have to ask themselves. Are ghosts allowed in your world, or do they not exist? Are witches and wizards found in castles or walking the streets? Do you have vampires but not centaurs?

When I found myself writing a fantasy novel, one of the most enchantingly fun things I did was decide what paranormal and magical rules needed to exist in my world.

All sixteen-year-old Jacob Evans wants is to win the heart of Emilia Gray, but with order in the magical world crumbling, war threatening, and Emilia’s boyfriend living across the hall, he may never have the chance.

Jacob Evans loses everything he has ever known and is tossed into a world of magic. The Dragons, a group of rebel wizards, are threatening to expose the existence of magic to humans. Jacob is determined to find a way to fit into Emilia’s family, but as his powers grow, so does the danger. With the death toll mounting, Jacob is accused of acts of rebel terrorism and must fight to stay in a world he’s only just beginning to discover.

When Emilia’s life is threatened, Jacob must risk everything to save her. Does he have the power to rescue her in time? And what could their survival cost?

Jacob is a wizard in a world of cell phones, and a big part of his story is his finding a way to live in both the world he knows and the magical one he’s just discovered. Allowing him to learn about what werewolves might be and if fairies exist helped me to define the world of The Tethering. But even as he learns, all the secrets of the world are not revealed. Magic and places that have been lost through time are found and change everything.

So how do you decide what rules your characters live by? How do you show your readers? And how often do you cheat?

Answer here or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ORussellauthor  or Tweet your answer to @MeganORussell

And don’t forget to order The Tethering and learn about Jacob Evans’s world.

INTRODUCING FALLEN SON, DARKEST NIGHT by Melissa Petreshock!

TODAY’S BREW: Godiva Pumpkin Spice, for I am the Fall Queen

By Julie

Our dear friends over at The Dragon Blog have given us the opportunity to share with you THIS by the darling, no matter how fresh, Melissa Petreshock, author of FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS. You can find my very own review of this story next week right here.

FSDN Cover Art

FALLEN SON, DARKEST NIGHT by Melissa A. Petreshock

After four millennia of waiting for change, the Mother Goddess sees no other recourse but to summon Theo Pendragon to perform his sacred duty as one of the Dracopraesi, imprison her only son in the Underworld, and save her people.

​Given the​ vast destruction Dante has caused ​in the Earthen Realm, Theo is prepared to fulfill Dana’s request​ without hesitation​, but ​when confronted with ​unexpected events and a plea for mercy, will the dragon ​find him worth redemption, or is it too late for this dark soul to seek forgiveness?

FALLEN SON, DARKEST NIGHT is a ​short story companion to FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS (Stars and Souls Book 1). ​Three thousand years before Caitriona Hayden is even born, Dante’s actions and Theo’s decision impact the destiny that awaits them all.

Available October 21, 2014 on Wattpad http://www.wattpad.com/72617517-fallen-son-darkest-night?d=ud

FSDN - Fate at birth promo teaser

About The Author

Melissa A. Petreshock is a full-time writer and member of the Romance Writers of America with past experience in the medical and educational fields, though she has primarily devoted her adult life to raising a family. Born and raised in Kentucky, Melissa spent a number of years in Massachusetts, living outside Boston and in Springfield before returning to her home state where she now resides on a small farm. She enjoys quiet married life and the silliness of her three children, indulging hobbies of music, Zumba, and a minor television addiction in what little free time she finds. Melissa’s interests include causes demanding social change such as mental health awareness and teen suicide prevention. FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS is her debut NA Fantasy Romance novel.

Melissa A. Petreshock_ smaller file

You can find Melissa on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Being an author IS a job. And it’s the BEST job.

deadlyeverafter:

I think anyone who is self-employed can identify with this. Just because you happen to wear pajamas while you work, doesn’t make what you less of a job.

Originally posted on Tammy Farrell:

I’m tired of being told (usually in thinly veiled statements) that being an author isn’t a job. Any writer that writes on a full-time or regular part-time basis will shout from the rooftops–IT IS!

One time, not too long ago, I was feeling overwhelmed with the projects I had on the go. I had more than one manuscript in the works, I had lots of editing to do (both for myself and someone else), and I was still trying to navigate the world of author marketing for my published current novel. I must have been complaining. I usually don’t mean to. I know I’m incredibly lucky to have the ability to commit my time to fulfilling my dreams. But sometimes, I just need to vent.

So there I was, bitching about all the things I had to do and the little time I had to do them in, and someone…

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We need to talk about…

deadlyeverafter:

Publishing is a dirty business at times, and often at the expense of us doe-eyed authors that are just excited to see publishers that are excited about their books. I was incredibly lucky that Books of the Dead Press took interest in me because James Roy Daley and the press itself are not just honest but respectful of their authors, respectful of the business, and do this thing for all the right reasons. Reading the posts about Permuted Press is crucial if you’re a writer in my opinion.

Originally posted on Graeme Reynolds's Blog:

something-stinks_165Over the past year, something has been bothering me. It’s not something that has affected me directly, but it is affecting an increasing number of my friends. I need to be very careful about this blog post and I need to state up front that some of this post is speculation, because I don’t want an army of corporate lawyers descending on my arse. So, I am not going to name any  names and I will make very clear what the facts seem to be and my speculation on what this might mean.

In the middle of 2013 a very well respected small press changed hands. The original owner was highly regarded within the community, was trusted and respected. I actually dealt with him briefly before Moonstruck came out because he wanted the High Moor series, although I eventually walked away from the deal. This, it seems, was the best…

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The Undead Interview: The Undead Duo Regroups

TODAY’S BREW: Kristen and I will begin consumption of alllll the Godiva Pumpkin Spice

By Julie

But really both of us

I’m just the one typing and it’s at my apartment.

Kristen and I became the Undead Duo when we started writing our vampire books together three and a half years ago, though we’ve been friends since we were both frizzy haired pre-teens living in the same apartment complex. We started this blog to document our writing journey as friends, as then unpublished, unagented writers starting from scratch.

Life changed. So we’re going to do a series of blog posts, a Then and Now-er to show you a few things:

  • There is no worse mistake than not trying.
  • When you don’t like the rules, change them. Scowl at those who protest.
  • The Undead Duo is still a duo, baby.
  • There’s more than one way to skin a book. You get it. You know what I mean. Stop that.

So, we’re kicking this sucker off with a Duo Interview. A few questions we came up with that we’ll both answer.

How is writing going now that we don’t get together 2 or 3 times a week to beat each other over the head and motivate one another?

(paraphrased, because we’re sitting together on my couch right now discussing this.) We’re both a lot busier than we used to be, and so our writing dates are rare these days. We both miss getting together, having a beer or 4 and writing until the wee hours together, but these days Kristen has two full time jobs between makeup and book writing/marketing. I’ve got two kids on two different school schedules, one of which has OCD and hyperactivity, plus I’ve been doing developmental editing consistently in addition to always writing a book.

The point of all this is WE STILL ALWAYS ARE WRITING BOOKS. Circumstances have changed, but we got each other into routines, and we know that if the other isn’t writing for a period something is wrong. Usually we see that in more ways than one, because if you’ve ever taken writing away from the writer, you’ll see that it gets ugly reeaaallly fast. Writing is a part of our professional lives now, and it’s because we made it that way. While we still hang out together and still have our hands in the other’s work, we have a routine in our own lives now that we created together.

As Kristen said, “I no longer need daily goals, that if I don’t reach I know you’re going to kick my butt, I do it because these characters are kicking the inside of my skull.  The words come pretty easily, as long as I can sit down and write them. Where before I would have been really proud of a 200 word day, 2000 words is more the norm now.”

How is your writing approach different now than it was a few years ago?

Kristen: “Before if I hit 1000 words it was an event, something to be congratulated. Now it’s part of my daily life, the words need to come out.”

Julie: “I lived on a 1000 word a day diet for quite some time, getting up at 5 in the morning to get my word count in, or going to Kristen’s to have some quiet. Now my words happen at different times of the day, and there’s no way to have the utter concentration I once did. So I edit, I revise, I commit to getting it on paper throughout the day.”

What’s different and what’s the same?

Kristen: “The delivery method. I’m no longer looking for an agent or a publisher, I’m seeking no one’s approval. Self-publishing is a small business that I’m running. I have a lot more responsibility now that circles around the writing.  I commission my editors and designers.  I set all release dates and approve all marketing.  If something isn’t working, I don’t have to lump it any more. I change it. I can try new things.  I’ve always been a bit of a control freak, and this is perfect for me.  I’m much happier on my own than I was chasing an ideal that I’m not convinced really exists.”

Julie: “What’s the same is that I write what I want, what’s speaking to me no matter what the trend. What’s different is now I know that I don’t need to kiss agent ass in order to find one. My agent saw spark in my work, and he was into it and into me. It had nothing to do with trying to impress. I also know that there are a lot of ways to get a book out, and every book might require a different way. The Shinigami series is published through Books of the Dead Press. The Harpy is being marketed to larger publishers through my agent. The Animal has a different path and timing. And who knows about the one I’m working on now? What I do know is that my books will come out one way or the other. There is no try, there is only do.”

We began taking every step of the writing journey together, from first draft to querying agents, to posting our books online for critique, but we’ve ended up in very different places. Why do you think that is?

Kristen: “I think different opportunities presented themselves to us at very different times, and we had different needs and goals even if we didn’t realize it. We both wanted our books out but that meant something different for both of us and we didn’t know what we didn’t know. And once we were both published, success looked very different to each of us. And in some ways we were both so grateful to have books out that we never dared to talk about what else we wanted. We both found success to be in different things.”

Julie: “I agree. I think we needed the support and it was hugely helpful to go through publication being able to see the differences between my path through small press at that time and yours through being put on submission with larger publishers through an agent, then self-publishing. It’s helped me learn allllll the options out there and make a more educated decision for each one of my books. Starting together and taking parallel paths made me realize that the rules are always changing in publishing and I can make that work for me.”

Well, that’s it! Our Undead Interview for this week and next week we’ll dive into what our expectations were up until this point and what we actually got. We’ll pick over our choices and mistakes and maybe get a little ugly. See you then.

Introducing ISLA’S INHERITANCE by Cassandra Page!

TODAY’S BREW: I’ve filled my cheeks with pumpkin spice and that’s going to be all day long.

By Julie

I’ve been waiting for this book for what seems like the length of Hulk Hogan’s longest hair. (It’s super early. Check in later for a better metaphor later. A betaphor.) I’m very excited to see my good friend Cassandra Page’s gorgeous book come to life finally!

Isla

HOW STUNNING?!

Isla was content to let her father keep his secrets, but now she can’t stand the touch of iron and her dreams are developing a life of their own. She must discover the truth — before it’s too late.

Seventeen-year-old Isla Blackman only agrees to participate in a Halloween party séance because Dominic, an old crush, wants to. She is sure nothing will happen when they try to contact the spirit of her mother. But the séance receives a chilling reply.

SHE IS NOT DEAD.

Isla doesn’t want to upset her father by prying into the family history he never discusses. When the mysterious and unearthly Jack offers to help her discover the truth, Isla must master her new abilities to protect her loved ones from enemies she never knew existed.

Goodreads | Amazon | Smashwords

OH, WHAT YOU WANT AN EXCERPT NOW? *EYE ROLL*

“Okay.” Emma rolled up her sleeves so they wouldn’t trail on the table. She slid the upturned scotch glass so the pentagram was centred within it. “Everyone put a finger on top of the glass.” We did. “Ready?” Without waiting for a response, Emma tilted her face towards the ceiling. “Is anyone there?”

Nothing happened.

“Is anyone there?” Emma asked again. She didn’t seem worried. I glanced at Dominic, whose face had fallen.

“Is anyone there?”

The glass began to inch along the surface of the paper, picking up speed as it slid towards the YES. Tamara gasped, going white under the makeup; that pale, she looked like a porcelain doll. Emma smiled, enjoying her moment. The guys watched with wide eyes.

“Welcome.” Emma smiled. “What’s your name?”

I studied the glass in its nest of fingers as it spelled out D-A-N-I-E-L. My eyes narrowed, searching for the whitening around the fingertips that would indicate someone was pushing the glass. Was that why Emma had turned off the light—to hide the tells?

“Hello, Daniel.” Emma smiled again. “Daniel’s my spirit guide,” she added in an aside to the rest of us as the glass slid across to HELLO.

I watched with a frown as the others asked questions of Daniel: where he was born, how he’d died, that sort of thing. I didn’t pay much attention; I was busy trying to see how the trick was being performed. It was a normal scotch glass and, if anyone was pushing it, they were being discrete. Emma was good.

Finally, she looked around the table at us. “Daniel can act as our intermediary to the afterlife, protecting us from evil spirits. Do any of you have relatives who have passed over that you’d like to contact? A grandparent or anything?”

“My grandpop’s dead, but he was an old bastard.” Kurt laughed. “I don’t want to talk to him. Besides, your Daniel wouldn’t let him through if he doesn’t like evil spirits.”

Tamara shook her head; Dominic turned to me. “Isn’t your mother dead?” he asked softly.

“Yes.” I looked away. I’d never known my mother. She’d died giving birth to me. But I didn’t like the idea of turning her into a parlour trick.

Dominic saw my hesitation and looked sheepish. Emma brightened, though. “What was her name?” she asked.

“Melanie,” I said reluctantly. “Melanie Blackman.”

“Hey, we don’t have to do this if you don’t want to,” Dominic said.

“It’s all right,” I said. It wasn’t real. It didn’t matter.

“Melanie Blackman, are you there?” Three times Emma repeated the call, and, as before, the glass didn’t move until the third time.

NO.

“No?” Emma looked surprised—which was itself surprising, given she was the one moving the glass. “Melanie Blackman, are you there?”

The glass circled away from the word and back again, rattling across the paper.

NO.

Obviously that wasn’t meant to happen. “Daniel, are you there?”

There was a long delay while I imagined a sheet-covered ghost handing over the receiver of a telephone. YES.

“Why isn’t Melanie Blackman there?”

It wasn’t real. It didn’t matter. But I still held my breath as I watched the glass spell out the reply.

S-H-E [SPACE] I-S [SPACE] N-O-T [SPACE] D-E-A-D.

I KNOW, RIGHT? Cassandra Page is a wonderful writer, friend and human being, and she’s so wonderful she’ll let you enter to win a $50 Amazon gift caaaard! (insert Oprah voice)

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Isla_mirror

Author bio

Cassandra Page is a mother, author, editor and geek. She lives in Canberra, Australia’s bush capital, with her son and two Cairn Terriers. She has a serious coffee addiction and a tattoo of a cat — which is ironic, as she’s allergic to cats. When she’s not reading or writing, she engages in geekery, from Doctor Who to AD&D. Because who said you need to grow up?

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