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

THE CRIMSON CORSET: Interview and Excerpt with the Amazing Alistair Cross

TODAY’S BREW: Target brand Chocolate Cupcake AND IT REALLY TASTES LIKE ONE!

By Julie

Alistair Cross is a great friend and an amaaaazing writer. His poetry and his horror work is so sensual and evocative, it’s unparalleled. So when I demanded the opportunity to preview his first solo novel, THE CRIMSON CORSET on Deadly Ever After. I seriously cannot wait. HERE, LET ME SHOW YOU ONE OF MY FAVORITE POEMS OF HIS AND YOU’LL SEE WHY.




  • You’ve come up with some really unique and beautifully disturbing ideas for THE CRIMSON CORSET that remind me of your poetry, which as you know, I’m in love with. Tell us about the crimson corset itself.

Thanks for loving the poetry! The poetry loves you, too!

Regarding the actual crimson corset … it refers to two things. First and foremost, it is a literal corset – a very special garment worn by my undead antagonist, Gretchen VanTreese, when she’s feeling uninspired. There are specific reasons this article of clothing is so special to her – macabre, gruesome reasons that I can’t expound upon without giving spoilers. I can say that some very special care went into the construction of the garment and because of those unnamed specifics, the corset represents to Gretchen a passage into power, and freedom from her past – it is a symbol of what she could become.

Then there’s Gretchen’s nightclub, The Crimson Corset, named for that very special red bodice of hers. Purchased in 1912 when Gretchen and her band of Loyals settled in Crimson Cove, the Swiss-Chalet-style former lodge is notorious for its wild parties and long history of debauchery and excess. Built over underground tunnels of the rum-running days of Prohibition, there’s a lot more to this club than any of the locals know. This club was a ton of fun to write and it became a character in its own right as a lot of the action and danger takes place there.

As for the book … The Crimson Corset is the first in a series titled The Vampires of Crimson Cove. It begins when a seemingly ordinary young man named Cade Colter who moves to the little California village of Crimson Cove where he discovers he’s not so ordinary after all. Unbeknownst to him, Cade has a genetic rarity that makes him very extraordinary, indeed … and very valuable Gretchen VanTreese.

As Cade becomes the object of Gretchen’s obsession, the peaceful faction of vampires on the other side of town must call off the ancient and uneasy truce between their Loyals and Gretchen’s in order to protect Cade Colter. But Gretchen has already begun laying an elaborate trap that will put Cade, and everyone around him, in mortal danger.

  • Tell us about Jazminka and her very unique weapon choices.

Jazminka is Gretchen’s second-in-command, and she’s one of my favorite characters in this book. Born in Yugoslavia in the 1700s, Jazminka has had plenty of time to perfect her skills. She can drain a grown man of blood in six seconds or less without spilling a single drop, and she uses weapons of only the most fashionable kind to do it. From her steel-tipped stiletto heels, to the flowing chiffon of her glove-sleeves that serve as garottes, Jazminka is a woman who dresses to kill. Literally.

  • We share a love of making vampires that stand out amongst the others in the genre, but you like your classic vampire to stay that way. What makes your vampires yours?

I actually never envisioned myself writing a vampire novel and I haven’t read much vampire fiction in recent years, so it’s hard for me to say what makes my vampires different – because I don’t know what to compare them to. I do know that I have a respect for the traditional vampire genre, and didn’t want to stray too terribly far from that, so I hope that if my vampires are particularly unique for something, it’s because they aren’t so unique that they lose the integrity of the legend.

  • You’re a self-proclaimed character writer. Tell me about it.

Before I sit down to write, I do two things. First, I spent several weeks submerged in research and story development – and then I consider two to three possible endings for the story. After that, I just write. It’s difficult to explain how your characters can execute the story according to their own wills, but that is exactly what happens. Some writers understand this and some don’t. I think it’s just one of many inexplicable creative processes. How can anyone explain creativity of any kind? Where does it come from? It’s a slippery slope, my friend.

  • You’ve got mermaids and vampires in one book! Talk!

Ha ha! Well, the mermaids are vampires. Now, before you start thinking I have actual mermaids with sharp fangs swimming around and biting scuba divers, let me explain. Near Crimson Cove is a very real little town with an old, abandoned lodge called The Brookdale Lodge, which lent some inspiration to the club in The Crimson Corset. At the Brookdale, there was a glassed-in area of the pool where prostitutes dressed as mermaids swam for the men at the bar, and in much the same way people at restaurants can choose their lobster from a tank, these gentlemen would choose a “mermaid” for the evening. This concept fascinated me, and I created the vampires, Violet and Scarlett, to be the Crimson Corset’s finned – and fanged – ladies of the night. They are not, however, real mermaids.

  • What do you see yourself writing next?

Oh, I already know what I’m writing next and have already begun it. Or, them, to be accurate (there are several projects currently in progress.)

I’m in the beginnings of the next solo novel which, although not related to The Crimson Corset, will feature some familiar faces. While writing, I’m often introduced to what I call “surprise characters.” These are characters that weren’t part of the original plan. Usually, these unplanned characters further the story and end up being great additions … other times, they go nowhere and either need to be cut out entirely, or moved to a different story.

In The Crimson Corset, there is one character in particular, Deputy Nick Grayson, who really seemed to have a strong story behind him – more than I could explore in The Crimson Corset. I didn’t want to leave him behind so as I wrapped up The Crimson Corset, I gave him a job offer in a neighboring fictional town, where I will be able to tell his story. While this new book has no vampires – it focuses on angels and demons – it will be a lot of good, gruesome fun and I’m very excited about it.

Also, my collaborator, Tamara Thorne, and I are finishing up volume one of the serialized Ravencrest saga, The Ghosts of Ravencrest. Immediately after that, the next volume begins, as well as another novel –  a hard-hitting, fast-paced, balls-to-the-wall psychological thriller that we’ve been talking about for a while. So yeah. It’ll be a busy year.

  • What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done? Don’t hold back now.

Honestly? Getting my name on a book next to Tamara Thorne’s! Seriously. If you don’t believe me, check out The Cliffhouse Haunting. There I am … right next to her. It’s awesome. And it was an incredibly fun book to write, too! I’ve been a fan of Tamara’s since the 90s, so to be able to meet my hero and write books with her is – without a doubt – the coolest thing that has ever happened to me.

the crimson corset cover


In his dreams, he saw Alison. At first, she was smiling, sitting on a towel on Bonny Doon beach, her blond hair moving gently in a light breeze. She and Ethan were the only two there and at first, it didn’t seem strange to him that there was no sun. He looked up into the black sky, saw the sprinkle of silver stars and the crescent of the moon. “Come on,” he said to his sister. “It’s dark.”

Alison smiled at him but there was something sinister about it.

He stepped closer to her. “We need to go.”

Her mouth didn’t move, but he heard the words clearly: “Not yet.”

He looked around for anything they’d brought that needed to be taken back with them. But there was nothing, just sand … and the water. It gleamed like onyx and lapped at the shore, suddenly much closer than it had been moments before. “The tide’s coming in,” he said, but Alison wasn’t listening. She just sat, staring into the distance, that strange smile on her face.

A new sound came – rain? – but he didn’t feel any of it. He looked up again. The sky was blacker and the stars were missing. He searched for the moon and couldn’t find it.

Alison turned her head and faced him. “A storm’s coming.” Her once-pretty features were gone now, replaced by blue-white skin, hollow eyes, and thin lips. Her face had gone cadaver-thin and her body, clad in a bright orange bikini, had begun to show signs of decay.

The dark sea water turned the color of blood and was close enough now that it lapped at the tips of her toes, as if tasting her. As the water – the blood! – receded, it took Alison’s flesh with it, leaving behind only the bones of her feet.

She threw her head back and laughed, it might have pleased him if only it hadn’t sounded so mad. She scooted closer to the ocean of blood, tossing her head back and giggling as if the water – as it spirited away her flesh – was merely tickling her.

“No!” He ran toward her. His legs pumped and his lungs burned, but he couldn’t get any closer. It was as if he were running in place. He watched, terror-stricken, as a massive wave rose and crashed down on his sister. “Alison!”

She disappeared under the red water and moments later, the tide returned to the sea, leaving behind the smell of burning flesh – and what was left of Alison.

His heart pounded and his stomach heaved at the sight.

She was little more than bones now, with intermittent strips of charred, melted flesh hanging from her frame. To Ethan’s horror, his sister rose and began ambling toward him. Her jawbone worked feverishly before she found her terrible croaking voice. “You did this to me! You!” She raised her arms, her finger bones curling in as she reached for his throat.

He tried to turn, but couldn’t. Glued in place, he felt the cold wet bones of her hand close around his neck.

“You did this to me!”

Ethan shot up in bed, his heart pounding high in his chest. He screamed, kicked the quilts off, kicking, kicking, grasping at his throat. His eyes flicked open and he was somewhere else: His bedroom. The smell of burnt flesh receded, making way for the stink of his own sweat, which drenched his T-shirt and bed sheets. He gasped for breath for several long moments. It was just a dream. Just a dream. Rain still tapped at the windowpane, reminding him of the click of finger bones. He shuddered, cold, and pulled the blankets closer.

Reaching into the nightstand drawer, he retrieved a half-drunk pint of whiskey and took a long pull. This wasn’t the first dream he’d had about Alison – and it wasn’t the worst. He told himself he could handle it. Just let the whiskey do its work and go back to bed. It was just a dream. But he knew it wasn’t just a dream. It was much, much more than that.


alistair cross

Alistair Cross was born in the western United States and began penning his own stories by the age of eight. First published by Damnation Books in 2012, Alistair has since published several more novels. In 2012, he joined forces with international bestselling author, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write the successful Gothic series, The Ghosts of Ravencrest. Their newest novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, is an Amazon Best Seller, and this summer also sees the release of Alistair’s solo novel, The Crimson Corset.

In 2014, Alistair and Tamara began the internet radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! Haunted Nights LIVE! premiered to great acclaim and has featured such guests as Chelsea Quinn Yarbro of the Saint-Germain vampire series, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels that inspired the hit television series, Jay Bonansinga of the Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter novels, and New York Times best sellers Christopher Rice, Jonathan Maberry, and Christopher Moore.

Alistair is currently at work on several projects including a solo novel and a new Thorne & Cross collaboration. His influences include the works of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Saul, Ira Levin, and William Peter Blatty.



twitter: @crossalistair



How to Have Infinite Patience/ Unlimited Coffee with Julie

TODAY’S BREW: Cinnamon Hazelnut. Because it’s always autumn in my cup.

By Julie

I asked Twitter what to blog about and my lovely friend Roselle Kaes (go find her here said she admires my infinite patience and wants to know how coffee contributes. Because coffee is the thing I cannot live without, and it is THE thing that grounds me. (Get it, grounds me? Coffee grounds.)

Let’s be up front. I am addicted to coffee. No question. I have no problem with it.

I am patient. I’m quick to tell the kids “baby, I love you but if you don’t quiet down I will decapitate you,” but I do it in such a way that they laugh and generally do as I ask. When they don’t I remind them that I support the things they need to do, and they should do the same for me. (Just had this conversation this very moment.) When they still don’t listen I yell really quick and sometimes cry. This is okay. We all have feelings.

Coffee is the way I mentally get started, several different ways. I don’t like writing without a cup. I CAN write without a cup, don’t like it. If the kids and I or life and I have a bad roundabout, I start over with a new cup of coffee. Then it’s over. Time to reboot.

Coffee is also meditative for me. I learned this little meditation trick at a spa in Arizona when I was a fancy Victoria’s Secret employee–not everyone has time for or responds to sitting down with a bunch of incense and meditating. But if you can find something that you do several times a day, or even an hour–back then it was every time I used my manager’s keys–take a deep breath (in through your nose, out through your mouth), close your eyes and say a word that makes you calm in your head. I don’t always say the word, but I do the other stuff. It helps every time. When I’m writing and need a second to regroup, when I feel myself getting tense, when I just need a moment to myself no matter what’s going on around me.

My house is where I do 99% of my writing and everything else, and it’s also small, with 2 wild kids, a needy dog, a tv in front of me most of the time. I can work under these distractions but I remind myself not to be part of the tornado by insisting I have that cup of coffee uninterrupted. Doesn’t always happen. Usually doesn’t happen. But the fact that I say “I just want this one quiet cup of coffee” reminds me that I have this thing I WILL have. I insist upon it. It’s not life or death–for the most part, except for that one guy– but it says “this is my comfort spot and I will not give it up.” That puts me in a mindset where I’m not running in the hamster wheel, I’m stopping it and building a new one.

Also, everything good happens over coffee. A million memories flood to mind when I think of it. And even though I can literally fall asleep with a cup in my hand now, I feel invigorated when I have it. All good things require patience and patience requires effort. Effort requires energy. ENERGY COMES IN A CUP AND MAKES ME A SUPERHERO.

batman coffee

The moral of the story is patience requires a lot of giving, and you need to fill the well. Take something, too. Even if it’s just a cup of coffee.

Fairy Tale Confessions Cover Reveal

I’m super excited about this anthology and all the fun stuff that comes with it!  My story is Sleeping Beauty. Try and guess what I’m going to do with it.

(maniacal laugh)

Fairy Tale Confessions Collection
Published by: Amber Leaf Publishing
Publication date: October 1st 2015
Genres: Fairy Tales

Fourteen bestselling authors twist up your favorite tales. Will your favorite have a happily-ever-after?

Get ready to meet some sexy, not-so-valiant princes, punk-rock princesses, villains turned heroes, and truly vile monsters, causing  havoc within our favorite happily-ever-afters.

Read about Dancing Princesses getting their groove on in a disco club, a seriously sexy Rumpelstiltskin, and one alluring Puss-in-Boots, plus many, many more captivating characters in these fourteen all new short-stories.

In association with RT 2016 come meet the twisted fairy tale girls: M. Clarke, Amy Daws, L.P. Dover, Elizabeth Montgomery, Shannon Morton, Brynn Myers, Wendy Owens, Sarah J. Pepper, Cameo Renae, Kellie Sheridan, Jessica Sorensen, Kristen Strassel, Tish Thawer, and K.R. Wilburn. If you’ll be in Vegas for RT 2016, join hosts, Sarah J. Pepper and Tish Thawer at the Fairy Tale Costume Party where you could see a traditional Snow-White, or a completely gothed-out Belle roaming the scene, win dinner with Prince Charming, and snag gift baskets from all the participating authors.


Relishing Rejection with Julie

TODAY’S BREW: Target brand anything. It’s my favorite morning coffee.

By Julie

This week begins the dreaded querying. This is the process by which a writer boils down the book they’ve poured their heart into for a bunch of months into a letter that is one part storytelling, one part ass kissing, one part making yourself sound like you somehow enjoy writing query letters.

Yet, this is not what writers seem to overall hate about querying. That actual letter, that is the thing that makes me cringe. For most others, it’s the inevitable wait of six to eight weeks as you watch a thousand other books be born, all to be told nine times out of ten (or more appropriately 59 times out of 60) that:

  • while your storytelling is unique, I didn’t quite connect with the character
  • the story seems too much like XYZ book
  • in a crowded genre, the story and character would not stand out enough
  • it sounds wonderful but isn’t the right fit for me at this time
  • I wish you the best of luck

Rejection is the reason why writers generally hate querying. It’s disheartening to say the least. It’s not only a matter of “I didn’t like your book,” it feels like, “I don’t like YOU.”

I feel like a jerk saying that rejection doesn’t bother me. It really doesn’t and it never has since I began querying RUNNING HOME years ago. I’m not bragging. I hope to give you some of the same outlook for when you get that sonofabitching email in your box. This is my mindset:

I expect it. Rejection is part of the game. Just is. It’s low-level hazing. But know this as the rejections continuously roll in… only takes one agent to love it.

I wrote the strongest possible book I could write. This is more helpful when it comes to getting reviews. I just got a one star review a week ago. I harbor zero resentment. It wasn’t that reader’s cup of tea, but it is mine. If I wasn’t confident in my book, I’d hurt over every bad word said against it, but I love the book, know that it was the best book I could have put out then, and that’s why I write. Not to please everybody else. (Sorry, everybody else.) Now, when it comes to querying to agents, you really want them to love the book. Not just any ol’ reader but this specific person who you’re trusting with your life’s work. With that in mind, I submit the strongest book I can, and I listen to alllllll the feedback I can get. I take what works for me and I apply it. And what I don’t find useful for me, I discard. This isn’t a yes/no test. You won’t ever just GET IT RIGHT. There’s always something that can be tweaked in a concept, the delivery, the writing style….it’s evolution for every writer. But in the end, same rule applies…..the book is YOURS. Make it to suit you, nobody else. Be confident in what you’ve done and that means knowing when to listen to how it could be better as well.

Querying is a process of elimination. This is the most important element for me. This is the one thing I remember above all else, to the point now that I don’t have to remember it, it just IS.


The agent is round one. If I don’t pick up an agent, or if I don’t find the right one for me, I go to small press. If I don’t find a small press (highly unlikely, as I love small presses and one in particular WINK WINK), I will self-publish. The book is coming out. All of the books.


Having an optimistic outlook doesn’t just mean that you think, “This is the agent that’s going to love me and they’ll land this publisher that I’ve wanted all my life and I’ll get the biggest deal and I’ll be on the red carpet in two years.” That’s the dream, and don’t get me wrong, LOVE THE DREAM. FANTASIZE ABOUT THE DREAM, STRIVE FOR THE DREAM. But I don’t make my dream my measure of success. If it happens, it will be the most lovely thing that I can ever, well, dream of. But success comes in steps and it comes in hard work. It comes with mistakes. It comes with burnt bridges. It comes with trouble and sadness and small victories and excitement and exhaustion. To me, success means I worked for it until I was absolutely satisfied with what I’ve made and I feel as though I’ve grown. Rejection can’t touch that feeling. The best part? You can feel that over and over and over again until you achieve the dream, or the dream changes.

Don’t reject yourself. Looking at that rejection letter, do not take the words “not for me” and make them in your tired little mind into “not for anybody.” Don’t turn “crowded genre” into “not a chance in hell, little person.” Don’t make “characters I couldn’t connect with” become “I couldn’t connect with YOU and nobody ever ever will.” Be honest with yourself IN BOTH DIRECTIONS….if the criticism is that the characters seemed one dimensional, ask yourself if it’s true for you. Do you think they could be deeper, really? If it’s not quite a standout concept, is there something you could do to make it MORE STANDOUT? But also, be honest in your own favor, too. Maybe the characters are deep enough by your standard. Maybe the concept is solid enough, and this just isn’t the right agent or publisher for you. Be a good friend to yourself. Be honest.

The triple bitch. I use this in everything that has to do with a book. IF I HEAR THE SAME CRITICISM THREE TIMES, I WILL FIX THE PROBLEM. If I hear it once, unless it really rings true, I don’t change a thing. I made the mistake before of listening to EVERY opinion and catered to them. It violated my honesty rule: I didn’t honestly think the changes made the book better and so I ended up going back to my original plan. And yeah, the majority can still be wrong, you could still feel absolutely the same about the way you did whatever the thing is that nobody likes. Again, be honest with yourself….would it hurt you to change it to be more appealing to the masses? Maybe. Maybe you want it your way and you’ll defend it. Or maybe it’s a little thing and if you change it, it might mean one less rejection and it didn’t affect the story or the characters for YOU in a bad way. I might be repeating myself here, but THE BOOK IS YOURS. MAKE SURE YOU’RE HAPPY WITH IT OR YOU’LL NEVER BE HAPPY WITH WHAT HAPPENS WITH IT.

Now get out there, writerlies. Be brave. Be ready. Be awesome.

Introducing No Strings Attached!


Today’s Brew: Blueberry Bliss

by Kristen

I have a new book coming out!  (insert Snoopy dancing here) Everyone, meet Leah and Jagger!  Their story is No Strings Attached, a steamy adult contemporary romance about a curvy, successful woman who brings a male escort to her twentieth high school reunion.

No Strings Attached will be available August 24!


Here’s the blurb:

Leah Godfrey has almost everything she could ask for

She’s got an interior design business with an A-list clientele, a weekly spot on a national morning TV show, and a great daughter—but she doesn’t have a date for her twentieth high school reunion. It wouldn’t be a big deal, but her ex-husband was her high school sweetheart, and now he’s married to the slut Leah caught him with in bed. She won’t let the biggest failure of her life overshadow her success.

When her best friend suggests she hire a date, Leah thinks the idea is scandalous. But for one weekend, she wants to forget her mistakes and pretend she has everything her ex took away from her.

Jagger Holiday makes women’s fantasies come true—

But working as a male escort leaves him feeling empty. He turns to photography to fill the void. When Jagger gets a call from a lonely single mom who needs the same thing he does, he wants more. He wants her.

Leah and Jagger have no problem convincing everyone at the reunion they’re together. She should’ve known better than to think there’d be no strings attached.

After all, he’s a professional.

Available for preorder NOW! Special introductory price!
Add NO STRINGS ATTACHED on Goodreads! 

Bloggers, I’d love it if you joined me in celebrating No Strings Attached! The cover reveal is August 13 and the blog tour is August 24-28. Sign up here!  xx

Happy Anniversary!

Today’s Brew: lemon zinger iced tea

by Kristen


Today is the one year anniversary of the day I hit publish on Because the Night and Night Moves. These books had been available before, but I took the rights back to my work and published them on my own.

Night Songs 12

This day will always be special to me, because it’s the day I took complete control of my work. My future in publishing. Before that I was bumbling along, learning all that I could, waiting for other people to make decisions that impacted the course of my career, hoping for some snippets for advice that could take me to the next level. We all know that no means no in traditional publishing and getting a why is a luxury. I was frustrated. I wanted more but I wasn’t sure how to get it. I believed in what I was doing. I kept writing, but I had no idea if I was growing because I wasn’t getting the right eyes on it, or more importantly, the right feedback on what I was producing.

The more I talked to authors who were going on it their own, the more I liked what they had to say. They were putting out beautiful books on their own terms and were totally in control of their own destinies. If you’ve hung around here for a while, you know I like having control over things. I wanted what they had. So I went out and got it.

It was terrifying. I surrounded myself with good, supportive people who were familiar with indie publishing. I made myself a student of the business. And then I jumped in the water.

Making the decision to self-publish means that I’m now able to communicate my vision for my story in the way that I intended to share it.

  • Editing is the thing that elevates a writer’s work, the lessons from one project carrying over to another. If a writer never gets that opportunity, they can’t grow. They’ll be stuck in purgatory forever, wondering where they’re missing the mark.
  • I’m fully involved with my cover designs, and I’ve had the opportunity to work with a team of amazing cover designers and graphic artists. The covers are just as important as what’s happening on the inside, because we truly do judge a book by its cover. As I write that, I think it’s an interesting analogy. Were we so conditioned to terrible book covers that we had to look past that to get to the story inside? Not anymore. Covers are more than images and words. They’re marketing tools that have to instantly convey message, mood, and theme. They’re art.
  • I have the power to market my books in the way that’s best for them, in that moment. I’m not waiting for a publisher to change a price or buy promo. I control the destiny of each book. I can experiment with new marketing, change prices, and get the word out about my stories. If I learned anything in my journey, it’s that no one cares about my books more than I do.
  • If something doesn’t work, I change it. Covers, price, editing. It’s easy. Not a ten step process that I hope someone approves.

Since July 8, 2014, I’ve released ten additional stories. Why did I release so often? I had inventory of stories waiting for someone to finally look at, I wanted to build my brand in a crowded market place, and the best reason of all: because I fucking can. Once I had my team in place, I there was no reason not to share these stories with readers. I took chances on stories that a publisher would never look at and released the Colorado Shifters series, a collection of shifter novellas that are some of my best sellers. I write in more than one genre, sometimes at the same time. I tell the story that’s in my heart. I might write a lot, but I’m absolutely smitten with every character I create. Speed doesn’t change that. It just means I have more kids to love.

Traditional publishing is notorious for moving slowly while indie publishing moves so fast that even I have to stop and catch my breath every so often. I love that. It’s exciting. New things are happening all the time, and I’m happy to take part in it. I talk a lot about right now, but this is a long game. My books are available to discover and enjoy forever. I have a plan, but it’s flexible. I can always choose to do what’s right for my books and my readers, and abandon what’s not working.

I haven’t had a breakout hit, but each release gets better and better. The Fire Dancer hit #1 in its category on its release weekend.  It’s a vampire book that may have never seen the light of day if I had to wait for a publisher to buy it.

Sure, there are drawbacks. My books aren’t in Barnes and Noble, but when was the last time you bought a book from Barnes and Noble?  I have a harder time getting bigger press or the attention of foreign markets or movie makers.  But it’s not impossible. It just means not now, not never.

Going indie was a scary decision. It meant abandoning everything I had been working toward and starting over. I cried a lot and lost sleep, and I still do. I don’t think that will part ever go away, no matter how the stories come out. Going indie was the best decision for my career. I’m in complete control of my destiny, I know what I’m working toward, and I have to stop blogging now because I’m itching to get back to writing the story I’m working on. I’ll share it with all of you soon. (very soon!)

To celebrate, Because the Night is part of the OMGReads Stuff your Kindle sale. Close to 50 titles on sale for 99 cents. There are some sweet box sets in there, too!

The Stories Inside the Stories: Research with Julie

TODAY’S BREW: Anything I can get my hands on

By Julie

BIG NEWS at least for me. I finished editing THE WIND BETWEEN WORLDS, the young adult novel I’ve been working on for a long, long time. You guys, I’m so ridiculously proud of and in love with this story, I hope you all are too when it finally sees the light of day. Next step, it goes out to a select few readers, I query it to a few places, and I bounce in my seat until I can’t breathe with excitement.

There’s a theme of morning glories in the book. I had a lot of fun doing research on them, their symbolism, how they grow, stories about them. Here is one story that I fell in love with, that felt a lot like my characters, Celeste, the Witch of Stars, and Lux, the Demon Prince of Lust. I had no real opportunity to use this folklore in the novel, but wanted very much to share it.

The Morning Glory in Chinese Art

The star-shaped morning glory is symbolic of a single day each year in which the Chinese lovers, Chien Niu and Chih Neu, are allowed to meet. According to Chinese lore, Chien Niu was a boy start who was entrusted to take care of water buffalo in the heavenly kingdom. A girl star named Chih Neu was put in charge of seamstress duties. They fell in love, and the romance caused them to neglect their duties. In anger, God forced the young lovers to be separated on both sides of the Silver River and allowed then to meet only once during the whole year.

morning glory black


Between the morning glory growing in the driest dirt, harshest light, against all odds and the star-crossed lover theme that doesn’t quite work for Celeste, who refuses not to grow, and the silver river and silver is ALL OVER THE PLACE in this book, and the star shaped blooms and the colors of the flowers which symbolize love and reaching for the unreachable, and what Celeste has to do with her coven of Witches whose mothers are doing all they can to prevent them from growing AAAAAHHHHHHH INSPIRATION OVERLOAD.

I luck out a lot and things that I’ve already worked into my novels turn out to have these amazing stories behind them that weave right into my story. It happened a lot with RUNNING AWAY, with the stories of Izanagi and Izanami, the mythological creators of Japan. Izanagi, god of death fit right into my needs in the sequel, as did the “shadowy land of the dead,” Yomi, where the god’s wife was trapped, for which Izanagi was much at fault. The end of their terrible story, where Izanami in her fury promises to take a thousand lives every day and Izanagi promises to create fifteen hundred more, gave me all too much material to create a fresh new vampire story in RUNNING AWAY.


Anyway, it just goes to show you how much I overthink my writing and how every goddamn word has probably too much meaning in my books. Enjoy.

This one will burn your pasties off!


I did an awesome interview with local author JC Stockli. Keep reading, and then go pick up her book, The Nothingness! I know you already want it from that title! Manson or Bust, JC!!

Originally posted on J.C. Stockli:

Damn! Is it July already? I was not prepared for that.

Ah well, in the meantime, I’ve been writing and reading like crazy. I managed to finagle fellow New England Chapter Romance Writers of America member, Kristen Strassel, to swing by the blog. She’s recently released this wicked sexy vamp book (THE FIRE DANCER), the first book in the CIRQUE MACABRE series. I was instantly drawn in to the first page, and now she’s by the blog. So, yay!

As noted above, Kristen is a member of NECRWA and writes paranormal and contemporary romance. More than that, she’s also a make-up artist with some fantastic hair. A girl after my own heart, Kristen’s a bit of a music junky. And if you’ve ever checked out her bio, you’d now she has a sparkling smile J  I know, staulkery, right?  But seriously folks, she writes what she knows and loves… and…

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TODAY’S BREW: The bottoms of the bags of coffee. If this were a sandwich made of the last pieces of all the meat, it would be called a hoffaloney sandwich. This is a coffaloney.

By Julie

My little world is weird, and it’s very funny in the right light, but also I’m subject to a day now and again where I say WHAT THE HELL THIS ALL SUCKS SO MUCH CAN I HAVE ONE NORMAL FRIGGING DAY PLEASE?

Yesterday was that day. Today is the day I take a page from one of my closest friends, Jolene Haley, and write a Monday Gratitude blog. I feel better already.

First, a short list of some of the things that have happened in the past two weeks:

  • car broken into
  • covered in black sticky mud after saving Sam from low tide. Mud so thick that a passerby said “nice tattoos!” regarding my legs but IT WAS MUD which I then washed in a public bathroom sink, in a skirt, while the town officials wandered around the property doing assessments.
  • insurance turned down the med that Sam absolutely needs and is perfect for him but approved TWO meds that are absolutely wrong.
  • my phone dies if it isn’t plugged in
  • I don’t want to change diapers anymore.
  • Pizza man walked in my back door, into my house. I hadn’t ordered pizza.
  • I’m boring myself already, let’s get to the good stuff.


Ten things that make me happy.

  1. The kids asking me as soon as we wake up if we can stay home today.
  3. I have two eighties robots that I rescued from eBay.
  4. Finished writing a story, the first short piece I’ve done in a loooooong time and I really like it.
  5. Had an apocalypse dream starring Ryan Reynolds. Awesome.
  7. My friend Brett Jonas sent me a bunch of awesome goodies from her family’s farm, and she just rescued a stuck kitten also.
  8. People that make movies asked about my book and even if none of them ever pick it up, that alone is more joy than I can even stand.
  9. Bennett got all Outstanding on his report card after going through THREE teacher changes in second grade.
  10. We rescued a fish at the beach the other day.

The awesome thing is that I have SO MUCH MORE than ten things to list, far more than the other crappy list. As a matter of fact, I might write one of these every damn day for a while.

As always, I have the most incredible people in my life, people who inspire me as a mom, people who encourage me as a writer, people who support me as a friend, people who love me as a Julie.

Cover Reveal! LINK by Summer Wier

TODAY’S BREW: *pulls up bucket of grounds*

By Julie

I’m sooooooooooooooo happy to reveal the cover for LINK by Summer Wier! I know this book very well and can’t WAIT for the rest of you to hold it in your grubby hands. Without further ado:


About LINK:
For seventeen-year-old Kira, there’s no better way to celebrate a birthday than being surrounded by friends and huddled beside a campfire deep in the woods. And with a birthday in the peak of summer, that includes late night swims under the stars.

Or at least, it used to.

Kira’s relaxing contemplation of the universe is interrupted when a piece of it falls, colliding with her and starting a chain of events that could unexpectedly lead to the one thing in her life that’s missing—her father.

Tossed into a pieced-together world of carnivals and gypsies, an old-fashioned farmhouse, and the alluring presence of a boy from another planet, Kira discovers she’s been transported to the center of a black hole, and there’s more to the story than science can explain. She’s now linked by starlight to the world inside the darkness. And her star is dying.

If she doesn’t return home before the star’s light disappears and her link breaks, she’ll be trapped forever. But she’s not the only one ensnared, and with time running out, she’ll have to find a way to save a part of her past and a part of her future, or risk losing everything she loves.
Dreamy, fluid, and beautiful, LINK pairs the mystery of science fiction with the minor-key melody of a dark fantasy, creating a tale that is as human as it is out of this world.

Add LINK on Goodreads!

About The Author:

Summer Wier

Summer Wier grew up spending Saturdays with a maxed out library card and her nose in a book. But as much as she loved reading, and even writing, both took the back seat when it came to career choices. With her sights set on law school, corporate greatness, and even a hankering to become the first female president, she set off to conquer the world. As life would have it, though, she didn’t attend law school, nor did she become president (although, one day, your vote may be appreciated), finding her strengths, instead, in accounting and business management. After finishing her MBA, she revived her love for reading and began writing with dreams of finishing a book of her own. When Summer isn’t working, reading, or writing, she’s trying to keep up with two energetic girls and her husband, and dreaming of the mountains of Montana.

LINK is her debut young adult sci-fi novel, the first in THE SHADOW OF LIGHT trilogy.

Find more of Author Summer Wier on her website, twitter, facebook, or goodreads.

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