Deadly Ever After

Archive for the month “February, 2014”

All The Undead News You Can Use!

Today’s Brew: Blueberry. I bought 2 boxes yesterday

by Kristen

Things have been busy around here, and it’s the good kind!  Julie is wrapping up edits on Running Away. My Night Moves will be out in less than a month.

But that’s not all we have to tell you about!

  • Running Home and Because the Night are now available at The Book Shack in The Independence Mall, Kingston, MA! If you’re in the area, please stop by and visit our books! We’re working on distribution in additional indie bookstores as well, but you always remember your first.
  • We have an intern!! We’ve known Sara forever, but it had been a while since we’d seen her. Now she’s back in our lives, and she’s a little bit Kristen, and a little bit Julie. Just like the Donny and Marie song but clearly so much cooler. Not only is she going to be helping us out with The Things, but she is writing as well! Her ideas are unique, well developed, and they will blow you away as much as they did to me and Julie. The coolest thing about when we asked her to share her stuff with us was she wasn’t the least bit shy about it. It took Julie and I a long time to get to that point.  I know you don’t believe it, but it’s true.

Without further ado, meet our intern, Sara!

Tell us about yourself. I’m a TV and media producer and costume designer, and sometimes a bellydancer, and now a writer.

What are you writing? Fantasy/sci fi, strong female characters in worlds that are fantastical and familiar.

 Fave food: I’m a total foodie, but Japanese food is my favorite.

 Fave movies: Chick flick: Fools Rush In. I’m Salma Hayek obsessed.  Under the cherry moon with Prince, and he talks in it. And best movie ever made is Malena. It’s Italian. Just watch it, don’t read the back or the reviews.

Fave band: Can I pick 5? Doro Pesch,System of a Down, Rage Against the Machine, Incubus, Pat Benatar. If you ask me tomorrow it will be slightly different. I feel single right now, not having one favorite band!

Describe your perfect day:  One when you  wake up naturally with sunshine, lots of sleep, see cool people, have cool conversations, go to the beach, and have an inventive meal.

I told you she was awesome! Stay tuned to see what Sara’s got up her sleeve!

And Julie will have more news to share tomorrow!


Branding Vs. Bite Me, I Write What I Want


By Julie

Edits on RUNNING AWAY will be finished by March first, and while my beta readers dig in, I move on to the next project.

And with that, comes the initial worry of, “Well, shit. My readers aren’t ready for this.”

RUNNING AWAY feels very cohesive in character to RUNNING HOME to me, as well it should. The few people who have read THE HARPY, which is currently on submission to publishers, got an eyeful of Charity Blake, who, shall we say, has quite a bit more edge than Ellie Morgan. Charity would as soon give you the finger as make out with you in public.

March’s project is final edits on a book that I’ve let sit for a while, waiting for me. And it’s as different from THE HARPY as that book is from RUNNING HOME. There has been an excerpt or two on Deadly Ever After of THE ANIMAL, and it’s certainly not going to be for everyone. Erotic, aggressive, and in some parts probably offensive, it very well may not appeal to the same readers as RUNNING HOME. I have to wonder if I’m broadening my horizons or upsetting my readers by giving them Trent and Min, and all the debauchery the two are capable of.

The best part? Today’s plan is plotting my newest book, and man alive have I struggled with whether or not I should write this. Because naturally, the progression from Japanese vampires to a bitter, vengeful, punk Harpy, to an obsessive compulsive man possessed by a defiled sex god is straight to young adult. Naturally.

Yeah, that’s right. The adventures of an Egyptian sex god and the beginning of a young adult novel, all in the same month. Right after that, I might be making INSCRIPTION, my short horror story series that never seems to go away into a full length novel. And THAT features a teenage boy. So YA horror.

My mantra is to write the book you have to write. Don’t listen to what the trends are, don’t worry about what the Joneses are writing. Write the book that itches at your soul like a wound that won’t quite heal, and there will be an audience for it. Anything that ignites that much passion in you is going bleed onto the page, and that kind of power gets heard. I firmly believe it.

But then you’ve got the other side of life, which is branding. Am I making myself unpredictable? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Am I right in relying on my voice and unique style to carry me through these wild ideas I have and make them have mass appeal based on that alone? Am I right in thinking that if the author connects with readers now more than ever, then my readers will expect me to write something unexpected, wild, often brash and always strong? Is it me selling the story, or the story running off without me?

What are your thoughts on sticking to the straight and narrow as opposed to giving all your work the attention you think it deserves? HELP ME, PEOPLE, I’M DYING.



Whiskey Tango Boulevard, You’re The Bomb!

Today’s Brew: Chocolate Coconut Tea. It’s better once it steeps completely

by Kristen

As some of you might know from Twitter, my neighborhood is kind of like one of fun houses that looks harmless from the outside, so you decide to go in, and it’s so broken down and utterly fucked you’re scarred for days after the ride. We’ve had the SWAT team here, there was a sexual assault claim on my floor while I was in Toronto last summer, and my neighbors are terrific white trash on a daily basis. The girl downstairs smoked a butt while eating her cereal on the porch last summer. I’m pretty sure she’s available, boys.

This weekend took the cake. I was on my way home, and saw cruisers barrel-assing though town. I said to my friend Sara, “They’re going to my house.” She laughed, but somehow, she had a feeling I was right this time

She was. They were.

I couldn’t park in my spot because a cruiser blocked access. One officer talked to some people in the side lot. The building was waaaaaay too quiet for all those cruisers. McGee wasn’t giving us any info.

Then the messages started coming in. “Ready to move yet?”

According to the news, this happened:

The State Police bomb squad is investigating a suspicious device that was found attached to the gas tank of a car.

Officials responded to an apartment complex on Whiskey Tango Blvd in Plymouth where a woman said she found the device attached to the gas tank of her pickup truck.

The State Fire Marshall’s office said the device was “an improvised device with a firework that could explode.”

“It was two wires hanging out of the gas tank with a fire cracker attached to it.” said Kristen’s downstairs neighbor, who lives near the scene.

The bomb squad was able to remove the device without detonating it.

Witnesses said they saw blue wires hanging from the tank and smelled gasoline. Kristen’s neighbor said she also smelled gasoline.

“I only smelled it because I came near it to see what the heck was hanging out of the truck,” Neighbor said.

Plymouth police are currently investigating. So far, there is no suspect and no motive.

And I thought I needed to move solely for the lack of laundry facilities. OK, I do have them, but the crazy lady on the first floor stole Julie’s underwear out of the machine.

So yeah, I’m looking for a new place to live. I wish I didn’t have to rent, but I’m self employed so after my deductions come out of my gross income, I don’t look awesome on paper.

Maybe someday I’ll get a big book deal or movie rights, or something that will get me the hell out of Whiskey Tango.

But today, I’m off to the laundromat.


Julie Tells JC Lillis Dirty Penguin Jokes And About Her Books

TODAY’S BREW: Friggity French Toast blend, baby. Kristen gets the good stuff for me.

By Julie 

I got to do this interview with one of the most refreshingly hilarious and talented people on Twitter, Jen Lillis. Now that RUNNING AWAY inches ever closer to your dirty little hands, here’s a bunch of random stuff about me, including a dirty joke.


Okay, full disclosure: Julie Hutchings is one of my favorite writer-types on Twitter. Whenever she tweets I’m all like

so when I interviewed her I was afraid I’d be all like

“Remember that time you were in the Beatles?”

I briefly considered conducting the entire interview as Ali G. since Julie and I recently discussed our mutual obsession with that one episode where he calls farms “rubbish zoos,” but then I’d have to ask all sorts of rude and oblivious questions about her awesome book, Running Home, which totally deserves better. So I asked her 17 questions as my regular self, and much like Bon Jovi in “Wanted Dead Or Alive,” she ROCKED THEM ALL. (And, unsurprisingly, told a spectacular dirty penguin joke.)

Here’s the interview, followed by my review of Running Home!


Julie Hutchings

Hey Julie—thanks for joining me. Let’s start with some questions about Running Home and the writing life:
Q. Can we talk about Eliza first? SHE’S SO GREAT. Refreshingly low-key, funny, antisocial in a relatable way. So much of her character hinges on this feeling that no matter where she is, she doesn’t quite fit in. Does that come from personal experience, or did you have to stretch to put yourself in her shoes?

A. Ahhh, thank you! I had plenty of time being the odd girl out, the one with the huge boobs and weird hair. It was after I accepted that I wasn’t like anybody else that I found my strength and knew I had somethingelse. Still not sure what it is, but it’s in there. A lot like Eliza, yeah.

Q. I loved the female friendship in Running Home and I kinnnnnda want to write Kat/Eliza femslash, just a little. Since the book is from Eliza’s POV, I’m curious: what did their friendship mean to Kat, and how did she really view Eliza’s whirlwind relationship with Nicholas?

A. Kat always felt a little like a pinup poster and Eliza was the first person to really see Kat for the witty, trusting, generous woman she was. For that, Kat loved her and even though Eliza was a little of everything she wasn’t—self reliant, resourceful, never needing anybody, not wantinganybody—Kat was never jealous. She only wanted Eliza to feel the openness that she felt all the time. So when Nicholas showed up, Kat really wanted Eliza to let herself feel, no matter what feelings he brought on.

Q. This is a vampire book with a difference—you draw on Japanese Shinigami mythology, so your vampires are bound by fate to lead certain people to predestined deaths. What’s the hardest part about writing a romantic lead who’s fated to kill?

A. You know, I never want my characters to be all likeable. Nobody is all likeable all the time. So even though fate picks these victims for him, Nicholas still enjoys the kill. He may have mixed feelings about it, but at the end of the day he’s resolved to stand behind who he is. Insecure, but strong. I think knowing when to turn off the sarcasm with him and turn on the emotion was the hardest thing. His first response is snark all the time. Letting Eliza in to his feelings when he didn’t expect it was tough.

Q. Smell is such a vivid part of Running Home—totally agree with the reviewer who said it should be scratch & sniff. Why did you choose to focus so intensely on smell, and how did you pick the special scents associated with Nicholas and his awesome cabin?

A. Scent is the sense that’s strongest with people. One whiff of something and it can transport you to another time, someone you wish you were, someplace you wish you never left, a moment of longing and happiness all at once. This, to me, is what vampires should stand for, all of these dichotomies and intensity. The smells of home were what I wanted for Eliza, warm things—peppermint brownies, hot chocolate, cloves, all the things that make you want to crawl under a blanket and smile that you’re there. Because she doesn’t get that feeling any other time.

Q. Eliza’s bond with Nicholas gets really intense, really fast (and later in the book it’s obvious why). Do you believe fate has a hand in real-life relationships, or was that just a theme that meshed well with the Shinigami myth?

A. I think there are soul mates, absolutely. People that are meant to be in our lives. I think if I didn’t believe it, I wouldn’t be able to write it convincingly. Having someone fated for you isn’t all roses. Sometimes it feels suffocating. Sometimes you can’t get enough of them no matter how hard you try. And no matter how you feel on the surface, you never feel RIGHT unless they’re next to you. And yes, I speak from experience. J

Q. What piece of writing advice has helped you/influenced your work the most?

A. “Write the book you have to write or everything breaks.” (A.M. Homes)  Don’t worry about whether it will sell, or if it makes sense, or what genre it fits into. If it’s so powerful that you have to get it out of your soul, it will feel that way regardless of any of these things. Write the book because you’re a writer, not because of what anybody else thinks. Write it if it hurts, or if it takes 12 years.

Q. I love that advice. I need you to cross-stitch that for me, okay?

So I gotta ask, because none of us actually want our books to take 12 years: When you hit a wall and don’t want to write, tell me what happens in your brain to get you past that. How do you talk yourself out of a motivation dead zone?

A. I am such a militant bitch. First, I drink like a sonofabitch. Then I sit my ass down and I force myself to write something, no matter what it is. The only reason I’m not motivated is if I don’t try. It’s a vicious circle. Forcing myself to write just one damn sentence, literally with zero idea of what was going to come out was how I wrote the first line of THE ANIMAL, the book I pray my agent will like after editing.

Q. Forcing it is so hard, but you’re right – sometimes it jumpstarts some great ideas you never would’ve had otherwise.

One more writing question. As a fellow mom, I gotta ask: how on earth do you balance the writing life with motherhood? Any tips for the inept jugglers among us?

A. Oh holy Jesus. Sometimes I suck at being a mom. I just don’t want to play Legos. I just don’t want to do crafts that we’ll all be bored of in 5 minutes. And sometimes all I want to do is play with the kids or screw around outside with them. But I remind myself every day what the two most important things in my life are: My babies and writing. (The husband is in there, I couldn’t do any of it without him.) It may mean that I write in 15 minute intervals, or a sentence here and there as I run around the house, and it often means I get my ass out of bed at 5 to have those 3 solid hours to myself to write. And I’m always tired. But it’s a happy tired. There are days of such overwhelm I can’t breathe, and I take anxiety meds every day, but this is the life I want, and I try to remember that when the kids are climbing on me as I edit. I also schedule like a bastard. I give myself a quota, not a goal, of what I want written, and I don’t let myself slack. End of story. It’s non-negotiable.

Q. YES. Writing moms are superheroes. I’m convinced.

Okay – so since you love answering “weird shit,” I have some rapid-fire oddball questions before we go:

Describe your favorite pair of shoes.

A. Oooooh, I love these patent leather nude stilettos that I just want to lick.

Q. Tell me a dirty joke.

A. It’s long, so get ready. (That’s not the joke.) A penguin’s car breaks down, so he walks to a garage. The walrus mechanic says, “this is gonna take a while, why don’t you go to the diner across the street and come back in an hour?” The penguin is starved, so he orders a huge bowl of ice cream, but penguins don’t have hands, so he flips into his mouth like crazy, getting ice cream everywhere. An hour passes, and he goes back to the garage, still wiping ice cream off his penguin face. The walrus says, “well, it looks like you blew a seal.” The penguin says, “no, it’s just some ice cream.” J

Q. What movie makes you angry?

A. Eraserhead. It makes me dizzy, which makes me angry.

Q. What book makes you cry?

A. THE INVISIBLE MAN by Ralph Ellison. Ugh. *kicks feelings*

Q. If you had to write a short story inspired by a song, which one would you pick?

A. UGH AGAIN. Waiting for the Miracle by Leonard Cohen.

Q. What do you think about at night when you’re trying to fall asleep?

A. The coffee I shall drink in a mere 8 hours.

Q. When you meet someone new, what’s the first thing you notice about him/her?

A. Their laugh. Then their hands.

Q. What do you think Oscar the Grouch does on trash day?

A. Eats a shitload of cake.

Q. As a fellow Ali G fan, I must know: Does you believe in mahogany?

A. I DO believe in mahogany because of all the fairy tales and things about it.


Thanks, Julie, for stopping by and painting this blog with amazing. Here’s my review of Running Home:


First things first: is Running Home a good vampire novel? Does it bring something different to the table? Yes, and here’s why. It was an incredibly smart decision to spice up the Original Recipe vampire tale with elements of Japanese Shinigami mythology. It adds depth and shading to what’s usually a pretty straightforward obstacle to romance. In this universe, a vamp who wants to sidestep a human kill has to fight more than just hunger and base instinct – he has to fight fate itself. It’s a powerful, agonizing dilemma that really bears fruit in the second half of the novel, when [SORT-OF SPOILER ALERT] romantic lead Nicholas learns he’s fated to kill someone close to Eliza, the girl he loves.

That brings me to Running Home’s secret weapon—the thing that sets it apart and makes it a hugely appealing read even if you’re not into vampires. Eliza is a great narrator with a specific voice that resists cliché or easy categorization. She can be sullen and withdrawn, but she’s also capable of great tenderness and vulnerability. She’s wry and smart (how can you not love a character who warns her best friend not to dress her “like a human cupcake”?), but she never comes across as a cookie-cutter snarky heroine. She has a quiet strength, but Nicholas is her weakness, and Running Home has the guts to fully explore all the beauty and ugliness of a first love that starts to snowball into obsession. There’s a very good reason Eliza and Nicholas fall for each other so hard and fast (which I won’t reveal here), but even if you take out the vampire element, there’s so much to relate to here: the insecurity and maddening uncertainty of a relationship’s early stages, the almost palpable joys of discovering someone who really gets you. Those relatable parts really anchor the story and keep us on Eliza’s side, even as we facepalm at some of her decisions (hooray for heroines with realistic flaws!).

The deliberate pace of the book’s first half is somewhat surprising, but I actually found it refreshing, especially since the writing is so strong and vivid. I liked that the character development wasn’t perfunctory; we spend a nice stretch of time really getting to know Eliza and her best friend Kat (great female friendship, by the way) and seeing her relationship with Nicholas develop before the plot amps up in the second half. If I didn’t know Eliza so well before the plot started twisting and turning, those twists and turns might have been much less affecting. Plus Hutchings seeds the first half with just enough mystery and small-scale horror, so it’s still a page-turner that builds smoothly to later events.

Also: the end. There’s a development in the final chapters that made me gasp and put my Kindle down for about five minutes. I hated that it happened, but I knew exactly WHY it had to happen, and I respect an author who follows a plot thread to its logical end, even if it devastates the reader. What happens at the end raises a ton of fascinating questions, and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out in the sequel, Running Away. (I hope we don’t have long to wait!)

To sum up: recommended for fans of paranormal horror-romance, unusual heroines, love affairs with equal parts passion and nuance, and richly evocative writing. It’s got a five-star average on Amazon and costs less than a latte. RUN AND GET IT.

And also, follow Julie on Twitter (@HutchingsJulie). You won’t regret it.

Lego Movie Life Lessons or How to Create an Awesome Shit Show

TODAY’S BREW: Little o’ this, little o’ that.

By Julie

For Bennett’s birthday we brought him to see THE LEGO MOVIE. Now, Tim had his reservations about it because the toys make no sense. There’s like a flying ice cream truck, and weird dream land with a cat/unicorn, and the Old West and construction sites, and Batman? My response was that they make all these intricate, gorgeous Lego sets that we bust our asses to buy, and Ben rips them apart in a week to make some shit that doesn’t make sense anyway. Kids don’t make sense, that’s how they roll. Coincidentally, we all bitch that kids can’t make a toy out of 2 rocks and a handful of bottlecaps like we did as kids. Maybe it’s because we fucking hand them toys with intricate instructions that they have to try to insert their imaginations into, right after WE spend 10 hours building it for them.

The other thing is that the characters aren’t even remotely close to being in the same realm of possibility. It’s like that nightmare I have about having Barbie play with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and G.I. Joe battle Go-Bots, and Tonka Trucks can rescue the Weebles from Grayskull. THIS SHIT DOES NOT GO TOGETHER.

I mean, look at this shit show.

As a child, I refused to mix toys as such. Thank God this didn’t make me a racist. I refuse to teach my kids that there’s some people you just don’t play with, some toys that you just aren’t allowed to like, and interests that can’t coincide with other interests. (I am beaming proudly because my kids are pretty awesome about getting all this stuff right.)

Kristen came with us to the movies, of course, and she was a little worried in the beginning that “everything is awesome” when it’s built according to exact instructions and everyone works together all the time and never uses their imaginations. (I was okay with “everything is awesome” because the only other motivational phrase in toy-related media I can think of lately is the “anything is possible” motto that goes along with fucking Dog Poop Barbie. Literally, it’s a Barbie with a dog that actually poops, and Barbie gets to pick it up with a pooper scooper. THE FUCKING MOTTO IS “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.” Go for the gold, Barbie!) ‘ll try not to spoil the movie for you, but suffice it to say that the message is clear to think outside the box and use your imagination. And it sure as hell changed my mind about Legos.

Because I spend so much goddamn time building magnificent Lego contraptions, I get irritated when the kids want to take them apart. Obviously. And I spent all this money on this particular set because he NEEEEEDED it, only to destroy it into unrecognizable pieces a day later. I tried to tell myself that the joy was in building it together with my kid, but that gets to be stressful, too. and sometimes takes on the feeling of Forced Fun that say, cruise ship party nights would do.

You’d think in a creative family, with Tim being an amazing artist and me with the book stuff, we’d encourage making shit up more. What the Lego Movie showed me was that we all still have boxes to break out of. (I know, deep shit, for a kid’s movie, but you know what, grown ups are always learning, too or else you suck at life.) Besides, it’s not all that adulty to realize that there are always more rules to break and re-mold into something better. And better by YOUR standards, not according to what has been decided is better. (For fuck’s sake, this post is not about editing, but in my head it is now.) The point is, even if you think you don’t put yourself in a box, you do without knowing it sometimes. You have to go back to the most basic elements and build from the ground up, rule-free, and with childlike enthusiasm. Everything that was ever built was just an idea someone had, and you have ideas, too.

Now, go wreck some awesome thing and make it even awesomer.



And The Train Kept A-Rollin’

Today’s Brew: Doing the butterfly stroke through my Wild Mountain Blueberry

by Kristen

Books are like potato chips. You can’t write just one. Almost three years ago now, I decided I’d write a book. The book, Because the Night, turned into The Night Songs Collection. Now I have completed five books in that series.

Holy shit.

I’m starting promotion for Night Moves, which is coming on my birthday, March 26. But you can’t just sit around and obsess about books that are already finished, right? This week, I started book six. Book Six!

But it’s not part of Night Songs. It’s a stand alone, contemporary romance.

No vampires. I’m writing a book with zero percent vampires in it.

There is a musician. You can’t ask me to go cold turkey.

I’ve done it before, Seasons in the Sun is a contemporary. But I already knew Callie and Tristan when I wrote it. Starting a new book with new characters is always strange. It’s like moving in with new roommates. You get to see the good, bad, and ugly right away, and you have to figure out how to roll with it.

My new MC has a lot to say. She’s honest, she’s funny, and she’s a little pissed off. The words are coming pretty quickly from her, she’s anxious to tell me her story.  The last few books I’ve pantsed, but this one I planned out, wrote a loose outline, and brainstormed the characters. I wonder if it’s that or just the story that’s making this one come fast and furious.

Writing is such a great adventure. You get to meet new people and see new places, and you don’t even have to get out of your pajamas.


Building The Poop Robot

TODAY’S BREW: Mocha Mint S’mores because I mixed them together. AS I AM A GENIUS.

By Julie

You may or may not have heard, but I’M EDITING FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER. The sequel to RUNNING HOME is a lengthy summabitch, and extremely involved, because I’m so deep and stuff. This leads me to sit for 12 hours at a time in front of my laptop, messing with it in a series of highlighting and scribbling and swearing processes that absolutely delight me.

Writers complain about editing all the time, and I get it. You can’t believe this word puke came from your previously-believed-to-be-at-least-averagely-intelligent brain. You have things to FIX. Stuff that should have worked, doesn’t, so now you have to change all this other stuff, and make sure it all works together like a bunch of gears you found at the junkyard. At first you just make this half-robot-half-poop thing that you throw your hands up and say “TA DA!!” at, then you realize that it’s going to fall apart any second, so you have to build it again. And again. All while convincing yourself that a Poop Robot is absolutely necessary and a good idea.

I’m here to tell you that even if your work is the suckiest thing on Suck Mountain, working on it IS a good idea. You thought it was a good idea to write it, (though this can apply to whatever artsy fartsy or non-artsy fartsy thing you do), so stand behind it. Don’t give up on it until the horse is so dead, kicking it hurts your foot more than anything.


Remember that. Every idea was something that some dude thought up, just like you. There is no wrong way to perfect your art, whether that art is coal mining, writing, chicken training or parenting. The one thing YOU can do for your art is do it your way, and stand behind what your way is.

Until your way doesn’t work. Then, try a new way.

The point is, enjoy the learning process. Even if you SUCK at it, you’re still learning. You need to try to learn. Every mistake you make, every thing you do that isn’t quite right, is all part of growing. Enjoy it. The moment you stop enjoying it, is the moment you either think you know fucking everything, or the moment when you realize you’re doing the wrong thing after all. But don’t give up because you think you can’t do it. STOP if you think you don’t want to do it. That’s all part of trying, too.

Of course, in the next blog post I’ll probably tell you to stop trying and just fucking DO IT, like the militant bitch that I am. 🙂 Prepare.

Why wait?

Today’s Brew: One coffee too many

by Kristen

NEWS:  NIGHT MOVES is now on Goodreads!  Add it now!!

I hate the dentist. So much. Every time I go, it’s an unmitigated disaster. My solution to this problem has been not to go.

Last week, I broke a tooth. I may be stubborn, but I’m also vain. It’s not a front tooth, and the damage is in the back, but still, I didn’t want everyone to know that I was complete white trash on sight, so I made an appointment with the dentist.

Long story short, my mouth is a frigging disaster. And it’s all my fault. Since I was too much of a baby to do the responsible thing and take care of my teeth. Now instead of going every six months and getting a new toothbrush, I’m going to have many painful appointments and it’s going to cost me an arm and a frigging leg. Because apparently insurance doesn’t cover you being a dumb ass.

I’m mad and disgusted with myself for letting it get to this point. Not only is it a wallet emptier, it’s a complete eye opener.

Knowing today was my day to post, I’d been thinking about what I was going to post about this weekend.  We got snowed in, again. Usually, I don’t mind too much. This weekend I actually had plans. I was supposed to go see Skinny Puppy with Liz on Saturday night, but once the weather guys started throwing around terms like “blizzard conditions,” I decided to stay home. Liz, who lives in a different part of the state that didn’t get dumped on, still made it to the show. I missed in her words a “Tristan like” lead singer in the opening band who is named Lord Kalidon. You guys, he’s from freaking Italy. Hot Italian rockstars at my disposal and I stayed home and watched the Olympics. Sunday, I dug my car out and happily headed up to my chapter’s RWA meeting. Only to find it had been cancelled, once I got there.


A disappointing weekend, sure. A lot of time on the internet, you know it. Cabin fever has set in. I’m dreaming of adventure, Italian rock stars who are kind of like Tristan, and the warm sun. Waiting for makeup work to pick back up, mostly so I can pay my dentist tab.

You may have noticed I have a little bit of a Pinterest problem. I love Pinterest, and so doesn’t Julie. What else is there to do on a snowy weekend? We use it to relax, for book inspiration, and whatever else we feel like doing. Looking at the workout motivation boards help keep my ass working out.

But I’ve noticed a bit of a trend. Have you ever read the comments under the pins? Ugh. Pinterest is the living vicariously through others Olympics. You could start a drinking game with all the “I’d love to try thats,” “Somedays,” and “I love this but not for mes.”

The writer in me is picturing this whole crop of bubble people, who only experience life through the internet. They don’t talk to anyone face to face, they don’t go anywhere, and they don’t do anything. But they’ve had all the experiences, through other people, online.

Not cool, bubble people. Not cool at all.

The time to do these things is now! Go see hot Italian rockstars, get your teeth checked, and do things worthy of putting on Pinterest.

Be My Valentine!

Today’s Brew: Caramel Hot Cocoa. Because it’s a special day. Hallmark SAYS SO.

by Kristen

I was at work, bored out of my mind listening to people rave about a new platform to sell investment banking, and I came up with a brilliant idea.  See? Good stuff can come out of sitting in a cubicle.

I decided to ask some of my author friends what their main couples would get each other for Valentine’s Day.

I think Mr. Jacob Farrish would whisk Lady Eleanore Barnaby off for a few days to Bath or Cornwall, to spend time alone. He’s a busy barrister! 😉 She would most likely give him a set of new law books, and a more…um, PRIVATE present later.
–Olivia Kelly, The Heart of a Duke

Corbin would get Mara a new bow and Mara would get Corbin a silver shield. Lol.  Not as fun in the middle ages.
–Tammy Farrell, The Darkness of Light

Beau would get Jack something sarcastic. A slogan tee with ‘If I were chocolate, I’d eat myself‘ written across the front. Or maybe, ‘James Bond 2.0‘  Jack would get Beau a limited edition Yoda doll to replace the one that was broken during the chaos. Or, all things considered, he may get her one of those squidgy stress balls with his face printed on it…
–Louise D. Gornall, In Stone
For their first Valentine’s Day together (if they make it that far, because you’ve got to remember a. They got together two months before graduation and we all know how that usually works out, and b. Tash is kind of an emotional land mine), Grant would most-likely spend weeks stressing over what to get Tash and then eventually ask his mom for guidance. She would tell Grant to get Tash a sweater or something, and Tash would hate it. Tash, on the other hand, would probably be so uncomfortable about the mere thought of taking part in Valentine’s Day that she’d attempt to lighten the mood with some kind of gag gift, and Grant would be horrified because he’d wonder if deep down Tash secretly believes that he would be caught dead wearing a “Female Body Inspector” T-shirt. After a few moments of extremely creative cursing (on Tash’s part) and painful politeness while inwardly violent self-kicking (on Grant’s part), they’d both admit how socially awkward they are and have a good laugh about it together. And then they would make out. The end.
–Isobel Irons, Promiscuous

Abel will give Brandon a customized heart-shaped guitar pick stamped with I PICK YOU, plus a hoodie with the Castaway Planet logo. His valentine card will be very large and festooned with smooching robots, and it will play a tinny “Let’s Get It On” when opened. Brandon will give Abel a limited-edition Captain James P. Cadmus action figure and a giant tin of cinnamon jelly beans, because cinnamon jelly beans will remind him of their road trip always and forever. Also, his construction-paper valentine will look handmade by a monkey with extra thumbs, but Abel will put it under his pillow anyway.
–J.C. Lillis, How to Repair a Mechanical Heart

Tavis would create a special corner in the hedge maze at the Imperial Palace for Faylanna, one with some of her favorite plants from the Gardensia Exotica planted there. It would be secluded, so she could have time to herself if she wanted, or with just Faylanna, Tavis, and their daughter.  Faylanna would secretly arrange with Tavis’ steward to clear several days of commitments and tell him to spend the time any way he wanted, so long as it had nothing to do with being the Crown Prince. They’d end up leaving the city, taking no one but themselves for the week.
–J. Elizabeth Hill, The Nine
 Cerise would give William a doctor costume and he’d go rent a wing of some hospital.
Torren has always loved literature and spent a lot of his free time reading, so as a romantic gift, Lilly would get Torren something book-related, such as an autographed first edition of a book he adores or a new book he hasn’t read yet but which she knows he’ll love. Torren’s romantic gesture for Lilly, on the other hand, would lean toward the experiential rather than the material. He would plan a romantic date and not tell her where they were going. Something super special like showing her a spectacular view she’s never seen before or taking her to a production of Turandot, which was the opera they saw on their first date together and which captivated her and stirred her emotions.
–Jeanie Grey, Awakening 2
Eliza would get Nicholas something ridiculous and so wrong it was right like a plant stand. Nicholas would get Eliza a crazy amount of food, not fancy especially but a lot. Like lobster and stuff. And an onyx necklance. He’d say it was pretty and deathy like her.
–Julie Hutchings, Running Home
Tristan would get Callie an antique sewing machine and some really pretty fabrics, like crushed velvet with a funky dye to it, because she’s been sad she hasn’t been able to make anything since she’s been in Vegas.  Callie would get Tristan a journal, a leather one with a cool cutout pattern for his songs. Then one of them would say something to ruin the whole thing, but they’d make up and have a great night.
–Kristen Strassel, Because the Night

COVER REVEAL We Won’t Feel A Thing–J.C. Lillis

Today’s Brew: Blueberry. You knew that. Stop judging me. And probably hot cocoa later since it’s snowing

by Kristen

Today we are excited to reveal the cover of our friend J.C. Lillis’ brand new book, WE WON’T FEEL A THING. It will be available March 31!

We Won't Feel a Thing

We Won’t Feel a Thing

J. C. tells us about her inspiration for the cover:

I had this cover idea in my head pretty early on—the waves are a recurring image, and there’s also a Significant Umbrella in the story. I worked closely with my awesome cover designer, Mindy Dunn, who took the basic idea and made it beauteous. The book is whimsical and romantic (and hopefully funny), and I think the cover captures the tone really well. I hope you like it!

And the book sounds amazing:

Seventeen-year-old best friends Rachel and Riley are in forbidden love.

Their situation’s. . .complicated. And their timing couldn’t be worse—in just one month, he leaves for California and she starts college in New York. The absolute last thing they need is a reckless secret-love confession mucking up their perfect plans.

There’s only one logical option: scientific intervention.

Desperate for a quick fix, they sign up for WAVES, an experimental self-help program led by mysterious scientist David A. Kerning. He swears his Forbidden Love Module can turn passion back to safe platonic friendship in “six easy steps.”

But when you arm yourself with an untested program, side effects are unpredictable.

And sometimes when you fight love—love fights back.

About J. C.:

JCL Author PhotoJ.C. Lillis lives in Baltimore with her patient family and a ragtag band of tropical fish, some of which will be dead by the time you read this. WE WON’T FEEL A THING is her second YA novel; she also wrote HOW TO REPAIR A MECHANICAL HEART, because she wanted to read a book about two sci-fi fanboys in love and there wasn’t one handy. She loves koi ponds, abandoned amusement parks, and peanut butter & banana sandwiches. She hates paper cuts, cabbage, and writing bios.

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