Deadly Ever After

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

Archive for the tag “new authors”

Cover Reveal! (and so much more) PRETTY WICKED by Kelly Charron

 

TODAY’S BREW: It’s 95 degrees. I AM a cup of coffee

By Julie

SO EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK. I don’t tell you guys enough what I’m reading. I’ll do that soon, but for now THIS BOOK.

Pretty Wicked Printable 330 6x9

 

About PRETTY WICKED:

The daughter of a local police detective, fifteen-year-old Ryann has spent most of her life studying how to pull off the most gruesome murders her small Colorado town has ever seen.

But killing is only part of it. Ryann enjoys being the reason the cops are frenzied. The one who makes the neighbors lock their doors and windows on a hot summer’s day. The one everyone fears but no one suspects. 

Carving out her own murderous legacy proves harder than she predicted. Mistakes start adding up. And with the police getting closer, and her own father becoming suspicious, Ryann has to prove once and for all that she’s smarter than anyone else—or she’ll pay the ultimate price. 

Praise for Pretty Wicked: 

 

“This creepy novel places you inside the mind of a twisted teen killer, which is even more unsettling because of how familiar and normal she seems. Be prepared to leave the lights on and look at the people around you in a whole new way.”

 

-Eileen Cook | Author of WITH MALICE

 

 

“Dark and haunting, this witty thriller with its petite feminine anti-hero is an American Psycho for teens. Be prepared to sleep with the lights on.”

 

Lisa Voisin | Author of THE WATCHER SAGA

 

 

“Pretty Wicked is fresh, thrilling, and deeply haunting. I’ve never read anything like it! The story escalates from page one and will leave your pulse pounding as you wonder just how far Ryann will go. 5/5 stars.”

 

Tiana Warner | Author of ICE MASSACRE & ICE CRYPT

 

NOW I WILL LET YOU READ SOME, LOOK:

 

I heard the bell ring in the distance. Lunch was over. I leapt up to go when I was struck with panic. What if someone had seen me walk out there with Veronica? No one could know what I’d done. My breath hitched.

I ran as fast as I could back to the yard and to the first teacher I saw.

“Mrs. Hopkins! Come quick, Veronica’s really hurt!” I pretended to be hysterical so effectively that she couldn’t understand me the first few times.

She bent down so we were at eye level. “Where?”

“We went into the woods at the far end of the property. I’m sorry. I know we’re not allowed, but she fell and she’s not moving! You have to hurry!” I sobbed, shoulders shaking, snotty nose. I don’t know how I’d managed to look so distraught, but I nearly convinced myself.

Mrs. Hopkins turned to a kid named Austin, who was in the grade ahead of me. “Go get Mr. Chute. Tell him to call 911 and to come out and meet me in the woods.”

Austin, who was paper white, nodded and took off like his ass was on fire.

I ran back with Mrs. Hopkins to the rocks where I’d left Veronica. She was in the exact position I’d left her. Thankfully there was no miraculous recovery waiting for us.

After she was taken away in an ambulance, Mrs. Hopkins and Mr. Chute walked me back and called my parents.

My dad showed up to the school, hugged me, and told me how brave I was.

After my mother had finally stopped fussing and checking on me every twenty minutes, I sat on my bed and thought about Veronica. It would be weird not to see her in class every day or hang out with her at lunch, not that we hung out that much. I was usually with Bao-yu anyway, but sometimes she came along. Maybe now B and I would be better friends. She wouldn’t have to share me anymore.

I wondered what I was feeling—if I was missing Veronica. But I didn’t think that’s what it was. The twinge in the bottom of my stomach didn’t have the achy hollowness that people refer to as a pit. It was more like butterflies.

 

 

 

Link for Amazon: 

https://www.amazon.com/Pretty-Wicked-CharronKellyebook/dp/B01KAX8VLQ/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1471040176&sr=8-6&keywords=pretty+wicked#nav-subnav

 

Link for Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31394680-pretty-wicked?ac=1&from_search=true

AN INTERVIEW WITH THE WONDERFUL LADY WHO WROTE THIS SCARY-ASS BOOK!

 

Questions about Pretty Wicked:

 

  1. What inspired you to write such a dark character?

 

I’ve always been fascinated with psychology and human motivation. Whenever I read a novel or watched a movie or television show, I was drawn to the villain. I wanted to understand what made them act the way they did––delve into what happened in their lives or minds to make them the person they had become.

 

When there was the odd story from the “villains” point of view, it seemed to characterize them as “misunderstood” and usually spun them into a likeable character who was the hero of that new version of the story. I wanted to write something unique and portray the villain realistically. What would the story look like if they were a true villain? I got the idea for a teenage serial killer who was unapologetic about who she was and what she wanted and thought it was really interesting to explore what her point of view would be if she drove the story and the “villain” was the detective trying to stop her.

 

  1. Is this your first novel?

 

Pretty Wicked is the second book I wrote and the first to be published. I have been writing for ten years. My first book was a YA urban fantasy that took me seven years to complete because I kept stopping for huge chunks of time while I completed my degrees (English Lit and Social Work). I finally got serious about writing in 2013 and have just completed my fourth novel.

 

  1. Why did you choose to self-publish?

 

I did query it to literary agents and received a lot of positive praise for the book. In the end I kept hearing the same feedback: it’s a fascinating concept, the writing and voice are great, but we don’t think we can sell such a dark book to a publisher. I completely understand this. I know this book is going to be very polarizing. People will either love the concept of hate it. So far I have had overwhelmingly encouraging feedback from readers who understand that this is a fictional story that is trying to do something different from most novels. There was some interest from small publishers but the wait times were longer than I was comfortable with. I decided if I wanted to see this book out in the world I was going to have to do it myself. It was an intimidating process, but luckily I have an amazing and brilliant support group who helped me along the way.

 

  1. What genres do you write in?

 

Psychological thriller, urban fantasy, and horror. I have two YA urban fantasy books, though one may never see the light of day. It’s my first book and would need to be rewritten before I decide its fate. The second (currently titled Wilde Magic) is the first in a planned series that I am very excited about.

 

Here is a short blurb:

 

The novel follows fifteen-year-old Ainsley Davenport as she moves from her life in Maine to attend a prestigious boarding school in Massachusetts after her widowed mother marries a wealthy man that she can’t stand. At Ashbury Academy, Ainsley meets a group of students whom she finds more sophisticated and exciting than any kids she’s ever encountered. Ainsley is pulled into a world of wealth and extravagance, but it isn’t long before she realizes some things aren’t adding up and there is more to Ashbury than meets the eye. One of the oldest covens in history, The Wildes, is hidden beneath the school grounds. Magic is alive and well, and the coven is actively training new witches in this secret enchanted society. Ainsley soon recognizes that she may be in over her head when she uncovers secrets that she was never meant to know. The magical kind. The deadly kind.

 

  1. Is Pretty Wicked a standalone novel?

 

The Pretty Wicked series will continue with adult books. The sequel, Wicked Fallout, is currently going through editing and the third book in the series is brewing in my mind. I have some very fun ideas for Ryann.

 

Wicked Fallout takes place twelve years later when Ryann is 27 years old. That’s all I can say right now as to not reveal spoilers.

 

  1. Ryann is not a very likable character. Do you like her?

 

I actually do. I really enjoyed writing her. I don’t agree with anything she does at all! In that sense, Ryann is deplorable! But what I like is her humor and wit and the way she owns who she is. She was a fun character to write because she is so different to most characters out there. It’s like when you see a Hollywood actor discuss their favorite roles. Often they say the villain roles were their preferred because it was more fun and exciting to play. There are forbidden elements that make it a bit more exciting than the standard hero. It’s no different for me as the writer.

 

  1. What is your writing process?

 

I have a day job so writing usually happens in the evenings and on weekends. I work in a school so I am fortunate to have shorter days, two vacation break periods, and summers off which really help me carve out the time needed.

 

On a writing day (Saturday or Sunday) I will get up, shower, eat breakfast, procrastinate with some TV and then get to it. I’ll make a coffee and park myself on my couch (even though I have a beautiful desk in an actual home office). I’ll write for about 2-3 hours (about 1500-2000 words on average). I may do another session later that evening if I’m really inspired. I watch a lot of television and read widely to inspire my creativity and ideas.

 

I also have an amazing group of friends who are writers as well and we meet up to have writing and brainstorming sessions, which is fantastic!

 

kelly charron

 

Kelly Charron is the author of YA and adult horror, psychological thrillers and urban fantasy novels. All with gritty, murderous inclinations and some moderate amounts of humor. She spends far too much time consuming true crime television (and chocolate) while trying to decide if yes, it was the husband, with the wrench, in the library. She lives with her husband and cat, Moo Moo, in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

 

Connect with her:

 

Sign up for her mailing list or check out upcoming books at: http://kellycharron.com

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KellyMCharron

 

Facebook: https://goo.gl/UNkH3g

 

Goodreads: https://goo.gl/rf4NlM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with Summer Wier, author of Sci Fi YA, LINK!

TODAY’S BREW: More than you can imagine.

By Julie

Last week was the release of LINK by Summer Wier, a book near and dear to my heart. I had the divine pleasure of editing this book, and to see it come to life from start to finish is wonderful. It’s almost as near and dear as Summer herself, who is one of the greatest champions of my work and the one who insisted THE HARPY become a REUTS Publications book next year. I knuckled my way into Summer’s busy schedule to ask her a bunch of questions about LINK, which is one of the most unique YA sci fi books ever.

link-final-front

  • I love the unique way stars are used in LINK. Different than any sci fi or fantasy I have ever read. Where the heck did that come from? Are you a science geek or did you have the idea and need to find a way to make it come alive?
Why thank you! That’s such an amazing compliment. I think I’m definitely more geeky now than I ever would have admitted growing up, but I’ve always loved astronomy and astrology (two very different takes on similar things). When I set out to write a book, my original idea had nothing to do with stars or space, but focused on the connection between two characters who were separated by something I hadn’t figured out yet. It took me forever to even start writing because I didn’t know what I wanted the book to be or what would make it different from so many young adult stories that were already on the shelves. One day, I stumbled across this NASA clip “Black Hole Eats Star, Beams Signal to Earth” (https://youtu.be/2j04JEjKMjg) and I was so fascinated by it, I swear I watched it a hundred times. As I played the video over and over, it was like I’d found the piece I was missing for my story. LINK’s world, partly based on real science, partly imagination, mapped itself out in my mind, and at that moment I knew exactly where my story needed to go.
  • Kira’s relationship with her mother and her views on her mom’s life fascinated me. Tell me a little about how their relationship evolves in this book, if you could without giving too much away. 🙂
This is one of those areas where I used perspectives from my youth and parenting experiences, and blended them together. As a parent, I thought about how many things happen in life that children are completely oblivious to, or if they are aware of “things” they don’t always know the truth behind the story. In LINK, we see Kira’s perspective of what she believes is “truth” based on her experiences with her mother, and also what she’s created in her mind so that she can cope with what she thinks has happened between her mother and father. As the story evolves, Kira begins to piece together clues that shed more light on the events contributing to her parents’ past. And when she learns the “truth,” she gets a peek into her mother’s perspective and the reasoning for everything she did to protect Kira. With secrets revealed, Kira gains a new look on life and grows closer to her mother!
  • You created a really cool dreamscape sort of alternate world, which you managed to make unnerving and a little scary without any monsters. How did you do it?
I think black holes carry an uncertainty that contributed to the natural mystery of the world I created. I mean, what the heck is inside there?! No one really knows. There is so much left to discover in our galaxy, universe, and beyond—anything is possible! As my theories evolved from the NASA video, I let my imagination run wild with the kinds of landscapes one might see in a world pieced together in the way they’re fabricated in LINK, how this world would sustain itself in such an atmosphere, and who would inhabit it. Mix in the disorientation from traveling by starlight and who wouldn’t be a little creeped out with what awaits on the inside?
  • What is the message you want your readers to take from LINK?
Science changes everyday; life is ever-evolving. When I started writing LINK, so many of my ideas went against everything science believed about black holes (hence the fiction part). Take this simple definition of black holes from Wikipedia, “A black hole is a region of space-time exhibiting such strong gravitational effects that nothing—including particles and electromagnetic radiation such as light—can escape from inside it.” The NASA clip I shared earlier was a first look at a celestial event that totally changed that definition. And now, leaders in the science community have totally changed their positions on what’s possible when it comes to black holes, even so far as to share theories remarkably similar to those I created for LINK! (See article here: http://news.sky.com/story/1541609/hawking-black-holes-may-lead-to-other-universes) So my message to readers is: Anything is possible. Nothing is written in stone. Question. Explore. Create. The sky’s the limit.

Thanks so much for having me today! ❤
YOU GUYS PLEASE BUY LINK AND LOVE EVERY SECOND OF IT.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.

Available now from Amazon, and other retailers.

COVER REVEAL AND GIVEAWAY! Young Adult Horror, HARROWED by Jolene Haley and Brian LeTendre

TODAY’S BREW: Pumpkin spice! Get used to it.

By Julie

I’m so excited for this cover reveal. For this book. For my dear friends Jolene Haley and Brian LeTendre, folks with hearts of gold that write like the dickens. Not Charles Dickens, just some other dickens. And WE NEED YOUNG ADULT HORROR. Anyway, LOOK:

Harrowed-Cover-Reveal

Young Adult Horror coming 9/22/15 by Horror Twins Press! Harrowed on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25728924-harrowed

Woodsview Teaser _1

ENTER TO WIN HARROWED!: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/YTdmM2RlYjFhMDQ0NmM1YWQxNjA5MTk3ZGNiYTk3Ojg=/?

ABOUT HARROWED:

Journalism Rule #1: Always report the story. Never become the story.

Avery Blair has accepted the fact that nothing exciting ever happens in her small town of Woodsview, Massachusetts. As the editor of the high school blog, she prays for something—anything—to come along that would make for a great headline.

When Beatrice Thompson’s body is found in the girls’ bathroom, Avery has her biggest story ever. The rumors circulating the school say that Beatrice took her own life, but Avery doesn’t believe it for a second. Her instincts prove true when the next day brings another body bag.

The tiny community of Woodsview has become the hunting ground for a killer known as the Harvester. The killer targets Avery and her classmates, stalking their every move and terrorizing them with morbid messages.

With the help of her boyfriend Jason, her best friend Quinn, and an aging detective who can’t keep her off the case, Avery dives head-first into her own investigation. She discovers that the secret of the Woodsview Harvester is buried in the town’s history and its annual Harvest Festival celebration. With every clue she uncovers, Avery grows closer to unmasking the killer—and becoming the next victim.

Avery Blair has finally found a story to die for…if she can stay alive long enough to write it.

Harrowed on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25728924-harrowed

Brian LeTendre Author Pic

Brian LeTendre is the writer of the Parted Veil horror series, which includes Courting the King in Yellow, Lovecraft’s Curse, and Lovecraft’s Pupil. Brian currently writes a webcomic called Mo Stache, which can be read for free online and will be collected in print in 2016.  Brian lives and works in Massachusetts.

Brian on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SeeBrianWrite

Brian’s Blog: http://www.seebrianwrite.com/

Brian on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Brian-LeTendre/e/B00AGFTZFA/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Brian’s Podcasts: https://soundcloud.com/seebrianwrite

Jolene Haley Author Pic

Jolene Haley is the author of the Woodsview Murders series, Harrowed (out 9/22/15) and Haunted, coming fall 2016. She’s also the curator of the best-selling horror anthology The Dark Carnival through Pen & Muse Press.  She runs a YA horror blog The Midnight Society, the author resource site Pen & Muse, and Hocus Pocus & Co., a small horror press.

Jolene on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoleneHaley

Jolene’s Blog: http://jolenehaley.com/

Jolene on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7753660.Jolene_Haley

Jolene on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jolenelouisehaley

Woodsview Teaser _5

March Madness Flash Fiction Series: Joe Donahue

TODAY’S BREW: The Vanilla of France

By Julie

Today’s awesomeness brought to you by Beer Boy Joe Donahue. Coincidentally, if anyone is looking for a sort of personal chef, but more of a personal beer brewer, you can find him http://t.co/JMI6HZF0LX. Now READ.

Click, click, click, my fingers snap the top of a metal lighter open and closed in perfect syncopation with the charred remains of a clock hanging from the wall. A few pieces of metal have fused with the stone surface and are the only things keeping the clock from crashing to the ground. Minute hand and hour hand hang lifeless from the middle of the frame, but the second hand continues to tick and tock as though it is the heart, and the only thing keeping the clock alive.

A man sits on the other side of a glass frame. He just stares and laughs. Mockingly, he flips the top of a lighter as well. It’s distracting. It breaks my focus. It shatters my rhythm, but I don’t stop, and neither does he.

The air is filled with the stench of burnt flesh and accelerant. It burns the hairs in my nose. It fries my senses. Yet all I can manage to think about is the man on the other side of the glass. Caught in a standstill, we unrelentingly stare at each other.

“You did all of this didn’t you? You filled the room with kerosene, you killed all of these people!” The words escape from my mouth. Reason vacates my body. It was evident that he wasn’t going to be the first to break the silence so that left me no other option. He mouths my words as I talk, and I can feel rage building up in my very core.

“No, you did.” He leans backwards in his chair and the pool of kerosene splashes beneath his feet.

“You know damned well that I didn’t do this. I don’t even know how I got here.” I can feel all ability to think logically escaping my brain. The man continues to talk to me. The kerosene on the floor speaks to me. The very room itself seems to have a voice. Each and every charred figure on the floor screams out to me for retribution.

“The lighter is in your hand.”

Blinding anger saturates my field of vision as I stand up and smash the chair against the ground.

“Careful my friend. You could create a spark that way. This whole room would go up in flame. I don’t think either of us want that.” He walks closer, reaches out, as though he’s going to extend his arm through the very glass and grab me by the collar.

“Stop mocking me! Stop it!” I don’t say the words as much as they are yanked from my body with the strength of gale force winds. “Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!”

“I can see that you don’t like the truth. It makes sense. Most people don’t like to recognize the truth about themselves. Take a moment to walk around the room. Explore, let your amazing handiwork soak in. Let it soak in like kerosene soaks into and drenches the clothes of your targets, your prey.”

The room is vast and cold. Every inch of the stone floor is covered with a thin layer of kerosene. The thick cloud of vapors emanating from the floor is palpable and I can taste it on my tongue. It tastes like death and desperation. I yearn for nothing more than to escape from the control that it seems to hold over me.

“Oh, but to escape from this room would be to escape from your very self. Is that something you are really willing or able to do?”

“How did you…”

“Know what you were thinking? I guess that is really a question you should be asking yourself now isn’t it?”

Splash, sploosh, splash, sploosh, my body propels itself towards the glass as though I have no control over my actions. It’s like I’m a doll and some invisible marionette is pulling my strings. We both run towards the glass. Fate is controlling us, and one way or another fate is going to provide us the answer we both crave so strongly.

Crack, my ankle clips against the metal chair on the floor and my body propels towards the glass like a javelin through the air. My cranium cracks against the dense glass like a tomato against a mallet. Blood trickles down from my forehead and turns everything in my line of vision into a fresh shade of scarlet red.

The glass is now cracked and I can see the man on the other side hunched over and clenching his head. Blood rolls over his burnt and leathery fingers. Blisters and bubbles coerce the flow like mountains shape the tide of a tsunami.

The man sputters and spits blood on the now cleanly fractured glass. “So what exactly do you hope to accomplish from all of this?” His upper lip curls to reveal cracked and blood stained teeth.

“I suppose I intend to end this.” I resume flicking the lighter between my fingers in perfect time with the clock on the wall.

“Well, I don’t really believe that’s possible.”

“I do.” I can feel my pulse racing. The beat of my heart pounds and forms an unconventional cadence with the rhythm of the clock and the lighter. “See, you’re not going to be able to stop me. You’re on the other side of that glass. There’s nothing you can do now.”

“Now be rational.” A look of terror engulfs his face. “You don’t want to go and do something stupid do you? We can both get out of this like nothing ever happened. We can keep going. We’re good at this. It’s what we do.” The man pauses and taps the lighter against his forehead. “It’s what you do.”

“Not any more.” Reality comes crashing down on me with the weight of a thousand boulders. I can see the burning flesh. I can hear the screams. It all comes rushing back. It terrifies me. I clasp my hands, blood stained tears stream down my face and drip into the kerosene pool on the floor. They create a scarlet swirl around my feet.

Flick, the lighter ignites between my fingers. The clock stops. Sound evacuates the room as the lighter falls to the ground, turning the very air itself into a canvas of flame. The final moment arrives and silence takes residence in my soul.

THE BLOOD TALISMAN Giveaway!

TODAY’S BREW: Trader Joe’s 4 pack sampler. All four. Shut up.

By Julie

It’s gifty time, Christmas fans. Start with this fresh new werewolf fantasy.

The Blood Talisman cover

Alex Jacobs gets bitten by a werewolf, and that’s only the beginning of his problems. When his wife is kidnapped and turned into someone he doesn’t recognize anymore, he not only struggles with letting her go but, also with saving her life.  Selene is a powerful witch that not only teaches Alex the ways of the wolf but, also teaches him about restraint and purpose. Her shy innocence quickly attracts him to her and he struggles with being torn between two women. Their feelings for each other are constantly put to the test as a battle for the blood talisman, the key to immortality, is fought for power to some and a way to live forever for others. It is quickly learned that immortality comes at a price to all of humanity.

WELL OF COURSE WE’RE DOING A GIVEAWAY FOR IT:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/YTdmM2RlYjFhMDQ0NmM1YWQxNjA5MTk3ZGNiYTk3OjY=/

 But if you don’t win, GO GET IT HERE:
AMAZON
Or for chrissakes, add it on Goodreads:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22490952-the-blood-talisman

THIS IS KIM, SHE WROTE IT:

Kim's headshot

 

About Kim:

Kim Culpepper is a horror lover! She is the author of The Blood Talisman, several short stories, and also runs Dark Child Create, a company the designs custom book covers. Her work has been published in Sanitarium Magazine, The Opening Line Literary Zine, and more.

 

Kim is a native of Colombus, Mississippi where she lives with her wonderful husband, two beautiful kids, and two mischievous cats.  Most of her writing is based in the south because she enjoys writing characters with accents and the South has plenty of people to inspire that.

 

Kim on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kculpepper1

Kim’s Blog: http://www.kjculpepper.net/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kim.culpepper.3

Kim on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7957042.Kim_Culpepper

 

Join the book buzz using hashtag #BloodTalisman

 

 

Ellie Di Julio Doesn’t Pull Punches

TODAY’S BREW: Nantucket Something or Other Breakfast Blend

By Julie

I’m taking a breather from my war on the acceptance of antiheroines, and letting someone else talk today. It won’t last. Today you get to hear the brutal and distressing honesty of my good friend Ellie Di Julio, author of THE TRANSMIGRATION OF CORA RILEY and it’s spanking new sequel, SWORD OF SOULS.

You’ve said that SWORD OF SOULS has been your hardest novel to write. Tell us a little about what troubled you. *expects you to lie down on leather couch*

Okay, honesty time.

I have never hated a book like I’ve hated this one. It wasn’t just a complicated storyline or an uncooperative muse; it was real existential pain. Between the explosion in my personal life, this being my first true sequel, being away from home for two months, the grand failure of Cora Riley’s launch, and general author-growing pains, I felt like a hack. I nearly quit three times. I cried so much. If it was so hard, maybe I wasn’t cut out to write novels. If it was so hard, maybe there was something wrong with me. I just couldn’t fathom how to continue.

Thank God for Stephen Blackmoore and Karina Cooper, though. I didn’t know either of them before I started writing Sword of Souls, but I stalked them (in a good way) on Twitter long enough that we got to know each other. They talked me down from so many trees, shared my pain, encouraged me, and kicked my ass. Having them to run to when I was in writerly crisis and needed mentorship was/is incredible, and I’m deeply grateful to both of them.

How will we see Cora grow in SWORD OF SOULS from THE TRANSMIGRATION OF CORA RILEY?

She’s more confident in herself. Where she started as this unsure, distressed girl in Cora Riley, Sword of Souls has her finding her feet, learning what she’s truly capable of, and coming to terms with her powers and their ramifications. She’s always had that tenacity and strength, but only now that she’s out of her small town and able to make real change in the world is it coming to the surface where she can use it.

Sequels are hard, yo. If you could give a word of advice to new authors writing sequels, what would you say?

DON’T DO IT.

Uh… I mean…

Make sure you know your story. Like, re-read the previous book(s) to reacquaint yourself. You probably think you’ve got all the details stored up in your memory banks, but you don’t – not like your readers do. As a writer, you’re thinking ahead all the time, not behind. Having a “plot bible” or running organization system for your characters, events, settings, and storylines is invaluable and of prime importance when doing a multi-book series. I sure wish I had one…

I’ll do to you what you did to me. What’s the message in this book? Has it changed since the first FORGOTTEN RELICS novel?

Joke’s on you: I have an answer!

Sword of Souls is all about not letting your past define you. Jack confronts the woman who enchanted and enslaved him as a young man; Cora learns her true heritage, and it’s not awesome; Sofi has to release her best friend’s death. Everyone’s got skeletons in their closet, and if you let them keep their bony fingers around your wrists, you’ll never be able to move forward.

As for how it differs from Cora Riley, I’m not sure it does (or should) by much. That book’s message was essentially “you’re special, you just need to find out how,” but every book in this series has an underlying theme of hope – you can overcome, you will make a difference, you are stronger than you think.

Aw, man, I made myself all mushy. Excuse me, I have something in my eye…

SOS-Cover-500

Second chance at life? Check.

a-rare magic powers? Check.

BadUltrass new job? Check.

Saved world from evil goddess? Not so check.

Cora Riley assumed when she joined the FBI’s Supernatural Cases Division that she’d be dismantling Otherworld treachery alongside Jack Alexander, the storied Agent 97 who guided her through the underworld. Instead, she’s filing reports for Sofi Strella, a smart-mouthed agent ten years her junior.

When Jack finally does make contact, it’s not for sidestepper training, a quiet drink, or even an apology; it’s to investigate a magical narcotic that’s boosting supernatural belief to dangerous levels.

The case leads to the realm of Faerie, where Jack encounters an old flame and an even older enemy, both demanding his allegiance. As he battles the entanglements of his past, Cora continues the mission, ultimately facing the eerily-familiar Queen Mab, who wields a legendary blade in the name of Eris, the mad goddess of chaos.

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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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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?

Author links

Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Pinterest | Goodreads

The WereMerUnicorn That is the Perfect Writing Time

TODAY’S BREW: Pumpkin Pie Coolatta! THAT IS A THING.

By Julie

Oh, summer. Your blazing death rays and constant reminder that I should be Doing Things is nigh.

This girl is a lover of rain and cold. The hoodie and the hot coffee, curled up with a book or a movie, scribbling away in a notebook about all the new ideas that the bright colors outside framed against the iron gray sky sparked in me.

Things that do not mix well with me: HOT, BRIGHT AND LOUD.

Not to mention that I am the twenty-four hour entertainment system in place for Bennett starting in 5 days. Any semblance of a writing schedule I had is as lost as the sweatpants I won’t be able to bear for the next three months. That being said, I’m actually…..looking forward to summer a little this year??

The kids are of the age where we can do things together that don’t necessarily involve me carrying a caravan of supplies with me. Parents, you know what I’m talking about. This also involves not having to carry a child. This is the first year I haven’t had to do it in too many.

But the writing and editing. This needs to have a place in my life every single day. My former go-to schedule of waking up at 5 to get things done before the kids wake up is not going to work every day this summer, what with Sam’s sleep habits which are another story altogether. I’m too exhausted at the end of the day to write anything of quality, but I can edit at that time. I have the senses about me to do that well.

But if I can’t write in the morning, and I can’t write in the afternoon because I’m Doing Things, and I can’t write at night–

WHEN THE HELL DO I WRITE?

I love a schedule. Routine and me are the best of friends. Change and me? Not as much. But you not what I love more than routine and what is more important than holding a grudge against change in my day? My writing. This book that I’m working on. They’re critical in my life.

I’m coming to realize that having a cut-out writing time is something I may not have the luxury of this summer. Then I realized–I haven’t had cut-out writing time for a looooooong tiiiiiiime. But I still write.

THEN I realized that like parenting and eating and breathing, writing finds its way into my day one way or another, forcing itself out there like that cougar neighbor of yours who never quits.

AND THEN I realized that the perfect writing time is just like having the perfect writing space–free of toys, clear of a stack of bills, with your favorite comfy blanket and your favorite pen and your favorite songs playing and your favorite unicorn riding into the sunset while you have your favorite piece of pizza delivered to you by your favorite Robert Downey Jr. THIS IS ALL A LIE THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN AND IF IT EVER DID YOU ARE SO LUCKY. The Perfect Writing Space is a MYTH, people. Even if you are lucky enough to have this tranquil nook that you can escape to in order to spill out the words, once you get there, the words are GONE. Or you’re too tired to do it. Or you’d rather read and be on social media. I KNOW IT’S TRUE, I SEE YOU ON TWITTER.

My routine this summer is going to be digging for the treasure of that 1000 words a day between going to the park, the beach, Walmart, Anywhere Air Conditioned, not to mention the Things That Keep Your Home Somewhat Liveable. So, I’ll be the mom at the park writing like a fiend under a tree BECAUSE MY KIDS CAN PLAY FREELY NOW. I’ll be writing notes that I can type in faster than fast later that night while they eat dinner. I’ll be reading, because reading is the first half of writing–at the park, in line, in the car while they nap after all that playing and having fun with Mama.

This book I’m writing is non-negotiable. It’s screaming for air. And I’ve long since learned that showing your kids that you have a passion is as important in parenting as playing Legos with them. They need to see me say when we get home, “All right, Mama needs one half hour (which will become 15 minutes) to write. Time me!” And I’ll be running word sprints with them. Reporting into them what I’ve gotten done as much as I do Twitter. It’s all an experiment, but so is writing and parenting.

The moral of the story, those of you who dread summer as much as love it, is that your feelings on how much you need to write or do whatever it is that makes your heart tick, needs to be weaker than your determination to do it. Get yourself into Creation Survival Mode. Be Spartan in what you need to get it done. And see how bare your art comes out and how clean you feel when it’s done.

My Writing Process about Juuuuuulie

TODAY’S BREW: Margaritas. From the second I awake. I’m probably drunk now.

By Julie

I met the fantastically delicious Mary Lynne Gibbs, author of  JERICHO RISING, at Penguicon when we both exhibited the same bewildered and exhausted face that said we needed to be friends. She’s a kick ass vampire author and actor and I think I had a dream about us hanging out together at the end of the world. It was awesome. Go check out her stuff at http://t.co/nwzs2a2NiL and follow the young lady on the old Twitter machine at @MaryLGibbs. Aaaaanywho, she asked me to participate in this writing process blog, and you guys know me—happy to yap my flapper about my work, so here goes!
WHAT AM I WORKING ON?

I’m uber protective of the book I’m working on right now. Never felt like this about my books before. It even has secret Pinterest boards so I can hoard all the ideas for myself. But FINE, I AGREED, SO HERE. It’s a young adult novel called THE WIND BETWEEN WORLDS, about 5 witches from 5 warring families that are indebted to tether The Chains–the veil over the world that hides magic from humanity and prevents the demons of The Gone from invading Earth.  When the Demon Prince who’s the 7th son of a 7th son comes to power he shows the witches that oppression is in the eye of the beholder, and power takes many forms.

HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?

This is my first YA novel and I’m looking forward to giving some complexity in the way the young witches think of their parents. There’s a fine line between the normal rules given to them as teenagers and the form of slavery they’re subjected to. It’s dark, but uplifting, hopefully thought provoking and very romantic, with a little bit of a Shakespearian prettiness thrown in there. I want it to be as layered as the teenage mind is, and isn’t always given credit for.

WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?

I write urban fantasy because I love to see the ordinary made extraordinary. I love supernatural characters with very human choices to make. I love characters that don’t have black and white lives, and who never do exactly the right thing, because there is never a right thing for them or anyone else. I want to feel like there’s something more out there, while still being very grounded in reality. Urban fantasy for me is creating the most realistic superheroes ever.

HOW DOES YOUR WRITING PROCESS WORK?

This novel is different in that I’m actually OUTLINING. Though the novel will be in the point of view of the Witch of Stars, Celeste, I like to write books where the secondary characters think it’s about them, and this book is going to be a shining example of it because what teenager isn’t fighting for their voice to be heard? I need to know every one of these incredible witches/teenagers and the way they see the world in order to make the complete story perfect. I’m making a huge inspiration board that involves all of the witches and my Demon Prince, Lux, so that I can see all of them in one place, and how their characteristics work together. I have a monster 5 subject notebook to get every detail into. I have a separate (secret) Pinterest board for each character and one for the novel as a whole. I need this world to scream REAL and that can only be done with a lot of forethought and research. Then I dive into 1000 word a day diet.

The Witch of Stars, my MC

Celeste, The Witch of Stars

Next week I picked 3 gorgeous authors to tell us about their work. SO YOU GO FIND THEM:

Carey Torgensen, “The Torg,” is a long time friend, and the author of THE PRINCESS PARADOX, coming out in December. She loves writing kiss scenes a lot. Like a lot. And she’s always asking me to Jell-O  wrestle. I always say yes. @CareyTorg on Twitter.

seattletfiles.blogspot.com

 

Jered Meyer is probably the most hilarious person in Alaska, as exhibited by his live tweeting of Dora the Explorer and his terrible job. But he’s also brilliantly complex and sweet and has a helluva voice, and is just a wonderful friend. Go buy his books or I’ll hurt you. http://t.co/IznHZS93B3 and check out his blog which is better than ours a little. http://t.co/dCDa75nRTv @The_KJM on Twitter.

 

And I feel sorta awesome about making you check out Erik Hofstatter, whose MORIBUND TALES is getting killer reviews: “These tales of dark fiction have a true Gothic style tone to them, with influences from Poe and Stoker very much alive, mixed with the writer’s own unique twist.” – The Strange and the Curious 
He’s also a martial artist, making him better than most people, and I just plain like him very much. Go check out his blog http://t.co/9WPsxmmLGu and MORIBUND TALES http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GACB9ZC?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=393177&creativeASIN=B00GACB9ZC&linkCode=shr&tag=booofthedeapr-20&qid=1393108112&sr=8-1&keywords=Erik+Hofstatter+Moribund+Tales.

 

 

 

 

 

How To Not Be Stupid at Conventions

TODAY’S BREW: Red Velvet from Target. God, I do love Target.

By Julie

Penguicon was my first convention for writerly stuff. It seemed like everyone on the frigging planet knew everything there was to know about conventions before I went, and there’s these badges and ribbons and everyone knows their way around, and I’m just sort of a “take a left at the tree” kind of girl.

But being brand new to this, I wanted to come away with something from this convention, and I always will. Here a few things I knew for certain that I taught myself, and they might help you out, too. Conventions are an investment, and should be treated as such unless you’re a trust fund baby or a high priced call girl. If you don’t have unlimited cash and want to treat your weekend like a giant party, go for it. If you want it to mean something to your writing career, these are my suggestions:

  • GO WITH THE INTENT OF GETTING SOMETHING OUT OF IT. Sounds basic, but yeah. Make it your mission to go home with more than a hangover, a pile of books, toys and bruises. I wanted to come away having met some people that are important to my writing, and inspired to work on my newest book. Mindset changes everything.
  • MAKE YOURSELF USEFUL. Volunteer to help out. Not only do you meet some folks, but you learn about the con fast and you loosen up really quickly. I worked at Penguicon like an animal. I helped set up the con suite, refilled all the food for the guests, answered questions, all that stuff. Trial by fire. I threw myself into the middle of it, and put my resources to work. It made me feel like I was giving something back.
  • LOOK AT THE DAMN PROGRAM AND MAP, AND STRATEGERIZE THE PANELS. I was psyched to put my two cents in at the Obligatory Undead Panel, talking about whether or not the undead are really a dead topic. A kick ass worldbuilding panel helped me figure out what exactly I need to keep in mind while building the world for my new book, and taught me something I should probably already have known; building convincing worlds for games is a different aspect of complexity than building worlds for novels, and there’s a lot to be learned there. (Now I get to play games for “research.”)
  • INTRODUCE YOURSELF IN THE DEALER ROOM. Those folk working at the tables? YEAH, THEY’RE AWESOME. The tee-shirt guy writes, the comic illustrators and writers are selling their stuff, and probably sitting there a little awkwarded out at the idea of selling shit like a mall kiosk nightmares. Introduce yourself. Talk. Now the comics and other things I got came straight from the hands of the people who created them and I talked shop with those folks. FOR THE WIN.
  • OH YEAH. INTRODUCE YOURSELF IN GENERAL. For real, put yourself out there. My agent, the illustrious Eric Ruben, Esquire, will say all day long that writing is showbiz. People want to connect with the author. YOU’RE THE AUTHOR, ASSHAT. CONNECT. I saw a lovely lady in a super short elevator ride that had the same expression on as me. I mentioned it. We got coffee and hung out and she’s goddamn awesome, and an author of the same stuff as me, and was later on a panel with John Fucking Scalzi and Holy Shit It’s Cory Doctorow. Yeah. Speak up, introvert. These are your people.
  • ALSO MAKE EYE CONTACT AND SMILE. I don’t mean like a politician, but walk with your head up and smile at everybody. These are some of the friendliest, most talented people I would never have met if I didn’t walk around like I owned the place. Not only that, but you have so much to learn from each other, and I learned that I’m not as dumb as I thought about stuff, too.
  • KNOW WHO YOU WANT TO MEET AND MEET THEM. I was fucking determined to meet John Scalzi, so I did. I went up to him after Ask the Author and introduced myself. I looked like an ass, sure. But next year, I won’t have to do it again with as much flourish. I was still too scared to talk to Cory Doctorow, but he tweeted me and I felt like a million bucks
  • PLAN FOR NEXT YEAR OR NEXT CON. I already have put the feelers out to speak on panels at the next Penguicon. I wrote a quick list of do’s and don’ts for next time.

Now that I’m home, I’ve referred to the few notes I’ve taken a million times, and feel re-energized like nobody’s business. This is what I needed, and now I’m full steam ahead. Basically, grab your convention by the balls and run with it.

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