Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “new writers”

The Undead Interview: The Undead Duo Regroups

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

By Julie

But really both of us

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

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 We started this blog to document our writing journey as friends, as then unpublished, unagented writers starting from scratch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s different and what’s the same?

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

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

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

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

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

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


Book Beatdown: Being Brave in the Battle of the Book

TODAY’S BREW: PUMPKIN SPICE. Oh, it’s happening.

By Julie

The Back to School Book Beatdown has really heated up. We have more writers committed to this than I EVER thought we would!

Side note: Prepare, beta readers ad crit partners. October will be busy for you.

I’m so proud of all of you. I know how hard it is to get the kids to school, sit your butt down and make yourself THINK and FEEL and WORK when you might be able to watch a movie and fall asleep 6 or 7 times through it. Putting the pedal to the metal on your book is goddamn hard. Even when you’re in a flow and totally into it, you’re always questioning yourself, always feeling like you have no business writing. Plugging forward through that feeling is one of the bravest things I think a person can do. I absolutely mean that. To push yourself forward when you have no idea if you’ll finish, if anyone will care, if it will make sense or if you’ll fail your own standards can be soul crushing. And yet writers not only do it every day, they FIGHT to do it every day.

Bravery come in many forms but this one can grab your heart and make you think things of yourself you wished you never did. And then you push to find out just a little more. It’s knowing there will be pain involved, and that you absolutely will not be well received by many, but saying, “I’m doing this thing no matter what.” Goddamn, that is the kind of bravery I want my kids to have.

My buddy Matt White, who will hate me for putting him on the spot this way, I know feels inadequate about his writing. And this week he tweeted out that he read some of his own work and thought to himself that yeah, he’s on to something here, that he can write some damn good stuff. I already knew this because I know Matt, but what I think doesn’t matter when he sits down, feeling crappy and plow through his words to come out on the other side. I’m wildly proud of Matt for this.

Felicia Anderson is a writer who I begged to let me edit for her because her work is that frigging amazing. (she’s @Fifi_the_Ninja on twitter.) This girl browbeat the crap out of her work in progress this week, giving me writing days of over 3000 words sometimes. I MEAN, HOLY CRAP.

Peter Damien, Book Riot contributor and ginger, made some killer progress on the most intriguing haunted house idea I’ve heard since House on Haunted Hill, AND he found an actual haunted mansion he can visit all the time that will fuel his words and keep him focused. So exciting.

There were a lot of writers that reached out to me to tell me how well their work was going. There were some that didn’t quite make it, too. Who ducked when I showed up on Twitter looking for them. You know who you are. Looking at you, Adam Dean. I say your name not to shame you, but because even though you didn’t get done what you wished to do, you still reported in to me. That shows commitment. This isn’t a race–it’s creation. It cannot be timed.

I’m holding myself accountable, too. And I’m not where I want to be on THE WIND BETWEEN WORLDS. I had something else to attend to: approving the final edits on RUNNING AWAY, which has been done completely inches from publication. And I have a cover. A COVER. But I’ve been reading THE WIND BETWEEN WORLDS, and I’m so happy to have taken the time from it that I did. I’m eager to dive back in. I love it and I’m not afraid to say so. Having the encouragement from my early readers on it, particularly Jolene Haley of Pen and Muse, has kept me rigid in what I demand from this book. I want something utterly different, but familiar feeling, and I wont settle for les than glee when I finish it. It’s also wonderful to have my ever-supportive agent and personal Esquire, Eric Ruben telling me that there’s no pressure and to take care of myself first. He remind me that taking care of myself means finishing this book.

So while some are pushing limits every day word-wise, others are pushing by not letting themselves off the hook and not doing what’s easy. What’s easy is to just not do it. Don’t do things the easy way. Sneak up on your book when it thinks it can get away. Never let it get away.

Welcome to WIDOW TOWN by Joe Hart

joe hartTODAY’S BREW: Life Is Good S’mores Brew. Seethe with your jealousy.

By Julie

Joe Hart is my internet roommate. We would have a sitcom-worthy lifestyle. However, we settle for being wonderful friends and loving each other’s work, so I’m proud as a sonofabitch to introduce you to his latest, and Jesus H. Christ if this blurb isn’t fantastic.

In the future there is no such thing as a serial killer.
A breakthrough research project has detected an active gene present in all known psychopaths and developed a vaccine to make it completely dormant. People are inoculated at birth. Society has rejoiced the extinction of the sociopathic mind. 
There hasn’t been a serial killing in America in over forty years. 
Sheriff MacArthur Gray resides in the future but lives in the past. His world views have chased him from a large metropolis to his home town, but there is no sanctuary to be found after he arrives. 
Because people are dying and only he can see the truth. 
A sociopath has somehow survived and is thriving in the new world. Soon Gray is thrust into a nightmarish race against the killer where no one is safe, and everyone is a suspect.
Get yourself a copy of WIDOW TOWN here. and then love me for what I’ve told you to do.
Then go follow him on Twitter @AuthorJoeHart and check out his blog for some of the best flash fiction you’ll ever read YOU’RE WELCOME.

5 Ways To Dodge Missiles In The Querying Trenches with Emmie Mears

TODAY’S BREW: Coconut crème in a can. It comes in a can, it’s so awesome.

By Julie

My delightful buddy Emmie Mears gave me the extreme pleasure of doing a guest post today, and she’s so smart it makes me look a little dumb. Please, enjoy her insight. Following this, buy her book. Go.

5 Ways to Dodge Missiles in the Query Trenches

Most writers going into querying know that rejection is involved. They even realize that it’s ubiquitous; a badge of honor among writers because it happens to everyone. Even so, when many writers start out, they don’t realize that they’re stepping onto a minefield whilst wearing snowshoes.


Here are five ways to ensure you’re not going in blindfolded as well.


5. Know what you’re up against.


The average agent gets between 100-1000 queries…per week. Yeah, you read that right. Per WEEK. Agent Suzie Townsend, when she used to do weekly query roundups, regularly reported between 500-900 queries each Friday. That’s just her. Not her whole agency. Because of that, agents read queries really quickly, which means you have to do a few things. At a bare minimum, you have to not immediately turn them off. Then you have to hook them. The former is simple enough; the latter can be tricky. The biggest thing to wrap your mind around as a new querier is that no matter how life-changing you think your book is, it’s competing against thousands of others.


4. Know what you have.


My debut was “Adult urban fantasy, complete at 88,000 words.” That one sentence told agents a lot that they needed to know. Which category (adult), which genre (urban fantasy), that it was indeed finished (it MUST be finished), and the word count (not 500K). If you can’t wedge your book into a statement like the above, you will need to assess why. While sometimes genre-bending books will sell huge and quick, the more common reality is that agents and editors all know that booksellers have to shelve books somewhere. If you’re going traditional, there are word count norms for each genre that new authors especially ought to keep in mind.


3. Know who you’re querying.


This ties into the whole “not immediately turning agents off” thing. This means doing your research. There are fantastic resources out there, from Query Tracker to the Absolute Write forums and blogs as well as Writer’s Digest’s Guide to Literary Agents. Once you know what you have, make sure you research agents who are looking for just that. My own agent has told me that she gets a huge percentage of queries each week that just aren’t things she represents, like middle grade when she only reps YA and adult.


2. Follow directions.


Agents will all have submission guidelines. If they ask for the first five pages in the body of the email with the query, send exactly that. Don’t send an attachment unless they explicitly tell you to. Follow exactly what they say to do, because your query is the very first impression they have of you. If you’re querying agents, it’s because you probably want a traditional publishing deal. Going against guidelines tells them that you either didn’t care to read them, or that you read them and ignored them. Neither of those things make a good first impression in this business.


1. Write an excellent book.


Then do it again. The best way to be successful in querying is to write a fantastic book. Write something fresh and unique. That means knowing what’s out there in your genre so you know yours has a place and doesn’t retread the same paths other books have taken. It means learning your craft and being willing to revise and rewrite. It means being willing to take criticism and rejection. It means trying each day to be better.


Once you feel confident that the book you’re going to query is the best it can be, it’s time to write the next one. When I got my agent, I not only had the book in hand that she signed me for, but I had another manuscript finished (well, technically, three other manuscripts). When we got the offer on my debut, we were able to immediately start subbing my other manuscript. I have another one in the wings now. If you want to make noveling your career, you have to keep doing it. Sometimes first books don’t sell. Often, actually. And when they do, you want to have something else ready.


While the advice here might seem simple, any agent will tell you that a huge number of queriers don’t follow it. Simply doing these things sets you apart from thousands of writers in the query trenches — and means agents will associate your name with professionalism and respect, even if they pass on your manuscript.



Emmie Mears was born in Austin, Texas, where the Lone Star state promptly spat her out at the tender age of three months. After a childhood spent mostly in Alaska, Oregon, and Montana, she became a proper vagabond and spent most of her time at university devising ways to leave the country.

Except for an ill-fated space opera she attempted at age nine, most of Emmie’s childhood was spent reading books instead of writing them. Growing up she yearned to see girls in books doing awesome things, and struggled to find stories in her beloved fantasy genre that showed female heroes saving people and hunting things. Mid-way through high school, she decided the best way to see those stories was to write them herself. She now scribbles her way through the fantasy genre, most loving to pen stories about flawed characters and gritty situations lightened with the occasional quirky humor.

Emmie now lives in her eighth US state, still yearning for a return to Scotland. She inhabits a cozy domicile outside DC with two felines who think they’re lions and tigers.


You can preorder THE MASKED SONGBIRD here (! Released in a box set, you get four great paranormal and urban fantasy books for less than $4!


Follow Emmie on Twitter @EmmieMears and join her on Facebook!



Emmie Mears

Author of THE MASKED SONGBIRD (Harlequin 2014)

Making Feelings Go Away: Undeaditing Advice

TODAY’S BREW: The end of the Coconut Crème. So, run as fast as you can.

By Julie

I’ve been having a blast doing Undeaditing. Reading the works of others is an inspiration in itself, and having the opportunity to take those voices and really exploit them the way the writer wants to do, but needs help with is an amazing feeling. I get grossly enthusiastic about it. There’s a lot of swearing and all caps and all the good kind that make everyone happy.

I’m grateful to be asked for editing advice often, and a friend suggested I start giving some here. Just in casies. So here’s a quickie:


There’s always a way to make your work more visual without describing everything. That’s not exactly what I’m talking about here. This is about your characters, and how you can show me how they feel without telling me how they feel, and not have to revise your entire goddamn book.

The two biggest offenders of telling about feelings in my opinion are it felt like and it seemed like.

It didn’t feel like there were a hundred rain clouds pouring on her; “a hundred rain clouds poured misery on me.” Boom.

It didn’t seem like they never wanted him around; “Every turn of their shoulders when I came near, every dark stare when I opened my mouth told me all I needed to know about how wanted I was.”

Eliminating it felt like and it seemed like from your manuscript is a lot easier than you’d think. Simplify it for yourself. Don’t overthink it. If the sentence is, “It felt like my heart would burst with love for him,” a simple “My heart burst with love for him” will suffice.

And as in writing, also in blogging, conciseness is key today. Now, go my little chickens, and take out a thousand it felt likes and it seemed likes out of your book until you have a CHRIST IS OUR LORD-sized pamphlet left.


COVER REVEAL! The Rose Master by Valentina Cano

TODAY’S BREW: Possibly Wild Turkey. Let’s see where the day brings us.

By Julie


The Rose Master Cover Reveal



The day Anne Tinning turns seventeen, birds fall from the sky. But that’s hardly the most upsetting news. She’s being dismissed from the home she’s served at since she was a child, and shipped off to become the newly hired parlor maid for a place she’s never heard of. And when she sees the run-down, isolated house, she instantly knows why:

There’s something wrong with Rosewood Manor.
Staffed with only three other servants, all gripped by icy silence and inexplicable bruises, and inhabited by a young master who is as cold as the place itself, the house is shrouded in neglect and thick with fear. Her questions are met with hushed whispers, and she soon finds herself alone in the empty halls, left to tidy and clean rooms no one visits.
As the feeling of being watched grows, she begins to realize there is something else in the house with them–some creature that stalks the frozen halls and claws at her door. A creature that seems intent on harming her.
When a fire leaves Anne trapped in the manor with its Master, she finally demands to know why. But as she forces the truth about what haunts the grounds from Lord Grey, she learns secrets she isn’t prepared for. The creature is very real, and she’s the only one who can help him stop it.
Now, Anne must either risk her life for the young man she’s grown to admire, or abandon her post while she still can.

Add to Goodreads:

Author Info:

Valentina Cano pic

Valentina Cano is a student of classical singing who spends whatever free time she has either reading or writing. She also watches over a veritable army of pets, including her five, very spoiled, snakes. Her works have appeared in numerous publications and her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Web. She lives in Miami, Florida.

Valentina on Twitter: @valca85

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.



Flash Fiction Friday: THE WICKED ONES

TODAY’S BREW: More hot beverages than you can shake a stick at before that stick freezes. It is 9 degrees out.

By Julie

For this Flash Fiction Friday, I dragged a chapter of THE WICKED ONES SAGA out of my good friend, Mr. Jackson’s, grasp for today. He keeps his work a little too close to himself for me. Once you read this, you’ll wonder how fast you can get your hands on more of his words, too. Enjoy this excerpt, and be absorbed.


The tears began to flood out of me. Attempting to hold them back proved ever so futile. As I held her in my arms, I knew my existence would never be the same. Never. She was absolutely, the most beautiful wight I’d ever laid eyes on. 
“I would love to name her Elizabeth.” My eyes now focused on the only being that could have brought such euphoria. My love, my partner…
“Please, don’t stop. Go on, I’d love to hear more.”
I opened my eyes seeking to shake the memories from my mind like it was an etch a sketch, I could only respond with the cold reality, the truth. “Those were of happier times. We need not speak of those moments.”
 Although my voice was firm, inside I was still reliving the pain I tried for so many years to erase. “I do apologize Iris, but I must beg your pardon. Perhaps we can continue this another time.”
Confused and discontented, Iris responded weakly, “Sure, no problem, Justin.” I watched from the parlor window as she entered her car and drove off.
Tonight was not the night for such emotion. I needed to feed and get Iris as far away from me as possible.
“Why did I agree to a meeting in the first place?”
Smarten up or deal with the consequences’.” The voice of my grandfather was so clear. It had been days since I last fed and the memories I was conjuring up would not mix well together. I needed to be alone.
  I have never spoken to another being regarding that day. For years I’ve pushed and pushed, until the pain was buried deep within my cold heart. I circled the parlor glancing at the piano, that once played such beautiful music. Soft melodies that encased raw emotions, allowing the soul to dance and swell up with such revelry, it would almost feel felonious.
I closed my eyes to listen closely to those amazing notes. “Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful, Eliza.” The smile on my little angel’s face was more than enough to illuminate any corner of the world. Moreover, it never failed to melt the ice around my heart.
“She has your ear for music.” I welcomed the words being whispered into my ear as two warm, loving arms slid over my shoulders to embrace me from behind. “I believe you may be correct in your assessment of our little angel. She’s progressing quite rapidly. However, it pales in comparison to the heart that she has, which is all your doing.”
 As I turned to face my queen and thank her for the greatest gift in the world, I was met by my dear old friend, loneliness. Here I stood, staring at my reflection in the mirror, not sure who was the man staring back. The black in my eyes served as a reminder that I was in dire need of feeding or I was going to lose myself. Losing myself was not an option, not in this town, or anywhere for that matter. I’ve managed to stay under the radar of people’s suspicions of my kind, or any other being for that matter, for quite some time now. I was simply a young man who loved music and would teach all who desired to learn. No one needed to know what I really am.
However, tonight a few unfortunate individuals would find out. Lamentably, they would not get the chance to tell another soul of their discovery.
The night air was crisp. Seeing my breath in front of me reminded me of Elizabeth. She would always, with a tilted-up head, blow up to the sky and say, “Did you see that, Daddy?”
I shook the image from my mind and continued down the lane, which led to many businesses. Most of which were closed to patrons many hours ago. Only the taverns and nightclubs would be open at this time of night.
It took all of a second to pick up his scent. Around the back of the White Pony stood the lead guitarist of the local band chosen to open up for Cold World. I recognized the face from the town flyer promoting tonight’s concert. The burning began in my throat. My eyes seeing the horror about to unfold. It was too easy to get what I was craving.
I drained him of every last drop. Quickly and quietly.
Wiping the blood from my chin, I ventured inside the White Pony for course number two. My recent meal had awoken quite the frenzy in me. A jolt of adrenaline was flowing through me. Trying to not rip through the throats of every single person in here was becoming increasingly difficult. All efforts were proving to be pointless until I heard her voice. “Justin? I thought you wanted to be alone tonight?”
Sounding ever so unhappy, with the posture to match, there stood Iris.
Truly surprised, I connected my eyes with hers and tried to excuse myself. “Hey, wait a minute. Where are you going?” Iris would not let me just cut this chance meeting short.
“I do apologize for earlier Iris. I just needed some fresh air and as I walked, my feet led me here. Must have been the music.”
Looking to seize the opportunity for more conversation Iris asked, “Wanna go outside?”
“Sure, Iris, lets do that.”
“So what’s the deal? Do you always push people away?”
The words were sharp, yet genuine. Iris was an amazing woman to me, and I knew she would not benefit from having me in her life.
“Iris, I’m rather complicated. You should keep a healthy distance.” If only she knew that I was referring to my desire to rip her throat wide open and indulge in her sweet smelling blood. Her blood was singing to me and I was loving every note.
“I can’t do that Justin. I am completely drawn to you.”
A feeling of regret flushed through me as the words hit my ears. What she wanted I could give her, but she would need to know everything. Everything.
“You wanted to know why I push people away. Truth is, I’d rather push than have them pulled away. You should know that I wasn’t always so cold and distant. I’ve loved and knew happiness. The world isn’t as good as you think it is. There are many faces of evil among us.”
Iris never moved her eyes away from mine and her body seemed so relaxed. No fear in her body for me. “There is no evil with you Justin.” So innocent was Iris. It kind of scared me.
Stepping closer to me, Iris was not making my desire for her blood go away. I was fighting with all I had. “What are you fighting to protect? What scares you?” As her eyes began to slightly water up, Iris began to speak again. “You can tell me everything when you are ready. I just need to tell you that I love you. I’ve loved you for some time now, Justin.” Softly crashing into my chest, Iris softly rubbed her head just under my chin. “You are always so protective of me. I want to take care of you. I just feel so attached to you. No harm or hurt will ever find you again. I promise.”
Finally overcoming the desire to drain her of every last bit of her sweet, melodic blood, I was now filled with a new emotion. As I held her close, Iris whispered softly into my ear “I would die for you.”
A small grin formed as I responded, “Are you ready?”

60 Ways to Not Write Your Novel

TODAY’S BREW: Enough coffee that my heart may beat so fast it will finally just stop. You can’t even imagine the puke fest I have lived through last night.

By Julie

I am so in love with the reality of this post, I want to cross stitch it onto several pillows then cry into them. Coincidentally, I also love Gina Denny, who is an amazing writer, with a voice that will kick your ass off of your ass. She did an amazing piece for Josh Hewitt’s blog series “World’s End” called SERENITY. Go read it.

Okay, you’re back?  Okay, NOW go look at what she did for our little side project The Midnight Type, for our “SantaCLASH” series.

Follow Gina on Twitter @ginad129 and check out her blog,

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

60 Ways to Not Write Your Novel

1. Blog about writing.

2. Read a book about writing.

3. Join a fan forum.

4. Listen to Writing Excuses.

5. Make a snack.

6. Join Twitter.

7. Post “Twitter is confusing!” on facebook.

8. Read a book you’ve been meaning to read for a long time.

9. Write a review about that book.

10. Read all the other reviews about that book.

11. Get into a Goodreads war.

12. See the @ column on twitter.

13. “Ohhhhhh… THIS is why people love twitter!”

14. Join a blogging community.

15. Write your synopsis.

16. Write your query.

17. Write back cover blurbs. For the entire series of eight epic fantasies you plan on writing.

18. Have a “job” that pays you “money” for “doing stuff” that “isn’t” writing.

19. Remember Chris Farley did an SNL skit with extraneous sarcastic air quotes.

20. Look up the skit on YouTube.

21. Fall down the YouTube rabbit hole, emerging four hours later with a new-found appreciation for Nerdfighting.

22. Organize your desk.

23. Vlog.

24. Download the More Beaute2 app and edit a selfie.

25. Take way more selfies.

26. Research mundane details of your novel.

27. Fall down the Wikipedia rabbit hole, emerging five hours later with a working knowledge of pulley systems, Napoleon Bonaparte, and cheese.
28. Say it with me: NETFLIX.
29. Write your acknowledgments page.
30. Write your dedication. Make sure it’s so steeped in inside jokes that no one but the person it’s meant for can understand it.
31. Have a social life.
32. Fake a social life on Instagram.
33. Agonize over your first sentence. Minimum time spent on this task: three to four hours per day, for no fewer than nine days straight. 

34. Research agents.
35. Research editors.
36. Research movie options and rights and merchandising clauses.
37. Use imdb to cast your novel’s movie adaptation.
38. Design your own cover in Photoshop “just in case” you ever decide to self-publish.
39. Realize all the pre-installed fonts on photoshop are worthless.
40. Scour the web for the “perfect” font.
42. Worry a lot about your klout score.
43. Register for a conference.
44. Research conferences.
45. Create your own business cards to hand out at the conference.
46. Eat.
47. Exercise.
48. Sleep.
49. Be involved in your family’s life.
50. Write short stories to “break up the monotony”.
51. Create a short story event.
52. Pick a title for your book.
53. Google that title to make sure no one else has used it, or if they have, that their book sucks sufficiently for you to feel confident in outselling them someday.
54. Change your title.
55. Watch movies to “analyze” them
56. Analyze your favorite books. (Fan forums are really helpful for this)
57. Analyze your family. For research.
58. Create a Pinterest inspiration board for your book.
59. Fall down the Pinterest rabbit hole, emerging three hours later with a new commitment to health, wellness, and Nutella.
60. Make really long lists of pointless stuff.

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