Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “night songs collection”

Pre-Release Day Jitters!

Today’s Brew: Trying to decide when to start the birthday celebration. Until then, Pumpkin Spice.

by Kristen

Tomorrow is kind of a big deal.

It’s my birthday.

It’s NIGHT MOVES’ book birthday, too.

Release day always seems to sneak up on me. Forever it seems like it’s months or weeks off, and then it’s holy shit, I have a book coming out tomorrow. What the hell am I supposed to do now?

I know, I know, enjoy it. But these are my babies. You guys don’t know Melanie and Ryder yet, so they’re taking their first wobbly steps out in the world. It changes things.

NIGHT MOVES started as a short story, and when I wrote it, I don’t know if I ever planned on making it an actual book.  But something about it spoke to me, and I kept asking “now what?” I do remember the moment when I realized this story belonged in The Night Songs Collection, it was one of those warm fuzzy feelings that I get when it all comes together. From there, I guided the story to The End. I say guided, because I always let my characters take the reins. I’m boring, and they’re not. I just record what they tell me.

Before you’re like WTF Kristen, I have QUESTIONS about what happened at the end of BECAUSE THE NIGHT. What do you mean new characters? Melanie, Ryder, and everyone else you’re going to meet cross paths with Callie, Tristan, Blade, and Talis.  They’re all going to join forces to move on in the new world you have so many questions about. I just have to ask you to trust me on this one, it all works. You will get all your answers, not wrapped up in a neat little bow, because homey don’t play like that, but you’ll get them.

The series doesn’t move in a straight line, I took some chances to tell the story the way it needed to be told. I mean, hell, it starts as YA contemporary and moves into vampire smut.  I’m pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to do that, but I did it anyway.  All of the things that seemed like grand ideas as they flew out of my fingers on the the screen, the things that the betas liked, and my editors, will readers like them?  How will they like these new characters? I have one vision of my book in my head, but is that how it comes across to everyone else?

It’s revoltingly terrifying.

I could never do this alone. It truly takes an army to release a book. Everyone on Twitter has been so supportive, my agency as made sure everything has gone smoothly, and honestly if it wasn’t for all of you guys, I don’t know if I would do it. When I say thank you, it doesn’t seem like enough. Any time someone tells me they enjoy something I wrote, my heart swells. Sure, they’re just words on a page, but that’s my imagination. That came from me. It’s not a skill I can hone, it’s something that just is. It’s a very vulnerable thing to share.  Artists have to believe in themselves A LOT to put their work out there. Critique is scary. But the praise is worth it.

I’m humbled any time anyone thinks anything I have to say is worth reading. I hope you all love NIGHT MOVES, because without you, it wouldn’t exist.  And I’m grateful for every single one of you.




Happy Book Birthday, SEASONS IN THE SUN!

Today’s brew: I will blow bubbles in my coffee and pretend it’s champagne.

by Kristen

Today SEASONS IN THE SUN comes out into the world. It seemed like just a month ago I was releasing my first book, Because the Night

Seasons in the Sun available 12.4.13

Seasons in the Sun available 12.4.13

Seasons in the Sun is the prequel to Because the Night.  It wasn’t part of the original plan. Hell, who am I kidding, there was no original plan. I just wanted to complete a book. I never thought it would snag me an agent, or become a thing. Seasons in the Sun came to life when I asked my friend Liz to read Because the Night. It was the first draft, and of course it was absolutely perfect and nothing like the version available to you today.  Liz was a tough critic.  She liked it, but she saw holes. It was the first real criticism I ever got and it was a reality check.

Her biggest beef? She just didn’t buy that Callie would be so hung up on Tristan that she’d go searching for him years later.

Oh yeah, Liz?  Instead of weaving some details into Because the Night, I wrote a prequel based on Callie and Tristan’s summer together.

Now she buys it.

So if you run into Liz Washer, makeup artist extraordinaire, somewhere in the wild, you can thank her for inspiring me to write Seasons in the Sun.

A little Night Songs Collection inside info for you.

All the titles are song titles. Seasons in the Sun  doesn’t have “night” in the name because there are no vampires.


And here’s a little hot first chapter action:

My bike skidded into the alley beside the café.  I knew I was late.  I leaned it up against the building, pulled my damp braid away from my neck, and fanned out my shirt.

“Where have you been, Callie?  Your shift starts at nine.  No excuses.  I’m not going to treat you differently than anyone else on the staff.  It sets a bad example.” My mom was rolling out dough on the table. There was flour on her apron and in her hair. It had obviously been a busy morning. She barely looked up from her work as she acknowledged me.

I looked at the clock on the wall.  9:15. “Sorry.”  I mumbled as I grabbed my apron.  “Where do you want me today?”

Mom sighed, pausing for a minute to think strategy.  “Barista station.”

Not so bad. I figured she’d give me something I hated to punish me for being late. My mom ran a tight ship. The Magnolia Café was her dream in action and she wasn’t about to let anyone, including me, screw it up. But I loved making the coffee. It was what we were known for. I liked helping the island wake up.  The regular faces became more recognizable each day.

This was my first summer as an official employee.  I’d worked behind the scenes for years.  I was thrilled to be old enough to be a real part of the team. Even if it I was working for my mom, I wanted to make a good impression.

“Guess what?  I met the twins.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Caroline’s niece and nephew.  Taryn and Tristan.”  We rented the guest house on Caroline’s sprawling property.  I’d been hearing stories about Caroline’s family my whole life.  Her sister was a model, married to a movie star.  Did it get any more glamorous than that?

“Oh.”  Recall was written all over her face.  My mother found Caroline’s family less impressive than I did.  We didn’t even have a TV in the house, that’s how much she cared about Hollywood. “Were their parents there as well?”

“I don’t know.  I just saw the twins.”

“Did Caroline say anything about the party?”

“What party?”  I had no idea what my mother was talking about.

“Never mind.  She wouldn’t say anything to you, anyway.” I felt like a little kid for the second time this morning.

I headed out front to relieve Olga, the early morning barista.  Keisha, my cousin, was tidying up behind the counter and restocking the muffins and bagels. She came every summer from Jamaica to work with us at the Magnolia.

“What’s going on, girl?  You’re late.”  She hip checked me playfully as I walked passed her to the coffee station.

“So I hear.  Good morning to you, too.”

“Ha!  You were fired, you know.”

“Yeah I’m sure.”  Where else was my mother going to find such willing, well trained, underpaid labor?

“You missed the hot Australian dude.  That man can eat his croissant in my bed any day….”

I giggled and swatted at Keisha. “Oh!  That reminds me.  I met the twins.”

“What twins?”

Apparently I was the only person who was excited about this.  I was starting to feel a little foolish telling everyone so enthusiastically about my meeting.  “Caroline’s niece and nephew.  Tristan and Taryn.  From California.”

“Oooooh, the movie star kids.”  Now I had Keisha’s attention.


“Tell me all about them.”

“I don’t know, it was quick.  We didn’t say much.  But Tristan is really good looking.”

“Oh yeah?  How old are they?”

“Gosh, I don’t know…Caroline said they weren’t much older than me, but they looked like they were about twenty five.”

“All those famous people have botox and nose jobs and boob jobs…did the girl have a boob job?”

“I didn’t know I was supposed to check out her chest for you.”

“God, I’d love a boob job.  Instead I got a big ass.  So how good looking are you talking?”

I blushed a little bit as I started making a nonfat caramel latte for Janis, one of the regulars.  “Really good looking.  Like I didn’t know it was possible to be that good looking.”

I could still feel where Tristan squeezed my hand while he looked me right in the eyes, making my knees knock.  I could still smell the spiciness of his cologne.

“He must be gay then.”  I was a little mortified by that.  I shot a quick look at Janis, who was smirking at our conversation.  I added her extra whipped cream before she even asked.


“Anyone from California who’s that good looking has got to be gay, girl.  Get used to it.”

“How many people have you met from California?”

“None.  But I know.  I read Perez Hilton.”

Who? “Is he on NPR? Because that’s all I ever get to listen to and you know it.” My mom ran a tight ship at home too. We didn’t have cable and I got homeschooled. My pop culture knowledge was embarrassingly nonexistent.

“Oh yeah, I forgot I was back in the stone ages for a minute.” Keisha rolled her eyes. “I’m just saying, that’s how it is.”

It was just easier to agree with her. “Whatever. He didn’t seem gay.  Not like I’d know if he was anyway.  But I don’t think so.”

“I guess between the two of us, we’ll find out, right?”

Meet Melanie: Introducing Night Moves

Today’s Brew: Absinthe or something equally poser goth. It’s Marilyn Manson night.

by Kristen

I’ve been working on the second book in the Night Songs Collection, Night Moves.  We meet another muse, Melanie, and eventually, another band, Soul Divider.  Here’s Chapter One, an afternoon that will change her life forever.


The governor ordered everyone off the roads by four in the afternoon.  It didn’t surprise me in the least that my office waited until the last possible minute to let us leave.  The powers that be considered our work too important to be interrupted by little things like natural disasters.  Hardy New Englanders shouldn’t freak out over a foot or two of snow, the bosses chided us when we complained about the dangerous conditions awaiting us.  Of course, they had hotel suites waiting for them within walking distance.  I did not. My commute was miserable in perfect weather.

Snow piled up on the roads, covering icy slush.  It wasn’t so much to have to watch for these invisible landmines, but to also have to avoid the bumper car derby taking place all the way down Route Three.

Travel aside, I was actually psyched about this Blizzard.  Its Friday afternoon timing was perfect.  I looked forward to getting home before dark and cuddling up under blankets with my boyfriend, Jamie.  I was always so stressed out and exhausted from work we never got to have any fun anymore.  It was getting to both of us.

Jamie had been striking a big red line through every day on the calendar in our kitchen.  I asked him what he was counting down to.  He told me it was a count of the days since we’d had sex.  It made me want to die inside. When we first got together, we needed both hands to count how many times we were together a day. What happened to us?

The month was drawing to a close, and those red lines taunted me like twenty two middle fingers sticking up at me as I made my coffee every morning at four forty five.   This weekend, we were going to break that streak.  By a landslide.

“Babe?”  I peeled off my wet winter layers as I entered the dim apartment.  We’d already lost power. The fire alarm screeched in the hallway.  I’d expected Jamie to greet me at the door like a hungry dog.  He’d never know how to entertain himself without all his electrical toys.

“Jame?”  Maybe he was napping.  He practically scheduled naps into his day. Jamie worked from home doing web design. If it wasn’t for the on and off trickle of money he dragged in, I’d think it was just a fancy way of saying he spent his day screwing around on the internet.  For once, his nap didn’t annoy me. It gave me an opportunity to wake him up with a nice surprise.

I heard murmurs and soft laughter as I rounded the corner.  Weird.  The apartment walls were thin. Maybe it came from downstairs. The kids that lived downstairs must have been bouncing off the walls, trapped in the house with no electrical enterainment. The voices grew louder as I rounded the corner to the bedroom.

“What the fuck is this?” I exclaimed as I entered our bedroom.  Jamie’s naked body jumped up slightly over the bed, surprised by the sound of my voice.  He couldn’t go too far, since a very important part of him was inside Angela, our crazy white trash bitch of a downstairs neighbor.

I didn’t say another word.  My whole body shook as adrenaline took over.  Jamie’s ass was frozen in mid air, his arms holding him up over that skank’s body.  Her surgically altered breasts jutted out ridiculously from the tangle of sheets.  The least she could have done was save up for a decent boob job. Although, our tax dollars had probably paid for them, so I guess if these were normal circumstances, I could have seen the humor in her botched implants.

My brain ceased to function rationally.  I marched over to my bed and grabbed a handful of Jamie’s overgrown snowboarder hair. With strength I didn’t know I had, I slammed his head down against Angela’s. Over and over again.  Blood splattered against my beloved Pier One upholstered headboard.  I didn’t stop until I saw Angela’s brain oozing out on my pillow, down her chest, and into her exaggerated cleavage.

I dropped Jamie’s limp head into the mess.  Even broken and bleeding, he somehow looked peaceful. I backed away from the bed in horror.  A scream stuck in my throat, threatening to choke me.

I didn’t mean to do this. I didn’t want him to be dead.  I covered my mouth with my hand.  This was my fault.  Sure, he was in bed with that nasty slut, but why couldn’t I have just given him a little bit of attention before it came to this?

God, I hated my job.

As I began to come back to this planet, a different kind of shock washed over me.  I had two dead people naked in my bed.  And a state issued order to stay in the apartment with them.

Meet The Muses

Today’s Brew:  Vanilla Caramel Creme, but it’s going to be laced with Benedryl soon. Because pollen.

by Kristen

As writers, we all hope that as we sit down in front of our keyboards or notebooks that our muse will join us, whispering her genius into our ear.  Without her, we are not as creative or prolific.  Our songs are flat and whoever is listening will probably change the channel, looking for something more interesting.

Muses have partnered with story tellers since ancient times.  In Greek  poetry,  many bards such as Homer and Hesiod thank the muses for helping them tell such epics as The Odyssey and Theogony.  In Greek mythology, the muses are the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne.

Each Muse represented a different art, which most of their names can also be “associated” with:

C-all-I-o-PE …. epic poetry/song (CIPE=epic rev.)
C-lio ….. history (C.=circa/century)
euterpe ….. lyric poetry/song
t-HA-lmia ….. comedy
m-ELP-omene ….. tragedy
terpsi-CHORE ….. choral dancing
ER-at-O ….. erotic ( poetry/song
poly-HYMN-ia ….. sacred poetry/song
URAN-ia ….. astronomy

The muses speak to me often.  They’re my main characters.  It started very subtly, with Callie, Calliope if you’re trying to get on her nerves.  I picked the name simply because I liked it.  As Because The Night unfolded, I realized that she drew musicians to her, and made them more creative.   She was their muse.  What a happy coincidence.

Instead of working on a linear series, I decided to make a collection of stories about rockstar vampires and the muses they’ve drawn to them, The Night Songs Collection.  In my current project, Night Moves, I am working with three muses.  Melanie (my modernization of Melpomene) is trying to put her life back together after a tragic event changes everything.  She reconnects with her friend Erin (my update of Erato) who is up to some saucy activity, and they have a run in with Polina (or Polyhymnia) who belongs to a secret organization.  That’s all I can tell you right now.  I have plans for two more right now, with Leah (instead of Clio) a historian, and Rayna (Urania) a fortune teller.

Since all of these lovely ladies become entwined with musicians, their patron saint is a real person.  Pamela Des Barres, a famous groupie from the 60s and 70s who wrote many books about her adventures with various bands.  This weekend, I’m headed out of the country to Toronto to attend one of her writing seminars.  I think it’s important to my muses that I meet the woman who made it all possible for them.

I will have a full report next week when I come back!

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