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Monday, October 31, 2011

New Year. New Ways.

It's Samhain. Halloween. The Celtic New Year. And here's a New Year's resolution that needs to be heard and repeated. It's already happening in publishing. It needs to spread.



Video link courtesy of Pam Noles.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Stephen is the King of Fear

Yep, it's my turn to talk about scary books for All Hallows Read.

Frankly, I'd never viewed books as truly scary when I was a kid. Washington Irving's Headless Horseman and Charles Dickens' Ghosts of Christmas were delightfully creepy but still enjoyable. In fact, I never met a book I couldn't finish. Not until high school. Not until my sister insisted I read a book she loved called Firestarter.

I got about a quarter of the way through the book before the nightmares started. Don't ask me why I had nightmares over a sci-fi thriller. I gave the book back to my sister. "Didn't you just love it?" I told her what happened. She shook her head in disbelief.

A few months, she handed me a book she'd borrowed from the library. "With all that weird stuff you read, you might like this one better." This time the book was Stephen King's Carrie. The nightmares were even worse than with Firestarter. It probably didn't help that I was going through similar issues in high school as the title character did. Once again, I stopped reading and returned the book to my sister.

She shook her head in disgust. "You watch zombie and vampire movies, and you can't handle this?"

I don't care what anyone says about Stephen King's writing. In me, he hit that gut-level response, the one you get when faced with the real possibility of pain and death. The one I've only felt a couple of times in my life, like when my car started sliding on ice and headed straight for a telephone pole. And in most of King's works, the real danger in not external, but internal. Literally, his characters are often their own worst enemy.

Maybe that's part of the reason I write urban fantasy. The monsters are an external force to fight.

On the other hand, I did manage to finish one of King's books. The title? On Writing.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Getting Your Money Back on a Haunted House with Guest Blogger Robin Badillo

Considering Robin's fabulous vampire books, I figured she say Stoker or Rice were influences. Boy, was I wrong! Demon pig, anyone? 

FULL DISCLOSURE WORKS FOR ME!!!

To this day, I can’t say why I pulled it from the shelf of my high school library. Perhaps it was the title, maybe even the ominous glow of that attic with the spooky window panes. It may have even been the forked tail dangling from the H in Horror that forced the little voice inside my head, which should have been yelling NO!, to tuck tail and run, taking its warning with it.

Then again, the devil may have made me do it. Bwuahaha!

Who knows, I may not have noticed anything in particular about it at all.

What I do know is that it scared the bajeezers out of me. (FYI: bajeezers is a word my fourteen-year-old daughter made up for when there aren’t proper words to describe how you really feel without swearing)

To be quite honest, the story began rather slow, maybe even a bit boring so it must have been the promise of what I had heard was between the remaining pages that kept me reading.

The book, written by Jay Anson, was released in 1977, just a couple of years after the events depicted in the book supposedly occurred. The legitimacy of the facts are still controversial. Anson was said to have met with the actual couple, The Lutzes, and although did not officially collaborate with them for the book, did listen to around forty-five hours of tape recordings made by the couple explaining their experience in the actual house.

The first movie, staring none other than James Brolin, hit theatres in 1979. I read the book in the mid-eighties, at the age of 16 or so. I do remember seeing it on television a few years later, though I must say that the book left a deeper impression than any of the movies ever did.

If I had to take a stab at the reason why, I would say it was because I had to piece the scenes together with my imagination as I read, and that burned profound images into my brain that remain today.

I had nightmares for weeks after reading the book and always the same thing… flies gathered on the window outside my bedroom… buzzing…watching…waiting….

I decided way back then, that there were a few things I would consider when I grew up and bought a home of my own and these tips are why FULL DISCLOSURE works for me!! Now I’m passing these tips onto you:

1) If a realtor tells you someone died violently in a home you’ve considered buying and you elect to purchase it anyway and have it blessed, please listen to whoever you bring in to bless it, especially if they are blinded soon after, claim to have heard voices telling them to ‘Get out’, develop “stigmata” type blisters on their palms or all of the above.

2) If after moving in, you discover ANY room in the house that the family dog refuses to enter or if he/she cowers and/or whimpers when near said room, please take into consideration that the animal is called “man’s best friend” for a reason and… MOVE!

3) If you find hidden rooms, too small for occupancy that happen to be completely painted RED for no reason and the dog looks at you like you’re crazy for venturing in, please refer to tip #2 again.

4) If you find yourself waking every night at 3:15 a.m. with an inexplicable desire to walk down to the boatshed, rethink your options… this is a good time for a family meeting.

5) If your child claims to have an imaginary friend named Jodie, in the form of a demonic pig with glowing eyes, skip the psychotherapy and MOVE… immediately. DO NOT wait for said pig to float outside the bedroom window in the middle of the night, terrorizing your family.

6) If your spouse claims someone other than you is hugging her in the middle of the night and you both know for a fact she was ALONE in the room, don’t seek marriage counseling, she isn’t cheating… MOVE, before the entity snuggling up with her decides to move past first base.

7) If unexplained welts appear on you or your spouse while you’re in bed and this wasn’t from some kinky foreplay you’re just too embarrassed to admit to… MOVE… demons are one thing… demon Dom’s are quite another!

8) If flies gather outside your windows by the thousands, in the middle of winter… MOVE!

This isn’t a typical infestation, even if you’re in Texas. Yes, we have flies, but they don’t come in droves and cling to windows unless it’s slathered in honey and if it is… you’re weird and just asking for trouble.

9) If your husband spends an unusual amount of time sharpening his axe and even more time chopping wood without speaking or perhaps behaving stranger than normal… MOVE, the wood chopping is just a prequel to what is coming next … and it won’t be wood he plans to split in two.

And finally # 10) If your husband is shirtless and looks like Ryan Reynolds while he’s chopping wood….um, call me, I’ll take the problem off your hands right away and you can keep the damn house!!

***

Personally, I prefer sexy vampires and muscle-bound shape shifters any day, though I find all things paranormal intriguing and quite entertaining.

I hope you agree on November 15th when my latest novel, Midnight Beckoning releases right on the heels of Halloween!!

This novel has it all…incubi, damphyrs, vampires and even winged demons straight from the pits if hell. It’s a bit of a reach from my regular vampire novels, but still filled with romance, action and maybe even a couple of twists to keep you busy.

Happy Halloween!!

Want to keep up with Robin Badillo and her books?

Find her at any of the sites below:

Blog: http://www.robinbadillo.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robin.badillo

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/Robin_Badillo

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/3zp5x2q

Publisher, eXtasy Books: http://tinyurl.com/3vmszta

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ghost Stories by Guest Blogger Teri Thackston

Teri watches BBC's Most Haunted and SyFy's Ghost Hunters religiously. I was so not surprised which book was her favorite. Wait! Did your that?

Bumps in the Night. A sense that you’re not alone in the house. Whispers on the Wind. Because it’s the Halloween season, it’s a great time to discuss scary stories. One of my favorite scary books is THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson. Although this novel was first published in 1959, this haunted house story still gives me chills today.

The most recent movie adaptation of the book (starring Liam Neeson and Lily Taylor) was terrifying, but it didn’t come close to the spookiness of the novel. One scene that stands out in my memory—and still makes my arms pimple up with chills—is the one where the presence in the house pounds on the doors down the hall from the bedroom in which Eleanor and Theo huddle together in terror.

“…they heard the crash against the door across the hall. It was louder, it was deafening, it struck against the door next to them (did it move back and forth across the hall? did it go on feet along the carpet? did it lift a hand to the door?), and Eleanor threw herself away from the bed and ran to hold her hands against the door. “Go away,” she shouted wildly. “Go away, go away!” There was complete silence, and Eleanor thought, standing with her face against the door, Now I’ve done it; it was looking for the room with someone inside.” (*Jackson, Shirley, The Haunting of Hill House (p. 129, Penguin Classic. Kindle Edition.))

I tried to put some of that heart pounding eeriness into my haunted house story SCENT OF LAVENDER. In my novel, a ghost haunts the house on Black Tree Creek. New tenant Rob Sheridan has seen her, but Lily Graham—who grew up in the house—believes he’s lying. This haunting tale of betrayal, possession and seduction in the Texas Hill Country brings together the lonely war veteran and the beauty from his past…and the ghost that could drive them apart. Here’s a short excerpt:

A sigh sounded again somewhere beyond the milky dimness of his bedroom.

Fine hairs prickled across Rob’s bare shoulders. Shaking off the sensation, he forced himself to push back the sheet and get up. Despite his willingness to believe in ghosts—maybe he was crazy—he knew he’d sleep better if he found a logical explanation for that noise. There was also the possibility that the artists he planned to host at the house wouldn’t find a ghost as acceptable as he did.

Oak planks chilled his bare soles, creaking gently as he neared his closed bedroom doorway. Cold seeped upward along his ankles and shinbones, soaking into his marrow. His pajama pants offered little protection as the chill continued up his body and he hugged his arms over his bare chest in a vain attempt to warm himself.
Opening the door, he paused. The air in the corridor wasn’t as warm as he’d expected. Nor was the darkness as black. He could make out the staircase railing and the pale oblongs of six other doorways that opened off the upper corridor.

As he stood there studying the dim hallway, he heard the sigh again, fainter, coming from the front of the house. It was a shuddery sort of sigh that raised the hair on the back of his neck.

Tiptoeing along the corridor, he looked into each empty bedroom until he reached the one that overlooked the front yard. Pausing in that doorway, he peered inside. Gloom clung to empty corners, driven there by the blue-gray of the dawn coming on just beyond the parted window drapes. The scarred wooden floor gave off a flat gleam and the off-white walls appeared dull and softened by time.

Rob stepped inside. The wood beneath his feet gave out a quiet creak and for an instant he caught a sense of presence. Feminine and sad, it was as fleeting as the soft floral scent that accompanied it, gone just as he became aware of it.

As he stood there wondering if he had imagined that odd sense of presence and the sighs that had preceded it, the light in the room took on a hint of yellow. The sun was rising and what lay before him now was nothing but an empty room.

He stood still, searching the room with his eyes. It was bare of furniture, of personality, and yet he wondered who had lived here over the decades. He wondered, too, if, once lived in, a room could ever become truly empty again.

Slowly, he backed out of it and closed the door.

SCENT OF LAVENDER is available in digital format (print coming soon, I hope). Amazon.com has it at a great price, but my publisher’s price might be lower. Check Ellora's Cave or Amazon.

Thanks, Suzan, for inviting me to talk about spooky books for Halloween.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

When the Monsters Are All Too Human by Guest Blogger Tess St. John

Continuing our Halloween series this week is the terrific Tess St. John! In her books, the bad guys do despicable things to her heroines, so I wondered, "What actually scares Tess?"

When Suzan asked me to blog about “Books that give you chills” I couldn’t wait!!!

I didn’t read as a kid (not even required reading, don’t ask how I passed in school, I got by with what I learned in lectures), but I went to the movies all the time. HOWEVER, scary movies were not my thing. I spent all of HALLOWEEN (the original, yes, I’m that old…don’t go there) and JAWS sitting on the floor with my fingers in my ears humming to myself. I won’t even discuss THE SHINING or I’ll have nightmares tonight.

And while I might be totally frightened with movies, I found books were a different story.

After I married, my husband traveled a lot and would leave books behind after he’d read them. That’s when I discovered how much I enjoyed reading scary books. And Dean Koontz was one of my favorites. The first book I read of his was WATCHERS—From a top secret government laboratory come two genetically altered life forms. One is a magnificent dog of astonishing intelligence. The other, a hybrid monster of a brutally violent nature. And both are on the loose—OMG, I can still visualize the monster holding the Mickey Mouse cartoon he and the dog used to watch together, while begging the hero to kill him. **goosebumps**

And his book STRANGERS—THEY WERE STRANGERS. A handful of people. From different backgrounds, living in different towns and cities across America, they had nothing in common - except fear. THEY WERE VICTIMS. Cold and stark, an unknown terror gripped their dreams and turned their days into living nightmares. THEY WERE CHOSEN. And they could not escape. Deep in the heart of a sprawling desert, a dark memory called out to them drawing them to the Tranquility Motel - where the terrifying truth was waiting—I’m not sure how many of you have read it, but I still have the words “the moon” go through my mind every once in a while and feel a shiver race through my body!

And I’ll never forget the first time I read Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code. That first scene where the man is dying and positioning his body to be found as a clue, WOW. I still feel a bit of a tremor thinking of it.

I’m in awe of writers who have written something so visually and emotionally compelling, that I can remember the scenes decades later!

I thought when I started writing I would write thrillers, but found I didn’t have that jagged edge talent. But I do write Romantic Suspense, and I hope I raise a few hairs on people’s necks every once in a while!

Here’s an excerpt from my latest release, EYES OF JADE:

Eve peeked from under the jacket Jake held over them. Something was familiar about the guy on the motorcycle. Cloaked in black, the only color on the rider was a rainbow helmet. She’d seen that helmet before. When he reached inside his jacket, panic pulsed through her. This was a scene from Legally Mine.

“He’s got a detonator!” she screamed.

“Her car!” Stewart yelled.

Jake grabbed her shoulders and shoved her toward the building, away from her car.

A sonic boom exploded and shook the ground.

She tripped and lost her footing, landing on her hands and knees. Like a rag doll, her palms skidded out from under her, scraping the rough wet bricks. She turned her face, just as her cheek smashed to the pathway.

A body instantly covered hers—knocking the air from her lungs.

Heat assaulted her like an unharnessed furnace.

Gray smoke engulfed the air.

A car engine roared to life and peeled out—no doubt chasing the motorcycle.

Eve wished for a way to melt into the blood-red bricks.

Jake jumped up, seized her arm, and hauled her to her knees. “Can you walk?”

Stewart gripped her other arm and the two men lifted and carried her toward the street. Her feet hit the ground every once in a while, but she wasn’t using them. Her palms stung, and her head and cheek throbbed. The ringing in her ears resembled the bells used to wrap a day of shooting—except the ringing wouldn’t stop.

The men hustled her to one of the cars still waiting on the street. Agents surrounded the vehicle with their weapons drawn. One held the back door open, while Jake helped her inside and slid in beside her.

Stewart shot into the driver’s seat and sped off.

She glanced back at the inferno. A sickening déjà vu struck her as she remembered the same scene from Legally Mine. Her voice was nothing more than a coughing whisper. “My movies are coming back to haunt me.”

“Don’t.” Jake nodded toward the front of the car. “Don’t look back. Only forward.”

She twisted toward the front seat. Bullets. Explosions. Her life had become an action/adventure movie. Not one she wanted the starring role in, but it seemed she had no choice. She didn’t realize she was trembling until Jake cradled her hands in his. His touch a comfort she desperately needed. Rocking back and forth in her seat, her body jerked every so often.

Don’t look back. Only forward.

Easy for him to say. He hadn’t been shot at and almost blown up.

Wait.

Yes, he had.

But this was a life he’d chosen, signed up for. He promised not to let anything happen to her. She hoped he’d be able to keep that vow.

“Get down,” Stewart yelled.

Jake shoved her upper body to the seat and crouched over her.

The back window shattered.

She bit her lip to keep from screaming.

Stewart turned corner after corner and sped through the streets.

Flattened on the leather, facing the front seat, Jake’s now familiar body protected hers. Eve caught a whiff of his citrus cologne. Considering how close they’d been this morning, she was surprised she hadn’t noticed his subtle, clean scent earlier.

She tried to think of anything besides the motion sickness plaguing her. And the fact they were being chased. But she was too terrified for rational thought.

***
I want to thank Suzan for having me today, what a blast!

You can find out more about me and my books at my website.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monsters with Guest Blogger Will Graham

With only one week left until Halloween, a few friends have dropped by to talk about the creepy, the eerie and the down-right terrifying. Please welcome my first guest, the incomparable Will Graham!

It’s a moment I’ll never forget. My grandfather gave me a copy of THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The cover still lingers in my mind; a dark green background, Baskerville Manor in the fog… and the face of the Hound right there in front. (It was a Dell paperback, priced at .40 cents, which tells you how long ago this was!)

I didn’t read that book, I devoured it. I’d never read anything like this in my life. Fascinating and scary by turns, it was the single most amazing book I’d ever read, and it opened the floodgates to an obsession with reading that continues to this day.
A few months later, home in (at that time) Chicago, WGN was running late night movies. One particular commercial for the upcoming Fright Night Friday, was….. yeah, you guessed it. THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, Hammer Studios version, starring Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes.

Negotiating, pleading, begging, pick your word, I was eventually granted Parental Permission to stay up late and watch it. It started at 10pm, way past my usual bedtime at that point. Determined? You have no idea.

So I did.

And it scared me to death.

I don’t mean it frightened me, or made me shiver. I’m talking about stark terror. Even at that age, I recognized some of the differences between the book and the movie (Hammer jazzed up the sexual components in the story, but at that age I was more interested in car chases and exploding briefcases).

I’d never seen anything as outright evil as The Hound, the climactic chase through the Moors was bad enough, but confronting The Hound was something that, to this day, I cannot quite find the words. I slept with a light on for months afterward and, I’ll confess it now, a BB gun under my pillow. It was THAT scary.

Flash forward thirty-plus years. VHS dominated the market, and there was a wonderful store at the time called Suncoast Motion Picture Company in the Mall. One Saturday, browsing the rack, I turned…. and there it was!

THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Hammer Studios, 1959. I was too adult to bellow “Wow!” in the store, but it was in the back of my mind.

According to witnesses, I left a vapor trail when I snatched it from the rack.

I couldn’t wait to get home and pop it into the VCR and re-live it. I knew, I just knew, it would be wonderful and terrific and as amazing and scary as I remembered it.

What I remember now is feeling sorry for the Great Dane they strapped a paper-maché mask on and made run around with over-dubbed growling and snarling on the audio. It was so bad, you can even see the straps holding the mask on the poor dog from some angles.

It’s laughable now, but I’ll never forget the first time I saw the movie. OR the first time I read the book. To this day, it’s a favorite. Somewhere over the years, I lost the copy my grandfather gave me, but there’s an entire bookcase full of Holmesian works.

When I re-wrote SOMETIMES, THERE REALLY ARE MONSTERS UNDER THE BED, once I got a grip on the newest version of it, there’s a moment I remember thinking, “I’m gonna scare Conan Doyle himself with this one, it’s only fair!”

I deliberately wrote the final confrontation in a howling rainstorm with powerful winds bashing the hero and villain about, on a rooftop, vulnerable both to each other and the elements. The setting is a multi-story building in modern times, but in my mind it was set in another time, a long-ago time, on the Grimpen Mire in the Moors, where The Hound bayed at the moon and warned the populace to stay out.

Did it work? I can’t really say. But I’d like to imagine Sherlock Holmes himself might smile kindly about Michael O’Leary and the drastic -- but final -- solution to the mystery….

Will Graham is the pseudonym of a Houston private investigator specializing in computer forensics. Will's latest book Sometimes, There Really Are Monsters Under the Bed is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Songs I've Been Listening to a Lot Lately

To paraphrase Aretha and Annie, [Indies] Are Doing It for Themselves!

Friday, October 21, 2011

R*E*S*P*E*C*T Redux

On her Wednesday blog post, Kris Rusch talked about a couple of editors who treated her like she was stupid.  This is a woman who's been in the business for thirty years, who has worn all the hats someone can in the publishing industry, who's won a freakin' HUGO, but she was treated like dirt.  The title of the blog post was R*E*S*P*E*C*T.

Ironically, I wish I could say I was surprised, but I've hit a similar wall myself. That's the reason last Saturday's indie-themed music video was Miz Aretha belting out her anthem.

I've learned to walk away when someone treats me like crap. It was a hard lesson to learn, especially since our society trains little girls from the start that they need to please others in order to have any worth. We're not just talking old boyfriends or employers. I had to walk away from my own mother several years ago. (Let's just say she has "issues.")

I worry about the writers who sign the shitty contracts, who take the disrespect from their agents and editors.  Nothing is more valuable than their self-worth.  But until they figure that out, people in the publishing industry will continue to take advantage of these writers.

You've got to stand up for yourself in this life. No one else will do it for you.  It doesn't matter if it's your spouse or your boss or your business partner. Like I said, it's hard. But you'll be able to face yourself in the mirror every morning if you do.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I Got All 51 Flags!

Okay, I know this sounds stupid, but that little flag counter down at the very end of the column on your right hand side?

I added the flag counter to Wild, Wicked & Wacky a long time ago for two reasons:

(1) How long would it take to collect all fifty U.S. state flags?

(2) What folks in which countries other than the U.S. might actually read my blog?

What I didn't think about was that the District of Columbia would be listed as part of the U.S. by the good folks at Flag Counter while commonwealths like Puerto Rico and Guam aren't. So as of October 4th, I officially got a blog visitor from South Dakota, my last state needed. (Yes, I got lazy and finally checked.) It took two years and three weeks.

I say offically because there's some satellite providers that don't list the state/country of origin.  So if one of y'all from South Dakota visited prior to October of this year I apologize.

State-wise, my top visitors are from Texas (of course *grin*), followed by California, New Jersey, Ohio (home state *wave*) and New York.

So far, folks from eighty countries other than the U.S. have dropped by. The most visitors come from Canada (hey, neighbors!), the United Kingdom, India, Australia and the Phillippines.

What amazes me is how connected the Internet has made the world. That we can find common interests beyond the BS our leaders spout. That people from exotic places I've only read about can reach out and say "Hey!"

This is the future, and damn, it's cool!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Implosion of a Publisher

I don't know if you folks have been hearing the same rumors as I have about Aspen Mountain Press over the last year.  Last Thursday, a former editor Celina Summers posted her version of the meltdown.

I cannot vouch for the veracity of her blog post, but it sounds all too familiar to the Triskelion and Dorchester collapses, publishing business disasters that friends of mine were caught in.

As Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch continue to espouse, check out a publisher before you sign on the dotted line.  The $50 or so dollars on a background check will save you a lot of heartache.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wise Words

If you didn't read Kris Rusch blog post about new paths, then click on the link and scroll down to Martin L. Shoemaker's comment. He clearly illustrates the problems with writers today. Instead of screaming at each over who's right and who's wrong, maybe we should understand that our comfort levels are not the same as everyone else's and respect that choice.

Angry Sheep will now step off her soapbox.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

Latest Industry News

It's Friday, and I'm exhausted from birthing a book Tuesday through Wednesday, so here's a round-up of news that may have slipped under your radar:

Bowker (you know, the folks you get your ISBNs from) plans to start monitoring ebook sales in the U.S. My question--how are they going to monitor ebooks without ISBNs? Not even the big boys are bothering with ISBNs when they upload their goodies to Amazon and B&N these days. In fact, the only e-tailers still demanding ISBNs on ebooks are Sony and Apple. So ditching the ISBN: great cost cutting measure or road to inaccuate sales reporting?

Ooo la la! Amazon France is officially open.  Don't know about you, but I seriously need to find a translator.

Both Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million stomped their feet over Amazon's exclusive Kindle Fire deal with DC Comics (currently owned by Time Warner) and pulled all DC graphic novels from their virtually and physical shelves. I know Barnes & Noble doesn't give a rat's patootie about my dollars spent on corrupting nieces and nephews with copies of Sandman.  It looks like it's time to visit my local indie comics shop Bedrock City Comics.

On a side note, the whole brouhaha over DC will be a moot point if they don't improve the writing on their books.  Another re-boot? Again? How many does that make over the last thirty years? And that last issue of Wonder Woman? Yeesh!

Then there's the snark over Barry Eisler's exclusive deal with Amazon for his latest ebook.  People repeat after me, "There is no DRM on Eisler's book from Amazon." Convert the damn thing if you want it on your NOOK. Frankly, if you can't convert it or get your kid to do it for you, then maybe it's not something you should be reading. Barry uses some pretty big words.

Okay, kids. That all we have time for. Have a snarkalicious weekend!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Summer is here!

I wanted to make sure all my links were live before I made the official announcement, but Seasons of Magick: Summer is out!

The Blurb
Welcome to Morrigan’s Cauldron! But be careful what you ask for because this little Greenwich Village shop can deliver your heart’s desire. Or your greatest nightmare.


Shan Wong thought when she broke up with her boyfriend Mark, he couldn’t hurt her anymore…until she discovers he’s planned his revenge on her by committing suicide and turning himself into a kiang shi—a zombie with super-human powers.

Jamal Washington has loved Shan since they were children. When he thinks he finally has a chance with her, her ex comes back from the dead to kill her…and anyone who gets in the way. Is the ancient sword the magick shop owner gave him enough to stop Zombie Mark? And is Jamal brave enough to win Shan’s love as well as save her life?

Novella, approximately 25,000 words or 90 printed pages


“This story somehow combines hot sex, young love, and some startling zombie moments that still make me shudder!” –Author Nina Cordoba

Available at the following retailers:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

All Hallows Read

Here's a positive Public Service Announcement from the ever-charming Neil Gaiman:



Now go buy or borrow scary books for your loved ones!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake

I took today's title from a quote attributed to Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France. Supposedly, it was her response when told the peasants had no bread and were starving.  While the quote isn't real, it is endemic of the disconnect between those in power and the general public.

Over two hundred years later, leaders are making the same mistakes. Look at how the Occupy Wall Street protests are spreading across the country.

What the PTBs don't get is that the loss of one leader isn't going to stop the revolution. Nowhere was the more prevelent than Publishers Weekly's gleeful headline last Friday: 'Konrath to Take Hiatus From Telling Authors To Abandon Publishers.'

Just because Joe stops blogging for a while (and frankly, I'll be surprised if he lasts more than two weeks) doesn't mean writers will accept bad contracts and crappy deals. Not to mention, there are plenty of other bloggers like Bob Mayer, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Dean Wesley Smith, and Passive Guy who are trying to educate the writing public.  And these folks aren't going away any time soon.

Last week I talked to two friends, both whom had books with a certain publisher.  In both cases, these ladies were now self-publishing.  Apparently, their former publisher is sending out e-mails to their authors or former authors asking for submissions. At least for one publisher, it's sinking in that they do need writers.

The real question is will the publishing industry as a whole get a clue before the guillotine is sharpened.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

Conference Time!

Sorry about the lateness, folks! I had a post scheduled for 7AM this morning. Really, I did. And it simply went poof! It's gone.

So I'll run Monday's public service announcement instead.

The Northwest Houston Chapter of the Romance Writers of America puts on their annual Lonestar Conference every October. The conference is next Saturday, October 15th, at the Greenspoint Marriott. The speaker is the wonderful Alexandra Sokoloff.

Seats are still available. The conference itself is $125 for an all-day workshop, plus agent and editor appointments. If you want to spend the night, the Mariott is offering a fantastic rate of $69 per night for conference attendees.

The conference is run by our V-P, who also poses as Stacey Purcell of Musetracks.  And believe me, she does a bang-up job!

For more conference info, click here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

In Memorium



"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life." - Steve Jobs, 2005

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Vampires Are Just Regular Folks

Please welcome my special guest blogger, the terrific Tea Trelawny!  Take it away, Tea!

Did you ever wonder what vampires do when they’re not imbibing their favorite beverage or sleeping the day away? If ‘real’ vampires are anything like the ones in the books we read, they do just about anything they like. If you’re a regular reader on this site, then you know that Suzan Harden’s sexy vampire hero Duncan St. James is suspected to be a mobster in her book Zombie Love (Bloodlines). In Kerrelyn Spark’s Love at Stake series, the vampires pursue many occupations from security specialists to genetic scientists and television stars. Robin Badillo’s heroine Raven Prince in her Blood Hunter series is unemployed as she runs from vampire hunters in the series opener.

In my new Moon Racers erotic romance series, the vampires race motorcycles in between seductions. The first book, Start Your Engines, features Rory Shaw, a young man turned into a vampire as he was dying from injuries sustained in a terrible motorcycle crash. Horrified when he nearly kills the first woman upon whom he feeds, he allows his lover Cherry Lee to believe that he did die in the crash. But Cherry discovers he’s alive and she is determined to win back her man. Fearing he will accidentally kill her, Rory tries to resist her advances. But Cherry uses her erotic charms to seduce him and help him learn to trust himself, even as other vampires in the series may not be such honorable characters.

Detectives, doctors, deep sea divers…today’s vampire heroes and heroines can be just about anything they want. But no matter how ‘regular’ they are, in romance novels, vampires remain seductive and attractive. They intrigue our imaginations and help us, as readers, to feel a little less regular ourselves.

Start Your Engines, Book One of the Moon Racers, the erotic vampire series by Téa Trelawny

Adult excerpt:

Rory caught her wrist before she could hit him again. In spite of how much he wanted her at that moment, he gave her a shake—gently, mindful of his increased strength. One wrong jerk and he’d snap her delicate bones.

Still holding her wrist, he leaned close to her and said, “Calm down, Cherry.”

“I will not calm down.” She tried to pull her arm free. “I want answers.”

A shadow fell over Rory’s face.

“Perhaps I can be of assistance.”

Rory looked up. Damon stood barely two feet away, watching Cherry with that look of hunger in his eyes once more.

Whispers swirled through Rory’s mind. He had lowered his guard and the inner thoughts of others were sweeping into his head. His gaze shifted and he saw that they had drawn a crowd of onlookers.

He pulled Cherry close to his side as he faced Damon. “I think you helped plenty seven months ago.”

Damon’s lips curled upward, parting just enough to reveal his incisors. His canines remained hidden. But not for long, Rory feared. He pulled Cherry closer.

“I just thought Cherry might want to hear the truth,” Damon said, folding his arms over his chest.

“I’ll be the one to explain the truth to her.”

Rory felt her shudder. Like other humans, she could sense something was wrong with Damon…and with him. But she didn’t want to accept what her primitive instincts were telling her.


Available in digital formats at:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Suzan's Note:  Since Tea and I are critique partners, I got to read Start Your Engines before anyone else.  This is one hot story, and I'm already nagging Tea to finish the tale of Rory's cousin Cameron.

Monday, October 3, 2011

TxDOT v. Christie Craig: The Write-In Campaign

Several writers in the Houston area, including me, wrote to the Texas Department of Transportation in regards to Civil Action No.1:11-cv-726, i.e. their lawsuit against Texas romance writer, Christie Craig for alleged violation of the state's trademark.  The responses most of the writers recieved were generally dismissive and condecending.

So we're going over TxDOT's head, and we're asking all writers and readers to help.

Please contact Texas Governor Rick Perry and ask him to stop this travesty.  The main points that refute this lawsuit are:

1)  TxDOT's counsel admitted to Judge Sam Sparks in open court that NONE of TxDOT's trademark registrations apply to books.

2)  TxDOT claims that Ms. Craig's book ruins their reputation because it contains scenes between a heterosexual couple in a committed relationship practicing safe sex.  Yet, TxDOT believes selling men's thongs with the trademark clearly stamped on the front does not.

3)  TxDOT has not sued other entities using the title 'Don't Mess With Texas.' Other works using the title include a rap song, a magazine article and several country songs.  Please note that ALL of these other situations I mention involve an artist or a controlling party who is MALE.

4)  TxDOT is wasting money pursuing this action that is all likelihood they will lose when Texas is in a fiscal crisis.

We ask that you contact Gov. Perry directly and protest this lawsuit.

Snail Mail:  The Honorable Rick Perry, PO Box 12428, Austin, TX 78711-2428
Website:  http://governor.state.tx.us/contact/
Phone No:  (512) 463-2000
Twitter: @GovernorPerry (mention @TxDOT and @Christie_Craig)

We also ask that you tweet, FB and blog this information.

Even if you don't live in Texas, this matter concerns you since Gov. Perry is running for President of the United States.

Please spread the word.  No government should bully a writer because they dislike that writer's content.  And frankly, this lawsuit is not about a trademark. It's an attempt by a state to bypass the First Amendment and harass a author based on her subject matter and her gender.

Saturday, October 1, 2011