Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Wait, you pay for that?

When I talk about releasing my books, inevitably the conversation turns to promotion. “Well, since it’s your day job, you must be great at promoting your own books! That saves you money.”


I have a publicist set up my blog tours! (The wonderful Roxanne at Bewitching Book Tours.) 

I know that book bloggers are important. They are a wonderful, dedicated group of people who sincerely love books. And I also know that there are a lot of them. And I just don’t have time to track down the ones who read urban fantasy and do outreach to each one (believe me, I tried). So I rely on Roxanne to get my shit into the hands of the book bloggers and, hopefully, they love the book and they do something. 

However, this is where my day job helps: I know that my book is not going to be covered by the NY Times. Or the NY Review of Books. Or People Magazine. Or Oprah magazine. So there is no point in Roxanne, or myself for that matter, pitching it. If I can find a compelling reason why one of these outlets should cover it, I may pitch it myself. But honestly, there is no compelling reason. I am one of a zillion authors writing Urban Fantasy. I have been fairly successful at it, but in no way am I able to make my living solely from my books. I am not an Amanda Hocking or a Hugh Howey outlier. However,  I am earning enough to give me hope that one day I could live solely off my writing. To me, that’s kind of exciting.

To the NY Times, not so much.

But here’s the important point. I don't think their audience is interested in my books. They have never once reviewed Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books. The Times profiled her a year or two into True Blood, but never once did she get one of those coveted reviews. So, urban fantasy and paranormal romance is clearly not their jam. 

What does matter to me are the bloggers Roxanne knows. They are readers and they reach readers, and they are the rabid fans or urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Those are the outlets that matter to me. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Author Interview: Angela Dennis

Angela Dennis joins the old blog today to talk about her new book Fading Light. We discuss Shadow Bearers, how 'what ifs' inspired some serious world building, and her love for Guardians of the Galaxy. Read on!

Tell me about Fading Light.

Fading Light is the continuation of the Shadow Born Series. It takes place a few months after Shadows of Fate ends. Brenna and Gray return to the Earthly plane and are forced to come to terms with the truth about one another. This is made even more difficult because the human population of Denver is turning to dust with no reasonable explanation. Brenna and Gray are forced to enlist the help of friend and foe to save the human race and stop an impending civil war, all while trying to come to terms with their relationship issues

What inspired you to tell Brenna’s story?

Brenna is one of my favorite characters to write. Her personality is so multi-faceted, you never know how she will react in any given situation. The thing I love the most about Brenna is that she is a survivor. Her life up until this point has been hellish at best, yet she’s managed to keep moving forward. Brenna deserves a happy ending, and I can’t wait to give it to her.

Can you explain what a Shadow Bearer is?

A Shadow Bearer is a magical being that lives in an alternate reality attached to Earth through a portal in the Veil between worlds. They are called Shadow Bearers because of the power they hold in the shadow realm between life and death.  A Shadow Bearer’s magic is fueled by their blood (i.e. their blood works like a magical battery). If they use a substantial amount of magic, they have to refuel.  This can be done through a blood exchange with another Shadow Bearer, or, over time, their blood will refuel itself. 

Your story is very intricate in its world building. What inspired that? Do you rely on pictures/images to help build your worlds?

The world building evolved out of my fascination with the idea that there could be worlds existing within worlds, or different planes of reality co-existing at the same time. One night my husband I sat down and fleshed out the idea with a series of what ifs. From that the idea was born of having a massive war on Earth that caused so much damage it ripped open the only barrier separating us from the other planes of existence. I took the idea and ran with it. 

I love using pictures to help with world building. I have a Pinterest Board (Note: Her boards are beautiful! Pinners, follow her!) for each book filled with pictures I’ve used to help visualize the world I’m building. Some are nothing like the world I’m trying to portray, they just spark the creative juice I need get the descriptions going.

My favorite scenes to write are fight scenes, and often I get up off my butt and act out the moves to help me get it on paper. How do you approach yours?

I’m right there with you. I LOVE to write fight scenes. In fact, I usually have to cut four or five before I finalize my manuscript because they’ve overwhelmed the plot. I’ve never tried to act out the moves (though I may now). I just visual the fight in my head as I’m writing it, trying to make sure the moves are physically possible. 

Now that Fading Light is released, what’s next for you?

Piercing the Darkness, the next Shadow Born book, will be coming out next spring. I also have a secret project that I’m hoping to announce soon *fingers crossed*

Do you have any writing rituals?

I wish. Once upon a time, I had quite a few. Now that I have a toddler, I just grab my computer, a pad of paper, anything really, and try to utilize any random free time.

Where is your favorite place to write?

My perfect writing spot would be outside on my deck. It would be Fall, the leaves would be rustling in the background, and I’d have a piping hot cup of coffee on the table in front of me. 

What inspires you to write? 

Life. I always wanted to be a writer, but a few years ago I stopped writing. Then my son was born, and he kicked my life into perspective. He has a host of special needs, but, despite that, he is the happiest, most joyful person I’ve ever met. He’s made me realize that we only get one chance at this life, and it’s too short not to take pleasure in the things we love. And, for me, writing is what makes me happy, so that’s what I do.

What 5 books are on your bookshelf right now?
Wow. I only get five! Well, I just finished A Hot Zone the new Jayne Castle book, which was awesome. Up next in the TBR pile are When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James, City of Souls by Vicki Pettersson (Note: This may end up in my TBR pile too!), Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews, and Shattered by Kevin Hearne.

What do you recommend people see/read/hear?

If you’re a move goer, definitely see Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a movie that much. I LOVED it. Book wise, if you love Urban Fantasy like I do, definitely check out Kim Harrison. The last book in the Hollows series comes out soon, and I’ve never been so sad to see a series end. I almost don’t want to read it. (Note: Me too!

Cover Reveal: Washed Hands

Busy day for new books! Washed Hands by Jonathan Charles Bruce gets its Cover Cherry popped! This one sounds like a fun read.

Washed Hands Synopsis:

Breaking up can be one of the hardest things a person can do, something that the dedicated team at Washed Hands, Inc. thoroughly understands. Whether one’s soon-to-be-ex is manipulative, violent, or anything else that makes a clean break difficult, the company’s rejection counselors ensure that the split is established and maintained in no uncertain terms. And in the toughest cases, no one’s better at this than Monica Deimos. 

Brought in on what appeared to be a relatively straight-forward domestic nightmare, Monica realizes all-too-late that she has been set up to take the fall for the murder of a wealthy socialite. As the police close in, Monica needs to discover who she can trust, who wants her out of the way, and why she was framed.

She’s no fool, though. The best case scenario ends in a jail cell… the worst in a body bag.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Author Interview: S.C. Green, The Sunken

I want S.C. Green to be my bestie. Not only is her steampunk dark fantasy The Sunken completely kick ass, she’s also very cool. Below we talk steampunk, dinosaurs and metal music. And check out her Spotify playlist for The Sunken at the end for some steampunk for your ears! 

Tell me about The Sunken.

The Sunken is the first in a four-part series set in an alternate Georgian London, where dinosaurs never became extinct. Christianity has been outlawed, instead replaced by several "Industrian" sects, religions centred around science and engineering. Each of these sects vie for power in the Engine Ward, a district of London. Nicholas Thorne has just returned from France under a cloud of shadow, and he seeks refuge in the Ward from his secret power; he hears the thoughts of animals inside his head, and he believes that by entering the Ward and surrounding himself in steel and iron, he will be able to free himself of their constant noise.

So he goes to work for his childhood friend, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who is rising in popularity as an engineer, against all odds. When Isambard wins a contract with the King to build a high Wall around the city, Nicholas is stoked for his friend. But his glee quickly turns to terror when they discover that the King is hiding something terrible in Windsor Castle, and that the Wall is part of a more sinister plan.

Steampunk + dinosaurs = AWESOME! What inspired this idea?

I've been pretty obsessed with dinosaurs since I was a kid. I even found a mosasaur bone once. I had been thinking for a long time about writing a book set in a historical setting where dinosaurs still survived. When I started getting the idea for an alternate history industrial revolution book, adding the concept of dinosaurs made me really excited, so I did it. I liked the idea of looking at a world that had grown alongside those creatures and how that had played in to their history and their geography and their mythology.

Was there anything you struggled with while writing The Sunken? How did you over come it?

The whole series was very research-intensive. I read a ton of books and even spent a couple of years volunteering at a steam heritage trust learning more about locomotives. It was pretty cool though, because I've even been able to drive a steam locomotive, which is certainly not something you do every day!

What drew you to the steampunk genre?

I've kind of always been into it, but didn't know what it was called. Some of my favorite authors are people like China Mieville and Philip Reeve, who write steampunk even though they might not call it that. I also love Victorian literature, in particular, Arthur Conan Doyle and Jules Verne, so any modern work referencing them appeals to me. I've never really been a fan of epic fantasy taking place in some far off, earthlike "world" where everything is just medieval Europe with wizards and funny names, but I love the idea of thinking about what our world would be like if technology have evolved in a slightly different way.

What’s your favorite metal t-shirt?

Oh, tough choice! Probably tied between my Blind Guardian tour shirt from Wacken Open Air, 2011, which I got at the festival in Germany. Blind Guardian are one of my favorite bands and to be in the crowd while they were playing at a German festival, with my husband and some of my closest friends at my side, was pretty amazing. The other one is pretty old and faded now, but it is an Opeth "Ghost Reveries" shirt from their 2007 NZ tour. It was the first international metal show my now husband and I attended together, and it was pretty bloody incredible. Plus the design is really awesome.

Now that The Sunken is released, what’s next for you?

Oh, so many things! I am frantically working away on the second book in the Engine Ward series, The Gauge War (3/4 done!) I'm also starting work on a dystopian series set in a near-future city (that's NaNo this year), and a short faerie story to tide readers over till The Gauge War comes out. The short story might be released end of this month or beginning of next.

Do you have any writing rituals?

Not really. I write for a living, so I'm pretty much butt in chair, hands on keyboard all day, every day, no matter what's going on or what I feel like. I take a break at lunchtime to, well, eat (otherwise I forget), do exercise and do chores around my property (I live on a lifestyle block, so there's always something to be done!). I try to write 1000 words of fiction every day - I don't always succeed, but the habit is there.

Any favorite place to write?

Recently, my husband and I finished building an eco-house on 4 acres of land in the country. My office is in the attic and it is my favorite room in the house after the bathroom (we have a REALLY cool bathroom! It's all black with a huge granite sink that looks as if it were hewn directly out of the earth by dwarves). Right now I'm sitting at my desk typing this with hot chocolate and two cats sleeping beside me and the rain is pounding on the roof outside. It's pretty amazing.

What 5 books are on your bookshelf right now?

Right now I'm reading Philip Pullman's Northern Lights. On my pile is Claudius the God (sequel to I, Claudius. I've read both before but felt like a dose of Roman debauchery.); Uncle Tom's Cabin (I'm halfway through), and a Pablo Neruda poetry book (I'm visiting South America next year so I'm reading up!)

What do you recommend people see/read/hear?

See: I am really looking forward to the new Hunger Games films. We don't have a TV, so I don't watch a lot of stuff, but currently we are re-watching Poirot and Sherlock episodes. I love detectives.
Hear: Blind Guardian for fantasy geeks, Jordan Reyne for dark celtic/steampunk moodiness, Beastwars for pure NZ sludgey goodness. Amon Amarth for sexy viking beards.

Here’s a brilliant playlist for The Sunken. And go pay a visit to SC’s very cool website Steffmetal.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cover Reveal: Tainted Blood

It’s cover reveal day! Whoo Hoo! 

Here is the cover for Tainted Blood, the second book in the Hell’s Belle series, which releases on October 20th. 


After surviving a vampire assassin (not to mention an awkward affair with a hot FBI agent that ended worse than she could have imagined), witch/vampire hybrid Nina Martinez is reunited with the full Blood Ops team in Providence, Rhode Island. Her Aunt Babe is tutoring her in all things witchcraft, and her vampire partner Frankie is enjoying the benefits of daywalking, courtesy of a demon spell.

When a segment of the Rhode Island vampire population is marked for death by a tainted blood supply, Nina and her team race to find Patient Zero before the local vampire population is wiped out. But when a demon infestation threatens to take control of the city, Nina must join forces with newly elected mayor—and closet demon— Ami Bertrand before the city falls into ruin.

Filled with fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat action, Nina and her group of supernatural misfits battle a surprising new enemy that threatens their very existence.

No wonder she still can’t get a date.

Want to read a quickie now?

There is a free Hell’s Belle prequel short available for download. River Vamp takes you on an early  Blood Ops mission with Nina and Frankie in Gowanus, Brooklyn.

Download via:

It's also available on Apple's iBooks. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Cover Reveal: The Soul Thief

the soul thief - front cover

The Soul Thief by Majanka Verstraete
Expected Release: November 11, 2014
Publisher: Booktrope
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
When Riley is injured in a car crash and sees a girl stealing a boy’s soul, she’s convinced she’s hallucinating. But when she sees the same girl at the hospital later, she knows she wasn’t dreaming. That’s when Riley learns her secret heritage and who she really is: a halfling Angel of Death. Riley must come to terms with her new reality and supernatural abilities, but before she can do this, girls her age start dying in mysterious circumstances. It’s up to Riley to figure out why, what the innocent victims have in common, and what she can do to stop them.
The Soul Thief - full cover majankaAbout the Author Majanka Verstraete begged her Mom to teach her how to read while she was still in kindergarten. By the time she finished fifth grade, she had read through the entire children’s section of her hometown library. She wrote her first story when she was seven years old, and hasn’t stopped writing since. With an imagination that never sleeps, and hundreds of possible book characters screaming for her attention, writing is more than a passion for her. She writes about all things supernatural for children of all ages. She’s tried to write contemporary novels before, but something paranormal always manages to crawl in. Majanka is currently studying for her Master of Laws degree, and hopes one day to be able to combine her passions for law and writing. When she’s not writing, reading or studying, she likes watching “The Vampire Diaries” and “Game of Thrones,” spending time with her friends, or playing “World of Warcraft.” http://majankaverstraete.com

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Stuff I Am Reading: Reapers MC series

In honor of the final season premiere of Sons of Anarchy, I figured I’d devote a few pixels to Joanne Wylde and her Reapers MC series. 

The series, right now, is three books: Reapers Property, Reapers Legacy, and Devil’s Game. For SoA fans, this series is a must-read. You don’t get too much of the down and dirty criminality. The blood and gore that makes SoA compelling television is mostly missing from the Reaper’s MC ride. But Wylde does get down and dirty with the…ahem…sex. And holy crap do these characters have amazing, mind blowing sex! Like, I want my husband to buy a motorcycle so I can be his Old Lady.

I started reading the series because, a) I like Sons of Anarchy and b) I am working on a new paranormal romance (most likely stand alone, but we’ll see) and I wanted to read more erotic romance. In Hell’s Belle, romance is definitely part of the story, but not the centerpiece, partly because I was struggling with it while writing Nina’s story. Writing a true romance/erotica is a way to challenge myself as a writer. Plus I really love the story I am conjuring!

Okay, back to the Reapers. These are not the guys you want your daughter to bring home. At the outset of the books, they are Alpha Assholes. The feminist in me is screaming, “kick him in the balls and walk, sister!” But of course, physical attraction overcomes all logic, until eventually we see that his asshole-ishness is because he is just a romantic at heart. 

Is it simplistic? A little, yes. Is it disempowering to women? At points, very much so. Is it an entertaining read? Hell, yeah. 

Wylde did her research. She hung out with MCs (I believe she reported on them in her job as a journalist), she had a female consultant (a legit Old Lady!) on Reapers Legacy. I assume the consultant stuck around for Devil’s Game. So, while I am no expert of MCs, the story lines ring pretty true. But story-lines be damned, it’s really the hot, hot sex that keeps you reading.

What is it about these scenes? Wylde is graphic, for sure, but there is an arc of tenderness that runs through them. These characters clearly care for each other, love each other. But since they aren’t the types to share their emotions. All the feels happen in the sack (or on the counter of the repair shop, on the kitchen table, in the woods, etc).   

Side note: Where are all the MCs with a membership full of cut hotties? Any club I’ve seen roar past me on the highway is a bunch of over-the-hill dudes sporting beer bellies and long gray beards. Not one Jax Teller among them.

Anyone else have recommendations for erotic romance? With or without MCs! I’m all ears! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cover Reveal: To the Stars

It’s my first Cover Reveal! This one looks good. 

Written by Tiaan Lubbe, who is a South African teacher and theater director by day, To the Stars is a dystopian sci-fi adventure about a girl, a boy, and the end of the world. 

Here’s the description:

When the world finds out its inevitable end will come in sixty years, it seems like all hope is lost. Until a man steps from the darkness. He offers salvation, but demands total control. The world accepts.
Sixty years later, the old saviour’s son is leader and watches over the last proceedings of his father’s plans – Seven Ark ships called the Astrum Portas.
Noah is the next leader. He doesn’t want to be.
Zara is the girl he’s in love with. She doesn’t know it.
Three lives become complicatedly intertwined when a bomb on the Astrum Porta unexpectedly throws them into a whirlwind of secrets, forbidden love and violent clashes all while the looming apocalypse approaches rapidly. 

Look for it on September 23!