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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Queen of the Undead is finished!

I am so happy to announce I have finally finished Queen of the Undead, Book III in The Vamp Saga! Yay! Break out the bubbly! Not...I still have to proofread it before I send it to my editor but if everything goes according to plan, it will be released before the end of June or early July 2012 at the latest. How cool is that? Three novels and a novella in a series released within the first year of the series.

Before I get the classic eye-rolls, the novel is what you expect from me and no, it isn't merely a 50k novella I am passing off as novel either. It is 95k (as of right now but I do add and subtract during the proofing process so it might end up as long as 100k or as short as 90k depending upon how happy Felicia gets in terms of cutting during the editing process...lol)

Don't get too excited gals and fellas as I will be taking a much needed hiatus from this series to focus on some of my other projects. Love Voodoo from DeGeneration should be released before the end of May. Also lined up for the summer/fall-autumn are Hart Attack: Book I in The Hart Family Saga and Apocalypse 2012: Book II from The Plague series. In the winter, I will be releasing The Making of a Star from The Pop Stars series. 

Then, I will get back to what y'all want me to...that is The Vamp Saga, of course, when I will begin writing the fourth book in the series: Dawn of Death. I fear that one might be a magnum opus and could be as long as 120 to 130k in word length as there is a lot going on and I am not sure whether or not I will be able to end it somewhere around my usual page length if I sense a cliffhanger in sight...

Okay, enough gabbing...here is a sneak peak (totally unedited though it has been proofed but I can't guarantee it is perfect) of Queen of the Undead: Book III.

Excerpt from Queen of the Undead
I sat through yet another exhaustive meeting and waited with expectation for it to be over. As Mikkel still had not returned from his “two week” excursion which had begun almost six months ago, Idallys had been filling in for him so we had a full Council of twenty.

I should have been looking for guidance as no doubt my father would gladly provide it for me but at the same time I didn’t know exactly what I needed. I was the Queen and I had to conduct these meetings with a sense of decorum and taste. My personal problems were my own and never were they to get in the way of real Council Business. I was to steel myself and overlook any of my own heartache.

Mikkel had begun to send me old fashioned, hand written notes in mid January and to that day, had not missed a week. I suppose these were to insure he was okay as they were definitely in his handwriting.

There were occasions I still worried about him and what had begun as a quick trip had turned into something else entirely.

“Your Majesty, do you have anything to add?” Armand inquired, snapping me out of my contemplative mood.

I sipped from my VA Neg before I questioned, “What were we talking about?”

From the corner of my eye, I could see Chiyoko and Siobhán look at one another before doing an eye roll.

Emmerik cleared his voice. “I was just reporting the latest figures, your Majesty. The virus is spreading and although it hasn’t reached Western Europe or North America, it is only a matter of time. Cases have already been reported in Central and South America just as cases have been reported as far west as Hungary.

“It is imperative I am given an unlimited budget and I need more staff to help find a cure as soon as possible. The Lycan People are definitely in danger of succumbing to this illness, which carries a ninety-five percent mortality rate with werewolves versus a twenty percent mortality rate with humans and less than a one percent mortality rate for Faeries, Demi-feys included.”

“Well, I’m grateful it was only supposition the Demi-feys would be harmed by this virus though I must say that we will do everything in our power from stopping the spread of the virus to the Lycan community. I’m assuming there are members of the Vampire Mercenary Squad with medical training?”

Armand brought up the figures on a laptop in front of him. “Yes. Approximately twenty-five percent are skilled in medicine and science.”

I stood which was a clear message the meeting was to be dismissed shortly. “Bring them here and Emmerik, I trust you can choose the cream of the crop. They will be at your disposal with full pay. This has to come to an end. The IVC will not be blackmailed by GenMods who only care about money and some deranged form of revenge Zahara has worked out in that head of hers.”

“Surely you would want to meet them?”

I stared from Emmerik to my father. “Yes, of course but first allow my father and I some private time first.”


It was still so amazing to me.

My father and I had spent over eighteen years apart and even when I knew of him, I had no idea we were related.

Regardless, we’d managed to repair a relationship in six months and were closer now than I’d ever been with the man I assumed was my father.

He was my confidant and regardless what issues I had, I always sought out his council first.

I had no illusions I was the perfect vampire Queen—I was probably one of the worst, bestowed my position not because of my beauty but merely because I was the first and therefore the most powerful. I would never say there was anyone else who would have made a better Queen than I as I knew of no woman but the point was, I felt like I was failing and it was not an emotion I was equipped to handle.

My mortal life had been no picnic and although many of my problems had been caused by me, I was often my own worst enemy by taking one mistake and making it that much worse. I wondered if this is what was going on when it came to my husband’s unexplained absence.

How long would people accept he was on a self-imposed sabbatical? When would the talk turn malicious and cruel; whisperings of me having him murdered or better yet, him tiring of me and he decided to leave me? It made no difference if he was gone one month or one hundred years, we were still married and therefore I could never promise myself to another.

It wasn’t the same kind of lose-lose situation humans found themselves in because I could sleep with as many men and women as I wanted to but I could never declare love for another and this was a definite problem, especially when I was in love with someone other than my husband.


The torture it had been to see him gracing the halls of the château yet he was unavailable to me. I couldn’t dare sleep with him now that Mikkel was gone. It would seem like more of a betrayal than his loss already felt.

My father immediately sensed my anxiety as soon as he sat down next to me on the sofa in the Salon Bleu. The sitting room was aptly named because everything in the sitting room was various shades of blue. It matched my mood and had become one of my favorite rooms in the château because of the ambience and the soothing feeling I received there. I also felt closest to Mikkel in this room once I found out it had been Adrienne’s favorite room as well.

He slipped an arm around my shoulders and held me close. “My love, what is the matter? You seem very out of sorts and you were distracted the whole meeting. A Queen never shows her minions how she is feeling, not even us on the IVC. We aren’t your equals and therefore we should never be privy to your moods.”

I glared at him with fresh tears in my eyes and realized I should have never worn any shade in the white family today. “Papa, I’m so conflicted and I have been for the longest time now. I don’t understand and I feel so out of sorts. Who is my equal and with whom can I share my deepest darkest secrets?”

He passed me a black Hermès scarf and I wiped my eyes. “Unfortunately, the Queen has no equals and you aren’t any different. However, you can share your deepest fears with Emmerik—”

“Papa, no! I can’t…I can’t be around him; I can’t smile and pretend everything is okay between us when it is not. I love him…my God, I really do. I’m in love with him and for the first time, I can see that although I love Mikkel with all my heart my feelings for Emmerik surpass the emotions I feel for my own husband.”

I hope you all enjoyed the preview as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you! Feel free to leave a comment if you want to add your two cents and don't forget the second novel, Better Off Dead, is already available so grab a copy (though it isn't compulsory). ;-) Until next time, have a wonderful weekend and happy reading!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Guest Blog Post by Michelle Muto

I have so much respect for this author and she is an awesome YA writer too. Who wouldn't want their daughter to read her novels? My daughter has both loaded on her Kindle. Without further ado, I give you the gorgeous Michelle Muto!

That's what I've been calling The Book of Lost Souls, the book that started my path to publication. I’ve always loved to write. I’ve always loved the way imagination and words blend on a page, the way they transport a reader to faraway worlds, or right next door, where witches live. From the time I was very young, books were an amazing world to me. There was no greater joy than going to the library with my mother whose love of books knew no measure. When I was very young, my mother read to me every night. As I grew older, we’d talk about the books we were reading.

Even as a young child, I knew I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. But, writing wasn’t what paid the bills. I got a regular job and life went on, although I still dreamed of writing. My father always told me to believe in myself and to never give up on what I firmly believed in. A few years after his death, I took up writing again. My mother, who was now ill and who had moved in with my husband and me, was happy to read what I wrote, or to set the table in order to give me a few more minutes of writing time.

And so I wrote and edited and revised. Just before the book was ready to send to agents, my mother died. I set the book aside. Writing was too painful, too full of memories.

But, the stories in my head wouldn’t let up, and so after a few years I started writing again. This time, I wrote about a teen witch named Ivy and her life in a small town, and I quickly fell in love with the story and the eclectic group of characters. I think of it as Buffy meets Harry Potter. When I typed the last line, I actually felt a pang of sorrow—I didn't want to say goodbye. Ivy and her story became The Book of Lost Souls, and after polishing it up, I sent it off to agents. Plenty were interested and requested the full manuscript. Unfortunately, most of them thought the book was too light. Too cute. Too Disney. They offered to read whatever else I had, as long as it was darker. Darker sells! Or so they said.

So, after two revisions for two separate agents that eventually didn't pan out (they said the book still had a lighthearted feel to it that wouldn't appeal to publishing houses), I set The Book of Lost Souls aside and started working on an outline for a much darker book.

It was around this time that the economy began to collapse—hard—and I was given the pink slip on Friday the 13th, right after I had completed a project that saved the company $400,000 annually. Say goodbye to eighteen years of loyal service! Suddenly, writing a darker, more dystopian book about the afterlife on top of losing my job seemed too much to take. Still, I recalled my father’s wisdom of believing in myself even when no one else did. I wrote and finished the next book, Don’t Fear the Reaper, in about seven months.

Still unemployed despite literally hundreds of applications, I began to worry we would lose our home or deplete our savings before I found a job. My career in IT was gone—off shored as they call it. I also wondered if I’d ever see any of my books published. I was so close to getting an agent so many times. Agents wrote back: You’re a strong writer. Or, The Book of Lost Souls is a great story and is well-written, but it’s not for me.

Nearly every morning, my inbox was filled with rejection letters from jobs and agents, yet I tried to stay positive. I kept repeating my father’s words to believe, to never give up. For every rejection, I sent out twice as many applications, twice as many query letters. I just tried harder.

I had been querying Reaper for about three months when I got an editorial letter from one of New York’s biggest literary agencies who'd had The Book of Lost Souls for nearly a year. A year! But, the letter was so enthusiastic about the story and my writing that I sat down and made every last revision they suggested. I turned it in and waited. Months went by. In the end, they rejected the story—not because they didn't love it, but because in the year and change they’d had the manuscript, another client had submitted a proposal for a story about a teen witch. Conflict of interest, they called it.

And that was that. My novel, the book that was finished, was dumped for someone else’s book that hadn't yet been written. Somewhat angry and depressed, I set The Book of Lost Souls aside. Again. By now, I was at the end of my rope. I was still unemployed and out of unemployment benefits. The only work I could find was the occasional short-term computer job, some tech writing gigs, or dog-sitting. Nothing full-time, and certainly nothing we could count on.

If the near-miss with Super Agency wasn’t enough, I found myself running into similar situations with Don't Fear the Reaper. Now, agents were saying, Too dark! But, you're a talented writer and we'd love to see other work. Or, You’re capable of incredibly incisive scenes—the opener is still one of the best things I read all year. And, my personal favorite, In this economy...

It was then that I learned about self-published authors such as Karen McQuestion and Amanda Hocking. I decided to go indie as well, starting with The Book of Lost Souls. What did I have to lose? A lot if I didn’t figure out a way for our household to stop hemorrhaging money. The only problem? I had no idea where to start. I sent an email to Ms. McQuestion, in the hopes she could point me in the right direction. She was so incredibly kind! Not only did she reply, she sent me a wealth of information on self-publishing. Today, she shares all that information on her blog. I’m incredibly grateful to her.

I got a cover I could afford with the help of another indie, Sam Torode. Two editor friends went over my work. Finally, I formatted the book and the rest is history. I uploaded The Book of Lost Souls in early March, and it’s been getting consistently great reviews ever since. As for being too lighthearted? I receive emails all the time from people who love that the book is funny, upbeat, and clean.

Within my first five weeks of self-publishing, I hit three best seller lists on Amazon. Me. An indie author without a publicist or a big agency or publisher behind them. Just me, my computer, my loving husband, and the devotion of two dogs at my feet.

I’ve been asked if there will be a sequel to The Book of Lost Souls. The answer is yes. Two more books, maybe a third. I just haven't thought that far out yet.

And the other, darker book? After some revisions, Don't Fear the Reaper debuted in late September 2011. On its first day, the book reached lucky #13 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases, Children’s Fiction, Spine-Tingling Horror. 

I’m only sorry that my parents aren’t here to see this. I took my father’s advice and my mother’s faith and reinvented myself. I still dog-sit and take on small computer jobs and tech writing gigs to help keep us afloat financially. But one day, I hope that my hard work will pay even more of the bills. Until then, I’m at peace with the way things are. 

Henry Ford once said, “If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Great advice. And so, The Book of Lost Souls, the book that nearly wasn’t, became the little book that could. I’m a firm believer that hopes and dreams are something to hold onto and fight for. Believe in the magic that is you. Keep your dreams close, and set your imagination free.

I’d like to dedicate my section of this anthology to readers everywhere—words alone cannot express how much I appreciate you believing in me. You’re every bit as much a part of the magic as Ivy herself. 

So, thank you, Dear Reader. Sincerely. Because, every author with a story to tell writes with you in mind.

Come connect with me. I’d love to hear from you:

Where to find my books:

Friday, April 13, 2012

Better Off Dead Premieres TODAY!

It's official! Better Off Dead: Book II from The Vamp Saga is now available in e-book!

Buy at these local e-Retailers:

Barnes & Noble

Premiering in Paperback on Wednesday, April 18, 2012.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Guest Blog Post by Talia Jager

Nothing in the world is going to make up for this post so late in the week. I wish I could blame something good like a family crisis but instead, I was under deadline to finish a novel (yeah, just that)... so not much got done and this post didn't make it till Thursday night! Pathetic! I'm a horrible human being and I apologize to Talia! I'm SO sorry! Without further ado, here's her terrific indie chick story. ;-)

She doesn't look like she writes terrific YA...but she does!

Paper, Pen, and Chocolate

“Mom!” a voice yelled from the other room. “Make her stop!”
“I didn’t do anything!” another voice yelled before I could even get up to see what was going on.

I sighed and struggled to get off the couch where I had just started writing a scene. Four months pregnant with our sixth child and the varicose veins were already causing problems for me. I wondered where my husband was hiding that he couldn’t handle this.

Fortunately, the yelling quieted down. Instead of checking on them, I made an Executive Decision. I snuck into my closet, grabbed some Hershey’s chocolate from my stash, and slipped into the bathroom where I ate it with the lights turned off. Nobody would find me there.

Flicking on my flashlight, I took out the notepad and pen I had stashed in the magazine rack and wrote down some thoughts on the scene I had been writing.

The quiet lasted 3.5 minutes. Then my time in the bathroom was up. I crept back out to the living room where I settled a new argument, secretly wishing I could go back to the bathroom.

Now, you may ask…Married with how many kids? And you write books? WHY? HOW? Let me tell you.

From the time I was a little girl, I have had two dreams. One: To have a large family. Two: To be an author. There was a time not long ago when it seemed neither would come true.

Maybe it was being an only child that allowed my imagination to run wild and my mind to create stories; it definitely made me wish for a big family of my own. It’s lonely to grow up without a sibling.

In school, writing was my passion. I wrote constantly. I’d slip my story under a notebook in class and when I was supposed to be taking notes, I’d really be writing my story. At night when I was supposed to be asleep, I’d hide under the covers in bed with a flashlight, pen, and paper.

Time went on, and although I had many stories written, I was too chicken to do anything with them. So, they sat. When I fell in love and started a family, writing got pushed to the side. Sure, I still loved it, but I never had time. Deep down, I was mad at myself for not at least trying to do something with them. But, at the time, I felt I couldn’t. Family came first.

My dream of having a large family wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, but it had begun to come true. We had two beautiful little girls and wanted more. Unfortunately, I suffered through many miscarriages over the years. After having a number of tests done, I was diagnosed with a blood disorder so complicated that I have no idea what it actually is except that it can cause miscarriages. Getting pregnant had never been an issue; staying pregnant was. When I didn’t get and stay pregnant for over a year, the depression got worse.

Losing a baby is a devastating thing to go through; losing six is downright depressing. There’s no amount of crying, begging, negotiating, or praying that brings them back. Believe me, I tried it all. It didn’t matter how many people told me it wasn’t my fault–I blamed myself anyway. Finding out that it was due to a blood disorder made my guilt that much worse. It was my fault. My body’s fault anyway. Then I started asking myself: Why do some of my babies live and others don’t? What did I do different? I had children before I started medication for the disorder, and I’ve had miscarriages since getting on the medication. None of it makes sense and it’s still something I struggle to understand. I was in such a deep depression; it was like my creative button had been turned off. I had no desire to write.

When we finally “gave up” and decided that we’d be a family of six, we found out I was pregnant again with our fifth daughter.

This pregnancy was much harder on my body than the others. I found myself on the couch most of the day with my legs up. It was around this time that some online friends found out that I loved to write and encouraged me to share my stories. I did so nervously and they loved them! I reached deep down and found the courage to start submitting queries to agents. Each time my hopes were smashed to pieces.

My husband started talking about eBooks and self-publishing. I wasn’t too sure about going that route. I wanted to see my books in print, so I could hold them in front of my face. I wanted to smell my book. But, as time went on, eReaders became more popular and I figured…why not?

So, here I am, with five children, trying to find the time to write, while juggling mom-duty, wife-duty, household chores, errands, and more. During the earlier part of this year, you could find me up until the wee hours of the morning writing. You see, that is the only time it’s quiet enough to get anything done. Three a.m. is the time when all little girls are sleeping, the husband is snoring away, and my mind is clear. I can throw myself into a character’s psyche and let my imagination flow. Everything was going perfectly. I was getting a lot of writing done and then we got a surprise. Baby #6 was on the way.

As happy as we were, this put a serious damper on staying up until three a.m. I just couldn’t do it. My one-year-old is at the age where she needs to be followed around and supervised constantly. If I don’t, I find my computer monitor has become a coloring book.
My four-year-old is in between the “play with me” stage and the “playing alone” stage. The older three are in school, which provides a break for me, but since my four year old adores her older sisters, it makes it hard. She’s constantly whining for them to come home.
It’s hard enough juggling the four younger ones, but throw in a hormonal teenager and chaos ensues. Dealing with her has made me positive that my mother cursed me for acting out as a teenager. Not a week goes by that I don’t find myself in tears over something she does or says. Like the time recently when I told her I was pregnant again, she made nasty comments accusing me of ruining her life. Or the time I had to punish her for kicking her sister, and she informed us that she could run away and be adopted by her friend’s parents.

I’m sure you find yourself wanting to ask how I get a minute to myself. Or how do I deal with no time alone? Or what if I get an idea during the day?
Remember that stash of chocolate in the closet? I simply get some, slip into the bathroom, and take a few minutes. Sometimes I just think. Sometimes I jot down a few ideas on that hidden notepad.

As crazy and chaotic my life is, I wouldn’t change a thing. And it sure gives me plenty of things to write about.

So, when life hands you lemons…toss them out, grab your stash of chocolate, your writing materials, and head for the bathroom. You may just end up writing a book.

This is one story from Indie Chicks: 25 Women 25 Personal Stories available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. To read all of the stories, buy your copy today.

Also included are sneak peeks into 25 novels!

My young adult drama, Damaged: Natalie’s Story,

is one of the novels featured.

Find out more about Talia and her books:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Guest Blog Post by Julia Crane

This week, I have the fabulous Indie Chick, Julia Crane, on my blog. She talks about the struggles and cultural differences she faced when she decided to accompany her husband and children to the Middle East and how this prompted her to become a YA writer. Enjoy!

It wasn't easy but what in life ever is?

Moving to the Middle East

Separation was normal in my marriage. My husband was in the military, and usually gone six months a year. We had adapted quite well to the schedule. Of course, we had the normal period of adjustment when he would return, but that was part of the lifestyle. We were looking forward to his retirement, and being able to spend more time together as a family. That didn’t work out quite as we expected. My husband was offered a job in Afghanistan that would set us up to really retire. The kicker? It would last a year. We thought the sacrifice would be worth it, so off he went. One year became a year and a half.
While he was gone I took care of our small business, running a gym. I loved it. It was very time-consuming, but it was also very rewarding. It started to wear on me only when my pre-teen children complained that I was always at the gym, and never had time for them. Finally, I told my husband that it was time for him to come home.
He put in his notice and started a stateside job. Though the new job still required him to be gone for six months of the year, the absences were in manageable blocks of two weeks. When he was home, he would take care of the gym and I would have time off. It was perfect.
Then he got a call from a friend, with a job offer that was just too good to turn down…in Dubai. We discussed it, and decided he should take the job, even though we had a new one-year-old.
Not long after my husband left for Dubai, I was at the breaking point. I felt trapped with the business, our teens, and a one-year-old always needing my attention. I had no personal space, and I’m a person that requires time alone, or else I get cranky.
As luck would have it, the new job offered to bring family members over to live in Dubai. My first thought about moving to the Middle East? “Yeah, right.” However, I researched Dubai and was surprised at what I found. The country seemed very modern, and the schools sounded good.
So I told my husband, “Ok, we’re coming.” While I was both nervous and excited, I was ready for a change, and moving to the Middle East sounded like just the adventure I needed.
When we got off the plane in October, the hot air hit my face and it felt like I had walked into a sauna. I thought, “Uh oh, what have I agreed to?” Yes, the heat is hard to handle, but you learn to live your life around it. We do most things early in the morning or after the sun sets. It is very much a nighttime culture. The city is beautiful and the Arabian Sea is breathtaking. I have grown comfortable living here, and easily call it my home. Though I can now see myself here for a few years, there are of course many things that I miss about America, and most of them involve food. Some things are just impossible to find: I’ve searched high and low for a Butterfinger, with no luck.
After a couple of months of enjoying my newfound free time, I eventually started to twiddle my thumbs. I was used to being busy, and with all the free time I needed to find something to fill the void. I saw an article that went into detail about how e-books had flung open many doors for writers. I thought that was interesting, and I mentioned it to my husband and he said he had also seen many articles saying much the same thing. I jokingly said that I was going to write a novel. My husband, who believes I can do anything, thought it was a great idea. I have always enjoyed writing even though I had not written much since having children. As a teen, I used to mail short stories to magazines and such, and like most avid readers, I always dreamed of someday writing a novel. Now I had my chance.
That same night I sat down to write, and the story quickly formed in my mind. I knew I wanted to write a young adult novel that would involve my Irish roots. The story just seemed to form itself: I would get ideas at random times and rush to write them down. It was frustrating at times, because I need relative quiet to focus. As you can imagine, with two teens and a two-year-old, finding quiet time is not easy. I wrote most of “Coexist” late at night when everyone was asleep. It took approximately three months to write the first draft, while the revision and editing process lasted longer than the initial writing.
A great part of the writing process for me has been interacting with other writers. I have met some amazing people from online writing groups and chat rooms. I learned a great deal in a short amount of time. I don’t think this undertaking would have been nearly as fun without the community I have found. Moving halfway across the world has allowed me to have both more time with family, and the ability to pursue a dream I’ve had since a child.

This is one story from Indie Chicks: 25 Women 25 Personal Stories available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. To read all of the stories, buy your copy today.
Also included are sneak peeks into 25 novels!
My paranormal romance novel, Coexist: Keegan’s Chronicles #1,
is one of the novels featured.
All proceeds go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer.

Coexist: Keegan’s Chronicles #1

Post Script by Yours Truly: You didn't think this was the only book Julia wrote, did you? Here are some other gems she has also authored! All are available at Amazon, Barnes & Nobles and Smashwords along with other e-Retailers. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A new contest and a new deal!

To celebrate the premiere of Better off Dead this month, which premieres Friday the 13th... that would be this book:

I am not only holding a contest but I have put Death Wish on sale for $2.99 on Amazon (there is a discount if it is bought through My Store). 

Thanks and don't forget to enter the contest on the Home page and answer this question... what paranormal series are you reading at this moment? As for me, I am reading the Secret McQueen trilogy and currently almost finished with A Bloody Good Secret by Sierra Dean.