Saturday, January 29, 2011

What came out of her little sister's brain...

My sister is vacationing at the beach and has been reading my book, Song of Scarabaeus. With six young children, she hasn’t found it easy to get through more than 20 minutes at a time, but she just texted me to say she finished it, she loved it, and she can’t wait for the next one. Wow. “I can’t believe all these ideas came out of my little sister's brain,” she tells me. (It shouldn’t surprise her. We spent our childhoods keeping each other awake at night telling stories, and filled our vacation time by drawing comic strips and typing out silly ditties on our typewriters.)

Almost a year after the book’s release, it still amazes me when someone tells me they enjoyed it. Is this reaction of mine just a lingering effect of being on debut-author cloud nine? I don’t know. I wrote the kind of book I wanted to read – smart female protagonist in a no-win situation, sexy hero/sidekick, strong scientific elements, interesting secondary characters, and loads of action. Every time I read a nice review on a blog or on Amazon, I think, “Yay! Someone else ‘got it’.” Someone else wants to read the kind of book I want to read, the kind of book I wrote.

Last week, much to my astonishment, my book was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award. Heady stuff. But I’ll be honest: hearing my sister enthuse about my book – my big sister, who almost never reads fiction – means even more to me.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Only the Lonely?

I've heard all my writing life that writing is a lonely occupation. It's true that the only players in real life are your mind and your computer. But that doesn't mean you have to spend those long hours writing alone. You have your characters for company.

While writing a book, I become very tangled up in the lives of the characters, especially the series characters who continue from book to book. I'd love to meet them in real life. Well, not the villains, especially.

Maliha Crayne, the  protagonist of my Mortal Path series, is a complicated person, starting with the fact that she's over 300 years old. If you passed her on the street, you'd see a beautiful woman in her late twenties or early thirties, very fit, with a confident walk, and alert. Someone who wouldn't automatically smile at you or even acknowledge your presence, yet you'd be sure she'd sized you up--predator or prey--with a glance. Maliha doesn't open up easily, but if you do make it to her inner circle of friends, she'll risk everything for you. She used to be a demon's assassin, but now she saving lives, working toward specific goals. She's a powerful martial artist and can see auras, run very fast, and heal fast. I love being in her company. She's exciting, unpredictable, and does everything I wish I could do.

Maliha's friend Hound was a medic in the Viet Nam war. He came home severely injured, but this many years later he gets around well enough with his body scarred. He's a private eye with shady government contacts. Maliha uses him for investigations and he sometimes travels in the field with her. He's impulsive, argumentative, and sometimes rough, yet he can be funny too. He has a strong moral code of his own devising that seems to allow killing anyone he determines needs killing.There are a lot of fascinating stories in his life, and I'd love to take him to a bar and listen to them over a few beers.

Amaro is another of Maliha's circle of friends. He was saved from a Brazilian shantytown when gang violence threatened. He's young, a hottie, wealthy, and could have any woman he wanted. A former bad boy hacker, he now makes his living helping companies with their computer security. His skills are crucial to Maliha, since he alters computer records before and after the fact to keep her exploits hidden. Amaro is lighthearted and a free spirit, although he takes his computer work seriously. His sister Rosie nags him to settle down and have a family as she has done, but he's not ready for that. Amaro could lavish all his attention on me, and I definitely wouldn't be lonely!

Xia Yanmeng rounds out those of Maliha's friends who know about her abilities and goals. He and his wife are survivors of China's Cultural Revolution. Yanmeng and Maliha love each other deeply but it isn't the passionate kind. Yanmeng is a remote viewer who can see Maliha anywhere in the world, if she permits it. Yanmeng is an excellent martial artist, but generally doesn't go with Maliha in the field. He is a very spiritual person who is learning to spend time on higher planes of existence, and is gradually leaving behind Earthly concerns. For now, he is someone Maliha can talk to who will give her an absolutely honest answer, and he serve as a guide for her on her own quest. There is so much to admire in and learn from Yanmeng, I don't think I'd ever tire of his company.

Finally, Maliha has a friend who doesn't know about her age and her compelling backstory. Randy Baxter, corporate analyst in her late twenties, is the girlfriend Maliha can socialize with and get away from all of the burdens and serious nature of her life. She and Randy go to clubs, talk about dates, and talk to each other late at night on the phone. Randy is pure escape for Maliha, and even sets her up on the blind date where she meets her lover Jake for the first time. Jake seems wonderful, but Maliha knows he's holding something back. With Jake, she always thinks, "I love him, but...". Whether Randy is excited about her new love or in the dumps about breaking up, she's interesting and a bit of a challenge to know. I like her, and she's not so different from real life friends, so working with her in a book comes easily.

With this group clamoring for attention when I write, there's no time to even consider loneliness!

What fictional characters would you like to spend time with, and why? Anyone who's company you just couldn't stand?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lightning Round!

Because I'm in the middle of deadline dementia, I really struggled with what to write about today. In a bid for absolute slackery—what? that's what Twitter is for—I threw out a call for something to answer.

I got a handful of questions and I chose one, but more on that later. Today's Underground post is going to be a Lightning Round!

You ready? Pull down your goggles, folks, and let's hit it.

You Wants It, Preciousssss

Did you see this? Have I not thrown it around like the absolute crack that it is?

But wait, there's more! No, really, there is. Would you like another peek at Jessie and Silas? Are you feeling properly voyeuristic? Want an eyeful of eyecandy?

I'm talking, like, eyecandy, man. More eyecandy than a single eye can safely take in! More than two eyes can handle; epic eyecandy of doom.

...But I'm not going to reveal it here. What's the fun in that? No, instead, you must work for it. You must fall to your knees in supplication and demand—yes, I said demand!—your taste of the good stuff!

Or... you can sign up for my newsletter by clicking this rather verbose link. Don't worry; it only takes a moment, and I promise not to fill your inbox with the utter deliciousness that is my glistening spam-meats. Four newsletters a year. First dibs at some contests, up to date release news and even exclusive excerpts.

Especially nice for those of you who don't want to put up with my barrage of spam-like gibbets on Twitter and Facebook. (See what I did there? Yeah, you can follow me there, too, if you really can't get enough of me.)

So do it. Do eet. You can unsubscribe at any time.

A Rose By Any Other Name is Totally Not a Rose

How do you decide on names for your characters? Sometimes names are symbolic sometimes just smexy. How do you do the name-voodoo that you do so well?

/via Sharon S., Facebook

When I put out the call for people to ask me any questions they wanted, I thought this one would be a great one to answer here at the Supernatural Underground. Why? Several reasons: 1) Sharon's a fab Supernatural Underground fan. 2) It lets me talk about Blood of the Wicked some. And 3) She used the word "smexy". I love that word.

Don't worry... I've got some more questions to answer and I will! Check back at Teatime Iniquity to see what I've got to say. Usually, a lot.

I have no tried and true formula for naming. Names are, you know, names. Like book. Bell. Bird. And other things beginning with B. Whenever I think about names and naming conventions, I always flash to that scene in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

Ahhhhh...! What's happening? Er, excuse me, who am I? Hello? Why am I here? What's my purpose in life? What do I mean by who am I? Calm down, get a grip now... Oh! This is an interesting sensation, what is it? It's a sort of...yawning, tingling sensation in, I suppose I'd better start finding names for things if I want to make any headway in what for the sake of what I shall call an argument I shall call the world, so let’s call it my stomach. So, a yawning tingling sensation in my stomach Good. Ooooh, it’s getting quite strong. And hey, what about this whistling, roaring sound going past what I'm suddenly going to call my head? That can be... Wind! Is that a good name? Oh er, It’ll do... perhaps I can find a better name for it later when I've found out what it’s for because there certainly seems to be a hell of a lot of it. Hey! What's this thing? This... let's call it a tail. Yeah! Tail. Hey! I can really thrash it about pretty good, can't I? Wow! Wow! Hey doesn’t seem to achieve much but I'll probably find out what it's for later on. Now, have I built up any coherent picture of things yet? No. Oh hey, this is really exciting, so much to find out about, so much to look forward to, I'm quite dizzy with anticipation... Or is it the wind? Hey! There really is a lot of that now, isn't there? And wow! What's this thing suddenly coming toward me very fast? Very, very fast. So big and flat and wide it needs a big wide-sounding word like ...ow...ound...round...ground! That's it! Ground! I wonder if it'll be friendly?

/BBC Productions, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

In short, if it sounds good, I use it. Then that name becomes part of the character, and it's as if that character never had any other name. Nor could it belong to any other character; Silas is Silas. There is only one Naomi.

All that said? I do have a bit of a process. It goes like this:

ME: "I just finished listening to Neil Gaiman's audiobook of The Graveyard Book. He has such a wonderful voice. Oh, and the way he wrote and read for Silas was just so. Freaking. Good. Silas. Yeah. Hey, what a name. That's a good name. Nice and strong, but old-fashioned. I like the way Neil said the name. Silas. Silas. Si-las. I think I like it. Have I said that? I do. Maybe I'll use it. Hey, I should write something now. What about? Oh, you know. Witches and witch hunters. Ooh. You know, Silas has a bit of a Biblical sound to it. Witch hunter. Totally. You know what else has a Biblical sound to it? Jonas. Now there's a fine name."

MANCANDY: "I like Jakob."

ME: "Shut up, you already used Jakob to death. Ooh, Jake's a good name, but I always see him as a blond."

MANCANDY: [blond]

Me: "...Shut up."

And so on, so forth. If you've spoken with me or watched my video blogs, you know I think and speak exactly like that.

And then there are the names I steal from the mancandy. Ian Black. Alex Bishop. He used them for characters first. Then again, he's stolen names from me, too. So it's sort of fair. Like marriage. What's his is mine, and what's mine is mine... Wait.

Lend Me Your Gibbets!

Actually, don't. Keep your gibbets. What I would like, however, are your suggestions.

I finished Karen Marie Moning's Shadowfever on Tuesday. Yes, last Tuesday. Yes, the day it came out—Look, you aren't judging me, right? Right! So, what I need from you are suggestions.

Come, my paranormal fetishists! What books are you really digging right now?

The Random Stuff

Bring on the TMI!

Actually, not so much. I'd invite you into my bedroom, but it's kind of a mess and I'm sure it's far too small. So instead, here's a quickie. Wait, not... Look, okay, try to keep up?

I've had the plague. The zombie plague. Well, I didn't eat gibbets—golly, why is that word so prolific up in here?—but I did lose a week to whatever not-zombie plague dance I got all wrapped up in. This means it's not just deadline dementia over here, it's downright disturbia.

One day, I want to write a series with Disturbia as the title.

Which is kind of related but actually separate from my deeply rooted desire to write a series of books with random song lyrics as the title.

I digress...

Now that I'm getting over the plague, I'm back to writing. But I need a new office chair, because holy mother of all things made of cheese, my sciatic nerve has been killing me.

It gets better when I don't spend eight hours in my crappy office chair, but hello? Author. Livelihood. Etc. So I've been scoping out chairs. Any suggestions, my deliciously seated friends?

Otherwise, it's business as usual at my place. Lots of glamor (coughhackliecough) and lots and lots and lots of caffeine.

In News That Happened to Other People

Colleen Gleason got her tweet scoped out by The Jersey Shore, yo. Seriously. Right now—well, okay, not now because she's probably out snogging with her big gorilla juicehead sent from God, but soon!—Snooki will be praying that Colleen gets a big gorilla juicehead all her very own.

Merrie Destefano got her newsletter up! If you're going to get mine, you really should sign up for hers, too. She's worked her poor fingers to the bone for you all. To the bone. 42 hours of labor she suffered for you, and the least you could do is call your mother. All day long over the stove, and what do you do? You don't eat your carrots. All day long—Wait, where was I?

Oh, yes. Go get her newsletter.

Hey! Did you know that Chuck Wendig knows your dirty, dirty secret? You know, that one. That one. No, not that one. Not that one, either. Dude—don't tell that one. I mean the other one: the one about how you really, really don't want to be a writer. Oh, yeah. He knows. And now everyone does, too.

But guess what? He's knows the other one, too. Your other dirty little secret. The one that says screw that noise, you totally want to be a writer.

...Are you overwhelmed yet? Then I shall consider this a job well done and go back to my own corner of this disturbed little dementia land.


Love ya!

....Mean it!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Special Ebook Promo!

Just a quick note to let all you Supernatural Underground readers know that if you've been wanting to try my dystopian paranormal romance series, now's a great time to jump into the fray!

HarperCollins is offering the first two ebooks at special promotional prices for a limited time!

Beyond the Night for $1.99 at Amazon and B&N

Embrace the Night Eternal for $3.99 at Amazon
and B&N


Never give up! Never surrender!

The winner of the signed copy of How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire is Danielle!! Danielle, I don't have your email address, so please contact me at Congratulations!

The beginning of January is a time for fresh beginnings and resolutions, but as we draw close to the end of the month, I was curious how your resolutions are doing. Are you still determined? Still going strong? Maybe your resolution wasn't totally realistic, and you had to modify it a bit, but I hope you haven't give up. If it's really important to you, keep going. If you've lost some ground, you can still move forward. It's a new day.

I believe in second chances. I'm on my second marriage (going strong after 22 years, yay!) And I'm on my second writing career. The first time around, I was a historical romance writer. I'd only been writing two years when I was offered my first contract, so I thought everything was buzzing along swimmingly. But then, my editor quit. She was the only romance editor in this multi-genre publishing house, and I was the only historical romance author. With my editor gone, none of the other editors (all guys) wanted to touch a manuscript titled Insatiable and Saucy. They didn't want any more books from me. My agent broke off with me. After two years, the contracted book limped into bookstores with a new title For Love or Country. A bittersweet debut, for I was thrilled to see my book on the shelves, but devastated that my career was already over.

For two more years, I tried to acquire a new agent and sell another historical romance. I racked up more rejections as a published author than I had as an unpublished one. I found a wonderful agent who really believes in me, but even she couldn't sell an American-set historical when the publishers want them set in the British Isles. And that is when I realized I had to reinvent myself. A new beginning. A new subgenre. I wrote the first three chapters of How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire, sent it to my agent, and within a week, we had three offers.

Why am I telling you this? Because we all have periods in our life where we're wandering through the desert, and the land of milk and honey doesn't seem possible. I know it's hard. But I also learned the hard way that you have to believe in yourself! If you find your dream isn't totally realistic, you can modify it. I did, and I'm having a great time now as a paranormal romance writer. In fact, I now feel that I'm doing exactly what I was meant to do. To celebrate new beginnings, I'm giving away a signed copy of How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire, the book that began my second writing career. Just leave a comment. Tell me what you hope to accomplish this year. Here's to second chances! Or third or fourth.... because you're worth it!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


How many people get to lie for a living? Criminals, probably. Writers, most definitely. (I love that about my job!) But what you may not know is that there are little bits of truth sprinkled throughout the pages of THE BODY FINDER and DESIRES OF THE DEAD.

No, that does not mean I can find dead bodies. And as far as I know Jay Heaton is a fictional character (sorry, ladies!).

But what I didn't make up are some of the places Violet and Jay visit, so I thought I would give you a tour of the REAL PLACES OF THE BODY FINDER


White River High School:

This all-too-real high school in Buckley, Washington is renowned for its award-winning architecture and is set against a lush wooded backdrop (the perfect place for creepy, serial killer types to watch from the woods).

The part I made up: The real White River High School doesn’t have lockers. I know, right? That award-winning design I mentioned…no lockers! But I really wanted Violet’s school to have them, so when I asked my editor if I could “make them up” she answered: “It’s fiction, you can do whatever you want.”

So, my White River totally has lockers!

Mount Rainier:

This gorgeous, dormant volcano is the highest point in Washington State.

Fun Fact: This mountain isn’t always “out”.

In the Northwest, we use the phrase: “the mountain is out” when clouds aren’t obscuring it from view. But when I used that phrase in the manuscript for THE BODY FINDER, my editor (who lives in New York City) had no idea what I was talking about. I was asked to “clarify.”

Lake Tapps:

There’s no better place to be on a lazy summer day…

And no, the lake is not, in fact, a dumping site for serial killers. (At least to the best of my knowledge.)

What are some of your favorite fiction destinations???

Friday, January 21, 2011

My writing retreat

I’ve just returned from two weeks at a writing retreat and all is right with the world J

Well, maybe that’s taking things a bit too far but I’m coming to the conclusion that there’s few better ways to start a year than taking a couple of weeks to focus on the word, to the exclusion of everything else.

I’m a member of a group called FWOR (Fantasy Writers on Retreat, pronounced PHWOAR!) which has been going for four years now. I missed the first retreat but I’ve been the past three years. These people have often been my life-line, my connection to sanity – particularly during the hectic days when I sold the trilogy to HarperCollins. It was great to know some professional writers well enough that I could scream and rant and jump up and down and they’d just look at me and say sagely – “Get used to it, Nicole.”

There are several things I love about my two weeks with FWOR each January.

  • Talking writing. I know for most folks, the idea of going away somewhere and then talking shop for two weeks sounds like hell, but for us writers it’s heaven. We’re so often at our computers, all alone, wrestling with problems with no help but the occasional plaintive appeal to Twitter (and thank goodness for Twitter, I say!). But at the retreat, you can sit down at lunch, or dinner, and say ‘having issues working out how to get character a to place z’ or ‘not sure my structure is working’ and you’ve got folks to talk it out with. Bliss.
  • Sharing war stories. When you get a rejection, there’s nothing like being able to swear and curse and rant and have people nod and tell you that you’re a genius and the editor wouldn’t know a good story if it up and bit them on the bum. Well, actually, we don’t say that – but you get sympathy and advice and that’s almost as good.
  • Freedom of expectations. When you’re surrounded by people as obsessed as you are, no one turns a hair if you suddenly up from the table and go for a walk, or have to take a nap and let the mind wander. Whereas if you’re at home, the moment you leave the computer there’s a little voice at the back of your mind going “Now would be the perfect time to put that load of washing on” or “Don’t you think you should at least say hello to your family this week?” It’s nice to not have responsibilities for a while and imagine life when you’re as rich as Stephanie Meyer and can afford people to do everything for you (except spend time with your family – that tends to be one of those you can only do it yourself things).
  • Productivity. Mine isn’t too bad – I’m averaging 15,000 words a week, which gives me a completed novel draft in seven weeks – pretty good. Except on the latest retreat, I averaged 32,000 words a week. Interestingly, I’ve not written a single word in the three days since I got back …

I’m going to leave you with some pics of some of the things we saw and did on the retreat. One of the writers, Russell Kirkpatrick, is a geographer by training and he takes us on these fabulous trips of the countryside. Every writer should have their own personal geographer J

The ugly big trout at the town near where we stayed - oh, admit it you'd grab a photo too :)

Kalaga Falls - I've never been this close to a waterfall before and it was a wonderful experience.

Kanangra Walls - typical scenery around the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. My country.

We had deer on the property - got to feed them every morning. A couple were pregnant and we hoped for babies while there but unfortunately no

Jenolan Caves - considered the oldest in the world and among the most beautiful. We in Australia give good cave.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Friends with scissors

Revision is my friend.

I know this. In an intellectual sense, I am well aware that my style of writing is suited to multiple revisions, and I'm certainly much more happy with a well-edited, heavily revised story than I am with the floundering first draft. I even enjoy some parts of it -- finding the plot holes that need to be fixed, the sudden realization that of course this character would do this instead of that, and all I need to do to show it is cut this section here.

But revision's not a comfortable kind of friend. If the first rush of composing a new story is like the glamourous, bubbly friend who shows up with tickets to That Thing You Love and buys you tea and little chocolate pastries and gives you sparkling advice about your relationship problems, then revision is the kind of friend who will help you move, but will at the same time point out that maybe the last few life choices you've made have not been very good ones. Revision will tell you that no, the bandage dress doesn't work on you, then remind you to file your taxes.

Revision's also the kind of friend who'd tell me that my metaphor has gotten horribly tangled and shouldn't I do something about that?

This is all at the top of my mind right now because I'm trying to wrangle several chapters in line, and it's been difficult. First I wrote three long overblown introductory chapters with action, derring-do, and very little connection to the plot. Then I swapped them for a great little independent story that was set far too early to be any good as a first chapter. Then I put the first three chapters back, only chopped down to size . . . and none of it was working.

At about this point in a draft, I usually go nuts. New projects start popping up, short story ideas clamor to be written, the internet becomes even more shiny, and it'd be so easy to just set this all aside for a little while . . . except I know if I do that, it'll be ten times harder to start again. (Totally not speaking from experience here. Uh-uh. No way.)

But the thing about revision -- and about the imaginary friends that I've conjured up to anthropomorphize it -- is that it has the same goal I do, at heart: to make this story the best it can possibly be. The friend who tells you the bandage dress doesn't work will, ideally, point out the other ways you can play to your strengths. The chapters that looked so pretty first time through aren't helping you tell the story. So after a week of fruitless cutting, rewriting, re-cutting, and so on, I finally sat back and said okay, this isn't working. What do I want to do with these chapters?

The answer was easy: introduce the characters, introduce the world, begin the conflict. And my inner editor or revision fairy or however you want to look at it said you have two chapters that do just that already. Start with those, and don't worry about the rest.

It's a little annoying to know that those lovely overwrought chapters have been chopped off and left to wither in the sun. But knowing that I have the beginning makes up for a lot, and more than that, the story's strength now comes through.

I think part of being a writer (warning: gross generalization ahead) is learning this balance, taking what inspiration gives you and what revision tells you won't work and learning to weave the two together. We're the weaver in the middle, between the spinner of stories on one shoulder and the wielder of the scissors on the other. (And now I've got the image of shoulder-angel Fates in my head. That's not going away any time soon.)

So I've got some work to do on that front. But revision is my friend, we've got the same goal, and I've already written enough to keep me going. Onward!

...and yes, metaphors like the ones above will be the first things to get cut in the next draft.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Great Unveiling

First, thank you all for participating in this giveway! The winner is (drum roll please...) Katrina W., who posted on January 22. I will be contacting Katrina by e-mail. And just a reminder, the book will not be available until the end of the June. As soon as I get my copies, I will mail one out to the winner. Thanks again to all of you!

One of the absolute best things about being a writer—well, besides actually getting to write, which is way fun—is when we finally get to tell people about our new projects. See, we work in secret for so long, huddled in front of computer screens, crouched over laptops and pads of paper, that we actually start to live and breathe in our imaginary worlds. Our characters no longer feel made up. They’re real. And, along the way, some of them become our best friends.

But nobody else knows them. Just us. Even though these characters are wonderfully exciting and dangerous and heroic.

And then the day finally comes when we can talk about our next book. For me, today is that day. And I’m dancing-in-the-streets happy that I finally talk about FEAST: HARVEST OF DREAMS, my next urban fantasy novel which comes out on June 28, 2011.

This next book is a stand-alone and, from my perspective, it’s got everything. Romance. Mystery. Fantasy. It’s even got a new monster, one that I think readers are going to fall in love with. On top of that, I think this book will appeal to readers of adult fantasy and readers of YA fantasy, because the book has two plotlines. One deals with the main character, Maddie MacFadden, and the other deals with a 16-year-old girl named Elspeth. And it’s set in the mountains during Halloween and it’s full of scary twists and turns.

So, below is the awesome cover that the folks over at HarperCollins created for this book:

And here’s the back cover copy:

Halloween is a bad time to return to the woods…

Madeline MacFadden (“Mad Mac” to fans of her bestselling magical stories) spent blissful childhood summers in Ticonderoga Falls. And this is where she wants to be now that her adult life is falling apart. The dense surrounding forest holds many memories, some joyous, some tantalizingly only half-remembered. And she’s always believed there was something living in these wooded hills.

But Maddie doesn’t remember the dark parts—and knows nothing of the mountain legend that holds the area’s terrified residents captive. She has no recollection of Ash, the strange and magnificent creature who once saved her life as a child, even though it is the destiny of his kind to prey upon humanity. And soon it will be the Harvest…the time to feast.

Once again Maddie’s dreams—and her soul—are in grave danger. But magic runs deep during Harvest. Even a spinner of enchanted tales has wondrous powers of her own…


Hopefully that’s just enough to make you want more. (I know, I’m being a tease today!)

Anyway, I’m going to be giving away a signed of this book to one of the folks who posts a comment below. Please realize that I may not get my copies until May or June, but the winner will be at the TOP of my list when my books come in.

So here’s my question for you:
What’s the scariest, funniest or best thing that ever happened to you on Halloween? It can be an event or a party you attended, it can be your favorite costume or your favorite Halloween movie. It can even be your favorite Halloween candy. Just post that in your comments.

And remember that I’ll be giving away a signed copy to one of the people who makes a comment. To enter to win, please post a comment below.

Here are some of the ways that you can earn points:

1 point for commenting
5 points for commenting about this giveaway on Twitter
5 points for commenting about this giveaway on Facebook
20 points for posting the FEAST book cover and back cover copy on your blog, and linking to my website.
30 additional points for posting the FEAST book cover in your blog sidebar and linking to Amazon, where you can Pre-Order the book

Also, be sure to count up your points for me and to include them in your comments. And please include your e-mail address in your comment as well, so I know how to contact the winner.

This contest ends Friday, February 11, at midnight. The winner will be announced on Saturday, February 12.

Let the contest begin!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sexy Tuesday!

Happy Tuesday everyone!

I'm so excited that, a week from today, the fourth book in my Walking Dead-ish paranormal romance series, The Envy Chronicles, will be released.

If you haven't read the Envy Chronicles, this fourth book, Night Betrayed, is a good one to start with because it takes place "away" from the first three books and isn't quite as tightly intertwined as the initial trio.

Just to whet your appetite, I thought I'd share a little sneak peek on this dreary (at least, here it's dreary) Tuesday morning...after the hotness of the Golden Globes (Robert Downey, Jr, anyone??? *swoon*), we could probably all use a little perk up, right?

And I'll be giving away a copy of one of the first three books to a commenter (winner's choice between the three) who makes a relevant comment or asks a question.

So....enjoy. ;-)


Then all at once, Selena realized the significance of what she’d somehow ignored, and her brain refocused. “You really know how to work these?” She waved her hand to encompass the old machines called computers.

“Yes.” Theo looked sidewise at her.

“How?” she asked, mystified.

“I’ve been working on them for longer than you can imagine. I’m kind of a genius with computers and electronics.” The flicker of a smile returned to his lips and eyes. “My twin brother and I both are.”

“There are two of you?” The horrified words slipped out before she realized it. Then she laughed a little at the delighted expression on his face. “You must have turned your mother’s hair white by the time you were ten.”

“Somehow Lou doesn’t come across as reckless as people seem to think I am.”

“You don’t think you’re reckless?” she asked incredulously.

“I’m still alive aren’t I?” he replied. Then he raised his gaze and their eyes locked. “Thanks to you,” he added, his voice pitching lower.

Her throat dried and all she could remember was being pulled up against his solid body last night. She was suddenly very aware of the fact that they were alone. Again. And he was looking at her in a certain way.

No more pity-kisses.

“Last night was definitely not a pity-kiss,” he said. “Selena.”

“Did I say that out loud?” she said, then clamped her mouth closed.

“Yes,” Theo replied, that smile playing about his lips. He stood now, shoving the wheeled chair away behind him. He seemed taller than she remembered. And broader. And whatever annoyance he might have had about her disappearing last night seemed also to have evaporated. “I can’t stop thinking about you.”

He shook his head, folding his arms over his torso, continuing conversationally—as if they were talking about the weather and he didn’t quite understand why it was raining when the sun had been shining all day. “I find I’m fascinated by you, about what you’re sneaking out for at night, what you’re wearing around your neck that you don’t want anyone to see...what it’s like being the Death Lady and holding the hands of people dying, and how you do it every day without fail.” He nodded, his eyes holding hers. “How you got to be so strong, and why you do what you do. And other things, like the fact that you don’t eat very much and that you like to run in the morning. And where in the hell you got red toenail polish.”

“Um,” Selena said, trying to tamp down the warmth that was flushing through her. She was trembly all of a sudden and her stomach was all aflutter. Good grief.

And then...He’s fricking serious. He really wants to know about me. Both delight and terror rushed through her.

“And,” he stepped closer to her, “how I’m going to make it clear to you that I don’t give pity kisses. Not even for women who bring me back to life.” His hands landed gently on her shoulders and she felt his shoe bump against her bare toes.

“How many of them do you have?” she managed to say, realizing belatedly that her hands had risen and settled flat onto his broad, warm chest. Wow. Solid as a brick wall.

“How many of what?”

“Women who bring you back to life.”

“Only one.” He started to lean in, then stopped and pulled back. Selena released the breath she’d been holding, startled out of the warmth he’d lulled her into. “Make that two.”

“What?” she asked, her voice rising—partly in surprise and partly to hide her disappointment. “You’ve been brought back to life before?”

His lips curved and one of his hands shifted to flick a heavy lock of hair off her shoulder, then slide along its length. “Well, technically, yes. When I was a baby, the umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck and I came out blue everywhere, limp as a wet noodle. Heart stopped and everything. There was a nurse who did CPR—she breathed inside my mouth—and brought me back to life.”

“A nurse?

“But don’t worry,” he added quickly. “I don’t remember the incident at for all intents and purposes,” he said, slipping his hand around the back of her neck, lifting her hair, cupping her skull, “you’re the only woman who brought me back to life. And this is most definitely not a pity kiss.”

She met him halfway as his lips moved to add, “ least on my end.”

Selena’s laugh was smothered by his mouth. She closed her eyes as their lips met, softly at first and then hungrily. He held her head with strong fingers as the kiss turned deep and sleek. Beneath her own palms, the planes of his chest shifted and his heart bumped fiercely.

He didn’t feel too young to her, not now, not with this demand and confidence, not with the solid muscle and strength against her. Her body had turned warm and liquid, awakening from a dormancy due to neglect. Selena stopped questioning, stopped resisting, and when his hands moved down along her back, following the line of her torso, she eased into him, molding her body into his.

Theo gave a soft little groan and shifted, pushing her back against something solid, holding her there so their bodies lined up, imprinting every curve and every rise into the other. If she had any lingering doubt about pity kisses, it was effectively erased at that point. His desire was blatant, and the gentle, insistent pressure as their hips ground together had her pressing just as hard back into him.

“Jeeezz...uzz,” he muttered, disentangling their mouths and burying his face into the hair by her ear. “Selena....” He breathed roughly, nipping and sucking along the line of her neck so that she twitched and shuddered against him.

She murmured her pleasure, sliding her hands under his shirt, feeling the flat slabs of his pecs and skimming over the tight nipples, aware of the faint trembling beneath her fingers, deep in his muscles. He was warm and sleek and her world had turned hot and much that she hardly realized it when he pulled back, tugging her with him.

The next thing she knew, he pulled her onto his lap, her toes bumping the base of the chair as she straddled him. Theo grinned briefly up at her, but his mouth was tight and his eyes hot as he slipped his hands beneath her loose shirt. She resisted instinctively when he tried to lift it—no, no, not in the light!—and he seemed to get the message, instead moving to her spine.

As her bra loosened and sagged, Selena arched toward him, half aware of the hot sun streaming through the window on behind her and the way his hands moved around to cover her breasts. Ahhh. His thumbs were firm and his palms warm as he lifted, pressed, stroked.

Now she had her hands on his shoulders for stability, her eyes closed, allowing the pleasure to grow and roll, unfurling from belly to chest to between her legs, where she pressed against him. His hair was warm and soft, thick beneath her fingers...his shoulders wide and square.

Theo moved beneath her as he bent and pulled the vee of her tunic to the side, finding one of her nipples and covering it with his warm, sleek mouth.

Selena jolted at the spike of sensation, then gasped as it didn’t stop, didn’t relent...but became a long, slick tug, a sensual dance of tongue and lips sucking, swirling, stroking. The hot shaft of pleasure arced through her, from her belly down south. She shifted on his lap, her fingers digging into his shoulders, heat and pressure building and throbbing between them.

Suddenly, he released her with a soft groan, leaving her nipple wet and throbbing, chafing back beneath her tunic. Pulling her up against him, his arms bundling her close, he slammed his mouth over hers once more. The kiss burned, deep and fierce, as his hands shifted down to her hips and jerked her close, into him, settling her legs wide against him. She felt the throbbing settle between them, him hard and waiting, she herself full and wet, the seams of their jeans meeting and intensifying the sensation.

And then, once again, he was shifting her, and once again, she moved at his direction—hazy, full, aroused—her legs coming together, sliding to one side of him. Before she knew it, he’d jammed his fingers down beneath the loosened fly of her jeans, down beneath the hot cotton of her panties, and into the sleek warmth that pulsed there.

They both groaned and sighed at the same time, and Selena’s eyes flew open when he first touched her. She nearly jolted off his lap, but he held her steady, safely, his fingers so long and easy, sliding and stroking where she was full and ready.

Oh God... She held on to him, lifted her hips as her jeans opened wider, feeling the stream of hot sun blasting through the window over her head and shoulders. His fingers...a wide, determined plane, curling and and slipping, coaxing smoothly and evenly, as his own breath hitched and roughened against her ear.

“Yes,” he whispered into her skin. “That’”

As she released herself, sliding wholly, into the pleasure, it took a moment before the sound registered in the depths of her lust-fogged mind. But then, all of a sudden, she heard it.



Ohhhh....snap! Bummer for Theo and Selena, huh?

You can find out more about the series on my website, or make a comment/question below!
Thanks for hanging at Supernatural Underground!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

And Baby Makes . . . .

For a very short blog post today.

Laura here, and I want to apologize for the short post on why there's not a writing post from Sable Grace on the blog today. Seems my middle daughter has decided that the 'baby watch' that we've been on for the last five days is almost over. Her water broke this morning and we're on the way to the hospital. Hopefully, after making us wait an extra week, this will be a short and sweet process.

And I promise, my next post will have something to do with writing. Most likely how the best plans always get sidetracked by real life :)


Sable Grace

Friday, January 14, 2011

Devil Without a Cause - the Cover, and an Excerpt!

CONGRATULATIONS to robsad79, lynnrush, CLMcCune, Chris J., and Danielle Gorman, who've won an assortment of awesome bookmarks from some of the authors here in the Underground! You guys please email your addresses to so we can get them in the mail to you!

Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop…

Temptation and seduction are the tricks of the Devil’s trade, and when offered the chance to regain his wings by playing guardian angel, Sammy Divine is hell-bent on doing things his way…

Faith McFarland is in need of a miracle. So desperate to save her sick child, she’s willing to make a deal with the Devil: steal a ring worn by Finn Payne, the bad boy rock star who long ago sold his soul for rock n’ roll. Temptation and seduction become necessary evils, yet Faith’s salvation means Finn’s damnation… because the ring is all that stands between him and Hell. Falling in love was never part of the bargain, but now that they’ve tasted heaven in each others’ arms, can they convince the Devil to give up his due?

Ok, I fully admit that I absolutely LOVE this cover!  Waiting for cover art is absolutely one of the most stressful parts of being a writer: Will the art department "get" your vision? Will the characters look anything like what they're supposed to?  Will there be a third hand in the wrong place (don't laugh... I know authors this has happened to), or an ugly font for the title, or will the overall look just make you go "ugh."?

I'm happy to say this cover makes me go "Mmmm...", not "ugh".  :)  What about you?  Do you like books with man candy on the cover?  Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed cover flat of DEVIL WITHOUT A CAUSE, and bookmarks from me, and fellow Supernatural Underground authors Kerrelyn Sparks, Pamela Palmer, Helen Lowe, Jaime Rush, Sophie Jordan, and Leah Cypess! (Five winners will be chosen.)

Want to read an excerpt from Devil Without a Cause?  Go here.

(In stores and e-book form on May 31, 2011.)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Harry Potter World! (Or What I Did on My Winter Vacation)

by Pamela Palmer

Yep, we did it. We took the family to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando over the winter holidays. December 21st, to be exact. A sunny, chilly Forida day that started out in the upper 30's and never reached beyond the low 50's. Standing in Hogsmeade Village, bundled in my fleece jacket, my hands thrust deep in warm pockets, I could almost believe the thick drifts of snow on the roofs were real. That first sight of Hogwarts in the early morning winter sunshine gave me chills. The turrets upon turrets upon turrets hanging from the roof at odd angles, the park employees in their wizarding robes, even the crow on the roof made it feel like we were stepping into that magical world. We were there!

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Being the worst-case scenario thinker that I am, I assumed the park would be crazy-crowded and wanted to get there before it opened to beat the worst of the crowds. My DH, being the family optimist, thought I was being overly worried, but he went along with me any way. I was beginning to think he was right when we drove into the Universal Studios parking garage at 7:15 a.m. (forty-five minutes before the park opened) and were the ninth car there. The ninth. But as we reached the gates twenty minutes after we parked (long walk), we realized the hotel guests had been let in an hour early. The park wasn't crowded yet, but there were plenty of people there. And when they opened the gates fifteen minutes early, at 7:45, and we raced for Hogwarts Castle and the Forbidden Journey ride, we wound up in a long, winding hour-long line. As it turned out, an hour wait for that ride was nothing. By the time we left the park, early afternoon, the estimated wait time was four hours. My concern turned out to be fully justified. Those first few hours in the park were sheer joy. The last couple were pressing crowds and chaos.

We quickly learned that the key to riding the rides in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is to bring nothing that doesn't fit into your pockets, if you can manage it. Unfortunately, we didn't know this and probably couldn't have managed it anyway. Purses, bags, etc. have to be stored in lockers before you can ride either the Forbidden Journey or the Dragon Challenge roller coasters. Though it sounds fine in theory, it turns into a bit of a nightmare when you're trying to fight your way through throngs of people, trying to figure out how to open the lockers (find an open terminal to enter your thumb print into), find the locker you've been assigned, then find your party again (since there's no room for all of you in there together). A warning about the lockers. If you leave your things in there too long (as you can if the wait is horrendous or if, as we did later, you ride the same ride several times before returning), you'll owe money in order to open the locker. That can present a bit of a problem if your purse...and money...are in the locker. Oops. Did it. Fortunately, I wasn't alone and my DH handed me a credit card with which to free my purse.

That first ride, the Forbidden Journey, is fabulous. On a 'flying bench', you join Harry, Ron, and Hermoine on an adventure that takes you from a Quidditch match deep into the dark and haunted bowels of Hogwarts. It's an indoor ride, not a roller coaster, but the flying benches twist and turn at steep enough angles to require the same kinds of shoulder harnesses you wear on the best roller coasters. As much as I enjoyed the ride, my favorite part was the walk through Hogwarts Castle to get there--seeing Dumbledore's office, listening to the paintings talk and argue, seeing Harry, Rom, and Hermoine (life-size projections that were easy to imagine were real).

After Hogwarts, we stood in line for an hour to get into Olivander's Wand Shop. Yes, it's a shop, with thousands of wands, but it's also an attraction as the shop keeper chooses one young witch or wizard from the group (they let you in in groups of thirty or so) and helps them find their wand (as boxes rattle, lights flash, etc.).

Having arrived at the park so early, we were ready for lunch by 10:15. The Three Broomsticks Restaurant was full, but not crowded. We were first in line to order our food and an employee found us a table once we'd picked it up. I was on a hunt for caffeine and ordered iced tea, but the woman who rang up our lunch order told me to be sure to try the pear cider next time. All the employees love it. (I'm not sure if it's available at Three Broomsticks. I did see it offered in the street vendor carts outside.) I never got a chance to try it, but it's on my list for the next trip.

After lunch, we rode the Flight of the Hippogriffs (a mild roller coaster), then graduated to the Dragon Challenge coasters (true thrill rides) where we found no lines at all. I asked one of the robed employees if the lack of lines was unusual and he said no. The families visiting Harry Potter world, by and large, were looking for something a little more tame. That wasn't us! We rode the Dragon Challenge roller coasters (there are two different ones) a total of three times in a row with only one fifteen minute wait in the front row line.

By the time we left the park at about 2:00 p.m., the crowd was so thick we actually got caught in a complete and total logjam where there were so many people trying to go each direction that no one could get through. No one. And this was on the main street! For five to ten minutes we were pressed together like sardines with no one moving either direction. Finally someone shoved her way through the opposing crowd, creating a trickle that ultimately broke the jam.

Will we go back? Absolutely! Especially if they expand the park as rumor has it. And we'll get there a full hour before the park opens with nothing that doesn't fit in our pockets. But we'll definitely go back to live every Harry Potter fan's dream one more time--a thrilling day in that magical, wizarding world.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Stealing From the Ancients: Weaving Mythology into Your Fiction

I was at a loss for what to write about today, so I put out a call on Facebook for what people wanted to know more about. Heather Long responded with the fabulous topic of how to weave mythology into fiction. And since I have done this very thing in all five of my completed, accepted, and published/about-to-be-published books, then I feel like I can speak about this with some authority. At least in the method I use to weave myth into my books.

Of course mine aren't the only books out there dealing with mythology, and there are at least three different ways to approach it.

  • use actual, literal gods, goddesses, and other bits of myth in your story (ex/ Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan)
  • write a historical novel from the point of view of a mythological character (ex/ Nobody's Princess and Nobody's Prize by Esther Friesner)
  • create a contemporary fantasy world in which characters are related to/descended from mythological characters (ex/ my books)
Though there are advantages and disadvantages to each, I think the reason I prefer the third method is that it gives me the most creative freedom. The closer you are to the actual myth, the more you have to stay true to it. In my worlds, the myths of ancient Greece date back more than two thousand years. The written myths end... but the mythological word continues. Between then and now I can create whatever history I want.

In the Oh. My. Gods. books, I didn't stray too far. I gave descendants to the virgin goddesses, gave illegitimate children to the goddess of marriage, and made Plato's real life Academy a school for descendants of the gods. The mermaids in the Forgive My Fins books are descended from an ancient ancestor who was granted mer powers by Capheira, one of Poseidon's sea nymphs. But in Medusa girls trilogy, I take my mythology tweaking to the next level. I basically rewrote the truth about Medusa.

The trick to playing around with mythology, with the canon of myths that we as a culture have known and learned for millennia, is to go one step beyond, to blur the line between what was written and what wasn't. I can't say that Hera had half-human children in ancient times, but who knows what's happened in the centuries since then? There is no mythological proof that mermaids owe their powers to Capheira, but there is no proof that they don't either. And with Medusa, while I couldn't just erase her legacy as a hideous, murderous monster, I could create a believable backstory that explains why we only think that is true.

That's the wonderful thing about mythology: it never tells the complete story. We get pieces of each myth, sometimes even contradicting versions of the same story. Go to Theoi Greek Mythology (my favorite reference) and look up a few characters in the glossary. Chances are there are at least two or three or even half a dozen different parents listed for them. Many have short, open-to-interpretation biographies while others have vast, opposing ones. In some myths Medusa was always a hideous monster, in others she was a beautiful maiden turned monster. Pick and choose the pieces you want to use and create the story to fill in the blanks.

At least that's how I weave mythology into my fiction. I'm always open to suggestions.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

in which i confess...

to being a complete chicken when it comes to
my film watching. i am very particular about what types
of movies i watch. i like indie and foreign. i'll watch
spy stuff like mission impossible and bourne identity.
and of course, the craig, i mean, bond franchise. but
i never liked visual violence and horror, and after
i had my bubs, i was rendered even more of a lump
of quivering tofu. it's sad.

i have one tragic tale in which i chose to watch
The Orphanage, drawn by the fact that it was
a foreign film. if any of you know the premise...
oh, what a mistake that was.

i had the "pleasure" of watching Black Swan
recently. i went in knowing it'd be a psychological
thriller--but i still had to cover my eyes at some
of the more gruesome moments. (yes, i am an
Eye Coverer! don't judge!!) and in the end, i
can't say quite honestly, if i enjoyed the film.
tho i did feel that the acting was superb.

this brings me to reading, and violence and
horror in books. for some reason, i can tolerate
reading the gruesome much more than the
visual onslaught of it. perhaps because i feel
i have more control over the imagery in my head?
or that i can simply close the book and read at my
own chosen pace instead of being subjected to it
during a movie watching experience?

as a writer, i had no issue with describing
a decapitation and other gruesome things. but
that's me as an author, and the horror and imagery
is coming from me, not played at me.

so what about you, undies? i'm sure many of you
are fans of the gruesome and horrific in your reading.
are you equally enamored of the same genres in
film watching? is there anyone who can be my
scaredy cat buddy? =)

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Year Resolutions

It’s been a quiet start to 2011 and I have to admit that I’m enjoying it. The final book to the Dark Days Series (Burn the Night) has been copyedited and now I am just waiting for a final edit. I’ve got some books on proposal with my editor at the moment and I’m waiting to receive a book to blurb. All in all, I’m playing the waiting game, which I’ve come to understand is a big part of the publishing world. In the meantime, I’m working on a new book at my own pace with no deadlines looming over my head, which brings back feelings of the old days when I wasn’t published and I was just writing for the sake of writing with no expectations.

But as the new year starts, I feel that I should put down a few resolutions that I should work toward to make myself a better person and a better writer.

1. Write 2.5 books this year. My goal is to complete at least two and a half books in 2011. I’ve done something similar in the past, but it was something of a rushed mess. This time, I plan to organize my time accordingly so that I not only accomplish my goal, but also write superior books.

2. Kick the caffeine habit. Caffeine, no matter how wonderful, is bad for your heart. Considering that my family has a long history of heart problems, I’ve decided that for my health, I am going to avoid all forms of caffeine as much as humanly possibly. Yes, that means giving up wonderfully warm cups of coffee with the caffeine jolt and delicious chocolate.

3. Lose weight. Doesn’t everyone put this on their list on occasion. Well, too many hours of sitting behind the computer has not made me a very healthy person. It’s time to spend a little more at the gym and a little less time eating this quick-and-easy junk food snacks.

I’m sure I’ll think of other goals for the year, but these are the top three for me. What goals or resolutions do you have for the year?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Which 5 fictional characters would you like to have to lunch

**** Winner Announced****

Thanks to a winner has been chosen - it is 

Stacy (Urban Fantasy Investigations) 

contact me on contact @ traceyohara dot com and you can choose copy of either Dark Brethren book.

**** Winner Announced **** 

I did a blog post a little while ago for Murder by the Book which had a really great question.

If you could choose 5 fictional characters from books to eat lunch with, who would they be, and why?

It took me a time to come up with this list. There were so many characters to choose from. The first however was easy the other's not so much. There were a few who got close - but one that missed out was Scarlet O'Hara from Gone with the Wind - that woman annoyed me and I just wanted to slap her - both inthe movie and the book. Anyway - here my final list.

Atticus Finch - Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird - he was a level headed, fair minded man ahead of his time and I liked the way he looked at the world.

Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional detective - he seems like such an interesting character with an amazing deductive mind. Would be interesting watching him interact with the other guests.

Elisabeth Bennett - Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice - she was a smart woman in the time when smart women weren’t fashionable.

Eric Northman - Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire Series - I love a vampire who embraces his nature.

Dexter - Jeff Lindsay’s Serial Killer "hero" - on the surface he is a nice guy but with the heart and mind of a cold blooded killer. And it would be interesting to watch him and Sherlock Holmes at the same table, and very interesting to see what Mr. Holmes would make of Dexter. Would the famous detective pick up Dexter’s homicidal tendencies? Or is Dexter so in tune with what the world expects to see that he could even fool the great Sherlock Holmes.

So if you could invite 5 fictional characters to lunch - who would you have and why?

One random commentor that lists their 5 fictional lunch guests, and reasons why, will win an unsigned copy of the January 25 release on my 2nd Dark Brethren novel DEATH'S SWEET EMBRACE via the Book Depository.

*** Sorry bit of shameless promo here for my next post in Februray 5th. ***

Come back for my February 5th post for a chance at some signed copies. I am going to be doing something a little different to celebrate my blog tour and my release. You can double your chances to win by-
  1. Visit any one of my stops (which you can find copied below or on my website and post a comment 
  2. On my Feb 5 supernatural post, tell me where you posted your comment
  3. The more tour blog stops you comment on, the more chances you have here too - i.e. post a comment on 5 of the blog tour spots - and you post every stop on the Feb 5 post - you then have 10 chances to win a signed book.

The tour runs from January 25 until February 14, Valentine's day. 

Jan 25         Bitten by Books
Jan 26         Sidhe Vicious 
Jan 27         Nocturne Reads
Jan 28         Book Lovers, Inc.
Jan 29         A Great Book is
Jan 30         A Great Read
Jan 31         Tynga's Reviews
Feb 1          Dark Faerie Tales
Feb 2          Wicked Little Pixie
Feb 2          Paperback Dolls
Feb 3          Literary Escapism
Feb 4          FICTIONALL
Feb 5          Tori the book faery
Feb 6          Amberkatze's Book Blog
Feb 7          Dear Author
Feb 7          All Things Urban Fantasy
Feb 8          Larissa's Bookish Life
Feb 8          Book Chick City
Feb 9          Fiction Vixen
Feb 10        Magical Musings
Feb 11        Paper Cut Reviews
Feb 12        Urban Fantasy Investigations
Feb 13        Merrie Destefano
Feb 14        SciFiGuy

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Movies, Marathons, and Must-See TV

This is a few days belated, but Happy New Year, everyone! I rang in 2011 while hunched over my keyboard finishing my sixth Night Huntress novel with Cat and Bones. Not the most party animal way to celebrate, but oh, was I glad an hour later when the book was done. For me, writing a book is like participating in a literary marathon. There are times when you hit your stride and everything clicks, times when you get a cramp (or look at your computer with the ominous thought of “NOW what?”), and times when you may even feel like you’re not going to make it. So when that finish line comes into sight, even though you might be exhausted and sore, a burst of adrenaline makes you sprint those last few legs (or chapters) of the journey. Then you get to throw your hands in the air and yell, “I did it!” (or type my two favorite words in the world, The End).

And then, of course, you usually fall down. Passing out is optional :).

Now that I’m past the unconscious stage of finishing a book, heh, I’m looking forward to recharging my batteries. Next week I’ll start writing the story for an upcoming holiday anthology - bringing me to the two words in the world that scare me the most: Chapter One – but this week, I’m on my couch reading and watching TV. The series “V” starts back up tonight and I’m looking forward to that. "The Cape" looks intriguing so I'll probably check that out, too. “Season on the Witch” comes out in theaters on Friday and I haven’t been to a movie in ages, so hubby and I are going to see it. For books, I’ve had Karen Essex’s DRACULA IN LOVE on the top of my To Be Read pile for a while, and after that I’ll be cracking open THE LOST CITY OF Z by David Grann.

What about you? What books/movies/TV shows are you looking forward to this month? And who else, like me, stepped on a scale Sunday morning, screamed out loud, and immediately started their diet again? *wink*

-Jeaniene Frost

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy, Happy New Year: The Wall of Night Book Two—Finished!

Giveaway Result!

Jeanine's post is up
so all the giveaways on this post are now closed off--and the winners of the books are:

Onge: for the latest Sookie Stackhouse novel, Dead in the Family,
ThatOneGirlYouKnew: for Kirsten Cashore's Fire.

Congratulations to you both!

And I'll be getting the postcards away today to everyone who has left their postal address on my webmail. :)

Thank you again to you all for participating--and don't forget that next month on 1 February I'll be chatting here on the Supernatural Underground with Beth-Anne Miller about her debut novel Into the Scottish Mist. I'm really looking forward to it!


I had all sorts of ideas for New Year posts, but today these were all superseded by the fantabulously wonderful fact that I have finished the manuscript for the second novel in The Wall of Night series—working title The Gathering of the Lost.

I know a few of my fellow Supe authors have also been going down to the wire with all sorts of deadlines over the holiday season, but mine has pretty much been that I want to finish the book No Matter What! And what an awesome feeling, reaching that final line and word—until, of course, Book Three (!) But for now I aim to kick back, put my feet up with a glass of something chilled (and probably with bubbles in it) and spend some quality time with both cat and man, both of whom have been just a little neglected of late!

For those of you who might not know, The Heir of Night, which came out in October, is epic or high fantasy, chock full of what Robin Hobb was kind enough to describe as “strange magic, dark treachery and conflicting loyalties.” The Gathering of the Lost carries on this grand tradition, but there is a shift in the action to encompass both more adventure—with knights in armor, quests, tournaments, flights and rescues—as well as romance. Our protagonists are older, you see, and find themselves in a country with a troubadorian tradition of “springtime love” …

Given both knightly adventure and romance, Gathering has been a lot of fun to write. And very interesting in terms of character development, because the central protagonists now have separate story threads to pursue rather than always being together. This does tend to make for more story goodness—and of course, being Fantasy, more world building fun and goodness as the characters encounter different countries and societies within their world.

It all begins, of course, with the blank page, which is both exciting—as I believe Beatrix Potter said, “You never know where it will take you” (or words to like effect)—and terrifying at the same time, and for exactly the same reason: Where will it take you? And once you have launched into the exciting and terrifying, exhilarating and exhausting process of writing a novel, there are not only all those “best words” to be crafted into the “right order” (Coleridge), but (as above) world building and character development, action and subtext, theme and structure—all to be considered and developed, worked and reworked again.

So getting to the end of the manuscript is always a red letter moment. You have such a feeling of achievement as you type in that final full stop. OK, maybe as a writer you never, ever quite stop, because there are always new ideas buzzing around, or spin-offs on the old ones. Finishing the book is more like ‘pressing Pause’: Time for reflection and to take stock, both of where you’ve got to and what you still need to do—as well as what you might like to do beyond this book, and what new projects could potentially lurk just around the corner.

Completing a manuscript on New Year’s Day is particularly significant in terms of that process of both reflection and looking forward. It’s what New Year is all about—and why I am doubly pleased to be posting today and able to share this moment with you. Not just to say “hey, I’ve finished!” which of course I’m over the moon to be doing, but to ask what achievements, big or small, you’re celebrating today, and what hopes and dreams, or concrete plans, you hope to realize in 2011?

I’m hoping to see The Gathering of the Lost in print this year, to finish The Wall of Night, Book Three (working title, The Riven Shield) and start Book Four. For hopes and dreams, I would love to visit the US and UK and get to Rome to see a friend there—a big dream, given the distance form NZ to just about anywhere, but I’m thinking of ways to make it happen and not short change the writing.

So how about you? What are you celebrating and planning, hoping for and dreaming of, this New Year’s Day 2011?

And a very Happy New Year to you all!



To help the discussion along and just to reiterate my “Happy New Year” to you all, I’ll send a personalized Book Cover’s Postcard (shown left) designed by the artist who did The Heir of Night map, to anyone who comments on this post before the next Supernatural Underground author posts AND emails me a postal address through my website: contact[at]

And because neither of last month’s giveaway books was claimed (!) I’m putting them up for giveaway again: the latest
Sookie Stackhouse novel, Dead in the Family, and Kirsten Cashore’s Fire. [Open to all Supe followers, US or international.]

To enter the draw (which will be via Random Number selection), just add a comment on this post; again the cutoff is
before the next Supernatural Underground author posts. As always, you can earn points (i.e. the number of times your name goes into the draw) by:

+1 Posting in the comments section

+1 Linking to this post on Twitter

+1 Linking to this post on Facebook

+1 Linking to the Supernatural Underground or my
Helen Lowe on Anything Really blog on your own blog/website.

Just post the total number of points that you’ve earned in your comment. And don’t forget to check back after the closing date to see if you’ve won, or leave an email address where I can get in contact with you.


Next Month: 1 February

On next month's post day, 1 February, I will be inviting my friend and fellow author, Beth-Anne Miller, to join me here on the Supernatural Underground. Beth-Anne has a brand-new Romance novel, Into the Scottish Mists, coming out from The Wild Rose Press on February 4. So Beth-Anne will be here to tell us all a bit about the book and her path to publication—and I know you’ll all show her your wonderful Supe support. :) Meanwhile, for a sneak preview, you can find Beth-Anne at