Thursday, June 28, 2012

Name a Character

$25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway! 
** The Gift Card winner was Barbara E. **
Thanks for entering, everyone.

Want to see yourself in a Mortal Path book? You can name a character in Mortal Path book 4, the next release.

For Deliverance: Mortal Path Book 3, I offered the opportunity to name a character. The winner was Jill Bakkum, who appears as a medical doctor in the book. Congratulations, "Dr." Jill!

Details are available on my blog. Entry has just started and will run through September 30th, 2012. Don't enter unless you're willing to die in the book!

I'm running behind on things due to preparing for a conference, ThrillerFest in New York, put on by International Thriller Writers. My husband is the conference registrar and I'm a former board member of ITW, so we have a lot to do!

To simplify things, I'm going for a straight $$ giveaway, a $25 Amazon gift card. Just leave a comment below: Would you like to name a character in a book? Leave your email in disguised fashion so I can contact you if you're the winner. Giveaway ends at midnight EST on Monday, July 2nd. Put a little extra sparkle in your July 4th celebration by winning an Amazon gift card!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Howard Barr Revealed!

Congratulations to Jessica from Tennessee!  She has won the two signed books. Thank you all for the comments! I'm so happy you love the cover! Please come back next month on the 25th for another contest!

Here it is!! The cover for Howard's book, Wild About You!  As you can see, our big hunky were-bear has found a woman. And what a handsome guy Howard is!  Thick brown hair, blazing blue eyes, lots of muscles, and...gray skin?  Is he part alien? No, he's just our sweet honey bear.  Whenever he shifts into a Kodiak bear, or back to human, he turns gray for a moment.

This is the stepback (or second cover) for Wild About You.  Howard looks yummier than a bear claw! Wild About You releases November 27th.  I know, it's a long wait.  Howard says the time will go faster if you enjoy a few donuts and bear claws. I think it will go faster if you get a chance to win a nifty prize.

So I'm offering two books this month-- Sexiest Vampire Alive, starring Gregori, and Born at Midnight, the first book in a fabulous YA series by C.C. Hunter. International entries are welcome. Just leave a comment for Howard to be entered. Good luck!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

On, then off, then on again...

First - are you interested in writing? Is your characterisation not all it could be? I'm teaching an online workshop at Savvy Authors starting Mon June 25. Doesn't matter where you are in the world - you can take part. And it only costs $25! You can sign up here:


Being an author is a weird old job. Things can swing up or down and you have so little control over proceedings.

Take the electronic versions of my Dream of Asarlai trilogy. This time last year, they were all available internationally. Then, they weren't. Now, they are again.

So I can tell you that right now, the trilogy can be bought for your Kindle, Kobo or iPad. You'd better get to it cause who knows what will happen next in the great world of publishing ;)

I'm glad they are available because in just a few weeks, I'll be self-publishing electronically the first part of the sequel. The Festival is a novella set a year after the events of the Dream of Asarlai trilogy. The old characters will be revisited in a new, fast-paced story that will be a rollick from beginning to end.

This is being published with the blessings of HarperCollins here in Australia and I'm hoping that a shorter story, at a cheaper price, will entice people to give the world of my magical race the gadda a try.

I'm hoping to eventually follow The Festival with an all-new trilogy, which is set a further twelve months later but who knows when that will happen. Like I said - being an author is WEIRD.

Leave a comment to get a free copy of The Festival a week before everyone else - book will be officially released July 12, I'll send you a copy by July 4!

In the meantime, can I recommend a book by fellow Supernatural Undergrounder Helen Lowe - the David Gemmell Morningstar winning novel The Heir of the Night? 

Congratulations, Helen :)

You can buy my books at Amazon, Kobo and iTunes

Monday, June 18, 2012

How about something FREE?

I wanted to share some cool news today.

It’s been awhile since my most recent book—Feast: Harvest of Dreams—released, so I put together a compilation of science fiction and fantasy short stories. Titled WAITING FOR MIDNIGHT, the anthology is approximately 70 pages long, contains 16 speculative fiction short stories and normally costs $2.99 on Amazon.

Here comes the really good part:

For the next two days, WAITING FOR MIDNIGHT, is available for FREE KINDLE DOWNLOAD.


If you stop by and check out the Amazon page, I would greatly appreciate it if you would consider Liking the book, and possibly sharing it on Facebook, Twitter,or Pinterest, as well. There's a section for social media sharing on the right side of the page, just below where you purchase the book. And, of course, if you download the book, I’d love it if you would post an honest review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.

And yet, there's still One More Cool Thing:



DURING THE DAY, HE SLEPT amidst rubble and grass, hidden from view, partially because his skin was now the color of dirt. During the evenings, he would creep out, sometimes on all fours—until he knew it was safe. Then he would scamper about beneath the stars and a crescent moon, his limbs lean and his clothes ragged. We all did our best to ignore him. We called him the Perro Muchacho. Dog Boy. He ran with the wild dogs and that name seemed to fit him.

I watched him with a cautious eye, fearful of the magic that I knew trailed after him. It coiled like a snake in the shadows, dangerous, forbidden. He stole from my trash and I would chase him away. I’d toss small stones in his direction, careful not to come too close, although I know for certain that I struck him once. For after that he kept a distance from me.

His hair stuck out in thick tufts, never combed or washed. His shirt had lost its color and its sleeves were gone, and I often wondered if he shivered while he tried to sleep. One night, when he and his pack of stray dogs were off prowling through alleys and along the riverbed, I crept out to his hiding place. I found a few toys lying about—a ragged, lopsided rabbit, most of the stuffing gone; a small truck, the paint almost completely worn off. There, I left an old blanket. And a Bible. I doubted that he could read, but I knew that if he could walk on two legs, then he had a soul.

And there was no doubt in my mind that he needed saving.

I ran my fingers over my rosary as I hobbled back to my house, the stucco white as bone. A prayer whispered over my lips as I hailed one saint after another, searching for one that could save a creature like him. I tried and found none, so in the end, I merely repeated the same words over and over, as each bead slipped through my fingers.

Help him, please, help him, please.
Before the moon swallows the sky.

She was growing above me, even as I hunched over broken cobblestones. She was eating stars and growing more bloated with each and every bite. In a few days, she would be full.

I didn’t want to see what would happen then to Dog Boy. I didn’t want him to come to my house and scratch claws across the lattice on my windows. Didn’t want to hear the cries that would no longer sound human.
For some reason, when the moon has swallowed the sky, on that same day, the sun grows weak. He hides, as if terrified, behind mountain peaks and clouds. His face refuses to reflect in the river water. He turns into an old, weak man. His steps across the heavens falter, as if he could plummet from the sky and burn up the sea, turn the world into a land of mist and shadow.

That was how he looked today.

Meanwhile, I saw the boy, awake, playing in the long grass, his hair blowing in the wind, his cheeks ruddy, the dust stirring around him in a thick cloud. He ran from one edge of the wilderness to the other, no longer afraid to be seen. All around him, his furry companions loped, mouths open wide in toothy grins, paws jumping up and down. They whined and yipped, tails wagging.

They knew his secret.

He paused, when the wind grew calm, as the sun slid behind the church bell tower, and he looked at me. A smile creased his dirty face and he cocked his head. I realized then that he had made a sling and was carrying the Bible like a talisman. A strap of old cloth hung across one shoulder, then widened to form a pouch that draped in the crescent of his narrow back. When he moved, I could see the glint of gold-edged pages and the gnarled black crust of leather binding.

I wondered if he ever opened it. If he even looked at the pictures. You can tell a lot from the illustrations. The baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, the exodus of Moses from Egypt, the ark of Noah with all the animals. Although, without the words or someone to tell him the stories—

He was just another beast.

Still I could see the spark of intelligence in his eyes. And despite his wild nature, there was no evil streak. Not like Jose, who beat his wife twice a week. Not like Manuel, who took his wages in tequila and let his children grow weak from hunger.

I knew all the secrets of this little village, was forced to listen to them every Sunday morning. Then grant forgiveness. My fingers ran over my rosary again, words familiar and sweet pursing my lips. I watched the boy then as he turned and dashed off into the nearby forest, knowing it was just as well.

If he disappeared, then none of us would see him when he turned.

And none of us, me especially, would be responsible.

A wind like fire blew through the hills, scorched the edge of our village the moment the moon revealed herself. Silver light spilled down narrow streets, turned everything and everyone white hot and still. All doors swung shut and curtains were drawn across open windows, a rabid hush of Hail Marys and Our Fathers murmured while chairs rocked and shoulders bowed.

I cracked my back door open, slipped outside without a sound, my bare feet padding over a dirt trail that led toward the wildwood and the river. Somewhere along the way, my rosary slipped from my fingers and tangled on the ground, but I did not stop. Every bone in my body ached as I moved, my muscles weary of this journey. I felt a tremor in my leg as I descended the river bank, as I moved closer to the rippling water. All I wanted was to immerse myself in the cool reflection of that damned, swollen moon. My robes fell away and I was waist deep in the sluggish current, fingers trailing behind me. Spasms wrenched my arms, twisted them back and forth and for a moment, I wondered if maybe this time I would fall headlong into the water and drown.

Part of me wished it to be true.

Death can be a good companion, if you are ready for him, when he comes.

My left foot slipped and I tumbled to my knees, up to my chin in blue-back water. That was when I heard him behind me. I turned my head and saw Dog Boy on the river bank, his head cocked as though he were afraid for me.

“Padre,” he said, his voice timid.

I waved a hand at him, wishing he would scoot away, deeper into the shadows where he belonged. He had changed, as I suspected he would, but it was amazing that he could still speak.

His arms and legs and back were covered in thick matted fur and his spine arched wide. Soon he would be down on all fours and his nose would grow long, his teeth jagged. But right now he was somewhere in between boy and wolf.

He took a step toward me, concern in his eyes. Behind him, his pack growled and howled. They knew me better than he did.

My own limbs snapped and cracked, my transition nothing like it was when I was younger. Every bit of it as if my bones were being ground into powder. Only the touch of the water on my flesh and the silver light of the moon seemed to offer any release from the pain. I stumbled back toward the shore, temporarily able to balance myself on two legs, although by the time I reached shallow water, I had fallen down on all four.

Paws where hands had once been, a long snout instead of a nose.

A low growl sounded in my throat as Dog Boy approached.

He recognized me now, of course he did. My scent was like his own. He was the seed of my sin and part of me hoped that he had learned the secrets from the book I had given him. Right now I couldn’t remember what they were, only that they were very important.

Then I vaulted into a stiff run, paws grasping muddy river bank, pulling myself up toward the shelter of wooded shadow. Dog Boy recognized the look in my eyes just then, a moment too late perhaps. He turned and bounded away from me.

I stopped to howl at my mistress, the moon, at the same time, giving my son a head start.

Then I gave him chase that would last all night or longer if necessary, not stopping until one of us was dead. Part of me hoping that this would be my last hunt and that this child would be strong enough to finally end my curse.

I hope you enjoyed the short story! AND PLEASE NOTE: The free download will only be available Monday, June 18, and Tuesday, June 19. Meanwhile, happy summer reading!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Jupiter into Gemini

Flying Girl Let's Go
Jupiter in Gemini from June 12, 2012 to June 26, 2013

For something different, I thought I'd wear one of my other hats this month and post about Jupiter in Gemini, a current celestial event that's all the rage! Jupiter in the sign of the twins for the next twelve months equates with the blossoming of the mind. Rich with knowledge, synchronicity and meaning, thoughts expand, communication amplifies and more of what you think is written, spoken and translated. Jupiter makes things BIGGER and in Gemini that means information. Allow for spontaneous insight!

Of course, the expansion of Jupiter will symbolize different things for each of us. Basically, it's a direct map to our personal 'pot of gold'! See scopes below. Read your rising sign as well as your sun sign. If you want help finding out what that is, here's my tutorial, or post in the comments and I'll give you a hand. Enjoy!

AriesARIES: Jupiter in Gemini lights up your third house. It's a restless, windy energy that urges you to get a move on! The old haunts don't cut it anymore so stake out new territory! Take a new course, study, learn, teach, speak, travel, write. Connect via ideas. You'll hear fabulous news!

TaurusTAURUS: Jupiter is in your second house, the domain of talents and resources, finances and support. This triggers and inner optimism that attracts like nobody's business. You're going to want to take advantage of this! Just remember, be careful what you wish for. You get it.

GeminiGEMINI: Your world get's bigger this year, in every way: home, career, love life, and waistline. Yes, carbohydrates can take on a whole new meaning so be aware. But oh the abundance! Vital force is amped up. You succeed at anything you put your mind to. Don't hold back!

CancerCANCER: Jupiter in your twelfth house of secrets and dreams means the universe is watching out for you. Think of it as personal a guardian angel, an unseen help that gets you through any challenge. Take plenty of 'me' time this year and aim high. You are unstoppable!

LeoLEO: Jupiter in your eleventh house of goals and groups has you leading the way in a creative community venture. When you mix with like minded others, brainstorming ideas and setting your sights on the future, great things happen. Step up. The world is waiting!

VirgoVIRGO: Jupiter in your tenth house of career pulls you out from behind the throne and crowns you sovereign of the land. Think success, prosperity and recognition when it comes to your true mission or profession in life. Do what you love and it's going to love you back! Ten fold.

LibraLIBRA: Jupiter in your ninth house of distant horizons says get your passport up to date and your traveling shoes on. Opportunities to 'cross boarders' are on offer, be they countries, the mind or your beliefs. Whatever you think you 'know' is in for a surprise. Do say YES!

ScorpioSCORPIO: Jupiter into the eight house of mystery and the occult says you don't go it alone. This is the time to partner up with someone you trust. When you pool resources, be they financial, physical, mental or artistic, the outcome is dazzling. Oh, think red hot attractions too!

SagittariusSAGITTARIUS: Jupiter in your seventh house of personal one-to-one relationships is going to catapult you out of any connection that no longer resonates and into connections that do. It's a renaissance of spirit, a rejuvenation of love and commitment. A renewed heart!

CapricornCAPRICORN: Jupiter into your sixth house of daily life magic is going to change the way you see the world. What was once routine takes on a numinous glow. The landscape expands and work, gym and dishes become talismans for good fortune. Smile, and buy new shoes.

AquariusAQUARIUS: Jupiter into the 5th house of creative self-expression and romance is going to boost this area of your life sky high! If you were struggling with a 'blank page' or empty date book, relax and get ready to go go go! Think extremely creative, gorgeous hot, high demand!

piscesPISCES: Jupiter into your fourth house of home and family strengthens the soul and expands your feelings of connections. A fabulous time to improve the home, (or travel from home to home). There will be unexpected guests bearing amazing gifts. What a year to remember!

 Kim Falconer is an astrologer and Supernatural Underground author writing epic science fantasy novels set in the worlds of Earth and Gaela. Kim’s latest series is Quantum Encryption.

You can find out more about her at or her blog The 11th House. She posts here on the 16th of every month.

Friday, June 15, 2012


Contest closed. Congrats SandyG265! Email us at with shipping info and the title of the book you want sent!

I guess today that could mean the usual Thank God it's Friday! or maybe we can change it up a little and make it TGFF! Thank God for Fathers!

How is everyone celebrating Father's Day this year? As for me, I'll be making some JD cupcakes for my dad. Look yummy don't they?
Of course, I'll be celebrating it for the father of my own kids too, but that goes without saying. And if I knew what the heck I was doing for him, I'd post that here, too. But, alas, I don't. So I'm coming to you for ideas. How do you make your significant other feel special on Father's Day?? Ideas please! Comment below and I'll pick a winner tomorrow for a signed copy of your choice, Ascension (book 1 of the Dark Breed series) or Bedeviled (book 2). I'll even throw in a signed cover flat of book 3, Chosen!
Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 8, 2012

June 2012 News

The Asylum Interviews: Bronx
July 3, 2012

The first of two prequel stories to Jocelynn Drake's Angel's Ink. It's not easy being a tattoo artist and a warlock, especially when you're in hiding. Or when a botched tattoo has amplified an incubus's existing sex appeal into one that could wreck the whole town. And your only help is a troll.

Once Burned: A Night Prince Novel
June 26, 2012

After a tragic accident scarred her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a person's darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of solitude...until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out with a telepathic distress call to the world's most infamous vampire...

Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest vampire legend of all--but whatever you do, don't call him Dracula. Vlad's ability to control fire makes him one of the most feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a new weapon against him - a beautiful mortal with powers to match his own. When Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them, threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames.

Sin's Dark Caress
July 31, 2012

An ancient darkness has risen from the ashes . . . and terror has been loosed upon an unsuspecting world.

Forensic witch Bianca Sin has never seen anything like it: homeless teenage girls torn to pieces by dark magic in the cold shadows of the city. More terrifying still is the symbol written in blood on an alley wall—the unmistakable seal of the Dark Brethren.

Teaming up with NYPD homicide detective Lancelot McManus and an elite task force headed by the shapeshifter Oberon DuPrie, Bianca knows her worst fears have finally come to pass. A new war of annihilation is looming that will plunge the worlds of vampire, shapeshifter, and human into chaos—and two adversarial tribes locked in uneasy truce will need to take up arms together to save the children. Trust will be essential for Sin and McManus, as the hunt forces them to confront their deepest terrors.

For the ultimate evil is no longer approaching.

It's here.

A Blood Seduction: A Vamp City Novel
May 29, 2012

Quinn Lennox is searching for a missing friend when she stumbles into a dark otherworld that only she can see—and finds herself at the mercy of Arturo Mazza, a dangerously handsome vampire whose wicked kiss will save her, enslave her, bewitch her, and betray her. What Arturo can't do is forget about her—any more than Quinn can control her own feelings for him. Neither one can let desire get in the way of their mission—his to save his people, hers to save herself. But there is no escape from desire in a city built for seduction, where passion flows hot and blood-red . . .

Jaime Rush (aka Tina Wainscott) is celebrating the sixth book in her psychic romantic suspense series, Darkness Becomes Her (Avon), with her Kick Butt First Line contest.  Shocking, suspenseful…make us want more!  Cash prizes! Contest runs from through July 1, 2012.  For writers and readers.  Check out the entries—they're a lot of fun!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Road Trip: Low Town

Pack your bags, kids.  We're heading into Low Town.

With the end of the Dark Days series, I turned my attention to one of the most beautiful and frightening things for an author, or maybe any artist -- the blank page.  In the Dark Days series, I tackled vampires living in the shadows and working in the dark.  I tackled mythical races; dark, brooding characters; and star-crossed love.  As the blank page glared at me, and I inevitably glared back, I knew I wanted to head into a totally different direction.

I let my imagination off its leash and it ran to all the strange ideas that I had bottled up because they simply wouldn't work within the constraints of the Dark Days series.  In the new series, I didn't want powerful species hiding and working in the shadows while humans remained blissfully unaware.  I didn't want a dark, grumpy main character haunted by her past and unable to form a healthy relationship with anyone.

As I started making notes on the series, I found myself throwing off more and more shackles, letting my imagination run wild and naked through the woods and fields until she finally returned to me mud-splattered, breathless, and smiling.  (She also picked up a new tattoo or two along the way that she won't discuss with me.) She had found the path and we knew where we were going.  We were going to Low Town.

Low Town is where my main character Gage has a tattoo parlor called Asylum.  In Low Town, and just about every where in this world, all creatures live together and know about each other.  Yes, that nice human family down the street also lives next to a family of werewolves, while on the other side is a divorced siren and her incubus boyfriend.  And just across the street is that nice, old goblin couple, who just celebrated their fortieth wedding anniversary.  Not to mention vampires, trolls, minotaurs, faeries, ogres, pixies, drakes, and many more creatures that will dance across the page.

Living with so many creatures with innate magical abilities, sometimes a person needs a little hand in life.  That's where the tattoo artists come in.  They are also the local potion stirrers in this world.  If you need a little help, they can put a potion in the ink of your tattoo to help improve your luck or your love life.

Does Low Town sound like a place you'd like to visit?  A bit overwhelmed?  Sure, I understand.  My first time there I nearly ran into an ogre coming out of a dark alley.  Not an enjoyable experience.  But Gage and I can see you through the city with few problems. 

On July 3, the first tour through the city will take place in the form of THE ASYLUM INTERVIEWS: BRONX  short story, which will be released as an e-book.  This short story is a prequel to the first novel (ANGEL'S INK) and tells how Gage met his first employee, Bronx the troll, and tried to help Gage's friend Parker with his love life.  (Let's just say that things don't quite work out how Gage and Bronx expect for the poor incubus.  Parker is still mad at Gage and me for laughing.)   

So, are you brave enough to wander through Low Town with me?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Interviews, A Convention, & World Building with Robin Hobb

US cover
The launch of a new book is always a busy time and since The Gathering of the Lost (The Wall of Night Book Two) was published on 27 March I've had a very full programme of guest blog spots and interviews, including recent get togethers with both Nalini Singh, here, and Robin Hobb, here.

And right now I’m attending UnConventional, NZ's National Science Fiction Fantasy Convention, with Trudi Canavan as international Guest of Honour. I have an interesting programme of panels, too, including one on world building:

"WorldbuildingThe thing that differentiates SF & F from the rest of fiction writing is the extent to which worldbuilding becomes integral to the writing process."

Since you can't attend the panel, I thought you might like to read this summary from my in-depth conversation with Robin Hobbspecifically on world building:

"Helen: Good world building is integral to Fantasy. What are some of the key elements for you, Robin?

Similarly, the Rain Wilds are my favorite of your worlds. I love the mysterious, dangerous physical environment and its juxtaposition with Trader culture. But has your vision of the world changed in the shift from the Live Ships to the Rain Wilds’ Chronicles?

UK cover
Robin: Oh, the focus is always on the characters, and so we see whatever part of the world they are in. In this case, we are seeing the Rain Wilds (Dragon Keeper, Dragon Haven, City of Dragons, etc.) from the perspective of the people who live and work in its more hazardous parts. Someday I’d like to write from the POV of a digger in Trehaug, who breaks through to a marvellously preserved room . . . Yeah!

But the view of a world changes whenever you change POV character, in my world or any world.  Your Jarna’s experience of the tournament in The Gathering of the Lost is vastly different from that of the noble ladies. So, too, the keepers of Trehaug have a whole different view of their world.

Helen: How interesting that we both see our worlds as evolving through diverse characters’ experiences... In The Heir of Night the reader gets a range of views on the Derai Alliance, particularly the political divide between their warrior and priestly castes. In the Rain Wilds’ Chronicles I enjoy getting Sintara and Thymara’s divergent views on their uneasy relationship—and the tension that creates in the story.

Robin: I do love my characters, even my villains.  If you are going to spend a year writing a character, it had best be someone you find interesting! And I’ve been enjoying watching your Wall of Night series unfold, partly because while your characters are compelling, many in the story also hold the reader at a distance. It’s not initially obvious if Raven, for example, is someone to be trusted. Yet he is fascinating…

I think it layers in a depth of reality, having the same uncertainty in a tale about someone we’ve just met as we may in our regular lives."

To read the indepth conversation, click here.