Sunday, November 25, 2012

Wild About You Countdown: Two Days!

Congrats to Martha of Mississippi who won the t-shirt and copy of Ian's book! Please come back next month, that would be Dec. 25th, Christmas!! I'll have to do a nice giveaway then! Many thanks for the comments and all your support! Big bear hug!

Our friendly, lovable were-bear, Howard Barr, will be released into the wild in two days!  I hope you can catch him!  Or if you have an e-reader, I hope you wake up with a grizzly bear in your bed!  To celebrate the release of Wild About You, we're giving away a T-shirt with the Wild About You cover art on front. Howard is modeling it for you. It's not often a bear will give you the shirt off his back!

The launch party is Tuesday night at Katy Budget Books. Howard wants to come with me, since he loves getting his photo taken with the ladies. If you contact KBB, you can order a signed book (and I will sign it however you like). You can also order signed backlist books or one of the cool Wild About You key chains, which I will initial and Howard will sign with his paw print.You can find out more, including KBB contact info, at Also on Launch Day, please visit my Facebook page where you can see the Red Carpet Premiere of Wild About You. You never know which characters will walk the red carpet!  And there's even more fun for Launch Day!  Over at Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews, you'll see Howard's early attempts to write a fan letter to his heroine, Elsa.

If you're in the Seattle area, please come and see me when I drop by two Barnes & Noble stores to sign stock on Thursday, November 29th. They're expecting us, so no worries there!  I'll be at the B&N at Crossroads Shopping Center in Bellevue, WA at 5 pm and the downtown Bellevue B&N at 6 p.m.

I'll also be signing with Nora Roberts and other authors at the Turn the Page Bookstore in Boonsboro, Maryland on December 8th at noon. For more info, go to

In addition to the Wild About You t-shirt, I'm giving away a signed copy of All I Want for Christmas is a Vampire. Isn't that a nice Christmas present?  And it's also the book where we first find out that Howard is a were-bear. I hope you enjoy hot, hunky, and handsome Howard!  Just leave a comment to be eligible to win the t-shirt and signed book. International entries are welcomed.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Super Tweeting with Royalty

November already? 
We're thinking about gifts for friends, right? 

GR8! Coz I've got freebies for everybody 
FINE PRINT: ... the first 5000, anyway.

but back up... Let's recap. 

My agent finally dragged me, kicking and screaming, to join twitter... 
Twelve years as a bestselling writer... "I don't need no freakin tweeter!"

It took me a whole day to learn the lingo, but then I hooked up with the other authors here on the Supernatural Underground and...

 Boom Baby!...

It went ballistic!

Playing around, I discovered I could spice up my tweets with "art" using the old ASCII codes that I learned waaaay back in highschool to embed symbols... and then Tweet Royalty, including Henry Winkler... asked how, so I replied to him...

... and that led me to SF Royalty Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner and Buzz Aldrin...

I even peeked in on THE QUEEN!...

... okay, faux Queen. Too funny to be real.... I hope. 

I also found a HILARIOUS Prank by LG that demonstrates what it's like for my character Mira, every time she gets in an elevator, and it moves in a direction different to the one in the time-line she can actually see.

(When link goes down for daily maintenance, see

And then I went exploring for more useful twit-bits and discovered
why the facebook feedback dried up suddenly (for ALL authors) after the compulsory switch to timelines...

... and in the process, I picked up over 1000 followers in my FIRST MONTH!

I've discovered over a thousand new clubs, groups and magazines who love SF & Fantasy as much as us! I've discovered radio stations and magazines keen to speak to us... and best of all, I'm hooking up with more fans than I ever knew were out there.

I'm hooked, I'll confess. Twitter is a fast, friendly world that (at first) made facebook seem like an old note-book diary, buried six feet under with my skeleton... and then twitter changed that too!!

In the process of setting up my Tweet Homepage
I also learned how to revitalise my New FaceBook Page
and my Friends Page (with a different style with split-pics)...
and then they all inspired me to makeover my private website!

[Bet u can't find the secret page with the embarrassing pic of me. LOL]

But best of all, my top lesson from twitter is:
HOW to Send Amazing Electronic Autographs to my Fans!

... and THAT's how I can afford to send FREEBIES to EVERYBODY this month!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

November 2012 News

A Love Untamed
A Feral Warriors Novel
Pamela Palmer
December 26, 2012

They are called Feral Warriors—an elite band of immortals who can change shape at will. Sworn to rid the world of evil, consumed by sorcery and seduction, their wild natures are primed for release . . .

The newest member of the elite Feral Warriors brotherhood, Fox is eager to prove himself on the frontlines of battle against the Daemons. When paired with the legendary Ilina warrior Melisande, he expects the fierce beauty to quickly fall under the spell of his quite considerable charm. Instead, he finds himself spellbound by a woman who's his match in every way.

Beneath Melisande's brittle exterior lies centuries of pain and a violent hatred of all shape-shifters—a hatred that slowly crumbles after she and Fox are caught in a deadly and cunning Mage trap and she glimpses a surprising depth in her far-too-seductive partner. Their survival demands unconditional trust—and their salvation surrender to a wild, untamed love.

Shadow of the Mark
Leigh Fallon
July 9, 2013

Leopard Dreaming
A. A. Bell
October 1, 2012

Mira Chambers has an infallible talent for solving mysteries ... but using it always gets her into worse trouble. Having spent half her life in asylums, Mira discovers a sense of self-worth, finally, in helping victims of crime. When the matron who helped Mira to regain her independence is abducted, she attempts to save her with the help of ex-army lieutenant, Adam Lockman. But Freddie Leopard, a dangerous sociopath, tries to destroy Lockman's reputation... and Mira. Cut off and alone for the first time in her life, Mira is swept into a world of conspiracies and betrayals, where her dream of achieving a normal life is constantly thwarted by the far darker desires of her enemies. Layers of secrets unravel as her world falls apart - until the ultimate sacrifice presents a chance to save her friend and revisit her lost love in the 'echoes of yesterday.'

Watch the brand new trailer for Pamela Palmer's A Blood Seduction.

Kerrelyn is celebrating the November 27th release of Wild About You with a website contest. Please go to and click on the contest page for a chance at winning a signed copy of Wanted: Undead or Alive.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Continuity Conundrums

... et idem
indignor quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus

And yet I also become annoyed whenever the great Homer nods off. - Horace 23BCE

The 'Homeric Nod', or continuity as we now call it, has been a problem for thousands of years. Some deliberate, most accidental, continuity is an age old challenge for storytellers everywhere.

I have a friend who teaches the ins and outs of continuity (known also as script direction). She’s brilliant, and no small fry, having been the ‘scripty’ on films as fabulous as The Matrix series, The Lord of the Rings (all three) and soon to be released, The Hobbit. I did tech support for a class she gave last week and I found film continuity not all that different from the issues a novelist faces. A lot of the techniques for catching these errors in film translate well for authors, and it does make a huge difference, having the continuity water tight.


Because unless it’s a comedy, seeing or reading an anachronism, inconsistency or error will jolt the reader/viewer out of the participation mystique of the story. Suddenly they are no longer ‘with’ the characters but back in the audience, scratching their heads because a jet just flew over ancient Troy. Oh boy. That’s almost as bad as Edward saying that Carlisle, in 1660, "actually found a coven of true vampires that lived hidden in the sewers of the city . . .” when said sewage system wouldn’t be built for another two hundred years. If the reader knows their history, it’s going to snap them out of ‘it’, and that’s definitely not the goal.

As we can see, big name authors with major publishing houses are not exempt from these problems. Did anyone catch in Chamber of Secrets where Dumbledore tells Harry that Lord Voldemort is the last remaining ancestor of Salazar Slytherin. Sure JKR meant descendant but why didn’t the editorial process, and the author, pick that up? (It’s been corrected in later print runs, something film editors can't do!) Readers are very good at spotting such things and a lot of subsequent print run corrections are due to them writing in. Don't be shy. Your authors appreciate it!

Usually novelists have more control over continuity than script directors on a film set.  What writer, for example, would have gorgeous Captain Jack Sparrow about to say something mouth-watering-witty with the ticky-tag on his bandanna showing? Novelists aren’t dependent on air traffic, sound artists, make up or wardrobe to get it right. But we do end up being all of the above and more when it comes to the final product - a book in the reader’s hands. When the  'poor continuity' hammer falls; it falls squarely on the author’s head. It’s not like we haven’t had a chance to make corrections.

Publishing houses may differ slightly but the editorial process looks something like this:

1) Author hands in manuscript
2) Editor makes general comments
3) Author applies suggestions
4) Editor rereads and may return with more suggestions or send on to the structural editor
5) Structural editor edits the entire ms for form, structure, consistency, meaning,  grammar, spelling, context, you name it
6) Ms returns to author to approve or reject suggested changes or rewrite scenes
7) Ms goes to copy editor who edits for grammar and spelling mostly but also consistency, meaning and clarity.
 8) Ms returns to author to put in changes/rework
 9) Ms goes to proofreaders where one to six proofreaders mark errors and make comments. All the comments from various proofreaders are then transcribed onto one manuscript which the publishing editor reviews. At HarperCollins Aus, this would then result in a phone call (sometimes lasting hours) where the question marks and quirks and ‘ifs’ are discussed with the author. The editor puts in agreed changes.
 10) The ms then goes to typesetting and the resulting ‘fourth pages’ are sent to the author to proof.
 11) The author catches any errors and shoots the ms back to the publisher (This process is repeated with third, and second pages until they are down to the first pages complete with the dedication, acknowledgements and copyright info.)
 12) The author checks those first pages and returns to editor (the turn around time become increasingly shorter with each of these steps)
 13) Ms is off to print. Yay!

It's not a haphazard process, yet still mistakes appear. My friend the script director says that in film, it’s often down to the editing process where they have better shot, even with an inconsistency. They’ll take acting over continuity every time.

How about you, readers? Have you ever loved a book but wanted to throw it across the room because of the mistakes or typos? I bet this writer (below) wishes he’d had a copy editor on board! O. M. G!

Kim Falconer is a Supernatural Underground author writing epic science fantasy novels set in the worlds of Earth and Gaela and beyond.

You can find out more about Kim at or on The 11th House Blog. She posts here at the SuperntrlUnderg on the 16th of every month. Her books are available worldwide with free shipping via Kim supports the IS_Foundation and awareness of environment with her work

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Sane Holiday Season

All year long I do relatively well with keeping up with my yearly goals of eating right, exercising, and writing. Okay, so I do all right, most days anyway. But from the end of November to the middle of January, the holiday chaos tends to take over and control my thoughts and actions sending those good intentions I've worked so hard to maintain all year right out the window.

Since I know this is going to happen, again, I've decided to come up with a plan:

1-Scheduled workouts can not be altered for any reason. This is a big one for me. Something comes up, I say I'll fit in a walk after dinner, but then a trip to the store or T-ball practice or studying for an upcoming spelling test or something always seems to take up that time. The next thing I know, it's been two weeks--or two months--since I've taken my walk. It doesn't take that long to walk a mile. I deserve fifteen minutes and so do you. Take it!

2-Eating right is going to be a big problem for me. I love food! Meats and potatoes, rice and gravy, and anything cheesy. Let's not forgot those deserts either (though these I can usually walk away from a heck of a lot fast and easier than the food!) I'm not real sure how I'm going to battle this, but all year I've had a set time I eat and I watch my calorie intake/burn ratio decently. So I'm going to stick to this one, too. I know it won't be as easy as planning my meals first thing in the morning and then sticking to it all day since they'll be visits with friends and dinners with family. However, just because I cook it, doesn't mean I have to eat it, or eat more than a bite or two so I don't feel deprived. (Keep your fingers crossed for me here. I see a lot of extra workouts in my future with nowhere to fit them in.)

3-Write everyday, even on the busiest days. Writing is a lot like working out. If I take one day off, it becomes two, then three, then a month. An illness put me behind schedule already so I can't afford anymore time away from the story. It only takes a few minutes to write a page. I can do this while sitting in the car line or while waiting for dinner to finish or while the kids are in the bath or hot tub.

4-Bedtime has to be at a reasonable hour. Another big one for me. I tend to put things off--like writing--until the last possible moment. Then I'm exhausted but haven't reached my goals for the day so I stay up late to get things finished (mostly writing related stuff). This usually works well for me . . . except my toddlers don't care if I stayed up late working. They still get up between six and seven. They still want breakfast. Still want my attention all day which means less time to fit in the things I need to do which means I'm up late again trying to finish up and usually the workouts get shorter and the writing takes a beating because there comes a time when you have to give into your body's demand for sleep. So the alarm stays set for bedtime (yes, I have to remind myself that it's time to go to be or it will be three in the morning before I know it) and even when the school break hits, I'll still get up at the usual time to get some writing or a workout in before the little ones start their day to help give me a few more minutes to spend with them and get the holiday chores done, too.

Now that I have my plan, the big challenge is sticking to it. Not sure I can do it, but I'm sure going to give it one heck of a try! What about you? How do you survive this time of chaos? Do you have have a plan or do you just pick up the pieces in January and start anew? Share your thoughts, 'cause, really, I wanna know :)


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

This Is Not A Promo

For months, I've persuaded, cajoled, teased, and bribed you to give my new series a try.  This month, I'm taking a vacation.  I'm officially between projects as I wait for copy edits on DEAD MAN'S DEAL and scheme for the future.  I'm enjoying this down time.  I'm currently playing with a new story that is different from everything I've published so far.  I'm trying to catch up on some reading and I'm playing a video game.  All in all, things have finally gotten quiet in the Drake household.

As it is November, I am once again attempting to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  Since I'm usually balancing several projects at the same time, it typically doesn't go well for me.  But NaNoWriMo is great for motivation and camaraderie as you work to hit 50,000 words.

If you're a lover of romance, Avon is also hosting its own NaRoWriMo.  For more details, please click here.  It looks pretty tempting to me.  Do you have a romance story rattling around in your head that would make a good book?  Now is a good time to start on that.

So while I dispose of the last of the Halloween candy and work on secret things, I leave you to your own devices.

Don't burn down the house.
Don't run with sharp objects.
Don't tease your brother.
And if you decide you need something new to read, you won't hurt my feelings if you try a book about a certain tattoo artist with a gift for finding trouble. (*cough* Angel's Ink *cough*)

Happy Reading!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

An Interview with Merrie Destefano

Although we all know Merrie Destefano as a fellow Supernatural Underground author, I am still thrilled to be able to interview her today and ask a few indepth questions about her writing, particularly her new YA novel, Fathom.

And regardless of Merrie being a  fellow Supernatural Undergrounder, I am going to do a formal introduction, because the whole point of an interview, after all, is to get to know the author, as well as her work, a little better. So without further ado...

Introducing Merrie Destefano

 Merrie Destefano left a 9-to-5 desk job as a magazine editor to become a full-time novelist and freelance editor. Her first novel, Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles, is an urban fantasy published by HarperCollins/Eos, and her second novel, Feast: Harvest of Dreams released on June 28, 2011. With twenty years’ experience in publishing, her background includes editor of Victorian Homes magazine and founding editor of Cottages & Bungalows magazine. Born in the Midwest, she currently lives in Southern California with her husband, two German shepherds and a Siamese cat.

In addition to this interview, you may find out more on Merrie’s website:

Interview:  Merrie Destefano and Fathom

Helen: Merrie, you have had two adult paranormal novels published previously. What drew you to YA with Fathom?

Merrie:  It’s hard to say exactly how it happened. When I was working on Feast, one of the characters really surprised me and she ended up having her own strong subplot. That character was Elspeth, Ash’s half-breed teenage daughter. I quickly realized how much depth there was to work with when writing a young adult character. I’d also been reading young adult novels for several years and had fallen in love with them.

Somewhere in the process of writing Feast, I took a short break to write the first chapter of Fathom.  The idea for that book came to me unexpectedly, which is actually common. My story ideas come when I least expect them, usually when I’m in the midst of another project. I guess I’d have to say that I was deeply influenced by the books that I have been reading and continue to read, which often fall into the young adult genre.

Helen: What do you see as the primary differences between writing YA and adult fiction, particularly in the paranormal genre?

Merrie:  For me, the main difference between writing YA and adult fiction is the fact that YA has so many built-in universal themes. All of us remember what it’s like to be a teenager, to feel like you’re not quite pretty enough or talented enough, to feel insecure. When you factor in the paranormal genre, you get the opportunity to introduce magic into the story—which when you think about it has a lot of parallels to being a teenager. There’s so much discovery going on during that part of your life. Plus, writing for the young adult market allows you to write almost anything you want; there are no barriers, there are no stories that are too strange or too weird or too unbelievable.

Helen: Kira, the heroine in Fathom, has a traumatic family past that spills over into other aspects of her life. How important do you feel it is that paranormal fiction is realistic in terms of the characters' everyday lives?

Merrie: I think it’s extremely important. It’s one of the key elements in making the world believable. Yes, there are paranormal or magical elements going on, so the rest of the world has to resonate with the reader. You have to give the reader a jumping off point, a place where he or she can say, “Wow, I know what that feels like.” Once you’ve got your reader in a point of agreement with what’s happening in the story, then you can take the story a step further, then you can add in the magical elements.

For example, in Fathom, an important part of Kira's story is that she is a loner, partly because of her family’s past, and as a result she has to deal with issues such as bullying at school. I wanted the book to have a contemporary feel to it, one that more readers would be able to relate to. But it wasn’t just about setting a realistic background, it was also about Kira's character and giving her the strength to deal with the paranormal occurrences as they develop. We all need the strength to make it from one day to the next and I wanted Kira to demonstrate what that looked like.

Helen: What makes a great paranormal read for you, whether YA or adult—what are the "must have" elements?

Merrie:  First of all, the writing has to be really good. I have a hard time connecting with a book that’s poorly written. Beyond that, I need to be able to connect with the main character in some way. A good example of a writer who was able to do that is found in Jeff Lindsay's book, Darkly Dreaming Dexter—it takes really good character development and writing ability to get me to the place where I can identify with a serial killer.

I also have to want to take “this particular journey.”  For me, it’s mainly about reading a story that will take me someplace I’ve never been before. I love reading about things/creatures that would never exist in our world—like fairies and zombies and Selkies—mainly because I believe there is so much more to our world than we can actually see. I’m not saying these things are real, but the imagination behind them brings them to life—and it gives us an idea of things that could exist. I love seeing how far the imagination can take us. I grew up reading fairy tales and books about people who lived on other planets, so I suppose it’s only natural that I would want to write similar stories.

Helen: Since the paranormal beings in Fathom are selkies, did you find it easy translating their associated Celtic mythology into a contemporary North American context?

Merrie:  LOL. I admit it wasn’t easy at first. But I really like adding a bit of mythology to my stories, because it gives the reader a point of reference, an almost subconscious agreement that this is true. I believe that both folk tales and legends have been told and retold so many times, that it’s almost like they’re written on our skin. We might not believe them at first, but when we hear them we still have a point of reference that can then lead us to a second point of believability.

Regarding Fathom, I originally wanted to set the story near the Mississippi River, but I couldn’t get the Selkie legends to work. Then I tried to get the legends to work with the Great Lakes region. But that didn’t work either. I had just finished writing Feast, which is set in the southern California mountains. Part of that book was so easy for me to write, because I live in Southern California and I didn’t have to do as much research as I would if the story had been set in another part of the country. So, I decided to try the story on the coast of California, in an area near Carmel and Big Sur. I had already decided that I was going to change the Selkie legends somewhat, and those changes fit in perfectly with my new setting.

Helen: Merrie, you've been having some fun with independent publishing lately—besides Fathom, can you tell me about some of the other projects you have on the go?

Merrie: I love the collaborative aspect to traditional publishing, but occasionally I also love to write my own stories my way and of course the whole digital book revolution and the POD process make it so much easier to try a range of approaches. As well as Fathom, I have a young adult post-apocalyptic story called The Plague Carrier and a collection of short stories called Waiting for Midnight for sale now on Amazon. I’m also hoping to self-publish a novella called Cursed soon—it’s a short prequel to my novel, Feast: Harvest of Dreams. But whether it's one of my independent or traditional projects, I've always wanted my work to be the best it could possibly be, and strive for that in my writing.

Thank you so much, Helen, for doing this interview! I really appreciate it and it was fun!

Helen: Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed, Merrie. I've had a lot of fun, too, and enjoyed finding out more of the background to Fathom and about your other projects.

To Find Out More About Fathom:

Merrie has a great website and you can check out an excerpt from Fathom, here.

To purchase, you can go to Barnes & Noble, here, or Amazon, here.


About the Interviewer:

Helen Lowe is a novelist, poet, interviewer, and a 2012 Ursula Bethell Writer-in-Residence at the University of Canterbury. The Gathering of the Lost, the second novel in her The Wall of Night series, was published in April, and she has recently won the Gemmell Morningstar Award 2012 for the first-in-series, The Heir of Night. Helen posts every day on her Helen Lowe on Anything, Really blog, on the first of every month here on the Supernatural Underground, and occasionally on SF Signal. You can also follow her on Twitter: @helenl0we