Sunday, October 7, 2012


I haven't posted here in so long, dear blogledites, and yes, I've had a lot going on in my life, but also I've felt sort of defeated of late. For those of you who've never done it, let me tell you: the self-publishing world can chew you up and spit you out if you're not prepared for it.

It was never my goal to make a fortune with this book. Let's face it: these days you only make a fortune if you write crap, a la The Da Vinci Code or Fifty Shades. My goal with my book was just to have people read it and enjoy it. I've been frustrated by how few people seem to be purchasing it not because I wanted to make $$$, but because that means so few people are reading it!

I've decided to take a philosophical view on the issue from now on. I write for me, and the rest is just details. People buy it or they don't; they read it or they don't. At least I know I've put out a high-quality product that I enjoy.

In other news, I got a new 5-star review! That helps.  :)  It came with this handy-dandy sticker...

You can find it HERE. I also received two new reviews from the lovely ladies at Famous Five Plus. You can find those HERE.

That's about all from me today. I'll try to be less of a slacker from now on!

Saturday, August 11, 2012


FINALLY, dear blogledites! You can now purchase The Dark Man's Son on iBooks! You can find it HERE. So go forth and purchase, my loves.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I'm on TOUR! Again!

Yes, it's true: I'm on tour again starting Monday, August 13! Here's the incomplete schedule to get you started:

Monday, Aug 13
Guest Post - Topic TBA

Tuesday, Aug 14

Wednesday, Aug 15

Thursday, Aug 16

Friday, Aug 17
Promotional Stop

Saturday, Aug 18

Sunday, Aug 19

Monday, Aug 20

Thursday, Aug 23

Saturday, Aug 25
Guest Post - Topic TBA

Sunday, Aug 26
Promotional Stop

Monday, Aug 27
Guest Post - Topic TBA

Whew! Long tour this time. I'll post the rest of the dates as they become available, dear blogledites! Several of the stops will have GIVEAWAYS, so make sure you check those out.  :D

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

So much happening!

Whew, blogledites, it's been an insanely busy week! My "day job" has been hectic as hell. I work retail, and here in NC it's almost tax free weekend. It's gonna be...interesting.

In BOOK news, it's been fantastic! Got 2 great new reviews this week, one from Sue Fortin at Famous Five Plus, which you can find HERE, and another from The Bookshelf HERE.

You can find current giveaways running HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE. Holy givin' it away, Batman, that's a lot of free copies!

Also, I discovered why I hadn't been accepted into iBooks yet. My author's bio contains a link to this here bloggity blog, and as you can see to the left, the blog has links to Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, and Kobo. Apple didn't like that, so I had to resubmit it with the blog link removed. Le sigh. Hopefully by mid-August!

I'll be going on another virtual tour starting August 13, and this one will include 15 stops. Hopefully not a lot of guest blogs, because I've discovered I'm not very good at thinking up topics.  :)

That's all from here, dear blogledites. Hope you're all having lovely summers!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I'm on TOUR!

Hey, so, this is pretty exciting. Monday, July 23 kicks off my one-week blog tour! I'll be making a stop a day doing various fun stuffs. Several blogs will be hosting giveaways, too, so you should definitely check THAT out! Anyway, here's the schedule:

Monday, July 23:
Guest Post - "Creating Characters"
Andi's Book Reviews

Tuesday, July 24:
Promotional stop
Nette's Bookshelf Reviews


Promotional stop/Playlist
whoopeeyoo! :D

Wednesday, July 25:
Guest Post - "What's in a Name?"
The Speculative Salon

Thursday, July 26:
Promotional stop
Butterfly-o-Meter Books

Friday, July 27:
Promotional stop and Review
The Bookshelf

Sunday, July 29:
Promotional stop
Read 2 Review

Monday, July 30:
Guest Post - "Finding Love When you're the Personification of Evil"
Romance Book Junkies


Promotional stop

Thursday, July 12, 2012

New Review(s) and Interview/Giveaway!

Some exciting things to share today, dear blogledites!

First, a new review from TeAmNeRd ReViEwS, 4 of 5 stars!

Secondly, you can see an interview and a giveaway on Nikki's blog, Close Encounters with the Night Kind. You can find Nikki's fantastic review here! If any of you found your way here from there, then hi! *waves*

Also, in completely un-book-related news, I've become obsessed with nail polish lately. I think the way they're painted now is my favorite: Caffeine Fix polish (it's so shiny!) under Traffic Stopper Copper glitter. I'm like a magpie, fascinated by my shiny, glittery nails.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

New Review!

Laurie-J from Nightowl Reviews has posted a review of The Dark Man's Son. Go check it out!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

It's a SALE!

Who doesn't love a sale?! Visit SMASHWORDS during the month of July and you can get The Dark Man's Son for only $1.50! That's ONE dollar and FIFTY cents! Even I can afford that, and I'm smack yer mama poor!

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Hello, dear blogledites! You might have noticed a few changes around here in the past day or so. I added some tabs up at the top to take you to various pages around the blog. There's a bio, some contact info, info about the book, and some reviews I've received. I'll be adding more as time goes on.

Also, my first Author Interview was posted today on Gamblersgame! I'm pretty excited, and this kicks off the beginning of my reaching-out-to-promote blitz.

I have an interview and giveaway with Laurie of Laurie's Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews on July 1, an interview and giveaway with Nikki of Close Encounters of the Night Kind on July 12, and a guest post and giveaway with Nikki (different Nikki) of Ramblings from a Chaotic Mind on Aug 1. I'm also planning to launch a blog tour with Bewitching Book Tours that should start July 23. I have other interviews/guest posts/giveaways in the works, and I'll let you know when the details get finalized!

Also, look for me in the July/August issue of InD'Tale Magazine, out July 15.

Exciting times, blogledites!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Part Two: Let's Talk...

Now, a few days later than promised, on to the second question: process!

I used to just sort of write at my work. I have about a zillion unfinished stories haunting my harddrive, and they might never get finished. Why? For some of them, because they're just not very good. For others, I never really intended to finish; it might just be a scene or a pretty moment that I can use later. For most of them, though, it's because I never established a routine.

Shortly before I dove into this book, I read Stephen King's On Writing. Now, look, don't be a snob. If you're here reading this you have no reason to be a snob -- I write trash, in King's words, but I hope I write good trash. On Writing was invaluable to me. I learned so much from it, and it's not even a very long book. It's approachable, interesting, and easy to read.

In it, King says he sets a word goal for himself every day, and he doesn't stop writing until he reaches that goal. So that's what I did. My goal was easy peasy: 1k words. That's not very much; I set the bar low on purpose so it would seem achievable. Most days I wrote at least 2k words, and some days as many as 4k. Other days those measly 1k words seemed like a damn marathon. I would sit and sit and every single sentence was like a major dental procedure.

Here's a newsflash, kids: despite what people think, writing isn't easy. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either a fool or a liar. Or a really crappy writer. I don't think there's anyone out there who listens to Mozart and thinks, "Shit yeah, I could compose that in my SLEEP!" But there are plenty of people who will read an amazing book, shrug, and say, "Easy. Gimme a typewriter and an idea and I'll give you a best seller."

It doesn't happen that way. Writing 98k words (the rough length of Dark Man) takes discipline. Blood, sweat, and tears. Don't get my wrong, dear blogledites; I'm in no way comparing myself to Mozart. I'm just saying that just because you can write a coherent sentence doesn't mean you should write a book.

Also, and here's something else I learned from Stephen King: don't write unless you're also reading. It never occurred to me that there were writers out there who don't read. How the heck can you know good writing unless you read? How can you know your genre, your audience, your voice?

Whenever I picked up a book to read while writing Dark Man, it helped me clear my head. I went back to writing with a different perspective, and a voice in my skull other than my own. My sentence structure and vocabulary became more varied. It was nothing at all but win.

So. What have we learned here? Stephen King knows a damn lot about writing. Set a routine. Read a lot, as much as possible. Don't be an arrogant sod.

Words of wisdom for a lifetime, dear blogledites.  :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Let's Talk...

Process! (a 2 part series, because it turned out longer than I meant)

People who know I wrote a book (all, like, 5 of you!) often ask me questions like how long did it take, or what sort of routine did I follow while writing. Well, dear blogledites, I shall now pull the curtain back and expose the mystery of my writing process to you!

Let's address the first question first: how long did it take me to write The Dark Man's Son. Ha. That's a funny question, really. I've been writing stories with the Guardian characters since I was probably 14. They've gone through a LOT of changes over the years. Originally there was just Alex (who had a different name; big surprise). Then I decided she had a brother, but he was dead. Then I decided that once upon a time there had been 100 Guardians, 50 Light and 50 Dark. Present day, there are only 2 left, and they've gotta duke it out for the Big Fight.

That idea didn't last very long. Too many complications to work out. Eventually I decided on the form they take now: 2 Guardians, one of each, and they've both existed since the beginning. Oh, wait. That took me a while to decide, too. I read Sandman by Neil Gaiman a few years ago, and that helped me to define my characters' age. How? Well, in Sandman, Dream and his siblings are called the Endless. I liked that. They (at least Death) were older than...pretty much everything. I thought about it, and I realized there'd be no need for Guardians until there were mortals. And then I decided they'd be the Youngest. Angels are the Eldest, I guess you could say, and then mortals, and then Guardians.

Anyway. It also took me 16 years to work out Alex herself. Her original incarnation was pretty much flawless, a beacon of shining light. It took a while for me to realize how boring that is. Alex now is...well, read and find out for yourself, but she's not exactly Mary Sunshine. Good is sometimes relative.

It takes a perspective a bit broader than a 14-year-old's to attempt to write an immortal being. I'm not saying I'm Ms. Worldly or anything, but time has helped a bit. I think the reason Alex faded into the background a bit more than I originally intended is because I felt sorta like Jason: an outsider looking into a world I didn't really understand. I have no idea what it would be like to exist for literally billions of years. What has she seen? What has she done? What sort of life is that?

Everything I've ever read has influenced this story. I'm talking obvious influences like Robin McKinley or Neil Gaiman or Cormac McCarthy, but also more subtle ones like Homer or Vasari's Lives of the Artists. I spent a long time in college -- I was on the 7 year plan -- and had quite a few majors before I decided on one. All of that has gone into this book in one way or another.

To answer the question a bit more directly (or to actually answer the damn question), once I sat down to start writing this particular book, it took me about 3 months to finish the first draft. I had some scenes written already, and I pulled some scenes from previous stories, but everything got reworked to fit this story. The scene where Alex and Luc meet Rorik was an old one. The opening scene of the book was a bit older than that. The scene where Jason first meets Cassius was the oldest of all, over 10 years. That one got reworked a lot.

Point is, an idea can take a long time to develop before it's ready. Sometimes it needs coaxing or refining. If it's a good idea, it'll work out. If it's not...well, forget it and come up with something better.  :) (she says like it's so easy)

Tune in tomorrow, dear blogledites, for Part 2 of this ramble: Process (for real)!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

TODAY is the DAY!

Huzzah, dear blogledites! I've been working on "my first book" in one form or another since I was 14. Finally, today, it's available for YOU and all your friends to purchase.  :)

You have several options...

Smashwords lets you download in any format you choose, including epub (for iPad or Nook) or mobi (for Kindle), plus others.

Amazon is pretty self-explanatory. If you have a Kindle or the Kindle app on iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac, or PC, you can get it here.

Barnes & Noble is also pretty clear. If you own a Nook or have the Nook app on iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac, or PC, you can buy that version here.

And if you wanna learn about puffer fish, go here.

The best part? No matter where you buy it, it's only $2.99! Even I could afford that, and I'm po'. That's poorer than poor, kids.

It will be in the iBook store, but that will take a few weeks. I'll keep you updated on when that happens. In the meantime, go ahead and grab it somewhere else, give it a read, and if you don't mind posting a review that'd be awesome and wonderful.  :)

Thanks, dear blogledites!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Almost Time!

Tomorrow is the day. For REAL. I'm going to publish to Smashwords, which will be effective immediately, and then I'll submit to Nook and Kindle. That takes 12-24 hours to go live. It'll take a few weeks for it to hit iBooks, unfortunately, because I have to wait for Smashwords to admit me into their premium catalog, and they have a bit of a backlog right now.

Point being, TOMORROW you'll be able to buy The Dark Man's Son for the low, low price of $2.99!

I'll post the links tomorrow!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

It's Excerpt Time!

Hullo, faithful blogledites! Today I bring excerpt from The Dark Man's Son! Thrilling, yes?

This scene takes place in Jason's grandfather's library. Jason's inherited his grandfather's estate, and that includes a huge collection of antique books. He calls for an appraiser, and by happy (or not-so-happy) coincidence, it turns out to be Alex -- the crazy woman he met last night who claimed a pair of simple muggers were demons.

He turned away from the door with an angry huff of breath, and she followed him inside. Closed the door behind them. “The library’s through here,” he grumbled. “Do you really know anything about old books, or was this whole thing just some weird set-up?”

She followed him down the short hall and lingered in the library’s doorway to get a good look at the room. “That would be an elaborate plan, even for me,” she said, her eyes trained on the sprawling shelves. “No, the bookstore you called is mine, and I’m the one who does all the appraisals. When I saw your name in the appointment book…well, I figured it was just a funny little twist of fate.”

“Fate has a pretty messed up sense of humor.”

Her gaze moved to rest on him for the first time since they’d come into the library. “Yes. But she’s also a stubborn bitch, and arguing with her is futile. So here I am.”

He crossed his arms over his broad chest and leaned back against the desk. Dark blue eyes narrowed as he watched her set the briefcase on the table and begin to unpack its contents. “Your brother says hi.”

She froze, though only for a moment. “Does he?” she said. He sensed the strain in her voice as she struggled to sound casual; her hands trembled; she wouldn’t meet his eyes. “And how did you two get on?”

Jason gave a lazy shrug. “Not so well, actually. He’s sorta pushy.”

She snorted and seemed to relax. “Nailed it. He’s very impatient, and very ruthless. I am a bit surprised he found you so quickly, though.” She pulled on a pair of white cotton gloves and flashed him a smile. 

“Where would you like to begin?”

“Are you serious about this?”

“You made an appointment, Jason. You obviously have need of my services,” she said with a gesture that encompassed the neat stacks and the mess he’d already made. “I wouldn’t think our prior meeting should have any impact on a possible business relationship, should it?”

“I’m sorry, I just…this is all a bit too weird for me.” He rubbed the tattoo on his upper arm like he did when he was anxious or deep in thought. She caught the gesture, and her eyes narrowed.

“Interesting tattoo,” she said.

“Huh? Oh, yeah. I designed it myself.”

“Did you?” she murmured. “Hmm.” She took a few steps closer, and the whisper-soft feel of her gloved fingers against his skin surprised him. “What was your inspiration?”

“Um, you know, just…life? I don’t know, really. I wanted a tattoo, and I wanted something different. I sat down and started doodling, and this is what I came up with.”

“Hm,” she said again. Her expression turned quizzical, and she cocked her head to the side like a curious bird. “What do you do, Jason? When you’re not being attacked by demons or overwhelmed by an old man’s minutiae, I mean.”

He had to smile at the way she phrased it; it was the first genuine smile he could remember since hearing about his grandfather’s death. His navy eyes warmed and a dimple appeared in his left cheek; a shallower one flashed on the right. Her own mouth curved helplessly in response. “What’s so funny?” she asked.

“Nothing,” he said with a shake of his head. “Everything. I don’t know. But to answer your original question, I work with wood. I guess you could call me a carpenter.”

“Like my brother,” she said.

“That creepy guy’s a carpenter?”

She made an impatient gesture. “No, of course not. My other brother.”

Somehow his mind made the impossible leap, and shook his head again at this new madness. “You’re insane. Are you trying to tell me your brother—”

“I’m a child of the Divine,” she said in that same serene, implacable tone. “So was he. Different, of course, but the same.” She shrugged a little. “There were many before him, a few since, and there will be more. It’s just the way of things.”

He didn’t have an answer to this, but she didn’t seem to expect one. “The creature you met last night—what did he call himself?”


Her expression turned sour. “Of course he would. Luke. He employs a thousand tiny cruelties. Do me a favor: next time you see him—and there will be a next time, I’m sure of it—call him Cassius.” Her eyes seemed over-bright, and her next words were brisk. “As for carpentry, he’s incapable of creating anything. He exists only to rot and destroy.”

“He called you a bringer of nightmares.”

She wandered away and began to carefully sort through some of the books he’d culled from the deeper parts of the library. “Yes. He would. To his kind, I am a nightmare.”

Jason ran frustrated hands through his hair; scraped it back off his forehead and tugged hard. “Could you please just explain to me what you are? I’ve been trying to find some sort of clue, but it’s like no one has ever heard of you.”

“I told you last night that we keep a low profile. It’s necessary when you’ve existed…as long as we have.”

“Enough with the riddles, lady—Claire or Alex, whatever your name is! I’m tired of these mind games. I just want a straight answer.”

She cleared her throat and stroked a leather binding. “Your grandfather seems to have an extensive collection of books on demonology, mythology, and religion.”

“Yeah, I noticed that. So?”

“Some of these are quite rare. Look at this. I haven’t seen one of these in centuries.” She held up a thick book, its binding dark and cracking with age, but Jason ignored it.

“You mean…no one’s seen one of those in centuries. Like…reports and stuff haven’t mentioned it. Not you, personally.”

Her jade eyes—flashing gold, like he’d noticed last night—met his, and the expression there terrified him. 

“I’m a daughter of the Divine, Jason. Do you have any idea what means?”

“Obviously I don’t. Why do you think I’ve been begging you for a little clarification?”

Her mouth lifted at one corner. “You won’t believe me.”

“I already don’t believe half the shit you say. I don’t know how much worse it could get.”

She turned away and very deliberately set the delicate old book back on the table. When she faced him again, her eyes were entirely gold, no trace of the green. Jason blinked. “Your…eyes…? What…?” A trick of the light, it had to be.

“It’s not a trick, Jason.” She took a step toward him, and he pushed away from the desk and backed up. 

She kept advancing; he kept retreating. She stopped and sighed. “You’ve no reason to fear me.”

“You’re joking, right? I watched you beat up a guy three times your size. I met that freak show who calls himself your brother. Now you’re standing in my grandfather’s library with color-change eyes claiming that you remember a book from centuries ago. Either one of us is seriously unhinged—”

“Or it’s all true,” she said gently.

“I was gonna say ‘or we both are’.”

She pulled the desk chair out for him. “Sit down, Jason.” She claimed one of the chairs near the fireplace and dragged it closer. “We need to have a serious talk.”

And there ya go! A little appetizer to whet your appetites for the release next week. Are you excited? I'm probably excited enough for all of us, so don't worry if you're just all "meh."

Stay tuned, dear blogledites! I might post another excerpt tomorrow.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Book Cover 2: Electric Bugaloo

Aaaaaand we're off! Cathy and I finalized a book cover design, I've created an Author Facebook page, I've started begging the world for reviews.... It's not easy for me to put myself out there this much. I'm a blend-into-the-background sort of person most of the time, and I like it that way. Now I'm standing in a crowded room shouting at people. It's strange, but hopefully it'll pay off in the end.

What's that? You wanna see the book cover? Well...since you asked so nicely, dear blogledites! Here it is:

Lovely, isn't it? I think so. That guy looks very much like Jason.

So now I've got the final edits done (for REAL), I've got it looking all polished and snazzy for Smashwords, Nook, and what's next? Well. On Monday I'll hit that little "Publish" button on Smashwords and it'll be for sale there. I'll upload it to Nook and Kindle, and it'll go on sale within 24 or so hours there. Exciting, right?! All this work, and it's finally here!

Check out my author Facebook page, if'n ya want to:!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Book cover!

After much agonizing, I finally decided on a book cover. I'm waiting to hear back from Cathy, and once I do I'll be able to unveil it! Very exciting. Now the real promotional work can begin!

I need to redo .... wait, what? I have no idea. I thought of something else in the middle of that sentence and forgot what I was saying. Squirrel!

Oh, I remember. I need to redo the blog to reflect the book cover design at least somewhat. I tossed the Robin McQuay girl pic up there just to have something, but now I want it to tie in.

I finished the rewrites, but I haven't put them in yet. My 30 day free trial of Word expired, as I mentioned last time, and I've been too lazy to get on the old PC to do the Word edits side-by-side with the Pages. I'm off tomorrow, so I should be able to get it done then.

So what's left? A promotional blitz heading into the next two weeks leading up to the on-sale date. I've offered to do reviews for some authors in the hopes that they'll review me in turn. That'd be nice, right?

Work's been insane, but I've tried to make brain time for the book. It's important to me, and I want it to be the best it can be. I read that self-publishing was hard work, but I didn't realize it would be THIS hard!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The (for real) rewrites begin!

I haven't read my book in about three weeks now, and I've basically been trying not to think about it at all. I mean, not not think about the book itself, but not think about the writing. It hasn't been easy, and I've been tempted a few times, but I've resisted. I told myself when I got the cover, I'd sit down, give it a good read, and do any final rewrites before publishing.

Last night Cathy sent me the first mockups of the cover, and so my long fast was broken. I picked up the book. I started reading.

Well. Shall I forgive myself because chapter 1 was written so, so long ago and I was a different writer then? I'll give myself the benefit of the doubt. And chapter 2? It's been gutted. Like, I cut about half of it. Those pages aren't gone; I'm going to use them in the novella; but I think I was trying too hard to squeeze too much in when I included them in Dark Man's Son.

So many "advice to writers" type things say cut, cut, and cut some more, and that each cut is a victory. It's true. But with these rewrites I'm not just cutting; I'm revising and polishing and remaking. The book will be better for it........

I understand a lot of the issues with self-published writers now. It's not just bad comma placement or split infinitives (though I split infinitives, and I split them defiantly); it's also that rush to publish. You've worked so hard on something, and now it's done! Huzzah! Hit that little button on KDP or Pub!It or Smashwords and blammo! Instant book.

Of course, said instant book is probably pretty frightful. Yeah, it might be readable, even enjoyable, but it's not necessarily...good. Was my first draft bad? No, I don't think so. Was it the best it could be? God, no, and even the final, published version probably won't be.

But each time I sit down with the manuscript and go through it, it gets better. I took 3 weeks away to give myself some distance, and now I'm back with a fresh eye. I'm seeing the flaws and inconsistencies I didn't see before, and I'm correcting them. Scenes that were once sharp and vivid in my mind -- because I'd just made them up -- are now hazy, and I can recognize when I need to put a bit more effort into those pesky descriptions. I hate writing descriptions of where people are, but 3 weeks away has given me the distance to see when it's necessary.

Well and so. I'm only halfway through chapter 2, and I've got a revision nearly every page. Even if it's just a small thing. It's worth it, though.

Now my problem: my free trial of Office has expired, so I can't revise my Smashwords edition. I have word on my big, old, clunky PC, but that means I'll have to put off doing the revisions until I feel like dealing with the damn thing. *sigh* The trials of a poor writer....

Sunday, May 13, 2012

An update...because why not?

Today is Mother's Day, and I just wanna let y'all know that I have a great mom. She's awesome. Happy Mother's Day to her, and I'm glad she's able to put up with all my shit.

In other news...I signed a contract with the oh-so-talented Cathy Helms to design my book cover, and I'm very excited. She's going to be working on it near the end of the month, and I can't wait.

I haven't done much with the book in the last week or so. I'm trying to let it breathe -- like wine, I guess -- and then once Cathy gets the cover to me, I'm going to give it another read through. The last one. Really. I'll do any final (REALLY) tweaks, and then it'll be ready to go.

It's sort of surreal, because I finished it a few weeks ago, and it's kind of like...then the hard work began. Would I do anything differently at this point? No, I don't think so. This process is exhausting, a bit, but overall worth it. I'm excited about the release and the cover and all of it.

Short entry tonight, kids. I'm tired, but I didn't want the blog to feel neglected. Hi, blog. Here's a cookie.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Moment on my Soapbox

I swore to myself I wouldn't use this as a forum to air my own personal issues, and I mean to keep that promise. I have a LOT of issues, and if I turned this into a bitch/rant blog, that's all it would be.

Having said that, there are certain issues too big for me to let pass me by. They make me angry. They make me sad. They make me cry in my car all the way home from work despite a blinding rainstorm.

I'm talking, dear blogledites, about Amendment One here in North Carolina. There are a lot of things I love about my state. We went for Obama in 08. We're hosting the DNC in a few weeks. We're home to one of my personal heroes, Maya Angelou. Obviously we're not the "Deep South" that people are so afraid of.

But painful ignorance still holds far too much sway here, and yesterday's vote made that obvious. They called it "the marriage amendment," and it was, but not in the way people thought. Yes, it banned gay marriage -- something that was already against the law in this state anyway -- but it also banned gay civil unions. AND it also banned heterosexual civil unions. Now, in North Carolina, the only way your union can be legally recognized is if you're a MARRIED heterosexual couple. Also, civil unions are not even recognized in NC. So if you were civil unioned in Virginia, say, and you're driving through the fair state of NC and get into a car wreck, and your partner is in a coma -- sorry, you have no legal rights in this state, no matter how legal your union is.

Does that sound right to you? It sure as hell doesn't to me. What gets me is how Republicans are always bitching about the government getting into their lives. "Don't tell me I have to buy healthcare -- I'm a free American and should be able to choose!" Right. Okay. But the government has a right to tell you you HAVE to get married in order for your union to be legally recognized? Sorry, y'all: you didn't just invite big government into your home, you ushered it straight into the bedroom and gave it a seat right beside the bed.

The hypocrisy of this is staggering to me. The "sanctity of marriage" line is BS. There are maybe five people left in the continental US who actually believe in the "sanctity" of marriage. But now, because of ignorance, bigotry, and hypocrisy, kids all across NC will lose access to healthcare.

How? you might be asking. I listened to two ladies outside my polling place yesterday mocking those of us against Amendment 1 for believing...well, the law. You see, before this new law passed, a stepparent could carry health insurance on their non-biological child if said stepparent was in a civil union with the child's biological parent. Now, of course, such unions are illegal, so if the biological parent is unemployed (and NC has the 5th highest unemployment rate in the US), the child loses healthcare. Unless, of course, the parents get married. And naturally the government has every right to sashay in and tell these two people that they MUST GET MARRIED or face the CONSEQUENCES!!

And what about seniors? Many widowed seniors specifically choose not to get married, because the social security benefits they're receiving as a widow/er are their only source of income. NOT ANY MORE, old people! GET MARRIED or get CUT OFF!

I think, dear blogledites, that you can sense my anger here. I'm furious and hurt and upset. I'm a straight woman, and I support my LGBT brothers and sisters in their right to love as they choose, and to marry the person they love. I also support my fucking right to marry or not as I bloody well choose.

The last amendement to the North Carolina state constitution made interracial marriage illegal. My only hope is that one day, in the not-too-distant future, North Carolinians will look back at Amendment One and shake their heads at their forebears' ignorance and bigotry, just as we look back at that last amendment with disgust.

Now let's get this shit repealed.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Don't feed the idea gremlins after midnight

I want to go to sleep. I had a long day, and I'm tired. You might be wondering why I'm telling you (the infinite abyss) this rather than just going to sleep, but it's pretty simple: I can't get my brain to shut up.

Seriously. I'm writing scenes from the sequel in my head AS I FRAKKIN TYPE THIS. Do you have any idea how annoying that is? I can't get the characters' voices out of my head. They have medication for that.

I'll probably try to get it down on "paper," but then it won't be as good as what I'm hearing in my head right now, and I'll be all pissed and disappointed and end up staying up until 8am or something trying to get it right. Thus is the curse of a writer. As melodramatic as that sounds, I've come to accept its truth.

In other news, didn't go to The Avengers midnight screening tonight. I thought about it, toyed with the idea, but in the end I decided I'd rather wait a few days. Midnight screenings are fun, but they're also stressful. I don't do well around huge, excited crowds.

Ari Hest is playing the late show tomorrow at the Muse, and I'm excited about that. Gonna see Joe and Bradley play with The Matt Perrone Band on Saturday for Joe's birthday, so that should be fun. Other than that...I'm bleary-eyed and tired of thinking about angels and demons.

What idjit thought this writing thing was a good idea?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Working, working!

It's funny. I thought writing the book would be the hardest part. Actually, compared to my usual writing process, writing it was the easiest bit of all.

Right now I'm struggling with my whole "marketing" thing. I'm not very good at it, truth be told, and I've never been that great at generating a following.

I've spent the past several hours scouring some stock image sites for cover images. I found a couple I really, really like, but the licensing agreements are so confusing I have no idea if I can afford them or not. Luckily I have a professional in my corner, and she's the one who has to figure that all out.  :)  Since she does it for a living, unlike me, I have every confidence.

What else? Oh, ya, plagued by self-doubt about the book itself. Still doing re-writes, even though at this point I know I should leave it the hell alone. Is there enough chemistry between the main leads? Do I introduce too many minor characters too fast? Is it readable? Are the characters three dimensional beings with flaws and problems and likeability? On and on.

I haven't heard back from any of the review sites I emailed, but I'm being patient. I'm sure they get a lot of emails. Also, my book cover designer said she'd ask around to see if any of her author friends would be able to do a review. And then there's the nice folks over at Famous Five; they'll help me out with that, too.

I'm a panicker. It's just who I am. I need to calm down right now, because honestly everything is going well. I have my book cover design in extremely capable hands. I've got feelers out all over the place about reviews/marketing. And, on top of all that, it's still a month until I'm planning to release! I have plenty of time.

Just mark this, dear blogledites: this is not a task to be undertaken lightly. Make sure you have plenty of time, energy, and...stress to spare.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

BLURBage! (and various and assorted sundry)

Whoa. That title sounds like a particularly unpleasant digestive issue. It's not; I promise.

I'm waiting on my dear friend to write a blurb for me, but I needed one for a site I've joined -- Famous Five Plus -- so I decided to write a temporary blurb until she gets one to me. Wanna read it? Aw, sure ya do! Ok, here goes.

She claimed the muggers were demons, but of course Jason didn’t believe her. At first.

When a mysterious woman appears in a dirty alley to rescue Jason Latimer from a pair of muggers, he tries to write her off as a garden variety lunatic. But he can’t shake the memory of her intense green eyes that seemed to flash gold, or the glowing sword she’d worn on her hip.

She calls herself Alex (no last name) like she’d made it up on the spot, and she offers Jason her protection. From what, she can’t or won’t say. He refuses, and that night he dreams of a dark man with the same offer. His black eyes flash blood and garnet, and he smells of burning things. Jason refuses him, too.

A chance meeting brings Alex and Jason together again, and she tells him of the Guardians: two immortal beings created near the beginning of time with the express purpose of fighting for mortal-kind’s soul. She is Light, and the man from Jason’s dream is Dark. Jason must choose, because Lucifer, for reasons purely his own, has unleashed the armies of Hell to hunt Jason down.

But there are things about Jason that not even he knows, and he’ll face hard truths and bitter choices as he struggles to find his place in a world redefined. Will he rise to the challenge, or, when the time comes, will he falter?

From Renaissance Florence to the French Revolution, from World War II to the modern streets of New Orleans, The Dark Man’s Son is a riveting journey filled with unforgettable characters, wry humor, dark twists, and a touch of romance.

Aaaand that's it. I'm not so good at blurbs, kids, especially since a blurb is supposed to brag about how bitchin' your book is, and I'm REALLY bad at that. I have no idea if my book is bitchin' or not. I mean, I think it doesn't...completely suck...but that doesn't mean it's good, ya know?

Anyway. I've sent out some feelers on getting it reviewed by some blogs that do that sorta thing. I've added all the different ones to my links list over on the right. You should check 'em out; they've got some good info!

In other news, I've decided to write the novella at whatever the hell pace I want. I'm no longer aiming for it to be released before the book. The book I'm hoping to release June 11. Yeah, that's right! You heard me! A release date! But the novella can wait a bit; it can still serve its purpose of letting people dip their toe in the water without taking the whole plunge even if I don't release it before the book itself.

Whew. I'm so tired. Had a long, crazy day at work, and now it's way past my bedtime. I just couldn't leave my to-do list so undone.

Speaking of, if you have an iPhone or an Android-based phone, you should check out the app Astrid To-do. We all need a bit more organization in our lives, and Astrid is super cute. I love the little squids, and it syncs between my iPad and my Incredible 2. I'm not being paid to say this, kids: if I find an app I like, I endorse it because I like it. That's just me. Share the love and whatnot. I just wish they had an iPad-specific version, because I don't like the itty bitty iPhone sized display on my iPad.

Goodnight, dear blogledites. I send this out into the ether with a kiss and a hope.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Novella, novella, novella

So, hey, I finally sat down and started writing the novella! I'm only about 3k words into it, but it's actually pretty decent. I'm not...100% sure what's going to happen next, as far as specifics go, but I have a general idea, and for me that's usually enough to get started.

I'm planning to keep things very mysterious. I don't want the reader (you guys!) to know too much of the nitty gritty background details, because I get into all that way more in The Dark Man's Son. Don't wanna show your hand too soon, ya know?

The novella is more about James and his experiences and his life...and falling in love. It's definitely more of a love story than anything else. Of course, I have the ending of this particular love story in The Dark Man's Son, so it's gonna be interesting trying to decide how exactly to end the novella. I don't want to remove that chapter from the book, so...well, we'll see. I'll think of something.

I always do.  :)

In other news, the rewrites for the book are pretty much done. I'm waiting on my friend to get back to me with the blurb, and to hear from someone about the cover illustration. Everything's really coming together! Too bad I suck so hard at this whole marketing thing. Can't even get people to the damn blog...

Well, blogledites (you few, you happy few), that's all for tonight. Tune in next time for some handy-dandy tips on...I don't know. Writing in first person? Sure!

Monday, April 23, 2012


The idea I've had for the novella has gone nowhere. I have to get back into the groove of writing. I was writing at least 2k words/day, and if I did skip a day, I instead did a bunch of editing, formatting, or rearranging. In that spirit, I've spent the last few hours formatting the Word document for Smashwords upload.

I wasn't at all happy about it before I started. I wrote the whole thing in Pages (yes, I have a Mac), and I had it beautifully formatted for an ebook. Pages lets you export as an epub, which is fantastic for previewing.

So imagine my consternation when I realized Smashwords doesn't accept beautifully formatted epub files, but only Word files! I don't have Word. I have Pages. Le sigh. I downloaded the free trial of Office just for this purpose, and I don't know what I'm gonna do if it takes me longer than 30 days to write the novella. Use one of the computers on the floor at work? *snicker* Right...

I've resigned myself to the situation now. I did as the style guide suggested in an attempt to enter page breaks between my chapter headings. In case they don't work I have these dandy little things:


Eh. Better than nothing, right? I don't have the money for an ISBN, and w/o an ISBN I can't get into the iBooks store. Smashwords provides ISBNs to people who get accepted into their Premium catalog. I don't see why I wouldn't, since I followed the stye guide perfectly. I'm very anal about formatting anyway. I want things to look pretty. Oh well. At least the Kindle and Nook editions will preserve my original formatting.

That's all for now, kids; gotta get ready for work!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Oh Crap

Here's something you may or may not know about me, blogledites: I am a crazy person. Yes, it's true, and I'll tell you why.

As I'm sure you all know by now, I just finished my first book. It was 97k words and quite a few years in the making. So what genius plan do I have now? I'm going to write a novella. Yeah. Right on top of finishing the novel, I'm diving back in for about 40k more words. My plan is to release the novella first, for free, to get people interested. And then they're more likely to spend hard cash for the book. See?! It's actually a pretty smart plan.

Too bad it means I have to actually write the damn novella, and make it damn good, too. I just exhausted my brain on the book. I don't know if there's anything left!

But I have an idea for it. A pretty good idea. It would be a sort-of prequel...but not exactly...and it would have some of the same characters as the book, but not all.

Ok. I'm gonna quit chattering to this empty room and go write something productive.

Friday, April 20, 2012


I get that no one reads any of this, and I'm even kind of ok with that. I'm just rambling and hitting the "publish" button to send these words out into the vast, echoing abyss of the internet.

My worry is that since nobody comes to my blog (which I plug quite often on Facebook and Twitter), will anyone bother reading my book? Sigh. Doubts, indecision, and lack of confidence plague me.

C'mon, cosmos. Gimme a break here.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I kinda love rewrites

In case you're new here (and who am I kidding--everyone's new here!), I just wrote my first book. I've been writing short stories and attempts at books and fanfiction since I was in high school, but I finally managed to sit down and bust out 100k words all on the same subject with all the same characters and whatnot. I'm pretty happy about it.

I do something that most writing advice type things will tell you not to do: I edit as I go. I kind of can't help it. I write a chapter, read it, and edit it. Rinse and repeat. It's part of my process. Because of that, when I set about doing the rewrites for my book, I thought I wouldn't have that much to do. It's all already been edited like four times, right?

Arrogance, thy name is first time writer. I read the whole book through once and found a couple of little things. Then I put it aside for a week and didn't touch it, and now I'm reading it again, slowly, and I'm finding more nitpicky type things (and the occasional typo, egad!) to fix, plus major scenes that need overhauls. My mom is reading it, too, and she's making notes as she goes, and I'm fixing or altering according to what she's saying as I go, too.

As a result I've drastically changed the order of a few things, to the point that I'll have to read the whole thing from the beginning again to know if I like it. I've also re-written some weak scenes that've bugged me since day one, and I've fleshed out some things that need fleshing.

Point is, I knew I needed an outside opinion before I knew if any of it was any good or if it was all rubbish, and at least now I know. Of course, she hasn't gotten to the ending yet, and I hate writing endings....

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Friday the whatwhat?

Apparently today was Friday the 13th. Some part of my brain knew that, I guess, but being a very non-superstitious person, I didn't really care. I have a black cat, and he crosses my path at least once a day. In China black cats are considered lucky. I'm down with that.

Concert season 2012 is winding up, and some of my favorite acts are on tour. Ari Hest will be at the Evening Muse on May 4, and Bob Schneider will be playing a solo acoustic show at the Visulite on April 27. David Gray is back on tour, and I sincerely hope he adds Charlotte to his list of stops, because his show last July at Ovens was probably the best concert I've ever been to. Somewhere around us would work, too; I'd drive to see David Gray.

Music on my mind...I went to the Vis tonight to see a friend of mine from work play, and he was awesome. Probably the best part of the night. The band he was playing with, the Matt Perronne Band, was opening for the Pat McGee Band. Not a huge fan of Pat McGee; a bit too country for my taste; but overall it was a good night for music in the Queen City.

I've decided on some tweaks I'm gonna make to the blog layout, and hopefully that'll make things a bit easier to read. I did this design based on the design of my other blog, which is mostly pictures and very few words, and what works over there doesn't work as well over here. Live and learn, right?

I just finished reading Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett for the fourth time. If you haven't read it, you really should. It's very funny. Perhaps even the funniest book about the Apocalypse ever written. That sounds odd, but trust me.

Speaking of things I like (and the Apocalypse, thought I'm not particularly a fan of that), you should all check out Divine: The Series. It's a web series that's like a...really violent version of my book. With more priests. And a random Japanese schoolgirl. If you're a fan at all of the show Supernatural, Misha Collins (Castiel) is one of the creators, and he's also in it. It's really well done, and it recently won a bunch of awards for directing and effects and...stuff. Each episode is only ten minutes long, and there are six of them, so surely you can spare the time.

That's about all I got tonight, kids. I'll be back later with more. Not sure if that's a promise or a threat....

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Where are you going...? Know it, I do!

Where are you going to!?

Yeah, okay. For those of you who aren't old school mega-geeks like me, that was a King's Quest 6 reference. It was pretty bitchin' back in the day, and it was the first game I ever played on CD-ROM; that is, the first game that ever actually TALKED to me! I played it so many times I can still hear certain lines in my head. "Don't just wander, Alexander; let your conscious be your guide."

Right, moving on...

A friend of mine sent me a link to Patrick Rothfuss' blog (If you don't know who Patrick Rothfuss is, stop reading this right now. Go find one of his books. Read it. Read the second one. Come back.) in which the author instructs a first-time fantasy writer in the fine art of not showing your hand too early. Don't pile on the info so fast that your reader gets bored and wanders off, in other words.

It's great advice, and in a fantasy story it's especially important. So how does this advice apply to The Dark Man's Son?

Well, ya see. People ask me (quite often) what my book is about. I, being me, kind of assume they're just being polite and give them a sort of over-simplified version. "Oh, it's a modern urban fantasy with mythological elements. Like, angels and demons and whatnot. Good vs. evil. Ya know." It is all those things, don't get me wrong, but I'm leaving out pretty much...yeah, 99% of "what it's about".

How, then, do I explain that, yes, it's about those things I just said, but also I created this class of being that's unique (not 100% unique,, Joseph Campbell) to my story. Am I supposed to launch into an entire background spiel? Maybe some people would find that interesting, but other people might be like, "Yeah, um. I was just bein' polite. Thanks, though."

Besides that bit of social awkwardness, Pat's blog sent me into a tailspin of rewrites. In the original (as in, 10 years ago) versions of this story, which are all VASTLY different than the final one, I had long paragraphs basically describing the Guardians' origins, function, history...everything. I had taken most of that out in this story, but I did have a prologue that established some of the story's mythology straight off the bat.

In response to the "don't share too much too soon" advice, I chopped my prologue up into little bits. There's no longer a prologue. Instead, peppered throughout the story, are pieces of the prologue. Like croutons in a salad. Wait: I just said "peppered". Right. So the prologue is now peppered like salad croutons, because I did not mix my metaphors, dammit.

Do I like it better? Yes and no. Yes because I prefer a non-linear style of storytelling anyway, and doing this allowed me to mix the prologue up (like salad dressing) so that the first bits are now middle bits, and the last bits are first bits, and the middle bits are all over. But for the no: I'm not sure I like how I've peppered the croutons throughout my story salad, and maybe it doesn't work at all.

Sigh. Okay, kids. Next entry won't be so much second-guessing. I'm going to try to point you guys towards some of the reference sources I used, because for a modern urban fantasy with mythological elements, I did a helluva lot of historical research.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Aaaaand breathe

I think the header image is pretty well tweaked by now. Robin McQuay girl will stare into your SOUL!

It's kinda funny, because I have a LiveJournal, and I have another blog (WAY different than this one), and I never keep up with them. So why will I keep up with this one? Hum. I have a plan. A sort of take-over-the-world type plan. No, not really. It's smaller and simpler than that.

I just wrote a book. I'm kind of impressed with myself, but only in a "wow I can't believe I actually stuck it out this time" sorta way. Not like "holy crap I'm the new Hemingway" or anything.

Anyway. It was an arduous process, and not for the faint of heart. It literally hurt at times--I tend to type like a crazy person banging away at the keyboard, and some days my hands felt like they were on fire. I miss my old school "natural" keyboard. You know, the one that looks like Salvador Dali got ahold of it? Yeah...that's the one.

I have one like that for my old PC, and I like it. Scoff if you will, but Dali knew his stuff. I mean, geez, have you seen his movies? Go Google it. I'll wait.

Hum. Guess I shoulda warned you about the eyeball thing. It was a cow's eye, so that nice lady is fine.

But I digress. I posted a lot on Twitter and FB while I was writing my book, because they were right there on my phone, all convenient and whatnot, but I'd like to devote more of my energy to telling the story of writing here. I don't mean telling the story of my book--that's what the book's for--but more the experience of writing it.

A lot of people want to write books, and on the surface it looks sorta easy. Really, though, it's pretty frakkin hard. Yeah, I just said "frakkin". So?

The hardest part for me was the title. That sounds ridiculous, but up until...hum, right before I wrote the last chapter...I had no title. Even now, I'm not 100% committed to the title I chose. It just stuck in my head, and nothing else sounded right. So I guess that's its name.

The Dark Man's Son. My first book. What a trip.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It's so shiny and new!

Hi, all! It looks like I finally stopped being so lazy and decided to actually create a real blog. It's still in its infancy, so stop by often to watch the process unfold. I gotta tweak the header image...and I need to create buttons...and I gotta think of something to talk about....

Yeah. This should be interesting.