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:!