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Friday, January 27, 2012

Multiple Publishers – Good or Bad?




I was recently asked why I chose to place work with so many different publishers, and what was the advantage of having multiple publishers. It got me thinking about that precise question. Many authors like to have more than one publisher listed on their sites and credits, and I suppose everyone has their own reasons for it. For me, it’s really a question of finding what works for certain stories and expanding readership.

As with all things, everyone has loyalties and favourites. I suspect it’s no different with publishing than any other area of life. If readers find books they like with one publisher, they are more inclined to stay with that house and go back often to select books and test the waters with the new authors who join the house. So, for someone who likes to write a lot and is prolific, multiple houses is a great option to get your name and work on front of as many new readers as realistically possible.

There are pros and cons to every choice we make. This one is no different than any other. For some people, having work spread out in too many markets simply makes it hard to find what is new. For others, it’s a matter of common sense. Not all publishers are open to all genres, and even when/if they are, they might not always be the best fit for certain types of stories. For me, again, it’s a matter of attempting to find where the story fits best for the market I want. You can’t really expect a publisher known primarily for erotica to be a great fit for your Young Adult fiction. Nor can you expect a mainstream publisher to be overjoyed with your erotic romance submissions. If you want to write in many genres, or mix them up, you have to research your publishers the same way you do your books.

Financially, because let’s be real, this IS a business and we all want to make money, you are again faced with options and choices that you need to consider carefully. It isn’t always the top-line publisher that will be your best option if you have a story you really care about and want to see treated with the care you’ve given it. ALL publishers are good to their authors, it makes good business sense and it’s in everyone’s best interests to make a solid, amiable working relationship. That said, if the small publisher is more likely to invest attention and care into a work that means a lot to you, then sometimes it’s better to risk smaller royalty cheques and be happier with the published product, than to have it get lost in the crowd of other titles with a bigger house where everyone has to be given equal time.

So, at this time I have nine publishers. Some I work with often, others seldom. I’m always looking for new houses, and that is in part why I have those nine publishers at the moment. I write all over the place, style wise and “heat range” are as varied as my mood. For me, this is about reaching as many readers as possible and finding new ways to tell good stories.

By the way, as of last night, I have signed with a new house, too, so we’ll see how that adventure goes! Stay tuned for more information about a sexy new short story called RETURN TO LOVE, coming soon from Eirelander Publishing.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fantasy vs. Reality?

So, here we are closing in on the end of January, rather quickly. Most of this first month of a new year has been spent in clearing up work from 2011 and setting into place new goals for 2012. I’ve had a few demons to put to rest, as well, and in the past five weeks, most of those shadows have in fact been exorcised.

A couple of days ago I was drawn back into a world I had happily left behind. Unfortunately, unfinished business always finds a way to remind you of things not dealt with, and that was the case here. A random remark brought forth a wealth of answers to questions I’d dismissed as impossible to answer. Now, I have a lot of answers, a lot of information, and a few decisions to make about what will be done with the knowledge that is now in my keeping.

What the hell am I talking about is what you’re thinking, no doubt. Let’s go back to 2011 for a few minutes and then move forward from there…

Most people who know me have seen me supporting the entities known as “role-players” and advocating their desire to write and entertain as legitimate and worthy of praise. I still support anyone who wants to write, but I have to state categorically that I will never again endorse role-players on any level. Having been both friend and supporter, then labelled enemy over issues most adults would simply laugh at, I’ve reached a whole new level of understanding and in a real way, intolerance of the bullying and cowardice that goes with the role-play personality in far too many.

I’ve read interviews with role-players, I’ve published them in my magazine. As someone noted when reading these interviews, they all spout the same crap and sound like they’re reading the same speech. What I wasn’t able to see last year, I see very clearly now that I’ve put distance between me and the insanity of this make-believe world. MOST of the people who come into this do so because they want to write. My advice, for what it’s worth, is write–don’t waste your energy engaged in something that violates the work of authors you claim to admire. But do so with the understanding that until you step away from your role-player style and mindset, your prose is going to be the stuff of editorial nightmares.

I do believe when this kind of writing/entertainment begins it does so with an honest desire to be creative and interact with people. It’s alluring and addicting. But, despite a year’s worth of faith and involvement, I have yet to see anything really good come from living in this world. People lie, hide behind false identities, bully others, betray friendships, and all in the name of protecting their role-play or role-players. Facebook is home to much of this, and the “wars” never end there. Even those who scream they want no drama are continually creating it. As if there isn’t enough room on a site like Facebook for every group? Then there are the independent sites with their idealistic spiel about no drama and safety… It’s just the same game on a different website. There is no trust you can count on, and all the bonded friendships are illusions because you aren’t friends with a real person, just the role they play–there again is the voice of nasty experience.

All in all, I’ve read the “brilliant” role-players and the average ones. Those who are praised for being great storytellers are often great conceptualists with poor skill in bringing those concepts and stories to life in literate prose. I’ve trusted few people in this make-believe world, and even those proved mistakes. So, now, there are approximately a dozen people still associated with me–and over 300 “friends” gone from my Facebook pages. Peace and sanity has returned.

Prior to the world of role-play, I had been on Facebook for three years with never a problem. During 2011, I was investigated twice because of activity reported on my pages, so is there a connection? I’m guessing there is…I no longer care. This crap is like a labyrinth you can’t escape until you’ve cleared the final gate. For me, this is the final gate. I enjoy the few sensible real people who remain in my life, and I’m grateful to role-play for introducing us, but mostly I am just damn relieved to have these people gone. As a role-playing friend of mine said recently, the real problem with RP is that it hides too many mental cases who bring all their crazy to characters who aren’t remotely as they are then presented to new fans and readers. Probably true, but irrelevant in the extreme. I know it’s made people I respected into total strangers once they become involved, and it’s ten negatives to every positive for what it brings into the lives of real people.

At the end of the day, the biggest issue with all this make-believe is that it sucks in real people, and when things sour, the real people are the ones everyone talks about and the ones targeted by assholes who are still hiding behind false names. There are never two sides to an issue, only the make-believe one. Frankly, I see nothing of merit in this whole world. “Brilliant” writers write books and publish, and entertain people. End of. They do not use the work of others to make themselves writers. Original characters, if you want to write, you still have to take it out of the “acting” mode and turn it into accepted prose. If you can’t or won’t do that, perhaps it’s time to look at yourself honestly and face whatever it is in your psyche and your life that you’re desperately trying to hide from. Maybe once you face that, you’ll be less inclined to bully and attack everyone who doesn’t play into your fantasy.

Now, we are done with this issue/topic, and it's onward to real life and better days ahead! Happy New Year everyone!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Lost ToThe Night - WINNERS

The three winners of a copy of LOST TO THE NIGHT are:

Chrisbails

RhapsdybJ

6goldfish©J

I am sending your books out now... thanks so much to everyone who dropped by this week!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

LOST TO THE NIGHT: Meet KAYDEN McLEOD

Today we continue our week-long celebration of the authors featured in XOXO Publishing's recently released paranormal collection LOST TO THE NIGHT. We're chatting with the brilliant and amazing Kayden McLeod, who is familiar to many readers of paranormal romance for both her excellent stories and her dazzling book covers. So, let's get to talking with the lovely Kayden!

How long have you been writing?

A little over fifteen years now, though I only babbled until about six years ago.

How long have you been a published author?

Three years.

What titles do you have available?

I have several series in paranormal: The Cornwall Coven, The Foxworth Coven, and The Jericho Coven. In erotica, I have Master of Subservience series. In addition several single titles.

Is dark fantasy/paranormal your favourite genre? If so, what makes it so appealing to you?

It is! I love to read and write both genres, because of the freedom these allow. Anything can happen, and reality rules rarely apply.

Do you have any new titles coming soon?

In Denyse’s Lost To The Night, Volume Two, I have another vampire tale. As well, more in my Master of Subservience series will be released. I am always working on a barrage of WIPs in a variety of genres.

What is your favourite genre to read and why?

Fantasy/paranormal in equal doses, both adult and YA. I love reading about new worlds/alternate realities.

What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process?

Opening up a document, having little to no idea what is going to happen from the first sentence, and just start writing.

If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why?

Laurell K Hamilton. She is one of the biggest reasons I started writing. Both of her worlds within Faerie and the Anita Blake enrapture me. She writes in first person, which has always been something I enjoyed doing.

Where can readers find you on the web?

http://kaydenmcleod.com/


Excerpt from The Bruja Ligera, found in Lost To The Night:

Tears glittered in her eyes when she realized she had to tell him. She had to get this over with and see the disbelief in his eyes when she told him the truth until he demanded a demonstration that would seal his opinion once and for all.

It had always been like that.

Then he would have what he asked for and then he would run for the hills as fast as he could.

The door opening made her jump, a ripple of pure hatred that was not her own teased her mind, a blackness so bitter her lip curled.

One look in the mirror told her exactly who walked into the bathroom.

“Well look whose hiding in the bathroom crying. Just the same baby you were back in junior high, aren’t you?” Kylie said in a singsong voice that went through Sorabella’s nerves like acid.

Over the last few years, Kylie gained some weight, just about everywhere. Her stomach ballooned over her jeans, which were too tight and cut too low, made for a body she had when she was seventeen, and not twenty-three.

“Look who came to gloat over something she knows absolutely nothing about.” The words escaped Sorabella’s mouth before she could pull them back, her tone biting and sarcastic.

“I know more than enough, Sory.” Kylie snapped. “I know you’re into black magic and stuff, summoning demons and all that. I have watched the movies, I know what witches do.”

Sorabella barely contained her laughter. She was, for lack of a better term since there really wasn’t one, a light witch. One that celebrated nature and used only energy from the earth, and simple vocal and herbal spells to power their magic.

Never had either she or her mama delved into the deeper, darker magicks –the power in the ancient tombs, which held spells that were immoral and made every part of Sorabella shudder in disgust.

Even in the extensive library in her mama’s home, no one would find such a book. Only the spells that didn’t require anything more than energy, stone and herb were displayed on those shelves.

“Like I said, you don’t know anything.” Sorabella snapped, feeling her anger flare, normally tampered down so well, but it was now flowing through her veins and heating everything it touched.

She hated Kylie in that moment for rushing her into something that she wanted no part in yet. She wasn’t ready, but now the cat was out of the bag, she might as well see it to the end. To wait, would allow it to dull in Tyler’s mind and she wanted an honest reaction.

“Well what do you do then?” Kylie demanded impatiently.

“Right now I really wish that mind control was in my repertoire.” Sorabella’s finger ran down the length of the counter, allowing the energy to flow into her body from the surface and power her magic.

The electric current made her hair fly around her head, but she didn’t care. If Kylie wanted to know what she did, that was fine. It was time she came out of the closet to someone. Before, when she was younger, her tricks had been meaningless, but she hadn’t understood her magic then as she did now.

At least now Sora was grown up enough to take a mature interest in it.

The lights went out in the bathroom, the lock sliding into place. Kylie shrieked. Her voice was strangled in the absolute darkness of the windowless room.

“What are you doing?” Kylie asked in a small tone.

Sorabella whispered a small fire spell, the wick appearing in her palm at her bidding.

“What is it that you fear most Kylie Green? It was snakes, wasn’t it?” Sorabella’s voice held a trance-like quality, as she focused on maintaining the spells she set in motion, applying more energy, and stretching her concentration even more.

She was a strong witch, strong and almost as skilled as her mama. Sorabella had been learning her craft almost since the day she was born.

Kylie had practiced hatred just as long, but never fear.

A hiss sounded from the floor, the fire from Sorabella’s hand showing Kylie what she feared most. A black and white striped snake slithered from between the bases of the stalls, making Kylie fall back and shriek again.

“How are you doing this?” Kylie’s high-pitched voice vibrated through Sorabella’s skull like a bad guitar whine.

“I’m the darkest witch you know, remember? Since I cast black magic and all.”

She was taking great pleasure in the fact that the snakes (three of which Kylie had yet to notice) were about as dangerous as a stuffed toy. It was obvious from the terror on Kylie’s face that she thought them real and it was perfectly satisfactory, almost gratifyingly so.

Then Kylie turned. A coral snake slithered its way around the heel of Kylie’s shoe. She raised her foot to stomp on it, kicking it away from her, but it did no use.

To make it react, it would need to feel pain. To feel pain, it would have to be real, alive.

The lock on the bathroom door slid open, but not by Sorabella’s doing. Who could have done that, with no key to get in?

The lights blazed overhead once more, revealing that the snakes were gone. The spells dispersed like they had never been, mist hovered in small areas of the room as they dissolved quickly.

Kylie was pale, shaking in the corner and staring at her mother who walked into the room with a confident grace. Lynda had her own interpretations and impressions of what had happened seconds before Sorabella released the energy back into the atmosphere.

Sorabella wasn’t naïve, and she knew Lynda saw something before the bathroom had resumed to its normal state.

“My dears, is everything all right in here?” Lynda asked quietly, no rightful suspicion on her guileless face.

Kylie said nothing to her mother, but ran out of the bathroom and slammed the door shut behind her.

“Sora, I think I would appreciate an explanation.” Lynda said sternly, hands on her hips as she waited.


LOST TO THE NIGHT: Volume One
A collection of five short novellas that celebrate the magic that is the night!

There are more mysteries walking beside us in this world than we will ever suspect or know. For some, the greatest fears are also the sweetest thrills. Death walks among us, the unknown feeds our imaginations and fuels our dreams and our nightmares. In this collection of stories from a group of exceptional and talented authors, we'll look into the shadows, and shiver with fright and passion, until we are Lost To The Night… and all its magic…

AVAILABLE NOW FROM:


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

LOST TO THE NIGHT: Meet NIKKI NOFFSINGER

Today we continue our week-long celebration of the authors featured in XOXO Publishing's recently released paranormal collection LOST TO THE NIGHT. We're chatting with the talented Nikki Noffsinger, who is relatively new but will soon a fan favourite, I'm sure! So, let's settle in and chat with Nikki!


How long have you been writing?

Since I was a little kid-about second grade was the first time I had written something that the teacher read to the class. We had to write a story about what Christmas meant to us, and my teacher sent home a letter to my grandma telling her I had enough talent that I made her teary.

How long have you been a published author?

That is kind of sketchy-I signed my first book away to a vanity press and that was 2 years ago, but legitimately published I would say recently with XOXO Publishing.

What titles do you have available?

Renegade Night and Lost To The Night Vol.I Collection featuring Denysé Bridger, Kayden Mcleod, Brigit Aine, and Sara Gonzalas. I also will have Cursed Awakening coming soon.

Is dark fantasy/paranormal your favourite genre? If so, what makes it so appealing to you?

It's one of my favorite genres. I grew up in the 80s so it was in the midst of Stephen King, Robin Cook, Clive Barker, and all those great 80's horror movies. I've always had a love of all things Vampire since they were my favorite horror movie monsters. Shows like Forever Knight gave vampires an even more drool worthy appeal and how mainstream they could become versus the whole Dracula scenario in a castle. In the 90s I discovered Anne Rice and I was an instant fan even though she'd been around for quite some time. My first romance love was with historical romances. Authors like Cassie Edwards, Connie Mason, Georgina Gentry, Julie Garwood, and Johanna Lindsay were all authors that I adored and still do. The first romance novel I ever bought was Cheyenne Splendor by Georgina Gentry followed by Savage Heat by Cassie Edwards. I guess what makes paranormal romance so appealing is because usually the plot lines are better than what's on TV and at the movies and it blends my favorite horror with romance and fantasy.

Do you have any new titles coming soon?

Cursed Awakening via XOXO Publishing

What is your favourite genre to read and why?

I don't know if I have a "favorite" because so many things turn me on. I mean I love and adore paranormal romance, but I still love historical romance. I read everything just about it right down to Manga and graphic novels. I love classic literature and one of my favorite writers was John Steinbeck-a love me and my grandfather both shared.

What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process?

The creating process-I compare it to when a painter gets what he or she sees in their minds eye to paint and then attacks the blank canvas and then when it's over there's a masterpiece that evokes feeling, emotion, and can transport one to what it is their looking at-or in my case reading.

If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why?

Oh wow...that's a tough because there are so many I would want to co-author a book with. Well since we're in the realm of the living, I would have to say I would love to co-author a book with Lynsay Sands or Kerrilyn Sparks. I mean I have so many favorites, but those two are on my top 5 list of favorite authors for this genre and Lynsay Sands has great historical romances as well.

Where can readers find you on the web?

Well I can be found at: http://nikkitrueblue.blogspot.com , Facebook under Nikki Noffsinger, http://guardiansofnightbynikkinoffsinger.webs.com/, Twitter under Nikki Noffsinger, and http://nikkitrueblue.livejournal.com/


Excerpt:

Ariel waved to Mya and Jude as they pulled out of the small parking area of her apartment complex. Grady had put his foot down about her staying in a dorm but she had put her foot down in letting him choose an off campus apartment. She liked the old four story brownstone. Plus, seeing as Grady thought it a dump, meant his visits would be few and far between. She got an eerie feeling as if someone in the shadows was watching her. She looked around and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary regardless she hurried up the stairs and unlocked her door. She had barely gotten in the door when there was a knock. She grinned, of course Mya must have forgotten something. Ariel opened the door and there was Dante. His very presence took up the entire space of the door way. His smile reminded her of a predator that had ensnared his prey. She dropped her purse and stood as still as a statue.

“May I come in Ariel?” he asked showing a hint of his perfectly white teeth.

Ariel’s brain screamed “NO” but slowly she moved and nodded. He stayed at the open door though.

“Ariel, I want to hear you say the words. ” he said in a deep dark voice that made her instantly wet.

“C-Come in Mr. Notte. ” she stammered.

Dante swept in the house and closed the door, “I think we’re past the student-teacher bit by now, don’t you think?”

He didn’t give her a chance to reply, he wrapped an arm around her and claimed her lips. Ariel was forever lost. She backed up against the small love seat as she pushed his jacket from his shoulders. It fell with a thud. Ariel felt his fingers at the hem of her shirt and he pulled away from her lips only for a moment to make sure it was alright. Seeing the hunger in her eyes was all he needed before he made quick work of ridding her of her shirt. She was wearing a lacy strapless bra that thankfully had a front enclosure. Her breaths were coming in pants as he unsnapped the dainty bit of lingerie and began caressing her breasts causing her nipples to harden into tiny buds. Ariel let out a gasp and then a moan as he replaced his hands with his hot wet mouth and suckled on her nipple. She lifted and brushed her leg against his and if he hadn’t had an arm around her back, she would have fell.

Dante continued to lavish her breasts with his hands and mouth. Ariel managed to pull at his shirt, to which he momentarily removed his hands from her breasts to rip his shirt off. Ariel arched into him, feeling his massive erection through his tight black jeans. She was wet, and needy. Ariel threaded her fingers through his silky hair, removing the band that held his hair, freeing it. Next she moved to his shoulders and back. Dante raised his head slightly and rasped against her skin, “Where’s your bedroom?”

Ariel weakly pointed towards the doorway that led to her small room. Dante had her off the floor and in his arms and on the bed within seconds. Ariel was lying on the bed as he stood over her. He stood before her, his body muscular but lean and chiseled right down to his abs and the faint dark line of hair from his navel. He unbuckled his belt and undone the button on his jeans and shoved them down and then off. Next, he flashed her a wicked and seductive smile with those hooded eyes as he crawled on the bed. He had her skirt and underwear off before she could blink. Dante wanted to take his time to savor her, to taste every inch of her sweet creamy flesh. Then just as he took her ankle in hand and began kissing and nibbling up her leg, Ariel’s conscience began to dawn on her.

“Mr. , I mean Dante, this-this isn’t right. W-We shouldn’t be doing this!” she said in a near pant as his lips touched the inside of her knee.

Dante lifted his eyes towards hers. “What isn’t right?”

Ariel sat up on her arms trying to struggle from the sea of hormonal lust that had taken her in the undertow of his seduction.

“You’re a teacher, this could cost you your job. Teachers aren’t supposed to mess with students. ” she tried to sound as if she were protesting but it came out more of a whisper.

He grinned, “I am a man, and you are a grown woman. I desire you, and I know you desire me. Would you feel more comfortable if I called the Dean or the Trustees to gain their permission?”

Ariel tried to wiggle her leg from his grasp but it was no use. He had her leg.

“Do you realize you could lose your job not to mention my reputation. ” now she protested. She didn’t want the reputation of sleeping around with teachers.

Dante continued kissing up past her knee to her thigh. He heard the sharp intake of breath, and could smell the sweet smell of her weeping pussy that was crying out for release.

“Dante!” she cried.

Dante raised his head and sighed but didn’t move from his position.

“I could care less about the job, I can get another if it suits me. As far as your reputation, I assure you that its safe with me. No one has to know what we do here, and if they did, I couldn’t care less what they think. I meant what I said when I told you I desired you. When I see something that is mine, I don’t play games-I go after what I want.”


LOST TO THE NIGHT: Volume One
A collection of five short novellas that celebrate the magic that is the night!

There are more mysteries walking beside us in this world than we will ever suspect or know. For some, the greatest fears are also the sweetest thrills. Death walks among us, the unknown feeds our imaginations and fuels our dreams and our nightmares. In this collection of stories from a group of exceptional and talented authors, we'll look into the shadows, and shiver with fright and passion, until we are Lost To The Night… and all its magic…

AVAILABLE NOW FROM:


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

LOST TO THE NIGHT: Meet BRIGIT AINE

Today we continue our week-long celebration of the authors featured in XOXO Publishing's recently released paranormal collection LOST TO THE NIGHT. We're chatting with the lovely Brigit Aine, who is familiar to many readers of paranormal romance. So, without further ado, over to the beautiful Brigit!


How long have you been writing?

For so long I don't remember? Since high school for sure...so a number of years.

How long have you been a published author?

I have been published for 3 years now.

What titles do you have available?

Torrent's Talents Series
Red's Return (Decadent Publishing)
Cassie's Awakening (Eternal Press)
Kraig's Kat (XOXO Publishing)

Justice for Leanne (Solstice at Night)

Just Another Paranormal Anthologies
A Pixie Holiday (Halloween) (Mojo Castle Press)
A Christmas to Remember (Mojo Castle Press)

Lost to the Night: Prince of Shadows (XOXO Publishing)
Halloween Triad: Marionette (XOXO Publishing)

Is dark fantasy/paranormal your favourite genre? If so, what makes it so appealing to you?

Absolutely. I just like the idea that I can create anything and it can become real. It whispers to me that there is a something out there that is dark but has the ability to change, or that can bring you over to the dark side.

Do you have any new titles coming soon?

I have a wonderful Valentine's Duet coming out with the lovely Denysé Bridger. And I am working on the second part of Justice for Leanne. As well the next piece to Prince of Shadows for Volume 2 of Lost to the Night.

What is your favourite genre to read and why?

I love Urban Fantasy and paranormal romance. For the same reasons they are my favorite to write. I can get lost in a world that is utterly fantastical and yet I can see it come to life.

What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process?

I love creating the characters. I am always excited when someone new starts jabbering away in my head to tell me their story.

If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why?

Seanan MacGuire would be my choice right this moment. But if I could go back in time Milton. 'Paradise Lost' my favorite paranormal book.

Where can readers find you on the web?

My website is down right now for a bit but I can be found at:


An excerpt from Prince of Shadows:

“M’Lady?”

“Well, you just accepted the position of Retrieving the murderer, you invite my son to stay with you, he leaves for a few hours, there is another murder and you are drugged so you can’t wake up to investigate. Who do you suppose everyone is going to look at for this?”

Keri turned her head and looked up at Draken, watching as his mother’s words hit him. “I would never hurt Keri.” His arms tightened around her. “I dare anyone to try and prove I would.”

“Calm down son. This simply means you have less time to find the murderer then you thought. I certainly am not going to tell anyone about what I found. But whomever left this for you might not be so quiet.”

Draken looked down at Keri, “It wasn’t me. I swear on it.”

Scrunching her face up at his words, “I never thought it was. Of all the things I know and all the things I don’t know, I believe that you would never hurt me.” She felt his arms tighten even more and smiled, “however, I do need to be able to breathe.” Fluttering her wings a bit against his arms she felt him relax his hold, not let go, just give her some space.

“Sorry. It bothers me to think that you are in more danger because of something I asked you to do.”

“We talked a bit about this last night. I am a Retriever, hell I’m The Retriever. I am in danger daily. This time I am actually in less because I have you by my side looking out for me. It will be okay.”

The Lady of the Shadows shifted a bit, catching Keri’s attention. “I am going to take the pillow to Underhill. I will keep it with me. Please be careful. You are my two favorite people both topside and Underhill and I would hate for anything more to happen to either of you.” With her words she faded out.

“I always love visits from your mother, they are soothing and cryptic at the same time.”

Draken laughed and kissed Keri’s head. “Well now that you are awake, as my mother mentioned, there was another murder. I think we might have a fighting chance if you can get to the scene and see what you can smell.”

Keri nodded. “Let me shower to finish clearing the cobwebs from my head and then we will head out. If you could start the coffee that would help tremendously.”

Draken let go of her and headed towards the kitchen, “Your wish is but my command.” Smirking he heard her lock the bathroom door. “Remember a locked door won’t keep me out if I want in.”

“Draken…don’t piss me off.” Keri laughed under her breath and stepped into the shower. Being as quick as she could she tried to shake off whatever sleep spell was left and got ready to Scent. Dressing in her work clothes, hiding her wings for the moment and centering herself with a quick chant Keri headed into the kitchen where she could smell the coffee. Walking in she saw it was already poured into a travel mug and waiting for her. Picking it up she took a quick sip and smiled. It was just the way she liked it, he really had been paying attention to her all these months. Taking it with her into the living room she saw Draken by the door, pacing. “Alright, I’m here. Let’s go.”



LOST TO THE NIGHT: Volume One
A collection of five short novellas that celebrate the magic that is the night!

There are more mysteries walking beside us in this world than we will ever suspect or know. For some, the greatest fears are also the sweetest thrills. Death walks among us, the unknown feeds our imaginations and fuels our dreams and our nightmares. In this collection of stories from a group of exceptional and talented authors, we'll look into the shadows, and shiver with fright and passion, until we are Lost To The Night… and all its magic…

AVAILABLE NOW FROM:



Monday, January 09, 2012

LOST TO THE NIGHT: Meet SARA GONZALES

This week I'm going to introduce you to the authors featured in XOXO Publishing's recently released paranormal collection LOST TO THE NIGHT. A couple of the authors will be new to many of you, and I am delighted to have helped you to meet them. First up is our "virgin" author, Sara Gonzales. This is her first pro publication, and I think she's given us a really intriguing and unusual story with her One Dark Mission. I asked Sara to chat with you today, and we did a brief interview. So, settle in and meet this talented lady.

1. How long have you been writing? For a few years.

2. How does it feel to be a professionally published author for the first time? How has your family reacted? It still as not sunk in that it is real and my family is very supportive and encouraging me to continue on writing.

3. What titles do you have available? One Dark Mission

4. Is dark fantasy/paranormal your favorite genre? If so, what makes it so appealing to you? I like the challenge of making the characters all very different and finding the new appeal.

5. Do you have any plans to continue writing now that you've won your first contract? Yes I would like to continue on and try more and different.

6. What is your favorite genre to read and why? Romance/Paranormal is my favorite and I just like the differences…


7. What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process? To challenge myself to create something that would make me want to read it. I am my own worst critic.

8. If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why? My Best friend whom I am writing with and Denysé Bridger as she has been a guiding light for me.

9. Where can readers find you on the web? Amazon, Facebook, plus other websites where this book is listed.


At the end of the week, I will be giving away several copies of LOST TO THE NIGHT. All you have to do to be eligible to win is leave a comment on any of the posts this week. I'll announce winners on Friday - and now, have a look at ONE DARK MISSION:


She laid on the rough ground in her fatigues. The night was pitch black and not a star in the sky above. Only crickets could be heard and even in this, the sound was faint. Her focus on her target, nothing would penetrate what she had to do. Her job as a female sniper was a rare one. Only men ever made it to this. She was good at what she did however. More than that to her, as she had been told many a times, She was the best in her classes and topped everything she did. This sight she held before her was a mark. She would not fail her orders given by her commanding officers.

The weapon she held was an M-95. The smooth sleek metal under her touch was like silk to her. She had been raised by a family that would eat military if at all possible. As she laid in wait for the mark she did her best to not let thoughts of home distract her. Leaving a good man behind that had promised her an insurmountable life. Friends whom loved to live life to the fullest and she felt this life holding a weapon was more her than any of that.

The night drifted to day and day again back to night. She rationed her MRE’s and the water was becoming scares in her canteen. She was becoming weary that the information to her superiors was a farce. She had been awake for more than seventy two hours. Her eyes felt as if they were filled with sand. She had never walked away however felt that in this situation she may have too. Reaching in to her bag and grabbing the com line, a direct link to her Commander. She held it in her palm as her fingers wrapped around it one by one. Refusing to look at the heavy link to what would seem another world and lose any chance on her mark. She held firm hoping to all that is Holy she would see her target and go home.

The area she continued to keep in her scope was becoming a blur. Fatigue was setting in and she now knew this was over for now. Looking back to the com link she hesitated as her life of who she is passed before her eyes.

She is Sergeant Belinda Beckett United States Marine Corps., as the Government knew her. In reality she was known as many code names or aliases. She in her training had gone to work for a very underground group. She is black ops., it paid her way through a education she never thought she could even get with a G.I. Bill. Her life is not her own they owned her. She signed on the dotted line crossing all the “T” and dotting all the “I”. Code name Hawk was her favored in this team of crazy and in some cases psychotic rejects in some cases.

They were good at their jobs and was why in most cases they all had been handpicked to be in a black ops’ unit. This particular unit dealt in things not supposed to exist. Legends and lore and all things that go bump in the night. There have been others out there sure. None in any way that have proven these facts.


LOST TO THE NIGHT: Volume One
A collection of five short novellas that celebrate the magic that is the night!

There are more mysteries walking beside us in this world than we will ever suspect or know. For some, the greatest fears are also the sweetest thrills. Death walks among us, the unknown feeds our imaginations and fuels our dreams and our nightmares. In this collection of stories from a group of exceptional and talented authors, we'll look into the shadows, and shiver with fright and passion, until we are Lost To The Night… and all its magic…

AVAILABLE NOW FROM:



Monday, January 02, 2012

Social Networking in 2012



Here we are facing a bright new year filled with possibilities and new adventures. I guess the first order of business is put to rest the crap of the old year, so I’m going to chat about that for a bit, then close the door for the last time on this particular subject. It’s cost me too much lost sleep, anger, and wasted emotion, so it’s past time to end it!

As many of you know, I’ve had my troubles with that wonderful social networking giant Facebook this past year. Plus, added in to the mix are the online actors known as role-players. Both have caused a lot of unnecessary stress throughout 2011, and the month of December saw me make some major changes regarding both. So, let’s look first at Facebook… We all use this hugely popular site for promotion, networking with other writers, staying in touch with friends–that is the purpose of the whole thing anyway, and it’s a lot of fun, in spite of the vast numbers of hours many of us “waste” on it. I enjoy my groups and pages and the camaraderie that often comes into them, the immediacy of it is what makes it like conversation, and when you’re laughing with friends from all over the world, it’s a bit of special magic and makes everyone feel close; the miles that separate don’t exist in these situations. So, yeah, I enjoy that aspect of it. However…

In 2011 my pages were deactivated several times after reports from people who took offence to a photo or a statement made, and at one point I was informed my pages were to be investigated. I’ve used Facebook for about 2.5 years, and until I was found by role-players, I had no problems at all with anyone on the site. So begins a tale that started late in 2010, went through 2011, and is now ended. Most of you who know me have seen me support the people who at their core, I believe, mean well when they choose to bring to life an author’s characters for fans. The intent has often been stated as a way to keep interest and enthusiasm alive between books in a series, etc. I think that idea is good. The fact is, for too many of the players it soon mutates into something far less “noble” and they lose sight of some hard, cold truths. The most important of those truths being the moment you create an account that uses the name of an author’s character, you are violating Facebook policy, and the author’s copyrighted material.

A few authors of very popular books have succumbed to the pleas of players and have sanctioned “official” role-play groups and support them. So, more power to them all. I hope to hell said authors never regret their decision, because in all honesty, this past year has taught me to be highly suspicious of anyone who hides behind an identity not their own. J.R. Ward’s hugely popular series The Black Dagger Brotherhood seems to be a huge role-play favourite world, and she is very out-spoken against role-play of her books. I used to think she should revisit her decision, now I applaud her for seeing what many don’t–that her hard work is often used to attack, bully, and persecute fans of her talent. I’ve watched it happen, over and over–and how are you supposed to report if you’re being harassed by some player you only know as Ward’s Wrath, or Tohrment, or Phury, etc.? You report that profile, it goes down–maybe–and an hour later they’re back with a new profile and back in business, and you’re labelled a trouble-maker and put on a block list by the group administrator.

So, as an author, I have to say that if I am ever lucky enough to create a fan favourite series of books there is no way in hell I would ever give role-players my sanction to play the characters in my books. In fact, I would very vocally fight against it. I do believe there are some truly talented writers involved in role-play, and I congratulate their creativity, but it would be better served by creating something that belongs to them, not others. Hard line? Maybe. But I got to this point the hard way, having been dragged into more bullshit drama than any sane person would ever tolerate. In fact, at this moment I have been put on one of those infamous block and delete lists by a paranoid admin who took a personal issue and brought it over to her groups and involved well over a hundred people who don’t have a clue what really happened. It’s irrelevant anyway, a week before any of this shit started I’d spent two days systematically deleting every role-player I had as a friend on Facebook, it amounted to a staggering 300+ people.

So, for me, the drama has ended. While I support creativity in anyone who wants to write, never again will I cheer on bullies with no conscience about using any author’s work to hide their malicious, obsessive bullshit politics. Role play groups on Facebook all have private groups where fans and readers are discussed, banned, reported, deleted, etc., all at the whims of people who haven’t got the honesty and decency to come to you as their real selves and discuss whatever is up their ass. Secret groups exist where they attack each other on a regular basis, and frankly, I’ve had more than enough. This ate into my time and sanity for an entire year, and when I reached saturation point I got rid of it–now it’s going to stay gone.

So, 2012 dawns with a clean slate, and a world of wonderful new stories waiting to be told, and interactions that are positive and free of bullying, lies, and all the other shit that caused Facebook to deactivate my pages and investigate me. Happy New Year everyone, and it’s good to be back!!