Monday, July 18, 2016

LOST GIRLS Cover Reveal & Giveaway

I’m so excited that I can finally reveal the cover of my upcoming YA psychological thriller novel, LOST GIRLS. Published by Entangled, the book releases on Jan. 3, 2017. Yay! The very cool thing is you can pre-order the book now. Plus, I’m doing a Rafflecopter giveaway (below) for a $25 Amazon gift card. So the winner can buy some BOOKS! (We all want more books, right?)

First things first, here's the cover:

(So pretty, right?)

The LOST GIRLS synopsis is below, and my favorite line is ‘The only rule is: There are no rules.’

Book Synopsis:
Yesterday, Rachel went to sleep listening to Taylor Swift, curled up in her grandma’s afghan, worrying about geometry. Today, she woke up in a ditch, bloodied, bruised, and missing a year of her life.

She doesn’t recognize the person she’s become: she’s popular. She wears nothing but black.

Black to cover the blood.

And she can fight.

Tell no one.

She’s not the only girl to go missing within the last year…but she’s the only girl to come back. She desperately wants to unravel what happened to her, to try and recover the rest of the Lost Girls.

But the more she discovers, the more her memories return. And as much as her new life scares her, it calls to her. Seductively. The good girl gone bad, sex, drugs, and raves, and something darker…something she still craves—the rush of the fight, the thrill of the win—something she can’t resist, that might still get her killed…

The only rule is: There are no rules.


Where You Can Find The Book:
Goodreads Book Link:
Amazon Buy Link:
Barnes & Noble Buy Link:
Kobo Buy Link:
Entangled Publishing:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Bio:
Born in the Midwest, former magazine editor Merrie Destefano currently lives in Southern California with her husband, two German shepherds, a Siamese cat, and the occasional wandering possum. Her favorite hobbies are reading speculative fiction and watching old Star Trek episodes, and her incurable addiction is writing. She loves to camp in the mountains, walk on the beach, watch old movies, and listen to alternative music—although rarely all at the same time. Author Website Here.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Dressed to Kill

Hi Everyone!
To celebrate the release of The Blood in the Beginning, I'm giving away two SYKED Tees. Just pop in the comments your favorite character's (film, TV or book) get up to be in the draw!  

The two winners have been drawn! They are 1) Suzanne and 2) Sarvah! Congratulations, and please email me: enchantmentATkimfalconerDOTCOM. I'll need you postal addy, and size.

When it comes to revealing character attributes, an often overlooked technique is attire. What heroes and villains wear, as well as how they wear it, speaks volumes. A writer can also hint at complex states of mind in how characters go about the act of getting dressed, their approach to wardrobe, laundry etc. It delivers to readers information about who the character is.

For example: Are they rich and flaunting it? Ripped and want the world to see? Not giving a flip what others think? Too depressed to care? OCD?

From profession to personality, culture and period, the character's relationship to her clothing reveals much without having to spell anything out.

In my latest release, The Blood in the Beginning, Ava Sykes's clothing is part of who she is.  From her layered tees, black jeans and steel-toed Tims to her Jujitsu gi, MMA gloves and UCLA pre-med lab coat, her get up reveals deeper levels of personality - even strata of soul!

"We automatically categorise people based on their clothing whether we realise it or not. In fact, it takes no more than a description of their clothing to build a variety of pictures of a person in our heads." -- Bridget McNutly

Attire also serves to set the scene. From page 134 of The Blood in the Beginning:

Krysten Ritter is Jessica Jones
     I emerged from the elevator at street level in my black jeans, Poseidon tee and boots. Headset switched on and ready for work.
     ‘Ava!’ Billy punched my shoulder as I took over for him at the door. ‘I liked you better in the dress.’
     ‘Skirt, but settle down. Nothing to see here.’
And page 180, at the martial arts academy:

‘Rourke didn’t show,’ was all Dom said. Then he eyed my uniform. ‘This is a no gi class. In the cage today.’
     ‘I only brought my gi.’
     ‘You can wear your pants and sports top. Let’s go.’
     Yeah, summary dismissal. I took off my belt, gi top and tank, and folded them on the bench, then got back in line.
The brand of shoes our heroes pick for the day can reveal in a single word or two, more about a character than pages of narrative. It's a handy tool, one definitely worthy of remembering.
Again, to celebrate the release of The Blood in the Beginning, I'm giving away two SYKED Tees. Just pop in the comments a favorite character's get up to be in the draw! From film, tv or book! Kim Falconer is a Supernatural Underground author with her latest release out now - The Blood in the Beginning - an Ava Sykes Novel.

Kim posts here at the Supernatural Underground on the 16th of every month and runs Save the Day Writer's Community on Facebook and

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Casting down the Words: a List of Ingredients

Year of the Like: How to make 'the magic'

I am just about to scamper blissfully away from life, the Internet, and all things that remotely look like adult responsibility. I am going half way across the country on a writers retreat with my writing tribe. Five days in Taos where all I have to do is write.

My only real instructions from the coordinator for this event was, "Bring what makes the magic happen."

Vague much?

So after the obligatory underwear and toothbrush list that really didn't have much to do with 'the magic' and more with just human survival, I really thought about what I needed to get the creative juices flowing and stay flowing, be comfortable in a place that is not my house, and try to assuage the ease of being away from my Bean for five days.

How was I going to make the magic happen?

Below is the final list of the items needed to make 'the magic' for this writer.

Coffee- Yes, I am bringing my own kettle so I can make myself coffee and tea every minute of every day. Nothing triggers the muse like a steam cup of  Joe or Earl Grey.

My Wonder Woman mug- nothing delivers that kick ass coffee like a kick ass woman reminding me to be kick ass.

Snacks- After many years of writing, I have found that snacking is a key for keeping the words flowing. A handful of Cheerios for a handful of words.

My Keyboard- because there is nothing quite like five days of writing to give you carpal tunnel (also packed- wrists braces to sleep in). And I can type faster on this baby.

Post-its, highlighters, notebooks, markers, and folders of research- There is still something very real about writing out new ideas before typing them into the computer. Especially ones that you need to go back and add/fix/emphasize because you have had some brilliant breakthrough in writing.

Heavy blanket stitched with the first lines of famous novels- I'm a wuss and am always cold. Might as well be surrounded by great words while trying to write great words.

Chocolate- will be purchased on the way to the retreat. I only had so much space in my checked luggage.

So this is what is takes to bait and trap a muse into a room for five days. Sugar, sugar, and caffeine.

But the real hero in this process isn't even going with me.  This month's thumbs up goes out to a husband who lets me work my magic with devoted time to my craft. Who lets me traipse across the country with my artistic scarves floating behind me. Who never judges the sheer volume of coffee that I can consume in one weekend. Who for the past eleven years has dealt with this crazy, witchy, writer and her words.
The Beckett to my Castle.
The Cream in my Coffee.
The Hans to my Leia.

Give a thumbs up to your support system this month!

Amanda Arista

Friday, July 1, 2016

These Supernatural Underground Gals Are Gonna Have Fun!

Yep, that's right -- next week on Tuesday 5 July at 7 pm (EST) I'm gonna be on Twitter and having some interview fun with Kim Falconer, checking out all the angles on her new paranormal urban fantasy, THE BLOOD IN THE BEGINNING.

Well, maybe only some of the angles, but I can already tell you that Kim has created a "take-no-prisoners" yet sympathetic heroine, an atmospheric, post-catastrophe world with a fresh take on the paranormal elements, and some fast-paced action.

Plenty of material for some fun Helen'n'Kim Q&A!

Here are all the details so you don't miss out on this event of awesome. ;-)


Tuesday 5, USA/Canada/UK et al;

Note: That will be Wednesday 6 July for those in Southern Hemisphere parts like NZ and Australia. 


US EST: 7 pm 

Australia EST: 9 am (Wednesday 6)
NZ: 11.00 am 


On Twitter! 

How To Find Us: 

I will be asking questions from @helenl0we
Kim will be answering on @KimFalconer

The may also be part of the fun. :)

BUT you don’t have to be on Twitter yourself to find us because we will be using a hashtag:


So just search on #thebloodinthebeginning, click on “Live” and you will be up with the play. 

How To Participate:

However, you will have to be on Twitter to chip in with your own question for Kim, or contribute a comment.

We’d love it if you do — but are equally happy if you prefer to just follow the hashtag.


See you on the 6th!


The Interviewee:

Kim Falconer is  a Supernatural Underground author writing urban fantasy, paranormal romance, YA and epic science fantasy novels.
You can find out more about Kim at, the 11th House Blog, and on FaceBook and Twitter.

She posts here at the Supernatural Underground on the 16th of every month and runs Save the Day Writer's Community on Facebook and

The Interviewer:

Helen Lowe is a novelist, poet, interviewer and blogger whose first novel, Thornspell (Knopf), was published to critical praise in 2008. Her second, The Heir of Night (The Wall Of Night Series, Book One) won the Gemmell Morningstar Award 2012. The sequel, The Gathering Of The Lost, was shortlisted for the Gemmell Legend Award in 2013. Daughter Of Blood, (The Wall Of Night, Book Three) was published on January 26, 2016. 

Helen posts regularly on her “…on Anything, Really” blogand is also on Twitter: @helenl0we

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The End of an Era

In coming to the end of writing my debut series, I assumed I'd feel so many amazing things. I'd be relieved, and thrilled, and I would at last feel like a real author. Because I'd done it. I'd actually done it; the thing I had no knowledge of how to do at the beginning of this, I'd kicked its butt, made all my deadlines, edited until I drew blood, and played out my vision in a majorly epic way. I'd completed the journey.

But . . .

That's not how I felt at all. As I turned in my copy edits for the final book in The Dark Cycle to my publisher, I mostly just felt . . . sad. A small hole opened up in my gut and it was more like I was now saying goodbye to a best friend than rejoicing in a job well done. A million doubts and questions clouded my head. Had I done everything to make the series stand out? Had I given my characters the finale they deserved? Will the readers be satisfied?

But most of all: what in the sam hill am I going to do without these kids in my life?

I had spent three years with a group of characters I'd grown to love and they'd become a part of my every day thought life, to the detriment of sleep and sanity many times. But now, their story is finished. And it's time to move on.

If I have learned anything through this crazy whirlwind that was producing these three books, it's that I may never feel like a real author, a character's story never really feels complete, and there's always another amazing story to be told right around the corner.

In the mean time, I'll focus on what's ahead of me and try not to feel ill equipped for the next leg of the journey. I'll take away from this adventure the realization that I've done it once and I should be able to do it again.

So, here it goes . . .


Rachel A. Marks is an award-winning author and professional artist, a cancer survivor, a surfer and dirt-bike rider, chocolate lover and keeper of faerie secrets. She was voted: Most Likely to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse, but hopes she'll never have to test the theory. Her debut novel is DARKNESS BRUTAL, the 1st installment in The Dark Cycle (Skyscape). Book 2 was released February 2nd, 2016 and is titled, DARKNESS FAIR.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Expected Physical Signs

Image by Loui Jover
 Public speaking sucks. It's mandatory for final year medical science, so I put up with it. Still ...

Excerpt from

Ten a.m. came with the expected physical signs: burning eyes, stiff neck, headache. Oh, boy. My palms were sweat­ing as I walked to the podium, footsteps echoing through the virtually empty UCLA lecture hall. That was a plus. It lessened the potential for public humiliation. The only seats occupied were the front two rows. I squeezed my eyes shut a few times, trying to alleviate the sting ... eye drops might have helped, along with fresh contacts. They were prescrip­tion, for my mixed astigmatism, a near-far sighted combo, and tinted to keep down the glare. I had partial colour blindness too, but that’s another story. Bottom line, sleep deprivation wasn’t a good look. Hopefully, the examiners would be glued to the screen, and my riveting presentation, not my tired face.

It took a minute to password my way through security, log into my CloudBox — and bring up the visuals. I synched with the screen behind me and cleared my throat. ‘Good morning, faculty.’ My voice broke and I tried to humph without sounding like a cat coughing up a fur ball. This was not my favourite part of being fourth year: standing in front of a critical audience, my knowledge and abilities in question. Who in their right mind would want to try and explain auto-immune disorders to a group of scientists who knew hundreds of times more about the subject than any­one alive?

The mic gave an ear-piercing screech as I adjusted it, which didn’t help to calm me down. The lights dimmed and the large screen illuminated. The glare was so strong, I couldn’t read the notes on my tablet. Perfect. I sucked in a deep breath, and ploughed on.

‘Since the first wave of the Aftermath, auto-immune disorders have escalated, not just here in LA, but globally. These diseases cross all borders, cultures and peoples, tar­geting young and old alike. The epidemiology is hard to trace, but at its core is a potentially fatal flaw ...’ I choked on that. This topic got under my skin because I had one of those pesky flaws myself. At times like these, I could almost hear the clock ticking. I cleared my throat. ‘ … a potentially fatal flaw in the evolution of the human genome. Constant bombardment from microwaves, radiation and carcinogenic substances has caused an abnormal gene expression, includ­ing the conditional deletion of the Bcl-x gene from red blood cells, which becomes apparent when the body loses its abil­ity to tell the difference between self and non-self.’

I swiped the small screen on the podium, bringing up the next visual behind me. It showed a clip of a blood clot forming at 500x magnification, courtesy of APS — an­tiphospholipid antibody syndrome — in action. As I talked about causes and potential cures, moving on to my per­sonal favourite, hemolytic anemia and its variants under the umbrella of AADD — Aftermath associated degenerative diseases — my eyes came back to one of the examiners. I’d never seen him before, which wasn’t uncommon. UCLA hosted the largest science campus in the western US, and specialists in the field were invited in to evaluate fourth year students, especially ones like me who hoped to land an internship with the LA branch of the CDC, the Centre for Disease Control. This guy looked too young though. Maybe an intern auditing my talk? Who are you?

The thought floated through my head. Not a welcome distraction. Every time I looked, he was staring at me, his expression a cross between curious and accusatory. It raised the hairs on the back of my neck. Oh, hell! I had the freak­ing wrong slide up. I pulled my focus back to the presenta­tion and kept my gaze well away from handsome mystery man in seat A15. Sure, it registered. Handsome. 

Not helping.

Twenty minutes later, the lights went up and there was a brief, but slightly more than perfunctory, applause. On a scale of one to ten, for senior lecturers that was at least a nine, nearly a standing ovation. It made me smile, and in a momentary lapse, my eyes drifted back to seat A15. Big mistake. The floor was open to questions, and he took it as a personal invitation.

‘You mention the fatigue associated with auto-immune hepatitis. What test would differentiate auto-immune liver disease from other hepatic disorders?’

I swallowed hard, not because I didn’t have a damn good answer, but because his eyes were boring into me. Almond-shaped dark eyes. They had a wild look, or was that the unruly hair? It was like being on a witness stand, which I guess was the point of the exercise. He wasn’t coming across as an intern. His voice was too confident. I reviewed the role of typical histological findings in both AILD and other chronic liver diseases, finishing with a discussion of immu­noglobulins and various
triggers for immune response. He questioned again, and for a while, we had our own private ping-pong match going on. Then others had comments and questions for me and, while I engaged, out of the corner of my eye I saw him check his phone. He nodded vaguely in my direction and left. As he walked out of the hall, a linger­ing thought again floated through my head.

Who are you?

From #TheBoodInTheBeginning An #AvaSykes #Novel
Read more ...

I'd love to hear who your fav characters are that DON'T enjoy public speaking! --Kim
Kim Falconer is a Supernatural Underground author writing urban fantasy, paranormal romance, YA and epic science fantasy novels.

You can find out more about Kim at, the 11th House Blog, and on FaceBook and Twitter.

She posts here at the Supernatural Underground on the 16th of every month and runs Save the Day Writer's Community on Facebook and

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Merry-Go-Round of Life

Year of the Like: Circles and Cycles and Circuses

So, I know age is one of those weird things people don't talk about, but I'll own up to the fact I'm now in my late thirties. And for my birthday this year, I want to get a tattoo. 
I know exactly what I want: a compass within the circle of the hero's journey. For those of you who have not drunk the Joseph Campbell/ Christopher Vogler koolaid, the Hero's Journey helps map the character arc of a hero along her journey. You guys have heard me talk about it here in the Year of Living Heroically. It is one of many ways to think of story, but I like it mostly because it is a circle. 

I look life like this. I want the fullness of it all. I want to appreciate the process of the cycle. So when I read others books, I want to see the fullness of it all. 

So I was reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and there are circles everywhere. I meant, its a CIRCUS. The Circus is a interwoven dreamland of circled tents filled with wonder, and some might say a catalytic hero in itself (but that might be another post for another time). This book is beautiful and breaks most of the writing conventions I teach to beginning writers. It really was dazzling and enchanting, and I was sucked so deeply into the words and the world, I might have forgotten to go to bed. 

This book did one of the most satisfying things a circle lover like me could ever ask for. I will try not to spoil it but "The circus arrives without warning." The last three pages of the book completely satisfied everything I wanted from a book. And there are really pretty dresses. And it uses second person POV flawlessly. 

I really didn't realize how powerful circles had become to me until I was talking to friend about healing after divorce, another about grief, and another about the crap that happens when you find yourself in the middle of your life  trapped within a cycle of unfortunate Tuesdays. In the past six months, I have used circles to explain why life sucks. I've used this circle too to talk about art and grief and finding your true center.  

And this one to help talk about where we get energy and how we feed that energy. And then I usually break out into cheesy movie songs. (Pause for a nostalgic ride on Falkor's back). 

The primary reason that I find this image so powerful at this point in my life is that I always know is going to loop back around and get better. Today might feel like a Supreme Ordeal, but if I think about life as a journey, that means tomorrow is a Reward. In my writing, its how I can be so horribly horrible to my characters, because I'm going to loop them back around as strong, faster, better heroines. I am creating a circle that will be forged in iron. 

Circles never break. They may go too fast sometimes and the merry-go-round forces of life may make you queasy and sick to your stomach. But just as in The NeverEnding Story and The Night Circus, the story will go on and it will be beautiful. You just need to strap in, pull up your panties, and get ready for the ride.  

Looper- get it!!
So Thumbs Up to finding the one image that makes you, makes your story, makes your life make sense and go ahead an commit to it. Not everyone is a tattoo person, but crochet it, paint it, modge podge the hell out of the image, the beauty, the thing that helps you remember that you are powerful and this is your story. 

Until next time, lovelies. 

Amanda Arista, @Pantherista