Monday, May 28, 2012


*** Giveaway Winner Notified ***

Today is Memorial Day. For many people, this has become part of a weekend that marks the beginning of summer. Swimming pools open, brats are on the grill, sunblock is as essential as mustard, and the tiki torches are lit at sunset. Things have gotten nonchalant in past years, probably because the National Holiday Act of 1971 changed the celebration of Memorial Day (originally known as Decoration Day, for decorating graves) from May 30th to the last Monday in May. Instead of being a holiday with a specific day in its own right, Memorial Day became the tail end of a three-day weekend that made it easy for people to become distracted from the meaning of the day.

In an effort to steer us back to the original observance, President Clinton declared a National Moment of Remembrance at 3pm local time for all Americans "to pause for one minute to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all." I'll be spending that time at my father's graveside in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.

A good way to observe the day is to read the famous poem In Flanders Fields, below, written by a Canadian military surgeon during World War I. The location was the town of Ypres, Belgium, in the province of Flanders that bordered France. Ypres was bombarded throughout the war, 1914-1918, but never fell into German hands although chlorine and mustard gas were used on the defending troops there. In the time it takes you to read and think about McCrae's poem, you can satisfy the National Moment of Remembrance - with plenty of time left for the picnic!

In Flanders Fields
John McCrae, 1915

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow,
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead.
Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved and now we lie,
In Flanders Fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw,
The torch, be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us, who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow,
In Flanders Fields.

Now to switch the mood completely. I'm giving away a signed copy of my latest release, Deliverance: Mortal Path Book 3, plus a bookmark, pen, and magnet.  All you have to do is use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. You'll be asked to leave a comment about Supernatural Underground. That's it! The giveaway ends Friday, June 1st. Rafflecopter picks the random winner and I'll do the notification.

Friday, May 25, 2012

My co-writer Howard takes over!

This is Howard again. Congratulations to Mindy of PA who won the prize bag and books. Thank you all for stopping by to share my coffee break. See you next month on the 25th!

Greetings. This is Howard Barr, stepping in for Mrs. Sparks while she's working on the copyedits of her upcoming book-- that is, MY upcoming book, Wild About You.  I have been growling in anticipation, waiting for her to finish my book so I can finally meet my mate. She promises me that my heroine will be beautiful and brave and everything I have ever wished for.  Will she be a were-bear like me? Mrs. Sparks is refusing to say, even after I growled at her. Excuse me now, it's time for a coffee break.

Four bear claws later...
Mrs. Sparks has informed me that I can lure more readers to this blog if I offer you a prize.  Would anyone like a fresh deer carcass? Oh, now Mrs. Sparks tells me it should be something easy to mail. And not dripping blood. That woman is so bossy.  So I'm going to give away whatever I like. After I have another coffee break.

Five cinnamon twists later...
I found a tote bag of with some signatures on it-- Suzanne Brockman, Terri Brisbin, Susan Squires, Carla Neggars. They must be authors like Mrs. Sparks. I ate all the donuts out of the bag, so now that it's empty, I'm giving the bag away.  Now Mrs. Sparks is fussing at me that I can't just give away an empty bag. Why doesn't she do her copyedits and leave me alone? All right, I'm going to put two signed books in the bag. Forbidden Nights with a Vampire by Mrs. Sparks and Real Vampires Hate Skinny Jeans by Gerry Bartlett.  Mrs. Sparks was reading that book the other day and laughing. She should have been working on my book.

So, if you want a chance to win the bag and signed books, you'll need to leave a comment. I don't care where you are in the world. Just say something nice, or I'll have to growl at you. Now Mrs. Sparks is telling me that my growl doesn't scare anyone, that I'm just a big honey bear. Humph. Tell that to the fresh deer carcass. Good luck to you all, and thanks for stopping by.  Remember Wild About You is coming out at the end of November. And now it's time for another coffee break. Would you like to join me?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Self-publishing and learning new skills

I’ve been jumping into the self-publishing pond over the past six months. At first it was just short stories that I was giving away for free if I could (Amazon make you set a price and so I’ve set 99c for them). Then I decided to get into it a bit more, to create some deadlines for myself, and my most recent publications was a novella.

‘The Right Connection’ is a 40k fantasy romance that I wrote way back in 2002 and was just LOOKING for the right thing to do with it.

I don’t see self-publishing and traditional publishing as an either/or proposition. I think that the modern author is going to be able to use both to build their audience and career.

Certainly, you need to be careful of things such as competing publications clauses in traditional publishing contracts, but I see self-publishing as being able to help your bricks-and-mortar books by spreading the word and building your name.

A thing I really like about self-publishing is the new skills that you have to develop. For starters, if you’re not going to pay for an editor to polish your work, then you need to learn to edit your own work. I do that, although I use beta readers to help me identify the strengths and weaknesses of the work.

Then there’s the cover art. Again, you can pay for it, or you can find some talented friends willing to do it for you or you can learn to do yourself. I’ve been slowly and surely getting better at the covers and I have to say I’m really proud of the cover I created for ‘The Right Connection’.

You have to learn to typeset work. You have to learn how to write your own blurbs. You have to learn to devise and enact promotional plans.

I strongly believe that challenging yourself to step outside what you are good at and learn something knew is important in terms of your creativity and becoming a better writer.

For all you Supernatural Undergrounders, you can read my new self-publication, fantasy romance novella 'The Right Connection' for free. Go to Smashwords, type in the voucher code QL55F and you can get whatever electronic version of the book you want for free.


Time after time, the missions to retrieve the stolen children have failed. This time, rules will be broken in a last-ditch attempt.

Taylor Wilson is a respected soldier in the Land Corps with a terrible past that has scarred her. When she’s offered the opportunity to work on the mission to save the children taken by the socolapede, Taylor’s ready to jump at the chance until she finds it means she has to connect with a man.

At first, Roden is everything she feared—brash, overbearing, uncompromising. But as she comes to learn of his honour and strength, Taylor not only loses the fight against connection, she loses her heart too.

Can she form a connection with Roden strong enough to save the children? And if they succeed, do the two of them have a future together?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ian Somerhalder Foundation Book Club

Serendipity can take you to the strangest of places . . .

Last year I made a small online contribution to ISF and moments later, to my surprise, I got an email from the CEO. She happened to be online at the same moment and noticed my name come through. Turns out the ISF CEO is a Kim too, Kim Klingler to be exact. We exchanged a flurry of emails that morning (for me) and evening (for her).

After we got over our serendipitous names (and some common interests and astrological placements), she asked me what inspired me to donate. I told her about the series I was writing and my concern with issues of environment, extinction, technology, consciousness, geo-engineering, education . . . She said she'd put them on her TBR list as soon as she got a chance.

We chatted off and on over the months until in January 2012 I got an email that floored me. She was swearing up a storm, (mouth like a sailor that woman) frothing over how much she loved the books! She’d read Path of the Stray in two days and thought it was everything she’d ever wanted to incorporate into an eco-education-enlightened-law-of-attraction-entertainment-sex-magic-epic SF/fantasy series and asked if I would like to collaborate with ISF.

I said Hell YES and the results is the Ian Somerhalder Foundation Book Club featuring Path of the Stray. If you haven't seen the trailer yet, have a peek.

I want everyone at Supernatural Underground to feel personally invited to join me, Ian, Kim Klingler and all the ISF Team at where we are creating a community think tank, talking about characters we love, (or love to hate), discussing the scenes and events that move us, and playing with ideas that support our connection to all life, the environment, mind, body, spirit, personal power, law of attraction, astrology, magic, self-awareness and consciousness.  I'm donating all proceeds from Path of the Stray to the IS Foundation. They are making a difference to the whole world!

Hot vampire AND eco-evangelist, advocate for endangered species and environments! What's not to love?

Kim Falconer is a Supernatural Underground author writing epic science fantasy novels set in the worlds of Earth and Gaela. Kim’s latest series is Quantum Encryption.

You can find out more about her at or her blog The 11th House. She posts here on the 16th of every month.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Remember the Small Things

SandyG265, Barbara E, and BN100 you all three won! Please contact us at (sablegrace at ymail dot com) with your mailing address and which book you'd like to receive and we'll get them right out to you. Thanks for sharing with us!

Yesterday, we celebrated the second anniversary of my husbands heart bypass surgery. This was the scariest thing to date that we've had to go through. We've lost loved ones. Buried our parents. Watched our kids grow up to have kids of their own (and yes, that's scary LOL) but nothing comes close to that moment when you go in for a routine test and find out that you're facing a life changing operation.

He doesn't remember much of those days few days he spent in the hospital the two days before his surgery. Or the days of and after for that matter. But he does remember my tears, and my fears, and every year, on the anniversary of his operation, he has me tell him the things he can't remember because he doesn't want to forget what we went through because we never want to be in that place again.

It's the same thing in everyday life. It doesn't matter if they're good times or bad ones. Remembering is the key. It is so easy to forget a challenging time that you've gone through. Sometimes, it's for your own sanity that you let the emotions fade away. Other times it's just life stepping in and those events you swore you'd never forget fade away as new ones take its place.

Even the good times fade away as new events fill the spots in your memory banks. It's those small things that make the big events so special and it's so easy to overlook those. So today, read a rejection letter that gave you the determination to push onward toward that first sale. Or the bad review that motivated you to write a better book because you wanted to prove the critic wrong. Take down the photo album and laugh and cry over the memories you've trapped inside. Don't keep them buried anymore, share them--and yes, even the embarrassing ones--with your spouse, kids, or best friend.

I know, it seems strange for someone to tell you to remember the bad or sad or scary times you've lived through, but here's why you should never forget: How can you appreciate where you are now, and the joys you've been given, if you forgot the stumbles, slips and falls that got you there?

With remembering in mind, we're going to pick two lucky winners. Leave a comment for your chance to receive a signed copy of either Ascension or Bedeviled (Winners choice)

Monday, May 14, 2012

May 2012 News

Darkness Becomes Her
Offspring Novel
May 29, 2012

They live ordinary lives, but they are extraordinary. They are the Offspring, children of a mysterious experiment gone awry—and they are in terrible danger.

Power Junkie: Lachlan McLeod spent wild years astrally projecting himself into other times and places. But he doesn't get out much anymore—not after the fatal mistake that cost him a precious loved one.

Pixie Fugitive: Jessie isn't having a bad day. She's having a bad lifetime. After the terrifying act of supernatural violence that destroyed her family, she's been on the run for years. But now her ruthless enemy is drawing closer . . . and her own powers have finally awakened.

They're two people who don't play well with others. But they're going to have to learn to, and quickly. Because they're the only two people in the world who can save each other—and their passion is the only thing that can save the world.

Watch Kim Falconer's book trailer for Path of the Stray.

Congratulations to Helen Lowe and Kim Falconer! They made the Gemmell Award finals and you can vote to support them! Click here to vote for Helen and Kim.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Does It Get Any Easier?

Often new writers ask me if it gets any easier with subsequent books. I'm not always sure whether they're talking about the words or the stories, but my answer to both would be yes. With qualifiers.

I've often heard it said that writing is a muscle, and I've absolutely found that to be true. The more you exercise it (the more you write), the more easily the words come. 'Born writers', those who were writing books as soon as they were old enough to write, might not always see it that way. I suspect that many of them don't even remember what those early attempts at writing stories was like, they were so young at the time. I remember. If you know anything about me at all, you know I used to be an engineer. (The IBM kind, not the train driver.) I remember clearly my first attempt to put story to paper, and it was NOT easy. Slowly, it got easier and easier, the words coming more quickly as my writing muscle strengthened. I'm not sure I'll ever call writing easy. And I'll probably never be a particularly fast writer. But yes, absolutely, the whole process is a thousand times easier for me now than it was when I started. Without qualifiers.

The qualifiers come in when I talk about the stories themselves, or the plotting. In general, the plotting, or story development, is also a thousand times easier than when I started. Considering I knew nothing of story structure back then, that's probably not too hard to imagine. (Physics, thermodynamics, operations research, yes. Anything to do with creative writing, no.) In each of my early books, I learned something new. Usually what not to do next time, or what to look for when I started to have trouble. In general, the books come together pretty easily once I figure everything out these days.

But every now and then, one of the characters (almost always a difficult one) throws a wrench into the works and sends me scrambling. Jag, the hero of Rapture Untamed was one such character. He was the resident bad boy, and not in a nice way. The guy was an ass and, at first, flat out refused to be the hero of his own book. The heroine, Olivia, and I had to drag him to it, kicking and screaming. He had it in him, even if he didn't see it.

Another problem character has been Melisande, the heroine of A Love Untamed, Feral Warriors book 7, which comes out in December. There's nothing quite like the challenge of making the villainess of one story (Hearts Untamed in the Bitten By Cupid anthology) into the heroine of another. And as you can imagine, she wasn't the least bit cooperative about it. It took four tries to get her story right, but in the end, I came to love her. As did Fox/Kieran (her intended mate), although I will say, he saw her far more clearly than I did at first, and fell in love with her while I was still fighting with her.

My latest character challenge? The vampire Arturo Mazza from my Vamp City series. I hesitate to call him the hero just yet because, like Jag, this male has a looong way to go to earn that title. And no real interest in claiming it. Unlike Jag, he has five books to get there (or I have five books to get him there). Arturo is a bit like Damon Salvatore in the Vampire Diaries in that while there's honor and goodness deep inside of him, they don't always show. Arturo is one manipulative, dangerous vamp. It will take Quinn Lennox, the heroine of the series, a long time to fully understand this male. I understand him just fine and can already tell that I'm in for a rough ride. I'm pushing up my sleeves, ready to dive into the writing of book 2. Wish me luck!

P.S. A Blood Seduction (Vamp City book 1) comes out May 29th. RT BookReviews calls it: “A  wonderfully intriguing and chilling launch!” Check out the book trailer, below.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Titles and such...

Happy Wednesday everyone!  I'm super happy today because not only is the sun shining here in the land of Canuk, BUT I have the entire day to write.  No errands to run, or kids to deal with.  I have leftovers so I don't even have to cook! WIN!

HOWEVER, I need a title.  Badly. And sadly (hey a rhyme!) My title well is pretty damn dry.  So, I thought, maybe you guys can help me out!

In March I had a novella release, WRONG SIDE OF HELL.  Here is the Blurb...

With battle lines drawn and evil forces gathering in the shadows, the League of Guardians is all that stands between chaos and the human realm…
Logan Winters, an elite hellhound shifter, wants to forget his allegiance to the League and the pain he’s suffered because of it. But when he’s ordered to retrieve Kira Dove from purgatory and bring her back to life, he can’t refuse. Not only will her death affect the balance between the realms, she’s also linked to a past he can’t forget.

Kira Dove, a young woman murdered before her time, wanders the gray realm, alone and vulnerable. The one bright spot in her life is the memory of a mysterious protector who saved her once before. As she makes her way through this terrifying place, she can’t help but wonder…will he come for her again?

As Logan races to save her, he knows he faces a nearly impossible task: How can a hellhound survive in the one place he shouldn’t ever be? The wrong side of hell…

NOW I've got to come up with a title for the second novella in the League of Guardians series and um, I'm at a loss.  The second book will continue Logan and Kira's story as they journey toward a safe haven and get to know each other a little better.  There will be action, some sexytimes and danger.

I like the following words:




ROAD .....and it should tie into the previous title somehow.....

So, if anyone can come up with a cool title, leave it here in a comment and I'll choose one to submit to my editor.  The words above are ones I like but if you've got something that sounds great, WOOT! The winner will receive their choice of either WRONG SIDE OF HELL or the new novella which shall remain nameless for now, when it releases in October!

Let the games begin and be as creative as you like!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Two and Twenty Dark Tales

Hi guys!

I don't know if you heard, but I've an anthology coming out in October! It's called Two and Twenty Dark Tales. A fantastic group of YA authors got together to do dark retellings of the Mother Goose nursery Rhymes in aid of various charities, and what we came up with was twenty two tales of creeptastic fun. Here's a list of the contributors.
    Nina Berry
    Sarwat Chadda
    Shannon Delany
    Max Scialdone
    Leigh Fallon
    Angie Frazier
    Jessie Harrell
    Nancy Holder
    Heidi R. Kling
    Suzanne Lazear
    Karen Mahoney
    Lisa Mantchev
    Georgia McBride
    C. Lee McKenzie
    Gretchen McNeil
    Francisco X. Stork
    Pamela van Hylckama Vlieg
    K.M. Walton
    Suzanne Young
    Michelle Zink
    Edited by Georgia McBride & Michelle Zink.

Two and Twenty Dark Tales is being published by Month 9 Books and will be out on the 16th October. We are super excited about the release of this book. I can't wait to share it with you all. 

All the best and talk soon.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Taking A Break

Breathe, Jocelynn.  Breathe.  It’s over.  You’re safe.  The book is over.

No, I wasn’t reading a scary book.  I was finishing up the second book in the Asylum Tales series.  The race to the end shifted to a break-neck, screaming run as if the hounds of Hell had been let loose from their chains and were foaming on my heels.  As I push through the last 100 pages of a book, it becomes harder and harder for me to step away from the computer to do things like eat, sleep, shower, laundry, and other basics of life.  My mind never drifts far from my main character as I desperately try to maneuver him through this wicked, tight maze of dangers that I’ve set before him.  As we near the end of the book, I’m cursing him, myself, and the lack of more hours in the day.  My husband and the animals have learned to keep their distance as if some feral wolf has somehow gotten trapped in the house with them.

On the last day of writing, I finished two chapters, wrote more than 10,000 words over 11 hours.  When I walked away from the computer late that night, I was shaking, laughing, and crying with joy and relief.  Writing books is a love unlike any other.  It’s frustrating, confusing, funny, surprising, and so all-consuming, but I love it.  I can’t imagine not doing it. 

But it’s done now.  The second book of my new series is finished at over 110,000 words and 349 pages.  I got to spend time with several characters that I’ve grown to love over the past year and got to meet many new ones that are trying very hard to creep into my heart as well.   The world is becoming so familiar to me now.  I feel like I can walk down the street and wave to the people as if I had been living among them for years.

I’m completing a quick revision now before turning it into my editor.  What’s next after that?  Will I be lounging by the pool, basking in the summer sun while I wait for my revision letter?  Ha.  Not likely.  No, my new main character Gage and I will be huddled around my desk, arguing about plans for another book.  He’s asking me to take it easy this time.  He’s still a little bruised and sore from his last adventure.  I wish I could, but it isn’t going to happen.  In another month, he’ll be fully recovered and ready for action.  Poor guy.

Looking forward, I’ve got several stories coming out, introducing you to a new world of warlocks, elves, trolls, and my own unique brand of chaos and madness.  The fun kicks off when my first novella, The Asylum Interviews: Bronx is released on July 3.  The story introduces you to my main character Gage and tells how he met his coworker Bronx.  The second novella, The Asylum Interviews: Trixie, will be released on September 4, telling the tale of how Gage met Trixie.  And finally, on October 16, readers will be able to get the first novel, Angel’s Ink.

Get ready.  It’s going to be a crazy year.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tiaras and True Friends

I got the best present in the mail the other day: a tiara. After I ran around my house with it on, screaming "I'm a pretty princess," I called my friend Michelle and thanked her a million times. Partly because every girl needs a tiara. But mostly, because it meant that I could officially join her for Toddlers and Tiaras on Wednesday nights. In fact, as I'm writing this right now, I'm wearing my tiara and waiting for the TLC show to begin.

Don't judge me. Toddlers and Tiaras is one of those reality TV show. You know that you have your guilty pleasures. But as much as I LOVE to watch the drama, what I really love about it is that five friends from all over the country jump on Facebook and chat during the show, snarking on hair styles, tanning booths, and "the sass in that frass."

We've got a full time mom, a bridal consultant, a English professor, a former beauty pageant contestant, and me, the writer. We are all over the country, but for one hour a week, we are together. All sitting on our couches, all with our tiaras and computers. It doesn't matter that those couches are thousands of miles away.

It's not a lot of time, but its dedicated. Even my husband knows that when the tiara goes on, he needs to let me be for an hour. And when I have weeks like this, when I've got a book due and summer plans and my-oh-my what else going on, I know that I have one hour with friends where laughter is the only prize.

Do you have a ritual with your best friend? Is it Midnight Margaritas? Is is sending each other dirty books? Is it Burger, Beers, and Boys (another one of my favorites)?

Have you snarked with your best friend lately? Why not?


Amanda Arista

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Two Gemmell Award Finalists From The Supernatural Underground---Plus Giveaway!

USA Cove

Giveaway Result:

The 'Great Gods of Randomness' (ie the Random Number Integer) have spoken and we have winners for the two x  HEIR/GATHERING giveaway sets—and they are:
  • Bonnie
  • Llehn
Congratulations to you both and thank you to everyone for participating and for all the wonderful encouragement for Kim and me with the Gemmell Awards!

Bonnie & Llehn--could you drop me a line on contact[at)helenlowe[dot]info to confirm your posting details for the books.


 April has been a very busy month, with The Gathering of the Lost, Book Two in The Wall of Night series, being published in the USA, Australia and New Zealand on March 27 and in the UK on April 5—and the Blog Tour in full swing throughout that time!

But—there is more!

Gemmell Award Good News!

UK Trade Paperback Cover
In the midst of all the Touring razzmatazz I learned that The Heir of Night (The Wall of Night Book One) has been shortlisted for the Gemmell Morningstar Award for Best Fantasy Newcomer!

Yes, we made it through to the final round: an absolutely HUGE thrill!

About the Gemmells:
As I mentioned back in March, the Gemmell awards were established to honor the legacy of heroic fantasy maestro, author David Gemmell—and to celebrate excellence in the fantasy genre that he exemplified through books such as Legend and Dark Prince. So as a long time fan of David Gemmell's work, I feel deeply honored that my debut epic fantasy novel, The Heir of Night, is a finalist for the Morningstar Award.

But there is Even More Gemmell Award Good News for the Supernatural Underground: my friend and fellow author, Kim Falconer's novel, Journey By Night, has also made the finalists list—for the Ravenheart Award for Best Fantasy Cover Artwork. In her case, the cover art was done by her son, Aaron Briggs, which I personally feel makes the shortlisting for Journey By Night extra special!

& If You Wish To Support Your Supe Authors To Win...

All rounds of all the Gemmell Award categories are reader voted so if as Supernatural Underground readers you feel you would like to support your Supe authors and their books—or another book on the list you really love—here's what to do:

... Here's What You Do:

To vote for The Heir of Night—Helen Lowe to win the Morningstar Award for Best Fantasy Newcomer, click HERE
(Then click in the circle above the book/author name)

To vote for Aaron Briggs for the Cover of Journey By Nightto win the Ravenheart Award for Best Fantasy Cover Artwork, click HERE
(Then click in the circle above the artist/book cover name)



Plus Giveaway!

Because The Gathering of the Lost is still just '1 month old' & because I am so happy that The Heir of Night has made it onto the final shortlist for the Gemmell Morningstar Award I am going to do another giveaway today, with 2 x HEIR/GATHERING sets to giveawaywith the recipients being drawn from amongst those who comment on this post.

The draw will close at midnight EST on Saturday 5 May and be made by Random Number Integer, with the result posted here (at the beginning of this post) on Sunday 6 May. And don't forget to check back to see if you've won!