Thursday, August 30, 2012

Live on 1 September: An Interview with Juliet Marillier

I'm very excited to let you all know that on 1 September I'll be featuring an interview with fellow Fantasy author, Juliet Marillier, here on the Supernatural Underground – and we'll be talking about her new YA Fantasy, Shadowfell.

Plus we'll be doing a joint giveway, with a copy of Shadowfell and my own The Heir of Night, which recently one the Gemmell Morningstar Award for Best Fantasy Debut.

I'm looking forward to being back here on the 1st and hosting Juliet as a Supernatural Underground guest.:)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Upcoming releases!

Congratulations to Janhvi of India for winning this month's prize!!  Thank you all for the great comments. Please come back next month for the next giveaway. And please check out the contests that will begin soon on my website and Goodreads.

Some exciting months are ahead! At the end of September, my humorous historical romance, The Forbidden Lady, will go on sale. I'll be celebrating that with a contest on my website,, where I'll give away 10 wonderful historical romances by fellow Avon authors.

In October, I'll be signing at several places like the Buns and Roses event in Plano, TX, and then later at Katy Budget Books. If you would like to order a signed print copy of The Forbidden Lady, please contact Katy Budget Books at  You can find out more about future events by going to the Appearances page of my website.

At the end of November, Howard's book will release-- Wild About You!  If you're anxious to know who Howard will fall in love with, you can find out on the Upcoming Books page of my website.  The website contest will continue through October and November, when I'll give away some backlist books from the Love at Stake series. I've recently joined GoodReads, so please look for me there. I'll be giving away books there, too!

And speaking of giveaways, I have a special prize for a lucky winner today!  A signed copy of Pamela Palmer's exciting new vampire book, A Blood Seduction!  It's the first book in a terrific series you won't want to miss!  Thrills, chills, romance, suspense-- it's all there!  But that's not all!  There's A Blood Seduction shot glass to go with it! And that's still not all. I'm also throwing in a signed copy of Eat Prey Love!!

For a chance to win, leave a comment and tell me whom you would rather see on a cover-- the hero, the heroine, or both of them? International entries are welcomed.  Good luck!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cover and first chapter reveal for my YA Novel, FATHOM

By Merrie Destefano

Sometimes it seems like the time between an author’s books can take soooo long. If you’ve ever wondered what we’re doing in those quiet times—when we don’t actually have a new book on the shelf—the answer is: we're busy writing another book.

I’ve actually written 2 books since my last novel, FEAST: Harvest of Dreams, was published. Both of them are YA novels and both of them are unique, quite different from one another.

The first is a paranormal fantasy and the second is a science fiction apocalyptic story.

I recently decided to indie publish the paranormal fantasy, which is called FATHOM, and those of you visiting Supernatural Underground will get the first taste of the book. (YAY!!)

This full-length novel will release on Amazon Kindle on October 1. And if any of you are book bloggers who would like to review the book as part of my blog tour, please post a comment with your email address.

So, my big reveal….Here’s the cover:

Isn’t she gorgeous? And here’s the synopsis…


Everything is changing . . .

Turning sixteen can be hell, especially if everyone in town thinks your mother killed herself and your sister. All Kira Callahan wants to do is swim, hang out with her best friend, Sean, and ignore the kids who torment her at school. That is, until one day when she gets invited to a party. For three minutes her life is wonderful—she even kisses Sean in the driveway. Then somebody spikes her drink at the party and some girls from out of town lure her into the ocean and hold her underwater.

Kira soon discovers that the group of wild teenagers who have come to visit Crescent Moon Bay are not as innocent as they seem. In fact, nothing is as it seems—not the mysterious deaths of her sister and mother, not her heritage, not even her best friend. And everything seems to hinge on the ancient Celtic legends that her mother used to tell her as a child.

And here’s the first chapter…


Chapter 1


I never believed in ghosts.

Until I saw one, face to face, when I was twelve.

It was the middle of the summer, one of those nights when the wind scratched tree branches against my window and the Pacific roared so loud I thought it was going to sweep me away. Something startled me awake, some shifting of our house, beam against beam, old wood crying out in the damp sea breeze.

Almost instantly a chill shiver ran down my arms.

I got out of bed, the wooden floor cool and welcome against my bare feet. I paused in the hallway, noticed the fragrance of freshly cut hawthorn in the air. I used to love that smell.

Not anymore.

Then I saw something in a pool of moonlight—spots of water on the floor.

Like tiny lakes. Each one perfectly formed and separate.

Watery footprints.

Leading toward my father’s door.

I couldn’t breathe or move. Part of me wanted to disappear. Another part of me hoped that maybe the past could be erased and rewritten.

That was when I saw her. My mother.

I have her photo on my nightstand—me, my sister and her—all in a huddle of green leaves. Her dark hair twined with Katie’s and my own like the three of us were one person. We were up in our tree house. My father must have taken that picture. And here she was right in front of me, tall and slender and silver in the pale moonlight, her long dark hair swirling in the muggy summer breeze, looking like a mermaid, her skin glistening as if she had just risen from her briny home.

Dark lips parted and a small gasp came out when she saw me.

It only lasted a moment, but in that amount of time I saw too much.

Her fingers stained with fresh blood, her eyes the color of the ocean, her skin so pale it looked as if she hadn’t been in the sun for years.

“Mom,” a whisper cry came from my lips.

She came nearer then, this wraith from the past, until she could press a slender finger against my lips. She shook her head. We both knew the rules. I grew up on the Celtic legends; they were all my family talked about during the long winter nights, when the fire crackled and spit and our bellies were full.

But for now, silence filled the hallway, just long enough for me to hear the air coming in and out of my mother’s mouth, as if she had run a great distance to get here. Perhaps the gates to the Underworld were farther away than I thought. Or perhaps she had climbed the great cliff our house sat upon, all the way up from the ocean floor, to get here. Finally—when neither of us could bear the quiet any longer and I’m sure both of us would have started weeping, when words would have gushed like streams from our mouths and we would have broken every rule that protected the living from the dead—at that point, she brushed past me down the narrow hallway, toward the back door.

I turned and watched her run, across the yard through the thicket of trees and overgrown thorny bushes, toward the cliff. The same path she took seven years ago.

The night she killed my sister and then threw her tiny body in the ocean.

The very same night that my mother killed herself.

I didn’t see the hawthorn branches until the next morning, arcing across every window and lintel that led to the outside. Tiny drops of blood spattered the woodwork, stained the Irish lace curtains. My grandmother cursed beneath her breath as she made breakfast—a sizzle of bacon, the fragrance of burned toast—the Gaelic words draĆ­ochta and mallacht dropping like hot stones. My father sat at the table, his eyes downcast and his face the color of a rainy day. But it wasn’t anger in his heart, not like Gram; no, I could tell that sorrow kept his eyes from meeting mine that morning.

I longed to tell him that I had seen her. She’s alive! I wanted to say, but that just wasn’t true. She was haunting us. She had almost spoken to me last night. Almost broke all the rules of heaven and hell and earth, and if we had talked to each other—

I glanced up at Gram, hoping that she couldn’t read my mind—I wondered about that at times.

If my mother and I had talked to each other, well, then I would be damned to a watery grave too. Just like her.

And so on that morning we all sat in the same heavy silence as the evening before. The only sounds, the bright song of the purple finch in the willow tree and Gram’s Gaelic curses.

One strange thing I will always remember about that day.

None of us took any of those hawthorn branches down. Nor did we wipe away any of the blood.

Every year after that, on Midsummer’s Eve, my father put the hawthorn branches up himself. He draped every window and door with rugged greenery, while Gram watched him with her hands on her hips, grumbling. She’d shake her head and tsk, saying he was going to wreck all the trees in the yard with his terrible pruning. And then, when he’d had enough of her complaining, he’d go off in a sulk and spend the evening at the local tavern.

While he was gone, Gram would get out her Irish whiskey.

She’d start by pouring a draft into her cup of coffee, but soon enough, it would be whiskey in her cup and she’d be adding a drop or two of coffee for flavor.

Songs would ring throughout the house, from floor to rafter. And then the stories would come. That was when I would slip out of my room, when the yard was full of green trees and dusky sky and the fairy light of a full moon. I would curl on the sofa with our cat and a book on my lap, pretending to read, but really I was just waiting for the stories to begin.

When my grandmother’s voice rose and fell, her tongue thick from liquor, I imagined that I saw my sister and my mother standing just outside the circle of light cast by our windows onto the lawn. They couldn’t come too close, I knew, not when the hawthorn boughs protected us. I imagined that they danced to Gram’s songs and that they wept at her stories.

Unfortunately, all the Irish legends end poorly. Someone falls in love with a vampiric Leanan Sidhe, or a banshee comes singing tales of woe, or a fairy steals your child, leaving a changeling in its place. Whichever way you looked at it, a human could never win the battle against the legendary creatures from my homeland.

Sometimes, when I curled beneath a blanket and stared out at a star-drenched sky, I wondered if that was why my ancestors left Ireland and came here, this small town on the California coast.

Maybe they all wanted to escape the danger. But it didn’t matter. Because, in the end, dark magic and twisted fate can catch up with you, no matter how far you move away.


So, lovely readers, what do you think?

Monday, August 20, 2012

5 Hot Mini-Snippets of News for the month:

First, sorry that I'm running a little late - due to 3 near death experiences today, no thanks to a drunk driver, and my two bulls who each tried to kill me in 3 separate incidents... anyway, to business:

  1. My cat chose 8 winners to announce today (from my blog last month). She must have been feeling generous – or starving for breakfast - because I was still only half-way thru my highly technical process of eenie-meenie-mynie-mowing a winner from a list that I’d transferred to a spreadsheet, when she danced across my keyboard and deleted half the entrants. So it must be Fate… Congratulations to Sienny, Annalouise, Valerie, Bn100, Llehn, SandyG265, Mollyfrenzel and DeniseZ.  I know most of you already own autographed copies, so I’ll contact you offlist to see if you’d like signed copies for friends, or perhaps be first to get your hands on Leopard dreaming… And if you didn’t send me your email addie yet, I’ll need it now please. Or else email my personal assistant, Julie at:    needie35 AT hotmail DOT come
  2. The countdown is on for the launch of Leopard Dreaming: out 1st of October. And to celebrate the launch of this grand finale to the Diamond Eyes Trilogy, I’ll have a big batch of SIGNED COPIES of the full set of multi-award winners at Hot Discount Prices BY ADVANCE ORDER ONLY. Discount will be somewhere between 20% and 50% off, depending on numbers, so hands up if you’re interested. Don’t forget, Christmas is coming!!
  3. A new age dawns... I have an agent!!!... It only took 12 years, 12 bestsellers and 3 major award winners, but I finally found a professional who not only meets my standards, but also exceeds them!! YAYYY!!!... Timely, indeed, because...
  4.  I’m also launching my facebook page officially, so please Like me, if you do, at
  5. Tweet, tweet! I’m now a tweeterling! (Which sounds a whole lot better than twit, LOL.) Am still finding my wings, though, so I’m looking for experienced twitterererers to follow – and if you love wise words of wisdom, then you might like to follow me too:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Guess the Gift Contest

I so love all your guesses! Email me with your preference of Kindle, Kobo, Nook, iPad in the subject bar. Who won?. Everyone who had a go in the comments up to Aug 23, 2012! Thank you! Enjoy! xxxKim

Hi Everyone,
I'm giving you all a sneak preview of my upcoming release, Tatsania's Gift out Sept 1, 2012. Celebrate with me! 

Watch the book trailer and see if you can guess exactly what Tatsania's Gift is. 

I'll drop some hints in the comments if it looks like people are getting stuck. You can enter (in the comments) as many times as you like. If you have more than one idea, let's hear them!

I'll give away a copy of Tatsania's Gift to the best/closest/most interesting answers, on Sept 1. If you make me laugh, you'll definitely get one! Your choice of Kindle, Kobo or iBook. 

Here's the blurb:

Tatsania′s Gift is set on a dystopian Earth in the 24th century where there′s no clean water, little food and life is a brutal battle against the armed forces of ASSIST. Six-year-old Kali is forced to fight for her life when her mother is dragged away by ASSIST and two cruel ′aunties′ turn up to take care of her. But her mother has left her something precious - a gift that can save the world. With it Kali discovers her own magical powers and joins the underground movement where she learns the skills she'll need to survive on Earth. But no magic in our world could ever prepare her for what is to come . . .

Why a novella? It's a good question, especially since I tend to write much longer works. When I finished Journey by Night, book three in the Quantum Encryption series, my publisher and I realised that the first six chapters told a self-contained story of life on 24th century Earth. We decided to start JBN at chapter 7 and turn these first six chapters into a novella, which is now Tatasnia’s Gift. 

For those new to the Quantum Enchantment and Quantum Encryption series, I hope this story will whet your appetite. If you have devoured the earlier works and are longing for more, this is it! Enjoy!

I'm looking forward to your guesses! See you in the comments.

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, the newest release is Tatsania's Gift.

You can find out more about Kim at or on The 11th House. She posts here on the 16th of every month. Her books are available worldwide with free shipping. Kim supports the IS_Foundation.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Beginnings & Ends

I admit it. I'm one of those people who couldn't wait for the last Harry Potter movie, and yet, the second it was over, I was sobbing, wishing I'd waited a little while longer to see it so that I still had that "final" experience to look forward to. I was thrilled to read the final book and devoured every word of it, but the movie. . .well it was the last Harry Potter related thing to look forward to, and my daughter and I grieved together. Lord of the Rings didn't make me cry (much) but I had the same feeling of glee, then regret, after it watching. The finale of Friends? Yep.

This month I'm facing a similar finale as Kyana and Ryker's story comes to an end with the release of Chosen. It was pretty cool, closing their story after three books, but watching them hit stores for their finale on the 28th is going be a little sad, too! Even though it's fulfilling to watch their story complete, and it's exciting to be back into a new world, pounding away at the keys, there's a part of me that doesn't want to let them go.

So to make me feel better, I'm going to give away a signed copy! Post a comment and let me know what, if any, series, book, television show, movies, whatever, that you've loved and were saddened to see go. I'll pick a winner tomorrow (16th) and you can choose which book in Kyana's series you'd like sent to you. It's that easy.

Looking forward to hearing from you!


Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Moving Contest Winners

Thank you to everyone who entered my book giveaway!  I have placed all the entries in the random number generator and the 10 winners are:

Melissa (Books and Things)
Stacy Detty
Sharon Stogner

Winners, please email me at JocelynnDOTdrakeATgmailDOTcom and give me your mailing address and tell me which book you would like.

Pray for Dawn
Wait for Dusk
Burn the Night

Thanks for entering and be sure to stop by my blog.  More giveaways to come!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

This and That...

Hello to you all!  Can't believe we're heading toward the middle of August already.  I don't know about you guys but my summer has flown by, probably because I've been busy with family, friends and writing!

Today's post will kind of fill you in on where I'm at!  On Monday I handed in my second novella in my League of Guardian series, To Hell and Back. It's a continuation of Logan and Kira's book, the one that began with Wrong Side of Hell.  I can't wait for you all to read it, the release date under the Avon Impulse line is October 30th. AND my lovely editor rewarded me with a peek at the I thought I'd share!

Ya'll like?  I love this cover so hard!  You can read an excerpt of the first chapter by clicking HERE!

I also launched a new YA title in August under the name Julie Blackstone.  It's called Ravyn's Fall and last month I shared the first chapter, this month I want to share the video trailer.  The original music was composed by my son (who incidentally stole the name and his band is called Ravyn's Fall as well!)

I hope you liked it!

King of the Damned is releasing November 27th, you can read an excerpt of the book HERE and an FYI, the NOOK and KINDLE version of the book is on sale for 4.99!

Lastly, while digging through a bunch of old files I found a book I wrote over 3 years ago. It's a superhero urban fantasy called THREE YEARS DEAD.  I've been posting a chapter a week as an online read and you can read the first three chapters HERE.  I'll be posting the fourth tomorrow!

Happy August, until next time....


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The "I'm Moving" Contest

Summer is slowly wasting away.  The days aren't quite as long as they used to be and the worst of the blistering heat has faded.  I've handed in the revised version of the second book in the Asylum Tales and I've started to turn my attention toward other projects.

But before I can settled behind my desk again, I've got to pack it all up.  Yes, I am moving from my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio.  My darling Other Half and I are headed north to Wisconsin.  We will be headed up there at the end of the month (assuming that I can find a place to live).

The moving process means that I will be packing up the contents of my house.  While I was sorting through my boxes in the library/armory, I discovered that I have THREE boxes of my books for the Dark Days series.  Most are either book five (WAIT FOR DUSK) and book six (BURN THE NIGHT), but I have a handful of books 2-4.

The fact is, I don't want to want to move all those boxes of books.  I've already got lots of books that are written by other amazing authors that I want to take north.  Should I take my own?  Nah.  I think I should give them to you.  Would you like a signed book?  Cool!  I can help with that.

Here's what I need you to do.  Leave me a comment on this blog with your name and which book you would like.

You can choose from:

Dayhunter (book 2)
Dawnbreaker (book 3)
Pray for Dawn (book 4)
Wait for Dusk (book 5)
Burn the Night (book 6)

(sorry, I am all out of copies of Nightwalker -- book1)

Leave a comment before midnight on Friday, August  10.
Please, U.S. residents only.  (I will have an international contest later this month)
I will choose 10 winners using a random number generator.
Come back on Saturday to find out if you won.

Also, you want to help me out some more.  I will happily accept any moving advice that you can give.  I've moved across town, but never a long distance with a dog and two cats.  Have you moved a far distance?  Have you moved with animals?  Got any advice for me?  Leave me a little advice.  Thanks for your help.       

Friday, August 3, 2012

There are no glass slippers here

So first things first. We finally have cover art for Nine Lives of an Urban Panther. Out August 21st. There will be a MASSIVE give-away for the big release announced here next month. Stay tuned.

Okay, now that's out of the way, I can talk about the weirdest part of my trip to RWA. Yes, I managed to survive five days of romance writers packed into the Anaheim Marriott and we all had an amazing time. There was much networking, crafting, and general good fun.

However, while perhaps at the bar with some authors who will not be named (but if you ask me, I will totally tell you), we met a group of young men who were fascinated by the fact that we were romance writers. Once they got over their star-struck shyness, one of them asked me, "What does your day as a writer look like?"

I'm pretty sure he thought I'd say, "I wake up in my satin robe and eat chocolates and type until my fingers burn."

We writers talk a lot about our image as writers. We know that people think of writers as crazy people with pencils in their hair and drinking their fifth cup of coffee. To dissuade any thoughts of fluffy high-heeled slippers, I was honest with this young man. I work a 40 work week at a desk job, and then come home and transform into the awesomeness that is Amanda Arista, the author.

Okay, its really not that awesome, but its not all typing away at the computer. And I don't feel I eat nearly enough chocolate.

This is my life.

I go to work.

I come home and get attacked by my dogs.

On the weekends, I try to do something new, like get in touch with my Italian side by making wine.

I do make stuff with lots of chocolate, so that might not just be a myth.

I sit around and drink coffee. So the coffee part is completely true.

Life is how you interpret it. I interpret mine as pretty darn awesome and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Thank you for being a part of it as my Supernatural Underground family.

 Amanda Arista

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

All About… The Awesomeness of Story!

Lately, I’ve been reflecting on the writing life and what keeps me going through the long stretches that aren’t book launches, or blog tours, or the wildfire excitement of winning awards. Because in between those times there are prolonged periods when the only thing you are doing, as the writer, is sitting at the writing desk every day and hangin’ — or more often than not, wrasslin’ — with your characters and whatever excitement or frustration or derring-do is coloring their world.

And that — to use an Olympian analogy — is no sprint: it’s a long distance endurance event.

So how do we, as writers, stay motivated to keep going no matter what: not the motivation of paychecks and contracts, which however essential and real is still the stuff of the mundane world. No, I’m talking about sustaining the passion that will keep the magic of story spinning “no matter what.”

For me, writing is all about the magic of story, of reaching into the air and pulling out something shining, a rainbow thread that will — if I do my work well — make people I don’t even know not only laugh and cry, but struggle and curse and sweat with my characters, as well as rejoice and love and perhaps even, like Malian in The Gathering of the Lost, feel “wonderfully and gloriously alive.”

The most important thing for me, especially when I’m in the middle of the long distance endurance event event (and both the starting post behind me and the finishing ahead are completely out of sight) is staying connected to that sense of magic. Partly that means staying connected to my own writing. Another, really important part is staying in touch with the magic of other writers — because one place you’re almost always certain to find at least a pinch of enchantment is between the covers of other authors’ books.

So a few days back, on a cold, dull, rainy sort of afternoon when I had to wait an hour or two for an engagement and the “only” place to wait was a book store — I quote mark “only” because of course it’s absolutely the best sort of place to mooch when you have time to kill; and yes, dear Supernatural Undergrounders, I do mean a for-real, bricks-and-mortar bookstore which is, naturellement, a physical place where bona fide hanging out (and what’s more, mooching!) can really, actually  happen — I found myself looking for books which might provide that little pinch of enchantment.

I walked out with three in my bag. (I review that last sentence and hasten to add that I did pay for them before putting them in my bag!) But the books—the books, dear Supernatural Undergrounders, were Diana Wynne Jones’ Power of Three, Robert Graves’ Homer’s Daughter, and a new edition of that wonderful classic Tales from 1001 Nights (the translation is by Malcolm C Lyons and Ursula Lyons.)

I have read all three books before so I know “for sure” they contain the very best sort of writing magic. Consequently, I am very much looking forward to rediscovering all three, and also having them in my own personal library to dip into “at will” hereafter.

Currently, I have only dipped into Diana Wynne Jones’ Power of Three—but what a wonder of magical-ness it is. It isn’t just the actual magic given Wynne Jones’ was (and is!) a pre-eminent Kids/YA Fantasy author. It’s her use of language, and the way she captures people in all their humanness, as well as "nailing" a kid’s eye view of the world, and the delight of telling life — as Emily Dickinson would have it — “slant.”

Perhaps most of all, as a reader, it’s the sheer awesomeness of putting yourself into the power of a master storyteller — and knowing you are in safe hands.

Even just dipping my reading toe into Power of Three, I know there’s going to be plenty of magic on hand to help sustain me through the long distance endurance event of writing my current book. And I am sure that Homer’s Daughter and Tales from 1001 Nights will provide equal awesome story goodness, in due course.

So taking one thing with another, dear Supernatural Undergrounders, I feel I shall be OK. But how about you? What are the stories that weave the magic of awesome for you? What keeps you going in the midst of your long distance endurance events, whatever they may be?

If you feel you can bear to do so, I would love to read your comments.

Helen Lowe is a novelist, poet, interviewer, and a 2012 Ursula Bethell Writer-in-Residence at the University of Canterbury. The Gathering of the Lost, the second novel in her The Wall of Night series, is just published, and she has recently won the Gemmell Morningstar Award 2012 for the first-in-series, The Heir of Night. Helen posts every day on her Helen Lowe on Anything, Really blog, on the first of every month right here on the Supernatural Underground. and occasionally on SF Signal. You can also follow her on Twitter: @helenl0we.