Monday, January 28, 2013

Halloween in January - Why not?

Giveaway - $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble
Gift Certificate
The winner was Sullivan. Thanks, everyone, for your comments.
C'mon, admit it - Halloween comes only once a year and you miss it already.

That's why you're here at Supernatural Underground - to get your fix of the spooky, the fantastical, and sometimes the icky. It's okay. I get it. I wrote a paranormal short story, "Deadline," with a Halloween theme. I'd like to share it with you. The fun part is that there are two endings to this story. You get to choose which one you like and let me know.

But first ...

Deliverance, the third book in the Mortal Path series, has won the 2012 USA Best Book Award for Fantasy, and I have to say I'm thrilled about it! I'd post a video of me doing my happy dance, but decided that might be too frightening even for a post about Halloween. :-)

Now about that story. Just click on the drippy Deadline below to read it. (Is that blood? Yes!) Then leave a comment mentioning your choice of Ending 1 or Ending 2 to enter the drawing for the giveaway of a $25 gift certificate to Amazon or Barnes and Noble, your choice. You need to do the Rafflecopter signup, because the winner will be selected only from those who do. Now that all those holiday bills are coming due, wouldn't you love to have a little mad money to spend on yourself? Get busy and enter!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, January 25, 2013

Vampires Gone Wild!

Congratulations to Lisa of Maine for winning the signed copy of Eat Prey Love! Thank you all for the comments!  Please come back Feb. 25th for my next contest. And don't forget to grab Vampires Gone Wild on Feb. 12th!

Your friendly neighborhood vampires are scheduled to go wild on February 12! We're excited here at the Supernatural Underground, because Vampires Gone Wild is our first official SU anthology. I was delighted to participate with fellow undergrounders Pamela Palmer, Amanda Arista, and Kim Falconer.  We each contributed a novella. Mine is titled, "V is for Vampwoman," and stars that mysterious Russian vampire Mikhail as the hero. Who is VampWoman?  She wears spandex and a masked cape like Batman, and she fights evil. She doesn't think anyone will see past her clever disguise, but of course, our hero will!

For those of you who like your books in print, there will be a print version available about three weeks after the e-book releases. I'll be signing some print books at Katy Budget Books, so feel free to contact them if you would like me to sign a print book for you!

Today, I'm offering a signed copy of Eat Prey Love since Mikhail appears in that book and actually speaks!  He's normally a man of few words.  Mikhail is more a man of action, and when VampWoman appears, he definitely wants some action!  Just leave a comment for a chance to win the signed copy of Eat Prey Love. International entries welcome. And be sure to go wild with the vamps February 12th!  I can't wait to read the other novellas!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Celebrating with a friend

This is an exciting day for me because I get to spruik the debut book from one of my best friends, Donna Maree Hanson.

'Rayessa and the Space Pirates' is a YA SF romance published by Escape Publishing here in Australia but available world wide.

Rae is 16-years-old and she's lived the last few years along with just the mentally-damaged giant Gris for company. When Alwin Anton, an auditor from AllEarth Corp arrives, he not only stirs up Rae's life and reveals the truth of who she is, but he stirs things in Rae as well.

It's a rollicking good read - if you love your SF pulpy and fun, this is a great book for you.

I interviewed Donna - a strange thing to be doing to a good friend.

Tell us about Rayessa and the Space Pirates.

Rayessa and the Space Pirates is about 16 year old Rae Stroder, who has been living on derelict outpost inside a hollow asteroid. She’s been living with Gris, who is a bit brain damaged from the pirate attack that supposedly killed her father. They eat hard tack and beans mostly and their clothes are made from metal plating, insulation and the remains of other material.

Rayessa is a dreamer and spends her time watching vid movies, with fantastic plots and beautiful heroes and heroines. sort of like Bollywood in space. She hasn’t been to school as far as she can remember and she mostly reads checklists to get things done.

In comes Alwin Anton, super clean and smart auditor and her life turns upside down. He’s handsome for sure but he wants to take Rae back to Earth to be tried for embezzlement. Rae doesn’t even know what that word means. This is where the fun begins. Space pirates attack and Rae is off on an adventure that has more ups and downs that a roller coaster.

Who is your favourite pirate?

Gee that’s hard. I mean none of them are nice. Let me go check.(searches manuscript). I think one of the pirate woman is okay. Case, is her name. She has a twitchy face but does something nice for Rae. I also like coming up with their names. Space Pirates have weird handles like Cleaver the Curry Eater.

Who is your favourite SF heroine?

Ohh now you are ripping of the bandaid off. Tedra from Warrior’s Woman by Joanna Lindsay. OMG. Awesome book Awesome hero and Tedra takes no shit. (NICOLE - Donna and I share a mutual love of  his book).

Who is your favourite SF hero?

Aside from some of my own fictional heroes in my unpublished words, I’d say Challen from Warrior’s Woman. He’s a bit of a fantasy for me. All that warrior if you know what I mean. I have a few movie and tv ones too, but I’ll stick to Challen.

Why did you write this as YA?

I don’t think I did that intentionally. It was just how the story came out. I stuck my head into Rae’s world and that’s what I got. I don’t often write in first person either so it is her story truly in that respect. I hope people like it. It’s a fun adventure!

Here is a short excerpt from when Rae meets Alwin Anton for the first time.

‘Phew. That still smells strong.’ I sniffed and looked down. The smeared remains of an aging turd were hanging off my boot.

‘Crap. What next?’ I angled my foot and scrapped what I could off onto the verge grating. Time was running out. So I gave up trying to clean my boot and headed for the airlock to meet Alwin Anton, representative of AllEarth Corp, before he stumbled into something he shouldn’t, all the while repeating my father’s first rule, ‘Act Stupid’. I was doing a good job so far and I wasn’t even trying.

The hatch began to open and then halted with a grating crunch. Surprised, I looked up. The darn thing was frozen. With Mr Anton trapped on the other side, I rummaged through a service bin looking for the WD2040. After tossing bits of equipment casually over my shoulder, I put my hand on the aerosol can. I aimed and squeezed it into the frozen seal.

I was greeted by the shush of air when the two atmospheres interacted. My ears felt heavy for a moment while they adjusted to the change in pressure.

I looked up from examining my boot, nose still hitched in a sniff when Mr Anton hove into view. He was a head taller than me, with lightly-tanned skin. Athletic looking, his dark eyes glittered as they looked me up and down. With his short black hair, straight nose and white teeth, he’d pass for a movie star. If the expression on his face was anything to go by, he was surprised. He stared for a moment and then his face creased and he staggered backwards. ‘Good god. What is that stink?’ he blurted out in what the vids would call a private-school accent.

‘Sorry, slight malfunction,’ I replied with a nervous shrug. ‘We’re having it fixed right away. Now if you’ll follow me I’ll take you round to the control room.’

‘Who are you?’ He crossed the threshold.

I swung round and felt my face heat and my underarms itch with sweat. I didn’t have to act stupid in the way my Dad instructed, since it obviously came naturally. ‘Oh? Yes, sorry. I’m Rae Stroder. Captain Stroder’s daughter.’

‘And where is your…Captain?’ His dark eyes were narrowed under trim dark eyebrows. He seemed to be looking everywhere at once. ‘Avoiding me I suppose. They always do.’

Rayessa and the Space Pirates is available direct from the publisher and at all the major electronic bookstores.

Image of Donna Maree Hanson
Donna Maree Hanson is an Australian writer of fantasy, science fiction, horror, paranormal romance and romance. As well as over 20 short stories published in various genres, she had a small press publishing house, been an editor, slush reader and science fiction convention runner. She works for the Australian Government undertaking audits of other government departments and their programs. She lives in Queanbeyan, near Canberra, with her youngest son, her ginger tom cat and her partner.

If YOU were asked your favourite SF heroine/hero, who would it be? My heroine would probably be Princess Leia and hero - Captain Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Blood and Water - Vampires Gone Wild

Hi Everyone! To celebrate the upcoming release of Supernatural Underground - Vampires Gone Wild, I'm introducing you to my contribution, Blood and Water, set in San Francisco 1906, days before the great earthquake . . . Read reviews of all four novellas at Unwrapping Romance.

Winners are
Chelsea B, Mary Kirkland, Bonnie and Barbara E. Copies will be sent to you February 12. Thanks everyone for jumping in!  

 Bonnie, I can't find your email to send you VGW. Email me please :)

We're giving away four copies (on the release date, February 12, 2013) so pop a note in the comments to be in the draw. Meanwhile, here is an excerpt to get you started. Enjoy!

Blood and Water

6:12 p.m. Sunday, April 15, 1906

Stellan shot toward the ferry, his naked body gliding through the water just under the waves. He swam over sharks and knobble-backed sturgeons, while above, the setting sun turned everything to gold. Brilliant clouds were mirrored on the glassy surface. Beautiful … but worrisome. There would be dozens of passengers on the observation deck tonight. Dozens of deaths.

The more the merrier, Salila said, her voice rippling through his mind. She wasn’t too far behind him.
He swam harder. The ferry was heading southwest and coming up on Goat Island, a rock in the middle of the bay. 

Listen to me, Salila. You don’t have to do this!
Oh, but I do!
The paddle wheel cut through the swell. It rose over the hum of the steam engine and the distant siren sounds of whales traveling slowly up the coast. Stellan was tempted to break the surface when he reached the Bay City ferry, but the sun, and better judgment, kept him beneath the waves. He dove, skimmed the hull, and came up on the port side, sticking to the shadows. In a leap, Stellan grabbed the lifesaver netting and climbed until he could see the main deck.

People were chatting in small groups, gazing at the horizon, taking in the last rays of the sun. Stellan counted them, sweeping his eye across the deck, up to the wheelhouse, and down the other side before stopping short. The fine hairs on the back of his neck stood on end.

A woman walked toward the starboard railing, her breathtaking figure radiant in the light. The wind danced in her floor-length skirt, revealing the outline of long, slender legs. Fine lace pulled tight across her lower back, accentuating the curve from hips to breasts. Stellan felt a pounding in his chest. Impossible, he thought. Everything else was falling away, his vision a vignette with only the center, only her, in bright clarity. She was like living fire, or was that the sunset? Magnificent! What are you playing with, my lady? She seemed inordinately preoccupied with a small wooden box mounted on stilts. He watched, fascinated. Ah, a camera …

Isn’t she lovely? Salila cut into his mind.

He growled deep and twisted around, his dark hair trailing over his shoulders and down his broad back as he tried to spot the Mar woman in the water. This has to stop!

That’s not what Teern says. She surfaced and disappeared again. Taunting.

Stellan’s eyes went back to the deck. The object of his attention was sliding a glass plate into the camera. Quickly, she ducked under a black hood, and the whole thing flashed like a shooting star. A photographer! The thought would have made him smile if he weren’t so busy working out how to save her life.

The sun dropped into the sea, and the belated fog began to rise. A Mar fog. It was Salila’s shroud against detection. Stellan tore his eyes away from the woman long enough to dive back in and swim to the prow. The ferry chugged on, but the sound of the whales vanished. They tended toward silence when the Mar were hunting. The waves beat against his back as he clung directly underneath the main deck. He couldn’t see her anymore, but he could hear.

“There’s enough light for one more shot.”

She’s optimistic.

“Put your cape on and come inside, Miss Ralston! It’s gone quite cold and will be pitch-dark before we dock. You’ll catch your death …”

He hoped she would heed the warning. It would be the death of all those left chatting under the stars if Salila and the others had their way.

“Angelina Ralston!” The well-dressed matron beside her continued. “You’re not listening.”

Angelina … Stellan licked salt water off his lips. An angel … Her hair was auburn red and reminded him of autumn trees along the Atlantic Coast. Her eyes were dark like Egyptian onyx, and her lips full, inviting. She wore a long-sleeved ivory dress with pearl buttons that ran from her slender waist, between her round breasts to her high, lace collar. On her head was a matching hat, cocked up on one side. Stellan’s throat went completely dry when she spoke.

“Mrs. Blackwell, I am comforted by your concern.” She donned a forest green cape that hung to her black leather boots. “I assure you, though, I’m not the slightest bit cold.” She lowered her sweet voice. “The sea is mesmerizing, and the vista like warm embers. Look how the pale evening light dances across the rising mist. It’s so beautiful. If only I had a camera that could make sense of these subtleties … this other world.”

“Very poetic, I’m sure …” Mrs. Blackwell huffed.

“Ah, but light is poetry,” Angelina said to herself. Then louder, over the chatter of the other passengers, “There’s too much to experience on deck, Mrs. Blackwell. I can’t bear to walk away from the sensations.”

“Miss Ralston! Now I must insist you retreat to the safety of the cabin. Your father wouldn’t have you lingering in ‘sensations’ of any kind, I am sure.”

“Fortunately, Father is not here,” Angelina whispered . . .

 * * * 
More about Vampires Gone Wild: Kerrelyn Sparks's demure Pamela and sexy vampire sidekick battle the Malcontents in "V is for Vampwoman." Kim Falconer's aqueous San Francisco vampires in "Blood and Water" want nothing from "landers" -- unless it's dinner, but that's until Stellan meets Angelina. Pamela Palmer carries readers to Vamp City in "A Forever Love" where trapped Lukas pines for his lost love. When she appears, Lukas will fight to keep her alive. It's been a hundred years since Valiance has dated; all is great until they're attacked, but quiet Esme will shock Valiance in Amanda Arista's "First Dates Are from Hell."

Watch this blog for highlight from all the Vamps Gone Wild authors!

Kerrelyn Sparks  - V is for Vampwoman - reviewed in Unwrapping Romance
Pamela Palmer - A Forever Love
Amanda Arista - First Date 
Kim Falconer - Blood and Water

Kim Falconer is a Supernatural Underground author writing paranormal romance, urban fantasy, YA and epic science fantasy novels.

You can find out more about Kim at or on The 11th House Blog. She posts here at the SuperntrlUnderg on the 16th of every month. Watch for her next release, out February 12, 2013. Supernatural Underground: Vampires Gone Wild.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Charging Your Batteries in 2013

It's a brand new year.  It's still got its shine and that New Year smell, which really isn't like that new car smell but at least it isn't like that wet dog smell.  I stared at empty page for a while, trying to figure out what profound thing I would talk about for my very first blog of 2013 and ... well... I got nothing.

That isn't true.  I could talk about the upcoming release of DEAD MAN'S DEAL, but that isn't until May and I've still got plenty of time to hammer on you about that.

So, I thought, how about writing?  Or maybe what I've been thinking about writing recently?

Let me take you on a little journey.  Earlier today, a London friend pointed out an interesting article/interview of the fabulous Joss Whedon.  Part of the article was about how he chose to switch gears creatively rather than take a vacation to help recharge his creative batteries.  (Click here to read the article.)

After reading the article, I've come to realize that I've been doing just that during the past month! 

After completing the edits on DEAD MAN'S DEAL, I have been officially out of contract (which basically means no one is paying me to write a book).  This happens from time to time for an author as you figure out whether a series will continue, what you want to work on next, and what the publishers are interested in.  That empty zone can be both freeing and terrifying.  For me, I am going with freeing, but I'm willing to open the door on terrifying at a later date.

I've handed in a proposal for another book to the Asylum Tales, but in the meantime, I've drifted away from the urban fantasy genre.  It's sort of like cleansing the palate.  When I'm playing in urban fantasy, there's lots of fighting and magic and the world tends to be in desperate need of saving.  Every once in a while, I want to work with characters that aren't trying to save the world and who are just trying to do something normal like ... find love ... or get along with their family.  It's a matter of taking the camera angle from a wide view to a close up.

Unbelievably, I've been writing urban fantasy for 8 years now.  But I'll share a secret with you.  I didn't start out writing about vampires and werewolves.  Nope.  First book I ever finished writing was a retelling of Robin Hood. Of course, I was 12 at the time and you will never ever ever see it. In high school, I finished my second book, an original fantasy novel.  It was the first in a series, in fact.  I only got about halfway done with the second book.  My dream is to circle back to that series one day.  After the fantasy novel, I spent several years writing romance stories, both contemporary and historical.  And then, somehow, I found my way to urban fantasy.

As I start 2013, I've got a list of projects that has the beginnings of 7 different novels and 1 novella.  They span four different genres.  I think the diversity will keep me glued to my keyboard with excitement for the foreseeable future while growing and honing my writing skills.  And the bonus is that if a publisher is interested in any of that work, that's represents more for you to read!

What do you do to recharge your batteries when you're running low?

Love comes in many varied forms.  There is the love of family, love of country, and love of chocolate.  But for Jocelynn Drake, one truly treasured love is the love of a good story.  This Midwestern native spends the majority of her time lost in the strong embrace of a good book.  When she’s not hammering away at her keyboard, frowning at her monitor, or curled up with a book, she can usually be found cuddling with her cat Demona, walking her dog Max, or flinging curses at the TV while playing a video game.  Outside of books, cats, and video games, she is completely enamored of Bruce Wayne, Ezio Auditore, travel, tattoos, explosions, fast cars, and Anthony Bourdain (but only when he’s feeling really cranky). Jocelynn is the author of the Dark Days series and the Asylum Tales.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Amanda's Next Big Thing

Hello all,
First off, HAPPY NEW YEAR! Wow, 2012 just slipped past me. But I’m looking forward to fresh pages and new characters to introduce you guys to this year.
Secondly, I know that I’ve been a little lax lately in sharing with my Supernatural Underground family. But it wasn’t for naught.
A few of us here have put together an anthology of stories about vampires. Yep, this shifter girl is writing vampires now.
Kim Falconer did a great update on her next big thing and I’m un-abashedly going to steal her idea for this post.

1) What is the title of your next project?
“First Dates are Hell” is appearing the The Supernatural Underground anthology, Vampires Gone Wild, out February 12, 2013 at all e-book retailers

The book also features stories from: Kerrelyn Sparks, Pamela Palmer, and Kim Falconer

2) Where did the idea come from for the story?
We met the hero of “First Dates” Valiance in the third installment of the Diaries of an Urban Panther series. Valiance was a warrior prince for the vampire Clade in Dallas and when our heroine and werepanther Violet Jordan needed a little more help, Valiance pledged his sword to her cause.
I wanted to know what Valiance was doing now. How did he adjust being the only Vampire left in Dallas? What would Valiance do when left to his own devices?
What Violet would expect of this warrior in a time of peace?

3) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
This is an easy one. I made a Pinterest board for each new project, so casting the characters was the first thing that I did.

Michael Fassbender as Valiance          Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Esme
4) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
It's been a hundred years since Valiance dated; it isn’t any easier now than it was back then.

5) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
It took me about a month to write the first draft. What was challenging about this project was that it was a short story, and even though there are fewer words, the characters still need to react and change during the story, so they needed to be the right words. Apparently, I think in epic story arcs, so I really needed to look at what I wanted to focus on, which was the one choice that Valiance would make.

6) What other projects would you compare this story to within your genre?
Hopefully it’s still in the same vein as Diaries, but I think this one is less snark and more emotions. I think that “First Dates” has elements of what has always influenced me as writer: the snappy snark of Shonda Rhimes, the emotional journeys of Alice Hoffman, and the paranormal world building of Charlaine Harris.

7) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
See the pictures of Michael Fassbender and tell me that you wouldn’t want to think about him non-stop for a month. My life is awesome.

8) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
Fun Story time: I’ve always preached that you should write about what you know. For, Diaries, the main character needed to shoot a gun, so I went to a gun range. In the second, I needed to know about biker bars, so I went to a few around town.
For this story, the Vampires in my universe can only be killed by having their heads cut off by an iron sword, so all my vampires carry an iron sword. So, not to drop spoilers, but there is a sword fight in the story. Being a normal person, I don’t usually wield a sword, but like a normal person, I do have foam swords and a really great husband. So my husband and I choreographed the fight scenes so I could write about it. After a few bruises, we finally worked it out and voila, fight scene.
I hope that you have enjoyed this little update on my next big thing.
See you next month!
Amanda Arista
Diaries of an Urban Panther

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What's Your Dream for 2013?

There's something very special about getting to write a blog post for New Year's Day.

On the last day of the old year we look back: to what we've done that rocked during the course of the year, and to what maybe could have worked out better for us. But on the first day of the new year we start with a blank page, which is still ours to write on as we will.

A universe full of possibility; 
There's a considerable degree of excitement in that, the effervescence of the champagne cork popping and the bubbles rising in the glass—and no small degree of magic as well. The new year, after all, stretches ahead of us ahead, full of the unknown sure, but that very unknown is imbued with the magic and promise of one of the universe's great infinities: possibility.

Now we could talk resolutions, but somehow that seems to move us just a little away from effervescence and magic and possibility, into a more mundane realm of duty and—dear me!—self-improvement. (Not to be confused with home improvement and d.i.y., but close, dear readers, very close…)

I would far rather talk possibility and magic—what we would love to see written on that blank page of our new year. For the New Year is also the realm of wishes and the hope of dreams come true. And as the famous lyric from South Pacific goes: "If you don't have a dream, how're you gonna have a dream come true?"

So here we stand, on the threshold of a brand new year—and if we could each have one starshiny, rainbow-tinted dream come true in 2013, what would it be?

Here's my dream:

Recently, I was re-reading Friday's Child, one of the many delightful romantic-historical novels by Georgette Heyer. Something I learned about this novel from Miss Heyer's biography, was that a group of women who were imprisoned as political prisoners kept their spirits up by telling the story to each other. When finally released, the chief storyteller wrote the author to tell her how significantly Friday's Child had touched her and her fellow prisoners' lives. Not surprisingly, this became one of Georgette Heyer's most treasured fan letters.

As an author, my dream for 2013 is that my books may reach out to, and touch readers in as profound a way.

How about you—do you have a dream for this new year you’re willing to share here?

In any case, a very Happy New Year to each and every one of you. :)

Credit for supernova image to: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage), Richard Cool (University of Arizona) and WIYN/NOAO/AURA/NSF.