Friday, March 28, 2014

Spring Fling: A New-to-You Author
CrystalGB was the winner. 
Thanks, everyone, for your comments.

*** Giveaway ***

Spring is here! For those of you still coping with snow, rest assured that Spring arrived on March 20 at 12:57 P.M. EDT, even if it hasn't shown its fair face in your location yet.

Time for a fling! To a dedicated reader, that means books. What, you were expecting shopping for frilly, pastel Spring clothing and new shoes or packs of garden seeds? Hah! We readers have our priorities straight!

Do you know all of us here on Supernatural Underground? You might read the posts by your favorites, but if that's all you do, you could be missing a great new-to-you author. So I'm going to introduce all of us quickly, in alphabetical order. Click on our names to visit our web sites and follow us on Twitter with the links after our names.

Amanda Arista (@pantherista) was born in Illinois, raised in Corpus Christi, lives in Dallas but her heart lies in London. Good thing she loves to travel. The summer of second grade, she read every book in the young adult section of the library. So she started making up her own stories and hasn’t stopped since. She writes the DIARIES OF AN URBAN PANTHER series.

Dakota Banks (@dakotabanks) writes the Mortal Path dark urban fantasies, paranormal thrillers with a splash of romance. With Ancient Sumerian mythology brought forward to the present, a three-hundred-year-old woman tries to redeem her soul by saving as many lives as she's taken. The third book in the series, DELIVERANCE, won the 2012 USA Best Book Award for Fantasy. As Shirley Kennett, she writes suspense thrillers in the PJ Gray series.

A.A. Bell (@ThePoetTrees) is the winner of the prestigious 2011 Norma K. Hemming Award for Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Themes (Race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, etc.) for her debut novel, DIAMOND EYES, and for her second, HINDSIGHT. She's the first to ever win the award twice. As Anita Bell, she writes children's books, and was the first author to win an International “CrimeStoppers Award" for a children's crime series. 

Merrie Destefano (@MerrieDestefano) writes edgy urban fantasy: Vampires and fairy tales, Bladerunner meets Jim Butcher. AFTERLIFE (where everyone gets nine lives) and FEAST (edgy urban romance) leave you wanting more. Her first book of short stories, WAITING FOR MIDNIGHT, is highly satisfying, and the title tells all.  She writes for Young Adults too, and can teach you how to draw fantasy characters.

Jocelynn Drake (@JocelynnDrake) is the New York Times bestselling author of The Dark Days series and The Asylum Tales. 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 cats, Harley and Demona, walking her dog Max, or flinging curses at the TV while playing a video game.

Kim Falconer (@kimfalconer), a bestselling SF/Fantasy author, writes the Quantum Enchantment and Quantum Encryption series, epic stories that seamlessly mingle science and technology with sociology, environmentalism, philosophy, and magic. Astrology has been a part of her life for over 30 years and she teaches and consults in this field. Born in Santa Cruz, California, she lives and writes in the far eastern coast of Australia, sharing her dwelling with two black cats and a pair of Torresian crows. (!)

Leigh Fallon (@Leigh_Fallon) was born in South Africa, raised in Dublin, Ireland and moved to Cork in her 20s. Her debut paranormal romance in the Carrier series was discovered on Inkpop, a website for writers of teen fiction. Within weeks, book one of the in the series, CARRIER OF THE MARK, hit the coveted top five spot and was reviewed by an editor at HarperCollins. A few emails and some hysterical screaming later, she signed her first deal with HarperTeen. The second book in the trilogy is SHADOW OF THE MARK.

Jeaniene Frost (@Jeaniene_Frost) is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of vampire stories in the Night Huntress series, Night Prince series, and the upcoming Broken Destiny series. To date, foreign rights for her novels have sold to eighteen different countries. Jeaniene lives in North Carolina with her husband Matthew, who long ago accepted that she swears like a sailor, rarely cooks, and always sleeps in on the weekends. Aside from writing, Jeaniene enjoys reading, poetry, watching movies with her husband, exploring old cemeteries, spelunking and traveling – by car.

Terri Garey (@TerriGarey) is the RITA© award winning author of six novels, two series, and various novellas. Her devilishly delicious tales from the dark side have been described as "sweet yet smouldering" by Publishers Weekly, and "sultry and upbeat" by Library Journal. Despite her choice of spooky subject matter, Terri prefers to avoid graveyards, especially on Halloween.

Colleen Gleason (@colleengleason), a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, has written more than two dozen novels in a variety of genres  – most of them with some sort of supernatural element. From vampire hunters in Regency England to dystopian romance (as Joss Ware), Colleen has run the gamut. Her most recent release is ROARING MIDNIGHT, a spin-off of the internationally bestselling Gardella Vampire Chronicles, in which she brings the vampire-hunting family to Roaring Twenties Chicago.

Helen Lowe (@helenl0we) is a Fantasy/Science Fiction author, poet, interviewer and blogger. She won the prestigious Gemmell Morningstar Award for THE HEIR OF NIGHT, the first novel in her The Wall of Night epic fantasy series. THE GATHERING OF THE LOST, the second in the series, was described as a "a classic right up there with the likes of George RR Martin's A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE" by SF Site. Helen has twice won the Sir Julius Vogel Award for Excellence in SciFi-Fantasy: for her YA novel THORNSPELL and for THE HEIR OF NIGHT.

Kristin Miller (@KM_Miller) is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who writes the dark and sexy Vampires of Crimson Bay series featuring a blood war between vampires and shape-shifters and the Seattle Wolf Pack series, with her latest release GONE WITH THE WOLF. In addition to paranormal romance, she also writes contemporary and  historical romance and romantic suspense.

Nicole Murphy (@nicole_r_murphy) has been a primary school teacher, bookstore owner, journalist and checkout chick. Her urban fantasy trilogy Dream of Asarlai's last book is ROGUE GADDA. As Elizabeth Dunk she writes contemporary romance. As a journalist, Nicole has won awards for her writing; she has also had more than two dozen short stories published, the most recent in BLOODSTONES, an anthology of urban fantasy. Nicole lives her love of science fiction and fantasy through her involvement with the Conflux science fiction conventions. As Elizabeth Dunk, she writes contemporary romance. She lives with her husband in Queanbeyan, NSW, Australia.

Pamela Palmer (@Pamela_Palmer) is a New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author of more than a dozen novels including the Vamp City, Feral Warriors, and The Esri series. When Pamela's initial career goal of captaining star ships failed to pan out, she turned to engineering, satisfying her desire for adventure with books and daydreams until finally succumbing to the need to create worlds of her own. Pamela lives and writes in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.

Jaime Rush (@Jamierush) is the New York Times bestselling author of The Hidden series about humans with the essence of gods who walk the knife’s edge between the glamour of Miami and a place filled with dark magick and dangerous beauty. She also writes the Offspring series: Dangerous outcasts with extraordinary psychic powers who must band together to fight an enemy out to destroy them. As Tina Wainscott, she has published eighteen romance novels, mostly suspense and many with a touch of paranormal.

Kerrelyn Sparks (@KerrelynSparks) is the bestselling author of the paranormal romance Love at Stake series, which has hit as high as number 5 on the New York Times list and 22 on the USA Today list. Her most recent release, is THE VAMPIRE WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. She also writes historical romances. She lives in the Greater Houston area with her husband, children, and a house full of garlic.  So far, there are no vampires in her family. Werewolves are another matter entirely.

Wasn't that a blast?! You followed all of us on Twitter, right? Now for the giveaway: a $25 Amazon Gift Card for your Spring Fling. All you have to do is leave a comment below saying whether you like to stay with tried-and-true authors or try the new-to-you authors. Last day to enter is April 1st (no fooling!). I'll notify the random winner if you leave your disguised email; otherwise, check the top of this post on April 2nd for the winner's name.  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Countdown: One Month!!

Congratulations to Marcia of Oregon, who won this month's prize!! Thank you all for the comments!  Please come back April 25th for the next contest!

In one month, Zoltan Czakvar will leave his crumbling castle in Transylvania behind, so he can visit with you! How to Seduce a Vampire (Without Really Trying) goes on sale April 29th. I'll be doing a Launch Party with Katy Budget Books, so stay tuned for more news about that!  I will also be at C2E2 in Chicago, so if you're planning to attend that, please come by to see me! I'll be appearing on a panel and doing a signing with some other fabulous paranormal authors. That will happen the last weekend in April.

I've been so busy writing Russell's book, that I'm behind on website updates. I promise to get an excerpt up soon for Zoltan's book. Here's more about his book: Vampire Zoltan Czakvar is on the hunt for the truth about his father's death. He's been searching for a very long time—since 1241, in fact. And he is not about to give up, even when he's attacked by a woman with striking blue eyes and a hell of a right hook!

Neona is also on the hunt. She's looking for a mate and she thinks muscled Zoltan will work just fine. After all, men are good for only one thing. Soon, though, she realizes there's more to this handsome vampire than just sexual prowess. But she's keeping a secret from Zoltan, something so big that it will rock the vampire world.  Can their newfound love survive . . . even if their passion means the destruction of her world?

How to Seduce a Vampire (Without Really Trying) is available for pre-order now, in print, e-book, audible, and audio CD.  And what will you do while you wait for Zoltan?  How about letting Gregori and Phineas entertain you?  Today's prize is signed copies of Love at Stake books 11 and 12, Sexiest Vampire Alive and Wanted: Undead or Alive.  The winner will be chosen at random. International entries are welcome.  If you don't leave your email address in your comment, then please remember to check back in a few days to see if you have won. I will announce the winner at the top of this post. Good luck!! Now for today's question-- what kind of super power would you like to have?

Friday, March 21, 2014

A flying visit

Just dropping in to say hi - 'Hi!' *waves* and to share some news.

I'm in the middle of organising a progressional development day for writers and the Aurealis Awards ceremony. The Aurealis Awards are Australia's premier speculative fiction awards. So I'm kinda busy.

I've also got book deadlines up the wazoo. Between now and May next year, I've got four books coming out. The first is 'Release', a collection of paranormal erotic novellas. It was a very different thing to write, and lots of fun.

Then there's a science fiction romance trilogy - The Jorda Trilogy (Jorda is the planet it's set on). The first book is called Loving The Prince. It's a story I've been trying to get right for 30 years and finally, I've done it. And the publisher loved it enough to want two more!

Finally, HarperCollins Australia is relaunching the Dream of Asarlia trilogy as an electronic omnibus! The new version, with a new great price, goes on sale and April and here's the cover:

That's all I've got time for this month -  hopefully next month I can stop by for a proper chat with you all.

Friday, March 7, 2014

New Home, New Book, & New Giveaway

WINNER ANNOUNCED: The Winner is Melissa (Books and Things)! Melissa, please email me your mailing address to JocelynnDOTdrakeATgmailDOTcom so I can get you a signed copy of ANGEL's INK!

 So... I've been MIA for a couple of months, but I've got a very good reason, I swear.  In the middle of December I started a new day job, which required somewhat of a big move.  As in, I was moving from Wisconsin (in the far north) to South Florida (in the far south).  I had a month to find a place to live, hire movers, pack up my house, and get myself south -- and I'm talking far south to a region where people have no idea what snow is.

In the past few months, there's been moving, unpacking, fighting to locate boxes that were lost, fighting to get reimbursed for boxes that were never found, settling into a new job, and finding some good places to eat in my new hometown.  My husband and I have taken the time to wander around town, try some wonderful restaurants, sneak up to Walt Disney World for a day, and lounge at the beach.

Oh... and did I mention that I finished writing a book and handed it in to my editor.  Yeah, I did that too.

I have completed the final book in the Asylum Tales series! It has been handed into my publisher.  It still has to go through several rounds of edits before it's released to the world, but it has at least started down that road.  Of course, we also have to come up with a title.  I'm still thinking on that one.  We're looking at a release in mid-October.

To celebrate the upcoming conclusion to the Asylum Tales (and me finally completing my move), I am giving away a signed copy of ANGEL'S INK, the first book in the Asylum Tales series.  With the final book coming out this fall, now is a great time to start the series.  Just leave me a comment below telling me what you're most looking forward to this summer.  I will announce a winner on Sunday, March 9. (Sorry, this is a US-only giveaway.  I promise that I'll do an international giveaway closer to the new book release.)

In the meantime, I am working on a brand new world with a brand new set of characters.  I am really excited to start writing on this one.  I wish I could tell you more... but it's still too early.  I want to keep it to myself for a little while longer.  Don't worry.  You'll meet my new friend soon enough.

Monday, March 3, 2014

"But I don't wanna," said Every Hero Ever

Year of Living Heroically #2 - Refusing the Call

Today is especially fitting to write this post as it is currently 19 degrees in Dallas Texas. If there is anything that will make you refuse the call of an adventure, it is cold feet.

On a hero's journey, refusing the call highlights what exactly the hero thinks about himself. They are not just saying, "No I don't want to," but more along the lines of "I'm afraid because of ..." That dot-dot-dot is the real part of themselves that they will have to overcome in the adventure ahead.

My favorite case in point is our man Luke Skywalker, who refuses to go with Ben Ken-obi by saying, and I'm flagrantly misquoting, "No I can't go with you. I have to stay on the farm with Uncle Owen." He's not really saying that he has to stay on the farm with his Uncle. What he is really saying is that he is afraid that he is not awesome like his father and he's just a lowly farm boy. Once the farm is removed from the picture, literally, he spends the rest of the movie trying to become awesome like his father. Sort of.

In romances, this might look a little different. For Violet, in Diaries of an Urban Panther, her refusal highlighted her fear of getting close to someone, because all of her loved ones had died. So she refused to believe that the boy liked her at all. He was just saving her skin, over and over and over. Violet spends the entire book learning to open her heart to other people.

So to apply this to daily life, its simple: know why you are saying 'no.' No to life, no to helping someone move their couch, no to spending some time reading to the elderly.  When you are called to do something, understanding why you are saying 'no' might help you find a fear you didn't know you had. Perhaps you didn't know you were afraid of loosing your toes to the cold weather (as I am facing today).

Understanding why you are refusing the call might even help you face your fears head on.

But that is another blog post for another time.

Live Heroically People!!

Amanda Arista
Author, Diaries of an Urban Panther series

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Judging The Book By Its Cover: A Few Favorites!

With a new season of the TV series, A Game Of Thrones, currently being promo'd, I was reminded that one of my all-time favorite book covers is the Steven Youll cover for A Game of Thrones. I remember the first time I saw it, clear across the room in a (now, sadly, gone) indie SFF book store—and the whole look of it just reached out to me and said: “Buy me, I’m your kind of story!” And it really was! The cover both spoke for the book and was true to the book in a really powerful way.

Guy Gavriel Kay’s Tigana is another of my all-time favorite stories and I love the Mel Odom cover. It's stylized rather than realistic, with a formality that reminds me of a Renaissance-era tapestry, which is entirely appropriate for the book—but also speaks to what I call the “High Fantasy Romantic” nature of the story. In this case I already knew the author’s work, because I had read and enjoyed The Fionavar Trilogy previously. Nonetheless, the Mel Odom cover was still a compelling factor in drawing me to read Tigana.
When it comes to cover art, I love just about anything I’ve ever seen by Kinuko Craft. Particular examples include her Wildwood Dancing cover for Juliet Marillier, the Japanese-styled cover for Nahoko Uehashi’s Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, and her many covers for novels by Patricia McKillip—although I think Od Magic is probably my favorite of those covers. These also (imho) highlight the versatility of Craft’s work.

So how about you—what are your favorite book covers? What cover has made you buy the book—and did the story live up to the cover’s promise?