Sunday, April 28, 2013

Up Close and Personal

$50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

USA Best Book Award for FantasyDeliveranceGetting to know the author behind the book has always helped me appreciate the book more as a reader. That's one of the things we do on Supernatural Underground - invite you to get up close and personal with us. We'll let you in on how we feel about our characters and our stories, and why we love the genres we write in: urban fantasy, paranormal romance, fantasy, and sci-fi for adults and teens. I really feel strongly about this because that writer-reader bond is what keeps me going. When Deliverance won an award, I could hardly wait until my posting date, the 28th of the month, came around so I could share it with you.

Books by Shirley Kennett
Snickers PhotobombWhen my cat Snickers photobombed a promo shoot, it was a fun example of what we do besides tuck our noses into the computer and write. I had a series of backlist books written as Shirley Kennett that were made available as audio and ebooks, and let all of you know how happy I was to see these books get a new life.

When my character Maliha sent me a signed postcard, I thought it would be perfect for SU, and here it is.

Maliha's postcard
It's good to know my character "has my back!" If nothing else, I can count on her. :-)

DB Ayers Blog LaunchI've come across an author writing a YA sci-fi trilogy who is taking this concept of creating bonds with readers a step further by starting way before the book hits the shelves. DB Ayers is currently polishing her book proposal, after which her agent will submit it to NY publishers. Her blog will be like a diary of birthing the books, including information about the characters and the stories as they're being written. Look for excerpts, the ups and downs of the process, and prizes! OMG, prizes! At every milestone or just for no reason at all, she'll be giving away the goodies. Launching the blog is a milestone; a $50 Amazon Gift Certificate is up for grabs. Click on the graphic to the right and then on the PRIZES tab to enter.

You may wonder why DB Ayers is getting a mention here, other than the fact that I like to promote other authors. I'll leave that to your imagination. *wink, wink* But if you figure it out, it's our little secret, okay? Hop over and help this "new" author get her social media engines revved and maybe win some $$.

So, are you a fan of YA sci-fi? What are you reading now, or what's you're favorite book?

Until next time,
Dakota Banks

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Kansas City, here I come!

The winner was selected at random-- Alice Lewis! I have tried contacting Alice with the email listed under her blogging profile, but it doesn't work. Please contact me, Alice, at!

If you're in the Kansas City area, I hope to see you next week!  The Romantic Times convention will be held Wednesday through Sunday, May 1-5 at the Sheraton at Crown Center. I'll be participating in panels and workshops on Wednesday and Thursday, attending a Vampire Social Friday afternoon, and that night, at the Avon Red Slipper Lounge, my publisher will be giving away hundreds of books, and I'll be signing them as fast as I can! If you're unable to attend the convention, have no fear! The giant booksigning on Saturday, May 4, is open to the public!  (There's a $5 fee for entering).  We're talking over 400 authors in one ballroom! The bookfair goes from 11 a.m. till 2 p.m.  For more information regarding the RT convention, please go to and for more info on the bookfair, go to

Have you read my latest paranormal?  It's 'V is for VampWoman,' a novella in the anthology Vampires Gone Wild.  For ordering information, please visit my website at And did you know my next release is a historical romance? It's the sequel to The Forbidden Lady, and features the younger sister, Caroline Munro, as the heroine. The title is Less than a Gentleman, and the e-book goes on sale July 2!  (The print version goes on sale about a month later). You can find out more at The next Love at Stake book is The Vampire with the Dragon Tattoo, starring Dougal!  Both the e-book and print book will release on August 27th!

Now for today's contest!  I'm giving away a signed copy of The Vampire and the Virgin, starring another one of those hunky Scottish vampires, Robby MacKay!  And there's a matching poster! You can see them both in the photo. That poster makes the book look small! To enter, just leave a comment. One lucky winner will be chosen at random. International entries are welcome. Good luck!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Venus in Taurus Guide to Abundance

La Naissance de Venus by Eugene Duval
Venus glides into Taurus, one of the two signs she rules, and all is right in the world . . . as long as we honor this transit. That means, show some reverence. Respect. When we do, our hearts light up and relationships go smoother, finances become more abundant and creativity pours forth in passionate waves of originality.

All we need do is place a bouquet of appreciation on her alter, metaphorically, or literally. Tangible displays count double. We want to make this real!

Taurus is an earthy, fixed and sensual sign, ultra potent when it comes to the physical and sensual responses to our emotions and feelings. When we become aware of our 'affections' (know what we love, be it food, art, relationships, pets, the environment, health and fitness, creative goals or intellectual abstractions) and demonstrate them in some way, the goddess of love smiles - meaning, we touch a core value, express it and feel more whole, more complete, in the process.

Taurus wants to brings things 'down to earth' so this is our chance to:

1) identify our desires
2) appreciate them
3) live them out

It doesn't have to be a huge production, this 'living them out.' Baby steps work fine. For example, if you're really into health and fitness, and want to work toward a renewed goal, doing one fresh thing in the name of your core value can start the snowball rolling. You might adjust your eating habits, or renew a commitment to the exercise that you love, appreciating your body as it is, in this red hot moment. If you have a core value around gardening and want to live in the midst of a botanical paradise, pot a fern, start a herb garden, plant one tree. If one of your core values is creativity but you 'don't have the time' you can honor Venus in Taurus by making Fridays (the day of Venus) your 'creation day'. Even if it's just for an hour, you commit to getting out the clay, sketch pad, guitar or word processor and let your artistry come alive.

Maybe relationship is the area of life that feels neglected. Venus is here to support your authentic goals in tangible ways, so if you want more from a partner (or more free time away from them, or maybe an actual partner to start with) get clear on what you want, relax and follow Venus's lead because the goddess of love knows just how to make your life more sumptuous when it comes to love, and of course, sex.  

Taurus is the #1 sign of love making. Keep that in mind :)

You might find that treating yourself the way you want 'them' to treat you is your most powerful tool. So have a candle bath, enjoy fine foods, settle in with a favorite film, novel or audio book. Treat yourself like gold! It's the fast track to improving all your relationships!

If you aren't sure how you want to leverage this energy to make your life more enriched, go to where Taurus is in your chart and track Venus's transits there. What area of life is activated? That's your playground. Go mix it up! (see a key word list for the houses below) If you need help, see 'creating your chart online' or ask for support in the comments!

From Swiss Ephemeris - The positions of Venus for the next 25 days
  Date          |    Venus    |
15 Apr 2013  | 29 ar 37   
The Venus by Michael Parkes
16 Apr 2013  |  0 ta 51   
17 Apr 2013  |  2 ta  5   
18 Apr 2013  |  3 ta 19   
19 Apr 2013  |  4 ta 33   
20 Apr 2013  |  5 ta 48   
21 Apr 2013  |  7 ta  2   
22 Apr 2013  |  8 ta 16   
23 Apr 2013  |  9 ta 30   
24 Apr 2013  | 10 ta 44   
25 Apr 2013  | 11 ta 58   
26 Apr 2013  | 13 ta 12   
27 Apr 2013  | 14 ta 26  
28 Apr 2013  | 15 ta 40   
29 Apr 2013  | 16 ta 54   
30 Apr 2013  | 18 ta  8   
01 May 2013  | 19 ta 22   
02 May 2013  | 20 ta 36   
03 May 2013  | 21 ta 50   
04 May 2013  | 23 ta  4  
05 May 2013  | 24 ta 18   
06 May 2013  | 25 ta 32   
07 May 2013  | 26 ta 46   
08 May 2013  | 27 ta 59   
09 May 2013  | 29 ta 13   
10 May 2013  |  0 ge 27   

Venus in Taurus is also our connection to Mother Earth. It's a time when we can take a moment an show reverence our for all life. There is so much to appreciate on this beautiful planet Earth. Pour forth some love, and respect, out into the world, and all living things.

Have a wonderful transit of Venus through Taurus,  Everyone!

* Reference for the houses*

The meanings of the houses are deep and rich with metaphorical and literal content but here is a quick list to get you started.

1st house – Appearance, personality traits, outlook on life
2nd house - $$$, resources, talents, peace of mind
3rd house – Teaching, learning, writing, talking, connecting
4th house – Home, family, ancestors, emotional ground
5th house – Creative expression, offspring (books/kids etc), romance
6th house – Health, pets, daily routine, employment, magic
7th house – Socially significant relationships, contracts
8th house – Sex, death, taxes, shared resources, trust
9th house – New horizons, travel, beliefs, WWW
10th house – Career, mission, profession, public relations
11th house – Friends, goals for the future, groups
12th house – Unconscious, dreams, giving and receiving, meditative states

Remember, if you need help, see 'creating your chart online' and go to where Taurus is in your chart, or just ask for help in the comments! Easy done!

Kim Falconer is a Supernatural Underground author writing paranormal romance, urban fantasy, YA and epic science fantasy novels. She also co-directs Good Vibe Astrology, an astrology and law of attraction school.

You can find out more about Kim at or on the 11th House Blog. She posts here at the Supernatural Underground on the 16th of every month. Her latest release is Supernatural Underground: Vampires Gone Wild.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Dark Days & Asylum Tales Stories on Sale

In celebration of the upcoming release of Dead Man's Deal (book 2 in the Asylum Tales) on May 7, my publisher is running a killer deal that you don't want to miss.  From now until April 30, all my Dark Days stories and the three novellas for the Asylum Tales are on sale for only $0.99 each on e-book.  That's a whole lot of reading for a very small price!

What are we talking about?

The Asylum Tales

For the Asylum Tales, you can get The Asylum Interviews: Bronx and The Asylum Interviews: Trixie novellas for $0.99 each.  These prequel novellas are over 25,000 words each (or about 100 pages in Microsoft Word) and help to introduce readers to the world of the Asylum Tales. 

In Bronx, you will meet Gage Powell's co-worker, fellow tattoo artist, and all around great guy ... er troll, Bronx.  The story follows the interesting meeting of Gage and Bronx and you learn the circumstances that led Gage to hire Bronx on at Asylum.  The novella also teaches a very valuable lesson:  Don't tattoo an incubus. Ever.  The consequences are ... unexpected and messy.

In Trixie, you will meet elf-in-hiding Trixie, who convinces Gage that he needs to help his ex-girlfriend and vampire Jo escape from her vampire master (even if she hasn't actually asked for his help).  You will also meet the gargoyles and learn about their love of breakfast cereal.

A third story is also available in the Blood By Moonlight anthology.  "Of Monsters and Men" is set after Angel's Ink and follows Trixie and Gage as they try to help out the local werewolf pack on Halloween.  The anthology also includes stories from Terri Garey and Caris Roane.  That's three stories for only $0.99!

Dark Days Series

Does your e-reader need more vampires?  I've got just the thing to fill that void. 

The Dark Days series follows nightwalker Mira, also known as the Fire Starter, and nightwalker hunter Danaus, as they fight to stop an evil race of creatures from destroying both nightwalkers and all humans.  The series travels the globe, stopping in England, Egypt, Italy, Peru, and Hungary when Mira isn't trying to keep peace in her own city of Savannah, Georgia.

The series is filled with violence, intrigue, betrayal, secrets, heartache, and romance. 

And now you can get all the stories for the Dark Days series for less than $8.  That's six novels and two novellas that follow the adventures of Mira, Danaus, Knox, Valerio, and Rowe.

The reading order is:

Bound to Me (novella)
The Dead, the Damned, and the Forgotten (novella)
Pray for Dawn
Wait for Dusk
Burn the Night

To pick up the e-books, please follow the links below:

Jocelynn Drake's books on Amazon

Jocelynn Drake's book on Barnes & Noble

Jocelynn Drake's books on Kobo.

If you love these books or you just love great deals on books, please share these links with your friends.  Happy Reading!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Yeah, I know that it's a cheesy title, but some times the oldies are the oldies because they really are the goodies.

Are you ready for it?

I'm plotting. I KNOW! I've had this new series jammed in my head for ages now and my pantser lifestyle just wasn't cutting it. Too many ideas, too much world-building that needed to happen.

So I'm plotting it out. Taking a tip from my friend Karina Cooper and using post-its to figure out what needs to go where. Currently there are three colors: the good gal, the romantic lead, and the bad guy.

Those of you who have read this blog for a while know that when I wrote Diaries, I was a hard-core pantser. Me and Violet just went on a little adventure together and eventually a book was born.

But this one. Demons and Guardians and Innocents, oh my. The more I plot, the more it changes, layers are added, characters become more refined and devious. And maybe just a little sexier.

But it seems to be going so slow. I think that was the nice thing about pantsing, there were words on the page immediately. Who knew that I was into such instant gratification?

So my new tools of the trade:

My huge easel that houses all my notes.

My Sharpies. There really is no beating the smell and writing quality of a good marker. I have to admit that I was overly giddy as I walked into Office Depot to get these babies.

And I knew I had to figure out a way to conquer that need for instant gratification, so every time a post-it goes down, I get a Junior Mint. Great for the creative process, not so much for the waistline.

So here's going to my new way of writing. I really hope that it works because I'm really excited about this new project and I really want to share it with my Supernatural Underground family.


Amanda Arista

Monday, April 1, 2013

Great Fantasy Courtships

Happy April Fool's Day everyone—and what better time to talk about fabulous Fantasy courtships and people being "fools for love!"

Two posts got me thinking about good, old-fashioned courtships in Fantasy during the last month. One was my own 1 March post where I talked about High Romantic Fantasy in the context of my novel The Gathering of the Lost—and then Kim Falconer came along and upped the ante with her fabulous "16 Things About A Kiss" post. (Great post, Kim, btw—loved it!)

So what elements, I thought, can make High Fantasy romantic as well? And why are kisses so important—and what, with one reflection leading to another, are the great Fantasy courtships
that I automatically think about in the context of my favorite genre?

You know the sort: where girl/boy sees/meets boy/girl and sparks fly across crowded ballrooms, or market squares, and then they want to see each other again, sometimes despite obstacles, and maybe—just maybe—they fall in love. There may even be dinners, and candlelight, and dancing—and gifts.

In the end, fewer actual courtships than I'd hoped sprang to mind, but there were still more than enough to share with you today—hurrah! So without further ado, I give you some of those great Fantasy courtships:

Sharra and Diarmuid in Guy Gavriel Kay's "The Fionavar Trilogy":

'And now, in the morning light, amid the busy square, a figure suddenly pushed through the gathered crowd and began a purposeful walk toward her father. Sharra felt herself growing red. ...

"Supreme Lord of Cathal," ...Tegid stopped directly in front of her father ... "I am sent here by a lord of infinite nobility, whose virtues I could number until the moon rose and set and rose again. I am sent to say to you, in this place and among the people here gathered in concourse, that the sun rises in your daughter's eyes."' 

Madrigal and Akiva in Laini Taylor's "Daughter of Smoke and Bone":

'His head bent toward her, his mask muzzle brushing her ear. In his nearness, there was an aura of warmth. He said, "I know who you are. I came here for you."... His face was only inches from her own, his head tilted down so that now she could see into his mask.

His eyes blazed like flames.

She whispered, "You." '

Catherine (Cat) and Vai in Kate Elliott's "Spirit Walker" series:

He pinched a spark of cold fire out of the air and stretched it and wove it to become a golden flower dappled with life as with dew, and then a chain of such flowers like a necklace hammered out of light. 

I stared open-mouthed, for it was the most astonishingly lovely vision. "Ought you to be doing that in public?"

"Who will know," he said, bending closer to pretend to loop the chain from my shoulders low along the swell of my breasts, "if you do not tell them?"

And there is courtship in my own Wall of Night series as well:

Tasarion and Rowan Birchmoon  in "The Heir of Night"'

They had walked together in woods that were faintly misted with green, the first shy flowers peeping above the snowdrifts.  He had stood, bare headed beneath the birch buds, dragging his leather gloves through his hands, and asked her to leave her home and her kin and her beloved Winter Country.  He had not spared her the truth of what a Derai keep was, or the Wall and the surrounding Gray Lands in all their grimness, but he had still asked that she come and live with him there.  

And she—she had stood in the midst of her own world and looked up into the infinite layers of the sky and wondered if she could bear to leave, or bear to forgo his love, one or the other.'

So there you are, four Fantasy courtships — but how about you: what makes a great Fantasy courtship for you? And do you have a favorite fictional courtship? (Fantasy preferred but not required. ;-) )