Sunday, June 30, 2013

Announcing Supernatural Underground Update Month!

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We've all just passed the solstice, and whether the zenith (summer!) or nadir (winter!) of the year, all the crew here at the Supernatural Underground feel it's the very best time to update you on where we're all at with our book projects, writing, or other exciting "Supernatural" events.

So expect to see all your regular Supernatural Underground authors checking in this month to tell you where they're at and what's the current big project in their writing lives.

 I heard there might be a few giveaways in the mix as well, so watch this space!

And because we're a team here, we thought it might be fun to have a bit more synchronicity to the monthly post round, so look out for the occasional — or regular — appearance of Supernatural Underground "themes" over the next half year.

I don't know about you but I'm excited I think we're going to have a great July, with an even better second half of 2013 ahead!


Friday, June 28, 2013

Intro & Drawing for a Tablet

***** Winner of the HP Slate 7 Tablet is Tiffany! *****

Hi, everyone! I'm DB Ayers, an award-winning, internationally multi-published fantasy and thriller author using a pseudonym for my first effort in the Young Adult genre. That's my clever disguise, to the left. I've joined the Supernatural Underground team and the first thing I want to say is that I'm in terrific company here!

I'm trying something new and thrilling with my YA venture. I'm inviting you in from the beginning, when the Aftermath trilogy is still a gleam in the eye of the author. Share my journey through submission via my agent to NY publishers, the contract I'm hoping for, and publication to put the first book of the trilogy, Yesterday, in your hands!

Learn a little about the characters, story, and world ahead of time, and share my ups and downs during this exciting/stressful time. Follow along with the progress of this series from its birth to bestsellerdom (a girl can dream, right?) with the inside scoop! I'm really excited about this concept. I hope you'll get to know me and Aftermath!
Here's the pitch for Aftermath:
Sixteen-year-old Anna Hart flees a deadly situation in a failing human colony on the planet Silva. Using her empathic ability and her skills with an ancient weapon, she struggles through danger and betrayal, searching for a place where love and hope can thrive.

I'll be offering prizes at milestones as a way for me to involve you in my intermediate celebrations. I've already shared with followers of the Hart Beat Blog revising the proposal with my agent and getting the go ahead from her for submission to editors, and actual submission day. Now I'm in a waiting game, sharing my thoughts and some writing tips on the blog.

My current giveaway is an HP Slate 7 tablet. Entries end June 30, 2013. Don't wait! You can enter at the Prize tab on my blog.

Kindly leave a comment below - What do you think of the concept of Aftermath? Are you a fan of YA science fiction?

Please help me spread the word!
Website: http://dbayers.com
Blog: http://dbayershartbeat.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dbayers01
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AyersDB
Hugs ♥,


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Can Mortal Men Be Sexy, Too?

Congratulations to Martha of Missouri for winning this month's contest! Thank you all for the comments! Please come back July 25th for the next giveaway!

Here's the cover for Less than a Gentleman, and I believe it answers my question extremely well. Matthias, the hero from Less than a Gentleman, is neither fanged nor furry.  But plenty sexy!  The e-book version of Less than a Gentleman goes on sale in one week!  (The print version will be available August 6th). Luckily, you don't have to take my word for it when it comes to Matthias's sexiness. You can read the first two chapters and decide for yourself!  You'll find the link for the excerpt here--

And once you've read the excerpt, you might as well enter my website contest!!! TEN lucky winners will receive a signed print copy of The Forbidden Lady in July and then TEN more will receive a signed copy of Wild About You at the end of August to celebrate the release of The Vampire with the Dragon Tattoo. Yes, that's two books back to back! A historical in July and book 14 of the Love at Stake series in August! Here's the link to the contest page! http://www.kerrelynsparks.com/contest.html
 
If you're anywhere near Atlanta, GA, I hope you will consider coming to the giant booksigning that starts off the Romance Writers of America annual conference. The booksigning is open to the public and over FOUR HUNDRED authors will be signing!!  I'll be there along with some of your other favorite authors. The event will happen Wednesday, July 17th, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Atlanta. To see which authors are signing and for more information, check out http://www.rwa.org/p/cm/ld/fid=564. 

I'll also be appearing with some other Avon authors at the Margaret Mitchell House on Thursday night during the conference. For more information, go to http://www.margaretmitchellhouse.com/page.asp?ID=244&EventID=112.

And now for today's contest! It's a double header!! One lucky winner will receive a copy of the Supernatural Underground anthology, Vampires Gone Wild, and a copy of Love at Stake book 13, Wild About You!  I'll sign both before mailing them. International entries are welcome. Just leave a comment, telling me what you're currently reading. Good luck!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Celebrate the Solstice

Celebration Posters by Keith Mallett
Celebrate this mid-winter or mid-summer solstice with joy, optimism and excitement for the future!

It's a turning points, symbolic of endings and new beginnings, and with Jupiter so close to the sun, and about to cross this solstice point for the first time in twelve years, whatever you intend is magnified a hundred fold!


June 20/21 SOLSTICE times:

LA – Thursday - 10:03 PM
NY – Friday - 1:03 AM
LON - Friday - 6:03 AM
SYD - Friday - 3:03 PM


Here are some hints for setting powerful intentions on the Solstice. What are you doing to celebrate?


AriesARIES: Clean the house, wash the windows, clear the air, especially with family. Ask: is your home a true reflection of you? All new things are coming in this area of life. Cherish your body too!
TaurusTAURUS: Start a new course of study, join a community project, get friendly with the written or spoken word. Ask: is there anything you’d like to learn, teach or share? New ideas are coming in. Communicate!
GeminiGEMINI: Indulge in all your core values, develop your talents and be MORE of who you are. Ask: Are you letting the abundance in? It’s enrichment time. Think more self-sustaining. A hobby turns into a career!
CancerCANCER: This is a new chapter in your life. Open the door to your dreams by showing up! Ask: is your life an accurate reflection of who you want to be? Change is easy now. The universe has your back!
LeoLEO: Commune with your unconscious. Take time to record and reflect on your dreams. Ask: are you deep in the well of your creative heart? There are opportunities pouring in. Be ready!
VirgoVIRGO: Friends and like-minded others are a source of inspiration if you’re hanging out with your own kind! Ask: are these birds really of your feathers? Plant your hopes and wishes for the future in fertile soil. Now!
LibraLIBRA: Your career takes a turn for the better with a chance to carry more responsibility for a much greater reward. Ask: Do you light up in a smile when you think of your life work? This is the time to take a risk.
ScorpioSCORPIO: Take your mind, body or spirit somewhere it’s never been before – meditate, travel, read, learn. Ask: are you holding yourself back from your real dreams? Best not, as chance of a life time offers pour in.
SagittariusSAGITTARIUS: Intimacy and intensity is what will light your fire now. Go ahead and take a leap in the dark. Ask: are you playing it safe with your emotions? Express, purge. Make room for incoming love.
CapricornCAPRICORN: Partnership is the focus and you will benefit by assessing the relationships in your life. Ask: do you feel free to be who you are? Time to connect to the part of you that is brilliantly authentic and true.
AquariusAQUARIUS: Putting energy into the body, health and physical well being brings great results! Ask: are you getting enough exercise every day? It’s time to listen to your body, really listen, and respond.
piscesPISCES: Creativity springs from a well of romance. Write, play, choreograph, sing, act. Ask: are you allowing for love in your heart? Be ready to let the inner child out and the opportunities in!



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 kimfalconer.com 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, June 16, 2013

It's all in the Name




The menu is not the meal. - Alan Wilson Watts

Back in the 16th Century, early critics cautioned against reading too much into a title, saying,

The title is usually received with mocking laughter and jokes. But it's wrong to be so superficial when you're weighing men's (and presumably, now days, women's) work in the balance. Good advice, but don't titles sell books these days? I think it pays to consider them carefully.

The purpose of the title is to attract, intrigue and compel. It’s the headline, the very first sentence and it must hook the reader. It wants to sound good, to roll of the tongue, but not be overly predictable or clich├ęd. 


A good title can have double meanings, though it’s best to be careful there. For example, Mouse Work’s 1995 title, Cooking with Pooh is questionable, though funny.

Catchy titles can work, like Big Boom’s If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start with Your Legs but that’s not quite the style fantasy and paranormal romance readers are after. Maybe.

There are other considerations. Titles have to fit on the book cover. I’m not sure how Crown got Charlatan: America's Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam’ squeezed together with the author's name, Pope Brock, and a billy goat (I’m serious) but they did. 

Short titles can be preferable. George Orwell first called his masterpiece The Last Man in Europe until changing it to 1984.


I did a search and found there are rules to follow for selecting titles. Some writers ignore them, to their great success. For example:

Rule #1 – Don't use noun-adjectives, like Pamela Palmer's Desire Untamed (NY Times Bestseller)

Rule #2 - Don’t use proper names in the title, like JK Rowling's Harry Potter . . . right.

Rule #3 - Don’t use words like Lord, Magic, Moon, Sea, Wizard, as in bestselling JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Ursula K. Le Guin's The Wizard of Earthsea, or Patricia Briggs' Moon Called.

Rule #4 - Don’t use adjective-noun titles like Jeaniene Frost's bestselling Once Burned, Twice Tempted Or Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games.

Rule #4 - Don’t use needless complexity, like Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.

Rule #5 – Don't be ironic, like Kerrelyn Sparks' bestselling Eat, Prey, Love, or Charlain Harris's Dead and gone.

Rules aside, there is a website where you can put your title to the test. This program generates the odds a title has of becoming a bestseller. If it’s accurate, my next book is going to sell a zillion copies! However the Dead Until Dark, Charlain Harris's book that spawned True Blood shows only 10.6% chance of succeeding, so maybe take it with a grain of salt.

My first two books were named organically, like pets. Book #1 in the Quantum Enchantment Series, The Spell of Rosette was just ‘Rosette’ for years. She got ‘The Spell’ as the story matured. 

Book #2, Arrows of Time was named for the narrative structure. It’s based on the theoretical notion that time is fully symmetrical - arrows going both ways and around in circles. I named Strange Attractors before I wrote a word of it. The idea of ‘strange attractors’- a pattern that appeared chaotic until seen from the right perspective - intrigued me.  

My most recent release, the novella Blood and Water in Vampires Gone Wild, was originally the idea of a series of books in this genre (paranormal vampiric romance) called Of Blood and Water. Those who have had a look know why!

Has anyone a favourite ‘title story’ to tell? Is there one that particularly compels or repulses? I’d love to hear about it. Comments welcome!

* * * 

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 kimfalconer.com 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

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Holding Out For A Hero...

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I hope many of you will be enjoying summer weather now, but here on the 'far side of the world' winter is not only coming—in the best House of Stark and Games of Thrones style—but well and truly here. 

As a writer, I regard that as a good thing though, because there's nothing, simply nothing, quite like the bleak and the sleet, the hail and snow, or simply gray-as-iron days with the wind whining along the eaves, to lure an author into realms of darkness and mystery, magic and heroism, love and danger...

And as all of us who frequent the Supernatural Underground know, when venturing into realms of magic, mystery, and danger, then at some stage your story—if not your heroine, since heroines are a feisty and independent breed these days—will be holding out for hero...

So here's a few of the heroes from my books, Thornspell, The Heir Of Night and The Gathering Of The Lost. 


Thornspell is a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story from the perspective of the prince, Sigismund, who is—of course!—the principal hero:


"He turned and studied the Wood again, thinking about the castle that lay at its heart, and everything he knew about the hundred years’ sleep. “If I am the chosen prince,” he said, “then the Margravine will have to try and bring me under her power again. She won’t have any choice.” He shivered, frowning at the same time as he remembered her conversation with Flor. “And once she has what she wants, she’ll go after everyone who’s opposed her. Syrica and Rue. The sleeping princess. My father. People,” he added softly, “that I care about.”
Balisan’s answering tone was cool as the dream. “Then you will have to find a way to stop her.”
Sigismund laughed, short and hard. “I will,” he said grimly..."

The Heir Of Night has several point of view heroes, including Tarathan of Ar, a herald of the mysterious Guild:



"She must have turned to fight at the last, Tarathan decided, for she lay on her back with a lance impaled through her stomach.  It looked, from the limp twisted body, as though a horse or horses had trampled over her.  He could see the shadow of her blood, pooled on the ground, and he thought how sharp and clear her image looked, almost substantial for the world of dreams.  It was only when he knelt beside her that he realized that the guard called Lira was still alive.

Only just alive, Tarathan thought, looking at the slick of almost black blood that trailed from the corner of her mouth and the terrible wound in her stomach.  He knew that there was nothing, either in Jaransor or beyond the Gate of Dreams, that could be done.  But slowly, incredibly, her eyes opened; the herald watched them focus on his face. …   
Tarathan covered the shadow of her hands with his own.  "Be of good heart, Lira of the Derai," he said. "We will do all in our power to find your Heir and save her. … Is there anything else I can do for you?"

The ghost of a smile caught at Lira's lips, but he had to bend even closer now to hear her whisper.  " . . . kiss . . . farewell . . . "

"I would be honored," Tarathan replied softly, "to kiss one so valiant and so true."  The ghost smile deepened for a moment as he kissed her, very gently, on the shadow of her cold mouth.  Her lips parted as though to speak again, but no more words came."
 

The Gathering Of The Lost also has a number of point of view heroes, but Kalan is a major character: 



" “Let’s get the horses,” Kalan said to Jarna, as the others began collecting up saddlebags and armor. He had not really expected the horselines to be more private, but there were already knights drinking along the poplar row that separated the field from the camp. No chance to even snatch a kiss, Kalan thought regretfully, and could not help remembering stolen moments at Normarch and the sweetness of Jarna’s lips on his, unexpectedly soft in her sun-browned face. 
“Say hello to Audin for me,” she said, as they finished saddling up. “And keep Raher in line.”
Kalan grinned. “Impossible,” he replied, and fought back the impulse to kiss her anyway…”



And then, of course, there's Raven, who seems to be a favorite with many readers:

“The two remaining knots of beast-men had converged on Raven, their power blasting toward him like flame. Yet the knight appeared unaffected by the energy storm as his charger half reared, striking with its front hooves while his sword cut against snarling fangs and ripping talons. The foremost beast-man bayed defiance, a note that changed to something very like alarm in mid-attack—an instant before Raven’s blade sliced head from body.

Malisande, Carick saw, was watching the knight with narrowed eyes, but half smiling, too, as the other beast-men echoed their comrade's howl and fell away from him. The howl rose again, mournful across The Leas—and then all the beast-men broke off, racing for the river while the outlaws followed in a retreating straggle.

“Behold the Raven of Battle.” Solaan was somber.”


So there you are, a brief introduction to some of the heroes who've stepped into my storytelling, whether by firelight or moonshine, summer's warmth or winter's snap... What about you though, do you have a favorite fictional hero, particularly from Fantasy—if you do, then do share in the comments. :) 

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