Friday, February 28, 2014

The Mortal Path Swag Bag Returns!

** Giveaway **
Jeanette was the winner! Thanks for your comments, everyone.

It's baaack! The Mortal Path Swag Bag is making an appearance to let you know that the fourth book in the Mortal Path series is underway.

It's been a while coming, as I've taken time to develop a YA science fiction proposal and self-publish a children's book (as DB Ayers). Having gotten a taste of what indie publishing is like, I've decided to become a hybrid writer. That means I'll be doing some indie and some traditional publishing. My first major indie project will be Mortal Path #4, in print and e-book form. I'm tremendously excited, both to be getting back to Maliha Crayne & Company's adventures and to be doing it as an adventure of my own.

Snickers the cat photobombing
I've seen other indie authors be successful with a new format: issuing a novel in three or more parts to get each section to the reading audience faster, then having a compendium of all parts available at the end for those who prefer to wait. I'm thinking of Hugh Howey, who wrote Wool as a science fiction novella, then separately published four more parts to it, as he wrote them. Readers could buy the sections as they came out, or wait for the complete story. Hugh wasn't the inventor of this format; I think that was Stephen King with the six-part serial e-book The Green Mile.

Mortal Path #4, Bloodletting, divides naturally into three parts. I'm thinking of serializing the e-book. My question is this: What do you readers think of it? Like it? Hate the idea? Let me know in a comment below. A random commenter will win the Mortal Path Swag Bag (tote bag, 3 signed Mortal Path paperbacks, pens, bookmarks, magnets, and a calculator - excluding Snickers). International entries welcome, but will receive a $35 Amazon Gift Card instead of the mailed bag. The last day to enter is Wednesday, March 5th.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Are you ready for spring...and Zoltan?

And the winner is…Aquarian Dancer!!!  Please e-mail me at with your contact information. Congratulations!
Spring is around the corner, and so is Zoltan!  His book, How to Seduce a Vampire (Without Really Trying) will release April 29th.  With just a few months to go, I came up with a plan. In February, I'll give away signed copies of books 9 and 10. In March, books 11 and 12.  And April 25th, right before Zoltan's debut, books 13 and 14. And that will bring us up to book 15-- Zoltan's book!

So which books are number 9 and 10?  Number nine belongs to that sexy were-panther from Brazil-- Carlos!!  And book 10 stars one of our all time favorite vampires-- Connor!!  So today I'm giving away a signed copy of Eat Prey Love and Vampire Mine.  International entries are welcome. The winner will be chosen at random.  Please check back here in a day or so to see if I posted your name as the winner. To enter, simply leave a comment. Who is sexier to you?  Were-panther Carlos or Scottish vampire Connor?

Friday, February 21, 2014

New books, old books...

This week, I signed a contract for a new book (yay!). It's for a collection of paranormal erotic novellas, being published electronically by Escape Publishing (the electronic publishing arm of Harlequin Australia).

While I've written sex scenes before (many, MANY sex scenes), I'd not written erotica. It was a real challenge, to try to come up with new and interesting ways to keep things steamy and hot, throughout four interlinked stories.

As I've said here before - I like a good challenge. I like to test myself by trying to write things I've never done before. If they don't work that's fine - I've undoubtedly learnt something from the experience.

In this case, the publisher believes it has worked. In June, I'll find out if the readers thing so too!

Here's the blurb:

Cursed after death to live in a grey nothingness until they atone for their sins, four spirits have spent centuries doing good for others. Finally they stumble upon the true key to their salvation – because they hurt women in their real lives, they’ll only find release by now helping women to become all they should be. One by one, the spirits meet a woman and as sexual delights unfurl, the women find their happily ever after and the grey nothingness disappears, allowing the spirits to find contentment for the rest of eternity.

Meet four remarkable women – Luisa, Anna, Cara and Jan – and the four spirits that set them on a new destiny of sexual freedom and delight.

February also brought some good news about an old book.

In April, HarperCollins Australia will be re-launching the Dream of Asarlai trilogy in an omnibus (electronic only). That means you'll be able to buy all three books in one! There will be a new cover and a new price point. It's like a re-birth for the books, and I hope that it pays off.

So there you go - so far, 2014 has started with a bang. And hopefully it won't be long before I'll have MORE news to share with you.

Hope 2014 is treating you well!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Tips for Mercury Rx - Keep Calm

Ian Somherhalder

Mercury the trickster, planet of communication, messenger of the gods, is retrograde until the end of the month. During this time we might stumble, stutter and lose track of our works - always an exciting time for writers, or anyone trying to remember where they put their car keys. But there's a reason for the mania, an it's a good one.

We are asked to rethink, reconsider, review and reevaluate ideas, feelings, plans and promises. Basically, slow it down, and rewind a little. Reflect.

Because Mercury is Rx in Pisces/Aquarius, the energy is about trust - faith in the unknown future. In the house where Mercury is transiting, we let go of ‘shoulds’ and embrace authentic core values. Ask, what constitutes love and nurturing to me? What is my best path to the future that has 'me' all over it? The most primary way you can improve your life at this time is to relax, reflect and do your thing!  
Below are sign by sign tips based on the 'solar houses' sign (your sun sign), or the actual house Mercury is transiting, if you know it. Read both, if they are different. Love to hear of your experiences in the comments!

AriesARIES: Mercury in the 11th house - Mercury Rx in your 11th house of friends and groups can turn the usual gatherings into a mix of emoticons, all rolling about in different directions. The question is how do you feel? Allow for a new view when it comes to social connections, and find ways to relax amid the tension. Gems emerge when you aren't looking.

TaurusTAURUS: Mercury in the 10th house - Career, mission or profession can feel like a dream time journey, with the auto focus weaving in and out! This is good news! For the next three weeks you let go of trying to micromanage your future and 'make things happen.' Let your neurons relax so the universe can open new doors to infinite possibilities! 

GeminiGEMINI: Mercury in the 9th house -Travel or study plans turn into the trickster's playground for the next three weeks. Deep breaths. Remember, it's not about forging ahead right now, but finding peace and serenity in the midst of contrast. Take time out to reconsider your world view. Is it what you think, or what you are expected to think?

CancerCANCER: Mercury in the 8th house - Mercury Rx in your house of shared resources has you reconsidering any joint financial arrangements, both income and debt. As you sift through possibilities, you’ll discover creative ways to organize and restructure the boundaries to your liking. You decide, but not yet. Let it marinate for a while. Go have fun.

 LeoLEO: Mercury in the 7th house - Communication with partners, practical or intimate, goes a bit zany– muddled and/or blurred! It's not the best time to come to any conclusions as wires get crossed. Use your gut feelings to make choices that can't be delayed, and ask what you believe about partnerships. Rethink your relationships, without judgement.

 VirgoVIRGO: Mercury in the 6th house - Mercury Rx through your 6th house of well-being says reconsider your lifestyle. Is this really what you want, or are you there because of circumstances ‘beyond your control?’ (ha!) Take stock of your nutrition, exercise, healthy care, comfort zone and routine. Start with what you believe about your body! More Self-Love!

LibraLIBRA: Mercury in the 5th house - This is a time to go into cruise control on the creative realm and practice the art of allowing. Think play, recreate and relax. Consider where you can expand your beliefs and live more in the 'now'. The goal is to drop judgment and experience life in the red hot moment. And it will be red hot! 

ScorpioSCORPIO: Mercury in the 4th house - Thoughts turn to home life, family and symbiotic connections. Give yourself enough ‘me’ time to appreciate recent inner growth and development. Ask what family means to you. Home? Is there anything you believe that could be limiting your experience of others? Listen. Love. Reflect!

SagittariusSAGITTARIUS: Mercury in the 3rd house - The Mercury Rx puts the Trickster in control of your tongue. You say one thing and they hear another. Emails, sans body language, get misconstrued. Don’t even think about sending text msg without punctuation. But it's excellent for revising manuscripts or creative projects put on the back burner. Go there!

CapricornCAPRICORN: Mercury in the 2nd house - Use this Mercury Rx to get in touch with what really gives you a sense of peace and happiness, then let go of the outmoded core values and actions. Awareness is the first step. It will lead to skill and talent development that is more authentic than you ever though possible. Expect a clean fresh $$ Vibe 

AquariusAQUARIUS: Mercury in the first house - Mercury Rx meanders through your home, work, Self and relationship life. Everything! Best reflect on what you believe about what you do, where you do it, whom you do it with. How? Just set an intention to notice the things you like about your life and smile. Exhale and limitations are going, going, gone.

piscesPISCES: Mercury in the 12th house - With Mercury Rx in your solar 12th house, it's time to go 'in' and listen to your dreams. Not daydream fantasies of achievement, goals, challenges and actions, but really sink deep into the depths of your soul. What messages are welling up from there? Watch for synchronicity, tune into feelings, receive.

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 Supernatural Underground on the 16th of every month. Her latest release is"Blood and Water" in Supernatural Underground: Vampires Gone Wild.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Calls to Adventures: Opening lines and the promises they make

This year, I have set it as a resolution to read more. Part of that becoming a Hero thing I mentioned last month. Read more to know more to make better choices. (and yes, I feel that reading fiction helps you discover the depth of the world around you and the depth of you).

In today’s world of insta-nowness, writers no longer have a few pages to hook readers. We have a sentence. And if that sentence is any good, we might have a paragraph. As a consumer looking to delve into different genres, writers have about three sentences to hook me.
So opening lines are key to not only getting readers attention, but letting them know the what and how of your novel. Letting them know exactly what kind of adventure they are promising.

I’ve picked out a few of my favorites that I feel really show the author guiding us into their world, telling us what the book is going to be about, and how they are going to tell us that story.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. - Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813).

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. - George Orwell, 1984 (1949).

OK. Don't panic. Don't panic. It's only a VISA bill. It's a piece of paper; a few numbers. I mean, just how scary can a few numbers be? - Sophie Kinsella, Confessions of a Shopaholic (2001).

“I’ve watched through is eyes, listened through his ears, and I tell you, he’s the one.”- Orson Scott Card Ender’s Game (1997).

Tyler gets me a job as a waiter, after that Tyler’s pushing a gun in my mouth and saying the first step to eternal life is you have to die. -Chuck Palahnick Fight Club (1996).

Just to make sure I was getting a full spectrum of first lines for new books to sink my teeth into, here are the first lines of the top five current NY Times Best Sellers:

1. While I was still in Amsterdam, I dreamed about my mother for the first time in years. THE GOLDFINCH, by Donna Tartt

2. There was a time in Africa when people could fly. THE INVENTION OF WINGS, by Sue Monk Kidd

3. The found Seth Hubbard in the general area where he had promised to be, though not exactly in the condition expected. SYCAMORE ROW, by John Grisham

4. I may have found a solution to the wife problem. THE ROSIE PROJECT, by Graeme Simsion

5. It was all because of the Berlin wall. THE HUSBAND'S SECRET, by Liane Moriarty

All of these first lines not only are intriguing, but tell us exactly how the writer is going to tell the story. We know that Palahnick is going to be insane but a different kind of insane from Kinsella’s rampant fast-paced narration about shopping. Though Simsion’s The Rosie Project seems to be about marriage with its very scientific tone, it is strikingly different from the snarky one that Austen presents about the need for a wife.

Opening lines are the promise that writers make to readers that set the tone for the rest of the book. They are the call to adventure for the readers.

What are some of your favorite first lines that have called you to adventure, or heartbreak, or hilarity?

Amanda Arista
Author, Diaries of an Urban Panther Series

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Streetwise Heroines

Sookie Stackhouse
I don't think we could have paranormal urban fantasy without the streetwise heroine but of course that begs the question as to what makes a heroine "streetwise?"

For starters, even if she's not actually from the wrong side of the tracks, I think she has to be able to operate on that turf.

Mercy Thompson
A true streetwise heroine also has to be able to check the box for all three of the big S's: strong, savvy, and sassy.

'Sexy' may make a fourth in here, too, but I don't think it's actually required in the job description...What's the jargon: 'desirable but not essential', he-he.

Maybe just a little bit badass, as well. But with a heart that's in the right place, even if it's in a "tough love" kind of way...

Chess Putnam
Naturally, I have a line up of favorite streetwise heroines from my bookshelf: Sookie Stackhouse and Mercy Thompson are obvious choices, but Stacia Kane's Chess Putnam is also up there.

And if I go beyond paranormal urban stories, there's Tamora Pierce's Beka Cooper, Midori Synder's Jobber, and Kristin Cashore's Katsa.

Have I missed anything in terms of what makes a heroine "streetwise?" And which heroines and what books would you add to a reading list?