Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Love's Not Viral

I haven't talked much about this because between releasing my second book and being busy at work, I just haven't had the chance. Anyway, I hooked up with eight other authors to put together a romance anthology called Love Least Expected. It's a mix of romance stories, with a range of subgenres and styles, that center around finding love in unexpected ways. I'm really excited about this.

It was a bit of a challenge for me. There's no death, no supernatural, no fantasy stuff--it's pure contemporary. That said, my story is a little twisted and it's definitely not straight up normal romance. I guess I just can't do normal ;).

Here's the blurb for Love's Not Viral:

Twenty-four-year-old bartender Aster Sanderson’s life is turned upside 
down when drunken Hollywood actor Bradley Stone snaps a picture of 
her...and tweets to his 12.8 million followers that she's his fiancee. As 
the internet blows up with the news and gossip flies out of control, she’s 
left feeling helpless. This has to be a misunderstanding, right? But when 
the actor in question shows up on her doorstep, it's clear he's unhinged 
and she soon becomes a prisoner in her own home (literally). 

Her savior? Bradley’s handsome—and seemingly normal—older 
brother, James, who quickly stirs up feelings she never expected. Can 
they disarm the ticking time-bomb that Bradley Stone has become 
before any more damage is done? And is their mutual attraction the 
result of these unusual circumstances...or could it become something 

And here's an excerpt:

#BradleysBabe is among the top trending hashtags, so of course I click
on it and bring up all the tweets. And there are a shit ton.

I can’t believe he’s off the market! :( Sigh. #BradleysBabe.

I SO want to scratch her eyes out. #BradleysBabe can #kissmyass

@theREALBradleyMStone If u ever want a mistress Im available <3

Did he post the picture? Or did someone else get in on the action? Either
way, it’s sad that anyone would take it seriously. I mixed three drinks for the
guy and we barely spoke more than a handful of words. Even if I had been
interested (so not my type), the dude drank cosmopolitans and dressed like he’d
stepped out of a fashion magazine, for crying out loud. I just assumed he was
gay. When he’d roped me in with his arm and snapped the picture with his
phone, I politely humored him just like I would any other drunken patron. I
didn’t think twice, because after he took the picture he just flashed his pearly
whites, thanked me and went on his way.

I should have known. Hindsight has this way of making you look dumb.
I’m twenty-four years old and about to add dumb ass to my resume. I click on
his profile—this has to be a joke. People are blowing something simple way out
of proportion. But the sick feeling that’s been gnawing at my insides increases
ten-fold when I see his tweets: at the top, a pinned tweet, containing our picture
from the bar last night, and the caption:

So proud to introduce Aster, the love of my life to the world. Wish us the best as
we begin our lives together <3 #BradleysBabe

 I blink a couple times. Maybe it’ll go away. But it isn’t just one tweet and
apparently it’s not the Twitter equivalent to a drunk dial. As I scroll through his
profile, I see that he’s been putting them out every fifteen minutes or so since
about five this morning. To his 12.8 million followers.

I can’t w8 2 see my pink-haired #beauty today #truelove #BradleyheartsAster
#soulmates #4ever

His text speak and abuse of hashtags is at a near-impressive level. My
first impulse is to reply, but what do I say? Do I flat out deny it? I can’t fit the
obscenity-laced rant I’d like to use into 140 characters. Instead of hitting reply, I
send out my own tweet.

WTF is someone playing a practical joke on me? I am NOT getting married O.o

Almost instantly, there’s a reply. From @theREALBradleyMStone

No need to hide it anymore, baby girl. We’re going viral <3

Um, what? For a brief moment, I contemplate the possibility that his
account has been hacked, but that seems no more plausible. I reply back.

Why are you doing this?

Again, his comeback is instantaneous.

We have much to discuss ;)

And I’m stunned. Unless he’s on a bender to beat all benders, this guy—
this extremely famous, untouchable guy—is devoting an excessive amount of
energy to telling the world about a relationship that doesn’t exist.
But why?

Love Least Expected will be released in February and is currently available for pre-order through all major retailers. Best of all, while the book is on pre-order, we are running a $50 Amazon gift card giveway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 8, 2014

Mystic Hearts by Cait Jarrod -- New Release!!

Mystic Hearts,
The Band of Friends series, Book 2
Editor’s Pick!

Buy on ebook:

Coming soon to print.

Nothing is as it seems….
Temptation landed at Special Agent Larry Newman’s feet—literally. Charlene Smith captured his heart after he rescued her from terrorists two months ago. A failed relationship and being an abused child have turned him into a loner and workaholic. The scars weigh heavy on him and keep him from pursuing her. So what’s a guy to do when the woman he pines for passes out in front of him while working a case?
Battling psychological wounds from abduction is easier than coming face to face with the sexy FBI agent she’s fantasized about for months. A single mother, avoiding the drama that dating would bring to her son’s life, she allows Larry close only in her dreams. Now, she's second-guessing her decision. Should she have a relationship with this man who makes her feel alive just by being close?

Charlene bolted upright, panting. Sweat covered her body and her head ached. A white dresser lined the wall on the left, her favorite piece of furniture, an upholstered bench, on the right.
Her bedroom.
She pulled her legs inward, keeping the sheet over her waist and legs, and rested her arms on her knees. Last night’s memories came in bits and pieces: locking her keys in the car, a white patch…a rose…a man.
Charlene froze.
The silky, coral nightgown she bought, but never wore, covered her.
Her mind reeled with ‘oh, no she didn’t.’ The erotic encounter of soft petals stroking her skin slammed into her memory, which meant…she and Larry…“No-o-o-o!” They couldn’t have slept together. She would have remembered…

Catch up to me:

~Sign up for her quarterly newsletters or when a new release comes out at

Cait’s bio:
From writing ‘every girl’s dream heroes’ to ‘strong, down-to-earth heroines,’ Cait Jarrod twists ‘cliff hanging plots’ and ‘clever, unpredictable sub-plots’. She loves diving into a good book as much as she loves writing one.
Mother of three gorgeous daughters, she’s married to her best friend, hangs out with the WWC, a great group of women, and loves a good glass of wine.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Hateful Desire -- New Release!!!




Sometimes the past can come back to bite you…literally.

When Amber Johnson places a spell on a werewolf, the last thing she expects is to be attracted to him. Her main concern is finding her missing cousin, and if she must imprison the pompous shifter to do so, then so be it.

Chayton Locklear has hated Amber for years. Now that he’s been placed under her spell, his animosity only grows. Payback is a bitch, and he can’t wait to give her what she deserves.
With a twisted turn of fate, both their worlds are about to crumble as Amber and Chayton discover just how fine the line is between love and hate.


“Oh, I’ll stop when I’m done with you.”

Showing how little she thought of his threats, she stifled a fake yawn, and spun away. Something ensnared her wrist, and yanked, causing her to swivel and fall on his chest. “What the hell!”

Her body flattened over his…and he felt good. Warm, safe. She inhaled his sweetgrass and woody herb scent, and her eyes shut of their own accord. Walking barefoot along tall grass in the wonderful place of wilderness and a dancing campfire occupied her mind.

Why did he remind her of the recurring dream? Yes, he had appeared in the last one, but no point reading into the stupid coincidence. He had been on her mind when she had fallen asleep, and therefore disturbed her thoughts.

The grip around her arm tightened, not wounding, but securing. With gentle care, he cupped the side of her face. Her eyes shot open. The thump of his heart pounded against her chest. Or might that be her heart thrashing into his?

Breath fled in low gasps as she stared into dark eyes, then lowered to his mouth, and what a mouth, thick in shape, sensual, and yet, set in a firm line, resembling a Spartan warrior.

“You can’t hurt me, remember?” Nerves trembled her voice.

“I know,” he murmured with tender affection. “But I can do this.”

He drew her down. On instinct her eyes drifted to half-mast, and his lips raised over her soft ones in a harsh, punitive kiss. She quivered, tasting hatred when his tongue thrust inside, and apprehended his aim. Unable to harm her, he threatened her with his kiss.

About the Author:


I spend more time in La La Land than the real world, so it was inevitable that I would write paranormal romance. Creating my very own characters and plots is fun and full on, but I do enjoy the ride. I currently have three published works with The Wild Rose Press, but look for more to come.
Sydney, Australia is my home, and I’m married to—who I believe just may be—the world’s biggest smartass. Regardless of my husband’s cheeky behaviour, God has truly blessed us in the last six and a half years. Together we have 3 goldfish, 1 canary, and a bouncing baby boy due in December 2014.

Follow Marianne:

Blog -
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Kindle -
Print & eBook (ON SALE! $2.50 - 50% off @ The Wild Rose Press) -


e26e3c28787035f111c3c53608b6ec04_image_366x550 SMS

2 books to be given away!
1st Prize - eBook Copy of Killer Temptation, The Bonded series Book I
2nd Prize - eBook Copy of Save Me Sinfully

Read the blurbs & excerpts for these books, Here! -

Friday, November 21, 2014

Happy Release Day To Me!!!!

This isn’t the afterlife she expected...

Jen MacLellan can’t get the hang of being a reaper. She’s been separated from Jack, the man she loves, and is stuck with an annoying telepathic link to her ill-tempered mentor, Sam. Now Death is breathing down her neck, promising to remove that annoying link if she gives him what he wants. But when reapers begin to disappear back on earth, leaving behind walking, talking dead people, Jen and Sam are thrust into a dangerous mission to recapture the souls, and a passionate physical relationship that complicates everything.

Jack Norris has no memory prior to waking up on the half-demon Nulcifer’s couch six months earlier. As he begins to investigate his past, he discovers a string of past lives tied together by a beautiful, mysterious brunette. Who is she? And why does finding her seem like a life or death proposition?

When Sam falls victim to fate during a routine visit to earth, Jen’s devastated. Desperate to get him back, she runs smack into the man she never thought she’d see again—Jack. She tries to keep her distance, but there’s no time to be awkward if they want to save Sam. When sinister plots are revealed, and betrayals threaten everything, she’s forced to make some tough choices—and learns that life is just as difficult when you’re dead.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

November News

November...ah yes, for those of us in the Northeast US, the cold weather is here and the days are much shorter. So I know I've been a bit absent. As usual, I've got a bunch of stuff going on. I started a new job last week, which has hours that will take some getting used to. Getting up between two and three in the morning is going to be an adjustment (I've always stayed up late, so those first couple days were rough, haha.) The good news is when my shift ends, there will still be plenty of day left to get other things done. :)

Writing-wise, I've got plenty on deck. I'm awaiting final confirmation, but Reaper Madness, as of now, is still set to release on Friday.

Love Least Expected, the anthology I'm participating in, is already available for pre-order in a couple places. It'll go live February 3rd 2015. It's only $.99, so reserve your copy today!


All Romance:


Finally, I'm pleased to announce that I've signed a contract for Confessions of a Punk Rocker. This novel is from the POV of Jack, the male lead from Living Dead Girl. It'll be out sometime next year. More details to come!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Reaper Madness is Coming in November!!!

Hello my friends! It looks like Living Dead Girl's sequel, Reaper Madness, will be released on November 21st. I'm looking for bloggers willing to help spread the word with a promo post on release day. At the bottom of this post is a Google sign up form--if you're interested in helping, I'd really appreciate it!

Here's the unedited blurb so you know what the book is about:

Jen MacLellan can’t get the hang of being a reaper. She’s been separated from her lover, Jack. She's also stuck with that annoying telepathic link to her ill-tempered mentor, Sam. But when reapers start disappearing back on earth, Jen and Sam are recruited to help. Can they figure out what’s causing it before it’s too late?

Jack Norris has no memory prior to waking up on the half-demon Nulcifer’s couch six months earlier. As he begins to investigate his origins, he discovers a string of past lives, tied together by a beautiful, mysterious brunette. Does she really exist, and if she does, can he find her?

Fate reunites them after Sam falls victim to the attacks on earth. As they work to save Sam, can they rekindle what was lost? Or have things become too complicated…

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Status Update

Reaper Madness is getting closer to being ready to be unleashed on the world. I've just sent back the first round of content edits. Something really clicked with this book in ways that Living Dead Girl didn't. Not that Living Dead Girl was bad, I just had a much more difficult time writing it. Thankfully edits were also pretty painless with this book...and it's already got me thinking more about book three. I ended up having one of those "YES" moments where a new idea suddenly came to me. So notes are being taken. Ideas are brewing. Stories being started. And edits are back for my anthology short "Love's Not Viral" as well. All that, and I've managed over 20K words on a non-paranormal story starring the couple from my short.

And finally, congratulations to the winner of my Goodreads givewaway...Jen H, your book will go out at the beginning of the week!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

More Current Events!

It's funny, when I'm trying to hit all my social media with news, I start to feel like I'm repeating myself. ANYWAY :)

**Living Dead Girl is on sale. Or, the e-book version is. 

**There's also a signed paperback of Living Dead Girl up for grabs on Goodreads. There's a link in the sidebar!

**Reaper Madness is now up on Goodreads. As of yet, I don't have a release date to share, but I will be posting more information as it becomes available. 

Here's a rough blurb for the book (there will be a final edited version when the book comes out). you go :)

This isn’t the afterlife she expected...

Jen MacLellan can’t get the hang of being a reaper. Her search for Jack, the man she loves, has come up empty. Now Death is breathing down her neck, dangling the promise he’ll remove that annoying telepathic link to the crass, sarcastic reaper named Sam if she gives him what he wants. But when reapers begin to disappear back on earth, leaving behind walking, talking dead people, Jen and Sam are thrust in the middle of a dangerous mission. Can they figure out what’s happening before it’s too late?
Jack Norris can’t remember anything before waking up in the living room of the half-demon Nulcifer six months earlier, but every time he closes his eyes he has visions of a mysterious, beautiful brunette. As he investigates his origins, a string of tortured past lives and fragmented memories weave together to reveal an undeniable link to the woman he’s been dreaming about. The question is, does she exist? And if she does, how will he find her?
Fate takes a drastic turn when Sam falls victim during a routine visit to earth, leaving Jen devastated and desperate to get him back. She seeks the help of a shady associate of Sam’s, only to run smack into the man she never thought she’d see again: Jack. The two embark on a journey to rescue Sam, but as they get reacquainted, dark secrets and plots are revealed, proving nothing is simple when it comes to love.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

What's Happening

So a few weeks ago I talked briefly about it, but I wanted to give an update on what the status is with my writing projects:

Reaper Madness, the sequel for Living Dead Girl, is now under contract and in the hands of an editor. I've decided to name the series "Living Dead World". In the coming weeks, I will create a Goodreads listing and update my site to reflect the series. I'll also be sure to post a synopsis of the story (and of course, keep everyone up to date about when it's going to be released, or any other relevant information etc.) So keep an eye out!

I also signed on with a small group of writers to put out a Velentine's Day anthology "Love Least Expected", which is due to be released early next year. Each writer will contribute a story centered on the theme of finding love...when you least expect it. (Ha, see what I did there?) My story will be called "Love's Not Viral", and I'm scrambling to finish so it'll be ready for an editor in early October. I'll also be posting more about that in the near future, but for now, here's a look at the cover:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Antiheroes? Anyone?

So enough with the preachy blog posts. While I mean them in good humor--and ultimately anyone who knows me that I'm not the antagonistic type--I don't want this blog to be all about 'how to' or 'what not to do'. Right now, I'm thinking antiheroes. The true bad guys is books/TV/film who do questionable things, yet we find ourselves rooting for them. Why, you ask? Well, I've recently picked up Richrd Kadrey's latest installment in the Sandman Slim series, The Getaway God. Oddly enough this has coincided with me finally getting around the streaming the TV show Dexter. It seems I'm surrounded by them...

I'm not sure what it is, but I've always been drawn to these types of characters. James Stark of the Sandman Slim series (highly recommend if you like gritty dark humor + urban fantasy) is essentially a sarcastic asshole of a character; a magician who's been to Hell and back (literally) who pretty much plays by one set of rules--his own. Yet, despite his faults and nasty disposition, we're given such a solid look inside this character's head that as a reader you can't help but root for him. He makes no apologies for who he is. He's loyal to the people he cares about. He's saved the earth from monsters much, much worse than him. Basically, he's deeply flawed and doesn't always make the 'nice' choices, yet at the same time he can't really be classified as evil.

Dexter is a slightly different animal. I haven't read the books, but I'm midway through the third season of the TV show. On the surface, Dexter Morgan projects this image of a decent, hardworking guy who at worst appears to be a little odd and closed off from other people. Of course, because the story is from his POV, we know that's not the case. It's an interesting premise--this guy living a double life--forensic blood spatter analyst for the Miami PD on one side, prolific serial killer on the other. The idea that he's following a 'code' when choosing his victims (never someone innocent) which is referred to over and over, attempts to make the idea of a serial killer more palatable. Without the benefit of his constant internal monologue, I don't think this would work. Yet I think because we're so close to him, we see his struggle to maintain this dual life--basically we get to know him so well, it's hard not to feel for his character.

I don't want to turn this post into a novel, but there are more than a few characters out there that could also fit the bill. Think Taxi Driver's Travis Bickle or Alex from A Clockwork Orange. Maybe even Chess Putnam from Stacia Kane's Downside Ghosts series. What about you? Who are your favorite antiheroes?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tweet this...Random Thoughts About Social Media

So I'm working on a short story that centers around an incident going viral on the internet (most prominently on Twitter) and it's got me thinking about some of the quirks, funny things and annoyances I see regularly while using the site myself.

1. "Buy XXX followers for $$$"., not happening. I can't think of a single instance where I'd fork over cash for anything related to Twitter, especially not just to pad my followers. I'm a firm believer in quality over quantity. I generally follow other writers, readers, and people with similar interests to me (music, movies, art, etc). Usually if I get a follower with this in their heading, I don't bother following back...I wouldn't be your customer, so it's probably a waste of both our times :)

2. "True Twit Validation". I have to admit, this one is a turn off. I usually unfollow when I get this message. I follow people who seem interesting or who appear to have common interests. I don't want to have to jump through hoops to do it...and going to another site to enter a captcha is annoying. And honestly? Real people spam too. They could easily fill out your validation and start bombarding you with sales pitches, so it seems pointless. Also, if you're someone who's trying to build a platform for your book/art/music/business, you're probably going to turn a few potential fans/customers away. It makes you seem unapproachable.

3. "Buy my book/album/etc, here's a link" via DM. I have never EVER been enticed into buying anything by someone using this method. Twitter is a social media platform. I get the promotion thing, I do, and I've used it to promote my own work. What I don't do is send a DM with a link to my book asking someone to buy it. It kind of smacks of desperation. So yes, make people aware that your book/etc exists with a quote, or a review link, or a graphic, etc. And yes, by all means throw in an Amazon link with it. Just please don't beg me to buy it.

4. "Would you please take the time to rate my book". Um...what? I was a little baffled the first time I got a DM like this. First, I'd never heard of the author or book. Second, I couldn't tell if they were asking me to arbitrarily rate it just to inflate their ratings numbers (which I'd never do) or what. I understand ratings and reviews can help sell a book, but I think this one needs a rewording "Hey, if you've read my book, I'd love it if you'd leave a review". Or something like that. It just seemed weird.

5. "The completely different language follower". If I can't understand anything in your profile or you're tweeting exclusively in a language other than English, I won't be able to read it. So...what's the point?

Wow, that sounded an awful lot like complaining :) I feel better now. I guess the point is, when you're on enough, you start to notice different types of interactions, and unfortunately it's the more unpleasant ones that stick in your mind. So what about you...what bugs you on social media? Not just Twitter, but any platform?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Aren't We All Guilty Then?

So I happened upon this article about an English teacher in Maryland (USA) who was put on leave by school administrators because he authored a novel that centered around a school shooting. I'm thinking...what? Unless something is being hidden from the public, it doesn't appear (according to the articles I read) that he's committed any actual crime. What it looks like is an over paranoid, knee jerk reaction to a work of FICTION and if that's the case, it sets a really dangerous, really scary precedent for potentially any author.

Yes, school shootings are a touchy subject.

Yes, he's an educator.

But does writing about one in his novel automatically make him worthy of a psyche evaluation? Of being treated like a criminal? It seems like it should be common sense, but just because someone's written a story about something horrific it doesn't mean they actually want it to happen. If that was the case, then look at the other countless authors out there who write about murder, torture, abuse, terrorism--the list goes on. Do we as authors now have to worry that, if the wrong person reads our books, it could be grounds to lose our jobs? That we could be subjected to a community-driven witch hunt because we dared to write about something terrible or controversial?

What about people that read these subjects then? People who watch movies or play video games or listen to music? Does an interest in violent or macabre subjects automatically make someone mentally unstable? Or prone to commit a crime? Where do we draw the line in all of this?

I don't know. Like I said, maybe there's more than meets the eye here. I almost hope there is. Because if his only crime is writing a novel about a school shooting, then this country is headed in a sad direction.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ms. Manners Does Reviews :)

Today we're talking book reviews. OK, I'm talking book reviews. As an author, I recognize their importance. As a reader, I appreciate seeing what others thought if I'm on the fence with trying out a new author, or if I'm unsure about a book in general. One thing I've noticed, however, is there are still a lot of authors out there who feel the need to comment on/react to their reviewers. Especially when those reviews are less than flattering. Authors?


Please. It's bush league. Amateur. Makes YOU look like an asshat. If you get a bad review, pull up your big ADULT pants and walk it off. Sure it stings. Someone on Goodreads has made fun of your baby using animated GIF's. Or they tossed a 1-star on Amazon with a big old 'Don't Waste Your Time' in the heading. I get it, really. Sometimes reviews sting, particularly when someone is brutally honest about why they didn't like your book.

Guess what? That's their opinion. It might not be nice, but it doesn't make it any less valid. It doesn't mean the rest of the world will think your book is garbage. In fact, what one person hates another person might love. I'll let you in on a secret: I often read the bad reviews on a book first. Why? Because a brutally honest reviewer is often very specific about why they didn't like something. More often than not, it's a personal preference--i.e., I didn't like the plot, or the character was annoying. It might convince me to take a shot, because maybe I don't mind the things this reviewer talked about. (Unless it's talking about a story riddled with grammar or punctuation errors, in which case, I silently thank the reviewer for saving me from wasting my time. I'm not buying your unedited manuscript, but that's a whole other post)

I'm skeptical of a book that has only 5-star reviews. Even more-so if the author is relatively unknown. Newsflash: even the big, bestselling superstar authors have a mix of good and bad reviews. It's part of the game. You put your work out there, you risk putting into the hands of someone who doesn't like it. That's OK. BUT if you must vent, do it behind closed doors. Don't argue with the reviewer. Don't enlist your friends and family to come to your defense. It's a turn off. Both to the reviewer and other potential readers. If someone sees you being all argumentative an defensive, they're less apt to leave their own review, and you lose. If they're like me, they'll be less apt to buy it.

So my advice in this long-winded post? Be thankful. Thankful someone is reading. If you've sent a review copy, thank them and be done. Ignore that urge to defend your work and recognize not everyone will like it. It's not the end of the world if they don't, I promise. :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Checking in...

So after much procrastination, I finally buckled down and made myself finish the sequel to Living Dead Girl in July. Currently, the semi-polished draft is sitting in the hands of a couple different readers so that I can get some feedback before I submit it to my publisher. I can't give you too much detail yet, but here's what I'm willing to share ;) 

  • The working title for this book is 'Reaper Madness'
  • This story is all fantasy/urban fantasy/pnr, rather than a contemporary romance that turns into fantasy
  • The story begins a few months after Living Dead Girl ends
  • Jen, Jack and Sam all play prominent roles; PJ makes a brief appearance
  • There will need to be a book three to resolve the story completely
  • There are a couple huge, unexpected twists 
Now, a few random thoughts before I send you on your way:

It didn't start out this way when I first thought up Living Dead Girl, but there is a whole, huge, bigger picture that ties this story all together. There are reasons behind many of the things that happen in book one that will come to light later in the story. I'll be honest--I'm a little nervous about book two. It borrows from various mythologies, and half the story takes place in the afterlife (or, rather, an alternate set of worlds where human souls go between reincarnations). To me, it's a great deal easier weaving supernatural elements into the real world than creating a whole new one and making it believable. We'll see if my readers 'buy into it'. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Renea Mason's Reader Appreciation Party This Week!!!!

If you're a book lover, you must stop by this crazy event! It's happening on Facebook and runs the entire week. (I will also be stopping by.) Great way to interact with other readers and authors, discover some new books and maybe even win a thing or two. Tons and tons of prizes, games, and so many author guests. Check out this rafflecopter :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, July 26, 2014

By now you're used to this, right?

I haven't done much of anything with my social media accounts lately. Sure I'll throw out a few tweets here and there, or diddle around on Facebook, but nothing particularly productive. Aren't we all a little too plugged in now? I think about this every so often, how much we've grown to rely on technology in such a short span of time. Like everything, there are pros and cons, of course.

 Back when I was a kid, when our family got together, we'd all sit together at the dinner table or in the living room or even outside. Maybe the TV would be on, but we'd still be conversing. The past few years I've noticed suddenly everybody is sitting around with their phones or tablets. Sure, conversations still happen, but they're interspersed between checking emails, texts, Facebook, or searching Youtube videos, etc. We're all distracted. We've joked that we're one step shy of texting conversations to each other but really, it'd be sad if it sunk to that level, wouldn't it?

I have to wonder when this obsessive phone checking habit became normal behavior. You see it everywhere, too. People don't bat an eyelash at a mom glued to her phone while she's at the park with her kids rather than playing with them. Or a group of friends who go out to eat and spend half their time taking pictures of the event to post on Instagram rather than simply enjoying the meal and company. Never mind the constant oversharing through all the various social media outlets--things that years ago, it wouldn't have occurred to any of us to share, but now flood all of our newsfeeds.

I'm not really complaining. I just wonder, why do we feel the need to do it? What is so compelling? And most of all, are we all beginning to miss out on real life experiences because of it?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Zombie Apocalypse is Coming July 4th!!!!

(Well, in book form, anyway!)

Definitely check this out if you're into the whole zombie apocalypse thing. And if you're having Walking Dead withdrawals, why not find something else for your brain to chew on? {insert horribly cliched zombie brain-eating joke here}Anyway, haven't read it yet, but it's now on my TBR pile. Question is, is it on yours? :)

When a deadly virus sweeps the country, Vivian Thomas sets out for California in hopes of seeing the daughter she gave up for adoption. Then her car breaks down and she’s faced with a choice. Give up, or accept a ride from redneck brothers, Angus and Axl. Vivian knows the offer has more to do with her double D’s than kindness, but she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to reach her daughter.

The virus is spreading, and by the time the group makes it to California, most of the population has been wiped out. When the dead start coming back, Vivian and the others realize that no electricity or running water are the least of their concerns. Now Vivian has to figure out how to be a mother under the most frightening circumstances, cope with Angus’s aggressive mood swings, and sort out her growing attraction to his brooding younger brother, Axl.

While searching for a safe place to go, they pick up a pompous billionaire who may be the answer to all their problems. Trusting him means going into the middle of the Mojave Desert and possibly risking their lives, but with the streets overrun and nowhere else to turn, it seems he might be their only chance for survival.

Here's the Goodreads link

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Now in Paperback!!!

Living Dead Girl, which was released as an e-book first, is now also available in paperback. In honor of that, I decided to do a giveaway on Goodreads. It's going on for an entire month, so if you're interested, hop on over and enter!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Living Dead Girl by Nessie Strange

Living Dead Girl

by Nessie Strange

Giveaway ends July 09, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Little Perspective?

I rarely post anything serious or profound on my blog. My purpose here has never been to provide deep, thought provoking insight or earth shattering social commentary. To be honest, this blog has been little more than a scrapbook outlining various aspects of my book publishing journey, with a few random subject posts thrown in for good measure. And you know what? I'm OK with that for now, because it provides a landing spot for my author persona that says YAY I exist here's some stuff I've done!

Anyway, since the #YesAllWomen hashtag appeared, I've seen a whole slew of tweets, posts, articles and essays on the subject. I've also seen a great number of arguments crop up surrounding the various related topics, many of them quite heated, some of them downright hostile. And in a way, I can see why--when we see phrases like 'rape culture' and 'misogyny' and 'gender double standards' tossed around, they evoke powerful emotions. They're negative things that nobody wants to associate themselves with. And they exist everywhere to varying degrees.

Relax, I'm not here to preach. I have no statistics to share. I'm not an activist. And I've never, thankfully, been beaten, raped, or otherwise assaulted. I can only offer the experience as being a white, American, college-educated female and how it has shaped my perspective.

I grew up believing that I could do most anything a man could do--gender never entered the equation for me when thinking about school, jobs, or things that interested me. To be honest, I've never spent much time worrying about whether or not I was taken seriously in any of these things, or whether I should be comparing myself to my male counterparts or not. If I wanted to pursue something I did. If I lost interest, I dropped it. One door closes another one opens, and all that. In that sense, being resilient and persistent are great traits to have.

I've found, over the years, that I happen to enjoy a lot of things that are considered male dominated interests--like watching ice hockey, for example. And I've learned to laugh at the inevitable surprise when a male acquaintance first finds this out, because I can acknowledge that I am in the minority with this. I'm OK with that. I don't expect any pats on the back, or an all-access pass to MANTOWN--I simply enjoy watching the sport. And when another hockey fan is around, it's a great topic for friendly conversation. I like putting other people at ease. I feel good about myself when I'm genuinely nice.

So you must be thinking, well...where is she going with this? I'm not going to address the extremes within our society, or the truly horrific things that happen to people. There are bad people out there. Bad things that happen. What I'm going to talk about is more subtle. It starts with the realization that it's very difficult, as a woman, to just be 'one of the guys'.

A lot of it probably boils down to biology and how both sexes interact. I don't have an explanation, only that I know what it's like to feel vulnerable. Let's face it--in most cases, men are physically stronger and more powerful than women. This doesn't make men monsters, it's nature. What this means, however, is that I, as a woman, need to be aware of my limitations. I recognize that a six foot, two hundred pound guy could easily overpower me, and I have to always consider that the potential for this to happen is out there. Screw statistics--I don't know what the odds are that I would ever be attacked in my lifetime; probably pretty low. I only know that I'd be a fool to think it could never happen. That, in its very essence, is what it means to be a woman.

It means I need to be aware of my surroundings at all times. I need to be sure my friendliness hasn't been misinterpreted as romantic interest. I need to be on guard, constantly, because I don't want to to be forced into the uncomfortable situation of having to turn a man down, or worse, fend off his advances. I've been there. I've lost friendships because of it. I'm not a flirty gal. I'm not touchy feely. I don't dress provocatively. I've always purposely avoided all of these things when I'm around guys I don't have romantic feelings for, or that I don't know, because I don't want to give off the wrong impression. It doesn't change the fact that, despite making an effort to avoid these so-called triggers, I still managed to get myself in some hairy situations when I was younger. Thankfully the men involved did back off when I made it clear I wasn't interested, but what if they hadn't?

So what did I do to make any of these guys believe I was interested? Friendly conversation? Take a ride home that was offered? Who knows. I guarantee I wasn't flashing cleavage or telling him I wanted to hook up. And this is something that has always bothered me. Why couldn't I just shoot the shit with a guy and not have it mean anything special? After all, a group of guys can do that. They don't have to get paranoid that their buddy is going to pull the car over on the way home and try to make a move.

Yet, if I told you, when I was 18 or 19 I left a party alone with a guy I knew, because I'd wanted to leave and he'd offered to take me, you'd say I  was stupid, right? I should've never gotten in the car with him alone, right? Because saying I don't want to be at this lame-ass party anymore to the person you happen to be chatting with actually means the same thing as I'm interested and want to be alone with you, right? Not all men will make this assumption, but you know what? I guarantee I'm not the only woman this has happened to.

This is why women can't afford to be naive. Why they become frustrated with double standards. Why so many have found a sense of solidarity in #YesAllWomen and used it as an outlet to vent their frustrations. Because we are told on one hand that we are equals to men, while on the other, taught that we should avoid certain behavior, habits, or choices to keep ourselves safe from them. It's something that most women have accepted as a fact of life, but it doesn't make it any less frustrating.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Worth checking out!

As reviewed on Goodreads:

Hewhay HallHewhay Hall by Susan Roebuck
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow...that's my first impression after finishing story. I wasn't quite sure what to expect coming into this--it sounded interesting, for sure, but after reading, I really don't think the blurb does this book any justice. This is dark and gritty, with one foot planted in a very sobering, real world, while the other rests in the darkest corners of the imagination. Jude, a firefighter who is at the lowest point in his life following the loss of his leg in a horrific accident, goes off in search of hope, something that will give him back his life--a mysterious place called Hewhay Hall. The problem is, the place doesn't seem to exist. Or does it? The answer lies with someone named Verity Slater, or so he's led to believe. What follows is both unexpected and terrifying. I will not spoil what happens, but I will say that nothing is quite what it seems (and in some cases, they are much worse). The characters are well drawn, the imagination top notch, and I think that anyone who reads Neil Gaiman, or even Stephen King would appreciate this story. I hope that this author continues to write in this genre, because I truly think she has a gift for it.

View all my reviews

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Welcome to my Living Dead World...Ms. A.J. Locke!

          Hey urban fantasy readers...looking for your next read? Fellow Etopia author A.J. Locke has a new release and it sounds pretty awesome! I nabbed her for a few questions recently. Read what she has to say and find out about her new book. Don't worry, no authors were harmed in the making of this blog post ;P

     First off, tell me about your most recent release.

Black Widow Witch is about a witch named Malachi who was cursed to butcher any many she falls for because she had an affair with Knave, who was the favorite lover of the sadistic witch queen of the Aeverneath, the realm of witches. Banished to live among humans, Malachi runs a bar, keeps up with her closest witch friends, who also carry curses (one of them is just a head in a box!) and faces prejudice from witch hating humans. The story revolves around a dangerous plot to assassinate the witch queen, which would break all curses, which Malachi unwillingly becomes a central part of. All the while she has to fight her attraction to Julian, an officer assigned to monitor her, since that attraction could lead her to kill him. And there’s also the guilt she feels over falling for someone after Knave since he is still in the Aeverneath at the mercy of the queen’s wrath.

As a genre, what does ‘urban fantasy’ mean to you? How does it differ from paranormal romance? Which do you prefer to write?

 To me urban fantasy can encompass more than paranormal romance since PNR focuses on the romantic relationship between the main characters and should lead to a happily ever after. With Urban Fantasy there’s more space to develop a complex plot, have more action, mystery, and suspense while also including a romantic angle that doesn’t necessarily have to end happily. I prefer to write urban fantasy even though I have written a paranormal novella called Elemental Inferno and I had a lot of fun writing that.

What attracted you to writing in this genre?

I really loved the ability there is to overlay supernatural elements into a non supernatural world. So being able to write about vampires, ghosts, necromancers, witches, etc is a lot of fun because there are so many stories you build.

 Do you read a lot of UF/PNR?

Not as much as I’d like, especially since I have a new baby on my hands, but I absolutely love reading both UF and PNR. 

   Zombies, vampires, wolves, witches…they’ve all been done before, and many times. How do you as a writer keep your stories fresh and interesting?

I try to put a unique aspect into my stories. It can be hard coming up with a new concept, but I don’t try to overwhelm myself with coming up with something completely unique. I think if you have an interesting, strong plot and strong characters, you can write a successful story. But there definitely needs to be something standout about your story. When you think about witches you would definitely think about casting curses, but with Black Widow Witch, I tried to take a different approach by making it so that the witches were the ones who were afflicted with being cursed.
What are you working on right now?

Right now I am trying to finish the sequel to my first published novel, Affairs of the Dead.

For someone who isn’t familiar with your work, how would you describe your writing style?

Fast paced, strong, witty and full of surprises.

Thanks so much, A.J.! Now, check out her book:

Book Description:

A deadly curse, a deadly assassin, and one shot to save everyone she loves…
Malachi Erami can’t fall in love. After she’s caught with Knave, the witch Queen’s favorite lover, she’s cursed to savagely butcher any man she falls for. Exiled to live among humans, Malachi runs a bar that serves magic-laced drinks, but since her curse labels her high risk, she’s also closely monitored. Julian Vira is her latest babysitter, but he’s also the first man since Knave that she’s been attracted to. Good-looking and nonjudgmental of her horrible curse? Yeah, he’s hard to resist.

But when Malachi finds a body behind her bar, she knows she’s in trouble. If the Witches Control Council gets wind of it, she’ll be accused of murder and sent to her death. And when her friends start getting framed for murder, she realizes she’s not the only target. Malachi and Julian dig into the evidence to clear her name, but the closer they get to answers, the closer the curse comes to taking over. So when Malachi uncovers a plot to kill the witch Queen, she finds herself suddenly recruited into service, with the promise of having her curse lifted and a reunion with Knave as well. But if she fails, Knave will die. And she and Julian might not live long enough to see that happen.


Chapter One

Today was the anniversary of the worst day of my life, and I’d been trying to forget about it by consuming a vast amount of booze. The fact that I owned a bar greatly helped with that endeavor, and the fact that I was drunk was an accomplishment, since witches weren’t easily susceptible to alcohol. Humans were onto something with this whole drinking-to-forget-one’s-crappy-life thing.
Behind the bar, I poured a shot for an eager customer. Amaretto, Southern Comfort peach liqueur, and sweet-and-sour mix went into the glass, then I held my hand over the drink and let a stream of purple magic, the same color as my eyes, flow into it. The drink glowed purple for a few seconds, then I handed it to the customer, who drank it with no hesitation. After slamming the glass down, he grabbed the tipsy woman who’d been hanging on him and gave her a sloppy kiss, then led her out of the bar. I smiled and shook my head. The magic I’d put into the shot, aptly named Piece of Ass, would ensure they didn’t leave the bedroom tonight.
Somewhere in the room I heard riotous laughter, and above that the voice eliciting that laughter. Xiune was having a good night for a change and wasn’t holed up in my office. Though since she was just a head inside a clear acrylic box, it was understandable that sometimes all she wanted to do was hide.
“Malachi, darling!” Xiune called. “Seven handsome young men have requested the Challenge!” I smiled slyly. I loved administering the Challenge.
“It’s time for the Seven Deadly Sins Challenge!” I announced, filling up eight shot glasses with vodka, one of which I downed. “Which sin will it be and what will its victim do?” People shouted their guesses while I sent tendrils of magic into the shots. My magic sparked like tiny bolts of lightning, and like the shot I had just made, the liquid briefly glowed purple. I focused on one of the glasses and started whispering a spell, channeling the essence of one of the seven deadly sins through my body. For a brief moment, my body became flushed with a feeling of ravenous desire, then it flowed out of me into the shot glass. I felt rather charged and wondered if this had been the right sin to choose tonight. But hey, I was drunk, and I kind of wanted to see someone suffer. Misery loves company right?
I levitated the shot glasses onto a tray and sauntered over to the table where Xiune was entertaining the men who thought they were up for the Challenge. With her flawless complexion, golden eyes, and vibrant red hair, Xiune didn’t need a body to be beautiful. I’d known her when she had one though, and if she’d been sitting there in all her glory, she’d have every man kneeling at her feet. Her allure was only heightened by the fact that she was a bodiless beauty who used her magic to float herself around in a box. The box wasn’t necessary for Xiune to move around, but she felt safer inside it when she was out in public. That way if a witch hater spat on her, she’d have a shield. It also prevented those on the other end of the spectrum, people who were fascinated by witches, from getting too close. I set the shot glasses down and motioned for the men to stand around the table. They looked like your typical college fare: unkempt hair, sagging pants, and some sort of ironic or sports themed T-shirt. High-fives and shit talking all around.
“Now boys,” I said, leaning forward on my forearms, giving my cleavage time to shine. “Are you sure you’re ready for this? One of you is moments away from experiencing a sin you may or may not enjoy.” They assured me they were man enough to handle any sin, and I smiled. The fun thing about the Challenge was that everyone handled it differently. One man caught with gluttony had run across the street to McDonalds, spent over a hundred dollars on food, then sat on the floor and gorged himself. A woman under the same gluttony spell had tried to eat her friend’s purse.
“Let’s hope it’s lust and let’s hope it’s me,” one of the men said, winking at me. He stood a couple of inches over six feet, had brown hair and a lanky physique. If he started spending time at the gym, maybe his lame come-ons would give him more luck getting laid.
“Honey, I would eat you up,” I said with a slow smile. Normally I would never have said such a line, but all the alcohol I had consumed was speaking for me. He probably had no idea how true those words were though, because his smile never wavered. However, for a moment after I spoke, I saw another face in place of his, and it cut through my drunken haze like a knife. I gasped, and he must have thought that was a sign he had a chance with me, because his smile became more lascivious. Lucky for him, he did nothing for me.
“Malachi, let’s get this show going.” Xiune slid her box over to nudge me, and I shook my head and turned back to the waiting crowd.
“All right, it’s about to go down!” I yelled. “For anyone who hasn’t witnessed the Challenge before, I’ll explain how it works. One of these shot glasses is infused with the essence of one of the seven deadly sins, and the recipient will be overcome with that sin for the next half hour, while the others will experience the most euphoric feeling they’ve ever experienced from a shot of alcohol.” I motioned for the men to pick up a glass, and Mister Flirtatious had one more wink for me.
“Gentlemen, take your shot of sin!” They took their shots to the head. When they slammed their glasses down, every eye in the room was on them. After about twenty seconds, one of the men—not Winky—suddenly gasped, whipped his head around, and bolted from among his friends to accost a mildly attractive woman standing nearby.
“Fuck me! Fuck me, please!” He shook her by the upper arms while she stared at him, mortified, as his friends tried to pry him off her. I brayed with laughter, as did Xiune and everyone else in the bar.
“Oh god, I’m so horny. Someone please, fuck me!” He struggled against his laughing friends, trying to reach any female in sight, with his erection leading the way. Lust had been the winner tonight, and for the next thirty minutes this poor sap would be lusting after every woman he saw, whether she was twenty-eight or eighty-two. He even lurched toward Xiune, but she floated out of the way. Xiune was one sexy head in a box and had a mouth she could work wonders with. She often came out of her box to work those wonders on any willing man. There were more than you’d think.
“Right sin, wrong guy, right?” brown-haired dude said to me.
I rolled my eyes. “You and your friends will have your hands full for the next half hour. I suggest you hold on to him real good and don’t be surprised if he turns to one of you when it starts to look like he won’t be getting any women.”
He laughed and pulled out his cell phone. “I’ll call his girlfriend, though she’ll probably be too pissed at him for doing this to alleviate his lust.” He left the bar to make the call, while the other five continued to hold on to their friend, laughing like they’d never experienced anything so hilarious in their lives. Some of the more mischievous or drunk women teased the guy by parading in front of him and doing dirty little stripper moves. Only his friends’ hold stopped him from tackling one of them and trying to rip her clothes off.
I wasn’t afraid of things getting out of hand because I could break the spell any time I wanted. There was always a point where things stopped being amusing and started getting annoying. I left them and headed back behind the bar, while Xiune found another table of people to entertain. She was a wonderful songstress, and soon her melodic voice filled the bar as I went back to making magicked drinks. I glanced at my watch, noting that it was almost midnight, which meant the day was almost over. That didn’t actually mean anything though. The day passing didn’t mean I would forget the curse that was hanging over my life.
“Hey, Malachi, can you pass me a knife?”
“Knave?” I quickly turned to the busboy, James, who was bent over a box behind the bar.
“No, I said knife,” he said. My throat was suddenly tight, but I reached under the bar, got a knife, and handed it to him. I stood back and ran my hands through my short black curls, blowing out a slow breath as I tried to rein in my reaction to thinking I had heard the name Knave. That was the name attached to the face I did not like to think about, but no amount of alcohol and rowdy college boys taking the Challenge could truly put him from my mind. I didn’t want to see Knave’s face, didn’t want to think about the hard muscles my hands used to slide over, following the planes of his body to his waist and not stopping until I touched something that arched his back and made him whisper my name. I didn’t want to think about the nights we’d spent wrapped in each other’s arms, feeling our hearts beating against each other. But of course, since his name crossed my lips, he was all I could think about.
Falling in love with Knave was why I was cursed. And I could only blame myself. I should have known better than to take someone else’s lover to my bed. Especially if the woman crossed was a witch queen who was powerful, sadistic, and known to curse people just for sneezing out of place.
“Malachi? Excuse me, Malachi?” I blinked and brought myself out of my thoughts, turning to see that one of the other busboys, Dan, was trying to get my attention. He held a box of empty liquor bottles and needed me to move so he could pass. I shuffled out of the way, but thinking of Knave and my curse, along with all the beer and shots I’d drunk tonight, made me feel slightly unstable. Suddenly, the rowdiness in my bar wasn’t fun; it was obnoxious, and I wanted to get away from it. I headed through the door Dan had passed through, into the hallway that led to my office and the Dumpster out back. Halfway down the hallway, I heard a crash, followed by a scream. I ran through the back door, taking in several things at once that left me rooted to the spot. One, the revolting stench that went far beyond what our single Dumpster could give off. Two, Dan standing rigidly a few feet away with broken bottles scattered at his feet. And three, the thing that had caused him to drop the bottles and scream. Behind the Dumpster was a dead body.

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Author Bio:

A.J. Locke is an author and artist, originally from Trinidad, now residing in New York City. Black Widow Witch is her second published novel, and other than writing she enjoys reading, drawing, painting, graphic design, and watching too much television.

Author web links:
Twitter:  @maqueripe