31 July 2011

Where am I and what am I doing in this leather outfit?

A long time ago in a land far, far away… well, you might know it as Canada, I tapped out my first awfully melodramatic words in the realm of fanfiction.

No, no - don’t run!

Actually, fanfiction was only a sideline in addition to working on my own original works. But I did end up with quite a following in the fanfiction world and one sweet fan email from a young man in Pennsylvania who just adored my work.

Of course you know where that led. Yep, a few years later I left the Great White North to marry the poor fellow and settle down in the U.S. Being a Kept Woman (trademark pending) now I turned my attention full time to writing science fiction and paranormal romance, writing what I liked to read and wanted to read.

I charged into the official writing world with a few short story sales to places such as GRIT Magazine but lived for that yearly bit of insanity known as NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. In 2008 I bashed out a superhero novel based on my love of comic books, superheroes and all those darned annoying questions I kept asking myself.

Why did the bad guy always get away? What was wrong with the court system that even when the bad guys got caught they’d escape or be freed by the next issue? Who were these people anyway?

A year later the book was contracted by Samhain Publishing and “Blaze of Glory”, the first in a series, hit the virtual and physical shelves in April, 2010. The sequel, “Heroes Without, Monsters Within” is due to be published in January 2012 with a third book in the works.

Here’s the official blurb for “Blaze of Glory”

Saving the world is easy for a superhero—unless you’re a fraud.

Jo Tanis is a superhero, fighting evil on the city streets, using her ability to feed off electromagnetic energy and fire off charges—and it’s all just a show. The Agency captures her and others like her when their powers begin to manifest, pitting them against each other in staged, gladiatorial fights. An explosive implant on the back of her neck assures she’ll keep right on smiling for the camera and beating up the bad guys.

When Earth comes under attack, suddenly the show becomes deadly real. Unable to deal with a real alien, the “supers” are falling in droves. Millions of innocent civilians
are going to die…unless Jo can cobble together a team from among the fake heroes and villains the Agency enslaved. Including Hunter, who not only promises to show
her how to deactivate the implants, but seems to know more than he should about how the mysterious Agency operates.

Forcing a rag-tag bunch of former enemies to work together is the least of Jo’s problems. The trick is determining if Hunter is friend or foe—and becoming the hero everyone
thought she was before the world is destroyed for real.

Not too long after that I ventured into the world of steampunk with “Wild Cards and Iron Horses”, delving into my long lost love of Westerns and adding a dash of the old television show “The Wild Wild West”. Published by Samhain in August of 2010 in ebook form with the print version out in June 2011, it was well received by steampunk fans.

Here’s the blurb for “Wild Cards and Iron Horses”

Their love rides on a spring and a prayer...

During the recent Civil War, a soldier risked his life to save Jonathan Handleston—and lost. With the help of an advanced metal brace on his crippled hand, Jon now travels from one poker tournament to the next, determined to earn enough money to repay the man’s debt.

Prosperity Ridge is supposed to be the last stop on his quest, but his brace is broken and he needs an engineer to repair the delicate mechanisms. The only one available is Samantha Weatherly, a beautiful anomaly in a world ruled by men.

Sam is no fool. Jon is no different from any other gambler—except for his amazing prosthetic. Despite a demanding project to win a critical contract to develop an iron horse, she succumbs to the lure of working on the delicate mechanisms. And working with the handsome Englishman.

Like a spring being coiled, Samantha and Jon are inexorably drawn together. Sam begins to realize honor wears many faces, and she becomes the light at the end of Jon’s journey to redemption. The only monkey wrench is Victor, a rival gambler who will stop at nothing to make sure Jon misses the tournament.

Even destroy Jon and Sam’s lives.

Both “Blaze of Glory” and “Wild Cards and Iron Horses” were nominated for the 2011 Prism Awards, given out by the Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal Special Interest Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Both books came in Second Place in their respective categories.

I’ve also got an unnamed paranormal romance coming out in February 2012 from Carina Press about a private investigator called into a murder investigation by her family. Not *that* type of family-her Felis family who threw her out of the fold years ago because of her disability. But when the murdered victim is also a Felis her family needs the best on the job and the best happens to be Rebecca Dejardin, no matter what her status or disability.

So… that’s about it about me. Aside from my Wookie I’m also presently owned by a fat fuzzaloid named Mitchell who loves to cuddle on hot, hot days and have a Second Life as a clockwork dragon in the steampunk town of New Babbage in the virtual world of Second Life.

And as a true Canadian… *offers tea and scones*

There’s cold beer over here for the rest of you. Good Canadian whiskey if you need it and proper Guinness for those of you who like to chew on your beer.

Have a good day!

Sheryl Nantus

30 July 2011

Saturday Seven: Seven New Things to do at Dragon*Con

Dragon*Con turns 25 this year, and as befits a 25-year-old, it looks hot. The World’s Biggest Summer Camp for Wayward Adults has taken over a new hotel, boosted its TV signal (Dragon*Con TV broadcasts more original programming than most networks—and none of it remotely reality-based), and added even more great stuff to the schedule.

And it’s only a month away. I’m not quite counting the hours, but I am spending way too much time with the official progress report, polishing my name on the guest list and noting all the stuff I want to do. My panels, of course. The concerts and parade, ditto. But this year, I want to try something new. Since I don’t have my schedule yet, I don’t know what it will be, but I do know there’s a lot to choose from. Today’s Saturday Seven is just a sample:

Dragon*Con Masked Ball (10 p.m., Friday, September 2, location to be announced)
The con’s decided to celebrate their 25 anniversary with a grand ball, specifically a grand masked ball. Masks will be required to attend, but not to worry if you couldn’t find anything to match your party togs. Masks—including some created by the con’s Costuming Track—will be sold at the door, with all proceeds benefitting this year’s chosen charity, the National Inclusion Project. Music will be provided by The Ghost Project and their special musical guests. They’re even promising a new waltz written specially for the occasion.

The First Annual Comic Book Babes Contest (8:30 p.m., Saturday, September 3)
Comic book costume contests aren’t exactly new to Dragon*Con. For years, the con hosted a Dawn lookalike contest celebrating the comic book creation of Joseph Michael Lisner. This year, however, they’re expanding the field—and the prize money. The winner will take home $1000. The audience wins, not only in terms of greater variety, but also in the master of ceremonies: Goth geek king Voltaire.

Costuming Fashion Show (2 p.m., Sunday, September 4, Sheraton Grand Ballroom)
With so many mask and costume options in Dragon*Con’s exhibit halls and dealers room, it can be hard to wrap your brain around it, much less figure out what you want. To help, the Costuming Track has invited fifteen vendors to display their complete costumes, at no cost to vendors or fans.

Late Night Puppet Slam (11:30 p.m., Sunday, September 4, Hyatt Regency Ballroom 5)
Having never attended a puppet slam before, I can only assume the show operates like poetry slam, where lots of poets hit an audience with their best shots in the hope of winning a prize at the end of the evening. In any event, hosts Bob and Carl—aka the Sci-Fi Janitors—have invited some of the top puppeteers in Atlanta and beyond to bring their best geeky bits to Dragon*con’s many fans of the unusual.

Jefferson Starship Science Fiction/Rock Opera Mash-Up (date and time to be announced)
In addition to their live show, musical guests Jefferson Starship will participate in a mash-up of founder Paul Kantner’s Blows Against the Empire (the first album nominated for a Hugo) with the Vangelis score to Bladerunner. The show will be accompanied by multi-media projections of set designs from the movie. It should be wild, but I still think the concert will be wilder. But I may be prejudiced. The last time Starship played Dragon*Con, I danced onstage in a sarong.

Professional Photographer for the Fans (September 2-5, Marriott Marquis)
For years fans have bought professional photographs of Dragon*Con guests. This year they can take home a more personal souvenir—a professional photograph of themselves in all their costumed glory. The photographers will even provide appropriate science fiction and fantasy-themed backgrounds.

Workshops, Workshops, Workshops (various times, dates and locations)
Want to learn Tai Chi from actress Erin Grey and paranormal investigation techniques from LiveScience and Discovery News expert Benjamin Radford? What about taking a two day writing seminar taught by bestselling author Jody Lynn Nye? You can do all that and more at this year’s Dragon*Con. Workshops have long been a part of the program. A.C. Crispin’s Advanced Writers Workshop is a perennial favorite. But this year the workshops have expanded to the point where they practically constitute their own track. What are you waiting for?

Well, besides the 33 days until the opening festivities, that is. Hope to see you there!

Jean Marie Ward

29 July 2011

Friday Five - World Building - Goddesses/Gods of Njoziakti

I'm having a lot of conversations with folks about world building, especially with me working on the world for my YA LGBTQ novel, Path of the Huntress. This week I started heavily working on the pantheon for the gods and goddesses of this world, focusing specifically on the main setting, Njoziakti, which is the homeland of the main character, a continent based on pre-colonized Africa. Here’s a peek at five of the goddesses from that pantheon.

Mamsa Koywe (Ancient Mother)… (Mistress of the Veil, Midwife of the Dead, Goddess of Magic, Grandmother/Elder/Crone) Mamsa Koywe appears as a woman so old she looks as if she should have long ago crumbled to dust. She has existed since the beginning and will be there at the end of all things. Mamasa Koywe can be as cruel as she is loving, but even her cruelty has a purpose. She is never spiteful or petty. She has a lesson to teach, a story to tell, and secrets to keep or to share but only if you are worthy. She challenges those who seek her council and punishes those who displease her. Mamasa Koywe is the master of all magic and the midwife of the dead. Her mastery of magic is so complete that Mamasa Koywe needed no mate to plant the seed of life within her. She used the magic threads to fill her womb with her children and birthed them full-grown. Her children that make up the elder gods are Mamai Taktifu; the mother of all life, Haba Umri; the keeper of time, Eki Kifouku; the caretaker of the dead, and Sahib Mnjozi; the shaper of dreams. Mamasa Koywe is the Crone figure of the Sacred “Trinity” of goddesses.

Mamai Taktifu appears as a middle-aged and abundantly proportioned woman, belly filled with life. She is the goddess who birthed all life, from plant, to animal, to people. Her domains encompass the land and the sea, all places with life begins and ends. With her part time love, The First Man, Mamai Taktifu has birthed many of the other goddesses and gods. Her first children were the twins Seli Windaji; the great huntress, and Binti Inaka, the Grain Daughter. People debate which sister is the maiden of the Sacred Trinity, Seti Windaji or Binti Inaka. To the hunter/gather cultures it is Seti Windaji and to the cultures who prize agriculture above all it is Binti Inaka. Some cultures say the sisters serve in the maiden role together, but most say it is one sister or the other. Mamai Taktifu has three other children by The First Man. Anana Oruba; goddess of weather, Njenhaki; Lady Justice, and Umeli Msafiri; protector of travelors. Fuma Ungaane; weaver of madness and his sister Mga’moto are also children of Mamai Taktifu, but believed to be half-siblings of her other children (for more on the read Mamai Taktifu’s origin story). Mamai Taktifu is the mother figure of the Sacred “Trinity” of goddesses.

Seli Windaji (Sister Huntress) …(Huntress, Sister Moon, natural law, balance, protector of children and women, wilds-fertility, patron of the Unbuwindaji, twin sister of Binti Inaka) Seli Windaji has black skin covering her muscular form and waist length hair that glows luminescent white that she lets flow wild, never braided. When she wears clothing at all it is made of leather, bones and other natural adornments, and she is always barefoot.

The first of Mamai Taktifu’s children, Seli Windaji is a wild spirit, one who runs with the creatures of land and grants light to all who sleep under the Moon’s visage. She is favored niece of Analeta Kifo, Bringer of death, for her skill as a huntress and her understanding of the need to balance life and death. Seli Windaji presides over the natural balance of all natural things, and punishes those who desecrate wild places. Much like her twin Binti Inaka, she was born with a natural glow, but Seli Windaji never shone as brightly as her younger twin. Because of this many cultures focus on Binti Inaka as the favored sister, and fear Seli Windaji for her wildness and her link to the night. She is patron goddess of the Unbuwindaji, a group of highly trained hunters whose chosen mission is to wipe out all corruption from the chaos beyond the Void, and his favored son, Fuma Ungaane. Another of Seli Windaji’s favored groups of people are the Tershain. forest elves, tribes of which live far outside the territories of their city and country bred kin, and rarely if ever come in contact with humans at all. To the hunters of the world, Seli Windaji is the daughter/sister figure in the sacred “trinity” of goddesses.

Binti Inaka (Grain Daughter) … (Gentle Maiden, Sister Sun, agriculture, farmers-fertility, twin sister of Seli Widaji) Binti Inaka’s skin and hair is golden and glows with heat and light. She wears clothing of the sheerest whites and gold trim, and wear gold strapped shoes on her feet. Where she steps golden flowers the shape of the sun grow, with yellow petals and orange centers filled with pollen. The name of the flower are the zwajua, and these rare flowers have great healing properties when ingested as a tea or inhaled in a dried and smoke for.

Binti Inaka is the second born of Mamai Taktifu’s children, and greatly loved among the agricultural peoples of the world. She is the patron of farmers and even has some followers among the country elves. She is known as a gentle goddess, not wrathful or cruel. She is a timid goddess, easily hurt and offended, though more likely to turn her back and pout then last out like her twin Seli Windaji. Not a farmers home would be caught without a well cared for shrine to Binti Inaka, and it is not uncommon for the families to choose to go without rather then let an offering time pass to the grain goddess unobserved. She is often called upon as emissary to plead with Anana Oruba; goddess of weather, for a much needed rain or a repute from bad storms. To the farmers of the world, Binti Inaka is the daughter/sister figure in the sacred “trinity” of goddesses.

Eki Kifouku (she who brings death)… (Death Bringer, caretaker of the dead, guardian of the lands of the dead) Eki Kifouku has many faces, and comes to those who must move onto the afterlife as they have lived in the world. If the person is a good, just person, she is a loving guide, gentle and kind. If a person has done wrong, has been selfish or cruel Eki Kifouku is a frightening sight to behold. No living person is said to know what Eki Kifouku looks like until she comes for them.

As her eldest daughter created all that swam, flew, and crawled, Mamasa Koywe in her wisdom knew that with life must also come death to keep the balance. She weaved magic to create the Veil where Mamasa Koywe gave birth to Eki Kifouku; the caretaker of the dead.

Mamai Taktifu urged her creatures to reproduce as fast as they could, and Eki Kifouku would cull them all just as quickly. Finally both goddesses grew so weary they collapsed beside each other on one of the largest islands. For a long time neither said a word until suddenly Mamai Taktifu began to laugh. At first her sister was cross, but soon the laughter of the creatrix of life infected Eki Kifouku. Both sisters laughed until all trace of spite and discord was washed away, and only understanding remained. Since that time Eki Kifouku and Mamai Taktifu work in balance, displeased when outside forces threaten that careful balance, tipping the scales of life and death.

27 July 2011

This is how it REALLY Happened...

Who remembers that movie Clue? When it came out in theaters? *looks around at raised hands* Well....first, you're all old! LOL! (So am I, though, so I can say that). I loved that movie, so campy and fun, with terrific actors, especially Tim Curry who has always been a favorite of mine. Did you know he played the demon in Legend? So versatile!

But that's not my point. Neither is the fact that I think Clue, much like another favorite camp film of mine Murder by Death, pokes great fun at old detective novels as well as putting a board game on the big screen. Here's the point. Right here.--------> For those who aren't old enough to remember, when the movie was shown in theaters, you only got to see ONE of the three or four possible endings they shot. When the movie moved to TV, they showed all of the endings, with "that's how it could have happened. But what about this?" interspersed between the endings, and a final one that said "but here's what really happened."

So which ending is the real ending? In the theater, if you wanted to see all the endings you had to go and see the movie a bunch of times and hope you got a different ending. If you never saw them all, how do you know which one was 'the' ending?

Something similar happened to me with the last book I finished, the steampunk fairy tale currently looking for an agent. Originally it had a particular ending. It was relatively happy with a bit of a weepy little twist. But someone thought it might be too adult for YA. It's a historical fantasy piece, and the ending was perfectly fit to the sensibilities of that time period, but in this day and age you sort of have to fudge a little bit sometimes, especially when the historical sensibilities run so very contrary to modern ones.

So I changed it completely. I've never really done that before. I liked this new ending better, actually, it was satisfying and managed to appease both modern and historical sensibility, I thought.

Another reader said it was too sad and slightly boring. Which, when I re-read it, I could see her point-of-view. I thought she was happy, but it did have a lot of telling and wasn't showing my main character to be as happy as I knew she was. It was too 'quiet' - which apparently is the kiss of death in YA.

So I wrote it again.

I took a little from one pot and a little from the other and blended them together to get ending #3. This ending shows more than tells, and the happiness is practically bursting from the page. My MC gets more of Ending #1 without being overly 'adult', and is still living the life I wanted for her in Ending #2. But this is the first time I've ever, ever completely ripped out an ending after a book was finished. Tweaked, yes, but never completely changed. Beginnings, sure, do it all the time. Middles - of course. But not an ending.

Someday when it's published I'll have to post the Alternate Endings, and you can decide how you think it 'really happened.'

26 July 2011

Worlds Collide by Moondancer Drake

Paperback: 146 pages

Publisher: P.D. Publishing, Inc. (June 26, 2011)

Language: English

Genre: Lesbian / Paranormal Romance

ISBN-10: 1933720905

ISBN-13: 978-1933720906

List Price: $14.99

Available at Bella Books, Amazon, and at your favorite Independent bookstore

A fifth year Veterinary student at UW-Madison, Rune Nqumayo was far from being your typical college student. The leader of a local pack of shape shifters, her life was a long string of sacrifices in the name of honor and duty. Busting up a vampire party one night begins a chain reaction, tossing her deep into strange truths and a taste of forbidden love that will challenge everything she has ever known.

Will Rune follow the path she has walked all her life? Or will she give into her heart and risk becoming an outcast among her own people?


"Moondancer Drake shows a true talent for bringing forth a unique view of
shifters and vampires in a market that has quickly become saturated... Everything is so well interwoven that there are great social statements built into a quality story...World’s Collide is both a continuation of her second book, Natural Order, and is also outstanding as a stand-alone novel...add World’s Collide to the must read column!"

~ Jeanine Hoffman, Author of Strength in Numbers


Moondancer Drake is a Two-Spirit Cherokee author of environmental and spiritually driven multicultural fiction. She is also a vocal advocate for civil rights and the responsibility of all people to take better care of Mother Earth.

If you wish to learn more about Moondancer and the Guardian Circle visit her website at http://www.moondancerdrake.com.

25 July 2011

The Spills, The Thrills, The Tour

The Tour de France is a big event in my family, as my hubby is an avid cyclist and I like to watch men in lycra. Oops, did I just say that?

The Tour de France, for anyone who is unfamiliar, is an epic cycling race that goes on for three weeks over treacherous mountain climbs up into the thin air of the Pyrenees and Alps and down heart-stopping slopes. There are daily crashes, blood, sweat and tears. Intrigue, strategy, and sportsmanship. Friendships and bitter rivalries. Written rules and gentlemanly agreements.

In a word, it is AWESOME.

It is also inspiring to watch. What those men go through to follow their passion is humbling to me.

I am passionate about my writing, but I don't risk death or injury doing it.
I put my butt in my seat for several hours a day too, but I don't usually break a sweat and or worry about saddle sores.
When I'm hungry, I get up and eat what I want, but the cyclists have to actually force themselves to consume the thousands and thousands of calories needed to survive.
I will never break a shoulder or hip at my job, unless of course, I fall off my chair.

What really gets me, is that over a hundred riders start the race but only one man can wear the winning yellow jersey at the end. For most riders, they will never win a stage, let alone the entire event, and yet they will fight and scratch and suffer for the chance.

Hmm, maybe they are not that different from writers after all.

Kimberley Troutte

22 July 2011


Good morning, everyone!

While you're reading this, I'm out doing research. :) Well...I'm cheering my daughter on during last day summer camp activities while I take notes about the wonderful ambiance of the Tennessee mountains. Destiny will be taking a road trip for Book 3 of the St. George series. For those who are waiting for STEALING GRACE, book 2, I'm polishing the ending before I ship it out for a final look from the Cookie Monsters before it goes off to my Samhain editor.

There are a lot of great things about taking the muses on a road trip...aside from the strange looks people give you when you stop on a trail and start talking to yourself while you're waving the camera about. Imagining Destiny walking the same paths, smelling the same smells, interacting with the locals from the perspective of an outsider is both thrilling and captivating. The plot outline is in place, the main characters in play, but each trip to Crossville brings something new into the equation. New buildings and businesses for her to explore, like the new movie theater. West Coast Destiny traipsing around rural Tennessee is definitely a sight! She just may come home with a handmade quilt among the rest of the baggage.

Seriously, though. All jesting aside, research is something I love to do. As a mom, military wife, and homeschooling parent, I rarely get the opportunity to take the time to do trips like this. Squeezing in the random moments is what I do best. I took Grace to the beach on our family vacation last month. Walking on the Gulf at dawn made me realize that the reason the ending didn't work right was the setting. To make it work, I had to change the location from Iceland to someplace warmer.

The funny thing about locations is that one small change means that other things have to change, too. It's like knocking over a string of dominoes, only not nearly as fun. Small details matter. For Grace, I had to find a reason for her not to return to her Icelandic home. For Destiny, well, her trip to Tennessee has everything to do with her heritage. She has to make peace with her past before she can really move forward with Marcus.

What about you? Have you ever walked in someone else's footsteps? Real or imaginary? If you have, what did you like best? If you haven't, whose would you like to experience?

20 July 2011

Thursday Thirteen – 13 reasons to read my new book, Worlds Collide.

I’m totally stoked about my new novel, which my author copies for just showed up in the mail today. I thought I’d share some of that excitement with y’all. More TT fun can be found at Dreamtime and Xakara's Blog

13) World Collide has an ass kickin’ shape shifter heroine!

12) You know you love vampires that don’t sparkle…we got those too.

11) The story happens in Madison, Wisconsin… you did know that’s where the cool people live, right?

10) Did I mention the sexy female vampire heroine? The very, very sexy female vampire heroine!

09) Worlds Collide has got adventure and suspense!
08) One of the heroines is a veterinary student. What’s sexier then an animal lover, especially one who can turn into an animal?

07) For those of you who read Natural Order, there’s at least two characters from that novel who have guest spots in Worlds Collide.

06) The villain is deliciously nasty.

05) Who doesn’t adore a culturally diverse setting with empowered women?
04) The romantic elements of Worlds Collide are sensual without being overly graphic.

03) Did I mention our ass kickin’ shape shifter heroine must chose between love and duty? What will she do?

02) You know you can’t get a story from me without a bit of humor thrown in too.

01) Worlds Collide is a love story, a story about fighting for what’s right, and a story about inner strength and courage. Come join the adventure!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

View More Thursday Thirteen Participants

18 July 2011

Publishing: Tortoise vs Hare

Traditionally publishing has been survival of the most persistent. There have always been writers who sold quickly, but most traditionally published writers struggled for years, sometimes decades, with rejections and self doubt. When they were finally published, they had already proved their worth.

Things have changed.

These days, anybody with a completed manuscript—no matter the length, the genre, or the quality—can become a published author and be sold by Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other places. Good thing? Bad thing? I say it’s both.

The good. Previously published books that would probably only be available in used bookstores, if at all. Today they’re enjoying new life as freshly released ebooks, and these books have the potential shelf life of forever. Also in the good category are those writers who write hard to classify books. Books that publishers and bookstores would have a hard time shelving, inspirational erotica, for instance,  or science fiction, mystery, romantic horror. Also, there is a place for books that only appeal to a small segment of the population, red headed dog lovers from Alaska, for instance. This gives readers more choice. Choice is good.

The bad. I remember when I finished my first novel-length manuscript. Like everybody else, I thought I’d written a masterpiece. I had written another “masterpiece” and started a third before I had the guts to submit. By then, I’d collected a pile of rejections for short stories. Still, having my “baby” that I’d worked and revised repeatedly over years rejected hurt. Really hurt. If today’s easy publishing had been available then, would I have published my “masterpiece”? Probably. Would I be embarrassed now? Yes. Would I be as good a writer without the struggle? No. Absolutely not.

Today’s easy, and much more accepted, self-publishing will produce some real masterpieces, and some “masterpieces” that might have a lot of potential, but not the seasoning. Like a recipe without the spices. Maybe not horrible, but not nearly as good as it could be. And maybe word has gotten around that those books are not that good. That writer will have a hard time convincing people that their newly published books really are masterpieces. Like any technology, self-publishing can be used for good or bad.

In the end, readers decide who becomes bestsellers, who are one book wonders, and who are writers who may not attract a huge audience, but are consistent sellers. The face of publishing has changed, but its heart continues to beat inside each and every reader.

Have a great week!


15 July 2011

The end is here...

For the first time ever, I actually attended a midnight movie premier. Yep. I was there in a theater packed to the rafters, although my muggle costume was rather ordinary compared to the person with a snake around his neck and numerous others in Hogwarts' style robes. True fans are an interesting lot. ;)

It's been a busy week: a short family trip out of town; Harry Potter premier; and, of course, our oldest son's 16th birthday -- the best part of it all.

I'm left feeling both tired and satisfied with the way things turned out all around. Yet, a part of me is a little sad, as well.

While our family trip was fun, it wasn't quite the same as when the kids were little. They aren't as easily entertained and amazed. ;) Also, though I'm not a true HP fanatic, I do think it's sad that we don't have another movie 'coming soon'.

The most bitter-sweet aspect has been watching my little boy grow into a thoughtful, intelligent and funny young man. I'm proud of the person he's becoming, even while a part of me misses the little guy who used to build with blocks for hours and loved to cuddle. Yes, that was many years ago, and yet, I remember it as if it were yesterday.

We may have said good-bye to Harry and company today, but we can re-visit them in both books and movie form. Daily if we should so desire. If only we could return to our childrens' childhoods as easily, even for a few hours.

~~Meg Allison

Indulge your senses...

13 July 2011

13 Things in Publishing You Can't Guarantee

I'm going to keep this one short and simple today, to match my brain.

13 Things You Can't Guarantee in Publishing, No Matter Your Approach

1) Success.
2) Unless, of course, you're trying to fail.
3) Because you can succeed at failing pretty easily.
4) Even if you're preternaturally gifted, good looking and talented.
5) The way to do this would be quitting.
6) Voila! You failed! Instant success.
7) But then, what if you're trying to QUIT something, like releasing books before they're ready, or getting in flame wars with other authors, or posting your blog entries a day behind schedule?
8) Then quitting really WOULD be succeeding.
9) God, my head hurts.
10) But that could be the success talking.
11) After all, I successfully completed and posted my blog post on the day it was scheduled.
12) Just barely.
13) In certain time zones.

Voila! Success!

Jody W.
So much cyberspace, so little time!
www.jodywallace.com  / www.meankitty.com

12 July 2011

Jean Marie's Happy Dance

Bianca isn’t the only one with good news to share this week. Patricia Bray and Joshua Palmatier announced the table of contents for their new fantasy anthology, The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity, coming from DAW Tekno Books in March 2012. And the writers are:

Introduction by Patricia Bray and Joshua Palmatier

"We Will Not Be Undersold" by Seanan McGuire

"Changeling" by Susan Jett

"Water-Called" by Kari Sperring

"The Roots of Aston Quercus" by Juliet E. McKenna

"To Scratch an Itch" by Avery Shade

"Continuing Education" by Kristine Smith

"How To Be Human™" by Barbara Ashford

"How Much Salt" by April Steenburgh

"Hooked" by Anton Strout

"Crash" by S. C. Butler

"Fixed" by Jean Marie Ward

"A People Who Always Know" by Shannon Page & Jay Lake

"The Slaughtered Lamb" by Elizabeth Bear

"Corrupted" by Jim C. Hines

Yes! That’s me on that list! “Fixed” is the story of a teenaged cat shifter who gets taken to an animal shelter while wearing fur. Needless to say, he really REALLY doesn’t want to get “Fixed”.

Although you won’t be able to hold the book (or the pixels of the ebook version) in your hands until March, The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity is available for pre-order on a number of sites, including Amazon. Buy, buy, buy! In multiples, if you can. Patricia and Joshua were so much fun to work with, I’d love to do it again.

Meanwhile, I’m grinning from ear to ear.

11 July 2011

New Contract & New Release!

Great news! I just got an offer for a new Brotherhood of Blood story. It's called WOLF HILLS and it's the story of of Sally, a San Francisco police detective who goes to Wyoming on vacation to visit one of her best friends. Carly is newly wed to a mysterious foreigner. When Sally arrives in Wyoming, she quickly learns that Carly's new husband is the Master Vampire of the region and there's a werewolf Pack living just up the road. Because Carly has recently become a vampire too, the werewolves are tasked with showing Sally around during the day and keeping her company until the sun goes down.

Jason Moore is the Alpha of the werewolf Pack. When he sees Sally for the first time, he knows there's something special about her. He's drawn to her and makes it his business to be her tourguide. He invites her to take her meals at the Pack house, in his company, not realizing his favoritism is going to cause havoc among a few of the bitches in his Pack. But Sally can handle just about anything, including any werewolf bitch who challenges her.

When werewolf children are targeted by evil hunters in the area, Sally refuses to sit on the sidelines. She helps the Alpha hunt down the perps and free the child they've kidnapped, facing bombs, bullets and crazed killers along the way.

That's the gist of it. I haven't really written the blurb yet. We're just getting the contract together to formalize everything, but I thought it was worth sharing. This book has a lot of action and a great romance. It was a lot of fun to write and I expect it'll probably be out sometime around the beginning of 2012.

Just to be clear: I have an erotic science fiction book coming out in October called HIDDEN TALENT. And the last of the military paranormal zombie books, DEAD ALERT, arrives in stores on July 26th. Keep an eye out for it! This will be the last of the zombie books and it ends with a huge bang! :)

In fact, here's a little bit about it...

For Emily Parkington, the thrill of flying charter planes for Praxis Air has lately been tinged with dread. Mysterious cargo flights and a high number of fatal crashes lead Emily to suspect something sinister behind the scenes. And if her new colleague is involved, Emily won’t hesitate to turn him in, in spite of Sam Archer’s sexy charm and irresistibly easy confidence.

Enemy or potential ally? Sam can’t be sure of anything where Emily is concerned, except how much he wants her. Immune to the zombie virus created through military research, Sam is working undercover to find out if Praxis is trafficking forbidden technology. It was a potentially deadly assignment even before he found himself distracted by a woman he scarcely knows. And when a “controlled” experiment goes horribly wrong, there will be no limit to the danger they both face... or how far he’s willing to go to save her...

It's available now for pre-order on Amazon or B&N. Reserve yours today! :) And another odd thing - the pricing on this book is weird. It's actually cheaper to buy the paperback than the ebook! That just seems wrong to me, but I have no control over how the publisher prices things. *sigh*

That's the news for now. I've been writing a bit more than I have over the past year, so I hope to have more news for you next time my turn to blog rolls around. In the meantime, have fun with the zombies! :)

Come over to The D'Arc Side... www.biancadarc.com

10 July 2011

A Tidbit for Sampling from Moondancer Drake

Since this is my first post at Beyond the Veil, it seems appropriate to introduce myself. I’m an Eastern band Cherokee, a two-spirit woman (Native LGBTQ), a mother, a practitioner of earth-based spirituality, an environmentalist, an activist, in fact there are many sides to Moondancer.

The reason I say all this is that as a writer all these ingredients that make up who I am, are part of everything I write. Being a Native American woman growing up loving speculative fiction yet never finding anyone like me in the stories I read, all the fiction I write now is multicultural. My real live experiences and passions effect my writing as well. In the city where I live so many people are separated, segregated, in fact from very young our Western culture is taught to be selfish, to “look out for #1”. Culturally and personally I believe strong and supportive communities are crucial to a society’s well being, even to a personal physical and mental health. I love reading about women living in strong, supportive of communities where belief systems like mine (and other non-mainstream spirituality’s) are fully accepted and even embraced. As a writer of paranormal fiction I can create these communities I wish I lived in. I can fight the fights against the evil of this world that we also often feel helpless against by bringing that evil into my world and having my heroines fight it there. It’s an empowering feeling for me as the author of the stories, and I hope for my readers as well.

Currently I have two published novels; Ancestral Magic and Natural Order, a new ebook novella called Seeking Light in the Shadows, as well as numerous short stories published in anthologies. Today I thought I would leave you with a taste from my new urban fantasy coming out next week or so, Worlds Collide.


Once she was in place on the garage roof, Rune pushed the ladder away from the edge and watched it fall back to the grass with a low thud. She wouldn’t need it to get down and didn’t want to draw attention to her presence. Rune hung her torso over the gable of the garage and peered into the window below.

Beyond the glass, one man walked across the room with his armed wrapped around a busty blonde. Past him, Rune could pick out five more women and another ten men moving about the flat. They all looked normal enough, but that was the trouble with vampires — as long as they fed well, the leeches looked just like everyone else. It was their scent — a rancid mixture of sweat and old blood — that made them stand out to a hunter like herself. Vampires didn’t sweat, because they had no need to; neither heat nor cold affected them in any but the rarest of cases. The sweat she smelled was from the humans on whom they feasted.

Laughter from the back of the room caught her attention. A group of four vampires was gathered in a corner of the room. Above the din of the music, Rune could just pick out the sound of a woman’s voice behind them. A vampire roared with amusement, taking a step forward, and Rune realized it was his laughter that had first drawn her attention. That was when she heard the woman scream.

Rune grabbed the edge of the gable and lowered herself, dangling by her arms. There was barely enough time to shift before she swung back and crashed through the window. She landed on the carpeted floor, legs bent and spread in a combat stance. She had not taken the form of a wolf this time. The eyes of many of the vampires widened with fear to suddenly find a werewolf in their midst.

Pandemonium raged as the smarter of the vampires hurtled for the door. The bouncer took a step back and the crowd scrambled past him, stampeding down the stairs. He glanced at Rune, the group in the corner, and back again. She braced herself for the charge that never came as he swore under his breath and dashed out the door.

Smart man. She grinned and turned back to those remaining.

The vampires fanned out from the corner and Rune glimpsed the three people on the floor. The man’s body was stretched out on a wide strip of wood flooring just beyond the carpet, while his two female companions hugged each other and shivered, eyes closed.

“You know, Farrell, I’ve always wondered what shifter tastes like.” The vampire ran a hand over his shaven head and licked his lips hungrily. “You boys help me bag this one, and we can all have a treat.” Pete and Jumala glanced nervously at each other, but didn’t move forward.

Her eyes narrowing malevolently, Rune snarled at the bald man, “You’ll never live to find out, parasite.

04 July 2011

Happy Fourth of July!

My Fellow Americans,

Where's the party, Kittens! *Grin* I hope you're all having a wonderful time, gathered with friends, grill safely blazing in the back yard and fireworks tonight--for those of you in legal areas to celebrate such.

With the wildfires covering the Southwest and the continued drought conditions, there's only one celebration with fireworks still going in New Mexico. It's over water, so safe and highly regimented, but still more a cause of concern than the childlike abandon of just last year. My thoughts are with those brave men and women fighting the Southwest fires so that I can be safe in my home.

My thoughts are also with those courageous men and women fighting overseas so that I can be safe in my country. I see the vote in New York recently as a symbol of everything they are fighting for right now. Our freedoms and their protections are what make the United States, the country we like to think ourselves to be. In the end, until everyone of us is free, none of us is free. I welcome back our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, husband and wives, mothers and fathers, and look forward to the fight on our own soil for freedom becoming a success of the past, including the fight for those same women and men to serve openly, without regard to who they love.

Happy Birthday, America! And congratulations on your lastest step to becoming everything you can be. :)

Progressive Patriotic Ramble ~ Done


P.S. I have a new release today. Visit Gabriella Hewitt's for my guest blog and comment to win a copy of DAWN'S EARLY LIGHT (PsiCorps Book 2) or GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST (PsiCorps Book 1).

02 July 2011

Summertime and the Eating Is Easy

When you read this, I'll be in New York, enjoying both the city and the Romance Writers of America's National Conference. There's only one thing I'll miss while I'm away: the fresh fruits and vegetables from my local farmers market. With that in mind, I thought I'd share one of my favorite summer recipes. Consider it my way of adding a little sparkle to your holiday weekend.
This is extremely simple, no cooking required. But you do need really, really good produce.

Jean Marie's Summer Salad

(Ingredients per person, expand as needed)

1 pickle-sized (4-5 inches long) cucumber, peeled, cored (if desired) and sliced thin

4 to 6 fresh basil leaves, shredded

1 medium tomato, chopped

Rice wine vinegar (used a seasoned variety for extra sweetness)

Fresh ground pepper

Layer a bowl with cucumbers, then basil, then tomatoes. Drizzle with rice wine vinegar. Toss. Add fresh ground pepper to taste. Let sit five minutes and serve.


Happy Fourth!