Friday, February 28, 2014

Release day! Of Shadow Born

It's here, it's finally here! The release day for Of Shadow Born, book 1 of the Icarus Unit series. It's now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. More retailers are coming, so keep your eyes peeled for those announcements.

This is a completely different, separate series from Immortal Lies. Tybalt lives in a world that is a mashup of pieces of this world to make something unique to him. Of Shadow Born is set in this world. in this world's San Francisco. There is a romance in Of Shadow Born.  Despite the fact that Tybalt and Violet are committed to one another and have been for a while, their romance isn't really crucial to the plot of Immortal Lies.

Two different books. Two similar genres. Two separate series.

There's a lot of debate about whether releasing two series at once is a smart thing to do, especially for someone just starting* their career. Some people say no, release at least the first three books in any series before moving on to the next. Some people say begin as you mean to go on, and if you're going to bounce from genre to genre or series to series, you should do that right up front so your readers know what they're getting.

As I have spent a not-inconsiderable amount of time saying, I'm a magpie. If I don't bounce, I get bored. So I'm going to bounce. I'm hoping my readers bounce with me. What more can I do?

There will be more of both of these series this year, barring disaster. There will possibly/probably be other projects this year, too. Not more series because two is all I will allow myself for now, but standalones? Novellas? Anthologies? All possible.

My promise is that they will all be as well-written, well-edited and well-produced as I can make them. People may like some of them and not be fond of others. That's the nature of the beast and I'm okay with that.

Because I'm going to be having fun. I hope my readers will too.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Of Shadow Born: One. Last. Taste.

Just because I post later in the day doesn't mean I don't still love you. ;)

Things are still on schedule for a release on Friday morning. With luck, it will go off without a hitch. The reality is probably that it will go off mostly all right and I will come out of it only a little stressed out. Such is the life of the indie author.

But man, I am really excited to see and hear what you all think about this book. I've had such a great reaction to Tybalt and Vi that I'm hoping you'll feel the same way about Kade and Melanie too.

But enough blathering from me, right? You all really want to see the excerpt I promised?

Well then. Here you go!

If nothing else good could be said about this new life, it wasn't boring. As a matter of fact, Melanie thought while she stared up at the vaulted ceiling far overhead, she might not mind a little boredom for a change.
Instead, she stood in the middle of a marble corridor that wound through a structure best qualified as "pyramid." "Temple," perhaps, she corrected herself. Or "ziggurat." Whatever the term, it clearly didn't belong in the middle of the San Francisco she knew.
Then again, she didn't belong here at all. She'd been caught somewhere between reality and a dream. They'd stepped into shadow and walked between worlds to get here. They'd been met by Officer Garamendi, who looked more intimidating in a suit than in policeman blue. She'd been handed off to Sylvie, who'd escorted her through a whirlwind tour and now stood silent at her shoulder, waiting for a response.
"I don't know what to say," Melanie admitted. "It's impressive, certainly. Like seeing history brought to life, which is a little strange." She let her gaze wander over the smooth walls and well-tended floor. Not at all like the ruins she'd wandered while traveling. "It's alien." She winced at her words. "Not that I mean to imply that any of you—"
Sylvie cut her off with the graceful movement of one hand. "You never know, we might be. There are an awful lot of people who think the pyramids were ancient spaceships and Egyptian knowledge came direct from the stars."
Melanie should have laughed. She felt the urge but a shred of uncertainty held it back. The smile she managed wobbled a bit.
"That was a joke. I promise," Sylvie said, fingers a light pressure against Melanie's arm. "Sorry, my sense of humor's a little off. It's a self-defense mechanism when you work with people like Kade all day."
"He's not that bad, is he?"
Sylvie arched an eyebrow. "You guys haven't been together that long, I know, but when was the last time you heard him crack a joke? Does he laugh a lot around you? How about smiling?"
Melanie racked her brain for a concrete example of the things Sylvie asked. "I know he smiles. I'm sure I've heard him laugh."
"But you have to think about it," she said triumphantly. "My point is made. Someone's got to lighten things up from time to time." She spread her arms and shrugged. "That means me."
      Now Melanie laughed and it came as a relief. It felt genuine, not something forced or strained. She couldn't say that about any other moment that came to mind over the last week or so. Except a few seconds of silence in Kade's company. A wave of heat swept over her and she knew she blushed. "I can think of worse jobs."

Monday, February 24, 2014

A thank you!

Just a quick, late post to say thank you to everyone who helped boost the signal on the Urban Fantasy sale this past weekend. It went well, I think.

If you happened across my blog because of the sale, hi! Welcome! Poke around, read as much as you like, and make yourself comfortable. If you've been here for a while, I'm glad you've stayed.

I had company all weekend, so I'm still revving up for the big release at the end of the week. Wednesday, though, I think I'll share a snippet from Of Shadow Born to whet your whistles, and then Friday will be the big day.

I'm excited and cannot wait to hear what you all think of the Icarus Unit!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

It's an Urban Fantasy Weekend!

Hey, all!

This is the big promotional event I told you was coming. Hope you enjoy it and find some great reads. :)

From now, February 20th until February 22nd, all of these books are on sale, either for free or for $0.99, so go pick up some new reads and support some authors you may not have discovered yet.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cover reveal: Of Shadow Born

The problem with holidays is that they tend to throw me off my schedule, especially when I'm already teetering on the edge of keeping track of the days!

Hello! It's Tuesday, and this is not my usual posting day. Then again, neither was Saturday, and neither will Thursday be, when I post the news about my big promotional weekend. So, why not embrace the wackiness of this week?

I know I've been teasing about a new book coming out soon. It's ten days away now and I'm so looking forward to seeing what you think about this book. I like it, but then, you know us authors. We tend to be biased when it comes to our own words.

Regardless of the words inside though, it's the cover that first makes a reader click the link on a book, right? (Or pick it up off the shelf, but that's getting ahead of myself a little.)

So, without further ado, here is the ebook cover for Of Shadow Born, book 1 of the Icarus Unit series.

As I've said, this is still urban fantasy, though it has more romance in it, so I opted to go with more of a paranormal romance feel to the cover. With luck, the covers will all be recognizably linked as a good series should be.

If that doesn't get you going, though, take a gander at the full-wrap cover for the print version. This thing made me squeal out loud when I first saw it:

Gorgeous, isn't it? I am thrilled beyond words that accurately convey my feelings.

Now. I know it's not the conventional wisdom to start two series back-to-back, rather than giving one a two or three book lead before starting another. I, however, have chosen to go this route in the hopes that you'll bear with me and trust that both series will continue for a while. You may like one more than the other, or love them both or despise them equally, but I think those who like my writing will find something in one of them to keep them entertained until the next book is ready.

What do you think?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Let's talk about fear, baby.

(If you have now been earwormed by a song of similar title, I'm sorry. Sort of. Okay, not really.)

I like to think I'm pretty brave in general. I usually speak my mind. I try new things. I am willing to admit when I make a mistake. I'm not brave enough to strap on a parachute and fling myself out of a perfectly good plane and I have very little desire to go deep-sea diving,  but in my everyday, ordinary life, I think I handle fear reasonably.

But I have this pesky fear of success.

Many writers in particular acknowledge that it exists, but we don't talk about it much. We may claim, outwardly, that we're afraid of being rejected or getting bad reviews, but some of us also live in fear of the what-if. Not what-if I fail, but what-if I succeed?

What if the agent/editor really like this book and I get a contract?

What if my new release makes a best-seller list?

What if this is my breakout book?

It seems a little odd to be afraid of getting it right, and yet I know for a fact that I've been held back from this particular fear. And at the same time I'm feeling fear, I also feel embarrassment, because it seems somehow arrogant to assume that I might be right and I really might be that good. But if I am, will I live up to my own hype? Will I fulfill my own promises? Can I do it again and again?

Immortal Lies has been out for almost two months now, and I'm pretty pleased with how it's been received. The next book in that series in progress now.

I just finished the edits on Of Shadow Born. They took me ... far longer than they should have, due to this fear of mine. The edits weren't extensive. They were painless, really. And yet it's another first-book-in-the-series. It's a slightly different type of book (more romance, less snark) than Immortal Lies. If people like this book, I have to keep two series afloat and keep readers both happy and coming back and that, well. Scares me.

But I will send that book out into the world at the end of this month. If I can talk about the fear, I can beat it, and I can move on.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Time, time time.

I have never been all that great at time management.

There. I said it. It's out in the open. Again.

As I've mentioned more than once, I am pretty much a human magpie. I am easily distracted by shiny things. This can be anything from a new online game to a new website to a new book or a book idea or a discussion on a forum.

This becomes tricky when I have projects I should be working on and deadlines, even self-imposed, to meet. I can tell myself I should be writing or should be editing, etc., but making myself actually sit down, focus and do these things is rarely as simple as a should.

I'm working on that. I have managed, with a break due to recent weather, to keep up the walking routine I started at the beginning of the year. I have already written more since the beginning of 2014 than I did in all of 2013. I am definitely moving in the right direction. But it's still not easy.

I do have something like a routine. I originally planned to get up and write first thing in the mornings, but I am not a morning person. Not as much a night owl as I used to be anymore, but definitely not a morning person. I need time to wake up, to gather my thoughts, and to get all my goofing around out of the way before I can settle enough to work. After breakfast, after my walk, sometimes after a shower, I'm good to go. That's all part of setting the mood, for me, I guess.

At one point, I thought there was something said about habits only becoming set if you did them consistently for three weeks. In talking about that with Catie, though, she'd heard something saying it was more like ten weeks. How is that even fair? :)

Friday, February 7, 2014

It's raining...rain!

Apologies for missing my usual Wednesday ;post. Sometimes when you have nothing amazing to say, it feels better to say nothing at all.

We here in  California are finally getting some much needed rain. Well, Northern California, at least. It's been frighteningly dry and I'm hoping that the rain continues for a few more days at least, but it does make me feel sleepy.

It also encourages me to stay indoors and not move much, which isn't great for the exercise routine, but it keeps me near a word processor, which takes away some of my excuses for not writing. That's a good thing. :)

The release date for Of Shadow Born creeps ever closer. I posted a snippet in my last newsletter (and if you haven't signed up yet, you can do so here). Today, I'm posting what will be the back cover blurb, to give you another taste.

Let me know what you think. :)

The Icarus Unit: Guarding history. Guarding lives.

Eric Kade is one of the Shadow-born: men and women who use the power of shadow to protect mankind. Though he's recovered from the mission that claimed his father and brother's lives, he's not quite ready to rejoin the fight.

But the Unit needs him now. An artifact with the potential to change the course of the future has been unearthed and delivered to a museum in San Francisco. The specialist assigned to repair it doesn't know what she holds in her hands. Or how it will change her life.

Melanie Kendrick considers herself pretty average. Adventure-seeking isn't even on her radar, so she's completely unprepared for living shadows and impossible beasts trying to kill her.

With Kade assigned to protect her, they discover a piece of lost prophecy and a connection that binds them together. He'll have to teach her to embrace her heritage. She'll have to put up with him moving in.

And they'll both have to survive.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Ah, sweet relief.

Ladies and gentlemen, near and far:

The edits on OF SHADOW BORN have been completed.

The next step is sending the book off to the proofreader.

If all goes well, there will be a new book out there on February 28th.

In the meantime, I will share snippets, I will show you the cover (wait for it) and we'll have a good time, right?

Not going to write a whole lot more today because, frankly, my brain hurts. :)

But the book is done!

On to the next.

(Oh yeah. Here's Pentatonix singing on Sesame Street, just for the heck of it. Enjoy!)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

GUEST POST: Rasheeda Prioleau on The Importance of Multiculturalism

As mentioned yesterday, today, I am pleased to host my first ever guest post. :)

Today's author is Rasheedah Prioleau, author of American Specter, which releases on Tuesday, February 4th.

Take it away, Rasheedah! :)


I have to begin by saying the word multiculturalism makes me uncomfortable, especially when what we’re talking about is inclusion of people in fiction who come from the same country. It does seem a little sad that in 2014 many in America still haven’t been able to get past skin color, sexual orientation, and/or racial ancestry especially in terms of entertainment. I believe the generation coming next will have it better. But, for now we have to push for inclusion and I do believe it is best to start in all forms of fiction including books.

I sometimes try put myself in the shoes of a white writer and I do empathize with those who just don’t have a diverse group of people around them. If that does happen to be your true to life experience it does become hard to create a fictional world of diversity and do justice to it or make it authentic. At the end of the day we as writers want to be as authentic as possible but at the same time we have to consider our audience. I am not a transgendered drag queen, but for a transgendered drag queen reading my book, it makes a difference to have a lovely character like Magic weaved integrally into the story line.

When we realize that writing has the potential to shape perspectives about people, especially once you gain a platform, then it does become our responsibility to make the world around us more diverse so that we can do justice to creating a fictional world of diversity. I am fortunate as an African American female to have had a wide array of different experiences involving a multitude of different people from vastly different backgrounds. I went to public schools in the D.C. area, and then I went to a private school in Georgia. I began college at an HBCU then I finished at a Liberal Arts college. I’ve studied architecture, art, marketing, and creative writing; all with a different groups of students. I traveled to Europe. I’ve done Los Angeles, New York, Montreal, Quebec, Mardis Gras and Disney World. I’ve lived on the beach.
I’ve lived in the city. I’ve lived in the suburbs. I currently live in the country. So, I have a wealth of personal experience to draw from. That helps my writing become inclusive and authentic.

To the writers that don’t have a whole lot of experience with diversity but want to I would say just put yourself out there. If you can the best way to gain new experiences is through education. Study abroad, take a foreign language, do an art class, you can even take up ballroom dancing. You will quickly find yourself immersed within a group of very different people. Volunteering is also a great way to work with a diverse group of people. There is always something to do in your local community from beautification projects, to the Christmas parade, to story time at the library. As a writer I’m constantly thinking of new experiences that I could take on someday. I’d love to live on a reservation for a few month or work on a cruise ship for a summer. Whatever you decide to do to get yourself out there, make sure it is in a safe and controlled environment, nothing random or ridiculous, please.

When you embark on your journey to write that extremely interesting character into your next book, think about the audience who will eat that character up, but also think about the person who will be able to look up to that character and feel pride because he or she is a lot like them. If a great author can paint a beautiful picture of a typically marginalized character it goes a long way to changing how marginalized individuals are viewed as well as how they view themselves. Once again it’s not just a great thing to do it is our responsibility as writers to do it.


Authenticity and diversity and authenticity -in- diversity are getting more exposure than ever these days. I can only think of that as a good thing. Conversations that should have happened a long time ago are coming to the fore now. I think Rasheedah's right, that things are improving, understanding on all sides is slowly but surely expanding, and we're just going to see more of that in the days to come.

There are some great suggestions here, and plenty to think about.

Thanks, Rasheedah!