Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bonus scene delivered!!

By popular demand, here is a Bonus scene from Christy Mathis's work-in-process novel.

Leave a comment and let her know what you think!

Enjoy :)

As I stood in front of the class to begin my side of the debate, I realized that I couldn’t feel my hands; my stomach began to churn and beads of sweat began to develop across my forehead.  The warmth of the saliva in my mouth was not a good sign; it meant that I would be throwing up at any moment and I had only spoken one word so far.  Not good. 
The room slowly began to twist into shapeless, colorless blobs of what was once a clear view of my classmates.  Darkness began to fill the edge of my vision and I vaguely noticed a sudden movement at the back of the room but I didn’t have time to process what was happening.  My knees buckled and I grasped at the podium for support, unable to hold onto it, I fell to the floor in crumpled mass with my hands at my head trying to force my eyes to see normally again.
Please stop!  Please just make it stop!
The screeching sound of the fire alarm was one of sweet relief.  The class cheered and shrieked as I vaguely heard Mr. Abernathy telling them to walk out in an orderly fashion.  Finally I stopped fighting against it and let the darkness overtake me and I passed out.
When I woke, I could feel warmth spreading across my face and a gentle breeze blowing around select strands of my hair so that they tickled my skin.  I tried to lift my hand to brush the hair away and found that I couldn’t.  I knew that my brain was telling my body to move but nothing was happening.  I started to panic; I should be able to move my arms!  I wanted to flail, scream and run but I couldn’t move.  Suddenly, I heard the faintest hint of a humming melody that sounded very distant, I couldn’t pinpoint the origin, but it was slow and soothing.  I knew I had to calm down and clear my head to figure out what had happened.  I focused my breathing to match the pace of the calming tune until I could form a rational thought.
Where am I?  What happened?  What is the last thing I can remember?  I recalled the alarm; but nothing after that.  I listened for any sound to give me a clue to my location.  I could hear birds in the distance and what sounded like wind blowing tree leaves.  I knew that I was outside, but not how or where.  I tried opening my eyes and the brightness of the sunshine forced them to close again.  It was promising that I could at least control some part of my body.  At my second attempt, I was able to adjust to the light and slowly my vision began to focus.  The more clearly I could see the less I could hear the melody.
I looked straight ahead at a never-ending sky of blue and questioned why I was lying on the ground and how I had gotten here.  As if in answer, a face moved to obstruct my view.  It took a moment for my mind to acknowledge what it was seeing; because it made no sense.  He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Special Feature! - Author sneak peek with Christy Mathis

Christy Mathis, a close friend and aspiring writer, kindly agreed to share the prologue from her yet to be titled, work-in-process novel for us all to enjoy.

Want more?? To receive a bonus scene just leave a comment on this page or on my FB post. Once we get 5 comments I'll post the additional scene!

Thank you so much, Christy!!

I think I had always known that this would be the way it would all end. I tried to deny it, tried to think of another way because I cared so much for him, but only one of us would survive this and I knew that it couldn’t be me. I wasn’t marked as destined. He was, and I knew that his destiny was the one that mattered. 
I stood with both feet firmly planted to display the bravery that I most certainly did not feel. Knowing you’re going to die doesn’t make it any easier to welcome death with open arms. 
He stood across the cavern, eyes glowing with anger, wanting me to die. I could see it in his expression. I couldn’t blame him—I’d left him with no choice. He moved toward me with the grace of a predator stalking his kill, watching me carefully. He expected me to run or cry, but I couldn’t show my fear or my feelings. Once he had his full power he could defeat any evil—including the Kalieria—and in three days the ascension would begin. He needed his power to stop it.
He would never believe that this is what had to happen, that I had accepted my fate. I had been preparing for this day from the moment we’d met. I’d pushed him to this point, forced him to fight, and forced him to want to destroy me.  Because I knew what he didn’t and couldn’t...I knew that I had to die, so that he could live.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Dangerous Waters Promo material is here!!

The Dangerous Waters promo materials arrived today and are attached below.

Gotta say, Stephanie (Mooney Designs) really came through!

Look for an opportunity to have one sent to you in the coming days as part of a promo for liking my new FB Author page (once it's constructed).

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think of them!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's Write-Along Wednesday!!

Each Wednesday I will post the beginning of a scene, then each of you can leave a comment to continue the story from there. Be sure to read all of the comments before posting as they will build on each other. Only rule is to keep the comments PG rated. Let's see where the story takes us!!

“Let’s try this again,” Airenne commanded in a flat, composed voice, as if the thug she’d just ordered to bind my hands wasn’t lying dead at her feet. “And let me remind you, I only need the oath and blood of a Shelby female to release our dark lord from his earthly tomb. The oath bound female will be bred to Baal and transformed into the very essence of evil, so I’m sure you’d prefer that we not use your daughter.”
“You’ll release Jessie totally unharmed if I cooperate?” I couldn’t believe I was seriously contemplating letting her do God knows what to me, not to mention releasing this Baal guy—I’m thinking anyone nasty enough to get themselves locked away in an earthly tomb probably should stay there—but given the alternative what choice did I have? While I was fairly confident I could take out Airenne, there were far more powerful demons outside this room, and I had no idea what realm we’d been sucked into or how to get back. Nor did I have any clue where Jessie was being held.
“If you complete the ritual, I give you my solemn oath that your daughter will be released into your care unharmed.”
Her words tore the fight from me like I’d been run through with a sword. When her ashen hand pressed down on my bare shoulder I collapsed to me knees, lowering my head in defeat.
“Much better,” she purred, fisting her hand in my calf length golden hair. She pulled up slightly and began to hack it away. Tears streamed down my cheeks as my never-trimmed locks—the source of our family’s magic—gathered in deep piles around my knees. After a couple of minutes there was nothing left for her to cut. My head was lathered in a warm, red cream then shaved completely bald with a straight razor, suppressing what little power I had left. There was no turning back—I wouldn’t be able to stand against Airenne now even if I decided to fight. Struggling would only get my precious Angel turned into a monster and a slave. If one of us had to face that fate—which looked all but certain—it sure as hell wasn’t going to be her.
“Rise and remove your clothing.”
I did as she instructed, shedding the black sheath dress and stiletto heels they’d forced me to change into earlier along with my panties. The tears were coming so fast now that they blurred my vision. My little Jessie Lynn was going to lose her mother just when she was starting to come into her powers and needed me most.
I felt my body being guided over to a gargoyle shaped stone alter. I moved as if under a deep trance, barely conscious of my feet touching the floor. After lowering me onto what I guessed was the seat my hands were slid into holes on either side of the gargoyle’s mouth, locking my arms into place.
Airenne unsheathed a rune-covered black dagger from her waist and walked behind the stone statue to where my arms were held. A fiery pain tore through me as she carved several deep slits in my wrists.
“Do you, Anabelle Eirene Shelby, renounce your Goddess Astraea and accept Baal as your lord and master?”
Astraea wasn’t just some abstract Goddess of innocence and purity—she was also the mother of our entire family line. She’d devotedly held my hand while I gave birth. “Y- yes,” I mumbled through my sobs.
“Do you freely relinquish your soul and pledge to use all of your immense power to serve Lucifer for eternity?”
“Yes!” I cried out, knowing I had no other choice.
She lifted a blood covered finger to my forehead and drew some kind of symbol. As soon as it was complete it started to burn. “With your sworn oath and blood I damn your soul. You are now Satan’s child, and will be known by your demon name Lamashtu.”
Airenne opened my mouth wide and leaned my head forward until the beak of the stone beast was inside of it. A blood-red glimmer slowly appeared in its eyes, glowing brighter and brighter until it was almost blinding. Brutal images of death, war, torture and unimaginable cruelty streamed into my mind. I tried to pull away, only to find that my body was frozen in place. I wasn’t even able to blink or avert my gaze from the searing light. Things only got worse as a viscous, acidic fluid began to stream into my mouth, forcing me to repeatedly swallow in order to keep from choking.
After what felt like hours of unrelenting mental barrage and gut wrenching swallows I lost the will to pull away. The scenes of death and destruction no longer horrified me. In fact, they were—fascinating. How could I have been so blind and misguided before? The only value humans had was as pawns in our battle against an all too arrogant God. They deserved to be manipulated and slaughtered like the mindless sheep that they were. I only hoped that Baal found me worthy of being his mate. Oh, what powerful Demons I would spawn for him—half Goddess-enhanced witch and half demon, inheriting the magical abilities of both.
“It is done!” Airenne called out in wild celebration as she danced around the statue. “I can feel our dark lord rising! Come, Lamashtu, you must sacrifice Jessie and take your fill of her blood before he arrives!”
“But what of your oath to me?” If Airenne broke the promise she’d made to obtain my soul our pact would be severed. She’d be banished to the realms of hell and I’d be returned to my human state.  
Her entire face lit up in a wicked, victorious grin. “I swore that your daughter would be released into your care unharmed. Should you choose to kill her—that is entirely up to you.”
An animalistic roar of approving laughter bellowed out of my lungs. How very clever. I grabbed hold of the blood covered dagger she offered and raced after her, pausing briefly to glance at myself in the full length mirror at the end of the hall.
Glowing red orbs resided where my eyes once had been. My skin was covered in shiny burgundy scales, and I had broad, ink-colored horns protruding from my temples. My lower legs now ended in cloven hoofs and were covered in a wiry black fur. The black pentagram tattoo on the center of my forehead still felt warm to the touch, and my nails had thickened and extended into lethal four inch talons. But the most astonishing thing of all was the two rows of razor sharp teeth that filled my lipless mouth. My barbed tail wagged almost doglike above my right shoulder. I was magnificent! The thought of feasting on my daughter’s pure, innocent blood while I ended her short life made me groan in anticipation.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It's Write-Along Wednesday!!

Each Wednesday I will post the beginning of a scene, then each of you can leave a comment to continue the story from there. Be sure to read all of the comments before posting as they will build on each other. Only rule is to keep the comments PG rated. Let's see where the story takes us!!

            How do you tell your best friend that she’s about to die?
            Trina would never have kids. She’d never marry or become a chic fashion designer like she’d dreamed since we were in preschool. She’d never step foot on the campus of UCLA, in spite of her softball and academic scholarships. She wouldn’t even see the latest yummilicious Chris Hemsworth flick we were headed toward on our no-boyfriends night out.
            In a little less than three miles, a flatbed tow truck with a totally smashed driver was going to lose control and veer into our lane—hitting us head on and killing us both instantly.
            So why wasn’t I screaming at the top of my lungs for her to pull over? Simple. You can’t change fate when it involves death. Oh I could alter how we died easy enough, but similar to the Final Destination movies, when it was time for your sole to move on there was no stopping it.  At times like these, being psychic really, really sucked.  
            “I love you, Trin,” I muttered, my chest so filled with anguish that I could barely choke the words out. It was odd that in my last moments my mind was so preoccupied with the things she would never do, almost as if my own life didn’t matter. Then again, I’d given up hope for a happy-ever-after for myself long ago. Most people with my “condition” eventually went mad or killed themselves. My mom and dad were no exception.
            She cast a curious glance over her shoulder, arching a brow. “Okay… not sure what to do with that. I mean, you’re hot and all, but—”
            “You’re such an ass,” I groaned. Leave it to Trina to never take anything serious. She’d probably have me laughing my ass off as we both watched our funerals from beyond.
            She stuck her tongue out at me and smiled. “You know I love ya, Cass, but what’s with the heartfelt confession and the my-cat-just-croaked attitude? You’re kinda freaking me out.”
            I caught my first glimpse of the truck as it rounded the corner in front of us and instantly lost my nerve. Fates be damned, I wasn’t letting her die without at least trying. “Pull off to the shoulder,” I screamed, feigning like I was about to be sick. “Now!!”
            The threat of me coating her BMW interior with the remnants of my dinner did the trick. We skidded to a halt so fast I just about hit my head on the dash. After I popped open my door I bent over the grass and made some deep coughing sounds while I watched the truck pass.
Now came the fun part—pitting my precognition powers against whatever the gods threw at us next.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Guest Blog with Bastian Caldwell, Author of The Complete Lily Lansing

Living my dream life at the beach with my family and my poodles.
Publisher:  Wild Child Publishing

Lilike Avrill Lansing is damaged. She is also unemployed, barely surviving a loveless marriage, and hiding a secret so painful that it’s eating her alive.
  The damage began when, as a student, Lily, inhabited a unique and dangerous world: Whitman College. Located in a small city with big murder and crime rates, it is nothing like the suburb she was raised in. But the harsh city is not nearly as dangerous as the predators that roam the Whitman campus, preying on innocence and leaving a trail of ravaged souls in their wake.
  The damage culminates ten years later at a dinner party where in the span of an evening Lily destroys her marriage and alienates her friends. She finally realizes that she must tell everyone the truth about what really happened during her years at Whitman.  But can her marriage, her friendships, survive the truth?
  The Complete Lily Lansing takes you on an emotional and often humorous journey of one woman's life as she struggles to overcome the secret of her college years.  But is the support of friends, the belief in honesty, the sharing of tears, the power of love, and especially the ability to laugh through the hard times enough to help her become whole again?   

Book Excerpt:
Let’s Go

Lily spent Friday afternoon at the library, trying to study for a quiz on the Romantic Period. But the hours passed and she didn’t read more than two pages. The only thing she wrote was “Romance Sucks,” which she doodled on her notebook.
She returned to her room and began arranging her school supplies on her desk but her efforts were pointless. Thoughts of romance occupied her mind to the extent that there was no room for ballads, sonnets or odes. When I find a boyfriend, the first thing we will do together is study, she thought. She sat down at her desk and narrowed her list of potential boyfriends:
Her friend Ben was quiet and sweet, but she thought he might already have a girlfriend. Randy, a senior and the captain of the Whitman football team, had asked her out a few times before.
She couldn't think of anyone else to add to the list so she leaned out of her window and observed the buzz of activity at the Omega Delta Fraternity. The brothers circuited the house like ants, carrying kegs of beer in, overstuffed trash bags out, cleaning, sweeping. She smiled, like a spider admiring its well-spun web. Chances were good that she would see both Ben and Randy at the party. And if the night went well she would have a date for Saturday, maybe even a boyfriend by Sunday.
She closed the window and flopped down on her bed. It was all so confusing. If her heart belonged to Seth, how could she still be attracted to both Ben and Randy? They were all so different.
Seth kissed her greedily like he was devouring a delicious cake, losing interest when his hunger was sated. She knew it would be different with Ben, and smiled as she pictured kissing him over a bouquet of buttercups, like a scene in one of Erica’s favorite movies. The blooms would tickle their chins, sweetening the kiss.
Her face grew warm when she thought of Randy’s hands on her; she couldn't picture him kissing her chastely. It occurred to her that maybe Randy was another Seth, a taller, bolder Seth, who only wanted to eat her cake and be done with it. She would have to be careful.
Lily was so absorbed in her thoughts that she didn’t hear Petra enter her room, even though Petra's stilettos cracked like hammers on the bare wood floor. A tight black miniskirt stretched to cover Petra’s ample derrière, worn with a shiny pink blouse and enormous gold hoop earrings.
“I can’t believe you’re not ready!” Petra said with a toss of her thick auburn hair.
Lily rose from the bed and went to look at herself in the mirror. “I’m ready. I just need to brush my teeth.”
“Didn’t you wear that outfit to school today?” Petra sized up Lily’s jeans, blouse, and loafers.
“So? It’s still clean.”
“I thought you might want to wear something a little more sexy. We’re going to a frat party, not the library.”
Lily took in Petra’s outfit, which seemed more appropriate for a street corner.
“I’m not trying to impress anyone,” Lily said.
“Not even Seth?”
Lily frowned, drawing her brows together as if she were in sudden pain; she had been hoping to see Seth at the party, but would never admit it to Petra. “I don’t have anything like what you’re wearing,” Lily said, and suddenly wished that she did.
“Well I don’t feel like waiting around for you to fix your face, and there’s not much we can do with your hair. What other shoes do you have?”
“I have black sneakers and tan cowboy boots.”
Petra touched three red-tipped fingers to her forehead as if it were all too much to bear.
“And sandals,” Lily added in an apologetic voice.
“That’ll work. Here, give me your brush.”
Petra wet the brush with hairspray and made a deep side part in Lily’s flaxen hair, coaxing each strand into place. “Keep this side tucked behind your ear, and let the rest fall into your eyes. That’s sexy.”
“Thanks.” Lily said, pleased with what she saw in the mirror.
Petra unfastened two buttons on Lily’s demure blouse, revealing a peek of her pale lace bra.
“Still a little Debbie Gibson, but much better. Put your sandals on and let’s go. You can put on your lipstick while we walk. Let's go.”
As she walked, Lily admired the clear sky, crescent moon, and luminous sampling of stars. She always mourned the end of summer, and knew this was one of the last soft nights of the year before the low gray skies set in. Petra marched heavily beside her, eyes fixed straight ahead, and Lily shot her a superior look, wondering how she could be so impervious to the beauty around her. And she thinks I’m clueless. She stopped walking to better smell the night air, earning a scowl from Petra. If I’m lucky, Lily thought, there will be one more perfect night like this, and I’ll have someone special to share it with. She focused on a shining star and made a wish, careful to keep walking. “Star light, star bright, please grant me a wish tonight.” Lily whispered to herself. She closed her eyes briefly and when she opened them, the star that she had wished upon blinked and appeared to be headed for Philadelphia International Airport. She cursed herself for choosing the brightest.
* * * *

Links to Buy:
Wild Child Publishing:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

It's Write-Along Wednesday!!

Each Wednesday I will post the beginning of a scene, then each of you can leave a comment to continue the story from there. Be sure to read all of the comments before posting as they will build on each other. Only rule is to keep the comments PG rated. Let's see where the story takes us!!

Another Devereaux Thanksgiving in all its splendor.
My brother David and our father had already assumed their positions on the couch in front of the flat screen, in spite of our mother’s complaints that dinner wasn’t finished. My closet-anorexic, want-to-be-Goth sister Jamie was hard at work pushing food around in circles with her fork—as if that was fooling anyone. And if my criminal defense attorney sister-in-law didn’t shut up about her latest case it wouldn’t be at all fair to hold me accountable for my actions. I mean seriously, sharing all the gory details about a double homicide while we were eating? What the hell? My appetite had bailed on me before the stuffing made it half way around the room. If she’d only brought the machete-like murder weapon with her. Damn.
“You okay, baby?” Aaron whispered, giving my thigh a nervous pat under the table. After five years of marriage he knew all the signs that I was about to go postal—from the rocking of my right foot to the continual running of my fingers through my hair.
“Can we go yet?” I begged, keeping my voice low enough so only he could hear.
That earned me one of his snort-like laughs. “I’d make a break for it with you, but you know we’d never make it. Your mom moves like a Ninja.”
True enough. Even now she was watching us out of the corner of her eye. Besides, we had rather big news to share if I could only get up the nerve. Of course, I’d also have to convince my father to drag his eyes away from the Lions game for a few seconds so I could tell him he was going to be a Grandpa. I rested my hand protectively on my belly while I debated what to do.
“Holy Shit! Crocodile Dundee knocked you up!”
The room fell eerily silent as all eyes shot to my slightly distended stomach. I’d considered a hundred different ways to tell my parents over the last four months, carefully weighing the pros and cons of each, and in one microsecond my bitchy-ass sister had stolen the moment from me. But it was her derogatory nickname for my Australian husband—one she knew I hated—that pushed me over the edge.
“God damn you, Jamie!” Aaron and David’s wife had to work together to restrain me while I took reckless, roundhouse swings at her across the table.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Guest Blog with David Huffstetler, Author of Blood on the Cards

Blood on the Cards
A brotherhood of powerful men, a self-proclaimed prophet, and an ancient goddess hover over a series of murders that start with a game of Texas Hold-em. Are they to blame, or is it the embittered Comanche outcast set on revenge against Jack Harden for the death of his niece? Elsie and Jack try to salvage what’s left of their relationship, as a canvas of death unfurls around them.

Can they stop it?

A single candle cast its light on his nude body as he stood staring at the new moon. He passed his hand over his salt-laden chest, bowed at the altar, and sipped hot tea from a red canister. It flowed warm and dark down his throat. He opened a satin cloth and sniffed the white powder deep into his nose, releasing the inhibitions that held him captive in a body he detested. His hand slid across his groin. “Curse the man that I am, the body I was born live in.”  He closed his eyes. The darkness comforted him. “Inanna, hear me,” he prayed. “Release me. Help me find the shadow of who I am beyond this body, the self that you meant for me to be. Let the cloud of the dark moon fall on your servant.”
     He lifted his gaze to the altar, to the figure of a woman standing on reclining lions, bordered by owls, and he raised an ancient plea. “I invoke you, Mother of the Darkness. I invoke you, Mother of the Night. Let your angels open my heart and fly inside. I shall make a place for courage, a golden fire. I shall put my heart in your lap to be caressed by your hands of blessing. Inanna, Lady of the Evening Star, Lady of the Morning Star, give me courage that my soul may find its destiny. Make it so. Make it so.”
     He rocked back and forth on his knees, chanting, “Make it so, make it so.” Twenty minutes passed as he worshipped at the altar. He came to his feet, with sweat crawling down his body, and walked to the pool. He stepped into the water, deep enough to cover his loins, washing over the vagina his surgeon crafted the year before. “Oh, dark pool, receive me. Lilitu, cleanse me.” He doused himself completely, his mind alight with drugs and the fervor of his faith. He rose refreshed, his heart open. His gaze turned to a figure, nearly obscured by the darkness. There was something there, no someone there, seated with her legs crossed and gesturing for him to come closer. Her long, dark hair tumbled over bare breasts. Her legs stretched to feet fashioned like eagle talons. Again, she waved for him, and he stepped closer. He came to the edge of the pool, reached for her, and she was gone.

Blood on the Cards is available at,,, and other online vendors.

David W. Huffstetler – Bio

Educated in Dallas, North Carolina, David Huffstetler holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He has worked in the area of human relations and spent fourteen years weaving through the maze that is politics, including participating in a Federal Law suit with a sitting governor. David has served on Boards of Directors for numerous professional organizations and has advised governors and legislators on matters of public policy and legislation.
He turned the frustrations and rejection that plagues thousands of yet-to-be-published authors into the heralded mystery/thriller Blood on the Pen, with a serial killer disposing of literary agents. Blood on the Cards follows his tradition of thrillers, and it stands on its own merit as a novel with a hint of the paranormal.

His books receive praise from mystery readers across the globe.
“David W. Huffstetler crafts gripping crime thrillers that can only be described as a riveting roller coaster ride from its ‘okay, you’ve got my attention’, beginning, to the suspenseful ‘I’ve now chewed my nails to the quick’, conclusion.”   -Book Lovers, Inc.

As an editor, public speaker, and seasoned professional, David has appeared on television and radio, and has lectured on the East Coast, California, Canada and Mexico.

David currently lives in Lexington, South Carolina with his wife, Trudy.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Blog Hop-Interview with C.M. Michaels

The past few years have been full of high profile reads—50 Shades of Gray, Twilight, and more. Love them or hate them, you have to admit you have at least heard of them.

As Independent Authors we all dare to dream we will be next, and well let’s face it, you never know ... right?  With some hard work and the right marketing any one of us could be the next most talked about Author.

With that thought I jumped on this Hop, what is a blog traffic hop? Well I didn’t know until I asked. Basically, it’s an Independent Authors game of tag.

One author posts, and then tags five other authors, who each link back to them. Exponentially it is a marketing gold mine, and you my fair reader have hopefully just increased your to read list. Finding new and exciting authors you may never have found otherwise. Some of us are still writing, others are just being released.

Either way, for you Fiction Lovers, a treasure trove awaits. I’d like to thank Carol Marvell and Terry Tally Venters, who included me on their blog hop last week. You can read their posts here:

You can buy Carol’s books and learn more about her here:

You can buy Terry’s books and learn more about her here:

In this particular hop I have answered 10 questions where you get to learn about my current WIP (Works in Progress) as well as some goodies as to my process. I hope you enjoy it!
If this or any other items pique your interest, please feel free to comment and share your thoughts and questions.

1: What is the working title of your book?
Dangerous Waters
2: Where did the idea come from for the book?
It all started with my female protagonist. I envisioned a kindhearted, naive women with plenty of emotional baggage leaving her small, suffocating town to attend a big city college. I wanted the supernatural characters to play a central role in the story from the beginning, and to have the audience fall in love with them in spite of what they must due to survive. And I wanted something far different from the typical (and predictable) girl meets boy paranormal romance. The stakes are much higher in my novel, no one fully understands what is happening or what it might mean, and love interests emerge from the most unexpected places.
3: What genre does your book fall under?
I consider it Urban Fantasy, but the unique supernatural elements, steamy romantic trysts and gripping action will appeal to fans of the urban fantasy, paranormal and suspense genres alike.
4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
    I’ve got to be loyal to my wonderful cast who participated in the cover shoot.
5: What is the synopsis of your book?
For Emily Waters, a nature loving small-town girl with an overprotective father, heading off to Boston University to study conservation biology is a dream come true—until a chance encounter catapults her into a mythical world she’d do anything to escape.
The latest victim in a rash of abductions near campus, Emily is brutally attacked before being rescued by a powerful new friend, whose family takes her in and prepares her for the unimaginable life she must now embrace. Clues soon emerge that Emily may not be entirely human, and her physical transformation awakens goddess-like powers that her new family cannot begin to explain. Dealing with her human first love, the not-so-platonic relationship with her coven “sister” and her new supe sort-of-boyfriend further complicates matters. Not to mention being secretly hunted by the psychopaths who attacked her. And as the only known offspring of a once all-powerful race, the climactic battle is only the beginning of her journey, one that ends with her leading a war against all humankind.
6: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Dangerous Waters is being published by Freya’s Bower, part of Wild Child Publishing.
7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Roughly four months. The second revision actually took longer due to the extensive editing.
8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The best comparison I can think of is Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld series.  
9: Who or What inspired you to write this book
            I credit my amazing wife for giving me the kick in the rear I needed to quit talking about writing my own novel and do it. If not for her encouragement and support Dangerous Waters would never have been written.
10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
            The Prologue provides a tantalizing glimpse into what’s to come further into the series while leaving the reader with more questions than answers.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It's Write-Along Wednesday!!

Each Wednesday I will post the beginning of a scene, then each of you can leave a comment to continue the story from there. Be sure to read all of the comments before posting as they will build on each other. Only rule is to keep the comments PG rated. Let's see where the story takes us!!

“Sit down, April.”
I stood frozen in the doorway, my eyes locked on the bitch-extraordinaire Ashley Wainwright. Seeing the head of HR huddling next to your boss was never good. “What’s this about?”
Alex grunted and tossed a newspaper across the desk. “Care to explain why our new advertising vice president is grinding herself against some college tramp in a sleazy-ass bar? “
Steph – my closet partner and inseparable friend since our freshman year—had her hands firmly planted on my spandex encased butt, pressing me tight against her as we lost ourselves in the thumping beat. I’d pulled back from her searing kiss only a split second before the picture was taken. Our lips were still almost touching. Oh joy.
“She’s a friend,” I growled, shooting him a scathing glare filled with pure hatred. “And we were just blowing off some steam to celebrate my promotion. Not that it’s any of your damned business.”
He actually laughed at me. “That’s where you’re wrong. If you’d have bothered to read your contract, you couldn’t have missed the section on behavior clauses. This most definitely doesn’t represent Aspire in a positive light.”
It was all I could do to keep from leaping across the table and tearing his throat out. “Are you seriously firing your most brilliant ad executive because I’m gay? Jesus, I’ve landed over seventy percent of our clients. The Foster and Riley account alone brought in over two million last year. Besides, I’m pretty sure that’s a protected class.” By the time I was through with them, I’d be a full partner and they’d be kicking his fat ass to the curb.
“No one is firing you,” he said with a sneer. “You’re going to resign, leave behind all of your clients, and sign a non-compete agreement to never work in this industry again.”
Now it was my turn to laugh. This was totally ridiculous.  “And why in the hell would I do that?”
I’d barely gotten the words out when someone grabbed my chin from behind, wrenched my head back and placed a large knife against my throat. “Because if you don’t we’ll kill you.”

Friday, October 19, 2012

Q & A with freelance editor Lindsay Murdock, owner of Murdock editing

Lindsay Murdock, editor of Murdock Editing, runs a company committed to helping authors who have completed manuscripts but know they need a boost to get from the slush pile to the YES pile or to prepare their manuscripts for flawless self-publishing. After working for literary agencies as a reader and manuscript evaluator and later as an editor for several publishing firms, she decided to start a company to work directly with authors to polish and prepare their manuscripts for the big time.

What is it that drives you to do what you do?
Wow. Okay, that’s quite a question to start with! I do share my story on my website, but I’ll give a short run-down here.
I like my authors (and I know their agents do too!). I like working with my clients to shape their characters and stories. I like being able to take a manuscript that would clearly not make it out of the slush pile at a big agency and help the author turn it into something that gets attention. You can’t always do that as an agent. Agents make money on commission, so if the book doesn’t sell, they don’t get paid. And in the publishing world today, that means most agents can only really afford to take on clients who have manuscripts that are at least 80% ready to go.

Once upon a time in a land not so far away (actually, my first agency job was at a firm only a few miles from my current office), I worked as a literary agent’s assistant. My job was to sort through all of the queries, picking out only the very best and most likely to be what my agent was looking for. I requested those few partials then had to send simple form rejection letters to the rest. It seems cruel, but that’s all we could do—every day another batch of 50-100 queries arrived in the mail.
Of the partials, I was told to read the first ten to twenty pages. If the manuscript didn’t grab me right from the start, another rejection letter went out.

Once we got to the full manuscript stage, I read it through and completed an evaluation, then wrote an evaluation report for my agent, either recommending that he take a read through himself, or that we send out yet another rejection letter.

In the second two stages, I was already close enough to the manuscript that I could, more often than not, have told the author exactly what he was doing wrong—and exactly what he needed to do right to make his manuscript ready to sell. But by then we’d moved on to trying to find the next manuscript—the next book that might actually bring money into the firm.

And that is why I do what I do. That is why I’m not a literary agent. Because when a manuscript comes to my door, or an author contacts me about fixing up his or her manuscript, I don’t have to turn anyone away. I don’t have to send out rejection letters just so I can move on to the next big thing. I have the opportunity to sit down, read the entire manuscript, and provide the author with the tools he or she needs to realize his or her writing dreams. Would I make more money as an agent? Probably. But would I give up the relationships I have with my authors? Or the sense of accomplishment I get when I receive the signed early reviewer copy editions of a book that was languishing under the author’s bed before I stepped in and helped guide her journey to publication? Absolutely not.

As a graduate of BU you were able to offer valuable insight on the campus and surrounding area for my novel. What was your college experience like? Did you participate in any extracurricular activities or sports? Any entertaining stories you’d like to share?

Oh lord, the college years! I loved BU. It’s not quite your “typical” college experience – our campus was the city, and we didn’t even have a football team. Reliving those college days through your manuscript was a little bizarre. You’d mention a pizza place, and I’d know exactly what the tables looked like and how that cracker-pizza-crust tasted. So much fun for me.

As for extracurriculars, I’ve never had the coordination to play sports, but I was (but of course) an editor at the Daily Free Press, the campus independent newspaper. I’ll save my entertaining stories for another time.

Have you always lived in the Boston area? What are some of your favorite places that you have visited?

I grew up in Pennsylvania, but my mother’s family has been in Boston for as long as anyone can remember. I came up to Boston for college and fell in love with the city. Left for a few years for publishing jobs in NY, but made my way back here as soon as I could.

My favorite place I’ve ever visited, is, by far, Prague. Most beautiful city I’ve ever seen.

What genres do you personally enjoy reading the most? Who is your favorite author all-time? Why? Who are some of your current favorites?

My favorite genres to both read and edit (right now – this changes every few years) are fantasy, YA, thrillers, and mysteries. I honestly don’t have a favorite author of all time – I read constantly, even when I’m not editing. Thank God for the Kindle – my books were already taking up half my bedroom, my office, and almost my entire storage space before they invented that. I can tell you a few of the books recently that make my top ten for the year: Gods Behaving Badly, The Dog Stars, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Flowertown, Shine Shine Shine, Gone Girl, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, and Miss Peregrines’s Home for Peculiar Children.

When you aren’t editing what do you like to do for fun? Any favorite hobbies or TV shows?

I absolutely love to cook. Right now I’m making homemade Mexican turkey soup using leftovers from last night’s roast turkey dinner. I knit (just scarves, I have yet to graduate beyond straight lines). My favorite TV shows are Walking Dead, Downtown Abbey, Law and Order, and Doctor Who.

Any pets in the Murdock household these days? Do you consider yourself more of a dog person or cat person? Any cute pet stories you’d like to share?

Oh, I’m definitely a cat person, but don’t tell the sweet dog I grew up with. I have one cat, but I live in a neighborhood with a huge feral cat population. When I first moved in some five years ago, one of them had a litter on my porch. I fed and raised them and found them homes. Apparently cats talk, because since then, EVERY YEAR a new litter shows up on or under my porch. How do they know?

 What do you remember about your first client?

My first client was an amazing woman. It was her first novel, and it was my first time branching out as a freelancer. I think we found each other on craigslist. I didn’t charge her anything – I just wanted to get my feet wet and see if this was really something I could and wanted to do. We ended up working together for almost two years. I was probably only 22 at the time. That novel didn’t get published, but we both learned so much, and her second novel (which I also edited a couple years later) did find a publisher and did well. One of the proudest moments of my life.

What are some of the challenges you routinely face when working with clients?

The biggest challenge is always finding the right path to the next draft or revision plan. I can and do point out all the spelling and grammatical errors – but it’s the big stuff – plot, character development, tension – that’s much tougher to fix. Working with clients to make sure they stay the course and don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater out of frustration is my number one goal post-editing. It’s hard work!

How do you choose your clients?
I’m not the right editor for every book or every author, and I’m the first to admit that. All of my possible clients go through my ringer before I start working with them whether they realize it or not – I make sure that we’re on the same page via e-mail or phone and I ALWAYS do a sample edit. After so many years on the job, I’m usually able to get a good sense of if an author and I will work well together after a day or two and that sample edit. If not, I simply won’t take the project, no matter how many hours or dollars are involved. I love my job, and I want my clients to love working with me. If I don’t think we’re a good match, I’ll recommend one of my colleagues. Have I ever been wrong? Yes. And honestly, in those cases, I’m quite frank with the author and do everything I can to match them up with a better editor for the job, even if we’re half-way through.
I strongly believe that the writer-editor relationship is vital to the success of a manuscript.
How can someone determine if they need to hire an editor?
For the long answer, go here and here. It might be time to seek an editor’s help if:
§  You’ve edited and edited and edited. Then rewrote. Then edited some more. Then queried. Then read a book on making your first pages snazzier. Then queried. Sent in a few partials. And nothing is happening.
§  You’re getting back suggestions and comments on your partials (or fulls) in your agent-rejection letters, which is great. Except none of them seem to agree on what is actually wrong with the manuscript, you disagree with half of them, and some of them don’t even sound like they’re about your book. And you have no idea what to do about any of them.
§  You ARE a writer. You know it in your soul. And you’ve finally finished your first manuscript. But you’re also a mom, a wife, a lawyer, a friend, a student, a family-chauffeur, a cook, a dog-walker, and about a million other things. You know your manuscript isn’t perfect or ready, but you also don’t know where to begin when it comes to editing or rewriting (or, if it’s a second or third draft, what to do next). You need someone to take that stack of paper (and you) and act as editor, writing coach, motivator, teacher, friend, and, to some extent, task-master.
§  You ARE NOT a writer. You know THAT in your soul. But you’ve got something very important to say, and you want to say it in book form.
And that was the short answer!
If they decide to hire an editor, what should they do next?
Well, you can check out my blog series, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting to Hire an Editor,” parts I, II, and III.
But, again, the short answer: Do your research. You’ll find plenty of editing companies advertising online. Ignore the “big guys.” Chances are, they’re farming your work out to folks who have no experience in the industry whatsoever. Focus on smaller companies where you can learn about the editor’s experience. Pick someone who has experience in your genre. And then ASK QUESTIONS. Keep in mind YOU are doing the hiring here. Any editor worth his or her salt will be happy to answer all of your questions and provide references. As I mentioned earlier, this isn’t just hiring someone to paint a wall – this has to be a person you’re comfortable working with for the long haul. Listen to your gut.
Why Choose Murdock Editing?
Chad, you’re killing me here :) Really forcing my hand on the bragging front. Alright, so, here are my six selling points.
§  Personal attention. I recognize that my clients are important and unique, with stories to tell, and I make it my mission to work with writers to make sure that those stories get heard.
§  Experience. My editing and evaluations are based on years of experience in the publishing field. I continue to work with top agents and publishers and draw upon everything I learned in newspaper, book publishing, and academic editing positions, plus years of freelance work.
§  One editor. Corporate editing services farm your work out to inexperienced editors. I work directly with you at all times on everything, from proofreading to proposals. No subcontractors, no students, no interns. Just me.
§  Knowledge. I read a book a week to keep up-to-date on the latest and greatest and pride myself in keeping abreast of who is buying what and why. I know how to get your manuscript where it needs to go.
§  Tech savvy. Working with a self-publishing or e-book service and need help? I’ve worked with a number of companies, big and small, and I can help you navigate the process from beginning to end.
§  Success. My clients see results—and requests!
What services do you offer?
·         Manuscript Evaluation (my specialty and the premier service)
·         Substantive/Developmental Editing
·         Proofreading
·         Copy Editing
·         Proposal Packages: Query Letters and Synopses
·         Classes
·         Consulting
My personal testimonial from working with Lindsay:
Hiring Lindsay was by far the best decision I’ve made in my writing career. I’d spent almost five months editing my first draft on my own, utilizing feedback from friends and family, and thought I had it as close to perfect as I could make it. It makes me laugh just saying that now.

With Lindsay’s guidance I wove in sub-plots and additional scenes that completely transformed my book, adding much-needed depth to the central conflict and building up tension toward the climatic ending.

Lindsay helped me overcome technical flaws in my writing and forced me to confront issues that I knew needed improvement going in (the beginning was too rushed, things were far too easy for the main character).

She offers candid, constructive advice with improvement suggestions that go far beyond just marking up a manuscript and is a meticulous fact checker. She will challenge you to make your own writing better, and sometimes that can be frustrating, but if you’re open to her suggestions and push yourself the end result will blow you away.

She is quick to offer words of encouragement and point out things you are doing well, and unlike a lot of freelance editors, she will continue to work with you long after she has sent across her evaluation. I truly view her as a partner in the development of my novel.