urban fantasy

The First is Always Special #MFRWAuthor

I have been writing most of my life. Although every story has a permanent place in my heart, House of the Rising Son is my favorite work. The obvious reason could be that it was my first traditionally published novel. Firsts always have a special place in your heart. But that isn’t the only reason it’s my favorite. It’s special to me because of Cheyenne. The original story was born in 1993. Cheyenne, the hero of the story, has changed over the years, and his family has had many incarnations. Some variations worked better than others. For example, Chey has always been a rockstar— the talent is in his blood—but being human didn’t seem to suit him.

Another aspect that has remained constant has been that this unlikely and totally unprepared rock star became a parent. His children’s ages, names, and even the number of his offspring have varied as Cheyenne’s world evolved. Only his reactions and judgments have changed. Consequently, some of Chey’s stories were adventures, others were love stories, most were funny and all were outrageous. He was not a hero to anyone or savior of anything in any of his previous lives.

When I decided to submit his story for publication and introduce him to the world, Cheyenne changed more than he ever had before. In House of the Rising Son I expanded the number of people in his life and focused less on his primary role as parent, instead focusing more on his role in the world as an important member of the Incubi Nation. Of course, he remained a rock star.

The sequel to House of the Rising Son is scheduled for publication later this year, with more books and short stories planned. It’s time for the rest of his story to be told. Then who know? Maybe his children’s stories will make their way into published works. I imagine it will be fun watching their stories unfold, too.

The Only Love There Is

As a writer of Urban Fantasy,  I live to tell stories that transport you to a super- natural world, one that intrigues you, touches your heart, and entices you to return over and over again. I also hope to give you something to think about.  The characters you meet are a motley bunch of beings: humans, Weres, vampires, incubis and wraiths. More than that, they’re diverse in terms of race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression, and power bases. Conflict in these worlds  occurs due to differing goals. Or crazy family drama. What they come to understand is that the path to peace is intention. You have to want it, and commit to creating it.

As for real life, we live in a challenging time- if one can define challenging as racist, sexist, homophobic, and divisive. Conflict, often violent,  occurs simply because we’re different (apparently too different to coexist as equals). Fortunately, the resolution is the same. The road out of this horror begins with wanting out, and committing  to change the conditions that created it.

And then we must take action. Create peace by being peaceful. Sow the seeds of acceptance by being accepting. Foster love by being loving.

The Beatles told us love is all you need. Prince told us the only love there is, is the love we make.

Let’s intend to love each other.

Nano? Oh, no!

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participant-200The November page of my calendar has DO NOT EVEN THINK OF DOING NANO written in big black letters. But did I listen? No, of course not. But this year I am trying something different.

If you read Chris Baty's first book, the original concept was to sit down on November 1st and write until you hit 50,000 words. No plotting, no prep...just write. Clearly things have changed since then.Today's Nano participant approaches it very differently. There are numerous books and workshops on how to prepare for November. By October 31st, we are allowed to have outlines, lists of scenes, a synopsis and any number of planning tools.

I joined a local Nano group and have gotten many suggestions for how to survive the month. They even have a solution of sorts to my particular problem. You see, I do well until Thanksgiving when we have week long house guests from out of state. Some suggested "reverse nano" which is a fascinating concept. You start writing on day one and write 3346 words. Then as the month goes on, you write fewer and fewer words. I like the idea but I am still not sure I can write 3000+ words a day for a couple of weeks.

So, my goal is 50,000 words. I will use every suggestion from the group that I can. I do wish I had known earlier so more planning could be done before November 1st. But winner or not, one thing I do know is that I will have more words toward a new novel than I had when I started.

See you in December.

Where It Begins: Writing a Prequel

At first glance it would seem that writing a prequel would be easy. After all, the outcome is known. The problem is how much and what needs to be included to tell the story. After Midnight, prequel to House of the Rising Son, had a particular problem. Cheyenne is introduced in HOTRS as a single father of two children. You, the reader, asked who and where were their mothers.

Of course I know. I have the backstory. I know why the children are with him. But I presenting their mothers, Ria and Jewel, as women/vampires who love their children AND care for Cheyenne was tricky. They didn't easily give up the kids. They made the tough decision to part with their children as a matter of safety. The children's safety.

Obviously After Midnight was not a book that would have a Happily Ever After ending. But a Happy For Now between Ria and Jewell was necessary. So the story ended at a moment of joy for them.

It was an interesting novella to write. I hope it supplies some answers to readers and perhaps raises questions about when and where the moms reappear. As for the actual transfer of the children to Cheyenne, that story will come. When they make their next appearance Ria and Jewell will tell us.

After Midnight is available on Amazon

Cover Reveal: After Midnight-Prequel to House of the Rising Son

I’m excited to share the cover of my new novella, After Midnight, prequel to House of the Rising Son. It answers the question Who gave birth to Cheyenne’s children? 

Back Cover Blurb

Improbable love. Impossible life. Immeasurable danger.

Jewell’s stepfather thinks she’s worthless. She agrees. When she looks in the mirror she sees an overweight, overemotional, overeating mess who can’t keep her fangs to herself.

Ria hails from a family of old world vamps who'd be happy to share their wealth with her, if only she’d fall in line. Fat chance, especially since being in that line includes not being gay.

Being in love is easy for Ria and Jewell—the young vampires belong together like vodka and tomato juice. Adding Cheyenne, a talented and sexy incubus, to their union is the hot sauce in their Bloody Mary. The only problem? Vampires and incubi are mortal enemies.

Despite the odds Ria, Jewell and Cheyenne find their way to happiness. But Jewell is hiding a huge secret, one that defies the laws of procreation: She’s going to have a baby.

While she tries to figure out how to break the unbelievable news to her lovers, a horror from Jewell’s past slithers into her present, forcing choices no one should have to make.

Will it be love or death? Happiness or safety? She has until dawn to decide...and it's already After Midnight.

~~~~~~~~

Excerpt

The choice between staying in on a Saturday night to clean and going to see Cheyenne at his first real gig hadn’t been a complicated decision. He was a world-class rocker who could play the guitar like a fiend and had a voice that made you feel…everything. Or made you horny. And damn if she didn’t love him. Damn incubus.

She reached across him and caressed Jewell’s side. Jewell’s eyes opened and she stared expressionless at the ceiling, hyper-alert to danger. It always took a few moments after resurrecting for her to remember where she was and who was with her, but since moving into their new home it seemed to take even longer.

Ria sighed. She’d do anything if it would help Jewell feel safe enough to die each dawn and awaken peacefully. “All is well, Babydoll. It’s just me. Time to rise and twinkle with the stars.”

“Already?” Jewell scrunched her eyes and blinked as if trying to focus them.

Cheyenne lay his head on the soft swell of Jewell’s belly. “Didn’t we just go to bed?”

Ria kissed his back and licked a slow trail down his spine. “Hours ago. Did we tucker out the poor little sex demon?”

“Not hardly, dead girl.”

She grabbed a fistful of his hair and turned him to face her. “That’s undead girl, thank you.” She bit his lower lip and let it drag between her teeth. “Show us what you’ve got left.”

~~~~~~~~~~~

After Midnight will be available on Amazon on October 3.

The Devil Made Me: A Review

Lucifer has stolen my heart. That’s not a statement you hear every day. And I haven’t always felt this way. I try to watch at least the first episode of all new programs that have a supernatural element. Finding them on TV isn’t always easy but On Demand helps.

And not all get second views.

Lucifer almost did not get that second view. The show started out too predictable with the trope I hate…two men vying for the attention of the single woman. Early in the program I had told my partner that I didn’t think this was going to be a keeper.

Credit:Fox Television

I am not sure exactly when my opinion changed. Maybe it was to his loyalty to his friend Delilah? Maybe it was Maze? More likely it was his interaction with Linda. I love hearing the secret desires of these characters and his determination to see the bad people punished. His brazen behavior became humorous and his smarmy smile became endearing.

I’ve read that certain groups have tried to have the show cancelled and when it didn’t air one Monday night, I was afraid they had succeeded. After a bit of research I learned that the show was bought by HULU, which I do not get. So, I lost my On Demand option. But for now at least I have a reason to look forward to Monday night television  again

#Supernatural: Unforgettable

cropped-image1.jpgAfter watching Supernatural last night, I realized there will be a fissure in my world when the show ends. The Winchester boys are fully developed characters with hearts and souls that bring them alive on the screen. Their lives and their stories connect with viewers, and although we all know they are fictional characters, we cry for them, cheer for them, grieve with them.

A writer's dream, by the way. I often wonder if any one connected with Chey and Zander so deeply. Years from now (and hopefully with a few more of their stories in the world), will anyone remember them the way the Winchesters will undoubtedly be remembered?

Last night, the deaths of both men were foreshadowed. First Dean thought Sam died. In order to try to save him, he overdosed on stolen drugs to have a chance at making a deal with a Reaper. In the process, he nearly died. Thankfully you don't get more resilient or bad-ass than the Winchester brothers. They both survived against harrowing odds--even managing to kill three werewolves in the process. A rush of relief came first, then the usual smile at their hard-won victory.

For a brief moment in time, however, we glimpsed three possible futures. Sam, dead. Dean, dead. Both brothers gone. It was...devastating. Is that how the show will end? Hard to say. As Jensen Ackles offered in an interview, it's either going to end tragically or not tragically. For me, no matter how it ends, it's going to be gut-wrenching.

And unforgettable.

#teamdean #supernaturalforever

I Used to Have Pen Pals

Before the Internet I use to have pen pals. Some of the pen pals were in circles with my other pen pals and we had community of people with shared interest. When the Internet came along it seemed logical to send email instead of snail mail. That was a wonderful boon. No postage costs and no stationery to buy. Except I love beautiful stationery. I continued to buy it even though I had no one to share with. The second problem, and really the biggest, was that with instant communication, there was no time for anything to happen between emails. Therefore, there was nothing to talk about. Those days or weeks between letters became seconds and email ‘letters’ got shorter and shorter until they disappeared into the black hole of social media.

First it was My Space. At least you had to log on to MySpace to see if anyone had written to you.Then there was Facebook and no one wrote to anyone specifically. People just blurted any thought out there for you to see, or not, on your feed. And no one was communicating with anyone.

I miss connecting with people who share the same interest as I have. Blogs seem to have the most potential to actually communicate —assuming people comment on posts. I blog because I miss that community I had back in the 90s.

My interests have changed since then in many ways. I don’t show dogs any more or do crafts. I still write and more of my time is spent on that. I still love music and movies and books. My favorite authors are still the same. It’s nice to be able to find LGBT books out in the open instead of only available on hard to find websites. Supernatural/paranormal books, movies, and TV shows abound.

Through blogging I hope to connect with others who share my interests. So if you write,or like to read, love animals, or enjoy music, stop by and say so. I look forward to meeting you.

#EggcerptExchange: Carmen Stefanescu

eggs Authors from all over the world are celebrating the season by guesting on each other's blogs--an Egg-cerpt Exchange. I'm excited to have on LAM today poet and author Carmen Stefanescu to tell us about her book, SHADOWS OF THE PAST.

shadowsofthepastbk

About Carmen:

Carmen Stefanescu resides in Romania, the native country of the infamous vampire Count Dracula, but where, for about 50 years of communist dictatorship, just speaking about God, faith, reincarnation or paranormal phenomena could have led someone to great trouble - the psychiatric hospital if not to prison.

Teacher of English and German in her native country and mother of two daughters, Carmen Stefanescu survived the grim years of oppression, by escaping in a parallel world, that of the books.

She has dreamed all her life to become a writer, but many of the things she wrote during those years remained just drawer projects. The fall of the Ceausescu’s regime in 1989, and the opening of the country to the world meant a new beginning for her. She started publishing. Poems first, and then prose. Both in English.

Shadows of the Past, paranormal/light romance/light mystery/light horror was released at the end of 2012 by Wild Child publishing, USA.

Learn more about Carmen at:

http://shadowspastmystery.blogspot.ro/

https://twitter.com/Carmen_Books

http://www.pinterest.com/carmens007/

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Carmen-Stefanescu-Books/499245716760283

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6624397.Carmen_Stefanescu

https://plus.google.com/117216040843648957646/posts

http://www.amazon.com/Carmen-Stefanescu/e/B00APVDGAA/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

About SHADOWS OF THE PAST:

Publisher: Wild Child Publishing

Genre: paranormal/light romance/light historical/light horror.

Anne's relationship with her boyfriend Neil has disintegrated. After a two-year separation, they pack for a week vacation in hopes of reconciling. But fate has other plans for them.

The discovery of a bejeweled cross and ancient human bones opens a door to a new and frightening world--one where the ghost of a medieval nun named Genevieve will not let Anne rest. This new world threatens not only to ruin Anne and Neil's vacation but to end all hopes of reconciliation as Anne feels compelled to help free Genevieve's soul from its torment.

Can Anne save her relationship and help Genevieve find her eternal rest?

A touching, compelling story of tragedy, loss and the power of endless love and good magic. The twists and turns in this paranormal tale keep the reader guessing up to the end and weave themselves together into a quest to rekindle love.

SHADOWS OF THE PAST CAN BE FOUND AT:

Wild Child Publishing

AMAZON

All Romance

Barnes and Noble

Five Questions for Genevieve:

  1. Please, have a seat. Make yourself comfortable Miss...

"Genevieve. My name is Genevieve, but Sister Clementa, the Abbess, and some of her followers call me The witch."

  1. Tell me, Genevieve, where are you living?

Genevieve ( a small sigh escapes her lips. Then she shrugs) "Well, for the moment I reside at St. Mary’s Abbey. On top of a mountain in Britain, in the...cursed forest."

  1. Do you have any schooling?

Genevieve (nods and pats and invisible crease of her dress) "Kind Old Bertha, who took care of me after my family perished, taught me to read and write. Not only English but also Latin. And, most important, she taught me how to prepare healing potions from plants and herbs. Perhaps that’s why the Abbess hates me so much. A peasant girl of the 13th century is dangerous if she knows more than her superiors, I think."

  1. What are your worst fears or nightmare?

Genevieve (throws a shy look around her. She shivers and her voice is small) "I fear the cursed forest. This forest is responsible for what happened to my family. My father’s odd behavior, the death of my siblings. All the evil that lurks in it.

My nightmare - the Abbess, sister Clementa, who threatens me all the time with sending me to the stake. I can’t understand why she wants me out of the way."

  1. Is it anything that you secretly desire?

Genevieve (blushes and wrings her hands. Then she looks me directly in the eyes. Her voice is strong now. ) "To become Andrew’s wife and grow a family. If his family agrees....If the Abbess lets me go... If God forgives me for giving up being a nun.....If I escape alive from the forest.... If....”

 

  1. Please, have a seat. Make yourself comfortable Miss...

"Genevieve. My name is Genevieve, but Sister Clementa, the Abbess, and some of her followers call me The witch."

  1. Tell me, Genevieve, where are you living?

Genevieve ( a small sigh escapes her lips. Then she shrugs) "Well, for the moment I reside at St. Mary’s Abbey. On top of a mountain in Britain, in the...cursed forest."

  1. Do you have any schooling?

Genevieve (nods and pats and invisible crease of her dress) "Kind Old Bertha, who took care of me after my family perished, taught me to read and write. Not only English but also Latin. And, most important, she taught me how to prepare healing potions from plants and herbs. Perhaps that’s why the Abbess hates me so much. A peasant girl of the 13th century is dangerous if she knows more than her superiors, I think."

  1. What are your worst fears or nightmare?

Genevieve (throws a shy look around her. She shivers and her voice is small) "I fear the cursed forest. This forest is responsible for what happened to my family. My father’s odd behavior, the death of my siblings. All the evil that lurks in it.

My nightmare - the Abbess, sister Clementa, who threatens me all the time with sending me to the stake. I can’t understand why she wants me out of the way."

  1. Is it anything that you secretly desire?

Genevieve (blushes and wrings her hands. Then she looks me directly in the eyes. Her voice is strong now. ) "To become Andrew’s wife and grow a family. If his family agrees....If the Abbess lets me go... If God forgives me for giving up being a nun.....If I escape alive from the forest.... If....”

 

  1. Please, have a seat. Make yourself comfortable Miss...

"Genevieve. My name is Genevieve, but Sister Clementa, the Abbess, and some of her followers call me The witch."

  1. Tell me, Genevieve, where are you living?

Genevieve ( a small sigh escapes her lips. Then she shrugs) "Well, for the moment I reside at St. Mary’s Abbey. On top of a mountain in Britain, in the...cursed forest."

  1. Do you have any schooling?

Genevieve (nods and pats and invisible crease of her dress) "Kind Old Bertha, who took care of me after my family perished, taught me to read and write. Not only English but also Latin. And, most important, she taught me how to prepare healing potions from plants and herbs. Perhaps that’s why the Abbess hates me so much. A peasant girl of the 13th century is dangerous if she knows more than her superiors, I think."

  1. What are your worst fears or nightmare?

Genevieve (throws a shy look around her. She shivers and her voice is small) "I fear the cursed forest. This forest is responsible for what happened to my family. My father’s odd behavior, the death of my siblings. All the evil that lurks in it.

My nightmare - the Abbess, sister Clementa, who threatens me all the time with sending me to the stake. I can’t understand why she wants me out of the way."

  1. Is it anything that you secretly desire?

Genevieve (blushes and wrings her hands. Then she looks me directly in the eyes. Her voice is strong now. ) "To become Andrew’s wife and grow a family. If his family agrees....If the Abbess lets me go... If God forgives me for giving up being a nun.....If I escape alive from the forest.... If....”

 

A Night at Lady Jane's Salon

To places near or far, my partner and I love to travel. I especially love the adventures I get to have as a newly published author, meeting readers and finding comraderie with fellow writers. Last Monday  was one such adventure. I was scheduled to read an except from my book, HOUSE OF THE RISING SON at Lady Jane's Salon in New York City. Since parking in the city can be a nightmare, we decided to take the train--and because we are pathologically early we timed the trip to include a two hour window to relax before we needed to be at the venue.

We neglected to factor in the "police activity at the Botanical Gardens", which was announced over the train's loudspeaker. At the first notice that the train would be delayed, we smugly congratulated ourselves for building in ample time for just such emergencies.

When not at a complete stop, the train inched along. We checked our watches compulsively, growing more anxious as the minutes ticked away. Finally, we arrived at Grand Central Station at precisely the time we should have been walking into the doors of Lady Jane's.

Our short little legs sprinted to the street for a taxi, not bothering to stop at a restroom despite a desperate need to do just that. Given my increasing stress level (due in part to all of the police activity lining the streets and part to the sands of time streaming to the bottom of the hour glass), it's a wonder I didn't have an accident.

Speaking of accidents, once in the taxi we seemed to court death and barely avoided hitting pedestrians as they nonchalantly crossed the terrifyingly busy streets. Apparently NYC folks believe that if they don't look at the vehicle or driver, they won't get hit. New Yorkers, I offer you a word of advice: Do not visit Connecticut. Just stay home. Hit and runs are a pastime here. The streets are not your friends.

Miraculously we made it to Madame X's, the sexy, sultry bar that hosts Lady Jane's. To enter, you have to walk down a short flight of stairs to a door below street level. Once in the club, you have to walk up a long flight of stairs to the Salon.

IMG_5415

The space for the reading was cozy, filled with low, ornate sofas and an eclectic array of chairs tucked into dark alcoves around the room. At the far end of the room and up a short wrought iron stair case was the small stage.

There was a great deal of excitement in the air, as the night also celebrated Lady Jane's seventh year. The room was packed with readers, writers and other industry professionals. Representatives from Women in Need, a nonprofit organization serving homeless women and children were on hand to receive a contribution from Lady Jane's. A contingent from Tor Forge Books was there to support their author Katie Lynch, and sponsor the anniversary celebration. In addition to Katie and me, Hope Tarr (Lady Jane co-founder), Leanna Renee Hieber (Lady Jane co-founder) and Lauren Willig were on hand to read excerpts from their works.

I'm not going to lie to you. I was so nervous. I mean...who the hell am I to think I belong among these multi-published, award winning authors? But I did it. I read the first chapter of my book and guess what? I didn't faint, and the audience laughed in all the right places. Maybe they liked it. Liked me?

After the readings and a champagne toast (courtesy of Tor), people headed downstairs to the bar. We debated grabbing something to eat, or going home. Home won.

By three a.m. the adventure was over and we were back in Connecticut, humbly walking our dogs and dreading the six a.m. alarm. Back to the day job.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Scintillating Sunday at LAM!

img_0470-1.jpeg

Welcome to the "Scintillating Sunday" blog hop. Below is an excerpt from House of the Rising Son. Alexander has just settled in to watch the show. Cheyenne, the incubus rocker (and the guy Alexander might be falling for) is about to perform.

~~~~ The blue-gray glow of the synthesizer’s lights increased with the music’s crescendo and tugged him to the edge of his seat. The beginning of a show was one of his favorite parts. He was also partial to the middle and the end.

But Alexander didn’t applaud and stomp and scream in anticipation like the rest of the crowd. He was grateful to be able to keep his composure, but the truth was, it was all he could do to remember to breathe.

With a burst of light and a thunderous chord, Cheyenne appeared at center stage, arms out from his sides. An ethereal white light illuminated him. A rock and roll messiah.

~~~~~

Hope you enjoyed a scintillating snippet. Check out the rest of my blog for more information about Cheyenne or the book that tells his story. And enjoy the rest of the hop!

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Changes and Icing on the Cake

Christmas tree cupcake This time of year it seems natural to plan for changes I'd like to make in the upcoming year. This usually starts when I sit down to write my Christmas newsletter.

First, I'm surprised by the things I did accomplish. That's a good feeling. Then I look at last year's goals that were not accomplished and evaluate whether or not I want to carry them over into the new year. Some are easy-There's work to do on the house. That will be on the list every year, I suspect.

There are writing practices I want to continue and hope for better results, such as weekly blog posts, finishing Wolves (one of my works in progress), completing rewrites,  and posting a sh0rt-story or two on the website. There are skills I want to improve-setting and description, for instance.

There are personal matters I need to focus on. Health-related issues of course, but also interests I've neglected like gardening, birdwatching, and crafts.

Basically, it can be summed up as being more mindful. I intend to be more aware of and enjoy every part of my day, of my life. Doing the things I love with the people I love.

Everything else is icing on the cake.