Wednesday, July 30, 2014

No Character Days this Week

Sorry, I'm skipping on Character Days this week.  We're getting ready to head out to Fandom Fest in Kentucky to sell our books and my head is wild with packing and planning, so I'm taking the week off.

Check back in next week!  And in the meantime, if you're at Fandom Fest, here's a map to where you can find us!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Character Days: Chloe Waverly from Upon Your Honor

Still recovering from San Japan (zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz) but here's my weekly feature of character days ^__^

Character Days: Chloe Waverly from Upon Your Honor

Tell me a little about yourself and the world you live in. 

I am nineteen years old.  I live in my family home in New York City.  The year is 1891 and times for women are still pretty precarious.

Tell us your most closely guarded secret?

I am running from a horrible man.

Tell us about your single most important memory.  What was it and how does it affect you now?

The day my mother died, she sat with me in the parlor and read to me.  We were reading Lewis Caroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  My father, who was from Louisiana, used to tease me and call me Alice sometimes because I loved the book so much.  He would quip, “What do you say, Alice?” And I would answer, “Où est ma chatte?”  Or, where is my cat?  That was what Alice said when she saw a mouse and thought he might be a French mouse.  Truthfully, I knew very little French and it was fun to say.  Anyway, we had progressed to the middle of the book.  When I found out what happened to my mother, I was devastated and I felt much like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole into a world I didn’t understand.  My life changed completely after that.

What type of person are you?  Are you a hero or do you shy away from conflict?  

I don’t like conflict at all, but I am very loyal and I try to protect those I love.

Do you have any hobbies, any special talents?

I love reading.  If there is a library nearby, I will immerse myself in it and not come out for hours.

And in that line, what would be your ideal day?  

My ideal day would be to go on a picnic and then for a swim if it is warm enough.  I love swimming.

Do you have anyone close to you, any family or friends of interest?

At one time, I was close to my nursemaid Veronica, but circumstances made that impossible.  After my family was gone, I didn’t have anyone.  My grandmother lives far away though, and I hope to know her someday.

What is your most prized possession?

My Lewis Caroll books, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There.

What initially spurred your actions in this story?  Obviously it had to start somewhere for you, give us an idea of where that starting point is and where it all started.

I found myself in less than desirable conditions and I decided to escape my situation.  I stowed away on board a clipper ship, and that’s when Gabriel found me.

How do you envision your future? 

I’m not looking very far ahead.  I just want to be safe and live in peace.

Tell us where we can read more about you?  

You can read my story in Upon Your Honor.

Author:  Marie Lavender
Author's blog or website:

Any other information you think is important that you would like to include. 

There is a final book in the Heiresses in Love series, and it is titled Upon Your Love.  It is not released yet.

Author's Facebook page:
Author’s Twitter:

Read more about the first book in the series:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Character Days: Eva Dunbar from Dead in the Water

Off to San Japan I go, and in the meantime here's this week's character days!

Character Days: Eva Dunbar from Dead in the Water

Tell me a little about yourself and the world you live in.
I live in Brookings, Oregon. It's a small coastal town in Southern Oregon where not much happens. Usually.

Lets jump right in, what's your most closely guarded secret?
I channel the spirits of the dead through a medium called spirit writing.

Tell us about your single most important memory. What was it and how does it affect you now?
I remember the day I saw Jesse Williams turn away from me in the cafeteria, at the start of our Freshman year. It use to make me angry to think about it but now I'm just sad. All that wasted time.

What type of person are you? Are you a hero or do you shy away from conflict?
I'm a loner because the other kids think I'm a freak. They pick on me a lot. Or, they use to. I use to shy away from conflict until Jesse showed back up in my life.

Do you have any hobbies, any special talents?
Um, other than spirit writing? I like to write, and draw, and read. I'm a pretty typical teenager in that I'm pretty much attached to my iPhone.

What sets you out from the crowd? Like your talents, would I be able to spot you if I passed you by?
I'm really small so I kind of blend in. If you passed by me, you might feel cold. Like someone walked over your grave.

What's an ideal day for you?
It use to be a day when the spirits left me alone and I could chill in my room or hang out at the beach by myself. But days are different. In a good way.

Do you have any one close? Any friends or family of interest?
My parents are both busy and kind of let me do my own thing. The spirit writing thing freaks them out. Jesse is my world, now. I didn't have any friends before, so his friends are my friends.

What about your most prized possession?
It's my ring. It use to be my notebook but I don't need that anymore.

Back to your story, what initially spurred your actions? Everything had to start somewhere, so where's your beginning?
I've always been cursed with spirit writing but never explored what that meant for the rest of my life until Jesse came back. It was his idea to try to find out what these...ghosts, I guess you could call them...wanted.

Where do you think your future will lead?
Only the dead can see the future, though they can't follow it.

Where can we find more about you?
My diary/journal is in Dead in the Water

Author: Chrystal Vaughan

The author also has another book, Sideshow, available at Amazon and another book due for release in mid-June called Conspiracy of Ravens 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

CONvergence Notes: The Pitfalls of Writing a Sequel

We attended CONvergence 2014 this last weekend and I went to one of the panels about the issues you might run into while writing a sequel.  So I've assembled them below for any one to use.  This isn't meant to be a master list, just notes that I took which I thought were important and might be of use to others.

When you're writing your sequel, things to remember:

  • The biggest thing to remember is to have a continuity of feeling between Book 1 and Book 2.  Basically what you captured in book 1 has to be recaptured in books 2, or at least used so you don't waste that energy. 
  • You have to keep menace and dispute running, even though the reader knows this is a series and is fairly certain the main character will live through this book
  • Make sure the book is not just one big battle, no one wants to read that.  Continue to define your characters and show them growing.  Show how this fight affects the other characters and don't set yourself up for this trap through multiple sequels which will all end in a giant war. 
  • Always strive to write a story better then your first one. 
  • Take into account how much your writing style has changed since the first book.  Be aware of this. 
  • End your story as a complete story.  You can leave hints for your next book, but each book should be a complete story otherwise readers can feel cheated. 
  •  Remember to fill in the holes. - This means two things!  1. You have to fill in the plot holes overall that you may have left from the first book.  Fill in the mythology and expand upon it. 2. Remember to fill in the reader!  It may have been a while since they read the first book and they're going to need some reminding of what happened - but DON'T hit them over the head with summary, do it gradually as needed. 

Sequels and Publishers:

  • Publishers want to build a business relationship, ultimately they want to work with you.  Keep this in mind when submitting sequels and getting feedback. 
  • Keep in mind that publishers want readers to be able to come into your world in the second or third book with no former knowledge.  Then they'll go back and search for the first book.  A reader should be able to enter your story at any time without having to hunt for the first story right away.  Multiple points of entry mean multiple readers. 
  • Be aware that you can be typecast as an author.  AKA: J.K. Rowling only writes Harry Potter, Stephen King only writes Horror, this is hard to break out of but not impossible
  • You don't have to write a series to be famous, but it is harder to get well known without it.  With a series you have a character that the reader can return to and love, whereas with standalone characters you have to reinvent yourself each time and re-earn the reader's trust each time. 

Concerning your first story:

  • You can't just start over, you have to build on what you've already created and make it better - even if you hate it. 
  • If you can, bring guns - basically this means that when you're writing your first story remember that the world will want sequels so you should work in things you can build upon later without it looking like you left plot holes wide open

There are two different kinds of series:
1. Complete series - this is the normal series where it's book 1, book 2, etc etc.  Usually there's a continuing storyline that goes from one point to another and that's it.
2. Sandbox.  This is harder to do, but it can be done.  Think of Stephen King and artists like CLAMP, they have multiple stories that all take place in the same world/place.  So they're all linked together with a small item or place or person and in the end it comes up with a series, but you don't need all the pieces to get the complete story.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Character Days: Fay Dandridge from The Encounter

We have a new interview over at To Read or Not To Read!

We also have a new convention coming up in the next couple weekends: We'll be at San Japan with copies of our books!  You can check out a map here if you're at the convention, for where to find us!

Character Days: Fay Dandridge from The Encounter

Tell me a little about yourself and the world you live in.
Well, I live alone in an apartment near work. Fourth floor gives me a pretty good view of the city.

Well, I can't say alone. I do have my cat, but he's not much of a conversationalist. Unless it's at two in the morning. Then he's a regular chatty Kathy.
I live in Sacramento, California and have most of my life. I am an only child and have a decent relationship with my parents, both of which live out of town.
Sacramento is nice but I've always liked being out of town, out in the county. One of my favorite weekend trips is to go spend the weekend with my dad. To not hear a car pass by the house of a few days is a great way to reset.

Lets jump right in, what's your most closely guarded secret?
I'm a very open person, but everyone has a few skeletons in their closet. Some doors are better left closed. Let's leave it at that.

Tell us about your single most important memory. What was it and how does it affect you now?
I had a boyfriend back in high school. We were together three years. He was a wild one and was always trying to get me to go with him on his crazy stunts. It was the summer before our senior year and he was in a car accident. He survived, but after we came back to school he told me that he realized that he didn't want to waste the rest of his life with me, that he wanted someone more exciting. It broke my heart but it made me realize just how cautious I had always been so I resolved to make him regret his words. I did. :D

What type of person are you? Are you a hero or do you shy away from conflict?
I really don't like conflict but push me to far and I'll make you regret it.

Do you have any hobbies, any special talents?
I have a way with words. I'm a great editor and proofreader but I have been told I'm not to bad of a writer as well.

What sets you out from the crowd? Like your talents, would I be able to spot you if I passed you by?
I'm not exactly the life of the party but I do like to mingle, talking to strangers and such I am probably the most likely to approach you first.

What's an ideal day for you?
Staying at home, reading a book, and maybe baking something. Spending an evening with my girlfriend Racheal and 99 Bananas at the Cellar is nice too.

Do you have any one close? Any friends or family of interest?
Well there's Rachel. She's crazier then I am and doesn't hesitate to speak her mind. She works at the publishing agency with me and man do i love her. She's a kick in the pants. There's my parents too. Love interest wise not much. Every relationship I've had has crashed and burned. Usually because of me. I believe in finding the one, I just haven't found him yet.

What about your most prized possession?
A necklace that my parents gave me when I graduated from high school.

Back to your story, what initially spurred your actions? Everything had to start somewhere, so where's your beginning?
Well, every relationship I have ever had has crashed and burned. Horribly. I find that when something is broke, it never hurts to throw a stick of dynamite at it. That's why I decided on this speed dating event. I had already resolved my plan of action before I even got there, but it had to be with the right guy.

Where do you think your future will lead?
Hopefully with a hot guy. :) And one who's not allergic to cats.

Where can we find more about you?
Well this one chick has a website about this story and apparently I'm on it. There would be a good start I guess.

Jennifer Horrace

Buy Link:

Author's Website:

Random Information about the Author:
To sum me up in three ways, I'm Married, I'm 30, and I'm a Scorpio. That about wraps me up. :)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Monday Promo: Black Widow Witch

Title: Black Widow Witch

Author: A. J. Locke

Release Date: 5/15/2014

Genre: Urban Fantasy

A deadly curse, a deadly assassin, and one shot to save everyone she loves…

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

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

Chapter One

Today was the anniversary of the worst day of my life, and I’d been trying to forget about it by consuming a vast amount of booze. The fact that I owned a bar greatly helped with that endeavor, and the fact that I was drunk was an accomplishment, since witches weren’t easily susceptible to alcohol. Humans were onto something with this whole drinking-to-forget-one’s-crappy-life thing.
Behind the bar, I poured a shot for an eager customer. Amaretto, Southern Comfort peach liqueur, and sweet-and-sour mix went into the glass, then I held my hand over the drink and let a stream of purple magic, the same color as my eyes, flow into it. The drink glowed purple for a few seconds, then I handed it to the customer, who drank it with no hesitation. After slamming the glass down, he grabbed the tipsy woman who’d been hanging on him and gave her a sloppy kiss, then led her out of the bar. I smiled and shook my head. The magic I’d put into the shot, aptly named Piece of Ass, would ensure they didn’t leave the bedroom tonight.

Somewhere in the room I heard riotous laughter, and above that the voice eliciting that laughter. Xiune was having a good night for a change and wasn’t holed up in my office. Though since she was just a head inside a clear acrylic box, it was understandable that sometimes all she wanted to do was hide.

Malachi, darling!” Xiune called. “Seven handsome young men have requested the Challenge!” I smiled slyly. I loved administering the Challenge.

It’s time for the Seven Deadly Sins Challenge!” I announced, filling up eight shot glasses with vodka, one of which I downed. “Which sin will it be and what will its victim do?” People shouted their guesses while I sent tendrils of magic into the shots. My magic sparked like tiny bolts of lightning, and like the shot I had just made, the liquid briefly glowed purple. I focused on one of the glasses and started whispering a spell, channeling the essence of one of the seven deadly sins through my body. For a brief moment, my body became flushed with a feeling of ravenous desire, then it flowed out of me into the shot glass. I felt rather charged and wondered if this had been the right sin to choose tonight. But hey, I was drunk, and I kind of wanted to see someone suffer. Misery loves company right?

I levitated the shot glasses onto a tray and sauntered over to the table where Xiune was entertaining the men who thought they were up for the Challenge. With her flawless complexion, golden eyes, and vibrant red hair, Xiune didn’t need a body to be beautiful. I’d known her when she had one though, and if she’d been sitting there in all her glory, she’d have every man kneeling at her feet. Her allure was only heightened by the fact that she was a bodiless beauty who used her magic to float herself around in a box. The box wasn’t necessary for Xiune to move around, but she felt safer inside it when she was out in public. That way if a witch hater spat on her, she’d have a shield. It also prevented those on the other end of the spectrum, people who were fascinated by witches, from getting too close. I set the shot glasses down and motioned for the men to stand around the table. They looked like your typical college fare: unkempt hair, sagging pants, and some sort of ironic or sports themed T-shirt. High-fives and shit talking all around.

Now boys,” I said, leaning forward on my forearms, giving my cleavage time to shine. “Are you sure you’re ready for this? One of you is moments away from experiencing a sin you may or may not enjoy.” They assured me they were man enough to handle any sin, and I smiled. The fun thing about the Challenge was that everyone handled it differently. One man caught with gluttony had run across the street to McDonalds, spent over a hundred dollars on food, then sat on the floor and gorged himself. A woman under the same gluttony spell had tried to eat her friend’s purse.

Let’s hope it’s lust and let’s hope it’s me,” one of the men said, winking at me. He stood a couple of inches over six feet, had brown hair and a lanky physique. If he started spending time at the gym, maybe his lame come-ons would give him more luck getting laid.

Honey, I would eat you up,” I said with a slow smile. Normally I would never have said such a line, but all the alcohol I had consumed was speaking for me. He probably had no idea how true those words were though, because his smile never wavered. However, for a moment after I spoke, I saw another face in place of his, and it cut through my drunken haze like a knife. I gasped, and he must have thought that was a sign he had a chance with me, because his smile became more lascivious. Lucky for him, he did nothing for me.

Malachi, let’s get this show going.” Xiune slid her box over to nudge me, and I shook my head and turned back to the waiting crowd.

All right, it’s about to go down!” I yelled. “For anyone who hasn’t witnessed the Challenge before, I’ll explain how it works. One of these shot glasses is infused with the essence of one of the seven deadly sins, and the recipient will be overcome with that sin for the next half hour, while the others will experience the most euphoric feeling they’ve ever experienced from a shot of alcohol.” I motioned for the men to pick up a glass, and Mister Flirtatious had one more wink for me.

Gentlemen, take your shot of sin!” They took their shots to the head. When they slammed their glasses down, every eye in the room was on them. After about twenty seconds, one of the men—not Winky—suddenly gasped, whipped his head around, and bolted from among his friends to accost a mildly attractive woman standing nearby.

Fuck me! Fuck me, please!” He shook her by the upper arms while she stared at him, mortified, as his friends tried to pry him off her. I brayed with laughter, as did Xiune and everyone else in the bar.

Oh god, I’m so horny. Someone please, fuck me!” He struggled against his laughing friends, trying to reach any female in sight, with his erection leading the way. Lust had been the winner tonight, and for the next thirty minutes this poor sap would be lusting after every woman he saw, whether she was twenty-eight or eighty-two. He even lurched toward Xiune, but she floated out of the way. Xiune was one sexy head in a box and had a mouth she could work wonders with. She often came out of her box to work those wonders on any willing man. There were more than you’d think.

Right sin, wrong guy, right?” brown-haired dude said to me.

I rolled my eyes. “You and your friends will have your hands full for the next half hour. I suggest you hold on to him real good and don’t be surprised if he turns to one of you when it starts to look like he won’t be getting any women.”

He laughed and pulled out his cell phone. “I’ll call his girlfriend, though she’ll probably be too pissed at him for doing this to alleviate his lust.” He left the bar to make the call, while the other five continued to hold on to their friend, laughing like they’d never experienced anything so hilarious in their lives. Some of the more mischievous or drunk women teased the guy by parading in front of him and doing dirty little stripper moves. Only his friends’ hold stopped him from tackling one of them and trying to rip her clothes off.

I wasn’t afraid of things getting out of hand because I could break the spell any time I wanted. There was always a point where things stopped being amusing and started getting annoying. I left them and headed back behind the bar, while Xiune found another table of people to entertain. She was a wonderful songstress, and soon her melodic voice filled the bar as I went back to making magicked drinks. I glanced at my watch, noting that it was almost midnight, which meant the day was almost over. That didn’t actually mean anything though. The day passing didn’t mean I would forget the curse that was hanging over my life.

Hey, Malachi, can you pass me a knife?”

Knave?” I quickly turned to the busboy, James, who was bent over a box behind the bar.
No, I said knife,” he said. My throat was suddenly tight, but I reached under the bar, got a knife, and handed it to him. I stood back and ran my hands through my short black curls, blowing out a slow breath as I tried to rein in my reaction to thinking I had heard the name Knave. That was the name attached to the face I did not like to think about, but no amount of alcohol and rowdy college boys taking the Challenge could truly put him from my mind. I didn’t want to see Knave’s face, didn’t want to think about the hard muscles my hands used to slide over, following the planes of his body to his waist and not stopping until I touched something that arched his back and made him whisper my name. I didn’t want to think about the nights we’d spent wrapped in each other’s arms, feeling our hearts beating against each other. But of course, since his name crossed my lips, he was all I could think about.

Falling in love with Knave was why I was cursed. And I could only blame myself. I should have known better than to take someone else’s lover to my bed. Especially if the woman crossed was a witch queen who was powerful, sadistic, and known to curse people just for sneezing out of place.
Malachi? Excuse me, Malachi?” I blinked and brought myself out of my thoughts, turning to see that one of the other busboys, Dan, was trying to get my attention. He held a box of empty liquor bottles and needed me to move so he could pass. I shuffled out of the way, but thinking of Knave and my curse, along with all the beer and shots I’d drunk tonight, made me feel slightly unstable. Suddenly, the rowdiness in my bar wasn’t fun; it was obnoxious, and I wanted to get away from it. I headed through the door Dan had passed through, into the hallway that led to my office and the Dumpster out back. Halfway down the hallway, I heard a crash, followed by a scream. I ran through the back door, taking in several things at once that left me rooted to the spot. One, the revolting stench that went far beyond what our single Dumpster could give off. Two, Dan standing rigidly a few feet away with broken bottles scattered at his feet. And three, the thing that had caused him to drop the bottles and scream. Behind the Dumpster was a dead body.

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

Twitter: @maqueripe  

Other books: Affairs of the Dead Elemental Inferno

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Character Days: Jessie Anderson from Magick & Moonlight

Happy Wednesday!  I'm headed off to CONvergence this weekend so I don't know how much I'll be around if people send comments and interviews to me, but rest assured any emails will be answered when I get back.  We don't have a table at the con, but our cover artist for Seeking the Storyteller will be there!

Don't forget to check out Rainarc's site to see his art and the other prints he has for sale!

Now, on to Character Days!

Character Days: Jessie Anderson from Magick & Moonlight

Tell me a little about yourself and the world you live in. 
I live in a Victorian cottage in Yachats, Oregon.  It is a pretty small town where everyone is involved in everyone else’s business.

Do you like your job?
Yes, I love it.  I run a gift and candle shop in town.  I love being my own boss.

Tell us about your single most important memory.  What was it and how does it affect you now?
When I was young and very eager to do spells, my grandmother would ground me with other practices first.  She taught me to love gardening.  She said, “First we must love and respect nature in all its forms.  Only then can you understand who you are.”  Since then, I have loved nature.  I love going for walks in the forest and I especially love the drastic weather changes.  It is like the God and Goddess are trying to tell us something.

What type of person are you?  Are you a hero or do you shy away from conflict?  
No, I don’t shy away from conflict.  I’m not a fan of it, but I will stand up for what I believe in.  I have always detested crimes against nature and when I was a teenager, I was an activist.  However, there are forces that are beyond our control as well.  It is not uncommon to have forest fires in Oregon and I really hate to see such destruction to our beautiful trees.

Do you have any hobbies, any special talents?
I make my own candles and use them in my shop.  I also garden as I mentioned before.  I do spells to center myself.

And in that line, what would be your ideal day?  
My idea day would be to close up shop and go on a walk.  I love walking.  After a simple lunch, I might plan for an evening ritual in the forest.  I always celebrate the full moon.

Do you have anyone close to you, any family or friends of interest?
I wish I still did.  My family is gone now and though I had a couple of friends in college, we drifted apart after my grandmother’s death and when I returned to Yachats.  I do know people in town, but I wouldn’t say they are friends exactly.  Ethan is probably the closest thing to a friend I have had in awhile.

What is your most prized possession?
My house.  It has always been home.  It was my grandmother’s house, but I can’t imagine not living there.

What initially spurred your actions in this story.  Obviously it had to start somewhere for you, give us an idea of where that starting point is and where it all started.
Well, a man caught me practicing in the moonlight.  I shouldn’t have told him what I did, but I had to do something to fix my mistake.

How do you envision your future? 
I am a simple girl.  I just want to live my life in peace.  Perhaps at some point, I can find someone who accepts who I am, but I am in no hurry.

Tell us where we can read more about you?  
You can read more about me in Magick & Moonlight.

Author:  Marie Lavender  
Buy link:
Book trailer:    

Author's blog or website:

Any other information you think is important that you would like to include. 
I have published 18 books.  I also run three blogs, and you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.