Friday, June 28, 2013

Interviews and Celebrations


Clancy and I are very excited today because we were both interviewed by some great writer friends.

To start, I was interviewed by the wonderful writer Graeme Ing, who is one of my Untethered Realms co-horts. Graeme is the author of the fantastic Ocean of Dust. You can find my interview on Graeme's blog here. Thanks for this opportunity, Graeme!

Clancy was interviewed by the dynamic duo of Sir Poops and Hair Ball, the fur-kids of Shelly Arkon, who is the author of such great books as Secondhand Shoes and The Partners' Progeny. Find Clancy here at Two Fur-Peeps and A Writer. He and I both send huge thanks to Shelly and her fur-peeps!

Of course, since it's Friday it's also time to Celebrate the Small Things with Vikki at Scribblings of an Aspiring Author.

This week I'm celebrating a few things:

1.) Clancy and I did these fun interviews and now get to be featured on our friends' blogs.

2.) I got my Cincinnati Tails animal rescue blog up and running and am excited about working on that.

3.) I have some good news about my novel The Ghosts of Aquinnah that I hope to be able to share next week.

4.) And, this week was a much better week than last week and I'm feeling 100% better than I was last week at this time. That's always something to celebrate, isn't it?

Happy weekend, all! :)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Spoiled Pets and Cincinnati Tails

I just had to share this picture of my dog Clancy and my cat Nate making themselves comfortable while making a mess of my couch. They would no doubt say "what do you mean, your couch?" if they could read. They have claimed the couch as their own and I'm fairly sure this is how they spend most of their days while I am at work. I can't deny that they are spoiled rotten.

Cincinnati Tails

But the main thing I wanted to share today is that I have started up a new blog devoted to animals rescues and other animal-related issues. It's brand new and still a work in progress, but if you're interested in checking it out this is the link:

Cincinnati Tails

I love writing about rescue organizations and showcasing animals who are waiting for new homes, so I'm excited to have this new opportunity. Please wish me luck! :)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Danny and Aleksei, Comic Style

I've been a fan of Heather Holden's work ever since I discovered Echo Effect, her webcomic based on Greek mythology. So when I was catching up on the comic a few weeks ago I got the idea to commission Heather to create pictures of my Polar Night characters Danny and Aleksei.

It was a lot of fun to work with Heather and see my guys brought to life in her style. So let me introduce you to the main character and protagonist of Polar Night, Detective Danny Fitzpatrick.

He's a mess, isn't he?  Danny is overwhelmed by grief and depression when we meet him and he's run as far away from his old life as he could get by moving to Fairbanks, Alaska. He's working a dead-end job in cold cases and his primary coping mechanism for getting through the day is alcohol.

Danny doesn't seem like a good candidate to challenge Aleksei Nechayev, the book's antagonist. Arrogant, cold, and ruthless, Aleksei views people as little more than playthings for his own amusement.


Aleksei sees Danny as a minor nuisance and doesn't think the drunken detective is a real threat to his plans. He may be surprised.

Thanks again to Heather for working on this fun project with me! If you don't already follow the Echo Effect, check it out here

Friday, June 21, 2013

Small Celebrations

The end of another week means its time to Celebrate the Small Things with Vikki at Scribblings of an Aspiring Author. If you'd like to learn more about this hop and participate, visit Vikki's page and join us here.

I have to admit that this wasn't a good week for me. It started with the first anniversary of the death of my father, and I found that day to be even more difficult than I expected it to be. Between that and some ongoing personal issues, I found myself in a funk and spent most of the week feeling like a bit of a zombie.

But thanks to Vikki's hop I realized today was the perfect day to turn that around and focus on the good parts of the week.

1. I was interviewed by Graeme Ing and my dog Clancy was interviewed by Shelly Arkon and we both had fun doing the interviews. :) We're looking forward to being featured on Graeme's and Shelly's sites sometime soon.

2. I finally made a dent in my TBR list and read great books by two of my wonderful author friends. Lisa Regan's Abberation and Graeme Ing's Ocean of Dust are both fantastic reads!

3. I commissioned the awesome Heather Holden to create pictures of my Polar Night main characters Danny and Aleksei. This was a new experience for me and it was fun to see what Heather created based on the descriptions I gave her. Her pictures are excellent and I'm looking forward to using them to help with my ongoing marketing efforts.

4. I completed my first Rafflecopter giveaway and was amazed at how easy it was to do. I had been kind of intimidated by Rafflecopter and thought sure I would find a way to mess it up if I used it, but I managed to create the giveaway and choose the winner without adding to the abundance of grey hair I already have on my head. Nancy LaRonda Johnson of Writer's Mark won an ebook copy of Polar Night, and I'm grateful to Nancy and everyone else who entered the giveaway and helped make it a success.

I'm glad to put this week behind me but I'm also glad to celebrate the fact that there were quite a few roses among the week's thorns.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Monday, June 17, 2013

UnRealms Spotlight: Cherie Reich and Men of Foxwick

I'm really excited to be spotlighting another one of my Untethered Realms buddies, the wonderful Cherie Reich, and help spread the word about her latest release, the short story collection Men of Foxwick. Congratulations to Cherie!!

Here is the info on her latest, including an excerpt from one of the fantastic stories in the collection:

Men of Foxwick by Cherie Reich is now available! This fantasy short story collection features five men from the Kingdom of Foxwick.

A blind teen seeks a place in the kingdom. A dragon seer journeys to Wintermill to spy on the queen. A sword master’s worst fear comes true when he fails to protect the royal family. A king falls in love with an herb witch, but will she feel the same way? A hunter will rise to the challenge to hunt down a man-eating monster.

Short stories in this collection: Blind Scribe, Dragon Spy, Sword Master, Courting Magic, and Monster Hunter

An Excerpt from “Blind Scribe” in Men of Foxwick

Dallan counted his steps as his mama and he weaved through the busy streets of Foxwick. Twenty-six, twenty-seven. They’d passed the fruit stand and were now farther into Foxwick than he’d ever been in his fifteen summers. People, just moving shadows, brushed against his shoulder. He scrunched toward Mama to make his lanky frame smaller. The odor of sweat and manure combated the more pleasant scents of flowers and baking bread. A bead of sweat trickled into his hairline, and he longed for the comfort of their small house.

“Keep up, Dallan.” Mama’s skirts brushed against his pants’ legs.

“Where are you taking me?” He clung to her arm and dragged his feet. They’d gone too far. The shadows darkened, as if the sun had slipped behind the horizon, and he had no clue where he was now.

She halted mid-step before yanking him forward. “I do not wish to do this, but we have little c-choice.”

“Do what, Mama?” He wanted to dig his heels into the pavement and halt their progress. Had she decided he was more trouble than he was worth? Times were tough, and he was such little help. He tried to plow straight—despite counting his steps and placing one foot in front of the other—but he often tripped over the rocky soil. He tried cooking, but he couldn’t even boil water without scorching it. Though he wasn’t too bad as a tailor because he could count stitches and feel where he needed to go, he still needed guidance.

She pulled him closer. Rough stone rubbed against his arm through his thin shirt. A sob hitched in Mama’s throat as she emitted a mouse-like squeak. She embraced him tightly and then smoothed his damp hair from his face. “My sweet boy, I’m so, so sorry.”

“What’s wrong?” His heart pounded like a horse galloping across an open field, each hoof beating the ground in a frantic rhythm.

To purchase: Amazon / Amazon UK / Smashwords / Kobo / Nook

Click here to add on Goodreads.

About the Author: A self-proclaimed bookworm, Cherie Reich is a speculative fiction writer, freelance editor, book blogger, and library assistant living in Virginia. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies, and her books include the horror series Nightmare, a space fantasy trilogy titled Gravity, and a fantasy series The Foxwick Chronicles. She is Vice President of Valley Writers and a member of the Virginia Writers Club and Untethered Realms.

Her debut YA Epic Fantasy novel Reborn, book one in The Fate Challenges, will be released on May 23, 2014.

For more information, please visit Cherie’s website and blog.

Also, Cherie has a special announcement for her email newsletter subscribers. Click here to sign up for her updates and receive a coupon for a free copy of Women of Foxwick.

If you haven't already read Cherie's work you're really missing out. I don't think there are really any limits to her imagination, and each of her stories promises a great read. I haven't read Men of Foxwick yet but to get an idea of my thoughts on Cherie's writing, check out my review of The Nightmare Collection here. Cherie is also a super nice person who is always willing to help other writers out, so it's a pleasure to be able to help spread the word about her fantastic work. Yay Cherie! :)

Today is also Writers4Writers day and Marta Szemik is this month's featured writer. Visit Marta's page to congratulate her and pick up some tweets and posts to help spread the word about her work all over social media. If you're new to Writers4Writers, click here to learn about how it works and to sign up to participate in this fun monthly event.

Happy Monday, all! :)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Travels with Clancy: Martha's Vineyard

Clancy and I at Owen Park in Vineyard Haven

Clancy and I hit the road with some family members back in May and spent a week on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

This was Clancy's first trip out of the Midwest, and he was thrilled to death and couldn't wait to get on the road the morning that we left. There's nothing Clancy loves more than riding in the car, even if the ride involves driving more than 900 miles over two days. He couldn't have been happier in the van.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, my family on my father's side has been on the Vineyard for centuries. My grandparents bought a small summer cottage in the 1960s for our family to share and I've spent many vacations there throughout my life. It's always fun to get back to the island and pull in to the drive of our little place.

Our cottage is in the town of West Tisbury, which is also home to the most charming town hall I've ever seen.

Red maples at the Town Hall

My favorite place on the Vineyard is Aquinnah, home of the famous Aquinnah cliffs and the historic Gay Head lighthouse, and the setting for my novel-in-progress, The Ghosts of Aquinnah.

Clancy liked being there too.

Coming in a very close second is the fishing village of Menemsha.

The Coast Guard station at Menemsha

There's no better place on the island to watch a sunset, and I've spent many nights on the Menemsha beach watching the sun slowly disappear into Vineyard Sound. 

If there was one place on the island that Clancy hated, it was the south shore beach called Katama. As the southern coast of the island is all open ocean, the waves are generally fairly big. And while there is nothing I love more than the sound of the waves crashing onto the shore, Clancy completely disagreed.

Clancy was scared to death of the waves but tried to put on a brave front. He raised his fur and barked at them to let them know he wasn't going to stand for any of their nonsense.

He was much happier when we moved farther up on the sand and away from the reach of the water, and he even agreed to smile for the camera.

He wasn't any happier about the calm water at Lobsterville Beach.

But I told him he had to just deal with it because I love it.

As vacations always seem to do, the week flew by and before we knew it it was time to head home. But I couldn't have asked for a better week to relax and unwind while enjoying the island I love.

Menemsha Sunset

I'm not sure when it will be, but I'm already looking forward to the day when Clancy and I can return to Martha's Vineyard.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Untethered Realms Spotlight: #UnRealms Blog

I'm deviating from my summer plan to highlight one of my fellow Untethered Realms authors each week in order to shine the spotlight on our new blog. The blog has been under construction but today is a bit of a "grand opening," with a special post from Angela Brown.

Angela, who I spotlighted last week, is kicking off the UnRealms blog with a celebration of her new release, Atone. Check out this awesome cover!

I also love the novella's tagline: What harm can come from a kiss?

Based on that creepy cover, I'm guessing quite a bit. I know I can't wait to find out.

For the full blurb and all the info on Atone, visit our UnRealms blog here. And while you're there, please take a look around and see what else we have going on this summer. If you have a chance to help spread the word about our group and our blog we would really appreciate it!

Congratulations to Angela!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Polar Night Sale

Just a quick post today to say that Polar Night is on sale for $2.99 this weekend on Amazon Kindle. If you're interested in the book now is a great time to check it out!

I also want to give a shout-out to my friends and fellow Ink Smith authors Wade Beauchamp, Kelly Lynne, Ashley Howie, and Vincent ViƱas who are also participating in the sale. I'm so glad to be part of this awesome group of writers. 

Hope everyone is having a great weekend! :)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Guest Post from Annalisa Crawford and Celebrating the Small Things

Today I'm really excited to be hosting Annalisa Crawford as part of her blog tour for her collection of short stories, That Sadie Thing. I've started the collection and love all of the stories I've read so far, and also loved Annalisa's novella Cat and the Dreamer.  I highly recommend Annalisa's work and it's a pleasure to be part of her tour. 

Take it away, Annalisa! :)

Thanks for having me today Julie. I'm going to tell you about Portrait of the Painter.

If you follow me, or even if you read the first post on my tour, you may know that I have a novel that I began writing when I was about 16 and rewrote it constantly until I was about 34. (It's still within reach, I may have another go...) Anyway, that story has been a short story, a novella, and a novel - several times over. Portrait of the Painter is one of those short story versions.

I had the character of Jo before anything, and Jo was a painter, and she didn't like to eat her crusts. In whichever version she's been in she's never liked eating her crusts. The other character is Simon. Originally he was Daniel, but when he was Daniel he was actually Jo's boyfriend and he was much older than her. In this short story version he's the same age and not her boyfriend. So when I went back to the novel, I had to change the name.

Technically, I suppose, I should have absorbed the story back into the novel once it became a novel again, but by then it had taken on a life of it's own. So I kept them separate and changed Daniel's name to Dominic then to Simon. I never find changing names easy - it's like naming a baby and then changing your name after a year; so the decision to change Daniel's name meant a lot of time looking through the baby name book.

Fun fact: I ended up naming the character after the friend who is sitting beside me as I type this. Spooky - especially since I haven't see this friend for a couple of years!!

Jo was different though, I couldn't change her name - she was perfect as she was. And besides, she had a whole paragraph about how much she liked her name!

About Annalisa
I live in Cornwall, with a good supply of beaches and moorland right on my doorstep. I live with my husband, two boys, a dog and a cat. Despite my location. I neither surf nor sail, and have never had any inclination to try. I much prefer walking along the beach and listening to the waves crashing over rocks. For this reason, I really love the beach in the winter!

Buy That Sadie Thing here (this link should take you direct to your local Amazon)
Follow Annalisa here, or Like her here
Read her blog here


Friday means it's time to Celebrate the Small Things with Vikki again. If you want to learn more about this hop and sign up to join in, click here.

This week I'm celebrating that I made it through a week of posting every day in the 2013 Word Count Blogathon. But I think this is where the daily posting stops for me, as I've come to the realization that I need to focus on some other goals right now. So I'm going to go back to normal posting for the rest of June, probably three times a week, and also work on getting my new animal rescue blog up and running. Thanks to everyone who stopped by here from the Blogathon and I wish all the participants the best of luck for the rest of June!

I'm also celebrating that I had a totally awesome vacation on Martha's Vineyard last week that really inspired me to whip my latest novel the The Ghosts of Aquinnah into shape so that it's ready for submission. For more on that, see Wednesday's post. I'm choosing to celebrate the fact that I enjoyed the vacation so much instead of being depressed that I'm back to real life now, even though that is the truth too LOL.

Happy Friday and weekend to all!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Aberration Blog Hop

Today marks the release of Aberration, the second novel from the uber-talented Lisa Regan. Congratulations to Lisa!! Lisa's first novel Finding Claire Fletcher was amazing and I have no doubt this one will be just as great. I can't recommend her work enough.

To celebrate her new book, Lisa is hosting the Aberration Blog Hop. Click here if you want to join in and compete for the great prizes Lisa is giving away in conjunction with her release party.

Here's the info on the hop:

What:  The Aberration Blog Hop: Finding the Most Aberrant Characters

When:  June 6 & 7, 2013

What to do:  All you have to do is list your top 5 choices for the most aberrant characters in fiction, television or movies.  Also, if you're a writer, you can then include a short paragraph about who you think is the most aberrant character from your own work.

Definition of ABERRATION
1 : the fact or an instance of deviating or being aberrant especially from a moral standard or normal state
2 : unsoundness or disorder of the mind
3 : an aberrant individual
— ab·er·ra·tion·al  adjective
From the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary

I don't know if it is my post-vacation muddled brain or just a mental block, but for whatever reason I had a terrible time coming up with a list for this hop. But eventually I settled on these aberrant characters I find memorable, using the first definition of deviating from a moral standard. These are in no particular order:
1. Hannibal Lecter
The Silence of the Lambs is the only Hannibal-related movie or show I've seen, but it was more than enough to give Lecter a spot on my list. In fact, he was the first character that came to mind as soon as I read about Lisa's hop.

2. Angelus & 3. Spike, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy is one of my favorite shows ever, and evil Angelus was so entertaining he made Angel seem quite boring in comparison. I also couldn't get enough of Spike before he was de-fanged with the chip. This show started my vampire obsession, and I love my vampires evil.

4. Eric Northman, True Blood
And speaking of vampires... I don't even think Eric is evil, but his moral standards certainly deviate from mine. And Alexander Skarsgard is so pretty that Eric is a must for any list I make. :D

5. Dolores Umbridge, Harry Potter
While I know Voldemort is the big bad of the series, I've never gotten over Umbridge's cruelty to the children in her classes. I think she brought back a few too many memories of some of the nuns who scared me on a daily basis in elementary school.

As far as my own work Polar Night, the most aberrant character is an easy call. It's the book's antagonist, Aleksei Nechayev. To find out more about him, check out the interview he did with Laurie of Laurie's Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews earlier this week. You can also enter to win an ebook copy of Polar Night through the form at the bottom of this post or on Laurie's site.

Congratulations again to Lisa!! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

IWSG and The Next Big Thing

I'm really glad I saw a few reminders about today's meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, hosted as always by the Ninja Captain Alex, as the day totally snuck up on me. I'm still having trouble remembering it's June!

Between trying to get back to normal after my vacation and participating in the WordCount Blogathon, my brain is totally fried. And I'm a bit of a ditz on my best day, so this isn't a good thing at all.

I'm insecure about being able to finish the blogathon and get to all the goals I had in mind for the month, but I'm trying to remind myself that if I don't manage to post every day it won't be the end of the world. Even though the start of the month has been crazy and not how I wanted it to be, it's still been a good way for me to motivate myself and think about what I want to accomplish with writing and blogging for the month and for the rest of the year ahead. So I'm going to focus on that and try to give the insecurity a rest, which is of course easier said than done.

In other news, I was tagged by the always awesome Tara Tyler, author of the upcoming Pop Travel, for The Next Big Thing.

The timing couldn't be better, as I've been really excited about my latest novel since I returned from my trip to Martha's Vineyard, which is the setting of the story. I got some great inspiration for putting the finishing touches on the novel while there, so I'm happy to have the opportunity to share a bit about it.

The lighthouse that plays a pivotal role in the story

  1. What is the working title? The Ghosts of Aquinnah

  2. Where did the idea come from? Looking at this webcam of the Aquinnah lighthouse on Martha's Vineyard

  3. What genre is it? As usual, I am terrible at picking a genre. This is part ghost story, part love story, part mystery, and part historical fiction. In other words, I have no clue what genre it is! 

  4. What actors would you pick for a movie rendition? If you know me you know I'm a total Game of Thrones fanatic. Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys Targeryen (Emilia Clarke, minus the long blond wig) are perfect for my main characters Christopher and Stella.

  5. What's a one sentence synopsis? I'm the world's worst when it comes to writing a one sentence synopsis. I'm cheating and giving a four sentence one instead. :D

    While Hannah Forrester is working on a book about the lighthouses of New England, she sees a distraught woman appearing over and over again on a Martha's Vineyard webcam. Determined to learn the identity of the woman, Hannah is drawn into the story of the wreck of The City of Columbus off the coast of the island in 1884. What happened to a young Irish immigrant who survived the wreck and found himself under the care of a Vineyard doctor and his wife? And who is the woman on the webcam? 

  6. How long did it take to write the first draft? 30 days. This story was my NaNoWriMo project last November.

  7. Will it be self-published or represented? I will be submitting it to my publisher and hoping they will be interested in it.

  8. What other books would you compare it to in your genre? Since I'm hopeless at picking out a genre for the book I'm totally drawing a blank on this.

The cliffs of Aquinnah
Thanks again to Tara for tagging me! 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Interview with Polar Night's Aleksei Nechayev

I'm really excited to be the featured author on Laurie's Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews today!

Laurie is graciously shining the spotlight on Polar Night, and I sent the book's antagonist Aleksei Nechayev over to her site for an interview. As anyone who has read the book knows, Aleksei is a scary guy, but he promised to be on his best behavior for Laurie. I'm hoping he keeps his word.

To read Aleksei's interview and get to know him better, visit Laurie's site here.

As part of the feature, I am giving away an ebook copy (winner's choice of Kindle, Nook, or Smashwords) of Polar Night. You can find the entry form below.

Thanks again to Laurie for hosting Aleksei and me!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 3, 2013

Untethered Realms Spotlight: Angela Brown

All this month I'm spotlighting my fellow authors from our Untethered Realms group. First up is Angela Brown, author of the recently released Frailties of the Bond and Neverlove.

I read Neverlove a few months ago and it was a fabulous read. You can find my review of the book here. I haven't read Frailties yet, but I know anything Angela writes will be great. So without further ado, here is all the scoop on Angela and her work.

FRAILTIES OF THE BOND is the first in a series of novellas and short stories introducing heroes and heroines of the secret organization, NEO – Network of Extraordinaires and Otherwordlies.

Those who answer the call from NEO play their part in maintaining balance in our ever-changing times. With power-hungry malcontents, jealous gods, and even those with misguided good intentions, the fate of our world has oft been held in the hands of unsung heroes such as those that are members of NEO.
But before NEO, these heroes and heroines had lives, loves, issues and interests that didn’t involve saving mankind. 

In Frailties of the Bond, it only takes one bite to change a life

After a hiking trip gone wrong, sixteen-year-old Luca should have been dead. Since then, he’s drifted from one school day to the next, annoyed by the looks of suspicion. When a vampire attack claimed his mother and forced his first shift into animal form, Luca set out for Texas, vengeance bound, only to discover so much more when Aimee crossed his path.

Flesh-born of vampire parents sixteen years ago, Aimee shouldn’t exist. Magic, though, made dreams come true for an undead couple desperate for a child all their own. But this magic came with a price, a cost Aimee discovered after one forbidden bite.

Buy links: Amazon USAmazon UKKobo, B&N

NEVERLOVE is a special project spawned from a blog-challenge-turned-blog-opera, the Abby and Basil affair. It is the first in the Shadow Jumpers series.

For seventeen-year-old Abigail, one rash decision leads to an unexpected chance for redemption. At V'Salicus Academy, a unique institute where she trains to become an agent of heaven, she struggles with the pain of her past, the changes of the present and accepts a loveless future until her path – and heart – crosses with Basil’s.

Basil's off-chance slip of the tongue binds him to a life of servitude to the Devourer, the master of hell. His existence has no upside until a chance meeting with Abigail brings new perspective.

Keeping the truth of their present lives from each other brings disaster when secrets are brought to light and the life of Abigail’s mentor is put on the line.

Can Abigail and Basil save her mentor and salvage their love amid the chaos? Or will they lose it all, destined forever to NEVERLOVE?

About the author:

Born and raised in Little Rock, AR, Angela now calls Central Texas home.

Reading and writing have been lifelong passions. It was around the time she gave birth to her forever-love, nicknamed Chipmunk, that she really took writing seriously. After all, how could she teach her child to follow her dreams if she hadn't tried herself?

As a YA fantasy/sci-fi reader and author, she favors the magical, mysterious, the darker side of life...even harbors a secret fright for things that go bump in the night.

Find Angela here:

Amazon author page