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Book Blog Tour – Blood to Fire


You will very shortly be heartily sick of seeing my name around the interwebz, as I’ve signed up for a virtual book tour through Book Monster Promotions. Over the next few weeks you’ll see me at these fine locations:

3/16 – Book Monster Reviews

3/17 – Jocelyn Dex Blog

3/19 – Beach Bum Reads

3/20 – Toot’s Book Reviews

3/21 – Over The Edge

3/24 – Mad Hatter Reads

3/25 – United by Books

3/30 – Alexx Mom Cat’s Gateway

4/01 – Riverina Romantics

4/02 – Page Flipperz

4/03 – Paranormal Book Club

4/04 – Close Encounters With The Night Kind

4/05 – Cocktails and Books

4/07 – The Reading CafΓ© (3:00pm post)

4/09 – Books-n-Kisses

4/10 – Wicked Readings

4/11 – Deal Sharing Aunt

4/12 – Book Lovin’ Mamas

Thanks in advance to all the bloggers who agreed to host me! πŸ™‚

Publication Day?

BtF_coveridea_01a_600You’d think it would be exciting: I finished all the editing and formatting and have submitted my third novel to Amazon for vetting and publishing. Instead, I feel … tired.

My class this session is heavy lifting about ethics and law and requires a 5-7 page paper on a weekly basis, on top of class participation and tests. Work has been intense, and I think the whole world is suffering under the miscommunication inherent in the Mercury Retrograde experience.

So releasing a book in the midst of that feels fraught. Especially in light of conflicting reports I’ve read about fair use of old lyrics. I’ve done my due diligence. My quotes contain key hints about character and plot development–in other words, the story doesn’t make sense without that scene (it came to me in a dream so I’m doubly loath to redact), and it doesn’t make sense with any other artist or lyrics. According to Bernard Star, this falls under fair use. Then there’s everyone else, who’ve shared horror stories about being charged thousands of dollars in licensing fees.

So I’ve tried to get in touch with the copyright owner. I’ve gone through several iterations of research. They apparently don’t want to talk to me.

I’m going to say at this point that silence is implicit approval.


We’ll see whether publication changes that.

Now, it’s on to finish my formatting tasks and keep up with blogging and schoolwork, and I will have accomplished almost everything I set out to do at the beginning of this round of ROW80. Check out how my fellow ROW80 participants are keeping up with their goals.

Cover Reveal: Blood to Fire

BtF_coveridea_01a_600Tonight, despite the blizzard outside, the cockles of my heart are blazing: I Haz Cover Art!

One thing I love about indie publishing: It allows me control of imagery and branding for my books. And Gayla is awesome to collaborate with in the process of refining graphic ideas and how they might play in our target market.

The result is the beauty you see here.

I could go on about the challenge of doing photo-realistic covers in the fantasy genre, and the nature of font selection… but I’ll let that remain the mystery it should be for a reader who’s shopping for their next book and happens to stumble across what I’m sharing with you now.

So: For anyone waiting for book 2 of the Red Slaves series, or anyone who wants to try out a book that walks the line between contemporary fantasy and paranormal romance… WITH DRAGONS–your wait is almost over.


Hump Day Hook: Red Slaves 2 – Blood to Fire #HDH Take 4

hump-day-hookBlood to Fire is with my editor now, I’m anxiously awaiting her feedback, and I’m working on cover art development with my fabulous publisher.

So, to keep myself from bouncing off the walls too much as I complete the final steps in producing my third novel, I will share another snippet from the book.

In this scene, Anne discovers that her friends and compatriots are striving to help her feel at home–even if it’s her first Christmas apart from her family:

I’m stunned at the magnitude of the changes to this space. It had been cozy in the way of the great New York library, with conversational groups of couches and chairs at the edges of a vast cavern holding an untold number of books. The ceiling is still lost to the shadows, but with the new rock formation and the massive tree we’re facing, all of a sudden I feel like Clara in The Nutcracker: a child dwarfed by wonder.

“How did this happen?”

“Do you like it? Did we get it right?” Ivan’s anxiety is transmitting though the tense hold he has on my waist.

“This is stupendous. When did you do it? How did you have the time to get this all in place in an afternoon? Were Vasily and Fyodor faking it?” The questions tumble out of me in an urgent stream. Then I shake myself. Where are my manners? “Thank you!”

Hump Day Hook asks authors to post one paragraph (sorry, I can never leave it just at that!) of one of their stories, whether a WIP, one contracted, or already published. Please visit and comment on the participants – you might just stumble on the next great read for your library! To see more participants, click on the HDH banner.

dun, Dun, DONE

dream-new-dreamGiven how long it’s taken me (remember, I’m used to fast drafting, as a habit established during two, consecutive successes at NaNoWriMo) I’m almost surprised to finally be able to say it: Blood to Fire is now with my editor. It’s already been through two critique passes, and the tender mercies of EditMinion, (please, no more editorializing on my unfortunate writer’s tick of adding “a little” to almost every description!) so I’m feeling confident in describing it as another improvement on my novel writing capacity.


I’m also feeling confident in predicting that the editing and production will be done well before this round is done, meaning that I Will MEET my top three goals. Which calls for a happy dance. (Please, everybody join me, otherwise I’ll feel lonely bopping to silence in my office chair…)


I finished the novel writing, and was promptly attacked by plot-bunnies for not one, but a trilogy of short stories for a horror anthology KKP is planning to produce later this year–and got halfway done writing the first one.

With all that fictionalizing, I even managed to complete all my school assignments again this week. So I’m feeling super-productive… except for the fact that I only posted one blog entry in the past week. I’m not feeling too badly about that, really, because out of the blue yesterday my blog had an explosion of traffic. Somebody in Ohio apparently really wanted to read every page I’ve ever produced. It was a little spooky watching Google Analytics report a ten-fold increase in my normal daily traffic, with most of it being from that one location. Maybe I need to revisit my birth state on a marketing tour, since I seem to be popular there.


The most important thing I read this week: An article by the ever-pointed Chuck Wendig on his Terrible Minds blog. I suspect his reminder that to be a writer… we Must Write! was part of my inspiration to be so productive with my word production this week. It’s worth the reminder for the rest of you, if you happened to miss it when it came out on the 13th.

Meantime, here’s the link to the list of the other ROW80 participants; explore, and see whether they’re keeping up with their goals, too.

Hump Day Hook: Red Slaves 2 – Blood to Fire #HDH Take 3

hump-day-hookI’ve started the critique and editorial process on Blood to Fire, and am getting more and more excited about sharing the final result with you in a few weeks. In the meantime, you get to make do with yet another snippet:

You ask so many questions at once it’s difficult to get a word in edgewise. Of course I know where other dragons are. We are here in the western edge of the Himmapan.

Seriously? That place is real?

If you would stop interrupting, I could finish answering your previous questions.

I’m all but vibrating in my urgency to understand how we could have landed in a mythical, mystical place, and lean in to show my close attention.

The mythical always has its basis in reality; in this part of the world, our separation from standard geography took place at about the same time as it did in the west, with the retreat of Avalon–and much the same effect. Magical creatures of great power can still make the transition, but it happens much more infrequently with the greatly reduced population of magic-bearers.

I could listen to this lecture all day, so creep closer and settle down. I notice Ivan, too, has wedged himself tight against me, with one wing unfurled across my back. For once, I don’t care whether he is acting possessive. Vasily and Fyodor have also rejoined us, and are fixated with rapt attention on Shr-Zen. I’m glad this time it’s not a voodoo transference, and vow to catalog all the sensory inputs to make sure I don’t miss any of the details.

Hump Day Hook asks authors to post one paragraph (sorry, I can never leave it just at that!) of one of their stories, whether a WIP, one contracted, or already published. Please visit and comment on the participants – you might just stumble on the next great read for your library! To see more participants, click on the HHH banner.

Hump Day Hook: Red Slaves 2 – Blood to Fire #HDH … Reprise

hump-day-hookI’m plunking along on Blood to Fire, so you get another sneak peek this week:

“At some point soon, we’re going to have to take a trip in to Omsk. The Christmas market is a lot of fun, and it’s been forever since we’ve been to the banya together.”

I laugh. “You have either a cleanliness fetish or an obsession with secrecy. This is a dragon cave; how would the KGB even know to place bugs here.”

She lowers her eyebrows ominously. “You can never be sure of what the KGB has discovered. Remember, Natasha said her flight’s agreement was with the government, so there are documents somewhere. Which means there could have been an attempt to survey this space, too.”

Hump Day Hook asks authors to post one paragraph of one of their stories, whether a WIP, one contracted, or already published. Please visit and comment on the participants – you might just stumble on the next great read for your library! To see more participants, click on the HHH banner.

Hump Day Hook: Red Slaves 2 – Blood to Fire #HDH


I’m getting so close to the end of book 2 of my Red Slaves series, it’s getting exciting. And since it has me in its claws, will be going to my editor in two weeks, and is coming out in a little more than a month… I thought it was time to start building some excitement about Anne’s ongoing story. She was a self-contained know-it-all in book 1, so she has a lot to learn in book 2, and there are some seriously fun scenes to write as I blow her mind time after time:

“This is going to be one of those culture clash things, where we have to agree to disagree. Again. I can’t imagine a time when being an individual isn’t more important to me than being part of any kind of group.”

“We will give you time. And we will create our own society. But you are no longer an American. You are my mate, the leader of our flight, and responsible for much greater destinies than were ever possible as a human.”

I mmph in an indeterminate response. If he thinks I’m going to cave on this one, he has another think coming. And why is it that these supernatural types always speak in such pretentious terms: Destiny? Life and Death? I don’t see anything as quite that important. Even if there are very few dragons left. Hundreds of species go extinct each year, and the likelihood that there is sufficient genetic diversity to make this or any future generation of dragons strong enough to continue or expand the race is small. Besides, I didn’t even know dragons were a reality until… recently? How long has it even been since Sam sent me on that fateful trip?

Hump Day Hook asks authors to post one paragraph of one of their stories, whether a WIP, one contracted, or already published. Please visit and comment on the participants – you might just stumble on the next great read for your library! To see more participants, click on the HHH banner.

Hump Day Hook: Blood to Fire #HDH

Hump Day HookOne of my crit pals, Sarah Cass, recently shared this meme by Kerrianne Coombs as another way of promoting our Works in Progress. The idea is to share a paragraph or two of what’s in train (or, what’s already published). Because it’s a blog hop, too, you get the chance to see what a bunch of other authors are working on as well–and the possibility of stumbling onto something new for your library. Click on the banner to see the other participants, and share commentary or feedback among the group.

Since I’ve been teasing you with progress on book two of the Red Slaves series, Blood to Fire, then, I figured you might like a preview of some of those words:

We laugh but fall silent again soon enough. I’m struck by how wildly my moods have been vacillating in the past 6 weeks. I can scream and laugh and cry all in the same hour–and do multiple times a day. I’m beginning to annoy myself with all this emotionalism. It’s not rational. It’s out of character. What else has changed in me? How much more will I change?

I’m startled out of my deep thoughts as we turn another corner and all but run into Ivan and Andrei. Olga skips and throws herself at her husband. “Did you miss me?”

“Of course! That’s why we came looking for you.” He’s caressing her face as if she were a rare, wild mink who had only barely allowed itself to be touched. It’s difficult to watch, but I resolutely keep my eyes away from Ivan. The semi-precious stones inlaid at the curve of the wall into the ceiling are more beautiful and intricate than I had previously appreciated. They almost look like living scales.

There you have it… part of my ongoing obsession with Anne, Ivan, and the rest of the crew from Dust to Blood.

The Next Big Thing: Blood to Fire

Justin Bog, a good friend from Twitter, is passing out tags these days: This one is to hear about upcoming work to be released… soon. Appropriately, it’s called The Next Big Thing.


According to Justin, his new book Wake Me Up “is a psychological family drama that centers on a crime and the fallout afterwards in Missoula, Montana. It needs one more copyedit and it will be ready to publish.” His blog is worth checking out and following for anyone interested in music, words, and travel.


Here are the rules:

Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress)

Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them, and link back to the person who nominated you.


1. What is the working title of your book?

Blood to Fire (Red Slaves #2)


2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

It expands on the scene from the dream that kicked off Dust to Blood.


3. What genre does your book fall under?

It’s back to the paranormal adventure/romance genre for this one.


4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

This was a new question for me, so I scrambled through and had some fun imagining actors I enjoy in current shows and movies playing these characters’ roles.

Stana Katic Alexander Skarsgard
For Anne, I think Stana Katic has the serious demeanor and unselfconscious beauty to carry the character through her trials. I love the complexity she brings to Detective Beckett in Castle. For her love interest, Alexander SkarsgΓ₯rd (if he just dyes his hair black!) has already proven he can carry the intense charisma of a supernatural being in HBO’s True Blood.

Willie Garson
Willie Garson’s work in White Collar is what made me think he has the ability to play a member of the Russian intelligentsia as Igor.

Teri Polo Tim Guinee
Teri Polo showed the quirky, smart sense of humor in her role in Meet the Parents that makes her beauty match Olga’s. Tim Guinee has had a number of guest roles, but it was his work as Major Allen in the Iron Man movies that made me think he has the right stuff to play a Russian pilot/soldier who sparks off of Olga.


5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Anne has to learn how to deal with the changes in her life that were brought about by her participation in the research about dragons from the first book in the series.


6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It will be published by Katarr Kanticles Press, a small, indie publisher.


7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

This is the first manuscript I’ve written outside of the NaNoWriMo framework, and I’m finding it a greater challenge than expected to continue producing words without the widget and deadline to spur my progress. So far I’ve been writing it on and off for about 3 weeks (starting in June, when I failed Camp NaNoWriMo).


8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

This story has elements of the fish-out-of-water heroine in Doppelgangster, and another book whose title I have blanked out (the series frustrated me) that had the only other dragon-who-had-a-human-form character I’ve read. It follows in the footsteps of Katherine Kurtz’s The Adept and its follow-on series: It’s set in a world we fully recognize for its historical fact (setting, politics, etc.), but includes mystical elements that are wholly drawn from fantasy.


9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I lived in Communist countries from 1978-84, so I dream about those circumstances periodically. I’ve always wondered what would make a population tolerate a totalitarian regime, so my dream mind solved the question with the stories in this series.


10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

This book continues the alternate history perspective I kicked off with the first book, that speculates that the reason the Communists maintained power for so long was that they were draining the mystical elements of their region and channeling them into something nefarious. In this case, it was dragons trapped in human form, and the journey of the first book was to help them regain their power. The second book is a natural follow-on, pushing them to use their power to fight fire with fire (if you’ll excuse the cliche).


For my five tags… rubs hands together… I’ve already been warned off by one author, so I have an angel on one shoulder and a demon on the other, debating whether to include her.


We’ll see how far we get before she gets added despite her protest. The author’s name links to their blogs and I’m including links to recent books after them, following Justin’s pattern:

1. Liana BrooksEven Villains Fall in Love and Fey Lights. I met Liana through Twitter, and thoroughly enjoy how she weaves science and logic into her story lines.

2. Kait Nolan: Red and Forsaken by Shadow. Kait is another Twitter buddy, and I have to give her props for creating ROW80, which is the only thing poking me in the back to keep adding words to my own manuscript.

3. Jane Isaac: An Unfamiliar Murder. She’s currently editing her sophomore novel, so I’m looking forward to reading more great stories from her in the future.

4. Dionne Lister: Shadows of the Realm and Dark Spaces. I can’t not include my editor. She’s become such an integral part of my process I look forward to every hour I get to chat with her about progress and process.

5. Jennifer James: Love Kinection and Long Time Coming. I also can’t not include the leader of my crit group. She’s another fun, interesting person, aside from the attention and focus she brings to her writing. I’m glad to have her feedback.

And look at that… I’ve run out of spots. Justin, this was a lot of fun, but now my evening has ended without me adding words to my WIP.


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