Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cover Countdown: Twist (Mageri Series #2)

SHINE (Mageri Series: Book 5) will have its cover reveal on DECEMBER 4.

This is a countdown of Mageri covers. Yesterday I featured Sterling and today we're going to talk about TWIST (Mageri Series: Book 2)

After Sterling was published, I didn't give a second thought to the cover for the sequel until I had to design it. Then I went into panic mode. The final result is what you see above, and I love the image. It took for-freaking-ever to get all the hues and sparkles to come out the way I wanted. I still wanted the cover to retain that mystical vibe, so I decided to add the same smokey fog effect.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the hell that is cover design. While Impulse (Book 3) took the cake with 65 mock-ups, Twist had more model choices than any other cover. The above is the final cut (ye gods, this isn't all) I was in misery trying to figure out which model was the right Silver, and what each cover really "said" to the reader. While designing my cover, I also play with titles. Yeah, I was really leaning toward enthrall. Not sure why. I really liked the top right because of a faded shot of Logan, but I decided I didn't want the readers to see it coming, so I scrapped that idea. Bottom 2nd had the roman coin (Nero wears around his neck), so I tried to play with little touches. I liked the girl on the bottom looking over her shoulder, but it seemed too coy to be Silver. That was the one I was leaning toward (specifically the third image with the city).

I toiled and toiled. You can see in the top images the idea of the key struck me. It symbolized her freedom - so a literal part of the book - but it also had symbolism from what was said to Finn in the end:

"As long as your mind and heart are free—no man owns you, no chains can hold you. The key to your freedom has always been in your own pocket.”

 The first image began to stick with me. The outfit resembled what she'd worn to the club. I liked that she was looking more confident.

This was the original image, and isn't it a coincidence she has red hair - like Zoe?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Cover Countdown: Sterling (Mageri Book 1)

I thought it might be fun to feature each cover the MAGERI SERIES until the cover reveal of SHINE on December 4. So I'm just going to display the purty covers and outline a few facts, particularly for those new to my books.

Well when I first designed the cover back in 2011, it didn't have that snazzy little moniker at the bottom. Who knew? I originally had a specific model I wanted but was unable to get her permission to use the photo. Back then, I was going directly to photographers. I can't tell you how upset I was, but maybe some things happen for a reason as this cover has been quite memorable with readers and the model/photographer was more than accomodating. I designed this cover using multiple layers: ground, lighting, fog, and background. I changed the color of her shirt and removed a pair of elbow-length fishnet gloves.

I really wanted the first cover to be a bit mysterious. These were two designs I came up with during the process and you can see below how I combined ideas. I was really close to using the second, but it looked like she was in a cavern. I kept the fog, tinted it blue, and got rid of the moon.

I've learned a lot about cover design since Sterling. Most importantly, how to brand a series. You really need to do this from the very beginning, and since I did not do this with the Mageri Series, each cover has been a challenge. I'm excited about the Seven Series because the books are really going to *feel* related. But I think I've done a pretty good job with the Mageri series.

This is the original image of the model and of all her pics, I was drawn to this one. You can see what I mean about those gloves. They would have looked pretty cool, but Silver doesn't wear anything like that in the books, and I try the best I can to stay true to the character.

And there you have it. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter (see link at top of my blog or on sidebar) for the latest updates and book releases.

SHINE cover reveal: December 4
SHINE release date: December 20

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pack Life

The BLOG TOUR for SEVEN YEARS has ended. Thank you to all the bloggers for participating, and Enchantress of Tours for getting that shindig on the road! It was so much fun and I hope that you guys enjoyed some of the guests posts I write up.

I figured I'd post a little about Seven Years, especially for those who are new to my books. I've noticed a few readers seemed confused or mistaken on pack rules/life. And, since my car has currently decided to conk out on me and I'm trapped in the house and unable to run my errands, now is a great time to write a little post about Shifters. Yay!

Ok, something that has come up a few times:

Shifters are supposed to mate for life.
Yes, and they mate for life in my books as well! Here's a quote:

“It’s not the same with us as it is humans. When we choose a mate, we mate for life. Some alphas have more than one mate, and that’s their prerogative, but loyalty is expected on both ends.”

“He’s hardly loyal if he has more than one wife.”

“If it’s consensual, it’s loyalty. If he strays outside of his females, it’s infidelity. His pack won’t respect him if his woman doesn’t.”

 In nature, not all wolves are strictly monogamous. It might be more likely because in nature, wolf packs are typically parent wolves and siblings/extended family. (and that would be just...ew) Shifters value lifemates and that's why they don't just mate with the first girl they sleep with, because when they do mate, it's going to be for life. I also like the idea of Shifters having a choice and that they're not just paired off with someone from birth, even though it's eluded to that some are born for each other. I think it's pretty clear Austin is the kind of alpha who would never have more than one mate based on how he delivered that line.  Shifters are also half human, so sometimes greed and power can go to an alpha's head. That can account for why not all packs are run exactly the same, and there are references to some who follow the "old ways" (which are barbaric).

Now, as to the "helping hand" part of the book, the alpha might have to intervene and help a female in heat. That's for the benefit of the pack so she can get through her cycle faster and doesn't get knocked up by a randy male who can't control himself.  But Austin also says the female stays locked up in her bedroom, so this isn't the golden rule. Each pack is run differently, and yes, this is addressed again in future books.

In each book, you learn a little bit more about Breed life. Too much world-building can detract from the relationships evolving in a romance, so with each book, you're going to learn a little more about Shifters. Also, while this book might feature the occasional Chitah or Mage, this series primarily focuses on Shifters, although there might be appearances by other Breeds. You really can't compare Mageri and Seven, because one is urban fantasy and the other is paranormal romance. Those tend to have two different approaches to world-building. :-)

It's been fun to portray Shifters in a realistic light, depicting how their lives might be if they lived in the real world. The great thing about writing a paranormal is there are NO rules, because they don't exist. I've done a bit of research on animal behavior (I even did this with cheetahs) It's important that when I'm writing an animal in a scene that I get the body language right as best I can. However, you have the right to deviate from reality because in truth, paranormals are not strictly animals. They are part human, so that allows for a lot of decisions and laws that are formed based on human motives. It was explained how they had once been slaves to other Breeds and were treated as lower-class citizens, so this will also cast a light on why some of them do the things that they do in order to feel empowered.

I'm so excited to see how well received the book has been and how much readers have been enjoying the humor, drama, and romance! I love each of the characters and I'm glad to see how many out there are fans of Denver, Maizy, Reno, Lorenzo, and others... just as much as the leads.

Where will the series go from here? The series as a whole focuses on the Weston pack, but each book centers on a new character. Yes, some of the books might be darker than others. You won't really be able to compare them because the stories will be so different, so there's going to be something for everyone. It's been an exciting challenge to write and i look forward to releasing the rest of the series!! Be sure to sign up for my mailing list to be the first to know when the date is scheduled for Six Months to be published. After that book, look for Five Weeks.

After book 2, I think I'm going to stop reiterating that these are not werewolves. (Click here for a great post I wrote a while back on the differences) Totally not the same as Shifters. You can skim through some of my previous blog posts and will find some fun facts I've posted about the Seven Series!

Hope this was informative! I'm always looking for ideas for a future blog post, so if you have any questions, please feel free to throw them my way and I'll see if I can address them in a future post.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Shine Release Date

I've been very busy with edits and am taking time today to update all the social media with the SHINE release date. I have scheduled SHINE (MAGERI SERIES: BOOK 5) to be released on December 20th, so mark your calendars!

Just as a heads-up, the paperback might be delayed, as well as iTunes. iTunes is very unpredictable as they take FOR-EVER to publish. The paperback might be delayed because it's closing near the holidays and it will require me to order proof copies until I'm happy. But the ebooks will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo for sure.

I could have waited until after the Christmas madness, because not many people are shopping for ebooks before the holidays. But I wanted to make the copy available to YOU as soon as possible. Some of you might be on vacation and have free time to read, so it'll be there. This is the last planned book in the series (please see my previous blog posts regarding this, in addition to potential Mageri world books), and is the largest book in the series. Woot! So you're going to get a big whopping story.

Tonight it's supposed to sleet, so I'll be curled up reading or watching movies. I can't really go anywhere because my headlight is out and my engine has been having problems turning over, so I need to get that looked at. I have chicken enchilada soup to tide me over during the freeze.

Remember that SHINE'S COVER REVEAL is next week! I'll be sending it out in my newsletter early, so be sure you are signed up. The full paperback cover will take place exclusively on my blog.

So much exciting news, and yet I'm completely exhausted after a laborious week of edits. I'm just going to spend my Thanksgiving week being thankful for my health and the good things that I've experienced this year. I have no idea what I'm doing for the holiday because of a family emergency that's come up, but I'm wishing you all a safe and happy holiday.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Attention Book Bloggers

Hurry and sign up!

The COVER REVEAL for SHINE will go live on December 4. This is the last planned installment of the Mageri series, so I hope you will be a part of it!


Thanks for your support!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Shine's cover reveal Scheduled

I have scheduled the cover reveal for SHINE (Mageri Series: Book 5) to be on December 4, 2013. If you are a blogger who is interested, please keep checking here or my Facebook page as I'll be posting a link to the sign-up very soon. So in two weeks, you'll finally have a cover to connect to the name, and a synopsis. Have I mentioned how I dislike writing those? It's like trying to summarize your life in one exciting paragraph.

I still don't have a release date set and I'm very careful about doing this because I want to make sure I can meet all deadlines and not disappoint anyone by having to push back a date. My goal is to give you something to read over the Christmas holidays.

I've organized a productivity schedule for myself so I can manage my time between different projects. Now I know which ones I need to focus on by specific target dates. I guess all those project management skills from my last job are coming in handy.

Last year I had fun with surprise giveaways on Christmas. I don't know if I'll be doing that this year since I'll be with family, but I do plan to make December extra fun with some unscheduled giveaways for you Mageri and Seven fans.

Sleepy Hollow last night? SO good!

And thank you for making SEVEN YEARS such an amazing success. It's still sitting in the top #200 on Amazon and many thanks to those of you who are taking the time to write up a review. The support for the Weston pack has been great. I had so much fun writing this book as it's a departure from the heavy undertones of the Mageri books, and I believe all authors need to stretch in order to reach a new audience. It's meant to be a lighter and enjoyable read, but don't expect the entire series will mirror the first book. It's going to be a bumpy ride - some books will take a dark turn and others full of humor. I'm discovering this as I get to know the personalities of the characters; their stories inevitably set the tone of the books, not me.

I mentioned this on Facebook but perhaps not here, that Mageri "world" books are not out of the picture. The Mageri Series itself will end with SHINE (I never close doors all the way, but this i my last expected book within this series), however I am writing a Mageri world book. Not sure what that means? It's different POV from a character within the series, but the storyline branches out. It's not a spinoff series but a stand-alone book that will simply offer you a little extra.

Since all my books take place in the same world, it's possible lives may intersect. We'll see how that plays out, but I guarantee you that there are stories to come that will capture your heart and imagination.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

USA Today Bestseller & Shine Teaser

I realized I announced this everywhere but my website, and I know a lot of you follow this page exclusively. I am beside myself to announce that I'm a USA Today Bestselling author. That and the New York Times are the two most coveted lists to get on, as they total all book sales across various retailers nationwide. Even better was being able to share the experience with five amazing authors: SM Reine, Kate Danley, Marie Hall, Deanna Chase, and Danielle Monsch. So as you might have noticed, I updated a few headers and my book covers as that is a moniker that stays with you forever.

So even if I end up getting a job down the road at Luby's, I'm still a USA Today Bestselling author. I'm very proud, honored, excited, and humbled. This is really a huge milestone and not one I will soon forget.

I'm also not losing focus of all the projects I have at hand, so today I'm actually doing some writing. Tomorrow I'm going to be lazy and catch up on reading - I'm at a point now between major projects where I can take some days off so it's nice.

But if you haven't grabbed your copy of this boxed set of Urban Fantasy, what are you waiting for? The overall retail value is $24 and we're giving you six full-length novels for 99 cents.



If you do not like teasers, look away. I don't like giving away all the good stuff or long snippets because it takes the joy away from reading those scenes for the first time. But I did want to post something, so I dug a little and found a snippet from Shine. I asked a few weeks back and readers wanted something from Logan (why am I not surprised?) so here is a small excerpt.

Please note this is unedited:

A deep vibration rose from his chest. Logan backed me up and the next thing I knew, I was lying on the hood of Justus’s sleek Porsche. What was once a vast collection of exquisite cars was now a collection of three, aside from the Ducati, which he rarely drove.

Logan’s ravenous tongue found a sensitive spot on my neck that made me crave his skin against mine. I slipped my hands beneath his shirt, scratching at his strong back. I loved the way Logan’s body felt. The taut muscles along his abs, the baby-fine hair on his arms and legs, the masculine cut of his jaw, and especially right now, the thick press between my legs. The hood of the car dented from our weight and Logan’s heated breath stirred a voice within me that wanted to say “to hell with it” and have sex right on top of my Ghuardian’s one-hundred-thousand-dollar Porsche.

“Wait, Logan. We’re going to mess up his car.”

When his tongue entered my mouth, the complaint was forgotten. 

Hope you enjoyed that little snippet. When I set the release date, I'll put it in huge flashing lights so you won't miss it.

Speaking of, DO NOT MISS OUT ON ANY ANNOUNCEMENTS! BOOK RELEASES, SPECIALS, COVER REVEALS, EXCERPTS, ETC.! Want to receive instant notification when the next book is released?
Then sign up for my newsletter!

I do not send newsletters on a weekly basis. It's only when I have something to announce.

And come say hi to me on Facebook

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Six Books for 99 CENTS

I get new visitors to this website daily. If you haven't already seen the boxed set, be sure to grab your copy. Six FULL-LENGTH urban fantasy novels, and firsts of a series, for only 99 cents. This bundle is currently a Top 100 Amazon Bestseller and Top 100 Barnes & Noble Bestseller. A great treat for yourself or a gift for a friend! A perfect opportunity to try out some new authors, and the books range from dark fantasy to fantasy romance. There's something for everyone.

Dive into six different worlds of vampires, demons, fae, fairy godmothers, mages, and all things magic. Prepare for a wild ride, whether you're looking for nail-biting drama, mystery, intense action, humor, new breeds of paranormals, or passionate romance. Indulge in this amazing boxed set from six bestselling urban fantasy authors:

SM Reine - Sacrificed in Shadow
Marie Hall - Crimson Night
Deanna Chase - Influential Magic
Danielle Monsch - Fairy Tales and Ever Afters
Kate Danley - Maggie for Hire
Dannika Dark - Sterling


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Reader Questions

I opened up the floor for reader questions in one of the Mageri groups on Facebook. Since I knocked out a bit of editing this morning and plan to go out to lunch, I thought I'd put aside my work and answer a few of them here. Randomly selected since I can't answer them all:

Q: In the Breed world, do the children attend normal schools or are they educated in Breed run schools and where will Maizy go to school?

A: This is addressed a little in books to be released. In my mind, there is no hard and fast rule because it depends on the family. Since there is an overall dislike toward humans, most of them have their own homeschooling set up, but it would always vary based on the individuals or community. Relics are more likely to go to human schools, even colleges.

Q: It was mentioned in Seven Years that Mage's are immortal, how is what they are different compared to the shifters. Cause we know they can die, right!?

A: Yes, a Mage is immortal as far as the word "immortal" goes. They do not age and they can rejuvinate through healing. They are called immortal, just as Vampires, because they have the potential to live forever. But like Achilles, everyone has a weakness and we can all die. The Mageri series makes mention of how a Mage can die, and one way is beheading. Shifters do age, but very slowly. Their lifespan varies based on the individual or even the strength of their genetic line, just as Chitahs. Shifters can also heal through shifting, however if they cannot shift and heal themselves, then that poses a problem.

Q: Will there be any Gemini in this series? 

A: That I can't say as I keep very tight-lipped in regards to all questions about future books. But I have written a stand-alone book about a Gemini which I hope to publish one day. I created the world, introduced you to some of the Breeds, but now the Mageri world is my playground and through each series I release, you will learn so much more about different Breeds from different perspectives. I will say that you will see more of a diverse cast through my urban fantasy books than paranormal romances.

Q: I am just in love with this world! Is there going to be cross over between the two series (Seven Years & The Mageri Series)? I just want to know if I should stop fantasizing about it!!

A: As it stands, yes, there will be a connection between the two books. The idea came to me a little while back when I was fleshing out the plot line for a future book. Seven series only fans won't know the difference, Mageri fans will get it and really enjoy it. I can't detail this out any further.

Q: I know that even you have to wait to find out where the story goes as you write them, but when you mapped out the Seven series to be six (or seven) books, did you decide before hand what each book was going to be about? Or did you just planned on the titles and will find out where it all goes as you write each one of them?

A: I am very much a pantser vs plotter, however I do get the foundation of an idea for future books while I'm writing current ones. I make notes, but sometimes those go out the window when I begin writing. I will say that what happens in book 3 was never meant to be. From the very first page of Five Weeks, the book took a complete left turn from what I had initially planned. So much for that. So in away, I have the ideas, but to some degree, the story becomes larger than me and determines its own fate. The titles will work themselves into the story as I go. As it stands, I have no idea who will be in book 5-6 (I know who, just not the order) I do have an idea on the final book.

Q: If you were to come up with a new Breed to introduce what would it be called? And what would their abilities be?

A: I have no idea! Making up a new Breed and name is more challenging than it seems. I conceived of: Chitahs, Relics, and Geminis. And while not technically considered a "Breed", let's not forget the new one in SEVEN YEARS mentioned. Won't say as it's a spoiler. If you can't remember, then time for a re-read. Everything else I put my own spin on (Mage, Vampire, Shifter, etc). However, there is a Breed no one has yet scene that has their own series (the last one I wrote before I began publishing). It is somewhat of an existing paranormal breed that is rarely written about, and I've put my own spin on it. But I can't divulge in any details.

What inspired you to write Maizy's character?

A: I'm not sure. The first book of any series is a true pantser book, and it wasn't until I hit that scene and Lexi was looking at the house that Maizy came bounding out the door. I didn't know the relation she was to Lexi until I began writing the scene. Perhaps I've taken a small piece of every child I've known in my life and  inserted them into that little girl, so full of life and spirit. The child who still believes in magic and fairytales.

If you have any questions, shoot them over to me and I'll add them to a list. I kept the others from this discussion and will see which ones I can address at a later time. Hope you enjoyed a little insight.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Top 100!

It's Monday! And that means Sleepy Hollow for me. It's my new addiction this fall, so we'll see how far that goes. He's kind of got that Christian vibe going on, well, without the foul mouth.

And as a fun little reminder to those who have just joined, Christian Poe was written into another book of mine (yet unpublished), so the Mageri won't be the last you see of him.

Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but again, we'll see how far that goes. ;-)

In other AMAZING news, Magic After Dark has managed to climb onto the Amazon and Barnes & Noble Top 100 Bestsellers! Gah, yeah, I'm really floored by that. Paranormal books are so difficult to get into the top 100 because we cater to a specific audience. These are a wonderful group of ladies and I'm proud to be able to share this experience with them. It's more exciting than if I had my own book hit the top 100, if that makes any sense. I feel like we're a team that just went to the Superbowl, and it's great to be able to offer encouraging words to one another. We all write fantasy books, and some write outside of that, but what we are offering in the box set will give readers a wide variety. Be sure to grab your copy while it's at the 99 cent price point (6 novels for under a buck. Hello!) or gift it to a friend (X-mas is coming!)

Support all these great authors stalking them online on whatever social media you prefer. They're wonderfully talented and aside from that, there's just an amazing positive vibe going on that's a great thing to have with those who work in the same field.

The SEVEN YEARS blog tour is in full force. Woot! Check out my blog page each day to see where the stop is next, and enter in the GIVEAWAY! You like free stuff, right? Of course you do! And I seem to like giving it away more than I probably But that's okay, because I love giving back to my readers, so that's why you also need to hang out on my Facebook page.

Speaking of SEVEN YEARS, thanks to all my readers. Just, thanks. Seeing the reviews going up has excited me about what all is to come in 2014 with the sequels. My betas are gobbling up SIX MONTHS at the moment. I'm pleased to know that it's also finding a new audience of non-Mageri fans, so that's really cool to see.

Austin isn't the only wolf in town that readers have been enjoying, at least, based on the poll on the sidebar of my blog. I love seeing those results because so often who readers are in love with aren't always my favorite characters. Sometimes they are, but the results are fun.

Today is my day off (mostly). I try to do that on Mondays if possible. I'm a tight crunch with finishing up my edits for SHINE (Almost typed MB5) by next week, so I probably won't slack off the whole day.

But just so you know, when this edit is done, I'm going on a reading binge for a bout two weeks with a "Do not disturb" sign on my door. 

On a side note, I'm planning some awesome giveaways for Shine. Yay! So follow me on Facebook (and visit my page frequently since all my posts won't appear in your newsfeed) and also this blog.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Post-Halloween Updates

I just wanted to post a few updates for readers on where I'm at with current projects.

SHINE (Mageri Series: Book 5) is currently in the last phase of self-edits. Scheduled to go to the editor this month. The cover reveal will be scheduled soon and while the front cover design is complete, I'm still working on the back page of the paperback, so I'm not sure if that will be part of the reveal. I need to get the back text down and I've had a lot on my plate this month. Release date not scheduled. I'm still aiming for late December.

MAGIC AFTER DARK - This bundled collection of urban fantasy novels is spiking on the bestseller charts. Already in the top 100 of Barnes & Noble and hanging out in the 100-200 of all of Amazon. Grab your copy because it won't be 99cents forever. This is also a great GIFT idea for a friend!

SIX MONTHS (Seven Series #2) - I've sent the book to the betas and they are reviewing. I do not have a timeline for release on this book as it's still in the early stages. But I'm guessing some of you readers are ready for the next one, so I'm working on it. ;-)

FIVE WEEKS (Seven Series #3) - 2nd draft complete. I've put this book on the back burner for now so I can focus on projects above. I have plans for the rest of the books mapped out on a document, but hope to begin writing Four Days sometime this year.

It's been a really crazy month for me; I never thought I'd have two book releases within two weeks, so I had a lot on my hands. I can't thank readers enough for all the really awesome messages you've left me. You guys just keep going out there are reading indie authors and showing your support for the ones you love, and we'll keep writing you the books you love.

Urban Fantasy vs Paranormal Romance

For those familiar with these genres, you know the style. It can vary based on series, but generally speaking, Urban Fantasy typically is told from 1st person POV and Paranormal Romance is 3rd person. Because paranormal romance relies heavily on the chemistry between two people, third person allows the author to give perspective to each character. Typically it's done in chapter or section breaks that flip-flop back and forth, but the Dark Hunters series was one for me to get used to because it shifts POV within the same page.The thing is, I think readers will adapt to any style, as long as they are connecting to the story.

I prefer writing 1st person. I do have a series to publish one day that is paranormal romance third person, but I'm still searching for my voice in that style so there isn't a disconnect. When I wrote the Mageri Series (Urban Fantasy), I went with 1st person, but really wanted the POV shifts, so I incorporated them into the story as needed in new chapters. I do it in 3rd person, and it allows another slice of the story to be discovered by the reader that is outside of the protagonists POV, so you are learning and hearing things she doesn't know about.

The Seven Series follows the same pattern and I went against third person. But writing these two books feels completely different, despite their similar styles. The continuing POV told from the same person in the Mageri books feels like putting on those comfy old slippers, sitting beside your sofa. They're snug, familiar, and you know what to expect. But with Seven, each book will focus on a new character and storyline, so that feels more like putting on those brand new shoes with the sleek heel and sexy curve. It takes a little getting used to, but it feels great to put them on. Each book of Seven is a challenge and a breath of fresh air for me to write. In a strange way, it's also giving me a break, and I think this will be extremely helpful for when I select my next urban fantasy series and settle into a new pair of slippers.

It's given me a greater appreciation for the writing style an author chooses in each book I read. There are many times an author begins a project and struggles with deciding which POV will tell the story best, and sometime we have to write a few chapters in before completely switching it. Readers seem to have their preference, regardless of what genre they read. So the next time you dig into a book and the style doesn't seem to flow with what's in the norm for the genre, give that book a chance and see how it works out. There are no set rules when it comes to style, there is only "commonly used". I honestly think indie authors have broken a lot of boundaries in the past few years with storytelling and are sometimes setting the trend, and I love that! It's why NA seems to choose the flip flopping 1st person POV between the two leads, giving each character their own chapter name. It's now the trend, but remember, it's not the rule.

There are no rules.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Reader email


Every so often, I receive an email that makes me sit back, finding it hard to concentrate. I've always taken care of how I write any "traumatic" event in my books. I deal with it as realistically as I can, and as true to the character as I can, without it detracting from the main story. I'm always cognizant that there are readers who might have gone through something similar. But each layer of of the story enriches the characters, gives them direction, and shows where they came from. So they become necessary evils to the story.

At the end of the day, it's urban fantasy/paranormal romance, and I want readers to come away from the story feeling entertained. Today I received an email that brought tears to my eyes. It's no the first time that's happened with readers, but I wanted to share this email because I'm hoping that it will inspire someone out there to change their life. Whether it's something you're going through or have gone through, or maybe someone you know.

The message below contains spoilers to SEVEN YEARS, so if you haven't read the book and don't want to see any spoilers, then come back. I wanted to take just a moment to get serious, because I've learned that sometimes the smallest things we think don't matter, actually do. So maybe posting this will matter to someone.

Upon her request, I have changed the names. Thank you "Sarah" for sharing your story or survival and hope and allowing me to give you a voice.


  I am almost done reading "Seven Years" for the second time.  Your craft in writing (not to mention steamy covers) is superb.  ...You make the reader care about the characters.  They come alive.  I have a special place in my heart for Alexia.  You see, I was that abused woman in her apartment.

  A long time ago when I was 22, my ex-boyfriend tried to kill me and almost succeeded.  He strangled me twice, nearly killing me the second time.  My best friend was in the next room, heard the struggle the first time and with the help of another friend peeled him off.  As she held me, comforting me, he lunged a second time and wrapped his hands around my throat.  That time I lost consciousness.  My friend tells me my tongue and eventually my face turned black.  Again, they pulled him off me and this time they managed to get him out of the room.  The police showed up and removed him from our apartment. 

  John was a big guy with large muscles and I was a tiny 5'2" 125lb waitress.  I went to the police, swore out a complaint, they photographed my eye where I had hemorrhaging and my neck that had a perfect set of hand sized bruises with lines of broken blood vessels from the space between his fingers.  I also obtained a protective order.  Later, when he was tried, he received a six month suspended sentence, $100 fine and six months of probation. 

  I am telling you all of this because it happened in 1984 and your book, so beautifully written, triggered me.  Therapy then and a couple years ago has helped me be a well adjusted mama to three great kids.  But, your writing brought up stuff I had forgotten.  If you did not write this based on your own experience or of someone close to you, I will eat my shoe.  Thank you for capturing in living color what it means to fight for your life.  Thank you for showing Alexia's irrational reaction to Austin's wolf when she remembered.  Thank you for this line in reference to her heeled neck: "the emotional ones left behind became fingerprints that would never wash away."  That is such a poetic way to describe the PTSD I still have when just the right set of events combine. 

  You truly are a rising star in the writing world.  And, thank you for giving voice to abused women, including me.  



Author's note:

Lexi's story in SEVEN YEARS is not specifically one of abuse, but of someone who survived Breakup Violence. Sometimes there are no signs of abuse in the relationship, but an individual can snap after the separation.  I didn't write Seven Years with any intention of it being a heavy read, in fact, it's a fun read with a lot of humor. But every story I write touches on at least one serious issue, and I try to handle it with care.

I wanted to share Sarah's story so we can remember how some of the events we read about in books are someone's real life story. Maybe even yours. Please use the Internet as a source of information and talk to someone. There are a number of websites that give the warning signs of someone in an abusive relationship, or may offer you help numbers to get you out of one. Women like Sarah are an inspiration because they are survivors, not victims. They have gone on to raise families and give back, so remember there is always hope. Never feel like you are alone. People like Sarah's friends who were there to help are heroes. I commend her for having the courage to talk about what happened to her, and not just that, but her followup email that touched on the positive things she took out of her experience.