Category Archives: Blood Lines

A New Year, A New Look

New Site!

So, it took longer than I expected…as many things do these days, but I finally revamped my site.

I’m using the WordPress 2013 theme, with some minor tweaks. I like it, because it’s responsive (e.g., will resize depending on which screensize you are viewing) and it’s simple and clean. Also, very easy to set up and use. I did love my old site design but it was getting a little ragged ’round the edges/dated.

One thing that is new here, is that I’ll no longer have comments open, mostly because what I got was spam, and very little interaction with real people. I’ll miss some of you, but definitely come find me on Facebook or Twitter. I tend to hang out more often on those two places because as part of my day job, I have to hang out on social media. Tough, huh? 😉

What I’ve Been Doing

The final audiobook of the Blood Lines series is done and up for sale at Audible.com and other places. Deciding to record my own audiobooks was a great idea, but definitely a lot harder in the execution of it. I should’ve known, as I did do some audio work back in the day, but I guess my brain thought digital would be easier.  Some parts, yes, but mostly, the process is still extremely time consuming.

I’ve been doing a lot of resting – mostly because with fibromyalgia, fatigue is very common and I find that I must break up tasks into smaller bits to get things done. I spend a lot of non-day job time at home, in my recliner, reading or watching shows/movies. My brain REALLY wants to be doing/moving/going, but my body, not so much. It’s really hard for me, who was once (and not long ago) in the middle of many volunteer groups, social (in-person) groups, etc, to really grok that I can’t do that anymore. I’m learning, though.

Right now, I’m experiencing winter, in all its glory. I’m very ready for spring.

What’s Next?

I don’t really know. I’ve got tons of great story ideas whirling about in my head, but my energy levels are far too low. I’m not giving up writing, only taking a hiatus until I can marshal more energy.

I plan to be at World Fantasy Con in DC this fall. It’s being held at the hotel directly across from my workplace, so yeah, I’ll totally be there. Just waiting for some money to come in so I can pay the reg fee.

Hope you’ve all had a happy holiday season and are heading for a fabulous 2014!

 

It's an Audiobook Giveaway!!

audiobook cover Blood HeatHi, all and sundry! Yup, it’s been ridiculous how long ago I last posted an update. I’ve spent a great deal of time on Facebook & Twitter, but less time blogging. Shall I blame the state of the world or just the state of moi? Probably a little of both.

I’ve finished recording the 4th book in the Blood Lines series, Blood Heat and in celebration, the wonderful folks over at Audible.com have given us 5 free copies of the audiobook to give away to interested reader/listeners.

A free audiobook??? How do I get that, you ask.

Simple, it only takes a couple of steps to enter the random drawing no later than midnight, 4 July, 2013 (Eastern Daylight Time/GMT -4):

1. Comment here on my blog or my LiveJournal post or Facebook with a new or new-to-you favorite book, story, tv show, movie, gadget, etc. Tell me why you love it and why I should check it out/try it.
2. Spread the word – Tweet, post the link to this giveaway on Facebook, LiveJournal, Dreamwidth, any social media and make sure to @ mention me or give me the URL in your comment.

On Friday, July 5, I’ll randomly (via random.org) pick the names of the winners.

Winners will receive a redemption code for 1 copy of Blood Heat, the audiobook via Audible.com. You must provide me with your email address so I can send you the redemption information.

In other news, life continues to crawl along. More on that later.

If you have any questions about the giveaway, please feel free to comment or email me!

Happy almost-July!!

My Next Big Thing Blog-Hop

They’re everywhere. They’re everywhere. Authors all over the intarwebz blogging about their “Next Big Thing”.  I’ve been tagged by the fabulous Sujata Massey in her blog post. I figured I’d play along and talk about my current project which is the audio narration of my books. 🙂

What is the working title of your next book?

I’m currently working on recording the audio for the last 2 books in my Blood Lines series: Blood Heat and Blood Sacrifice. Audiobooks for the 1st three are now available on Audible.com.

 

Where did the idea for the book come from?

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…uh, no, strike that. I got the idea for the series from a kernel of a dream/amusing thought once upon a time. It eventually morphed into what’s out there now.

 

What genre does your book fall under?

Urban fantasy – or, should we call it contemporary fantasy? Urban implies nitty gritty noir-inspired city setting, but my series is set in very rural Texas – only, it’s not the Texas you  might think it is.

 

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

Such a question! I’ve pondered, searched and pored over IMDB to answer this in other Q&A blog posts, and I have yet to find anyone who physically resembles Adam at all. For Keira, it’s a toss up between Katie McGrath of Merlin and Jaimie Alexander (Thor).

For Tucker & Niko – oh, so easy: Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston (Thor, The Avengers). They are perfect!

 

What is the one-sentence synopsis of the book?

Mystery, mayhem, murder and politics in the Texas Hill Country…of the supernatural kind.

 

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

The audiobooks are published via Audible.com.

 

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your masterpiece?

Each audiobook takes a couple of months of working weekends to record, master and upload the files. This was rather a surprise to me, as I didn’t expect it to take so long. Each book is about 10 hours or so of recorded audio, which translates to about 30-35 hours of actual work.

 

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

Again with the loaded questions! ::g:: I’d say my stories tend to fall in between Tanya Huff’s Vicky Nelson series and Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series.

 

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My main inspiration was having read Tanya Huff’s series back when it first debuted (early 90s). I immediately fell in love with the idea of writing a fantasy novel based in the contemporary “real” world. I was also devouring a lot of Charles de Lint at the time, another wonderful Canadian writer. De Lint’s world was populated with magic and mystery. He opened the doors to Faery and hooked me completely. Tanya, on the other hand, showed me how I could combine my two loves: mystery books and fantasy books by merging both those worlds successfully.

 

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

I love to tell folks that the books are narrated by me. I’m enjoying the heck out of doing the recordings. A reader once told me he could hear my voice when reading the books (they are 1st person narrative) and doing the audio for them lets me project that voice so others can actually hear it.

 

That’s my .02 on the Next Big Thing. Thanks for stopping by. I tag my fellow Outer Alliance members!

Readers, why not spend awhile checking out the other Next Big Thing Blog posts?

Back in the saddle…aka, it's been a long time since I posted

I have no excuses, just that my life is a series of busy-ness, dealing with health issues and all the usual stuff that makes up, well…life.

 

The great news, I finished recording Blood Bargain, and it’s now for sale as an audiobook via Audible.com or iTunesBlood Bargain audio cover art

 

Soon, I’ll start recording Blood Kin, for your listening pleasure. ::g::

 

A lot of folks have been writing me, asking me about the fate of the Blood Lines series. I’m afraid that at this point there are no more books as Pocket isn’t continuing the series. I’m concentrating on the audiobooks right now and am contemplating various options after that. I’m actually not sure at this point. There is always the direct-to-ebook option and I have not discarded that idea at all. I just need to focus on the recordings first and then move forward.
I’m extremely heartened by these emails, though. It’s wonderful to hear from my fans and know that they love the books. So often, we writers send our work out into the aether and don’t get much feedback outside of our editors. It’s lovely to be able to correspond with our readers.

 

I hope you’ve all been having a great & safe summer!

Happy Holidays, Blessed Solstice to all

Home for the holidays – doesn’t that just sound GRAND? I’m spending my long weekend (4 days) in the comfort of my lovely apartment with Kit: an introvert’s dream weekend. 🙂

For my holiday dinner, I’d thought to get a spiral cut ham, only they seem to come in size large, larger and ginormous! A wee bit too much for me alone. Instead, I visited several local area shops and picked up a smorgasbord of delightful treats. Serrano ham and a variety of cheeses from Cheesetique, lovely rosemary & olive boule from Harris Teeter and for dessert, eggnog frozen custard from the Dairy Godmother. No formal meal, just a bit of a lovely nosh. There’s also wine.

Other awesome things:

Matters of the Blood - audiobook cover image Matters of the Blood is now available for purchase as an audiobook! Narrated by yours truly, it’s available via Audible.com. I’d love for you all to spread the word, especially to those of your friends who love audiobooks.

My Agatha award nominated short story, The Butler Didn’t Do It will soon be live as an eBook for Kindle. It’s currently available at Barnes & Noble and on the iBookstore for a whopping $.99! It’s a bit of a twist on the English country house mystery and was nominated for Best Short StoryButler cover

Speaking of Malice Domestic, I’ll be attending Malice 24 next spring in Bethesda. I think this will be my 12th one? I definitely credit this con with getting me started in my writing career. I met tons of awesome people and have gotten to rub elbows with brilliant writers. If you are local, don’t miss this? If you’re not local, think about attending. It’s a really great conference.

2012 will be another quiet year. Not so much traveling. Not even the usual family trip as we’re planning a big trip in 2013 to the UK. Whisky & Wales! Looking forward to that.

Happy Holidays to all of you!! What are your plans for the balance of 2011?

Research: boon or bane? Plus bonus! Blood Lines content & a contest!

Remember those dreaded words: research paper? How everyone in class groaned, kvetched, grumbled and bitched?

Dictionary/notebook Thing is, even though I toed the party line (high school is the bastion of conformity!), when I first discovered/was taught how to do research on a topic, I knew I’d found my holy grail. No. Really. Even now, the thought of researching something has my wee heart all aquiver.

  • Discovering new information? Check.
  • Uncovering data? Check.
  • Learning new things? Check.

Sure, not all research is equal. There’s a world of difference between poring over hundreds of lines of accounting journal entries in a contemporary office setting and reading a sixteenth century ship’s manifest. Though, I will admit, for some, the former makes them salivate. I’m good with that. For me, the latter is both cake AND pie with sprinkles of chocolatey goodness.

Whether researching for a school paper or for a novel or essay, it’s like the best kind of crack; the world’s biggest and most bewitching scavenger hunt. In school, I devoured the “how to”, learning about primary vs. secondary sources, learning to use the card catalog and deciphering the Dewey Decimal System. The library was Mecca in so many ways. Not just as a place for wonderful fiction, but a repository for all this gathered knowledge about us. About people: how the live(d)/work(ed)/play(ed)/exist(ed). How can that not be utterly fascinating? Library shelf

I could lose myself for hours in the stacks as one research source led to another and another and yet another. Piles of musty volumes at my elbow as I uncovered correlations, relationships, cultural and socio-political intrigues.

Therein lies the bane: the absolute addiction of research compounded by the current ease of discovery with the Internet. How on earth am I able to come up for air? Frankly, it’s really, really difficult sometimes. When I’m immersed in reading, for example, about daily life in the Tudor Court, it takes every ounce of willpower I have not to let myself get dragged into sidelines like women’s medicine in sixteenth century England and how that affected fashion. It’s an ongoing puzzle that begs to be put together like a complex Lego design: bricks upon bricks of data, interwoven and creating a pattern of interlocking information that eventually paints a picture of life.

Because that’s what entrances me: the mundane day-to-day cultural and societal aspects of humanity. How we do things. How we get along. How our tribal groups are/were formed. Egads, I’m doing it now! Hijacking my own blog post to wax rhapsodic about my passion. Hee!

The good part is that world-building and character-building allows me to take this addiction and channel it into productivity. You can see why I write. I have to explore all the things. All the ways we (as humans) fit together in social groups and behaviors. It’s a never-ending range of possibilities and I, as a writer, get to explore how ever many of them I want to.

When I construct my characters, my worlds, even in a short story, there’s a lot that my readers never see. Small bits of knowledge that shape who they are, like what toothpaste they use or their reading habits. It’s part of my research lust: I need to create believable people who seem real, whether they are protagonist, antagonist or catalyst…even tertiary characters get this treatment.

It’s not always fully conscious. I’ve not actually sat down and created a character sheet or biography for everyone, but it’s all definitely in the back of my head, humming along as I write. It’s kind of the DVD commentary version of things.

A while back, I created a “20 Things” list based on an internet fandom meme (e.g., tell me 20 things about xxx character(s) that we don’t already know). This list is included in my recent eBook: Collected Works from an Unrepentant Writer and was written sometime around the third series book. I think it’s time to revisit this and show you a glimpse behind-the-scenes as it were. This time, I’ll borrow from the 4 Things About You meme. Instead of focusing on Keira, this time, it will be all about Tucker.

Tucker Kelly’s 4 Things:

Four jobs I’ve had in my life:

  • Marauder
  • Bodyguard
  • Chef
  • Translator

Four places I have lived:

  • London
  • Vancouver
  • Reykjavic
  • Swansea

wine, grapes, bottle

Four places I have been:

  • Giza Necropolis, Egypt
  • Stonehenge
  • Gullfoss Falls, Iceland
  • Hôtel de Glace, Canada

Four of my favorite foods:

  • Beef
  • Venison
  • Duck
  • Sausage

Four of my favorite drinks:

  • Wine
  • Cider
  • Mead
  • Chimay

Four places I would rather be right now:

  • In bed
  • Sleeping
  • With Niko
  • Not sleeping with Niko

Four things that are very special in my life:

  • Niko
  • My sister, Keira
  • My place in the family as Keira’s Protector
  • My strength, so I can protect my sister

So what do you think? Tucker can sometimes have a bit of a one-track mind, si? ::g::

The Contest!

Readers, I’d like to hear some of the things that you know about my characters from reading the books and imagining. From your perspective, what’s something you’ve gleaned or thought about the gang? Do you know what kind of toothpaste Keira uses? Or perhaps what Adam’s favorite TV show is? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

I’ll pick one commenter at random and send them a free copy of Collected Works from an Unrepentant Writer in PDF, .mobi or .epub format.

New eBook from moi: Collected Works From an Unrepentant Writer

I’ve finally done it. I’ve been talking about it for a while, but now, it’s done and officially here.

Collected Works cover That’s right, my first ever made-by-me ebook.

What is it?

A collection of blog posts and essays plus bonus Blood Lines series content.

Where can you buy it?

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon FR

Amazon DE

Barnes & Noble

Hope you like it & please spread the word!

ETA 12/10/11: I’m not longer offering Paypal PDFs, thanks to the stupidity of Paypal in the Regretsy situation. Sorry.

So that happened…aka boy, what a week!

Uhm, yeah, so hi, all. What a rather fraught week this has been.

Simply Red tow Little did I know that the tire blowout on the 3rd would turn into major repairs for my wee Smart! Turns out that due to a bizarre confluence of events, when the tire blew, the car jerked sideways (I must’ve hit the left curb due to the blowout?) – which caused a small part in the rear axle to bend a little, and threw the car out of alignment.

Long story short: Simply Red is still at the mechanics because the entire axle has to be replaced (can’t just replace the 1 part, because it’s a unit). Sigh. No car now for nearly a week (the 2nd time around…the 1st was when the idjits at the tire store couldn’t find a tire to replace the blown one).

Yesterday, I talked to my car insurance company and hallelujah!–it looks like they will cover at least part of the cost (est. $1700) plus I get a rental car.

It all sounds so simple and handleable when typed into neat paragraphs, but the situation kept unfolding in a series of phone calls and visits to the mechanic over a period of 2 weeks as they discovered in spurts what was really wrong…and then the price tag kept getting bigger and bigger and I got more and more frustrated and depressed. That, plus a nasty reaction to my current meds earlier in the week and I was so not a happy camper.

But the tides have turned and lo! I am once again hanging in there. 🙂Clothespins_8129 image from Morguefile

In other news:

  • Matters of the Blood audio recording is DONE. It’s just now waiting for the official seal of approval by Wildside after review. Then it will be available on Audible.com for purchase.
  • I’m still taking comments, feedback on my questions from last week re: Kickstarter & other projects. Would really love to get y’all’s opinion!
  • Next week is Thanksgiving in the US. Normally, I’d go visit a friend or family. This year, I’m totally hanging out at home, cooking myself a turkey breast (yum!) and indulging in a little staycation. I’m sooo looking forward to it!
  • I’ve begun recording Blood Bargain and hope to make a lot of progress over the weekend. My goal is to get at least one more audiobook done and up for sale by the end of the year.
  • I finished reading The Hunger Games. Okay, wow. So now I know what the fuss is all about. I’m totally looking forward to the movie.

Roasting turkey image from Morguefile
What’s been happening in your world? What new/old books have you discovered or re-discovered? What are you doing for the holidays? Enquiring minds want to know!

Audiobooks, Cheese & Chocolate & New Projects

A lot of things have been going on in my world over the past week or so.

* My current project:
** As of this moment (Thursday, Nov 10, 2011) I am nearly done with the audiobook recording for Matters of the Blood.
** 22 of 23 chapters are recorded  My recording setup
** I need to re-record chapter 8
** 7 chapters + opening & closing credits are recorded, QA’d and converted to MP3
** 5 minute sample converted to MP3 for uploading
** I need to QA (e.g., listen to) and then convert the remaining recorded chapters (9-23)
Goal: to finish the last bits and get all the files uploaded to ACX (Audible) by the end of the weekend.

* It’s been a GORGEOUS weather week here in Alexandria. Temps in the low 60s, sunny and just lovely. My lunch buddy Janna and I went to Cheesetique yesterday for lunch. They’ve debuted a new menu that not only added some yummy selections, but also include my old favorites. I ordered their Madrid Melt sandwich, one of their grilled cheese variations: Manchego, Jamón Serrano and membrillo on pain levain accompanied by mixed green salad. UTTER perfection!

Afterward, I splurged on a bottle of wine as a gift for my buddy Sherrie, who’s throwing a little soiree on Saturday. I chose a Spanish Red, Vivir Vivir. Sounded interesting. I also had to pick up some artisanal chocolates. The Fleurir “The Great Plains Bar” was simply out of this world. Salted breadcrumb in a dark chocolate blend. The other bar I picked up but have yet to try is the Poco Dolce Five Spice Bar. I love discovering nifty new tastes and Cheesetique is a great local store/restaurant. Great Plains Chocolate Bar

* On the writing front, it’s been rather slow. My main concentration right now is the audiobooks. It’s rather time intensive. For each recorded hour of audio, I put in about 2-3 hours total. So for 1 novel (approx. 11 – 13 hours)… well, do the math. My M.O. is to record for 4-5 hours in the morning (Fri/Sat), then rest my voice. Since I’m in charge of the whole production: including quality control and final electronic files, it’s not like I can just sit & read into the mic and record then turn it all over to someone else. As I said, I’ve only done the one so far, but it seems to work out for me best to do it this way. One thing I have learned: I’m a HUGE control freak concerning the sound of the narrative. I know EXACTLY how it’s supposed to sound in my head. Heck, of course I do, I wrote it. I think it would’ve been VERY difficult to have decided to go with someone else as a narrator. Again, this is totally my own quirk and YMMV.

I do have about 8 short stories in various stages of completion plus one that is teasing itself into substantiality in the back of my brain–aka, I have the idea, the character, but not a specific plot. I figure that as soon as I finish all 5 audiobook recordings, I’ll get back to the stories.

* Kickstarter
If you’ve never heard of it, you should go check it out. It’s a fabulous crowdsourcing site for creatives. From film to novels to pretty much anything that can be considered a creative/artsy endeavour, you can find it here. I’ve personally funded six campaigns, and am ecstatic that I could be a contributor to two campaigns run by fellow UF authors, C.E. Murphy and Laura Anne Gilman.

In fact, they’ve been so successful, I’m considering running a small campaign myself. What do you guys think? I’ve got a couple of thoughts:
* a follow up novella to the Blood Lines series continuing the story after Blood Sacrifice
* a middle grade novel, probably UF/adventure/mystery starring a young protagonist who happens to have 2 moms (this grew from a comment a co-worker made to me that her 8 year old son, who loves to read, can’t find books that mirror his family (2 moms). The focus will NOT be on the fact that there are 2 moms, that will just be a part of the kid’s family. I’m planning it to be a good, fun read for that 9-12 age range or so. This is still a bit amorphous, as I’m way behind on current middle grade fiction. But I really do want to do this.

* EPublishing/What’s Next in Lima Land
A lot of Intarwebz kerfluffles about direct/self e-publishing vs. whatever else. I’m of the opinion that a person must find the right path for herself, and maximize potential. That said, I do have plans to e-pub a few things, none of which are suitable for commercial/legacy/NYC publishing houses.

Ideas so far:
* a collection of blog posts/essays by moi – probably at a fairly low price point
* some short stories (perhaps some of those 8 mentioned above)
* other ideas that are still too vague to describe

* Your feedback is important
I could do none of this without you all–my fans and friends and family.

Would you guys be interested in any of the above? Kickstarter? Epubbed books? Do you think that they would be successful enough (translated to mean: I get enough payment to offset my time/effort costs plus make some income)?

If I did do a Kickstarter campaign, what would you be most interested in funding? A novella in the Blood Lines universe? Short stories about the various characters? Something else entirely?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Shouting it from the rooftops…RT Awards 2011

Sometimes, even shouting from the rooftops (or the 2011 equivalent: Facebook) doesn’t seem enough. Mainly, because I’m still pinching myself to make sure it’s real!

Blood Sacrifice coverI found out Monday evening that I’d been nominated for a very prestigious award. Namely, Blood Sacrifice (and specifically Keira Kelly) is on the short list for the 2011 Best Urban Fantasy Protagonist award from RT Book Reviews.

For those of you unfamiliar with RT, they are a fabulous magazine who also throw a massive annual convention for book lovers. Their Reviewer’s Choice Awards are given each year in spring to leaders in several genres.

I am in fabulous company for my nomination category and am happy for us all. For the full list of nominees, check out the RT site November 14,2011.