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Archive for the ‘Vampires’ Category


There are things in this world that can’t just be explained away, happenings that occur and evil that dwells in the darkest recesses of the Earth. Have you ever wondered what causes a darkness to settle over you, that eerie feeling that something just isn’t right? I know I have, and so has Detective Nikki Adams.

Nikki is a homicide detective for the Boston Police Department and she quickly discovers that there may be more to the Boston nightlife than good music and the corner bar. I’ve always admired women who stand up for what they believe in, no matter the circumstances. Nikki is bombarded with vampires, werewolves, and a dark secret her family has kept for generations, but she is still determined to do her job and keep Boston safe from the killer that is wreaking havoc on the city.

Snow Beast, the first in my new Dark Warrior series, delves into the world of the paranormal while inter-mingling my love for criminal justice. As a paranormal writer, I get to explore history, crime, and all the fascinating aspects of the unexplained. Setting the Dark Warrior series in Boston allows for a rich setting of history. My fascination with criminal justice is explored through the eyes of Nikki as she solves each case. Just to twist things around, Nikki discovers vampires are real.

Detective Stephanie Wills already knows this in The Christmas Present. Her family has been hunting vampires for years. She just doesn’t believe they are all bad. Stephanie’s life gets turned upside down Christmas Day when she is called in to her job with the Seattle Homicide Division, and there is a body drained of blood hanging suspended from the ceiling at the downtown art gallery.

Stephanie has to face her worst fears, and go vampire-hunting with her family before vampires drain the good citizens of Seattle. I live in the Northwest with my husband and son, and the area lends itself to mystery and suspense. With the sky darkened by rain clouds for most of the year, it’s easy to imagine the place infested by vampires. The Christmas Present is the first in a series called The Hunter Diaries, I look forward to releasing the next book Bite Me soon.

Taking these two brave women on a harrowing journey both dangerous, and full of possibilities, I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Excerpt The Christmas Present

Preview

Chapter 1

Large white flakes of snow floated down. Stephanie Wills stood on her back porch. Her finger trailed a path along the cold metal of the old wrought iron railing. It was Christmas Eve, and she was alone. The spot where her engagement ring had rested was bare.

Who needs men anyway? Stephanie raised the champagne glass to her lips. Not me. Nope. It had been the same all her life. One guy after another had left. Her damn family always chased them off, and Daniel was no different. She had waited this time, until she had a ring on her finger, and a wedding date set. It hadn’t done any good.

Stephanie’s brother had let the cat out of the bag, crashing in on their nice family dinner, looking like he’d been beaten and dragged through the dirt for a few hundred yards. She guessed that wasn’t far from the truth. Daniel had been fine with that part. It was when her brother yelled to secure the house, and her mother handed him a stake that things really started to turn.

The night ended with Daniel walking stunned from her parents home, after an all-out battle against a group of vampires. He’d asked for his ring back, and Stephanie was too proud to deny him. After all, who wanted to have a family of vampire hunters as their in-laws? A tear slipped down her cheek. She sniffed and wiped angrily at the tear, taking a gulp of champagne. Stephanie was giving up on men.

Christmas lights twinkled at her merrily. Perhaps she shouldn’t give up on men entirely, after all. They were so much fun to have around, most of the time. Maybe she could make a list; a New Year’s Resolution list. The New Year was just around the corner. People came up with lists all the time. Why not one for relationships? Knowing just what she would put at the top of her list, she wanted to get started.

Stephanie stumbled back into the house, glared at the Christmas tree in the corner of her living room, and made her way to the desk. Placing her glass on the desktop, she yanked open a drawer, pulled out a notepad, and rummaged around for a pen that would write. After several unsuccessful tries, she growled and marched over to her police jacket hanging from her coat rack. Stephanie pulled out the pen she knew worked, smiled at it, and sat down to write her list.

At the top, she scrawled Resolutions.

1) No settling for less, go only for eternal bliss – no more losers

2) Stay away from my family and all things supernatural

3) Lose 10 pounds

There. Stephanie racked her brain. She couldn’t come up with anything else right now, and her head was spinning. Glaring at her champagne glass, she pushed it back on her desk and stood up.

Maybe a good movie would take her mind off things? Wondering what was on the television she wandered over and pushed the power button on the remote. It’s A Wonderful Life flared on the screen and Stephanie grimaced. It was going to be all Christmas movies tonight. She flipped through the channels rapidly, and decided there wasn’t anything on that was going to make her feel any better. Powering off the TV, she leaned her head back on the arm of the couch. Perhaps she should just go to sleep.

Stephanie closed her eyes, and tried not to think of her fiancé, well, ex-fiancé. It didn’t help. Her head started to spin more. Restless, she popped her eyes open, and got up. Perhaps a good book would help. Her bookshelf called to her, and Stephanie pulled out her favorite. If she couldn’t find a man in real life then Nicholas would just have to do. Opening the first page, she began to read about the exploits of her favorite character, Nicholas Garreth.


About the Author

Serena Zane currently lives with her husband and her son in the Northwest. Working full-time at a day job, she also plays hard, and spends her free time studying the Middle Ages in a re-creationist organization called the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc (SCA). Much of her time is spent between training for heavy armored combat, learning about music in the 16th Century, and writing her novels.

Serena started writing at an early age with short stories, and poetry inspired by her mother, a strong independent woman who loves to help others, and wrote her own stories. Dark Hope was picked up and published by Southwest Publications in 2008.

In 2009 Serena became a member of Romance Writer’s of America, and has been working on her craft with the wonderful members of the Olympia Chapter. Though she does love the Middle Ages, and will most likely write a historical romance in the near future, she fell in love with the idea of writing a contemporary action/adventure romance while she was attending college to study Criminal Justice.

After months of working on homework assignments late at night that made her want to turn on every light in the house, she decided it would be a great idea to take some of the ideas running through her head and commit them to paper.

Serena has recently stared exploring the world of Short Story writing and will soon be releasing her first Short through Books To Go Now.

Link to author’s website or blog: http://www.serenazane.com

The Christmas Present

Books to go Now: http://www.bookstogonow.com/thechristmaspresent.html

Amazon Ebook: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006ASJQKQ

Amazon UK Ebook: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B006ASJQKQ

Barnes&Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1036585889?ean=2940013502369

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About the author

Bertena Varney, author of Lure of the Vampire and coauthor of Vampire News 2011 is from Winchester, KY, has lived in Lexington and Mt. Sterling and currently resides in Bowling Green, KY.

While in college she used all of her extra essays, projects and independent study classes to study vampires in pop culture….thus the creation of Lure of the Vampire.

She has been employed as a middle and high school as well as college instructor. Here past employers include Morehead State University, Eastern Kentucky University and National College and she is currently lecturing at Bowling Green Community College.

She found her love for pop culture at an early age and applied her knowledge and love to the recent craze of vampires to create her book, Lure of the Vampire.

She has been the guest star and presenter at the following events: The Witching Hour in Salem, Mass., Sirens Conference in Vail, Co, ScareFest, Dead Winter Con, Fandom Fest, Lexington Comic and Toy Con, Dance After Dark, Mystical Blood Lust, as well as local television and radio interviews. She has had book signings at Joseph Beth, Half Price Books, The Ghost Hunters Shop, National College, The Matrix and more.

She is currently a writer for True Blood on HBOWatch.com, Examiner.com and Yahoo Associated Content. Please read on to learn about the book as well as the programs that she prepared for all ages.

Lure of the Vampire is so fun to have that you will spend hours researching the links as well as the contributors of the various authors.

Sections include the following: Mythology, History, Literature, Movies, Television, Recreation, Children’s Vampires, On the Web, Education, and Real Life Vampires. There are lists, websites, essays, and interviews included in the book.

Lure of the Vampire: A Pop Culture Reference Book of Lists, Websites, and “Very Telling” Personal Essays is a perfect quick to grab reference book for the vampire fan or author. It’s concise enough to assist you in finding links to what you are looking for without our being too cumbersome and confusing.

Lecture and Workshop Tours

Here are options as to programs based on her book as well as her experience as a freelance writer, book reviewer, and book promoter:

Overall lecture and PowerPoint on all sections of the book- history, mythology, movies, books, television, games and more.

Vampires in Literature focusing on Adult Books.

Vampires in Literature focusing on Young Adult Books.

Vampires in Literature focusing on Children’s Books.

How to create your own vampire and paranormal book blog (I can do this for both adults and/or teens)

How to become a paranormal book reviewer ( I can do this for both adults and/or teens)

 Prices for programs

All workshops and lectures will be 1-1 ½ hour long, with a PowerPoint presentation, question and answer time. The library will receive a free print copy of Lure of the Vampire and a free PDF copy of Vampire News. There will also be a drawing for a guest to win a free copy of the Lure of the Vampire. All will receive a PDF copy of Vampire News and bookmarks, etc.

Cost is as follows and is based on travelling from Bowling Green, KY

  • Local or within a 1 hour drive- $100.
  • Over  1 hour drive – $100 plus transportation

If you would like to book her for a lecture, workshop or book signing please email her at vampireprofessor@gmail.com or call her at 859-437-0082.

You can buy Lure of the Vampire at Amazon.com in print here- http://amzn.to/nwifDw.

Ebooks are available on Kindle and Nook.

Her writing website is www.bertenavarney.com

Her vampire research website is http://searchforthelure.webs.com

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4837666.Bertena_Varney

To sign up for her newsletter go here.. http://eepurl.com/exZYQ

Book Trailer- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDi00YAQBxc

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Dear Readers,

I’d like to announce the release of my paranormal suspense novel, EMBRACED BY THE SHADOWS, now available on Kindle for $2.99.

Here’s a blurb:

In a bazaar in Istanbul one evening, ten-year-old Alana Piovanetti sees a man standing in the shadows. He smiles, and over time she convinces herself that it was just her imagination that placed sharp fangs amongst those flashing teeth.

Twelve years later, Alana is surprised when she is chosen to manage a new restaurant opening in her home city of San Juan. She has neither training nor experience to justify her success. But La Cueva del Vampiro has the kind of ambience she adores, for Alana has always had a penchant for horror and the dark side of life. Yet she is also plagued with dreams of dark sensuality, dreams that take on shattering reality when she meets the stunningly handsome, charismatic Sadash.

For Sadash is the man she saw in the shadows so many years before…and Sadash isn’t human….

You may read the prologue and first chapter here: http://twilighttimesbooks.com/EmbracedbyShadows_ch1.html

The link to Kindle is:

http://www.amazon.com/Embraced-by-the-Shadows-ebook/dp/B005T4DPCM/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1318158557&sr=1-2

The story features a Latina protagonist and a Turkish vampire. I hope you’ll give it a try!

To celebrate the release of my novel, I’m giving away two of my other books for free. This offer will run until Halloween night only. Of course, I hope you’ll consider supporting my work by purchasing a copy of Embraced by the Shadows, but if for whatever reason you decide not to, the two free ebooks are still yours to download. This is my Halloween gift to you!

The FREE ebooks I’m giving away are: Dark Lullaby and Cat Cellar and Other Stories and they’re available in various formats on Smashwords:

Dark Lullaby https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/94529

The Cat Cellar and Other Stories https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/95031

Enjoy! Happy reading and happy Halloween!

Mayra

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In order for paranormal fiction – any fiction, really – to have an impact on the reader, you’ve got to strive for that old cliché, “the willing suspension of disbelief.” In effect you’re inviting the reader into funhouse of your own creation. You meet him at the entrance and whisper in his ear: “Hey, look, dude: We both know that there’s no such thing as vampires, and demons, and ghosts, and all that. But let’s pretend, you and I – just for a little while. And who knows, maybe you’ll feel a bit differently about such things – in the dark. Now take my hand – it’s time to go inside.” Then the reader turns to page one – and so it begins.

So how do you help the reader get to that cooperative frame of mind that will allow you to really mess up with his head? The answer, in a word, is plausibility. Apart from the vampires, or ghosts, or werewolves (or, as in the case of my novel Hard Spell, all three and more) everything else in the story has got to seem as realistic as possible. It seems to me that there are two ways to achieve plausibility, and the wise speculative fiction writer will use both of them.

One is consistency. Not only do the supernatural elements have to remain consistent with each other (if sunlight fries vampires in your world, then you’d better not have one going for a noonday stroll later in the story – unless he’s using a lot of sunscreen), but also with the reader’s understanding of the real world.

So, say you’ve got a couple of cops, in a universe where the supernatural exists and everyone knows it. Sometimes supernatural creatures break the law, and you’ve got to bust ‘em. But the writer should treat it as normal police routine. You bust a vampire – perhaps you have to use the threat of a crucifix or some garlic to subdue him, but you’ve done it before. You put on the cuffs – maybe a pair that’s silver-plated – read the vamp his rights, and take him to the station. On the way, you and your partner talk about sports, or women, or bitch about your boss. You don’t make a big deal about having a vampire in the back seat, because in your world it isn’t a big deal. Your cops are acting consistent with the way cops act in “normal” TV and movies (which presumably reflects real life, more or less), and that gives you plausibility.

The other route to plausibility is detail. You make your world seem real by putting real things in it, to the greatest extent possible. Your cops don’t stop at “a fast food place” and have lunch. They stop at the Mickey Dee’s on 4th Street where one cop orders the Double Whopper with Cheese and the other gets the nine-piece McNuggets, even though he’s always getting the barbecue sauce on his shirt, which pisses his wife Margaret off no end when she has to launder it. And those cops, they don’t carry “guns.” Each holster contains a 9-mm Beretta, the same model used by the U.S. military, even though Harry’s brother, who’s with the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan, says the things haven’t got near the stopping power of the old .45s that used to be standard military issue. Stephen King does this a lot (and very well), and some critics get on him for it, saying that a King novel is a “pop-culture extravaganza, full of brand names and trademarks” (that’s not a real quote, but it’s close). They say that like it’s a bad thing – but its not. It’s one way of making it real. And for your reader to believe the unbelievable, he or she has to be visiting a world that seems real. That’s the only way to gain willing suspension of disbelief – which in paranormal fiction is just another word for “entertainment.”

So take my hand, and let’s go through the fun house together. Yes, I know it’s dark, but the floor is even – you won’t trip. Probably. And if something should reach out for you from the dark – something with cold flesh and sharp claws and breath that reeks of the graveyard – just remind yourself: “It’s only a story.”

About the author:

Justin Gustainis was born in Northeast Pennsylvania in 1951. He attended college at the University of Scranton, a Jesuit university that figures prominently in several of his writings. After earning both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, he was commissioned a Lieutenant in the U. S. Army. Following military service, he held a variety of jobs, including speechwriter and professional bodyguard, before earning a Ph.D. at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

He was married to Patricia A. Grogan of Toledo, Ohio, from 1977 until her death in 2007. He misses her a lot. Mr. Gustainis currently lives in Plattsburgh, New York. He is a Professor of Communication at Plattsburgh State University, where he earned the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2002. His academic publications include the book American Rhetoric and the Vietnam War, published in 1993, and a number of scholarly articles that hardly anybody has ever read. In the Summer of 2008, he attended the Odyssey Writing Workshop.

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Marta Acosta is the author of the Casa Dracula paranormal romance series. Haunted Honeymoon (Casa Dracula book 4) was officially released by Simon & Schuster/Galler on October 4th. A former regular contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle, she has degrees in creative writing and literature from Stanford. Under the name Grace Coopersmith, she has a book titled, Nancy’s Theory of Style, which was published on May 2010. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family. Her books have been named BookSense Picks, Catalina Magazine Humor Book of the Year, and Fresh Fiction Fresh Picks.

Wonderful to have you here, Marta. Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about your latest book, Haunted Honeymoon. What inspired you to write it?

Haunted Honeymoon is the conclusion of my romantic, sexy, funny Casa Dracula series. Each book has been a part of my eccentric heroine Milagro’s growing up. In Happy Hour at Casa Dracula, Milagro finds a home and family with a pack of snooty, but decent vampires. In the second book, Midnight Brunch, she’s able to work on her writing and stretch herself as someone who solves big problems. In the third book, she faces unknown enemies, plans a wedding, and tries to figure out what she really wants. When she asks her sometimes lover why he didn’t help her fend off an enemy, he says, “You don’t need help. You’re the heroine.”

Milagro is a freak-magnet and no matter what she does or where she goes, lunatics and extremists are drawn to her. Frankly, she likes nutty people, parties, flirting, and rushing into situations.

However, Milagro has many regrets and she’s insecure enough to want another chance to do things right. So Haunted Honeymoon explores why Milagro is the way she is and whether it’s possible to have a do-over with a fabulous man.

Are you a full-time writer or do you have another job?

I’m a full-time writer. Writing and the business of writing – blogging, answering mail, doing Q&As, events, etc. – take up all my time and I usually don’t take days off, even weekends.

How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?

Stream-of-consciousness is fine for writing a first-novel, but not a great way to sustain a writing career. I liken it to building one elaborate room of a house, the bathroom for example, with all sorts of luxury features and then trying to build a house around the one room. A lot of people think plotting is dull, and I always find it really hard to do, but if you set the framework of a book, the interior will be much more sound. You can always change things, but I think having an overall plot lets you develop more complex storylines.

How long did it take you to write the book?

Good question. I don’t know. I wrote the synopsis and a chapter, submitted it to my editor, waited, got approved, then did a first draft and submitted it. While I’m waiting, I’m working on other projects. The book goes back and forth between my editor, the copyeditor, and myself. All in all, it takes at least a year, if not longer.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?

I suffered from writer’s block when I was younger. Things changed with my freelancing jobs. I found that writing was much easier when I got a paycheck for turning in a story. Whenever I do feel stymied, I force myself to keep going. I can always go back and rewrite, but the very process of writing gives me ideas.

What seems to work for unleashing your creativity?

I daydream. I consider it part of my job. If I wake up in the middle of the night, which I always do, I think about my stories and what I can do with them. I used to find taking walks with my old dog very helpful, but now I have two crazy dogs and I have to pay attention to them when I take them out in the mornings.

How was your experience in looking for a publisher? What words of advice would you offer those novice authors who are in search of one?

I did the query route for an agent. I don’t even remember how long that took. When I finally got one, she wanted me hire an editor to help me rewrite my novel. The editor didn’t have a sense of humor, took out all my funny stuff, and I had to put it back in. Many months went by while editors looked at my book. Finally an editor was interested and there was a one-day mini-auction of my first novel. It was pretty exciting.

The advice I’d offer is: be prepared to be turned down a lot. It’s so easy to get discouraged. If the rejections keep mentioning the same problem with your manuscript, then maybe you should fix the problem. Don’t be so in blindly in love with your book that you can’t think of ways to improve it.

Do you think a critique group is essential for a writer?

Not at all. I don’t have one. Some people love groups, and others don’t. If you don’t like being in a group, for heaven’s sake, don’t force yourself to join one.

Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?

I’ve got too many to maintain!

Marta Acosta Website: www.martaacosta.com

Grace Coopersmith Website: www.gracecoopersmith.com

Vampire Wire Blog: www.vampwire.blogspot.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/MartaAcosta

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Marta-Acosta/615530904

Do you have another novel on the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?

I’m currently working on two projects, a young adult gothic with a ghostly theme and a romantic comedy set in San Francisco. Both are just in the initial stages, but I hope one will find a home!

Is there anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

Thanks for having me here, Mayra! I hope that your readers will check out my latest Casa Dracula novel, especially those who’ve been following the series. I think it will offer them a real emotional reward, just as Milagro finally steps into her proper role in life and with the fabulous man she truly loves.

Thanks, Marta!

–Latino Books Examiner Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults. Her latest book is, How to Turn Your Book Club into a Spectacular Event. Check out her website at www.MayraCalvani.com.

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In this comedy of errors, a young lawyer, Bradley Harrington Chester III, is not living his dream. He has married a gorgeous woman against his parents’ wishes, and his less than stellar performance at law school has earned him a job in the New Orleans district attorney’s office, instead of at his father’s prestigious firm. On his first day there he meets up with Richard Bleddon, the self-confessed golden boy of that office, and a man who will go to any lengths to keep his position. Which is proven true when Brad usurps him by stealing his big case away, and Bleddon arranges to have him murdered.

Brad has gotten through life because of a winning smile, surfer-blonde hair, blue eyes, high cheekbones, and a body sculpted by Michelangelo. But when a monster car runs him down in the street, and leaves him hanging out in a throng of gray figures shuffling into a bright light, it seems that his winning days are over, until Count Dracula approaches him. The Count tells Brad he’s given up his evil ways, and now plays violin in a band called the Techno Zombies. But more importantly he’s looking for a lawyer, and he offers to save Brad’s life with a transfusion of his own immortal blood.

Julia Harrington Chester III is supermodel gorgeous, but she isn’t stupid. She knows that the fairytale is swiftly disappearing from her young marriage, and she isn’t going to take it. So when Richard Bleddon invites Brad and her to a swanky restaurant for a fancy meal that he pays for, she resolves to tell Brad that she wants a divorce, and she does, just before he is cruelly run down in the street, crushed, and mashed to death. She cannot forgive herself for being so insensitive, but this is only the beginning of her ordeal, an ordeal that will test the bonds of love, into death and beyond.

Everybody wants something. Something they will go to any lengths to get. It could be love, it could be money, it could be honor, or it could be just to preserve one’s good name in the face of ruin. What lengths would you go to, to get what you desire, and if it meant crossing the line and committing a crime; would you do it?

The New Novel By George Earl Parker
Is Practically A Movie Playing In Your Head!

www.georgeearlparker.com

About the author:

George Earl Parker is an Author, Singer/Songwriter, and an Artist. As director of the short film The Yellow Submarine Sandwich, included in Eric Idle’s pseudo-documentary of a band called the Rutles, Parker received accolades, awards, and a showing at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. His art has been exhibited in museums and galleries around the country, and three of his songs have climbed the European Country Music Association charts.

Vampyre Blood-Eight Pints of Trouble is his first novel. He currently lives in California where he continues working on music, and his second book. You can visit his website at www.georgeearlparker.com.

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A native of New Orleans, Cate Tiernan is the author of the young adult fantasy series, Sweep, Balefire and Immortal Beloved. She's here today to talk about her books, writing, inspiration and the challenges she faces as a writer, among other things.

Thanks for this interview, Cate. As a child, you used to explore cemeteries in New Orleans. Surely not the usual pastime for a child! What about cemeteries fascinated you?

Oh, is that not normal? Cemeteries in New Orleans are called “Cities of the Dead” because people are usually buried in little concrete mausoleums, aboveground. I loved looking at the family names and the dates—you could put together a whole story of who married whom, when they had kids, whether catastrophe hit their family. I still love looking at tombstones in any new city or country I’m in, the older, the better.

What was your inspiration for Balefire?

I wanted to set something in New Orleans, because I love the city and thought the setting would be evocative and mysterious. I was writing the fourth book of Balefire when Katrina hit, and I had to keep writing, describing the city as it would never be again. I sat there and cried—it was hard to finish that book.

Do you plot your novels in advance or do the stories and characters develop as you write?

Both. In general I work from an outline, but the outline is often a bit vague, just reminding me of certain elements I have to put in or develop. But I try to get the structure in place, so I can be sure to end up where I need to end up. But the characters and the book’s universe always develop more and more as I go, and become more real, and therefore more self-determining. I’ve been really surprised by some of the decisions some characters make.

Who is your favorite character in Balefire? Why?

I love the twins, of course, and it was their story I wanted to tell. But I developed a real fondness for Richard, even though he was abrasive and emotionally unavailable and calculating. I still love Riche.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing this novel?

Having to suddenly wrap up all the plot lines in book 4, when I hadn’t expected to. (And readers noticed, and weren’t thrilled about it.) With Sweep, it was planned to be only four books, but then it went going, and the story wasn’t necessarily structured to keep going. So I always feel like the books after #4 felt a little patchwork. So for Balefire, I set it all up to go on for 12 or 15 books, gave myself lots of characters and plot material to work with, but then it was decided to end it after four books, and I had to cram a lot into the last book, so it feels kind of clumsy and unfinished. Still kind of bummed about that, but those are the realities of publishing.

Did you keep a disciplined schedule? How long did it take you to write it?

I do work just about every day, and I do sit at my desk and try to make my page quota so I can turn in the manuscript on time. But it’s not like I work every day, 9 to 5, without fail. Sometimes I work at night or on the weekends, on vacations, etc., and sometimes I have to take a day off to deal with all the rest of my life. I don’t remember how long it took me to write. More than a year. Two years? Almost three?

Please share with my readers a bit about your road to publication. Was it easy or difficult?

It was weirdly easy, so I’m not a good role model of what to expect or how to go about it. I was an assistant at Random House, in the juvenile department, and so reading lots of kids’ books. I thought, “Oh, I could do this,” so I locked myself in my office for ten days at lunchtime and wrote a book, and submitted it to another publisher (I thought it would be tacky to submit it to RH; later I found out that they felt just the opposite). And they bought it and I revised it and then they bought my next three books. And from there I just made more connections and got other writing jobs. This method would not work in general, and I can’t recommend it.

What is your greatest challenge as an author?

Getting it done. My life is really full and busy and there’s always a million things that need doing. And I love thinking about the book and doing research—the actual writing, while it can be fun and is usually satisfying, is a bit more of an uphill slog sometimes. Not always. But I love it when I’m finished and happy with a book, and I feel proud of it.

What is the single most important tip of advice you’d give new writers?

Clarify for yourself what audience you’re writing for. Clarify for yourself what the message is that you’re trying to get across. Writing a book because it feeds your soul is often not enough, actually. Writing is communication: what are you trying to communicate, and why, and to whom? I guess that’s two tips. Third tip: everyone needs an editor. No one, no matter how genius of a writer, does not need editing. I’ve been lucky with my editors, and feel they’ve greatly enhanced my work.

What is the best writing advice you have ever received?

Don’t just put in everything cool you can think of because you like it—understand why you’re writing it, and make sure every sentence forwards the plot or character development and isn’t just a fabulous one-liner you’re dying to use. I do tend to overwrite. Still.

New Orleans is also the hometown of author Anne Rice. Are you her fan and have you ever had the opportunity to meet her?

I thought Interview With a Vampire was incredible—I’ve reread it several times. But I haven’t been able to get into any of her other books, though she has millions of fans and people have raved about her work. I’ve never met her.

I hear you have a new book coming out this fall, Immortal Beloved. Leave us with a little hook!

Immortal Beloved is the first book of a trilogy, and I’m having a great time with it. Love, love these characters and this story. I’ve previewed about ten pages on my website, but in a nutshell, it’s the story of an immortal, Nastasya, who has finally hit a wall, after 459 years. She can find nothing positive or of worth in her life, including herself. A desperate instinct for survival forces her to try to reclaim her life and her soul, rehabilitating all the beliefs and actions of her past. But is she even worth the effort it will take? Plus of course aching, unrequited love; a shocking, secret family legacy; much magick; stolen kisses; friends and enemies; and the painful exploration of a life that hasn’t seen light of day in four centuries. Whew! I love it.

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