Saturday, June 30, 2012

Urban Fantasy Sucks

Yes, that is actually what a reader of books in a public setting said to me, a writer of urban fantasy. (Classy eh?) Bad, I know, but then another, far more open individual in the group asked me a question that I felt was better suited to a blog post.

What are the challenges you face as a writer in your genre?

 Writing in the urban fantasy genre, and all it encompasses, the worry is getting type cast. “Oh, she only writes about vampires” or “Oh, all of her books are too scary.” It’s a big part of why I let my stories take whatever direction they want. I have books that are horror, urban fantasy, epic fantasy, romance and mystery. Then there are some that cross and blend those genres. My feeling is that in the past, the traditional publishing world authors often (and still do) get boxed into a certain “type” of writing. One only has to look as far as JK Rowling and the debate her new book is stirring up. It’s not a children’s fantasy, it won’t have magic or dragons, wands and wizards. Readers are freaking out that they might not like it, and some comments I’ve seen have gone as far as saying that they won’t read the book for fear of a let down.

To me, that is just silly. For all we know, Rowling’s next book could be a total success in the adult fiction world, perhaps even surpassing the Harry Potter books. But if she were to let herself be type cast, we’d never know.

Another problem IMO in the world of urban fantasy is the tendency for the writing to become just a re-hashing of other stories. If you want to stand out in this genre, and really get readers attention, then you need to write something unique, and this can be difficult. I’ve stumbled over this myself and have had to check my progress in my writing, step back and re-write sections that were becoming predictable.

The third thing I would say causes difficulty writing in this genre is not being taken seriously by other writers. There is still the mentality that if you write fantasy of any type you aren’t a “real” writer. Meaning that fantasy is sort of the McDonalds of the writing world to a lot of people.

My gut reaction to this is, people with this mentality haven’t read as much as they think they have. Authors of fantasy have some of the hardest storylines to write. We build worlds, new races, legends, along with everything else that is important to a storyline. Character arc, plot, theme, motivation and the prose itself.

But, I wouldn’t have it any other way, and I would never back down when someone asks me what I write. I like a challenge, I like feeling that I am growing as a writer and writing fantasy, urban or otherwise, is one way for me to do that.

So say it with me folks! "I am a writer and I write Fantasy!"

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Kickstarter Project for Readers of YA

Okay, we all love to read, but don't we all really love the feel of a book in our hands? Its one of the very small downsides to being an Indie author. Making your book into a paperback, a high quality, people would want it paperback, can be costly.

My good friend Elise Stokes has written 2 fantastic YA novels and is now turning them into paperbacks for her those who don't have e-readers. But, she needs a little help.

Step in Kickstarter! For a small donation, you (and yes I've already donated!) can help Elise get her books into the holy grail of being bound, and for that, you get some cool prizes for as little as a $5!

Here's a little about Elise and Cassidy Jones-

"Elise Stokes is a gifted writer who delivers all of my favorite middle school and high school mystery novels and T.V. shows rolled into one and repackaged with a sleek, modern story line and unique thrilling characters." --Stephanie Laymon, Five Alarm Book Reviews

Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula
"Fourteen-year-old Cassidy Jones wakes up the morning after a minor accident in the laboratory of a world-renowned geneticist to discover that her body has undergone some bizarre physical changes. Her senses, strength, and speed have been radically enhanced.

After exploring her newfound abilities, Cassidy learns that the geneticist, Professor Serena Phillips, is missing and that foul play is suspected. Terrified that her physical changes and Professor Phillips' disappearance are somehow connected, Cassidy decides to keep her strange transformation a secret. That is, until she meets the professor's brilliant and mysterious fifteen-year-old son, Emery. . . "

Cassidy Jones and the Vulcan's Gift

Two months after being infected with a strange retrovirus, Cassidy Jones continues to live a double life while she struggles to master her newly gained superpowers. High school has become the only normal thing left in her life--except for tall, dark, and handsome Emery Phillips, who shadows her every move, making sure she doesn't reveal her secret. Then an overnight sleepover at Catamount Mountain Zoo takes a menacing turn, putting everything at risk. 

So, please take the time to at least go and check it out, I think this is a worthy project and I hope you do to!

Kickstarter Link

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Writers Wet Behind the Ears

Eeek. Beginning writers, I still feel like I’m there a lot of days. So I'm going to do my best to share with you the things I’ve learned from the mistakes that I made in the very beginning. This is in no particular order, number 1 is not more important than number 5.

1. Don’t think that your family can actually help you edit or beta read your work. They will lie through their teeth about how good it is because they love you. Trust me on this one. They don’t want to hurt your feelings, so they will do their best to sugar coat everything they say.

2. Plot your books! I have heard so many times people say things like “Oh, I don’t plot, the characters just take me where they take me.” Here’s the thing. I was like that, I had twenty five novels started, not one of them finished. Because when I got to the middle and I had no plot to work from, I got stuck and started a new idea. Sound familiar? So start plotting, even if it’s only a beginning, middle and end, that will give you a path to follow.

3. Please don’t think you are artist enough to do your own cover art (this is for Indie authors) You aren’t. And that’s okay, your talent is writing, focus on that. A cover can literally make or break your book, and yes, I did learn this the very hard way. Once I got my cover done right, my sales jumped to a degree I could have only hoped for.

4. Along with number 3. If you are self publishing, allow others to work for you. Hire people to do the jobs that you don’t know, or can’t do.  If you think that you can do it all, and do it well, you’re fooling yourself.

5. Don’t whine and complain that you can’t afford an editor. You cannot afford NOT to have an editor. They are essential to your success as an author, they will teach you things about your writing that you never knew. Like using the word “palatable” in every single chapter. Or using adverbs like Clearly, heavily, scarily, pushily. They will help you grow and they will help you make sure your ms is polished so that readers don’t want to throw it across the room because “Ooops” you forgot about the plot thread.

6. If you are going the traditional route and are going to query editors and agents, LEARN THE RULES OF THE QUERY. The fastest way to get booted out of an agent’s potential list is to not pay attention to the details. Do your research, and then have your query read by a few people before sending it off. I went the traditional route prior to self publishing, I landed an agent, in this, please trust me.

Okay, those are six points that I think every green, new, wet behind the ears author needs to take into account. Not that they are all the mistakes I made *clears throat* , but some of the bigger ones I tried on for size at least once. LOL.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Zombies, #Zombies, Everywhere!

Zombies, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways . . .

1.       BEST video games ever are all about the zombies. Now I’m not going to list them but I will give you a link if you want to go and scan through a bunch, I mean like PAGES. On a more personal note, my favorites are Resident Evil 4 and *drumroll* . Plants Vs Zombies ;p

2.       Your grossness comes in a plenitude of varieties which for any good zombie-it is necessary—rotting skin, slimy fingers, puking blood, sagging flesh, eating brains, slurping intestines, heads twisted the wrong way, limbs twisted the wrong way, eyeballs hanging out, eyeballs missing, flapping tongues (eek that’s one that always gives me the shivers), and last but not least nasty breath. Okay, maybe that last one is a guess, but you have to admit it’s highly likely.

3.       Zombie speeds can vary greatly and that makes them freaky. One minute they’re shambling along and you can easily outrun them, the next they’re faster than the fat kid diving after the bowl of candy. I personally love a fast zombie, far scarier, far more likely to eat those horrid neighbours that play loud music all night and shoot fireworks at your animals. Not that I have any personal experience with this. I’m just saying.

4.       It doesn’t matter how many zombie movies are done, they just don’t lose their appeal. I mean, even if the movie is HORRIBLY done (now admit it, there are a few of those) we still watch it. So while we might jeer and throw popcorn, we can’t stay away. Must. Watch. Zombies.

 Side note. My "zombies" in  “Sundered, A Zombie-ish Apocalypse” are fast, hunt in packs like wolves and came about by way of a weight loss shot gone very, very wrong. Throw in some good old fashioned love and you’ve got yourself a new twist on the Zombie trope.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Journalist seeking Journalist . . . It's not what you think ;p

This is a personal add, but not for the reason you think. Yes, Journalist Alan Dale is seeking another journalist, but he ain't looking for love. He's looking for talent. But, maybe it would just be better if you read his blurb.

So...anyone who has journalism/newspaper/magazine writing experience or OP ED experience want to write for a growing blog/web site led by a reputable and experience journalist? Entertainment, news, politics, social issues. There are a few new assignments out there....want to take the leap? Email me or check out

Friday, June 08, 2012

And the Winner is . . .

So if you didn't know, me and three other authors did a fun Book Push to climb Amazon's ranks. We had a lot of fun, and we had a lot of help. Now of course, there was a grand prize, and the WINNER of the $50 Amazon Gift Certificate grand prize was . . . .

Nicole Pyles!

All other runners up will be contacted by email. Congratulations to Nicole and all our winners and thank you to all who participated!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Four Authors, Onae Day, Cold Hard Ca$$$H

This is a one day only BOOK PUSH for June 6th 2012. Yup, four authors DETERMINED to bring their books to the world AND to see them climb high in Amazon’s Ranks.  We have a Zombie-ish apocalypse with a splash of romance, a romantic suspense with a dash of humour, a Thriller with a huge helping of action and a Ya Paranormal with a mystery blended in.

Something for everyone!


Here are the links to each book!

And you, my friends, can help. How? Easy peasy. Not only can you help, you can WIN BIG while you’re at it.

Here’s the run down. Purchase any ONE (1) of the books, and send your receipt to us and you’ll be entered in for a grand prize of $50.00 in Amazon Gift Cards! PLUS if you purchase all FOUR (4) books, not only will you have 4 entries, you’ll also be in for an additional SECRET DRAW.

Now, we can’t tell you what the draw is, because that would ruin the whole SECRET thing. But we will give you a hint. IT’S FABULOUS!

Okay, you want another hint? Hmm. How about DOUBLING THE GIFT CARDS?! Oh, right. Secret’s out.

What are you waiting for?

More stuff?

Well, If you insist.

 4 randomly drawn entrants will win back their purchases. FREE BOOKS. Crickey!

Send all purchase receipts to Winners will be drawn randomly, announced on June 8th at

For additional information regarding this contest contact

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Look out, the Sky is Falling!

Yup, the sky must be falling, that is how rare something like this comes along!

Some time ago I was approached by Derek Blass, author of the International Bestseller, Enemy in Blue, about doing a promo with him and a few other SELECT authors. And by select I mean bestselling, amazing authors.

I jumped at the chance before Derek realized that compared to the others, I’m just a baby in this business. So I’m really hoping that he doesn’t see this post. Look away Derek, look away!

Anyway, enough of my ramblings, these amazing books will be offered to you, our readers for FREE for two days only, June 4-5

Here’s the link to the site READS4FREE where you can see all 8 books lined up real purty like, or you can check out the individual links as follows. (And Bloggers, if you have nothing else to post on the next two days, feel free to copy and paste this one :)

Cassidy Jonesand Vulcan’s Gift by Elise Stokes—A bestselling and riveting young adult novel.

Allegiance by Derek Blass—When the border war hits, who do you pledge allegiance to? A gripping thriller!

Red is an Attitude by Kathy Hall—We didn’t forget your romance fix.  A stellar romance adventure novel!

Sundered by Shannon Mayer—The start of the bestselling zombie-ish apocalypse series.

BlackBeast by R.S. Guthrie—A mystery/paranormal masterpiece with great reviews!

A Hint ofMurder by Lia Fairchild—Who done it?  Weave your way through murder mysteries in this bestseller’s novel.

The NinthDistrict by Douglas Dorow— Why rob a bank when you can rob the Federal Reserve? A thrilling police procedural that starts with a bang!

IonaPortal by R.David MacNeil—Over 100 reviews for this bestselling science fiction novel!

Saturday, June 02, 2012

"Dark Isle" Cover Unveil, AKA #SexyIrishMen

Just promise me one thing ladies, drool AWAY from the computer. ;p This is the cover for me new book, Dark Isle, the sequel to Dark Waters which is just over there. ----->

It's in the middle of edits so *Fingers crossed* I will have it available to all of you by the end of June. And then, oh baby, wait till you see the cover for Dark Fae, the final book in the Celtic Legacy series!

Thanks to all of you for your support, reviews (the LIFE BLOOD of an author) and your general pestering that keeps me on track. My READERS ROCK!