On Peeling Off Labels

Jan 15th, 2013

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On rare nights my son and I enjoy a cuddly night watching TV together — neither one of us tends to slow down long enough to spend a ‘night’ watching television. When we do, it’s something akin to an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3K, where we heckle the actors and pick apart the shows at length. The experience is more about our discussion than what we’re watching.

Image courtesy Familylabels.com

Image courtesy Familylabels.com

This week we were watching a series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes on Logo, because he’s into the superhero gal and all things Whedon. He’s learning 101 ways to kill a vampire, and can’t figure out why wood is so magically powerful against them. We go a few rounds on this one. He’s pretty sure not all wood is strong enough to penetrate a super-strong undead being’s flesh, and I’m thinking he’s got a point. He’s been reading too much Harry Potter and worrying about Ollivander’s wand selections. I digress…

An ad for the show “1 gal, 5 gays” comes on the air. It’s a funny ad, catchy. My son takes offense. “Why’s the show called that?” he asks. I’m a little unclear–not sure what he’s asking–a common parental issue. I explain sexual orientation, which I know he’s already familiar with, because we have relatives who are lesbians. He gets worked up, his face twists with a frown and he puffs out, “It’s silly. They should just call the show, ‘1 gal, 5 guys’. Why would they do that?”

He’s got a point.

I understand the marketing department needing to communicate to the consumer the focus of the show. I get a lot of things about labels. There’s great pride in owning and reclaiming all of your identity and in being able to support others of like mind. I know through my blog I’ve connected to other people with epilepsy because I’ve stood up and owned that label as my own. It’s a powerful and amazing feeling. I’m not against a person’s right to champion their causes, but I do question our cultural need to place others convenient buckets instead of discovering them as people.

My son lives in a world where many labels happily don’t register on his radar–it’s wonderful to witness, and a great reminder to question and reset assumptions when needed. I’m reminded of the ongoing discussions about legalizing “gay marriage” while others refer to the same topic as “marriage equality”.

The words we use form the reality we live in. When filled with labels which intentionally marginalize, we deliberately divide our culture. When we choose inclusive, non-hateful language, we instead build a framework to rediscover ourselves through each other.

Anyway, I’ve taken another look at my own labels, and making sure the ones I wear are self-chosen. How about you? Anything you need to peel off?

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Demon Inhibitions Blog Tour with Gary Starta

Jan 10th, 2013

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Today I have talented author Gary Starta guest posting. He writes a unique cross-genre blend of fiction including paranormal, sci fi, horror, and demon elements, so you can guess we get along quite well. I appreciate his reasoning below writing a blend of genres, as it mirrors my own thoughts on the subject. Without further ado, I’ll turn things over to Gary. ;)

* * *

Demon Inhibitions Cover ArtMy new release, Demon Inhibitions, threads sci fi, urban fantasy, suspense, romance, horror and mystery.I usually anchor my novels in science fiction but find it fascinating and almost impossible not to blend these other genres into the mix. You could compare it to a meal. While there’s nothing wrong with eating a piece of fish by itself day after day you might find it more tasty to add broccoli (horror), rice (mystery), salad (romance), bread(fantasy) and dessert (suspense). To be more precise, Demon Inhibitions consists of:Sci fi: Agent Caitlin Diggs believes a genetically made soul stealer is responsible for recent murders.Horror: The soul stealer has escaped custody and crosses a parallel universe dragging Diggs with him via wormhole.

Urban Fantasy: Diggs is assisted by a Wiccan investigator and a succubus. In her parallel universe, demons outnumber humans and a preternatural branch of the FBI deals with their crimes.

Romance: Diggs enters an altered reality and a love triangle emerges. Her new boss Charles Grant is beyond handsome but the other version of her friend Stanford Carter is stirring feelings she never had for his alternate.

Hitches: Grant doesn’t know ‘his’ Diggs has been killed by the soul stealer. Alternate Carter has been turned into a demon. Would romance with Carter change her as well?

Mystery: Why is the soul stealer hell bent on eradicating a teen whose singing voice inhibits demon violence?

Suspense: Diggs faces the prospect that conventional weapons will not subdue her fugitive. Can her newly acquired paranormal abilities give her a fighting chance?

I’m sure we’ve all read great stories that brought some or all of these elements together. They usually get boxed under one category for sales purposes. Maybe someday a multiple-genre tag will be born. After all, paranormal romance is still a fairly young genre and is ever growing. Change does happen.

Please stop by my FB page: http://www.facebook.com/GaryStartaSciFiFanPage

Demon Inhibitions Excerpt

When she found I had visited Manners, Briana began scurrying about her house, scooping up a pair of scissors and a red candle. Before I could speak further, she came at me. I backed away from her in fright. Her placid face revealed nothing malevolent. But the shears were headed right for me. I tried to dive away from the contradiction. Who was the real Briana? The sweet woman who made cookies for me–or her shears wielding maniac counterpart now standing before me? She screamed not to worry. I heard a snip. I felt a strange sensation. Not pain. But something was no longer attached to me. It was a piece of my hair. She caught the floating lock in her hands as if it were a runaway feather.“It is very important we get to work, Caitlin.” Too stunned to process the weird moment, I could barely utter a groan.Then she explained how she must protect me. “He’ll surely make a visitation now that he has met you.”I tried to explain it was a good thing. I would probably get a vision of him and then I could determine his part in the slayings.She interrupted. “A visitation is what he’ll do to you. I don’t know how to break this to you but the cat judge is an incubus. He’ll surely come to you in your dreams. And in case he is our murderer, you’ll need a protection spell, pronto.”

I reminded her I carried a firearm. I had worked in the FBI.

“No earthbound weapons can harm the judge once he joins with you. An incubus enters your dream world.”

“How do you know this?” My tone grew edgy. She had obviously withheld knowledge of Manners. Maybe the two were friends or even lovers. And she just admitted an incubus could have committed these crimes without fear of being harmed or caught.

“I know things because I’m a witch, Caitlin. That explanation will have to suffice for now.”

“If you’re truly a witch, Briana, you must know he’s our best suspect.”
She had me there.

I settled in for the spell.

“I will create a mind shield for you, Caitlin Diggs.”

She began to chant, inviting me to join her.

“I call upon the helpful powers of my ancestors. Please protect and shield me from harm. By the ancient ancestral power, blessed be!”

Briana played soft Celtic music for me as we waited for the spell to take effect. I tried to distract myself with the lovely dulcet tones of harps and violins. It almost worked until my stomach rumbled–again. We never had supper. Briana was too intent on saving my ass. For what seemed hours we held hands waiting for the candle to burn down. I had plenty of time to drink in the ambience of the McFadden household. Floral print furniture and lacy doilies surrounded me. But most disturbing, a poster of Cher is depicting the actress as a witch in the film Witches of Eastwick, hung right before my eyes. When the candle finally expired I yawned and thanked Briana.

“Don’t thank me yet. The night is now upon us. We must return to your house if we hope to engage the judge.”

“Won’t your presence discourage Manners from coming?”

“No.” She paused to smile. “You could have twenty police armed to the hilt and he’d still come. Nothing from the waking world can harm him.”

I muttered something unintelligible even to me.

“I’ll be in the next room to supervise so to speak. When he comes I’ll sense it. I will then cast a binding spell so he can’t attack you – or worse, drain you. Now the spell won’t last indefinitely so you won’t want to waste time with small talk. Hopefully you’ll be able to determine his innocence or guilt in your dream.”

I had once interrogated an evil man named Crowley in a dream state. It didn’t go so well. But at least he didn’t threaten to harm me. Maybe he couldn’t. I still don’t know; but I was sure of one thing if the judge threatened me in any way I would defend myself. I didn’t care what Briana said about the dream and waking worlds. I went to bed packing a handgun.
~ * ~
A full moon bathed my bedroom in bluish haze. It kept my eyes from closing. Normally I would have drawn the curtains on the nocturnal intrusion, but tonight I was hosting so to speak. I felt I was setting a better trap or “invitation” to Manners if I left the light on. Briana would have probably scolded me if she were capable of listening to my silent ranting. She had explained to me several times Manners would not be traveling via car, plane or broom for that matter. His appearance would be completely ethereal to all waking humans. He would meet me via an altered state of mind, in a dream or alpha state, where his thoughts and presence could transcend any physical traps an overly anxious former FBI agent (me) might feel compelled to set. It wouldn’t matter if I shined a lantern in my window or posted Rottweillers on around-the-clock guard duty, Manners would be oblivious to it. Briana stated this very emphatically, employing wild gyrating arm movements that nearly had me fearing she would turn me into a rat if I didn’t give her my undivided attention. So I sat and listened to her for an hour after we completed the spell. When my eyelids began drooping, she ordered me to bed. She took up residence in the adjoining guest room with Celeste. With a click of a doorknob, Briana could be at my bedside in seconds. But when I finally began to absorb the notion that Manners would not be using the front door to meet me, fear began to take hold. How would her presence help me? She could monitor my dreams all she wanted, but ultimately it would be up to me to break free of Manner’s paranormal grip-provided one: he was an incubus and two: he would still deem an appearance necessary to either protest his innocence or quiet my suspicions of him once for and all. My mind finally began to drift into that sleepy state where your thoughts start running into one another. How would I converse with him in the dream world? And would my gun be at my bedside in this dream? My brain felt like rubber. My eyelids finally shut. A faint hint of blue light seeped through them and then the next thing I knew…

“Who, what…what do you want?” I sat straight up and stammered as a presence took shape over my brass four-post bed. At least I determined I could talk, albeit not very intelligently in my dream state. The shape continued to hover over me, within arm’s reach. I twisted in my covers, attempting to lunge towards my dresser drawer where I kept my gun. As my hand continued to fumble for the dresser knob, coldness brushed against my backside. At that instant, I gave up my hunt for the gun and reverted to my backside, hoping confrontation might keep the invading demon at bay. I shouted. “Back off and identify yourself.” I felt silly. I couldn’t very well command this thing to put its hands behind its back–if it had hands–let alone expect it to adhere to laws and protocols devised by those living in the real world.

The thing, best described as a floating transparent body of liquid, actually started to comply. It reversed itself away from me, about a yard or so. Now it hovered over my Victorian vanity chair. I seriously hoped its liquid makeup wouldn’t drip all over my prized antique. It began to glow blue, probably because it was in the direct path of a moonbeam.

“Now tell me who are you.” Hoarse and raspy, my voice no longer sounded like mine. I tried to recall my vision where I had been speaking to the spirit of Alastair Crowley. My voice had sounded like mine then. In fact, I’d felt no different in that dream state whatsoever; I had classified that experience as a vision. But now, as I sat cowering in my bed, I felt more as if in a dream. I willed my legs to move, but like in a dream, they were uncooperative as if an iron vise was keeping them in place. As I struggled to escape my covers, the thing spoke to me in a whispered voice. Whatever it was, it was now inside my head!

* * *

Gary Starta
Author

Gods of the Machines is a sci fi novel for readers who don’t normally read the genre, mixed with romance, mystery, crime and suspense, it is fiction on the fringe of genre. A top ten finalist in 2010’s Preditors and Editors Poll for science fiction, the novel addresses artificial intelligence and the quest to categorize its place in society.

For info visit my website:

To follow my sci fi fan page:

To follow and guest post on my blog:

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How I Let Go And Embraced Editing

Jan 7th, 2013

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I faced a number of challenges and accomplishments in 2012, both personally and professionally. I completed and published my first full-length novel, The Daemon Whisperer. I stood by my father’s side as his medical advocate for most of the year while his health slowly declined and then arranged for his care after he’d passed in October. I worked on engaging projects in my programming job, only to be laid off in November due to the impending fiscal cliff of doom. (DOOM! doom!) In December I picked up writing the next book in my Liminals series, and then began edits for the first book in my Sci-Fi series at the end of the month over the holidays, all while job hunting.

Oh, I left out the up and down battle I’ve run with my epilepsy. At times over this past year medication has kept things well under control. Recently, despite all the meditation, yoga, vitamins, and exercise, I’ve slipped downhill in my fight. What can I say–epilepsy sucketh! Can I get a hell yeah?

As you can imagine in this 2012 retrospective, there are lessons I will take and continue to learn from, grow, and nurture. Despite the frustrations, I wouldn’t change last year’s journey for the world.

If you remember my post from last year, then you know I don’t do resolutions. Instead I keep a running list of goals and tasks. Well, multiple lists of to-dos. (Don’t laugh, they’re sorted by subject…anyway.) I’ve noticed something wonderfully awesome, and I wanted to share. I’ve blogged and tweeted before about how writing gets easier with practice. Recently, I’ve hit a similar threshold with editing.

Now, I know I only have two books published, so let me give you a bit more perspective on my writing path. I’ve also written the first two books of a Sci-Fi trilogy, The Depths of Memory, and have another two books (in two different series) which are mid-process. The Sci-Fi books I’ve edited a ridiculous number of times. I can’t rightly count how many, to be frank, because I’ve rehashed the material many times over the years. There’s a long story there and well … whatever.

You get the point. I haven’t reached this editing threshold through just working on two books. It’s taken years, at least for me … your results may vary. I’m unusually stubborn. You might be pliable as a willow frond. I can’t predict these variables! Right?

Yet want I want to convey is the sense of where I’m at now. The utter freedom. I’ve had it with writing for some time. Once I’ve imagined a scene, or at least the components and have the base elements of the research I need, the words flow. Heck, even if I’m missing something, I’ll put in placeholders and come back later and plug-in the things I didn’t have at the time.

I mean, honestly, do you know about pentilic tiles? No? I bet you know about frescoes, though? Thus, research! I mean, I’ve held those little buggers in my hands in Pompeii, but could I remember the name? Nope. Anyway, I digress.

There’s a freedom to editing too, and it comes with practice. I used to hate editing. From what I hear, it’s the norm. Yes, it sucks when you’re up against a deadline. I’m not talking about external forces, I’m speaking of the mechanics, and the creative flow of the editing process.

Revisions are the most creative part, when rework is required to enhance the flow or cohesive integrity of the story. What do I love most about revisions? Visualizing the architectural flow of the plot, like a spider’s web, and tracking all the ways the revision ‘threads’ into flow, for continuity. Invariably one new section requires slight to moderate adjustments in other areas, and catching all the connecting areas of the web is a wonderful challenge.

Then there’s the rework of catching overused phrases, or where characters and/or settings just aren’t fleshed out well enough. Those are easy to do once they’re located.

The repetitive, but oddly satisfying work, includes reducing unnecessary adverbs, removing crutch words (whichever yours are), honing the wording in key scenes where you want the reader’s focus drawn (I mean, strive to improve it everywhere, but especially there), and eliminating passive voice where ever possible.

Those are editing steps I take. But then there’s the mental leap: letting go and accepting the process. Treating it as a journey, and not a sprint.

It’s the same for me as writing, or exercising, dealing with my epilepsy, or any number of things. Yes, I have an end goal in mind. Sometimes there’s a daily time limit, sometimes not, depending on the activity. Sometimes it’s just about the mindset. My head space, if you will.

Yes, there’s the butt in chair, hands on keyboard, internet browsing off aspect. The other part is knowing the steps, and a willingness to dig in and do the work until it’s done, simply because you love it.

No, you may not love every step, but you love your book. Or, you did once, back before you wrote it and edited it twelve times and then worked it over with a chainsaw with your editor four times. Yeah, back then. THAT book.

That’s the book you’re editing and the book you’ll eventually publish. When it’s ready, and you’re proud enough of it to stand behind it and put your name on it.

All you have to do is embrace the journey. Your journey.

And put your butt in a chair.

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A Holiday Gift to You (and free ways you can gift back i.e. my wishlist)!

Dec 16th, 2012

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As a holiday gift to my fans I’m reducing the price of  The Daemon Whisperer from now until the end of the year to $.99! It’s only on Amazon for now, but in January it’ll roll out to other markets at the normal price. (I know some of you Nook users have waited a while, sorry about that!)

Amazon is continuing to discount the paperback version to just below $9! So if you’ve held out for a sale, now’s the time! (Especially if you can bundle with other items and save on shipping.)

Some of you have asked how you can support my efforts. The first and most awesome is, of course, by buying my books. I know many of you have already purchased a copy, and you have my enduring heartfelt thanks!

If you’ve read my book or books and feel so moved, I’d love an honest review. It doesn’t have to be long, even a basic star rating goes a long way sometimes towards convincing other readers towards giving a book a chance. You can leave a review as short as twenty words on Amazon, and Goodreads allows for star ratings only if you prefer. Usually when I do reviews I cut and paste the same text between both systems, because I’m lazy like that. ;)

Now on to completely free and almost zero effort ways to help! Anyone who has an Amazon.com account can click the ‘Like’ button on my book pages and my author page. The more ‘Likes’ I have, the more recommendations and visibility my book will receive. At around 50 ‘Likes’ I become eligible for additional promotional spots. Spiffy, no?

How to Like a Book on Amazon

How to Like a Book on Amazon

To like my author page you need to get there first. Check out this next image, it shows how you click on my linked name under my book title.

Browse to Author Page on Amazon

Browse to Author Page on Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, once you’re there, click on the ‘Like’ button to promote me as an Author. Cause I’m cool! ;)

Like An Author on Amazon

Like An Author on Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another area on the book page you can help out are on the Amazon Book Topic Tags located further on down the page. Just click on all of them you agree on. If you want to there’s a textbox with an Add button next to it where you can add in new topics as well. This helps readers find books when they search on a given topic in Amazon, i.e. ‘cooking’ will bring up books tagged here, and the higher the tag counts the higher the ranking on the search results. ;)

Liking Book Tags on Amazon

Liking Book Tags on Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wasn’t that easy? Now if you really love/’Like’ me, you can hit my other book page, Ripples, and like it too. Do you have other authors you adore out there? I’m sure you do! Go forth and spread some holiday joy around and ‘Like’ a few for fun, now that you know what those little boxes are used for. (Please use responsibly.)

Again, I want to thank everyone for your support over the last few months as I’ve debuted The Daemon Whisperer. I’m in edits on The Dream Sifter, the first in my The Depths of Memory Sci-fi/Horror trilogy, and soon I’ll start posting teasers for you here on the blog as the manuscript firms up.

I’m also continuing work on The Madness Path, and loving the book. It’s well…messier than the first book, and I don’t mean gory. Well, there’s broken bones in the first chapter–fine. I’m just saying, things are shaping up to be pretty out of control. But considering how I’ve named it, this is no surprise, eh?

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The Felt Tips Anthology is Here!

Dec 14th, 2012

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Yeah, you heard me right…

Felt Tips Anthology CoverThe Felt Tips Office Supply Erotica Anthology, edited by Tiffany Reisz, is now officially released, and you can pick up your copy at Smashwords, B&N, or Amazon today! All proceeds–yes 100%–of the proceeds go to a charity that helps underprivileged kids get school supplies, so your gift to yourself this holiday season helps out someone else. Isn’t that wonderful? (BTW I believe we’re not naming the charity online as this is an erotica anthology and the charity concerns kids, and we don’t want to bring undue attention to the charity. And by proceeds, I mean sales post the cut Amazon/B&N/Smashwords take as their due. None of the authors, the cover artist, editors, etc. are getting paid for this endeavor.)

I’m pimping this quality collection of smut because my short story, Open Rack, is included in the collection. Hey, I give to charity too! I do it personally, directly to organizations–sometimes with cash and sometimes with time. Remember me running that 5k for epilepsy? (I think I blogged/tweeted about the importance of prepping first. Hiking regularly does NOT compare! LOL I have no idea what I was thinking!) I also do donations through my winery to specific events we support throughout the year. Basically…I like to find ways to pitch in across the board. When the opportunity came up to take part in a charitable effort via my writing presented itself, it felt like a natural extension of my normal efforts to give back.

My story features IT Geeks in a server room, dealing with uh, underutilized server rack space. Thus the name. ;) There are 43 other stories in the collection, rounding it out at just under 100k words, so your investment will be well spent. #didijustsaythat #yeahidid #movingon

Go forth, read erotica (if that’s up your alley, if not, gift it to someone you know who is so inclined). You’ll support kids who otherwise wouldn’t get the school supplies they need. My thanks in advance for your support.

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Dying To Remember, Book Two of the Station Series, Blog Tour, Cover Reveal, and Giveaway!

Dec 12th, 2012

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When Trish asked me to help announce her new book, Dying to Remember, I was only too happy to oblige. She’s a bubbly, ever enthusiastic author who writes dystopian and apocalyptic YA books with a ghostly kick.

In addition to the cover reveal today, she’s also giving away two copies of her book and a HUGE pile of swag, just click here to enter (and you want to enter, trust me!).

If you can’t wait on a contest and you want to read it now, click here to get Dying to Remember from Amazon.

Good luck with the contest, and enjoy reading up on her new release below.

Here’s the blurb for Dying to Remember, and a look at the gorgeous cover!

Dying to Remember

Dying to Remember - Book 2 of the Station Series

The next installment in The Station series by Amazon Bestselling Author, Trish Marie Dawson, takes readers on another lively journey through the after-life adventures of eighteen year old Piper Willow.

Piper has new challenges to overcome, new names to learn and is faced with a new Station occupation. Did she make the right choice – choosing to stay at the Station and become a Volunteer? Does she really want answers to the questions that never leave her mind? How did the Station come to be? What lies beyond? Who is Andurush and what, exactly, does he want with Piper?

She must ask herself once again if she has what it takes…but this time it isn’t about saving lives, it’s about discovering what lies beyond death. Would you want to know?

Here’s an Excerpt from Dying to Remember:

If I thought the exceedingly happy mood that has me perched atop my favorite velvet throne would last very long I’m mistaken after I enter the Ones building. Niles is standing near the counter talking to Laney. I know the moment I see him that he is there to give me news about my volunteering status. Poof goes my throne.

“Hey, Piper. You really are a popular girl today,” says Laney with a tight smile.

“I guess so,” I try and laugh but it sounds more like a vocal seizure.

“Piper, I came to collect you,” Niles says, all business.

“Collect me?” I try and laugh again, but the sound is simply unpleasant so I snap my mouth shut to avoid any more verbal diarrhea, and nod a goodbye at Laney while moving back outside with Niles.

I allow my eyes a few seconds to readjust to the brightness around us. He places an arm loosely around my shoulders as we begin walking and says in a comforting tone, “Before I tell you where we are going and who we will be speaking with, I need you to understand you aren’t in trouble. You’ve done nothing wrong, okay dear?”

I don’t trust my voice so I only nod.

“I’m taking you to see the Mentors and…” he pauses to glance around us, and only when he seems satisfied that no one is close enough to hear, he continues, “…and the Keeper.”

I don’t know what this means. The look on my face must further establish my confusion but Niles only nods and continues to usher me around the fountain, which is currently teeming with teens of all ages, until we reach the Staff building.

Finally, just as Niles opens the door in front of us, I find my voice, “What’s the Keeper?”

“I can’t tell you, but you will see, don’t worry, dear. Remember, you aren’t in trouble, okay?”

We walk down the empty hallway and go through a door into a room that looks nothing like the one where Mallory and I met for the first time in person. This staff room is shaped more like an oval, with no corners on the walls and there are no tables or chairs. The center of the floor dips down a good two feet, creating a sort of recessed bench that matches the curved shape of the room. This is where the Mentor’s sit in a circle. I get over my intimidation of them instantly as my eyes widen at the sight of the other person sitting with them. A man at least a good foot taller than anyone else stands and nods at me. His clothes appear to be all white but it’s hard to tell at first, because the man is glowing.

Additional information about Trish Marie Dawson:

Dreamer Trish Marie Dawson

Trish was born and mostly raised in San Diego, California where she lives now with her family and pets. She’s been writing short stories and poetry since high school after an obsession with Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’. After over fifteen years of crazy dreams and an overactive imagination, Trish began her first book ‘I Hope You Find Me’ in December of 2011. When Trish isn’t writing, she’s homeschooling her amazing daughter and mildly autistic son, reading whatever she can get her hands on, or enjoying the Southern California sun. As a strict Vegetarian, Trish holds a special place in her heart for animal rights and dashes into the backyard weekly to rescue lizards and mice from her mini-lab/cocker spaniel mixed dog, Zoey…who is always getting into some sort of trouble.

Trish’s Author page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WriterTrishMarieDawson

Trish’s Author page on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008CQGASU

Dying to Remember on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AMKGSP4

Trish’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Trish_Dawson

Trish’s Blog: http://writertrishmdawson.wordpress.com/

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Indie Author Interview and Giveaway for Jen Kirchner’s Book Release: The Fourth Channel!

Dec 9th, 2012

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Author Jen Kirchner passed me some tantalizing interview responses just as her new book, The Fourth Channel, hit the presses! Now I, the lucky (and conniving) duck I am, have already read The Fourth Channel, and I can assure you it’s fantastic urban fantasy reading you haven’t seen anywhere before. A necromancer with funny, talking, sacrificial knives? Oh, have I mentioned Kari, said necromancer, doesn’t *kill* anyone? They get better!

Here’s the lovely cover to The Fourth Channel. Ohh and ahh appropriately! Then, check out Jen’s interview and enter the drawing below. In case you don’t win you may want to consider adding it to your shelf on goodreads so you don’t forget about it. (Not that I’m calling you senile, but I know how you get…) Enjoy!

* * * *

The Fourth Channel Cover

The Fourth Channel

1. What type of stories do you write? 

The main goal of my stories is to make myself, and a few friends, laugh. I have written some very serious material, but I typically aim for slapstick Indiana Jones in an urban fantasy setting. The way I achieve that is by employing the idea of opposites—giving an important character a very negative impediment, as well as an opposing personality trait to combat it. For example, my main character in THE FOURTH CHANNEL is a necromancer. She gains insane magic power through sacrificing people, but she’s a pacifist. It makes defending herself incredibly difficult (and sometimes really funny).

Main characters who have to overcome challenges isn’t just funny, it makes them wonderfully real and three-dimensional. But yeah, your story is pretty darned hilarious. ;)

* * * *

2. How do you kick back, relax, and recharge your batteries?

I’m sure everyone expects this answer: I love to read! It’s true, though. I do. I also play a lot of video games. Yeah, I’m one of those girls. Gaming is a big passion for me.

Anyone who reads your blog will discover this, as you do some awesome reviews on games. (Hint to the gamer nerds out there, BTW.)

* * * *

3. What’s your favorite wine?

I love reds, especially a great Shiraz.

* * * *

4. I’m always searching out music for my playlist. What are you grooving to this week?

Since the winter holiday is upon us and I’m in the middle of planning my big cookie bake, I’m listening to Christmas music. Coincidentally, my absolute favorite holiday song is playing: Marshmallow World by Johnny Mathis. Don’t let anyone fool you with that Dean Martin version. It doesn’t hold a candle.

LOL, noted…

* * * *

5. What’s your personal peak of rabble rousing instigation?

I’m not an overt rabble rouser. If anything, I prefer the subtle, behind-the-scenes approach. In fact, you should think of me as a rabble-rousing muse. If something I do or say inspires someone to break out of their box and do something new and brave, my work is done…or has it just begun?

Rabble-rousing muse… I’m loving it! Oh wait, you just planted an #earworm! Look at you go! Grr!

* * * *

Here’s the official blurb for The Fourth Channel

For years, Kari Hunter’s fooled the world into thinking she’s just an everyday girl. Sure, she’s the lead singer of world-renowned band Vis Viva, but outside of that, she recycles religiously, is an avid supporter of the environment, and a certifiable coffee addict. But Kari has a secret she keeps from her family, friends, and her fans.

Kari Hunter is a necromancer.

The rarest and most powerful of all magic-born, necromancers are notorious for leaving a trail of sacrifices in their wake. But Kari isn’t interested in hurting anyone. She works hard at being as un-necromancer-like as possible: everyone she stabs gets a bandage and a lollipop, and whenever her sacrificial knives get too excited at the prospect of violence, she puts them in time-out… in her lingerie drawer.

But when an agent of voodoo master Ruairi O’Bryne catches Kari using her powers, her secret’s out. And if Ruairi finds out who Kari is, he’ll stop at nothing to make her his next sacrifice.

Go ahead and enter the rafflecopter giveaway below, add it to your goodreads to-read list, or just go ahead and buy it from Amazon today!

Links to Jen Kirchner on the Web

Blog: http://jenkirchner.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JenLKirchner

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jen-Kirchner/496072270406446

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16069007-the-fourth-channel

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Fourth-Channel-ebook/dp/B00AHRWCK2

If the Rafflecopter below won’t load, stop the page from loading and it’ll appear. Cheers!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Indie Author Interview – Keri Lake – Bonus Cover Reveal and Giveaway!

Dec 5th, 2012

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For today’s indie author interview we have a special treat. Not only is my friend Keri Lake, who writes edgy, dark, violent, paranormal romance series here today (can you guess why the two of us get along?), but she’s also doing a COVER REVEAL and an eBook GIVEAWAY!

The Cover Reveal is for SOUL AVENGED (Sons of Wrath, #1), and it’s at the bottom of this interview. Also, if you want to be entered for the FREE eBook copy of Soul Avenged 2 weeks before its released in either MOBI or ePub format, simply comment on this post and the all-powerful ME shall pick you at random to win! Bwahaha!

Yup, that’s how we’re gonna roll. So, without further ado, I give you: Keri Lake. :)

* * * *

1) What are the underlying themes of stories you write?

I actually weave vengeance into a lot of my stories.  It’s the common thread throughout my newest series.  And love, of course.

Keri Lake, Pro-Supe Flygirl Handler

* * * *

2) How do you kick back, relax, and recharge your batteries?

I’m in love with the ocean.  I’ve been vacationing to the beaches of North Carolina since I was young and I still look forward to these getaways.  It’s where I do my best thinking (and plotting), staring off at fishing boats all day long.

However, if I can’t get away like that, music usually helps me unwind at home.  I like sitting out on the deck in the evenings (uh, when it’s warm), listening to music while I write. 

Water is wonderfully calming! I know a number of writers tune into music to get into the groove. I often wonder how authors, before the age of recorded music, how did they surround themselves with music for inspiration? Perhaps they didn’t.

* * * *

3) What’s your favorite wine?

Hmmmm.  I don’t really have a favorite wine.  **dodges swing**  er, that is, until I get out to Colorado… 

My favorite drink would have to be a margarita – I suspect this goes back to my college days.  **coughs**

LOL, fair enough!

* * * *

4) I’m always searching out music for my playlist. What are you grooving to this week?

I just finished writing an anthology and needed some mellow (more than usual) music to go with it, so I’ve been listening to Birdy the past couple of weeks.  Otherwise, my staples are NIN, Deftones, Paramore, Arctic Monkeys, Flyleaf, Muse, Blood Red Shoes, The Black Keys and The XX.

Wow, our musical tastes are so similar. I don’t think I’ve even met anyone else who’s even heard of Flyleaf. ;) I’ll check out Birdy, because that one’s new to me.

* * * *

5) If you had a minion army, how would you use them?

Oooh.  I could really use a minion army.  And they’d all look like Gerard Butler.  Like…the King Leonidas version of him.  Le purr…  I’m pretty sure world domination would be a piece of cake.

I can see you’re working up to big plans here… I’ll expect to hear more in the future. :P

* * * *

6) When you rule the world, what style of dominion will you employ?

Laid.  Back.  Although I’d have a few directives in place.  Things like, you MUST wear casual clothes to work everyday – bonus points for jeans.  Anyone caught NOT vacationing four months out of the year will be incarcerated on some remote tropical paradise somewhere.  HBO must include Quinn in the upcoming season of True Blood (honestly, aside from Alcide, he’s the only reason I bothered to get hooked on the show – WTF HBO?).  Households must spend more time reading than watching TV.  Things like that.

Yeah, the problem with book to tv/movie adaptations is they toss out and invent characters at will. Irritates me too, especially when they’re fun folks like Quinn. Meh!

I’m completely behind TV monitoring. People need to discover something besides Honey Boo Boo. I mean, What The Hell is that noise? It’s people forgetting they can spend time with other humans, have meaningful projects of their own, and well, do something other than let their brains seep out through their ears, that’s what. Ugh.

* * * *

7) What’s your personal peak of rabble rousing instigation?

Ha!  It’s actually the quiet ones you have to watch out for…muahahahahaha!

Point taken. I’ll be keeping a closer eye on you from here on out.

* * * *

8) Who’s your favorite author? What about their work speaks to you?

You know, this question really depends on my mood.  If you saw my bookshelf, you’d probably tip your head and begin the psychoanalysis.  Sometimes it’s sexy and erotic, sometimes romantic, sometimes dark, sometimes dystopian.  I guess if I had to narrow it down to ONE author though, it’d be Anne Rice.  She’s kind of my ‘comfort’ read.  Her words are so eloquent.  Every time I crack one of her books for a ‘peek’, I end up getting sucked into her world.

* * * *

9) If you could hang out with someone famous for a day, how would you spend the allotted time?

I’d say Trent Reznor, but I’d probably be so damn nervous that I’d end up looking like an ass and remain mute the entire day.  I’d need someone to break me out of my shyness. I think Kresley Cole or Larissa Ione would be cool to hang out with.  We could whip up some margaritas and chat about sexy demon alphas!  Tim Burton would be another one – would love to meet him.

On Reznor’s final tour the hubs and I got backstage passes. I grinned like a fan girl fool for my picture with him. He’s short, yet incredibly intimidating.  I didn’t say much, which is completely unlike me, and I felt like a dolt afterwards. Oh well…now if you get the opportunity, you won’t feel so bad! (BTW, I’ll join you for margi’s with those gals anytime! ;) )

* * * *

10) Tell me about the inspiration for your upcoming/current project.

My current project, Soul Avenged (Sons of Wrath, #1) is an entirely new series that sort of swept me away to the Land of Shiny.  This one is set in Detroit – gothic Detroit.  It’s dark, a bit more violent than my usual and has slightly steamier sex scenes.  There are a whole lot of supes in this series – demons, lycans, ghouls, nephilim.  I’m not sure what gave rise to it.  Just sort of smacked me upside the head.  I’ve always wanted to write about Detroit and as the plot progressed, it just seemed like the perfect setting.  I mentioned before, the theme is vengeance and my main character, Ayden, is a very strong but broken female.  It’s up on GoodReads right now for anyone who’d like to add it!

The best projects are the ones that knock you upside the head and demand to be written, IMHO. :) I’m looking forward to reading it.

* * * *

11) Finally, is there a flavor of ice cream you just don’t understand? One that, by all rights, simply should not exist?

Neapolitan.  If you’re going to mix three flavors, at LEAST make them some variety of chocolate!  Sheesh!

Psst: I was never a fan either. #highfive

* * * *

And now, the cover reveal for SOUL AVENGED (Sons of Wrath, #1)! This officially releases February 6th on Amazon, but go ahead and add it to your goodreads to-read list today! Remember, to be eligible to win the free eBook you must comment on this post. EBooks will be distributed January 23rd by the author but I’ll announce the winner December 8th. Good luck!

Soul Avenged Cover 

Soul Avenged - A Sons of Wrath Novel

 The Official Book Blurb:

Ayden’s suburban home was invaded by a pack of Lycans.

The brutal attack is the only memory she carries of her former life.

Now, one motive burns in her soul:

KILL THEM ALL.

 The Sons of Wrath—a brood of vengeance-dealing warrior demons—band with Ayden to hunt the Lycans on Detroit’s most deadly feeding grounds.

Kane Walker should’ve been her easiest kill.

 Unfortunately, the newly bitten Lycan has something she wants—clues that may finally lay her past to rest.  To reach them, she must be willing to submit to the sensual pleasures awakened by his touch.

Time is running out.

 In seven days, Kane will become what Ayden despises most.  She can halt his transformation but the antidote requires the ultimate sacrifice.  As the beast takes hold, Kane becomes more of a threat.

 Ayden must choose between her lust for revenge, or surrender to her enemy and discover a horrible truth.

 Sons of Wrath

Never gamble with vengeance …

  Website:  http://www.kerilake.com
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Keri-Lake/179797882071933
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KeriLake
GoodReads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5335601.Keri_Lake

 

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Opportunity Travels Under Many Guises

Dec 1st, 2012

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November filled me with frustration and heartache. As predicted in my Juggling Priorities post, my time for NaNoWriMo stolen away, the opportunity slipping through my fingers, and thus I didn’t hit the 50k word count. I didn’t even come close. I hit 23k, well under the goal. Instead I spent my time in the first half of the month dealing with my father’s memorial and throughout the month dealing with heavy pressure at work to finish a project by an end-of-month deadline.

Memorial Flower Petals on Echo Lake

For work, because this specific project was business-critical, I skipped many lunches to make it happen. Time I normally scarfed down a quick bite and wrote or edited, I worked instead. I almost completed the project on time. It’s a few days shy of alpha roll-out.

Even in my evenings, which I’d normally spend writing with abandon, my energy was tapped out. Drained. I’d write a little, and then capsize, rolling into bed well before my usual hour. Yes, I got halfway to the goal, but I know I’m capable of so much more.

When the end of the month hit, I got some news from work. My job had been eliminated. Thinking about it, I’m not too surprised. I’m guessing it’s financial, everyone is tightening their belt these days, and I certainly don’t take it personally.

I’ve worked for a mortgage company that shut its doors, quite literally, overnight, and I’ve been laid off from a large corporation that went from 4,000 employees to 800 in the space of a year. Business happens, and it’s all a numbers game.

What do I love about writing? It’s not about the numbers. It’s about the connections, the characters, the meaning of it all. When done well, it brings the author and reader together on a field of suspended disbelief, and  transcends the empty, emotionless accounting and focuses on the ruthless honesty of the moment.

Yeah, that. That shit is pure magic.

In this moment I’m evaluating my options. Yes, I’m looking to replace my day job. Likely with something a bit different. It may take some time, but I’ll find a great fit, not just a OMG I’m desperate please I’ll take anything job.

In the meantime, I’ll write, knowing I’m absolutely blessed with the time this opportunity has brought me.

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Women Out Loud Appearance

Nov 26th, 2012

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I know this is short notice, but Tuesday night, 11/27, at 8pm MST, I’ll be featured on ~LetHer Shine, a radio show brought to you by Women Out Loud. I’ll read from and discuss, The Daemon Whisperer as this week’s ~Behn’s Book.

Women Out Loud is a weekly broadcast that spotlights women through words, writing, reading, and wit. They capture a glimpse of our world every week through four unique segments.

Feel free to send questions for me to answer to: beabehn@gmail.com. I know you have them in you, just…be reasonable people! ;)

The music of the fantastic band Dear Marsha will also be featured on the show, FYI.

You can listen or watch the show, where I’ll ramble incessantly until Shawn Marie (the host) cuts me off. It’s one of my many skills. Tune in and check it out.

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