Saturday, July 30, 2011

New Release: Burden of Blood

My good friend, Wenona Hulsey, just release her urban fantasy book called Burden of Blood. If you have a minute check it out, Wenona is a fantastic writer.

No one wants to know everyone’s darkest secrets, especially not police officer, Nicole Keenan. All she wants is a blissfully normal life in the small, Alabama town where she was born. But as generations of power running through her veins start to wake up, an ancient grudge is ignited that threatens to push her over the edge. She can hardly believe in what she is, let alone that a dark force will not stop until she's joins them. Or is dead.
Nicole Keenan's life enters into a dangerous dance with warriors and gothic fairies. Southern tradition collides with Irish folklore as she learns about love, heartbreak, and The Burden of Blood.

Author Wenona Hulsey spends her time scaling roof tops, kicking bad guy tail and rescuing small kittens from tree tops.  But during the time when she isn’t asleep, she’s a mother of two beautiful children and fiancĂ© to the man of her dreams.  She lives vicariously through great books and creates magical worlds in her spare time.  She is also an avid social networker, who loves to meet new people.  
You can friend her on Twitter!/WenonaHulsey, like her on Facebook or follow along on her Blog

Friday, July 29, 2011

Dark Corners Blog Tour Final Stop!

Whew! You made it. Welcome to the final stop!

Thank you all for participating and for the wonderful support you have shown these last two weeks. I appreciate all you have done to help me, and I hope you enjoy Dark Corners. A special thank you to the Bookish Snob and to all the blogs who participated in the tour, I very much appreciate all you have done. 

Ok no more sappiness, Ella would be so disappointed in me. ;-) On to the prize. One signed copy of Dark Corners and a $10 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble (your choice).  Enter to win by commenting below what your favorite stop was on the blog tour and why. Be sure to include your email address.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Weekend Reading: Ghost Story Jim Butcher

I won't actually be reading this over the weekend because I bought the book (the actual book?!?!) on Tuesday and stayed up nearly all night reading it. My name is Liz, and I have an addiction. Ghost Story is book thirteen of the Dresden Files series. If you haven't read the previous twelve then I recommend starting at the beginning not at book thirteen.

Dresden Files is about a wizard named Harry Dresden who lives in Chicago and consults with the Chicago PD. No wizards are not widely known about or accepted though Harry does have an ad in phone book. Dresden is sweet, quixotic,scrappy, and has a knack for finding oceans of trouble. The paranormal world is cleverly blended with pop culture references and a hard-boiled detective tone. There is everything you could ever want from a paranormal series: vampires, werewolves, fairies, fallen angels, ghosts, assassins, zombies, etc.

I can't actually tell you anything about Ghost Story because if you haven't read the previous twelve books I will be spoiling them for you. I will just say that Dresden Files is the only series I legitimately wait for the release date and purchase the book immediately only to be disappointed I have to wait an entire year for the next installment. I care about so many of the characters and their well being that anytime any of them die it breaks my heart. The series does a wonderful job building on itself, and it often surprises me in the direction it goes. I highly recommend it to anyone, male or female, who enjoys paranormal and detective novels. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Inside Book Studio: Ella Reynolds

It is time once again for Inside Book Studio. This week the main character from Dark Corners is all her crabby glory joins us, Ms. Ella Reynolds.
Ella is a scrappy survivor who never backs down and rises up to meet that which frightens her. She is known for being difficult, abrasive, and guarded. Life has changed for Ella since the end of Dark Corners. However, she doesn’t wish to discuss what is happening in her life now. She feels she has divulged enough of her life in the book and prefers to leave some mystery, so we will jump right into the questions.

Me- What is your favorite word?
EllaCurmudgeonly—because it is fun to say. Don’t read anything into that.  
Me- You mean like you chose it because of your moods…
Ella- Gabriel warned me about you. Do you want to keep interviewing me?

Me- You know I am on your side. What is your least favorite word?
Me- Ha!
Ella- But seriously, crazy.

Me- Yeah, sorry about that. What turns you on? 
EllaConfidence. I like men who know who they are and what they think, but don’t all girls?

Me- What turns you off?
EllaMocking. Everyone has their own experiences and feelings about things. Belittling them because you don’t understand is the coward’s way out.
Me- So you’re still a little mad at—
Ella- Next question.

Me- What sound do you love?
Me- I get that.
EllaIt’s relaxing, isn’t it. The soft sound of the clicks that carry you way.

Me- Completely. What sound do you hate?
Ella- Unidentified ones

Me- What is your favorite curse word?
Ella- Probably fuck. Are you going to have to put a warning on your blog now.
Me- Only if someone complains . . .

Me- What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Ella- Home renovator . . . no, no wait ghost hunter. hahahaha
Me- *shakes head*

Me- What profession would you not like to do?
Ella- I don’t know. Anything where I don't have a boss.
Me- I’m sort of your boss. I did create you and all.
Ella- It’s cute that you think so.
Me- If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Zombies Don't Glitter

Today I was going to give you an except from Secrets, however, I didn't get to editing it. I began re-watching season 2 of Veronica Mars and lost track of time. A total failure on my part, but the break was nice. So instead of sharing with you my writing I will share with you some writing news. I have decided to work with my bff, Kim, in a collaboration project that will be of epic proportions. A zombie children's book. *please try to hold applause until the end of the statement*

Epic is the only to describe this. I am currently mulling over the storyline. She is working on sketches for possible characters and soon Herbert the zombie boy will be brought to life, or as it may be reanimated. This book may never reach wide audiences, it might be banned from schools, probably won't get that little gold star embossed on the cover that other children's books get, but, by God, it will have zombies awesomeness. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Modern Love

I finished up some edits this weekend for Ms. Elizabeth Sharp, whose wonderful YA novel is coming out August 16th. I am about to start on my second to last edit on Secrets (I promise to share a snippet from it this week) . The deadline is September 5th to send it to my editor, so it will become my life these next couple weeks. I love the two main characters Olivia and Holden. Picking Secrets back up is like talking with an old friend, which is why I stayed up well past one chatting with them, but it was totally worth the sleepiness of today.

While I was editing I was listening to the cd that has become my summer anthem, Modern Love by Matt Nathanson. As my long time readers are aware I may not be the most objective person about Matt Nathanson. Either everything he has ever done has been amazing musical genius or seeing him in concert at the Beale Street Musical festival a couple years ago morphed me into a fan girl. Hard to say really. On one hand he is an amazing live performer (point one for musical genius), but on the other hand I did name my remote control zombie after him (point one fan girl).

Anyway Modern Love is a little faster and at times a little more sultry than his previous fantastic album, Some Mad Hope. But it is still essentially all the things his fans love about him. It's fun, it's emotional, it's heart-breaking, and it's hopeful. The song Run is fantastic, Modern Love and Faster make you want to crank up the radio in your car, and Quick Kiss will definitely be an inspiration for a future character. It is definitely an album that is worth checking out, but for my writer friends as far as editing goes it may have been a distracting choice since it was too good to just be background noise.   

Friday, July 22, 2011

Weekend Reading: The Thirteenth Tale Diane Setterfield

While I am still waiting for Ghost Story, Book 13 of the Dresden Files, to come out (this Tuesday!) I am hitting my shelves this weekend to see what book I want to reread. I chose the Thirteenth Tale because I have only read it once and it was completely amazing. It was one of those book that as soon as I finished it I wanted to read it again. I didn't because I also had the conflicting emotion of wanting to share it with everyone I ever met. It has been loaned out for over a year now, but I finally have it back, so game on.

Diane Setterfield weaves an intriguing story about a biographer with a passion for books named Margaret Lea who works in her father's antiquarian bookshop. One day she receives a letter from one of England's most loved and mysterious authors, Vida Winter. Ms. Winter is gravely ill and wants Margaret to write her life story. Margaret begins to read Ms. Winter's book Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation while trying to decide whether or not to take the job. She is spellbound by the stories in the book, but discovers there are only twelve stories. Naturally, Margaret agrees to meet with Ms. Winter. Thus begins the story that is nearly impossible to put down.

I read this book while on vacation in a single day. Meaning I drove my family crazy by refusing to leave the hotel room while I finished the book. It was just too good to not know everything that happened. Jane Eyre is heavily referenced throughout the story, which may be part part of my love for the book because it is one of my favorite books. All in all it is a wonderful mystery that takes place in the past and the present that will keep you guessing until the very end. There is no other word to describe reading this than riveted. I am excited to see how it holds up for a second reading.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Supernatural Thursday: Walking Dead

Zombie mania.
I am not sure how it started, where it started, or why it started but I like love it! The funny thing is though I have never been a zombie movie fan. Don’t get me wrong I watched them—I watch all scary movies—but they were always pretty low on movie bad guy totem pole. Some were done well, but most are more painful than having your arm ripped off and feasted on by the decaying masses.  I wonder if this isn’t part of a vampire retaliation since most modern day vampire movies have turned the alluring, dangerous villains who preyed on humans into pale, emo men who are misunderstood (or maybe that only bothers me). 

Zombies began to change in my mind with Shaun of the Dead. After that movie I saw the great potential in zombies for humor. Then along came Zombieland and it was like my life was complete. I now have a remote control zombie on my desk, who is often the inspiration for many short stories for my friends entertainment. However, in accepting funny zombies I seem to have also accepted serious zombies and the real purpose of my blog post. 

Walking Dead. It might have been one of the best shows on television last year. Even though when it was announced in the height of my own zombie craze, I still had reservations.  I thought, what on earth could a zombie tv show have to offer?  Boy did they ever show me.   The show looks more like a movie than a television show, effects/makeup were outstanding, but what really sealed the deal was the terrific characters. The premise itself is somewhat clichĂ©. Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln) wakes up from coma to find everyone is either dead or a flesh eating maniac. Naturally, he goes in search of his family.  But this is where it departs from your typical zombie anything. Instead of the main focus being on the zombies and survival, it falls onto the characters. They deal with the very real emotions of what it would be like to wake up in a world that is completely changed when you are still the same person. Abusers are still abusers, cheaters are still cheaters, and assholes are still assholes. The zombies are a constant threat and heighten the emotional responses to problems we see in everyday life.  The cast is phenomenal and the gore is plentiful—obviously I love it!

Walking Dead season two will start this October, and I will be glued to my television.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Inside Book Studio

It is time for out next installment of Inside Book Studio. *choir of angels lift their voices in song*

Today's special guest, by popular demand, is one very special detective, Gabriel Troy!

Before moving to Montgomery, Detective Troy worked and lived in Chicago. However, he seems to be easily adjusting to small town life though perhaps a little bored at times. He is self-described as a man whose mysteriousness is only surpassed by his handsomeness. Let's see what we can discover about Gabriel Troy!

Me- What is your favorite word?
Gabriel- Case-solved
Me- That's not really one word.
Gabriel- . . .

Me- Fine, we'll move on. What is your least favorite word?

Me- A question I think everyone would like to know, what turns you on? 
Slightly embarrassed Gabriel-
 To see another side of a person the world doesn't know.

Me- What turns you off?

Me- What sound do you love?
Me- Really?
Gabriel- They give me a rush. You were much easier on Grant. 

Me- Hmmm, nonsense. What sound do you hate?
Gabriel- Awkward silences
Me- . . . 
Gabriel- . . .
Me- Like that?
Gabriel- Exactly.

Me- What is your favorite curse word?
 Son of a bitch

Me- What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Gabriel- Private investigator.
Me- Isn't that the same thing?
Gabriel- No. 

Me- What profession would you not like to do?
Gabriel- Librarian. 

Me- If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Gabriel- You made a difference

Monday, July 18, 2011

Music Musings

Music’s ability to inspire emotion with just a few perfect notes is one of the many things in this world that amazes me. The fact that I can listen to a certain song, or group of songs, to put me in the right frame of mind to jump into my character’s head is incredible. Because of this I am starting yet another new segment here in Bat Country, Music Mondays. I am not sure what exactly Music Mondays will bring you. It might be a new band, a new song that is really speaking to me on a character level, or just random bursts of fan girl. Only time will tell.

I was asked in an interview question, what song fits Dark Corners. Well this wasn’t an easy question. The truth is there isn’t one song that really spoke to me while writing Dark Corners. I didn’t listen to a song and think this is so Ella’s story. While writing the book I did listen to the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack a lot. Not that Dark Corners is at all Phantom like, but it put me in a dark mood which was what I needed. With the Guardian Trilogy I have a lot more defined musical inspiration. I can pinpoint one song for each book’s emotional journey.

I ended up choosing Paint It Black by the Rolling Stones to represent Dark Corners because it could represent a couple different elements of the story. First, the song has always been a little creepy to me. I sort of get a serial killer feel from it (maybe that’s just me), so I think it fits the overall book which is dark and at times creepy. Second, I think it speaks to Ella’s character. She is in a dark place at the beginning of the book. She is so anti-social and so isolated that watching other people enjoy themselves makes her scornful of them. There is also a line in the song “I could not foresee this thing happening to you” which also speaks greatly to her emotional state of mind. The other line that really connected with me was “With flowers and my love, both never to come back.” Third, there is also an underlying anger to this song. I feel Ella definitely has that as well as some of the other characters.

Have you read Dark Corners? What song you you have picked?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sample Sunday

A very good friend of mine, M.d. Christie, revealing her book cover and blurb today. The Sight: Book One The Glamour series will be released November 1, 2011. Please check it out and stop by and say hello to M.d.!

Ever since the night of her Parents Disappearance eight years ago; 17 year old Ella St. John has known she was different.

The CREATURE… did he take her parents that night, or was it a delusion?

FLASHBACKS… Keep her from living her life.

AUNT SAGE… Keeps secrets, does she know more than she lets on?

The sudden feeling of BEING WATCHED…. What does it all mean?

When Ella St.John Heads home from her shift at the Pink Java Cafe, she hardly expects to be attacked. Much less by the same creature responsible for her parents mysterious disappearance eight years earlier. This is Ella's first encounter with a dark creature of Murumendi; but it certainly won't be her last. Within moments Ella's life as she knows it is ripped away, forcing her to discover who and what she really is. Will she be able to handle the truth?
The Sight Book One of The Glamour Series will take you on a Fantastical Journey of Love, Loss, and the Battle between Good vs. Evil.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saturday Writing Update

Whew! It has been a busy week. I have started my new blog schedule--I hope you are enjoying it. I have also set up a release date for the first book in the Guardian Trilogy, Secrets.

November 22, 2011

My very first blog tour has also started. Stop by all the locations to read excerpts, interviews, reviews, and possibly win a copy! Check out the schedule HERE!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Weekend Reading: Elizabeth Aston, Mr. Darcy's Daughters

Fridays here in Bat Country are about the books keeping me up way past my bedtime.

You know those books that are just so good you forget all about the world around you until your contacts are foggy, and you have to be up for work in three hours, but you only have a few chapters left. Yeah, those books.

I will tell you now I am a rereader. If I love a book, I will read it repeatedly. Best example of this is Jane Austen. I love her books, all of them. I never tire of them. I just want more. So, naturally, Jane Austen sequels are genre I am constantly trying out if I see one on the shelves in a book store. I have gotten quite a few lemons this way, but it is so worth it when you find a good one. An author who can pull you back into the world Ms. Austen created, but not mess up the characters you love. Honestly, as a writer it's a genre I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole, so I have massive respect for those who do it well.

Elizabeth Aston is one of those writers who does it extremely well. She has taken the Pride and Prejudice world and fast-forwarded a bit. Mr. Darcy and Lizzie are married and have several grown daughters who are trying to navigate their way through the London season. Mr. Darcy and Lizzie are mostly mentioned in passing, but it allows them to have that happily ever after we all want for them. The story isn't without plenty of mishap, misunderstandings, and nasty rumors, but it is a fun ride with characters who are reminiscent of the Bennett girls. Mr. Darcy's Daughters is a great introduction into Ms. Aston's version of Ms. Austen's world. It is a fun, quick read that will leave you wanting more--and don't worry she has a whole series of delightful escapades.   

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Supernatural Thursday: Haven

I came across a preview for the Syfy show Haven during a late night television perusal. My first thought was "Looks Stephen King-ish" given the Maine type setting and the lighthouse. Naturally, this was enough to get me to check it out. I hopped right over to Netflix and searched for Haven (however it wasn't on instant boo!). I bumped the first disk to number one in my queue and two days later it was in my hand.  I took a rare break from writing and editing to watch an episode. Four hours and four episodes later I was hooked.

First off, it is based on the Stephen King book the Colorado Kid (can I call it or can I call it?). It starts with an FBI agent, Audrey Parker, who is assigned to find this criminal. The trail leads her directly to a strange, quirky little town called Haven, where she nearly drives off a cliff due to a mysterious crack that appeared in the middle of the highway. The criminal is found dead, but the mystery is just beginning. The longer she is in Haven the stranger things become with unpredictable weather, cracks in the earth, and a partner who literally feels no pain. The cast is a wonderful mix of familiar faces and quirky personalities.

I decided to just buy the first season so I didn't have to wait and breezed through it this past week. Season two premieres this Friday. I highly recommend setting the DVR to record and rent the first season if you like the stories of the strange and supernatural. It's like a mixture of X-Files and Twin Peaks.

*I've been working on a plan since yesterday to spruce the ol' blog here up a bit. I have some new segments I will make a valiant effort to maintain. One of which is Supernatural Thursday. Woohooo! Those who know me well can attest to my love of all things supernatural. Whether it is books, television (the title and the day are no accident friends), movies, or just stories I've heard, I'm interested and will share my discoveries with you here every Thursday.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My kingdom, my kingdom for a platform...

Author platforms? What are they and do authors need them?

The general consensus is yes, we do, in fact, need a platform. But that leads me to question what on earth is a platform, and how do I create/maintain one. Last night, I participated in the #asmwrite chat on Twitter (for those who do not know, #asmwrite is a group/twitter hashtag of authors who are trying to figure out the publishing world without inundating the same people constantly--something I think we would all appreciate). We discussed platforms. Now this is something I have heard about ad nauseam and have generally avoided because it seems fake to me.

However, after last night and some further research, I am willing to take my stance under review. I now understand that building a platform is more than collecting as many nameless faceless followers as possible and trying to shove your book down their throats. Despite what my mother thinks, my book isn't for everyone, I get that, so I don't want or need to market it to everyone. The idea is to build a network of people who hold the same interests and reading tastes as you and get to know them. This is an excellent thought, but how does one do this? (I don't have the answer I am asking.)

In my research on platforms in today's global community, this is the most clear definition I found of what goes into it.
  • How many people are on your email list or subscribe to your blog?
  • How many followers do you have on twitter?
  • How many Facebook friends or fans do you have?
  • How much monthly traffic do you get?
Pay close attention to this last bullet point. You can have tons of followers and friends, but if they aren't checking out your stuff and participating in your life then they really don't count. You need the people who are actually interested. So that begs the question, what do we have to do to interest them. Twitter is sort of like speed dating. You get 140 characters to find, talk to, and connect with complete strangers. While blindly following (something I am so guilty of) will get you followers it doesn't get you connections. Those you have to forge on your own. Facebook is a little easier to get to know people. There is more information and an easier forum for a relaxed conversation, however how many of us really talk a lot to the people we don't already know well? Goodreads is definitely a source I think I under use. The groups would be a great way to meet people who are into your genre and talk to them (not sell your book to them).

Once you make these connections, how do you keep them interested? This is where the content comes in. There seem to be two types of strategies people have taken.

The first is the author persona-centric platform. This is the idea that you should use your blog/web site/social media persona etc. to talk about your book, your writing, and things that have to do with you book.

The second is the human-centric platform. This is the idea that the reader wants to get to know the person behind the book. They want to feel like you could be their bff and hear about your daily life and struggles.

I don't love either of these strategies. First off no one will keep coming back to your blog to have your books shoved at the constantly. That is no fun. Second, no one wants to hear about what you had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner unless they are a stalker. I think the middle ground has to be the key here. I think you have to talk about your book, but not too much. I also think you have to talk about your life, but not too much. Somehow we have to find a middle ground that will be interesting and engaging.

I will try to implement what I have learned here (wish me luck). Until next time,


Monday, July 4, 2011

Inside Book Studio

Happy Independence Day to my American friends and happy Monday to those who are not. I have an idea for something a little different to try on the blog. Let me know if you love it, hate it, or if you could care less, thanks for stopping by.  I will ask each of my characters from Dark Corners the ten questions asked at the end of Inside Actor's Studio. Feel free to vote in the comments on who you would like to hear from next, otherwise it will be left to my discretion.

Up first we have the ever enigmatic Grant!

Hello, Grant. Thank you for stopping by my first segment of Inside Book Studio.

Thank you for having me. I wasn't sure I would be invited after you left me off the movie cast. 

Oh, you heard about that? I am terribly sorry. *awkward pause* Are you ready to begin?

I suppose. 

1. What is your favorite word?
2. What is your least favorite word?
3. What turns you on?
Challenging women
4. What turns you off?
5. What sound do you love?
6. What sound do you hate?
7. What is your favorite curse word?
I do not curse. 
8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
I think I could have been a good lawyer
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Dentist or Ella's therapist. Both involve pulling teeth. 
10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Welcome home. 
Blog Design by Imagination Designs all images from the Scare Dee Doo kit by Irene Alexeeva