Official Upcoming Release Schedule!

Due to changes in how my publisher assigns dates, I won't have release dates until I finish the book. I'm currently working on:

Taking the Realm which is book 3 of Sha and Connor's trilogy (previously titled Shaking the Balance)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Interview + Review for Dianne Duvall!!!

Hello my lovelies!! Today I am honored to welcome one of my all-time favorite authors, Dianne Duvall on her release tour for Darkness Rises!! I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have her on the blog :) To make things even better, she sat down for an interview with me AND I got the opportunity to read an ARC of Darkness Rises so be sure to stay tuned after the interview for that review!

But wait! There's more...


Be sure to answer Dianne's question in the comments below for your chance to win a SIGNED copy of Predatory containing a novella of the Immortal Guardians series :D Plus you'll get some pretty kick ass swag! OPEN INTERNATIONALLY, MUST BE 18+ TO ENTER. Don't forget to leave your email address so the winner can be contacted! Contest ends Sunday Oct 27 11:59:59 PM EST.
Answer this question from Dianne!! Don't forget your email address!!

 Are you reading any special books to get yourself in the Halloween spirit?  Let me know for a chance to win a signed copy of PREDATORY, my last release, + Immortal Guardians swag.

Now sit back, relax, and enjoy meeting this absolutely amazing author!

Welcome to my humble blog, Dianne! First let me tell you what an honor it is to host one of my favorite authors :) I love your new take on the vampire mythology. Tell us about the Immortal Guardians and what makes them so unique.

Although my Immortal Guardians series falls under the heading of vampire romance, vampires aren’t the heroes in it.  They’re the villains.  (Or rather they’re ONE group of villains.  Others have reared their heads as the series has progressed.) Vampires are humans who have been infected with a very rare symbiotic virus that behaves like no other on the planet.  This virus conquers and replaces the immune system, then lends its host heightened senses coupled with incredible speed, strength, and regenerative capabilities.  It also causes photosensitivity, a need for blood, and progressive brain damage that rapidly drives humans infected with it insane.  

Immortal Guardians, on the other hand, are men and women born with extremely advance DNA, who are infected with the same virus.  Their advanced DNA lends them abilities humans and vampires don’t possess — such as telepathy in the case of Étienne, the hero of DARKNESS RISES — and protects them from the more corrosive aspects of the virus so they suffer no brain damage.  As a result, immortals spend their nights hunting and destroying the insane vampires who prey upon humans.

I love that distinction between the Guardians and vamps. It truly makes for an intriguing premise as the every day human doesn't know there is a difference between the two beings. How did you come up with the inspiration for your Immortal Guardians series?

I never know what might inspire me.  The idea to make vampirism the result of a virus, for example, arose from watching documentaries and educational programs in which historians expressed their belief that much of the vampire mythology that has existed for centuries resulted from a simple misunderstanding of such illnesses as porphyria.  When I sought a way to differentiate between immortals and vampires, the notion of having the virus cause progressive brain damage and madness in humans was inspired by a biography of King George III, whose madness many in the medical field now believe resulted from the same illness:  porphyria.  The laughter and teasing immortals frequently engage in was simply inspired by the laughter that’s such a large part of my own life.  So, inspiration can come from many sources.  J

I've heard that theory! I do think it's plausible it originated from a misunderstanding of diseases and having disease be the source of vampirism makes it seem more likely this could actually happen. Do you have any favorite characters? In particular, do you have any favorite Immortal Guardian? If so, why?

My favorite vampire in the series would be Cliff.  His heroic struggle to stave off the madness just breaks my heart.  Darnell, Chris, and Sheldon are pretty evenly tied for my favorite mortals in the series.  My favorite Immortal Guardians, however, tend to change with each book. Étienne and Krysta, the hero and heroine of DARKNESS RISES, are my current favorites.  I simply love the teasing banter they share.  But, if I had to choose just one, it would be Seth, the eldest and most powerful Immortal Guardian.  He carries so many responsibilities on his broad shoulders and has seen such tragedy in his long existence.  I think he deserves a HEA more than anyone.

Personally, I adore Cliff and his struggles, as well as Seth. He's the most intriguing character I've read in a very long time and I find myself rereading the parts centered around him the most :) What has been the most fun about exploring the world of the Immortal Guardians?

Discovering that characters can surprise me.  It may sound odd — I’m the writer, after all, and control all aspects of the series — but it’s true.  I’m a pantser, not a plotter, which means I don’t have the entire series already outlined and summarized from beginning to end.  I know where I want series arc to take me.  However, I don’t know how many books it will take me to get there or which couples will find their HEAs along the way.

Étienne and his siblings are among the characters who have surprised me thus far.  I had initially planned to tell their stories later in the series, but I couldn’t stop thinking about them.  Sibling immortals are extremely rare in my Immortal Guardians world.  And, for two centuries, Lisette has borne enormous guilt over accidentally transforming her brothers.  The more I encountered Étienne and Richart, the more I wanted them to find their HEAs.  And I knew Lisette would never let herself find happiness until they did, so they pretty much demanded I tell their stories sooner rather than later.  J

I admit that I was a bit surprised that you told their stories so early, but I fell in love with them immediately. I cannot wait to read Lisette's story! If you were stuck on a deserted island and could only have 3 things, what would they be?

Assuming there was no cell phone reception, I would want one of those large hunting knives that has waterproof matches, a fishing line with a hook, and a compass in the handle (Did I mention I’ve had to research weapons for several manuscripts?); an iPad crammed full of pics and videos of my family, books, movies, music, and apps; and a solar-powered tent to power it and keep me warm at night.

Oooo, creative choice of things with multiple uses! I love it :) What do you like to do in your free time?

Spend time with my family, read, and garden, though I admit I’ve had very little time for the last two of late.  My TBR pile now teeters precariously near the ceiling, and I don’t know if my plants are going to forgive me for neglecting them so heinously over the last few months while I prepared for DARKNESS RISES’ release.  J

I commend you for even attempting to keep plants. I can't manage to keep the poor things alive. The only reason I manage to have a dog is that she gets cranky if she doesn't get plenty of attention. Last time I checked, plants don't communicate well ;) Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Write every day.  I know life can be busy and hectic and stressful and exhausting.  But, even if you can only manage to write a single paragraph on your worst day, you will be one paragraph closer to achieving your goal.  And ALWAYS look for ways to improve your writing.  If I had 30 million books in print that had been translated into 20 different languages and were worldwide bestsellers, I would still search for ways I could be a better writer.  If you’ve never taken any creative writing classes, I highly recommend that you read Stephen King’s ON WRITING (also available as an audiobook) and Christopher Vogler’s THE WRITER’S JOURNEY.  Both will help you distinguish between strong and weak writing and avoid the pitfalls into which new writers can unknowingly fall.

That is amazing advice <3 Can you tell us anything about what you have in store for the Immortal Guardians?

Right now I’m working on NIGHT UNBOUND, the fifth book in the series.  It will feature Étienne’s sister Lisette as heroine and Zach — a dark, mysterious, and very powerful winged figure — as hero.  Zach is yet another of those characters who surprised me.  I didn’t realize when I introduced him what a pivotal role he would end up playing in the series. J    

I cannot WAIT for this book. Seriously. I am dying to know more about Zach and Lisette!! Any last thoughts you’d like to share with your readers?

Thank you for your support!  You’ve been so generous, helping me spread the word about my series.  And your wonderful comments, messages, and emails never fail to make me smile.  I hope you’ll enjoy Étienne and Krysta’s story!  Thank you again!

Thank you again so much for joining me, Dianne! It has been a pleasure getting to know you a bit better :)

Lovelies, stay tuned for my review of Darkness Rises and be sure to enter to win a SIGNED paperback copy of Predatory!!

About the book:
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
My source for the book: Gift from author
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Krysta is used to getting the drop on vampires. Her "special abilities" aren't much, but the plan is simple—she plays helpless pretty young thing to lure them in. Then her shoto swords come out and it's bye-bye, bloodsucker. Until one night she finds herself with an unexpected ally. He's a vampire, all right, but different. Mysterious. Handsome. And more interested in saving her skin than draining it.

Étienne has been an Immortal Guardian for two hundred years—long enough to know that Krysta is special. He can't stop thinking about her long legs, even more than her short swords. Then he discovers the vamps she's exterminating have friends in high places, and the Guardians are in danger too. He'll have to accept Krysta's help to save them. The stakes for a mortal are high. But the cost to his heart might be higher. . .

This series is incredibly original and contains some of the most interesting characters I've read in quite a while. I stumbled across Dianne's work in the bookstore and I'm hooked. Never have I fallen so hard and so fast for every character in a book, especially the secondary characters! From the moment I encounted Etienne, I couldn't wait to get my hands on his story.
Krysta was a perfect match for Etienne. She's prickly, stubborn, and a born warrior. While she isn't too keen on Etienne when she first meets him (and can you blame her? She does think he's a vampire after all), the attraction is undeniable. As more of their story unfolded, I found myself turning the pages faster and faster to find out what happened. The moment I finished the book, I flipped right back to the beginning and started re-reading it. There are VERY few authors I do that.
Beyond Etienne and Krysta, I adored learning more about my favorite couples and the secondary characters. Zach is turning into such a mysterious character and I was thrilled to see that his book is the next one. Dianne has a talent for creating a rich environment and plot that grabs you from the first paragraph and never lets you up.
While this is part of a series, it is stand alone. That being said, I HIGHLY recommend reading the previous books so you can love the characters as much as I do :)
Having to wait for the next book to be released!
OVERALL VERDICT: 5/5 Blue Duckies!!
If you are looking for a fantastic paranormal romance that's action packed, suspenseful, steamy, and has beautifully written characters that stay with you long after you've finished the book, then run out and grab your copy today! And be sure to read all of the others!!

Meet Dianne!

Dianne Duvall is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Immortal Guardians paranormal romance series.  Her debut novel, Darkness Dawns, was nominated for the RT Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Vampire Romance by RT Book Reviews and for Best Paranormal Romance—Vampire by The Romance Reviews.  Ensuing books in the series — Night Reigns, Phantom Shadows, and Predatory — have all been deemed Top Picks by RT Book Reviews, The Romance Reviews, and/or Night Owl Reviews.  Her latest release, Darkness Rises, has been declared a Top Pick by both Night Owl Reviews and The Romance Reviews as well. 
Dianne loves all things creative.  When she isn't writing, Dianne is active in the independent film industry and once even appeared onscreen as a machete-wielding maniac not unlike the vampires in her novels.
Connect With Dianne Online



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Channeling negativity into something good

I've been pretty open about the fact that I recently took a hiatus from writing and my online presence as I struggled with anxiety. Long story short, anxiety sucks and is far more crippling than I could ever have imagined.

I have beaten it into submission for the most part, but I still get anxiety attacks. They come in different forms, some where I'm obsessing over every little situation to the point where I want to scream at myself to chill the hell out. Ok, sometimes I do that. Doesn't necessarily help, but it's amusing to audibly yell at yourself ;)

Other times, I get antsy and claustrophobic around people. I get incredibly overwhelmed and can't stand the noise and it feels like everyone is just pressing in on me and getting into my personal space, even if they're not. I'm not claustrophobic by nature, in fact I like seeing what tight spaces I can fit myself into. In high school, I was very proud of the fact that I fit into my locker on my own. Of course I tore my pants on the way OUT of the locker and had to safety pin them closed for the rest of the day, but that's beside the point.

This type of anxiety attack hit me the other day at work. I hated it, felt helpless and like I was going to crawl out of my own skin. Instead of letting myself be crippled by it though, I opened up to a few people when it was happening. Then I decided to harness those feelings and wrote a scene from Dante and Marisa's book.

It was more cathartic than I'd ever thought. When I was younger, I'd write poetry when the anxiety got bad but I'd lost touch with that practice as I got older. Writing this scene was so amazing because it rekindled the calm that I felt after getting my emotions out on paper. I ended up loving what I wrote and have a new tool in my arsenal to battle back the anxiety.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

8 Sentence Sunday - 10/13!

Hello lovelies! Be sure to check out the other excerpts of Weekend Writing Warriors!!

This excerpt is from the same scene I posted last week from my novel, Breaking the Nexus. Enjoy!!

Another crash shook the ground beneath Connor’s feet and he watched as the woman, her golden hair streaked with blue, turned to shout at the man in a strange language. Panic coated her voice, her vivid blue eyes wild with terror. And determination, Connor realized. His body inexplicable strained toward her, every fiber of his being wanting to offer aid to them but he was held in place by invisible bonds.

Before him, the air seemed to part, flashing symbols glowing faintly. The woman was oblivious to the new danger behind her and he opened his mouth to shout a warning.

The words died on his tongue as once more the earth heaved beneath him, tossing him to the ground as little more than a rag doll. Pain exploded as his head struck something sharp and his vision dimmed.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

8 Sentence Sunday - 10/6/13!

Hello lovelies! Today marks the first venture into 8 Sentence Sunday!! Be sure to check out the other excerpts of Weekend Writing Warriors!!

My first excerpt is from Breaking the Nexus. I previously had self-published this and then pulled it so I could publish it with the fantabulous Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing. I also decided to add some brand new content and to flesh out some scenes where readers wanted some more details. The following is a snippet from the brand new beginning!

Disjointed images bombarded him, nightmarish scenes of battles between creatures that couldn’t exist. Cries of pain and fear reverberated through a forest of strange, twisting trees, nearly drowning out the clash of steel, the sickening crunch of bones breaking, the wet ripping of flesh giving way.

What the hell was going on?

Connor Flynn considered himself a practical man. Having worked too many gruesome crime scenes over the years, it wasn’t unusual for his dreams to be twisted. Yet he couldn’t remember a single instance when his mind had conjured up anything like this.

The beings locked in battle were illuminated by flashes of brilliant color light, seeming to originate from something that looked human, but couldn’t be.

Well, what did you think?

Curious about the book? Well don't miss my novella of the Mythrian Realm, Warrior Unleashed, AVAILABLE NOW on Amazon!!

Warrior Unleashed...Buy it Now!

Nothing is more dangerous than an unleashed warrior.

When Sentinels, an elite group of warriors, begin dying under mysterious circumstances, the deaths are believed to be unrelated but Achaius Rilke knows the truth. As a panther Chimerae, he recognizes the signs of a predator...even an unpredictable one. No one is safe and the only person Achaius can trust is Saia Makan, a Tempestuous Sorceri and the very person who has driven him crazy for years. When the killer sets its sight on Saia, Achaius faces the fight of his life.

But will he survive?

Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thursday Thoughts - The Need for Efficiency

In my day job, we have a daily meeting called a "stand up" that is supposed to take 15 minutes. Since I started back in June, that thing has NEVER taken 15 minutes. Most of the time, it's closer to an hour than anything else. There are usually 15-20 people in this meeting so consider, for a moment, just how much work is lost when so many people are tied for that long.

Never mind the toll on the feet. It's not called a stand up because you get to lounge in comfy chairs. Let it be known that I mostly wear boots to work (or sandals with a heel) and it is NOT comfortable to stand in one place that long. Plus I fidget like no other. But, I digress.

Now, we tried various ways to cut down the time, changing formats, etc. Nothing really helped. People would still go off on tangents and nobody would stop them. The point of a stand off is to update the team on what you're working on and what issues you have, if any. I'm not going to remember the 20 minute conversation between 3 people about implementation of some functionality (sorry all whose eyes just glazed over on that little bit).

Today, we attained the unattainable. A 15 minute stand up. Actually, it was a little less than 15 minutes. Want to know what changed? I ran the show.

Ok, it's not just my awesomeness, though I'm sure that helped. I ran through everyone's assignments and asked a simple question: "Any blockers or issues?" Most of the time people said no. I asked for progress in a few areas, a simple thing to answer with things like "I'm working on that now" or "I haven't started it yet." Short, simple phrases. Issues were briefly explained but if people tried to discuss solutions, I interjected with "let's take that offline."

15 minutes later I announced we'd finally done what none of those was possible. Needless to say, everyone was happy with the outcome. Everything that needed to be said was said. All of those needless discussions that only applied to a few people were tabled. People got the information they required without the other distractions.

What's the point of this story? Efficiency is needed in all aspects of writing. Whether it's tightening your story and stripping out that unnecessary filler bogging down your plot, or stripping out distractions so you can write when you have little time, efficiency is crucial. I can't tell you how many times I've read something (including my own writing) and thought to myself, "Self, why the hell couldn't they have gotten to the point faster?"

Be it cutting an hour long meeting to just 15 minutes or cutting an entire chapter of needless filler, try to take a look at being more efficient. It's easier said than done, believe me. But try not to discount the importance of being efficient :)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom - Finding your style

I'm going to impart great wisdom upon all of my lovelies.

Ok, who am I kidding? That's just not my style lol. I will however ramble on as usual about random stuff. Today, I feel like rambling on about writing style.

I'll let you in on a little secret. Well, not so much a secret as a story. But, I digress. Breaking the Nexus began as a story for National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo. If you haven't participated in that, I highly recommend it. It's a challenge and exhilarating and without it (and my sister's nagging), you wouldn't have Breaking the Nexus.

There was just one little problem with NaNoWriMo...I wrote the story hoping to win (which I did). You have all of these little tricks to help your word count along, such as not using contractions. In my defense, I'd often gotten yelled at by English teachers for using contractions (albeit in papers), so I thought I was doing it the correct way. There were a host of other issues with the story, but I was blissfully unaware of them. I mean, a friend of mine had told me it was wonderful. Wasn't that good enough?

Yeah, not so much. I had a few people read it and the general consensus was something along the lines of: Great premise! But ye gods, woman, your style needs help.

Granted, nobody said that exactly, but it was what they were thinking. I meekly flipped through the corrections, astounded by the bloody marks all over my masterpiece. I was crushed. I had been the one to massacre friends' papers in high school. It wasn't supposed to be my writing that sustained such mortal wounds!

I dragged my feet over to my husband and started crying and saying how I was going to have to rewrite the story. He asked if I was sure and I wailed that there was so many mistakes, there was no way to edit it. My dreams of being a writer were crushed. It had taken me forever to write this much! How was I going to rewrite it? Then he simplified it in the most magnificent way. He said very matter-of-factly: "Then I guess you'll have to rewrite it."

My tears stopped and I thought, He's a genius! I'll just rewrite it!

Yes, I know how illogical that logic was. You'd think I'd have listened to myself when I thought those same words, but in my defense, my hubby has a magical way of cutting through bullshit and making everything make sense.

I set about rewriting the story, going paragraph by paragraph, keeping the same general story line and fixing the style. I let it flow naturally instead of fighting the words like I had when I first wrote the book. Want to know what happened? I discovered it was infinitely easier to let it flow.

So, what was the point of my rambling story? Don't be afraid to get critiques on your style. You're not going to get it right the first time, I'm pretty sure nobody ever has. Take advice on things you do wrong and make changes you agree with. If you disagree on a point, go back and read your favorite authors and see what they do. I had multiple people tell me to stop jumping perspectives. I disagreed, but I went back through multiple authors to see what they did. On the one hand, several authors did jump perspective quite a bit and did it well, yet I found a few that lost me in the jumps. I also saw that more authors used section breaks for perspective jumps and it was much more coherent.

I incorporated this into my writing and *gasp* the world didn't end. Shocking, I know. Find your style and stay true to it. There will always be people who don't like your voice, accept that and move on. Focus on the ones who love your style because clearly, they're the smarter ones ;) But always realize that your style will change and grow the more you write. That's the truly exciting, magical thing about being an author and it excites me to see where my style will go next.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Cut off from the world

Good morning my lovelies! Today, the unthinkable happened. I forgot my cellphone. I carpool with a coworker and this is her week to drive. The way it works is that we meet at a parking lot and one of us drives to work. I ALWAYS have my phone, but not today. Nope, I brilliantly left it in my car in that parking lot.

Now, you'd think it wouldn't be that big of a deal. I mean, people lived for millenia without constant contact with the outside world. There's just one little problem...I'm addicted to my cellphone. There, I've admitted it. I'm a tech addict.

It doesn't help that my company blocks a lot of access to websites and such, including my beloved Gmail. I got my first phone at 16 and before that, I was fine. Needed to go somewhere? I just had to be sure to have a quarter, know one of several tricks to get a free call, or call the 1-800 number my daddy set up for when we forgot money. If all else failed, we could call collect. Remember collect? Yeah, I barely do either.

Isn't it sad how forgetting your cellphone leaves you feeling cut off from the world? The first thing I did was text my husband from my friend's cell to tell him I left mine at home. Then I emailed him the same thing. Logically I know it's not the end of the world not to have my little Android at the ready. Hell, in some ways it'll probably be better because it removes a major distraction for me. That doesn't help those seconds of panic when I reach for my phone out of sheer habit and it's not there. Automatically, I wonder, "OMG did I lose it?! Oh, wait. It's safe in my car...wait...what if someone breaks in and steals my phone?!"

Yes, I'm weird. Don't judge me ;)

Anyway, what would you do if you had to be without your phone for an entire day? Would it be nothing to you or would you feel cut off from the world?