Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Okay, So I Lied...

I know I promised an update on Sunday, but I was enjoying my four day weekend so much, I kinda forgot. Not that I had much to report. I did get a lot of writing done and I'm happy to say that book 2 is starting to take shape, or rather, it's starting to read more like a book than just random scenes and notes.

By the time I returned to work on Monday, I was pleasantly surprised to have several of my co-workers tell me how much their daughter's enjoyed Parallel (guess their kids got in some reading time over the long weekend) and had another colleague bombard me with questions about book 2 (she said it's not every day she gets to ask an author questions).

So while I'm still grinning from all the kudos, I am going back to writing a few scenes before American Horror Story comes on tonight. I think I'm more obsessed with the house (and Jessica Lange) than the actual show. Seriously, folks, I would buy that house if I could.

Oh, I hope to have some photos up this weekend from my first book signing in Old Town Alexandria on Friday. It's nothing major, but maybe I can finally get some new photos (i.e. author pics) up, seeing that I'm no longer blond...that was soooo two years ago!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Counting My Blessings...

I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving: my family, husband, good health, the goofy pugs curled up next to me on the couch, and all of the wonderful things to come.

During this recession, I am not only fortunate enough to have a full-time job, but a part-time one that I enjoy, and of course, my after-hours gig as a writer...a job I love. Yeah, I gotta appreciate that. My checking account may say otherwise, but that just means the bills and mortgage are being paid.

This is also a time when my thoughts go out to those who aren't as fortunate as others and to those oversees, who serve this great country, that can't make it home to see their family and loved ones during the holidays...

I'm skipping my ROW80 update today, but will make up for it on Sunday.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Quick ROW80 Update

I'm on a writing roll, as they say, so I'm going to keep my ROW80 update short...

Didn't achieve my 5k a week word goal, but I think I came pretty close. Today alone, I'm pleased to have gotten about 1,600 words on my adult paranormal and 500 on book two of the Travelers Series. And the words are still flowing. The writing gods are looking down on me today!

Don't forget to check out my review of Stirred, co-authored by Blake Crouch and J.A. Konrath. I also got the opportunity to interview them both, as part of their book launch. Stirred goes on sale November 22nd.

I also finished my guest post for Teen Readers Diary today, yay!

And if I don't get around to posting on Wednesday, have a great week and Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

All Stirred Up: Blake Crouch & J.A. Konrath

Once again, I'm honored to have the privilege of reading an advanced copy of anything written by Blake Crouch and J.A. Konrath. This time, I was offered the opportunity to read their most recent collaboration, STIRRED, that concludes the Andrew Z. Thomas/Luther Kite and Lt. Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels saga, respectively.

(Book Blurb)
"Lt. Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels has seen humanity at its most depraved and terrifying. She's lost loved ones. Come close to death countless times. But she always manages to triumph over evil. Luther Kite is humanity at its most depraved and terrifying. He's committed unthinkable acts. Taken human life for the sheer pleasure of it. He is a monster among monsters, and no one has ever caught him. Each is the best at what they do. Peerless. Unmatched.

Until now...

In Luther's experience, people are weak. Even the strong and fearless break too easily. He wants a challenge, and sets his depraved sights on Jack. But with a baby on the way, Jack is at her most vulnerable. She's always been a fighter, but she's never had so much to fight for. So he's built something especially for Jack. His own private ninth circle of hell--a nightmare world in a forgotten place from which no one has ever escaped.

It's J.A. Konrath's greatest heroine versus Blake Crouch's greatest villain in Stirred, the stunning conclusion to both Konrath's Lt. Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels thriller series and Crouch's Andrew Z. Thomas series."

When I began STIRRED, I didn't know if I was going to be disappointed or elated over this final installment. I loved both series separately, but equally (I don't like to play favorites) and to be honest, I didn't know if these two grand masters of words could pull it off. I'm sure I won't be the first one (or the last) to say this but, they did. Not only did they deliver on their promise, but managed to do so so in spades.

As we've come to expect from both Crouch and Konrath, there is a lot of guts, gore, and gratuitous violence in this grand finale. Personally, that's what I've grown to love and expect about the stories they tell. But if you're the squeamish kind, don't let that dissuade you from reading STIRRED, or any of their other books in the series. While Blake and Joe have a penchant for violence in their tales, there's also a very strong underlying theme of love in this book. I don't know if it's intentional, or if I just find it in a lot of what I read, but it's there. And for you literary folks, there's enough reference to Dante's Inferno to keep you intrigued and guessing as to where they're going with this.

Having read every book in both sets of books, I was able to figure out some things as I read along and followed the clues, but I was completely floored at the end. After I finished STIRRED, I actually had to go back and read the last pages of some their other works (KILLERS and BREAK YOU) to see if I had missed anything that would have hinted at the ending.

Crouch and Konrath left a few things open at its conclusion and I wouldn't be surprised if, in the somewhat distant future, we see some of our favorite villains, sipping margaritas and plotting revenge, in some touristy tropical destination (somewhere near the Bermuda Triangle, I'm sure).

(Side Note:) For those who haven't read either series or just one of the series, the author's did allow for STIRRED to be read as a stand alone novel. Not only that, but they added interactive links within the book every time a character is introduced, referencing their original appearance. Nice touch guys...but I must say to those readers out there, you lose the entire perspective if you don't go back and read both series, including all the novellas and shorts that are included in the universe.

(Oh, yeah:) A word to the wise, have some fritos or pork rinds handy before you begin reading STIRRED. For the first half of the story, Jack ate so much junk food, I totally had the munchies the entire 7 hours it took me to read it. All I had was an apple pie, so I ate that...

Q&A with Blake Crouch and J.A. Konrath

1. Did you ever imagine, when writing your respective series, that it would turn into something much grander like STIRRED?

Not at all. Even when we first wrote "Serial" (our first collaboration) we thought it was a one-off kind of thing. But as that expanded to "Serial Uncut" and "Birds of Prey" we started to understand how we could link our series together (through the villains). By last summer (2010), it was obvious that we needed to do a collaboration novel that concluded both of our series.

2. For Joe - I'm dying to know. What happened to Alex Kork? I thought for sure she'd show up somewhere, helping Luther along the way.

You've got to read Serial Killers Uncut, which is the companion double novel to Stirred and our respective series. It contains every villain we've ever written, and yes, there is an, um...interesting interlude with Luther and Alex.

3. For Blake - I don't want to give away any spoilers, so I'll ask this as generic as I can... Did you change the relationship between Andrew and Luther when writing STIRRED or did you already have that in mind when you wrote BREAK YOU and KILLERS?

I already knew what we were going to do in Stirred while writing Break You and Killers. Break You is essentially the set up for Stirred.

4. If STIRRED was made into a movie, who do you envision playing Andrew, Luther, Jack, and Harry McGlade?

Andy: John Cusack

Luther: Christian Bale

Jack: I will not sell the movie rights to the series, because the only person who can play Jack Daniels on the screen is me.

Harry McGlade: Due to the magic of Hollywood cinema, I can also play Harry.

5. I have followed both your writing careers, both as a reader and a writer. Do you two have any other collaborative projects in the works?

We are going to be writing a followup to Draculas called Wolfmen. It'll be Joe and Blake and two new writers. Joe is writing more in the Flee series with Ann Voss Peterson. Blake's also doing some collaborations with some new blood.

Thanks so much guys for taking the time to answer my questions! 

STIRRED goes on sale November 22nd!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sleep, Sickness, and Sales

Once again, I had every intention of posting my ROW80 progress on Sunday. Really. But instead, I decided to stay in bed all day after spending the previous two days organizing and cleaning for my hubby's 40th birthday party Saturday night. But even though I flaked on my update, I did get some writing in on Sunday (@500 words), inspired by the Stephen King marathon that was on all day.

Then, I got sick. Nothing major, but what I initially thought was strep is probably some sort of cold, so I stayed home from work yesterday and slept. Still sick today, but think I can scrounge up a few words before America Horror Story comes on later tonight.

On a brighter note, I broke 100 in ebook sales on Amazon this month! Meaning, this is the first month that I've actually sold that many within a month (last month was around 70). Yeah!

Next up, the promotion front. I've kinda let marketing and networking slide this month (still exhausted from my blog tour last month), but I've got some guest posts lined up for next month and I owe Teen Readers Diary a guest post this week (I got sidetracked by being sick). And on December 2nd, I'll be doing a very small book signing...Actually, it's more like I'm crashing my friends trunk show in order to hock my books - I have very nice friends.

AND I don't want to give away any details yet, BUT I have a very special Q&A post coming up soon, where I get to interview two of the most epic authors ever! Keep checking in!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New Goal

I had every intention of posting my ROW80 progress this past Sunday, but I was having too much fun visiting the folks in Texas. I ate way to much, went fishing, played with animals on the ranch, and ate a little bit more. What can I say? I totally neglected my writing for a few short days...but I did manage to get some writing in on my 8 hour layover in Dallas.

Here are some pic's from my trip home...

My sister, cousins, and me after an awesome day of fishing on South Padre Island...that's me in the long sleeve tee. My dad treated us to beer, shrimp, and oysters! 

Me and Pumpkin the Goat at my Grandpa's.

Now that I'm back home and after careful consideration, I decided to step up my game in terms of writing goals for this round. The last couple of rounds, I always just listed "write everyday" as my goal. But now, I'm thinking I have to do a bit more than that if I want Paradox to be completed by my December deadline. So the new goal is: write at least 5,000 words a week. I usually average about 2-3k a week, so if I just push a little more and watch a little less t.v., I think I can manage it. But deadline aside, I'm really doing it for my readers. Those that have already picked up Parallel really seemed to like it (yes, much to my shock) and I'd like to have book two out before the story gets stale.

So that's it...I gotta get back to writing!