Release Day: BLACK HEART, RED RUBY

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LOVE IN A TIME OF MONSTERS IS OUT!

This is the post I’ve been waiting to write for years. YEARS! My fantasy novel, LOVE IN A TIME OF MONSTERS, is on sale!

LoveMonsters_FC_BNG copy

He has a monster problem

Scotland, 1867. When Rob Stevenson’s brother is killed—and eaten—in the forest outside their estate, Rob’s sheltered world is shattered by a monster infestation. Determined to keep his village safe, Rob’s first duty as laird involves hiring a professional hunter.

She kills monsters

The sole survivor of a massacre in the Congo, Catriona Mornay is rumored to have lost her mind in the jungle. In Edinburgh’s gas-lit streets, Cat’s skill as a hunter is unmatched. Her reputation as a killer of unnatural creatures, legendary.

Two worlds collide

Faced with a rising body count, Rob takes a chance on Cat, hoping that somewhere inside this tortured yet charismatic girl is the hero he’s been searching for. But in this shadow realm of secrets, lies, and underworld crime, their lives overlap in more ways than one. And in an age where harpies flock the sky and serpents rule the sea, it’s even possible for a boy and his hunter to fall in love.

But can their love survive in a time of monsters?

You can buy it here:

Amazon

Barnes & Nobles

Kobo

iBooks

Google Play

The ebook is cheaper than the price of popcorn chicken (or Girl Scout cookies for those of you who do not gorge yourself on popcorn chicken) and will net you hours of entertainment. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll feel a little scared and perhaps… a little sexy? I have a dirty mind, and while that’s no secret, aren’t you curious about my dirty mind when applied to a fantasy setting?

As an added bonus, if you buy the paperback version on Amazon, you’ll get the kindle version for $0.99.

I’m thrilled to share this book with you and hope you enjoy it! And once you’ve enjoyed it… please consider leaving a review (I won’t direct you to where, but allow me to point in Amazon’s general direction) to help others find my work and spread my dirty mind around… rather like herpes but in a more pleasant way.

 

 

Projects

I’ve been semi-hard at work on my second novel. I have a title. A badass title. Unfortunately, I am artistically superstitious and cannot talk about my work-in-progress(s) until I’ve finished drafting so you must remain in the dark.

This second project is a YA historical fantasy set in Scotland circa 188o. See collage below… There is a high amount of Victorian Era drug use involving absinthe and syringes. Interesting research fact, syringes were invented in the 19th century–in Scotland, in fact–so it was meant to be.

As per my tastes, the fantasy element is very light so it’s more of an ‘alternate history’ than ‘high fantasy.’ Also, character names and places will never contain ‘ae.’

In three simple words: love, drugs, and monsters.

And below is WIP #3, a YA historical fantasy set in Elizabethan England.  It was born out of a NyQuil-induced dream involving Elizabethan-era spies, though the actual premise is pure backstabbing Rome/I,Claudius. A vague description: Ruffle collars, court intrigue, poison, murder, executions, empires, tyrants…

The Hunger Games Movie Casting (thoughts)

If you’re like me–a not-so-secret Hunger Games fangirl–you’ve probably prowled the four corners of the web waiting for any tidbits of casting news for the forthcoming movie. I’ve been known to indulge in book to movie fantasy casting in the past and I’ve even assembled my own Hunger Games cast last year, so when the actors for the Peeta/Katniss/Gale roles were announced, how could I let the opportunity slip by without offering my two cents?

This whole Hunger Games movie brings about so much nail-biting anxiety, especially in lieu of ‘The Great Twilight Debacle.” Because I love The Hunger Games so freaking much, I will be devastated, no, inconsolable, if the movies descends into a Michael Bay meets Twilight CGI noise-fest. In short, I’d like to impart a few words to Hollywood: Please don’t F**k this up!

KATNISS: Any actress cast in this role is sure to receive criticism. After all, these are large hunter boots to fill…Jennifer Lawrence has Oscar creds, I’m actually rather relieved she’s going to play my favorite YA heroine, though I speak from Oscar awe and not from having seen Winter’s Bone. My first choice (highly improbable due to age) was Summer Galu the Terminator girl: so perfect for the role but alas, we’re about five years too late. So Jennifer Lawrence, huh? I’m trying to imagine her sooty-faced and shooting arrows into people’s asses and you know what? I could totally see it! Give the girl a bottle of hair dye and some archery lessons and let’s see if she can incite a revolution. Plus, she’s got Suzanne Collins’ personal approval but the verdict is still out until I’ve seen Winter’s Bone.

Katniss by LitCon on Polyvore.com

PEETA: My first reaction upon hearing that Josh Hutcherson was going to play the baker boy was “Who the heck is Josh Hutcherson?” followed by “This dude has Batman’s (of the Animated series) jaw! So strong, so square!” Plus, the pictures of him sporting a fohawk was not helping his cause. An IMDB search revealed Josh H. as the somber, doe-eyed kid in 2007’s Bridge to Teribithia movie… Ah. What a relief! There was a lot of soulful ‘staring-off-into-the-distance as I contemplate my mortality’ scenes in Bridge to Teribithia, which Josh H. OWNED and he was all of twelve years old. I hoped he’s brushed up on his meaningful stares because Peeta waxes philosophic ALL THE TIME. Remember “Real vs. Not Real?” in Mockingjay? Or the “Let us stand on the rooftop and gaze upon the city while we decide how we should die with dignity” scene in Hunger Games? This square jawed, chin-dimpled boy has my seal of approval! As for the hair, I’m sure the stylist who bleached Tom Felton’s hair in the Harry Potter movies will welcome the commission…

Peeta by LitCon on Polyvore.com

GALE: Liam Hemsworth?!!!!  As in the Captain America look-a-like who romanced Miley Cyrus with BABY SEA TURTLES in The Last Song?!!! Oh God… OH MAN! Oh GOD! OH MAN! Let me take a moment to drop to my knees and howl: NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! As you can see, I was not pleased with the casting. Up until the end of Mockingjay, I was waving the Team Gale banner to victory. I knew it was a lost cause but guys, Gale… Hunter. Adonis. Henry Cavill in the movie of my mind! Perhaps I’m being unfair to Liam and yet, the taint of that sacchrine Nicholas Sparks movie coupled with being Miley Cyprus’ off screen arm candy is hard to shake.

I begin 2011 freezing in my whale hunter jacket

As I’m writing this, I am wearing two pairs of pants, one turtleneck, a fleecy sweater, and a big puffy whale hunter jacket, fur lined hood pulled up. God I feel cool, no pun intended. Actually, I feel like I could join forces with Ernest Shackleton on Elephant Island and maybe nibble on cubes of Walrus fat for sustenance. I must stop typing every few seconds and blow hot pockets of air into my frozen palms.  I am also thinking of adding an extra pair of socks over the socks I already have on. This is the perfect time to pick a fight; my extra padding is the ultimate body armor. If you punch me I doubt I’ll feel it.

What does this have to do with books? Either I need to read a book set in warmer climes (any recs?) or I’m about to tear up the pages of a few Horrible Dare Novels and start a bonfire OR stuff them down my Whale Hunter jacket or dare I say it? down my pants. More padding is always appreciated.

Anyway, to fulfill my New Year’s Resolution to blog more, I just wanted to wow you with two totally random things.

A collage of My Wardrobe Remix of Spring-Fall of 2010. They remind me of warmer days when I looked normal and not like I’m about to spear a polar bear. In case you’re wondering if I’m a secret mother: I have not yet produced offspring (and probably won’t if I keep referring to children as ‘offspring.’) The little girl is my cousin, I call her Mini Me, and I borrowed her for picture purposes because she likes to ladypose more than I do.

And I’ve always wanted to do a Teaser Tuesday, except I’m going to be a maverick and do it on Monday. Since I’m not reading anything at this moment, I will grab the closest book and flip to a random page.

This book is Monster by Christopher Pike.

Teaser sentence: “We ate together. In a restaurant. We didn’t eat anybody.”

2010 Reading Round Up

My reading stats this year won’t break any records. The reading slump months, i.e. the months I read only one book, are especially conspicuous. The thing is, I’ve changed. Whereas in the past years my focus was on quantity (I wanted to read X amount of books and beat some invisible record), this year I find myself slowing down and savoring the story. I guess after two years of speeding I finally realized that reading shouldn’t be rushed. It’s not like I have a stagecoach to catch of anything.

December is conspicuously, shamefully missing. I was lead astray by all these holiday shenanigans and have not managed to finish a single book, though, it should be noted that I am currently reading Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King and enjoying every gruesome moment of it.

Trends:

My moods seemed to swing from the big sweeping epics at the beginning of the year and whittle down to a slew  of retro Christopher Pikes, a result of scavenging my local dollar bookstore in search of those sentimental ’90’s reading days.

The Best of 2010 (in no particular order). Prepare thyself for a lot of nonsensical gushing and uncontrollably sobbing:

The Thornbirds by Colleen McCullough: Oh sweet Jesus, I love this book so much I could fall on my knees and say a thousand ‘Hail Marys’ to the author and even that wouldn’t be enough to express my pure devotion to the awesomeness of this book. Reading this tome took the entire month of January and carting it around was like tucking an especially heavy brick under my arm. I’ve never been to Australia but when I finished I felt like I could claim citizenship. This is the epic star-crossed love story between a Catholic priest and the spunky young woman he sort of helped raised. Gross, right? Oh but it is so romantic, not in the slushy way, but a surprisingly esoteric way that makes absolutely no sense unless you’ve read the book and fawned over the prose. Okay, I totally dogearred a few parts of this book for future re-reads. My favorite part: when Father Ralph was all “Tonight there is only Meggie. I have wanted her. She too is a sacrament.” *Descends into uncontrollably sobbing because the simile is so on the nose.* WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!!! *Sobs like the Double Rainbow guy on YouTube* What does it mean????????????????

The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard:  When I mini-reviewed this book earlier this year, I gave it a B. As time progressed and the story had like time to age like a bottle of fine wine in the cellar of my mind (don’t puke, I’m listening to Phantom of the Opera on a continuous loop as I’m writing this), it dawned on me that I might have been too hasty in my grading. I claimed this book was sad, bordering on depressing. Now it is sad, bordering on bittersweet.  This YA is about the secret affair between a boy from the wrong side of the tracks and a country club princess. Then she dies and her brother hands him her diary which he reads and weeps over because SOB!!!!!!! she really loves him but never officially told him and now she’s dead and he has to DEAL! This isn’t some paranormal romance where dead means zombie. This is real life where dead means dead and the survivors take long meaningful walks in the snow DEALING.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: This is another historical epic that monopolized a month out of my year. As a loyal fan of the movie, I’ve always been meaning to tackle the book but never got around to it. Boy am I glad I did. Upon finishing, I slammed the book down and sort of had a religious experience.  I even managed to squeeze out a few tears. “Wow,” I said. Just wow. I am also extremely jealous of Margaret Mitchell’s novel writing prowness. From a technical perspective, GWTW has the perfect balance between beautiful prose, compelling storytelling, and deep characterization. Also, Scarlett O’Hara is my hero. In the league of resourceful heroines, I think she’s even cooler than Claire from Outlander. It’s a close race, but Scarlett has that extra ounce of bitchness that speaks to the Melrose Place (circa ’90’s) fan in me.

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls: This is the surprise of 2010. I checked this out from the library for lack of anything better to read. I’m not a big memoir reader and I approached Glass Castle with low expectations. Then the story, which reminded me of a more intense, modern day version of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, blew me away. I am such a sucker for coming-of-age!

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins: While I did not find this book as exhilarating as Hunger Games and Catching Fire, the end (minus the epilogue) was so perfect that it almost made me change teams. I remember reading the last paragraph over and over again and sighing.

I Capture the Castle by Doddie Smith: This book has that jolly ole tone that Americans like me find so hilarious. Oh the Brits and their understated witticisms! No seriously, this book, it done warmed my heart and challenged my mind. Plus, it lends itself to quotes.

Books Read in 2010

Jan.2010

The Thornbirds—Colleen McCullough

Feb 2010

1. The Secret Year—Jennifer R. Hubbard

2. Thirst No. 2—Christopher Pike

3. A Woman of Substance—Barbara Taylor Bradford

4. The Sartorialist—Scott Schuman

5. Blankets—Craig Thompson

March 2010

1. Alfred Hitchcock and Francois Truffaut interview

2. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

3. The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

 

April 2010

1. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

May 2010

  1. Die Softly by Christopher Pike
  2. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
  3. Road to Nowhere by Christopher Pike

June 2010

  1. Story by Robert McKnee
  2. Monster by Christopher Pike
  3. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
  4. L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad
  5. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

July 2010

1. The Stand by Stephen King (not finished)

2. Remember Me by Christopher Pike (Reissued trilogy includes Remember Me, The Return, The Last Story)

August 2010

1. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

September 2010

1. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

2. See You Later by Christopher Pike

3. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

4. The Secret of Ka by Christopher Pike

5. The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass

6. How to Write a Damn Good Thriller by James N. Frey

October 2010

1. Bury Me Deep by Christopher Pike

2. Spellbound by Christopher Pike

3. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

4. Witch by Christopher Pike

November 2010

1. Dream Man by Linda Howard

2. Thirst No. 3 by Christopher Pike

3. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

4. I Capture the Castle by Doddie Smith

5. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

 

The Secret of Ka

The Secret of Ka by Christopher Pike

I have a secret crush on Christopher Pike, the mysterious author of those candy-colored teen thrillers of the ‘80’s and ‘90’s. Like Big Foot, Pike is something of an urban legend. I like to imagine he’s like lives in a haunted mansion by the sea and writes his novels at night…like the Phantom of the Opera! Some days I wonder if he resembles Harrison Ford, on other days—given his Star Trek pseudonym—he may look like Spock (from the new Star Trek movie. So pointy-eared, so logically sexy). Of all the authors I admire, C.Pike is the one I would most like to meet. If I play my cards right, he might call me his ANGEL OF FICTION!!!! He may also whisper in my ear: “Let the dream begin, let your darker side give in. To the power of the novels that I write. The power of the NOVELS OF THE NIGHT!!!!!!!!”
Which is why I hope he never stumbles upon this review…
The Secret of Ka. Sigh…

Oh Christopher Pike, why have you forsaken me? I know from experience that you’ve written 40+ novels, some great, some just okay, and some just plain bad. They can’t all be winners. Nobody will ever mistake The Secret of Ka for a winner…
So Sara is visiting her CEO father in Istanbul when she crosses paths with Amesh, a one-armed delivery boy with a one-note personality. The same could be said for Sara, and I don’t mean the one-arm part. They discover a magic carpet at her father’s job site and steer the rug to a remote island where they unleash a genie. This is all very Aladdin except, wait for it… genies are evil and they want your soul!
Fueled by a driving need to bring the jihad on the bastards who cut off his arm, Amesh morphs into a wish greedy fiend. He hijacks the magic carpet, marooning Sara on the island after eating all her power bars. Then, if memory serves me right, he kidnaps Sara’s dad at knife point. Despite the fact that she’s only known him for a day and he has all the makings of a homicidal maniac, Sara still loves him. He’s just so darn cute! Anyways, all is well because…oh what the heck… there are ALIENS involved. And by aliens, I mean *whispers* her dad is an alien, not from outer space, but from a fourth dimension race of snake people. Oh, and he’s not really her father.
I’ve come to expect WTFery from Christopher Pike. In fact, I rather like it when there’s helicopter chases or teens morphing into vampire bats as long as it’s entertaining. That’s not to say that The Secret of Ka didn’t have its moments. It did, however, lack the ‘cool factor’ and passion of Pike’s earlier books and I wonder if it’s because Secret of Ka read more like a middle grade novel than a YA. I miss the resourceful protagonists that used to populate Pike’s older novels; the ones who made elaborate plans that usually involves buying a shotgun without an ID or siphoning gasoline to blow up monsters. Alas, times have changed since the days Pike ruled the YA shelves and I guess he can’t write ‘80’s gore anymore.
This was not the worst novel I’ve ever read. It’s certainly not anywhere near the best. C-.
Damn my honesty! Now Pike will never call me his ANGEL OF FICTION!