Participants needed for STEEL BLOOD blog tour this July

Steel-Blood-Jacket.inddAre you a book blogger and/or reviewer? Would you like to be part of a blog tour this summer to promote the next book in the Steel Empires series, Steel Blood?

Please use this Google form (no registration required) to submit your contact information, availability, and interest in the following:

  • Spotlight (book and author info)
  • Short excerpt
  • Author interview (questions provided by me or you)
  • Guest post (topic to be mutually determined)

I am also looking for book reviewers who are interested in receiving an advance electronic copy in exchange for an honest review, to be posted at your convenience sometime this summer.

Thanks!

Holiday Romance Special Part 2: Victory & Mikelos

SteelVictoryARC_cov.inddAs promised, the husband and I shared a delicious meal of Indian food in front of the TV last night to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We watched another few episodes of The Grand Tour and then went to bed early.

Today actually marks 8 years since we officially started dating! Not because of the holiday, but because in 2009 I had agreed to pick him up from the airport after a 2-week class in California, and he had a Valentine’s Day bouquet delivered to my apartment that morning as a thank you.

But you’re not here for my sappy love story. You’re here for the much more interesting one between Victory and Mikelos, who were introduced in Steel Victory. Vampire and daywalker will return for their own adventure this summer in Steel Empires #3: Steel Blood, but for now, here’s some backstory and behind-the-scenes info to tide you over.

How and why did they meet?

After the drama (and trauma) of the Last War, Victory settled in Limani with her progeny Jarimis. She helped Jarimis’ daywalker open a bar, supporting Allesdandra’s dream. One day, in walks a human man she recognized from back in Europa, a former concert violinist.

For 200 years, Mikelos had lived as the daywalker to his musical partner, the vampire and cellist Connor. When Connor disappears without a trace, he leaves his old life behind, escaping into anonymity in Limani. Or so he thinks.

When Mikelos is mortally wounded defending Allesandra, Victory turns him back into a daywalker to save his life. Continue reading

“Evolution of Vampires in Popular Fiction” on Speculative Chic

impalings-of-vlad-the-impalerAbout a year ago, I was lucky enough to be featured on SF Signal, an amazing blog that featured all things speculative fiction. To help promote my own brand-new, nontraditional vampire novel, I condensed years worth of research into a short article on the evolution of how vampires have been represented in popular fiction throughout the modern literary age.

Sadly, SF Signal discontinued publication. But I was proud of my article and hoped to find a new, permanent home for it.

Enter Speculative Chic!

Though my ridiculously busy life had so far precluded me from participating beyond short write-ups for group posts, the editor invited me to submit this previously published article. So if you missed it a year ago, now is your chance to check out my take on vampire representation in different literary mediums (including film, television, and graphic novels).

Do you agree or disagree with my assessments?

Did I miss your favorite vampire?

Who would win in an epic battle: a vampire, werewolf, or zombie?

Feel free to comment either here or at the original post, and I’d love to discuss these things with you!

You can read about how my vampire characters differ from the norm in the first book of the Steel Empires series, Steel Victory.

 

Review: “Method Writing” by K.W. Taylor

method writing

“Method Writing” by K.W. Taylor

Disclaimer: This author and I share a publisher, and I consider her a good friend. However, I purchased this short story for full price.

“Method Writing” is one of those short stories that covers characters and events that deserve to be a novel. However, it is the rare sort of writer who knows that sometimes a better story can be told through short fiction.

The main character is fascinating, and as a fellow speculative fiction writer, I can more than identify his irritation at a former teacher’s insistence that writers can only write what they know. But rather than more “normal” sorts of research, John goes above and beyond to inhabit the worlds of his characters. Despite the fact that I also write about vampires, you certainly won’t find me sleeping in a coffin or switching to a liquid diet!

Thought I expected the ending, it was still well executed. I wanted a bit more of it, but making it any longer would have overbalanced the rest of this story story.

Well-worth the read for anyone who wants reassurance that the writers in their life are actually fairly normal people.

Rating: 4 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Currently reading: The Jinni’s Wish by B. Leslie Tirrell (40%)

SF Signal hosts my blog post about vampires in popular fiction!

sfsignalLogov5-3

I took a film genre course in college, and wrote an entire research paper on the evolution of vampires in film. No knowledge is ever wasted, so with a little more work, I was able to write a (much shorter) essay on the evolution of vampires in popular fiction. SF Signal was lovely enough to host me here in the spirit of Halloween.

Though the post mostly discusses works of literary fiction, I also touch a bit on vampires in movies, television shows, and graphic novels. Its fascinating to me how vampires can be portrayed so differently in each form of entertainment.

What’s your favorite vampire in popular culture? I couldn’t cover all of them in the blog post, but I’d love to chat about it in the comments here!

Review: KITTY SAVES THE WORLD by Carrie Vaughn

KITTY SAVES THE WORLD by Carrie Vaughn

KITTY SAVES THE WORLD by Carrie Vaughn

I had really high expectations for this book since it is the end of a 15-book saga by one of my favorite authors.

Vaughn exceeded every single expectation.

  1. Bring together a bunch of old allies: Characters from every major adventure show up to help Kitty through this final battle. All of them play a significant role, so they are not just brought in for fan service. (Minor critique: I would have been okay with more bad things happening to the side of light, but that’s probably because I’m a darker author.)
  2. Answer major questions: We’ve known all along that Roman was the general, and it was teased a few books ago that a Caesar was pulling his strings. I was pleased that we do learn who the Caesar is, to good effect.
  3. Escalate the world building: The author has introduced us to a lot of the supernatural in her world, with a final major reveal here that was done very deftly. (Minor critique: I greatly appreciate the inclusion of Chinese mythology in this world, and I would have been happy to learn if/how the Caesar was also their Big Bad rather than remaining firmly in the Judeo-Christian mythos.)

While I would happily read more about Kitty, I feel satisfied by the end of her and Ben’s story. The author definitely still has plenty of room to play in this world (What do Cormac and Amelia do next? Is Grant really guarding Cthulu in Las Vegas? What about the other mythologies in the world and their supernatural creatures?) and I would enjoy going along for the ride!

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars

Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Currently reading: STAR WARS: LOST STARS by Claudia Gray

In Which We Discuss Why We’re All Really Here

Thanks for joining me as I continue the tour of my new Web site! The next tab at the top of the page I’d like to discuss is named “Books.”

I only have two fiction publications so far. But they’re both pretty epic, so you’ll have to excuse the short list.

In 2014, a friend from college reached out to me. He had previously put together two anthology collections hosted by a fiction writers forum he participated in. One of the major critiques both anthologies received was the lack of gender diversity in the author list. So for the their third outing, Fadeley reached out to me and invited me to join the “editorial board” and use my connections to solicit greater female participation. I’m not sure what the percentages were for the first two anthologies, but I’m pleased to say that the third anthology was almost 30% female written, which isn’t bad for a straight-up speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, and horror) collection. I participated in reviewing synopsis submissions, performing substantive edits of invited first drafts, and copy-editing the hell out of the final drafts. I declined the opportunity to submit a short story of my own, but I’m very pleased with the two flash fiction stories I did write for inclusion, especially since I had very little experience with flash fiction previously.

You can find out more about FAR WORLDS, including where to purchase your copy, here. It’s still in print for another year, so don’t miss out!

In 2015, in 2 short weeks (cue the panic), I’m thrilled to introduce my second publication to the world.  STEEL VICTORY was my thesis novel while I was a graduate student at Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program. Two years and 103,000 words later, I completed my first (original fiction) novel and received my MA.

Except I made the mistake of writing an urban fantasy with a vampire main character and not one lick of romance to be seen. During the height of the Twilight craze.

So I put it in a box for a few years and played video games and had a great time editing fiction for other people and generally enjoying life not being in school. Eventually, a former fellow student (Heidi Ruby Miller) became the managing editor of the science fiction/adventure imprint of a small press known for breaking genre barriers. She remembered my thesis novel and encouraged me to submit it.

After I cut 13,000 words.

Right after I had agreed to take on the FAR WORLDS project.

Oh boy.

So I stopped playing video games (much to my husband’s dismay) and worked like crazy for 6 months. Trimming some dead weight from STEEL VICTORY ultimately made it a better book (look for the deleted scenes in over the next few months), and I was pleased with my final submission.

So was Raw Dog Screaming Press, which was even better!

Since last summer, STEEL VICTORY has gone through another few rounds of edits (cutting another few thousand words) and I’m thrilled to be able to share the final draft with the world in a few short weeks (cue more panicking).

You can find information about how to order STEEL VICTORY here, along with the back cover text and some great reviews by other amazing authors (such as Maria V. Snyder, author of POISON STUDY!). It will also be available on Kindle on release day.

June 26 cannot come soon enough!