Monday, 29 December 2014

Stories and their titles...

Titles are always tricky creatures for me, which is annoying as a story often doesn't feel like one until it has a title that fits with it. Usually, the title pops up rather quickly, but my current WiP has bounced around as "the story with the elf in it", or just "elf story", for several months now. It doesn't describe what it is about. In fact, I've had a hard time trying to figure out what would.

I also tend to wind up with titles that basically refer to the Main Character. A lot. Granted, I've also got titles that aren't along that vein, but they are few and, surprisingly, they're also all sequels.

But most recently, whilst I was trawling through the shops looking for a few Boxing Day additions for my bookshelves, I'd an epiphany. Well ... if I'm honest, a certain pointy-eared Main Character and a title popped into the forefront of my mind. I know the character even if I don't know much else.

And just what was the title he gave me?

 Through Smoke and Fire

So now my newest WiP has a title. What I don't have is a reason as to why my current work should be called that. Is it referring to the end part of the story? I have no idea. Do you know how annoying that is? Very! It's officially bugging me in ways I don't like to be bugged.

So yay for a title. Now I just have to make sense of it...

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

So ... this is Christmas...

Or it will be ... tomorrow.

Wait ... what? It is really?
*Looks at calendar*
Egads! Sometimes, I'm certain I skipped part of this year somewhere along the way. All I know is that the months managed to seem both too short and too long. And these last few weeks have whizzed by without so much as a "how do you do?" but the presents were all bought before the rush and I've got the last bit of shopping done.

So all there's left for me to do is wish all of you happiness on your holidays, whatever you celebrate, and many good wishes for the New Year.

Now bring on that Christmas arguing! 'Tis the season to bicker, after all...

Sunday, 21 December 2014


Saturday, 20th December.

It's around 9:30 PM. I'm sitting there, staring calmly at the TV. The characters from Dragon Age: Inquisition are running across the screen and I'm focusing on nothing more important than which mission to do next. Hell, after a day of battling the entire city for the last of my daughter's gifts and picking her up from a friend's Christmas party, I'm practically half asleep. I may even have dozed off at some point, I'm not certain.


In strides my muse, she came back from her little vacation some time ago and, although I kept her happy pottering with various fan-fictions, she's about had it with my complete inattention to the stories floating around my computer.
Her response to this offence? Dangle a little morsel before me like some damn carrot. A scene for the story I'm still figuring out the bloody world-building for (she doesn't like to think small, I'll give her that).

There's flaming apples involved (literally, the person responsible is a magic-wielder) and one piece that had me turning off the game to go write. Actually write, like pencil applied to paper, which is always a damn mess and a pain to figure out later.

The piece?

"Right in my father's house. Can you imagine? The utter nerve of him." Giving a disgusted snort that was at odds with the elegance of her attire, she unclipped her cape and tossed the heavily embroided fabric over a chair in her usual careless fashion.
The chair tipped back and fell with a dreadful clatter.
Undeterred, Adyia marched across the room, her skirts swishing hypnotically with each step. The shimmering reminded him of the exotic birds in the temple gardens; bright and slightly on the tasteless side. She turned her back to him. "Unlace me."

Yup. That's it. Even better: I've only a vague idea what she's mad about.
I swear, the weirdest things make me sit up and write, but a puzzled me always makes for a happy muse.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

777 Challenge...

Loni Townsend went and tagged me in the 777 challenge. For those unfamiliar with the challenge ... you choose a WiP, go to the 7th page, scroll down to the 7th line, and share the next 7 lines or so.

Now, I've been puddling about with various fan-fiction shorts from the whole Dragon Age franchise, but I can't use any of them for this for several reasons 1) they're not works in progress, but rather already published on various sites, even then 2) only one actually goes beyond seven pages and 3) I went to the seventh page ... let's just say there's a reason I put mature tags on that one in all the places it's posted. *ahem*

So, I guess it's a piece from Dark One's Bride, the sequel to Dark One's Mistress.
Writing it has sputtered for a little while as I've yet to think of exactly how I want the city of Endlight to appear beyond a few details I filled in for the last chapter, but without a clearer picture, I cannot finish my current scene and that needs to happen. I need to go stare at pictures and think for a bit.
On the flip-side, I've all the chapters plotted and they make sense. Yay!

Anyhow, onto the excerpt!

Beside her, the pregnant woman snorted. "Show off." Her hands fastened around Clara's wrist in a grip that threatened to cut off her circulation. "Let us retire to the solarium whilst my girls make the final preparations to your chambers."
Forced to keep up with the woman or let them fall, Clara stumbled her way up the stairs in silence.
"Lucias insisted you have your own space until the wedding," the woman went on, seemingly oblivious to everything else. "It's sparked such fuss with the court. So many wish to know why."
Another woman took her place on Clara's other side, claiming her free arm in a similar possessive grip. "He's got to have somewhere to steal her from."

Not the grandest, I know...

Now, I'm meant to tag someone else, but I've been out of the loop for so long what with my intermittent internet and junk. I barely remember what I was doing let alone who I was following and what they're up to. So ... I may randomly tag people at a future date.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Umm ... yeah ... Hi!

So ... it's been a while since I actually had internet on my computer. A lot of what I've done has involved the limited amount of data my mobile can provide and whatever I do on it that I could stand to do on such a small screen.

My typing productivity dropped drastically, then popped up as November and my excitement for at the nearing release of a RPG... Yes, I'm a geek, what of it?
So far, I've written about 10,000 words in the last couple of weeks. All of it fan-fiction. It's writing. I regret nothing. It gave me some time to explore scenarios I don't see my current characters getting into as well as some more familiar settings. In between those, I've also gathered snippets involving my worlds. Hopefully that'll continue.

On the non-writing side of things:
We're trying out a different broadband method, if this works, it promises to be cheaper. Which will be nice as my car's power steering recently bust a seal and I don't think I'm strong enough to force a two ton vehicle around a corner without it (thank goodness for dad's and their thirsty backup cars).

My hair is 40CM shorter


Pfft, you heard me. I said I was planning on cutting it in November and I did. After eight years, I'm currently sporting a chic bob and loving it. It's the shortest it's ever been for several decades.

The rest it? That all went here.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Fall Into Fantasy Giveaway

What's that? Yes. A giveaway. A fantasy giveaway. How could I miss this? Well, apparently, my internet says I can. -_- But you shouldn't! Not only is there swag to be had, there's a lot of good books. Just check 'em out! Seriously, I can't figure out how to get BookBox to work correctly, but I can say these authors are involved...

Tricia Schneider, Nicole Zoltack, Marsha A. Moore, Mimi Sebastian, Terri Rochenski, Julie Reece, Lori J. Fitzgerald, Debbie Christiana, Georgia Lyn Hunter, M. Pax, Sharon Saracino, Shah Wharton, H. L. Burke, Angela Myron, Jocelyn Adams, James Garcia Jr, Tina Moss, Danielle DeVor, Sharon Buchbinder, April Aasheim, CL Bledsoe, Mara Valderran, Angela Yseult, Kallysten, Juli D. Revezzo, Loralie Hall, Allyson Lindt, Sotia Lazu, Angela Castillo, Valerie Twombly, R.M. James, Shanyn Hosier,Ronesa Aveela, Sofia Grey, Konstanz Silverbow, Jamie Marchant, Brandy L Rivers, JC Andrijeski, Stacey Nash, Scarlett Dawn, Jami Gray, Erica Crouch, Janna Jennings, Tonya Macalino, Christine E. Schulze, Selah Janel, Ash Krafton. Oh, and me. ^_^

Rafflecopter time!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

#IWSG - From Good to Bad to Worst

As always, sign up for IWSG here.

Shout-out to Kristin Smith, Elsie and Fundy Blue for being co-hosts for this month.


I know it's the website’s one year anniversary and most of the entries are likely to be all primed for IWSG anthology of tips and all ... but if my previous posts don't give it away, things here have been a bit of a yo-yo emotionally. One minute, I'm good, everything's going okay, I even got a few chapters done with Dark One's Bride, then ... well, then it's not. It really, really isn't.

And that's when my downhill spiral with all the bad things I've been ignoring pile up in my noggin.

#1 is book related and it's been niggling in the back of my mind for some time. Just one question ... However am I going to get the sequel to The Rogue King actually published?

Mock cover.
For those not in the know, I'm self-publishing this four-book saga that's been seventeen years in the making. Ever since I released the first book this April, the next book, The Shadow Prince, has been waiting for its turn to leap through that editing wringer and get itself a shiny cover (as is The Forgotten Queen, if I'm honest).

To begin with, I was aiming for publishing one book a year.

That costs money. No delusions there. And it was money I was in the process of saving up until the bed carked it and then my car chucked it's toys not once, but twice in the last year. I won't bore you with details of my financial life beyond saying there's just no wriggle-room for what self-publishing another book would cost my family. If I had an extra year or two, I could ... maybe ... sort it myself by ... yeah, 2016 at the earliest. And that's only providing nothing else goes wrong in the meantime.

And don't think I haven't considered Kickstarter (now that kiwis can) to fund the important parts of getting The Shadow Prince published, because I have. It's my only other option besides waiting and hoping no more roadblocks crop up. I've even got a page set up just waiting for me to hit 'publish'. I even tweak it on my good days.
On the other hand, thinking about asking people for money like that is ... let's just say I have trouble asking anyone for anything.

Sometimes, I regret ever writing a word of the whole damned saga...

Monday, 22 September 2014


We lost a family member this weekend...

Nov 2002 - Sep 2014

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

#IWSG - I'm All Good

As always, sign up for IWSG here!

Got to give a shout-out to Laura at My Baffling BrainMark KoopmansShah Wharton and Sheena-Kay Graham for being co-hosts for this month.

And ... hey! It's the three year anniversary of posting! Happy Anniversary IWSG!

Heh, last time I was doing virtually nothing between the last Insecure Writers Support Group and the one before that. This time, I've been so busybusy with new projects, real life stuff and I seem to have lost two entire days to TV Tropes (don't ask), that I don't actually have an insecure post to ... er ... post. In fact, it wasn't until I came home from the weekly food haulage that I remembered it was the first Wednesday of the month!

So, yeah, I guess what I'm trying to say is ... I'm actually all good. ^_^

Thursday, 28 August 2014

No Title (but a story nevertheless)

So there I was, idly sitting in the parking lot, laid back and listening to my radio whilst I waited for my passenger to return. Got a CD going because the radio wasn't doing it for me. Then ... Lo! A story surfaces. This is normal. It's my muse using the time as an excuse to plot.

Of course, what she uses her time on is up to her. Does she set her powers to that pesky chapter I need for Dark One's Bride? No, no, no. That'd be a productive use of the time. Instead, we'll lay out what's happening for the unnamed story that I wasn't planning on outlining until I'd written DOM, Crimson Night, and Witch of Morthin.

The only named characters so far
And yet, despite me still calling it "the story with the elf in it", the plot is slowly coming closer together. Already, I have the two Main Characters: Lady Adyia (last name pending) and Kaheran.

Adyia had most of her family all sorted out right from the get-go. She has an indulgent father and an older belligerent brother, both of whom will come into play throughout the story. With the vibes I'm getting, I expect some sibling clashes seen from both sides as I think this story may have, at least, four Point of Views.

Whereas Kaheran has given up quite the back story. I'll need him to fill in some gaps as I get down to it, but so far, he was born to slavery, sold off when he was seven due to 'an over-abundance of males' and spent that time working in an orchard (as well as getting into trouble with the other slaves) where he was beaten, starved, mutilated and eventually resold. No, it's not a pretty life but, as he keeps telling me, it's all he's got.

There's also the general worldbuilding going on. I've a feeling I'm going to be influenced by a number of ancient cultures here. Certainly Ancient Rome and their older views on slavery, which I feel is the closest comparison to the vibe I'm getting from Kaheran's story. I already know there are certain norms to this world's culture that Adyia, a sympathiser, refuses to comply with and I'm immensely glad that those norms don't seem too outrageous (in context, anyway).

What I don't yet have is the reason behind the final clash. Her father keeps referencing some sort of war/revolution. The people behind it seem amiable enough to Kaheran, but are also pretty set on killing Adyia. That led me to thinking it's a good ol' elves-against-human shtick, but I feel the conversion Kaheran alludes to is part of a bigger battle ... possibly an invasion, maybe a slave revolt. I get the feeling Adyia's father knows more.

Oh, and the song that sparked all this thinking?

Brave by Sara Bareilles.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

My Villainous Side

Well ... okay, not my villainous side per se, but my villains.

I'm in a worldbuilding mood at the moment and, amongst others things, that brings me to deciding on an antagonist. It's been a very long time since I saw any of them as cut-and-dry evil and have a strange liking for some ever since William Shakespeare entered my school curriculum.
Yet, when it comes to creating them, I find myself favouring "unhinged" as a part of their general makeup. Honestly, I think my muse finds me doing the whole "figuring out why they are like that" as part of her daily entertainment. That or just enjoy torturing myself.

Either way, there tends to be two main types of villain that I lean towards...

The powerful, but bat-shit-crazy, deity

I've actually got three of these in the same world. Fortunately, they've different levels of crazy and different goals. Still ... not good for the protagonist. Character development-wise, their goals are relatively simple and can be pegged under world-dominating. These guys are the big bads who rely on their lackeys to get things done ... most of the time.
With them being immortal, I found it all too tempting to handwave the reasoning behind why they're bat-shit-crazy, but - surprise, surprise - having reasons gave them more depth. In every case, it's an old reason that also moulded them into what they are now.
To be fair, I've also got a non-bat-shit-crazy version of this agonists. She's less fun.

The vengeful noble out to destroy their enemy, no matter the cost

This just may be my go-to villain as I've quite a number of these (about ... five, I think) and plans for others to crop up in some sequels. I think the logical motivation needed to make a villain like this work is what makes them believable. Yeah, some aren't any less bat-shit-crazy than the deities, but without the all-powerfulness to get things done, that's when things get interesting for me.
On the other hand, I'm not sure why it's practically always a noble (and sometimes set against someone of equally noble birth). It just seems to fall that way.

Of course, there are other types of villains and obstacles along the way (no need to make things too easy for them). But I've nowhere near the same number of them as I do the above types.

So, what types of villains do you find yourself writing? Or even reading?

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

You seem to have a hole there, madam plot...

Ah, the dreaded greebly bug has invaded my house, it snatch my daughter, jumped all over my fiancé and is busy wreaking havoc on my system. Joyous winter, how I loathe thee.
The one thing, the only bloody thing, I don't mind about being sick is all the completely legit "do nothing" time I get. Housework? Bugger off, I'm sick. Cooking? You don't want me near your food much less preparing it. No, no. I've been in deep time loafing around for several days now.
My muse, however, doesn't get sick. In fact, every time I do, she hops into overdrive and digs up some entertainment. Unfortunately for me, it's the "drag my butt out of bed and type" sort that she's so found of. That's how I managed Nanowrimo 2013; the greebly bug struck me down.

But plot holes, or rather the lack of a turning point ... that's what I've got going on in Dark One's Bride.
For a while now, I've had twenty chapters plotted. Some are 90% written (And I never thought I'd ever write wedding vows). Others are roughly 70% done (Somehow, I've got three consecutive chapters that could be described as ... steamy).
These points are moot as they all happen after the unplotted chapter. Whilst all the other chapters have an idea, if not words, dear old chapter thirteen just stares blankly back at me. I keep poking it and asking "what happens there?" but all that gets me is a shrug.

The thing is, I need that chapter. It bugs me to no end having it blank. It's like following a planned route only to find the bridge is down and there's no chance of making a U-Turn. All I can do is wait, write the other chapters, and hope the turning point comes to me. 'Cause if it doesn't ... well, not only can the last eight chapters not happen, neither can book three.

And that would be a shame as I'm looking forward to spending some time with Clara in the Ebony Court.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

#IWSG - Good Grief, I Really Need To Hogtie My Muse

Bah! I've barely been online since the last Insecure Writers Support Group. I swear, if I don't have the internet on Thursday, I'm flipping tables...

But enough with my mumblegrumbles! Sign up for IWSG here!

The co-hosts for this month are Sarah Foster, Joylene Nowell Butler, Rhonda Albom, and Lily Eva (and, omg, I almost typed "Evans", sorry Lily. >_< My daughter's HP obsession's must be rubbing off on me.)


Last time, I was saying how I was enjoying a good long break from writing. It was good and, recently, I completely rewrote some chapters. So I'm feeling productive.
Do you have any idea what happens when I feel like that? Overdrive! New story babies ... and doubts.

Let me start explaining by showing a picture. It's pretty new, just a few day's old...
I dub thee, Kaheran & Lady Adyia
Right. Here we have an elf warrior and a human spellcaster. All on board now?
These two have been tromping through my brain for the last few days, teasing me with bits of scenes. Bits! I don't even know what's up with them. There seems to be a battle ... some sort of war/revolution that endangers their lives (hers more than his), I don't have all the details. Either way, it sounds like fun.

But I do feel like someone in the back of my mind is rehashing an altogether different story (beware: old image ahead)...
The MCs of my Witch of Morthin WiP
Lorn and Princess Sarna

Now allow me to break it down to the problem I'm having with this new couple...

  1. She's a magically-gifted noblewoman (so is my princess in Witch of Morthin).
  2. Neither men have magic (again, like Witch of Morthin). One is a bodyguard and the other basically a mercenary-turned-bodyguard (I'll leave it to you to decide who's who, there). So I guess that's double-snap.
  3. Lady Adyia bears the brunt of the chaos in the end. (So does Sarna, albeit for different reasons.)

Seeing those three lined up there, they feel awfully close. I don't know how I'd take to finding I am rehashing my own plotlines.
I mean the characters have different personalities, it's not like I could swap worlds on them and have everything play out the same. I'm not talking about minor details being a problem (an elf in Morthin would be a curiosity), but there's slavery in the other story, my Morthin characters wouldn't let that go on for a second more than it took to stop it. Excrement would pulverise the rapidly-moving blades.

Maybe I'm over-thinking it. I do that far too often.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Paying It Forward

One of my CPs, Loni Townsend, tagged me in the Pay It Forward Bloghop. Now I've seen this doing the rounds and love these things, so of course I said yes. I'm not yet certain who I'll tag and that's been holding me back from posting this, but let us continue anyway...

What WiP shall I talk about? Oh dear ... that's a puzzler, isn't it? There are so many and I really do go on and on about a select few, don't I?
But let's talk about the second book in the Dark One Trilogy, okay? It's the one I keep telling myself I'm meant to be writing as opposed to haphazardly editing book four of a different series...


What am I working on?
Dark One's Bride picks up about five months after Dark One's Mistress with Clara still the sole PoV. It follows her from her arrival at Endlight and carries on through the week leading up to her wedding. In between, she deals with her doubts of becoming the first Great Lady in centuries, on top of being thrust before the court, an assassination attempt and...
Heh, almost revealed the ending. Nope. Not yet.

The blurb goes a little something like this (forgive the badness):

It's been five months since Clarabelle Weaver agreed to marry the infamous Dark Lord. Now, after spending her time in the mighty citadel with only the soulless men for company, she has at last arrived at Endlight where all of the kingdom's nobility have turned up to be part of this historic occasion.

Thrown into the unfamiliar world beyond her village and the quiet citadel, she finds that the man who would become her husband still harbours secrets. And those parts of his past he had no intention of revealing to her are looking to haunt them.

When one of the noblewomen goes into labour, it grants Clara an insight to her future and she finds herself questioning whether she's at all prepared for motherhood. She has only a short time to come to turns with this newfound anxiety, for if she decides she cannot give Lucias the heir he needs, it will mean giving up the man she has come to love

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Hmm. I've never been able to answer this question. But that was due to there being too much of a muddle and not knowing enough of the current titles to say "this is why it's different".
But in all honesty, I wrote Dark One's Mistress with the intention of sticking to some of the major tropes in the romance genre. It may sound defeatist to say "it doesn't differ", but that's kind of how I feel (the doesn't differ part, not the defeatist bit). To my eyes, it conforms rather than sticks out (well ... maybe not the soul-stealing guy actually being the good one) and I doubt its sequels will veer much off that path.

Why do I write what I write?
With this one? I have no idea why it keeps going. The first novel was done on a whim. The idea of writing a story where the evil sorcerous lord was the lesser of the two evils intrigued me. So did looking at the world solely through Clara's eyes. At the time, I'd only attempted a shorter work (what is now Golden Dawn), with a prologue and epilogue by other characters. I didn't think I could do it then...
Maybe I really want to know if I can weigh a whole trilogy on her shoulders.

How does my writing process work?
Ugh. It's so sporadic right now.

I've tried to work chronologically, but more often than not, I'll have bits (sometimes whole chapters) that I write towards. In fact, of the 19 chapters I've plotted, the ones at the latter end are completely filled out (definitely the wedding scene and the last chapter). It probably helps that I am essentially rewriting to stretch the original timeline and just adding earlier chapters rather than the whole story.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Cover Reveal: Soulless by Crystal Collier

Have you met the Soulless and Passionate? In the world of 1770 where supernatural beings mix with humanity, Alexia is playing a deadly game.

SOULLESS, Book 2 in the Maiden of Time trilogy

Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she's forced to unleash her true power.

And risk losing everything.

What people are saying about this series: 

"With a completely unique plot that keeps you guessing and interested, it brings you close to the characters, sympathizing with them and understanding their trials and tribulations." --SC, Amazon reviewer

"It's clean, classy and supernaturally packed with suspense, longing, intrigue and magic." --Jill Jennings, TX

"SWOON." --Sherlyn, Mermaid with a Book Reviewer

Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and "friend" (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

COMING October 13, 2014

PREORDER your print copy
Sign up for Crystal Collier's newsletter to receive release news and freebies.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Doing the literary hokey tokey

I put the chapter in,
I take the chapter out.
I put the chapter back in,
And shake it all about...


I swear, I am doing more and more of this the deeper I get into Dark One's Bride. Especially the 'shake it all about' part. The amount of times I've rearranged the silly outline, shuffling chapters about like nobody's business to make the week seem normal ... chock-full, but normal ... is it any wonder my muse took a break?

But she popped back for a few seconds yesterday whilst I lay about being ultra lazy and whispered a few ideas about a scene I thought I was done with. A scene I've chopped bits from to use in other chapters.

This is why I never get rid of anything I've written. Ever.

See, at first it was a rather risqué scene involving a private pool (of the indoor bathing variety) and the barest of modesties. Then, when I thought about it, it felt wrong. He was in character, to the letter. Whereas she just ... wasn't. Where did my confused little bunny go? You know, the one who's still slightly nervous and, being seventeen, dealing with teenage hormones.

Yet there are things they should discuss (questions he certainly wants to ask) and finding another time/place for that part of their conversation also feels wrong. So how to make it right? I haven't known for some time. I've ignored the dilemma since splitting the original sequel and rewriting. Fobbing off myself with excuses.

Enter my muse. Sashaying her way in and out like she's want to do.

Clearly, my Main Character's reaction is part of the problem here. Add it with moving the scene along some to a place where he doesn't come off as ... creepy, then I might have just saved myself some extra concern. Now if I could just find some peace to work it out.

Hmm. I admit, that may be a harder task...

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

#IWSG - Feeling Lazy ... and Liking It

Oh, look the first Wednesday of the month has come around again. And IWSG. Heh, I actually remembered in advance this time.
You can sign up, and check out the other entries, here.

Shout out to the co-hosts: Krista McLaughlin, Kim Van Sickler, Heather Gardner & Hart Johnson.


Recently, I've been feeling so very lazy.

I tell myself that I'm meant to be writing, but I find myself drawn more to just staring at a different screen ... the TV where I'm either playing games or watching movies. Brain-dead stuff, really. Fast-forward to me guiltily waking the next day, full of intention, only to start the cycle over.

Yeah. That totally helps get things done. -_-

I know I'm fluffing about. Part of me chafes at this unproductive attitude. I think I was pregnant and very ill the last few times I actually stopped writing or plotting. And it's not that I don't know where the stories are going. It's all still up in my head (and, man, is it crowded). I just can't be bothered to put most of it in words right now.
The being said, I do write a little bit, mostly rewrites on the last book from the Rogue King Saga ... but I can practically do that in my sleep (and when I look at some of the older pieces, I think I might have done so at one point, honestly, I ask myself what I was thinking on a daily basis there).

Worst still, the larger piece of me is revelling in this "up yours" attitude to writing. Maybe it's knowing the school break is coming up (two more days now) and my daughter will suck up all the writing time. Or perhaps it's having my sick fiancé bugging me for the past few days.

Ah, I'm down to giving myself excuses now.

Regardless, I feel more and more like letting my brain become a big sog. Zone out for a little while longer. Just enough to let my muse pick up all those toys she chucked. I think I might be overdue for a break anyway...

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Cover Reveal: Cursed by Fire

Title: Cursed by Fire
Series: Blood and Magic #1
Author: Danielle Annett
Designer: Mae I Design
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: January 201

Book Description:
It has been six years since the Awakening and peace in Spokane, Washington is still tenuous at best. The vampires and shifters are all vying for control of the city and the humans seem to be the ones suffering the consequences, or so it seems.

Aria Naveed has spent the last two years of her life fighting to make the many wrongs of the world right, but soon finds out that the humans aren’t as weak as they appear and may be a more terrifying foe than any of the other races combined.

When a stranger rolls into town with trouble on his heels, Aria finds herself trapped in the middle of a battle that could cost her more than she has bargained for as a fight for justice turns into an unexpected fight for her life.

Danielle Annett is a reader, writer, photographer, and the blogger behind Coffee and Characters. Born in the SF Bay area, she now resides in Spokane, WA, the primary location for her Blood & Magic series.
Addicted to coffee at an early age, she spends her restless nights putting pen to paper as she tries to get all of the stories out of her head before the dogs wake up the rest of the house and vye for her attention.

You can learn more about Danielle on her website at or follow on on facebook at and on twitter @Danielle_Annett

“Mike you and I both know that that isn’t going to happen so why don’t you just tell me what fur ball they’re going to saddle me with.” I said as I collected my stack of papers and organized them into a semi-neat pile.
Mike noisily cleared his voice, “Uh hey Ari…”
“God I hope that whoever it is that he isn’t a complete moron. If I’m going to be stuck with a pack partner, the least they can do is send me someone competent.” Mike noisily cleared his throat again.
“What?” I asked, looking up from my desk.
I was greeted by a tall man standing just inside the office, casually leaning against the doorframe. He had tousled brown hair and steely grey colored eyes. High cheekbones and a strong jaw formed his masculine face and a hint of stubble dusted his jaw line, not enough to appear unkempt but just enough to give a roguish impression. Dressed in black jeans, a black T, and a black leather jacket, he oozed tall, dark and handsome with deadly intent.
“That would be this fur ball right here.” He said, an arrogant grin lifting the corner of his mouth. I let my head fall to the surface of my desk, then for good measure I gently knocked my forehead on its smooth surface, one, two, three times. Dammit I couldn’t believe I had just called him a freaking fur ball! I could feel my cheeks warm in embarrassment and did my best to hide it.
“You all done with the show?” He asked as I lifted my head from the desk. I glared at him for good measure and then allowed my head to connect with the desk’s surface once more before sitting up. rubbing the slight sting away “Yea, I’m done.” I told him. Well, at least this wouldn’t be as bad as I had thought. James was the only shifter that I actually personally knew and was one of the few individuals I considered a friend. I met James about six months ago at a shifter bar downtown, though at the time I didn’t actually know that it was a shifter bar.
A group of coyotes had decided I was easy prey and were giving me a pretty hard time. James had intervened before things got out of hand which basically meant that he stopped me from wiping the floor with their coyote asses and burning the entire building to ash.  It was probably a good thing that he had stepped in but I remember being furious with him at the time, I had really wanted to give those bastards a piece of my mind and show them that I wasn’t just some naive little girl. That was back when I was still cocky over my abilities. Things had changed since then and the thought was sobering. Now being a pyrokinetic was something I had to hide and honestly, that just plain sucked.
“So, you’re my partner?”
James nodded, his face going serious, “Yea I’m you’re partner, ready to do something reckless?”
I smiled at that, James knew me all to well.
Grabbing my messenger bag I followed James out of the office, aware of Mike’s unapproving gaze on my every step.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Versatile Blogger? Me?

Seems a contradiction in terms to consider my name alongside the word versatile. I'm a very stubborn, stuck-in-my-ways sort of person.

Nevertheless, my good friend Loni Townsend nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award. Thanks Loni! ^_^

So, like many awards out there, this little baby comes with some rules:
• Thank the person who gave you this award and include a link to their blog.
• Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. (I'm actually going to bypass this, because I'm a rebel. But if you're crazy enough to follow me and comment, consider yourself tagged. ^_^)
• Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site.
• Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

So ... seven completely random things about ... ME

1. For most of my life, I've never heard a sound through my left ear. Yet, the older I get and the more I wear headphones, the more I can hear through it. It's terrifying and amazing at once.

2. I really wished I was born a redhead (preferably dark red) for the longest time. Gaining a ginger fiancé has sort of cured me there. Now I've got his orangey locks to obsess over. On that note...

3. In November, my waist-length, hair (a product of many years' growth) will finally become shoulder-length as I donate all that very-much-dark-brown gorgeousness to the production of wigs for cancer patients. Maybe I'll post pictures when the time comes...

4. When it comes to computer games, I'm a sucker for the trophies. Must get 'em all!

5. It's hard to get me drunk. Possibly due to the fact that I drink a very select amount of beverages, have an avid dislike of social mingling, topped with not wanting any more alcohol past a certain point.
Also apparently, the sole time I was, I became convince that everyone was out to mug me. Ah, sweet paranoia, how I've missed ya.

6. Once, whilst getting new lenses for my glasses (a three hour wait), I once smashed straight into a window thinking it was a shop door. I then spent the rest of the time testing every doorway despite my aunt's assurances that she just went through it.

7. I basically flunked my English exams. It's true! I just missed a passing grade. I'm still not sure how I failed here but managed to pass Maths and Science... Bah! I left school at sixteen anyway.

Heh. Now I must appear proper crazy. ^_^

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Mock covers ahoy!

As I've mentioned before, I like to do mock covers for my novels. Even if the picture is only still in my head, even if when I get around to working on them, I'm not in the league of the professionals with their image-altering awesomeness, thinking on how that image portrays the story gets me thinking on the important parts.

My Main Characters tend to feature a lot. Sometimes, even if there's more than one PoV, there's only one person in the image, like I chose for The Rogue King. That being said, there are the rare few where the Main Character isn't in sight: Golden Dawn actually depicts Herald's charge (I thought it more fitting, considering the story revolved around her); and The Vengeful God will have the major agonist.

So when I went to think of what I'd like on the mock-ups I make for the other two books that'll make up the Dark One Trilogy. No doubt the covers will look very different once my ideas are in a professional's hands. But I like

For comparison's sake, I'll first show the cover AM Design Studio did for Dark One's Mistress. Done before I decided the whole tale needed to be a trilogy...

And now for the mock-ups. Excuse the lack of matching with the type...

They were fun to make. They really were. ^_^

So, do you play around with various images to depict your story's cover before you've finished writing, whether or not your let them out of your hard drive?

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

It's just not my year...

You know it's bad when we're not even half way through a year and I'm already waiting for it to be over.

Let's not even discuss my three month dilemma with my internet connection, really. I have it, then I don't. It works when it's sunny, then it decides to work when it's pouring. I'm officially over it and ploughing through it's stubbornness. It may keep me from cruising all my fav blog sites (I try, but it's hard doing it in five minute bites), but it also means I have all this spare time to write. As well as a few mock covers (more on that another time).

No. I'm more bothered by recent events. I went to get my car's warrant of fitness sorted just the other day and (surprise, surprise!) there was something wrong with it. Well ... there's always something wrong:
  1. It once leaked oil for several months. Apparently the garage left a bolt loose. (Idiots)
  2. It's lost it's automatic fluid twice. I've no clue where it went. On the plus side, I'm fully tuned to when it needs fluids.
  3. The sensor that the trips the Auto Trans light comes on in prolonged wet weather (and turns off when it hits 1,000 RPM). Nobody seems to know why.
  4. It's been through two radiators. I blame my fiancé; he blew up the original and bought another that was 95% blocked.
  5. Six months ago, it had new a water pump fitted (no biggie then).

Ah, but this time? It's got to have a new fuel pump.
'Cause it's apparently leaking diesel.

Ugh. Just saying it sounds expensive. But it's cheaper than a new car.

And, as if I'm not stressed enough on how I'm to find the money to fix it and save up to get The Shadow Prince edited (and a cover), trying to drive the gas guzzler that I've derisively called the 'mould mobile' (don't ask, seriously) ... the handle on my laundry door snapped. This is the very door we keep shut to keep our itty bitty kitty from the big bad world. Like I can afford a new door handle right now.

I got three words for you, universe. Cut it out!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014


Name: Sarch
Story: The Shadow Prince
Status: King

Technically, Sarch is only named in The Shadow Prince, but he'll make a full-on appearance in the Godless Series. He's one of the few of his species left (full shape shifters), he's also about 150 years old. In terms of character developing, he's one of the older ones, coming to life in a pitiful story that's almost as old as The Rogue King Saga itself. I may even rewrite it one day and tell how he and his lady-love became the rulers of two kingdoms.

Outwardly, Sarch is an arrogant creature and not at all impressed with the reputation of a certain giant lizardman. Inwardly ... well, I'm sure he's more than a touch jealous of Veng in some things.

This isn't actually a depiction of Sarch as himself, but rather as he prefers to appear to make others, mainly his wife, more comfortable. His natural form is rather large and ... insect-like. And seeing I suck at drawing...

Friday, 6 June 2014

Edge of Truth by Natasha Hanova is one year old

EoT_Ebook_FinalEdge of Truth (YA Dystopian) is officially 1-year old today! In celebration, Natasha Hanova is hosting a big giveaway with book contributions from multiple authors.

Since June 6, 2013, Edge of Truth has landed a spot on Amazon's Teen & Young Adult Science Fiction and Dystopian Top 100 List, earned an average review rating of 4+ stars, got facelift a.k.a. new cover, and now has bonus content.

Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter contest for a chance to win chocolate, an Amazon Gift card, or free books!

But first, enjoy this short excerpt of Rena's first in-person encounter with love interest Nevan. She's out past curfew and on the run from the Overlord's robotic lawmen. This scene takes place right after she knocks on Nevan's door seeking refuge:


Nevan’s dual-colored eyes—one blue, one hazel—captivated Rena. She drowned in them, in his dark eyebrows, his long, wide-based nose, his full lips. Even the faint V-shaped scar on his forehead that first appeared two years ago was too beautiful to look at. Her heart pounded, as if struggling to close the distance between them. She chewed her lip, dreading the usual shock of pain from emotional spikes like this, only it never hit.
When Blaze poked her in the back, she exhaled, but couldn’t force any words out. Warmth rushed through her from being near Nevan, with his slight smile and shoulder length dreads. In spite of the cool night air, her armpits prickled with sweat. Looking at him made her cheeks hurt. She focused on a random spot near his shoulder and struggled to think of something, anything to say. This wasn’t how she pictured their first conversation. But what if it didn’t amount to words? What if he slammed the door on her?
Blaze pushed hard enough to move her two steps forward. The way Nevan focused on her made her knees wobbly. He traced a finger across his forehead and down his temple. She’d never observed him make that gesture before. Was it meant to calm himself? Or did he feel the heat, too? The thought made another burst of warmth blanket her.
“Ummm…uhhhh.” It was all she could force out.
She backed away. Her friend, turned roadblock, caged her in. Down the street, the second set of Synbots reached scanning distance and headed for them. Panic raced through her, spiked her heart with adrenaline, and jump-started her survival instincts. She spun toward Nevan.
“We need a safe place to stay for a few hours. I know you don’t know us, but I’d…we’d be really grateful if you would let us inside.”
He leaned forward, glancing down the sidewalk. The movement stirred the air between them, and his warm citrus scent surrounded Rena. He stepped aside and spoke in a loud, booming voice, most likely for the Syns’ monitoring devices. “Yes, we’ve been waiting for you.”
She blinked twice in disbelief. The Syns marched up the sidewalk. Blaze grabbed her by the shoulders and shoved her into the house.
The machines didn’t stop.
Nevan’s dad came to the door. Rena shifted back to make eye contact. Nevan definitely got his height from him. They also shared the same smooth, creamy brown complexion.
His dad studied Rena and Blaze for a second before he flashed his son a ‘what did you do’ look and whispered, “Mr. Elliott won’t like this.” Then he stepped outside, holding the door in place with one hand while shielding the girls from the Syns’ lasers.
“I’m glad you girls finally made it.” He sounded much nicer this time, like he really meant it. “We were starting to worry. Why don’t you kids go with Risa? I’ll take care of this.”


NatashaHanovaAbout the Author
Natasha Hanova is an award-winning author of young adult and adult dark fantasy/paranormal fiction. Edge of Truth (June 2013) is her debut novel. Her short stories appear in multiple anthologies. She loves nibbling Peanut M&Ms while reading paranormal, dark fantasy, and/or dystopian books with heavy doses of romance. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and children. Find her blog at  
Social Media Links
Edge of Truth Buy Links

a Rafflecopter giveaway