It’s August!

Photograph by James Larkin

It’s August, my absolute favorite month! This year August means hot days, afternoon thunderstorms, and the Olympics. I woke up this morning, anxious to get started on another month of 50k words to finish out Earth, Book Four of the Akasha Series. Granted, I fell back asleep almost immediately, but I am not deterred. I am excited, because did you hear? It’s August!

Besides the fact that it is my birth month, it is also my first child’s birth month – so lots of birthday cake to go around. Plus, we have a fun month planned; a trip to the beach and the awesome Orangeberry Summer Splash Mini Book Tour Marathon. A feature of 100 authors and 500 blog stops. With interviews, guest posts, music playlists, giveaways, and much more – there is something for everyone. Please check it out!

Water, Book One of the Akasha Series‘ will be featured. Here is the schedule:

2nd August – Author Interview at Grady Hendrix’s blog
5th August – Twitter Blast with Pandora Poikilos
10th August – Guest Post & Book Feature at Krazy Book Lady
11th August – Twitter View with Pandora Poikilos: follow @harmonygirlit to see
12th August – Book Feature at Peace from Pieces
17th August – Guest Post & Book Review at Christopher Starr’s blog
18th August – Ford 99 at Mommy Adventures: read page 99 of ‘Water’

Can’t wait? Here is a teaser; part of my interview:

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
Slow down, already!

What is your guilty pleasure?
Vampires.

Favorite places to travel?
Anywhere without the kids…sorry guys, but sometimes mommy needs a break.

Of course, there will be reminders throughout August to check everything out, and I will be perusing to let you know my favorite blog stops. In the meantime – I want to know how you would answer the questions above! Leave a comment with your guilty pleasure and/or your favorite place to travel. Also, if someone wrote a book about your life, what would be the title?

Being Mrs. Dracula

Winner, winner, chicken dinner! I recently submitted a short story to one of my Goodreads groups, Gotta Have Paranormal Romance with a Kick. The requirements were to write a short story about what it would be like to be Mrs. Dracula. No word count minimums/maximums. So I sat down, hammered something out, and won! Squee!  I got a $25 gift card to AllRomanceBooks.com, plus an e-copy of Being Mrs. Dracula by Faith Marlow.

Of course, my version of being Mrs. Dracula includes Wiccans, environmental issues, and an unexpected twist at the end. Interested? Read below and let me know what you think!

True Patriot

“Mrs. Hun, your rebuttal, if you please.”

Melinda nodded at the moderator, and turned to face the cameras. Lights bore down on her, and she hoped her makeup held up to the heat. A bead of sweat rolled down the back of her neck. She ignored it, trying to focus instead on the audience behind the media.

“Although my opponent’s environmental goal is admirable; it simply isn’t enough. As Ohio’s newest senator, and duly elected representative, I intend to support the push for nuclear energy.” Melinda waited for the uproar to die down. Her announcement wasn’t unexpected; in fact, anticipation of the announcement is what led to such a large turnout. She leaned closer into the microphone, speaking above the crowd, “Nuclear energy waste is miniscule to what we produce now. A coke can’s worth per person’s lifetime compared to 68 tons solid waste and 77 tons carbon dioxide.”

There were shouts from the audience, both for and against.

She continued, “A nuclear plant takes up less than a square mile to produce the same amount of energy a wind farm on 200 square miles produces.”

From behind the cameras, someone yelled about weapons of mass destruction. Melinda did something her campaign manager strictly prohibited. She responded to the criticism, “Nuclear war is an exaggerated fear, fed to you by Hollywood and the media.”

She looked over at her opponent, candidate Daniel Kelley, and swallowed hard. A small, knowing smile crept up on one side of his face.

As the debate ended with a clear winner, the two candidates shook hands in front of the camera. He leaned into her, “Good luck with the rest of your campaign, Mrs. Hun.”

She nodded, “And to you, Mr. Kelley.”

He glanced over at the empty seat in the front row, “I look forward to meeting your husband.”

Melinda looked down. Her husband had yet to appear at a public event by her side. “Mr. Hun is busy with work.”

Daniel narrowed his eyes, “Well, I hope he is around to at least take care of your injuries.”

Melinda gasped, touching her eye. The tips of her fingers came away tinged with beige cover-up. Her makeup was running. She immediately adjusted her hair over her neck, hoping no one had spotted the bruising there.

Daniel smiled, leaning in further, “Makeup, hair, and high turtlenecks can only cover so much.” He bent the rest of the way, kissing her on the cheek, then straightened and winked at her. Daniel Kelley disappeared into the maelstrom of media, prompting a new frenzy of flashing lights.

Melinda closed her eyes and took in a deep breath. The campaign, relatively free of mud-slinging so far, was about to get ugly.

* * *

Melinda entered campaign headquarters with her manager and several aides, “How is my California colleague’s campaign going?”

The youngest aide, a recent college grad, answered, “He leads the polls.”

“And Louisiana?” she asked.

“The same,” the manager said. “Barring any unfortunate disclosures regarding religious affiliations, your fellow wiccans will be sitting at the capitol next year.”

Melinda nodded. Discussions on how to effectively change America’s environmental policies began within her small coven ten years ago. With a lot of hard work, and equal amounts of luck, they managed to ensconce a handful of loyal wiccans within the US political system. This was just the beginning. Between the congressional race and well-paid lobbyists, they were going to slowly oust the large corporation stronghold within US politics, and guide the country to vote on policies that were environmentally responsible. America would no longer be run by the highest bidder.

“Melinda,” her campaign manager stopped her with a hand on her arm. “Are you going to be okay?”

She furrowed her eyebrows at him.

“Your husband returns tonight?” He pressed. “This is a situation your opponent would love to exploit. We can’t afford that kind of press. We are behind enough in the polls as it is.”

Melinda fidgeted with the hem of her shirt, uncomfortable with this kind of attention. “What my husband and I do behind closed doors is no affair of yours.”

“Of course – yet it will soon become the affair of the entire nation, if you’re not careful.”

She cleared her throat, and met his eyes, “I will be in my private suite the remainder of the evening. Text if you need anything; otherwise I’ll see you before 9 for our flight tomorrow morning.”

He sighed, looking at her with sad eyes. The matter was not closed; next time he would approach it with more care.

* * *

Melinda took the elevator below ground to her private suite. There weren’t many buildings in Columbus that went this far underground, especially so close to the river. Melinda wasn’t keen on spending so much of their campaign money on a lease, but Mr. Hun was insistent. She crossed their spacious living room, removing her jacket and high heels along the way. She looked at her watch, he would be waking soon.

At the floor to ceiling bookshelf, Melinda pulled on the copy of Bram Stroker’s ‘Dracula’. One click, and a panel opened inward. Melinda squeezed through the small opening. Inside was a large pentagram. Lit candles placed at intervals around the circular room provided the only light. Several men and women in robes waited on their knees, obediently keeping their heads down.

Melinda cleared her throat. One rose, walked over to her, and handed her an iced cocktail. She sniffed it, raising her eyebrows at him.

“It is the usual infused herbs, mixed during an incantation, Melinda.”

“And the blood?” She asked, peering through the clear glass.

“One drop.”

She nodded, throwing her head back and finishing the cocktail in one swallow. She handed the empty glass to the robed man, along with her cell phone and campaign badges, “I am ready.”

He set her belongings down on a small table and pulled a lever just above it. The center of the pentagram opened, and a large bed rose into the room, gears underneath squeaking with the strain. Melinda held her breath, heart stopping for a moment as it always did upon his awakening.

The form on the bed stirred, pulling the chains that bound him tight. A slow smile crept onto Melinda’s face, “Settle down husband, you will fly tonight.”

He turned, gray eyes boring into her, “You have another name for me, witch?”

“Daniel Kelley.”

The vampire sat up in the bed, his bare chest heaving in anger, “One of these nights, I will break your curse. I’m too old; lived far too long to bend to the will of a human.”

Melinda stepped forward, removing her turtleneck and revealing her bruised throat. A small price to pay. The vampire did need to feed after all, “The day may come,” she said. “But it will require something strong enough to break the bond of marriage.” She wrapped her hand around one of the chains, pulling it tight. The vampire was yanked down again, flat on his back. “And something stronger still to break these bonds. Not to mention the curse.”

Melinda crawled onto the bed, straddling the vampire. She felt his whole body go tense. “We’ll be performing the Great Rite before I release you,” she nodded to the robed man and he took his place back in the circle. “We’ll need to make sure the curse holds while you fly free. I want my little bat to return home by dawn.”

She stroked the side of his face. He bared his fangs, but couldn’t bite into the healthy, throbbing pulse at her wrist. Not without her permission; one of many stipulations enforced through the curse.

Dracula closed his eyes, frowning. “I suppose this must be my penance.”

“Penance?” Melinda scooted down on the bed, making herself comfortable in between his legs. “It’s for the good of the country.” Her smile was all too malicious, “I’ll make a true patriot out of you yet.”

My KDP Select Experience

Niagara Falls

I’ve been MIA from my blog for awhile. A romp around Canada is to blame – but totally worth it! We caught a myriad of rainbows at Niagara Falls, found out that Montreal natives don’t like kids (or at least don’t like my kids – can’t necessarily blame them), and absolutely fell in love with Quebec City! Anyway, before that, I enrolled ‘The Kindred Curse Anthology‘ in KDP Select and ran some of my first free promo days. In true indie spirit, I’d like to share my experience.

I chose two free days toward the end of March, a Wednesday and Thursday because I was told to do at least two days in a row, allowing time for word to get out. Since Fridays and Saturdays are big ebook buying days, I wanted my book back at normal price by then. As far as advertising, I took the following steps:

–          Posts on Facebook, Twitter, my blog and Google+

–          Asked several book review bloggers to spread the word, or at least retweet/share my updates

–          Created ads for Goodreads and Facebook

–          Set up a Goodreads event and invited all my friends; at least one friend invited all her friends as well

–          Registered at Pixel of Ink

–          Posted announcement on the Kindle Boards

–          Registered for posting at All Things Kindle Facebook Page

–          Registered at YourBookAuthors.com

–          Registered at Snickslist.com

–          Registered at www.dianekidman.com

–          Posted on Facebook’s Indie Exchange

–          Asked the following Twitter services to Tweet my book: @DigitalBkToday @kindleebooks @Kindlestuff @KindleEbooksUK @KindleBookKing @KindleFreeBook @FreeReadFeed @4FreeKindleBook @kindle_promo @writersRT @TweetTheBook @kindlebookreview  @indieauthornews

–          Added ‘free’, ‘kindlefreebie’, etc. to my tags on the Amazon page

Quick disclaimer; not all advertising worked. For example, I know Pixel of Ink didn’t get around to posting my book – I’m sure they have plenty to post so it is hit or miss with them.  It is really hard to say what worked and what didn’t.  The only solid evidence I have is from my Goodreads Events; some people that responded ‘yes’ left a comment that they downloaded it. I have not seen any new reviews of the book, and have not seen a jump in sales for any of my other books.

I’m hesitant to post exact numbers for fear of violating any of Amazon’s policies, so let me just say the total number of free downloads was above 1,000 but below 2,000. Personally, I was hoping for a number in the tens of thousands. The number of buys after my free day promo ended is still in the single digits.

So far, KDP Select for me has been a wash. I keep wondering if it is because the type of book I have – a vampire short story anthology, for adults only. Perhaps the first novel of the Akasha Series would do better as more of a traditional fantasy. I have another free day on April 15th coming up, and then again on the 18th and 19th. I’m going to back off the usual social media this time around – no twitter, no facebook, no Goodreads, and try a few different things. One is advertising at World Literary Café.

If ever I would enroll my eco-fantasy series in KDP Select, I might put some more money in my advertising. For example, running a giveaway on Twitter for anyone who retweets my updates for a $25 gift card, and doing a separate but similar giveaway on Facebook. There are several other advertising opportunities that cost, but I’m waiting to hear what works for other authors.  I just wish the enrollment period wasn’t so long!  Even if it were only 60 days, instead of 90, I’d be more willing to enroll my books.

I’d love to hear from you! Authors – what has your experience been with KDP? Readers – where oh where do you find new books (and more specifically – free books) to read? Please comment!

FREE March 28th and 29th on Amazon

The Kindred Curse Cover

The Kindred Curse Anthology is set to the very low price of….FREE March 28th and 29th on Amazon.  Click here to pick up your ebook copy.

With an average of 4.25 stars out of 17 ratings on Goodreads, and an average of 4.6 stars out of 8 reviews on Amazon, this is a CAN’T MISS FREEBIE!

Synopsis:

A disease passed to each new generation of descendants attracts vampires. Pieces of family history and the secrets to survival are lost as the lineage progresses. The Kindred Curse Anthology of prequels lead you back in time, revealing the root of a dynasty’s plight and a beginning that ultimately transcends the family’s end.

Consisting of five short stories, each subsequent book in this anthology is written as a prequel to the prior. The matriarch of the family, Anna Sprengel, survives a vampire poisoning. Her tainted blood is passed down to each new generation, morphing into deadly auto-immune diseases. However, no descendant can escape the magnetic pull they have toward vampires – and vampires have toward the family. Loosely based on the true story of the foundations of the Order of the Golden Dawn, Anna foresees the destruction of the world, and joins forces with a vampire in order to prevent the total loss of both races. But every member of the family in each generation must play their part. Constantly on the run from vampires, their instincts for self-preservation overcome even their kindred bonds. Anna is no longer around to ensure the prophecy is carried out by her family, but her vampire cohort, Xavier, is. Even if he can overcome the sensual pull toward Isabelle, fulfillment of the prophecy remains precarious as the future of both races is at stake.

Water Book Trailer

With the release of ‘Air’ and ‘The Kindred Curse Anthology’ finally done, I can focus on some fun, creative-type stuff. As if fantasy writing weren’t creative enough. Check out what I’ve been up to the past week – a book trailer for ‘Water’:

 

I’d love to know what you think!  Please comment or e-mail me.

And as long as we’re talking visual – check out my new Pinterest pinboards.  See where I get inspiration for the Kindred Curse Anthology and the Akasha Series, and my fav book covers!

Love you all!

(Okay that last line sounded creepy, but I’m in a loving mood having finally just made my Valentines Day cupcakes…)

New Release

I kind of slipped this one in there in between releases of the 1st and 2nd books of the Akasha Series.  The Kindred Curse Anthology is a series of vampire short stories.  Ten lucky winners will be notified shortly that they won a free e-copy of the book through the Follower Love Giveaway Hop.  The Kindred Curse Anthology will be available for one week only on Smashwords, Amazon, and B&N.  After that it will be available on Amazon only.

A few disclaimers, there is nothing ‘eco’ about this book. It has action, it has vampires, and it has sex. It was a delicious thing to write and it is a delicious thing to read. Can’t wait to hear what you think!

The Kindred Curse Anthology

A disease passed to each new generation of descendants attracts vampires. Pieces of family history and the secrets to survival are lost as the lineage progresses. The Kindred Curse Anthology prequels lead you back in time, revealing the root of a dynasty’s plight and a beginning that ultimately transcends the family’s end.

Consisting of five short stories, each subsequent book in this anthology is written as a prequel to the prior. The matriarch of the family, Anna Sprengel, survives a vampire poisoning. Her tainted blood is passed down to each new generation, morphing into deadly auto-immune diseases. However, no descendant can escape the magnetic-like pull they have toward vampires – and vampires have toward the family. Loosely based on the true story of the foundations of the Order of the Golden Dawn, Anna foresees the destruction of the world, and joins forces with a vampire in order to prevent the total loss of both races. But every member of the family in each generation must play their part. Constantly on the run from vampires, their instincts for self-preservation overcome even their kindred bonds. Anna is no longer around to ensure the prophecy is carried out by her family, but her vampire cohort, Xavier, is. Even if he can overcome the sensual pull toward Isabelle, the prophecy remains precarious as the future of both races is at stake.

Interview with Alexia (aka Book Bully, Tech-Tard, and Bombshell)

I’m kicking off a weekly series where I interview another author or a book review blogger, or have them do a guest post.  We’ll start off with a bombshell – a blue-eyed, blond-haired bombshell to be exact.  Meet Alexia from Alexia’s Chronicles.  She blogs paranormal romance and urban fantasy book reviews.  Her reviews are as much fun to read as the books themselves!

I have to send my sincere thanks to Alexia for hosting a giveaway of my first eco-fantasy novel, ‘Water’ and for posting such a great review.  I am a follower for life!

Q: Why don’t you start out by telling us why you decided to start a blog?

Hmmm… starting a blog was never really on the top of my to-do list. I just love reading! I devour books! I went through a stage this year of feeling down and thinking there has to be something out there for me that is fun and fulfilling. I can remember having my ‘brain fart’ (that’s what my friends and I call an epic idea) at work while daydreaming. I immediately jumped on the rollercoaster at full speed and everything just escalated from there. The design process hasn’t been easy… I’m a total tech-tard and I have cursed Blogger so many times. My solution: a bottle of wine and working till early hours in the morning designing Alexia’s Chronicles.

Q: Tell us more about your blog  – why is it so damn cool?  What do you offer readers?

My blog is cool??! *happy chicken dance*  I think it’s because it’s very interactive with my readers / followers. To me it is very important to develop friendships with my blogger peeps. My reviews are super ‘in your face’ honest. I will always have something to say about the hottie male character in a book, and I will never reveal a plot or start a review by giving a summary of the book, that’s what the synopsis is for. My reviews are basically just my thoughts of the book, my feelings towards characters (for example, if a character grated my cheese in a bad way – I’ll say I want to give them a ‘what for’).

Q: Who are some of your all-time fave authors and why?

Kresley Cole! Immortals After Dark is my all time fave series – I think I’ve read those books about 6 times, I just never get tired of it. I love her writing style and the characters in her books. The storylines are original and freaking epic! Her books basically have everything in it that I enjoy, hotness monsters of note, steamy romantic scenes, kick-ass chicks and action.

Q: Coke or Pepsi?

Coke… with a shot of Southern Comfort 😉

Q: What would you like to see more of in books or in the publishing industry in general? 

Like I said above, what makes a book fun for me to read is when there is an epic, original storyline with steamy romantic scenes, a dash of humour and is action packed. Books that are fast paced are right up my alley. As long as the authors keep churning out books like that I’ll be a happy camper. I don’t have much to say regarding the publishing industry. Right now I am supporting and promoting self published authors. I have also been known to be a ‘book bully’ – no really, it’s true. I simply can’t wait to read their next book. So… uhm… Terra, how are things going with your next installment, Air?

Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?  

At the moment I work as a Personal Assistant and I’ve been doing that for about 5 years now, but it’s time for a change. I love anything to do with books – so I’d like to go in that direction. I have a seriously overactive imagination and weird ass dreams so maybe I should think about writing my own book? You never know…  I’m keeping an open mind and will see what is out there. It would be really cool if I could be a book review blogger 24/7 and get paid for it! 😉

Q: What’s next for you and your blog?

My blog: Well, I’d like to expand my blog. I started with it in August this year and I’d like to change it up a bit, you know… add extra awesome to it! So far I’ve only done reviews and one giveaway (which we rocked at, just by the way). Early next year I’ll be doing another giveaway and be a host in a blog tour! Exciting stuff, right?!

Next for me: My saying for next year: “I’m about 3 miles from Crazy Town with my foot on the pedal”. This past year has taught me to take life by the horns and live it to the fullest! I’ll be figuring out where my career path is going to lead me and just having a blast. Always remember… Silence is golden but Shouting is fun!

***

Thank you for having me and a HUGE thank you for the giveaway! It has been fun working with you and I hope we will have many future endeavors. Much love, Alexia xx