Monday, January 30, 2012

Why Reading Is Like Vegetables

Like a lot of parents, I had trouble getting my son to read. Things were clicking along until he hit five and started to school. Then we had the Kindergarten Teacher from Hell. The one who told my kid when he stumbled over one word that if he couldn't read he was stupid. What didn't help was the shift (at the same time) in our neighborhood from parents who encouraged education to parents who viewed the public school system as free babysitting.

Around the same time, GK decided he hated vegetables because all the other kids at school hated vegetables.


Threats do not work with GK. They never have. I've had to use a lot of stealth techniques in the areas of both vegetables and reading to maintain his appropriate growth rate.

The Bait and Switch

I pretend I can't find X vegetable or book. "Why don't you do Y instead to fulfill your requirements?"

The Bargain

If you eat X number of vegetable pieces (read X number of pages), you can play X minutes on the Xbox.

Reverse Psychology

We take GK to see X movie ("Hey, there's a book about X movie, but don't read it"). Or we order X vegetable at a restaurant and say he can't have any. GK will partake because thinks he's getting away with something.


Since GK loves the Halo video game and Strawberry Pop-Tarts, I'll say, "Why don't you read a Halo novel while snacking on fresh strawberries."

So, what do y'all do to interest your kid in things they need but hate?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Location, Location, Location

How important is location to you, the reader? How authentic do you want the experience to be?

I'm working on the edits for Amish, Vamps & Thieves, the fourth book in the Bloodlines series. The story takes Anne, Augustine coven's Amish enforcer, back home to Ohio for the first time in sixty years.  My proofreader flagged a few things that confused her. In almost every case, the question revolves around an Ohio-ism.

Or more accurately, a Northwest Territory-ism.

Wait! you say. Ohio is smack dab in the middle of the U.S.

Now it is. Back in the 1700's, it was called the Northwest Territory (NWT) because it was, well, northwest of the original thirteen colonies. A huge swath of land between the western Great Lakes, the Ohio River Valley and the Missouri River that eventually became the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.

If I mention euchre, folks in Texas look at me funny. Unless they're a transplant. Then they'll ask, "Got a deck?" A carbonated beverage is 'pop'. Athletic footware is pronounced 'ten-ah-shoes'.

So what do y'all (or you guys) think?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Soundtrack for Blood Magick

I'm one of those people who listens to music while writing. Sometimes, I simply need sound to create a particular mood. Mozart for emotion and introspection. Madonna or Prince for a really hot sex scene. G'n'R or Aerosmith for action.

Over the last eight years, I've put together a specific playlist for each novel I've written. Here's the soundtrack I put together for Blood Magick (Bloodlines #1):

Man, I Feel Like a Woman by Shania Twain
Who Do You Think You Are by Spice Girls
Angel by Sarah McLachlan
How Soon Is Now? by Love Spit Love
Defying Gravity by Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenowyth
Transylvanian Concubine by Rasputina
Sooner or Later by Madonna
The Continental by Prince & the New Power Generation
Sympathy for the Devil by the Rolling Stones
Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen
Breathe (2 AM) by Anna Nalick
7 by Prince & the New Power Generation
Love Song for a Vampire by Annie Lennox
Say You'll Be There by Spice Girls

Monday, January 9, 2012

Questions and Comments from Readers

Over the last couple of weeks, I received questions and comments from readers. These are things I need to add to the FAQ list at some point, but I'll address the two most prominent ones here.

"I'm disapponted you didn't stick to your 2011 release schedule."

Let me tell you guys that you aren't the only ones. I admit I screwed up big time. This is a whole new career for me, and I'm still figuring out what works and what doesn't. I learned my lesson about overscheduling my time, and I think that's reflected in my 2012 schedule in my last post. The last thing I want to do is disappoint any of my readers.

"What's the correct reading order of the Bloodlines series?"

Each Bloodlines novel is a self-contained story, but there is an over-arching plotline that will be resolved in the ninth and last full-length novel. If you're a series chronology nut like I am though, the proper reading order of the novels is:

Blood Magick
Zombie Love
Zombie Wedding
Amish, Vamps & Thieves (coming soon!)
Blood Sacrifice (coming late 2012)

Thanks for the questions and comments, folks!

Monday, January 2, 2012

What's Coming in 2012?

Well, I barely beat the calendar, but Zombie Wedding is available on Amazon and Smashwords. It was uploaded on Barnes & Noble at the same time as the others, but four days later, it is still not available.

In the meantime, I need to get crackin' on the 2012 releases.

Amish, Vamps & Thieves (Anne's story) is currently with my editor. I need to order props for the cover shoot. Assuming no major catastrophes, cover photgraphy should be done at the end of the month, and the book will be out in early February.

Blood Sacrifice (Phillippa and Alex's story) is outlined and the first two chapters drafted. Depending on family stuff over the summer (vacations, day jobs, etc.), I'm shooting for a fall release.

Seasons of Magick: Autumn is half-way done. I'm hoping to have it completed and delivered to my editor by the end of February. If everything (meaning my life) stays in place, SOMA will be released in March.

Zombie Confidential is the short solo Sam Ridgeway adventure I'd planned for December of 2011. Needless to say, I didn't make it.  LOL I will finish it after SOMA, and it should be available in May.

In the meantime, I had my cover artist Sierra Acy re-do the cover of Blood Magick to match the covers of Zombie Love and Zombie Wedding. The revised cover version should be showing up on the retail sites soon.

The real pleasure of writing is knowing that people are reading and enjoying my books. Thanks so much for your support!