Thursday, November 1, 2012

My Halloween Blog Hop Winners!

Congratulations to my winners!

Shadow won a free copy of The Corpse Goddess and the Vampire Mistress won Zombieland!
My kids had a blast picking the winners out of a cauldron last night!
Thanks to all my entrants! Hope you had a fantastic Halloween!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween Blog Hop - Win Prizes!

Welcome to the Howloween Blog Hop!
270+ authors and bloggers are offering all kinds of goodies, so click HERE to find the link list! To celebrate, I'm offering two is FREE COPY OF ZOMBIELAND on DVD. My second prize is a free copy of my book...

The Corpse Goddess!

Two fun comic-horror stories with icky zombies and kick-ass girl power!
Leave me a comment and your email address to enter the drawing for The Corpse Goddess.
Leave me a comment with your email address AND follow my blog to win a free copy of Zombieland!

Happy Blog Hopping and Happy, Freaky, Scary Halloween!!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Congratulations, Eva!
You are the lucky winner of The Corpse Goddess for taking part in Evernight Publishing's Birthday Blog Hop!
Thanks to everyone who participated! Watch for Evernight's Grand Prize winners, to be announced soon!
Remember, there is still time to get The Corpse Goddess half price at All Romance EBooks! The sale ends tomorrow, so hurry over there and get your copy!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Evernight's Birthday Blog Hop!

Evernight Publishing opened its doors two years ago. In those two years we’ve signed over one hundred and sixty authors and published over three hundred books. From paranormal to contemporary, we’ve had more best sellers than we can count and made thousands of people smile, sigh and gasp. So, as a thank you to all our readers and everyone who has supported us, we’re holding this blog hop and we have a whole lot of prizes to offer you.

Here's how it works... the more blogs you hop to (shown below) the more chance you have of winning prizes. Each author on the hop is offering a prize and Evernight is offering the following grand prizes, a Kindle, a $100 Amazon gift certificate, two Evernight swag bags (which includes a tote, a tee, vouchers, a mug and other coolness) and a personalized Facebook banner. To be in with a chance of winning the author prize simply follow the blog you're visiting and leave a comment which includes your email address. Each entry on each blog is then counted towards the grand prize draw. The more entries you have, the better your chance of winning a grand prize! You also get extra points for liking the Evernight Facebook page Just make sure you let us know in the comments that you've done so.

Good luck and happy hopping!

I'm so excited to be part of the Evernight family and to help celebrate Evernight Publishing's 2nd Anniversary, I'm giving away a free copy of my debut novel The Corpse Goddess! So hop on and win some cool prizes!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Writing Outside My Comfort Zone

Those of you who have read The Corpse Goddess know it’s not sexy. It’s cool and creepy and totally unique…or so I’ve been told in reviews! And while the happenings of Skuld’s Stone, the sequel to The Corpse Goddess, are rolling around inside my head, I’m not quite ready to put it all down on paper. Because I’m drawn to this other story. The story that is way outside my comfort zone.

The title of this novella is Valkyries Kiss and I’m totally loving it. I’m also a little nervous to submit it because it’s a little dirty. Not FSOG dirty, but these characters are getting it on and there’s no horror to it at all. In fact, I think I have a bit of a crush on the hero.

I started writing this story months ago, before my debut novel came out. I wrote 7000 words and thought, this isn’t what I write. What am I doing? So I shelved it.

But writers know, when the story is calling to you like that over weeks, months, sometimes even years, you have to write it down.

It got me thinking about comfort zones and creativity. When I wrote The Corpse Goddess, I was definitely writing outside my comfort zone, outside of my preferred reading genres. One look at my goodreads page will tell you that I read a lot of history, a lot of Neil Gaiman and Stephen King, a lot of literary fiction. Urban fantasy and paranormal? Not so much. But writing that book was the most fun I’ve ever had writing. When I try to write the types of books I love to read, I flounder. I fail to find a groove.

Right now, this sexy little story called Valkyries Kiss has burrowed its way into my heart. I’ve got a groove going and I don’t want to stop. Will the neighbors look at me in a whole new way after reading it? Maybe. But then, they probably already are, right? And writing, whether you’re in your comfort zone or not, always involves risk. If it didn’t, I suppose it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun! And hey, if it takes steamy sex scenes to get me out of a writing rut, well, we all have to make sacrifices for our work, right?


Monday, September 24, 2012

Writing Myself Out of a Rut

This is the view from my office. It hasn't changed in nine years.

I admit it. I'm stuck in a rut. I've lost my muse. I'm spending my days in an aimless sort of fog. I have half finished manuscripts and endless story ideas running through my head, but my motivation to sit down and write is at an all time low.

This comes as a huge surprise. I was counting the days to the first day of school so that I could write, write, write - and now all I want to do is sleep.

To be fair, it's not all about writing.

I just 'celebrated' my forty-fourth birthday and with the cake and candles came the realization that my life is half over. If I'm lucky. My baby, my fourteen year old, is in his last year of middle school. He's taking two classes for high school credit this year and with that comes the realization that in four and a half years, he'll be leaving for college. My daugther is just one year behind him, so the empty nest is looming in the not too distant future.

And then there's the nine years. I've been here for nine years. Maybe you have to be a former military brat to understand the significance of that. I've never been anywhere for nine years! The view outside my office is taunting me. I'm itching to move. Dying to sell everything we own and start afresh somewhere else. I have daydreams about moving to Munich (my favorite city), to trade this tropical climate I once loved so much for the thin, crisp air of the Rocky Mountains. Hell, I even got excited when my husband mentioned a possible move to Dubai!

Unfortunately, moving right now is not an option. So - what to do? How can I shrug off this mid-life malaise? I can't change the view from my desk, but I can change myself.

Writing has been many things for me - my escape, my self-therapy, my playtime. But writing without adventure in my heart, or in my life, is apparently impossible. So, I'm going to try some new things. I'm going to dive head first into a mid-40s midlife morass of fun and adventure! (and hopefully avoid turning myself into a walking cliche!)

I'm going to try some new things and maybe retry some old things. I'm going to change my routine and possibly my appearance. Hopefully somewhere along the way, I'll rediscover my motivation to write. Hopefully I'll find my muse!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Back to School Means Back to Work

Whew! After a rocky morning, the kids are finally back to school. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy my summer. I did. We did. But since my first book came out at the end of June, I’ve been pining for those long hours of quiet solitude so I can write. I have four or five writing projects that I want to finish this year and the long summer was a sort of torture. When I can’t get those long stretches of writing time, I’m like a junkie who doesn’t get her fix. My nerves become a ball of barbed wire. Writing calms me down.

In years past, I’ve started each new school year with a new book in mind. I write the first draft before the Christmas break, revise in the new year and send out manuscripts during the summer. Until recently, they were all rejected. Now that I’m a published writer, I’m realizing that this schedule isn’t ideal. For one thing, it’s too slow. I have one manuscript that’s just a hair’s breadth away from being ready to submit. I have another that is half finished, and yet another that is about a third finished. My goal this day, this first day of school, is to finish all three and hopefully begin work on the sequel to The Corpse Goddess – all before the end of the school year.

Can I do it? I hope so. I’ll tell you, there’s nothing more motivating than having a book out there, up on Amazon and getting decent reviews. For all writers, there is that daily intrusion of real life. My husband thinks I can write for the entire seven hours that the kids are out of the house. Unfortunately, meals don’t cook themselves, groceries don’t arrive on my doorstep by magic and the laundry doesn’t hop into the machine on its own. Not to mention the fact that I seem to exhaust my creative power after four or five hours. But…I’ll give it a shot. Even though the half painted game room is calling to me right this minute and my son desperately needs some new shirts (do all teenage boys resist shopping?), I’m going to close my office doors, turn out the lights and write…..writing always smoothes out the wrinkles.

How about you? Any grand writing plans for the new year? (Because for stay-at-home Moms, the first day of school really is the first day of the year, isn’t it?!)


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dulce Et Decorum Est

highlight poetry

Dulce Et Decorum Est

by Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Wilfred Owen is my favorite war poet. Those of you who know me well, know that I'm fascinated with the Great War and the deplorable conditions the soldiers of that war were forced to endure. Wilfred Owen was born in Oswestry in 1893 to a middle class British family. He enlisted in the Artist's Rifles in October of 1915. In May 1917 he was diagnosed with shell-shock and sent to Craiglockhart Hospital for treatment. It was there that he met the well-known poet, Siegfried Sassoon and soon after published his first poems in the hospital journal, The Hydra. Owen was killed on 4 November, just days before the Armistice was signed and the war ended. This poem gives me chillls every time I read it. The last two lines are Latin for, "It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sharing Books

So, my "marketing moratorium" didn't go as planned. I fully intended to write yesterday, but when I sat down at my computer I had a large number of emails to respond to from readers and writers. I realized something immediately. I'm not really into marketing, but I am into sharing books. I love to read them, of course, but I also love to talk about books, authors, writing, story ideas. Most of the "marketing" I do is really just about meeting other bibliophiles and sharing stories.

I'm something of a perfectionist. I like to cross all my 'T's' and dot all my 'I's'. When my book came out, I was anxious to do my publisher proud and hold up my end of the bargain by marketing The Corpse Goddess. What I learned yesterday is that I can relax. The book will have its own path. Mine is to be myself, immerse myself in books, talk about them, make new friends and relish the fact that I can do this all day long! I didn't get much writing done yesterday, but I'm making up for it today - and I still happened to make some new friends on goodreads and talk books with half a dozen people. So it's all good!

Monday, July 16, 2012

This a fun diversion, courtesy of author Aurelia B. Rowl
And I love Anne Rice!

I write like
Anne Rice

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Marketing Moratorium Tomorrow!

My first book was released about two weeks ago and I'm already a marketing addict. How did this happen? I'm about as far away from 'salesperson' as a girl can get! And yet, the wide world of internet marketing has consumed me. I wake up every morning and check my Amazon ranking - seriously, I do. Then I plunge into the book marketing world. I check out new blogs, hustle for reviews, research giveaways and blog buttons. I chat with authors and bloggers, making new friends and learning more about computers than I ever thought possible. My eyes are sore, my head is literally spinning and most mornings I'm not sure what to focus on first.

It reminds me of my last trip to Italy. My husband and I had the map spread out, trying to narrow down our choices. We couldn't see it all, so we waded through guidebooks and websites, picking and choosing. Marketing on the web is not so different. There are so many sites to choose from, so many bloggers to hook up with, so many reviewers and giveaways and tweets! I love it - and it's exhausting. Also, I'm not writing. I haven't written more than a paragraph since The Corpse Goddess was released. For obvious reasons, this is not going to work for me. I have a stack of writing projects waiting for me and I seem to be on the Net all the time.

So, it's five minutes to midnight here in the great state of Texas and I'm pledging to avoid all marketing lures for one day. Tomorrow, July 16th, I will not contact generous reviewers, comment on blogs or 'like' anybody! I will sit down and get back to what I love most. I have ghosts and a high strung scientist waiting for me on a ghoststory.doc file. I'll see you on the other side and let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My first author interview!

Thank you to the lovely Sarah for interviewing me on her blog, You May Say I'm a Dreamer! This was my first author interview and I have to say, it was a blast! We talk about my debut novel The Corpse Goddess. We also chat about writing and how to stay motivated as a writer. Come and over and join the conversation!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Guest Blog at Urban Fantasy Reviews Today!

Hi guys,

Come over to Urban Fantasy Reviews and check out my guest blog where I talk a little bit about Valkyries. There's also a short excerpt from The Corpse Goddess!

Thanks to Kate at UF Reviews for having me!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Thinking about the Constitution on Independence Day

A couple of weeks ago, I checked out Signing Their Rights Away by Denise Kiernan at the library. I'd decided that my middle schoolers needed to spend some time learning a little more about their country's history this summer. (They were thrilled. Really. I'm sure they were.) 

Needless to say, they never opened this book.

I picked it up last night and I'll be honest, it was late and I couldn't find anything else to read.

The book gives short bios on each of the men who signed the Constitution. After the Revolution, the United States spent two years under the Articles of Confederation which was basically just a document that said, "Okay world, we're a country now. Deal with it".

To give you an idea of how useless the Articles were for establishing a nation, Congress had no power to tax. So they asked for donations from states. You can imagine how successful that plan was!

Two years later, with the country on the verge of collapse, vulnerable to foreign attack and pretty much broke, American statesmen met to come up with a constitution, a document that would create a stronger federal government.

Now, lots of people hate history, but here's why I just love it. Those men that got together way back in the summer of 1787 weren't much different from the senators and congressmen fighting it out in Washington today. Some wanted a strong central government. They believed that the general population wasn't smart enough, rich enough or good enough to make decisions for themselves. Some statesmen wanted a weak central government. They were afraid of too much power being in the hands of one man or a small group of men.

These two sides, and everyone in between, argued about it all summer.

If you're up late and can't find anything to read, take a look at the Constitution. You probably won't get very far. I didn't. It's beautifully written, but in the end it's a legal document. It makes about as much sense to me as my latest credit card agreement. But after reading a few paragraphs, I did get a real sense of the compromise going on in that document. The fear of strong power in the hands of others balanced against the hope that working together would improve the lives of Americans.

The constitution has been argued over, amended, changed and changed again.

With all the political strife going on in America today, I take a huge measure of comfort in that. No matter which side of the political fence you're on, Armageddon is not at hand. The end of the country is not on the horizon. Americans and American statesmen are just doing what they've been doing for over 200 years. Fighting some of the same battles fought in 1787.  The Constitution was designed to adapt, to change with the changing times. Like the Declaration of Independence says, to give us all a chance for the pursuit of happiness.

Independence Day is also my daughter's birthday, so we'll be eating cake and opening presents along with our fireworks and watermelon. Maybe it's because I'm a military brat, but when the fireworks start shooting, I also always think about my country, about its greatness and the potential for greatness. I think about the men and women in uniform, then and now, and for lack of a better word 'patriotism' fills my heart.

This year, I know I'll be thinking just a little bit about the constitution of the United States and what it means to us now. I'll try to get my middle schoolers to read that book and at least the first paragraph of the constitution that will govern their lives. They'll get a sense of what it means to be an American and what their responsibilities to this changing document are.

Really. They will.

Or maybe they will at least open the book....

Saturday, June 30, 2012

What to Write Next?

So, the champagne bottles are empty, the kids are sweeping up the confetti and Release Day is a happy memory. Now it's time to get back to writing....but what to write next?

Like most writers, I have a long list of writing projects to choose from.

People are always asking me where I get my ideas, but getting ideas is never a problem. I'm inundated with ideas.

Just this morning I was killing a wasp in my bathroom. I grab the Raid, spray it and watch the poor thing struggle to climb my blinds, then fall hopelessly into a corner spider-web. And seriously, here comes an idea!

What if...
I thought about the spider ingesting that roach with the Raid all over it and the poor spider dying. Or what if the spider ingested a chemical that altered its DNA? No, I'm not talking Spiderman here. But the wheels were turning and the what-ifs were churning. I had a few moments of fascinated wonder and characters started popping into my head. Unfortunately I didn't take the time to write it down and now it's just Spiderman on Raid. But sometimes an idea sticks. Sometimes I write it down and a novel is born.

When I tell people about things like this, they gasp and are appalled that I don't write down all my good ideas. Believe me, I've tried! I carry a voice recorder around in my purse for just this purpose. But family members tend to get annoyed when you record every funny or interesting thing they say.  My family has put up with me gazing off into space and writing down ideas during dinners, family fun night, vacations and yes, even the school play. So these days, I only write down the ones that drag me down into what I call my writing coma. That place where the real world fades away and my fictional world comes to life.

So, now that my debut novel has hit the virtual bookshelf, which project do I tackle next?

Here’s what I have in the works:

  • short story about a kick-ass Valkyrie trying to save her hero
  • a Steampunk vampire story about a young woman taking a post as governess to an Italian count with two 'afflicted' children
  • a YA time travel book
  • a fun paranormal romance about a serious-minded scientist haunted by her father's ghost on the eve of her marriage
  • the sequel to The Corpse Goddess

Ultimately I know that the story that's calling to me with the biggest set of pipes will get my attention. The story whose characters are clamoring for action, who want to move, walk and talk, kill, love and make love.

Wallflowers will have to wait.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Welcome to my blog!

My name is Kristi and I am a compulsive writer.  Really.  I can't stop.  Some people can't stop smoking, drinking or eating.  Some compulsions are less damaging.  My sister can't stop cleaning.  (Unfortunately I do not suffer from that particular compulsion, as my friends well know!)  No, my obsession is writing and I haven't decided yet if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

It may sound like an innocuous activity, but it makes for some very late nights, time spent away from family and a less than thrilling social life.  Still, I can't stop and the reason I can't stop is that I love it.  I love it even when I'm writing crap.  I love it despite all the rejections and harsh critiques. 

So for the past few years - okay, thirteen years - I've been writing novels.  I've played around with romance, literary fiction, historical fiction and even a young adult novel.  Writing a novel is similar to designing and constructing a skyscraper.  You take elements - plot, characterization, voice, tension - and try to construct something solid, something believable.  If you fail, the whole thing sort of collapses in on itself. 

By novel number three I felt comfortable in a book. I found ways to hold it all in my head and make it stand up straight.  By book four, I learned to make my characters a little more lively than spilled coffee but it wasn't until book five that I really found my voice.  Maybe I'm a slow learner!  In any case, that book, The Corpse Goddess, will soon be released by Evernight Publishing. 

I can't say that I've mastered the medium, the structure that is a novel, but I'm getting better with each book and I console myself with the knowledge that very few writers ever master the craft of writing.  That doesn't mean I can stop writing and it certainly doesn't mean I won't have some fun with it!  And really, that is the reason I'm here today, creating a blog on my new website.  When I wrote The Corpse Goddess, I stopped trying to be a 'good writer' and had fun with the story.  I still followed the writing routine I'd established, but I allowed myself to be silly on the page, to drag my characters through the unexpected.  Now I can't seem to stop having fun and interesting characters are jumping onto the page every day. 

 The only real surprise is that most of my new characters are, well, dead.  It probably shouldn't surprise me that I write about dead people.  As an Air Force brat I spent my entire childhood following my parents through castles and ivy covered graveyards, down stone staircases into dank dungeons in countries all over the world.   Since then I've made many trips, to many different countries, and I find myself writing about Valkyries and vampires, gods and zombies, ghosts and killer birds - and the young women trying to sort it all out. 

Writing is how I make sense of my world, and my world is apparently filled with nether-creatures. 

The good news is, I'm not the only person haunted by the supernatural - even better, I'm not the only one who enjoys these hauntings!  Follow my blog and we'll talk about the living, the dead, the undead, and everything in between.  We'll also occasionally chat about writing and creating and how 'art' shapes our inner world. So follow me down into a few dank dungeons, let's dig down under things, find those nether-creatures in the dark and pull them into the light!