Monday, April 7, 2014

Cool new cover art: J.M. Bray

Please welcome my friend J.M. Bray, to reveal the cover for his cool new romantic fantasy MENDING THE SHROUD ~ book 2 in the Shroud Trilogy, releasing in July.

The first book is called TEARING THE SHROUD - cool creepy title, yeah?

Without further ado...


(Erica jumps in: this is very cool. Simple, nice colours with the neon swirl behind the title. Aaand hot, in an understated, come-hither kind of way. I like the feather - intriguing, raises questions. And the dude's eyes say, 'I may be pretty, but I'll still kick your butt.'

Oh, yeah. And bless the day for a paranormal/fantasy cover that features 1) no full moon, furry animal or woman with improbably bare midriff; and 2) NO POINTLESS TATTOOS. What do you think?)

Here's what J.M. says:

The exciting sequel to Tearing the Shroud is coming July 1, 2014 and here's the cover! Once again Escape Publishing did an amazing job on the artwork and tying the two books together visually. JM is hard at work on the third book, so keep a lookout for it.

When you’ve learned to take possession in stride, love should be easy. Right? It might be if your life and the lives of people you loved weren’t threatened by an invasion of monsters. 

Vincent thought saving the world once was a challenge, he didn’t figure on retribution putting a price on his head. It means college takes a back seat again as he’s possessed by Coleman to fight a new battle with the Kafla. But this time he’s not alone, Jule, the woman he loves is also is possessed.

Together they hope to stave off the invasion and take the fight to the Realm, where only a supreme sacrifice can Mend the Shroud and save their worlds.

About the Author
J.M. Bray lives in Southern California with his college sweetheart and their two dogs. After a lifetime together, they are happier than the moment they met. 
When not writing or working his "day job", he loves to cook, play the guitar, and travel with his wife. Every chance he gets, he races an old Porsche named "Tuffy" at tracks in the southwest.


Twitter: @jmbraybooks
Website: www.jmbray.com

Thanks, J.M. :) so what do you guys think? You a fan of fantasy/romance, featuring stuff other than vamps and weres? A fellow member of the 'we're so over tattoos on book covers' club?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Publishing decisions, and why they're none of anyone else's business

I don't blog a whole lot (heh, you might have noticed that) but I just can't keep my mouth shut any longer about this. Excuse my language, but it's the kind of post that needs lashings of cursing to be cathartic. And I totally need catharsis, folks. Ready for a rant?

Good. Here goes:

I am so over those best-selling authors who assume every author in the world lives in the same special little ivory-tower universe that they do.

Things like Hugh Howey's Amazon data scraping exercise, which basically proved nothing other than if you're already selling a zillion copies, you'll make more money at 70% royalty than you will at 25%. Duh.

Posts like this one http://brennaaubrey.net/2014/03/09/the-road-not-taken/, where one author is talking candidly about her reasons for her publishing decisions, and a certain bestselling author comes along and writes a lengthy comment that, despite its sort-of-helpful intent and its effort to provide useful info, which I do appreciate, basically boils down to if you think traditional publishing has any benefits for anyone ever, you're a fucking idiot.

Well, let the record show that I am not a fucking idiot. Most authors are not idiots. They're business people with decisions to make. And they make those decisions based on their situation. Not some random bestselling author's, or anyone else's. Theirs.

Anyone who thinks that just because this or that happened for some zillion-copy-selling author, it will doubtless happen that way for them too, because hey, they're indie and INDIES ROCK! You can do it! Group hug! – well, perhaps they should think about it some more.

Can we all stop insisting that because XYZ happened to us when we published and we made a squillion dollars, that means our way is the only way? Just because subright X or publicity plan Y is (or isn't) important to us doesn't mean it's the same for everyone else. Just because an offer is bad for one author or book doesn't mean it's bad for everyone else too.

Can we all stop listening to those authors who, because they turned down an offer from a print publisher, apparently think they know everything about what's happening in New York, for every other author at every stage of his or her career?

And can we please stop throwing around 'know what your rights are worth' as if it always and forever means 'traditional publishing sucks'?

Because I do know what my rights are worth, thanks very much, and for some books, I still choose traditional publishing.

I don't pretend to know much about what's really going on for anyone else. Everything I have is anecdotal, and the plural of 'anecdote', etc.. But let tell you about me.

I'm not a bestseller. I've done a few books in New York, a few with digital-first imprints of big houses and a few self-published. My self-pubs haven't set the world on fire, but I'm learning, and I do my research – I can see what the very successful authors are doing, even if as yet I haven't been able to emulate it. I've had glowing reviews, and shockingly bad ones. I've had starred reviews in Publisher's Weekly and 'this is the worst, sickest book ever written' reviews from Kirkus. Some readers love my work. Some hate it. Basically, my books are no better and no worse than anyone else's. I'm just an author.

I am a relatively new author, true, but I fancy I have at least a little bit of a handle on what all those aspects of the publishing industry are doing, thanks. Just because I haven't yet turned down a million-dollar offer doesn't mean I'm clueless. Just because you have doesn’t make you an expert. Piss off.

Got that? Good. Let's move on.

So. My last two trad-pubbed series were discontinued by the publisher. (I got all my advances, by the way. Where this shit is coming from about people not getting paid their advances on delivered books is a mystery to me.) What's more, the fan following I do have is in paranormal romance. I don't write twenty-book short contemporary romance series, new adult anything, BDSM billionaires or rock star romance. I don't even really write erotic romance at the moment. Suffice it to say: my books are not exactly hot property in New York this week.

But I can tell you that the advances I am being offered – and no, I won't tell you what they are, or from whom, because unlike some authors, I still harbour lingering respect for business confidentiality – the advances I'm being offered are more than I could reasonably expect to earn in the same period if I self-published the same book.

Let me say that again. I've self-published a couple of books now, and I have no expectations of being an overnight word-of-mouth bestseller – it's something to aim for, but I don't expect it. I expect to have to build my career slowly – and no, it isn't because I've been trained to think that by evil traditional publishers. It's just reality, for most authors. I don't write the kind of thing that sells like that, and I don't have the drive towards promotion that it requires. But I do have a good idea of what I can reasonably expect my earnings on a new book to be in the next little while.

The advances I'm being offered are more than I foresee I would earn self-pubbing, over the period during which the advance would be paid.

So don't come at me with your 'know what your rights are worth' as if it means 'indie is the only way, suckah!' IT IS OKAY TO CONSIDER TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING. IT IS OKAY TO DECIDE TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING IS BEST FOR YOUR BOOK. Just because some other author's rights are worth more than mine doesn't give them cause to tell me I'm an idiot (however nicely they put it) for so choosing.

In short: I do know what my rights are worth. You, on the other hand, don't have the first clue what my rights are worth. Piss off.

I am not afraid of e-publishing. I could care less about Goodreads or Amazon reviews or author 'bullying'. Bring it on. I would self-publish my next novel in a heartbeat - if I thought it would sell more copies and/or make more money. I am not yet at a stage of my career where I believe it will.

Oh, and while I'm at it? Enough with 'print is dead'. I still buy print and enjoy bookstores. My friends still buy print and enjoy bookstores. Excuse us for being relics of the Enlightenment. Piss off.

What's more, I've done trad-pubbed books before. I know what to expect in terms of marketing, publicity, branding and editorial, no matter what stories I'm told by well-meaning company staff. I have an agent, whom I consider to be worth every penny of her 15% and then some, to advise me, and I also do my own research.

So don't come at me with 'but traditional publishers don't do branding/publicity/marketing! They lie! They suck! They tell sucky lies! Indie is the only way!' Just don't. Okay? Of course it's not all book tours and front-of-store placement and national media. We know that. Publishing is a sales business. Caveat emptor. You have to do due diligence. Inform your decisions. You don't automatically believe everything you're told.

And that includes what you're told by authors who live in that bestseller's ivory tower, where it makes total sense to decline a big traditional offer, because they're already doing better on their own.

I understand that decision. I really do, and good luck to them. I wish them every success.

But I'm not them. I'm me. 

We now resume our normal programming, ie. utter blog silence. Thanks for listening.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Vampires and demon hunting, oh my!

Another new short story release! It's been a big week…

Hunter's Heart is what you might call a good, old-fashioned vampire romance. With demons and violence and juicy smexxin'. You know you want one, right?

Here's the cover copy:

A reckless young demon-huntress longs for the ultimate excitement—but is a powerful shadow demon more than she can handle?

For vampire Colleen O’Hara, work is also play. She hunts demons not just for the paycheck, but also for the thrill of the fight. It’s better than sex, at least the sex she’s had so far. But then she meets Seth, a smoldering-hot shadow demon. With him she feels an undeniable, untamable urge to blur the lines between ally and enemy, predator and prey.

Meanwhile, as the barrier between hell and earth grows weaker, threatening thousands of human souls, Colleen must track down the traitor who opened the rift. Only with Seth at her side can she defeat the villain. Colleen must risk everything—including her soul—to both follow her desire and save her city from impending damnation.

For those of you familiar with my books: Hunter's Heart is in the same series as Hunter's Blood, but with a new romantic couple. The heroine is Colleen, Gina's sassy BFF. The hero… well, he's kinda bad… :D

You can feed it cookies on Goodreads. Or, here's the Kindle link.

Here's a teaser; you can read a bigger excerpt on my website.

~

Such a beautiful enemy.

In his shadow form, Seth drifted above Colleen’s head, a silent breath of blackness in the night. Invisible. Deadly.

And fascinated. The fiery glint of her spell-wreathed knives mesmerized him. Her lean shadow slipped along the moonlit alley wall like a ghost. The power that flashed in the magical bloodstone at her throat made him tingle. If he’d had a mouth right now, it would have watered.

He’d been watching this Hunter every night for a week. Stalking the stalker, tracking her sweet vampire scent through midnight streets, as she killed imps and fleshcrushers, her lethal blades flashing. Her victims were lower-level minions, hell’s dross, mere lumps of flesh and hatred. Expendable, easily replaced . . . yet her grim taste for death intrigued him.

He drifted closer, whispering his shadowy fingers over her braided red hair, and his particles shimmered, aroused. Hellfire, she smelled good, of strawberries and female sweat. She hadn’t detected Seth—but this was no reflection on her fighting prowess. Seth was a shadow demon, ancient and powerful. Just a strange shiver down your spine, a warm whisper on your shoulder, a coil of blacker darkness in the night. It was pitifully easy for Seth to drink human and vampire souls.

Warm weariness washed through him. Soon, it’d be Yule, when the hellflux would be at its lowest ebb. His mistress—Jezebel, cruel demon empress, curse her oily hide to eternities of agony—was amassing her forces for a frontal assault. And these helldamned Hunters were just getting in the way.

Which was where Colleen came in. Her powerful magic-user’s soul would strengthen Seth. Feed him. Sustain his power, make him invincible, and so on and so forth. As Jezebel’s consort—and yeah, that was about as much fun as it sounded—he’d eaten countless souls in his time, both human and vampire. It was getting old, the excitement wearing thin.

Seth sighed, a stirring of shadow. Hells, he was getting old. Couldn’t recall when he’d last properly relished a meal. He didn’t even bother taking corporeal form anymore. Just dived down their throats and sucked the soul from their fleshbags.

But this prey—this juicy lady Hunter—woke something inside him that he hadn’t felt for . . . Mmm. Would she taste as good as she looked?

~

OMG. The suspense is killing you, right? What will happen? Will there be blood? More importantly, will there be nakedness and hot smexxin'?

Well, what do you think?

You can buy this cute little sucker at Amazon. $1.99. What a bargain!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Death! Betrayal! Vampire revolutionaries! Just in time for Valentine's Day...

A new release, yay! It's been a while, so I hope you enjoy this little piece of bloodthirstiness and heartbreak...

Unforgiven is a dark fantasy love story, and I'm stoked that it's been chosen as part of this cool anthology. Look at all these awesome authors.

MY BLOODY VALENTINE
Eight cutting-edge stories
of the darker side of love.

Tiffinie Helmer ~ Heartless
Alex Bledsoe ~ Tantrabobus
V.R. Barkowski ~ Just A Lie
Erica Hayes ~ Unforgiven
Lizbeth Lipperman ~ Sweepers: A Kiss To Die For
Charlie Holmberg ~ Salt and Water
Coreene Callahan ~ Fury of Fate
S.G. Redling ~ The True Love of Sherry Papers

The premise of this antho was simple: the story had to begin with the words 'love hurts'.

So, y'know. Vampire revolutionaries. Bwahaha. Just in time for Valentine's Day…

Here's the first little snippet of my story, Unforgiven.

~

Love hurts, they say.

Still, I find it an impractical tool. In all my years, I've never extracted a traitor's confession with the threat of a broken heart, for the simple reason that on the subject of love, imagination fails us. We cannot conceive before the fact how excruciating its loss can be. Whereas any torturing scoundrel will tell you that the instinctive human dread of physical pain—a dagger pressed into the eye socket, for example—is often more persuasive than the pain itself.

I poke my blade in a little harder. "Give me a name, monsieur, or by Jupiter, I'll slice your eye in two."

"Don't know what you mean." The boy's in shirtsleeves, and sweat darkens his white linen. The pleasure den's warm gaslights slant my shadow across his face. He's bleeding all over his waistcoat, poor lad, his cupid's-bow lips split and swollen, and it isn't making my job any easier.

A few feet from us, behind the half-drawn curtain, the dance whirls on, oblivious, a riot of silk and brocade, paste jewelry, painted faces, dusty relics of the bad old days. When he approached me at these revels—me, a lady wearing a gentlemen's swallow-tailed coat and breeches, rapier and dirk at her belt, glossy brown curls twisted in a red ribbon—he had more erotic recreation in mind.

Perhaps, so did I. He's handsome, this minion of evil. Delicious. The eye I'm threatening to pierce is ocean blue, bright with belladonna, and the smell of his skin maddens me. Absinthe and fear and a succulent boy's sweat, a toxic reminder of days long gone, when truth and liberty were more important than tomorrow, and my blood raced wild and free.

But I'm a different woman now. A married woman. And though I worship my lord husband with my entire heart, on evenings such as this—with the prey trembling in my grip, warm night air sparkling on my skin, the scent of satisfaction inches from my reach—the interminable emptiness of that tomorrow stretches ahead of me, terrifying.

"Your coven master's name, villain." I slide my dirk under his chin. "Or perhaps you can do without the eyeball. Should I instead slice your throat asunder?"

"Please, don't hurt me. He'll kill me if I tell you." He's sobbing now, begging in the fashion I once enjoyed so ruthlessly, and sweat trickles between my breasts. I'm burning. Eager. Parched inside, as if my soul wastes away for want.

"Yet so shall I, if you remain silent. What a dilemma." I twist his hair in my damp fist. My mouth is dry. I want to lick his swollen lips, taste that shimmering moisture. "Give me his name, minion, or you'll know sorrow."

The boy's eyes harden, the besotted glitter of the Possessed. "His name is master," he rasps. "But he signs himself Charlot."

The syllables echo backwards in time.

I taste them. Mysterious, slightly bitter, like an old wine. Enticing. Just as he tasted, long ago in those restless days of revolution, when he and I were drunk on power and fury and the sheer brilliant bliss of being alive.

Charlot.

My heart beats faster. Fear or excitement? I ought to feel nothing.

I must feel nothing.

~

Cool, eh? You can read a bigger excerpt at my website.

Buy links for the antho: Amazon ~ B&N

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mega paranormal book giveaway!

The Dark Side Down Under are having a huge ebook giveaway for Halloween! DarkSiders unite to bring you a mega pack of book giveaways. It's seriously scary how good it is!

The mega prize pack includes:

Cheryse Durrant - The Blood She Betrayed
Maree Anderson - Freaks of Greenfield High, Ruby’s Dream, Seer’s Promise
Erica Hayes - Demon Chained, Cherry Kisses
Shona Husk - The Outcast Prince (print)
Cathleen Ross  - Her Demon Prince
Tania Walsh - Cloaked in Fur
Kim Cleary - Path Unchosen
Maggie Mundy - Blood Scent, Hidden Mortality
Christina Phillips - Bloodlust Denied
Nicola E. Sheridan's ‘Magic’ series - Magical Gains, Magical Creations, Magical Redemption


Giveaway starts October 31. Check it out!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Free stuff!! and a new Shadowfae book

Creeping out of deep lurkdom... to squee about a few freebies!

First of all, CHERRY KISSES is free on Kindle to US readers. Yay! It's also free on Kobo right now.

I'm getting a great response from readers on Lena and Ethan's story. If you love witches, demons, sword-fighting and hot ninja guys? Go grab yourself a free one!


Also, without further sekrit squirrel ado... the new Shadowfae book is here!


Check out this brilliant cover art from Ravven. Isn't it gorgeous?


A snarky, sexy undead hero. A feisty djinni heroine. A jealous fairy best friend... oh, my. This book is juicy. And yes, before you ask - Kane is in it.

Check out the deets on Goodreads, and add it to your TBR! I love love love this story, and I'm so happy to be able to bring it to you at last :D

You can already pre-order it from Kobo (yay!) and other sites will soon follow. Release day will be 18 September.

For reviewers? It's up on NetGalley, so flip me a request and I'll oblige.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Cover art... and a free story!

Check out my awesome new cover art!

From Ida at Amygdala Designs, for my Shadowfae novella CHERRY KISSES. Isn't it gorgeous?




Sexy con-artist Lena Falco isn't a witch, not technically. She uses her cache of stolen magic tricks to seduce and bedazzle her marks. When she's hired by a demon to steal a cursed magical amulet from a monstrous tower in Hell, it must be her lucky day.

The prize? A single wish—whatever she wants. The catch? There's competition: Ethan Benford, swordsman and enchanter, arrogant, maddeningly sexy and the only incorruptible man in town.

Lena's been burnt before by Ethan's easy charm, and she vows he'll meet his match this time. But is ultimate power worth betraying the only man who truly believes in her?


It's so pretty! This 11K novella was previously published in the HEX APPEAL anthology from St Martin's Press, edited by PN Elrod. But this is my fancy new ebook edition. It's an urban fantasy, not a romance. Just so you know.

Where can I get one? I hear you ask. Well, that's the cool thing. Right now, I'm giving CHERRY KISSES away free! to my email newsletter subscribers. One day soon, I'll put her up for sale on Amazon, but for now... she's all yours!

You can sign up here, or use the form on my website. I hope you enjoy!