~ pre-orders for new Watcher: Book I of The Chosen

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Last week, the new cover for the second edition of Watcher: Book I of The Chosen was revealed. Apparently folks like it – the two facebook posts picked up nearly 100 likes by unique viewers in less than two days, which, for me, was pretty spectacular considering the small number of followers I have.

A few people asked me about pre-orders, so as a thank you to my followers, pre-orders for the ebook version are now enabled at a discounted price.

Paperback pre-orders should hopefully be ready sometime later on this week.

As the official release date of October 7 nears, I’m scrambling to get the word out to readers and reviewers. There was never an official “launch” for the first edition, which was released six years ago almost to the day. This time around, I have a small, but very devoted following, and am trying to launch the new Watcher properly.

But this is also practice – because three weeks later, Runner: Book II of The Chosen, will be released as well. And since this is a “virgin” release, I’m doing everything I can to publicize it, including the promotion of its now grown-up sister, Watcher.

As I mentioned previously, I feel like I’ve just graduated high school and am starting college at the University of Life as a Published Writer.

Thank you to all of my supporters for sharing this journey with me.

Click here to order the ebook version: Watcher: Book I of The Chosen

~ cover reveal

It’s Cover Reveal Day!

As I’ve mentioned here and elsewhere, Watcher: Book I of The Chosen, has been updated with a new cover, professional edit, and new material.

This second edition is scheduled for release on October 7, 2017, six years after its original publication date.

In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at the new cover.

Hope you like it.

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~ 50 minutes of fame

On Wednesday, July 26, I will be featured on Yvonne Mason‘s Off the Chain BlogTalk Radio podcast!

I’ll be sharing the latest news on The Chosen series:

  • Watcher is getting a makeover
    • The new cover is being worked on THIS WEEK and I hope to see the first draft by Friday
    • The revisions incorporating a professional edit and new material are nearly complete
  • Runner is with my editor
    • Its new cover will be ready at the end of August
    • Projected publication date – October 2017
  • Seeker is underway
    • Expect a Carpathian experience, courtesy of my trip to Romania last year

We’re gonna have fun on the show. I have all kinds of weirdness that I’m sure Yvonne will do her best to bring out. 🙂

~ a little history

I’ve been a reader since I can remember. I started with animal stories, and along the way fell in love with a magnificent Arabian stallion called The Black in Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion. I read the whole series, and anything else about horses that I could get my hands on.

My next phase was the Readers’ Digest Condensed Books for Children. Though they were shortened versions, without the RD books I probably never would have been exposed to such classics as Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Moby Dick, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and countless others.

When I was in junior high school, my dad signed me up for the Science Fiction Book Club. Every 30 days they would send their book-of-the-month. I read Planet of the Apes, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Dune long before they were made into movies, along with many other science fiction classics.

I briefly dabbled in westerns when I spent a summer with my grandparents, and I fell head over heels for the steel-eyed, silent stranger who was fast with a gun and saved the day.

And then I discovered fantasy. Lord of the Rings opened up doors to lands even more wonderful that those in the wild west or on the faraway planets of science fiction, and I quickly immersed myself into realms ruled by magic and swords.

In the 1990s, the movie Interview with a Vampire introduced me to a new genre. After I read all of Anne Rice’s books, I consumed every vampire story I could get my hands on. Wonderful stories by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Elaine Bergstrom, Nancy Collins, Nancy Baker and many others showed me how a simple mythology can have so many different—and fascinating—interpretations.

Fast forward to 2008. Vampires had taken over pop culture, thanks to the Twilight books and movies. Stephanie Meyer brought a new twist to the genre, one I thought was actually quite clever in spite of the grumblings by critics about “sparkly vampires.”

And then, one morning in December, I woke up with this sad, lonely vampire woman in my head. I couldn’t stop thinking about her, and when I got to work, I quickly wrote a one-page lament in her voice. She talked about her isolation, her fear of killing someone, and her anguish at watching her daughter live out her life from afar.

I wasn’t sure what to do at that point. I’d always thought about writing books, but never felt I had the time. Writing was something I’d decided would have to wait until I was retired.

But this creature, this vampire woman, would not leave me alone. And I found myself wondering about her life, and how she spent her time, and what had happened to make her this way.

And so, in early January 2009, I gave in and started writing down the bits of her existence that she revealed to me. Sunny showed me her life as though it were a movie, and all I did was translate the film into words on a computer screen.

Nicolas entered the picture a week or so later. Together they were relentless, and as their story unfolded in my head, movie-fashion, I could do nothing but write.

They would start in on me late at night, at 10:00, or maybe 11:00 – just when I was ready to go to bed. The movie played, and I had no choice but to type.

Sleep was a reward they allowed me only after the clock showed 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, and I would gratefully shut down my computer and stagger to bed. My alarm would go off the next morning at 6:00 a.m., and I would crawl to work. After a long day, I returned home, only to repeat the cycle again, and again.

Weekends became typing marathons, with 5:00 a.m. bedtimes and 8:00 a.m. wakeups. And the movie played, and my fingers could only comply with the pressure to get the story out.

And I learned what it’s like to live with vampires.

Five months later, the first draft of the novel was completed. I then spent the next eighteen months learning how to write (something I’m still working on), and in October 2011, Watcher: Book I of The Chosen was born.

Since then, I’ve written several short stories in the Watcher world, along with a number of stories in a new YA series.

But the vampires refuse to let me go just yet. Runner: Book II of The Chosen is scheduled for release in Fall 2017—and there are more stories about their world on the way.

~ Watcher re-boot

Watcher re-boot?

Yes.

It’s been six years since Watcher: Book I of The Chosen was released. In that time, the series has gained a small but dedicated following.

And so, with the pending release of Runner: Book II of The Chosen this fall, I thought it was a good time to do something I’ve wanted to do for a long time:

Re-release a professionally edited Watcher, with new and improved content – and a brand new cover.

The editing was finished some time ago, but with my focus on completing Runner, it was necessary to delay actually incorporating those edits.

Runner is now with my editor, and Watcher is getting a serious makeover – one that I hope will make it more worthy to be the flagship of this series.

But even with snappier dialog, expanded scenes, and a flashy new cover, the heart of the story remains the same – a story about choice, about love and loss, and about coming out stronger on the other side.

 

 

~ a new story

More than a few years ago I worked on an anthology project with the Fresno Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers. It had a pretty cool theme, with stories that were connected to a specific family and place, as well as to the stories preceding and following our own.
 
The place was a fictional town in England by the name of Woadsbury (known for growing the woad dye plant and making the blue dye itself). The family was the resident, or in some cases, ruling family of the town. There was no restriction on time period, and so the antho opened with a story that pre-dated history and ended with one set in the far future in space.
 
The story I wrote took place in the early 1600’s during one of Europe’s witch-hunting phases, and was a charming fantasy about a young healer and her dog. It’s my mother’s favorite story that I’ve written.
 
Unfortunately, the FSFW group disbanded and its members are now scattered across the world. Our ambitious little anthology (our second such project) withered away with no one to curate it, and our stories of Woadsbury and its family sit idly by on desktops and laptops and forgotten flash drives.
 
Recently, I took out my Woadsbury story and dusted it off with the idea of fleshing it out a bit and publishing it as a stand-alone novella. In the process, it changed from semi-YA to YA, gained a new title, and tripled in word count (nearly novel-length). It’s also tied more securely to my middle-grade/YA series, Forbidden Doorways, that I’ve been working on here and there for many years.
 
So, to make a long story short (one about me making a short story long), I will be looking for beta readers who enjoy YA fantasy. This is a bit of a sweet romance, with a little humor and a little darkness here and there. Oh, and magic. It has lots of that.
 
Stay tuned for my next post, in which I will include the opening scene from “Saving Magic”.

~ women in horror month blog talks – day 5

W.J. Howard is the organizer behind this week’s Women in Horror Month Blog Talks. Below is her blog post with a list of featured writers for today’s topic, “Torture”.

~ ~ ~

Welcome to our final day of Women in Horror Month Blog Talks featuring a discussion on torture. Below is a list of blogs and guests in today’s talks.

To Connect with Participants and Join More Discussions
Go to the Facebook Event Page

James P. McDonald hosts
Torture as a Favorite Pastime
by Anne Hogue-Boucher

Anne is always wondering when the stars will be right, and is madly in love with her spouse. She is a werewolf wrangler, and writer of weird fiction and horror.
Go to Blog

W. J. Howard hosts
Thinking Torture
by Dina Rae

Dina Rae has penned 6 books with a 7th on the way. Her themes revolve around conspiracy, NWO, paranormal, and aliens. The Best Seller is her latest book.
Go to Blog

Briana Robertson hosts
Fascinating Torture
by W. J. Howard

Wendy Howard writes dark stories mixed with comedy. She lives in Colorado with her husband and two boisterous beagles, and wine is an important part of her diet.
Go to Blog

Roadie Notes hosts
The Most Intense Torture
by Debbie Christiana

Debbie writes dark romantic fiction and dark short fiction. She’s a lover of yoga, Halloween, horror, wine and Labradors.
Go to Blog

Dina Rae hosts
A Difficult Topic
by James P. McDonald

James is a business and technology consultant, fiction and non-fic author, technology and futurist speaker.
Go to Blog

W. J. Howard hosts
The Threat
by L.J. Moran

L.J. Moran currently lives in S. Jersey. She’s into animal rescue, horror conventions, and is addicted to coffee.
Go to Blog

~ women in horror month blog talks – day 4

W.J. Howard is the organizer behind this week’s Women in Horror Month Blog Talks. Below is her blog post with a list of featured writers for today’s topic, “Evil Women in Pop Culture”.

~ ~ ~

Welcome to our fourth day of Women in Horror Month Blog Talks featuring a discussion on evil women in pop culture. Below is a list of blogs and guests in today’s talks.

To Connect with Participants and Join More Discussions
Go to the Facebook Event Page

W. J. Howard hosts
The Worst Kind of Villain
by James P. McDonald

James is a business and technology consultant, fiction and non-fic author, technology and futurist speaker.
Go to Blog

James P. McDonald hosts
Women Who Kill
by C.A. Verstraete

C.A. Verstraete loves writing with a bit of a scare! She is author of Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter and a young adult novel, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie.
Go to Blog

 W. J. Howard hosts
My top 5 Villainesses in Horror/SF Horror list
by Juli D. Revezzo
Juli writes fantasy and romantic stories filled in with elements garnered from a lifetime love affair with magic, myth, witches, wizards, and fated lovers and legend.

C.A. Verstraete hosts
Death Personified
by Zrinka Jelic

Zrinka Jelic lives in Ontario, Canada. She’s a member of the Romance Writers of America and its Fantasy Futuristic & Paranormal chapter, as well as Savvy Authors.
Go to Blog

Claire Fitzpatrick hosts
Beverley Allitt: Serial Murderer and
Evil Woman in Pop Culture
by W. J. Howard

Wendy Howard writes dark stories mixed with comedy. She lives in Colorado with her husband and two boisterous beagles, and wine is an important part of her diet.
Go to Blog

~ women in horror month blog talks – day 3

W.J. Howard is the organizer behind this week’s Women in Horror Month Blog Talks. Below is her blog post with a list of featured writers for today’s topic, “Scary Confessions”.

~ ~ ~

Welcome to our third day of Women in Horror Month Blog Talks featuring a discussion on our scary confessions. Below is a list of blogs and guests in today’s talks.

To Connect with Participants and Join More Discussions
Go to the Facebook Event Page

W. J. Howard hosts
Scary Inspiration
by W. J. Howard with Lauren Curtis

Wendy Howard writes dark stories mixed with comedy. She lives in Colorado with her husband and two boisterous beagles, and wine is an important part of her diet.
Go to Blog

Audrey Brice hosts
Secret Confession: I’m Not a Woman in Horror
by B.E. Scully

B.E. Scully lives in a haunted red house that lacks a foundation in the misty woods of Oregon with a variety of human and animal companions.
Go to Blog

Lincoln Farish hosts
Inner Voice
by Suzie Lockhart

Convinced she was destined to be an artist, Suzie Lockhart attended The Art Institute of Pittsburgh after graduating high school, but the gnawing urge to write remained with her.
AND
Nightmares
by Naching T. Kassa

Naching T. Kassa is a wife, mother, and Horror Author. She is a member of the Horror Writers Association and a contributor to the Demonic Visions series.
Go to Blog

Naching T. Kassa hosts
A Path of Fear
by Carson Buckingham

Carson Buckingham is a professional novelist, short story writer, editor, proofreader, copywriter, technical writer, comedy writer and worshipper of Terry Pratchett and Shirley Jackson.
AND
Nightmare Influence
by Zrinka Jelic

Zrinka Jelic is a member Romance Writers of America and its Fantasy Futuristic & Paranormal chapter, as well as Savvy Authors. She writes contemporary fiction, which leans toward the paranormal and adds a pinch of history.
Go to Blog

Travis Heermann hosts

Enter the Spirit World
by Audrey Brice

Audrey Brice writes paranormal thrillers, mysteries, and horror stories where spirits, demons, and occult practitioners are both heroes and villains.
AND
Everyday Horror
by Briana Robertson

Briana Robertson is the author of all things dark–horror, fantasy, poetry, and more. Advocate for mental health and suicide awareness. Wife and mother of three.
Go to Blog

Christine Fitzpatrick hosts
Irrational Things
by Claire L. Fishback

Claire lives in Morrison, Colorado with her loving husband, Tim, and their pit bull mix, Belle. Writing has been her passion since age six.
AND
Fear of Failure
by James P. McDonald

James is a business and technology consultant, fiction and non-fic author, technology and futurist speaker.
Go to Blog

Roadie Notes hosts
Night Terrors
by KC Grifant

The founding co-chair of the Horror Writers Association’s San Diego Chapter, KC Grifant has written scifi, horror and fantasy stories for the Lovecraft Ezine and more.
Go to Blog

~ women in horror month blog talks – day 2

W.J. Howard is the organizer behind this week’s Women in Horror Month Blog Talks. Below is her blog post with a list of featured writers for today’s topic, “Favorite Women in Horror”.

~ ~ ~

Welcome to our second day of Women in Horror Month Blog Talks featuring a discussion on our favorite women in horror. Below is a list of blogs and guests in today’s talks.

To Connect with Participants and Join More Discussions
Go to the Facebook Event Page

Morbidly Beautiful hosts
Women I Hope to Write Like
by Roh Morgon

Roh Morgon writes fantasy and horror for middle grade, young adult, and adult readers. She’s best known for her vampire series.
Go to Blog

Roadie Notes hosts
First Lady, Mary Shelley
by James P. McDonald

James is a business and technology consultant, fiction and non-fic author, technology and futurist speaker.
Go to Blog

Blaze McRob hosts
The Dark Romance of Anne Rice
by Travis Heermann

Freelance writer, novelist, award-winning screenwriter, editor, poker player, poet, biker, roustabout, Travis Heermann is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop.
Go to Blog

Juli D. Revezzo hosts
Alexandra Sokoloff
by Zrinka Jelic

Zrinka Jelic is a member Romance Writers of America and its Fantasy Futuristic & Paranormal chapter, as well as Savvy Authors. She writes contemporary fiction, which leans toward the paranormal and adds a pinch of history.
Go to Blog

W. J. Howard hosts
Ghost Dance
by Naching T. Kassa

Naching is a wife, mother, and Horror Author. She is a member of the Horror Writers Association and a contributor to the Demonic Visions series.
Go to Blog

Susanne Leist hosts
Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook
by W. J. Howard

Wendy Howard writes dark stories mixed with comedy. She lives in Colorado with her husband and two boisterous beagles, and wine is an important part of her diet.
Go to Blog

Debbie Christiana hosts
A Few Amazing Ladies
by Dina Rae

Dina has penned 6 books with a 7th on the way. Her themes revolve around conspiracy NWO paranormal, and aliens. The Best Seller is her latest release.
Dana Reed
by Audrey Brice

Audrey writes paranormal thrillers, mysteries, and horror stories where spirits, demons, and occult practitioners are both heroes and villains.
Go to Blog