Monday, June 25, 2018

The Cities of Dead

From Alys Arden, author of The Casquette Girls and The Romeo Catchers, comes her new book The Cities of Dead. 

This week she has revealed the cover for the upcoming book. November 6th is the release date! Everyone get ready!

Here's hoping there is a LOT of Nicco!

Monday, June 11, 2018

the GHOST of Southern Charm and other Dark Water River Mysteries

Bonaventure Cemetery

Once upon a Southern weekend, three friends moseyed down for a lazy weekend in Savannah and Tybee Island, Georgia. Along the way, we met a noble Knight and shared a fine meal. We stepped back into time, climbed a lighthouse, and caught a few waves.

Me and Author, Christian Terry
The trip really began when I got to meet fellow author and long-time internet friend, Christian Terry. His wicked cool book, Ten Lives, BUY HERE was the first gamer-lit book I ever read. It’s a fast-pace urban fantasy adventure that I recommend everyone read. And, even though I’m deep into writing my latest novel, I’m bugging him daily to find out the release date of the next installment, Seven Lives. It’s gonna be good. I just know it. In the meantime, we've been internet friends and writing colleagues for quite awhile, and it was really special getting to finally meet in person.

Spanish Moss, Bonaventure

We had two goals on our weekend in Savannah. We wanted to see as much of Savannah as we could, and we wanted to get out to Bonaventure Cemetery. After scouring tons of options and opportunities, we settled on the idea of taking an on and off trolley tour, Old Savannah Trolley Tours, through Savannah. For one fee, you can hop on and off at different locations all over the city all day long. Having only one day to see Savannah, this seemed like our best option.

Pirate Actor
So, onto our first trolley we boarded, and soon, we were off. The tour guides, we had three, all told different stories and facts about everything we passed, and occasionally, at different stops an  actor would hop onto the trolley and tell us a little bit about themselves and their life in Savannah. This is how we met Forrest Gump. Our favorite re-enactors on this tour were the pirate and the dandy architect we will forever call “portico”. The city of Savannah has done a wonderful job with this tour. You don’t have to get on and off. If you want to ride all day long, you can, and believe me, you won’t be disappointed. In fact, we rode once through the entire tour before we stopped to get off at the Cathedral.
St. John the Baptist Cathedral

The Cathedral…  Look, I don’t know why...Cemeteries and Cathedrals...these are my things…

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist  is simply stunning, an inspirational, jaw-dropping blend of colors, architectural design, and a sort of silent peace found in cathedrals everywhere.

In the afternoon, we drove out to Bonaventure Cemetery. I could have spent years here and not explored every nook and cranny. It took me a few moments to get my bearings in the maze of tombs, to wrap my mind around the graceful charm found among the haunting monuments and trees draped in Spanish Moss. In general, Savannah is an old city, a true necropolis. Bonaventure is the magnificent crown to this literal city of the dead.

***If you visit here or any other cemetery, please be mindful. It’s heartbreaking to see tombstones, vaults, and graves that are broken or knocked over because someone mindlessly or accidentally bumped into them.***

When our day came to an end, we were glad to return to our little cottage we rented out on the marsh to watch the sunset and prepare for the next day’s outing.

Tybee Island Lighthouse
On day two, we loaded up into Indigo Montoya with the beach tent and chairs and headed over to Tybee Island.

The mission was to climb to the top of Tybee Island Lighthouse, all 178 stairs, despite it being one of the hardest in America to climb to look out over the ocean.

View from the top of Tybee Island Lighthouse
For me, the climb up was fine. A landing waited for us every 25 stairs, and I swear excitement propelled me forward because I made it to the top before I realized it. Lighthouses fascinate me. I blame this both on Jimmy Buffett and my author friend, Vicky Holt, whose fabulous book, Beckoned, takes place at a lighthouse, but that is a story for another day.

North Beach Swing
Tybee Island
Two-thirds of the way back down from the lighthouse, my legs became jello.  To solve this travesty, we headed to the beach. On North beach of Tybee Island, the beach is lovely. The sand is darker than most of the beaches I’ve visited, but still lovely. The lack of commercial buildings and high rise hotels makes Tybee stand out. A beach day here feels like a way of life rather than a vacation.

Sunset on the Marsh
On our final night we had a meal on the deck out by the marsh of our little cottage with our new furry friend, Socks, as we talked about all of our experiences on our Savannah/Tybee Island weekend. Tybee Island turned out to be everything we'd hoped, a quiet beach spot free from touristy mumbo-jumbo. It's sandy-shelled shore served as the perfect place to take a breath and enjoy salty sea breezes. Savannah, in a very real way, was exactly as I'd expected too. A slow Southern city, a remnant of a time long gone, that leaves an ache in the pit of my stomach as I try to deduce whether I should be happy because these old houses and traditions still exist or be disgusted by their very existence. The opulence and gentility did not swirl into creation via a magic wand. Blood, sweat, and tears and the literal building over dead bodies is how her grand beauty came about. Savannah is a city of old splendor and elegance, and currently, Savannah is an old but modern city where they are trying to tightly hold onto their past, while standing with the present and looking towards the future, and despite my mixed feelings, I enjoyed my romp throughout the old squares and left wanting to see more.


Have any of you been to Savannah or Tybee? What did you see/do?

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

"When you wish upon a COUNTERFEIT star..."

As a child of two musicians, a child who used to nap on the inside of her mother’s bass drum, I have attended many, many concerts in a variety of venues and locations in my lifetime. I listen and love almost all types of music. And truly, for me there would be no writing without music.

On May 8th, me and a wicked cool friend hopped into my car, Indigo Montoya, and took a drive up to Nashville, TN on a mission to find a small club called The End. We’d heard nightmares about this club: bad sound, tetanus shot required, etc… but I am a concert champ, and this particular band that we’d loaded up to see meant way more to me than a bunch of rumors of an iffy venue.  So, onward we traversed.

Thanks to the aforementioned brilliant friend we scored VIP tickets, which meant I was finally going to get the chance to meet the guys in the band known as Counterfeit and thank them not only for their rocking tunage but also for inadvertently creating a cd that helped me overcome the closest thing to writer’s block I’ve ever experienced.

This would be an easy thing for me. I know plenty of musicians, and more importantly, I am the daughter of the Rock Goddess. It never occurred to me that me, a girl with more words running around in her brain than can ever come out, might freeze during that one moment I had to tell them thank you. No, not me...I am the epitome of chill.

Somehow among the excitement of the upcoming show and the debating of which songs the band might shred out for us...I forgot one tiny little detail. One of the members of this band, and I am intentionally going to downplay this, is an actor by the name of Jamie Campbell Bower. If you have seen any of his work, particularly his recent intense portrayal of Christopher Marlowe on the show Will, then you probably already suspect what happened to me and my super calm self. I bring this little fact up so that you all can have a good laugh at my expense.

After all, Counterfeit is so much more than Jamie Campbell Bower. Together, these five men are an extraordinary force of sound, pounding an exquisite mix of punk, heavy rock, metal and a zillion others sounds they’ve absorbed, mastered, and perfected into a blend of something amazing into our ears.

But I digress… There I was in line for the meet and greet totally prepared to lay it all out, to let each of them know in two or three swift comments that their music has been important in my life, to say thank you.  Spoiler alert: this mission of mine failed. It failed in epic proportions.

First, I met Bass Guitarist, Roland Johnson and Guitarist, Tristan Marmont. This went okay. The plan, of course, was to say hello to all of them and then give them my group message.  HAHAHAHAHA!!!

Side note to all of you who greatly love the world of creativity and art. If you admire a poet, a musician, actor, or any other sort of creative being, there is a good chance you might actually forget what you planned on saying. You some cases...say something less than intelligent.

Next in line came Jamie Campbell Bower… brace yourselves friends and readers. I know you are expected me to say something cool and snarky here… I am rather known for my smart ass quips. Unfortunately, it went something like this. “Hi, I’m Jamie.” There was a handshake. I started to recall a scene he performed once with Eva Green way back in the Camelot days…and I mumbled and muttered the only thing that came to my mind… "Yes, yes, you are."

Luckily, they are all five gracious men. Guitarist, Sam Bower, and Drummer, Jimmy Craig also introduced themselves to me. I have no idea what I said to them. I pray it was in English. When I lose concentration, I start babbling in other languages. There were a couple of pictures taken while I awaited angels to nab me right there on the spot because my writer’s imagination had me suspended into some sort of reality warp, and my one chance to tell all of them what I really wanted to say melted away beneath the hot Nashville sun.  (Also, no actual angels appeared despite my best imaginings.)

Later on, before the show, there was another unfortunate incident where a pothole attacked me and won. Over a week later, and I still bare those bruises. If anyone has advice on how to walk on flat ground and win in a fight against pavement, please leave a comment below.

So, maybe this wasn’t the night for me to win any awards for being graceful and poised. HOWEVER, it was a night to rock hard and have a stellar time. Counterfeit is no joke. They bring everything they have and lay it out raw for everyone to experience. As a band, they are a tightly gelled unit, and this comes across in their performance.

As I said earlier, I go to many, many concerts, but it has been a long time since I’ve walked out of a venue with that unique and rare feeling of energetic almost spiritual happiness that a really great show with amazing music and the right audience can, every once in awhile, induce.

Counterfeit did this. No, they came out on that tiny stage, in a venue that has a bit of an unfair rep, and slew everyone in the room with their instruments and voices.

If you don’t know this band, check them out. Their album, Together We Are Stronger, is out everywhere.  And if they come to your town, go experience their show.

A few of the things I should  have told Counterfeit:

  1. Your record is a hellacious driving album. Put it on, crank it up loud, and
  2. Your songs, “Lost Everything” and “You Can’t Rely”, helped resuscitate my character, Zylphia, effectively allowing me to get back to what I love doing, writing. (For those of you who are concerned, Zylphia’s story is flowing nicely now. I just pop on Together We Are Stronger and the words flow. The book title shall be revealed soon.)
  3. Thank you. Thank you for doing what you love and sharing it with everyone else.

As this is a rather long blog for me, I’ll cut it off here with a question. Has anyone else ever had a moment where you completely farkled for whatever reason?

Friday, March 9, 2018

Flood and Bones

As the waters rushed and the creeks rose, exciting things were occurring. I may have been flooded in for two days this past month, but that didn’t stop me!!

I have two big announcements to make.

First: Ancestors is now available on Amazon. (Buy Here) Ancestors is the conclusion of The Binding trilogy, my series of books that take place in New Orleans. It’s been a wonderful adventure. I have been on this ride with Sybella Rose and Demien for several years. I’ve delved into the mysteries of voodoo and witchcraft. I’ve danced with the fae. And I have loved...oh, how I have loved...with the vampires as deeply as only an immortal being can love. I’m so proud of these three books: The Binding, Witch’s Pawn, and Ancestors. I truly hope that you guys enjoy them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Second: Vicky Holt and I have begun a YouTube channel called Victoria and Victoria: Reading Authors! In the future, we will be talking about our novels and projects, reviewing the many, many books that Vicky and I read, and we will be interviewing a plethora of authors. Please hop on over to YouTube to like and subscribe to our page. (View Here)

So, while the bubbling waters continue to pool, and life is renewed. New things are happening all around me! Currently, I'm working on a murder/mystery short story that I can easily see turning into a full novel, and I am also toying with the idea of doing a children's book. On top of that, for those of you that have asked...I am writing more with some of the characters that you met in The Binding trilogy. They will be stand-alone novels that offer a deeper glimpse into the lives of some of the side characters you enjoyed so much.

In the meantime, upon a nature walk, I discovered a small pile of deer bones. I'm thinking they will make great Halloween decorations. What do you guys think?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Vampires in Autumn

Hi everyone!

Although I never quite understand the mechanics of it, I have learned one simple truth that holds in my life regarding Autumn.  Everything comes back around, and everyone comes home.  There is something unspoken on the wind that urges people deep within to return, as if to hibernate, to the safety and love of their homes, and no matter how disconnected people become from their natural environment, the heavy longing that autumn brings still persists and brings all back together.

So, it might not be a surprise to you that after almost a year of struggling with covers and various other mechanics involved with indie publishing, Witch's Pawn, book two of The Binding trilogy, is finally available on Amazon. Buy Here!

The spellbinding cover art is by New Orleans' artist, Betz, and it captures (I think) the mystique and magick of New Orleans quite beautifully.

I am almost finished writing the third and final book of The Binding trilogy.  It seems fitting to wrap up my journey with my vampire royalty, Sybella and Demien, as we, once again, get ready to settle into a long winter's nap.   Since I have this hangup with wanting all of the books in certain sets to match, I will do a new cover release for The Binding very soon.  The third and final cover will be revealed right before the book is released.

Thank you to all of you who stuck with me during this long, seemingly never-ending wait.  I do so hope you will join Sybella and Demien once more as they continue to delve deeper into what it means for vampires to be bound together.  All of their friends return and a few new ones join them on their quest.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Adventures Unplanned

Not a reader, Calliope is waiting for the movie release.

Mr. Meowgi helps me
As the leaves begin to turn a rusted shade of brown, and the breeze finally ushers in a hint of the cool air that promises the arrival of autumn, I finally have some good news to share! The final cover for Witches' Pawn will be ready the first of September! This means that just as we start to plan for apple cider and pumpkin dreams, my new book, Witches' Pawn, will, at long last, be available.  As many of you know, I have had quite some difficulty with the covers for The Binding trilogy, and now that artist, Jenni Higginbotham is on board, everything is coming together.  I'm really excited to share her work with all of you.  

Now, what has this writer been doing in the meantime? Writing the third book, of course.  The first draft will be finished sometime this fall.  

Also, I've set up another freebie download weekend. Almost all of my previously released books will be available on Amazon to download for free September 1st through September 5th!

And along the way, I have encountered a few unplanned adventures as well!

I made friends with a goat.
On the 4th of July, I discovered a wee faery stage door.

As a gypsy, I spent an evening with a ghost.

I rocked out with Queen and Adam Lambert.

 Enjoyed somber tones of John Paul White.

Worked on a few gifts and custom orders for my Etsy shop and enjoyed the semi-unveiling of the Purple Parlour Apothecary.  (The all-purpose healing salve is my favorite.)

Witnessed a total eclipse.

And visited Niagara Falls.

Hardly anything has gone as planned with the release of Witches' Pawn. I had planned on it being in your hands almost a year ago.  Life has a way of throwing curve balls, and yet, in this instance, I think all is unfolding just as it should.  I can't wait to do the cover reveal and give you a release date.  In the meantime, I will continue writing and adventuring, always striving to try something new.  

What have you all been up to this summer?  Let me know in the comments.

Don't forget the freebie weekend.  September 1-5!

Love and Light to you all.

Monday, June 5, 2017

When Authors, Vampires, and Witches Descend Upon New Orleans For a Party!

Happy Summer, everyone!

One Happy Birthday Girl
While some "well-worth-the-waiting" cover art is being finalized for my next book, Witches’ Pawn,( the second follow-up in my three-part book series, The Binding), I’ve been diligently writing away on this third final book.

Recently, I was treated by two amazing women who thoughtfully gifted me with an ultimate surprise birthday trip to New Orleans.

Alys and me
Why New Orleans?  A party, of course! Alys Arden, Fellow Authoress, hosted a book release party for her newest book, The Romeo Catchers, and the evening was a bitingly-good time.  For a few hours, I had the chance to "fan-girl" unabashedly as we toured the Ursuline Convent, an important old setting in both her books, The Casquette Girls and The Romeo Catchers, and maybe even more wonderful than that, I met a lot of really interesting people and gained a few new friends who love many of the same things that I do.

Courtyard of Beauregard-Keyes House
(Not my picture--we were there in the evening)
This impromptu trip garnered an armload of useful writer tidbits and provided plenty of Louisiana "mojo" that will definitely influence my upcoming pages .This well-attended book-release party was held in the Beauregard-Keyes House in New Orleans right across the street from the convent on Rue Chartres, being once owned by author, Frances Parkinson Keyes, who published over 50 books, many of them being written at this well-preserved home in the French Quarter. Another writing incident occurred while I was merrily devouring a divine luncheon of Sweet Corn and Crab Bisque at the Chartres House restaurant. Beneath a red umbrella that shaded us in the rear courtyard, I soon discovered that our table was within arms reach of a beautiful fountain. Our great waiter, Tevan, explained to us that the fountain had once been a small swimming pool, instead, and that it had been a well-known hang out/haunt of the writer Tennessee Williams, who used to spend his time, long ago, possibly in the same spot I was sitting that day, writing poolside.  I can only wish that surely some of those excellent "writer vibes" from both historic locations and these two revered writers has seeped a little into my veins a bit.

Add caption
While in New Orleans, I did find a little time to conduct a little more research for book three (of The Binding trilogy), as well, and found myself meandering and exploring with my two companions inside the Voodoo Museum and then in a few other eccentric "found-only-in-New Orleans" stops.

Sign inside of Potions, a speak-easy vamp bar
Since my return, inspiration has me writing non-stop.  New Orleans always does this to me, infusing my thoughts and increasing my creativity meter to huge proportions until I have trouble transcribing onto paper all the words that are floating around in my head.

Love Potion #9 from Potions
The next blog will be about the release of Witches’ Pawn.  Stay tuned for special announcements!

And a HUGE thank you to the two women who facilitated the coup of the century! A sneak attack voyage worthy of Pirate-status acknowledgement and admiration! Here's a vial of Love Potion #9 for you!