Thursday, October 29, 2009

LA Times Article, VampBash & All-Day Halloween Chat

I was quoted in an LA Times Halloween story recently. How excellent. You can check it out here:,0,6973459.story

Author Michele Hauf is holding an event -- VampBash -- on her blog. You can participate to win several books, including mine (DARK HARVEST). The DARK HARVEST scavenger hunt is dated Monday, October 26. Stop by and take a look:

Also, is holding an all-day Halloween chat today. Lots of great excerpts, blurbs, contests and conversations. Here's the official announcement:

Clear your calendar for a fun and spooky AuthorIsland all day chat on Thursday the 29th as we share ghost stories, talk about great books and give away prizes!!! The festivities start at 8 am EST and go until the witching hour or until we all go to bed, whichever comes first ! Please stop by, join in the fun and bring your scariest ghost story!

TO JOIN THE CHAT - simply sign up at you can set the group to INDIVIDUAL EMAILS to be in on the action from the get go, but be warned - it will get crazy!! - Or you can follow the chat on the group's home page.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Guest Blogger: Chris Marie Green

Chris's winner is: Rosie! Congrats, Rosie. Send me your contact info and I'll pass it along to Chris. Thanks to everyone who participated.
Legend Tripping


Ghosts, goblins…things that go bump in the night. As a writer of vampire books, it’s a season when I’m in my element. I have scary movie marathons. I read all the short horror stories I can get my paws on. And, loveliest of lovelies—I get some fun ideas for my own work because I’m so steeped in thrills and chills.

Actually, when people ask me how I get ideas for my Vampire Babylon series at any time of the year, I tell them about how these “things that go bump in the night” can inspire me. Okay, maybe when I’m lying in bed thinking that I hear a serial killer in my closet (as with my second Vampire Babylon book, Midnight Reign), I’m not all that cool with the situation. But in the morning, when the light spills through my window?

Very thankful.

I’d like to tell you about one “bump in the night” element in particular though. I suppose you could even say that I grew up preparing to write vampire tales that include a touch of urban legends or folk tales because of this.

When I was a teenager, I was a legend tripper.

What’s that, you ask? Well, evidently, it’s a sociological thing where “young people” go to places like graveyards and haunted houses to prove their courage and, thus, impress whoever they’re trying to impress. Back then, I had no idea I was participating in such an activity. Sure, my friends and I (and the guys we were targeting) started off with your basic scary movie parties and visits to those haunted houses that civic groups put on at Halloween. But, after a few of those, it wasn’t enough to keep our hippity hormones hopping.

So, one nippy night, we decided we’d go to the Ol’ Mud Meetin’ House.

There was supposed to be a caretaker with one eye who watched over the scattered graves as well as a church-like building where slaves used to gather for worship. We crept past the chained gate, then snuck up the dead leaf-strewn hill, hoping to catch a flicker of a ghost.

Alas, after several visits, we didn’t see much besides beer cans--evidence of other hopeful legend trippers. So we graduated to more so-called haunted places around the area.

For instance, there was an isolated old home that was said to be a former civil war hospital. Inside, we thought we saw bloodstains on the wood floor. But outside was where the real terror was supposed to manifest: when a ghost was in residence, the window shutter would be open and, perhaps, a face would be visible.

Of course, on the night we went, it was closed.

Foiled yet again, we set off to another deserted house on a different weekend. At this location, legend had it that if you went upstairs, you’d find a chair in front of a mirror in a bedroom. And, if you looked in the mirror, you’d see the ghost of an old woman.

We never got that far, mainly because, this time, we were freaked out right off the bat.

On the first floor of this house lay a spread of toys: dolls, action figures, cars. Seriously, we had to wade through them, and the question of why they were there got to us. Where had the kids gone in such a hurry? More importantly…why?

Finally spooked, we ran out of the house. Outside to the right, I thought I saw a dark shape, and I “eeep”ed!

It turned out to be a cow, and it was the scariest bovine creature ever.

Yes, as legend trippers, we were perfect candidates for victims in a slasher movie. We were setting up ourselves to be ducks in a row for Jason Vorhees or some up-and-coming psycho who’d just escaped from a nearby facility with a hook instead of a hand.

But, oh, the research I ended up with!


Chris Marie Green, who writes urban fantasy, also creates romances as Crystal Green. Her latest release is The Path of Razors, Vampire Babylon, Book Five, which continues the adventures of Dawn Madison and her vampire hunting team. Book Six, Deep in the Woods, will be released in March of 2010. To learn more, you can go to her Web site at or follow her at Twitter at

Chris will give away signed mass market copies of Night Rising, Vampire Babylon, Book One, and Midnight Reign, Book Two to one lucky commenter. Her winner will be selected and posted on Tuesday evening. Please stop back by to see if you've won.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Guest Blogger: Michelle Picard

Michelle's winner is: Penny Watson. Congrats, Penny! Send me your contact info and I'll pass it along to Michelle. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Thank you, Lynda, for inviting me to guest blog today. As part of my celebration of my Friday release, RULING EDEN at Crescent Moon Press, I’ve been reflecting on the nature of dreams. I’ll tell you why in a bit. RULING EDEN is part fantasy romance; part urban fantasy. In it I introduce my heroine, Rachel, a tough, modern woman who grew up on the streets, to a new existence including paranormal and mythological creatures galore.

I wanted to crash Rachel immediately into her unusual new world and show readers both her vulnerabilities and her strengths. In my research I’d come across a mythological creature called the baku. Baku are Japanese supernatural beings that, when called, devour dreams and nightmares. They ensure that a person’s day can begin in peace without the shadow of nightmarish fear. The idea fascinated me. I thought, what if Rachel woke from a recurring nightmare and found one of these sniffing around her bed?

So I wrote the scene and found out. She arms herself for a fight, that’s what she does. Later, when Gabriel, the half-angel, half-demon hero comes to her rescue and explains the nature of this beast, and that it’s been attracted to her nightmare and wanted to eat it, Rachel shows no relief. You’d think after a lifetime of bad dreams a person would want to be rid of them. But she’s never interested in this for herself. Why, I wondered?

Theories about dreams and their meanings abound. Sometimes seen as projections of parts of the self that have been ignored or rejected, or as representing aspects of the dreamer. Freud had suggested that bad dreams let the mind learn to gain control over distressing emotions. According to these thoughts, as well as other historical understandings, dreams can be used for healing. Assuming you don’t just view a dream as the “junk” floating around your head trying to be purged, they have meaningful roles in our lives and reflect who we are and who we’re trying to become. Should we be willing to let the baku take away a piece of ourselves altogether?

Rachel isn’t eager to erase her nightmares because she wishes to keep her fear. She sees it as a useful tool in helping her control her explosive anger, and as a check on the enormous magic power she gains in her new reality. She’s familiar with her “issues” and, sometimes, no matter how much we say we want to change and remove the burdensome shackles in our lives, changing is less desirable than the familiar. Change means hard work. Heck, it means an entire character arc must be played out through the story to lead my heroine down that road of transformation.

So what do you think of your dreams and the idea of the baku? Would you choose to have it come and eat your nightmares to make them disappear? Let me know.


Michelle's winner will be selected and posted on Friday night. Stop back by to see if you've won.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mile Hi Con, Denver, October 23-25

I'll be at Mile Hi Con this Friday evening and during the day on Saturday. If you're going to attend, please come and find me and say hello. I'll be participating in Author Alley Friday night, as well as a panel about vampires, and on Saturday I'm doing a Rapid Reading with several other Broad Universe members, where we read from our books. Mile Hi Con is always an excellent experience. Here's the link for the con website:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Guest Blogger: Lina Gardiner

The winner of Lina's book is: Candace! Congratulations, Candace. Send me your contact information and I'll pass it along to Lina. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Hi everyone! I’d like to thank Lynda for the chance to post on her great blog. I love to read other authors’ success stories. I appreciate the opportunity to tell you mine.

How it happened for me: I had written around six full length novels before I decided to try my hand at writing paranormal. Paranormals were just getting big on television. Buffy was at her peak when I realized I should be writing a paranormal. When I started writing book one in the Jess Vandermire Vampire Hunter series, my characters came alive in the fictional world I’d created. They had substance and angst and excitement. I thought if they can hold my interest, maybe they’ll hold other peoples’ interest as well. And they did.

Shortly after Grave Illusions was written and polished about eighteen times, I sold the book to ImaJinn Books and was offered a series before it even hit the shelves. That was in 2007. In 2008 Beyond the Grave came out, and in 2009 Grave New Day is at the publishers. My first book, Grave Illusions, won the Kiss of Death’s Daphne Award Paranormal-Time Travel-Futuristic category and the Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal First place in the Prism Contest for Best First Book. I couldn’t have asked for better validation that I was on the right track.

I’m pleased to say these characters have been popular with readers. My good little Catholic girl vampire, Jess Vandermire and her tough, ex-cop, Lieutenant John Brittain have developed and grown since that first year. Their world is ever active and getting more and more dangerous. In book three, the world as they knew it has changed forever. And poor John never knows what kind of situation I’m going to put him in. His worst fear – bones. He has a phobia, poor dear. Not the best occupation to be in with that kind of fear. Regent Vandermire, Jess’s younger brother, is a seventy-two year old priest. My readers seem to have taken quite well to Regent. I’ve gotten more than a few emails telling me that nothing had better happen to him! LOL

I’d found my niche!

In retrospect, I’m probably as likely to write paranormal as anyone out there. I lived in a haunted house as a teenager. The house my grandfather built. We moved back to our hometown when I was thirteen. Talk about a shock to a young girl’s system. Going from a normal world into a world where someone walked the house at night, opened doors, turned on lights and touched people on the shoulder when they weren’t looking. An eye opener. What it taught me is there are more things in our world than can be scientifically explained or categorized. That aspect of my experience fascinated me. Can’t say the same for our house. I was terrified to be there alone. Our ghost wasn’t vindictive but she was mischievous. My family has since sold the family homestead and I hear from my cousins who live across the road that she is still there. Still haven’t written a ghost story, but I’m sure that day will come.

Luckily for those of us who write paranormal, the genre and its many sub-genres are growing in popularity and in imaginative scope. I’m always amazed at the wonderful stories out there. And, with all of the teens gobbling up YA paranormals, odds are they’re going to want the same genre of books when they grow up. By my way of thinking that means paranormals are likely to be around for a few years to come.

“BEYOND THE GRAVE” Back Cover Blurb:

Vampire Police Captain Jess Vandermire is hunting a serial killer vampire. The trouble is, Jess is experiencing blackouts, and every time she does, another woman turns up dead. Has she slipped over the dangerous slope into full vampirism? Is she the serial killer she’s hunting?

Lieutenant John Brittain makes it his job to find the killer and prove Jess innocent, but it’s hard to be human in a world of super-strong, super-fast vampires. His best weapon is his tough-cop intellect and he’s using it for all he’s worth. Yes, Jess is a vampire, and yes, she’s capable of killing. He knows, however, that she hasn’t committed these crimes, and he has the horrible feeling that if doesn’t catch the killer soon Jess will be the final victim.

As Jess and Britt wage war against this evil vampire, it becomes a battle for the last vestiges of Jess’s own humanity. Soon the question becomes, who will draw first blood?

“GRAVE ILLUSIONS” - Back Cover Blurb

New York City is in the grasp of a deadly, unseen enemy. At least unseen by normal society.

Lieutenant Jess Vandermire, New York City police officer, is uniquely specialized to recognize and fight this threat. It’s her job to forge a black ops team, an assortment of men and women who wouldn’t be considered for the job under normal circumstances.

But these aren’t normal circumstances. The team has to be tough, and if need be, they have to be expendable. Jess understands what she’s fighting and what’s at stake. For her, it’s all about retribution until ex-cop John Brittain is recruited to her team.

Suddenly, her priorities aren’t quite so easily definable. John Brittain has a chip onhis shoulder and is as tough as they come. But is he ready for the whole truth? That combating “super” vampires whose primal need for blood and the addictive drug “Sunshine” is only the beginning of their problems? And when Jess tells him the truth about herself, will he stay and fight or will he turn against her and not only threaten their lives but destroy the fragile relationship developing between them?

Lina will be giving away a signed copy of Grave Illusions, along with a pen and bookmark, to one commenter. Her winner will be selected and posted on Tuesday evening. Stop back by to see if you've won.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bitten By Books: Kismet and Victoria Interview

Hi, everyone. Kismet Knight and Victoria Essex will be interviewed on Monday, October 19 at Bitten By Books.

We're holding a contest (details at the link below) and giving away an excellent prize.

Please take a minute to go here:

to RSVP that you'll attend the event. All RSVPs give the participate an additional 25 entries into my contest.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Guest Blogger: Jessa Slade

Jessa's winner is: Rosalie Drawbaugh! Congrats, Rosalie. Send me your contact info and I'll pass it along to Jessa. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Thanks, Lynda, for letting me guest muse with you today. Since my debut urban fantasy romance, SEDUCED BY SHADOWS, came out last week, I’ve been thinking a lot about fate.

Fate—aka destiny, aka doom—plays a vital role in my storyworld where vulnerable souls are possessed by repentant demons and struggle together to earn their way back into grace. In my telling, those vulnerable souls are marked by a “penance trigger.” The newly possessed heroine of SEDUCED BY SHADOWS, Sera, get the explanation from the hero, Ferris Archer:

“When I had the vision of the demon, it said I’d called it.” She fixed her gaze on her hands wrapped around the coffee cup. “It said I was lonely. It said it loved me. How desperate is that?”

Love. The word exploded in an empty place in him, as if that powder had burned to the end of the line. He clamped down until the echo died. “Desperate on the demon’s part? Or yours?” When she glared at him, he shrugged. “It makes a bargain to fill what’s missing in us and then takes what it needs.”

“But why me?” She wilted a bit. “Seems a little conceited to think I’ve had any more tribulations than the next guy.”

“Haven’t you?” He waited while she considered. “But it’s not about the quantity of your suffering. It’s the quality. Demons are quite the connoisseurs of pain.”

She grimaced. “Me too lately, I guess.”

“Exactly. When the demon crosses over, it seeks a matching target, a soul that resonates with its energy. Somewhere in your past is a penance trigger. It defines the headwaters of an invisible fault line in your soul, cutting a path right to the moment when the demon breaks your life in two.”

“A penance trigger?” Some memory brought a hazy glitter to the corner of her eye. “So it was because of me.”

The tear never fell, but his muscles tightened as if reacting to a mortal threat. He held himself still with effort. He wouldn’t reach for her again. “Whatever it was doesn’t necessarily make you guilty, Sera. It just made you vulnerable.”

Despite his soft tone, her instant focus pinned him. Her narrowed eyes left no room for tears. “I still can’t believe any of this. I should have my head examined.”

“You mean your soul.”

For these Marked Souls, their penance trigger made them uniquely vulnerable—fated them—to demonic possession.

Which makes Bulfinch’s Mythology and Andrew Lang’s Coloured Fairy Books my penance trigger. I loved those stories: The good and evil, the princesses, the youngest sons, the talking animals, the nasty magicians. My first grade school poems were about unicorns and the Gates of Tomorrow. But in the intervening years, I wrote everything except paranormal. I wrote Regencies, a medieval, a rom-com and a chick lit, even a romantic suspense futuristic. In the end, though, the one that sold? A paranormal going all the way back to my good and evil roots. I was obviously fated.

But then, shouldn’t fate be easier? It took me almost a hundred rejections over more than a decade on nearly a million final draft words to finally get “The Call.” If it was fate, shouldn’t it feel inevitable instead of like really hard work?

Ah, maybe I’m forgetting how fate plays out in the Greek tragedies, where everyone struggles mightily over many years and many battlefields against their fate. They run, they hide, they fight and murder, they bribe various gods, and—eventually—they succumb anyway.

And honestly, I guess that does make the better story.

What do you think, is fate a real force, like gravity? Or is it more like the “gravity” that brings me and the bag of dark chocolates together against our will? Have you ever found yourself at a moment, looked back and realized you were fated to be here?

Jessa will be giving away a copy of her book and some cool tatoos to one lucky commenter. The winner will be selected and posted on Tuesday evening. Stop back by to see if you've won.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Guest Blogger: Stefanie Worth

Stefanie's winner is: Boone Brux! Congrats, Boone! Send me your contact info and I'll pass it along to Stefanie. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Out of the mouths of babes

On a hot summer day nearly eight years ago, I was driving my family from Detroit to St. Louis to visit relatives there. The trip is about nine hours (a little less if you drive like me) and we’d been in the van, clipping along for several hours.

My younger son was four at the time; that age where kids are either constantly on your leg begging for attention or lost in their own universe and barely know you exist. At this moment, he was the latter, caught up in some game of imagination far beyond our immediate realm.

I listened peripherally to his backseat murmurings. You know, the way you tune in to make sure disaster isn’t imminent because somebody touched the child next to them. His chatter grew louder and louder and something in me riveted on what seemed to be far more than playtime banter. The conversation sounded so lifelike that I sensed an exchange taking place.

(Perhaps at this point I should tell you I only had two boys – and his 12-year-old brother was asleep.)

“Who are you talking to, Sweetie?” I asked as unobtrusively as I could.

“My sister,” he said, with an unspoken air of “Duh.”

“Silly, punkin. You don’t have a sister! Are you talking to that ball?”

“No. My sister.” He insisted. “She doesn’t have a body yet, though.”

Okay, folks. I was totally freaked out. Why? Because I come from a very spiritual family: part superstitious, part devoutly religious, some parts both. Among my religious superstitious clan, there are those who profess to have prophetic dreams and see spirits. Comments like, “He’s been here before!” abounded about my oldest son because of a tiny mole near his ear or the way he looked so serious so soon in life. While many people pass those words in jest, I know somewhere deep inside that many of my folks take the sentiment to heart.

All of these beliefs left varying impressions on me as a child that I’ve questioned, researched, poo-pooed, or accepted over the years. As a result, I’ve become one of those people who believe that young children can see, hear and observe occurrences in the universe that adults have long since lost touch with.

So, I absolutely believed that my son felt he was talking to some formless soul on that long stretch of countryside highway in middle America. What troubled me most was the “Who.” I’d suffered a miscarriage several months before and the still-sad mommy part of me thought perhaps that the lost child had sought out and found his/her sibling.

Fast forward a month or so.

I am not feeling well. I’ve been suffering terrible indigestion and heartburn all summer and simply can’t take it anymore. I go to the doctor who immediately asks if I am pregnant. I scowl and say no, upset because this doctor knows my recent ordeal. Her perceived insensitivity raked across my heart, especially when she so matter-of-factly said, “Well, let’s just be sure.”

I trekked down the hall to the restroom, tiny cup in hand, increasingly dismayed. But I obliged. And you know what happened next, right?

Yes, I was pregnant.

And after the physical exam, my doctor felt like I was VERY pregnant. This would be my fourth pregnancy so you’d think I’d know what was going on. Yet there were no symptoms whatsoever – not even a missed monthly. No nausea, no fatigue, no tenderness. Nada.

The next week we found out I was ten weeks pregnant. OMG. I was stunned. And five weeks later through a follow up ultrasound, I discovered I was having a girl.

My son was right. He was talking to his sister.

She is now seven and he gives her nothing but grief. But I occasionally remind him of how he was her introduction to the world. And now I get to enjoy real-life conversations between my favorite cherubs all the time (even when they’re words are anything but angelic.)

For me, the backseat incident confirmed and continues to reaffirm a personal need to tune into the outer world. Maybe my son’s remarks made me eat better or rest more or subconsciously perform some act that helped ensure his sister’s prenatal health. I have no idea really. But, I can’t help but bring such experiences into my writing; weaving such extraordinary occurrences into every day circumstances.

My latest novella is in the Holiday Brides anthology. It’s the story of a man and woman who work together and have all the qualities they both seek in a mate, yet can’t seem to find their way to each other. They get a little help from a pair of guardian angels. The story is dedicated “to all those angels – earthly and above – keeping watch over me and mine.”

What about you? Have you ever had a hunch, a dream, a well-placed word from a friend or stranger that changed your outlook or direction? Do you write this off as coincidence or consider it destiny? I’d love to hear your thoughts. And one lucky person who comments today will receive an autographed copy of Holiday Brides.

Thanks for joining me at this stop on my HeavenSent Holiday Brides blog tour. You can learn more about me and my work at I’d also like to extend an extra special thanks to Lynda for hosting me today and allowing me to share such a fond memory.


Stephanie's winner will be selected and posted on Tuesday evening. Check back to see if you've won.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Sirens Conference and German Version of The Vampire Shrink

Here's the German cover for The Vampire Shrink, due to release on January 11, 2010.

The Sirens Conference, up in Vail, CO, is an interesting mix of academic presenters and sword & sorcery fantasy fans. Here are some of the workshops offered:
Fantasy Women in Harry Potter
A Cross-Cultural Look at the Origins of Fantasy, with a Nod to Sci Fi
Psyche's Ugly Sister: The Woman Warrior in C.S. Lewis's books
The Rise of the Vampire Romance Novel
Love Lives of Women Warriors
The Crone Witch in Modern Fantasy
Bite Me, I'm Yours
Twilight of Empowerment: Bella Swan
Feminist Role Models and their Male Creators
Mary Sue: An Intervention
A Woman Warrior's Battle for Redemption
Why Don't More Girls Carry Swords?
Buffy, Bella and Boys
Finding Femininity in a Warrior's World
Tough Love: When Partnership Becomes a Paradox
Dramatic Dialog
and much more
I met some wonderful women. Today I participated in a small group session led by Dr. Kathleen McConnell, who teaches in the English department at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. We talked about the notion of "paradise," and how various female characters found "redemption." Very lively discussion! Then I went to the Buffy vs. Bella panel and the room was full. Everyone had an opinion! (Not that Bella and Buffy can actually be compared. Completely different archetypes.) Great insights. After that panel I was walking out into the hallway wearing one of my Vampire Shrink t-shirts, and a woman pointed to my shirt and said something nice. I thanked her and said I was happy she was interested in in my work. She didn't realize I was the author and her delightful enthusiasm was such a warm fuzzy for me! Her name is Bertena Varney and she lives in Lexington, KY. She said she had quoted me her presentation at the conference (she had read my article, "Why Women Love Vampires") and she didn't realize I was there. We sat together at lunch and it was such a joy to speak with Bertena and all the other sharp women at the con. I also got to talk to Betsy, who used to work at The Boulder Planet, the wonderful newspaper that existed for too brief a time. The Planet ran my Psychic Counselor column. Small world!! Something I did notice is that 85% of the participants at the con are under age 35. Hmmm. I wonder what that means? And the attendees came from all over the world. A great start for a new con.