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German release and new audio single title

Hello again. Under the "Jeaniene is last to know" column, here are two releases that came out in the past week. Actually, some of my readers alerted me to these, so this isn't the first time that you guys are more knowledgeable than me :). First up is Night's Darkest Embrace in single title audio format. Here is the audio cover and description:

NDE audio

Enter the dark realm of Nocturna, where blisteringly sexy Raphael dominates the demons of a lawless dimension and tries to help a beautiful young woman avenge her cousin’s disappearance.

You can read the first two chapters from Night's Darkest Embrace here

Some of you might remember Night's Darkest Embrace from its first appearance in the Haunted By Your Touch anthology. It's a long novella (about 130 pages in digital; 3 hours in audio) that also came out in single ebook about two years ago. Now, it's finally available in single audio with the fabulous Tavia Gilbert narrating. I'm so pleased to have this finally in audio because that is the preferred format for many of my readers, and I want everyone to get their stories in the format that makes them happiest. You can listen to a sample or order your copy at Downpour, Audible, iTunes or your favorite audio retailer.

BBF GermanNext up is the German edition of Bound By Flames, titled Im Bann der Sehnsucht. I know my German readers have been waiting a long time for this, so I'm thrilled that it's finally available. I'm also posting the cover because I think my German covers are so pretty. This one is no exception, although a mistake was made and Leila was given red hair and green eyes instead of black hair and blue eyes. Hey, now you can see what Leila would look like with dyed hair and colored contacts ;).

Order Im Bann der Sehnsucht from Amazon.de or your favorite German retailer.

And now, a note about foreign editions. Many of my readers ask me when a foreign edition of my titles will release, or if Country X will publish more books in a series. The answer is that I don't know. See, I don't actually own my foreign rights. My publisher does, and they sell those rights to interested foreign publishers, who then publish however many books they've purchased into whatever language applies to their country. So, even though I write the stories, I am completely removed from this process. Therefore, I usually find out about a foreign title release when readers of those countries tell me, as was the case with Bound By Flames' German release a few days ago. I also have no control over whether a particular country will continue to publish my books. None of the countries ever deal with me directly because, as explained above, I don't own the rights. However, when a new foreign edition of one of my titles does come out and I'm made aware of it, I'm happy to let my readers know. I've been fortunate enough to have my stories published in twenty different countries, and no matter what country or language a book comes out in, as usual, I really hope that readers enjoy it :).

Third snippet for Into The Fire

Smaller coverI hadn't intended to post another snippet so soon, but I've got nothing else interesting to talk about. This is a good thing for writing progress because it means I've been busy at my keyboard. It always makes me chuckle when I tell someone I'm a writer and their response is "How exciting!" Well, the 2% of the time when I go to conventions or book stores and meet readers, yes, it's exciting. The other 98% of the time, I'm pretty much paid to be a shut-in :). Thank God I love to write or this job could be considered as voluntary house arrest, heh.

Now, onto the snippet. It's a chunk of what's currently Chapter One of Into The Fire, the fourth and final Night Prince books, but since I've already changed my beginning twice, this could change again during revisions. As mentioned in the other snippets (here and here if you haven't read them) this scene is also pre-copyedits, so there will likely be grammar and/or spelling errors that I'm blind to because I know what it's supposed to say and that's all my brain can see (this is why authors love editors and copy editors, people! :)). Like the other snippets, this chunk is mostly spoiler free, so if you haven't read Bound By Flames yet, you won't be ruined on any major plot points. All disclaimers aside, hope you enjoy!

***

Vlad slowed down, dropping us onto the manicured part of the lawn that surrounded the fortress as if keeping the forest at bay. “Stay here,” he said, striding toward the entrance.

I caught up to him instead. “What part of ‘we do this together’ did you translate as ‘leave Leila behind?’” I hissed, keeping my voice down since we weren’t the only ones with supernatural hearing.

His aura broke through his inner shields. Even though he’d released only a sliver of his power, it still felt as if I’d just gotten subconsciously scalded. If I were anyone else, I’d be terrified at pissing off the legendary Vlad the Impaler, a.k.a Dracula, a.k.a don’t-ever-call-him-that-if-you-want-to-live, but I was Mrs. Vlad Dracul, thank you very much. Uncrowned prince of darkness or no, Vlad wasn’t pulling this crap with me.

“We can fight about it until Branson hears us, or we can get him together quietly,” I went on. “Your choice.”

The high-arched portico covering the fortress’s main entrance exploded, jetting out fire and pieces of stone. I ducked out of instinct, but Vlad walked right toward the burning chaos, the fire parting to let him pass.

“Does that answer your question?” he asked.

Before I could respond, a wall of fire sprang up, spreading until it encompassed the entire castle. Guess he’d changed his mind about being stealthy! Worse, now I couldn’t follow him. Unlike Vlad, I wasn’t fireproof.

“That’s cheating!” I shouted. No need to talk softly now.

I thought I heard him laugh, but between the roar of the fire and the cracking of stone, I couldn’t be sure. Damn Vlad and his archaic ideas about women in combat, particularly me. He’d rather I be under heavy guard back at his castle in Romania. I probably would be, if an enemy hadn’t blown up his castle and kidnapped me from its rubble months ago. Otherwise, Vlad would never have agreed to go back on his “no wife allowed on killing missions” rule.

Or, I thought, eying the wall of fire only he could pass through, it seemed he’d just partially gone back on it. My teeth ground. I could stand here and futilely seethe, or I could make myself useful. Besides, revenge was a dish best served cold, and I would get him back. I just had to wait until everything around me wasn’t on fire.

I rubbed the belt buckle again, seeking the essence imprint on it. Once I had it, my surroundings changed into the richly-furnished room that our quarry was still standing in. Branson wasn’t looking at his phone anymore. He was staring out the window in horror at flames that went up all the way to the roof. Branson knew only one vampire in the world could control fire this way, and it was the same vampire he’d been caught betraying.

Then Branson ran, which I expected, but he didn’t head for the door. Instead, he pressed a panel near a one of the room’s many paintings. A hidden door swung open, and he darted inside a steel-lined room and closed the door before I could mentally switch channels.

Branson has a panic room! I sent to Vlad once I was tuned into him.

Vlad paused on his way up a long, curved staircase, giving an amused glance toward the second floor. “Then he’s in for another surprise.”

His words reached me through our link instead of the normal way, so the continual portico collapse must be drowning out everything else. Once, I had hated my psychic abilities so much that I’d attempted suicide, but now, they came in handy.

A red Porsche bursting through the wall of fire surprised me into dropping my link to Vlad. The car’s speed caused it to fishtail as soon as it hit the grassy terrain. Glowing green eyes revealed that the driver was a vampire, but it couldn’t be Branson. He’d locked himself in the panic room. With Vlad busy trying to bust into that, I was the only person standing in the way of this driver and his freedom. Decision made, I chased after the car. If it reached the driveway, I’d be screwed. Unlike Vlad, I couldn’t fly, and the Porsche could go much faster than me once it was on flat, paved ground.

The car shot forward with a burst of even greater speed. Damn, the driver must’ve spotted me. He was only a dozen feet away from the driveway. I put everything I had into a desperate lunge. If I could reach the car’s bumper, I could flip it –

I ducked when multiple cracks smashed through the back windshield. Two bullets whizzed over my head, and the third one struck me in the shoulder instead of the heart. From the burn that grew instead of going away, the bullets were silver. Of course. Any other ammunition was useless against vampires, as another vampire would know.

Pain caused my powers to flare. A long, sizzling whip shot from my right hand and I cracked it toward the car. The electricity it contained caused it to tear through Porsche’s frame as if it were butter. More gunshots had me spinning to avoid another volley of bullets, and I used my velocity to full advantage. When I swung back around, my electrical whip had lengthened, and I lashed the car with all the force I had in me.

It split in two, the front section still going several feet before the car’s weight caused it to cave in. A fire broke out, and I couldn’t tell if it was those flames that made the driver scream or if I’d sliced through more than the car’s frame. I stayed low as I circled around to the driver’s door, my whip crackling as I readied it to strike again.

“Drop the gun and get out, or -”

I didn’t get a chance to complete my threat. Flames shot over the car, too thick and numerous to be from the electrical fire. Then Vlad slammed down next to me, the ground shuddering from the force of his impact. He shoved me behind him and rounded on the burning car.

“You shot at my wife?” The flames intensified. High-pitched, panicked screams made me wince from more than their assault on my enhanced hearing.

I grabbed his arm. “Stop it, we might need him alive.”

Vlad glanced at me and saw the blood from the bullet wound in my shoulder. At once, his arm became so hot that my hand started to catch fire. I let him go, and he turned back to the car with a smile that made further argument useless.

I knew that smile. It meant someone was about to die.

***

As a reminder, the release date for Into The Fire changed to February 28th, 2017. You can pre-order your copy here or at most other retailers: Into the Fire (Night Prince).

Into the Fire snippet part 2

Smaller coverHi again, everyone! As promised, here is Part 2 of  the snippet from Into The Fire, the fourth and final Night Prince novel. If you haven't already read Part 1, go here and read it because it's the setup for the scene below. As mentioned before, this snippet might end up changing once my editor gives me my revision letter. It's also pre-copy edits, so apologies in advance for any spelling or grammar errors. Finally, it's censored to avoid spoilers if you haven’t read the third Night Prince book, so you'll see a [censored] bracket in place of plot point spoilers.

As a reminder, the release date for Into The Fire changed to February 28th, 2017. You can pre-order your copy here or at most other retailers: Into the Fire (Night Prince).

All information and disclaimers aside, hope you enjoy  Part 2 of the snippet :).

***

We landed in Cheshire, which thankfully was only a short trip from London. A chauffeur was already waiting for us, and the unfamiliar driver whisked us away to a manor that looked as if it belonged on the show Downton Abbey. The driver dropped us off at the front of the grand structure and then sped away.

The manor’s double doors opened before Mencheres could knock, revealing a startlingly handsome vampire with vivid turquoise eyes and shoulder-length, auburn hair. I had time to notice these particulars about his face because after my first glance, I kept my gaze firmly directed on that. Vlad muttered a curse. The auburn-haired vampire let out an aggravated huff.

“You said it was urgent, Mencheres, so do come in.”

“Ian,” Mencheres said in a chiding tone. “You should have at least gotten dressed.”

Ian glanced down, as if just now realizing that the only thing he wore was a very intimately placed silver piercing. “Do you see a seven foot tall woman on my face?” he asked in a conversational tone. “No, because I stopped everything I was doing and emptied out my house when you said you had urgent, secret business, so the least you could do is not scold me for failing to put on a tux, too.”

I didn’t know how to respond to that. Hello seemed too trivial. Sorry to interrupt your cunnilingus! was probably more appropriate, yet I wasn’t about to say that, either.

“Ah, but who’s this?” Ian went on, angling his head to get a better look at me. “Mmmm, isn’t she stunning? If she’s my consolation prize for sending everyone else away, I accept-”

“She’s my wife,” Vlad growled before I could correct the misassumption. “And if your cock twitches one more time while you look at her, I’ll burn it off.”

“Vlad, you swore,” Mencheres said low.

“Castration won’t kill him,” Vlad responded at once. “His life was all I promised, and his extremities will grow back.”

Instead of being concerned, Ian laughed and gestured for us to come inside. “Here I thought today was going to be boring. Now, I simply must know what’s brought the infamous Impaler to my door, especially if it’s so important, my sire made you swear an oath not to kill me.”

His sire. I cast a surprised look at Mencheres. Ian didn’t seem like the type that the reserved, formal vampire would choose for a member of his line. Exhibit A: what had Ian been thinking, putting a silver loop there? He might not even notice if Vlad burned his cock off. It had to be burning like hell right now.

“Are you quite sure you don’t know anyone else, Mencheres?” Vlad said, ignoring the invitation to enter.

“Few vampires are foolish enough to risk the Law Guardians’ wrath by practicing magic, and fewer still are alive after such recklessness,” Mencheres replied. Ian shrugged, not disputing either charge. “Out of those, Ian is the only one I trust with our task – that is, after I secure his word,” he finished.

“My word? Mencheres, you wound me,” Ian said, sounding hurt.

“Do not trifle with me.” Mencheres’s harsh change in tone startled me. I had never heard him raise his voice before. “I know you, Ian. You would endanger Vlad merely for your own amusement, let alone if someone offered you financial incentive. That is why you will now promise to show him and his wife the same loyalty you would show to me, and you will swear it on the love you have for me.”

Ian’s mouth curled in what could only be called a pout. “That’s not fair.”

“Swear it,” Mencheres insisted. “And before you argue, when was the last time I asked you for a favor? Would you truly deny me now?”

“No,” Ian said, sounding as if the word soured in his mouth. “You are one of only four people in the world that I would never deny. Very well, I swear on my love for you that I will show Tepesh and his wife the same loyalty I’d give to you during the duration of whatever task you’re about to talk me into.”

A vow with conditions, but then Vlad had had conditions, too. Mencheres turned to Vlad. “See?” he said in his usual serene manner. “Now that that’s been settled, we can proceed.”

Vlad eyed Ian in a way that made me wonder if he was about to take my arm, turn around, and leave. Finally, he shrugged as if to say, so be it.

“My vow is void if you betray me or Leila,” Vlad said, flashing Ian his most charming smile. “And in that case, death will be a kindness compared to what I’ll do to you.”

Ian rolled his eyes. “Save your threats. Thanks to the promise Mencheres forced from me, you don’t need them. Now, what sort of magical trouble are you intending to get into? It must be more than casting a simple spell or Mencheres could’ve helped you himself.”

“It does involve a spell, but we don’t want to cast one,” Vlad said. “We need to break one. To do that, we’ll need access to the most skilled practitioners in the world. No posers or dabblers. Master sorcerers and their ilk only.”

Ian cast an annoyed look at Mencheres. “If you wanted to get me killed, you could’ve picked a nicer way to do it.”

“This is important, Ian,” Mencheres said quietly.

“Why?” Ian asked, turning to Vlad now. “Getting tired of offing your enemies the fiery way?”

I answered before Vlad could. “[censored for spoilers].”

Ian looked at me with utter coldness, as if he could care less whether I dropped dead at his feet that second. Then, he looked at Mencheres. In quick succession, affection, resignation, and irritation skipped over his features. I didn’t know what to make of that mishmash or of Ian’s admitted tendency to back-stab, but Mencheres must trust that he would hold to his word or we wouldn’t be here.

Finally, Ian’s expression settled into cheerful cockiness. When he flashed a smile at me that turned up the volume on his already-dazzling looks, I actually felt an instinctive feminine flutter that I immediately squashed.

“Who wants to live forever?” Ian said. “Right, then, we’ll start with a magic speakeasy in the heart of London, and I do hope you’re as tough as Tepesh, my lovely, raven-haired poppet, because this will get dicey."

***

Into The Fire scene snippet part 1

Smaller coverHello, everyone! I'm finally making good on my promise to post a snippet from Into The Fire, the fourth and final Night Prince novel. As most of you know, I'm still in the process of writing this book, so this snippet might end up changing once my editor gives me my revision letter. This snippet is also pre-copy edits, so if I don't have a spelling or grammar error in here somewhere, I'll be surprised ;).

It's mostly spoiler free if you haven't read the third Night Prince book, so no worries about it containing a major plot reveal. It's also part 1 of the snippet, so part 2, which I intend to post on Friday, will continue with this same scene. As a reminder, the release date for Into The Fire changed to February 28th, 2017. The reason why is here, if you didn't already hear about it.

All information and disclaimers aside, here you go! Hope you enjoy :).

***

Vlad ordered his pilots to take off. “Where are we going?” I asked, grabbing a chair as the engines roared back to life.

“Nowhere,” Vlad replied. “Just far enough off the ground that no one can overhear us.”

I cast a glance out the window at the mostly deserted airport we were now speeding away from. “Do you know the odds against anyone being able to overhear us inside your plane?”

Vlad arched a brow. “Soon, those odds will be zero.”

Mencheres settled into one of the jet’s plush seats. I sat down, too. “Want a drink?” I asked Mencheres, gesturing to the mini bar protected by a clear glass panel. Just because vampires needed blood to survive didn’t mean we skipped other libations.

He inclined his head. “Whisky, if you have it.”

Vlad gave him a sardonic smile. “From that provincial choice, I can tell you’ve been spending time with Bones.”

A smile ghosted across Mencheres’s lips. “If you and Bones weren’t so similar, you’d likely be friends.”

I stifled a snort as I handed Mencheres a glass of whisky. I didn’t know why Vlad disliked Mencheres’s co-ruler so much, but I didn’t see him getting over it anytime soon.

“Enough about that,” Vlad said, dismissing Bones with a swipe of his hand. “Magic is one of the few things forbidden under vampire law, but like Mircea, there are those who still practice it in secret. I need a guide into that world, at once.”

Mencheres leaned forward, his expression turning very serious. “You are too well-known to slip in and out of that world unnoticed, and vampires who practice magic will kill to keep their identities from reaching the Law Guardians.”

I agreed. “There has to be another way-”

“There isn’t,” he interrupted. Despite his harsh tone, the hand he laid on my arm was gentle.

“What if we see the voodoo queen again?” I said. “Maybe there’s something she didn’t think of before.”

“Marie’s previous leads came to naught, and if she’d thought of anything new, she would have told me.” Vlad’s tone became flat. “Marie Laveau would love to have me owe her such a stunning debt. She amasses favors the same way the greedy amass fortunes.”

Mencheres closed his eyes. After an extended silence, he opened them and looked at Vlad. “I left that world several millennia ago, but I know one person with recent ties to it, and I trust him to act as your guide. First, however, I need your promise that you will not kill him.”

I felt Vlad’s surprise as his shields dropped. “I can’t promise that of anyone who betrays me or Leila,” he finally said. “Aside from those two conditions, yes, I promise.”

“No matter how badly you will want to,” Mencheres persisted. “Despite his many flaws, this man is dear to me, and it would pain me to lose him.”

My curiosity was piqued. If this person wasn’t a threat to us, why was Mencheres so sure that Vlad would want to kill him? Sure, Vlad had a temper, but he wasn’t uncontrollably homicidal.

“Aside from my two conditions, yes,” Vlad said, the annoyance in his tone emphasizing that he didn’t appreciate having to repeat himself. “Now, who is he?”

Mencheres gave Vlad a look of grim amusement. “Oh, you know him. And you dislike him even more than you dislike Bones.”

***

Once again, part 2 of this snippet will be posted on my website blog on this Friday, so you won't have long to wait to see who Mencheres is talking about (if you haven't already guessed *wink*) And here is a pre-order link, if you want to pre-order your copy: Into the Fire (Night Prince).

One For The Money in single ebook

Hi! First, a huge thank-you to everyone for your incredibly kind and supportive comments on my previous post. Reading them was like getting countless hugs, and I cannot tell you how much I appreciated that. So, please consider the below pictures as my way of hugging you back :)

hug7hugs6Hugs1


Okay, enough of my being sappy, right? Let's get to some business news (finally! you say ;)). My Night Huntress novelette, One For The Money, is now available as a single digital title. Important note: many of you might have previously read this when it was in the Death's Excellent Vacation and/or the Magic Graves anthology, so if you have either of those, then this is NOT a new story for you. However, if you don't, here is the (new) cover and description:

One For The Money new cover

ONE FOR THE MONEY

A Night Huntress Novelette

A romantic getaway for vampires Cat Crawfield and her husband Bones is cut short when they’re called on to guard a spoiled heiress with a price on her head, and an undead hitman on her trail.

What starts as a simple bodyguard job ends up being a fight for survival that neither Cat nor Bones saw coming.

Order from: Amazon, iBooks, Nook.

Once again, if you're unsure if you've already read this, I encourage you to read the free sample that retailers offer before you buy it. I'd hate for you to pay again for something you've already read.

Now, why did I separate this novelette after all this time? For starters, it took a while to get the audio version of One For The Money available as a single audio because it was originally recorded with all the other stories in the Death's Excellent Vacation anthology. A couple months ago, I was able to splice that out so readers could just get One For The Money in audio if they weren't interested in the other anthology stories, but that presented a new issue. With the audio available as a single edition but the ebook only in anthology form, I couldn't sync the two product pages together. You'd have to go to a totally different page and look for a different title (with a different cover, too!) to see both the audio version and the ebook. Since that was an understandable hassle - plus it created confusion - I split the ebook from the other anthologies so that both the ebook and audio are now under the same title, plus have the same cover, and the formats are all synced together on retailers' product pages.

As a reminder, for the audio edition I was not able to use my regular narrator, Tavia Gilbert. The original anthology (Death's Excellent Vacation) had already been narrated by another person, so when the audio publisher split out my story from that anthology, they just used the previous narration for the single audio edition. I know some of you were very disappointed by the switch and I'm sorry. It was only due to the above circumstances.

However, I hope that having everything under the same title/cover/product pages now makes it easier for everyone, and if you haven't already read or listened to One For The Money, I hope you enjoy this story featuring Cat, Bones, a spoiled heiress, and Justina getting the chance to actually be heroic for once (true! :).

Important update on Into The Fire

Hi, everyone. I have some not-so-great news about Into The Fire, the fourth and final novel in the Night Prince series. As many of you know, Into The Fire was supposed to be released at the end of October, but the release date has been pushed back to February 28th. Some of you might have received an Amazon email about your pre-order detailing the new release date, so I am verifying that yes, February 28th  is indeed the new, correct date. Below, I'm going answer what I assume the top questions will be. If I didn't cover yours, please ask it in the comments.

Why was the release date pushed from October to February?

Short answer: I had a lot of personal issues going on, so I was unable to meet the required deadline. That's my fault, and I want to apologize to all my readers for that.

What kind of "personal issues" kept you from doing your job? 

Really, really long answer, with lots of TMI: My mother died on December 30th. I had no chance to get there in time to say goodbye; I just received a hysterical phone call my from sister saying that Mom had dropped over dead while she was putting on her makeup that morning. I went to Florida to help my sisters and my father plan the funeral (not easy under any circumstances, but especially hard over a holiday when all the area florists were closed for New Years.) My father was understandably devastated since he and my mom had been together for fifty years, so my sisters and I spent the week after the funeral going through all the necessary paperwork, returning her medical equipment, and doing other such tasks so he didn't have to. During this time, I was grieving, of course, but I wasn't devastated like my father or my sisters. I thought it was because I had been somewhat braced for my mother's death. After all, she had had major health scares in 2013 and 2014, so I had known, on an objective level, that she probably didn't have a lot of years left. However, as I later found out, I wasn't reacting with more objectivity because I had been "braced." I was just in an extended form of shock and denial.

I returned home to North Carolina in mid-January, and mere days after I got back, my dog Gypsy blew out the tendons in her back leg and needed extensive surgery. Worse, the only qualified veterinary surgeon was over two hours away (we lived in a tiny mountain town.) Thus, we began the long back-and-forth drives for her surgery and follow-up appointments. Soon after her leg surgery, Gypsy developed an ulcer in her eye that needed surgery from - you guessed it - a vet that was also over two hours away. On top of that, winter finally hit the mountains and made driving much more difficult. It was around this time that I told my husband I didn't want to wait for our house to sell before we moved back to Florida. We had already intended to rent a place in Florida in April, and with everything going on, I thought that waiting would end up being more hassle than our moving immediately.

So, we drove back and forth to the vet for rechecks on Gypsy's leg and eye, and did extensive prep work to get our own house ready to rent while it remained on the market to sell. About two weeks later, I received word from my agent that release of The Sweetest Burn had been pushed back to June 2017. I understood and agreed with all the "whys," but I admit that it was still hard because I knew how disappointed readers would be. We moved to a rental house in Florida around mid-February, and as soon as we arrived, we discovered that the washer and dryer didn't work. The air conditioning broke about a week later, and while the rental agency had everything fixed within a week or so, it was a very stressful week getting the new place set up. However, we were up and running in time for me to leave for my previously-scheduled appearance at ApollyCon the end of the February.

When I got back, I found out that Gypsy's eye still wasn't healed, so we very quickly had to find a new vet. Gypsy ended up having her second eye surgery, which also required at-home care consisting of 4 different medicated eye drops four times a day, spacing each drop at least five minutes apart (that's a total of 16 times a day my hubby and I would have to hold her down, squirt drops in her eyes, then give her the Cone of Shame. She hated it as much as we did, but the vet told us if the ulcer got infected, the infection could spread into her brain and kill her. I love Gypsy as if she were the child I never had, so I was going to do everything I could to get her well.)

The beginning of March, in between helping my husband wrestle Gypsy down for her 16 eye drops a day, I started writing Into The Fire again. Or, more accurately, I tried to. For some reason, whenever I would sit in front of my computer and attempt to write, I would end up bursting into tears. The first few times, I told myself it was an odd fluke and decided to ignore it. When it was still happening after a week, I grew worried, but I didn't tell anyone because I was determined to muscle through, or - failing that - at least "fake it until I make it." By the third week, I finally admitted to my husband what was going on. He called our family doctor, who told me that it was likely a case of depression because I hadn't fully dealt with my mother's recent death.

I didn't want it to make sense, but it did. You see, I had managed to do everything else while on an emotional version of automatic pilot, but I couldn't pull off that same feat while attempting to write. When I write, I immerse myself into my characters' thoughts and feelings, which forces me to get immersed in my own thoughts and feelings. So, when I attempted to write, everything I really felt came rushing to the surface. I had been telling myself that I'd been doing okay after my mother's death because I had been "braced" for her to die, but that wasn't true. I wasn't okay. In fact, I wasn't doing well at all. Instead, I was hurting and guilt-ridden because I hadn't seen her for five months before she died, and - most ridiculous of all -  I was too proud to admit that I was crushed inside, so on top of everything else, I was ashamed for not being a "tougher" person.

Once I finally admitted what I was dealing with, I called my agent and told her the book wouldn't be finished by May 1st (my rescheduled deadline.) I also started going to a therapist and took medication to help with the crying jags when they came. It ended up being a great relief to admit what I was really feeling and going through, to the point where I wasn't overwhelmed when more bad news came from the vet: Gypsy's eye ulcer still wasn't healed and she needed a third surgery, which meant the same regiment of eye drops afterward. To sum up the next couple weeks, Gypsy ended up getting a total of four surgeries to fix her eye, and I found out that a few ebook retailers had erroneously released The Sweetest Burn on its originally scheduled release date of March 29th. Worse, some readers who had gotten an early copy then uploaded it onto pirate sites, so the book was being actively stolen over fifteen months before it could be legally purchased. In an effort to stop retailers from continuing to sell it on the wrong date, my publisher took the ebook down from all retailers, but that resulted in a glitch where Amazon (who hadn't been selling it early) cancelled ALL preorders. As many of you know, Amazon is the largest ebook retailer by far, so this meant that over 80% of my preorders literally vanished overnight.

Doing damage control and dealing with the fallout from that kept me busy for the first week of April. The following week, I felt emotionally well enough to start writing again. For the rest of April and the first week of May, I ended up rewriting the entire beginning of Into The Fire after a friend's helpful feedback, then wrote another 100 pages. I was so relieved to finally be back into the groove; I called my agent to tell her I expected to have Into The Fire completed by the middle of June. My agent relayed this information to my editor, who agreed to rush it through production in order to ensure that it would still release at the end of October. This is why you didn't hear me say back in March or April that the book would be bumped. I really thought I could still get it done in time.

May 9th, I received a call from my dad saying that a doctor had found three blocked arteries leading into his heart. This horrified me because a piece of a blocked artery breaking loose is what caused my mother's fatal heart attack. My dad opted to go with a bypass surgery versus stents, and I left town to be with him. If you read my posts about what happened next, you'll know that my dad had serious complications after surgery and ended up staying in intensive care for over two weeks. I went back home when he was finally out of critical condition, and I attempted to get back to writing Into The Fire again. However, less than a week after he was released from the hospital, my dad had massive internal bleeding and went into arrest, so I left town to be with him again.

I knew when I left that second time that Into The Fire would have to be pushed back. So, I called my agent and told her that even if my father pulled through, I wouldn't be able to deliver the book in time. There just weren't enough writing days left. I didn't know at that point what date my publisher would reschedule the release to, which is why I didn't say anything because I wanted to tell you once I had the new release information. I ended up staying with my dad for another week as he recovered from his second life-threatening incident, and I'm happy to say that he is now in a rehab facility working on getting his strength and his mobility back.

I am now back home and working on Into The Fire again (I swear, this book title is starting to feel like a description of the past several months.) But, as I said, there's no way I can finish it in time for it to go through revisions, copyedits, galleys, and everything else that is required for it to be published in October. I am happy that my publisher managed to squeeze it into their schedule in early 2017 instead of late 2017, and I want to thank them so much for that. I also want to apologize again to my readers for the book being bumped to February, which - two thousand words later - you can see is entirely my fault. However, while I am truly sorry that you have to wait longer for the culmination of Vlad and Leila's story, I hope this very looooong explanation allows you to understand why. In one of my books, Cat says something like, "Life. You can only make plans for it, not dictate orders to it."

I made plans for 2016 that got completely derailed and upended. That's just the way it goes sometimes. As I said in my previous post, I hope that the rest of 2016 is filled with peaceful dullness, but if it isn't, I'll continue to muddle through the best that I can. In the meantime, I want to thank everyone for their patience as they wait a little longer to find out how the story ends for Vlad and Leila. I hope to have a snippet of Into The Fire up for you soon, too.

So, in closing, thanks again, sorry again, and I hope that the rest of 2016 treats all of you with happiness, blessings, and some peaceful dullness, too ;).

Personal update and business/books FAQ

Hi everyone. I'm back home with good news: my father was released from the hospital on Monday (side note: best birthday present ever!) and is now in a rehab facility so he can get his mobility back. Once again, thank you all SO much for your prayers and kind words of support. This past six months has been an emotional roller coaster, which is why I'm hoping for some peaceful dullness for the second half of 2016 :).

In business-related news, I'm trying to get caught up on emails and other messages, but in the meantime, I wanted to post a quick FAQ here in case it covers one of your pending questions.

Will the Night Prince series end at Into The Fire?

Yes, Into The Fire is the final Vlad and Leila novel. I know I had said that originally about the third book, Bound By Flames, but I REALLY mean it this time.

Who will be the next character to get a novel?

Ian will be the next character to get his own book(s).

Who will be the heroine in Ian's book(s)?

I'm not saying yet. I will say that she has previously appeared before in the Night Huntress series, but that's all I'm saying, and I will neither confirm nor deny any guesses in the comment section except to say that it's NOT Justina.

Why do you say "Ian book(s)" instead of "Ian's book" or "Ian's books"?

Until I finish writing the story, I don't know if Ian will have only one book (which was my original intention for the Night Huntress series, if you can believe that), or will have two books (my original intention for the Night Prince series) or if he will end up having more books (see: both the Night Prince and the Night Huntress series.) Since I obviously fail at estimating a correct number of books before I start writing a story, I'm not even attempting to do that this time.

When can we expect Ian's book to come out?

This is a guess - and as I have just proved, I am bad at guessing - but I would estimate that the earliest Ian's book(s) would release is late 2017. Early 2018 is probably more realistic because I have three more books coming out before Ian would get his chance.

What about the Broken Destiny series?

Book two, The Sweetest Burn, and book three, The Brightest Embers, will release back-to-back in the summer of 2017. The Broken Destiny series will end at book three, and I can say that with confidence because I'm done writing the second book and the third book is already plotted out in detail (a miracle for me since I almost never plot out anything in detail before writing a book!)

What about Timothy, the fourth prisoner who was sent to the New South Wales penal colony with Bones, Spade and Ian? They all think Timothy's dead because they haven't heard from him in decades, but is he really dead?

Timothy is alive, and he has a very good reason for hiding from his best friends for all these years. I intend to explore that in a future book, which is why I won't say more now or it would spoiler.

Will you ever write about Katie when she is older?

[Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD. Don't read this answer if you haven't read Up From The Grave yet!] I would love to write about Katie when she is older because I already have very specific story ideas about her. Plus, it would be fun to showcase Cat and Bones in their most difficult role yet - as parents of a headstrong young woman ;).

Do you have any other appearances scheduled for 2015?

I only have one more appearance this year, which is Nola StoryCon, the convention I'm co-hosting along with Melissa Marr, Ilona Andrews, Kelley Armstrong and Jennifer L. Armentrout. Most of the events are sold out, but no tickets are required for the public signing, and there are still tickets left for the Crescent City Brunch. Click the link above to see the other 30+ bestselling authors attending Nola StoryCon and to get more info.

 

Away again

I'm sorry to write that I am out of town again because my father is back in intensive care. That's the bad news, but I'm beyond glad that he's still with us because he went into arrest late Sunday night and nearly died. Right now, he is in critical but stable condition, and we are hoping and praying that he continues to improve.

So, once again, please excuse the delay on replies to emails/comments/social media messages, etc. Also, please excuse the rather grim tone of my posts this past 30+ days. I haven't meant to only talk about stressful, personal things, but it's been a very trying time, as I'm sure you can imagine, and I wanted to explain the reason behind my recent silences. Thank you.

#AmWriting

Months ago, I was very flattered by the invitation to be a contributor to #AmWriting, A Collection Of Letters To Benefit The Wayne Foundation. Here is the premise and description for #AmWriting:

AmWriting-Ebook-Cover-644x1024"Knowing what you know now of writing, publishing, and putting your art out into the world, if you could go back to the day you sat down to start typing in your very first manuscript, what words would you offer to yourself? Words of encouragement? Words of advice? Caution against certain pitfalls? Would you change anything about how you got to where you are today?


The publishing community is so much bigger than it was before the self-publishing boom and it continues to grow exponentially every day. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a handbook or support group. #AmWriting is a collection of letters written by authors from all different corners of the publishing community. The letters provide words of encouragement or advice to those just starting out or those who have become discouraged in their art. At Pure Textuality PR, we believe in supporting each other as a community, and we felt this project would be a good way to bring writers together and maybe give some new artists just the right nudge to keep going.


100% of the net proceeds of #AmWriting will be donated to The Wayne Foundation, a charity dedicated to offering aid and services to young women victimized by illegal sexual exploitation and the sexual trafficking of minors. For more information about The Wayne Foundation, you can visit them on the web at http://waynefdn.org."


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I know I SO could have used some good advice about writing, the publishing business, and more when I first started out. With that in mind, for my contribution, I listed the top seven things that I wished I'd known (and why) back when I was a newbie. I can't wait to read the other authors' contributions and hear their words of wisdom, too. If you're interested in getting some valuable advice while also benefiting an important charity, here are some order links below. The ebook releases tomorrow and the print edition, I'm told, will be available at a later date.


Nook - *coming soon*

iBooks - *coming soon*

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Thanks again to Jena at Pure Textuality for bringing this together and including me in the project!

Away

I wanted to let everyone know the reason for the blog silence lately. About two weeks ago, my dad was diagnosed with three blocked arteries to his heart. This was the same thing that caused my mother's fatal heart attack four months ago, so I came down to be with him for his heart surgery. His triple bypass surgery went well, however, he has had several post-operative complications. The worst one has been pneumonia, and because of that, he is now on a ventilator. My family and I are hoping that his lungs will heal with the antibiotics and other treatments he is getting, but as you can imagine, things are very touch and go right now. Any prayers or good thoughts that you can send for his recovery would be greatly appreciated.

So, until further notice, I'll be absent from my blog and there will be a delay responding to any emails or messages, either sent directly to me or through my social media accounts. For any urgent business matters, please contact my agent, Nancy Yost at Nancy Yost Literary Agency.

Thank you.