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Hi folks! My publisher is running a contest on Goodreads where they're giving away 10 Arcs (advance reading copies) of INTO THE FIRE, the final Night Prince novel. Contest is open now and ends on 1/24/17. Open to US residents only (sorry, not my decision!) I WILL be featuring an Arc giveaway on my blog soon that will be open to international readers, so hang in there. However, if you are a US resident and you're interested in getting an early look at INTO THE FIRE, go HERE to enter for your chance to win. 

 

Also, deal alert! This week, my publisher has the ebook price for TWICE TEMPTED, book two in the Night Prince series, at only $1.99. Once again, this is for US residents only, so if that applies to you, grab it while you can HERE or at your favorite retailer.

 

Finally, here is another snippet from INTO THE FIRE. Well, actually, it's a deleted scene, so it won't appear in the published version. Since the scene ended up getting cut, it's also pre-edits, so it will probably contain spelling and/or grammar errors that I'm blind to because I know what it's supposed to say. By popular demand, it features Ian, who will be the next character to get his own book(s) after the Night Prince series concludes. Hope you enjoy!

***

“Ian!” someone shouted. Then a tall, twenty-something man with long, snow-white hair strode over, almost kicking aside a tree bench on his way. “How dare you show your face here?”

Vlad gave the man a calculated glance. “Is this Ashael?”

Ian’s brows came together. “No. This is someone else, and I have no idea what he’s in a lather about-”

That’s all he got out before the tall man grabbed him and hauled him out of his chair. I backed away because I’d need more room to manifest my whip, if things took a more dangerous turn.

“Marco, why all the fuss?” Ian asked in a cajoling tone.

“You dare to play coy?” Marco said with a snarl. “I know it was you who despoiled my daughter!”

Ian’s brow furrowed even more. “Which one was she?”

“Marlene,” Marco spat.

Ian grunted. “Need to be more specific, mate.”

We were now attracting attention, and that was the last thing we wanted. Under other circumstances, I’d let Ian deal with this himself, but maybe a woman’s touch was needed to calm things down.

I pushed myself between the angry stranger and Ian. “Look, I get why you’re upset,” I said in a soothing tone. “Ian’s a pig, but no girl is ‘spoiled’ by having sex-”

“She was an eighth-generation sorceress whose abilities were tied to her purity!” Marco roared. “And he knew it!”

Ian began to chuckle. “Oh, that Marlene.”

Marco’s face turned purplish from rage. Ian only laughed harder. “It’s all coming back to me now. Dear Lord, she wanted that shag more than a new vampire wants blood-”

“Shut up, you’re making things worse,” I hissed.

Ian shot me an exasperated look. “What Marco’s leaving out is that he wanted Marlene to remain a virgin in order to control her power. I was the only one with enough stones to free her by taking away the source of her power. Where is your sense of feminism? You should be thanking me!”

“Enough,” Vlad said, and the single word held such command that Marco stopped shaking Ian and looked at him. “If you were really going kill him, you already would have,” Vlad went on. “So these theatrics, while understandable, are useless, which means you're wasting my time.”

Marco glanced back and forth between Vlad and Ian. He clearly wanted to dole out more punishment, yet it was also clear that Marco didn’t want to find out what Vlad was made of. Even without manifesting his fire, Vlad practically oozed lethalness, and Marco must not have much power of his own or he wouldn't have tried so hard to hold onto his daughter’s for his own purposes. 

“For pity’s sake, are you about to break your promise?” Ian asked Vlad in an exasperated tone. “How many times must I tell you not to kill someone tonight?” To Marco, he added, “Bloke can barely go a day without committing murder. It's like a sickness with him.”

Marco started to look a lot less mad and a lot more alarmed. He let Ian go with a muttered, “Another time.” Then he walked away, casting several dirty looks over his shoulder at Ian as he went.

“Good thing that didn’t go pear-shaped,” Ian remarked.

“Come again?” I said.

He gave me a tolerant look. “Americans. If you didn’t make up the slang, you don’t bother attempting to understand it.”

***

Happy New Year and "real" writers

First and foremost, Happy New Year, everyone! I don't know about you, but 2016 was a pretty rough year for me. Here's hoping that 2017 is filled with a lot more light, love and laughter for all of us.

That being said, I know a lot of people make New Year's resolutions. Diets are always a popular one, or going to the gym, or getting organized, or lots of other things we'll probably forget about by the end of this month, heh. But for some on you, that resolution might include finally starting, finishing, shopping, or publishing a book. In fact, it was January of 2003 when I decided that, no matter what I was doing wrong (I'll get to that later), I was going to start and finish an entire book.  

You see, I'd started a bunch of novels up to that point, but I'd always gotten bored, distracted by a new idea, etc., and thus had never finished any of them. I'd also been told by a writer acquaintance that if I wanted to be an author, I had to have a chapter-by-chapter outline, a story board filled with details on all the characters, and extensive scene notes, all before I even started the book.

Anyone who knows me will understand how crushed I felt at hearing that. I may as well have been told that in order to write a book, I'd have to get a brain transplant. That kept me from attempting to write for another couple years, but the urge didn't go away. I'd wanted to write a book since I fell in the love with the romance genre at age twelve (yes, I know - way too young to be reading romance, but hey, now you can say that I got a really, really, reaaaaaalllly early start on researching my future profession! ;)). 

So, despite my utter lack of what some people would call qualifications and/or preparedness, in January of 2003, I started writing a book. In April of that same year, about fifty thousand words into my new book, I had a dream about a completely different hero and heroine. I could not get those people out of my mind, so, as I'd done many times before, I abandoned the novel I'd been working on and started something else. I'll admit: it felt like taking a step backward into the same futility that had kept me from finishing any of my other stories, but this new idea wouldn't let me go.

That new, dream-based idea eventually became HALFWAY TO THE GRAVE, book one in the Night Huntress series, which launched my career as a bestselling author of multiple books and series. 

What's the point of this post, aside from a trip down memory lane? It's simply this: don't listen to people who tell you that in order to be a "real" writer, you have to do A, B, or C, or you have to be A, B, or C. 

I was reminded of this last week, when an author penned a piece published by the Huffington Post. In it, she claimed that self-publishing was an "insult" to the written word and that, among other things, indie authors aren't "real" writers. There was a lot more crap in her article, but I won't go into all of it. I'm also not linking it because I don't want to give that author any more publicity. I'll admit, I read it and laughed at how ridiculously uninformed and elitist her positions were... and then I stopped laughing because I remembered how I used to believe a lot of those same things when I was starting out. That belief, plus my own doubts, kept me from chasing my dream of being an author for many years, and I regret that lost time now.

So, I went on a mini Twitter rant that I'm copying here because I think it bears repeating. I've edited it to further flesh out my thoughts since Twitter's character restrictions make that difficult. Besides, my original rant was written while I was on migraine meds, so I had skipped from point 4 to 6 while ignoring 5 (Twitter, give us an "edit" button, please!) Not everything below pertains to the article that ticked me off; I also added some other b.s. restrictions I've heard over the years. My hope in posting this is to provide encouragement to writers who've found themselves burdened by rules, limitations and requirements that don't actually existIf it also annoys any elitist authors who think that people need their approval before they can call themselves "real" writers, well, that's just the icing on the cake ;). 

Edited Twitter rant below: 

I am so sick of hearing what it takes to be a "real" writer. I've heard you have to write EVERY day, write several books, write for a decade before you attempt to get published -

And of course, my favorite: NOT write romance because everyone knows those aren't "real" books. Guess what? Writers aren't Borg and one size doesn't fit all.

Bottom line is, if you write, you're a REAL writer. Period. All the rest is garbage. There isn't a minimum number of books you have to write. Plenty of famed authors only wrote one book.

You also don't have to write every day. It's fine if you do, but it's not required. Romances are REAL books, like it or not. Short stories and poetry count as "real" writing, too.

Yes, some self-published books are awful. So are some traditionally-published books. But trashing ALL self-published books is impressively pretentious, imo.

In summary, can we please stop acting as if there's no room at the table for the "unwashed masses," aka people who write/publish differently than we do?

*** End edited Twitter rant***

Note: I'm a person who never went to college, doesn't write every day, never took a creating writing course, didn't write for ten years before I got published, will self-publish whatever I want, will never do story boards, outline in detail, or stop writing romance, and I'm still a REAL damn writer, thank you very much :).

Note 2: Because someone will probably say "Shame on you for telling aspiring authors that creative writing courses and/or college is a waste of time!" let me clarify: I'm not saying that at all. I regret not going to college because I could have learned a lot more, and a degree is always a good thing to have. Also, creative writing courses would've no doubt helped me shave some revising time off my earlier works. However, I'm arguing against the "you HAVE to..." list I've seen spouted in many, many circles. By all means, do whatever helps you the most toward achieving your goal of being an author, but don't let the "you HAVE to..." crowd tell you your dream is out of reach because you don't have their same credentials, writing style, or publishing platform.

The Brightest Embers cover and more

Hi, everyone! I know, my blog has been quiet this month. In addition to the normal holiday hustle and bustle, I'm also busy writing AND we're doing a home renovation plus moving. So, lots of stuff to keep me occupied! I probably won't post again until after the new year, but I couldn't let more time pass without putting up the cover for The Brightest Embers, the third and final book in the Broken Destiny series.

The Brightest Embers releases on July 25th, 2017. Pre-orders are now available here or at your favorite retailer. (psst! Currently, the ebook price is $5.99. I think that's in error because it's normally $6.99 for new releases, so if you're thinking of grabbing this, do it before the publisher fixes the price! Oh, but you didn't hear that from me *wink*)

What's this? some of you are asking. Third book? When'd the second one come out?

It hasn't. The release date for The Sweetest Burn, book two in the Broken Destiny series, was pushed back from this year to June 2017. That way, books two and three release back-to-back so readers won't have to wait to find out the conclusion of Ivy and Adrian's story. If you haven't heard of the Broken Destiny series before, it starts with The Beautiful Ashes and it features a new paranormal world, populated with my version of Archons (angels), demons, gargoyles, minions, and two star-crossed lovers from opposing supernatural backgrounds (note: "opposing supernatural backgrounds" does NOT mean an angel falling for a demon or vice versa. It's something else entirely.) Since my opinion can't be trusted on these books (I wrote them, so I'm understandably biased! :)) here's what other people have said about the Broken Destiny series:

"A fast-moving tale that refuses to let up until the end...Books don't get more fun or action-packed than this!" -Romantic Times on The Beautiful Ashes.

"If you prefer nail-biting, other-worldly suspense, and adventure with your love story, this one's for you." -BookPage on The Beautiful Ashes

“Frost scores another win with the mesmerizing second Broken Destiny super-natural contemporary… The novel thrums with energy, its pacing breakneck from the very start, and piles on the sexual tension.” Publishers Weekly on The Sweetest Burn.

That's it from me for now. See all of you in 2017 :).

Sale alert!

I don't know how long this sale will last, and it's probably for US residents only, but right now ONCE BURNED, book 1 in the Night Prince series, is only $.99. If you haven't discovered Vlad yet, grab this deal while you can!

If you've already tried and enjoyed the Night Prince series, most retailers allow you to "gift" an ebook to a friend, and holiday gifts don't get much cheaper than this ;). Either way, if you're interested, you can buy HERE:



She’s a mortal with dark powers…

After a tragic accident scarred  her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a  person’s darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of  solitude…until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out  with a telepathic distress call to the world’s most infamous vampire…


He’s the Prince of Night…

Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest  vampire legend of all—but whatever you do, don’t call him Dracula. Vlad’s ability to control fire makes him one of the most  feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a new weapon against  him – a beautiful mortal with powers to  match his own. When Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them,  threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop  an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames.




Reviews


“I always open a Frost book with happy anticipation, and I’ve never been disappointed…Very suspenseful, very fast-paced.” – #1 NYT bestselling author Charlaine Harris.

 “There are many Draculas but there is only one Vlad, and you owe it to yourself to meet him.” – #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews.

“Passion and peril.” – Publishers Weekly.

“Let the rejoicing commence, as Frost spins off dangerously sexy vamp Vlad Tepesh into his own edgy and sizzling series.” – Romantic Times, Top Pick! 

“I loved this book!…A must read for Jeaniene Frost’s fans.” – Fresh Fiction. 

That time of year again

It's the holiday season, and I have most of my Christmas shopping done already. I say "most" even though at this point, I think I'm all done. Still, it wouldn't be December if I wasn't scrambling at the last minute because "done" really only means "dumb ass, you forgot at least two important gifts!" Thank God for overnight shipping and email gift cards, is all I'll say.

It's also the season where hubby and I break out our favorite Christmas movies. For fun, I thought I'd list my top ten. These aren't all the Christmas movies I like, of course, but they're the ones that get replayed year after year. If I'm missing something great, please tell me! I love to discover hidden gems.

It's A Wonderful Life. Yes, it's so old that it's in black-and-white, but I love this and watch it every Christmas Eve.

A Christmas Story. I can so relate to little Ralphie's elaborate day-dreams and his foul mouth!

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. If this doesn't remind you of an only-slightly-more-twisted version of your holidays, then you grew up in a MUCH more normal house than I did ;).

A Nightmare Before Christmas. I still love everything about this movie to this day. 

Scrooged. It still makes me laugh all through it, and at the end, it still makes me tear up, too.

Trapped in Paradise. Yes, it's hokey, but what can I say? I like it.

The Family Man. I love movies with these sort of "what if?" premises, and thought this one was very well done.

Santa's Slay. Yes, it's a campy horror movie with a ridiculous premise and lots of violence. Your point? :)

A Miracle on 34th Street. Hubby and I still argue over which is better: the original, or the 1994 remake. He likes the original more. I like the remake. What's your preference? 

Surviving Christmas. That's what we're all trying to do, right? This starts out over-the-top but is sweet by the end. 

What Dreams May Come

I’ve said before that I remember a lot of my dreams, and they’ve sometimes been inspirational in my writing. The concept for the Night Huntress series came from a dream, as did the idea for the Broken Destiny series, and I’ve come up with more than a couple subplots from dreams. While I admit to mining my dreams to see if my subconscious produces anything I can use, not everything ends up in a book. Not even most of it. Example: years ago, while revising One Foot In The Grave, I had a dream where I suddenly knew the perfect solution to jazzing up the book’s ending: add dragons! Lots of dragons! Yet readers of this book know that, in fact, no dragons appear in One Foot, although I did have a character turn into a dragon in One Grave at a Time, so maybe that dream tidbit wasn't wasted after all :).

But it’s not all dragons, vampires, half-vampires, demons, or other creatures that populate my dreams. Sometimes, stress from the publishing business can make an appearance, too. I detailed one of those stress-related dreams here, where in it, my books were responsible for visiting aliens committing mass suicide (seriously!) In another one, I dreamed that my editor came to my house brandishing a bat and demanding that I give her my manuscript right now or else. Although my editor, Erika Tsang, is a lovely person, on a subconscious level, I must fear her ;).

Case in point - and I can admit to this now because Into The Fire, the final Night Prince novel, is done, edited, and ready to print - a few months ago, as I was stressed over trying to finish it, I had a flying dream. Now, flying dreams are nothing new for me; they’re probably one of my most-recurring dreams. I usually love them because in them, I somehow know that if I fall forward, I won’t hit the ground. Instead, I’ll float upward as high as I want to go and be able to “steer” myself by moving my hands, which is an incredibly freeing feeling. However, in this dream, I had an ulterior motive behind flying, as you'll see.

First, remember that dreams automatically come with suspension of disbelief. So, even when they unfold in a loose, nonsensical format, you still believe them while they’re happening, right? That’s why, in my dream, I didn’t question how I ended up with my editor, Erika, and a couple of my friends on a rocky moor overlooking a cliff. All I knew was that I was I brought my editor out there to finally let her in on my biggest secret: my ability to fly.

First, I tell her, “Hey, Erika, guess what? I can fly!”

Her response is to immediately question my sanity in saying such a thing (sometimes, dreams can be very realistic ;)). I then say something like, “Well, watch this” and do my fall-forward-only-to-float-upward trick.

Erika is shocked as I then direct myself to fly all around her. My friends just watch in boredom because they’ll seen all this before (apparently, I was a show off to them with my flying skills, heh.) Then, Erika finally says “Jeaniene, this is amazing! How long have you been able to do this?”

“Oh, for years,” I reply. “I’ve been really careful about keeping it a secret.”

“Then why are you revealing this to me now?” she asks.

My response, plucked right from my obviously-stressed subconscious? “Because you can use it as a really cool marketing gimmick later to promote Into The Fire, so now, you can't be mad at me anymore for being so late turning it in!”

*grins* There you go, people. Now you know that if I ever get the ability to fly, I won’t use it for the greater good of humanity. Apparently, I’ll only use it as a “get out of being late on deadline free” card ;).

Giving Tuesday

Today is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, also known as Giving Tuesday. Unlike Black Friday and Cyber Monday, where you shop for friends, family, co-workers (and maybe a little something for yourself, too!) today is where you're encouraged to "shop" for people you will likely never meet by donating to a charity.

Just like any other shopping, buyers should beware. There are scam places masquerading as legitimate charities, and it can be sometimes hard to distinguish between the two. I rely heavily on a site called Charity Navigator to suss out which is the real deal and which is a scam. Charity Navigator rates charities on a scale of 1 to 4 (4 being the best, 1 being the worst), grading them on how much of their donations goes to the actual cause, among other important factors. Charity Navigator doesn't catalog every charity, but they have a lot in their database, so if you've been mulling a particular charity but weren't sure if they were a "good" one, click the link above and enter their name. Their stats might come up.

Here are some of the charities I give to, listed in no particular order. If one of them strikes your interest, please consider giving something. If none of them stir your interest, there are limitless worthy charities in need of support. And if you're in a position where you simply can't give anything, don't feel bad. Most of us (raises hand) have been there, too, and remember: not all gifts are monetary in nature. As Mother Theresa once said: "Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing."

However, if you're thinking, "I'll wait until later, when I have more money, instead of giving just a tiny bit now" might I encourage you to give that tiny bit anyway? Most of these sites accept donations as small as $5 or $10, and a tiny amount now is worth more than a hundred "later's," in my opinion. Imagine what a difference it could make in a needy child, adult, or animal's life if everyone who intended to donate "later" gave just a tiny bit now, too? Many charities have gift matching promotions today for Giving Tuesday, so every dollar you donate gets matched and thus doubles or even triples. That $5 or $10 might only seem like a drop now, but enough drops can turn into a mighty rainstorm :).

Wounded Warrior Project: a military and veterans charity service organization empowering injured veterans and their families. 3 out of 4 rating on Charity Navigator.

Joyful Heart Foundation: outreach to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. 4 out of 4 rating on Charity Navigator.

ASPCA: works to rescue animals from abuse, pass humane laws and share resources with shelters nationwide. 3 out of 4 rating on Charity Navigator.

Children International: fights poverty and helps children in need through our programs, community centers and more. 3 out of 4 rating on Charity Navigator.

C.A.R.E.: a worldwide movement dedicated to ending poverty, putting women and girls in the center because we know that we cannot overcome poverty until all people have equal rights and opportunities. 3 out of 4 rating on Charity Navigator.

Shared Hope: dedicated to bringing an end to sex trafficking.  4 out of 4 rating on Charity Navigator.

St. Jude: a leading children's hospital pioneering research and treatments for kids with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. 3 out of 4 rating on Charity Navigator.

Covenant House:  serving homeless youth with a network of shelters across the Americas. 3 out of 4 rating on Charity Navigator.

U.N.I.C.E.F.: The United Nations Children's Fund works for children's rights, survival, development and protection. 3 out of 4 rating on Charity Navigator.

International Rescue Committee (IRC): responds to the world's worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. 4 out of 4 rating on Charity Navigator.

Save The Children: In the United States and around the world, gives girls and boys a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. 4 out of 4 rating on Charity Navigator.

Paws For Hope: helping animals who suffer and die every year because of negligence and abuse.

 

Bragging on a friend

This week, I've been working on galley pages for Into The Fire, the final Night Prince novel. If you're like me before I was published, you'll have no idea what "galley pages" are, so I'll explain: they're the formatted, loose-leaf pages of a manuscript. See below.

galleys

They're also the last chance that I, as the author, have to spot any mistakes in my book. Before, I would usually find at least one or two pretty major mistakes in the galleys. This isn't because I don't try to be careful in the revision process before this. It's because during the normal writing process, I change things several times as new ideas strike me, or I decide that I don't like the old ideas anymore. Then, I end up changing things again after getting feedback from my critique partner, then I change things again according to my editor's feedback, and finally, I change a few more things after a copyeditor points out any remaining mistakes. Getting the picture? A book can sometimes resemble a patchwork quilt after all these changes, and so little (or bigger) mistakes can fall through the cracks. 

However, this time around, I had the lightest copyedit I've ever had after writing 15 books, and I'm also finding almost no mistakes in the galley pages.

What changed, you ask? I'm happy to tell you :)

It's been no secret that my longtime friend and fellow author, Melissa Marr, has been my regular critique partner. This means that she gives my books a "content" edit, which is different than a copy edit. If you're not familiar, I'll explain: a content edit is an overall critique of the plot, characters, and worldbuilding. Since I'm a foodie, I'll liken this to editing the "meat and potatoes" of a story. A copy edit, by contrast, is like making sure that the presentation is good (i.e., you don't have sauce dripping all over the place in form of missing/mispelled words, incorrect grammar, etc.)  Previously, Melissa had only done content edits on my novels, and I've said many times before that her notes are just as good (and often eerily similar ;)) as the notes that I get from my traditional New York editors. 

With Into The Fire, however, I had started and stopped the book so many times due to personal issues that I wanted Melissa to do a content edit PLUS a full copyedit since I didn't have much confidence in my first draft this time. She agreed, and so she edited not only the "meat and potatoes" of the story, but also all the trimmings and the presentation, too. 

The result? The publisher that my copyeditor assigned me (as per traditional publishing guidelines) had almost nothing to do. It literally took me longer write out my Acknowledgements page than it did to implement the NY-assigned copyeditor's change requests. And once again, my galley pages are cleaner than they've ever been. You don't know what a relief this is. It's not only less work for me, but more importantly, galleys are the imprints that publishers use to make Arcs (advance reading copies) of books. Arcs are what go out to bloggers and other media for pre-publication reviews. So, error-ridden galleys mean error-ridden Arcs, which means understandably more critical reviews.

In short, as the subject line states, I am bragging on a friend because Melissa did such an amazing job. Never fear, I'm not just taunting you with what you can't have: in addition to being a bestselling author, Melissa is also a former literary teacher. Since she misses teaching, she recently started doing freelance content-only editing as well as full copy editing. So, if you're intending to self-publish that novel you're working on (and I know lots of people doing NaNo are), I can't recommend Melissa highly enough. If you're going the traditional-publishing route, and you're frustrated with rejections and want an overview of what has to be fixed (rejections usually don't tell you what's wrong with your book; they just say NO) then I also recommend Melissa. And since I know friend recommendations can sometimes be sketchy, here's what other people are saying about Melissa's editing skills:

"Melissa Marr is an invaluable beta reader. Insightful, wise and smart." -- Neil Gaiman,  #1 NYT bestselling author

“I’ve written middle-grade, young adult and adult novels and short fiction, in fantasy, mystery and romance, and no matter what the genre, format or age group, I know I can go to Melissa for top-notch editorial advice.”-- Kelley Armstrong, #1 NYT bestselling author.

"Melissa Marr is not just a wonderful editor, but a fierce advocate for the story you're working to tell. She'll help you make your work better than you ever imagined it could be." -- Rachel Caine, NYT bestselling author of The Great Library and Morganville Vampires series.

"In my fifteen years as a professional writer and editor, I've never worked with anyone more astute, more thoughtful, or more insightful about all aspects of fiction writing than Melissa Marr." -- Tim Pratt, Hugo Award winning author and editor of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

"Melissa Marr has a keen eye for quality literature, and her extensive experience makes her an ideal editor for anyone hoping to bring their work to the next level."-- Beth Revis, NYT bestselling author of YA Science Fiction.

“Melissa Marr is an incredible editor who is simultaneously able to look at the big picture and help fine-tune the nuances that really sell a story. If you're looking for someone to help you take your plot, characters, or world-building to the next level, you could not find a better, more market-savvy set of eyes.” --  Dr. Jennifer Lynn Barnes award-winning author of The Naturals, Raised by Wolves, and The Fixer.

Melissa's freelance section of her website is here. 

News for NOLA StoryCon 2017

official-nsc-logo-clearNOLA StoryCon 2016 only ended a month ago, but the other Host authors and I have been busy making things bigger and better for next year. Check out all the new guest authors, plus special guests, preliminary event schedule, and more!

Dates: Friday, September 15th through Sunday, September 17th, 2017.

Host Authors: Melissa Marr, Jeaniene Frost, and Kelley Armstrong.

Special Guests

Charlaine Harris, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Southern Vampire mysteries (Sookie Stackhouse) and the Midnight, Texas series (TV adaptation premiering soon on NBC. )

&

Christine Feehan, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Leopard Series, Dark Series, Ghostwalker Series, Drake Sisters Series, and the Sisters of the Heart Series.


Our fabulous lineup of Guest Authors

(Listed alphabetically, click on their names to be directed to their websites.)

Lara Adrian, Lou Anders, Lenore Appelhans, Jeanette Battista, Jenna Black, Allison Brennan, Rachel Caine, Kristin Cast, PC Cast, Matthew Cody, Bruce Coville, Zoraida Cordova, Delilah Dawson, Alyssa Day, Kimberly Derting, Sonali Dev, Jennifer Estep, Kami Garcia, Molly Harper, Kevin Hearne, Beverly Jenkins, Toni L.P. Kelner, David Liss, Chelsea Mueller, Pamela Palmer, Aprilynne Pike, Tom Pollock, Kerrelyn Sparks, Rachel Vincent and Jaye Wells.


Event Schedule


Sweet Mardi Gras Party and Panels.

Includes all events on Friday, September 15th, 2017, EXCEPT TOURS. First, enjoy various panels featuring your favorite authors from 3pm - 6pm. Exact times and descriptions to come. From 7pm - 10pm: Mix and mingle with the host authors and many of the guest authors while enjoying complimentary custom-made desserts, coffee, tea and a live band. Cash bar will be available. Each Sweet Mardi Gras ticket holder will also receive a complimentary goody bag with books and swag. BUY HERE.

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NOLA High Roller (3 Day Pass)

Includes ALL events on Friday, September 15th, Saturday September 16th and Sunday, September 17th, EXCEPT TOURS. Featuring: various panels on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, full descriptions, panelists, and times to come; the Sweet Mardi Gras dessert reception and cocktail party featuring live music, complimentary custom-made desserts, coffee, tea, and a complimentary goody bag with books and swag; the "Big Easy" full dinner and dessert with reception afterward. Bring your appetite for food and fun. Wear your favorite costume for a chance to win our Best Costume contest. Make sure you stay until the end on Saturday night to see if you will be the grand prize winner of a $100.00 Murder By The Book gift card, PLUS 90 minute early access to the group signing on Saturday before it opens to the public. BUY HERE.

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Saturday and Sunday Panels Pass

Your all-access pass to the panels on Saturday, September 16th and Sunday, September 17th, PLUS includes 90 minute early access to the group signing before it opens to the public. Note: This is for panels only. Does not include the Saturday dinner or any tours. BUY HERE.

Hotel


The JW Marriott. Address: 614 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130. BOOK HERE.

Tours


Once again, NOLA StoryCon will feature the opportunity for attendees to explore New Orleans with their favorite authors on one of our off-site walking tours, hosted by our new tour company, NOLAmusements. Tickets, tour descriptions and times coming soon, so check our website for more information.

We can't wait for next year's event, and we hope to see you there, too!
Best,
Jeaniene Frost, Melissa Marr, and Kelley Armstrong
www.NolaStoryCon.com

Backward and forward

Note: This post has nothing to do with my books, appearances, or professional updates. Skip if you’re only looking for business news.

The first week of November is always a time of reflection for me. If you're a long-time follower of my blog, you might remember that five years ago, I went to the Emergency room because I thought I was having a heart attack. It turned out to be an acute case of costochrondritis instead, but for a few hours, I thought I might drop dead at any second. As you can imagine, that had me praying fervently for more time with my loved ones.

It turned out that there was nothing seriously wrong with me, and aside from the occasional ache, I'm over the costochrondritis. I'm not over my gratitude to still be here, though, so every year around the same time, I say a special thank-you to God. Why on my blog? As I mentioned once before, a section of Luke has always stuck with me. In it, ten lepers ask Jesus to be healed. All ten have their request granted, but while nine ran off, one turned around, went back to Jesus, and thanked him. The other nine might have been thanking Him in their mind as they walked away, but only one made a point to do it publicly. So, this is me turning around, going back to that memory, and saying thank you in public because I'm still very grateful to be here to do so.

I'm also a sucker for my dogs, as anyone who knows me is well aware. My husband and I spoil them, and they take it as their due because in their eyes, this is what we exist to do ;). Well, in the past month we've both sold our old house and bought a new house. One of our requirements for the new house was that the master bedroom be on the first floor because Gypsy, at almost 13, can't climb the stairs anymore and she sleeps in the bedroom with us (so does Loki, of course. In fact, he hogs the bed.) We looked at a bunch of houses and found one that we loved (yay!) that had enough of a deal on the price that we could also afford to get all new paint and carpet (yay!) and the master bedroom is on the first floor as needed (yay!)

But...the other bedrooms are on the second floor. As a writer, I work out of my house, and I normally just take the guest room and use it as my office, but I can't do that now because of the stairs. Gypsy is used to coming and going from my office at will. Well, to be more accurate, she comes in, whimpers until I stop what I'm doing and pet her, then either leaves or curls up on the pillow by my desk. This is her routine several times a day, and I can't bring myself to change it by using one of the upstairs bedrooms for my office. She would NOT understand . Don't believe me? Does this look like a dog who would understand her daily pets being denied to her?

gypsy-chairimg_0045


This is how I have ended up having my office in what is supposed to be the dining room of my new house. It's closed off by three walls, so it's more private that the living room, plus we're getting one of those nice, decorative screens for the opening to the kitchen to close that off, too. It will, however, have a space for Gypsy to get in and out of easily. As you can see, she's used to getting her wishes catered to ;).

And hey, we never ate in our old dining room anyway.