Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Finally Available in the U.S....

Here are the Indie Elite, we're beyond excited that Ebony McKenna has finally been able to release The Summer of Shambles in the United States, and with such an amazing cover! Of course we loved the cover her UK publisher Egmont made for her, but this US cover really fits the book quite well. If you haven't read Ebony's books yet, you are in for a treat. It's a hilarious paranormal that's totally unpredictable with quirky characters that you will instantly love.

My official review:

I haven't had this much fun reading a book in a long time. I literally laughed out loud! If you enjoyed The Princess Bride or Ella Enchanted then this book is one you must read. Dare I say, in many ways I think it even out-shined those. This novel has the perfect mixture of magic, fun, and romance. Ebony made me a fan for life with this book. I'd recommend it for anyone who enjoys quirky characters and unique paranormal, adult and young adult alike. LOVED it!

You can find Ebony at: 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Cover Teaser & Contest for Kristie Cook's New Book

We're so excited to share with you a teaser of the cover for the fifth book in the Soul Saver Series By: Kristie Cook that we LOVE! Take a look and see what you think, and keep an eye out for the FULL cover reveal coming this Tuesday!

Title: TBA on Tuesday!
Author: Kristie Cook
Publisher: Ang'dora Productions, LLC (Coming SUMMER 2013)
Find Kristie and her books on: Goodreads

Synopsis to follow!

Haven't read the series? How about a FREE eBook copy of Promise? It's FREE on ALL platforms! Yes it is! Here's links where you can get YOUR FREE COPY TODAY!

Order the FREE eBook Online here: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords
In the UK: Amazon, iBooks

Okay, Lisa at A Life Bound By Books is still looking for HELP with the #NACrushTourney for none other than Tristan Knight himself! She's created a Street Team called #KnightRiders and would LOVE to have YOU help Tristan make his way to VICTORY!! The first round is coming up quick. Here's all the info you need to know so far.

Oh and EVERYONE who helps with the Tourney by joining the Street Team and doing tasks will be ENTERED TO WIN PRIZES!!! YES! PRIZES!!! More from Lisa about that later.

Now... Lisa can't do this on her own, so this is where you guys come in.

First and most important, Tristan has his first round coming up, so we all have to act fast! Voting opens for the first round on ****Monday, June 25th at 11:59PM EST (or for us on the west coast, Monday at 8:59PM PST)**** Once the post is up, the voting can begin and will only be open for 24 HOURS! You'll be able to VOTE both at A Life Bound By Books and at the NA ALLY! (During the 24 hour voting period I believe you'll be able to vote from multiple devices so everyone should keep that in mind.)

Wondering what we'll ALL win when Tristan WINS? Straight from Kristie herself -
And here's my reward if he wins Round 1 (please put in both posts): "A never-before-seen scene written from Tristan's point-of-view that I promise you will love. And if he wins the whole tourney? You'll get to read about their wedding night from Tristan's POV."

Looking to sign up for #KnightRiders Street TeamHere's the quick form to fill out. Every thing will happen in a few emails so not to worry about having your inbox bogging down. Also, all info, emails, etc will be deleted at the end of the tournament.

Grab the button below, add it to blogs, Facebook, change your twitter pic, etc! Put it up everywhere you can!!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Angela Brown's Latest Cover Reveal: ATONE

Today we're excited to be participating in the cover reveal for Angela Brown's new novella in her NEO Chronicles, ATONE. The cover was designed by one of Indie Elite's own, Heather McCorkle of CP Design. Angela is a stunning writer and her characters will pull you right into the story. Here is the cover and a bit about the fabulous book:

What harm can come from a kiss?

Caine Fordham knows the danger all too well.

As the Kill Circuit’s top lady-killer, business is good. Yet Caine knows the life of an assassin isn’t meant to last forever, just as love is impossible for him. Who could love a man with poison lacing his veins and a kiss that kills?

When Caine decides to take one last job, deal out one last kiss, he discovers there’s more to life than death, and more to love than pain.

Available at:

Friday, June 7, 2013

Watermark by Krissi Dallas is Coming!

Krissi Dallas, one of my favorite authors with a small press, has a new book coming out! Watermark, the fourth installment of the YA fantasy Phantom Island series by Krissi Dallas is finally releasing this fall! I love this series! If you haven’t jumped on board this island adventure full of magic, mystery, and romance, now is your chance. Below, you can enter to win an autographed Phantom Island trilogy pack, an autographed copy of Watermark when it releases, a tribal t-shirt, or an autographed copy of The Collector by debut author Victoria Scott! The giveaway will be open for entries until Friday, June 14.

And now for a bit about Watermark… the dramatic conclusion to the first half of the Phantom Island series:

Relationships on the White Island are volatile and Whitnee, Morgan, and Caleb aren’t sure who they can trust—even each other. Politicians are lying, history is being rewritten, and motives are questionable. Whitnee sets out with Gabriel and a band of rebel spies to take back the enemy's biggest weapon—Whitnee's father. However, a shocking turn of events proves once again that the Island's secrets have the power to destroy more than just the truth. Separated from her friends, Whitnee battles her own fears in order to survive and protect the ones she loves. But when Morgan's illness finally comes to light, Whitnee faces a decision that could alter her future—and Morgan’s—forever. And whether she ultimately stays on the Island or leaves might not be her choice, after all.


     I stared at her in frustration. “What is with you?!” I exploded. She was not acting like my best friend. Like my Morgan. “You’ve been so different this summer, and I don’t get it!”
     “Well, you’ve been different too! People change, you know,” she snapped back.
     “If I’ve changed, fine. But at least I’m still honest with you. You, however, have turned into a liar! If we don’t have trust between us, then what do we have, Morgan?”

Even Kirkus, one of the toughest reviewers in the industry, is singing this series praises:

“…[An] earnest tale of magic and romance that deals with the great distance between pain and recovery.” –Kirkus Reviews (Windchaser, Phantom Island Book 1)

Meet the Author:

Krissi Dallas loves pop music, mismatched socks, and fried chicken. She lives in Fort Worth, Texas with her youth minister husband, Sam, and their two wicked Yorkies, Elphie and Luna. Krissi enjoys hanging out with her quirky middle school students and building the dramatic, magical, and mysterious world that makes up the Phantom Island series. Be sure to check out Windchaser, Windfall, and Watercrossing. Krissi loves connecting with teens, as well as readers and writers of all ages! You can stalk her online at

Proving my point about how fabulous Krissi is, just check out this giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Time To Laugh

Sometimes we all feel a little lazy and worthless, and those are the times we must laugh at ourselves. 

Enjoy the writing journey...

XO Karlene

Monday, May 20, 2013

IE Reviews: Lightning Rider

I've joined NetGalley as a reviewer and my first read was one that impressed me! The fantasy novel Lightning Rider by debut author Jen Greyson (published by The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House) was one I couldn't resist. Here is my official review:

The stunning cover drew me in but the characters and writing style are what kept me captivated. A kick-butt bike-building latino chick who can both wield and ride lightning into the past, what's not to love? Evy's hesitance and imperfections made her perfect in a lot of ways for me. The tension, and magnetism, between her and the Roman warrior Constantine is smoking hot (and for adults only). While it ended a bit abruptly for me with a few too many loose ends waiting for another book (and I'm one who doesn't mind an open-ended book normally), I still enjoyed it well enough that I will purchase and read the next novel in the series. I look forward to it!

This novel has not yet released but you can add it to your Goodreads lists to remind yourself! Trust me, you don't want to miss this one if you enjoy good adult fantasy.


Author of the paranormal Earth-conscious channeler series: Born of Fire (FREE novella), Fire With Fire, The Secret of Spruce KnollChanneler's ChoiceRise of a Rector, the historical fantasy, To Ride A Puca, and the epic fantasy The Dragon Empire. Heather also has stories in the following anthologies: In His Eyes (FREE) and Winter Wonders

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

So, You Want to be Published?

My vampire book series, Dark Secrets, has recently become very popular, and I get asked all the time how I came to achieve success in the industry and if I feel I made the right choices by going the indie route.

Indie route, you ask?

Yes. Independent Publishing. It means I don’t answer to anyone. I retain full creative control and keep 100% of my profits.

How does one go about this?

Here’s where I have to be careful, because being independent isn’t for everyone, then again, signing on with small press, vanity publishers or even one of the ‘Big Six’ isn’t for everyone, either. You have to do what works for you, and often you have to walk that road before you realize it’s either the wrong or the right one. But it is much easier and cheaper to walk the Indie road first and see if it takes. If not, you can always go traditional.

Now, some people will tell you that publishers won’t accept books that have been self or previously published. Codswallop! Of course they will, if it’s worth their while. Just ask Amanda Hocking. So, don’t let that be a deterrent.

Below, I’ll talk a little about some pros and cons of publishing independently:

One big pro is you don’t need to shove your manuscript in a drawer for two years while you wait for college-grads to validate your work by accepting it into their agency, where it will then go through rigorous combing and probably come out the other side rejected anyway. Getting accepted to an agency does not mean you’ve made it. Even getting on the Penguin bus doesn’t guarantee success.

Pro: You retain full creative control; no one will tell you to delete scenes because it affects the ‘flow’. Downside, there’s no one to tell you if the flow is affected. You have to get really good at self-assesment.

Con: You have to pay for an editor (which can be up to $7000 or more. My books were $4000), or put your work out there and cross your fingers, just hoping no one notices the mistakes (and there will be many even your avid reader friends will miss).

Con & Pro: You need to know publishing and copyright law. However, this is as easy as just doing a bit of research and reading on the Internet (from reputable, approved sites).

All about Indie
Writer Beware: pretty much everything you need to know. It will tell you all about dodgy publishers and vanity publishers and even names the ones you need to avoid.
Info on copyright: Australia
Info on copyright: U. S.If you're getting your information from a blog, be sure to check the author's credentials before taking it as fact, because, for example, using song lyrics in your book is breaking copyright laws and you can be sued, but some see this as a matter of opinion and may argue the percentage of text used can be classed as fair use. Not always the case. Know your laws.

Neither pro nor con: You have to purchase your own ISBN, which can be done through Thorpe-Bowker (Aus) or Bowker (US)

Pro: You decide the price, release date, title, cover, everything.

Now, I’ll talk a little about where you can go to get your work out there.

Start with Kindle Direct Publishing (or KDP)

Then go to (Once you sign up, there is a blue bar across the top of your page. Go to the word PUBLISH to upload your book and DASHBOARD for all other info).

These two places will see to it that your work appears at B & N, Amazon, Kobo, iBooks and many other book retailers.

But, doesn’t publishing independently mean I’ll never have my books in paperback?

No! Simply go to a great place called Createspace or Lulu (my two favorites)

It really is that easy. After that, it’s up to the content to sell and how well you market and network.


Go see Bewitching Book Tours to participate in a blog tour. My sales increased by over 20, 000 copies for the month of my tour (and again for a few moths after), and tour prices start from as little as $25. You can even pay through Paypal.


Come on. Really? Facebook, people. Facebook. Start your own “Page”. Not a ‘friends club’. Actually start a Page and post links to your page on your website (which you can create for free through Weebly) and on your Author Central profile that you’ll create when you’ve joined up with Kindle Direct Publishing for Amazon (KDP).

Lastly, and anyone who knows me through chatting on Facebook will know how much I hate this.....There is no such thing as an ‘aspiring writer’. Being a writer is a choice you make, and you do not need validation from a publisher. Put your work out there. Get validation from the people. If you get a lot of bad reviews, perhaps reassess and maybe rewrite and re-release, but, if you’ve done your research, worked hard, revised constantly and requested constructive criticism, then bad reviews will simply be a matter of one’s opinion, not a reflection of inferior writing.

And keep in mind, my books have heaps of bad reviews. When I felt bad about them, I simply went and read all the bad reviews on Twilight, because I loved those books, so it was good to see that some people just didn't ‘get it’.

I wish all of you the best of luck with your publishing dreams for 2013.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Cover Shoots Made Affordable

If you're like me, you're an author who has longed for a special cover, one uniquely yours that doesn't originate from stock photos, but you shied away from the cost of a photo shoot. I have great news for you! Through my company CP Design, I will now be partnering with a professional photographer, Kelsey Keeton, and offering covers that are custom shot with a model of your choice~from over 80 models, then turned into a unique cover designed by me. Throughout this post you'll see a few outstanding photos by her to give you a taste of her talent. But what will it cost, you wonder? Designs start at only $250 for an eBook cover, $400 for a paperback, $450 for a hardback, and that's a cover that no one else will have, ever because you will get exclusive rights to the photo. Those prices include my fees and hers for the base package!

K KEETON DESIGNS: Kerrigan Arnold HMUA &emdash; Here is the breakdown of the cost so you can determine what it will run you:

Premium eBook cover: $100 plus the base photo shoot price of $150 is $250 total.
(The cost is less than my normal charge because my work on the image is reduced. This includes adding additional photos (may be stock) such as logos, images for effect~smoke or such. Also includes adding your title and name in a specialized font of your choice with the effect of your choice available to me through the advanced Photoshop program that I use. Also includes changes like colors of things in the photo, brightness, special effects, and the addition of a different background if you so choose. The background may be a stock image, or it may be from my portfolio of backgrounds.)

K KEETON DESIGNS: Never Let You Fall Book Cover &emdash; Front and back paperback cover: $250 plus the base photo shoot price of $150 is $400 total. 
(Includes the eBook formats as well as formatting the paperback onto a template for printing, page cover matter.This also includes adding logos, images for effect~smoke or such, and images for the spine and back of the book. Also includes adding your title and name in a specialized font of your choice with the effect of your choice available to me through the advanced Photoshop program that I use. Also includes changes like colors of things in the photo, brightness, special effects, and the addition of a different background if you so choose. The background may be a stock image, or it may be from my portfolio of backgrounds.)

Hardback covers: $300 plus the base photo shoot price of $150 is $450.
(Includes the eBook formats as well as formatting the hardback onto a template for printing, and back cover matter. This also includes adding logos, images for effect~smoke or such, and images for the spine, back, and flaps of the book. Also includes adding your title and name in a specialized font of your choice with the effect of your choice available to me through the advanced Photoshop program that I use. Also includes changes like colors of things in the photo, brightness, special effects, and the addition of a different background if you so choose. The background may be a stock image, or it may be from my portfolio of backgrounds.)

K KEETON DESIGNS: Willis - Model &emdash; K KEETON DESIGNS: Model Serena Lee Feb 2013 &emdash;

Next, I'll partner you up with Kelsey and you'll choose the model for your photo shoot and discuss extensive details of what you would like for the photo. Once the shoot is finished, Kelsey will contact us and together you and I will choose the best photo (or photos) for your cover.

Photo Shoot Costs: 

$150 base price for a photo shoot with one model in which you choose one picture.
(Cost goes up depending on how many models are used and how many pictures you want to purchase.)
$50 for each photo chosen.
$20 to each model (per image bought)
For a total of at least $70 per additional photo. All in all, pretty amazing for a unique cover that no one else will ever have, with a model of your choosing. Ready to take the plunge?
Contact me at: cpdesignsforauthors (at) gmail (dot) com


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Go Back To The Beginning

Fans of The Princess Bride will know Inigo Montoya's mantra. You know, the one where he introduces himself, accuses Count Rugen of homicide and recommends he accept a terrible fate.

But Inigo has another mantra, and that is, "When the job fails, go back to the beginning."

I love going back to the beginning. I try things, they don't work, I go back to the start and see if I can get it right.

When I was in the midst of plotting Ondine 4 The Spring Revolution, I hit a wall. Or, a hole. Yes. A big plot hole that said, "fill this in later". Well, it's later now, and I still don't know how to fill it. Even with the best intentions of following structure, I still can't fill a hole if I have nothing to fill it with.
So I went back to the beginning and read the first two Ondine books.
It gave me ideas.

This resulted in two things: I laughed at my own jokes AND I spotted lots of lovely little asides and moments I could call back to in book 4. In books 1 & 2, (Summer and Autumn) much is mentioned of Great-Aunt Col's disastrous debutante ball. The one where she cursed Hamish into his ferrety incarnation.

Well, Old Col never got to re-do her 'deb' so it's high time she got her second chance.

That would be lovely to put into book 4.

In book 2 (set during Autumn), it mentions the clocks going back in two stages. One hour in October, another hour in November, so everyone gets two sleep-ins. This is because the clocks go forward 2 hours in one night in Spring, to really get plenty of daylight in the evenings. (People get the following Monday off as a public holiday, to cope with the 'jet lag')

As book 4 is the spring book, I need to mention this.

In book 1 there's a passing mention that Ondine wanted to study media, but with a wedding to pay for, her family might not be able to afford the camcorder fees. It turns out they can, so in book 4, Ondine will have a camcorder in her hand. I'd completely forgotten about this, but it fits perfectly with the oncoming revolution.

Needless to say, each time I get an idea while reading the old books, I jot it onto a note and stick it on my structure sheet. The structure sheet is looking like a post-it monster sneezed all over it. It's a mess, but I can fix it.

The thing is, I've given myself more ideas, and now I have those ideas, more will follow.

~Ebony McKenna, author of the Ondine series.
Twitter -  Website -

Friday, April 26, 2013

IE Reviews: The Mind Readers

I downloaded this eBook from B&N when it was free and I have not been paid by anyone for the review, which is my honest opinion.

If I didn't know this book was indie, well, I wouldn't have known. And I'm picky about everything from grammar and over used phrases and words, to plot holes. This book, had almost none of those issues. It wasn't error free, of course, but then I can find errors in traditionally published books. And this was as close as error free as I've seen most traditionally published books.

From the first shocking page, I was hooked. I've been bored with
YA lately and I've read one too many books about psychics and mind readers so I didn't expect to get past page one. Wow was I surprised. Not only did I get past page one, but I looked forward to getting on my treadmill so I could read more, and stayed up late into the night turning pages. It's rare for a book to captivate me like that. Not only is the writing captivating and clean, the characters are compelling and complex.

I liked this so much that I immediately bought her second book in the series and downloaded the other two free books of hers that she has available.

You can find The Mind Readers at the following locations (among others):


Author of the paranormal Earth-conscious channeler series: Born of Fire (FREE novella), The Secret of Spruce KnollChanneler's ChoiceRise of a Rector, the historical fantasy, To Ride A Puca, and the epic fantasy The Dragon Empire. Heather also has stories in the following anthologies: In His Eyes (FREE) and Winter Wonders

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Paperback Writer on Bass and Plot Lines

Wow, the Beatles really pegged the plight of the author in their 1966 hit, Paperback Writer, written by Paul McCartney. The song is essentially a query letter from an aspiring writer to a publisher.

Some of the lyrics:

Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
It's based on a novel by a man named Lear
And I need a job, so I want to be a paperback writer…

It's a thousand pages, give or take a few,
I'll be writing more in a week or two.
I can make it longer if you like the style,
I can change it round and I want to be a paperback writer…

If you really like it you can have the rights,
It could make a million for you overnight.
If you must return it, you can send it here
But I need a break and I want to be a paperback writer…

Sound familiar? Kind of crazy that this tongue-in-cheek view of a struggling writer is still bang on almost 50 years later. The tune was also one of the first of the Beatles songs to feature the bass as a solo instrument. I dig it. As a member of an all-woman band, and a bass player, iconic bass lines are my current musical obsession. ;)

I equate a solid bass line with having a solid plotline. In most songs, you may not be able to pick out the bass riff, but it is there. Locking the drums and guitars in, supporting the vocals, balancing the highs and bringing out the lows. A simple bass riff is sometimes best – grounding the other instruments, keeping them on track. This is called “rooting” – sticking to the root notes of the song – and essentially that’s the role of your plot. It is the glue that holds your fictional world together.

Yet when given the opportunity, the bass can dazzle, much as a rich plot can wow the reader, taking them in new directions. A bass line foreshadows and pre-empts key changes, supports verses, builds to the chorus, and can offer a haunting fade out.

Just like a solid plot line full of rising action, conflict, ever-increasing tension, an epic showdown, and falling action.

Remember, when you’re outside a concert venue, it’s the bass you feel pulsing with the beat of your heart, thrumming under your feet, drawing you in.

I dare you to listen to the next song you hear and listen for the bass – I bet you’ll be surprised by how much it adds / fills out the tune. My fellow paperback writers, consider the beauty of a solid plot line – it ROCKS!

~Judith Graves
You can follow me on Facebook:
On the Twitter: @judithgraves
Or via my website:

Friday, April 19, 2013

No Readpocalypse

Library doors bolted shut, larger locations with weighted chains blocking all entries - double-padlocked.
Closed. No service. All books banned.

Internet trolls reign free to police any online presence attempting to download anything that slightly resembles a limerick or a haiku.

Graphic tees, shirts with funny or thought-provoking quotes, anything like reading made into an outlawed activity.

The world a place of plain solid colors, smiles discouraged for fear of encouraging positivity. Positivity could lead to the sharing of ideas, possible debate and lively discussions.

Hands empty of glossy hardcover books and prevented from owning a paperback to bend or turn pages into dog-eared bookmarks.

This is the read-pocalypse. No readers to swoon behind book boyfriends, to read the character tales itching for freedom beyond the fringes of our busy minds.

That day is not this day.


Today, readers can hop into any local library to read about Harry Potter and his wizarding adventures, or walk through a wardrobe into a snowy new world of magic, Turkish delight and an awesome lion. They can venture into a magicked nook of small town Texas and discover witches, vampires and shifters living in a tenuous harmony.

Readers are out there, hungry for our stories. So writers must write, query agents and editors or self-publish. After all, there are some deep reader appetites to fulfill.

Writers: Write like there’s no read-pocalypse.

Readers: Read like there’s no tomorrow J

~ Angela Brown, author of YA works such as Frailties of the Bond, where readers can take a brief trip to that magicked nook of small town Texas and see how witches, vampires and shifters can live in any kind of harmony.

Monday, April 15, 2013


Recently, one of my friends told me she admires me for my drive. While I took this as the compliment it was, I feel undeserving in the sense that I don’t see myself as going above and beyond, or necessarily doing more than anyone else. I simply do what has to get done.

As a work-from-home mother of three children, one of them on the Autism spectrum, as well as a new inductee into the Sandwich Generation, I’ve got a lot on my plate: helping the teen figure out what classes to take next year in high school; steering a pre-adolescent through the daily drama of school and fair-weather friendships; dealing with the constant headaches of IEP meetings and the home-school vs integrate debate; making sure my mother, who now lives with us, gets what she needs in order to maintain some sense of independence and dignity; etc. The list goes on, and nothing ever really gets checked off.

I am just as busy in my professional life, too. As a self-published author I am currently working on four novels, three of which are on tap for a 2013 publication date. I often hear questions like “How do you do it?” and “Don’t you ever get confused?” Well, I do it because I have to, both for the creative release and for financial gain. As far as getting confused . . . I guess I can’t be any more confused than I already am! All joking aside, working on multiple projects at once keeps my writing fresh and interesting. At least to me. 

But there’s also another reason for this so-called drive of mine, and it’s because I live and labor under the eternally optimistic, and maybe a little bit narcissistic, belief that I’m destined for something great. What that “something” is, I do not know. Maybe I’ll be one of those self-published authors who gets discovered and signs a six-figure deal with a major publishing house. Perhaps my husband and I will start that much-needed school for special needs kids we keep talking about. Or quite possibly the greatest achievement of my life will simply be helping my children live up to their potential and reach their own dreams.

What I know is this: Whatever that something great is, it won’t just come to me. Or to you, either. We have to go out there and get it ourselves.

~Melissa Luznicky Garrett
An author of adult and young adult novels. She lives in upstate New York with her husband, three children, and numerous animals. Look for THE PROPHECY, the much-anticipated conclusion to THE SPIRIT KEEPER, coming May 2013. In the meantime, connect with Melissa on Facebook at

Friday, April 12, 2013

Excerpt from Dark Secrets by A.M. Hudson

Hello to all the Indie Elite followers. This is my first ever blog post here since I became a member long ago. But, with things going well for my book series now, I have some more time up my sleeve and thought I’d take the chance today to share something special with you all.

This is a scene from the 5th book in my romantic vampire series, Dark Secrets.

Many of my fans will have come over here today to get this exclusive sneak preview, and I hope while you’re all here you’ll take a minute to go check out the other authors on this site, too. I’m sure you’ll find some fantastic reads among them.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s a scene from the 5th book in the Dark Secrets series, exclusively brought to you by The Indie Elite and A.M. Hudson. Hope you enjoy.

#Ara and Mike chat outside the Immortal Damned house.

I came over the hill, the midday sun bright and yellow above me, glaring in my eyes enough that as I set my gaze down on the basketball court, I could swear I saw Mike holding a child up to the hoop. 
He bent down, then tossed his hand in the air, waving it once. “Hey, Ara.”
“Hey, what you do—” 
“This is Will,” he cut in, presenting a small, blond-haired boy.
I stopped dead halfway down the hill. “Yes, we’ve met.”
Mike smiled at the kid. “I’ll just walk ‘im back inside. Two secs, ‘kay?”
“Sure,” I said chirpliy, but my bones wouldn’t move. Who on Earth authorised him to take the Damned outside?
Mike walked the boy back toward the house, his hand on his shoulder, both of them talking animatedly, like they were best buddies. I almost didn’t recognise my ‘mature’ best friend and Chief of Security anymore. He even dressed differently when he came to see the Dammed—always in jeans and a light coloured T-shirt, usually wearing a baseball cap, too. And I kinda liked him this way. He was fun Mike. Guy-I-grew-up-with Mike.
I reached the base of the hill as Mike broke into a light jog back in my direction, bending to scoop the basketball of the ground as he approached. “Hey, baby.”
“Hey. Letting the Damed out now, huh?”
He smirked at the quaver in my voice. “Yeah. Who'd have thought blood hungry kids could get a release of energy from playing outdoors?”
“And. . .who, exactly, approved this?”
“David.” He stood taller, clearly ready for a challenge. “But not without supervision, and only one at a time.”
“But nothing, Ara. Those kids—” He pointed to the house, “—for the most part, are normal. You can’t keep them locked away for the rest of their lives—” 
“Even if the conditions are pleasant,” he finished. “You don’t have to agree, Ara, but you—”
“Mike.” I put my hands up. “I agree, okay. I was just. . .”
He smiled sheepishly. “Surpised.”
“Yeah. I didn’t mean to start an argument. I think it’s great.” I glanced over at the house to see all the little faces watching Mike and I through the window. “It’s just that no one told me.”
“Didn’t David?” Mike jumped up to dunk the ball in the hoop.
“Nope.” I strolled over and caught it on the rebound. “He told me they were showing signs of improvement now that they’re being fed properly, and mentioned something about education, but—”
“Did he tell you we decided not to feed them Pure Blood?”
I frowned, searching my brain for that conversation, but it’d never happened. “No. Why’s that?” 
“Well, for one, when we tried them on Lilithian blood, they rejected it—it wasn’t enough for them.”
“They’re like concentrated versions of vampires, almost as if they need more blood than an adult.” He stole the ball from my hands. “Kind of like when vampires get hurt—our blood isn’t enough for them then, either.”
“And, what were the other reasons you decided against giving them our blood?”
“We don’t want them immune to your venom.” He threw the ball into the hoop, ignoring my sudden gasp. “We left it that way in case you never find a cure for vampirism.”
“So, you're just going to kill them if I can’t change them back?”
Mike took a deep breath. “We may have no choice. They can’t stay that way for eternity.”
“Mike! That’s horrible.”
“I know. But it won’t come to that. Besides—” He dribbled the ball. “Were also leaving things open in case one of them wants to die.”
“You're giving them the option?”
“They're children, they can’t make that kind of choice.”
“Ara—those kids are older than you.”
“Not in human years.” I stole the ball.
“Yes, but they mature with experience and age—just like we do.” He reached across and snatched it from my hands, throwing me a vehement glare with just a hint of a smile underneath. “Their mind’s aren’t locked in childhood at all, like vampires first thought. And—”
“I know,” I cut in. “I’ve seen them learn, show reason, integrity—wisdom, even. But I don’t like the idea of giving them the option of suicide.”
“Freedom, you mean.” He turned away and threw the ball toward the hoop.
“Freedom. It’s not the option of suicide, Ara. It’s the freedom to choose an immortal life or a peaceful death.”
I studied him carefully for a second before he broke the stare and wandered over to grab the ball from across the court. He was serious about this stuff. I’d never seen him get so . . . red in the face, over any topic. “Why does it matter to you so much, Mike—whether they live or die?”
“It’s not that.” He tossed the ball to me; I caught it. “It’s. . .I don’t know.”
I hid my smile with the turn of my back, and aimed the orange ball to the sky, throwing it but missing my target. “You come here every day, don't you?”
“Yeah. Why?” 
“Oh, no reason.” I folded my arms, squinting up at him. “One might just think you were starting to like those kids.”
He smiled bashfully, jamming his hands in his pockets, but it slipped away as he looked at his feet. “So what was the deal with you lot last night?” 
“What do you mean?”
“I had coffee with Morg this morning. She told me you all fell asleep on David.”
I took a step away and grabbed the ball off the ground. “Yeah. And?”
“Where was Emily?”
I passed him the ball. “What’d you mean?”
He sighed, hinting the obvious. “Where, Ara?”
“Oh, um, she had her head in his lap.”
“Exactly.” He spun the ball around a few times between his palms, studying it. “You all looked at me last night like I was coming to Morg’s room for sex or something, yet Em falls asleep with her head in your husband’s crotch, and no one bats an eyelid?”
Someone did.”
“Who?” He glanced sideways at me, the ball rolling off his fingertips toward the hoop again. “You?”
I nodded.
He sighed. “Things aren’t great between her and I, Ar, but. . .I love her.”
“Do you? Really?” I asked in a flat but curious tone.
“Of course.” He bent down to grab the ball. “She just expects too much of me. I can't be with her twenty-four-seven.”
“Or you don't want to.”
He made a basket, his hands staying in the air a few seconds longer than needed. “I . . . I don't know.”
I grinned, trapping the ball under my toe as it rolled toward me. “Trouble in paradise.”
“Shut up.” He copied my grin, elbowing me in the ribs after. 
“Just tell me one thing,” I said. 
“Do you actually want to be with her, Mike, or are you holding on to her like some trophy?”
“Nice shot.” He laughed, watching my ball go through the hoop without hitting the rims. “And . . . yes. I do want to be with her, Ara. But—” His gaze went distant.
“There are . . . things. I dunno.” He shook his head. “I just . . . it’s not all black and white.”
“So talk,” I said, and Mike walked away, taking a seat on the court-side bench, with his head in his hands.
I sat beside him, leaving the ball to roll off, coming to rest on the foot of the hill.
“When I spend time with her . . . she’s not even there. You know, I told her something really personal the other day, and she . . .” He leaned back, looking up at the sky. “She laughed. Yet, when I told Morg the same thing, she. . .”
“Well, she supported me. It’s like, I know you think there’s something with Morg and me, but there’s not. She just . . . listens.”
“She ‘gets’ you,” I said with a smile.
“Yeah. But it’s not just her special talent, Ar. She’s a good person.”
I nodded and looked up at the same place Mike was staring. “So, are you saying you want Emily to be more like Morgaine?”
He laughed, catching the humour in my voice. “I just want her to want me for more than the idea she has of me, if that makes any sense.”
I ran the words over in my head, interpreting them as best I could. “You want to be free to be you, and have her love you anyway.”
“Yeah. But she’s got this image of me and what I should be, you know? And it’s not me, Ar.”
“I know.” I nodded, thinking more about the Mike I grew up with. “So, what was it?”
“What was what?”
“The personal thing you told Morg and Em, but not me.”
His lips parted in a breathy grin. “It’s private.”
“Please tell me.”
I saw him considering it as he studied me in his peripheral, and I knew that, for the first time in so long, he saw me as his best friend again. “I spend more time down here than I do at the barracks.”
“Hm.” I was taken aback for a moment, disguising my shock quickly with a smile. “You like hanging with the children?”
He nodded, his whole body rocking with the movement. “I . . . I get something out of this. I don’t know. I just . . . when I spend the day with them—teaching them things, playing with them, and I see the difference it makes—see them put what I’ve taught them into practice or see them behave differently each time I visit, it. . .” He stopped for a second to look at my face. “It makes my life seem like it has a purpose.”
“Really?” was only one of the hundred questions I suddenly wanted to ask.
“Yeah.” He looked into my eyes then at my lips, probably expecting me to laugh. “Morg thinks I should change my career path.”
“To what?”
His hands tightened, a slow breath filling the lengthy pause. “A teacher.”
My gut dropped. “Are you—”
“No.” He waved a reassuring hand. “I’m not even thinking about it. You know I couldn’t leave you, but I—I like the idea, you know, that maybe this—” he motioned around himself and my world, “—isn’t all there is for me.”
“And what did Em think of that?”
“She thinks . . . She—” He swallowed the lump in his throat. “Well, she said it was ridiculous. Said I was born to be Chief, and that I shouldn’t be anywhere else.”
“I. . .” I nodded, stalling for time until I could sort my own thoughts and opinions out from my fears and worries. “Morg’s right, Mike. You’ve always been the sort of guy who’d be good at teaching. I mean, hell, you taught me nearly everything useful I know in life.”
“Aw, shux.”
I laughed. “Buuuut. . .”
“I know.” He patted my hand. “I know you need me here.”
“We won’t always, though, Mike.” I patted his hand back until he looked at me. “I think it’s great, and I think you should definitely do it. But, just . . . can you wait ‘til this Drake thing’s resolved?”
He put his arm around my neck and pulled me close. “Sure, kid. I hadn’t made any plans to go anywhere just yet. You can count on me.”
“I know.” I smiled, pressing my brow into his kiss.

That’s all for today, folks. Thanks to The Indie Elite for hosting this post.
If you’d like to know more about The Dark Secrets series, you can go to for links to the books and to the Facebook and Twitter pages.

~Angela Hudson

Friday, April 5, 2013

At Last, Dangerous Depths

Rhemalda Publishing and author Karen Amanda Hooper are pleased to announce the upcoming publication of DANGEROUS DEPTHS, the sequel to Tangled Tides and the second book in The Sea Monster Memoirs.

Thoughts from Karen...
To some, my happy news many come as no surprise. Some may have even believed my contract for Dangerous Depths was already a done deal. But it wasn't. My publisher, Rhemalda, requires a full manuscript before they decide whether or not they want to offer on any author's next book. It took me much too long to send them Dangerous Depths (blame it on the unexpected chaos of life) but finally, a few weeks ago, I finished and hit send.

I hoped they would like it, but I did not assume they'd want it. Because you know the funny but also very true saying...

"Never ASSUME, because when you ASSUME, you make an ASS of U and ME."

Good news. They wanted it. I officially signed the contract last week. It's a done deal.
*happily spins in the water like a mermaid*

The release date will either be late this year, 2013, or early 2014. BUT, we are shooting for--and I am really hoping for--this year. Ironic that it takes me forever to write the darn thing yet I can hardly wait to release it to the world. (I never claimed patience to be my greatest virtue.) We will announce a release date soon after we discuss schedules with the dream team.

I'm so excited and grateful to be partnering with Rhemalda Publishing again on another book. They are a fabulous publisher and a great support. I'm already envisioning the cover for Dangerous Depths and I know it will be fantastic. Eeep!

If you'd like to add Dangerous Depths on Goodreads, here's the link.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Trickiness of Censorship

In Canada, books are not banned. The choosing and purchasing of books is up to the discretion of the librarian. This is a part of the Freedom of Information and protection of privacy act. The act also states that as an employee I am not allowed to stop them from signing out whatever they want, plus I don't have to divulge that information the their parents. It is interesting how kids will swarm to the books labelled "mature reads". As a librarian I am entitled to warn students if a book contains foul language, sex or violence, but I can’t stop them from reading it. If I knew we had an abridged copy, I would tell them about it, but ultimately the choice is theirs.

Censorship is a tricky subject. As a mother, I censor what my kids read, watch or play because children are easily beguiled and I want to protect their innocence. For example, the less they hear or read the “f” word, they less likely they are to use it. At the same time, I don’t blind them from reality. I will never lie to them. I want them to know there are mistakes in history that if ignored will be repeated. There will come a time when I cannot stop what is exposed to them and I hope by then I have ingrained in them a high sense of morals and values so they can withstand any negative influence they come across.

However, that said, as a mother I cannot walk into the library and rip pages out of books or scribble out offensive passages with a black felt marker. I would be sued for doing that. As a mother, I have no influence on the literature found in a public institution. I cannot take away the rights of patrons to read what they want or the rights of authors to write what they want.

Mothers, librarians and authors hold the gateways to censorship and I happen to be all three. There was a time early in my career that I figured I could be a shining example of purity and honesty for my readers; that none of my characters would swear, drink, have sex or be racist. They would be a beacon of light in the dark world and every teen reader would eagerly strive for the same kind of perfection. Well, my manuscripts got real boring real fast. I was restraining my characters from their true selves. My antagonists were unconvincing and my heroes were way too polite.

So I made them real or I should say they made themselves real. My son asked me why Torvald swore in my YA novel SHIFTERS and I said, “That’s the way he is; a little rough on the edges. It is Torvald talking, not me.”

As an author I do my best to present examples of stalwart, responsible citizens as well as the not so shiny happy people to educate and influence my readers my readers. As a librarian I seldom refuse to purchase a book unless the content is utterly nasty and patrons would be embarrassed if they were seen taking out books like that. Even if they did, I wouldn’t tell, I uphold any librarian/patron privileges. As a mother I screen first to make sure my kids don’t accept or develop any bad habits, then I encourage them to read like any good author/librarian/mother would do.

P.S. Aimee L. Salter  has a great post on the subject of removing the “n” word from Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn.

~Halli Lilburn, author of the YA novel SHIFTERS.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Space Between~Early Release

The Space Between, the first part in my new series, The Book of Phoenix, is ripe and ready for release. The official release date is April 5, but the ebook will come out early. Woohoo! How early depends on how many Likes I can gain over on my Facebook page. I’m hoping this weekend? Maybe even today? Hmm…we’ll see.

Planning a release as an indie is kind of difficult. When we’re responsible for all of the pieces, you’d think making them come together by a certain time would be easy. We’re in control, right? Well, not so much. Especially when the retailers keep changing their parameters for the files that we upload. Or when they decide to take a day or two longer than normal to approve a new title.

Our editors and proofreaders may take longer or shorter to do their parts than we planned for. We ourselves may need more or less time than expected to do last minute fixes. Then there’s all the formatting for the various versions.

I always build in extra time because inevitably there are issues. I’m publishing my sixth title, but new problems still pop up. It’s such an exciting time to be prepping to push that PUBLISH button, but also extremely frustrating because regardless of how smoothly the process goes, it’s never smooth enough. I mean, why can’t everything work perfectly on the first try? Is that really asking for too much?

After the last couple of days of driving myself nutty with syntax coding errors (an extra space in a file name wasted three hours of troubleshooting time and that’s just one example), we’re pretty much ready to publish early. It’s not the first time I’ve been off by a few days, although it’s the first time I’ve been ready a week early.

Of course, now I start thinking, “That’s another week to read through and make any final changes to make it even more awesome.” We writers like to be insane, I do believe. So not to torture myself, we will be hitting PUBLISH very soon. Keep an eye out for The Space Between coming to ebookshelves in the next day or so.

About The Space Between, Part One in The Book of Phoenix:

When Life Falls to Pieces, Answers Lie in the Space Between


Bestselling author Kristie Cook, with over 200,000 books sold, brings you another New Adult paranormal series, The Book of Phoenix


“A completely unique story with a paranormal twist . . . the perfect blend of romance and mystery with a phenomenal plot that will keep you guessing.” ~ Jessica, Confessions of a Bookaholic

“I loved this book! The characters, the romance, the plot, the originality! It had everything to make it an amazing book!” ~ Kendall, Book Crazy


After a month-long dance tour through Italy, 20-year-old Leni Drago returns to Georgia to care for her great-uncle, only to find him gone, the home they shared empty and any evidence he ever existed wiped out. All that’s left is a journal she can’t open.

Jeric Winters has been searching for a piece of his past for over a year, only to reach a dead-end in Georgia. When an urgent and magnetic pull draws him out of his hotel room, he comes face-to-face with the beautiful dancer who’s been haunting his dreams day and night.

Jeric’s one to stay away from—a bad-boy, hit-it-and-quit-it type—but Leni can’t escape the fervent feelings between them. As their own existences begin to crumble around them and shadowy forms that are more monsters than men attack, they realize there’s more to the connection between them than physical fascination.

To solve the riddle their lives have become, they must embark on a journey that requires them to face their pasts and release their true souls. And they must do it fast—dark ones from another world are closing in, intent on killing them. Permanently.


“This is a completely new twist on the idea of a timeless love story with a paranormal twist unlike any other. The connection between the two characters is bone deep and resonates beautifully. I will never forget this novel.” ~ Heather McCorkle, Author of the fantasy Channeler series

“Kristie has done it again! Her Soul Savers series is my favorite by far and yet The Space Between is easily the best book she’s ever written! It's dangerous, suspenseful, and smokin’ hot.” ~ Marissa, Comfortably Read Book Reviews

“The Space Between is an amazing story of life, love and fates. Author Kristie Cook has you hanging on the edge of every page. This book stays in your head well after the last page.” ~ Mindy, Forbidden Reviews

**Mature Content** Recommended for ages 17+ due to sexual situations and language.

About Kristie Cook:

Kristie Cook is a lifelong, award-winning writer in various genres, from marketing communications to fantasy fiction. She continues to write the Soul Savers Series, a New Adult paranormal romance/contemporary fantasy, with the first four books, Promise, Purpose, Devotion and Power available now and the next book coming in June 2013. She’s also written a companion novella, Genesis: A Soul Savers Novella, currently available. Over 160,000 Soul Savers books have been sold, with Promise peaking at #54 on the Amazon Top 100 Paid list and at #1 in the Amazon Fantasy category.
The Space Between kicks off her second New Adult paranormal series, The Book of Phoenix.
Besides writing, Kristie enjoys reading, cooking, traveling and riding on the back of a motorcycle. She has lived in ten states, but currently calls Southwest Florida home with her husband, three teenage sons, a beagle and a puggle. She can be found at:

Author's Website & Blog:
Soul Savers Series Website: