Super Secret Project


As I was giving this web site a much needed makeover, I realized I hadn’t written a post since…December 2018?! *Gasps*

And to be honest, I don’t really have the compulsion to blog as much as I used to (although I could probably do a bit better than once every ten months…). I mostly want this web site to be a place where people can find out more about the Reborn series, and what I’m currently working on, all in one place.

I do have a few more books planned for the Reborn series. The first wraps up Siobhan’s (and Carly’s) stories from the previous three books. I also have a partial draft of a stand-alone, Halloween novel that takes place in the Reborn world. I thought I’d be able to get that out for this Halloween, but I’m pushing it back again. (Sorry about that, but I had a wonderful, whirlwind of a summer getting married and moving!)

Also, I have a super secret WIP that has kind of taken precedence. I’ve been working on it on and off for a long time, and it just needs to get done. But I’m excited about it! There’s really no reason for it to be super secret, except that it’s not part of the Reborn series, and I’m not ready to talk much about it yet. I will say it’s a YA science fiction novel with some romance and a lot of drama. (Think Riverdale…with aliens. LOL.)

In any case, you know I like to share playlists of the songs I’m listening to while I’m working on a project. So, here you go…my super angsty, YA book playlist (with YouTube links).

In retrospect, there is a lot of Billie Eilish on here. I’m an adult.

Bad Guy – Billie Eilish

Bubblegum B*tch – Marina (formerly & The Diamonds)

Girls Like You – The Naked and Famous

Starry Eyed – Ellie Goulding

Lock You Up – Charli XCX

Shampain – Marina (side note: this is the best music video ever)

Bury A Friend – Billie Eilish

One Of A Kind – Placebo

Indie Rokkers – MGMT

Teen Idle – Marina

Emotional – Charli XCX

Ocean Eyes – Billie Eilish

E.T. – Katy Perry

Goodbye Spaceboy


Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that English musician/icon/Goblin King David Bowie passed away last week at age 69 from cancer. (As if that weren’t sad enough, Alan Rickman, the talented English actor who portrayed–among other memorable roles–misunderstood Potions professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise, also passed away. At age 69. From cancer.) I’m not usually one for getting emotional about “celebrity” deaths–then again, this is the first time that someone well-known I actually really liked has died. I mean, when you’ve spent hours upon hours listening to someone’s music, feeling feels (I’m sorry, I’m not good with the words today) and getting inspired, it’s hard not to feel sad. Bowie is an artist who seemed larger than life, but his death was sort of a weird reminder that he was mortal, just like the rest of us. He’s left quite an impact over the years, a legacy I’m sure will endure far beyond his death.

There’s been a huge outpouring of grief over his passing and support for his family over social media, which, of course, not just any normal person would get, and I hope it brings some comfort to Iman and his kids–to know how many lives he touched. As a side note, I’ve found it a little strange that the press keeps calling his death “sudden.” For his fans, yes, it was unexpected, and I suppose that’s what they mean. But perhaps not for his family. An 18-month long battle with cancer is long and emotionally draining for all involved–and yet Bowie didn’t let it get in the way of creativity, of getting out one last album for his fans. That album, Blackstar, has become his first number 1 selling album here in the U.S., which is awesome but at the same time a little depressing. He had many other albums that deserved to get that spot, but death has that kind of effect on art.

I can’t say that, without Bowie, there would be no Reborn series, but it would probably be a somewhat different series. His songs and various stage and film personas have definitely inspired me, and will continue to do so. So, as my own little tribute to the Thin White Duke, here is a top ten list of my favorite Bowie songs. This was hard to compile, since I like most of his work. But I made myself pick 10 that mean something personal to me, or that I just simply love. Also, except for number 10, this list doesn’t include some of his collaborations that I like (like Placebo’s Without You I’m Nothing and the PSB remix of Hallo Spaceboy). They may not necessarily be everybody’s favorites or critical darlings, but this is my blog and my list, dammit. And feel free to share your favorites in the comments!

10. Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy

This is probably a random one, but for me, this is the song that started it all. Before I heard this delightful Bing Crosby/Bowie duet on the radio circa Christmas 2005 (yes, the radio, this was pre-YouTube/Pandora/Spotify), all I had heard about David Bowie was that he was kind of weird. But then I heard this angelic voice singing with Bing and was surprised, in a good way, to learn who it was.

9. Oh! You Pretty Things

Probably one of the main reasons I like Bowie so much is due to my love for science fiction and fantasy. Much of his work, particularly in the 70s, incorporated sci-fi themes and characters. Oh! You Pretty Things has a sci-fi/dystopian flavor to it coupled with a lively tune, and the lyrics are pretty catchy, too. (Anna and Peter sing a duet of it in Relapse, which was also a bit of foreshadowing for things to come in future books).

8. Life on Mars?

I think this is probably one of his more famous tunes, although perhaps an acquired taste. The lyrics string together a series of seemingly disjointed scenes, but together they create a picture of a young person trying to make sense out of the world and images around them.

7. Moonage Daydream

Just like all of the songs that made this list, Moonage Daydream is one of my personal favorites–the only thing is, I’m not even sure why, haha. I just love this song.

6. Underground

I couldn’t write a Bowie top ten list without including a song from the Labyrinth soundtrack. Although there are lots of gems on there (Magic Dance, When the World Falls Down, Within You), I decided I had to go with Underground. At the risk of sounding pretentious, this song, from the soundtrack of an 80s children’s fantasy movie, sounds better than most of the songs they play on the radio today, lol.

5. Five Years

As an urban fantasy/paranormal romance writer, it takes me 200+ pages to create the world and story I envision in my head. It takes Bowie 3-5 minutes, in songs like Five Years (below), and Drive-In Saturday (an honorable mention).

4. Modern Love

80s Bowie likely had a bit more widespread appeal than Ziggy Stardust, and–although there was a disappointing lack of space/aliens–his hits during this phase of his career were fun and catchy. Modern Love is my second favorite thing (Labyrinth is the first) Bowie did in the 80s.

3. Rebel, Rebel

I think one of the reasons Bowie’s glam rock days have had such a lasting impact is that he showed people it’s okay to be “weird” (whatever that means to you). He was a voice for the outcasts of his generation, telling them “you’re not alone” in songs like Rock ‘n Roll Suicide. His most covered track (according to Wikipedia), Rebel, Rebel captures this spirit.  Also note his fabulous getup in this video.

2. Starman

Okay, so clearly Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust/glam rock days are my favorite. So many great songs, especially Starman.

1. Heroes

And, finally, my number 1 favorite song of all time, out of all the songs and all the musicians. Well, it might be tied with Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, but right now it has a slight edge. Heroes gives me chills and feels.

Relapse Playlist


Just for fun, here’s a playlist of the songs I was listening to while I was writing Relapse. Links take you to YouTube.

I guess I really like Placebo…

1. “My Sweet Prince” by Placebo

2. “G.U.Y.” by Lady Gaga

3. “Oh! You Pretty Things” by David Bowie

4. “Cars” by Gary Numan

5. “Bad” by U2

6. “Shout” by Tears for Fears

7. “In the Cold Light of Morning” by Placebo

8. “Shady” by Adam Lambert

9. “Meds” by Placebo

10. “Goodness Gracious” by Ellie Goulding

11. “Blind” by Placebo

12. “Pretty When You Cry” by VAST

13. “Devil Inside” by INXS

WIP Wednesday


It’s update time!

The purpose of WIP (Work-In-Progress) Wednesdays is so I can set personal writing goals. It also serves as a way to let you all know what I’m working on. I hope you’ll join me and link back to your own or share in the comments!

To play, just fill in the following:

1. What are you currently writing?

2. Inspirations:

3. Plan for the upcoming week:

*****

1. What are you currently writing?

So I’m realizing I tend not to jump from project to project…I stick with one at a time. Which means I am of course still working on Relapse. (I’m liking the title…I don’t think that will change…) I’ve written 3890 words this week, surpassing my goal of 1500! I feel like I should work on it tonight, but I’m feeling pretty lazy. I also did get around to writing Part 2 of my Reborn dream movie cast, so check that out if you haven’t!

2. Inspirations:

I sort of hate even posting this because I don’t like Katy Perry that much, but someone is writing perfectly catchy, likeable songs for her. Anyway, this song reminds me of one of my characters/couples.

3. Plan for the upcoming week:

I’ll up my game and aim for 3000 words since I seem to be able to write at least that much in a week anyway. I hope to have Part 1 written by the end of February, if not earlier. Then I may have to force myself to put it away while I get ready for my comprehensive exam at the beginning of April…..

WIP Wednesday


It’s update time!

And it’s about time, too! My plan was to write one of these every Wednesday, but I think it’s been a little over a month since my last one. Although it’s not like it was ever an official New Year’s resolution or anything, so I don’t feel that guilty…

Anywho, the purpose of WIP (Work-In-Progress) Wednesdays is so I can set personal writing goals. It also serves as a way to let you all know what I’m working on. I hope you’ll join me and link back to your own.

To play, just fill in the following:

1. What are you currently writing?

2. Inspirations:

3. Plan for the upcoming week:

*****

1. What are you currently writing?

I’ve mentioned this in other blog posts, but I am still working on Relapse (the sequel to Reborn). I mean, it’s definitely a work in progress. I didn’t really touch it at all over my holiday break, and then I had a pretty annoying case of writer’s block for about a month. I had written the first few chapters, but I didn’t like much of  it. I knew where the story was going but was stuck transitioning from the very beginning to those other things. Sometimes I jump ahead and write whatever comes to me, even if it belongs later in the story, but in this case I really felt like the beginning had to be ironed out more before I could go on. (How do you write? Do you go in a particular order, or write whatever comes to you and piece it all together later? Or some other way?)

The good news is, I’m on a bit of a roll now. I fixed the part I hated, and I’m really excited about it again. In the past week or so I’ve written 3200 words. My word count goal for the whole book is 70K, so we’ll see how that goes.

2. Inspirations:

Those of you who have followed The Urge to Write may have noticed my small tendency to obsess over things. One of my obsessions is the 80s, particularly 80s music and fantasy/sci-fi films. There’s just something magical about the combination of 80s fashion, hair and music with fantastical elements like vampires (think The Lost Boys) and, er, goblin kings. So as tokens of my current obsessions, I leave you with a picture of young Billy Idol and the music video of Gary Numan’s Cars. (I love this song. Gary has about as much charisma as a sea bass, but that actually kind of seems to work for him here.)

3. Plan for the upcoming week:

To write at least 1500 more words of Relapse. I also have some fun blog posts in mind. The first is Part 2 of my Reborn dream cast. The other is a post dedicated to one of my other ongoing obsessions: misunderstood fictional characters.

WIP Wednesday


It’s update time! I’ve started WIP (Work-In Progress) Wednesdays to set personal writing goals and as a way to let you all know what I’m doing (besides checking social media)! I hope you’ll join me and link back to your own.

To play, just fill in the following:

1. What are you currently writing?

2. Inspirations:

3. Plan for the upcoming week:

*****

1. What are you currently writing?

I finally finished the outline for Reborn‘s sequel! I like to know where a story is headed when I’m writing, so I’m relieved I got it done. I have a feeling it’s going to be a long book, but we’ll see. 😉 Also, I just realized I totally surpassed my goal from last week and wrote 2400 words! I also wrote 960 words of my fanfic idea.

2. Inspirations:

This week, I’m finding inspiration from the Lady and her latest album Artpop. I guess I just really like her songwriting and how she plays with word meanings. (Although I find the album cover to be kinda awkward, lol.)

Lady Gaga G. U. Y.

3. Plan for the upcoming week:

Keep on plugging away at that sequel. Also, I found some snippets of an old WIP I had written in a notebook awhile back and got really excited about it again, so I may take a look at that old manuscript and see if I can revamp it.

*****

What have you written this week? Tell us about it and link back to your post in the comments!

Reborn Cover Reveal


Reborn FINALHere is the official cover for Reborn, designed by Heidi Sieverding! You may remember my interview with Heidi. She’s a blogger over at Inside the Mind of a Fantasy Writer, a Secret Cravings author, a graphic designer and a fabulous human being. I am thrilled she designed the book cover for Reborn…every time I gaze upon it I get so many feels, haha! She also designs banners, book trailers, postcards and badges, and I highly recommend her! I’ll have some more announcements later in the week, so stay tuned…

And it wouldn’t be Monday without a little music: Lana del Ray’s Summertime Sadness. This is one of the few instances where I like the remix a little better than the original.  I want to use this version in one of my book trailers.

Checking back in with H. N. Sieverding


HN SieverdingBack in April of this year, I posted my first ever author interview with H. N. Sieverding. Well, a lot of exciting things have happened since that interview, so I thought it was about time to check back in with her! Now a Secret Cravings author, Ms. Sieverding has published the first two books in her delectable Christina’s Kisses series, Initiation and Seed of the Master. (Follow the links to purchase them on  the publisher’s web site. You can also find them on Amazon, Bookstrand, All Romance ebooks, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.) They were bestsellers on Bookstrand and the publisher’s web site. I’m also especially excited for the release of her paranormal romance The Bloodlust Prince. I was a beta reader for it and loved it! The ebook comes out in December, the print version in June 2014.

Ms. Sieverding’s stories have strong themes of dark fantasy, paranormal romance and sexy horror. Right now she’s jumping between edits for her upcoming releases and working on Black Hawke, a Paranormal Romance about a photographer and her secret bad boy boyfriend.  (Throughout the book she is trying to figure out his real identity…or if he’s married…) She’s also one of the hosts of Freshly Booked.

Check out our interview below, followed by an excerpt from Initiation and a list of all of her upcoming releases!

Her blog: Inside the Mind of a Fantasy Writer

You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

***

“What you produce as a writer is art.  A voice that opens a vein and leaves the reader lapping at the blood that’s been drawn.”  

-H. N. Sieverding

***

christain_header_quote6SL: When did you first start writing stories?

HN: When I was in grade school, I used to write about a family of alligators that I named the Ellers. I wrote my first novel, Alexandria, my junior year of high school. I decided to write a novel and I sat down on the desktop in our crowded kitchen (I come from a family of seven) and did just that. I was so proud of it (though now it makes me cringe to read through it) and to me that was a huge feat that most people would never accomplish. From that day on it was my dream to become a published author and now I am.

SL: Who or what most inspires your writing?

HN: I get inspired by things around me but it’s not always people or stories. It might be a line I heard someone say or facial expression that sparks a character/story idea. I find the most inspiration when I’m alone listening to music or during a nice drive in the countryside.

SL: Do you listen to music while you write, or do you need peace and quiet?

HN: I write in front of the TV or while cuddling with my son and his ipad, so I can write anywhere. My ideal writing place is sitting on the bed donning a pair of earphones without any distractions. Whenever I get a moment to myself where I can do that, I will take it. Music drowns out the world and helps me concentrate better, giving me that escape I need to write. I’m a big fan of hard rock so on my playlist is Darkest Days, Hollywood Undead, Disturbed and Saliva. The song in my head right now-Levitate (damn it’s catchy).

SL: Which of your stories is your favorite?

HN: Ooo…hard question. If I absolutely had to choose, I’d say The Bloodlust Prince. I could read that story a million times and never get bored. I’m also a big cat person and I love that they are both Cat Demons (more like anime Cat Demons/vampires than real cats) and have lots of cat-like qualities that make their courting both unique and super cute.

Coming in second would be Nero, even though most people ignore that one. I think the whole description of the ‘zombie army’ throws people off. It’s actually a love story about Nero coming to terms with the tragic death of his love (who isn’t really dead-sshhh) and his father’s insanity. My favorite thing about it-the character of Nero. He’s by far my greatest creation-I love em 😀

SL: Who is your favorite author?

HN: Myself. I write all the stories I would love to read. Beyond editing and reading others writing on blogs, I don’t read (unless some asks me to read something of theirs). The last book I read was Paula’s, Queen of Ages, which was pretty sexy by the way. I could say Reverend Wilbert Awdry is my favorite author but not many people would get that reference 😉

SL: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

HN: If you’re serious about becoming published, make sure you have a thick skin and can take bad reviews. Know in advance you will most likely be met with A LOT of disappointment-whether it be having no fans/readers, bad reviews, no reviews and having your awesome novel be ignored and blend into the woodwork. Remember that writing is something you do because you love it, not to get rich or popular. Most authors don’t make much money (if any), so don’t expect to get rich off this career path.

Below is a sexy excerpt from Christian’s Kisses Book 1, Initiation. Happy reading!

***

Her eyes wandered over to the table where the elites sat near the back of the room. She tried to avoid eye contact with them but soon Inititiation_MEDfound herself trapped by a pair of curious eyes. Her brow rose when her eyes grew wider, her baby blues reflecting the innocent fear of child as she returned Christian’s relentless gaze.

Although she knew how dangerous this man was, she couldn’t break the stare, her dazed expression showing her intense fear of him. She watched him take a slow drink from his glass, a devilish smile gracing his lips as he took in this angel that would soon meet the fate he would create for her.

He was drinking what appeared to be blood, the rings on his tanned fingers sparkling under the lights. He was surrounded by beautiful women, all of them fighting to sit next to him and get as close as possible. Addison took a few steps backward, the intensity and promise of sin in Christian’s gaze terrifying her. Even though the sight of her pleased him, he didn’t appear to be in a good mood, his mind seeming distracted.

Swallowing the lump building in her throat, Addison decided she should leave instead of seeing what more could come from this silent staring contest with Christian. She quickly turned around and started toward the large double doors. She wanted to get out of the room as fast as she could, her lower lip quivering as fear overtook her body. Then, someone grabbed her hand, making her turn around and halting her retreat.

One of the elite vampires, Samson, was holding her fingers, his large fangs kissing his bottom lip as he smiled at her. “Come join us.”

Addison nodded, her fear of him silencing her voice. Samson put a loose arm around her shoulders, leading her over to their table.

Samson laughed when he felt Addison tremble under his hands. He ignored her uneasiness and maneuvered her through the crowd gathered around the table. She kept her head down as she passed people so she didn’t see Christian motioning to the girls around him to leave.

Samson placed her next to Christian, and Addison slowly sank down in the chair. She tried not to look over at all the women that were staring at her angrily, but she could still feel their eyes on her.

Christian sat up a little straighter, pushing a glass of champagne in front of her, “What’s your name?”

“Addison.” She forced a smile, glancing up at him briefly then back down at the drink in front of her.

Addison knew who Christian was, her nervousness about being around such an important person wearing thick on her gentle features. She had seen him a few times at swanky functions held for museum fundraisers and auctions, but their only interactions had been a small smile or a wave in passing.

She worked in the preservation department at the CartwrightMuseum, one of the largest in the country. As a member of the staff, she was allowed to attend the events, but mostly as another body to fill the room. The museum employees weren’t allowed to converse with the donors, like Christian, unless they had reason or were approached by them.

He eyed her curiously, licking his lips as he set down his half-empty cup. Addison studied the contents, noticing it wasn’t blood, but some kind of unidentifiable brownish red drink. Her shaky hands picked up the glass in front of her, and she purposefully took a sip, her long fingers wrapping tightly around the stem.

“Are you enjoying my club?” Like a cat, Christian’s eyes scanned the room quickly, watching a few people that walked by their table.

Addison’s voice was soft and inaudible over the voices of the crowd around them, “Yes. It’s great.”

“What?” Even though he had heard her, Christian pretended like he hadn’t. “I cannot hear you over the music.” He scooted his chair closer to her, his hips banging against hers and making her jump a little. A sly smile appeared on his face as he caught her in his gaze. He knew he was making her nervous.

Addison laughed, her light blue eyes darting all over Christian’s handsome face, “I said it’s great.”

Christian picked up his drink again and took an unhurried swallow, the shifting of his stare smooth as he once again scanned the crowd in front of them. Christian’s poise was unfailing. He was extremely attractive, his firm build and striking eyes enough to cause Addison’s heart to race and make her slightly dizzy.

Even though she knew he was a killer, being in his presence was intoxicating. His good looks were a sin against nature, and sitting next to someone so inhumanly flawless carried an indescribable feeling. This was the lure of the devil that made any woman bow to his every whim.

A beautiful girl with platinum blonde hair and perfect breasts sat down next to Christian, rubbing his shoulder and making him turn to her. However, his attention didn’t stay on her and quickly switched back to Addison. He placed his hand on Addison’s knee for a few seconds before letting it slide up her dress. Then, he rubbed her inner thigh, his touch soft and light. Addison jumped at his action, a fearful expression on her face as she choked a little on the champagne she was drinking.

He looked over at her and chuckled, his devilish eyes settling on hers before he spoke softly into her ear, “Relax sweetheart.” He moved her hair behind her shoulder, gazing at her neck for a few seconds. Leaning even closer, Christian continued to brush his fingers up and down the inside of her leg. “I am not going to bite.”

Christian felt her body shake a little at his comment, which ignited a small chuckle from his lips, “Yet.”

*****

Upcoming release dates (the links take you to the book trailers):

  • Initiation (Christian’s Kisses Book 1) releases in print January 2014.
  • Seed of the Master (Christian’s Kisses Book 2) releases in print May 2014.
  • Secret Scarlet releases in ebook September/October 2013 and in print April 2014.
  • Blood Kisses (Nightwalkers Book 1) releases in ebook November 2013 and in print May 2014.
  • The Bloodlust Prince releases in ebook December 2013 and in print June 2014.
  • Forever Black (Nightwalkers Book 2) releases in ebook January 2014 and in print July 2014.
  • Blood War (Nightwalkers Book 3) releases in ebook March 2014 and in print September 2014.
  • Forever Mine releases in ebook May 2014 and in print November 2014.

 

What Music Inspires You?


Heidi asked this question on her blog last week, and I’d like to hear from you all, too: What kind of music inspires your writing? Music Video Monday was originally supposed to be all about what music was inspiring my writing at the time -and it mostly has been, although I also include music that fits my mood and new old music discoveries. (Yes, you read that right: new old music.)

So watch this video from one of my favorite British duos, Erasure, and then let me know your musical inspiration in the comments!

Erasure: “Ship of Fools”

Music Video Monday: Radiohead “Creep”


Thursday’s “Guilty Pleasures” episode of Glee reminded me of how awesome this song is, although I didn’t really like what they did with it. Don’t get me wrong; I think this song could potentially work well in a rock musical/opera performance. It could have even worked on Glee if their interpretation had been a little more “angsty” and sinister. However, they made it too glamorous, and it didn’t seem to go with the situation (Rachel breaking up with her NYADA boyfriend, who is also apparently a gigolo).

The song reminds me of high school and of one of my all-time favorite fictional couples of my own creation, Ava and Tyler. Tyler is the outcast, and Ava is sort of a goody-two-shoes and definitely a bossy know-it-all. So since Music Video Monday is supposed to be about musical influences/inspiration, I’ve decided to include a little excerpt, which takes place at a high school dance. (After perusing Star Eyes for this excerpt, I really really want to work on this story again. But there’s never any time. Can someone please just pay me write stories, please???) After the excerpt, I’ve embedded videos of the Radiohead original and Glee cover, if you missed it.

***

“Shall we?” Tyler asked playfully, and he offered Ava his hand.

She took it, and together they walked out onto the crowded dance floor. He wrapped his arms carefully around her waist as she slung her arms around his neck. For a few moments, they swayed in awkward silence.

“I like your dress,” Tyler finally said, his eyes sweeping over her strapless fuchsia dress.

“Um, thanks,” she said hesitantly. “I tried to find an all-black dress, but this was the only one I tried on that my friends actually liked,” she added with a laugh.

“Do you like it?” he wondered.

“Of course. I was just worried that you might not like it.”

He shook his head and chuckled. “I’m not anti-pink,” he assured her. “I just want people to be themselves. ” He reached over and brushed aside one of her brown curls. “And you look beautiful. I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to say it, but I’m better at expressing myself in writing than talking.”

“I understand. The way you’ve treated me tonight is more important than what you say. But it’s nice to hear it,” she said as an afterthought, but, when she noticed his intent stare, she wondered if he had heard anything she’d just said.

His face leaned in closer to hers, and she felt his hands tighten in apprehension around her waist. Ava’s heart pounded so loudly she was afraid that Tyler could hear it. She leaned in more towards him and closed her eyes.