Friday, August 23, 2013

Stages of nerd grief

When I got the news that Ben Affleck was cast as Batman, I went through several stages of nerd grief. Here they are, in gif form,


Cracked Out What



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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Author's Blog Hop

Hey everyone! This week I'm participating in the Author's Blog Hop sponsored by Lady Amber's Reviews.

 
 
Today, as a special treat, I'm happy to present, an EXTRACTED bonus scene. It isn't used in the book and this is the only place you will ever find it.
 

Ember’s Guide to Time Travel
 
Foreword:
 
Don’t be alarmed. If you’ve picked up this book by mistake, by all means, put it down and walk away now. While you still can.
 
I’m Ember and I’ll be walking (okay, more like kidnapping you, tossing you in the back of a van, and screaming at you as we speed out of control down the street) through the ins and outs of being a time traveler. Try not to panic. Breathe deep and accept that if you are reading this, you are most likely one of us and thus, you are screwed. Because for all the glamour, we are really nothing more than glorified slaves.
 
But more on that later.
 
Lesson one:
 
The title time traveler sounds so Jules Verne doesn’t it? And trust me on this, that guy was seriously bent. Had the misfortune of meeting him once. He gave new meaning to the phrase one egg short of a dozen, you know? But I digress. We prefer the term Rifters. There’s some shiny nugget of awesome in our DNA that lets us not only separate ourselves from time, but Rift it like surfing a massive wave. That, in and of itself is pretty cool. Here’s where things get dicey. There are rules to Rifting. I know, lame, right? Most of us have to study for years before we have all the info hammered into our fragile little brains but you—you my lucky friend—are getting the cliff notes version. So keep up. Because there WILL be a test later. (That part is not a joke and you DO NOT want to fail.)
 
Rifters are like superheroes. Or mutants. Whatever. Pretty rare anyway. So whenever one of us pops up in the time stream we are recruited by a faction, of which there are two.
 
 
The Tesla Institute is my home turf. Basically way back in the day Nicky Tesla (see: Mad Scientist) stumbled across the time stream during an experiment with electricity and radio waves. I’m glossing over the boring details here (and trust me, they are SO boring) to get to the important stuff. He couldn’t actually cross into the stream. But one of his assistants could. She was the first Rifter. Frustrated, he set about discovering why she had the ability that she did. Turns out, it’s part of a genetic condition (like turrets, which my teachers have often suggested I suffer from) specific to a family tree. Here’s the problem with that. If you go back far enough in any family tree, most people share common ancestors. So it’s sort of a crap shoot whether one person from the tree will develop abilities or not. Some of us are stronger than others, strong enough to navigate and access the stream on our own. Some, not so much.
 
Once he realized what he stumbled across, Tesla devoted his life to tracking down the most powerful Rifters he could find and bring them together. At the Institute we learn not just how to control our abilities, but lots of other super useful stuff as well. Like combat skills, history, and physics. It’s like a school. Only the headmaster is the disembodied brain of a mad genius jacked into a massive computer and if you fail the final exams here, you die.
 
Which sucks.
 
So why do I stick around? Well, the food is semi-decent and the people are pretty cool. Oh, and we have a mission. Fancy, right? See, we are the guardians. We preserve the stream, preserve history. Sometimes, we can even make a small change to make things better. Nothing major mind you, but we help when we can.
 
The first class of Rifters Tesla gathered had a couple kids who went all dark side and split off. We call them…
 
 
The Hollows. They pretty much the bottom feeders of the Rifting universe. They scavenge whatever Rifters they can find no matter how weak and use them as cannon fodder in their personal war against Tesla. Oh, and remember those rules I mentioned before? Yeah, these guys could give a flying crap about the rules. Actually, I kind of like that about them. Except I know what breaking the time rules can do, and it ain’t pretty folks. Some limits, even I don’t push. But the heathens have zero respect. Or maybe they are just idiots. (Okay, I might be a TINY bit biased)
 
The Hollows are run by what’s left of a dude named Claymore. He was one of Tesla’s first Rifters. Rumor has it he was so badly injured during an attack on the Institute back in the day that he’s nothing more than a brain in a dive suit. Kind of like Tesla actually. Irony, thou art a heartless wench. Anyway, he corrals the scavengers and sends them out into the time stream to run little missions. Mostly stealing stuff and generally screwing around with history. No one is exactly sure what his end game is, which makes him unpredictable and dangerous. Basically, he’s a big, shovel sized thorn in Tesla’s side.
 
 
 Lesson Two
 
The Rules:
 
I mentioned this before. Time is a living thing, flexible in some ways, but stubborn as an ass in others. I’ll start with the hard and fast rules, the ones you NEVER challenge.
 
1)      NEVER Rift into your own path. Because people are only supposed to be able to be in one place at a time, coming into physical contact with yourself could literally destroy the stream. Best case scenario the stream splits like a fork in a river and an alternate time line is created or worst case scenario the universe implodes. No one is entirely sure which, but Tesla has run the calculations on it and he believes it would cause a paradox that would cause time to sort of rip itself part. In other words, BAD THINGS.
 
 
2)      NEVER change your own history. If you go back and prevent yourself from ever being born, then guess what? You were never born, but the version of yourself that went back to make the change still exists. Boom! Paradox. Yep. Why, you ask? Because once you step through the stream for the first time, you are changed. You become a creature of time, separate and apart from it. The slavery I mentioned earlier? You probably thought I meant the Factions. Nope. We may be able to bend time into a bag of pretzels, but at the end of the day, we are slaves to it just like everyone else. Maybe more so. 
 
 
On to the softer rules. These are really more guidelines:
 
 
3)      Don’t jump into the future. Yes, it can be done, but it’s risky because you never know where or when your future self might be, thus the best way to avoid Rule #1 is to stick to what’s predictable. The Past. Tesla had a couple of his early Rifters jump into the future to gather the tech to build the Institute and let’s just say, there was a VERY close call.
 
 
4)      Don’t alter history if you can possibly avoid it. This is the one rule The Hollows break regularly. Tesla, being the supercomputer he is, can predict the way changes in the time stream will alter history. He knows whether me stopping to buy that candy bar will somehow change the life of some random person I’ve never met. It’s heavy stuff. It’s also how we track the Hollows. Every change they make leaves a ripple in the stream that he can trace. Some ripples are small. Some are big enough to drown the dinosaurs. We try to stop them, but we only get one chance because…
 
 
5)      Never Rift to the same time/place more than once. Again, this is to prevent the breaking of rule numero uno. Let’s say I rift back to stop the Hollows from sinking a boat. I fail. I can’t go back and try again because I’m already there, trying the first time. See? Miserable. But there you have it.
 
 
            Not too many rules, but all very important. I mean, sure, there are other suggestions. Like, don’t rift on a full stomach (because you will barf) or don’t expose your abilities to the normals (it makes them think they are nuts-o).  But that’s all common sense stuff. I do want to give you a free friendly neighborhood warning.
 
Lesson Three:
 
Side Effects
 
            Rifting has some side effects you should probably be aware of. Nothing fun like hairy tongue or permanent scales, but some are just as awesome.
 
 
1)      Memory loss. It’s permanent as far as I know. Something about the first trip through the time stream throws sort of a mental veil over your memories. It isn’t a bad thing though. Tesla doesn’t snatch people from happy, normal homes. He chooses us because something terrible has happened to us, or we are going to die. His rules. So not remembering it is a blessing really. Of course, some of us have so much damage it leaks out under the door a bit sometimes. But we are taught that to be effective Rifters, we have to have no ties to anyone or anything but our mission. If we don’t like the terms, Tesla can always send us back to our fate. Not much of a choice really.
 
 
2)      Pain. The first trip through the time stream sort of feels like being rolled on a bed of hot needles. Maybe it’s the trauma that drives our memories away. Whatever. Bite your lip and suck it up. It doesn’t last long and the more you rift, the less it hurts. Or maybe you just get used to it.
 
3)      Getting Lost. Sometimes, you can get so turned around and the stream will just carry you away. It happens. That’s why we train for so long to prepare. We rift a couple times with a partner to get used to the pull, then we take our final test. If you fail, you either get dumped wherever the time stream spits you out after chewing you up and you live out your days there, or your heart explodes and you die. If you pass, congrats. You’re one of us. And, you know, NOT dead.
 
4)      Accidental Rifting. It’s really rare, but it happens. Some of us, when we get scared or angry, can tap into the stream without meaning too. Most of the time when that happens, it’s to kids who have no idea who or what they are and they meet a gooey end. Sometimes, if they survive, Tesla or The Hollows will track them down and bring them in. I suppose The Hollows uses them but Tesla just patches them up and sends them home after a good memory wipe. He’s never kept one of the strays, as we call them.
 
            Don’t go yet. We are almost done. Just a few more high points to hit. I’m going to call it the bonus section. And it will be on the test.
 
 
 
1)      Tesla Tech.
 
All the goodies we use during missions. Sure we have some cool weapons, but more important is the life saving stuff.
 
A.     Tether- A device that helps us find our way back to the exact place and time we left from. After losing a couple Rifters who couldn’t find their way home, Tesla made us a leash. It also allows us to set the time and date we are traveling to and from. It helps us navigate the stream.
 
 
B.     Earbud- Tesla, ever the micro-manager, developed a small transmitter we wear in our ear so he can keep in contact with us during a mission. We can get directions, he can warn us about potential ripples, pretty much everything but ordering pizza.
 
 
C.     Bable Stone- A ring that allows the wearer the ability to speak and understand any language. A definite bonus when doing a mission in twelfth century China.
 
 
2)      Hollows Tech
 
Ha! Like they have any tech. No, that’s not entirely true. They have weapons too, though mostly standard stuff like knives and swords. What can I say? They dig the pointy. But there is one thing you should be aware of.
 
 
A.     Contra- a pill that enhances their natural Rifting abilities. We have no idea what’s in it or where it came from, it's probably the tears of babies knowing that bunch. But it allows even the weakest Rifters to navigate the stream. Unfortunately for them, it’s also a little radioactive. So prolonged use causes all kinds of grossness and, as a bonus for us, it’s pretty easy to track (though it dissipates quickly).
 
I suppose that’s it. The nitty gritty, as it were. So um, good luck with all that. I hope you don’t die, I really do. We could use a few more players for our weekly poker game.
 
 
Welcome to the war!
 
~Ember

 
 
 
Now on to the fun stuff, the giveaway!
 
To enter, leave a comment on THIS post and on July 11th I will choose one person at random to win a $20 Amazon gift card! This giveaway is open international! Good luck and be sure to head over to the other participating stops for more fun and more chances to win!
 
 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Voodoo Moon Spotlight and Giveaway


Voodoo Moon

(Paranorm World #1)

By June Stevens
VDMFINAL_AREZombies aren’t supposed to exist, yet they are turning up all over Nash City. As a member of the Elite Black Blade Guard, Fiona Moon is tasked with hunting down the most dangerous Paranorm criminals. Now she must find out who is kidnapping mages and sucking the life energy from their bodies. To make matters worse, she has to work with the one man that embodies everything she despises.
Ian Barroes is the rich founder and head of the Necromancers Guild and a professor of Necromantic Studies at the Academy of Science and Magic. There is one thing he wants more than anything else in the world… Fiona.
They each hold secrets that could destroy them but could also be the key to destroying the evil Voodoo priest, Bokor. They must learn to trust each other track down Bokor before more innocents are taken, and murdered. To make matters worse, when Fiona becomes a target of the evil madman she is lured into his trap. Now she and Ian have to fight for survival and their very souls.
PRINT ISBN13: 9780615598628      EBOOK ISBN13: 9781301780792     KINDLE ASIN: B00DII5RSG
EBOOK
PRINT

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 MEPINUPJune Stevens, AKA DJ Westerfield is a wife, step-mom, sister, auntie, daughter, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, friend, and Mommy to three adorable and mischievous four-legged babies.
She writes non-fiction, blogs, and co-hosts an internet radio show as DJ Westerfield.  She uses the pseudonym June Stevens to write fiction in a variety of genres including contemporary romance, romantic suspense, romantic fantasy, paranormal romance, urban fantasy.

THE GIVEAWAY




EXCERPT:

Fiona laughed derisively. “And I’m betting the second she saw it was likely related to the strange dead body case, she handed it over gladly. The thing about career making cases. They can break them too. No one wants to be stuck with a case so bizarre they have no hopes of solving it. So goody for us, we get to take charge of the weird, unsolvable case.”
“I’ve never seen an unsolvable crime, just those that took more effort and time to solve than others.” Ian said, his tone and manner much more haughty and self-assured than he felt. He was just as unenthusiastic about being on this case as Fiona. Despite the fact that he was looking forward to the time heading up a case together would force them to spend together, there was something strange about this case that gave him a bad feeling. Of course, though he had a contract with the Blades as a consultant, he was under no obligation to take this or any case. He could walk away and not look back. But Fiona couldn’t. She was a Blade and took the cases assigned to her. Ian’s gut feeling was that something very dangerous was lurking in the shadows of this case. Something more dangerous than even tough as nails Fiona could handle alone. So, really, he had no choice but take this case.
“Never seen an unsolvable crime?” Fiona’s tone was mocking. “Since when are you a Blade or Guard? You are a glorified teacher who consults on the odd case every once in a while. Suddenly you think you are an expert on crime solving?”
Ian drew himself up straighter in his chair and turned towards her. This time as he spoke he didn’t have to pretend confidence. How dare she mock him? Her attitude was just beyond bearing sometimes. “I will have you know, I have been consulting with the Blades and the Guards since I was sixteen and started in the Academy. Which would have made you, what, about eight years old?”
“Oh were you a late bloomer? I started the Academy at fourteen.” She said sweetly.
Ian was about to respond when the sound of something heavy hitting the desk interrupted them.
“Children!” Sam thundered, his voice booming through the office. Ian pulled his gaze away from Fiona to see Sam standing, bent over his desk with his hands bracing him as if he was ready to vault over it. “That is enough. While I normally find your constant bickering amusing and the entire agency has bets on how long it will take you two to climb into the sack, today my patience are wearing too thin to deal with your pent up sexual tension. I have lost track of how many hours it has been since I last slept and I have spent the morning getting scrys from every Senator in the City-State getting raked over the coals about not solving Farah Purcell’s disappearance fast enough and allowing a serial kidnapper to run loose in the streets. It doesn’t seem to matter that the Purcell case just fell on my desk a few hours ago and it is the City Guards’ job, not the Blades’, to protect the citizens from dangers in the streets. In addition, hours that could have been better spent trying to find all of the missing people, I have instead spent trying to convince the Senators not to go public with this and create a panic in the streets and alert the kidnappers we are on to them. So, as you can see, I’m in a really bad mood and I need you two to be able to work together with some sort of professionalism. I don’t care if that means you have to beat each other bloody in a back alley or find a room and fuck like bunnies. Whatever it is, work it out on your own time. I need you both focused!”

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

EXTRACTED giveaway!

I managed to snag ONE signed copy of my new novel Extracted from BEA. So for those of you who didn't make it this year or missed the signing, you can enter to win a copy on Goodreads!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Extracted by Sherry D. Ficklin

Extracted

by Sherry D. Ficklin

Giveaway ends August 06, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win
The drawing opens THURSDAY JUNE 6th and runs until AUGUST 6th. Good luck!
Oh, and be sure to 'like' us on Facebook to get info on our monthly giveaways and goings on.
 
 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

BEA 2013 and a Scavenger Hunt!

I can't believe it's May already! Especially since winter keeps repeating like a bad pop song. This month is all about BEA. For you laymen, that's BOOK EXPO AMERICA, the country's largest book trade show.

Held in glorious New York City, it's four days (and nights) of books, authors, bloggers, and industry peeps all under one roof. The publishers are rolling out advance copies of all their upcoming titles for the year and GIVING THEM AWAY to bloggers and industry folks. You heard that right. I said FREE BOOKS. Like, thousands of them.
Now, I've never been to BEA, so I am a nervous wreck. Thankfully the great people over at The Irish Banana have me covered with tips and advice based on past experience.

And I'm happy to officially announce that Tyler Jolley and I will be signing copies of our new YA/Steampunk/Time Travel novel EXTRACTED.

EXTRACTED
The Lost Imperials Book One 
ARC Signing
Booth #2567
Thursday May 30th
9:30 am
***Get there early, ARCs are limited***
 
So if you are attending, be sure you mark us down as the FIRST thing to do when you hit those doors!
 
Now, since our signing is kicking things off at BEA, we will be wandering the halls the rest of the conference handing out SWAG, chatting with our favorite Bloggers and generally having a blast.  To make things even more interesting, we are hosting a contest. It's a good old fashioned scavenger hunt. Here are the details. Feel free to right click and print this out to bring to BEA with you if you'd like to participate!




Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What's in a name?

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
Good point, Shakespeare. But if a rose was called a Butt Flower, I doubt anyone would be sniffing them and pinning them to their prom dates, huh?

A name says a lot about a person. It says even more about a book. I've noticed the trend of one word book titles is waning and we are getting longer, more wordy titles, which I am kind of enjoying honestly. If 'TWILIGHT' came out this year, it'd probably be called "The Girl With Self Esteem Issues And The Vampire Who Loves/Wants To Eat Her." Seriously.
(I'm not mocking this book. I haven't read it. I'm sure it's perfectly lovely. But that is a seriously long title, right??)

 In that spirit, I have a few exciting announcements. I have three books in progress and all are due out in 2014 or thereabouts. They are all part of my current series and I'm excited to share the titles with you!

The title for The Lost Imperials Book 2 is:

PRODIGAL

I can't give you a full synopsis because it's top secret, but I will say that you are going to DIE. In a good way, of course! It's not under contract yet, but it will be soon. It's due out from Spencer Hill Press sometime in 2014.

The title for the new Palmetto Moon Book 3 is:

BITING THE BULLET

Sophie is on the hunt for Rayne's screw up nephew, but his trail takes her to the headquarters of the Vampire's most dangerous cartel and lands her in more trouble than ever. With the "help" of her alcoholic Guardian Angel, she's one step ahead of the people trying to kill her--and the men vying for her heart. But you can only out run fate and love for so long...

This book is under contract to Tell-Tale Publishing and we might see it as soon as winter 2013, depending solely on how soon I can get it done. I would expect to see it early 2014. (What can I say? I'm hurrying!)

And finally, the long awaited title for Military Brats Book 2 is:

DANGEROUS TIDES

Reece is counting the days until graduation--literally--when a classmate's mysterious death puts a wrench in her plans. Not only does she have to prove foul play, but she has to uncover the truth about the killer before she becomes the next victim.
And she thought the SATs were hard.

DT isn't under contract yet, but this one will most likely go to Harlequin as they have the first option on it. Because they are re-releasing AFTER BURN first, this one might not see the light until late next year or early 2015. Because, you know, publishing is fast like that.


So that's it. I don't have covers yet, but as soon as I do (and I'm allowed to share) I'll post them here! I hope everyone is having a great week and I'll see you around!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Cover Keepers

Recently an author friend and I were discussing the ongoing feud between Barnes & Noble and Simon & Schuster, and their claims that bookstores are nothing more than 'showrooms' where readers look for new books, but they then leave and order those books online for the steep discount. The big loser in this equation is small publishers and indie authors who can't afford to be shelved in these 'showrooms'.

Also, we were discussing how to 'sign' e-books. In a world where more people read e-books than paper books 3-1, even though there are 'apps for that', it's still not as personal as signing a physical book. It's frustrating for authors and readers who like collecting author autographs (like me).

In this brainstorming process we came up with a solution. We call it Cover Keepers. Basically it's a service that is free to readers and authors that allows readers to collect signed book cover cards from their favorite authors and get a 'showroom' of new authors delivered right to their doors every month.

Readers:
Once you sign up you will receive your starter kit then a new selection of Cover Keepers each month. We will not spam or share your information-EVER. You will receive an Email Newsletter each month letting you know the Cover Keepers are being sent out.  You can unsubscribe at any time.

Authors:
The Cover Keepers service is a way to connect authors and readers.  And not just readers that are already fans or are purposefully searching you out.  Cover Keepers sends out Cover Keeper Cards of ALL genres to fans of ALL genres.  Each month a fan gets a new collection of covers.  They see the cover on the front, the blurb on the back, it’s like getting a Barnes and Noble delivered to their home every week.  And BONUS, the cover is signed and is now a keepsake they can keep in an album and even share with friends.

After lots of work on the logistics, thanks in no small part to the creative genius that is D.J. Westerfield, we have set up the website and have everything in place to launch the program.


All we need now is YOU! Readers and authors who want to participate and share the word about this new program. I'm hoping you'll join us.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Why we love pre-orders

You have all probably pre-ordered something in your life. A book or a video game, or whatever. So you know what a pre order is, right? But do you know why they are important to an author? Maybe not. So I'm gonna break it down for you.

Basically, every print book (traditionally published, at least) has what we call a Print Run. The print run is the number of copies a publisher orders from the printer to sell to bookstores. A print run can vary from anywhere between 500 and 500,000 copies, depending on how well a publisher expects it to sell.
A publisher will use many factors to determine how large a print run to order. One of these factors is the number or pre-orders. They also take into account book store interest, general internet buzz, and pre-release reviews. All of those things give a publisher an idea of how many books to order initially. Now, if a book sells very well and they run out of copies, they will often issue a second printing. That is that pesky time when a book becomes 'unavailable'. It's a disturbance in the force between book sellers and book buyers. But on the other hand, a publisher doesn't want to order too many copies, only to have a book not sell well, and they have a ton of unsold books in storage.

As anyone in the book business can tell you, there is no way to predict which books will do well and which won't. There's no magic 8 ball. Every book published is a dice roll. At the end of the day, no amount of marketing, promos, swag, or what have you will make a book popular. What makes a book popular is people LOVING it. And let's face it, if you hand five people the same book, some will love it and some will hate it. Different strokes. It doesn't mean the book is bad or good, but generally a book that does well is a book that connects to people in some unpredictable, intangible way.

So a publisher, especially smaller houses, rely heavily on indicators like pre-sales and blogger/book store interest to gauge the probable success of a book, and thus the number of copies to be printed.

Seems pretty basic, right?

So imagine my excitement when EXTRACTED went on pre-sale on Amazon last week! Why only on Amazon? The shifty geniuses that they are, they know that by listing first, people will flock to them to pre-order. The benefit of doing just that, from a buyer's perspective, is that Amazon will guarantee the lowest price no matter what. Let's say B&N begins pre-sales in two weeks, but at a steep discount. Amazon will match that price for anyone who has already pre-ordered. You will get the lowest price listed anywhere before release day. If you wait until after the release, there is no guarantee you are getting the lowest price or the best discount. So, that's good for you. And as I said, Amazon then gets to pick up ALL the pre-order traffic, so that's good for them. And the more people pre-order, the bigger a print run will likely be ordered and the more books that will be available for everyone, which is good for, well, everyone.

 
The advantages of pre-ordering a book before it's released:

  • By pre-ordering books, you don't have to try and remember when it comes out. The book will be shipped direct to you when it comes out. If you pre-order from a store, you get a copy the day it's released and a friendly reminder call.
  • You are guaranteed a copy. Some stores only order one or two copies of a book, if any at all. This is especially true of smaller publishing houses. And if the online distributers run out (and it does happen, even on Amazon) then you could be out of luck until another shipment goes out. 
 
  • Often, you get a DISCOUNT when you pre-order a book. Saving money is always a plus.
  • If you pre-order on Amazon and the price drops on sale by the release date, Amazon will only charge you for the sale price, not the price it was when you actually placed your pre-order. This is true for both print and Kindle e-books. 

  • Let's face it, it makes us authors feel good. Big pre-sales mean lots of praise from our publishers and that's pretty dang awesome. It can also mean that when it comes time to do another book, we will get more attention from our publishers and are more likely to be picked up again. 


So, now that you know why we LOVE PRE-ORDERS, here's where you can pre-order a copy of my new book EXTRACTED.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Cover Reveal~ Milayna by Michelle Pickett





Everyone needs to be bad once in a while. But for seventeen-year-old Milayna, being good isn't a choice--it's a job requirement. And it's a job she can't quit. Born a demi-angel, Milayna steps in when danger and demons threaten the people around her, but being half-angel isn't all halos and happiness. Azazel, Hell's Angel, wants Milayna's power, and he'll do anything to get it. But he only has until her eighteenth birthday, after which she becomes untouchable.


With the help of other demi-angels, Milayna thwarts the trouble Azazel sends her way. Fighting with her is Chay, a demi-angel who's sinfully gorgeous, and Milayna falls hard. But is Chay her true love... or her nemesis in disguise?



Because when she learns of a traitor in her group, there's no one she can trust... not even the one she loves. 



Title: Milayna
Author: Michelle Pickett
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
ISBN:  978-1-937053-83-3
Release Date: March 11, 2014
Formats: Paper, e-book



I'm a wife, mother, author, reader, although not always in that order. I've been an avid reader since a young child. I began writing for personal enjoyment in college, where I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in accounting. Why I chose a degree that didn't encourage creativity is a mystery to me.
I'm addicted to Reese's peanut butter cups and eat way too many while I write. I have a weird obsession with hoodies and can't write without wearing one. I hate to cook, but love to watch cooking shows. 
I'm an unabashed romantic and love swoon-worthy happy endings that give me butterflies for days.
Born and raised in Flint, Michigan, I now reside in a small community outside Houston, Texas with my incredibly supportive, not to mention gorgeous, husband, three amazing school-aged children, a 125-pound lap dog, and a cat that thinks she's queen.
I write adult and young adult Sci/Fi, urban fantasy and paranormal romances.
I love to hear from readers and other authors, so drop me a note and say "Hi!"



Friday, April 5, 2013

Big news!

Some of you have read my little self published book that could, After Burn. I pulled it off shelves a while back, not because it wasn't selling or because the reviews were bad--just the opposite. It was doing really well and getting great reviews, but I was still struggling to get it into the hands of readers. That is, I lacked distribution, as most self published novels do.

So I had it down and was getting a few offers on it, but still holding out for what I really wanted. A BIG publisher.
Well, I'm happy to announce that I got one! This week I accepted an offer from Harlequin to publish After Burn (with an option for a couple more too!). This means new editing, cover, and maybe even a new title. I'll be keeping you all updated as I know more. But basically, my work load just skyrocketed so I will be even more spotty with my blogging and stuff (sorry!).

Right now I'm getting ready for Extracted ARCs, working on Prodigal (The Lost Imperials book 2), tinkering with my new YA book that I'm tentatively calling ORACLE, and beginning outlines for the new Military Brats book. Oh, and I'm also gearing up for BEA in NYC which I'm insanely excited about!

And did I mention it's my birthmonth? So I'm also pretty much partying/playing as much as possible all month long.
So, yeah. THAT.

Oh, and one more thing. This month we are celebrating our one year anniversary of Geek Chick Radio! (that's 50 episodes!) Hard to believe it's grown from a tiny little show that like three people listened to, to a huge show that gets literally thousands of listens every week. So, THANKS! You guys are awesome and I love you!

Birthmonth cake for everyone!

Anomaly Con 2013 Wrap-up

Can I just say, firstly, what an amazing job everyone did (I'm looking at YOU Tegan and crew) at making the whole event flow smoothly? This was probably one of the best organized Cons I've ever attended. Everyone we so kind and cool, a trait I've come to expect from the steampunk crowd. Not only were there a ton of great panels which I both spoke on and attended, but there was constant gaming, great vendors, and all things to keep me entertained.

My personal highlights were the Mechanics of Time Travel panel (which we spoke on) that was abundant with Whovians and science fic lovers, and the Costume Contest which not only did I get to judge, but where we got to screen the EXTRACTED book trailer to a packed house. Yes, it was a weekend full of epicness.

You can see all the photos over on our Facebook page, but I will share a few of my favorites here too.
And I'd like to give a big shout out to:

Vocal (who brought, assembled, and generally let me play with her TARDIS)
Bill Cherf (a fellow time travel author who you should really check out)
Quincy J. Allen (probably the coolest guy at the entire convention, except for Tyler of course)
J.A. Campbell (Author)
Trae Dorn (comic genius and author)

You guys and gals rock!







Friday, March 22, 2013

It's the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)

So for those of you who don't know mw, I'm a preparedness junkie. I wouldn't go so far as to classify myself as a doomsday prepper, but I'm firmly in the better prepared than a zombie category.
I also live in a small town in Colorado where nothing interesting ever happens. That is, we don't have hurricaines, volcanoes, tidal waves, earthquakes (to speak of) and the worst flooding we get is the corner of North avenue where the drainage ditches like to overflow sometimes.

So people often ask me, what are you prepping for?

In most cases, it's banal everyday stuff. I have food storage that i use to help get us through 'lean times' like layoffs or hours being cut back at work. I grow as much of my own food as possible in my little yard and I even keep chickens, both for the benefit of healthy, low cost food and to help teach my children how to be self sufficient, which I think is very important. But I learned the Be Prepared  lesson years ago when my first son was an infant. We lived in Whidbey Island in Washington and one day the water main that supplied our town ruptured. We were without water for a day. One full day.

My son, a formula baby, needed to eat. And I had to go to the grocery store, infant in arms, and fight to the death over the last gallon of bottled water in the store. Seriously. You'd have thought someone dropped a bomb on us the way folks were scrambling like lunatics.

That day I swore I'd never find myself in that situation again. And to this day I haven't.

FAST FORWARD TO PRESENT DAY.

This week Armageddon happened on my street. By Wednesday I was fully prepared for raining frogs and a plague of locust, no joke. What happened was so random, so banal, most people wouldn't even consider something like this happening.
A construction crew on my street hit a gas line. (BAD)
Then gas filled a house a few doors down from mine and the house exploded. (WORSE)
And that house caught two other houses on fire. (HOLY CRAP ALMIGHTY)

Luckily no one died.

But, and here's the best part, the leak is bad and still leaking. The entire street (Including my house and my kids schools) were evacuated. Many of those people are still homeless. And the people whose homes were damaged (see: blown to smithereens) have nothing. No clothes. No food. Nothing.
 This is the worst kind of disaster because it can literally happen anywhere.

Now, in  situation like this, hard core survivalists might laugh. But here's the thing. If you had five minutes warning to get out of your house with your family, or worse, if you were at work and got the call that you couldn't go home, possibly for several days, what would you do?

Lucky for me I had a plan. My children knew this plan. As a matter of fact, my littlest one was ECSTATIC to finally get to play with the games I'd tucked away in our BoB (Bug out Bucket).

On my way out the door a grabbed one five gallon bucket, two backpacks, and my purse.

*Note: I did not take my 72 hour kit because my extended family lives in the same town as us so I knew I'd have both food and shelter for as long as I needed it. Most people were not that lucky.(My 72 hour kit contains all the water, food, shelter, and necessities to survive 3 days for a family of five, all packed neatly into a rolling tool box.)

The BoB was filled with books, toys, snacks, and kid goodies as well as wet wipes, snack foods, and TP.

**Note: If you only store/hoard one thing, make it TP. Hoard it like it's made of gold. Seriously.

In backpack #1 is a change of clothes for each person in my family.
In backpack #2 is all our important paperwork. Birth certs, SS cards, insurance info, etc. and a wallet of cash in small bills.

***Note: I also had in my car a 24 hr Car Kit that includes water, snacks, blankets, a battery radio and flashlight, and first aid kit. I keep this in the car at all times.


So was it scary? Yes. But you would be amazed how much being prepared for any emergency can give you piece of mind. We were only out of our home one day but even if we'd had to spend a few days away we would have been just fine.

The moral of this story is that no matter where you live, no matter how safe you are, the unexpected happens. Whether it be a power outage, gas break, or no kidding apocalyptic type emergency, being prepared is the best thing you can do for you and your family. It doesn't take long or cost much. If you are just beginning, I highly recommend checking out www.survivalmom.com for great tips and checklists.


Also, I'd like to give a big KUDOS to the staff at Tope Elementary who not only got the children out of the school and to safety in record time, but whose dedication to the children's well being makes me glad to trust my kids to them. They were quick, efficient,and kind. Well done.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cover Reveal: The Binding Stone

 
This lovely cover was created by Lisa Amowitz, the same amazing artist who created the cover for EXTRACTED. Check it out:



Tricked into slavery by the man she loved, the Djinni Leela has an eternity to regret her choices.
Awakened in the prison of her adolescent body, she finds a new master in possession of the opal that binds her. But seventeen-year-old Jered is unlike any she’s seen. His kindness makes Leela yearn to trust again, to allow herself a glimmer of hope.
Could Jered be strong enough to free her from the curse of the Binding Stone?
See more about The Binding Stone and Lisa Gail Green here:

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Steampunk Cane Project

One of the best ways I've found to get over a writing slump is to tinker on something else. Not just another writing project, but something that actively engages other places in my brain. For example, sometimes I paint, or throw pottery, or garden. But my favorite thing to do is put a blow torch to something. Now, I don't claim to be a master creator like the Steampunk Clockworker (holy cow he's amazing) but I love to dabble. With fire. And metal.

So my latest project was a gift for my co-author Tyler. Now, in our novel, the MC has a nifty steampunk cane. So I decided to make one for Tyler to take to the Cons as part of his costume. *Disclaimer: my cane does not fire projectiles, shoot oil, or double as a sword, much to Ty's disappointment.*


I started with a length of 1/2 inch copper pipe. I also picked up a few different types of connectors, joints, and fittings in the same size. I wanted to do a copper coil around the shaft, but the only copper coil tubing I found was REALLY expensive, so I settled for rubber tubing, which i personally think turned out great.
I couldn't decide if I wanted the top of the cane to light up or be an ornate crystal. In the end since it was for a guy I opted to make it light up. So I bought a mini solar light from Home Depot. I dismantled it, painted all the plastic bits copper, and re-assembled it.

I knew that to make the cane fit in a suitcase (because there is no way they are going to let something that looks that much like a bomb through airport security, no matter how benign it really is) I cur the pipe in the center and added a threaded coupling. That allows the piece to break down for storage and travel.
After capping the bottom of the cane with a brass cap, I left the bottom alone. Don't want anything down there to get caught on pants, dresses, or the like.
The upper half began with the addition of two copper T's one near the top and one near the midsection. On the top T I added a basic plumbing valve normally used on waterlines, then on the Bottom T I added a simple slip fitting for tubing. At this point I soldered all the metal pieced together.

 (FIRE IN THE HOLE!)

Using clear adhesive epoxy I glued the top of the solar light into place (the long shaft was removed and the small plastic bulb cover fit perfectly into the copper pipe, lucky me) and added the tubing, wrapping it around the pipe as I went. The top of the rubber tubing is secured to the water valve with epoxy. I also filled just the tip with epoxy before putting it in place just in case I ever wanted to add liquid to the tube or something. The bottom of the tube fit snugly into the lower fitting, so I did not epoxy it in place (again, so I have the option to add something inside the tube at a later time if I choose to).  I added a few small metal details scavenged from my jewelery making kits and viola. Not only is it done, but when you put your hand over the top of the cane, it lights up. The very top of the light twists off for battery replacement when needed. Finally, I drilled a hole through the cane and added a cool drawer pull I had left over for another project. It gives you a nice place to grab/hang the cane by and it looks pretty cool too.
Oh, and remember those cool faux gauges I made from that Epbot tutorial? I used the left over epoxy to add one just beside the lower fitting on the top half of the cane.


What do you think?

Monday, February 18, 2013

It's getting steamy...


In preperation for the release of EXTRACTED things around my office have been getting a little steamy. Yo know, in a good way. We are gearing up to travel to Anomaly Con in Denver (March 28-31) where we are going to be handing out TONS of TLI swag and screening the official book trailer. We are also hard at work on book 2, PRODIGAL. I am creating a new costume for this year's cons (thank goodness for Corset Story sales) and this month we are being featured on Unabridged Andres's Let's Get Steamy 2.0 month of steampunk giveaways and goodies. Our contribution to the giveaways is this awesome replica dive helmet. The story behind it is that when we first got an offer of publication on EXTRACTED, I bought one for myself, gave Tyler (my co-author) one as a gift, and picked up a third to giveaway when the time was right. Well, guess what? It doesn't get any righter then this.

Also, we are going to be headding off to BEA in May to sign Advance Read Copies of EXTRACTED and generally hang out with a bunch of cool authors, editors, and bloggers. This means I won't get to fulfill my life long dream of conference stalking Wil Wheaton at Denver ComicCon (which is the same weekend, OF COURSE IT IS) but I will be able to see all my writer/reviewer buddies so that's cool.



Also, I've been asked a few times recently about my writing process. Like, do I need music or scented candles, or whatever to creat a writng 'atomsphere'. Yes, I do. and each book is different. What works for one might not work for another. so I snapped a couple pics of my workspace to show you.






For the Lost Imperials books, it's been very steampunk around the office, which is great because I prefer a classic feel to things anyway.

The music has been more ecclectic, but here are some examples. I have to listen to music when I write. Some kind of background noise to focus the mind.
 


And finally, the scents. For some reason I've been partial to a sage and ginger combo for this project. Not sure why, but there you go.
While each project is different and every author has their own way to get into the 'zone' I hope this helps. It's really just a matter of figuring out what works for you and embracing it while not becoming dependant on it. Truthfully, I can write just as well while my kids are screaming in the McDonalds playground as I can in my office or anywhere else. These little things really just help me feel inspired. So, what inspires you?