Spirit Ink by J. Elizabeth Hill

•October 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Julie:

Hey guys, can I interest you in a short story? This is the one I struggled with all last month and I’d really love it if you’d read and let me know what you think. Thank you! And thank you Mari for inviting me to be part of this. :)

Originally posted on Mari Wells:

We’ve got the great J. Elizabeth Hill today with this awesome story. I so love it. Magic…. and tattoos, I want one like this. I’ll let you all read it. As always her links are at the bottom.
Thank you, J. Elizabeth for being here and sharing this wonderful story with us today.

Spirit Ink

Allia felt warmth spread through her shoulder and down her arm to the elbow, a warning she didn’t need as she crouched behind the dumpster. Following Samuel wasn’t safe, but she had to know what he was up to. The idea of asking him where he slipped off to every Thursday near dawn was ridiculous. He’d gone to great lengths to keep from being spotted leaving the large house the coven shared. Besides, he was their leader. He’d tell her he didn’t have to explain himself to such a junior member.

The smell permeating the…

View original 5,790 more words

Pushing Myself Forward

•October 12, 2014 • 1 Comment

I guess it’s time for a bit of a progress report. Besides, there are a couple of actual writing things I’d like to talk about. Yes, a post about writing, MY writing. Don’t everyone fall over in shock at once.

Things have been going fairly well for me lately on a personal front. There have been some bad moments, where everything falls apart in my head, but I haven’t had any bad whole days for a week and a half now. I’m calling that a victory. I’m also getting better at redirecting thought patterns I know aren’t good for me. A little better at least. I feel more myself most days, and that’s the best part. Not having to push so hard to get through basic tasks has left me some energy to turn toward things that I want to get back to.

Things like writing, which continues to be a struggle. That said, I did finish a short story recently. Yay, another victory.

I was invited to participate in a series on witches for October, you see. Any story I wanted to tell, it just had to be about witches. I worked on it most of September, which was kind of important since it was supposed to be in by September 30th. I missed that deadline (which I feel terrible about), and was given an extension.

Missing the deadline wasn’t due to lack of trying to write the story. I tried, Dear god, did I try. I had a great little nugget of inspiration at the start. A story set in the same world as Vintage, which I didn’t realize had witches until that point. Color me surprised. Sneaky worlds and stories. ;)

I started writing that story. And then ran into a wall.

I started it again, in a different place this time.

I switched from third person to first. I switched back.

I swore. A lot. May have cried a bit.

I took a walk in the sun and tried not to scream.

Yeah, I was just a little (a lot) frustrated.

Then I realized that, while I need to write that story, it wasn’t the one I needed to write right now. I wasn’t ready, or it wasn’t ready. I’m not entirely sure which yet, but the realization came with such relief and a feeling of rightness that I’m not going to question it or worry for now.

So I flicked through my files of story ideas and found one that worked better. For one thing, that one has always been about witches and their familiars. For another, the base concept still fascinates me as much as it did the day I thought of it.

I also realized there was a story to tell before I could get into the meat of the novel idea, one that would allow me to explore my main character a bit too. I like doing a bit of that before trying to build the story for the novel.

It still took me a few days to write that one, but I got it done in one try. It wasn’t the torrent of story I used to have, but it flowed and I got to write those magical words, “The End.” The people who were kind enough to beta the story liked it. One even asked me to send her the story after this one if I write it. That felt awesome, I have to say.

The short story will be going up in the near future, this month so far as I know. I don’t have a date yet, but when I do, I’ll let you know. And of course, I’ll post a link here when it’s up. I would really love for you guys to read it and let me know what you think when it’s up.

So, what now? I’m still working on that. There are things I need to do, but I don’t know what I want to do. Some of the things I need to do I don’t feel quite up to at the moment (revisions on Vintage, first and foremost on that list). And I don’t know what to write if I do that. A few projects are gently tugging at me, but nothing has quite taken over my brain, so I’m sort of drifting between them still, trying them on for size. We’ll see where I land. Being on vacation now, I’d like to get back into the swing of writing regularly. I’ll keep trying to pick a project. I don’t like drifting like this. I need to push forward, for myself if for no other reason.

COVER REVEAL: My Life Beyond the Grave

•October 8, 2014 • Leave a Comment

My friend Kai Kiriyama is one of the people that make me grateful I joined Twitter in the first place. She’s a tremendously productive, motivated, dedicated and talented writer. I admit, I’m a little in awe of Kai, of the variety of things she does so well, how much she gets done and her tenacity in doing these things. If you’re on Twitter and not following Kai, I really suggest you start now. Go on. I’ll wait.

Kai’s got a new book coming out soon, one I’m looking forward to digging into soon (yes, I’m lucky enough to have an eARC), and today she’s letting me share her beautiful cover with you for the book. Are you ready? Are you sure about that? Okay, if you’re sure…

MyLifeBeyondtheGrave

Isn’t it fantastic? A little more information about My Life Beyond The Grave is in order, I think.

TITLE: My Life Beyond the Grave: The Untold Story of Vlad Dracula (A Famous Monster Memoir)

AUTHOR: Kai Kiriyama

GENRE: Fiction – Memoir

SYNOPSIS: “I have lived a life worth speaking about, and have seen things that would leave a modern man weeping in fear. I have outlived my entire family and have lived to see a time that one could not think possible. I have traveled the globe, and I have spread an empire greater than anything that I could have ever accomplished in my mortal life.

I am here to speak of these accomplishments, to tell my story for once without the smoke and mirrors of the silver screen, or the whispers in the dark of a pub where it’s better that you pretend you don’t notice the regal, pale man in the corner who hasn’t touched his drink. I don’t expect you to believe everything that I say here in these pages, but this is my truth as I know it to be.

My name is Vlad Tepes Dracul, and I am here to tell you my story.”

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kai Kiriyama is a Canadian Asgardian geek with an affinity for Pokemon and Shakespeare. Accomplished at divination through crystals, pendulum, tea leaf reading and palmistry, Kai oftentimes frightens herself (and her clients!) with the accuracy of what she predicts. Convinced that both her to-read and to-write piles will never be completed, Kai tries not to worry too much about it. Oftentimes, you can find her hanging around on Twitter and dispensing dubious advice through her blog.

 

WEBSITE: http://www.theraggedyauthor.com

TWITTER: http://www.twitter.com/raggedyauthor

TUMBLR: http://www.theraggedyauthor.tumblr.com

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/thekiriyamaheir

ADD ON GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23303143-my-life-beyond-the-grave

The One To Value Most

•October 2, 2014 • 6 Comments

There are a lot of things I’m struggling with lately. Some are things I’ve had trouble with my whole life. A few of these I’m finally making some headway with lately though. The biggest one is self-worth.

I’ve never been good at valuing myself. In examine my thoughts and attitudes on this, on me, the parse that comes to mind is “It’s only me.” Wrong attitude, I know. I’m working to change that, but acknowledging this is my starting point. I have always placed more value on everyone in my life, especially those I love, than I ever did in myself.

This isn’t good on a number of levels, partly because I tend not to take proper care of myself. “It’s only me, I can make due with less.” But then it makes it hard to be there for those I care about. But it’s more than just that. I sabotage myself in so many ways because I don’t typically feel worthy of the things I want. Putting myself forward for things at work or home is something I pretty much won’t do if I have any choice. I mean, it’s just me. What could I possibly have to contribute to anything that anyone else couldn’t do? At least, that’s the thought in my head.

If I commit to doing something and it’s for someone else, I will do whatever it takes to get it done. If it’s just to me, like going to the gym on my own, I routinely let it slide. I only promised myself, after all, and it’s okay if I break that promise, even though the thought of breaking a PROMISE to someone else makes me want to cry.

Please note that this last bit makes my commitment to writing over the last few years nothing short of miraculous. I put other things off and avoid making commitments because I need time to write. Maybe there’s hope for me yet? ;)

This “it’s only me” attitude is very evident in the way I let people treat me, to the point that it’s begun to alarm me. Many of the people I know are wonderful and a lot of you remind me that I am valuable. I must be, because some of you definitely think a lot of me. You guys even manage to shock to silence the little voice that whispers about how worthless I am. Some of you have been there for me in ways I would never have expected. Thank you, from the depths of my heart and soul.

But at pretty much every point in my life, I’ve had people who used me for what they wanted and disregarded everything about me that didn’t serve their needs. And in hindsight, it’s occurred to me that I have invited this treatment in some respects. After all, if I won’t value myself enough to demand a certain level of respect, why should others feel compelled to offer it? If I will accept shitty treatment without complaint, how can I expect better?

This post isn’t about blame though, not even assigning it to myself (there’s a whole other post I could make on me and blame). It’s about taking a new step forward in my life. It’s about learning to value, honor and respect myself. It’s about caring for myself properly, and believing in myself. Most of all, it’s about finally refusing to allow those who won’t offer me these things to have any place in my life. It won’t be easy, but I’m going to do it. Because yeah, I’m worth it. And I believe I can do this, that I can turn my thinking around and learn to value myself.

Yesterday, I had a fabulous day. I mean, I felt awesome. I felt that I was awesome. It started with another determination that I was going tot have a good day regardless of what the world sent my way. But then I went a step further.

Music has always been a big thing for me and is to this day. Probably always will be. If you see me walking around the world alone, chances are excellent I have my headphones on. It’s part of my writing too. I need music to write and always create a playlist for my major projects (novels or series). And sometimes, I get a song stuck in my head and just have to listen. I can’t not listen to it.

This last happened yesterday as I started my work day. It was Just The Way You Are, by Bruno Mars. I love this song. The feel of it alone often lifts my mood, unless it was pure black to begin with. But yesterday the lyrics, which I also love, struck me in a new way. I saw, for possibly the first time in my life, that this is the way I SHOULD see myself.

“You’re amazing, Just the way you are.”

That this realization kind of floored me is probably not a good sign of how I’ve treated myself. Okay, that’s not surprising to me. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t change how I am in future, how I view myself, right?

So I listened to that song on repeat all day. Not kidding. I do that sometimes. (My current record is literally a week and a half with one single song on repeat.) I wanted to really internalize that idea, that feeling of me just being awesome for being myself, who I am, no matter what anyone else says, suggests or does.

Wow. The song’s playing in my head now, just from thinking about this. Pardon me. I need to hit play on my iPod…

Anyway, I’m saying that I’m going to try to stick with it, this whole valuing myself, even loving myself. Not because you wonderful people care about me and in many cases think I’m wonderful too. This is something I’m smart enough to know has to come from within. No, I’m amazing just because I am.

I’ve been through some real shit in my life, some of which I’m very much not disposed to talk about. I’ve fought depression for two and a half decades and still managed to accomplish stuff that’s pretty wild and certain worthy of respect from myself. I’ve chased my dreams, put my writing out there and will again in future.

Maybe I’m not perfect and I don’t always do the absolute right thing, but I am amazing and still pushing myself to get even better.

Yes, I owe myself some respect. I am worthy, just because I am.

And I’m not ever going to let anyone tell me otherwise, not for ANY reason ever. I won’t let others who act disrespectfully toward me, or treat me with disregard, to remain in my life. I hereby demand better of the world because I am fucking worth it, dammit. I won’t accept anything less anymore. Especially not from myself.

Fair warning: This new attitude may result in a little more book promo for my own work than I’ve done. It’s my writing and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. I’m going to get loud about that. I deserve that too.

I want to close this post by inviting everyone who reads it to recognize your own awesomeness, especially if you struggle with that too. You’ve faced challenges in your life. I know that because we all do. Whatever your struggles, don’t compare them to those of others. Nothing in theirs diminishes yours. Yours are real and difficult and that’s one of the only two things that matter.

The other is that you survived and you’re still moving forward. Whether you do it in big steps or little ones, it doesn’t matter. Size doesn’t dictate value. You are strong enough to keep going. That’s what matters. That makes you fantastic. Acknowledge it. Remember it. Fucking own it. And don’t let anyone treat you as anything less, EVER.

Love you guys. Thanks again for being there. You’re a blessing in my life. Yes, you. All of you.

 

Come To The Dark Carnival!

•October 1, 2014 • 1 Comment

dark_carnival-cover-banner

The air has grown crisp – October is here. With October comes autumn leaves, apple cider, and the siren call of The Dark Carnival.

Will you answer its call? Will you heed the beckon?

The doors are opening.

Will you leave with your life?

Dark-Carnival-T4

 

In this anthology, several authors and illustrators explore the dark and hidden dangers that lie within a carnival that has come to town. But it is no ordinary carnival. It’s The Dark Carnival.

And when The Dark Carnival comes to town, there’s no promise that anyone can leave…alive.

 

Edited by: Jolene Haley, Kristen Jett, and Jessi Shakarian

Contributors include: Kat Daemon, Kristen Strassel, Julie Hutchings, C. Elizabeth Vescio, Mark Matthews, Brian W. Taylor, Kim Culpepper, Eli Constant, Mari Wells, J. Elizabeth Hill, Nicole R. Taylor, Ashly Nagrant, Kristin Hanson, Calyn Morgan, Tawney Bland, Roselle Kaes, Ken Mooney, Emily McKeon, Bobby Salomons, Ezekiel Conrad, Sheila Hall, Michelle Davis, Lucas Hargis, Vanessa Henderson, Ryan Bartlett, Debra Kristi, Jessi Esparza, T.A. Brock, Ruth Shedwick, Brian LeTendre, Amy Trueblood, Gregory Carrico, Jamie Corrigan, Kate Michael, Tyle Anne Snell, Alicia Audrey, Meghan Schuler, Jamie Adams, Wulf Francu Godgluck, J.C. Michael, Suzy G., Kristin Rivers, and Claire C. Riley.
*Final lineup subject to change

*************

Excerpt:

“What is it you think I’m after?”

He didn’t want to say what he was thinking. He knew it was stupid, the result of watching too much TV before he left home. But her eyes bore in on him, her amused half smile teasing him into saying something. “My soul.”

  • Ring Toss, J. Elizabeth Hill

Add it to Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20495362-the-dark-carnival

Dark-Carnival-T2

 

Want to show The Dark Carnival even more Goodreads love?

Add it to your shelves – horror, anthologies, and thriller are good places to start.

 

Did you say you have more love? Pin the shiny new cover to Pinterest, send out some tweets, and scribe it into Facebook. You never know – show The Dark Carnival enough love, and it might just let you leave.

Dark-Carnival-PM-Horror-Anthology

 

About Pen & Muse Press

Need writing tips? Want to learn how to market yourself as an author? Pen & Muse Press was started to give you just the tips you need. No matter how long you’ve been writing – or haven’t been, embrace your craft.

Blog | Author Services | Twitter | Facebook

COVER REVEAL: The Dark Carnival, A Pen & Muse Anthology

•September 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Some of you might recall last October, when I was part of a short story series, The Dark Carnival. My story appeared alongside others from some very talented authors. That series has been turned into an anthology now, due out soon. Today, I get to reveal the cover of this anthology to you, and maybe a teaser or two as well. Without further ado, I give you, THE DARK CARNIVAL COVER!

Dark-Carnival-PM-Horror-Anthology

October approaches. Autumn leaves are nearly falling. The Dark Carnival is calling, calling. Will you answer its call? Will you heed the beckon?

The doors are opening.

Will you leave with your life?

Dark-Carnival-T3

 

Blurb: In this anthology, several authors and illustrators explore the dark and hidden dangers that lie within a carnival that has come to town. But it is no ordinary carnival. It’s The Dark Carnival.

And when The Dark Carnival comes to town, there’s no promise that anyone can leave…alive.

 

Edited by: Jolene Haley, Kristen Jett, and Jessi Shakarian

Contributors include: Kat Daemon, Kristen Strassel, Julie Hutchings, C. Elizabeth Vescio, Mark Matthews, Brian W. Taylor, Kim Culpepper, Eli Constant, Mari Wells, J. Elizabeth Hill, Nicole R. Taylor, Ashly Nagrant, Kristin Hanson, Calyn Morgan, Tawney Bland, Roselle Kaes, Ken Mooney, Emily McKeon, Bobby Salomons, Ezekiel Conrad, Sheila Hall, Michelle Davis, Lucas Hargis, Vanessa Henderson, Ryan Bartlett, Debra Kristi, Jessi Esparza, T.A. Brock, Ruth Shedwick, Brian LeTendre, Amy Trueblood, Gregory Carrico, Jamie Corrigan, Kate Michael, Tyle Anne Snell, Alicia Audrey, Meghan Schuler, Jamie Adams, Wulf Francu Godgluck, J.C. Michael, Suzy G., Kristin Rivers, and Claire C. Riley.
*Final lineup subject to change

 

 

*************

Add it to Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20495362-the-dark-carnival

 

Want to show The Dark Carnival even more Goodreads love?

Add it to your shelves – horror, anthologies, and thriller are good places to start.

 

Did you say you have more love? Pin the shiny new cover to Pinterest, send out some tweets, and scribe it into Facebook. You never know – show The Dark Carnival enough love, and it might just let you leave.

 

Cover Design by the fabulous C. Elizabeth Vescio. Learn more about her and her incredible design skills here.

 

About Pen & Muse Press

Need writing tips? Want to learn how to market yourself as an author? Pen & Muse Press was started to give you just the tips you need. No matter how long you’ve been writing – or haven’t been, embrace your craft.

Blog | Author Services | Twitter | Facebook

Hotly Anticipated Sequel: RUNNING AWAY By Julie Hutchings

•September 26, 2014 • 2 Comments

I’ve got a treat for you guys today. My very good friend, Julie Hutchings, wrote a book, one you might remember me raving about before. That book was Running Home, a refreshingly different view of vampires. I love vampire books, but I get tired of the same old thing, so I was delighted by Julie’s take on them, one which involves fate and Japanese mythology. If you haven’t read Running Home, then I STRONGLY suggest you do so, before I start questioning your life choices. ;)

No, really, go read it.

Of course, my first question after finishing Running Home was “Where the hell is the next book and I want it now!” Okay, that’s only sort of a question, but that’s not the point. I demanded the sequel of Julie because I wasn’t remotely ready to stop reading the story of Eliza and Nicholas.

Today is a fabulous day, in no small part because today the world gets that sequel! Yes, Running Away releases today. I’ve read it and I have to say, it’s EVEN BETTER THAN THE FIRST BOOK!!!! Yes, that’s saying something, but it’s entirely true.

Running Away Final Cover

Book Name: Running Away (The Shinigami series, #2)
Book Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance
Running Away (book  #2) on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23263587-running-away
Running Home (book #1) on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17977192-running-home

Running Away book blurb:

Eliza Morgan is desperate to escape the horrors of her mortal life and understand why death follows her, leaving only one man, Nicholas French, in its wake. He’s the one she loves, the one she resents, and the one fated to make her legendary among the Shinigami– an ancient order of vampires with a “heroic” duty to kill. He’s also decaying before her eyes, and it’s her fault.

On the ghostlike mountaintop in Japan that the vampires consider home, Eliza will be guided by the all-powerful Master for her transition to Shinigami death god. When Eliza discovers that sacrificing her destiny will save Nicholas, she’s not afraid to defy fate and make it so—even when Nicholas’s salvation kills her slowly with torturous, puzzle-piece visions that beg her to solve them. Both Nicholas and his beloved Master fight her on veering from the path to immortality, but Eliza won’t be talked out of her plan, even if it drives the wedge between Nicholas and her deeper.

Allying with the fiery rebel, Kieran, who does what he wants and encourages her to do the same, and a mysterious deity that only she can see, Eliza must forge her own path through a maze of ancient traditions and rivalries, shameful secrets and dark betrayals to take back the choices denied her and the Shinigami who see her as their savior. To uncover the truth and save her loved ones, Eliza will stop at nothing, including war with fate itself.

About the Author:

Author Julie Hutchings

Julie’s debut novel, Running Home, giving you vampires with a Japanese mythology pants kicking is available through Books of the Dead Press. Julie revels in all things Buffy, has a sick need for exotic reptiles, and drinks more coffee than Juan Valdez and his donkey combined, if that donkey is allowed to drink coffee. Julie’s a black belt with an almost inappropriate love for martial arts. And pizza. And Rob Zombie. Julie lives in Plymouth, MA, constantly awaiting thunderstorms with her wildly supportive husband and two magnificent boys.

Julie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/HutchingsJulie

Julie’s Blog: http://deadlyeverafter.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeadlyEverAfterBlog

Julie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7104966.Julie_Hutchings

Running Home on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Running-Home-Julie-Hutchings-ebook/dp/B00EEG42IM/ref=la_B00GP8UJWA_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1411445505&sr=1-1

Running Home

 
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