Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

I have two teases for you today!

1. Eep! Devotion will be available on Kindle, Nook and Smashwords before Feb. 10! Could it be next weekend? This week? I don't know exactly when yet, but be sure you subscribe to my newsletter and/or follow my Facebook page, because they'll be the first to know. By the way, we're doing another giveaway on the Facebook page - this week, readers are casting Alexis. Who would you cast? Share on the page and be entered to win a free ebook of Devotion.

2. A snippet from Devotion:

“Mom! I thought we told you no jumping on the bed,” Dorian reprimanded the next morning when he came into our room and found us on the floor again. “Uncle Owen’s going to be so mad at you. He just fixed it!”
Tristan shook with laughter. “Mom’s a bad girl. What do you think we should do?”
Dorian crossed his arms over his chest and narrowed his eyes at me. “Maybe she needs a spanking.”
“I think you’re right,” Tristan said. He raised his hand with a gleam in his eye, but Dorian grabbed it.
“No, Dad, her mom’s supposed to do it. We’ll tell Mimi when she gets here today.”
Tristan laughed. “Yeah, you’re right. Besides, we’re not supposed to hit girls, right?”
“Right. Then you would have to get a spanking, too.” Dorian considered Tristan for a long moment. “Who’s your mom?”
The humor drained out of Tristan’s face, and something flickered in his eyes. My stomach formed into a rock. Tristan didn’t remember his actual parents. Like me, he never knew his father. He’d been taken from his mother while a tot, and all he knew was that she was evil.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Just Because

This weekend I am doing this:

I'll be selling and signing Promise, Purpose and Genesis: A Soul Savers Novella. Also, the first 250 attendees who get a goody bag will get a bookmark with a free download of Genesis. It's all for a good cause, and it's only $35 for wine, gourmet food, massages and other goodies for the ladies. If you're in the SWFL area, I'd love to see you there!

This past weekend, I had to drop the bookmarks off at the Harley store and while I was there, I did some browsing. And found this, which I bought just because and now I feel obliged to share. I get to drool over this the rest of the year. I know, right?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Writer Wednesday - Ebyss

My world is crazy-busy right now, but for Writer Wednesday, I wanted to give a quick shout-out to Ebyss. She's not published (yet!) but she is agented and on submission. Congrats to Ebyss!

Ebyss has been a great writer-friend to me, and I am so excited for her. We all need to keep a watch out for her because her books are awesome. Yes, I've been privileged and honored to beta-read for her, and I can't wait for the rest of the world to read her brilliance!

Anyway, go check out her blog, and if you're a writer, especially, be sure to follow it. She's always featuring agents and other industry professionals and has lots of great contests with fabulous prizes.

That's all for today. I'm finalizing Devotion files and preparing for a really cool appearance next week. Have a happy hump day!

Oh, wait! One more thing. Check out the Facebook page if you haven't already. Lots of yumminess! You might want to grab a towel first to clean up the inevitable drool. While you're there, be sure to post your own version of Tristan to be entered to win an ebook of Devotion.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

I'm often asked who I would cast as my characters, and it's a question I refuse to answer directly. For one, there isn't a single actor I'd choose for Alexis or Tristan or Owen. It's more like, "So-and-so's eyes but this other person's lips and this other one's nose and that one's body. But narrower (or wider or sharper or whatever)." They exist in my imagination, so there's not really one person out there who would be the perfect Tristan, Alexis or Owen.

Also, the image the reader conjures might be completely different than mine. I want the reader to envision her own "Mr. Beautiful," not be told what mine looks like. It's a more personal experience, I think, if readers are given some basics to start with (eye and hair color, body type, etc.) and then create their own hero and heroine from there.

Anyway, this is Teaser Tuesday not let's-get-philosophical-about-appearances, and boy, do I have a tease for you. It kind of goes along with the giveaway I'm doing on the Facebook page. Post a name or photo of who you would cast as Tristan and you could win an ebook of Devotion.

And although I won't give you a face, I will give you this to get your, uh, brain pumping. Yeah. Uh-huh. Right. Well, once you wipe the drool off your chin and keyboard, go find who you think fits Tristan and post it on the Facebook wall. Or, just sit here and stare. I don't care. But don't miss the excerpts below the beauty...

Um, no tattoo, but otherwise...Hello, Tristan in Devotion!
“I’m supposed to concentrate with you in that?” Tristan asked, his eyes traveling up and down my body. I couldn’t help it. I shivered.

“Ditto,” I muttered and forced myself to tear my eyes from his very bare, very lickable chest. 
I was never one who found guys in leather pants sexy, but Tristan changed my mind. At least, for him. The leather didn’t cling to him as it did me, but fit him like jeans, accentuating the curve of his perfect ass, but not in a porn-star kind of way.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I Did It & It Felt Awesome

Sometime in early 2011, I joined a host of other authors and pledged to donate $500 to First Book if any of my books made it to the Top 100 of ALL Kindle Paid Bestsellers List. Making it to that list - not a genre or category list but THE Top 100 - had been a dream at the time and I thought making a donation to such a worthy cause was/is a great way to show my appreciation. Thanks to all of you, it became a reality in October when Promise topped out at #54 of All.Kindle.Titles.

I just received my royalty check for that blow-out month at the end of December and this week, I did it. I made the donation! That might be the most amount of money I've ever given away at once. And it felt awesome. It still does. If you're not familiar with First Book, it's a great cause supporting literacy in the United States. Please check it out, and if you can, give.

With Devotion coming out in a few short weeks (eek!), I've been thinking of the next way I can pay it forward. Violence against women and children has always been a soft spot of mine, particularly because of family history that I won't go into. I've always said when I'm in a position to help, I will. Now I am. So here's the deal.

When any of my books reach the Top 100 of ALL Kindle Paid Bestsellers List, I'll donate $500 to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which helps thousands of victims, survivors and their families who have suffered domestic violence. If more than one book makes it to the list, I'll donate $1,000 to this great cause.

So there you go. You heard it here. Now let's see if we can do it. You all did it before. You talked the books up. You spread the word. You helped raise that $500 for First Book. Let's do it again for The Hotline. We can do this!

Ready? Break!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Writer Wednesday - Jaz Primo

I have an exciting guest today that I can't wait to introduce you to. He's one of the most enthusiastic, friendly and supportive authors out there and I think you'll really like his books. They're about vampires and so is his guest post. Need I say more? No? Didn't think so. So let's just get to it.

About Jaz Primo:
Jaz Primo is an author, history aficionado, pun-master, and all-around fan of things vampire and urban fantasy. Fueled by an active imagination, cold Coca-Cola, and chocolate, Jaz brings a new voice with a fresh approach to today's array of paranormal and urban fantasy literature via the compelling Sunset Vampire Series. Jaz lives in central Oklahoma with his wife and a talkative, long-lived cat.

About Summit at Sunset:

SUMMIT AT SUNSET is the third novel in my Sunset Vampire Series that is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, January 31st. Here's the teaser:
Powerful vampire Katrina Rawlings and her human mate, Caleb Taylor, are once more drawn into dangerous circumstances.  Representatives of the most powerful and influential vampires from around the world converge upon a scenic mountain retreat located in Slovenia's Upper Bohinj Valley for a summit of historic proportion.  Mystery leads to treachery, and events quickly spiral out of control.  With the fates of both vampires and humans in jeopardy, Katrina desperately struggles to reconcile the balance of worldwide vampire power against honoring her commitment to the love of her life.  Unwilling to be rendered helpless, Caleb initiates a desperate gamble that leads to a mortal decision.  Meanwhile, the sexy and sassy vampire, Paige Turner, spearheads her own mission involving both surprising revelations of heart and grave circumstances for those around her.

In Summit at Sunset, unlikely alliances will be sought, eternal bonds of friendship will be tested, unrequited love will be unleashed, blood will be shed, and one pivotal person's fate will collide with destiny.

And onto Jaz's fabulous post:

The Kristie Cook Show
Today's Topic: Where Are Vampires Going in 2012?

** "Paradise" by Coldplay plays **

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Welcome to another enchanting episode of The Kristie Cook Show. I'm your guest host, Jaz Primo, author of the Sunset Vampire Series. It's such a pleasure to be with you. My sincere thanks to Kristie for the opportunity to appear here today.
We've got a full docket scheduled for you, so let's get started, shall we?
*charming grin*
If you're like me, you probably love nothing better than an excellent and engaging vampire novel or film. However, have you noticed that in the past few years there has been a trend in vampire literature to make vampires softer-than-expected protagonists? That's not to say that vampires haven't been edgy at times. But the vestiges that were once merely an occasional respite from darker, more evil vampires, has instead become the predominant standard for today's vampire characters. And it goes well beyond the preference of sparkly daytime dwellers versus sunlight-repelling night lurkers. Let's consider for just a moment the recent hallmark examples of popular, marketable vampire storylines and characters.

** "From Now On" by The Features plays **
"I held your hand and I felt complete...as you turned and said to me..."       

When the first novel in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Series was released in 2005, most people were stunned to find a group of vampire protagonists that not only tried to get along with humans, but deliberately avoided consuming human blood. They were the dawning of the vampire vegetarians of a new era in vampire literature. Nevermind that L.J. Smith had technically already begun that journey with The Vampire Diaries in the 90s. Anyone recall Stefan and his attempt to avoid human blood? *wink*
Granted, you might claim that we already had the lovable Muppet vampire, The Count, on Sesame Street. Frankly, I feel that the jury is still out on him. Granted, nobody has found any bodies, but he never actually SAID that he didn't drink blood, either. Maybe he just played nice around the kids. *shrugging*
But I digress. Moving on...
Then there's Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries. Okay, yes, the vampires in that series run the spectrum of good-to-evil vampire tendencies, and they can be angsty and dark. Yet, the central vampires were also engendered with the desire to actually court and fulfill the love life of the central heroine, all the while attempting to normalize themselves among their human counterparts. Vampire voting rights, anyone? Another excellent, and popular, example is Amanda Hocking's 2010 YA vampire My Blood Approves Series.

** "I'm Coming to Get You" by The Winners plays **
"By the pricking in my thumbs, something wicked this way comes..."

In the past year or so, a number of more traditionally-themed films and storylines have appeared that might signal that a shift in the approach to vampires is coming soon. Despite the integration of darker comedy, the 2009 horror film, Suck, resurrected the darker side of vampires. In 2010, we also saw the release of Justin Cronin's The Passage, which returned to a popular anti-government conspiracy theme in which a vampire bat virus was adapted to create super soldiers that nearly brought an end to the human race. Again, very evil vampires were presented in the novel. (Incidentally, a sequel titled The Twelve is due out later this year.) Of course, in 2010 we had the vampire films Daybreakers, Stake Land, and Let Me In, each of which embraced the darker, more bloodthirsty sides of vampires.

In 2011, we had the dark, dystopian vampire-thriller film, Priest, starring Paul Bettany. Nobody could argue that those vampires weren't wholly human-craving, evil beings through-and-through. And let's not forget the vampire remake of the same name as its 1985 predecessor, Fright Night, starring a very handsome-yet-lethal Colin Farrell. (Did anyone else appreciate David Tennant in that movie as much as I did? *grin*)

Now, to be fair, the Twilight films were still in their hey-day in 2010 and 2011, but I could already sense a waning in the era of the "friendly, pro-human" vampire by that time. (Had the sparkle gone out on that theme already? *wink*) In the interest of full disclosure, my own Sunset Vampire Series which debuted in late 2010 features a blending of both "good" and "evil" vampires. However, I'd like to believe that I brought something new to the vampire genre in that my vampires are not the reanimated undead, and I introduced very strong female vampire heroines versus the traditional "helpless human female with robust alpha male vampire" pairing that has become the gold standard in the past twenty years in vampire literature.

** "If I Had A Gun..." by Noel Gallagher plays **
"Excuse me if I spoke to soon...My eyes have always followed you around the room..."

I believe that we're in a transitory period with vampires beginning this year. This March will see the release of the Underworld: Awakening vampire film with Kate Beckinsale, which promises to be another dark, vampires-are-bad theme. Oh, and Dario Argento's remake of the classic Dracula is due out in 3D later this year, as well. Finally, this November, we have the final Twilight installment with Breaking Dawn, Part 2. Will that be the end of cuddly, sparkling and humanity-tolerant vampires?

In 2012 literature, we have vampire novel releases by Kresley Cole and Lara Adrian that continue their long-standing and popular vampire series. However, I sense that, like upcoming films, there will be an increase in the number of "vampires are evil" themed novels to match the trend seen in the film industry. Who knows? Maybe I'll throw my name into the hat for that, as well. *chuckling*

So, the million-dollar question really does seem to be: Where are vampires going in 2012?

Well, if I knew the accurate answer to that question, I would probably be busy typing away at the next vampire best-seller for the marketplace masses. Alas, I'm just shooting in the dark with my third Sunset Vampire novel, Summit at Sunset, which is due for release on Wednesday, January 31st.
However, there's one thing that I can assure you...the trends in vampire literature and film are fluid and dynamic. They will ebb and flow in whatever direction is required to grab and momentarily hold the attentions of us vampire fans who constantly crave to be bitten by the next great book or movie. *wink*
The one thing that I can assure you is this: Vampires aren't going away anytime soon. And that's something that I think we can all sink our teeth into. *evil grin*

** "Paradise" by Coldplay plays **
"Every night, the stormy night, away she flied...and dreamed of Paradise..."

Well, folks, that's the cue that our time together has come to an end. Once again, my thanks to Kristie Cook for allowing me to chat with you today. I hope that you've enjoyed today's presentation. And hey, perhaps the vampire lovers in the audience who have been waiting for something a little different will consider giving my Sunset Vampire novels a try.
Have a great day, and please tune in again very soon on this blog channel for the next satisfying episode of The Kristie Cook Show! *smile*

Where can you find Jaz Primo?
Twitter:  @jazprimo
Buy links for Jaz novels:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

Yesterday I finally posted the playlists for Promise and Purpose - I bet you can't guess what's today! Oh. Okay. You guessed right!

The playlist for Devotion:

What do you get out of it? Any crazy thoughts running through your head?

Monday, January 16, 2012


We had some fun over on the Facebook page this weekend as fans posted their choices for the Promise and Purpose playlists. They made some awesome suggestions that I hadn't thought of while compiling my playlists that I listened to while writing these books. Here are my playlists, then you can mosey over to the Facebook page and find the threads to see others' ideas.

Promise Playlist:

Purpose Playlist (yeah, there are repeats but remember I wrote them together as one book so the end of Promise and the beginning of Purpose go together):

What do you think? Have you ever created a playlist for your favorite book? Do you have any suggestions you'd add to the list for Promise or Purpose? If you're a writer, do you make playlists? Before or after writing the first draft?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Foodie Friday: Healthy Eating Ideas

As usual, the holidays and all their sublime, make-my-knees-melt, high-fat and high-calorie treats brought some unwanted visitors - extra pounds. I'm calling them visitors, though, because they will not become permanent residents. I will not allow it.

They, as well as their relatives who have been visiting since October when I quit all nicotine sources (no cigs, no gum, no lozenges, no anything) and all the others that have been adding to my middle while I write, are being kicked out one by one. This writer's bum has got to go.

Unfortunately, writing doesn't burn any calories. (Wow - could you imagine if writing or reading burnt just as many calories as running or swimming? We'd all be twigs!) So I created a new routine, bought new workout clothes and shoes, and set up the DVD player and Wii for my new Taebo DVDs and Zumba game. My kids gave me Skull Candy headphones and an armband for my iPod for Christmas. I've started my walking route again, too, and actually even jogged today. It felt good!

But the really fun part has been the cooking. I've done my share of diets that took hours upon hours of menu planning, shopping and preparing - time I just don't have which makes maintaining such a diet impossible. And I found very few recipes from those diets that I liked as much as my and my family's favorites (burritos, chili, chicken enchilada casserole, homemade mac and cheese, pasta this and that, etc.). Certainly no vegetable recipes.

Maybe it's the fact that my body had been loaded with so much fat over the holidays that I almost expected butter to ooze out of my pores, or maybe I really have found some keeper recipes. Either way, veges have been tasting so good lately. I've been keeping our meals to mostly meat and veges with small servings of breads/potatoes/pastas (and minimal white flour or sugar).

Need some ideas? Here are a few really yummy yet healthy meals we've had since the new year:
  • Steak, salad with balsamic vinaigrette and a 1/4 piece of naan warmed on the grill
  • Leftover steak and shrimp on salad with Gorgonzola and balsamic vinaigrette
  • Panini made with rye bread, calamati tapanade, arugula, spinach, tomato and slices of mozarella rolled with prosciuttio (just thick enough for taste, but watch the calories)
  • Grilled lean pork chops with smashed acorn squash, green beans and baked apples (I used Truvia, cinnamon and a spray of Pam)
  • Lentil soup with kale
  • Oriental lettuce wraps with chicken, veges and just enough brown rice to help hold it together
Now that the college boy, who can't stand fish or seafood (or so he says - he likes crabs), has gone back to college, we'll be eating more fish, too.

None of these are really wild and crazy recipes, but they're tasty and healthy. And since I've been under deadline for Devotion, you can trust me that they don't take a lot of time to prepare. I'll share some actual recipes over the coming weeks.

Do you have a weight loss goal or a healthy-eating resolution for the new year? What is your favorite healthy recipe or meal? Is there anything listed above you'd especially like the recipe for? Or do you run from anything green and prefer to consume as much cheese as possible as I usually do?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Feeling My Age

Age is such a concrete number yet so ambiguous. I mean, have you ever really felt your age? I'm not talking about when you've worked out hard, painted the house or did yard work and you're feeling the creak in your bones. I'm talking about going through life and feeling you're as old as you are.

When I was a teen, adults marveled at how mature I was, but I think I stopped maturing somewhere between 18 and 24. Because I really have never felt any older than that and still don't. Not in my head, heart and soul. I certainly don't feel like I celebrated my, er, um, 40th birthday last July.

Lots of people like to remind me, though. Especially my kids. They often ask me if I'm Amadis or drank angel blood and stopped aging at 30 because they think I look so young, but they also don't let the opportunity to call me old slip by.

I went to the eye doctor this week, he sat me down and gave me "the talk" - the bifocal talk. Kind of like this:

"I'm not saying you're old or you need bifocals or anything," he said.

You better not be if you value your life! I said with a chuckle, "That's good."

"I just need to be prudent and bring it up because you did turn 40 this year." (Yes, he whispered it.) "The time's going to come when you'll be doing this --" he lifted his glasses off his nose to peer at the paper in his hand "-- or this --" he held the paper out at arm's length.

"I've been fine reading so far," I said. "And trust me - I read a lot."

"I'm just warning you. It's natural. It's going to happen."

"Um. Okay." Not to me! Not for another 10 or 20 years! "I'll watch for it."

And then there's my aunt who, every time I say I'm warm (because it was 83 degrees on Christmas day and the oven was on and the A/C off), thinks I'm in peri-menopause.

But what's really making me feel ... well, not old, but more mature for sure ... is social networking. Not the technology or "what's the point in telling the world what you're doing every hour" kind of thing. I'm down with all that. It's what people in their twenties choose to post about that has me shaking my head. And again, it's not the language or the risque pictures or anything of the sort.

It's the posts about career decisions that change every month and because writing is a public career, these young peeps are sharing their bad and wishy-washy choices with the world. Or it's why a certain retailer, website or service provider is doing a really crappy job of whatever they're doing when that company could make or break their career. Or it's complaining about the very people who support their chosen career - readers and bloggers! Or support their hobby (for bloggers) - publishers and authors who provide free books.

And I find myself thinking, "Oh, girlfriend, you really shouldn't have said that." There's no hard and fast rule for why not, just experience speaking. Which makes me realize I've gained that experience over the years - years that add up and make me my age.

So, yeah, I suppose every once in a while I do feel my age. But that's in a good way. I guess one of those reasons my "older" friends (who have been in their 40s for a year or more) say this is the best decade. You've already made most of those mistakes and learned from them.

As for the doctor and my aunt ... they can bite me. (*I say as I'm frequently checking to see if I can read better without my glasses or peeking at articles about peri-menopause.) 

Do you feel your age? What really makes you realize you're not as young as you used to be? I mean, even if you're in your 20s, you can look at people younger than you and shake your head. What makes you do so?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - Cover Reveal!

Hi, my lovelies! Long time no blog, I know, I know. As I warned, I took a break for the holidays and then extended it so I could wrap up Devotion. And now I'm ready to start the new year with a BANG!

I have lots of fun and exciting plans for you this year and what better way than to start it off with a Teaser Tuesday? Especially a Teaser Tuesday Cover Reveal? So without further ado...

Isn't she gorgeous?!?! I absolutely love, love, LOVE and can't stop staring at it. Author Brenda Pandos once again did a fantabulous job at the design!

I can't wait for you all to read this book. But what is it about? Well, a girl and a guy and their kid and they have these problems and... Oh, that's not exactly what you expected? How about this:

With powerful abilities gained from the Ang’dora and Tristan back by her side, Alexis thinks she’s ready for the next challenge—protecting her son from what appears to be the inevitable. But she has so much to learn about her powers, her new world and the people in it. Nothing is what it seems to be on the surface, including the Amadis. Having believed the secret society to be definitively good and righteous, she discovers she couldn’t have been more wrong.

Power-hungry politicians comprise the council and make impossible demands. A traitor lurks among them all, inciting trouble that could destroy the Amadis and, ultimately, humanity. The Daemoni wreak havoc in the human world, with the ultimatum that they’ll continue attacking innocents until Alexis and Tristan are expelled from the Amadis’ protection. The couple’s own society begins to shut them out. But that’s not all.

There’s a secret. A big one. And faith and hope in Alexis and Tristan will be restored if she can uncover the truth in time.

But the search for answers leads only to the discovery of more betrayals by those closest to Alexis. Her devotion is put to the test—devotion to her husband, to her family, to her people and to her beliefs—leaving her to question whom she’s fighting for and why she should even bother. But if she won’t fight … who will?
Stay tuned! Lots more good stuff coming.