Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Writer Wednesday - Halloween Ghoulie Goodness

Happy Halloween!

Today I am over at Confessions of a Bookaholic, sharing one of the scariest moments of my life. I'm also giving away an ebook, and Jessica over there has many other giveaways going on for her Haunted Halloween extravaganza, as well as several guest posts from other authors. If you love all things books, authors and Halloween, you won't want to miss out.

I don't have a guest for Writer Wednesday today, but I am over at my long-forgotten writer's blog, A Mused Writer. I've let that blog, geared for other writers, fall by the wayside, and I explain why, along with why I hope to revive it, at least for November. Hint: Because it's NaNoWriMo.

And because NaNoWriMo kicks off at midnight tonight, I might be a little quiet here on the blog for the next few weeks. The goal (50,000 words in one month or 1,666 words a day) shouldn't be that daunting for me, especially since I'll be able to focus on this full-time, but I'm still a little nervous. I know from experience how the littlest thing can tie me up in a block for several days. Let's hope that doesn't happen!

Any cheering and support would be greatly appreciated. And if you see me on Facebook or Twitter, feel free to tell me, "GET BACK TO WORK!" If you're participating in NaNo, please buddy me. My handle is Kristie Cook.

For now, I'll be enjoying the rest of the day and hoping we get a few trick-or-treaters tonight. Have a safe and fun Halloween, my lovelies!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Don't Forget!

Not only is tomorrow Halloween, tomorrow is also the last day of the month. This fact means more to me than even the holiday, especially as my kids are grown and Halloween just isn't as much fun as it used to be around here.

First off, it's the last day of sanity. I've had a couple of months' break from writing (if you don't count outlining and prep work) after an insane summer, and as of midnight tomorrow night, I'll be starting National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It's my first time ever, and I don't feel nearly as prepared as I think I should be. So yeah, November will be a little insane, especially since it also kicks off the holidays.

Second, and more importantly, tomorrow is the last day to get in your donation for Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month for me to match it. Also, any receipts for any donations made through 10/31 can be emailed to me and I'll send you some Soul Savers swag. For DVAM, you can donate here: and for BCAM, you can donate here: Of course, you can also donate to your favorite organization supporting either of these causes and email me your receipt. I'll match the amount to one of the above organizations. Remember, every little bit helps! And whatever you can do, I'll be doubling it!

Third, tomorrow ends the Halloween Urban Fantasy Blog Hop. Check out the post, get your entry in with a comment, then go visit all the other blogs on the hop and enter their giveaways. Hurry! There are lots of great prizes up for grabs!

I feel like there's more, but my mind's kinda wonky with finishing up all these things before diving into the writing cave. Watch for tomorrow's post as I have a couple of other announcements to share.

And if you're in Sandy's path, I hope you and yours are safe and warm! My prayers and thoughts are out to all of those affected.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Writer Wednesday - Author Brenda Pandos

For Writer Wednesday, we have author Brenda Pandos once again visiting. The first book of her Talisman Series, The Emerald Talisman, is now available on audiobook, so she's celebrating its release with a tour.

Brenda's here to talk about our time together last week, which was a blast. But first, a little about Brenda and The Emerald Talisman.

The Emerald Talisman blog tour from 10/26-11/23 hosted by Confessions of a Bookaholic. There will be giveaways, interviews and a scavenger hunt!

Book Title: The Emerald Talisman, audiobook
Series name and #: Talisman series, Book #1
Publisher: Obsidian Mountain Publishing
Release date: 9/20/2012

 Book summary:

You can run from your destiny, but you can't hide.

If for no other reason than to help endure the hormonal rush of high school, sixteen-year-old Julia Parker would trade her ability to feel her fellow students' emotions in a heartbeat, especially half the boys in class.

When the beguiling Nicholas uses his superhuman strength to rescue Julia from the edge of a cliff before she's devoured by a bloodthirsty stalker, Julia is suddenly thrust into an underground world where people and animals are often one and the same. Fellow high school students disappear and only Julia and Nicholas know the truth. While Nicholas, a vampire hunter, is out stopping the ever-growing coven, an old friend entices Julia to join him on the dark side and a psychic tells Julia she alone is the key to stopping the madness, problem is it'll require Nicholas' life.


Author Bio:

Brenda Pandos lives in California with her husband and two boys. She attempts to balance her busy life filled with writing, being a mother and wife, and spending time with friends and family. Working formerly as an I.T. Administrator, she never believed her imagination would be put to good use. After her son was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder her life completely changed. Writing paranormal romance became something she could do at home while tending to the new needs of her family, household, and herself.

Three years later, Brenda now has five books published, The Talisman Trilogy: The Emerald Talisman, The Sapphire Talisman, and The Onyx Talisman, and Mer Tales: Everblue and Evergreen. She is currently working on the third book of Mer Tales, Everlost, coming February 2013.

My Summer Vacation

When thinking about this post, I joked with Kristie about the dreaded “My Summer Vacation” assignment in school. Funny how time and a career change would change this desire.

To fill you in, I just returned home (to the rain—bleck) from a wonderful four day writing retreat and well-refill with author, Kristie Cook and her publisher, Chrissi Jackson in the beautiful Florida Keys. Talk about an amazing time. Though I didn’t get a ton of writing done, I was able to relax, talk shop, and enjoy a slice of heaven with my bosom friends.

My crazy journey started Tuesday evening with a red-eye from California to Florida so I could maximize my time with my dear friends. From there, we drove down through the Everglades (in a convertible) on a 5-hour journey to our destination. My brain was a little toasty by the time we arrived from the lack of sleep, but our adorable condo accommodations on the water were absolutely incredible and worth the trip. That evening, we ventured out to Ziggie and Mad Dog’s for dinner where we dined on salmon, lobster, scallops, and truffle mac and cheese which was to die for.

The next day we lazed about (mostly by the pool) wore out from the travel the day prior. Can I say how awesome it is to do NOTHING for once? Dinner was another tasty adventure where I had the best mahi mahi fish tacos I’ve ever had.

Our condo was conveniently located a mile away from a marine sanctuary called Theater by the Sea. They are the home to sea turtles, alligators, tropical birds, dolphins, rays, sea lions, parrots, sharks, and other aquatic life. A sign to “swim with the dolphins” caught my attention on Thursday night as we drove home from dinner. Talk about a bucket list adventure. Luckily Kristie was game when I asked if anyone wanted to go with me. When finding out what the swim involved, the introductory instructions included the words rigorous swimming activity. Though I’m out of shape (thanks to my writers butt), I do go to the gym a few days a week and I’m an excellent swimmer, so I wasn’t scared of that. But things that could nibble my toes in the water are an entirely different thing. In our planning, I imagined the dolphins lived in a beautiful clear tank like a typical marine park. OH NO. I couldn’t be further from the truth. The dolphins live in a lagoon… a green, slimy, can’t-see-the-bottom, hiding-things-lurking-about lagoon. My creep factor escalated. I looked at Kristie for help. She smiled and said “are you sure you can do this?” I gulped and nodded my head. I had to do this… I’d already paid to do it. Of course, my fears lessen if I’m not alone, because in my nightmares if I’m with someone then Jaws will eat (or the alligators) them first. But I most definitely wasn’t going to let icky water scare me away. And once we were in the water (as a group), somehow the dolphins magically took away my fears. And I found them to be such sweet and elegant creatures. I was amazed when we “held” the dolphin in our hands (as pictured), I could feel Sherry’s heartbeat. We danced, held, swam next to, were kissed by, and were towed (by holding onto their dorsal fin) through the water. Incredible. You must do it!

So, to wrap up my ramblings, I wanted to share that one of the things I never saw when becoming a writer was the friendships I’d develop along the journey. When The Sapphire Talisman released December of 2010, author Kristie Cook was releasing her second novel, Purpose as well. We happened to meet at our release Twitter parties. Little did we know how important that connection would be. Today, I’m the graphic designer for her books covers and we are each other’s editors/beta readers. She is a priceless friend to me and I’m so thankful for her. So… thanks for a fabulous time in Florida, Kristie and Chrissi!

I don’t know what this has to do with my release of my audio book of The Emerald Talisman, but that book too also has an incredible journey!

Thanks for having me on the blog, Kristie! *hugs*


Brenda’s Links:
Brenda Pandos’ Website:

Halloween Urban Fantasy Blog Hop

Today is the Halloween Urban Fantasy Blog Hop! Several writers and readers, all lovers of the urban fantasy genre, are answering a list of fun questions about UF and Halloween. Join in the fun by hopping from site-to-site. We're each hosting a giveaway, so don't forget to enter those, too.

1.       What do you love about the urban fantasy genre (reading and writing)?
K: I love the freedom of being able to make up just about anything while staying grounded within the real world.

2.       Who is the sexiest supernatural creature? Who’s the scariest?
K: Well, I'd have to say Tristan from my own Soul Savers Series is the sexiest! LOL If I can't say my own character, then Jerricho Barrons would be my next choice. And he may also qualify as the scariest.

3.       If you could make any supernatural creature, what would it look like and what powers would it have?
K: The fun of writing the Soul Savers Series is that I have made up my own supernatural creatures and their powers vary from person to person. One might have the ability to shoot power fireballs while another can douse flames with a shot of water. One can fly and another has telepathy. They usually have a few different powers at their disposal, so the combinations are endless.

4.       Do you have any Halloween rituals?
K: Not really. Sometimes we dress up and go out, sometimes we don't. It really depends on what's going on elsewhere. Our kids are all grown up and don't trick-or-treat anymore. We don't even get many kids coming to our house. We used to be really into Halloween pretty hard-core, but life has gotten in the way the last couple of years.

5.       Walking at midnight in a forest on Halloween – crazy, scary or adventurous?
K: Yes. But often necessary, especially when you have a dead body to hide.

6.       What is your worst fear?
K: Well, besides the obvious (losing my kids), spiders. And birds. Gah! I hate birds with their beady eyes, sharp beaks and creepy-looking feet. *shudders*

7.       What is one of your character’s worst fear?
K: As a mom, Alexis's worst fear is losing her son. And it's a very justified fear, considering their circumstances.

8.       What is your favorite Urban Fantasy novel?
K: I can't think of a single novel, but I love Karen Marie Moning's Fever Series and J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Oh, and the Sookie Stackhouse series, although that's not exactly "urban." For YA, The Mortal Instruments is one of my favorites.

9.       Who is your favorite Urban Fantasy hero/heroine?
K: Hmm...Jerricho, Jace... I guess I mostly like the guys. Anita Blake is pretty kick-butt, though.

10.     Which hero/heroine would you love to be on Halloween?
K: To actually "be" as in become? Probably none, since Halloween tends to wreak havoc regardless of the world. To be as in dress up as? Well, definitely not any of the most popular heroines who tend to wear tight leathers - trust me, you don't want to see me in that. But I could do my own version of a kick-butt-zombie-killer-vampire-slayer-fey-annihilator. In truth, though, I'm more likely to be the zombie, vampire or evil fey.

And now for my giveaway! Simply answer one of the questions above in the comments below to be entered to win a signed copy of Power. Be sure to include your name and email address so I can contact you if you win. Enter by 11:59 EST, Halloween (10/31/12). The winner will be announced Friday, 11/2/12.

Now go on to the rest of the hop for more fun answers and giveaways!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Writer Wednesday - Heather McCorkle & Rise of a Rector

With the chaotic summer I had and Power's release, it's been way too long since I've had a Writer Wednesday feature. But today I have one! We're welcoming back Heather McCorkle who's celebrating the release of the final book in her Channeler series, Rise of a Rector.

The final novel in Heather McCorkle’s Channeler series, Rise of a Rector, has released! To celebrate, and in the spirit of October, Fane from the channeler series is here to tell us about a scary moment in his life. Take it away Fane!

Fane: My cousin, my only flesh and blood anywhere near my age, was being attacked by two boys in the middle of a party. No one was helping her. I crouched in the shadows, indecisive. If I helped her then I risked exposing my family’s secret, one that would endanger all our lives if the people of this town knew. But the boys were overcoming her. I couldn’t let them hurt her so I swallowed my fear and jumped in the fight.

Check out Heather’s blog for a new tour stop each day until November 2nd. To thank her fans, and future fans, Heather’s historical fantasy novel (a standalone novel that ties into the channeler series) will be free Friday November 2nd and Saturday November 3rd on Amazon. And if Heather gets over 1000 downloads of To Ride A Puca in those two days she’ll give away a $10 Amazon or B&N gift card! So spread the word, get ready to download To Ride A Puca, tell all your friends to download it, and drop by Heather’s blog now to enter to win the gift certificate.

You can find all three novels in the channeler series (The Secret of Spruce Knoll, Channeler’s Choice, and Rise of a Rector) on Amazon and B&N, as well as other retail sites. The channeler novella~and prequel to The Secret of Spruce Knoll~Born of Fire is currently free on Amazon and B&N and you can find a short story about Fane from the series in the FREE anthology, In His eyes. You can add Rise of a Rector to your Goodreads lists at this link.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Audiobooks FTW?

Woohoo! The news came in just today - Promise is now available as an audiobook! It's on, anyway. It's coming to, Amazon and iTunes soon.

The talented Erin Mallon has taken on Alexis's voice as the narrator and Brick Shop Audiobooks is the producer. They've done a fabulous job, and I can't wait to hear what everyone thinks.

This is exciting news for some people (like those who have been asking me for years when the audiobook would come out), while others are probably like, "Meh. Who cares." Some people love audiobooks and some don't.

Audiobook lovers subscribe to Audible's membership service, download several books a month and get to enjoy books while doing all sorts of things. Many listen to an audiobook of something they've already read, particularly favorites, and some re-listen just as much (if not more) than they re-read. If they have it available and there's nothing else to listen to, they can always play an audiobook, even in the middle, and know what's going on. Good background noise, especially while driving.

Then there are some people who just can't stand to listen and would rather read. They say listening changes the story experience, which can be true. If the narrator doesn't have the right voice or use the right inflections, if the pacing is off or the tone doesn't reflect the right mood, the story can sound very different when "read" through the ears rather than through the mind. Some people say they just have a harder time imagining the world when the story is read to them.

I'm not much of an audiobook listener myself, but I don't dislike them, either. I listen to books while giving myself a mani/pedi, sometimes while cleaning and only occasionally while driving. When I can only listen, though, I usually prefer music. Music gets the voices in my head talking - you know, those characters who want me to write their stories. With music, I can let my mind wander, discovering new ideas for my current work in progress. With an audiobook, I have to concentrate too much. However, sometimes there's something I really want to "read," but for whatever reason, it doesn't get priority when I'm ready to sit down and read. So yeah, I do get the occasional audiobook.

So what do you think? Do you listen to audiobooks? Love 'em or hate 'em?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

We Have a Winner!

The Power Release Tour has officially ended and all the Scavenger Hunt entries have been received. Before we get to the big announcement of the winner, I just want to say a big, fat


To everyone who participated in the tour, to the book blogs who were such gracious hosts (listed below), to their followers and mine who joined in the giveaways, and to my readers for making the Soul Savers Series such a success. A special thanks to Jessica at Confessions of a Bookaholic for organizing the tour.

And now, the winner of the Scavenger Hunt grand prize, which includes a Soul Savers Swag Bag with all of my signed books + a $50 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble (a total prize value of $170!) is...

*drum roll*

*balloon drop*

*confetti drop*

HEIDI H.!!!!

Woohoo! Congratulations, Heidi!

Again, thank you to everyone who participated. I wish I could give you all prizes. I hope, if you haven't already, you'll check out and maybe follow these wonderful hosts:

Book Reader Addicts
Confessions of a Bookaholic
Living Fictitiously
Author Brenda Pandos
Stitch - Read - Cook
A Simple Love of Reading
Insane About Books
The Cozy Reader
A Life Bound by Books
A Bibliophile's Thoughts on Books
Reading Lark After Dark
Me and Reading
Paranormal Reads
Forbidden Reviews
Good Choice Reading

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Last Call for Entries

Next week is "Get Back to Normal Week" around here. It's time to start writing again, including "real" blog posts. That's right - we'll be beyond the Power Release Tour and all the promo stuff that comes with a new release. Whew!

But first, I just want to put out a Last Call for entries in the Scavenger Hunt. You have until midnight EST tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 5) to submit all your entries for the Scavenger Hunt. Remember - a $50 gift card to your choice of Amazon or B&N PLUS signed books and a Soul Savers swag bag is up for grabs! So get your entries in by starting at the Power Release Tour page. I'll announce the winner next week.

Also, I'm getting ready to put in an order for Power paperbacks. If you'd like a signed copy of Power, place your order here by tomorrow. It takes about 2 weeks for me to receive the books, sign and get them out to you, so they'll be delivered by the end of the month.

And while I have you here, I hope you'll join me in Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Make a donation and I'll match it! Details here.

Now I'm off to enjoy a weekend with my boys. The College Boys are coming home for the weekend, my oldest has a birthday on Monday and my youngest has Homecoming this weekend. He's the Junior Class Prince. Awwww. LOL He's also a cheerleader for Powder Puff, but last night's game was pushed to next week because of storms. Can't wait to see that!

What do you have planned this weekend? I hope it's a fabulous one!

Monday, October 1, 2012

October - Awareness Month

October is the awareness month for two causes very important to me - Domestic Violence and Breast Cancer. Over the summer, we raised nearly $2,000 for The National Domestic Violence Hotline. I'm hoping we can meet or beat that between the two causes this month.

So here's the deal (edited 10/15 with new info):

  • Make a donation to The Hotline here and I'll match the total raised at the end of the month.
  • Make a donation to NBCF here and I'll match the total raised at the end of the month.
  • Make a donation to any other organization serving domestic violence or breast cancer, send me the receipt (email and I'll send the same amount to either The Hotline or NBCF.

I'll donate at least $250 to each cause, but let's make it more, okay? *bats eyelashes* ALSO, send me your donation receipt, and I'll send you Soul Savers swag, including bookmarks and whatever else I find to throw into the envelope.

I hope you'll also join me in The Hotline DVAM Challenge. Details are here. Let's raise some awareness, and hopefully some funds, to put a stop to domestic violence. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their own homes!

I hope you'll do whatever you can, even if it's just spreading the word. In today's world of social media, we can bring a whole new meaning to "raising awareness." Join me, won't you?

*Email your donation receipt dated between 10/1/12-10/31/12 to by 11/5/12. Be sure to include your mailing address for your bookmarks.