Monday, April 28, 2014

Monday Musings: Soky wrap up

Hey guys!

So this weekend I attended SOKY fest, or Southern Kentucky Book Festival, for the second year and it was just as much of a blast as it was last year.  I talked to lots of fans, authors, readers, and booklovers, met some wonderful people, signed a bunch of books, and basically had a great time.  Can't wait to go back next year.

My table.  Yes, that is Katie McGarry in the foreground. We actually rode up together, along with Kelly Creagh (Nevermore) and Bethany Griffin (Masque of the Red Death). Be jealous. :P

Me and Michelle Madow, another Harlequin Teen author.  She wrote The Secret Diamond Sisters, and she is that cute in real life, too. 

My signing neighbors.

Kelly Creagh with a Poe pillow someone made and brought for her. Now I'M jealous. ;-)

Ember overlooking the crowds at Soky Fest.

So the coolest moment for me happened when a young fan, who I'd missed at a much earlier signing due to the Winter That Would Not End, came in and gave me these bracelets that she had made herself.  (One for Summer, Winter, and Iron.) Her whole family had also come to watch the exchange and take pictures of us, and it was so sweet and the fan was so cute that I gave her Ember dragon in return, and I think I made her cry (happy tears!).  Easily the best moment of the festival.  ^__^

The YA authors of SOKY fest.  How many can you name?

And then we went home.  Or we tried to go home.  Here's the thing about Kentucky; many many miles can stretch between exits, and you can be on the highway in the middle of freaking nowhere.  So when you hit forty plus miles of stand still traffic, there's nowhere to go.  You are literally trapped.  

Stuck in traffic with Katie McGarry. Heeeeelllllp.  Send a helicopter, Harlequin Teen.

Two hours later....  

Omg, it doesn't eeeeeeend. Where's that helicopter, Harlequin Teen?  ;-)

Luckily, both Katie and Bethany are Kentucky natives, and once we finally reached an exit, they knew the secret back roads home through the wilds of Lebanon Junction.   I was a little worried when we stopped at a gas station, and the cashier only took cash, and faint strains of banjo music began drifting though the trees. But we made it out alive.  Apparently Harlequin Teen claimed to have sent a helicopter, but it got lost somewhere in the Nevernever.  Right.  ;-)


Friday, April 25, 2014

Dragon Friday: New Dragon Age

Happy Dragon Friday!

So, the new Dragon Age trailer released recently.  Many of you probably know that I am a HUGE Dragon Age fan.  (Sigh, Fenris. I love that broody elf.)  Watching the trailer, I was kind of like this:

And my thoughts/exclamations through the trailer went something like this:

"New Dragon Age! Yesssss!"
"Hey, I know that voice."
"Yup, she's still hanging around. AND as in your face as ever."
"Oooh, pretty magic."
"Who's the hooded chick?"
"Preeeety scenery."
"VARRIC!!!!!" *Commences kermit flailing.*
*Chills chills chills*
"Do I know any of these people? *Looks frantically for Fenris.* Nope. But hey, a Qunari."

Um, yeah.  Just like that.  And here's the trailer so you can see the pretty and flail for yourself.

What are your thoughts?  Gonna get it when it comes out?  Oh, and if you have played the first two, who do you hope to see again?  (Fenris Fenris Fenris. I might be a tad obsessed, lol.)


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Happy St. George Day

Happy St. George Day!

April 23rd is St. George Day, and for those not in the know, St. George is England's patron saint, most famous for the slaying of a dragon.  In the tales, St. George rode out to battle an evil dragon that had been terrorizing a town by eating their children (or their young women, in some versions).  The valiant St. George killed the monstrous dragon, saved the princess from its claws, and peace reigned once again.

And so the legend lives, but the war between dragons and St. George is far from over.

Now, dragons walk through the world in human form, and the Order of St. George still exists, though in secret, to eradicate their ancient foes and protect humanity.  They've evolved with the times; they've traded swords for guns, horses for helicopters.  They are no longer knights, but soldiers, working together as a unit, quick and lethal.  They come from different walks of life, but their mission remains ever the same.

Destroy all dragons, no matter what the cost.

The final battle between dragonkind and the new Order of St. George begins this October.  Who will emerge victorious?  Who will become extinct?  You'll have to wait for Talon to find out.

Happy St. George Day!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Teaser Tuesday + Giveaway: The Forever Song

Hi everyone!

So, the Forever Song is out in the world now.  I think this calls for a giveaway, don't you?  How does a signed copy of The Forever Song sound to everyone?  But first, since its also Tuesday, here is a short teaser from the book.  See if you can guess who said this:


"You don't know when to stop.  You continue to rage against the inevitable, beating your wings against the coming darkness, even as it drags you down into its sweet, eternal embrace."


And now, the giveaway.  You know what to do. Enter the Rafflecopter thingie on the blog and leave a comment for a chance to win a signed Forever Song.  Giveaway will run until April 30th and yes, it is international.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday Musings

Hey everyone!

Have I mentioned that I love Twitter?  I can ask any question and get an answer right away, usually multiple answers.  Today, I had nothing planned to post about, so I opened the question up to everyone.  The answers were varied and many.  ^__^ I chose this question for today's post.

"What's the most surprising thing you've learned about yourself through writing?"

One important thing I've learned is this: I CAN finish a book, start to finish, in under a year.  Let me explain that.  The first book I ever truly, one hundred percent completed, took me five years to write.  Five. Years.  Of course, I was working then, and wrote when inspiration struck or when I had the time.  It always amazed me when I heard of authors finishing a book in a year.  I just couldn't fathom it.  Sometimes it worried me. Even if I did get a book published, how could I ever make writing a career if it took me so long to finish a book?

Then came something called NaNo WriMo.

For those of you who don't know, NaNo WriMo, or just Nano as it's called by nearly everyone, stands for National Novel Writing Month.  It is a month long challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days, rain or shine, come heck or high water.  50,000 words is reasonably half a book and, broken down, adds up to 1,667 words a day, seven days a week.

I wasn't sure if I could do it.  50,000 words in a month?  My last book had taken me five years.

But, I started.  And you know what?  Those 1,667 words a day REALLY add up.  Not to say it wasn't hard, or that some days I really wanted to do something else, anything else, than trudge up another hundred or so words.  But I made myself write everyday, seven days a week, for a month.  And at the end of the month, I had written 50,000 words.  Another month of this, and I had finished the novel.  In two months.  Two months, compared to five years.  It was a huge revelation for me, as well as a much needed wake up call.  I had finished a whole book in 60 days.  All I had to do, strangely enough, was WRITE.

So, for all you hopeful writers out there.  The only way to write a book is to actually WRITE A BOOK.  Inspiration is great and all, but at some point you're going to have to sit down and put words on paper or the computer screen.  Make yourself do it.  Keep writing everyday.  If you get discouraged, don't stop.  Just remember, every word is another step closer to the end.  And then one day you'll look up, and you'll have a finished book.

Oh, and if anyone tells you that Nano writing will never produce a sell-able book, that its just writers churning out crap, don't get discouraged.  For me, Nano was important because it made me realize I could write a book in a few months, that I didn't need years and years to finish a novel.  And if that isn't inspiring, I'll leave you with one last bit of information.  That novel I wrote for NaNo WriMo?  The one I finished in under two months?

That novel was The Iron King.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Dragon Friday: Talon Cover Thoughts

Happy Dragon Friday!

A couple days ago, the cover for Talon was revealed.  If you haven't seen it yet, here it is (with summary):

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they’re positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

 Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

 Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon’s newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.


So, my thoughts on the cover.  Back when they were first coming up with the design for Talon, the team at Harlequin Teen showed me four possible cover concepts.  And while the other three were really cool and lovely and dragon-y, the vivid red cover instantly jumped right off the page.  (I immediately emailed my editor and said something along the lines of: "if they don't choose this cover I'm legit going to cry."  She said she would pass that along, lol.)

 Simply put, I adore it.  I love the shifting, metallic red scales, the play of shadows over the muscles, the striking gold title with the dragon in the center of the O.  Its elegant and mysterious and the color is absolutely perfect.  I know some might be disappointed that there isn't a picture of an actual dragon on the front, but I'm quite relieved that there isn't.  I'm rather picky about my dragons; I know exactly what they look like, and a picture could destroy the image I had of them.  With this cover, you're free to imagine them as you choose.


So what do you guys think?  And when you think "dragon" what do you picture?  Let me know your thoughts!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Talon cover reveal + winners

Hey everyone!

So, the cover for Talon was finally revealed yesterday!  Did you all get to see it?  If not, feast your eyes below on the gorgeous pretty.

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they’re positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon’s newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

What do you guys think?  I adore this cover.  I love the simple elegance, the metallic, rippling red scales, the bold gold title with the dragon in the O.  Its probably my favorite cover to date.  I hope you like it, too.  :)

So, whose guess was the closest to the actual cover?  There were actually several that came really, really close, and a few that were nearly spot on.  I read through all the entries, picked the ones that were the closest, and then chose a random winner from those numbers.

The winners of the Guess the Cover contest are as follows.

For the signed copy of The Forever Song: Minerva Emano.

And the winner of the signed Forever Song and the chibi dragon figurine is: Jess the Cozy Reader!

Congrats to you both!  I will be emailing you shortly.  And thanks to everyone who entered and took a guess on the cover; your ideas were so creative and awesome.  As we get closer to Talon's release, there will be many more fun things to come, so stay tuned!


Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Musings: Ending a series

So, tomorrow The Forever Song is released upon the world.

The last book of the Blood of Eden trilogy.  The End.  The final adventure.  This is only the second series I've completed (the first since the original Iron Fey, if you can believe it), and people always ask me how it feels saying goodbye to a series.  I've worked with these characters for many months, agonized over their actions, been inside their heads for a very long time.  How does it feel, knowing you have to leave them behind and move onto something new?

For me, ending a series makes me both happy and sad.  Sad because, yes, I will miss them.  I've been a part of Allison's life since the beginning.  I've watched her evolve from a jaded, cynical street rat to a fierce, bloodthirsty vampire, to finally the person she is today.  I've watched her with Zeke, Kanin, Jackal and everyone, and I feel like I know them all, inside and out.  And it was tough, ending this series, knowing the outcome of one of their stories.  I cried writing that scene.  I can't say which one.  You'll know it when you get there.

But all good things must come to end, and I'm happy that I could give Allison and co. the finale they deserve.  I'm also proud that I actually finished a story arc, beginning to end.  Sometimes when writing a series, it feels like you'll never finish, that you'll go on forever with these characters and never have any resolution.  It's a relief to know they got their ending, and that--whether happy, sad, or somewhere in between--you were able to take them through an incredible adventure to those final two words, The End.

And as for Allison and the Blood of Eden series, I'm content with where I left them. I  hope that when readers turn the final page, they'll feel as I do: sad that its over, but content in knowing the story of vampires, rabids, humans and monsters couldn't have ended any other way.

The Forever Song is out tomorrow!  Grab your copy  to read Allie's last adventure for yourself.  =)


Friday, April 11, 2014

Dragon Friday

Hey all!

So today for Dragon Friday, I have the pics of the dragons that will be going up in the Etsy store tomorrow, Saturday at noon, EST.  Linkie to Etsy store below.

Etsy shop.

Some of the dragons up tomorrow will be:

This guy was fun to work on.  He makes me laugh now.  That tongue!  I tried several different ways to get it right, before I finally figured it out.  He's very much enjoying his lollipop.  ^__^

Little dragon guarding his treasure chest.  The chest is removable, both pieces are separate from each other. The chest is also made of clay, and has shiny bits of coin and treasure inside.

Fiery magma dragon.  He's actually my favorite of the bunch and turned out even cooler than I thought he would.  Will have to make more like him in the future.

This fuzzy little guy again.  I lamented about the impossible-ness of white clay earlier, so I won't bore you again.  Oh, and for those curious, his name in that book I wrote as a kid was Rune.

All the dragons going up tomorrow.  The little yellow guy isn't done yet; he needs eyeballs and glaze, but I like how he turned out.  He looks like a lemon drop. There's also a Forever Song book dragon in there, too.  

Oh, and don't forget to enter the TALON cover reveal contest in the post before this one!  You can win a signed Forever Song and a little clay dragon if you guess the cover, which will be revealed Tuesday, April 15th!  Exciting stuff!

Which one is your favorite?

Happy Dragon Friday!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Talon cover reveal contest

Hey guys!

So, exciting news.  Mark your calenders for Tuesday, April 15th.  Why you ask?  Two awesome reasons:

1. It is the release date for The Forever Song, the final book in the Blood of Eden trilogy.

2. There will be a cover reveal for a book about something that rhymes with WAGONS.

(Not the real cover.)

Ahem.  So, yes the TALON cover reveal will be on Tuesday, April 15th, so be on the lookout for that. And to celebrate both the cover reveal and the Forever Song release, let's have a contest.  


You already know what it's about.  So, what do YOU think will be on the Talon cover?  Dragons? Humans? Nothing but fire? Nothing but text?  What colors?  What background?  The more detailed the guess, the better.  Leave your answer in the Rafflecopter thingie, and then return here Wednesday, April 16th, to see whose guess was the closest. 

The winner will receive:

1. A signed copy of The Forever Song.

2. A clay chibi dragon, handmade by myself. Similar to the ones pictured below.  (These little guys have already gone to their new homes, so the winner's dragon will be different.  But something like this.)

What will the Talon cover look like?  Go ahead and make your guesses, you have nothing to lose.  And on April 15th, be on the lookout for MTV's exclusive cover reveal for TALON.

Then head over to your favorite bookstore to look for The Forever Song! :)

*** Remember, you have to leave a comment to be entered to win.  The closest guess to the actual cover will win the prize.  (And since I didn't realize Rafflecopter does not actually track comments, if you would leave your email address in the comment section as well, that would make my life much easier. )

Also, since I realized that doing the Rafflecopter thingie AND leaving a comment is kind of pointless, let's add another prize.  A signed Forever Song for just doing the Rafflecopter thingie, and a signed Forever Song plus the dragon if your guess is the closest to the actual cover.  So now there are two chances to win.  But to have a chance at the chibi dragon, you have to leave a comment.

Ugh, sorry for the confusion.  Live and learn, I guess.  :P

Good luck!  Yes, its international.

ETA: I realize that a few bloggers HAVE seen the Talon cover, or the concepts for it, anyway.  If this is the case, please refrain from entering the giveaway?  I want to make it fair, and I am super grateful for all your support.  Thank you so much.  :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Allie

We're SO close to the release of The Forever Song!

Don't forget to follow the blog tour for cool extras and prizes.  Extras like interviews with Kanin, Speed dating with Jackal (good luck to you, there) and a letter from Zeke to Allie, written right before the final scenes of The Eternity Cure.

There are also prizes like a set of the Blood of Eden trilogy, signed copies of the Forever Song, and gift cards to your favorite booksellers.  So you don't wanna miss even a day!  

You can find the list of participating blogs here.

But now, here is today's Teaser Tuesday!  Featuring the katana wielding heroine of the Forever Song, Allison Sekemoto.


The door loomed dead ahead, and I didn't stop.  I didn't pause to reconsider my plan.  Whether I was walking into a trap or straight to my death.  Katana at my side, I strode up to the door and kicked it below the knob.  It flew open with a crash, nearly ripped off its hinges, and I stepped into the room.


The Forever Song releases April 15th.  Don't miss the final confrontation.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday Musings: The Forever Song blog tour

Hey guys!

So today kicks off The Forever Song blog tour, which I am super excited about.  There will be fun posts, questions, character interviews (Speed dating with Jackal, anyone?) giveaways, and fun prizes.

Today, Harlequin's Paranormal Romance blog  kicks off the tour, with the story of how Blood of Eden series began and a chance to win a copy of The Forever Song!  You can also find the full list of tour stops, so be sure to check it out.

Happy touring!


Friday, April 4, 2014

Dragon Friday: top 8 movies with dragons in them

Welcome to Dragon Friday, where I yammer on about my favorite mythological creatures: dragons.  If you love dragons, you're in the right place.  Today, I count down my top 8 movies (movies, not series, GoT fans) with dragons in them.

Ready, then?  Here we go.

8.  Reign of Fire

Okay, so there were plot holes.  Big ones.  Ones you could hide a dragon in.  But for pure action, and for bad ass dragons that acted like bad ass dragons, you couldn't really ask for more.  The huge drake at the end was truly impressive, which is why this gets a spot on my favorite dragon movies list.

7. Sleeping Beauty

One word: Maleficent.  Arguably Disney's baddest villain.  This is what a dragon should be: big, scary, savage, nigh unstoppable.  Even today, the big black and purple dragon looms over Disney towers and makes appearances on live shows, television, and video games.  I cannot wait to see the new Maleficent movie, just because of the dragon.

6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Yes, Norbert was small and cute.  And the Gringott's dragon was awesome.  But my favorite was the infamous Hungarian Horntail, because he was the dragon that gave Harry a real challenge.  He was fast, vicious, spiky, and dangerous.  No cuddly dragon here.

5. The Neverending Story

Speaking of cuddly dragons.  I actually liked the book version of Falcor better than the movie, because he seemed more playful and dragon-y, but who wouldn't love a fuzzy white luck dragon with big puppy dog eyes? For pure nostalgia, Falcor was a staple of my childhood.

4. Mulan

"I am the great STONE dragon!"  Yeah, Mushu wasn't exactly huge or terrifying, but for pure attitude, he couldn't be bigger.  Proving not all dragons have to be gigantic to be awesome.

3. Dragonheart

Sean Connery as a dragon.  Um, yeah, that's just Win right there.

2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

You knew he was coming.  Yes, here is the king, the original flying, firebreathing lizard of doom.  Smaug is the perfect embodiment of all things dragon.  His size, his intelligence, his love of gold, his deep voice (Thank you Benedict Cumberbatch).  Is it wrong that, while watching both Hobbit movies, I was cheering on the dragon?  Admit it, you were as well.  ;-)

And my #1 favorite dragon movie of all time is...

1. How to Train Your Dragon

Well, this was easy.  Not only is it my #1 dragon movie of all time, it is one of my all time favorite movies period.  Who knew that a little black dragon with huge eyes and attitude would rocket into stardom as the world's most adorable dragon?  How many millions of moviegoers left the theater sad that they didn't have their own Toothless?

I know I was.

So those are my top 8 dragon movies!  Did yours make the list?  Who is your favorite movie dragon?  (And here's crossing fingers that, someday, the dragons of Talon will be featured in someone's "favorite dragons" list.)


Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Grim giveaway

Hey everyone!

We're less than two weeks away till the release of The Forever Song (out on the 15th), so don't forget to pre-order your copy so you can have it right when it comes out.

Barnes and Noble

So, to celebrate, let's have a giveaway!  Since the Grim Anthology released a little while ago, it'll be up for grabs, as well as the first book in the Blood of Eden series, The Immortal Rules.  Of course, both will be signed.  Here's a little info on the books.

Inspired by classic fairy tales, but with a dark and sinister twist, Grim contains short stories from some of the best voices in young adult literature today.

Here's the GRIM trailer.

And The Immortal Rules:

To survive in a ruined world, she must embrace the darkness…

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them—the vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself dies and becomes one of the monsters.

Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend—a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. And soon Allie will have to decide what and who is worth dying for… again.

So you know the drill.  Enter the Rafflecopter thingie for a chance to win.  It is international, so what are you waiting for?

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

How not to ask Authors for Favors

Hey guys!

So, I was going to do a blog post about a certain character in the Iron Fey series, and why I chose to end their story a certain way.  I was going to write this post because someone on Twitter asked me this question, and I felt that that the answer couldn't be properly addressed in 140 characters, so I would put it up on my blog.

I'm writing this post, instead.

Last week, someone contacted me on Twitter asking about a certain character.  Their question was valid.  I told them I would write a post about it and put it up on Monday.

This weekend, I was in Winnipeg, Canada for C4 lit fest.  I was on panels all day, signed books, talked to other authors and writers, took pictures, answered questions, and generally went to bed completely wiped out.  Also, I had very limited access to email and online stuff, and I couldn't use my phone for anything but text and calling my husband because the roaming charges were killer.  On Monday, I flew home.  I left Winnipeg at 11am that morning and got home around 8pm that night.  After a whole day of travel, I was exhausted.  I tweeted a bit, waxed poetic on the awesomeness of Poutine (Canadian dish of fries, cheese sauce, cheese curds, and gravy), and then went to bed.

I completely forgot about that Monday post.

Tuesday was April 1st, April Fools Day, and as tradition dictates, I posted something to honor the holiday, as I've done every year since before I was published.  It was a rather long post, and I had to take time out of my regular schedule to write it.  I didn't get paid to post it, it was something extra I posted for my readers and fans.

This morning, I received a tweet from the person who originally contacted me about the Monday post, asking where it was.  Except, the tweet went like this:

#liar I went to your blog and it wasn't there. #disappointed

Now, I will admit, I HAD forgotten about it.  I did have an "Oops, I was supposed to do that," moment and felt bad that I'd forgotten.  I told the person that I had been in Winnipeg all weekend, had just come home on Monday, and I would post it soon.

I received these tweets in return:  

 #liar #procrastinator You will post it ASAP.  #disappointed

#liar That's not an excuse.  Tweet me when you have it up.

 Um. Okay.  Let's not even mention that I had an extraordinary busy weekend, and there was no way I could have gotten an in-depth, thoughtful blog post up with the things I was doing.  But besides that, I agreed to do someone a favor.  This was something that I had to take time out of my writing schedule for (my very busy writing schedule), something I am not getting paid for, something that I wanted to do because I thought it would be nice.

HOWEVER, making demands, calling me names, and telling me I don't have an excuse is NOT the way to interact with an author (or anybody else for that matter), especially if you want something from them.  I don't need an excuse.  I don't owe you an explanation.  And you do not make my time schedule, particularly if this is something I am doing on the side.  I understand that you're disappointed, but sometimes life gets in the way of things.  If the twitter person had responded with something along the lines of  "Oh, okay. No problem, let me know when you post it," I would've happily written their blog post and put it up asap.  Now, I'm never going to write it, because I don't like being called names and ordered around.  No one does.

So, this is just a gentle reminder: be nice online.  Authors are people, too.  We love getting questions and staying in touch with our fans, but please remember that the respect has to go both ways.  As the old saying goes, you'll catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

Questions, concerns, comments?  All are welcome.  However, any rude, nasty, or ugly comments will be eaten by the gremlins.  


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Teaser Tuesday Special: The Fox and the Raven

Welcome back to Teaser Tuesday!

Puck fans, are you ready?  This is especially for you.

This teaser takes place right after The Iron Knight and before Iron's Prophecy, when Puck leaves Ash and disappears for a little while.  Later, he tells Meghan that he was in Kyoto visiting some "friends." The following is a snippet of what exactly happened to him in the time he was gone.

Teaser Tuesday SPECIAL:

The Fox and the Raven

            Kyoto in the Spring is one of my favorite spots to visit.

            I sat on the railing of the temple overlooking the gardens, one knee drawn to my chest, letting the sakura scented breeze cool my face, watching the white and orange koi swirl below me in the tiny pond.  The wind whispered through the branches of the cherry blossom trees and sent a few pink and white petals fluttering into the water.  Birds trilled from the rooftops, and dragonflies buzzed through the reeds.   It was very peaceful here.  Peaceful, quiet, and tranquil. 

            A smirk played across my lips.  Too tranquil in my opinion.  I wasn't here for peace and quiet.  I didn't come to meditate on the yin and yang of it all.  I was here to forget what was happening in the Nevernever right now, the marriage of a certain princess and ice-boy.  A marriage that would take her from me, once and for all, forever. 

            Sighing, I flicked a pebble into the pond, watching the koi swarm below me, my thoughts drifting to my two best friends.  I was happy for them, I really was.  But I couldn't be there.  I needed to clear my head, sort some things out.  I needed to stir up some trouble, and a chaos filled romp through one of my favorite cities would be a fabulous place to start.

            If my partner in crime ever woke up, that is.

            "Goodfellow-san, are you out here?"

            I grinned, swinging my boots over the railing and hopping down as a figure joined me on the veranda.  A girl in a red and white kimono, her straight black hair falling past her waist like a spill of ink.  Cherry red lips, a stark contrast against the delicate, porcelain doll face, were pulled into a gentle smile.

  "Itazura-chan," I greeted casually.  That wasn't her real name, of course, any more than Robin Goodfellow was mine.  Itazura meant mischief in Japanese, and she was the reason I enjoyed visiting Japan so much.  Things were rarely dull when the two of us got together.  The last time I visited Kyoto, the statue of a famous Buddha mysteriously vanished and somehow ended up on the roof of a castle.  

            Ah, good times.

            I watched her approach, catching a glimpse of the bushy, white-tipped fox tail peeking out from beneath her robes.  "Uh, Zura-chan?" I pointed out.  "Your tail is showing.  Maybe you should hide that  before we cause another panic in the marketplace?"

            She cocked her head, appraising, and ignored that statement.  "You seem pensive today, Goodfellow-san," Itazura said, sauntering closer.  For a split second, as she came into the light, her eyes glimmered amber and gold, but only for a moment, before they turned black once more.  "Your voice is full of shadows, and you smell like bitter leaves."

            I smirked, ready to give a flippant, smart-ass reply, but she stepped close, reached out, and ran a slender finger down my face.  Unexpectedly, the soft touch made me shiver as the girl peered up at me with large black eyes, still smiling.  "Why so moody, Goodfellow-san?" she asked.  "It's a beautiful afternoon, perfect for teasing monks and stealing mochi and tricking mortals into falling into the pond.  But you look like a neko-cat who watched the hawk steal a mouse right from his paws." 

            I forced a grin.  "I don't like mice, Zura-chan.  They make my breath stink."   

            The kitsune girl gave me a knowing smile, and for a moment, my insides fluttered.  "There are plenty of mice in the world, Goodfellow-san," she said, staring right into my eyes.  "Perhaps you shouldn't be looking for a mouse, ne?  Perhaps you should be looking for something with sharper teeth."  She held my gaze, a beautiful young girl with ancient golden eyes.  "I would help you forget her, Goodfellow-san," she said, her voice soft but completely forthright.  "If you give me a chance, I would help you find happiness again."

            My stomach lurched.  Crossing my arms, I raised an eyebrow.  "Uh-huh," I said dubiously.  "This from a kitsune.  I seem to recall the last time I was here, you somehow lured some poor sap into the temple gardens and then stole his robes so he had to run home in the buff." 

            "No, Goodfellow-san."  Itazura watched me, all innocence.  "I did the luring.  You stole his robes, remember?"

            "Oh.  Right."

            She giggled, pushing her hair back with a smile, before she became serious again.  "We are alike, Robin Goodfellow," she said quietly.  "The same.  A single leaf, split down the middle.  Humans, even half-humans, can never truly understand us.  I know you.  I've seen you for who you really are, and you've seen me, as well.  You should know that I would never hurt or trick you."  Her voice grew defiant.  "And you're wrong if you think kitsune can't fall in love.  It happens more often than you think."  She glanced down at her hands, her next words almost a whisper.  "You've just never been able to see it."   

            My heart pounded, surprising me.  Itazura wasn't Meghan...but Meghan was gone.  I'd already lost her.  Itazura--wicked, playful, always brutally honest--was right here.  My throat felt tight, and I swallowed hard.  Maybe she was right.  Maybe it was time I let my princess go.

            Itazura stared back at me with a stark, open gaze, the breeze playing through her dark hair, and the look in her eyes made my stomach clench.  I remembered the times we shared, the places we visited, sometimes as we were now, sometimes as a raven and a small red fox.  Itazura was sly, witty, and she made me laugh, which was saying a whole lot.  Besides ice-boy, she was the only one who could keep up with me, challenge me.  And, unlike ice-boy, she welcomed the chaos and bedlam that often followed in my wake, sometimes causing it herself.  We did make a good pair.  I was tired of hurting, of pining over a girl who would never love me back.  Itazura and I were one and the same.  I could, very easily, come to love her, too. 

            If I could stand to let Meghan go. 

            Taking a deep breath, I made my decision.


Puck: Happy April Fool's Day from your friendly neighborhood Puck!  Did you enjoy that little teaser?  I did too.  Now, whether or not it's TRUE?  That is a different story.  Do you think we should tell them, Itazura-chan?

Itazura:  Well, we could.  But what fun would that be, Goodfellow-san? 

Puck:  My thoughts exactly.  God, I love this holiday.  

Happy April Fools, mortal!