Monday, February 26, 2018

DANGEROUSLY FIERCE Release Day Giveaway Extravaganza

It's here! It's out today! What am I shouting about? DANGEROUSLY FIERCE, of course. This is the third book in the Broken Riders series, a spinoff of the Baba Yaga series. Berkley put out the first three book in series one and the first two in series two, but then I lost my contract, which meant that my faithful readers weren't going to get Alexei's story. I couldn't have that, could I? So I wrote it and self-published it (with the help of multiple brilliant first readers, a new cover artists, and the amazing Sierra Newburn, who did all the file conversions and uploading).

Didn't the cover come out well?
 And here it is! To celebrate, I'm doing a HUGE release day giveaway extravaganza. I hope you'll all help me to spread the word (both about the book release and the giveaway)--if this experiment is successful, I might even write another Baba Yaga or Riders book/novella/short story. We'll have to see how it goes. I hope you're as excited as I am!

Because so many people love this series so much, I've decided to do a multiple winner giveaway, and spread the love around. Here's what we've got:
The Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire 7 (with Alexa...I'm not sure how they fit her in that little box). It's red!

Plus Prize #2
A large tote bag (for all your books, of course) and a notebook with the cover on them

Prize #3
Signed copies of two of the few remaining ARCs (advanced reader copies) of Dangerously Charming and Dangerously Divine, the first two books in the series, plus a fun dragon. (There are a LOT of dragons in Dangerously Fierce...)

Limited edition ARCs!
 Prize #4
Signed copies of the mass market versions of both Dangerously Charming and Dangerously Divine, plus the last of the cool key chains I had made for Dangerously Charming promo, and one small and one large magnet.

I love these key chains, don't you?
Plus all the winners will get these great bookmarks, a postcard, and a magnet.

To enter, just fill in the Rafflecopter form below. As always, no purchase is necessary and you get credit for anything you've done already, like sign up for my newsletter.

If you want to run right out and buy the book, here are some links. It will be available in both eBook AND print form, although right now Amazon is the only one with the print version available. I'll let you know when the print versions are available elsewhere. (There was a tiny glitch with Amazon, so right now there are different links for print and for eBook. We hope to get that fixed soon.)

Kobo -

(Before you ask, no, I won't be putting it out in audiobook form. I know people love those, but they're very expensive to produce, alas.)

Don't forget that the most helpful thing you can do for an author besides buying the book is to review it and spread the word...assuming you like it, of course.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 16, 2018

Guest Starring Alethea Kontis

I'm heading back to the Coastal Magic Convention next week. It takes place every year in Daytona Beach (on the beach! with books and authors!) and it is far and away my favorite of all the conventions I go to. For one thing, I get to hang out with the coolest people. One of them is the lovely Alethea Kontis, author, princess, actress, and all-around fun lady. We both write revisioned fairy tales, although in different ways (I love, love, love her books) and she has a fun new book out set in Kristin Painter's shared Nocturne Falls paranormal universe (which is I also love), so I asked Alethea if she would come here today and talk to you about the book, writing in general, and (coff) maybe me.

There are more ways to retell fairy tales than there are stars in the sky. Or people on the planet.
Our dearest Deborah, as you know, has her own unique take on the infamous Baba Yaga. In my world of Arilland, BY is the proprietor and headmistress of Baba Yaga’s Traveling Home for Unfortunate Young Women with Magical Maladies. Her sister, Anastazia Yaga Vasili, was forced to send her granddaughter there after a wolf attack led to an unhealthy obsession with the Woodcutter who saved her (see: “Hero Worship” from Tales of Arilland).
Granted, in my Nocturne Falls Universe, I also have a “Professor Blake” (ahem) who is Head Witch of Harmswood Academy and a kind of fairy godmother to the entire cast.
But I digress…
Fairy tale retellings are a unique sort of collaboration. We, the living storytellers, take the framework of tales handed down to us by storytellers from distant (or not-so-distant) lands long ago. To these we add a boatload of personal experiences, a pinch of modern sensibility, and a dash of our own voice. Stir, simmer, and voila! A new take on an old classic is born.
I am a writer, yes, but I was raised a storyteller. Some readers can tell the difference between “writers” and “storytellers” subconsciously. The best way to tell is by listening to audiobooks. The storyteller’s novel will come across almost as if it were made for radio. There is a cadence of the words and sentences like poetry. It is inherently pleasing to the ear. Not that books by “writers” aren’t pleasing…the text may be both beautiful and intelligent, but the prose just doesn’t naturally lend itself to performance.
Most of the fairy tales you know and love today (and many you never knew or have forgotten) arose from oral tradition, passed down from parent to child at bedtime, or around the fire or dinner table. In many cultures, this oral tradition is born out of necessity. Poverty, diaspora…life can take everything from us, but our stories we keep.
My French grandmother was a single mother who raised five kids all by herself in the wild mountains of Vermont on a government salary. My Greek grandmother’s family came over on boats from Greece…and not always under their own names. My Ottoman grandfather was a refugee twice: burned out of his home as a baby in 1922 during the Great Catastrophe of Smyrna, and then forced to become a privateer during the Nazi occupation of Greece. He had to leave two countries and find a new home with little more than the clothes on his back, all before the age of twenty three.
Papou died before I was born, but I know his stories because my family told them. My family never stops telling them. It is who we are. It is what we have. The one legacy we were given.
My French grandmother remarried later in life—Pepere also died when I was very small, but he left my grandmother with a house and enough money to live comfortably on her own. The Greeks…well, they had the diner, didn’t they? They all worked in the diner. Or at the bar. Or the burger joint.
Dad made me promise to never get a job in the restaurant industry. I didn’t realize then that what he really wanted was for me to take my genius brain and break out of the Greek stereotype. I may not have ended up on the same career path as all the other USC Chemistry majors, but I always stayed true to my word.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t write about Greeks in diners…
In all my books of Arilland, the fairy tales I retold were from Grimm and Andersen, Mother Goose and Lang. In the Nocturne Falls books, the fairy tales I got to retell were my own.
Kai Xanthopoulos’s parent work at Mummy’s Diner. Heather Hayden’s happy place is somewhere on a mountain in Vermont. Owen Liddell was cursed in Egypt as a teenager in the 1920’s…setting him far enough east in the Mediterranean to have crossed paths with Greek and Armenian refugees from the Ottoman Empire.
But that’s all worldbuilding—that’s not the story.
The story of Besphinxed is one of a young woman who is amazing and powerful at heart, but she’s been raised by some truly terrible people, and so believes some pretty horrible things about herself. It’s the story of a young man who was cursed into the form of a cat a hundred years ago, and he hasn’t grown a lot in that century. He’s still a coward, willing to just let life happen around him for better or worse. But they are thrown together by Fate…and it turns out, each was exactly the medicine the other needed.
In so many ways, the three books I’ve written in the Nocturne Falls Universe so far have turned out to be exactly the medicine *I* needed.

Alethea's Bio:
New York Times bestselling author Alethea Kontis is a princess, a voice actress, a force of nature, and a mess. She is responsible for creating the epic fairytale fantasy realm of Arilland, and dabbling in a myriad of other worlds beyond. Her award-winning writing has been published for multiple age groups across all genres. Host of “Princess Alethea’s Fairy Tale Rants” and Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow every year at Dragon Con, Alethea also narrates for ACX, IGMS, Escape Pod, Pseudopod, and Cast of Wonders. Born in Vermont, Alethea currently resides on the Space Coast of Florida with her teddy bear, Charlie. Find out more about Princess Alethea and the magic, wonderful world in which she lives here:

Lucienne Diver, Alethea, and me last year at Coastal Magic

As you can see, we never had any fun
 You can find Alethea at her website

Find the book here: paperback: Amazon | B&N
e-book: Amazon |  iBooks | Nook Kobo

And if you're going to be in Daytona Beach on Saturday the 24th, we'll both be taking part in a book signing that is open to the public, so you can come see us there!


Monday, February 12, 2018

A BIG Announcement

 So, I have some bad news and I have some good news. 

The bad news is that Berkley, who published all of my fiction series, has decided not to contract for the third Broken Rider book. Publishing is a numbers game, and the numbers from the previous books just weren’t good enough to justify putting out the third one. This isn’t something I take personally—you’d be amazed how many of my author friends, many of them better writers and more popular than I am, have lost their contracts in the last year. The third book in the Veiled Magic series, Veiled Enchantments, will be out in March, and that’s the last of the books from Berkley, at least for now.

I’ve actually known about this for some time, although I haven’t talked about it online. And the good news is that I decided that there was no way I was going to leave my readers hanging—so I wrote Alexei’s story anyway. Surprise! 

I’ve been quietly working on it (this is the unnamed project I’ve mentioned a few times) over the last four months, and I will be self-publishing it sometime soon; probably in the next couple of weeks. I’ll be sure to let you know when it is live. It will be available as an ebook pretty much everyplace, and as a print book from Amazon. I even found a great cover artist who was able to come up with a cover that matched the first two in looks, although it was impossible to get quite the right “Alexei.” (Sadly, Jason Momoa wasn’t available to pose…)

Here’s the cover—what do you think?

Cover by Earthly Charms

I’m a little sad to be putting out the last of the books in this world, which I’ve really enjoyed writing in, but at least those of you who have been following the series from the beginning will be able to get the ending to the story.
Of course, I do have a few more ideas, so if this one is successful enough, you never know, I might decide to self-publish another one…so perhaps this isn't the end at all.

Here’s the blurb for the book:

The Riders: Three legendary brothers who kept the Baba Yagas safe. The Riders’ immortality was stripped away, along with their mission. But they are still much more than Human, and their story is far from over…

His brothers may have found new paths to follow, but Alexei Knight isn’t even looking. If he can’t have the life he was meant to lead, there is no second choice. So he is bent on drinking and brawling his way across the country until he winds up on Cape Cod in a bar called The Hook and Anchor, where he finds challenges he was never expecting, a feisty red-haired bartender, and maybe a lot more than that…

Bethany McKenna left behind an almost-completed law degree to return home and care for her cranky disabled father and run his bar for him. If that wasn’t enough, she also agreed to foster a very pregnant Great Dane. She has enough to deal with without adding in a giant bearded brawler, no matter how appealing he is. Yet somehow he ends up living in the guesthouse, taking care of her father, and sneaking his way into her heart…

Alexei and Bethany both think the lives they wanted have come to an end, but after dealing with a mysterious sea monster, pirates, dragons, and some adorable puppies, they might just discover that love is the greatest adventure of all…

I’ve had so much fun writing this book, which I think of as a gift for all those who have been taking this journey with me. I hope you enjoy Alexei’s story.

Who is looking forward to the book, now that you know it is coming out?

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Meet Ember and Koshka

I'm still recovering from the loss of Magic and Mystic last month, but little Harry Dresden has settled in well and he and Angus are already pals. So yesterday I added two more (the last two, really) to the household. Ember (the little gray and orange girl) and Koshka (the long-haired lion-cat boy, named after the dragon-cat in Wickedly Powerful) were rescued from a 25 cat hoarding situation, so no one is completely sure of their ages or if they are brother and sister, although that's probable. It's thought they are about 7-8 months old, so not that much older that Harry, who is 5 months old. For now they are hanging out in the kitchen, but I hope to integrate them all soon...

Aren't they gorgeous? I hadn't intended to get three more--just two to take the places of Magic and Mystic. But up until a couple of years ago, I'd had five for a long time, and when I saw Koshka when I went to visit Ember, and could see that they were attached to each other, I just had to take him too. I wanted to give Harry and Angus a chance to bond (which they have) and didn't want to overwhelm Angus with three new kitties at once, besides, Ember still had to be neutered (and the cat sanctuary woman who had taken her in was willing to pay to get it done), so I've been waiting to bring them home.

But now they're here, and my house is full again. I'm still grieving for Magic and Mystic, but I'm pretty sure Magic sent me all three of the new kitties, as I asked her to, and that really helps.

Now we just have to get everyone settled in...

Ember. Look at that sweet face!

Koshka. Can you tell he'd been crawling behind the cookbooks?

Ember. I suspect she's going to stay pretty small.

This one, I'm not so sure about!

Apparently they call this coloring a blue tortie or a dilute tortie or calico.


Saturday, February 3, 2018

Kitty Celebration of Life Giveaway

As most of you know, I lost my beloved companion Magic the Cat,Queen of the Universe, on January 3rd, one month ago today. And then her brother Mystic nine days later. I can't believe it has been a month, and I still miss them terribly. But I don't just want to focus on mourning.



The truth is, there is much to celebrate too. I had them for almost 16 years (I got them as kittens, and it would have been 16 years this March). They were both amazing cats, loving and sweet, and Magic and I had a relationship that was deeper than I have had with most people--something truly special. She was a part of my magic and my writing career, as well as my constant companion.

And while I lost them both to cancer (2 different kinds), they both hung on longer than could have been reasonably expected, especially in  Magic's case, when we first discovered her cancer when one of the cystic tumors burst and almost killed her. Getting over two months with her after that was nothing short of miraculous, and my vet still can't explain why the tumors kept growing without bursting and killing her. I can. She was magic. (And stubborn as hell.)

I am also incredibly grateful for all of the support I got from my readers, fans, and friends during the terrible months when I was losing them, and in my grief after. Not just the financial support from the folks who signed up for my Patreon (THANK YOU!) although that was so helpful in defraying the costs of keeping them alive and comfortable for as long as I did, but also all those who sent messages of comfort and sympathy. I appreciated it more than you could know.

When my grandmother died at almost 100 (7 years ago this Valentine's Day), she didn't want a funeral. That was all about death. She wanted a Celebration of Life, where people gathered together to celebrate those 100 years.

So I'm having a Celebration of Life for my beloved kittens, and saying thank you to all of you at the same time by giving away a fun pack of goodies: cat themed dish towels, pot holder, and wine glass markers, a "Crazy Cat Lady" kit, and a copy of my latest book, A Year and a Day of Everyday Witchcraft plus a cover flat of the book, since it has a black kitty on the front. One last goody is especially close to my heart--a small glass necklace with a black kitty on it that looks just like Magic in her trademark pose.


glass markers

Look, it's Magic!
As usual, all you have to do to enter is fill out the Rafflecopter form. And you get credit for anything you've already done, like signing up for my newsletter. (You're going to want to do that one if you haven't yet, because there is a BIG announcement coming, and my newsletter and Patreon peeps will hear about it first!)

Thanks again for helping me grieve and now, to celebrate the lives that were so important to me. You all rock.

a Rafflecopter giveaway