Happy New Year!

Here’s hoping you all have a great (and safe) New Year’s Eve!  I wanted this post to check in on my resolutions for this year (2011) and list out my resolutions for 2012.

2011 Resolutions (as mentioned in this post):

  1. Contract on one or more books – CHECK (Blood Rage)! Thank you, Evernight.
  2. Move to Florida to be with husband – CHECK
  3. No 3rd floor apartment any more – CHECK
  4. Deliver healthy twins – CHECK
  5. Get boy into kindergarten – CHECK

2012 Resolutions (clear cut this time rather than buried in rambling):

  1. See Blood Rage in (digital) print.
  2. Get a contract on Blood-Mage Rising and see it in (digital) print.
  3. Finish Books 3 & 4 in the Dream-Walker War series.
  4. Get contracts (if not into print) for Books 3 & 4 of the Dream-Walker War.
  5. Become a healthier person (losing weight, hopefully 100 pounds or so. Follow my progress here.)

So, that’s it, those are my goals. What about you? Got anything in mind for the new year? Leave a comment and share, please! 🙂

Have a happy and safe New Year’s!


    What Next?

    I’ve submitted Blood-Mage Rising (aka Blood War), and am currently in no-man’s land, waiting to hear back on whether it’ll be accepted. I honestly don’t know what to expect. It’s classified as UF.

    So, while I wait (which if history holds, it shouldn’t be too much longer before I hear back one way or the other) I’m trying to decide what to work on next. There’s always book 3 in the Dream-Walker War series, but I don’t know if Book 2 will be accepted, so do I really want to come up with something that might be dead on arrival?

    There’s also the futuristic spin-off series to plot/work on. That’s rough because DWW’s not finished yet, so I don’t know precisely how the world went to hell.

    I could always traipse back to paranormal romance. I’m considering a couple of shorter works set in the same alternate reality, not directly related to the DWW series. At least I’d know the setting.

    So, in short, I’m adrift.  I need a new project.

    In the mean time, I’ve been busy setting up the new series of Word-Slinger interviews, sending the first couple of posters their interview questions.  Look for the first in the series to pop up on January 19 and each Thursday thereafter (save one who’s requested to go on Wednesday instead).

    I’ve also started scheduling guest appearances for me on other blogs, which I’m nervous about. This promotion thing is hard! Yes, I like talking about myself, but actually asking people to let me come on their blogs? Eeeeep! Stay tuned for announcements for when I’m blogging elsewhere. That should be fun, right?

    Have a great weekend and a safe and happy New Years. I’ll be posting on the 2011/2012 goals issue tomorrow night! Also, Six Sentence Sunday returns. Must get the post ready for that too.

    Guest Blogger – Jolyn Palliata

    Ladies and gentlemen, it is my very great pleasure to introduce my very first guest blogger, the lovely and talented Jolyn Palliata. Please make her feel welcome and enjoy the visit.

    Did you ever get a song stuck in your head? Or part of one? How did you get it out? Did you avoid the song at all costs in the blind hope it would stop hammering you into submission? Or did you listen to the song over, and over, and over, until you were so obsessed that all you could think about was that delicious, devilish little laugh….er, what was I saying? (Right. Song stuck in my head. Ahh…I mean, your head.) Now, I know this has happened to every person reading this post, so I’m hoping you’ll relate to my little story here.

    Let me give you some background. In October, I released Connected (Twists of Fate #1), and here’s a brief description of the story: A rock group’s rhythm guitarist, Rhys Alexander, dies and finds himself bound inside the body of a woman he’s never met. Can she help him move on to the other side, or will he end up finding the love of his life…after his has already ended?

    For a time, I had this for free on Wattpad (where I posted as I wrote it). And several readers asked me how in the world I came up with the concept. The short answer was ‘By taking the longest route possible.’ The more involved answer is this…

    It all started with a song—Imagine that, huh?—which began with a synthesized-sounding guitar and a sinful, maniacal laugh that made my gut quiver. (Yes, I do realize this may be an issue I need to fully address later.) It was Disturbed’s “Inside The Fire”. Add a little Framing Hanley (with that oh-so-sexy voice), and Tavion, lead singer of the band Persevere, was born. And what kind of woman would knock a strapping rock star to his knees? Why, a best-selling author, of course.

    So here I had two people who worked in the entertainment industry, but were worlds apart. What could possibly bring them together? The answer seemed so simple, really: Fate. Then my next though was “What if Fate was a living, sometimes-breathing, entity? What an interesting point-of-view that would be!” And it spiraled from there. I dug deep into the protag, Devan (the name of the girl in Disturbed’s song), and put pieces of me and my personality into the mix. Naturally, then I had to mock myself and my works along the way. (i.e., Suddenly Impending Reprisals became Devan’s masterpiece, and guess what…it made it all the way to the NYT Bestsellers list! Way to go, Devan!!)

    Now, the question was ‘What inspired me to write Connected’, and so far, I’m telling you how I started writing Twisted (Book 2). Yeah, well, I’m getting there. (Remember how I said it was the longest route possible?)

    So there I was, writing Twisted and having a hell of a time. And then the unthinkable happened (insert suspenseful music here)…I got writer’s block. I’m talking a stint of writer’s block that could only have originated from the deepest, most vile and sulfuric, bowels of Hell. And, man, was it stubborn! Over a year went by before I picked it up again, and even then it wasn’t because I came up with a grand master plan, or that my head was swimming with ideas. No. It was simply because I missed my characters. So I started to reread/revise/edit the 30K words I had written, hoping it would shake something loose. Enter: two new inspirations.

    The first was the Demonica series by Larissa Ione. In the series, paired up mates can sense each other’s emotions and I got to wondering “What would that be like?”

    The next piece of inspiration came from Avenged Sevenfold (A7X). I was studying up on rock bands for Twisted (and can A7X ever ROCK!!), and checking out the band members (*drool*) and it inspired a new character—Rhys.

    From Ione and A7X blossomed Connected (finally!) where Rhys’ spirit was stuck inside Addison (my protag), and they could sense each other’s emotions.

    But I had one problem. I absolutely REFUSED to walk away from Twisted again. Soooo…how could I use this? Well, first of all, Rhys couldn’t be a lead singer since that’s what Tavion is. And secondly, I wanted this to be a fast-hitting novella used to compliment Twisted’s story. What I needed was a supporting member of the band… Hello, Rhys, my luscious rhythm guitarist!

    But then I had another problem. (Because I needed more, right?) I couldn’t picture Rhys in Tavion’s band, Persevere, which is a more mature, established group. No, he belonged with some just-making-it-big band that wasn’t afraid to play with the formula, to take chances, and was just enjoying the ride and what life had to offer. He belonged with the guys of Black Codex.

    Then problem #3: How did Black Codex and Persevere tie in to each other? I mean, if Connected leads into Twisted, they have to know each other somehow, right? Well, as luck would have it, they’re all friends. (Who knew?!) Eh, okay, so actually two members from Black Codex are brothers and they grew up with a guy from Persevere, so, by association, they became friends. (It’s all in the details, right?) 😉

    All right. Now what? I didn’t want to introduce Fate (my sassy, capricious entity) in Connected even though he’s definitely hard at work behind the scenes. It would’ve been too distracting from the plot, and I had plenty to maneuver already! (Hello…dead rock star stuck in some chicks head!!) So what I did was plot Connected so it all occurs during the same timeframe as the first half of Twisted. Perfect! Then when people read Twisted, they’ll get all the behind-the-scenes-extras that were going on in Connected that either 1) I didn’t have time for, or 2) I couldn’t smoothly transition in.

    At the end of my long-ass journey, not only did I have Connected, but I shook myself loose on Twisted…aaand came up with storylines for the other eight band members. (I’ll spare you the details on those. LOL) Thusly, the Twists of Fate series was born.

    So, let me ask you again: Did you ever get a song stuck in your head…?

    For more information on the Twists of Fate series: 

    Facebook: Twists of Fate series

    To purchase Connected (Twists of Fate #1) on Amazon: Connected (Twists of Fate #1)

    Looking for a Few Good Authors & Cover Reveal

    Good morning! Christmas came early for me this year in the form of Ms. Dara England’s final cover for Blood Rage.

    A Few Good Authors
    But before we get to that I’d like to put out a call for authors. Starting next year (probably mid-to-late January to start), I’m going to have a weekly author interview session called Tuesday Word Slingers. I have a few lovely guinea pigs volunteers already, but to keep the feature going, I need more. So I turn to you, the audience.

    If you’re an author looking to promote yourself, or know someone who is, send me an email: torymichaels (at) live (dot) com. Please put “A Few Authors” in the subject line to help me stay organized.

    No, I’m not offering a give-away…yet! That will come soon. I just wanted to share my initial thoughts as I try to scramble and build some name recognition out there before Rage is launched. It’s hard getting up the nerve to approach people about doing an interview, or guest spot. I read all about doing promotion for your stuff on blogs and what not, but now faced with the reality of it, YIKES!

    But, I’ve got a few things lined up (or in the process of), including a potential chat through the lovely people at RomCon, Inc. out in Denver. I’m sooooooo excited about that. I attended the first RomCon in 2010 and had a blast. (see my posts on it here, here, and here). Thanks to babies and unemployment, I couldn’t attend in 2011. I’m gonna see if I can talk my husband into letting me sneak away to next year’s event (maybe pigs will fly too, but never hurts to ask, right?). Check it out by visiting there website: RomCon. They’re doing an InterSpecies Peace Conference with would fit soooo well given the subject of Blood Rage.

    Finally, the Reveal

    I’m in love with this cover. No, Dara doesn’t look exactly like I pictured her (no scars visible), but there’s only so much a cover artist can do. And, my theory is, she wouldn’t let a picture of her escape the attention of a good air-brush artist. We’ve got Dara and Anthony all comfortable and then Jordan looming in the background. I’m psyched that they included him AND didn’t give me a bedroom/boudoir clinch.

    So, hope you have a great day and wonderful weekend. Talk to you soon!

    Happy Thursday

    Topic of the Day: Book Length
    On my Facebook page, I have almost exclusively authors as friends and of course e-pubbing is a major topic of conversation, either through an e-pub like Evernight or self-publishing. Yesterday, one of my friends asked ‘what is the proper length for an e-book’. The responses were varied, though many seemed to think 50k was a good length, primarily because any longer the e-pubs charge more than $4.99 which they thought was the price point for a romance novel. A second response offered also that the 50k mark was good because attention spans are getting shorter.

    Those are all good points, but I of course had to chime in with my thoughts.  I like reading long books and nothing sours me on an author I might want to try out, fork out my $5.99 (the same as many traditional publishers charge for authors who write the 400+ page books), and find out the book’s only 200 or so pages.

    It’s hard to find book length with some of the e-pubs. I love the fact that Evernight actually shows the word count if you hover your mouse over a book’s cover art on their website. I’m a heck of a lot more likely to buy a book if I know it’ll be likely to give me 3-4 hours entertainment. The typical category book (like Harlequin Presents – yes, I blow through those like they’re pringles) runs about 50k (approx. 189 pages as memory serves) and I can read those in 1.5 hours if I force myself to read really, REALLY slow (slow for me anyway). If I’m into the book, I can down one of them in 45-60 minutes.

    So, question for you out in the audience: what sort of word count (or page count if that’s easier for you) do you look for in your books, and why?

    Blood Rage Update:
    I have to give full props to Evernight. They’re fast with getting cover art. I submitted my description last Thursday and I got a mock up last night! And of course, it’s gorgeous. Made this whole thing feel really real. No reveal on it yet, because I had a couple of questions about it, but soon. Very soon, I promise.

    The artist they use is incredible. Check out the incomparable Dara England’s work.

    Upcoming Features:
    My posting of late has been spotty, at best, save for my Six Sentence Sunday entries. With the upcoming debut, I’m trying to add more structure. A feature that will be added starting in January some time will be author interviews. I’ve gotten several who’ve already agreed to take part.

    Question for you: Is there a day of the week when you’re more/less likely inclined to read such articles?

    Have a great day, ladies and gentlemen!

    Six Sentence Sunday (12/18/11) – #sixsunday

    Happy Sunday everyone. Hope you all had a great week and are enjoying all the wonderful entries that are posted for this week’s merry-go-round ride. This week’s selection comes from my debut novel, Blood Rage, due out in February 2012. (Yes, I just had to say that out loud…hehehe, I’m gettin’ published, woot!)

    Two hundred years ago, Dara and Anthony split and shortly thereafter she was brutally assaulted and scarred badly and would have died if not converted to a vampire. Anthony hasn’t seen her naked since then and she’s terrified he’s going to turn away when he sees what they did to her. She’s just turned to face him, after taking all her clothes off.

    His breath caught in his throat but he said nothing. Dark eyes trailed over her torso, along the quadruple line of claw marks that ripped her from right shoulder to left hip, overlaid with a mishmash of knife cuts and claw gouges that left no more than an inch of undisturbed flesh anywhere over her chest and abdomen. The scars continued down her legs and even, though Anthony wouldn’t see them, onto the bottom of her feet.

    “You are exquisite, Athdara Genevieve,” he whispered in reverent tones. Her gaze, centered on the plush carpet at his feet, shot up in disbelief. “How could you ever doubt that?”

    Well, that’s it for me for this week.  I hope you enjoyed and will come back next week for more from this same scene.  To check out more entries from the SSS wheel, please visit the official website.

    I’m gonna be published!

    Wow – you wouldn’t think that a blog post with that title would be hard to write, would you? And yet I dawdled over this for the past couple of hours (okay, 12 hours since it was official last night).

    Blood Rage, the first in my Dream-Walker War series, is going to be published in February by Evernight Publishing. I turned in the contract and cover art questionnaire last night and have already been added to their authors group on Facebook.  OMG – I got to answer a cover-art questionnaire. Wahoo! Evernight wasn’t the only one who offered on Rage. I had a second possibility this year, but elected to go with EP. I adore the cover art the company uses.

    Now finishing War is more important than ever because I’d like to get it out shortly after Rage, just to build up a little bit of momentum.

    Do I have doubts? Of course, who doesn’t? Should I have held out for an agent, gone the traditional route? Some would say yes, that I’m being too impatient and that’s probably somewhat true. I certainly intend to keep up the agent hunt with subsequent works.

    Still, for the moment, I’m going to bask in the glee. I’m gonna be published!

    Life update

    On ChildrenWhew, it’s been a bit since my last non-Six Sunday post and my apologies. Life got a bit crazy, as it is likely to do when you’ve got twins under 9 months old.

    Jackie took her first steps this morning according to the husband. I was at Starbucks working on War, so I missed the occasion, but he says she let go of the couch and took two steps before plopping down again.  Sam, on the other hand, refuses to even push herself into a sitting position or pull all the way up to a standing position most of the time. However, she doesn’t really need to walk to get where she wants to go. Sam is a lil’ speed demon. Jackie just chills and wanders around as she feels like it.

    We got a play yard for them because I spent all of yesterday yanking them away from the Christmas tree. Whew, exhausting. I don’t know how my sainted mother-in-law has survived them until now with them mobile and uncorralled.

    Garrett, my adorable lil’ boy (at the moment he’s in my good graces heh), he’s playing “fetch the Sammie”. Sam hates the play yard, so we let her out. Garrett’s being a saint and retrieving her whenever she gets too close to the tree. Jackie’s quite content in the play yard playing with Buzz Lightyear.

    On Writing
    I’ve been trying to finish War. Got a draft done, sans a couple of scenes and went through for a pass at actual edits, rather than rewrite. That went quickly. Still missing said scenes and now the ending is being redone, but hopefully soon. I’d like to move onto a different project soon.

    Once again I found myself on the fence about taking a particular action with respect to my writing. It will determine what happens to the entire Dream-Walker War series, so it’s a rough decision. Hubby’s encouraging toward it, others are cautioning, et cetera. I need to get off my Libra fence and make a choice. But what if it’s the wrong choice? ARGH!

    That’s as specific as I want to be at the moment. I’ll decide within the next week or so and then fill y’all in on the specifics.

    Have you ever felt like you were standing at a crossroads? How did you make your decision and do you regret whatever you chose?

    Six Sentence Sunday (12/11/11) – #sixsunday

    Welcome to your next entry in the SixSentenceSunday carousel. Hope you’re enjoying the ride. If you’ve never been here before, welcome. If you’re a return face, always glad to see you come back for more.

    This week’s entry is from War, toward the beginning. Jordan has just announced he’s in the vampire leadership, a secret he’d kept from Chris until now. Given their combustible relationship, his response to hers has a decided double meaning.

    She thudded her head against the back of her chair and opened her eyes to glower up at him. Jordan gave her a beatific smile as she slapped her forehead in the classic ‘doh’ mode.
         “I’m f**ked.”
         He tapped the glasses together lightly, held one up to her in toast and rocked up on his toes. With an insufferable grin, he said, “Not yet, Chrissy, but you will be. I guarantee it.”

    Thanks for stopping by. Please check out all the other fantastic entries here and have a great week!

    Six Sentence Sunday (12/3/11) – #sixsunday

    Welcome back for another week of Six Sentence Sunday. Thanks to all those who came by last week and if you’re new, welcome to my entries. 🙂 This comes from Blood War, which I think is being renamed Dream-Walker Awaken, or just War.

    The sitch: Our heroine, Chris, just discovered that her lifeforce/soul/magic is permanently tangled with Jordan’s, and they have to meet up every 10 years or go insane and die. She wants to know how to undo it (it can’t be undone, as he’s trying to explain before she insults him).

         “I’m not spending the rest of my existence tracking your sorry British backside down every ten years.”
         He hissed softly, bristling at the deliberate insult. “Scot, not Brit, you damnable Colonial.”
         “Blah, blah, blah, it’s all the same gloomy island. Do we have to visit Mount Doom in Mordor? Blow up the Death Star, or what?”

    Thanks again for coming by and hope you enjoyed it enough to come back next week. Please check out the other entrants listed here and have a great week!