Blood To Blood: Official Release

Blood To Blood: Official Release

Blood To Blood: Official Release

Blood To Blood: Official Release

Today is the official release date for Blood To Blood, and I am so grateful for all the wonderful feedback my debut novel has received over the past few months! Here’s the official press release.

It’s exciting to see your “baby” go out into the world. There’s a sense of liberation and quite frankly relief. The best feeling is knowing that there are other babies close behind waiting to get there turn. Be on the lookout for the sequel as well as more stuff about Sawyer Creed and your favorite blood donor, Justin McCarthy.

Ok, back to the writing desk.

Purchase:B2B in Paperback |B2B on Kindle

Summary: Enter the world of Bostonian teen Angelika Brown: budding pop star and descendant of an immortal race of sun-loving blood drinkers known as Shimshana (the vampire prototype).

Defying her parents’ traditions of higher education (and secrecy), Angel plans to ditch high school to be a singer. She’s got an amazing voice, but she’s also maturing into a full-grown Shimshana complete with fearsome power and insatiable bloodlust. What’s worse, her soaring vocals are now capable of destroying everything, and everyone, within earshot; including her girl group, their mysterious producer and Angel’s hunky new blood donor. To top it off, she must prove her worthiness to live by passing the tests in her Mahá–the ancient, mandatory coming-out-party for new-born immortals.

Will Angel survive her Mahá and quickly learn to control her new abilities? Or will her killer instincts bring her promising career, and her life, to an end?

Read reviews and interviews for Blood To Blood.

Blood To Blood: Official Release

Why Angel Brown Doesn’t Swear

Why Angel Brown Doesn't Swear

Why Angel Brown Doesn’t Swear

I’ve been having the conversation a lot lately. You know. The conversation about young adult books and why it’s important, at least to me, that they be actually written with a young adult audience in mind. I’ve been talking to a lot of readers about why the heroine of Blood To Blood, Angel Brown, doesn’t swear and, at the age of sixteen, is still a virgin.

We’ve all heard, ad nauseam, about how the young adult book market is growing by leaps and bounds. But any fan of YA literature, and classics such as Little Women, Lord of the Flies, or The Hobbit (one of the biggest fans would be me) can tell you it’s not a new thing, it’s not a trend and YA is here to stay.

But one relatively new, and glaring, aspect of YA book readership is the fact that the majority of consumers, specifically of the YA fantasy genre, is way older than the age defined as YA audience. Seemingly, the average reader is a Kindle or Nook-toting 30-something year old mom with 1.37 kids and that audience age can go as high as the 50s and beyond.

Fully 55% of buyers of works that publishers designate for kids aged 12 to 17 – nicknamed YA books — are 18 or older, with the largest segment aged 30 to 44 – Bowker

Part of this phenomenon, well-documented with the Twilight series, seems rooted in the fact that women of all ages love a good story involving the blossoming of the heart. Moms love to relive the fluttery feelings they had for hot guys when they were still young and it all seemed so exciting and over-the-top. I myself got hooked on Twilight right as my marriage was falling apart and lost myself in memories of those feelings that I once had and missed terribly.

So there’s nothing wrong with old-ass women such as myself writing and reading YA books, but what happens when something labeled and marketed to a young adult is geared towards said old-ass women?

There are a number of YA series out there that depict their teen heroines as potty-mouthed, sexually adventurous, fashion-plate, overly made-up biatches alá 80s/90s music videos. As if said old-assed women want to somehow go back in time to re-invent themselves as vampire huntresses, immortals or simply the most popular, hottest chick in school. At what point do we take responsibility for shaping how young adults see themselves and relate to the world? What happens when every other sentence features an expletive? Seriously, why not utilize more adjectives; overused swear words, like many love-lives, get old and boring quick.

Why Angel Brown Doesn't Swear

Why Angel Brown Doesn’t Swear

Take an example from ultra-violent Clockwork Orange, the 1963 classic featuring raging, raping, killing teens and a society out of control. As dark as the subject matter of this once-banned book gets, the author Anthony Burgess didn’t use swear words as a crutch or carrot, and instead developed the characters and their world through the use of unique language which, in turn, offers an expanded view into the underlying themes.

Am I a saint? Hell, no. My book’s only in pre-release right now, and already it’s gotten criticized for depicting earth craft (sometimes called witchcraft) and blood rituals. But, I feel strongly about young girls who read my books coming away from them without the feeling that it’s somehow ok to lower your standards of personal civility and self respect in order to be, or be perceived as, sexy. Preachy, maybe. Everyone’s cup of tea? Certainly, not. But that’s why Angel, with all her amazing powers, is as straight-laced and conservative as any character I’ve ever written.

At the end of the day, I believe authors have a responsibility to their audience. As responsible adults it’s up to us to decide whether what we’re writing is truly for young adults or for the unrequited fantasies lurking within our own grown-up subconscious.

Why Angel Brown Doesn’t Swear

November 7, 2014: Edited with the Heart To Heart cover

Blood To Blood Available in Pre-release

Blood To Blood: Available in pre-release via Amazon (Kindle). Buy or borrow today!

Blood To Blood Novel

Blood To Blood Novel

Finally, after 3 years of writing, re-writing, editing and querying over and over again, my book is out and in the world. Blood To Blood, available in pre-release, is my first novel.

*Major exhale* Phew!

I am so very excited to be sharing these characters with everyone! There’s something very liberating about knowing that I did my part to infuse these characters with the personalities they showed me, and now it’s out of my hands.

During pre-release, the book will be available exclusively through Kindle where you can buy or borrow it. The official release, which will see it available across multiple platforms as well as in hard copy, will be in October 2012.

There’s nothing more I can do with this book except hope that readers enjoy it and fall in love with Angel, Sawyer and Justin, too.

By the way, you may wonder how I chose to celebrate this momentous occasion. I went to see Dark Knight Rises. It rocked. However, my prayers and love energy go out to the people whose lives were forever changed by the senseless killings at a screening this past weekend.

Well, I’m off to write the next story. Hmmm…it may include at least one of the above-mentioned Blood To Blood characters. In the meantime, enjoy an excerpt.

 

Blood To Blood

Blood To Blood Summary from the upcoming book’s back cover

Here’s a quick preview of Blood To Blood:

Angelika Brown has a killer voice. Too bad her über-conservative parents aren’t happy when she decides to quit high school to be a pop singer. What’s worse, she’s morphing into a blood-drinking immortal and her soaring vocals can now decimate everything, and everyone, within earshot. Will she learn how to control her new powers? Or will her bloodlust cause her to kill her girl group before they reach the Top 10?

My Muses: Top 3 Muse Songs

Out of all the thousands of songs that inspire my writing, the ones that repeatedly rise to the top come from one band. As a result, several have consistently been the top 3 Muse songs that influenced my work.

Muse

Muse

Over ten years ago when I lived in Los Angeles, the local radio station WKROQ was one of the few that gave this band any love. Since hearing them, I’ve not only been a fan of Muse, I’ve also rabidly consumed every lyric their lead vocalist, and resident mad man/genius, pens.

I could rant about Matthew Bellamy’s brilliance, the band’s amazing live performances, etc. etc. but that’s another post. Right now I’d like to talk about their impact on my writing and share with you the the top 3 Muse songs that helped shape my book.

Top 3 Muse Songs
Invincible

– This song is the biggest musical thread in the fabric of Blood To Blood. It is a rally cry disguised as a love song. Absolutely brilliant. “Whatever they say, your soul’s unbreakable.”

Unintended

-This love song is one of their most haunting songs. It is the inspiration for a couple of romantic scenes in the book.

Map of The Problematique

– This song changed my writing. Seriously. In part, it was responsible for  introducing a level of darkness into the lives of my characters, particularly Justin McCarthy.

There are many more Muse songs that inspired the tone of Blood To Blood. An honorable mention goes to “Bliss” “Cave” and of course “Time Is Running Out.”

My Muses: Cosby Show

Inspiration for the family in Blood To Blood came from what some may consider to be an unlikely source: The Cosby Show.

Cosby Show: The Huxtable family

The Huxtables

Long ago (early 2000s), in a land far, far away (Los Angeles) when I was working on a different project (Star Trek) the idea for a TV show came to me. The family was based, in part and very loosely, on the family from the show, the Huxtables.

Since the theme of family comes up again and again in my work, it’s no surprise that the Huxtables inspired my writing. The series gave us a strong mom and dad who were both successful in the professional world, and managed to translate that success daily on the home front by making their family the priority.

Interestingly enough, when the Cosby Show first came out, some people were blown away by Black American characters who didn’t display any of the stereotypical dysfunction heretofore marketed to TV audiences. The reality of educated, upper middle-class Black American family life had been unseen on prime time. Millions of viewers became fascinated by a typical American family that was once considered The Other.

It’s the concept of Otherness disguised in the packaging of The Everyday that fascinates me.

As with the other family that inspired Blood To Blood, the element of otherness percolating within the framework of day-to-day life (or, as in the case with Dark Shadows, the ordinary percolating within the framework of Strangeness) inspires me to create characters who deal with the same issues we all deal with, but in a slightly “different” context.

Like most families, Angel Brown’s family grapples with the daily challenges of raising children into responsible adults, making good decisions, living a moral life, etc. The fact that they’re witches and blood drinkers is the stuff that makes them different, but it’s the commonality, the connection to all families, that makes them familiar.

 

 

My Muses: Dark Shadows – RIP Jonathan Frid

Jonathan Frid: Dark Shadows

Jonathan Frid: Dark Shadows

I was raised on Dark Shadows. Literally.

My mom loved this show. She watched it religiously, and I sat right beside her watching it, too. I remember the excitement both of us displayed as the eerie music rose at the top of the show. I’d look at her, she’d look at me and then we’d turn to stare at the dark stories unfolding before our eyes.

Real mom-daughter bonding.

The anticipation was the highest during the opening:

It was truly an event.

The funny thing is I cannot tell you anything about the plot. Yeah, I know it was about a weird family, that witches were involved and that the main guy Barnabas Collins was an ancient vampire. But I can’t remember the plot lines or even one episode. I was too young to even understand it much less absorb the story lines.

Nonetheless, Dark Shadows became, and will forever remain, part of the foundation of my creative subconscious. I grew up loving gothic mansions, strange unusual families and of course anything related to vampires.

The show was even an inspiration for Blood To Blood.

So now that Jonathan Frid, the actor who portrayed Barnabas (at the time of this posting his website, www.jonathanfrid.com, was “unavailable”), has passed on, and Hollywood has decided to revisit the show with a major film starring Johnny Depp, I’ve decided that it’s time for me to delve into one of the deepest parts of my subconscious. Thanks to the magic of YouTube and the miracle of Netflix streaming on my laptop, I can explore scenes from the original Dark Shadows and even watch an episode or two.

Maybe, this exploratory activity will uncover something about my writing that I was unable to figure out. Like why it’s always easier for me to write after the sun goes down. Or it might shed light on my personality. Like why images of brooding gothic mansions near cliffs pounded by waves give me the warm fuzzies.

 

 

Weekly Word: Inspiration and Work

“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work.” ~ Chuck Close

Part of the writer’s dilemma is writing, and finding the time to write in a busy schedule. Writing on a daily basis is ideal, but making the time to write, for many of us, is an art.

saraswati I like this particular quote because it reminds me that the work of writing is the most important thing. When I’m writing my creativity flows and I feel the need to write more. There’s a connection with the practical doing of writing and actually getting it done. This doing can be applied to anything, not just writing.

So yes, inspiration is great, but without the doing the inspiration is wasted. Even if you don’t feel inspired, do what you need to do anyway. Whether it’s writing or any other creative endeavor, just do it.

Make it a habit, break it down into manageable steps, tackle the biggest job first, and before you know it you’re not stuck waiting for inspiration. You’ll be actually taking action to make your ideas a reality.