Book II: THE BOY – Cover Reveal

It’s finally here – April 30th – cover reveal day for THE BOY.

Ever since I got this baby in my hands, I’ve been humming with excitement, just waiting to share it with everyone.

Because it is gorgeous.

And Michele Mason Holmberg has outdone herself, proving again that she is simply brilliant.

I love her and she knows this and those of you who follow my blog or have read THE GIRL know this, so instead of waxing poetic about Michele and how awesome she is, how about I just shut up already and reveal the cover?

 

The_boy_final

In THE GIRL, Madhuri Blaylock introduced readers to the world of The Sanctum, one corrupted by greed and savagery and hellbent on achieving a single goal: destroying the prophesied hybrid. When one of its most celebrated warriors questioned his allegiances, age-old secrets were unveiled and violence erupted. The journey becomes more perilous and intense as the trilogy surges forward with 

THE BOY

Can you cross the plains of death, collect every piece of your soul and make it back to the land of the living?

And if you complete the journey, will your loved ones welcome your return?

The Ramyan have been answering such questions since the creation of The Sanctum. A mysterious sect of Magicals, haunting the blank spaces of time and memory, they serve no one but themselves and their higher purpose. They exist on a plane removed from earthly matters, shifting easily between the living and the dead, moving in time to the beat of their own drummer. 

At least they did.

Dev and Wyatt change all of that when the prophesied hybrid lands on the steps of Rinshun Palace, seeking help for the wounded Class A Warrior. That decision alters lives and sets old agendas back on course. But at what cost to Dev and Wyatt? And does that really even matter?

 *     *     *

So…what do you think? Are you excited? Intrigued? Tell me, tell me. I want to hear all about it.

To celebrate next month’s release of Book II: THE BOY, I’m giving away copies of the eBooks of both THE GIRL and THE BOY to five lucky winners.

2 books together

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave comments on this blog post about your thoughts on THE GIRL, what you hope happens in THE BOY, questions for me or anything else related to The Sanctum Trilogy in general. Five of you will be chosen at random on May 15th and the winners will be named in a blog post that day. Check back to see if you won. It’s that simple.

You can also up your chances of winning by visiting The Sanctum’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/thesanctumtrilogy, clicking on the Giveaways tab and entering there as well.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

#AreYouInTheSanctum?

 

Random Thoughts

1. Have you read Time’s annual 100 Most Influential People list yet? I haven’t either but scanning through blogs yesterday morning, I read the blurb Colin Firth wrote about Benedict Cumberbatch. I know you’re not going to dig through that long-ass list to find it, so I’ll post it here for you:

“When I was about 25 years old, I worked with two very good actors. The encounters were brief, but I’ve remembered them both with great admiration. Wanda Ventham and Timothy Carlton both embodied qualities which one is fogyishly tempted to look at with nostalgia. Along with very considerable talent, they had elegance, glamor, wit, kindness and decency.

I didn’t know at the time that they were married or that they had a son of about 10 who was quietly gestating all the same attributes. And now, 30 years later, the boy has been let loose. He has taken the form of Benedict Cumberbatch.

His parents’ qualities are on rampant display. It’s rare to the point of outlandish to find so many variables in one actor, including features which ought to be incompatible: vulnerability, a sense of danger, a clear intellect, honesty, courage — and a rather alarming energy. I take no pleasure in feeling humbled, but there’s no getting around it.

He must be stopped.”

Colin Firth is rather divine, non?

ColinFirth

 

2. Christy Turlington also made that list. If you know me at all, you know I LOVE me some Christy. She is the baddest bitch of them all. She’s smart and civic-minded and exudes grace and calm. She just rocks. She was in those Duran Duran videos from back in the day. And she literally was my wall-paper in highschool. She can do no wrong. Bravo, Christy! Oh, and did you see her the other night at the Tribeca Film Festival? God, she’s stunning.

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2. Why are there no Prince songs to download on iTunes? I feel like this is a question that everyone but me knows the answer to, so please feel free to educate me.

3. Dash is on Spring Break this week and to say I’m insanely jealous would be the understatement of the year. How come adults don’t get a spring break? Oh yeah, because we’re busy being adults, which pretty much sucks.

4. I realize the problem with Scandal and why, the more I watch it, the less I enjoy it. The whole Olivia – Fitz thing just doesn’t work for me and it really hasn’t since midway during season I when I realized that the president is just so very damn annoying and the idea of a woman like Olivia being with a man like Fitz is depressing. I was hoping at the end of this season, instead of killing the kid, they would just kill the president and Olivia could move onto more important things (like seeing how many ways she can take off Jake’s clothing…just kidding…not really), but alas, Shonda is letting Fitz stick around and continue killing my love of all things Olivia Pope.

5. This week it was reiterated to me that just because I do something nice, doesn’t mean the favor will be returned. Of course, I learned this lesson years ago, but every so often something will happen to you that makes you sit back and say, “shit, I am such an idiot for thinking so-and-so would return the favor”. Just a little reminder from the universe that we’re surrounded by a bunch of asshats.

6. My friend, Emily, just resigned from our firm and as sad as I’m going to be not to have her around to shoot the shit with and go to the gym together, her timing was kind of awesome in a very stick-it-to-the-man kind of way. Or in a very fuck-you kind of way.

7. Remember when people use the word “shorty”?

8. And finally, today is my birthday and I have to say, for being an old bitch, I’m feeling pretty good. I was thinking to myself this morning on my walk into work that I’m rather pleased with my forties. They’re totally grounded. I know myself better, I’m more forgiving, I’m healthier and happier. Plus, I think I’m way hotter now than I was in my twenties. Hollywood might disagree, but I like seeing a little age on my face. I think it adds character and if anyone is a character, it’s me. Anyway, to celebrate my day, I leave you with my favorite, Little Skateboard P, doing his happy thing

The Boy – Final Drafts, Cover Reveals, And All Kinds of Other Good Sh*t

Good morning, lovely people.

I’m finally starting to feel as if I might really make my deadline to publish THE BOY next month. This is a good thing because typically all a deadline makes me do is procrastinate. The fact that I’ve been diligently working towards meeting my self-imposed goal speaks volumes to my love for all things Wyatt and Dev.

So what have I accomplished towards this goal, you ask. Well, earlier this week I finished my first complete draft of THE BOY, including the Carter chapter that I was avoiding (thank you, Alessandra, for lighting that fire under my ass), but knew I needed to include because his particular brand of evil is just so very delicious that when he’s not around, you find yourself wondering what he’s up to. I shipped that baby off to my beta readers and am eagerly awaiting their comments.

And yesterday morning as I was toodling around, doing god knows what, the end of the trilogy came to me. I’m still toying with it and will have to run it by my crew, but it seems the perfect way to end The Sanctum. (Of course, if I’m being totally honest, thinking about the end of Wyatt and Dev makes me incredibly sad. I love them and hate that there will come a day when they are not my first priority as a writer.)

Equally exciting as completing my first draft of THE BOY is receiving in my grubby, little hands (full disclosure: my hands are not little at all and are, in fact, quite large) the beauty that is the book cover, designed by the incomparable Michele Mason Holmberg. It’s stark and simple and absolutely gorgeous and a testament to Michele’s artistic genius. Can you tell I love it?

I’m coordinating a cover reveal with a few other blogs, so check back in a few days to see THE BOY, learn a little about Book II and enter the giveaway to win copies of The Girl and The Boy.

Also tomorrow is my birthday. My forties have pretty much rocked, so these birthdays are always a pretty sweet celebration. I think I’m going to add to my collection and get some new ink as a gift to myself.

IMG_4391

Interview With Indie Author Teshelle Combs As She Launches Her New Series THE SYSTEM

A couple of weeks ago I was skimming through something or the other on Goodreads and came across a blurb for the book CORE* by Teshelle Combs. I was instantly intrigued because quite frankly, the word “dragons” always snags my attention. Of course, being the nosy bitch I am, I did some snooping, which in this day and age of over-sharing is super easy, and found out a little more about the book and the author.

This is Teshelle. She looks like fun, non?

Teshelle Combs

I thought she sounded kind of cool so I reached out to her about possibly doing some cross promotion for each other since we both have books coming out soon. I wasn’t sure if she would respond or think I was some weirdo, but she did (although her response doesn’t necessarily mean she doesn’t think I’m weird) and so here we are.

Teshelle’s latest book, THE SYSTEM, launched yesterday and she was nice enough to let me interview her about the book, her writing process and a whole mess of other stuff. Check it out.

The System Cover

The System sounds like such a unique concept. What was your inspiration for The System? I see the word algorithm and instantly think math. Are you a math whizkid yourself?

Haha! No, I’m terrible at math. Just god awful. But I do love philosophy. So one night, I started thinking about Aristotle and the value he placed in arithmetic. I began to think, “what if the world really is made of math? What if our thoughts, our movements through space and time, our bodily functions, maybe even love and hate, are all products of equations?” That’s when Nick was born. Someone who could tap into such an equation and slip through time just a little. And shortly after, I thought up Nessa–a slacker who doesn’t even know what the word ‘algorithm’ means and somehow ends up in the System anyway.

Describe The System in six words.

Lose yourself. Find each other. Survive.

Nick or Nessa? Do you have a favorite? Is it possible to choose between the two?

They’re both my narrators, and I love them so much. But…Nick. He’s got so much darkness to him, so much depth. There are layers and layers to him that make writing for his character so intriguing. Nessa is funny, kind, reactive, and explosive, but Nick? Nick is my tragedy.

How long did it take you to write The System? How was the experience? Do you tend to be an outliner or do you tend to be more free-flowing with the writing process? Which comes first – the story or the characters?

The story and the characters sort of birthed each other. The idea to use algorithms and the creation of Nick and Nessa couldn’t have happened independently. And I never stick to outlines, so I just stopped doing them a while back. I like to research a ton, then just write whatever I come up with.

The first draft took two weeks. I tend to binge write when I’m on to something. But then I deleted that manuscript, started from scratch, wrote a few more drafts, ran it through my editors, and polished it up a few times before it was ready. Took about two years.

You and your husband recently welcomed a baby boy into your lives. Congrats. And get ready – boys are wild. (I’ve got a six year-old crazy man) How is parenthood treating you? How are you finding the balancing act between being a parent and being a writer?

I just read this question, quickly put my laptop down, hustled across the room to grab my laptop cord before Jaxter could get it into his mouth, walked him back across the room and put him down beside the loudest toys imaginable, hurried back to my laptop, and started answering the question. Oh wait, hold on…here he comes again. Okay, now I’m back.

In other words…I love it! Jaxter is 8 months old, and he’s my best friend. He’s nuts–loud, funny, poopy, drooly, dancy, all smiles and laughs and sweetness. My husband and I are having a blast with this kid. Yes, he makes it a lot harder to actually get things done, and I’m writing about three times more slowly now, but he’s worth it.

When I’m writing, I tend to forget everything and just kind of disappear into my characters and my stories. But every so often, when I pop my head out and look around, I feel a little lonely out here as a woman of color writing paranormal fiction. What has been your experience as a woman of color writer?

I too forget that there’s a world outside of my stories. I do know a few female writers, and a couple of them are brown like me, but I tend to forget all about that sort of thing. That’s the beauty in being an author. It’s not about me! It’s about my stories, and those stories connect me to other authors who give their stories right back to me. I love our writing community, and I love that we can all share our experiences when we run into each other amidst the proverbial bookshelves of our lives.

The indie author game is both incredibly rewarding and insanely exhausting. I’ve found that meeting other writers and chatting about our experiences is so helpful and rewarding. Any tips for aspiring writers you would like to share?

To my fellow indies: when you feel like you’re getting lost in the hurricane of marketing, networking, and formatting, when you’re discouraged by that bad review or that looming question…“oh, so you don’t have a publisher?”…remember.

Remember why you write. Because you love it. Because you can’t not write. Because you’re inspiring the people who read your work. Because being indie is freaking cool. Because this is your dream. Because you’re a writer.

 

If you want to find out more about Teshelle, snag some of her books, or just say hi, here are a few of her links:

Amazon

Facebook

Twitter

Blog

Goodreads

 

*By the way, I read Teshelle’s book, CORE, and loved it. See what I had to say here: review of CORE

Letter Envy

JohnGreen

This morning I wandered over to John Green’s blog and saw a letter he received a few days ago on his Bio page from a fan and have to re-post it here* because it’s just really gorgeous and makes me love the man who penned it and makes me wish I had teachers like this when I was in school, but more than anything it makes me hope I can have a similar effect on a reader someday.

Check it out:

 

Mr. Green–I am a 46 year old man writing a fan letter (or posting a fan comment). My 12-year-old daughter asked to read “Fault” so I picked it up to read before her (there were rumors of explicit sexuality–codenamed “culture” in our home–that had to be dispelled).

What can I gush, that hasn’t been gushed before, probably right here on this page? I haven’t read all the back comments. I haven’t read your bio, really, or watched any of your videos…Yet.

I’m not even sure that I will give my daughter the book…Yet. Am I ready for the squalls of tears that “Fault” will unleash? Hell, you practically had ME crying with Hazel’s occasional references to her dad’s crying….What dad wouldn’t cry to see his daughter suffer this way? I have a friend who lost a son to cancer almost 10 years ago, and I still don’t know what to say to him. And he doesn’t talk much about it either. On second thought, maybe I’m not his friend after all.

I’m a high school reading teacher. I spend my days coming up with new and exciting ways to force teens to open books and look at the words on them. They come up with new and relentless ways to thwart me in this (usually with the aid of personal electronics). So, I’ve read lots of “teen” literature, and I don’t blame students for not wanting to read it.

So, thanks for writing a book with not too many cuss words. For going easy on the “culture.” For quoting T.S. Eliot and . For finding something new to say about a horrifically real problem. Not the cancer, so much– I mean teenage love. And, for Hazel’s parents, who aren’t idiots, but just in unimaginable pain. For giving me a new arrow in my quiver of books to shoot at students. 🙂 Good job, you!

 

I know John Green doesn’t need any more accolades, folks already love the dude, but I’m going to say it anyway: Bravo, John! Rock on with your bad self.

 

* Am I even allowed to re-post this letter? I have no idea and certainly hope my doing so does not raise the ire of Mr. Green.

 

Random Thoughts

1. I have a blog post I’m writing about Gabriel Garcia Marquez and what he means to me but I keep having to stop work on it because it makes me cry.

2. I will pretty much do anything in a gym class, no matter the difficulty and strain, so long as you’re pumping RiRi or Kanye through the sound system. In class the other day “We Found Love” came on and I don’t even really like that song but I was suddenly re-energized. And when “Black Skinhead” plays, and those opening beats pump through you and that “For my theme song, My leather black jeans on” blasts out, let me tell you, it is on.

RiRiandKanye

3. Is it ever going to feel like spring around here?!

4. The waitress last night at Stanton Social was a complete bitch, and not in the affectionate way I tend to use that word.

5. My friend, Mei, brought me a box of tampons the other day for no reason at all except that she knows I always forget them in my gym bag. It’s a girl thing. We can be totally random with each other about the most personal shit.

Tampons

6. Prince’s “Take Me With You” is just so freaking good.

7. And why can’t I find a download of Vanity 6’s “Nasty Girl”? Vanity6

8. I love the word Meraki

9. I am absolutely overwhelmed by the number of attorney evaluations (51 in total, have completed 19) I have to complete by the end of today. I have been so busy that I completely forgot about them until this morning, when I received an email, reminding me they are due today. I. Am. Fucked.

10. So of course, I’m writing this post because I would rather do anything than draft those freaking evals!

11. Oh, and my migraine just broke after two and half days of brutal, mind-numbing pain. I feel like a person again. Just in time for the weekend.

 

Kill, F*ck or Marry – The Ocean Boys

I’m bored. I’ve got a ton of work to do but I feel like playing.

So let’s do another round of Kill, Fuck or Marry, this time with Danny Ocean and his boys. (My girlfriend, Priya, will get all judge-y with this one because she no longer approves of George’s playboy ways, so I’m guessing she’s going to kill him. Maybe even a few times over, just for good measure. Me, I rather like George’s catch-me-if-you-can lifestyle and will always fall victim to his smirk.)

The Three.11

Let’s do this.

For me, this is only working one way – I don’t even really need to contemplate it or feel bad about it. Okay, maybe a little bad when I think of Brad in Thelma and Louise or Ocean’s Eleven, but whatever. I’m killing his ass, because I’m going to fuck George, mostly to hang in his Lake Como villa for a weekend and I’m marrying Matt because, well duh. Do I even have to spell that one out for you?

And what say you – who are you going to Kill, Fuck or Marry?

Book Review: CORE by Teshelle Combs

Cale eyes Ava at a fight and right away, his dragonblood knows she is his. He simply needs to convince her of the same, which will be no easy task, but is a journey worth embarking upon, where the reward is to fly as one: dragon and rider.

Core Book Cover

I’m so glad I stumbled across Teshelle Combs’ CORE because I rather loved it. It’s different from any of the other dragon stories I’ve read, is full of rich detail and history and honestly, sucks you in from the very first chapter.

My one small criticism of Core is with the character of Ava – I can’t get a read on her and maybe this is what the author wants, but at times it feels frustrating. I so badly want to like Ava, but I find myself liking her simply because Cale does. And again, this, too, might be a purposeful construct of the author, but as a girl who LOVES reading and writing about bad ass girls, and Ava is pretty bad ass, I so desperately want to wrap my little reader arms around Ava and I just can’t. Me and girlfriend never clicked.

But Cale, he’s another story. His fierce loyalty sucked me right in and his unwavering belief in Ava, even when he doubts himself, is poignantly captured in the small details of the story. His interactions with his family and friends mirror his treatment of Ava; as a reader, you trust Cale.

Combs is a gifted writer with an amazing imagination. She builds a world of dragons and magic that is both unique and beautiful and I look forward to reading more of her work.

Amazon link to CORE