Vampire Obsession?

I’ve made it clear by now that I love vampire stories even though I write in other genres as well. I love body art like tattoos and piercings too. So I wondered what kind of vampire body art was out there.

Drum roll please…

Here are the top six I found from a google search:

And the winner is:

You may be surprised to learn my winner is Maria Jose Cristerna, also known as “Vampire Woman”. She is a Mexican mother of four and a lawyer who has transformed herself with dental fangs, titanium horn implants, and over thirty piercings. She started her transformation when she was 21-years-old.

Click here for my source.

I admire the self-expression, but think it’s a bit much for me.

What do you think? Too much or just right…or not nearly enough?

What I’m Jamming

I’m still basking in the glow from a concert I went to two weeks ago here in H-town: Mint Condition, Anthony Hamilton, and Jill Scott. Jazzy Jeff and Doug E. Fresh did their thing between the main acts and Paul Wall even made an appearance. It was all the way live.

I love music. Sometimes I listen to it while I’m writing to really get in the groove.

If it’s a fight scene, I like to hear some upbeat hip-hop. If it’s a deathly, wicked, vampire-I’m-about-to-do-some-killing scene, I like to hear heavy metal. If it’s a sex scene, nothing compares to smooth jazz. Mostly, what you’ll find on my Pandora station, in addition to those mentioned above: Eric Benet, Trey Songz, Sade, Kenny G., Robin Thicke, Avant (“Read Your Mind” happens to be playing right now), Keyshia Cole, and Lil’ Wayne (I absolutely LOVE “How to Love”). I also play a lot of 80’s and 90’s music.

The music doesn’t influence my mood. My mood dictates the music.

Yes, I listen to all kinds of music, but I never EVER want to hear country. Just saying.

Remembering the Fallen…

I don’t fear dying nearly as much as I fear what it would be like to continue living after someone really close to me has died. Hell, it saddens me a great deal to learn that someone I’ve never met, or barely knew, has gone on. And though I feel terrible he or she has lost his or her life, it pains me more to imagine the agony whoever’s left behind must feel. The grief. The hollowness. The void from the missing soul.

I personally don’t know one person who perished in the 9/11 attacks, but I see their faces and the faces of their loved ones across the screen every year. My heart goes out to the family and friends left behind. The ones who had to pick up the pieces and move on.

Yes, I have lost friends and grandparents and other relatives, and that hurt. Badly. I can’t imagine anyone closer than that because even the thought hurts too much. So every year when the news reports the death toll and how people have learned to cope with the devastating aftermath of 9/11, I am saddened again.

And then I am inspired to live every day to the fullest.

Tomorrow is not promised. Not for me or for anyone close to me. I must live every day like it is my last or like it is their last. I must tell people I love them. I must be kind and compassionate. I must put away my phone or my laptop and actually spend quality time with those I love. Because if something were to happen to them, I would regret not having spent one more second with them.

I write death scenes in my books just like I do sex and romance and happiness and joy. They are all a part of life. And just like the cheerful aspects of my plots are intended to invoke deep emotions, so are the gloomier ones. But it’s not to get readers down. It’s not to make them sad or angry. It’s to remind them that life is fragile and we have to make the most of it. With the ones we love. While we can.

Death is certain. Death is final. And for those who remain, it can be sad….despairingly so. Those who believe in an afterlife usually find some comfort in believing they will see their loved ones again. But regardless of where one receives comfort, finding the strength to carry on is even more important.

Dedicated to the brave…the courageous…the strong survivors of the fallen onĀ  9/11.

Advance Copy Reviews…

If I told you I was excited about the release of “SLEEPY WILLOW’S BONDED SOUL: The Narcoleptic Vampire Series” Book #1, I’d be severely understating my state of mind. Truth is–I can barely sleep… Can barely think about anything else… I just can’t wait to get my book in your hands! If you enjoy vampire fiction, you’re in for a treat.

Two people who have read advance copies of the book wrote short reviews on Facebook. This is what they had to say…

Kendralyn Padmore: “I just finished reading an advance copy of an absolutely amazing book. If you like TrueBlood (before it went crazy LOL), then you will love this. Heck, even if you don’t like TrueBlood, you will love this book.”

And in another Facebook post she wrote:
“This is an absolutely AMAZING book! I couldn’t put it down. It is truly a page turner. I had to choose between sleep and the book, and Sleepy Willow’s Bonded Soul won every time!!! I thank the author for allowing me the privilege of previewing this awesome piece of vampire fiction. Mark my words…You won’t be able to wait to see what happens to Willow.”

Damiane Banieh: “WHOA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This was the best book ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sign up to get your copy now! When it drops, it will be too late! Get it now!!!!!!!!!!!”

Wish I would have recorded the lengthy phone conversations as they screamed with excitement about Willow’s adventures. I’d post that too.

Yes, I would continue to write even if no one ever read my books because I absolutely love writing. But I gotta tell you–it’s the best feeling in the world to have someone appreciate your labor of love.

I’ll post more reviews when they come. You can also read them straight from reviewers when you join our Dicey Grenor author page on Facebook. Click the button to the right–>

October 1st, BABY!!!

Why Indie Publishing?

Why not?

No, really. Why not?

Self-publishing is not a last resort for me. It is my chosen path. I didn’t shop “SLEEPY WILLOW’S BONDED SOUL: The Narcoleptic Vampire Series” to a bunch of agents and publishers then decide to publish it myself because of form rejection letters. No, I grabbed my vision by the horns and ran with it. I researched. I studied. I researched some more. Then I had an aha! moment where everything clicked and I knew exactly what needed to be done.

With the technology available (e-readers, online social networking, drop and drag website development…), I figured I’d be silly not to publish my own books. I could put a query together and spend the next few months sending it out to the-powers-that-be then waiting another six months for responses. If someone happened to request a partial, I could send it to them, wait for them to request the full manuscript, send it, then wait another few months for an okay. Then I could negotiate and haggle about contract terms. And wait another year for my book to be released according to an editor and publisher’s specifications.

Or I could do it all my way. In my time.

Yes, there’s more work on my part to make my books professional. I have to go beyond simply writing an awesome story. I have to edit it like there’s no tomorrow. Then I have to have an eye-catching cover that still accurately represents my work. And I have to have everything formatted properly for digital copies and for print. And I must have a great printer and distributor. After that, I have to put it all together and come up with one hell of a marketing campaign to make sure everyone knows about my work.

But I don’t mind. If I had a large publishing house backing me I’d still have to promotemy work on my own. There’s really no getting around that if you want to sell books.

Sure, I could lessen my workload by contracting some of it out. And when I have a mind to, I do. I hire only the businesses and artists I choose.

Yes, there’s a lot of work involved, but that’s probably not the reason self-publishing isn’t more popular yet. Some people still feel the only legitimate books are those published by known publishing houses. And maybe once upon a time that was true. But just like the typewriters those old books were written on, that legitimacy idea is now antiquated.

That was the first thing I had to do–get it out of my head that the traditional publishing route was the only “real” route. The only one that would validate me as an author. That’s just not true. My research indicated self-publishing is the way of the future. In fact, many successful, long-time authors (like Holly Lisle) are now turning to self-publishing their works. This is what she had to say, “After years of publishing my fiction through big commercial publishers, with thirty-two novels sold to the big New York houses as well as to international publishers around the planet, and with more than a million books in print, I have decided to move to self-publishing my fiction.” Click here if you’d like to read more.

I don’t blame anyone else for getting an agent and shopping to publishers. I’m just grateful to live during a time when I have other options. Where my dreams can be realized without jumping through anyone’s hoops but my own. The thing that validates me as an author is when someone buys my book and enjoys it.

Speaking Of Strong Female Protagonists…

My husband and I double-dated tonight and went to a nice new dinner/ movie theater to watch Colombiano. I thought it was pretty good–4.5 out of 5 dice.

I got to see Zoe Saldana kick some butt, which reminded me of how much I like seeing and reading about strong, focused women with skills to pay the bills and a soft side. That’s my ideal heroine. And that’s why I write my lead female characters that way. Zoe’s character (Cataleya) reminds me of Sleepy Willow. They’re both beautiful, both deadly, and both overcome severe obstacles. Both are smart and use their intellect along with instincts to get around dangerous situations. Neither are afraid to get down and dirty in the bedroom (PG-13 for the movie, but I know the deal) or in a fist-fight.

Strong females come in all shapes and sizes with all kinds of backgrounds and motivations. While Cataleya may be an assassin seeking revenge, she is still a woman after my own heart, just like Willow, the vampire seeking sanctuary and absolution…and blood.

Why Vampires?

If you know me well, you’ve probably heard that SHAMEFUL was my first novel. Which is true. I wrote it first. I love the story…but I love vampires more. Vampire stories are my faves and I guess you can say I was waiting for a unique story to tell. Once I got it, I ran with it. So SHAMEFUL will get its due, but only after I make SLEEPY WILLOW’S BONDED SOUL available.

So why do I love vampires so much? Because the stories usually include a variety of things that I find entertaining.

HORROR: I like the rush you get in your head, stomach, and fingertips when you’re scared or apprehensive or uncertain about something. The way your heartbeat accelerates. The way you bite your nails or crack your knuckles in anticipation of the Boogie Man jumping out from the bushes. A creature bound to darkness, who’s supposed to be dead, and who also wants to drink your blood? Doesn’t get scarier than that.

SENSUALITY: I like sex. I like reading about it. I like watching it. And I hate that everyone’s supposed to act like it only takes place in some black void. That we shouldn’t be sexual beings or sexually expressive. Typically vampire stories include non-repressive vampires who act on instinct. And most of the time, they have some power of seduction. Try to resist, if you dare…

ACTION/ VIOLENCE: I like high-powered, fast-moving stories, that have no problem shedding blood. Real life is for restraining yourself when the neighbor accidentally cuts down your rose bush or when an idiot jumps in front of you on the highway doing 20 mph while you’re doing 50 or when your boss tells you to fix an issue that she created after you advised her otherwise. In fantasy, you can go off and deal with them all accordingly without repercussions. Vampires have the strength to dole out punishment with the passion you feel, but dare not act on.

MYSTERY/ SUSPENSE: I like excitement and surprises. Life is predictable. Fantasy isn’t. And there’s nothing more mysterious than a creature who’s supposed to be dead, yet is capable of walking around and doing God-knows what. Who will it do it to? Why will it do it? Where will the creature go? And since they come built-in with blood lust–vampires epitomize mystique.

OTHER-WORLDLINESS: I like escaping to another world where you can be whoever, whatever, however you want. Again, the real world has enough restrictions. Sci-Fi/ Fantasy goes beyond those boundaries to whatever can be conceived. To whatever is [un]imaginable. Vampire stories usually aren’t exclusive. If you suspend belief for a while to embrace the undead, you’re also primed to accept werewolves, fairies, elves, dragons, trolls, goblins, ghouls, the headless hoofman, giant squids or whatever. And you’re probably more open to supernatural energy generated by sorcery, prayer, meditation, or whatever floats your boat. Now, mix it all together and you got one hell of a ride for about 500 pages. Isn’t all that exciting?

If you missed my fave vampire books list and fave tv/ movies list, click on the links for those posts.