Monday, September 26, 2011

Welcome Sommer and her Zombies

 

Please help me welcome the lovely, the awesommer -- SOMMER MARSDEN.  She's going to share with us her thoughts on running and writing, then some great books with hot covers and ZOMBIES.

Run for your life!...or your butt…
It drives my kids (and my man) insane that I run without headphones and music. I run in silence. The three of them can’t fathom it, and I can’t fathom any other way.
Running gives my brain a chance to run with the ball, so to speak. No TV, computer or people talking to me to interrupt the flow of my thoughts. Which, yes, can be a bad thing. But it can also be a super thing. It was chance run-in with a very strange passerby one morning that gave me the idea for LUNATIC FRINGE and the snippet below. If I’d been singing along to The Counting Crows or screeching Bohemian Rhapsody at the top of my lungs, I’d have never made the mental connection to my zombies and my exterminators. Ever.
Granted, a lot of what goes on in my head when I’m running is: Oh dear baby Christmas I’m still running is it over yet? Can I sit down now, please?
But during those golden moments where I drift and my mind wanders, I get some good ideas. For current books or future books or blogs. Or just scenes. Titles. Lots of stuff.
But yeah, mostly its internal weeping and begging. Occasionally, I pretend a zombie hoard is chasing me and I say to myself, Run for your life! I usually keep my same old speed, though.
Much to my dismay, I’m running more because I’m about to be forty. And I would like to be a tiny bit lighter. Not much, just enough to wear my favorite jeans to my party and…ya know…breathe.
I did consider on my morning run today, listening to books on tap. They have them now that are as small as an MP3 player and you just insert your own battery and headphones. But then I realized that I’d be piping someone else’s words into my head instead of letting my own unfold. And then I might have missed the fact that it was really misty and foggy and Jack the Ripperish. I might not have realized that it was unusually deserted for my neck of the woods. I live spitting distance from the city proper but for most of my run I felt like I was on some country road. I might have missed the webs that seem to have inundated our neighborhoods and are strewn all over the bushes and trees and even too-tall grass…
See? My brain just took off in six different directions ;)
Leave me a comment for a chance to win the zombie exterminator pdf of your choice. Tell me how you get your ideas (if you happen to a writer), how you exercise, if you love to work out to music or…your favorite zombie book/movie/series. Pretty much dealer’s choice 

XOXO
Sommer





LUNATIC FRINGE by Sommer Marsden.




Buy link: http://www.resplendencepublishing.com/497.html










Blurb:
Poppy's birthday should be a big, fun, sexy deal. And it is, until the zombie exterminators find out that the creepers in their neck of the woods happen to be switching the game up a bit. They have a new nifty trick that keeps them from being readily recognizable. Something poor Poppy is unlucky enough to find out on her morning run. She goes from fantasizing about her birthday foursome with the boys, to running home to spread the bad news of mutation.

Her big day is suddenly full of machetes, a lady from the CDC and news of a new vaccine that might—or might not—work. Lucky for Poppy the boys won't let the new turn of events ruin her birthday, they still take her where she needs to go. Because all four of them know, every day could be your last. Sadly, Garrity, Cahill and Noah can't control what happens next. Things change, possibly forever, for their little group of exterminators. And over the next few days Poppy realizes a few things with perfect clarity: she loves Garrity, the thought of losing one of the boys terrifies her, and she's completely at a loss when it comes to one of her own being threatened. It seems to be the one area in which she can't pull off the bad ass persona.

What will she do, she wonders, if their perfect group of four suddenly becomes a group of three? How will she survive?

Excerpt:

“Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you…Happy birthday, dear Poppy Cooper you stunning badass…happy birthday to you!” I wheezed to myself as I ran our back road that was nothing but dirt and gravel.
I was twenty-five today. I was running not so much from my birthday, but toward a new year. Or so I told myself. I had finally found a peaceful place in my life, so who was I to bitch about a change in the final digit of my age?
The Mizpah that Garrity had given me for Christmas banged against my chest under my baggy, stained tee. The tee was unattractive to say the least, but the very-vintage, white Old Navy shirt always made me feel peppy enough to run even when that pep was a big fat lie.
I reached up to stroke the sterling silver half- heart through the cotton. Then my hands, ever vigilant, reached around to check the machete that was hanging in a nifty little back sling. I blew out a big breath and concentrated on running at a good clip without falling down.
I was back to humming Happy Birthday, but more quietly. Feeling the Mizpah on my skin, I realized the jewelry was just a placeholder in Garrity’s mind. One day he’d present me with an engagement ring and expect to make an honest woman out of me. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that.
My foot slipped a little on gravel, and I turned my ankle just enough to sting but not enough to do any real damage. Still, I slowed my gait a bit.
“I’m more of the girl you have the wild fling with before you get married,” I confessed to myself because it was how I really felt, and there was no one here to judge me. “I’m the girl you bang senseless for a year or three before you go out and find the mother of your children.”
My throat closed up a little at my declaration.
“No maudlin birthdays, Cooper,” I reprimanded myself.
I started to run again, mostly to distract myself. Tonight there would be presents and cake and—I shivered here—possibly the four of us would do the nasty. Now that I had gotten past the guilt I’d felt at pulling Cahill into my long-anticipated three-way back in December, now…oh now, I wanted it to be all of us. I wanted Noah in my bed with the other boys even though he’d made it clear that he would be there for his man, Cahill. That was fine. I could do rules.
I saw the woman coming, and my heart stammered in my chest, doing that floppy fish tango that always makes me think I’m having a heart attack. Running through my mental quick checklist, I realized she seemed okay: pink flesh, eyes alert, pretty normal gait—normal for these uneven, uncertain gravel and dirt roads.
I raised a hand in acknowledgement.
She ignored me.
“Hunh. Maybe she’s shy,” I muttered under my breath, and I kept running. As long as she wasn’t a creeper, I could run past her without fear.
She was human—just rude.
I studied her some more under my slightly lowered lids as I ran. I was running faster than I’d realized because I was coming up on her faster than intended. Her skin was normal, her eyes were normal, her face seemed blank, but I’d met a few of those in my time. People who just mentally checked out and appeared vacant until you talked to them. So I talked to her.
I was about two feet from her when I said, “Hi, how ya doing?”
She sort of twitched, her eyes finding me, and when I was within touching distance, she grabbed my arm. Her skin was cold and kind of soft, and I felt it give as she pressed her fingers to my arm. Then I smelled her.
“Jesus pleesus, holy mother fuck,” I growled and grabbed her upper arm both to gain control and keep her from tugging me in.
Her arm came off in my hand, as easy as a chicken leg pulling free of a roasted bird at Sunday dinner.
I felt my stomach roll over and realized I was no longer running. I was standing stock still, clutching this woman’s arm. This perfectly normal-looking woman until…now.
She turned to me then, and I blinked, seeing the mottled flesh, the white-rimmed eyes, the gaping mouth, the hunger. I saw it all, and when she moved her face in toward me with that now-mechanically snapping jaw, I hit her with her arm. I clobbered her upside the head, and her dirty brown hair swayed. She made a moan-grunt-sigh sound, and I hit her again—hard.
Her arm fell apart in my hand, and I gagged. Sure, I’m an exterminator, but I’m still human. An arm coming apart in your hand is gross. I don’t care who you are.
“Bitch,” I grunted, trying to keep myself fired up. Angry keeps you alert. Scared gets you dead.
I stepped back from her—three giant mother-may-I sort of steps and yanked my machete free.
This time when she stepped toward me, I lopped off her head, stuck the tip of the machete in the front of her skull and split it like a ripe watermelon. Why? It was the kind thing to do. If I hadn’t punctured the brain, she’d just be a body-less head with some sort of murky awareness. To me, that is the very definition of hell.
I stared at her twitching body and her shattered head. The arm lay to the side of the road in some weeds. “Happy fucking birthday,” I said to myself and turned fast to run home.










Excerpt from WE KILL DEAD THINGS (Zombie Exterminators Book #1)
Buy Link: http://www.resplendencepublishing.com/m8/315-200-107-489-1--we-kill-dead-things-by-sommer-marsden.html

Also on Kindle, at ARe, Bookstrand etc.


Prologue
Honestly, the whole thing is Noah’s fault. We were all doing our normal closing-time bitchfest in the food square at Parktowne Mall and not really paying attention, when the first creeper showed up. That’s what we call them—the zombies—creepers.
Anyway, the first one showed up, and I assumed it was just another stoner looking for a slushie. Nope. It took all of my college logic skills to finally realize the creeper was up to no good when it lunged over the counter at me.
Garrity—Chris to his enemies—the object of my not-so-secret lust, let out a yell and rushed out with the bat we keep behind the counter at Smash It, the slushy and juice shop we run. He hit the guy on the shoulder—intending to do no real damage—but the bat sort of sank in and then made a squishy noise.
“He reeks,” I’d yelled, or something equally brilliant.
Then Noah was running out of Mamma’s Pies pizza stand with a meat cleaver of all things. Which he promptly buried in the guy’s skull. Thank God he was carving up Italian beef at the time.
The creeper gave me a stunned look that almost made me feel bad for him and Noah gave the cleaver another little shove and something cracked deep in the dead guy’s skull.
The dead guy fell on me.
Gross.
That had been the first creeper, and Noah had taken it out (being the only one smart enough to have the news on in his food court stall so he actually had news about the suddenly mobile undead). Garrity had to take out six more before we got the main doors locked. Nick Cahill—main man at The Beef Barn—found one making the moves on a side of beef in the walk-in. He took it out with an electric knife.
The night was pretty much what bizarre is made of, and when we found ourselves clustered on the merry-go-round drinking a good bottle of wine pilfered from the gourmet place, Noah made a joke.
“We should start a new business,” he laughed. He was a business major, after all. “Our slogan could be We Kill Dead Things.”







Excerpt from NO GUILT (Zombie Exterminators book #2)
Buy Link: http://www.resplendencepublishing.com/m8/323-201-107-489-2--no-guilt-zombie-exterminators-series-book-two-by-sommer-marsden.html

Also on Kindle, at ARe, Bookstrand etc.


Chapter One
“Don’t spook her,” Garrity said.
Noah was turning his big white van onto Topaz Lane, and I was trying really, really hard not to stare at Cahill. This was our first big job since moving from Maryland to Connecticut. Our first mission handed down and paid for by the county we lived in. Once we left our hometown after taking care of the Evoluminaries and their rabid leader William Tell (who had wanted to use me as a zombie baby mamma, thank you very much) we’d treated ourselves to a few weeks off.
Now the cupboard was bare, and we were itching to do something that did not involve loud music, alcohol and trading creeper war stories like old men at a veterans’ lunch.
“I won’t spook her. Why the hell would I spook her?” I snapped. Being fixated on Cahill’s offer wasn’t helping my mood. An offer of a threesome with him and Garrity—something that, yes, boys and girls, I have fantasized about more than once. It had come out of the blue after a drunken bucket-list conversation the four of us had had. Bam! In a moment of privacy, the offered was slammed down on the figurative table, and I couldn’t seem to stop poking at it. It was something I wanted, but it scared me.
I caught Cahill looking at me from the front seat where he rode shotgun to his lover Noah. I felt my face flush when I saw his cocky grin. Jeesh.
“Because you seem a bit on edge, Poppy,” Garrity said and leaned in. “Why are you so on edge, babe?”
It had taken forever and ever for me and Garrity to get together despite attraction and all that jazz. But my mother’s death and our last mission had sealed a bond that was a long time coming. So how would he feel about bringing handsome, tall Cahill in on the sex part of stuff? My brain wouldn’t let it go, but I swallowed hard and said “Don’t know. Maybe I’m rusty.”
“Nah. You’re good, girly. There’s nothing rusty about you,” he said and kissed me.
I turned my face fast—before I could analyze it—and kissed him on the lips. Part of me wanted to say those dreaded three words. I love you…part of me wanted to scream at even allowing myself to think it.
The van jumped and jittered on non-existent shocks and ripped me out of my reverie. “We’re here,” Noah said.
“Ready?” Cahill asked.
“No,” I said.
“Good.” Garrity patted my legs. “So let’s do this thing.”
We got out of the van and went to knock on Marylou Peterson’s front door.
I watched that instant—the instant that all couples seem to have—unfold. As Garrity was touching the small of my back, Cahill was touching Noah’s arm. That we-have-a-connection touch. Would Noah hate me forever if I took Cahill up on his offer? Would it ruin our friendship? Would it ruin the four of us and how we worked together? It was something I had to push out of my head as the front door swung inward. I had to focus on the complaints by the neighborhood and the county about a creeper that was loose that no one could seem to pinpoint. The last place it had been seen was Marylou’s house. I needed to focus on her.
“Hi, Marylou Peterson?” I spoke. The boys felt it better that I introduce us since I was relatively calm and a girl and there was a zombie apocalypse under way—or so the general population thought. “My name is Poppy Cooper, and we need to talk to you about a recent cree—” Garrity nudged me. Creeper was our own personal nickname for the undead. “Um…undead sighting on your property.”
“Who are you?”
“We’re county licensed freelance exterminators,” I said. Which was a fancy way of saying we kill dead things. We’re killers for hire.
“Oh,” she said in a small voice.
“May we come inside and speak with you?” Garrity asked, flipping a piece of nearly black hair out of his blue-blue eyes. He smiled. His boy next door shtick. Niiiiice.
“Sure. Come on,” she said and took a step back.
Funny. She seemed more scared of us than the idea of rogue zombies in her neck of the woods.
People were strange.
“It was on my property?” she asked. Her eyes were wide and frightened but off. Something wasn’t right, and I couldn’t figure out what. Maybe we’d interrupted her and her boyfriend or something.
I looked at the county’s paperwork. Connecticut was way more of a stickler for paperwork than Maryland had ever been. Go figure. “Two complaints of a lone male undead subject on your property,” I said. “But when someone is sent out to take care of the call, he’s gone. There is a note that the second complaint called was only partially sure it was a male subject. Have you seen anything?”
She shook her head. Her big brown eyes wide, her fingers twirling a piece of dyed-red hair so tight I feared the whole lock would pop right out of her scalp. “No. It’s just me and my brother here. I haven’t seen anything. My dad’s long gone—has been for years, my mom…” She shook her head and looked away.
Christ, I hated this part. I always felt like a heel. Like I was pouring salt in a wound, because I was. I had lost my mother to a creeper, I knew the pain of it. I also knew I’d been slightly luckier than most simply because my mother had been immune to the virus that was infecting all these undead. She didn’t rise. Most people had to deal with the loss and unwanted resurrection.
“I’m sorry,” I said. A few stupid words that could not possibly stem the flow of pain.
She nodded, cleared her throat. “My mother succumbed to the virus.”
“And your brother? Has he seen anything?”
“I’d have to ask him. Chuck’s not here right now, though,” she said, waving her hand around the kitchen. “But I’ll ask when I see him.”
“Can we look around your property? Maybe there’s something attracting this subject,” I said. When did I start talking like a zombie cop? I didn’t know.
“Sure,” she said and gave me another shrug. “You’re not going to find much. An overgrown yard, a shed, honeysuckle bushes and an old dog house. But go for it.”
“Thanks.” I nodded to her back kitchen door. “May we?”
Marylou stood and unlocked a series of locks on the door. Finally, she was able to pull it open. “I’ll be here when you’re done,” she said.
I eyed Garrity and his gaze flicked to the locks. Five of them by count and an old fashioned cheap battery operated alarm. It simply hung on the door knob, and if jostled it would sound an ear piercing alarm to let the occupants know someone had opened the door.
When we hit the wide planted, screened-in back porch, I whispered to him “Safety first.”
“Jesus, I’ll say.”
Cahill and Noah had already hit the property, walking the perimeter like two jungle hunters. I turned to face the house once I hit mid-yard. I stared up at the farmhouse windows that reminded me creepily of the eyes of the undead. They were there, they were open, but no one was home. The windows were uncovered, the sun bouncing off the upper panes of glass. I thought I saw something in the upper right, but then a crow flew overhead and it was gone. Probably a reflection.
The house to the right was for sale. The house to the left was buttoned up like a storm was coming. “We need to check next door,” I said to Garrity.
He grunted and checked out the shed. “Nothing but lawn stuff. Mower, hoes,” he laughed.
“Are you five?”
“Hoes,” he laughed again.
“Dipshit.”
“Snippy.”
“Childish.”
“Bitchy.”
“Hey, flirt later!” Cahill called, and when I looked up, surprised, he winked at me.
It went right to my pussy, that wink. I shook my head, ashamed of myself. We were on a job. I could worry about my sex life later.
“Anyway, just some gas and lawn care stuff. Normal shed crap,” Garrity said and put an arm around me as he passed to show we’d just been teasing.
I kissed him on the cheek, and he looked surprised. It was my penance for dirty thoughts about Cahill. Now how did I make amends with Noah? I had no idea.
Not that Noah was even paying attention. Or seemed to care. Maybe he didn’t know about…
“Hello?” Garrity rapped softly on my forehead with his knuckles.
“Sorry. Spacey. What did you say?”
“I said we need to talk to that brother. But first we’ll go next door.” He cocked his thumb at the battened-down house. “My guess is at least one of the complaint calls came from there.”
“I agree.”
“Well, someone call fucking Guinness. Or the church. Because that’s a miracle.” Noah brushed his surfer boy hair out of the way and holstered his gun. We were all armed to the teeth but trying to appear like we were just checking to see what was what.
It was nice to keep everything tucked away and hidden until we had an actual creeper spotting. On the other hand, we had to have it all so we weren’t caught off guard and didn’t become lunch for some dead things.
“Seriously,” Cahill said and put a possessive hand on Noah.
It made me hot all over to see those two touch, and it instantly brought to mind the times I’d accidentally seen them together. It was easy to imagine Noah sucking off Cahill. And it was never hard for me to call up the image of Cahill plunging into pretty Noah. Holding his slim hips and pushing his cock deep inside. But it had totally been accidental, me seeing them. Okay, the first time had been an accident. The other times had been luck.
“We’ll cut through the bushes to speak to the neighbor. When we come back here we can use the back door and talk to Marylou.”
“She’s edgy with a capital fidgety,” Noah said.
“I know. But imagine that you’re a young woman living with just your brother, and he’s not here. Maybe she’s alone a lot. Her mom died.” I felt a twinge in my gut when they all looked sad for me, and I shook my head. “Don’t do that. Don’t pity me,” I snapped, and they all fixed their faces into masks of indifference.
I cleared my throat, coughing away the ball of emotion that had lodged there. “And she doesn’t have dad to speak of. That’s gotta be hard. And then we show up—our ragtag team of killers…I gotta say, boys, I’d be a little edgy too, I think.”
Garrity sighed. “You have a point. Lucky you, you have us.” He smacked my ass hard, and I gaped at him.
“Come on,” Noah said to Cahill, and led the way. “Let’s go talk to the neighbor before they do something like fuck in the bushes.”
It was Cahill who turned and waggled his eyebrows at me. Jesus. This was getting sticky fast.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Opal's Disappearance available soon at Wild Child Publishing

Sheryl Locke Holmes Mysteries: Book 3: Opal's Disappearance
larger image


Sheryl Locke Holmes Mysteries: Book 3: Opal's Disappearance

$2.99

Available October 11, 2011

by C.L. Exline

An old college friend begs Sheryl to help find her missing cousin, Opal, who may have been kidnapped by a mysterious mountain man. When all leads are exhausted, Sheryl concocts a dangerous plan—she becomes bait for the kidnapper and alleged murderer.

But will she survive her plan? Or is this Sheryl's last mystery?

Genre: Mystery/Humor
Book Length: Short Story
Word Count: 31,465
Pages: 120
Price: $2.99
Formats: PDF, HTML, ePub, Mobi, Lit, PRC


Buy link

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Last day of Back to Back with Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Welcome back to the last installment of Back to Back with multi-published author Kathryn Meyer Griffith. She's been gracious enough to share with us the backstories with three of her books. The Heart of the Rose, Vampire Blood and today we finish with Witches.





The Story of Witches
(Originally a 1993 Zebra paperback and
now a 2011 Revised Author’s Edition from Damnation Books)
By Kathryn Meyer Griffith

In 1991 I’d already been writing for about twenty years, on and off (though there was a long gap where I didn’t write because of a divorce, the finding of a full time job to support myself and my son, and a remarriage…life) when I contracted my fourth novel, my first of four to Zebra paperbacks, a romantic horror called Vampire Blood, about a family of vampires who ran a movie theater in a small town. I’d already had a fifth novel, The Last Vampire, completed and in with them when they asked me for another novel.
Got anything about witches, they asked. Witches are hot right now. Hmmm.
For many years I’d played around with an idea about a present day white witch who finds a diary of a long dead witch – either good or bad, I hadn’t decided – in her old house’s attic, or basement, or under a floorboard. The story would have been about the good witch reliving the other dead witch’s life through the diary. I’d always called that possible book Rachel’s Diary in my head.
So in 1991 or 1992 I began the witch book and it quickly metamorphosed into a story of a present day good witch, Amanda Givens,  who’s yanked into a perilous seventeenth century past by an evil witch, Rachel Coxe, to take her place…and die a horrible death as an accused witch. I had the idea then to actually send Amanda into the past to live (for a while) the other witch’s life. Of course, being a good witch, Amanda, changes the other witch’s unsavory reputation but still ends up in a prison waiting to die for Rachel’s earlier crimes. The story, simply put, would be how Amanda overcomes her trials and tribulations, finds her lost eternal love again in the past, and finds a way to return to the present alive. In the process, learning some important life lessons about accepting what life has dealt her and the value of sisters, friendships and the love of those around her. Or good versus evil and, in the end, good wins and is rewarded. I also threw in a few touches of humor in the form of three precocious witches’ familiars…a mind-reading and speaking cat called Amadeus, a mouse, Tituba, and a tiny bat, Gibbiewackett …all with feisty personalities and quirks of their own.
I was excited about the book as I was writing it and when it was done, pleased with it, but had no idea that over the years it’d become the jewel of my writing career and the book that my fans would love the best of all my books. I loved the cat face cover Zebra did for it (a rare occurrence as I’d learned the hard way that covers weren’t always what I’d envisioned and in the early days I had no choice but to accept whatever the publisher’s gave me…and some weren’t so hot, let me tell you!).
Witches came out in 1993 and did well. I noticed soon after as I went on to publish other books that I got the most response and admiration for it. Readers loved the three sisters, Amadeus and Amanda, Gibbiewackett and Tituba. In those days I was too busy working full time as a graphic artist, living my life and writing new books to notice. It went into a second printing in 2000 and after that, sadly, went out of print. But my fans never forgot it. I’d find comments on it and discussions on the Internet…even customer reviews raving about it years and years later. I tried talking Zebra into reissuing it but after Zebra and I parted ways there was no talking them into it.
Then in 2010 when Damnation Books contracted my 13th and 14th novels, the publisher, Kim Richards, asked about all (there was 7 at the time) my out-of-print Zebra and Leisure backlist novels and if I’d like to have them reissued as new paperbacks and, for the first time ever, in e-books. Sure, that’d be great! I told her. And, as they say, the rest is history. Between June 2010 and July 2012 all 7 of them (and now another 3 of my Wild Rose Press novels and two short stories from 2007) updated, rewritten and with stunning new covers will be out again. All in e-books for the first time.
Of course, that’s meant a heck of a lot of rewriting. A lot of work. Those early novels go back twenty-seven years and were first written in the days of snail mail and on an electric typewriter before the Internet, e-mails and Windows Track Changes (for editing). Oh, boy, did they need revising. As of today I can happily say they’re all rewritten now except the very first one, Evil Stalks the Night, 1984; yet even that one will be completed soon.
I’ve often been asked what I think of e-books and I have to say it feels strange, all these years later, to be so into them. I think it’s fantastic to be able to put thousands of books on one little lightweight hand-held contraption and sell them as inexpensively as we do. I started publishing e-books four years ago and have seen such great changes in even that short a time. I love the editing process now. With Track Changes it’s truly a collaborative effort between the editor and the writer and it’s taught me far more about the craft of writing than the old way of just sending off the manuscript, being asked to change certain things, but then never seeing any of those changes or the basic edits until the book was printed and in my hand. Now, no more pages added by an editor (That actually happened in Evil Stalks the Night. The editor, who I never met, added three pages of his own and I didn’t even know about it until I held the book in my hand. And the three pages didn’t make sense…ech!) that I never know about or see until the book comes out. Yeah.
With a chuckle I recall a writer’s convention I attended in 1990 – yes, that far back – and the main topic back then was…OMG the electronic books are coming! They’re going to make us authors obsolete! Print books are going to die a terrible lonely death…etc., etc. Lack and alas, what are we going to do? Ha, ha. It’s ironic that 21 years later I’m in love with e-books. They’re the future. And I think there’ll always be room for print books as well as electronic ones.
So Witches…Damnation Books is rereleasing it April 1, 2011. I’m thrilled. The cover is still of Amadeus, the cat, and Dawne Dominique did an amazing job on it. My editor, Alison O'Byrne, helped me make it a better book than eighteen years ago. Of all my novels, I’m most proud of it. It’s held up pretty well. I hope it finds many more readers and fans.
So that’s the story of Witches…the little book that wouldn’t die.

Thank you!   E-mail me at rdgriff@htc.net
                                                                ***
Kathryn Meyer Griffith has been writing for nearly forty years and has published 14 novels and 7 short stories since 1984 with Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books and Eternal Press in the horror, romantic paranormal, suspense and murder mystery genres… and all 12 of her old books above (and two new ones) are being brought out again between June 2010 and July 2012 from DAMNATION BOOKS www.damnationbooks.com and ETERNAL PRESS www.eternalpress.biz again in print – and all in  e-books for the first time ever! Learn more about her at www.myspace.com/kathrynmeyergriffith or  www.bebo.com/kathrynmeyergriffith or  www.authorsden.com/kathrynmeyergriffith or www.bebo.com/kathrynmeyergriffith and http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=1019954486

Friday, September 9, 2011

Second Day of Back to Back with Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Day two of Back to Back with Kathryn Meyer Griffith. Let's welcome, Kathryn. We've started a three post investigation as to the backstory to three of Kathryn's books. First post we read why she wrote The Heart of The Rose.  And I've received emails that stated how much they loved this idea. Me too! Don't be shy commenting, dear readers.

This post features the story of Vampire Blood.







The Story of Vampire Blood
Author’s Revised Edition by Kathryn Meyer Griffith
A rerelease of my 1991 Zebra paperback romantic vampire novel

In 1990 or so I’d just got done releasing my first three paperback novels with Leisure Books, a romantic historical (The Heart of the Rose 1985) and two romantic horror books (Evil Stalks the Night, 1984 and Blood Forge, 1989), and because I wasn’t making much money on them, was looking, as most so-called restless young authors were doing, to move up in the publishing industry.
So I wrote snail mail letters to three established authors of the day – Dean Koontz, Stephen King and Peter Straub – asking for a little advice and a little help. What do I do next? I want to be one of the big dogs running in the big races. I want to make the big bucks. Be famous like you. (Ha, ha. I was so naïve in those days!) 
Well, Stephen King and Peter Straub never answered my letters but one rainy fall night I got a phone call from Gerda Koontz (Dean Koontz’s wife) and she said Dean had gotten my letter and wanted me to have a name of a brand new agent who I should call or write to and say I was recommended by him. If I thought it strange that Dean Koontz himself wasn’t actually talking to me I was told by Gerda that he was a shy man and had had a particularly hard couple of months because of family problems (I think it had something to do with his father in a nursing home or something, but can’t exactly recall now) and he’d asked her to call me. She often did that for him, as well as helping him with the business side of his writing career. He (through her…and I got the impression that he was actually nearby telling her what to say the whole time) said I had to have an agent (I didn’t have one) and then he gave me the name of an ambitious one, Lori Perkins, just starting out and his advice on what I should do to advance as a writer.
I do remember being incredibly touched that he, a famous busy novelist that I admired – I loved his Twilight Eyes – would take the time to talk to me, even through his wife. They were both so sweet and we talked for nearly an hour all about writing, books and everything.
I took their advice and contacted that agent and she agreed immediately to represent me on my fourth book, Vampire Blood, no doubt, because I said Dean Koontz had recommended her to me. Name dropper! But Vampire Blood was the reason I’d contacted those famous authors in the first place. I thought it was the best book I’d done so far and wanted it to go to (what I thought at the time) would be a better publisher than Leisure Books, which contracted and hog-tied their writers with a horrible ‘potboiler’ one-size-fits-all ten year contract with low advances and 4% royalties. Yes, I got a whole whopping 14 cents a book in those days, but, I must confess, they did print thousands of paperbacks each run and had a huge distribution area.  I thought I could do a lot better. Anyway, Lori Perkins wanted me to send her the book and she did like it and eventually sold it, and then three others zip-zip-zip right after, to Zebra Books (now known more as Kensington Publishing) at 6% royalties and double the advances I was used to getting. They slapped a sexy blond vampire with a low dress on the cover and a hazy theater behind her. Lovely colors. I thought it was an eye-catching cover. I was so happy. I thought I’d made it! Again, so naïve.
Vampire Blood. A little story about a family of vicious killing vampires who settle in a small Florida town called Summer Haven and end up buying and fixing up an old theater palace to run, and pluck their victims from, and a divorced, down-on-her-luck ex-novelist and her worn-out father, who along with friends, help thwart them.
Now to how and why I wrote it.
My husband and I lived in this small Illinois town, Cahokia, at the time and there was the neatest little hole-in-the-wall theater in a nearby shopping center we used to go to all the time…run by a family of a sweet man, Terry, and his wife, Ann, and sometimes their three children, two teenage boys and a girl named Irene.  Such a friendly, but odd couple. The run-down theater was their whole world it seemed. The kids helped take in the tickets, pop the popcorn and sell the candy snacks.
Now the minute Terry and Ann found out, in one of our earliest conversations, that I was a published novelist they were my greatest fans. Terry went right out and bought all three of my books and they all read them. Terry always thought they’d make great movies. Next time my husband and I went to the little theater Terry and Ann greeted us like old friends, so delighted to see us, and refused to take a dime from us for anything. We got in free whenever we went from then on. Now in those days my husband, my son, James, and I were pretty broke. I worked as a graphic designer at a big brokerage firm in downtown St. Louis (across the Poplar Bridge from our Illinois town) but my husband was in between jobs. We lived on a shoestring. Hard times. So I always was so tickled that we could get into the local movies for free. We went a lot, too, as we loved movies, especially science fiction and horror films.
One night I was watching Terry and Ann and their joy in running that little theater, with the kids bustling around doing their jobs, and I got the idea for Vampire Blood. Just like that! Use them and the theater as a backdrop for a vampire novel. Hey, wouldn’t it be neat, I off-handedly mentioned to Terry one night, if I wrote a book about a family of vampires that was trying to pass as a real human family, the man and woman wanting so badly to fit in and lead a normal life for a while, renovating and then running a theater together…but the kids are wild and, as kids always do, make trouble for them in the town…killing people? Terry loved the idea and I asked him if it’d be all right to use him and his family as a template for the vampires. He was thrilled to be part of anything to do with my books and said yes. So…I wrote this book about them (sort of), the theater (making it much grander than it was, of course), a small town terrorized by cruel, powerful vampires who can change into wolves at will….and a saddened lonely woman, her brother, and her ex-husband (who she still loves and ultimately ends up with again after he saves her life) who finds herself again, but loses a lot, as well, fighting these vampires. Vampires she doesn’t believe in at first.
I was very happy with the book when it was done and dedicated it to Terry and Ann when it came out in 1991. Terry and Ann were thrilled, too.
So Vampire Blood came out and did very well for me, second only to my Zebra 1993 Witches. As the years went by it went out of print and when, twenty years later, Kim Richards at Damnation Books contracted my 13th and 14th novels, BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons and The Woman in Crimson, she asked if I’d like to rerelease (with new covers and rewritten, of course) my 7 out-of-print Leisure and Zebra paperbacks – and I said a resounding yes!
So…here it is…Vampire Blood…twenty years later, alive again and better, I believe,  than the original because my writing then was done on an electric typewriter, with gobs of White-Out and carbon paper (I couldn’t afford copies), using snail mail; all of which didn’t lend itself to much rewriting. And in those days, editors told an author what to change and then the writer only saw the manuscript once to final proof it. Who knew what those sneaky editors were slipping in inbetween and before the final book was in an author’s greedy little hands. Hey, and I was working full time, raising a son, living a life and caring for my big extended family in one way or another, too. Busy, exciting, loving, happy and sad times.
For this new version, Damnation Book’s cover artist Dawné Dominique made me an astonishingly intriguing cover of a lovely vampire (Irene the youngest vampire who turns out to be the most brutal and ancient in the end)…but, thank goodness, without the low sexy top. And my DB editor, April Duncan, helped me make it a better novel.
A lot has happened to me and my family in these twenty years, as well. Both my parents, and my beloved maternal grandmother, the storyteller of her generation, have since passed away. Many people we used to know have. Old boyfriends, old friends and relatives. I miss them all! I no longer have that agent; she went on to bigger advances and bigger writers.  I lost my good job at the brokerage firm, bumped around in lesser jobs for years, always writing in my spare time, and now, at long last, write full time while my husband works way too hard in a machine shop to support us.
Rewriting the book brought back so many good memories…and tears over those no longer here. The theater closed sixteen years ago, the owner believing it’d served its purpose and used up its time. Terry and Ann, heartbroken, were never the same. They had other jobs, none they truly cared about.  Ann is still with us, but Terry died a few years ago, I heard from someone. We lost contact once they stopped running the theater and we moved from Cahokia to a nicer town miles away.
But I’ll never forget those early days and the stories that came with them. Days of high hopes and far distance future dreams…some of which have come true and some which haven’t. I’ve never made the big bucks, never gotten truly famous, but now, at long last and to my great delight, all twelve of my older books, from Leisure, Zebra, and The Wild Rose Press are being rewritten and reissued from Damnation Books and Eternal Press between June 2010 and July 2012. Better than ever after I’d rewritten them. I have plans to write more books and short stories, too, when they’re done. Most importantly, I’m living a good life with a husband I adore and brothers and sisters I love. Writing the stories I was born to write and happy I am. I have my memories. All in all, I’m a lucky, lucky woman.
So, all you writers out there…never give up and never stop writing!
Thank you!
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Kathryn Meyer Griffith has been writing for nearly forty years and has published 14 novels and 7 short stories since 1984 with Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books and Eternal Press in the horror, romantic paranormal, suspense and murder mystery genres… and all 12 of her old books, see below, (and two new ones) are being brought out again between June 2010 and July 2012 from DAMNATION BOOKS www.damnationbooks.com and ETERNAL PRESS www.eternalpress.biz again in print – and all in  e-books for the first time ever! Learn more about her at www.myspace.com/kathrynmeyergriffith or  www.bebo.com/kathrynmeyergriffith or  www.authorsden.com/kathrynmeyergriffith or www.bebo.com/kathrynmeyergriffith and http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=1019954486 .
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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Back to Back with Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Welcome back the awesome author, Kathryn Meyer Griffith. She's back to share a backstory to The Heart of the Rose, Vampire Blood, and Witches.

Now I know I'm not the only reader who wants to know where the idea for a book came from and the journey of its creation. We're lucky that she has agreed to share those three backstories over three different posts, so keep checking for more information.

Today, she'll tell us why she wrote The Heart of the Rose. (Great title huh? The cover is great too -- never mind, I'll post it too.)





Why I Wrote The Heart of the Rose

I started writing The Heart of the Rose after my only child, James, was born in late 1971. I was staying at home with him, not working, and was bored out of my skin. I read a horrible historical romance one day and thought I can do better than that!
So I got out my old typewriter with the keys that stuck, my bottles of White-Out, carbon paper for copies, and started clicking away. I tentatively called the book King’s Witch because it was about a 15th century healer loved by Edward the Fourth who was falsely believed to be a witch. At the library (no computers or Internet back then) I did tedious research into that time in English history: the War of the Roses, the poverty and civil strife between the Red (Lancasters) and White Rose (Yorks); the Earl of Warwick and Edward the King.  His brother Richard the Third.  A real saga. Well, all that was big back then. I was way out of my league. Didn’t know what the heck I was doing. I just wrote. Reading it now I have to laugh. It was pretty bad. But people, mainly women, loved it.
And so my writing career began. That was 40 years ago. It took me 12 years to get that first book published as I got sidetracked with a divorce, raising a son, and having to get a real job. Life, as it always seems to do, got in the way.
Then one day years later I found the manuscript in my bottom drawer and decided to rewrite it; try to sell it. I bundled up the revised pile of printed copy pages, tucked it into an empty copy paper box and took it to the Post Office. Plastered it with stamps. I sent it everywhere The Writer’s Market of that year said I could. And waited. Months and months and months. In those days it could take up to a year or more to sell a novel, in between revising and rewriting to please any editor that would make a suggestion or comment. Snail mail took forever, too, and was expensive.
In the meantime, I wrote another book. Kind of a fictionalized look back at my childhood in a large (6 brothers and sisters) poor but loving family in the 1950’s and 60’s. I started sending that one out, as well. Then one day an editor suggested that since my writing had such a spooky feel to it anyway, why didn’t I just turn the book into a horror novel. Like Steven King was doing. Ordinary people under supernatural circumstances. A book like that would really sell, she said.  Hmmm. Well, it was worth a try, so I added something scary in the woods in the main character’s childhood past that she had to return to and face in her adult life, using some of my childhood as hers. I retitled it Evil Stalks the Night and started sending it out. That editor was right, it sold quickly.
But right before it was to go to editing, the publisher, Towers Publishing…went bankrupt and was bought out by another publisher! The book was lost somewhere in the stacks of unedited slush in a company undergoing massive changes as the new publisher took over. I had a contract and didn’t know how to break it. Heaven knows, I couldn’t afford a lawyer. My life with a husband and son was one step above poverty at times. Back then I was so naïve. That was 1983 and that take-over publisher was Leisure Books.
As often as has happened to me over my writing career, though, fate seemed to step in and the Tower’s editor that had bought my book, before she left, told one of Leisure’s editors about it and asked her to try to save it. She believed in it that much.
Out of the blue, in 1984, when I had completely given up on the book, Leisure Books sent me a letter offering to buy Evil Stalks the Night! Then, miracle of miracles, my new editor asked if I had any other ideas or books she could look at. I sent her The Heart of the Rose and Leisure Books promptly bought that one in 1985, as well; labeling it, and asking me to sex it up some, as an historical bodice-ripper (remember those…the sexy knockoffs of Rosemary Rogers and Kathleen Woodiwiss’s provocative novels?)!  It wasn’t a lot of money for either. A thousand dollar advance and only 4% royalties on the paperbacks. But back in those days the publishers had a bigger distribution and thousands and thousands of the paperbacks were printed, warehoused and sent to bookstores. So 4% of all those books did add up.
So my career began. I sold ten more novels and various short stories over the next 25 years –as I was working full time and living my life. Some did well (my Zebra and leisure paperbacks) and some didn’t. Most of them, over the years, eventually went out of print.
And twenty-seven years later, when Kim Richards at Damnation Books contracted my 13th and 14th novels, BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons and The Woman in Crimson, she asked if I’d like to rerelease (with new covers and rewritten, of course) my 7 out-of-print Leisure and Zebra paperbacks, including The Heart of the Rose – and I said a resounding yes!
Of course, I had to totally rewrite The Heart of the Rose for the resurrected edition because my writing when I was twenty-one was immature, unpolished and had been done on an electric typewriter, with lots of White-Out and carbon paper (I couldn’t afford copies), using snail mail; all of which didn’t lend itself to much rewriting. Then also in those days, editors told an author what to change and the writer only saw the manuscript once to final proof it.  I also totally rewrote the book because, as was the style in the 1980’s, the prose was written in that old-fashioned prose using thees and ayes. The dialect of 15th century England. There were sex scenes I had to tone down. It was awful. So I modernized the language, cut all the redundant adjectives and adverbs and helped the characters to grow up a little (they were so dramatic).  The Heart of the Rose-Revised Author’s Edition published by Eternal Press in November 2010 (http://www.eternalpress.biz/book.php?isbn=9781615722327 ), hopefully, then is a lot better book than it ever was in 1985. It should be…I have had thirty-nine more years of life and experiences to help make it a better book.  Author Kathryn Meyer Griffith

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You can keep up with Kathryn on her Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1019954486, or her My Space www.myspace.com/kathrynmeyergriffith 




Coming next is: The Story of Vampire Blood. Now you know you don't want to miss that backstory.