Thursday, October 31, 2013


Put that Halloween costume to good use and come on out to Stan Lee's Comikaze this weekend!  I'll be signing books with the FAAAAHBULOUS Elizabeth Watasin at booth AA-1311.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Magic After Dark

Do you love Maggie for Hire?  Do you say that you do, but guiltily don't know if you love Maggie for Hire or not because you haven't picked up a copy yet?

It is your lucky day!

Dive into six different worlds of vampires, demons, fae, fairy godmothers, mages, and all things magic.  Prepare for a wild ride, whether you’re looking for nail-biting drama, mystery, intense action, humor, new breeds of paranormals, or passionate romance.  Induldge in this amazing boxed set from six bestselling urban fantasy authors:

SM Reine - Sacrificed in Shadow
Marie Hall - Crimson Night
Deanna Chase - Influential Magic
Danielle Monsch - Fairy Tales and Ever Afters
Kate Danley - Maggie for Hire
Dannika Dark - Sterling

Available on: 

Interview with JD Horn

As part of the 47North Author Blog Swap, this month I'll be interviewing JD Horn, author of the upcoming book The Line (Witching Savannah). Know him. Love him. Follow him on his blog (, Facebook (, and The Line's official Facebook page

Why did you write The Line?
My first novel, The Essence of Things Hoped For, found me my agent. Essence is a very personal and hopefully literary work into which I poured my heart. We shopped Essence around for about a year, but no bites. It seemed that everyone who read it loved it, but… (There were a lot of buts.) Rejection left me with the choice of giving up or taking another run at a “first” novel.

The question for me became whether I could write something with commercial appeal that also embodied my “essence,” the aspects of my soul that compel me to write. I got lucky, I fell in love with a character, Mercy Taylor, and with a place, Savannah. I cannot attest as yet to the true commercial appeal of The Line (it doesn’t go on sale until February 1 of next year), but the dark and twisted bits of my Southern Gothic psyche have found a new place to play. 

What is it about this project that makes you happy or proud?
The good folk at 47North,publisher of The Line, liked Mercy enough to allow me to use it as the basis of a new series—the Witching Savannah series. It has been wonderful returning to Mercy’s world, learning more about her and her deeply-flawed but loving family.

What was one of the first books to inspire your interest in this genre?
Wow. This is tough. Peter Straub’s Ghost Story, Dracula, a whole slew of stories where the supernatural infiltrates everyday life. Lovecraft’s wonderful mythos. Most importantly, though, Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita.

Who influenced your voice as a writer?
 Armistead Maupin, Charlaine Harris, Alice Hoffman and a bunch of dead Russian guys. 

How did you learn how to write?  How did you develop your style?
My undergraduate degree was in Comparative World Literature. Rather than inspiring my writing career, comparing my early efforts to the completed works of the greats nearly crippled me. It was only after I began reading the easy and natural style of Maupin’s Tales of the City series that I realized there was a place for me in the literary world. 

What is your process when you begin a new project?
I turn on my computer, turn off everything else, close my eyes and listen to the voices. I ignore the ones that tell me I am not a real writer, that tell me I won’t succeed or that I need a pint of ice cream.  I listen and keep listening until I hear the voice who wants to tell me a story. Then I start typing what it says. No inner editor allowed.

What are some writing tips or tricks that work for you?
Learn to use the delete key. Learn to love the delete key.

What is one of the happiest moments in your writing career?
Having readers take me to task for the events that happen to Ellen Taylor Weber (Mercy’s aunt) and realizing that my characters were becoming real to these readers, that the readers were falling in love with them just as I had.  Signing the ARCs of The Line at NY Comic Con. Meeting my agent and getting a yes from 47North.

What advice do you have for people who want to become writers?
Focus on the creative process, not on the end result. Be willing to start over. Never, ever, ever read Rita Mae Brown’s writing guide Starting from Scratch. Read everything else she has written, but not that. Oh, and take advice from other writers with a grain of salt. 

What upcoming projects are you working on?
Getting ready to work on the copy edits of The Source (second in the Witching Savannah series) and continuing work on The Void (Witching Savannah). On the back burner is a novella, Shivaree, about vampires in post-Korean War rural Georgia. Also, I am planning on revisiting The Essence of Things Hoped For to see if new life can be breathed into the manuscript.

For fun:

You're in heaven (so anything is possible) and you own your own television network.  What shows are on your channel?
Sadly I am a sucker for soap opera. In my heaven, As the World Turns and Edge of Night would still be in production. Oooh, and Dark Shadows, too. That and British murder mysteries.

What is your favorite pen to write with?
Do crayons count?

Favorite beverage while writing?
Coffee, black.

Name five books you love.
The Master and Margarita
The Brothers Karamazov (seriously, not just saying it)
Doctor Zhivago
American Gods
And now I cheat, everything by Douglas Adams

Leather bound editions or paperbacks with a great pulp fiction covers?
I want books I can live with, not books that are too precious to handle. Give me paperback, or better yet, give me Kindle.

What is your favorite quote about writing?
“Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.” Flannery O’Connor (a good Savannahian, but probably not a witch…)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Spirit of Denial

For all of you fans of A Spirited Manor  today is your lucky day my friends!  Announcing Book II in the O'Hare House Mysteries.... drumroll... SPIRIT OF DENIAL.  It's about a mummy.  Now say the title out loud.  Yes.

In this sequel to A Spirited Manor, Clara O'Hare and Wesley Lowenherz learn that the phantasm set free at Lord Oroberg's seance is just the beginning. An ancient Egyptian curse has been unleashed by feuding archaeologists and everyone will be digging an early grave unless they contain this spirit of the Nile.

Mysterious Galaxy 10/26 at 3PM

Head on out to Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach for the Halloween event Nine Novel Nightmares featuring readings by nine 47North authors (including yours truly), prizes, and other assorted awesomeness!  Plus, come on.  It's Mysterious Galaxy!  Do you need any more reason to show up?

2810 Artesia Blvd.
Redondo Beach, CA 90278

Friday, October 11, 2013

Big Orange Book Festival

In the SoCal area this weekend?  I'll be signing books at Booth #3 at the Big Orange Book Festival on the campus of Chapman University.  Come out and say hello!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


My old sketch and improv buddy Travis Richey made this great little video that yours truly just happens to be in.  Yay!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mystery and Imagination Bookstore TONIGHT!

If you're reading my blog, you probably already know my story.  But juuust in case, here's a recap.  November 2010, I self-published my first title, The Woodcutter.  That first month, I sold 22 copies.  The second month I sold eight.

Flash forward to today and I am a full time writer, have close to 80,000+ sales globally, am traditionally published, won a bunch of awards, and one of my series is under option for a movie and television consideration.

So how did that all happen?  And more importantly, how can something like this happen for you.

Tonight, Wyatt Doyle, myself, and Andrew Bisconti will be doing a free, hour long panel at Mystery & Imagination Bookshop in Glendale about the business of publishing.  I will brain dump all of the knowledge I have learned over the past three years straight into your ears.  People helped me out getting me here and this is just a way to pay back the kindness.  So come out!  I will have presents for people who bring good questions!
Mystery & Imagination Bookshop
238 N. Brand Blvd.
Glendale, California

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Artistic resistance is a funny thing.  It is that fear which begins to grip you, that tells you what you really want to be doing is watching Netflix instead of working on that THING.   That project.  That one little corner of the universe that is so uniquely yours that no other person on the planet can fill it.

I have been acting since 1989.  A French class was full, and I got moved into drama class.  A girl failed in the whole No Pass/No Play era and I was her replacement in the play. Cue a decade of magnet schools, college majors, and shows in NYC.

But then I moved to Los Angeles and I got this thing Bruce Campbell refers to as "The Spores".  That thing I've only found in Los Angeles where you are told over and over and over again that things start happening when you finally decide you don't want them anymore, so you better not want that film career quickly so that you can finally start getting cast.  So you spend a lot of time trying to convince yourself you don't want to be an actor.  Going to the beach and checking out new restaurants and shops and clubs.  And it works.  You start getting auditions and you meet them with an eye roll instead of a cheer.  You get cast, and you hate being on set.

Earlier this year, I realized that I hate film and television acting.  I mean, with a PASSION.  I'd get parts and despise every minute of it… because I didn't know, in my bones, what I was doing.  Acting on film is basically just doing a cold reading.  You spend all year trying to get a gig, they put you in front of the camera and you get to say, "Would you like wine with dinner?"  It sucks.  So, I decided not to do it anymore.

But then, a few months later, I remembered the only reason why I wanted to do film and television was to have enough of a stable income that I could act on stage.  And suddenly, with this whole writing thing, I realized I have the stable income… I could act on stage as much as I want…

And it is terrifying. 

The theater in Los Angeles is like community theater.  No one does it because they love it.  They do it in the hope an agent will see their work, or a film director will fall in love with them.  Tennessee Williams is a CD showcase.  But as I traveled the world this year, I remembered that everywhere else on the globe, being on stage is the end game, not the consolation prize.

So this summer, I spent nine hours a day, three days a week, for five weeks out in the middle of this forest studying Shakespeare and Alexandar Technique and Laban and scansion and Elizabethan rhetoric.  And I realized I'm really good at acting on stage when I stop apologizing for the fact I'm not any good on film.
Taking this shift, this leap, and only doing theater for theater's sake… I have been reminded of its transformative power, of the way we actors can touch lives and change people's perceptions of the world, even better than a newspaper article or pie chart of statistics or some guy yelling at you on talk radio.  I did a reading the other day and a little old woman got up from her walker to stop me on my rush out to squeeze my hands and tell me I was wonderful.  And knowing the effort it took for her to come down to the theater, how we were her biggest source of entertainment that day, what it took for her to support the arts and she was there… it just reminded me that theater for theater's sake is important.  The creative cesspool of Los Angeles is not the world.  There are people who are searching for this artistic "more" and it is alive and powerful.

And I haven't felt this alive or powerful on stage in years.  I was talking to a friend about it and he said, "It is nice to do theater that you don't have to apologize for afterwards."

I feel like have been apologizing for a long time.  My feet were in two different worlds and neither was getting what it needed.  So, now my feet are firmly planted and it is terrifying to step out boldly again.  But I feel like a loggerhead turtle who knows how to find that beach where she was born.  This is my beach.  It is where I am called.  And, yes, the resistance is still there.   I have a class tonight with an amazing group of artists who are sitting down to tear apart Henry VI just for fun, and the resistance says, "Maybe you should stay at home and… work… clean your house… watching some Netflix… who needs people..."

But I'm not listening anymore.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Me! An interview with me!

While we're talking interviews, Charlie Holmberg was kind enough to return the favor and you can find her interview with me over on her blog by clicking!  Go give her some love!

Author Interview - Charlie Holmberg

Happy October!  It finally feels like the start of fall!  To welcome in this new month, I'm interviewing fellow 47North author Charlie Holmberg, who will be releasing her debut book, The Paper Magician, from 47North next year.  In the meantime, you can check out her awesome blog at Myself as Written or on Twitter @CNHolmberg.

Why did you write The Paper Magician? 
I was getting close to finishing up my current project, so my mind had already put out feelers for what my next story would be about. And then I went on a road trip, and road trips tend to spur thinking.

I had always liked the idea of having a character do paper-based magic, but I’d always considered them as a quirky side character. I’d tried once before to invent a magic system big enough that would have paper manipulation as a branch, but I never came up with anything. Then, whilst on the long road between Moscow, ID and Salt Lake City, I thought, Why make it a side? Why not have the book be about paper-based magic? And it bloomed from there.

What is it about this project that makes you happy or proud?
I felt like I had created an interesting and truly succinct plot for perhaps the first time ever, ha. I felt the idea, or at least its execution was fairly original, and I really liked my character. After writing The Paper Magician, I thought, this is it. This is the book that gets me an agent. Turned out I was right. :)

What was one of the first books to inspire your interest in this genre? 
Oh gosh, I really don’t know book-wise. Lame as is sounds, it was actually an anime I watched when I was thirteen (I had no idea what anime was at the time) that made me want to write fantastical books. And though I’m not much in Japanese cartoons anymore, I recommend Tenkou no Escaflowne to anyone. Great storyline, no silliness.

Who influenced your voice as a writer? 
As far as The Paper Magician and its sequels are concerned, the wondrous workings of Diana Wynne Jones, specifically Howl’s Moving Castle, really influenced my voice. I think The Paper Magician sounds just a little bit different from all my previous works.

How did you learn how to write?  How did you develop your style?
Well, for a long time I just wrote. I started writing at thirteen and wrote a lot of (unfinished) crappy books and a lot of fanfiction that still haunts the Internet.

I took my first real writing classes in high school and had a great teacher. Then I started reading books (I believe my first was Orson Scott Card’s How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy). Then I started attending conventions and taking writing courses in college. And I read, a lot. In my genre and out.

I think my style more or less developed on its own. I feel I owe a great debt to Brandon Sanderson, whose writing course at Brigham Young University I attended for two semesters. Best writing class I’ve ever taken. He was my mentor.

What is your process when you begin a new project? 
I usually have an idea that brews in my mind for a long time—months to years. When it finally clicks in my head and flips the passion switch, I bust out one of my handy-dandy mini notebooks and start writing notes, generally in the order ideas come to my mind. Character sketches, maps, scenes, setting, whatever. When the notebook fills up to the point where I have the bones of a story, I make an outline. When the outline is sound, I start writing.

What are some writing tips or tricks that work for you? 
I think carrying around a notebook in your pocket or purse is great for writing down ideas—they can strike you anywhere.

Making a daily word count goal helped me immensely. It made me get serious about the profession and made me actually finish books.

With writing fantasy, I often come up with the magic system first. My entire story will circulate around how the magic works.

Something interesting David Farland once told me was to treat my manuscript like a movie, and interview different people to play my characters. It helps to get a good idea of what personalities will work best with the tale you want to tell.

Alpha and beta readers. I have two sets of critique partners—writers and non-writers. The writers, or the “alpha” readers, get my first draft. Once I fix everything and make draft two, my non-writers, or the “beta” readers, get the book. They give me readerly feedback that helps me fix the smaller things. Having two sets of readers makes for more drafting, but I think my books turn out stronger that way.

What advice do you have for people who want to become writers? 
Write. I know that sounds stupid, but once you actually finish a book, you’re already above 95% of aspiring writers.

Take criticism. Take all you can, and don’t take it personally. Good news is great for the ego, but bad news is better for the craft. However, take it with a grain of salt. Brandon Sanderson once told me you’ll only use about 1/3 of the criticism you receive, and I find that to be true. Unless more than one person (assuming you use multiple readers) has a problem with an issue you’re not sure about changing, don’t change it. It’s your story.

What upcoming projects are you working on? 
I’m finishing up The Glass Magician right now, which is the sequel to The Paper Magician. On the horizon is the final book to the trilogy, as well as an epic fantasy titled Horizon Drop that’s more or less about seamonsters. I’m excited to dip my toes back into the epic subgenre (it’s been a while).

Meanwhile I’m working on selling two other novels that I wrote before getting my agent, and dabbling in some short fiction as well. :)

You're in heaven (so anything is possible) and you own your own television network.  What shows are on your channel? 
30 Rock, Seinfeld, every single Star Trek series, a whole bunch of NEW Star Trek series, various cooking shows, and America’s Next Top Model (I know, I’m a horrible person).

What is your favorite pen to write with? 
Whichever one happens to be working…

Favorite beverage while writing?
Just water. :)

Name five books you love. 
Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson, The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (uh… that’s technically like, 16 books. I’d take the first one. Or the ninth. Or the 14th.) Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier, Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, and… how about Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt.

Leather bound editions or paperbacks with a great pulp fiction covers? 
I’m pleading the 5th on this one… ;)

Tell us about your favorite teacher and how he or she influenced you. 
Writing teacher is Brandon Sanderson. He had the most knowledge and was willing to just throw it at us. He let people audit his class for free. He told me how the industry itself works, not just how to string together a sentence. He made being published achievable.

What is your favorite quote about writing? 
“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” –Stephen King