Happy Book Birthday to THE DEMON WITHIN

DemonWithin Cover

Unofficially, The Demon Within has been out in the world for a couple of weeks now. Officially, though, the release date is today. You should be able to get the book everywhere now, and any brick-and-mortar bookstore should be able to order it if it’s not in stock already.

I wrote out the book’s acknowledgements several months ago, before the book went to press. But since then, the list of people to thank has grown, and I want to make sure I do so here:

I got some amazing blurbs (basically, those things on the cover of a book saying, “This is the best book ever!”) from some amazing authors and bloggers: Jenn Bennett, author of the kick-ass Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series as well as the Roaring Twenties paranormal romance series; Carolyn Crane, author of the Disillusionists urban fantasy series and the Associates series of romantic suspense novels; Joe Alfano from the Wicked Lil’ Pixie blog; and Jodi Scaife from Fanboy Comics (which is currently rebranding as Fanbase Press). Thank you all for taking the time to read my book and for writing up such amazing blurbs! It’s incredible, as a first-time published author, to open your book to the front page and read all the cool things people are saying about it.

I want to single out Carolyn Crane in particular because, in addition to providing an awesome blurb, she has also been a friend and an inspiration to me for several years now. I first started talking to Carolyn back in 2010, when I interviewed her for CC2K, the blog I wrote for at the time. After that, we started talking more via Facebook and Twitter, chatting about writing, the publishing world, and, of course, our cats. I got to meet her last summer when we attended the Romance Writers of America Conference, and she’s just as sweet and down-to-Earth in person as she had been online. Carolyn, you’re seriously just a super cool person, and I’m so glad to have you as my writer friend.

Several blogs have already featured me, either as an interviewee or guest blogger, and I’d like to thank them as well: Audrey Kearns and the Geek Girl Authority blog; Andi Cumbo-Floyd and her AndiLit writing blog; and Barbra Dillon from Fanboy Comics.

I would also like to thank my friends and family members for supporting me in this endeavor. I’m shocked, and humbled, by how many of you have bought the book, spread the word about it among your own family and friends, and reviewed it. I tend toward the cynical end of the spectrum, but I feel like I’m having my George Bailey moment right now. Remember, no man is a failure who has friends. No woman, either.

And then there is everyone else. Maybe you bought the book at Wizard World Comic-Con, and I signed it for you. Maybe it was recommended to you, likely by one of my amazing network of friends and family. Or maybe you saw it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble and thought, “This sounds cool,” and bought it just because. However you got there, thank you for taking a chance on an unpublished, unproven writer, and I hope you like the book.

For almost six years now, Dale Highland and her dark, crazy world of angels and demons with superpowers have been taking up real estate in my brain. And now they’re here. No matter what else happens, Dale is a part of the universe now.

Happy birthday, Dale.






Carolyn Crane Blurbed THE DEMON WITHIN

Mind Games

USA Today bestselling and RITA award winning author Carolyn Crane gave an amazing blurb for The Demon Within:

This inventive and exciting tale had me breathlessly flipping the pages—and I loved every minute! Get ready for a sexy, twisty, dangerous ride that crackles with pure awesomeness.

I’m ridiculously flattered by this. Carolyn is an author whose work I’ve loved for a long time. Her Disillusionists trilogy (Mind Games, Double Cross, and Head Rush), about a woman who weaponizes her hypochondria to become a crime fighter, is one of the coolest, most unique entries in the urban fantasy genre.

As a fan of her urban fantasy, I was a little nervous when I found out Carolyn was writing a romantic suspense series. I’m kind of picky about romantic suspense. With some romantic suspense, I feel like I’m reading the same story (damaged sexy hero and TSTL heroine on the run from a serial killer) over and over again. But The Associates novels focuses on a quasi-legal worldwide spy organization–and of course, everyone involved is super suave and sexy. Think James Bond spy stuff meets The Thomas Crown Affair intrigue and sex appeal. Also, the heroines are as badass as the heroes. One of them is a not-quite-reformed criminal safecracker; another is one of the leaders of the Associates who goes undercover to infiltrate a drug cartel.


Basically, it seems like no matter what genre she’s writing in, Carolyn looks at the rules and tropes…and then ignores them altogether and does something completely different. It makes her books unexpected and awesome.


Carolyn CraneI interviewed Carolyn for the CC2K pop culture blog back in 2010, and I’ve spoken to her quite a bit on Twitter and Facebook since then. This summer, I actually got a chance to meet and speak to her during the Romance Writers of America Conference in New York City. She was a wealth of information about writing and publishing, and the experience was one of the highlights of my year. (She’s also super sweet, and just one of the coolest, most generous people I’ve met in the writing world.)


 Thank you again to Carolyn for this amazing blurb!

Romance Writers of America 2015 Conference Wrap-Up

The best part of going to a conference with 90% female attendees. Oddly enough, lines were always shorter at the converted restrooms. Do I smell a patriarchal conspiracy?

The best part of going to a conference with 90% female attendees. Oddly enough, lines were always shorter at the converted restrooms. Do I smell a patriarchal conspiracy?

So I got back the other day from the Romance Writers of America Conference in New York. To be honest, I felt a little trepidation about going. Romance is not my primary genre (although all my works have romantic subplots in them, and I am considering writing something more romance-centric). Furthermore, going to the conference meant I had to miss going to the beach with my boyfriend and his family, which was great fun last year, so I was kind of bummed about that. To be honest, the main reason I decided to go to this—as opposed to another writing conference—was because Nalini Singh, who is one of my favorite authors, was going to be a keynote speaker.

I’m so glad I went.

I already live Tweeted many of the workshops, so I think, for this blog post, I’m going to keep to the highlights, for me.

I got to meet Carolyn Crane! I became “online friends” with Carolyn years ago after I interviewed her for CC2Konline.com. But I was a fan of Carolyn’s long before I was her friend. I had read the first two books in her Disillusionist urban fantasy trilogy, and I was so blown away by them that I sucked up my courage, wrote her an e-mail, and said, “Can I pretty please interview you please?”

Carolyn Crane

Anyway, after I stopped tripping all over myself, we actually became pretty good virtual friends, and she’s been incredibly supportive of my writing career. We got to spend several hours talking about writing, books, the romance community, and our cats. It was so cool spending time with someone I’m not only a huge fan of, but someone whose career I’ve come to admire and respect. I love that Carolyn has managed to jump seamlessly into a new genre. Her latest book, the RITA-nominated romantic suspense novel Behind the Mask, is awesome. Romantic suspense isn’t a genre that I read often, but I love that Carolyn can make her books both sexy and action-packed, and that her heroines are just as intelligent and badass as her heroes. No damsels in distress here! This book is a perfect example of that.

At the signing on Wednesday night, I got to meet Jeaniene Frost, who was nice enough to take a picture with her phone and Tweet it to me because mine had died. I also got signed books from Kristen Callihan, whose Darkest London steampunk books are completely amazing, and Thea Harrison, whose Elder Races novels made me fall in love with a dragon. Literally. I didn’t think it was possible to lust after a reptile, but it is.

And to top it all off, I got an autographed book from Nalini Singh at the signing! And a picture! She was so nice and gracious, and asked me about my own writing. I’m afraid I pretty much fangirl vomited all over her.

Me: OMG OMG OMFG I LOVE YOU YOU'RE SO AMAZING SQUEEEE!!! NALINI SINGH: Who is this crazy woman? Please get her away from me.

NALINI SINGH: Who is this crazy woman? Please get her away from me.

That was all amazing. But here’s the main thing I took away from this conference.

This was the first conference where I’ve spent more time at the career- and marketing-oriented workshops than the craft- and getting published-oriented workshops. The authors who spoke were successful in their genres—not runaway successes necessarily, but steady, hardworking authors who had been writing and publishing for a long time, weathering the changes in the publishing world, and still making a living at it.

And after hearing them speak, I thought: I can do this.

This is the first time I’ve felt like success in the publishing world isn’t some magical, alchemical formula, or random luck. Yes, there probably is an element of luck associated with J.K. Rowling or Stephenie Meyer-type success. But for other authors, it’s just a lot of hard work, flexibility, and devotion to your craft.

Here are some of the main points I took away.

*The publishing world, for better or worse, is changing very quickly right now. Be flexible, be willing to try different things, and be prepared to misstep sometimes. When all else fails, come back to the writing. That’s why you’re in this business in the first place.

Also, authors and publishers give away a crazy amount of free stuff at RWA. This was just the bag I got when I checked in!

Also, authors and publishers give away a crazy amount of free stuff at RWA. This was just the bag I got when I checked in!

*Figure out where your priorities are, where and how to best spend your time. You can’t do everything. Once you have some success as a writer, consider hiring someone to assist you on things like marketing and publicity. Your main focus should be on the writing.

*One thing you should not hire someone else to do is fan interaction. Fans in 2015 expect a genuine connection with the authors they love.

*As far as social media goes…some of the authors/bloggers there liked Facebook, some liked Twitter, some liked Instagram, and some liked Pinterest (which I still have no idea what to do with). Use what works for you, and leave the rest alone. Set aside time to spend on publicity/fan interaction on social media, because it tends to be a giant time suck.

*Put together a newsletter, but don’t abuse it. Make sure your subscribers know when they’re going to get a newsletter (e.g. once a month, only when a new book is released, etc.)

*For slower writers (i.e. me), you can use your website to promote other authors and books you like, or post excerpts or blurbs from upcoming books. That way, you don’t fade out of readers’ memories.

*Find good critique partners! (This is a big one. I’m still working on it.)

*Writing is a very solitary profession. Build a community of people who can cheer you on, stay positive, help you, and give advice.

Overall, it was a great conference, and a very warm and welcoming atmosphere. Next year’s conference will be in San Diego. I’m already planning to be there.