Friday, July 29, 2011

Digital Publishing and the Knight Agency

There is lots of hoopla today regarding a blog post by a former client of The Knight Agency, who publicly declared her split from the Knight Agency and went to great lengths to explain why she did it. Unfortunately, her post misrepresents what the Knight Agency is doing on the digital side. With all the scuttlebutt going on these days about the ethics of an agency entering the digital fray on behalf of their clients, I wanted to post my own thoughts on the subject.

First, for clarification: Unlike other agencies, the Knight Agency is absorbing EVERY single cost & responsibility for digital publishing (covers, editing, back cover copy, ISBN, marketing, conversion, uploading distribution etc--everything except copy editing), so that all the author has to do is write. Many other agencies are making the authors pay for all these other costs and/or undertake the responsibility of making them happen, and THEN taking 15% on top. I want to make it clear that the Knight Agency is not doing that.

And now, below is my comment that I posted on that client's blog. Please, feel free to tweet this, copy and post (with credit) and to spread the word. Information is power, but information is only powerful as long as it's accurate.

I’m repped by the Knight Agency, and I'm one of their initial launches for their program, and I had to chime in and say that the above post absolutely misrepresents everything that the Knight Agency is doing. They are providing an amazing service to their authors for a price that is worth every penny. 

They are absorbing every cost except copy editing, and they are also receiving extensive training on the marketing side of digital publishing, so that they are going to be able to provide the same sort of value that they do for agented print books, including the contacts, the leverage, the expertise, the career planning, the strategy etc that they specialize in as agents. The actual uploading of product and preparing that is merely a service they absorb to enable them to help their clients diversify their careers into the digital market, just like any reputable agency will absorb the costs of print submissions etc. 

The Knight Agency is facilitating their author's access into the digital market in the same way that they facilitate their authors access into the print market--it's just different steps to prepare and disseminate a book for the e-pub market than for the print market, and that's what they're doing, for free, just like they've always done. But now what they're doing it they are using their expertise and their clout to enhance the author's career in in digital as well as print--they are, as they always have been, a broker between the author and those that will pay them money--in this case, it's websites that are the publishers, in print cases, it's the bricks and mortar publishers. This is what a great agency does, and the Knight Agency is cutting edge in seeing how their role needs to expand into the digital field. 

For those who believe that an agency cannot add value well worth their 15% in the digital market, then that is their choice to believe that, just as there have always been those who claim that agents don't add value worth 15% for print sales. The way I see it, can I self-pub my work myself? Sure, I can. If I work with the Knight Agency, will they do it so much better that it increases my sales more than the 15% that they would take? You bet they will. See, here's the thing. The Knight Agency won't just put it up there. They will have the economies of scale to negotiate with the publishers/retailers for page placement, for links to other books (if you like JR Ward, you might like Stephanie Rowe), for special promos or price shifts that get your book up front with readers. Right now, indie authors are saying "Wow! That was huge that Amazon picked my book to do a free eRead. I don't know how they picked me, but it was awesome for my sales!" When you have an agent working for you, they can actually negotiate for that kind of thing, instead of simply crossing their fingers and making a wish. In fact, the more people there are who self-pub, the more impt my agent will be. If there are a million $0.99 books out there, how is the reader going to find you? Product placement for one, and that's what the Knight Agency has been doing for decades: negotiating for this kind of stuff from the people who put your book in front of readers. The Knight Agency is amazing, and I am so pleased that my career is in their hands. I'm a former lawyer with more than 20 titles in print with big publishers, and I'm no newbie. I'm someone with a vision for a long, successful, well-planned and creatively managed career, and the Knight Agency is the agency with the vision to move into this new age with success and vision.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Welcome Stephen Zimmer

Hi everyone—we have a guest today, our friend Stephen Zimmer. For those of you who are familiar with Stephen’s work, the third book in his Rising Dawn saga will be coming out in just a couple of weeks. For those of you who aren’t, check out not only the Rising Dawn saga, but also his Fires in Eden series. (CROWN OF VENGENCE, the first of that series, won the 2010 Pluto Award!) Without further ado, here’s Stephen!


It is great to be back visiting with the Something Wicked audience! First
of all, I would like to thank Shirley for giving me the opportunity on her
blog slot today to introduce my third book in the Rising Dawn Saga, The
Seventh Throne, which comes out in just a couple more weeks.

If you haven’t read my work yet, hopefully this will give you a little
perspective on where I am coming from. I won’t go into a long synopsis
that can be found on a website like, but I will give you an
idea of the kind of book this is, and the series it is a part of.

As an author who writes series (I have another active series, the epic
fantasy Fires in Eden series, with two installments, Crown of Vengeance
and Dream of Legends, out right now), I have to say that I am very excited
to have my first “book three” out. In many ways, I feel a book three is
rather pivotal for any particular series that is planned in excess of a

In book one, The Exodus Gate, I set the foundation, introduced the core of
the ensemble cast, and unveiled the central plotlines anchoring this
adventure. Book two, The Storm Guardians, accelerated the action and
expanded the scope of the tale. With the foundation in place, I could
spread my wings a little more. The Seventh Throne kicks in the
afterburner, and is the book where much that has been hinted at in the
early stages begins to pay out.

From a quest by a courageous, small group of spirits into the Abyss, to a
resistance against an increasingly dystopian climate in a parallel world
similar to our own, The Seventh Throne is loaded with action and
significant revelations regarding the saga.

The shape-shifting An-Ki are back in the thick of things, as are their
primary nemesis, the Nephilim, who are the focus of a major development in
this third book. From out of body travelers, to secretive, ancient orders
on both sides, to the foreboding realms of the demonic beings Set and
Ares, this new title features a range of new things that are built solidly
onto the elements established within the first two books.

For those that have enjoyed the references to mythical and paranormal
elements, The Seventh Throne offers even more, with particularly heavy
dosages of Greek, Egyptian, and Sumerian/Akkadian lore. Just wait until
you meet Anat, a consort of Set, who was the basis for one of the
illustrations that Matthew Perry chose to do for this one!

This is a somewhat unique series that is not the easiest to classify. I
call it epic-scale urban fantasy, and unlike my other series it is not
easy for me to relate it to an existing series. The word epic sometimes
threatens to scare off a potential reader who is into more common types of
urban fantasy, but what it means is that the story threads in this saga
are part of a large tapestry. At times, I zero in on the singular
thread, and at other times I pull back to show a little more of the
tapestry itself. There is no question that the backdrop of this saga is
large, but the use of character threads keep the reader connected on a
relatable level.

I have an ensemble cast of characters, very diverse in nature, all of whom
have something of significance to contribute to the story. I’ve found,
to my great pleasure, that there is no singular character that has stood
out as the favorite among my readers. In the feedback I have gotten,
their favorites have been distributed all across the ensemble, as they
have found a particular one to bond with or relate to.

It is a series that has elements of thrillers, horror, science fiction,
and the flavors of dystopian and apocalyptic spheres for good measure.
Heavy paranormal and supernatural elements are woven into a modern
setting, with a fantastical core. All of this blended together forms what
I call epic-scale urban fantasy.

Once again the wonderful artist Matthew Perry is back, producing another
set of illustrations. Over the three books, the count has pushed past the
35 mark now, in terms of the body of artwork associated with this series.
This is a very unique collection of artwork that you will rarely find on
any level, major press or small press, and has become an element that the
readers have really enjoyed.

I invite you to give this growing series a closer look, and you just might
find something a little different in the realms of urban fantasy. This
series explores the potential of urban fantasy, to create something as
immersive and rich in characters and plot as anything found in traditional
epic fantasy.

Don’t just take my word for it either. Please visit, and read
the customer reviews, or hop on over to my site at
and peruse the reviews page with links to a significant number of reviews
of each of my books.

The Seventh Throne, like its predecessors, is not a light beach read. But
if you give it a dedicated reading, there are layers and layers of payoffs
for the reader, including new ones every time you journey through the saga

So for now, I must conclude, but I thank all of you for taking a few
moments to allow me to introduce The Seventh Throne and the Rising Dawn
Saga! Give it a try, and you may well find yourselves discovering a
unique, engaging literary realm within the annals of urban fantasy!

Connect with Stephen at his blog, FaceBook, or Twitter.
A very special limited edition hardcover of The Seventh Throne is now up
for pre-order at (limited to 75 signed and
numbered copies).

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday Musings

It’s Wednesday and time again to blog. Trouble is, I don’t have any news. What I have had is 12 years of Catholic school education, and that means when I have an assignment, I complete it.

So blog, I will!

Spent the last couple days reading over the copy edits for Pepper Martin mystery #8, "Wild, Wild Death." Had a good copy editor, and a very clean manuscript, so the process was quick and painful. Today I write the dedication and acknowledgments, then send it winging back to NYC. Each phase of a book’s publishing process has its own special surprises and rewards. Sometimes at the copy edited stage, those surprises aren’t good ones. Copy editors are the ones who not only look to make sure grammar, punctuation, etc. are AOK, they also look for inconsistencies, and in mysteries, those can be big. At this stage, loose ends are not a good thing!

With "Wild, Wild Death," there was none of that and I was thrilled to see that the story held together. After so many months of not seeing the manuscript (I turned it in to my editor in February), I’d forgotten a lot, and I was pleased by the twists and turns the plot took. I even surprised myself a time or two, especially with the way I wrapped up some plot points and set the stage for the next book in the series. Yes, there have been times I’ve gotten copy edited manuscripts and realized the book was not the best. Hallelujah, this was not one of them!

Still fighting to get my new cover posted, still working to plot Pepper Martin mystery #9. Thinking about a title. I won’t give anything away, but if anyone can come up with a title with the word "super" in it, I’ll reward you with a mention in the book!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tour with a vampire

So this is a story about how I was able to find my way off the beaten path. And it includes a vampire. How cool is that?

You see, I was headed to New York, and while I know my way around the major landmarks and tourist traps (heck, I was staying in Times Square), I didn't want to do what was expected. I wanted to expand, see something different. I knew there was something else out there...if I only knew where it was.

Enter Charles Schwartz. We met by chance. I'd heard of an online program that matches visitors with native New Yorkers, and Charles offers some of the best one-on-one walking tours around.

I figured he'd be interesting. I figured he'd be fun. But he totally surprised me when he showed up in the lobby of my hotel dressed as a vampire. I knew right away I liked this guy.

Charles and I walked all over – we saw the Algonquin, gathering place of great writers. We saw the “literary walk” leading up to the New York City Library. We ate at the famous Katz’s Deli. Charles even showed me an old church, built by the Dutch when they owned the island. It’s supposed to be haunted by one of the first Dutch governors, and it had a heck of a cemetery. You all know how much I love old cemeteries.

Then we found the inspiration for my next story. We walked into McSorley’s Old Ale house, built in 1854. Abe Lincoln hung out here. Teddy Roosevelt. John Lennon too. You could smell the history. You could see it on the walls. In fact, they claim that no piece of memorabilia has been removed from the walls since 1910.

Houdini’s handcuffs are cuffed to the bar rail. Wishbones hang above the bar, left there by soldiers going off to fight in World War I. They’d re-claim them when they returned. I could literally feel the weight of the generations.

It's a place that begs to be fictionalized. So write, I will. I’m not quite sure what will happen yet, or who will walk through the doors of my version of this bar. Biker witches, anyone? Hmm...we'll need at least one. In the mean time, I’m grateful to see this hidden gem, a place I never would have known existed. Thanks to Charles for taking me off the beaten path, and showing me the possibilities around every corner.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

RIP Border's

Border’s is closing.

You already knew that. But as I listened to the news and the analysis of what and where and why again yesterday, it got me to thinking. The news stories talk about debt and losses and other financial things that don’t make any sense to me. But there’s more to the story than that.

For instance, I got an email this morning as part of the Border’s Rewards program. It said something about converting Nook files to some other format and storing them. Since I do not have a Nook (or a Kindle for that matter), I didn’t pay much attention, but I wonder if the chain going out of business is somehow going to hurt all the electronic book files of the people who already have Nooks. Anybody out there know?

There are also–and much more importantly–all the people who are going to be out of jobs. This is what I feel worst about and if you’re one of them and you’re reading this, my sympathies and good thoughts are headed your way. I’ve met some fabulous Border’s employees over the years and I wish you the best. Thank you for being there for authors, for helping us get our stories into the hands of readers who love and appreciate them.

What most consumers don’t realize is that Border’s closing is also having an impact on authors. Did you know that print runs are down significantly? That means publishers aren’t putting out as many of any one title as they were before this turmoil. They say they will again. After the dust setttles. And yes, readers who once got our books at Border’s will find other places to buy them. But until then, fewer books = less royalties = less income for authors. Not a pretty thought.

What sort of bookstore will take Border’s place? I suppose there are smart marketing people out there who have their theories. Me? I’d like to see the small independent stores rise to prominence again. Sure, coffee shops and gift and cards are fun to have alongside books, but there’s nothing like a staff that knows and loves books–and knows their clientele as well.

Until then, like publishers, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens when the dust settles.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Magical Weekend

Let me expose myself right now. I haven't read all the Harry Potter books. (Ducks and hides from the rush of Harry Potter fans.) I tried to read the first two, but another shiny book grabbed my attention and I stopped. With the release of the last Harry Potter movie, I do feel kind of sad. I have watched the movies. They get to the point and I'm entertained for two hours. I hate to admit it, but I haven't watched the first Deathly Hollows movie, and well, I have no plans to run to the theater to watch the second part since watching the first one kinda helps.

Speaking of books with series... When it comes to books and series, I never read a book out of order. I've lost count of the amount of times I've been to a friend's house and I spy a gem. The cover is gorgeous. The back cover blurb is divine. In my head I plot how I'm going to convince the owner to let me borrow it. But then I look inside and I see it's book 6 in a series... I know some people can jump in late in a series and be just fine, but I'm a stickler for reading a book from the beginning. Most books are built as stand-alones. I could technically read it without problems. But I just prefer reading the first book and seeing everything from the beginning. There are so many details and plots I can experience that are given in bits and pieces in subsequent books. (And why not support the author by buying books 1-5 so I can read 6?)

So can you read a book later in a series if that book interests you enough? Which series was it? Did you go see the Harry Potter movie this weekend? Bonus points if you dressed up. ;)

Friday, July 15, 2011

So Much Going On!


I'm so sorry for the late post today, but my computer is on the fritz. I'm sneaking on between surgicial visits with the ER doc to try to post this. I'm guest blogging today over at Sizzling Hot Books today, so come visit and win a free book giveaway!

I've been all over the blogosphere this month doing interviews and guest blogs, so rather than try to clutter it up with another one, I thought I post the links and topics below, so you can pop over and investigate those that interest you!

A Q&A about conflict, passion and what I'd do with a million dollars. Love Romance Passion

A craft Q&A Joan Swan's fantastic blog

How I inspire myself when the going gets tough. The Long and Short of it Reviews

Excerpt and tidbits about my book TOUCH IF YOU DARE Casablanca Authors

Get the Scoop on the world of the Soulfire series. Star-Crossed Romance

My not-so-easy path to publication RomConInc

What is most important, Voice or Story?  Over the Edge Reviews

A fun Q&A on assorted topics  PonyTails Book Reviews

More guest blogs and book giveaways are coming next week, so pop on over to the News section on my website for more details! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Computer Gods are Angry!

For a couple weeks, I’ve been trying–with no success–to give you a first look at the cover of my January release, “Wild, Wild Death.” Apparently, the publisher sent it in a format that doesn’t play well with whatever format it takes to plop the pic in this blog.

Well, I thought I'd finally outfoxed the gods of computer-land and had it all figured out, but I still can't get the pic to post! Anybody have any ideas? The cover came to me in pdf format, and I have been able to copy it and plunk it into a Word document. It shows there, just won't post here.


Take my word for it, it's a gorgeous cover, all done up in shades of reds and purples with Pepper at the center of it, dressed appropriately for her latest mission in skinny jeans, a tight T and her new, killer cowboy boots.

As for the book? Well, those of you who’ve read Pepper Martin mystery #7, “A Hard Day’s Fright,” know that these days, Pepper has a little extra time on her hands. She’s going to need it when she receives a ransom note. One of her friends has been kidnaped! And Pepper needs to dig up the bones of a long dead Wild West Show star and take them to New Mexico in order to get her friend back.

“Wild, Wild Death” is on sale January 3. Not a bad time of year for thinking about sunny New Mexico!

In the meantime, I'd love to share the cover. If anyone has any ideas how, let me know!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Something Wicked welcomes Mia Marlowe!

Thanks for having me on Something Wicked, Angie!

I know it seems odd for a historical author to visit a paranormal blog, but trust me, there’s a reason. You see, I’ve been dabbling with elements of the fantastical in my most recent release, Touch of a Thief, the first in the Touch of Seduction series from Kensington Brava.

Adding paranormal to a historical romance is a little tricky. If I get too outlandish, I run the risk of alienating historical readers. If my sparkle of magic is too tame, it won’t be enough to satisfy paranormal readers. My goal was to create a Victorian world with an undercurrent of magic real enough for readers to believe it might actually happen.

When I decided to write a heroine who supported her threadbare family by lifting jewels from members of the ton, I wanted to create a reason for it to be difficult for her, aside from a guilty conscience. So I gave my heroine, Viola, a special gift. When she touches gemstones, she receives visions of the previous owners’ lives and she often doesn’t want to know what the jewels have to say. If she gets too swept up in the gemstone’s voice, she suffers crippling headaches afterward. In my world, the scales have to balance. If Viola wants to use her gift, she must be prepared to pay the price.

Here’s an example of how Viola’s special ability works from Touch of a Thief. Lieutenant Greydon Quinn is determined to intercept a rare red diamond en route to the Royal Collection and return it to the Indian temple from which it was stolen. He set a trap for the Mayfair Jewel Thief and unexpectedly caught a young woman who might just steal his heart as well:

Greydon Quinn spread a kerchief on the bed and dumped the contents of the stocking onto it. A glowing rainbow of stones glittered up at Viola.

“You keep your jewels in an old stocking?”

He shrugged. “It seemed more secure than the wall safe with the likes of you prowling about London.”

She frowned down at the gemstones. It was an impressive pile of riches, but the resonance was off. “Some of these aren’t genuine.”

He cocked a brow at her and nodded. “Show me.”

She drew a deep breath and stretched out her hand. She’d do the pearls first. Their sibilant, watery voices were always easiest to bear. She picked up a gray pearl, a smoky iridescent orb. The low hum began inside her head.

Like a waving bed of kelp, the pearl spoke to her in wobbling, gentle tones. The words were garbled, and in no language she knew, but a quick vision of a wizened old gent with a purple turban and scarlet-dyed beard flashed across her mind. She dropped the pearl before the precious thing could show her any more.

It was unusual for her to receive a vision from a pearl. Perhaps it was because they were never as old as other gems. Perhaps the fragile substance resisted picking up imprints from its owners. Or perhaps pearls realized they too were mortal and didn’t want to carry someone else’s burden for the course of their stay on earth. Whatever secret this gray pearl bore, Viola didn’t want to know it.

“That pearl is real,” she said. “And very old. You’ll not find its mate. It will have to be used as a pendant.”

“How do you know that?”

“I just know.” How could she explain something she didn’t understand herself? She only knew she was different.
And people mistrust those who are different.

End of Excerpt

I also have a novella in the upcoming IMPROPER GENTLEMEN anthology. My hero, Aidan Danaher has a Celtic gift called “the Knack.” This allows him to plant a thought in another person’s mind. Think of it as a Jedi Mind Trick with buckets of Irish charm! You can read an excerpt from Improper Gentlemen at

I'd love to give either a copy of Touch of a Thief or an ARC of Improper Gentlemen to a random commenter today. I'm always looking for good ideas for my next story. Here's my discussion question: If you could have any extrasensory or paranormal gift, what would it be? What would be a fair trade for using it?

Monday, July 11, 2011

And the winner is...Awesome

Wow, it's so hot today in St. Louis. I'm so tempted to take an egg out to the sidewalk to see what happens... (If I didn't need any for banana bread I'd be sorely tempted...)

Today, I'm announcing the winner of the giveaway from last week.
Congrats goes to Mariee! Woo hoo!

Thank you for sharing your 4th of July plans with me. Everyone approaches the holiday differently and it's cool hear how everyone celebrates.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Childhood Memories

When I was a kid, the 4th of July actually tied with Christmas as my favorite holiday. It was pretty much the same thing every year—always to my aunt’s. We’d watch the parade in the morning then go to the park in the early evening so my cousin and I could ride the carnival rides. (Dressed in matching outfits…our mothers thought it was cute…my slightly older cousin and I could pick one souvenir to commemorate the occasion and choose either popcorn, cotton candy, or a snow cone—not all three—as a treat.) One of my earliest memories is riding the Ferris Wheel with my uncle and my cousin. (It ended badly, which is probably why I remember it so well. I must’ve been around three or four at the time, and as I recall, I got scared and pitched such a fit that the operator had to stop the ride and let me off—much to my mother’s embarrassment, I’m sure!) The carnival adventure was followed by trooping to the hill overlooking the small lake and watching the fireworks. I was always a little sad when they fired off the, what we called, “Niagara Falls” and the “Old Glory” displays, signaling the end of the show.

As an adult, I still love the 4th. I don’t do carnival rides anymore—still scarred by the Ferris Wheel incident I guess—but I look forward every year to the fireworks. There’s something about the night sky exploding with lights and color that never ceases to enthrall me. And there’s another thing about them that fascinates me—how do they do it? How does the manufacturer manage to make the fireworks explode in shapes, whirly gigs, and patterns? Is this a stupid thing to think about while I’m sitting there watching the show? Probably—my youngest daughter thinks so— but in all honesty, pondering this does add to my sense of wonderment.

Which brings me around to a realization—there’s a lot of things that I can’t figure out and I’m glad. Sure…I like to be informed about “stuff”, but the “not knowing” does add a certain mystery to life, a certain excitement. It would be boring if I could no longer be amazed.

So how about you? What are the things in your life that still astound?

That’s it for this week—I hope everyone had a great 4th!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Plotting in the Digital Age

Wednesday? Really? What with missing blogging last week because of my trip to Lily Dale, New York, and the holiday this week, the days are all mixed up in my head.

Which doesn’t mean I can get away from reality: vacation is over, and today is the day I start my next book. It’s Pepper Martin mystery #9 and I’m looking for an oh-so-clever title. If anyone has any ideas . . .

Now, just because I say I’m starting a new book, don’t picture me here at the computer, my fingers flying over the keyboard. Lots of thinking to do before the actual writing can begin. The first thing I’ll do is listen to the tape of the session I did with my brainstorming group back in May. We spent nearly two hours discussing ideas and twists and turns for the new plot and I’ll need to get our comments down on paper so I can consider them, and go over the notes I wrote while we were talking. Note to self: I hope I can remember how to use the playback function on my new digital recorder.

After those notes are transcribed, I’ll begin outlining the book. That can take a few weeks, and all the while, I’ll be scribbling notes and going back to the computer to add, change, delete and play with the story idea. With any luck by that time, I’ll be set to go.

In many ways, this planning and playing stage is my favorite part of working on a book. While I’m plotting, I can let my imagination run free, mess with ideas, change my mind. Yes, I do that while I’m writing, too (nothing is written in stone, not even my outline), but here at the plotting stage, the possibilities are endless.

Just thinking about it makes me eager to turn on the digital recorder. If I can figure out how to get it to work!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Something Wicked Welcomes Rhiannon Frater!

Zombies, Two Kick Ass Chicks, and A Dream Come True
July 5, 2011 ranks as one of the most important days of my life. It’s not my birthday or anniversary, but the official release date of my new novel The First Days. Today my lifelong dream of being able to walk into a bookstore and find my book sitting on a shelf has come true. And I owe it all to zombies and two kickass women named Jenni and Katie.
Five years ago, I had a moment of inspiration while toiling away at my day job. In my mind I saw the vivid image of a woman in a pink bathrobe standing on her front porch gazing down at tiny fingers pressed under the front door straining to reach her. I knew instantly that the woman’s name was Jenni and that her zombified toddler and family were locked inside the house. I could see the terror and disbelief on her face as the world around her spiraled into madness and witnessed her eventual rescue by a woman named Katie. During my break, I wrote what I believed to be a short story and posted it on a forum hoping to get feedback from other fans of the zombie genre. Little did I know I had just started my journey to publication.
That first short story named Tiny Fingers received very positive feedback. Immediately the readers wanted to know when I was going to the next part. I sat back in my chair and wondered if there was more to tell. Almost instantly I had a moment like in the movie The Matrix where I suddenly had the whole story downloaded into my brain. It was a little overwhelming because I knew then I had a massive epic to write.
The adventures of Jenni and Katie became an online hit and gained a huge following. The tale of two women forging a deep friendship while surviving the zombocalypse by fleeing into the Texas Hill Country was a unique take on the genre and fans clamored for more. Both men and women enjoyed Jenni and Katie being portrayed as capable, strong women that did not wait around to be rescued by a man, but saved themselves and others. The readers often described the story as Thelma and Louise meets the zombies meets The Stand. That is a description I still use to this day. I wrote the story in mini-chapters I posted online on an almost daily basis. The As the World Dies trilogy is not just about zombies, action, and horror, but about people working together to survive. A lot of the tale was written while I was on the road for my former day job, and I enjoyed incorporating my experience in rural Texas into the narrative.
When all was said and done, I had enough story to fill three books. The fans demanded that I try to get the books published, so I set about attempting to wedge my stompy Goth boot through the publishing world’s front door. I fired off a slew of query letters and sat back and waited.
I failed. Miserably. For a year. Rejection after rejection poured in.
At the encouragement of my husband, I self-published all three books for my fans. The First Days was the first to be released and to my amazement, the book caught on and sold briskly. Fighting to Survive and Siege followed within the year.
I never could have imagined what happened next: the first two books won the Dead Letter Award in 2008 and 2009, the first book was named one of the best zombie books of the last decade, an option for a possible TV show or miniseries was signed, several publishing houses made offers, I acquired a new agent to handle the offers, and finally I signed a deal with Tor for the entire trilogy. It happened so fast, I was a little breathless.
I’m still breathless.
After so many years of writing and dreaming, I can finally stand in a bookstore and see my novel on a shelf. It’s amazing.
And I owe it all to zombies and two kick ass women named Jenni and Katie.
Thanks, Rhiannon! To learn more about Rhiannon Frater and her books, visit

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July everyone!

The 4th was a busy day at my house! Eeek! Not only did I try to write, (yeah I was crazy to try--it went nowhere), but I held a birthday party for my eldest, grilled a load of steaks, and then had to clean the madness that remained. Yeah, you could say that I was wiped. Especially after coming back from the RWA conference in NYC! I can't wait to share all the pictures with you of NYC! I had so much fun.

But, I do have some goodies! Did you have a great 4th holiday? Tell me about it and I'll give away a copy of Vicki Petersson's CITY OF SOULS. There are some other goodies I'd like to add like a gift card for a free Loveswept book from Random House. They are reviving the line into an e-book imprint. I'm so excited about the titles coming out! Woo hoo! Would you like some Romance Trading Cards as well? I'll add a few of those for the lucky winner!

I'll announce the winner next week! Hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Release day for Touch If You Dare!

He’s just about the hottest warrior she’s ever seen… 

Reina Knight really appreciates a man who’s on a mission—especially when he’s a bad ass warrior doing his best to impress her. And Jarvis is charmed by the way Reina’s magic touch can soothe his dark side. 
But when Jarvis’ attention puts her job, her home and her family in danger, Reina has to decide whether love is worth the price

Today is the official release date for my paranormal romance, TOUCH IF YOU DARE. I posted an excerpt last week, but if you missed it, you can find it here. I'm all over the internet this month doing guest blogs, and we're giving away freebies at every stop! Let me know what you want to hear about in my guest blogs, and if I pick your topic, I'll send you a free book from my backlist! Happy reading and Happy Fourth!

The Long and Short of It
Star-Crossed Romance
Sia McKye’s Thoughts Over Coffee