Tags: free

Free short story in honor of Fun Fridays!

In honor of Fun Fridays here on the blog, I'm pleased to post a totally new, totally free short story in my Vamped world.  Shout out goes to Martha and Rowan, who entered the Facebook contest and got to name characters.  I hope you enjoy!



"Fanged" by Lucienne Diver

I heard Marcy yip and leggo the dress she’d had a death-grip on, which was so unlike her that I almost flashed fang at the presumed threat.  Or maybe not almost, from the speed at which the girl eying my blouse drew back from me and found somewhere else to be.
 

     “Break a nail?” I asked Marcy, wadding up my prize into the smallest possible package, the better to avoid having it swiped away.  It was just my size—small—and color—fire-engine red.  I knew just by eyeballing it that it would fit like a glove.

     “N-no,” she stammered.  Surprised, I left off ogling the shoe selection still available a quarter hour into the Bombshell Boutique’s annual midnight madness sale to turn and assess her freak-out level.

     Her eyes were wide, and her arms empty.  Her heartbeat was, of course, non-existent, us being undead and all.  But I imagined that if she still had a working heart it would be pounding.  Nothing short of structural nail damage or impending doom would cause my BFF to surrender a sales item.  I knew from experience.  I’d been on the other end of that tug of war.

     “Eyes,” she continued.

     “Eyes?” I asked, baffled.

     “They flashed at me.  Glowing amber, like a caution light.”

     “You mean red?” I tried.  Very old vamps sometimes got a red and dead glow about them when crossed.  It wouldn’t be too startling to find another of the fanged and fabulous at a midnight madness sale.  After all, they seemed tailor-made for us.

     “Amber,” she insisted, “like a traffic light.”

     Yellow…amber…it probably wasn’t worth arguing the finer points of the color wheel.

     “Where?” I asked.  “Which girl?”

     Marcy grabbed my arm and started to pull me toward the shoes.  “We’re off-duty,” she reminded me.  “Come on, let’s go check out the kicks before our sizes are gone.”

     More problematic for me than for her, since my feet were a normal size seven, and she had munchkin feet, but I let her steer me in the direction I wanted to go anyway…until another girl howled.

     It was a perfectly human howl of pain and shock, but I pulled away from Marcy and spun to see a girl about our age yank back a slashed arm, blood dripping dramatically on the silver shawl she clutched.

     “Right there,” Marcy said, when it was clear I wasn’t going anywhere.  She pointed to a brown-haired girl just turning away from the commotion, her wild mane of hair bobbing above the crowd as she made her way to the door.

     “I’m going after her.  You talk to the girl who got gouged.  Something’s not right here.”

     “But…shoes!” she wailed.

     “Later,” I promised.

   “When all the good ones are gone,” she grumbled, but she let me lead the way back to the sales table we’d come from.  When she stopped, I kept going.  Already I was losing sight of the shopping slasher.  I could still see her head above the crowd as she power-walked away, the path opening magically before her.  She paused at the entrance when a suited security guy moved in front of her, but I could swear I heard a growl and suddenly he stumbled back.

     He was yelling into his radio as I got there, and I didn’t even realize that one of the cries was for me until I was past and remembered the shirt balled up in my right hand.

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Support my shopping habit and check out my previous adventures from Flux Books:
Vamped
Barnes & Noble
Nook
Amazon.com
Kindle
Books-a-million
Indiebound

Revamped
Barnes & Noble
Nook
Amazon.com
Kindle
Books-a-million
Indiebound

Also, look for Fangtastic, forthcoming in January 2012!

Happy New Year and Happy Book Birthday!

Happy New Year!  A few exciting things before I sign off to nurse my back for one more day.  (I threw it out by, of all things, coughing.  I'm breaking doctor's orders right now by remaining upright for more than a few minutes, but I think you'll agree that it's all worthwhile.)

First, The Knight Agency is celebrating the new year on our blog with the beginning of a fabulous free read by Faith Hunter, author of the Jane Yellowrock urban fantasy series (SKINWALKER, BLOOD CROSS and MERCY BLADE, which releases tomorrow). 
Check it out!  (Updated note: Part II is now available here.)

And a very happy book birthday to debut author Vicky Dreiling
You can check out her book trailer et al below or read her blog on how we met here.

HOW TO MARRY A DUKE
by Vicky Dreiling
Grand Central Publishing/Warner Forever
ISBN-13: 9780446565370
ISBN: 0446565377
 

QUOTES:
"What a terrific romp of a read!  Vicky is a bright new voice in romance."
--Sarah MacLean, New York Times bestselling author of NINE RULES TO BREAK WHEN ROMANCING A RAKE

"An enchanting debut, full of humor and heart!" —New York Times bestselling author Madeline Hunter

"Dreiling's delightful debut combines the rituals of Regency courtship with TV's The Bachelor....  Dreiling is definitely a newcomer to watch." —Romantic Times

“Vicky Dreiling has set a high standard for hopefully many more books to come!... This novel is a treat to enjoy and now I can hardly wait to read how the wild hawk gets tethered in the second book.” —Fresh Fiction


COVER COPY:
Tristan, the Duke of Shelbourne is a man with a mission:
find a wife he can tolerate as long as they both shall live. Love is not necessary—nor desired. But how to choose among a dizzying array of wealthy-yet-witless candidates? Hire London's infamously prim and proper matchmaker. Then pretend she's not the most captivating woman he's ever met...

Helping a devilish Duke create a contest to pick his perfect mate is the kind of challenge Tessa Mansfield relishes. Her methods may be scandalous, but she's determined to find the notorious bachelor more than a wife—she'll bring him true love. Yet when Tessa watches the women vie for the Duke's affections, she longs to win his heart herself. And after a stolen kiss confirms Tristan's desire, Tessa knows she has broken a matchmaker's number one rule: never fall in love with the groom.

BOOK TRAILER:


Winding down

Can it possibly be that neither I nor my character are guest-blogging anywhere around the web today?  Whew!  Pub month for Revamped is winding down, though I've got a few more special events coming before the end of the month.  Oh wait, there's Free Book Friday, where we're doing a giveaway of autographed copies of Revamped on October 1st.  Enter using the form in the sidebar to the left.  Also, next Thursday, the 30th, I'll be over at Magical Words with "A Writer's Diary."  If you need a laugh or just want confirmation that "it's not just you," check it out! 


Because I can't help one more shameless plug before I go quietly into that good night...buy now.  All the cool kids are doing it. 

For those who missed The Knight Agency chat last night with me and Michele Lang (and special guest, Kristin Nelson of ) you can check out the
transcript here.

Later today I'll be posting up blurbs for some wonderful books releasing next week.  Also next week, I'll be posting another of my Agent Anonymous articles, this one "Demystifying the Mystical Art of Negotiation."  As if all that's not enough, I'll be at the Moonlight & Magnolias Conference next week (and the Novelists Inc - NINC - conference the week after).  If any of you will be there, I hope you'll say, "hi."

Winner and PASIC chat

The winner of the bundle of books from the Debut Week giveaway is Susan Thorson!  Susan, if you'll e-mail me per the address in my response to your comment, I'll get you out a bundle of books a.s.a.p.  Enjoy!

In other news, I'm doing a chat tonight for PASIC (the Published Authors' Special Interest Chapter of RWA) at 9 p.m. eastern.  I hope you'll join me!  Here's the link to their site.  Clicking the chat button in the upper right should lead you to log in for the chat.

Free short story

Here's that story I promised you, "The Problem with Piskies."  This was, in fact, my very first published short story (way back when I was writing as Kit Daniels).  Janet Mullany and I have something in common (see her post of February 19th) in that we both closed lines with our very first fiction.  "Piskies" appeared in the very last issue ever of Quantum Barbarian after placing third in it's competition.  I swear, I had nothing to do with it.  I can't say the same for Bob (you'll see).  For anyone interested, in my mind Vic looks just like Ken Wahl from the old television series Wiseguy.
 
THE PROBLEM WITH PISKIES

 

            The DTs weren’t supposed to set in until after you gave up the booze.  Since I’d been on a bender ever since I’d discovered I was super-freaky—not only “blessed” from childhood with the third eye, but now a lycanthrope to boot after a tussle with our friendly neighborhood werewolf—there was no chance of withdrawal.  Unless the combination of the Sight and The Change had driven me mad, the critter that I was about to smash was much higher on the headache scale than a mere cockroach. 

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You can find the further adventures of Vic and Bob in "Imaginary Fiend" in the anthology Strip-Mauled, edited by Esther Friesner.

Post-release party

Okay, so it's the month after the release of VAMPED.  Does that mean the party's over?  Heck no!  To keep up with the fun and games, I'm running a new contest all through the month of June.  Here it is:

How do you like your vamps?  Sunny-side up?  Dark and deadly?  Emo and brooding?  Should they shine in the sunlight or burn up like a crispy critter (like Twilight's Edward or Buffy's Spike).  Comment below with everything there is to love about vamps or, if you're more visual or musically oriented, link to your own original song or photo montage for a chance to win a "VAMPED...eternity needs an entourage" hat, a signed copy of the book, crosses and calendars and other goodies.  The more comments I get, the better the prizes will be, so help me get the word out!  Tell all your friends!  Tweet and retweet.  Most of all, have fun!

Winners!

I'm pleased to announce the following winners:

edwards_heroin for the signed copy of Mari Mancusi's first Blood Coven novel
lotuseyes for Team Zombie in Stacey Jay's giveaway
jasoncrawford for Team Vampire in Stacey Jay's giveaway

Thank you all for playing!

For anyone who missed out (and even those who didn't!) you still have until May 31st to Test Your Vampire IQ and enter to win a whole bunch of prizes over at Shooting Stars Mag.

YA Week continues with Mari Mancusi

Keep commenting on Stacey Jay's zombie defense blog to win free T-shirts.  I'll announce the winners on Friday!

If you're looking for me, I'm guest blogging today over at Risky Regencies.  Stop by and say "hello!"

It seems I just can't get enough of those vamps. 
Talking about them today is fang girl Mari Mancusi.  Comment to win a signed copy of the first novel in her Blood Coven series!

I love her bio, so I'm going to let that be her introduction to you:
Mari Mancusi used to wish she could become a vampire back in high school. But she ended up in another blood sucking profession --journalism -- instead. Today she works as a television producer for a women's lifestyle show in Manhattan and has won two Emmys. As if writing and TV producing weren't enough to keep her busy, Mari also enjoys snowboarding, clubbing, shopping, 80s music, and her favorite guilty pleasure--video games. She lives in New York City with her very sweet dog, Molly.

 

Talking Vampires with Mari Mancusi


The great thing about writing about vampires is you can make them into anything you want them to be. From tuxedo-clad Dracula to mega rock star Lestat. Brooding, neutered Spike to punk rock biker boy David in the Lost Boys. Goth vampires, fashionista vampires, vampires with a soul – the possibilities are endless.

When I started writing my Blood Coven Vampire series I had a blast creating my own vampire world. Taking from myths, legends and a whole lot of pop culture, I mixed and matched and made it my own. My vampires don’t kill humans to drink their blood – they are assigned donors who are contracted and paid well for their services. They don’t just randomly turn other people into vampires –there’s a three month certification test, DNA analysis and blood screen. All very high tech and organized.

Vampires are not one-size-fits-all, which, I think, adds to their appeal. Nor are the books about them. You have everything from dark, brooding tales like Twilight to laugh-out-loud comedies like Undead and Unwed. So no matter what kind of story you’re looking for, you can probably find one featuring a vampire.

I, myself, was a huge Buffy fan back in the day, which definitely influenced my own vampire stories. There was just something brilliant about that show which took everyday, real-life problems and gave them a supernatural twist. My friends and I would have Buffy night parties every Tuesday. Wine, pizza, and some very strict rules. Like no talking, except during a commercial. (Appreciative noises were given special dispensation when a shirtless Spike appeared on-screen.) And speaking of Spike, I’m going to go see him in concert as part of Fangoria’s Weekend of Horrors in June. Can’t wait!

Right now everyone’s wondering what the next “vampire” will be. The mythological creature that will take the vampire’s place in the hearts of America. Will it be the werewolf? Not for me – all I can think of is the bestiality overtones. And even though I write zombie stories, I can’t imagine many hero zombies making it big. I mean, hello?, they’re reanimated corpses—often with decaying skin and missing appendages. Better to keep them the villains. Fairies? Well, maybe, but in my opinion they’re too pretty and feminine to really stand up to the alpha male hotness that is a vampire.

I was interviewing the executive editor of Harper Children’s a couple weeks back and she told me that there were actual studies showing that vampires were more popular during times of economic crisis. Why is that you might wonder? Well, maybe it’s because when you’re feeling poor and powerless in your own real life it’s fun to imagine an all-powerful, super rich, super gorgeous creature who’s been lost, searching centuries for a soulmate and finding it in little old you. What other creature could make you feel so special?

And that is why, I believe, vampires are here to stay.

So who’s your favorite vampire? Comment and win an autographed copy of the first book in my Blood Coven Vampire series, BOYS THAT BITE.

YA Week - Zombies Strike Back with Stacey Jay


You've been hearing a lot here about vampires, but there's been a suspicious rumor floating around that zombies are the new vamps.  Well, I'm not so sure the fanged and fabulous are ready to cede the field just yet, but I think we can all play nice.  After all, the vamps are just in it for the blood.  What happens to the bodies after that....

So here's author
Stacey Jay taking the pro-zombie stance and offering up some fun freebies for two lucky commentors, once from each side of the debate!

IN DEFENSE OF THE ZOMBIE by Stacey Jay


Hi Lucienne readers!

I’m Stacey Jay author of the Megan Berry, Zombie Settler series (You are so Undead to Me and Undead Much? from Penguin Razorbill.) Megan is a zombie shrink who does her share of zombie butt kicking, and lives in a world where the Undead are decidedly Unappealing.

But in my book for Flux, My So Called Death (Spring 2010), zombies are caused by a mutation in the human gene and aren’t so one dimensional. They still have to eat brains and worry about flesh degeneration, but they also go to school (Dead High), stress about getting the perfect foundation to mask the blue-ish tint of dead skin, and believe being pulse-challenged is no excuse for a lack of school spirit. They’re proud to be genetically Undead and they refuse to let anyone put zombies in the corner.

Chloe Neill had her say last week,
http://varkat.livejournal.com/92341.html. Now it’s time for Team Zombie to have a go. Chloe concluded that vampires will always keep the top spot in the hearts of readers, but I think it’s time someone pointed out the dysfunction in the fangs:

1.    Vampires are not the common man or woman. (Vampires are elitist suckers who don’t care if you’re pretty on the inside.): You might have noticed that the average vamp is frozen in time somewhere between the ages of 16-30, is always beautiful and gorgeous (albeit unusually pale), and smart, and talented, and Perfect with Smoldering Eyes that Lure You to them Inexorably, and blah blah blah.

Not so with zombies! The shambling Undead are all about equal opportunity. Anyone of any age or hotness level can become a brain and flesh eater. Jocks, nerds, mean girls, dorks, emos—you name it, the zombies will welcome them with open arms (and mouths).

2.   
Zombies stick together. (Go Horde!!): Zombies are not loners who hang out in old castles soaking in their own angst. They like to get out and socialize and are always eager to add another friend to the hunt. Team Work + Zombie Awesomeness= Feeding Frenzy of Supreme Coolness Wrapped in Win.

3.    Zombies keep it real. (I only want you for your brain.): Zombies don’t pretend to be anything but predators when it comes to the common human. They date other zombies, they eat live flesh—end of story. They won’t send you conflicting messages about the temptation of your yummy blood vs. the draw of your fabulous personality. Personality cannot compete with hunger, and they don’t believe in toying with their food.

4.    Zombies will always be just a little scary, and scary is cool. Vampires have slowly allowed themselves to be de-fanged and turned into boyfriends suitable for taking to prom. Not so with zombies. They will always be scary and, if taken to prom, will Carrie-fy the joint within a few minutes.

I think this list speaks for itself, so I will simply conclude with a GTZYRMW*!

Thanks so much for having me Lucienne! FEFTW**

Oh, and remember, ZRVD***

And MKAATLTVT****

(*Go Team Zombie, You Rock My World.)

(**Flesh Eaters For the Win.)

(***Zombies Rule, Vamps Drool.)

(****Mostly Kidding About All This Love The Vamps Too.)

Weigh in below on the vampire/zombie debate and the awesomely cool Stacey Jay will give away one free T-shirt for Team Vampire (a vampire with the slogan "I'm your biggest Fang") and one for Team Zombie ("You are so Undead to Me," image behind the cut).

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YA Week contest and giveaway with Chloe Neill

So much to cover today!  First, don't forget the deadline for my Vamped Photo Contest is tomorrow with the winner or potential run-off on Monday. 
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I've had so much fun with the YA guest blogs, that I'm extending things into next week, when I'll have, among others, tres awesome authors Mari Mancusi and Melissa Francis.  I'll even have a counterpoint blog to vampires vs. zombies from fellow Flux author Stacey Jay.


Today, I'm very pleased to present to you the amazingly talented Chloe Neill.  Her debut novel, SOME GIRLS BITE, a Chicagoland Vampire book, was released in April by NAL.  The sequel, FRIDAY NIGHT BITES, will be out in October.  She's here today giving away a copy of
The Zombie Survival Guide and an "I heart Cadogan" bumper sticker  to one lucky commenter below.  For those not in the know, Cadogan House is the clan that reluctant new vampire Merit is recruited into when she's bitten by the sexy master vampire who saves her from a rogue attack.  2010 brings the release of FIRESPELL, the first book in Chloe's Dark Elite YA series. Okay, enough of my blather.  Here's:

Lions* and vampires and zombies, oh my! by Chloe Neill
 
(* - This guest blog has nothing to do with lions. Sorry, lion afficionados.)
 
I'll admit it: Although my urban fantasy series is entitled "Chicagoland Vampires" and features (as you might imagine) a cast and crew of sunlight-fearing, blood-drinking vamps, my favorite scifi/fantasy movie isn't about vampires.
 
It's about zombies.
 
If Shaun of the Dead is floating around on a cable channel, there's a good chance it's on my television, with ink-stained Shaun leading his motley crew of troops into battle against the brainless. Or, more accurately, brain eaters. 
 
While vampires will probably always have a place in the hearts and minds (and carotid arteries) of readers, zombies seem to be making pop culture headway (pun intended) in the theaters and on shelves.  Don't believe me?  Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a reimagined, zombified take on Jane Austen's classic HEA tale, is topping the bestseller charts (and my TBR list). 
 
With all the fuss about braineating kind, I began to wonder (insert Carrie Bradshaw voiceover): Could zombies take a bite out of vampirekind, or will vamps keep their fangs in the minds of readers?
 
In the interest of science (fiction), I put together some analysis:
 
1. Daylight Daze
 
Vampires = Allergic to sunlight.  That knocks off 12 hours, give or take, of vampire fighting time.  I think zombies, which can traverse the streets at any time of day, win this one.
 
2. Eating brains v. drinking blood
 
Let's face it--the dietary habits of vamps and zombies leave something to be desired.  Vamps drink blood (blech), zombies eat brains (blech).  Although strange food-eater Andrew Zimmern would have a lovely time at either buffett, neither diet is the stuff of daytime fantasy.  But, I think vampires have a slight edge here.  While there's at least arguably something seductive about the fangs and the blood-letting, there's not much about gnawing mindlessly on someone's head-innards that turns me on. Maybe I'm in the minority there, but I think it's safe to say that vamps--by a slim, slim margin--win this one.
 
3. Lost and Found
 
If we're thinking zombies of the "Thriller" variety, they've got a bit of a rotting flesh problem--fetid arms and legs and various other digits and appendages dropping off here and there.  I'm not aware of any similar droppage issues among vamps, so let's give this one to the fanged.
 
4. Heart and Mind
 
Zombies and vamps are tied in the "manner of killing" category, at least traditionally.  Zombies require a clunker to the head, while vamps require a stake through the heart.  Either way, you've got some pretty specific aiming to do. Verdict = Tie.
 
5. Sex Appeal
 
Zombies?  Really?  Come on, people.  We're talking reanimated, rotting dead things.  (And I refuse to believe that vamps,  "walking dead" or not, fall into that category).  Vamps (Ethan, Jean Claude, Edward, Zsadist, etc., etc.) by a landslide.
 
6. The Final Verdict
 
Sure, I'm biased. My heroine, Merit is a vampire.  It's the Chicagoland VAMPIRES series.  Lucienne's new release, VAMPED, is about vampires. And no one could argue that Selene didn't look sweeeet in all that latex. (You know you wished you could wear that stuff and look that hot in it.)  All that notwithstanding, I just can't get excited about that other kind of undead.  Too much rot.  Too much corpsiness.
 
America (or, at least, Chloe) has voted . . .
 
. . . (dramatic tension) . . .
 
Vampires FTW!**
 
Thanks, everyone, for reading, and thanks to Lucienne for having me this week!
 
(**- For The Win.  I had to look it up, too.)