Sunday, February 28, 2016

Exit, Persued by Bad Luck

Okay, so it's been a hell of a week.

Last Sunday, my uncle passed away. He was only in his 50's, which is young, but he'd been in poor health for a while. Death sucks, no matter what.

Next week, I'm changing jobs, which is waaay scary. And stressful. My feed and sleep have been off ever since making this choice. It'll be okay, of course, but my overactive brain likes to make me pretend it won't be. Shut it, brain.

Also, you may recall that Three Worlds Press closed. And then... $!#% me, if Samhain sent an email about closing. I first heard the news on my FB page and scrambled to my email on Friday afternoon. I was heartbroken. The masses are screaming, "oh, dear sweet and fluffy lord, what's going to happen to the Heckmasters!?!?". Okay, they probably aren't, but I loved, loved, loved working with everyone there. I loved how my editor loved my weird, wild Heckmasters.

I cried. It felt like someone passed away. And having already been to one memo rial service last week, my frame of mind was already set to, damn, I'm sad. 

I'll get the rights back, eventually, but it might be a while. It gives me time to figure out what the heck to do about covers and maybe retitling. It was a thought when I first signed the contract that we might retitle. I'll think about it.

Unfortunately, this news casts a shadow on the release day for Tell (The Heckmasters, Book 3). I wanted to have a big blog celebration for the release, but the last month, I was kind of dragging my heels. I arranged some promo. I could call this sense of hesitation a glimpse of the bad news to come, but really, I just didn't get as much done as I should have. I'm deeply saddened by the loss of a wonderful publisher and the crew who helped me put Tell--and all the Heckmasters--between covers.

I cried and moped like crazy Friday night. I wanted to go to bed and never get out of it. I drank virtual whiskey in a chat room with my fellow pub-sibs and told myself I would get through this, just like I have each time a publisher shut down. Like many of my pub-sibs said, Samhain seemed like an unattainable dream when I first started writing. I didn't think I was good enough for such an awesome company. Being chosen by my editor was a shining moment in my writing career. It gave me much more confidence in myself and my skills as a writer. Losing them feels like someone ripped off a body part.

I will mope. I will sigh. But in the end, I will rise. If I'm going to stay strong in the writing world, I don't have a choice.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Her Heart's Surrender Cover Update

I mentioned a post or two ago that the rights for Her Heart's Surrender are being reverted to me. Last night, I received the email with the document in it. So today, I'm presenting the all-new cover for my first Viking book.

Here you go:

And you're saying, but Ealasaid and Hella were both blond. Whaaat?

Well, in times of changes, there are obviously changes. So now they're dark-haired.

The paperback from Three Worlds Press is still listed on Amazon, so don't go over there thinking you're getting a new version with dark-haired people. This one won't be available until sometime in March. I have a ton of stuff going on right now, so I'm a little behind getting formatting done. I'll let you know when it's available again.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Book Feature & Giveaway - A Friendly Flirtation by Christine Warner

About the Book

A Friendly Flirtation (Friends First - Book 3)

by Christine Warner

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo Books

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Published by: Entangled Publishing

Release Date: February 15, 2016

Length: 244 Pages

One kiss can change your life...

Allison Hall is fed up with being a social outcast. Even at the tech company where she works for her brother and his best friend, Jared, she's the invisible nerdy girl. What she needs is confidence—and that requires a makeover and dating tips. And she knows just the man to help…

Jared Esterly is shocked when Allison asks for his assistance and turns her down, knowing that her brother—his business partner and best friend, Nick—would kill him if he dated her, even if it is just for practice. But when Al’s attempt to make changes on her own fails spectacularly, Jared reluctantly steps in. Things heat up quickly, and soon lessons move from the salon to the bedroom.

When overprotective big-brother Nick discovers Jared is dating Allison, their friendship and business partnership sour. Allison, consumed by guilt, must make a choice: stay with Jared, even though that means ruining his friendship with Nick and possibly his career, or leave the one man who sets her on fire.

“Witty, fun, and sizzling- Christine Warner never disappoints!” – Nikki Lynn Barrett, USA Today bestselling author

A Friendly Flirtation - Excerpt

She leaned her forehead against his chin, then tilted her head back, parting her lips and inviting him in for another kiss.

And he wanted seconds. More than he’d ever imagined. The soft blush creeping over her face, the way her breasts strained against her blouse as she tried to regain her breathing only encouraged him. Holy. Fuck. With her it’d be too easy to forget where the hell they were. And he didn’t like an audience. Not now. With Allison, not ever.

But that didn’t stop him from running his thumb over her bottom lip. For a second he lost sense of where they were when her eyes grew dark and her lashes fluttered gently over her skin. She looked so beautiful, and that protective urge— or maybe he should just call it what is is…lust—overtook him. He couldn’t picture her with anyone but him. Fuck. He didn’t want her with anyone else. Screw Nick. He’d deal with him later.

If anyone would teach Allison how to please a man, let a real man do the job.


She was ready, so was he. He was willing, and so was she. And they were both adults.

“Al, I don’t want you with any of these men.”

She sighed, sagging against him. “Are we really going to have this conversation again? I—”

He took her mouth in a hard kiss, parting the seam of her lips with his tongue and thrusting inside, swallowing her gasp. She melted against him. He slid his hands down her throat, past her shoulders, and lower still until he curved his arm around her back and squeezed her rear. She smiled into their kiss, and this time he melted.

“Do I need to rephrase?” he whispered against her mouth.

She shook her head, their mouths still touching. “I really only wanted one man in this room, but I didn’t think he wanted—”

“You better be talking about me.” He leaned back just far enough so he could watch the way her emotions flickered across her eyes. Excitement. Uncertainty. Acceptance. She nodded, her lips parted and moist.

“Are you telling me—?”

“I’m telling you I’ve come to my senses. Or lost them completely.”

About Christine Warner

Christine Warner is living her dream in Michigan along with her family, three laptops (she might have a slight addiction, or maybe it’s a fear of one imploding from overuse) and a much loved assortment of furry friends.

Besides laughing and a good round of humor, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading, writing but no arithmetic. A confessed people watcher, she finds inspiration for her stories in everyday activities. She loves to read and write about strong heroes and determined, sometimes sassy heroines.

A girl gone wild, at least where social media is concerned, she enjoys meeting other avid readers and writers on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and her website.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

What's A Fairy Tale?

Fairy tale (n.) - "oral narrative centered on magical tests, quests, and transformations," 1749, translating French Conte de fe├ęs of Madame d'Aulnois (1698, translated into English 1699). Per Chicago Manual Style (CMS): fairy tale. Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. tale (accessed: February 16, 2016).

Once upon a time, I was a small child. Hard to believe, right? Well, it's true. For Christmas one year, I got a book of fairy tales. I liked most of them, and knew several of them already, because telling kids fairy tales is easier than making up your own stories. It's tradition, really. But I didn't like one--it was about this Japanese child who drew cats (pretty sure it's called The Boy Who Drew Cats, who was sent to live in a rat infested building. He drew cats on the screens in the building and one night a giant rat thing attacked. The cats on the screen killed it, happily ever after and all that. That story scared me because--rats. (On a side note--if you're ever bitten by a rat, you're five times more likely to be bitten again in life.)

I was terrified at night, couldn't sleep, and my mom had to yell at me because, duh, child, you have cats on your blanket. They'll keep you safe. And as far as I know, no giant rat king ever ate me. Not because of cats on my blanket, but because fairy tales aren't real and there's no such thing as giant rat kings.

I tell you all this for a reason. Fairy tales are fictional stories with little basis in reality. Most of them don't even make sense. I chose the above definition because it didn't mention children, and therefore applies a little better to the point I want to illustrate.

Wildwood Spring is a romance novel based on Beauty and the Beast. Except the hero isn't a beast. He's a recluse who's afraid of a beastly world. Along comes the heroine, who also has cruddy experiences in a beastly world, but they find comfort in one another and overcome that junk, because happily-ever-after, after all. It is, for most intents and purposes, mostly historically accurate for Victorian era writing, except the servants are friendlier than perhaps they ought to be. They're exceptional supporting characters thanks to that. I love them. Because, like in any Disney fairy tale you've ever watched (or been forced to watch), things are not always what they seem. It's fiction, y'all. Servants are people too, with quirks and loves and lives, and, yes, opinions. I don't hide them in my fairy tales because it's a fairy tale. ANYTHING can happen. Be surprised.

So when asked to write a fairy tale for a Regency inspired box set, I went out of the box and found something weird. Because of course I did. It's based on The Dirty Shepherdess. Read it. Read it again. Now, let me tell you again, there are a lot of fairy tales out there that don't make a lick of sense. No one in her right mind is going to be a princess and then suddenly hate her life when her dad is mean to her, and run off to be a shepherdess. I'm not saying that in some ways princesses don't have it as hard as shepherdesses, but let's see, well-fed, nice clothes, clean living area and a life you've always known versus possible starvation as a peasant, dirty clothing, disease-riddled areas, and hard work. What are the odds that a princess quit her princess job and still managed to marry a prince? Probably zilch.

To bring us back to Beauty and the Beast by Disney. When do you suppose that was set? By their dress, I would've guessed late 18th century. And then, ha ha ha, they throw in the Eiffel Tower. Guess when it was built? 1889 for the World's Fair. Anyway, there's no chance in hell that Belle was showing off her ankles in a short dress, even at that period because it was a sin to reveal that much skin, unless she was hooking. Oh, wait. Fairy tale!

The fact is, as writers, we tend to glorify the details of the past. We romanticize them, because between you and me, I don't want to read about how dirty everyone was, how bad their teeth were, how probably half of them had syphilis or something worse, or how shit-filled the streets were. None of that appeals to me. Instead, I'm going to (sorry, Andy Weir), fiction the crap out of an era and give you some mouthy servants instead of the disease and horror that were prevalent.

Fiction (n.) - 1. literary works invented by the imagination, such as novels or short stories
2. an invented story or explanation; lie
3. the act of inventing a story or explanation
Chicago Manual Style (CMS):
fiction. Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. (accessed: February 16, 2016).

So paaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrddddddddddooooooooooon me if you don't like the way I write stories that I'm clearly unafraid to label as a fairy tale, even if it's supposed to be set in a certain era. It's a fairy tale. It's not a factual document.

Hater gonna hate, writer gonna write. *drops mic, walks away*

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Good, The Bad, & The Alternative Plan

A couple of things happened last week. Some of them were the bomb and others were more like a dropped bomb.

First, the good, because it's awesome.

Once Upon A Regency: Timeless Tales & Fables released. It did exceptionally well on release day.



I also made #71 in Amazon's top 100 authors. Very cool, as that has never happened before. You can buy Once Upon A Regency at these fine e-retailers:

I believe the price is going up after Valentine's Day, so grab it quick while it's still 99 cents.

Now for the not-so-good.

Sometimes people have dreams and good intentions. And then life bites you on the ass and your plans deflate, because life isn't very nice sometimes.

A couple of months ago, I finished Her Heart's Desire, my second Viking book. I held off sending it to my editor because the Regency set was comning out and Tell is coming out in March. I didn't want a repeat of everything coming out at once like last year. It was a tad stressful.

I planned to send it to her next month when we'd probably be looking at a May or June release. On Saturday, there was a notice from the publisher. The house is closing doors. I feel a little bit like I might be a bad luck charm because this is the third time I've had this happen. It's hard to run a small publishing house, which is really sad, because those are the ones I enjoy working for. So I'm getting the rights back to Her Heart's Surrender at the end of this month.

That, obviously, means I need a new cover. Which is always a pain in the ass, because I stink at figuring out what I want for covers. And do you know how hard it is to find a Viking-ish looking couple? It's not the easiest thing ever.

I feel rotten for the house's owner, because she was very helpful and easy to work with. I feel bad for me because basically, the hard part was over. On the upside, I have an edited MS to use, which is more than some houses leave you with (on a side note, I read an article about how they can't stop you from using an edited MS because you did the work, but that's not an issue here, thank God).

I thought I took the news of the house closing really well. Except then without realizing it, I started pacing. I couldn't sit still. I don't think anyone else noticed, but I was secretly a little wracked with worry. I don't know why. I land on my feet more often than not.

Anyway, it's no big deal. It's just a new cover and a few interior changes. The plan is still to go ahead with Her Heart's Desire. My awesome, amazing editor already said, don't worry, I'll help you with it. 

We're good.