Con-Tinual! (and ConCarolinas goes online!)

Heya Kittens!

Usually right around this time of year, I’d be crowing with glee that ConCarolinas was coming up at the end of the month and that I was going to be there and that I hoped all y’all were going to be there and how it was going to be awesome!

But this year, we’ve got the Corona going around, and it’s just not safe. So like pretty much every fandom con I know about this spring, ConCarolinas in its known, in-person version is a no-go for 2020. And yes, we are all very sad. I only do one con a year, so I feel like I’ve lost a major connection to my tribe. I have a powerful need to hug other geek necks, and I can’t wait until it’s safe for us all to gather and crow together again.

But all is not lost! Because the people who run ConCarolinas are just as bummed out as we are AND all super-talented and super-tech-savvy and super-committed, they’ve found a way for us to all connect online. The Facebook group Con-Tinual: The Con That Never Ends is hosting an online version of ConCarolinas that has already started and will pick up steam throughout the rest of the month. We’ll have panels (I actually did one last night on Zoom with a bunch of other crazy writers on creating a world bible for your book series), watch parties, vendors, music, and much general hanging out, all from the safety and comfort of your own secured bunker or living room. I’ll check back in here as my own stuff is available, but in the meantime, just go on and sign up. It’s a good time, I promise.

Update: Here’s a link to the recording of our world-building panel: World Building Bibles at ConCarolinas (Me, Alexandra Christian, author and editor Melissa McArthur, author and editor Theresa Glover, author Joelle Reizes (J.D. Blackrose), and author Natania Barron, having a marvelous time.)

Falstaff Crush – Romance for All

huntressHeya Kittens – Long time no type!

Regular visitors to the blog-ness know how discouraged I’ve been for a while now about the state of romance publishing. While I wish every writer nothing but the best, the wild west atmosphere created by self-publishing and fan fiction has resulted in a market flooded to glut with the same old crap repeated ad nauseam with plots no self-respecting teen-age drama queen would scribble in her diary and action that is nothing short of porn. There’s still plenty of good stuff, but it’s continually getting drowned in all this other, and publishers, desperate to maintain any kind of profit whatsoever, are demanding writers write to an ever-more-stringent and ever-less-interesting template made of tropes created more to serve a keyword search than any kind of story.

For a long time, I’ve thought there has to be a better way to keep romance as a genre alive; I KNOW there’s a better way. And now, thanks to Falstaff Books, I’m getting the chance to prove it. I’m going to be an author and submissions editor for a brand new romance line with a brand new approach to the genre. Welcome to Falstaff Crush, romance for people who think they don’t like romance. Our tagline is “Love is the greatest adventure,” and that’s what our stories are all about. We do science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, adventure–all the genres we love as readers, all built around a strong romantic relationship between people who may or may not be what mainstream romance would call a couple. The setting and genre are more than just a costume, more than just an apparatus to get two or more people in the sack. We don’t do tropes; we do story.

Our first release, Huntress, is a high fantasy dragonslayer tale, and over the next month or so, we’ll have a weird western, contemporary gothic horror, and even a sexy Sherlock Holmes, with more in the pipeline to come. (We’re also open to submissions, so please feel free to check out our guidelines.)  Watch this space for updates, and as always, let me know what you think!

xoxo

Lucy

Charlotte Writers’ Fair 2017

writers fair 1Hey Kittens – guess where I’ll be on Small Business Saturday? Meeting readers and trading witty banter with other writers and hopefully selling lots and lots of awesome print books just in time for Christmas. The Charlotte Writers’ Fair is the bouncing baby brain child of writer and publisher John Hartness, author of the amazing Bubba the Monster Hunter and Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter series (eseses) and chief executive thunder god of Falstaff Books. We’ll be filling the lobby of Theatre Charlotte with Carolina authors and their books, plus art from local artist and author Davey Beauchamp. Come hang out with us and find cool reading gifts for all the people you actually like! Romance, horror, fantasy, science fiction, action adventure, steampunk, mystery, lions, tigers, bears–something perfect for everybody on your list and at least a couple of more-than-perfect somethings just for you.

Other writers scheduled to attend:

Alexandra Christian, Tally Johnson, John Hartness, Nicole Givens Kurtz, Melissa McArthur, Susan Roddey, Misty Massey, Crymsyn Hart, Jason Gilbert, Darin Kennedy, Jim McDonald, Stuart Jaffe, Nancy Northcott, Faith Hunter, Tonia Brown, Edward McKeown, A.J. Hartley, Matthew Saunders, Samantha Bryant

I’ll have spiffy new paperbacks of these two lovelies:

last winter knight for print.jpgUntil Death 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plus a limited selection of paperbacks from the Bound in Darkness series. Come see us!

Naked: Phoenix Rising, Book 1

nakedMy baby sister, Alexandra Christian, has started a brand new series of sci-fi romance thrillers with Boroughs Publishing Group:

OUT OF THE STACKS

Librarian Phoebe Addison has lived her entire life within a seventy-five mile radius of her small Louisiana town, but when she receives a strange medallion from her adventurous, off-world sister, reality tilts toward the bizarre. Everything Phoe thought she knew is…well, wrong. Dead wrong. But bone-numbing fear has no place in this brave new world—nor by the side of the dangerous, exquisite man who saves her life.

…AND INTO THE FIRE

Following the tragic slaughter of his family, operative Macijah “Cage” St. John understands evil in a way no man ever should. He traded happiness for a magnificent and terrible power, and fate isn’t done with him yet. He wasn’t looking for comfort. He didn’t need tenderness. But today he’ll play hero to a damsel in distress, and his quest will deliver him to the uncanny Martian colony of New London—and his heart to the demure Phoebe Addison. The bookish beauty’s hidden talents and deep abiding love just might save Cage from himself.

Lexie has been crafting this one for a long, long time; it’s her soul book, and it’s fantastic. Anybody who loves steamy romance, smart science fiction, action or magic will love this, I can almost promise. I know I did.

Get your copy for your Kindle right here: Kindle edition

Homicidal Lovers in Outer Space

small-geminiAlso available this week for absolutely no financial outlay whatsoever, my baby sister, Alexandra Christian’s amazing sci-fi romance, Gemini. Here’s an excerpt:

Xander sat straight up, gasping for air and startling Kaia.  She reached for him, but he thrashed violently and shoved her aside.  He was trying to move, but his limbs seemed to short-circuit. Kaia was reminded of a fish out of water as he desperately tried to get to his knees.  “Xander… just… calm down.  Let me help you,” she said, trying to grab hold of his arm.  Before she could touch him, he coughed and gagged until he was throwing up a bright white fluid.  It was the cryogenic chemical that they had pumped into his body ten years previous, holding him in this stasis.  She knew it was necessary, but it frightened her, and she turned away, weeping into her hands.  Surely it would kill him.  There was so much.  How could his body possibly repair itself after such trauma?

Finally he stilled, falling forward on the glassy floor and breathing heavily.  Kaia approached him carefully, not sure if she should touch him.  He still looked so frail.  His skin was so pale that it was almost blue, and his black hair hung in his face in wet, knotty tendrils.  His limbs were splayed awkwardly, almost as if he were broken.  “Xander?” she murmured. He didn’t answer, but he opened his eye, and a tear rolled down his cheek.  His pupil shrank in the light making his blue eye look like untouched ice.  “Do you know me?”  No recognition sparkled there, and Kaia felt her heart sink like a stone.  She reached for him, and this time he let her help him sit up.  His eyes never left her as she pushed his hair back from his brow and used the hem of her shirt to wipe at his mouth.  “It’s all right.  You’ll remember me in time.”  She hoped.  “Do you understand?” He raised a hand to her mouth as she spoke, feeling her lips as they formed the words.  Kaia smiled and grabbed his hand, placing it against her chest.  “Kaia,” she said. He didn’t speak, but she could see his lips moving as if trying to mimic her speech.  “I came here to help you.”  She smiled and stroked the back of his hand as if to reassure him. Slowly she stood up, letting him lean heavily against her.  Kaia prayed that he would remember how to use his feet.  There was no way she’d be able to carry him all the way to the small vessel that was docked on the other side of the prison.  After a few steps he seemed to get the hang of it, copying her movements as they made their way slowly down the corridor toward where the transporter waited for them.

“Hold on just a bit longer, love,” she soothed, holding him tight against her as the transporter carried them up to the docking bay. “Once we get on the ship you can rest.”  She tried not to think about the bodies of the guards that lay strewn at their feet all along the corridor leading to the ship.  It wasn’t that she was particularly disturbed by the carnage carried out by her own hand, but these men were innocents.  They had been doing their jobs, and she hadn’t relished having to dispose of them like vermin, but only Xander mattered.  Both of them, all of the Gemini in fact, had been trained as assassins, but the men they’d dealt with in the past were not “good men.”  They were enemies that brought destruction and death to innocents.  But no one is ever the villain of their own story.

The walk from the transporter to the landing dock was an eternity.  Xander could barely control his limbs, and they fell down several times.  At one point he’d begun to shake so violently that Kaia was afraid he’d pummel them both to death as they practically crawled onto the ship.  She took him immediately to the living quarters on board and helped him lie down across the bed.  Luckily, the ship she’d grabbed from the spaceport on Sirrine-10 was a small luxury vessel, fully equipped for a vacation in space.  Kaia had managed to knick it completely undetected from a poor maladjusted pop star fleeing from rehab.  The décor wasn’t much to her taste, but it had the most important things:  an interstellar system, food, and a bedroom.

Kaia sat down beside where he lay, breathing heavily after her exertions getting him this far.  In a moment she’d have to take off and comb the maps for a friendly planet far out of reach of the IU.  She wasn’t sure where they would go or if this craft would even get them there, but she couldn’t think of it that way.  She had to take this mission one step at a time, or she’d lose her mind completely.

“You mean you haven’t already?”

Kaia gasped as the cloudy recesses of her brain where Xander’s voice lived began to open up.  The wall that had resided there for so long was crumbling to dust as his body, mind and soul awakened.  “Xander?”

“Is there anyone else out there with whom you’ve formed a psychic bond?”

Kaia looked, and he was smiling weakly.  She began to laugh in spite of herself and threw her body against him.  “You do know me!  I… I thought perhaps you’d forgotten.  It’s been so long.”

“Of course not.  Your thoughts are much too loud to be forgotten.  But I do have questions.”

“Anything,” she choked, almost sobbing as she lay against his chest, reveling in the comforting rhythm of his breath.

“My body.  Why can’t I use my body?  And I can’t talk.”

“Shush now,” Kaia soothed, laying down by his side and cradling his head to her chest.  “Let your body rest.  You’ll be well soon enough.”  A blanket of relief settled around her as he nuzzled closer.  She took his hand in hers, raising it to a cool cheek.  He was getting warmer now, and she could feel a strengthening pulse in his wrist.  His mind went quiet, and his eyes closed, relaxing into her cradling arms.  They would lie there together until their bodies were once again synced.  Their heartbeats, the rhythm of their breath, the speed of the blood rushing through their veins would work in tandem until they were a united circuit through which their one soul could navigate.

 

Until Death: An Anthology of Twisted Love Stories – new from LRH!

Me and my baby sis are at it again – new scary sexy just in time for Halloween! Get it here from Amazon

until-death-1

True love never dies…
That’s the story that all the fairy tale books are peddling. According to TV producer Dale, that was all it was—a fairy tale. A hustle perpetrated upon our culture by Walt Disney and romance novels. But while filming his hit new zombie show, Dale meets a charming extra who tries to convince him otherwise. She weaves tales of twisted love and obsession: a sinister family secret that comes home to roost, a grieving husband whose sadness gives birth to an all-consuming evil, a woman who forsakes salvation to rescue her greatest love from the cold clutches of death, and the promise of love’s redemption in the afterlife are just a few in her arsenal. But will Dale find himself in the middle of his own love story, or will his mysterious companion be the death of him?

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Missing Comma

chasing the dragon coverAs a lot of people know, my sister, Alexandra Christian, and I are pretty much the entire standing staff of Little Red Hen Romance. We both write stories and novels for the press, and we edit one another. There are many advantages to having your beloved sister as your editor. But there are times, particularly for Lexie, when it’s a real pain in the ass.

Lex has just finished a truly amazing Sherlock Holmes novella that should be coming out in the next few weeks, and I’ve been working on the copy edit. Lex is one of the most amazing, original, intelligent writers I know, and her grammar and punctuation are almost perfect. But that girl will party hearty with a comma; she gets it drunk and lets it sprawl naked in the most ungodly places or forgets it entirely and leaves it dead in a ditch. As a former composition instructor, I tend to lose my mind about this on a regular basis. And since this is apparently becoming a hot topic issue (see here: Daniel McMahon for Business Insider 5-2-16), we thought it might instructive or at least entertaining to see our latest exchange on the subject:

THE SAME STUPID COMMA MISTAKE THREE TIMES, ALL FROM THE SAME PARAGRAPH!!!!!!!

Okay, you’re gonna learn how to do this if it kills us both.

Example Number One:

As written by the brilliant Lexie Christian:

The unfortunate doorman’s coat and hat offered an easy disguise and this time he managed to pass through the doors without incident.

This sentence is two independent clauses joined by the conjunction “and.” As are all of these examples. And it’s the EASIEST FREAKIN THING IN THE WORLD TO IDENTIFY!!!!

So, what are our two clauses? How do I know we have two? We start with the verbs. What are the verbs?

1) offered

2) managed

Okay, so who or what offered? The unfortunate doorman’s coat and hat – so there we have the spine of clause number one, “coat and hat offered.” Everything that tells us information about the coat and hat (whose it was [the doorman] and what he was like [unfortunate]) and what they offered and how [an easy disguise]) are part and parcel of that clause. So Clause Number One is:

The unfortunate doorman’s coat and hat offered an easy disguise.

So our next verb is managed. Who or what managed? He, Sherlock, our intrepid hero. Everything about him and what he managed is Clause Number Two:

This time [when he managed] he managed [there’s that spine] to pass through the doors [what he managed to do] without incident [how he did it].

Because neither of these clauses begins with an adverb like when or as or because or anything else that would turn it into a dependent clause/super-adverb supporting the other that can’t stand alone, these are two independent clauses joined with nothing more than the most common and beloved of all conjunctions, and. So you put a FUCKING COMMA IN FRONT OF THE AND!!! And thus after edits it becomes:

The unfortunate doorman’s coat and hat offered an easy disguise, and this time he managed to pass through the doors without incident.

SIDE NOTE ON DEPENDENT CLAUSES WHICH YOU ALMOST NEVER USE AND USUALLY GET RIGHT WHEN YOU DO: To make these the joining of a dependent clause to an independent clause, one of these clauses has to become a super-adverb. If it comes at the beginning, you need a comma:

Because the unfortunate doorman’s coat and hat offered an easy disguise, this time he managed to pass through the doors without incident.

But if it comes at the end, you don’t:

The unfortunate doorman’s coat and hat offered an easy disguise when this time he managed to pass through the doors without incident.

Your way, the two independent clauses is MUCH BETTER; it’s stronger and gives the reader chunks of easily visualized information. It was Mark Twain’s favorite sentence construction. AND HE ALWAYS PUT THE DAMNED COMMA IN IT!!!

So on to Example Number Two. As written, thus:

A small stage had been set up along the back wall and the cozy chaises by the fire had been moved aside to accommodate more tables.

What are the verbs:

1)had been set up

2)had been moved (accommodate is also a verb, but by adding the “to” to it, you’re using it as part of an adverb modifying had been moved; it tells why the moving was done. Lesser minds would be confused by this; I know you can see it.)

What had been set up? Stage

What had been moved? Chaises

So our two clauses are:

1) A small stage had been set up along the back wall.

2) The cozy chaises by the fire had been moved aside to accommodate more tables.

What is joining them? There’s our lil buddy and again.

So our edited sentence becomes:

A small stage had been set up along the back wall, and the cozy chaises by the fire had been moved aside to accommodate more tables.

And finally, coming to you live from the exact same descriptive paragraph, I bring you Example Number Three:

The entire room was swathed in red and gold and the heavy musk of opium hung in the air.

Verbs?

1) was swathed

2) hung

What was swathed? Room

What hung? Musk

Two clauses then?

1) The entire room was swathed in red and gold.

2) The heavy musk of opium hung in the air.

Add our friend and and the comma it should have rode in on:

The entire room was swathed in red and gold, and the heavy musk of opium hung in the air.

If you could ever just absorb that this is WHY this comma needs to be there, I promise, you’ll just put it there naturally without having to go through this half-assed diagraming of the sentence. But just saying, “Fuck it, I can’t do commas; sue me,” looks like a consistent, habitual amateur mistake, the kind of thing that can make less imaginative editors who don’t love you and your writing like I do dismiss you as a lightweight. And that just is not acceptable. Every one of these sentences is brilliant; you’ve compacted massive amounts of vibrant information into just a few words and created a whole scene. So just get the commas right!

The Winners!

strangeasangelswblueeyesWe have the winners of our Hot Summer Bash!  I’ll be emailing a PDF copy of my book, Strange as Angels, to the following lovely people:

Mina Gerhart – our grand prize winner, who also scored a $100 Amazon gift card

Paula Shene

Ramon Rojas

And you’ve probably already heard from Crymsyn Hart, S.H. Roddey, Marcia Colette, Traci Markou, Selah Janel and Alexandra Christian, my partners in infamy on this one.

If you don’t get your book within 24 hours, please let me know here or via email at lucybluecastle@gmail.com . Thanks so much to everybody who entered, and if you didn’t win, watch this space.  We’re a generous, fun-loving crowd writing new books every day; we’ll be doing this again soon.

xoxoxoxo

Lucy

 

Hot Summer Bash – Much read-y stuff to win!

strangeasangelswblueeyesMe and a whole slew of other amazing writers of paranormal and supernatural horror and romance have gotten together to wind down bikini season with a “Hot Summer Bash.”  The grand prize winner will get a $100 Amazon gift card (aaaaiiieeee, the irony; it burns us!), plus a long, cozy autumn’s worth of e-books from me, Marcia Colette, Alexandra Christian, Selah Janel, Siobhan Kinkade, Crymsyn Hart, Traci Markou, and S.H. Roddey.  Vampires, werewolves, bounty hunters from hell, a couple of fallen angels – if that’s not enough to get you all inspired for football and Halloween, I don’t know what will.

Enter to win at the Rafflecopter on Crymsyn Hart’s blog here:  http://crymsynhart.blogspot.com/2014/08/hot-summer-bash-with-lucy-blue-marcia.html

A Blasphemous Conversation

prince lestat UK coverIn which lesser vampire authors Lucy Blue and Alexandra Christian bemoan the fate of their idol.

LUCY:  How much do we hate Anne Rice’s new UK cover?!!??!

 LEX:  WTF is wrong with them??!!! It looks like a cheap romance novel.  And I say that as an author of cheap romance novels…

LUCY:  My cover for Tender Bites was better than that.  Your covers for the Mocha Memoirs trilogy are MUCH better than that.  They probably spent a fortune hiring a semi-recognizable model (I think I’ve seen him in a Ralph Lauren ad, him or someone who looks just like him), and the costuming is extremely pricey – that jacket alone cost a fortune and was probably made specifically for that shoot.  But then they use the image in the cheapest, most obvious way imaginable.  Almost nobody who sees it is going to notice how pricey the individual elements are; they’re only going to engage the cheap, amateurish product.

Never mind that my whole reaction to a book entitled “Prince Lestat” is a big fat groan.

LEX:  They’re counting on the name Anne Rice to sell it.  But the cover is just horrendous.  Blech.

LUCY:  And here’s the thing – the name Anne Rice isn’t selling all that well at the moment. Which is probably why she got pushed into this cover in the first place.

It all comes back to what we’ve been saying for months – nobody knows nothing no more.

LEX:  Well if she’d write a book that’s worth a damn….

LUCY:  True . . . I think the problem is, she was always psycho.  But before, her version of psycho was sexy.  But she’s done that now, and as she’s aged, she’s moved into an older, more mature version of psycho that doesn’t connect with anybody any more.

LEX:  Well she keeps plowing the same dirt.  And when she’s not plowing that dirt, she’s doing something that’s so off the wall that it doesn’t make sense.

LUCY:  I think the plowing is her trying to reconnect and the off the wall is what she really wants to write.  It makes me sad because I think she’s brilliant; I think there are probably many more great novels inside her head wanting out.  But I think she has had some kind of weird religious conversion that has made her feel guilty and apologist about some of her early stuff (which is ridiculous), and just like she does in these monster series (serieses?) she writes, she’s trying to write her way out of the corner with plot that just gets nuttier and nuttier.

I feel her pain a little bit because part of the problem is, she was the Mother Goddess of this entire paranormal/gothic/romantic movement, and everything that has come since feeds off her original creation.  But that has gone on long enough that it’s moved beyond imitators into contrarians – people don’t write like Anne Rice any more, they specifically write vampires and werewolves and witches that are NOT like Anne Rice.  But she’s still around and still writing; she’s not ready to be the compost in the general soil just yet.  So she’s got a choice – she can either write in the sensibility she’s always had and be perceived as out of touch with the times and the sad crone who doesn’t know when to leave the party or she can try to adopt some version of the new sensibility (hence this cover) which isn’t hers, doesn’t fit, and results in rotten books, and she looks like the sad crone who bought a lot of make-up and has had a bit too much to drink.  And with trends cropping up, blooming, and dying in the space of months now, it’s happening to more and more content creators faster and faster.  As soon as something succeeds, it immediately becomes a punch line.  And once it becomes a punch line, it’s dead.

LEX:  Well sadly, she IS out of touch with the market right now.  She asked on Facebook if anyone would be interested in reading an erotic romance.  I mean, really Anne?  Where have you been in the last five years?  So I feel like we’ll be seeing a freako copycat of her Beauty books in the near future.

LUCY:  Oh but see, I suspect if you asked her, she would sniff aristocratically and point out that all of THOSE books came from independent publishers and smut mongers; she’s only interested in REAL erotic romance from Random House.  She probably considers 50 Shades beneath her notice, too.

So yeah, a new Beauty-esque saga is most likely in the works.  Jack and His Amazing Beanstalk?

I feel like a cretin for making jokes; I love those books; I love her writing – anybody who has read a sex scene I’ve written knows how much I love her style of erotica; she’s been a huge influence on me.  But yeah, it’s like she’s been up in the ivory tower for decades, only to discover that the world changed without her.  And now she’s trying to climb down and make art, and it’s just not working.

That said, if I had the sales numbers she had on her past couple of “failures,” I’d be a happy little writer indeed.

LEX:  Exactly.  She could never sell another book and be perfectly happy.

Gentle readers, may the same be said of all of us someday.