Wednesday, December 28, 2011

TOP Rebel Blog

The official tour is on hiatus, but another rebel blog isn't afraid to post during this busy time of year.  Yummy Men and Kick Ass Chicks has posted a wonderful review about TOUCH OF POWER with no spoilers.  And sometime today (December 28th), she will also post an interview with me and a giveaway, which is open to international readers as well as in the US and Canada!

Here's a link to the review:

Here's a direct link to the interview/contest:

As for my present wrapping adventures, since only Renee offered to help me wrap presents (thank you Renee!) provided I pay for her to fly from Europe (tempting, but too expensive), I had to find help from another source - my cat Valek (aka the Bug Assassin or Kitty Kat).  He took an avid interest in all things papery and ribbony and crinkly, but managed to do more harm that good and was soon exhausted by all the wrapping (as you can see in the photo). 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

TOP Widget + eBook sale!

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday!  The TOP Blog tour is on hiatus this week, but there's still a lot going on (rebel post tomorrow!).  My publisher put together a widget for TOUCH OF POWER.  Check it out - it's posted below and you can see the first 16 pages of the book (includes the first chapter).   I think I'm supposed to put it on my blog on the side, but I don't know how!  I'll either figure it out or have to call my friend for help.  Feel free to share it :)

And since this is the time for all those after-holiday sales,  Harlequin is also having a special 9 day e-Book sale through it's website with 25% off certain titles on each day (you have to buy them THAT day for the discount).  I've looked through all the days and there are some really great fantasy, suspense, teen and romance titles listed.  Today is Rachel Vincent's My Soul to Take, and my OUTSIDE IN will be on sale on January 1st!

Here's the link to the e-Book sale:

And here's the Widget:

Blog Widget

Friday, December 23, 2011

TOP Blog Tour + TOP website

News Flash!!  I'm finished with my holiday shopping!  Woo Hoo!!  Now all I need to do is wrap all these presents.  Anyone want to come over and help?  Anyone?  Anyone.....  Hello???

On tap for today is a post about my top 10 favorite fantasy series for the Official Blog Tour on My Bookish Ways and includes a giveaway.

Here's the link:

Another News Flash - the UK office has designed a website just for TOUCH OF POWER.  Now you can see that animated cover in all it's full-speed glory - yay!  Also there are extras you won't find anywhere else, and a contest to win a KINDLE!  The Kindle winner is limited to UK readers (I don't think it would work anywhere else), but there will be a UK blog tour with 18 blogs and I'm hoping they'll be open to international winners (It will depend on each blog).

Here's the link:

I've a Rebel Blog today as well - with interviews and TWO copies of TOP to giveaway - one to my international readers and one to my US/Canada readers!!

Here's the link:


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

TOP Blog Tour - Character Names

Today is another post in the Official Blog Tour for TOUCH OF POWER.  Fantasy Book Critic is hosting my blog about how I choose the names for the book and the trouble I had.  And why in the published book, you won't find Vinn or Daneen.

Here's the link:

And Book Geeks Rule (great name!) has posted an interview, review and give away as part of the Rebel blogs :) 

Here's the link:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

TOP Blog Tour - Quick Links

Just wanted to let you know my guest blog is up at - about how life is fodder for my stories.  And I wanted to add another "life is fodder" story.  When Kerrick calls his men gentlemen, as in, "Become one with nature, gentlemen. We'll meet at the rendezvous point."  I borrowed that from one of my son's soccer coaches (one of my favorites).  He always called the boys gentlemen - and as an ex-Marine, everyone on and off the field (and two miles away) heard him.  He was loud but he never yelled at them.

Here's the link for the blog:

And here's a link for a wonderful, fantastic review of TOUCH OF POWER:

Monday, December 19, 2011

TOP Blog Tour - Week 2

More chances to win.  More interviews.  More blogs.  And the burning question....have I finished my holiday shopping?  Have I finished decorating my house?  Baking cookies?  I still have time...right?  Right?

Starting today, you can enter to win the Official Blog's Grand Prize of a $100 Spa Certificate!  You have four different ways to enter. You can "like" my Facebook page, you can comment about TOUCH OF POWER on Facebook, you can comment on your own Facebook page about why you find books have their own powers of healing, and you can follow my blog. Easy!

Enter here: 

This just in - another Official Blog Tour is going on today - here's the link:

I did find out that the official blog tour that is run by my publisher (they are providing the books) are limiting the winners to the US and Canada.  But there will be rebels offering to international - so make sure you check them out.

Talking about the rebels....two rebel blogs posted recently.  One of them, Amberkatze is offering a signed book for international readers as well (that's cause I'm providing the books :), and she did an interview with Avry from TOP.   

Amberkatze's Book Blog:
Interview with Avry:  Contest open to international readers!

Read, Breathe, Relax Blog:

Contest (starts December 20th):

Friday, December 16, 2011

TOP Blog Tour - second stop

And the tour continues!  

Here's the Official blog tour link for Friday, December 16th on I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read:

And here's the Rebel post on Book Lovers - it's a review, but we're doing a giveaway on December 22nd - that's when my Advent post and contest is going up:

Looks like the Official Blog Tour contests may be only for the US and Canada (I'll check).  However a number of the Rebel blogs will be offering them to international readers - and Read Now Sleep Later ( Alethea's blog is going to give away a copy to international readers only on January 1, 2012.  PLUS - the UK office is also hosting a blog tour in January 2012.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

TOP Blog Tour - first stop

Today is the first in many blogs promoting my latest book, TOUCH OF POWER.  I'm thrilled that today's blogger is a friend of mine. 

Alethea emailed me three years ago saying how much she enjoyed my books.  Since she worked at Borders, she was able to recommend my books to her customers.  She hand sold 400 copies of my books in the three months prior to the holidays!  Because of her efforts -
when STORM GLASS was released, my publisher sent me out to California to attend her release party and sent me again last October.   We've became good friends over the last three years and I was so happy to chat with her yesterday about my new book.

To listen to our chat go to her blog:  Read Now Sleep Later - 


Here's a link to a blog where I did an interview:

And we're giving away a signed copy: 

And the Book Heroine did a Q&A and contest as well:

Monday, December 12, 2011

TOP Blog Tour Update

This will be an almost daily post as I get more information :)   The start of the tour is now on Wednesday, December 14th, 2011.  You'll be able to enter to win the BIG PRIZE starting Monday, December 19th and we will anounce the winner on Monday, January 16th, 2012.  We'll be running that contest through my website's contest page (which I crashed last night - that's why the UK animated cover is no longer on my site - it ate up too much of my bandwidth).

Here is the schedule of blogs:

•Wednesday, December 14 – Read Now Sleep Later -

•Friday, December 16 – I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read! -

 •Wednesday, December 21 – Fantasy Book Critic -

•Friday, December 23 – My Bookish Ways -

•Monday, January 2 – Live to Read - 

•Wednesday, January 4 – Two Chicks on Books -

•Friday, January 6 – Seeing Night Book Reviews -

•Monday, January 9 – Lindsay Cummings - 

•Wednesday, January 11 – Books Complete Me - 

•Friday, January 13 – Fantasy Cafe - 

And I'll be posting the rebel blog links over the next couple of weeks -so stay tuned!

Touch of Power Blog Tour!

The Official TOUCH OF POWER Blog Tour starts Monday, December 12, 2011.  I don't know the time, but since I sleep until 11 am, I figured I'd better post this tonight.  (I write until 3 or 4 am, people! mornings and me never got along - but that's for another post).

From the schedule I received - it looks like Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are the hot button days, with contests to win a signed copy of the book (some shipped in time for x-mas :)  We'll be taking Monday December 26th, and Friday the 30th off for the holidays.  But otherwise we'll be offering contests until Friday, January 13th, when we'll announce the winner for the BIG PRIZE - a $100 Spa Certificate to a place in your town. (details on this are coming!).

Information for the tour is on Harlequin's Paranormal Blog - here's a link:

And one last thing - I'm also doing a bunch of Q&As and giveaways on other blogs - so stay tuned to this blog for more info and links!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

News from across the Pond (i.e. the UK :)

My publisher in the UK was thrilled to learn the UK cover of TOUCH OF POWER won by a large margin - I'm afraid there will be no living with them when they get together with the other MIRA offices in the US and Australia ;>

They are also super excited about TOUCH OF POWER's release in the UK and there will be lots going on for my UK readers - a blog tour in January and a special MIZZ magazine promotion with a very big prize (can't tell you yet).

One of the things going on right now is a special Collectors Edition e-Book that is being offered right now on - It includes POISON STUDY, STORM GLASS, and the first chapter of TOUCH OF POWER.  So if you have any friends who wanted to try my books, this is a great opportunity to put a toe in Maria V. Snyder waters  ;>

Here's the link:

Also I wanted to share a fab 5 star review from TeenNOW Magazine.  YAY!  I'm thrilled TOUCH OF POWER is getting positive reviews - I always worry extra when it's a new book in a new world!

Here's the review:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cover Art Results and Winners!

The TOUCH OF POWER cover art contest was another popular post with 160 votes and comments.  I read through them all and tallied the votes. 

It should be no surprise that the UK version won with 102 votes!  Everyone thought the UK cover was eye catching and showed Avry as a powerful figure with the lightning coming out from her hands and her billowing cloak.  For those who haven't seen the animated edition of this cover - you can either see it here in my "What a Week" blog or go to my website:  (PS: I just updated my website).

Second place goes to the USA cover with 32 votes.  Those who voted for it, thought it was pretty and looked like a fantasy novel, invoking a sense of mystery.

Third place goes to the Australia/NZ cover with 26 votes.  The voters liked the colors - they seemed warming and enticing, invoking the healer aspect of the story.

I found all the comments very interesting and thank everyone for voting!  Having visited both AU and UK, and then looking at their covers - it's amazing that they reflect my impressions of those visits.  It's hard to describe, but they match my feelings.

And now for the 2 winners.......Congratulations go to:
Kate of Persistent Fantasy  and
Corinne Hurlbert


Don't worry - there will be many more chances to win.  My TOUCH OF POWER BLOG TOUR will be starting on Monday, December 12, 2011 - so check back here this weekend for more details!!  And I've been doing a ton of Q&As on various blogs and I always giveaway a copy of my latest - so keep an eye out for links!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

What a Week!

I sent out my email newsletter on Monday, combining two issues into one because I didn't have a ton of "writing" news.  Well, this week has been rather...eventful :)

First - Zap2it posts an interview with Lachlan Buchanan, an Australian actor who is joining the Pretty Little Liars TV show cast this season.  Seems he is a big reader and he mentioned my books!  That was so cool to read - and if there is ever a movie of Poison Study, I'll be more than happy to return the favor.

Here's a link to the post:  

Second - I think the UK office of my publisher is trying to sway the voting for the Touch of Power cover art  ;>  They just sent me an animated cover - you have to click on the box below (I see some people are having trouble bringing it up - I'm working on getting that fixed, so check back in a couple days):

What do you think??  Pretty cool right??

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Touch of Power Cover Contest!

I just received permission to show the Australian/New Zealand cover for TOUCH OF POWER!  So I'm going to do another contest.  Vote for your favorite of the three covers and you will be entered to win a signed copy of TOUCH OF POWER.  There will be two winners picked at random - it's open internationally - must vote by 11:59 p.m. EST on December 6th.  Please leave email addy so I can contact you.

All three are being released at the same time (December 20th).  Good news for all!!

Here are the covers in alphabetical order:

Australia/New Zealand Cover

UK Cover

USA Cover

Winners Announced!

My Celebrating post clocked in at 310 comments...WOW! Nothing I've done before has gotten so many comments - guess everyone's excited about TOUCH OF POWER ;> I had to use a new random generator website because my other one only went up to 100.

And now without further ado......the five winners are:

Chris M. from Ireland
Emily C. from Utah, US
Nikky B. from England
Sarah F. from Georgia, US
Shilo M. from Utah, US

Congrats to them all!!

To the 300 people who didn't win, don't worry - there is going to be a BLOG TOUR starting December 12 with close to a dozen chances to win AND I'm offering another contest today! Yep check my other blog entry for today.

Friday, November 18, 2011


What exactly are we celebrating?  Three things.  One - I've over 500 Followers!  Considering my off again on again relationship with this blog, that's pretty impressive.  Two - I just received my copies of TOUCH OF POWER.  (author perk!)

To celebrate, I'm giving away 5 copies of TOUCH OF POWER.  Just leave a comment to this post, and I'll pick winners at random.  The give away is open until midnight my time (EST) on Black Friday (that's Friday, November 25th for my international readers :)  This is open to everyone with a mailing address.  Please also leave an email address so I can contact you with the news.

And three - it's Friday - that's always a good reason for a celebration :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


So I'm the worst blogger ever!  Ah, my poor neglected blog is always pushed aside when other tasks come up suddenly.  For example, MIZZ magazine in the UK wants to do a big promotion for TOUCH OF POWER's release.  Great news!  However, they wanted a 3 minute video of me for their new MIZZ TV website and they wanted it before I left for Italy.  A seemingly simple task - talking about my book for 3 mins turned into an all day affair, including how to send a 270 MB file via the Internet.  My poor producer/daughter had to hear the same thing over multiple takes.

Yes, I was in Italy, but before I talk about my trip, I wanted to announce the winner of the TOUCH OF POWER ARC!  I received 17 entries and picked entry #9, which is Jessica W. from Texas!!  Congrats to Jessica!!  I might be slow to blog, but Jessica's been, I hope, enjoying her prize for the last couple weeks - I mailed it out before my trip.

So what this about Italy?  It wasn't on my appearance schedule :)  I surprised my parents last June with two tickets to Italy for their 50th wedding anniversary.  Anyone who makes it to 50 years deserves a special trip.  My sister and I tagged along, leaving husbands and kids home.  My mom always wanted to go, but kept talking herself out of the trip because she was too nervous to fly.  So we kidnapped her (or rather guilted her into going - after all the ticket was paid for!).  It was a grand time – we spent time in Florence, Siena, the Tuscan countryside, and Rome.  I loved Tuscany the best – gorgeous and the wine was divine!  It was also the most photogenic place and I could have wander around for hours with my camera.

I'd tell you more about the trip, but as a family we agreed what happened in Italy stays in Italy! ;>

Here are some pictures:

Florence - the Arno River as seen from our hotel window.  At the top of the rise seen in the picture is called Michelangelo's Plaza and from there you can see the whole city of Florence.

Florence - the Ponte Vecchio Bridge.  No traffic is allowed on this bridge - just shoppers who are looking to score some beautiful jewelry made with Italian gold.  As you can see, the stores hang out over the water, supported by thick wooden beams.

The town of Chianti - the heart of the Chianti Classico wine region.  We learned to make sure a black roster is on the neck of the bottle for an authentic wine.

A Tuscan vineyard - since it was November, the sangiovese grape vines were turning yellow.  The red leaves are another type of grape.  Sangiovese is the major grape used in Chianti Classico - it has to make up at least 70% of the wine to be officially called a Chianti Classico.

Wine tasting room at the Tenuta Torciano winery in San Gimignano (another great town in Tuscany).

Rome - The Colosseum at sunset.  We spent 3 days in Rome, but needed another 4 at least.  There is so much to see, it's impossible to take it all in.

Rome - The Arch of Constantine - another amazing piece of ancient history!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Spooky Stories

In keeping with the scary theme this month, I wanted to let everyone know I'm in another short story anthology called Spirited that has 13 haunted tales of ghosts and other scariness (mine is called NEW GIRL and isn't very scary I must say - it's more funny - and I picked the title BEFORE that TV show came out ;).  The e-book is OUT NOW (, and the print book is coming out in March 2012.

The best part of this project - ALL PROCEEDS from the anthology (both print and e-book) will be donated to National 826, a literacy-based charity!  Yep - all the money is going to support literacy.  YAY!  I'm really glad I'm involvled in this and I also had the benefit of working with a friend of mine - the editor Kat O'Shea was editing me when we both were aspiring writers/editors - we were in a critque group together.  Funny how things come full circle!

Leap books is doing a contest and giving away 13 copies of the book.  Every Sunday, they post a blog at and inviting readers to "guess" the authors in the Spirited anthology.

Spirited also has a trailer. Here's the link to watch it:

And here's more info/press release type stuff with quotes from the editor and authors :)

More than a dozen young adult paranormal fiction authors are contributing to Spirited, a collection of steampunk, cyberpunk and downright spooky stories guaranteed to get your heart racing. Proceeds from the anthology will be donated to National 826, a literacy-based charity.

“Leap Books tends to lean towards the eccentric and snarky, so when we found an organization that’s a little off-the-wall and dovetails with our goals – reading and writing – we couldn’t resist,” says Spirited editor, Kat O’Shea. “One of our goals is to get teens excited about books. What better way to do that than to offer stories by some of their favorite authors?”

The anthology features supernatural tales by bestselling writers such as Maria V. Snyder, Candace Havens, Shannon Delany, Linda Joy Singleton, Heather Kenealy and more.

“I was amazed at how many well-known authors were willing to carve time out of their hectic schedules to benefit charity,” says O’Shea.

For bestselling author and leading entertainment journalist Candace Havens, Charmed & Dangerous (Berkley), the chance to be a part of Spirited was a no-brainer. Trying her hand at a ghost story was something she’s wanted to do for a long time, and as the emcee for several literacy charity events, she hears amazing stories of literacy inspiration all the time.

“When my first novel came out, one of the nurses at my doctor’s office bought my book for her daughter,” she says. “The daughter was in her 20s and had never read a book all the way through. She read mine and told her mom she wanted more. She didn’t know books could be so fun. A story like that will get you through those tough writing times.”
As a school library technician, Judith Graves, Under My Skin (Leap Books), has seen the power of literacy awareness, promotion and support at work, and believes any organization that offers this is worthy of heralding.

“When I heard that the Spirited anthology had a paranormal theme and that proceeds would go to a literacy-based charity, I was ready to claw my way onto the roster,” she says. “Luckily, my story made the cut and no editors were harmed in the making of this anthology.”

That’s not to say there aren’t a few deaths involved. Albeit fictional. With the e-book launch slated for October 31, 2011, Spirited is the perfect read for young thrill-seekers. While many of the featured authors will be hauntingly familiar to fans of the paranormal, readers will be invited to discover new authors venturing into the genre.

New York Times Bestselling author Maria V. Snyder, Poison Study (Mira), says the opportunity to write for Spirited offered a creative challenge. “The subject or theme of an anthology is usually not within my comfort zone of fantasy and science fiction, and I always have fun playing in someone else’s sandbox.”

Leap Books is also thinking outside of the coffin with this release. In addition to a macabre and eclectic collection of stories, Spirited will feature some unique graphics, including AR (augmented reality) in a cyberpunk/dystopian story by award-winning author Shannon Delaney, 13 to Life (St. Martin’s Griffin).

“Readers will be able to hold the story icons under a webcam to see some cool 3-D effects,” says O’Shea.

Spirited manifests October 31, 2011, in e-book format, followed by a print edition of the anthology unleashed in March 2012. Copies can be summoned by pre-order via the Leap Books website at

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Month of Scariness

I don't know what has gotten into me lately.  Perhaps it's a mid-life crisis or just the desire to do something...scary.  I'm not sure of the reason, but the results have been quite...revealing.

I've been wanting to get back into riding motorcycles.  I use to ride a 3 wheeled ATV (a trike) in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey with a bunch of dirt biker friends, but I was in my late teens, early 20s.  Recently my friend Kathy suggested we take the Motorcycle Safety Course together.  They provide the bikes, helmets and instruction over a long weekend.  So I took my learner's permit exam the same day my son took his driver's permit test (no - he didn't think it was cool - lots of eye rolling that day). We both passed :)

Over the long Columbus Day weekend, I sat in a classroom for 5 hours of instruction on motorcycle safety. The instructor Harry was quite the character - he'd threaten to throw things at us if we didn't listen to him when we were out on the range and he liked to say, "However comma" when making a point.  I earned a 100 % on the written test :)  So far, so good.

The next day as I'm straddling a red Suzuki 250 cc bike along with Kathy and six others, I'm having major second thoughts.  The bike is huge and heavy and there are lots and lots of things to do with both my hands and feet and I'm supposed to balance and steer while doing all this shifting, breaking, clutching, throttling.  I was terrified - this was nothing like my little automatic transmission 3 wheeler.  But I stayed and listened to Harry and he walked us through everything in baby steps.  By the end of the day I was having so much fun turning and weaving through cones.  And was very glad I hadn't chickened out :)

So feeling rather confident (cocky perhaps?) I arrived for day two to learn that our first exercise is doing figure 8s on the bike.  Really? Gulp!  No warm ups - or a few loops around the track? Nope - right to the hardest exercise of both days.  Confidence gone, I was back to being a giant chicken, ready to bail out.  But I stuck with it and learned a lot - like I turn better going left than right especially with those tight U-turns/figure 8s. 

At the end of day two, we took our skills test to earn a motorcycle license.  We needed to demonstrate certain life skills, like swerving, stopping quickly and going through turns. I'm doing good all day, but as soon as Harry gets his clipboard out, I'm stalling the bike, wobbling on the turns, making a really warped figure 8 all with my heart in my throat.  After everyone is through the test, he made us wait 20 mins to hear the results!

We all....passed!  Yay!  I now know how to ride in a big parking lot around a bunch of cones.  I'd like to buy a small bike - around 250 cc engine - no scooters.  My family isn't so sure, so we'll see. 

No, my kids still don't think I'm cool - my daughter insists I'm still a soccer mom.  Good to know I have them all fooled ;>

And I've learned when I'm the most scared, I have the most fun (I'll be writing about my haunted house adventures next).

How about you?  Any stories of conquering your fears and having a blast?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Touch of Power ARC Giveaway

Now that I have your attention :)  I'm doing a special OUTSIDE IN promotion and dangling an ARC of TOUCH OF POWER as the prize. 

As many of you know, I have contests on my website for all my books.  If you answer 20 questions about the book correctly, I'll send you a signed book label for your book and you're entered into a quarterly drawing to win a copy of the book.  However, poor OUTSIDE IN only has 3 entries since March and I'm determined to change that!

So, here's the deal - email me ( the answers to the 20 questions below (please put: special OI promo in the subject line), and include your mailing address by OCTOBER 22, 2011 and you will be entered to win an ARC of TOUCH OF POWER with the UK cover!  You'll also get a book label and some cool bookmarks :)  This is open to everyone and no shipping costs either.


•1 – What is the name of Trella's new cleaning troll?

•2 – Who is Bubba Boom?

•3 – What are the names of the Outsiders?

•4 – What does Logan give Trella?

•5 – How does the Committee keep track of Trella?

•6 – What does ISF stand for?

•7 – Who is in charge of Maintenance?

•8 – Whose appendix bursts?

•9 – What is Logan's newest gadget?

•10 – What is the nickname for ISF?

•11 – What does Trella find at the top of the Expanse?

•12 – What do the Outsiders want?

•13 – What was the Big Shake?

•14 – Who saves Trella from the fire?

•15 – Who is Jacy conspiring with?

•16 – How many Bubble Monsters are there?

•17 – What is the current population of Insiders?

•18 – The explosion damaged the power plant and what other critical system?

•19 – Near the end, how does Trella and her friends get to the Outsiders?

•20 – Is Doctor Lamont really Trella's birth mother?

Good Luck!

Here's a link to more contests:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Inbox Gems

I'm trying to catch up on all my emails from when I was down under.  For some reason my new Acer Tablet wouldn't let me hook up to my author email server.  I bought the tablet to video chat with my family and it worked nicely - I also played games on it and read books so I didn't have to pack as much.

Anywho as I'm going through my inbox, I'm finding links that might be of interest to you.  Also if you emailed me and have a Hotmail addy - I'm being bounced by your spam filter - I'm working on getting that sorted out.

First some news!  OUTSIDE IN is a finalist for the Golden Leaf Award!  I'll find out in October if it won.  Storm Glass won in 2009 so I'm hoping for a repeat.  Other finalist are here: ttp://

And - I never announced the winner of the Heart of Iron giveaway - I've already sent the book out so I did pick a winner.  Congrats go to Jessica W!

I did a guest post on the Just Another Book Addict blog - here's a link: 

There's a video interview of me here (I haven't seen it yet - so I hope it's okay!):

And here's a podcast of a reading group discussing Poison Study:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ward Against Death - Interview + Contest

Today I'm interviewing debut author, Melanie Card.  Her book, Ward Against Death was released in August in both print and e-book format.  I really enjoyed this book - it's unique and action packed with characters that I cared about.  

Now a confession.  I met Melanie while attending Seton Hill University as a student.  It was my very first residency, I didn't know a soul, and I wasn't sure what to expect.  The very first class I attended was a book discussion.  We all read the same novel and then discuss it that first morning.  Melanie was in my class - she was doing her last residency and graduating.  When the instructor asked our opinion of the novel, Melanie was the first to speak.  She proclaimed that the book was awful and proceeded to explain why with concise, logical reasons.  I was struck by her confidence, her ability to spot weak writing, and her no nonsense approach.  Curious, I attended her thesis reading and really enjoyed her thesis novel.  So it's no surprise that she didn't give up and now has a published novel.

Melanie's publisher is offering one lucky commenter a free e-book of Ward Against Death!  Leave a comment here by midnight on Sunday, September 18, and I will pick a name using :)  Please include your email addy so I can contact you if you win!

Twenty-year-old Ward de Ath expected this to be a simple job bring a nobleman s daughter back from the dead for fifteen minutes, let her family say good-bye, and launch his fledgling career as a necromancer. Goddess knows he can t be a surgeon the Quayestri already branded him a criminal for trying so bringing people back from the dead it is.

But when Ward wakes the beautiful Celia Carlyle, he gets more than he bargained for. Insistent that she s been murdered, Celia begs Ward to keep her alive and help her find justice. By the time she drags him out her bedroom window and into the sewers, Ward can t bring himself to break his damned physician s Oath and desert her.

However, nothing is as it seems including Celia. One second, she s treating Ward like sewage, the next she s kissing him. And for a nobleman s daughter, she sure has a lot of enemies. If he could just convince his heart to give up on the infuriating beauty, he might get out of this alive...

Take 10 with Melanie Card:

1.) Why this book? What made you want to write this story and series?

What drew me to the story was my hero, Ward. I was pondering the question: in what situation could a necromancer be good instead of evil?—because sometimes I like to play around with expectations—and Ward started to develop. He was quirky, and kind, and determined. I couldn’t resist writing his story.

2.) Which authors inspire you? Has that changed over time?

So many authors have inspired me. When I was in public school I was reading books like the Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, Birth of the Firebringer by Meredith Ann Pierce, Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce, and Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey. These books got me hooked on fantasy. As I grew older I found writers like David Eddings, and Raymond E. Feist, who turned me onto epic fantasy. And then I discovered books by Guy Gavriel Kay, and Patricia A. McKillip who inspired me with their use of language, that it could flow and have a rhythm. And in Ms. KcKillip’s case, that language itself could create a sense of ethereal magic.

3.) Why fantasy? Is there something special about fantasy that draws you to write in the field?

I’m not sure why fantasy calls to me, but it does. I grew up in a home where my father and brother read science fiction and my mother read mysteries. And save for the collection of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and a copy of Alice in Wonderland, there wasn’t a lot of fantasy in the house. The adventure in fantasy, the time periods and the magic that can do or become anything appeals to me. There’s a feeling of romance with fantasy, and I get to live that romance by being able to read and write about people who can do wondrous things. I think that drew me in as a child and has held me captive ever since.

4.) What do you find most interesting about Celia and Ward?

The two of them together. I love seeing what they’ll come up with next and how each of them will react when things get difficult. Both of them are constantly surprising me by their choices (I know, I’m the writer, I’m supposed to know what my characters are thinking), but they’re both in a stage of growth and while I know how I want them to end up, they seem to have their own ideas about how they’re going to get there.

5.) What else do you enjoy doing besides writing? Interests? Hobbies?

I confess, I’m an amateur theatre geek. Comedy, drama, musical, you name it; I love to act in it. Even if I’m rehearsing the darkest drama, the cast and crew always laugh during rehearsals and we have a great time. I always end up with crazy stories about the antics that happen backstage while the show is on (not that the cast or crew purposefully do crazy things, but lines get missed sometimes, people forget to bring on important props, accidents happen). I’ve made some great friends doing theater… even met my best friend, my husband, on a show.

6.) Did you have to do any special research for this book? What did you learn that you didn't know before?

I was a little crazy about research for Ward Against Death. I live in a town where there are two universities, with two large libraries and I spent hours combing the shelves looking for books on medieval surgery (some of which were written in Middle English). What fascinated me was how advanced medicine was in the Middle East during the end of the 10th century. A man named Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi wrote extensively about his medical practice and procedures and developed his own surgical instruments. The surgical procedure in the book is based off the writing of Guy de Chauliac (a 12th century French surgeon) who studied al-Zahrawi’s works.

7.) How did you become a writer? Is this what you saw yourself growing up to be? Or did it take you by surprise?

I should have known from the beginning that I was going to become a writer. I was writing stories in public school and turned “journal writing class” into “novel writing class” (because I loved story telling and disliked journaling.) I lost my way a bit in a high school and in university, tried different things, left writing, came back to writing, and left writing again. It wasn’t until I was about to go into the third year of my Bachelor of Arts (in psychology) that two things happened. The first: I started writing again on a regular basis. And the second: I found a Master of Arts program in Writing Popular Fiction and all the classes required for the degree sounded like heaven. I wanted to take all of them and all of the elective courses, too. I certainly didn’t want to take the third year statistics class required for my BA. I played it safe for two more years, testing out if I really wanted to write by taking a college class (and finishing my BA), but in a way becoming a writer was inevitable. I had always been writing. I might take a break from writing for a year or so, but I always came back to writing. I applied for the MA program, was accepted and haven’t looked back.

8.) Do you have a writing routine? Talk process for a moment, how do the words get on the page?

I try to get words on the page anyway I can. At the moment, I’ve been keeping a regular schedule of writing in the morning. I leave the house with my laptop, go some place that doesn’t have internet (because I could spend all day on the internet), and write. When I was writing Ward Against Death I was working at a coffee shop. I would go into work early and write for an hour. Then I’d write on my breaks and sometimes for a hour or so after work.

9.) Office? Closet? Corner of the living room? Do you have a set place to write? A favorite?

I do have an office (my spare bedroom has now become my office), which is where I do most of my editing. But I need to get out of the house to write fresh pages, so I head to the local coffee shop or mall food court or wherever I can get to. Often it’s the walk or drive to the new location that helps clear away the mental cobwebs and helps me get the ideas flowing.

10.) What are you writing now? What's coming out next?

The second book in the Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer series. The adventures of Ward and Celia continue with more undead creatures and evil necromancers.

Thanks so much for inviting me to share with your readers today!

You're welcome Melanie!  Good luck with your series.
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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Australia/New Zealand Tour by the Numbers

It's been two weeks since I've been home and getting re-adjusted to...well, everything...has taken more time than I'd expected.  I'm working on a short story I thought I could knock out in a few days.  I don't know why I thought that since nothing I write is ever "quick" even blog posts take me longer than I'm sure they do for others.  I'm also supposed to be working on book 2 of the Healer Series - I've two pages written - yikes.

And I've gotten off the topic, which is my tour down under.  If you receive my newsletter some of this may be a repeat, but I've added a few things and pictures for my blog :)

The three weeks on tour just flew by and it was unbelievable to meet so many of my readers.  So here's a summary of my trip by the numbers:

15 hours - The flight from San Fransisco to Sydney - The steward on my flight called it,"purgatory," perfect description as it's dark outside almost the entire trip. Landing and sunrise coincided beautifully.

1 - Gorgeous Harbor (see picture above)

3 crossings of a roundabout in Byron Bay without getting hit!  Confusing traffic patterns for an American.

4 days in Byron Bay - The hippie culture is alive and well there - so fun to see such free spirits. Picture is a camper you can rent for your vacation (  1 day off to see the sights.

1 Lighthouse - Hiked uphill both ways to the lighthouse in Byron Bay - the eastern most point of AU - worth the heart attack!

2 dinners at the Hog's Breath Cafe (hog tail fries are yummy!), 2 brekkies at the Why Not? cafe and 1 brekkie at the Twisted Sistah cafe.

30+ cups of English breakfast tea for me and 50+ cups of skinny lattes for me new Mum :)  Latte at the Bay Leaf restaurant (above).

60 Brisbane readers (see above). They had emailed me, asking for me to visit, and they all came even though it was a Monday night and they had a week's notice!

6 days in Melbourne (pictured above).  4 schools and 4 public events all well attended :)  Chilly rain and cloudy all 6 days.  2 days off - I shopped at the Queen Victoria's Market the first day and had dinner with friends. Second day I went to the Melbourne Zoo and played with the kangaroos :)

• 21 nights that I saw rugby and Aussie Rules Rugby (called footy) on TV. I'm currently experiencing withdrawal.

5 days in Sydney - 4 schools and 4 public events. Took a tour on a cold, windy, cloudy day to Bondi Beach - saw the Opera House up close, but didn't go in.  Wished I had more time to see Sydney.

5 days in Auckland, New Zealand for the Romance Writer's conference - had a great time and made lots of new friends.  1 sad loss - author Sandra Hyatt (Hyde) passed away that weekend :(  My condolences to her family and friends.

1 day off in Auckland - went to the Waitakere Ranges Park to see waterfalls, rain forest (see above) and black sand beaches (see below).  New Zealand is gorgeous and I MUST go back there.

1 regret that I wasn't able to have a public event in Auckland :( 

5 bags of Snickers Pods and 1 package of Tim Tams consumed

12 hours - number of hours one way Meaghan and her boyfriend drove to see me

9 public events - all well attended; 14 new words learned

And finally, 1 new Mum who made the trip extra special (you know who you are!).

Thanks to everyone who attended one of my events and to the Harlequin office in Australia who did all the hard work in setting the tour up and to Amy and Deb at dmcpr-media who helped spread the word and arranged all those fun radio and TV interviews.