Breaking Down the Playlist: House of Dusk, House of Dawn

HouseofDuskDawn_ebookMany authors create playlists for their books, filled with the songs that inspired scenes, characters, or storylines. Throughout the House of Crimson & Clover series, I’ve shared my playlists for the books on my website. Some of these songs were helpful background noise. Others are at least partly responsible for how a book turned out.

As I wrap up the final House of Crimson & Clover book (I’m still not used to typing those words), I’ve created a playlist filled with songs new to the series, as well as those that played pivotal roles in the creation of earlier books.

Here’s some “behind the curtain” notes behind how I chose a few of the songs that appear on the playlist for the final book in the series. The full playlist is at the bottom if you want to add it to your Spotify.

“House of Dusk, House of Dawn” Playlist Notes

Imagine- A Perfect Circle: Maynard James Keenan is one of my favorite artists, and his songs have appeared throughout the playlists for this series. I thought it only fitting to choose one of my favorite covers of one of my favorite songs for the playlist of the final book. The idealistic hopefulness of this song also resonates as this book begins with every single character part of a fight for a better world and a better life.

The Night We Met- Lord Huron: Both the chords and words of this song have a way of sinking deep into your soul. As soon as I heard  it, I knew it would be the backdrop for a particularly difficult chapter. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, haunted by the ghost of you,” is the kind of line I wished I’d written myself. I don’t want to spoil anything, but you’ll know when you get there.

White Blank Page- Mumford and Sons: I wrote all of “Asunder” to this song on repeat (much to the chagrin of my long-suffering husband). Asunder primarily tells the story of Jacob and Amelia’s separation, which was layered with so many complexities and complications. The powerhouse of emotion behind the vocals on this song put me in Jacob’s frame of mind, and kept me there, heart clenched tight, stomach in knots, all the way to the finish.

Where is my Mind?- Maxence Cyrin: I wrote a majority of Nicolas’ scenes in “The Illusions of Eventide” to the Pixies version of this song. Nicolas has always been the character in the series most vivid to me. The most loud. Which is interesting, because in many ways he’s the least grounded. He floated through most of the books, lost, confused, and on the verge either a total meltdown or complete enlightenment. Frank Black’s warbling vocals captured Nicolas’ frame of mind quite well, but I love this calmer version as a way to bring things full circle for the character.

I Go to the Barn Because I Like the- Band of Horses: Finn is not an innocent character, but I have always felt from him, and written into him, a sense of innocence. He is most vulnerable in life when he finds himself standing before Ana, heart in hand. This song perfectly captures that sense in Finn that he is out his element in the face of something he has never wanted more, or needed more, in his life. I wrote most of his scenes in “Bound” to this song, and many in the books that followed.

Everlong- Foo Fighters: This is, of course, the song that brought Jacob and Amelia together, in a scene that happens prior to the start of the series, but is revisited several times on the page (for the first time in “Midnight Dynasty”). I chose this song because I loved it, but also because I have had this recurring dream for years that I’m pulled onstage at a FF concert for a drum solo on this song. I air drum this song in the car more than I should. Writers give their characters little gifts all the time. I thought, who better than to give this to than Jacob?

Dreams- Cranberries: Since this song came out, when I was in middle school, it has always represented happiness even in dark times. A sense of joy after a long storm. As if saying, with a smile, “ahh… at last.” I always knew this would appear somewhere at the end of the series.

A Praise Chorus- Jimmy Eat World: Simply, this song is what gave me the title for the series. I knew what I wanted to convey- the sense of two powerful families, two powerful dynasties- but struggled for months with the right title. This song was on my playlist and one day the words “clicked.” I know Jimmy Eat World borrowed “crimson and clover, over and over,” but I still owe them credit for the moment everything came together.

A few other notes. Alt-J has played a huge part in setting the stage for the second half of this series, and “Intro” is one of my favorites of theirs. It feels fitting as a start to the book. Pendulum is one of my favorite electronic groups, and “Witchcraft” has the right amount of energy to jump us straight into the biggest battle of the series. But every single one of these songs was chosen strategically, and their placement in the list is equally intentional.

You can find the playlist below on Spotify:

Pre-order House of Dusk, House of Dawn now:

In the end is our beginning.
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2ueOkxx

Introducing: The Saga of Crimson & Clover, a World of Southern Gothic Fantasy

I have an exciting announcement, one which will enhance and re-shape the world of Crimson & Clover going forward, allowing me to leverage the potential of the vast world I’ve built while continuing to produce stories with crisp, new ideas.

I would like to introduce to you The Saga of Crimson & Clover, an overarching universe that will contain multiple, perhaps many, series within.

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But first, let’s back up a bit.

If you are a reader of The House of Crimson & Clover Series, I imagine one of the draws for you to be the fully fleshed and developed world. If so, we have something in common. I have, for many years as a reader, sought out series with a sense of universe behind them, becasue I find it easier to lose myself into the escape reading creates. There’s a saying somewhere about how readers choose to live in many worlds, not just one. And as a reader, I would be perfectly happy with a series that never ends, if it was within a world I love and there was still compelling stories to be told.

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The Saga of Crimson & Clover, a world of Southern Gothic Fantasy containing multiple or many series.

As an author, I’m not so very different. I’ve spent as many hours developing this world, and its characters, as I have writing them. I could throw together an encyclopedia, there’s so much material. Think of it like the proverbial tip of the iceberg. I’ve only been able to share a sliver so far.

 

As I near the end of the current arc of major storylines in The House of Crimson & Clover Series (Prophecy, Curse, Empyrean War, etc.), which will be wrapped up in Volume 10 (fall of 2017), I look forward to exploring the ideas I have for the C&C universe overall. I see a lot of our main characters continuing on as the story is pulled in closer to New Orleans, and other branches of the family (The LaViolettes, the powerful female-led line, for one, and far more on the Sullivan side) coming further into play. I also want to explore other potential storylines, such as returning to mysterious Summer Island, or maybe even some Empyrean tales set in Farjhem. When I do, I want them to be contained within their own series, so new readers don’t have to read 40 books to catch up, while existing readers can continue to enjoy all this universe has to offer.

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The House of Crimson & Clover, a 10 Volume Paranormal Southern Gothic series within the broader Saga of Crimson & Clover world.

I plan to restructure the world of Crimson & Clover to accommodate more stories and additional series within that world. The overarching world will be The Saga of Crimson & Clover, and within that saga will be different series, each of which can be enjoyed on their own (self-contained), or to enhance their enjoyment of the saga overall.The series you are all reading now (Volumes 1-10), is, of course, The House of Crimson & Clover series. When I continue the story, this will begin another series, The Midnight Dynasty series. Although it will be a continuation of the lives of the characters from The House of Crimson & Clover Series, it will also begin new storylines that don’t require the former series as a prerequisite. The main thing I want you to take away is that all of these individual series can be read on their own. You can read The Midnight Dynasty series without having read The House of Crimson & Clover series, as I’ll provide just enough backstory for new readers to track. The number of books per series will vary, depending on the story I need to tell.

This is a visual representation of how the Crimson & Clover universe will be structured:

The Crimson & Clover Saga 

The House of Crimson & Clover Series

Prequels
Volumes 1-10 (Final book fall 2017)

Vampires of the Merovingi Series

Volumes 1-? (First book planned summer 2017)

The Midnight Dynasty Series

Volumes 1- ? (First book spring 2018)

Example” Series*

Volumes 1-X

Crimson & Clover Lagniappes

Bonus Stories

 

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Vampires of the Merovingi, a brand new series within the Saga of Crimson & Clover, coming Summer 2017

What’s not changing? The House of Crimson & Clover Series, and the books within, haven’t changed. The Crimson & Clover Lagniappes (Bonus Stories) can still be read as standalones, at any point in the series. 

The main change to be aware of is that now The House of Crimson & Clover will be part of a broader universe, with more stories and series on the horizon.

*Example Series, to me, means endless possibilities. As I mentioned above, I have endless ideas, and the more nuanced this world gets, the more possibilities open up. I could honestly see myself writing in this universe the rest of my life, and that’s why breaking out additional series, to me, is the right move. It helps give readers different entry points, and lots of options.

 

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Midnight Dynasty, a new series within the Saga of Crimson & Clover, coming 2018

 

Q&A

 

Q: What does this change about the existing House of Crimson & Clover Series?

A: Nothing specifically. The House of Crimson & Clover series, and all titles within, will remain the same, and all the Lagniappes (bonus stories) can continue to be read as standalone stories. What IS changing is that this series will now roll up to a broader Saga of Crimson & Clover universe.

Q: What about the Lagniappe (bonus) stories? Are those tied to a single series, or all?

A: Since all titles within the Crimson & Clover Saga, no matter what series they belong to, all sit in the same universe, I see the Lagniappes in the same way. These stories tend to revolve around specific characters or occurrences that are not tied to the progression of the stories, but shed more light on a person’s past or experiences. Lagniappes, then, are tied more to the saga then the individual series within.

Q: What will the additional series’ be about?

A: The possibilities are endless here, and I have so many ideas brewing. I can tell you The Midnight Dynasty series will be more centered around the Deschanels and Sullivans at home in New Orleans, and more family-centric drama. This includes introducing and exploring other branches of the family, such as the LaViolettes. I also have a series, Vampires of the Merovingi, in production, which will be more of a historical fantasy bend, covering the de Blancheforts and how they stepped into their live as dhampir (vampires). Those are the two series I will focus on in the near (next 1-2 years) future. Beyond that, I have lots of ideas, and it’s a matter of prioritizing them.

Q: How many books will be in each series?

A: The answer depends on how the story arcs progress for each individual series. I can say The House of Crimson & Clover Series is definitely a 10 book series. At this point, I can’t predict how long the others will be.

Q: When will the last House of Crimson & Clover series book be published?

A: Fall of 2017.

Q: What are the next series’ coming after The House of Crimson & Clover?

A: Vampires of the Merovingi, a historical fantasy series about how the de Blancheforts came into their powers as vampires, and Midnight Dynasty, which centers around the Deschanels and Sullivans with matters closer to home (a continuation of where the story in The House of Crimson & Clover left off, but can also be read on its own. The first series will be out in summer of 2017, and the next series in early 2018.

Q: Do I have to read The House of Crimson & Clover before I read the other series?

A: Not unless you want to. I’m intentionally structuring each series to be read on their own. Undoubtedly, there will be those who preferred to read the different series in a specific order, but it won’t be required.

Q: What can we expect from you in 2017?

A: In the spring, Volume 9 of The House of Crimson & Clover, Within the Garden of Twilight, is releasing. Closer to Halloween, expect the final volume of the series to be released. Also, this summer, the first title in Vampires of the Merovingi will be available.

Q: So you have three series listed here. What comes beyond those?

A: It’s hard to say. I have so many ideas, so many notes, that I could write within this universe for years and years to come. Once I have The House of Crimson & Clover wrapped up, and both Midnight Dynasty and Vampires of the Merovingi well on their way, that will be the time for me to prioritize those ideas into next steps.

Q: What about projects outside of the Saga of Crimson & Clover?

A: In all honesty, for me writing has always been about following the passion, and the vast majority of my passion lies within the world of Crimson & Clover. But I do occasionally dabble elsewhere. From time to time, you’ll find original work from me in projects designed to raise money for charity. These are usually very short reads, but they fall outside the world of Crimson & Clover. I also have a title available in the shared sci-fi world of The Complex, titled The Last Dryad. Beyond that, Becket and I are still writing our mystery series, The Text Message Serials, and are currently exploring our options for publication.

 

Have You Visited The Complex?

After a brutal war between Humans and Metas an uneasy truce is declared in the Seldova solar system. At the conclusion of the treaty signing, the Complex is created on the lone planet, Lorn. The Complex is a blended community of Humans and Metas, all sent to test the waters for a more peaceful existence between the two races. Living under a domed community can only mean one thing for the Humans and Metas. Chaos.

Visit The Complex

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THE LAST DRYAD by Sarah M. Cradit

A future torn by war. A love that could change everything.

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BLADE OF FOREVER by Scarlett Dawn

The stars align when two all-powerful Giants, with supernatural ‘swords’, flip a Human woman’s galaxy upside down.

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HALCYON by Demelza Carlton

Catch a siren. Stop the storm. Whatever the cost.

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CURSED by Dylan Quinn

Cupid has a death wish but when her curse sets its target on the most powerful man in the universe, even the goddess of love may not be strong enough to resist.

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HUNGRY TOUCH by Shona Husk

He wants to usher in a new era for the Incubi, but the traditionalist will do anything to stop him.

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THE CURSE CATCHER by Laura Thalassa

Can a woman break her captor’s ancient curse before it’s too late, or will the beast prevail and destroy them both?

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NIGHT WHISPERS by Calinda B

Someone’s stalking her, in her dreams. If he doesn’t destroy her, will he be her seductive salvation?

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PROCRIS by M. Stratton

When magic decides an outcast Strogi should be forever linked with a Human they discover they are allowed something neither one thought they’d ever have, love.

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ARRESTED IN PEACE by Jason Halstead

A vengeful woman must decide between the death of love or a love of death.

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THE LAST DRYAD by Sarah M. Cradit

A future torn by war. A love that could change everything.

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DEATH’S ECHO by Rachel M. Raithby

She’s spent her life avoiding death’s echoes, now they may be the only thing that can save her.

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BALANCE POINT by Katherine Rhodes

Three people. Two mates. One chance to save their destiny.

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SHADOW OF RUIN by Cherie Marks

To obtain the impossible, she must overcome the shadows of her past.

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*The Complex books can be read in any order.


100 Iconic Photos of New Orleans Through the Ages

Yat Lagniappe

I’ve compiled a listicle of my favorite historical photos of New Orleans.  Through its complex history, New Orleans experienced a series of issues: slavery, war, riots, segregation, hurricanes, etc.  I stopped prior to 1980 to keep it as historical as possible.  I kept it at 100 to keep it succinct, but there are many more that should belong here so feel free to add any of your favorite photos in the comments section.

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Bleed Blue 69 is Here!

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bleed blue ebook cover

Title: Bleed Blue 69

Author: Anthology

Charity: The Officer Down Memorial Page

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: December 6

Goodreads

Synopsis

25 Authors. One SEXY Police Station. All for Charity.
Spend your holidays with the brave men and women of Precinct 69 protecting citizens and stealing hearts in the Big Apple. Twenty-five authors have joined forces to bring you their stories—some sweet, some dangerously hot—but all for a great cause. These NYC police officers will keep you warm on a winter’s night, make you sweat in the most delicious way possible, and have you wishing for your very own set of cuffs. Only further begging the question: Can anyone resist a hero in uniform?

Multiple authors have come together to give you one police station where all proceeds from this collaboration go to families of fallen officers.

Contributing Authors:
Alexis Alvarez
Josie Bordeaux
Rebecca Brooke
Emme Burton
M.C. Cerny
Sarah M. Cradit
Chelle C. Craze
Jami Denise
Lisa Edward
Mary Catherine Gebhard
ZB Heller
Vanessa Marie
Glenna Maynard
Kristen Hope Mazzola
Morgan Jane Mitchell
Jenni Moen
Alexis Noelle
Rochelle Paige
Brandy L Rivers
Katherine Rhodes
Emerson Shaw
Kacey Shea
M. Stratton
Madison Street
Felicia Tatum

Landscape portrait of young beautiful stylish couple sensual and having fun outdoor. Film effect

Landscape portrait of young beautiful stylish couple sensual and having fun outdoor. Film effect

Landscape portrait of young beautiful stylish couple sensual and having fun outdoor. Film effect

Landscape portrait of young beautiful stylish couple sensual and having fun outdoor. Film effect

Buy Links

Bleed Blue Now Live

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Join the Party

Check out our reader group to stay in touch, get to know the authors and enter some cool, exclusive giveaways

About the Author

Alexis Alvarez

Alexis Alvarez writer erotic fiction and contemporary romance with heat. Her books feature strong, intelligent sassy heroines and the men who earn their love.

You can find more about her work on her website http://www.graffitifiction.com, where she and her two real-life sisters – who are also romance writers – blog about their books.

In addition to being a romance author, Alexis is also a photographer and digital designer. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and making really inappropriate jokes.

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Josie Bordeaux

Josie Bordeaux is the author of the Alluring Promises series. Her romance novels revolve around friendships, sizzling attraction and steamy sex scenes. Lust, passion and love are all entwined with a lot of drama and fun-filled friendships. Josie lives in the sunshine state with her best friend (AKA – husband) and two sweet, and very creative daughters.

When she’s not driving her kids around town, she’s usually clicking her fingernails on her keyboard or down at the beach where her eyes are glued to her kindle app reading.
Connect with Josie on Facebook or Twitter!
Sign up for Josie’s newsletter for all new release info: http://eepurl.com/2FsfH

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Rebecca Brooke

Rebecca a New Jersey native has had a passion for reading all of her life. No matter the genre, turning her dreams into stories for her readers to treasure is more than she could ask for. She lives with her family wishing every day could be spent in the summer sun.

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Emme Burton

Emme Burton is the author of the Amazon Top 50 Rom-Com/New Adult novel SNACK, the Better Than Series: BETTER THAN ME (Book 1), FIX IT FOR US (Book 2), and STILL INTO YOU (Book 3) and is a contributing author in the bestselling story collections, HOOK & LADDER 69 and BLEED BLUE 69. Her new stand-alone novel, AWKwaRd, Victoria releases January 3rd, 2017. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri with her amazing husband and sons, and her “fur boy,” Jasper. Emme has never, ever been lost in a mall either as a child or an adult. Her mother, and now her family, have always known where to find her. At the bookstore.

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M.C. Cerny

M.C. Cerny fell in love with books after experiencing her first real ugly cry reading, Where The Red Fern Grows. Her debut romantic suspense novel, Flashpoint was written in a series of post-it-note ramblings that would likely make her idol Tom Clancy blush. She is a post graduate of NYU, working fulltime, and calls rural NJ home with her menagerie of human and feline fur-babies. When M.C. is not writing, you’ll find her lurking in Starbucks, running marathons, singing Disney show tunes, and searching out the perfect shade of pink nail polish.

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Sarah M. Cradit

Sarah is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Paranormal Southern Gothic series, The House of Crimson & Clover, born of her combined passion for New Orleans, family sagas, and the mysterious complexity of human nature. Her work has been described as rich, emotive, and highly dimensional.

An unabashed geek, Sarah enjoys studying subjects like the Plantagenet and Ptolemaic dynasties, and settling debates on provocative Tolkien topics such as why the Great Eagles are not Gandalf’s personal taxi service. Passionate about travel, Sarah has visited over twenty countries collecting sparks of inspiration (though New Orleans is where her heart rests). She’s a self-professed expert at crafting original songs to sing to her very patient pets, and a seasoned professional at finding ways to humiliate herself (bonus points if it happens in public). When at home in Oregon, her husband and best friend, James, is very kind about indulging her love of fast German cars and expensive lattes.

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Chelle C. Craze

A native West Virginian, Chelle has always been a dreamer. She spent her time growing up writing songs, poetry, screenplays, and movie scripts. She never thought about writing a book until she got older. Now, Chelle likes to spend her time being creative by painting, drawing, singing, dancing, playing instruments, and writing. By profession, she is a biomedical technician with an Electrical Engineering Technology A.S. degree and lives with her husband and two dogs.
Her debut novel is Just Breathe, The Blue Series book one.

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Jami Denise

Jami Denise is an up and coming writer from Southern California.
She writes Romance, Romantic Suspense, and Erotic Romance.

Her books are always on the spicy side with a little bit of sweet to make you swoon. Her feisty kittens always give the bad boys a run for their money. She likes taking risks, pushing her characters into directions that challenge the reader and take them out of their element. You’ll usually find the unexpected to happen in her stories. Life isn’t always pretty, and she likes to layer her words with true grit.

She is a self professed cat lady, addicted to coffee and Monster, cupcake lip balm, and loves all things old,grungy,and fast. She’s well versed in sarcasm, and the F-word is her favorite adjective.

When she doesn’t have her nose in a book, or fingers on a keyboard, she’s spending time with family and friends, watching old movies, and waiting for the next felon to come sweep her off her feet.

She loves interacting with her readers and meeting new friends.

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Lisa Edward

Lisa Edward is the author of The Songbird trilogy, and the novella Duty of Care. While Lisa has called Melbourne Australia home for her entire life, she has lived and worked in England, and travelled through most parts of Europe and the United States. She loves nothing more than spending time with her beautiful daughter, or curling up into the early hours of the morning with a great novel. By day, Lisa works in the analytical IT field, so relishes the opportunity to foster her creative side through writing. Her deep appreciation for literature was nurtured from a young age, being taught to respect books and get lost in their stories. She enjoys reading honest and realistic novels that are relatable, thought provoking and leave a lasting impression. She can’t write without music playing, using the emotions from different songs to invoke those of her characters. Lisa takes inspiration from her own life experiences, the people around her and those she has met in her travels.

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Mary Catherine Gebhard

Mary Catherine Gebhard bites off more than she can chew. She’s lived in Salt Lake City, Utah her entire life, but occasionally goes on vacation from reality. Don’t worry, she sends postcards.

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ZB Heller

As a little girl it was always a dream for Z.B. Heller to become She-Ra Princess of Power. Since this dream was unobtainable, she spent what was probably way to long in college trying to “find herself”. Becoming an artist scratched the creative itch until the stories in her head were getting to be to loud for her to get anything else accomplished.

She lives in St. Louis with her husband, son and Flemish Giant rabbit Chloe. In her spare time she likes to read, stalk celebraties on Twitter and create the type of art people scratch their heads about.

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Vanessa Marie

Always the cause of shenanigans, Vanessa is a heavily tattooed, sarcastic motorcycle enthusiast who started her career as a Jeep tech at the age of sixteen. The happily married mother of three little monsters—oops, children—lives in Kentucky by way of Las Vegas, Nevada. Once her life took a different direction—sidelined by Heart Disease at 26 and becoming a pacemaker recipient—she decided to write as a creative outlet, and Heartless was born. She realizes life can be dark clouds and acid rain at times, but her outlook on life puts a positive and sarcastic spin on it all.

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Glenna Maynard

Glenna Maynard is a Kentucky native with a passion for romance best known for her bestselling romantic suspense novel I’m with You and The Black Rebel Riders’ MC series. When she isn’t arguing with the voices in her head or drinking reader tears, she enjoys watching classic TV shows with her two children and longtime leading man.

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Kristen Hope Mazzola

Hi! Thanks for dropping in…

You want to know more about me? Well, let’s see…

I am just an average twenty-something following my dreams. I have a full time “day job” and by night I am an author. I guess you could say that writing is like my super power (I always wanted one of those). I am the lover of wine, sushi, football and the ocean; that is when I am not wrapped up in the literary world.

Please feel free to contact me to chat about my writing, books you think I’d like or just to shoot the, well you know.

A portion of all my royalties are donated to The Marcie Mazzola Foundation.

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Morgan Jane Mitchell

Bestselling erotic romance and paranormal author, Morgan Jane Mitchell spent years blogging politics and health trends before she rediscovered her love of writing fiction. Trading politicians for bloodsuckers of another kind, she’s now the author of bestselling post-apocalyptic fantasy novel, Sanguis City. Her action packed series of vampires, witches, demons and zombies is paranormal romance, dystopia, urban fantasy and erotica in one bite. When Morgan Jane is not creating the city of blood or conjuring up other supernatural tales, she’s dreaming up erotic and dark romances. Morgan Jane lives in the beautiful bluegrass area of central Kentucky with her husband, 3 sons, 3 cats and a greyhound shepherd mix dog named Miss Penni Lane.

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Jenni Moen

Jenni Moen lives in her hometown in Oklahoma with her husband and three crazy, exuberant kids who have the potential to burn the house down at any moment.

When she’s not chauffeuring kids around town, performing her mom duties as a short order cook and maid, or vacuuming for her fastidious husband, she hammers away at her keyboard. Sometimes that means she’s up to no good. But every now and then a new book is born.

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Alexis Noelle

Alexis Noelle lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with her husband, and three kids. On top a writing career, she is a full-time student and a full-time mom. She loves spending time with her kids, although she has to hide the computer from them when she is writing! She love being active and being outdoors, especially if it involves any kind of shopping.

She has always been passionate about writing. She loves to read romance books and feels like being able to lose yourself in a book is one of the more exciting aspects. The books she loves to read and write will be ones that make you feel for the characters. Alexis believes that you should have an opinion on every character in a book whether you love them, hate them, or think they are up to something.

She also believes that the most important critic is your reader, so she loves to hear from the readers. She want her fans to be open & talk to her about what they want for the characters in the story, and what they would like to see happen.

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Rochelle Paige

Rochelle Paige is the Amazon bestselling author of eleven books. She absolutely adores reading and her friends growing up used to tease her when she trailed after them, trying to read and walk at the same time. She loves stories with alpha males, sassy heroines, hot sex and happily ever afters. She is a bit of a genre hopper in both her reading and her writing. So far she’s written books in several romance sub-genres including new adult, contemporary, paranormal and romantic suspense.

She is the mother of two wonderful sons who inspired her to chase her dream of being an author. She wants them to learn from her that you can live your dream as long as you are willing to work for it.

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Brandy L Rivers

Brandy L Rivers is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She is kept busy writing the Others of Seattle, Others of Edenton, Combustible, and the Pine Barrens Pack series.
An avid reader, Brandy has always loved writing. She became serious about it as a stay-at-home-mother. With every story her world of characters expands, pulling her new directions.
Living in rainy Western Washington with her husband and three kids, Brandy is already working on future stories in each of the series, and several other projects.

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Katherine Rhodes

Author of erotica, light BDSM erotica and paranormal erotica. Expert in the profundities of bad movies and awful literature. Armed with her Bachelors of English, Literature she has set her mind to writing erotic romances which are kinky, dirty, and fun. A lackadaisical laundry goddess, Katherine resides in Philadelphia with her husband, three cats and a betta named Fishtian Grey.

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Emerson Shaw

Emerson Shaw was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelors of Business Administration. She is married and has two beautiful children. Her debut novel, Acts of Desperation, was based off of a true story. She recently began a new romantic suspense series called “The Hot Pursuit Series.” Straight Flushed, book one, was released on June 22, 2015.

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Kacey Shea

Kacey Shea is a mom of three, wife, and indie author who resides in sunny Arizona. She enjoys reading and writing romance novels as much as her son loves unicorns, which is a lot.

When she’s not writing you will find her playing taxi cab to her children while belting out her favorite tunes, meeting friends or family for food and to share some laughs, or sweating it out in the gym. Kacey finds that picking up heavy weights repeatedly is good for her mental health as much as it is for the physical.

She has an unhealthy obsession with firefighters. It could be the pants. It could be the fire. It’s just hot. On occasion she has been known to include them, without their knowledge, in her selfies outside the grocery store.

Kacey one day aspires be a woman hand model in a sexy photo shoot. You know, the woman’s hand raking across the muscular back or six pack stomach of the male fitness model. Yep, that hand.

Until that day comes she will continue writing sexy, flirty romance novels in hopes to bring others joy!

Kacey enjoys interacting with her fans so please feel free to stalk her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Sign up for Kacey’s newsletter and never miss a release: http://eepurl.com/b5FI4f

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M. Stratton

M. Stratton is an International Amazon bestselling author in the romantic suspense and mystery suspense categories for her Storm Series and Bender. She lives with her husband and son in Arizona, which is a big difference from where she grew up north of Chicago, Illinois. As an only child she learned to tell herself stories to make the long winters go by quicker while dreaming of summer vacations. Now as an adult she still makes up stories to pass the time, but now she writes them down to share with other people.

Stratton is a self-proclaimed dork who loves to make people laugh. Her inner rock star is always on stage performing to a sold out crowd, but she quiet and shy on the outside. She spends her days plotting new ways to surprise her readers.

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Madison Street

Madison began writing at a young age. She would write episodes of her favorite television shows and her passion has grown since. She decided to pursue her dreams and debuted her dark romance suspense novel, Little Things, in June 2014. It was well received by thousands of readers and became a bestseller in Romance Suspense on Amazon.

Madison Street was born in New York City and was raised in the Bronx, where she resided until she was 17 years old. After 9/11, Madison joined the United States Navy to serve her country.

During the deployments, Madison constantly wrote short stories and she discovered her passion for writing. You will find Madison always on the computer, whether she’s on Facebook, designing websites, messing with Photoshop, or writing for her blog.

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Felicia Tatum

USA Today Bestselling author Felicia Tatum was born and raised in Tennessee. She always loved reading, and at the age of twelve began writing. Her passion for creating stories grew and in May 2012, she finally wrote her first novel, The White Aura.

She still lives in Tennessee with her daughter and her kitty. She loves cooking, books, and animals are some of her best friends. She watches a lot of Disney channel and often dreams up new book ideas. She’s currently working on various projects. She’s the author of the White Aura series, Scarred Hearts series, and Intoxicating Passion series.

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5 Years in Publishing: A Reflection

being-a-good-writerYesterday was my 5 Year Publishing Anniversary (or “Pubiversary” as some of us call it. Authors are allowed to make up words, right?). The day was a busy one for unrelated reasons, so I didn’t get to celebrate as I should have. But five years is a long time, and my celebration will come in the form of reflection.

The last five years might as well have been fifty for how much has changed for me as a direct result of publishing my work.

Let’s back up further, to 2000. I was watching TV with my husband (we weren’t married yet, though; not until the following year). A single line popped into my head: “It was raining the day I buried my wife.” Depressing, right? But if you’re a creative type, like me, depressing ideas often become opportunities. I was struck with the overwhelming certainty I was meant to write this line down, and more, that this line would become the beginning of a novel. Now, I had been writing since I was in the second grade. I’d won awards for my stories, and was known for being the girl who’s “imagination would get her in trouble one day.” (For the record, it got me in trouble more than a few times). But I was notorious for never finishing anything I wrote, except short pieces. No matter how much world building or planning I’d do, I was great at starting, okay at the middle, but a complete failure at tying it together into an ending. Endings were scary. Endings required commitment in a very final way.

Worse, like most writers, I was a perfectionist. Nothing was ever good enough. And I had no one to tell me nothing ever would be. I had to learn that on my own.

I’ve written before about how St. Charles at Dusk, which started with the line above, took me over a decade to write. If you’ve read the book, you’re probably asking:  How?? The answer requires an essay of its own, but the short explanation is perfectionism and crippling self-doubt. Two things authors are intimately familiar with.

Then one day my husband came across some articles on Amanda Hockett and her success in self-publishing and encouraged me to give it a shot. Up to that point, when I thought of self-publishing I envisioned the middle aged man with boxes of his magnum opus sitting in the garage, waiting for him to drive around and peddle them to random strangers. Obviously, things had changed if a young girl could sell over a million books without anyone in the industry guiding her. This was a chance to get my work out there, without the stress of finding an agent or a publisher. A toe in the water. What did I have to lose?

Nothing, as it turned out. Instead, I had everything to gain.

10608594_10204384390957197_7459378025498670569_o (1)Outside of a few Google searches, I knew absolutely nothing about self-publishing. I had no idea where to even start, and, at the time, I didn’t know any other authors (nor did I have a clue where to find them). I met a designer (referred to me by a friend) for coffee and tried to articulate the book and my vision for it, and failed miserably. He ended up designing a stunning cover, but it wasn’t what I was looking for, and I blame myself. Learning to articulate my work clearly and concisely was a skill that would come later. But it was a professional cover, and I published St. Charles at Dusk with it.

Formatting took me weeks to get right. I must have ordered ten proof copies before getting it passably correct. Figuring out where my books should be published (outside of the obvious choice of Amazon) was another mountain. My sanity was tested.

305064_249627531745014_118012210_n.jpgAnd then, on September 26th, 2011, I released St. Charles at Dusk to the wide world. No fanfare beyond a few excited friends and family members (I remember who supported me in those early days, and I love you all so much for it). Holding my own book in my hands for the first time is a feeling I cannot begin to describe, so won’t even try. If I got tagged in a “5 Best Moments of Your Life” post, that would be on there for sure.

Then… nothing. I had no clue how to market my work to anyone beyond my contacts, and my built-in humility made it hard to do even that. In 2011, I made exactly $53.24 (while I couldn’t sell books, I’m an ace at financial tracking). I’m fairly certain I could attach names to every one of those sales, too.

The first half of 2012 was no different. In fact, I made less. $49.50. I marketed the book exactly zero times, and the excitement I had in late 2011 from this accomplishment died from “I’m an author,” to “I published a book once.” I would daydream about the next book, but the ideas never made it to the page. I was The Queen of Concepts.

Then, as always, I participated in National Novel Writing Month. I had a trip to Turkey and Morocco planned for late November, so I knocked out the entire required 50,000 words in twenty days. And I loved the story! It wasn’t exactly a sequel to St. Charles at Dusk (which was meant to be a standalone, but I found I couldn’t bear to leave that world). In fact, it felt like a beginning to something more. The Storm and the Darkness was, in my own way, a love letter to introverts. Ana Deschanel and Jonathan St. Andrews were my best attempt to show the world what it is to feel isolated and awkward, and to search for your place in the world. It was also the true start to what became The House of Crimson & Clover Series.

I didn’t touch the manuscript again until early 2013. I’d been laid off at work, and I needed something to keep me busy. I started blogging, mostly about travel and Tolkien topics, and met some amazing people, many of whom I’ve continued friendships with into today. I met other writers. I started to get a broader view of the industry beyond the small piece I occupied by myself. Inspired by being around other artists and rediscovering a sense of purpose, I dusted off The Storm and the Darkness and published it in June of 2013, a month after starting my new job.

Before, I’d told myself it was too difficult to balance a full time career in the outside world with a career in the writing world. Now, I was determined to ride this newfound excitement and momentum and prove myself wrong.

Flourish came in August of 2013. The Illusions of Eventide followed in December. Shattered in February of 2014, and then another four titles that same year. In 2013 I made hundreds of dollars. In 2014, thousands. Somewhere between Darkness and Flourish, I started learning Photoshop and began to design my own covers, which was an evolution in itself. Inspired by my good friend Becket, who had learned to design his own as well, I decided I could do anything I put my mind to, and if I practiced enough, I could do it well.

11215768_10207522698732930_466527202291173829_nIn 2014 I was invited to be a featured author at Anne Rice’s Undead Con in New Orleans. I was invited back in 2015. I had a chance to speak with Anne personally and tell her what her work had meant to me, and how she had inspired my work almost more than any other author.

Somewhere between those two events, Christopher Rice (another one of my favorite authors) picked up The Storm and the Darkness and declared it one of his favorite books, much to my incredible shock. He featured it as a Favorite Read on his Dinner Party Show.  I still don’t know how this happened. It still takes my breath away.

I busted my ass and by the start of 2015 I had nine titles.  But what I did not have was a solid marketing strategy.

JPG (3)Around this time, I finally envisioned the design that would define my brand. I spent endless hours redesigning my series, my website, my marketing materials. I began to understand that the reason I struggled to market before was that I was inconsistent in how I saw my work, and that included picking a genre and sticking with it. By focusing my brand into something others could see and recognize as mine, I was able to target the readers who should be reading my work.

In 2015, I published seven more titles. I became an Amazon Bestselling Author for the first time on my own (several times), and hit the USA Today list twice in anthologies. My sales went from four to five figures. I started to get emails daily from readers instead of monthly. I began to see the impact my work could have on others. My income moved from the four digits into the five. I was able to re-invest back in my business and grow it further.

Now, in 2016, five years after I hit publish with shaking hands, I have 22 titles under my name. I’m beginning to branch outside of The House of Crimson & Clover, and I now have a system that works- for writing, getting a book to market, and getting it before readers. And despite all that, I know I still have so much more to learn.

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The accomplishments I’m most proud of in 5 years:

  • Hitting publish for the first time. This required more bravery than anything I’ve ever done.
  • Learning to design my own graphics work and creating a brand design that I’m absolutely in love with, still, almost two years later.
  • Being a featured author at the Anne Rice Undead Con in New Orleans twice.
  • Hitting #18 in the overall Amazon store on my own. Also hitting the Top 100 four times on my own.
  • Hitting #3 in the Barnes & Noble store on my own.
  • Hitting the USA Today Bestseller’s list three times in anthologies.
  • Having Christopher Rice feature my work and continue to call me one of his favorite authors.
  • Charles at Dusk made it to the quarter-finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest.
  • I both met and exceeded the business goals I set for myself in 2014 and 2015 (and the goals were aggressive). I’m on track for the same in 2016.
  • 22 titles. Twenty-two. How are there even that many words in my head?

If some of this feels less than modest, that’s because there’s something else I’ve learned to do in five years: Not be afraid of success. In any other career, we are encouraged to go after promotions and opportunities, and we are equally encouraged to find pride when we get them. There’s a certain level of shame in admitting when you’ve done well as an author, as if the career choice is not viable in comparison to others. So this is me saying, I am thrilled with where my career as an author has taken me. And I’ve even more excited to see where it goes.

Most of all, though, I want to say thank you. To my readers who keep reading. To my author friends who keep me going. To my family and friends who believe in me. Writing is a very solitary profession, but having a support system makes it just a little bit less lonely.

Onward to the next 5 years.