Holiday Updates – NaNoWriMo, Events, Releases, Hooliganism

Just kidding… no hooliganism.

This year I decided to take a break for the holidays. Of course, a break for me simply means I’m only tackling half of my normal workload. No rest for the wicked.

10407650_10205022985601664_1147909807632707945_nNaNoWriMo: First, I finished NaNoWriMo on the 23rd, which makes this my fifth winning year in a row. My project this year was Empire of Shadows (Book 4 in the House of Crimson & Clover), which is already, without doubt, shaping up to be my longest and most ambitious work yet.

I’ll be working on Empire of Shadows through next March, when its scheduled for edits.

Upcoming Event: On December 13, I’ll be doing a reading and signing at Rusty Grape Vineyards in Battle Ground, WA, alongside authors KL Bone, Greg Wilkey, Brandy L Rivers, and Alys B Cohen. For more details about this and other events, you can stalk my events page.

Facebook Contests: I’ve let two of my Minions loose on my Facebook page through the end of the year, and they will be doing daily contests for points, leading to weekly prizes and one grand prize.

St. Charles at Dusk: This series prequel of mine has been free for most of 2014. But in early 2015, I plan to remove it from free. If you want a free copy, now is the time to grab it! Click here for a list of retailers.

Upcoming Releases:

Face the Music– The next Dauntless Indies anthology will be out on January 5th, exclusive to Amazon. You can pre-order it here. My short story contribution features something you haven’t seen from me before: vampires!

Shame: A Crimson & Clover Lagniappe- Storm and the Darkness fans… ever curious how Jon ended up the way he is? This short bonus story digs into a very dark chapter of his history that changes the truth as Summer Island always knew it. Coming in late January. Cover coming soon.

Empire of Shadows (The House of Crimson & Clover Book 4)– The lives and worlds of the Deschanels have been changed forever. A dark history and a past they can no longer ignore become front and center. Every single one of them plays a role in the family’s hour of reckoning. Coming Spring 2015. Cover reveal in December.

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving holiday! Thank you for all your support this year!

~ Sarah

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Anne Rice Undead Conference – New Orleans 2014

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All official and stuff.

This year, I was invited to be an author panelist at the Anne Rice Undead Conference. I could play it modest and act like it was no big deal, but… huzzah! Even before I left for New Orleans, I knew it was going to the trip to remember. An important moment in both my personal life, and my writing career.

Now, if you read my books you’ll know I’m no stranger to New Orleans. Quite the opposite: I am obsessed with this strange, decadent, architecturally and culturally incredible city. Really, all of South Louisiana, from the Quarter to the many beautiful bayous. I owe my writing inspiration to every smell, sound, and sight in that corner of the world. I make an effort to visit as often as I can, usually annually. Usually with my bestie, Laura.

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I very nearly chained myself to one of those glorious columns.

With four days worth of amazing events, I knew we had to pack in some R&R&R (Rest, Relaxation, & Research) time, so we added two days to the front of the trip, and two days after.

To start, we spent two luxurious nights at Houmas House Plantation & Gardens. We didn’t do a whole lot, and that was the point. Mimosas, bathrobes, good books, and the sound of cicadas set against a backdrop that could inspire any novelist. Oh, and this backdrop did inspire this novelist, as HH is one of the original inspirations for the fictional plantation in my books, Ophelie. *~The More You Know.*~

My brave and daring companions through the rest of this whirlwind adventure were my two dearest friends: Laura and Shawn. I seriously could NOT have done this without either of them. I am a very lucky gal.

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My #authorposse, prepping to keep me sane for the next few days.

Thursday morning, we packed up our tiny rental car with enough luggage for a royal progress, and headed into NOLA for the Meet & Greet at St. Alphonsus Church. Anne and Christopher Rice would both be there (Anne promoting her latest Vampire Chronicles book, Prince Lestat, and Christopher his new supernatural thriller, The Vines. Both excellent reads by the way), as well as Christine Feehan. Those of us invited as panelists were also guests, and were gathered near AR and CR.

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L to R: Raven Quinn, Becket, KL Bone, Me, Greg Wilkey

First off: if you’re a Rice fan, you already know how beautiful St. Alphonsus is purely from her vivid descriptions. But seeing it in person was absolutely stunning. On a prior trip I’d walked past it, but this was my first time inside.

As authors, we were among the first to meet Anne and ask her a few questions. I was relieved to have a question that was not entirely ridiculous. Honestly, I was surprised I could still speak English when sitting right in front of my dang muse.

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Also awesome was meeting and spending time with fellow authors, panelists, and friends, like Becket, Raven Quinn, K.L. Bone, Greg Wilkey, Alys Arden, CM Michaels, and more. We spent a lot of time posing for pictures, and looking otherwise glamorous.

After the Meet & Greet, we closed the night out with some vino at Patrick’s Bar Vin in the Quarter. Great choice, by the way.

Of course, we couldn’t stay out too late. Friday was scheduled to be RI-DIC-U-LOUS.

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The first of several botched selfies of Christopher Rice and me.

First off, we watched the panel with Christopher Rice, Eric Shaw Quinn, Christopher Buehlman, Christine Feehan, and Paul Koudanaris. So much entertainment (and talent!) in one tiny table.

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So many faves! Becket & I; our panel; CR and I; Greg Wilkey and I

Next up, was our panel. Becket, Raven Quinn, Greg Wilkey, KL Bone, CM Michaels, and yours truly. For as nervous as I was starting, I was quickly reminded how easily I’ve always found talking to crowds (a strange trait for an introvert, I know). The time flew by, and it was a blast. What an honor to be surrounded by so much diverse talent.

Brilliance happening.
Brilliance happening.

With both Halloween panels complete, that only meant one thing: Lestat Coronation Ball!

Well, no. First, we spent four hours getting our hair and makeup done. It may be enough to say that none of us had been this fancy since prom.

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KL Bone and I

The Lestat Coronation Ball was an event I’ll probably have trouble describing. From the music to the decor to the elaborate costumes and dresses, it felt like stepping into another time and place. And as an author, it’s absolutely stunning to witness the impact a character and a series can have on so many.

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That smile is me trying to keep my sh** together.

And the moment of the trip for me: taking a moment to sit down and thank Anne for the impact she has had on my writing. I suppose I could have asked her a thousand questions, but all I wanted to do was say thank you. And I did.

After the ball, we took a few spins around the Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone, and met a unicorn flirting and drinking his heart out. #Halloween in NOLA

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Eating lunch with “Adele.” RIP Adele.

We kicked off Saturday with a tour of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 for All Saints Day, which included LITERALLY EATING FOOD ON TOMBS. I was skeptical, but this is apparently a tradition, and I love me some good NOLA traditions. We then hopped over for a late breakfast at Cafe du Monde, an afternoon in the Garden District (where we visited the location of my Oz Sullivan and narrowly avoided a restraining order) riding the streetcar, and then a fabulous dinner at Galatoire’s, our New Orleans favorite. Sunday was equally nice, from our jazz brunch at Commander’s Palace, to spending the last couple hours of the UC weekend saying goodbye to the other authors at the cocktail party.

By Monday, all our excitement caught up with us and we lazed about. We had a wonderful lunch with Christina “Stina” Barnett, and then dinner with new friends Alys Arden and Alex Rosa.

As with anytime I leave NOLA, a piece of me stays behind. But the rest of me is ready for next year!

Guest Author: K.L. Bone

My guest today is K.L. Bone, author of the YA fantasy series Rise of the Temple Gods, among other work. Her dark fantasy novel, Black Rose, is coming out in October, just in time for her to make an appearance as a panelist on Anne Rice’s Undead Con. Did I mention we are on the panel together? Can’t wait to meet her.

Please join me in welcoming K.L. to the Guest Author Program!

If you are interested in participating in the program, you can submit here. Continue reading