December 2nd, 2011
New cover: The Twisted Kiss

I have a new release coming out from Samhain at the end of January and got the go ahead yesterday to show the cover, which I think is pretty awesome. This book is part of a new series. I really love this world, (post-apocalyptic though it may be). :)


Read an excerpt

Sometimes it takes just one kiss…

Doomsyear, Book 1

Kylie Mitchell lives in a world of monsters. Thanks to a military experiment gone viral, over half the population is gone and most of what remains has mutated into storybook werewolves and vampires. In this new Earth, only the tough survive, and Kylie has more than enough reason to want to be left alone.

When the Council of the Wise decrees that she must mate with a potent vampire and a powerful werewolf, Kylie resents their intrusion into her self-imposed exile. As one of the last humans on Earth, she always assumed she’d be safe from the super-psychics’ machinations, and she’s not ready to trust her heart to anyone.

Michael and Christian share no great love for each other, but they have one thing in common—their long-time desire for Kylie. Determined to ensure she doesn’t spend the rest of her lonely life wallowing in needless guilt, they choose to put aside their differences and work together, never allowing her time to think as they seduce her body and mind, hoping their love will tempt her heart to open to them.

Yet just as she begins to bloom under their fiercely protective attention, a twisted and monstrous figure from the past rises up, threatening to destroy everything…

Product Warnings:
Features a sexy werewolf, a motorcycle-riding vamp, and one very lucky woman who is tough enough to take care of herself. Watch out for sizzling hot sex scenes, two alpha males, undeniable love, and a twisted monster that might end it all.

November 29th, 2011
Post Thanksgiving Blather

I hope everyone had a nice holiday. My daughter was off for five straight days, so I didn’t do much writing. She’s five and it’s possible to get work done with her around, but I wanted to spend some quality time with my girl, so I took the time off.

We saw Arthur Christmas in 3d (super cute, btw), had Thanksgiving at my aunt’s house (first time in eight years I didn’t host/cook…and it was SUBLIME), baked snickerdoodle cookies (our fav), and took her ice skating for the first time.

Growing up in Minnesota, back before global warming caused temps there to grow milder, my life was filled with ice and snow. I was on my high school figure skating team and can remember getting up at five in the morning in the dead of winter, temperature fifteen below zero, and heading into the rink for practice before school. These are good memories from good times.

So I was excited to share the joy of skating with my daughter and a bit scared too. I hadn’t strapped on a pair of skates in years and my daughter…well, she’d never worn a pair. Together we hobbled out onto the ice. My daughter turned to me immediately and said in an accusing voice, “You didn’t tell me ice was so cold and slippery!” Erm, yeah, I guess I just assumed she’d know, but she is only five.

We clung to the boards the first two times around, my daughter learning how to balance on the skates and me trying to remember. When she fell on her butt the first time and exclaimed about how the ice wasn’t only cold and slippery, it was !!!hard!!! too, I thought it was over. I thought she’d say she’d want to quit, but instead she pulled herself up (okay, I helped) and continued on.

Slowly I got my legs back under me. Muscle memory is an incredible thing. And, slowly, my daughter figured out how to keep her balance and move forward. She fell. A LOT. Over and over. Hard thumps onto her butt, sometimes onto her knees. Every time she fell, I thought, this is it. She’ll want to quit now. But every time, she pulled herself up, more determined than ever to learn how to skate.

By the end of the session, she could skate all around the rink by herself, completely unafraid of falling. I was so proud of her. It’s important to learn how to fall, important to be okay with falling. It’s even more important to be able to pick yourself up after a fall and move on. She showed an incredible amount of perseverance on the ice that day, and she loved skating. She’s already bugging me to go back. :)

So, what did you do on your Thanksgiving holiday? (…if, of course, you celebrated it.)

November 1st, 2011
Fairy Tales on TV

Both Yasmine Galenorn and I have series that delve into the world of the fae. It’s a rich area, perfect for fiction writers, and a place not as often explored as, say, vampire or werewolf lore.

My series draws mostly from Irish myth, but I definitely put my own slant on it. I didn’t use any of the actual fairy tale characters in my world, like Little Red Riding Hood or Snow White, although I’m really fascinated by the dark symbolism in those stories. So, I was pretty interested in two new TV shows that recently started, Once Upon a Time and Grimm.

I’m not much of a TV watcher at all. We don’t have cable or satellite and any show I follow I get from Netflix a season late. For these two shows, though, I’m making an effort to tune in.

Once Upon a Time is from the producers of Lost, which I really liked (even though the story arc was pretty shaky). The premise is basically this: Evil witch (Snow White’s stepmother) pulls fairy tale characters through to our world and strands them in a town called Storybrooke without memory of their enchanted otherlife. When an adopted boy tracks down his bio mom, he’s sure she’s the lost daughter of Prince Charming and Snow White and is the only person who can break the witch’s evil spell.

This show has a soap opera sort of feel, which can work as long as the characters are compelling and the plot is layered and interesting. Lost had that same sort of feel. The main characters are all female, which I love. But I’m not sure what to expect from Once Upon a Time. Selfishly, because it uses fairy tales, I’m hoping people will like it and it will stay on the air. I’ve only seen the first ep so far…and I don’t know. We’ll see.

Grimm also draws from fairy tales, but it’s a much different show. The main characters of this one are male and it’s visually darker and more action-packed. The premise of this show in a nutshell is: Descendants of the Brothers Grimm are able to see the monsters among us and must fight them. The first episode features a pretty creepy spin on the Big Bad Wolf.

I want to like Once Upon a Time more (female main characters!!), but, honestly, after the first ep I prefer Grimm.

Have any of you seen these shows? If so, what do you think of them?

October 25th, 2011
Embrace of the Damned Cover

A while back, I blogged here about my new series The Brotherhood of the Damned. Well, here’s the cover for the first book, Embrace of the Damned (May, 2012). They let me keep the title, yay!



It’s a bit different than the covers for my Elemental Witches and Dark Magick series, right? Dude, not a lady. And quite a dude he is. Cover artist Tony Mauro has portrayed Broder Calderson well, I think. He even got Broder’s leather coat, which is set with runes to help him sense the presence of Blight (no good at all).

Here’s the official blurb for the book:

A damned Viking warrior.

Centuries ago Broder Calderson committed murder. As punishment, he was given over to the dominion of Loki, the Trickster God, made part of the Brotherhood of the Damned and condemned to an immortal life of battle against the Blight, blood-drinkers from Hel.

A mysterious woman he can’t resist.

One thousand years to the day he was damned, Loki allows him a woman as reward for his good service and repentance of his crimes. Once Broder sees Jessamine Hamilton, he is overcome with need. But Jessa is no ordinary woman, and the truth of who—and what—she is could have dangerous consequences.

A tormented man she can’t deny.

Though a future together is impossible, the warrior’s touch ignites an irresistible passion in Jessa. But every heated kiss pushes them closer to destruction. Forced to return to the brutality of his Viking past to protect her, will Broder surrender forever to his darkest impulses?

~*~

I love my kick-ass chick covers, but I’m happy to go in another direction with this series. Other than The Chosen Sin, I’ve never had guys on my covers. I’m kind of interested to see how people react. What do you think?

What are your favorite elements on book covers? Can you name a few of your favorite covers, or does the content of the book trump all for you?

September 23rd, 2011
New Release: Keeping Kaitlyn

I just released a new novella for the Kindle and the Nook. It’s up at Smashwords and will be available at Sony, for the Kobo, Diesel and other ebook stores sometime within the next couple weeks.

Keeping Kaitlyn is the first novella in a new series I will be releasing in ebook format only. Welcome to the world of the Lycaon, dire wolf shifters who live in a reality just a little left of ours. They are strong, they are gorgeous, and they are desperate for their mates.

Please note that this series is highly erotic. So if you have come to me from my Elemental Witches or Dark Magick series, you will find these stories to be hotter.

$2.99


Buy for the Kindle

Buy for the Nook

Buy at Smashwords

Read an excerpt

Kaitlyn leads a regular life in a normal town, until one day the force of an unknown connection pulls her into an alternate reality. On the flip side of the veil Kaitlyn finds herself in the hands of two powerful dire wolf shifters, Rafian and Lucas, who tell her she is their mate.

Lucas has lost everything to the Magica Hunters who want the Lycaon shifters driven from their world. He passionately craves Kaitlyn and must employ every ounce of his formidable control once she’s near enough to touch. Her presence soothes the pain of his past.

Rafian has experienced loss too, though his comes with a dark guilt that haunts him. His brand of loving involves rope and handcuffs, acts he knows Kaitlyn may not be ready for, but he has waited years for her and it’s difficult to master his desires.

Together, he and Lucas tempt Kaitlyn’s body with every erotic move they have to make, while they stealthily seduce her heart. They make her see them for who they truly are—her perfect matches in every way.

Lucas and Rafian awaken emotion and passion in Kaitlyn that she’s never known, but the weight pulling at her from the other side of the veil is formidable. Will she be able to stay with the men she loves?

“When it came to Kaitlyn’s choice near the end, I got quite choked up. I was totally invested in Kaitlyn’s character and Anya’s writing allowed me to experience her emotion and anguish first hand… Keeping Kaitlyn combines well realised characters with an engaging story and some super erotic sex. Highly recommended!” Grete, Book Thing review blog

“The fantasy of having two lovers who cater to your every need is a win/win situation…I really enjoyed escaping into Kaitlyn’s daydream. The story was filled with many erotic moments as well as touching ones… absolutely scorching…” – Hanging with Bells review blog

August 9th, 2011
Cover for Midnight Enchantment

The fourth book in the Dark Magick series, releasing February 7, 2012!

A QUEST FOR FREEDOM MAY BE DERAILED BY THEIR INTENSE ATTRACTION…

Niall Quinn, mage and the finest thief in the Black Tower, is the fae’s best hope for freedom. Only he stands a chance of tracking down and retrieving the missing bosca fadbh pieces from the Summer Queen. But he meets his match in Elizabeth Cely Saintjohn, who has taken control of the pieces on the Summer Queen’s behalf—and has refused to give them up.

Elizabeth is an asrai, a rare English water fae, and she may be the only one in Piefferburg stealthier than Niall. She has her own reasons for guarding the two pieces and wanting the walls of Piefferburg to remain intact—even if it means denying her fae sisters and brothers their freedom. Her mother’s life depends on it.

Torn between his duty to obtain the pieces at any cost—and the shocking lust Elizabeth has stirred in him—Niall must convince Elizabeth to surrender the pieces, or else he may have no choice but to destroy her and all she holds dear…

August 9th, 2011
Vacation, recharge

Once in a while I crave the ocean. I don’t necessarily want to live by the ocean, too many people live on the edges of the USA for my tastes. But a few days oceanside on vacation? Yes, please. So we decided to take a rare week of vacation and drive down to Panama City Beach.

The weather was actually cooler there than where we live in the middle of the country. Weird, huh? And while the sun beats strong and fierce, (amazingly so), a nice breeze accompanied our days on the sand. We did a lot of lazing, a lot of watching our daughter swim and play, a lot of eating good food. Basically, it was a great recharge of our batteries.

One day we went out on a boat to look for wild dolphin. Dolphin are very curious about people. I can understand why; we are pretty strange, after all. This dolphin swam right up to the boat unexpectedly when we’d anchored to take a swim. He hung out for a little while, letting the kids have a very special encounter..

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We also stopped on a beach that was filled with little hermit crabs. For a girl from a place with no beaches, this was a serious treat. I’ve never seen anything like this before.

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.This one seems to be saying, “Please, no pictures.”

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They are kind of cute, aren’t they?

I did absolutely no work for an entire week. No writing. No even thinking about writing….(well, maybe a little thinking about writing). It was exactly what I needed. Sometimes it’s important to just shut the brain off for a while, don’t you think? It’s beneficial for the long run to give ourselves little breaks here and there.

Now I’m home and ready to get back to work. I’ve finished up a novella for Samhain and am working on the outline for the next Brotherhood of the Damned novel, feeling refreshed and energized..

July 14th, 2011
Guerrilla Marketing

One of the attendees at the convention I recently attended missed the panel on guerrilla marketing and asked me for some advice, so I thought I would try to encapsulate what was said in a blog post for all.

Even though I write for a large New York based publisher, I still do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to promoting my books. I started out in epublishing, so I’m used to having to market my titles myself. Though it’s very difficult to tell exactly what sort of promotions are the most effective, I have a few pointers for those just starting out. As you go, you will be able to see your way, discover what seems to work best for you and your particular genre.

Since I come from epublishing, my approach is largely internet centered. Since I write romance, I have the advantage of a large, loyal (wonderful) online community of authors and readers. Let me run down a list of things I do to promote myself and my books.

Newsletters – When I first started out, I threw up a shingle on Yahoogroups and began to build my newsletter subscriber base. I did this by holding monthly contests and offering free stories. Interspersed with the contests and free stories were excerpts from my books. Sneaky huh?

I’ve never, EVER harvested email addresses of people from other sources and forcibly added them to my list. It is a 100% opt-in affair. No one wants spam they didn’t sign up for. (See not being a douchebag below.)

Little by little, I built my base to a nice size. Later on, I signed on with Writerspace and gained their enormous newsletter subscriber base. This is a good way to get the word out about your upcoming releases and build a relationship with readers.

It’s important to remember, however, that even if your subscriber list is 10,000 people long, only a fraction of those people are actually opening your emails. That’s why it’s important to keep your subject lines alluring, hold contests, throw in the occasional free story.

Free reads – Are effective, in my opinion. I have two free novellas up on my web site and I get email about them all the time. I’ve had many people tell me they were led to buying my books because they downloaded one of these free reads

Online contests that have a viral component – I hold contests on my blog usually a month before I every new release. I do an overarching contest for the time period with a prize for a book store gift certificate, or sometimes an ereader. Then every day I give away a book from my backlist, or I get some of my author friends to join in and give books away.

I usually try to include a viral component with the contest, like a widget at the top with the cover of my new release (that cover is key. You want that cover seen as many times as possible). Everyone who reposts that widget (with my cover), or tells someone else about the contest, gets an extra entry. I found this to be highly effective for reaching many people and bringing new readers to my web site.

Social networking sites – I’m on Facebook and Twitter, but I never do the hard sell. I just hang out there, talk to people, and am myself. The hard sell never works, in my opinion, and I suck at it anyway. I just want to have fun and make friends.

On not being a douchebag on the internet – The topic of social networking sites brings me to an important point. Be careful how you conduct yourself on the internet and try not to be a d-bag. Nothing will turn readers off faster than seeing an author insulting a reviewer, a reader or another writer, or just generally being a butthead. There are many people out there who will avoid buying your books if they don’t like you as a person. (I happen to be one of them.)

Bookmarks, reader groups & bookstores – I buy a list of addresses of reader groups and bookstores and send out bookmarks to them before every release. If you’re lucky enough to have a gazillion ARCs, (I never do), those would be excellent to send.

If you’re looking for a good place to have your stuff printed….Vistaprint is your friend, especially when you’re just starting out and have less of a budget. Got Print is also a great place to order bookmarks and other promotional items. They provide great quality and are not expensive.

Print advertising – When I wrote ebooks only, I would place a group ad in Romantic Times, which was less expensive and got me reviewed in the magazine (that’s where the real value lay). I didn’t spend a lot of money on print ads back then. Now that I write print books, I do more advertising in print. For what I write, I usually choose Romantic Times, the RWR (that’s the publication put out by Romance Writers of America), Romance Sells and, occasionally, Realms of Fantasy.

I think of print ads as an announcement of your book’s release. After all, if the readers don’t know it’s on the shelves, they’re not going to buy it, right?

Networking – There is power in numbers and in friendship. Get together with other writers and form a promo group. Be nice to an author, promote his or her books, and they will likely do the same for you.

If you have any specific questions about marketing and self-promotion, ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer. If you’re an author, feel free to add your own advice. :)