Shh! I have a secret.

I’m really not supposed to tell, but I’m about to bust at the seams.  Okay…so here’s something you gotta learn about me.  Don’t go telling me your secrets if they’re really juicy and good.  I have a hard time keeping secrets.

But back to my secret that I’m dying to tell.  I just finished writing a short story, Turned At Dark.  It’s a story about Della, one of my secondary characters in the Shadow Falls Series. You’ll first meet Della in Born At Midnight on the bus ride to Shadow Falls when she pops up from one of the bus’s backseats.  Della, who is a vampire, ends up being Kylie’s roommate.  Believe me when I tell you that in the beginning, Kylie’s not too thrilled about the arrangement.  And what’s funny is that Della isn’t too thrilled about it, either, especially when she learns Kylie’s sort of a ghost whisperer.  I mean, she might suck blood, but at least she doesn’t have dead people hanging around her all the time.

In my short story Turned At Dark, you will see Della the night she was turned into a vampire.  You’ll get an inside peek at what makes Della tick.  Why she’s sometimes so hard on herself and on others.

So when is this story coming out?  I told you it was a secret!!!  Okay, fine, here’s what I know.   In Macmillan’s March 14 newsletter they are going to announce the Turned at Dark story; it will be on on the Born At Midnight page.   You can read the story there.  And here’s the best part, it’s going to be free!

But hey…there’s more:  On March 29, the same release day as Born at Midnight, the story will be released as an ePub file on all reseller sites, such as BN, Borders, Sony, Googlebooks, IBookstore. You will be able to download the story to your e-reader with the cover and the first three chapters of Born at Midnight.  All for free!  Can you see why I’m so excited?

But hey . . . there’s even more:  On February 15, WordsNStuff  newsletter,  a newsletter put out by my publisher, is hosting a giveaway of Born at Midnight and offering 25 ARCs, as well as releasing the first chapter of Born At Midnight.  To enter and receive the newsletter, all you have to do is go to and register.  It’s easy, I know, because I just did it.

But hey… there’s even more.  They are designing a cover for Turned At Dark.  With the fabulous job they’ve done with my other two covers, I can’t wait to see it.  Hopefully, I’ll have the cover to post on next week’s blog. So make sure you come by on Tuesday.  Better yet, join my mailing list, and I’ll send out an announcement of when the story is out.

But hey . . . there’s even more.  Nah, I’m joking.  There’s not anymore.  Have a great day.  And if you can leave a comment and let me know you dropped by, I’d be thrilled.


First Kisses

Do you remember your first kiss?  Ahh, I do.  I’ve been hesitant to blog about it because it’s one of those .  . . extraordinary memories.  And by extraordinary, I don’t mean . . .  Well, let me just tell you about it.

I was thirteen and spending the night at my grandparents’ house.  My uncle, who was only two years older than me, also had a friend staying the night.  Let’s call him . . . Hot Older Boy.  Ahh, because he was hot, as well as what I considered an older boy.  Probably fourteen and a half!  After everyone had gone to bed, I heard someone say my name at my bedroom door.  It was Hot Older Boy. He said he couldn’t sleep and wondered if I wanted to talk.  Yup, we’d shared a bit of dialogue earlier along with a few long, lingering stares, but neither of us wanted my uncle to know we were intrigued by each other.

After I crawled out of bed, and put on my jeans, we sought out a place to . . . chat.  My grandparents’ house had this old rambling floor plan where the rooms were built on to the structure one by one, but it only had one bathroom.  We sat on a sofa, in the room connected to the bathroom.  It was the only room away from the bedrooms with my sleeping family.

We sat there and chatted for a few moments and even though he appeared as unsure as I was, he leaned in, slowly, and his mouth touched mine.  Boy, howdie was I nervous when I felt his tongue brush across my bottom lip.  All I could think was that my first kiss was going to include tongue.  (Hey, don’t you remember talking about this when you were 11 and 12?) I opened my mouth ever so slightly, because that’s what I’d heard I was supposed to do, and that’s when it happened.  A hiccup exploded from my mouth. Not a light, cute noise, either.  Nope.  It was one that came right from the gut, pounces from the lips, and bounces off the walls.  I mean, here I was, having my first kiss, with an “older boy” too, and I got the nervous hiccups.  Thank goodness he was sweet and said it wasn’t a problem.

After a few minutes of chatting (well, he did most of the chatting, I was too scared to open my mouth for fear another obnoxious sound would bounce out) he tried again to kiss me.  His mouth drew near, his lips touched mine, and this time, the noise that exploded into the room wasn’t my hiccup.  Nope, it was my granddad clearing his throat.  And I should add that, with the exception of his tighty-whities, Grandpa was naked and his grandfather gut hung over the edge of the elastic band of his Hanes.

Hot Older Boy and I just sat there on that sofa and stared at my grandfather staring at us.  I opened my mouth to say something, something like, “We were just talking,” or something else equally unconvincing since he’d just witnessed the beginning of a kiss, but all that came out was another LOUD hiccup. Hot Older Boy shot up from the sofa and ran back to his bed, and I did the same.

Yup, my very first-kiss memory could have been a tad better.  Thank goodness I managed to snag a few better kisses later on.  And in spite of the fact that I had a less-than-desirable first kiss experience, I do love writing about first kisses. There’s that excitement, the heart-racing feeling of nervous butterflies playing bumper cars in your stomach.

In Born At Midnight, Kylie experiences two “first kisses” from two guys at the camp.  I was tempted to give her the hiccups. But I just couldn’t be that mean.  So, what about you guys?  Do you have a funny “G-rated” first kiss story? Is there a book you’ve enjoyed how an author writes those magical moment scenes?

Today, one person will win a pack of swag: a bookmark, a mirror and comb compact, a notepad, and a pen. So make sure you leave a comment.

Make sure you also check tomorrow to see the winner’s name posted.  And be sure to check back in a few days because I’ll have some updates and new material on my website.




Okay, I pulled out three names instead of one. So the winners are: Alexis Salcido’s, Aydrea, and Stacy (Urban Fantasy Investigations) So send me your snail mail address and I’ll send you all three your swag packs.

Thanks everyone for posting!


Names & Faces: Titles and Covers

Names & Faces:  Titles and Covers.  Shadow Falls Book Two Unveiled.

When I was pregnant, I fretted over finding the perfect name for my baby and I spent hours trying to imagine what my baby’s face would look like.  While I had no say in the baby’s facial features, the name was on me.  This was no little task.  Names are important.  I would latch on to one name for a day or so, try it out by saying it out loud over and over.  Meanwhile, I would pat my baby bump while repeating it, with hopes of getting a kick of approval from the child who would go through life with this name.  I dreamed up dozens of names, some of them were a bit ridiculous.  I opted out of naming it after my grandfather.  Burnett Bankhead Craig.  Nope, that just didn’t work.  I know some people who have several names picked out and they wait to see the baby’s face before making a final decision.  And that makes sense; a name should be reflective of person’s character.  I’ve heard of some couples having heated arguments over a baby’s name.  Basically, naming a baby is hard work.

Well, since I’ve been a writer, I’ve realized that picking out a title for a book, is much like naming a child.  You want it to be reflective of what the book is about.   But like most parents who name the child before it’s born, most writers pick a title before they’re even finished with a manuscript.  Heck, some writers have a title before they even have a plot.  And just like choosing a name for your baby, you don’t want the title of your book to sound stupid, or be one that everyone will poke fun of.  It would be as bad as naming a boy Anne, or Burnett.  (Yeah, I know, I gave the name to one of my characters, but he’s vampire and no one would poke fun at him.)  You want the name of your book to be unique, but not so unique that people can’t remember it.  Nor do you want it to be so common that everyone and their pet gerbil has the same name.  And as parents are often known to argue over names, some writers argue with their publishers over titles.  And guess what?   Generally speaking, a publisher has the final say over the title of author’s book.

Not that it’s always a bad thing.  Publishing professionals often have a keen insight to the market.  When I first wrote Born at Midnight, I titled it, Bone Creek Camp.  I was told they liked the title to use for the series, but I needed another name for the book.  So I came up with, The Secret, referring to the secret Kylie’s parents always kept hidden from her.  My editor liked it, but said with the nonfiction book “The Secret” already out, she thought we’d best go with something different.  I came up with several other titles, one of which was Born at Midnight.  Everyone was happy.  But then the publisher took the title of the series and the book to the marketing department.  They thought Bone Creek Camp sounded like a western novel.  I had to admit, they had a point.

So it was back to the grindstone on titles for the series.  My editor came up with several.  I picked my favorite title from hers.  I liked Shadow Falls, but duh, at the time the book didn’t have a falls in it.  So I went back into the book and found a way to work in a waterfall.  And I loved what happened.  The whole concept of the falls kept adding layers to the plot.  While Kylie never makes it to the falls in book one, in book two, the scene at the falls is one of my favorite.

Then it was time to name the second book.  I came up with Cold at Dawn, referring to how Kylie’s ghost has a bad habit of waking her up at dawn with the icy chill of the spirit’s presence.  My editor countered with Awake at Dawn.  It made sense and I liked it, so we didn’t even have to get out the name-that-book boxing gloves.  And last week, like getting the initial peek at my baby’s face, I got my first glimpse of Awake At Dawn’s cover.  Amazingly, they depicted the scene where Kylie first saw the falls.  I love it.

Since we’re talking names and titles, I thought it might be interesting to hear what you think of your own names?  Did your parents do you a favor by giving you the name you have, or do you wonder what the heck they were thinking?  If you could change your name, what would you change it to be?  And . . . since you are all readers, tell me what you like to see in a title and a cover in a book?  Does a title or cover provoke you to buy a book?

One person who posts will win a goodie bag of Shadow Falls swag, which includes a bookmark, a brush and mirror compact, a pen, a notepad, and a signed bookplate.  So come on, let’s have fun and post some comments.  Oh, and make sure you come back tomorrow to see who won and send me your snail mail address so I can send you prize.