Teaser Tuesday – Crosscurrents!

SEG2_Comp_FinalRGB_125dpi_ThumbRelease day for Crosscurrents (Southern Elemental Guardians Book 2) is coming soon from Amazon and iBooks! Here’s a sneak peek at what’s in store when Rhinemaiden Ilsa meets Paul Pulaski, her hot geek rescuer, ally, and soon-to-be hero.

 

They don’t hit it off right away, and their first (but not last) sparring session is highly entertaining. Enjoy! Also, click here for information about my launch day celebration giveaway. Plenty of mermaid-themed jewelry and other prizes up for grabs!

 

Lorelei’s Lyric (Southern Elemental Guardians Book 1) is also available from Amazon and iBooks!

 

Excerpt:

 

Returning her focus to the screen, Ilsa caught the blurry image of a boat coming toward the camera in spite of the desperate cries of warning she’d heard from its operator. She sat down in the desk chair and scooted close to get a better view. Horrified but unable to look away, she heard a sickening crack that must have come from her skull hitting the hull of the boat, followed by more shouts. At least two men were yelling. One denied culpability while the other seemed focused on…rescuing someone.

 

Her.

 

One of the two men rescued her?

 

Well, perhaps it had started as a rescue mission, but once the men spotted her fins it had no doubt turned into an entirely different scenario. After all, mortals were greedy, selfish beings who couldn’t be trusted. Oh the males had their uses, ones she’d particularly enjoyed during the course of her long life, but it didn’t change their nature. Ilsa’s human father had betrayed her mother because of her nixie nature, so what else could be expected of mortal men?

 

And yet, the jumbled audio feed suggested her rescuer’s outrage at the boat driver, especially as he fled the scene. The remaining man had apparently pulled her from the water and transported her here, wherever “here” might be. Confused and still a bit achy, she struggled to reconcile the evidence in front of her with history and experience.

 

“Are you okay?”

 

She yelped when the deep, familiar male voice came from behind her.

 

Ilsa jumped up from the computer chair, nearly knocking it over. She whirled around and held her arms out in front of her. Channeling her remaining power, she prepared to hit him with a blast of nixie energy that would make an electric eel jolt seem like a tickle. And if that didn’t work, she’d put him into a stupor with her Siren call.

 

Instead of attacking or running away, however, he simply stood and stared at her.

 

She’d been right in calling him a giant. The man stood at least six-three. With disheveled auburn hair and an even more outrageous goatee flanked by shorter stubble, he reminded Ilsa of the homeless vagabonds she’d encountered throughout her tour of the Americas. His worn T-shirt and ragged jeans solidified the look, though his sharp gaze and firm stance made Ilsa think twice about dismissing him as a fool.

 

The man slowly raised his hands, palms facing her. Though he regarded her with apparent caution, his actions didn’t seem threatening. Instead, he looked concerned.

 

“I don’t know if you can understand me, but I want you to know that I won’t hurt you. You were injured and I brought you here to help you…”

 

He stopped speaking when he looked down the length of her body. Her naked body. Well, what with one thing and another she hadn’t had time to conjure clothing to cover her—

 

Oh dear. Now there was another complication she didn’t need.

 

“My God,” he whispered, eyes wide with shock and apparent disbelief. “What happened to your fins?”

 

* * * * *

 

When the mermaid jumped up from Paul’s computer chair, whirled around, and held up her arms as if prepared to attack, he was first struck by her strength and apparent lack of fear. She seemed pretty nimble for someone sporting a major head injury. Or maybe she was simply running on adrenaline, given that she’d woken up in a strange place with a big guy crashed out beside her on the bathroom floor.

 

Nice going, Pulaski. Real smooth, scaring the poor thing.

 

As he tried to reassure her, wondering if she could speak at all or understand English, his gaze fell on her lower body. Her fins were gone. Instead, she sported a pair of legs. What the hell? Between struggling to find a rational explanation for the sudden change in anatomy, and the fact that a bare-assed naked female of perfect proportions now stood in his apartment, Paul figured both of his heads might explode.

 

“Perhaps you should sit down before you fall,” she suggested.

 

She spoke.

 

Not only that, she spoke flawless English with a beautiful accent he couldn’t quite place. Then again, the traffic jam tying up his neural pathways left little room for linguistic analysis. How was this possible? He’d examined her. Those fins hadn’t been fakes, they absolutely could not have been fakes, nor could those gill slits. And yet, the creature now stood before him on human legs that couldn’t be fakes either could they?

 

“Um, yeah, sitting might be good,” he said, shaking his head. “But you sit, too.”

 

She arched a slender brow, but then lowered herself back into the computer chair and waved her hand at his beater of a sofa in an elegant gesture of invitation. Her deep sigh made him curious about her lung capacity relative to gill function. It also made him itch to find out if that delicate skin around her pert nipples was as soft as it looked.

 

Not that he was looking.

 

Oh shit, he was really trying not to look.

 

“You have many questions, no doubt,” she began. “And I wish to know how I came to be here in your home. So let’s—”

 

“Here,” he said, trying not to groan as he grabbed the blanket draped over the back of his sofa and tossed it to her. “You must be cold.”

 

“Not particularly.”

 

“Just put it on. Please.”

 

He closed his eyes and tried to think of something, anything, other than those gorgeous breasts. Baseball stats, the Krebs cycle, his aunt Ethel…nope, the image of those high, firm peaks had been burned in his brain and his body seemed hell bent on responding. Man, of all times to throw wood, why now? She wasn’t even human.

 

Was she?

 

“What are you?” Paul blurted out, opening his eyes as much as he dared. Relief flooded his addled brain when he saw she’d wrapped herself up in the blanket. Her golden curls spilled over bare shoulders, and sharp blue eyes filled with intelligence and power gazed into his.

 

“Wait, let me rephrase that. Who are you?”

 

She appeared momentarily surprised, but recovered quickly. “I’m called Ilsa. And you are?”

 

“Paul, Paul Pulaski. Listen, are you feeling okay? You were hit pretty hard on the head. I can’t believe you’re up and about, especially—”

 

“I heal quickly. It is the nature of my kind, as is coming and going between the water and land,” she interrupted, gesturing to her lower body.

 

“But how? The bone structure of fin versus leg is so different, and it isn’t possible to shed scales and magically sprout skin.”

 

“Of course it’s possible,” she replied, flicking her wrist in dismissal and looking annoyed.

 

He crossed his arms over his chest, her tone hitting him like a slap in the ass. “I don’t believe it.”

 

“The evidence in front of you should be proof enough.”

 

“Doesn’t explain the mechanism.”

 

“Then I’ll have to show you sometime,” Ilsa said, rolling her eyes. “That was a joke, by the way. We may walk among mortals still, but we take great pains to remain concealed. By rights, you shouldn’t have seen me in the water at all. My injuries must have caused my concealment charm to fail. Strange, since it takes so little energy to fool you mortals.”

 

He probably should’ve said something, but if he opened his mouth, ugly was likely to fall out. Probably more than a few four letter words, too. His mama did raise him to have good manners where ladies were concerned, but her brusqueness and flippant attitude pissed him off.

 

As if sensing his irritation, she dialed down the attitude and said, “I’m guessing you’re a bit overwhelmed at the moment, so let’s move on. What happened to me? How did I get here?”

 

She was probably right. Assuming she could manage to sprout fins again right in front of him, he’d probably pussy out and faint right in front of her. In fact, he was more than a little light-headed already. Best to file that holy shit discussion under to-be-continued-later.

 

“Like I said, you were hit by a boat, so I pulled you out of the water. Got the surprise of my life when I saw the fins, but you were unconscious and we couldn’t just leave you there at the river. Kinda figured the hospital was out of the question, too, so I brought you back home.”

 

Ilsa gave him another eye roll, which coupled with the blond and buxom really chapped his ass. This new source of irritation bothered him more than the sore arms and aching back he suffered thanks to hauling her around, not to mention his assortment of scrapes and bruises. Yeah, she was little too much like those high school cheerleaders who used to give him the cold shoulder for being a working class geek.

 

“Hey, I could have left you there for the snapping turtles, or maybe Lance Ross, assuming he had the balls to come back after hitting you.”

 

“And what were you planning to do with me?” she asked, squaring her shoulders and giving him a look of pure defiance.

 

Fair question, but still—would it kill her to show a little gratitude? Given her commanding aura and haughty attitude, he had the feeling that “thank you” was not a phrase often uttered by Ilsa.

 

Damned supernatural ingrate.

 

“I was planning to get your back on your feet, um, fins, or…hell, I was going to try and get you well.”

 

“And after that?” she challenged.

 

“Take you back to where you came from. In fact,” Paul said as he stood up and ran a hand over his face and goatee, towering over her at his full height and challenging her right back with his stance and glare, “I’d be happy to drive you right back to the river now if you’re ready to go.”

 

 

Excerpt From: D.B. Sieders. “Crosscurrents: Southern Elemental Guardians 2.” iBooks.

 

Teaser Tuesday! Opening Chapter of Crosscurrents (Southern Elemental Guardians Book 2)

Edits? Check.

Proofs? Check (but we’ll do them a few more times!)

Cover Art? In progress (super-excited to share!)

Giveaways and Swag? You betcha!

Crosscurrents (Southern Elemental Guardians Book 2) is coming in March! Here’s the opening chapter, which should give you a taste of what Rhinemaiden Ilsa and her hero, scientist Paul Pulaski, will be facing.

Hope you enjoy!

If you haven’t yet, grab a copy of Lorelei’s Lyric (Southern Elemental Guardians Book 1) to catch the adventures from the beginning.

***

Chapter 1

The earth shook.

Tremors rumbled from the center of the ancient riverbed to the shoreline and beyond.

Waves slammed against rock and assaulted treetops, the disturbance of water reverberating through sister elements of earth and air.

If fire showed up, the circle would be complete.

And…cue the lightning.

Energy swirled around, palpable enough to taste.

He was awake.

Her shaky legs ached from transformation, one she’d only recently mastered. No teacher, of course, because hybrids were largely left on their own. Few discovered what they were and why they were drawn to their element, and fewer still learned to commune with it, draw strength and power from it, and to serve it. Most didn’t.

She’d been lucky.

And a damned good thing, too.

The purebloods, so-called “guardians” of river and stream, had fled in terror at the first sign of the ancient one’s emergence. And mortals remained blissfully unaware.

For now.

What could have disturbed his slumber after so long? This particular presence had slept for nearly a thousand years, forgotten by all but the elders of nearly extinct tribes who had once shared his dominion. That was a time when people lived in harmony with the elements and worshiped their guardians. A time before science replaced myth and technology made reverence irrelevant. Inevitable, yet perhaps she could merge the two. Maybe that was her true purpose.

But she would need help.

An aftershock erupted in a small tsunami from The Suck. Apparently his long rest hadn’t improved the soul-sucker’s disposition. He would be hungry. And he would want his mate.

Definitely time to clear out.

She willed her body and mind to calm, no easy task with the elemental energy suffusing her. She’d known he was powerful, but knowing it and feeling it were two different things. Reason and logic were swept away, leaving wonder, trepidation, and that oh-so-human sensation of awe in their wake.

But she wasn’t completely human. The tremor running down her spine and through her legs proved it. It loosened flesh, blood, and bone. Searing pain followed by rending, fusion, and coalescence gave birth of a new form. She collapsed under the strain and used the last of her strength to guide her falling body to the river.

Water soothed flesh, bone, and spirit, allowing her to gauge the success of her latest transformation. A few fin flicks propelled her through the river. Yes, better this time, and faster! Complete on the first try. It would do nicely.

She tugged the waterproof bag secured to her waist open and yanked out a handful of tubes for collecting samples of enchanted water. Oh, she was a believer to be sure, with the zeal of a convert. Then again, today’s magic is tomorrow’s science. She’d test the samples later and see if there was a tangible way to track the giant when he moved.

He would move soon.

She stored the sample tubes back in the bag and sealed it tight. She could’ve used magic to whisk it away to safety along with her phone and clothing. That trick had taken hours of practice and patience, but those skills came in handy when shifting. She didn’t want to run the risk of losing the precious cargo, though. Plus, she needed samples from non-enchanted water as a control for comparison.

Talk about blending worlds.

Bag secured, she dove under and filled her gills and belly with the same element, memorizing its taste and signature so she could track it and follow his movements using less scientific methods. What she would do with the information, she couldn’t say. But having it would give her something to take to the purebloods if she found them.

No, not if. When. It had to be when.

Because this once-sleeping giant could and would destroy anything and everything in his path should his hungers go unsatisfied—and no creature mortal, immortal, or in between would be able to stop him.

 

***

Hope you enjoyed! More to come soon…

New Teaser Tuesday!

December, December, December! Happy Holidays and Almost 2016! Here’s a Teaser Tuesday to tug at your heartstrings. Vance Idol (a.k.a. Jersey Boy Vincent Violetti) and Lorelei make some deep emotional confessions in the calm before the storm.

 

Want to know what happens next? Grab a copy of Lorelei’s Lyric today!

 

***Excerpt***

 

“You okay, sugar?”
“Sure. I’m great. Why do you ask?”
“You should cut the bullshit, Lorelei. It’s not your style. Tell me what’s on your mind.” He hated to kill the mood, since they were having a really nice, really normal, low-key evening out. He’d asked her if she wanted to walk down to the bar at the local marina for some food and music. Sometime during their third tango between the sheets last night, he’d gotten the itch to see those long legs move across a dance floor with him.

 

The marina bar and restaurant was bigger than some of the hole-in-the-wall joints he’d played in the past, but not by much. It looked as though someone had stacked a few ramshackle kid clubhouses side by side over some wooden dock planks and called it an eatery. For what it lacked in size and amenities, it more than compensated for with some out- of-this-world steaks and a killer view of the lake at sunset. Most of the boat owners had docked their expensive toys and abandoned the marina for other watering holes, so he and Lorelei pretty much had the run of the place.

 

They’d enjoyed dinner and drinks, though naturally he’d opted for soda instead of alcohol and earned a smile full of pride and affection from his lady. Still, between her fidgeting and lowered gaze, he knew something was up. Whatever it was, it made his heart race and the hairs on the back of neck stand on end.

 

Maybe now that she’d had time to think about what he’d told her the day before, about Maggie, maybe she was having second thoughts. Not that he blamed her. His baggage wasn’t pretty, and even he knew it would be a hell of a lot for anyone to take on. But she had seemed so sincere in her acceptance and desire. He hoped she’d be willing to give him a chance. Though he tried to stay calm and wait for her to open up, he couldn’t help but worry that she was preparing herself to tell him goodbye.

 

It would kill him if she did.

 

She looked up at him, her blue eyes blazing, and said, “We need to talk.”

 

Ah, hell. Here it comes.

 

Vance Idol had never begged for anything in his life, not even when he’d just been Vincent Violetti. Now he was prepared to say absolutely anything to keep Lorelei from walking out on him.

 

“Look, I know what you’re going to say, but before you do, let me tell you this. I know I’ve got a ways to go, but I’m committed to seeing this thing through. I can be a better man. I want to be a better man, Lorelei. For you.”

 

He hated the desperation in his voice, but he couldn’t help it. He was a man in love. He hated the glassiness in her eyes and the way her shoulders slumped even more. He didn’t want to guilt her into staying, but he couldn’t stand to let her go, either. Not without a fight.

 

“I, look, I know we haven’t known each other that long, and maybe you’re worried about that whole counselor- patient line we crossed, but if you could just trust me enough to give this thing we’ve got between us a chance, to give me a chance—”

 

“Vincent, I’m not really a counselor,” she blurted out.

 

“Lorelei, please—”

 

“Wait a minute,” she said, looking like a light bulb suddenly went off in her head. “You think I’m…you think I’m leaving you? You think I don’t want you?”

 

He cleared his throat and said, “Well, the thought had crossed my mind.”

 

“Oh, Vincent! It’s not that at all. I just….”

 

He breathed a huge sigh of relief, but decided to press on. Her confession gave him pause, though it wasn’t all that surprising in retrospect. Still, whatever she was, therapist or healer or even some New Age guru, she’d managed to reach into the very core of his heart and soul to find something of the man he used to be—the man he wanted to be again, because of her. And he wanted her to tell him all of her troubles and let him share the load, to show that he could give as well as take.

 

“Just what, Lorelei?”

 

“I have to tell you some things that you might not like. Some things about me.”

 

He didn’t know what shocked him more, the notion that he could not like anything about her, or the quiver in her voice. He wondered if he should let her know that he and Jack had talked a little about her family, assuming that’s what was bothering her. A man-hating mother he could handle. Hell, he could just turn on the rock star charm.

 

Of course, Mama might not find the details of his past problems all that charming, especially considering how he was still struggling with them, but he’d own up to it and work to earn her family’s trust.

 

He reached across the table and took her hand, rubbing his thumb over her knuckles. “Nothing you say will change how I feel about you.”

 

“How can you be so sure? You don’t even know what it is yet.”

 

He frowned, but didn’t let go of her hand. “Well, why don’t you just tell me now and we’ll start dealing with it.”

 

She looked back at him and her expression stabbed him through the heart. Sorrow, longing, and something akin to pleading painted her lovely features. He wanted to pull her into his arms, kiss and hold her and erase the uncertainty he read in her gaze.

 

“I’m done running, Lorelei, and I won’t run from you, no matter what you tell me. You’ve seen the worst of me, and you’re still here. You’ve brought out the best in me, too. I’m asking you to trust me enough to do the same for you.”

 

She drew in a gasping breath and exhaled with a shudder. Nodding, she said, “I’ll tell you everything tonight when we get back the lake house, I promise. But right now, I want to spend time just being with you. Please.”

 

“I have an idea,” Vance said. “Hold that thought.”

 

Strolling over to the classic jukebox in the corner, he fiddled with the machine until it allowed him to select a song. He made it back to the table by the time the first haunting notes of “Sleep Walk” floated out around them. The steel guitar chords thundered almost as loud as his heart.

 

He held out a hand to Lorelei and asked, “May I have this dance?”

 

Her blue eyes widened and she smiled. When she gave him her hand, some of the tension bled out of him and he was glad for it. He led her to the small dance floor next to the open windows that faced the water. Someone had turned on the string of white Christmas lights adorning the rail of the dock.

 

They were almost as bright as the light in her eyes.

 

He pulled her close as they slowly swayed to the bittersweet tune. Feeling her warmth, the slow cadence of her heart beating in time with his, surrounded by the cool air and lapping waves in the background, he experienced something he hadn’t in a long, long time.

 

He was at peace.

 

Pressing soft kisses along her temple, over her forehead, in her hair, he took a leap of faith and whispered, “I love you.”

 

A minute stretched out into eternity as his heart started racing. God, he didn’t want to push her, didn’t want to force a confession of love out of her by pressuring her, or worse. He couldn’t abide her pity. He came close to pulling away.

 

No, I promised I wouldn’t run. I’m not that man anymore.

 

Instead, he forced his breathing to slow and bid his body relax. When she leaned into him and rested her head on his shoulder, he sighed and let a wave of relief wash over him. At least he hadn’t scared her off. She moved her hands to his shoulders as she pulled back, her head lowered, not meeting his eyes.

 

Jesus, here it comes.

 

She looked up into his eyes. Hers were full of tears. Slowly, she slid her hands up to cup his face and said, “I love you, too, Vincent Violetti.”

 

*****

 

As she leaned in to kiss him, Lorelei wondered if this was how the sky people felt when they spoke of soaring.

 

No, it couldn’t be. Nothing compares to this.

 

This man loved her, and she loved him back. That was a miracle. He’d heard her song and survived. That was a miracle. No other obstacles they faced would prove insurmountable.

 

When she pulled away from the kiss, she smiled at him and then steeled herself to face their next obstacle. “I’m ready to talk now, to tell you those things about me that you might not like.”

 

“I’m listening.”

 

She glanced around the restaurant to make sure they had enough privacy for the conversation they needed to have, and for Vincent’s likely reaction. Just as she turned back to face him, she sensed a change in the atmosphere around them, an energy surge that could only come from an elemental. Worse, it was an emotionally charged elemental, too, if the drop in air pressure, temperature, and choppy waves breaking in the roiling lake around them were any indication.

 

Oh no!

 

She pulled away from Vincent and rushed to the window so she could look out over the expanse of water. Seized by panic, her first thought was getting her mortal out of there. They had no car, so she’d have to convince him to take off on foot.

 

Spinning around, she took three quick steps and grabbed Vincent’s hand, pulling him with her toward the door.

 

“Lorelei, what the—”
“We have to go. Right now!”

 

“But I haven’t paid—”

 

She conjured some money and plopped it on the hostess stand on the way out. She registered his hesitation. He stiffened when she conjured the money, though she continued to pull him. She imagined his eyebrows were probably stuck somewhere in the vicinity of his hairline, but explanations would have to wait.

 

After they’d made it out of the restaurant and stood dockside, Vincent tugged hard on her hand and brought them to a stop.

 

“We have to go,” she urged. The hairs on her arm were standing straight up. Something major was about to happen.

 

He crossed his arms in front of his chest, nostrils flaring. “Not until you tell me what’s going on. You’re freaking my shit out right now, you know that right?”

 

“I’m sorry, I—”

 

“Gal, we’re in trouble,” said a familiar disembodied voice.

 

Lorelei spun around as Jack appeared. Vincent was about to get even more freaked out. Then again, she was having a hard time holding it together herself.

 

Vincent paled and his eyes widened when Ondine materialized beside Jack in a shimmering series of waves that coalesced into her human form. Well, almost human—her eyes flashed silver and her skin rippled with scales that hovered just beneath the surface. She was either agitated or influenced by the water energy surging around them. Lorelei’s own flesh itched to morph into her true form.

 

“Where the hell did you two come from?” Vincent asked, taking a step back and nearly tumbling over the side of the dock.

 

“Son, I ain’t got time to explain,” Jack said in a lazy drawl that belied the urgency of his request, “but y’all need to either high-tail it outta here or get ready to face the wrath of Lorelei’s Ma.”

 

Mother? Here?

 

“I didn’t tell her, my darling,” Ondine said. Her face was tight and she seemed almost… apologetic.

 

“Where do we go?” Lorelei asked.

 

Jack looked back and forth between her and Vincent. “It’d be faster if y’all hit the water. We can stall her for a little while.” He shrugged. “Maybe even talk her down.”

 

Fresh panic coursed through Lorelei. “But I haven’t told him yet. How’s this going to work?” she asked, nodding toward Vincent.

 

Jack took Vincent by the shoulders and gave him a serious stare down. “Vincent, you’re just gonna have to trust our gal here to see you safely home.”

 

Vincent’s eyes went wide with panic. “Can you just please tell me what’s going on? What are we running from?”

 

“You ain’t running, son. You’re swimming.”

 

Lorelei took Jack’s cue, grabbed hold of Vincent and said, “I love you. And I’m sorry.”

 

“Sorry for—”
She leapt and pulled him with her. Once airborne, she willed her fins to replace legs and summoned a protective bubble of air around Vincent’s body.

 

Then together they plunged into the depths of the lake’s dark water.

Teaser Tuesday – Angsty Rocker with a Dark Past

Happy December!

Today’s Teaser Tuesday is all about Vance Idol, an up-and-coming rock star battling demons on the eve of his band’s big break. When we first meet him in Lorelei’s Lyric, we find a troubled man in a very, very bad place. No wonder his heartache calls to the healer and nurturer in Lorelei.

This one’s for all of the angst junkies out there!

If you like what you’ve read, grab a copy of Lorelei’s Lyric to read more! You can also sign up for my Author Newsletter to get bonus content, as well as updates on new releases and fun giveaways!

Excerpt

 

 

 

“Hey Vance, we’re on in ten, okay?”

 

Vance Idol nearly jumped out of his skin. The sound of his bassist’s knocking ricocheted through his pounding skull. Mark Rogen’s voice, on the other hand, sounded muffled and distant though he stood right outside the bathroom door. Vance cradled his aching head in his hands, brow slicked with sweat underneath trembling fingertips, and let out a low groan.

 

“You okay in there, bro?”

 

“I’m fine,” Vance managed to croak. He hoped he sounded more convincing than he felt.

 

“Look, I know it’s been tough…but we can’t blow this gig. Mags would’ve wanted us to go on.”

 

“I know,” Vance snapped. “Just give me a sec to get it together, okay?”

 

“Okay, but if you aren’t out in five I’m grabbing Josh.”

 

Heavy footfalls echoed down the corridor, and Vance’s nanosecond of relief faded with them. He needed to get a grip. He couldn’t afford to screw this up. The band had been working their asses off in every dive bar, shit hole, and roadhouse from New York to Cali and back again for the past five years. Nashville was one of their last stops on the long and winding road to discovery and a shot at the big time.

 

After all those years of paying dues, they’d wrangled a tour/production manager, a couple of regular crew, and plum gig at Marathon Music Works. Along with a loyal fanbase, Internet buzz, and a lot of self-promotion, The Rivermen, with Vance Idol billed as the frontman, managed to attract a sizeable crowd. The frontman bit happened on account of the small sliver of “fame” Vance garnered on a television talent show. He didn’t make it to the finals but got far enough to be remembered. Yeah, that fame was about fourteen minutes, thirty seconds and counting, but it apparently still helped. Their lead guitarist, Joshua Rollins, had even spotted a couple of producers in the audience just before Vance excused himself.

 

I need a drink.

 

Okay, technically, he couldn’t chalk his misery up to withdrawal anymore. That nightmare passed shortly after he’d quit drinking cold turkey. No, the oh-so-clinical term for this special brand of hell, according to the docs and counselors, was post-acute withdrawal syndrome. PAWS, they called it. Yeah, real cute and clever. Only there was nothing cute or funny about chronic insomnia, soul-sucking depression, or cravings that never went away. Then there was the joy of panic attacks and mood swings, though the latter fit with the surly rocker image. Good thing he’d picked a profession that allowed him to channel his inner black-hearted bastard.

 

He’d been warned, to be sure. His stint in rehab had been short, if if not sweet, and the staff thought he’d left too soon. But hell, the band needed him and he didn’t want to let them down by bailing for a few months, not when he was convinced he could deal with his problems all on his own. Now, faced with performance pressure and the ghosts of his past, he was on the verge of blowing it.

 

He stood and paced around the small room. Sweat seeped from every pore as anxiety pierced his gut like a thousand knives. His innards protested at the sudden change in equilibrium, forcing his left hand to grip the cool porcelain in front of him as his right strummed along the surface of the sink.

 

Perched on that sink was the key to oblivion, the bottle filled with amber liquid that would ease his pain and steal his soul. Again.

 

“Aw, hell!”

 

Everything had been fine. Scratch that, it had been shit, but the manageable kind of shit that still allowed him to drag his sorry ass out of bed, sleepwalk through his day, and pull himself together long enough for a gig. But then he’d walked into the dressing room and found a fifth of Jack sitting front and center on a small table, gift-wrapped with a damned purple ribbon. Someone must have sneaked it in while the crew was busy. Those guys knew alcohol was a no go on account of their lead’s little problem. But hell, he should’ve been prepared for the possibility. For staff, groupies, sleazy execs—anyone on the scene who wanted to get in good with the band and grease some wheels with social lubrication—booze was the go-to. Just like the pills some skank out on the floor shoved into his palm, some kind of free sample as she breezed by, chilling him to the bone in her wake. He hadn’t been on the wagon that long, and dealers knew how to sniff out desperation.

 

Not that he was into pills.

 

Yet.

 

Jesus, this was bad. Really bad. He should’ve turned around and bolted out the door as soon as he spotted the bottle. But no, he’d stuck around long enough to let his old mistress start whispering her pretty lies, tempting him to sneak off to the bathroom and take a swig. He was such an idiot for jeopardizing his recovery and his band’s last shot at the big time, but a combination of nerves and  grief had him clinging to his old crutch. He could have poured it down the sink, but then that sweet scent hit him, almost eased him. At first, he thought knowing it was there would be enough, buying into the delusion that he could always get rid of it as soon as they wrapped up their show.

 

Instead, he now stood at the precipice of disaster, overlooking a downward spiral from which he might never emerge.

 

He slammed his fist against the sink as anguish, frustration, and shame forced the strangled cry from his throat. The pain of the blow might have made him throw up, but he hadn’t eaten more than a bag of chips the entire day. He couldn’t risk it. Three bottles of Pepto and a Dramamine over the past twenty-four hours served as insurance against the messier symptoms he could ill afford on stage.

 

Just one more time, and I swear I’m done with this. I gotta get through tonight and then I’m done.

 

Hating himself, Vance picked up the bottle and pressed it to his lips. He’d had the lid unscrewed by the time Mark started banging on door. His eyes were already bloodshot, and he could chase the hooch with a couple of uppers and still make it to the stage. He’d have to scarf down some breath mints if he didn’t want Josh to find out he was drinking again.

 

No, damn it, this is the last time!

 

Staring in the mirror, he wished he could punch the guy glaring back at him. He still had his looks, but weight loss and insomnia had taken their toll. His already prominent cheekbones jutted out from a gaunt face he barely recognized, and the hard set of his jaw told of a life lived too hard and too fast. Though bloodshot, his green eyes blazed with all the rage and pain he carried inside. He looked dangerous.

 

Yeah, you’re real fucking glamorous, asshole.

 

He took a swig, letting the sweet taste and slow burn assault his senses as the liquid filled his mouth, but stopped short of swallowing. He closed his eyes, and waited, savoring the sensation before shame could drown it. The sweet oblivion he craved wouldn’t come, not without a lot more. But maybe he could get through the next few hours. The ache in his back and legs would ease, and his hands might stop trembling. All he had to do was let it roll down his throat.

 

A vision of Maggie flashed in his mind, smiling, healthy, and whole—so very different from the strung-out junkie he’d last seen at the morgue after losing her to her demons and a poison not unlike the one he was about to swallow. Different from the ruined man he saw every time he looked in the mirror.

 

He couldn’t do it. He wouldn’t do it.”

***

Will he or won’t he? To find out, grab your copy of Lorelei’s Lyric (Southern Elemental Guardians Book 1) today!

Teaser Tuesday!

I’m sharing a new excerpt of Lorelei’s Lyric! This one features Lorelei’s first encounter with Vance Idol during his performance in Nashville. She’s captivated with his voice, his stage presence, and the soul-deep yearning she feels in his music. She also envies his ability to share the gift of song – something her Siren calls prevents her from doing.

Like what you’ve read? You can read the rest in eBook and Paperback!

Be sure and click on the Contact Me link to sign up for my newsletter. You’ll get exclusive new content, find out about giveaways, and receive and updates about Southern Elemental Guardians and other books!

 

Teaser Tuesday Excerpt:

 

Her thoughts stopped cold as soon as a tall man dressed in black strode across the stage.

 
Ignoring his bandmate, the man, presumably Vance, slung his guitar strap over a broad shoulder, nodded to the drummer, and then played a series of powerful chords that kick started the band into what promised to be a fast-paced rock-and-roll ride straight to ecstasy. Lorelei grabbed Ilsa’s hand and squeezed it in gratitude. They’d sampled jazz, blues, and a fair bit of rockabilly country on their travels, but the music filling her ears and quickening her pulse—this was pure rock.

 
Then the man in black started to sing.

 
His powerful voice reached out through the microphone and wrapped her body in a commanding grip she felt all the way to her toes. His rugged, masculine features alive with passion, he sang with a tightly leashed fury that held the audience in a state of awe. And the way he played? His guitar strokes seemed to trail over her skin.

 
“Wow!” Ilsa shouted over the music.

 
Lorelei, still captivated by the man and his music, could only manage a small nod in response.

 
“Hello? Lorelei? Better close your mouth before you start drooling.”

 
“He’s amazing! He could be part Nix!”

 
“Well he sure seems to have cast a siren spell on you! You can thank me later when you’re done gawking.”

 
That may take a while, ‘cause I think I could stare at him all night.

 
The band transitioned seamlessly from fast and furious to a slower, more sensual ballad that showcased the lead singer’s sexy voice and sexier stage presence.

 
There’s this place I go
When I’m feeling low
And the world’s closing in around me
The place where we first met,
Oh, just one sweet sunset
And I can breathe so free and easy

 

When she managed to tear her gaze away from him and glance around the room, she realized she wasn’t the only one affected. Almost every woman looked on with admiration, hunger, or outright lust. The men in the audience didn’t seem to mind, since the music also made their ladies sway, shimmy, and gyrate to the seductive beat while they got to enjoy the view. Plus, they were all enraptured by the music.

 
It was pure magic.

 
She turned her focus back to Vance. He’d slowed his movements to match the pace of the music, which allowed her to get a really good look at him. Like the lead guitarist, his arms were well-muscled. His strong left hand held the guitar’s neck in a powerful grip while the long fingers of his right stroked and caressed the strings. The tight black shirt he wore, now damp with sweat, accentuated a muscular chest and torso that tapered down to a trim waist. In truth, he looked a bit too thin, but that only added to the hungry and impassioned look that made his performance all the more compelling. A mop of jet-black hair framed his handsome face. Looks, charisma, and that amazing voice—the man had it all. And his words resonated with the deep longing within her.

 
The road’s been long and lonely
I yearn to rest my weary head
The only peace I’ll find,
Outside a box of pine
Is where we once shared a bed

 

The bittersweet twinge of envy she always felt in the presence of human musicians tugged at her just then. Mortal man Vance, you don’t know how lucky you are. Your songs are a gift of pure pleasure and joy. Like all her Nixie kin, Lorelei possessed a stunning voice. She loved singing more than anything else in the world. She knew and could sing thousands upon thousands of songs in at least two-dozen languages.

 
And if she sang any of them long enough, someone would die.

 

“Wanna stay for the rest of the show? I’ll just bet we could wrangle an invitation backstage if we work our way up front and center.”

 
“Huh?”

 
Ilsa laughed. “I asked if you want to hang around and see about hooking up with Mr. Tall-Dark-and-Musical.”

 
Probably not a good idea. This guy could definitely get me in trouble.

 

“Nah, that’s okay. How about we hit the Wildhorse next and see if we can snag a couple of cute dance partners?”

 
“You sure? He’s checking you out.”

 
She looked back toward the stage and locked her gaze with Vance’s. For all the joy and passion he poured into his performance, the look in his eyes was…haunted. That soul-deep longing she’d heard in his first song shone through his blazing green eyes, calling to her and begging her to make it right.

 
Oh, this is home to me,
And you’re the only thing I see
You may be long gone
But I still feel you there
Ever young and strong
And I’ll find a way to go on and on
In the love we used to share

 

This is home.

 

While she still had the will to walk away, Lorelei tore her eyes away from him and turned back to Ilsa. “I’m sure. It’s definitely time to go.”

Excerpt From: D.B. Sieders. “Lorelei’s Lyric.” 

Cover Reveal and Release Date for Lorelei’s Lyric!

Thanks to the lovely folks at Love, Lust, and Lipstick Stains – including fabulous author Samantha Holt, I am unveiling the cover for Book 1 in my new Fantasy Romance Southern Elemental Guardians Series, Lorelei’s Lyric, today!

The book will be available through Amazon on October 13 in both eBook and print format. Stay tuned for pre-order links. I will also be selling copies in advance with the Griffyn Ink team at the 2015 Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, TN, October 9-11. Details to come!

SEG1_CompFinalRGB_125dpi_Thumb.jpgIf Lorelei sings, someone will die.

Her beautiful voice once cost a life. Still, music is her passion. What’s a mermaid to do? Run off and live vicariously through mortal musicians!

Unfortunately, gorgeous rocker Vance Idol almost succumbs to her siren call after his show in Nashville. Not that Vance cares—not since his girlfriend’s fatal overdose left him with a supersized death wish. Lorelei makes it her mission to undo the damage and help this talented and charismatic man on the eve of his band’s big break.

But saving a mortal man is a dangerous proposition. Lorelei could far too easily lose her heart, and quite possibly her immortality, during her American holiday. Bad boy Vance might be worth the risk.
Can their love survive his attitude, her fins, and an evil Pixie with a grudge against them both?

 

Cover Art by Julie Schroeder Designs – HIGHLY recommend her!

 

 

 

News (not THAT News but awesome news nonetheless)!

Okay, I’m still gearing up for the announcement I alluded to in my previous post.

FinalistgifBut in the meantime, I received GREAT NEWS from my RWA sister chapter, Georgia Romance Writers of America.

Waking the Dead finaled in the 2015 Unpublished Maggie Award Contest, Novel with Strong Romantic Elements Category!

I’m super excited to receive critiques from first round judge (the most valuable part of the contest) and am excited to see how the finalist editor judge receives it.

Thanks to 2015 Maggies Chair Bryonna Nobles, Category Coordinator Jessica Hunt, and all of the first round judges for their hard work!

Here’s the formal announcement on YouTube.

This is the book of my heart, so I’m very attached to it. I’ve tweaked the opening chapters and taken them for a test drive on the contest circuit – won second place in the North Texas Romance Writers of America Great Expectations Contest, Novel with Strong Romantic Elements Category. HUGE thanks to Overall coordinator Fenley Grant, Category coordinator Jen FitzGerald, first round judges, and finalist editor judge Laura Fazio!

I’m glad the latest version has been well-received by readers and will DEFINITELY make sure it’s published sometime soon. Still trying for traditional, but it’s nice to have so many options as a writer!

2ndPlace_Medallion_GreatExpectations_v1_2015

Happy 2015!

Since I did a wrapping-up-the-old-year-building-goals-for-the-new-year blog post around this time last year, I thought it would be fun to look at my goals from last year and see what kind of progress I made on them.

1. Finish and Edit Works in Progress

So at the beginning of 2014, I had finished (or so I thought) revisions for my works in progress: Waking the Dead, Nixies in Dixie, and Going Dutch. We’ve been hitting the submissions pretty hard this year, and while we’ve accepted no contracts yet, we had an offer on Going Dutch and some encouraging feedback from editorial passes on the others.

This left us with some decisions to make in terms of priorities and regrouping. Once more, my fabulous agents came through with great advice, which along with some fresh beta reads helped me bring up Waking the Dead to over 90K words! Revisions include:

1. Emphasis on better world-building and establishing the rules for corporeal spirits, living soul brokers, and afterlife management in the series. HUGE thanks to Jody Wallace for that. Those brainstorming sessions were invaluable. Someday soon, once WTD is published, I’ll publish one of these hilarious online jam sessions on the blog.

2. More emphasis on the heroine’s journey and the stakes involved, as well as shifting from Urban Fantasy to Women’s Fiction with elements of Magical Realism. I love the result – reminiscent of Richard Matheson’s What Dreams May Come.

3. The addition of a few more gut-wrenching scenes that had me in tears, as well as tightening the story and filling in some missing details caught by Debbie Herbert.

Victoria Lea has the new and improved version now, and we hope to get back on submissions soon. Fingers and toes crossed!

So what about the others?

I’ve put Nixies on the back burner for now in order to focus on Going Dutch. I love both, but paranormal romance is a really tough sell in the current market. I’m convinced there’s a home for my mermaids, but the better bet is getting the contemporary romance to a marketable length and getting it out there. So as of mid-January, I’ll be cracking my knuckles and getting busy adding another 20K word’s worth of laughs and romance to GD so I can get it to my agents pronto!

2. Learn All I Can About Marketing and Promotions

Thanks to my dear friend and critique partner, Sophia Jones, I was able to attend the Arizona Dreamin’ conference and learn more about marketing and promotions, including tips for self-publishing. Since that will likely become a part of my portfolio at some point, I was pleased to make contacts with representatives from InD’tale. These folks specialize in promoting self-published and small press published romance and have an impressive subscriber list.

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 10.43.11 PMMy second shot at marketing the Lyrical Press novella, this time with the power of Kensington Publishing Corporation, garnered a few more sales upon re-release. As a means of getting some more promo for myself as an author, I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation from Trish Milburn to contribute to a holiday-themed anthology of micro-stories. Mistletoe Magic, featuring an autistic hero and a heroine determined to reach his heart, was my contribution to Tiny Treats. I was thrilled to be a part of this project, which rocked the Amazon charts for freebies and anthologies (still #59 in Kindle eBook Holiday Romance). If you’d like a copy, you can find it on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Smashwords, and GooglePlay.

Did I mention it’s free?

Even better, there will be another spring-themed anthology for St. Patrick’s day. I’m working on another story featuring the same pairing from Tiny Treats.

One big goal for 2015 is revamping my website for a fresh new look and some much-needed updates. Stay tuned!

3. Give Back

Probably one of the most rewarding parts of this journey has been encouraging other authors and watching them begin their own journeys. I was delighted with the release of Jeanne Hardt’s tender and heartwarming Civil War era historical romance, Marked. Having fallen in love with steamboats ala Mark Twain years ago, I found the setting as charming as the story, which I had the great honor to beta before its release. I’m so thrilled for Jeanne and can’t wait for her next River Romance book. In the meantime, I have a copy of From the Ashes of Atlanta in my Kindle queue!

I’ve had the great fortune to beta read for some of my MCRW sisters, and let me tell you, these ladies have some fantastic stories to tell: from Susan’s Bickford’s hot Italian hero hiding out in Tennessee to Page Pennington’s reluctant witch with a heart of gold to Caitlin Fryer’s larger-than-life swashbuckling pirate (you can check out some of Caitlin’s amazing artwork on her site, too!).

I enjoyed hosting many of my fellow Aponte Literary authors on my blog, including Debbie Herbert, Ariel Swan, Brynn Chapman, M.V. Freeman, Tanisha Jones, and D.T. Krippene. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know these authors and their work and look forward to sharing  more of their work with my readers!

So for 2015? More, more, more! I can’t wait to help the authors in my network and to add to that network!

Screen Shot 2014-06-14 at 6.21.00 AMSummary

I’m counting 2014 as a success, and I’ll definitely keep the same goals for 2015. Well, I’ll add a wish for more fangirl dream moments like the one I had meeting Diana Gabaldon at the Arizona Dreamin’, Pocket Jamie in tow.

Squee!!!

So that’s my year in review and my hopes and aspirations for the coming year.

What are yours?

Welcome Jeff Lee!

I am delighted to welcome Jeff Lee to my blog today! I first encountered Mr. Lee’s fresh and laugh-out-loud-funny brand of satire during the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Competition, and I’m so glad I did! The Ladies Temperance Club’s Farewell Tour remains one of my favorite books of all time, blending a cast of larger-than-life characters with improbable adventures, humor-a-plenty, and a dash of heart.

Jeff’s debut was also my introduction to Moe “Fish” Fishbein and his posse of unlikely bounty hunters/repo men. Fish being Fish, apparently he wasn’t content to sit on the sidelines. Jeff (wisely) followed his muse and followed up with Hair of the Dog, aptly described as THE MALTESE FALCON meets GET SHORTY. ‘With his armload of tattoos, Buddha-licious grin and old school Harley chopper, Fish is the go-to guy for showbiz A-listers with runaway spouses and agents whose celebrity clients have jumped bail.’

 

In Chump Change, the third installment of the series and described by yours truly as Carl Hiaasen meets ‘Get Shorty’ with a body count, Fish, Kenny, and Einstein are back at doing what they do best.

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00007]CROOKED TV PREACHERS. PSYCHO SHOWBIZ MOMS. NAKED ROMAN ZOMBIES. PORN STARS WHO TALK LIKE COLONEL KLINK.

You gotta love this town.

You think it’s easy being the Bounty Hunter and Repo Guy to the Stars? Just ask “Fish” Fishbein. If he isn’t trying to corral a heavily lubricated ex-rocker, he’s flying down the freeway in a repoed Wiener Mobile, chased by the pistol-packing deadbeat who owns it.

A bail bondsman hires him to track down a crew of unwise guys who blew off their court date to snatch L.A.’s monthly parking meter take — 300 grand in quarters. Then they start dropping like flies. And Fish has to catch the killer.

Maybe it’s the city’s armed and dangerous Parking Meter Czar. Or his brother-in-law, a corrupt televangelist who needs some serious coin to bankroll his foray into Bible-based porn. Or the Rev’s wife and co-minister, who’s bat-shit crazy about toddler beauty pageants. Or, it just might be the defrocked talent agent who’s dying to make Fish a reality TV star.

With more than seven tons of quarters at stake, bodies are dropping faster than turn-downs on America’s Got Talent. And if Fish and his hog-riding buds, Kenny and Einstein, don’t nab the killer in a hurry, they could get eliminated themselves.

 

Chump Change is author Jeff Lee’s third book in his Fish Fishbein series, following The Ladies Temperance Club’s Farewell Tour and Hair of the Dog. If you enjoy the whacko characters, situations and fast pace that Janet Evanovich, Carl Hiaasen and Elmore Leonard bring to the party, check out all of Fish’s big adventures.

 

Here’s my review:

I’ve been a Jeff Lee fan ever since Vonda Mae Ables set off on a girls’ road trip with her two best gal pals and one good-for-nothing boyfriend’s dead carcass stashed in the RV’s freezer. The Ladies Temperance Club’s Farewell Tour introduced us to Moe Fishbein and his fellow bounty hunters/repo men. These unforgettable side characters got some much-deserved page time in Hair of the Dog.

Now they’re back on the hunt for some petty-yet-deadly criminals in Chump Change. The perps steal an armored car full of parking meter change, missing a court date in the process. Enter Fish, Kenny, and Einstein. What starts out as a simple middle of the night bad guy grab turns into Barnum and Bailey’s when scheister lawyer-turned wannabe reality show producer ‘Arnie babe’ turns up with a camera crew. Not that Moe isn’t Hollywood material, but this is a serious liability to the element of surprise.

And the dead body on the back porch isn’t helping either.

Since their quarry keep turning up dead, Fish, his crew, and Detective Carlos Santana (LOL) follow the trail back to LA’s crooked Parking Czar, a sleazy televangelist with a penchant for porn, and the local mob scene. Think Carl Hiaasen meets ‘Get Shorty’ with a body count, and you’ve got one helluva story. Definitely recommend!

 

And now for the good part – a chat with one of my favorite cyberpals, ABNA alum and wonderful writer, Jeff Lee.

 

Moe, Kenny, and Einstein are quite the trio, and as near as I can tell, the only honest and ethical dudes in your La-La land fictionverse. Who or what inspired these characters (confession – I’ve been wanting to ask for years if The Three Stooges played a part)?

 

Funny you should ask about Fish, Kenny and Einstein. People who’ve known me for a long time swear that those characters represent different parts of what makes me, me. You’ve got three bright guys (OK, the jury’s still out on the contents of Kenny’s cranium) who, while they may not have much respect for a lot of the system, they try to get by the best they can without stapling, folding or mutilating any major statutes. All this, while taking as much time as possible for a little V-twin therapy and a healthy chortle from time to time.

 

Gotcha! They do say that every character represents some aspect of the author’s psyche, so I’m convinced yours is a quite a wonderland! Speaking of La-La Land, the Los Angeles setting is a vibrant and vital part of your series – practically another character in it’s own right, from glitz and glamour to seedy underbelly. How much of this imagined L.A. was inspired by the real city?

 

I spent my whole career as an advertising copywriter and creative director – almost forty years – in L.A. And look, every city is a melting pot, right? They all have their diverse neighborhoods; their high rent districts; their soft white underbellies. But the City of the Angels comes factory-equipped with a level of gonzo-ness you just won’t find anywhere else. Maybe it’s the Kardashians and all the red carpet interviews. Maybe it’s the fat and gluten-free bottled water. If you keep your eyes and ears open, there’s an inexhaustible wealth of sights, sounds, people and places just begging to be satirized – or at least chuckled at. That’s why most of my L.A. locations are real, like the deli full of standup comics and gigantic, full-color “Jewish Porn” photos of cold cuts on rye; or the Malibu seafood restaurant with the Harley-eating potholes in the parking lot and menu selections right out of “The Rockford Files”. You gotta love this town.

 

Indeed, and you’re totally giving me the itch to visit L.A. again. I adore so much about your stories, but I think the over-the-top side characters and antagonists are my favorites. From sleazy lawyer-turned-reality-show-producer ‘Arnie Babe’ to Televangelist and Bible-based porn broker Reverend Dr. George Stonewall Rogers to his wife, stage mom from hell Janelle Rogers, you create some of the most memorable monuments to human vice. How do you come up with these characters and their quirks?

 

All I can say is I like my villains to be memorable. And the best way to do that is to make them just ever so slightly ridiculous. Look at the news — or anything on the History Channel pertaining to Hitler, the Third Reich or even Bernie Madoff. Our villains all tend to be serious guys who demanded to be taken seriously. (OK, maybe with the possible exception of Mussolini and Hermann Goering – they were pretty damn comical to watch.) I mean, when was the last time you heard a joke begin with the words, “A priest, a rabbi and Michael Corleone walk into a bar…”? And since all villains need to have a fatal flaw, I like to give them something the reader can recall in the middle of an afternoon meeting and bust a gut laughing.

 

I’d say you’ve exceeded those expectations, my friend! Care to drop a few hints about what’s up next for Fish and the boys, pretty please?

 

Writing Chump Change, I had such a good time with reality TV I’m thinking seriously about taking another shot at it. But we’re still in the very early stages here.

 

Ooooh, I would LOVE to read it! How have you found Indie publishing?

 

Interesting question. I’ve both worked with a publisher and as an independent (make that self-published) writer. The people at the publisher were nice, warm, very polite and supportive. But since they were a small publisher, there was no budget or resources to publicize or market my writings. (I understand that with major publishers, it’s the same story.) So, I was the one who had to get it done – and I did it exceptionally badly.

As an indie writer, I still have to find an audience for my work, as well as pay for designers and take care of the actual publishing part myself. But I love the independence, the feeling that I, alone, am responsible for my voice as a writer.

 

It’s definitely a process, and I can relate to muddling through the murky waters of marketing and promo. As for being responsible for your voice, you’ve got a lot to be proud of there. Your writer’s voice really shines! Any other projects on the horizon? I’m always looking for great new reads!

 

I mentioned before that I had been with a small independent publisher. Unfortunately, they decided go out of business a couple of weeks after publishing one of my other books. Which meant everything I had written for them was now out of print and unavailable on Amazon, or any other book selling site. We’re talking two other titles: Hair of the Dog, which was another very funny Fish Fishbein novel. And Bird Boy, a Stephen King-like cautionary tale about extreme teenage bullying and where it could lead.

My next step will be to self-publish both books, once I get Chump Change going.

 

I do hope you can get those titles back out soon. I loved Hair of the Dog! Random question just for fun – dark chocolate or milk?

 

Both. If you’re talking shaving a little over a slice of homemade cheesecake, it’s gotta be dark.

But then again, there are times when only a Kit Kat will fill the bill.

 

Hmm, dark chocolate and Kit Kats – you’re speaking my language. Top three absolute favorite books?

 

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard

Anything written by William Goldman

 

Excellent choices! I adore William Goldman, too, and do hope he gets around to The Princess Bride sequel 🙂

Thank you so much for the wonderful interview! To learn more about Jeff, please visit his website. You can also connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. Chump Change is available now Amazon, along with The Ladies Temperance Club Farewell Tour.

Writers’ Journeys (Alternate Title: Sometimes You Get Encouragement When You Need it The Most)

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 2.27.51 PMSometimes, you get encouragement at just the right time from just the right people.

So I’ve been a little bummed lately. Oh, the milestones have come and still roll in: my first publication, getting representation, being reviewed by some top notch editors. We should all have these problems, right?

But the rejection train isn’t a fun ride. Feedback is great, because if a writer knows what to fix, she (or he) can fix it. Higher word count? Sure thing! More emotional depth and characterization? You got it! Grounding in the setting? Okie dokie!

 

But what does one do about this?

“The writing is very good but…mermaids are turning out to be a tough sell.”

“We are having a hard time selling the mermaid books, even though this one seems like a lot of fun!”

Or this?

“I liked the author’s naughty sense of humor…while I enjoyed the insider look at the city, romances set in foreign locales are generally more difficult to sell.”

“While there are some very fun moments…the humor skewed just a bit broad for my tastes.”

And this?

The writing is pretty strong and pacing good, however, I just don’t think it’s a good fit for our list.”

“I really enjoyed this manuscript!  The problem is I’m just not sure how we can break this out in a big way.”

 

Granted, these are very nice rejections from some top notch industry professionals (many of whom asked for a look at future projects), but at the end of the day, they’re still passes. So what to do? Well, one can wallow, or one can keep revising and hoping. I’ve been doing the latter, but it’s still pretty discouraging.

That’s usually a good time to go and commiserate with other authors who’ve endured exactly the same thing, some for longer than I’ve been writing. I had the opportunity to do just that a few days ago. Parnassus Books in Nashville hosted wonderful authors Jenny Milchman and AJ Scudiere in a night of sharing their writers’ journeys. I first met Jenny through the ABNA community and had the pleasure of meeting her in person a few years ago on her cross-country tour of Indie Bookstores. She is an author’s author, dedicated to supporting her fellow writers regardless of their path to publication. Reading her Made It Moments blog series never fails to inspire me. Hearing about her path to traditional publication, which took over ten years, served as a reminder to have hope (and remain patient).

I met AJ last year at Killer Nashville and enjoyed her panel discussions. She also encountered similar challenges and ultimately found success through the small press route. They were both very generous and candid with the pros and cons, the struggles, and the message that there is no right or wrong path to publication – there’s finding the path that’s right for you.

So where does that leave me? Well, I have more work to do, more decisions to make about which projects may be better suited for the indie route and which have a better shot with traditional, but I’m definitely more energized and motivated. I’m fortunate to have the support of two wonderful and hardworking agents and a network of fellow writers and beta readers, and I do have time. I have to remind myself about that last point – it’s not a race.

Thanks also to fellow author friends Jaden Terrell and Teal Haviland for making the evening even more fun and inspiring!