Saturday, October 25, 2014

Bring on the Kilts!


Congratulations to Kathie from Texas for winning this month's contest! Thank you all for leaving comments and making me smile!  Please come back next month, Nov. 25th, when I'll be giving away Wanted: Undead or Alive and Wild About You!

Last month I wrote that I would give away a copy of Vampire Mine and Sexiest Vampire Alive, but when I checked my bookcase, I was shocked to find out I don't have a copy of Sexiest Vampire Alive!  They've all been given away.  So I asked Connor whom he would like to share the spotlight with, and his answer was his Scottish buddy, Dougal. I agreed, of course. Who would want to disappoint a handsome Scotsman in a kilt?

To the left is a photo of a lone piper in the hauntingly beautiful valley of Glencoe.  Wouldn't you love to hear Dougal play the pipes? And to the right is a photo of the ruins of Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness. (No, I didn't see Nessie! I was too busy looking at men in kilts!)

Speaking of gorgeous men in kilts, we mustn't forget Jamie Fraser from the books and television series, Outlander.  While I was in Scotland, I bought a pin for Jamie, then tried to travel back through the stones to give it to him. Obviously, it didn't work and I'm still here. To the right, you'll see Cathy Maxwell making her attempt at time travel. (That also didn't work).

I bought two scarves for Connor Buchanan.  The bright one shows off the plaid he wears in his kilt.  The one in shades of brown is the hunting or natural Buchanan tartan that he would wear when he wants to blend into the landscape.  Connor is the hero of Vampire Mine, and Dougal Kincaid is the hero of The Vampire with the Dragon Tattoo.  I'm giving away a
signed copy of each book to one lucky winner.  International entries are welcome.  To enter, simply leave a comment and tell me who is your favorite Scottish hero. If you choose not to leave your email address in the comment, that's all right, but please remember to check back here in a few days in case you've won and I'm looking for you. Good luck to you all!




Thursday, October 16, 2014

Desire and Destiny

Life's Desires by Florian Geiss
Happy New Moon Eclipse, Everyone. Thank you for your comments. The name that came out of the hat was Alina P!

Alina, email me - enchantment AT kimfalconer DOT COM and I'll send you your Amazon.com gift voucher.

Namaste, Kim 

Desire . . . a verb that means "wish, or long for," from the Latin desiderare. The original sense of the word may be, "await what the stars will bring," from the phrase de sidere (from the stars).

I love this connection to 'the stars.' It brings to mind a sense of destiny, spoken of in a beautiful quote from the Upanishad:

You are your deepest driving desire. 

As is your desire, so is your will. 

As is your will, so is your deed. 

As is your deed, so is your destiny. 

You are your deepest, driving desire . . . 

― Brihadaranyaka Upanishad


Some believe that desire is our undoing. They might even quote various teachings to support the thought, but are we really translating correctly?

According Mark Epstein in his book, Open to Desire: Embracing a Lust for Life: to Buddhism, “tanha” creates suffering. This Pali term has often been translated as desire, but “craving” is more accurate. That's craving as in addiction.

Pure desire can be a positive, creative energy, a lust for life. It gets us out of bed in the morning, fuels our inspirations and dreams and leads us toward our highest expression of Self. As implied in the Upanishad, and the link to the origin de sidere, our desires become our destiny. They defines us.

What do you think? Is desire leading us to our greatest potential, or biggest bungle? Have you been inspired by a story of great desire? I'd love to hear about it.

Drop a short comment below and be in the running to win an Amazon.com gift voucher for your most desired books.

The winner will be drawn on the Eclipse, October 23rd at 5:45 PM. Check back here for the results!

Thanks for being part of our Supernatural Underground!




Kim Falconer is a Supernatural Underground author writing paranormal romance, urban fantasy, YA and epic science fantasy novels.

You can find out more about Kim at kimfalconer.com or on the 11th House Blog, and on FaceBook and Twitter. She posts here at the Supernatural Underground on the 16th of every month. Her latest release is"Blood and Water" in Supernatural Underground: Vampires Gone Wild.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Time for a Birthday Book Giveaway

[UPDATE: Winners are Melissa and Infinitieh. Please email me at JocelynnDOTdrakeATgmailDOTcom your address so I can ship your books to you!]

October is my favorite month of the year.  It's a time of cooler weather, colored leaves, Halloween costumes, and my birthday! Yes, today is my birthday, but I'm the one who's going to be giving away the presents.

I would like you to help me celebrate my birthday.  And the timing is particularly perfect since I've got a new book that is coming out next week!  The Final Asylum Tales book is being released in three parts starting on October 14 for e-book.  Demon's Fury will be released on October 14. Demon's Vow will be released on October 21. And Inner Demon will be out on October 28.  (If you're not a fan of e-books, the final story will be released as a single book later this year.)

But maybe you're not acquainted with warlock-turned-tattoo artist Gage Powell, his elf girlfriend Trixie, or his best friend, a troll named Bronx.  That's okay because I'm giving away two sets of the first two books -- Angel's Ink and Dead Man's Deal -- to celebrate my birthday!

The Asylum Tales follows the adventures of tattoo artist Gage as he tries to balance having a girlfriend who's hiding from the Summer Court while he's trying to escape the warlocks of the Ivory Towers.  Not an easy task when the poor man finds trouble as easily as he does.  His escapades has seen him dealing with vampires, shifters, ogres, elves, sirens, pixies, hobgoblins, minotaurs, incubi, and even the Grim Reaper.

For more information and the reading order of the series, click here.

If you would like to win one of the two prize packs (a signed Angel's Ink and a signed Dead Man's Deal), leave me a comment telling me what you would like to be for Halloween if you could dress up as anything in the whole wide word.  The contest is open to both domestic and international readers.  Please come back on Saturday, October 11 when I will announce my two winners.

Also, I've got another giveaway running on my website through this week. Don't forget to stop by and enter my different contest there. To see my other birthday giveaway, please click here.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The M&M at the end of this sentence

Thanks for my TWO WINNERS! Ash Wolf and Cheesecake- Email me to get your prizes!
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Year of Living Heroically #8: The Reward.

I love it when great minds think alike. A few days ago, Helen Lowe was talking about rewards and how writing a book is hard work and the  completion of a novel is its own reward. Some days, writing is not about  focusing on commercial success but for the pure art of the novel itself. And on some not as inspired days, writing is just about getting to the end of the sentence so you can treat yourself with an M&M or similarly candy-coated goodness.

This month, our step in the hero's journey is exactly that: The Reward. Our heroine has just confronted a dragon or some other hideous thing and survived. And she's better for the experience. She has gone through the fire of her ordeal and come out a stronger, better version of herself.

Don't you think she deserves something all sparkly and wonderful and preferably made of chocolate or gold? I know I do.

Dwayne Johnson in costume playing with a visitor on set. 
Many of us are tested on a daily basis, and every now and then we experience something that really changes who we are or how we look at life. The reward is not only the betterment of yourself, what you learned from the experience, but also a moment to appreciate that you survived. You are still here to fight another day.

It reminds us that even Hercules got a few moments to stop and play patty cake for a while (The sheer size of Dwayne Johnson's thighs in the most recent version of Hercules is probably a whole other blog post).

I think its something that this fast paced culture doesn't appreciate enough. Stop. Enjoy. Relax for two seconds. Appreciate where you've been and where you might be going. You are not history yet, your story is still being written.

So to help you take a moment to relax, to reflect on the awesomeness that is you, I'd like to give you a small reward. Post in the comments below something that helps you relax, so we all can learn your secrets, and I'll give one lucky comment a gift box of things that help me relax (and maybe a few of your ideas tossed in there too for good measure).

So until next month, don't forget that you are AWESOME!

*******************************************************
Amanda Arista
Author, Diaries of an Urban Panther Series
www.amandaarista.com


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Secret I Didn't Share...

.
"Supernaturally" event
As soon as I posted my "Supernaturally" Tips For Aspiring Writers last month I realized that I hadn't shared the most important secret of all.

Tip 6: Writing is — and has to be it's own reward.

Surely that's obvious, you may say, but I'm not entirely sure it is. Most of us may know that no business case in the world would ever support writing as a viable business proposition, but I think we're also often dazzled by the fame, glory, and commercial success achieved by (for example) authors such as JK Rowling and Stephanie Meyer.

The endurance event...
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with the stuff of dreams that comprises stardust and a little bedazzlement, it will not sustain a writer through the long distance endurance event otherwise known as the writing life. Those with writing ambition need to think marathon as opposed to a stroll amongst scented (& thornless) rose gardens blooming beneath a blue moon.

No question, marathons can be rewarding — we only have to look at their worldwide popularity to know that they bring exhilaration as well as grueling moments. But there usually comes a moment somewhere in a marathon where the athlete hits the wire and keeping going (see Tip 5 from last month) definitely becomes "the way is hard."

Promised treats...
When I hit that spot with writing, I try all sorts of different ways to "keep going." One method I tried when pushing myself toward he finish line for Daughter Of Blood, The Wall of Night Book Three, was rewarding myself with treats (we will not say bribes!) for achieving milestones — only to find, when I did hit the milestone, that I wasn't interested in the promised treat.

The reward was always the writing and the achievement of the book itself.

And has to be, because with writing there is no guarantee that you will ever receive any other reward. If you do, then treat it as the bonus that it us.

A bonus moment.
That's not a gloom and doom prognosis though — I believe it's the key to what the ancient Greeks meant when they said "Know yourself" and also to an individual's personal writing "success", which (the only thing we can be sure of, I suspect) will be very different for each of us.
.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Back home from Scotland!


Congratulations to Kezia from Washington, who won this month's contest!  Thank you all for stopping by and leaving so many wonderful comments.  Please come back Oct. 25, when I'll be giving away the next two books in the series, Vampire Mine and Sexiest Vampire Alive!

What a fabulous time I had in Scotland!  It's one of those places that soothes your soul and fills your mind with imagination. I was fortunate to travel with a great bunch of women, all writers. Here you can see six of us in a selfie I took with Stirling Castle in the background.  Denise, Deb, Cathy Maxwell, Lorraine Heath, Elizabeth Essex, and me! We lived for a week in an old Victorian hunting lodge in Perthshire, complete with wonkie toilets, old-world charm, and a resident ghost, who made a few noises in the middle of the night, but otherwise, left us alone.

Every day was an adventure.  We went to places like Dunnottar and Blair Castle. We visited towns like Aberfeldy and Braemar. Even the journey there was an adventure, since we had to drive on the left side of the tiny, narrow roads and fly into a panic whenever a truck came along!  We happened to be near
neighbors of the Queen, who was in Balmoral.  The estate was closed for visitors, but we toured the church she attends every Sunday.

The trip ended in Glasgow, where we met with sixteen readers!  Here are some photos of them!  We all had a great time with lots of
laughs.  HarperCollins UK had mailed three boxes of goodies to the hotel, so everyone left with some signed books!

When I came home, there was a surprise waiting for me!  A box full of ARCs (advanced reading copies) for Russell's book, Crouching Tiger Forbidden Vampire!  These are uncorrected galleys, meaning they may not be exactly like the final version, since they don't reflect any changes made in the copyedit or final page proof stage. Which means they probably have too many commas in them, LOL. I tend to overdo the commas.    Crouching Tiger Forbidden Vampire goes on sale Dec. 30!  (And I am so tempted to put a comma in that title!)

Since I still have Scotland on my mind, I'm delighted to give away the book starring Robby MacKay! (I learned in Scotland that I have been mispronouncing his name for years! MacKay rhymes with tie.) I'll also give away Carlos's book, Eat Prey Love! (Again, I so want to put commas in that!)  So, for a chance to win The Vampire and the Virgin and Eat Prey Love, just leave a comment below. It makes it easier for me to contact the winner if you leave an email address in your comment. If you don't want to leave an email address, I understand that, but please come back in a few days to see if I'm looking for you. International entries are welcome. Good luck!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Writing Fiction vs Fact

La-memoria-de-los-peces by Chelin Sanjuan
Fiction and non-fiction, fantasy and reality, they have a lot more in common than we think. On the surface, they seem like polar opposites. One is real, the other not, right? But given a large enough perspective, both are simply stories that we tell, and those stories have a way of swapping places over time.

For example, we've all heard this one: the world is flat - fact or fiction? The answer depends on 'when' and 'where' you ask it.  In the 6th century BC, Samos, the world is spherical, thanks to Pythagoras. Middle ages Europe, flat or round, it's a toss up. 16th century China, definitely flat. Stories change. What's real changes,and sometimes imagining something new can open doors to its existence.

We see this all the time when science fiction that becomes 'science fact'. Here are a few examples:

Edward Bellamy’s 1888 novel Looking Backward introduced the notion of 'debit cards' in a financial era that had no models for this kind of exchange.

Ray Bradbury's 1953 classic Fahrenheit 451 describes the earbud headphone perfectly, when that technology that didn't appear until 2000+.

Hugo Gernsback’s ancient serial Ralph 124c 41+ publised in 1911 included the 'telphot', basically SCYPE, or video conferencing.

Jules Verne, who wrote in the 1800s gave us everything from submarines to lunar landings.  The Earth To The Moon predicted Apollo 11's lunar landing in 1969 - from the launch from Florida to the amount of force that needed escape Earth’s atmosphere.

And Philip K. Dick's 1956 Minority Report portrayed multiple 'fictional' technologies that have since become reality, including facial recognition software, personalized advertising and gesture-based user interfaces long before touchscreens and motion-sensing inputs became common.

The Spell of Rosette, a story about DNA,
strange attractions and other forms of magic.
One of my favorite recent 'stories' from neuroscience is that meditation alters gene expression. It means that our thoughts (mantras) have a direct effect on our DNA, changing our physical make up. Of course, Vedic masters have been telling this story for thousands of years, but now researchers in brain science are saying it's 'real'.

The notion of altering gene expression with our thoughts is the bedrock of my Quantum Enchantment Series, a science fantasy whose hero is a quantum computer who thinks himself up a Tulpa body and gets out of Dodge before they pull his plug. I wrote that before the recent breakthrough . . .

Do you have a favorite 'fiction' you would love to see come true? A story that seemed outlandish at the time but is commonplace now? We'd love to hear about it.



Kim Falconer is a Supernatural Underground author writing paranormal romance, urban fantasy, YA and epic science fantasy novels.

You can find out more about Kim at kimfalconer.com or on the 11th House Blog, and on FaceBook and Twitter. She posts here at the Supernatural Underground on the 16th of every month. Her latest release is"Blood and Water" in Supernatural Underground: Vampires Gone Wild.