The Night Songs Collection 1-3 Box Set is Now Available!

Originally posted on deadlyeverafter:

Today’s Brew: Hook up an IV of coffee and spike that bitch. Today’s my last day on the movie I’ve been working on, and from the looks of the scene list, it may be the longest day in movie making history. That’s fine, we’re having a party.

by Kristen

You know what is the gift that keeps on giving? Get your mind out of the gutters. It’s vampires. Who else can give you the gift of eternal life?  If you’re going to live forever, you’re going to need something to read. A lot of something. So I would love to offer you the first three books in The Night Songs Collection. It’s like a one way ticket to Las Vegas without the hangover, or the goons chasing after after you to collect on your gambling debts.  It’s debauchery in the comfort of your own home.

Because the Night, Night Moves, and We Own the Night all available in one pretty package! Because the Night, Night Moves…

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Publishing Books Is Like Investing, NOT like winning the lottery.

Publishing books is like investing, NOT like winning the lottery.

Of course, we all wish it was. It would be nice to write your debut novel, see it published, and suddenly it becomes an overnight success, but chances are that’s not going to happen.

Hopefully, what really happens is that you write a book, gain some fans, make some sales, and write another book.

Each book you write is an investment in your future, and your career. When you save for retirement, do you put $100 on a stock and hope it grows to a million? Noooo. You save over time, build on what you have, and diversify your portfolio.

Publishing books is very similar. You have to keep writing books, keeping depositing into your writing portfolio, and keep growing your audience.

I realized this when I released the first two novellas in my Highborn Chronicles a few months ago. My first novel, The Darkness of Light, was starting to slip in sales and I was still months away from releasing the sequel. Then I released The Highborn Chronicles and suddenly sales jumped across the board. I was bringing in new readers that also bought my first book, and my current readers were excited for something to tide them over until The Embers of Light comes out. So the more I write, the more readers find me, and the more my other books sell. The formula is so simple.

Now, like investing, there’s a chance not all of your books will make gains all the time. That’s just the nature of the business. I’ve noticed months where I make a lot of sales, and months (like December) when book sales tend to decline. That doesn’t mean you are a failure, and that doesn’t mean you should quit writing books.

WRITE MORE!

The more you write, the higher the chances that you’ll eventually create that gem that makes the rest of your work soar. If your first book didn’t do so well, write another, change your approach, expand your knowledge of the craft. Giving up means NOT investing. And I think we all know by now that investing in your future is something we all HAVE to do. ;)

Happy writing.

 

 

You Don’t Belong Here

Originally posted on deadlyeverafter:

Today’s Brew: Water. I’m setting my alarm for 4 AM and calling it a night

by Kristen

Yes, I am using Running Home’s catch phrase.

You may have noticed I’ve been pretty quiet for the last few months.  Or maybe not.  That’s cool, too.  I could tell you I’ve been busy, and that’s definitely true. I’ve been on two movies back to back, which is something I’ve never done before.  Movie days start well before the sun comes up, and last 12 to 14 hours.  When I get home, if I still remember the English language, I’ll work on book stuff.

But the real reason is, I haven’t felt like I’ve belonged here.

Kristen, you might be thinking, it’s your blog! How can you not belong?  When Julie and I started Deadly Ever After, it was to be about our writing adventures.  For a long time, we travelled the same…

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Reinventing Christmas

Christmas is a strange time for me. On one hand it’s my favorite holiday. I frigging LOVE Christmas. But on the other hand it stirs up a lot of emotions that don’t always feel so merry. You see, my husband, Pat, and I are living in Christmas limbo.

We’re too old to be in that whimsical Christmas phase of childhood, but we’re not yet in that generational shift where we become the parents. This will be the fourth Christmas without my mom. Christmas was always her favorite holiday. She loved decorating the house, pulling out all the ancient Christmas decorations, and cooking the biggest Christmas dinner. She was an excellent present giver, and always seemed to know exactly what people wanted. Christmas has never quite been the same without her, and while I’m trying to carry on her traditions, I always feel like something’s missing.

Then there’s the distance. For Pat and I, this will be our second Christmas away from home and away from our families. For the first two years of living in S.C. we braved the trip back to Canada, but after a very dangerous drive in 2012, we decided that risking that trip, or spending a fortune to fly home, doesn’t really put us in the Christmas spirit. Missing family at Christmas is hard, and knowing that those old traditions back home are going on without us isn’t easy.

Last year we started recollecting Christmas decorations, since we left most of ours back home when we moved. Yesterday I pulled them out, and it was nice to see all the things we acquired that will become our new tradition year after year. It’s like we’re rebuilding a holiday routine, and while we’re not quite sure what will stick, we’re having fun trying to figure it out.

Luckily my aunt and uncle live here, so we’re not completely without family during the holidays, and we have an amazing group of friends that invite us into their homes on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. We’ll be doing the same thing we did last year which, I guess, makes this our new tradition.

This weekend I’ll probably break out the Christmas movies. One of my all time favorites is One Magic Christmas.

OneMagicChristmasIt’s a Canadian film that my sister and I used to watch every single Christmas until I moved away. I miss having my sister with me, but I’ll probably call her and she roll her eyes, cause I think she secretly hates that movie and I made her watch it all those years.

Sometimes I get sad watching Christmas movies or listening to Christmas music because of the nostalgic feelings they evoke. I miss the loved ones I’ve lost, I miss the loved ones that live far away, and I miss the periods of time that I didn’t know were precious until they were gone. I think we all have those melancholy moments at Christmas, but it’s all part of growing up, right?

At this point in our lives, Pat and I are our own family, and S.C. is our home. We can either sulk about the things we miss or the things we don’t have, or we can blast Mariah Carey’s ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS, decorate the heck out of our Christmas tree, and make the most of our new Christmas adventures. We’ll have fun with our friends, eat too much food, drink too much of whatever is being served, and eventually we’ll have our own traditions to carry on.

Reinventing Christmas is challenging, but it doesn’t have to be hard. And when I get a moment of sadness, this will always cheer me up! :)

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

Kat Daemon’s KILLING DARKNESS IS HERE!

Killing Darkness, the long awaited sequel to Kat Daemon’s Taming Darkness is finally here and I can’t wait to read it! *THROWS ALL THE CONFETTI!*

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Powerful, beautiful, and covered in scars…

Powerful, beautiful, and covered in scars…

Brielle, born of a mortal-immortal union between a human mother and the devil Himself, is prophesied to be the one capable of turning the tide in the brewing apocalypse.

As Brielle’s thirtieth birthday draws near, she strikes a deal with the devil and sets out on a journey of self discovery. In an attempt to comprehend what it means to be fully human, Brielle finds herself at the door of her therapist, Adam. Blurring relationship lines and questioning everything, she quickly learns that humanity, vulnerability, and love are things she isn’t prepared to handle. Distancing herself, she finds shelter in her father’s arms once more.

Two worlds are about to collide…

When the archangel Michael suddenly takes a deep interest in Brielle, Lucifer begins to understand that his greatest opponent is curious about more than just her choice. Michael’s fall will be Lucifer’s rise and only Brielle holds the key to making it happen.

With a human, an angel, and a demon all tearing at her heart, Brielle realizes it’s time to decide if her loyalties lie with Michael in Heaven or her father in Hell.

PURCHASE LINK: AMAZON

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Kat Daemon grew up in New York where her imagination always seemed to get the best of her. When she’s not hanging with demons, she’s usually armed with a strong cup of coffee and dreaming up her next tormented character.

She is the author of the The Darkness Saga. Book one of the saga, Taming Darkness, the story of the world’s most infamous fallen angel and the one woman who was able to hold temptation over him, is available now.

You can find out more about Kat and her books at www.katdaemon.com

The only thing I ever learned from critics is that I’m not made of steel.

You never learn anything from critics.

Sometimes inspiration and insight come from the strangest places. Yesterday, none other than Shia LaBeouf turned on a light bulb in my head. I know, right—how strange.

I was reading Dazed and Confused Magazine’s piece on him. It’s a fascinating article about (who I feel) is a young man struggling to find inner balance in the face of personal turmoil, professional mistakes, and fame. I was fascinated as I read the article, but when I came to one simple line: you never learn anything from critics—I was inspired.

In my first year as a published author I’ve experienced criticism first hand. I think every author fears being judged, we’re terrified of bad reviews, and we’re terrified of failure. But we’re brave because we risk facing these things. When someone criticizes us, we take in every word like poison and let it weave its way into our minds so that we doubt ourselves.

We must STOP doing this.

We live in a society full of critics.

Every day we see tabloids cutting up celebrities, FB posts against this or against that, parents criticizing each other, politicians criticizing each other, people criticizing people.

Professional critics aside, the definition of criticism is: The expression of disapproval of something or someone based on perceived faults or mistakes.

Just the word “criticism” guarantees a negative outcome, and even when the criticism is well intentioned, if it’s unwelcome, it offers nothing constructive, what does it do for us? It cuts us down.

In one breath we hear people say: Don’t judge others. And then in the next they have a “criticism” for us. Hmmm…Something isn’t right here.

The only thing I ever learned from critics is that I’m not made of steel.

It’s taken me some time to figure this out, and here’s what I’ve decided: unless I ask for advice, unless I’ve solicited an opinion from a friend, peer, or professional, the criticism I receive does NOT require my intention.

Imagine if we all spent our days listening to what we were doing wrong. Even the toughest person would crack, eventually. Doubt is a sneaky monster, and it feeds off of criticism—in fact—that’s its favorite food. So by paying attention to criticism, you are feeding your doubt, and only hurting yourself.

In the last year I can honestly say that I’ve never learned anything constructive from true criticism. Actually, I think we should scrap the phrase “constructive criticism” from our vernacular altogether. It’s a complete oxymoron. “Constructive” means to build, criticize means to point out faults. Unless it’s advice, it’s main purpose is to tear down.

Sure, I’ve taken advice from those I asked for advice, I’ve grown based on the opinions of those I admire, and respect. But when it comes to true criticism—the kind that tells you nothing but your faults, DON’T LISTEN! DO. NOT. LISTEN.

The Lesson.

Be wary of constantly searching for reviews of your work. Be wary of Googling yourself. Be wary of those who force their opinions (of you) on you without your consent. Be open to advice. Be open to change. Be open to growth. But when that uninvited friend called criticism knocks on your door—slam that damn door shut and don’t even THINK about peeking out the window.

Even as I write this blog, the doubtful voices in my head are screaming at me: But criticism is a valuable tool. We can learn from our critics. We NEED criticism to grow.

Maybe those statements would if be true if we didn’t live in a society where we feel the right to judge each other so harshly and, often, without understanding.

The Solution.

Spend a day listening to your critics and you’ll find yourself deflated. Spend a day listening to your advisers, those whose opinions you value, and you’ll continue to grow.

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Hi. My name is Kat, and I’m an #Indie author…

Originally posted on Kat Daemon:

About two years ago I had a talk with a coworker, as my eyes glazed over with tears. I had just gotten a rejection on a full and it crushed me. My coworker’s advice was, “Just self publish. Isn’t it more important that readers have your work, and you continue to write than you spend another two years querying?”

I rolled my eyes. He didn’t get it.

I dismissed his advice, and got back on the horse. I revised my work. I went to workshops. I made connections. I signed with a small press, who eventually led me astray. I self published that book, to “save it”. I flew down to New Orleans and pitched my work to agents and publishers that included the big five– and got full requests!

I was learning. I was motivated. I was hungry for that contract.

But– I wasn’t writing.

When I’m not writing…

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Re: Build Bridges, Not Barricades

Yesterday I came across this post Build Bridges, Not Barricades  It’s an opinion piece about positive collaboration between traditional and indie authors. Unlike my blog post on the same topic, this post took a more positive approach.

“Isn’t it my duty as a self-published author to fly the flag? If I don’t challenge these arguments, aren’t I just letting people go on believing in their old prejudices and misconceptions about self-published books? Yes, I am – because I don’t think that rising to this sort of bait is always the best way to present our case. I prefer a less confrontational approach, one that focuses on the positive. If whether or not you are self or trade published makes no difference amongst authors themselves, what’s left to argue about?”

I feel like this blog was written for me. Who knows, with the amount of people angry with the tone of my last blog, it might have been. Whatever the case, this made me take a step back and reevaluate the message I was trying to convey.

My blog post came across as defensive and judgmental. There was truth to it. But that truth didn’t shine through as positive for everyone, and now I understand why. I was reacting to feeling judged, and in turn, I judged others.

It’s natural for people to become defensive when they feel judged. In my personal life, I try really, really hard not to react to things without considering them first. I try to avoid controversial topics, I try to look at an argument from both sides before I weigh in, and I (usually) wait for my emotions to settle before I react. I’m not always successful in doing these things, but that’s always my intent.

I was approaching a topic I felt strongly about with a defensive attitude when I should have used positive examples of traditional and indie authors working together. I’ve had many such experiences, and I could have used those to bolster my point that we can all get along. Instead, my message drew a line between the two, and that’s where I was wrong.

In her blog post Lucienne Boyce said, “The fact is that to many authors, the divide either doesn’t exist or, if they are aware of it, they don’t view it as negative.”

From now on I’ll adopt this attitude, putting the negativity and bad feelings behind me, and move forward with the people I love to work with and who support me. I should have remembered there’s room for us all and we should celebrate each other, not criticize.

It’s here! It’s HERE! Kristen Strassel’s SILENT NIGHT is here!

 

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I’m excited to celebrate the release of SILENT NIGHT by Kristen Strassel! This books sounds amazing and if I could marry a cover, I think I’d marry this one. ;)

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Title: Silent Night

Author: Kristen Strassel

Age: NA

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Cover Designer: Nathalia Suellen

Scheduled to release: November 18, 2014

AMAZON

 

Blurb:

This Christmas isn’t about celebration for eighteen-year-old Kyndra, it’s about survival. Grieving the loss of her grandmother and struggling with the indifference of her family, Kyndra now splits her time between her dead-end mall job, her junkie ex-boyfriend’s bed, and the streets. Longing to be close to her grandmother one more time, she wanders into Christmas Eve mass and prays she’ll find the place she belongs. Home.

Aidan isn’t ready to let go of the past either, even though he’s had nearly three hundred years to do it. He chronicles the search for the reincarnation of his beloved wife as the vampire romance author Allison Duprois. Aidan knows the wife he mourns is out there, but fears writing their story is as close as he will get to her.

At Christmas Eve mass, he finally finds her. Alone, with no place to go.

Aidan brings Kyndra into his home, and gives her the safety, comfort and love she longs for. Though he gives her second chances she never thought she’d have, Kyndra still can’t get over Aidan’s mysterious past. Not to mention that he claims that he’s a vampire. Life alone on the streets is dangerous enough without handing her trust and love to the wrong person. Can Aidan break through the walls around Kyndra’s hardened heart to convince her that she belongs with him, forever?

*This is a companion novel to the Night Moves Series.

EXCERPT

“I need to borrow your pajamas again.”

“Follow me.” Aidan waved his hand towards the hallway. I didn’t know if he heard me or not. I wouldn’t ask again. The shadows swallowed him before he clicked the light at the end of the hallway. “I hope it’s alright. I cleaned it up, and I’m limited on short notice. With my lifestyle, I can only go to all night stores.”

He led me into an oddly shaped room, with floor to ceiling dark wood bookshelves loaded with even more books. How could one person even hope to read so many books in one lifetime? In a nook, under more shelves, was a freshly made bed with a fluffy white spread and aqua throw pillows. A pair of pink and black pajamas were folded at the foot of the bed, on top of a silver throw.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. “Did you do this for me?”

Aidan’s smile was so wide it hardly fit on his face. “I did.”

I sunk down on the bed, head in my hands. “It’s too much.”

I felt his hands on my wrists, cool from just coming in from the car. Electricity flowed from his skin to mine, sending waves beneath the surface. Was this the first time he actually touched me? “I just want you to have a place you know you can come to. No questions asked.”

Hot tears slipped down my cheeks. Why was he doing this? Why did this man I’d met two days before today care about me more than my own mother? She didn’t even call me this week. I tried to bury that hurt deep, but it bounced out when I least expected it. Being with Aidan, the pain faded, and I couldn’t remember why I wanted to fight to get away from him anymore.

“I can’t pay for this,” I whispered, my voice still breaking.

“Let me do things for you.” He pressed his forehead against mine, not moving my hands away from my face. His skin felt so refreshing against my anxiety flushed skin.

Lowering my hands, I had to force myself to meet his eyes. “Thank you.”

“My home is your home. Really. I did food shopping, too.”

“So, when you found me tonight,” I worked up the nerve to ask, “was that an accident?”

“Nothing in this world is an accident, Kyndra.” He stopped at the door, then closed it quietly behind him, leaving me to stare at it after he left me alone in this haven created just for me.

I was afraid to touch anything. Aidan left me in a snow globe and I didn’t want to break the glass. I curled up in a ball, clutching one of the pillows at the head of the bed. My head pounded, but my body so desperately wanted to let go of all the tension that had built up since I gave the keys to Memere’s apartment back.

I wanted to stay. Here.

Sitting up, I ran my finger along the edge of the piping on the pajamas. They were classic button down pjs with pinstripes, but adorned with little black stars and star buttons. The flannel felt like a hug as I pulled them on. As soon as my brain wound down to the same level as my tired body, I would be ready to sleep forever.

A book would help me relax. Ignoring the e-reader in my bag, I went straight for the wall of books. I noticed some repeats from the living room, namely the Allison Duprois books. I pulled out the hardcover version of A Piece of My Heart.

I hadn’t read these books since junior high. Memere had been a little concerned they were too mature for me, but she didn’t want to discourage me from reading. I couldn’t remember the order the series went in, so I skimmed the opening pages for the information.

First Printing, 1990.

My eyes couldn’t leave those words. That was not only six years before I was born, but twenty four years ago.

Aidan didn’t look much more than thirty. Thirty-five at most. He would have barely been a teenager at most in 1990. Tearing my eyes away from the book, I looked at the closed door. My heart pounded so hard it threatened to jump out of the neckline of my new pajamas.

This didn’t add up.

Maybe he just looked really good for his age. It was possible, with plastic surgery and manscaping and gross things like that. But Aidan didn’t seem like someone who’d be vain enough to go through all of that. This was someone who hid behind a secret identity. So maybe he would be vain enough to alter his face. Maybe I was just wrong about how old he was, but that didn’t make me feel any better. If he was old enough to be my father, that was gross on a whole other level.

I couldn’t lie to myself, I was falling for this guy. Or who I thought this guy was.

Putting the book down, I went back to the book shelf, checking the original publishing dates for all of the Allison Duprois books. So many early nineties. An anthology had a publishing date of 1988. This wasn’t a mistake.

Whatever the answer was, Aidan had lied to me about something.

 

GIVEAWAY:

Christmas stocking filled with book themed goodies + signed print copy of Silent Night

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/NGE1MDEyNTkzNmEzMjcwYWY1N2NlODA1YWVlMmE3OjQ0NA==/

About the Author

Kristen

Kristen shares a birthday with Steven Tyler and Diana Ross. She spends each day striving to be half as fabulous as they are. She’s worn many hats, none as flattering as her cowboy hat: banker, retail manager, fledgling web designer, world’s worst cocktail waitress, panty slinger, now makeup artist and author. She loves sunshine, live music, the middle of nowhere, and finding new things to put in her house.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

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What a writing conference taught me about staying indie

Tammy Farrell:

This fits right in with my blog post today about the Indie/Trad debate. It’s really not that crazy to WANT to be indie.

Originally posted on Sarahbeth Caplin | Author:

bcLast Saturday was my first writing conference: well worth every cent. A great portion of the afternoon was spent on comparing and contrasting self-publishing versus traditional publishing. While much of the information wasn’t new to me – such as the possibility of surrendering creative control of your work to a publisher – a few tidbits did stand out, pushing me more towards the side of staying indie than actively pursuing a traditional publishing contract.

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