Friday, February 28, 2014

Oh, the HORROR...

February is Women in Horror month. Some of you know that my paranormal romance books border on horror. They are dark and gory. I also write Victorian horror/steampunk-ish books. So, Why Horror?...

Horrors legacy is as old as humanity. We can trace the telling of monster and ghost stories back to ancient times. Almost every culture has their own tales of vampires, shape shifters and even zombies starting before the written word. From pre-history to the Grimm fairytales to Paranormal Activity 3, horror has always been a part of the human experience. What is it about horror that we find so fascinating? There are many opinions on this. Is it possible that partaking of a little horror in life is good for us? I say yes, this vast and varied genre can be beneficial.

In my house, we are all about Hallowe’en. We have more scary decorations than we do red and green ones. So when my daughter began to show her love of all things spooky, it seemed natural. Other people thought we were crazy to make our own styrofoam gravestones for display. “It’s so morbid,” the neighbors said. When Gwendolyn came out dressed for school in March in her favorite skeleton tee-shirt, I didn’t say a word. She likes Goosebumps, Ruby Gloom, Mona the Vampire, and Kendra Kandlestar (more fantasy than horror but she likes it because of the creatures). Her first real drawing was of a Frankenstein monster who was covered in green stitches. Monsters are her favorite, while I am partial to vampires and my husband prefers zombies.

I think all of this is very healthy. There are life lessons to be learned from horror. My daughter knows that to kill a zombie you cut off the head and that vampires drink blood. Useless information for the real world, yes, but not everything learned from horror is. Examples: You never invite a stranger into your home. Going to a secluded area isn’t always the best plan. Not telling your parents where you’re going when you’re staying out late can be dangerous.

In horror we are free to explore feeling without consequence. It’s a safe way to experience being scared. People have a need for stimulation and excitement, but we don’t want it at the risk of actual personal peril. We know that when we are done, we won’t be missing any limbs or have a stake through the heart. It’s reassuring because it’s fiction. Monsters are in the books, not real life. Once we are finished reading or watching, we can simply put up that entertainment and, subsequently, the fear too.

Horror stories allow us to explore fear and death from a slightly separated space. We will die; all are doomed. When we read or watch a fictional depiction of that, we face our greatest fear. 

After I answer the inevitable, “why horror?”, the next is always, “but you’re a woman!” I think Bela Lugosi said it best. “It is women who bear the race in bloody agony. Suffering is a kind of horror. Blood is a kind of horror. Women are born with horror in their very bloodstream. It is a biological thing.”

~Author Natalie Gibson

...Evil Has No Face...

Hateful Burden is a gaslight-era horror novel as well as a psychological thriller where friends and foes are not always what they seem. In this dark urban fantasy, paranormal powers are bred and collected.

Lady Ramillia Winmoore, daughter of the Earl of Brooksberry, has suffered from gaps in her memory her entire life. But this darkness is a blessing. Whenever she feels threatened, it takes over and protects her from feeling pain or even the slightest bit of discomfort. That is until the day she awakens strapped to an examining table at the West Freeman Asylum for Lunatics.

Imprisoned for the gruesome murder of her parents, Ramillia learns she has lost ten months to the darkness. Forced to endure years of tortuous treatments in a grimy, hidden cell, salvation arrives in the form of a benefactor named Sir Julian Lawrence. Betrothed to her through an arranged marriage, he helps her gain freedom.

But appearances are deceiving and soon Ramillia learns the cost she must pay. The horrors she encounters in his household are far worse than the asylum when he inducts her into a society of blood-thirsty, cruel immortals. Soon she is forced to join them and accept their way of life.

Now Ramillia must break free of a prison she cannot see, kill an enemy that cannot die, and find a daughter that she cannot remember--all with the help of an ally she does not know. Who is Sally and can she be trusted? Is this mysterious and frightening woman trying to save her or is she planning on saving Ramillia for herself?

★★★★★ "...this is a book that has more creep and scare factor than most horror books I have read. Yet it also has romantic love, familial love and friendship bonding that are portrayed with sensitivity and finesse." ~Karen Bryant Doering, reviewer Parents' Little Black Book

Book 2 in the Carrier Trilogy, 
Wretched Blood 
is coming out in March. 
Look out world! 
Ramillia is back and she's got a hell of a brood with her. 

So what books influenced me in writing Hateful Burden?...

Everything I’ve ever read has had an influence on my writing. Steven King says, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that,” and I tend to agree. Authors like Lilith Saintcrow, Christine Feehan, and Anya Bast most influenced my Sinnis Series. Orson Scott Card, John Steakley, Tim Powers, Terry Pratchett, Robert J. Sawyer and Steven Brust are amazing authors and anyone who reads these works takes a bit of that magic into themselves. I’d like to talk today about the books and authors that most influenced and inspired Hateful Burden. None of these are new books so I’ll assume you’ve read them. I won’t worry about spoilers so look out for them if you are a few decades behind on your reading.

I am Legend by Richard Matheson - In the end, the main character realizes he’s the boogie man in a world of monsters, a world that used to belong to his kind. He’s the monster in their room, the one they tell their children about. He creeps into their bedrooms while they sleep and kills them. They fear him much more than he fears them. This is powerful stuff. It’s about relative right and wrong. It’s not absolute black and white but shades of gray determined by the majority.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson - This classic falls under the same category as I am Legend. It’s about the evil we all have inside of us and the things we are capable of with the smallest of inhibitions removed. The danger comes from within.
“Two such opposed kings encamp them still
In man as well as herbs—grace and rude will;
And where the worser is predominant,
Full soon the canker death eats up that plant.”
 ~Friar Lawrence, Romeo and Juliet, Act II, scene III

Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles - I read these books a LONG time ago. They changed the face of vampire from the creepy and grotesque to the seductive and dangerous. Though they are not vampires in Hateful Burden, Julian is a version of Lestat, charming and powerful with nothing to fear and nothing to lose. He uses Ramillia to quicken him once more just as Lestat uses Louis.

Dracula by Bram Stoker and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley were both written in the 19th century and their influence as gothic horror can be easily seen.

A Nice Place To Live by Robert C Sloane - Clearly what we see around us at first glance can be deceiving. What we want home to be and what it is are two different things.

Door to December by Dean Koontz - Such evil and violence and fear from a tiny girl. It is similar to Hateful Burden in that respect. The reader doesn’t know what is going on until very far into the book. It’s a paranormal, horror, mystery, thriller that delights in all areas.

The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King - Stephen King’s talent and proliferation can not be argued against. This one inspired me because it is so different than his usual genre. He wasn’t afraid to step out of his comfort zone and the result is a very enjoyable fantasy book. I am glad I followed his lead and stepped out of my own comfort zone. I think the result is actually my best work yet.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Artist's Touch release day!

Today is release day for Artist's Touch! I'm happy this book has made it to publication--just less than a year ago, it was just the germ of an idea. Just one character stepped in, and then took over. I wanted to know his story, his past. Then, I wanted him to fall in love. I'm thrilled Ellora's Cave picked up the book and two more in the series about an artists' guild in New York City. I hope you'll check it out.

Every starlet wants master painter Kenon Alavi to do her portrait…and more. But Kenon prefers firm to soft and sates his desires with the boyfriends of the women he paints, enjoying the diversity of many lovers but shunning any attachments.

Wallace Harte’s English degree isn’t helping him find a job and working at a bar is the closest he’s gotten to being the Second Coming of Faulkner. Something’s gotta give soon or he’ll be out on the street.

Kenon zeroes in on the bartender at an art exhibition, intending to add him to his long list of conquests, but Wally bolts, initiating a heated game of cat and mouse. Kenon delights in the game until he discovers what Wally is writing. Feeling betrayed, Kenon swears off all entanglements until he reads Wally’s story and discovers true love is sometimes between the pages and not the sheets.

Add Artist’s Touch to your Goodreads' shelf HERE.

Inside Scoop: This book contains hot, sexy scenes of M/M interaction of an artistic nature. 
Who knew having your portrait painted could be so hot?

A Romantica® gay erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

You can connect with Kerry here:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Can you anticipate as you dread?

This is our last year of home school.   Next year he goes to public high school.  I dread it.  I have loved the closeness of being able to teach him the last 2.5 years.  I wish I had made this choice sooner.   It isn't so much a fear of the unknown or his growing up, though I do notice those things, as it is simply I will miss him.   I love teaching.  I went to college for Early Education so teaching him has been fun.  It has been exciting.  I have loved every aspect of it.

Has it been time consuming?  Yes it has.  I tend to follow a curriculum outline more than an actual curriculum. Meaning I would look up what the requirements were for that grade level in our home state, then our current state.  I would then take these and form a plan for the year.   If one was doing biology in 8th grade and the other state was doing something different, I would try to incorporate both through out the year.  Since we weren't a classroom we didn't have to review every minute detail from the previous years and this saved us time.   I can also do a rock unit one month and cells the next if I want to.  So I spend a lot of my time researching lesson plans, finding worksheets, video's, and buying the books we want to use for certain lessons.

In addition to that there's the time I have spent learning things.  I was terrible at Algebra.  I have had to learn Algebra to explain Algebra.  Sometimes I failed, we both cried tears of frustration then the next day hit the video lessons again.  Or found the odd resource that helped one or both of us "get it".  Sometimes I surprise myself with how much knowledge I am gaining.  Did I really learn that in school?  I don't remember it.  So it's new knowledge now.  I have discovered I love history! Seriously.  It is a lot more fun as an adult than a student.  I say this with personal experience because no matter how much enthusiasm I bring to the table my son is still not a fan of Algebra or History.

Yet, there are certain aspects of high school I anticipate with joy.  I secretly (guess not a secret now) enjoy my own private down time.  I relish in it.  I read books.  I play with graphic arts.  I write.  I had high hopes to release a new series this year.

What I have actually accomplished towards this goal?  The second story is done.  The first is still in the early stages of getting fleshed out on paper.  It should have released already and instead I find I just don't have the time.  What time I do have is so full of noise I can't focus or concentrate.  I am one of those writers that needs peace and quiet to focus.  I love a sleeping household.  Except they eventually wake up.   So there is a part of me that knows I can't beat myself up this year.

Spring and Summer are around the corner.   We already have a couple of things planned that are going to take time.  I have to get my house ready for company.  I am excited about all of these things but it means less time to write.   I just have to find my acceptance of this and do what I can, knowing in the back of my mind..."next year".  I will be sad.  I will probably hide to cry some.  Then I will put on my sweats and get to work.  Life will slow down.  If it doesn't I will at least have carved out a little space for me in it.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Hanging Out With Dariel: ADD, OCD, and Distracted

“ADD, OCD, and Distracted”
First of all, life happens, and nearly everyone I know is challenged to keep things in balance, to say the least. So…since nothing particularly distracting is happening today but I still can’t seem to concentrate, take a stroll through the mind of an ADD, OCD author. I’m having a really hard time focusing on anything productive today, and so you get a clear picture, please allow me to share with you just a few of the many unsolicited topics flitting about in my head instead of completing the tedious chore of formatting my upcoming release. 
Look at the pic above (shameless, unintentional plug - hehe) and tell me how it could possibly relate to the topics plaguing me today. Yes, this is yet another Dariel’s list, but be forewarned; this list is probably about as unhelpful to you as it is to me.
1.   Jackson, my Dobie/Coonhound is getting progressively cantankerous as he ages. He’s always been difficult and headstrong, mind you, but now he actually stands still, frowns and makes faces when anyone besides me tries to tell him what to do…
2.   My car needs a tune-up and a paint job…
3.   Had two of my kittens spayed yesterday while getting my hair cut. They’re annoyed with me today because they can’t go back outside until the incisions heal…
4.   I’m eager to teach my choir “Trust Me” and “I Never Lost My Praise” for our song service,  and “Every Praise” for call to worship…
5.   Got my hair cut yesterday. It’s been thinning drastically since the holidays. Maybe I should cut it more? Now to choose a style...
6.   Hmm. Speaking of hair, my Sweetheart (I introduced you to him already) has red hair. We call it sandy since it’s, well, it's sandy. Where was I going with that? He’s on my mind all the time ;-) Valentine’s Day…
7.   Hope yours was awesome…guess by the time you read this…
8.  Pretty! I've always liked this blanket... 
9. Wonder what I’ll make for dinner today…

What about you? Hey! Are you laughing at me...

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Disney World in January? Heck yeah!

We go to Walt Disney World a lot, by most people's standards. I don't know why. It's a good place to visit. We like it. We got engaged there 25 years ago, in front of Cinderella's castle (hubby still pauses and gets on one knee as we enter the castle each time), just as the fireworks were beginning). So, why January?

We've been all times of the year: Jan, Feb, March, April, May, August, Sept, Nov. This year, I had the bright idea we'd go the week after Christmas. That way, all the kids would be out of school (including college daughter who missed the last trip). Then, things happened. Hubby had to have a couple of surgeries. College daughter's friend couldn't go with us. High school daughter's friend couldn't go. Then I read a website about Disney tips (yes, I still read up on all I can about traveling there!) that color-coded the different times to go: red (super high crowds), yellow (high crowds), green (crowds). Yeah, it's always somewhat busy. Well, the week after Christmas was BLACK. And it came with the warning: DON'T SAY WE DIDN'T TELL YOU NOT TO GO. Then, I found out that prices were jacked up during that time. January became much more appealing. MLK weekend, plus teacher workdays--and we had a week off school where high schooler could go. I'm homeschooling the little one, so that worked. Unfortunately, my college gal couldn't miss class. I was sad.

Best part? MLK week was mostly GREEN. And cheaper. Take heed. Disney is a lot more fun when lines are not an hour long. Many rides that week had five minute or less waits. We also ran into some chilly weather (had to buy sweatshirts for the little one). And I got sick. Like flu sick. Disney is a petri dish. No amount of hand sanitizer and hand washing can eliminate all the germs--especially the airborne ones.

Still, it was an awesome trip. The new Fantasyland is partially open. Much fun--though I wish Gaston's pub had like, BEER.  We spent our days park hopping (except the days I was sick--I mostly stayed in bed), and loving being in Florida in January.

here are a few pics (you can see that it isn't too busy. also, I loved that the princesses had on their winter outfits!):

So, if you want to plan a trip to Disney that isn't crowded (make sure you check the calendar--marathon weekend is also in January, and that is crowded), January isn't bad! November, while a little busier, is also good. Early Feb--also good.

I have a new release coming out with Ellora's Cave on February 26, if you want to check it out. It isn't Disney, though I do like to think of it as an adult fairy tale. There's a happily ever after.

It's called Artist's Touch, and you can read about it here: Ellora's Cave
I would love for you to add it to your Goodreads shelf.

Here's the cover:

I'd love for you to follow me:

thanks! see you next month!

Kerry Adrienne

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Love is in the Air...

It's close to Valentine's Day and I'm one of those people who actually love the holiday.  If you can call it a holiday I mean none of us get off work and the schools don't close but still what else is there to call it?
I know some people get tired of all the commercial cards, candy, flowers, etc but I still love it. What's wrong with having a day dedicated to the one you love?  Yes I just quoted Greys Anatomy.  Don't judge me. lol.

Anyway the husband and I had this past weekend kid free as all the kids were with their grandmothers so we decided to celebrate a little early although at first I didn't know that was the plan.  Friday while I was at work hubby had flowers delivered!  They were beautiful!  They also lead to everyone Ooooing and Awwing over them which I secretly love.  My hubby and I have only been married for two years so I know this might not last through ten or twenty so I soak it up when he decides to be all romantic. 

A pic of the flowers on my desk at work.
Then Saturday we spent the day together out shopping as usual and running errands. We went by a specialty popcorn store we had never been in before and bought all kinds of stuff. I got some triple chocolate popcorn and we got the kids a fruit mix. I may have a new favorite store. lol.  After that we had lunch at "our" restaurant.  It's a cute little café that serves German food and it's fantastic! 
A pic of the restaurant
The rest of our Valentine's weekend was just hanging out, spending time together, and more shopping.  Hubby bought my very first hand gun for Valentine's Day! I won't post a pic of it but it's a Ruger 22 and I love it!  I needed something smaller than the gun I was using plus the one I was using belongs to him so now this one is all mine.  That still doesn't count all the chocolate I told him I better get on Valentine's Day. lol.
For the actual Valentine's Day I'm sure it will be full of chocolate and this weekend we are also taking the kids to see the Lego Movie.  We are really looking forward to it. 

All in all the hubby and I had a nice early Valentine's weekend and I'm sure this weekend will be just as wonderful.
I hope the rest of you have a wonderful Valentine's Day as well!
Thanks for reading!
Jinni James
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