Blood Divine by Greg Howard

Doing cartwheels today as I celebrate the release of Greg Howard’s Blood Divine, a ghost story set in Georgetown, SC, the Ghost Capital of the South.

I’ll have Greg on the blog for an interview soon, but for now, check it out!

 

 

Cooper Causey spent a lifetime eluding the demons of his youth and suppressing the destructive power inside him. But a disconcerting voicemail lures Cooper back home to the coast of South Carolina and to Warfield—the deserted plantation where his darkness first awakened. While searching for his missing grandmother, Cooper uncovers the truth about his ancestry and becomes a pawn in an ancient war between two supernatural races. In order to protect the only man he’s ever loved, Cooper must embrace the dark power threatening to consume him and choose sides in a deadly war between the righteous and the fallen.

 

 

Available now on Amazon!

Add it to your “want to read” list on GoodReads.

Follow Greg on Twitter or Facebook.

Greg Howard grew up near the coast of South Carolina, or as he fondly refers to it, “the armpit of the American South.” By the time he could afford professional therapy and medication, the damage had already been done. His hometown of Georgetown, South Carolina is known as the “Ghost Capital of the South,” (seriously…there’s a sign), and was always a great source of material for his overactive imagination.

Raised in a staunchly religious home, Greg escaped into the arts: singing, playing piano, acting, writing songs, and making up stories. After running away to the bright lights and big city of Nashville, Tennessee with stars in his eyes and dreams of being the Dianne Warren of Music City, he took a job peddling CDs and has been a cog in the music business machine ever since.

Now an adult with a brain, Greg finds the South Carolina coast to be a perfectly magical place where he vacations yearly and dreams of the day when he can return to write full time in the most tastefully decorated beach house on Pawleys Island.

Greg has a soft spot for Spaniels and any rescue animal. People…not so much.

 

 

Retreating

My friend (soon to be Harlequin author) Victoria Austin and I meet up at least once a year at a conference to learn, but mostly to hang.

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View from our room at the lodge.

This year, we decided to take a brain break and just get together for a straight up writing retreat. We met in Cadiz, KY, which is a tiny little town in Southern Kentucky. It’s home to Lake Barkley State Park, which is beautiful.

 

We spent Friday night talking NONSTOP. We don’t talk a lot throughout the year, so when we get together, the floodgates open. We’re both writing industry nerds to the max, so we get each other caught up on all the workshops we’ve done, the people we’ve met, the books we’ve read, and the progress we’ve made. We’re both hoarse by the time the weekend is over.

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Victoria’s bags of stress.

Every time we meet up, I show up with a cooler full of drinks and food (made Pad Thai noodles this time!), and my bags are packed with dark chocolate almonds, Chex Muddy Buddies, Cheez-Its, bagels, Kind bars, and anything else I can stuff in there. This is what Victoria packs (see photo to the left). She laid about eight craft books on my bed for me to “take a look at” and I hid under the bed with my dark chocolate almonds until she kindly removed them.

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The pigs of Cadiz

 

We spent Saturday morning walking around the lake and chatting, and then we headed into town. We went down to the business district of Cadiz which was so precious. All around the town, they had these little pig statues. The Cracker Barrel we ate at even had one out front. I bought a shirt at the cutest little gift shop called Broadbents, and I bought a necklace at an antique shop that was made out of an old silver fork. The artist had molded it into an elephant. I wear it like every day.

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Antique shop in Cadiz

Much of the merchandise in these little shops is locally made and cute enough to make a road trip to check out. There are few things I love more than an adorable little country downtown.

 

But I’ve got to say, one of the coolest moments happened before the weekend even got underway. I arrived first and went to get ice for my cooler in the main building. I had been to this lodge with my family once before when I was in the eighth grade. My sister didn’t come for some reason, so I brought a friend with me. She and I met these two boys who were from Lexington. We spent much of the weekend hanging out with those two boys at the pool and at the arcade in that main building where I went to get my ice. There were no romantic connections with these boys, but it was different, meeting boys who knew nothing about my awkward eighth grade year. They didn’t know about the boys who tortured me on the bus every single day of that year, and they didn’t see me like those kids who I’d been going to school with since kindergarten and knew all the ins and outs of my whole elementary and middle school history. Meeting these boys from another world was fresh and exciting and such an ego boost for a thirteen-year-old girl who desperately needed one that year.

When I walked into that arcade, those memories rushed back into my brain like lake water spraying off a jet ski. I stood there by myself grinning like a total idiot, having a moment with thirteen-year-old Melissa that I won’t soon forget.

Best. Retreat Weekend. Ever.

🙂

AUTHOR INTERVIEW – D.B. Seiders

In Romance, I typically read contemporary stories. But when I learned of D.B. Sieders’ book about a mermaid who kills with her beautiful singing voice, I was hooked. The gorgeous cover didn’t hurt as well.

This tale, while so precious it made my cheeks hurt from smiling so much, was also full of depth and darkness that spanned deeper than the ocean floor…or in this case, the Cumberland River. 🙂

 

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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?

 

Please welcome to the blog, author of Lorelei’s Lyric, D.B. Sieders!

Tell us a little about yourself — who you are and what you write?

Thanks so much for hosting me! I’m a biomedical researcher by day, so I really enjoy exploring my creative side as a writer. My scientific life deals with logic, facts, and evidence. Exploring fantasy, myth, and legend when I use my writer brain serves as a nice balance. I mostly write fantasy/paranormal and urban fantasy romance and a bit of contemporary on the side. I tend to favor unlikely heroes and heroines who face a healthy dose of angst as they strive for redemption and a happily ever after, which everyone deserves.

What kinds of research did you do into legends of mermaids and elemental creatures?

I started with the Greek myth about Sirens. I had a rock star hero who, in spite of an amazing voice and the ability to seduce a crowd with his charisma, is about to give up on the eve of his big break. Who could challenge him, who would be most appalled by his path of self-destruction? Well, someone who wanted desperately to sing but can’t. Hence, the Siren. In spite of their association with mermaids in modern times, Greek Sirens were actually described as bird-like women, which left me with a bit of a problem (I’m a stickler for accuracy). I was still drawn to mermaids, mythical creatures with powers of both destruction and healing – a fascinating dichotomy! I stumbled on the legend of Lorelei, a siren-like enchantress from the Rhine whose beautiful voice lures sailors to their deaths by way of shipwreck. This legend, along with the legends of Melusine, the Warsaw Mermaid, Wagner’s Rhinemaidens, and the legend of Ondine, provided some rich source material.

Vance is a rock musician and songwriter. Do you have a playlist for this book or a handful of songs that provided inspiration?

One of my inspirations for Vance’s intensity, passion, and stage presence was Scott Weiland, who we sadly lost just last month. Adam Levine was another. Lorelei brings to mind Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love” when it comes to Vance. As far as other songs, I found inspiration from Patsy Cline’s “Walking After Midnight” to Santo & Johnny’s “Sleep Walk,” from Sting’s “Fields of Gold” to “What Might Have Been” by Little Texas.

What’s your favorite trait of Lorelei’s? What’s her worst habit? (I loved her, by the way.)

Lorelei is loyal and fiercely protective of those she loves, which is one of her best qualities. Her worst habit is that she’s way too hard on herself, especially when it comes to her past mistakes. Vance helps her come to terms with that.

What authors or series of novels would you say your writing style is similar to?

I definitely aspire to write characters the reader will root for, crisp dialogue, humor to balance all things emotionally heavy, and stories that will make you laugh/cry/think, often in the same chapter. I would love to reach J.R. Ward’s level when it comes to wounded, angsty heroes. I strive to capture the quirks and charm of the South like Charlaine Harris, and I would LOVE to be as funny as Darynda Jones someday!

What celebrities would you cast in the roles of Vance and Lorelei?

Oh, I could totally see Adam Levine as Vance, and Liv Tyler would be perfect as Lorelei!

What is your writing process? Do you plot everything meticulously or do you dive in headfirst without a rope?

I’m a total pantster! However, I recently generated a sort of roadmap for three more books in this series. We’ll see how that goes…

Who are some of your favorite authors and what are you currently reading?

Too many favorite authors to count! For paranormal/fantasy romance, some of my favorites include J.R. Ward, Jeaniene Frost, Darynda Jones, and Laurell K. Hamilton’s early Anita Blake books. I also love Diana Rowland’s White Trash Zombie series and Lexi George’s Demon Hunting in the Deep South series. I’m currently beta reading an awesome Thriller and Paranormal Romance, and reading some great Sci-Fi from Jody Wallace and Contemporaries from Savannah Kade for promised reviews, which is always a treat!

When will we get to see book two featuring Ilsa, Lorelei’s temperamental but good-natured sister?

So glad you asked! Crosscurrents (Southern Elemental Guardians Book 2) will be coming out this spring. Here’s the working blurb: Freshwater mermaid Ilsa is heir apparent to the kingdom of the Rhine, though no one believes her worthy. Including Ilsa. So instead of embracing her role as river royalty, Ilsa opts to extend her holiday in the New World. Avoiding responsibility and frolicking with mortals has always been her M.O. until she answers a distress call from an endangered species in the waters near Chattanooga. When her close encounter with a motorboat threatens to expose the world of elemental guardians, Ilsa partners with biologist and unlikely ally, Paul Pulaski, to throw them off her tail. Worlds collide and sparks ignite between Princess Ilsa and her diamond-in-the-rough skeptical scientist, Paul. But can they survive monster hunters, a rival scientist with a grudge against Paul, and a dark elemental force that could destroy mortal and elemental alike?

Is there anything else you’d like us to know about LORELEI’S LYRIC?

Howdy readers! Looking for some unconventional fantasy romance featuring strong heroines and the heroes who strive to match them? Please come visit the world of Southern Elemental Guardians! I want to take readers on adventures in fantastical worlds hidden in the nooks and crannies of our reality, where heroes and heroines face extraordinary circumstances and find out what they’re made of.

 

DanaD.B. Sieders was born and raised in East Tennessee and spent her childhood hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains, wading barefoot in creeks, and chasing salamanders, fish, and frogs. Her family loved to tell stories while sitting around the campfire. Those days of frog chasing sparked an interest in biology. She’s a working scientist by day, but she never lost her love of telling stories. Now, she is a purveyor of unconventional fantasy romance featuring strong heroines and the heroes who strive to match them. Her characters face a healthy dose of angst as they work for redemption and a happily ever after, which everyone deserves. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, two children, three cats, and her very active imagination.

Lorelei’s Lyrics is available on Amazon.

You can find D.B. Sieders on her Website, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Hello from Atlanta!

Greetings and salutations from Atlanta, GA!

Thursday, I grabbed one of my writerly besties and headed even farther South for the Georgia Romance Writers Moonlight and Magnolias conference. The long weekend has been full of workshops, plotting new stories, making new friends, eating (so much eating), chocolate (so much chocolate), and finishing edits on another book. To say it’s been productive is to say Melissa sort of likes Ben and Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk.

Among the events of this fabulous weekend was a two hour long class with Candace Havens – Fast Draft and Revision Hell. Basically, we learned how to write a book in two weeks and revise in the next two weeks. I plan to put my money where my keyboard is and do this thing. I’m taking a week to get some contest judging and beta reading done for a friend (I’m getting to you, K!), but starting next Monday, it’s on.

Note: If you see me rocking back and forth in a corner mumbling incoherently any time in the next month, please don’t be concerned. It’s all just a typical part of the writing process.