Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Author Spotlight: Lisa Rayns

Lisa, please tell us about yourself and your writing.

Who am I? First of all, I’m a Dr. Pepper drinker (Some days, wine is substituted). After that, I’m a wife, a mother of four boys, and a Cancer. I fantasize about vampires and dream about zombies-ALL the time. I do. I love those dreams too. I always wake up in a great mood after. My husband thinks that’s strange. I’m not sure why. J What do I want? I want to travel. I’ve crisscrossed the U.S. but I’d like to go further and see more of the world one day.

I write paranormal romance and urban fantasy, and I’m thrilled to finally have works published. I started off the old fashioned way, submitting manuscripts to publishers, getting rejected, and trying again. I did that for two years until I finally got it right. When I got my first contract, I really felt like an author. Around that time, I also discovered critique partners, Indie authors, and a whole community of other writers who were willing to offer support. Then things got easier. Every day has been a learning process, but I truly enjoy the journey. Most days. On the other days, I enjoy the wine.  

What does your writing space look like?

My desk holds my laptop, printer, and a generous supply of “idea” notes. The room is bright pink because bright colors inspire me. The walls hold pictures that inspire me too. One is of a painter who always reminds me to Paint it Beautiful. The other major picture in the room is a large poster of the New York skyline at night. City lights at night have always captivated me and left me feeling mystified. And yes, inspired. J 

Do you have a process for coming up with character names and book titles?

I do. I normally have an idea of where I want to be with the name so I start a list and jot ideas down as I think of them. Within a week, it normally comes to me. 3 a.m. seems to be my lucky time of day for ideas to strike!

What inspired your current book?

Inspiration. That’s a beautiful word. Since I wrote most of this book six years ago, I’m having trouble remembering. *blush* I bet you’ve never gotten that answer before. Let’s skip that original inspiration and move on to my rewrite inspiration… “Fighter” by Christina Aguilera. Yep. That, and my love for Joel.


Joel’s back.

Determined to return her sexy ex to his former vampire self, Tara Callister does what she has to do: She exposes three evil witches in order to enlist her coven’s help. Unfortunately for her, things don’t always work out as planned.

Targeted by her enemies, betrayed by her coven, she must figure out how to save herself and those she loves from the evil entwining itself in her life. But when her journey of self discovery leads her down an even darker path, will she stand behind her white witch promise or become one of them? And more importantly, are Joel’s feelings for her strong enough to survive it all?

Buy Links:

Where to find me:
Website   Blog   Facebook   Twitter  

Quick quiz:

*  Favorite food? Lasagna

*  Favorite color? Royal blue

*  Favorite animal? Cats, the bigger the better

*  Biggest pet peeve? Waiting

*  Name one person, living or dead, you'd most like to meet. Cleopatra

Thanks so much for having me on your blog today, Melissa!

Lisa, thank you for being here! :)

Monday, April 29, 2013

When You're Bad Part II

In When You're Bad, I talked about Miss Bear's penchant for amusing herself by placing things on her father's head. She then runs away giggling and returns to harass him again once he removes the object.  

This weekend, the new "hat" of the day became Miss Bear's bucket.

The conversation goes something like this:

Miss Bear: "Hat!"
Mr. Snark: "Miss Bear, the bucket is not a hat!"
Miss Bear: Giggling  "Hat!"  Shrieking
Mr. Snark: "No! Not a hat!"

Mr. Snark and his "hat"

Miss Bear wears the hat also

HO...With an "E"

Mr. Snark walked into the office and asked, "Have you ever had a hoe just stop working?"

Mind you, I heard "HO" because the "e" is silent and the man provided no context at all. Now, bear in mind that Mr. and Mrs. Snark play a video game called Minecraft. In the game, everything is constructed out of cubes. Using basic materials, you can build a variety of tools: pickaxes, hand axes, shovels. 


I looked over and stared at Mr. Snark, thinking: Is this guy for real?

There are times when Mr. Snark walks right into it. The man takes himself so seriously that he passes out carte blanche openings.

"No, I've never been a pimp, so I have no experience with hos going on strike."

Straight-faced, Mr. Snark said, "My hoe just stopped working. I can't till dirt with it so I can't plant seeds."

I got up and went into the family room and picked up the controller. The game came up so I grabbed the hoe and tilled some dirt. "It's working for me."

I planted a row of wheat. "Allow me to demonstrate.  See, it's really not that hard."

Indignant, Mr. Snark grabbed for his controller. "Give me that!"

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Hunger Moon Promotion

I'm currently running a promotion through my blog to celebrate the release of my new paranormal Norse Werewolves Urban Fantasy Series.

Leave me a short review for the novel Hunger Moon, and I'll send you a complimentary wolf-themed bookmark and a free PDF copy of The Child Thief.

Reviews can be left anywhere: Facebook, Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, Smashwords, personal websites and blogs, even Twitter.  Simply post the review and then bring it to my attention at:  

Melissasnark at gmail dot com

I'll need an email address to send you the story and a mailing address to send the bookmark.

Viking Werewolves Urban Fantasy Series

The Child Thief - novella - 1st story in my Norse Werewolves series

"Help me! Please. The child thief has stolen my son."

Valkyrie Victoria Storm has werewolf hunters hell bent on revenge trying to kill her. She can barely keep her own downtrodden pack alive, let alone respond to the pleas of a murdered mother.

Can she set aside her differences and work with her sworn enemy to save a little boy from a Christmas nightmare?

Hunger Moon - novel - 2nd story in my Norse Werewolves series

Valkyrie Victoria Storm desires nothing more than to provide her wolf pack with a safe haven, but her position as priestess to the Goddess Freya also brings with it certain… obligations. Not to mention complications.

War with the Barrett family resulted in the deaths of her parents and most of her pack. Now, hunters are hot on the trail of the remaining pack members. Sawyer Barrett, a human hunter hell bent on revenge, is convinced that Victoria murdered his brother. He will stop at nothing to see her dead.

Victoria must defend the survivors and somehow lead them to safety. Months on the run has weakened the pack, and there are newborn pups to protect, making swift travel impossible. Ahead, the promise of refuge beckons.

Their best chance for survival lies in Sierra Pines, California: Arik Koenig, a powerful, dominant male wolf. He promises to protect and provide for the pack, something Victoria knows the pack needs for survival. His mysterious past is riddled with violence and death, including the slaughter of his entire family twenty years before. His wife died under mysterious circumstances and his son, Logan, is rumored to be her killer.

What is truth? Who can she trust? The desperate spirit of Arik’s murdered wife calls out for help, and Logan begs for assistance in clearing his name. Victoria must solve a murder that has pitted father against son, rooted in a mystery reaching back two decades. Her quest starts her on a journey from the human world to Odin’s Valhalla and back again.

Victoria will find salvation or face destruction beneath the Hunger Moon…

Buy here:
Amazon Kindle
Barnes & Noble

Friday, April 26, 2013

Paranormal New Release: Hunger Moon by Melissa Snark

Hunger Moon is now available on Amazon, and Smashwords. I'm waiting for Barnes & Noble to finish processing the file. This is my second official work as an Indie author, but it's the first novel. I've poured my heart and soul into this story for the last three years, so forgive me for gushing. :)

I spent over a solid week wrestling with the various requirements and vagrancy of three different publishing platforms. Amazon's Kindle was the most familiar and also the easiest. Smashwords proved to be relatively simple also. After a few hours, I managed to format and upload my document, and had gained approval for their premium catalog within an hour or so. Nit-picky B&N required me to remove every page break and replace them with section breaks. *Grumbles*

Hunger Moon is different from my romance novels in the sense that the focus of the story is on the heroine's journey instead of the romantic relationships. It's a series and it will be many more novels before the story is through.

Naming my series was tough. Ultimately, I called it "Norse Werewolves Urban Fantasy" for lack of more creative inspiration. Original, eh?  The story title "hunger moon" was easier and comes from a Native America term for the month of February.

Victoria Storm is a Valkyrie, a priestess of Freya, a nurse and also the Alpha wolf of her werewolf pack. When I created Victoria, I wanted to explore new territory and it seems like Alpha female leaders are a possibility that hasn't been widely covered.

Creating a complicated character with goals and motivations led to a number of interesting developments. My heroine is nurturing and emotionally aware. In combat, she kicks ass and takes names, but she isn't more macho than the guys she stands toe-to-toe with. Victoria is short—less than five feet—and she knows she's short. She's got something of a Napoleon complex about it and nothing pisses her off faster than being teased about her height. She also carries a great burden of guilt due to tragic events in her past, and while she longs for freedom, the burden of duty weighs her down.

My werewolves are all descended from the great Norse wolf, Fenris, who is a child of the god, Loki. Eight hundred years ago, the wolves were driven out of the Norselands and came to North America. As a result, they have strong ties with Native American culture and heritage. The story is also set in the modern era, so I couldn't cling to too many vestiges of an ancient way of life.

One thing that really stuck, though, was the Viking warrior culture. I kept the old Norse gods, so their interest in achieving a glorious and honorable death in battle—in order to be able to enter their version of paradise—really became a dominant theme in my stories. Living to die well, if you will. Or as Klingons would say: It's a good day to die.*

*And Crazy Horse before Worf.

When honor is important, saving face becomes imperative. Victoria attempts to maintain her bravado throughout the story, and it leads to some dramatic, and some funny, moments. The following excerpt is an example:

Victoria felt him before she saw him. His power washed over her with the force of an incoming tide, as dark, mysterious and unstoppable as the ocean. Her wolf rose to answer his in instinctive response, defiant and determined. She challenged his power and altered the irresistible flow so it passed around rather than over her. Before she reached the office entrance, the male werewolf responded to her presence and surged to his feet. He rounded the desk, demonstrating extraordinary grace and strength, and she braced for a physical confrontation. He dwarfed her in both height and weight.

As soon as their gazes met, they locked in a dominance contest. His narrowed eyes pierced hers; the light-pigmented brown irises were the color of honey and eclipsed the whites and round black pupils. Wolf eyes.

Victoria did not approach with her head low or avert her gaze. Instead, she challenged him outright, radiating defiance, posture stiff and erect. While they faced off, she regretted the tactical error, but it was too late to rescind. Her stubborn pride permitted no retreat, and it went against her nature to submit.

"Let's take this outside where there are no humans to bear witness," he said in a deep, resonant voice she found appealing.

Aroused, her wolf took an immediate interest in him as a fine, fit male animal. For the first time, Victoria noticed his physical appearance, and her wolf found him more than acceptable. She estimated his age as being in his late thirties. He in no way suffered for the smattering of silver hairs that peppered his dark head. He was a perfect specimen of a man.

Distracted, Victoria broke eye contact, but not to submit. She ran her gaze over his body with blatant approval, lingering on his broad shoulders and chest, muscular arms and legs. He wore a tailored navy suit with a light shirt and dark blue tie. From the way his clothing fit, there was not an ounce of spare fat anywhere on him.

His features possessed splendid symmetry, though a silver scar on his right cheek marred his perfection. The shape of his brow, nose, and lower face hinted at a distant Roman heritage. High cheekbones alluded to his Nordic blood. He cleared his throat, and Victoria scented both his arousal and amusement.

"Did you come to challenge me, or do you have something else in mind?"

His devilish smile hinted at a sense of humor, and Victoria seized on the opening. A ballsy gamble carried inherent risk, but her initial inept blundering had left her with no other graceful out. Her eyes rose to meet his once again.

"I am Victoria, daughter of Adair and Katherine, High Priestess of Freya, Lady Valkyrie, shaman, and healer," she said, making her boast. "I am also the Alpha of my pack, and I am seeking a mate. I have come to assess whether you would make an acceptable suitor."

"You're kidding." He registered surprise and disbelief.

Victoria arched her brow. "I am not."

Hunger Moon is available at the following locations:

To celebrate the release, I'm offering the following promo. Anyone who purchases a copy of Hunger Moon and leaves me an honest review somewhere, anywhere (Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, your personal blog, etc.), I'll email you a complimentary PDF version of The Child Thief and mail you a wolf themed bookmark.  I'll need an email address for the PDF and a mailing address for the bookmark. 

Contact me at melissasnark at gmail dot com.