Monday, October 21, 2013

Late ROW80 Update

It has been forever since I updated my progress. Or at least my status, since "progress" has been severely lacking lately. I have a host of reasons (read: excuses) why, like fall cleaning/ organizing, a sick child, a baby, a new job (very part time in acquisitions for CQ), and an impending release. Or three. But the bottom line is, I just haven't made the time to do it. Everything I read about writing emphasizes one thing over and over: you have to hack the time out of your life and guard it like a rabid beast. We all have busy lives, and I'm no exception. But others with even busier lives than mine still manage to lay words down, and so must I.

I read a quote recently that chilled my blood. "If you don't make time for writing, then you really don't want to be a writer." I've forgotten who said it- a random Famous Person- and it may actually be a paraphrase. Sue me. But the sentiment made me stop short, because hey, I haven't gotten much done the last few days. Or couple of weeks. Does this mean I'm not really a writer?

Hell. No.

So I sat down and did some very specific calculations about what it would take to be the kind of writer I want to be. I want to be able to write a book every three months or so. Not that I will choose to do that- some books may take longer, or I will take time out for revisions and launches, etc- but that's the kind of word count I want to be able to make. To do so, I must write roughly 2,000 words every four or five days. And that's good. I can do that. So I will. Starting... today. No more excuses.

The week(s) have not been without progress, however. One of the biggest stumbling blocks has been my horrible sleep schedule- a bit beyond my control, since it's dependent on when my baby sleeps. I have been working hard on it, and after a few sleepless night and zombie-like days, I finally have her sleeping mostly through the night. That was one of my biggest goals- to stay up after taking the kids to school and do something- anything- writing related. For months there, I was up 'til 3am with the child, stumbling back to bed as soon as I got home from the to-school run. We've now all (mostly) settled in to a happy rhythm, and I have even less of an excuse to not get things done.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Teaser Tuesday... Angel's Edge 1!

Gifts of the Blood is the first book in the Angel's Edge series. In case you've been sleep-reading my blog and missed it somehow, I'm chocolate unicorn excited about its November 11th release. Which is less than a month from now. 
Did I really just type that? Yep, I did. I am not sleep-blogging, apparently. November 11th is real and imminent. Like my books. But not chocolate unicorns. Those aren't real. Merely tasty.
So, for your reading enjoyment, I have a teaser from the first book. Plus a blurb. Oh, and a contest. Don't miss the contest! 
Blurb:
A dying brother. A young man with soaring planes of light on his back. A blind chess wizard.  An insane, once-angelic kidnapper in flamboyant red leather. A town with more secrets than stoplights. Waking up with eyes the color of moonlight.
Before her world tilts towards impossible, Caspia Chastain thinks the only strange thing about her is that she sometimes draws the future. Only her brother Logan, fighting his cancer diagnosis, knows what she can do. When she draws a man surrounded by brilliant light, dark wings, and frightening symbols, she can only hope the vision won’t come true.
As a stranger named Ethan appears, determined to protect Caspia and her brother from dangers he won’t explain, she’s not sure what to think. Strangers almost never come to Whitfield. They certainly don’t follow her around, frightening her one moment and treating her like glass the next. And they certainly don’t look exactly like the subject of her most violent drawing.
Excerpt:
What Renaissance idiot first painted angels as chubby, diaper-wearing infants with bundles of feathers on their backs? What idiot ever painted wings as feathers at all? As if angels were human-bird hybrids? As Ethan slammed into one of them with his shoulder, sending him sprawling on his back, a detached part of my mind studied these creatures and their wings as hard as I could. It seemed to me that what the human mind interpreted as wings was more like a glimpse into some place I could only think of as Other. They weren’t wings at all, but more like openings into the places they came from. These beings carried one world on their back while they walked in yet another. Was I the only person who saw them this way? Did other people truly see feathers and babies in diapers? What made me different?
Ethan’s jeans seeped blood in long gashes down one thigh. The angel in the brown leather jacket had just shredded his sweater from shoulder to forearm. I could see deep bloody gouges down his arm. “Ethan!” As I broke and ran for him, I realized his name had come from my own throat.
“Run, Caspia,” I heard him call. There was fighting again, too fast for me to follow. “You have to…”
“Oh no you don’t,” whispered a voice as calm and cruel as dull knives. An arm clad in blood-red leather held me around the waist, squeezing me against him. The angel hauled me backwards, deeper into the trees, loosening his hold enough to let a thin trickle of air down my lungs. Cold, cold terror swamped me as I realized I was going to die. I was going die before Logan. Who would look after him, then? I was supposed be the strong one, there for him no matter what. I would not let these Dark creatures take that from him. I would not. For no good reason at all, my fingers tightened on my messenger bag, full of the night’s deposit.
“You must be very embarrassed,” I heard myself say. I surprised even myself by speaking. It hurt to talk. My lower ribs ached as if smashed, and I was glad I’d been too busy at work to eat dinner. I would have thrown it up by now. Birds moved restlessly in the trees around us. I could not see the sky through the branches. I didn’t know where we were in the park, or even if we were still in the park at all. Given how fast Ethan could move, we could have been on the outskirts of town for all I knew.
“Pardon me?” Just like Ethan, the beautiful black-haired angel moved without me seeing. One second he had a death grip around my waist, dragging me backwards, and the next he stood facing me. He held my forearm between us, gripped painfully between his fingers. I narrowed my eyes when I noticed his fingernails, long like talons and dripping blood.
I took a deep, steadying breath. “I only meant that I would die of shame if I had thousands of years of pictures of me in a diaper with feather dusters on my back.”
For a moment his grip on my arm got tighter, his nails digging so deep I was sure I had puncture wounds down to the bone. I whimpered and his diamond-bright eyes locked on mine. Then he did a terrible, unexpected thing: he threw back his head and laughed. His laugh deepened and echoed, disturbing the birds in the trees around us. Worst of all, the wing shaped void at his back rippled and bulged, exactly as if it was laughing, too.
I kept my face perfectly still as he pulled me very close. He was cold where Ethan had been warm. He gripped me tightly around the waist. “I think I like you, Caspia Chastain,” he hissed right into my face. “I think I’ll let you live a little bit longer. Just long enough to paint me as I really am.” He smirked, and I hated his dark and terrible beauty.
I hated the artist part of me that wanted to capture it even more.
Contest:

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Friday, October 11, 2013

Angel's Edge I Cover Reveal!

This is it, my lovelies! The NEW COVER!!!!!


I am so in love. Thanks to the ever talented Michelle Johnson for an excellent job! To celebrate, there's a contest for tweeting, sharing, and generally shouting it out. (And also for being wonderful). Winners will receive copies of my Primetime anthology, featuring amazing writers like JR Rain and Anita Exley, and a $5 voucher. Anyone who shares all the covers as they are released into the wild will be entered to win a $15 voucher. Also, winners will receive swag from yours truly!

Want to know more about Angel's Edge? Here's the 4-1-1:

A dying brother. A young man with soaring planes of light on his back. A blind chess wizard.  An insane, once-angelic kidnapper in flamboyant red leather. A town with more secrets than stoplights. Waking up with eyes the color of moonlight.

Before her world tilts towards impossible, Caspia Chastain thinks the only strange thing about her is that she sometimes draws the future. Only her brother Logan, fighting his cancer diagnosis, knows what she can do. When she draws a man surrounded by brilliant light, dark wings, and frightening symbols, she can only hope the vision won’t come true.

When a stranger named Ethan appears, determined to protect Caspia and her brother from dangers he won’t explain, she's not sure what to think. Strangers almost never come to Whitfield. They certainly don’t follow her around, frightening her one moment and treating her like glass the next. And they certainly don’t look exactly like the subject of her most violent drawing.

Ethan’i’el can’t deny the pull he feels towards this mortal with untapped gifts. Although he has come to guard her dying brother’s soul from the Dark forces that would claim it, he realizes Logan’s death will shatter her. Even worse, Ethan’i’el knows that choosing life with a mortal means eternal banishment from the Light and eventual descent into the Dark and madness.

Soon Caspia finds herself in the middle of a war between Dark and Light forces, where both Chastain siblings are targets. When she turns to her self-appointed guardian for help, Ethan must choose between devotion to the Light and an attraction that has already altered his world forever.


What are people saying about the first installment in the Angel's Edge series?


“Vicki Keire is a master with the written word. I first picked this book up at ten o’clock at night and immediately knew I was going to lose some major sleep. The underlying premise is so unique, and the writing an exercise in beauty, the entire experience took my breath away. Ms. Keire knows how to create amazing chemistry between her characters and believe me there were some steamy scenes. I also loved the fact that each character is multi dimensional and the setting was as well. I cannot wait to read the next installment.” Addison Moore, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Celestra series

“It’s one of those books I had trouble putting down. This book is beautifully written- I really like the author’s writing style. The storyline was unique and enjoyable. I think any paranormal romance fan would enjoy this book, from teens to adults.” Paranormal Opinion

“Vicki Keire clearly has a gift for language. She can turn a phrase like nobody’s business, giving her descriptions a lilting, poetic quality that’s telling of her background as a multi-degree student of literature. Keire ramps up the tension to a fever pitch. I found myself sitting on my couch, huddled over my ereader, frantically pushing the button to flip pages. (Actually, my thumb is kind of sore.) The ending? The ending effing rocks.” V.J. Chambers, bestselling author of Slow Burn and the Jason and Azazel series

The entire Angel's Edge series releases November 11th at major retailers in digital and print.
Stay tuned for more cover reveals, giveaways, and don't miss Teaser Tuesdays!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Teaser Tuesday Contest

As promised, it's Teaser Tuesday, an event I'll be holding every week for the forseeable future, as I prepare for multiple upcoming releases. This week it's an excerpt from my short story "The Last Carnivale," featured in the just-released Primetime Anthology. On release day, Primetime shot up the charts to 4th place on the Amazon SciFi Anthology bestseller's list! And don't forget, purchasing this anthology supports no-kill animal shelters nation wide. 

In addition to the teaser excerpt, I'm running a contest. The winner will receive a digital copy of the anthology, a hand-beaded book thong, and the playlist that helped inspire me while writing The Last Carnivale. Two runner ups will receive a digital copy, as well, so be sure to enter via Rafflecopter at the end of the post.

Next week begins a series of Angel's Edge Teaser Tuesdays, with more chances to win prizes, so make sure to stay tuned, and sign up for my newsletter with more special offers! And now, the excerpt:

***
The Last Carnivale 

Jessa wondered what hold Sycline Corp. had over this man that he would risk his life like this. She knew Theodric would want him for questioning, and Harker would want to slit his throat. But as she choked down ash and blinked coal from her eyes, she watched him haul himself up for the final run for his prize: 

Her.

The Beggar Princess. Sovereign of cinders and starvation.

As she knew it would, the roof unpeeled underneath him. Everything slowed down. Even Harker’s shouts behind her took on an unreal quality as the whole roof began to give. Her Captain of the Guard had risked the collapsing beam to get her. She felt his firm terrified hands on her now: one around her waist, another hooked under her arm, dragging her. Jessa screamed to see the beam collapse and with it, much of the roof. Harker found a spot, a safe spot, somehow. Beneath them, she could see almost the whole of the great audience hall open to the dull burnt night. A twisted soldier of metal and flesh lay far below them. From their height, he seemed dusted with toy bricks and shiny glass that might have been pretty, as if he’d fallen asleep in a pile of dangerous toys.

“He’s not asleep,” Jessa whispered. The wind took her words before the depth of the hatred in them could shock her.

“Dammit, Jessa.” Harker pulled her from their safe island of intact roof to the edge of the next building. He never took his hand from her arm. He used his free one to shove her flat once they reached a high enough pile of rubble. “Stay down. It’s not safe. They sent a whole squadron.” Fear and fury radiated off him in equal amounts.

The surface was cold beneath her. In her sleeveless shirt, she shook silently. Without a word, and with the ease of long practice, he shrugged out of his heavy combat jacket and threw it at her. Just as easily she caught it and slipped it over her like a blanket. It smelled of ash and sweat and fear. “Harker,” Jessa whispered, after a long moment of trying, and failing, to stop shaking. She tried out several things in her mind: I’m sorry. Thank you. What happened? But what came out was, “How did you know about the roof?”

His shoulders slumped, as if the sound of her voice made the whole thing real at last. “Do you know how many people could have died tonight, Jessa?” His voice was tight. “Do you know how many of us there are left? Shall I tell you?”

“Too many,” she said softly. “And not enough.” She tried to hold back the sob, really tried because Harker was a soldier and stoic and brave and furious at her, but she couldn’t. She hid in his jacket.

He swore, long and colorfully, before turning to ferret her out of the pile of fabric. “Are you all right? I mean, mostly?” At her nod, he sighed heavily and scrubbed at his ash-streaked face. “Well, fuck all. That won’t last when Theodric gets his hands on you. On both of us.”

She inhaled his jacket again and gave him a slow smile. “You’re smoking again.”

“Am not.”

“Are.”

He was silent, his angry glare back her only answer.

She smiled triumphantly. “Give me one, then.” Wordlessly, he shook his head. Sighing, she slipped her hand into the inside pocket, determined to ferret out the tobacco he’d sworn off so many times. “Should we be doing this? Waiting, like this? They’re still out there, the Syncline soldiers.”

Harker gave her that half-smile that made her heart stop. “Well. They obviously have orders to take you alive, so why do you care?” She stuck out her tongue just as Theodric’s gravely voice crackled over Harker’s link, announcing the all clear. She didn’t move, though, and neither did Harker. Instead, Harker’s posture became marginally less stiff, and Jessa slumped with relief against the pile of rubble beside her.
***


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Monday, October 7, 2013

Launch Day Times Two!

It's a landmark day here on the blog. I'm celebrating my first release in... a while. And it feels good. Like, a
perfect cup of coffee on a rainy day when you can watch the wave-tossed lake out your double bay windows while a perfect playlist entertains both you and your baby kind of good.

My Primetime anthology is live on all major venues. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple. And you can get it in either trade paperback or digital. Yes! I am in print! All you ebook haters, this one's for you! Best news of all? I have ARCs! Oh, and wait- the bestest news is that by purchasing this fabulous anthology, you are supporting no-kill shelters all across the country. So rush on over to your friendly neighborhood etailer and support a great cause. Me! And animals. Don't forget the animals. Of course, if you're interested in doing a review, drop me a line or leave a comment and I can hook you up that way, too. And check back tomorrow. I will be starting a Teaser Tuesday here on the blog, in anticipation of my many releases coming up between now and Spring. And hopefully beyond. Well, definitely beyond, but Spring 2014 is as far as I have firm dates and releases for.

(If you just came for the anthology, note that what follows is a looong post about my writer's group. had to do a combo post. It's that kind of day.)

So yeah. A good day. And a long post, because it's also the launch of ROW80, Round 4. This the third straight year of my participation in A Round of Words in 80 Days, founded by the lovely and ambitious Kait Nolan. You can read more about the challenge here. Basically, I state goals and then blog about them on Sundays and Wednesdays. This keeps me accountable, and I have that bi-weekly reality check of, "Oh hells, I have to post soon... better get some stuff done." In the past, my goals have been  very specific, sometimes painfully so, like "Write 5,000 words a week," "Write 500 words a day," and "Write two chapters per week." Last round, I tried the backwards approach, for reasons ranging from being in a slump to having a baby, with the attendant whirlwind of crazy. What is the backwards way, you say? So glad you asked. It starts with the over-arching goals and works down from there, taking stock of what I actually get done and building on that. It worked, I think, because my life is crazy and it's the most flexible way I can think of to work. More like an anti-plan.

So this round, I am starting with two tiers: Committed Goals and Stretch Goals. Committed Goals are firm, must-do's, like the books I already have contracts for. Stretch Goals are kind of bonuses- things I want, maybe even need, to get accomplished, but my neck's not on the line for them. Yet. Many of them will bleed over into Round 1 2014. Then I will make note of the steps I took to reach those two tiers, and try to repeat what worked and ditch what didn't.

Committed Goals for Round Four:
1. Finish all writing, rewriting, and editing needed for my Nov. 11th launch of the Angel's Edge trilogy.
2. Write the first three chapters of my Asheroth novella. Polish and spit shine those babies. Make sure Chapter One is ready and willing to go into the Nov. 11th launch as back matter. At the very least, outline the rest of the book, and let it percolate until I can get back to it.
3. Write, rewrite, and edit Daughter of Glass for its as-yet-to-be-determined launch. Probably late winter. This is much more significant task; I have to add several thousand words, which will involve adding such things as subplots and maybe even extra characters.
4. Get back on a sane schedule. This has been sooo difficult, because there's this tiny human who depends on me for literally everything. And I love it, don't get me wrong. But lately her sleeping schedule has been hideous. I've been going to bed anywhere from 3 am to 5 or 6, and not waking up until just before the kids are slated to get home from school. 3 pm or so. This has made anything resembling a normal life impossible, and I feel all fuzzy and worthless most of the time. So my new goal is micro: Do not go back to sleep as soon as the kids leave for school. Instead, stay up and write. Something. Anything. Even it's one single stinking word. And then, if it's been a truly awful night, I can pass back out and pick back up at midnight or whatever godawful hour. But I must write that one morning word, edit that one line, or whatever. Hopefully this will morph into normal human hours for both me and Boo, but even if it doesn't, at least I'll be making the effort.

Stretch Goals:
1. Consolidate the first two Chronicles novellas into one long actual novel.
2. Work on the second and third Chronicles books, which are kind of a mess right now. They're in pieces, and will need to be loved on and supported. At the least, I need to lay down a more coherent structure, and plug in the parts I already have. I suspect the bulk of the writing for these will bleed into Round 1 of next year, but a girl can dream, right?
3. Write a short for an anthology. I have one in mind, but a couple more opportunities have come to my attention, and I may switch to another anthology or publisher. I'm not much of a short story writer, but I'm finding that these anthos are a great way to try out new writing styles, meet new authors, and network. We shall see.
4. Work on my new dark contemporary series. I have had a really exciting epiphanygasm about both a stand-alone darkish romance set in the 90s, and a series of contemporary romances tackling some of the problems plaguing us today. I will have to come up with code names for these as-yet-to-be-named books. (Claire LeGrand turned me on to code names. But not unicorns, although she's tried. Hard.)
5. Work on the Asheroth novella.

Okay, so that's a lot. And I can hear Kait in my head: "Measurable goals, dumb ass. That's how this works." Well, she wouldn't call me a dumb ass. That's purely me. And yes, I expect many of the stretch goals to stretch into 2014. (Ha!) But it never hurts to keep the eyes on the prize. And as for the day-to-day how to get there part, what's worked so far has just been: write. A couple of hours a day, when I can do it alone or with a chillaxed Boo. It takes me longer if the house is busy and/or Boo is fussy, because then I usually have to hold her on my lap and type one-handed. That can take four to six hours of stops and starts. Or even know I'll have to skip days here and there, sometimes in clusters, but I have so far managed to make them up, so far by working late and/or on weekends.

The good news? I am on my way! I did not go back to sleep after the kids left for school, but got some rewrites in and wrote this blog. So that's a good start. And hey- it's release day! Win win all around. Thanks for stopping by, whether you came for the anthology or The Row. Teaser Tuesday tomorrow!