Monday, December 23, 2013

Is The Mercy Series' Main Character More Taylor or Miley? Oh, and pick up the Box Set for $.99

Charlie Little is an interesting character.  She's a fighter, but I don't think it comes natural to her.  I think the reason she continues to move forward is because she doesn't want to let down those around her.  She's still young, only seventeen, and has much to learn about the way of the world. It doesn't help that her world is such a dangerous place to exist.

But, if I had to say of whom in the Zeitgeist she reminds me, I probably wouldn't choose Taylor. Personally, I'm rather passive-aggressive myself, and would be more likely to turn to snark to assert my independence, but that's not Charlie.

Likewise, Miley likes the spotlight.  I don't think Charlie wants to stand out.  She's got a pretty big secret to hide.

Hmmm...she might be more like Selena Gomez, confident in who she is, able to find her way without forgetting her values.

Then again, she is a fictional character.  One that I'd like to share with the world.  If you or someone you know likes a good deal, for a limited time (through December), The Mercy Series Box Set 1 will be available for $.99.  Inside you'll find Edge of Mercy (Book 1), Heart of Mercy (Book 2), and Range of Mercy (A Mercy Series Short Story).  Maybe you could decide for yourself whom Charlie resembles.

Happy Reading and Writing!

C. C. Marks

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Sense of Magic and Wonder--L. Jagi Lamplighter with The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin

Please Welcome 
L. Jagi Lamplighter
to the blog today as she shares her novel, The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin.

I recently got to see this beautiful cover up close and personal at a sci-fi/fantasy panel in which I participated.  It is GORGEOUS!

Jagi was kind enough to answer a few questions for the blog and to give all the awesome details on her latest release.  I'm also giving away a $5 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky commentor today.

Without further ado, let's get right to it:

    What aspect of writing comes easy to you?  What is difficult?

Dialogue comes easiest—I love the fun banter between the characters. Also the general flow of the scene, the basic things characters say and do comes pretty easily.

The hardest part for me is showing the character’s emotions through action and writing description. I often just write ‘description here’ and come back and fill it in later.

What inspires you?

I pray before I write. So, I would say what inspires me is the Divine Muse. I also enjoy listening to foreign music , or any music that does not have words. And I enjoy talking to my husband, SF and fantasy writer, John C. Wright, about the ideas. We both find it very helpful to bounce our ideas off the other person.

In the case of The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin, the story is based on ideas created by my friend Mark A. Whipple. So, I would count him as part of my inspiration.

Also, I enjoy taking a long walk, preferably in the woods.

But the main thing I do to get inspiration is go rollerblading. I skate a couple hours a week and use the time of going around and around the rink to review my project to date and work out the next few scenes.

    Where in the world would you want to visit (all in the name of research, of course) and why?

My books are filled with old houses. I’m not sure why, but all my characters seem to live in really huge fancy old houses filled with odd magic. I always enjoy visiting castles and mansions and looking at the rooms and smelling the smells.

I’d like to visit Dartmoor National Park in Devon, England, as that is where the family of my main character, little British sorceress Rachel Griffin, lives.

    What does it take to be a successful author in today’s publishing world?

It used to be that all an author had to do was write.  Advertising money made little difference to sales. Tours made little differences to sales, except for the very elite. Even being on Oprah is said not to matter, unless Oprah cries over your book.

Nowadays, all of that has changed. Having an active online presence sells books. Perhaps because people know if they like a blog that they might like the person’s writing? I’m not sure. But the result is that an author has to do much more than they once did.
This makes the task much more difficult!

    What obstacles have you overcome to get where you are, and what advice do you have for anyone in a similar situation?

I did not start out as a good writer. I couldn’t spell. My grammar was so-so. And my writing was terrible. My descriptions were flat and uninteresting. 

But I wanted to write!

So, I set out to improve. When I got out of college, I studied grammar for two hours a day, doing things like writing out passages from authors I liked and studying how they structured their sentences.

Once I got that down, I began to work on each section of writing I was bad at. I learned to write descriptions and add sense impressions to make them more vivid. I practiced sentence structure. I took classes in how to express emotion through descriptions of action.

I just kept plugging away.

Nowadays, I still have weaknesses in my writing, and I still struggle to improve them. But my writing has improved a thousand fold.

Which just goes to show…if you want to do something badly enough, you can! If I can write books people enjoy reading, anyone can.

    What did you enjoy most about writing your latest work?

What I enjoy most about writing the Unexpected Enlightenment series—starting with volume one, The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin – is the sense of magic and wonder. It’s a delightfully fun series to write. I love the characters. I love the romance. I love developing the world. But the thing I like most is putting across a sense of wonder that makes the story seem like something beyond the norm. It is very easy when writing about magic, to make it seem humdrum. The character gets used to it. It’s not any different than technology.
Some of my magic is that way, but other things—such as the world around the students—maintain a sense of mystery and awe that adds a great sense of fun to the work.

    What emotional reaction are you going for when your readers read your work?

Wonder. Awe. At times, romance and angsty sadness. At times, rather frightening things happen—so fear. At other times, a rousing cheer.

But most of all, I would like the reader to walk away having had at least some moment when the world seemed greater, more astonishing, than they had expected.

Rachel Griffin wants to know everything. As a freshman at Roanoke Academy for the Sorcerous Arts, she has been granted the opportunity to study both mundane and magical subjects.

But even her perfect recollection of every book she has ever read does not help her when she finds a strange statue in the forest—a statue of a woman with wings. Nowhere—neither in the arcane tomes of the Wise, nor in the dictionary and encyclopedia of the non-magic-using Unwary—can she find mention of such a creature.

What could it be? And why are the statue’s wings missing when she returns?

When someone tries to kill a fellow student, Rachel soon realizes that, in the same way her World of the Wise hides from mundane folk, there is another, more secret world hiding from everyone—which her perfect recall allows her to remember. Her desire to know everything drives her to investigate.

Rushing forward where others fear to tread, Rachel finds herself beset by wraiths, magical pranks, homework, a Raven said to bring the doom of worlds, love’s first blush, and at least one fire-breathing teacher.

Curiosity might kill a cat, but nothing stops Rachel Griffin!

Even among the Wise, animals did not talk.
These two were talking.
Rachel Griffin awoke in her bunk bed in prestigious Dare Hall. It was her first night at Roanoke Academy, her first night in America, her first night away from home. The other girls in her dormitory room were asleep. She could hear their rhythmic breathing. Yet she distinctly heard voices. She opened her eyes and sat up.
The tall, arched window was open. A chill blew in through it. On the windowsill sat an enormous raven, jet black with blood red eyes. The raven addressed the familiar that belonged to one of Rachel’s roommates. The girl must have been a fan of the new fad of shrinking wild animals and turning them into cute playthings. Her pet was a tiny lion the size of a house cat.
The raven croaked harshly, "You are not supposed to be here."
The lion sat regally beside his human, who lay sleeping across the room, on the other set of bunk beds. "I was called. Where I am called, I come.”
“None of my people called you.”
“You called one of my daughters. I am always in her heart."
“You need to depart.”
The lion yawned. It turned in a circle three times and settled down to sleep.
The raven cawed raucously and flew away.
Rachel replayed the conversation in her head. She did not know what the phrases meant, but she was certain she had just overhead something crucial, something not meant for her, something not meant for any human ears. It was like hearing a door swing open to another world. She would never forget a word of it.
But then, Rachel Griffin never forgot anything.

Are you hooked? Click HERE to read the entire first chapter.

Or even better, click the link to purchase the book:

Amazon BuyLink

A little more about L. Jagi Lamplighter:

L. Jagi Lamplighter is the author of  the YA fantasy: The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin. She is also the author of the Prospero’s Daughter series: Prospero Lost, Prospero In Hell, and Prospero Regained. She has published numerous articles on Japanese animation and appears in several short story anthologies, including Best Of Dreams Of Decadence, No Longer Dreams, Coliseum Morpheuon, Bad-Ass Faeries Anthologies (where she is also an assistant editor) and the Science Fiction Book Club’s Don’t Open This Book.

When not writing, she switches to her secret identity as wife and stay-home mom in Centreville, VA, where she lives with her dashing husband, author John C. Wright, and their four darling children, Orville, Ping-Ping Eve, Roland Wilbur, and Justinian Oberon.

On Twitter: @lampwright4

Be sure to leave a comment for Jagi before you go and be entered to win a $5 gift card to Amazon. Please leave an e-mail address where you can be contacted if you win.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Edge of Mercy's Cover Finaled in EPIC's ARIANA Cover Awards!

The amazingly talented Dara England of LFD Designs for Authors made a gorgeous cover for Edge of Mercy, and it finaled in the EPIC Ariana Awards for E-book Covers.

Congratulations to Dara!  I knew it was a great cover!

Check out the entire list, if you'd like.  Scroll and peruse the e-book finalists if you'd like and keep going to see the cover finalists below.

So exciting!

Happy Reading and Writing!

C. C. Marks

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Top Ten Reasons Zombies Make Great Friends

It's been a while since I've done a Top Ten List, but here's one I've been hanging onto for Halloween. Though it's advisable not to kiss these friends, even on the cheek, here are the Top Ten Reasons Zombies Make Great Friends:

10. No pesky appointments getting in the way of hanging out. They're always available.
9. Not worried about outward appearances.
8. Other than a few interrupting grunts, they make great listeners.
7. And they never bore you with their problems (remember this is about them being good friends, not you).
6. They don't expect presents during the holidays.
5. Matter of fact, they have no expenses. Talk about never having to pick up a tab.
4. You can always blame bad smells on them.
3. You no longer need a security system.
2. They're not usually name droppers even though they've more than likely starred in some horror movies and possibly have been highlighted on The Walking Dead.
1. They'll never send you annoying memes on social networks.

There you go! Ten reasons why zombies make great friends and an annoying meme to...well...annoy your friends on social media with.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Get Your Hands on Darlings of Sci-Fi for a Satisfying Read and Discover Fantastic New-to-You Authors

A new release you must get your hands on! 

Eight gripping young adult stories by eight best selling authors. A star-studded anthology of thrilling and action-packed books from eight different Sci-Fi series by your favorite women authors. 

*Amazon currently shows the book as $.99. The book is in the process of going free. If you'd like to support us by purchasing the book for $.99, the proceeds will go towards spreading the news about these amazing authors. Otherwise, Smashwords will allow you to download a Kindle Format and Nook Format of the book for FREE. Amazon should have this book listed free within 2 weeks. 

What Kind of Sci-Fi Goodness Can You Find Inside This Book?

The Eslites Prequel by CM Doporto
Sixteen year old, Miranda Mays, discovers she is a superior donor for the alien race known as the Eslites, who have come to earth demanding humans help save their race from extinction. Will she be the one to help them or will their quest continue? 

Is it possible to fall in love when the world is crashing down around you? The world could very well be ending and Willow Mosby's life, as she knows it, is about to change forever. After being forced to take refuge in a F.E.M.A. shelter, Willow has to quickly adapt to the new challenges that shelter life demands. The least of which includes making new friends, working a full time job, experiencing her first relationship and trying to find out why she's exhibiting some strange new abilities.

Tempest by Holly Hook 
Sixteen-year-old Janelle never thought the gray spiral birthmark on her arm meant anything
special. But when gorgeous Gary materializes out of a hurricane right in front of her, that all
changes, because he shares a marking exactly like hers. When Gary shows her the truth about the curse they share, it's only the start of their nightmare.

Sixteen-year-old Morgan Campbell runs away from home and when she returns the next day her world is turned upside-down. Not only is her family missing, but another family is living in her house and claims to have lived there for weeks. 

Mercy by C.C. Marks
Charlie’s true identity is a secret, but her presence places those around her in danger. She must protect her baby sister and herself from grotesque monsters outside the community as well as human ones inside. Will the truth she discovers about her protectors save her or ultimately doom her to a fate worse than death?

Agartha's Castaway by Chrissy Peebles
Seventeen-year-old Casey Smith can't wait to embark on her summer vacation, not least because she's finally shed her tomboy image, and now heartthrob Mike seems interested. What starts out great, with lots of flirting, taking her a step closer to winning her crush's heart, soon turns into her worst nightmare. Tossed out to sea during a freak storm, Casey is washed up on what she presumes to be a mysterious tropical island that's on no map she's ever seen.

Smacking Back by Laura Bradley Rede
In a future where everyone wears an avatar and the internet connects to your brain, cyber bullying has reached a whole new level – and one victim has reached her breaking point. This thought-provoking short story by Writers of the Future award winner Laura Bradley Rede includes discussion questions and links to bullying-prevention resources for use in book groups and in the classroom. 

Qeya A Heaven’s Edge Novella by Jennifer Silverwood  
Qeya has spent her life set to drift on heaven's edge. Being Royal means more than being groomed to rule her home planet. She may only be fifteen, but she knows how to wield a scythe blade and suck the life out of her enemy, literally. Forced to lead before she is ready, Qeya must find a way to put aside ancient prejudices so they can all survive. For no one knows the secrets of the new world and only a few can survive the living nightmares at heavens edge.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Range of Mercy is Out! Finally, Thomas's Voice is Heard

Thomas speaks finally! And I loooove him!  He's a guy after my own heart.

"If you've read the tower scene in "Mercy" or Edge of Mercy, you get Charlie's side of the story, but with "Range of Mercy" you get to hear Thomas's viewpoint. This was so great to write because it satisfied so much of my own curiosity, and I hope it will do the same for you.

Here's the blurb:

Thomas's side of the story. 

Saving the world on a daily basis didn’t make you a hero. Thomas Morgan knew that much from experience. The hard decisions he was forced to make weren’t pretty and not all that heroic. He was the one who did whatever it took to maintain security. Each day he climbed into the guard tower and kept the microcosm that was the community safe from Draghoul, the once-human monsters that attacked every night. More importantly, he watched out for the vulnerable, especially Charlie and her sister Star. 

Charlie disguised herself as a boy, but Thomas knew the truth, and though she wasn’t aware and though it put them all in danger, he kept her secret from the others. Reality was harsh in this unmerciful world, and if Jonas Bannon ever figured out the truth, Charlie didn’t stand a chance against the schemes of the self-appointed leader. Doing the right thing didn’t make Thomas a hero. But it did keep him human, and it did put him in range of mercy. 

Around 9400 words and 30 pages.

Now, let me be honest. The lowest Amazon will let me set the price is .99 (which is too much for something so short).  However, Smashwords has it FREE, and it will be distributed FREE through all other places.  And once it shows up on those other channels, I'll work on a price-match campaign to get it perma-free at the 'Zon as well.

Also, once I get Zeke's story out, I'll bundle all three short stories and offer them for FREE. I'm having so much fun with this!

I hope you'll check out Thomas's story.  Click on your preferred link to download it to your e-reader today.

Happy Reading and Writing!

C. C.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Why Am I Not Following Ryan Seacrest on Instagram and Other Great Mysteries of Life

So, my phone is one useful smart tool.  I use it to call people, text people, check my e-mail, check Facebook, check Twitter, check Goodreads, check Instagram, pin stuff on Pinterest, oh, and read on my Kindle, Nook, or Kobo platforms.

It's a handy-dandy little device that I couldn't live without at this point.  That was proven this past year when I had to change phones and, AAACCKK, my appointments I'd saved to my calendar didn't transfer.  You see, one way I've learned to battle ADD is to put reminders in my phone and to set alerts with alarm bells so that I don't forget appointments or items on the old To-Do list.

I even schedule my own deadlines for my writing, and trust me, that's an important way for me to keep up with making progress.  And let me tell you, if I didn't have my phone, I wouldn't remember half of what I manage to remember.  Does that make sense?  It is a key to managing my life and paying attention to the details my brain just can't seem to hold on to.

Oh, and I'm under the impression that if you don't have time to keep up with all the celebs on Instagram, you know because you have appointments to keep, the one celebrity you should follow just happens to post pics of himself with all the current A-list peeps--none other than--Ryan Seacrest.  So the question that I'm following RC, how do I set my reminders to alert me when he posts a pic with shirtless Ryan Reynolds.  Ryan squared, anyone?

Happy Reading and Writing!

C. C.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Everyone Needs a To-Do List, Oh, and a Pin-up of the Magic Mike Version of Channing Tatum

When you're ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), you're often very talented at a little-known sport called "Dropping the Ball."  As I said last week, it's not for lack of motivation that I forget to take out the trash on trash day or forget to fold the laundry before it wrinkles, or forget to pick up my sister after her high school band performance at 11:00 at night and only remember when my mom calls me at my cousin's later that night.  Yeah, that last one was bad. Usually, the attention problem starts when I have multiple things going on at once.  My brain can't seem to focus on everything.

But, over the years I've developed a few tricks to at least make multiple tasks manageable when they all come at the same time.  Unfortunately, it took me a long time to realize taking the extra time to write out a To-Do List is worth the effort.  It probably wouldn't have helped me with my sister (she forgave me, btw), but it does help with several areas of my life, including writing.

If I take the time to make a list of the major story events I have coming up, I fly through my writing session.  However, if I'm short on time and just sit down and begin writing, I often get stuck and frustrated, or just simply don't get too many words onto the page.

None of my lists are formal.  I don't follow any systems (Save the Cat or Scene and Sequel).  I just write what I know has to happen next in the story for it to get told.  And though Dean Wesley Smith advises never to go back and re-write, I don't really re-write, but I do go back later to tweak and add things and remove stuff to make the scenes better.  Not usually in the same writing session, but I don't always wait until the end either.

If you've read Heart of Mercy, the scene in the back room of the bunker didn't have a television at all the first time I wrote it.  It wasn't until I was over half-way through the manuscript and several scenes past that one that I knew I needed to add that detail to the story.  Of course, I had to tweak other areas along the way to make sure it fit in smoothly, and one of my Beta Readers found a place where I'd "dropped the ball" with the details of that scene.  Yep, that's ADD for you.

So, as painfully tedious as making a To-Do List is, it is SO worth it if I want to accomplish something with all the minute details accounted for.

Oh, and if there were a list of the hottest, hot-bodies ever in a male-stripper movie, Channing Tatum might just be at the top.  What do you think?

Happy Reading and Writing!

C. C. Marks

Post-post addition--Forgot to update current WIP status (shocker, there).  One week later, I've managed to make it to 20,400 words.  Not great progress, but realistic for me with all my other responsibilities.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Justin Timberlake, An Attention Span Longer Than a Gnat's, And Other Things I Can't Have

Attention Deficit Disorder is a very real thing. When I was younger, it was labeled as lazy, unfocused, and not quite all-there.  Trust me, my short attention span is not for a lack of trying to stay focused.  I make lists; I write things on my calendar; I put reminders in my phone.  Things still seem to slip through the holes in my Swiss cheese memory.

Yet, I know I'm not the only one dealing with this and certainly not the only writer.  So, over the next few weeks, I'm going to research techniques and give my two-cents about how an ADD panster like me, and possibly you, can focus enough to get at least one work-in-progress finished. I've got a rather long list of writing to-do's, not the least of which is the third book in The Mercy Series, tentatively titled End of Mercy. It is officially rolling, but a few other projects are taking precedence lately.

Just to get this started though, my current WIP is a paranormal romance, and it is nearly at the half-way mark at 18,784 words.  I'll give updates as to progress made and what techniques help this ADD panster make it to the end of a manuscript.

Happy Reading and Writing!

C. C.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Welcome to the Ch-ch-ch-changes Young Adult Blog Hop

Welcome!  So glad you hopped in for a visit to Dark and Dreamy with C. C. Marks for the Changes YA Blog Hop.  It's all about change today, and what's more of a transition than the aftermath of an apocalypse and the surviving dystopian society?

Charlie Little (AKA Charlotte Baker) copes with the changes the best she can by disguising herself as a boy and protecting her little sister, first in the community (Edge of Mercy), then in the Dead Forest (Heart of Mercy).  If that wasn't trouble enough, human beings are no longer at the top of the food chain.  Now they must protect themselves from Draghoul--once human, now monsters--bent on infecting others.

This is not the typical "zombie" story.  Instead, the story focuses on Charlie's changing, daily journey and the mystery of her world as it develops.

Charlie Little exists in a dangerous world. Her best chance of survival is to disguise herself as a boy and guard her secrets well. Yet just when things can’t possibly get worse, they spin completely out of control.

With Zeke and her sister Star by her side and the fresh memory of Thomas’s kiss still on her lips, she narrowly escapes the horrid plans of Jonas Bannon, a monster of a human being. Forfeiting the safety of the community, they leave and begin the search for the city of Mercy, the one secure place Charlie knows. However, as she struggles to reach her sanctuary, doubts creep in that anywhere is truly safe. If the Draghoul don’t get them, the human scavengers just might, and the assumption Mercy will be a place of protection could be the most dangerous risk of all.

Click for an Excerpt or skip down to the YA mini-book of excerpts to read them all.

Buylink: AMAZON

Now, here's a little more fun.  I found a jigsaw puzzle maker, and with HoM's amazing cover, put together by LFD Designs for Authors, I couldn't help but want to share it with you all as a puzzle.

Also, you'll find a mini-booklet of excerpts from all the hop participants.  Feel free to open it and read all the great offerings.

Finally, I decided to giveaway a $10 gift card to the e-tailer of the winner's choice.  Just enter the Rafflecopter giveaway if you are interested.

YA Mini-Book of Excerpts

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to hop on over to the other blogs!

Happy Reading and Writing!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Summer Giveaway Hop! Who Likes to Win?

Who doesn't like to win? Okay, put your hand down, Debbie Downer. The rest of us are here for some prizes and fun. So, let's get right to it.

First of all, thank you for stopping by. I'm verra, verra excited to share my brand-spanking new release, Heart of Mercy, the second book in the Mercy Series. I know I'm biased, but it is action-packed, suspenseful, blended with a little romance. I'll let you judge for yourself:

Charlie Little exists in a dangerous world. Her best chance of survival is to disguise herself as a boy and guard her secrets well. Yet just when things can’t possibly get worse, they spin completely out of control.

With Zeke and her sister Star by her side and the fresh memory of Thomas’s kiss still on her lips, she narrowly escapes the horrid plans of Jonas Bannon, a monster of a human being. Forfeiting the safety of the community, they leave and begin the search for the city of Mercy, the one secure place Charlie knows. However, as she struggles to reach her sanctuary, doubts creep in that anywhere is truly safe. If the Draghoul don’t get them, the human scavengers just might, and the assumption Mercy is a place of protection could be the most dangerous risk of all.

Interested? Link to an excerpt here. Just don't forget to come back and enter the drawing.

Just in case you want to start with book 1, Edge of Mercy, I want to let you know that it is currently on sale for the bargain price of $.99. That means you could get both books for less than $5. Here's a little about EoM:

Charlie hides her true identity inside a community made up only of males, but her presence places everyone around her in danger. This community is surrounded by Draghoul, once-human creatures bent on infecting others. Left with no other choice but to remain, she fears her secret will be discovered, and she’ll be thrown to the creatures she dreads. Yet, the longer she stays with these survivors, the less benevolent they appear.

In this new and dangerous version of the world, where the friend beside you might be an enemy and an enemy might be your only friend, seventeen-year-old Charlie protects her baby sister and herself from grotesque monsters outside the community as well as human ones inside. Will the truth she discovers about her protectors save her or ultimately doom her to a fate worse than death?

And if you just need a taste to see if you might like this series, you can get "Mercy," a short story of about 30 pages that introduces you to Charlie's world. Oh, and it's FREE.

Charlie’s true identity is a secret, but her very presence places everyone around her in danger. With no other choice but to remain where she is, she stays with a community that might not be as benevolent as it appears. In this short dystopian romance where a friend might be an enemy and an enemy might be a friend, seventeen-year-old Charlie must protect her baby sister and herself from grotesque monsters outside the community as well as human ones inside. Will the truth she discovers about her protectors save her or ultimately doom her to a fate worse than death?

Around 9800 words. Part of a larger work titled Edge of Mercy.

All three can also be found at Barnes and Noble: "Mercy," Edge of Mercy, Heart of Mercy

Kobo: "Mercy," Edge of Mercy, Heart of Mercy

And Smashwords: "Mercy,"

Now, on to the good stuff: a Rafflecopter giveaway

And don't forget to look for more great giveaways on the list:

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Edge of Mercy Goodreads Giveaway and Story Cartel

Winner, Winner, Reading Through Dinner! I just snail-mailed paperback copies of Edge of Mercy to five different winners of my very first Goodreads giveaway.  I love that I get to share this amazing cover in real-life with reader-peeps.  So cool!

Don't worry if you didn't get a chance to enter to win.  It was a little bit of a surprise to me that the giveaway was approved and going on (that'll teach me for not checking my e-mail).  I have another opportunity for you to get Edge of Mercy for FREE! All you have to do is go to, sign up, and if you feel compelled, submit an honest review.  That's right.  I want your honest opinion.

Okay, so let's be real a minute.  You might not have time (or the inclination) to sign up for an account at storycartel.  I aim to please, so I've dropped the price of EoM to $.99 for a limited time.  It's to celebrate the release of Heart of Mercy, the second book in the Mercy Series.

I've also decided to start on some bonus material while I'm working on book 3, and I'm so excited about these stories.  The series is told in first person, from the main character Charlie's point of view.  But two secondary characters have particular interest in her.  What if we could go inside Thomas's and Zeke's heads?  I'm seriously so anxious to get working on two short stories that coincide time-wise with Charlie's account, but their told from the boys' POV's instead.

If you'd like to be notified when new reads are available, sign up for my news-only newsletter here: New Release Newsletter or it's also on the side panel of my blog.

Happy Reading and Writing!

C. C. Marks

Sunday, July 14, 2013

No Room for Oneitis-Or How to Get Your Books Noticed

According to Mo'Urban Dictionary, compiled by Aaron Peckham, Oneitis is "the dreaded ailment of liking that 'one special girl' and wanting her more than any other woman on earth.  A want so intense that it's actually painful."

That's all well and good, and I'm sure it's a real phenomenon, but I suffer from a different kind of Oneitis. Many authors do.  Though I've finished multiple manuscripts over the years, I only have one book/short story published under each pen name.  I've spent too much time promoting the same book with very little to show for it. At one time, it was part of my plan to only publish short stories so I could continue to enter contests, but somewhere along the way, I figured out I'm not really a short story writer.

Unfortunately, I'm hesitant to put my work out there myself, so I still have one manuscript on submission, and I'm hanging onto another until I finish at least one more in the series.  So, this puts me in the awkward position of still suffering from Oneitis.

Let's face it though, if an author is going to get noticed, the more books, the better the chance. Wallowing in a sad case of Oneitis is no longer an option for me.

However, that is soon to be rectified.  The medicine is coming fast.  I'm about to publish the second in the Mercy series of books, titled, Heart of Mercy.  It's in the final editing stages, and I will be purchasing a professional cover at the end of the month.

Here's the blurb for the book:
Charlie Little exists in a dangerous world. Her best chance of survival is to disguise herself as a boy and guard her secrets well. Yet just when it seems things couldn’t get worse, they spin completely out of control.
With Zeke and her sister Star by her side and the fresh memory of Thomas’s kiss still on her lips, she narrowly escapes the horrid plans of Jonas Bannon, the self-proclaimed leader of the community, and begins the search for the city of Mercy, the one secure place she knows. However, as she struggles to reach her sanctuary, doubts creep in that anywhere is truly safe. If the Draghoul don’t get them, the human scavengers just might, and the protection of Mercy could be a costly lie for them all.

I'll also be dropping the price of Edge of Mercy for a month, so hopefully some folks will take a chance on a new author, and I'll soon be cured of my Oneitis.

To completely eradicate Oneitis from my writing career, I'll be releasing a series of novellas, beginning in August.  And I can't wait to share those.

Do you suffer from Oneitis?  If so, what's your plan to move past it?

Happy Writing and Reading,

C. C.

Monday, April 15, 2013

New Cover for Edge of Mercy!!

I've decided to become legitimate! Well, in publishing at least. Professionalism and all that makes a difference, so I took the plunge and bought a custom cover for Edge of Mercy.  It's everything I wanted and more.  Not only does the girl on the cover help me picture Charlie perfectly, but the overall feel is so much more dystopian.  Hope you love it as much as I do.

I have LFD Designs For Authors to thank.  The whole process was so easy and the very talented graphic artist gave me mock-ups to consider, and I was able to explain what I liked and make suggestions.  She listened and I couldn't be happier with the results.

Check it out at Amazon:  Edge of Mercy for Kindle

Happy Reading and Writing,


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Things That Amaze Me Lately

Time is a rare commodity these days, but despite all the cuckoo-crazy-cakes responsibilities I've taken on, I sit here amazed at how great life really is.

Some things that amaze me lately:

  • How much can be accomplished in one measly weekend, day, hour, and minute.
  • How time with people whose brains work like mine can re-energize and renew my passion for creative writing.
  • How tasty Irish Cream can be.
  • How generous people can be with their time and information.
Turns out, USA Today Bestselling Author, Liliana Hart's visit to The Kentucky Romance Writers of America, Spring Into Writing workshop, was the most amazing of all.  Sometimes it makes all the difference when someone who has gone before in something and is highly successful takes the time to lead the way for the rest of us.  She truly is "paying it forward."

Check out the work of this popular author.  Two of her books are listed here, and you'll find a complete list at her website when you click on her name above.
Whiskey Rebellion

WHISKEY REBELLION: AN ADDISON HOLMES MYSTERY My name is Addison Holmes, and I teach history at James Madison High School in Whiskey Bayou, Georgia. You might be under the assumption that my life went to the dogs when my fiancĂ© left me at the altar for the home economics teacher, or when I got notice that my apartment building was going to be condemned, or even when I was desperate enough to strip to my unmentionables to earn some extra cash. The truth is that I'm pretty much used to disasters following me around on a daily basis, but I could have gone without finding my principal dead in the parking lot of a seedy gentlemen's club. After the initial shock of finding my first dead body, which included throwing back shots of Jack Daniels like it was water, I decided to take stock of my life. I was in a desperate situation and if the school board ever found out I'd been a stripper, even a bad stripper, I'd be jobless as well as fiancĂ©-less and homeless. Fortunately, I had a friend who felt sorry enough for me to give me a job doing some surveillance work at her detective agency. Not to mention the fact that I was now able to stick my nose into other people's business for a good cause, find a murderer, and pick up helpful tips from an incredibly attractive detective. Come check out my story and be thankful your life is relatively normal. Other Full-Length Titles by Liliana Hart DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS CATCH ME IF YOU CAN ALL ABOUT EVE PARADISE DISGUISED What readers are saying: Romancing the Book – “An entertaining, fun read.” Romanceaholic Book Review – “This book is hysterical. It’s a true comedy of errors…A perfect summer read… lighthearted and funny” Reader review at Barnes & Noble - ”I haven’t read a book this funny since the first few Janet Evanovich books… A definite recommendation for everyone.”

In this novella, bad boy, Dane MacKenzie, is coming home to Surrender, Montana. It’s been ten years since he left the woman he loved behind to make a name for himself, and now he’s bound and determined to claim her once and for all.

But Charlotte Munroe has no desire to welcome home the Prodigal Son with a fatted calf. The bitterness of Dane’s betrayal runs deep, and she has no plans of letting him back into her life. Especially since she’s trying to protect the son Dane isn’t aware exists from heartbreak, since she’s sure he’s only going to walk out of their lives again.

Friday, March 8, 2013

USA Today Bestselling Author Liliana Hart is Headed to Kentucky!

Kentucky Romance Writers

2013 Spring into Writing Workshop, Saturday, March 16th, 9am-4pm

With USA Today Bestselling Author 
Liliana Hart

Liliana Hart spent five years teaching music in the public education system. She molded America’s youth, busted kids for smoking pot in the restrooms, and broke up illicit affairs behind the stage on a regular basis, so she finally decided to hang up her hat and let someone else have all the fun. (Liliana’s Addison Holmes Mystery Series, about a small town teacher who gets into a whole lot of trouble, is somewhat autobiographical, but she won’t confess to which parts).

Liliana’s books have won awards such as: The Daphne Du Maurier, The Suzannah, The Linda Howard Award of Excellence, The Maggie, and many others. A recent USA Today Bestselling author, her affiliations include Romance Writers of America and Mystery Writers of America.

Liliana loves to cook, and is addicted to reading, Internet Boggle, kickboxing, and Bones. She lives in a big, rambling house in Texas with a couple of cats to keep her company and she loves to present about the writing life.

-  Liliana Hart Will Present On--
Getting Started in Self-publishing

The Roll/Role of an Agent (going it alone or with help)

Author Branding and Covers

Marketing 101


The Worth of an Author

Where:  Hyatt Place Conference Room
2001 Bryant Rd.
Lexington, Ky 40509
Directions and Rates- Phone: +1 859 296 0091

Time:  9am-4pm, with lunch break 12-1

Cost for the Saturday event is $25 for KYRW members and $40 for non-members. (Does not include lunch.)

Hosted by The Kentucky Romance Writers. Please visit our website: or contact
KYRW Pres. Cherie Marks at

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Please Welcome Amy Durham!

Today, I am excited to have an exceptional author (and very good friend), Amy Durham, on the blog.  She was nice enough to answer a few questions for me and to share all the juicy details on her latest release.

So, let's get right to it.

AMY: Thanks Cherie, for inviting me to come hang out with you! I really appreciate the chance to interact with your readers and promote my latest release, ONCE AND FOR ALL! 

CHERIE: Which comes first for you—plot or characters?

AMY: Usually, the characters and some kind of event or scene comes first. I find that if the characters “flesh themselves out” for me, the plot will follow smoothly after that.

CHERIE: What aspect of writing comes easy to you? What is difficult?

AMY: The initial plotting and characterizations come easy. I enjoy the rush of the beginning of the book! I’m never short on ideas! The most challenging is just finding the time to really dig in and write. I teach full time, and I have 3 kids of my own, so sometimes I have to wait until summer break to get large chunks of writing done. However, I do write in smaller batches regularly.

CHERIE: Who are some of your must-read authors and why?

AMY: Rachel Vincent, because I LOVE her “Soul Screamer” series. Nyrae Dawn, Tiffany King, and Jessica Sorenson for gritty stories that carry important messages.
Where in the world would you want to visit (all in the name of research, of course) and why?

Ireland and Scotland. There is a something deep inside me that longs – almost physically – to see these places! I’d love to set a story – or many stories – in those places someday!

CHERIE: What did you enjoy most about writing your latest work?

AMY: I enjoyed exploring the idea of “class-jumping” in high school. I remember how scandalous it was in high school when a “popular” boy dated a girl a class or two below him, or when a “popular” girl befriended another girl who didn’t run in the same circles. Others, from both “classes” aren’t quick to accept those scenarios, and, as we all know, kids can sometimes be cruel. I wanted to create a story where a popular boy and unpopular girl fell for each other, feared the ramifications of their peers, but ultimately decided their love was worth it.

CHERIE: Can you talk about what you are working on now?

AMY: I’m working on another young adult paranormal romance. ONCE AND FOR ALL, which just released, is book 2 in the Sky Cove Series. (ONCE AGAIN is book 1.) I’m taking a break from Sky Cove for a bit and writing a book called “Dusk”, another young adult paranormal romance. The paranormal element is different. Rather than reincarnation, the characters encounter a fellow high school student who is human, but with a few…. “extra abilities”!

CHERIE: Favorite movie and why?

AMY: I have several, and, as you might expect, they are all romantic stories! “When Harry Met Sally” is my absolute fave, but “Notting Hill”, “The Sound of Music”, and “P.S. I Love You” all follow pretty closely behind! I also adore the movie “Once”. It’s an independent Irish film with GREAT music! 
CHERIE: What can you tell us about Once and For All?

Book Blurb:

What happens when 180 pounds of football star collides with 105 pounds of art geek?  

An ancient curse springs to life, of course.

Phoebe Campbell is anything but popular. Todd Miller is the epitome of the high school jock. Their socially opposite worlds collide when they are paired to work together on a project for art class. Attempting to cooperate for the sake of their assignment, Todd and Phoebe begin to look past preconceived notions and see each other for who they truly are. As genuine feelings begin to develop between them, they find themselves plagued by dangerous shape-shifting episodes and unexplained telepathic connections.

In order to stop the mysterious occurrences, Phoebe and Todd are forced into a mission to uncover the truth. In their quest, they discover unsettling stories that hint at a previous existence, and also clues to an ancient curse that has never been broken.

Can they learn to love each other despite the typical high school social expectations? And will their love be the key that breaks the ancient curse once and for all?







Thursday, January 10, 2013

Wisteria Book Blast

Wisteria by Bisi Leyton:

Sixteen year old Wisteria Kuti has two options—track the infected around the Isle of Smythe or leave the only known safe haven and face a world infested with flesh eating biters. But even with well-armed trackers, things go wrong and Wisteria ends up alone facing certain death, until she is rescued by the mysterious Bach. Uninfected, Bach is able to survive among the hordes of living dead.

Eighteen year old Bach, from a race known as The Family, has no interest in human affairs. He was sent here to complete his Great Walk and return home as a man—as a Sen Son. The Family regard humans as Dirt People, but Bach is drawn to this Terran girl, whom he has never seen before, but somehow knows.

Hunted by flesh eaters, cannibals, and the mysterious blood thirsty group called Red Phoenix, Wisteria and Bach make their way back to the Isle of Smythe, a community built on secrets and lies.

Praise for Wisteria:

“I love the buildup of this story, getting to know the characters and watching their connection grow. I had no idea which way the story was headed and I was kept in suspense right up to the very end! It has plenty of action and a fascinating plot and I can’t wait to see what Bisi Leyton has for us next!!” 

“There are a lot of great things in this book, so much more than zombies and a struggle for survival. At it’s base core it is about star-crossed lovers, literally and the supporting characters roles… Ms. Leyton brings to Wisteria a mixture of science fiction, fantasy, dystopic world with a twist to the paranormal romance angle!”

“The book was full of nonstop action from the beginning until the end, and I did not put it down until I had finished it. I loved the book.” 


Book Trailer:

Audiobook Excerpt: 

Author Bisi Leyton:
Bisi Leyton was born in East London in 1978. She grew up in London, Nigeria and the States, listening to the stories life and love from aunts, cousins and big sisters.
She lives in London, but has worked around Europe including France, Germany, Ireland, Belgium and the Czech Republic. She has a fondness for reading graphic novels.


Blog Tour Now Through January 25th

Book Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 1/27/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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