Photos from the Book Cons & links to some cool authors I met there

I just got back from Albacon, a small sci-fi con in Albany, and also RT Booklovers Con in Dallas. Both were a blast for different reasons. At the sci-fi con I got to be on four panels, which I loved. In Dallas I met and chatted with amazing authors, bloggers, readers and editors. I took photos of my fave authors and intriguing new ones. Wanna see?
Tammara Webber
(and that’s me on the left)

Tammara’s novel EASY was what got me into new adult lit. The story was so much deeper than I ever thought “romance” could possibly be.

Nice tatts, Molly!

Check out the tattoos on the fabulous Molly McAdams. She helped take romance out of the Fabio era and into the new millennium.

Shari Slade’s The Opposite of Nothing was intense and wonderful reading, however short. I look forward to more from her and it was fun to chat with her.

What a thrill to meet Lydia Kang in person after being friends online. She writes great sci-fi for the YA crowd.

Lydia Kang
Hey, she’s holding my novel!

And guess who was staying at my “overflow” hotel? The great legend that is Tamora Pierce! In case you’ve been living under a rock, she’s written dozens and dozens of fantasy novels over the years.

Tere Michaels

Holy cow, I got to ride in the van to the main event and chat about houses, the perks of living upstate and other domestic fun. Who cared if we weren’t at the main hotel.

I got to see Tere Michaels again. She wrote Who Knows the Storm, a fascinating dystopian novel with an M/M love element. Wasn’t sure it would be my cuppa tea, but hey, love is love, and boy, can Tere write! Her future, very noir NYC had my hair standing up.

Tamora, me, her PA

I met Zoraida Cordova who writes YA fantasy and often about the ocean like I do. Check out her Vicious Deep series. And last but not least, a couple of my own reader fans!!!
Kathleen Baldwin was on a panel, and her novel School for Unusual Girls sounded so cool, I have to load it on my kindle asap. Here are my tips for attending book cons in a post for Untethered Realms.

Tempted to make this guy
my next cover model.
The organized chaos of the RT  Giant Book Fair
Kathleen Baldwin
Zoraida with yours truly
Shari Slade
Loyal reader and friend, Raynell

Readings, book cons, pre-order forms & other spring news!

I decided this spring to participate in book cons, be on panels and do readings. I’ll see which I like best and I’ll report back to you. Promise! For two of them I have pre-order book forms, so for anyone attending UtopYA (Nashville in June) or RT Booklovers con (Dallas in May) who wants to order any of my books, they can be reserved, with perks! Explained below:

If you pre-order you get a cool goodie bag. With orders of two or more books you get price breaks and a cool goodie bag! Not just bookmarks… I have a special treat no one else will have. My events are listed in chronological order. The pre-order form links are with their matching events. If you’re in NYC, Philly, Albany, Dallas or Nashville, I would love to see you! Here goes:

NYC, Monday, May 4, 7 to 9 pm, Lady Jane’s Salon
I’ll be reading at Lady Jane’s Salon from my Art of Love Boxed set romance, along with some other great readers, including Zoraida Cordova. Admission is $5, or a gently used to book to raffle.  Cash bar. The Salon is located on the 2nd floor of Madame X’s Bar, 94 West Houston between LaGuardia Place and Thompson St. Stop on by! 

Albany, May 8 – 10, Albacon
Albacon, a sci-fi & fantasy lovers convention where I’m on panels: YA spec fic, dystopian lit, SF vs fantasy, novel craft & more. Plus I’ll be signing books. For hotel and other details click here.

Dallas, May 13 thru 17, RT Booklovers Convention
I do not have a book table here, BUT I WILL be making appearances at Club RT and I DO have a book pre-order form (link below). My Club RT times are as follows:
Thursday, May 14 from 11:30 to noon

My Club RT Booklovers’ pre-order form is here.

Philadelphia, June 12 – 14, Philadelphia Writers’ Conference
I am teaching a class in writing YA fiction (3 days, one hour a day), plus select from many other lectures and events, according to your personal interests. For more info click here.

Nashville, June 18 – 21, UtopYA
I will have a book table for two days at this event! (Millennium Maxwell House Hotel). The premiere con for lovers of YA, NA, fantasy and paranormal. Plus, who can resist the wonders of Nashville, including the Grand Ole Opry?
My UtopYA book preorder form is here.

Are you planning to go to any book fairs or conferences this summer? Which have you gone to that you think are worthwhile?

Secret Worlds Box set – 21 amazing fantasy reads by 21 popular paranormal authors!!! Plus a huge party to celebrate with 70+ prizes!

Announcing an exciting new box set that I am a part of!
From twenty-one USA Today and Amazon bestselling authors
Secret Worlds – A Steamy paranormal romance box set
Only 99 cents!
Limited Edition. Sale ends soon.
(Complete full-length books, no frustrating cliffhangers)

is a best-selling box set of spicy paranormal reads brought to you by USA Today and Amazon Bestselling authors! With twenty-one stories and over a million enchanting words of fiction, this box set will keep you spellbound! Dive through Secret Worlds and into the arms of heroes who will steal your heart and leave you hot.

Whether you love paranormal romance that warms you up or sets you on fire, this box set will have something to entice your preternatural sensibilities. Supernaturally thrilling and engaging, this set has it all: ghosts, vamps, mind-readers, shape-shifters, demons, faeries, beautiful hybrid creatures and more. 

For a limited time you can enjoy all of these stories, including ones slated for the big screen!!! When purchased separately, these books would cost over $50! But they are yours for less than $1. Get yours before this limited time deal ends!

Pre-order Secret Worlds at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iBooks

Summary of Ruby’s Fire, my award-winning novel in Secret Worlds:

“Eighteen year-old Ruby and her little brother Thorn, have only known a life blighted by the extremist Fireseed Cult. The night Ruby is set to be claimed by one of its cruelest and oldest leaders, she makes a bid for freedom. With Thorn in tow, she stumbles into the world beyond, and finds an opportunity for a fresh start in Skull’s Wrath under the guidance of Nevada Pilgrim, a woman who may not be all she seems. Ruby’s new life could bring her friendship, love, even fortune, but nothing comes without a price. Is Ruby’s talent for elixirs keeping the roof over their heads, or do some of her associates have a more sinister and lucrative interest in them? Life outside a strange cult isn’t without its dangers, and the experience leaves Ruby transformed and communing with the Fireseed more closely than she ever would have imagined. Stine delivers a thrilling adventure led by an exciting cast of characters, and the romance is really well handled.” – YA’s The Word  

Mysterious & Magical Spring-ish Book Blossoms

My new Art of Love box set paperback!

It’s spring, would you even know it?! I took a walk in the park down the street and saw cute snowdrop bulbs peeking through. On a similar note, many great books have recently popped through the proverbial soil. I’m posting some of these “supernatural book blossoms” that fit right into a spring thaw. 

Some have mini-interviews. Oh, and here’s a pix of me with my own new Art of Love box set. Even better than spring flowers.

Christine Rains’ urban fantasy Of Blood and Sorrow is out. Can’t wait to read it!
Erin Driscol works the perfect job consoling fellow demons by feeding off their grief at Putzkammer & Sons Funeral Home. 

When fledgling vampire Nicolas Reese comes to Erin for help, she learns the truth behind the legends and hides him from his sire and the vampire hunters who seek him. But when the Putzkammers begin to die one by one, Erin is caught between her act of kindness and the need to save her adopted family. Only by facing her own personal demons can she stop the slaughter and still rescue Nicolas from his dark fate.

Shop for Of Blood & Sorrow at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Smashie

Marcus Damanda has all three out in his horror trilogy, The Devil in Miss Drake’s Class. Here’s what he says about book 2:

Audrey Bales returns as the main character. She’s much stronger than the girl who attempted suicide in DEVILS IN THE DARK, and fully invested in her continuing recovery as she “reboots” life at a new school. However, her nemesis from the first book, Maggie Lassiter, also returns, fresh out of juvenile detention and burning with the desire to sabotage Audrey’s new beginning. In this book, we also meet Jack Maddox, a classmate of Audrey’s. He likes her very much, and has plans of his own.

What is their biggest challenge or quest?
Audrey’s greatest hurdle, as the book begins, is to make new friendships in a strange place without the safeguards she was given at the psychiatric ward. As the book progresses, she has to weather a storm caused by others—two competing forces, both evil, one of which wants to destroy her, and the other that wants to “save” her in the worst way imaginable.

Give us your favorite line from your protagonist
“Life reboots today.”

From an antagonist:
From Maggie: “See, Mom? This is how my game is played.”
From Jack: “Mr. Downing, you’ve got happy pants. How inappropriate.”

Since bad advice is often funnier than good advice, what was the worst advice ever?

Shop for his trilogy at Amazon, B&N
Visit his website and Facebook page.

Krya Dune writes paranormal fantasy & has multiple novels. She says:
My recent release is Bonded, a YA Paranormal Romance, and the first Dual Realm Novel. These books will be part of a standalone series set in the same world, meaning they can be read in any order. But each novel will be told from a different character’s point of view.  

Tell us a little about your main characters:
In the Dual Realm novels, another realm (or dimension) co-exists alongside our own. Trey, the main character in Bonded, is from this other realm. He is a young man trying to escape a troubled past. After running to our world, he meets Sarah, a sixteen year old whose brother ran afoul of a local gang. Her brother’s disappearance has left Sarah as a target for the gang leader. 

Your favorite line from your protagonist:
“Because it was easier to not care. But I was only fooling myself. I did care. I loved her and losing her the way I did…it almost killed me.”

From an antagonist:
“You don’t speak unless it’s to tell me what I want to hear.” 

Best words of advice?
No matter how hard it gets, always chase your dreams. Never give up.  My father taught me that. 

Angela Brown’s urban fantasy dystopian is Beacon. A summary:
Tsunamis reduced the USA into a shell of itself, called The Fold. Surviving humans and vampires joined forces to form The Colony, where registered citizens do as they’re told. 

They donate blood quarterly and dream of being chosen as Attendees for the Jubilee celebrations, that is, everyone except Macie Breen. With high school graduation near, she’s anxious to ditch the rules in hopes of starting a new life with Thane, an unregistered and also her best friend. 

Her hopes fizzle when Macie is selected as an Attendee, forever registered. Any future with Thane…impossible. Being chosen comes with another unexpected price. 

Truths about The Colony blaze into ashes and lies when she discovers the vampires haven’t kept their part of the bargain. Worst still, Macie’s life unravels as her stint in the city of Bliss forces her to face daunting truths about who, and what, she really is.
Shop for Beacon at Amazon, B&N

C Lee McKenzie’s Timelock Disaster, the sequel to Alligators Overhead is out! If you’re in the market for fun middle grade adventure (gift it to one of the kids!), take a look.
Becoming a wizard is hard work. For Pete Riley it’s almost impossible. He tries to follow the rules, but he’s impatient and being impatient only leads to trouble. Big trouble. He messes with a time spell when he shouldn’t and he and his bookish friend, Weasel, are swept into Victorian England, where they will be trapped forever if that wizard-in-training can’t find a way to reverse his bad spell by the next full moon.
Shop for C Lee’s YA and MG books at Amazon & B&N

What magical book “blossoms” have you read lately? Do you have your own special book coming out soon?

All about UtopYA book con in Nashville!

I am going to UtopYA this year for the first time, and I’m really looking forward to it! I’ve been hearing about this book con for a while now. It will be surreal because I will be meeting many authors in person who I “know well” from the blogging and online author community. What is UtopYA exactly? Well, here’s a post from the an organizer, who can explain it better than I can:

Have you got a story in your heart simply bursting to be told? Or characters in your head who never stop whispering their secrets? Maybe you’re a devoted reader who wants to tell the world about your favorite books. No matter your goals, UtopYA will envelop you with open arms as well as inspire you beyond belief!

The book conference brings female writers of contemporary and supernatural YA and NA fiction together with their fans. Book lovers from far and wide, including authors and readers as far away as the UK, Scotland, and South Africa. This year’s expected attendance of 700-1,000 will be its highest ever.

Those who are interested in a thriving book community will enjoy panels and camaraderie. Readers will not only meet some of their favorite authors (and even do karaoke with them!), but they’ll attend educational panels to learn about honing their craft. Whether it’s writing or editing a book, designing covers, developing marketing strategies, blogging – they’ve got a panel for that and more!

Keynote speakers Denise Grover Swank, Lauren Miller and Kim Holden will kick off each day followed by educational panels, games, screenings and more. These panels contain expert advice to aspiring authors and book bloggers, plus open discussion for audience participation. Over 100 exhibitors will showcase their work and meet readers; a B&N and indie bookstore are also on site. In addition to the cosplay karaoke on Friday night, the highly anticipated UtopYA Awards will take place Saturday evening, where nominees are honored thanks to their peers and fans. We’ll get dressed up and dance the night away as we fangirl over our favorite book boyfriends 😉

In addition, there is a book signing on Saturday that is open to the public – all UtopYA asks is a book donation or $5 to their charity Book ‘Em. In return, you’ll meet bestselling authors, plus a chance to discover plenty of new ones! More than a few women have called this event a life-changing experience! The event is already at 75% capacity, so get your tickets here or hurry over for more information at

Want to know who’ll be there? Here’s a PARTIAL list of authors, experts, models & vendors, ready to meet YOU:

Spring projects, book cons & teaching gigs. What are you up to this spring?

Spring is almost here! Are you excited? I know I am. And with it, come new activities, projects and books. I’m happy to say that Inkspell has put out a box set of my Art of Romance series: Model Position (novella) and Private Internship (full novel). So, now you can follow Sienna on her artistic journey.

It’s now available in both paperback and ebook.
Amazon ebook & paperback, B&N paperback, Amazon UK ebook
Peeps are saying:
“Crazy fun, couldn’t put it down!” -Netgalley reader
“I didn’t know art could be that hot”-Ashelyn Drake

JUNE: I will be teaching Writing YA (& crossover/NA) fiction at the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference June 12, 13 & 14, so if anyone is in the Philly, NJ, NY area and is up for a fun conference with some other great presenters sign up! The list of workshop leaders. PWC on Facebook. FAQs.

Conference Appearances:

Good review – bad review Rollercoaster Rides

The charismatic villain in DORIANNA

I had two books launch last fall, and reviews are coming in. I hate to admit it, but as seasoned as I am, reviews can deflate and anger me, or totally make my day. And yes, I do read them. Sometimes the gap between how one reader reacts to how another reacts is beyond baffling! I’ll give you an example. The following review of Dorianna thrilled me because this Netgalley reader totally got what I was trying to do. However, the next was a painful two-star one. Feels as if they read two different books. But hey, I just put on my big girl pants and take it. Because that what writers do, right? See what you think…

Review #1 – 5 stars from a Netgalley reader:
“So I’m just going to assume I don’t need to point out that a gender-swapped YA version ofA Picture of Dorian Gray is basically the greatest thing ever, right? Good. Just making sure we’re all on the same page here.

I’ve never read Dorian Gray, but I am familiar with his character. Even after 100+ years Wilde’s flamboyant, sexy, hedonistic asshole of an anti-hero still somehow manages to work his way into pop culture. And honestly, it’s fucking great. Dorianna takes a unique and clever twist on Dorian’s character and creates a smart and terrifying novel of lust and power. It’s dark, creepy, and full of glamour that hides a sinister grin.

The main character is Dorianna, a girl fresh off the boat from the Hoosier State and plopped right in the middle of Brooklyn. Honestly, the first twenty some pages were pretty annoying, because all Dorianna did was talk about how plain she is. We get enough of that “plain Jane” speech from every other YA heroine and we defiantly don’t need it here. Thankfully, her character because a lot more…well interesting to say the least, but we’ll get to that eventually.

Our Plain Jane attracts the attention of Ander, her love interest. What was interesting about him, is that Dorianna knew he was using her to get back at Lacey, his ex-girlfriend. As the story progresses, we get to see just how fucked their relationship is. Because this is YA, we need some semblance of a love triangle, which is where Wilson comes in. He’s our suave, melodramatic, Victorian-era dressing bad boy of the book, who convinces Dorianna to sell her soul to him in exchange for eternal beauty and internet followers. While I may have my own qualms about Dorianna’s character in the beginning, I could see how desperate she was to fit in, but the moment she makes that deal with Wilson…BAM. She’s a million times more interesting and complex.

Stine does not shy away. This new Dorianna is bitchy, materialistic, manipulative, and downright cruel. She’s ambitious and is willing to crush anyone underneath her boot to get more followers. While she’s not likable, she’s complex. Her drive and ambition give her layers. To her, the power and fame is addictive, but somewhere in the back of her mind, she knows what she’s doing is wrong, but justifies it at every turn. As her powers grow, so does her ambition. Soon she can’t control either of them. 

From what I’ve heard, it took a while for Dorian Gray to realize something was wrong, but in Dorianna her powers are evident. She has heightened senses, read and control minds, and even burn people with her jealously and hate. Dorianna knows it’s wrong to manipulate her followers, but, in her mind, the end justifies the means, and eventually grows to enjoy and relish in the manipulation.

Dorianna is the perfect anti-heroine. Her internal struggle against her own demons and trying to maintain her humanity gives this book depth. No matter how bad things get, she always chooses her fame over the people who actually care about her. And honestly, that’s what makes Dorianna an amazing character. She’s relatable. We’ve all wanted to be famous and no matter how much we lie to ourselves, we know that if it got to that point, we would turn our backs on the ones who care about us if it meant retaining our fame. Dorianna is a blunt look on how anyone can turn to darkness if it meant they can still hold onto that taste of fame.

The concept of using her YouTube videos as the picture of her soul is brilliant. Those scenes of her videos are truly bone chilling and terrifying. Readers can truly feel how sinister Dorianna has become without Dorianna realizing it herself. Stine’s writing style has a contemporary feel to it, but easily transverses into a realm of dark fantasy and horror in the blink of an eye.

The other strong point of this novel is Dorianna’s interaction with Lacey. Lacey is the Queen Bee (you know the trope) and Dorianna is the new girl (again, you know the trope), but as the book progresses, Stine manages to flesh out Lacey and Dorianna into something akin to mirror images. Both girls use every supporting character as a pawn in their power play. Dorianna and Lacey both think the other is bad, and thus justifies destroying her opponent. The parallels between Lacey and Dorianna are subtle, but it’s obvious that they’re essentially one in the same. Both awful.

The romance was okay. Both Wilson and Ander were used as props in Dorianna’s rise to fame, and I truly believed that they both got what they deserved in the end. The original Dorian Gray ends on a rather obvious note, but Dorianna takes a different approach I honestly wasn’t expecting. It worked perfectly with the story and I honestly want to buy a physical edition of this book, I loved it so much.

This book is about a girl’s ambition and rise to fame, and the horror she becomes on her way to the top. It’s dark. It’s horrifying. It’s Dorianna!”

Review #2 – 2 stars from another Netgalley reader:
With a nod to Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Catherine Stine’s novel imparts the message that, while popularity, youth, and beauty are important in a superficial society – like high school, for example – the price one pays for them is exceedingly high.

In the middle of her junior year of high school, Dorianna’s father is incarcerated. With her household ripped apart, she is sent to live with her aunt in New York. The drastic change from Indiana gives her the chance she needs to reinvent herself and start over.

She meets Ander at the lockers on her first day of school, and is immediately smitten. A casual friendship grows between them, and her crush turns into obsession. However, by the time Dorianna learns Ander is the ex-boyfriend of Lacey, the most popular girl in school, Dorianna is already far too emotionally invested to follow the rules of high school hierarchy.

Plain, shy, and unsure of herself, Dorianna is desperate to gain the love of Ander and the admiration of everyone around her. Seeing the perfect opportunity to do so, she enters into a pact that will change her – and her life – forever. The question is: Will she change for better, or for worse?
The idea was an excellent one but poorly executed. To begin with, the main character is incredibly obnoxious. I did not see a single redeemable aspect to her personality and, as a result, the novel was hard to read… Second, I am all for fantastical plots – which is, after all, what this novel’s plot is – but there does need to be a realistic foundation upon with the plot is built. I did not find that in this novel. It is highly unlikely that the parents of these characters just let them do whatever they wanted, which means it is extremely doubtful that any of the events in this novel would have taken place.

All that being said, the writing was pretty good and the pace was steady. It could have been executed better, as I said, but I still wanted to know what would happen next. I read the entirety of the novel in one evening. HOWEVER, a male character being described in narrative as a “fruitcake”, the unnecessary mention/subplot (it could have been any other crime), and the unnecessary attempted rape (towards the end) all made it REALLY hard for me to give this the three stars that I wanted to award it.

To this reviewer’s line: “The main character is incredibly obnoxious. I did not see a single redeemable aspect to her personality”…

My reaction: She’s invaded by a DEMON, folks! Why would she be all light and sunshine?!

My reaction to a bad review

Ok, trying to calm down… taking deep breaths, and maybe even chuckling over the whole thing because the reviews for Dorianna are mostly fabulous.

Do you read reviews? If so, how do you handle getting past “bad” ones? Are you as cool about it as Jeff Bridges?

Evernight Teen turns two, & there’s a huge party & giveaways this week, including an iPad Mini!!!

Happy Birthday 

Evernight Teen turns two this month and we’re having a HUGE party to celebrate! It may be Evenight Teen’s birthday, but YOU get the presents. So, grab a piece of cake, hop from blog-to-blog and discover EVERNIGHT TEEN!

Be sure to visit every stop on the hop and answer each question. The more you blogs you hop, the more chances to win the GRAND PRIZE of an iPad Mini sponsored by Evernight Teen (one entry per blog). Plus, hop each blog for a host of other fabulous prizes.

Have your TBR list handy. We have lots of new titles for you to add, including my featured book DORIANNA, which just won 2014 Best Horror Book in the Kindle Hub Awards!

Bring Me to Life by Evanescence
Demons by Imagine Dragons  

Evanescence’s Bring Me to Life
Imagine Dragon’s Demons

Now, a mini-excerpt. This scene comes after Dorianna discovers weird changes on the videos made of her by videographer Wilson:

This isn’t happening. I hunch over and clutch my ribs as I play the thing again. At least the YouTube verbal shit-storm isn’t as bad as the one on my DVD copy, I rationalize. What can I do? Each video is changing in its own way, at its own pace. It’s horrid not being able to control this. It’s as if some insidious spam keeps infiltrating no matter what.

Scrolling down to see the latest YouTube comments, I gasp.
The lady doth protest too much—cackle, cackle, cackle
u might b hella changin but u still shine big
Sungirl’s turning into a sun-witch. Bring it on, evil girl
Hangin’ out at to watch u turn b-b-bad to the bone

There’s a huge amount of hits—over five thousand. Where do these flipping trolls come from? I can’t take my evil outburst, even if my viewers can. I make a beeline over to my bookshelf to get my aunt’s money. “I’ll return it,” I pledge, but my hand freezes in mid-stream. Finally, I understand the phrase “frozen in place”—more than I ever wanted to. 

Wilson might’ve lied about not altering the YouTube beach scene, but this DVD copy? He had nothing to do with this. He was right after all. These consequences are unacceptable. I’ll have to work harder to thwart them. That revolting DVD cannot stay on my desk. No one can ever, ever see it. I hide it in my bookshelf, behind a row of novels.

Where does Wilson—the so-called Prince of Darkness—get his powers? How exactly has he transferred them to me? And who’s behind the whole operation? That question is almost the scariest part.

You could win the mug AND ebook!

Enter for a chance to win EVERNIGHT TEEN’s GRAND PRIZE of an iPad Mini and my blog prize of a Dorianna coffee mug with an ebook of Dorianna by answering this question (be sure to include your email address to be eligible to win):
What book scared the bloody effing bejezus out of you, and WHY? (If you absolutely cannot think of a book you can say a film, but props go first to peeps who think of books).

The ET birthday blog hop continues here: