Post about Some Things

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category:

This post is going to cover a few things, so let's get into the thick of it shall we?

Blog Award!

Woot! I lurves getting blog awards! They make me happy (and warm and fuzzy inside!) So, this one I got twice in the span of a few hours - which made me oober happy! (I don't spell it with a u because I'm awesome like that!)

Both Mia and Dawn gave me this award and I am so thankful and honored that they think I'm Prolific!

1. Haley Jo at A Journey through the Mind
2. Tamra at Chasing Dreams
3. Charity at My Writing Journey
4. Shannon at Ramblings of a Wanna be Scribe

Okay, I only gave out four here because Mia went on an awarding rampage and awarded everyone on MY list too! So.....I picked four awesome bloggers and people that she had NOT tagged. But there are many more, but I just could not make the final cut for #5. Just know, I love all of you who follow me and those that write the 100+ blogs that I follow!

...and now for the bad news

Lately I have gotten behind with my work. I'm late grading assignments (again this month), I have only finished one chapter of my rewrite this month (goal was 9 chapters), and the only reason why I'm making any blog posts at all is because people are giving me stuff to blog about. I don't comment on the blogs I follow that much anymore (super guilty about that), and my website progress has come to a stand still (though all that is left really is to copy and paste my book stuff on there for the novel pages). And, I am trying to set up a workshop that I will be running next month.

My brain is literally fried at the moment!

I have a super busy schedule as you all can learn about here, a post I made at Simply Certifiable - another blog that I write for.

But what do I do? I can't take a break - or at least I feel like I can't. I have commitments! People counting on me! Workshop, the Academy, my own writing! But alas I feel a break is definitely needed. So here is my proposal on how to refresh my brain, but not give up on my responsibilities.

I will NOT log into Twitter for a whole week.
I will NOT go into WDC chat for a whole week. (Unless workshop things demand it- but I will force myself to leave as soon as business is concluded.)
I WILL log off the computer at a reasonable time (as in midnight or earlier!) for a whole week.

Thursday, May 27 - am: I will get the workshop stuff ready to go. (Week 4 will be partially complete as I am waiting on some email replies to finish it up.)
Thursday, May 27 - pm: Organize my desk for a better writing environment! (and easier finding of things)
Friday, May 28 - am: BREAK TIME (Won't even get on the computer!)
Friday, May 28 - pm: Finish TWO chapters of my novel rewrite.
Saturday, May 29 - am: BREAK TIME (No computer again)
Saturday, May 29 - pm: Finish two more chapters of my novel rewrite.
Sunday, May 30 - am: BREAK TIME (No computer!)
Sunday, May 30 - pm: Grade Academy assignments and post the new lessons.
Monday, May 31 - am: BREAK TIME (No computer!)
Monday, May 31 - pm: Finish two more chapters of my novel rewrite.
Tuesday, June 1 - am: Post up first days work for the workshop - but otherwise, no computer!
Tuesday, June 1 - pm: Finish two chapters of my novel rewrite
Wednesday, June 2 - am: Check on workshop ONLY! No other computer stuff!
Wednesday, June 2 - pm: Finish one chapter of my novel rewrite
Thursday, June 3 - am: Check on workshop ONLY! No other computer stuff!
Thursday, June 3 - pm: Make a list of blog topics for the month so that I am not panicing and writing at the last minute! (Feel free to leave suggestions for this people!)

So, there it is. Sounds like a plan to me! Plenty of down time and I get the most important things I need to do accomplished. During this time, I will be using the auto-post feature for the blog. A few of you may have read these entries over at "Scriven's Ink" but I think they will do nicely being posted here too. I won't be reading your comments as often as I used to, but please know that I will read every single one when I come back full speed next Thursday.

Now don't get me wrong. I love my busy hectic life and wouldn't have it any other way - but sometimes, I just need a break - we all do.

I will see you all next Thursday, and I hope you enjoy the auto-posted stuff that will be up during this week.

Interview for "Dark Heirloom: Book 1"

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category:

Yesterday I had the honor to interview author JD Brown. Today we will be talking about Book 1 of her series "Dark Heirloom". I was previlaged to read this amazing book! When it comes out, you really need to pick this book up. She has written a very unique take on vampires and where they come from and what abilities they can do. I am picky about my vampire stories that I like but this one definitely takes the cake in it's originality!
So Jen, let's start off by telling us a little about this great book. What are the genres and/or subgenres for book 1 of Dark Heirloom?

Dark Heirloom is an Urban Fantasy laced with traces of Paranormal Romance and Thriller.

Thriller definitely fits with this piece! Give the readers here a little pitch about your book, like the back cover blurb.

Jenna Marx dreams of a quiet, simple life in sunny California, with no surprises, no overdue rent, and no dysfunctional family members. What she has is a decaying studio apartment in the slums of Chicago, a dishonest boyfriend, and a manic-depressed mother who never quite makes sense.

Just when Jenna thinks her luck can’t get any worse, she bumps into a killer who’s next target is - her. But instead of ending Jenna’s life, “Phantom Freak” kid naps her and takes her back to his home in, Lapland, Finland, where she is tossed into the secret world of ancient Vampyres.

The only way Jenna can get home is not by facing the Vampyres, but by facing herself and defeating her own demons. You know the saying; You can chose your friends, but you can’t chose your family - Especially when your family’s deadly.

That's a great blurb! It would definiately make me pick it up and read it! How did the inspiration for this story come to you?

*Blush* I had a dream about one of the characters – Jalmari. He came in with his gleaming eyes and bad-boy smile and started telling me about his life. I knew he wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote about him. Oddly, he refused to be the main character. There were several things I wanted to explore and accomplish with Dark Heirloom, besides tell an entertaining story. I wanted to explore human nature. I wanted to explore racism, relationships (both romantic and family), power struggle, living in the shadow of a parent or authority figure, how people over-come challenges, etc. Secondly, I wanted to re-examine human history. Dark Heirloom is based on an alternative history that exists within the “holes” of our own word. Lastly, I wanted to force the reader to experience life as a vampire. I’m a big fan of vampire novels, but all too often the story is told from the view of the “human” who doesn’t turn until the very end of the story – if ever. I knew immediately upon writing Dark Heirloom that I wanted my main character to become a vampire right away – and I wanted my readers to experience the drastic change, the struggle, and the cool stuff (powers!) alongside.

He invaded your dreams? Tsk tsk. My characters have done that to me many a time. They are pushy aren't they? What was your inspiration for Jenna, the main character? Jesu? And of course Jalmari! (And I suppose Leena would be upset if we didn't talk about her too.)

Creating characters comes very naturally for me, so it doesn’t require much inspiration (the setting and plot is another thing all together, though). Jenna is the protagonist and the novel is in her point of view. Jenna is based on myself. We have a similar personality and a similar background. Our main difference is our race. She is half Hungarian-Romany, half Native American. Her race is vital to the story and I took a long time to come up with the right ethnic for the story.

Jalmari is perhaps the most complicated character. He deals with the most internal struggle. I’m not sure where my subconscious came up with Jalmari since he came to me in a dream, already with a sad history to tell me.

Jesu … *shakes head and chuckles* Jesu and I had many disagreements along the way. Jesu was originally created to teach Jenna about vampire life – and then get out. He was originally Jalmari’s best friend, too. Jesu was not supposed to fall in love with Jenna, but he did. No matter how hard I tried to avoid it, he always fell for her. So I gave up and rewrote his character to better suit the “protector” image he so badly wanted. He is now Jalmari’s brother and Jenna’s protector.

Leena was always there as Jalmari’s girlfriend. She was the most fun to create because her personality is the complete opposite of mine. Unfortunately, Leena was only needed for two reasons, to lead Jenna into the Underworld, and to cause Jalmari more pain.

Jesu is surely the protector type. And of course he would fall for Jenna! I mean hello? She's YOU! With such a great book, do you have an agent/publisher in mind? Have you started sending out queries yet (or are you self publishing)?

I do not have an agent or publisher yet. I have queried several agents. I have big plans for Dark Heirloom and hope to run with a major publisher such as ACE Books. If that fails, I will consider a smaller publisher or self publishing, but I choose to aim high at the moment, see how far I can get.

That's a great mind set to have! I'm sure that you will go far with this series!
If anyone would like to read an excerpt of this great book, head over to The Dark Heirloom page on Jen's website. You can also check out my interview with her yesterday!

Jen's Main Website

Dark Heirloom Page

Thanks for hanging out with me these past two days Jen! It was great fun! I can't wait to read book 2! When it's ready, we can do another book interview!

100 Followers Give-a-Way

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category:

Ladies and gentlemen, as I am almost at 100 followers, I will be preparing to make a vlog for you all to enjoy - or die from!

My wonderful followers can make suggestions here on what I will do in the vlog. There are some places even I won't go to - so just keep that in mind! (As a note to Lauren and any one else- I don't own anything pink so you can't make me dress up in a pink frilly thing, just so you know!)

Also, I want to point out that I will doing this via webcam not a normal camcorder - so I am slightly limited on what I can do.

So yea, those are my rules! And Shannon - you are welcome to go all out with suggestions! I was not a part of your Vlog o Doom - but I will gladly lay down my pride and join you in the Vlog-o-Doom Hall of Shame.

I will also give-a-way a signed copy of "Vampire Vacation" by CJ Ellisson! Woot! It's an unproofed numbered copy and I am SO thankful to CJ for her letting me give her great work for this giveaway.

That is my wonderful copy that I cherish and you can get one just like it! (Do you like the toybox backdrop there?)

To qualify for the drawing for this awesome book, you have to:

1.Leave a comment on this post -- and at least one of the following things:

2. Suggest something for my Vlog o Doom
3. Twitter about it (Use the hashtag #HarleyVlogODoom)
4. Blog about it (either post or side bar link) (provide link to post or blog in comment)

***Keep in mind that in order to recieve your autographed copy of "Vampire Vacation" you have to provide your mailing address! I will NOT share it anyone except CJ Ellisson so that she can send it to you!***

Interview with Author J D Brown

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category:

I met the wonderful J D Brown (Or Jen) on Writing.Com. Our love of vampire and the "dark side" drew us together into a great friendship. We grew closer during our time participating in the Novel Workshop - and we are even hosting June's workshop about writing a series! It's going to be great fun! She is a great person and writer, and I super honored to get to interview her today!

Thank you, Harley, it’s an honor to be interviewed by you.

Well, Jen, to kick this off, why don't you tell us a little about yourself.

Well, I’m 24 years old and I live in Wisconsin with my two dogs. I call them my boys. I grew up in the ‘burbs of Chicago and would love to move back someday. I’m sort of a dork and an odd-ball. I like mmo computer games and graveyards. There’s a soft spot in my heart for all things dark and misunderstood. However, I do not write horror. I err on the fantasy side of things.

Fantasy is awesome - and Dark Fantasy is even better! What made you decide to become a writer?

A lot of things. I did not wake up one day and say “I want to be writer”. When I was a child, I never said “I want to be an author when I grow up.” Instead, it happened gradually. I always had it in me, I just didn’t notice before. As a kid, I loved to read. I read an average 2-3 books a week. I was a shy child so instead of making friends, I lost myself in novels. When I got bored, I’d make up my own fantasy land and characters. I’d draw sketches of them in a notebook and name them. But I never developed them further. During collage, I dated a guy who was an animation major. He and I used to talk about comic books a lot. He could draw well, but he struggled with writing the story. That is when I first started to think to myself “I could write a book”.

Ideas and characters sprang up immediately, as though they’ve been WAITING for me to realize I could do it. However, I had a full-time job and I wasn’t yet committed to the idea of being a writer. Then, in 2008, I lost my job. The office I worked for shut down due to the economy. I suddenly had a lot of spare time. I was depressed without a job and began writing out my frustrations. That’s when I said “You know what? I’m going to write a novel.” Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I instantly fell in love with writing. It came so naturally. Yes, it’s hard sometimes, but I love it. I can’t imagine NOT writing.

NOT writing? What a horrible thought! Characters are lying in wait all the time - and they are definitely sneaky too! What inspires you to write - what makes the characters come to you?

Honestly, I am my own motivator. My family and my writing buddies are all very encouraging and I love them to death. But in the end, they cannot force me to turn on the computer and type.
That is very true! It is great to have enouragement from friends and family! You have helped me through a lot with my own writing and I hope that I can return the favor someday! How has your life changed since you starting writing - on a serious level?

Everything is harder, more stressful. There’s far less “me time” and far less sleep. My brain is AWLWAYS working. Before I started writing, I could come home from work and goof-off or hang out with my friends and do whatever until I felt like going to bed. Now, it’s like I have two full-time jobs. I come home from my day job and I go straight to my desk, turn on the computer, and work on my novel until the wee hours of the morning. Writing is not a hobby for me, it’s a career. A career that I don’t yet get paid to do ….

Yes, writing is definitely a hard career to choose - but we wouldn't have it any other way would we? Speaking of hard work, how does it take for you to write a book and what is your schedule like when writing?

*Chuckle* Well, the manuscript for Dark Heirloom Book One took me a year to complete, including all the re-writes and all the cases of writer’s block. *Ahem* I vow to be more organized from now on. My schedule, when writing drafts, can be summed up in two words: “hectic” and “antisocial”. My boyfriend hates it, haha.

Yes indeed! My husband knows when I'm in the 'zone' for writing because I ignore everything! He could come up and talk to me and I wouldn't notice! Writing can be hectic but tell us do you character plot a great deal or have a detailed outline when you start writing, or do you write on the fly?

A lot of both, actually. I character sketched like a mad woman. I have at least 5-10 pages of notes per main character. Everything from the day they were “born” all the way to the start of the novel. If I wanted to, I could write a prequel for each one. And believe it or not, that was the easy part for me. I did a lot of research too. Other than that, I did NO outlining at all. I made up scenes as I went and just wrote as the words came to me. However – I will never do that again. Next time I will force myself to outline.

Yes, I have recently learned the wonderfulness of outlining. I think I'll still be a free writer at heart but even a little outlining definitely makes a difference! Rewriting is one of the hardest things for me in this business so do you have a great critique group, editor or do you self-edit?

I’m a member of several review groups on, and that has helped a great deal. I also have a couple writing buddies who’ve become fans of my work and – bless them – like to help me edit. I also self-edit, but I hate it. I don’t trust my grammar skills.

Grammar is definitely hard to pick up - especially when you are looking at your own work. You don't want to admit you did it wrong! What is the hardest thing about writing that you've struggled with?

It’s ALL hard. Whatever stage of the writing process you are in – THAT’s the hardest part. You finish and move on to another stage and suddenly THAT’s the hardest part. There’s nothing easy about writing a novel. I guess, for me, the “hardest” part is being patient with the aspects of writing that are out of my control.

Yes indeed. Waiting is the name of the game a lot of the time! Thanks so much for stopping by Jen! You all out there can find Jen around the web at the following places:

Blog (Author JD Brown)
Website (Author JD Brown) Portfolio (Username jdbrown)

And the Pitch! Strike 100!

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category: ,

THIS IS MY 100TH POST! **throws confetti** Thus the 100th strike there in the title. But it does still go with the topic of this 100th post! *sigh* 100 posts and almost 100 followers! YAY! I feel so famous! Okay enough of that...

All this month I have been attending a workshop about writing a 2-page synopsis for a novel. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do! Take my 90K word novel and smush it into 2-pages - are you serious!?

Oh yea, and I fought tooth and nail about it too! Poor Frankie! (Frankie, if you're reading this, I want you to know that I do appreciate everything and I am satisfied with the result even if I hated the process!)

Then yesterday we had the wonderful Logline Blogfest by Bryan. What? I just squeezed my 90K manuscript into 2 pages and now you only want one line!? *screams* I tried my best and thanks to wonderful comments I am trying this again!

I am also including the 30-second pitch here that I learned about through Bryan. When he explained about Loglines and Hooklines for the Blogfest, he linked to an article about writing the One-Sentence Pitch. That one led me to another article for the 'Elevator Pitch' which is about 30-seconds long! So after reading - and re-reading- these articles, I figured I'd give it a shot. I'll need these someday anyway right?

You can read the 5 hooklines I came up for the blogfest here - and there is one more in the comments as well. But here are a few more that I thought up after reading everyone's great suggestions!

1. An ancient prophecy that promises to unite the kingdom once again, throws Rosyani into an epic adventure to save her parents, her husband, and her own life. (This one I put in the comments but I wanted to post it again - because frankly, it's the best one I had yesterday so...)

2. An ancient prophecy promises to unite the five faery kingdoms of Diesquia once again throwing Rosyani into an adventure around the world to save her parents, her husband, and her entire world.

3. Traveling across the world to save her family and her world based on the promises of a forgotten prophecy, Rosyani learns the true meaning of unconditional love.

4. Rosyani must gain control of her powers in order to save her parents, her husband, and herself as she journeys to the human lands to fulfill a prophecy that will unite the faery lands once again.

What do you think? I think they are much better then yesterdays at the very least. I do like #2 the best but I think #4 is good too.

So, on to the 30-second pitch. This one was REALLY hard to do but please be honest! I typed it up and read it outloud (with a stop watch) to make sure it was 30-seconds!

1. (This one is a shortened version of the back cover blurb I wrote for the novel. So I cheated a bit, but I did write a new one too.) Princess Rosyani Celter ached to belong. Little did she know, she'd find that in the Prince of an enemy kingdom. As soon as she finds happiness however, she is thrown into an epic journey to rescue her emotionally detached mother and distant in-laws.

With her new husband by her side, and four other companions, they trudge forward to fulfill a prophecy promising to unite the faery kingdom of Diesquia once again. The obstacles ahead seem insurmountable. Rosyani fears it will destroy them all. In truth, they hate each other based on old laws and myths and that alone is cause for absolute failture. (29 seconds)

2. The humans kidnapped the faery Kings and Queens from five small kingdoms that once fought under one banner. Princess Rosyani Kestar travels with her husband and four other companions to fulfill an ancient prophecy that promises to unite their kingdoms once again.

The obstacles ahead seem insurmountable. Hatred reigns surpreme because of old laws and myths. Their new allegiance is fragile and it seems they will destroy each other before the prophecy comes to pass. All hope is lost for the faery world if they cannot learn to trust each other. (28 seconds)

I think the second one is best as it focuses more on the plot than Rosyani's character. What do you guys think?

Hookline Blogfest: One for Five

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category: , , ,

This blogfest I think was the hardest for me! But, I was in a synopsis workshop this month too so my mind was alredy thinking of "What's really important here?"

Make sure you go to Bryan's blog to see the list of the other entries! I'm pretty sure the other participants have something better than what I came up with here - after all, I did it at the last minute!

So, here we go. I wrote five different ones for this. Tell me what you guys think! This novel is the one I'm desperately trying to rewrite, and have ready to query by the end of this year - so this is perfect practice!

The Faery's Tale: Burden of Prophecy

1. Spurred by an ancient prophecy, Princess Rosyani Celter desperately tries to hang on to her new marriage as they battle old ideals rooted in ignorance and hatred.

2. Princess Rosyani Celter is thrown into an epic journey spurred by an ancient prophecy, but will her marriage survive the onslaught?

3. An ancient prophecy threatens to tear apart Rosyani's new life with a loving husband who saved her from the hatred of her sisters and his own Father.

4. Prophecy and a journey across the world threatens to tear apart Rosyani's wonderful new life with the faery that saved her from death.

5. Will Rosyani's new life, threatened by old ideals and an ancient prophecy, fall apart before it even begins?

I like #4 the best! What do you guys think? You have read the many blurbs I have put out there so you basically know the jist of the story - so please be honest and tell me what you think. I can take it! Give suggestions if you have anything better! I'll take them gladly!

Oh and on a side note - you all know that I have two other series I'm working on "The Kinir Elite Chronicles" and "The Ryn and Ciyme Adventures". I was able to get titles for the individual books the other day AND thought of plot lines for the rest of the series too!

So here they are!

"The Kinir Elite Chronicles"
Book 1: Cleansing Fire (This is the one that is already written)
Book 2: Death Air
Book 3: Water Requiem
Book 4: Earth Blood

"The Ryn and Ciyme Adventures"
Book 1: Incinerating Harmony
Book 2: Broken Ally (This is the one already written)
Book 3: Pack Bonds

I can't wait to come up with some cover art for these - esp the ones for The Kinir Elite - since their titles have elemental themes it'll be great to come up with some cover art covered in flames or raging water! And of course, I'll post them up here so you guys can see them!

Cover Art! Woot!

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category: ,

Yes, ladies and gentlemen - a spur of inspiration and frankly, genius struck me last night! I finally had a vision for the cover art for "The Faery's Tale" - the best part? I was able to create covers for ALL THREE PARTS!

I'm so excited about this! Now, I'm sure the sizing is a bit messed up - but hey, it's better than nothing! So, tell me what you think! I just love them! I don't know which one is my favorite either.

Funny note - I made these backwards, as in I made Part Three's cover first - and Part Three is not even finished yet! But the image just came to me! Once that one was done, Part Two popped into my head, then finally this morning, I got Part One's done too!

*claps gleefully!*

And for those that missed the post about me finally getting titles for these, here is a little reminder: Part One "Burden of Prophecy", Part Two "Precipice of Hostility", Part Three "Vestige of Passion".

And yes, that is my real name on the covers! *wink* I hope you like them! I am really excited about them!

And because I think this one is WAY better, here is a cover art I made for Jen, my novel buddy. Go check out her website! It's awesome! (And not because I designed that too - but because it talks about her book, "Dark Heirloom".) I will have an interview and book interview with her in a week or so, so come back for that! She really is a great girl!

So yea, in the span of one night, I was able to creat FOUR wonderful works of art! *sigh* Sometimes, it's great being me! Mwahahah!

Oh and I once again redesinged my website. I know, I change it like every other week it seems, but I think I finally found one that fits ME. So go check that out too!

(Yes, for those keeping track, I did not get any sleep last night with 4 cover arts, new web page design, oh yea and 20 assignments graded for "The Writer's Academy".)

Let's Talk Blogfest: Brotherly Love

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category: ,

Another fun blogfest! I just love these things! This is the "Let's Talk Blogfest" hosted by Roni Griffin aka "The Fiction Groupie".

I'll keep this short, as I am working on super secret project! Well okay, it's not super secret, but I will make a post about it in just a few moments, so come right back to check it out!

I had a hard time picking out a dialogue scene here but I finally settled on a cute little scene between Rosyani and her brother Farien (For those that don't know, these are characters from "The Faery's Tale: Burden of Prophecy") It's a flashback of Rosyani's as she tells her new husband why she ran away from home and why her life was so painful. (Note: It's actually a short entry! GASP!) A new character is mentioned in this scene, Isetaris - Farien's wife.

Her heart ripped from her chest as all the painful memories passed before her eyes. The sight of Eilian with another faery, her sisters chanting that terrible rhyme, her Mother taking her to all those painful doctor visits to find what was wrong.

There was a soft knock at the door and Isetaris poked her head into the room. Instead of waiting for Rosyani to welcome her in, Isetaris went over to the bed and scooped the crying princess into her arms. When Rosyani was down to hiccups, she began to tell Isetaris everything. It poured out of her like a dam had broken. Isetaris listened intently as she rubbed Rosyani's back.

"They just can't see you for how wonderful you are," Isetaris said gently.

"But why? Just because I have no powers," Rosyani hiccupped.

"Some beings just can't be nice while others are so ashamed of their own faults they have to find fault in everyone else. That's how they feel better," Isetaris explained. "You know I don't have any power either."

"Yes, but you are not supposed to. Your race is not born with a specific power. It is not the same thing."

"Yes I know. Just know Rosyani that you aren't the only one that feels left out here. Why don't you take a nap? Sleeping always helps me to feel better."

Rosyani nodded. Isetaris gave her a hug and quietly left the room. Rosyani stayed in her room for the rest of the day, but sleep eluded her. Farien came to check on her after dinner.

"I had Mrs. Dyami make you a tray since I'm sure you haven't eaten since breakfast," he said as he set the tray on the bed-side table.

"Thank you," Rosyani whispered.

"Isetaris told me what happened today. Do you want to talk about it?" he asked gently.

Rosyani shook her head. "I remember when I was little - I would come to you every time I was upset. You would tell that talking about it helps the pain go away," Farien said.

"Not this time, brother," she whispered.

He sat next to her on the bed and put his arms around her. She rested her head on his shoulder and sighed.

"I love you Rosa," he said, calling her by the name that only he and their father were allowed to use.

"I love you too."

They sat that way in silence looking out the window as the sun fell below the horizon. He comforted her the best he could, but they both knew that no amount of hugs from him would make it better. Rosyani wished she could find someone like her brother, who would accept her and love her unconditionally - like he did. When he left, Rosyani lay down and cried herself to sleep.

Flirt Fest Blog Fest: A Mother and A Captain

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category: ,


The Flirt Fest Blogfest! Woot! I'll keep this intro short because of course, my entry here is a little long. The characters aren't doing the flirting as much as her Mother is - but it's really the best scene I have for this fest. These two characters flirt by trying to avoid each other so to speak, so I thought I would at least put something amusing. It is one of my favorites scenes only because I got to see Kie, a tough, female, warrior, in a softer light for a few moments.

From "The Kinir Elite Chronicles: Book 1" (Rough Draft)

The small cottage looking home stood off by itself at the end of the street. There were flowers growing in the garden and a white picket fence circled the well manicured lawn. Derac hid in the shadow of a tree in a yard a few houses down.

Kie stood at the gate, staring at the cottage. She turned around suddenly and her eyes zeroed in on him.

"Centurio, I know you're there," she called.

Derac stepped out of the shadows. "How could you possibly know?"

She smirked but turned back to looking at the cottage. Derac came up to stand by her side. "What is this place?"

"My home," she said with a small smile. "Well I suppose since you followed me here, would you like to come in?" She did not wait for his answer. Derac followed her through the gate and up the stone steps to the porch.

Kie knocked three times on the door before stepping inside.

"Matris! Patris!" Kie called. An elf came out of the one of the side doors. A smile erupted on her face when her eyes landed on Kie.

"Kierianna!" the elf said wrapping her arms tightly around Kie.

Derac smirked. He did not know Kie had a full name. He always figured Kie was her name and that was all there was to it. It made him want to laugh to know that she actually had a full, soft, female sounding name.

"Matris, it is so wonderful to see you."

"I am so glad you're home, safe and sound."

The two elves stepped out of the embrace and Kie turned to Derac. "Matris, this is Captain Derac Vidor of the Kinir Elite," she said formally. "Captain, this is my mother, Nynn Shaphros.

Derac bowed slightly. Nynn laughed and shook her hand at him. "Oh please, don't bow to me. I'm not that important. Please come in, have a seat."

She led the way into the living room and Derac made himself comfortable on one of the plush sofas.

"Thank you, madam," Derac said sitting down.

Kie's mother laughed. "Oh please, call me Nynn. Ah, and this is my husband, Wervt," she said welcoming a tall, broad elf into the room.

A smile lit up his wrinkled face. Derac had to hold back a chuckled as he watched Kie run into the old elf's arms for a tight embrace.

"My daughter. I am so glad to see you safe."

"Of course I am safe, Patris," she said with a smile. "Let me introduce, Captain Derac Vidor of the Kinir Elite."

Derac stood and the two elves shook hands.

"Wonderful, to meet you," Wervt said.

Wervt sat down next to the fireplace and lit a pipe. He offered one to Derac, but he politely declined the offer.

"So, Kierianna, tell us what has been happening to you in the past year since you have last been home," Nynn asked.

"Missions, Matris. I am not at liberty to really talk about them in detail. But I can tell you that we are doing great things for Kinir," she said with a smile.

"Of course you are darling. I am so glad to see you in proper clothes," Nynn said with a small laugh.

Kie chuckled and shook her head. Derac smirked.

Nynn heaved a sigh, "You know how I hate to see you in male's clothing."

"Normally I am in uniform. Tonight I though I would humor you." Kie said with a smile.

Derac watched Kie talk with her family with interest. He had rarely seen her genuinely smile in the last year that he had know her. Now, her whole face was lit up, even her eyes sparkled.

"Captain, would like some supper? It is just about ready."

Derac looked to Kie for permission before accepting such an offer. "Yes, Matris. Supper sounds wonderful. I'll help you." Kie and her mother went into the kitchen, leaving Derac with Kie's father.

"Captain Vidor. I have heard great things about you," Wervt said.


"Yes. Kierianna mentions you often in her letters to us." Derac was shocked. His memory had no recollection of Kie ever writing letters.

"She does? Hm." He did not know what to say. It was odd to be in Kie's family home surrounded by her loving parents. Kie was a warrior and he had never known her as anything else. This side of her was new and Derac was not sure how to act in the situation. It had been a long time for him since he had been in a comfortable home. For fifteen years it had always been the Elite headquarters for him. Home seemed like a foreign thing to him now.

Kie's house was full of comfort, love, and warmth. The sofas were well worn but clean and the rugs showed years of use. A book lay open on a chair and knitting lay discarded in a basket on the floor. The scents of the cooking supper wafted through the house, adding to the homey feel of the place.

Nynn came back into the room and announced dinner was ready. Derac followed her into the dinning room. The table was small, only able to seat six people. Again something homey about the house. The dining room was set up to be close, the family all sitting around talking about their day. It was a very personal setting and Derac felt out of place. This was Kie's place, her safe haven and he felt wrong for following her there. It was like he was invading her space.

Wervt said thanks to the gods and then began to pass around the plates full of steaming food.

"This looks wonderful. It has been a long time since I had a home cooked meal." Derac smiled.

"You poor thing! You will just have to visit more often," Nynn said with a look to Kie.

"Yes, Matris. I know I should visit more often. But the missions keep me busy."

Nynn sighed, "Yes I know. You want to save the world." She reached out and squeezed Kie's hand. Kie smiled at the elf and gripped her hand in return.

"How did you decide to become Elite, Captain?" Wervt asked.

"It was something I had always wanted to do. I was accepted into the training, passed with honors..." Derac shrugged.

"You love the thrill of the hunt?" Wervt said with a smile.

Derac smiled in return, "Yes. But really it is the thrill of success. The beings that I save, that is what makes all the sacrifice worth it. Keeps me going." He nodded in affirmation.

Supper progressed with pleasant small talk. Kie and her mother never let go of each others' hand. It was a sweet gesture that made Derac smile. The hard exterior that was Kie had faded. She was relaxed, carefree, and joyous. It was a beautiful sight. Derac found himself smiling easily as well, the atmosphere of the place making him feel relaxed and safe.

After supper they made their way back to the living room. Nynn served wine and they sat in comfortable silence for a few moments.

"So, Kie when are you going to get married?" Nynn asked suddenly.

Kie choked on her wine. "Matris!" She sent an apologetic smile to Derac.

"What? It's hard not to think of such things when you being home such a nice and handsome elf."

This time Derac choked. Kie sent another apologetic smile to him. "Matris, please. Captain Vidor is just that, my Captain. Besides, it would be wrong of us to be together," Kie said exasperated.

"Oh tosh," Nynn said with a wave of her hand. "Love is love, there are no rules."

Kie gave her mother a glare. She giggled into her wine but dropped the subject. Derac was slightly amused by the whole thing.

"Vampire Vacation" Review

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category:

***NOTE: This review has some spoilers about the plot.***
I just have to keep talking about this great book! Keep in mind folks, that normally a review for me involves checking grammar and finding plot holes, then making suggestions to fix any problems. So, this is my first attempt at a "review" not an "edit" so to speak.

"Vampire Vacation" is written by the lovely C.J. Ellisson. I have not known her very long, meeting just recently through the blogosphere, but she has become a true inspiration for me. I am truely honored I was able to read this - and own a signed unproofed copy of this great work.

"Vampire Vacation" takes place in cold Alaska at a "special" getaway just for vampires. Vivian, the heroine of the story, is an older (seriously, 580 something years!) vampire that has an amazing power! Not only does she just radiate sex appeal, she can make others feel the same! I fact, she is so powerful that she can get another to climax just by thinking about it! Now, you can't tell me that is not awesome! I'm sure everyone here would have fun with an ability like that.

Well Vivian definitely has fun with her powers! As the owner and hostess of the inn, she makes sure to provide her guests with any thing (and literally any thing) they desire. Her husband, Rafe, helps run the place and entertain the guests - and is often a co-conspirator in Vivian's sexy projections.

But what will they do when a dead body turns up? Sure, it could be a vampire that got out of control with a feeding - but really? Vivian would never allow such a thing to happen in her place! What are they do to? They have guests arriving soon, plans, and schedules. Rafe is there to help clean up until they can figure out what to do.

The guests arrive and of course, Vivian just has to have a little fun with them! (The scene is so hot, I had to put the book down for a moment, to catch my breath!) But while Vivian, Rafe and the guests are all having fun and trying to enjoy their vacation, Vivian worries about the body. How did it get there? Who did it? She calls in the help of Jonathan, the resident wereworlf to help.

Jonathan's sense of smell is able to give Vivian and Rafe a key clue to who the killer is - but they are still not certain. In fact, it becomes a personal issue with Vivian because that means her 580 year old senses missed something - or messed something up years before.

As the story progresses, the tension gets thicker and the sex gets hotter! When one of the guests turns up with some memory loss, Vivian uses her mind powers to find the truth about what happened. The poor girl was abused but had no memory of the happening! It was powerful being that could do such a thing - but is that the proof Vivian needs to know what to do next?

She calls in the help of a friend, vampire by the name of Cy. He sends Asa, a body guard of sorts, with military training. Asa starts to set up a better security system in order to keep the guests - and the staff - safe.

Now, this is where I am torn whether to give away the ending or leave you in suspsense! I think I'll leave you in suspense.

I sitting on the edge of my seat as the final scenes happened. One of the staff is bitten by the mysterious killer and almost died. Vivian saved his life by turning him but it left her weakened. Her husband donated but it still wasn't enough. The other vampire guests helped her regain her strength. Then everyone - including the guests - worked out a plan to catch the killer.

Everyone spread out on the property and started hunting. Remember they are in Alaska - and night has fallen. They have to worry about the cold - for even vampires and werewolves can't survive in it forever. Finally, the start pushing the killer closer and closer to the main building of the Inn.

Vivian used her mind powers to create this powerful illusion to trap the person responsible! It was very detailed, down to the smell and how the villian reacted to the nude scene laid before him. He of course fell right into the trap!

The villian was defeated in the end - I will say that much - but I'm not going to tell you who he was, who killed him, or how! You will have to make sure you pick up a copy of this book to find out! I can tell you - it blew me out of the water!

Every detail of this book is important. The ending wrapped everything up so nicely that I felt the need to reread the book just to see if my brain had missed a detail that came about in the ending - or if I had missed a joke or sarcastic comment somewhere. While I was glad how it ended, I was a bit dissapointed - but only because I wanted to read more! I'm so glad that CJ will write a second to this! I will definitely read it!
The story was written very well - clear and concise. The characters were fantastic and very unique. I think Rafe and Drew (don't know why Drew - he was a pretty minor character really) were my favorites - although Vivian definitely was a badass! I can't express how fantastic this book was! CJ is an amazing writer and I am honored to know her!
I will let you all know when her book is out there so you can rush to go buy it! It is a great read and you won't regret the loss of sleep! I sure didn't!

(So, how did I do for my first non-edit review? Let me know if you have any pointers for this type of review because I'm clueless!)

Interview "Vampire Vacation" by CJ Ellisson

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category:

I was honored to interview author CJ Ellisson yesterday. Today, we'll be talking about her novel "Vampire Vacation". I was lucky enough to read the story before publication! I also have a signed unproofed copy! Woot!

It was a great read! I couldn't put it down and ended up staying up all night to read it. Instead of doing a review today, I decided to get some information about it straight from the author!

I'd be honored if you did a review, Harley - any time or words you care to share on the book I'm grateful for.

I might do that one of these days, CJ! In fact, I'll post it up this Sunday. (Note: it'll be on autopost since I'll be gone this weekend!)

Okay CJ, tell us what is the genre (and/or subgenres) for "Vampire Vacation"?

I think it would be a contemporary fantasy or an urban fantasy. It's the "urban" part of the genre name that throws me. If the term specifically means a city then I'm out of luck with the story taking place in remote Alaska.

Subgenres? Hmm... I'd say suspense, a little mystery and erotica as well.

What would you say, Harley? You read it!

Well I would definitely go with contemporary fantasy. Suspense definitely and erotica has to be there too. Give a little pitch about the book.

Here is the proposed jacket copy for the book:

Meet Vivian. She’s a 580-year-old vampire who exudes sex, has a talent for drama, and is passionate about two things: her human husband, Rafe, and their resort for the undead. Her ability to project physical illusions have created the perfect vacation spot—a dark, isolated Alaskan hideaway where visitors can have their wildest fantasies come true.

Vivian knows the best performance requires perfect timing, but the powerful vamp is put to the test when she discovers a corpse in a locked guestroom minutes before the next arrivals. Always cool-headed, Rafe hides the body, convinced that he and Vivian can find the culprit without disturbing their guests.

Juggling the increasingly outrageous demands of their customers while tracking a killer isn’t easy. Will their poking and prodding give them the answers they need, or will it uncover secrets that Vivian would kill to protect?

Wildest fantasies ay? I want to go there! How did the idea for this great novel come to you?

Great question! I have been an avid reader for decades. And have loved this genre before it had a name and I had to search for titles all over Amazon and the bookshelves in stores to find new authors. One thing I saw lacking was a happily married heroine.

Did publishers not know that married people have great sex and small conflicts daily? Why were stories always about couples that just meet and then we never get to see what happens down the line? The small things that drove the couple apart throughout the first book don't magically disappear in the relationship. But the relationship must grow together to absorb these irritations and survive.

I wanted a book with all the sexy vamps I was reading, but wanted it told from the vampire's point of view. I also wanted her to be strong and not need her hero, but to want him with every cell of her being. I wanted a married couple that always had each others back and never let the other one down when it really counted. Someone to love and drive you slightly crazy-- isn't that what marriage truly is?

That is very true. I enjoyed the relationship between Vivian and Rafe - you portrayed it in a very real light - it wasn't cheesy, cliche, or over done. What was your inspiration for your characters - especially Vivian and Rafe?

Yes, I'm embarrassed to admit the inspiration for Vivian was me. Please, before you all start laughing, let's keep in mind that I started this book as an escape because I was sick. It was my fantasy - what would I be if I was a vampire? Well dammit, of course, I'd look freakin hot and be powerful - what kind of person paints themselves into a fantasy as an ugly weakling? Not me, that's for sure.

And yes, my husband Pete was the inspiration behind Rafe. But more of what I dreamed my husband could be. Don't get me wrong, I love the guy to death, but he is not Rafe at all when the chips are down. I just borrow some of the things he says and puts them into Rafe's mouth.

Asa is inspired by my real life nephew named Asa, who is a mortar man in the Army, currently serving in Afghanistan. The real Asa doesn't act, look or talk like my character, but he did help me pick the weapons the character would use.

I also have his younger brother, Eric, who recently passed away, in the second book as a werewolf. The third brother, Justin, will be introduced in the third book as a magic user.

I took names and traits from other family members as well. Jerry, the engineer, is based on my father (ex-army) - who also did research and picked out the gun his character would be using. Dr. Margery Cook looks like and is named after my mom.

The vampire Cy is based on my brother's character, Cy Whitfield, in a virtual reality game called Second Life (SL), which I am still learning how to use (it's a pretty complicated "game"). His werewolf wife in the book, Cali, is based on a former girlfriend of his whom I became friends with in SL.

Let's see... Drew Lipshultz is named after my neighbor, but his attributes do not match the real Andy. Minor characters were named after supportive fans - Debi, Michelle, Angie. Oh, and I even had a contest for supporters to name the villain.

What can I say? Names are hard and I'm so new to writing that pulling my friends and connections into the story made it really come alive for me.

I think a lot of writers pull family and friends into their stories without knowing it. We write what we know! And don't be embarrassed that Vivian is modeled after you. Why is that embarrassing? Vivian is a great heroine! If she was an "ugly weakling" as you say, then you can be embarrassed - especially since I highly doubt you are "weak" and you're definitely NOT ugly!

Anyway, the next question, do you have an agent and a publisher lined up for this novel? Have you started submitting queries yet? (Or Are you self-publishing?)

I'm represented by Kristin Lindstrom, of Lindstrom Literary Management. She liked my query and asked for the full - and she was not the first one. But I will say this - she was the first one who did not represent mostly romance writers and did not expect a certain formula when she read my book.

Other successful agents passed it by, some with comments and some not, but mostly all thought it didn't fit the "mold" of what publishers were looking for in anything remotely romance-y. And unfortunately, with the amount of sex I have in the book I was worried about sending it to agents not in the romance field.

Currently, the manuscript is out with eight publishers. I'm not sure what the future holds for the book, but I'm hopeful and excited. And considering this all happened in a year, you can add grateful to that list as well.

I'm sure you'll make it! I can't wait to see it on the shelves! CJ has provided up with Chapter One of "Vampire Vacation" to entice all you readers out there! (Seriously, she'll hook you with the first line!) It is the entire chapter so it's long - even for me! But I just couldn't cut this down for a shorter excerpt!

I open the door to find a body at my feet. The rich smell of blood causes my canines to lengthen. Reaching out in the darkness, I flip on the switches. Light comes on across the room, illuminating the dead guy lying face down in front of me. The whole scene makes me wish I’d stayed in bed today, curled up next to my warm husband.

“Crap, look at the rug.”

Okay, out loud that sounds rather dispassionate. Whoever this poor stiff is, he’s dead. I’m the one left with a huge mess on my hands and guests arriving within the hour. Good thing I caught this before one of the maids did. Their screams from the last time were a devil to calm down.

Reaching out with my mind, I connect with my husband in a soft electrical tingle of sensation.

Rafe? There’s a dead guy in suite six. We’ve got to move fast before the next group arrives.

Rafe’s rugged face appears in my head. My extended consciousness lets me see the room around him as well as hear his thoughts. He’s leaning against the sink in our private kitchen, wearing a robe, a steaming mug of coffee in his hand.

Does it look like an accidental overfeeding? His mental voice sounds incredulous. We haven’t had one of those in years.

No, there’s way too much blood. Can you come up here and help me?

Sure, Dria. I’m fresh out of the shower—give me a couple minutes.

I step over the body and into the room, closing the door behind me with a soft snick of the catch. I’d rather not have the guests get a whiff of this mess. Some of them would probably think we did it on purpose for “ambiance”. But others might not.

Walking over to the bench at the end of the bed, I sit then look around the suite. A king-size bed, neatly made, gleaming dark furniture and lush brocade fabrics greet me. Nothing but the corpse looks out of place. The stark white face turned toward me doesn’t look familiar. I’m sure he isn’t a mate of one of the vampire masters staying here; I make it a point to meet all of them when they arrive.

Examining his brown hair and twenty-something face, I don’t recognize him as a vampire servant either. Not many have come to stay with the current crop of undead we’ve got right now. Who else?

The blood arouses my basic vampire needs while confusing my train of thought. I concentrate, trying to clear my head. Think, dammit, think!

Could he be a companion? A lot of masters bring “food” with them. Being a full-service hotel we can provide all the needs of our guests, but some still insist on BYOB.

His oxford shirt and ragged jeans rule him out as an employee. Unless he’s an off-duty new hire I’m unaware of.

Rafe, have we hired anyone new?

Not in at least a month. You’ve met everyone. My husband hesitates for a moment. Send me his face and I’ll let you know if he looks familiar.

I concentrate to project the image from my mind to Rafe’s. My strong ability enables me to share the entire experience with him if I wish. I could send the metallic smell filling the air, the sticky congealing blood pooled about the victim’s head, or the dark essence of death that lingers after a vicious kill, but choose to limit it only to the image.

No, I don’t recognize him either, Rafe confirms. Damn, Tommy’s flagging me down. Give me a minute and I’ll be right up.

Hurry, please. We’ve got guests coming in, I glance down at my ever-present watch, forty-five minutes!

Rafe ignores me. Typical. He’ll get here when he gets here. My muscles tense up while I fight an urge to pace. I’m starting to freak out a bit. Who could’ve killed this poor guy? And why? Why here for that matter? I’ve seen my share of corpses in my long undead life, but in the twenty years we’ve run this inn, there hasn’t been a single murder.

Okay, okay… let’s see. What should I do? Taking a deep breath in, I try to center my thoughts. Rich, aromatic blood rushes into my nostrils. That was a mistake. It smells so damn good. Fidgeting in my seat, I feel desperate to do something to distract myself from my desires.

We can’t call the police in this isolated area of Alaska. Not only would they take hours to arrive, but they wouldn’t be able to help once they got here either. I don’t want to think of the memory altering I’d have to do if they did show up. Instead, I can be the one to take notes and catalog evidence. That seems to work well on the detective shows.

I pat down my hips, realizing too late that the black clingy dress I’m wearing doesn’t have pockets. Where the hell is my notebook? I need it to write this stuff down.

Rafe! Are you coming?

No. Not yet, my dear. A masculine chuckle reaches my mind. I’m heading up the stairs now.

The hotel resembles a large T-shape, with the lobby being dead center where all the wings converge. Not wanting to send him back downstairs, I think about what lies between there and here.

I need a notebook and a pen to write down all the facts. Can you get them for me?

I think we need to cut back on the TV, Dria.

I can hear the smile coming through in his words. He read my mind and knows what I plan to do. Jerk. That man loves to pull my chain and live on the edge.

Relax, liebling, we’ll handle this.

Easy for you to say. You’re not a vampire sitting next to, I glance over at the large red stain around the victim’s head, what looks like three or four quarts of blood. Rafe’s my human husband. The mate bond ritual we shared sixty-five years ago, combined with our frequent, mutual blood exchange, keeps him from aging.

I hear Rafe hesitate on the wide, curving staircase leading up to the second floor. Damn him! I bet he is trying to place where he saw a notebook last. My teeth grind together in frustration. Some things never change, even when you’re undead and married. He never bothers to learn where we keep things. Okay, that’s not fair, he knows where his things are. Our bond may lend him a lot of my vampire strengths, but it doesn’t change his core of a normal, human male.

You’ll find pen and paper in the hall table, top drawer, outside suite seven.

I don’t need to see his smile to confirm he’s laughing at me. That’s okay. I’ll pay him back later. In spades.

You want to show me too, while you’re at it?

I focus my will and gather an image in my mind, picturing the last time I fed from my spouse. The delicious smell of his sweaty skin fills my head. The clean and musky memory triggers heat low in my middle. It spreads out at the mere reminder of the salty taste of piercing his flesh to drink. I feel the rush of his life-giving elixir fill my mouth and tease my taste buds with its power. I push the feelings, sensations, and pictures out to his mind just as he enters the suite.

Rafe stops the motion of the door before it hits the body. He staggers forward a bit as my mental projection slams into his mind. He’s holding the notebook and pen in one hand while gripping the doorknob tightly with the other.
“Whew! Alright already, I get the picture!”

I smile and pull the illusion away. Rafe closes the door and joins me on the other side of the corpse. I think I made my point. I may not need that much blood anymore, but he certainly enjoys the little bit I do take when we make love.

He tosses the notebook, aiming straight for my head. Apparently, I struck a nerve with my teasing. Poor baby, turn-about is fair play.
I jot down the basics I’ve got for the dead guy–his age, race, brown hair, and what he’s wearing. Rafe squats near him. His gray dress slacks pull across his apple-cheeked ass and I once again lose my focus.

“Unlucky stiff,” Rafe comments. “What do you know so far?”

He looks back over his shoulder and smiles at me. My eyes are drawn up to his sparkling blue ones. Crap. What did he say? I scramble around for an answer.
Umm…” Good God, I’ve got to get the hell away from all this blood, and soon. “I came in to do a last-minute check of the rooms before the MacKellan group arrives. Found him dead by the door, just like you see him now.”

“As far as wounds go, all I can see is this big dent in the back of his head.” He holds his fist out to the wound. “Looks like it could have been something this size. Think he could have another injury under him?” Putting words to action, Rafe places a hand under the corpse’s hip and shoulder, lifting him up to look. “Nothing in his chest.” He lowers the body back down to the carpet.

“You’re sure you don’t recognize him, right?” I ask.

“From his face? Nah. I’d have recognized that scar.” Rafe points out the small crescent-shaped scar on the left cheek, and I jot that down in my notebook. “Did you see his shoes?” Rafe nods in the direction of his feet. “He wouldn’t be walking around in those loafers outside for long. The winter temps here would freeze his toes off in minutes.” He looks back up at me, a frown creasing his forehead. “He’s fully human, right?”

“There’s only one way to find out.” I lean down to draw in a deep sniff of air from near the body. Subtle undertones of the victim’s personal scent seep into my brain. The pure, clean essence of his human blood overpowers everything else when I look for it. “He carries no blood marker from another vampire. Which means he is not a servant or a mate. He could be a companion who arrived late, someone we’re unaware of.”

“Good point.” Rafe stands up. “Who do we have left after yesterday’s departures?”

Hmm, let’s see…” I step back from the body so I can think. “The Natsuhara group out in cabin two. Jet has his mate and one companion with them. There’s the loner in cabin five, Drew Lipshultz. Here in the main building, we’ve got Salvador’s group, a party of eight. They’re in the west wing. I don’t know why any of them would have a reason to be here in the north wing though.”

“This door was locked, right?”

I wave my handy master key card. “Yup.”

Rafe pats the dead guy’s pockets. “He’s very warm. Can’t have been dead too long.”

“No, you’re right. The maids would have been here this morning. I’m sure we would have heard their screaming if he was here then.”

“Hey, got a wallet.” Rafe holds up a tattered bi-fold. “Looks like there’s no ID. But I do see a credit card.” He takes it out, angling to read it. “John Pierre Vaughn. Ring a bell with you?”

“No. Don’t know it.” I glance around at the red mess. “This rug looks shot.”

Rafe ignores me. “What could he have been doing here? How did he get in?”

“Well, his stuff has got to be somewhere.” Scanning the room, I add, “I don’t see a coat or his bag.” I check the closet and the bath, shaking my head as I return. “Nope, nothing in there either.”

“Are you thinking the killer could be human?” Rafe stands, facing me.

“My first guess would be a human. Most vamps wouldn’t waste this much blood. Even though a newly turned fledgling only needs a quart a day, a vampire can drain a body if they want to.”

He smiles and leans forward, kissing me lightly on the mouth. “Remind me never to piss you off.”

“Ha! Like that would stop you.”

Rafe steps close, lifting a hand to run through my long copper hair. “You okay? You don’t seem yourself.”

“I’ll be good once we get rid of this body. I cannot freakin’ believe we’ve got this to contend with right now.” I sound a bit whiny, even to my own ears.

“It’ll come together. We’ll work it all out.” His calm sureness in life is always an amazing thing to experience. “After all, we’re on 10,000 acres in the middle of nowhere. It’s dark twenty hours a day and we control the only airstrip for miles around. Where is the killer going to go?”

He’s right. But the practical side of me keeps seeing only one thing: We have a dead guy, cooling fast, in our hotel room.

“You know something, hon?”

“What?” He sounds distracted.

“Trying to figure this out isn’t fun anymore and we’ve got people arriving in,” I cut my eyes down again to my watch, “thirty minutes. I can switch the MacKellans down one room, but we’ve got to move pronto. This guy’s going to start to stink soon and we need to make a good impression on the new arrivals.”

Pressure builds in my chest.

Rafe takes out a utility knife from the back of his slacks. I swear he would have made a great Boy Scout. He’s always so damn prepared.

“Are we agreed? I cut the carpet up and roll him inside?” He notices my gimlet stare. “Hey, I’m only asking because I don’t want you getting pissy with me if I cut it without checking.”

Pissy is a nice way to say bitchy, but I’m okay with that.

“No, you’re right. It’s ruined. Put him in one of the sheds outside, lock it up and we’ll talk again later about what to do.” The body will freeze solid out there in a few hours, but at least no one will smell him.

Rafe zips up the blade, jumps over the corpse, and lands light. He cuts a big rectangle into the rug and padding, starting about two feet out from the stain. Quick and sure, his movements accentuate a natural grace, one that flips all my switches.

A familiar wetness gathers in my panties while watching the muscles in his back work under his tight blue polo. The blood in the room arouses the predator in me, and due to my advanced age, it’s not blood I crave but sex. I remind myself, again, to stop breathing.

If I’m not careful to keep my thoughts tightly bound, Rafe will see the erotic image running through my mind of his bare shoulders between my thighs. I experience an all-over body shiver trying to pull myself together.

He looks up with a small smile on his face. Damn it, he saw.

“You’re a bad girl, you know that?”

“And you love it,” I purr.

He rolls the body in the carpet and hefts it over his shoulder in one smooth move. My gaze drops to his chest. Yum… that shirt shows off his definition nicely. My tongue snakes out to wet my lips. Good God, is it hot in here or is it me?

“Yeah, I do. I’ll deal with you later.” He winks. “Save that sexiness for the customers. They feed off you when you do. You exude sex.”

Our inn is renowned for helping to reveal hidden fantasies and bring them to the surface. It’s one of the big reasons clients come back again and again. That and the amazing sex they all have when they’re here as a result.

I stick my lip out in a pout. “Fine, but dead body or no dead body, I want you later. Better not tire yourself out… I have plans.”

He chuckles as he walks out the door. I’m sure you do, Dria, I’m sure you do.

Once he leaves, and takes the main source of blood with him, I take a deep cleansing lungful of air. I smack my palm to my forehead. Wake up! Shake it off!

Smoothing the fabric of the dress over my stomach and hips, I decide I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. I leave, re-locking the door behind me. Glancing at my wrist, I note it’s twenty-two minutes until the new group arrives. Then it’s show time!

Thanks so much CJ for stopping by again! I hope this gets those publishers scrambling to publish this awesome book!

Thanks so much, Harley! I hope it proves successful for you on the blog!

To Find CJ on the Web::

Group Blog: Wicked Writers
Facebook Fan Page (with uncut chapters)

Interview with Author CJ Ellisson

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category:

Yes, I just had to do another interview because CJ Ellisson is awesome! I first met her on but we never really talked until I found her on the blogosphere. We exchange great emails now and I look forward to having her as a penpal while I am in Basic Training.

I recently got to read her novel "Vampire Vaction". It was a great read and I stayed up an entire night to read it - I just couldn't put it down! I'll have an "Book-interview" about it tomorrow!

So, CJ tell of us here a little about yourself.

I'm a happily married mother of two kids, ages 9 and 7. We live in northern Virginia where I was born, but I've also lived in New Jersey and Maine. I started writing a little over a year ago and now can't imagine my life without it.

I feel the same. Life just wouldn't be the same without writing. What made you decide to become a writer?

That is always an interesting one to answer. About two years ago I was pretty sick and going through a ton of medical tests. I had to give up my full time job because of my illness and soon my life slowly constricted to consist of family, friends and the girl scout meetings I led.

One fateful book club night I found out two friends were writing books, and I thought "Why not?" With encouragement from one friend, I started to write in February '09 and haven't looked back.

When the diagnoses came in for three separate diseases and treatment began (don't worry, none are life threatening), I found that writing gave me purpose and direction.

That is great to hear that you found something positive instead of dwelling on the negative. You are definitely an inspiration to a lot of people out there. Who inspires you to write?

No one. Just me. Writing is pretty solitary.

I can tell you who encourages me, though. First and foremost it would be the friend who believed in my writing and who finally agreed to become my writing buddy as I was close to finishing my book last year - Supriya Savkoor. She has taught me so much this past year and helped me to grow as a writer and a person. Next, I'd say my husband, my close friends, and supporters on facebook.

The early readers who read my work online have stuck by me from when the first chapters went up. Day to day they make me feel like my book and writings are indeed worthy. They encourage me with every word, every note, every post and every comment -- helping me to see I'm not alone on this new path in life.

It is great to have people out there that support you. You definitely have a fan here! How much has your life changed since you were published/started writing?

I'm embarrassed to admit I've written nothing else besides my first book, Vampire Vacation, part of the second book, and a few flash-fiction pieces for contests on WDC (Hey, do blogs count? ;-).

Life has changed only slightly so far. I've learned that I have to keep my mouth shut in public no matter what nastiness is spewed my way. And trust me, that's harder than it sounds for a certifiable bitch like me. ;-)

That is nothing to be embarrassed about. I'm pretty embarassed that I have about 12 novels in some state of writing or rewriting and 4 more waiting to get started - but none are even close to be ready for publication! It seems it takes me a while to write. How long does it take you to write a book and what is your schedule like when writing?

The first book took me a little over four months to write. I polished it for a few weeks, sent out some queries, got rejections and polished it again for two more months. I started the second book for National Novel Writing Month this past November, and had to drop out mid-way through when Vampire Vacation advanced in a huge contest and the full manuscript was due sooner than expected.

I try to write for a three to four hours a day when I am writing on a schedule and then I might take some down time with editing other writer's work or networking online. But this is a full-time job for me now. It's amazing how much time can get eaten up online if you let it (another topic for another day!).

Three to four hours a day? Wow! That is amazing. I would love to have that much time a day. Over the cours eof a week it might average out to that but my schedule is more like one hour a day then ALL day on hubby's day off! Whatever works right? So, do you character plot a great deal or have a detailed outline before you start writing, or do you write on the fly?

All the characters are live in my head - but I get lost in the small details from chapter to chapter like eye color and such for the secondary characters. Sometimes I brainstorm with friends on possible backgrounds for these characters so I can be sure what motivates them better as I'm developing them (which can be great fun if alcohol is involved).

I do have an outline, but it's loose. Four to six sentences at most, describing the main action and where I plan to place a sex scene. It's worked for me so far, but everyone creates differently. Believe it or not, I actually balance the sex within the story. My goal was to not have it overwhelm the book, but add to it.

I used to never outline but a workshop recently changed my view on it. Now I will create loose outlines too, to at least keep me on track! That really helps in the rewriting stage too, when the reviews and critiques start coming in. I can get lost in new ideas and suggestions and forget the point of my story. Do you have a critique group, editor, or do you self-edit?

Having only the one book to go with for experience, I can say I've certainly tried a gamut of resources. First, I was in two crit groups. I found some members gave better advice than others, but both moved incredibly slow. Next, I started posting on (WDC) and got a ton of reviews on the early chapters of my work, which later led to a private group with 30+ writers offering me insights.

In conjunction to posting on WDC, I started a facebook business page where I posted the first seven chapters of my book. I got some great response and hundreds clammoring to read the rest. I started a private reading group with over 250 real readers giving me feedback and opinions. Their support helped beyond measure when I started getting harsh critiques, or bashing from judges, on my first-person present-tense style of writing.

I had a bunch of writers tell me no reader would be willing to make a switch to present tense, that they were used to reading past tense and mostly third person and I was never going to sell my book if I kept it the way it was. Having others, the real people in my reading group, share their thoughts helped me to ignore the nay-sayers and stand by my book.

As for self-editing? I needed help with the basics-- a lot of help. I went to school for science and art and had a professional career in banking and real estate. None of which prepared me to write with the professionalism and knowledge a true writer needs.

Supriya, my patient writing buddy, is a free-lance editor by trade. Having her walk me through the basics, teach me about formatting, and even politely *ahem* send me a document on correct comma usage made a huge difference from the beginning of the book to the end.

Once I had a core group of people who could help me with my punctuation and polishing (seriously, who knows all that stuff?) I tried Holly Lisle's One Pass Revision method. I printed out my entire manuscript and was shocked how many errors leapt off the page at me as opposed to viewing it on the computer screen. Her website is an incredible resource and I recommend it to writers of all levels.

I will have to try the facebook business page. That sounds like a great idea to network and get feedback. I'm sure it would make revising and such much easier too. What is the hardest part of writing that you've struggled with?

I could write a whole post on this one question because there is not just one aspect that has been hard. But many. I think that's what happens when you have no formal training and learn as you go.

Specifically, in my first book I can point to an actual chapter. Interestingly enough, it's chapter number thirteen. I had the scene in my head for a long time. I envisioned all this pain and angst on the protagonist's part and I had no idea how to convey it well in words. I'd only been writing for two months or so and felt way, way over my head.

I put it off, I hemmed and hawed... I think I let myself focus on other things for a week or two and never wrote a word--all to avoid having to put pain on paper. I don't know how it is for other writers, but for me, writing about something painful is incredible hard.

My writing partner loved that chapter, but in the end it'll be up to the readers to decide, right?

I struggle with that too CJ. But I find that in some weird twisted way it's because I'm avoiding something painful in my life that I don't want to talk about. Writing that out in a scene is very therpueatic to me and I can move on, a stronger person. Where can other folks out there get a hold of you online?

Group Blog: Wicked Writers
Facebook Fan Page (with uncut chapters)

Thanks for stopping by CJ! I look forward to our interview tomorrow about "Vampire Vacation".

Internal Conflict Blogfest: Hanging on a Thread

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category: ,

I know it's late - hubby, the little man, and I are all sick with chest colds. NOT FUN! But, I still had to make a post as this is fun and relaxing for me, so here we go!

The Internal Conflict Blogfest by Jessica Bell! It was a hard choice deciding which novel to take my excerpt from. I even thought to write something brand new so that I would have to choose.

I finally settled on something from "The Adventures of Ryn and Ciyme". You guys remember learning about Ryn from my entry for the "Bad Girl Blogfest". Well, this is from R'av's POV - the guy she beat up!

Scene: It is dawn, Ciyme convinced Ryn to allow R'av to travel with them to defeat the Snake People. It really cements R'av as a character here and everything he does following this is based on his thoughts here. Remember Ciyme and Molten are tiny dragons!

He watched Ryn with interest as they ate breakfast and packed up camp. Her purple hair was a bit dirty but it still looked like violet silk. She had dark circles around her eyes and for the past two days he’d watched her posture become worse and worse.

Ciyme had told him what happened to her father and her brother and he wondered how she soldiered on. He remembered when his wife was murdered that he wasn’t able to get out of bed for days.

He felt so guilty that he froze up when the snake people attacked the day before. Seeing Ryn trying to fight them made him think of his wife. She was unable to fight and her death was met without resistance. R’av, outnumbered seven to one, was unable to save her. He couldn’t remember exactly how long ago it was that he lost her. It seemed like eternity when in fact it had only been only a year.

R’av, a Duke at the time, gave up his title and left all his possessions behind – wanting nothing that reminded him of his life with her.

As they traveled that day, he kept his eye on their surroundings. He had to protect Ryn – to redeem himself. She was a strong girl but if something happened to her it would be his undoing. Losing the woman he loved was hard but losing another would snap the final string that R’av was desperately holding onto.

“R’av, do not think so hard. It will boil the blood in your brain,” Molten whispered.

“Very funny. Just for your information, I’m not thinking. I’m watching.”

“Yes, but what, or should I say who, are you watching?”

R’av rolled his eyes. “I’m watching out for snake people as you should be also.”

Molten took flight, flying above the trees to get a clear view of the landscape. R’av returned to thinking about Ryn.

She was different than any woman he’d ever met. R’av wasn’t sure how to act around her. Any attempts made to be a gentlemen was met with sarcasm and disdain. He wanted to know why that was. Even if she was so independent, surely any other woman wouldn’t turn down niceties from a man.

R’av wondered if something had happened to her that made her hate men. He dismissed the thought quickly when he remembered that she didn’t act that way towards Y’ron. She cared deeply for the skinny waif and R’av wondered what it was about him that made her hate him so much.

He was about to ask her but quickly shut his mouth again. Suddenly, he wasn’t quite sure if he wanted to know the answer.

They crossed the boarder from Fernan into Hithin. The scenery gradually changed from forest to fields of bean plants. Ciyme began picking beans and brining them to Ryn who smiled and ate them raw.

R’av liked her smile. It was bit crooked and her teeth weren’t perfectly straight but it was still beautiful. Her smile lifted the look of misery from her face for a few seconds and in that moment she lit up and glowed.

“You’re staring,” Molten said, flying just above R’av’s head.

“Please. Would you bugger off?”

Molten laughed – that sounded like a drum roll – and flew ahead of them to see the land.

They came to a fork in the road and Ryn stopped her horse.

“Something wrong?” R’av asked reaching for his sword.

Make sure you check out the other entries! They are sure to be great!

And check out my guest post at Wicked Writers about research!

Deleted Scene Blogfest: Wedding Bells

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category: ,

Okay, the rules of this awesome blogfest was to take a book and write a scene for it that could be considered as a "deleted scene" or a "could have been scene". Well, I could not choose a book! I just can't write about characters that are not my own. Well I can, but it's very hard and takes a lot of work for me.

So, I am going to break the rules a little bit here and post up a deleted scene from one of MY own books.

Make sure you go read the other entries at Mia's blog, Literary Jam and Toast! I'm sure they will be great (and following the rules)!

This scene comes from "The Faery's Tale: Burden of Prophecy" (Yes! Part One has an official title now woot!) I took it out literally just yesterday! You all know from reading previous excerpts that Rosyani and Drache "unite" (get married). Well this is their actual ceremony. I took it out of the story because while it's great, it slowed down the plot. So, I had to take it out. But, now it is here for you all to enjoy!

Set up: Drache's Father sentenced Rosyani to death. Drache saved her and nursed her back to health. He feels the only way to protect her from the wrath of his Father is to make her his wife. This scene happens just after she says yes to his proposal. (As always, it is a bit long. I won't be offended if you don't read the entire thing!)

At nightfall, Drache snuck Rosyani into the castle. They flew over head to avoid the guards and went through the open window to Drache's bedroom. She felt odd being in his room, so she stayed close to the window.

"Wait here," he whispered. He stepped out of the room, shutting the door quietly behind him.

Curosity got the best of her and she slowly began to walk about his room. Her eyes noticed the small toys on the floor by the fireplace first. She smiled as she envisioned Drache on the floor playing with this sister. She scanned the rest of the room noticing how the bed was not made and his clothes hung out of the wardrobe. It reminded her of her own room. She hated the servants coming into her personal space, only allowing them to clean every once in a while.

She shook her head to keep her thoughts from drifting into more thoughts of home. She sat in one of the plush chairs by the fire and continued to take in the details of Drache's room. Paintings hung on the wall, but she did not recognize the characters depicted in the artwork. She wondered if they were Drache's family or characters from heroic legends.

Rosyani dozed off and was startled when Drache came back into the room. Another faery was with him but she waited by the door.

"Let's go," he whispered. He grabbed her hand and pulled her into the hallway. The other faery followed behind them. "This is Tosca, you remember her?" he said as he tiptoed down the hallway. "She's our witness," he explained.

"We are uniting right now?" she squeeked.

Drache stopped at the top of the stair case and turned to look at her. "It's the..." He struggled for the right words.

"It must be done in haste, Princess. The sooner the better. Then you can move into the castle and begin your new life." Tosca smiled.

Rosyani slowly nodded. Drache squeezed her hand then led her down the stairs. Rosyani struggled to keep up with his pace. He was practicially running down the halls. They came upon a set of large double doors, ornately carved with beautiful designs. Rosyani assumed the center piece was the Kestar crest.

Drache pulled open the doors and stepped inside. He held the doors to keep them from slamming shut. Rosyani surveyed the small room. She guessed it was the family's private temple. There were only enough seats for maybe twenty faeries but the temple was still elaborately decorated. Gold filigree glittered on the walls and the back of the pews. The pews had velvet cushions and backs for plenty of comfort. Blue silk hung on the back wall behind the gold Circross, the symbol of the Gods.

Drache grabbed her hand again and led her down the blue velvet aisle. Their footsteps whispered and echoed off the vaulted ceiling as they made their way to the small altar. Tosca took her seat in the front row and the Priest and Priestess appeared from behind the blue satin wall.

Rosyani felt guilty for she was sure Drache had to wake them up for perform the ceremony. She did not have time to be nervous as the Priest and Priestess began the ceremony.

"We are gathered here to join these two faeries in the ties of union," the Priest said softly. "We will begin by making the pendants they shall wear as a symbol of their devotion."

The Priestess stepped forward and opened a small box that sat on the altar. She pulled out two small vials and a knife. She handed one vial to Drache and the other to Rosyani.

"As is tradition they will now fill the vials with their own blood, to show that they are bound to only each other." The Priestess handed the knife to Drache.

He kissed the handle of the knife first.He slid the blade across his palm as he said the vows. "I, Drache Akual Kestar take you to be my wife." He put a few drops of his blood into the vial then continued. "My blood I give to you as a symbol of my devotion, honor, and love." He kissed the handle of the knife again then handed it to Rosyani.

The Priestess wrapped a bandage around his hand as Rosyani kissed the handle and ran the blade across her own palm. "I, Rosyani Nidea Celter, take you to be my husband. My blood I give to you as a symbol of my devotion, faithfulness, and love." She kissed the handle of the knife a second time then handed it to the Priestess.

The Priest gently bandaged her hand then stood next to the Priestess. They each held one of the vials in their hand and sealed them with their powers. They hung the vials from silver chains and handed them back to the bride and groom.

"These seals will never break or wear away. Give each other the pendants as a seal of the promises you have stated before the witness here."

Drache wrapped the pendant around Rosyani's neck and said, "This promise I make, sealed with my blood."

Rosyani repeated the words as she wrapped the pendant around his neck.

"By trading of blood, they have promised to honor and love each other till the day of their deaths. The witness here has seen and heard this promise," the Priestess said.

The Priest and Priestess glasped hands then raised their arms to the sky. "May the Gods bless you. We prounced these two beings united!"

"Prince Kestar, heir to the throne of Enthril, you may kiss your wife and Queen," the Priest said with a smile.

Drache did not hesitate to lean in and plant a small kiss on Rosyani's lips. Tosca stood and clapped, tears sparkling in her eyes. Drache thanked the Priest and the Priestess and led the Rosyani out of the temple. Tosca wrapped him up into a hug once they were back in the hallway.

"You have grown to be a wonderful faery, Drache. I am so proud of you."

Rosyani stood to the side looking at her pendant. It was all so sudden and she was not sure how to feel or what to think. She was united, she was someone's wife. She never thought it would happen. Now here she was, Princess Kestar.

She was startled out of her thoughts when Drache grabbed her hand.

"You feel all right?"

"Yes," she said with a smile.

"Let's get some sleep. I'll show you the castle in the morning."

Rosyani suddenly realized that they would share a bed. Drache must have just thought of that too for the smile faded from his face and he chewed on his bottom lip.

He squeezed her hand and led her back upstairs, at a much slower pace this time. Rosyani felt a little dizzy. Drache was her husband and she should not feel nervous about sleeping in the same bed as him, but she was. Everything happened so fast, it really had not sunk in that she was united, that it was all right for them to share a bed.

Drache opened the door to his room and she slowly stepped inside. He shut the door then leaned against it. He stayed there, obviously just as nervous as she was.

"If...if you would feel comfortable..."

"No, it is all right. Just still sinking in." She giggled nervously. She turned her back to him. "Could you, uh, help me with the buttons, your highness?"

"S..sure." She could feel his hands shaking as he unbuttoned the tiny buttons. She smiled to herself, finding comfort in the fact that she was not he only one that felt a bit out of sorts. "You know, you can call me Drache now. We are united after all." He took a step back when all the buttons were undone.

She giggled. "Yes. Thank you."

She hesitated before taking the dress off. She felt his eyes on her as she gently laid the dress over the back of one of the chairs. When she looked at him, he stood with his arms crossed over his chest, his feet planted firmly to the floor. Rosyani held back a giggle. He looked like he was ready for an attack, as if at any moment she was going to tackle him.

She took the time to straighted the covers of the bed before climbing in.

"Drache? Are you...coming to bed?"

He shook his head and sucked in a breath. With more speed than she thought was possible, he took off his belt and tunic and threw his boots into the corner. Rosyani could not help but stare at his lean muscular body as he went about the room blowing out the candles and turning off the lanterns.

He crawled into bed next to her and sank into the pillows. The moon shone through the window allowing her to see the outline of his face. He was handsome and kind, compassionate; all the things Rosyani had ever wanted in a husband. He was right, they would be happy together.

Timidly she reached out and wrapped her arm around his waist and rested her head on his shoulder. His body tensed for a moment before he relaxed and wrapped his arm around her shoulder. She meant it only to be a hug but she fell asleep to the steady rhythm of his heart beat.