Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Fan-tastic news about fan fiction!

As you may know from my little bio at the (viewer's) right of the main page, or from the bios I've included in my books, I got my writing start in fan fiction. My biggest contribution to the genre, so to speak, has been in Star Trek. I’ve created more than two dozen stories featuring original characters, and even a few with cameos by canon characters from the five Trek TV shows. Some have featured only the characters we’ve seen on screen. I’ve also written one novel-length story for the Twilight Saga and am in the midst of a second, I’ve written stories for Smallville (most based in the early seasons of the show), and I’ve written at least one short story for Harry Potter

I still hold a great love for writing fan fiction and plan to write more in the future—I’ve plans for a lot more Star Trek plus some tentative Supernatural and Doctor Who. I just haven’t had much time for fanfic writing recently as I’ve put a lot of work in the last eighteen months into beginning and promoting my professional writing career. It has not been the easiest road, but when I check my sales report and see that I’ve sold some books, and when I see that email from Amazon saying that I’ve got royalties coming…it’s all worth it. Sure, it would be great to have the backing of a publishing house—to be able to make use of their marketing department to get myself out there more—but publishing my books on my own, no matter how difficult, has been infinitely rewarding. 

Just think about it, though… If my favorite TV shows make the list of Kindle Worlds (the name of the fan fiction project at Amazon), I could be doing even more of what I love—writing—and making even more money at it! The royalties for Kindle Worlds titles are only going to be around 35%, but that’s better than nothing! And I’d still be writing professionally, whether it’s fan fiction or my own original works. 

Right now, none of the series I’ve already written for are among those taking part, but then the entire list hasn’t been posted yet. It is a great hope of mine that they will be added so that my excitement over this development isn’t all for naught. If you hadn’t guessed already, I really do love to write fan fiction. I once read someone’s opinion that writing fan fiction displays a lack of imagination and originality, but I don’t think that’s true at all. To me, you have to have an imagination to write any kind of fiction at all, and especially if you’re writing fan fiction. With fan fiction, the work is almost harder (if you’re using established characters) because not only do you have to find a way to make the story your own and not a carbon copy of the original writer’s work, but you have to find a way to keep them true to their established character traits. That’s not always easy. Some of us would like certain characters to act differently, or to be interested in someone else. There is so much thought that has to go into a fan fiction story, much more than people realize. 

Anyhoo, I just had to write this post and tell you all about the exciting news. Fans of shows and books such as Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries, and Gossip Girl—just to name a few—who enjoy writing their own stories featuring their favorite characters will probably enjoy knowing that in the near future, they will be able to publish their stories and legally make a little money doing it. 

To read all about the project, go here: Amazon Media Room. Also take a look at this article: Kindle Worlds for Authors.

What are your Darkest Desires?

After a longer hiatus than expected, the Darkest Desires anthology by Hot Ink Press -- in which my erotic paranormal short The Beauty in the Black Room appears -- is once again available in e-book format. Indulge in these sinfully erotic tales by purchasing a copy at Amazon today!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

New Release: "A Taste of Joy"

I am sharing this announcement for my friend and fellow author, Christopher Southers.

Available Sunday, May 12, 2013, Mother’s Day, on Amazon.

This is my mother’s story told in her words. Small pieces of who she was. 

In the confusing days following her suicide, I found papers everywhere. Typed pages, old notepads, handwritten scraps. One of these was a title page. The name on it was simple but meaningful: “A Taste of Joy”

I gathered all these scraps of a woman’s life and organized them in one document. I thought, at first, it would be a simple task. I’m her son…the writer…it shouldn’t take too long, right? It took over a year.

This is Serena Joy Southers at her most open, her most loving, her most devastated, her most pained, her most erotic, her most lost. Her most real. There are no masks here.

I learned so much about my mother during this process. So many things that were hidden behind her eyes have now been laid open before me. She wasn’t a perfect human being but she loved me and she loved life.

And I loved her. Even now I love her still.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Drum roll, please!

Yesterday I hosted a drawing here on the Diary for a signed print copy of one of my books plus some polymer clay book charms. After a random drawing in which I placed a number onto a piece of paper (for the order in which responses to the blog tour post were received) and swished them around, I pulled two of them and those are my winners.

Congratulations to Maureen May, for you have won the grand prize of a signed copy of one of my books plus a set of book charms!

And congratulations to Marsha Thalleen, for you have won a set of book charms!

Ladies, I will be contacting you by email for your home addresses, and congratulations again on your win! For those of you who narrowly missed out, keep checking back to the Diary, because in the next few months I will be hosting another giveaway -- and next time I hope to have even more swag for you all to win!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

From the Shadows Blog Tour

Friends, today is the last stop on my From the Shadows Blog TourHappy Cinco de Mayo!

As you will have seen on other blogs these last 11 days, today is all about promoting the second book in the Shadow Chronicles, From the Shadows. I'm going to be sharing some info about the book, and then some answers to interview questionsanswered, of course, by yours truly! So let's get this party started!



Shapeshifter Juliette Singleton left her home to escape the oppressive concern of her family...and the memory of being raped. She finds little solace, however, as her sleep is plagued with nightmares, forcing her to re-live the brutal assault over and over again.

Race Covington, a chimaera, thought he was the only one of his kind. Then he reunited with Juliette, whom he had known as a child, and discovered to his delight that he was not alone after all—and the both of them discovered that they were destined to be together.

Meeting her mate leads Juliette to open up about the attack and begin the healing process, while Race believes meeting his means it is definitely time to escape the employ of a dangerous and vindictive vampire. They decide it is time to start their lives over again—together—but going home proves to be harder than they expected when they are forced to confront a dangerous foe neither could have ever imagined.


I must have been more tired than I thought, either from my virtually sleepless nights or from having to expend so much energy to stay a dog, because I fell asleep soon after he turned the TV to a football game. I wasn’t much into watching the game when I’d rather be playing it, so I’d closed my eyes thinking I’d get up and sneak out when I heard him go to the bathroom.

Next time I opened them, however, the TV was off and I was alone in the room, the only light coming from the parking lot lights shining through the blinds on his windows. Thankful that my energy hadn’t run out while I slept and caused me to automatically revert to my human form (as I knew sometimes happened to an exhausted shifter), I raised my head and looked at the clock on his cable box, noting that it was just after midnight. Shit, I thought sourly. None of the busses would be running at this hour and I had no money for a cab—how the hell was I going to get back to my hotel room?

Obviously I had no choice but to walk, but if I did so as a dog I chanced being picked up and taken to the pound, which was definitely not a situation I wanted to end up in. My only other option, as I saw it, was to go in human form…and to do that, I was going to have to steal some clothes. I felt bad about having to turn thief on someone who had only been nice to me, but there was nothing else for me to do. Stepping down off the couch and stretching, I then walked down the little hall and into the bedroom. On the wall directly in front of me was a closet, to my right the bathroom, and to my left was a large area with a bed and a desk. I didn’t see a dresser so it appeared that all his clothes were in the closet.

Glancing in the direction of the bed, I listened for a brief moment to the sound of the stranger’s steady breathing. He was sound asleep. I phased back into my human form and stepped to the closet, sliding the left-hand door open as soundlessly as I could. I grabbed an OSU hoodie off its hanger and quickly pulled it over my head. Now I needed pants. A second’s glance told me that the side I had opened was all shirts, so I slid the door closed and stepped over to the right. Opening that door, I found the matching bottom and took them off the hanger. After sliding the door closed again, I stepped into the sweatpants as quickly as I could, tightened the drawstring and knotted it so they wouldn’t fall down, then turned and walked cautiously out of the bedroom.

I paused when I reached the front door, wishing I could have thanked the man for being so nice to me. But it was impossible, I thought with a sigh, and reached up to turn the deadbolt.

"Were you really going to leave without even saying goodbye?"

~Questions and Answers~

What inspired you to write your first book? 
I’ve wanted to write for a very long time. In fact, when I was about 20, I started writing a romantic suspense novel I’d titled The Princess Spy, and I think I got about seven or eight chapters into it before I stopped writing it. I don’t recall the reason why I stopped, but I would certainly love to find the notebook it’s written in so I can polish it up and finish it.

How did you come up with the titles of each book?
For the Shadow Chronicles, I wanted something thematic, so each of the books will have the word “shadows” in it. The same goes for my romantic suspense series, Firehouse 343—the first four books will have the word “fire” in it.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
None that I can think of. I just hope that readers enjoy it!

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Not in any of the books I’ve written so far, but I was in a car accident this past January that I’ll be writing into my next Firehouse 343 novel.

What books have most influenced your life most?
Paranormal romance, romantic suspense, and mysteries/thrillers influence me. I know these are genres and not individual books, but I really couldn’t put a finger on any one particular book or books that have influenced me more than any other. I think any book that I read and really enjoy influences me in some small way.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I think I have two—Nora Roberts and Deborah Cooke. Both of them not only write sexy, irresistible male heroes, but strong, capable female heroines, and I really like it when the female characters start out strong and end strong.

What book are you reading now?
I actually read a book called The Marine’s Babies by Laura Altom on my recent birthday. It’s one of Harlequin’s American Romance line of stories. I've also recently read Caitlin Hensley's Paranormal Legacy.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Kristine Cayne, Shayne McClendon, Mina J. Moore, Allison Cosgrove, and Caitlin Hensley to name a few. Their books are really entertaining reads that I’ve enjoyed quite a bit. I met these wonderful ladies through Facebook and we have become pretty good friends.

What are your current projects?
Right at the moment I’m planning a new book which may be a stand-alone, but has the potential to be the first in a series. It will depend on how it turns out. When I’ve finished it, I plan to write the next book in the Firehouse 343 series.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your books?
There’s nothing major, but if I were so inclined, I might re-word a few scenes to make them work differently.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I don’t really know how or when, except my earliest memory involving writing goes back to when I was in grade school, and I’d written some short story (just a few paragraphs, I imagine) that was apparently good enough to be brought to the principal’s attention. It involved dinosaurs. But ever since then, when I’ve had to do any creative writing, I’ve strived to make it interesting.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Naming characters can be a challenge. Sometimes I get an idea in my head of their personality and can’t find a name to fit. I also sometimes find it difficult to write action sequences, or to transition from one scene to the next.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Getting it finished, really, was the hardest part of From the Shadows. When I first started writing it, I had a pretty good flow, but unfortunately I go through these periods where I just can’t seem to get motivated. The writing still goes on in my head, but getting the work done is a struggle. A lot of that has to do with outside stress in my life that’s not related to my writing. Thankfully I’m in a really good place right now, so the creativity is flowing!

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Writing and editing and character development are hard work. Keeping the plot flowing and tying everything together really does take a lot of effort. Writing isn’t just sitting down and writing; there’s so much more involved than just typing or writing the words—especially if you’re an indie like me and you have to do most of the post-writing work yourself.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
I actually got asked the question "How do you get into writing?" by someone I work with at my regular job. I told her what I've seen and heard so many other authors say, because the advice really is that universal and simple. I told her to "Go for it. If you have an idea rolling around in your head, if you feel there is a story in you that you just have to tell, sit yourself down and write it. Just get it all out and worry about making it presentable later." I also said that to be a writer, telling stories is something you have to be passionate about.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you so very much for buying my book. I really hope you enjoyed it enough to come back for more! I write because I want to tell the stories my imagination conjures, but I also write for people who are interested in what those stories are.

What would you do in a zombie apocalypse should it occur on Black Friday?
I would be hoarding bottled water and canned goods, I ain’t gonna lie. I’d be getting my hands on some strong slicing weapons like swords or machetes, and I want a crossbow with as many arrows as I can get my hands on.

If you could interview one of your characters, who would it be and why?
Lochlan Mackenna from The Shadow Chronicles. He’s got a secret that he hasn’t told anyone, and I’d try to get him to tell. He’s also a flirt and he’s sarcastic, which I love. I’d also want to interview Logan Kilbride from Firehouse 343. Like Lochlan, he’s a sarcastic, flirtatious guy, and what woman wouldn’t want to get to know a sexy, single firefighter better?

Fave character(s) not your own?
In books it would be Sherlock Holmes and Eve Dallas. In the movies, James Bond and Aragorn. On TV, Dean Winchester and the Tenth Doctor.

Is there any musical group or singer that inspires your writing? 

Oh, absolutely. When I’m writing, I like to think of songs that would make for a good soundtrack to certain scenes, just like in a movie. I often hear 3 Doors Down, Linkin Park, and Nickelback in my head, and I’ve also thought of Hunter Hayes, Kelly Clarkson, and Patty Loveless, among others. I’ve made lists of the songs that got me through my books and plan to get them up on my blog one of these days.

~About the Author~

Christina Moore proved she had a talent for writing fiction in grade school when a story about a dinosaur so interested her teacher that it was brought to the principal’s attention, and she was highly praised for her creativity. Although she doesn’t recall the details of that childhood tale, the feeling of accomplishment stayed with her throughout her life. Deciding in her teens to indulge in her passion for storytelling, Christina delved first into fan fiction, which she has written off and on for several years. Her mother said to her when she was just 14 that she “could write this stuff,” and a long-time friend once told her she had the talent to be a professional writer; so after procrastinating a lot longer than she should have, she put her mind to writing something she could sell.

After working on her first novel during NaNoWriMo 2010 and editing and revising the story throughout the next year, Christina made her professional debut in January of 2012 with the paranormal romance Chasing Shadows, followed by an erotic short story entitled The Beauty in the Black Room and the romantic suspense novel Fire Born, both also published in 2012. Currently she resides in Ohio, where she has lived all her life.

When not allowing the characters in her imagination use her to tell their stories, she enjoys a great movie, good times with family and friends, and being “hu-mom” to two Chihuahuas and two Siberian Huskies. Christina always keeps a notebook handy to jot down ideas for future stories and is currently working on her fourth novel.

And now for something special!

If you leave a comment with your name and email address below this post, you will be entered into a drawing for a signed print copy of one of my books—and you get to choose which one! That's right, a SIGNED PRINT COPY! 

Wait, there's more! 

The winner of the signed print copy will not only receive a free book of his/her choice, but a set of miniature book charms of ALL my published novels! And to make the pot a little bit sweeter, I'll be doing a second prize drawing for another set of miniature book charms. 

(please excuse the picture quality, I'm not a great photographer)

Made of polymer clay by my very good friend Michelle Scarberry, these charms can be attached to a charm bracelet, necklace, cell phone, bookmark, keyring — the choice is yours! 

Remember, to be eligible for the grand prize or second place drawing, you have to leave a comment below this post! Drawing will be held tomorrow, May 6th, between 9:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. (the lateness of the hour being due to my day job). The winners will be notified by email as soon as the drawing is done. Good luck!!

And many, many thanks to Cat Alley, Allison Cosgrove, Elizabeth Sharp, Georgina Hannan, Caitlin Hensley, Beth Masarik, Shiralyn Lee, Liz LongChristie Rich, and Raine Thomas — these wonderful ladies who were generous enough to give me the spotlight on their blogs for a day. Thank you so much!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Sex, romance, and heroes (and heroines, too).

Long before I became a writer, I was a reader. I am so into collecting books that I freely and unashamedly call myself a book whoreI have hundreds (actual count unknown) of physical books and well over 7,000 ebooks. I may never be able to read them all, but I also know that I will never be without a book to read. And that is a great treasure to me.

One of my book pleasures is the romance novel. It doesn't matter what sub-genre it's in, if the plot sounds good, I'll read itthough admittedly my favorites are paranormal romance and romantic suspense. When a person reads a certain genre of books regularly, they inevitably begin to notice recurring themes. Boy and girl meet and are instantly attracted to one another. Boy and girl have a one-night stand and girl winds up pregnant. Boy and girl meet and can't stand each other, but the circumstances force them to spend an inordinate amount of time together and thus they end up falling in love. You get the picture.

I am a romance writer. Thus far I've written paranormal romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal erotica. In each of the three novels and one short story I've written, the main characters (hero and heroine, if you will) have had a sexual encounter within the first 48 hours of meeting. Did I do this to follow the romance novel trend? Absolutely not. I wrote my stories the way I did because that's simply the way each story came to me. Are my characters idiots who don't think about the consequences of their actions? My answer is the same as before: Absolutely not. Two of my books are paranormal romance, and the sex was driven not only by mutual attraction but by magical/mystical bonds. Perhaps because the novels are part fantasy, no one really questions the h&h having sex "too soon".

Yet the third of my novels (second one published) is different. The setting of Fire Born is real-world and contemporary. The hero is a firefighter and the heroine is a firefighter-turned-arson investigator. They meet under unfortunate circumstances and later that night, they have unprotected sex (spoiler! sorry, but necessary to the discussion). One reviewer gave the book a 1-star rating and called it bad storytelling. I disagreed with that not just because of the fact that I wrote the book, but because everyone else who had reviewed the book, to me, was proof of how wrong an opinion that was—most of the other reviews were glowing 4- and 5-star ratings.

Then yesterday, I happened to check the book's page to see if I had any new reviews, and lo and behold, I had one. The reviewer, Chitown Reader, gave Fire Born 3 stars. Although she ultimately said she liked the book and recommended it to others, she did say she agreed with the 1-star reviewer about the unprotected sex and described other things she disagreed with about the story. I actually appreciate the feedback she gave and the fact that she didn't dismiss the book entirely as the other person did. But having someone else consider the first encounter between Martie and Chris unrealistic, I found I could not hold my tongue. I posted a comment regarding my feelings on the matter. (read our exchange here)

Now I am posting those feelings here. While I in no way set out to do what other writers have done before me, a sexual encounter between the main characters within 24 hours of meeting is really not all that unrealistic. For that matter, not only is such a plot device so common as to be a staple of the romance novel, but that kind of thing happens in real life. Chitown Reader said she didn't understand how two savvy people such as Chris and Martie (a compliment, that), who were trained to save the lives of others, could be so careless with their own lives. I pointed out that not only is unprotected sex with someone a person has just met something that happens in real life, but it's also something that "savvy" people have been known to do. Even smart, intellectual individuals don't always follow the rules or use common sense. 

Sure, as CR suggested, introducing a condom into that scene wouldn't have taken away from the plot, but if you were to read the book, you'd understand how it didn't entirely make sense to have one (unless the Holiday Inn on Midland Rd. in Billings, Montana makes a practice of offering condoms to their guests, perhaps in the medicine cabinet of each suite's bathroom?). After all, neither Chris nor Martie were planning to sleep with the other. The sex was a spur-of-the-moment decision wherein he was acting on his ill-timed attraction as something of a last-ditch effort to avoid giving in to grief and she was acting on her own ill-timed attraction because she empathized with him and wanted to offer a grieving man some comfort. That is how I, as the author, interpret that scene. Again, to truly understand what I'm talking about, you would have to read the book. 

Maybe that was an unwise choice on my part, to have the h&h have sex the very night they met. Just because other authors have used that plot device successfully doesn't mean I should use it, right? Doesn't mean it will work for me the way it has worked for others. But then again, has it actually worked for other writers? Are there other romance authors out there who have written such a scenario who have gotten flack for it, or am I justified in feeling like I'm the only one? I can't help wondering why it seems people are giving me shit for what I did, but it's perfectly okay for other writers to get away with it. 

Okay, I know that I'm not, that other authors have more than likely been "attacked" for having used the same plot device that I did. But that doesn't stop me feeling bothered by the fact that the start of Chris and Martie's relationship is a sore point with some readers.

Guess I need to start reminding myself that not everyone is going to see my people the same way I do.