Monday, June 24, 2013

And the Yippees Keep on Coming!

I've just added a(nother) notch to my resume, and I am beyond excited about it!

Anyone who's hip in the lit world is familiar with the site LitReactor, which has authors, editors, and agents on staff to keep readers updated on all things cool in the lit world. Seriously. The call for applications said, "You must be awesome. The non-awesome need not apply. And you need to tell us why you're awesome, in 300 words or less (no kidding—we're going to count them)." They're like the Mean Girls of the lit world. Only cooler. And smarter.

The LitReactor peeps even teach classes and put together a monthly e-zine compiling each month's columns and features. Their contributors write unique pieces full of sharp wit and timely topics, which means the site only publishes top quality work.

Y'all, this site is a HUGE deal. They have over 11,000 followers, both on Facebook and Twitter. They are huge. Did I mention they're huge? They're huge. And oh yeah, they're huuuuuuuuge.

And not to pat myself on the back or anything (okay, I'm patting myself on the back), but I just landed a monthly column! Which is a huge accomplishment, considering this was also part of the job posting: "Do you have what it takes to be a LitReactor columnist? Think hard before you answer. Our recruitment process is vigorous, and includes a drinking test, feats of strength, and a six-day survival challenge, in which you'll be abandoned in the Australian outback with a dull knife and a can of Diet Coke." (Man, that application process was rigorous!) 

I applied on a whim, thinking there was no way on God's green earth I was getting the column. Except that I did. And now I have to prove month after month that I'm awesome. No pressure.

The column is called Trip Lit, and will relive classic road trip games through the lens of literature. Sounds strange, right? Stay with me. I've got lots of idea already, and can't wait to leak them out one month at a time.

My staff bio is now posted to the site, which means I'm an official member of the LitReactor family. And my first Trip Lit column is due out in mid-July, assuming I can write something awesome enough by then! Wish me luck...


Monday, June 17, 2013

Launch Party! Once Upon a Darkness by Aria Kane

Gretchen and her twin brother, Hank, were abandoned to a zombie horde when they were five years old. Intended to be a sacrifice by their zealot parents, they were instead rescued by The Company. Raised to become soldiers in the war against zombies, they now provide safe passage through danger zones, one contract at a time.

Clint's only skill is war, but he's weary of killing other men. When his contract with the Marines runs out, he takes a job on Gretchen's team, hoping that the search-and-rescue life will suit him better.

On Clint's second day, their four-man team is attacked, drugged, and taken to a prison full of frightened civilians. The only way in or out is by helicopter and, here, their enemies are human. One by one, the captives are culled from the holding area. Rumors say the facility director uses the prisoners as experimental subjects for the testing of a zombie cure.

When Hank is culled, Clint and Gretchen must put aside their personal feelings and find a way out of the prison, surrounded by thousands of starving zombies, before Hank becomes just one more disposable guinea pig in the hands of a twisted mad woman.

Add it to your bookshelf at Goodreads


"Can we try something else?" Clint swung the practice sword in a wide sweep. "I think I got this motion down."

"When you're facing a crowd of zombies, there's no time to think," a woman's voice said behind him.

He spun, sword in hand. She lunged at him. He had enough time to register pale skin and straight white-blonde hair atop a lithe frame before her arms crashed into his shoulders with shocking force. Air rushed painfully from his lungs as his back hit the ground. His sword rattled out of reach. She crouched on top of him, somehow holding him down with not much more than a hundred pounds to her. Eyes the color of ice on an Alaskan glacier stared back at him.

"If I were a zombie, you'd be a three-course meal right now." The woman, who was maybe a few years younger than him, snapped her jaw and laughed.

"Or a new zombie, yourself," another male voice said. Clint looked over her shoulder to find the male version of his attacker standing about twenty feet back from the scene. Next to him, a mountain of a man smirked with amusement. All three of them were nuts.

She shaped her hand like a gun and pressed it to his forehead. "No, I'd kill you before I let that happen." She said it casually, like telling someone lunch was ready.

"Thanks?" Was this some sort of weird initiation?

The woman leapt to her feet and yanked him up after her. She tapped the back of his skull. "When you're attacked, your lizard brain takes over. You have to do something like a sword swing or a roundhouse kick thousands of times so that it becomes instinctual. Hesitation is fatal." She punctuated her words with practiced movements; the swinging of an imaginary sword and a roundhouse kick aimed at the practice target.

"Right." He had known this, of course, but had forgotten it in the absolute boredom of swinging the sword the same way for hours.

The woman stood there with her hands on her hips as if she were waiting for some kind of applause.

He didn't know what else to say that would keep her from jumping him again. Though, now that he got a good look at her, maybe he wouldn't mind another roll in the dirt. She was tall, with long legs bared by khaki shorts. A tiny white tank top stretched over a black sports bra that definitely earned its keep. Lean muscle stretched along the full length of her arms, torso, and legs. Strapped to her legs and waist were weapon holsters of all varieties that - in his mind, at least - only made her sexier.

"What are you, Zombie Slayer Barbie?"

About the Author:

Aria Kane is a recovering mechanical engineer and romance writer. She lives in sunny Florida with a 60 lb mutt who thinks he's a Chihuahua.

Social Media Links:

To celebrate the release of Once Upon a Darkness, Aria Kane is giving away a Kobo Vox (Android) eReader with a red leather case to one winner (US residents only), and a choice of any Entranced ebook to another winner (international entries welcome).

Monday, June 10, 2013

Game of Bones

***Warning: SPOILER ALERT! If you are not completely caught up on HBO's Game of Thrones, read no further. You have been warned.***

This week we're going on the first vacation my entire family has ever taken together. Grammie moved to Georgia, which means my kids finally have their grandparents all in one state. I'm caught up on my work (okay, mostly) and halfway through the first draft of my new book. My husband was recently promoted and started his new position. It's been a good week.

And yet--

I can't get this out of my head.

It's been over a week now since this happened, and still I'm stunned. These people were the center of the GoT universe (at least on the HBO version), and now they're gone. I should've known George R.R. Martin wouldn't let anyone be happy for too long. He and Joss Whedon have that in common.

But what they also have in common is great storytelling. Yes, I'll miss the Starke family. Yes, I was horrified to watch a pregnant woman stabbed right in her belly, especially since three months ago I was pregnant myself. And yes, I've watched the episode twice more in the vain hope that it will end differently.


At the same time, I know it's the right move. That episode will stick with GoT fans forever, just like its literary version has stuck with readers. And isn't that what we're all trying to accomplish? Writers want to affect their readers, to make them feel something, to stick in their minds for a long time to come. And I definitely felt something when I watched the Red Wedding on TV. Eventually I'll be reading the books as well, to experience the original version. I'm haunted by it.

Writers killing off beloved main characters...that's brave. And difficult. But sometimes it's right. We should all aim for that level of intensity. Killing our darlings is hard work, but sometimes it must be done.

Now the season is over. No more GoT for nearly a year.

And so our watch begins.