Catherine Stine's IDEA CITY

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

What I Learned at UtopYA & the Book Cons

I went to my first UtopYA convention this June (now simply called Utopia Con) and it was quite an amazing experience. This year I signed up for a bunch of cons to sample them and see which ones I liked. I REALLY liked Utopia. Why?

From the first moments - even in the shuttle from the airport - I met very cool authors Diane J Reed and Courtney Farrell who I ended up hanging out with. Waiting in the winding registration line was fun too, because I got into a conversation with Diane about books, promo and all things author. Everyone was incredibly friendly and welcoming, not always the case with cons. Special thanks to Nashville author Susan Burdorf for her warm welcome.

With Katie John
clockwise: Courtney Farrell, me,
Diane Reed, Laura Howard
My book table mate, Selene

With Doris from Dowie's Place
I shared a book table with Selene Castrovilla, a classmate from my New School MFA Creative Writing days. I also made it my business to get to know people beforehand on the Facebook UtopYA site, which helped break the ice once I got there. It was cool to meet authors in person like Lisa Brown Roberts, Stephanie Pajonas, Natasha Hanova, Carlyle Labuschagne and Pk Hrezo, who I've done cross-promo with. Truly surreal to meet people I knew online. Major fun to meet Laura Howard and UK author, Katie John whose blog I actually found years ago. Finally, I am reading one of Katie's Meadowsweet novels, Vengeance. It's book two so now I need to go back and read book one. LOL. Meeting Bella Rocaforte was a treat as I love her Inked series. Oh, and I got to meet Angel Lawson who I'm in a boxed set with, launching June 29. It's called Secret Worlds. We are stoked that it's already on Amazon bestseller lists from pre-orders. Check it out!
With Bella Rocaforte 

With Tina Donnelly

I can't forget meeting lovelies Tina Donnelly and Teri Barber who took a chance on my books, and new author, Kristen Bauer with her kids, also book lovers. Bloggers Doris Orman of Dowie's Place and Ethan Gregory of One Guy's Guide to Good Reads were fun to meet and chat with. Oh, and Amy Evans and EJ Wesley of NA Alley. The list goes on and on and on. For any Utopia-goers I didn't mention, know you are ALL awesome and valued.

You see, Utopia is an inclusive con. About thirty of us convened on Thursday evening to go to a local restaurant, Monell's. There was always an opportunity to join someone for lunch, dinner or a stroll around Nashville. Friday night Diane, Laura and I had an impromptu Tarot salon. I just bought a medieval cat deck! Meeow. I plan to bring my cards next year and have another one.
With Pk Hrezo

With Stephanie Pajonas

The Saturday public signing was a wild extravaganza with a loud, lively crowd. It was fascinating to go around and see how people decorated their tables and presented books, not to mention the incredible variety of swag from bracelets to raffle baskets to candy and divining cards! I thought Starla Huchson had the most creative display table design. Go, Starla!

One of my regrets was that my Sunday morning flight was so early I had to bail on the Saturday night awards event and the dance afterwards. Boo. Next year I will get a later flight!!!
Readers rule!

Eve Langell tackles Dorianna

Blogger rule too!

One hint that I truly loved the UtopYA experience is that I've already bought my ticket and booked the hotel for the 2016 Utopia con! And the buzz on the Utopia Con Facebook site is frenetic with sharing news, launches, blog sites and the like. It's all about community. I can't wait to say hi again to my friends, meet those who I didn't get a chance to this year, and help make first timers as comfortable as I felt being a newbie. Utopia rocks!

Helpful con tips:
*If you have a book table for more than a day, make sure to take breaks to stretch, check out other peeps' books, attend panels and the like.
*Share a table with someone who can handle hawking your books and vise versa. You can give each other much needed time away from the selling arena. Share a room too. Cheaper that way.
* Reach out, talk to someone you don't know. Rinse and repeat. It's a lot about making new friends!
* Get enough sleep and eat healthfully. Your energy can quickly become depleted otherwise.
*Don't try to do everything. Pick a few panels and events. There's always next time.
* Practice your sales pitch beforehand. Be able to describe your books in two lines each! People need to hear the info quickly because they're browsing lots of tables. Make your pitch exciting. Get to the emotional core. Make it memorable and they will return.
*Decorate your table in a fun way that isn't too cluttered. Arrange books to be easily seen. Offer unique swag no one else has. Not just bookmarks! Offer up a raffle basket or other element.
*Dress comfortably and remember that con ballrooms are air-conditioned and get cold.
*Be friendly to all. No playing favorites!
*Don't be afraid to go out for a meal with strangers. Strangers quickly become new friends.
*Have fun!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

great summer reads of all kinds!!!

Here is another one of my recommended summer reading lists with all manner of genres and subjects!

Christine Rains is back with Layers of Lace, the second installment of her hilarious and hot erotic Dice and Debauchery series. I read her first, Loose Corset and can't wait to dig into this one. The blurb:
Amateur cosplayer Emily Solis is determined to win the costume contest and the heart of her biggest competition. It isn't the first time Emily has shed her costume with the gorgeous Russell Morrison. Not even her best friend knows she's been having wild convention sex with him for over a year. It was supposed to remain physical, but Emily couldn't help falling for him and his kinky ways. In a moment of passion, she rolls the dice and tells Russell she loves him. He doesn't say it back. Can she convince him they're perfect together or will she roll another critical failure?
Pre-order or buy the ebook at Amazon, All Romance Ebooks, B&N, Kobo, or add it to your GR TBR list!

M Pax is here with Precipice, book 6 in her popular Backworlds space opera series. I've read two of them. Both were highly entertaining. Craze is quite the character, and there are many inventive touches in each book. The blurb:
In the far future, humanity settles the stars, bioengineering its descendants to survive in a harsh universe. This is the sixth book in the science fiction series, The Backworlds. A space opera adventure.
      The Backworlds hang by a Quantum string, a thread about to snap. Annihilation is coming if Craze can’t stop it.
      The genocidal alien he'd trapped breaks free, destroying a ship belonging to the Backworlds’ oldest enemy, the Fo’wo’s. The murderous alien wants to overtake the galaxy. The Fo’wo’s want another war.
      The Backworlds’ best chance to survive is to overcome a century of hate and forge an alliance with the Fo’wo’s. Because of his history with the alien, Craze is recruited to represent his people. Now he’s the most hated man in the galaxy. The looming war will be a holocaust unless Craze can stop it, knowing salvation comes at a price.
Ready for a mini-excerpt? Sure, you are!
    Until he knew for certain whether he dealt with one genocidal alien or two, Lepsi couldn’t think right. His thoughts refused to stand still, stuttering and churning.
    The hatch slid fully open. He sprang off the cargo ejector, sailing two kilometers into the ether. He tumbled in the black for precisely twenty-three seconds then engaged his thrusters to journey the remaining twenty kilometers over to a spacecraft-sized mass of debris. The bits clumped together forming a weird metallic planetoid.

    He traced along the char marks and the mangled pieces of hull. The answers he needed wouldn’t be found in this trash, yet he was closer to them here than anywhere else, unless he joined up with the horrid alien again. His limbs shuddered and his lungs struggled for breath. He never wanted to see the cloud-like ship again. He couldn’t. He’d crack into a billion unrecoverable pieces. Just like the rubble of the Fo’wo ship around him.
Buy the ebook at Amazon, B&N, iBook, Googleplay, Smashie, Kobo

And now for a cover reveal from veteran indie author, Casey Bond, heading to UtopYA in a couple of weeks, where I will get to meet her. Yay! This new cover is Reclaimed from her Harvest Saga series. Isn't it pretty?! No exact release date yet but soon... In the meantime get started on the series now for FREE by ordering REAP, the first! To see all of Casey's ebooks, click here. The blurb for REAP:
The remnants of the United States of America have been divided. From five enormous, technologically-advanced cities, the Greaters rule over the Lessers. 

In the Lesser village of Orchard, things are not as perfect as Abby Kelley thinks they are. When the apple harvest draws near and the Greater’s engineered fruits become too much for one village to handle alone, reinforcements from neighboring villages are called upon. 
Having to choose between her best friend, whom she has no romantic feelings for, and mysterious newcomer Crew, Abby finds herself in the middle of a harvest that she had no intention of becoming a part of. She becomes involved in a situation that threatens the strict rule of the Greaters, and just might give the Lessers hope for a better tomorrow. But, can she help the Lessers without losing Crew? And if she chooses Crew, will she lose her best friend? 

 And here's one more amazing release! It's Secret Worlds, with 21 novels by 21 bestselling authors for a mere 99 cents!!! I am honored to have a novel in it - Ruby's Fire. Here are some provocative teasers featuring the various authors and their books:

"'Humans in the house!' came the call from the kitchen as we entered the first trailer. 'Put on some clothes.'" - from Shiftless by Aimee Easterling

“You’re probably better off without knowing your dad. Mine’s King Jackass.” - from the Pandora Principle by Noree Cosper

“Someone saw you get high. Do you?” he asks. “No, Oblivion is for deleting."   - from Ruby's Fire by Catherine Stine

"Another spell gone kaput." from Changeling by Debbie Herbert

"You don't get rid of an itch by ignoring it. There's only one way to settle it down. You scratch it, good and hard." - from Spark Rising by Kate Corcino

"Being human sucked much more than I remembered. The only thing that remained the same was the burn of a shot of whiskey and the way Naomi felt when we made love." - from Trinity Rising by J.E. Taylor

“My mom died during an exorcism on my eighteenth birthday.” - from The Forever Girl by Rebecca Hamilton

“I spread out like a shadow on pavement under the feet of the unsuspecting woman working her corner in the seven-hundred block of South Orange Blossom Trail. Her name is Jane, and I will be wearing her by morning.” - from Purgatory by Susan Stec

Pre-order secret Worlds! from Amazon, B&N, Kobo

Happy summer reading, all!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

My Fave Vacation Spot! Plus a vacay blogfest. What's yours?


 I'm taking part in this weekend's "My Favorite Summer Vacation Spot" blogfest. So, I tell you what mine is. My yearly writing retreat in Cape Cod! By the way, you don't have to be an official blogfest participant to comment, so comment away, and tell us yours.
This Blog Hop is sponsored by Summer Reads that Thrill & Chill.
For the Linky List and Book Giveaways visit the 6 Co-Hosts go to: Lexa Cain, Melanie Karsak, T.F. Walsh, Vanessa Morgan, Jolie Du Pre & Stuart R. West.

Now, to the subject at hand... Why do I like this place so much? I'm vacationing, yet mingling with friends; I'm getting LOTS of writing done and talking about writing. Most of my novels were started here. I get to swim in the ocean, be surrounded by pines and waterways, lounge on a rose-covered porch in my PJs, and every night someone cooks a great dinner, followed by fun writers' games. Here are some pictures that tell the story over the years.
My writing station near a pal
path to the inlet
morning coffee
writing ladies

porch roses

Emily's homecooked meal
me lounging on the porch
Emily, the evening's chef


One of my writing stations

Tell us all, what's one of your fave vacation spots?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

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

I just got back from Albacon, a small sci-fi con in Albany, and also RT Booklovers Con in Dallas. Both were a blast for different reasons. At the sci-fi con I got to be on four panels, which I loved. In Dallas I met and chatted with amazing authors, bloggers, readers and editors. I took photos of my fave authors and intriguing new ones. Wanna see?
Tammara Webber
(and that's me on the left)
Tammara's novel EASY was what got me into new adult lit. The story was so much deeper than I ever thought "romance" could possibly be.

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

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

What a thrill to meet Lydia Kang in person after being friends online. She writes great sci-fi for the YA crowd.
Lydia Kang
Hey, she's holding my novel!
And guess who was staying at my "overflow" hotel? The great legend that is Tamora Pierce! In case you've been living under a rock, she's written dozens and dozens of fantasy novels over the years.
Tere Michaels
Holy cow, I got to ride in the van to the main event and chat about houses, the perks of living upstate and other domestic fun. Who cared if we weren't at the main hotel.

I got to see Tere Michaels again. She wrote Who Knows the Storm, a fascinating dystopian novel with an M/M love element. Wasn't sure it would be my cuppa tea, but hey, love is love, and boy, can Tere write! Her future, very noir NYC had my hair standing up.
Tamora, me, her PA
I met Zoraida Cordova who writes YA fantasy and often about the ocean like I do. Check out her Vicious Deep series. And last but not least, a couple of my own reader fans!!!
Kathleen Baldwin was on a panel, and her novel School for Unusual Girls sounded so cool, I have to load it on my kindle asap. Here are my tips for attending book cons in a post for Untethered Realms.
Tempted to make this guy
my next cover model.
Thoughts?!
The organized chaos of the RT  Giant Book Fair
Kathleen Baldwin
Zoraida with yours truly
Shari Slade
Loyal reader and friend, Raynell

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

Dallas, May 13 thru 17, RT Booklovers Convention
I do not have a book table here, BUT I WILL be making appearances at Club RT and I DO have a book pre-order form (link below). My Club RT times are as follows:
Thursday, May 14 from 11:30 to noon
 Friday, May 15 from 3:30 to 4 pm
My Club RT Booklovers' pre-order form is here.

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

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

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

Friday, April 17, 2015

More Amazing New Reads of all Kinds!

Wow, there are so many great books launching this spring! Here are some I can totally vouch for:

DRAWN by Christopher Ledbetter
YA dark fantasy
Caught between the sweltering fall landscape of Wilmington, NC beaches and southern illusions and expectations, all 16 year-old Cameron Shade thinks about is art. That, and for Farrah to view him as more than just a friend. Cameron hopes he can win her heart through art.  After several warm interactions with Farrah, including painting together at the beach, Cameron discovers just how complex Farrah’s life is.  To impress her, Cameron sketches her portrait into a mysterious notebook. He nearly jumps from his skin when the drawing moves and communicates with him. Farrah's now in grave danger because the sketch he drew of her sucked her real-life’s soul into the sketchbook. Cameron now has 28 days to extract Farrah. To save her, he must draw himself into the book. If he fails… they both die.
                                      Pre-Order DRAWN at Amazon



Once Upon a Nightmare by Cherie Reich
This fantastic collection of dark fantasy includes the novelette Once upon a December Nightmare, the novella Nightmare Ever After, and the short story "Good Nightmare, Scary Monster.
Get the Once Upon a Nightmare ebook at Amazon 




Dragon of the Stars by Alex J. Cavanaugh
Space Opera (novel) 

The future is set for Lt. Commander Aden Pendar, son of a Hyrathian Duke. Poised to secure his own command and marriage to the queen’s daughter, he’ll stop at nothing to achieve his goals. But when the Alliance denies Hyrath’s claim on the planet of Kavil and declares war on their world, Aden finds his plans in disarray. Entrenched in battle and told he won’t make captain, Aden’s world begins to collapse. How will he salvage his career and future during Hyrath’s darkest hour? One chance remains–the Dragon. Lost many years prior, the legendary ship’s unique weapon is Hyrath’s only hope. Can Aden find the Dragon, save his people, and prove he’s capable of commanding his own ship?

Get Dragon of the Stars at Amazon, B&N, Smashie 

Amazed & Elated: Depressed and Deflated by Aron Lee Bowe
a graphic novel about the joys & horrors of growing up
***highly recommended by yours truly*** see my review on Amazon
Aron Lee Bowe’s mother says, “If Aron is such a good artist, why in the hell does she paint the crap that she does?” Not daunted, Bowe turns her wonderfully wretched life into a gut-tickling romp. Bowe won the Charles Schultz award for digital cartoons and the first place Humor prize from the National League of American Pen Women. She is artistically committed to telling stories of great significance through the eyes of a goofball. To goof off too, visit her website.

Get the Amazed & Elated paperback




Rice Cooker Revenge - About a vengeful rice cooker (!) by S.J. Pajonas
speculative fiction, short story
It sits there on the counter, quiet and contemplative. Who knew rice cookers could be so vengeful? Ryu must decide whether to stay or leave The Chef’s kitchen, so he turns to an unlikely ally for help. 
Shhh… Listen To The Gods. 
The Japanese believe the gods live in all things. Trees, appliances, animals, buildings — they all have a spirit living within them. Maybe, if you listen carefully, you can hear them too. 

Get Rice Cooker Revenge at Amazon ebook
To check out all of S.J. Pajonas' books click here.




Full Moon by Kristy Centano 
A Secrets of the Moon book—dark fantasy
Hidden lies…hidden demons…hidden battles…All leading to the ultimate sacrifice… She knows what really brought me here. She knows the motives that lead to our friendship. She doubts what’s in my heart. What she doesn’t know…all I’m willing to sacrifice in order to ensure eternity for her.
Get Full Moon at Amazon ebook, B&N
 See Kristy Centano's novels here.



The Biggun a story by LX Cain
zombie horror, short story

A desperate woman hides in a fortified farmhouse. Outside, her former neighbors and friends prowl the night. Dead. And hungry. Her only ally in the coming battle — Biggun. If there’s blasting to be done, Biggun is ready for it.

Get it at Smashie





What new reads have you discovered this spring? 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Praise for Ruby's Fire:
“Romance, betrayal, secrets, great world-building!” - Seeing Night Reviews
“Full of creativity, imagination & original concepts” - Fluttereal Flight
“Ruby kicked butt as the resident healer, plus good love triangle!” - Amazon reader
You know when you get a book and it's much better than you thought it was going to be? Ruby's Fire was definitely one of those books! I absolutely loved it. What an amazing plot! Also, there's a fantastic twist I didn't see coming.” - (Mis) Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year-Old Girl
“I can't even begin to tell you how smoothly the writing flows. It's perfect. No joke. I went into this book not knowing what to expect and what I got was an amazing storyline.” - Words Create Scenes

Giveaway announcement!
We have 70+ prizes up for grabs at our Secret Worlds Facebook party, including multiple gift cards ranging from $5 to $100, plus a Kindle Fire!!! And the prizes just keep coming. Be sure to join the party for your chance to win these prizes and more coming down the pipeline! The party is on June 29 but the giveaways have already begun.
70+ Prizes! 

Pre-order our Limited Edition Box set for only 99 cents!