Re-reading the Vampire in the City series

Last week I finished writing Fresh Blood, the sixth and final book in the VitC series. The next day, I left for a vacation to Cape Cod. We were with family, including our two children, who are almost five and just turned one. We stayed at a house on the beach, and spent most of our time outdoors doing stuff with the kids.
My older son, buried in sand and screaming!

Me with my younger son, not buried in sand but screaming nevertheless!

At nights, after the kids were asleep, I busied myself with re-reading the entire Vampire in the City series. I wanted to take notes on the timeline, figure out what loose ends might need to be tied up, and just have it really fresh in my head for the edit of Fresh Blood. Somehow, I managed to finish the fifth book the day after we came back, and am now set to start on the second draft. While I don’t have an official release date yet, I’m thinking sometime around October 1st.

While I was re-reading my writing, some of it from about ten years ago, I was mostly struck with how much my protagonist has changed over the course of the series. In the first book she was sometimes awkward to the point of embarrassing me as I was reading it. By the last book she is much more sure of herself and proactive, instead of just reacting to the situations I put her in. Overall, I am pleased with this progression, and I hope my readers will enjoy the culmination of a series that has been very fun to write!

Cemeteries I Have Loved

In honor of Halloween being this week, I am devoting this post to all the cemeteries I have enjoyed exploring. And there have certainly been a lot of them!

Being that I write vampire books, it’s no surprise that cemeteries are strongly featured in them. Unless you live in New York City, and specifically the borough of Queens, what you probably don’t know is that there are more cemeteries in Queens than there are in all the other boroughs combined.

What this means is, if you live in Queens, you most likely live pretty close to a cemetery. I have many fond memories of visiting cemeteries–when I was growing up in Maspeth, Queens, my house was within a block of an entrance to the cemetery. Since my grandmother’s family was buried there, my grandma took me for walks in the graveyard quite often. Much in the way people in the suburbs would picnic in the park, my grandmother would pack us some sandwiches and we would go behind her parents’ grave and have lunch, while she told me stories about growing up in NYC in the early 1900s.

When I was a little older, it was decided by my parents that it was too dangerous to ride my bike in the park, but the cemetery, with its wide paths and infrequent traffic, was fine. So understandably, cemeteries always had a pleasant connotation for me rather than a negative one.

Below is a photo of some odd Queens magazine that features an ad for the cemetery that I used to live near as a child. Notice how they misspelled the word “cemetery” in their own ad.
And for some reason, whenever I travel, I feel compelled to visit at least one local cemetery. In April 2005, my husband and I went to New Orleans for our honeymoon. We took the below photo at the Lafayette Cemetery No 1.
In April 2010, we went to Paris to celebrate our fifth year anniversary. Our hotel was by the Père Lachaise Cemetery, where this photo was taken. Despite the fact that I was actually trying to be creepy, I was three months pregnant at the time and not feeling great, thus paler than usual.
I have many more cemetery photos, but the above two are some of my favorites, taken in two of my favorite cities as well.
Lastly, in news that is somewhat related to cemeteries, I am pleased to announce the release date for Cold Blood is November 17th! For more information, plus giveaways, excerpts, and the cover reveal, join this Facebook event !

News and Nostalgia

First, a bit of exciting news: I have finished the second draft of Cold Blood, and it’s now with my beta readers for review. Usually, it’s during this stage that I write the first chapter of the next book, which I just finished the other night. I am very happy to almost be finished with Cold Blood, as it’s the only thing I’ve written so far that has given me actual nightmares. Just by my admitting that, I’m sure those who know me can figure out the particular subject matter fairly quickly! Those who don’t, feel free to guess! 

Next, a bit of nostalgic news–I just realized that it’s the second year anniversary of the release of New Blood, the first book in the Vampire in the City series. As to how many years it’s been since I actually wrote it–probably around six! It was originally written in a composition notebook and then hidden away in my desk for a few years. Then, in 2010, when I was getting rid of the desk to fit a bassinet into my bedroom, I found it. In 2011, after I had (marginally) adjusted to being a new mom, I typed it onto my computer, and finally let other people read it. The response was good, so I went ahead and published it. And today, almost four books out, I couldn’t be happier with where this little series has gone!

Everything Is Happening!

When I started working on two books at the same time, I had the passing thought, “What will happen if they both come out at the same time?” Then, the passing thought passed as I answered myself with, “That will never happen.”

Now, it is months later and both my charity urban fantasy anthology, Urban Harvest and the fourth installment of the Vampire in the City series, Cold Blood are both very close to being complete. I’m actually a little surprised at how far along I am on Cold Blood, but during the long Labor Day weekend, the ending became very clear in my mind, and I breezed through 10k in about three days. Since I’m working on the release and promotion of Urban Harvest now, Cold Blood will most likely be released in October.
So Urban Harvest will be releasing on September 22, the first day of Fall. Please join the Facebook page here: Teasers from the book and other fun stuff will be going on there up until the day of the release. Also, right here in this blog, I will be having some interviews with the authors!

Why I Don’t Review Books

Although I don’t have enough time to write for my blog as much as I would like, I do my fair share of blog reading. And one thing I noticed is that many authors also review books. This got me thinking as to why I don’t do any reviews. It’s not that I don’t read; I’m always in the middle of one or more books. Here are my reasons:

1) I don’t read a ton of genre fiction. Once in a very long while, yes, I do. But I tend to read straight-up literature rather than urban fantasy or what-have-you. In fact, I think the last book (other than mine) that I read that features a vampire was Sunshine, by Robin McKinley. And that was a few years ago. And yes, I do highly recommend it.

2) I don’t like criticizing other people’s writing. Writing a book is hard. Publishing a book is hard. My congratulations to you if you have done so! I know how hard it is, and would feel bad at the thought of publicly hurting anyone’s feelings.

3) Somewhat related to the previous item, but I would also feel bad at posting a good review for a bad book just to save the author’s feelings. Because people might buy the book based on my recommendation, and then I would have caused them to waste money.

4) I don’t have a bunch of time these days. Oh how I miss being a freelancer! Sure, the money is not consistent, but I had gobs more time to work on things like writing the very delayed fourth installment of Vampire in the City, aka, Cold Blood.

However, I will gladly take a look at whatever short story of the urban fantasy genre that you have for my anthology that’s coming out in the fall! Send it to me (soon, as the deadline is July 1) at