It is said, “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, but Heaven is full of good works.” And the biggest difference between the two is choice. That’s what this book, The Road to Hell, is all about.

The cost of choice. The consequence of choice. The power of choice. These were the themes I played with in the book and Lucifer gets the ball rolling early. He starts it all with a simple choice, with a want for something greater. He wants something for himself. He sees what he is and what he can and can’t do and wants something that belongs to him. Something just for him. It’s a small thing, really, and, as I was writing the story, it was the most personal of the choices I wrote about. Who doesn’t want something for themselves?

Now, you have the choice to read the rest over at Debbie Brown’s Amethyst Eyes blog. Swing by, check out the interview and the guest post, and leave a comment.

Also don’t forget, there’s a brand new Facebook page for the Heaven Falls series. Stop by, give us a Like and join the discussion.

And for my wicked little readers who are wading through these posts for more villainy goodness, Mommie Dearest will be gracing Crooked Letterz later today.

Making Heaven Un-Heavenly

Heaven’s not what you think. At least not in my book. And you’re either gonna love it or you’re gonna hate it.

I generally get questions about the world, about the version of Heaven, I built for The Road to Hell. It’s not a world of fluffy clouds and fat babies with harps. It’s not even a grass-covered meadow with wondrous waterfalls and hordes of wildflowers (well, not in the beginning), and there are absolutely, positively no diamonds or golden streets, rainbows or unicorns. My version of Heaven is kind of minimalist, kind of bleak. Kind of blah.

But there’s a reason for it…

You wanna know, doncha? Well, you gotta check out my guest post over at The AvidReader for the answer.

Then swing by the new Facebook page, Like Us, and join the discussion!

Festival of Fiendishness: THE VAMPIRE LESTAT

In the midst of this heavy promo season, I’ve come to a realization: as awesome as I am (and I am awesome), you’re not actually interested in all that. I know it; you can admit it: you want your villains, right? Still liking the darker stuff, are we? Well, as your Master of Malevolence, I am here to serve. And to get donuts—didn’t know donuts were part of the gig, did you? That’s why I’m in charge.

Anyways, today’s marvelous miscreant is the vampire who put emotion in the emotionless, who showed us being a vampire is not all blood and bad news—it can actually be powdered wigs and puffy sleeves: Lestat.

Now, I am admittedly not a vampire fan. I know, I know, I did a whole post on Dracula but truth is, I’ve never really been into the whole slightly-effeminate, let-me-bite-you-on-the-neck, turn into a bat bullshit. What you always got was a pale, gangly white dude with a funny accent who couldn’t figure out how to run when the townsfolk came. Note: when you see a mob with torches, RUN. It never, ever ends well.

Not that Lestat doesn’t meet that stereotype—he absolutely does: he is a gangly white guy with blond hair from France. What makes Lestat interesting or even relevant is his grander purpose. We are introduced to Lestat and Louis—a terribly effeminate Brad Pitt and a Tom Cruise in a horrible wig—on a New Orleans slave plantation in Interview With The Vampire and we see Lestat turn Louis into a vampire in a discussion over the value of life. Louis wants to die; Lestat gives him an eternal life that is dependent on killing others instead.

Kinda fucked up, huh?

So that earns my attention. But what I like about this character is that he makes us explore the darker side from the darker side. You never think about if it is good or evil to take a man who wants to commit suicide and turn him into a vampire. Or if vampires even consider good and evil. And I’m not talking about the current spate of eco-friendly, “vegetarian,” sparkly-ass vampires (you know what raggedy shit I’m referring to); I’m talking about the goodness or evil of saving a child from death, only to give her an immortal life as a murderous child. Lestat ponders these things, wonders if he has a soul, wonders if God exists and, if so, what He must think about vampires.

I’ll ignore his penchant for high fashion and the ludicrousness of a vampire heading up an 80s hair band (seriously? Nobody said, “Um, Miss Rice, this idea, um, SUCKS?”). I’ll just focus instead on his investigation of life itself. When you consume humanity, when you live off of it, you begin to look at it differently. There’s discussion of his sexual preference (highlighted by the abovementioned penchant for high fashion—in the books, Lestat is considers himself bisexual). From our perspective, this matters; from his, life is life. When you are eternal, you are able to look at things from a much larger context. From a more external perspective. I think that’s what Lestat gives us.

I’m still not a fan. I think Lestat is a cruel “prince” of a character who neither understands the full implications of his powers on others nor really cares about them. I think he’s awfully self-centered for something that has existed for so long. But Lestat gave me, as a writer, the ability to see from another’s perspective. I write angels from their perspective—I couldn’t have without his blueprint. For that, I rank him AWESOME.

That’s my word! Up next, the reigning champion of the Mother Of The Year award: Joan Crawford AKA Mommie Dearest!

You Asked For It, You Got It!

Nope this ain’t a Toyota commercial (‘amember that?) but it is me finally fulfilling a request. Santa’s paying what he owes (if you’re a Boondocks fan, you get it) . Anyway, I told you that I needed to reconcile the light with the dark side, right? That folks swinging by after reading my book were a touch “dismayed” at the villainous approach to life we take over here on Crooked Letterz. So, to that end, I made a new page.

A new Facebook page. Yes, boys and girls, friends and foes, there is a new Facebook page for the Heaven Falls series. Everything you wanted to know that I wouldn’t post here, you can find there. Want to know what I was smoking when I gave Lucifer creation powers? Ask me on the Heaven Falls Facebook Page. Think individuals floating around in metal armor with wings sounds awfully SilverHawks-ish? It should. And I talk about why on the Facebook page. You can too.

Here’s the best part: I’m in the middle of Book 2 in the series, Come Hell or High Water, and I’ve gotten Rainy Kaye (from and Kris Wagner from Kris Wagner Design & Illustration to give me some sample cover images. Stop by and tell me what you think.

In the end, this page is for you: I want you to make it what you want, ask me anything, and tell me what else you’d like to see. See, I’m lost without you: you complete me. Yeah, enough of that jazz. Come check out the page at

Author Interview: J.A. Beard’s Unnecessary Musings

Like VISA, I’m everywhere you wanna be this August. And today, I’m hanging out with J.A Beard, author of The Emerald City, a 21st century take on The Wizard of Oz. J.A. knows his stuff and gave me one of the more in-depth interviews I’ve had.

Check it out at Unnecessary Musings. Your support for me and the bloggers who support us indies means the world–give J.A. (and all the others) a strong shout out for hosting this month!

And then swing back today–I know I’ve been heavy on the promo stuff but I’m gonna give you what you want, what you’ve been aching for: the villains are back, and the Vampire Lestat will be taking a bite out of Crooked Letterz today!

My Top Ten Heroes #OBSummer #Books

So the next magnificent miscreant in our repertoire is…wait, what? Heroes? Did I read that right? My Top Ten Heroes? Yes, friends and foes, after all this time pouring over the dastardly deeds of about 50 of my favorite baddies, it’s time to give a brief – and I mean BRIEF – introduction to my all-time favorite do-gooders.

But you know I’m not doing that nonsense here, right? Oh no! As part of the Orangeberry Summer Splash, the good folks over at WeFancyBooks are hosting my first ever Top Ten Heroes list. Swing by and pay them a visit!

Water (The Akasha Series #1) – Book Review #OBSummer

Let me get this out the way: Kaitlyn Alder is BADASS!

And now for the more subdued part of my review:
I read Water as part of the OrangeBerry Summer Splash Blog Tour and was introduced to Kaitlyn, her elemental powers and the eco-fantasy genre all in one fell swoop. And Terra Harmony, the author, doesn’t waste any time throwing you into the action. Some readers like to move into stories gradually—they want to learn about the sunlight, the intricate shapes the shadows make dappling on pavement, the sounds of children playing from the nearby park wafting through the air. Yeah, screw all that! Harmony introduces us to Kaitlyn as she’s snowboarding for her life, trying to outrun an avalanche.

She fails.

And that’s just the first chapter.

From here we learn that Kaitlyn is more than a globe-trotting, freelance photographer with intimacy issues: she’s a Gaia—a person with the ability to manipulate the elements (Air, Wind, Water, and Fire). Problem is Kaitlyn’s all power with none of the control. Where we’d love a light breeze, your girl is causing Hurricane Katrina. Not only that, she’s in the custody of an eco-friendly (but pretty freaking poor), shadowy group called The Seven. They lock her up, don’t tell her anything, vaguely answer her questions, are footloose and fancy free with sedatives, and promise to teach her about her powers.

What I like about Kaitlyn is that she takes none of this lying down: she puts a hurting on everyone until she gets the answers the wants or until her curiosity is peaked. And she’s got a smart-ass sense of humor. She’s all attitude, has great one-liners and a good right cross—it’s more like Captain Planet meets The Last Airbender with a little Firestarter thrown in there for good measure.

I’m gonna stop so I don’t ruin it: Water and its follow up, Air, are both available (you can get it on Amazon and Water is FREE!) and Book #3, Earth, is due out pretty soon. It’s a good, action-packed read. But I do have to say, Kaitlyn’s journey is no walk in the park: just because it has fantasy in the genre, don’t think this is Hunger Games. Harmony deals with some very adult themes in a very adult way and some of the sex scenes in this book are non-consensual.

I have a couple of cons. First, you know how I love my villains, right? Not a fan of this guy. At all. For all the crap he put Kaitlyn through, what he wanted was neither clear nor really all that deep. Ever. And the emotional component underpinning his actions and his goals was too little too late. I didn’t get the why of it all and, without that, I couldn’t get the point. Other than Kaitlyn learning her powers, the villain didn’t give me much to go on. Luckily, Kaitlyn’s story is strong enough to go on.

Beyond that, this is ultimately about saving the environment, right? Save the trees and feed the plankton and global warming stuff. It isn’t even that governments and companies don’t love their trees—it’s that they don’t want to pay to save them. So if you have a group of people who can fix the environment, through whatever means, who cares? Why be clandestine when you’re doing the stuff everybody wants? I couldn’t understand the bigger conflict; it was alluded to late in the book but never really clear.

That aside, would I recommend the book? Absolutely. Ms. Harmony is building a bigger story here and Water is only the beginning. It’s certainly worth diving in and seeing it to the finish line.

Terra’s Akasha Series is a set of FOUR contemporary eco-fantasy novels. ‘Water’ and ‘Air’ are available as e-books, and ‘Fire’ is due to release in October 2012. FYI: Water’s FREE! on Amazon Kindle and Smashwords.

Terra was born and raised in Colorado but has since lived in California, Texas, Utah, North Carolina and Virginia. She’s a former Marine (5½ years, people! We thank you for your service!), has her Masters’ degree and currently resides in the Washington DC area with her husband of 13 years and 3 children.

You can connect with Terra on Facebook or at her blog.

Part of the Orangeberry Summer Splash is an awesome giveaway. Click HERE for your chance to win a Kindle FIRE!!


I told you I was doing the Orangeberry Summer Splash Blog Tour, right? You were paying attention, weren’t you? Well, aside from me dropping my super-villainous knowledge on unsuspecting bunny-themed blogs and letting Lucifer darken Seryniti’s doorstep, I get to present to you some of the talented, innovative authors I come across. I am honored to have today’s guest, Terra Harmony. Terra’s here introducing the themes in her novel, Water (which I am reviewing later today).

In the Akasha Series, my characters possess abilities with the four classical elements of water, air, earth, and fire. I know what you’re probably thinking: ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’.

You’re right…sort of. But instead of tween martial arts masters, think of hippies, in a cult-like environment who use their powers to provide balance to Earth’s ecosystems.

I love the idea of elemental powers. Combining them with wiccan traditions, a paranormal romance, eco-friendly tips, and an antagonist that readers love to hate has led to one awesome writing adventure. The possibilities really are endless when it comes to the elements. Each element has its own personality, and represents different characteristics, seasons, colors, and directions of the compass. Pitting them against each other makes for a great battle scene, but when they combine forces and work together, it is pure magic.

The fifth element, what some call spirit, aether, or Akasha, is the prime element present in all things. It connects and balances all the elements together, allowing them to exist. Throughout my series, the characters begin to seek Akasha. They learn that the only way to achieve Akasha is to perfect self-balance.

Along the way, we meet important characters called Elementals, who specialize in just one of the elements. Below is a description of each; which one best represents you as a person?

Earth: The earth element is the most dependable, steady and practical. Earth magic operates at a slower rate, but it is more likely to persist and endure. The Earth elements represents North, the color green, midnight, and winter. It signifies stability, order, birth and death, and fertility.

Air: Air expands your consciousness and represents truth. It is also associated with thought and language, the breath of life. The Air element represents East, the color yellow, mornings, and spring. It signifies intellect, reason, science, and youth.

Water: Water elementals can be described as timid and shy, though some of the most dangerous natural disasters are water based. The water element represents West, the color blue, twilight and autumn. It represents emotion, intuition, healing, and wisdom.

Fire: Fire is the purest element in the sense it cannot be polluted – though it depends on other elements to exist. The fire element represents South, the color red, noon, and summer. It represents strength, passion, energy, and transformation.

In reality, we don’t have to be blessed with elemental powers to make a difference, though how cool would that be? If given the choice, I’d go with fire (even despite my first name). I am a Leo after all! Leave a comment with your element of choice and tell us why!

What would I choose? The element of SURPRISE! Okay, fine…I choose Air. Thanks for swinging by, Terra! Remember, Terra’s Akasha Series is a set of FOUR contemporary eco-fantasy novels. ‘Water’ and ‘Air’ are available as e-books, and ‘Fire’ is due to release in October 2012. FYI: Water’s FREE! on Amazon Kindle and Smashwords.

She’s a former Marine (5½ years, people! We thank you for your service!), has her Masters’ degree and currently resides in the Washington DC area with her husband of 13 years and 3 children.

You can connect with Terra on Facebook or at her blog.

Part of the Orangeberry Summer Splash is an awesome giveaway. Click HERE for your chance to win a Kindle FIRE!!

What the Hell Was I Thinking? Part 2: My Ford 99 Test

So one of the things from the Orangeberry Summer Splash is a Ford 99 Test. Now I know you’re what you’re thinking–what the hell is a Ford 99 Test? Here’s what it’s based on: “Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you.” –Ford Madox Ford. So it goes like this, find a book at your local bookstore or in your library, open it up to page 99 and it should give you a good idea of the quality of the writing.

As part of the blog tour, we were asked to comment on our own page 99 and Mommy Reviews was gracious enough to post mine. This is a little peek inside my mind–check it out here.

Festival of Fiendishness: THE TERMINATOR

Howwwwdeeyyy Ho everybody!

Welcome back to a brand new installment of the Festival of Fiendishness, the place where we take a look and your favorite villains and mine and break down why they’re awesome. Today’s super-awesome super-villain is Mister Can’t-Stop-Won’t-Stop himself: the Terminator.

And that introduction is longer than the intro we got in the first movie. You remember this cat (seriously, how can you forget, right?) Arnold Schwarzeneggar shows up butt-ass naked (yes, I know that was redundant—shut up) in a blaze of lightning, finds a group of miscreants, takes their clothes (by PUNCHING THEIR HEARTS OUT!), steals a car and gets about the business of killing one Sarah Connor. But he’s not smooth with it, he ain’t concerned about the boys in blue or being stealthy or anything: this dude finds a payphone, snatches the page out the phonebook and proceeds to drive across LA shooting all the Sarah Connors in the face. A lot. And this is all so she doesn’t survive long enough to give borth to the dude who leads the resistance against the machines in the future. Not too shabby a plot.

Now I realize there are a couple Millennials who frequent my blog—before you even start: they didn’t have cellphones or GPS in 1984. Everybody’s phone number and address was listed in the phone book and that book was connected to the payphone. What’s a payhone? I’m not the History Channel, man; that’s what Wikipedia is for. Look it up.

Now that that’s out the way—the Terminator chases the only surviving (and coincidentally, the correct) Sarah Connor to a club where he tries to shoot her ass IN PUBLIC! People are running and ducking and this man ain’t Puffy or Plaxico—he’s just some dude in an army jacket bucking for one girl. And then we meet the hero, Kyle Reese, who manages to get bit by Sarah Connor while saving her, arrested and given the “This muthafucka’s NUTS” treatment, and his ass whopped by the Terminator. I can’t even call him incompetent because my man is doing the best he can. I know you’re a fan of “I’ll be back,” but when it comes to villains, Reese gives THE most compelling line about a villain ever: “That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.”

And to prove his point, Arnold drives a TRUCK into the police station! A semi! Into the police station! And then capped like 30 cops for one girl! That is commitment.

Now, I would be remiss if I focused on Arnold Schwarzeneggar’s stellar portrayal of the T-101 and ignored Robert Patrick as the T-1000—the liquid metal man. Now, I have a couple issues with Terminator 2: first, how do you have a Terminator movie and the Terminator can’t kill anybody? (Watch it, Arnold doesn’t kill a soul). And second, this was the first movie ruined by the trailer.( Hey dummy, that Arnold was the good guy and the cop was the bad guy was supposed to be a SURPRISE!) Those items aside, the T-1000 was RAW!!  This cat picked a police officer to jack (since everything goes back in time naked) so he instantly had a uniform, a weapon, a squad car and access to the DMV database. In like 4 minutes. But that’s not what made him incredible. It’s not when he ran down a car going 60—on foot. It wasn’t when he impersonated John’s foster mom—which was pretty messed up (he even killed the dog!) It was that one scene where he comes up from the floor, mimics the man standing there, gave him the Michael Myers head cock, and sticks his finger in dude’s eye. T-1000 don’t play.

I’m kinda “Meh” about the 3rd one. Ol girl was cool as the Terminator and I was happy they put a woman in the role. And she did everything all straight-faced and cold. That Terminator didn’t add much and I was over the whole “Arnold is the good guy” shit. However, Terminator: Salvation, that was pretty good.

The Terminator is awesome because he is unstoppable. He’s what Michael Myers would be if he wasn’t flammable. He’s what Megatron is without the whole galactic domination thing. He’s who the agents in the Matrix would be if they just shot the shit outta Keanu Reeves and skipped the special effect, Bullet-time bullshit. He’s awesome because, despite his/her appearance, in spite of the time/space continuum, regardless of whether it’s fresh and clean or a legless, half-melted quivering heap, the Terminator will not stop. Ever.  EVER. And that’s some scary shit.

What’s next? The second bloodsucker to grace this blog: the Vampire Lestat joins the Festival!