The Heart – Volume Two and A New Review

It's beating! IT LIVES!

The Heart – Volume Two has just been released and can be found on Amazon. w00t! I have two more volumes planned for release over the next few weeks — The Funny and The Horror. Go to my fan page on Facebook and vote for which volume you’d like to see released first. So far, The Funny is winning — consider this a once in a lifetime chance to tell me what to do. Heh.

Trust me. It happens about as often as this.

Don’t forget, The Fantasy – Volume One is also available.

I love book readers. I mean, I really, really love book readers. And when those book readers take the time out to not only read my book, but take extra time out to write up a review, my love turns to adoration. Many thanks to Maria Violante for this review of Athena’s Promise.

Book reviewers, word-of-mouth, sharing links — we indies could not do anything without our readers. I really appreciate every single Tweet, link, like, share, and review. Thank you all!

Now, here are some personal recommendations if you’re looking for some great material to read:

Patti Larsen’s first novel in the Hayle Coven series is FREE today! Go download a copy of Family Magic and meet Sydlynn Hayle. She’s a riot.

The much anticipated sequel to Lovers and Beloveds has been released — MeiLin Miranda’s Son in Sorrow is now available not only on Amazon but also at MeiLin’s website, released in a serial format. Excellent reading — she will blow your little brain. She did mine.

If you’re looking for well-written erotica, you can do no better than Fall Into Winter by Eden Baylee. What’s even more exciting is I have it on good authority she’s preparing a second volume for release in the next couple of months. Stay tuned!

Some of us aren’t missing the Walking Dead, and that’s due in large part to stories like Monsters Unmasked by Lori Whitwam. Fabulous story, set in the universe created by Joshua Guess, Lori shows us a dark and chilling perspective of how something like a zombie apocalypse brings out the worst (and best!) of people. Great read.

Finally, if you are a fan of The Hunger Games, you can’t miss Marooned. P.J. Druce has created an amazing protagonist in Punk Jordan and a story to keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

That’s enough to keep you busy for a while, huh? Happy reading!

Share

It’s The Debutante Ball!

First of all, thanks to Author Elizabeth Mueller for putting together this fun blog hop. This is a chance for me to introduce you to Athena’s Promise, my debut urban fantasy novel, and to offer two free e-copies. All you have to do is comment with your email address. The winners will be announced on January 1, 2012.

This is the first book in a trilogy about Pallas, the front desk manager of a very unusual hotel.

As the front desk manager of a hotel on the edge of Zombietown, Pallas is used to dealing with angry centaurs, surly trolls, and zombie housekeepers. The trouble really starts when one of her guests ends up dead. But that’s not her only problem.

A cop with an attitude – can he be trusted to be more than just a pain in her ass or does he have a more sinister agenda?

A new Guest Services Manager, out for her job and ready to sacrifice anyone in his way – what does he really want?

The attractive maintenance guy, endangering the promise she made out of necessity to the Goddess Athena – does he know more than he’s telling?

A mermaid diva, whose show at the Sparkling Butterfly must go on – or else.

Pallas needs to find the killer, and fast, or she’ll lose her job, her home, and the ragtag family she’s adopted out of her crew of “critters”.

In the course of the investigation Pallas uncovers connections to a nasty Oddities dealer deep in the heart of Zombietown, forcing her to expose a trauma from her past which could threaten her future. With everyone and everything she loves in danger, the promise made to the Goddess Athena may well damn her if she breaks it, but she is bound and determined to save her friends, her home, and everything she’s built.

No matter what it takes.

This book was funny, sassy, pro-woman, suspenseful, funny, and much more. I just had to find out what was on the next page until it was finished. I am thrilled to know it is a planned trilogy as I adore the characters and want to see more of them along with finding out if the promise prevails. ~B. Decker

Ribken’s writing is very strong, full of snarking sarcasm that made me snort and giggle while tearing my heart out with Pallas’ need to protect the vulnerable ones she calls friends. Awesome book–can’t wait for the sequel. ~Patti Larsen

The world created by Annetta Ribken is well-crafted, complex, and rich with memorable characters. The story is perfectly paced, at times “gigglesnort” hilarious, and at other times utterly terrifying. With the literary world overflowing with urban fantasy in recent years, it’s difficult to stand out or have any sort of original take on the genre, but this author scores big on both counts. The entire story is so well – and believably – told, the next time I check into a hotel, I almost expect to see a Gorgon, a pixie, or a mermaid roaming the halls. ~Lori Whitwam

If I were to be any character in “Athena’s Promise”, it would have to be Pallas herself. Far from perfect, she still manages to kick ass and take names.

The actress I’d choose to play her in a movie is Emily Browning (with red hair, of course). This young lady did a great job in Lemony Snickets, and I saw her in Sucker Punch. She looks like she could take on the role of Pallas and do her justice.

Oh yeah. She looks like she could put the smackdown on somebody. Heh.

All you have to do is comment with your email address (so I know where to send the prize) and you’ll be in the running to win a copy of the ebook in the format of your choice. Good luck, and thanks for stopping by!

Here is a list of the other fine authors dancing with me — take a moment and visit. Lots of free swag up for grabs!

12 r Elizabeth Muelle
13 Regan Guerra
14 Melissa Pearl
15 Claudia Lefeve
16 Joseph Beekman
17 Pendragon Innmen
19 Alex J. Cavanaugh
20 Gillian Schafer
21 Fiauna Lund
22 Anastasia V. Pergakis
23 H. Linn Murphy
26 Tanya Contois
27 Patti Larsen
28 Red Tash
29 Annetta Ribken
30 Cindy Hogan

Share

Odds and Ends

I hope everyone had a nice holiday. Why is it turkey never tastes as good as it does on Thanksgiving?

It's a mysterious bird, don't you think?

Now, we’re on to the next holiday. Christmas.

Since people have been actually injured and even pepper-sprayed during the Black Friday festivities, I have decided to complete the bulk of my Christmas shopping online. More specifically, since there are several people I know who are receiving e-readers this year, I think e-books or gift cards are in order. It sure makes my life easier.

If you’re thinking how I’m thinking, let me make some recommendations for the reader on your list:

I am running a giveaway for “Athena’s Promise” on GoodReads. Three signed copies are the prize; all you have to do is register and click for a chance to win. Easy-peasy.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Athena's Promise by Annetta Ribken

Athena’s Promise

by Annetta Ribken

Giveaway ends December 15, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Of course, the e-version is available on Amazon and on Smashwords.

http://youtu.be/n49kFgIkQVg

Looking for some heart-pounding action with a strong heroine? Check out PJ Druce’s Marooned.

http://youtu.be/ILg-L4gE29U

Speaking of heart-pounding, Patti Larsen serves up a heaping dose in her The Hunted Series. Excellent books.

If you’re into zombies (and who isn’t?) Monster’s Unmasked, a novella by Lori Whitwam, offers a look behind the zombie apocalypse set in the universe created by Joshua Guess. Sometimes the monsters are not always who or what we expect. Lori also writes from the other end of the spectrum — Make or Break is a funny, snarky, sparkalicious romantic suspense you’ll thoroughly enjoy.

If you like erotica with your story, you can’t miss out on Eden Baylee’s excellent Fall Into Winter. Wonderful stories with rich characters and imaginative plots.

***

I was very sad to hear of the passing of Anne McCaffrey. Those of us who are avid readers know there are special stories which can have a huge impact on your life. Some books can actually change or save a life. Anne McCaffrey’s “Dragonriders of Pern” is one such book for me.

The hardcover copy I have is battered and held together with clear shipping tape. It is almost 30 years old, and has traveled thousands of miles. It is the only book I have both in hardcover and e-format. I would emigrate to Pern today, if I could. And I make a mean cup of klah.

Although I am very sad we’ve lost such a distinctive and talented voice, Anne McCaffrey is not gone. All you have to do is open one of her books, and there she is. What a legacy! I can never thank Ms. McCaffrey enough for the hours of joy she has given me through her stories. She will be sorely missed.

Share

Woohooo! “Athena’s Promise” In Print!

Okay, so the Kindle edition of “Athena’s Promise” has been available since October 28th, right? And it’s gotten some amazing reviews, for which I am very grateful and overjoyed to see.

Athena’s Promise held my interest from the cover page to the end page. Pallas, the central character, rocks!!! ~Denise Battista

This book was funny, sassy, pro-woman, suspenseful, funny, and much more. I just had to find out what was on the next page until it was finished. ~B. Decker

I devoured this book! The heroine is fun, sassy and kick-butt with an attitude that doesn’t quit. The author has a unique voice, full of wit and snap. Her characters and setting are distinctive. ~Laura Eno

Ribken’s writing is very strong, full of snarking sarcasm that made me snort and giggle while tearing my heart out with Pallas’ need to protect the vulnerable ones she calls friends. ~Patti Larsen

w00t!

But like any true bibliophile, the reality doesn’t hit until I have a physical copy in my hands. To wit:

SHINY!!!

How pretty is THAT?? I just about peed my britches when the UPS guy pulled up and unloaded. “They’re heavy,” he said.

“Not a problem,” said I, as I toted the box practically one-handed. Okay, it really took two hands, a lot of grunting, and there may have been sweat involved, but work with me here.

So. Excited!

If you want an autographed copy, I still have a few left from the pre-ordering process. You can snag one by following this button right here:



Athena’s Promise Autographed



The price is $11.99 plus S&H, a dollar off the price once it goes live on Amazon. This would make a great Christmas present to the urban fantasy lover on your list!

Probably not as great as this. But close! And a lot cheaper!

The first two chapters and part of the third are available to sample on Amazon if you want an idea of what you’re getting. Go ahead and take a look, and while you’re there, if you like what you read please hit the “Like” button on the page (it helps with rankings so people can find the book). Every little bit helps :)

I am so grateful for all the support and the great reception. There’s even a bonus first chapter included of the next in the series, “Athena’s Chains”, which I hope to release in Spring 2012, the gods willing and the creek don’t rise.

THANK YOU! I HEART YOU ALL!

You make me so happy! *MUAH*
Share

Onward

Wow, where did Wednesday come from?

It was a really busy week last week — I had a visit from my Muffin and my GirlChild, and it was wonderful. Busy, but fabulous. Since it coincided with the launch of Athena’s Promise and Halloween, the whole week kind of passed in a blur. Which I suppose was a blessing in disguise, because otherwise I probably would have been a babbling mess obsessing over The Launch. Instead, I did my business and chased after a very active 3 year-old, who really put me through my paces.

Look at this face! RUN RUN RUN, NONI!

Yep, he sure gave me a workout. :)

So, after a mega-busy week, what’s next?

Good question. I’m glad you asked.

In addition to a full editing schedule (my day job), I’ve decided to throw my hat into the ring for NaNoWriMo in order to kick start the second book in the Aegian Trilogy, titled “Athena’s Chains”. (I’m Netta50 there, if you want a buddy.) It was a last minute decision, but I know if I didn’t incorporate some structure somewhere, I’d most likely procrastinate. I had set myself a tentative date for release of Spring 2012; now I just have to write the book. Heh.

Considering I wrote the bulk of Athena’s Promise in about eight weeks, I think I can handle this NaNo thing. That’s the plan.

Meet my lovers - Pen and Paper. Aren't they HAWT?

Yeah, the menage a trois is kinky, but it works for us. Heh.

I have another author/artist interview scheduled for Friday with the incomparable Rebecca Treadway, and I’m really looking forward to that.

Not only has Athena’s Promise been released, six pieces I’ve had the honor to edit have also been released by Etopia Press. Some really great stories there, I hope you’ll check them out if you’re in the market for some good reads.

***

And last, but not least, a short word about releasing a book as an independent-type:

It’s a lot of work, peeps. I’ve learned so much from this process, I can’t even tell you. It’s also totally nerve-wracking. No matter how much you believe in your work, there’s always that anxiety about whether or not the Public At Large is going to like it or want to throw rotten tomatoes at you.

Don't get me wrong, I love tomatoes. Just not rotten and used as projectiles.

Fortunately, Athena’s Promise has already received some wonderful reviews, and not only does that make me feel proud and grateful, I’m also very appreciative of the people who took the time out from their busy lives to not only read the book, but also leave encouraging words. The truth is, I’m an “indie”. I don’t have a big marketing budget, and like everyone else trying to carve out a space for themselves, I am dependent on word of mouth to get the word out.

If you like what you read, and this goes for any independent artist you love, click the “Like” buttons on Amazon, which helps with ranking; take the time to jot even just a few words about what you’ve read; tell your friends and family about the book; Tweet if you’re a Twitter, post a link on Facebook, purchase books for Christmas gifts — in other words, do everything you can to help promote your author. YOU, the reader, are all we have, you see. In return, we will keep writing and hopefully give you more of what you love. See how that works? Because WE LOVE YOU.

There’s no way we can do it without you.

***

And that’s the end of the self-promotion thing, which although necessary, is also rather uncomfortable. Writers generally have a hard time with this part of the business. It doesn’t help that social media has been inundated with a whole bunch of self-promotion, where it seems people have forgotten the basic premise of social media — which is, to wit, SOCIAL INTERACTION. I’ve blogged about before. It’s a fine line, and a difficult one to walk, no doubt about it. *sigh*

In the meantime, I’m going to practice what I preach and write the next book. Pallas is antsy and she has a problem. Several problems, actually. Heh.

By the way — thanks for all the support. I am constantly gobsmacked and very grateful for it. And I never, ever take it for granted. *MUAH*

Onward.

Share

Giving Birth and the Publishing Process

Usually I feature an indie artist in this space on Fridays, but today is a Very Special Friday.

Yes, it’s Launch Day!

Now, not only can you order autographed print copies here, “Athena’s Promise” is now available for the Kindle. I’ll be getting it up on Smashwords too, in the next week or so. Remember, you don’t need an e-reader to read it; Amazon thoughtfully provides a free app for you to use on your PC to read Kindle books. Isn’t that nice of them?

Don't mistake Amazon for a saint. But it's still pretty cool.

So, now we have that out of the way, let me just say this has been such a roller-coaster experience. I don’t remember it being so intense when I put out “Not Nice” last year. Of course, that could be a case of selective amnesia, heh.

This time, I took notes. Lots and lots of notes, because I intend to release “Athena’s Chains” in the spring of 2012. Believe me, I hear the clock ticking already. However, one of the great things about being fully in the driver’s seat of your own publishing business is the fact you are the one determining the scheduling. Although that can be stressful, it’s quite liberating.

Giving birth to a novel is really similar to giving birth to a child, I have come to think. You have your gestation period, where you conceive the idea and start writing. You might think once you’ve finished it, the hard part is over — but you’d be very, very wrong.

The early stages of labor — beta reads and editing. *Sigh* Just like in real labor, this stage can take forever, to the point where you start to wonder if you will EVER BE DONE WITH THIS DAMNED THING. Honestly, I was editing up to the very last minute, and then I had to quit picking at it like a scab and let it go. That was probably the hardest part, for me.

In the second stage, you’re wrangling with covers, trailers, and trying to formulate some kind of marketing plan. The deadline fast approaches and you start hyperventilating, trying to figure out how to fit 97 hours in one day. Tip: you can’t.

Then, the actual delivery. For the record, I hate formatting. Here is where my anal and compulsive personality is both a blessing and a curse. It helps to keep in mind print is vastly different than electronic and I must extend many blessings to the creators of Mobi Creator for making the electronic conversion so easy I about wet my pants.

Print is a different story. Designing a print book is an art form. I felt like a baboon with crayons.

Only I'm not this cute.

Honestly, this was very difficult. Mostly because I wanted the print version to look every bit as professional as a book released by a legacy publisher. And friends and neighbors, that is not as easy as one would wish, just like delivering a baby. It’s painful, messy and it made me scream, bleed, yell and not only use every cuss word in my vocabulary (which is quite extensive) but made me invent even more crass ways to express my frustration.

But in the end? I have a beautiful baby, and I can’t stop looking at her. I’m happy, relieved, and feeling all kinds of awesome.

I really hope you’ll check out “Athena’s Promise” and tell me what you think, whether in a private email or even better, on a review. Because, just like having a baby, once you deliver the hard part starts. Now I have to devote myself to raising her and introducing her to the World At Large. It takes a village, and I’m counting on my peeps to help me get word about Pallas out to the unsuspecting. So if you can spare a Tweet, an update, or want to write a review or even interview me, feel free :)

I’ve lived and breathed in Pallas’s world for two years. I know the journey isn’t over yet, but I’m ready. I think she is, too.

Thanks to all of you for the wonderful support. I appreciate it more than I can ever say. *MUAH* !!

Share

First Chapter of “Athena’s Promise” and a Cover Reveal!

Just for you, here is the print cover for “Athena’s Promise” and the first chapter. I hope you enjoy it! Don’t forget, you can pre-order autographed copies here. The official launch of the e-version is scheduled for Friday, October 28th. Thanks for all your support! *MUAH*!

Chapter One

Hearing the phone ring a full hour before the start of my shift was usually a sure sign the day was going to go right down the toilet. Living on site in a hotel as the front desk manager has its perks, but being on call 24/7 sure wasn’t one of them. I guess I should have been used to it, but that didn’t mean I hated it any less.

Of course, since the accident at Atlantis some twenty years ago, opening the Portal and allowing just any creature to cross over, calls like this were all too common. What awaited me this morning? A pissed- off centaur, a drunk and disorderly minor league wizard, what? Working in a hotel located on the edge of Zombietown sure made for interesting guests. Not to mention the staff.

I rolled over in the king-sized bed, one of my favorite perks, and picked up the receiver. Before I even lifted it to my ear I heard Lilah, the pixie working two night shifts a week, screeching in her twangy voice. Oh lord, it’s gonna be a long day, I thought, and I don’t even have my eyes open yet.

“Miz Pallas! I swear to all the Gods, you gotta get down here. I can’t get this stupid horse – yes, I just called you a horse! – to understand if he checks in this early he has to pay for two nights. –Don’t you shit on this floor mister, you just better not!”

Well, that popped my eyes open in a hurry. I knew exactly the target of Lilah’s screeching .

I sat up in bed. “Lilah! Lilah, I know you’re upset but calm down. You can’t talk to a guest like that, not even Cedric. Tell him to hang on; I’ll be there in ten minutes. You’d better hope Medusa doesn’t hear you from the back. Go to the laundry room if you have to and cool off.” I loved Lilah, I really did. She was a cute little thing, brown and sparkly with eyes shaped like almonds, but those damned pixies were so high strung!

She finally started to settle down. “Oh, oh, oh! I’m sorry Miz Pallas, sorry. Sorry. You’re coming down, right?” I heard her say, “Oh, now you gonna deal with Miz Pallas! How you like that?” and I couldn’t quite suppress my grin. I hated it when Lilah got upset, although most of it was just pixie dramatics, but Cedric could be a handful. I knew from pulling too many double shifts the night shift around here could get really hairy. And of course, no one wanted to deal with a pissed-off Medusa. That was strictly my job.

“I can’t get dressed if you keep me on the phone. Just hang up and bug out. I’m on my way. Cedric can leave or wait till I get there; I don’t care what he does.” I hung up and contemplated for the thousandth time why I was still at this job after three years of dealing with “critters” – the crossovers from every fable, folklore tale, myth, and legend you can think of. I must be crazy.

I sighed and scrambled into my uniform of the day – a navy blue polo and a pair of khakis. Sneakers, my red hair pulled into a hasty ponytail, and I booked out the door. Hey, with the running around I did, it didn’t pay to be girly. I just usually ended up sweating off the makeup and perfume. Not to mention the days when I was so frazzled my hair resembled Medusa’s. I cleaned up pretty well, I’ve been told, but this job was not for sissies.

I headed for the elevator. My suite was on the third floor, at the far end of the hallway. When I first started working here at the Traveler’s Haven, I made the mistake of taking a room on the first floor as close to the lobby as I could get. Big mistake. On the first floor everyone thought nothing of just walking over and knocking on my door at all hours of the day and night. On the third floor I could take the back stairs and no one knew my business, even though living on property was like living in a fish bowl. Privacy could be a problem.

With Cedric kicking up a fuss, I couldn’t even stop off at the little breakfast café to grab my daily cup of coffee, and that pissed me off. The food served there was gross, but I guess three years of anything would seem gross. However, the coffee was excellent and sometimes it was the only thing to get me though the day. I nodded to Luke, the breakfast host, on my way by. He was a new employee, hired by Medusa, and I had yet to become well-acquainted with him, but he seemed like a nice enough guy. Still, I’d been around the block enough times to know looks can be deceiving.

Cedric didn’t see me at first. He was busy feeling up the blond (Skank Number One) while the brunette (Skank Number Two) swayed back and forth on her feet and tried to snatch at Cedric’s tail. I sniffed the air as I approached the front desk, and thankfully I didn’t smell anything other than the odor of horseflesh and the perfume of the two floozies twined around Cedric. I saw no sign of Lilah – a good thing.

I sure wasn’t happy to see this bunch in my lobby. The hotel was at the edge of Zombietown, it’s true, and we received a lot of business from the local strip clubs and bars. But Medusa and I worked really hard to cultivate a better clientele than inhabited the hotel here when we first took over. The owners, three gnome brothers, didn’t seem to care where the money came from as long as it kept coming, but in the meantime guests like Cedric gave the “normal” clientele the wrong impression of our place, an impression we were trying to change.

“Cedric, what’s going on?” I pasted the “Guest Service” smile on my face, hiding my irritation at being called out early for this. I leaned against the front desk and crossed my arms. Oh, he appeared in fine form. From what I understood, centaurs were usually not so ostentatious, but Cedric seemed to be an exception to the rule. His light brown hair and mane were plaited with ribbons of all colors; sparkling bling around his neck, on his fingers, around his wrists. I knew his stuff wasn’t genuine, or he’d be staying at a much nicer place than this. The ice in his ears might have been real, but the rest of it was strictly for show. His clear blue hooves, probably the only thing I found attractive on the douchebag, were drilled out and embedded with more fake bling, ruining, in my opinion, his best feature.

A handsome critter, Cedric, but a player all the way. Actually, I was surprised he only had two females with him. Those girls just can’t seem to resist Cedric’s uh…other assets. I’m sure I don’t have to draw a picture.

“Ah, Miss Pallas! Finally some competence here.” Cedric’s deep voice rumbled as he untangled himself from Skank Number One to reach for my hand, dropping what I’m sure he thought of as a charming kiss on the back of it. To me, it was disgusting. His tail switched back and forth in agitation.

“Cedric, that’s not fair and you know it. How many times have you stayed with us?” I surreptitiously wiped the back of my hand on the side of my pants. See? That’s why I didn’t dress up. “You know the policy. Check-in is at three o’clock. You check in this early, you have to pay for two nights; check-out is tomorrow at eleven. I’ve explained this to you before.”

Cedric stomped a hoof, barely missing Skank Number Two. “Come on, Pallas, it’s not fair. You mean to tell me if I check in right now I have to check out at eleven or pay for two nights?” His tail switching stepped up a notch. I noticed he dropped the “Miss”. He stomped his hoof again, and I started to do a slow burn. “That sucks. I probably won’t even stay until tomorrow. ” He snorted and pushed away the loving arms of Skank Number One, who pouted and promptly sat down on the tile floor and thanks to her short skirt, I saw everything but Jesus. This was getting out of hand, and in a hurry.

“Cedric, it’s the policy and you know it. I can check you in right now, but if you pay for one night you’re checking out at eleven. Period.” My patience ran out. “It’s not my policy, it’s hotel policy, and I’m not jeopardizing my job for you. Pay or go. I don’t care which, just make up your mind.” I had to get this asshole and his two uh…companions out of the lobby before respectable people started showing up.

I walked right up to him and put my hands on my hips. I might have been a foot and a half shorter than this critter, but you bet I had a bigger attitude. “You can quit switching your tail, because I swear to the Gods if you shit on my lobby floor you’re banned for life. Now, do you want the room or not? Because I’m not in the mood to stand here and argue with you one more minute.” I stared him straight in the eyes, and he backed down, just like I knew he would.

He reached for Skank Number Two, and almost stepped on Skank Number One. “All right, all right. Gimme the room until tomorrow.” I heard him complaining and mumbling as I made my way around the long desk to the computer terminal to check him in, but that was okay. I loved it when they called me a bitch behind my back. Didn’t bother me in the least.

I checked him in and charged him top dollar, oh yes I did.
As soon as Cedric and his lovlies cleared the lobby, Lilah came flitting out of her hidey-hole.

“Miz Pallas, I’m sorry I called you early, I truly am.” She giggled into her tiny hands. “You sure gave him what for, and he sure had it coming.”

I stapled the paperwork together and threw it in the “in” basket. “Lilah, you can’t talk to guests that way and you know it. I know Cedric is an asswipe, but he’s a guest. Sometimes, you just have to grin and take it.” I sighed, because six in the morning was too early to lecture, and I needed some caffeine. Like, right now.

Lilah nodded as if she actually cared, and I said, “I’m getting some coffee. Might as well finish up your shift paperwork, girl, and you can leave early.” She brightened and glittered. I loved it when pixies did that, you know, got all glittery-like? It happened when they’re happy, and it was really cool to watch. This makes pixies dangerous to most people, because humans will go above and beyond to make a pixie happy just for the sparkle. This, in turn, makes pixies the most spoiled bunch of brats you’ll ever meet, but I didn’t take any shit from them. Lilah knew it and was smart enough not to push me past my limit. That would be a very bad thing for all involved. Good thing I had such a sweet temperament.

I made straight for the breakfast café. It wasn’t much, really – basic stuff like fruit juice, pastries, cereal and the like. The food sucked to me, but the coffee was fabulous. Critters could request special items, like roe eggs for the merepeople (mermaids were popular at the strip joints nearby and stayed here often) or protein shakes for the undead. I tried not to think about those items.

Luke came out of the kitchen with a load of cinnamon rolls. When I nodded, he smiled. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of him. He seemed charming enough; he showed up every day on time; he did his job well. Cute, I guess. Tall, shaggy brown hair he kept in a neat pony tail, brown eyes. Medusa hired him as Breakfast Host without any input from me, not our standard operating procedure. But, whatever.

“Morning, Pallas. Coffee’s fresh. Want a roll?” He breezed over to the warming station and started filling it up with cinnamon rolls. After smelling them every single day for the last three years, the aroma made me want to barf. Copiously.
“Uh, no. Thanks anyway. I just need caffeine.” I walked back to the small kitchen to grab my oversized caffeinator – I didn’t mess around. It held about a half a pot of coffee. No matter how quiet the day began, the joint started jumping around check-out time and I never knew what was going to happen.

Perky was not my thing in the morning, especially when I had to come on an hour early. The staff knew it, and they walked careful. Even Luke, new to this gig, knew that much and kept his mouth shut, which told me he might be smarter than he looks.

After filling up my tank of coffee, I walked around to the back of the front desk to my tiny corner of heaven. Medusa occupied the back office, and rarely came out front. There’s a reason. She had this unfortunate handicap, you see. When riled, she had a tendency to turn people to stone. Therefore, the bulk of the front desk duties fell to me. We got along fine – I didn’t have a problem with her, I was still standing, and I ran interference. The Gnome Brothers had a love/hate relationship with her, and with me…well, I despised the little fuckers and if it wasn’t so illegal I’d love to see her turn them into nothing more than a lump of rocks. But, I digress.

I sat down at my corner, just a space carved out big enough to do a little paperwork but not much more. The security monitor, mounted over my head, and the monstrosity of a copy machine constructed sometime around when dinosaurs roamed the earth made for a tight space. A night window, seldom used, helped me keep an eye on everything. Or try to, anyway.

Looking over the schedule for the housekeeping staff, I saw Miss Esther, the head housekeeper, had four zombies on for today. That’ll work, I mused – it’s a slow day and they should be done by one o’clock, saving on payroll. Those little gnome brothers were always carping about payroll, but they carped all the time. They had more money than King Midas, and yet they screamed poverty constantly. Typical.

Oh, the zombie thing. Look, I knew most people wouldn’t have anything to do with zombies, and I understood. There’s a lot of misinformation out there about them, but living and working on the edge of Zombietown gave me a different perspective. Zombies aren’t quite what they’re made out to be by Hollywood. Their condition is not their fault. They weren’t contagious until the Turn, and zombies could be quite lively for a long time – sometimes as long as a decade until the Turn happens. That was when they became feral and a danger. It meant they had to be put down. Usually, families took care of their own, but there was a unit which specifically took care of feral zombies when they Turned. They were called the Z-Squad. Original name, right?

Until then, zombies were perfectly nice people. We employed about eight as housekeepers. Yes, there was the stench, but commercial deodorants usually masked the worst of it. Our zombies were certified as required by law, meaning their “birthdate” was confirmed so we could anticipate the approximate date of their Turn, but most of them didn’t last that long. As they got up in age, certain body parts fell off and they couldn’t do the job.

It was a sad thing, to be a zombie, but the ones I met were some of the best peeps I’ve known. I took care of them, they took care of me. In the hotel business, loyalty counted for a lot.

I sighed and sifted through group booking requests, supply forms, invoices and a slew of other stuff I had no interest in dealing with. I heard Lilah counting her drawer, humming to herself and sparkling. I loved it when she sparkled, have I mentioned it? Otherwise, I expected another quiet morning at the ranch.

Lilah finished up and bounced over to me, singing in her pixie way, “All set, Miss Pallas.”

“Go ahead, punch out. See you in a couple of days. Stay out of trouble, will you?”

She giggled. “Oh, Miss Pallas. You know I stay out of trouble. I’ll be back for the second shift on Thursday, right?” Damned pixies never kept track of their shifts, but at least Lilah knew enough to confirm every time she left property.

“Yes, dearie, and you’ll be relieving me, so don’t be late.” She giggled again, and I had to grit my teeth. Sometimes, her chipper attitude in the morning was a lot for me to take, so it was. She flitted off, and I heard her punch the time clock on her way out.

I gathered my paperwork and moved to the front desk, where I had more room to sort out the stuff I needed to speak to Medusa about and the stuff that could wait. I liked having everything organized. It kept her happy and it was a good thing to be on her best side.

I flipped through the group requests and bird-dogged one from a band traveling through here on a regular circuit. They wanted to book two weekends in July; a nice piece of business, but I happened to know their manager served Lucifer himself, and they could be trouble. Not only the band, but the groupies following them. Another group request on the list, a tour bus from Pennsylvania; a group of vampires coming for a convention. I liked this, because they slept all day and were gone all night, which meant no service from housekeeping.

I shuffled papers and started making notes; grateful today seemed low-key and calm. Boy, seldom have I ever been so wrong. When things blew up, they really blew. I had no idea then how bad it would get.

Cedric was the least of my problems.

Share

Pre-Orders Open For “Athena’s Promise”!

I don’t think I have ever been so excited and nervous about something in my entire life. Can you see me bouncing up and down in my seat??

FINALLY.

And click here to see the trailer…

Athena’s Promise Trailer

****

SQUEE! Here’s the back cover copy:

As the front desk manager of a hotel on the edge of Zombietown, Pallas is used to dealing with angry centaurs, surly trolls, and zombie housekeepers. The trouble really starts when one of her guests ends up dead. But that’s not her only problem.

A cop with an attitude – can he be trusted to be more than just a pain in her ass or does he have a more sinister agenda?

A new Guest Services Manager, out for her job and ready to sacrifice anyone in his way – what does he really want?

The attractive maintenance guy, endangering the promise she made out of necessity to the Goddess Athena – does he know more than he’s telling?

A mermaid diva, whose show at the Sparkling Butterfly must go on – or else.

Pallas needs to find the killer, and fast, or she’ll lose her job, her home, and the ragtag family she’s adopted out of her crew of “critters”.

In the course of the investigation Pallas uncovers connections to a nasty Oddities dealer deep in the heart of Zombietown, forcing her to expose a trauma from her past which could threaten her future. With everyone and everything she loves in danger, the promise made to the Goddess Athena may well damn her if she breaks it, but she is bound and determined to save her friends, her home, and everything she’s built.

No matter what it takes.

****

Blurbs!

“Ribken’s Pallas grabs you from word one with her no-nonsense attitude and solid sense of sarcasm and keeps you hooked all the way through. Witty, tragic, inventive and an altogether fantastic read that will have you asking what I did–where’s the next one?” ~Patti Larsen, author of The Hunted series and Family Magic

“If this book were any more fun, you’d need to bring a condom. I loved every second of this snarky, mysterious, hilarious goodness. A fabulous debut!” –Joseph Paul Haines, author of Marooned

“Pallas is brilliant, loyal, and determined to balance her precarious positions in two very different worlds. Both strong and vulnerable, this heroine truly shines.” ~Lori Whitwam, author of Make or Break

Are you excited as I am? Right now you can pre-order autographed print copies and save a dollar off the list price. I can’t wait for you to meet Pallas and her friends!The E-version will be released October 28th on Amazon, and to other online retailers shortly after that for those who are electronically inclined. But here, right now, you can order an autographed print copy!

Please share the link with anyone you can hog-tie. Thanks so much for the support!



Athena’s Promise Autographed



Share

Fun In The Sandbox – A Writing and Editing Update

Time flies when you’re having fun, but it also flies when you’re up to your armpits in “To Do” lists. And it’s only the “To Do” lists which are keeping me from going nuts.

Oh sure, he looks cute. But see that crazy gleam in his eye? Yeah.

Lots going on. First of all, working on several editing projects and loving every minute of that, even though most days it means my eyes look like this:

Yikes. That's a scary eyeball right there.

Several of my client’s projects are coming out or have been launched over the last couple of months, and that’s really exciting. After much soul-searching and teeth gnashing with a little bit of hair-pulling and heartache, I have come to the conclusion pimping out my clients when they launch could be construed as having a conflict of interest. So, as much as I love each and every one of them and believe in their work, I must limit myself to simply posting the links on my sidebar over there <- labeled as "Editing Work", which I will be updating regularly so make sure to keep an eye on that list. A hard decision, for real. *sniffle* [caption id="attachment_1449" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="I do not endorse violators. Or bitch slapping. Unless you're a violator."][/caption]

But honestly, I have been extremely privileged and honored to work with these writers, and I encourage you to check them out. There are some amazingly talented people out there. It’s really humbling.

Next on the list is the launch of “Athena’s Promise” on October 28th. I’ve been posting snippets on my Facebook Fan Page, and that’s the only place you’ll see them. So, if you’re curious about what I’ve been doing in my spare time, “like” the page and see what’s shaking. I’m all the way up to Chapter 19 as of today with three more to go. Share the page with your friends, and the day I hit 200 fans is the day I will post here the first two chapters. FOR FREE. Sound like a deal?

No, not a deal like this. Besides, those are really shitty cards. I can do you better than that.

The covers of all three books in the series are being crafted even as we speak, along with a blazing trailer. I am beyond excited about this, especially since I’ve engaged the uber-talented Rebecca Walker. And let me tell you, she is AMAZING. I’ll post them when they’re ready, because I love you guys that much :)

In addition, I’ve set up all Kindle publications for a Kindlegraph. How cool is that shiz? Visit my fan page for more details! (See what I did there? Heh.)

Sneaky little bugger, ain't I? Heh.

Now that you’re all caught up for the moment, I need to take care of some of those “To Do” lists before the nice men in the white jackets get here. 😉

Find “Not Nice and Other Understatements” at Amazon and now at Smashwords in any format you desire! Autographed copies are still available through the link on this page. Spread the word! And thanks for all of your support!

Share

Decisions, Decisions

It’s been a very busy summer, and it’s only been summer for a week. I’m sure not complaining, just trying to keep up and keep it going. It’s more difficult than it sounds.

I’m very happy with the beta responses to “Athena’s Promise”, and the revisions shouldn’t take long at all. I’ve even started the first chapter of “Athena’s Chains” and I plan on having that done before I release AP so I can include it. Of course, that brings me to the Ultimate Plan.

I have no idea what the Ultimate Plan is. Besides total Universal Literary Domination, that is. How to get there is the real question.

With the publishing world in such flux, I’m really struggling with making a decision on which way to jump. Do I trust my precious work to a “legacy” publisher and hope for the best? Go with a small press, an indie press and retain a better measure of control? Or do I indulge my inner control freak, and blaze the trail on my own?

I’ve been back and forth so many times I’m dizzy.

By the time I get off this ride, I'll probably puke.

I won’t go in to all the pros and cons of each path or I’d be here all night. Suffice to say it’s not an easy decision and I will most likely wait to make a decision until next week.

Why wait, you ask? Well, because of the First Annual Intergalactic Pretendacon Sporkfest (A Very Serious Writing Conference). I plan on picking the brain of my esteemed colleagues, all of whom are in various stages of their own successful writing careers and whose opinions I value highly. I am very, very excited about this conference, especially since one of the participants I have known for nearly a decade yet have never met in person.

I will be connecting with my tribe. Like the Bee Girl. I’m so happy :)

In the meantime, I plan to keep writing. And editing. And writing some more.

This is what I see, night and day. Eyes open and closed. Makes it difficult to drive. Heh.

I have a great support system, online and offline. I have great friends and special people supporting me, and I appreciate that more than I can say. Although there have been, and probably will be, very difficult times, I still consider myself quite fortunate.

Thank you, supportive peeps! You lift me up and I love you.

I’m old enough to know everything works out the way it’s supposed to, so I guess for now I’ll just hang on to that.

Share