Thursday, May 31, 2012

Audio Book Updates

Audio books have been becoming increasingly popular in the last few years.  I'd to listen to them when I used to travel for my old job, so I have personally enjoyed them. When I first started self-publishing, I thought about audio books, but I wasn't even sure how to go about producing them myself. I had to give up on the idea. Therefore, my first official audio book was THE FIRST DAYS when it was bought by Audible Frontiers along with its two sequels.

When I heard that Cassandra Campbell, who narrated The Help, would be doing the series, I was relieved that such a professional voice narrator would be taking on the task.  Once the books were released, a whole different type of review began to roll in. Audio books are not only judged on content, but on the delivery of the narrator. Most people love the narration of the books, and I personally think Cassandra did a great job. In fact, she made the books fresh and new for me, too.

Click on the images to listen to a sample from the books or to purchase.

I gained a lot of fans through the audio book versions of AS THE WORLD DIES. Quite a few asked me if my other works would be appearing on audio book soon.  I contacted my agent, but she responded that it was hard to get self-published books sold to audio book companies. I was saddened by this information, but a few months later I noticed Amanda Hocking's self-published zombie series was on Audible. com. That is when I started to be hopeful that I could bring my other novels to audio.

Happily, started a new endeavor called Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX).  It's a program that brings writers and producers/narrators together to create audio books.  Strangely enough, a lot of times authors retain their audio rights when they sell to a traditional publisher, so they can sell those rights to audio book publishers.  This particular program enables authors to enter into partnerships with producers of audio books.  The producer creates the audio book and splits the profits with the author.  It benefits both the author and producer monetarily, while providing a quality audio book to the reading public.

As of today, two of my books are in production: THE LIVING DEAD BOY AND THE ZOMBIE HUNTERS and PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES.  I was able to listen to the first 15 minutes of both audio books and I was very pleased!  THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING will also go into production in early June.

I am also presently speaking with a producer/narrator about THE TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE.  Hopefully, it, too, will also be in production soon. Another has also shown interest in doing the book, so I have some options there.

I will keep you updated as more information becomes available such as release dates and if any other of my books end up being converted to audio book.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES ebook Available in ALL Formats Starting Today!

Part of being a hybrid author (both traditionally published and self-published) is experimenting with different forms of publishing. When Amazon started its KDP program that allows authors to offer up their book on the lending library for Prime Members as well as special promotion options (such as offering the book for free for a few days), I thought I'd give it a whirl.  The only drawback was making the books an exclusive.

Since PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES is an older book, I decided to enroll it in the KDP program. I'm anticipating releasing its sequel in the near future, so I thought it might be a way to drum up more interest. I also enrolled my vampire short story collection and my zombie novel for kids.  The end result of the experiment is a little mixed.

Removing PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES from Smashwords, Kobo, iBook, Nook, and other ebook retailers   didn't really upset me at first. The bulk of my sales have always come from But it really bothered me to have fans asking me for other ebook versions of the book and not having it available to them.

Also, the lending library really didn't work on this title or the others.  It's had minimal results.

The free offer went very well with PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES.  It had close to 3,000 downloads. These are 3,000 potential new readers. I was very pleased with those results.

But in the end I decided the program just wasn't working for PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES. It's too limiting to have it only available on I want all readers to be able to access it.

Therefore, it's now back up on in most ebook formats (other than Kindle), and should be uploading to other ebook retailers soon. Just click on the image to visit Smashwords and snag a copy for $2.99.

Also, starting today, BLOOD & LOVE AND OTHER VAMPIRE TALES is FREE on Kindle until May 31st.  You can also download the pdf at my website for free here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

FREE BOOK TODAY! Blood & Love and Other Vampire Tales!!

I have a great deal for my vampire fans today!  I'm offering BLOOD & LOVE AND OTHER VAMPIRE TALES in ebook for FREE for the next three days.

It will be free for Kindle starting tomorrow, and the pdf is free on my website today.

The book is a collection of short stories compiled from the last fifteen years for your reading pleasure.

Giselle from Xpresso Reads has posted her review today. You can read it here.

You can also read a review by Lisa of Paranormal and Urban Fantasy Reviews by click here.

You can download it for Kindle:

You can also download a free PDF from my website by clicking here.

I hope you enjoy it!

Monday, May 28, 2012

True Love or Obsessive Love?

Google obsessive love and up pops Twilight.  This shouldn't be too surprising because the very strange romance of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen has entranced readers since it was first published in 2005. Seven years later the phenomena continues in film form with the last movie, Breaking Dawn Part Two, coming out later this year.

Of course, Twilight hasn't been without its critics.  Though many readers are emotionally invested in the  story of Bella and Edward, the vampire she falls for, there were plenty of other readers who were deeply bothered by Edward's behavior toward Bella. He basically stalks her, sneaking into her room while she sleeps to watch her dreams. Later when they are a couple, he tries very hard to control her.  If Edward was a normal human boy, his actions would be the red flags of a very dangerous person.  But since he's a vampire, most people excuse his behavior because he's not a normal human boy.

Yet, the obsessive controlling behavior that Edward Cullen expresses toward his ladylove has slowly become the norm in a lot of YA paranormal fiction. Stalkerish, controlling boys that are obscenely hot and smoldering with lust toward the heroine have increasingly invaded YA. Not only in paranormal YA where we can excuse odd behavior because the boy is a vampire/werewolf/wendigo/fairy/elf/ghost/ghoul/alien/merman, but also in regular contemporary YA. Suddenly, the bad boys are the rage with their threat of violence, "serial killer eyes," and obsessive love.

I wrote about Insta-Love last week (before I got sick with a cold and took a blog break) and how oftentimes only the boy is aware that the couple is "fated" and basically stalks, harasses the girl into submission.  The loss of choice is disturbing. The girl (and the couple really) have no choice in their love match because they are destined to be together because of some supernatural element.  If the girl falls for another boy (the love triangle trope), the reader knows this love is doomed because it's not the fiery obsession she shares with the main male lead.

I was cruising the Internet tonight and came across this article in the Daily Mail by James Kerr and Matthew Johnstone.  They have a book out called "The Alphabet of the Human Heart" and a website at The article highlights The Obsessive Love Wheel created by Dr. John D. Moore.

Here are the points from the article The A-Z of love: O is for obsession.  The highlights are my own.


Instantaneous and overwhelming, this feels like love, but is it’s opposite. It’s called being ‘hooked on their look’ and is too intense, too fast.
The fear. Uncertainty and insecurity. Paranoia about infidelity — and accusations. Controlling behaviour — emotional blackmail, rage, isolation, verbal and physical. If it feels ‘all wrong’, it probably is. Run!
Stalking begins: ‘drive-bys’, random pocket searches, emails scoured for imaginary clues. You receive repetitive, often angry phone calls. If you haven’t left, leave now, because the next stage is:
The obsessive feels rage, anger, and plots revenge. For some, there remains an inability to let go, leading to continued stalking and increasing danger. Take action — call the police if you have to

The points I highlighted are things I've been noticing in a few of the books I've read and in the reviews of book bloggers. The above is almost an outline for YA romances.

  • Instant Love (in the case of the male)
  • The "lover" begins to control the girl through emotional blackmail, sometimes resorting to moments of rage. 
  • The "lover" watches the girl constantly
  • The "lover" possibly kidnaps the girl or refuses to let her not be with him
The phrase "I cannot live without you" is tossed around quite a bit.

Of course, all this can be excused away by dangerous creatures lurking in the shadows, past lives, destined futures, etc... but as it becomes more common what does this subconsciously say to younger readers?

As a writer, I have struggled with the popularity of the stalkers in paranormal stories. The outpouring of love toward Vlad in the Vampire Bride series always upsets me. He is the villain. He is cruel. He is violent. And he is without remorse for all his terrible actions. Yet I have received emails from his ardent fans hoping that the heroine of the series somehow ends up with him in the end.  This is after he has killed her family, killed her, made her a vampire, raped and beat her, and has threatened the lives of those she loves to get her to obey him.  Vlad doesn't love Glynis. He's obsessed with her.  And Glynis will never willingly be with such a monster.

So what is the answer to the dilemma? How do we come to terms with fictional male "heroes" that in the real world would be classified as dangerous stalkers?  Women have always been attracted to the bad boys. The idea of being able to change them through love is a fantasy that has always been in books and films since their inception.  But at what point do we back away from "heroes" that meet all the red flags of an abuser? And what does it say about writers and readers who embrace "heroes" that embody the real life profile of abusive men?

I'm not for censorship, but I am for dialogue on difficult topics. 

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Insta-Love - Why is It so Popular in Novels?

A fun bumper sticker from Zazzle

Recently I have been reading a lot of Young Adult novels as research for the YA project I'm working on with co-author Kody Boye.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of really great books categorized under YA that I would have missed if I hadn't been encouraged to write my own YA.  I have discovered all new favorite authors and series, and I'm very happy that I began to read in the genre.

But there has been one trope that has started to wear on me.

It's Insta-Love.

Insta-Love is where two characters meet each other and are instantly in love with one another.  Also, it can be where one character is instantly in love with the other and slowly stalks/pressures the other half of the duo until they return their affections. I have seen the phrase Insta-Love used interchangeably for both of these scenarios.

I personally believe in "love at first sight" (which is more like attraction at first sight).  I experienced this with my own husband. The second I saw him I felt in my gut that he was someone who was going to be really important in my life.  I have talked to other married couples where one or both felt a very strong attraction immediately.  But usually the people involved didn't immediately believe the other person was their soulmate, that they were destined to be, that no matter what they should always be together, and/or stalk the other person relentlessly.

Insta-Love in YA (and in PNR) often means exactly that. "You belong to me. You are MINE" from the getgo. There isn't a spark of attraction that slowly stirs into mutual love. It's a demanding, instant ownership of the other person.

Though I have had very intense attractions between couples before (Katie and Travis, Glynis and Ignatius), I'm not a huge believer in Insta-Love. In Katie and Travis' case they become firm friends before the spark between them ignites completely.  Glynis and Ignatius are impetuous in their attraction to each other. Their instant sexual attraction evolves into a love match.  Right now I'm writing PRETTY WHEN SHE KILLS. Even though Cian and Amaliya were instantly drawn to each other, their relationship is still evolving.
Samantha sighed. "I don't know him. Who he is now...he's yours."
Amaliya lit her cigarette. "For now."
"What do you mean 'for now?'" Samantha narrowed her eyes.
"We live forever. Maybe one day we won't be able to stand each other." Amaliya lifted her shoulders dismissively. "We have the now. The future is..." She waved her hand.  Cian and she had made no promises to each other. What they had now was great, but they didn't talk in terms of forever like mortals did. 
I think my major issue with Insta-Love is that the two people caught up in it are not allowed a choice. They are soul-mates, meant to be come hell or high water, whether they like it or not, etc. Sometimes it's a magical/supernatural contrivance.  They are just destined to be. Often the heroine is informed of this and is just expected to suck it up and accept it even if she thinks the guy she's supposed to be with is a jerk.  Usually if she doesn't accept her fated love match, her would-be lover stalks her relentlessly until she sees the truth.

Other times, both characters instantly fall for each other and swear eternal love even though they're usually around sixteen years old.  This isn't seen as unusual by anyone else in the book usually, unless they're the villain.

I'm an adult. I remember the rush of insanity that was "love" when I was younger. The belief that your first love is the "forever love." Sometimes this is the case, but most often it's not.  I guess that is why I'm so bothered by this trope in YA.

But I also have asked myself why is it so popular?  Lots of adult women (like me) read YA.  They lap up the romances just as much as their teen and tween counterparts. The Twi-Moms, anyone?  Why is the Insta-Love so popular with them, too?

Maybe its because as adult women we know how hard it is to be in a real life relationship.  Real relationships are work. No matter how much you love each other, there are going to be moments of disagreements, difficult times, etc.  In Insta-Love, you don't have to really work at the relationship because it is destined to be. The guy in the relationship worships you without reservation. Basically, you can do no wrong except deny his love.  You don't have to worry about bad breath, looking attractive, compromising on the chores around the house, etc.  It's perfect glorious love that the two people involved in don't have to even worry about maintaining.

I'm starting to think the Insta-Love phenomenon is the ultimate fantasy because it entails no hard work. No worries. Nothing more than sitting back and letting a super-hot dude adore the hell out of you because he's destined to.

Is it a relief  to adult women who feel the constant pressure to look like a sexy Victoria's Secret model while working 40 plus hours a week, raising their kids, maintaining their household, and keeping the fires lit with their significant other that their books portray the complete opposite? A fantasy love affair that has none of the baggage of real life?

And for so many teenagers and tweens who already feel the pressure to garner male approval in their looks and the social pressure to have a boyfriend, is it a fantasy ideal to have some perfectly hot guy fall for you because its fated? No worries at all?

Of course, this is all speculation on my part.  I really do wish we would discuss this phenomenon more. Why is it happening? What does it mean about adult women in modern society? What does it mean for our daughters and nieces?

Insta-Love is spreading to other genres as well. As an adult woman, I don't mind if two consenting adults meet, have sparks fly, and fall into bed only to find out later they like each other.  But I am bothered by two people meeting, sparks flying because they DESTINED, and instantly having zero other choice in their love life.

I'm reading a really good YA fantasy/paranormal novel right now that I would rate as great if not for the Insta-love, destined to be, YOU ARE FUCKING MINE, Insta-Love trope.  It really bothers me to see the lead female character basically shackled to the lead male because of some magical hoodoo. In fact, she has to be with the lead character or literally they will destroy everything around them. Frankly, I'd put a bullet in myself if I was robbed of the choice of who I would be with for the rest of my life.

Is Insta-Love now evolving from a fantasy romance to something much more dangerous?  Are we as readers allowing seriously warped, abusive relationships to become the norm? Where the male has total control over the female because she has no choice but to love him?

How did we get to this point?

Recently, Giselle of Xpresso Reads reviewed two different books that really made me ponder this evolving trope.

Two comments stood out to me:

"The link that bonds us", he said […] "has nothing to do with mind control, as you suspect. It's merely a tool meant to make you do as I say"
-Quote from Venus City
"I mean, Galen is great at first sight. He's gorgeous with a knack for being charming. But in truth he's controlling and lacks respect for her. He mentions wanting a girl who will do whatever he asks and never argue with him. Anyone? Plus his "serial killer eyes"… His ordering her around, never taking Emma seriously - it got on my nerves." -- from Giselle's review for Of Poseidon

This is becoming more and more common now. I just wish I understood why.  Readers defend these type of "romantic" heroes saying that they are just a fantasy. Is this really the fantasy women want?  The loss of the right to our own emotions, thoughts, and decision-making?

And where does it end?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I'm not feeling too well today, so I thought I would share the cover of THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING with the synopsis added to the back cover.  I really love the way it looks. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Audio Books and Foreign Language Translations of My Books

One of the surprising aspects of my writing career is how quickly I established a loyal fan base in countries outside of North America.  I was really surprised when I was writing the online serial of AS THE WORLD DIES when I was contacted by readers in England, Scotland, and Australia.  Now I hear from fans all over the world and I'm just staggered that the books have had such a far reach.

And it's just not AS THE WORLD DIES that has drawn fans from other countries. PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES and TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE have both drawn the attention of people from outside of the United States. Frankly, when I heard from both Romanian and Hungarian readers that they loved THE TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE I felt like I had won an award. I tried very hard to depict their beautiful countries as accurately as this Texan could manage and that they enjoyed the story was a great honor.

As my international fanbase grows, I am being asked a lot more often nowadays when  I will have all my books translated into X language. I would love it if all my books were translated into the language of preference for all my fans, but to a great degree my hands are tied.

THE FIRST DAYS is already published in Italian and will soon have a Danish version sometime this year.  So far those are the only two translations. My foreign rights agent says there is some concern by European publishers that a book set in Texas won't have appeal in their countries. I find this surprising and out of touch since I have so many fans from the European continent and beyond.  The foreign rights agent is trying, but if the publishers don't think the book will sell in their country, there isn't much she can do.

As for my self-published novels, my hubby and I have started to seriously discuss what we can do to provide foreign translations. The requests are starting to gain momentum, so it's time for us to consider our options.  So far the most requested language translations are Italian (for my vampire books), Romanian, and French.  If we do this ourselves, we'll have to find a way to fund paying a translator.  This will have to come out of our pocket, so this is not something we can just rush into.

I am also asked about audio books of my self-published works quite a bit.  I would love to have this happen! is now providing a service via Audio Creative Exchange (ACX).  I have signed up a few of my books and need to finish signing up the rest.  The idea is to bring authors together with producers and narrators to create audio books.  Also, if the author wants to narrate their own book and has the audio equipment to do it, they can load up their own audio book.

I don't have the time, the tech, or the talent to narrate my own books.  I just don't. I marvel at people's ability to narrate.  It's a real talent.  I tend to stumble over words and lose track of what I'm doing very quickly. That's why I signed up with the program in hopes of  finding a producer to take on my work.  I don't mind profit sharing with someone who can produce a quality work for my fans to listen to. So far, I have no one showing interest, but we'll see what happens.

If you are a translator, narrator, or audio book producer, please feel free to contact me at rhiannonfrater @

Friday, May 18, 2012

Happily Ever Afters And Loose Threads

I live with voices in my heads. Worlds in my head. Universes in my head. Every day. Every night.

Call it insanity, or a writer's mind. Whatever it is. I have it. I  feel eternally blessed (and cursed) by the talents I've inherited from the storytellers in my family line.

Vivid stories pop into my head and I am somehow (I think it's magic) able translate them into book form to share with my readership. I'm also lucky enough that people enjoy the stories the voices in my head whisper to me in my dreams.

I absolutely love being a writer.

That being said...

There comes a point where all stories must reach "the end." The movie has to fade to black. The book needs to close.

I recently posted about series and trilogies being incredibly popular with today's readers.  I am now aware of the reality that every time I put out a new book, people will anticipate it is part of a series of novels, whether it is or not.

Are people not satisfied with standalone novels? Do people really want never-ending series?

I have been giving this some thought lately as emails continue to ding into my inbox about the AS THE WORLD DIES trilogy. Some fans are begging for more of the story. Well, a lot are.

As I stated before, I felt that the trilogy wrapped up perfectly. It ended on just the right note and just the right moment.  As a writer, I felt that I had a visa into the AS THE WORLD DIES universe for a limited period.  The story I wanted to tell took place in that section of time.  It started with the death of the world and ended right at the birth of the new.  I loved how the story had come full circle and was very satisfied.

Yes, I do know what happens immediately after SIEGE ends. I know what happens 100 years in the future. But those parts of the ATWD universe don't fit in the trilogy. They're bits and pieces of information that never fit in the narrative.  Also, that knowledge is just fragments and not a real, cohesive story.

I was recently asked if I was going to clear up loose threads in ATWD. I found this amusing because I feel there are none.  The ATWD universe continues on after our visit. The characters live their lives, love, hate, fight, and die.  The world moves on.

Here are some common comments:

  •  But we don't know why the zombies rose!
    • My answer: Of course not. There is no way the people at the fort would ever find out. The people who would know died in the first days.
  • But we don't know what happened to ______!
    • Well, assume that character lived their life until they passed away of natural causes or zombies.
  • But we don't know what happens to the fort!
    • Well, no, we don't. But we know from things said by the ghosts that it's important to humanity. 
I don't see any of these items as loose threads because there is no way to resolve them.  There is no way the fort will ever know about the origins of the zombocalypse, I can't write about characters forever, and I can't keep writing an endless series novels about the fort when I don't feel there is a dynamic story there.

At some point, as a writer, I have to let go of the world, the characters, and the story.

I remember watching The Matrix for the first time when it was released in the theaters. I loved it. I thought about it for quite some time after I left the theater. I tried to imagine what the future of that world would be like once Neo began to show the world the truth about The Matrix. It was enthralling to consider. 

Years later when they did the sequels, I couldn't wait to see them.  And then...

I prefer to pretend they never happened, honestly.

What was so wonderful about the first movie was lost in the last two. They were hollow and pale imitations of the first. All the magic and wonder that came with the ending of the first movie was wiped out. Hell, bad ass Morpheus became...boring.

I recognize that people want neatly tied up novels with happily ever afters most of the time. But life isn't like that and it's hard to force that onto a novel. 

Years ago when I was finishing up PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES, I was convinced it was a standalone. Just before publication, I realized that there were two more books. A trilogy.  PRETTY WHEN SHE KILLS and PRETTY WHEN SHE DESTROYS.  I had actually written a kinda/sorta HEA (Happily Ever After) into the end of PWSD for some of the characters.  I could have left the world alone on that ending note and been happy.  For a while, I seriously considered not writing the sequels because it took a loooooooooooong time for PWSD to catch on with readers.  Then, it found its fanbase and the demands for PRETTY WHEN SHE KILLS started pouring in.

So that HEA at the end of PWSD?  GONE! Broken! Destroyed. The world Cian and Amaliya live in is about to get fucked in so many ways, anyone who reads the first book will realize the ending of that book was a brief respite from the REALLY BAD STUFF.

Seriously, things are already going south for the cast of characters in the the series. By the end of the third book, there will be character deaths. I already know of one major character death in PRETTY WHEN SHE KILLS.

After discussing some plot points with my husband last night, I thought to myself, "Some fans are going to wish they hadn't asked for a sequel."

So to try and bring cohesion and clarity to this post, here are my points.  

Sometimes when a book ends it's a good thing not to have every single aspect of the story explained, it's good to wonder about the world and the characters once you close the book,  and sometimes it's great to leave the characters at a HEA because if the writer kept writing you'd only see it vanish.  Sometimes it's good to say goodbye to characters and a world before the story loses its magic and impact.

The Pretty Vampire Series finishes with PRETTY WHEN SHE DESTROYS.  I know how the trilogy ends and it's going to be so awesome. But it will also be at a perfect stopping point.  I have no regrets going back into the world of Amaliya because there is more story left to be told. Yes, some of it will be painful, some of it fun, some of it scary, and some parts downright creepy as hell, but hopefully the readers fell it will be worth it.

How do you feel about HEA?

How do you feel about a book, series, or trilogy ending with some things left unknown?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Online Book Store Update - LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING Pre-Order and More

A quick update on the online bookstore on this blog and at

The pre-order for THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING autographed books is now available. Please make sure to read the information carefully before ordering.  Because I have to wait for my shipment to arrive from the printers, the books will not be mailed until after the release date of June 12, 2012.  Also International Orders are treated differently.

The link to order is on the top of this page.

Back in stock are two fan favorites, but in limited quantities. Make sure you order your copies as soon as possible. These tend to sell out very quickly.

I am aware of the fact that Barnes & Noble do not have the Nook version of Untold Tales Volume 1 in their store yet. I'm not sure why there is a delay.  You can order the Nook version at Smashwords by clicking here.

BLOOD & LOVE AND OTHER VAMPIRE TALES is presently sold out. New copies should be available soon.

You can purchase the ebook for .99 on by clicking on this link:

The newly re-edited version of PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES is available exclusively on Kindle for $2.99.  It's better than ever, so catch up on this series before PRETTY WHEN SHE KILLS comes out later this year.

You can purchase (or borrow if you're a Prime Member) the Kindle on by clicking on this link:

A Warning to Starting Writers in the Horror/Zombie Genre About Anthony Giangregorio

I have been aware of Anthony Giangregorio for some time.  Years ago he wrote a book called Dead Reckoning: The Dawning of the Dead that flagrantly used the characters from George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead film. He even admitted that he had written it as a direct sequel to the movie without permission, violating copyright. Basically, he self-published fan fiction and garnered a profit from any sales. At the time he had also claimed that his "publisher" Living Dead Press, was supportive of his decision to shelve the book. Since he owns that press and two others, Undead Press, and Open Coffin Press, this shouldn't be too surprising. Anthony didn't want to admit to his self-publishing status (shrug), but whatever. He eventually did pull the book, changed the names, and re-released it, but many people in the horror community took note of what he had done.

This same man also claimed that an editor at Permuted Press radically altered the novel that was published through that publishing house and had inserted a rape scene.  The owner, Jacob, proved that the editor had not inserted the rape scene  and Tony finally backed down. Permuted Press returned the book to Tony after quite a firestorm on the forums.

A little later on, Anthony began harassing a friend of mine when she left a review on a book he published by another author. It was actually a very positive review, but she had criticized the editing. Since she had used her real name on her review, he tracked her down via Google and threatened to get her fired from her job. He even called her work (a law firm) to threaten her. He backed off after the law firm began to put together a case against him.

Luckily, I have never been directly involved with Anthony or his press. I heard enough from other writers about their dealings to never want to risk it. Sadly, in retrospect, I realize a lot of what I heard was never made public. A lot of the writers who felt that their dealings with Anthony were to say the very least unprofessional remained mute publicly.

For that reason, I'm VERY glad that people are finally stepping up and openly reporting the things he has done. The latest revelations of his dealings are great cause for concern. How many writers have been in his anthologies only to discover their work had been mutilated? How many writers spent money buying copies of those anthologies to hand out to fans and family only to discover that their stories bore little resemblance to the original?  These writers were not paid for their contribution except with a contributor copy. But they spent plenty of money buying books from Anthony to show off their published work.  Sad!

Stant Litore, the author of The Undead Bible, wrote a great post updating everyone on the latest information.  It's something every writer should read, so with his permission, I'm reposting it here.

Thank you, Stant, for allowing me to share this.

WARNING! Beware UnDead Press and Anthony Giangregorio!

People more eloquent than I have already blogged about this, but I want to do what I can to get the word out. PLEASE share this information.

Writers (especially horror genre writers):

Beware UnDead Press and editor Anthony Giangregorio. This press -- one of Tony G's many presses (to my knowledge, he also owns Living Dead Press and Open Casket Press) -- is a scam. Author Mandy DeGeit has blogged about what happened to her, and no less a personage than Neil Gaiman himself has been tweeting the news.

Here's the short version:

·                  Tony G recently released an anthology that included Mandy's fiction. The story featured disastrous spelling and punctuation errors not present in the original manuscript, Tony changed the gender of a main character, added in flashback scenes, and added a suggestion of rape to the end of Mandy's story.
·                  When confronted politely but firmly, Tony G. unleashed a torrent of abuse via email (you can read all the transcripts at Mandy's blog).

More of the scoop:

Tony is actually infamous in the industry for disreputable behavior, alleged shadiness around copyright, and ill-treatment of authors. (And by shadiness around copyright, I don't just mean rewriting stories that have been submitted to him; Tony also reportedly self-published one or more novels set in the world of George Romero's Dawn of the Dead -- with the same characters! -- without permission from George Romero, and then proceeded to collect royalties on Romero's intellectual property.) You can learn more here. And here is a list of other writers who have reported bad practices by this individual.

His most recent -- and creepy -- shenanigan: apparently threatening to make a house callon another writer (of the opposite sex) who has also requested that her (also drastically rewritten) story be pulled from his anthology. Maybe it's a joke. A very, very creepy joke.

Young writers out there, please be careful. When approached by -- or approaching -- any publisher, vet them thoroughly. Granted, there aren't many scam artists like Tony out there in the industry, but please be careful. That said, I don't want to give an impression that Mandy DeGeit is in any way responsible for what happened to her story. When Tony slashed, burned, rewrote, and changed the entire narrative, that was a crime against her intellectual property. That's like being authorized by you to show the house you lovingly designed to other people to celebrate it, and then demolishing half the house and remodeling it in a shoddy manner completely out of step with your original design. Without telling you I'm doing so. (Note that Mandy was never sent proofs, even though she was in touch with Tony by email regularly.) And then when you point out that I've severely damaged your house, I send you abusive emails telling you that second-rate designers like yourself should be grateful for my help.

This makes me furious.

Update: This just in as of evening of 5/16/12: Tony has also ripped off the very well-known horror writer Jonathan Maberry, rewriting and mangling Maberry's short story.

Update: Writer Beware has posted, in response to this incident, a detailed column on what to look for in editing clauses in a publishing contract. I highly recommend reading their post here

Please spread the word and help other writers beware.

Stant Litore

For more information on the situation, check out the newly revived blog about Anthony Giangregorio and his Publishing houses.

If you're a writer and YOU have a story to tell about his dealings, I urge you to come forward. Now is the time. Word needs to spread. Writers need to be warned. Otherwise, he'll just make a new publishing house and start this crap all over again.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


In 2008 I self-published my modern day vampire/necromancer/zombie novel called PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES.  I was new to the world of self-publishing and did my very best to produce a quality work.  Though I love the story and the cover for the novel, one aspect of the book has been bothering me.

I definitely made a few mistakes when I started self-publishing. One of them was depending on friends to edit.  Though they were high-educated and even trained to edit, they were cautious with their critiques.  I found out later from a few of them that they didn't want to hurt my feelings.  Though I understand their concern, I really wish they had been crueler with the red pen.  I am extremely aware of the fact that a writer cannot self-edit their own novel. No matter how many times I read over my own work, I can't see the mistakes I've made. I may catch a few here and there, but in the end I will miss things.

The editing for PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES was not as strong as I would have liked. Cracking the book open last year for the readalong hosted by The Bookish Brunette, I winced a few times when I read some errors in the text. It bothered me enough to contact the editor I now use for my self-published works, Felicia Sullivan.  Felicia was kind enough to fit me into her very busy schedule. She edits for several publishing companies, most notably Permuted Press.  I'm so happy to have a newly edited version of PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES to offer to my readers. It's now a cleaner, crisper read, and I really appreciate all the hard work she did.

There are no major plot changes in the story.  The wonky sentence structure, grammar mistakes, etc, have now been smoothed out.  You don't need to buy the new version if you have read the previous version.

Special PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES Autographed Book Sale

I have three copies of the original paperbacks left at my online store.  I am placing them on sale for $5.00 plus shipping and handling.  

To buy the Kindle book click below:


I am currently writing PRETTY WHEN SHE KILLS. It's coming along very nicely.  It's a lot of fun being back with the characters of Amaliya, Cian, Samantha, Jeff, and the other supporting cast.  I'm also enjoying the new additions to the story.  I really missed this group of characters.

I'm barely a prologue and a chapter into the story and things are already popping.  The opening scene is pretty spooky and Amaliya's first scene had me giggling. Especially when her first words in the novel ended up being, "Fuck you!"

I've already sent off the beginning of the book to my test reader, Janet Rogers. I really appreciate her input. She is also kind enough to endure receiving the book in bits and pieces as I work on it. She always asks me hard questions and helps shape the book into a great read. I really appreciate her.

Also, if you would like to track my progress on PRETTY WHEN SHE KILLS, just watch the counter in the sidebar on my blog (in case you're reading this in a feed).

The word count meter looks like this:

I change it every day when I finish writing.  I'm estimating at this time that the novel will be around 90,000 words, which is roughly 360 pages of manuscript. The finished book product will be around 250 or so pages once it's formatted into the 6 x 9 book template (front and back).

Some days the counter may leap forward quite a lot, other days it may only advance a little bit.  Sometimes I have massive writing spurts, while other days I have to go back to check on lost plot threads, etc, so the count is lower.

I don't have an estimated publication date because I have yet to finish the book. Though I want to do a "fast draft" as taught by Candace Havens, I'm not sure how long I will take to finish it.  The fast draft results in a 70,000 word manuscript at the end of two weeks.  I may take a little longer. PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES was written in three weeks.

Of course, once I'm done, I'll have to send it to the test readers, revise it, then send it to Felicia Sullivan for editing.  After that, the book has to be revised again, formatted, the final proof read is done, then it goes into publication. The good news is that we already have the cover done!

So when will PRETTY WHEN SHE KILLS be available?  I'm not sure yet. But when I do have a publication date I will announce it.

How do you like the meter to track my progress?

What do you hope to see in PRETTY WHEN SHE KILLS?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Shifting Gears! -- Switching Book Projects in Midstream

When working on a novel, I dedicate myself wholly to that universe and the characters that live within it. It's extremely difficult for me to work on more than one novel at a time.  I tried to do it in the past, but the bleed over between the two worlds can make everything a muddled mess.  Therefore, when I jump into a writing project, I try to be faithful to it until the very last line is written.

While writing THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING, I had numerous interruptions.  The revisions for all three AS THE WORLD DIES novels kept pulling me out of the world of the Bastion.  I would have to literally decompress for about a day or two before shifting gears into the ATWD universe. When I went back to Bastion, it was the same process. It's almost like I have to shut down everything for one world, so I can pay attention to the other.

That being said, when I finally finished Bastion, I felt an enormous sense of accomplishment considering the multiple interruptions it endured.  It feels really solid and I love it.

Now I'm facing an interruption with my newest novel, THE MIDNIGHT SPELL.  Kody Boye, my co-author is going  away on vacation for around two weeks, so that leaves me high and dry.  We're working very closely on each chapter, so there's no way one of us can write ahead.  So I have to set aside THE MIDNIGHT SPELL even though we're more than halfway done.  I'm a little sad about it because I love Christy, the character who is narrating my part of the story, but I know we can jump back in once Kody's back. We've been moving very swiftly on this novel and it will be done  by mid-June or earlier.

So, while Kody is away, I'm diving into PRETTY WHEN SHE KILLS.  *grin*  So happy to finally leap into the world of Amaliya.  The rough draft for PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES was written in three weeks time back in 2007, so I'm aiming to repeat the "fast draft" process I learned from author Candace Havens.  It is a really intense process, but it's a really great way to get a rough draft written.  The fast draft is so all-encompassing it really fires up my imagination.  I'm so excited!

So after writing my last scene for THE MIDNIGHT SPELL until Kody returns from vacation at the end of May, I'm switching my background image on my computer to this:

It's time to come home to Austin, Texas and Amaliya....

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Last Bastion of the Living Full Cover Wrap Reveal - And Details on the Release

Full Cover Wrap

Yesterday was the big cover reveal for THE LAST BASTION Of THE LIVING at numerous blogs.  It was hosted by The Bookish Brunette for Zombie Craze.  The feedback on twitter, the blogs, facebook, goodreads, and in messages has been very positive.  I'm so glad you love it as much as I do!

Above is the full cover wrap for the book.  We have yet to put the final text on the back cover, but you can see how amazing this book is going to look.  It's beautiful!  Claudia McKinney did such a great job and I feel this artwork really captures the power of Maria Martinez, my protagonist.  A few people have compared it to Underworld, but that is inevitable when you have a bad ass brunette in a leather armor catsuit. Personally, I would love it if readers come away from the book feeling that Maria is as much of a bad ass as Selene.  Vanguard Maria Martinez is one of my favorite characters to date. I love her. She is such a strong, competent woman.  I can't wait to share her with you.

Front Cover
Meanwhile, the book is in its final editing stage.  It's on target for release on June 12, 2012.

There is NO PRE-ORDER on this novel. Sadly, that option is not available to Indie Authors at this time. Hopefully, this will change in the future.  The book will be available in both paperback and in ebook formats.

We may have it be a Kindle exclusive for 3 months.  My husband and I are weighing the pros and cons.  Nook sales are significantly less than Kindle sales and we're are interested in the Kindle library (which means the book ends up exclusive to Kindle).  I'll keep you posted.

The book will also be available on my online store. You will be able to buy autographed copies.  We are also setting up a Cafe Express shop where you can order items with the cover image.  I will keep you posted on that as well.

There will be a blog tour from June 11 to July 7.  There will be a major giveaway, so keep your eyes peeled.  There may even be a chance to win the book BEFORE the release date if we can sort out all the details.

Please remember to add it to your goodreads "to read" list.

I have been asked a certain question various times now, so here is the answer:
This book is NOT associated in anyway, shape or form with the AS THE WORLD DIES zombie trilogy (or Untold Tales) universe.  It is a separate universe with a completely different type of zombie and history.

Drop by Zombie Craze at the Bookish Brunette to enter to win tons of great zombie stuff.

 The bookish brunette

Friday, May 11, 2012


My futuristic zombie novel, THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING, will be available on June 12, 2012, but today is the cover reveal hosted by The Bookish Brunette for Zombie Craze.

I'm so excited to share this beautiful artwork with you. The cover artist is Claudia McKinney of Phat Puppy Creations.  The typography was done by The Bookish Brunette Designs.

Check out the new cover by visiting Zombie Craze by clicking on the image below!

 The bookish brunette

Claudia does such amazing work. Usually her artwork is very dreamy or gothic. For THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING, she pulls out the dystopian card in a BIG way.  It's absolutely awesome.

To see more of Claudia's amazing work, click the image below:

I would also like to thank all the bloggers participating in the cover reveal today.  All of them will also be participating in the THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING Blog Tour in June.

Paranormal & Urban Fantasy Reviews (with an exclusive interview with the cover artist!)
Badass Book Reviews (reveal on Saturday 5/12)

Don't forget to add THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING to your "to read" list on goodreads.

The Bastion was humanity’s last hope against the fearsome undead creatures known as the Inferi Scourge. A fortified city with a high wall, surrounded by lush land rich with all the resources needed to survive, protected by high mountain summits, and a massive gate to secure the only pass into the valley, the Bastion became the last stronghold of the living on earth. But one fateful day, the gate failed and the Inferi Scourge destroyed the human settlements outside the walls and trapped the survivors inside the city. Now decades later, the last remaining humans are struggling to survive in a dying city as resources and hope dwindle.
Vanguard Maria Martinez has lived her whole life within the towering walls of steel. She yearns for a life away from the overcrowded streets, rolling blackouts, and food shortages, but there is no hope for anyone as long as the Inferi Scourge howl outside the high walls. Her only refuge from the daily grind is in the arms of her lover, Dwayne Reichardt, an officer in the Bastion Constabulary. Both are highly-decorated veterans of the last disastrous push against the Inferi Scourge. Their secret affair is her only happiness.
Then one day Maria is summoned to meet with a mysterious representative from the Science Warfare Division and is offered the opportunity to finally destroy the Inferi Scourge in the valley and close the gate. The rewards of success are great, but she will have to sacrifice everything, possibly even her life, to accomplish the ultimate goal of securing the future of humanity and saving it from extinction.

So what do you think of the new cover?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

REMINDER: Book Signing Today at BookPeople in Austin, Texas

Central Texas friends, family, and fans, remember this Thursday that I will be appearing at BookPeople for a book signing.  I hope to see you there!

Book Signing at BookPeople
May 10, 2012
7:00 PM
603 N Lamar Blvd
Austin, Texas 78703-5413

Rhiannon Frater will be discussing and signing copies of SIEGE the final book in the AS THE WORLD DIES zombie trilogy. Please come out and support a local author and independent bookstores.

Standalone Novel versus Series - When To Call It Quits

THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING is heading swiftly toward publication on June 12, 2012.  Tomorrow is the big cover reveal of the novel and the blog tour starts on June 11, 2012 and continues until July 7, 2012.  The unedited advance review copy in ebook form is already in the hands of over twenty-five bloggers, and I'm already receiving very positive feedback.
  • "Holy shit! This. Was. Incredibly. Insane. Rhiannon really outdid herself with this one. It's fascinating, definitely unique, and completely blew my mind." -- Giselle from Xpresso Reads
  • "Awesome doesn't even describe this book so far!"-- Kristen from Blood, Sweat and Books
  • "DAMN good..." --Ash from Smash Attack Reads
These comments aren't even from a final review, but from their status updates on goodreads.

I'm so relived!

But a question is starting to pop up that was asked by the test readers.

Is this a series? Or a trilogy? 

The answer is that it is a standalone. Yep. One book. Not a series. Not a trilogy.

 I LOVE the world of THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING. I LOVE the characters. I LOVE the entire setup. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE... Hell, in some ways, I think this is one of the best things I have ever written. Yet... I consider it to be a standalone. My reason  is that the ending is just perfection. It ends on just the right note.

My husband and I discussed the topic of sequels or other stories in the universe of THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING.  I'm adamant that it's a standalone.  His response that maybe one day I'll feel differently.

For me to go back into that world and muck around feels wrong right now.  I would have to have some incredible, amazing, mind-blowing plot drop into my head to make me want to return to that world.

I can't deny that right now the publishing world (both traditional and indie) are flush with series and trilogies. Readers have come to expect multiple books starring the same characters. Yet, I often have book ideas that are not a part of a series, but are standalones.

I have only three novel series at this time.

1. As The World Dies 
2. Pretty When She Dies Trilogy 
(book 2 is out this year)
3. The Vampire Bride Series 
(which may have up to 6 books or more)

The Vampire Bride Series is honestly the only one I can see continuing on for some time. Since Lady Glynis Wright is a vampire, her longevity allows a lot of leeway.  Though I would like to adhere to the idea of writing a book a year in the series, I'm not sure this will be the case. I have some ideas for novellas that plug into her world that I may also write.

The Pretty When She Dies Trilogy is definitely only three books.  There are new characters in the second book I might be interested in spinning off, but I have to see if they survive book three first.

With the AS THE WORLD DIES zombie trilogy, I was very satisfied with the ending. I felt I had brought it to a natural and solid ending.  Though I have dabbled in the side stories of the minor characters in the UNTOLD TALES, I feel that the trilogy itself is just right.

"When is the next book?" I have had more than one person ask.

"It's a trilogy," I answer. "Three books and now we're done."

"But this can't be the end!"

But it can be. And probably should be.

I regard SIEGE as the perfect endgame of the trilogy and felt it left the characters in just the right spot in their lives (if they are alive at the end).

Though in my head I know what comes next in the lives of the fort after SIEGE, and even what happens a hundred or more years in the future, I just don't feel there is a cohesive story there that I want to tell.  I've had a lot of people tell me I could write AS THE WORLD DIES books forever and they would read each one. That's definitely a compliment, but the mere thought of writing a book every year in the zombie infested universe of ATWD is not appealing. I dread the thought of 1) killing more characters 2) pushing the story to expand any further than it already has 3) writing books with no endgame in sight.

The series I have enjoyed are the JENNY POX trilogy, THE HUNGER GAMES, and several other series that had a definitive number of books. I loved that we had a solid resolution with those trilogies and series.  I'm also thrilled that Ann Aguirre's Sirantha Jax series has a final book out this year called ENDGAME.

I have fallen out of love with many series over the years.  I jumped ship off the Anita Blake series when it became erotica.  I got bored with Sookie Stackhouse and her endless boyfriends.  I got sick of Rachel Morgan being continuously stupid and not evolving.  And I've abandoned several other series that seemed to drag on forever, never offering resolution, or any sort of real satisfaction.

I love story arcs. I love character development. I love seeing relationships (friendships, romances, adversaries) evolve between characters.  I honestly believe that when a series goes on too long all these things start to suffer.

I have so many ideas for so many other worlds and the characters that inhabit them, I never want to restrict myself to just a few series. I desire the challenge of uncovering new exciting ideas, characters, and stories and sharing them with my readership.

How do you feel about series? Trilogies? Or standalone novels?  Please feel free to comment.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Book Signing at BookPeople in Austin Thursday, May 10th.

Central Texas friends, family, and fans, remember this Thursday that I will be appearing at BookPeople for a book signing.  I hope to see you there!

Book Signing at BookPeople
May 10, 2012
7:00 PM
603 N Lamar Blvd
Austin, Texas 78703-5413

Rhiannon Frater will be discussing and signing copies of SIEGE the final book in the AS THE WORLD DIES zombie trilogy. Please come out and support a local author and independent bookstores.

Why Aren't You On Goodreads?

I'm a huge fan of goodreads. I honestly believe it is one of the best sites that is out there for both readers and writers. Though there have been some really huge kerfuffles on goodreads over the last year or so, it still remains one of the best ways to discover new books, authors, and even make friends.

So what is goodreads?

Goodreads is basically a social media site about books. You can create your own profile and list all the books you have read, books you want to read, or books you are currently reading. You can rate the books, write reviews, and  comment on other people's ratings and reviews.  There are plenty of reading groups to join and discuss your favorite books. You can compare your reading list to a friend's and add even refer books to those on your friends list.

There is also a goodreads app for phones, tablets, etc, that allows quick access to your lists. I use it when I'm at the bookstore. I just access my list as I browse. It's easier than scribbling it all down on a piece of paper. I have even added books to my "to read" list while walking among the bookshelves at the bookstore.

As a writer, you can become a goodreads author. You can update your author profile, make sure the list of your books is correct and update the data on your books. You can also post book trailers, have a blog (or have your blog feed into it), and create buzz for an upcoming release. You can even host giveaways.

A few writers have complained about bad reviews on goodreads, but honestly, that's part of the business of writing. Some people will love you, others will not.  Overall, goodreads is a great place for readers who do love your work to share that information with others.

I encourage both readers and writers to join goodreads because it's a great place for those of us who really love books. Since joining goodreads I have discovered a lot of new books to read. My "to read" list continues to grow.

If you are on goodreads, please add me as a friend. Click here to go to my profile.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dawn of the Dead - Fran, the Original Strong Female Protagonist in the Zombie Genre

Me and Gaylen Ross
I recently met Gaylen Ross at Texas Frightmare and it was a huge geek girl moment for me. I adore her completely and find her very inspirational.  In fact, Gaylen Ross had a big impact on the creation of Jenni and Katie in several ways.

A year or so ago, I was asked a question during a podcast that I had never been asked before.  It was amazingly easy to answer, too, but my response shocked the interviewer. He did not expect the answer I gave.

The question was:

"Who was the stronger female protagonist?  Fran from Dawn of the Dead, or Anna from the remake?"

My immediate answer: "Fran."

My reasoning is as follows. Fran was living in the very sexist time period of the 70's.  Women were still demanding equal rights and struggling to be respected in the work force and in society as a whole.  Even in the Dawn of the Dead movie, you can see the men's treatment of Fran is rather chauvinistic in the beginning. 

When they leave to explore the mall, they don't even hand her a weapon. This results in her nearly dying when a zombie discovers her hiding place. She immediately stands up for herself, demands a weapon, lessons on how to shoot it, and flying lessons for the helicopter. Afterward, she is an active part of the taking of the mall.  I really liked it when Fran refused to be "den mother" to the men.  That was such a great moment.

In the remake, Anna is a woman of the 2000's. She has a career, is married, has a nice home, and is obviously a strong woman.  She is an active part of the group from the very beginning and never has to really prove herself.  If anything, from the very beginning of the movie, it is apparent that Anna is a very capable and strong woman.

Fran did have to assert herself.  She had to prove herself. Not only did she have to deal with zombies, she had to deal with the expectations of the men around her.  They expected her to let them do all the planning, fighting, and tough stuff, while she stayed hidden and cooking and cleaning for them.  She had to take a stand.

While visiting the Monroeville Mall a few years ago, I sat in the Dawn of the Dead museum and watched part of a documentary on the filming of the movie.  I had signed the deal with Tor and had just received the revision letter on THE FIRST DAYS.  From speaking with my editor, I knew that a major strength of the books was the female protagonists.  

But I didn't expect to be reduced to tears when I saw the portion of the documentary where they spoke about Gaylen Ross refusing to have her character run, fall down, or cry. She wanted her character to fight. Romero was surprised, but did as she requested.  I was so immensely proud of her for standing up for herself and the character.  But also extremely grateful because Fran, unlike Barbara in Night of the Living Dead, was a role model for me as not only a woman, but a writer in the zombie genre.

When I spoke to Gaylen Ross, I told her all of the above. She started to roll her eyes when I told her about the question I was asked, but widened her eyes when I told her how she answered.  She was thrilled by it and grinned.  I also told her about Nerit (Gaylen is Jewish). Gaylen joked she should play Nerit as her comeback. Seriously, I would freakin' love that!

It was such an amazing moment for me meeting her though. Even though I also met the super-sexy Norman Reedus  aka Daryl Dixon of The Walking Dead and the super-sweet IronE Singleton aka T-Dog, meeting Gaylen was the highlight of the entire weekend for me.  

If not for Gaylen Ross standing up for herself and Fran back in the 70's, I don't know if Jenni, Katie, and Nerit would have been born in my imagination.  I give her a lot of credit.

And that is why I say that Fran from Dawn of the Dead was the original strong female protagonist of the zombie genre.

Make sure to check out Zombie Craze!  There are awesome giveaways happening throughout the month of May including the entire 

 The bookish brunette