My short story is out!

besties-coverfinal-208x300In case anyone missed it on Facebook (and why aren’t you following me on Facebook?) an anthology came out which includes my story “My Vengeful Heart.”

In it, one teenage boy watches his best friend die and is stunned by the complicit acceptance shown by his parents and neighbors of the slaughter happening right in front of them. He turns to black magic to exact revenge with an unexpected result.

Click here to buy the book. I hope enjoy it.

Lucienne Diver takes on Teen Female Empowerment in Faultlines

This is a different kind of book for those who read Diver’s novels. This is a book that comes from the heart, from the headlines and with the hope that girls learn to speak up for themselves, be heard, be seen, and be proud.

Usually my novels start with a character talking in my head and in order to keep them from chattering aimlessly, I have to build a story line around them.  Not so with Faultlines. The idea for Faultlines came up in a most unusual way—I was doing a talk at a school and I didn’t want to use my story lines from the Vamped novels to illustrate plot development, conflict, escalation, climax and denouement. I wanted something more mainstream and accessible to everyone. To my surprise, I came up with something on the fly that I called The Notebook. A girl is dead and her notebook, her journal, contains secrets that keep popping up, causing trouble for people that builds toward a dangerous crescendo.

That was all I had at that point, but I thought hey, that’s pretty good. I should mark that down and use it some time. But I was in the midst of deadlines for the Vamped series and then my agent sold the Latter-Day Olympians series, and so the concept took up space in my back brain, never leaving me but not allowed to come to the fore…until it wouldn’t be denied.

I was at a house party, of all places, surrounded by people, and yet I felt the need to sneak away, grab my notebook and pen and start writing.  Now, I said my novels usually begin with characters.  I like writing strong women, and in both the aforementioned series, my protagonists are bold and snarky, always apt to run headlong into a fight.  I have a character like that in the novel that came to be called Faultlines as well. The problem is, she’s dead.

Six months before the start of the novel, Lisa stopped fighting. She pushed everyone away, started dressing to be overlooked rather than looked over, and withdrew into herself. My heroine, Vanessa, was her best friend. The sensible one. The one who did what she was supposed to.  But now, Lisa is gone and all Vanessa wants to do is make a scene—yell and scream and demand that someone pay attention, because Lisa could not possibly have killed herself. She couldn’t.

Staying quiet, being good hasn’t worked out very well for her. She feels like she failed her friend and that maybe it’s time to try something different. There are so many points I want to make here that it would probably take a series of blogs, so I’ll try to stick to two. Authors are always doing that—plots can go off in a million different directions, and we have to pick and choose what will make the novel strongest. So, here’s what I most want to say.

I think that young women, in particular, are often taught to be proper. Not to cause a fuss, not to create a stir or draw attention.  There’s so much text and subtext out there that implies that if girls or women behave or dress in a way that gets them noticed, they’ve invited harassment, bullying and other grief. And sadly, that’s exactly what a woman often gets for speaking out. Some characters in Faultlines decide not to speak out for this very reason. The problem is, this is how the bad guys win. This is how they get to move on and hurt someone else.  If all of the good people spoke up, we could shout down the bad, drown out their voices.  We could expose predators to the light to wither rather than thrive in secrets and shadows.

So easy to say. So difficult to do. Trust me, I know. I kick myself for every time I’ve stayed silent, and I’ve smarted from the wounds of every time I’ve spoken up.

Vanessa gets jump-started into various realizations because of Lisa’s death, because here’s another thing I want to say—people will often step up to fill a void. When Vanessa and Lisa were close, Lisa was the ringleader. Vanessa could be daring in her wake. But without Lisa, she has to push herself. She starts by asking herself What Would Lisa Do? but she comes up with her own answers as well.

Do about what? you might ask. Well, Faultlines is about a lot of things, but particularly finding fault and assigning blame. Vanessa blames herself for not being stronger, for letting Lisa push her away. She has no idea what led Lisa to end her life, but together with the boy she secretly loves who was Lisa’s almost-boyfriend and so eternally off limits, she decides she needs to find out. Maybe if she can discover what happened to Lisa, she can start to accept her death. Only, while she’s investigating, someone jumps ahead, attacking people they perceive hurt Lisa. As the former best friend, Vanessa is blamed. Absent any evidence at all, people retaliate against her, starting a circle of escalating violence.  It has to stop. Vanessa seems the only one inclined to stop it. And so she must step up.

Faultlines is a novel of so many things, all of them very close to my heart. All of them complex and difficult. I hope I’ve done them justice. I hope I’ve done Vanessa justice the way that she plans to do for Lisa. And I hope that those of you who read Faultlines will let me know and that you’ll reach out if you see yourselves or someone you know in the novel—not necessarily to me, although I’m here if you need me, but to someone trained to help. No one should suffer in silence.

Faith Hunter’s Curse on the Land

Happy Book Birthday to Faith Hunter! Enjoy this Q&A, excerpt and enter Rafflecopter giveaway…all here on Slippery Words.
Faith answers questions from the Beast Claws, her Street Team. 
Q – How did you design the Unit? Did you start with what the story arc needed, a love interest, a surrogate child, supportive female characters, or did you create the characters and they evolved with the story?
Faith – that was soooo much fun! I started out with Rick and Paka because that gives me instant conflict. Then I added Rick’s up-line Supervising Special Agent Soul. Then I needed a person to take over if Rick was disabled, and that gave me JoJo, the unit’s smartest character with the best organizational abilities. Then I needed another were-cat to help Rick with his little shape-changing problem, and instantly Occam stepped onto the  page. And I needed a witch to deal with witchy problems. T. Laine (named after my cousin, Tammie Laine) walked right at me, fully formed. We had a nearly perfect pack, but I had a bunch of alphas and betas and nothing else. I needed someone to take both the Zed position in the pack (the Omega position) and also be the one who had be most opportunity to grow or mess up. And that left Tandy. Voila. Unit 18.
Q – How did Tandy an empath end up in PsyLED? What is his back story? He seems a bit fragile to be in an active unit.
Faith – Tandy’s history is only now coming clear to me. I think he was perfectly human until he was struck by lightning. Then everything changed. His gift opened as the electricity zapped through his brain and his glandular system. And yes he is fragile. But his ability to tell when someone is lying or hiding something is invaluable in an interrogation. And he needed protection, which the unite began to give him. Wait till you see what happens in the next book!
 
Q – Can Nell break Paka’s hold on Rick?
Faith – LOL You will have to wait on that one. But it’s a good question. A better one would be – what would be left of Rick if she did?
Q – Can Nell sense the unnamed Vampire she rescued and Claimed still?
Faith – it hasn’t come up. And Nell would hate to think about vampires in any capacity. Maggots and all…
Q – Is the relationship between Nell and Soulwood edging along a Dryad type relationship in spirit and soul form?
Faith – Not exactly. Dryads are European in origin and Nell is something similar but not spiritual. She is her own creature.
Q – Are the gwyllgi naturally evil? Or is it a case of nurture? Will we ever see just how the werewolves of Montana deal with the wayward dogs?
Faith – Both. They are selfish by nature but could have been taught good manners and compassion. As to the Montana wolf question, I have no plans to write that story. But it could happen!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

EXCERPT
Rick set down the pot and his mug and pulled his cell. He made a note, not asking who I had talked to. I figured he knew, so I didn’t offer, but it would be in my report. What wouldn’t be in the report was the fact that I had told Jane Yellowrock everything about the situation up here, even the classified things that no one was supposed to talk about outside of PsyLED. I had only met Jane twice, but she had a good head on her shoulders and knew a lot about paranormal things and creatures. And she was trustworthy with secrets, maybe because she carried her own.
 
Thomas Jefferson’s quote about lying becoming habitual seemed like a mighty truth, and I was clearly racing down that particular road to hell, myself. But keeping secrets meant lies, and my job meant keeping secrets. I was trapped in a catch twenty-two  from which there was no escape except back into the life I had lived before. Alone. Or full speed ahead into the life of a liar, with people I liked. There wasn’t much contest. At all.

GIVEAWAY!

There is a tour-wide giveaway for 5 copies of CURSE ON THE LAND, 2 sets of the Soulwood novels (BLOOD OF THE EARTH & CURSE ON THE LAND), and a $25 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Giveaway runs October 17th to November 12th. If you’d like to share, the Rafflecopter code is below.
About CURSE ON THE LAND:
Before Nell Ingram met skinwalker Jane Yellowrock, she had no one to rely on, finding strength only in her arcane connection to the dark woods around her. But now she has friends in the newly formed PsyLED team to keep her grounded — even if being part of the agency responsible for policing paranormals comes with dangers of its own…
 
After training at the PsyLED academy, Nell returns home to her woods to find the land feeling sick and restless. And that sickness is spreading. With the help of her team, under the leadership of agent Rick LaFleur, Nell tries to determine the cause. But nothing can prepare them for the evil that awaits: an entity that feeds on death itself. And it wants more….
About Faith Hunter:
Faith Hunter, fantasy writer, was born in Louisiana and raised all over the south. She writes three Urban Fantasy series: the Skinwalker series, featuring Jane Yellowrock, a Cherokee skinwalker who hunts rogue vampires. The Soulwood series, featuring earth magic user Nell Ingram. And the Rogue Mage novels, a dark, urban, post-apocalyptic, fantasy series featuring Thorn St. Croix, a stone mage. (There is a role playing game based on the series, ROGUE MAGE.)
Under the pen name Gwen Hunter, she writes action-adventure, mysteries, and thrillers. As Faith and Gwen, she has 30+ books in print in 29 countries.
Hunter writes full-time, tries to keep house, and is a workaholic with a passion for travel, jewelry making, white-water kayaking, and writing. She and her husband love to RV, traveling with their rescued Pomeranians to whitewater rivers all over the Southeast.
Find Faith online at her website FaithHunter.net, her blog, on TwitterFacebook, and Goodreads.