Sunday, May 31, 2015


Today I'm back at the Daily Bookworm, with a first spell teaser (blurb from the How to Date Dead Guys) and a giveaway.

Read more about it HERE.

Monday, May 25, 2015


Humans, you are not alone.


"Joachim is a hunter in the jungle of a post-apocalyptic Earth. Though generations have passed since the Great Death, something has evolved in the trees beyond the giant glowing mushrooms, mutants that want to see human entrails spread along the jungle floor.

And now they've taken Joachim’s wife.

To get her back, Joachim will have to give the leader of these demons something in return: immortality. A creature knows when he is going to die, after all. Plunged into a world of magic and darkness, Joachim must find the only woman who knows where the ingredients are. She is a prophetess known as the Black Oracle living in the realm of Zalm, but she’s a little preoccupied at the moment. She leads a rebellion against the ruthless High Council, and when Joachim seeks her out, he too finds himself consumed by her struggle.

In a story of betrayal, prophecy, and bloodshed, Joachim has ten days to retrieve the ingredients and return to Earth all while evading the High Council’s army, one that wants the Black Oracle and her associates killed — Joachim included."

“The Black Oracle” is a New Adult post-apocalyptic fantasy novel, and it is available now. You can pick up an eBook copy on Amazon here or a paperback copy here. Check out the excerpt below and join the adventure today.


“Darcie had been sitting in the doorway when he returned to the village not yet two evenings ago. The day had been hot, and Joachim was sweaty and dirty and tired. He lowered his rucksack, and she closed the book she had been reading, one from Baruch’s Old Earth library, like all the others.

“Welcome home.”

He’d spent the last six weeks in the arms of the jungle, the cold, dark, unforgiving wilderness that never truly felt right even on the most beautiful of days. Joachim had hunted in those trees all his life, but nothing compared to Darcie. In her eyes, he was home.

“How did the great hunters fare?” she teased. “Did you take down three alligators this time? How about an elephant? Will we have enough elephant meat to last us until next summer?”

“Not quite,” Joachim replied.

She stood with her hands on her waist. From the back, someone would think that she was upset if not for the expression on her face. She watched him from under her brow, her chin turned slightly downward. She smiled.

“I missed you,” he whispered as he snuck his hands onto her hips.

“No, you didn’t.” She smirked. “You and Ben and Trent are like children out there—like young boys. And the jungle is your little paradise.”

“What if I told you that you are my paradise?” He kissed her neck.

She snorted. “Oh, please. Think you can just walk in here and woo me with some flattery?”

“I know I can.”

Darcie’s arms snaked around him. Her lips were as intoxicating as barley sweetened in the sun, and soon, he lifted her off of her feet and pressed her against the wall.

“Joachim!” she exclaimed. “The neighbors.”

“There’s no one watching.”

She laughed and hit him lightly on the chest.

“How was everything while I was gone?” Joachim asked.

“Fine,” Darcie said. “Boring.”

They went inside the dwelling. There was simmering jackalope stew on the stove.

“Ophelia’s ceiling had a leak last week,” Darcie continued. “A big rainstorm pushed through here, and it ripped some of the roof off. Did you get a storm out there in the jungle too?”

“Yes,” Joachim said. “I’m not even sure my rucksack is dried all the way through yet.”

He dipped his finger into the stew. It tasted salty.

“And how are you?” he asked.

Darcie played with a lock of her dark hair and bit her bottom lip. She reminded him of the day they married. There had been no parent left to walk Darcie down the aisle, so she walked herself. The whole time she eyed him: shy yet eager. Almost childlike.

“I’m pregnant,” she said.

He almost dropped his hand back into the stew. A little boy, she had just called him, alluding to his exhilaration whenever he entered the jungle. And Darcie was right: he often became so energized that he did feel like a little boy—and he felt like one again now. He felt like laughing, like scooping Darcie up and twirling her around. He could feel life bursting through his chest: ravenous innocence and maddening excitement. They’d been yearning for a child for so long.

“You are?”

“I found out into the second week of the hunt.” She touched his face. “I skipped my cycle, and I told Jolyne. She ran a test and told me I was expecting.”

Joachim cried. The hunter was supposed to be brave, but being brave sometimes meant having courage to show his emotions. He wept for her, smiling and laughing through the tears, and she cried too.

She spent the night tight to his chest and coiled in his arms like a huntress in camouflaging paints, like a butterfly in a cocoon.

Like she was protected by a shield.

Joachim wished she were there for him to protect now. She hadn’t mentioned the creatures that evening, and he doubted she even knew that they had come while he was away. But now she was gone, and so he had to be too. If he waited too long, the creatures would keep her away from him forever.

If she wasn’t already.”



Michael Cristiano is a Canadian writer. His relentless obsession with writing began long before he could spell the words 'relentless obsession'. Growing up in endless suburban sprawl, he spent most of his childhood pretending to be Harry Potter and attempting to get published by the age of thirteen.

When he isn’t writing or reading, he can be found planning his next backpacking trip around the world. He is a recent graduate from the University of Toronto with studies in Foreign Language and Linguistics. Previously, he attended a Regional Arts high school where he majored in drama. He is fond of all things dramatic.

Michael currently resides in the Greater Toronto Area, and he is using his years as a twenty-something to establish what he hopes will be a long career in writing. He works in editing and acquisitions for Curiosity Quills Press, and his freelance work has appeared on websites such as Nexopia, FluentU, and BlushPost. The Black Oracle, his debut novel, is out now.

Like him on Facebook. Follow him on Twitter.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


I'd love to introduce you to my cousin, Kristin Van Risseghem,
author of The Guardian, a Sword, and Stilettos.

Yes, Kristin's hair is perfect.
Yes, I have always wanted such lovely hair.

Key: my Questions in black, Kristin's Answers in purple (You'll see why soon)

  1. What do you miss most from the 80s?
  1. Shoulder-duster earrings: I didn’t have my ears pierced back in the 80’s.
  2. neon attire: isn’t this coming back in style now?
  3. sky-high bangs: I never could get my bangs to go that high.
  4. safety pinned pants: For me, this happened in the 90’s!

  1. If the color purple (your life-long favorite) was outlawed, what would you do to cope?

Probably migrate to teal/turquoise.

  1. Would you rather:
  1. lick a public toilet
  2. eat a used band-aid
  3. walk barefoot on Legos
  4. fart glitter. I already leave a trail of sparkles everywhere I go … I have a bedazzler!

Besides a Bedazzler, Kristin also has a giant shoe chair.
I know--I've seen it.

  1. If you had to date a vampire, who are your top two choices?
(Mine are: 1. Spike and 2. Carlisle)

Damon Salvatore! Oh yeah, he’s #1 and #2 … see #1’s answer.

Rob Lowe's love child?

  1. What's the absolute worst pick-up line you've ever heard?

Are you tired? Because you’ve been running through my mind all day.

any picture of this poor girl running hits me as funny

  1. What's your most embarrassing car story?

I drove through a gate at a car dealership parking lot. I’m not saying anything more …

obligatory Star Wars reference

  1. Favorite cartoon character and why?

Oh gosh, there are so many of them. I love the 80’s cartoons, even today. But I’d have to say My Pretty Ponies. Even back then I loved animals.

  1. Look around the room. List the titles of the first five books you can see. (Get out of the bathroom first if you're taking this survey on the pot.)

Harry Potter series, Twilight series, House of Night series, The Mortal Instrument series, and the Vampire Academy series.

snicker, snicker

  1. Speaking of the bathroom, do you care if the TP is over the top or comes from underneath the roll? I just can't bring myself to care, but I know this is really important to some folks and I want to know where you stand (so I can change everything around when I come visit just to bug you… haha)

Over the top … b/c that’s how I roll. Get it?

  1. What's your favorite flavor jelly bean?

See #2 since purple is NOT outlawed … yet!

  1. What's one of your favorite memories of high school (since HS is the setting of your debut novel)?

I have wonderful memories of band (and the marching band). I loved hanging out with the friends, making music, and traveling.

Kristin's book (see more details below)

  1. Now… choose one of your least favorite things about high school:

Instrument practicing. I never minded getting up early or staying after school to practice marching, line formation, learning the music…what I hated were the alone practicing, so I hardly ever did it. I’m a social person. No I don’t think I was all that great and a pro at my instrument, I just didn’t like practicing. I’d much rather play with the group.

Cousins together at my very first book signing last summer.

  1. List the top three benefits (besides taking this quiz) of being my cousin:

a) You make me laugh!
b) Now that you’re closer, we seem to see each other more … plus with both of us writing, we share that in common.
c) We have the fun privilege of knowing each other!!!


Quick Book Blurb:
Zoe turns eighteen in two months—the same date Armageddon begins. Instead of going shopping or doing boring homework, Zoe must devise a killer plan ASAP, or watch everyone die.

The Guardian, a Sword, & Stilettos is available for pre-order on Amazon Kindle HERE.
and on Smashwords. A paperback version will be available soon on Amazon. Check my Author - Facebook site and/or Twitter for updates.

You can add The Guardian, a Sword, & Stilettos to your Goodreads "To-Read" list.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Another great review for HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS

Discovering a new, positive review for How to Date Dead Guys ALWAYS makes my day.
Read more at Gin's Book Notes & Design.

To properly celebrate, here are way too many pictures of happy dogs:

A dog with a burger in its mouth? Now, that's one HAPPY dog!


Three tennis balls... almost as good as a burger!

I've both volunteered and worked at shelters. This picture brought back memories. 

Not sure if this dog is happy or just insane.

This caption says it all. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Two Cousins: Ann and Kristin, celebrating the release of my book!

Last July, my first book, How to Date Dead Guys, was published. My cousin, Kristin, supported me all along the way.
My path to publication seemed to take forever and felt quite painful at times. I snagged my publisher, Curiosity Quills, during a Twitter Contest two years ago. So when Kristin suggested having a Twitter contest of our own, I jumped on board. To give credit where it is due--Kristin is the brains behind this party, I'm just trying to add a little braun. :)

This is our attempt to pay it forward. We both are fortunate enough to have a published book and working on the second, third, etc. So let's have a blast, help each other out, and maybe, just maybe, you'll find that perfect relationship between author and publisher.

Here’s the date for #Pit2PubJuly 15, 2015starting at 8AM and ending at 8PM (CST or CDT, which is Chicago time).

What is #Pit2Pub?
A Twitter Pitch Party for writers to tweet a 140-character pitch for their completed manuscripts. Have several variations of your Twitter pitch available. The pitch must include the hashtag #Pit2Pub, the Age Group, and the Genre (#YA, #MG, #A, etc. see chart below) in the tweet. It's important to include the hashtag(s).

Age Groups:
#PB = Picture Book
#MG = Middle Grade
#YA = Young Adult
#NA = New Adult
#A = Adult
#WF = Woman’s Fiction

#NF = Non-fiction
#SFF = SciFi & Fantasy
#LF = Literary Fiction
#M = Mystery
#T = Thriller
#CB = Chapter Book
#R = Romance
#Mem = Memoir
#S = Suspense
#RS = Romantic Suspense
#W = Westerns
#E = Erotica
Authors of all genres are welcome to pitch their completed and polished manuscripts. You can pitch more than one manuscript. Tweet your pitch throughout the day, but no more than twice per hour per manuscript. When you see an industry professional on the feed, tweet it once. Remember to include the hashtag #Pit2Puband your genre/category.

The publishers will tweet their submission preferences and favorite your tweet if they wish to see more. If you get a favorite from an agent or publisher, follow their submission directions on their website or look for them on this blog. Then send them their request as soon as you can. They may have tweeted what they want you to send, so check their twitter feed for that information.

Make sure to put “Pit2Pub Request: TITLE” in the subject line of your email when sending your request.

Don’t tweet agents and publishers directly unless they tweet you first.

Don’t favorite friends’ tweets. You can RT your friends to show your support. Save favoriting for publisher requests to avoid confusion.

Be sure you research each requesting publisher. Don’t submit if you don’t want to work with them.

Be nice and courteous to each other and to the industry professionals. If you do see abuse, please report it to Twitter or notify Kristin or myself right away.

Here's the list of CONFIRMED PUBLISHERS who have signed up to monitor the feed on July 15!
Check back on either or our blogs: or as we add more:

Fantasy Works Publishing: We are a fantasy publishing company offering full service (absolutely no fees) to our authors and excellent, well edited, high quality books for our readers. When we say that we accept series, we mean the entire series at one time. Reason being, our wish is to relieve the author of the burden associated with completing book two. By that, I mean the burdensome task of shopping book two around to yet another publisher before beginning book three. It’s a nasty little cycle we aim to eradicate.

We also understand this goes against the grain of traditional publishing. Who cares. They only want to test the waters with new authors, and if immediate success isn’t found, then toss you to the curb and move on to the next author. The thing is, with any new author, success is rarely found in the first book. Usually, it is the author’s productivity, relentless marketing and proven quality of work that leads to sustained success.

Pandamoon Publishing: Pandamoon Publishing is an independent publishing house in Austin Texas. We are a royalty-paying, non-subsidy publisher who believes the relationship between the author and the publisher is paramount to success. We are different in that our management team has decades of invaluable experience in publishing and other technology and consumer industries and we bring the best practices of each to the publishing realm.

I am a successful serial entrepreneur and this is my third startup. My first company was an advertising agency which focused on traditional advertising, market research, and an interactive division that was responsible for delivering content to customers in new and exciting ways. After 12 years, I sold that company and started a global management consultancy practice which provided companies with operational, procedural, publishing, and marketing solutions. I sold my interest in that firm last year and have been focused on creating Pandamoon since then.

Pandamoon is a unique opportunity that utilizes all of my skill sets at once, as well as my love of technology, publishing, marketing, and lifelong learning. I have spent the last year building a team of extremely experienced and talented editorial, production, and publicity people who share my passion for building strong relationships with our authors. Everyone here has been quick to learn the value of and adopt my processes that are so efficient that we can reduce production time and return a much higher royalty rate to our authors. Bottom line, I know that our success is totally dependent upon the level of customer service, support, and response that we provide our readers and authors.

Dingbat Publishing: We want stories that are different, fresh, original, timeless. Story quality is far more important than genre or length. Is it well written? Is it a story that gets us excited? Can we believe in these characters and want to see them through to their journey's end?

If you've written a story that doesn't fit easily into a typical genre subdivision — such as a paramilitary psychological mystery, or an inspirational young adult comedy thriller, or a mainstream romance with comedic elements — then your story might be what we're looking for.

Bookfish Books: BookFish Books is a publisher of quality young adult, new adult, and middle grade fiction. Our team works alongside our authors to create the best possible work, novels our authors and our house can stand behind proudly.

We are looking for middle grade, young adult, and new adult novels in all subgenres. Both published or unpublished, agented or unagented authors are welcome to submit.

Solstice Publishing: Summer Solstice Publishing is looking for  Fiction, Romance, Mystery. All sub-genres are accepted. Desired genres: Action Adventure, Suspense/thriller, westerns. All word length accepted.

#YA Gay Teen, Historical, Sci-Fi, Realistic Life, any well written #YA novel.
#Romance Gothic, Historical, Military, LGBT, Paranormal, Sweet, Futuristic, any well written
#Romance novel.
#Erotica well written erotica
#Westerns series or stand alone, historical or contemporary, we accept all well written westerns
#NA all well written novels for 18 - 25 year old readers

Anaiah Press: Our goal is to provide our authors with the close-knit, hands-on experience of working with a small press, while making sure they don't have to sacrifice quality editing, cover art, and marketing. Authors who sign with Anaiah Press can expect:
  • Release in digital and print/POD formats (full-length works only)
  • A senior-level editor assigned to provide quality editing and to guide you every step of the way throughout the publication process
  • A publicist and a marketing/publicity plan specific to your book, and inclusive of advertising
  • High-quality covers expertly designed specifically for your book Royalties in the amount of 40% on net for digital format and 9-12% net on all other formats
  • Subrights personnel who work to sell key subsidiary rights for our entire catalogue

Clean Teen Publishing: At Clean Teen Publishing, we believe our authors, who create new and amazing literary worlds, deserve to receive a large share of the profits that their art creates. We also believe that our authors deserve the support of quality editing, breathtaking covers, and the power of a strong marketing presence behind them.

As authors ourselves, we know that your writing comes from your heart and, in a sense, is a part of you. We will carefully protect that part of you and work hard to keep your creative vision alive.Clean Teen Publishing is currently looking for well-written YA (young adult) or NA (new adult) fiction novels that are between 50,000 and 110,000 words. While we accept stand-alone books, our ideal submission would be the first two books in a series or a novel and a novella that is a prequel to the novel. We are looking for something unique and breathtaking. We are seeking authors who are 18 or older and ready to work hard to build their author brand and to actively market their books along side us.

Crimson Tree Publishing is currently looking for well-written fiction novels that are between 50,000 and 100,000 words. While we accept stand-alone books, our ideal submission would be the first two books in a series or a novel and a novella that is a prequel to the novel. We are looking for something unique and breathtaking.

We are open to many genres, but prefer Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Romance, Realistic Fiction, Light Science Fiction, Light Fantasy, Historical Romance, Steampunk, Suspense and Mystery. Please note that while this is our adult imprint of Clean Teen Publishing, we still prefer manuscripts that are not heavy on sexual content, violence or language. We are seeking authors who are ready to work hard to build their author brand and to actively market their books along side us.

Soulmate Publishing: Soul Mate Publishing welcomes you to romance, where two become one.  We offer high-quality romantic fiction for readers around the world. Our novels, written by only the finest authors, will be available both electronically and in paperback.

Whether you enjoy traditional romance or are searching for stories that push the limits, you'll find what you're looking for.  We are NOT the same old thing!

If you are a budding author who needs a publisher to seriously look at your work, just follow the instructions under the Submissions link at the top of this page.  We WILL look over your materials and provide a personal response.

We are actively seeking authors who can tell an exciting story and aren’t afraid to venture into new territory. We encourage novels that are original and blur the genre lines.   Soul Mate Publishing is a royalty-paying publisher currently accepting submissions for the following Romance Genres:  Action/Adventure, Chick Lit, Contemporary, Erotica, Fantasy, Historical, Inspirational, New Adult, Novellas, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Futuristic, Suspense/Thriller, Time Travel, Urban Fantasy, Women’s Fiction, Young adult

Remember, blending of genres is allowed and encouraged. Varying levels of sensuality are welcome, however all stories should have an upbeat ending. (NO depraved or illegal acts, bestiality, or pedophilia.).

Entangled Publishing: Founded by industry-savvy women, Entangled Publishing’s bold new business model combines powerhouse distribution with the agility of indie publishing, utilizing innovative digital strategies to connect with readers around the world.

Our revolutionary approach to publishing has led to phenomenal growth and success. The company opened for submissions in February 2011. Our first print titles released in August 2011, and we launched our first category romance imprint six months later. We now have 11 imprints serving the teen and adult romance marketplace, have signed over 600 authors, and release 35-50 books each month, selling an average 70,000 total copies every week.

To date, we have 36 USA TODAY and 14 New York Times bestsellers. Entangled was also the first small press to crack the New York Times Bestselling Children’s Series list, debuting at #4.

Henry Press: Henry Press is a tiny publishing company from Manchester, UK. We publish books, prints, zines and maps. We also offer a straightforward printing service for publications, prints and publicity material. Let us know what we can do for you.